Home for the Holidays (Anthology) by S.J. Himes, Jenna Kendrick, Heather C. Leigh, Liv Rancourt, Felice Stevens ~ Book Review by Brandilyn

Happy fur manTitle: Home for the Holidays (Anthology)

Author: S.J. Himes, Jenna Kendrick, Heather C. Leigh, Liv Rancourt, Felice Stevens

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: unknown

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 11/29/2015

Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)

Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, M/M Romance, Winter Holiday

Blurb:

Home can be a person as well as a place. Everyone deserves a home for the holidays, as the stories in this collection affirm.

The Eighth Night by Jenna Kendrick

Going home for the holiday only to find his parents have made other plans, Kai Meyers is thrilled to reunite with an old friend. Disowned by his religious family, Ari Fisher is used to being treated like a boy toy rather than a boyfriend, and now he only has eight days to reveal his secrets to Kai.

24-Hour Hold by Heather C. Leigh

Detectives Damon Porter and Anderson Malloy are now partners at Denver’s Major Case Unit. The problem is, they used to be boyfriends, and now they’re feeling anything but friendly towards each other.

Learning to Love by Felice Stevens

Returning home for the holiday, caterer Gideon Marks tried hard to push away his high school crush. But Rabbi Jonah Fine wouldn’t let him run again, or keep the secret Gideon’s tried so desperately to hide.

Saving Silas by SJ Himes

Paramedic Gael Dominic wasn’t expecting much from the holidays. Blood, death, and loneliness were constants. So when tragedy puts a wounded Silas in his path, Gael takes a chance on his alleyway angel and love.

Christmas in LaLa Land by Liv Rancourt

For a Danaan sidhe like Aron, touching a human has consequences, while Damian’s hiding some serious scars behind his smile. A holiday trip to LA forces them to choose between acting on their attraction or giving up on love because of the past.

Proceeds from Home for the Holidays are being donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York City to help homeless LGBTQ youth.

**Final word count estimated at 110K***

My View:

I am not a huge Anthology person. There is invariably one story in the mix that ruins the entire collection for me. It may be a genre thing or a quality thing. Home for the Holidays from S.J. Himes, Jenna Kendrick, Heather C. Leigh, Liv Rancourt, and Felice Stevens did not suffer such a fate, however.

I loved that there were two stories in the collection that focused on Hanukkah rather than Christmas.

The Eighth Night by Jenna Kendrick

Ari and Kai are old boyfriends whose lives have taken very different paths since their split years before. It is up to Kai to prove to Ari that he is the man of his dreams over the eight nights of Hanukkah.

The Eighth Night is a strong second chance romance to open the collection. I can’t say that any of the story was all the surprising. It pretty much followed the formula I thought it would, but the characters made the story for me. Both characters knew themselves and knew what they wanted. They both went into the relationship with their eyes on their goal, even if that goal wasn’t the same.

I would love to see how Ari overcomes his past to make a future with Kai.

24-Hour Hold by Heather C. Leigh

Ah, another second chance romance for those of us who love that trope. This time, the reunion is anything but amicable. Damon and Anderson can’t stand each other. Well, Damon can’t stand Anderson, anyway. For Anderson, Damon is the one who got away. He is determined to right that wrong.

24-Hour Hold is told in alternating first person narrative. Once I got the rhythm of the alternating points of views, I enjoyed their journey from enemies to lovers quite a lot. The mystery isn’t perfect and is a bit predictable, but the characters are good.

Learning to Love by Felice Stevens

You know I always enjoy stories from Felice Stevens. Here is a little Hanukkah tale for your reading pleasure. If you want to label it with its tropes, I would call it almost a friends/enemies to lovers or second chance romance, but it doesn’t quite fit either trope.

The story is told in first person entirely from Gideon’s perspective. Gideon escaped home a decade before. We learn early why he left and why he returned home. Then we get to watch as all his defenses are slowly torn down by one Rabbi Jonah Fine, Gideon’s high school nemesis.

I feel like I use the term “sweet” too much during the holidays, but seriously, this is a sweet story. I never got to know Jonah well, but I couldn’t help but want to cuddle Gideon. Even if he could put an eye out with his prickliness.

Saving Silas by SJ Himes

Sometimes what you see isn’t what you get. That is the lesson I took away from Saving Silas by SJ Himes. In the end, I think this was my favorite entry in the anthology and Gael one of my favorite characters in any of this year’s crop of holiday stories (or at least the ones I have read up to this point).

There is a little bit of the Nightingale syndrome in effect, but the author manages to make me love Gael and Silas together despite their auspicious beginnings. Silas saves Gael as much as Gael saves Silas. Well maybe not QUITE as much, but there is that whole blood loss component that wasn’t present on Gael’s part… at least not directly. But I digress.

If you like a tale of redemption, loyalty, and love at the holidays, Saving Silas might fit the bill for you.

Christmas in LaLa Land by Liv Rancourt

Christmas in LaLa Land is the only entry in the Home for the Holiday anthology that is not a contemporary M/M romance. I guess it would fit under Urban Fantasy. It is set in a world not terribly unlike ours, except of course the whole sidhe component. In this world Danaan sidhes serve as little better than pleasure drugs.

While female Danaan sidhes are prized, gay-male Danaan sidhes are little more than an annoyance. Tired of his life, Aron hitches a ride to LA with friend, but never lover, Damian. Of course typical road trip stuff happens. They get thrown together time and again and eventually they find their Happily Ever After together.

There are not enough words in this story to fully immerse you into the world the author is trying to create, but she does an admirable job given the limit format. I was left with a number of questions, but none that I found to be too important in the end.

Links

Home for the Holidays (Anthology) on Goodreads

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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