Friday, December 19, 2014

Comfort and Joy ~ Holiday Anthology with Joanna Chambers, Harper Fox, L.B. Gregg and Josh Lanyon ~ Review and Giveaway

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Macky and Mark have been in a holiday mood for all of December. We both chose different stories and have reviewed this anthology from some of the finest authors in M/M romance. If this doesn’t get you feeling all Christmassy then nothing will. Check what we have to say about each story.

Also we have a super giveaway ~ five winners! Check out the details below!

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Comfort and Joy ~ Anthology

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Title: Comfort and Joy

Authors: Joanna Chambers, Harper Fox, L.B. Gregg, Josh Lanyon

Release: 5th December 2014

Overall Rating:

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Anthology

Rest and Be Thankful by Joanna Chambers
Two stormy hearts find peace when feuding neighbors in the Scottish Highlands are trapped by a blizzard.

Things haven’t been going well for Cam McMorrow since he moved to Inverbechie. His business is failing, his cottage is falling apart and following his very public argument with café owner Rob Armstrong, he’s become a social outcast.
Cam needs to get away from his troubles and when his sister buys him a ticket to the biggest Hogmanay party in Glasgow, he can’t leave Inverbechie quick enough. But when events conspire to strand him in the middle of nowhere in a snowstorm, not only is he liable to miss the party, he’ll also have to ask his nemesis, Rob, for help.

Out by Harper Fox
Can a stranger unlock the courage and passion in a young man’s captive heart?

It’s Christmas at Edinburgh’s magnificent Barlinney Hotel, and chief housekeeper Cosmo Grant is in charge of the festivities. He’s already got his hands full when handsome Ren Vaudrey checks in.

It soon turns out that Ren is an undercover cop. Cosmo wants to help him, but unless he can do it within the Barlinney’s walls, Cosmo is stuck. A victim of crippling agoraphobia, he’s been a prisoner in this gilded cage for over a year. Cosmo gathers all his courage to do the right thing by Ren and Sam—and as a glittering Christmas Eve descends on the city, finds himself confronting his very darkest fears.

Waiting for Winter by L.B. Gregg
Some mistakes are worth repeating.

Luke always thought he and Winter were the perfect couple—until the day Winter announced he was taking a new job and they were uprooting and headed for Germany. No discussion. No debate. For the first time in his life, Winter miscalculated. Badly. Now Luke is trying his best to move on with his life, but Winter is back in town and he’s set on digging their relationship out of the deep freeze.

Baby, It's Cold by Josh Lanyon
Or maybe it's the flu. Breaking up is hard to do -- especially around the holidays.

Talk about Kitchen Nightmares! TV Chef Rocky and Foodie blogger Jesse have been pals forever, so it should have been the most natural thing in the world to move their relationship to the next level. Instead, it turned out to be a disaster. But Christmas is the season of love, and someone's cooking up a sweet surprise... 

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Macky’s Choice 

Rest and be Thankful by Joanna Chambers

 

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Rating

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Amazon Buy Link

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Synopsis

Two stormy hearts find peace when feuding neighbors in the Scottish Highlands are trapped by a blizzard.

Things haven’t been going well for Cam McMorrow since he moved to Inverbechie. His business is failing, his cottage is falling apart and following his very public argument with café owner Rob Armstrong, he’s become a social outcast.

Cam needs to get away from his troubles and when his sister buys him a ticket to the biggest Hogmanay party in Glasgow, he can’t leave Inverbechie quick enough. But when events conspire to strand him in the middle of nowhere in a snowstorm, not only is he liable to miss the party, he’ll also have to ask his nemesis, Rob, for help.

Macky: What makes a great short story? Well for me it's the feeling that on finishing, however short a read it's been, you're left with the impression that you've actually read a complete story, one that's flowed; with a beginning that's hooked you in from the word go, a middle that not only expands into a storyline that keeps your interest but also fleshes out the characters personalities and relationship so that you become fully invested in seeing their romance reach its fruition, and last of all, an ending that leaves you completely sated with the final outcome, whatever that might be. So many shorties leave you feeling slightly disappointed because you come away wanting just that little bit more: the content just lacking that 'something' to fully satisfy!

Not the case with this lovely heart-warming, short story set in Scotland from Joanna Chambers which ticked all the above boxes and a bit more beside, as she not only pulled me into Cam and Rob's tale from the minute I picked it up, but quickly had me forming a real, emotional attachment to both guys; so much so that I found myself really caring about them as people, not just characters in a book. They've both got personal stuff weighing heavy on their minds, and for Cam it's those worries that have alienated him from the townsfolk and Rob, making him appear aloof, brusque and at times a wee bit arrogant, but as they got past the initial bad feelings that had been simmering between them since a massive argument caused by crossed lines of a sort, cut short their once fledgling friendship, it was a joy watching how, through a series of unwanted and unexpected events, they got to connect again and romance was given a chance to blossom. It's a sweet, subtle drama with a touch of the slow burn but there's a real sense of underlying sexual tension that enhances the chemistry between them whenever they're in each other's company and the love scene when it arrives was yum! No feeling of being short changed from this at all, as I was left totally happy with its HFN finale, that realistically didn't magically put everything right for them but was full of hope for both their professional and personal lives. I finished it with no doubt that these two will get to experience their HEA in the future. I was sorry when it finished but only because I was enjoying it so much. This is the second short story in an anthology by Joanna that I've given 5 stars to so I think I need to read a full length novel from her PDQ. Loved it!

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Mark’s Choice

Out by Harper Fox

 

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Rating

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Amazon Buy Link

GRbuttonhotpicks118343153

Synopsis

Can a stranger unlock the courage and passion in a young man’s captive heart?
It’s Christmas at Edinburgh’s magnificent Barlinney Hotel, and chief housekeeper Cosmo Grant is in charge of the festivities. He’s already got his hands full when handsome Ren Vaudrey checks in.

It soon turns out that Ren is an undercover cop. Cosmo wants to help him, but unless he can do it within the Barlinney’s walls, Cosmo is stuck. A victim of crippling agoraphobia, he’s been a prisoner in this gilded cage for over a year. Cosmo gathers all his courage to do the right thing by Ren and Sam—and as a glittering Christmas Eve descends on the city, finds himself confronting his very darkest fears.

Mark: Och aye, a wee bonnie story for Hogmany! I just loved this story about Cos who is head of housekeeping at one of Edinburgh's finest hotels. A sweet guy with a good nature and all the staff under him love him. Too bad the hotel manager is a bully and nasty piece of work getting Cos to pimp himself out for some of the more exclusive services. However, a guest comes to stay for Hogmany that sees how horrible the boss is and Cos finds talking to him very easy. What Cos doesn’t know is that his manager is involved in a number of shady dealings with Edinburgh’s low life and the guest is an undercover cop trying to find his partner who has disappeared. I just loevd the dynamics between these two MCs. Cos who I felt underestimates his own strengths and a confident caring cop.

All this is set at Christmas and Harper paints a wonderful scene of a hotel all ready for Christmas but we learn that Cos is agoraphobic and has actually never never ventured beyond the front doors of the hotel for a long time since he was hostage in an armed robbery. However, his love and attraction for that special someone makes him confront his fears on several occasions and overcome them. I would never have thought it would have been possible to fit a police investigation, a mystery-thriller into a short story, but Harper manages it masterfully. Complete and rounded in so few pages. Wonderful! A lovely story for the holiday full of one man’s courage and his new found love.

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

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Macky’s Choice

Waiting for Winter by L.B. Gregg

 

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Rating

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Amazon Buy Link

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Synopsis

Some mistakes are worth repeating.

Luke always thought he and Winter were the perfect couple—until the day Winter announced he was taking a new job and they were uprooting and headed for Germany. No discussion. No debate. For the first time in his life, Winter miscalculated. Badly. Now Luke is trying his best to move on with his life, but Winter is back in town and he’s set on digging their relationship out of the deep freeze.

Macky: LB Gregg's contribution to the anthology is a short story about two men who through a case of not communicating as they should, have split after being together for over eight years. Told through Luke's eyes we first join the story six months into their estrangement. It's summer and Luke is drinking in a bar when his ex Winter Kendrick barges back into his life and before you can shake a stick, he has Luke in a taxi and on their way back to their old house where being the commanding personality he is, Win has his ex lover indulging in some sizzling reunion sex but in true silly stubborn man style, Luke's doubts overwhelm him again and the morning after he ups and leaves Winter (with no explanation) whilst he's sleeping.

Fast forward another six months....

It's Christmas and due to circumstances beyond his control Luke is reluctantly having to pick an unsuspecting Win up at the station to drive him to his sister's place. It turns out that Luke's cousin Ritchie is married to Wins sibling so it's a foregone conclusion that at some point they would have to cross paths again but Luke would have preferred their first meeting (after previously leaving his ex in the lurch) to have been in the company of others; not trapped in a out of the way house, alone, after the weather takes at turn for the worse; putting them in a close contact situation that of course forces them look closely at their relationship and what they truly mean to each other. It's a trope that's been done many times but it is a great way of racking up the sexual tension between antagonistic characters who have a love/hate relationship going on, and I have to say it works well between these two headstrong guys who stupidly can't see the wood for the trees. The sex is hot and there's a palpable connection that leaves you wondering why they ever split in the first place, as there's no doubt these guys are mad for each other and that's why sometimes I did do a bit of sighing in exasperation at the position they'd got themselves into. I enjoyed this but because we're thrown into the story after their big bust up gas gone down, there were things from their history together I wish I'd just had a bit more insight into to understand why Luke in particular reacted the way he did. Having said that it was still an entertaining, engaging read, with some serious chemistry going on between its protagonists, heated enough to melt the snow confining them in the house together and a nice addition to a seasonal anthology that's not overly sweet and sickly. Anthologies can be hit or miss but with a set of authors like this you really can't go wrong!

 

Connect with the Author

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Mark’s Choice

Baby, It’s Cold by Josh Lanyon

 

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Rating

grey stargrey stargrey stargrey star

Amazon Buy Link

GRbuttonhotpicks118343153

Synopsis

Or maybe it's the flu. Breaking up is hard to do -- especially around the holidays.

Talk about Kitchen Nightmares! TV Chef Rocky and Foodie blogger Jesse have been pals forever, so it should have been the most natural thing in the world to move their relationship to the next level. Instead, it turned out to be a disaster. But Christmas is the season of love, and someone's cooking up a sweet surprise...

Mark: Jesse turns up to cook for Rocky a TV cook show star for him and his manager. It should have been Jesse’s grandfather but this is just a plan to try and win Rocky back. Jesse and Rocky have known each other for a long time and have a shared history, from friends to lovers. the lovers period didn’t last long and although good was a bit of a disaster. However, Jesse doesn’t want to give up. So he tries to eat humble pie and cooks for Rocky and his manager who he thinks are now together.

So we have a cabin in the middle of the mountains all decorated for Christmas a perfect setting really except for the very tension in the air. Jesse has a plan, he just wants to talk to Rocky and try and win him back. However, I must admit that Jesse did come across to me as being a bit of a drama queen so no wonder Rocky left, although he is by far not perfect either. I really liked the whole setting and scenario. Sometimes the story read a little like a cook show and I felt I could run into the kitchen and try out most of the things that Jesse served up by the end. However, Jesse comes down with the flu and due to bad weather ends up staying the night. This gives them time to talk things out. This was a story about finding forgiveness, about realising that no one is perfect and if you can just talk a solution can nearly always be found. Just the sort of thing for the holiday a mini friends to lovers to enemies and back to lovers. It’s Christmas and these guys have really gone full circle with their relationship.

Connect with the Author

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

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Purchase Links

All the above stories are part of the Comfort and Joy Anthology and can be bought in one convenient volume.

AMAZON BUY LINK

SMASHWORDS

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS

CAJ Book

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Giveaway

Five lucky winners have the chance to win the anthology or one of the stories from the featured authors. Just enter the draw below ~ GOOD LUCK! X

1st Winner ~ Kindle eBook copy of Comfort and Joy Anthology.

2nd Winner ~ eBook copy of Rest and be Thankful by Joanna

3rd Winner ~ eBook copy of Out by Harper Fox

4th Winner ~ eBook copy of Waiting for Winter by L.B.Gregg

5th Winner ~ eBook copy of Baby, It’s Cold by Josh Lanyon

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30 comments:

  1. These are four of my favourite writers together in a book. I am so looking forward to reading this book. Thank you for the chance!

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  2. Thank you for introducing me to new authors.
    That is the beauty of anthologies - great price and always something to love

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  3. Congrats on the new release! This anthology sounds fantastic, I can't wait to read it!

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  4. I love anthologies as I get to read several favorite authors and some new! This one sounds so good1

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  5. Four great writers in one book. Really looking forward to reading this!

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  6. So many amazing authors, I know I'm going to buy this but I thought I'd try winning it first. :)

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  7. I am going to enjoy learning about new authors in the new year. Merry Christmas!

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  8. How exciting!!! Hope to win!

    psshepherd(at)earthlink(dot)net

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  9. I love anthologies, and this one has so many great/favorite authors together!

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  10. I think you all do an awesome job with reviews, giveaways, letting us know what books are out, etc. Thank you all so much!!!

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  11. What terrific authors and these holiday stories sound great.

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  12. This anthology looks so great!

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  13. can't wait to read these stories

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  14. WANNA *grabby hands* *smacks self* wow, this really looks nice - better go get my TBR list :)

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  15. I love the winter anthologies from Josh Lanyon and company in years past. Their stories have always given me joy, and I imagine this anthology will do the same. They're all great writers. Thanks for this giveaway, and happy holidays!

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  16. Added to my wish list....love Christmas/holiday stories!!

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  17. Sounds like a great anthology!

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  18. I love anthologies and it's a holiday one <3

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

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  19. This is one anthology I need to get. Thanks so much
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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  20. all these books put together sound very good night to read jeaninebeaulieu@hotmail.ca

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  21. Love anthologies in general because you get several nice shorts to read. However, it's even better, in this case, because I love all of the authors.

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  22. These sound so fantastic!

    Trix, vitajex(At)Aol(Dot)com

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  23. All the stories sound terrific! Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  24. So many authors I love in this anthology! It sounds wonderful.

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  25. Wow, this anthology sounds great! So many great authors!

    anamaribelcardenas@yahoo.com

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  26. Thank I would love to win the anthology, but would also be happy to any of the individual stories by these wonderful authors. Thank for the chance to :) Seasonal Greetings

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