"Boys in Our Books"…

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REVIEW: “His for the Holidays” by LB Gregg, Harper Fox, ZA Maxfield, Josh Lanyon

So, I never knew this anthology existed and I’m kinda floored at the pure muscle in this book!  I mean, you’ve got 4 of the very best M/M writers around contributing and just thinking about diving in made me excited!  Plus, I’m totes in the holiday spirit so ya kinda can’t go wrong…ermm…can you?

“Mistletoe at Midnight” by LB Gregg

Owen McKenzie has traveled to Vermont to spend an old-fashioned Christmas with his family when he finds himself staying at the same inn as his first love. Owen is disconcerted to realize he’s still attracted to Caleb Black but refuses to pursue him. Caleb left him once, and Owen’s not going down that road again.

Caleb is ready for a second chance with Owen and gets it when fate and the matchmaking McKenzies conspire to strand the two men in a rustic cabin during a snowstorm on Christmas Eve. Can Caleb convince Owen to rekindle their romance so they can stop spending their holidays apart?

I adored this story.  It’s a long, lost flame story about 2 boys who met and fell in first love in high school until one leaves suddenly and without word.  Years pass and then one Christmas, Owen, the one left, spends the holidays with his nutty family in a Vermont BNB and runs into Caleb, the one that got away.

The story is romantic and sweet.  It’s a perfect feel-good holiday read stock full of the too-good-to-be-trues and the oh-how-convenients that only work when we’re feeling especially sappy and in the mood.
I was sidetracked by some of the weird sub-characters who threw me off the story.  I could have done w/o the weird brother and the even-weirder ex-boyfriend.  But, I guess it filled the story out a bit.
The book was written with LB Gregg’s typical quirky humor and fun banter.  And it made me smile…


“Nine Lights Over Edinburgh” by Harper Fox

Detective Inspector James McBride is riding high on the belief that he’s about to bust a human-trafficking ring. But just five days before Christmas, his unorthodox methods catch up with him and his world comes crashing down.

McBride tries to concentrate on his new day job as security for the visiting Israeli ambassador. He even starts to feel a renewed sense of self-worth when the leader of the Israeli team, the aristocratic Tobias Leitner, takes a bullet for him in the line of duty. But he can’t forget the trafficking case, especially when his investigations result in the kidnapping of his own daughter! McBride has no one to turn to for help-no one, except Toby.

Can these two very different men work together to bring about a holiday miracle-and heal one another’s heart in the process?


True to form, even in a holiday book, Harper Fox has a very broken main character in a dark place.  I do have to say that James McBride is not one of my favorite Fox MC’s.  For most of the book, I did not find him sympathetic at all…and highly unlikable.  I typically am able to find the softspot for her broken leads, but not so much for James.  I almost gave up on the story.
But, then the Harper Fox magic took over.  A fantastic love-you-and-wanna-take-care-of-you-so-much-it-hurts coupling takes over and once we meet Tobias, game over.  I LOVE how her couples LOVE.  Her love stories are always “all in” and she maintains that even in this short story.
All in all, started slow but picked up to a lovely place by the end.


“I Heard Him Exclaim” by ZA Maxfield

Who Likes a Skinny Santa?

Steve Adams’s heart hasn’t been in the Christmas spirit ever since doctors put a stent in it and ordered him to clean up his act. No longer filling out his Santa suit or allowed to make merry, he’s forgoing the holidays this year and heading to Vegas to indulge in the few vices left to him: gambling and anonymous sex.

His road trip takes a detour when he encounters Chandler Tracey, who’s just inherited guardianship of his five-year-old niece. Overwhelmed, Chandler’s on his way to deliver Poppy to his parents. But fate has other plans and, after car trouble, Chandler and Poppy accept a ride home with Steve. Though the heat between the two men is obvious, they put it on simmer while they band together to make Poppy’s Christmas as perfect as possible.

Steve soon comes to believe that while Chandler is the right person to look after Poppy, someone needs to look after Chandler. Fortunately, Steve knows just the man for the job.


Hmmmm…I think I found this story a bit…creepy?…even though I’m quite certain that wasn’t ZAM’s intent.
I mean, meeting at a gas station bathroom in the middle of nowhere?  I guy who was overweight with a health scare, loses it all, and gets depressed about it because he can’t be a Santa Claus? And then these depressing story twists (an orphan thrown in the mix)?  It was just all so…weird…?

When you have to put the kindle down and walk away a few times while reading…a short story…well, it doesn’t bode well.

I just didn’t get a lot of this story.  The only part that did work was the budding relationship between Chandler and Steve.  I thought they were sweet.  Honestly, though, I could’ve done without this one.

RATING: 3 STARS (but barely)

“Icecapade” by Josh Lanyon

On the eve of the new millennium, diamond thief Noel Snow seduced FBI special agent Robert Cuffe, then fled into the dawn. Now a successful novelist, Noel uses his capers as fodder for his books, and has modeled his hero’s nemesis (and potential love interest) on Cuffe. Though he leaves Robert a drunken phone message every New Year’s Eve, Noel hasn’t seen or heard from him in a decade.

So he’s thrilled when his former lover shows up at his upstate farm one Christmas Eve. Elation quickly turns to alarm when Robert accuses Noel of being responsible for a recent rash of diamond heists. Robert is all business and as cold as ice: it seems his only interest in Noel is to put him behind bars.

Innocent of the crimes, and still as attracted as ever to the oh-so-serious lawman, Noel plans a second seduction-providing he can stay out of jail long enough!


I heart anything Josh Lanyon writes.  Ha.  I get uber-aggro at the way he finishes some things…but, I heart the words…the WORDS!
This was a cool little story about jewel thieves, FBI agents, and years of longing.  *sigh*.  So so good.
I adore Noel and his life former and present.  There’s a hope there that exists within him and I loved getting to know him even in this brief story.
I also adored Robert.  There’s a sadness that exists within him that I believed only Noel’s hope could help heal.
The 2 of them were lovely together…counterparts to partners.  And it was just cool, cool story.



9705875Title:  His for the Holiday (anthology)
Author: LB Gregg, Harper Fox, ZA Maxfield, Josh Lanyon
Publisher:  Carina Press
Pages:  493 (<-really did NOT feel that long to me…)
Release Date:  December 6, 2010
Purchase Links:  Carina Press, Amazon, ARe


One comment on “REVIEW: “His for the Holidays” by LB Gregg, Harper Fox, ZA Maxfield, Josh Lanyon

  1. Sophia Rose
    December 2, 2013

    This sounds great. I love these authors. Thanks for sharing!


Leave a Reply to Sophia Rose Cancel reply

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This entry was posted on December 2, 2013 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Susan and tagged , , , , , , , .

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