Book Reviews

Stocking Stuffers Anthology at Jocular Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Blue-Collar Workers / Cowboys / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by The RBR Team on 08-December-2019

Book Blurb

From a corporate office to Santa’s Grotto, from a lowly store clerk to a sexy bull-rider, from a single kiss to sensual intimacy: each of these stories promises you a special and sparkling Christmas romance. We believe every man deserves his share of seasonal promise, and every couple their happily ever after. Four best-selling authors bring you their own style of loving, all set in this season of fun, hope, and love! 

In The Clumsy Santa by Sue Brown, the last thing Charlie Johnson expects when he takes a holiday job as an elf in Santa’s Grotto is falling in love with Santa. Nick is the shyest and clumsiest man Charlie has ever met, but that’s just part of his charm. Charlie falls for Santa, whilst Santa falls head over heels onto the floor. But despite their growing friendship, will Nick ever give Charlie his real Christmas wish?


In The Peppermint Schnapps Predicament by Clare London, Frankie Faraday is trapped in the Seasonal Gifts storeroom overnight with Bill Mason, Frankie’s boss, and the object of Frankie’s long-suffering crush. Bill is steady and sober; Frankie is frivolous and flaky. Or so they seem to each other, until there’s nothing but candy and peppermint schnapps to sustain them in the dark. And then the real truths emerge!. 


In Giving Gifts by Chrissy Munder, Seth Morrison’s crush on Oscar changes him from an absentminded computer geek to a dancing machine, in time for the work holiday party. If only Arnost Sarac, the company CEO’s assistant, would quit dogging his steps and insisting the old Seth was perfectly fine. And exactly who will join Seth under the mistletoe with the gift that keeps on giving?


In Adding to the Collection by BA Tortuga, homebody and bullriding fan Derrick loves going to the finals in Vegas, especially when he gets to see his favorite rider, Stone. This year he gets way more up close and personal with Stone than he ever expects. After Vegas, though, and with Christmas on his mind, will Derrick panic and send Stone away, or will he add the rodeo cowboy to his collection?


Book Review

The four stories in this festive Holiday collection each have their own charm, all four are written with a sense of humor, and every one of them is likely to make you smile, if for different reasons.


The Clumsy Santa by Sue Brown, reviewed by Lena Grey
Charlie, of ‘The Clumsy Santa’ by Sue Brown, isn’t thrilled about his new job at Santa’s Grotto, but since he has rent to pay and Christmas presents to buy for his sister and mom, he figures he has to learn the rules imposed on him by his supervisor, Head-Elf, and stick to them.

Charlie is a shy, inexperienced college student who, all his life wanted a husband and lots of children all his life. He figured out early that that wish may be more complicated than he first thought. In any case, Charlie has yet to find that person nor has he “indulged” in any kind of physical activity with another man. When Charlie first meets “Santa”, even though most of Santa is covered up by his costume, Charlie is entranced by his blue eyes. Charlie develops a huge crush on “Santa” with no idea that his feelings will be returned. With the encouragement of his new elf friend, Katie, Charlie hopes “Santa” will make a move.

“Santa”, a man called Nick, likes the cute, young Elf-Charlie, but getting to know him better at work is not possible, since they both have to be in character while they are there. When ‘Santa’s’ Nick’s clumsiness destroys the Christmas Grotto, Head-Elf fires him. Nick doesn’t know if he will ever see Charlie again.

This is a light, fluffy story, with more of a “practical” look at holiday work. I liked the characters, especially Charlie and his friend, Katie. Their friendship felt very sincere; they were adorable. I couldn’t quite get a feeling for Nick - I wish I could have seen more interaction between the two of them him and Charlie. Even so, it was an enjoyable story, with a holiday twist. Thanks, Sue, for the holiday “miracle”.



The Peppermint Schnapps Predicament by Clare London, reviewed by Lena Grey
Frankie Faraday has a mad crush on his boss, Bill Mason, but Bill is oblivious, too wrapped up in his own issues to take Frankie seriously. Frankie definitely notices Bill, but he only sees a straight and straitlaced man who would never look at him twice, even if Bill were gay like Frankie. In their day-to-day association it seems that both men are seriously underestimating each other. When Bill and Frankie get locked in a storage closet, with no way out and no one around to free them, it's just the opportunity they need to see each other in a different light.

As they attempt to find a way out of their “predicament”, Frankie gets hungry. It seems the only food around is peppermint schnapps and chocolate Santa Clauses. Frankie gets a bit tipsy, making him bolder than he would normally be. In his slightly inebriated state, his feelings for Bill emerge. Frankie kisses Bill and Bill reciprocates, making things quite warm. He's happy, but shocked to realize that his crush on Bill is not that farfetched. In fact, Bill has been noticing him as well. While waiting to be rescued, they open up to each other about their fears, likes, and dreams. Bill and Frankie begin to see how they are not so different after all; actually, they may even complement each other.

This is an amusing, sexy holiday story reminding everyone not to judge a book by its cover. Clare has written the story in first person with alternating chapters between Frankie and Bill. With such a short story, this proves to be an efficient way to present each character's point of view. It was enlightening to see how different each man’s perception was and how well they were able to figure things out together. Thanks, Clare, for the bit of Christmas cheer.



Giving Gifts by Chrissy Munder, reviewed by Serena Yates
Misplaced romantic interest is the topic of this short story, and because Seth is so adorably desperate to please a colleague, he gets himself into all kinds of trouble. I felt for him from the start, but my sympathy only increased as the details of his predicament unfolded. Luckily this is a Christmas-themed story that held hopes for a happy ending, or else I might have been tempted to give up and missed a wonderful ending.

Seth is not a social person, but he is trying his best to be less of a loner. The reason is not a desire for personal change – no, it is his crush on a coworker who has certain “standards” Seth feel compelled to follow. Yes, he tells himself that he likes the changes he has made, but it’s pretty clear the motivation is not internal. And that, as it is once more prove in this story, can be a dangerous thing.

If you like Holiday-themed stories that pack an emotional punch, if men who learn from their mistakes are your thing, and if you’re looking for an office romance with some intrigue and a surprising ending, then you will probably like this short story.



Adding to the Collection by BA Tortuga, reviewed by Serena Yates
The men - ranchers and cowboys and bull riders alike – of the rodeo world own a special place in my heart. To see two of them attracted to each other, only to have them slowly figure out there may be more would be fun enough, but to have it happen over Christmas, a pretty magical time of the year if there ever was one, is a special treat. Add all of BA Tortuga’s cowboy lingo and lots of man-on-man loving, and ‘Adding to the Collection’ is a highly entertaining novella.

Derrick has been admiring Stone for a while – watching him ride is no hardship. Approaching him after an event takes a little more courage, but Derrick finds out that taking that step is well worth it. The two of them burn up the sheets, so to speak. Their first encounter(s) in Las Vegas are scorching, and it becomes clear neither of them will get fed up with the other anytime soon. Also, there is Christmas to consider…

Stone comes from a big family and has never had anyone’s single-minded attention over the holidays. Then there is a major fall off a bull, and the fact he has nowhere else to go. Derrick did sort of invite him over, so he decides to take the risk. Best decision he ever made!

If you like your cowboys hot and ready for action, if two lonely men who stick together for the festive season are your thing, and if you’re looking for a read that is funny, scorching hot, and very sweet, then you will probably like this novella.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Jocular Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Anthology/ 4 short stories/197 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 10-November-2019
Price $2.99 ebook
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/Stocking-Stuffers-Clare-London-ebook/dp/B0819RN1HC