Book Review – Hockey Holidays Anthology


Publisher: Cedrona Enterprises
Pages: 900
Genre: Contemporary, Hockey Romance

Blurb: **100% of the proceeds from sales of this anthology will be donated to charity.**

This holiday season unwrap a brand-new collection of hockey romances that includes humor, drama, love, and – of course – hockey!

Each book is EXCLUSIVE to the anthology and NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED by USA Today, New York Times, and all your favorite bestselling hockey romance authors.

Buy Link

NB: My reviews are for the 3 MM stories in the anthology.

Dallas Christmas by RJ Scott
Pages: 38
Characters: Logan/Archie
POV: 1st
Blurb:
Logan Maxwell, a winger for the Burlington Dragons, is stuck in Dallas and missing Christmas with his family. There’s no snow in this damn city, he’s lonely, and he can’t even remember the last time he hooked up with a guy.

Spending his precious Christmas break with the other single players on the team could be great, he guessed, but for one thing; Archie Simard.

Lusting after the brother of your team captain is the worst idea in the history of bad ideas, Logan knows that. But when fate throws him and the temptation that is Archie together, it’s hard not to fall in love.

Review

I haven’t read any of the series that this is a part of—The Burlington Dragons—but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this story. I loved Logan and Archie, and Logan’s resistance of their relationship. I thought the author did a great job in making his determination not to fall in love, and denial that he already had, very realistic. I also felt for Archie as his frustration, yet love for Logan came through very well although the story is from Logan’s POV. One line stood out for me: “All you have to do is tell me you love me.”

This isn’t the first I’ve read from this author, and I like how her stories have a lovely flow to them, which makes them a delight to read. The characters feel very real, and this story hooked me in immediately, and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened as I was invested in their story and wanted to make sure they got their happy ending. The supporting cast was wonderful. I particularly loved Simba, Archie’s brother, and had to go check out the author’s website to see if his story is written—it is! The other side characters were great too, and felt fleshed out, although they weren’t the focus of this story. The sense of family within the team is a real strength, and I’d love to read more about them. And as an added bonus I must admit I squeed at the mention of Ten from the Railers’ series.

I’d recommend Dallas Christmas to readers who enjoy a feel-good story about working out your priorities with wonderfully written characters—and hockey. 5 out of 5 stars.

A Star-Crossed Christmas by V.L. Locey
Pages: 49
Characters: Mitch/Shaun
POV: 1st

Blurb:
Being the new man in the crease can be tough. Mitch Adams, former back-up for the Cougars is now the main man in goal, replacing August Miles, who was recently called up to the pros. There are lots of new things happening in Mitch’s life and not everything is because of hockey.
Two years ago, he shared an explosive kiss with his childhood friend, Olympic snowboarder, Shaun Sandbeck. Since then, Mitch has been more than a little confused about a multitude of things pertaining to who he is, his sexuality, and the fact that he can’t stop thinking about that kiss and how he wants more.

For Mitch, going home for Christmas is a chance to find his focus and face the man who caused all this confusion. Is it possible for the two men to untangle lust from love, and find a future together that works?

Review

This short story is part of the Cayuga Cougars series which I haven’t read, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. Although, of course, it has left me wanting to read that series!

I thought this was a lovely friends-to-lovers story, and I enjoyed reading about Mitch and Shaun. One of the strengths of this story is the strong sense of family, not just within the Cougar team, but the way Mitch and Shaun’s family support them. The family scenes are wonderful, and bring with them a real sense of a caring loving atmosphere.

Mitch and Shaun complement each other well, and their friendship since children develops easily into love. I particularly liked Shaun’s grandmother who isn’t subtle about her hints that these two belong together. I love the background of the quilting shop she runs, and the way both their families are supportive of their friendship and relationship, and how they already

This is feel-good story and one I would go back to as a comfort read.

I’d recommend A Star-Crossed Christmas to readers who enjoy a feel-good story about friends to lovers, with a strong sense of family, and a great supporting cast, against a backdrop of hockey. 5 out of 5 stars.

Holding on Tightby Susan Scott Shelley
Pages: 43
Characters: Vince/Joseph
POV: 3rd

Blurb:
Buffalo Bedlam defenseman Vince Forsberg and his boyfriend Joseph Parelli want to make their first Christmas together perfect for each other. The pressure is overwhelming, and with every holiday mishap, “perfect” slips further away. Can they save Christmas, or will their first holiday together be their last?

Review

While this story reflects the common theme of the team as family, it also shows a couple working out their place in the world now they are together. I loved that Joseph is struggling to find a job, and settle into a new location, and the strain that does put on his and Vince’s relationship—it felt very real. I liked how I got to know more about them in the way they each reacted to a situation.

This is another feel-good sweet read. I loved Joseph and Vince and was cheering for them to find a way through everything life threw at them. The supporting cast was great, and I loved how they looked out for both men. The ending made me happy, as did the romance.

This is the first story I’ve read from this author, and I’d love to read more.

I’d recommend Holding on Tight to readers who enjoy a sweet story about a couple working through the hurdles of life together, a strong sense of family—and hockey. 5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at https://annebarwell.wordpress.com
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