Tour & Book Review – Making The Holidays Happy Again by Pat Henshaw

A big welcome to Pat Henshaw as part of her blog tour with Other Worlds Ink for Making The Holidays Happy Again from Dreamspinner Press.

Review

I enjoyed this feel good Christmas romance. I love stories set in small towns, and this hit my pre-Christmas read spot nicely, although it’s one I’ll enjoy reading at any time of the year. The description of the town is described in such detail—though not enough to bog down the story—that I was left with the feeling that it was a place I’d like to visit.

I loved the characters. Butch is a sweet guy, and I liked how his actions show that, rather than the reader just being told about it. I enjoyed the scenes where he’s teaching the kids at his forge. I also enjoyed his and Jimmy’s friendship, and the awkwardness as Butch second guesses himself and doubts that Jimmy feels the same way. I loved the ending—it was perfect.

The supporting cast complement the storyline nicely, and I particularly liked Hazel, Jimmy’s mother. I’d love to know more about her—she’s an interesting lady, and not conventional in the slightest which I like.

For a short story, it had a lot of character, and I really liked how it takes place over time, and various seasons.

I’d recommend this short, feel good, Christmas small town romance to readers who enjoy a sweet satisfying read with endearing characters. 5 out of 5 stars.

Making the Holidays Happy Again - Pat Henshaw

Pat Henshaw has a new MM holiday romance out: “Making the Holidays Happy Again.”

Blacksmith Butch has secretly loved his best friend, science nerd Jimmy, since grade school. Now their shops in Old Town Seven Winds, California, are only doors from each other.

They’re about to turn thirty, and Butch refuses to wait another day to make a decision: propose to Jimmy and start the family he’s always wanted or forget his dream to avoid risking their friendship.

Why can’t the choice be as easy as creating decorative ironwork in his forge?

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Excerpt

Making the Holidays Happy Again Meme

“Okay, what’s up?” I sat on the bench with my back against the bricks at the Old Time Pub. “You’ve been pissed since last week.”

My best friend and secret love of my life Jimmy glared but didn’t answer. We’d known each other for so long that I waited him out like usual. I crossed my pumped arms and sat back, smelling my sweat-soaked T-shirt in the AC blowing around us.

The past summer in Seven Winds, once a Gold Rush town in California’s northern Sierra Nevada mountains and now a tourist trap, had been brutal. A record number of days over one hundred degrees had turned a lot of the shop owners into snarling dogs.

As the resident blacksmith, I took the heat as business as usual. So I was hot and sweaty? I was always hot and sweaty. The day I ain’t I was either sick or dead.

I figured Jimmy’s problem was more than the heat though. He’d been acting funny lately. Like he had something caught in his craw but he couldn’t spit it out.

Jimmy wasn’t looking at me, but down at his hands. They was long and thin, completely different from mine. I had a collection of burns and scratches, scars from the forge and the tools and all.

His hands was pale white with a bunch of freckles that went with the freckles all over the rest of his body. When we was kids, the tiny red hairs on his arms stood out almost more than his carroty hair. The bright red had changed as he got older and was now more muted. Me? I’d stayed hairy brown all over.

I tapped his hand with my blunt fingers.

“Whatever it is, you know you can just spit it out.”

He stared at me, and I swear his green eyes got darker. He was making me uneasy. What the hell was wrong?

“You ever look at your life, Butch, and ask yourself, ‘Is this all there is?’” He sighed. What the fuck? What had gotten into him? “Don’t give me that look. You’ve got to know what I’m talking about.”

“Sure. But you know me. Something’s wrong, I make it right.” Takes me time but I figure it out eventually. “So, uh, what’s wrong with your life?” I wanted to make a joke and laugh, but he was too damned serious. And Jimmy’s never this serious.

“I mean, look at us. We work all day in our shops. We make good money. We got nothing to spend it on but ourselves. We go out drinking with the guys on the weekends. Or we go into the city to a game. Or we go fishing, camping, riding around.” He shook his head. “But in the end, what have we got?”

“Fun. Friendship. I don’t know. Life?” It wasn’t much of an answer. I knew where he was coming from. I figured it was because we was about to turn thirty after Christmas and it was time for us to grow up. I’d been thinking on it a lot lately.

“Don’t you want something else, Butch? Something more? Something better?” He sounded desperate, like he was drowning and I wasn’t saving him.

“Yeah, sure. I guess. I mean, I want a husband, a house, a dog, you know, stuff like we talked about when we was kids.” I’d had it mostly planned out. I’d been saving my money.

I was surprised Jimmy hadn’t already figured it out. He was usually two steps ahead of me in everything. “Okay, I gotta ask. What brought all of this on? What happened?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve been sitting around thinking lately. And mom’s been on me to move out.”

His mother Hazel’s a character. She’s an old hippie with graying auburn hair and grass green eyes. Her face is a roadmap of lines cuz she spends so much time outdoors. And she worries. She thinks we need her to run our lives. We mostly let her think that even though it’s not true.

“She says she wants me to move out of the farmhouse.” Jimmy said it like it was a death sentence.

“So? Isn’t that what you always wanted to do?”

He shrugged, then nodded, reluctant like. “I guess.”

“Jimmy, you’ve always talked about living in your own place.”

Once I thought me and him would get together, and, you know, live happily ever after. But then he became a doctor of chemistry and natural medicine. I never finished high school.

“Yes, I know. You’re right. I’ve wanted to move out for a while now.” Jimmy sighed. “But this feels like her trying to push me out. I don’t like to be pushed.”

“I don’t get the problem. You know what you want already.”

He laughed. “I don’t like to be pushed by my mother.”

“So the Apple Festival is coming up, and I’m making some changes,” I said, moving on to another subject.

“Yeah? What’s up? Whare are you doing?”

“I wanna make the shop more family friendly.”

He looked at me weird.

“I don’t get it, Butch. This isn’t like you.” He ran a hand through his shaggy hair. “You’re making me nervous. First my mother, now you. Why is everybody so hot to change suddenly?”

“It’s like you said.” I hunkered down, putting my elbows on the table and spreading out my hands. “I took a look at my life. I figure if I don’t do something to get settled, it ain’t gonna just fall in my lap. The Big Three Oh is the first step to the rest of my life. If I don’t get my shit together, nobody’s gonna hand my life to me. I may not know everything, but I know it’s up to me to do it myself.” I shot him a frown. “And you know it too.”

He nodded and looked like dog meat.

I may not have solved his problem of moving out or nothing like that, but maybe we was finally on the same page. Maybe.

I was making changes. He had to decide on his own life.


Author Bio

Pat Henshaw Logo

Pat Henshaw:

  1. Is a she, not a he.
  2. Writes MM romances.
  3. Has interviewed Arlo Guthrie, Big Bird, Fred Rogers, Liberace, and Vincent Price.
  4. Has lived and worked on all three US coasts and in the middle of the country, too.
  5. Has been a reviewer, costumer, librarian, and teacher.
  6. Has ridden an elephant, touched the pyramids, and stood at the edge of a volcano.
  7. Believes love is essential to everyone’s happiness.

She wants you to remember: Every day is a good day for romance!

Author Website: http://www.pathenshaw.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/pat.henshaw.10

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/phenshaw

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6998437.Pat_Henshaw

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/pat-henshaw/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/e/B00BPDEDEA

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

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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1 Response to Tour & Book Review – Making The Holidays Happy Again by Pat Henshaw

  1. ELF says:

    Sounds like a fun story. Thanks for the review!

    Like

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