4 Stars, Anthology, Holiday Romance, Less Than Three Press, Reviewed by Angel

Whaddaya Know, It’s Christmas in April – A Touch of Mistletoe from LT3 Press

Title: A Touch Of Mistletoe

Author: Anthology

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Pages/Word Count: 182 Pages

At a Glance: An enjoyable mix of stories that had me visiting all ranges of the emotional spectrum.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Less Than Three Press presents a collection of stories about people brought together by the magic of mistletoe…

Here for You by J.K. Pendragon
Warren’s life has been shrinking ever since his wife passed away. Blind, and finding it difficult to adjust to life on his own, it’s easier to hide away in his house. When his friend Missy invites him to a Christmas party, an unexpected kiss with a stranger under the mistletoe leaves him confused and wondering…

The Christmas Spirit by Talya Andor
Christmas in Japan is no big deal for Ash Harmon, with his family half a world away and supernatural problems that have no respect for the holidays. When he picks up a bodyguard job for a rising star of figure skating who seems to be encountering trouble with a restless spirit, he stubbornly resists the unexpected attraction to his charge, wary of the risks that come with relationships. But the mistletoe has other ideas…

A Beautiful Thing by A.F. Henley
Sometimes, Fate gets tired of being ignored. And some nights, Fate decides something will just have to be done about it. Enter Drualus, Senior Correspondent for the Collective Assembly of Christmas Fae, working with the Night Before Reach Out Program. He’s got a few short hours to change Scott Misener’s outlook on life, love, and understanding. Lucky for Scott, Dru knows a tried and true trope that might just do the trick…

Ad Meliora by E.E. Ottoman
It’s Christmas Eve and An-An and M.C. have plans to spend Christmas in Texas with An-An’s family. But their plans are cut short when M.C. takes on a last minute case. Thankfully, though, it should be an easy exorcism.

Until they arrive at the snowbound lodge where trouble resides, and come face to face with a demon wolf unlike anything they’ve ever encountered.

Two Parts Mistletoe by Megan Derr
Kingston has worked hard to get where he is: owner of his own shop, master potion maker, well-respected… and lonely, too busy with life to enjoy more than his regular visits to Acacia House. If he wishes his loneliness might be eased by Hux, the man he meets at Acacia twice a month, well, someday he’ll work up the nerve to ask. Maybe.

Then Hux unexpectedly visits his shop, distressed and in desperate need of help to save his employer from a love potion…

Dividers

Review: I really enjoyed this diverse mix of stories, and the settings and themes.

Here for You by J.K. Pendragon: An odd sort of GFY/Bi-curious story and even now, I still don’t quite know how I feel about it. It was well written and had atmosphere, but the situation left me with something not unlike a bad aftertaste in my mouth. Warren was kind of a jerk to Kyung, and it also seemed as if Kyung was pushing Warren into the relationship. Not a very good start to things, in my opinion. However, I did like the individual characterization of both men, and the added details of the Korean culture were interesting. I’m not certain I’ll go looking for more of this new-to-me author’s works or not, but I won’t go out of my way to avoid it either.

The Christmas Spirit by Talya Andor: Another new-to-me author and a very interesting story with a Japanese and Southern flair this time. I loved the details about the culture and how Ash adjusted to being in a foreign country. The paranormal aspect and world building was fun, and I enjoyed that it had its roots in the real world. I will definitely seek out more by this author.

A Beautiful Thing by A.F. Henley: A cute and hilarious retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I so loved this one. I felt totally onboard with Scott and his grumpiness about the holiday, and when he goes off on a child whose parent was otherwise engaged, I laughed out loud. Who hasn’t wanted to scream at both the child and parent of said child when they are being rude, and you are given the excuse of ‘kids will be kids’?

Anyway, the reactions to Scott’s tirade were spot on, and I adored the changes to the script from there on as well. Dru was rather annoying at times, but I loved him as the Christmas Past/Present/Future vehicle, and I liked the way the ending wasn’t set in stone. Also, I adored that Scott’s awareness afterward was more along the lines of ‘gee, I need to quit being such an asshat’ than the ‘Magic of Christmas saved me’. I will look for more of this new-to-me author’s work.

Ad Meliora by E.E. Ottoman: Let me first say that finding a F/F story in the middle of what I thought was a M/M romance anthology was a surprise, but I went with it. I love the lady loving as well. Then, while in the midst of the awesome paranormal world building, it is thrown at you that one of the characters is transgender. Not a problem, again, love is love, I say. I was, however, thrown a bit by the overly clinical descriptions and pronoun usage. This just seemed to come out of nowhere. Perhaps it is just my unfamiliarity with transgender characters, but it was quite confusing, though I loved how accepting An-An was. The MC’s reaction was a bit off-putting, especially as she was the assertive character asking for the changes, and then she was suddenly reserved with An-An after their talk. Next, we have a bit of danger, which was great in moving forward the paranormal aspect, then the paranormal mystery was over, finished off-screen in a wrap-up talk between An-An and MC. One venue change and the focus of the rest of the story was on An-An and MC’s unexpectedly descriptive version of kinky sex and talk. I’m not certain I’ll go back for more of this author’s work, unfortunately.

Two Parts Mistletoe by Megan Derr: New-to-me author and I loved this story. I would have enjoyed more world building because the story was just that magical. I liked all the details for the potion making. I adored Kingston and Hux. They were so sweet on one another. I will definitely seek out more of this author’s work.

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