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Winter Warmers by Lou Harper
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Winter Warmers

by Lou Harper

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If you are looking for a heartwarming, nicely uplifting and positive read, these five short stories fit the bill. Each of them contributes to the whole in their own way, but taken together, they make a wonderfully ‘warming’ whole. This collection just ‘worked’ for me.

Lucky Dip by Clare London is a very sweet story about Andy, a primary school teacher, and Greg, his banker ex-boyfriend. I love exes making up again, especially when the reason for their separation was basically a misunderstanding. The way fate ‘arranged’ for these two to have the opportunity to talk it all out and reconsider was funny. A gentle story that made me smile.

Butterscotch Kisses by Chrissy Munder is a super-cute story with a lot of truth about overcoming your fears added as a bonus. Matthew is deadly afraid of heights and just as determined to overcome this fear. Like so many people with a perceived ‘flaw’ he believes his inability to cope is the reason he’s still alone. Luckily Adam takes it all in stride and his support, of course, makes all the difference. A funny story with lots of self-deprecating jokes that made me laugh.

Wintertide by Lou Harper is also warm and uplifting, and while Jem finds love for the first time, Oscar has obviously got a little more to deal with. I liked how we gradually find out about his background and why he is a little hesitant. This is an emotional story which gives hope to all those who have lost a lover.

When in Amsterdam… by Josephine Myles is a great story about two lovers experimenting with their kinkier side. I loved how Brandon, sexually more dominant, was the one who was hesitant about taking it further. Jos, the ‘bottom’ in the relationship was far more experienced and knew exactly what he wanted. The way he gets Brandon to try out something different and acknowledge that they may be able to deepen their relationship in a new way, was simply wonderful. A very hot story with loving partners who discover a new aspect of their sex life.

A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou by J.L. Merrow is a fun story about Liam, who grew up with witches but doesn’t expect much from men. When he meets Neil that changes, even though their first date is somewhat unorthodox. Or maybe because of it? A fun story with a slight supernatural touch which made me smile.




NOTE: This book was provided by Torquere Press for the purpose of a review on Queer Magazine Online ( )
  SerenaYates | Oct 19, 2017 |
Lucky Dip by Clare London
Andy and Greg: Teacher and pupil'S uncle hook up again, after Greg broke up with Andy because he was afraid. This felt like a scene from a longer novel, was nice and humorous.

Butterscotch Kisses by Chrissy Munder
Matthew and Cute Ticket Guy: A sweet little story with good development. Matthew tries to conquer his fear of hights and meets Cute Ticket Guy on his daily trips.

Wintertide by Lou Harper
Story of Jem, young and vulnerable and Oscar, old and rich, who had lost his life partner of 25 years some time ago. I found this story strange: the age gap too big and the whole "I only want to take care of him" style is not really romantic imho, but rather creepy. Good relationships are between equals, and this kind of storyline is why I stopped reading M-f.

When in Amsterdam... by Josephine Myles
Brandon, an ordinary guy, and Jos, his Dutch boyfrien, a sub, visit a sex shop in Amsterdam. Hot sex ensues. Nice little story, and even some relationship develpment.

A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou by JL Merrow
This one I liked best - it had a real storyline and depicted the getting to know each other part between Liam and an attractive older man he sees every day while playing sax at King’s Cross. ( )
  Tam2603 | Apr 18, 2013 |
Originally posted at Romance Around the Corner

Winter Warmers is filled with great stories that albeit short, pack a lot of punch. They are set around Christmas time rather than proper Christmas stories, although they don’t really have that as a common theme. They were all very different and as far as I could see the only thing they shared was the fact that the main characters were all a bit lonely, slightly awkward, and insecure. And by the end of their respective stories they all in a way overcome their issues, or at least take the first steps in order to do so. Some of them ended rather abruptly and felt almost too short, but they were completely satisfying. I think they all get their ending, some of them more like a promise of a happy ending than a proper happy ending, but that’s a good thing, it made them believable.

The first novella is Lucky Dip by Clare London. Andy is a school teacher preparing for the school's Christmas fair with his students, when he’s forced to share his space with Gregg, the guy who dump him months ago but now wants him back. Will Andy be able to forgive and forget?

This story was a lot of fun, Andy was clumsy, Gregg was charming and the kids were hilarious. The whole time I was reading it I kept smiling and overall it was a happy read. The whole story takes place during one day and wouldn’t mind revisiting these characters to see how they are doing.

Grade: 4

The second story is Butterscotch Kisses by Chrissy Munder. Matthew is shy and insecure, his boyfriend left him because he was afraid of heights and now he listens to self-help tapes and tries to overcome his fear by going to the park and trying to climb the never-ending steps of the local toboggan. He does this every day and in the meantime ogles the cute guy selling the tickets and tries to muster the confidence to ask him out.

Butterscotch Kisses was all about Matthew, he was likeable and I was rooting for him from page one. This was another fun read and I had a great time just listening to his thoughts and watching him try to climb those steps. He was a bit neurotic and very insecure but he was also persevering and just plain adorable.

Grade: 4

The third story is Wintertide by Lou Harper. Jem is feeling lonely when he sees an older guy throwing something at the sea. Curious he approaches him and that’s how he ends up having a one night stand with Oscar, and maybe giving each other the comfort and companionship they so desperately need.

This was the most different story of the bunch mostly because the tone wasn’t as light and the characters were dealing with deeper issues, but it wasn’t depressing at all. It was about two very different guys finding something they either thought was lost forever or didn’t know they could have. You should know that there’s a change in the narration from third person POV (when Jem narrates) to first person POV (when Oscar narrates). It caught me off guard and I had to do a double take, but I didn’t mind about it once I got used to it.

Grade: 4.5

Next we have When in Amsterdam… by Josephine Myles. Brandon is in Amsterdam to spend a local holiday known as Sinterklaas with his boyfriend Jos. Seeking refuge from the rain they enter a sex shop and what they find there makes Brandon conquer his fears in order to give Jos something he wants, strengthening their relationship in the process.

This was the most erotic tale but it had a lot of heart. It was kinky but also very romantic. By the time the sex comes we already know the characters and how much they care for each other, and by the time the sex ends we have no doubt that they are in love. If you feel like stepping out of your comfort zone and reading something with some light elements of BDSM then When in Amsterdam… is the perfect story for you.

Grade: 4

And last we have A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou by J.L. Merrow. Liam lives with his crazy mom and crazier aunts, plays the sax at King’s Cross, wears leather pants, has a Mohawk and is in lust with an Anderson Cooper lookalike. Oh! And did I mention that his mom and aunts are witches? Well, not all of them, one is an Anglican priest… Every day he hopes the hot guy with the iron grey hair will notice him and maybe ask him out. Well, it’s Christmas so everything is possible.

This novella deserves a 5 just because of the dialogue alone, the inner dialogue was fantastic and the sexy banter between the leads was outstanding. The secondary characters were just as great and the whole thing was a joy to read. If you’re familiar with Ms. Merrow’s work you will see some of her usual elements here: unique characters that at first glance seem mismatched but that are perfect for each other, a lovely setting and an overall magical feel.

Grade: 4.5

I can’t compare the stories because they are all very different and it wouldn’t be fair. I think there’s a bit for every taste, and so the best I can do is say that there's a lot of diversity and great quality in this book. If I had to do a mini review I would say something like this: Clare London’s Lucky Dip was fun, Chrissy Munder’s Butterscotch Kisses was sweet, Lou Harper’s Wintertide was touching, Josephine Myles’ When In Amsterdam… was daring, and J.L. Merrow’s A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou was charming. I liked every single one of these novellas and I want to read more by every single one of these authors.

I thoroughly recommend this book to fans of romance in general and of m/m in particular. You get five entertaining stories by five fantastic and talented authors.

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book from the authors for review purposes.
( )
  Brie.Clementine | Mar 31, 2013 |
Originally posted at Romance Around the CornerWinter Warmers is filled with great stories that albeit short, pack a lot of punch. They are set around Christmas time rather than proper Christmas stories, although they don’t really have that as a common theme. They were all very different and as far as I could see the only thing they shared was the fact that the main characters were all a bit lonely, slightly awkward, and insecure. And by the end of their respective stories they all in a way overcome their issues, or at least take the first steps in order to do so. Some of them ended rather abruptly and felt almost too short, but they were completely satisfying. I think they all get their ending, some of them more like a promise of a happy ending than a proper happy ending, but that’s a good thing, it made them believable.The first novella is Lucky Dip by Clare London. Andy is a school teacher preparing for the school's Christmas fair with his students, when he’s forced to share his space with Gregg, the guy who dump him months ago but now wants him back. Will Andy be able to forgive and forget?This story was a lot of fun, Andy was clumsy, Gregg was charming and the kids were hilarious. The whole time I was reading it I kept smiling and overall it was a happy read. The whole story takes place during one day and wouldn’t mind revisiting these characters to see how they are doing.Grade: 4The second story is Butterscotch Kisses by Chrissy Munder. Matthew is shy and insecure, his boyfriend left him because he was afraid of heights and now he listens to self-help tapes and tries to overcome his fear by going to the park and trying to climb the never-ending steps of the local toboggan. He does this every day and in the meantime ogles the cute guy selling the tickets and tries to muster the confidence to ask him out.Butterscotch Kisses was all about Matthew, he was likeable and I was rooting for him from page one. This was another fun read and I had a great time just listening to his thoughts and watching him try to climb those steps. He was a bit neurotic and very insecure but he was also persevering and just plain adorable.Grade: 4The third story is Wintertide by Lou Harper. Jem is feeling lonely when he sees an older guy throwing something at the sea. Curious he approaches him and that’s how he ends up having a one night stand with Oscar, and maybe giving each other the comfort and companionship they so desperately need.This was the most different story of the bunch mostly because the tone wasn’t as light and the characters were dealing with deeper issues, but it wasn’t depressing at all. It was about two very different guys finding something they either thought was lost forever or didn’t know they could have. You should know that there’s a change in the narration from third person POV (when Jem narrates) to first person POV (when Oscar narrates). It caught me off guard and I had to do a double take, but I didn’t mind about it once I got used to it.Grade: 4.5Next we have When in Amsterdam… by Josephine Myles. Brandon is in Amsterdam to spend a local holiday known as Sinterklaas with his boyfriend Jos. Seeking refuge from the rain they enter a sex shop and what they find there makes Brandon conquer his fears in order to give Jos something he wants, strengthening their relationship in the process.This was the most erotic tale but it had a lot of heart. It was kinky but also very romantic. By the time the sex comes we already know the characters and how much they care for each other, and by the time the sex ends we have no doubt that they are in love. If you feel like stepping out of your comfort zone and reading something with some light elements of BDSM then When in Amsterdam… is the perfect story for you.Grade: 4And last we have A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou by J.L. Merrow. Liam lives with his crazy mom and crazier aunts, plays the sax at King’s Cross, wears leather pants, has a Mohawk and is in lust with an Anderson Cooper lookalike. Oh! And did I mention that his mom and aunts are witches? Well, not all of them, one is an Anglican priest… Every day he hopes the hot guy with the iron grey hair will notice him and maybe ask him out. Well, it’s Christmas so everything is possible.This novella deserves a 5 just because of the dialogue alone, the inner dialogue was fantastic and the sexy banter between the leads was outstanding. The secondary characters were just as great and the whole thing was a joy to read. If you’re familiar with Ms. Merrow’s work you will see some of her usual elements here: unique characters that at first glance seem mismatched but that are perfect for each other, a lovely setting and an overall magical feel.Grade: 4.5I can’t compare the stories because they are all very different and it wouldn’t be fair. I think there’s a bit for every taste, and so the best I can do is say that there's a lot of diversity and great quality in this book. If I had to do a mini review I would say something like this: Clare London’s Lucky Dip was fun, Chrissy Munder’s Butterscotch Kisses was sweet, Lou Harper’s Wintertide was touching, Josephine Myles’ When In Amsterdam… was daring, and J.L. Merrow’s A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou was charming. I liked every single one of these novellas and I want to read more by every single one of these authors.I thoroughly recommend this book to fans of romance in general and of m/m in particular. You get five entertaining stories by five fantastic and talented authors.Source: we received an e-ARC of the book from the authors for review purposes. ( )
  Brie.Clementine | Aug 8, 2012 |
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