Duo Holiday Romance Reviews

Christmas Kitsch.jpg

About the Book: Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

Contemporary Romance

Riptide Publishing | December 9, 2013
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Oh lord, I really struggled with buying this book because I hate that cover!  Everything else about it seemed like exactly what I was looking for.  Goodreads was full of lighthearted reviews, and the synopsis sounds super sweet for the Holidays.  It was just the cover that made me waver between buying and not buying.

Obviously I did buy it, and it was just as sweet as I’d hoped so it was money well spent.  Everything about Oliver and Rusty’s relationship was cute, but I especially loved how patient Oliver was.  He knew where Rusty was going, and he didn’t mind waiting however long it took Rusty to get there.  There was never any push for Rusty to hurry, not really.  I thought that was part of the reason Rusty loved Oliver so much.  Their friendship was most important, and it came first.  To the both of them.

However, I actually think my favorite part of Christmas Kitsch was the friendship between Rusty and Rex.  Rex was so mischievous and loving.  He charmed me just as easily as he charmed everyone in the story.  I’m so glad that he wasn’t written out when Rusty left college.

Christmas Kitsch was the perfect Holiday story.  It got me out of my head and into the homes of other people, and it give me the romance I look for.  I was happy, as long as I didn’t look at the cover.


Remaking Corbin Wale.jpg

About the Book: Last month, Alex Barrow’s whole life imploded—partner, home, job, all gone in forty-eight hours. But sometimes when everything falls apart, better things appear almost like magic. Now, he’s back in his Michigan hometown, finally opening the bakery he’s always dreamed of. But the pleasure of opening day is nothing compared to the lonely and beautiful man who bewitches Alex before he even orders.

Corbin Wale is a weirdo. At least, that’s what he’s heard his whole life. He knows he’s often in a fantasy world, but the things he feels are very real. And so is the reason why he can never, ever be with Alex Barrow. Even if Alex is everything he’s always fantasized about. Even if maybe, just maybe, Corbin is Alex’s fantasy too.

When Corbin begins working at the bakery, he and Alex can’t deny their connection any longer. As the holiday season works its magic, Alex yearns for the man who seems out of reach. But to be with Alex, Corbin will have to challenge every truth he’s ever known. If his holiday risk pays off, two men from different worlds will get the love they’ve always longed for.

Contemporary Romance

Riptide Publishing | November 27, 2017
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Oh my goodness!  Of all the Holiday stories I’ve read for 2017, The Remaking of Corbin Wale was definitely my favorite!  When I talk about wanting to be swept up in the magic of the holidays, it’s stories like this one I’m talking about!  Corbin and Alex were fascinating individually, but together it was magical!  I don’t mean their chemistry either, I literally mean, like, sparkles floating in the air, miracles happening, magic.

It’s fair to say that The Remaking of Corbin Wale isn’t the realistic story that the others were.  There’s something almost fairytale-like about this one that sets it apart, but it’s exactly what I wanted when I set out to find seasonal reads.  Corbin in particular was one of the most unique characters I’ve read.  I loved how he lived in his own world, one that he’d created using his imagination and a sketchbook.  I loved his little cottage, and the dogs that adopted him.  I loved that Alex saw the whimsy in Corbin immediately and gravitated to it, without dwelling too much on the more sad aspects of Corbin.  Instead Alex brought him into the light, and it was gorgeous!

Additionally, I loved that The Remaking of Corbin Wale was a holiday story that featured Hanukkah, rather than Christmas.  I’m not Jewish and it’s still so obvious to me that Christmas dominates the holiday season, so reading about Hanukkah instead was a wonderful change of pace.

There was also this whole aspect to baking, about releasing bad energy into the dough, or filling it with love, that was witchy and moving.  It was in Alex’s passionate baking, and it was also in Corbin’s baking to save himself.  The food descriptions, all around, were phenomenal but the baking really set the story apart and added so much more depth.

And the icing on the cake???? The Remaking of Corbin Wale took place in Ann Arbor!  Um, there’s something especially fabulous about a good book taking place in your hometown!  I got such glee from the words ‘Ann Arbor’, or all the UofM talk.  The author doesn’t live in Michigan, and so maybe the descriptions were slightly off… it didn’t matter.  It still said ‘Ann Arbor’.  There was still talk of our beautiful autumn weather.  And it still made me feel one with the story.


About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

4 Responses

  1. Beware Of The Reader

    Well yes the first cover was not that fantastic indeed! I’m happy the second one was way better for you Wendy. Merry Christmas! ❤


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