Book Review: Comfort and Joy Anthology

Comfort and Joy AnthologyTitle: Comfort and Joy
Author: Joanna Chambers, Harper Fox, L.B. Gregg, Josh Lanyon,
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by author
Published: December 6, 2014 by JustJoshin Publishing

A Holiday anthology

Rest and Be Thankful by Joanna Chambers
Two stormy hearts find peace when feuding neighbors in the Scottish Highlands are trapped by a blizzard.

Things haven’t been going well for Cam McMorrow since he moved to Inverbechie. His business is failing, his cottage is falling apart and following his very public argument with cafĂ© owner Rob Armstrong, he’s become a social outcast.

Cam needs to get away from his troubles and when his sister buys him a ticket to the biggest Hogmanay party in Glasgow, he can’t leave Inverbechie quick enough. But when events conspire to strand him in the middle of nowhere in a snowstorm, not only is he liable to miss the party, he’ll also have to ask his nemesis, Rob, for help.

Out by Harper Fox
Can a stranger unlock the courage and passion in a young man’s captive heart?

It’s Christmas at Edinburgh’s magnificent Barlinney Hotel, and chief housekeeper Cosmo Grant is in charge of the festivities. He’s already got his hands full when handsome Ren Vaudrey checks in.

It soon turns out that Ren is an undercover cop. Cosmo wants to help him, but unless he can do it within the Barlinney’s walls, Cosmo is stuck. A victim of crippling agoraphobia, he’s been a prisoner in this gilded cage for over a year. Cosmo gathers all his courage to do the right thing by Ren and Sam—and as a glittering Christmas Eve descends on the city, finds himself confronting his very darkest fears.

Waiting for Winter by LB Gregg
Some mistakes are worth repeating.

Luke always thought he and Winter were the perfect couple—until the day Winter announced he was taking a new job and they were uprooting and headed for Germany. No discussion. No debate. For the first time in his life, Winter miscalculated. Badly. Now Luke is trying his best to move on with his life, but Winter is back in town and he’s set on digging their relationship out of the deep freeze.

Baby, It's Cold by Josh Lanyon
Or maybe it's the flu. Breaking up is hard to do -- especially around the holidays.

Talk about Kitchen Nightmares! TV Chef Rocky and Foodie blogger Jesse have been pals forever, so it should have been the most natural thing in the world to move their relationship to the next level. Instead, it turned out to be a disaster. But Christmas is the season of love, and someone's cooking up a sweet surprise...

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Reviewed by: Crissy

Rest and Be Thankful by Joanna Chambers

This was maybe the most heartwarming or all four stories. I’ve not read Chambers’ historical series before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this story. She proves to write well in a contemporary setting as well. My heart really went out to Cam. A man alone in a town where everybody knows everybody, Cam finds himself with a failing business, living in a broken cottage, and shunned by a town for a misunderstanding. Every time Cam seems to catch a break, something stomps him back down.

The emotion in this story is so dang sweet. I truly loved Cam’s realization of his situation and his humility marks this story. If there’s one thing I love it’s a good enemies-to-lovers story, but this one has a misunderstanding that creates enemies out of what could have been more. I really liked the dynamic between Cam and Rob. The tension between them is immediate, first uncomfortable then that of attraction. This story is full of sweetness and perfection. It’s a great way to lead into the New Year, or Hognamay.

Memorable Moment:

After all, he thought, remembering the landslide up on the Rest, even a mountain can’t keep itself together all the time.

Crissy’s Rating:
4 Frogs

Out by Harper Fox

Harper Fox’s Out came at me completely unexpected. A housekeeping supervisor agoraphobic held prisoner by his own fear. I loved it. I loved Cosmo’s vulnerability and desperation in this story. Yet he’s bold and all but fearless, because obviously he has one pretty big fear—leaving the hotel. Still, once he meets Ren things change.

This story was different in that it’s also a bit of a mystery and full of angst. Not everything is as it seems. Whereas I really liked the relationship between Cosmo and Ren, I felt like I was constantly off balance with them, as if things were never completely solid and that didn’t change until the last page. So I liked them, and I liked their ups and downs but I wish there would have been more foundation somewhere in there for them.

Memorable Moment:

It was part of the fantasy, the whole Barlinney deal. It could help you hide out when you were broken, and even when you were better, could put a smooth mask over the ordinary daily heartaches everyone had to put up with …Losing things you’d never have missed if you hadn’t had one taste of them, one glance, one long lovely look into sea-grey eyes…

Crissy’s Rating:
4 Frogs

Waiting for Winter by LB Gregg

I read this story from beginning to end without pause. Of all four in this anthology, this is my favorite. In all his confident cockiness, Winter is beyond sexy and Luke… well, Luke’s insecurities and stubbornness are what carry this story. The opening scene is a hook if ever I read one, and then I was gutted properly to lead into the real meat of the story. I love the way this couple gets to the heart of their problems. The compromises and introspection they each make add up to make this story that much better.

This story has a little bit of everything: angst, humor, heat, and sweetness. But mostly it’s super sexy. I would love more of Luke and Winter. They have become one of my favorite Christmas couples.

Memorable Moment:

Some things aren’t worth giving up on. Christmas is one.

Crissy’s Rating:
4 1/2 Frogs

Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Josh Lanyon

Sadly, this is my least favorite of all the stories in the anthology. The setup is good. Jesse shows up to cook a meal for his ex and a date in hopes of winning his ex, Rocky, back. The story starts out really good even when the “date” shows up and throws a wrench into Jesse’s plans. The writing is clever and the story is cute. The relationship between Jesse and Rocky is… well, rocky and that’s obvious from the very beginning.

My problem is that Jesse spends literally ninety-five percent of the story lamenting the fact that he screwed up the relationship between him and Rocky. Then he whines to himself about the fact that Rocky is on a date with another man, which is partly Jesse’s own fault for not being honest. If Jesse would have just manned up and said what needed to be said in the first place most of the whining wouldn’t have been necessary. Mind you, there probably would have been some fighting, but I also thought there would have also been some pretty hot make up sex too. But alas, it was just not meant to be for me and Jesse and Rocky.

Memorable Moment:

There’s nothing like rain down the back of your neck to make you feel unloved and unwanted.

Crissy’s Rating:
3 Frogs

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


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