So I read a ton yesterday (lots of shorts though) AND managed to finish my Christmas shopping and do some laundry. Woohoo, go me. Staying up until 1:00 helped. :-P
Pomegranate by Vic Winter (41 pages)
Davey is a star wedding planner in Toronto who is working on his best friend's wedding. Alan is one of the photographers he uses who has been crushing on Davey for about 8 months, seems Davey has been crushing on Alan too but neither says anything. They get a chance to have a dance or two at the wedding and realize maybe there is something there. A few weeks later they get together to go over the photos and they make their move. Just a cute little story about two guys who like each other and finally acknowledge their attraction. There is a pomegranate theme as that's the name of Davey's company and he makes a special pomegranate cake and uses it in decorating. A sweet little story.
Ice Cream on the Side by Wren Boudreau (122 pages)
Dylan is an architect working on a new addition to a private school when he meets the new art teacher Michael. They are attracted right away but Michael is a bit skittish after a bad relationship and Dylan is known for his ice cream guys, a quick bite and he's gone. By chance Michael is exhibiting his art with Dylan's ex (and now friend) Ian. But Ian's getting weird about wanting Dylan back and some weird stuff starts happening. Ian is murdered and Michael is attacked and they are trying to figure out who's doing it. I really enjoyed this book. So often at the beginning I found myself smiling. Not necessarily laugh out loud but I really liked Dylan's voice. He was kind of a bit random with his brain always rattling around on seemingly wild tangents. As for the mystery I have to say I thought I knew but then she thew in enough other red herrings that I wasn't 100% sure until the end, there seemed to be a few plausible suspects. So a great read I thoroughly enjoyed.
Dresden Weihnachten by Edward von Behrer (39 pages)
Actually I read this the other day but forgot to include it. Daniel gets assigned by his NYC company to Dresden Germany at the last minute. He's not thrilled but hey, it's an adventure. He's working hard and feeling a bit lonely when he talks one day with Dieter one of the clerks at the grocery store. A few weeks later on a whim he invites Dieter to dinner. They have a great time and Dieter takes him to a special Christmas festival in Dresden and tells him that he can see the past/future and he and Daniel were connected in another life during the war when he died and that they are destined to be together. First I LOVED all the detail about the festival in Germany, the detail was wonderful and obviously the author has been there or did some in depth research. I'm not sure the "together in another life" worked for me, probably because I don't believe in that sort of thing so I have a tendency to roll my eyes when it comes up. But on the whole it really gave you the sense of being there, reminded me of my year in Prague, and the connection between the two guys was strong. My biggest complaint? Sigh. Czechoslovakia doesn't exist anymore and hasn't existed since 1995, the Velvet Divorce when Slovakia and the Czech Republic agreed to be separate countries (history lesson time). Of course I had to bitch to my daughter and she said "Maybe it was meant before they split" (damn logical kids) and I checked and it said he wrote down his country preferences (along with Germany) 5 years previously which would be 2004, nope, it had been an independent country for 9 years. So everyone, there is NO Czechoslovakia and don't let me hear you say it or I'll rap your knuckles. Lesson over.
Cinnamon Dreams by Vic Winter (26 pages)
Digby hates his office job with a passion (I'm with ya Digby) and one day on the way to work passes a bakery with the most delicious smell of cinnamon buns. There is a sign for help wanted in the window so he makes a spur of the moment decision and applies for the job. Keith is the huge baker and at first he works up front but his goal is to learn to make cinnamon buns. Eventually he gets to work in the back making cookies and brownies with Keith, who he's attracted to but talks mostly in grunts and growls. Digby LOVES his new job though, even though he makes less money. He waxes poetic about the smell of cinnamon and has dreams about it. It was also pretty funny. One of my favourite lines: "Digby wondered if there was a special layer of hell for men who were turned on by cinnamon buns." Eventually they get together after a long day of pre-Christmas baking (yule logs). I bought the last one of these about Pumpkin Pie because I love it and I love the smell of cinnamon. There is a cinnamon bun store at one of our malls downtown and that smell permeates the whole hallway of that store. I always want to buy one but I know they are about 15,000 calories each but I can only imagine the heaven of working in that smell everyday. Digby is me. :-) So a cute read with lots of poetic writing about cinnamon and wonderful smells.
Charity Starts at Home by Zahra Owens (56 pages)
Quinn runs the local homeless shelter (used to be homeless himself) when Haden shows up. Haden was tasked to work there for a week 7 months ago as part of a DUI penalty. Quinn kind of crushed on him at the time but figured Haden was just another rich guy who put in his time. Haden comes with offers to help out and to contribute some things to make it a special Christmas. Quinn doesn't want to be attracted because they are from different worlds and can't figure out why Haden is doing this. As he works with him and gets to know him better he knows it's from the heart but Haden is filthy rich (has a live-in servant) but believes that his time at the shelter changed his life. He's very hesitant about starting anything with Quinn because he's never had a relationship when he's not drunk. They decide to take it slow and one day at a time to see if two guys from very different worlds can make it. This was not a sugary Christmas story. Both Quinn and Haden are recovering alcoholics with baggage, and the two different worlds they come from make meeting in the middle very difficult but it was a story of hope and maybe finding something better, for the homeless people and for Haden and Quinn. So I really enjoyed the story. Definitely a HFN or working towards a HFN.