Book Reviews

A Swants Soiree by E.J. Russell at Reality Optional Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 28-May-2020

Book Blurb

Why is “fun” always so freaking painful?

Software engineer Brent Levine has always struggled with the life part of work-life balance, but to hold on to his new job, he’ll have to embrace his employer’s dreaded “staff enrichment” events. This year’s annual ugly holiday sweater party will strain his ambition to remain inconspicuous: everyone has to wear their sweaters upside down and converted into pants—aka “swants.”


At six foot eight, Brent has a hard enough time finding clothes that fit him the right way up. And while he’s an ace at coding, when it comes to handcrafts, he’s definitely at the far left end of the bell curve. Luckily he encounters seriously cute theater costumer Jonathan at the Goodwill Outlet. Jonathan offers Brent both an acceptably ugly sweater and his expertise in swants conversion. Attraction sparks on Brent’s side, but how can Jonathan be interested in a nerdy geek like him?



A Swants Soiree is a short and sweet opposites-attract rom-com featuring crafting catastrophes, suggestive sweaters, and an awkward introvert who meets his extroverted match.

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, December 2019.

Book Review

Christmas parties are supposed to be fun, especially ones organized by a company interested in enriching their staff’s social lives. But for a socially awkward guy like software engineer Brent they are dreaded events to be avoided if at all possible – and things only get worse if they involve wearing embarrassing clothes. Like Brent, I was not aware what “swants” were until things were explained to me by the HR manager in this story. Brent’s desperation is totally understandable, and (not being a fan of office parties) I was definitely rooting for him to find someone to help!

Jonathan is a professional costumer and turns out to be Brent’s knight in knitted armor once they meet at the Goodwill store where Brent is trying to find his ugly sweater. Things go from basic attraction to interested very quickly but neither man is in a hurry to get in over his head. This makes for a nicely paced story with lots of fun while converting a sweater to a “swant” and figuring out what to do once the party is over.

If you like holiday stories written with a sense of humor, if you want to see two lonely men connect over an ugly Christmas sweater and the demands of fitting attire at an office party, and if you’re looking for a fun read with some very warm and cuddly moments, then you will probably like this short story.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Short Story, 52 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 23-May-2020
Price $1.99 ebook
Buy Link