Book Reviews

All Bundled Up: A Holiday Collection by Meg Harding at Oceanside Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Fantasy / Curses / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by The RBR Team on 26-March-2020

Book Blurb

Featuring four holiday themed short stories, get your end of year cheer on with All Bundled Up!

Everyone knows how awkward being the in-law can be. Journey to London in Quite A Spectacle and join Michael and Max as Michael attempts to make a good impression on his partner's family.


In Cursed Miracles you'll find lovers torn apart and cursed by ill fate. Will they be able to take the new chance given to them and undo the spell cast upon them so long ago?


Pop into a charity auction and win your very own lawyer in The Lawyer Under the Tree. It's supposed to be a one-time thing, but they might have found something ever-lasting.


In A Trip to Remember, what Colin lacks in good judgement, he makes up for in good luck. When he ends up on Logan's doorstep after some poor decision making, he realizes he ended up where he was supposed to be all along.



First edition of 'Quite a Spectacle' published by Dreamspinner Press, December 2014.

First edition of 'Cursed Miracles' published by Dreamspinner Press, December 2016.

First edition of 'The Lawyer Under the Tree' published by Dreamspinner Press, December 2013.

First edition of 'A Trip to Remember' published by Dreamspinner Press, December 2015.


Book Review

Quite a Spectacle reviewed by Ron Fritsch

 

Meg Harding’s novella, 'Quite a Spectacle', is a frothy, tasty confection. Max and Michael have lived eight years together in Toronto. During that time Max Stewart hasn’t spent a Christmas with his family in London. Michael is the successful owner of an art gallery in Toronto. Max is a doctor, but he works at a low-paying job in the morgue.

Although Michael insists that Max’s family hate him, he has nevertheless agreed to spend this Christmas with the Stewarts in England. Michael even slogs through dreadful winter weather with Max to do it. And Max’s mother and father—both successful London lawyers—are initially abrupt with Michael. Their previous visits with him had ended badly, due to his displays of incompetence in their presence.

When Max’s father goes so far as to suggest that Michael keeps his impracticable gallery open with Max’s money, Michael decides he’s had enough and talks back. I’ll go no further with the plot than to say this reader admired the Michael and Max characters and enjoyed reading their story.

 

 

Cursed Miracles reviewed by Christy Duke

 

I didn't blame William for hating Christmas and everything that accompanies it. Two hundred years ago he lost the love of his life on Christmas Eve and he, himself, was cursed to live out his days, never aging, hoping to find his love again. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I would have hated the season, too. 

I felt so bad for William. Two hundred years of a lonely existence having to change himself up every fifteen to twenty years and reinvent himself somewhere new. He's just about done with this latest turn in investment banking if he can just get through the annual Christmas party. I could only empathize with William when he finds Brady at the party and William believes his mind has finally snapped and it's a hallucination. Oh, but it isn’t, and the reunion is so sweet. Brady has been searching for William in each of his previous lives and it was heart-wrenching to see them find each other.

As someone who truly believes the soul lives on and that true love never dies, I adored this contribution to this year's calendar, and I thank the author for it.

 

 

The Lawyer Under the Tree reviewed by Christy Duke

 

I liked Travis's honest evaluation of himself as being all about self-gratification and really not caring about schmoozing with a bunch of wealthy clients for the law firm. When a managing partner "asks" him for a "favor" - bidding on his brother for a twenty-four-hour date - Travis has no clue why, he just does what he's told. Travis might be a partner, also, but his name isn't on the door. He's surprised and amused when his colleague's brother runs a charity and looks like a little kid, like a twink. Nevertheless, Travis bids and wins a date with Cameron for sixty thousand dollars. *gulp*

Cameron turns out to be not what Travis was expecting and it leaves him feeling a little at loose ends. Cameron is in charge of their "date" and, well, Travis doesn't like surprises and he definitely doesn't like to be bossed around. He's one of the top billable lawyers in the city, for crying out loud. It takes a kids' charity director to help Travis recover his spontaneous and creative side. Amazingly, at least to Travis, he discovers that Cameron had asked his brother to have Travis bid on him. Cameron has heard a lot about Travis and was curious to meet him…but he wanted the date to be in his control so he could get to know the real Travis, not the façade.

This was an absolutely delightful, hot, sexy, and super fun story. I enjoyed every word and look forward to possibly reading more by this writer. This is a story you need to read with a nice mug of hot chocolate in hand.

 

 

A Trip to Remember reviewed by Lena Grey


“See your disappointments as good fortune. One plan's deflation is another's inflation.” ~Jean Cocteau, Diary of an Unknown

After a disappointing Christmas last year, Colin, of 'A Trip to Remember' by Meg Harding, is really looking forward to being with his family this year. Unfortunately the weather isn't cooperating. There's a blizzard raging outside and Colin's emotions go from disappointed to angry and determined. Since his flight is grounded, but Colin is not going to let anything stop him from seeing his family, he decides to try to drive there instead of flying. One way or the other, this will be a trip to remember.

As soon as Colin steps outside, he begins to question his judgement, but forges ahead. He digs his car out and drives off. Colin comes face-to-face with just how treacherous road conditions are. The next thing Colin knows, he's spinning out of control. When the spinning stops, he ends up in a ditch injured and bleeding. Colin knows he can't stay there or he will freeze, so he starts walking. He finally finds a home. With the last of his strength, Colin struggles up the driveway. Colin knocks and the door opens just as his world goes black.

When Colin opens his eyes he's inside. The owner of the house has taken measures to help Colin warm up, but isn't too sympathetic about Colin's reason for walking out in a blizzard. When Colin finally asks what his name is he tells him: “It's Logan, and yours? I've been calling your Popsicle in my head.” As time goes by, Colin is still pouting about his condition and his spoiled trip and sounds a bit ungrateful. But Logan's family was supposed to come be with him for Christmas and couldn't either. Logan's intent is not to play nursemaid to Colin, but he turns out to be pathetically bad at taking care of himself so Logan takes over. As Colin begins to feel better, their verbal interaction turns from harsh to teasing with some sexual innuendos mixed in. Christmas isn't anything like they are expecting, but it's an experience nonetheless.

Even though their relationship progressed obscenely fast, it worked. I loved the way Logan didn't let Colin get away with feeling sorry for himself and how he kept reminding Colin that he wasn't the only one who was in the situation of not being with family. I loved their banter back and forth which took different forms from strict “judgement”, to lectures about commonsense and priorities, to an understanding, emotional flow. If you like stories with handsome men, screwed-up plans, and having a great Christmas although it wasn't one either man expected, you may enjoy this holiday read. Thanks, Meg! It's a great story.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. The first editions of theses stories were provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Collection/ 4 short stories, 236 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-November-2019
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/All-Bundled-Up-Holiday-Collection-ebook/dp/B07ZXBJFTK