Dana reviews M/M Romance Christmas Boxset by Isobel Starling (Released on audio October 5, 2018. 4 hrs and 18 mins in length. Narrated by Gary Furlong. Ebook published September 7, 2018 by Decent Fellows Press) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Award-winning author Isobel Starling presents The M/M Romance Box Set containing four funny, kinky seasonal romances
Fred & Ginger
Chris Miller, a patisserie chef for Big Boy Cupcakes has to rush the last minute order of cock cupcakes for the party of a celebrity, but in his haste to deliver, he falls foul of an over-keen chocolate labrador named Fred, and his handsome owner…
The Christmas Bonus
The Investobank Christmas shindig at the Lorien Hotel puts Jake Walters, and the object of his lust in the same place at the same time… and it’s Christmas!
Daddy Christmas (Daddy Kink short story) NEW!
Ryan Sutherland, a side character from ‘Detective Fox and the Christmas Caper’ at last gets the happy ending he deserves.
Back Where He Belongs (M/M Puppy Play Novella)
Kier Campbell returns to Scotland from Australia to spend Christmas with his family. What he finds there is a gift that is worth more than money could buy.
I am a big fan of this author’s writing and a really big fan of the narrator. Gary Furlong’s accents are amazing, His Scottish and English accents sound authentic and curl around in my brain deliciously. I have to admit to an audio crush. I could listen to him all day.
There are four stories in this boxset, with some of the stories being better than others. By better, I mean more developed; the stories a little longer in which you come to know the characters better.
In ‘Fred and Ginger’, Chris had baked “dirty” cupcakes for a famous actor and was taking them out for delivery when a dog named Fred tripped him up and caused him to spill the cupcakes on the streets in front of the Christmas shoppers. It is a comical moment with edible penises laying all over the ground. The dog’s owner, Robin, feels bad though and offers to help him bake more cupcakes. Chris recognizes Robin from a past encounter and the two find themselves wanting to reconnect while they race to finish the order. It is a quick story but the characters are interesting. I like that the end of the story shows promise of something more between them.
‘The Christmas Bonus’ is probably the quickest story or at least it felt like it. It is a story of two co-workers who have watched each other from across the office but haven’t had too much interaction. The company Christmas party offers them the chance to finally talk or possibly do more… It is a good premise but there isn’t really a romantic connection and it doesn’t give me any idea if there is any potential for this couple. It offered the least for me as a romance lover.
‘Daddy Christmas’ is another of the shorter stories. It is more or less a Grindr hookup for the two main characters. There is a D/s theme to the story with one character looking for a “Daddy.” The hookup seems to leave a more lasting impression than a one night stand. There seemed to be affection building between the Daddy and sub. Even though the ending is a little open ended, I felt at least a spark of hope that they might see each other again. And again.
I think ‘Back Where He Belongs’ is the longest of the stories. There are parts of this story I connected with and some I didn’t. It is a second chance romance which I love. Kier left Scotland to explore the world and keep his attractions in the closet. He also left his boyfriend Douglas. He returns home for Christmas years later, and his vehicle breaks down stranding him on the side of the road. And in a predictable turn of events, guess who passes by and rescues him? Predictable or not, I love chance meetings between exes who never really stopped caring for the other. With the weather only getting worse Douglas takes Kier to his home. The tension and attraction between them is obvious, and I couldn’t help but feel for Keir as he worries that Douglas has moved on. I also worried how the two could work out if Keir was returning to Australia after the holiday.
Here is the part that I didn’t really connect with. Before Kier left his relationship with Douglas involved dominance and submission, and puppy play. Kier was the Master in the past. But in wanting to make amends to Douglas, the two switch positions in the present. Now, I recognize that puppy play is a legitimate kink, and I worry when I say that I don’t connect that I’m coming off judgy. I’m not. It just isn’t my kink. So I feel like I only half listened to their play. This part of the story doesn’t actually take up a significant amount of time, though. After they reconnect and Kier acknowledges his mistakes, they both decide to set things right. Kier brings Douglas to his parents to celebrate the holiday where he admits why he left. This story definitely had the most promising ending and I really enjoyed it.
Even with the longer stories, this audiobook was a quick listen at around four hours. I definitely recommend this author and narrator. If you like shorter stories this audiobook is definitely for you.
8/10 Pots of Gold (80% Recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars
Inspiration strikes at the strangest of times.
Born in Germany, I spent most of my twenty-year professional career making art. I relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, I started to write and found I loved it more than making art.
“As You Wish” is an award- winning audiobook and Amazon best seller in the Gay Romance genre in the US, France and Germany. The “Shatterproof Bond” series currently consist of four novels, in ebook and paperback. There will be two more titles. The series is available in audiobook format, narrated by Gary Furlong.
Isobel has written 17 books and is currently juggling the 5th Shatterproof Bond novel and two fantasy novels.