Book Reviews

An Unexpected Sanctuary (2017 Advent Calendar - Stocking Stuffers) by Cassie Decker at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Post-Apocalyptic / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 16-December-2017

Book Blurb

An aggressive super-flu pandemic wipes out a majority of the population over the course of one Christmas holiday—and brings Tobin and Kyle together. For almost a year, they’ve been trekking across the country from Colorado toward a sanctuary in upstate New York. Kyle’s survival skills have kept them alive, and Tobin wants to repay the man he loves with a very special gift of his own making. He sneaks off in search of the last few pieces… only to get himself and Kyle kidnapped by a desperate stranger. With their journey to New York on hold—possibly indefinitely—they’ll need to accept that home isn’t always defined by a place as much as the person you’re with.



A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

Book Review

One of my favorite books of all time is ‘The Stand’ by Stephen King. (I loved the miniseries as well but that had more to do with my crush on Gary Sinise than on the accuracy of the show.) Regardless, I’m fascinated by post-apocalyptic stories and movies. I have no idea why except that I suspect I’d be one of the first wave to die, even though I like to imagine myself as a total badass. When I saw Cassie Decker’s contribution to this year’s Dreamspinner Advent Calendar, I was really excited as these days it’s entirely possible to imagine the entire world getting wiped out by a virus. I loved watching Tobin and Kyle dealing with life a year after the whole world fell apart.

It has been a year since Kyle rescued Tobin from three thugs after society fell apart and Tobin still doesn’t know why Kyle is stays with him, or how the man can love him. Tobin was an engineering student - basically useless now seeing as there’s no power - while Kyle’s father took him hunting, camping, and fishing since he was in diapers. Tobin would have died or been killed a long time ago without Kyle and even though Tobin has gotten a little better at some tasks, he’s fully aware of who’s keeping them alive. Tobin is very much in love with Kyle and it’s because of that love, and his desire to make something for Kyle for Christmas, that sees both men taken by one of the gangs that has proliferated in this past year.

What they think is a gang member anyway but who turns out to be a nice man trying to take care of his family and he just needs their help to fix his roof. Apparently the last group of people Max approached nicely attacked him and took everything he had, hence his desperate measures with Kyle and Tobin. Kyle and Tobin are more than happy to help and Tobin even finds another project, more suited to his particular skills, to help this family. When the repairs are done though, will it be worth it to leave, or find their own sanctuary with where they are?

A wonderful addition to this year’s Advent stories although I do wish it were longer. In my opinion, a little more backstory revolving around the challenges these two men have faced in the past year would have brought a little more complexity and depth to the characters. However, I greatly enjoyed every moment of the read.





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

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Short Story, 33 pages/12721 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-December-2017
Price $1.99 ebook
Buy Link