Book Reviews

Holiday Crush (2017 Advent Calendar - Stocking Stuffers) by CJane Elliott at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 27-December-2017

Book Blurb

San Francisco lawyer Brad Halberstam is in a rut. At forty-one, he’s successful but alone. Even his holidays are predictable—he spends every Christmas golfing in Napa with his ex-boyfriend. Then attractive but oh-so-young filmmaker Michael Blair invites him out. Brad joins Michael and his housemates in their holiday celebrations and learns that life can be joyful. He hesitates to saddle Michael with a much-older boyfriend but as their attraction ignites, Brad’s tempted to let Michael sweep him into a bright new future.

Michael lives in a group house in Berkeley. He loves making life into a celebration, especially during the holidays. Michael longs for a partner, and he hopes serious but sweet Brad Halberstam is the one. Michael’s infatuation grows over caroling and cookies, but his housemate reminds him that Michael always latches on to someone during the holidays, so he won’t be alone. After a misunderstanding, Michael loses heart, no longer sure if his relationship with Brad is real or just another Christmas crush.

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

Book Review

A crush triggered by a certain season, like a Christmas crush, is not something I had given a great deal of thought to before reading this story. But as I got to know Michael, one of the main characters in ‘Holiday Crush’, I could see how it might work. Longings for a permanent partner might get more acute during a season that is all about family, but without a sound basis, a relationship like that could easily fall apart once everyday routine sets in again after New Year’s. Added to the already hesitant attitude Brad has due to the age difference between him and Michael that Brad sees as a major obstacle, these guys do not have an easy time of it.

Brad, as the blurb describes, is in a rut. He is a successful lawyer who ended up settled into a predictable routine that he likes. It may have something to do with his age and the fact that he does not have a partner to challenge him, but it could just be that he has resigned himself to things being a certain way. All of that changes when he meets Michael – but not, at first, in a good way. Brad thinks Michael is too young for him, that they have nothing in common, and that he is going to bore Michael sooner rather than later. It takes a while for him to see the error of his assumptions, but once he does? Yay for shaking up routines!

Michael is an outgoing guy who loves the holidays even more than any other season. He is lonely and wants a partner to share his life with, but it has not worked out so far. Michael’s need for companionship is particularly acute during Christmas, so when Brad finally begins to react to Michael’s attempts to get to know each other better, Michael’s friends alert him to the fact that his feelings may be more seasonal than real. Michael hesitates, and between his and Brad’s almost-reluctance, they nearly don’t make it.

If you like Christmas stories about cute couples who aren’t at all sure they belong together and need a nudge or two, if you think everyone, at any age, deserves happiness, and if you’re looking for a fun read with a cute ending, then you will probably like this festive 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 Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Short Story, 50 pages/14720 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-December-2017
Price $1.99 ebook
Buy Link