Winter Warmers is an anthology of 5 short stories about the holiday season with an obvious British flair. This collection is exactly what I wanted to get me in the mood for the upcoming Holidays and it’s short, sweet, and to the point. Each story is obviously different with their own tone and mood. I like the variety offered and each author is clearly talented. The stories are also short and often sweet, just a glimpse into the lives of these men and that’s enough for me. I never got bored with any particular story but neither did I want them to continue. I’m good with the stories offered and happy enough to move on. For only a few bucks this is one of the better holiday collections and worth the money.
The anthology starts off with Clare London’s Lucky Dip. This is a very cute and funny story about a primary school teacher who decides whether to give an ex-boyfriend a second chance. Here the backdrop of the story is the setup for an annual holiday party with some seriously adorable and funny kid antics. In fact these secondary characters as well as the non stop details about wands, glitter, wine, and so on actually took over the story. I was more interested in the party/fair than the couple getting together. The two men are cute and offer some good tension but I think the actual setup steals the show and made the story worthwhile.
Next up is Chrissy Munder’s Butterscotch Kisses, a decidedly different tone where a young man struggles to get over his fear of heights in the dead of winter. Munder is an excellent author and that comes across here very well. The vivid cold is depicted beautifully and contrasted with the warmth from the cute ticket guy Adam. Matthew’s bleak thoughts are nicely woven into the story and his fear of heights is portrayed accurately. Overall this is a great little story that offers a colder feel but warms up at the end pretty nicely. It’s more sweet than anything but that typifies the collection as a whole so don’t go into this story or any of them wanting tons of explicit sex.
Wintertide by Lou Harper is about an older man moving on after the death of his long time companion. I liked this story quite a bit and it’s my favorite of the collection. The two men don’t really match and the age difference is definitely too much but I could easily see why they were attracted and how they fit together. The last scene especially is incredible. I don’t necessarily believe the couple will last given their differences, most especially Jem’s age and lack of direction, but I want to believe they will make it. The writing is lovely and the story is heartwarming even as it touches on a dark subject.
The final two offerings are When in Amsterdam… by Josephine Myles and A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou by JL Merrow. I liked these stories about the same and they have a very similar feel to them. They’re both cute, fun, and unexpected. Myles story deals with a couple that gets a little kinky while visiting family during the holidays – don’t worry all the kink takes place at a hotel when family is not present otherwise that’d be way too kinky. The couple is adorable and very eye catching with their differences. The story offers a lot of great details and a builds the connection between the men to a nice crescendo.
Following on its heels is the witch filled story by Merrow. It has many classic humorous touches fans can expect from Merrow while giving a nice setup to how the two men meet. It’s entertaining and fun to read, making the pages fly by easily. The writing is crisp, uncluttered and always filled with interesting details. The secondary characters, all women, are wonderful and I almost wanted more of them. The main couple doesn’t fall instantly in love but there’s a nice chemistry and potential that should satisfy most romantics.
Overall this collection of stories is well written and interesting to read. None of them are my favorites from the various authors but they hit all the right notes and should satisfy and entertain readers. The variety of characters and situations keeps the anthology interesting while each story has a sweet ending. I’d recommend this one for holiday themed readers.