Eli's Favs: New Christmas Books for 2019 - Part 1

I love Christmas romances, both writing and reading them. So far this year, I’ve had good luck with the ones I’ve read. In no particular order:…

My first Christmas season read of 2018 and I loved it. Ben and Adam meet when Adam walks into Ben's "kosher style" bakery in Boston while travelling there with the ice hockey team he coaches (he's from Montreal). Both men have similar histories. Both were skaters (one hockey, one a speed skater) who had to give up on dreams of Olympic glory. Both are Jewish, though Adam's father was a rabbi and Ben's family was unobservant. I loved Adam's young hockey players--they sounded like real kids and added a family flavor to the story. And Ben and Adam were sweet together, earnest guys who have some bumps along the way to trusting one another. Highly recommended. 

GOODREADS LINK

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A lovely Christmas book from Annabeth Albert. It features a retiring Sergeant Major from the military MP who believes he's over the hill and who has a job lined up in Florida, and a young social worker who lives in a small, cold, northern town stuffed full of his relatives. When the military guy, Nick, is roped into playing Santa for the social worker, Teddy's, community fund raiser, Teddy is star struck immediately. It takes Nick longer to warm up to the idea of having the younger man in his bed and longer still for him to admit they have something worth changing his vision of his future for.

I love Christmas stories that have lot of snow and extended family fun, and this one has that in spades. Fun, sweet, and hot. Highly recommended!

GOODREADS LINK

THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL SERIES

I’m in a series this year with six other amazing authors, so I am slowly reading through the other books in the series. The entire series releases Dec 2nd. My book is CHRISTMAS ANGEL, which you can read about here.

So far I’ve read Kim Fielding and RJ Scott’s entries, and I loved them both.

I loved the fairytale-like royal setting of this story, in the beautiful little kingdom of Montaunoit with the snow and tons of Christmas lights, Christmas market, hidden passages and archives in the palace, etc. The Christmas Angel is believed by the palace staff to be a "golden ghost" and she has a nice influence in this story, steering Prince Rafe and the British Museum historian, Marc, to true love. I always enjoy RJ's Christmas books and this one will be one of my favorites.

GOODREADS LINK

This historical is a lot of fun. It's set in 1880's New York, which is an unusual period for a romance. It features the son of a wealthy department store owner and a rough cowboy who is a bit of a fish out of water in New York. The romance is sweet. I loved the way Kim used the angel ornament as a kind of guardian angel figure in their lives, urging them together. Great and hopeful ending. I always love Kim's books and this is no exception.

GOODREADS LINK

Lots more Christmas books in the pipeline. It’s not even December yet! Whee! More reviews soon.

Eli

Eli's Favs: Rökkur/Rift (2017)

I loved this Icelandic horror/thriller movie featuring a gay ex-couple, Gunnar and Einar. There are so many things to say about it, it's hard to know where to start.

Let's start with the LGBTQ angle. I loved that this is a horror/thriller movie and the main characters' sexuality is secondary. I've seen reviewers say the couple could have been m/f and it would have been the same movie. I don't think that's quite true because the couple's relationship dynamics and a lot of the symbolism was deeply interwoven with queerness. However, it's still awesome to see a film with gay main characters where the story isn't about them being gay but about something else. The movie also explores their relationship dynamics and past trauma as gay men, so it's got a very strong romance subplot.

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Secondly, the story is set in a remote area of Iceland that was just stunning. The cinematography is truly exceptional. I like stories that take place in remote areas where the scenery is natural, huge, even bleak. The vast isolation is a tangible quality in this film. It adds so much texture and tension to the tension and fear in the film as well as simply making for beautiful viewing.

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Finally, the thriller/horror storyline was intense! Gunnar has broken up with Einar and worries Einar is suicidal. When he gets a mysterious phone call from Einar in the middle of the night, he drives out to this remote cabin to check on him. Once there, the two face the end of their relationship as well as mysterious knocks in the middle of the night, sightings of mysterious figures, and an ominous car. It's the sort of horror that's subtle and psychological rather than violent, and in the end you're left with a lot of questions. There's a definite metaphysical element to it, similar to Lost or The Sixth Sense in that there are some twists that change the way you see the story. Just don't expect everything to be tied up with a neat bow, because the ending is deliberately ambiguous. It kept me mesmerized throughout and I watched to rewatch immediately to pick up more clues.

I highly recommend this movie if you like thrillers or horror. It's on Amazon Prime right now! You can see it here.