Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays by Shawn Lane

Shawn Lane
There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays
MLR Press, December 6, 2012

Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

For the first time in years, Mac is going home for the holidays with his best friend Connor in tow, but he certainly doesn't expect the magic of Christmas to give him the love of a lifetime.

Fashion designer, Mackenzie Grayson, has no intention of going home for Christmas...until his sister calls and uses guilt to talk him into spending two weeks over the holidays at his family's home in California. With his best friend, Connor, in tow, Mac returns to California, a place he has mostly avoided after a bad breakup. Mac no longer does serious relationships, but maybe some time spent with Connor under the mistletoe will make this a more magical Christmas than either of them would have dreamed of.

Genre & Keywords: M/M Romance, Contemporary, Christmas, Friends to Lovers

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames
I like Shawn Lane's writing and the way she can bring an everyday situation and location to life with her pen. It's easy to picture the backdrops she creates, and those are often memorable too. Even more memorable than her characters or plots sometimes.
In There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays we get the story of two best friends, Mac and Connor, who live in Hawaii and are traveling to California to spend the Holidays with Mac's family. The plan is to stay there for two weeks with Mac's extended family. The two of them have been assigned to the guesthouse, which only has one bed.

Lane sets up the 'trap' for Mac and Connor carefully. We get a bit of Mac's backstory, about his past love affairs, his reluctance to have more than a fling with a guy, and the reason why he does avoid going home mostly. One of his ex-lovers is his brother in law's brother, who stays at his parents' house too for the holidays, and actually picks Mac and Connor up from the airport. For a short moment it's unclear if he and Mac will get back together perhaps, but very soon it turns out that he will be used as a reason to display some jealousy, between Mac and Connor.

Everything is told from Mac's point of view and we only see Connor through his eyes. It's obvious from the beginning that Mac finds Connor attractive, with how adorable and gorgeous he is, but they never slept together because Mac values him as a friend more. How Connor feels we don't know and stays a bit of a mystery too, although we learn later that he has feelings for Mac and has had them for a while. Maybe Connor would've become more three-dimensional when he'd gotten his own POV as well, now he stayed a bit too much of a flat character for me. Mac was easier to picture.

Mac's resolution, to keep Connor as a friend and nothing more, changes overnight, without it being very clear what made him change his mind this drastically really. It's a bit of mistletoe magic, a bit of jealousy and perhaps some eggnog (which wasn't even consumed by him but by Connor) that made him see the light I guess. Unfortunately I found it unlikely and rather predictable. And I still don't understand why Connor was drinking so much... But maybe that's just me because I'm not a fan of alcohol-induced first time sex.

Overall, this is a sweet friends-to-lovers Christmas story that is fast paced and maybe a bit too short to develop the depth I like in a love story like this. It's an easy read and will be best appreciated by readers who are not looking for originality but who like a quick fix of likable, hot guys finding love beyond their friendship.


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