Review: Casper Graham – Twelve Gifts

61jg6rtpoolAuthor: Casper Graham
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: JMS Books
Genre: MM Holiday

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Summary: Dylan Hughes owns a small bakery. He’s doing what he loves and business is good, but he’s lonely. After a bad relationship, he’s been keeping to himself, and things are worse during the Christmas season. Then there is his unrequited crush on Aaron Tyler.

Aaron is a successful event planner. He and Dylan met more than two years earlier and, after tasting Dylan’s baking, Aaron proposed a collaboration. They’ve worked together ever since. Not willing to risk their friendship, Dylan has kept his feelings under wraps.

But a secret admirer begins to send Dylan thoughtful gifts twelve days before Christmas. The cute, clever gifts keep on coming and he’s flattered, but they couldn’t have come at a worse time. Aaron has finally asked him out.

What happens when the secret admirer’s identity is revealed on Christmas Day? Will Dylan’s blossoming relationship with Aaron survive?
Review: The premise of this story was a good one. Dylan is a bakery owner with a business relationship with Aaron, an event planner. Just as the two of them are taking their friendship to the next level, Dylan begins to receive 12 days of Christmas gifts from a secret admirer.

 
I had problems with the story, though. First, the identity is telegraphed from almost the beginning and you wonder where Dylan’s head was to not notice. Second, Aaron’s casual acceptance of the secret admirer gifts, even as he is professing love to Dylan, was too out there. Finally, the biggest issue I had was with conflicting information . On one hand Dylan wishes “…there would be less competition and he could make a comfortable living off his bakery.” About a page later he says, “Things had settled down enough now and he did not have to worry about money anymore.” This confused me – is he making money or isn’t he? Similarly, he mentions that “He did not make enough money to hire a full-time employee…” and that “Unfortunately, business was down this year.” I realize this may have been brought up to emphasize the point that Dylan does all the work, baking, cooking for lunch, cleaning, serving, money, all himself. It is mentioned that hard work has built the business up to what it is today but then it appears to be struggling.

 
Not to belabor a point, but it was similar in that Dylan’s delivery person delivers on a motorcycle unless it is a large order. In that case, he shows up two hours before a party and takes Dylan’s car. A few paragraphs later he is picking up 500 cupcakes an hour before the party and no mention of taking the car. Having worked in a bakery, I can say 500 cupcakes is a large order. It’s a LOT of cupcakes. But Marcus is taking them in a cloth bag on a motorcycle? Also, When the order for those 500 comes in, Dylan, by himself, is doing all the prep for the day, baking and cooking for the bakery’s day, handling customers plus making and decorating 500 cupcakes in the matter of a few hours?

 
As far as the gifts go, they were cute. They went loosely along with the Twelve Days of Christmas and were sweet. Dylan enjoyed receiving them and Aaron was there to share the joy sometimes. Let’s mention that these guys are not teenagers (Dylan is 34) and they are having five or six orgasms at a time. That is, um, noteworthy. The two are pretty sappy together in that new relationship way and it is charming.
The idea of this story was cute and had potential but I felt the execution fell short. This is a new to me author and I want to read another book by him to see if the premise can match the finished product.

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