Cross posted on Pants Off Reviews
Title: The Trouble With Elves by Therese Woodson
Genre: M/M Romance, Contemporary
Published December 1st 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
Length: 78 pages
Rating: 3 Stars
Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Cal Martin loathes Christmas music, especially the clichéd carols pumped through the mall speakers on endless loop. Even worse is the holiday-themed hell of Santa's Village that looms right in front of the sports store he manages. It's yet another hurdle for Cal as he tries to survive the world of retail during the soul-sucking holiday season… until he catches a glimpse of one of Santa's elves and becomes infatuated with the cheery, gorgeous guy dressed in candy-cane tights.
Of course, just walking up to the guy and asking him out isn't easy, and a botched attempt at matchmaking ends up turning a simple courtship into a mess for the gossip page. What can Cal do to overcome his social ineptitude, correct erroneous assumptions, and maybe have a merry little Christmas of his own?
Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4496
Elves are the real troublemakers in this story, especially one of Santa's helpers. Two newly hired mall employees work as elves and help Santa at a display during the holiday season. These two are also twins with similar names, Alexandra and Alexander. Cal likes the male elf but due to the confusion with their names, everybody thinks that he likes the girl elf. Things really go downhill when the girl elf's jealous boyfriend injures Cal.
I love the cheesiness of the story and the romance between the MCs is cute. I love Xander's passion for chessy Christmas songs and music but doesn't want to be a star, instead he wants to teach. Cal is a little bitter over his short career as a baseball star and missing direction in life. However, Xander totally brings out the adorably awkward side of him. I also love Cal's brother's personality. He's very accepting of Cal's sexuality and is very intuitive on how to help Cal get close to Xander, the male elf. The only character I dislike is the female elf, Alex, who is incredibly vain, dumb, and self-centered.
The story has a strong and interesting beginning but a weak ending ruins the holiday, cheerful feel that the book is supposed to have. The wrap up is very abrupt and the conclusion is...well...not conclusive in regards to Alex, Cal's career, Cal and Xander's relationship, and some confusing people whose names were mentioned but never appeared in the story.
Overall, this is a very cute story set in the mall during the holidays about a sports manager and a Santa's helper. The initial awkwardness and cute romance between Cal and Xander are the best moments of the book.
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