Christmas Kitsch (Belen’s Review)

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Title: Christmas Kitsch
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 7th 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Christmas
Page Count: 200 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5


Sometimes the best Christmas gift is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a rich, entitled, oblivious jock, and he might have stayed that way if he hadn’t become friends with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. When Oliver kisses him goodbye before Rusty leaves for college, Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But nothing can help Rusty survive a semester at Stanford, and he returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. But with Oliver’s love and the help of Oliver’s amazing family, Rusty realizes that failing college doesn’t mean he can’t pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

Second Edition — First Edition published by Riptide Publishing, December 2013.

SO MANY FEELS! Christmas Kitsch is one of my favorite holiday stories of all time.

I have to confess…I listen to the first edition audiobook at least twice a year. There are whole sections of this book I can recite verbatim. I don’t think I can properly convey how much I love this story and these characters. So…I’m not unbiased here, is what I’m saying.

Rusty is a senior in high school and very sweet, but more heart than brains. Rusty’s charm is in the fact he knows he’s slow, but will eventually get there. Rusty is the quintessential tortoise – slow and steady wins the race. Rusty’s life is changed forever and for the better when openly gay, Hispanic, Oliver, transfers to his school bringing some very necessary color, emotion, and affection into Rusty’s very cookie cutter white on white world.

Oliver showed up in early September of my senior year, slender, brown on brown on brown. Dark brown hair cut with long bangs around his narrow face, dark brown eyes with thick, thick lashes, and light brown skin. He slouched quietly in the back of Mr. Rochester’s English Literature class and eyed the rest of us with sort of a gentle amusement.

The story is told entirely from Rusty’s first person point of view and spans a bit more than a year with the epilogue five years into Rusty and Oliver’s HEA. I love how easily Rusty and Oliver fit together like perfectly matched pieces of a puzzle. I love Rusty’s sister, Nicole, his friend Rex, and Oliver and his Dad and the way they open their hearts and home to Rusty.

Christmas Kitsch is about family, growing up and finding out who you are, who you’re meant to be with, and all the mess that life can throw your way. Every time I read this story I laugh, cry, rage, and feel my little heart grow three sizes.

I was drowning, drowning, not able to breathe, but I didn’t want air, I wanted more of Oliver, and he seemed to want more of me too.

“I don’t think right when I’m not holding you,” I apologized, and he hugged me tighter.
“Maybe you just need to be held some more,” he said, and I nodded.
“Okay.” He felt good against my body, and my next breath came easier.
“I’m up for the job,” he said, and I smiled. The tightness eased up completely.
“I’m really glad about that.” I meant that with everything in me.

YA/NA holiday novel with less angst than a regular Amy Lane novel, a single POV, hurt/comfort, some heat, a very strong cast of characters, and a very happy ending.

You know when people talk about a perfect day?
A perfect day for me will always start with tiny dogs and a warm house in the winter, and coffee, and people glad to see me when I wake up.

Note: This is a second edition re-release, but I didn’t notice any difference to the story.

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Galley copy of Christmas Kitsch provided by the publisher in exchange of an honest review.


I am an unapologetic book addict/lover. I'm happiest when reading and I spend most of my time with my Kindle, which is never far from my hand. I love to be told a good story! I mostly read fiction: Romance, Erotica, Young Adult, New Adult, Paranormal (shifters? Yes, please!), a little BDSM when I'm in the mood, and I love a good ménage story. I DEFINITELY PREFER A HFN/HEA! My biggest no-no's are cheating, miscommunication / misunderstanding plots, unnecessary angst, and cliffhangers.

A sampling of my "Favorite M/M" stories:

Carry the Ocean The Half of Us Red Dirt Heart Adulting 101 Tied Up In Knots
Shelter the Sea Manties in a Twist David, Renewed Ethan who Loved Carter Perfect Imperfections
Wolfsong Fight the Tide How to Walk Like A Man The Lightning-Struck Heart Forging the Future