REVIEW: 'Christmas Cookies' by C.L. Mustafic

Title: Christmas Cookies

Author: C.L. Mustafic

Published: December 4, 2017

Publisher: NineStar Press

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow/Natasha Snow Designs

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 126 Pages

Tags: Gay; MM; Bisexual; Holiday: Christmas; Children; May/December; Comfort/Hurt; Novella; HFN; Off Page: Alcoholism and Child Abuse

About Christmas Cookies

After losing his husband, David, to a tragic accident the previous year, Russ doesn’t feel much like celebrating the upcoming holidays. When his daughter unexpectedly asks for one of David’s cookie recipes, Russ makes a decision that lands him in a baking class. After a few mishaps with an inept partner, Russ is ready to give up, but then the teacher, Amos, offers private lessons to help him recreate David’s smorgasbord of holiday treats. Somewhere along the way, Russ develops an attraction to the younger man, but is he ready to move on and let Amos in?



More a story about recovery than romance, C.L. Mustafic’s novella Christmas Cookies is an intimate look into one man’s experiences of healing. After facing a life altering event and the subsequent fallout, Mustafic explores the question: How do we know when we’re ready to start living again?

Eighteen months after the sudden, unexpected death of his husband David, Russ is trying to get his life back on track. At his daughter’s request, Russ digs into David’s recipe box to try and bake up a batch of her favorite cookies. While the idea of resurrecting the family tradition of distributing Christmas treats to friends and neighbors appeals to him, Russ isn’t much of a baker.

Needing some help with the more complicated recipes, Russ signs up for a baking course and is immediately attracted to the cocky young instructor, Amos. Between misunderstandings and lack of communication, it doesn’t take long for Russ to see that Amos has some serious issues.

As the story progressed I wondered what continued to draw these men back to each other?

Amos is such a mess, even if he is young and gorgeous I doubt he’s worth all the work. And Russ is so self absorbed he can’t see anything from Amos’ perspective. It doesn’t look like he’s a healthy choice for Amos either. Russ comes right out and states that he is diminishing his own self worth by objectifying Amos. Clearly neither of them is ready for a relationship.

Mustafic does a beautiful job with Russ’ character. She gets deep into his mind and explores what motivates him and how he feels.

His bisexuality is a large part of who he is and each of the characters confront him with their own opinion and preconceived ideas. Whether they are accepting or not, Mustafic makes sure Russ has the opportunity to enlighten them both.

While Christmas Cookies is not your usual warm and fuzzy Christmas tale in the end what I enjoyed most is how complex the characters are.

These folks aren’t idealized. We see them make mistakes and jump to conclusions. They say things without thinking, and hurt others’ feelings both accidentally and on purpose. Even though I didn’t always like them, I got drawn in and felt invested in their story.

Christmas Cookies rather abrupt ending surprised me, but after thinking about it I see how it works for this story. Russ doesn’t need another happily ever after right now, he just needs to take a chance, open his heart, and try and “Christmas cookies” are a good place to start.

A copy of Christmas Cookies was provided to Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter, by NineStar Press, at no cost and with no expectations in return. We offer our fair and honest opinion on behalf of our readers.

Want more holiday reads to cozy up to? KEBB can help.

And should you enjoy dark erotica with mystery and suspense, give C.L. Mustafic’s thriller Backdoor Politics a go!

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Meet the Author

C.L. Mustafic is a born and bred American mid-westerner who mysteriously ended up living in one of those countries nobody can ever find on the map of Europe. Left with too much time on her hands—let’s be honest here: it was the lack of television channels in her native language–and too many voices in her head trying to fill the silence, she decided to give her life-long dream of writing a novel a shot. So now, between shuttling kids back and forth from various activities and risking her life on the insanely narrow, busy streets of her new hometown, she loses herself in her own made-up world where love always wins.

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For more from C.L. be sure and visit her website!

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