Book Reviews

Light One Candle by Keelan Ellis at NineStar Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / New Adult / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 07-December-2017

Book Blurb

Nerdy, struggling graphic novelist Josh Reben expected to work at his comic book store job all through the holidays. The only thing he had to look forward to was a possible hookup with a guy who—let’s be honest—didn’t seem that into him. So when his brother Ben calls to tell him he’ll be flying home for Hanukkah, along with his wife and new baby, Josh pleads for the day off for a family visit.


With the best of intentions, Ben also invites their former neighbor Marc Birnbaum to dinner. Only, he didn’t know that Marc bullied Josh for years when they were children. Josh approaches the evening with the idea of getting some closure, but when he finds Marc to be completely changed from his childhood self, things get a little confusing.


Family drama and personal baggage make for holiday tensions, but during the Festival of Lights, the Rebens and their guest just might find their way to some new understandings.


Book Review

The holidays are hectic for most people, especially those with kids and/or family commitments, but for people working in retail it must be ten times worse. Josh works in a comic book store and is a perfect example of this, so when his big brother calls and asks Josh to make some time for family so they can celebrate Hanukkah together, Josh is very close to saying no. Between the hookup he was hoping for (and would prefer) and the hassle of trying to get a day off in a time where the store he works at are short an employee already, Josh is very tempted to just forget the whole family thing. Add the fact that Josh’s former bully from school also appears at his parents’ house, invited by Josh’s brother who had no idea about the guy’s past with Josh, and this event could easily have headed for disaster.

Josh is in for a major surprise. Marc, his former bully, has changed a lot, both physically and mentally/emotionally. The first few moments are definitely awkward between Josh being annoyed at himself for thinking that Marc is cute now, and him wondering if Marc even remembers how mean he used to be before middle and high school, at which point he basically ignored Josh. Seeing Josh work through his feelings is definitely interesting, and I loved the surprising conclusion of his “reckoning” with the past.

If you like holiday stories that center on family and personal drama, if you want to see the effect an unexpected guest for the Hanukkah festivities can bring, and if you’re looking for a read that is thoughtful, surprising, and bears a message of hope, then you will probably like this cute little short story.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by NineStar Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Short Story, 31 pages/9700 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 27-November-2017
Price $2.99 ebook
Buy Link