Book Reviews

O Hell, All Ye Shoppers (2017 Advent Calendar - Stocking Stuffers) by Louisa Masters at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 02-December-2017

Book Blurb

Ethan Hall plans to fill Saturday, December 23, with junk food and bad TV, a day just for him amid the holiday chaos… until his baby sister calls and begs him to go collect a present for her. At the biggest shopping center in Australia. On the busiest shopping day of the year. Hell no. Right?


Ethan’s soft heart gets the best of him. He battles through the parking lot, and in the main shopping concourse, he’s trampled, elbowed, and bombarded with terrible holiday music. Then he enters hell itself, a specialty store aimed at women… where he meets Ty. They bond in a sea of estrogen and manic shoppers, fighting together to attain freedom, only to find they’re not quite ready go their separate ways.


A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

Book Review

Shopping is so not an activity I like, and the thought of Ethan having to battle the hordes in a mall the day before Christmas Eve had me cringing on his behalf. Add the heat that an Australian Christmas has to offer, issues with traffic even just getting to and from the mall, and finding parking, and I felt sorry for him even before I started to read. The fact that he does it because his little sister is desperate made me like him, and all I could hope for was a sort-of Christmas miracle for Ethan with something good coming out of the mission of mercy—what with this story being one of this year’s Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar contributions. I am happy to say that I was not disappointed.

Ethan is not really into the holidays. He looks forward to spending time with his family and not having to work, but he does not seem to be as “fanatic” about it as many others. What he is determined to do is have a lazy day at home, eating and watching TV. Staying away from people, shops, and the need to spend money on gifts or other holiday trappings is something he feels passionately about. But how can he resist the heartfelt begging of his younger sister when she asks him to get something from a store that has been prepaid and only needs to be picked up?

The greed displayed by people shopping around Christmas time is exactly opposed to the spirit of the holidays, or so I believe. Watching Ethan dealing with all of it was more fun than I had expected, but that is down to the author’s sense of humor (just consider the title!) when describing the chaotic scenes. Then there was the hope that bloomed as soon as Ethan lays eyes on Ty… only to quickly have that sentiment change to delight at the two strangers bonding over shared misery. I ended up loving every minute of their resulting romance, especially considering the fun little twist the author added to their backgrounds.

If you like your Christmas stories filled with humor, if non-US settings are your thing, and if you’re looking for a sweet read with lots of fun observations, an occasional touch of sarcasm, and an appropriately Christmas-y ending, then you will probably like this 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 Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Short Story, 26 pages/7723 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-December-2017
Price $1.99 ebook
Buy Link