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The Christmas Lights Battle

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  137 ratings  ·  53 reviews
A Shelby Beach Romance.

For a single dad and his neighbor, the Christmas competition is on!

Julian Moss wants to give his children a happy Christmas. Since his divorce, Julian has no time for a social life; he’s been doing the tiring work of two parents while his cheating ex-husband dodges his responsibilities. If that isn’t stressful enough, he has to deal with his new—an
Kindle Edition, 212 pages
Published December 5th 2018 by Skylar M. Cates: A Treading Chaos Publication
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~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

Leo and Julian don't take the road well traveled. Julian dislikes Leo on sight for no reason except that Leo is stupidly hot and his dogs bark at all hours of the day and night.

Except the dogs belong to Leo's friend for whom Leo is house sitting, and Leo is actually a very nice, positive guy raised by crazy religious parents who were cold and emotionally abusive.

Once Leo and Julian stop fighting their mutual attraction, they become lovers and then friends. Indeed, instead of competing again
*J* Too Many Books Too Little Time
3.5 Stars!

Low angst.

The perfect holiday read.

And looks to be the start of a series.

Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely festive romance with a little bit of unexpected spice from Skylar Cates and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Julian and Leo don't have the best meeting, mostly down to Julian's preconceived ideas about Leo being a dumb jock and his own internal insecurities.

But once they actually start to talk, they realise the attraction they have for each other might just be the best gift, not just for Christmas but for a lifetime.

There's a wee bit of angst in this to measure against the sweetness, mos
Len Evans Jr
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas
This book sorta had to grow on me. It wasn't one of those that hook me early on and then not let go. The first 3rd was good just not "can't put down" good. Once that changed and it became that good I was enthralled. Leo and Julian were so hot and cold at first, but once Julian stopped being stubborn and gave them a chance it was perfection. I loved that Julian had kids, they added such a warm snuggly feeling to the story. The secondary characters in this story each brought their own special bit ...more
Joyfully Jay
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kris
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.25 stars

I’m a sucker for holiday romances and this one seemed right up my alley. A little enemies to friends to lovers, friendly competition, and two hurt men needing each other to finish healing. Cates does a great job with the characters and the romance, and I was wholly invested throughout the story.

I loved the way these guys grew and changed as the story went on. Julian comes off as, well, a total jerk the first time he and Leo meet. While the reader knows what’s goi
Amanda Viecelli
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a fun enemies-to-lovers story I enjoyed quite a bit. Shelby Beach neighbors (well, sort of) Julian and Leo both enter a Christmas lights contest hoping to win the $3K prize. Divorced dad Julian is trying to do his best for his children for the holidays and is hoping to use the money for a Disney trip for them, whereas Leo is trying to get his business off the ground and wants to use it for publicity. The animosity between the two is quite amusing from the start, but as they start to lea ...more

2.5 stars
Neighbors who start off as enemies competing in a Christmas light battle turn into so much more.
Overall an ok read.
3 Stars
Maybe I should have read this earlier in the Christmas season, but this was just ok for me...not bad but not great. I think I will read one more holiday themed book then wait until next year. Hope you all had a very merry holiday! Happy New Year!
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, arc, mm, holiday

A heartwarming family story, enjoyable and adorable holiday read.
This is an enemy to friends to lovers story, a slow burn that's not too much to kill me with frustration. The kids are adorable. I have a certain words to Julian's ex husband, Robert, but surely nothing's nice about that.
Julian and Leo made a perfect team mates in everything, the kids (especially), the dogs, the battle. And who knows, that big burly Leo is such a sweetheart and Julian, the usual doormat to his ex, could be a boss t
Becca Waldrop
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I didn't see one mentioned but I could have missed it. There is talk of conversion therapy in here towards the end. It is very brief and doesn't go into detail, but it's still there. If it's a trigger, please have a care for yourself and be careful. Otherwise….well, yeah, it still pulls at the heartstrings. It's a good book, but it's emotional. Christmas is the one time of year when it seems to be the worst for some people. People who don't have families for one reason or another, it's a hard ti ...more
Leo is very likable but Julian is not. However, Leo's kindness pulls this romance through even as the conceit of the Christmas light competitions falls away (and made little sense anyway).

I liked that Leo is building a community and would like to see other books around his Unitarian Church.

The kids and dogs are engaging so a little bit of Christmas fun in this one.
Jenny Wood
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it

Too much? Sorry …. This one really put me in the Christmas spirit. First, we meet Julian and his two adorable kids, Charlie and Sadie. I don’t need to tell anyone how much I adore a hot single dad and his babies. They’re my favorite!
After his divorce, (and y’all, you will hate the cheating, verbally and emotionally abusive ex husband, here’s your warning)…. Julian is doing everything he can to just make life easy for their children, who both suffer from emotional issues, like
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: holiday, mm-romance, kebb
There’s nothing like the holidays to turn enemies into lovers. The Christmas Lights Battle by Skylar M. Cates intertwines the lives of two completely opposite men, producing a beautiful romance. Or more realistically, a beautiful family.

1 Devoted, divorced, single dad with an initial tendency to be a douche. – Julian Moss
1 Strapping yet insecure personal trainer. – Leo Adams
2 Blissfully normal children. – Charlie and Sadie
1 Rotten, horrid, and selfish ex-husband. – Robert
1 Brat
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 stars

This book was a bit of a let down. From the title and cover it looked like it would be funny and quirky but the lights battle only made up a small amount of the story.

Here we have Julian, a divorcee who has 2 children and a rotten ex husband, and Leo, who is estranged from his family. They are neighbors who both decide to do the lights competition for different reasons. They have a bunch of ups and downs but eventually find their way into a relationship.

I felt like the story got a bit l
Kendra T
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm, own-review
This started out with me not liking Julian too much because he was too grumpy, but with his past of hurt and trying to raise his kids as a single parent and seeing his jerk ex, I can understand why he was that way. Leo, however, was totally adorable right from the get go. When they finally get past the annoying "I don't want to like you" stage, they were adorable together. I liked how they came together and the fun Christmas spirit of the book. I do wish there was more of an HEA for these guys, ...more
2.75 stars rounded up

With the words "Battle" on the title, I'm pretty disappointed that the story itself doesn't include many "lights battle". I liked the beginning, and I thought Julian's kids adorable. But then the story got bogged down in the middle -- when Julian's ex had the kids -- and it felt like Julian and Leo became repetitive with their reasons of wanting to keep the relationship 'easy'. I also thought that they didn't "sizzle". I was distracted many times in trying to finish the book
Dec 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: holiday, finding-home
3.5 Stars

Not a bad Christmas read. Leo is easy to love, but Julian is like Brussels sprouts. Getting to the like stage is a bit more work. He is a good dad and really thaws after being around Leo.

The biggest problem is the book doesn’t flow easily. Characters do a 180 from one paragraph to the next instead of allowing for a slower more natural segue of feelings.
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
With Christmas romances, we often do not expect innovation and surprise. We want to be reassured and comforted, find feelings of sweetness and warmth and be surrounded by the famous Christmas spirit. With The Christmas Lights battle, Skylar M Cates has almost achieved the challenge of Christmas romance. I say almost, because for me a Christmas in the sun, it's not quite a Christmas.

The Christmas lights battle is the story of Julian and Leo, two neighbors who hate each other and who will graduall
Kathryn Manzella
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Julian Moss needs to give his children a Merry Christmas, especially since their other father is more concerned with fighting the child support order than with seeing his kids. When he hears about the Christmas Lights competition, it seems like a perfect fix to make sure their holiday will shine.

Leo Adam's just moved in to the house next door to Jullian. The competition is a way got him to open his dream - a bootcamp program on the beach. Not even the Snooty Jullian will distract him.

With both
Diane Dannenfeldt
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. This was a fairly quick read. My biggest issue was the repetitiveness that went on. I have no idea how many times Julian thought or said that he wasn’t going to date as he had to take care of his kids. Or about his ex and how Robert left him and treated him. Or the things that Leo kept rehashing. Say it and move on. Once I got past that, I really enjoyed this sweet holiday read. I loved that Leo decided to combine the decorations. I loved that even though they couldn’t stand each othe ...more
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a super cute Christmas story about enemies – to friends – to lovers.
Julian and Leo are neighbours, and Julian instantly dislikes Leo when he first sees him. He thinks that he’s just a built gym rat, and Leo’s dogs annoy him. And, to add to his annoyance, they are competing against each other in the town’s Christmas lights battle.
What he doesn’t understand, and he will find out as he and Leo get acquainted with each other and then team up for the lights battle, is that his annoyance and
Jennifer Reilley
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a cute holiday read.

Julien gets a new neighbor that has set him off with a bad attitude toward him. There is nothing Leo has technically done to Julien to make him feel this way except attraction to him

Leo is new to town and starting up his own business and really doesn’t know anyone. My heart goes out to Leo as we learn his past and family are less than desirable.

The town is hosting a Christmas light battle and both guys want the big price. Julien for the money as it would go a long way
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: christmas, mm, holiday
I really wanted to love this story.
There were so many elements for me to enjoy.

Christmas light battle
Single dad

It had its sweet and steamy moments, but I guess I was just expecting a little more fun.
Anyway, not a lot of grit or much plot, yet it had a villainous ex (Julian's) and crap family (Leo's). More drama there than I thought would happen in this story because I was all set for some quirk and hijinks based on the cover.
It is a sweet Christmas story, though, if n
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quick judgments lead to flustered interactions and incorrect impressions. But a little vulnerability opens their eyes to more and we're re-introduced to two men who have trouble putting their hearts on offer. This was so sweet and I loved where we ended up with Julian and Leo. Their chemistry was definitely there and I appreciated that the conflict remained with external frustrations rather than misunderstandings, lies, omissions, and lashing out. Julian's feeling regarding his kids was justifie ...more
Sarita Chapdelaine
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
This is an entertaining holiday read and I wish that I had enjoyed it more. The writing style is a bit odd and repetitive and I wanted a lot more focus on the light contest. More background information on Julian's kids would have been great as well. I really like Leo and his amazing friends as well as how hard he has worked to get past his awful childhood but Julian is not very likeable until about halfway through the story. I don't feel much of a connection between Julian and Leo but their chem ...more
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story definitely tells the tale to the old adage, don't judge a book by it's cover. (Although literally speaking the cover is too cute!!) In this story, you have the strong, muscle bound character who is really just a lost soul. Leo is a personal trainer trying desperately to find his home - in life, in love, and in location. Then you have the stuck up, rigid neighbor Jullian. His walls are high due to his last failed relationship. The two find each other in competition and the blossoms int ...more
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a fun, sweet and sexy read. I really enjoyed how Leo and Julian's relationship progressed. They may appear to be total opposites but the more they let down their guard and show their true self they are more alike than they think!
Both have been hurt and disappointed in life. Each has self-confidence issues. What starts out as unfriendly neighbors quickly moves to friends and then to love.
The progression seemed natural. These two belong in each other's lives. With a host of outstanding s
Not much of a battle, they give in pretty quick. Cute and festive.

Tag explanations Health & Fitness - Leo is a physical trainer; Abuse - Leo's parents verbally abused him, used his faith against him, and sent him to conversion therapy; Families - Julian's family, both his kids and his parents/siblings play a major role; Faith - Leo sought out a new more accepting church in Florida and sings in the choir (with an attractive gay minister, I'm guessing he'll have his own book); Miami - Shelby B
Violet  Marshall
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful Christmas romance the writing was good. The plot was entertaining and it was steady throughout the book. I found the story and characters delightful. The characters were developed and thought out. Julian Moss and Leo Adams are the MC’s of this book. There was humor, Christmas lights, skating, a choir, friends and family, a selfish ex, bigotry, sex, dogs, kids and more in this book. I can recommend this book as a good read.. I voluntarily read an advance copy of this book for an hones ...more
Amy Dufera
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Christmas Lights Battle is a fun, pleasant Christmas romance. Don't let the title fool you though, their isn't much of a battle at all.

Julian meets his new neighbor, Leo, and soon they are battling each other for a Christmas lights contest, and falling for each other.

I love how nice they are to each other, both sweet and kind-hearted. And, of course, their sex is hot. Leo's bond with Julian's kids is also fantastic.

Definitely check out The Christmas Lights Battle for a quick, light-hearted C
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