A Stella Release Day Review: Ringo and the Sunshine Police by Nick Wilgus


RATING 5 out of 5 stars

ringo-and-the-sunshine-police-by-nick-wilgusThomas, an older gay musician living in a small Southern town, is ready to start a family. He fosters Jeremy, a special needs boy with no arms, and teaches him to play the drums so Jeremy can realize his potential to do anything he wants. Though it takes time, Thomas’s closeted boyfriend Randy steps out of the shadows to be part of what Thomas is working to build. With the advent of marriage equality, it’s a different world in the Deep South—one where the three of them have the chance to be a family.

Yet no one said it would be easy, and they soon learn the foster care system is far from perfect.

Just as Jeremy begins to settle in and thrive, his biological father reappears, demanding custody. Thomas and Randy know the man is unfit to care for Jeremy, but the law says otherwise. It seems they’re the only ones looking out for Jeremy’s best interests, and they face an uphill battle if they want to keep their new family together.

Nick Wilgus is one of my favorite authors, I’m not sure how many times I said it in the reviews of his previous releases, but I’m never tired of his works. Each time he breaks my heart with his stories, and each time I love his writing more and more.

This new release, Ringo and The Sunshine Police, was no exception. I cried a lot of course, it was really inevitable to not fall in love and suffer with the little Jeremy. I supported Thomas and hoped for Jeremy to find a family till the end, I hurt when Thomas was missing Jeremy so much he couldn’t find the strength to help Derek, another boy who desperately needed a new family. I wasn’t a huge fan of Randy, maybe I wasn’t able to know him very well. In fact this is a story focused not on the usual male/male couple, this is a story focused on Thomas and his strong will to have a family and most of all to adopt children with special needs, the same children no one wants. Randy has not a huge role in Thomas’ plans of the future, especially at the beginning of the novel, where Randy is still in the closet and a man in the closet can’t really play a role in what Thomas wants. Instead I liked Thomas from the start, he is a great man, the love he has and wants to give to Jeremy is bigger than himself, he was overwhelmed by it when he lost Jeremy but too powerful to forget.

Ringo and The Sunshine Police is not for everyone, all of the stories Nick writes are not for everyone, the subjects he speaks of are important, cruel, too strong, and when they are paired with children they become too hard to read. These themes could be a trigger for some reader, so be careful. If you’re looking for a light story, Nick Wilgus isn’t what I can recommend, at all. But if you’re looking for an emotional book, with characters that will stay with you for days, you can’t go wrong with any story by this author.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh is well done and fitting and I particularly like its brightness.

Sales Links




ebook, 300 pages

Publication Date: February 24th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1635332893 (ISBN13: 9781635332896)

Edition Language English

A PaulB Review: Max (Demon Elite 7) by April Kelley


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

max-demon-elite-7-by-april-kelleyThe men of the Demon Elite team are closing in on Victoria Mize.  Will the man whom Victoria is trying to frame for her crimes be able to help?

Sydney Marshall is an assassin, like most of the Demon Elite squad.  However, his past is being used against him.  Word on the street is that he is behind the sex trafficking operation that is actually run by Demon Elite’s former boss, Victoria Mize.  His only “friend” is his informant Twiggy the drug addict.  He knows that talking to Max from the Demon Elite squad is a stupid move, but he has no one else he can trust.

Max Shaw knows talking to Sydney is a bad idea.  First, he associates with the wrong element in Chicago.  Sydney should be in jail for his crimes.  However, he might be the one piece that is needed to finally take down Victoria.  He cannot be THAT bad if she thinks he’s an easy target to frame.  Talking to Sydney, he finds that he might actually like the guy—well enough for a roll in the hay.  After all, Max does not do relationships. 

When Sydney finds out that Victoria’s main goon is looking for him, he realizes that he needs to get to Max as soon as possible.   Hotwiring a car, he makes his way to the lakeshore retreat that houses Demon Elite.  Arriving at the compound, he faces several guns pointed at him.  Max rescues him and tells Jared, (the boss) that is Sydney is turned away then he will resign from the team.  Some of the team unhappily deal with the situation.  When the team comes up with a plan to use Sydney to lure the goon out, he agrees.  However, his friend Twiggy has been kidnapped and the team must spring to action immediately.  They need to protect Sydney and save the one man Sydney has counted on over the past few years.

As usual, this is another thrill ride into the land of assassins by Ms Kelley.  As the story, and the number of unmatched Demon Elite team mates, winds down, the anticipation of the final showdown with Victoria builds.  I have to feel for Max.  His parents divorced while his was young.  His mother never formed another meaningful relationship which helps form Max’s aversion to them.  His father on the other hand has recently lost his partner a couple of years ago and is reeling from it.  Max must deal with these mixed examples in order to open his heart to Sydney. 

The cover art by Latrisha Waters is the standard outstanding cover for the series.  A well-muscled Max stands alone in his tee shirt with the Demon Elite crest in the corner. 

Sales Links

eXtasy Books


Book Details

Ebook, 102 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  October 24, 2016 by eXtasy Books

ISBN:  978-1-4874-0900-5

Series:  Demon Elite

Crash (Demon Elite #1)

Wolf (Demon Elite #2)

Cosmo (Demon Elite #3)

Tanner & Shade (Demon Elite #4)

Ashley (Demon Elite #5)

Germ (Demon Elite #6)

Max (Demon Elite #7)

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Kieran: The Atherton Pack 4 By Toni Griffin and Nick Flint (Narrator)


Rating:  4 stars out of 5


ap4-kieran-audio6x6_orig“You need to go to Atherton,” they said. Easy for them. The higher-ups at headquarters don’t have their whole world on the line. When Detective Damon Kelly’s bosses send him across the state on a “simple” cyber fraud case, he never thinks he’d meet his mate, then risk losing Kieran by doing his job. No matter what other possible angles Damon works, his partner Grant Davis is sure Kieran’s best friend Corey’s their guy, and Grant is bent on bringing him in.


After the birth of their Alpha’s son, the Atherton Pack needs another beta. Kieran Baxter couldn’t be happier to accept. What Kieran doesn’t expect is for all hell to break loose his first week on the job. Clashing with his mate at every turn, and fighting a human cop who wants to arrest Corey for hacking a government database, wasn’t part of the plan either.


As more evidence piles up, a bigger, scarier picture comes into focus that could threaten not only the Atherton Pack, but everything the world knows.


This was another great addition to the Atherton Pack series.  Damon is thrown for a loop when he meets his mate while investigating his mate’s best friend while also trying to guide his work partner away from the obvious suspect.  Kieran is excited to meet his mate, but doesn’t know how to reconcile his friendship with his mate’s job.  A lot of other things went on than just Damon and Kieran’s relationship and I can’t wait to see how all the changes in the world of shifters will affect the future books.


Damon is determined to do the right thing with his job, while also leading them away from the truth in order to keep the pack safe.  When he is forced to take drastic measures to keep his mate and other shifters safe he hopes it will all work out.  Throughout this story I could feel how conflicted Damon was with his job and mate knowing what he had to do, but he was determined to have a relationship with Kieran despite everything.  Kieran has a lot of trouble accepting the situation he has been put in and knows he has to look at things from all sides to get the whole story.  These two went about the opposite of the others and jumped into sex and then have to learn to make everything work after the fact.


Nick Flint did a wonderful job again narrating this story.  I was able to understand the characters through the voices and emotions he portrayed.  We saw a lot more characters points of view in this story and he easily kept them each unique so there wasn’t any mix up what was going on.


Cover art is wonderful and follows the pattern for the series.


Sales Links: Audible | Amazon | iTunes


Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 7 hrs 27 min
Published: January 6, 2017 (ebook, published October 19, 2016) by Mischief Corner Books
Edition Language: English

Series: The Atherton Pack #4

Matthew Lang on Writing, Characters and his release ‘Better with Bacon’ by Matthew Lang (author interview)



Better with Bacon by Matthew Lang
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at



Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Matthew Lang here today to talk about his latest story, Better with Bacon.  Welcome, Matthew!


~Our Interview with Matthew Lang~

How much of yourself goes into a character?

It varies depending on the character. Some of them are closer than others – and some need to be further away from my own self because of necessity. In Better with Bacon, I think David got some of my drive and more than a few of my flaws. Patrick got my love of cooking and food, a number of my insecurities, and my penchant for not wearing clothes. When you ask authors about characters and plot you’ll find some who say they say they just write what the characters naturally do and they don’t have much control over their personalities. I’m not like that. I do often feel like I’m recording what real people naturally choose to do, rather than forcing them to do anything particular, but I’m also willing to go back and tweak some character traits, or change the environment the characters are in so that they naturally choose to go in a direction I need them to for the narrative I’m writing. As such I think I might have more control over some of my characters than other writers seem to.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

No. If I’m using my personal experiences I’m either adding details to scenes – the physicality of George as an example is based on a real person I’ve met playing pool in a bar as an example – or I’m using it to set up tensions between my characters that I know come from a real place. I don’t have a need to give my characters idealised experiences that I didn’t get a achieve. They’re not there to rewrite my story, they’re here to tell their own story. I just have to go and live mine separately.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Well, I like writing about places I know. One of my friends calls my writing ‘a love letter to Melbourne’ because much of my work is set in my home town, and sometimes locals who read my work will go ‘oh, I think I’ve been there’. At the same time, I like writing fantasy stories, even if I haven’t published one yet. When it comes to speculative fiction, I tend to prefer fantasy over science fiction because magicbabble is much easier to write than technobabble as far as I’m concerned.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

No. Not for emotional reasons. I’ve had to shelve stories because of giant plot holes I’m not sure how to fill in. I’ve shelved by Golem urban fantasy story because it’s missing one of the three acts it needs to work, and I haven’t quite worked out how to fill out act 2, but that’s not emotional. I think I need to tweak my story world there instead.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m very much a Happily-for-now guy, even if what I write can read as a Happily Ever After. I think it’s because if you go for Ever After, it’s hard to write for those characters again. You can’t give them genuine relationship tension if you’ve already given them a Happily Ever After without essentially reneging on the Happily Ever After.

I also have a strong belief that life goes on, and an ideal romance is only ideal for the period of limerence we glorify in western culture, and I think we have acknowledge that for our own mental health. Or growing up watching Into the Woods on a regular basis has warped my mind. There’s always an after, and the after is always the interesting part.


Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I favour queer stories with romantic elements. I like stories where there’s something going on besides gay men having relationship issues. There’s a struggle most men my age and older have gone through – and that’s a desire to be more than our sexuality. I always wanted to be the guy who’s a great writer. The guy who runs awesome events. The guy who can sing and makes home made ice cream. I want those to be as important parts of my identity as the fact that I’m gay. And some, not all, but some gay romances not only reduce their heroes to their sexuality, but then impose heteronormative gender roles and expectations on a relationship between two men. And one of the reasons I think gay men sometimes reject those stories is because we’ve had to spend a lot of our lives fighting against that discrimination and objectification. So as much as I like a romantic plot line, I like it when it’s not the only plot line, if that makes sense.

And as a teenager, I wanted the smut and sex. Seriously, I think most gay men who read have sifted through the Nifty Archive at some point in their adolescence.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Sir Terry Pratchett. He convinced me that you can both entertain and inform at the same time and he had an amazing way of twisting words into meanings that were there all along, but you just never saw them coming.

How do you choose your covers?

By what works. I find cover art requests very difficult to put together because I’m a word guy. I think in words and narrative. I don’t necessarily think in imagery. So I usually will say “I think I want something like this because I’m going for this sort of feel – but if you think up something awesome please throw it my way,” and more than once I’ve ended up going with a cover dreamed up by the artist that’s completely off brief. Better with Bacon is one of them actually.

What’s next for you as an author?

I need to finish my golem story, as I think it’ll be the start of a series that’s going to be a lot of fun and will hopefully let me explore a lot of different mythologies and monster stories. I also expect it’ll be long enough to get into print as well as ebook format. I’m also looking to experiment with interactive fiction, so as a gamer I’d like to run a group of story driven gamers through a narrative roleplaying campaign and see what they do – I think gaming with other people is an amazing way to stretch your narrative muscles because what you’re essentially doing is cooperative storytelling with a framework of rules around how to further the story and some random elements of chance throwing up plot difficulties for you. If I do that it’ll be youtubed, so if anyone wants to watch the experiments you can follow me at https://www.youtube.com/user/mattlangwrites.

I’m also writing a free read web serial on my website based off an online game where I pretended to be an alien lounge singer, as I wanted to see if I could write a narrative where I didn’t control everything, and so far I think it’s progressing well. One of my friends has also asked me to write a gay dating sim with them, so that’s also a thing I’d like to tackle at some point.

I also think that Better with Bacon will eventually spawn a fully fledged novel as a sequel. There’s a few things that I know are going to happen to the guys in that wonderful after, but I need to let them rest for a bit to find out just how tough the challenges coming their way are going to be.


About Better with Bacon

When Patrick’s long-term girlfriend Li Ling dumps him just as he’s working up the nerve to propose, he ends up drunk on David’s couch—and later in David’s bed. Although initially reluctant to pursue anything beyond a one-time drunken tryst, David throws caution to the wind during an intimate dinner, where the two men also discuss Patrick’s dream of entering the food industry. Just as the friends-turned-lovers are settling into their new romance, Li Ling calls Patrick—she’s pregnant.

Convinced the announcement spells the end of their love affair and a return to their platonic friendship, David flees to Sydney to escape his heartbreak. But upon his return to Melbourne, David discovers the situation hasn’t gone the way he’d expected. There might still be a chance for David and Patrick’s dreams to come true if they can forgive each other’s mistakes and move forward.

About the Author


Matthew Lang writes behind a desk, in the park, on the tram and sometimes backstage at amateur theatre productions. He has been known to sing and dance in public, analyse the plots of movies and TV shows, and is a confessed Masterchef addict. Over the years he has dabbled in marketing, advertising, event management and the sale of light fittings, but his first love is and has always been that of the written word and is rarely too far from a good book. He likes his men hot and spunky, his mysteries fantastical, his fantasies real and his vampires to combust when exposed to sunlight. Other than that he’s pretty normal. One day we may even take him out of the straight jacket.

web: www.matthew-lang.com
twitter: @mattlangwrites
facebook: Matthew Lang on Facebook

Release blitz: AFTER THE FIRE by Felice Stevens (excerpt and giveaway)


Now Available at Kindle Unlimited!
After The Fire by Felice Stevens

About the Book

A single bullet destroyed the dreams of Dr. Jordan Peterson. With his lover dead, Jordan descends into an endless spiral of self-destruction that nearly costs him his friends, his career, and his life. When Jordan finds himself working closely with the aloof Lucas Conover, the investment banker’s mysterious past and unexpected kindness shocks him back into a life and emotions he’d thought lost forever.

The betrayal by the foster brother he’d worshiped taught Lucas Conover never to trust or believe in anyone. Living a solitary life couldn’t free him of the nightmare of his former life; it reinforced his belief that he would never fall in love. When the death of one of his clients forces him to work closely with Dr. Jordan Peterson, he meets a person whose suffering exceeds his own. Though Jordan rejects his effort to help, something within Luke pushes him discover more about the first man to ever get under his skin.

As Luke lets down his guard and Jordan lets go of his pain, desire takes control. Each man must come to terms with past struggles if they are to create a future together. And learning to trust in themselves and love again after tragedy and a lifetime of pain may be the only thing that saves them in the end.



“It’s only been nine months. God almighty, did you expect me to forget him already?” Horrified, Jordan swept his hand across the table, sending the empty bottles and food containers crashing to the floor. “Keith and I were together for almost four years. You haven’t even been with Ash a year; could you forget him so easily? Stop pressuring me to move on with my life. It’s over for me. There will never be anyone else.”

“So you plan on drinking yourself into an early grave, losing your job and quite possibly your friends along the way?” Drew placed a hand on his arm. “I don’t think Keith would expect you to mourn him forever.”

“I didn’t expect to have to mourn him at all. He was supposed to be here, with me.” The tears, always threatening below the surface, spilled over, coursing hot and fierce down his cheeks. It seemed he hadn’t stopped crying since Keith had been murdered. “I can’t get past it. No matter what I do, he’s always there with me, and I can’t let him go.” All the fight and anger left him deflated like a balloon several days after a party. An ineffable weariness stole through him, and he laid his head on his arms on top of the table. “Go home, you two. Leave me alone.”

Without a word, Ash found the broom and dustpan and began to clean up the broken glass while Drew remained seated next to Jordan at the table.

“Look, I understand what you’re feeling. But destroying yourself isn’t going to bring him back. We know you miss him.”

“You don’t understand.” Jordan shook off Drew’s attempt to comfort him. “I’m beginning to forget him. Not only his voice but also the way his arms held me. The way the sound of his breathing calmed me so I could fall asleep every night.” His breath caught in his throat, and a shudder racked his body.

Jordan couldn’t reveal the worst—that he could no longer recall the press of Keith’s lips on his or the sweet sweep of Keith’s tongue in his mouth. The warmth and smoothness of Keith’s skin, once as familiar as Jordan’s own, had begun fading to a cold and distant memory. Sometimes he’d sit in bed late at night and play his voicemail messages simply to hear Keith’s voice. How fucking disloyal a love was he? It had only been nine months, yet Keith’s touch, something he’d longed for every day of his life and sworn he’d never forget, had slipped away like fog in the summer wind. Gentle and swift, leaving no trace behind that it had ever existed.

About the Author

I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, My characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love, but getting there is oh so fun and oh so sexy.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass (or two of red wine). I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there are bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

Amazon Page / Facebook / Newsletter / Twitter

In Our Spotlight: Fallen Angel (The Angel of 13th Street Book 2) by Eden Winters (excerpt and giveaway)


Title:  Fallen Angel

Series: The Angel of 13th Street 2

Author: Eden Winters

Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books

Release Date: 2/27/17

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 63,000 words

Genre: Romance, Age difference, urban, rent boys, redemption, second chances

Add to Goodreads


Who can save the rescuer of lost souls?

For ten years ex-rent boy Noah Everett has fought the good fight, offering second chances to those still in the life. Now he’s cracking under the stress. What began as a two-man mission is now going corporate, meaning rules, regulations and inexperienced volunteers needing guidance in a field Noah makes up as he goes along. Who can he turn to when his mentor’s strength is all but gone and his lover is leaving for college—possibly for good?

Four years at State with a full ride scholarship will launch Jeremy Kincaid’s future, but his present includes Noah, Doc, and the closest he’s ever had to a family. And a meth addict who’s become Jeremy’s own personal mission.

An attack sends Noah spinning out of control. Jeremy has to find the way to reach Noah before the man he knows and loves disappears forever.


Noah slammed a case of beer down in the cooler and fished his ringing cell phone out of his pocket. Nobody called his personal phone at this time of day without good reason.  “Noah Everett.”

“Noah? Hey, man. It’s Chip.”

Noah emerged from the cooler, passed through the bar and mouthed, “I’ll be back,” to Mary behind the bar. He stepped out the back door of The Twelfth Street Bar and Grill and plunked down onto a dry spot on the stoop. The rain had finally stopped, raising the humidity to sweltering levels. If this call didn’t need privacy he’d have stayed in the cooler.

“Have you thought any more about what we discussed?” Given the phone call, the caller probably had. Trouble was, thinking alone didn’t seem to be getting them anywhere.

The casual, “Yeah,” didn’t bode well.

“And?” Fuck.

A long silence followed. “Well, my… my boyfriend isn’t a bad man. I mean, he treats me good and stuff, it’s just that I don’t like… I don’t like—”

“You don’t like him pimping you out to other men,” Noah finished for Chip.

Inside his bar, sixty-seven notches decorated a doorframe, signifying sixty-seven rent boys who’d left prostitution behind and started over someplace else.

Had Doc Cook carved a notch somewhere when he’d pulled Noah from the gutter, dusted him off, and pointed him in the right direction?

What the hell made Chip stay with the user? Noah should’ve notched him in at sixty-eight by now. Instead Chip sat on a fence, dreaming of a better life and fooling himself into believing he could have it here.


An exasperated huff sounded in Noah’s ear. “Yeah. Things were cool until he started arranging dates for me.”

Arranging dates? Noah ran his fingers through his short hair and blew out a breath. Motherfucking pimps. More like pimples on the ass of mankind.

Chip continued trying to talk himself out of seeing reason. “I dunno, maybe he’ll stop. I mean, I know he loves me.”

Loves me? Chip had strange ideas of love. He loves me, and we’re only doing this until we have enough money to go away and have it be just us. Noah had said those same words to himself once.


But “us” never happened.

Empty promises had sustained him through sleazy meetings that had started with come-ons and a handful of cash and ended with Noah grateful when johns did him in a hotel room so he could scrub himself raw after they left.

And some johns had scared the fuck out of him.

Chip would be a hot commodity in certain markets. Cute, in an innocent, boy-next-door kind of way, easily influenced, with an inborn willingness to please, and, worse yet, gullible, much as Noah had been many years ago. Chip might as well hang a sign around his neck: “Use me!” No way would the boyfriend give up such a low maintenance source of cash.

Noah began pacing behind the building, boots crunching against gravel. Every kid who called forced him to relive his own past, his own fuck ups.

Damn it all to hell! Had the kid known so little love in his life that he’d cling to a sick illusion?

“Do you actually believe he’ll stop?” Noah kept because I sure as hell don’t to himself.

More silence, a sigh, and then a rare scrap of reality from Chip. “No.”

Noah forced his voice calm when he really wanted to jump through the phone and fix the dumb kid’s life before it was too late. “From what you’ve told me, your parents are out of the question, but how about your grandparents? Or older brother?” Those were Noah’s first choices: stick Chip on a bus and let others with a personal interest manage putting his life back together. Second choice? Put him on a bus to a safe house; let those better qualified handle the details.

This time, no uncertainly colored the adamant, “No! Definitely not! I can’t go home.” More quietly Chip added, “But I’m not sure how long I can stay here, either. He… he talked to a friend of his yesterday.” Even through a telephone connection, Noah envisioned a shudder. “I don’t wanna be in videos.”

Oh shit. Videos. Noah slammed his hand against the wall. No!

“Charge extra for pictures, Noah,” Stevie had said. Noah’s pimp didn’t want to miss a buck, and every time Noah flexed and stretched, it was an easy extra that went straight into the pimp’s pocket.


Bad enough how Noah had made his living without adding hard evidence. It was only a matter of time before Stevie sent him to a studio.


Noah couldn’t go back in time and save his eighteen-year-old self, but he could save Chip. If only the guy would listen.


Rocky Ridge Books | Amazon

Meet the Author

You will know Eden Winters by her distinctive white plumage and exuberant cry of “Hey, y’all!” in a Southern US drawl so thick it renders even the simplest of words unrecognizable. Watch out, she hugs!

Driven by insatiable curiosity, she possibly holds the world’s record for curriculum changes to the point that she’s never quite earned a degree but is a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit.

She’s trudged down hallways with police detectives, learned to disarm knife-wielding bad guys, and witnessed the correct way to blow doors off buildings. Her e-mail contains various snippets of forensic wisdom, such as “What would a dead body left in a Mexican drug tunnel look like after six months?” In the process of her adventures she has written fourteen m/m romance novels, has won several Rainbow Awards, was a Lambda Awards Finalist, and lives in terror of authorities showing up at her door to question her Internet searches.

When not putting characters in dangerous situations she’s a mild-mannered business executive, mother, grandmother, vegetarian, and PFLAG activist.

Her natural habitats are airports, coffee shops, and on the backs of motorcycles.

Website | Facebook | Twitter
|  eMail |Rocky Ridge Books


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An Ali Audiobook Review: Everything Changes (Resilient Love #1) by Melanie Hansen and Robert Nieman (Narrator)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
everything-changes-audioWhat happens when friendship catches fire? 

Former Marine and lower-leg amputee Carey Everett keeps a grueling schedule of counseling fellow war veterans and their families. The injury he received in Afghanistan forces him to rely on a reserve of strength he didn’t even know he had. A much deserved vacation will let him reconnect with his best friend, who saved his life and has been there for him through devastating injury and painful recovery. 

Part-time EMT and aspiring singer Jase DeSantis has been in love with Carey for years, but he’s come to accept that his straight friend will never be able to offer more. Jase fills his days with band rehearsals, ambulance shifts, and willing groupies, all while trying to cope with debilitating PTSD. 

A week of sun, fun, and music in San Diego changes Jase and Carey’s lives forever when their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Jase has been longing for that change, but it leaves Carey reeling with confusion. As Jase fights to hold things together, Carey deals with doubts, fears, and his own preconceived notions about labels and the true nature of love.
I really liked this. It had a bunch of my favorite things….friends to lovers, hurt/comfort and some fantastic dirty talking.  The story mostly takes places in the present but there are some flashbacks to their time in Afghanistan.  When the story begins they’ve been through a lot and have not visited each other in awhile although they talk on the phone frequently.  What is supposed to be an average visit turns in to them becoming physical with each other.  While Jase has known for a long time that he loves Carey, Carey identifies as straight and has never thought about crossing from friends to lovers.
As the story goes on Carey admits that he cares deeply for Jase but he really struggles with what it would mean for his life should he begin to identify as bisexual or gay.  I think this part of the story was really well done and I felt it was a very realistic situation.  They have a great foundation of friendship and they’re the rocks in each other’s lives.  It makes sense that it would turn into a physical one.
I especially liked how well these two communicated with each other. There were some bumps in the road but they were open and honest about it. I wish we’d see that more in stories.  I can’t imagine you could make such big changes in your life without having some things to think through and I loved how they talked about this every step of the way.
This book was narrated by Robert Nieman and I thought he did a great job.  He did a good job on both of the MC’s as well as the side characters. He happens to be one of my favorite narrators in this genre so I was pleased to see he was doing this book.  
This was my first time reading this author and I’m looking forward to reading more by her.  I plan to move on to the other books in this series as soon as possible.  I also loved the narration and if you enjoy audiobooks then I definitely recommend this media.
Cover art by Natasha Snow Designs works perfectly for the story and characters.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Published January 12th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 13th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesResilient Love #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Open Road by M.J. O’Shea and Robbie D (Narrator)


Rating: 1 star for the audiobook and 4.5 stars for the e-book—overall 4 stars

open-road-audiobookI was asked to review the audiobook edition of this story, but I have to say up front that I had to DNF it within the first hour. I couldn’t stand the voices the narrator was using. They were so over-the-top flamboyant and campy that I felt they were insulting to my friends who are gay. They fed a stereotype that I oppose using. So, the narration didn’t deserve more than one star.

That being said, I’ve enjoyed MJ O’Shea’s work in the past, and the premise of this story was intriguing so I went to the e-book copy I had previously purchased and was unread in my “TBR library,” and I’m so glad I did because this story was a wonderful love story between two men who’ve been friends all their lives, and slowly but surely, become lovers over the course of their “road trip” together.

On his thirtieth birthday, Angus is dumped by his lover of ten years, and it sets him off on a bender that becomes so bad he loses both his job and his apartment. It isn’t until he finally checks on him that his BFF, Reece, takes matters into his own hands. Feeling guilty because he should have realized silence from Angus signaled something was very wrong, Reece not only makes plans to move Angus in with him, he also makes the arrangements to take Angus away for a few days.

The thin, wan ghostly appearance of his BFF is shocking enough, but add to that the fact that the usually bright and bubbly Angus isn’t even speaking, and Reece knows he’ll need all the patience in the world to help the man he secretly loves back to his former state. Reece would do anything for Angus, and this story shows just how much he does. It also reveals the journey Angus has to make to come back from the depths of despair. Deciding to extend their initial trip from Oregon to California by a few more days, the two men head to Vegas. Another extension takes them to New Orleans, and so it goes as they make their way across country.

Angus is living on his savings from his former job, but Reece is a book editor and is financing most of the trip as well as working remotely on his laptop once in a while. And this is the only quirk I had with the story. I’m an editor, and to be honest, in my experience, editors don’t earn enough to make it across the state—never mind the country! LOL

Regardless, the story is so wonderful that I can be kind and overlook that little issue. These men are so endearing—Reece so strong and supportive and Angus so sweet and adorable. It’s a match made in heaven—or by a romance author. If you are interested in friends-to-lovers romances, or simply enjoy a sweet MM romance, by all means, pick this up. Just make sure you do it in e-book, not audio.
The cover art by L.C. Chase depicts a road fading into the distance with a muscular man in sleeveless T-shirt staring off toward the end. Very appropriate for this story.

Sales Links

eBook & Audiobook Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published July 25th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleOpen Road
ISBN 1634773160 (ISBN13: 9781634773164)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Published January 11th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 25th 2016)
Original TitleOpen Road


An Alisa Review: Dating Ryan Alback by J.E. Birk


Rating:  4 stars out of 5


datingryanalback_500x750Ryan Alback has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a successful acting career, a dog who adores him, great family and friends, and a life outside the closet. The only thing missing is a boyfriend—but Ryan’s been burned by Hollywood relationships before, and he’s not eager to try one again.


Jason Santos has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a fulfilling career teaching middle school, a house in a city he loves, and parents who support him in every way. Too bad he can’t seem to forget the ex-boyfriend who rejected his marriage proposal.


When a talk show host launches a dating contest to find Ryan a boyfriend and Jason accidentally wins, neither of them expect anything to come from it. Yet somewhere between a disastrous massage and a mud sinkhole, they both start to wonder if this date could be more than just a public relations stunt. But before they can move into the future, they’ll both have to learn to let go of the past.


I enjoyed this story quite a bit.  Ryan was hurt by a previous lover and since hasn’t looked for love again and spends his life with a few friends and his dog.  Jason has spent the last year trying to get a nonprofit off the ground and ignoring his personal life.


Both of these characters have others who want them happy and look out for them.  How putting someone in a national dating contest without their permission can be a good idea I don’t understand.  I will admit that it is very unlikely that Ryan and Jason would have met otherwise but that someone thought this was the way to do it is beyond me.


We get to see both of these characters’ thoughts and feelings through their own points of view.  Ryan is so scared of trusting anyone and letting someone in he lives alone with only his dog for company most of the time.  Seeing him hurt himself by pushing others away is quite sad, he has to learn to that not everyone wants to use him.  Jason pretty much hides behind his job and nonprofit to avoid getting hurt again in his personal life.  I hated seeing him be hurt when Ryanmakes assumptions based on past experience.  Both of them have to learn to trust, but it takes both of them making mistakes before it can happen.


Cover art by LC Chase is adorable and we get a nice visual of the characters.


Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | B&N


Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages

Published: February 20, 2017 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 9781626495364

Edition Language: English

Need a New Romance in Your Life? Check out Rushing Love (States of Love) by Meg Bawden (author interview, guest post and giveaway)



Rushing Love (States of Love) by Meg Bawden
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Meg Bawden here today talking about her latest release in the States of Love series from Dreamspinner Press, Rushing Love. Welcome, Meg!


Hello, hello! My name is Meg Bawden and I’m on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to celebrate the release of my new book, Rushing Love, which comes out today! Woot!

Rushing Love is a M/M romance story set in South Dakota, USA. I wrote it for the States of Love line from Dreamspinner Press and I can’t wait for its release. I had so much fun writing it and I can’t wait to share it with you. Please allow me to share the blurb with you:

After a devastating break-up with the man he thought he’d spend his life with, Flynn Webb takes a holiday to a South Dakota dude ranch. It’s something completely different from anything he’s done before, and it helps that it’s as far away from his ex as possible. Trapped in his own depressive thoughts, Flynn is surprised to meet Grayson Harland. Not only is Grayson a sexy cowboy—one fifteen years younger—but he’s the most charming man Flynn has ever met.


Flynn doesn’t have much experience with being seduced, and he has even less with guys like Grayson taking an interest in him—and Grayson is definitely interested. What begins as a fling while visiting iconic South Dakota sights soon develops the potential for much more. But Flynn is afraid that falling in love again so soon—and with a man so much younger—will lead only to another catastrophic heartbreak. Luckily for them both, Grayson isn’t giving up without a fight.

If you’re interested you can find the story here:



To celebrate the release, I’m going to be answer some interview questions! 😀


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview Questions

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think each character has a part of the author within them. Whether it be an actual trait, the way they speak, the way they dress, or even a personality trait that the author wishes they had. For me, I’d love to be as confident as Grayson. While I am not, I made him that way because it’s something I don’t have and would love to. Whereas, my character Flynn, has my shyness and my lack of confidence. While I don’t share a similar history to Flynn, I did give him these traits because I wanted them to be a result from his past.  I think all characters, like humans in real life, are who they are because of what they’ve been through to get to that point in their life.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I definitely think there is a fine line between a Gary Stu and a character that’s real. It’s very difficult, as a writer, when you create a character because it is only natural to want everything to be perfect for them. When I write, I’m dreaming of a world where everything works out just fine. I’m dreaming of a world that I would love to be a part of. And because these characters are an extension of me, I’d love them to be perfect and happy. But let’s be honest, everyone wants perfection, right? You want to be that right weight or have perfect skin or beautiful hair. You want to be charitable, but rich, and very intelligent.

As an author, we have to remember that if we want readers to relate to our characters, they can’t be perfect. Perfect is boring. Readers want to see a happy-ever-after for characters that are like them. So, I give my boys and girls a quirk to make them not perfect. For Flynn, he’s shy and has a lack of confidence. He has type 1 diabetes and he’s a bit awkward at times. He’s always must thoroughly think about things before he does it and he hates that about himself.

And for Grayson, while he’s handsome and muscular, with the looks of a perfect specimen, he’s not perfect either. He has no filter and that annoys himself sometimes. He says things without thinking, the opposite of Flynn. He doesn’t watch TV (*Gasp* No TV? What kind of human being is he??? How can he and Flynn Netflix and chill??) and doesn’t understand some references that Flynn mentions.

So yes, they both have negatives and these realistic traits come from understanding people around you. As I began to write this story, these characters told me their negatives. They shared what they hated about themselves and I revelled in it. Putting certain aspects about a character into the story makes it more interesting. And I had fun with them! 🙂

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Yes and No. I write in many different genres and I usually like writing science fiction or paranormal because I can make up worlds and I already know a lot about the beings that are in that world. However, I do occasionally stick with contemporary, wherein depending on where the story is set, I do have to do some research. For Rushing Love, I definitely did research. I’ve never been to South Dakota, so I used friends’ knowledge, as well as watched youtube videos and researched on google.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I prefer a happy ever after, mostly because I’m a big old romantic and I like knowing that they spend the rest of their lives together. I’ve had plenty of good relationship role models in my life, from my nan and pop, to my mum and dad, and all I ever see in my stories is the love that lasts a lifetime.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I think there are positives and negatives to eBook format. While it’s inexpensive, thus allowing readers to buy and store more books, it also enables pirates to steal and share an author’s work. As it is, authors don’t get very much money and these pirates threaten their livelihood. But saying that, pirates would probably have never bought the book in paperback anyway. I think paperback still has buyers though, because there is something magical about holding a book in your hands, especially one of your favourites. So I believe eBooks and paperbacks can co-exist.

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

As a cover artist myself, I usually have an idea of what I want in my head. But at the same time, I don’t want to impede on an artist’s work, so I usually give the cover designer general pictures that I’m interested in, like characters and locations, and I let them run with their creative flow. And quite often, they’re right on the money. 🙂

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I think it’s hard for me to choose a favourite. I don’t have very many published works yet and I think they are all a favourite to me. Each story is a part of the author, so each one is special to them. And there is always something I wished I could change after the story is published. Lol. But they are perfect the way they are because that is what you wrote—what you wanted to say.

What’s next for you as an author?

So many things! Lol. I have so many works I want to finish, but at the moment, my priority is my Zombieville #2. I’m having enough zombie dreams to encourage me to finish it. I want to finish the series by the end of this year. As well as that, I’m working on a M/F story that I’m also hoping to finish soon, as well as plenty of others. As for attending events, I will be at Riveting Reads, which is held in Brisbane, Australia in October 😀



About the Author

If you’d like to follow me and find out more about upcoming releases, you can find me here:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/authormegbawden/

Twitter: @megbawden

MEG BAWDEN was born and raised in North Queensland, Australia. She’s loved stories since before she can remember and has always enjoyed creating characters of her own, even if it did begin with drawing faces on toilet rolls and giving them names. Writing has always been a passion of hers and she’s loved the M/M genre since 2004, the first book she read being Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez.

Writing M/M since 2007, Meg has never had the confidence to attempt publishing her own stories, but in 2015, she decided that it was all about to change thanks to the amazing friends she’s made in the M/M genre and their support and encouragement. So watch out world, Meg Bawden is coming out to have some fun!



Are you interested in winning some signed paperbacks from me? Then now is your chance:

a Rafflecopter giveaway