Review: Frostwick (Wick 1.5) by Megan Derr

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Rating: 4.25 stars

FrostwickStarwick is a Frostwick and a shadow of King of Lyus.  It was while he was on a mission for the king when he and the Crown Prince were attacked by a sorcerer thief intent on killing the Prince and stealing the royal seal he wore. When the thief threw a killing curse at the prince, Starwick stepped forward and took the curse upon himself.  Now Starwick is dying, his death postponed by a magical wards that hold off his death as long as he remains in the closest of proximities to the charmwick who cast it.  But the charmwick whose wards support Starwick? That would be Tyrwick, a master swordwick as well as charmwick and the bastard son of the King.  And Starwick has been in love with the black coated Tyrwick for years, a feeling that has never been returned.

Now the two must travel together to Draius, home of the Wick School and the most concentrated group of Wicks known throughout the Kingdoms.  Here they must find a spell to counteract the killing curse, aid in helping to apprehend the thief, and recover the powerful ring before the thief strikes again.  But the curse is getting stronger, and Tyrwick’s cold, disregard is sending Starwick into the depths of despair.  When all looks to be lost, can hope and a hidden love come forward to save Frostwick?

Frostwick is a short story, 64 pages, that  manages to bring back all the couples from one of my favorite books, Wick, by Megan Derr.  Wicks are sorcerers or magicians and each has one or more specialties or fields they control.  There are swordwicks (masters of fighting and protection), lyrewicks (masters of song magic), firewicks, waterwicks, well, you get the idea.  Once their power manifests itself, usually at a young age, then wick is added to the last part of their name.  Star became Starwick when he found he could not only control water but water in its cold forms of ice, snow, etc.  Starwick is first mentioned in various stories in Wick as he was the romantic love of two brothers, neither affair ending well.

Typical of Megan Derr, Starwick is not an easy man to like, he doesn’t even like himself very much.  He despises the job he does for the king,  along the line of  being a royal assassin.  Starwick has many layers to him and the same abusive background that the other wicks who attended the Royal College for Wicks suffered.  He is paired with an equally enigmatic character of Tyrwick, who treats Starwick with a rough distain. Readers of Derr’s previous novels will realize quickly that all is not what it seems between the two men and the joy is in Derr’s storyline, watching the interplay between the men, especially once they reach Draius where all the other wicks await them.  They are all here.  Creawick (my favorite), Tolkiwick, Roswick, Tolliwick,Fenwick, and all the others.  How I love them all.

And then there is the matter of the plot, which is a nifty one.  A charmwick thief throws a killing curse on the Prince which fails, but still manages to steal the ring.  He too has managed to get to Draius where he needs to steal a book Tokiwick has to help him use the power of the ring.  Megan Derr builds up our anxiety over Starwick and Tyrwick’s quest as Starwick’s pain is becoming increasingly debilitating and he loses all hope.  Powerful stuff.  The reader just aches as Starwick gives up and prepares to die, his pain made worse by having to be so close to the man he loves unrequitedly.

Here is the problem.  Frostwick is just too short to wrap up this intense, complicated story.  The end comes before you are prepared for it, and in a manner that leaves far too many questions unanswered, including who the thief was and why he wanted the Crown Prince dead.  The ending was so abrupt that I couldn’t quite believe it when I reached the last page.  The shortness of length also hurts when it comes to explaining who all these characters are, their backstories and interlocking relationships.  If you come to this book without first reading Wick, you will be utterly lost. And if you come to this book after reading Wick, you will end up a little frustrated at having so little time spent with characters you love.

But did I love this book with all the quibbles I had with it?  Yes, I did because even a short time spent with any and all of the wicks is time well spent.  And there is always the promise of more books in the Wick universe.  So yes, pick this book up but not before you start with the first one, Wick.  Or pick them both up and settle to indulge yourself in a remarkable universe full of vivid locations, wild and wonderful creations and wicks  of all sorts.

Herre are the stories in the order they should be read:

Wick (Wick #1) – read my review here.

Frostwick (Wick    #1.5)

Lovely cover designed by Megan Derr.

The Week Ahead in Reviews and Welcome 2013

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Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and the official end to 2012.  There have been plenty of highs and lows, especially lows that I am ready to let 2012 go and not mourn the loss.  But 2012 also brought me some lovely new friends, especially in our DC Metro Area M/M Romance group, my blog turned one year old and of course, Kirby found his way to our household to liven things up even further.

Today is the Redskins versus the Cowboys game (tonight actually) so this will be short and  sweet.  Yes, I know I said I was going to give them up, but then RGIII arrived, my  backbone noodled out, so I am once more a  rabid followers, sigh.

This is what our week ahead looks like:

Monday, Dec. 31st:                           Frostwick by Megan Derr

Tuesday, Jan. 1st:                             Scattered Thoughts New Year Wishes

Wed., Jan 2nd:                                  Cover Up by KC Burn

Thursday, Jan 3rd:                           Final Look at Dreamspinner Press Advent Stories

Friday, Jan 4th:                                 Bayou Loop by Lynn Lorenz

Saturday, Jan 5th:                             All I Want Is You by Marguerite Labbe

Thank you all for reading and commenting.  I hope you will stay with me in 2013.  Happy New Year from Kirby and myself and the rest of the terriers!

Scattered Thoughts Best Book Covers of 2012

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Once again its time to talk book covers and book cover design.  I have talked previously about my favorite covers from childhood and how the mere sight of a great cover in the window of a bookstore would draw me in like the scent of cheese to a mouse.  If the cover is the magnet the publisher and author uses to attract readers, there are certain principles of design that used to be taken into consideration to make that cover the one that grabs peoples attention, that yells look at me, that makes them want to know what that book is about.

For printed books, the designer has to look at several things such as book size, typographic palette (how blocks of text are located on a cover), book covers, book spines and fonts. With respect to eBooks, spines aren’t relevant, nor is book size, at least how it is normally used in the publisher world. It’s not the actual physical size that matters here with eBooks but that readers are often looking at a smaller graphic when choosing eBooks.  So now smaller has to make an even greater impact.  All the other design elements remain the same.  Book covers, whether for print or electronic books, must be compelling enough to make the reader to choose that book, to persuade the customer that what is inside is fascinating, marvelous stuff.

Another rule is that the book cover should match the book it is being designed for. Whether the design is simple or rich in detail, elegant or street tough, uses a cover model or an illustration, there should be no disconnect between the subject matter inside and out.  I can’t tell you how many times I thought nice cover but what does it have to do with the subject of the book? And it if is a book series, then all the covers should be similar enough to brand each book a part of a series, one glance tells you who the author is and what series you are reading (ex. Abigail Roux’s Cut & Run series with a singular object on the cover). A great book cover makes you anticipate, endows you with a need to discover.

On every review I write I also mention the covers and the cover artists.  There are always some cover artists who continue to turn out one enticing cover after another, there are some artists you  can identify just by looking at the style of the design or paintings on the cover (Paul Richmond, Posh Gosh). And then this year saw a new artist or two whose cover reached out with it’s compelling designs and emotional overtones.  This  year also saw a trend towards retro illustrations and design which I loved and others whose richness in color and detail left me gasping in delight.  It was hard to narrow the covers down as there were so many worthy of mention, so I did break it down into a few categories.

So here they are, Scattered Thoughts Best Covers of 2012(with apologies in advance for the formatting problems):

Historical Novels:

On the Trail to Moonlight Gulch by Shelter Somerset/Artist Anne Cain

The Mystery of Ruby Lode by Scotty Cade / Artist Reese Dante

The Celestial by Barry Brennessel/ Artist Winterheart Designs

On the Trail to Moonlight Gulch2

The Mystery of Ruby Lode 2

The Celestial 2

]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contemporary Novels:

Acrobat by Mary Calmes/ Artist Anne Cain

Mine by Mary Calmes/Artist Anne Cain

Mourning Heaven by Amy Lane/Artist Paul Richmond

Sidecar by Amy Lane/Artist Shoshana Appavu

Time Gone By by Jan Suzukawa/Artist Anne Cain

Turkey in the Snow by Amy Lane/Artist Catt Ford

Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C/Artist Reese Dante

Acrobat2

Mine 2

Mourning Heaven 2

 Sidecar2

Wake me up inside  2

Turkey in the Snow cover

Time Gone By cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasy/Supernatural Novels:

The Ronin and The Fox by Cornelia Grey/Artist Nathie

A Token of Time by Ethan Day/Artist Winterheart Design

roninandthefox_2

A Token of Time 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Novels:

Burn by TJ Klune/Artist Catt Ford

Josh of the Damned, Triple Feature by Andrea Speed/Artist LC Chase

Riot Boy by Katey Hawthorne/Artist P.L. Nunn

Burn2

Riotboy2

Josh of the Damned TripleFeature2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Series:

Infected Series by Andrea Speed/ Artist Anne Cain

Knitting series by Amy Lane/Artist Catt Ford

Leopard’s Spots series by Bailey Bradford/Artist Posh Gosh

Lost Gods by Megan Derr/Artist London Burdon

Gilbert 2

Stone Rose 2

Infected Lesser Evils 2

How to Raise An Honest Rabbit cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were so many others I wished to include and I know you have your favorites too.  Write and let me know who you feel should have been on that list (King Perry, Fallout to name a few that came close).  Check out the individual reviews to see the covers in greater detail and read about the books they so beautifully covered!

Play It Again Charlie cover

Review: Beau and the Beast by Rick R. Reed

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Rating: 4.5 stars

Beau and the Beast coverBeau is a street artist barely scrapping painting portraits of tourists by on the pier in Seattle.  On a good day, he makes enough selling his portraits to get a room in a hourly motel for the night and some soup for dinner.  And on the bad days? Well, the doorways of shops are his home and  hunger his companion. On this night, Beau’s feeble luck runs out.  He is late leaving his customary location on the pier and is making his way back the alleyway where he will sleep when he is jumped and brutally attacked by a gang of thugs.  When Beau awakens, he is bandaged and alone in a luxurious bed unable to remember what has happened to him. Then a terrifying figure opens to the door to the bedroom. The man’s form is huge and formidable but it is what he is wearing on his face that frightens Beau.  The man is wearing a hood and the mask of a wolf, all Beau can see are his eyes, eyes that ask Beau to trust him.

When Beau can talk, he finds out that the man rescued him and brought him home to heal from the attack.  When asked his  name, all he says is to call him “Beast” because that is who he is.  As Beau heals, the two men grow close but the “Beast” will disclose little of who he is. Beau yearns to know more about the man behind the mask, the man he is falling in love with.  When faced with the reality behind the Beast’s mask, will the burgeoning love  Beau feels for the Beast be destroyed or is beauty truly in the eye of the beholder?

Beau and the Beast is Rick R. Reed’s version of the timeless tale, “Beauty and the Beast,” by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont.  Rick R. Reed has remained true to the original story while still putting his own touches to a tale renown for its storied love affair and message of the heart.  The concept of love being so strong that it can overcome all obstacles including a hideous visage is so profound, so awe inspiring that we have seen version after version of this fairy tale, from the animated Disney movie to the wonderful television series Beauty and the Beast from the 80’s.  Now Rick R. Reed adds his book to the list of renditions and it is a most welcome one.

Reed’s love for this story carries through his version in every aspect.  The author depicts Beau’s harsh life with vivid descriptions, bringing us close to the young artist barely making it through life.  And Reed’s Beast is both enigmatic and majestic beneath his wolf mask.  The author’s gifted narrative pulls in the reader so throughly that you can feels the loneliness of the lives they lead and how fear is keeping them back from the love they are starting to feel for each other.  It is so easy for their emotions to become yours. Rick R. Reed’s Beau and the Beast is both haunting and lovely, doing more than justice to the original that inspired him.

I have read other books by Rick R. Reed but this is the first that I have reviewed, a fact I can’t understand as I have always enjoyed his writing.  So look forward to more of this author’s works to be reviewed here.  They range from the humorous to the dramatic, and I will be reviewing both. If you are not familiar with Rick R. Reed, definitely start here.  You won’t be sorry.  My only quibble with this story is I wished for much more as it is only 62 pages long.  A perfect length, however, for a winter’s eve or afternoon before the fireplace, to revisit a fairytale reborn once more.

Review: A Gentleman’s Agreement by J. Roman

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Rating: 3.75 stars

A Gentleman's AgreementThomas Derrik is about to have the worst Christmas of his life. Three days before the holiday, he finds out the father he doesn’t get along with is arriving on Christmas Eve, his ex-lover and new brother-in-law will be staying at his estate until the New Year, and his beloved brother, Edmund, has died.

Luckily, Edmund’s last holiday scheme may well save Thomas’s Christmas: Henry Appleby, a young lord fresh from the Continent, has arranged to court Thomas. But the family tragedy and jealous exes may put an end to the romance before it begins.

I really liked the tone and characters of this book from the beginning. J. Roman gives us a credible character in the grieving Thomas Derrick. Thomas is facing so many major losses only 3 days from Christmas.  His beloved younger brother has been killed in battle, the  man he has loved since childhood has married his sister, supposedly to remain close to him but a more bitter betrayal Thomas has never felt.  And finally, his father who disapproves of his heir, is returning to the family home, just in time to pressure Thomas to marry and make his life even more miserable than it already is.

I have not read anything by J. Roman before, but the author has a wonderful way with characters.  Thomas’ grief is palpable. The author manages to make the reader feel both Thomas’ stress and pain as well as the fact that losing his brother has left Thomas unable to deal with Darrow, the man he has been having an affair with since they were young.  Darrow has married Thomas’ sister but continues his pursuit of Thomas.  There are so many complications in Thomas’ life that it almost renders him unable to react. J. Roman captures the  time and period beautifully and kept me engaged right up to the time this story ran completely off the rails and into fantasyland.

A Gentleman’s Agreement had me enthralled and all the historic elements were detailed and precise, then Roman asks the reader to suspend their belief to accept the fact that Edmund, Thomas’ brother, had planned to send a male suitor to his brother as well as the man’s sister with the intent that Thomas marries the sister but in turn really takes on the brother as his mate.  And do you know?  I could accept that.  Edmund is supposedly a master planner and manipulator, so I could see that happening.  But then, it turns out His Lordship, Thomas’ father accepts that as well.  Part of the agreement is that the sister may take whomever as a lover and that Thomas would raise the children as his own.  Acceptable except that it would mean the title would be passed down to someone not of their linage and I could never see that ever being acceptable to Thomas’ father.  And from there it gets increasingly strange and unbelievable.  True, all the events that pass are unbelievable in a lovely Christmas  miracle kind of way but still not plausible outside of a fairy tale.

So you have a wonderful historic Christmas tale that quickly devolves into a fantasy that takes place in the past.  It is still kind of lovely, but only in that novelty sort of way.  But there is so much promise in this tale that I am off to discover what else J. Roman has written.  So if you want your history and fantasy too, you will enjoy this.

Catt Ford was the artist for this amazing cover.

Review of Sullivan (Leopard’s Spots #7) by Bailey Bradford

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Rating: 2.5 stars

Sullivan Leopards Spots 7Sullivan “Sully” Ward is heading off to college, full of excitement and ready to try new things, a true small town boy come to the big city.  Sully lands in Texas, San Antonia to be exact, ready for life as a student at UTSA and to see what life in San Antonio will hold for a young inexperienced leopard  shifter.  And it isn’t long before he runs into trouble in the wrong side of town and ends up saving a young hustler named Mando.  Mando is under age , just another teenager thrown away because his parents didn’t want a gay son.  Sully takes him into the awful apartment he rented online, feeds him as Mando reminds him of his younger brother and decides now Mando has a home with him.

When he talks to his parents back home, his story stirs up concerns that Sully is in over his head so they contact Bobby Baker, the wolf shifter brother to Josiah, pack alpha and mate to Sully’s cousin.  Bobby and his pack live in San Antonio. All Bobby has to do is check to make sure  Sully is fine and that Mando isn’t a trouble maker.  But from the first meeting, it is clear the trouble is not from Mando but from the fact that Sully and Bobby are mates.  Sully is ignorant of the effect it has on the partners who have found their mates but Bobby isn’t.  He knows Sully is his mate and it scares him enough to send him running after a bout of intense sex, especially for a virgin like Sully.

To make matters worse, there is a psycho stalking Bobby’s pack and an arsonist loose setting fires in Bobby’s clubs. And they both appear to be targeting Bobby and anyone Bobby loves.  Bobby must come to grips with his destiny and accept Sully as his mate and soon.  Sully and Bobby have an arsonist to track and in a horrifying turn of events, an attack to revenge.

Out of the seven books of the Leopard’s Spots series, this is the worst by far.  Bradford is getting farther away from the unique elements of this series, that of the Leopard Shifter history, their interaction with the Amur Leopards, and the mystery of a group of people intent on drugging and experimenting on them.  All of that is not even mentioned here as we track back to the wolf shifters of Texas that are attached to the story via Josiah and Oscar (Leopard’s Spots #2).  But that is the least of the problems here.

Bobby Baker was introduced in the last book and he was an exciting, exasperating character.  I would have hoped that if Bradford was going to abandon the Amur Leopards, at least we would have a good book out of it.  But instead we get a book that is 5 percent promise, mostly because of the character of Mando, the vulnerable, underage hustler Sully has taken under his wing and his “brother like” relationship with Sully.  Those scenes were charming, endearing, funny and held out the promise that the rest of the book would be of a similar vein.  Not so as the remaining 95 percent focuses in on the mate relationship between Bobby and Sully.This turns out to be much less affecting as they  have little chemistry as a couple, and Bobby spends most of the book fighting his role as Sully’s mate.  His club is literally burning down around him,a person close to Sully is heinously attacked by the nutjob stalking Bobby, and the two of them are having ridiculous amounts of sex and paying no attention to anything else.  These two act in such an irrational manner that the reader’s frustrations almost exceed the amount of sex they are having.

Finally, most of the goodwill this book generates is destroyed in a grievous attack on a character we have come to adore.  Mostly because it seems superfluous to the rest of the action going on and the depth of emotional and physical destruction visited upon this person is really unnecessary. It really seems such a waste of characters that had such marvelous potential and a mess of a storyline that was resolved far too quickly for the buildup and really made little sense.

I will probably stick with this series because I can’t believe it can get much worse than this.  But like a TV columnist says in his intro, “I watch these shows so you don’t have to”.  I will just say I am reading these books so you don’t have to.  And trust my word,  you really don’t want to read Sullivan (Leopard’s Spots #7).

Levi (Leopards Spots #1)

Oscar (Leopards Spots #2) read my review here.

Timothy (Leopards Spots #3) read my review here

Isaiah (Leopards Spots #4) read my review here

Gilbert (Leopards Spots #5) read my review here

Esau (Leopards Spots #6)

Sullivan (Leopards Spots #7)

Thoughts on Book Covers, and eBooks or is Fabio Obsolete?

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Lately I have been thinking about books. I know, I know….like that is anything new.  But two things have made me give another look at two book-related items I have always taken for granted.  Book covers and dust jackets.

First, a look at book covers.  I hate to admit it but when I think of book covers, the first thing that jumps to mind are those lurid, over the top paperback covers for bodice rippers.  For a time they prominently featured a model called Fabio and made him a star.  But they always had a damsel in distress and featured a gorgeous guy, long hair flowing, with a shirt artlessly opened to show a muscled chest.  Get me a fan now! Uh hem….back to the point I was making. I also remember those beloved gothic romances I couldn’t get enough of.  You could always tell a gothic book from its cover.  Dark, either on a moor or near a forest, mansion/castle placed nearby.  A heroine in a long diaphanous garb flees, head turned backwards.  Didn’t matter who the author was, you knew what you were getting as you browsed the aisles of the bookstore. Now we have books bought online.  Whether it is from epublishers like Dreamspinner Press or Loose Id, or from Amazon (Kindle) or Barnes and Noble (Nook), how does a book attract me as a buyer?

As my local bookstores disappear (another discussion for another time), most of my books are bought online.  First, the author.  There are authors who are must buys for me so that’s obvious.  But the cover is no longer the first draw when it comes to eBooks.  Why is that? The answers to that question are varied and numerous.  When looking at books online, the covers by necessity are small, and sometimes hard to see.  The publishers and artists designing the covers should take this in mind but too often, the covers are designed as though it was a print version only.  I can see this if the book is to be released in both formats.  The publisher wants to avoid confusion and brand the book.  Fine.  But what about those books published only online? Or those self published by those with no design background?  Cheap covers, muddled covers, or covers just too busy with multiple fonts, and hard to see graphics can be the end result.  That is not to say there aren’t wonderful artists out there producing great eBook covers because there are. Its just that the cover alone is not enough to grab my attention.

So how do I choose a book these days? I have come to depend on book excerpts, blurbs and synopses to help make my decision as to what book to read next.  Also reviews and recommendations.  Newsletters from publishers and reviewer blogs figure into my book selections too. The last thing to figure into my choice?  That would be the cover.  I still appreciate them, love to look at them, and sometimes laugh at them. They definitely add to my reading enjoyment.  But covers are no longer the major factor in choosing to buy a book that they once were for me.  At least when it comes to buying online.

Ahhhh.,,,,but get me in a bookstore for a hour or a day, then the book cover reigns supreme once again.  Like jewels sparkling at a jewelers, the covers with their different fonts, colors and graphics call out to me.  They beckon me with their promise of new horizons and mysterious strangers.  And for that, I will always be grateful for those publishers, authors, artists, and even models who have adorned book covers both past, present and future. Thanks for the memories, thanks for the hard work, and thanks for all the joy to come.  And no Fabio will never be obsolete!

Covers From My Past:

Ebook Covers I Like:

Over Used Models (see StumblingOverChaos.com – Misadventures in Stock Photography) where, like Fabio, some cover models are used over and over again, like the guy in the covers below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Link on Cover Design:  http://ilona-andrews.com/2011/09/15/cover-design

Link on Ugly Cover Contest:  http://thepassivevoice/05/2011/the-agent-as-publisher-ugly-cover-contest-winner

And about those dust jackets?  That’s our blog for another day.

Review of A Great Miracle Happened by Kim Fielding

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Rating: 4.75 stars

A Great Miracle HappenedJude Bloch is sitting at his usual table at the  coffee shop in Chicago, far away from his family in LA.  He has done his shopping for Hannukah, mailed his presents and is now free to work on his dissertation but is having little progress.  Until the door opens up and the wind blows in handsome chef Mac Appel to share his table in the crowded shop.  A casual conversation slides into a one-night stand that turns into a series of meetings each man starts to anticipate and treasure.  At the end of eight days, a miraculous change has occurred in Jude’s holiday outlook and love has found it’s way into his heart.

I am still thinking about this story days later, amazed at how the story affected me by the end of Jude and Mac’s tale.  When Kim Fielding’s story opens upon a grouchy Jude sitting by his lonesome at a table, I was not prepared for what a charming gem of a story this turned out to be.  I loved Jude Bloch, and it’s from his POV that the story is told, so we get a very clear vision or so we think of Jude and his feelings of the holidays and relationships.  Mac Appel is so full of life and joy that he pulls the reader in at the same time he is having the same effect on Jude.  He quickly endeared himself to me as well.

But Fielding is such a gifted writer that she crafts a story that slowly peals back the layers Jude has built around himself by allowing  Mac to do the skillful filleting of Jude’s barriers, the perfect occupation for a chef.    And little by little, we start to see Jude as Mac does, a person who needs people but has been so disappointed by them, especially his family.  As Mac surreptitiously starts courting Jude, we see the lonely doctoral student start to reconnect with all around him.  By the time the story has come to its conclusion, it is humming with joy and the promise of a wonderful future for them both.

I can’t recommend this story enough.  Heartwarming, gentle, a true gem of this season and every  year after.

Twas the Week Before Christmas Poem And My Reviews!

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Twas The Night Before Christmas (with my apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house,santa-paws-dog-christmas-outfit-urbanpup

all the creatures were bonkers, even the house mouse.

All the stockings were ready to hang with great care

but then Kirby found them, ate some and gave us a great scare.

Then a present was trampled (don’t ask) so off to the store we ran,

to see lots of  people frazzled and scrambling, grabbing whatever they can

So home we trudged to  our brightly lit house,

where penguins and snowmen blinked and waved all about.

Inside there awaited dog bones and treats galore, some cookies,

And carrot cake, eggnog and much more.

The yarn was stocked up, backup projects at hand, all was ready, all was right!

So we got out the wine and said to all Merry Christmas and a most jolly good night!

Review Schedule:

So here we are at Christmas week and still cooking to do.  Here is my schedule for the week, barring problems with elves and reindeer mishaps:

Monday, 12/24:              A Great Miracle Happens There by Kim Fielding

Tuesday, 12/25:              Thoughts on Books Covers, Books or is Fabio Obsolete?

Wednesday, 12/26:        A Gentleman’s Agreement by J. Roman

Thursday, 12/27:            Sullivan (Leopard’s Spots #7) by Bailey Bradford

Friday, 12/28:                 Beau and the Beast by Rick R. Reed

Saturday, 12/29              Scattered Thoughts Best Covers of 2012

That’s the plan, and you know what they say about plans…… anyhow, Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Solstice at day late!

Reviews of Last Tree Standing by Julia Talbot and Yes, Darling by Dawn Kimberly Johnson

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Continuing my reviews of the Dreamspinner 2012 Advent Stories, here are two sweet stories for your Holiday Reading:

Last Tree STanding

Last Tree Standing by Julia Talbot

Rating: 3.75 stars

When Foster needs a Christmas tree at the last minute for his roommate’s little girl, he went to the only Christmas tree lot in town that still had a tree for sale.  But someone else got there and needed a tree too.  Dr. Levi McBride is in desperate need of a tree for the children in his cancer ward at the hospital when their supplier failed to show up.  Both men need the tree and work out a deal that will not only get each man the Christmas tree he needs, but just perhaps that romantic love both have been searching for.

Last Tree Standing is a sweet, endearing short story about two men finding each other at Christmas time.  Foster and Levi are both such lovely men and the mission they re on is a wonderful one, they each need a tree so as not to disappoint children at Christmas,  One for his roommate’s daughter whose dad didn’t pick her up for Christmas as planned and the other for sick children in a hospital.  As they compromise and find a solution to both their problems, the attraction between them grows until by the end of the night, they realize that they are also perfect for each other.  A short story with its heart in the right place.

 

 

Yes, DarlingYes, Darling by Dawn Kimberly Johnson

Rating: 3 stars

Coby Darling is back in town and his former lover, Baker Brockton is surprised to see him.  It has been a year since Coby left town after breaking up with Baker over his closeted status.  Coby wanted Baker to acknowledge that Coby was his boyfriend and Baker wanted to keep their relationship hidden as well as the fact that Baker was gay.  Now Coby is back to see if Baker has changed his mind and ready to renew their relationship if he has.

Baker is still firmly in the closet but Coby gives him one last chance at love.  Will Baker take it or will  Coby leave, this time for good?

I really wanted to like this story more than I did.  Johnson gives us two characters, only one of whom I liked.  The other, Baker, was just too much a cardboard character for me to make that job into believing his reasons to be closeted and for cutting off Coby to begin with.  Just the fact that Baker says he still loves Coby but is furious that the demands to be to be out are the same just didn’t make any sense.  And the device Johnson used to bring Baker to his senses was not radical enough for me to believe his change of heart.  Still, if you want to look no further than a simple love story between two young men who love each other above all odds, this just might be the one for you.