A Mika Review: Him for The Holidays by Jaxx Steele


Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Him for the Holidays coverDon meets Trevor when he goes home for the holidays. Could a long distance romance be his holiday wish come true?

Donald Bradley is home for the holidays. While running an errand for his mother, he meets Trevor Oxford, who is everything Don could ask for in a man. However, Don does not intend to have any type of relationship with him. Trevor lives and works in the small town and Don lives two hundred miles away in the city. Trevor is confident and aggressive in his pursuit of Don, who is confused by Trevor’s attentiveness. Don wants to run away from Trevor and run to him at the same time.
Could a long distance romance be just what Don needs to start the New Year? Will Don accept what Trevor has to offer, giving him what he really wants this holiday season?

This was a first for me by the author. It was cute while not all the way smart. By smart I mean taking unnecessary precautions during sexual intercourse. I’m a big safe sex person during my reads unless they’re discussed between the two characters. Obviously here wasn’t. I don’t know if I liked Donald or not, I feel like I didn’t get enough of back history for him to make any kind of judgment about his personality. I knew next to nothing of Trevor as well. Apart of me feels like I started reading this in the middle, there wasn’t a beginning for any buildup to happen between the two guys. It went from one meeting, to instant gratification. Some people might appreciate that, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

I wanted to know more of Trevor, he was this guy who came back to town to help run his uncle’s store, and he was also an R.N. Like I said previously I didn’t connect with either character. I wouldn’t recommend this based as it felt incomplete. It ended… that’s it. No grand gestures, no empty promises. I don’t even know if Donald knows Trevor last name.

Cover Art by Posh Gosh. Since we never discussed the guys ages, I’m guessing these two could be seen as Donald & Trevor. They both seem kind of older than the two in the book, though and it really doesn’t invite me in.

Sales Links:    Totally Bound        Others to come:     All Romance (ARe)      amazon            buy it here

Book Details:

eBook, 42 pages.
December 2014 by Totally Bound
Edition Language: English

Sammy’s Best Books of 2014!


Best Books of 2014

Sammy’s Best Books of 2014

This has been a great year for stories, especially of the M/M variety. From sci-fi to contemporary, a lot of amazing books came out, and here are just some of my favorites.

From Love’s Landscapes – Amazing(ly free) stories from great minds:
The Arroyo by M. Caspian
If At First You Don’t Succeed by K.C. Faelan
A Pale Shadow by Eon Beaumont
Where Willows Won’t Grow by Lia Black

Wonderful new additions to series-worth-reading:
Dirty Deeds by Rhys Ford
Offside Chance by Mercy Celeste
⇝ Sense of Place by N.R. Walker *
Stay by Riley Hart
Strength of the Mate by Kendall McKenna

And first books in exciting new series’s:
⇝ Mark Cooper Versus America by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock *
The Right Words by Lane Hayes

New authors making impressive debuts:
⇝ Making Nice by Elizah J. Davis *
Out in the Open by A.J. Truman
Straight Boy by Alessandra Hazard

Some that were just plain great:
The Last Thing He Needs by J.H. Knight

A couple not actually published in 2014, but that I read in 2014 and simply must mention
Chase the Storm by V.M. Waitt
Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan

And a drumroll for the top reads of the year for me…
A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews
Les faits accomplis by Anna Martin

* = review coming soon to STRW

Here’s to 2015 being an equally awesome year for books!

Barb, the Zany Old Lady’s Best Book Covers of 2014


Best Covers of 2014 copy



Barb, the Zany Old Lady’s Best Book Covers of 2014

My favorite covers in order of favorites (though it’s hard to choose):


Grand Adventures coverDance coverIntoWindBAMF book cover






Grand Adventures by S.A. McAuley et al, Artist Paul Richmond
Dance by Teodora Kostova
Into the Wind by Shira Anthony, Anne Cain
BAMF by S.J.D. Peterson, Cover Artist Reese Dante

Something Like LIghtning coverThe art of BreathingTraining Session coverBlackbird Knitting in a Bunny's Lair cover







Something Like Lightning by Jay Bell, unknown
The Art of Breathing by T.J. Klune, artist Paul Richmond
Training Season by Leta Blake, unknown
Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair by Amy Lane


Hell or High Water coverNecropolis cover
Hell & High Water by Charlie Cochet, artist L.C. Chase
Necropolis by Jordan L. Hawk, unknown

Cover Reveal for Nights Like These by Chris Scully (book tour and contest)



blue question mark

Book Name: Nights Like These
Author Name: Chris Scully

Author Bio:

CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada where she grew up spinning romantic stories in her head. When the tedium of a corporate day job grew too much, she took a chance and found her creative escape in writing. Always searching for something different, she has discovered a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve.

Author Contact:


A few questions to get to know the author a little better….

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Every writer is on their own path—we have different things we hope to get out of the experience and different philosophies about it, so it’s difficult to give advice.

Writing is like golf. In a sense you’re competing against yourself, trying to do better in each outing. For me, writing is a never ending process of self-improvement. And so, I think the most practical piece of advice I can offer anyone serious about writing is to think of it like any other profession; expect to work hard, take the occasional training, embrace continuous learning, and practice, practice, practice so that you can perform better. Learn to accept critical feedback and recognize that without it you can’t improve. If you get a bad review, don’t give up—work on it. No writer is perfect. Work on developing those technical skills. Take a creative writing course, join a writer’s group, or check out many of the free online writing resources out there. Not because I think you can teach someone to be a writer, but because it will show you ways to improve the skills you already possess.

I definitely practice what I preach. When two early beta readers commented that Nights Like These was too slow and boring, I did some research on mystery writing and found my issue right away—I was breaking the cardinal rule of mysteries, which is to introduce the “mystery” within the first 3 chapters. Even though I’m a mystery reader, that bit of advice was something I hadn’t really considered before.

When it comes to technical writing tips, the most valuable thing I ever learned (and would like to pass on) was to show, not tell. “Show, don’t tell” is the first rule of writing, and yet so many people don’t follow it. I’m not sure why—maybe they don’t understand it, or maybe it’s too difficult. But if you want to elevate your characters, you have to do this.

Because I’m a visual thinker, the trick for me has always been to imagine my story as a movie or TV show. If you’re writing a script, you can’t just describe a character’s personality or backstory—you have to show it in the way they act, the way they dress, the way they talk. Sometimes you have to parse it out. If your character is a workaholic lawyer, don’t just write that…show it. Maybe the secretary says “Did you stay here all night, again?” His girlfriend complains “I never see you anymore.” Another trick is to write a profile of your character, listing all his attributes. Then for each of those, list an example of how you would demonstrate that—those become your scenes. Yes, it’s more work to do this, but your characters will thank you in the end.
Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I’m a hobby junky, although I rarely stick with them for long. Over the years my hobbies have included sewing (primarily historical costumes), gardening, interior design/ home renovations, architecture (I’m obsessed with Frank Lloyd Wright), acrylic painting, jigsaw puzzles. Reading is the only one that has really stuck with me from the beginning.



Publisher: Dreamspinner PressNightsLikeTheseORIG_final_v01
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Sales Links: Dreamspinner eBook & Paperback


Starting over sucks. At forty, Miles Koprowski thought he had life all figured out. He had a nice car, a hot young lover, and a cushy job… and then he didn’t. Call it fate, or karma, or a downturn in the market, but this opinionated cynic is now forced to play rent-a-cop in a dying office building in the burbs just to make ends meet. Throw in an unhinged ex, a coworker who hates him, and a hot new boss, and suddenly everything is uncertain.

Miles doesn’t plan on liking the night shift or becoming embroiled in a mystery that reawakens old passions and puts him in danger. And he certainly doesn’t plan on falling for the overbearing head of security, Colton Decker, former soldier and doting dad. But nights like these can change a man, make him start to believe there’s more to life than a high paying job and a warm body in his bed. With a thief on the loose and his new job in jeopardy, Miles will have to decide what’s truly important. He might discover things he never knew he wanted… as long as he makes it through the night.
Categories: Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery


“Why don’t you watch where you’re going, dumb—” I managed to sputter before my mouth stopped working entirely and dropped open. The ability to speak, to think, deserted me at the first sight of the hunky stranger standing in front of me, his face contorted with apology as he tried to mop up my sodden jacket with a handful of napkins. He was a few inches taller than me—closer to six feet—and on the stocky side. His broad shoulders filled out a nicely tailored suit, and he projected an air of confidence that I’d never be able to pull off in a million years. He was clean-shaven too, with a dark buzz cut that made me long to run a hand over his head simply to feel the texture. And gorgeous. Did I happen to mention that?

In short, he was the kind of guy you’d want to be stranded with on a deserted island; the kind you could count on to save you. If you were so inclined. Me? I didn’t need saving.

A pair of friendly, light-colored eyes now stared back at me, bemused. Odd that his lips were moving, but no sound was coming out.

“What?” I asked, blinking back to attention. I couldn’t remember the last time anyone had literally made me speechless. Me, Miles Koprowski, who never met a silence he didn’t want to fill.

Hell, I couldn’t recall the last time I’d been on the receiving end of a full-body pat-down either. At least not so quickly. His hands were still drifting over my chest, wiping up the last drips of coffee, and the simple touch was doing alarming things to my heart rate.

“Are you okay?” he demanded. “Did you get burned?” Before I could react, he seized my wrist and held my hand up for inspection. Strong, lightly calloused fingers, I added to my mental list. Working hands. Dumbly, I looked down. The skin on the back of my right hand was red and stung like a son of a bitch, but it wasn’t blistering. I did flinch slightly when he skimmed his thumb over the sensitive area, but not from pain, more from the touch itself. My entire body lit up, as though I’d stuck a finger in an electrical socket. “It doesn’t look too bad. I think you’ll live. Put some aloe on it when you get home.”

“Doctor?” I croaked, because really, that would be too perfect.

“Nope. Just seen a lot of injuries.” His lips twitched with barely contained amusement. “Sorry to disappoint you.” Sense of humor, check

Words: 69,000
BlueNLTBadgeTour Dates/Tour Stops:

Parker Williams, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, The Hat Party, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Queer Town Abbey, Havan Fellows, Amanda C. Stone, Gaylist Book Reviews Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Love Bytes, Fallen Angel Reviews, Molly Lolly, Bayou Book Junkie, Inked Rainbow Reads, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, EE Montgomery, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, MM Good Book Reviews, My Fiction Nook, Cate Ashwood, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Velvet Panic, Andrew Q. Gordon, Kristy’s Brain Food

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