A Stella Review: For Want of a Christmas Miracle by Olley White

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Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars

For Want of a Christmas MIracleWhen one down-on-his-luck gardener and one garden centre owner meet, neither could predict the attraction they’d feel towards each other. Toby is just about turning round the business he’d inherited from his dad, and it’s all going well—until a risk he took looks like it might not pay off. Rhys’s employment at Toby’s garden centre is temporary, just to cover the Christmas sales, and frankly he’d much rather be outside gardening. And avoiding Christmas.

When an accident means Toby can’t be at work at a crucial time, it’s time for Rhys to step up to the mark. But can the Christmas Scrooge make the difference required for the man he’s starting to love?

 

Honestly For Want of a Christmas Miracle by Olley White was not a success to me. I love a holiday story and I read a lot of them this past December. Although it was a lovely read it wasn’t what I was hoping for in a Christmas story. First of all, it lacked in clarity about the characters, starting with their ages for example or more background.

Something in the writing then didn’t work well. Not sure yet what it was but often I had to reread various sentences. The bigger problem is that the book and the relationship between Toby and Rhys, while likeable and sweet, weren’t really engaging. On the contrary I struggled a little because I got bored. What I liked was the actual development in the plot and the good ending. So to me this short story was yes, enjoyable but it lacked too many things to give it three full stars.

 Cover Art by Aria Tan is really cute and I particularly like light and bright colors in covers, in this case the white of the snow. Well done.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press   | Amazon

Book Details:

Published December 6th 2015 by NineStar Press
Kindle Edition, 59 pages
ASIN B01915JE4C
Edition Language English
Holiday Hopes series #1

 

A Paul B Review: The Harvest: A Tah’Narian Christmas (The Harvest #3) by M.A. Church

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars    ★★★★★

The Harvest 3It has been five years since last we checked in on the planet of Tah’Nar.  Keyno and Dale are raising their six-year-old twins, Radeon and Szin.  While Radeon has inherited the Tah’Narian genes, Sziin, who is mostly human,  can usually hold his own against his twin.   The most important thing is that they still share their special link that they developed while Dale was carrying them.

As the calendar turns toward the end of the year, Dale is feeling the pull of what would be the Christmas season back on Earth.  While Dale has introduced some human traditions into his new world such as young (baby) showers, he misses the family gatherings at Christmas time.  While the religious aspects for the holiday might not go over on his new home planet, he feels that the idea of family celebrations and the spirit of good will towards all would go well in Tah’Narian society.

Unknown to Dale, his mate Keyno has sent a ship back to earth to give Dale just what he wants.  He has arranged with Dale’s parents to ship the traditional Christmas decorations that are found on Earth.  While the idea of cutting a tree down is antithetical to Tah’Narian culture, he compromises and plans to dig up a tree to use for the season before replanting it after the celebration.  Keyno has also arranged for all their friends to join in the celebration.  Dale receives the ultimate surprise when the ship lands and more than just the decorations have arrived from earth.

This is a warm holiday story that provides a glimpse into life several years after the ending of The Harvest set of books.  The twins along with their friend Takeo play the role of energy filled six year olds well.  It is almost like having a set of triplets when the three of them are together.  You can tell that Keyno and Dale are still very much in love and will do anything to make each other happy.  This is a perfect side story to the series.

The cover art by Alicia Nordwell is spot on.  It shows the pink Christmas tree with presents underneath sitting next to a window in Dale and Keyno’s tree house.  It is the perfect cover for the holiday story.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details

Kindle Edition, 70 pages
Published November 30th 2015
ASINB018STI75E
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Harvest #3h

Series:  The Harvest

  • Taken (The Harvest #1)
  • Journey’s End (The Harvest #2)
  • A Tah’Narian Christmas (The Harvest #3)

McKay’s Warriors are Back in Ari McKay’s ‘Herc’s Mercs: The Harder They Fall’ (excerpt and giveaway)

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Herc’s Mercs: The Harder They Fall (Herc’s Mercs #5) by Ari McKay
Release Date: January 6, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris

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Blurb

Chris Hardison never expected the simple consulting gig to put him on somebody’s hit list, but Hercules Security’s resident computer whiz never does anything by halves. Now he’s on the run, guarded by gorgeous Jason Hekili, the newest member of Herc’s crew. But Chris and Jason have a past, and holing up in a safe house together is as complicated as it is dangerous.
Jason still wants Chris even though his broken heart hasn’t healed. He isn’t sure he can trust Chris, but when a crime syndicate targets Chris for assassination, Jason has to put his life on the line to protect Chris or risk losing their second chance for happiness before it even begins.

 

Pages or Words: 44,000 words
This book can be read as a standalone
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Thriller, Action/Adventure

Excerpt

It took him a few minutes to find the right place, and his heart lurched when he saw Jason sparring with a tall, broad-shouldered Native American merc. He hovered in the doorway of the training room, torn between wanting to run over, fling himself at Jason, and beg for forgiveness, or wanting to flee.

Jason had changed. Gone were the thick, dark waves that Chris had loved to run his fingers through; Jason had shorn it all off in favor of a buzz cut, and Chris wanted to cry at the loss. Jason’s shoulders were broader, and he was even more muscular overall. After working with mercs for so long, Chris knew the difference between bodybuilder muscles and working muscles, and he could tell Jason had gotten those hard muscles from work. Jason’s body wasn’t the only thing that looked harder; Jason’s face looked different as well. More closed off, more distant. It was enough to make Chris want to turn and run. How could he possibly stand a chance with this Jason?

Before he could slip away unnoticed, the other merc knocked Jason on his ass. Jason let out a grunt when he hit the floor, but he didn’t grimace or show any other sign of pain. He simply bounded to his feet and turned—and spotted Chris.

For a long moment, he simply stood there, holding Chris’ gaze, and something that Chris thought might be hope brightened his eyes. Then Jason turned away, said something to his sparring partner, and headed toward the far side of the room.

Chris’ heart plummeted at that clear rejection signal, but he knew he deserved it. He lifted his chin and squared his shoulders. Jason had seen him, so he couldn’t just sneak out like this had never happened, and he hadn’t come all this way to give up so easily anyway. The other merc’s eyebrows climbed as he watched Chris march across the room, and Chris heard him say something about going to the showers, but Chris’ attention was focused entirely on Jason.

“Jason, I’d like to talk,” he said firmly as he approached.

Jason draped a towel around his neck, his spine straightening before he turned slowly to face Chris. Up close, Chris could see that a slender, pale line of a scar now bisected Jason’s right eyebrow. The line mercifully skipped over his eye, but picked up again on his cheek, running down to the sharp line of his jaw. It made his cheekbones look even more pronounced and pulled the line of his lips slightly crooked, though that wasn’t easy to judge, since he was clenching his jaw.

“I believe you agreed six months ago that there was nothing more to say,” Jason replied, his voice ragged, betraying emotions that didn’t show on his face. “And you didn’t want to subject yourself to a long, awkward ride.”

“A lot can change in six months,” Chris pointed out, aching to reach out and touch Jason but knowing he didn’t have that right yet. “You have. So have I.”

“Is that so?” Jason regarded him with narrowed eyes, a muscle twitching slightly in his jaw. It was something Chris recognized at once as a “tell,” an indicator that Jason wasn’t nearly as unaffected by Chris’ presence as he was trying to appear; sometimes the little things he’d learned from being around people in the physical side of the security business were quite useful.

“Yes, that’s so,” Chris replied quietly. This was the part where he laid himself utterly bare and held nothing back, which was terrifying, but it was necessary if he wanted any hope of winning Jason back. “I’ve had plenty of time to think about what an idiot I was. I’m sorry I hurt you, and I’m sorry I didn’t trust you. You didn’t do anything wrong. It was all me and my stupid insecurities getting in the way. Letting you go was the biggest mistake of my life.”

Jason’s eyes widened slightly as if he was surprised at Chris being so blunt and forthcoming. At first, he stared back at Chris, seeming to search for something. Finally he gave a terse nod. “I’m glad you realize that,” he said quietly.

“I do, and I’m willing to do anything to make up for my stupidity.” Chris took a little step closer, gazing up at Jason hopefully. “I’ve missed you so much, Jason. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how good we were together. I came here to see if there was any way you’d consider giving me a second chance.”

Again, Jason didn’t answer immediately, and this time, there was no mistaking the pain in the look he gave Chris. “There’s a problem with that.” He glanced away from Chris and frowned. “Trust has to go both ways.”

Buy the book:  Torquere Books

RC

Meet the Author

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who collaborate on original m/m fiction. They began writing together in 2004 and finished their first original full-length novel in 2011. Recently, they’ve begun collaborating on designing and creating costumes to wear and compete in at Sci-Fi conventions, and they share a love of yarn and cake.

Arionrhod is an avid costumer, knitter, and all-around craft fiend, as well as a professional systems engineer. Mother of two human children and two dachshunds who think they are human, she is a voracious reader with wildly eclectic tastes, devouring romance novels, military science fiction, horror stories and Shakespeare with equal glee. She is currently preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops: January 5, 2016

Parker Williams, The Hat Party, Havan Fellows, BFD Book Blog, Bayou Book Junkie, Happily Ever Chapter, A.M. Leibowitz, Unquietly Me, V’s Reads, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Bonkers About Books, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Molly Lolly, Alpha Book Club, Velvet Panic, MM Good Book Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, Cheekypee Reads and Reviews, My Fiction Nook, Kirsty Loves Books

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Herc’s Mercs: The Harder They Fall’.  Must be 18  years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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In the Spotlight: ‘Alone Together’ by DC Juris (excerpt/giveaway)

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Alone Together by DC Juris
Release Date: January 6, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Banner300x250

Blurb

Garrett’s homophobic family and his own big mouth keep getting him into trouble. If he’s not careful, he’ll lose everything—wife, job… and Aaron.

Ever have one of those days where you open your mouth and trip over every single word that comes out? Garrett Morris is having a bad day. On a scale of one to ten, it’s a twenty. Mind you, it should be going much better, considering he’s seeing Aaron, the secret love of his life, for the first time in a little over two years. But his wife’s homophobic family and his own big mouth keep getting him into trouble. If he’s not careful, he’ll lose everything—wife, job… and Aaron. Previously published by Stiff Rain Press.

 

Pages or Words: 12,576 words
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance

Excerpt

“You all right?”

I sighed and nodded. “I might as well be. I’m not the one hooked up to a bunch of machines without my consent.”

“That’s not your fault. You didn’t know what the living will said. It easily could’ve said do everything.”

“How did I not know what my own father wanted?” I held my hands wide.

He shook his head and shrugged. “I don’t know what mine would want. Really, who talks about that stuff? We live our lives in a state of invincible denial.”

“I guess.”

“You know what you’re going to do?”

“Pull the plug.” I sat down in the pew with a groan, wincing at how hard the wood was. “That’s what he would want. Says so right there in black and white. I just…” I shook my head and swiped at welling tears.

Aaron circled in front of me and knelt on the maroon carpet. “It’ll be okay. You’re doing the right thing.”

“How do you know?”

“Don’t you feel it?” Aaron laid a hand over my heart. “Isn’t that what’s got you? Everyone’s arguing, but you know what needs to be done.”

I nodded. “I don’t want to be the one to say it. I don’t want to be the bad guy. The one who killed Dad.” I couldn’t stop the choked sob.

“Garrett,” Aaron whispered. He pulled me close and held me. “You didn’t kill him, baby.”

His embrace was warm, and being called baby in that gruff, manly voice of his made me want so much more with him. Secretly, I’d always found him attractiveso strong but so tender at the same time. Maybe it was the grief. Maybe it was the fatigue. But the scent of him, the heat of him, drove me insane. I leaned back just enough, tipped my head, and rubbed my lips over his.

He responded, maybe on instinct, maybe on purpose, but the result sent a jolt of longing through me.

Aaron pulled back and wiped his lips. “I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s okay.”

“It’s not. I shouldn’t—”

I shook my head and tugged him forward for another kiss. I couldn’t let him regret this. I couldn’t bear to think of that.

At length we parted, and he pressed his forehead to mine before he stood. “Someone’s bound to miss us and come looking. We’d better head back.”

Buy the book:  Torquere Books

RC

Meet the Author

Romance author, sci-fi fan club Captain, cosplayer, reigning Queen of Monkeyland, and random menace. Yep, we’re talking about DC Juris. She’s a cupcake making, football watching, rubber duck collecting, drag show loving, full of fabulous with a Capital F kinda gal. She’s also an Ordained Minister and an amateur photographer. She lives in Upstate NY with her husband, three dogs, and three cats. When she’s not writing, you can find her in her favorite chair watching “Star Trek” and “Supernatural” repeats on Netflix, or surfing the web for porn. Er…research. Surfing the web for research. She may speak softly but she lives and loves loudly. Just ask the neighbors. ::wink::

Where to find the author:


Tour Dates & Stops: January 5, 2016

Parker Williams, The Hat Party, BFD Book Blog, Book Lovers 4Ever, Full Moon Dreaming, Bayou Book Junkie, Happily Ever Chapter, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Alpha Book Club, Velvet Panic, MM Good Book Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, Charley Descoteaux, Cheekypee Reads and Reviews, My Fiction Nook, Kirsty Loves Books

Final

 Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Alone Together’ by DC Juris.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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