Expected publication: June 7th 2016 by DSP Publications
Rating: 3,25 out of 5 stars
Not every love story is a romance novel.
For Jules Burns, a lonely baker, it is the memory of his deceased husband, Andy. For Teddy Flores, a numbed-to-the-world accountant who accidentally stumbles into his bakery, it is a voyage of discovery into his deep connections to pleasure, to the world, and to his own heart.
Sweet is also the story of how we tell stories—of what we expect and need from a love story. The narrator is on to you, Reader, and wants to give you a love story that doesn’t always fit the bill. There are ghosts to exorcise, and jobs and money to worry about. Sweet is a love story, but it also reminds us that love is never quite what we expect, nor quite as blissfully easy as we hope.
I’m in the minority here cause readers seem to have loved Sweet. I didn’t love it but I liked it. I don’t think I’ll going to reread it in the next future but I am so grateful to have discovered a new to me author.
Jules is still recovering from the death of his husband Andy, a recovering spent in Buttermilk’s kitchen, his bakery, doing what he knows and does better, be a pastry chef. He doesn’t have a lot of relationships outside her kitchen, apart from the awesome ‘Trice. When he meets and starts to feel something for the cute Teddy he has no idea how to act on it. Maybe he is not ready to leave Andy on the past. But he has to make space in his heart for a new unexpected love or he will lose his second chance at love.
I had little troubles with the book from the start, I liked the writing since it was unusual in some parts and well done, but too many times the sentences were too long and I had to go back and reread them because it was so easy to me to be lost in them. Surely it was just my limit but it was a huge deterrent.
Moreover I didn’t love the MCs, I found them childish and unsure of their minds. I still liked them, I get glimpses of real life in their scenes, tender and romantic till the end. Although all the positive elements, Sweet didn’t fully catch my attention. I have to admit the first half was pretty good, it warmed my heart reading Jules’ blog posts and the teasing with Teddy. Then there was a change, or better an addiction in the cast whose name I’m not going to mention cause I don’t want to spoil it, from that moment to me the story lost its value and credibility and I wasn’t able to find something good to cling on.
I gave Sweet 3,25 stars because at the end I liked it and I’m still curious to read more by Alysia Constantine.
The book design and cover illustrations by CB Messer is simple, clean and different. Nicely done.
Published February 4th 2016 by Interlude Press
Kindle Edition, 209 pages
Edition Language English
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
This is a very, very enjoyable story of a young cab driver, Jaxon, who suffers from dyslexia and has been told how dumb he is all his life. It’s also about a young executive, Caleb, who stutters so much he finds it difficult to mingle socially.
Jaxon likes his job as a cab driver. After all, he gets to meet people from all walks of life, and even though he can’t read, he’s memorized all the streets and important landmarks, so he has no problem getting around the city. One Tuesday night, he picks up a fare at a bar and takes him to Lincoln Towers, a fancy apartment complex that Jaxon remembers from his efforts to remember important buildings. The fare is Caleb, and as each succeeding Tuesday passes with Jaxon being called to pick up Caleb, the two men begin to learn a little about each other. Caleb doesn’t speak much, and when his stuttering is really bad, he resorts to sign language or leaving notes on the cab receipt. When he finds out Jaxon has difficulty reading those notes, he writes them in a way that is more easily read by most dyslexics.
One night when answering a call at a local bar, Jaxon is dismayed to find a drunken Caleb being escorted home by another man. When he learns the man plans to take him to his own place, Jaxon intervenes. Knowing he could lose his job, he confronts the man, demanding to take Caleb to Caleb’s home and telling the man that he knows Caleb well and knows he would want to go home. Though he risked his job for it, he’s actually saved Caleb from non-consensual sex, and when Caleb remembers most of it the next day, he reaches out to get in touch with Jaxon.
Though at first fearing recriminations, he quickly learns that Caleb is interested in treating him to dinner and thus begins a relationship between two men from seemingly completely different worlds. But at the core is the fact that both men are really not all that much different from each other. When Jaxon teaches himself enough basic sign language to make communication with Caleb easier, Caleb is floored. And Caleb forces Jaxon to see that he’s really not dumb or stupid; it takes a very intelligent man to memorize all the streets in the city and to teach himself enough sign language to communicate.
The author moves the story along quite quickly as the men’s dates are detailed, but the time in between the dates advances rather fast. The characters are so well done and so endearing, I would have liked this story to have been longer. There’s no explicit sex—just a budding romance and the chance for both men to find their soulmates with the most unlikely people. But it works, and they work, and I’m very impressed by this story from an author I haven’t previously read.
Cover art by L.C. Chase features a cab in motion with a blurred background reminiscent of the speed of the cab driving down the street and with bright dots symbolizing snow or freezing rain. It’s bright and colorful and perfect for this book.
ebook, 93 pages
Published May 23rd 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleLoud and Clear
ISBN 1626494347 (ISBN13: 9781626494343)
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is lucky to be interviewing A.M. Arthur, author of Come What May. Hi A.M., thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hello! I’m an m/m romance author, who mostly writes contemporary but occasionally delves into paranormal. I live in Hicksville, USA with two rambunctious cats and a large collection of horror film DVDs.
My newest release, Come What May, is the first in a new NA romance series with Carina Press. Jonas Ashcroft is suspended from college after a fraternity prank goes wrong, and he’s stuck working in his aunt’s thrift store—his very first job ever. Tate Dawson runs an LGBT homeless shelter nearby, and when their paths cross, sparks fly. So do insults, misunderstandings, and smexy times.
• What’s the easiest thing about writing?
For me, one of the easiest things about writing is developing my characters and creating their biographies. Since plot is informed by character, I always get to know my heroes ahead of time. I write out their personal histories, their family members (if they have any), and any major events that have affected their lives. Knowing these things helps me know where these characters are personally and emotionally when the story starts.
• Name one author (living or dead) you’d like to write with?
Oh gosh, there are so many fellow m/m romance authors I adore and respect so much. But the first person who comes to mind is K.A. Mitchell. She was the first m/m romance author I read many years before I attempted to write in the genre, and she remains one of my favorite authors. Her Florida books are top favorites.
• Tell us about your cover and how it came about.
I have to give kudos the amazing art folks at Carina for my cover. During development, they mentioned that they wanted to get away from the split-screen style used in my previous series’ and I was cool with that. I have to admit, I was flabbergasted by how perfect the cover is. The embracing couple is Jonas and Tate. Even the tiny detail like the glasses Tate is holding! They really nailed this cover.
• Is this book part of a series? Do you have ideas that could make it into a series? If it is a series, tell us a little about it.
Yes, Come What May is the first in a new series called All Saints. The name comes from both the thrift store where Jonas works, and the homeless shelter that Tate helps run. It’s a New Adult series, featuring characters in their early to mid-twenties, who are at emotional crossroads in their lives. The second book in the series, Say It Right, features Tate’s best friend Marc.
• Word association. Tell us the first thing that comes to mind when you read these words.
Ketchup – Mustard
Flakes – Frosted
Elastic – Band
Timer – Cooking
Google – Something
Jonas needs Tate. He just doesn’t know it yet.
Or at least, he doesn’t want to admit it. Because there is no way Jonas Ashcroft is gay. He’s a straight, carefree frat boy player, just like any good son of a conservative state senator. If only his struggle to convince everyone—especially himself—didn’t leave him so miserable. No matter how many girls or bottles he drowns himself in, Jonas can neither escape nor accept who he is.
Enter Tate. He’s smart, confident, and instantly sees right through Jonas’s surly exterior. Sure, he’s done things in life he’s not proud of, but he knows who he is and what he wants. And what he wants is Jonas. As their easy friendship intensifies into something more, Tate introduces Jonas to a life he’s never known. One filled with acceptance and sex and a love that terrifies and excites them both.
But some inner demons refuse to be shaken off so easily. When Jonas’s old life barges in, he faces a shattering choice, one that could destroy everything he and Tate have fought so hard for. Sometimes love just isn’t enough—and sometimes it’s exactly what you need.
Pages or Words: 70,000 words, 320 pages (print edition)
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance
“It’s small,” Jonas said.
“Better than a cardboard box or foster care.” The sharpness in Tate’s voice echoed in his frown.
Jonas had never known anyone before who’d been in foster care, and saying so would probably make him the biggest douche on the planet. It also took the edge off some of his irritation over the total mindfuck that was Tate Dawson. “It’s way better than both of those things. You worked hard for this place, Tate. I haven’t worked hard for anything in my life.”
He blinked. “You do?”
“Yes, I do. I think you work very, very hard to convince yourself and the world that you’re something you’re not. I think you work very, very hard to be perfect when no one is, and the only thing anyone should ever do is just be her or himself. Be true to you, not to what others want from you.”
Jonas’s throat squeezed tight. “I can’t.”
Tate took a step closer, bringing a gentle waft of sweat and something sweet. “Why not?”
He saw the barest reflection of himself in Tate’s glasses and he didn’t like it. He stepped back. Tate snagged his wrist and held him there. The touch sent awareness buzzing across his skin, down his spine and straight to his balls. H needed to pull away before this got out of control.
And then his rebel brain decided it was a good idea to glance at Tate’s pink lips. Lips that Tate, the asshole, licked with slow swipes of his tongue.
Jonas yanked away his hand away so hard Tate stumbled. “I’m not gay, so you can get that ‘fuck the frat boy’ fantasy out of your head right now.”
Instead of being cowed, Tate planted both hands on his hips and said, “Who are you trying to convince? Because it’s just you and me in this room, and I’m not the one who brought up your sexuality. You did.”
Damn him. “Why won’t you leave me alone?”
Tate’s gaze drifted over his face as he sought for words. “Because every time we’re together I can tell you’re struggling with something. You put up this lone wolf front to keep people at arm’s length so you don’t have to work so hard to pretend, but it’s exhausting you. Jonas, you can be yourself with me. Whoever that is.”
“I can’t.” Talking was getting harder around the lump in his throat. His heart was kicking too fast and his chest ached.
“Look me in the eye.” Tate closed the three strides between them, then curled a warm hand around the back of Jonas’s neck. “Look me in the eye and say you don’t want to kiss me right now.”
Meet the Author
A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, and SMP Swerve.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.
Where to find the author:
Tour Dates & Stops:
Jaxon is getting by fine, severe dyslexia or not. Being a cab driver means he doesn’t need to read much, and the job has its perks. The pay isn’t bad, the people can be interesting, and having memorized the city streets keeps him from feeling too stupid.
When he picks up Caleb, a quiet fare in a nice suit, Jaxon doesn’t think anything of it. Then he ends up driving Caleb home the next week too, and the next, and the next. Eventually Caleb tries to communicate—by writing things down. Turns out that Caleb has such a bad stutter he spends most of his time mute.
If only Jaxon had an easier time reading what Caleb had to say. But he’s interested in trying, and Caleb seems interested back. They discover that, with a little bit of effort, it isn’t so hard to make themselves understood. Especially when what’s growing between them is definitely worth talking about.
Aidan Wayne is a big believer in character-driven stories with happy endings. This is not to say that stories can’t contain a little (or a lot) of grief, just that at the end of it all expect there to be bandages and hugs. They particularly like to write about minority characters because damn it, they deserve happy endings too.
When not writing, Aidan enjoys practicing aerial, martial arts, and ASL, and watching reality cooking shows. They are probably in the middle of twelve projects as you read this.
To celebrate the release of Loud and Clear, Aidan is giving away $15 in Riptide credit. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 28, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!