A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Turning the Page by Andrew Grey


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Turning the PageMalcolm Webber is still grieving the loss of his partner of twenty years to cancer. He’s buried his mind and feelings in his legal work and isn’t looking for another relationship. He isn’t expecting to feel such a strong attraction when he meets Hans Erickson—especially since the man is quite a bit younger than him.

Hans is an adventure writer with an exciting lifestyle to match. When he needs a tax attorney to straighten out an error with the IRS, he ends up on the other side of the handsome Malcolm’s desk. The heat between them is undeniable, but business has to come first. When it’s concluded, Hans leaps on the chance to make his move.

Malcolm isn’t sure he’s ready for the next chapter in his life. Hans is so young and active that Malcolm worries he won’t be able to hold his interest for long. Just when he’s convinced himself to take the risk and turn the page, problems at the law office threaten to end their love story before it can really begin.

This story from Andrew Grey was outstanding, IMHO, and not just because I found Malcolm to be kind-hearted, yet sharp-witted, and dedicated to both his profession and the memory of his lost love. I felt a warm empathy for his character right from the beginning. Andrew Grey created a sweetheart wrapped in a smart lawyer’s skin, a man who loved deeply and grieves just as much. I also loved the fact that he’s in his fifties, and he’s still a healthy adult male with a good libido!

Hans is also a very engaging character. Smart and adventurous, he falls head-over-heels for Malcolm and persistently works to chip away at the wall Malcolm has erected around himself—one block at a time. As a supporting character, Malcolm’s brother was well-fleshed out. He’s the one who gets Malcolm to make the call to Hans after they meet while out to dinner, and he’s supportive and positive toward them throughout the book. 

Malcolm and Paul have both romantic and adventurous dates, and they have very scary experiences—both separately and together—which add excitement and intrigue to the story. I think even the sex scenes are more hot? Descriptive? Evocative? Not sure which word best describes them but they were certainly present and certainly not just a quick kiss in the dark. Another cheer for Mr. Grey for showing that men over age forty have sex—and enjoy it!

So, I definitely recommend this one to all lovers of MM romance, especially those who love a hurt-comfort story, men over forty, or healing from grief. This one has it all, and it’s very well done. 

Cover art by L.C. Chase is beautiful and perfect for the story.

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Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: August 19th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Fool’s Gold by Sarah Madison


Rating: 4.5  stars out of 5

Fool's Gold by Sarah MadisonEight years ago, Jake Stanford had it all: a spot on the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team and the love of his life, Rich Evans. A tragic accident wipes out everything in the blink of an eye. Hard work and sacrifice get him another shot at Olympic Gold, but only if he puts his past behind him and agrees to work with Rich again.

Bound by secrets he cannot share, Rich was forced to give up Jake eight years ago. Now he has a second chance to help Jake realize his dreams. But the secrets that drove them apart haven’t changed, and Rich must face them or risk losing Jake forever.

This is the first book I’ve read by Sarah Madison and its a wonderful one.  Fools’ Gold fully captures the world of world class horses and their equestrians and the sports they participate in.  If you read the author’s notes and realize Madison herself is both a horse owner/lover and eventer, then its no wonder then she gets the details of this world and horses spot on.  But its as a writer that she’s able to make it come alive for not only the reader such as myself who has horses and has been involved in the horse circuit (at a local level) but for the non-horse person as well.

From the drama and intricacies of getting a team, horse and rider, ready for the big league to what makes a great partnership between horse and rider tick, Madison puts it all down on paper and makes it pulse with the rhythm of the hoof beats and the beating of the hearts of the people involved. Its a great story all by its self.  The drive to find the horse with the will to equal your own, what it feels like when that happens.  Its magic.  And Madison is able to convey that here.

Then all that hard work, all that incredible non-verbal special communication that goes on between rider and animal is overlaid with a romance that is both believable and heartbreaking.

Jake Stanford and Rich Evans are terrific characters and a great thwarted romantic duo.  Torn apart by tragedy, it takes something serious to bring them back together, if one of them will agree to a working partnership once more.  The author makes us feel the pain, the longing and also Stanford’s realistic need for Rich the trainer who understand’s not only him but the horses.  I understood so well Rich Evans side of the story having met so many people in his circumstances, just as I expect Sarah Madison has done as well.  The horse world is strewn full of them, such is the passion for these animals and the need not only to be near them but to be riding as well.

Fool’s Gold by Sarah Madison pulls it all together.  A background, the history and world building, the men and their romance and makes it not only believable but heartwarming and special.  Its a world close to my heart and I believe Madison got it right but made it accessible to those unfamiliar with it.  And then topped it off with a romance to root for.  I loved this book.  I think you will too.

The cover art by Reese Dante is terrific and captures a moment perfectly.

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 238 pages
Published July 28th 2016
Edition LanguageEnglish

In the Spotlight: The Orchard of Flesh (Arcadia Trust #2) by Christian Baines (author interview)


The Orchard of Flesh

The Orchard of Flesh (Arcadia Trust #2) by Christian Baines
Bold Strokes Books

Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here at Bold Strokes Books

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Christian Baines here today to talk about writing, his characters and his latest release, The Orchard of Flesh. Welcome, Christian.


  •  In The Beast Without…the vampires and werewolves weren’t civilized creatures but more apex predators.  What made you go in that direction?

They’re civilized to a point, but they’re not timid or gentle, and they’re not self-loathing about what they are. I went in that direction for two reasons. One, it seemed to me like a lot of stories about vampires or werewolves established their humanity through guilt over their difference. That felt worn, and more than that, I didn’t want to reinforce their difference as being intrinsically evil. They’re all individuals, they all have things they have to do to survive, and they all make their own moral choices. If you look at it as a parallel to say, sexuality, you either learn to embrace that difference, or you go crazy. I wasn’t interested in writing self-loathing monsters.

  •  In the first story you had to lay down the foundation for your world and all the relationships.  Here in The Orchard of Flesh (Arcadia Trust, #2) you have to continue the complex story you started and the relationships as well.  What was the biggest challenge here?

The biggest challenge is keeping the storylines straight, and not introducing so much that the reader just gets confused and tunes out. There are elements in Beast Without that aren’t completely closed off by the end of that book, and they continue in Orchard of Flesh and beyond. In doing that, I’m keeping track of a bunch of plot threads, characters, and events that, even though they’re not on the page yet, are influencing the story as I’m (or Reylan is) telling it. You need to know what’s coming in the next book and maybe the one after that.

The central relationship between Reylan and Jorgas is easier in some ways because it evolves in the moment, and we see that evolution first hand. It breaks with common romance convention in that the romance isn’t confined to one book in which you know the boys are going to wind up together. I don’t make that promise. Their relationship is difficult, and it’s constantly evolving, just like every other relationship in the book’s world. Reylan’s relationship with Patricia, the head of The Arcadia Trust, which was very combative in Beast, evolves considerably here. His relationship with Brett, the human servant he adopted in Beast, is a big focus as well. His relationship with another character sours a bit. I love watching the relationships deepen gradually as the characters come to either trust or question one another. You can really bring out the details by doing that.

  •  Of the main characters, do you find you have a favorite?

Not particularly. I like characters who are elusive and kind of Machiavellian, but I go through phases and they all have aspects that I love and aspects that frustrate me. I’m always curious to know readers’ favourites though. That tells me a lot. Patricia and Jorgas are always popular, and I’m forever asked if Reylan is me. He isn’t. Or maybe he is. I don’t know. I’m not internalising it.

  •  Which is the hard one to write for you?

Kelvin, the Cloak Walker presents an interesting challenge by being invisible. There’s no image to work with there. But it’s also quite fun in that I get to come up with new and interesting ways for him to interact with people. The fact that he’s such a bad-tempered, explosive personality makes him fun too.

  • It’s been some time since the first story and the sequel.  Why the time span between the stories?

There were a lot of external factors behind that, but in the end, I don’t write quickly and I don’t see that as a bad thing for me. Initially when I got into the MM world, I’d just published Beast Without, and I would see these authors pumping out three, four, five books a year and thinking ‘My god, I can’t compete with this. I have to have something out there.’ So I put out an erotic, paranormal short, mostly because the next novel was a ways off and I felt I needed to release something. As a short, I like it. It still reads well. But it didn’t really reflect the kind of story I enjoyed writing, or reading, for that matter, and I think readers could tell. It was me caving to what I saw as this ‘pressure’ that really wasn’t there. It’s something I won’t be doing again, but it was a valuable experience.

Maybe the future Arcadia Trust books will come out faster, but they do need a lot of planning and thinking ahead. A lot of seeds are planted for payoff down the line, and the line is finite. I don’t want to be writing this series forever. There are other projects I want to do, not all of which are paranormal, or even prose, for that matter. There was Puppet Boy, which surprised a few people who loved Beast Without because it’s such a different book. But I love it. It’s another genre that I’m equally passionate about.

  •  What is your favorite aspect of the series?  Or do you have one at the moment?

Besides the deepening relationships, the humour helps, particularly if you want to take readers down a darker path. It’s funny though, people either get dark, off-beat humour or they don’t, and if they don’t, it’s no use trying to convert them. My favourite aspect though is how morally ambiguous the characters are. Most of my characters, actually, Puppet Boy’s included. They aren’t ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ They just have goals, needs, and agendas. A desire for love, justice, revenge, or whatever, which may lead them to very selfish or dangerous acts. They decide what works for them as the situation requires it, and some have ethical boundaries they won’t violate, or wrongs they won’t tolerate, while others are more ‘flexible’ or pragmatic.

  • What would you like your readers to take away from your novels?

A sense that they’ve had fun with the book, and ideally, will be thinking about it for a few days. I love a story that plays with my brain and makes me think, so I try to pay that forward in my own work. Other than that, a sense that LGBTs need not be victims. A lot of the time we talk about portrayals of LGBTs that we like or don’t like in media or stories. We don’t like seeing them get killed, wind up alone, turn out to be a serial killer, etc…the list is long and varies depending on who you ask. I’m fine with any of those things, provided the LGBT character isn’t simply a victim, calculated to get our sympathy or derision.

  •  What’s next for Christian Baines?

I’m currently working on a horror story set in New Orleans, for those who like such things. It was a short story. It’s now a novella…which is probably where it’ll stay. The next Arcadia Trust book is underway as well. It introduces a character who’ll be a bit of a game-changer for the series, so I’m excited about that.

I’m also doing a number of readings/events over the next couple of months, including Flame Con in New York City in August (look for the ‘Genre Junkies’), GRL in Kansas City in October, and the Naked Heart Festival in Toronto in November. So if you’re going to going to any of those, come say hi. I don’t bite unless you buy a book and ask nicely. You can find all the details at http://www.christianbaines.com/#!news-and-events/c1pz.


Reylan’s last assignment for The Arcadia Trust brought a rebellious human servant under his roof, and a volatile werewolf lover named Jorgas into his bed, leaving the self-reliant Blood Shade–known to the outside world as vampires–in no hurry to risk his immortality for them again.

But when a new terror starts disappearing humans from a bad part of town, Reylan must do everything in his power to keep Sydney’s supernatural factions from the brink of war. Having an ambitious, meddlesome human in the mix is only going to make things worse…especially when that human is Jorgas’s father.

Reylan will need all his determination and cunning to keep the peace under his roof, between the night’s power brokers, and in his lover’s troubled heart.


About the Author – Christian Baines

Born in Toowoomba, Queensland, Christian Baines has since lived in Brisbane, Sydney, and Toronto, earning an MA in creative writing at University of Technology, Sydney along the way. His musings on travel, theatre, and gay life have appeared in numerous publications in both Australia and Canada.

Dual passions for travel and mythology have sent him across the world in search of dark and entertaining stories. His first novel, The Beast Without, was released in 2013, followed by an erotic short story, The Prince and the Practitioner.

In Our Review Spotlight: Sarah Madison’s ‘Fool’s Gold’


Sarah Madison – Fool’s Gold

Author: Sarah Madison
Release Date: July 29 2016
Available on KU
Add to you Goodreads here.
Eight years ago, Jake Stanford had it all: a spot on the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team and the love of his life, Rich Evans. A tragic accident wipes out everything in the blink of an eye. Hard work and sacrifice get him another shot at Olympic Gold, but only if he puts his past behind him and agrees to work with Rich again.

Bound by secrets he cannot share, Rich was forced to give up Jake eight years ago. Now he has a second chance to help Jake realize his dreams. But the secrets that drove them apart havenít changed, and Rich must face them or risk losing Jake forever.
Author Bio
Sarah Madison is a writer with a little dog, a large dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she's not out hiking with the dogs or down at the stables, she's at the laptop working on her next story. When sheís in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because itís cheaper than therapy.

Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013 and 2015 Rainbow Awards. The Boys of Summer won Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewerís Choice Awards. The Sixth Sense series was voted 2 nd place in the 2014 PRG Reviewerís Choice Awards for Best M/M Mystery series, and 3 rd place in the 2105 PGR Reviewerís Choice Awards for Best M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series.

If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.

Website: http://www.sarahmadisonfiction.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahMadisonFic
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/SarahMadisonAuthor/
E-mail: akasarahmadison@gmail.com