A Caryn Review: The Hearts of Yesteryear by Vivian Dean

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Hearts of YesteryearI really enjoyed reading a book where the MC is actually elderly, so unusual in the world of romances!  The theme of coming full circle, of finding what you really want out of life and finding the courage to pursue it even at that age, was truly compelling for me.  

John Paravati is a now 77 year old man who left his home in the small town of Shakersville, Illinois, for the bright lights of Hollywood in 1956.  We meet him when his movie career is essentially over, but he is still acting in commercials for cruise lines, and he and his costar are thankful they aren’t shilling adult diapers — now that is some realism, people!  He gets a letter from a developer in Shakersville who has renovated the old Crown Theater, site of his happiest and most painful memories from childhood, asking him to attend a grand reopening.  His initial response is seemingly irrational anger, because he’s never told anyone about his life in Shakersville, why he left, or the boy he left behind.  He’s afraid of going back to face old demons, but his assistant eventually convinces him to accept the offer because it will be good for his career.
Thus begins his adventure to confront his past, and the reason why he left home over 50 years ago and never looked back.  There are a few brief flashbacks, where we are introduced to his best friend and love of his life, Frank Henson.  And this is when I started taking points off my review, for several reasons.  Mainly, there was too little detail about John’s life, both in Shakersville, and the intervening 50 years.  The Crown is supposedly integral to why he became an actor, and why he fell in love with Frank, but there are only 2 brief scenes about that, and they certainly don’t justify his strong connection to the place.  And what happened to him after he left that continued to shape his feelings about his hometown and The Crown?  He’s out now, but was closeted for at least part of his career.  When?  Why?  All we are told is that he’s never been in love.  So I never did get a good feel for who John is now, and who he was as a teenager, though I feel it is to the author’s credit that I really wanted to know him better.
Frank is necessarily a much more minor character, but I still felt there was a lot more I needed to know about him to understand why his life turned out as it did.  His initial motivations for leaving John were very understandable, what with McCarthyism and homophobia so rampant at that time.  But why did he wait so long — even when changes in his life made it possible — to contact John if his feelings remained so strong for all those years?  I loved the idea of a man deciding to pursue his true feelings and coming out for the first time when he’s in his 70s, but I feel there was so much more that could have been said about that.  Keeping Frank somewhat peripheral was really a missed opportunity for the book.
And that is my rant about what I didn’t like about the book.  Increase the length, provide more detail and feeling, and this would have been a 5 star read for me.  But bottom line, this was a well written, sweet story, with a lot of self-deprecating humor about age and ageism, and likable primary and secondary characters that I want to know even more about.  Definitely worth the read!
Cover art is terrific and unusual for this genre.
Sales Links
Book Details:
ebook, 2nd Edition
Published August 6th 2016 by JMS Books (first published September 22nd 2013)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Magnified (Magnified #1) by Mell Eight


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Magnified by Mell EightOn her deathbed, Yani’s Great Grandmother reveals she has one last story from her past to tell: that of his Great Uncle Yakov, who helped her survive the Nazis. It’s a story of vampires and werewolves he can scarcely believe—and in the wake of his Great Grandmother’s death, Yani realizes the story is far from over.

The world of vampires and werewolves isn’t a safe place for a human, even one with Yani’s unusual family history. With danger at his door, the smart thing would be to run, but much like his Great Grandmother Yani has never been very good at running away—especially with his loved ones and the whole world at stake.

Magnified is the first in a new series by Mell Eight and a most unusual series its starting out to be.  A supernatural tale, it has all the typical elements one expects to find such as vampires, werewolves, succubi and more but one of its main characters and an important secondary character are Eastern European Jews, one of whom barely escaped the trains and gas chambers of WWII.  How they did it and their Jewish traditions they carry with them always as part of who they are is a central element to this story and I expect of this series.

I found this whole aspect of the story a wonderful layer not often found in my stories (see Astrid Amara’s Carol of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #1) among others). Not only does Mell Eight use Yani’s contemporary family’s religious celebrations as part of her important need for us to understand how strong this family is and their ties to each other and their faith but later on starts to pull in other threads that deepens the religious element when a mage with links to Kabbalah appears.

We start off the story as Yani’s great grandmother is telling the story of her childhood. Its the 1940’s and the swift move by the Nazis is occurring as they round up Jews and move them to the internments camps and the ovens.  We are propelled into these awful times and a heartrending if sometimes confusing narrative, one that quickly becomes clearer by the page.

The timeline moves along quickly as Yani ages from a young boy to a young man of college age.  The jumps in time are handled easily and are necessary to get to the action required by the meat of the story.

That’s the introduction of the world of vampires, werewolves etc to our young student.  Its an explosive one and one that was my only main issue here.  I would have expected a much larger reaction from Yani.  His reaction felt almost anti-climatic after all he went through. And it continued to bother me throughout the rest of the story.

There is a lot that the author is packing in here.  There are two main couples that are intended to flow into the next story and carry on the series.  It was almost too much for this book to handle.  We really didn’t get a background on the secondary couple, perhaps that’s coming in the next book.  But they had such an important part to play here that they came off less substantial without that background.

There is a very scary villain here, a true monster. One I can’t wait to see taken down.  I wonder how many books its going to take?  I will be there for every one.

Mell Eight packed a lot into this first story.  Religion, family, romance, mystery, horror…its a writer’s cornucopia and it almost exploded the seams of the story on element overload.  So much here to absorb that it got confusing at times. But in the end, Mell Eight pulled it off…sort of as there is a HFN ending.   I recommend this unusual story, its quite a ride even though I’m not quite sure where we’re going yet.

Cover by Aisha Akeju‘s cover contains relevant objects to the story.  I’m just not a fan of these simplified covers, just they don’t draw me in.

Sales Links   – Pre Order (others will follow)

Less Than Three Press

Book Details:

Expected publication: September 7th 2016 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN13 9781620048535
Edition Language English

An Alisa Release Day Review: A Fallen Heart (Zero Hour #2) by Cate Ashwood


Rating:  4 stars out of 5


A Fallen Heart by Cate AshwoodAfter his last disastrous relationship, Joseph Ford has absolutely no interest in getting attached again. Concentrating on working as a trauma nurse and keeping his life as simple as possible are his only goals. Unfortunately, his plans could be derailed by the charming, sexy Nash.


Things are looking up for paramedic Ridley Nash when he transfers to Station 217. He gets along with the crew, likes his partner, and is finally on a team willing to accept him—gay and all. It’s everything he’s always wanted, but when he meets Ford, Nash knows his life is about to get very interesting.


As Ford and Nash find themselves stuck in the middle of a homicide case, things become more complicated. For the last year, the mutilated bodies of teenage boys have been showing up all over downtown. With no leads, the police are getting desperate. One of the victims is found alive, and he’s the best chance the police have to catch the killer—if only they can get him to talk.


Will Nash be able to catch Ford when he falls, or is there too much standing in their way to make it work?


This was a nice continuation of the Zero Hour series.  I enjoyed the first book and liked this one just as much.  Ford has closed his heart off after his last relationship ended badly, but Nash starts to tear down those boundaries from the first time they meet.


Nash has recently transferred stations and is now Adam’s partner and is happy to be somewhere he isn’t persecuted for who he is.  Ford has never hidden who he is, no matter what his ex wanted, but is afraid to let someone else in.  Their mutual friendships with Adam and Sam from the first book help bring them together even when Ford is trying to stay apart.


This story is told from both characters’ point of view which makes it easier to connect with the characters.  Seeing how scared Ford is to lose himself in another relationship just broke my heart, but Nash is determined to show him that what they have is good and not like what Ford had before.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series to see more of these characters.


Cover art by Bree Archer is nice and follows the pattern for the series.


Sales Links





Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published: August 29, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN-13: 9781634775793
Edition Language: English

Series: Zero Hour #2

In the Spotlight: Amy Stilgenbauer ‘Sideshow’ (excerpt and giveaway)


Sideshow 900px FRONT (Tumblr)

Sideshow by Amy Stilgenbauer
Release Date: August 25, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Messer


Abby Amaro wants to sing at La Scala Opera House, but she’s a good girl, and in 1957 good girls get married. Still, when she receives her first marriage proposal, she freezes, knowing the way her suitor makes her feel bodes trouble. When he won’t take no for an answer, she flees, joining up with a traveling carnival.

Thanks to a burlesque trapeze artist and the world’s saddest clown, Abby bides her time and fits in until she can rejoin the world she knows. She doesn’t expect a sideshow strongwoman named Suprema, who captures her imagination. As the carnival makes its way across the Midwest, Abby learns much more than she had ever imagined—about herself, about her identity, and, most importantly, about love.


Pages or Words: 61,000 words
Categories: Fiction, Historical, Lesbian Romance, Romance



Abby couldn’t remember falling asleep. She only remembered the dark night and how, outside the window of Della’s trailer, the rolling slopes of Eastern Ohio slowly flattened into the farmland of the western side of the state and faded into darkness. She didn’t say much during the trip, but her mind was spinning, unable to process what she had done.

Once, when she had been a little girl, barely older than Annette was now, her mother had taken her and Natale to visit their aunt in Chicago for a week. It had been a nice visit. They had embarked on the train with a great deal of ceremony, and Za Teresa had spoiled the pair rotten, loading them up with peach-shaped marzipan and pizzelle until they were both sick. She hadn’t left Cleveland for any extended period of time since. Oh, sure, she’d talked and dreamt about it. Nonna often wistfully mentioned taking a trip back to her girlhood home one more time now that the war was over and taking Abby along to look after her, and then, if her opera career took off as she had once hoped, she would be visiting all the great cities. In her scrapbook, clippings of Palais Garnier, La Scala, and The Met were decorated with carefully drawn hearts and hopeful stars and the scrawled word: someday. Still, she had never imagined that when she departed the Coventry neighborhood again, it would be in a burlesque dancer’s trailer.

Buy the book
Interlude Press | Amazon  | Barnes and Noble  | Smashwords  | All Romance eBooks

Book Depository not yet available | Indiebound



Meet the Author ~ Amy Stilgenbauer

Amy Stilgenbauer is a writer and aspiring archivist currently based in southeast Michigan. She is the author of the novelette series, Season of the Witch, as well as the Young Adult novel, The Legend of League Park. Her short story, The Fire-Eater’s Daughter, was included in Summer Love, an LGBTQ Young Adult collection published by Duet, an imprint of Interlude Press. When she isn’t writing, Amy enjoys all things bergamot and tries to keep her cats away from her knitting.

Where to find the author:


Tour Dates & Stops:

25-Aug: The Novel Approach, Unquietly Me, Velvet Panic, Bayou Book Junkie

26-Aug: Oh My Shelves, Book Lovers 4Ever, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, A.M. Leibowitz

29-Aug: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Love Bytes

30-Aug: Butterfly-O-Meter, Kirsty Loves Books, MM Good Book Reviews

31-Aug: My Fiction Nook, BFD Book Blog

1-Sep: Prism Book Alliance, Open Skye Book Reviews, Happily Ever Chapter

2-Sep: Foxylutely Book Reviews, Bonkers About Books

5-Sep: Divine Magazine, Havan Fellows

6-Sep: Alpha Book Club, Molly Lolly

7-Sep: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Charley Descoteaux

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Falling Into Autumn and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


autumn header

Falling Into Autumn

“The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf
shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.”
–   Oliver Wendell Holmes

Ah, September.  That month of in-betweenness.  Neither summer nor fall.  Still hot but sometimes cold.  Its the month that never quite figures out where it wants to be.  It fluctuates between seasons, like someone dithering on making a decision between clothes they are trying to decide on for an evening out. The sweet yet raucous sounds of late summer are still in full swing…cicadas are still a loud chorus at my house.  Yet also can be heard the sounds of snow geese and Canada geese, flocks in flight, sounding off, in preparation for migration.  So too have I seen my first sight and sounds of kettle of hawks, soaring high above…all signs of autumn approaching.

Literature is full of love notes to autumn.  And not just literature, poetry, songs…from Neil Diamond’s September Morn to Henry David Thoreau’s “Happy we who can bask in this warm September sun…”, odes to this wildly uneven and serendipitous month are everywhere.  Its jumbled ways making people perhaps feel a little crazy and alive, as if they don’t know what to expect from each day to the next.

So I’ll leave you with some crazy facts about September:

  • Shakespeare did not mention September in any of his plays.
  • Groucho Marx said “My favorite poem is the one that starts ‘Thirty days hath September’ because it actually tells you something”.
  • Band-Aids were invented in the month of September.
  • The last day of September in any year always falls on a different day of the week from the last day of any other month.
  • The poem “Mary had a Little Lamb” was published September 1st, 1830.
  • September 5th, is National Cheese Pizza Day.
  • September 9th is National Teddy Bear Day.
  • September 16th is National Play-Doh Day.
  • September 19th is “Talk Like A Pirate Day” around the world… an International event.

So argh me hearties!  That’s more than enough for any crazy month, including September, which has Labor Day, one of our best known holidays here in the States.

We also have a new reviewer starting up with us this month.  Welcome, Caryn.  Her first review will be posted this week!  All in all, a very busy week.


This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Fallen Heart by Cate AshwoodMagnified by Mell EightLord of a Thousand Steps by Tara LainWide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens

Sunday, August 28:

  • Falling Into Autumn
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 29:

  • In the Spotlight: Amy Stilgenbauer ‘Sideshow’ (excerpt and giveaway)
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: A Fallen Heart by Cate Ashwood
  • A Caryn Review: The Hearts of Yesteryear by Vivian Dean
  • An Alisa Review: Hunger by Amanda Young
  • A MelanieM Review: Magnified by Mell Eight

Tuesday, August 30

  • Riptide Publishing’s Tour and Giveaway:   Looking for Group by Alexis Hall
  • A MelanieM Review: Review Tour – Blaine D. Arden – Full Circle
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Priddy’s Tale by Harper Fox
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Tasting Notes by Cate Ashwood

Wednesday, August 31

  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Matthew J. Metzger’s What It Looks Like
  • A MelanieM Review: What It Looks Like by Matthew J. Metzger
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Lord of a Thousand Steps by Tara Lain
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Wrenches, Regrets, & Reality Checks by LA Witt

Thursday, September 1

  • Mini Blog Tour Invite – Age Is Just a Number, A Wayward Ink Publishing Anthology
  • Coffee Sip and Book Break with Devon & Levi VS Real Life Wyomans from Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens (excerpt and giveaway)
  • A Paul B Review: For a Dragon’s Enthusiasm by Charlie Richards
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Bear Among the Books by TJ Masters
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Senator’s Secret by KC Wells
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Ben by Toni Griffin

Friday, September 2

  • Blog Tour for Lord of a Thousand Steps by Tara Lain
  • In the Spotlight: Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Release Blitz for Kyle by  RJ Scott
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Red Thread by Bryan Ellis
  • A MelanieM Review:    Age is Just a Number Anthology


Saturday, September 3

  • A Barb Release Day Review: Empty Net by Avon Gale
  • A Paul B Review: Bear in Mind by Susan E Scott
  • An Alisa Review: Grand Opening by Morticia Knight

Bear Among the Books by TJ MastersThe Senator's SecretThe Red Thread by Bryan EllisWrenches, Regrets and Reality Checks


A Lila Review: Tracefinder: Changes (Tracefinder #2) by Kaje Harper


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Tracefinder- changesBrian Kerr is now free of his dangerous boss and his domineering brother. He’s eager to start using his psychic Finding talent to help people, if he can figure out how to do that safely. His dyslexia, and his tendency to act simpleminded under stress, make building his new life a daunting challenge. And while his not-quite-boyfriend, Nick, is willing to support him, in bed and out of it, Brian doesn’t want to lean on Nick. If their relationship is going anywhere, he has to be a full partner and handle his own problems.

Nick Rugo’s walking a tightrope instead of settling into the ordinary cop’s life he’d hoped for. He’s hiding too many things from too many people. He has told professional and unprofessional lies that will come back to haunt him. Now, with Brian determined to start Finding again, he’s not sure he can protect the man he cares for. If all that wasn’t enough to make him start punching walls, he also has a suspicion that Brian’s brother Damon and sister Lori may be out there, lurking, ready to complicate their lives.

Tracefinder: Changes is all about discoveries and relationships. The story starts months after the end of book #1. Brian and Nick have an established routine and are comfortable living in the same house as some sort of roommates. From there, we dive directly into action.

The events in the first Finding set the frame for the rest of the story. We see, not only how much Nick’s invested in Brian’s care, but how far Brian has evolved away from Bry. They still have a complicated relationship at this point, but with every day they spent together, they discovered something new about themselves and the other.

Brian’s dyslexia is front and center in this installment. The reader gets to experience it from Brian’s point of view, but also from other characters’ perspectives. We see how it affects him and what he’s doing to work through it. At the same time, we see Nick’s struggle with his job and his judgment. And how much, taking care of Brian and falling for him changes the way he sees and feels about his job as a cop. Nick’s also caught in police politics and chains of command.

As one of the changes, we get to see more of the effects the Findings have on Brian. This time, he’s the one relaying the information instead of Bry. We get a better understanding of his struggles and the effort he has to put to become more independent. Is almost as if the Bry veil covering starts to move away, letting the reader see the real Brian– the one only Nick saw in the first book.

The cases they worked on were simple but relevant to the story. The author brought back characters we met in the first book and added some other great ones.  The settings were pertinent and easy to visualized; as well as the weather. Other than Brian’s Finding abilities everything in this story is part of a contemporary setting very well meshed with the paranormal element.

A lot is happening in this story, and that’s one of the reasons I didn’t give it a perfect five. The beginning is a bit repetitive. I got lost following the action thread during a crucial scene, and the resolution seemed too fast and too perfect. But overall, that was not enough to make a significant impact on my rating. I enjoyed this volume better than the first, and can’t wait for the next one.

Sidney Lowell of Creative Minds helped the author find the perfect picture of Brian. He looks exactly as described in the story, and even his gaze seems up to par. Also, the setup follows the previous book in the series.

Sale Links: Smashwords | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 469 pages
Published: August 4, 2016, Self-Published
ISBN: 9781370526369
Edition Language: English

Series: Tracefinder
Book #1: Tracefinder: Contact
Book #2: Tracefinder: Changes

A Stella Review: Not a Game (Friends #1) by Cardeno C.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Not a Game by Cardeno CAn accidental meeting and a misunderstanding lead to a life-altering connection.

A new job, a new city, and hopefully a new life. When chubby gamer Oliver Barnaby receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second’s hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.

A life that looks perfect on paper, but feels empty in reality. Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy. His already booming business is growing. He isn’t lacking in friends. And he has no trouble finding a date. But there’s an emptiness in Jaime’s heart and a hole in his life that only the right man can fill.

An accidental meeting, a misunderstanding, and falling in love. When Oliver and Jaime end up at the same bar at the same time, they each see something they want in the other. Going to bed together that first night is easy. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little misunderstanding.

The beginning of a new series by Cardeno. How could I have resisted? I’m a huge fan, some of her stories are among my favorites and she was one of the first mm author I read. She never disappointed me, because honestly? Cardeno C can comfort me in my shitty days like no other author can do. That’s the reason why I often come back to read one of her books.

Not A Game was a pleasure to read, sweet, very hot. The story is exactly what I love to read. It has everything I love. I have to re read it now. I’m so enthusiastic about it, can you feel my joy?

I met Oliver, geeky, chubby gamer developer and Jaime, beautiful and rich, so sure of himself like Oliver is not and I fell in love with them at first reading, just how at first sight Jaime knew he needed Oliver in his pointless life.

They were perfect for each other, opposites attract has never worked so well in another story. Cardeno nailed all my soft spots, age gap included. Yep the misunderstanding is clear to the reader from the start but who cares? I cared about how they worked so well together, how Oliver found himself in an unexpected relationship, how they fell in lust and love so easily, and when Jaime reveled the truth, they were both so into each other, there were no space for useless drama scenes. For once the HEA was unavoidable and what the MCs and the reader deserve.

Easy and light and hot and sweet and tender and real and… ok I’ll stop but I could give you all the positive adjectives I can think of to describe Not A Game. Another big winner from Cardeno C. Don’t miss it.

The cover art by A.J. Corza fits the story, I like it.

Sales Links



Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 220 pages
Published July 15th 2016 by The Romance Authors, LLC
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Friends #1

A Stella Release Day Review: Back Off! That’s My Jock (Jock #3) by Wade Kelly


RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

Back off That's My JockDefining his sexuality didn’t make sense until his best friend spelled it out.

Doug Archer did some pretty idiotic things in the first eight weeks of his junior year of college. First, he kissed his gay best friend, and second, he kissed a guy he’d mistaken for a girl. Not stellar moments for Doug. If he isn’t careful, he’ll lose his spot on the soccer team to the new freshman, or worse, he might misconstrue his new friend Rob’s overly affectionate tendencies for flirting. But if Doug isn’t bothered by another guy’s attention, and he normally dates girls, does that mean he’s gay or bisexual?

Sam Garber suppressed his same-sex attraction his entire life. His father told him it was immoral, and Sam did everything he could to bury his feelings. However, after meeting Doug at a party and kissing him, Sam can’t think of anything else. He decides dating girls is the best way to keep his secret hidden. With playoffs in sight, this is no time to think about guys in any other context than soccer. Only neither boy anticipates the difficulty in suppressing his attraction for another jock!

Back Off! That’s My Jock by Wade Kelly is the third book in the Jock series and starts where book two ended. Guess what? I totally missed book two was released and I admit I was a little dubious when I began to read this new release, I prefer to read series in order, otherwise I could easily find myself confused by the story and end up not liking the book. This was not the case! Of course I would have love to meet Chris and Alonso and discovered how they fell in love, nevertheless for me Back Off! That’s My Jock worked well because the author was great at filling in what I missed in the previous book.

I liked this book a lot, it was well paced, well written and with amazing characters. Each of them, especially the second ones, was amazing. I can already anticipate you I’m dying to have Rob story in my hands. He is the friend I never had and I so want to have. I met Ellis (and Cole just in few scenes)  and he was just how remember him, caring and careful of the people around him. I loved Doug because he made up his mind and went after who he wants, waiting patiently for his Sam to be brave enough to follow his heart.

What I didn’t like and brought down my rating just a little was the final scene with Sam’s dad. I’m not going into details because I don’t want to spoil the plot, but IMO it was really unnecessary for a kind of book like this. It would have been a great story evenly. It added too much drama to a novel where all the elements were perfectly balanced until that point. It left me a bad taste in my mouth.

Plus the sex scenes were too many to me but this is a preference of mine, with characters so young I want a litlle less sex.

I feel I can recommend Back Off! That’s My Jock especially if you’re a fan of the series or of the suthor, or if you’re looking for a funny, sexy and well done story.

The cover art by Anne Cain is not a winner to me, simply cause I don’t like all that red on it.

Sales Links



ebook, 290 pages
Publication Date August 26th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634775635 (ISBN13: 9781634775632)
Edition Language English

Series: Jock

  • My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap #1
  • Oh, Crap! This Jock’s Getting Married #1,5
  • No! Jocks Don’t Date Guys #2
  • Back Off! That’s My Jock #3


A MelanieM Release Day Review: Don’t Twunk With My Heart (Loving You #2) by Renae Kaye


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Don't Twunk With My HeartKee Smith isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows who he used to be—the ignored gay son who chose a blue-collar job just because no one expected it, the submissive bottom who enjoyed large, masculine jocks who put him in his place, the sleek, fashionable twink who partied all night. But after his ex-boyfriend hit Kee and called him names, Kee retired from the social scene.

Back after a year’s hiatus, Kee still doesn’t know where he fits. His friends say he’s a twunk—a twink who put on muscle and turned into a hunk—but Kee is searching for somewhere to belong. Instead of going back to his usual type, Kee hooks up with twink Tate Stevens—a fashion-industry professional who works the image hard. It proves to be the best decision he’s ever made, and not just because he’s starting to regain his sexual confidence.

With Tate, Kee can open up about his fears and confusion without ridicule. Tate has his own fears about putting on weight and getting old. It will take work to make a relationship of opposites succeed, but they begin to realize the compromises will be worth it if they can be together.

I admit I missed the first story in this series and came at this  without the backstory and couples in Loving Jay (Loving You, #1) and now I think that was a  mistake I have to rectify.  Why?  Because reading this story without all that back history definitely takes away from the depth of the characters here and for me, a lessening of the connection between us.

Kee Smith used to be a twink but after escaping from an abusive relationship, he’s changed.  He works out, cut his hair and become, in the terminology of his gay friend…a twunk.  Kaye delivers the new Kee immediately to the reader in a full fledged portrait.  I loved Kee, complete with reservations about this transition and how he will be received at the local bar his friends hang out at.  The only thing missing here?  The Kee from Loving Jay, that abused twink that makes this one have more layers, more depth.  The events that occur later in the story make reading the Loving Jay even more important as a backdrop to this one.  Without knowing how bad his relationship was or who Kee was as a twink, part of this story is lost.

Tate Stevens, another character from the original story, is a buoyant, joyous, wonder of a character.  A chatterbox with impeccable taste  Tate is such a delight for those readers who love characters who can’t seem to stop talking.  I’m one of those.  I love the constant stream of words flowing  out of Tate’s mouth…a river of thoughts in search of a canal gate they will never find.  You either have a wide tolerance for these people in stories and real life or you don’t.  The fact that Renae Kaye writes Tate in such as way as his fountain of words can be irritating to some I find believable if not downright funny.  Who hasn’t met these people?

Kaye works to get Kee and Tate together by having Kee think through some of his issues with Tate with their friends from Loving Jay and other secondary characters.  It works but again, not having read that first story made reading this book that much harder.  I really need to go pick up that book.  I was left feeling that there were just not again world building to fill in all the assumed storylines.

Did I enjoy this story?  Yes, I love characters that don’t easily slide into relationships but have to work out their issues before they can find out if they have have a future with someone else.  This happens here not once but twice.  Plus its Renae Kaye, another must read author for me.

But I do absolutely recommend you pick up and read Loving Jay (Loving You, #1) first before going on to read Don’t Twunk With My Heart (Loving You, #2).  It will save you from having to do what I’m going to do next.  Go backwards.  But this romance is adorable, so are the men.  And I loved their friends that served as their family and support system.  Kaye made it a believable community, one you rooted for and wanted to revisit.  Which I’m about to do now.  Why don’t you do the same?

Cover Artist: Maria Fanning.  I love this cover, its perfect and adorable.

Sales Links


Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: August 26th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163477583X (ISBN13: 9781634775830)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesLoving You #2

Cover & Blurb Reveal Plus Giveaway – Snow In Montana (Montana #4) by RJ Scott


Cover & Blurb Reveal Plus Giveaway – Snow In Montana (Montana #4) – RJ Scott

Author: RJ Scott
Release Date: December 7 2016
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
Length: 50,000 words
An actor in the closet, a sheriff stuck in a rut, and memories that wonít stay hidden. Will Christmas at Crooked Tree be cancelled?

Jordan Darby is known as the King of Christmas. The star of eight made-for-TV Christmas movies; he is the leading man that always gets his girl. Filming at Crooked Tree in an icy, snowy March he is fighting studio execs, and his fears of exposure, over one huge secret. After all, who the hell would hire him if it came out that their romantic lead was gay?

Sheriff Ryan Carter is advising on the new movie being made at Crooked Tree. He had hoped this would be one day of work and nothing else. Until that is, he meets the sexy hero of the movie. Jordan is spiky, resigned, angry, stuck in the closet and everything that Ryan doesnít need in his life. Until that is, lust becomes part of the equation.

Against the chaos that has overtaken the ranch, Adam regains a memory that threatens his love with Ethan, and it is Justin who has to make sense of it all for everyone. Only through trusting in love and friendship can these two men, learn to look to the future, instead of letting the past destroy everything.

And then maybe, for everyone at Crooked Tree, there can be peace by Christmas.

Author Bio:

RJ Scott is the bestselling gay romance author of over ninety MM romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing. 
RJ also writes MF romance under the name Rozenn Scott.
The last time she had a weekís break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldnít defeat.


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