An Alisa Audiobook Review: Forbidden Mate (Holland Brothers #4) by Toni Griffin and Dominic M. McCartney (Narrator)

Rating:  4 stars out of 5


forbidden-mate-audio-jpg_origFinding his mate should have been Patrick Holland’s greatest day, instead it turned into a nightmare with one phone call. His mate didn’t want him. His heart broke, but at sixteen he was too young to do anything. The next ten years—ten long years— of Patrick’s life are spent at odds with his mate. Split by forces he can’t comprehend and a long line of misunderstandings, Patrick doubts he’ll ever get the man he’s both loved and hated.


Jake Richmond never expected to come home from Uni to find the youngest Holland brother was his mate. Knowing the news might uplift his still grieving father, Jake shares the news only to have his young mate threatened. Jake does the only thing he can think of, protect Patrick. The next ten years are nothing but torture for Jake as he watches his mate grow into a remarkable young man.

They say time heals all wounds, but how much time?


This is a wonderful addition to the Holland Brothers series.  Throughout the other books in the series I could tell there was something about Jake and Patrick, but didn’t know for sure.  Patrick and Jake have known each other forever and when they learn they are mates they are ecstatic, but Jake pushes Patrick away to protect him causing them both years of pain.


Jake has been watching over his mate from afar for years, hurting himself knowing he was hurting Patrick.  Both of them have reached their limit, Patrick can’t take his heart breaking over and over anymore and Jake decides to deal with his father and see if he has any chance for a future with his mate.  This story is heartbreaking to watch these two danced around each other, but still keeping everything a secret.  It’s a bit hard for me to believe the brothers never noticed anything, but I still loved this story.


Dominic M. McCartney did a wonderful job narrating this story.  I was able to understand the characters through the voices and emotions he portrayed.  The voices didn’t quite match what I had thought of for the characters, but it didn’t hurt the storytelling.  Even though this is a book I have read it felt new to me listening to him tell it.


Cover art looks great and follows the pattern for the series.


Sales Links: Mischief Corner Books | Audible | Amazon | iTunes


Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 7 hrs 50 min
Published: October 21, 2016 (ebook, 2nd edition, published February 5, 2014) by MCB
Edition Language: English

Series: The Holland Brothers #4

A Caryn Release Day Review: September (Pride and Joy #1) by Robert Winter

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

september-by-robert-winterExceptionally beautiful and moving.  This is Robert Winter’s debut novel, and I will definitely be looking for more from him!

The blurb for this book doesn’t really do it justice, even though it basically lays out the entire plot.  There is no mystery, no crimes to solve, no near death experiences, just a story of two men and their journey of falling in love, and learning to make that love work despite circumstance and convention.  In short, everything I love – that excellent characterization that makes me want to know these men and their friends, and the authenticity of all the situations that lead them through turmoil to a well deserved happy ever after.

An omniscient observer opens the book by setting a rather lonely but somewhat hopeful scene.  A man in bed, alone, restlessly sleeping, and the observer hopes he is ready to move on to something new and better.  This man is David James, a 48 year old Washington DC lawyer who is still grieving his lover Kyle’s death two years previously.  David has channeled that grief into an almost obsessive devotion to exercise which eventually leads to a mild shoulder injury.  His doctor refers him to physical therapy, and David is surprised and a little embarrassed to find that he is attracted to his therapist, Brandon Smith.  That not-so-simple touch between therapist and patient makes him start thinking of how lonely he really is, and, as usual, he starts hearing Kyle’s voice in his head.  Telling him it’s completely normal to be attracted to another man.

Brandon is 27 years old, an athlete who gave up dreams of playing professionally after an injury, and is now working on building a career, though financially he’s struggling.  He is still an athlete, now playing a variety of recreational sports, and enjoying the occasional casual hookup.  He  isn’t really looking for a relationship, but as he comes to know David better over the weeks of therapy, they become friends, and flirt with their mutual attraction.  When they act on that attraction, the sex is mind-blowing (and well written!), and a revelation to Brandon who has never experienced that kind of connection with another man.

From the very beginning, though, their differences – age, wealth, background, experience – cause a lot of angst.  David can’t get over the 22 year age gap, and Brandon feels a little overwhelmed by David’s wealth and success.  Despite that, everything is wonderful as long as they keep their budding relationship in a bubble.  To most of the outside world though, theirs is the stereotypical rich daddy with a kept boy arrangement, and the biggest danger of that view is that both men fear there is some truth to it.  Getting over that anxiety means confronting their own doubts and fears, and learning to let go of pride.  It takes a tragedy that affects both of their identities to make that happen.

There was plenty of angst, both internal and external, none of it artificial.  I loved how Kyle almost became an active character himself through the memories of the men who knew him, and especially through the portrayal of David’s grief.  The way David learned how to incorporate his love for Kyle into his love for Brandon was a mark of true healing, notably because it never diminished how much he cared for Kyle even as he found new happiness with Brandon.

On a final note, the title of this book was entirely perfect.  The first time I really thought of it was when David was telling a friend his misgivings about getting into a May-December relationship.  His friend replied “First off, you’re not even fifty years old, so let’s drop the December comments.  At most this is a May-September situation.”   I thought that was pretty clever, but towards the end of the book, other events occur that make September even more special to both men, and make the title more memorable to me.  It’s rare that the title of a book connects with its theme as well as this one did.

Cover art by Catt Ford really captured the two men!

Sales Links




Book Details:

ebook, 290 pages
Expected publication: December 9th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPride and Joy #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: What Happens at Christmas by Jay Northcote and Mark Steadman (Narrator)

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

what-happens-at-christmas-by-jay-northcoteFirst and foremost, the most important disclaimer for this review is that I love holiday stories. The second is that I highly enjoy the work of Jay Northcote. And last, but certainly not least, I love Mark Steadman’s narrations. Put these all together, and it’s a no-brainer that I really enjoyed this short friends-to-lovers story.

Justin is heartbroken over the loss of his boyfriend—probably more so because the ex was cheating on him, works in the same office, and is now going to be at their holiday party—the party for which Justin doesn’t have a date. When his old friend Sean comes back from overseas and admits to Justin that he told his dad that he’s gay before he left on this last trip, Justin is surprised but happy. He’s lusted after the guy he grew up with for years, but Sean was straight, or so he thought.

When Sean agrees to accompany Justin to the office party as Justin’s boyfriend, little does Justin know that Sean is looking forward to the cuddles and kisses as much as Justin is. Add in a snowstorm that strands both men for the holidays, and their decision to stay together gives them a much better chance to follow through on what starts at the party.

Because it’s a short story, there’s not a lot of misunderstanding, angst, and soul-searching, and to be honest, I’m glad for that. But the two fated mates do look forward to their HEA as the story ends.

Jay pulled out the old friends-to-lovers trope, dusted it off, and created a highly enjoyable book. The fact that he got Mark Steadman to narrate shows his brilliance and bumps the rating up a notch. This is one that would make a wonderful stocking stuffer for all lovers of MM romance.

Cover art fits the  character and story.

Sales Links

Audiobook Details:

3 hrs 41 mins

Audible Audio, 4 pages

Published November 11th 2016 by Jaybird Press (first published November 19th 2015)
Original TitleWhat Happens At Christmas
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Release Day Review: His Fairy Godfather by Cate Ashwood and Nico Jaye

Rating:  4 stars out of 5


his-fairy-godfather-by-cate-ashwoodSince the death of his father, Trick Grigsby has fought to keep his head above water. Following in his father’s footsteps as a talented architect, he hopes to work his way up at the firm. Unfortunately, the company’s new owner barely resembles the man who was once Trick’s father’s best friend. Trick’s days are filled with drudgery and cruel remarks from the man who was supposed to be his mentor—along with his two sons, whose only jobs seem to be making Trick’s life miserable.


But all that is about to change.


Edwin Goodmaker struggled through his fairy godparent curriculum, but his mother—the reigning Fairy Queen—has a simple solution: Edwin will go to New York City and get some practical experience. When he meets Trick, Edwin knows he’s found a worthy charge, and he’s sure he can help Trick achieve all of his heart’s desires. Edwin falls for Trick, but with everything standing in their way, a fairy-tale ending might remain nothing more than a dream.


This was an adorably sweet story.  Trick has been working himself to the bone for his father’s former business partner, trying to save up enough to own some of the business his father helped start.  Edwin has had some trouble completing his godparent lessons and his mother decides it’s best for him to get some practical experience.


Edwin meets Trick by chance when Trick save him from a taxi and immediately knows he is worthy of a godparent.  Edwin befriends Trick in order to help him, but it really takes his naivety and open smile for Trick to open up to another person.  Just as Trick begins to get all the things he is worthy of (his heart’s desire) he realizes that may not be what he really wants anymore.


This story is told from both characters’ points of view which makes it easier to connect with the characters.  I hated seeing how beaten Trick would feel during the work day and when he would go home for the evening.  Edwin is such a light to his world, I loved seeing their interactions and watching their relationship grow.


Cover art by Anna Sikorska is just as adorable as the story and is perfect.


Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | ARe


Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages

Published: December 9, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781635331257

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Advent Calendar Review Day 9: Pixies and Paperwork by Cassia Rose

Rating:  3 stars out of 5


pixies-and-paperworkMicheal Donovan’s family has kept the peace between mortal and magical realms for generations, but Micheal skipped out on glory for other plans. He finished school, got a nine-to-five, and tried to fit in. When his cousin meets an unfortunate end on All Hallows’ Eve, Micheal abruptly inherits the position of Riftkeeper, along with all the prestige and responsibility he didn’t want. Estranged from his family, Micheal never learned the details of the job. All the grumpy, ancestral spirit now possessing his goldfish can tell him is that a mistake could be catastrophic. Micheal isn’t feeling the holiday cheer, and coworkers’ attempts to encourage him only add to a headache of magical proportions. To make matters worse, Ryan Nickles, Micheal’s colleague and cubicle neighbor, has assembled enough Christmas decorations to attract more pixies than Micheal can hide.


When Micheal’s attempts to find the Winter Court on the week of the solstice leave him with nothing but a bad cold, he fears he’ll be the first Riftkeeper to break the ancient contracts. He’s too stressed to handle Ryan’s attempts to get him into the holiday spirit, but Ryan might know more about the magic of the season than Micheal realizes.


To Micheal his life has just been shot to hell when he inherits the position of Riftkeeper, it’s made worse when he can’t get any answers as to what he is supposed to be doing.  It takes him getting sick for his barriers to be down enough that he doesn’t immediately push Ryan away and realizes he may have the answers to all of his questions.


Micheal and Ryan have worked together for a few years, but Ryan has never been able to break through Micheal’s shell.  When Micheal needs help finding the location of the Winter Court along with a gift Ryan steps in to help when he realizes that he can.  I loved the Micheal is able to let his guard down enough, almost too late, for him to see that Ryan can help him.  This story has a simple HFN ending, but I’m not sure I understand the universe in which the story takes place; I felt a bit confused throughout it.

Cover is ok for the story.

Sales Links





Book Details:

ebook, 49 pages

Published: December 9, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

Edition Language: English

Release Blitz Tour and Giveaway: Snow In Montana by RJ Scott

Snow In Montana (Montana #4) – RJ Scott

Author: RJ Scott
Length: 54,000 words
Cover Design: Meredith Russell 
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | AllRomance | Smashwords | B&N | KOBO | iTunes

An actor in the closet, a sheriff in love, and memories that won’t stay hidden.

Jordan Darby is known as the King of Christmas. The star of eight made-for-TV Christmas movies, the leading man who always gets his girl. Filming at Crooked Tree Ranch in Montana, in the ice and snow, Jordan is fighting to make a go of his new company and dealing with fears of exposure over one huge secret. After all, who the hell would buy into him being a romantic straight lead if rumors about him being gay were proven to be true.

Sheriff Ryan Carter is advising on the new movie being made at Crooked Tree. He hoped this would be one day of work and nothing more. Until, that is, he meets the hero. But while Jordan is sexy, he’s also very much stuck in the closet – everything that Ryan doesn’t need in his life. And then lust becomes part of the equation, and Ryan’s quiet life is thrown into turmoil.

Their story unfolds against the chaos that overtakes the ranch, with Adam regaining memories that terrify him and make him look at Justin differently, and Justin leaving the ranch to make things right. Only through trusting in love and friendship can Justin and Adam learn to look to the future instead of letting the past destroy everything. But will they ever see clearly enough to do that?

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 week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.


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Tara Lain on Writing and Cowboys Don’t Come Out (author guest blog)


Cowboys Don’t Come Out by Tara Lain
reamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Tara Lain here today to talk about her latest release Cowboys Don’t Come Out. Welcome, Tara!

Ten Facts About Tara Lain’s Cowboys Don’t Come Out

Hi! I’m Tara Lain and I write the Beautiful Boys of Romance. I’m so delighted to be at Random Thoughts and Rogue Words today to celebrate the release of my new novel, Cowboys Don’t Come Out. This is a somewhat unusual book so I thought I’d share some fun facts about it with you –

  1. It’s a contemporary cowboy romance but it takes place mostly in Hawaii
  2. Hawaii had cowboys before the United States (Hawaii wasn’t a state then).
  3. The name for Hawaiian cowboys, paniolo, comes from the Hawaiian pronunciation of espaniol since the original paniolos were Mexican vaqueros. One of my heroes is a paniolo.
  4. Most of the story takes place in Hana, which is on the far side of Maui and can only be reached by driving the “long and winding road”, which takes hours, or by small plane, or by boat.
  5. Both of my heroes love to dance, especially two-step, and that’s how they meet
  6. During the story, the heroes visit some fun sights on the island such as the town of Makawao and the Seven Sacred Pools, so the reader gets to go too.
  7. The Seven Sacred Pools aren’t seven and aren’t sacred! They are, however, very beautiful and worth seeing.
  8. Beyond the pools is the most amazing bamboo forest and my heroes have sex in that forest!  LOL
  9. For this book, I had to learn a whole lot about child custody laws
  10. Since the story takes place on a Christmas vacation, I think you can call it a holiday story!

I hope you enjoyed my Facts. Here’s an excerpt –

Excerpt — Cowboys Don’t Come Out by Tara Lain

Rand McIntyre settles for good enough. He loves his small California ranch, raising horses, and teaching riding to the kids he adores—but having kids of his own and someone to love means coming out, and that would jeopardize everything he’s built. Then, despite his terror of flying, he goes on a holiday to Hana, Hawaii with his parents and meets the dark and mysterious Kai Kealoha, a genuine Hawaiian cowboy. Rand takes to Kai’s kid brother and sister as much as he drools over Kai, but the guy sports more prickles than a horned toad, and more secrets than the exotic land he comes from.

Kai’s earned his privacy and lives to protect his “kids.” He ought to stay away from the big, handsome cowboy for everyone’s sake—but since the guy’s just a haole on a short vacation, how much damage can he do? When all of Kai’s worst fears and Rand’s darkest nightmares come true at once, there’s not much chance for two cowboys who can’t—or won’t—come out.

By now the place was jumping. People had been squeezing into the cracks ever since they arrived, and the music clearly signaled dancing time. Couples bopped out onto the floor and the Texas two-step, Hawaiian style, began.

Rand slugged back a mouthful of beer. “You wanna?”

“You can dance? Hell yes.”

She was out of the booth and onto the floor in record time. Apparently she didn’t get enough dancing. She’s come to the right place. Dancing R Us. He took her in the semiclose two-step hold and set off onto the floor.

After a couple of twirls and close-hold side-by-sides, she grinned up at him. “You really can dance.”

“As advertised.” That might be the only thing about him that was.

A few people had come to the edge of the dance floor and were clapping Rand and Julie on. Rand released his inner exhibitionist and put on a little show. Julie had no problem keeping up. Suddenly a loud whistle cut through the music, and someone yelled, “Go Kai!”

Rand looked around and saw a guy dancing with a pretty redhead. Whoa. Maybe he should say a pretty guy dancing with a redhead—tallish, lean, with caramel skin that glowed in the soft light, and below-the-ear-length black hair that swayed under his cowboy hat as he danced. And shit, could that guy dance. Graceful, sure-footed, and sexy. Holy hell.

“Hey, can’t stand the competition?”

“What?” Julie grinned at him. Damn, he’d stopped dancing to watch. “Oh, hell no.”

The band segued into something far more up-tempo and fiddle-based. Most of the dancers gave up, but not the beautiful guy. He just stepped it up and out, twirling his partner across the floor. Rand took up the gauntlet, adding in some line-dance steps. Julie picked it up fast, and they held their own. Rand glanced at the other couple and got a stare from Mr. Gorgeous, who filled out his jeans like sin in blue denim, his ass rounding the back and worn fabric cupping his package in front. Stop looking, asshole, before you get a very embarrassing boner.

About Cowboy Don’t Come Out

Rand McIntyre settles for good enough. He loves his small California ranch, raising horses, and teaching riding to the kids he adores—but having kids of his own and someone to love means coming out, and that would jeopardize everything he’s built. Then, despite his terror of flying, he goes on a holiday to Hana, Hawaii, with his parents and meets the dark and mysterious Kai Kealoha, a genuine Hawaiian cowboy. Rand takes to Kai’s kid brother and sister as much as he drools over Kai, but the guy sports more prickles than a horned toad and more secrets than the exotic land he comes from.

Kai’s earned his privacy and lives to protect his “kids.” He ought to stay away from the big, handsome cowboy for everyone’s sake—but since the guy’s just a haole on a short vacation, how much damage can he do? When all of Kai’s worst fears and Rand’s darkest nightmares come true at once, there’s not much chance for two cowboys who can’t—or won’t—come out.

You can buy Cowboys Don’t Come Out at –

Dreamspinner Press —

Amazon —

All Romance —

B&N —

Kobo —

And at iBooks



About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 34. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

Contact her at: