A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review Day 25: Don’t Let the Light Go Out (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug) by L.A. Merrill


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

dont-let-the-light-go-outRay Fine would like to forget Hanukkah even exists. The holiday holds too many sad memories for the young widower. When he’s paired with new convert Josiah Wilson in a year-long welcoming program at his synagogue, he doesn’t know how he’ll get through eight days of celebration, let alone twelve months of guidance.

Josiah has enough on his plate—school, conversion, the holiday concert season—without becoming someone’s shoulder to cry on. But when he discovers there’s more to his new synagogue buddy’s sadness than a case of the “Hanukkah Blues,” he sets out to show Ray how much there is to live for.

The first blizzard of the season has other plans, though, and Hanukkah might be a lost cause if Ray and Josiah can’t plow through the snow—and their differences. Determined not to lose Ray to his own darkness, Josiah plans to teach him a lesson about the real Miracle of Light—and love.

I loved this story by L.A. Merrill.  A man mourning the death of his husband has lost all hope and withdrawn from life.  Now as the beginning of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, one his husband enjoyed deeply, the pain is felt all the more grievously. Ray Fine’s not just withdrawn, he’s depressed and barely surviving from day to day.  Merrill does  an excellent job of letting us into what’s left of Fine’s life.  We see the dust that spread over his furniture, the two room’s he’s withdrawn into, and the menorah collection of his husband’s that he’s grown resentful of to the point of hate.  Its wonderful writing, it sets the man, the emotion and the theme for the story.

Josiah Wilson is a welcome and warm presence when he appears. Josiah is a convert to  Judaism, he’s has his own holiday schedule and he’s trying to understand and fit into a new congregation. Then he meets Ray and sees Ray floundering just as he’s been assigned to Ray as a ‘synagogue buddy’ by their Rabbi.  Josiah is a wonderful character.  He’s young, compassionate but not a doormat.  He’ll take only so much rejection before he too will give up.

Merrill understands that grief is something that has to be worked through.  Merrill goes through the stages realistically.  There’s no magic button here.  But all the wondlerful touches and great characters flow together, within the framework of the Jewish religion and the celebration of Hanukkah to bring readers a story of joy, recovery, hope and love.

Its doesn’t matter what religion or holiday you celebrate for you to recognize the wonders and joys that await you in this one.  I recommend it to you all.

I wish in this case that another cover would have been chosen other than the series cover by Paul Richmond.

Sales Links




Book Details:

ebook, 34 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1635331870 (ISBN13: 9781635331875)
Edition Language English





Cover art by Paul Richmond

Sales Links


Book Details:

ebook, 34 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635331870 (ISBN13: 9781635331875)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Saving Jason by K.C. Wells


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

saving-jason-by-kc-wellsI have to be very honest here—I most definitely chose to read this book because of the cover. I’m not often motivated by covers; I’m more likely to buy based on an author or blurb. In this case, I got it all: stunning cover; gorgeous silver fox; sweet, smart, sexy younger man; an author I love; and a story that fulfills its promise. Happy holidays to me!

David is a marketing exec at a large law firm. Constantly oversleeping, his favorite stop on the way to work is a coffee shop where he gets incredible bagels and perfect coffee, along with a good look at the shop’s silver-haired, sexy owner. When he is assigned the task of finding a homeless shelter his firm can adopt for promotion, he immediately thinks of his silver fox—the man who he’s seen passing coffee and a bagel to men who are apparently homeless. If his suspicion is correct, this is the man who can help.

Jason is a divorced father of one, and though he’s happy he finally came out to his family, he spends most of his time alone, not having gotten up the nerve to pursue another man. But this David guy is so cute and personable that he’s happy to accept the challenge of helping him and having something, and someone, new in his life.

Even after Jason introduces David to the staff at the shelter where he volunteers his time, the two find reasons to spend time together and quickly develop a friendship. Over the course of the few months between their initial meeting and the holiday season, they find that friendship has developed into a relationship, which from Jason’s perspective, fulfills his dreams of having a man in his life. The fact that it’s a younger man who is smart and sexy and kisses like there’s no tomorrow is a huge bonus.

Over time it’s noticeable to his staff and son and other friends that Jason is no longer the sad and lonely man he once was. And David couldn’t be happier than when he’s in Jason’s arms. Because their attraction developed slowly and didn’t leap into immediate sex, this story turned out to be even more enjoyable to me. Don’t get me wrong: there is sex—really good sex—but not until the latter part of the story. Slow burn romance is so delicious—it’s like letting an M&M melt in your mouth—you get more of the flavor one layer at a time. The fact that this story takes place in the holiday season is a bonus, especially if you read it now, but it is appropriate any time of the year.

My only problem with it is this: throughout the whole story I kept mixing up the characters in my mind. And I mean the whole story! I had to constantly stop and think about which character was doing which action, and it was all because of their names. I felt that Jason was the younger man and David the older one. Why? Because David is an “older” name that’s been around forever, and the name Jason has only been popular since the end of the 20th century and I associate it with younger persons. I admit that this could just be me, but it created a real problem for me so I have to mark this as 4.5 stars. Other than that, it’s a wonderful story of romance.

One last word on the cover by Meredith Russell—it fulfilled its promise, big time. The cover models actually look like the characters and the scene actually takes place. And the look in David’s eyes as he gazes at Jason is just so full of love and adoration it makes my heart tingle. Perfect!

Sales Links


Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 117 pages
Published November 30th 2016 by Island Tales Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

Merry Christmas, More Announcements and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words



Merry Christmas and More Announcements

Merry Christmas all.  This will be a short post this morning as I’m busy with  all things family and the holidays.  I hope you all are having a safe, happy, and wonderful holiday as well, no matter where you are.


✒︎Our first major announcement is that the author with the most votes of our poll is Ross Common who wrote Christopher.  If you want to read Christopher or any of the other stories, go to our Flash Fiction header in the menu and you can find them all there.  Congratulations to Ross Common for his amazing story.  Our thanks to all the authors and for their wonderful flash fiction.  We intend to do this again next next.  Stay tuned!

✒︎Second announcement.  The reader randomly chosen to receive the $10 Dreamspinner Press gift card after voting and leaving a comment was Suze294. Congratulations to suze294.  

Merry  Christmas everyone and here’s our schedule.


This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 25:

  • A Melanie Advent Calendar Review Day 25: Don’t Let the Light Go Out by L.A. Merrill
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Saving Jason by KC Wells
  • Merry Christmas, More Announcements and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 26:

  • DSP GUEST POST Peter Grover
  • An Alisa Review: Russian Blau by Emily Carrington
  • An Ali Audiobook Review A Fortunate Blizzard by LC Chase
  • A Caryn Review: Boots by Angel Martinez
  • A Melanie Release Day Review: Chosen Pride by Mary Calmes
  • A VVivacious Advent Calendar Review Day 26: Title Surprise

Tuesday, December 27:

  • DSP GUEST POST Raine O’Tierney on The 12 Days of Hipster
  • DSP GUEST POST Jeff Adams
  • An Ali Review: The Road To Frosty Hollow – RJ Scott & Meredith Russell
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS by Joe Cosentino and Narrated by Joel Leslie
  • A Barb the  Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review Day Review Day 27: Title Surprise
  • A Caryn Review: Wild Rose, Silent Snow by Angel Martinez
  • A VVivacious Review The House Guest by Asta Idonea

Wednesday, December 28:

  • DSP GUEST POST BA Tortuga on Catch and Release
  • DSP GUEST POST David Connor and E.F. Mulder
  • Cover Reveal for Hipster Brothel by K.A. Merikan
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Deefur And The Great Mistletoe Incident by RJ Scott
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Jackass Flats by Julia Talbot
  • An Ali Release Day Review:  Whiskey Business by Avon Gale
  • A VVivacious Advent Calendar Review Day 28: Title Surprise

Thursday, December 29:

  • DSP GUEST POST Paul Comeau on More Things in Heaven and Earth
  • Review Tour – Posy Roberts – Analog to Digital
  • A Caryn Review: Bridge Over Troubled Water by Vivien Dean
  • A VVivacious Review: Under my Bed by T. A. Chase
  • A Lila Audio Review Fish Out of Water by Amy Lane
  • A Paul B Release Day Review: Analog to Digital

Friday, December 30:

  • Blog Tour: “Accused” by Leona Windwalker
  • Cover Reveal Regeneration by Louise Lyons
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Champagne Kisses by Lynda Aicher
  • A Lila Release Day Review: More Things in Heaven and Earth By Paul Comeau
  • A Melanie Release Day Review: In Enemy Hands by MA Church
  • A VVivacious Advent Calendar Review: Title Surprise

Saturday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve):

  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review Last Day:  First New Year’s After the Apocalypse by Jessica Payseur

two holly berry branches