An Ali Review: The Road To Frosty Hollow by RJ Scott and Meredith Russell

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

the-road-to-frosty-hollowNick and Cameron face old demons, and find new love, on a Christmas road trip.

 

Former Marine Nick Sheridan is at a crossroads. With his entire life ahead of him he struggles to find direction and his place in the world. Car sharing to get home for his sister’s Christmas wedding seems like a good idea at first. Spending the time with the man he kissed and left years before, maybe not so much.

 

Cameron Bennett lost most of his teenage years to cancer and he now lives every day to the fullest. He decides to drive from Seattle to Vermont for his best friend’s wedding and capture moments of it on film. He hadn’t planned on car sharing with the man who kissed him ten years ago, but somehow he ends up with a brooding Nick by his side.

 

Along the way, the men learn that sometimes life plans mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Love can be found in the most unexpected of ways, and facing your demons head on is sometimes the only way to live.

 

This was a wonderful story.  Nick has steadfastly avoided Cam since the kiss that Cam ran away from, but sees updates visa his sister’s facebook account.  They both go along with Nick’s sister’s plan for the road trip across the country.

 

Nick is stuck in a rut and hopes this road trip will give him time to put some perspective on his life and decide what he wants to do anymore.  Cam is running away from his past, afraid that his cancer could be coming back.  These two seem to have an underlying connection that they have been denying for years.

 

We get to see both characters’ points of view which is a big help as they both have a lot going on in their heads.  It’s nice to see them both willing to work through their own problems so that they can work on a life together.  It’s funny how they both knowingly played into the sister’s plan, but this trip seemed to give them the opportunity to be themselves in years.

 

Cover art by Meredith Russell is nice and gives us some good visuals for the characters.

 

Sales Link: Amazon | ARe

 

Book Details:

ebook, 137 pages

Published: December 21, 2016 by Love Lane Books

ISBN: 9781785640605

Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review Day Review Day 27: Santa for Hire (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug) by Asta Idonea

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

santa-for-hireDepartment manager Richard Barratt is less than happy when his department is selected to house the log cabin in which Santa will reside during the holiday season, starting in mid-November, at the large retailer where he works. His thinking about the holiday runs along the lines of bah humbug ever since his boyfriend/fiancé walked out on him on Christmas Eve two years before. It didn’t matter that the man was a cheat—he simply ruined Richard’s holiday celebration forever.

Even after Blaine Ryder, a really cute actor, is hired to play Santa, Richard still wants nothing to do with that section of his department, and when Santa flirts with him, he’s even more uneasy. When Blaine takes it a step further and lures Richard into the cabin for a little after-hours fun, Richard’s reaction is not what Blaine is hoping for.

This is a cute holiday romance, somewhat predictable in its formula, but sweet nevertheless. For those of you who, like me, can’t get enough of holiday romances, this one will definitely fill your sweet tooth and provide some holiday cheer.

Cover art by Paul Richmond is the brand cover for the series.

Sales Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 31 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635331897 (ISBN13: 9781635331899)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug

A Caryn Review: Wild Rose, Silent Snow by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

wild-rose-silent-snowYay, another retold fairy tale from one of my favorite authors!  It was great to review Boots a few weeks ago, so I was looking forward to this one, and I have to say, I liked it even better.  I hope Ms. Martinez writes more adapted fairy tales (please!)

This book is a retelling of the Grimm brother’s Snow White and Rose Red.  Nothing like the Disney version of Snow White, thank goodness!  This time I googled the original story before I read this version, and once again I really enjoyed how she was able to take the best elements of the original, twist them around and flesh them out, and place them into a contemporary setting.  One of my favorite parts of this story was how she was able to place the forest – that place of magic and mystery so prevalent in Grimm’s fairy tales – in a place where it just fit.  This time, in rural Minnesota in the dead of winter.

Rowan Hadley is the main protagonist of the story.  He lives with his twin brother Snowden in their deceased parent’s house on an isolated island in a large lake.  Rowan and Snowden are barely scraping by, after their parents died and their inheritance got tied up in probate and lawsuits.  Both men are disabled in some way – Snowden has very limited speech but Rowan’s disability is not revealed until a good ways into the book – that makes them unable to pursue regular jobs, so they subsist on hunting, fishing, and working odd jobs during the summer.  Winter for them is much like it must have been to the original Snow White and Rose Red – a time of dark, and cold, and danger, and privation.  The brothers are very close, dependent upon each other, but they stick together out of love more than need.

When a bear appears on the island, the brothers are only mildly concerned, expecting it to wander away.  Then Rowan runs right into the bear, and immediately notices that this is not an average bear, especially when it follows him home.  Eventually the bear is in their house, and Rowan finds himself attached to him not just like human and pet, but in a way that feels different, but strangely right.  When the bear does not show up as usual one night, Rowan goes out looking for him but instead finds a gorgeous bear of a man naked in the snow.  And Rowan brings him home as well.  And thus begins their journey – Rowan, Snowden, and the bear – to discover and break the curse and rescue not only this bear, but another man who got caught up in the curse (because after all, Snowden needs to have a man to fall in love with too!)

The way the author brought magic into our world was more subtle, and therefore easier to accept, than the way she did it in Boots.  There was even a little bit of Beauty and the Beast here, with Cade being cursed into a bear due to his out of control temper, and although becoming a better man wasn’t the way to break the curse, he wouldn’t have been able to do so without earning and accepting the trust and assistance of Rowan and Snowden.  Cade was the character than changed and grew, while Rowan and Snowden remained the staunchly good and decent human beings that inspire those around them to be better people.  I was able to fall in love with all of them, and that’s what made me enjoy the book so much.  There was just the right amount of danger and conflict to make it exciting, but I just wanted to jump in there hug all three of these men!

Now I just need to read more of these, and Ms. Martinez does them so well!  I hope she has more in the works, and if so, I’ll be first in line to read them…

Cover art is by Posh Gosh, and once again is perfect for the story.

Sales Links

Pride Publishing

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Book Details:

ebook
Published November 29th 2016 (first published November 18th 2012)
ISBN139781786515001
Edition LanguageEnglish

A VVivacious Review The House Guest by Asta Idonea

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
 
the-house-guestWhen Zach shifted into his new apartment he bought an antique cupboard. On closer inspection that cupboard seemed to have a lock on one of its drawers. The lock sets Zach’s imagination loose with all the things that the lock could be hiding but the empty drawer that greets him was not one of his choices. But looks like that drawer was not so empty after all, as Zach’s apartment seems to magically cleaned every night and on top of that Zach’s house seems to be haunted with the sounds of someone laughing and singing at night.
 
This is a short story featuring Zach and a house spirit or domovoi named Bogdan. The premise of this book is good enough to have set the stage for a full length novel but the author manages to hit all the high points even in this much shorter format but I would have loved to know more.
 
What I loved about this book would have to include the fact that Zach’s house was not haunted by a ghost, I love the fact that the author’s imagination could fuel the existence of a domovoi which seems to be quite a helpful spirit and not a ghost at all. Also I loved the concept of the domovoi and especially Bogdan, he seemed to be so happy-go-lucky and the kind of person who takes everything in his stride.
 
This story is extremely enjoyable and I loved the pairing of Zach and Bogdan and how they had set up a rhythm of sorts with regards to each other.
 
Somethings I would have loved to have more information on would be the subject of domovoi especially in regards to their creation. Also I wanted to know if Zach and Bogdan had a future together, because things are kind of up in the air in those regards.
 
Overall this is a very enjoyable read. Asta Idonea is an amazing author and this story is very well written. Also this story is very well rounded off anything that has been raised as an issue in the story is dealt with. Also this short story is bound to leave an impact because the story is just so damn good that I am pretty sure anybody who reads it will be left wondering.
 
Cover Art by Winterheart Design. I loved the cover featuring Zach and the Bogdan.
Sales Links
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Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 37 pages
Published October 26th 2016 by MLR Press
ASINB01MCZ5J4D
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: A Home for the Holidays by Joe Cosentino and Joel Leslie (narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

a-home-for-the-holidaysAs the son of an Italian mama, Bobby knows what it is to bow from pressure from said mama, so when she suggests he spend Christmas with his Italian cousins on the isle of Capri and goes so far as to buy his ticket, he has no choice but to capitulate. Once there, he meets his extended family, which includes his gorgeous, friendly third cousin, Paolo. Over the course of the holiday, the sparks ignite and then flare between these two men, despite the fact that Paolo’s family, and his family obligations, keep his sexuality under wraps and allow him no choice but to remain behind when Bobby flies home.

I don’t know what I enjoyed more in this story: the author’s sense of humor or Joel Leslie’s delivery of it. Maybe it’s a tie? But in any event, this short holiday story is packed full of goodness. Joel’s voice for Bobby’s mama was hysterical. Perfect, in both accent and tone, the words and the way they were spoken had me laughing out loud within a few minutes of starting this story. So buyer beware: don’t listen to this in any “quiet” space, such as a library. You’ll be kicked out, for sure!

Looking back on how long (or short) this audiobook was (less than two hours) I find it hard to believe that so much occurred. The characters, including a host of secondary characters, were well-developed by the author and given unique and interesting voices by the narrator. The romance progressed quickly, but then it would have to in a short story so no points off for that, for sure. And I was tearful at the ending but suddenly surprised at the last minute by the author’s gift: a highly possible HEA.

Definitely recommended for a healthy dose of holiday cheer.

The cover by Paul Richmond is attractive, depicting two handsome young men who fit the description of the MCs.

Sales Links

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Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, Audiobook
Published November 18th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press (first published December 2nd 2015)
ASINB01N0DV3FT
Edition LanguageEnglish

In Our Pre-Release Day Spotlight: Love’s Opening Night by Jeff Adams (author interview and giveaway)

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Love’s Opening Night by Jeff Adams
D
reamspinner Press

Cover Artist: AngstyG

Available for Purchase at

        

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Jeff Adams here today answering questions and talking about his latest release, Love’s Opening Night. Welcome, Jeff.

~

Hi! I’m Jeff Adams and I’m trilled to be here on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to talk about my latest novella, Love’s Opening Night, which comes from Dreamspinner Press on December 28.

Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?

Not surprisingly, I suppose, it varies from story to story. For Love’s Opening Night, I wanted to set something on Broadway and the idea of taking a ensemble cast member, Jeremy Steele, with a long-standing crush on the lead, Ty Beaumont, and turning it into something more sounded fun. I love theater as much as I do hockey and I enjoyed leaving hockey behind for at least this one story (this is one of the few stories I’ve written that has no mention of the sport in it). You’ll see my love of musicals all over the story as I make reference to several favorites.

It mirrored real life a bit too. My husband and I met while we were doing a play for a local community theatre. Over the course of rehearsals and performances we starting dating. More than twenty years later we’re still enjoying our happily ever after.

Are you a planner or a pantser when writing a story? And why?

This has changed over the course of my writing career. When I began I pantsed all the way. Over time, however, I moved more towards planning. These days I know the course of the book and what needs to happen in each scene. However there’s plenty of room for the story to grow organically as well. For example, there’s a scene where Jeremy gets a little jealous about a reporter from a local TV station. I’d planned for the jealously, but who the reporter actually turns out to be was a lot of fun to write and something I hadn’t planned up front.

Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else?  Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?

For the most part I’m drawn to contemporary stories as I like to read about romanticized real life and that’s what I tend to write. But I try to read broadly too, so I’ll give sci-fi and paranormal a go every now and then, especially if a book comes highly recommended or it’s blurb catches my eye.

I’d like to try to write something sci-fi someday if I can wrap my brain around how to do the world building correctly.

Can a author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?

Oh, yes an author can do this. It may not be nice, but I do it. For me, it’s Simon from my Hat Trick series (see, there’s hockey rearing its head). He grew so much from a closeted, but in love, high school senior in to a caring, lovingly committed adult graduating college across the three book/three short story series, that I think he’ll be my favorite character forever.

If you were to be stranded on an island or snowbound somewhere, what books/authors would you take to read?

A must would be Z.A. Maxfield’s St. Nachos books as well as Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (which is my favorite book ever) plus books from David Levithan and Geoff Knight’s Fathom’s Five series. Those, I think, could get me through anything.

How early in your life did you begin writing?

I was published in my middle school’s literary journal in seventh grade and I poked around with creative writing through high school and college. After few years after college, a friend and I co-founded a literary magazine (The First Line, which still exists today). I left the magazine after a few years to focus on my own writing and here I am today. I love that I spend a few hours every day crafting stories.

Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?

My mom read to be a lot as a child. All the Winnie The Pooh books were wonderful (a prized possession is a first edition from the 1920s of one of the Pooh books. Charlotte’s Web was powerful and I was crushed when Charlotte dies at the end. There were a lot of Harold and the Purple Crayon stories too. He reading to me turned me into a reader. I’ve been reading ever since. Sometimes not as much as I want, but there’s always a book in progress.

Thanks so much for hanging out with me for a few minutes. If you have any questions for me, please leave them in the comments and I’ll stop back to answer over the next few days.

I hope everyone enjoys Love’s Opening Night as much as I did writing it. Please check out the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win an ebook copy.

About LOVE’S OPENING NIGHT

Can an onstage love story lead to a real-life romance?

Jeremy Steele is a veteran Broadway performer. For his latest role, he’s dancing alongside a man he’s fantasized about for years, TV star Ty Beaumont. Jeremy knows better than to get involved with a castmate, but when Ty has trouble learning the complicated choreography, Jeremy offers to lend a hand. When a rehearsal kiss turns into something more, Jeremy can’t help but wonder what a celebrity like Ty could ever see in a Broadway chorus boy like him. Will a relationship with his crush make it past previews, or can it become a long-running hit?

Release date: December 28, 2016

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About the Author

Jeff’s written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published. Since then he’s written several more shorts and novels, including some in the young adult genre, and he plans to keep writing as long as wonderful readers keeping picking up his books.

Jeff lives in rural Northern California with his husband of twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show], the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance. If forced to pick his favorite book it would be a tie between Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and David Levithan’s Every Day.

Jeff is also the co-host of Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast.

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Raine O’Tierney on Writing and her release, The 12 Days of Hipster (The Avona Tales #2) (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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The 12 Days of Hipster (The Avona Tales #2) by Raine O’Tierney
D
reamspinner Press
Cover art by Paul Richmond

Available for Purchase at

        

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Raine O’Tierney here today answering questions about writing and her latest release in the Avona Tales series, The 12 Days of Hipster.  Welcome, Raine.

~

-Our Raine O’Tierney Interview-

Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?

A lot of times, I choose my plot to soothe some internal hurt. Either a regret of mine, or a story I heard in real life that didn’t quite have that HEA. I like to turn to the world of writing to “make it right.” Writing has healed a lot of wounds.

Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And  why?

Such a pantzer. I write organically and only at the very, very end do I think, “All right, let’s wrap this up — how?” Then I might do a mini plot.

Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else?  Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?

I’m a genre-jumper! Characters are my passion, so whatever genre fits those characters, that’s where you’ll find me.

If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?

Shane Devereaux from Sweet Giordan— It’s not that I would write him differently, but I would show more of him and his hurts. I don’t think I conveyed him as well as I could have.

Can a author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?

Absolutely! My very favorite character is Isa Zaman from I’ll Always Miss You.

If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?

Crazy Gal Gets Married Straight Out of High School… Because… I married my high school sweetheart a week after graduation! 😉

the-12-days-of-hipster

-Blurb-

The 12 Days of Hipster

(Sequel to Bowl Full of Cherries)

Last Christmas, Tyler Lang accidentally accepted David Griffith’s invitation for dinner. Yes, it was an accident. See, hipster (don’t call him that!) Tyler doesn’t date guys, and even if he did, he certainly doesn’t date jocks. A rude and hasty exit right when the date was getting good left things awkward between them.

David Griffith isn’t really a jock. Well, he’s a former athlete who loves sports, but “jock” has a certain connotation that doesn’t quite fit the intelligent, hardworking store owner. A jock wouldn’t have given Tyler Lang the time of day. But even after that little, ahem, stunt with the fire escape, David can’t stop thinking about the hipster a year later. Which would be fine if fate didn’t keep butting her nose into their business, making it impossible for the jock and the hipster to avoid each other this Christmas.

A hilarious holiday romp, set to the music of the Winter Sounds.

Excerpt-

Okay, fine. If he couldn’t get out of this with direct and sound logic, he would try the irrational. The completely, totally—did he say completely?—irrational. Tyler tightened his grip on David’s hand, leaned forward, and kissed him. But before a full second had passed, David burst out laughing against Tyler’s lips.

Tyler yanked back, heat suffusing his face.

“What?”

“That was the sourest prekiss expression I’ve ever seen.”

“That’s it, I’m leaving.”

“Tyler, you don’t have to go.”

“No sparks. Only laughter. Must leave.”

“No sparks because you looked like you were in physical pain and made me laugh. Why don’t you be a little more romantic about it?”

“Because I….” Don’t know what in the hell I’m doing. It was probably the first time in his life he really could say that. He’d learned things before. There had been a time when he hadn’t known how to knit, when he hadn’t known how to make gourmet chocolates, when he hadn’t known how to use a soldering iron—but those were just learning opportunities. But with this? He felt like he was standing out naked on the corner with only mistletoe to cover his bits.

“More like this.”

The second kiss was what Tyler would have called sweet if the word had been in his vocabulary. David’s lips were warm, soft, giving, and for a moment the kiss lingered on that edge of innocent, like a snowflake dancing through the sky. Then the world tipped and Tyler’s hands were in David’s hair and David was drawing him closer and, motherfuckinggod, they were kissing. Hard, searching lips, taking and giving, and it took him way too long to realize what he was doing. In fact, he might not have ever realized it if they hadn’t needed to breathe like humans do. It took a long moment for rational thought to come back to Tyler.

-About the Author-

Called “Queen of the Sweetness” (well, two or three people said it anyway!) Raine O’Tierney loves writing sweet stories about first loves, first times, fidelity, forever-endings and…friskiness?

Raine in Kansas City with her husband, fellow Dreamspinner Press author, Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either asleep, or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers!

Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!

-SOCIAL MEDIA

Website: http://raineotierney.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raineotierney
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/RaineOTierneyAuthor/
Twitter: @raineotierney
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7770350.Raine_O_Tierney

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-Giveaway (Rafflecopter)-

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