A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Valentine’s Day Resolution by Ava Hayden

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Huxley carries invisible scars from a near-fatal car accident. He sleepwalks through a job at his father’s company, marking time until he can quit and pursue his own dreams.

Everything changes the moment he makes eye contact with a stranger while riding to work. It’s as if he’s been shaken out of his stupor, and Huxley vows to find the man.

Thanks to a thieving ex-lover, Paul’s florist shop is on the brink of closing down. He needs to milk Valentine’s Day for all it’s worth—and the irony that a day dedicated to love might help undo the damage of a failed relationship is not lost on him.

When Huxley finds Paul at his shop, both men feel an instant attraction. Before long, they’re falling hard, but Huxley holds back. If Paul knew all the baggage he’s carrying, he might run.

Paul’s gut tells him Huxley is hiding something. Huxley looks like a keeper, but Paul can’t go through another disastrous romance.

When Valentine’s Day arrives, will they have anything to celebrate?

The Valentine’s Day Resolution by Ava Hayden was such a delight to read.  Not only did I fall in love with the characters but the way in which the author brought Huxley slowly back to life, small step by step in every part of his life made this story a real joy to read.  You can understand Huxley, a man bound by his past and his fears.  Several changes slowly start to pull Huxley out of his boxed in life and into something marvelous.    And these are small steps,  but ones to be cherished (not that he realizes the steps that he’s taking at the time).  But while Huxley’s still unaware that he’s moving forward, the reader and the people around him are and we/they are cheering him on.

Paul, the florist, is another gem of a character in a book full of them. Paul is trying to save his shop, yet when Huxley appears at the counter, something about the man makes Paul  want to trust again.  So the author gives us two men with fear ruling their lives in different ways.  How it is resolves and loves triumphs, quietly, movingly, is why I was sighing so happily as I finished the story.   So happy that I wanted to read it again.  So will you.  Consider this happily recommended!

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza. The artist does a lovely job of bringing both characters to life.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 140 pages
Expected publication: August 2nd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635337013

A Lila Audiobook Review: Plaid Versus Paisley (Fabric Hearts #2) by KC Burn and Narrator: David Ross

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Two years after his life fell apart, Will Dawson moved to Florida to start over. His job in the tech department of Idyll Fling, a gay porn studio, is ideal for him. When his boss forces him to take on a new hire, the last person he expects is Dallas Greene—the man who cost him his job and his boyfriend back in Connecticut. He doesn’t know what’s on Dallas’s agenda, but he won’t be blindsided by a wolf masquerading as a runway model. Not again.

Dallas might have thrown himself on his brother’s mercy, but his skills are needed at Idyll Fling. Working with Will is a bonus, since Dallas has never forgotten the man. A good working relationship is only the beginning of what Dallas wants with Will.

But Dallas doesn’t realize how deep Will’s distrust runs, and Will doesn’t know that the man he’s torn between loving and hating is the boss’s brother. When all truths are revealed, how can a relationship built on lies still stand?

Plaid Versus Paisley is a pseudo enemies-to-lovers story. More about strong attraction and miscommunications than anything else, but the path to redemption is one they walked inadvertently. Omissions are also part of the obstacles in Will’s and Dallas’s path.

One thing this book highlight is the MCs’ intellects. I really like the way they interact and complement each other. They are geeky and at the same time, they have an adventurous side. They also take care of each other even when they have some misgivings about each other.

The start of the book is strong and we learned a lot about Dallas, his family and indirectly about Will. It’s easy to feel his exhaustion and the love of his brother. We also learned from Will amidst his desire to keep Dallas at arm’s-length.

Some of the details were a bit irrelevant and the middle part, as with many stories, dragged a bit. There’s some repetition and the ending felt rushed–still a lovely resolution, though. Plus, there were some questions about Dallas’s parents and that were never answered.

Overall, this is a good addition to the series. We get to see more about characters from previous books, and we get a small set up from the next book in the series.

David Ross did a nice job keeping the narration of this installment consistent with the first book. I enjoyed the characters’ voices and they added to the story.

The cover by L.C. Chase follows the original art work. This time mixing Dallas’s and Will’s fabrics. The audiobook cover is an adaptation of the e-book version.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: David Ross
Length: 7 hours and 57 minutes

Published: June 30, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B073FZ58JZ
Edition Language: English

 

Series:  Fabric Hearts
Book #1: Tartan Candy
Book #2: Plaid Versus Parsley

A Caryn Review: All Wheel Drive (Bluewater Bay #18) by Z.A. Maxfield

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Well, that was 3 hours of my life wasted.  I wanted to DNF early on, but that is the drawback to getting a book for review — you gotta review it even when it’s just that bad…

This book was set in the Bluewater Bay series, and I admit I’ve only read one other in this universe — Burnt Toast B&B — and that one I actually enjoyed. The books are all pretty much stand alone, although the various characters do show up in other books.  And at first I thought that’s what I was missing, and why I struggled with this book:  I just didn’t have enough background.

But as I went on, I realized, no, this book was just that random and disorganized.

The main characters here are Healey, who grew up in Bluewater Bay although he’s been at school and away from home for years, and Diego, who moved in as part of the Wolf’s Landing production crew (the unifying theme of this series).  Healey came back to town broken both physically and mentally from a recent car accident that for extremely vague reasons he is not allowed to talk about.  His family has long since moved out of his boyhood house, but he feels like he just has to be there.  So he shows up, beaten, wet, and bedraggled, on the doorstep, and begs the new owner, Diego, to let him stay in the garage apartment.  And pays him a couple thousand dollars for the privilege and gives him a false name.  The apartment is full of Diego’s dead mother’s art, apparently because Diego wanted it as far away from him as possible — because Diego is in a wheelchair, he cannot get to the apartment.  Despite this inauspicious beginning, there is instant, undeniable chemistry between the two men, which is convenient because otherwise these two have absolutely nothing in common and there would be no story.  The next day Healey moves out, so I guess he got over his extreme need to be back in that home pretty quickly.  But he goes back, fesses up to who he is, admits that there really was no reason for the subterfuge and bribe, and helps to move Diego’s mother’s things to the garage where he can reach them.

Diego, in the meantime, has never really come to terms with being disabled, and now he’s also being hounded by his stepfather to collect and write about his mother’s art and life.  But something about the instant attraction he has to Healey makes him want to start accepting his disability, and to dig deeper into his mother’s past — because Healey makes a fairly random comment about one of her photographs that gives Diego an epiphany about his mother.  Which, as a side plot, completely fails because there is a big mystery brought up about her which is ultimately just dropped.  Healey summed up his side of things like this: “for me, attraction is instantaneous.  I lock eyes with a dude, and it’s either on or it’s not.”  Seems to be the basis of this romance, and that’s not enough for me.

What other things bothered me?  How about head bopping, changing from Diego’s to Healey’s point of view with each chapter, and their dialogue was so generic and stupid that I didn’t know which one of them was even talking.  The way both men would go from friendly to pissed off to sad to passionate from one sentence to the next, without any sort of explanation that made any sense.  The way the mystery of the car accident was dragged out way too long so I had almost no idea why Healey was so full of angst until the big reveal, which was pretty anti-climactic.  The way both of these guys were completely inconsistent in what they wanted, and how they acted — I mean, yes, characters should grow and change and let the story lead them to new things in life, but I didn’t buy any of it in this book.  Completely random.  The editing errors, like when Healey was afraid to tell Healey about the accident, when Healey came between Diego’s thighs and all of his cum ended up on his own stomach, or the multiple times when words were just left out.  I was really wondering if I got a rough draft instead of the final book, but as far as I know, this was the final book.  Then there were weird descriptions and analogies scattered throughout:

“Diego rattled his pinkie finger like the Titanic hit an iceberg and it was up to him to inform all the ships at sea.  He always did that. It was his tell”

“longing rose in his belly like the smoke of an abandoned cooking fire”

“post-SCI sex turned out to be almost like every other kind of sex he’d had.  It was embarrassing and funny and silly and gruesome.”  Gruesome?  first time I’ve heard that adjective used for sex in a romance novel…

“his hair slithered over Diego’s shoulders like he was some hipster saint, come to perform a miracle”

I almost gave this book only one star, but I was pleased that at least the author did some research about spinal cord injuries and adaptive equipment (that led to awkward conversations about self-catheterization to urinate that really should have been left out), and Healey showed amazing understanding and forgiveness for his mentally ill ex-boyfriend when it would have been easier for her to demonize bipolar disorder as a lot of people in society do.  So there was that.  But overall, don’t waste your time…

Cover art by L.C. Chase didn’t do much for me, and I don’t think adds anything to the story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 329 pages
Published July 8th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleAll Wheel Drive
ASINB073TLS5TR
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBluewater Bay #18

 

Parker Williams on Characters, Writing and his new release ‘Runner’ from Dreamspinner Press (guest blog and excerpt)

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Runner by Parker Williams
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Runner sales links:

Dreamspinner Press Amazon | iTunes | Kobo

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Parker Williams here today.  We asked Parker to talk about his writing and the character in his latest story, Runner. Welcome, Parker

✒︎

Q Would the author act the same as his main character in the story? Did that help write the story?

The simple answer to this question is no, I wouldn’t act the same as the main character. Of course, I’ve never dealt with the level of trauma that Matt does, and everything he goes through is a product of my imagination. There are some similarities between us, though.

His favorite book is My Side of the Mountain. When I was a kid, I devoured that book so many times that I had a dog-eared copy of it, too. Matt lives alone in the woods, a good distance from people. I’d love to do that, as long as it allowed me to continue writing. And Matt isn’t good with people. Neither am I. I prefer to stay insulated, especially from groups. I tried twice to go to GRL, and even though a lot of the people that were there I consider friends, I just couldn’t bring myself to go out in public. Fortunately, a few of them stopped in to see me. And I got to visit with K.C. Wells, so that was a huge bonus.

For me, the story was easy to write. Matt walked me through the entire process, telling me how he’d behave, what triggers he had for his PTSD and OCD, and guided me from the point where he was fearful of everyone, to grudgingly learning to accept the presence of the Runner on his property. From there, it was a cakewalk…. Well, for me. Matt? Not so much. He’s got a lot of issues to deal with, and he’s got to confront things that have been holding him back.

I hope that people who read the book will find Matt and Charlie to be an interesting couple, because they both (especially Charlie) hold a special place in my heart.

“SO THEN the detective says, ‘I knew you were guilty the day you walked into my office. The stench dripped from you like so much rotting garbage.’ And the killer says, ‘Then why did you take the case?’ And Tremaine answers, ‘Because I needed to find evidence that you were guilty, so I could have you arrested for murdering your brother. Basically you paid to have me get you put on death row.’”

I was hooked on his words. I had never heard of his books, but now I wanted to know more. I glanced down at my watch and realized I had been sitting with him on my porch for nearly three hours. I’d never spent that much time with any other person after the incident. And I didn’t feel freaked out by his presence. After seeing him every day, he’d somehow become a fixture, and that desperate need to keep order in my life had somehow come to include him. I wasn’t ready to let him into my home, but I found I didn’t mind talking to him so much.

“Wow,” I said, knowing that it wasn’t nearly what I meant.

“You’ve seriously never read one of my books?” He seemed amused.

“No. I… I don’t get out much.”

He chuckled. “I’m teasing you. My niche is pretty small, but if you like mysteries….”

“I do love to read,” I admitted.

“If you give me your email, I’ll send you copies. I mean, if you think they’re worth reading.”

RUNNER by Parker Williams

Blurb:

Matt Bowers’s life ended at sixteen, when a vicious betrayal by someone who he should have been able to trust left him a shell of himself, fighting OCD and PTSD, living in constant fear and always running. When he buys a remote tract of land, he thinks he’s found the perfect place to hide from the world and attempt to establish some peace. For ten years he believes he’s found a measure of comfort, until the day a stranger begins to run on Matt’s road.

He returns every day, an unwelcome intrusion into Matt’s carefully structured life. Matt appeals to the local sheriff, who cannot help him since the jogger is doing nothing wrong. Gradually, after tentatively breaking the ice, Matt begins to accept the man’s presence—

But when the runner doesn’t show up one day, it throws Matt’s world into chaos and he must make the hardest decision of his life.

****

Excerpt:

I COULDN’T find it within myself to talk to him for the first four days. I kept hoping he’d stop running by and my life would go back to normal. I should have known better. Ever since the incident, nothing went the way I expected it to. I continued to watch him, and I had to admit, the apprehension that coursed through me had eased. He didn’t really frighten me anymore, but the thought of talking to him filled me with dread. What made it worse for me? He’d continued to glance toward the house, and if he saw me, he’d give a smile or a little wave.

No, I wasn’t being honest. After a few weeks of him waving, I had actually started to weave that into my daily routine. I stood in front of the window, looking out at the road every day at ten thirty. One day it rained, and he was thirteen minutes late. I went into panic mode, hyperventilating and pacing around the house, chastising myself. How had he become a part of my world? Why did I now depend on him to be where I expected him to be? I grew angry with myself for that. Despite the pleading I’d done with Clay, I no longer wanted the man to stop running by my house now that I’d grown used to seeing him.

And worse, when he waved, I had started waving back.”

****

Categories: Romance, Gay Romance, Contemporary

—-

About the Author

Parker Williams believes that true love exists, but it always comes with a price. No happily ever after can ever be had without work, sweat, and tears that come with melding lives together.

Living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his husband of a quarter century, Parker continues to believe and writes stories where there is (almost) always a happy ending.

Connect with Parker on:

Twitter: @ParkerWAuthor

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/parker.williams.75641

Or you can visit his website: http://www.ParkerWilliamsAuthor.com

Release Blitz and Giveaway – RJ Scott’s Gabriel (Legacy #2)

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Length: 55,000 approx
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Legacy Series
 
Kyle (The First Legacy) – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb

 

Trapped in darkness, can an escort find a man to help him into the light?


Gabriel Reyes never gave in. He fought and was hurt, was abused but escaped with his life. He made his way in the world using the one thing he was good at: sex. He earned a place with a man who controls everything but Gabriel is safe; he’s made it.


Cameron Stafford hires Gabriel for a night, needing nothing more than a pretend boyfriend to get his dysfunctional family off his back. With the money he has in the bank and his own hotel, why won’t they just leave him alone? It doesn’t matter that a degenerative disease has stolen his vision, or that his last boyfriend was a bastard who tried to steal from him; for now he has purpose.


When Gabriel and Cam fall for each other, can they find real happiness and, maybe, a forever that will save them both?


A new story set in the world of Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes and the Double D Ranch, Texas.


Please be aware: emotional and physical abuse are depicted on the page in this book


Excerpt

“You got another letter,” Stefan snapped, and threw it at Gabriel, where it bounced against his naked belly and fell to the floor. He didn’t make a move to pick it up, not until Stefan had left. Fucking letters and the ache they caused. Stefan had opened it, the tear jagged, and Gabriel could imagine the temper that Stefan must have felt when he ripped it open. He didn’t blame Stefan; who wanted Gabriel’s past to intrude into what they had now?

He finally picked up the envelope and slipped quietly into his room, closing the door. He didn’t lock it—last time he’d done that, Stefan had broken the door, told him a story about a time when he hadn’t been able to get into a room and that it scared him. That he was thinking about Gabriel.

The letter wasn’t long. They never were.

Legacy Ranch appeared at the top of the paper, in strong, determined capitals. Whoever this Kyle guy was, he had neat, considered handwriting. Gabriel scanned the letter and closed his eyes, waiting for the door to open.

And just like clockwork, Stefan pushed into the room, salve in one hand and a sandwich on a plate in the other, coffee perched precariously on the side.

“I made you some food,” Stefan said, and sat on the bed, causing Gabriel to shift toward him. Gabriel didn’t move away—he didn’t want to upset Stefan.

“Thank you,” Gabriel murmured.

“What did the letter say?”

That was normal. As if it was a test, even though Stefan had already read it. The first time Gabriel had said something wrong, Stefan had looked so damn disappointed. All he’d said was that he loved Gabriel but he didn’t like a liar. He hadn’t needed to say anything else, but the bruises had taken a long time to heal when he’d finished being disappointed with Gabriel.

“They have this horse, Mistry. Apparently it’s still not been claimed.”

“Anything else, Angel?”

Stefan’s use of that nickname was a switch inside Gabriel that made him tense.

“The usual things—that they want to help me and when I’m ready they’ll be there.”

Stefan reached out, and Gabriel schooled his features so he didn’t wince. Stefan cradled Gabriel’s face, and his grip was firm.

“You know what will happen if you go back to that kind of life, my sweet, innocent Angel. You know they’ll hurt you. You don’t need help. You have me. I look after you.”

“I know.” Gabriel knew the right answers to give now. He’d once hoped that the world this Kyle guy wrote about would have a place for him, but that wasn’t an option for someone like Gabriel.

“I look after you, Angel,” Stefan said, and pressed the softest of kisses to Gabriel’s lips. “Now get some sleep. I canceled your two appointments for tomorrow. You need to eat your food, get your chocolate and sleep.”

“Okay.”

Stefan helped Gabriel get settled in the soft nest of pillows, and brushed Gabriel’s short hair.

“This will grow back,” he said.

Gabriel placed a hand on Stefan’s arm. “They held my head, Stefan.” He wanted to say more about what they’d done, but he didn’t have to—Stefan wouldn’t want to hear the details.

“It will grow back,” Stefan repeated, then patted Gabriel’s head. “’Night.”

Author Bio

RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women 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.

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.

mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk
www.rjscott.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/author.rjscott?ref=ts&fref=ts
www.goodreads.com/author/show/3432558.R_J_Scott
twitter.com/Rjscott_author
www.librarything.com/author/scottrj

Giveaway