A MelanieM Review: Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together by Ari McKay

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 

When a Christmas shopping expedition brings Tomy Peralta into Jason Winters’ yarn store, both men feel an immediate and intense spark of attraction, but dance instructor Tomy intends to propose to his boyfriend Sean at Christmas. Unfortunately for Tomy, marriage isn’t on career-minded Sean’s agenda. Heartbroken, Tomy throws himself into his work until his mother convinces him that learning to knit might help take his mind off his failed romance.

Jason falls hard for Tomy, but he knows Tomy needs time to heal and to trust in love again. As Jason teaches Tomy how to knit, Tomy teaches him how to dance in return to prepare for his sister’s wedding. Just when it seems Tomy is ready for a new romance, Sean shows up, wanting Tomy back. Has Jason helped Tomy knit his heart together again, only for Tomy to give it to Sean once more, or will Tomy finally see Sean for what he truly is?

It’s rare that the authors known as Ari McKay make a misstep, let alone two (or more) in my opinion.  Normally, they can do no wrong.  In fact, that’s one of the major reasons I was so excited to read this story.  Ok, I’m always happy to pick up any McKay tale but I’m a knitter so I was intrigued to see how they would fold such a tactile and favored element into this story.

Honestly?  Disappointed in how underused the craft of knitting is here, from Tomy learning to knit (which is supposedly a huge deal), to Jason who dyes his own yarn, detail after sensuous, vivid yarn/knit related detail is left out of the romance and therefore out of the story.  We are told Jason teaches Tomy to knit, we hear briefly about the yard shop and that he dyes yarn?  But the particulars that actually bring all that alive?  Totally missing in action.  And I have read several stories from other authors that use knitting as a framework that make you want to jump into the nearest bags filled with skeins and make you want to start madly knit away at your own projects. Or go off and start fondling some yarn.  Not here, which  is a problem with a story that has a titled called  Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together.   Someone’s heart was not into the knitting part at allAnd that sort of includes the character of Jason He’s nice but something is  missing…

Then there’s the element of dance. Tomy and his family have always  owned a dance studio and competed professionally. Truly this book should have been called Waltzing your Broken Heart Back Together. Because its in the descriptions of dance, dancing together, the feeling of “floating” and being a partner in a sensual  embrace on the studio floor where this story comes soars. In short, the descriptions of dancing have everything that knitting lack. You can tell, that one of the author’s interest was vested here in dance, not knitting.  The part’s of the story in the dance studio?  They sang!  The main characters exhibited a connectivity that didn’t happen earlier in the story (certainly not when talking about knitting) and it’s dancing that brings them together.

Anyway, it takes them a while to start dancing cheek to cheek, to its a slow burn sort of romance as Tomy gets over his disastrous love affair and finds himself ready to love again…with his partner on the dance floor.  It is a sweet romance with cute relatives (Tomy’s) and relatively angst free story.

As I said, the only thing that just feels a let down is the total fail with the knitting from the cover, title and the blurb.  Change it over to dancing and you have a winner.  Honestly.  did someone not read this story?  It’s all about the dancing.That’s where it dances away with the story.

 

Cover art: Bree Archer.  Lovely cover.  Would work great for a book actually more about knitting.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd edition, 125 pages
Expected publication: July 6th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published December 16th 2014)
ASINB07DYK8PWN

A Lucy Review: The Pet Stylist and the Playboy (The Hedonist #2) by Rebecca James

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Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

Told in alternating first person point of view this is the story of Swish, a man who has a traumatic past who has been staying with the Hedonist bike club for the past two years.  He shares a room with Dante, the biker who found him in a restroom and saved him. The fact that Swish is in love with Dante is incidental because Dante is a huge player and sleeps with everyone, male or female, usually where Swish knows what is happening.  Swish is starting to feel like a freeloader and needs to change.  He is developing a pet grooming following and he also works with Gus, an elderly man who runs an animal sanctuary.  It isn’t just a shelter because these men love and care for the animals they take in. “His generosity was one of the reasons I wanted to take him up on his offer for me to move into the shelter.  He was pretty old and didn’t have any help.”  Swish is a gentle, giving person.

Dante is another story.  I have to say, he was pretty disappointing all the way through.  He found Swish and saved him, yes, but he is really dismissive of Swish’s feelings for a lot of it.  I just couldn’t understand the whole family thing either.  Dante’s family is very wealthy and he is expected to work for his father’s companies when he turns thirty.  This is something he absolutely does not want to do.  His parents, especially his mother, don’t even seem to like him and he is a constant disappointment to them yet he is willing to hurt himself and people he cares about to try to win some kind of approval from them.

Swish moving out causes some angst for Dante and he gets a job working for Gus, fixing up the sanctuary, and starts to realize how little he actually knows about Swish and how little effort he’s ever put into getting to know him. 

“How come you never told me you real name’s Isaac?”

“Did you think it was Swish? You never asked.”

“I hadn’t and I didn’t know why.”

This is not, however, enough to make Dante actually do right by Swish and it was so frustrating.  I wanted Swish to find someone else – Hugh would have been awesome! He doesn’t bother to say goodbye to Swish the day Swish moves out and then is surprised when Swish is hurt by that.  “Dante had left without saying goodbye? Tears pricked my eyes and I wrapped my arms around my middle, reminding myself I was used to being thrown away.  But somehow it hurt way more coming from Dante.”

Dante starts to find out things about Isaac that he never bothered to before.  Like why Isaac was in that restroom.  What he wears under his clothes. “Hell, lately it feels like I never knew you at all.”  Well, he didn’t really.  “Swish frowned.  “You’ve never tried to get to know me.” 

“I didn’t want to admit to myself I’d been so dismissive of him, or that he might have been reluctant to ask me about myself.”  That is how things were, though. It got worse for me when Dante starts to date Felicity, a high society woman that his parents chose for him and yet continues to see Swish and sleep with him.  I wanted to cheer when Gus confronts Dante on it because Swish needed someone who’d care enough to want the best for him.  Gus, just loved him.  Swish has Ax as well, another member of the Hedonists who is a good friend and tries to shake some sense into Dante.  Who doesn’t listen of course.  Honestly, this book was a four star read for Gus, Axel, Caleb and Isaac, and a one star for Dante so I averaged it.  He just didn’t redeem himself for me at all. There was a feel of too little, too late, and I couldn’t help wondering if Dante hadn’t had the revelation about his parents what would have happened.

The supporting characters were great, even Felicity who I was prepared to hate.  I am seriously hoping that the next story will be Axel and Caleb.  Blaze needs one as well so we know what is up with him.  While this isn’t a book I would read again, I would definitely continue the series to see what happens.

Cover art by Reese Dante shows Swish and Dante.   While the image of Swish, long brown hair, cross earring and pretty face, is very close to how I thought he would be from the book, Dante is not, other than the long blonde hair. There is a leather jacket but he looks a little young and too soft to be Dante for me.

Sales Links:

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2KDP9w0

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2ucScQz

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published July 7th 2018
Original TitleThe Pet Stylist and the Playboy (The Hendonist, #2)
ASINB07F5PZV6D
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Hedonist #2

Rayna Vause on Writing and her new release Twice Bitten (guest blog and giveaway)

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Twice Bitten by Rayna Vause

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: April Martinez

Buy Links:

Universal   |  Dreamspinner Press eBook|   

Dreamspinner Press Paperback: 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Rayna Vause here today talking about writing and her new release Twice Bitten.  Welcome, Rayna.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Rayna Vause

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Absolutely! I’ve always been a fan of stories with paranormal elements. When I think back I recall reading stories like A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, Witches and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl as bedtime stories. My mom and I would take turns reading to each other. It was fun and I’d get so caught up in the fantasy of the stories. For example, I always thought it was so cool that in a Wrinkle in Time Meg’s brother could read her mind at times and I loved the three immortal characters Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. But I also enjoyed the science aspect of it, although I didn’t really realize that until I got older. I mean how cool is it that both of Meg’s parents are scientists. Plus, here’s a kids book that’s exploring the world of quantum physics. How cool is that?! (Yes folks, I’ve been a geek since birth)

Next came Nancy Drew and Christopher Pike’s books, all of which laid the groundwork for my love of mystery/suspense and, of course, romance.  Then as an impressionable high school freshman someone handed me my first true romance novel and my fate was sealed. I don’t think I’ve written a story yet that doesn’t include some combination of all of these elements. Do to get back to the original question, yes my childhood and teenage reading very much shaped my writing.

  •  Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I actually like both. I think there are some stories in which the characters have gone through a lot together and come to a place of happiness, but they still have more work to do on the relationship. Other stories the characters have reached that place where they are truly ready to commit to forever with each other. I find both equally satisfying, but perhaps that’s because in my head all the HFN stories eventually get to their HEA.

  •  How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

It’s part marketing, part gut, and part what speaks to you the most. It all starts with an art information sheet which is the most painful thing to complete ever because you have to pick your book apart to really get to the essence of the story so that the graphic artists can then bring it to life visually. When I get mock ups from my publisher there is usually one design that speaks to me more than the others. Then I tweak.

 

  •  Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

I actually have a book on my to be written list that I walked away from for years because I’d written myself into a corner, and didn’t know how to get out. So, I put it down and let it percolate. Then one day I saw this call from a publisher and it sparked an idea. Next thing I know I’ve got a fully plotted book outline ready to roll.

Also, my current release Twice Bitten is another one that I put on the shelf for a while. I wrote the original version ages ago, then I put it away. At first, I just needed a break from the story. It was too short and basically needed to be ripped apart and put back together again. I just couldn’t figure out how to do that. Then I saw a call from a publisher…(I’m noticing a pattern here.)

  •    If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

My own private island, possibly on a lounge chair in the shade with cool island breezes blowing and nothing but the sound of the wind and the crashing waves. Of course, knowing me I’d get distracted staring out at the blue water, then fall asleep. Honestly, my ideal place to write is some place where I have drinks, snacks, a comfy seat, and zero distractions. I can be like the dogs in Up. You know…SQUIRREL! So, the fewer things that can draw my focus the better.

 

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write because I’ve got so many crazy ideas flitting through my brain that I feel compelled to put them down on paper.  I write because I enjoy telling stories. I write for the challenge of it. I write because of the sense of accomplishment I feel every time I get to The End no matter how much I agonize getting there. Plus, writing is a way for me to bring the science geek side of my personality together with my creative side. Finally, I continue to write because it’s brought me together with an amazing tribe of people who encourage me to keep cranking out my crazy ideas. 

  •  What’s next for you as a writer?

I’ve got a couple stories ideas that I’m poking at. One is a series featuring heroes with different psychic abilities. Another, story I’m working on features the royalty trope because it’s one of my favorites, on par with the secret baby trope. But, the one I’m going to focus on is a medical romantic suspense.

Blurb:

With a new species of vampire stalking the streets, the stakes are high. But that’s not the only reason hearts are on the line.

Danny Reynolds thought Kieran McCade was the one—true love and hot lust forever—until Danny found out Kier’s bloody secret and ran away screaming. Months later, Danny is facing his own paranormal crisis, and he needs Kieran’s help, but are there enough ways to apologize for breaking a vampire’s heart?

Nothing about Danny’s transformation is normal—not the attack that led to it, and not the symptoms Danny’s plagued with—but being in close proximity to Kieran is even worse than becoming a thing that goes bump in the night. Danny and Kieran aren’t the only things threatening to bump each other off, though. Secret organizations and clashing vigilante agendas want to get their hands on Danny. His only hope is to find a fix for his problem before he’s either captured or his abnormal transition starves him to death.

Danny and Kieran might have a real chance to repair their broken romance… but only if they keep Danny alive!

About the Author

Rayna Vause is a lifetime learner who wants to live on a Disney cruise ship travelling the world and thinks purple should be considered a natural hair color. She’s fascinated by the magic and  mystery in the world; things like psychics, demons, cats (especially cats!) and true love. A proud geek, she injects some of her science and tech-obsessed soul into every story she writes. When not writing she’s pursuing another degree, running a conference, working through her massive TBR pile, losing herself in a video game, and plotting her next novel.  

Links:

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/raynavauseauthor

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/Rayna_Vause

Website – http://www.RaynaVause.com

 

Contest/Giveaway – http://raynavause.com/contest/

An ebook copy of Demon of Mine.  Leave a comment for Rayna and an email address where you can be reached if chosen. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

 

Release Blitz for A Dangerous Dance (Haven Hart # 3) by Davidson King (excerpt and giveaway)

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A Dangerous Dance RDB Banner

A Dangerous Dance

Haven Hart Series, Book 3

Davidson King

Publication Date: July 17th

M/M, Romance, Suspense, Drama

 

A-Dangerous-Dance---EBook-Cover-Only 

 

Cover Design: Morningstar Ashley @ Designs by Morningstar

Synopsis

Finally working for a man he can trust has given Bill a new purpose. His boss, Christopher Manos, commands respect and absolute loyalty, and Bill has proven himself worthy of a seat at Christopher’s table. Becoming best friends with Christopher’s husband, Snow, has further proven his allegiance and cements a place for him in the Manos family. When Snow’s life is in danger, Christopher places his full trust in Bill to destroy anything and anyone that poses a threat to his husband. But hunting and wiping out the enemy for the safety of everyone Bill cares about means partnering with the one person he has vowed to never see again.

Mace wears a mask of vain cockiness and uses his model good looks to his full advantage. Known to many as Without a Trace Mace, he’s a deadly assassin well known for wiping out whole families and getting away without a trace. With a dangerous past and an unknown future, Mace uses his veil of conceit to keep others at a distance, rarely trusting anyone. When his boss, Black–the one man he trusts above all others—gives him his next assignment, he learns his newest partner is none other than Bill, the man he’d do anything to avoid.

With the safety of the Manos family on the line at the hands of a brilliant maniac, Bill and Mace begrudgingly put their differences aside to ensure Snow, and his loved ones, are protected from harm.  With their lives in grave danger and the clock ticking towards zero hour, they navigate deathly perilous situations and uncertain outcomes, hoping they survive long enough to keep the Manos family safe.

Bill and Mace’s traitorous hearts draw them closer together no matter how hard they fight the inevitable. With the lives of their loved ones hanging in the balance, they find themselves in the middle of a dangerous dance. But when the music stops, will they both be left standing?

Amazon Exclusive/KU

Length: 57,400 words

Good Reads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40663791-a-dangerous-dance

A Dangerous Dance Teaser 2

A Dangerous Dance Teaser 3

Excerpt

The night before, I left Mace sleeping on the couch. I’d never admit it to him, but I ended up foregoing the end of The Fifth Element in favor of watching him sleep. He was a gorgeous man. Too beautiful for a mere mortal, almost.

I remembered when we were staking out a place we thought Lee was in last year, Mace was so bored, he ended up watching cat videos. He had laughed like he was afraid of being caught. It was then I began wondering why he’d felt that way. Of course, it had only taken him opening his mouth to remind me why I didn’t give a shit.

People like Mace fucked men like Snow. Ethereal, stunning, pristine men. Men that when they rubbed up against you made you shine brighter. I fucked whoever showed me even a little interest. I wasn’t picky.

When I had worked for Roy, I never fucked the underage boys like he did. Never raped anyone like he did. I slipped into gay clubs, fucked a stranger in a bathroom, and rushed back before anyone knew I was gone. Sex for me was never a beautiful thing. It was a necessary thing. Something I did so my balls wouldn’t explode.

“We leave in ten,” Mace shouted through my bedroom door, where I was getting dressed to blend into Wet and Wild Night at Joker’s Sin. I didn’t have clubbing clothes, so I opted for a white t-shirt, black jeans, and my boots. It was getting colder outside and often a flurry would pop up out of nowhere, so I was glad I had my leather jacket.

When I stepped out of the bedroom, Mace was leaning against the wall, scrolling through his phone. Most likely a message from Black. I was able to take a moment to appreciate the physicality of the man. Long legs that would wrap nicely around my waist. The white shirt was so sheer, I could see the shadows of lean muscles I wouldn’t mind painting with my come. His dark, layered hair was longer than I’d ever seen it and my fingers twitched with the need to grip it as I thrust into his tight…

“Why are you staring at me? Do I have a stain or something?” He frantically began looking over every inch of fabric. I decided to put him out of his misery.

“Nothing’s wrong. I was just wondering if I was underdressed. I don’t want to stick out, I need to fit in.”

Mace took me in. His gaze was both welcomed and dangerous. Lust danced in his eyes and I suddenly wondered how this even happened. I hated this man, everything he stood for, and his better than thou attitude. Why was I suddenly wondering what he tasted like?

Had I not seen the want in his gaze, I wouldn’t have believed he’d find someone like me appealing at all.

“You look good.”His voice was rough and when he turned away, I felt the loss like ice water thrust over me. “Jones is driving us. He’ll watch the entrance. Zagan is unpredictable, so we need all the eyes we can get.”

Davidson King Logo

Davidson King, always had a hope that someday her daydreams would become real-life stories. As a child, you would often find her in her own world, thinking up the most insane situations. It may have taken her awhile, but she made her dream come true with her first published work, Snow Falling.

When she’s not writing you can find her blogging away on Diverse Reader, her review and promotional site. She managed to wrangle herself a husband who matched her crazy and they hatched three wonderful children.

If you were to ask her what gave her the courage to finally publish, she’d tell you it was her amazing family and friends. Support is vital in all things and when you’re afraid of your dreams, it will be your cheering section that will lift you up.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17286464.Davidson_King

Twitter: @DavidsonKing11 https://twitter.com/DavidsonKing11

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MCMD5r

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/davidsonkingauthor/?hl=en

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/DavidsonKingAuthor/

Facebook Group: King’s Court: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DavidsonKingsCourt/

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Review Tour and Giveaway- Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together by Ari McKay

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Length: 40,603 words
 
Cover Design: Bree Archer
 
 
Blurb
 

When a Christmas shopping expedition brings Tomy Peralta into Jason Winters’s yarn store, both men feel an immediate and intense spark of attraction, but dance instructor Tomy intends to propose to his boyfriend, Sean, at Christmas. Unfortunately for Tomy, marriage isn’t on career-minded Sean’s agenda. Heartbroken, Tomy throws himself into his work until his mother convinces him that learning to knit might help take his mind off his failed romance.


Jason falls hard for Tomy, but he knows Tomy needs time to heal and to trust in love again. As Jason teaches Tomy to knit, Tomy teaches him to dance in return. Just when it seems Tomy is ready for a new romance, Sean shows up, wanting Tomy back. Will Tomy give his heart to Sean once more, or will Tomy finally see Sean for who he truly is, and choose the man who helped him knit his heart together again?

 

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.


Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.


McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

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Release Blitz – Nothing Serious by Jay Northcote

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 40,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

What happens when “nothing serious” turns into something more complicated?


Mark O’Brien is finally being honest with himself. His relationship with Rachel is over and he’s moving out of the home they’ve shared for six years. They get along, but he can’t fix a relationship when the person he’s with is the wrong gender.


Jamie Robertson, one of the removal men, is huge and ridiculously gorgeous, and Mark is smitten at first sight. When a cardboard box splits, revealing items of a personal nature that Mark never wanted anybody to see, he’s mortified. But it sparks the start of a beautiful friendship with benefits.


As Jamie initiates Mark into the joys of gay sex, the two men get increasingly close and “nothing serious” turns into something rather important to both of them. But communication isn’t their strong point. Will either man ever find the courage to be honest about his feelings?


Please note that although this edition has been re-edited for publication, there is no new or additional content.


Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are also available as audiobooks.

Website: https://jaynorthcote.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jay_Northcote
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotewriter
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotefiction
Facebook author group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jaysplayground
Newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/JN-readers
Jay’s books: http://author.to/JayNorthcote