A MelanieM Audio Review: Mr. Frosty Pants (Home for the Holidays #1) by Leta Blake and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Frosty former friends get a steamy second chance in this Christmas gay romance!

Can true love warm his frozen heart?

When Casey Stevens went away to college four years ago, he ghosted on his straight best friend, Joel Vreeland. He hoped time and distance would lessen the unrequited affection he felt, but all it did was make him miss Joel more. Home for the holidays, Casey hopes they might find a way to be friends again. But Joel’s frosty reception reminds Casey of just how hard he had to fight to be Joel’s friend in the first place. It’s going to take a Christmas miracle to get past that cool façade again.

Joel isn’t as straight as Casey believes, and his years of pining for Casey have left him hurting and alone, caring for his abusive father and struggling to get by. Unable to trust anyone except his rescue dog—and with no reason to believe Casey is interested in him for more than a holiday fling—Joel’s icy heart might shatter before it can thaw.

Can Casey and Joel’s love overcome mistrust, parental rejection, class differences, and four long years apart?

Mr. Frosty Pants is a stand-alone, Christmas gay romance by Leta Blake featuring a virgin hero, childhood friends-to-lovers, second chance romance, and romantically steamy scenes.

Mr. Frosty Pants (Home for the Holidays #1) by Leta Blake is one of those stories that got better for me in the audio format.  I have to admit that I like my holiday stories to either be unusual in content (i.e., Nordic mythology, twists on Christmas fantasy, etc), or heartwarming contemporary stories.  For me, the  holidays aren’t really the time for angst, angst, and yes, more angst which is how this read for me for one character when I dived into it in eBook form.  I liked it but didn’t enjoy it if you know what i mean.

Then came the opportunity to revisit the story in its new audio format and as I have found in the past, this can sometimes present the book in a new light for me.  And it did for Mr. Frosty Pants because John Solo did such an excellent job of bringing Leta Blake’s layered characters to life.  He gave them a voice that made Joel Vreeland’s angst filled struggles realistic and connectable, I “saw” Joel more this time around, I felt for him more this time around, and somehow, maybe my frame of mind has changed, what had felt unrelenting, now became believable and heartbreaking.

Same goes for Casey Stevens and his nouveau riche family with their high expectations and overbearing ways.  I understood Casey and his battles better this time around.  John Solo’s choice of voices for all the family members highlighting the strained family dynamics so well that it elevates Leta Blake’s narrative and characters, just as it should.  A great partnership in every way.

Mr. Frosty Pants has it share of interesting side characters that I wanted to get to know better and a location that felt real as well.  This author’s touches are everywhere that I have come to expect from her writing!  That includes a heartwarming ending, perfect for the holidays.  Oh, and there is a sweetheart of a dog too.

If you love audiobooks and Christmas stories, put Mr. Frosty Pants (Home for the Holidays #1) by Leta Blake and John Solo (Narrator) on your list of books to listen to.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and think you will too.

Cover art is adorable and perfect for the characters for the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible

Audio Book Details:

Audible Audio, 11 pages
Published November 11th 2019 by Leta Blake Books (first published November 7th 2018)
ASINB08176KCZM
Edition Language English
Series Home for the Holidays #1
setting Tennessee (United States)

A MelanieM Review : The Christmas Oaks (Laurel Holidays #1) by V.L. Locey

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Can the magic of Christmas, and the soft voice of a man who has seen too much, show Bryan a future where anything is possible?

Bryan Graham is shocked to find he’s inherited a hunting cabin in north-central Pennsylvania. From his grandfather of all people; a stubborn man who went out of his way to make Bryan’s childhood miserable. He’d vowed never to go back to the small, rural community of Kutter’s Summit, not that he didn’t have fond memories of the place. It’s just that he’d rather be celebrating a quiet Christmas back in Nashville with his cat and his contracts.

A couple of weeks of hunting, cleaning, and handyman work, and he can hopefully put the place up for sale and move on with his life. He never expected to find his childhood friend Parson Greer living in the cabin. Parson is no longer a boy, but a handsome, wary man consumed by the demons of a faraway desert war. When a rekindled friendship shifts into something deeper, Bryan finds himself lost in emotions that a workaholic like him has never made time to experience before.

Such a heartwarming story! The Christmas Oaks (Laurel Holidays #1) by V.L. Locey has all the elements you look for in a holiday story.  Family reconnecting, a  and a homecoming. A rediscovery and re evaluation that takes place, both of self, of a place, and even of his past.  It has two damaged men, each traumatized by their pasts who come together to heal and recover at Christmas and find love.

Locey, who lives in Pennsylvania, gives us a wonderful feel for the small town and local landscape, including wildlife.  It’s all done with a loving eye and vivid descriptions.  Nashville suffers by comparison which was probably purposeful. I thought both characters of Bryan Graham and Parson Greer well crafted and believable, from the dark circles under Bryan’s eyes and sallow skin from too little sleep and too much work to the PTSD that Parson’s suffered from.  Another fine portrait emerged in that of Bryan’s  overwhelmed sister, in her double wide and single parenthood.  Man, those scenes felt so true to life that your heart bleeds for her.

The romance comes about a little too easily given what each man is currently dealing with but Locey still makes a strong argument for their love and relationship.   This is Christmas after all, even with dealing with complexities and strong minded men with difficult pasts.  It’s a HFN but I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for this series.  This is such a wonderful start!  And a great addition to any Christmas or Holiday reading list.  I absolutely recommend it.

Cover Design: Designs By Sloan is lovely and works for both characters.

Book Details:

ebook
Published December 4th 2019
Edition Language English
Series Laurel Holidays #1

An Alisa Review: A Timely Gift by Kris T. Bethke

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Sometimes the right gift can be life-changing …

On the solstice, Rory’s grandfather gives him a pocket watch he claims will have Rory’s life sorted and his problems solved by Christmas. Rory starts out skeptical, but when he reconnects with an ex he never thought he’d see again, he has to admit there might be some holiday magic at work after all.

Deacon’s life is in shambles, and he’s returned to Syracuse for a fresh start. Running into Rory again feels like much more than a coincidence, and neither of them can deny the passion between them is still smoldering. With the watch behaving oddly at just the right moments, Rory and Deacon might receive the gift of a lifetime … if they’re willing to accept it.

This was a cute second chance at love for Rory and Deacon.  I liked that they held no hard feelings about their previous separation but were open to at least having friendship with each other even if it became more and was nice and open-ended.  Now, I do have to say the blurb makes it sound like if Rory doesn’t find love by Christmas he never will and at no point in the story was that even brought up or thought and that just feels like false advertising of the story.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is nice and works well for the story.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 12,999 words

Published: November 2, 2019 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781646561896

Edition Language: English

Check Out the New Release Blitz for Grimmer Intentions (Tales from the Grim #2) by Jodi Hutchins (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Grimmer Intentions

Series: Tales from the Grim, Book Two

Author: Jodi Hutchins

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 9, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 91100

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, romance, paranormal, demons, ghosts, spirits

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Synopsis

She screwed up. She broke protocol. She saved a life. Grim Reaper Margo Petrov may have resurrected a drowned surfer on the brink of death, but she isn’t earning any awards or receiving employee of the month from Corporate; she’s under more scrutiny from the Grim governing body than ever before. Since she has a massive secret that could spell disaster if revealed, she sure as hell doesn’t want to be in the spotlight, in any form.

Margo vows to keep her head down and stay out of trouble, reaping her quota of spirits lest she cause more problems for herself and the woman she saved with an illegal blood bond. She certainly shouldn’t be opening doors to the Fae lands or offering her neck to an Empusa woman suffering from bloodlust, but Margo’s laundry list of bad decisions keeps growing. With the threat of becoming decommissioned by Corporate looming in her periphery, Margo stumbles deeper into the politics of her people and soon realizes their intentions are far worse than she initially thought.

Excerpt

“Margo, calm down. You can’t go killing someone just because they pissed you off.”

Margo Petrov pumped her arms, increasing her speed as she cut across the dead grass of the front lawn, though her initial fury had settled to a low broil. The cold metal of the baseball bat against her palm was soothing but not calming enough to ease the rage completely.

The sound of Luis’s sneakers pounding the asphalt behind her indicated he’d finally caught up. “I’m not going to kill them,” she grumbled.

Luis snorted. “Okay, well, when you storm out of your apartment, yelling, ‘I’m going to fucking kill ’em, Luis,’ I think I can safely assume you’re going to kill someone.”

She stopped abruptly, causing Luis to run into her chest as she turned to face him. “Fine,” she said, tossing the bat into the bushes lining the sidewalk. She grabbed his shoulders, lowering her gaze to his. “Nobody fucks with my brother without consequence. Nobody,” she said, shaking him slightly to emphasize her seriousness.

Headlights from a passing car gleamed in his wide brown-eyed gaze as he nodded.

“Besides”—she started, as she dropped her hands from him, quirking an eyebrow—“I just want to know if they’re afraid of the dark.” She’d been livid when Luis told her the resident group of asshats from their high school decided to give Luis hell on his way back from the library.

Without further discussion, Margo continued down the cracked sidewalks of downtown Philadelphia.

“They still hang out at the bowling alley on Daly Ave?”

Luis huffed a discontented sigh, eliciting a grin from Margo. “Dude come on. Think about this for a second; do you really want to risk another arrest? You’re almost eighteen, and you could be charged as an adult.”

He had a point, and she admitted that to herself, but she continued down the sidewalk anyway, cutting across the street, her feet displacing loose black asphalt pebbles on the worn roadway. “Yeah, but they need to leave you the hell alone. This is getting ridiculous.” For years, she and her brother experienced taunting for their otherness, Luis taking the brunt end most times. The basketball team tormented Luis for merely existing; however, Margo guessed they blamed their mocking on his differences. They needed a good scare, using a bit of magic, the otherness his tormentors weren’t aware of. She wanted to scare them so bad they’d piss themselves. If all else failed, she’d just beat the shit out of them.

Luis gave a shrug of nonchalance, something she instantly recognized as her brother’s passive language, which furthered the desire to teach the perpetrators a lesson. Instead of digging into his dismissal, she turned and continued her way toward downtown.

Luis followed.

The streets were busy even though rush hour had ended a few hours prior. Cars zipped past, a stray honk resounding a few blocks away, voices rising in a cacophonous argument. The late-night city sounds were laden with a warning, hinting at the kind of night bad things happened, stirring a deep foreboding in the air around them.

Luis jabbed her in the ribs, ripping Margo from her eerie thoughts. “Hey, do you see that?” He pointed to LOVE Park on the opposite side of the crosswalk. Standing beside the water fountain was a child, their head turning from side to side in rapid succession. Luis was clearly pointing to the small person; however, the iridescent shift of air around the child indicated to Margo they weren’t alive.

Before meeting Luis, she agreed with the titles given to her—weirdo, crazy, psychic—the names condensing her down to a freak who could see ghosts with the only person to possibly believe her long dead. Of course, she’d been ecstatic to find kinship in another, to prove at least to herself she wasn’t crazy. That is until Luis stopped for every spirit in sight with their Sally-sob story. “Yeah, I see them, and no, we don’t have time.”

Luis scoffed just as the light turned, and he hurried across the street without waiting for Margo.

She rushed after him, forgoing her planned scare tactics on the basketball team in hopes she’d convince him to leave well enough alone.

They approached the park’s edge, Luis carefully watching the child. Luckily, the park held no other visitors, alive or dead. “We have to help her,” he whispered before he stuck his lower lip out.

She rolled her eyes. “They aren’t stray puppies, Luis. We can’t help every single one of them.”

Brows cinching, he met her gaze with an icy stare. “Maybe this is why we can see them, to help them move on.”

Though reluctant to admit it, she’d come to the very same conclusion herself a long time ago. With no way of knowing why they could guide ghostly apparitions to the other side, she couldn’t come up with a better reason herself. She glanced over at the redheaded girl and sighed. “Fine, but we need to be quick, and I still want to find those idiots so I can mess up their night.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Jodi Hutchins is a healthcare professional by day and fanatical writer by night. They are also an avid reader, coffee connoisseur, helpless romantic, amateur artist, enthusiastic maker-upper of things, spouse, and parent. The frequent rain of western Washington doesn’t stop Jodi and their wife from gallivanting through the next trail head with their two children.

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Don’t MIss Out on the Release Blitz with Excerpt for Sleigh Duty by L.M. Brown

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Sleigh Duty

Author: L.M. Brown

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Studioenp

Release Date: December 7, 2019

Genre/s: Paranormal / Shifter M/M Romance

Themes: Family ties, Christmas

Heat Rating:  1 flame out of 5

Length: 13 974 words/ 44 pages

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

 

 

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Can a reindeer shifter find love this Christmas?

Blurb

Being called upon to pull Santa’s sleigh is an honour for any reindeer shifter, but for Dashiel the timing couldn’t be worse. 

Stuart was looking forward to his Christmas Eve date with Dashiel, only to have him cancel at the last minute.  He puts his disappointment aside and instead focuses on making his younger brother’s Christmas as wonderful as it can be, despite the loss of their parents the previous winter. 

While flying over his home town, Dashiel spots a young boy on the streets, and he knows he has to help. When the young runaway turns out to be his date’s little brother, he brings him on board the sleigh, determined to see him safely home to Stuart. 

Can a reindeer shifter pull Santa’s sleigh, reunite two brothers, and find love this Christmas?

 

Excerpt 

“Dashiel, you’re up next,” the elf in charge of fittings called. “Get your hooves moving, you’re holding everyone up.”

Dashiel wondered who had first depicted Santa’s elves as cheerful little toy makers. He had yet to see one smile. They seemed even more miserable than he was right now. Of course, he hadn’t met many, and it was the most stressful time of year for them. Not to mention they hadn’t seen daylight in three months. That would make him grumpy too. Still, there was no need for them to prod him in the rear quite so hard to get him moving. 

The next few hours were spent being trained in how to respond to the reins. Dashiel didn’t mind learning how to pull the sleigh, he just wished they could leave off the bells until they were in the air. The constant jingling was driving him up the wall. 

Then came the flying lessons. Yuri must have seen Dumbo recently, because he was giving them a loud rendition of the song about elephants flying, but substituting reindeer instead. Apparently teasing the first timers like Dashiel was the highlight of his night. There were three shifters who had never been summoned before, Dashiel being the youngest of the trio.

The first time Dashiel’s hooves left the ground he almost panicked. Thoughts of flying off into space nearly had him hyperventilating, even though the others assured him that no matter how hard he tried, he would never even reach the height of a plane. 

Finally, they were as prepared as they could be. Dashiel took his place beside Fred. Yuri and wife were in front of them, the couple taking the lead.

Everyone went quiet when Santa arrived. He was just as Dashiel had pictured him, though he had never seen him in person. Unlike the couple in front of him, Dashiel’s parents had never been summoned on the same night, so he had never been brought to the North Pole with them. 

As they took off into the sky, Dashiel glanced below and saw how large the toy factory truly was. It was so much more than a single building. There was an entire village, with every house decorated for Christmas. 

“Isn’t it beautiful?” he said to Fred. 

“I’ll take your word for it,” Fred replied.

“You’re not scared of heights are you?” 

“I’ll be fine as long as I don’t look down.”

Dashiel snorted. “I’d rather look down at the ground, than at Yuri’s arse all night.”

“I heard that,” Yuri replied. “I’ll have you know, my arse is the envy of reindeer the world over.”

Dashiel couldn’t laugh properly in his reindeer form, but he was starting to feel the Christmas spirit now. Chances were, he would be required to do sleigh duty again in the coming years, but there were those who were only summoned once in their life, and since he didn’t know if he would be called again, he intended to make the most of tonight.

 

 

About the Author 

L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances. She believes mermen live in the undiscovered areas of the ocean. She believes life exists on other planets. She believes in fairy tales, magic, and dreams. Most of all, she believes in love.

When L.M. Brown isn’t bribing her fur babies for control of the laptop, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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Review Tour and Giveaway for The Christmas Oaks (Laurel Holidays #1) by V.L. Locey

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Cover Design: Designs By Sloan

 
Blurb 
 

Can the magic of Christmas, and the soft voice of a man who has seen too much, show Bryan a future where anything is possible?


Bryan Graham is shocked to find he’s inherited a hunting cabin in north-central Pennsylvania. From his grandfather of all people; a stubborn man who went out of his way to make Bryan’s childhood miserable. He’d vowed never to go back to the small, rural community of Kutter’s Summit, not that he didn’t have fond memories of the place. It’s just that he’d rather be celebrating a quiet Christmas back in Nashville with his cat and his contracts. 



A couple of weeks of hunting, cleaning, and handyman work, and he can hopefully put the place up for sale and move on with his life. He never expected to find his childhood friend Parson Greer living in the cabin. Parson is no longer a boy, but a handsome, wary man consumed by the demons of a faraway desert war. When a rekindled friendship shifts into something deeper, Bryan finds himself lost in emotions that a workaholic like him has never made time to experience before.

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.


V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.


When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.

 

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