Into December and Our Holiday Stories. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Into December and Our Holiday Stories

It’s officially December and our holiday stories, in all formats, are here for our reading and listening pleasure!    While some of us may have returned to our comfort reads this holiday season, there are plenty of wonderful new stories out there to add to your reading festive list!

One of mine this year has been Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert!  How I loved that sweet contemporary fake boyfriend story!  If you are in the mood for audio?  Try this one, especially if you are already a fan of RJ Scott’s Texas series.  I loved listening to Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott  and Narrated by: Sean Crisden.  Barb, our Zany Old Lady, just loved Mr. Naughty List (Home for the Holidays #2) by Leta Blake while I just finished the wonderful No Place Like Home by Annabeth Jacobs (which I will review this week) and The Christmas Oaks (Laurel Holidays #1) by V.L. Locey.

Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin was recommended by two of our reviewers!  Not to be left out?

A Christmas Wedding by A E Ryecart
717 Miles Christmas by Sophia Soames
A Boyfriend For Christmas by Jay Northcote
Yuletide Treasure (Goddess-Blessed #3) by Eliot Grayson
Mr. Frosty Pants (Home for the Holidays #1) by Leta Blake and John Solo (Narrator)

 

Some of these stories we have reviewed already, some will be reviewed this week.  And there will be more to come.  What stories have you read or listened to that you have loved or enjoyed this holiday season?  Ones that have made your   annual  Holiday List?  Comment and let us know!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 1:

  • New Release Blitz with Excerpt for Starlight (Dark Space #3) by Lisa Henry
  • Into December and Our Holiday Stories. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 2:

  • Review Tour – Annabelle Jacobs – No Place Like Home
  • COVER REVEAL Rialto (Unbreakable Bonds #8) by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
  • BLOG TOUR A Broken Winter by Kale Knight
  • A Lucy Review: Snowdrop in a Storm (Snow Globes #3) by Ava Kelly
  • A MelanieM Review : No Place Like Home by Annabelle Jacobs

Tuesday, December 3:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Stocking Stuffers, A Holiday Themed Romantic
  • Release Blitz – Eli Easton – Angels Sing
  • BLITZ Pattern for an Angel by CJane Elliott
  • An Alisa Review I’ve Got You (True-Blue #2) by Becca Seymour
  • A MelanieM Review: Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #4) by A.E. Wasp

Wednesday, December 4 :

  • Release Blitz – Warrior’s Way by M.J. Calabrese
  • Release Blitz, for V.L. Locey – The Christmas Oaks
  • TOUR Becoming Us” by Becca Seymour
  • An Alisa Review Becoming Us (True-Blue #3) by Becca Seymour
  • A MelanieM Review: Boys of Summer (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A.E. Wasp

Thursday, December 5:

  • Release Blitz  – Awakening (Wild Oak, Book 1) by JJ Harper
  • Release Blitz – Waxing Poetic for Christmas by Mara Townsend
  • A Lila Review Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Honour by A.F. Henley
  • A MelanieM Review: Skater Boy (Hot Off the Ice #3) by A.E. Wasp

Friday, December 6:

  • Cover Reveal – What Works For Us by Colette Davison
  • Review Tour – Jay Northcote – A Boyfriend For Christmas
  • An Alisa Review Rules for Santa (Davey’s Rules #3) by Susan Hawke
  • A Stella Review : A Boyfriend For Christmas by Jay Northcote
  • A Melanie Review The Wolf and the Sparrow by  Isabelle Adler

Saturday, December 7:

  • Release Blitz Request – Red Popcorn Strings & Gumball Rings – Nell Iris

 

Love Holiday Romances? Check Out the Blog Tour for Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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Mr.RightNowTour Banner

Mr. Right Now

Annabeth Albert

M/M Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 11.14.19

MrRightNow-AA-f

Blurb

He’s Mr. Right Now, but for how long?

When Russ suffers a Thanksgiving disaster, his gorgeous neighbor Esteban is there to save the day. And after an innocent mix-up leads to the former Hollywood hottie playing the role of Russ’s date, Russ thinks scoring Esteban as his fake boyfriend is a huge win. The newly discharged marine is healing inside and out and could use some holiday cheer.

For his part, Esteban is intrigued by his big, bad neighbor. He likes how his matchmaking cat brings out an unexpected caring side of Russ. Desire flares as the reasons to continue their ruse pile up for both men.

And pretending feels so good. From chocolaty kisses to late night cuddles, their burgeoning friendship is getting cozier and cozier. But as the end date for their little deception looms, all the real feelings they’ve tried to ignore come tumbling in. Each must decide whether they have what it takes to ring in the New Year as a couple.

Mr. Right Now is a stand-alone holiday novella with sweet, low-angst feels, spicy love scenes, and foodie inspired, quirky Oregon romance with a military flavor. Happy ending guaranteed with no cliffhangers!

Tags: neighbors-to-lovers, fake boyfriend, holiday romance, friends-to-lovers

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48481844-mr-right-now

https://amzn.to/2JTW01L

Mr Right Now Problem Answer TeaserMr Right Now Kiss TeaserMr. Right Now Cat Teaser

Excerpt

“Russ!” A very tall, very pregnant woman engulfed the big guy in a hug. But right as Esteban was about to slip away, she locked her gaze on him. “Oh! And this must be the new guy! We’re so delighted to meet you.”

“Yes, we’re so happy for Russ,” an older, elegant woman with cropped hair added.

Russ looked utterly miserable standing behind the women, expression stricken, like Esteban’s nephews after hearing one too many siguanaba monster stories.

Hell. Russ apparently hadn’t told them about the breakup. And now he had to come clean, which would undoubtedly cast a shadow over the gathering and make Russ’s predicament the center of attention. That had to be the last thing Russ wanted.

Esteban’s stomach churned unhappily in sympathy. If Esteban had figured out one thing about Russ in their time in the kitchen, it was that he was way more comfortable talking about others than himself. He wished there was some way to spare Russ the humiliation.

Wait. They don’t even know his name. Wasn’t that what Russ had said about his ex?

Esteban tried to catch Russ’s eyes. Should I pretend? Want me to?

He’d never had a blockbuster role, but Esteban wasn’t some scenery chewer either. He could still act, spare a nice guy a little awkwardness, and maybe ease his holiday burden. That earlier moment when Russ had talked about leaving the marines still lingered in Esteban’s brain. He understood all too well that change was hard. And Russ had surely been through enough of it.

Esteban’s unspoken question seemed to hang between them for an eternity. Russ’s nose wrinkled as his mouth twisted. Then he gave an almost imperceptible nod.

“Russ, aren’t you going to introduce us to your boyfriend?” the tall woman, who had to be Judy, prompted while her husband juggled both a pie and the toddler.

“This is…uh…” Russ looked like he’d rather be auditioning for a hemorrhoid cream ad rather than deal with his family. He was back to the dejected guy he’d been when Esteban had met up with him at the dumpster. And that just wouldn’t do.

“Esteban. Or you can just call me the boyfriend. I’m easy.” With a wink, he stuck out a hand for Judy. He could do this, could act the part, and remove that air of failure from Russ’s otherwise impressive self.

Russ’s jaw had fallen open wide enough to land a 747. “Yeah…”

Roll with it, Esteban tried to tell him with a quick smile his direction.

“And you’re charming. Rusty, you didn’t tell me he was charming.”

“I didn’t know.” The grateful wonder in Russ’s tone was enough to convince Esteban that this was worth a few hours of pro-bono acting.

“What do you mean you didn’t know? You big goof.” Judy lightly docked her brother’s shoulder. She then shook Esteban’s hand, and introduced, her husband, Bob, and his mother, Connie, and the toddler, Benny.

“Here, let me take the pie,” Esteban offered. “Russ, you can help with their coats?”

“Yeah.” Russ continued to sound delightfully befuddled. As Esteban passed with the pie, Russ lowered his voice and asked, “What did you get yourself into?”

“Nothing I can’t handle.” And as he took the pie to the kitchen, he could only hope he wasn’t lying.

Annabeth Coffee Logo

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Mr. Right Now joins her many other critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series and stand-alone titles.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: http://www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and particularly loves uncovering unique main characters. In her personal life, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Website: http://annabethalbert.com/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Nb9yv

Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Annabeth-Albert/e/B00LYFFAZK

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnabethAlbert

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbert

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabeth_albert/

Giveaway

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A MelanieM Audio Review: Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott and Narrated by: Sean Crisden

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Can Connor show River a real family Christmas?

When Connor finds River on the roof of the campus admin building, he doesn’t know what to do. His friend is drunk, and shouting into a snowstorm, a bottle of vodka in his hand. The easy part is getting River down; the hard part is insisting River comes home with Connor for Christmas.

River doesn’t have a family, or any place outside of college that he calls home. Not that it matters to him; he’s happy being alone for Christmas in his budget motel, watching reruns of Elf. Only, Connor keeps telling wildly improbable stories of the perfect family celebrations at his parents’ ranch in Texas, and it’s wearing River down. He didn’t ask to be kidnapped. He didn’t want to fall in love with the entire Campbell-Hayes family. But he does.

From one Christmas to the next. This is Connor’s year to rescue River, and himself, for them both to mess things up, make things right, fall in lust and finally, for Connor to show the man he loves what being part of a family can mean.

I read Home for Christmas back when it was first released in 2018 and loved it then.  It felt like a perfect holiday  homecoming for a family and series I had come to love so.  But as I have found so often lately, listening to audio vresions of books I read a while ago makes them fresh and vivid all over again so I was thrilled to see a audio release of Home For Christmas.

The narration by Sean Crisden is darn near perfect as he brings to life once more the story of a grown up Connor bringing a troubled friend  River home to the ranch for Christmas.  Itturns out to be a time of growth, revelations, and love.   And of course, it feels like a huge family reunion as so many characters appear bubbling with familial love and holiday cheer and news.  It definitely feels like family, one the reader has gotten to know intimately over a long series of stories.  Now we add River into the fold, as well as a grown up Conner.

Overlaid between the relationship dynamics between River and Connor are the stabilizing one of Connor’s dads, Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes, the core couple at the heart of the Texas series.  They continue that role here to my obvious love.  Their deep love, respect, and yes lust for each otherstill propels this story and series forward.  They are both its engine and heart.

At just over three hours, it’s a lovely way to grab a Holiday audio during this busy time.  I love it and it brought this story back to me and made it new again. Yes, I definitely recommend it.

Cover art: Meredith Russell is sweet but I wish it had more of the ranch and Christmas.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible

Audio Links:

Length: 3 hrs and 54 mins

Audible Audio
Published November 7th 2019 (first published November 28th 2018)
Edition Language English
Series Texas #9

Thanksgiving Week and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Thanksgiving Week and A Growing List of Things to Do!

 

For those of us in the US or for expats abroad its Thanksgiving week.  We are making lists, trying to figure out menus, baking, and getting ready to travel or getting rooms ready for visitors to arrive.  And  then it is on to Yule and December.  Yes, time is flying.

Between the family obligations this week, water main breaks, and more RL events, well, let’s just say my lists grew a little bit larger this week quite unexpectedly.  Luckily my audio books kept me company along with my fur kids.  I have some wonderful audio books to review for you this week.  There are also several holiday romances here bringing with them all things Christmassy and joyous.  I hope you all are making your TBR lists for your Holiday Reading.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Rogue’s wishes everyone a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.  Happy Reading and Listening.  Meet you all back here, full of leftovers after the holiday is over!

Now where did I put my list?

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, November 24:

  • Thanksgiving Week and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, November 25:

  • Review Tour for Promise (Single Dads #3) by RJ Scott
  • Release Blitz – Magic & Mirrors by L.M. Brown
  • Review Tour Little Love by Siobhan Smile
  • An Ashlez Review: Little Love by Siobhan Smile
  • An Alisa Review: Kindred Spirits by Sloan Johnson
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Promise (Single Dads #3) by RJ Scott

Tuesday, November 26:

  • Release Blitz for Annabelle Jacobs – No Place Like Home
  •  Release Day Blitz: Love and Linguistics by Tara Lain
  • Blog Tour Adore by Ella James
  • Review Audio Tour for Today (Single Dads #2) by RJ Scott
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Today (Single Dads #2) by RJ Scott
  • A Lucy Review: Husband Hunters by Rick R. Reed
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Red Dirt Heart 3 by NR Walker and Joel Leslie Narrator

Wednesday, November 27:

  • Release Blitz – Jay Northcote – A Boyfriend For Christmas
  • BLITZ The Wolf and the Sparrow by Isabelle Adler
  • BLog Tour Roxy’s Recovery by Kim Breyon
  • An Alisa Review: Nuttin’ But Trouble (College of United Monsters #4) by C.B. Archer
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott t and Narrated by: Sean Crisden
  • A Stella Review: Roxy’s Recovery by Kim Breyon

Thursday, November 28:

  • Review Tour – Garrett Leigh – Hometown Christmas
  • GUEST POST But by the Grace of Dog by AF Henley
  • Book Blast – Body Parts And Mind Games by Jude Tresswell
  • An Alisa Review : Hometown Christmas by Garrett Leigh
  • A Lucy Review: But By the Grace of Dog by A.F. Henley

Friday, November 29:

  • Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert  Blog Tour and Review
  • Blog Tour Unfettered by Kate Hawthorne
  • Audio Blitz – A.E. Via – Prophesy II: The Bringer of Wrath (The King & Alpha Series)
  • A MelanieM Review: Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert
  • An Alisa Review: Weekend at Bigfoot’s by Addison Albright
  • A Stella Review: Just the Thought of You (Mann of My Dreams #3) by Tinnean

Saturday, November 30:

  • A MelanieM Review: Boy Toys (Hot Off the Ice #2.5) by A.E. Wasp

A MelanieM Audio Review: Red Dirt Heart 2 by NR Walker and Joel Leslie Narrator

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Up until Travis arrived on his doorstep, Charlie had lived a very solitary life. He had surrounded himself with isolation; a couple million acres of red dirt, scorching sun and loneliness.

Six months on, winter has settled over the desert, and Charlie has the life he never dreamed possible. But living and working together, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, for six months straight starts to take its toll.

Charlie is a stubborn, stubborn man, who tends to have more conversations in his head than what comes out his mouth, whereas Travis has no problem saying what’s on his mind. And even as they both struggle to communicate, struggle to make sense of need versus want, Charlie can see that he’s pushing Travis away – yet seems helpless to stop it.

When it all boils down to whether Travis should stay or go, maybe the decision won’t be theirs to make.

Listening to the amazing repertoire of voices that emerge from Joel Leslie, the narrator of NR Walker’s Red Dirt Heart series, it has come vividly back to me why I loved this book and series so in the first place.

Here once again I feel all the insecurities that have Charlie Sutton pushing Travis away, fearing that he will leave him sonner or later after all, getting tired of Charlie or the harsh landscape that is the outback of the Sutton Ranch.  Also the deep fear and pain instilled by Charlie’s father about his sexuality that continues to influence his behavior, all in negative ways. It’s a daily battle for Travis to fight, against Charlie’s inner demons and monologues and the verbal fights  that seems to be getting more frequent.

Along with all the personal relationship dynamics, we get the wonderful “found family” on display at the ranch too.  There’s Ma and George, Billy, Bacom, among the core that’s being gathered together here.  There’s watching Charlie stretching forward through his interactions outside the station as well as his tentatively accepting a future outside his fears with Travis at his side.

And always there’s the growing love and deepening relationship between them both that I just love, that encompasses both mens past history, family, respect and love for the land and each other.

This is what it’s all about, right here. Open desert, flat to the horizon, blue sky, red dirt and you.

 

All Red Dirt Heart stories flow naturally, one right into the next, so reading or listening to them without interruption now that the series is finished is a true joy this time around.  It just highlights how well constructed the stories and series is as well as how well developed and multidimensional all the characters are.  Stomtimes a series doesn’t age well with time.  Not so with the Red Dirt Heart series.  In fact, I may even love them a little bit more.  Joel Leslie’s voices have now become those people for me in my head, Trav’s slow southern Texas drawn and Charlie’s broad Aussie tones forever set as theirs.

Nut how I love this love affair.  Of the heart and of the land.

“He had this way of making me love him just a little bit more by doing the simplest of things. The littlest of things.”

I’m heading into RDH 3 audio next, then all the way to the end.  I’m smiling and picturing the station, the people, and yes, even the animals, especially Nugget.  I can’t imagine that as a reader you haven’t found this series already, but if you haven’t the audio version is such a marvelous way to make it’s introduction, via the superb narration of Joel Leslie  who inhabitants these characters as if he was made to do it.  I highly recommend  every aspect from author to narrator.  Just listen in the order they were written and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Cover art:  While all the covers have a certain similarity, this is one of my favorites with the red dirt front and center.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Book Details:

Listening Length: 7 hours and 10 minutes

Audible Audio, Unabridged, 8 pages
Published January 18th 2017 by NR Walker (first published August 17th 2014)
Original TitleRed Dirt Heart 2
ASINB01N9RLT2B
Edition Language English
Series Red Dirt #2
setting Australia

A MelanieM Review: Country Boy (Hot Off the Ice #2) by A.E. Wasp

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Sometimes the toughest thing to have faith in is yourself.

The first time Paul Dyson met Robbie Rhodes, they ended up naked in Robbie’s bed. The last time they met, on the ice the morning after, Paul punched Robbie in the face and called him something he’d rather not repeat.

Two years later, they’re teammates on the Seattle Thunder hockey team.

Being gay is wrong, unnatural, and there is no room for them in his world. Paul’s heard that his whole life. So when it hits him that he is gay, he does the only thing he can: he shoves himself so deep in the closet he would need a map to find his way out again.

When the chance to fulfill his lifelong dream comes along, Paul can’t say no, even if it forces him to share hotel rooms with the only man he can’t resist. It doesn’t take long for Paul to give into temptation and find himself falling in love with his brilliant, caring teammate.

But as much as he cares for Paul, Robbie is finding it harder and harder to justify hiding who he is. It goes against everything he was taught was right. He feels like he has a duty to come out to the public. He’d be the first out gay pro-hockey player.

If Paul wants to be with Robbie, he will have to turn his back on his family and everything he’s believed in. If Robbie wants to be will Paul, he’ll have to do the same.

It’s going to take them a lot of faith to find their way together in this shiny new world.

Country Boy is a love story about figuring out who you are, who you want to be, and how to get there. It contains sweet hockey plays, a 1976 Corvette Stingray, fancy underwear, and the journey of a lifetime.

Country Boy, the second in the Hot Off the Ice series by AE Wasp, puts the spotlight back on the Seattle Thunder and two of its newest teammates. Robbie Rhodes, who we met in the first story City Boy, and Paul Dyson, the Thunder’s newest recruit. As was City Boy, Country Boy is someone exploring their sexuality, what it means to be gay from a religious standpoint,  and as a young upcoming NHL hockey player.   It does so using two diametrically opposed young men.   One brought up to believe in the reality of God, hell and brimstone, gay is actually evil and to be a homosexual was to be a perversion of all things natural. It was to be cast out of family, church, and society, to admit to such beliefs.  That would be Paul and his ultra conservative upbringing.  Then there is Robby, out and proud, with loving parents who might not understand hockey but love and support their son.

Paul and Robbie have a shared collegiate hockey rivalry history as well as a shocking, short romantic one.  The last that ended in a brutal way.

Wasp brings both Robbie and Paul to life here with all the turbulence of their combined pasts, Paul’s deep confusion over his sexuality, his pain over his upbringing and religion, and the choices life seems to be asking him to make.  The author has Paul reaching deep into his heart and soul for answers about how he feels about his church, parents, religion overall, and asking himself some heartbreaking questions.  As readers these soul searching inner monologues and conversations  Paul has with himself and others, including Robbie, make him so real, his situation so believable that he is easy to connect with.

So too Robbie with his learning disabilities, his  need to remain out and not fall back into the closet that he’s worked so hard to climb out of.  And just perhaps, should be even more out of as an example for LGBTQIA+ kids wishing to play hockey everywhere.  Robbie too has his realistic struggles here and not just with his romance with Paul, although that is huge.

As much as I loved its predecessor, I feel that  Country Boy (Hot Off the Ice #2) by A.E. Wasp tackled so many more tough issues here and did so remarkably well.  AE Wasp does a wonderful job balancing multiple story threads here, weaving them all into a whole that is wonderful and heartwarming.  The characters are believable and easy to connect with plus Robbie and Paul’s romance is one to remember.  I love them both and can’t wait to follow their love through the rest of the series.

It’s just book two and I am in love with this series of complex men, the game of hockey and Seattle’s Thunder.  Pick them up and read them in the order they were written to get a feeling of the entire cast of characters which make appearances in each book, and watch to see who and how their own romances grow as well.

Cover art is perfect for branding the series and for the characters involved. Love it.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 326 pages
Published September 21st 2017 by Kelpie Press

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings (Black and Blue #1) by Lily Morton

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

My nails and cuticles will never be the same. Neither will the inside of my lip where I chewed on it. This story was not only a romance, this was a horror story—a house haunting by an evil, wicked spirit—and the author brought me to the point where I was reading between my fingers with my hand held to my face. Scary and wonderful, the story captured my attention in the best possible way. And the characters? Let’s just say that I’m hoping Levi and Billie—surnames Black and Blue—will be back with more hair-raising adventures in the near future.

I loved the fact the author made the romance secondary to the mystery of the haunted house Levi Black inherits, renovates, and then occupies. Others have died in that house, most recently a young man who owned it was found dead at the foot of the stairs. In the past, a murder suicide occurred in the upstairs rooms and no one could ever explain why the sweet widow took her brother’s life and then her own. The resolution of the mystery runs concurrent with the development of a romance between Levi and Blue Billings, a young man who runs a ghost tour in York.

Billie has lived hand to mouth, mostly on the streets as a homeless youth, ever since his mother died. A psychic, Billie keeps to himself, spending any free time in the old bookstore in his neighborhood, reading up on ghost stories and enjoying the warmth and comfort offered by a day in the shop. As the story develops, so does Billie’s psychic ability, helped along by the owner of the bookstore, a crotchety (but sweet) old psychic who takes Billie under his wing.

As the date of the original murder draws closer, the spirit haunting his home gets nastier and Levi is unexpectedly shoved down the stairs, resulting in a broken arm and concussion. Thankfully, Billie gets him to a hospital quickly, his timely arrival at Levi’s house helped by the spirit of a dead woman who alerts him to the danger Levi is in. Complex, interesting, fun, romantic, and scary, scary, scary, I loved this story. Not only is there quality of character development and chemistry between the two MCs, but the mystery and the nail-biting, frightening scenes are so realistic that anyone who loves a good ghostly horror story should be as excited as I was. I highly recommend it and I’m very much looking forward to more.

The gorgeous cover by Natasha Snow Designs features a young blue-haired man in period costume. Absolutely perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 301 pages
Published November 14th 2019
ASIN B0819FQJLX
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Audio Review:Red Dirt Heart (Red Dirt #1) by N.R. Walker and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Welcome to Sutton Station: One of the world’s largest working farms in the middle of Australia – where if the animals and heat don’t kill you first, your heart just might.

Charlie Sutton runs Sutton Station the only way he knows how; the way his father did before him. Determined to keep his head down and his heart in check, Charlie swears the red dirt that surrounds him – isolates him – runs through his veins.

American agronomy student Travis Craig arrives at Sutton Station to see how farmers make a living from one of the harshest environments on earth. But it’s not the barren, brutal and totally beautiful landscapes that capture him so completely, it’s the man with the red dirt heart.

Please note: This book is set in Australia, using Australian English and lingo.

NR Walker’s Red Dirt Heart series became an instant comfort read when I first read it when it first came out in 2014.  I adored the characters, the setting (it was one of my first Australian location stories), the differences in our cultures and, yes, the similarities, just everything!  I was wombat crazy and red dirt heart in love!

Time passed and NR Walker became an auto read, her books a must buy.  The Red Dirt Heart series always floating fondly there in her library waiting to be rec’d.  Then came the audio version of NR Walker’s  Spencer Cohen stories and Joel Leslie’s perfect narration, Aussie voice included.  What leapt to mind?  That I needed to listen to Joel Leslie narrating Red Dirt Heart in the worst way.

So back to the outback I went.  Back to the lives of all the people at the Sutton Ranch and the hot red dirt landscape that captures their hearts and souls.  And the readers too so quickly. I always had pictures of how Charlie and Trav looked fixed so firmly in my head, but now?   Oh, my, with Joel Leslie taking such a firm, absolute grasp of NR Walker’s characters and story, here every favorite person burst back into life once more.  Charlie with his distinct broad Aussie accent comes immediately into play and just listening to Charlie, his many inner monologues to his exchanges with Ma and his ranch hands, who he is as a person becomes crystal clear. You know Charlie now, more than ever before.

And its not just Charlie’s accent, but a multitude of australian accents that Leslie comes p with, all genders, as well as all ages.   Then Trav arrives.  All slow, warm, southern Texas drawl flowing out of his mouth….and boom!  It’s as though Trav has walked through our doors, lively, unable to sit still, and more Trav, more three dimensional than I can remember.  Red Dirt Heart is singing to me.  The characters are bright, lively, passionate, and so real it hurts at times.

And this story!  I remember now why I loved it so. Love it so.  There’s Matilda, Ma and George, even the horses Shelby and Texas, plus the ranch hands that become a family.  And alway, always, that red dirt soil and landscape that spreads like another major character across the novel and series that digs just as deep into your heart as everyone else.

You know what I found?  I loved these stories even more.  Joel Leslie and NR Walker are perfection, literary mates mean to be.  And now its on to the rest of the series because you just can’t stop here.

Whether it’s your first time or the upteenth, go immediately for the audio version of the amazing Red Dirt Heart series and fall in love again or all over again.  Tis the holidays.  Treat yourself or someone you love.  I can’t think of a better gift.

Cover art for this series has stayed with me so yes, love it.

Audio Sales:  Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

5 hrs 7 mins

Audible Audio, Unabridged, 6 pages
Published July 4th 2016 by Love Lane Books (first published February 20th 2014)
ASINB01HU3WTHQ
Edition Language English
SeriesRed Dirt #1
Characters Charles Sutton, Travis Craig
setting Australia

Scattered November Thoughts and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Scattered November Thoughts

November is a month of many things…to many people.  Some are busy writing away as it’s still NaNoWriMo and those words and stories won’t write themselves as the deadline nears.   For those of us in the US and expats abroad its Thanksgiving next week so travel plans are being made, menus being planned, and for those well organized individuals, early holiday shopping lists coming into play for the sales that will be launched right after Thanksgiving is over and the turkey leftovers are handed out.

For us Hockey fans, we are enjoying our teams games, at home and on the road, Ditto for all you football fans.  Tis the season for our sports teams to go forth and rise and fall and for us to cheer them on regardless.  And because I wallow in my boys on the ice, I’m diving back into STRW hockey recommendations and those stories I missed the first time around.  One of those is the Hot Off The Ice series by A.E. Wasp, which I am enjoying immensely.  Look for my reviews of some of those stories starting this week.  I have also returned to one of my all time comfort series, NR Walker’s Red Dirt Heart stories, this time in audio format.  Oh my Joel Leslie has that Aussie accent down perfect!  And yes, more holiday stories are coming your way from all our reviewers here, including from Sophia Soames, a author on my must read list.

At any rate, things are hectic here, schedule are full, I have one small dog who has gotten very good at dodging her pills, and there is still so much to plan for as Thanksgiving looms large.  And yes, we saw our first glimpses of snow too.  Tis the season for so many things and it seems so little time to take it all in.

So it’s brief today…but here is our schedule for the coming week.  Lovely books ahead and great tours too.  Something for everyone.  Happy reading and listening.  Now I have some lists to make.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, November 17:

  • November Thoughts and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A Stella Review: In This Bed of Snowflakes We Lie by Sophia Soames

Monday, November 18:

  • Review Tour – Across The Pond (Raptors #2) – RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • Release Blitz The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings by Lily Morton
  • A MelanieM Review : Across The Pond (Arizona Raptors #2) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • A Lucy Audio Review: Finders Keepers by N.R. Walker, Joel Leslie (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: Slow Birth (Heat of Love #2.5) by Leta Blake

Tuesday, November 19:

  • Release Blitz – A Christmas Wedding by A E Ryecart
  • A Stella Review The Desire for Dearborne by V.B. Kildaire
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Red Dirt Heart 1 by NR Walker and Joel Leslie Narrator
  • A Free Dreamer Review: For Sam, times infinity by Suki Fleet
  • A Lucy Review: A Christmas Wedding: A snowy London love story (Rory & Jack #3) by A.E. Ryecart

Wednesday, November 20:

  • Review Tour – Nothing Special V – AE Via
  • A MelanieM Review: 717 miles Christmas Special by Sophia Soames
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Mr. Naughty List (Home for the Holidays #2) by Leta Blake
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Red Dirt Heart 2 by NR Walker and Joel Leslie Narrator
  • An Alisa Audio Review Nothing Special V (Nothing Special #5) by A.E. Via and Aiden Snow (Narrator)

Thursday, November 21:

  • Release Blitz Roxy’s Recovery by Kim Breyon
  • Release Blitz – Against All Odds (Eternal Soulmates, Book 2) by Elle W Silver
  • BLOG TOUR Soft Limits: A Deviations Novel by Jodi Payne
  • A MelanieM Review A New Empire (Fog City #3) by Layla Reyne
  • A Lucy Review Inn Love by Lucy Lennox

Friday, November 22:

  • COVER REVEAL Ablaze by Elvira Bell
  • Release Blitz – Promise (Single Dads #3) – RJ Scott
  • Release Blitz for Garrett Leigh – Hometown Christmas
  • A MelanieM Review: Country Boy (Hot Off the Ice #2) by A.E. Wasp
  • A Stella Review:  Twice Shy (A New Milton Novel) by  Sally Malcolm

Saturday, November 23:

  • A MelanieM Review: Boy Toys (Hot Off the Ice #2.5) by A.E. Wasp

A MelanieM Review: In This Bed of Snowflakes We Lie by Sophia Soames

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Rating:  5 stars plus out of 5

Oskar Høiland hides from life. It just makes things easier that way, not having to face all the fears and drama of living. He especially hides from other people, because Oskar has grown up fearing the snide remarks and the quick glances that strip him of the tiny scraps of confidence he still has left. He is just going to keep existing. Work hard to complete his medical degree and perhaps watch a few more series on Netflix in peace and quiet over Christmas.

Erik Nøst Hansen should be an almost fully-fledged adult. He should be able to sort out the mess that festers in his head and stop lying. It’s just hard. And it’s bloody terrifying to even acknowledge the thoughts that swirl around in his head at night when he can’t sleep. He also needs to figure out how to talk to the boy downstairs. The one with the golden curls and the crooked smile. The boy who is completely monopolising Erik’s messed-up heart.

A story of falling in love and being brave. A Christmas tale with a difference, set in the university dorms of central Oslo, where lies are uncovered, snowflakes are falling all over the place, and beds are made to lie in. There is a slightly unconventional family. A mess of animal onesies. Too much food and a very Merry Christmas.

Sophia Soames became one of my favorite authors based on one book alone.  That would be 717 Miles, a touching, amazing, utterly human journey of love and recovery by two young men in London.  Trust me,  i wanted more, so much more.

Here is the story (along with the 717 Christmas short) that I have been waiting on.  Sophia Soames manages to write these microcosm of humanity, in this case, two flights of dorms on a campus in Norway.  Then ushers up such incredible portraits of human fragility, unknowing strength, unbelievable kindness, bravery, and , yes, the sheer being of youth…in Norway and all that entails.  And she does so with characters and a narrative that takes your breath away.

In This Bed of Snowflakes We Lie by Sophia Soames is full of Norwegian Christmas customs and all things bakery and sweetness.  I had no idea and I absolutely wallowed in it all the while looking up those names and goodness.  She folds them into a story where two young men are finding out who they are, how they can be their best selves (whatever they are), all the while helping several  or one traumatized friend in their dorms manage the holiday.

Oskar Høiland and Erik Nøst Hansen are two such endearing young men, confused at times about themselves and how they appear to others.  Also about their sexual appeal, and who they appeal to.  It’s a lovely, natural, sexual journey for them both, without major outside angst, as this is a very accepting society, at least within this circle of people.   And what a circle of people it is.  From the warm, quirky, and oh please, please adopt me too family of Erik’s (yes, I wanted to be there, that’s how all embracing and incredible those scenes are), to the dormates on floors one and two, these are all characters that will sing to your heart.  You, the reader, will want to know them, want to be their friends, hug on them, and follow each and every one of their paths through life, to make sure its a safe and happy one.  That’s how deeply you will connect to each and everyone.

In the end, what you will also remember is the analogy that brings  you back to the title.  In This Bed of Snowflakes and the imagery it brings up.  Of the two in love young men, lying on their backs, as the snowflakes swirl down around them, and Erik, talking about how individually snowflakes are so delicate but together, formed into a whole, they are so strong.  And now I’m sniffling again.

Read this book, discover this author.  Both are amazing and unforgettable.   And yes, I highly recommend them both.

 

Cover Artist: Miriam Latu. I love this artist and this cover.  Perfection and so different than the usual covers.  Draws you in just as it should.  Yes, that’s Oskar.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 217 pages
Published November 14th 2019
ASINB07ZS1MDNS
Edition Language English