A MelanieM Review: Upside Down by NR Walker

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Jordan O’Neill isn’t a fan of labels, considering he has a few. Gay, geek, a librarian, socially awkward, a nervous rambler, an introvert, an outsider. The last thing he needs is one more. But when he realizes adding the label ‘asexual’ might explain a lot, it turns his world upside down.

Hennessy Lang moved to Surry Hills after splitting with his boyfriend. His being asexual had seen the end of a lot of his romances, but he’s determined to stay true to himself. Leaving his North Shore support group behind, he starts his own in Surry Hills, where he meets first-time-attendee Jordan.

A little bewildered and scared, but completely adorable, Hennessy is struck by this guy who’s trying to find where he belongs. Maybe Hennessy can convince Jordan that his world hasn’t been turned upside down at all, but maybe it’s now—for the first time in his life—the right way up.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this story. Upside Down by NR Walker is a joyful melody of complex, endearing characters on a journey of self exploration, revelation, and love. That their path is a 5 minute bus ride and a daily bus route, their cheering and support squad a small group of best friends and strangers on the bus that becomes the Soup Crew?  Well, that’s just some f the magnificent and quirky elements that give the main couple and this story it’s staying power.

I have always treasured NR Walker’s stories because of her ability to build these incredible characters that feel so real to me.  Whether it’s a botanist with a passion for butterflies or an American geologist transplant in the outback in red dirt country, their search for fulfillment and love has stayed with me long after I finished their stories.  Their series remain favorites to this day.  I struggled with them, and celebrated in their HEA’s.

With Jordan O’Neill and  Hennessy Lang it’s exactly the same.  For Jordan, an intelligent, quirky (his words), gay librarian, he already is in possession of too many labels.  But he’s been so unhappy when it has come to romance, he just doesn’t want a sexual relationship.  So when his best friend and fellow librarian, Merry, suggests he may be asexual, he’s not sure he wants another label or what exactly that means.

What follows here is a gentle, revelatory exploration of what it means to be asexual through two characters, one, Hennessy, who has long accepted the fact that he’s asexual and knows what that means to him in every aspect of his life, mentally, emotionally, and, yes, physically.  And the other in the person of Jordan who has been foundering in his relationships, not knowing the reason why until he steps into that meeting and hears himself pouring out in words.  This entire portion of their story feels so powerful and yet so intimate and affirming.  Walker is able to give out so much information you realize later but in the moment?  It’s all heart and feelings and pent up emotions coming out that have never been verbalized before by Jordan and others.

And oh, the humor!  From the total group of strangers on the bus that start listening in on the conversations between “headphone guy” and Jordan that slowly coelesses into the wonderful advice giving Soup Crew, and the magnificent Merry, or Jordan’s roommate Angus, or any of the other superlative characters that inhabit this story and circle of friends or the library, this is a gift that never stops giving narratively speaking.

I smiled and laughed the whole story til my face hurt!  Then read it again.  My heart needed it that much.  Motherfucker! lol

The writing is top notch, the characterizations outstanding and the plot incredible but still the combination soars still further into something memorable that exceeds a 5 star rating.  It’s definitely in my top five Best of for 2019.  So grab it up and get reading.  Yes, I highly recommend it.

Cover art is adorable.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 251 pages
Published March 19th 2019
Original Title Upside Down
ASIN B07PVDGQV8

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review:The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When I saw that Heidi Cullinan was writing a new series I had high hopes and jumped on the chance to read the first book. And I was not disappointed at all. This story had engaging characters, substance, depth, an appreciation for K-pop music and Asian drama. In fact, I was so intrigued by the description of actor Aaron Yan I had to spend some time cruising Google. There was also a wonderfully complex cast of hospital-based characters and all the medical terms and info one would expect when one MC is a surgeon and the other a surgical nurse with two besties who are also doctors.

I have a Korean friend IRL whose personality is remarkably like that of Hong-Wei, the Taiwanese doctor who takes a position in a small hospital on Wisconsin’s northern peninsula. My friend comes across as somewhat aloof due to his upbringing—expected to overachieve from the time he was a child so he looks around in wonder when he sees others aren’t behaving the same way. Hong-Wei could have been my friend’s twin. Self-confident in his medical decisions, smart, honorable, respectful of elders, he has all the behaviors I have seen in my Asian friends.

Hong-Wei, also known as Jack, had his choice of hospitals after residency as he’s a highly sought after surgeon, however, he wanted to find peace and quiet so he could lick his wounds and recover from a traumatic hospital experience. It’s a total bonus that here at Copper Point he finds Simon, a handsome surgical nurse who’s smart and fun and totally into Asian drama and K-pop music.

It’s a match made in heaven—or at the keyboard of a highly creative author—and it worked well for me. Hong-Wei is brilliant and somewhat socially inept. Simon is intelligent and most definitely social as he’s known throughout the hospital and the town as a reliable, friendly guy. Their attraction is immediate—maybe a bit too instant, but considering I was engaged within a month, it’s certainly possible.

There’s plenty of action to keep readers interested with an underlying menace from the hospital board of directors who seem to have hogtied the hospital director and the HR director, who want to bring innovative change (and are likely future MCs). The most obvious issue that causes problems from the beginning is the rule prohibiting two staff members from dating. But there’s more and much of it involves the daily hospital operation and the reveals about Hong-Wei’s surgery specialty and reason for leaving Houston.

I totally enjoyed this story from Heidi Cullinan and I’m looking forward to more in this series. There’s a rich sense of culture and family and definitely an appreciation of Asian culture. I’m hoping secondary characters Owen and Erin take their hostility behind closed doors and that Jared and Nick quit their cold war. Tasty little teasing nuggets were dropped throughout the second half of this story. Now let’s hope we get the gourmet meal in future installments. This series promises to be yummy.

The cover by Kanaxa features a handsome Taiwanese man who bears a striking resemblance to the description of Hong-Wei in this story.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | AmazonBarnes & Noble |

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Expected publication: April 23rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Secret
ISBN 139781640808546
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #1
setting Wisconsin (United States)

A Lila Release Day Review:Innocence & Carnality by J. Alan Veerkamp

Standard
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Innocence is his only currency.

The gilded cage of propriety where Nathan grew up as a member of the Deilian aristocracy became a true prison when, at fifteen, his homosexuality came to light and created a terrible scandal. His parents see only one way to preserve their reputation amongst the other noble families: fit Nathan with a chastity belt to increase his value to a potential partner and marry him off as soon as possible.

The recipient of that prize is Lord Rother Marsh Delaga III. After a hasty wedding, Rother whisks Nathan away to the strange and seductive land of Marisol, where Nathan will begin a new life, free to explore the pleasures of the marriage bed, though his life is still not his own.

But Rother’s Delaga House is a place of secrets, dangers, and depravity Nathan can scarcely comprehend. Where friends are few and peril waits around every corner, Nathan must employ all the manipulation he learned from high society, along with his talent for clockwork. Most of all, Nathan must adapt, compromise to survive, and cast off the preconceptions of his homeland.

Because only he can orchestrate his freedom, and it’ll come at a cost.

Innocence and Carnality is a work of fiction. It’s the perfect combination of drama, intrigue, rawness, sensuality, sexuality, and so much more. Nathan is the embodiment of all of these, and we get to see how he evolves from a pampered aristocrat to a man of his own. He’s a great narrator for the story. It’s easy to get lost in his thoughts, his sadness, happiness, and hopes.

This book is hard to put down. The more you read, the more you want to know. It’s hard to see all the changes coming or to try to anticipate the next twist and turn the author envisioned. The amount of detail and foreshadowing is incredible, as well as the world-build. Everything in the story was necessary.

The mixed of characters, backgrounds, and locations show the author’s knowledge of where he wanted to take the story. In every step of the way, we have Nathan. His life becomes the reader’s guide. The supporting cast is as impressive as Nathan. They all have a part to play, even when isn’t positive for Nathan, I had my doubts about Rother but had to accept that I felt for him just like Nathan. I wanted him to have an opportunity for redemption but in reality, he didn’t deserve it.

This may not be a true romance but it has enough elements to satisfy the readers need for more. Personally, I could have seen the ending go either way. I think Nathan was strong enough to rule his world on his own. This story is perfect for everyone looking for more than a cute story.

The cover by Tiferet Design goes great with the author’s depiction of Nathan. It has all his arrogance on display, as well as the aesthetics.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | DSP

Book Details:
ebook, 348 pages
ISBN: 978-1-64405-193-1
Published: April 23, 2019, by DSP Publications
Edition Language: English

Happy Easter, Eostre to All That Celebrate. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

Happy Easter, Eostre to All That Celebrate

Happy Easter to everyone that is celebrating today.  For me it brings memories of Easter eggs, the smell of vinegar and Paas Dye kits.  How I loved dying Easter eggs.  The vibrant colors, the wax crayons, the surprise as they came out of the dye baths…those shaky little wire contraptions that came with the kits so flimsy when used that soon gave way to spoons !  Oh my!

Although associated with Christianity today, Easter eggs predate that religion going back to pagan rituals and the coming of Spring.  Eggs being of course a sign of fertility and renewal.  Some scholars believe that the pagan customs were adopted by priests and other Christian heads of that religion to help convert the population.  Whether true or not, the brightly coloring of the eggs started in the past in Medieval Europe and Asia.

I still see those kits in the store but people have clued me into egg spinners, natural leaf prints (so cool), tie dyed eggs (hey, man), Cool Whip eggs (need to investigate that one), plus so many more options plus the whole natural dyes that involve onion skins!

Leaf Print Eggs

 

Cool Whip Eggs

 

Tie dyed eggs!

Is it too late for an adult to get into the action without kids? lol.  These make me want to grab for several cartons of eggs and have at it.  Plastic eggs or the thought of them just don’t do it for me.

Anyway, it’s short, colorful and sweet this week.  Happy Easter to all who are celebrating.  Happy Egg Coloring and Egg Finding!  Happy Eostre and Happy Spring!

Greek Easter eggs dyed with onion skins

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 21:

  • BLOG TOUR Thirst For You by Jaclyn Quinn
  • Release Blitz How to Heal by Susan Hawke
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, April 22:

  • Review Tour – Wrong Way Home – K.A. Merikan
  • Review Tour – Ruby Moone – Finding Finlay (MC Securities #2)
  • Release Blitz – The Gathering Storm by Tricia Owens
  • An Alisa Review : Finding Finlay (MC Securities #2) by Ruby Moone
  • A VVivacious Review: Don’t Fight the Spark by Kasia Bacon
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Wrong Way Home by K.A. Merikan
  • A MelanieM Review: Descendant by Mychael Black

Tuesday, April 23:

  • Release Blitz Crossing The Touchline – Jay Hogan
  • Release Blitz – Avery Cockburn – Play Hard
  • BLITZ Destructive Forces by Harry F. Rey
  • An Alisa Review: For the Love of a Unicorn (Legendary Shifters #1) by Catherine Lievens
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Innocence & Carnality by J. Alan Veerkamp
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Burden (Love, Unexpected #2) by KC Wells
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review:The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Wednesday, April 24:

  • Release Blitz  for Montana Sky (Montana #6) – RJ Scott
  • Release Blitz for Love Is A Walk In The Park by V.L. Locey & Stephanie Locey
  • TOUR Mucklucked” by James Brock
  • BLITZ Where Song Replaces Silence by Layla Dorine
  • An Alisa Review:How Not to Break (Lovestrong #3) by Susan Hawke
  • A MelanieM Review: Upside Down by NR Walker
  • A Lila Review: Love, Again by H.D. Nels

Thursday, April 25:

  • Release Blitz for Rebecca Cohen’s Anthony, Earl of Crofton
  • Release Blitz – Jay Northcote – Mud & Lace
  • Review Tour – Avery Cockburn – Play Hard
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen and TJ Clark (Narrator)
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Play Hard by Avery Cockburn

Friday, April 26:

  • Review Tour – Grace Kilian Delaney – Living On A Dare
  • Review Tour – Alex Jane – Devil Next Door (Criminal Delights: Obsession
  • Release Blitz Don’t Fight the Spark by Kasia Bacon
  • An Alisa Review: Living on a Dare (Shore Thing #1) by Grace Kilian Delaney
  • A Lucy Review: Family Camp (Daddy Dearest #1) by Eli Easton
  • An Ashlez Review : Devil Next Door (Criminal Delights: Obsession) by Alex Jane

Saturday, April 27:

  • A MelanieM Review: Game Changer (Game Changers #1) by Rachel Reid

A MelanieM Review: This Is Not A Love Story by Suki Fleet

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

When fifteen-year-old Romeo’s mother leaves one day and doesn’t return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.

Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.

This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy)

There’s a lot that can be said about This Is Not A Love Story by Suki Fleet.  It’s a hurt/comfort story without a lot of comfort going on.  Reading the majority of this novel feels like poking at an open wound.  It’s that’s raw and incredibly painful. Not a story I could read without taking needed emotional “timeout” breaks.  Honestly, parts of this are so agonizing, I wondered if I wanted to continue.

So why the 5 stars?  Why read it at all?

Because it’s extraordinarily well written, with an eye towards making the reader feel almost at a cellular level what Suki Fleet’s  homeless teenagers are going through on a daily basis as anonymous, non people of the streets.  The humiliation, the deprivation, the starvation, and pain.  The exploitation and danger that exists for them and just the edge of survival each one walks is brought vividly and horrifically to life in the persons of Romeo and Julian, and others we meet.

Hope?  That doesn’t occur until late in the story.  Until then it’s sheer determination and love for each other that carries each young man through the darkest of times, and yes, they get plenty dark and gritty.

Told through the mind and heart of Romeo, an artistic mute who’s never without his drawing pad or Julian, his protector and the person he loves, we see the cost of that protection on Julian, on them both.  The way being homeless is eating away at them, the despair, their ragged physical state and the things they are willing to do to survive.  Each character is someone so vulnerable, so achingly young and discarded that the more you read, the more gut wrenching  the impact.

Not surprisingly the story contains elements of thoughts of suicide, drug use, rape, self harm, and abduction.  If any of these are triggers of yours, please take note.

After all that, the novel ends on a note of hope and happiness.  It’s truly needed after the darkness the characters and the readers have endured for most of the story.  It wasn’t quite enough to lift the heaviness of heart I felt after reading the book but held so much positivity for the future that I could leave it at that, hoping that the worse was finally behind them

I’m not sure this story is for everyone but for those that love a great contemporary novel with amazing characters and unforgettable plot ….and a journey that’s dark, gritty and full of pain.  This is a story for you.

Cover art with the dim backdrop of London and not so bright characters grimly hints at the tone of the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 453 pages
Published March 27th 2019 (first published March 22nd 2014)
Original Title This Is Not a Love Story
ASINB07Q47FFWM
SeriesLove Story Universe
CharactersRomeo Danilov, Julian Lavelle

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Playing in the Dark (Glasgow Lads #4) by Avery Cockburn

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

If you’ve read Playing with Fire, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to your e-book retailer and purchase this story immediately! It’s a fantastic continuation of the love story between Robert and Liam which started in that book. But it’s also so much more. Filled with humor, love, friendship, romance, and sexy times, reading this story is like looking through a one-way mirror into the heart of Glasgow, Scotland, and coming away with a picture of everyday life.

As the blurb states: “Play Hard is the feel-good, staying-in-love story the world needs right now!” So very true! Liam and Robert were friends from the time Liam got into trouble with a teacher in grade school and Rabbie decided Liam was the kind of kid he wanted to hang with. Fifteen years later, they are still besties but, now, also deeply in love.

Liam still hasn’t decided what he wants to do career-wise while Robert is deeply enmeshed in his startup tech company developing an app to improve the health of Glaswegians who die at an earlier age than others in their country. Liam has the potential to be a massage therapist but is concerned it will be boring and not half as demanding and fun as his role as a bartender. We learn the real reason for his hesitance later in the story when he shares his fears with his lover.

Robert is a workaholic. He knew it before he took the online test to confirm it and their relationship is feeling the effects of their different shifts and Robert’s work ethic. To help them overcome the strain, Robert invents a game that takes them to new heights of pleasure in each other’s company. No, not a sex game. It’s more of a push-our-boundaries-in-new-ways game, and it’s not only enjoyable for them, it’s also delightful for readers as we get to know the characters much more in-depth than in the original story. In short, this book endeared these characters to me, and I won’t likely forget them for quite some time. The author’s wonderful sense of humor is woven throughout the story, as is their appreciation for their homeland.

As I said before, if you’ve read any of these books, don’t miss this one. And if you haven’t, read this anyway. It can stand alone and it can spark your interest in reading the series. I not only want to meet these men and watch a game of footy with them, I purely want to revisit this beautiful city in my grandda’s homeland.

The cover by Damonza features two young men, smiling adoringly at each other, obviously in love. Having read their original story in which their body types were described as big and bulky, I would not recognize them as the young men on this cover.

Sales Links: AmazonAmazon UK 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 472 pages
Published November 20th 2018
Original Title Playing in the Dark
ASINB07GV5G8ZR
Edition Language English
Series Glasgow Lads #4

Play On

Playing for Keeps

Playing to Win

Play It Safe2.5

Playing with Fire3

Auld Lang Syne3.25

Play Dead3.5

Playing in the Dark4

Play Hard4.5

An Alisa Review: Coming Home (Finding Home #2) by Carly Marie

Standard

Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Ty Scott has spent most of his life trying to keep his best friend, Declan, strictly in the friend zone. It hasn’t been easy, especially sharing a condo with him for six years. But having an unattainable straight best friend in his life is better than losing that friendship altogether.

At 26, Declan Andrews is settled in his life. He’s been a Navy SEAL for eight years, rapidly climbing the ranks and doing everything he can to put as much space between him and his childhood. Being locked tightly in the closet is wearing him down, and seeing his best friend shamelessly flirting with a guy in a bar one night snaps something inside of him.

Will staying in the closet end up pushing Declan’s best friend, and the man he’s loved for most of his life, away for good? Will Ty’s sexy secret be too much for Declan to handle? Or will an on-the-job accident stop everything before it starts?

I am loving this series and we still get to see so much of the couple from the first book too.  You saw this book coming from a mile away but I loved seeing how Ty and Declan figured everything out.

Ty and Declan have both been keeping secrets from each other but once they let go you can see how perfectly they fit.  I mean, they were basically dating anyways without the benefits.  Ty is so cute but fierce too and I can just picture how sexy he looks in his panties.

I am loving the openness in this family and how close Ty and Derek are to each other.  It was awesome seeing Jasper when he first saw their kinks, hilarious, I was laughing so hard.  I can’t wait to read his book and see how everything works out for him.

The cover art by Soxational Cover Art is great following the style of the last book but showing Ty in his SEAL uniform.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 199 pages

Publication: February 28, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Finding Home #2

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Where There’s A Will Deanes (Get Out #4) by Sean Kennedy

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Get Out: Book Four

Micah Johnson is coming back to Melbourne, and the story of him and his friends is coming to an end.

 

Or will it be a new beginning?

 

Will Deanes and Micah Johnson have a past, one that ranges from bitter enemies to best friends. There might be an undercurrent of something else, but Micah remains oblivious, and all Will can do is try to move on.

 

Except now Micah’s returning to Melbourne full-time, and that means they can’t avoid each other or the tensions that arise. Will is still dealing with an injury that ended his football career, while Micah’s continues to thrive. As they face highs, lows, and family tragedies, they’ll have to get to know each other all over again. Will Micah see that Will means much more to him than a friend?

I started following and falling in love with the Get Out kids when I first met them in Sean Kennedy’s connected Tigers and Devils series.   It was there that Dec (and Simon) saw the need for LGBT youth in sports to have a place and organization to guide and support them. Micah, Emma, and Will were the original three kids looking for guidance (well, not Micah, he always had so much growing to do), but Emma and Will, along with others needing strength and support from Dec and Simon as role models as a out LGBT couple and successful in their life choices.

I’ve followed them through their own stories in the Get Out series and now we come to Where There’s A Will Deanes (Get Out #4) by Sean Kennedy, a story by all indications feels like the author is wrapping up the series and sending this wonderful trio off to college and the paths they have chosen next after graduation.  It’s fitting that it’s Will who’s story puts a period to this section of their lives and also marks a major milestone in his life that will include Micah too.

Will was supposed to have had a promising career similar in trajectory to the one that is propelling Micah.  But a tragic bus accident changed all that costing him any athletic participation for forever.  Of the three, Will has been left by the sidelines to watch Micah and Emma soar as stars in their sports, and go onto romances and move forward while he faced rehab and a new life without a sport he loved, including the person he never told how he felt.

Now we get a maturing Will, one who has found himself through his work at Get Out as an assistant there, taking courses on the side to further understand the nuances of the business, proud of the work he’s accomplishing while still working through some of the issues left over from his abusive upbringing.  Like all of the characters here, Will is complex, open, vulnerable, and  confused as to what to do about his feelings for Micah, especially now that he has returned to the area.

Told from Will’s pov, it’s a beautiful rendering of this age group by Sean Kennedy.  We see Will (and through his eyes Micah, Emma, and other youth) fluctuate between seeming so young and then standing tall and adult.  Between acting like fast friends and kids, then so much older with all the weight they can barely handle on their shoulders.  Its done through dialog, actions, and scenes so emotional they grab you by the heart and refuse to let you go.

While this is Will’s and through Will, Micah’s story and their relationship, it is also Emma’s too.  She will get her going off here along with her best friends.  In fact all the other characters you would expect to see from Tigers and Devils will be making appearances to send this trio off.  Not that I don’t expect all three to make showings in Tigers and Devils should that series continue, a fact I’m not sure of either.

But for the Get Out group? Where There’s A Will Deanes (Get Out #4) by Sean Kennedy is beautifully written, with all the characters we have come to know and love showing great emotional growth and finding love as they start new journeys.   It’s about hope, love, and going forward as the best person you can be.  What a story! What a series!  I loved every sentence of it and them.

I highly recommend this story and this series.  They should be read in the order they were written in order to understand the timeline, the characters and the growth they undergo.  Truly amazing.

Cover Art: Catt Ford.  Simple, elegant, and eye catching.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 206 pages
Expected publication: April 16th 2019 by Harmony Ink Press
ASINB07NRNVPS5
Series Get Out :

The Ongoing Reformation of Micah Johnson

Micah Johnson Goes West

The Obstruction of Emma Goldsworthy

Where There’s a Will Deanes

A MelanieM Review:To Be Continued (#lovehim #3.5) by S.M. James

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Welcome to Webcon. Where the biggest and brightest internet celebrities come face to face with their fans.

Brought up in the ‘live for likes’ culture, Digi Lynch has amassed an impressive following. His channel is taking off, and Webcon always delivers a boost in numbers, thanks to his rivalry with ex-vlogging partner, Gram Saito.

Gram is popular, confident, and rising to the kind of fame worthy of a second gen internet sensation. And he’s up to his old tricks.

Digi can’t turn a corner for fear of being pranked and his reaction blasted online. And after one of Gram’s most high scale pranks yet, Digi decides it’s time to get even.

The animosity between Digi and Gram heats up as old feelings resurface, and Digi is forced to decide whether a life in the limelight is worth it …

Before they both go too far.

A YA contemporary novella, To Be Continued is the prequel to Not Gonna Lie and will show you where it all began for Gram and Digi.

To Be Continued (#lovehim #3.5) by S.M. James is the last of the available stories in this author’s must read YA series, a fact that’s making me sigh already.  That it’s ending here, on the “first half” of Digi and Gram’s story? Worse because this is not one of those happy stories.  It’s full of pain, the punch in the gut ways only family and those we care for but have blinders on can deal blows. It’s being young and trying to figure things out.  It’s real, sometimes mean and in every way authentic as S.M James gets under these characters skins and emotions like no other.

You have two boys now teenagers who used to be friends only a year ago, their animosity fueled in part by their mother’s  who are competitive in their online blogs and make sure it carries over to their sons, who have blogs and followers of their own.  A twisty world, a heartbreaking way to grow up online and Digi has had enough.

The strength and pain of his feelings come through so powerfully that we are carried swiftly along through several days of events to an abrupt end.  It will make sense and make us want to grab for the story still out of reach until May.  We need to know what happened to everyone next.  But as James tells us in the title  this is To Be Continued….

If you ask me to pick a couple as a favorite, I probably would have swayed towards Brooks and Damien….but there’s something about Digi and Gram.  Well of of them.  They get to you.  In their struggles to find themselves.  Their sexuality and their path to love.  Each and everyone has a deep place in my heart.   This story is just one more reason why.

But don’t start here.  I listed all the books below.  They are short and incredible.  Read them in the order they are written and then wait with them to see what happens with Digi and Gram.  Is it time yet?  Are we there?

 

Cover art: Story Styling Cover Design.  That’s perfect in a way.  Brands the series and has the tone down.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 114 pages
Published April 4th 2019 by May Books
ASIN B07P3SMSSR
Series #lovehim #3.5

Series #lovehim

That Feeling When (Archie and Landon)

No Big Deal
To Be Continued(3,5) Digi and Gram
In Real Life(4.5)  Archie and Landon  coming soon, hopefully.

Scattered Thoughts on the Rainbow Quiltbag. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

Scattered Thoughts on the Rainbow Quiltbag

So I was sort of at a loss as to what to write about this week, my thoughts were all over the place.  And as usual, it came to me through a conglomeration of pictures, hits to the heart, books, people, and just moments in the weirdness that is my mind.

What all clashed together?  Well, it started with this quote from a story I’m reviewing next week from NR Walker.  It’s called Upside Down. If you haven’t read it, run out and grab it now.  I’ll be reviewing it later on.

 “Asexuality is defined by the absence of something.”

 

Boom!  What a way to start a novel and to set off an astonishing inner monologue by a character who’s intelligent,endearing, compex, and seeking answers to his sexuality. And not happy with the article he’s been reading. Of course, he hasn’t exactly finished it as his best friend and fellow librarian will later point out.   But it prompts a discussion over the fact that he feels that as a person he doesn’t feel that he’ should be defined by an absence of anything.  What follows is an extraordinarily well written story about  one man’s journey towards understanding  his asexuality,  two men in love,and their heartwarming romance and path to HEA which includes a daily bus ride, a Soup Crew and a cast to carry your heart.  One of my two 5 star reads in a week.

And for this blog and many others a story with characters that are Ace is standard, just part of the LGBTQIA spectrum we read and review.  Genderqueer, Non-binary, and Genderfluid , Pansexual, Aromantic, Intersex, our reviews (along with the books we are offered) have expanded far beyond what this blog first began with.

I couldn’t be happier or sadder that it took so long.

When Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words first took its first baby steps years ago, all our stories (I was at first the only reviewer as the owner), the only stories primarily out there were M/M.  Slowly I remember one or two transexual  short stories trickling in, a couple of bisexual characters in others that people angrily fought over in reviews on GRs and here because bisexuality  was still so poorly understood by some writers that they still considered it that “way station” to gayness, instead of a legitimate sexuality all its own.

But for the most part, M/M, with the F/F fiction for the most part not being carried along side.

Now things have changed.  We do read and review the spectrum.  Yes, perhaps, it’s still heavy on one or several sides, but we are getting better as does our choices of books  sent in to read and review.  That’s grown steadily larger too.  Perhaps to to ePublishing, eBooks?  I don’t know, but grown it has as Yoda would say.

It’s not just our stories but the change is reflected in the authors who mirror the rainbow of stories we read and review.

You wondered what else sparked this all things Rainbow?  This…I have someone at the Star Wars con and they posted this pic..

 

Our stories have always been full of geeky nerds we love to fall in love with and one recent story I read even featured a Con, with an enormous amounts of fans.  If its Star Wars, can it’s fans of any shape, size, color, or sexuality be far behind?  I think not.

I guess from a Pride Squadron to a librarian looking for answers to a YA #lovehim series that continues to astonish me, the full spectrum of the Rainbow hit me full force this week, as did a bit of “wow I’m so happy we’ve come so far”.

I know we have a long way to go but as it’s pouring outside and I’m looking forward to setting in with another book this afternoon (and GoT tonight).  I’m still so happy at the strides made ….steps forward are still that.  Movement ahead.  And that’s where I’m focused!

What are your thoughts on all this?

And btw?  I’m both Star Wars AND Star Trek! lol  Just don’t ask me which Captain….we don’t have that much time!

Now for our schedule this coming week!  There be dragons ahead tonight!

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 14:

  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Release Blitz for Finding Finlay (MC Securities #2) by Ruby Moone (excerpt and giveaway)

Monday, April 15:

  • DSP PROMO LaQuette on Under His Protection
  • DSP PROMO Royal Blue
  • Release Blitz – Ace in the Picture by Jude Tresswell
  • Release Blitz – Outshined by Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid
  • An Ashlez Review: Outshined by Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid
  • A Stella Review: Indulge Me (Kitchen Gods #4) by Beth Bolden
  • A MelanieM Review:To Be Continued (#lovehim #3.5) by S.M. James

Tuesday, April 16:

  • Release Blitz – Lillian Francis – Under The Radar
  • Blog Tour – Strokes on a Canvas by H. Lewis-Foster
  • Blog Tour – Galen’s Redemption (Links in the Chain #2) by Parker Williams
  • An Ashlez Review: Catastrophe by Deirdre O’Dare
  • A Stella Review: Galen’s Redemption (Links in the Chain #2) by Parker Williams
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Where There’s A Will Deanes (Get Out #4) by Sean Kennedy
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Under His Protection by LaQuette

Wednesday, April 17:

  • Release Blitz – Wrong Way Home – K.A. Merikan
  • Release Blitz  – Indulge Me (Kitchen Gods #4) by Beth Bolden
  • AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR – With a Kick Collection #2 by Clare London
  • An Alisa Review: Coming Home Finding Home #2) by Carly Marie
  • A Stella Review: Let Me Show You by Becca Seymour
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review – With a Kick Collection #2 by Clare London

Thursday, April 18:

  • Sale Blitz for Love & Family Book 1: TABOO FOR YOU
  • Cover Reveal for  Rebecca Cohen’s Anthony, Earl of Crofton
  • Release Blitz for – Tainted Love by T.S. Hunter
  • An Alisa Review: Because of Sam by J.D. Walker
  • A MelanieM Review: Tainted Love (Soho Noir #1) by T.S. Hunter
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  Playing in the Dark (Glasgow Lads #4)  by Avery Cockburn

Friday, April 19:

  • Series Blitz/Review Tour – Holeshot Series – Lynn Michaels
  • Starting From Zero by Lane Hayes Book  Blitz
  • Release Blitz Grace Kilian Delaney – Living On A Dare
  • An Alisa Review: Hunter (Roam #2) by Dez Schwartz
  • An Ali Review: The Holeshot (Book #1) by Lynn Michaels
  • A MelanieM Review:  This Is Not A Love Story by Suki Fleet
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Best Behaviour by Matthew Metzger

Saturday, April 20:

  • Release Blitz – Alex Jane – Devil Next Door (Criminal Delights: Obsession)
  • A MelanieM Review: Heated Rivalry (Game Changers #2) by Rachel Reid