An Ashlez Review: Star and Fire by R Parr

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Star and Fire: an m/m illustrated romance novella, with an alternate medieval setting.

Banished from the Kingdom for kissing another man, Prince Teo seeks refuge at the base of the mountain. There he finds Lyndon: a kindly washerman who lives alone in a secluded log cabin. Will Teo get another chance at happiness, or will outside forces invade the warmth and safety of his new home?

Boy was I mistaken when I saw illustrated romance, I had such different expectations than I had initially gone in with.  I thought there were going to be a lot more illustrations than there were, not that I thought that it would be a graphic novel but having only a few illustrations in the whole book was disappointing.
That said the story itself was good, it was extremely adorable and sweet.  It jumps right in to Teo and Lyndon and the cabin – theres a lot of talk of privy use so if that isn’t your thing perhaps skip this, there is also a lot of “washing” talk given Lyndon’s job it wasn’t a total shock but it was very descriptive and I felt perhaps a bit slow ,which is why the rating is a 3 instead of a 4 (I still am disappointed by the lack of illustrations).
That being said, overall it was a generally sweet story (I adore Lyndon and his personality), the old timey speak didn’t even bother me at all, but did they swear back then?? Who is to really know.
Cover – It does pertain to the story, but it also doesn’t draw a person into it
Sales Links:  Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, First edition, 134 pages
Published September 27th 2019 by R. Parr
ASIN B07YHWV245
Edition Language English

Cover Reveal for A Summer of Smoke and Sin by TJ Nichols

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: A Summer of Smoke and Sin

Author: TJ Nichols

Cover Artist: Tiferet Designs

Release Date: February 28, 2020

Genre/s: M/M historical urban fantasy/paranormal romance

Trope/s: British detective, serial killer, Victorian London

Themes: Found family

Heat Rating: 3 flames    

Add on Goodreads

 

 

To stop a serial killer a detective will need to explore his own vices…

Blurb 

Nathanial Bayard wants nothing more than to find the nobleman creating snuff pornography. If he fails, his career in the recently formed nobility task force will be over and as the youngest son he’ll be forced to obey his father and join the church. But a life of celibacy doesn’t appeal. Nathanial has never even kissed another man, fearing for his soul and his reputation.

Jericho Fulbright has never lived a wholesome life. After behavior unbecoming he was discharged from the army and sent home in disgrace. His inventor and nouveau riche father refused to have anything to do with him, so Jericho turned to what he knew best: opium, gambling and sex.

As the owner of the Jericho Rose, a club for gentlemen who like men, he enjoys a certain notoriety. Some would say he has a golden tongue, but the truth is a succubus lives within him feeding on souls. Once he needed her help, now she is a burden that keeps him from getting close to anyone.

After the unfortunate death of a young nobleman in Jericho’s bed, Nathanial is sent to investigate. He is scandalized and intrigued by Jericho, but soon realizes that Jericho could be exactly who he needs to help break the snuff case. Together they are drawn into a web of lies that will result in Jericho facing prison unless Nathanial can unmask the real creator of the snuff, a man with rank and privileges that reaches almost to the King.

 

 

Pre-Order Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Excerpt 

Nathanial scanned the room. Everywhere he looked there was artwork or statues of naked men. On the small tables were smoking implements, and opium residue stained the glass. He’d never been in such a place before, but it was obvious what happened here. 

The owner, Jericho Fulbright, stood in the middle of the room in his garish blue floral robe. The robe didn’t hide his yellow pajamas. He was as extravagant and lacking in morals as the scandal sheets declared. Who wore yellow pajamas? Sensible men wore night robes. “Would you like to dress appropriately before I interview you?”

Jericho smiled. “Would you prefer me to dress?”

Nathanial glanced at his notebook. Yes, he would. Because all he could think about was the two thin layers of fabric that covered Jericho’s body. He’d heard of Jericho Fulbright—who hadn’t?—but the sketches had done him no justice and the cartoon of his flamboyant dress had made him appear to be quite devilish in appearance. He was no devil, though. Just a man. 

“I do not care either way.” He was sure he could see the word liar on Jericho’s lips, as though he knew exactly what Nathanial kept hidden. 

“Very well then, let’s sit. I’ll call for tea.” Before Nathanial could agree or disagree Jericho rang a small bell, then sat on one of the chaises. 

Nathanial perched on the edge of an armchair. “What exactly is this place?”

“Is this part of the interview?”

Nathanial considered Jericho for a moment. His dark hair hadn’t been combed and he hadn’t been shaved. His moustache was unkempt, and he had the general appearance of someone who’d just gotten out of bed. What kind of gentleman went wandering through the house in such a state? “Yes.”

“It is a gentleman’s club.”

Nathanial pointed to a painting of two naked men wrestling, and then a statue of a naked man on his own in what seemed to be either the final throws of death or pleasure; his back was arched, and his mouth was open. “With very specific art.”

Most clubs were much more subdued with art depicting scenes of hunting.

“For gentlemen who appreciate the male form.” Jericho’s voice was as smooth as silk and in that moment, he seemed impossibly pretty and extraordinarily predatory. “Are you suggesting something illegal happens here?”

 

About the Author

Urban Fantasy where the hero always gets his man

TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as a child. Many years later while working as a civil designer, TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels, it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily. Writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the everyday. TJ is the author of the Studies in Demonology series and the Mytho urban fantasy series.

With one cat acting as a supervisor, TJ has gone from designing roads to building worlds and wouldn’t have it any other way. After traveling all over the world TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter: @TobyJNichols

Newsletter

Instagram

Goodreads

BookBub

Amazon

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

More Best of 2019 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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More best of 2019 Lists

 

We are continuing on this week with more best of lists.  This time from our reviewer Chaos Moondrawn!  Let’s check out her Best of 2019!

 

Chaos Moondrawn Best Of 2019

The Best Of The Best

This year I read approximately 200 stories/books, although I didn’t review them all. If you have been reading my reviews, both here and on my own blog, you’ll know I like quirky–books that do things a little differently than the status quo. They still have to make sense, connect with me emotionally, and tell a good story.  I gave 5 Stars, without rounding up, to these books that were published this year:

Digging Deep, Digging Deep 1, by Jay Hogan

This book gave a realistic depiction of being in a relationship with a chronically ill person with humor, honesty, and dignity whilst still managing to be a romance. The author didn’t cover over the gross or inconvenient things about illness the way most books do.

The Ghosts Between Us, The West Hills 1, by Brigham Vaughn

People handle grief differently and sometimes they fall in love at completely the wrong time with someone others might deem inappropriate. Oh well, that’s their problem.

The Story Of Us by Logan Meredith

Literally, no one agreed with me about this book featuring an older prudish, judgmental man falling in love with a young student and porn star. With breaking the fourth wall and only one point of view, some people didn’t dig it.

Best Covers

The Witchstone Amulet cover by Tiferet Designs, Healing Glass cover by Jackie Keswick,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The King’s Dragon cover by Natasha Snow, Taji from Beyond the Rings by R. Cooper cover by Lyn Forester, Anhaga  by Lisa Henry cover by Tiferet Designs, Hell and Gone by Tal Bauer cover by Danonza, Clean Break by Erin McLellan cover by Natasha Snow, Ramen Assassin by Rhys Ford cover by Reece Notley, Earth Fathers Are Weird  by Lyn Gala cover by Lyn Gala.

The Best Of The Rest

Best Contemporary

Arctic Sun, Frozen Hearts 1, by Annabeth Albert

Best Behavior by Matthew J. Metzger

Heated Rivalry, Game Changers 2, by Rachel Reid

Ramen Assassin by Rhys Ford

The Other Book, Those Other Books 1, by Roe Horvat

We Still Live by Sara Dobie Bauer

Best Fantasy/Paranormal/Science Fiction

Anhaga by Lisa Henry

Dead Man Stalking by T.A. Moore

Empire of Light, Voyance 1, by Alex Harrow

Healing Glass, Gifted Guilds 1, by Jackie Keswick

Space Train by David Bridger

The Shoreless Sea, Liminal Sky 3, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Best Holiday

A Faerie Story by Barbara Elsborg

Best Dark Themed/Taboo

Sick And Tragic Bastard by Rowan Massey

Please read the tags and get ready for a big, fat, ugly-crying meltdown if you have a soul. Then, read or watch the fluffiest, sweetest stories you can find for a week after.

Best Rerelease

Release, Davlova 1 and Return, Davlova 2, by Marie Sexton

This dark romance duology (pay attention to the tags) was originally released under the name A.M. Sexton. I don’t think there are any substantial changes. Expect rich, bleak, dystopian world-building.

Honorable Mention

The King’s Dragon, Fire And Valor 1, by W.M. Fawkes and Sam Burns

The Stone Amulet by Mason Thomas

I read so much fantasy this year. These two books stayed with me even though I rated them lower than the others. Why? Maybe I didn’t have enough coffee.

Dec 31, 2019

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 12:

  • More Best of 2019 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, January 13:

  • Blog Tour Rules to Obey by Susan Hawke
  • BLITZ Breaking the Surface by Rebecca Langham
  • Review Tour – Con Riley – Saving Sean
  • A Stella Review : Saving Sean (Seattle Stories #2) by Con Riley
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Tough Guy (Game Changers #3) by Rachel Reid

Tuesday, January 14:

  • Release Blitz His Fake Prison Daddy by Thursday Euclid and Clancy Nacht
  • BLITZ Unraveling by Rick R. Reed
  • An Alisa Review: Rules to Obey (Davey’s Rules #5) by Susan Hawke
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Wren and Oak (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #9) by Sam Burns

Wednesday, January 15:

  • Cover Reveal – Hold Me Up by Colette Davison
  • Book Blast – Damaged Hearts by Jan St. Marcus
  • Vlog Tour for Unexpected by KM Neuhold
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Rebound (Overtime #1) by V.L. Locey

Thursday, January 16:

  • TOUR Howling on Hold by EJ Russell
  • Release Blitz – Dravyn’s Garden (D’Vaire, Book 15) by Jessamyn Kingley
  • Release Blitz Garrett Leigh – The Edge Of The World
  • An Ashlez Review: Star and Fire by R Parr

Friday, January 17:

  • Cover Reveal – A Summer of Smoke and Sin by TJ Nichols
  • BLOG TOUR International Banker, Beach Boy by Mia Terry
  • A MelanieM Review: Head in the Game by Jeff Adams
  • A MelanieM Review: Consorts of the Red King by Eden Winters

Saturday, January 18:

  • A MelanieM Review: The Hunt for Red Fluffy (Brimstone #6) by Angel Martinez

Love a Cozy Mystery? Check Out the New Release Tour for Boiling Over (The Caro Mysteries #2) by Thea McAlistair (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Boiling Over

Series: The Caro Mysteries, Book Two

Author: Thea McAlistair

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 6, 2019

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73800

Genre: Historical LGBT, gay, historical mystery, cozy mystery, age gap, established couple, mental illness, anxiety, PTSD, private detective, New England

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

On the run from trumped-up murder charges, Alex Dawson and his boyfriend Sev settle in a small town in Vermont on the recommendation of Sev’s mob-boss cousin Bella. Chickadee is so tiny that it has only one major employer in the depths of the Great Depression: Trask & Co. Maple Sugar Mill. It’s a quiet place. That is, until Walter Trask is found in his own maple grove with his head smashed in.

Alex doesn’t want to have anything to do with the death, but things get much more personal when Bella is falsely arrested. Determined to free her and even the scales, Alex scours the town for clues as to what really happened. He quickly learns that small towns have big secrets that people may be willing to kill for. And if that weren’t bad enough, Alex and Sev’s once-sweet relationship is turning bitter under the combined pressures of isolation, anxiety, and jealousy. Alex needs to find the true murderer quickly before Bella is turned over to the feds, or worse, Sev walks out of his life forever.

Excerpt

Boiling Over
Thea McAlistair © 2020
All Rights Reserved

When Sev first asked me to run away with him, he’d mentioned exotic places like India and Australia, warm countries far away from the seedy city we were living in. It had sounded romantic and wonderful, and when we finally left—well, fled—I had hopes of going somewhere like that. Instead, we ended up in Chickadee, Vermont.

Chickadee was a small town, about a half-hour drive from the Canadian border and about a six-hour drive from our old home in Connecticut. In all my twenty-three years, I’d never set foot in the countryside, and now there was all this empty space. Blue sky. Trees. Cows.

“Bella wants us to stay here?” I asked as I gaped at the maple forest flashing by the car window. “It’s so…rustic.”

“Well, just think, Alex,” grumbled Sev, his faint Italian accent tinged with unease as he guided the rickety borrowed Oldsmobile over bumps on the dirt road, “it’s better than the alternatives, yes?”

Considering the alternatives were dead and arrested for murder, he was right. Less than a month ago, I’d been living my dull life, writing during the day and serving as a bodyguard for the mayor in the evenings, and then all hell broke loose. Now nine people were dead, including my friends Martin and Donnie, and the corrupt cops wouldn’t even think of hearing my side of the story. Targeting the big guy with a chip on his shoulder the size of New England was almost too easy for them.

“It’s pretty here!” chimed Pearl from the back.

I twisted to look at her. She perched on the edge of the seat, her already-large eyes expanded in wonder. Her cat, Daisy, sulked in a metal cage next to her. I still wasn’t sure it’d been the brightest idea to take a six-year-old on the lam with us, but it was too late now. At least she seemed to be enjoying the trip. And why wouldn’t she? She wasn’t the one running from murder charges.

“Bit different from the city, huh?” I asked, careful to keep my voice cheerful for her.

She nodded and returned to staring at the trees.

I slumped back into my seat, grateful she didn’t seem to share my unease.

Sev nudged my arm. “Which road do I take?”

I straightened and peered out the windshield. We were coming up on an intersection, if a split of one dirt track into two could be called that. I scrambled to unfold the map I’d crumpled in my distraction. Sev’s cousin Bella—the most notorious gangster in Westwick—had given us these directions and all our fake identification papers first thing that morning.

Why Bella had chosen Chickadee to hide us from the cops was a mystery. She hadn’t given me a straight answer when I asked, only that she had friends there and Sev would be working with one of them. Most likely the location had something to do with the rum-running routes she’d controlled until about six months ago. While the end of Prohibition had cut the bottom out from under her main moneymaker, there were many other ways to make an illegal living, and why leave when she already had a foot in the door?

“Left,” I said, tracing the hand-drawn line with my finger. “Looks like another mile and we reach town.”

Sev obeyed, taking the left fork. The car turned in a wide arc around yet more trees. Both sides of the road were obscured by underbrush and shadow. Sev swore under his breath in Italian and slowed even more.

“They should clear this,” he muttered. “Someone’s going to get hit one day.”

“Who’s going to get hit?” I answered. “There’s no one out he—”

Sev slammed the brakes as a figure darted from between the trunks. I jolted forward and got the wind knocked out of me as I smacked into the dashboard. Pearl screamed, tumbling into the back of my seat. The rattle of the cat cage almost drowned out Daisy’s yowls.

Blinded by pain, I groped for Sev. “Everyone okay?” I gasped.

He grabbed my hand and squeezed. “Fine,” he said.

Pearl wailed. I turned, ignoring the objections of my bruised ribs. She huddled in the space between the back bench and the front seat, clutching her wrist. My already-pitching stomach dropped. I’d brought her with us to get her away from all the pain in her past, and now here was more. I scrambled out the door and around the back to get her.

“You’re all right; you’re all right,” I mumbled in an effort to convince myself my assurance was true. “Can I see?”

Pearl snuffled and presented her arm. Already her wrist was red and swelling. I held back the curses bubbling in my mind. In a flash of anger, I whipped around to see what jackass had done this.

To my surprise, I only saw a girl straddling a sturdy bike. She was maybe sixteen or seventeen, wearing men’s dungarees and a gingham shirt. Freckles were splattered across her face, and ash-blonde braids draped down her back. She gnawed on her lip, her eyes huge with fear.

“I’m so sorry,” she squeaked. “There’s almost never anyone out here—”

“Alex?” Sev called. He sounded muffled. I looked at the driver’s side door. He had gotten out and had one hand curled around the lower half of his face while the other scrambled in a pocket. “I think I might have been mistaken when I said I was fine.” He pulled out a handkerchief, and I saw both his nose and his upper lip were bleeding.

Fear, anger, and unbidden memories tangled up in my mind, freezing my mouth in one slack-jawed position, keeping me mute.

Purchase

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

Don’t miss Book #1 in the Caro Mysteries series, No Good Men, available from NineStar Press

In 1934, almost everyone struggles to pay the rent, and Alex Dawson is no exception. To support his writing habit, he moonlights with his mentor Donnie as a bodyguard for the mayor. It’s dull work, until the night a handsome, golden-eyed stranger catches his eye–and both his boss and his mentor are killed when his back is turned.

Jobless and emotionally adrift, Alex vows to find the murderer before the corrupt police can pin the blame on him. But he soon discovers he’s in over his head. The golden-eyed stranger turns out to be a mob boss’s cousin, and a suspicious stack of money in Donnie’s dresser leads Alex to discover that his mentor and the mayor were involved in something more crooked than fundraising dinners and campaign speeches. As the death count rises amid corruption, mob politics, and anarchist plots, Alex realizes that the murders aren’t political or even business. This is the work of a spree killer, and Alex and his new boyfriend are the only ones who can stop them.

Meet the Author

Thea McAlistair is the pseudonym of an otherwise terribly boring office worker from New Jersey. She studied archaeology, anthropology, history, architecture, and public policy, but none of those panned out, so she decided to go back to an early love – writing. She can often be found muttering to herself about her latest draft at completely inappropriate times.

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Announcements and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Announcements and Less Than Scattered Thoughts

Announcement 1:

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is Going on Hiatus as of February 1, 2020.  We intend on  returning June 1, 2020.

 

Real life has been complicated and incredibly time consuming of late.  The effects of aging is often not kind, and it’s hard to see it’s impact upon one’s parents.  And then have to deal with it.

Sometimes the change is gradual, and then, without notice, like some out of control vehicle, the changes speedup rapidly, veering off in directions you least expected, leaving you scrambling for time, plans, and someone to provide assistance for you and them.

And it all takes time.

I have tried handling  this, my life, and the blog.  And it hasn’t been going well.  So for now, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words will go on hiatus February 1 until June.  Our intention is to return then, restored and recovered.

I hope you will return as well.  Trust me, this was a very difficult decision as I love this blog, our reviewers, authors, and readers so.  We make no money off of STRW and do it solely out of love.

We hope you will stay with us all through January and return to us in the summer.

 

Announcement 2:

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Does Not and Will Not Support Dreamspinner Press Through Tours or ARCs, now or in the future.

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue  Words has not worked or accepted tours or ARCS since October 2019,  and will not,  (even if they manage to pull off some sort of restructuring deal and avoid bankruptcy) from Dreamspinner Press, its owner Elizabeth North, and any of its associated presses.  Like other bloggers, readers, and tour owners, we too had hoped originally that DSP would turn things around.  Then began the long parade of authors out of Dreamspinner, the lengthy tweets and tales of unpaid royalties (still unpaid royalties and unreturned emails), the impact DSP”s action’s have had on these author’s lives, the immeasurable pain and stress that’s been caused, and, their latest maneuver, makes any support impossible.

I am sorry for those authors still remaining at that firm for whatever reason.  If any of you have ARCs that are self published or published with another press, we will be happy to help you promote those upon our return in the Summer and this January.

On a hilarious side note, when contacted by a certain author for Dreamspinner, asking if we wanted to continue with their tours/ARCS, we politely said not at this time.  And were then informed we were put on their blacklist. lol    A company that acts in such a (insert word of choice here)  manner, imo,  and acts towards to many authors but has a blacklist?  That’s irony. #payyourauthors

A last note on this  subject here.

We also fully throw our support towards those blogs, authors, and readers who have been so brave and vocal in supporting the LGBTQIA+ authors who left Dreamspinners and have been outspoken about the reasons why and the impact on their lives and writing.  This includes Jay of Joyfully Jay, RJ Scoot, Avon Gale, TJ Klune, BA Tortuga, Jodi Payne, Julia Talbot, Sean Kennedy, Sean Michael, Anna Zabo, among others. There are over 80 ex DSP authors, all with the same story.  They need our support.  We  will be here to help them through January and again in the summer when we return.

Plus I will be reading all through my blog’s hiatus so I will have a backlog of books to review come return time!  None of which will be DSP!

 

Now on a more positive note.

Here is Lila’s Short Best of 2019 List:

From Lila:

Best Cover – I Was a Gay Teenage Zombie by Alison Cybe

Best Novel – Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke

Best Audiobook – Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch: narrated by Joel Leslie

Overall Best – Bishop by A.E. Via

Now onto this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 5:

  • Announcements and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, January 6:

  • BLITZ Love on the Spectrum by Alec Nortan
  • BLITZ Life Minus Me by Sara Codair
  • Blog Tour – Inheritance (Deadly Curiosities #4) by Gail Z. Martin
  • A Melanie Review Inheritance (Deadly Curiosities #4) by Gail Z. Martin

Tuesday, January 7:

  • Cover Reveal Signal – Fade In (A Tales of Bryant Romance) – V.L. Locey
  • Reveal Blitz Shots on Goal (Stick Side #3) by Amy Aislin
  • BLITZ Lord of Thundertown by O.F. Cieri
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Devil’s Hour by Aimee Nicole Walker

Wednesday, January 8:

  • BLITZ Boiling Over by Thea McAlistair
  • AUDIO BLITZ All the Way to Shore by CJane Elliott
  • REVIEW TOUR – A.E. VIA – PROMISES: PART 1 (BOUNTY HUNTERS #1)
  • An Alisa Audio Review A.E. VIA – PROMISES: PART 1 (BOUNTY HUNTERS #1)

Thursday, January 9:

  • BLOG TOUR Devil’s Hour by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A MelanieM Review: The Hunt for Red Fluffy (Brimstone #6) by Angel Martinez

Friday, January 10:

  • Release Blitz – Biker Daddy (The Grimm Tales of Smoky Vale Book 1) by Gianni Holmes
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Forbidden Bond by Lee Colgin

Saturday, January 11:

  • A MelanieM Review: Head in the Game by Jeff Adams

Lucy Review : Dances Long Forgotten by Ruby Moone

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

On Christmas Eve, Dylan, the man of James Pell-Charnley’s dreams, is on the point of walking out. Then they hear the faint strains of a waltz in the library of the empty abbey. The music is said to be heard only by those truly in love, and it gives James the courage to tell Dylan the story.
In December 1841, Lord Hugo Pell-Charnley is in a terrible mess. The youngest son of the late Marquis, youngest brother of the incumbent, never felt to fit. When his life comes crashing down, and his life and his family are threatened, he is forced to face his elder brother and confess his deepest secret. When he arrives at Winsford Abbey he finds he must also confront the shame from his past in the form of Lyndon Cross. The boy he’d loved but betrayed in school.
As they clear the ghosts from the past, they dance in each other’s arms in the library to the soft strains of the waltz, but long buried secrets threaten to destroy their happiness.
Two hundred years later, can those dances long forgotten give James and Dylan the courage to hold on to love? 

This is a story within a story.  James, the current Marquis, must tell the story of Hugo and Lyndon to his own love, Dylan, in order for Dylan to understand how James feels about him.  So we have the modern beginning and end sandwiching the historical story and that worked very well for me.

Hugo is the youngest of the Pell-Charnley family and he believes himself to be nothing spectacular.  He had a terrible time at school, can’t do the one thing he really wants to with his life (own a bookstore) because it is beneath people of his class, and now is being blackmailed.  Things just go from bad to worse when he shows up at his family estate for Christmas only to find three of the bullies from school present, as well as someone he used to like at school, someone who he didn’t treat well because of the bullies.  Lyndon Cross.

It’s funny how people assume things.  Winston, Hugo’s older brother, believes Hugo to have an unencumbered life in London.  “You seemed perfectly happy as you were…” while never realizing “I hated every moment of school.  I never fit in.  I was bullied, beaten, terrified…”  He was bullied to an extreme degree, as was Lyndon.  Now they may have a chance to be together, if only short term.  Of course nothing is that easy.

No secret that I am a huge fan of historical romance but I need it to be believable.  This one hit all my switches.  Sympathetic characters, plot that made sense and with twists that I completely didn’t see coming, and an ending I felt was plausible.

I was thinking four stars for this story until another plot twist showed up, one that I wasn’t expecting yet again, and I had to raise it up.  My heart was breaking for Hugo at that point. “…had talked about him, speculated about him, made him queasy inside.”  I so understood that feeling.  I was angry at people for him – more than he was even! Hugo is a good person and handles things so much better than he believes he does.

“Every Christmas we should definitely waltz in the library.”  “Until we are too old to move….I’ll hold your hand and we’ll sway in time.”  That made me happy, as did the sweetness of the epilogue.

This was so interesting, so sweet and so wonderful.  I especially appreciated a bisexual character in a historical, which may be the first time I’ve read of one in this genre.

The cover, showing Dylan and James dancing against the backdrop of Hugo, is perfect.

Sales Links:   Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 145 pages
Published December 19th 2019
ASINB082QQ7QGF
Edition LanguageEnglish
Other Editions
None found

Announcements, Best of 2019 Lists, and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Announcements, Best of 2019 Lists, and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

I am pushing back the announcements I intended to make until next Sunday.  Time, RL, and the holidays got away with me as they have been doing so often lately.  We will be posting a reduced schedule to allow everyone here to enjoy all their holidays, whatever they may be.

We will be sharing our Best of Lists through the end of December and all through January, starting with our reviewer Lucy’s.    See how   her list compares with yours,  and do you see some that you can add from hers to yours?  I hope so.  Let us know what you think we should be on our Best of Lists too.  We love and value your input.

 

Best of 2019 Lists

From Lucy:

 

In no particular order:
Yuletide Treasure by Eliot Grayson
Hidden Hearts by Clare London
Made for You by Anyta Sunday
Reluctant Husband by Eliot Grayson
Finders Keepers Audio by NR Walker, Narrated by Joel Leslie
Twice Shy by Sally Malcolm
Puzzle Me This by Eli Easton
Happy for You by Anyta Sunday
Team Luker by Nell Iris
Nothing Ventured Audio by Jay Northcote
Full Bodied by Shea Balik
Love Around the Corner by Sally Malcolm

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 22:

  • Announcements, Best of 2019 Lists, and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Monday, December 23:
  • Review Tour – J. R. Lawrie – Let Your Heart Be Light
  • Release Blitz – Nell Iris – Four Christmases
  • A Stella Review Model Christmas by Jaime Samms
  • An Alisa Review : Let Your Heart Be Light by J. R. Lawrie 

Tuesday, December 24:

  • A Christmas Yarn by CC Bridges AUTHOR TOUR
  • BLITZ Forbidden Bond by Lee Colgin
  • A MelanieM Review: Earnest Ink by Alex Hall
  • An Alisa Review The Detective’s Angel by J.B. Buell

Wednesday, December 25:

  • BLITZ Life Minus Me by Sara Codair

Thursday, December 26:

  • Review Tour – RJ Scott & V.L. Locey – Christmas Lights (Owatonna U Hockey #4)
  • Release Blitz – Sam Burns – Wren and Oak (Rowan Harbor Cycle #9)
  • Release Blitz Unexpected by KM Neuhold
  • A MelanieM Review:  Christmas Lights (Owatonna U Hockey #4) by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review A Christmas Yarn by CC Bridges

Friday, December 27:

  • 99c Book Blast – Little Red (Big Bad Wolves Book One) by Queenie Wise
  • A ;MelanieM Review: Window Dressing by Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
  • A Stella Review Socks for an Otter by Posy Roberts

Saturday, December 28:

  • A MelanieM Audio Review: RDH3 by NR Walker and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Best of 2019 Lists Being Compiled and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Best of 2019 Lists Being Compiled  and Upcoming Announcements

 

Heading towards the holidays and the New Year, we here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words are working to pull together our Best of Lists for 2019.  Those books that made our year, those characters that we still hold so close to our hearts.

I’m hoping that you all will have some of your own to contribute as well.

Also coming?  An announcement about our  revised review and tour policies, one we have waited to announce as we finished with our previously scheduled tours. Our readers may have noticed certain changes back at the first of November but we wanted to makes our announcement at the end of December in keeping going forward with the New Year.  This will pertain to our relationship or current lack of one with Dreamspinner Press,  specifically arcs and tours.  More on that to come in our official announcement next week.

So we are making our lists, checking them twice, wrapping presents, and as always reading and listening to some wonderful stories.

What’s happening over in your reading nook?  What is on your Best of List this year?

Jot them down and send them in.  Let’s see if we match up or if we have new stories to put on our TBR pile.

In the meantime, be safe, be happy, and happy reading and listening.

 

 

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, December 15:

  • Best of 2019 To Come and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 16:

  • Release Blitz The Rise of Virginie by Katey Hawthorne
  • Blog Tour Starlight by Lisa Henry
  • Release Blitz Devil’s Hour by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A MelanieM Review: Angels Sing (Daddy Dearest #2) by Eli Easton
  • A Lucy Review: Stealing Gifts by Mere Rain
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Starlight (Dark Space #3) by Lisa Henry

Tuesday, December 17:

  • Release Blitz – Inheritance (Deadly Curiosities #4) by Gail Z. Martin
  • Release Blitz – What Works For Us by Colette Davison
  • An Alisa Review: What Works For Us by Colette Davison
  • A Lucy Review: This Christmas by J.R. Hart
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Unveiled by Jaime Craig

Wednesday, December 18:

  • BLITZ Rialto (Unbreakable Bonds #8) by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
  • Review Tour – A.E. Via – Prophesy II: The Bringer of Wrath (The King & Alpha Series)
  • Release Blitz – Roe Horvat – The Layover
  • A Stella Review  – A Boyfriend For Christmas by Jay Northcote
  • An Alisa Audio Review Review: Prophesy II: The Bringer of Wrath (The King & Alpha Series) by AE Via

Thursday, December 19:

  • AUDIO BLITZ – A.E. VIA – PROMISES: PART 1 (BOUNTY HUNTERS #1)
  • Release Blitz – Ruby Moone – Dances Long Forgotten
  • An Ashlez Review: Anyone But You by Brien Michaels
  • An Alisa Review: Angels Sing by Eli Easton
  • A MelanieM Review: Boys of Summer (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A.E. Wasp

Friday, December 20:

  • Release Blitz  – RJ Scott & V.L. Locey – Christmas Lights (An Owatonna U Novella)
  • RELEASE BLITZ Nicki’s Fight by Mellanie Rourke
  • An Alisa Review Forbidden Omega by Caitlin Ricci
  • A Chaps Moondrawn Review: Captivating (Elite Protection Services #2) by Onley James
  • A MelanieM Review: Score (Men of Hidden Creek – Season 1, #6) by A.E. Wasp

Saturday, December 21:

A MelanieM Audio Review:  Red Dirt Heart 3 by NR Walker and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

More Holiday Stories and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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More Holiday Stories and Recommendations

Heading into the second week of December, we still have reading lists full of holiday stories and we thought to add to yours.  H.B. chimed in with some recommendations for stories to read this holiday season.  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is adding to our list right after H.B.’s.  Want to help add on to the Holiday Reading or Listening List?  Comment below!

 

🎄From HB:

I haven’t had a lot of time to read the last couple of months so I’ll share the holiday books I do plan to read.
Santas Little Helper by Quinn Ward
The Boss of Christmas Present by A.E. Ryecart
Defrosting Jack by Jocelynn Drake
The Christmas Bones by Richard Amos [probably less holiday like and more mystery]
Snowfall and Romance by Wendy Rathbone
Sugar Cookie Kisses by Jena Wade

 

🎄We will add those to the stories we have already mentioned:

Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin
Mr. Naughty List (Home for the Holidays #2) by Leta Blake
Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert

Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott  and Narrated by: Sean Crisden.
The Christmas Deal  by Keira Andrews
The Christmas Oaks (Laurel Holidays #1) by V.L. Locey.

A Christmas Wedding by A E Ryecart
717 Miles Christmas by Sophia Soames (and the original story 717 Miles 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)

And to be reviewed this week....

Stocking Stuffers, A Holiday Themed Romantic M/M  Anthology
Christmas Riches by H.L. Day
Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings by Nell Iris

 

 

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 8:

  • More Holiday Stories and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 9:

  • Release Blitz – Sleigh Duty by L.M. Brown
  • Review Tour – V.L. Locey – The Christmas Oaks
  • BLITZ Grimmer Intentions by Jodi Hutchins
  • A MelanieM Review : The Christmas Oaks (Laurel Holidays #1) by V.L. Locey
  • An Alisa Review: A Timely Gift by Kris T. Bethke
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Mr. Frosty Pants (Home for the Holidays #1) by Leta Blake

Tuesday, December 10:

  • BLITZ Ablaze by Elvira Bell
  • Blog Tour Captivating by Onley James
  • An Alisa Review:  Hearts of Magic by Kay Doherty
  • A Stella Review: Christmas Riches by H.L. Day
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Unfettered by Kate Hawthorne

Wednesday, December 11:

  • “Back Door Into Purgatory” by Rory Ni Coileain Tour
  • Blog Tour – We Still Live by Sara Dobie Bauer
  • Review Tour for His Hart’s Command (Nothing Special #6) by A.E. Via
  • A MelanieM Review: We Still Live by Sara Dobie Bauer
  • A MelanieM Review: Back Door Into Purgatory (SoulShares Series Book 9) by Rory Ni Coileain
  • An Alisa Audio Review:His Hart’s Command (Nothing Special #6) by A.E. Via and Aiden Snow (Narrator)

Thursday, December 12:

  • TOUR ANYONE BUT YOU by Brien Michaels
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: On the Same Page by KC Wells
  • An Alisa Review: Awakening (Wild Oak #1) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lucy Review: Stocking Stuffers, A Holiday Themed Romantic M/M  Anthology
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Red Dirt Heart 3 by NR Walker and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Friday, December 13:

  • Release Blitz Signal – J. R. Lawrie – Let Your Heart Be Light
  • A Lucy Review:Tricks, Treats and a Spider (Winter Home Book 2) by Kassandra Lea
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Changes Coming Down (Changes #1) by Kaje Harper
  • A Lila Review: Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings by Nell Iris
  • A MelanieM Review: Cowboy Seeks Husband by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

Saturday, December 14:

  • A MelanieM Review: I Buried a Witch (Bedknobs and Broomsticks #2) by Josh Lanyon

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Honour by A.F. Henley

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This is an historical romance set in a fictionalized England circa the late 17th century (at my best guess, owing to the clothing), but the speech is fairly modern with reference to the subconscious mind. If the author had called the country anything but England, I would have called it fantasy. There isn’t too much world-building, just enough to get a sense of place. First, the reader is thrown into the pivotal action sequence of the book without knowing what is happening. It then flashes back to four months earlier and the story unfolds to explain how things got to that point. Emmett is a merchant’s son who cares for people, yet he also seems to have been indulged and not learned the hard lessons of life. He is said to have a head for numbers in business, but obviously not the skill for diplomacy and trade negotiations that his father has. When his father’s ship lands in order to trade, he has a disastrous meeting with Prince Andrewe. This sets up an enemies to lovers scenario for most of the rest of the book. While Emmett’s duty to protecting Aleyn’s virtue and trying to help him establish a living is admirable, possibly honorable, Emmett’s honor comes into question soon enough when everything doesn’t go his way.

The misunderstanding…where Emmett thinks his father has sold him to be a companion to the Prince is rather interesting to me. Did Emmett’s father want to get rid of him because he doesn’t think his son is right to take over the business one day? Did he think this experience would teach Emmett a lesson? Yet Emmett is as enamored with the Prince, as Andrewe seems to be with him, thus he becomes First Gentleman. This is not necessarily dubious consent…but the power imbalance is inescapable and used to salacious effect. Since this is Emmett’s point of view, it’s unclear whether he is an unreliable narrator because: he doesn’t understand interpersonal communications well enough, he is naive in the ways of court politics and intrigue, he lacks the life experience to deal with a real intimate relationship, or he is too swayed by his emotions rather than logic. Emmett willingly made himself a servant to the Crown, not understanding he was essentially making himself a slave, and then chafes at his lack of freedom.

Andrewe is completely uneven throughout the book, at times sweet and loving, only to turn vicious, cold, or distant. Lust can only allow Emmett to overlook the Prince’s behavior for so long, but the Prince isn’t the only problem and Emmett never takes any responsibility for their discord. At one point I did wonder if Andrew was mentally ill. Is he just unsure about how to behave in this relationship? Is he taking it out on Emmett, so that his parents will make him marry and produce an heir? Is he being mean and cruel on purpose to create distance to protect himself? Andrewe’s use of Aleyn against Emmett to keep him in line is repulsive. It’s also when Emmett finally loses his way and the lack of real communication and respect between them, causes dangerous circumstances to arise. This is where the book starts to go off the rails for me with the introduction of Thomas.

His dalliance with Thomas is not lust, more the rush of being able to be himself again–someone’s equal where he can say what he wants and do as he pleases. However, Thomas is not three dimensional enough to pull this plot off and it all falls flat. I was really enjoying this, even with all the questions I have about the other characters’ motivations, until I felt the author wrote Emmett into a box he couldn’t get out of. The whole last 20 percent of the book was completely unbelievable to me, and that was mainly down to not having the characters be more present and rounded out. All that sex and time spent with just Emmett and Andrewe made the plot suffer. The reader only sees the royal couple a handful of times and what is there in the characterizations doesn’t match from scene to scene. Did the King and Queen think Emmett would somehow tame Andrewe or make him easier to control? At one point the Queen threatens to get rid of Emmett, yet when the perfect time comes to do so, she shows mercy that is not warranted. In the end, even Emmett is contrary: the overindulgence and opulence he previously found so distasteful is in full force at the end, yet Emmett no longer minds. Even though Emmett is the central figure, the only consistent character is Aleyn, who on the cusp between boyhood and manhood, has a good reason to be inconsistent, yet seems to be the only one to actually understand what is happening and why. I’m left feeling really torn because so much of this was well done, but I had too many issues with the way the author chose to resolve the plot.

The cover design is by Written Ink Designs (written-ink.com). I admit to having no clue what the cover is about, maybe I missed a pertinent passage.

Sales Links:  AmazonJMS Books LLC

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, Second Edition
Published October 23rd 2019 by JMS Books LLC (first published February 6th 2013)
Original TitleHonour
ASINB07Z7F3YHL
Edition LanguageEnglish