My Guilty Pleasure ~ Sports Books and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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My Guilty Pleasure ~ Sports Books

I blame and applaud The Washington Post.

Dan Jenkins and his daughter Sally Jenkins who writes now, Jonathan Yardley, Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon, Ken Denlinger,Thomas Boswell, Angus Phillips (omg Angus Phillips), Tracee Hamilton , Tom Wise, …just to name a few of The Washington Post sports columnists I lived and live for each day who helped drive my love for sports reporting and “the name of the game:.  Look up some of their columns and prepare for a literary feast.

The incredible sports columnists that have come ….and sadly gone…through the years…at the newspaper I have considered my own for decades.  Talk about high standards!  These men and women never stuck exactly to the scores at hand but ranged off into topics such as racism, social inequality, injuries, or whatever needed to be spoken about.  Or sometimes their articles were just downright humorous, tickling the intellect while informing and keeping score.

They pointed out the quirky, the extraordinary, and those not quite up to snuff with the same passion, in depth love of the games they were reporting on, and yes compassion for the players as well.

They also made me want to know more.  More about each sport, each team, and, indeed, each player.

They made me range out and start reading books like the hilarious and informative The Wrong Stuff and Have Glove, Will Travel by Bill “Spaceman” Lee (Lee was also known as The Ace from Space…baseball), and Semi Tough and You Gotta Play Hurt by Dan Jenkins  (football) for starters, then Ball Four by Jim Bouton and the great The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America by Joe Posnanski,

Books rec’d and talked about in the sports section of The Post.  My list started there.

There were a great many other baseball books, and still are.  My shelves groan under the weight of them, but for other sports?  Not so much. Hard to say why exactly.Maybe because football players never had the romance or the journey or something about them that the boys of summer did. That always seemed more of a business less a love affair.  A launching pad to wealth and something else…but maybe that’s just my perception.

Until I found LGBT romance and hockey love stories.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I have always loved hockey.  But never read the books about them like I did my boys of summer.  My bad.  Because the comparisons between the two and the way both sports bring up (or don’t) from the minor leagues are astonishing.  The players that toil their entire careers playing in small towns for tiny wages, living in hotels, and barely making it for the love of the game…that’s baseball and that’s hockey.   You don’t hear about those players and the lives they live. Well, not often.

 

Unless you read about them in stories like those from Lee and Posnanski for baseball.  And as I have been lucky to find out from Avon Gale’s recent recommendations like the Journeyman: The Many Triumphs (and Even More Defeats) Of A Guy Who’s Seen
by Sean Pronger and Hockey Night in Dixie: Minor Pro Hockey in the American South by Jon C. Stott.  I’m working on the first and have the 2nd one lined up.  Then on to books about Martin Brodeur (Brodeur: Beyond the Crease by Martin Brodeur) and Bobby Orr.  From those that were journeymen to the greats.

Why?  Besides my love of these books and these men and the sports of course?

Because it helps me appreciate the research and love the authors themselves bring to their stories and series.

Authors to be found on our LGBT hockey recommendations list like Gale,  Piper Vaughn, RJ Scott, VL Locey, Jeff Adams, Amy Aislin, AE Wasp, Samantha Wayland, and Rachel Reid.  I know I’m leaving others out.

LGBT romance stories about baseball players are less frequent, usually college players and not professional ones.  So my comparisons are left to the wonderful authors above who I’ am continuing my journey with this week.

Can you all think of other sports that compare to these two?  Especially in the way the players train and spend time in the lower leagues?  Have romance books written about them?

Chime in….and more about this topic next week.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, August 18:

  • My Guilty Pleasure ~ Sports Books
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 19:

  • Retro Review Tour – CID by S. L. Danielson
  • Release Blitz – Terry O’Reilly – Love Or The NFL
  • BLITZ Hitting Black Ice by Heloise West
  • PROMO Chris T. Kat + Giveaway
  • An Alisa Review: CID by S. L. Danielson
  • A Vivacious Review: Heel (Working Out the Kinks #2) by K.M. Neuhold
  • A Barb  the Zany Old Lady Review: The Doctor’s Orders (Copper Point Medical #3) by Heidi Cullinan

Tuesday, August 20:

  • Blog Tour Appeal to You by Jaclyn Quinn
  • Book Blast  – Eighteen Moons by Andi Webb
  • BLITZ Coffee by Matthew J. Metzger
  • Blog Tour – Beauregard and the Beast by Evie Drae
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Heart Strain by Michele Notaro & Sammi Cee
  • An Alisa Review: Appeal to You (Beyond the Cove #3) by Jaclyn Quinn
  • A Lila Review: I Dare You to Break Curfew (Inshari Chronicles #1) by Eva Munoz

Wednesday, August 21:

  • Cover Reveal – Yours, Forever After by Beth Bolden
  • Release Blitz – Change of Plans by Riley Long
  • Release Blitz Signal – Annabelle Jacobs – Escape (Rebellion #1)
  • Blog Tour Guest Post – Heidi Cullinan – Doctor’s Orders
  • BLOG TOUR Mason’s Run by Mellanie Rourke
  • An Alisa Review: Mason’s Run by Mellanie Rourke
  • A MelanieM Review: The Captain and the Theatrical (Captivating Captains #3) by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead

Thursday, August 22:

  • Cover Reveal – The Marshal’s PI by Este Holland
  • Review Tour-Sara Dobie Bauer-Broken News
  • Release Blitz- Last Call in Wonderland by Rob Browatzke
  • PROMO Eva Muñoz on I Dare You To Break Curfew
  • An Alisa Review: Forever Nine by Kris T. Bethke
  • A MelanieM Review: Empty Net(Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Broken News by Sara Dobie Bauer

Friday, August 23:

  • Review Tour – RJ Scott & Meredith Russell – Kaden (Boyfriend for Hire #2)
  • New Release Blitz Kept in the Dark by Charlie Cochet
  • Blog Tour – Behind the Stick, The Speakeasy #3 by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn
  • Release blitz Bike Business: A Holeshot Novel by Lynn Michaels
  • A MelanieM Review:A Rhythm You Feel (The Rock Gods: East Coast Label #1) by Ann Lister
  • An Alisa Audio review The Spirit Key (Lock and Key #1) by Parker Williams and Collin Carcy (Narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:Kaden (Boyfriend for Hire #2) by R.J. Scott and Meredith Russell

Saturday, August 24:

  • Release Blitz Tour – RJ Scot’s Today (Single Dads #2)
  • A MelanieM Review: Mainly by Moonlight (Bedknobs and Broomsticks #1) by Josh Lanyon

A Lila Audio Review: Cash Plays (Seven of Spades #3) by Cordelia Kingsbridge and Wyatt Baker (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Seven of Spades is back with a vengeance—the vigilante serial killer has resumed their murderous crusade, eluding the police at every turn. But a bloodthirsty killer isn’t the only threat facing Sin City. A devious saboteur is wreaking havoc in Las Vegas’s criminal underworld, and the entire city seems to be barreling toward an all-out gang war.As Detective Levi Abrams is pushed ever closer to his breaking point, his control over his dangerous rage slips further every day. His relationship with PI Dominic Russo should be a source of comfort, but Dominic is secretly locked in his own downward spiral, confronting a nightmare he can’t bear to reveal.

Las Vegas is floundering. Levi and Dominic’s bond is cracking along the seams. And the Seven of Spades is still playing to win. How many bad hands can Levi and Dominic survive before it’s game over?

Cash Plays takes place shortly after Trick Roller, and let us see how Levi and Dominic are (or not) dealing with the aftermath of the Seven of Spades latest vigilante stunt.

Their relationship seems solid but with every page it becomes strained and complicated. They get wrapped up in their own insecurities and troubles, giving the reader an inside to their fears and self-doubt.

I still have no idea who the Seven of Spades is but the conclusion others are having has passed my mind too. I don’t think it’s right but I would like to see what happens if it becomes true. It also opens the series to many possibilities and suspects.

This book shows Levi’s and Dominic’s lives as parallel ships. Two different stories united by similar, interrelated events. By the time they realized it, the reader is ready to add them to the hit list for making us wait.

Definitely, a murder mystery worth every single minute of angst and lies involved.

Finally I’m used to the narration by Wyatt Baker. It was easier to follow the conversations and to get into the characters’ minds.

The cover by Garrett Leigh embraces the poker elements of the Seven of Spades, and matches not only the previous covers, but the story’s plot points.

Sales Links: Riptide | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Wyatt Baker
Length: 9 hours and 39 minutes

Published: July 3, 2019 (Audio Edition) by Riptide Publishing
ASIN: B07TVFKQQZ
Edition Language: English

Series: Seven of Spades
Book #1: Kill Game
Book #2: Trick Roller
Book #1: Cash Plays

A MelanieM Audio Review: Out in the Field (Out in College #4) by Lane Hayes and Michael Pauley (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Max Maldonado loves baseball. He knows playing first base at a private college probably won’t get him to the big leagues, but he doesn’t mind. He loves the game and his teammates. If he has to stay in the closet until he graduates, that’s okay. Baseball comes first. Relationships are complicated anyway. And after his recent messy breakup, Max prefers to keep things simple.

Phoenix Bell is a fabulous theater geek. He’s excited about his recent transfer to a new school with an elite liberal arts program. Life has been on hold for a while, but this opportunity feels like the fresh start he was hoping for when he moved to California. And the chance reunion with the hot closeted jock is an unexpected surprise. The two men have nothing in common and their timing couldn’t be worse. However, when their unconventional alliance blossoms into friendship and perhaps something more, it may be time to make some hard decisions. And perhaps risk it all…out in the field.

I haven’t read all of Lane Hayes Out in College series so found that listening to Out in the Field worked perfectly as a standalone story and such a sweet contemporary romance it was.  Made all the more enjoyable by the lively narration by Michael Pauley who embodied his characters perfectly, I easily connected to Max, his love of baseball and his issues of being closeted.  At home, ata college, and on the field.  Especially after he find out that his “brief meetup” is now on campus and hotter than ever.  And definitely out as can be.

Phoenix Bell is a delight of a character, his energy flies off the page as does his vulnerability.  You definitely fear for his heart.  What you end up  fearing for is Max’s as well.

The characters are all well drawn, the situations realistic and believable.  And the locker room conversations nicely resolved, those I really appreciated.  The development of the relationship was slow but the dynamics works so well, supported by great secondary characters you grow to love just as much as the MCs. Whether it’s Phoenix’s twin sister or Max’s familym bringing them in just adds such a richness to this story and their romance that it made me smile all throughout the story.

As I said before the narration by Michael Pauley just enhanced this already wonderful novel, his ability to key into each character’s personality and bring it to life making this audio’s listening time fly by.

I highly recommend Out in the Field (Out in College #4) by Lane Hayes and Michael Pauley (Narrator) for those of you who love to listen to your contemporary romances.  This is a real gem!

Cover Art is great and perfect for the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible

Audio Book Details:

Listening Length: 5 hours and 31 minutes.

Audible Audio, 6 pages
Published July 25th 2019 by Lane Hayes
ASINB07VKGJ587
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOut in College #4

Qualifications of a Perfect Romance Novel Continues and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Qualifications of a Perfect Romance Novel Continues

Thoughts on what makes the perfect romance novel continues into this Sunday with some of our readers chiming in on favorite books and their own romance book qualifications.  I’ve been thinking a lot about it myself this last week, mentally shuffling over titles and thinking about what made them so powerful and so lasting…

One thing, one factor that appears and vanishes like a will o’ the wisp from story to story is, oddly enough, humor.  Some are bereft of it.  There is no levity to be found in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë or Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, two stories that left a great impact on me to the point I can quote sentences and passages from each of them.  Pride and the Prejudice by Jane Austen?  Or Sense and Sensibility?  What humor there is is gentle or should that be upper class?

But I have also read romances that have left me crying with laughter, lighthearted and filled with love for the story and couple.  See Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston for the most recent story.  Or going back?  Arabella by Georgette Heyer (or anything by Georgette Heyer (M/F Regency Romance).  Amy Lane’s series often veer from the hilarious to the angst full on a dime, breaking our hearts in the bargain.  Don’t get me started on one of my favorite series of hers, The Granby Knitting Series.  There are the wonderful historic romances of WWI of Charlie Cochrane and her inestimable Orlando Coppersmith and Jonty Stewart in her Cambridge Fellows series that spans decades in a relationship and major changes in England and the world around it.  This series has a deep, abiding place in my heart.

So it begs the question …to humor or not to humor?  Should that be a element in a great romance novel?  Let’s continue to chime in….

And now let’s hear from one of our readers:

H.B. :

I agree with the assessment of whether you can have a great story was too much story and no or not enough sex scenes. Sometimes a story just doesn’t need it to get the idea of intimacy and love across.

I think everyone had one or more books that have stuck with them over the years. I’ve been reading romance for a long time and have plenty that i can still recall the story of without going back and rereading it and still love today.

M/F:
Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard
Breath of Scandal by Sandra Brown
A Man to Call My Own by Johanna Lindsey
Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Violet by Lauren Royal

Fantasy:
Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Nine Kingdom series by Lynn Kurland

SCI-FI:
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card

LGBT:
Kirith Kirin by Jim Grimsley
Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage series by Mercedes Lackey
All for the Game trilogy by Nora Sakavic
Dreams of Fire and Gods series by James Erich (YA)
Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux (and Madeleine Urban)
Chronicles of Ylandre by Eresse
A Simple Romance by J.H. Knight
Cethe by Becca Abbott
He Speaks Dead by Adrienne Wilder
Mercury’s Orbit by Lia Black
The Men of Halfway House series by Jaime Reese
all of Anyta Sunday books…

I can name so much more but the list keeps on going.

 

Thanks, HB, and let’s keep the conversation going….what books do you have on your list?  I gave you just a sampling of mine. More to come.  Meanwhile, here is our schedule for this week. Check it out and happy reading and listening!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, August 11:

  • Qualifications of a Perfect Romance Novel Continues
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 12:

  • Review Tour – Jay Hogan’s Digging Deep
  • Release Blitz – RJ Scott & Meredith Russell – Kaden (Boyfriend for Hire )
  • PROMO Amy Lane
  • A Stella Review : Digging Deep by  Jay Hogan
  • An Alisa Review: Anticipating Disaster (Anticipation #1) by Silvia Violet
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ignite (Unbreakable Bonds #7) by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott

Tuesday, August 13:

  • RELEASE BLITZ – Wanderlust by Quin Perin
  • Release Blitz – After The Final Curtain – TL Travis
  • New Release & Tour: Here Comes the Son by Dahlia  Donovan
  • Guest Post and Tour – Elyse Springer World Turned Upside Down
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Mischief Maker (Animal Lark #1) by Andi Lee
  • A VVivacious Prerelease Review: Nemesis (Alpha Unit One #2) by Chris T. Kat
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Out in the Field (Out in College #4) by Lane Hayes and Michael Pauley (Narrator)

Wednesday, August 14:

  • BLITZ Stray by Nancy J. Hedin
  • PROMO Andi Lee on Mischief Maker (Animal Lark #1)
  • Release Blitz  – Repeat Offence by Jackie Keswick
  • BLOG TOUR Out of the Office by Louisa Masters
  • An Alisa Review: Relationship Material by Jenya Keefe
  • A Vivacious Review Repeat Offence by Jackie Keswick
  • An Alisa Review Anticipating Rejection (Anticipation #2) by Silvia Violet

Thursday, August 15:

  • Cover Reveal for V.L. Locey ‘s The Good Green Earth
  • Book Blitz – – Jesus Kidj by Kayleigh Sky
  • Blog Post – Jay Hogan on Digging Deep
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Exile Prince (The Castaway Prince #2) by Isabelle Adler
  • A Lila Audio Review: Cash Plays (Seven of Spades #3) by Cordelia Kingsbridge
  • AN Alisa Review: Mad About the Boy by Beth Laycock

Friday, August 17:

  • Blog Tour Heart Strain by Michele Notaro & Sammi Cee
  • “The Stones of Power” series by M.D. Grimm Tour
  • A MelanieM Review:Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2) by Avon Gale
  • A Stella Review Release Day Review: Nemesis (Alpha Unit One #2) by Chris T. Kat
  • An Alisa Review Anticipating Temptation (Anticipation #3) by Silvia Violet

Saturday, August 18:

A MelanieM Review: The Musician and the Monster by Jenya Keefe

 

 

A Lila Audio Review: Running on Empty (Havoc #3) by S.E. Jakes and Mark Larchmont (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

After years of running wild, Linc might’ve finally run out of road.After a brutal capture at the hands of the Heathens Motorcycle Club, Linc is just trying to heal, mentally and physically. But he’s got men in his life who are complicating everything. There’s Mercy—a Havoc MC biker and the man he is falling fast for—plus an undercover ATF agent and a rogue Havoc member.

But Mercy’s keeping him at arm’s length, and Linc is spinning. In an attempt to regain his equilibrium, he heads to the bar where he first met Mercy. Night after night, he escapes Havoc bonds and continues down his merry path of mayhem . . . mainly in the hopes that Mercy will give chase.

Since Linc’s capture by his old MC, Mercy’s been dealing with the fallout of his guilt. He’s trying to give Linc space and still watch over him—all without Linc’s knowledge. But with Linc’s old job calling and a threat to Havoc MC heating up, can they make their way back together?

Running on Empty recounts some of the events of Running Blind from Linc’s and Mercy’s point of view. And talking about Mercy, it took me a while to get used to the name change from Gypsy. It’s not a spoiler, just an author’s note before the start of the book.

Like before, the connection of all the motorcycle clubs, law enforcement agencies, and old friends is one of the most interesting aspects of this story. It runs parallel to the romance but it didn’t take away from it.

Linc and Mercy are complex characters with many hidden layers that kept them from trusting each other during most of the story. They do have a sweet connection that withstood their separation and all the others trying to flirt their way in.

I wanted a little bit more cuddly time with them as a couple. Also, more about the other guys and their possible love interests. Overall,  this was a nice addition to the series.

I enjoyed having Mark Larchmont narrating once again. It’s easy to jump back into the series when the voices bring you back into the Havoc world.

The cover by L.C. Chase is simple but it matches the story and the series.

Sale Links: Riptide | Audible | iBooks

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Mark Larchmont
Length: 5 hours and 44 minutes

Published: July 11, 2019 (Audio Edition) by Riptide Publishing
ASIN: B07V4H1HBR
Edition Language: English

Series: Havoc
Book #1: Running Wild
Book #2: Running Blind
Book #3: Running on Empty

Don’t Miss out on the Audio Tour and Giveaway for Will & Patrick Wake Up Married (Episodes 4-6) by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths/John Solo (Narrator)

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Narrated by: John Solo
 
Length: 15hrs 45mins
 
Wake Up Married Series


Episodes 1 – 3 – Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

 
Blurb
 

Continue the fun in episodes 4-6 of the soapy serial by best-selling author Leta Blake and newcomer Alice Griffiths!


Episode Four: Will & Patrick Fight Their Feelings


Will and Patrick have embraced adding hot sexy times to their fake marriage, but as their emotions deepen, they confront whether or not they want to be more than friends-with-benefits. The heat is high (and occasionally kinky) as Will and Patrick struggle to accept their mutual affection.


Episode Five: Will & Patrick Meet the Mob


Patrick has finally accepted that he’s in love with Will, but his newfound determination to do something about that runs up against his father-in-law’s mobster plans. Will must face the truth about his family before he can fully come to terms with his feelings for Patrick. And Patrick has to decide if this whackadoodle world is something he truly wants to be part of forever.


Episode Six: Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending


Sure, Will, and Patrick are in love now, but they weren’t when they got married in Vegas. For Patrick, that’s no problem, but Will can’t shake his doubts that a relationship started through coercion can ever become the real deal. Since the Molinaro crime family has reversed their position on divorce, Will and Patrick have a chance to rectify their drunken mistake. But is divorce the right choice for them?

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

 



Alice Griffiths – Facebook | Goodreads

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Whiskey and Moonshine by Elizabeth Noble and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This review is of the audio version, and I’m pleased to say John Solo’s narrations get better each time I hear him. For this one, the emotion, the pace, and the voices were spot-on. New-to-me author Elizabeth Noble brings a sweet tale of redemption as Colt Hale explores a distillery on the rest stop his bus makes as he’s heading for Charleston, SC, and he realizes he needn’t go any farther to find his place in the world.

Surviving on the streets of his hometown becomes impossible, so Cole heads south to wherever his funds will take him, but the stop to visit the distillery pays off when he learns of a job opening for a janitor, and he manages to convince them he’d be good at it. Not only is he good at that, but also at every other job he takes on his climb up the ladder. When he hears the company is looking for a spokesman, he even gets that job, and that’s when he meets the man behind the scenes: Malone Kensington. Mal is the driving force for the whiskey and moonshine-making business, but he’s not one to stand out and wants no part in being the spokesman. He’s more than happy to let Cole take over social media, photo ops, and other public appearances. And during the getting-to-know-you phase of their relationship, he realizes he likes Cole more than as an employee.

This is, after all, a Dreamspun Desires story, so it follows the old romance tropes but is executed very nicely. The two fall in love but have a spat over paperwork Cole is forced to sign by the Board of Directors, and then Cole’s past catches up to him. There’s lots of excitement mixed in here with the sweetness and romance. Let’s just say it was very enjoyable, and I didn’t want it to end, though at that point Mal and Cole were into their HEA and likely wanted me out of their private lives. LOL. I highly recommend audio format for this story. It’s not only a great way to spend leisure time, but it left me with a nice warm and fuzzy feeling.

  

The cover by Alexandria Corza features a handsome young man in front of whiskey barrels. It’s attractive and is obviously Colt, the young man who finds a new home at Kensington Distillery.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible

Audio Details:

(Listening Length: 6 hours and 52 minutes.)

Audible Audio, 7 pages
Published June 20th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published January 15th 2019)
ASIN B07SF7YBRS
Edition Language English

Love Listening to Your Love Stories? Check Out the Audio Tour for Out in the Field (Out in College #4) by Lane Hayes (audio sample and giveaway)

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Title: Out in the Field

Series: Out in College #4

Author: Lane Hayes

Narrator: Michael Pauley

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: July 11

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins

Genre: Romance, New Adult, College, Coming Out, Baseball, New Adult, Humor, Opposites

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Max Maldonado loves baseball. He knows playing first base at a private college probably won’t get him to the big leagues, but he doesn’t mind. He loves the game and his teammates. If he has to stay in the closet until he graduates, that’s okay. Baseball comes first. Relationships are complicated anyway. And after his recent messy breakup, Max prefers to keep things simple.

Phoenix Bell is a fabulous theater geek. He’s excited about his recent transfer to a new school with an elite liberal arts program. Life has been on hold for a while, but this opportunity feels like the fresh start he was hoping for when he moved to California. And the chance reunion with the hot closeted jock is an unexpected surprise. The two men have nothing in common and their timing couldn’t be worse. However, when their unconventional alliance blossoms into friendship and perhaps something more, it may be time to make some hard decisions. And perhaps risk it all…out in the field.

Listen to a sample

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were First Place winners in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Bookbub | Amazon

Meet the Narrator

Michael has well over 50 audio book titles currently available for purchase on Audible.com. He is versed in multiple styles and genres including fiction (novels and short stories) ranging from romance to science fiction to crime dramas to thrillers; business strategy books; health and wellness books; and even an occasional children’s book.

Fans of Michael’s narration are welcome to follow him on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

If you are interested in working with Michael to produce your next audio book, you can contact him directly at voice@michaelpauley.info

Giveaway

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It’s Romance and Audio Time! Check Out the Audio Tour and Giveaway for Will & Patrick Wake Up Married Episodes 4-6 by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths/Narrated by: John Solo

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Narrated by: John Solo
 
Length: 15hrs 45mins
 
Wake Up Married Series


Episodes 1 – 3 – Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

 
Blurb
 

Continue the fun in episodes 4-6 of the soapy serial by best-selling author Leta Blake and newcomer Alice Griffiths!


Episode Four: Will & Patrick Fight Their Feelings


Will and Patrick have embraced adding hot sexy times to their fake marriage, but as their emotions deepen, they confront whether or not they want to be more than friends-with-benefits. The heat is high (and occasionally kinky) as Will and Patrick struggle to accept their mutual affection.


Episode Five: Will & Patrick Meet the Mob


Patrick has finally accepted that he’s in love with Will, but his newfound determination to do something about that runs up against his father-in-law’s mobster plans. Will must face the truth about his family before he can fully come to terms with his feelings for Patrick. And Patrick has to decide if this whackadoodle world is something he truly wants to be part of forever.


Episode Six: Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending


Sure, Will, and Patrick are in love now, but they weren’t when they got married in Vegas. For Patrick, that’s no problem, but Will can’t shake his doubts that a relationship started through coercion can ever become the real deal. Since the Molinaro crime family has reversed their position on divorce, Will and Patrick have a chance to rectify their drunken mistake. But is divorce the right choice for them?

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

 



Alice Griffiths – Facebook | Goodreads

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The Perfect Romance Novels and Summer Reading. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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The Perfect Romance Novel and Summer Reading

Last Sunday I started talking about the perfect romance novel because, primarily, I had just read one that if asked I would most certainly take with me to a deserted island. That would be Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston in any format.  That story had everything I look for in a romance story and I’m still basking in the afterglow it has left behind.  It’s one of my top ten this year.

And it made me start thinking about the qualities of a perfect romance novel.  What would they be?

Turns out that formula is one that hundreds perhaps thousands of authors are in search of as well.  Many are certain they have it if the articles I found online are any indication.  If that were true, there would be far more perfect novels out there (and maybe there are) then I have come across or read about.  It’s like looking through a telescope.  You can only see so many stars, there’s always some just outside your vision.

But back to what I did find.  Which was fascinating.

One article here at the Huff Post, the writer (a published romance author) lists the following as her requirements for a perfect romance novel:

  • Have a story.
  • Not too much story.
  • Sex
  • The Sum of its Parts

That got me thinking.  Can you have too much story?  Can you have a great romance novel without  sex?  For me the answer is yes and yes.  Especially within the LGBTQIA spectrum and including YA stories. I have read wonderful books where sex is not a component. Upside Down by N.R. Walker, Antisocial and The Roosevelt series by Heidi Cullinan to name a few.  Too much story or too many details?  There’s a difference to me.  A density not in layers but in not being able to know when to let go of the miniscule and the unnecessary.

What do you all think?

Think about Jane Austen for ffs.  Where’s the hot and heavy sex in that?  Climbing gently down off the box.

Ok

So the essential formula for any romance is (and should be updated in this age)

Person Meets Person

Person loses Person

Person Gets Person

Then there’s the plot:

Three of the most popular romance plot devices are:

Friends become lovers
You’re my soulmate, it’s fate
This is my second chance to love again

Then what happens after that?  Narrative magic, depending upon the author.  They choose the setting, the genre, the characters.  They bring their imagination, their own skill base and travels, history, and in some cases ability to research to the story.

And something elusive.  Shrugs.  That ability to add a spark of life, of magic to the page that let’s us, the reader, into something timeless, moving, and sometimes impactful.  Books to remember.

I have those.  I’m sure you all do as well.  What books are sitting on your shelves?  What books have continued to make the greatest impressions?    Are any of them romance novels?  Who are or were the authors?  Let us know!

 

Meanwhile, try to stay cool.  Dog days of summer are upon us.  Bring out the umbrellas, the ice tea, the occasional sprinkler and enjoy your books in every format.    Have a great week.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, August 4:

  • Check Out the Release Blitz and Giveaway for Team Luker by Nell Iris
  • The Perfect Romance Novels and Summer Reading
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 5

  • Review Tour – Jay Northcote – Nothing Ventured
  • Review Tour –  Sword Dance by AJ Demas
  • BLOG TOUR Beautiful Trauma by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • An Alisa Review: The Midspring Rebellion by Doreen Heron
  • A Lucy Review : Nothing Ventured by Jay Northcote
  • A MelanieM Review : Sword Dance (Sword Dance #1) by A.J. Demas
  • A Free Dreamer Review : Saviors: Duty and Sacrifice 1 (The God Jars Saga #1) by Devon Vesper

Tuesday, August 6:

  • Release Blitz – MJ O’Shea’s Chef In Disguise
  • Release Blitz  Jay Hogan’s Digging Deep
  • AUDIO TOUR Out in the Field by Lane Hayes
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Digging Deep (Digging Deep #1) by Jay Hogan
  • A Lucy Review : Team Luker by Nell Iris
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Heart Unbroken (Hearts Entwined #4) by Andrew Grey

Wednesday, August 7:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway:  Relationship Material by Jenya Keefe
  • Release Blitz – Thomas Grant Bruso ‘s The Two Of Us
  • Book Reveal SOULBOUND #3 by Hailey Turner
  • An Alisa Review: Hybrid Incubator by Meraki P. Dark
  • A Stella Review Relationship Material by Jenya Keefe
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Whiskey and Moonshine by Elizabeth Noble and John Solo (Narrator)

Thursday, August 8:

  • PROMO Gene Gant
  • Blog Tour- Small Town Sonata
  • A Stella Review: A Pocketful of Stardust (Aster) by JP Barnaby & Rowan Speedwell
  • A VVivacious Review: Toy by R Parr
  • An Alisa Review: Rules to Follow (Davey’s Rules #1) by Susan Hawke

Friday, August 9:

  • Release Blitz Heel by KM Neuhold
  • Release Blitz  for Release (Rent Boys #1) by A E Ryecart
  • Review Tour – Sword Dance (Sword Dance #1) by A.J. Demas
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Sword Dance (Sword Dance #1) by A.J. Demas
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review:  World Turned Upside Down by Elyse Springer
  • A Lila Audio Review: Running on Empty (Havoc #3) by S.E. Jakes and Mark Larchmont (Narrator)

Saturday, August 10:

  • A MelanieM  Pre Release Review: The Musician and the Monster by Jenya Keefe