Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is wishing you and yours
a wonderful and happy Holiday, whatever you may celebrate.
From all of us to all of you Happy Holidays!
November is a month of many things…to many people. Some are busy writing away as it’s still NaNoWriMo and those words and stories won’t write themselves as the deadline nears. For those of us in the US and expats abroad its Thanksgiving next week so travel plans are being made, menus being planned, and for those well organized individuals, early holiday shopping lists coming into play for the sales that will be launched right after Thanksgiving is over and the turkey leftovers are handed out.
For us Hockey fans, we are enjoying our teams games, at home and on the road, Ditto for all you football fans. Tis the season for our sports teams to go forth and rise and fall and for us to cheer them on regardless. And because I wallow in my boys on the ice, I’m diving back into STRW hockey recommendations and those stories I missed the first time around. One of those is the Hot Off The Ice series by A.E. Wasp, which I am enjoying immensely. Look for my reviews of some of those stories starting this week. I have also returned to one of my all time comfort series, NR Walker’s Red Dirt Heart stories, this time in audio format. Oh my Joel Leslie has that Aussie accent down perfect! And yes, more holiday stories are coming your way from all our reviewers here, including from Sophia Soames, a author on my must read list.
At any rate, things are hectic here, schedule are full, I have one small dog who has gotten very good at dodging her pills, and there is still so much to plan for as Thanksgiving looms large. And yes, we saw our first glimpses of snow too. Tis the season for so many things and it seems so little time to take it all in.
So it’s brief today…but here is our schedule for the coming week. Lovely books ahead and great tours too. Something for everyone. Happy reading and listening. Now I have some lists to make.
Yes,it’s almost Halloween. Pumpkins are out, so are the decorations. How is your house and neighborhood looking? Spooky? Chilling and trendy enough for all the trick or treaters that will be calling this week?
I have been busy getting in my treats while reading SJ Himes marvelous Beacon Hills Sorcerer series, perfect for Halloween. Full of vampires, sorcerers, ghouls, ghosts, lichs, and everything else you can think of. Even hellhounds. I’m loving it and will be reviewing every book in the series starting on Saturday. More holiday books are coming your way as well, so be on the look out. Til the season….and we are hopping right in.
But I’m leaving you with the most fun traditions…pumpkin carving. Here are some of the 2019 pumpkin designs. Any here you would like to try ? Check them out…
Yep, that’s one for ages! lol Here is another.
A Landtern fish pumpkin. I need that. Next to Dory!
Eye see you!
As we head toward Hallows Eve and the pumpkins and decorations are out in full display of one of my favorite holidays, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ stories are trending towards the paranormal, the supernatural, and yes, the downright spooky!
From vampires to werewolves to other things that go bump in the night and are still seeking their own versions of HEA or HFN, I thought I would start sorting through some of our more chilling recommendations! More to come next week and chime in if we have missed some of the new stories!
National Coming Out Day was Friday, October 11, the 31st such coming out celebration and I didn’t want such a wonderful event to pass by without Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words making note of just how special and wondrous this occasion is. Our Twitter feed is full of stories, poignant, funny, accepting, sad, hilarious, and heartbreaking. They have been running the full gamut of emotions, and histories, up to and including the advice that not everyone is ready to come out. That they will know when, and if, that time comes that they feel safe and ready to make that step, a step only they should make for themselves.
As I said Friday, October 11, marked the 31st Anniversary of National Coming Out Day, a landmark in and of itself. Here are some special links, courtesy of HRC:
For many more links (coming out at school, at work, inspiring stories, and helpful links, please check out HRC’s full link
No matter the age when someone realized “who” they were and stated it out loud, from the earliest of ages to later in life, the ability to be i your truest self , whatever that may be, is a right everyone should have. Here are some stories. Happy National Coming Out Day….a bit late.
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Edward Peach is a fourteen-year-old wizard who receives a letter that he has been accepted into the prestigious Prymoutekhny Wizards Academy for Boys, in the faraway land of Aradia. His parents are overjoyed, but he feels reluctant to leave his family, friends, and his comfy cottage in the English coastal village of Manley. As term begins, Edward adjusts to life in his new school, dealing with bullies, strict teachers, and challenging wizardry classes. He is almost ready to give up when he falls in love with a charismatic, privileged boy-and talented wizard-named Mr. Andreas. Prymoutekhny is a school that has still not opened up to same-sex attraction, so he must keep his feelings secret. Soon, Edward and the impressive boy realize their deep attraction for each other. This causes immediate controversy in the school, as they are the first two boys from feuding houses to come together-especially in a school where house rivalry can end in murder.He is then put to the ultimate test as he must risk being with the boy he loves even at the cost of his own life!
The tagline for “The Killing Spell” mentioned that this was a great book for fans of “Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell. Since I absolutely love “Carry On”, I just had to have “The Killing Spell” and naturally also had extremely high expectations. Sadly, I was extremely disappointed.
The story is told from Edward’s POV. The emphasis being on told. There’s so much telling and essentially no showing. I was bored after only a couple of pages and started skimming after a short while. It all seems very detached. There is next to no dialogue in the entire book. It was mostly Edward telling us what people said and summing up entire conversations, without any direct dialogue.
The language seemed clunky and somehow didn’t fit the setting. The protagonist is a 14-year-old boy who seems to live in the 21st century and yet his way of speaking seemed weirdly old-fashioned.
I didn’t like Edward at all. He is moods gave me whiplash and he’s constantly moody and annoyed. He goes from lusting after Mr. Andreas to being madly in love to suddenly wishing him dead, all in the span of a few weeks. He also seems to be constantly lusting after boys and has to comment on everybody’s appearance.
Mr. Andreas is an enigma. We don’t learn much about him and Edward doesn’t seem to be all that interested in his boyfriend’s life either. And it’s just plain weird that he calls him “Mr. Andreas”. There’s apparently a curse associated with his first name. Okay, fine, but then why insist on the “Mr.”? Just “Andreas” would have been perfectly fine, or maybe some sort of nickname. No 14-year-old calls his boyfriend “Mister”. It gave me weird pedophile vibes, even though they’re the same age.
The school itself was extremely old-fashioned. There are very strict rules and structures that nobody dares to challenge. First years are literally used as slaves by their seniors. Malicious pranks and death threats seem to be the norm. How is it possible that nobody ever did anything against that? This is the 21st century!
Because there’s so much telling, I felt very detached from the plot. It doesn’t help that there are very few details on anything.
On top of everything else, the editing seemed sloppy. Even though I skimmed large parts of the book, I still noticed quite a few spelling mistakes and the tenses sometimes seemed messed up.
To sum it up, I didn’t like “The Killing Spell”. The blurb is the best part of the entire story. I guess it had potential, so I’m giving this a generous two stars.
The cover, unlike the book, is really cool.
Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Deep Hearts YA
Book Title: The Killing Spell
Author: Shane Ulrrein
Publisher: Deep Hearts YA
Cover Artist: Story Perfect Dreamscape
Genre/s: Fantasy YA M/M Romance
Trope/s: Forbidden love, young romance
Themes: Coming of age, magic, self-discovery, same-sex attraction
Heat Rating: No sexual content
Length: 57 000 words/236 pages
It is a standalone book.
If you’re a huge fan of Harry Potter, if you loved Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On or Ginn Hale’s The Lord of the White Hell, then you MUST read The Killing Spell! An unforgettable tale that takes a magical boarding school and a young adult gay romance to the next level!
The Killing Spell is a new young adult fantasy novel that tells the story of Edward Peach, a fourteen-year-old wizard who gets accepted into a prestigious all-boys boarding school for wizards and falls in love with another boy. Edward and the other boy soon realize their attraction for each other, immediately causing controversy in the academy as the first students from feuding houses to come together, especially in a school where house rivalry can end in murder. Edward’s new relationship puts him to the ultimate test as he must risk being with the boy he loves even at the cost of his own life!
That’s what the letter said. At that moment, I felt a sudden chill go up my spine. I pretended to smile as Mum and Dad became so overjoyed that their little wizard was being sent thousands of miles away to study magic at an exclusive boarding school.
I swallowed hard. Please don’t make me go, I thought.
I took another look at my letter. “Highly prestigious,” “well-accredited,” and “very sought-after” were the different qualifiers used to describe their piss of an academy. There were portraits in a brochure, mostly in sepia-tone black and white, of their most famous students, yet I didn’t recognize any of them. The more I looked at all the rubbish they’d sent me in that big yellow envelope, the more I wanted to vomit.
Everything had been arranged: the meeting place in the Aradian port-city of Navona, our guide who was to see us at the harbor three days from now and take us to the school, and three free tickets for the next available ship from England to Aradia. The whole lot, including my school uniform, was all-expenses paid.
Seeking to break the jovial mood that’d taken over my parents at the breakfast table, I told them that I wasn’t going to that school.
“Not going?” Mum asked me wide-eyed. “Why? This is the opportunity of a lifetime! A prestigious school, fancy uniforms, and a better life for all of us! Are you going to sit there and tell us that you don’t want what’s best for your family?”
Yes, I was, I told her. I wasn’t going and that was the end of it.
My parents then began to lecture me, whilst I kept buttering my toast, about how they never had an opportunity like this when they were my age and how I’d be letting down several generations of our wizard-family if I didn’t go. Dad was especially determined because both he and Granddad got rejected from that school numerous times.
Despite my pleas, my constant whinging, and even throwing a teary-eyed wobbly like I used to do when I was a tiny tot, I was going to that ugly academy. Mum said my name, middle name and all, and insisted that I get packed.
“We’re leaving tomorrow,” she said. “End of discussion.”
And without another word, I stormed into my room, slamming the door after me, and buried my face into my pillow.
It wasn’t fair! Other kids would be pretty chuffed about going to such a distinguished wizard-school, but not me. This sort of thing should’ve gone to those who needed it or wanted it more. Instead, I was the one who got…accepted.
I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be part of the “next generation of great sorcerers,” nor follow in my father’s or grandfather’s footsteps like other wizards my age. I just wanted to be me. I didn’t want to leave my mates or live away from home. What’s more, I’d be going to a foreign country where I didn’t know anyone, much less the language they speak.
Things were much simpler and I was a lot happier before I got that stupid letter!
I didn’t want to study in some shite academy, the name of which I couldn’t even pronounce from the brochure and where mobile phones were prohibited. All I really want to do is enjoy life, hang out with my friends, and go to the beach to listen to its lush, serene music. Yet more than anything, I wanted to do nothing. That’s what I desired most. I simply wanted to do nothing, yet my parents, on numerous occasions, would never hear of it.
I began thinking about turning Mum and Dad into frogs or making them both disappear, but I really didn’t want to do any of that. Deep down, I don’t believe in using magic to hurt or endanger the lives of others. To me, magic was a beautiful yet mysterious thing that was all about me and always brought happiness to everyone. I loved magic, bloody lived for it, but hated the idea that someone could use it for evil when it could be used for good. Not to mention, the last time I’d made my parents disappear, they simply found their way back afterward.
About the Author
Shane Ulrrein is a life-long storyteller and first-time LGBT author currently living in Orange County, California, USA, who one day dreams of leaving his home in sunny Southern California for the wet, dreary weather of England.
Mr. Ulrrein has a Bachelor of Arts degree in music composition in California State University, Fullerton and is a proud member of the LGBT community. In his spare time, Mr. Ulrrein likes to draw, read, and write music that he hopes someday will be heard in all the great concert halls in the world.
So I thought I’d do something a little different this weekend and highlight some books I thought should be in the spotlight. In case a few readers here and there had missed them. Each for varying reasons but the first being excellence.
The first one is a teaser, you can preorder it now from MacMillan (Tor), the author is T.J. Klune. Perhaps you all have heard of him? lol
The cover is amazing, the reviews from those that have read it incredible…
Charlaine Harris, the author of the True Blood books read The House in the Cerulean Sea and said, “The House in The Cerulean Sea is a modern fairy tale about learning your true nature and what you love and will protect. It’s a beautiful book.”
“1984 meets The Umbrella Academy with a pinch of Douglas Adams thrown in.” (Gail Carriger)
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
An enchanting love story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.
The House in the Cerulean Sea is Lambda Literary Award-winning author TJ Klune’s breakout contemporary fantasy.
Expected publication: March 17th 2020 by Tor Books
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.
All Proceeds Go To Charity:
Buy for $4.99 or try Kindle Unlimited to read over a million titles
Kindle Edition, 761 pages
Published October 1st 2019
Once upon a time, a group of authors wondered… What if the Heart2Heart app — the dating app with a glitch that matched up the oddest, most perfect couples, and sponsored the charity date raffles that helped dozens of people find love — offered a classifieds section, too?
Need a handyman who knows how to wear a tool belt? Have a closet of drag costumes that needs a new home? How about finally tracking down that guy who made the perfect drink, or who’s just the right height to reach the top shelf?
Join some of your favorite authors of gay romance as they bring you sixteen brand-new stories inspired by reader suggestions!
Once again, all proceeds from this collection will go to the authors’ favorite LGBTQ charities (which are named and linked -see above tour), to ensure that love in all its forms will be celebrated and protected every single day of the year!
One look at that lineup tells you this is something special!
And just in case you are having problems finding some of these authors and their stories lately? Here are some links to a few novels. Not familiar? Pleases check them out! Those are links to the Amazon sales sights and the blurbs can be found there as well.
More authors next week.
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
“Y’know, if I was a sexy type of undead, like a vampire or something, I’m sure I’d have some kind of supernatural power to bring any guy I liked under my charismatic control. Best I can hope for is to not decompose over someone’s shoes. How romantic.”And you thought it was hard coming out as gay… Jay was a perfectly normal teenager, like any other awkward, antisocial, gay teenager. Until he was bitten by a mysterious zombie boy. Now, Jay has far more on his mind than he can handle. Not only is he struggling to keep his troubled family together and deal with his unfulfilled love for the hottest guy in school, he also needs to keep in check his urge to devour human flesh. All the while making sure his decomposition doesn’t show. As if he wasn’t already enough of an outsider…
I was a Teenage Gay Zombie is a funny, short story. It’s truly a young adult book–from the characters to the language. The author did an excellent job keeping it on track and flowing easily.
The diary entries keep the reader entertain and wanting to know what’s next. It’s easy to believe a teenager wrote them as they answer Jay’s inner questions, helping him deal with his reality, growing pains, and his first love.
Being a zombie is an integral part of the story, but is more about dealing with the consequences than finding the reasons behind it. And as curious as I am, I wanted to learn more.
This is definitely a book written for the right audience.
I can say that this is the best cover ever. Story Perfect Dreamscape designed the perfect illustration to match Jay, his story, and attitude. It feels YA, just like the story. It got my attention from the beginning.
ebook, 98 pages
Published: July 11, 2019, by Deep Hearts YA
Edition Language: English
Hard to believe but October begins this week, sailing in on the wings of honking geese and the quizzical head turns of praying mantises still looming large in my somewhat overgrown garden. Pumpkins have appeared in the farmers markets and grocery stores alike as have the Halloween costume and candy aisles now full of all things scary or politically pertinent.
That also heralds the release of seasonal LGBT horror stories, often short or on the novelette size, looking to ride the wave of holiday horror. I always look forward to whatever new authors or old appear at this time. This is how I found the quite marvelous MD Neu who I have continued to track through the writer’s many releases at NineStar Press. Fingers crossed I’m that lucky again.
Or maybe it’s time to reconnect with some old horror or supernatural favorites. Or favorite writers with some new supernatural stories. Katey Hawthorne has a new supernatural thriller romance out A Thousand Lifetimes, which i will be reviewing later. Vampires in love. Oh yes! And TJ Klune and his great wolfpack? His latest Heartsong, as well as the new ebooks and paperback versions at Amazon (the rights are finally his and you can buy those versions at Amazon only knowing he will get the money) for Wolfsong and Ravensong. What perfect timing! Join the pack!
Next week I’m hauling out our October recommendations and updating them. Plus looking at our new October releases we are enjoying.
Until then. Happy October. Hope the weather is agreeing with you wherever you are. Happy reading, and happy listening.
Now to our week ahead.