A Stella Release Day Review: Gone by the Board by August Li

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

The sea is full of jealously guarded secrets, but everything washes up eventually….

Betrayed by a trusted partner, Nathan figures he might as well be lost and heartbroken in the sunshine, and he heads to the coast of South Carolina, to stay with a friend and find a new direction for his life. But despite his efforts, he is lost in the fog, unable to find a guiding light and sometimes unable to find a reason to go on. His only respite from depression and anxiety is the soothing rhythm of the tides and the comfort he draws from proximity to the water.

When the sea sends a lifeline in the form of a strange and beautiful man, it’s easy for Nathan to ignore all the things that don’t add up about his new friend. But the tides can turn without notice, and it’s those mystical traits that will either finally lead Nathan safely to shore or drown him in confusion and despair.

I probably have a weakness for this author, some of his stories, like The Kitchen Boy or The Union of Sun and Moon, were a huge success to me but Gone By the Board is exactly what I like to read, exactly what I want from books like this. Maybe it’s just cause August Li has a way with words that are able to bring me in the characters’ world and let me live and breath their lives with them. This is a specific quality of the author writing, the reason why I come back to his books (new and old ones) quite often. His works are always so evocative and well done I can’t have enough of them.

Gone by the Board is a moving story, it’s about Nathan and his deep struggle with a dark depression, very hard to live with. Add to it a breakup with a husband who deserves really nothing from life, least at all a man like Nathan. So Nathan decides to move to South Carolina where his best friend Rachel lives in a peaceful place along the beach. Just what Nathan needs. Some quiet to put his life back on track. And then Brume happens.

Since I received this story I already read it twice and I surely will reread it sooner. Something caught my heart. Don’t let the blurb scares you, this is not a dark story, although it deals with important themes like depression and anxiety (SPOILER ), they aren’t there to turn the story into a dark one, like often books that deal with those themes do, they put me down and give a sense of resignation, the bad kind of it. Although these themes, Gone By the Board is sweet, light, heartwarming and so full of feelings. And with an unexpected HEA. I was waiting for the author to develop the plot into the obvious (to me) kind of ending, instead he went to the opposite and it was more perfect. I still smile rethinking of it.

I didn’t reveal a lot of important details in this review, because I don’t want to spoil anything at all. I think the right way to approach this reading is knowing just what the blurb tells you and no more. That way, this new release will conquer you, surprise you and leave you with fluffiness in your tummy. I feel to recommend Gone by the Board if you are looking for something different and real even if real it can’t be.

The cover art by Anne Cain is just perfect, so well done and fitting. I can see Brume and it’s just how I imagined him in my mind.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 98 pages

Publication Date: May 24th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1635334977 (ISBN13: 9781635334975)

Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review:Summer Lessons (Winter Ball #2) by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator

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Rating 5 stars out of 5

I finished this several days ago, and I still remember every moment of the story. I loved the story itself, especially the author’s description of this young boy growing up in a loving, supportive family, where Mom has to lace the Kool-Aid to survive Mason’s fascination with his penis once he discovers all the wonderful things it can do. Honestly, only a mother with a rich sense of humor—and perhaps maybe a similar life experience—can so humorously describe that life with a young boy. Kudos, Ms. Lane! And to make this story even better—a feat that hardly seemed possible since it was already so great—add in the narration by Nick J. Russo and Mason’s story comes to life with fantastic vocalizations.

Sadly, as Mason grows older, he fails to lose his awkward tendency to shoot from the mouth before his brain engages. That’s cost him many potential boyfriends and now in his thirties, he’s far from finding a life partner. All he wants is kindness and love and someone who enjoys sex as much as he does. After all—penis! What’s not to like? He’s an exec now at the firm where Skip, the MC from Winter Ball, is working. To get him out of his shell and out to the playing field where he might meet a nice guy, Skip and Mason’s brother Dane drag him out to learn how to play soccer with their team.

There he meets a cute guy named Terry. Terry is much younger and still lives with his mother—a woman who gives nasty mothers a run for the money as top contender. She’s thrown all her responsibilities his way all his life. After all, she’s on welfare due to being burdened with a baby when she was just a kid. How could she get out of that slump? She’s put the burden of the household on his shoulders all his life so he finds it pretty hard to get out. But aside from that and the guilt he carries about carving out time to have his own time for fun, he manages to play on this soccer team and he finds Mason pretty hot. Awkward and clumsy, but hot, and though Terry doesn’t like to admit he’s gay, he is, and Mason realizes he may have found the man of his heart. Now, if only he can find the patience to let Terry come to that same conclusion and to let Terry make the moves he needs to get away from his mother.

In the meantime, Mason is dealing with Dane’s lifelong battle with manic depression—the reason Mason chose to live with Dane while Dane finishes college in a town far from their family. Mason assures that Dane stays on track with his meds, but when he goes off and his behaviors change, it comes at the worst time as Terry is finally making a move away from his mother but not cementing his relationship with Mason. The man finds the patience of a saint to continue to work with his brother and to allow Terry to spread his wings and fly. He can only hope and pray that he’ll find his way back to Mason.

Mason is one of my favorite characters, ever. I love the voice given to him by the narrator and the emotions imparted by the author. If anyone ever deserved love, it’s this smart, humble man with a sense of humor, a tendency to awkward conversations, and a heart as big as the great outdoors. Terry is the perfect companion to him and I love the way he developed as a character throughout the story. The deep voice given by Nick Russo was so individual and so right for the character as well. I’m very impressed with this audiobook version and I would highly recommend it. Though it’s book two, and the characters from book one play a minor role in this, it can definitely be read as a standalone.

The cover by Anne Cain is a simple design, yet manages to capture the three activities that dominate the outdoor summer fun experienced in the book: soccer, golf, and swimming. Simple, colorful and appropriate.

4.5 stars for the story plus an extra boost due to the outstanding narration = 5 stars for this one!

Sales Links

Dreamspinner Press |

Audiobook Details:

8 hrs 25 mins

Audible Audio

Published March 31st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published November 25th 2016)
Original TitleSummer Lessons
ASINB06XXMQ6N7
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWinter Ball #2

DSP GUEST POST Laura Bailo on The Sun Still Rises

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The Sun Still Rises (World of Love) by Laura Bailo
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Available at

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Laura Bailo here today to talk about writing, characters and her latest novel, The Sun Still Rises. Welcome, Laura!

~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Laura Bailo~

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think there are always bits and pieces of the authors that bleed into their characters. Even when all I was writing were short stories, I could see this. What I write, my words, they’re like little windows into my soul, I always put a bit of myself there. In this case, Erik’s got my anxiety and David has got my love for Pamplona. They’re not me, I didn’t write myself into the book, but I created their personalities, and I think it’s normal a piece of mine slotted there along with theirs.

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I’d say both, although I haven’t written anything that required a lot of research, at least not yet. In The Sun Still Rises, I wrote what I knew, since it’s set in my city and I’ve experienced the San Fermín festival more than once. I’ve never done the running of the bulls though, that part came completely from my imagination.

But I also enjoy making up worlds and different cultures. I started writing a fantasy story a while ago and I was loving writing it and playing with the world building. It’s on stand-by right now, but I do plan on getting back to it as soon as I can. 

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

I don’t think so, or at least, not directly. I read a lot when I was a teenager, and I read in every genre. I was reading Agatha Christie by the time I was twelve years old. But I was also reading Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and everything I could get my hands on. My mother loves reading, and she’s always loved mysteries, so I had quite a few to choose from. Still, to this day, I haven’t been tempted to write a mystery novel.

So my choice of genres didn’t really carry on into my choices for writing, but my love of reading did influence my love of writing.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Absolutely. I love picking up a romance book and knowing the characters are going to end up together, despite all the curveballs life throws at them. It gives me hope.

As for a preference between them, I’d say it depends on the book. I love HEAs, but in some cases, a HFN suits the characters better, or their circumstances.

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I didn’t read them as a teenager, although I always loved when there was a romantic element in the stories I was reading. I started reading romance just a few years ago, but from then on, I’ve been hooked and I just can’t stop. I still read other genres, but I always have a romance book in mind to start once I’ve finished my current read.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I don’t think I’ve got any specific feelings about the ebook format. Reading is reading, doesn’t matter to me how it’s done. I still love and buy paperbacks, but the ebook format has given me a whole world of new books I wouldn’t have access to otherwise. I live in Spain and mostly read in English, but finding physical books in English here in stores is kind of difficult, unless they’re either bestsellers or classics. The book format give me a lot of possibilities outside of what my usual stores have to offer, and I love that.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

Are you sure you are allowed to ask this to an author? Isn’t it like asking a parent which one of their kids they love more?

I don’t think I’ve got a favorite, or at least not so far. I haven’t written enough stories to be able to tell you “I like this above all the others”. You can ask me again in a few years.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

Officially, I’ve contracted a short story with Nine Star Press for one of their F/F Paranormal anthologies. It’s about two girls that come to Spain to walk Saint James Way and find themselves in the middle of a Galician legend.

Besides that it’s just writing, writing and writing. I’m immersed in writing a story with two 17 years old MCs, one of whom is asexual while the other one is bisexual. I’m loving writing it and getting to know the characters and where they want to go, but I’m a slow writer, so we’ll have to wait until it’s finished. And then wait to see if anyone wants to publish it.

Blurb

Erik’s father lived for Pamplona’s yearly festival and the running of the bulls. Now he’s gone, and Erik flies to Pamplona on a whim to see the festival his father loved—without booking a room first. He’s looking at sleeping on the ground until friendly David from the tourism office offers to share his home.

When Erik realizes he trusts David, that he might even be willing to face his anxiety to get to know David better, he begins to understand what this trip could mean. Pamplona is even more beautiful when seen through David’s eyes, and Erik might have traveled around the world just to find himself. But can he hold on to his newfound confidence—and to David—when it’s time to go home?

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

About the Author

Laura Bailo is a veterinarian and a teacher in training who can do surgical sutures but can’t sew on a button to save her life. 

She lives in Spain with far too many books and boxes full of notebooks. She loves exploring the narrow streets of Pamplona and she’s known to have gotten lost in her own city. She loves reading, singing and trying out new cooking recipes, and if she’s feeling adventurous she may try to do all of these at the same time.

She loves hearing from people and you can find her at:

https://www.facebook.com/laura.bailo

https://twitter.com/LauraBailo

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16360938.Laura_Bailo

https://laurabailo.wordpress.com/

INTERLUDE PRESS TOUR for And It Came to Pass by Laura Stone (author interview,excerpts and giveaway)

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And It Came to Pass by Laura Stone
I
nterlude Press

 

Purchase Links
 

 

AND IT CAME TO PASS by Laura Stone

Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is very lucky to be interviewing Laura Stone, author of And It Came to Pass.

Hi Laura, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hello, hello! I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you so much for hosting me on my book tour for And It Came to Pass! This is my third novel with Interlude Press, and I just want to gush over the cover for a moment. When the book designer sent me a proof I honestly choked up. It’s everything I could have wanted. Growing up LDS (Mormon), the church’s logo on grey granite was everywhere, on our church buildings and temples, on our books and lesson guides, and the cover serves as a sort of “calling card” for other members or even ex-members to know what the book’s subject is. Sorry for detouring for a bit, but I just wanted to make sure that CB Messer, who designed the cover, gets a little shoutout.

This novel started off almost ten years ago as a short story I’d written for a cousin who was deeply in the closet because of his father. My family is Mormon—Handcart and pioneer Mormon—and the Mormon church is not okay with acting on “homosexual feelings.” (Don’t get me started on their stance regarding transpeople, or I’ll rant and rave.) The idea in the Mormon church is that you must be straight and have children. Or, you know, at least live that way if you’re not. They went so far as to state in November of 2015 that if any members are gay, they can’t act on it. Not ever. And if you have children and are gay, your children cannot be baptized as members of the church unless they renounce you after they become adults.

It’s been pretty devastating for many church members, as you can imagine. Unfortunately, it’s also led to an absolutely frightening spike in LGBTQ suicides, and the youth are particularly vulnerable to a sense of hopelessness and wrongness. Utah currently has four times the number of suicides than anywhere else in the nation, a fact that utterly breaks my heart.

I think we all agree here that love is love is love. It was important for me to write this book to serve as a beacon of hope for the many LGBTQ Mormons out there who have yet to see themselves with a happy ending or even a hopeful one. It was crucial for me to include a family who takes their son’s coming out in stride and stands behind him. As the mother of three LGBT kids, I’ve seen first-hand how damaging it is for the opposite to happen. (And if I may, I’m just so proud of my kids. They’ve given me the courage to come out, myself.)

We need diverse books, as we all know, and that includes books that show that there are those in LGBT communities who have belief in a higher power and who also have full romantic and sexual lives with a partner. It’s not crucial that you’re Mormon to understand and engage with the story, but there’s is a world that often lives in secrecy… in many ways.

I hope you’ll take a chance and follow Adam Young and Brandon Christensen on their journey to becoming their true selves: Young men of God, gay, and in love.

Summary

Adam Young is a devout Mormon whose life is all planned out for him, by both his strict father and by his church. He follows the path they’ve established for him, including going off to his mission to Spain with mission companion Brandon Christensen—a handsome, enthusiastic practitioner of Mormonism. But as their mission progresses, they both realize they have major questions about their faith… and substantial feelings for one another.

AND IT CAME TO PASS ~ EXCERPT

“You’re quiet back there,” the Mission President said, catching Adam’s gaze in the rearview mirror. “Tired?”

“A little,” Adam answered. “Mostly it’s just…” He nodded out the window. “Overwhelmed by it, I guess?”

“It’s a beautiful country. Beautiful people, too. Family-oriented, like we are. These should be two of the best years of your life, son.”

Adam smiled weakly and sank back into his seat as the two men up front continued their discussion all the transfers happening in various districts. He pushed his fist into his churning belly and strained to see the ocean as they wove through traffic.

All of his life, his friends, family and church leaders had spoken of how amazing this moment would be, how life-changing this experience was for those who answered the call to serve. His friends had been laser-focused on how much they were looking forward to becoming missionaries; Adam had always smiled and nodded but never with the same zeal. Over and over returned missionaries spoke with passion about how they were overcome with emotion the first time they heard the thousands of missionaries at the MTC singing “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” in unison. For Adam, that experience had just been a reminder that there was something wrong with him, because instead of feeling overwhelmed with the Spirit, he’d felt like a failure for not.

* * *

As Christensen walked behind Adam to switch on the clippers, Adam shivered, closed his eyes and tried to stop the repetitive battle between thoughts of how this was wrong versus how desperately he wanted Christensen to get on with it. He wanted something to happen.
All thoughts were driven out when Christensen laid a strong, firm hand between his shoulder blades to hold Adam still while he worked. Everything, every thought and feeling, and heck, the very universe was centered on those minuscule points of contact between Christensen’s hand and Adam’s bared skin. Adam chanced a look after a while but shut his eyes again when he was confronted with his companion squatting directly in front of him, squinting at Adam’s sideburns to ensure they were the same length. Christensen’s breath moved over Adam’s lips, they were so close. He kept his eyes screwed shut; his heart beat a wild tattoo in his aching chest.

Christensen’s hand suddenly cupped the side of Adam’s neck, and, at the shocking sensation of a thumb sweeping softly over Adam’s pulse point, he let out a tiny gasp.
“Oh, my gosh,” Christensen said, his voice worried. “Did I nick you?” “Hmm? Oh, no, no, sorry. It’s fine. You’re fine.” Christensen laughed. His voice was still soft as he teased, “Oh! So, you’re just afraid I’m doing a bad job?” “N-no?” “Then relax. You look like you expect me to punch you.” He patted Adam’s shoulder and gave him a squeeze. “Just need to taper this bit in the back and you’re all done.” Christensen rubbed the palm of his hand over Adam’s head to dislodge any hairs. The friction centered itself in Adam’s skull, radiated in sensual ripples down his spine, then settled low with a pulse to match Adam’s heartbeat when Christensen leaned over to blow a few pale blond strays off the backs of his ears. Adam’s skin stippled with goose bumps. Was he imagining it? Was Christensen making an extra effort to get things just right, making sure every possible stray hair was carefully blown away or brushed off his neck and shoulders with the flat of his hand, merely in order to keep touching Adam? Or did Adam just hope so?

* * *

They pulled up to a low-slung, nondescript building in what appeared to be the business district. The Mormon Church usually bought apartment buildings in lower-rent areas for their missionaries to live in, so it was about what Adam had expected. It was nicer than some of the run-down apartment buildings in the older part of Provo, for sure. He climbed out with his backpack and duffel bag and blinked up at the bright blue sky; the spring sun was warm on his face. The driver grabbed Adam’s rolling suitcase from the trunk, handed it off and gave him a nod and a “buena suerte” before climbing back in the vehicle.

He’d always envisioned traveling his mission city on a bike—the stereotypical Mormon Missionary image—but they didn’t ride bikes in the Barcelona mission. A bicycle was too dangerous and cumbersome. He and his companion would walk almost everywhere, and he’d been told to be prepared to walk up to twelve miles a day, all in their suits and dress shoes.

The Mission President shook his hand curbside. “Well, welcome to Barcelona. Christensen will fill you in. We’ll touch base tonight, Elder. Do your best.”

“Yes, sir.”

Adam watched as the car pulled away, then jostled his gear in his arms just as the front door swung open, revealing a large, well-formed young man. He was about the same muscular build as Adam’s six-foot-two inches, except instead of Adam’s baby-fine blond hair and skin so fair his cheeks were perpetually ruddy, the new guy had inky black hair and deeply tanned skin. He almost looked Spanish himself. He was visually arresting and had an aura of confidence; his resting face radiated joy and optimism instead of the sanctimonious authoritarianism Adam had anticipated.
¡Holá!” the young man said with a bright grin on his face that made Adam’s stomach twist in a completely new way. It was all so unexpected to find… this waiting for him. Adam had imagined a younger version of his father, a ham-fisted tyrant with the aura of perfect obedience pouring off him in waves—a far cry from this young man’s happy, relaxed charm.

“So, I’m Elder Christensen. Eh, but you can call me Brandon when it’s just us.” Christensen took Adam’s duffel, hoisting it with ease, and they shook hands. “You’re Young, right?” Adam found himself tongue-tied, then managed to blurt, “Um, yeah. Yes.” When their hands met, an electric shock ran up his arm and straight to his fast-beating heart. He dropped Christensen’s hand and fumbled for his other bag. Christensen jerked his head toward the building and led the way through the interior courtyard to their apartment.

Blinking away the after-image of his new companion’s smile, Adam snapped his eyes to just over Christensen’s shoulder. This had happened once before, this intense reaction to another person. Adam, after careful and fearful prayer had attributed it to a prompting from the Spirit, to the strength of the other man’s faith making itself manifest. His prayer and scripture study led him to understand that it was how God helped His followers find each other. Church history was full of stories like that. In fact, it was how people described their first meeting with Joseph Smith, the Church’s founder and prophet.

* * *

And It Came to Pass will be published by Interlude Press on May 18, 2017. Connect with author Laura Stone at laura-stone.com; on Twitter @StoneyBoBoney; and on Facebook at facebook.com/9LauraStone.

About the Author

Laura Stone, a descendant of pioneer polygamists from the early days of the Mormon Church and a former Gospel Doctrine teacher, now keeps busy as a media blogger, ghostwriter and novelist when she’s not raising her youngest child.

While the majority of her family still lives in Utah, she resides in Texas because it’s where the good tamales are. Her first novel, The Bones of You, was published by Interlude Press in 2014 and was named a finalist for a Foreword Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Award. Her second novel,  Bitter Springs, was published by Interlude Press in 2015.

* * *

And It Came to Pass will be published by Interlude Press on May 18, 2017. Connect with author Laura Stone at laura-stone.com; on Twitter @StoneyBoBoney; and on Facebook at facebook.com/9LauraStone.

Giveaway

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Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of And It Came to Pass // Five winners receive AICTP eBook

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Farlough by Xavier Mayne

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Newly turned thirty, Cameron North is preparing himself to spend his life alone. When he inherits his great-aunt’s teashop on the remote island of Farlough, he returns for the first time in more than a dozen years to a place where memories—and demons—flit close to the surface of his mind. There he meets Gwyneth, a sassy barista who becomes his instant best friend—until Cam discovers she’s the wife of his first love, Matthias. She has only the best of intentions when she arranges a reunion between the two men, and it forces them to finally discuss why Cam left the island so long ago.

With his heart broken anew, Cam retreats to his great-aunt’s house—where he learns he is not alone. Someone—or something—has pledged an oath to look out for Cam, and as he investigates the presence, he uncovers wounds that both he and his mysterious guardian sought to escape by coming to Farlough. Now Cam must figure out how to heal them—and himself.

Oh, that synopsis….what a teaser!  I had no idea which way this story was going to go, there was even a hint that there might be an element of the supernatural here but no.  It’s simply a wonderful contemporary romance about putting the past to rest, finding out who you really are and coming home.

I absolutely need to contact Xavier Mayne to see if Farlough is real.  He made it so for me, it came alive on these pages.  I wanted to meet these people and come for the Solstice celebrations (not that it was for outsiders).  I wanted to ride the Ferry and meet everyone that lived, laughed and loved so well on this amazing island.  From the librarian to the Misters at the Tea Room and so many others, this place had my heart soon after I arrived along with Cam.

Cameron North, what a journey the author placed him on.  From lonely orphaned boy to lonely man (by choice), it’s not until he returns to Farlough that he’s able to make himself (along with another) whole again.  I won’t go into spoilers here but every time I thought the author might take a wrong zag with the storyline here, Mayne came through.  The relationship dynamics here are beautifully done, handled with adult care and sympathy.  I’m talking about Gwyneth (a wonderful character and powerhouse), Matthias, Cam’s first and only love and Gwyn’s loving husband.  This entire element is just so well done. Plus did I say how much I love Gwyneth and family?  Why, yes I do!  Duck included.

I should also mention Cam’s Aunt.  Although, physically missing from the story, the way in which the author has written it and her, she is as big a presence here as any of the characters and the island itself.  I felt as if I knew her too.  And mourned her loss along with everyone else.  That’s wonderful writing.

The other mystery person, the one left with the duty of Cam’s guardian?  I liked him too.  This is the only place where I wish there had been a little more “time” or length to let me get a real depth of feeling from these two. I did get it later in the story but not in the beginning where it said it began.  That’s my only quibble here.  Everything else is outstanding from the Misters (I couldn’t get enough of them, so adorable) to Ari, who is such a sparkling, snarky bird that he needs his own story.   I hope  Mayne is listening.

Need a new contemporary romance?  Here’s one I absolutely recommend!  Farlough by Xavier Mayne!  And if you’re listening, Xavier, contact me and let me know if Farlough is real or not.  Maybe I should just let it go.

 

Cover Artist: Reese Dante.  That cover is perfect for the story in every way.  I love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published May 22nd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleFarlough
ISBN 1635334691 (ISBN13: 9781635334692)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Sean Michael on Writing and his newest release ‘Golden’ (author interview)

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Golden by Sean Michael
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Buy links Dreamspinner Press  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sean Michael here today.  Welcome, Sean!

✒︎

Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me today

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Surprisingly no. My favorite genres have always been sci-fi, fantasy and especially post apocalyptic fiction. I love reading those the best, but I tend to write contemporary, paranormal and BDSM romance. I do have a fantasy world on the go – Windbrothers – but it’s a very different writing mindset to the romance.

  • Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

No, actually. The more my characters are hurting, the more I write on a book. I hate it when they’re hurting and I have a hard time leaving them that way, even just to go to bed. This might be one reason why my books tend not to be angst heavy.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I love HEA! I write romance – it’s all about the happy ending. There are enough terrible things going on in the world, I like to spread happiness – I want to add positivity.

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I did read a ton of romance during university – that was the way I shut my brain down in the evenings. I’d go to bed with a romance and read it, then I’d be able to sleep.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I think ebooks have made it cheaper for everyone to have lots of reading material. I think they’ve made it easier to store books no matter the size of your living space. And easier to take books with you when you’re on the go. I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I’m not allowed to pick favorites, it would rile the characters who live in my head! Having said that, my latest is usually my favorite – It always feels wonderful to be with the characters who are being written.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

More writing! No, seriously, I still love it – it’s still the best job in the world and I’m happy to believe I’ll be able to continued doing it for a long time to come.

Sean

smut fixes everything

Blurb:

After winning Olympic gold four years ago, Justin retired from swimming, and he’s been floundering ever since. The Fourth of July finds him contemplating doing something stupid, so Justin calls up his former coach, Chris Jarvis. To his surprise, Coach answers.

When Justin retired, Chris cut all ties with the swimmer he’d fallen in love with. He never wanted Justin to love him just because it was easy. But he’s been waiting for Justin to reach out, and he’ll gladly take Justin back into his life.

When he finds out Justin is drowning in a pool of self-doubt and the belief that his happy years are behind him, Chris realizes he made a mistake letting go so suddenly, and that Justin needs structure and a firm, dominant hand to keep him on the right track. It’s time to remedy his error—as long as he can convince Justin that it’s really love.

About the Author

Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.

Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.

Sean Michael on the web:

WEBSITE: http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

BLOG: http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/

TWITTER: seanmichael09

INSTAGRAM: seanmichaelpics

May Flowers and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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May Flowers

After my blog last week, May flowers are taking up all my time this Sunday.  Yesterday was garden time prep and today is planting.  So its short and sweet today.  Thanks to all the comments, its been certainly dreary enough for lots of reading, crocheting and other indoor pastimes!  Hopefully now I can catchup outdoors too!

Melanie’s Soppy Garden Contest

The winner of my giveaway is Ami!  Congratulations, Ami, Stella will be in touch about your gift card!

Now onto this week’s schedule!  More next week I promise!  Is that June I see peering around the corner?  Oh my!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, May 21:

  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Release Blitz Lace by KC Wells

Monday, May 22:

  • Blog Tour The Lure of Port Stephen by Sydney Blackburn
  • DSP GUEST POST Sean Michael on Golden
  • Release Day Blitz Drama Queens and Adult Themes by Kevin Klehr
  • Surrender the Dark Blog Tour (M/M Contemporary Romance)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:Surrender the Dark  (M/M Contemporary Romance)
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: In Your Eyes​ by Cardeno C and Charlie David (Narrator)
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Farlough by Xavier Mayne
  • A MelanieM Review: How We Operate By A.R. Moler
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Lochlann by Andrea Speed

Tuesday, May 23:

  • Blog Tour Frozen Heart by Heidi Cullinan
  • DSP GUEST POST Laura Bailo on The Sun Still Rises
  • INTERLUDE PRESS TOUR And It Came to Pass by Laura Stone
  • Release Blitz for Isobel Starling ‘s As You Wish
  • A MelanieM  Review: Frozen Heart (Love Lessons #1.5) by Heidi Cullinan
  • A VVivacious Review: Reckless Seduction & Reckless Behavior by Amanda Young
  • An Alisa Review: Truth or Lie by Lynn Lorenz
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review:Summer Lessons (Winter Ball #2) by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator

Wednesday, May 24:

  • Release Blitz Tour Request – RJ Scott – Back Home
  • Release Blitz Equality (Dublin Virtues #2) by Helena Stone
  • Review Tour – Laurent and the Beast – KA Merikan
  • A MelanieM Review: Hawaiian Orchid (The Hawaiians 2) by Meg Amor
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Gone by the Board by August Li
  • An Ali Review: The Well by Marie Sexton
  • An Alisa Review:  Laurent and the Beast by KA Merikan

Thursday, May 25:

  • RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: The Wrong Woman by Cass Lennox
  • Release Blitz Keira Andrews – Road To The Sun
  • DSP GUEST POST Andrea Speed on Lochlann
  • DSP GUEST POST Diana Copland
  • A Caryn Review: A Good Neighbor by Clare London
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Seidman by James Erich
  • A VVivacious Review: Performance Review by Tamryn Eradani
  • An Alisa Review: Cutting Cords by Morticia Knight

Friday, May 26:

  • DSP GUEST POST Mario Kai Lipinski
  • Review Tour – By The Numbers by RJ Scott
  • Review Tour The Devils Pride MC Series by Jessie G
  • A MelanieM Review: By the Numbers by RJ Scott
  • An Alisa Review: The Devils Pride MC series by Jessie G
    (Tricking Chase (The Devils Pride MC #1) Talk Dirty to Me (The Devils Pride MC #2)
    Tys that Bind (The Devils Pride MC #2.5)

Saturday, May 27:

  • Release Blitz Before You Break (Secrets #1)  by KC Wells
  • Release Blitz Josephine Myles – Junk (Bristol Collection #1)
  • A MelanieM Review: Wallaçonia by David Pratt

An Ali Release Day Review: Michael, Reinvented (Delta Restorations #2) by Diana Copland

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Cute hipster and interior designer Michael doesn’t do love—not after his ex screwed him over. Sex is a different story, though, and the gentle giant who’s painting the mural in the old mansion they’re restoring might be perfect hookup material. Gil is just Michael’s type with his solid muscle, wicked sense of humor, and the hazel eyes that seem to see into Michael’s soul.

Trouble is, Gil does do love. He wants romance and forever, and he’s set his sights firmly on Michael. Michael’s not going there again.

Yet when Michael is the victim of a vandal who’s been plaguing the men working for Delta Restoration, Renovation, and Design, Gil is the first person he tells. No matter how he fights it, it’s becoming harder and harder to deny he’s crazy about the guy—even if that thought terrifies him. But the true fear sets in when the criminal behavior escalates, and Michael realizes he might have lost the chance to tell Gil how he feels—forever.
This was an enjoyable second installment in the Delta Restorations series.  This picks up a few months down the road from the end of book one.  The guys have put their company together and have worked a few smaller jobs.  At the start of this, they land a big job of a grand old house.  It’s the kind of job that could really make them a successful company.  
If you read book one, you will remember Michael was David’s close friend and assistant at work.  Michael has continued to be a part of the company and this new job puts him in constant contact with Gil.  Michael says Gil annoys him but he’s secretly attracted to the man.  They snark and banter back and forth with each other but everyone can tell there is more between the two men.  A series of series incidents cause Michael to need to rely on Gil for some help and they become friends of a sort.  As the story goes on though, Michael realizes he may lose Gil forever and he needs to make some serious decisions.
The mystery part of the book was a big piece of the story.  It actually over rode the romance which I didn’t necessarily mind.  It was fast paced and entertaining and I enjoyed it a lot.  The work on the house as well as the mystery gave us an interesting plot and it gave a us a good chance to see all of the other characters for much of the book.
 
The romance part was not as good for me.  I liked the two men together but it felt very insta-love.  They’d apparently gotten to know each other during the time from when the last book ends to when this one starts.  They problem for me was we don’t see any of that.  They’re snarking at each other and then they’re pledging their undying love.  I didn’t really understand how we got from one point to the next.
 
Overall though, I did like this.  I liked the mystery aspect and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  This book could technically be read as a standalone but I think it’s best if you read book one first.  They background of the characters as well as the mystery part were set up in book one.  I think a reader would like this book more if they had all that background.
 
 The cover was done by Anne Cain.  I liked the cover and I think it is a really good representation to the plot of the book and how they book physically describes the MC’s.  I also like the colors.  They really catch your eye and draw you to it.
Sales Links
Book Details:
ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: May 19th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleMichael, Reinvented
ISBN 1635336414 (ISBN13: 9781635336412)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDelta Restorations #2

A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Sun Still Rises (World of Love) by Laura Bailo

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 

Erik’s father lived for Pamplona’s yearly festival and the running of the bulls. Now he’s gone, and Erik flies to Pamplona on a whim to see the festival his father loved—without booking a room first. He’s looking at sleeping on the ground until friendly David from the tourism office offers to share his home.

When Erik realizes he trusts David, that he might even be willing to face his anxiety to get to know David better, he begins to understand what this trip could mean. Pamplona is even more beautiful when seen through David’s eyes, and Erik might have traveled around the world just to find himself. But can he hold on to his newfound confidence—and to David—when it’s time to go home?

The running of the bulls in Pamplona has always fascinated me.  Combine that with the fact that the author lives there so I figured the story would be authentic in the customs and location and I was excited to read this story, The Sun Still Rises by Laura Bailo.

For the most part, the author delivered a delightful, layered story of recovery, connection, and closure that was also a romance.  That’s a lot for a book that includes a sightseeing trip to Pamplona, Spain for its well-known running of the bulls. Did I mention it’s 86 pages long?

It starts off with a conversation between Erik and his father, someone who loves the City of Pamplona and goes yearly for the running of the bulls.  Erik has never gone with him for a number of reasons that will be revealed. It’s a typical father son talk but layered over with the painful foreknowledge for the reader. We know what’s coming.

The transition forward is handled quickly in steps and I thought it was well done.  We grieve with Erik for the loss of his father, someone he was so clearly close to while learning more about Erik himself and their relationship.

The biggest jump lands us in Spain and Erik totally out of his depth in every way.  I loved every part of this section.  Erik’s meeting with David, the reader’s immersion into the city of Pamplona, the rituals of the bull running (everything from the route to the prayer), and the slide into a relationship for these two men.  Even the treatment of Erik’s anxiety attacks is handled accurately, folding it naturally within the romance itself, an element I really liked.

Another aspect of this story that I loved (and wished had been enlarged somewhat) was the character of Eli, a good friend of David’s and a fan of Erik’s. Much is made of this character, they are a big part here as well as being brought in at a timely place at the end of the story so I wanted more of them.  Perhaps the author is planning another story about them.  I hope so.

So if I loved this story so much why not a higher rating?

That ending.  This story was all about Erik needing to find some connection to his father again and some closure with his death, learning to move forward or learning that he’d been mired more than he thought in his grief and could get past it.  Connections and closure.  But the author in a way denies the readers a final, delightful closure, leaving us that final, one step away from the finish line.  I was astonished.  I’ve seen other authors use this method and I’ve never been a fan.

I’m especially not a fan here.  If you read it, tell me your feelings about the ending, I’m curious to know.  As I said I really loved everything else about the book.  At 86 pages, Laura Bailo showcased her city, wrote a sweet and gentle romance and introduced several intriguing secondary characters.  If I could only get past that ending.

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht.  Terrific cover, love the model, and the bottom with the streets of Pamplona and the bulls is outstanding.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook, 86 pages
Expected publication: May 17th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

A Lila Release Day Review: A Taste of Honey by Ari McKay

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Boone Phillips needs a girlfriend—now! If he shows up to the family reunion alone, his mother will throw every woman in sight at him. But the only “woman” Boone trusts enough to ask is Honey, the drag queen alter ego of his best friend, Rob. It’s a crazy idea, but Boone is desperate.

Boone wins Rob over to the idea after first going on a “date” with him as Honey, but everything feels different once the plan is set in motion. Between nosy relatives, illegal moonshine, and the sight of Rob in white lace panties, Boone starts to wonder if he’s as straight as he thought. When an earth-shattering kiss sends Rob running, however, Boone learns some surprising things about both his family and himself. Now he needs to convince Rob to give him another chance, or his first taste of Honey might also be his last.

A Taste of Honey is a charming, southern, friends-to-lovers story.  It can almost be read as two couples—Rob and Boone & Honey and Boone—with the exception of the beginning and the end where the transition between them morphs into one. And that’s the main plot in the story.

There are several tropes the author used well to bring the characters together and to give them a sense of place. The setting is an important part and the reader to see it through the characters’ eyes. The food, dialogues, and somehow stereotypical characters added to the charm.

Even when Rob cross-dresses into Honey, and is in character when they visited Boone’s family, this story doesn’t center around it. It is a sweet, slow romance that takes time to simmer. The MCs’ friendship is strong enough to carry the book.

If you are looking for a short story with nice characters and a different take on bringing “the one” home to the family, you will enjoy this book.

The cover by Reese Dante shows a perfect mix of Honey and Rob. A great hint to the story to come.

Sale Links: DreamspinnerAmazon | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 88 pages
Published: May 17, 2017 (Second Edition), by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-63533-580-4
Edition Language: English