Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell

If you’ve read a book by RJ Scott or V.L. Locey to name two authors quickly off the top of my head, well, then you’ve seen the covers of Meredith Russell.  If you read some or all of the stories  in The Christmas Angel series by various authors, then you’ve seen the covers of Meredith Russell.  And of course, if you’ve read Dead Things or Fallout,  you’ve seen a cover created by the artist for a book she’s written.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus if you are a follower of either RJ Scott or VL Locey or the MM Hockey Romance Group, then you are familiar with the adorable chibis that Meredith Russell draws of the characters of the Harrisburg Railers hockey players and their mates and families.  I’m hoping she will extend it to the Rush soon.  Here is the first chibi she drew.  It’s Tennant Rowe! The others can be found here at

Railers Chibi-style promo pieces

Adorable, right?  If you are a fan of the Harrisburg Railers series by RJ Scott and VL Locey, then you know Ten is featured in a very special story that’s to be released this summer, June 30th 2019.  Here’s a look at the cover by Meredith Russell, of course|
Now onto our interview….

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Meredith Russell on Art, Book Covers and Much More

  • How long it takes to put together a cover draft and whether or not they make multiple drafts to show authors/publishers?

Making a draft varies author to author for me. Some come with ideas, or a set style they’ve adopted, or images they’ve found themselves and so we go down one route and a single draft, and it’s a rather painless process. Then others need to see something to help decide what they actually are after from a cover. I’ve never really paid a lot of attention to exactly how long I spend on a draft. There are various stages I go through – getting any info or ideas from the author, looking at what images are available and which might work together, some back and forth with the author as to whether images fit with what they’re after, and finally the cutting/pasting/making etc of the draft. The time adds up but usually after a few days I have something to show them and a starting point to tweak into something final.

  • How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere (like Shutterstock

I work pretty much exclusively with images from stock sites so I am limited in some ways to what I can find on them and how I can maybe manipulate them into what we need. However, I would love to venture into digital art but I haven’t found the time to devote myself to figuring it out or getting the resources I’d need. I’ve had fun creating some simple drawings for RJ Scott, and a couple of others, who have had me turn their characters into little cartoon people though.

  • How much input comes from the author and/or storyline?

Again it varies. Some authors have a set idea of what they want. Some (naming no names lol) come to me requesting a man with brown hair and give me a couple of details about the story’s setting. I do like to know about the storyline or at least key moments or places that can be incorporated into the cover.

  • How did you get to become a cover artist?

What feels like a long time ago now, I used to do bits of fan art, mostly fanfiction banners for myself and some other writers. When RJ Scott went on to self-publishing she asked me to create her a cover and it went from there.

What mediums do you use? 

I work on a pc. I do have a pen and tablet that I use for drawing the cartoon characters (see above), but also a lot of those do actually start out as pencil and paper sketches that I then digitize and use as a guide.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done? 

Oh that’s a tough one. I recently did a set of seven covers for a series called The Christmas Angel. I liked how they turned out along with the challenge some of them offered considering they were all set in different time periods. A few others I really like include Liam Livings’ And Then That Happened, RJ Scott’s Boy Banned, KC Wells’ A Christmas Promise, and an as yet untitled merman cover I created as a premade that Amber Kell bought off me. Somebody should poke her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

I do. I really love Jay Aheer’s work. She does some beautiful pieces.

Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?

I don’t think so much as a child. I was more about the title and blurb, particularly considering what was popular in way of covers back then, or at least for the kinds of books I was reading. It wasn’t until maybe early twenties where I started being tempted by pretty covers, quite a few being the YA type books, or having a striking female model on them.

What do you find most rewarding as a Book Cover Artist?

I just really enjoy getting to work with the authors. I enjoy the sharing of emails, building a working relationship and even friendships.

If you could ask yourself a question, what would it be?

It would be, ‘Have you remembered about that request you got over on Facebook?’ Seriously, I have a terrible memory and am constantly emailing myself or telling people to send details in emails as my inbox is something I have open all day whilst on my computer and can easily check on my phone when I’m not at my desk.

From the Christmas Angel series…

For both the Author and Cover Artist:

  • What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?

Firstly, as an attention grabber. If you’re looking for something beyond the regular authors you read, the title and cover are the first things you’re exposed to so it helps if they make an impression. And secondly, covers can be a way of making a brand for authors. It might be they all have a set look – so maybe a single model on the cover, or simply keeping the font for their name consistent for all their books.

  • How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

I don’t think it’s changed it too greatly, in that whether you’re walking a row of books in a store or scrolling through online pages of somewhere like Amazon, covers are there to grab your attention.

  • What trends do you see in Book Covers in the industry? Past, present, and future?  {for example the rise of the naked half male torso, model overuse, generic covers ,etc.)

I think like with everything styles come in and out of fashion. There was the time of the headless models, shirtless torsos, two models, touched up single image covers,  Recently, for me at least, it’s been focusing on a single model on covers, for example The Christmas Angel series and having just one of the characters on there. And unfortunately, because cost is a factor for many authors when paying for cover art, repeated use of models from stock sites is difficult to avoid, but it offers artists the challenge to try and use them differently.

  • How do you feel about them?

Personally, I think the only trend I didn’t like was the headless men one. I know it was a way to make use of limited models in the earlier days, plus allows readers to form their own image of the character simply from whatever descriptions the authors wrote about them, but for me, I just wasn’t a fan. Otherwise, each trend has its place and does its job. There’s a risk of all books looking the same, but that’s then up to the artists, and also the authors and their input, to put their own twist on what’s popular.

  • Anything you would like to share with our readers?

If you’re interested in my work both as an author and cover artist you can view details at my website meredithrussell.co.uk, or find me over at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/meredithrussellauthor. Thank you.

 

About Meredith

Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing. Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.

Meredith Russell’s Media links
I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s spotlight with Meredith Russell.  It has been a joy getting to know her further.  Please check out more of her artwork and stories at her website listed above.
We have more Artist Spotlights Scheduled. The schedule to date (with links in case you missed one):
February 09:  Aisha Akeju
February 10:   Garrett Leigh
February 17:   Meredith Russell
February 24:  Reese Dante
March  3           Paul Richmond

Cover Artist Giveaway:

Please don’t forget to leave comments or questions for our artists to be entered into our Book Cover Artist Giveaway, a Gift Certificate for $10 the person chosen.  Please leave a email address where you can be reached.  Open until St. Patrick’s Day.
Now for this week’s reviews and tours.  Happy Reading and Listening!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 17:

  • Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A MelanieM Review: Hat Trick (Harrisburg Railers #8) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Monday, February 18:

  • Release Blitz Milo by Lily Morton
  • Amy Lane Author Guest Post
  • Harmony Ink YA John Goode
  • An Alisa Review: Port in a Storm (Kitten and Witch #1) by K.L. Noone
  • A MelanieM Review: Wolff (Redemption #1) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lucy Review: Shine (Uncorked #4) by Shea Balik
  • A Free Dreamer Review: For the Clan by Archer Kay Leah

Tuesday, February 19:

  • Book Blitz for Blood Lust by L.E. Royal
  • Cover Reveal – Broken by Colette Davison
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ithani (The Oberon Cycle #3) by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: My Fair Brady by K.C. Wells
  • A Lucy Audio Review: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Catesj and  Colin Darcy (Narrator)

Wednesday, February 20:

  • Ostakis by Angelica Primm
  • Review Tour – Sam Burns – Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan
  • Cover Reveal,- The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley
  • A Lucy Review: Sweet (Uncorked #5) by Shea Balik
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan Harbor Cycle #8) by Sam Burns
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez

Thursday, February 21:

  • BLOG TOUR Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock
  • An ALisa Review: The Romantic by Elodie Parkes
  • A MelanieM Review: Gage (Redemption #2) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lila Review The Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon by Megan Derr
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin

Friday, February 22:

  • OLD SINS by Charlie Cochrane Tour by Charlie Cochrane
  • Release Blitz – Jay Northcote – Better Place (Rainbow Place #3)
  • DSP PROMO Andrew Grey on Reunited
  • Book Blast – Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • An Alisa Review: Ace of Hearts by Caitlin Ricci
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Broken Alpha (The Alpha/Omega Verse #1) by D.C. Juris
  • A Caryn Review: Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock

Saturday, February 23:

  • Release Blitz Signal – Kris Jacen – Step Up With Me
  • “Ithani” by J. Scott Coatsworth Mark (OWL) Tour
  • A MelanieM Review:  Step Up With Me by Kris Jacen
  • A MelanieM Review Waiting on the Rain by Freddy MacKay

Blog Tour for Darkness Dawns by Zakarrie Clarke (excerpt and giveaway)

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BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Darkness Dawns

Author: Zakarrie Clarke

Publisher: MLR Press

Genre/s: Contemporary/Humour/MM/Disability (Blindness)

Length: 65 000 words/150 PDF pages

Release Date: February 1, 2019

It’s a novel with a sequel. The first 43 chapters form Darkness Dawns; it concludes on a HFN and the sequel completes the novel.

I’ve written both, but thought it best to split it, or it would be over 140 000 words long.

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

Darkness Dawns is a love story. It also tells the tale of one man’s war with himself, brought onto the battlefield of his blindness. Leo Ferrar suffers from diabetic retinopathy and lost his sight two years ago. Unable to bear the scrutiny of strangers or the impact of his blindness on those he loves, Leo has determined on shutting the world out ever since. This is the man Ben meets on his first day at work as Mr Ferrar’s care assistant.

A former heroin addict, Ben was sentenced to six months community service as punishment for his crimes by a judge entitled to condemn him to a seven-year stretch. Far too charming for his own welfare, Ben proves unaccountably brilliant at ‘bulldozing the blind’.

When fate sees fit to dispatch Ben to the home of the man he has dubbed Mr Ferrarcious; it is with the words of the last five unfortunates who’d dared darken Leo’s doorway ringing in his ears.  A door that is opened by a man who might be Lord Byron himself. Drop dead gorgeous and as hot as hell, Leo Ferrar has the most beautiful eyes Ben has ever seen.

Never has an irony seemed so cruel. Nor fate so fortuitous.

Buy Links

Publisher – MLR 

Amazon US Author Page

Amazon UK Author Page

Excerpt

Leo knew he should have opted to use the cane, instead of the arm Ben offered him for their unexpected walk. Should. Every time that word left someone’s lips, Leo wanted to scream; fists clenched in a screech of hopeless, helpless rage. The fact that everything he should do was For-His-Own-Benefit, made it so much worse, which was as ludicrous as it was true. Independence was the only thing he had left to aspire to. So, why the fuck did should rub Leo so raw it obliterated any inclination he may have had to do whatever it prefaced? He ought to want to do the things he should. But what if he tried…and failed? What if Leo couldn’t master any of them? Then he would lose even the hope that he might, one day, be able to. Even more galling, that loss would be down to him, because he was so bloody useless. He did want to show Ben that he was quite capable of managing…didn’t he? Very much, although why that mattered, Leo had no idea.

Why care what this latest in a long line of functioning eyeballs thought of him? It was probably more politic to say, ‘visually unimpaired’. Visually Impaired. Leo had to stifle the urge to punch people who described him thus. Impaired? Adj: weakened or damaged. Weak. Weakened. F’fucksakes. He was still chewing that particular wasp when Ben asked for his wrist.

Does he intend to lead me by it, as if I’m a toddler?

Leo found himself holding it out anyway. Christ knows why he was going along with all this. It was just that…being in Ben’s company was rather like sitting in the passenger seat of a snow plough driven by a drunk. Far preferable to standing in its path…and yet, somehow more appealing than staying behind, wherever the hell it was off to.

Nevertheless, he was still relieved when Ben clasped the proffered wrist—not to cart Leo off as he’d feared—but to plant his hand on top of Ben’s head. The fact that Leo could have changed the lightbulb without stretching a whole lot further, did seem to suggest he’d been addressing Ben’s nipples for the last half hour.

Quite how Ben then contrived to claim fault for something that was Leo’s mistake was less clear, but this was pulled off with such disarming charm, it would’ve been churlish to argue otherwise. Why the hell did the notion of calling Ben’s bluff feel as brutal a prospect as drowning his cat? If he had one, of course. Cat? More to the point…nipples?

“Thank you,” Leo managed to mumble, which was something of a result itself. Half an hour with Ben and he’d started to feel several sandwiches short of the proverbial picnic. He’d also begun to suspect that Violet had been a sweet little old lady—and quite sane—when she’d met Ben.

So off they went. The blindingly daft leading the blind off on a stroll around Camden.

In a bid to distract himself from well, pretty much everything he’d thought for the last five minutes, Leo decided to ask Ben to describe himself. For some reason he was intrigued, not only to know what Ben looked like, but to hear the picture he drew. Leo had an inkling this would prove more unmissable than an aural tour around the National Portrait Gallery. Unmissable? It was a bloody masterpiece. There most definitely were not any renderings of Steptoe’s six-four daughter there. The last two years might have felt a damn sight less soul-destroying if Ben had voiced Leo’s DVD visual descriptions.

Walking outside had lost all its appeal when the world became a giant landmine lying in wait to blow up in Leo’s face; every step into the unknown, a potential public humiliation. Despite this, and Ben’s partiality to lamp posts, they somehow arrived in Gloucester Crescent, alive and well. Even more shocking, was that Leo hadn’t fretted about…anything really, along the way. He’d just drifted along, listening to Ben weave words too beguiling to question where embellishment waved farewell to the truth. But who the fuck would want to, when that would feel as blasphemous as punching a fist through a Picasso?

About the Author

When Zakarrie was little and dreamed big, she wanted to be a writer. Just like Enid Blyton. Or p’raps not…having been most remiss on the lashings of ginger beer front. After moving to London at eighteen and flitting about for far too long, she finally settled, as blissy as can be, by the sea. When her castaway dreams resurfaced, they were believed into being by the warm words of friends who breathed life into her own. Her one wish now is that someone, somewhere, might enjoy the misadventures of her miscreants as much as she adores writing them.

Author Links

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a £10 Amazon gift card and a choice of ebook from Zakarrie’s backlist.

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More On Book Covers And Cover Artists ~ This Week Garrett Leigh! Our Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Author and Artist: Garrett Leigh

More On Book Covers And Cover Artists

 This Week the Fabulous Garrett Leigh!

Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

When I am looking at book covers, I can spot a Garrett Leigh cover just at a glance.  It has a certain style, a tone, a composition that states that yes, this cover was created by Garrett Leigh, and no other.

When sending out Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words questions, Garrett Leigh not only snapped immediately to mind because of the instant recognition factor in her covers but because Leigh is also an author as well.  Leigh is in a unique position in that a Garrett Leigh novel can have (although not always) a Garrett Leigh cover, one perfectly tuned to the story and characters within.

I can think of only a few other author/artists off the top of my head in a similar position.  Meredith Russell, LC Chase are among them.

So we are lucky to have Garrett Leigh here today answering our questions about books, cover artists, the future of covers, and much more.  Check it all out below.  Also the link to Garrett Leigh’s design website, Black Jazz Design.  Don’t miss out on the gallery there and all the many book covers.  Such a delight!

From Garrett Leigh:

Cover Book and Cover Artist Questions:

  • How long it takes to put together a cover draft and whether or not they make multiple drafts to show authors/publishers?

The time frame varies from job to job. For example, I’ve worked on a series cover today, book 6, that took me half an hour, as we already knew which model we were using, and exactly how the cover would look. Over the weekend, I did a job for a publisher that required three markedly different drafts, before one was chosen to work on further.

  • How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere (like Shutterstock)

I’m a photographic artist, so most of images come from stock sites, or my husband’s collection (he is a pro photographer/videographer). Stock sites are invaluable, though.

  • How much input comes from the author and/or storyline?

Again, it depends on the job. Some authors have a clear idea of what they want, and the book is already written, and some have no clue and want their art before they start writing the book. When working with publishers, you also have to consider house style.

As far as the story itself is concerned, the most important aspect is the tone. I wouldn’t want to make a super gritty thriller cover for a cute holiday romance.

  • How did you get to become a cover artist?

Entirely by accident. I wanted something specific for a book of my own, so I made it myself and went from there.

  • What mediums do you use?  

Photoshop, Illustrator, Daz, Wacom.

  • Do you have a favorite cover you have done?

That’s like asking me to choose between my children, but I do have a few I don’t like. And no, I’m not saying which ones, haha.

  • Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

Loads. We’re super lucky in the romance genre in that there are dozens of stellar artists to choose from. And I’m good friends with a few too—Kellie Dennis, Jay Aheer, Meredith Russell.

  • Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?

Not that I can remember, but I mainly read Enid Blyton, so…

  • What do you find most rewarding as a Book Cover Artist?

When a job “clicks” and the author is over the moon. It makes the trickier jobs worthwhile.

  • If you could ask yourself a question, what would it be?

Where the hell did you put the spare laptop you bought for camping last year?

For both the Author and Cover Artist:

  • What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?

The cover is equally, if not more, important as the blurb. I choose my books with my eyes first, and if a book has a crappy cover, I’ll scroll on by unless it’s been specifically recommended to me.

  • How has the eBook format changed that, if any?

eBooks have been around as long as I’ve been a professional artist, so I honestly couldn’t say.

  • What trends do you see in Book Covers in the industry? Past, present, and future?  {for example the rise of the naked half male torso, model overuse ,generic covers ,etc.)

Chalkboard cursive fonts are still in, with warm happy colours. But the moody black and white hero is a long time favourite in the romance genre.

  • How do you feel about them?

Naked torsos? I’ve produced many covers with torsos, and read many books with them on the cover. I think they’re awesome if they suit the book.

  • Anything you would like to share with our readers?

I bought a cheap laptop last year so I could write on a camping trip. If anyone has any ideas as to where I might have put it, that would be amazing.

About the Author/Artist:

Bonus Material available for all books on Garrett’s Patreon account. Includes short stories from Misfits, Slide, Strays, What Remains, Dream, and much more. Sign up here: https://www.patreon.com/garrettleigh

Facebook Fan Group, Garrett’s Den… https://www.facebook.com/groups/garre

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer, cover artist, and book designer. Her debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards, and was again a finalist in 2017 with Rented Heart.

In 2017, she won the EPIC award in contemporary romance with her military novel, Between Ghosts, and the contemporary romance category in the Bisexual Book Awards with her novel What Remains.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with photographer Dan Burgess.

Contact Garrett Leigh at:

Website
Twitter

 

 

 

 

More to come next week with author/artist Meredith Russell .  Meanwhile keep checking out our reviews and our covers below.  What do you think of them?  Do they grab your attention?  I love quite a few this week.  Have a great week.  Happy reading to all!  And Happy Valentine’s Day!

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

 

Sunday, February 10:

  • More On Book Covers And Cover Artists ~ This Week Garrett Leigh!
  • Our Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A Lucy Review Full Bodied (Uncorked #2) by Shea Balik

Monday, February 11:

  • Release Blitz NOBLE HOPS by Layla Reyne
  • Release Blitz – Outlaw Girls – Miss Merikan
  • PROMO Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin
  • An Alisa Review: How Not to Blend  (Lovestrong #1) by Susan Hawke
  • A Lucy Review: Snowed In: Jonah and Cooper by Kris T. Bethke
  • A MelanieM Review: In Case You Missed It (#lovehim #3) by S.M. James
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Battle of Will by Sasha L. Miller

Tuesday, February 12:

  • TOUR Kicking up My Heels by Liam Livings
  • Release Blitz – In Case You Missed It by S. M. James
  • Andrew Grey on Rebound
  • An Alisa Review: Stepbrother’s Secret (Men of Meadowfall #6) by Anna Wineheart
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Rebound by Andrew Grey
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: How to Be a Movie Star (How to Be #2) by TJ Klune
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Familiar Demon (Familiar Love #2) by Amy Lane

Wednesday, February 13:

  • Release Blitz – Damaged by Tricia Owens
  • PROMO The Vampire’s Quest by Damian Serbu
  • Blog Tour – Darkness Dawns by Zakarrie Clarke
  • An Alisa Review: Square One by Dale Chase
  • A Stella Release Day Review: How to Be a Movie Star (How to Be #2) by TJ Klune
  • A Jeri Review: Damaged by Tricia Owens

Thursday, February 14: Happy Valentine’s Day ❤️

  • Release Blitz for Sam Burns – Eagle In The Hawthorn
  • An Ashlez Audio Review: Road of No Return: Hounds of Valhalla MC (Sex & Mayhem #1) by K.A. Merikan and Wyatt Baker (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: Hidden Hearts (Bad Valentine #3) by Clare London
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Blood Echo by L.E. Royal
  • A MelanieM Review Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

Friday, February 15:

  • Tour and Giveaway:Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane
  • Release Blitz – Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • A MelanieM Review: Peony Lanterns by Patricia Correll
  • A Lucy Review Blush (Uncorked #3) by Shea Balik
  • A Lila Review: Faeted Box Set By Caitlin Ricci
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review :Royal Guardian (Rise of the Symbionts #1) by Jo Tannah

Saturday, February 16:

  • A MelanieM Review: Little (Trenton Security #2) by J.M. Dabney
  • Release Blitz – Nell Iris – Snowed In: Nen and Anani

 

An Alisa Review: Home is Where The Heart Is (Isle of Misfit Toys) by Pelaam

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

On the Island of Misfits, Artie waits. As a teddy bear toy, no one wanted him, and he yearns for love and his forever home. When finally taken back to the human world, Artie doesn’t find a child waiting to claim him. Instead he has a life he never dreamed of and a niece to care for as Christmas fast approaches.

He’s given an opportunity for love but only has until Christmas. If he fails, he’ll lose not only the memories of his past life, but the chance to be united with his soul mate.

In a magical antique shop, Artie finds the man of his dreams. With time running out can Artie not just have his own happy ever after but save the shop from the owner’s unscrupulous nephew.

This was a cute story.  I thought the idea of these were interesting, the toys have both a human and a toy body that they can in either at any time but not shifting just seemingly shifting consciousness.

I felt for Artie and how lonely he felt but loved how willingly he took the reins of the new life he is given.  Cody is so adorable sweet and it is wonderful that he had Jeremy to support him and that Artie came to help him too.  Chrissy was also so adorable, even though she wasn’t around that long.  I enjoyed this story but didn’t feel a lot of depth in it, it felt like a nice fluffy story which was perfect for me right now.

The cover art by Kris Jacen is nice and liked the visual of the characters and the all so important Christmas tree.

Sales Links: MLR Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 21,000 pages

Published: November 9, 2018 by MLR Books

ISBN: 978-1-6412-21924

Edition Language: English

Series: Isle of Misfit Toys

Poll Results, Posts, and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Poll Results, Future Posts, and  How We Look At Covers

I loved looking at our poll results from last Sunday.  It turns out that most of our readers like short LGBT stories and find the ones they are reading pretty enjoyable.  Also gleaned from the polls? Most of the books are purchased from Amazon first, then the publishers, then a third source, which is probably not a surprise to anyone as that juggernaut  continues to plow on with major consequences for all, not just the book world.  Only time it seems will be able to stop Amazon.  All others will have to adjust.

Audiobooks?  A surprise!  I really thought our numbers would reflect the industry’s here.  But for our readers only 50 percent listen to audiobooks, 43 percent don’t, and the rest don’t but can’t tell you why.  Huh.  According to the  industry many more are listening to books these days than actually  reading them.  A figure I   also find surprising.  Maybe the real answer lies somewhere in between.  Another assumption of mine?  That more readers actually followed narrators but that turned out not to be true.  They listened to books no matter who narrated them.  Now I’m sure people actually do look for certain narrators. I certainly do.  But it doesn’t stop them from listening to stories with other narrators, including narrators they may be unfamiliar with.  Which is great news for new narrators and all companies who produce audiobooks.

Then it comes down to book covers. Do they still matter?  The answer is a resounding yes!  A majority of our readers, 72 percent, say covers matter.  Which might surprise some in this age of the eBook but it shouldn’t because those covers are heavily featured too.  In tours, ads, and yes, on the books themselves on publishers sites and Amazon.  People still choose books by their covers (29 percent) but no one said they don’t look at them.  Everyone looks at them and has a judgement about them.  Do you love them?  Do they make you go meh?  Do you glance over them or is your attention grabbed immediately?  Are you transported to another world or into a story?   Did the artist do their job?  And what is their job?

And do you, my readers, sense a post coming on? lol

Why yes, you do!

You see, I have been passionate about covers all my reading life, since the first cover caught my attention and made me want to pick it up and ask “what’s this about?”  I’ve been asking that question ever since no matter the  genre.  Great artists continue to pull me in.  I even have an oil  painting on my wall that was once the cover of a book.  It’s gorgeous.  I can look at certain covers and at a glance know that it was done by Garrett Leigh or Paul Richmond, Simone’ or Anne Cain.  There’s a style , a tone that shouts that artist’s name.  The same goes for Reese Dante.  A Reece Notley cover?  Yep.  Aisha Akeju is another who’s artist is quirky and different.  Just look at that artist’s covers for Mell Eight’s series.

When I think of new or newer artists that stand out, Natasha Snow jumps to mind.  Her covers are  extremely popular and well done. Meredith Russell and Kris Jacen too.

I love it when I see a gorgeous cover that has been carefully crafted so that its not only dramatic but that it tells a story, as it should.  Covers have a job to do.  And many are forgetting that these days.

If I had a Skittle for every cover that had nothing to do with the story within, that seemed generic, that had a half naked male torso on it and left it at that, etc, I would have a gallon full.

Boy, I struggled to find great covers this year.  First time ever.

So here we go.

 

And if you could ask a cover artist any question, what would it be?  Send them in and be entered in our Ask A Cover Artist Giveaway!  Ends in 2 weeks.

And I have also give you all three covers for the amazing novel,  The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle #4) by Ursula K. Le Guin.  My version was that first one.  Each was a different edition with, of course, a different cover.  What do you think of them and which do you prefer?  And why?  And how many of you have read this story?  Curious on my part…..

 

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 20:

  • Poll Results, Posts, and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Freebie Blitz for Shane and Trey (Enemies to Lovers #1) by Anyta Sunday

Monday, January 21:

  • Cover Reveal  – Rat Park by Marina Vivancos
  • Release Day Blitz Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert
  • BLITZ Unlocking the Doctor’s Heart by Liam Livings
  •  PROMO R.L. Merrill
  • An Alisa Review: Elemental Magick (The Donovan Coven #1) by Jacki James
  • A Stella Review: How Not to Blend (Lovestrong #1) by Susan Hawke
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review Out in the Offense by Lane Hayes

Tuesday, January 22:

  • Review Tour – V.L. Locey – One-On-One (Cayuga Cougars #5)
  • BLITZ Contact by M.D. Neu
  • Tour for Abaddon’s Locusts (A BJ Vinson Mystery #5) by Don Travis
  • An Ashlez Release Day Review: The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick
  • An Alisa Review: At Home (Finding Home #1) by Carly Marie
  • An Ashlez Review: I Wished For You by Colette Davison
  • A MelanieM Review: One-On-One (Cayuga Cougars #5) by  V.L. Locey

Wednesday, January 23:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway:If I Ever by SE Jakes
  • BLITZ Half Life by Gregory L. Norris
  • Blog Tour Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert
  •  PROMO Claudia Mayrant
  • An Alisa Review: Home is Where The Heart Is (Isle of Misfit Toys) by Pelaam
  • A Lucy Review: Pisces Floors Taurus (Signs of Love #4.5) by Anyta Sunday
  • A MelanieM Review: Sins of the Son (Arcadia Trust, #3) by Christian Baines

Thursday, January 24:

  • Release Blitz – I Wished For You by Colette Davison
  • BLITZ The Fairy Pond by Jason Black
  •  PROMO A. Nybo
  • A Lucy Review:  Love Around the Corner (New Milton #1.5) by Sally Malcolm
  • An Alisa Review : There’s Something about Flying by Schuyler L’Roux
  • A MelanieM Review: At War with a Broken Heart by Dahlia Donovan

Friday, January 25:

  • Ward Maia on Beneath These Fields
  • Blog Tour Stay by KM Neuhold
  • Blog Tour for A World Apart by Mel Gough
  • An Alisa Review Gargoyle’s Embrace (Polar Nights #3) by Siryn Sueng
  • A Stella Review: Living on the Inside by Londra Laine
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Beneath These Fields ( World of Love) by Ward Maia
  • A Jeri Review: Shane and Trey (Enemies to Lovers #1) by Anyta Sunday

Saturday, January 26:

  • Release Blitz – Jessie Pinkham – Acts Of Service
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review – See the Light by Kate McMurray

A MelanieM Review: Away in a Manger by JC Owens

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Two men from vastly different backgrounds; one city, one country. They have loved each other for over fifteen years, but the balance of their relationship has always been skewed, with Nathan desperately attempting to make Malcolm content on the ranch, when his restlessness and creative soul drives him to explore the world outside. After all this time, the differences were beginning to create a divide that seemed inevitable. Sometimes, love was not enough.

Then Malcolm’s nephew goes missing and a storm brings Nathan to his knees…

Everything they have is suddenly on the brink of disaster.

It will take a Christmas miracle to show two men that everything they are, everything they need, is tied up in a love that deserves a second chance.

Away in a Manger by JC Owens is one of those short stories that not only seems like a much larger book but one that you wish would go on to fill a series.  In just 53 pages, J.C. Owens manages to create a world of characters that feel real right  down to the horses and dogs, a ranch that  comes vividly to life, and an established relationship between two men that solidifies and deepens before our eyes.

Oh, and a missing teenager finds his way to a new home.  At Christmas.  And you don’t want to roll your eyes but embrace the spirit, the love that flows from the story and all the “miracles” it contains.

There is a depth and reality to all the characters here, that includes the horses and the dogs that play big parts in this tale.  I want to spend more time with all of them.  This story and these people cry out for a series of books.  I hope the author is listening.  Until then, spread out your holiday reading to just one more story and pick up Away in a Manger by JC Owens.  I highly recommend it.

Cover art by Kris Jacen.  Just gorgeous and perfect for the story.

Sales Links:  MLR Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 53 pages
Published December 13th 2018 by MLR Press
ASINB07LCLWQ2J

 

Final Lists of 2018 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Happy 2019! Here Are Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Final Best of 2018 Lists!

Here are the  last of our lists for 2018, in many categories and divided out as each reviewer saw fit.  So many books read and listened too.  It’s been an amazing year.  It was tough to narrow down lists as always.  Gone from mine was the cozies.  I love my cozy mysteries and that category will probably come back next year.

Many of the books that came out went to other reviewers here, speeding past me and they have now landed on my huge TBR list.  I see many on our reviewers Best of 2018 that I also haven’t gotten to yet, having my own huge set of stories to read this year.

Isn’t it lovely to have these stories to look forward to?

And new one to come in 2019!

So one last look all the book that rose above the many we read and loved this year to end up on our Best of 2018 this year, along with the covers, Best of Audiobooks as well.  Check them all out below:

 

From Stella:

Here are my Best of 2018

 
Tomte by Jamie Fessenden
 
 
BEST SERIES
 
Go On Your Own Way by Zane Riley

Sawyer’s Ferry by Cate Ashwood

North Star Trilogy by Posy Roberts
Butterfly Hunter by Julie Bozza 

From Lucy

I am the first to admit I am so stingy with my five star reviews.  I like many books, I love quite a few but for me the five stars are the ones that I want to read over and over, that stick with me long after I’ve finished them and the ones that make me sad I’m finished because I don’t want to leave them.  For 2018, some of the ones I loved weren’t released in 2018 (or just the audio was released this year) but I read them this year.  So in random order, my five star reads for this year…

From the Ashes by CM Valencourt – While my list is in no particular order, this is the exception.  This was my absolute favorite book of 2018 and may end up being one of my favorite books of all times.  I gave it five stars, rare enough for me, but I would have given it more if possible.  Justin is the most amazing character and I cried, laughed, cried more and just had so much respect and love for that selfless man. 

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss – A sweet children’s book about embracing your differences and not being a stink bug.  I have this one on audio as well and John Lithgow and Jim Parsons make it absolutely perfect.  I thought it was funny that I bought the book and then had four different people give me copies as gifts!

My Crunchy Life Mia Kerick I am a fan of Mia Kerick’s young adult books and this one was amazing. The ending of this was so perfect, sweet and YA and lovely. This coming of age story isn’t incredibly angsty, despite some very serious themes, but it’s a story of growth and I thought it was just right.  It was so spot on with the confusion and angst that can be the teen years.

Exorcising the Exes Jill Wexler  Loved it. I can’t even do justice to how amazing Tanner is, and once he meets Dan things just get so much better.  It makes me smile every time I read it.  The insane goose posse, the taco binge, the hashtags, the everything!

Bump Matthew Metzger I read a couple by Matthew Metzger this year and I was hard pressed to decide if I liked Bump or Erik the Pink more, but ultimately went with Bump.  As a trans man who just want to be seen as a man, this was such a struggle for David and it was perfectly encapsulated in this book. David’s gender dysphoria was handled realistically and the emotions are so strong.  Even more interesting for me was that David didn’t give birth and immediately become super parent.  I loved that because it is a fact that not everyone has that Hallelujah, bonding and perfection moment immediately. 

Promises by Ruby Moone  Ruby Moone is a favorite of mine for historicals. I loved this one even more than usual because our characters, Sebastian and Charles, are realistic and likeable but also because the secret that Sebastian is hiding from everyone is not only being attracted to men, shameful and dangerous in that time period, but something else that isn’t understood.  I ust loved it.

Suicide Watch Kelley York  So bittersweet, it was sad and hopeful. Best of all, it was true to the feelings of Vincent, Casper and Adam.  This definitely wasn’t a sweet and fluffy read (my usual) but these characters were so real and made me smile and cry.

Phoenix Goes to School: A Story to Support Transgender and Gender Diverse Children – Michelle Finch and Phoenix Finch  The book was written by Michelle and Phoenix Finch, a real life seven year old transgender girl who was assigned male at birth. At the end of the book there are comprehension questions and some open-ended critical thinking questions that as a teacher I appreciated. Possibly even better, there is an informational section at the end for grownups. 
I loved the story of Phoenix going to school but more importantly, I hope that transgendered and gender diverse children will read this and know they are not alone, they are perfect just the way they are.

AUDIO FAVORITES

Tell Me It’s Real and Until You by TJ Klune  – These are my go-to re-reads when I’m having a lousy week.  I know I’m late to the party, as I just read them this year when I bought the audio.  I can’t believe it took me so long.  If I were to get to be any character I’ve read, I’d be Paul Auster!

Audio: A Family for Christmas Another one that was introduced to me via audio.  The car ride to work is so much improved with these books.  I loved Rudy and my heart went out to Zac. This is a sweet story of a man afraid to let anyone in and a family who refuses to keep anyone out. 

Favorite cover because it perfectly captured the feel of the book: 

 

From Lila:

As of today, I have read 234 books of my goal of 144. Just like last year, I don’t have one favorite book for the year. Some have been great, others not so much, but I can’t say one was the best of them all. Therefore, I’m using the same format as last year to tell you more about the books I enjoyed. I’m really looking forward to that perfect book though. I hope to share it with you all next year.

Looking back on my shelves,

The Best of 2018 (according to me) are:

·         Best Cover – Art House (Buchanan House #6) by Charley Descoteaux. Cover by L.C. Chase

·         January – Felix and the Prince (Forever Wilde #2) by Lucy Lennox

·         February – Off the Beaten Path by Cari Z. [Audiobook]

·         March – Fake Out (Fake Boyfriend #1) by Eden Finley

·         April – Beneath This Mask (Enhanced #3) by Victoria Sue [Audiobook]

·         May – Object of Desire by Dal Maclean

·         June – Logan’s Need (The Escort #3) by Sloane Kennedy

·         July – Unexpected (The Protectors #10) by Sloane Kennedy

·         August – Creature (Bureau #3) by Kim Fielding [Audiobook]: John is now my favorite MM character of all time.

·         September – A Gentleman’s Position (Society of Gentlemen #3) by K.J. Charles [Audiobook]

·         October – Dirty Desire (Dread and Terrible #1) by Avril Ashton

·         November – Bond (Forbidden Desires #2) by Piper Scott & Virginia Kelly

·         December – Home in Austin (Lone Star Brothers #4) by Susi Hawke

 

Free Dreamer’s Best of 2018

2018 was a great reading year. I read 80 books, just like planned, which is 14 books and about 2000 pages more than in 2017. I have finally decided that normal literature just isn’t for me, especially if it’s supposed to be Meaningful and make you Think. Maybe I’m just too immature. But I’ve also discovered that there are some very interesting non-fiction books out there. None of them quite made it to my list, but it’s definitely a genre I’ll keep pursuing.

While I only review LGBT+ fiction for Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, my reading habits are far more varied and my “Best of” list just wouldn’t be complete without them. Those books mostly contain little to no romance, since I’m not much of a romance reader anyway.

An honorable mention should go to the “Taking Shield” series by Anna Butler. I read the first three books in quick succession and really enjoyed them. But they just didn’t quite make it to “Best of”.

I hope 2019 will be another good reading year, for me and all the other readers out there. Happy New Year!

LGBT+:

  • Showers, Flowers and Fangs” by Aiden Wayne (adorable YA fantasy)
  • Salt Magic, Skin Magic” by Lee Welch (fascinating historical fantasy)
  • Bones and Bourbon” by Dorian Graves (what a wild ride; brilliant fantasy)
  • Amberlough” and “Armistice” by Lara Elena Donnelly (very surprising espionage thrillers set in an AU 1940s)
  • The Seeds of Dissolution” by William C. Tracey (very unique magic system)
  • Another Day” by David Levithan (loved part one and finally read the great sequel)

Non-LGBT:

  • Arcanum Unbounded” by Brandon Sanderson (collection of novellas and short stories set in the Cosmere, Sanderson’s main universe; great for hardcore fans like me)
  • Empire of Sand” by Tasha Suri (Fantasy set in a desert world, inspired by the Indian/Arabian culture)
  • Snapshot” by Brandon Sanderson (Novella; Mind fuck like woah)
  • Verwunschen” by Mara Lang (New Adult Fantasy set in a modern fairy tale world, dark as hell; Sadly only available in German)
  • Not Quite Narwhal” by Jessie Sima (super adorable picture book)“The Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse” by Nicholas Gannon (children’s fiction with gorgeous illustrations, reminded me of classical adventure stories)

 

MelanieM Best of 2018

Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and  Paranormal/Supernatural for 2018

The Calling by MD Neu

Bones and Bourbon by Dorian Graves

Stone the Crows (Wolf Winter #2)by T.A. Moore

Green Death by Madeleine Ribbon

Sweet Clematis (Being(s) in Love #9) by R. Cooper

The Rising Tide (Liminal Skies #2) by J.Scott Coatsworth

And God Belched by Rob Rosen

Apocalypse Alley (Blue Unicorn #2)by Don Allmon

Lander (The Oberon Cycle, #2 by J. Scott Coatsworth

Best Historical Novels of 2018

I will admit this category is owned almost entirely this year by Marshall Thornton

and two series of his:  Pinx Video Mystery and Boystown (all of the novels were reviewed this years and were 5 stars)

Hidden Treasures (A Pinx Video Mystery #2) by Marshall Thornton

Late Fees by Marshall Thornton

The Stars May Rise and Fall by Estella Mirai (recent historical retelling of the Phantom of the Opera)

Best of 2018 ~ Contemporary Novel

Forged in Flood by Dahlia Donovan

Stand By Your Manny (The Mannies #3) by Amy Lane

The Eye of Ra (Repeating History #1) by Dakota Chase

Mammoth! (Repeating History #3) by Dakota Chas

The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh by Jess Moore (coming out, coming of age)

Wait For Me by Kris Jacen

Learn with Me (With Me #3) by Kris Jacen

Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen

Homebird by Amy Lane

One Thousand Cranes (The Yakuza Path #3) by Amy Tasukada

The Deafening Silence (The Yakuza Path #4) by Amy Tasukada

Best Series of 2018

Blue Unicorn Trilogy by Don Allmon

Offbeat Crimes Series by Angel Martinez

The Yakuza Path by Amy Tasukada

Liminal Sky Series by J. Scott Coatsworth

Boystown series by Marshall Thornton

This Time Forever Series by Kelly Jensen

Faith, Love & Devotion by Tere Michaels (series finale 2018)

 

Best Audiobook of 2018

Crocus (Bonfires #2) by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso and Michael Mola (Narrator)

Spun! by JL Merrow and Mark Steadman (Narrator)

The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton and Scott Richard Ehredt (Narrator)

Best Covers of 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Yakuza Path series by Amy Tasukada, artist Natasha Snow

Blue Unicorn #2 and #3 by Don Allmon, artist Simone’

Mary, Queen of Scotch by Rob Rosen, Cover art: Written Ink Design

Homebird by Amy Lane, Artist: Reese Dante

The Rising Tide by J. Scott Coatsworth

Wish Upon The Stars by T.J. Klune, Artist Paul Richmond

Special Mention for 2018

 

It would have to go to Ethan Day who left us all too soon and his wonderful series, Summit City,  who had a new release in 2018 that gave his beloved characters the wedding and his readers a ending we had long wanted.  That would be the third and now last story Life In Union.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 6:

  • Final Lists of 2018 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, January 7:

  • BLITZ Tea by Matthew J. Metzger
  • PROMO Marguerite Labbe
  • E.J. Russell on Devouring Flame
  • A Lucy Review The Replacement Husband by Eliot Grayson
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review:The Soldati Prince (Soldati Hearts #1) by Charlie Cochet and Manuel Pombo (Narrator)

Tuesday, January 8:

  • PROMO Robert P. Rowe
  • BLITZ My Fake Canadian Wife by M. Hollis
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Unfamiliar Waters by Andrew Grey
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: Devouring Flame by EJ Russell
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:Something Like Forever (Something Like #10) by Jay Bell

Wednesday, January 9:

  • Release Blitz – The Choice (The Faction, book 2) by Addison Albright
  • Release Blitz Is It Over Yet – LA Witt
  • BLITZ There’s Something about Flying by Schuyler L’Roux
  • A MelanieM Review: Valhalla by L.A. Ashton
  • Review: The Choice (The Faction, book 2) by Addison Albright

Thursday, January 10:

  • PROMO Elizabeth Noble
  • Tour for Out in the Offense by Lane Hayes
  • An Alisa Review: Ta Weezo’s Blues by Layla Dorine
  • A MelanieM Review:  You Forever Always by KA Merikan

Friday, January 11:

  • PROMO Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
  • An Ashez Review: Elias by  Erin E Keller
  • A Melanie Release Day Review:  Don’t Fear the (Not Really) Grim Reaper by Carole Cummings
  • A LIla Review: Not on My Bucket List by Tom Munroe
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review:The Alpha Heir (Kingdom of Askara #2) by Victoria Sue and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Saturday, January 12:

A MelanieM Review: Prince of Air and Darkness by M.A. Grant

 

Best of 2018 Lists Abound and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Best of 2018 Lists Abound at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Here we are, it’s almost 2019 and it’s Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words penultimate weekend of Best of 2018.  We are winding out with another reviewer heard from, our very own Chaos Moondrawn, who has some of my Best of  on her list.  So many terrific books and series this year in every category.  A surplus of riches for readers no matter what genre you love to read in.  Are you checking your lists against ours?  How are they looking?

From Chaos Moondrawn:

Best Books of 2018

Over And Over Again by Cole McCade

Rule of Thirds by Aidan Wayne
The Bones Beneath My Skin by T.J. Klune
Building Forever by Kelly Jensen
Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen
Beyond Meridian by C.C. Bridges
Rogue In The Making and Blood For The Spilling by T.J. Nichols (Studies In Demonology series)
A Wolf At The Door by Charlie Adhara

Best Series

Criminal Intentions by Cole McCade

Best Covers

Stone The Crows cover by Bree Archer
Once Upon A Wolf cover by Reece Notley
Blyd And Pierce cover by Tiferet Design
Two Man Station cover by Natasha Snow
The Wolf At The Door cover by Carina Press
Where Death Meets The Devil cover by L.C. Chase

So final lists next weekend.  A final goodbye to 2018 and a fresh start in 2019.

Speaking of which some of my bests of 2018 will actually have their reviews rolling over into 2019 but I read them in 2018 and that’s where they will go on my lists.  That includes the series finale by Tere Michael to Faith, Love and Devotion, a time time favorite of mine.  Lucky and Bo from my favorite Diversion series pop up again in Eden Winters’ Suspicion. Waiting to hear from the author if this is a series finale or not.    Sean Kennedy’s Tigers and Devils latest release just slipped into the new year by a nose.  That will have to wait until next year’s list.

So almost done.

I’m getting ready for the New Year Eve celebration and hoping that everyone has a safe, wonderful, and happy glide into the New Year!  Happy Reading, Happy Listening, and of course, Happy New Year from Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to all of you!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 30:

  • A Barb Advent Calendar Review:Miracle on Three Kings’ Day by Beth Laycock
  • A Lila Review  Yule Planet by Angel Martinez
  • Best of 2018 Lists Abound at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve)  🎉:

  • On Tour with Valhalla by L.A. Ashton
  • Release Blitz for KA Merikan – You Forever Always
  • PROMO Louisa Masters
  • An Alisa Review : Midnight Angel by Kevin Klehr
  • A MelanieM Review: Finders Keepers by Rob Rosen
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review: Exit Through the Gift Shop by Kim Fielding

Tuesday, January 1 ~ New Year’s Day!

  • Charley Descoteaux on her new release Always Forward! Never Straight
  • AUDIOBOOK TOUR – A Dance For Two by Colette Davison and Neil Macfarlane (Narrator)
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tigers on the Way (Tigers and Devils #4) by Sean Kennedy
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Whole Latte Sass (Geek Life #2) by Marguerite Labbe

Wednesday, January 2:

  • Shadowing the Light by Miranda Turner Blog Tour 
  • An Alisa Review: Shadowing the Light by Miranda Turner
  • A MelanieM Review: Always Forward! Never Straight by Charley Descoteaux
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady audio review – Ravensong (Green Creek #2) by T.J. Klune and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

Thursday, January 3:

  • RELEASE BLITZ – Whiteout Conditions (Black Ops Heroes #10) by Dara J. Nelson  and Kendel Duncan
  • Cover Reveal for The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire #10) by Jessamyn Kingley
  • An Alisa Review: Best Christmas Ever by Terry O’Reilly
  • A MelanieM Review: Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories (Faith, Love & Devotion #7) by Tere Michaels
  • An Alisa Review : Kink Aware  (Kiss of Leather #9)  by Morticia Knight

Friday, January 4:

  • PROMO Julia Talbot
  • An Alisa Releases Day Review: Gabriel and the Devil Robert P. Rowe
  • A MelanieM Review: Suspicion (Diversion Book 7) by Eden Winters
  • A Caryn Review: Trysts and Burning Embers By Freddy MacKay & Angel Martinez
  • A MelanieM Review: Drama Castle (Nicky and Noah Mystery #7) by Joe Cosentino

Saturday, January 5:

  • Release Blitz – Erin E Keller’s Elias
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review:  Jack of Thorns (Inheritance #1) by Amelia Faulkner and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

For Something Old, Something New, and All Things Wonderful – Best of 2018 Lists Continue. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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For Something Old, Something New, and All Things Wonderful –

Best of 2018 Lists Continue.

It’s wonderful to look past, over the year, in books I mean, and remember all the stories, authors, narrators, and artists that have crossed my computer and Kindle as well as those of all the reviewers here this year.  They have taken Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words across galaxies and back into time.  These authors have brought their own twist to every known romantic trope and created some new ones for contemporary stories, paranormal love affairs, and supernatural romances.

They’ve made us cry with shared pain, bent over in laughter at situations and dialogs we understood and connected with, and stories that suffused us with  warmth and love and a need to hug our readers close as a way not to let those characters and their lives go, not yet.

So here are some more of our lists of stories that have risen from a very high group this year.

From another of our long time reviewers, Barb our Zany Old Lady.

 

Barb our Zany Old Lady’s Best 0f 2018

Best of 2018: Audiobook 

Hush by Tal Bauer audiobook, narrated by Joel Leslie

Can’t Hide from Me by Cordelia Kingsbridge. narrated by Nick J. Russo

The Consumption of Magic by TJ Klune and A Wish Upon the Stars by TJ Klune, narrated by Michael Lesley

 Best New Author in 2018:

Salt Magic Skin Magic by Lee Welch – one of my top choices of the year.

Best Outstanding series in 2018:

Seven of Spades by Cordelia Kingsbridge, including One-Eyed Royals, published in 2018

Twisted Wishes series: Counterpoint and Syncopation, both in 2018, by Anna Zabo

Something Like Series: Capstone book #11 Something About Forever by Jay Bell

 Best Humorous Story in 2018:

Robby Riverton Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton

Best Holiday Story 2018:

Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

A Touch of a Brogue by Christine Danse

Best Drama of 2018:

Truth and Betrayal by KC Wells

Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

 Best Paranormal of 2018:

Alpha Heat by Leta Blake

 Best Contemporary of 2018:

The Little Library by Kim Fielding

Oz by Lily Morton

A Little Side of Geek by Marguerite Labbe

And {drum roll}

Best Book of 2018 and Best Cover of 2018:

Boy Shattered by Eli Easton

⛄️Also from our reader H.B.:

I’ve not read many books this year. Of the ones I read I did love a majority of
Anyta Sunday’s books
Mercury’s Orbit by Lia Black
Anáil Dhragain: Dragon’s Breath by Stephan Knox
Falling Out of Fate by Madeleine Ribbon
The Dragon’s Thief by Riza Curtis
Conned by Charity Parkerson

We still have more lists to come….from readers, reviewers and myself next week.  This week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words a lighter week for the holidays.

Enjoy, be merry and light!  Be safe and happy reading!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 23:

  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: Santa on the Beach by Crystel Greene
  • For Something Old, Something New, and All Things Wonderful -Best of 2018 Lists Continue.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 24:

  • On Tour with Weezo’s Blues by Layla Dorine
  • A Lucy Review: Midnight Angel by  Kevin Klehr
  • A Lila Review: Nothing Special VI (SWAT Edition) His Hart’s Command by AE Via
  • A MelanieM Review: Designer Holiday by Ari McKay
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Advent Review:Twenty-Nine Hours to Eternity by Elizabeth Noble
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Love Blooms by Stephanie Hoyt

Tuesday, December 25 (Christmas Day) 🎄

  • A MelanieM  Advent Calendar Review: Holidays Are Where Your Heart Is by Bru Baker
  • A Stella Review : The Christmas Lights Battle by Skylar M. Cates
  • A VVivacious Release Day Review: His Cursed Prince by Ryan Loveless
  • An Ali Release Day Review: The Boyfriend Cruise by Deanna Wadsworth

Wednesday, December 26:

  • Katey Hawthorne’s Superpowered Love Release Blog Tour
  • An Ashlez Review:  Island Angel by Alex Slorra
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: Purrfect Holiday by Jana Denardo
  • A MelanieM Review: Deja Vu by Addison Albright
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review:  A Wish Upon the Stars (Tales From Verania #4) by T.J. Klune and Michael Lesley  (Narrator)

Thursday, December 27:

  • DSP PROMO Ryan Loveless
  • An Alisa Audio Review : Under a Blue Moon by Bru Baker and Dorian Bane (Narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Join the Club (Four Kings Security #3) by Charlie Cochet
  • A Lila Advent Calendar Review:The Legend of Gentleman John by TJ Nichols

Friday, December 28:

  • DSP PROMO Tere Michaels
  •  Release Blitz – G.R Lyons – Illumined Shadows
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Fox and Wolf (Apex Investigations #1) by Julia Talbot
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Accidentally on Purpose by J.M Snyder
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Advent Calendar Review:Hero for the Holidays by Charles Payseur

Saturday, December 29:

  • A Lila Advent Calendar Review: Haste Ye Back by R. Quincy Cameron

Best of 2018 – Week 2 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Best of 2018 – Week 2

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words continues to share its Best of 2018 lists with all of you, this time from our reviewer Ali.  Are you making your lists and checking them twice? I know I am.
Happy Reading and Listening from Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words!

From Ali….

Favorite Books of the Year:

Favorite Audiobooks of the Year:

Infamous by Jenny Holiday/narrated by Michael Fell
They Both Die in the End by Adam Silveria/narrated by Bahni Turpin, Robbie Daymond, Michael Crouch
Family Man by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton/narrated by Colin Darcy
How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune/narrated by Derrick McClain

Favorite Series of the Year:

Seven of Spades by Cordelia Kingsbridge
Death and the Devil by LJ Hayward
Big Bad Wolf by Charlie Adhara
The Woodbury Boys by Sidney Bell

Favorite Covers of the Year:

 

 

Pisces Hooks Taurus by Antya Sunday / Natasha Snow
Death of a Bachelor by M.A. Hinkle / Natasha Snow
Gray’s Shadow by K.A. Merikan / Artist: Natasha Snow
To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen / Artist:Garrett Leigh
Lights & Sirens by Lisa Henry / Artist:Natasha Snow
One Eyed Royals by Cordelia Kingsbridge / Artist: Garrett Leigh
Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 16:

  • Release Tour for The Strength of His Heart – Victoria Sue
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Advent Calendar Review: Make a Circle by Elliot Joyce
  • An ALisa Review: Strength of His Heart (Enhanced World #4) by Victoria Sue
  • A MelanieM Review: The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh by Jess Moore
  • Best of 2018 – Week 2 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 17:

  • Review Tour for Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott
  • Release Blitz  – Operation Toy Rescue by Sarah Hadley Brook
  • PROMO J.P. Barnaby on Saving Hannah
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: A Holiday Tradition by Chrissy Munder
  • A MelanieM Review: Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Strength of His Heart (Enhanced World #4) by Victoria Sue

Tuesday, December 18:

  • Release Blitz – Full O’Festive Spirits by Zakarrie Clarke
  • From These Ashes by Davidson King Blog Tour
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Tit for Tat by JS Harker
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Homebird by Amy Lane
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Saving Hannah by JP Barnaby
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The CEO’s Christmas Manny Series: Beyond the Boardroom by Angela McAllister
  • An Ali Advent Calendar Review: Once in a Lifetime by Cassie Decker

Wednesday, December 19:

  • Review Tour –  – Trusting by Ruby Moone
  • Review Tour for  Christmas Prince by RJ Scott
  • Book Blast – Little Harbour by Sophia Soames
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review: Colina de Lavanda by August Li
  • An Alisa Review Something To Celebrate by Evelyn Benvie “Escape From the Holidays Story”
  • An Alisa Review : Trusting Jack by Ruby Moone
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott

Thursday, December 20:

  • Release Blitz – Kink Aware (Kiss of Leather 9) by Morticia Knight
  • DSP PROMO JS Harker on Tit for Tat
  • An Alisa Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Q*Pid by Xavier Mayne and Rudy Sanda (Narrator)
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Forbidden Pursuits (The Galactic Captains #2) by Harry F. Rey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review:Summer Santa by Ward Maia

Friday, December 21:

  • HARMONY INK PROMO Verity Croker on Jilda’s Ark
  • Review Tour – Sarah Hadley Brook – Operation Toy Rescue
  • DSP PROMO Sean Michael
  • An Alisa Review: Paradise Lodge by Riina Y.T.
  • A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review:Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tutus and Tinsel by Rhys Ford
  • A Stella Review : Operation Toy Rescue by Sarah Hadley Brook

Saturday, December 22:

  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Review:Season to Shimmer by Kim Katil
  • An Alisa Audio Review: Going Overboard (Anchor Point #5) by L.A. Witt  and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)