A Lila Audiobook Review: Good Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma #4) by Anne Tenino and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

good-boy-audiobookBrad “Frat Boy” Feller and Sebastian “Toppy” DeWitt have been together for nine months, and their relationship is as hot as ever. The only cloud Brad sees on their horizon is Sebastian’s stress over his thesis. And their uncertain future together after graduation. And how Sebastian sometimes takes Brad for granted. And Sebastian’s unwillingness to introduce Brad to his father.

Other than that, everything’s awesome.

All of Sebastian’s energy is currently devoted to his thesis, and getting into a top-notch PhD program. Fortunately, his boyfriend takes care of all the domestic stuff and Sebastian’s needs. Any minor strain between them will disappear and they’ll return to the status quo after Sebastian graduates. As long as nothing upsets their delicate balance in the meantime.

Then a friend Brad once had a small fling with is forced to take refuge with them, and Frat Boy and Toppy’s delicate balance topples like an elephant on a waterski. Now Sebastian has to face some truths about how he’s been treating Brad, what he wants for their future, and what he has to do to get it.

Good Boy is a BDSM snippet done right. I read Frat Boy and Toppy back in 2013, and really enjoyed Brad’s & Sebastian’s story. Seeing them again in the other books was good, but having them back, in their own story, was more than I expected.

I listen to this story shortly after finishing Sweet Young Thang. That was a plus since we get to see the pivotal scene in this book from Collin’s perspective in the previous book. It’s almost like seeing the whole thing again from a movie-like point of view. The events are simple but essential to their relationship, and the way Sebastian and Brad take care of each other is priceless.

This is a very short, very well-written story with adorable characters. Yes, Sebastian is back in his “bitchy mood,” but just like before, Brad brings out the best in him. It was nice to see that their happily ever after still true.

Nick J. Russo, as always, brought all the characters back to life. The consistency within the series is part of the appeal. He gives Sebastian’s state of mind the perfect tone, and Brad’s concerns the perfect outlet.

L.C. Chase caught the heart of the story with a simple cover and adapted it for the audiobook version.

Sales Links:  Riptide | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Length: 1 hours and 55 minutes

Published: November 1, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Riptide Publishing
ASIN: B01MDRYNF3
Edition Language: English

Series:  Theta Alpha Gamma
Book #1: Frat Boy and Toppy
Book #2: Love, Hypothetically
Book #3: Sweet Young Thang
Book #4: Good Boy

 

Let’s Get Naughty with Anne Tenino’s Billionaire with Benefits Blog Tour and contest!

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BillionaireWithBenefits_150x300Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to welcome Anne Tenino here today on her Billionaire with Benefits Blog Tour.  Check out Anne’s latest story and the wonderful excerpt she has brought along today.  Guess what else Anne Tenino has brought along with her?  A fabulous giveaway but I will let her tell you that herself…

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Hello, and welcome to the Billionaire with Benefits Blog Tour! *fanfare, etc*

You might have noticed this book took me a while to write . . . or maybe you didn’t notice, but take my word for it, it did. That might be why it ended up longer than it needed it to be. Ultimately we trimmed over 15,000 words from the original Billionaire manuscript, so posts from me (as opposed to spotlights and reviews) are all going to be cut scenes from the book. Sort of like the extras on a DVD, but, you know, not.Voodoo-Ken

A list of stops on the tour can be found here. Why would you want to follow the tour? Well, because I’m giving away a fabulous, one-of-a-kind Voodoo Ken Kit, which the winner can use to seek revenge on any or all of their exes. How do you win? Check the bottom of each tour post for details.

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Billionaire with Benefits

It’s just a friend thing

Before confessing his gayness to his best friend, Tierney Terrebonne’s sex life is strictly restroom. After confessing his gayness to his best friend . . . it doesn’t improve much. Why bother trying when the man he’s loved for fourteen years (see: “best friend”) is totally unattainable? Good thing Tierney is an old hand at accepting defeat; all it takes is a bottle of bourbon. Or fifty. Repeat as needed.

Dalton Lehnart has a history of dating wealthy, damaged, closeted, lying, cheating, no-good, cowardly men, so of course he’s immediately attracted to Tierney Terrebonne. Fortunately, Tierney is so dissolute that even Dalton’s feelings for the man would be better described as pity. Which becomes sympathy as they get to know each other. Followed by compassion, concern, caring, and hopefulness as Tierney struggles to change his life. When the man comes out very publicly and enters rehab, Dalton finds himself downright attached to Tierney. And as everyone knows, after attachment comes . . .

Uh oh.

But post-rehab Tierney can’t handle more than friendship, so Dalton should be safe from repeating his own past mistakes, right? Right?

Buy it here at Riptide!

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Want a chance to win Voodoo Ken? Well, keep looking, because this isn’t the post with the magical question. FYI, I’ll ship worldwide, so anyone can enter.

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webvatarRaised on a steady diet of Monty Python, classical music and the visual arts, Anne Tenino was—famously—the first patient diagnosed with Compulsive Romantic Disorder. Since that day, Anne has taken on conquering the M/M world through therapeutic writing. Finding out who those guys having sex in her head are and what to do with them has been extremely liberating.

Anne’s husband finds it liberating as well, although in a somewhat different way. Her two daughters are mildly confused by Anne’s need to twist Ken dolls into odd positions. However, other than occasionally stealing Ken1’s strap-on, they let Mom do her thing without interference.

Wondering what Anne does in her spare time? Mostly she lies on the couch, eats bonbons and shirks housework.

Check out what Anne’s up to now by visiting her site. http://annetenino.com

Links:

 

BillionaireWithBenefits_400x600Billionaire With Benefits by Anne Tenino
Publisher:  Riptide Publishing

Details: eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-197-7
eBook and Print release: Oct 20, 2014
Word count: 117,500, Page count: 443
– See more at Riptide Publishing’s Billionaire with Benefits page

 

Billionaire with Benefits Excerpt (nsfw)!

Prologue

Fourteen Years Ago

One night in October, Tierney discovered an honest-to-fucking-God glory hole. He’d been on the way back to his room from a midweek party and stopped at Cambridge Hall to visit the facilities, going all the way to the basement restroom for a little (drunken) contemplation.

As soon as he sat on the throne, he spied the opening in the stall wall. His palms went sweaty. He’d watched enough porn on the internet to recognize it, but still thought he might be hallucinating. Any moment it would disappear.

It didn’t.

No way.

He leaned sideways—barely keeping his wasted butt on the john—to look through the hole.

Shit! There was a guy in there. Tierney’s pulse really took off then, all the blood draining from his head. Instinctively he leaned forward, putting his face between his knees—and into his briefs, hanging between them—to keep from fainting.

Tap tap tap. For a split second he knew it was his mother’s habitual knock on his bedroom door, and he jerked his head out of his underwear, eyes opening so wide they strained his lids.
Continue reading

Review: Poster Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma #5) by Anne Tenino

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Poster BoyGavin Jacques Gervaise aka “Jock” was a talented college hockey player being scouted by NHL teams when one indiscretion at a party changed everything. Outed by a picture that caught Jock in the middle of a sex act, he was kicked off his college hockey team by his homophobic coach and hounded by flyers sent around campus,  Now Jock has transferred from Avalon College to Calapooya College in Oregon.  His older brother, Tank, is enrolled there and a member of a Theta Alpha Gamma fraternity.  Jock had hoped for anonymity on this campus, but those hopes were dashed when Tank outed his brother again during a frat party organized to announce their new gay friendly status.  What Jock wants is a chance to explore his new found sexuality without a spotlight focused on him.  The man he chooses to be his first is Toby Moore.  Toby and Jock’s first night together is everything and more Jock could hope for.  It is also the only night Jock expects them to have because he still has so much and so many hookups to explore.  But things never have a way of turning out exactly as planned as Jock should know.

Toby Moore is having one of those years and not in a good way.  Toby’s thesis is barely underway when it should be almost completed. And all of  Toby’s friends and former dates have found happiness and their significant others, leaving Toby as the permanent third wheel.  A new hope for someone to fill the void is broken when Jock decides he only wants a one-night stand with Toby. When Toby needs an extension on his thesis, his professor agrees with a stipulation.  Toby must act as a resident chaperone for the Theta Alpha Gamma Student Study trip to Provence, a place that should be perfect for Toby to work on his thesis and get over the pain of rejection from Jock.

But Jock’s problems at Avalon have followed him to Calpooya when that infamous flyer resurfaces at his new campus.  The solution is for Jock to go with his TAG frat boys to France and let everything smooth over in his absence.  Only Jock didn’t realize Toby was going.  Nor did Toby see Jock’s name on his students list.  Now that fate and Toby’s advisor has thrown them together, how will Toby and Jock handle their deep attraction to one another now that they live together in romantic Provence?

Anne Tenino has said that Poster Boy marks the end of the Theta Alpha Gamma series, a series about a group of men I have come to love over five stories.  While I am sad to see this wonderful series end, Poster Boy ushers them out  in a truly outrageous and wonderful manner.   I love the idea of taking this ragtag company of overage underachieving adolescents, confused jocks (literally) as well as a major player who is ready for a commitment and sending them together to France.  It’s such a pleasure to sit back and read all the comedic mayhem and sometimes surprising romantic entanglements that ensue in Anne Tenino’s absorbing plot.

As the final story, Tenino brings all her main characters out to play here.  Sebastian and Brad, Paul and Trevor, Collin and Eric, they are all here, although in varying degrees of importance to this story.  And so many of her great secondary frat characters are in play as well, like Tank, Kyle and Jules.  But her final story is saved for Toby Moore, a character we have seen in many of the preceding stories and Jock Gervaise, who was introduced at the end of book four.  I love these two men, both of whom are at such pivotal points in their lives.  Toby is having to reevaluate so many important issues at the moment.  Previously commitment phobic, now watching all his friends find love has made Toby aware that he is ready for a permanent relationship as well.  And there are no takers lining up for the job.  And its not just his love life that’s stalled but his academic one too.  Pushed onward into his current course of study by his parents, Toby’s thesis has languished under a lack of inspiration and ambition to finish as he realizes that he doesn’t know what he actually wants to do next with his life.  Stymied by his indecision, Toby is that terrific character at that stage in life that everyone can identify with and no idea how to go forward.  Tenino has taken a character that might have been less than simpatico and given him the depth and complexity that brings us totally into his corner.

Jock also has arrived at a place in his life where he has to make some major decisions for himself.  Up to now the choices he has made have been ones he has not owned up to or choices that have been made for him by others, well meaning or otherwise.  New school, new acquaintances, new frat house and an older brother he has always idolized in place to support him, a new start all around.  But the past never stays buried and Jock’s past arrives to force him to finally deal with a situation of his own making.  And all these colliding problems and issues make Jock one angry and bitter, albeit gorgeous, young man.  That state of mind is never a great launching pad for new starts or great decisions.  Tenino’s Jock is one frustrating, uncertain, and irritable young man.  His is a journey that some readers will find hard to completely empathize with because his actions will make him seem like a bit of a jerk.  I felt that way at the beginning too.  But the more I thought about his character and the background Tenino has established for him, the more his actions made sense.  How does a young boy break out of rigid preconceived notions about himself and his future?  And what does he  replace it with when all he knows is his family’s conservative background?  Jock has had his foundations broken and doesn’t have a playbook on how to establish new ones.  Even his beloved older brother has acted in a manner that Jock has not counted on.  Anyone would be angry or act like a jerk and Jock does.

Even more than his actions, something more problematic is Jock’s attitude towards topping and bottoming and how that choice might define what makes a man.  Jock’s near constant mulling over of this idea drove me to distraction.  Enough I wanted to say when it went on ad infinitum.  But again, upon more reflection, Anne Tenino has gotten it exactly right.  What Jock is obsessing over is nothing less than trying to figure out what being gay means to him and how he looks at himself (and others).  It’s that primal “who am I?” question and Jock doesn’t have the answers or have them just yet.  Brad among others try to help Jock discover the answer but really only Jock can do that and finally does.Any how, back to Jock and his fumbling about,  when you have this big a problem on the brain, then it follows that its all you think about.  So yes, Tenino having Jock work his way through the process this way is very realistic.  And our frustrations with him are authentic as well.

And while Toby and Jock  are slowly finding their way to each other, the rest of the Theta Alpha Gamma delayed adolescents or as Toby calls them, maturity challenged individuals, are scouring the french countryside for beer terrorists, scaring nuns, trying to learn french and totally cracking us up in the process.  How I adore Danny, Gomer, Ricky, Julian, Turbo, and Noah. Each is adorable in his own right.  Tenino takes the reader and the boys out to visit some wonderful sites as part of the TAG independent study abroad program.  The boys visit Les Baux and Barbegal, letting the reader in on their adventures and the wonder of those historic sites.  I loved the various locations visited, the descriptions are so vivid and precise it felt like being there.  But hilarity and communal hijinks are never far away with this group and just their appearance in a scene is enough to make the laughter bubble up in anticipation.

Poster Boy really can’t be read as a stand alone novel which might be its only drawback for some readers. Its full of characters and situations introduced in the previous stories.  So to fully appreciate the TAG fraternity, its frat brothers and the journey they have been on together, the novels should be read in the order they were written.  In Poster Boy, Anne Tenino gives them all a wonderful send off, Toby and Jock as well as Sebastian and Brad ,our foundation couple.  The author sees them all on their merry way, including an unexpected future for Danny that I loved.  The narrative flowed along pretty quickly for 375 pages and it ends where it should for this series, back in Calpooya College and the new frat house.  I had so much fun with the Theta Alpha Gamma guys and loved watching each and every one find love and a happy future.

Goodbye, boys.  It’s been a true pleasure.  And its one I absolutely recommend to  all readers to discover for themselves. Happy Reading.

Cover art by LC Chase.  Love this cover, perfect for the character and story.

Book Details:

ebook, 375 pages
Expected publication: April 21st 2014 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626491304
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/poster-boy
seriesTheta Alpha Gamma

Books in this Series are:

Frat Boy and Toppy (Theta Alpha Gamma, #1)
Love, Hypothetically (Theta Alpha Gamma, #2)
Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma, #3)
Good Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma, #4)
Poster Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma,#5) final story

Go Back To the Frat with Anne Tenino and her Poster Boy (Giveaway)

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ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords is happy to have Anne Tenino back to talk about my favorite frat, the boys of Theta Alpha Gamma and her latest release, Poster Boy!  Welcome, Anne!
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Welcome to the Poster Boy Blog Tour! *confetti* 

As you may or may not know,  Poster Boy is the fifth in the  Theta Alpha Gamma series, and (at least as far as I’m able to be sure about such things) the last TAG book. No, no, don’t be sad, be happy—we’re gonna go out in style!

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Let’s discuss the nitty-gritty: the Blog Tour Giveaway. The prize package this time includes: one lovely “Theta Alpha Gamma Beer Terrorist Prize-Cache3Response Team” sweatshirt (I believe I have sizes M-XXL available, choice of two styles); one paperback copy of  Frat Boy and Toppy with the new cover art, signed and inscribed to the winner; a bar of soap I bought in Les Baux (was going to send olives from Sainte-Remy, but we ate them . . . sorry about that) and; of course, one penis crocheted by moi.

How does one win, you ask? By following the tour, collecting all the official “prize” words (posts will have them clearly marked), and using them as directed at the end of this post (it’s complicated).

Happy word hunting, and enjoy the tour (psssssst, this one is heavy on the cut scenes).

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Poster Boy buy link.

Poster BoyIt’s all fun and games until someone puts his heart out.

When Jock meets sexy grad student Toby at a frat party, things finally start looking up. After having been outed to his hockey team and then changing schools, he figures he’s due something good—like the sex he missed out on in the closet. Toby seems like a great place to start, and their night together is an awesome introduction to the fine art of hooking up.

Toby’s heart takes a bruising after the near-perfect experience with Jock leads to . . . nothing. He’s been left on the outside as his friends pair up into blissful coupledom, and he’s in danger of never completing (or starting) his thesis. Can’t something go right?

Then Toby’s coerced into chaperoning a Theta Alpha Gamma trip to France. Not that he’s complaining. What better place to finish his thesis and get over that frat boy? Except Jock’s outing is leaked to the press, making him an unwilling gay rights martyr, and he decides France is a great escape, too. It’s a break from reality for both guys, but they soon find their connection is as real as it gets.

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When I first started working on  Poster Boy, the personality of Toby was pretty much set in stone—or at least the previous books in the series. Jock was less defined, but I thought I had a pretty good handle on him.

The road to writer’s block is paved with characters that don’t conform to expectations. It’s paved with some other stuff, too, like plots that careen out of control, but today we’re discussing characters—Jock specifically. The character who derailed this book for a couple of months.

He’s mentioned in  Frat Boy and Toppy as Tank’s little brother, although he’s unnamed in that book, and we don’t see or hear from him again until  Sweet Young Thang. Right up until he walked into the frat/dorm with his big brother, I thought he was going to be a happy-ish guy, even with the specter of having been outed hanging over his head. Here’s a very early character note on him (before I started writing SYT): “. . . his first experience in college got him totally burned. By end of book he should be showing some signs of his joyous, puppy dog ways.”

Yeah.

Then he actually entered the room and everything changed. He was pissed, I could see it in my head—angry flush to his cheeks, jaw hard and set, hands fisted in his jeans pockets, staring down the world. I tried to hang on to my vision of the Jock who would turn into the big, playful, puppy dog.

That lasted about ten paragraphs. You see, Jock shows up at  Theta Alpha Gamma a week into Calapooya College’s winter term after having been kicked off his college hockey team for being gay. That’s not the official reason he was booted off, but everyone knows it’s the real one. This is a snippet of the scene where I ultimately gave up trying to make him what I’d originally thought:

“How is you being gay pertinent?” Collin kept his voice calm

Jock lifted his head and looked Collin in the eye. That’s when it became clear that while the kid felt depressed and ashamed and maybe beaten, he also had a lot of anger. “There’s a lot of blood-letting in hockey, you know.”

It took Collin a few seconds to get it. “He thinks you’re a health risk?”

Jock clenched his jaw and nodded. Then he laughed shortly and looked away. “You can even see the other guy in the photo has a condom on.”

“That is the most fucking archaic attitude I think I’ve ever heard.” Kyle said, relatively calmly for him.

Jock shrugged, looking back at the floor. “He’s an archaic guy.”

“That’s illegal.” Kyle stood up straight again. “You can’t discriminate against someone because of their HIV status, and you certainly can’t discriminate against someone because of their potential status.”

“He said that he needed to know it was possible so he could take the necessary precautions, and that I’d endangered the team.” Jock’s voice had gone flat, and he took a long swallow of beer.

He’s angry over being exposed like he was—I had to write him that way, it would be ridiculous not to—but somehow I knew right then that once he’d worked through that anger, there wasn’t going to be a happy, bouncy dude underneath. He’s in a good place by the end of Poster Boy, sure, but for Jock, being happy looks more like not being a dick than greeting the world with a smile.

Now is when I should say something like, “In the future, if a character changes like this, I’ll . . .” blah-blah-blah. The reality is this happens every freaking time. Or, if my characters behave themselves, the plot decides to go wonky. It doesn’t matter what I do—everything is subject to change. And to be honest? I love it that way. I’d be bored if I knew every step they’re going to take. So, you know? I’m glad Jock took over and directed things.

In the end, it all worked out. He ended up being the guy he needed to be, and the guy Toby needed.

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Contest: For those of you playing to win the blog tour prize cache, here’s the word: swag.PosterBoy_150x300(1)

The word game—the rules are that I provide a bunch of words, and you have to create an ode to testicles. Hey, it’s fair—I gave you an ode to testicles in the book (well, part of one), you should give me one in return, using all the words from the tour. You may add any other words you need to, but it must include every word I gave out on the tour.

Of course, creative cheating might receive a pass from me . . .

At the end of the tour, send your ode to me at  anne @ annetenino.com and I will choose one lucky winner from all the entries I receive by paying one of my children some exorbitant amount to draw an ode out of a hat (or other handy receptacle). All masterpieces must be to me by May 4th, 2014 at midnight Pacific Daylight Time (GMT -7:00).

For a schedule of all tour stops, you can go here.

Oh, and:

*If the winner will be at GRL, GayRomance Northwest or the RT Booklover’s Convention, I’m also offering a lunch with me. And yes, I’ll pay. 😉

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Author Bio: Raised on a steady diet of Monty Python, classical music and the visual arts, Anne Tenino was—famously—the first patient diagnosed with Compulsive Romantic Disorder. Since that day, Anne has taken on conquering the M/M world through therapeutic writing. Finding out who those guys having sex in her head are and what to do with them has been extremely liberating.

Anne’s husband finds it liberating as well, although in a somewhat different way. Her two daughters are mildly confused by Anne’s need to twist Ken dolls into odd positions. However, other than occasionally stealing Ken1’s strap-on, they let Mom do her thing without interference.

Wondering what Anne does in her spare time? Mostly she lies on the couch, eats bonbons and shirks housework.

Check out what Anne’s up to now by visiting her at:

 

 

Now Cut that Out, Winner Announcements and the Week Ahead in Reviews, Author Guest Blogs, & Contests

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Now Cut That Out!!!! 

Once again we seem to be on the weather rollercoaster of all time here in the DC area (ok, so much of the country is there with us).  One day 80 degrees, the next day snow and sleet.  No really, that was us last week. The Cherry Blossoms popped out over night and record crowds packed the Tidal Basin to take in the pink beauty and monuments.

For about 2 to 3 days.

And then the snow and sleet and winds and freezing cold set in once more.  I  don’t have to tell you what happened to most of the blossoms do I?  Yep, history.  So now the temps have climbed back to the 50’s and all the plants I moved outside are back indoors until who knows when.

Like me.

Maybe by the end of June I will be able to go outside and plant in the gardens.  I have so many plants that didn’t make it through this winter.  Le sigh.  Maybe I will use this as an excuse to plan some new gardens.  I will have plenty of bare patches to fill that’s for sure.

Now on to the business at hand.  I have several winner announcements listed below, for Abigail Roux’s Ball & Chain book tour . S.J. Frost’s Vampire Prince tour, and Blaine D. Arden’s The Forester II Guest Blog/Contest:

 And the Winners Are……

Winners of the Ball & Chain Book Tour and Contest are:

Jessie Miller
Shannonn Vandermark
Melissa Crisp
Denise Smith

Kathy Latimer
Debra Guyette
Laurie Peterson
Cindi Clubbs,
Scarlett Camaj
Nicole Martens

Winner of SJ Frost’s  Vampire Prince,  tour is :  A.J.

Winner of Blaine D. Arden’s The Forester isblackasphodel

???????????????????????????????????????Vampire Prince coverThe Forester II- Lost and Found coverThe Forester cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to all the winners.  My thanks goes out to everyone who participated as well as authors Abigail Roux and S.J. Frost for stopping by with such great posts and wonderful giveaways!

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Now on to the week ahead in Reviews, Author Guest Blogs and Contests:

Monday, 4/21:            Haunted Halls by M Raiya
Tuesday, 4/22:            Queens of the Apocalypse by Rob Rosen
Wed., 4/23:                  Back to the Frat with Anne Tenino and her Poster Boy (Contest)
Thursday, 4/24:          Poster Boy by Anne Tenino
Friday, 4/25:               To the Other Side by S.J. Frost
Sat., 4/26:                    Blown Kisses by Havan Fellows

ScatteredThoughts Summary of Reviews for November 2013

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November banner

November really was such an extraordinary month for books.  It almost makes me giddy with joy. I can’t remember when I last had more 5 and 4 star  rated books as I have had this month.  And their genres and plots ran the spectrum, from contemporary fiction to what I might best describe as fantasy horror, making this truly a rainbow month of great books by outstanding authors.

There are quite a few books that are a part of a series and should best be read in order, while others are stand alone pieces of fiction, with one or two in between in that they are a part of a series but could be read by themselves. It’s all in the reviews which I have linked to each title.

The holidays are upon us and ebook gift cards are a wonderful way of sharing books with those we love.  Make a list, check it twice to make sure you have the titles listed below on yours:dried flowers for november
November 2013 Review Summary

*part of a series

5 Star Rating:

Corruption by Eden Winters*, contemporary
Encore by Shira Anthony*, contemporary
Lessons for Suspicious Minds by Charlie Cochrane*,historical
Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux*, contemporary
Sweet and Sour by Astrid Amara, contemporary
The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men by Eric Arvin*, horror, fantasy
Too Many Fairy Princes by Alex Beecroft, fantasy

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

After The Fall by L.A. Witt* (4 stars), contemporary
Bar None Anthology (4.5 stars) mix of contemporary, scifi
Close Quarter by Anna Zabo*(4.75 stars), supernatural
Family Texas by R.J. Scott*, (4.5 stars), contemporary
Good Boy by Anne Tenino*, (4.5 stars),contemporary
How I Met Your Father by LB Gregg (4.25 stars), contemporary
Illumination by Rowan Speedwell (4.5 stars), contemporary
Long the Mile by Ally Blue (4.25 stars), contemporary
The Retreat by BA Tortuga*, (4 stars), contemporary
The Stars that Tremble by Kate McMurray, (4 stars), contemporary

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Captive Magic by Angela Benedetti* (3.75 stars), paranormal
Hat Trick by Chelle Dugan (3 stars), contemporary
The Blight by Missouri Dalton (3.75 stars), fantasy

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:
N/A

Review: Good Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma #4) by Anne Tenino

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Good Boy coverSebastian “Toppy” DeWitt is feeling the stress.  He is working double time to finish his thesis.  And there are the post graduation decisions of where to apply for a position that is also adding to the pressure and worry that is his life these days.  Lucky for him that his boyfriend, Brad “Frat Boy” Feller, is there to cook, clean, and take care of everything else while Sebastian concentrates.  True, they don’t seem to have time for each other during the day or even see each other at night other than to fall into bed.  Sebastian is sure once he finishes his thesis and graduates then everything will go back to normal.  Or will it?

Brad Feller is feeling lonely and a little bit neglected.  He knows how important it is that Sebastian finish his thesis but while parts of their life together, their sex life, is hot and working, nothing else is.  Sebastian went home to see his father and didn’t suggest that Brad come with him.  And they never talk about their future after graduation.  The strain Brad feels and the stress Sebastian is under is starting to put cracks in their relationship, fractures that Sebastian seems unaware of.

When an old frat brother with romantic ties to Brad needs temporary shelter and moves in with them after a fire in the frat house it shatters their fragile status quo.  Amidst bouts of jealousy, anxiety and guilt, Sebastian realizes that things need to change if he is to keep the one man he loves and needs above all others or lose him forever.

Frat Boy and Toppy, the first in the Theta Alpha Gamma series, was the first book to introduce me to Anne Tenino.  It made me a fan of this author and the series as well.  And while I enjoyed the love stories of the other men in the series, Paul and Trevor as well as Collin and Eric, it is the combination of Sebastian and Brad that have remained my first love.  So I was delighted to see a return to this marvelously quirky couple to see how they were doing and where they had gone in their relationship.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out that they stumbled into one relationship trap after another with equal amounts of cluelessness and inexperience piled on top of every day pressures that is helping to derail their happily ever after.  I say unsurprisingly because this was a pair that was unexpected and surprising to begin with.  Brad, the ultimate frat boy on the outside, was large, somewhat clumsy, gentle, and searching when he first met Sebastian in class.  Sebastian, the TA, was intelligent, impatient, allergic to relationships, fixated on scholarship and kind of imperious.  Not exactly two men you would expect to meet, combust, and eventually fall deeply in love with each other.  But they did and it was wonderful.  Anne Tenino mades this complex mixture of personalities and quirks not only real, but a loving, layered relationship that the readers absolutely connects with all the way through their story.

So it’s heartbreaking to see how much that promising relationship has stagnated in the months following the end of Frat Boy and Toppy.  In the timeline of events that happen at the college and the TAG house, Good Boy exists side by side with Sweet Young Thang, the story that chronicles the fire at the TAG house and the reason that necessitates Collin’s stay, albeit temporarily, with Brad and Sebastian.  It gives the reader the full back story as to the events that are occurring around the oblivious Sebastian with his complete focus on himself and his thesis.  In Sweet Young Thang, we have the large canvas of the college and the  fraternity house which in Good Boy is narrowed down to Brad and Sebastian’s apartment and the malfunctioning state of their love affair.

Anne Tenino does a wonderful job of getting us inside each man’s head as individual insecurities (Brad’s) and current preoccupations (Sebastian’s) start to tear apart the relationship each man treasures.  Here is anexcerpt with Brad:

But after Brad abandoned Collin at the dinner table and chased his boyfriend into their bedroom, he didn’t find him. The bathroom doorway had been left open a crack, and he could hear Sebastian brushing his teeth, so he sat on the end of the bed to wait. And stew in some of his inner workings.

Aside from being pissed off in general at that whole weird dinner scene a few minutes ago—did Sebastian really have to go being a prick to Collin when the dude had had such a shitty day?—his instincts were poking at his stomach, telling him something seemed to have changed tonight with his boyfriend. Maybe now Brad could get some answers about what the fuck was going through his head, and why he’d been kind of preoccupied since Christmas, and when he’d decided to try having a relationship through a tin can and a string.

And I can ask him why he didn’t want me to meet his dad.

Shut up. Stupid little voice in his heart always had to push for more. We’ve haven’t even been together a year. He had to wait for the right time. Relationships progressed, right? Take the whole thing with Collin just now. Nine months ago, Sebastian had barely reacted when Collin had sucked Brad off in the locker room shower, but tonight he’d seemed, like, jealous. Watching him stalk off, something in Brad’s chest had gone ping. An alert, telling him Sebastian had finally fucking noticed him again.

Which was a relief, because cooking and back rubs and all the other things he’d been doing to get Sebastian to open up to him had made him feel like a dog begging for treats. ’Cause some nights Sebastian ate dinner without mentioning a damn thing about the food, just talking about his fucking thesis, and some nights he didn’t say anything at all. And some nights, when they actually had sex, he did Brad like he only needed someone to get off with.

All along, no matter how many times Brad reminded himself that Sebastian was just preoccupied with school, trying to be accepted to a good doctoral program, he’d been terrified that in reality, relationships just happened like this. Half a year in and things became about satisfying the physical needs and not about the emotional crap. It didn’t explain why it had all changed at once, but what did he know? Maybe that was normal, too.

I think everyone has heard those little voices inside from time to time, those internal arguments that start to undermine self confidence and deepen our need for reassurance.  Brad is a little part of everyone and it makes him not only endearing but completely relatable.  I love  Brad.  The snarky, self obsessed Sebastian is also someone I connected with.  He thinks he is doing whats best for them both without actually communicating his thoughts and feelings to his lover.  He has isolated himself without realizing it, a precarious situation in a relationship and it takes the arrival of Collin to jumpstart Sebastian’s interaction with Brad once more.

Good Boy is funny, heartbreaking, sexy, and ultimately quite wonderful.  I love this couple and hope Anne Tenino will revisit their love affair and relationship once more.  You just know somehow Sebastian will find a way to derail it once more before they get their happily ever after that they both need and want so much.  We want it for them too and that’s why I will be here with each and every new installment in the Theta Alpha Gamma series.  Join me will you?

This is how it starts….

Sebastian hadn’t taken a break for hours. He came out of his research-induced haze to find that his foot had fallen asleep, and when he moved his leg, his back made an alarming sound somewhere between a creak and a pop. Dammit, he’d sat hunched over the computer for too long again. Maybe later Brad would give him a massage to work out some of his aches.

Here are the books in the order they were written and should be read:

Frat Boy and Toppy (Theta Alpha Gamma, #1)
Love, Hypothetically (Theta Alpha Gamma, #2)
Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma, #3)
Good Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma, #4)

Cover Art by L.C. Chase, lcchase.com/design.htm

Book Details:

ebook, 67 pages
Published October 7th 2013 by Riptide Publishing
original title Good Boy
ISBN13 9781626490680
edition language English

Falling Back Into November and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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fall-back-clockOnce again, for most of us in the United States, its time to change the clocks,  As any kid (and adult could tell you), that twice a year, we go through the upsetting ritual of changing our clocks.  In autumn, we “fall back”.  And in Spring,, well, of course, we “spring forward).  Rhymes that help us remember which way to go on the clock face just in case this is too tough to remember.  Remember those clocks that were actually clocks and not timepieces?  That had hands that went ’round and ’round?  No?  Time to feel f)(&)king old again, I guess.

My circadian rhythm is all important and this stuff messes with it big time. While some may live by the Mayan calendar or the Chinese but if you live in the US and abide by the Gregorian Calendar, then you know that on Sunday, we all change our clocks.

Why you ask?

Well, its because of Daylight Savings Time.  Unless of course,, you live in Hawaii, Arizona, or in the  Navajo Nation.   Or even  overseas territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.  Then of course, you are exempt from this nonsense.

But for the rest of us, its time to screw up our sleeping habits, mess with our dogs schedules and in general, feel unsettled and out of sync. And while I never minded “falling back” as a kid because it meant sleeping in an hour longer, “springing forward” always sucked.  School came an hour early, plus in the winter it got darker earlier too!  *I know I know, but i was a kid*

Why, the nonsense you say?  Well, it’s history, man.  Going all the way back to 1918 and The Standard Time Act which brought daylight savings time into our lives.  Here’s a glimpse into our not so distant past:

Daylight saving time was primarily started in the United States for the sake of conserving energy. The Standard Time Act was passed in 1918, which officially established time zones and incorporated daylight saving months into federal law. This was during World War I, when national efforts were made to conserve materials for the war effort. It was believed that if daytime hours could correspond better with natural light, fewer tasks would need to be done at night. Homes would need to use less energy to stay lit.

After the war “Peace Time” was back in effect and the issue of daylight saving time was handled on a local level. This led to a great deal of confusion as different locations were constantly operating at different times. The Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966 to solve the problem. States were given the option to opt out of daylight saving time if they passed proper ordinances.Copyright AccuWeather.comDaylight-Saving-Time-Ends-Wallpaper-Card-of-Bear-Sleeping

After WWI, we got rid of it.  But WWII saw a return of conservation of energy and our resources and, voila, Daylight Savings Time returned. And now while it’s no longer a law, most states still go by DST including Maryland.   So today I will be just that little bit disgruntled, my timing out of whack and my dogs out of sync of their normal routines. And I will glare at that clock and say “at least it isn’t spring and I am springing forward”.

And here is the week ahead in reviews, so many great books from beginning to end:

Monday, Nov. 4       Lessons for a Suspicious Mind by Charlie Cochrane

Tuesday, Nov. 5:      Good Boy by Anne Tenino

Wed., Nov. 6:             Hat Trick by Chelle Dugan

Thurs., Nov. 7:           Illuminations by Rowan Speedwell

Friday, Nov. 8:           The Blight by Missouri Dalton

Saturday, Nov.9:       After The Fall by L.A. Witt

Last Day at GRL and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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I am writing this in advance as today is my last day at GRL in Atlanta and my travel day home.  I hope I will have had time to post several pics and blogs of the event as it happened.  If, as I predict, not, then a followup blog will be coming shortly.

At any rate, it is going to be a great week here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  Sarah Black is stopping by to discuss her latest release,, The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari, the sequel to The General and The Horse-Lord, a favorite of mine.  If you enjoy great military characters written realistically and grounded deeply in the Marine ethos, then these stories are for you.

Also reviewed this week is her outstanding supernatural story, Wild Onion.  Sarah Black donated the proceeds of this story to her local food bank, a wonderful endeavor and a much needed one.  Anne Tenino is back with more of her boys from Alpha Theta Gamma in Good Boy and I have new stories hee by A.R. Moler and Jameson Dash.  Really there is something for everyone.

Here is the schedule for the week ahead:

Monday, Oct. 21:       Burning Now by A.R. Moler

Tuesday, Oct. 22:       Home Team by Jameson Dash

Wed., Oct. 23:             Wild Onions by Sarah Black

Thurs., Oct. 24:          Good Boy by Anne Tenino

Friday, Oct. 25:          Sarah Black Guest Blog and Book Giveaway

Sat., Oct., 26:             The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari by Sarah Black

Review: Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma #3) by Anne Tenino

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Sweet Young ThangCollin Montes was instrumental in getting his fraternity, Theta Alpha Gamma, to change their  bylaws and accept gay and bisexual college men into TAG.  Several of the brothers were already out about their sexuality, most notably Brad, so this just instilled in their bylaws the acceptance acknowledged in their close knit fraternity.  But there is even another reason this change means so much to Collin and that is the fact that Collin is also gay.  Collin has kept that fact  hidden from most of his fraternity and his family.  And that includes his Uncle Monty who raised him after his father died when Collin was 5.  Uncle Monty is also the president of the TAG Alumni Association and an influential and powerful man in his own right. Uncle Monty is also a homophobe.  The TAG Alumni Association contributes a heavy sum to the running of TAG and neither Uncle Monty or the rest of the board are happy with the inclusion of Gays and Bisexuals in the fraternity.

When first a water heater is rigged to launch through the ceiling, setting off a fire at the TAG house which injures one of the brothers, and then a bomb is found,  Collin is sure that these are repercussions due to the changes in bylaws at TAG.  One of the paramedics/firemen to arrive at the house  the day of the fire is college and TAG Alumn  Eric “Dix” Dixon.  Eric sees Collin helping out his injured frat brother and the attraction between the men is instantaneous.

Older by ten years and with touches of grey in his hair, Eric is openly gay at work.  Eric has always dreamed of someone to make a home and family with but that person hasn’t appeared until now.  Collin, with his sexy eyes and gorgeous body, just may be the one Eric has been waiting for.  But there are many obstacles between their happiness and future together, from Collin’s closeted status and homophobic uncle to the person responsible for the arson and bombing of the TAG House.  As Eric and Collin fall in love, the threat to Collin and the fraternity grows greater.  Can Eric protect the man he has come to love or will homophobic hatred ruin their chance for a future together?

This is the third book in the Theta Alpha Gamma series by Anne Tenino and I loved it.  It has all the distinctive features of the others in the series.  It’s funny, it has terrific characters, and of course, it’s over the top sexy!  But this story has something more. It has a mystery as well.  Who is behind the arson and bombs at the fraternity?  A mystery is a terrific new aspect to this already wonderful series.  But let’s take a closer look at this series most common features.

Each book has focused on a member of the Theta Alpha Gamma or TAG fraternity at Calapooya University in Oregon.  First it was Brad, then Paul, and now it’s Collin’s turn.  Each young man is not only a member of TAG but gay as well, although each has arrived at that self knowledge in differing ways.  The wonderful thing about this series is that the characters and couple you have fallen in love with in the previous books are back, included in this story.  That holds especially true for Brad and Sebastian from Frat B0y and Toppy (Theta Alpha Gamma #1).  They are still working on their relationship and Collin plays an important part in helping them work through a few issues of their own.  But the story here belongs to Collin and Eric, as well as the rest of the fraternity brothers.

This is the first time we have really seen the men of TAG interact with each other on a deeper scale.  Tenino brings us into the frat house dynamics and the close knit brotherhood of the Theta Alpha Gamma fraternity. Once more we get to watch Tank, Ricky, Toby, Kyle, Jules and the rest support each other, no matter the problem.  I have to admit the frat house scenes that involved all the frat brothers had me giggling uncontrollably.  Whether they were being roused to action by the threat to their kegerator or watching Project Runway, these are the scenes that really brought their fraternity to goofy life.  It’s hysterically funny and yet heartwarming at the same time.  Is it a realistic depiction of life at a fraternity?  Don’t know and quite frankly don’t care. In Tenino’s more than capable hands, these quirky, crazy group of guys are alive and kicking and making us  laugh over and over again.  I just loved them.

Collin and Eric are so interesting in their own right.  Collin’s father died when he was young and although his mother is alive, his Uncle had a large part in raising him.  Collin is an intelligent young man who knows he is gay but fears losing the love of his Uncle by telling him who Collin really is.  Uncle Monty is homophobic and controlling, and that has defined Collin’s upbringing until now.  It is a joy watching Collin change as the events unfold and his relationship with Eric grows more substantial.  Eric is also an interesting character with a sexy, hidden side to him.  Trust me when I say that a photography session is one of the sexy highlights of this story.  I enjoyed their relationship and the journey towards love for them both.  I liked that Anne Tenino took into consideration their age difference when writing the relationship. Neither man is at quite the same stage as the other which is an honest aspect to this story.  I appreciated it much more than if we had gotten a case of “instant love”.

I did have a few quibbles with the story.  The person behind the attacks on the frat house is easily spotted although the motive remains hidden until the end.  I really didn’t have a problem with that aspect of the mystery because it plays out so nicely in the story.  There is an event at the end I wasn’t expecting and that was a nice touch too.  I did wish that Collin’s relationship with his Uncle had a better resolution (and his Uncle’s Alumni Association’s aspect too).  Both his Uncle and the Alumi Association had figured greatly in the story, and that was not really dealt with at the end.

A new young gay character was introduced here. Tank’s younger brother has transfered into the college and been accepted into TAG. I see his story coming next.  I can’t wait.  I love these guys and their crazy mixed up fraternity.  They have heart to go along with their beer parties.  They are funny, engaging, and I always enjoy my time with them.  I highly recommend this book and this series.  Grab them all up, starting with the first one if you are new to the series and this marvelous band of brothers.

Here are the books in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and their relationships:

Frat Boy and Toppy (Theta Alpha Gamma, #1)

Love, Hypothetically (Theta Alpha Gamma, #2)

Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma, #3)

Book Details:

ebook
Published July 22nd 2013 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626490321
edition languageEnglish