A MelanieM Advent Release Day Review: The Billionaire’s Boxing Day Bargain by Ava Hayden

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Milo is too nice to say no when the desperate call goes out for more staff to work Boxing Day at Eden Consumer Electronics. It’s just until they sell the door-crasher specials, but it means he can’t see his billionaire boyfriend Lance until later that day.

Lance spends December 25 jetting back from a business trip, eager to see Milo. He calls as soon as his flight lands Boxing Day morning, only to find out that seven hundred and thirty televisions are cock-blocking him.

What’s the point of being a billionaire if you can’t spend your way around obstacles? Milo doesn’t want Lance solving his problems with cash, but he’ll never find out because Lance’s efficient personal assistant, William, is on the case. Unfortunately, even billionaires are subject to the law of unintended consequences—and these aren’t the kind Lance can buy his way out of.

Will Lance and Milo have their Boxing Day date? Or have Lance’s pushy billionaire ways finally gone too far?

The Billionaire’s Boxing Day Bargain by Ava Hayden is a very cute holiday romance in the Dreamspinner Press Advent Stocking Stuffer collection.  A very rich man wants his boyfriend home with him instead of at the failing electronic store where he’s filling in for a friend.  Many humorous moments ensue before the couple reunites at the end.

It’s funny, angst free, low flame, holiday fare.  I enjoyed it while I was reading it even if I can’t remember too much about the couple and story right now.  I do remember thinking that the monitor/tv thing was funny or was it the blender?  Thing was…I could almost see a very rich man doing exactly that to get his way…a very realistic and humorous touch.

There’s a happy ending for all and isn’t that what we want in a holiday story?  Only this one comes as a contemporary romance, missing that touch of Christmas magic I love to see in most of mine.

Cover art by Paul Richmond is the series cover for all Stocking Stuffer stories and filled with good cheer and humor although not specific to the individual stories.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 42 pages
Published December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640803114
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Highballer (World of Love) by Ava Hayden

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

What happens when the man is as tempting as the money?

Remy Delacour’s family doesn’t believe in mainstream medicine, and when Remy’s boyfriend reveals that Remy is majoring in nursing, they cut him off. He has to find money to finish his education—fast. And he is so done with boyfriends.

Levi Aronson met the guy of his dreams and followed him to Australia. He knew the chances for a lasting romance were slim—and boy, was he right. Now he’s back in Canada, a year behind in his university program, and short of funds. He needs money, not another man.

Tree planting is a way to make a lot of money fast, but it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. When Levi, an experienced planter, sees pretty, sloe-eyed Remy, Levi is certain he’ll never last.

They’ll have to pry Remy’s shovel from his cold, stiff fingers, because he won’t quit—or let anything take his eyes off the prize. When a storm brings Remy and Levi together, each finds the other a distraction from the big goal. But can anything develop between two men who have sworn off relationships?

I’m coming to love this author and her stories.  They always contain characters that feel so grounded in reality and yet unusual enough to make me think I’ve never come across anyone like them before in a romance.  That certainly happens here in Highballer, one of Dreamspinner Press’ World of Love romances.

There is so much to recommend about this story!  Hayden absolutely brings alive the “seasonal society” of tree planters that most of the world’s population may not even be aware of.  You may see all those commercials of vast acres of trees, dense commercial forests…but have you ever given thought as to how they get there?  Who plants them?  You won’t after this story.  Hayden makes the “best worst job in the world”  vivid and compelling, awful and amazing all at once.  This element alone is reason to buy this book.

But silviculture aside, you have the fascinating characters of Remy Delacour and Levi Aronson.  Remy Delacour and his family from Pax Eden could take up their own book here.  Remy is estranged from his family, not because he’s gay but because he’s a nursing student and finally got his vaccinations (something his family is violently against along with organized medicine).  They are pro Health Freedom and he’s come out as an RN.  Everything about Remy is endearing, how I adore this character.  But I love Levi as well.  Levi has his issues to work through.  They also stem from his family, his father in this case and poor treatment from an ex boyfriend.  Combined it’s caused Levi to raise some mighty high walls and come armed with some equally high judgements.

Hayden makes these men real and then puts then in situations you believe in so you watch the slow friendship form or friendships in Remy’s case as he’s the “new kid” amongst a crew of people who’ve worked together.  Everyone here feels like someone you’ve met before, there is an authenticity about them that rings true.  And at the end of the story, you’ll be as sad to leave them as you were saying goodbye to people you camped with or became close to over a summer.  At least that’s how it felt to me.  I wanted them back again.  You’ll also learn what the term “highballer” means.  And have watched a wonderful love story blossom and grow.

I absolutely recommend Highballer (World of Love) by Ava Hayden. I’ll be re-reading to see what elements I missed the first time around.  And then I’ll be waiting to see what this talented author is coming up with next.  I wouldn’t mind if she sends us back to the treeline…

Cover Artist: Jennifer Vance.  This cover is perfect for the characters and setting.  Loved it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 138 pages
Expected publication: October 25th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634774024
Edition LanguageEnglish

Ava Hayden on Favorites Locations, Characters and her release ‘Highballer’ (guest post)

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Highballer (World of Love) by Ava Hayden
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Jennifer Vance

Available for Purchase at

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner: http://bit.ly/2x8X7BC

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/y9eb5jsp

Rakuten Kobo: http://bit.ly/2z3W3B6

iBooks: http://apple.co/2xYb5L4

Nook: http://bit.ly/2ycpyTT

Google Books: https://goo.gl/RLsjbE

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ava Hayden here today on her Highballer tour.  Welcome, Ava!

 

 

Thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me today to talk about Highballer, #17 in Dreamspinner’s World of Love series. Highballer follows two tree planters in Alberta as they earn money to secure their futures and fall for each other at the same time. There are a few bumps along the road to their HEA, some the size of the mountains where they’re planting, but no worries—they do get there in the end!

In September, I returned to some of the locations that Levi and Remy visit in the course of the story because a friend was visiting from the States. We drove up the awe-inspiring Icefield Parkway to Jasper and stayed there a couple of days. Jasper National Park is home to one of my favorite spots—Maligne Canyon. In the past I’ve seen bighorn sheep grazing along the edge of a sheer drop to certain death below (they climb over a fence to reach the grass there). I get vertigo just watching them, but I’ve never heard of one falling, unlike some humans who have climbed the fence for a better photo.

While there we also visited the planetarium. It’s a real planetarium but not what you’re probably thinking. It’s inflatable (they call it air-supported). Why a planetarium in Jasper? Because Jasper National Park is the second largest dark sky preserve in the world. (Look at a view of North America at night from space. Find Calgary and then view Jasper National Park. See the difference? The largest dark sky preserve in the world, Wood Buffalo National Park, is also in Alberta, as well as the Northwest Territories. It’s *really* big. ) Unfortunately, the night we went to the planetarium, we couldn’t see the stars through telescopes because of cloud cover. Maybe next year!

We headed back down the Icefield Parkway to Lake Louise and then on to Banff. We walked along the river out to the falls and back to Banff Avenue. That’s all I’m going to say to avoid spoilers, but here are a couple of pics to give you an idea of how beautiful it is there. If you’ve never been, maybe Highballer will make you want to dust off your passport and head north!

Jasper sunset

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZhKeqvn0Pl/?taken-by=avahayden.ab

Bow River, Banff, Alberta

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZpdjghHUXV/?taken-by=avahayden.ab

Blurb

What happens when the man is as tempting as the money?

Remy Delacour’s family doesn’t believe in mainstream medicine, and when Remy’s boyfriend reveals that Remy is majoring in nursing, they cut him off. He has to find money to finish his education—fast. And he is so done with boyfriends.

Levi Aronson met the guy of his dreams and followed him to Australia. He knew the chances for a lasting romance were slim—and boy, was he right. Now he’s back in Canada, a year behind in his university program, and short of funds. He needs money, not another man.

Tree planting is a way to make a lot of money fast, but it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. When Levi, an experienced planter, sees pretty, sloe-eyed Remy, Levi is certain he’ll never last.

They’ll have to pry Remy’s shovel from his cold, stiff fingers, because he won’t quit—or let anything take his eyes off the prize. When a storm brings Remy and Levi together, each finds the other a distraction from the big goal. But can anything develop between two men who have sworn off relationships?

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

Author Bio

Ava Hayden lives and writes in Alberta, Canada. When not writing, she loves reading yaoi manga and gay romance, baking, seeing plays, hearing live music, and hiking (even though she once came face to face with two grizzlies on a trail). Most of the time her life isn’t that exciting, and that’s fine by her.

More about Ava

Ava Hayden Writes: https://avahayden.com/

Ava Hayden on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/avahayden.ab/

Ava Hayden on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/avahaydenab/

Ava Hayden on Facebook: fb.me/avahayden.ab

Ava Hayden on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/avahayden

Ava Hayden on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Ava_Hayden

Ava Hayden at Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/ava-hayden-812

Ava Hayden on Romance, eBooks, and her release ‘The Valentine’s Day Resolution’ (author’s guest blog)

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The Valentine’s Day Resolution by Ava Hayden
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art: Alexandria Corza

Available for Purchase at

DreamspinnerAmazon  | Kobo  | Apple itunes  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ava Hayden here today talking about her latest release,The Valentine’s Day Resolution, one of our highly recommended novels.  Welcome, Ava!

✒︎

Thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me and my latest novella, The Valentine’s Day Resolution. I’m excited to be here today!

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

As a teen and into adulthood, I read everything I could get my hands on by Victoria Holt (Jean Plaidy, Philippa Carr, etc.), Barbara Michaels (Elizabeth Peters), Gillian Bradshaw, Anne Rivers Siddons, Georgette Heyer, Catherine Cookson (Catherine Marchant), and, later, Judith Merkle Riley and Alice Borchardt, among others. Some of these authors’ works aren’t categorized as “romance” per se, but I don’t care if Amazon calls a title historical fiction or women’s fiction or literary fiction if there’s an HEA.

These days, I read lots of MM and LGBTQ+ romance, also authors like Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews and Jennifer Ashley for paranormal romance.

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

I love ebooks. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still love physical books, like the beautiful annotated Harvard Press editions of Jane Austen’s works (http://www.hup.harvard.edu/features/austen/) I’ve been collecting slowly but surely. Rows of hardbacks on my shelves make me happy.

On the other hand, I don’t want to cart heavy books around on trips. Enter the ereader. I even buy a few titles in both ebook and physical format, one to read when I’m on vacation or out and about and the other to read at home. Other aspects of ebooks that I appreciate:

  • Instant gratification—is there anything better than being at home in the middle of a snowstorm and buying something you really, desperately want to read RIGHT THEN without leaving the comfort of your snuggly blanket and snacks and hot tea?
  • Access—I still love used book stores, but does anyone else remember slogging through store after store, hoping to find that elusive title in a series that was out of print and impossible to buy new? Yes, I’m a completist, and life before the internet meant I had a mental list I carried to every used bookstore, yard sale, or flea market where old books could be found.
  • Binging—no, not on chocolate—on series. I didn’t find Andrea Speed’s Infected series until the last one was published. Did I buy them all and devour them as fast as humanly possible, emerging only for food and hydrating beverages? Did I point at takeout flyers when my hungry spouse asked if there were plans for dinner? …ummm, maybe?
  • And perhaps the most important reason I love ebooks is that so many good stories and novellas are published and available in ebook format only—if not for ebooks, I’d be missing out on some of my favorite authors and stories.

Where ebooks are going—it’s hard to predict the future. I hope more older works are made available in ebook format at a reasonable price. I suspect ebook formats will continue to improve and offer more features, likewise ereaders.

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

His Fallow Heart because it was my first romance sale and it’s about older men finding love. (And there’s a farm and a snowy owl and a dog and summer hail and a town named Eagle Tree.)

♦︎What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve got a Dreamspinner Press World of Love title coming out October 25 called Highballer, about tree planters pounding on the block in the wild Alberta bush. 

Blurb

Huxley carries invisible scars from a near-fatal car accident. He sleepwalks through a job at his father’s company, marking time until he can quit and pursue his own dreams. Everything changes the moment he makes eye contact with a stranger while riding to work. It’s as if he’s been shaken out of his stupor, and Huxley vows to find the man.

Thanks to a thieving ex-lover, Paul’s florist shop is on the brink of closing down. He needs to milk Valentine’s Day for all it’s worth—and the irony that a day dedicated to love might help undo the damage of a failed relationship is not lost on him.

When Huxley finds Paul at his shop, both men feel an instant attraction. Before long, they’re falling hard, but Huxley holds back. If Paul knew all the baggage he’s carrying, he might run.

Paul’s gut tells him Huxley is hiding something. Huxley looks like a keeper, but Paul can’t go through another disastrous romance.

When Valentine’s Day arrives, will they have anything to celebrate?

About the Author

Alexandria Corza’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandriacorza/

Ava Hayden lives and writes in Alberta, Canada. When not writing, she loves reading yaoi manga and gay romance, baking, seeing plays, hearing live music, and hiking (even though she once came face to face with two grizzlies on a trail). Most of the time her life isn’t that exciting, and that’s fine by her.

A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Valentine’s Day Resolution by Ava Hayden

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Huxley carries invisible scars from a near-fatal car accident. He sleepwalks through a job at his father’s company, marking time until he can quit and pursue his own dreams.

Everything changes the moment he makes eye contact with a stranger while riding to work. It’s as if he’s been shaken out of his stupor, and Huxley vows to find the man.

Thanks to a thieving ex-lover, Paul’s florist shop is on the brink of closing down. He needs to milk Valentine’s Day for all it’s worth—and the irony that a day dedicated to love might help undo the damage of a failed relationship is not lost on him.

When Huxley finds Paul at his shop, both men feel an instant attraction. Before long, they’re falling hard, but Huxley holds back. If Paul knew all the baggage he’s carrying, he might run.

Paul’s gut tells him Huxley is hiding something. Huxley looks like a keeper, but Paul can’t go through another disastrous romance.

When Valentine’s Day arrives, will they have anything to celebrate?

The Valentine’s Day Resolution by Ava Hayden was such a delight to read.  Not only did I fall in love with the characters but the way in which the author brought Huxley slowly back to life, small step by step in every part of his life made this story a real joy to read.  You can understand Huxley, a man bound by his past and his fears.  Several changes slowly start to pull Huxley out of his boxed in life and into something marvelous.    And these are small steps,  but ones to be cherished (not that he realizes the steps that he’s taking at the time).  But while Huxley’s still unaware that he’s moving forward, the reader and the people around him are and we/they are cheering him on.

Paul, the florist, is another gem of a character in a book full of them. Paul is trying to save his shop, yet when Huxley appears at the counter, something about the man makes Paul  want to trust again.  So the author gives us two men with fear ruling their lives in different ways.  How it is resolves and loves triumphs, quietly, movingly, is why I was sighing so happily as I finished the story.   So happy that I wanted to read it again.  So will you.  Consider this happily recommended!

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza. The artist does a lovely job of bringing both characters to life.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 140 pages
Expected publication: August 2nd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635337013

In Our Author Spotlight: Ava Hayden and her latest story ‘Table for One’ (guest blog)

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TableforOneFS

Table for One by Ava Hayden
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist Anna Sikorska

Sales Links

Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have  Ava Hayden here today to talk about her latest story, Table for One, and share with our readers a bit of the background into the plot and storyline.  Welcome, Ava!

********

In “Table for One” I wanted to throw a big plot complication at Nick. Oilton, Alberta is a made-up place, but there’s one thing you can count on anywhere in Alberta in winter—snow.

Not that we can’t handle it—snow falling at a reasonable pace, that is, with plenty of time for plowing. When it arrives all at once—life gets complicated. I’d been living in Alberta three months when the worst snowstorm in 113 years hit on St. Patrick’s Day. I was at the airport, ready to fly to Vancouver for business. When the airlines cancelled a few flights and marked some delayed, it didn’t seem unusual—not at first. Traveling in snow is a fact of life here. Plenty of passengers assumed these were temporary annoyances—a little runway plowing, some de-icing, and no worries. The airline’s staff was playing coy.

The problem with having to make decisions in a hundred-year snowstorm is you don’t know it’s a hundred-year snowstorm until it’s over and the CBC is broadcasting videos and statistics. When my flight was cancelled, my gut told me not to join the line of people at the gate hoping to go standby on the next flight. Instead, I made a quick call to my Vancouver customer and headed for the cabstand as fast as I could.

Road conditions were already horrible. The trip took five times longer than usual. The worst moment occurred when the taxi was fighting for traction to climb a hill. A pickup hauling a refrigerator ahead of us began sliding backwards, and for a few seconds, the taxi driver and I both had no doubt that we were about to be squashed under a Kenmore. (We weren’t. Barely.)

Take one blizzard, add an eight-months-missing-in-action-without-a-word-of-explanation ex-lover seated at a table for two in Nick’s section, and it’s a Valentine’s Day he’ll never forget.

About Table for One

Nick DiGiaccomo waits tables at Fortissimo, an exclusive restaurant in Oilton, Alberta. He loathes drama, particularly the kind that makes its appearance on Valentine’s Day.

This Valentine’s Day is especially bitter. Eight months ago Nick’s heart was broken when his lover walked away without a word over a misunderstanding. Too proud to call, Nick’s heard nothing from him since. But on this, the most romantic day of the year, he keeps his feelings well-hidden and his professional smile firmly in place.

That is, until he sees his ex-lover, Mark Mishimoto, at a table for two in his section—and his Valentine’s Day goes from bad to downright horrible.

To make matters worse, a winter storm descends, hours earlier than forecast. When the restaurant closes, Nick finds himself stuck downtown in the middle of a blizzard with no way to get home and nowhere to go. Mark lives conveniently close by, and he’s offering up his couch. Nick could use a place to lay his head—but is it worth risking his heart?

Categories : Daydreams, Contemporary, Holiday. Gay Fiction

About the Author

Ava Hayden lives and writes in western Canada but grew up in the southern United States. She comes from a family of storytellers and began creating her own at an early age. She’s still telling stories, but now she writes them down.