An Ali Review: The Well by Marie Sexton

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Twenty years after prom queen Cassie Kennedy is brutally murdered, six teenagers break into the house where she was killed to hold a séance. Haven knows his cousin Elise only wants to scare the crap out of him and his friends, but he’s willing to put up with one of her pranks if it means a chance to spend a few hours with the new kid in town, Pierce Hunter. 

But when morning comes, Elise has disappeared without a trace. 

Twelve years later, Pierce and his twin brother Jordan are professional paranormal investigators, starring in their own ghost-hunting TV show. When Pierce calls Haven, insisting they return to the supposedly haunted building one last time, Haven reluctantly agrees. He’s nervous about seeing Pierce again, but he’s determined to get some answers. Did they really speak to Cassie’s ghost that night? What happened to Elise? And the biggest mystery of all – how did she know the secret of the well?
 
I was immediately intrigued when I read the blurb for this book.  I love a good mystery story and when you throw in a paranormal aspect I’m beyond excited.  I wasn’t sure what to think though, of this type of book written by this author.  Everything I’ve read of hers before has been a contemporary romance.  I’m super excited to say that she knocked this out of the ballpark.
The story focused on Haven who is now a horror book author.  When he was still a teen, he and his two cousins and some other friends, spend the night in a reportedly haunted house and then his cousin Elise disappears.  Two of the boys are now paranormal investigators with a famous television show and they contact Haven and ask him to come meet with them in regards to doing a new show on the house and it’s mysteries.  Haven can’t say no because he’s haunted by the question of what happened to Elise, as well as his feelings for Pierce.
The story is told in alternating chapters.  It goes back and forth between the past and the present.  The chapters from the past were spooky and I probably shouldn’t have been reading this late at night.  Just when things would start to get scary it would move to the present.  I thought it was a great story telling technique.  It gave me a break from clutching my blanket and dog against me and it kept me totally intrigued.  I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what really happened that night.
There is some romance between Haven and Pierce but it is not the main focus of the story.  I enjoyed watching them together and felt the ending was a solid HFN.
If you enjoy stories with a paranormal twist I can’t recommend this enough.  While it’s different than her norm, I think this is one of the best books this author has written.
Cover:  I think the cover is well done and it fits the story perfectly.  It gives off the creepy vibe that the book does.
Sales Links
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 206 pages
Published May 22nd 2017
Original TitleThe Well
ASINB06XWVMH7H
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Audiobook Review: Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
winteroranges_audiobookJason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

This book takes a certain level of dispensing with reality. I mean…..person trapped in a snow globe. Once you get past that though this is a sweet tale of friendship and then romance. The two men are both extremely lonely in their own ways. Neither has had anyone to love them in a long time and they’re both in serious need of that. Of course things don’t go smoothly. (People generally think you’re crazy when you carry a snow globe with you everywhere and talk to someone no one else can see.) True love wins in the end though.

I thought the story was well written. The pacing was good and both of the main characters were enjoyable. I found myself rooting for them both and was happy when they got their happily ever after. This was creatively done story and while part of it takes place at Christmas I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a Christmas story. It’s a read you could enjoy year round.
This was narrated by Nick J Russo and I thought it was done very well.  I typically enjoy this author a lot and this was no exception.  He did all of the voices well and I never had a hard time telling the difference between the two MC’s.
Cover by L.C. Chase:  I like the cover.  It is nicely done and captures the essence of the story very well.
Sales Links

Audible, Amazon, iTunes

Book Details:

Audio release: December 7, 2016

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

trailer-trash-audioIt’s 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford’s life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he’s living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There’s no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall—not even any MTV. The entire school’s smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn’t fit in.

Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody’s dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate’s dad says Cody’s bad news. The other kids say he’s trash. But Nate knows Cody’s a good kid who’s been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he’s beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship.

Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.

I well remember the eighties. I know I’m dating myself, but as my reviewer name says, I’m a zany old lady. I got that way from living through those eighties. Just kidding. But I do have a very close friend who realized he was gay in his early teens and couldn’t tell anyone in our small, homophobic hometown. He visited Chicago with his twin brother and a friend when he was eighteen and when he graduated from high school, he took what I now know was a courageous leap of faith and moved there alone. He’s been with his partner since the mid-eighties and I can recall keeping him in my prayers when the AIDS crisis peaked.

This is a young adult story featuring two young men, Cody and Nate, who I totally fell in love with. Their story made me think of my friend all while I was reading. Each had a different family background and set of circumstances, yet fate brought them together at a time when gay men were still in hiding in most of the states, and most definitely in a rural territory in Wyoming. There are so many very, very sad times in this story. It’s definitely not fluff. But it’s also not something that I would pass up, no matter how tough it got. Marie Sexton never fails to reach down deep in my gut and wrench up all the feels I try to keep hidden, and she does it with such finesse, I can easily forgive her.

John Solo’s narration was spot on. Two weeks later and I can still hear their voices and feel their pain, and of course, their moments of joy. Cody and Nate’s story is not to be missed and the audiobook format is wonderful.

Cover art by Jay Aheer is poignant and quite wonderful.

Sales Links

Riptide Publishing

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 9 hours and 43 minutes
Audible Audio, 10 pages

Published October 19th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published March 21st 2016)
ASINB01M5BJX19
Edition Language English

A Lila Release Day Review: Making Waves (Wrench Wars #4) by Marie Sexton

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

making-waves-by-marie-sextonBest friends since they were teenagers, Ward Kent and Dean Zimmerman work together at Reggie’s garage, where the reality show Wrench Wars is filmed. Outside of work, Dean is a notorious player, and as far as he’s concerned, Ward’s the best wingman ever. Little does he know, Ward is much more interested in the gentlemen than the ladies.

Then Dean’s younger brother, Ash, comes to work at the garage. Ash may be seven years younger, but he’s had a crush on Ward for years, and he’s not shy about going after what he wants.

Admitting his best friend and his brother are gay is one thing. Seeing them together? That’s a bit more than Dean can take, and he’s about to force Ward to make a decision: lose his best friend and his job, or give up Ash forever.

Making Waves is a simple, low-angst end story to the Wrench Wars series. It gives us a small peek into the lives of previous main characters without losing focus on Ash’s and Ward’s story. It can be read as a stand-alone too. This is also the last book by Marie Sexton for quite some time, according to her hiatus announcement; with the exemption of some translations of previous books.

Before Ash’s and Ward’s love story, there was Dean’s and Ward’s bromance. Dean’s Ash older brother and Ward’s best friend. They met at an early age, and Dean was Ward’s sounding board as he grew up in the Foster care system. Ash was there too, but as a spectator; the typical little brother trying to be included in all their plans.

Moving forward eight years, and Ash comes to town to work at Reggie’s garage. Ward’s attraction to him is immediate, but he tries to stay away. Ash’s crush and advances didn’t make it easy on him, and in the end, Ward has to choose between his feelings for Ash and his friendship with Dean.

Ash’s and Ward’s relationship is steamy and uncomplicated. If it weren’t for Dean, we could say it was picture perfect. They’ve great chemistry and a developing friendship. All the decisions they took were to spare Dean’s feelings, and it isn’t until they’re forced to deal with the elephant in the room that they decided to put their relationship above all.

The overall story was good, but not great. Time skipped ahead, and we only get a one or two paragraph explanation of what had happened. I didn’t see a real connection between the MCs and the resolution felt a bit rushed and perhaps, forced. They only get a HFN that seems more like a temporary solution than the start of a HEA.

Definitely, a short story to read when looking for a quick read to fill the gap between two longer books.

The last cover in the series matched the simplistic look of the previous ones designed by Garrett Leigh.

Sale Links

        

 

 

Book Details:

ebook, 76 pages
Published: September 29, 2016, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 1634774604 (ISBN13: 9781634774604)
Edition Language: English

Series: Wrench Wars
Book #1: Last Mechanic Standing
Book #2: Normal Enough
Book #3: Wrenches, Regrets, And Reality Checks
Book #4: Making Waves

A Lila Release Day Review: Normal Enough (Wrench Wars #2) by Marie Sexton

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Normal EnoughWhat is “normal”?

When Brandon Kenner shows up at Kasey Ralston’s garage with a 1970 Chevelle SS 454, Kasey is smitten by both the man and his car. But Kasey is hiding an embarrassing secret: his love for old muscles goes beyond what most would consider normal. His unusual fetish has kept Kasey isolated—estranged from his family and even distant from his coworkers.

But when Brandon figures out the hot mechanic’s secret, he’s not repulsed. In fact, he finds Kasey intriguing, and he’s determined to have him for himself.

Everything about Brandon revs Kasey’s engine, and he’s more than willing to get down and dirty with the charming man. What worries Kasey is what will happen after. Is there any chance of a future for them? In the past, expecting anything long-term has only led to heartbreak. But Kasey can’t help hoping that, despite Kasey’s fetish, Brandon will be the exception.

Normal Enough is a steamy novella with potential for more. The setup between Brandon and Kasey is cute, but I think Brandon realizes Kasey’s kink too quickly; setting a series of scenes that felt rushed and disconnected. We barely had time to get to know the main characters before we were halfway through the story. A fast pace is to be expected from a novella, but on this occasion, it was two times faster than necessary.

The characters are perfect for each other. I like the playfulness of their encounters and how much they connected in such a short amount of time. They’re sweet and hot, creating a couple of intense meetings worth writing home about. Add the cars to the picture and you will have the bones for a great story.

I like the way Kasey moves out of his shell with every contact he has with Brandon. Not only being more confident but by taking a chance to make friends and reach to his family.  This story fits the series well; it just lacks another twenty pages.

And one pet peeve of mine, the e-book ends at 84%. I don’t mind the extra content, but in a novella, it seems excessive.

Another nice cover by Garrett Leigh. Still generic, but it matches the others in the series.

Sale Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 82 pages
Published: August 3, 2016, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 1634773837 (ISBN13: 9781634773836)
Edition Language: English

Series: Wrench Wars
Book #1: Last Mechanic Standing
Book #2: Normal Enough

Marie Sexton Talks Images and Inspiration And ‘Trailer Trash’‏ (author guest post and giveaway)

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Trailer Trash

Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton
R
iptide Publishing

Cover Art by Jay Aheer

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

**********

Hello, everyone! I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m here today to talk about my New Adult novel, Trailer Trash. Trailer Trash is about two high school seniors in small-town Wyoming in the mid-1980s. I thought I’d share a few pictures that helped inspire book, and a few that might help illustrate the setting.

Trailer Trash was born from this image:Cody

I’ve since learned that this picture is of actor Nicholas Hoult, but this picture has always been Cody in my mind.

This is the picture I have for Nate, although it isn’t perfect.

NateTrailer Trash is set in the fictional town of Warren, Wyoming, along the I-80 corridor. If you look at a map of Southern Wyoming, and find the spot about midway between Rawlins and Rock Springs, then go ten or fifteen miles north into nowhere, you’ll have the approximate location of Warren. This area of Wyoming is so windy that there aren’t many trees, but many of the ones that grow in that area look like this:

(credit: http://www.wildwestcycle.com/f_snowy.html)FlagTree

Now, I’ve driven I-80 across southern Wyoming many, many times, and it’s hell. It’s windy and barren and goes on forever, mostly flat and straight as a ruler. On a good day, that section of I-80 looks like this:

I80_GoodDay(credit: http://www.sn-reisewelt.de/cms/tag-14-yellowstone-national-park2.html)

On a bad day, it looks like this:I80_BadDay

(credit: https://weather.com/news/news/snow-blinds-drivers-along-i-80-in-wyoming)

The wind along this stretch of interstate is so bad, it’s been known to blow semis over:

https://youtu.be/vA16ivK6iDI

https://youtu.be/HKD-YXMAW4A

I originally started this story back in 2011. I put it on hold for years, but I always knew I’d finish it someday. But this is the collage I used both times around (I’m pretty sure Heidi Cullinan made this for me back in 2011).Trailer Trash Collage

The setting for Trailer Trash may look depressing, and to a large extent, it is. But I love Cody and Nate so much, I just had to tell their story, and I promise, these boys do earn their happy ending.

About Trailer Trash

It’s 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford’s life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he’s living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There’s no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall—not even any MTV. The entire school’s smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn’t fit in.

Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody’s dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate’s dad says Cody’s bad news. The other kids say he’s trash. But Nate knows Cody’s a good kid who’s been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he’s beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship.

Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.

About Marie Sexton

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along.

Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Connect with Marie:

Giveaway

To celebrate, Marie is giving away a $50 gift card to either Amazon or All Romance Ebooks, winner’s choice. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 26, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

A Stella Review: Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton

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Rating:  5 out of 5 stars     ★★★★★

Trailer TrashIt’s 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford’s life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he’s living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There’s no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall—not even any MTV. The entire school’s smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn’t fit in.

Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody’s dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate’s dad says Cody’s bad news. The other kids say he’s trash. But Nate knows Cody’s a good kid who’s been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he’s beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship.

Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.

I have a weakness for Marie Sexton, she is the one who wrote one of my all time favorite characters in the mm genre (Cole from the Coda series). She’s awesome at communicating emotions and a master at writing and plotting activities. She’s left me speechless more than once.

This time around too I have no words to say how much her new release, Trailer Trash, sucked me into its world, leaving me breathless and sleepless. The characters she created were all (unsurprisingly) someone I could soon relate with and love ’till the end and more. Someone I could easily become best friends with.

The story took place in the 1986 in the middle of nowhere.

It’s August, Cody and Nate meet outside a gas station where Nate tries to buy a pack of cigarettes although not eighteen yet and then gives one to Cody. It’s the start of a new relationship. An ostensibly impossible and not recommended friendship between two young men so different from each other but with a beautiful future to share.

Nate’s parents just divorced, he would have preferred to stay in Austin with his mum but he had to follow his dad to a new town. He is planning to stay here only one year, graduate and then leave. School starts in three weeks and he’s looking for someone to hang with. He is frustrated, there is nothing to do in this town, apart from Cody.

Cody grew up in the wrong side of the town. He lives in a trailer with his mum who works as a waitress, they struggle with money a lot. He has nothing in common with the new boy and he already knows he’s going to lose Nate as soon as school starts and Nate will meet the cool guys. What he doesn’t know is that Nate doesn’t like these cool kids, they are surely similar to him than Cody but  there is too much sex, alcohol and drugs and Nate doesn’t fit in all of this.

Nate and Cody are socially the opposite. But they fit amazingly together and the strength of unknown and unexpected feelings will bring them together again after a tragedy wrecked Cody’s life.

I connected with these great MCs from the start, I felt all their emotions in my soul. It wasn’t a surprise, because I already knew the author’s qualities, but I shared a deep care and respect for some of the secondary characters too, especially with their parents and the lovely Logan. He is the only one who had never avoided Cody, on the contrary he offers him to work for his family as a dishwasher. Logan is the first to support Cody whether he is gay or not. He is the best friend anyone would want.

The story hurt a little in some moments, seeing Cody so lonely, Nate’s struggle with his newly discovered sexuality to the point of forcing himself to like girls, the name calling from the other kids, and so much more, tragedy not excluded. All of these gave me a perfect ending. I couldn’t ask for something more. Of course being greedy, I’d love to have a sequel, something set in the present, thirty years later.

I think it’s clear I loved Trailer Trash, it’s emotional, deep and well written, it felt very realistic to me and I want to highly recommend it to everyone.

The cover art by Jay Aheer is marvelous and I’m appreciating this artist style more with every cover I see.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon  those links to follow

Book Details:

ebook, 340 pages
Expected publication: March 21st 2016 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626493952 (ISBN13: 9781626493957)
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Review: Second Hand (Tucker Springs #2) by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton, Iggy Toma (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Second Hand audiobookPaul Hannon moved to Tucker Springs for his girlfriend, but she’s left him with a house he can’t afford and a pantry full of useless gadgets. All Paul wants is to get back to normal, even if he’s not sure what that is anymore. When he wanders into Tucker Pawn for a gift to win her back, he meets El Rozal, pawn shop owner and all-around cynic.

El Rozal doesn’t do relationships, especially not with clueless straight boys still pining for their ex. El may make his living dealing in castoffs, but that doesn’t apply to men. Still, when Paul starts clearing out his old life, pawning kitchen equipment he never wanted in the first place, El is drawn to Paul in spite of himself.

Paul and El have nothing in common except a past full of disappointments. There’s no reason to believe the two of them could fit, but in El’s line of work, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. When it comes to love, El and Paul may learn that secondhand doesn’t mean second best.
 
 
This was an average story. Nothing really wrong with it but nothing that made it stand out either. Paul has gone through a bad break up and while looking for a gift for his ex-girlfriend he meets Eli. The two men become friends and while Eli realizes immediately that he has feelings for Paul, Paul just cruises along cluelessly. Paul bordered on getting on my nerves with his cluelessness. At other times though I felt for him and I thought the internal discussions/fears/etc he has over his sexuality were probably pretty realistic. Eli I liked throughout the entire story.  I didn’t really feel the emotional attraction between the two men.  It just felt like they were friends unless they were in the bedroom.  The bedroom scenes though were great.  The chemistry just jumped off the pages.  Unfortunately hot sex scenes isn’t enough to carry an entire book for me.  I needed more relationship development.  Again, I didn’t love this book but I didn’t dislike it either.  

The narration by Iggy Toma was just ok.  Overall I did not really care for the narrator.  He did a wide range of voices and did them all differently which is a plus.  I didn’t like some of the voices though.  This is probably a matter of taste.  While it didn’t work for me it might for others.  I suggest listening to a sample of the audio first.
 
Cover art by L.C. ChaseI like the cover.  I think it is a good representation of the main characters and their story.
Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio
Published January 22nd 2016 by Audible (first published September 1st 2012)
Original TitleSecond Hand
SeriesTucker Springs #2 settingColorado (United States)

A BJ Review: Cinder: A CinderFella Story by Marie Sexton

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5       ★★★★★

CinderEldon Cinder would give anything to see Prince Xavier one last time, but only women are invited to the royal ball. When the local witch offers to make Eldon female for just one night, he agrees.

One spell.

One night.

One dance.

What could possibly go wrong?


I adored this short, well-written story based on the fairy tale, but with a M/M twist. This book drew me in and was an smooth and easy read. The way the couple fell in love was all I could have asked for. The prince (THE PRINCE! for heavens sake) was the one to treat Eldon like he mattered when his real family treated him like dirt. Xavier showed him what it felt like to simply have someone care what he thought and felt. . . and when you’ve lived a life where no one much cares what you feel or would ever think to notice and question your emotional state. . . . well, it was touching and insightful and perfect for me.  This book so cute I wanted to pinch it’s cheek.


This short novella is a gorgeous little GFY with just the right amount of angst and romance with the barest sprinkling of sex. There are a bit of girly bits since Eldon’s fairy godmother turns him into a girl to attend the ball, but the breasts/bits are just temporary and Eldon is very much a male. I enjoyed the ending (wasn’t sure that it would end well!), but YAY Prince Xavier saves the day! And the descriptions of how Eldon felt during the brief stints of being in a female body were done well (not over the top as could have been).

All the elements of the fairy tale were there, the magic, the slipper, the ball, the fairy godmother (well, witch in this case). But we were also given a fun, goofy dog (Milton), humor, fishing and two men in love who got their HEA. A perfect fairy tale that made me dream and smile and swoon.

The cover with its magical forest at night, the soft blues tones, the lovely topography, and the slipper/boot is all around awesome. But the slogan on front is kick-ass and made me smile. It says “It’s all fun and games until somebody loses a shoe.”

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here


Book Details:  

Kindle Edition, 86 pages
Published February 16th 2014 by Marie Sexton (first published February 4th 2012)
ASINB00IHQEYOW
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersEldon Cinder, Augustus Alexandre Kornelius Xavier Redmon

A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Winter Oranges coverJason Walker, former child star and now B-movie regular is sick and tired of Hollywood and the paparazzi cameras that seem to be present wherever he goes, so he buys a ranch in Idaho in the hopes of finding peace and serenity. That may have worked, except for the ghost haunting his guest house who can’t be seen by anyone but Jason.

He nearly passes out when he discovers that the young man, dressed in 19th century clothing, is actually trapped in a snow globe. It seems that the only person who has seen him in over 150 years is Jason, and they eventually discover that it’s likely that Jason is a descendent, and decide that’s the only possible reason for it. Benjamin Ward would have been nearly twenty-one when his sister put a spell on him and trapped him in the globe. She was trying to keep him from enlisting in the Confederate Army when the Civil War began, but before she could let him out, the globe was stolen, and he’s been trapped ever since.

He’s sweet and funny and loves discussing just about everything. He’s been manifesting outside the globe for years, usually in an empty room because he’s confined to the room where the globe is located, but occasionally he’s in a room where someone is watching TV, so he’s hooked on sitcoms, especially those from the eighties when he spent a lot of time living with an elderly woman who loved to watch TV. When Jason accidentally winds the globe in Ben’s presence, they discover that he can also be heard by Jason. He keeps Jason company, helping him work through the issues of feeling lonely and abandoned by his family and the best friend he loves but can’t have. Dylan has been Jason’s best friend and on-again-off-again lover for years, but he’s not interested in commitment, and it breaks Jason’s heart to see him with other men and women when he longs to be the man’s only companion. But he slowly discovers that by spending all his time with Ben, he’s formed a stronger bond with him, and it soon occurs to him that he’s falling in love with the young man.

When they discover a way for Jason to enter the globe and be with Ben sexually, it’s not a simple solution because on his return to the real world, Jason suffers traumatic headaches and severe nausea and vomiting, which when witnessed by the local police chief, lands him in the hospital. Ben is frantic, not knowing where Jason has been taken and even if he’s alive, so when he returns, they decide to stop trying to find a way to be together in the globe. In the meantime, Dylan has also discovered that Jason seems to be talking to himself a lot and that he’s extremely possessive of the snow globe. Fearing his friend is losing his mind, he takes steps to separate Jason from the globe.

There’s so much drama in this story that I wanted to read it with one eye closed. As it was, I had to put it down and walk away a few times because my nerves were shot. I was very afraid for both Jason and Ben, both individually and as a couple. Jason appeared to be losing his grip on sanity, and I thought he was going to be taken from Ben, but the culminating action of the story was even more dramatic and traumatic than I envisioned, and I thought I was going to scream before the finale. I can’t begin to describe the tension I felt and the fear I had for both men, and I honestly could not figure out how the author could possibly resolve this drama. But resolve it she did, and in a most spectacular and satisfying way.

I actually had to wait a few days before writing this review because I was concerned that the stress I felt while reading was going to negatively influence my rating of the story. Now that I’ve had time to breathe and relax, I can only sit back and admire the mind of an author who can be so ingeniously creative. This was a wonderful love story and a unique one at that. If you like paranormal or even just a creative twist to your MM romances, you should love this one. Don’t hesitate to buy it.

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Cover Art by LC Chase depicts a winter scene with a young man inside a snow globe. It’s beautifully done and very attention-getting, though it doesn’t quite represent the snow globe described in the story that contained only a log cabin in the woods.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 325 pages
Published November 28th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
original titleWinter Oranges
ISBN 162649357X (ISBN13: 9781626493575)
edition languageEnglish

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/