Review Tour Goalie Interference (Hat Trick #2) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn (author interview)

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Goalie Interference by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

Series (name + # in series): Hat Trick Series, #2

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook):

Ebook: September 30, 2019

Print: October 1, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook):

Ebook: 75,000 words (approx.)

Print: 297 pages (approx.)

Subgenre: Contemporary romance, hockey romance, m/m

Warnings: tense family situations, racial microaggressions (called out on page)

All buy links or pre-order links:

Universal link: https://books2read.com/goalieinterference

Book synopsis:

It’s goalie vs. goalie in this brand-new enemies-to-lovers hockey romance from Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn…

Ryu Mori has had a stellar season as goalie for the Atlanta Venom. So when he’s called into management’s office, he’s expecting to hear he’s the new starting goalie for the team, not that some new guy—an incredibly hot, annoyingly bratty rookie—is here to compete for his spot.

Not everyone gets to play in the best league in the world. Emmitt Armstrong knows that, and he’s not about to waste the opportunity after grinding his way from the bottom to the top. If the Venom are looking for a meek, mild-mannered pushover, they’ve got the wrong guy.

Ryu doesn’t want to admit the other goalie’s smart mouth turns him on. Beating Armstrong at practice feels good, sure, but there are other, more fun ways to shut his rival up.

In this league, it’s winner takes all. But there’s more to life than winning, and if Emmitt and Ryu can get past their egos and competitive natures, they might just discover they work better as partners than they ever imagined possible.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

About Avon Gale:

Avon Gale lives in a liberal Midwestern college town, where she spends her days getting heavily invested in everything from craft projects to video games. She likes road trips by car, rock concerts, thunderstorms, IPAs, Kentucky bourbon and tattoos. As a queer author, Avon is committed to providing happy endings for all and loves to tell stories that focus on found families, strong and open communication, and friendship. She loves writing about quirky people who might not be perfect, but always find a place where they belong.

Avon is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan at Handspun Literary Agency.

Connect with Avon:

Twitter: twitter.com/avongalewrites

Facebook: facebook.com/avongalewrites

Newsletter: eepurl.com/bGLSrD

Instagram: instagram.com/avongale

Website: avongalewrites.com

***

About Piper Vaughn:

Piper Vaughn is a queer Latinx author and longtime romance reader. Since writing their first love story at age eleven, they’ve known writing in some form was exactly what they wanted to do. A reader to the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book.

Piper grew up in a diverse neighborhood in Chicago and loves putting faces and characters of every ethnicity in their stories, making their fictional worlds as colorful as the real one. Above all, Piper believes there’s no one way to have an HEA, and every person deserves to see themselves reflected on the page.

Connect with Piper:

Twitter: twitter.com/pipervaughn

Facebook: facebook.com/pipervaughn

Instagram: instagram.com/piper.vaughn

Website: pipervaughn.com

***

Teaser 

“Can I tell you something and you’ll keep your mouth shut about it?” Emmitt asked. “I’m serious, man. This cannot go beyond you and me.”

“Dude! When do I not keep my mouth shut?” Morley scowled. “Like, when are people gonna get it that I’m like, a good guy?”

Emmitt smiled. “You are. I know. Sorry, it’s just…I might be seeing someone.”

Morley stared at him. “Is it another dentist?”

It took Emmitt a moment to remember how he’d told Morley about his ex, and he laughed despite himself. “No. This time it’s actually a hockey player and…yeah.”

Morley did a fist bump and shouted, “People owe me money, motherfuckers!”

“What?” Emmitt hissed. “This is why you’re not getting any cred! People? Who, people?”

“On the Internet,” Morley said, mysteriously. “Don’t worry. I don’t use my real name.”

Emmitt just stared at him. “I don’t want to know about this. I don’t. I’m not asking. And I can’t tell you who it is, because he’s not out, so don’t ask, okay?”

“I won’t. But…it’s not the goalie on the Marauders, is it?” His voice lowered. “People write erotic stories about you two, bro.”

Emmitt blinked. “What? Where? Why?”

“Enemies to lovers, man. It’s a Thing.” Morley waved a hand. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Okay?” Emmitt gave a helpless laugh. “I don’t know what to even say about that, except I hope those stories end better than my relationship did. It’s not the goalie for the Marauders, by the way. Our archrivals? Give me some credit, dude.”

***

Author Q&A:

Piper Vaughn:

Name the five biggest distractions from your writing.

-Reading.

-Cross stitching.

-YouTube. I watch a lot of ASMR videos to relax, but I’m also really into cooking videos, crafting tutorials, music videos, and skincare vlogs.

-My cat. Look, she’s too cute to resist. She deserves all the pets and treats and love.

-Social media. Especially Twitter!

What is your ideal writing space?

In a perfect world, I’d have my own office, with a door that locked. There’d be a desk/work station, book shelves stuffed to the brim with paperbacks and knickknacks, a cozy reading nook in the corner for when I needed a break, a few plants near the window, and space to display all of the vintage typewriters I’ve collected over the years.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to travel, listen to music (my tastes are eclectic, but at heart, I’m still a 90s grunge and alternative kid), read, and marathon TV shows or true crime podcasts. I also love cross stitching, which I’ve only been doing for about 4 months now, but I’m totally obsessed with the craft and have amassed quite the collection of supplies and patterns and have even started hand-dyeing my own fabric and creating my own designs.

What drew you to this genre?

I’ve been a romance reader pretty much from the start, when I first got my hands on a few Harlequin category romances around the age of eleven. YA was a much smaller genre at the time, and while I was reading some of it—Christopher Pike, LJ Smith, RL Stine, Sweet Valley High, etc.—a lot of it also contained romantic subplots. At the end of the day, I just really enjoy watching two (or more) people form a connection and fall in love, with all the ups and downs that come along with that journey. And given that I grew up around a fair amount of death and violence, I really clung hard to the idea of happily ever afters. I still do.

Avon Gale

Name the five biggest distractions from your writing.

Definitely video games. I love them, especially epic RPGs with a huge world map and a thousand pointless sidequests. There’s nothing I love more than fighting with my ragtag group of party members, gallivanting from town to dungeon, rage-quitting boss battles (they cheat!) and putting off saving the world to collect vegetables for that one merchant, or find the lost sheep of a poor villager. I love RPGs because they’re basically found family narratives with a strong emphasis on the power of friendship, which are also things I love to write about in my books.

After that, it’d have to be crafting — I like to knit, embroider, sew, paint, make jewelry, anything like that. I’m always up for learning a new craft (sewing and embroidery are my most recent) and I can spend a lot of time in our local yarn shop, the quilt store with the fabric I won’t let myself buy because I am still not that great at sewing in a straight line, or Michaels looking at embroidery thread.

YouTube — I watch a lot of YouTube videos, as the shorter format works well with my attention span. I love Jenny Nicholson, who has hilarious videos about bad fanfic, movies, and theme parks — I highly recommend her snark-tastic video about that awful “Escape from Tomorrow” movie shot guerilla-style in Disney parks.

My four month old kitten is also a distraction from writing, sometimes a welcome one and sometimes not so much. But it’s hard not to play with her when she’s so cute!!

For the last one, I guess I’d have to say cleaning. Sometimes I have found myself vacuuming instead of writing, in which case I’m sure somewhere my mom is weeping quality for the twelve year old I might have been, haha!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Video games are my biggest hobby at the moment, alongside with crafting (though the kitten makes doing that sort of hard, she likes to pounce on literally everything but especially string/yarn!). I also love to travel, especially road tripping to visit friends or go to concerts. I love to swim, either outside in a nice cold river/lake or at the gym. I obviously love reading, I still love my fandom and shrieking over fanart/fic, and I love watching horror movies. I’m pretty easily entertained, to be honest!

What drew you to this genre?

I’ve been a romance reader since I was about 11, and I started reading gothic romance (“The Lost Duchess of Greyden Castle” was my first!) and then moved on to contemporary and historical. I love character-driven stories, especially ones with a happy ending. Romance has always appealed to my positivity and inherently optimistic nature, and I love being able to write in the genre I’ve read and enjoyed for so long. I especially love seeing queer characters thrive and end up happy, those narratives were ones I didn’t have growing up and I’m committed to making sure they’re out there.

 

A MelanieM Review :Arctic Heat (Frozen Hearts #3) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A lasting connection needs more than simply surviving a winter together—they’ll have to outsmart danger, let down their defenses and open their hearts.

Owen Han has a fresh lease on life—he’s kicked cancer’s ass and is roaring through his bucket list. The former investment banker hopes to find his next challenge in Alaska, volunteering alongside park rangers and fulfilling his childhood dreams of snowy winters and rustic life. Of course, those dreams did tend to feature big strapping mountain men in vivid detail…

Ranger Quilleran Ramsey would like to be anywhere other than dealing with newbie volunteers. And really, the only thing he needs less than a green volunteer “partner” is the flirty attentions of a buff city boy who doesn’t look ready to last a week, let alone an Alaskan winter. They’re all wrong for each other, even if Quill’s traitorous body enjoys the flirting more than it should.

As the weeks pass, the two snowbound men give in to temptation. But can their seasonal romance last until spring? For them to have a future together, each will have to trust the other…while hoping that the harsh elements and omnipresent dangers don’t destroy what happiness they’ve found in the moment.

As it turns out with Annabeth Albert’s Frozen Hearts series, third time really is the charm.  With Arctic Heat all the elements come together in this third installment of her series that’s set in Alaska to provide the reader with a remarkable heartwarming romance to remember.  It is my clear favorite to date with characters I immediately connected with, situations I understood and related to, and a rich, layered dynamic between the main characters that was so interesting, vulnerable and amazing that you couldn’t stop reading.

Plus there was all that starkly gorgeous landscape they were living in.

And while the men’s pasts stood like shadows around them, it was the fascinating give and take between the men in the present, their chemistry that kept you bound to them and the story. The fluctuating differences in dominance in their  relationships in and outside the bedroom, in Owen’s dominance in bed and Quill’s outside on the snow, both yin and yang in different elements of each other lives.  Just so perfect, watching as they maneuvered and figured it out for each other.

The dialogues and conversations felt authentic to the men and the dynamic happening between them.  The scenes often moving, the action when it happens hairraising.

What a story!  And did I say there is a dog too?

How I loved that ending.  And this story.  As I said it’s my favorite novel of this series to date.  I highly recommend Frozen Hearts and most definitely Arctic Heat. The last with a passion!

Cover art by Carina Press art department is lovely and works for the characters and storyline.

Sales Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Y3KUk9

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Arctic-Heat-Audiobook/1488206864

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-heat-annabeth-albert/1129779475?ean=9781488053610#/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arctic-heat-4

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Heat?id=8o6QDwAAQBAJ

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/arctic-heat/id1458215728

Book Details:

ebook
Published September 23rd 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488053618 (ISBN13: 9781488053610)
Edition Language English
Series Frozen Hearts #3

 

New Release Tour for Arctic Heat (Frozen Hearts #3) by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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ARCTIC HEAT by Annabeth Albert

Series: Frozen Hearts #3

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: Sept. 23 (ebook/audio), Oct 1 (print)

Length (Print & Ebook): 89,000 words

Subgenre: m/m contemporary romance/ action adventure m/m romance, interracial romance

Warnings: None.

All buy links or pre-order links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Y3KUk9

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Arctic-Heat-Audiobook/1488206864

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-heat-annabeth-albert/1129779475?ean=9781488053610#/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arctic-heat-4

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Heat?id=8o6QDwAAQBAJ

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/arctic-heat/id1458215728

Good reads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44662238-arctic-heat

Praise for ARCTIC HEAT:

“Annabeth Albert’s delightful characters and thoughtful emotional touch give a lovely spin to opposites attract when they’re forced together in a cabin in the woods. We root for these guys–lone wolf Quilleran is a true foil for Owen, who is enthusiastically embracing his new lease on life.” -Bestselling Author, Amy Lane

“I really enjoyed the story. It was a fun read and believe it or not, I have been to the Hatcher Pass area of Alaska. The story was fun, sexy and passionate enough to melt an Alaskan snow field.” -Bestselling Author, Andew Grey

“I eagerly await every new Annabeth Albert release and ARCTIC HEAT did not disappoint. Sexy and snowbound with a touch of danger – do not miss this one!” -Bestselling Author, HelenKay Dimon

“Arctic Heat by Annabeth Albert … Owen and Quill are so wow…witnessing their friendship build is tangible and engaging …Albert’s ability to have characters connect without needing sex is astounding and speaks to this author talent!” -Denise, Shh Mom’s Reading Book Blog

Book synopsis:

A lasting connection needs more than simply surviving a winter together—they’ll have to outsmart danger, let down their defenses and open their hearts.

Owen Han has a fresh lease on life—he’s kicked cancer’s ass and is roaring through his bucket list. The former investment banker hopes to find his next challenge in Alaska, volunteering alongside park rangers and fulfilling his childhood dreams of snowy winters and rustic life. Of course, those dreams did tend to feature big strapping mountain men in vivid detail…

Ranger Quilleran Ramsey would like to be anywhere other than dealing with newbie volunteers. And really, the only thing he needs less than a green volunteer “partner” is the flirty attentions of a buff city boy who doesn’t look ready to last a week, let alone an Alaskan winter. They’re all wrong for each other, even if Quill’s traitorous body enjoys the flirting more than it should.

As the weeks pass, the two snowbound men give in to temptation. But can their seasonal romance last until spring? For them to have a future together, each will have to trust the other…while hoping that the harsh elements and omnipresent dangers don’t destroy what happiness they’ve found in the moment.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

This book is approximately 89,000 words

Excerpt :

“Tea for everyone. Then a hot shower and lots of blankets,” Owen declared as they entered the building, bossy streak making a blessed reappearance right when Quill really needed to not be the one thinking. If Owen had a plan, so much the better because Quill wasn’t good for much besides stripping off his gear, stowing his piece, stomping upstairs, and flopping into a kitchen chair. Owen draped one of the blankets from the couch around his shoulders before doing the same for himself, wearing it like a cape as he made tea. “Bourbon in yours? I found a bottle in the cabinet the other week.”

“Yeah.” Quill didn’t often imbibe, but he needed the burn of the liquor even more than any warmth-giving properties. The bourbon was there exactly for nights like this one where Quill had done his best and it still hadn’t been enough. Fucking universe and its random acts of cruelty.

After adding a healthy glug of liquor to each of their mugs, Owen shoved a cup at Quill. He also put a plate of cookies from the batch that got baked on the table. “Here you go. Eat something so the alcohol doesn’t hit too hard.”

“Feels like I should be the one taking care of you,” Quill admitted after he’d had a few sips of tea, let the warmth and burn work past the tightness in his throat and chest.

“We can take care of each other,” Owen countered, pulling his chair close to Quill’s. “That’s what we’re here for, right?”

A few hours ago, Quill would have argued that being alone was the best way to cope with something like this—find a way to push through and on to the next day either with the aid of some strong drink or just a restless night spent replaying the events until sleep did its thing, softened the edges of the awfulness. But when Owen grabbed his hand, squeezed, and looked at him with such compassion in his eyes, Quill couldn’t find it in himself to pull away.

“Yeah,” he said, even as he knew that he shouldn’t let himself come to need Owen like this, to lean on him. He and Hattie had always tended to retreat to their own corners after a hard shift, and he prided himself on being a strong man. Sure, accidents like this affected him as they would anyone, but he’d always tried to handle those emotions on his own. Harsh memories of his father’s comments about men who showed their feelings didn’t help any, but lately all those memories, all the family drama, seemed more distant. Less sharp.

And funny how without that mantle of a painful past, his present seemed somehow more hopeful, old wounds and past fears no match for Owen. In fact, they’d been on the verge of another disagreement when Owen had dropped everything to come help. And now here he was, taking care of Quill yet again. Owen simply didn’t seem to have it in him to hold a grudge too long. Quill would be a fool to pull away now, even if he knew the next night like this, the inevitable one after Owen left, would hurt that much more. But that moment, all he wanted to do was hold Owen close, take every comfort he offered from Christmas lights to hot toddies to underdone gingerbread to that strong hand of his, holding on when Quill needed it most.

 

Blog Tour Exclusive Q&A:

Q: Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

AA: Both characters, Quill and Owen, are special to me for different reasons. Quill, my grumpy park ranger, is special to me because he’s a more mature hero, but he’s also unaware of the extent of his own loneliness. Giving Quill the HEA he deserves was immensely satisfying. Owen, my optimistic new volunteer assigned to Quill, is special because he represents a character that I’ve wanted to do for a long time—one who survived a major medical scare and now has a second lease on life and is determined to make the most of each day.

Q: What was the inspiration for the story?

AA: My amazing critique partner and best friend, Wendy Qualls, came to me with the idea of how in remote areas, park rangers are often snowed in together for months at a time. I loved the idea immediately, and we started brainstorming. I brought in a lot of my favorite tropes—opposites attract, age gap, close proximity, building friendship, adventure, working together, and more as the plot started to take shape for me. Then later, I came up with the idea of making it series set in Alaska, and worked that plot bunny into the series. Book Three seemed to fit best for this one, so that’s where it landed, but initially it was the first plot bunny, and everything else sprang from that one.

Q: What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

AA: Love finds us where we least expect it, but most need it. Neither Owen nor Quill expects to find the love of their lives when they’re snowed in together for an Alaskan winter, but love has a way of finding people when they need it most and of healing old wounds and giving fresh courage. I really wanted to show how love can provide the best fresh start of all, even when we stay in the same place we’ve always been or when we venture thousands of miles out of our comfort zone—love finds those who need it most.

Q: What is the significance of the title?

AA: ARCTIC HEAT is actually the coldest book in the series—tons and tons of snow and snowed in fun. The heat totally comes from the chemistry between the main characters!

Q: If you had to describe the main characters in three words, what would those three words be?

AA: As the story opens, Quill is grumpy, lonely, and loyal. He’s grumpy about being assigned a new volunteer, lonely from long hours alone and with his BFF now assigned elsewhere, and he’s loyal to his job. Meanwhile, Owen is optimistic, fun, and adventure seeking. He’s an optimist who survived a health scare and now is seeking fun and adventure in Alaska.

Meet Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #FrozenHearts, #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Connect with Annabeth:

Website: http://annabethalbert.com/

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/Nb9yv

Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Annabeth-Albert/e/B00LYFFAZK

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnabethAlbert

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbert

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabeth_albert/

Giveaway

Giveaway: 1 winner will receive paperback copies of ARCTIC SUN, ARCTIC WILD, and ARCTIC HEAT + a Swag Pack! Open Internationally, must be 18 to win.

Code:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f03104/

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : American Fairytale (Dreamers #2) by Adriana Herrera

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The minute I saw this book was available I grabbed it. Book one, American Dreamer, was so outstanding I knew I’d be in for a treat with more. Could the author top her debut book? Oh yes. Milo’s story is highly entertaining and fulfilled my fantasy of having everyone find Mr. Right to make them happy.

Am I sappy? Yes, I am. But the story made me feel so very good I simply want to share the experience with others.

Four young men grew up together in New York City. All sons of Caribbean immigrants, the men are of an age to strike out on their own. In American Dreamer, Nesto pursued his dream by taking his food catering business to Ithaca, where he met the man of his dreams. Now, in book two, we spend time with Camilo Santiago Briggs, or Milo to friends and family, a social worker and project manager in a nonprofit that serves victims of domestic abuse.

When he’s assigned as liaison to Thomas Hughes, a wealthy donor who is contributing to renovating the home for women and to funding future projects, he’s thrilled to be chosen. Until he meets the man and realizes he’s the guy he recently hooked up with at a friend’s wedding, and he wants to crawl into a corner and hide out. But Thomas isn’t going to let that happen. He’s smitten with Milo and plans to pursue him until he’s good and ready to walk away.

Milo is attractive, friendly, driven, and fiercely independent. He’s family-oriented, a hard worker, and takes his responsibilities to his mother, his friends, and his job seriously. Born in the Dominican Republic, Thomas is strong, wealthy, goal-driven, and totally head over heels for Milo. He values Milo’s individuality and refuses to give up before finding a way to make their lives mesh.

Just like with American Dreamer, there’s so much to like about this story—the writing, the pace, the interesting Dominican Republic cultural information, the relationship-building, the secondary characters, and the core message of drawing strength from family and friends.

I’m definitely looking forward to more from this author in future. I can’t wait to read stories devoted to Milo’s best friends, Patrice and Juanpa. I very highly recommend this book to all lovers of MM romance, and especially to those who enjoy stories so rich in cultural heritage that readers are inspired to learn more.

The cover features a close-up of a handsome Lantinx man wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt. It’s very appealing and similar in design to the cover of book one.

Sales Links:   Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: May 20th 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488054061 (ISBN13: 9781488054068)
SeriesDreamers #2

HFN Or HEA? What Makes a Story a HEA for You? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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HFN Or HEA? What Makes a Story a HEA for You?

 

Here we are sailing into May.  Hard to believe, right?  Weather is still all topsy turvy with Spring blossoms vying with snowflakes depending upon where you live.  Here its’ winds and pollen, blossoms and varying temperatures.  All of which makes staying indoors and reading or listening a great way to spend the time.

Which segues into this Sunday’s topic.  HFN Or HEA?  What makes a story a HEA or HFN for you?  That came up last night as I finished reading a story I wanted to review this week.  It ended on a great note.  There was a proposal, the couple was definitely in love (yes, having declared it previously), but no wedding.  Just a proposal.  Also there is a child in the mix, that while a custody battle was semi settled, there wasn’t a permanent solution figured out.  Just a “feeling” that everything was going to work out in the end.  New job, etc.  It got me thinking.  How would I classify that ending?  I believe that author has it as a HEA.  And in many ways I can see that.  They are a committed couple, engaged.  They see themselves as a family unit going forward so yes, ok.

But….for me, there is also a lot of things still “up in the air” so to speak.  Elements in their lives that need settling before I might consider this a HEA.  Maybe more stability …I just don’t know why the feeling of that HEA totally escaped me here.  But it did.  Perhaps since we get to see progress of other couple from the story here, this might carry through to the third novel.  The author has a way of progressing her characters through her series, maturing the relationships or letting the readers see a progression in bits and pieces.

But again, it got me thinking why does one ending leave me so completely satisfied with the fate and relationship for a couple and another , nodding in recognition of a HFN?  And before I continue further I should say that HFN means Happy For Now and HEA means Happily Ever After.  Sign, sometimes I just assume people know what those terms mean.  HFN is where the couple might face an uncertain future, it could be temporary with a HEA still in play.  But life always manages to throw in obstacles in the path to HEA so for me HFN has always felt a more realistic choice in some cases however my heart wants a HEA for everyone.

I mean can you have a HEA after a short amount a time?  I’m talking about stories where the couples meet, fall in love in a week or two and have a HEA?  Possible?  Maybe ….or maybe not.  Maybe a HFN feels more authentic.

What makes a HEA feel real to you?

For me it’s where I have been on the journey with the couple to find their HEA, the relationship dynamics and characters felt real and believable.  I’ve watched the romance grow in depth, from stage to stage until everything comes to a culmination that says they made it, they are an established couple with a future ahead of them that we can and do believe in.  It’s golden (even if certain authors are then going to put them through the wringer lol).   Eventually we know they will toddle off together happy as rainbow clams.

But that’s me.  What’s your definition?  What elements have to be in play for a story to be a HEA for you ?  Or a HFN?  Let me know….a gift cert will be in your future.  Cut off date in 2 weeks time.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 28:

  • HFN Or HEA? What Makes a Story a HEA for You? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Book Blitz – Clare London’s The Accidental Baker

Monday, April 29:

  • Review Tour – Love Is A Walk In The Park – V.L. Locey & Stephanie Locey
  • Review Tour – Rebecca Cohen’s Anthony, Earl of Crofton
  • Release Blitz for Annabelle Jacobs ‘ Wounded Soul
  • DSP PROMO Amanda Meuwissen on Coming Up for Air
  • An Ashlez Review: Sweating Lies – Criminal Delights: Taken (Lies #1) by Emma Jaye
  • A MelanieM Review: Anthony, Earl of Crofton by Rebecca Cohen
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Love Is A Walk In The Park by V.L. Locey & Stephanie Locey

Tuesday. April 30:

  • PROMO Mourning Dove by R.R. Campbell
  • Blog Tour – Sweating Lies – Criminal Delights: Taken  Lies #1) by Emma Jaye
  • Blog Tour – Grace Kilian Delaney – Living On A Dare
  • An Alisa Review: Rescued by Love by Deirdre O’Dare
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Coming Up for Air by Amanda Meuwissen
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Murder Most Lovely (Lacetown Murder Mysteries #1) by Hank Edwards and, Deanna Wadsworth
  • A MelanieM Review: Don’t Fight the Spark by Kasia Bacon

Wednesday, May 1:

  • Review Tour – Montana Sky (Montana #6) by RJ Scott
  • Review Tour – Lillian Francis – Under The Radar
  • Release Blitz – Bryan T. Clark – Escaping Camp Roosevelt
  • Release Blitz Made For You by Anyta Sunday
  • A MelanieM Review : Under The Radar by Lillian Francis
  • A Lucy Review: All My Fault by Michael Gouda
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Montana Sky (Montana #6) by RJ Scott

Thursday, May 2:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: RUNNING ON EMPTY, a Havoc novel by SE Jakes
  • Release Blitz – 717 miles by Sophia Soames
  • DSP PROMO Murder Most Lovely by Hank Edwards and Deanna Wadsworth
  • Blog Post – Avery Cockburn – Play Hard (Glasgow Lads 4.5)
  • An Ali Review:Starting from Zero by Lane Hayes
  • A MelanieM Review :717 miles by Sophia Soames
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Destructive Forces by Harry F. Rey

Friday, May 3:

  • The Doctor’s Secret by Heidi Cullinan Tour
  • Blog Tour – Unimaginable by Iyana Jenna
  • Release Blitz – GB Gordon – Match Grade (Criminal Delights)
  • An Alisa Review: Unimaginable by Iyana Jenna
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs #4) by L.A. Witt
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Dangerous Times by Isobelle Winter
  • A MelanieM Review:The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Saturday, May 4  May the Fourth Be With You!:

  • HARMONY INK PROMO Gina Harris and Anne Key
  • A MelanieM Review: Arctic Wild (Frozen Hearts #2) by Annabeth Albert

 

A MelanieM Review: Heated Rivalry (Game Changers #2) by Rachel Reid

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Nothing interferes with Shane Hollander’s game—definitely not the sexy rival he loves to hate.

Pro hockey star Shane Hollander isn’t just crazy talented, he’s got a spotless reputation. Hockey is his life. Now that he’s captain of the Montreal Voyageurs, he won’t let anything jeopardize that, especially the sexy Russian whose hard body keeps him awake at night.

Boston Bears captain Ilya Rozanov is everything Shane’s not. The self-proclaimed king of the ice, he’s as cocky as he is talented. No one can beat him—except Shane. They’ve made a career on their legendary rivalry, but when the skates come off, the heat between them is undeniable. When Ilya realizes he wants more than a few secret hookups, he knows he must walk away. The risk is too great.

As their attraction intensifies, they struggle to keep their relationship out of the public eye. If the truth comes out, it could ruin them both. But when their need for each other rivals their ambition on the ice, secrecy is no longer an option…

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

As a fan of both hockey and hockey fiction, I’m always on the lookout for more contemporary romances with hockey and gay hockey players at the center of the action.  So I was delighted to come across this new release from Carina Press.  It represents both a new author and a new series for me.  And since I ended up loving both the story and this couple, it will send me running to pickup the first story in the series.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure at first how I felt about the format the author uses in Heated Rivalry (Game Changers #2) by Rachel Reid.  Told from both points of view of the main characters, we start the novel when they are teenagers vying for status and an award.  It is their first meeting and the beginning of their personal hockey competition and interaction.  From then on the story starts jumping forward as they meet in different cities in various time intervals, the competition and heated rivalry flaring hotter and hotter. Each time frame advancing both the personal competition between them as the best hockey players currently coming up in the game, and something more.  A physical closeted relationship that’s still somewhat impersonal….until it starts to be something more.

As I said I started out unsure about this flash forward framework because it didn’t allow the reader to see any development of a relationship between the men.  Until I realized that was the point.  There wasn’t one.  Only the one we saw on ice.  But midway, those jumps in time slowed and a relationship between the men started to develop beyond the competition and mere physicalilty they had allowed themselves.  And we as readers relished it all the more for the lack of intimacy that had gone before.

Due to this format, we need the 2 pov narrative to fill us in on the men, their background and the drama that is happening around them and to them in some cases.    These characters are well developed and if they seem a tad familiar to those that follow hockey there is a reason for it.  If you read the Afterword by the author, you will know that Reid was a fan of the HBO hockey series about  Penguins/Capitals rivalry, specially the one between “good boy” Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and  “bad boy” Russian Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. As a Caps fan, I can tell you it’s a hard fast competition that continues today between “The Kid” and “Ovi” .  And it sparked the inspiration for this romance and story.

The slow to develop emotional intimacy is what we crave here because what they already have is an intense physical one.  So the payoff for the men at the end is a realistic one.    It’s not a HEA but an authentic HFN which I thoroughly appreciated.  It’s what they had worked for, were still working for, and, cleared eyed as to how the NHL is run, homophobia included, make plans that we as readers not only get behind but quietly cheer for.  And hope to see this couple pop up in future stories.

I really enjoyed this tale.  The author has a feel for hockey action on the rink, a well developed storyline, great characters and a ending I believed in.  Love it.  And now to go back and check on the first book in the series.

This is definitely a standalone novel as far as I can tell.  One that I recommend, especially if you are a fan of hockey and hockey romances like me.

Cover art by Carina Press.  Ok not a fan of this cover.  Could be for any romance, nothing really distinguishes it as a hockey novel.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 310 pages
Published March 25th 2019 by Carina Press
Original Title Heated Rivalry
ASINB07H5K8SFW
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Game Changers :

Game Changer

Heated Rivalry

An Ashlez Review: Off the Ice (Hat Trick #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

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Rating : 4 stars out of 5

Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire—if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the Sociology Department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk their hearts when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.

 
Perhaps it’s the Canadian in me, but I loved the hockey-centric learning of this book.  It was hockey focused as it should be, and normally in a hockey romance you get a few game play/practice references and nothing more – if you’re a fan of hockey this is a definite must read.
 
It was very “coming out” focused as well, and honestly I get each side of the story.
 
Tristan was adorably written – Ryu was too – which I hope is the next in the series – their descriptions their descriptions, their lives, their jobs, I just was engrossed.
 
I thought Seb was pretty bossy from the beginning – makes sense throughout the book, honestly – his actions in the beginning though kind of ticked me off a lot!
 
Personal distaste aside, Seb grew on me, of course, not as much as Tris I like the big floppy grinned character more than anything else!
 
Excited for the next book in the series.
Cover Art – typical hockey book art – I love the colours though and clearly it’s super relevant to the book
Book Details:ebook
Published March 25th 2019 by Carina Press (first published October 30th 2017)
ISBN 1488053758 (ISBN13: 9781488053757)
SeriesHat Trick #1
CharactersTristan Holt, Sebastian Cruz, Ryu Mori, Trevor Morley, Daniel Bellamy
settingAtlanta, Georgia (United States)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Heated Rivalry (Game Changers #2) by Rachel Reid

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

My first book from this author, but it won’t be my last. This story engaged me and kept me riveted with not only memorable characters, who happen to be sexy hockey players, but also men who grow from 18-year-old rookies looking for a quick hookup to mature all-stars who know each other better than anyone else in the world and become willing to risk their hearts for a chance at permanence.

Talk about slow burn! These two took forever to realize their instant lust attraction—which they perpetuated for several years—was more than they ever thought they could have. After all, pro hockey players didn’t come out. They didn’t settle down with one man.  And they certainly didn’t leave their homeland—Russia in Ilya’s case—to find their HEA with the man who newscasters set up as an archrival.

After years of texting, secretly meeting up after games in each other’s hometown, Ilya and Shane—Lily and Jane on each other’s cell contact list—finally face the fact that they aren’t just meeting to scratch an itch. They care deeply for each other and there’s a glimmer of hope for a future together if they plan it well.  And since Shane is a planner…

From the beginning of this story, I was swept up in the rich characterizations, the excitement of pro hockey, and the secretive sexy banter and wish fulfillment. I enjoyed being with Shane as he matured and developed feelings for Ilya. And Shane was fortunate to have two supportive, interesting and loving parents—especially his mother who was a hoot with her knowledge of pro sports.  Ilya, unfortunately, was not as blessed. An aging father who suffered from dementia, a demanding brother who constantly wanted money, and a stepmother who was zero in the nurturing department were all he had in his homeland and he got to the point where he dreaded going back to Russia in the off season.  I adored Ilya with his accent, his sense of humor, and his ego—huge and well-deserved.  And together, these two men were fantastic.  By the end of the story, after they’d made their decision to be a couple, I couldn’t put the book down. 

Every word, every page turn brought me closer to the end of the book, and I didn’t want to finish.  I savored their time together, and I am hopeful we’ll see them again at some point in the future because I’m not ready to release them from my heart.  Very highly recommended. 

Cover art is every bit as heated as the title.

Sales Links;  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 310 pages
Expected publication: March 25th 2019 by Carina Press
Original Title Heated Rivalry
ASINB07H5K8SFW
Edition Language English
Series Game Changers #2

A Lila Review: Not Dead Yet (Not Dead Yet #1) by Jenn Burke

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Dying isn’t what it used to be. 

Wes Cooper was dead. Then he wasn’t—though he’s not exactly alive, either. As an immortal not-ghost, he can transition between this world and the otherplane, which makes him the perfect thief for hire. For seventy years he’s made a “living” returning items to their rightful owners, seeing his fair share of the bizarre in the process. But he’s never witnessed murder. Until now.

His latest mission brings him more than he bargained for: a very-dead actor who is definitely going to stay that way. It’s just Wes’s luck that his ex-boyfriend, Detective Hudson Rojas, is assigned to the case. Hudson broke Wes’s heart years ago—and could again, given he’s rocking a hot silver-fox look that shouldn’t be legal.

As they work together to track down the murderer before anyone else gets hurt, it becomes clear Wes and Hudson have unfinished business. And when a secret Hudson’s been keeping threatens more than just their happiness, it might mean the end of their not-life together—permanently.

Not Dead Yet has an interesting twist on ghosts and other paranormal creatures. They share a world with humans but their existence is a secret, an underworld of magic, power, and money.

It takes time to get into the story and get rid of all preconceptions about paranormals. The timeline gets a bit murky to start with but after a couple of conversations between the main characters, everything gets smoother.

The mystery is well done and not easily predictable. The murders are interconnected and the investigations keep the readers engaged. The end happened too fast with a dosage of bad guy spilling its guts, but it worked with the overall story.

If you are looking for more than a romance, this book will work for you. It has a really slow burn with interesting characters and adventures.

The cover goes with the story but based on the descriptions, Hudson seems too young. Other than that, it was nice.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | Carina

Book Details:
ebook, 300 pages
ISBN: 1488036233
Published: February 4, 2019, by Carina Press
Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : See the Light by Kate McMurray

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I really enjoyed this story.  Kate McMurray has a way of creating characters that are memorable—not because they are perfect, but because they are flawed. 

In this instance, Jeremy and his best friend, Max, grew up in New Jersey and took advantage of their proximity to Broadway to indulge in their favorite activity—going to musicals. Actually, Max’s favorite activity was watching Jeremy enjoy the shows.  His beautiful face would light up and he’d become entranced with the action, while Max enjoyed the side benefit of his best friend’s pleasure. And Jeremy could sing and dance so added to his good looks, they both knew he’d be Broadway bound as soon as they were done with school.  And Max? Max honed his art talent, and when it appeared he could apply his talent with a brush to makeup as well as paint, he began to uses his face, and then others in school play productions (including Jeremy’s) as his canvas.

They’re now in their late twenties, Jeremy’s boyfriend has dumped him and kicked him out of his apartment, and so he comes knocking on Max’s door looking for a place to stay.  And even though Max took his own apartment years ago because he loved Jeremy with all his heart, and he knows it’s a bad idea to be so close to him without revealing his secret, he gives in and Jeremy moves to his couch. For a while…until he ends up in Max’s bed.  And Max wants him there. He finally tells Jeremy just how much he loves him, but then doubts himself and worries that if Jeremy can’t return his love, they’ll lose what they have as best friends.  And that would kill Max.  So just as Jeremy lands the lead role on a new Broadway show—his chance of a lifetime—and Max gets the contract to do the makeup for that same show and another huge production, Max asks for a cooling off period and sends them both into chaos.

And that’s when the angst kicked in.  For me, it was too much angst for too long.  Yes, we learn that Max suffers from depression and has lower self-esteem than seems warranted by what we learn of him, but the period of separation and anxiety and self-induced angst that then carried over to Jeremy at a time when he should have been on top of the world made me start to really dislike Max. And that’s too bad because he was a well-developed character.  Perhaps that was the point the author wanted to make. Those who suffer from depression sometimes scuttle their own boat. I’ve seen it in my family.  He should have been (blank) and he should have done (blank). Shoulda, coulda, woulda.  But he nearly tanked them. 

What saved the day is this young man, who knows now that he’s in love with his best friend, has been for a while though didn’t realize it until recently, who’s now at the pinnacle of his career because he kept trying, and dreaming, and hoping, and working toward his goal.  And when he stops to think about it, he realizes he can’t give up on Max.  He takes all his positive energy and focuses on the show and on being there when Max finally comes down from his anxiety ladder and sees the light.  Pun intended. 

So I loved the beginning, didn’t care for the level of tummy-turning angst in the middle, but from Chapter Twenty to the end, I couldn’t put the book down.   I was there at the premiere, sitting in the front row as Jeremy stood alone in the spotlight and belted out the first notes to the song. This is most definitely a love story and if you’ve ever gone to a Broadway play or sang out loud with Streisand or Minelli, this book is for you. 

Cover art is light and bright and eye catching.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: January 28th 2019 by Carina Press
ASIN B07GB9Q512
Edition Language English