A Jeri Review: At Attention by Annabelle Albert

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Annabeth Albert has done it again. I honestly don’t think I have ever given one of her books fewer than 4 stars. At Attention is book 2 in her Out of Uniform series. These can absolutely be read as stand alones, but if you are like most who start reading her books- you will search them all out to devour.

Apollo is a single dad to twin girls after losing his husband. His mother has an apartment above the garage to help take care of the girls while he is at work. But she is going on a much deserved and long awaited vacation. Being a former SEAL on desk duty because of a bad back, Apollo doesn’t like his carefully crafted routine disrupted.

In walks Dylan- his Navy friend’s little brother whom he hasn’t seen in 8 years. Since Dylan is spending the summer at home before he begins a new job, he seems like the perfect person to help Apollo with the girls. But Apollo and Dylan suddenly have crazy chemistry- and Apollo has no intentions of acting on it.

Ho-ly HOT. When Apollo is in Dad or work mode, he is nearly perfect. Very straight laced, plays by the rules guy. But when he is with Dylan- DAYUM. This book is a long slow burn that combusts at the perfect moment. And when Apollo finally goes all in on his attraction- he is filthy. The good filthy.

I will admit that main characters with back problems is kind of triggery for me. I won’t go into it. So for the first time reading one of her books I was a bit hesitant. That being said, the point that he had back problems was prevalent, but she didn’t beat us over the head with it. Which I really appreciated. Repetition of something in a book drives me batty.

Dylan is just about the complete opposite of Apollo. Where one is a control freak, the other rides the wave that comes. But they play off of each other beautifully without making the other feel less for being different from them. It helps them open the eyes of the other.

The twins were absolutely adorable and I really loved their interaction both with their father and Dylan. Writing kids so prominently into a story can be tricky, but it is well done here.

Apollo has to deal with a lot in this book- the girls, his grief, his guilt over his attraction to his friend’s younger brother…. but he does, and does it well. And not always with a tidy little bow as so often happens.

And now I can’t wait for the next book…..

Cover art is lovely and works for the series and tale.

Sales Links

Carina Press

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: April 10th 2017 by Carina Press
Original Title At Attention
ISBN13 9781488022623
Edition Language English

1 Week Tour for At Attention by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  AT ATTENTION

Series: Out of Uniform, book 2 (but stands alone well–different couple for each book)

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: April 10, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

Genre: Romance, Military romance, contemporary, age difference, may/december, SEALS

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Annabeth Albert here today.  Welcome, Annabeth. Tell us more about your new release!

✒︎

Thank you so much for having me today! I’m so excited to be celebrating the release of AT ATTENTION which stars a widowed navy SEAL dad and his best-friend’s little brother who’s staying with him for the summer to help with the kids. Music is a huge part of my creative process, and I knew going into this that the playlist for these two was going to be a challenge.

Apollo is dealing with a lot of grief and the pain of moving on after losing his husband, so his songs to start with were sad and slow, while Dylan is sunnier, younger, and more upbeat. I’d go from bombastic TV show soundtracks for Apollo to fun pop for Dylan and back again, trying to find the musical profile for this book.

Sam Smith was an obvious choice, but other notable additions to the playlist were revelations—lesser known artists who became intertwined with the writing of this book.  You can find the full playlist on spotify, but I wanted to talk about a few songs and why they were so key to the book.

  • James Blunt, “When I Find Love Again.” I’d never heard of James before starting this book, but when I found this song, I knew I’d found Apollo’s path forward. It’s joyous and upbeat and everything missing from Apollo’s life at the start of the book. But by the end, this song really has become the embodiment of the book’s message about being brave enough to try again.
  • Tenth Avenue North, “Worn.” This song more than any other on the playlist really encapsulated who Apollo is at the book’s opening—he’s tired of struggling, tired of being alone, but he’s not sure he believes in a different future for himself. He’s waiting for something like Dylan in his life, even if he can’t admit it yet.
  • Angus and Julia Stone, “Stay with Me.” The thing about Sam Smith being on repeat for two months is that eventually one finds their way to Sam Smith covers. And this one is particularly gorgeous, and really spoke to the black moment for me, for both men, how much they need each other.
  • Haley Reinhart, “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” I listened to a lot of covers of this song, as it was such a perfect song for Apollo who really, really does not want to fall in love with Dylan, but does anyway, but this version of the song really spoke to me with her heartbreaking delivery.
  • Rebecca Ferguson, “Nothing’s Real but Love.”  Another artist I discovered while searching sad song playlists, her voice really spoke to Apollo’s resilience and how much he needs love back in his life.
  • Kina Grannis/Gardiner Sisters, “I was Made for Loving You.” This is one of Dylan’s songs—hopeful, and full of love, but wary.
  • Jewel, “Near Me Always.” I put a little piece of myself in every book, but in this case, I gave them a song from my past, one that always makes me relive a little heartbreak to hear because I needed to channel that sadness, and a funny thing happened—over the course of listening to my playlist, this song became much less about my own past and more about Dylan and Apollo’s future.

Thank you so much for having me! If you’re curious to learn more about Dylan and Apollo’s journey, I hope you’ll check out AT ATTENTION. And if you have a good earworm for me, I love hearing of new artists and songs!

Synopsis

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

Book Two of the Out of Uniform series

This book is approximately 73,000 words

Excerpt

**This is from the first chapter**

Hamburger. Onions. Pickles. Ketchup. Buns. Buns.

Well, hello, there. Possibly the most perfect specimen Apollo had ever seen was bent over in the bakery aisle at Sprouts, looking at a rack of organic cookies. High. Tight. Round. Attached to muscular legs poking out of board shorts, the kind of legs that suggested a serious investment in a sport or fitness. He wasn’t going to do more than look, but even when he’d been with Neal, he hadn’t been blind, and it was nice to know perfection like this guy existed in the world.

It was like swimming by a perfect coral reef on a dive or the blue of a cloudless sky right before a jump—

Wink. Fuck. The guy straightened before Apollo could look away and caught Apollo staring, and instead of blushing or serving him with the angry glare he deserved, he gave Apollo a saucy wink. It was the sort of wink that a decade ago would have had Apollo crossing the shiny linoleum and getting the guy’s number, but those days were long gone.

Instead he grabbed the closest twelve pack of hamburger buns and one of hot dog buns and headed to the next aisle. Those were the only kind of buns he had any business letting himself be distracted by. He was a father for crying out loud, not some single guy out treating the natural grocery store like his own personal pickup joint. Reflexively, he rubbed his ring with the side of his pinky, making it spin on his ring finger. Yeah. No more looking.

“Apollo! How are you?” Bridget from down the street almost ran her cart into his as he navigated the aisles. Her red-haired toddler waved at him from the basket.

Hell. He knew he should have brought at least one of the girls shopping. Then Bridget could have focused on the kids, and not his least favorite question in the universe.

“Hanging in there.” Apollo gave her a practiced a smile. “Good” would be a lie and no one wanted to hear “same as yesterday,” which was closer to the truth. But what the Bridgets of the world all wanted to hear was that Apollo was moving on—like time was the magic cure for the hole in his heart. “Having some people over for a barbecue later. Apologies if anyone parks in front of your place.”

“Oh, no worries.” Bridget patted his arm. “Having friends is so important.”

“Yeah, it is,” Apollo agreed because Bridget was a nice person, but inwardly his teeth gnashed together. He was so tired of well-meaning people telling him what was good for him when not a damn one of their suggestions would bring Neal back. “I better get on with my list.”

“You do that. And be sure and let us know if you need anything.

Apollo nodded. Two years. It had been two years of neighbors and friends stopping him like this, making kind offers, but none of them able to do the one thing he wanted more than anything.

Fuck. Snap out of it, Lieutenant. No one wants your mopey ass around on this sunny May weekend. And it was an absolutely gorgeous day, perfect for playing with the girls outside and kicking back a few beers with his friends. He wasn’t on duty and had three consecutive days off for the first time in a long time. No sense dwelling on sad shit. Time to get stuff done.

Find something else to focus on.

Like that perfect ass?

No. Absolutely not that. Like…pickles. Lots and lots of pickles.

He saw Mr. Perfect Butt again in the juice aisle, and it was damn hard to keep his resolution to stick to shopping. The guy was model cute—curly hair falling just so over his forehead, sparkling eyes, chiseled jaw, and a tight T-shirt advertising a British soccer team showing off a defined chest and tight stomach. The guy smiled at him again and looked like he might want to speak, so Apollo grabbed the juice boxes for the girls and got out of there like he’d just launched a flash bang in the guy’s direction.

At the checkout, Mr. Perfect Butt was ahead of him in the only line that seemed to be moving. Apollo very carefully did not look at his butt again and busied himself grabbing some gum and trying to give off “don’t talk to me” vibes.

But those vibes seemed to be an utter failure as the guy turned, offering another movie-star-worthy grin. “You want to go first?” His voice was husky, like every word was a secret.

“I’m good,” Apollo said.

The man nodded, shy smile teasing the edges of his mouth, making his blue eyes dance. “You know—”

“ID please.” The cashier interrupted whatever flirtation the guy had planned as his six pack of beer went across the scanner.

“Oh, yeah.” A faint red flush spread up the guy’s neck. Oh hell. He wasn’t just younger than Apollo. He was a kid. A kid who still got carded, and rightfully so with that baby face. What the hell had Apollo been thinking, admiring his body?

Apollo focused on unloading his own groceries, making neat rows for the cashier, and making sure the buns wouldn’t get squished.

Buns. Nope. Not going there. The kid hung around after paying for his groceries, mouth moving as if he were debating speaking, but Apollo kept his attention squarely on the cashier.

No more looking. Remember who—what—you are now. When he finally looked up, perfect butt guy was gone, and if Apollo felt a twinge of regret for being a bit on the rude side, he squashed it quickly. Wasn’t like he’d ever see the guy again anyway.

****

What will Apollo do when he discovers that Perfect Butt guy is his best friend’s little brother? Find out in AT ATTENTION!

Purchase

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

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. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Sign Up for Annabeth’s Newsletter!

Website | Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter | Goodreads

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A MelanieM Review: At Attention (Out of Uniform #2) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4.5 stars ouf 5

at-attentionLieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

Annabeth Albert has become a  “go to, must read” author for me quickly.  It started with her series #gaymers but Portland Heat and now Out of Uniform is also making her a comfort read as well.  If you haven’t started any of these series, walk-don’t run to your nearest computer and pull them up!  At Attention is the second in her Out of Uniform series and oh my, how I do love this one.  It has characters I met in the first, we’re talking Lt. Apollo Floros.  He’s widowed with twins and just the small amount of time he appeared in the first story, Off Base (Out of Uniform, #1), was enough to know that you needed more of him.  And that he had to have a HEA.

At Attention is his story and romance.  Sigh and swoon.  The author gives us a man who hasn’t yet dealt with his grief over losing his husband.  Apollo has just been going through the motions of adjusting to being an only parent with total responsibility of his twins, a job that’s taken him out of the field and the daily recognition of the hole in his life.  But actual mourning?  No, he hasn’t let himself do that and so he’s  stuck in a way that  not even his family   and friends know how to help him move forward.  I love how Albert makes us feel this man’s pain and loss as well as his love for his daughters and the man he married.  We see how much he needs to move ahead and yet how unable or unready he is to do so.

Then Dylan comes to town for a summer job and his brother, Apollo’s friend and teammate.  Who hasn’t had someone younger crush on them or had a crush on someone older?  We know how it goes and feels.  Albert captures those old feelings perfectly as well as what happened when the crush and crushee meet years later.  Its so hard to let go of those old impressions, especially if you’re the older person.  I love how that factors into this slow moving relationship because its so very realistic.

There are other obstacles here, not just that  past history.  Each is believable and realistic as they come.  And yet those sparks that fly between these characters are hot, hot, hot!!!  The chemistry that the author cooks up between Apollo and Dylan is combustible and I believe in that and them too.

Plus you throw in the girls and their love for Dylan as well and this story just sang for me.

So At Attention is already a favorite of the series and its just book 2.  What will the rest of the series bring?  I can’t wait to find out.  Please hurry up with the next story!

Cover art is lovely and works for the series and tale.

Sales Links

Carina Press

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: April 10th 2017 by Carina Press
Original Title At Attention
ISBN13 9781488022623
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: Necessary Medicine by M.K. York

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

necessary-medicineWith intelligence and humor, debut male/male author M.K. York delivers an emotionally charged slow-burn romance set in a prestigious Bay Area teaching hospital

In the high-intensity world of hospital residency programs, there’s no room for romance. So it’s a good thing for first-year surgical resident Neil Carmona that his crush on the gorgeous cardiologist Eli Newcombe is sheer fantasy. Not only is the sexy doctor Neil’s superior, he’s also recently divorced.

As Neil’s skill as a surgeon grows, so does his friendship with Eli, and his silent, hopeless longing for more. It isn’t until Neil’s final year that Eli at last admits his own deepest desires. But Neil’s joy is short-lived: Eli has no intention of pursuing a relationship. Their positions in the hospital would make it unethical, even if he was emotionally ready for someone new.

Wounded and furious, Neil is determined to forget about Eli once and for all. But when a near-tragedy strikes, a new question arises: Is a life without love—without Neil—a greater risk than laying his heart on the line?

Well, I just  adored Necessary Medicine by M.K. York, probably because it hit so close to home as a close family relative lived with us during his residency here. During that time period I got an up close look at his hours, his total exhaustion and the dedication it took to get him through those years (and all those rotations).  York knows that world intimately and brought it back to me so vividly I almost got on the phone to relive it  with my cousin again. Almost!

First-year surgical resident Neil Carmona felt so believable in every way.  From his fumbling through the different rotations, to his trying to find some semblance of ties to other people to ground him, I understood this man completely and loved him.  And when transplant surgeon extraordinaire appeared during one of his lectures, I could see the crush coming his way.  Neil’s world is an insular one and York does a fine job of describing its pressures and incredible around the clock adrenaline rush of procedures, stress, and Expectations that bombard residents so that we can see why he wants to reach out to someone he’s attracted to so badly even though it might be the worst idea ever.

Eli Newcombe is more of an enigma, at least at first.  Its when we meet up with him a second time that we get to know the man behind the reputation and realize that perhaps that, beyond the chemistry these two have, there just might be a future.

This is a slow burn sort of relationship that’s has its foundation in the reality of a teaching hospital.  York gives us not only Neil and Eli but Neil’s mentor (and Eli’s friend), other residents and Neil’s small circle of friends and the insular world of surgery and the transplant field.  I think this book is a marvel, and I found so many things about it fascinating. Yes, I did remember my cousin’s similar stories from his internship and they pretty much measured up to the ones here.  I wonder who  York has been talking to.

However, if you’re not a fan of things like tv medicine show dramas with ensemble casts and romances, this book might not be your thing.  But it was absolutely mine.  As I said I adored it.  I so hope M.K. York write more like this as the author has found a fan in me.

Cover art works but I’m not a fan of reds like this in cover art.  I find it offputting.

Pre Order – Sales Links

Carina Press

Other links to come

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 251 pages
Expected publication: April 24th 2017 by Carina Press
Original TitleNecessary Medicine
ASINB01MYM441N
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Pre-Release Review: At Attention (Out of Uniform, #2) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4.5 stars ouf 5

at-attentionLieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

Annabeth Albert has become a  “go to, must read” author for me quickly.  It started with her series #gaymers but Portland Heat and now Out of Uniform is also making her a comfort read as well.  If you haven’t started any of these series, walk-don’t run to your nearest computer and pull them up!  At Attention is the second in her Out of Uniform series and oh my, how I do love this one.  It has characters I met in the first, we’re talking Lt. Apollo Floros.  He’s widowed with twins and just the small amount of time he appeared in the first story, Off Base (Out of Uniform, #1), was enough to know that you needed more of him.  And that he had to have a HEA.

At Attention is his story and romance.  Sigh and swoon.  The author gives us a man who hasn’t yet dealt with his grief over losing his husband.  Apollo has just been going through the motions of adjusting to being an only parent with total responsibility of his twins, a job that’s taken him out of the field and the daily recognition of the hole in his life.  But actual mourning?  No, he hasn’t let himself do that and so he’s  stuck in a way that  not even his family   and friends know how to help him move forward.  I love how Albert makes us feel this man’s pain and loss as well as his love for his daughters and the man he married.  We see how much he needs to move ahead and yet how unable or unready he is to do so.

Then Dylan comes to town for a summer job and his brother, Apollo’s friend and teammate.  Who hasn’t had someone younger crush on them or had a crush on someone older?  We know how it goes and feels.  Albert captures those old feelings perfectly as well as what happened when the crush and crushee meet years later.  Its so hard to let go of those old impressions, especially if you’re the older person.  I love how that factors into this slow moving relationship because its so very realistic.

There are other obstacles here, not just that  past history.  Each is believable and realistic as they come.  And yet those sparks that fly between these characters are hot, hot, hot!!!  The chemistry that the author cooks up between Apollo and Dylan is combustible and I believe in that and them too.

Plus you throw in the girls and their love for Dylan as well and this story just sang for me.

So At Attention is already a favorite of the series and its just book 2.  What will the rest of the series bring?  I can’t wait to find out.  Please hurry up with the next story!

Cover art is lovely and works for the series and tale.

Sales Links

Carina Press

Other links coming soon

 

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: April 10th 2017 by Carina Press
Original Title At Attention
ISBN13 9781488022623
Edition Language English

A Jeri Review: Off Base (Out of Uniform #1) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5
off-baseI love Annabeth Albert’s books. I have read all of them-usually as soon as they come out. She does “series” and each series is totally different than the others. She definitely doesn’t stick to one trope only.
Off Base is the start of her next series, but there are charactersfrom her Gaymers series in this book as well. Namely, the two main characters. But if you haven’t read the previous series you won’t need an explantion of anything.
Zach is in the military and desperate to get out of on base housing. And roommates. When his superior offers him a free place to stay- with the caveat that he fix up the house so that they can flip and sell it, Zach jumps at the chance. One big problem- Zach has no idea about home renovation.
Pike had an unconventional upbringing and one of the things he and his mother did was renovate houses. So when Zach laments that he might be in over his head- Pike wants to help. He also wants to get out of where he is living and into something else. Perfect solution for all. Except for the attraction between the two. And the fact that Zach is a virgin.
 Watching Zach and Pike dance around each other was hot. I love a slow burn romance. I loved how Zach- this big tough military guy- was a virgin and totally inept at being a fixer upper. Yet Pike- apologetically gay and a bit of a gay stereotype- is right at home with sheetrock, tile and plumbing. And sex.
Zach was just so sweet. This poor guy was out of his element in so many ways but wanting to figure it all out. Pike was funny and a great fit with Zach. The whole opposites attract thing can be really hot.
This was a great book and I love that there are more to come. Hot military guys, Bring em on!

Sales Links

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: January 9th 2017 by Carina Press
Original TitleOff Base
ASINB01LLPCCMG
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOut of Uniform #1

What Are Your Comfort Reads and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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 book-blanket

What Are Your Comfort Reads?

I know, I know.   Its February and I could have so much more to talk about.  Its Black History Month, Valentine’s Day and Love Stories and so much more. And I may get to those next week. But the truth of the matter is that I’m heart sore these days.  With all the news and politics and a President determined to see us and our rights thrown back to the fifties and nations at war, my heart and head feels like its being plundered, torn into pieces daily.

You do what you can, you speak up, sign petitions, march. But at night or whenever you need it, I know that I need to escape into my books and my comfort reads.

I’ve been falling back into some of my early stories from many authors, ones that have remained my “go to books” when I need that instant book blankey.  Don’t tell me you don’t have those.  A story that means an instant smuggle for you.  So you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine.  Let’s see how they mesh if at all.  Some of mine include an entire series:

MelanieM’s Comfort Read’s (partial and constantly growing)

  • Amy Lane’s Keeping Promise Rock
  • Red Dirt Heart Series by N.R. Walker
  • Faith, Love & Devotion Series by Tere Michaels
  • Change of Heart series by Mary Calmes
  • Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell
  • The Shearing Gun by Renae Kaye
  • Frog by Mary Calmes
  • No Going Home (Home #1) by T.A. Chase
  • Home Series by T.A. Chase

I think B.A. Tortuga’s new series, The Release, may find its way onto this list.  Too soon yet. But I wouldn’t be surprised.

That’s for starters, ones that just popped up without giving it any thought.  I know there’s more to come.  So pull up yours.  I want to know the stories you reach for when you want to feel good, happy.  We certainly can do with so much more of that these days.

bookbed

📚Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Giveaway!📚

Send us your List of Comfort Reads!  Your Snuggle Up To, Comfort Blankey Books!  One random reader with a List will be chosen to receive a $10 gift certificate from Dreamspinner Press.  Contest ends February 17 at midnight.  Please leave your name and email address where you can be reached if chosen.

A young girl reading a book under the covers with a flashlight

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

wolfmannyat-attention-out-of-uniform-2-by-annabeth-albertwhat-remains-audiobookthey-walk-among-us-by-ta-chase

Sunday, February 5:

  • A Free Dreamer Review: Wasted Youth by H.B. Kurtzwilde
  • A MelanieM Review: Calling His Bluff (Club Raven #3) by B.A. Tortuga
  • What Are Your Comfort Reads?
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, February 6:

  • INTERLUDE PRESS TOUR Storm Season by Pene Henson
  • Cover Reveal for No Regrets by Nicky James (excerpt and giveaway)
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Working It by Christine d’Abo (giveaway)
  • A Paul B Release Day Review: Wolfmanny by Julia Talbot
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: What Remains by Garrett Leigh and Craig Beck (Narrator)
  • An Ali Review: Working It (Ringside Romance #1) by Christine d’Abo
  • An Alisa Review:  They Walk Among Us by T.A. Chase

Tuesday, February 7:

  • HARMONY INK PRESS GUEST POST: Sherrie Henry on Flag on the Play
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Embers by Kate Sherwood (giveaway)
  • DSP GUEST POST Ingela Bohm on The Seventh Flower
  • A Stella Review: Storm Season by Pene Henson
  • A VVivacious Review: The Puritan Pirate by Jules Radcliffe
  • An Ali Review:They Walk Among Us by T.A. Chase
  • A VVivacious Review: THE MUTT: AN ORDER SHORT STORY by Kasia Bacon

Wednesday, February 8:

  • DSP GUEST POST: Julia Talbot on Wolfmanny
  • HARMONY INK PRESS GUEST POST: Jo Ramsey on Midnight Chat
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Fire Balls by Tara Lain
  • A Jeri Review: Off Base by Annabeth Albert
  • A Stella Release Day Review: The Seventh Flower (World of Love) by Ingela Bohm
  • An Alisa Release Day Review:  Buyout by Dev Bentham

Thursday, February 9:

  • DSP GUEST POST: Jake C. Wallace on Jerricho’s Freedom
  • DSP GUEST POST:  Dirk Greyson on Darkness Rising
  • A Lila Review:  Tempted to Taste by Shawn Lane
  • A PaulB  Review: Descent of Kings: Books BUNDLE by Maria Albert
  • A Caryn Review: When Irish Eyes Are Smiling by Matthew Robbins
  • An Alisa Review: Fire Triangle by Iyana Jenna

Friday, February 10:

  • *FLAUNT by E Davies 2 week blog tour and giveaway
  • DSP GUEST POST Dev Bentham on Buyout – A Love Story
  • DSP GUEST POST Mason Thomas on The Shadow Mark
  • Release Day Blitz: Leaning Into Love by Lane Hayes
  • A Paul B Review: Sealed With Acceptance (Signed, Sealed, Delivered #5) by Caitlin Ricci and A.J. Marcus
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Jaeger (Order of the Black Knights #4) by Evelise Archer
  • An Ali Release Day Review:  Shifting Views (The Carlisles #4) by Meg Harding

Saturday, February 11:

  • A MelanieM Review: At Attention (Out of Uniform, #2) by Annabeth Albert
  • A MelanieM Review:  Necessary Medicine by M.K. York

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Off Base (Out of Uniform #1) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

 

off-baseAfter trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.

In Off Base, Annabeth Albert works her magic again in this first story of a new series.  We meet the emotional mess that is  navy SEAL Zack Nelson as he’s entering a bar with Pike, someone who’s within the circle of friends they share.    Its immediately clear that Zack has issues with his sexuality, his attraction to men and Pike.  How deep his problems are and wide ranging is something the author lets us find out as the story continues.

Pike’s character is laid down here as well in the opening scenes.  Out, kind, smart and sexual.  You like Pike immediately.  He’s as  engaging as Zack is screwed up and vulnerable (yes, he’s a navy SEAL but its realistically written).  They are puzzle pieces made for each other if only they can work it out.

Albert lays out her groundwork for Zack’s problems and they are as believable as they are painful.  Pike too has his own layering and issues to solve.  He’s a new professor at college trying to find his way as a teacher with his students, trying to keep his heart intact…trying not to fail at so many things that he may miss out on the one thing he wants above all else.

While you have the sexy, emotional journey going on between Zack and Pike, there’s another as well.  Its the one happening between Zack and his SEAL teammates during training.  Some of it is very ugly and its not all their fault as Zack is trying to deal with things on his own.  This is a second important storyline that plays out here.  I think Albert again does a great job and I can’t wait to see how it carries through to the next novel.

There is a couple from my favorite series #gaymers that appears here. I hope to see more of them.

In short?  I loved this story.  It has heart, angst, and romance.  Its sexy and its a wonderful new start to a series.  Now for the next book!

Cover art is sexy if somewhat generic.

 

Sales Links

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: January 9th 2017 by Carina Press
Original TitleOff Base
ASINB01LLPCCMG
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOut of Uniform #1

Release Day Blitz for Off Base by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Off Base

Series: Out of Uniform #1

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: January 9th 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

Genre: Romance, Military, SEALs, Contemporary, Roommates-to-lovers

Add to Goodreads

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Synopsis

After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.

Book One of the Out of Uniform series

This book is approximately 73,000 words

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! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

 

For Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Highly Recommended Review, visit here.

Excerpt

“What do you mean they’re not coming?” Zack tried hard to sound like the badass navy SEAL he was now. He’d passed all sorts of interrogation training—there was no reason he couldn’t hide that he didn’t particularly like this guy. Or this fancy bar where he and his nontrendy clothes and military haircut were out of place. He’d agreed to go out for drinks with a group. His friend Ryan had promised him a drink for finishing his SEAL qualification training and getting his trident, and Zack had figured dealing with the rest of Ryan’s crowd wouldn’t be horrible. But tolerable was a far cry from being stranded alone with Pike freaking Reynolds without Ryan as a buffer.

“They blew two tires getting out of Santa Monica and are waiting on a repair truck now. Ryan said to have fun without them.” Pike looked harmless enough—shorter than Zack with a lean build and bright red hair and freckles that made him look too young to drink—but Zack knew from experience he was anything but benign. Pike was the type of guy who would flirt with wallpaper, but he seemed to have singled Zack out for special attention ever since their first meeting at a LAN party.

Which was all well and good, but unlike a lot of Ryan’s crowd, Zack wasn’t openly gay. And what Zack hated was that Pike seemed to see through all his “no, really I’m straight” protests and see things Zack refused to even think about. And a whole night with Pike? Torture. And that was coming from someone who’d been tossed into frigid water with his arms and legs bound. Repeatedly.

But he’d happily endure another round of drownproof training if it meant an easy out of this situation.

“Is Landon coming?” Please say it’s not just us. Surely, Pike’s omnipresent sidekick would be there to bail Zack out.

“Nope. He’s doing research at the Hadron Collider for the next few months. Just us, I think.” Pike grinned at him. “Alone at last, right?”

Zack guessed that the Hadron was one of those supersmart things Pike’s crowd just assumed everyone else knew about. He certainly wasn’t about to appear dumb and ask. “You don’t have to stick around on my account,” he said instead.

“Dude.” Pike smacked him on the shoulder. “I’ve had a shit week. Another three interviews for jobs for the fall, another three fuckups on my part. Don’t make me drink alone.”

“I guess I could do a beer.”

“On me, right? We’re all super stoked that you passed SQT.” Pike gave him another of those disarming smiles.

Ba-deep-deep. Zack’s phone chimed. Sure enough, there was a message from Ryan apologizing for bailing. Have fun with Pike, Ryan ended. But whatever you do, don’t let him talk you into shots. He looks scrawny, but he can drink you under the table. Trust me.

Zack shoved his phone away. Nope, no way was he doing shots with Pike. Last thing he needed was to get drunk and forget himself around the guy.

“So what’ll it be? They have a whole selection of craft beers here.” Pike offered him one of the little bar menus artfully strewn around on the huge antique wood bar.

“A Bud’s fine,” Zack said. He’d never developed a taste for the fancy stuff. This whole place was fancier than he was used to, what with the exposed hardwoods everywhere, the prettified bar food emerging from the kitchen, and the painted inspirational quotes behind the bar. Even the name, Mellow, was a far cry from the hole-in-the-wall places he’d drunk at in college or even Big Ted’s, the little sports bar right off base that his fellow SEALs favored.

Pike signaled the burly bartender, who frowned at them after Pike gave their order for a Bud and some fancy-ass beer Zack had never heard of. “Hand stamps, please. Both of you.”

Zack stuck his hand out, showing that the bouncer had indeed checked his ID. Pike put his arm right next to Zack’s—way too close for comfort. “See, look at us, finding things in common.”

“Getting carded is hardly something to be proud of,” Zack mumbled as he pulled his arm away. Back in San Diego, when he went to the bars with his friends, they never got carded anymore. And he liked that—he was twenty-three now, for crying out loud.

“Of course it’s not for you, Muscles.” Pike did that whole standing-too-close thing again, moving over so others could get to the bar.

Zack really shouldn’t like that Pike noticed what the past few months of training had done for his physique. He’d always been lean, but days of log- and boat-carry drills had carved out muscles he hadn’t even been aware he had. Zack accepted his beer from the bartender, then followed Pike to one of the little high-top tables ringing the bar area.

“Seriously, you are jacked now.” Pike winked at him, giving him the sort of once-over Zack’s buddies gave girls in bikinis. “Look at those shoulders. It even makes you look taller.”

Flattery was not going to work on Zack. Not even a bit. Besides, Pike was the short one, probably five seven or so. But Zack was a perfectly respectable five ten. In your boots.

“Truth, man. I just call it like I see it.” Pike shrugged. And that right there was the whole problem with Pike—he had absolutely no filter and a way too keen sense of observation.

Purchase

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

annabeth-avatar

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. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Annabeth’s Angels | Sign Up for Annabeth’s Newsletter!

 

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Connection Error (#gaymers #3) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Connection Error By Annabeth AlbertIt’s typical of video game programmer Josiah Simmons to be the last one on the plane on the way to the biggest meeting of his career. Though he’s (mostly) coping with his ADHD, he can’t handle another distraction. But he also can’t ignore his rugged seatmate—especially once he learns the military man’s a fan of his game.

Ryan Orson refuses to let his severe injuries pause his career as a navy SEAL. He’s got hours of grueling physical therapy ahead of him, and no time for anything that might get in the way of his return to active duty. But that doesn’t mean he’s above a little first-class flirtation with geeky-cute Josiah.

When a delay strands the pair in St. Louis, they agree to share a hotel room and a night of gaming. Neither expects their new connection to move to the next level in the light of day. Opposites may attract, but is this game over before it’s even begun?

My love affair with this series began with Status Update (#gaymers, #1) where I met Adrian Gottlieb, video game designer of Space Villager and his lover geoarchaeologist Noah Walters and solidified with Beta Test (#gaymers, #2) and the couple of that story, graphic designer Ravi Tandel and Tristan Jones.  Now comes Connection Error (#gaymers #3) by Annabeth Albert and it turns out, that yes here’s a couple I can love as much as the original I first fell in love with, that of video game programmer Josiah Simmon and injured Navy seal Ryan Orson.

Josiah popped up first in Beta Test during a gaymers party that Ravi and Tristan attended.  He was a stand out character there and clearly needed his own story so I was thrilled to see Annabeth Albert give him one here.  But what made him interesting there makes him a deeply layered, fascinating character here.

Young, he has a severe case of  ADHD, to the point that he lives at home, has a strict schedule and medications he uses to help him control it and function.  He’s highly successful at his job at Space Villager and about to lead a group of programmers into a new stage of development for the game.  Its a hugely busy and scary time for Josiah.  And due to Albert’s wonderful way with characterization, we see into the heart of Josiah.  His nerves, his fears, the way he functions or sometimes doesn’t at the office…every part of his life.  By giving us…this open, stubborn and sometimes fragile Josiah (a very believable one), we are quickly pulled into his life and connected to him.

Sitting on a plane heading to the same destination as Josiah?  That would be injured Navy Seal Ryan Orson.  His character surprised me.  I’m not  going to go into anything here.  Read the story.  But having Ryan here, real, hurting, stubborn, and impossible not to give your heart to made this story for me. Connecting him with Josiah?  Amazing.  Watching them work together to find a common ground for a relationship made for a book I never wanted to put down.

Annabeth Albert doesn’t do fast romances.  Her characters have their own issues to work through, sometimes they have personal blinders on, sometimes obstacles of their own making stand in their way to happiness.  Whatever.  It always takes a while for them to work through their differences and believe they can be happy themselves and with another person.  I love that about her stories.  Sometimes gritty, painful, and real.  So that when it works, when the main characters such as Josiah and Ryan realize that a future is possible together, well the joy and love just flows making the story and romance all the sweeter.

Plus…Space Villager.  Yep.  I still want the game.

This is the third book in the series.  In each book we get to see some of the couples from the previous stories.  I love that too.  I don’t know where the next couple is coming from but I can’t wait to read it.  This is one of my favorite series.  I highly recommend this story and all the #gaymer novels.

Cover art is terrific and works for the story.

 

Sales Links

Carina Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Itunes | Kobo Books

Book Details:

ebook
This book is approximately 66,000 words
Published September 2016 by Carina Press
Original TitleConnection Error
ISBN139781459290679
Series: #gaymers – Add to Goodreads here: