A Stella Advent Story Review: Best Laid Trap (Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar) by Rob Rosen


Rating 4,5 out of 5 stars

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryRoy has a crush on Steve, so when a work-related ski weekend is offered, Roy jumps at the chance to finally lay a trap for his hunky coworker. An abandoned cabin nearby is perfect for his scheme, and Roy stocks it with champagne, rubbers, and lube. But fate intervenes, and it’s not Steve, but Ranger Josh, who ends up trapped in the cabin with Roy during an avalanche. Roy’s plan might be ruined, but there’s still a chance for a very happy New Year indeed.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package “Sleigh Ride”.

Surprisingly this super short story, just twenty five pages, was one of my favorite among the ones I read in the DSP Advent Calendar and I liked all of them.

I found Best Laid Trap to be very funny, I laugh a lot at Roy’s smart mind. His misadventures with a really well planned trap to catch a coworker he’s in lust with, will lead him to be trapped by a snow storm in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and rescued by an adorable and sexy ranger. Their meeting develops in some hot moments and a sweet ending.

I liked the smart writing, if this is the author’s writing style, I have to check more about Rob Rosen works.

The COVER ART by Paul Richmond is so cute and his style is unique and lovely. He’s one of my favorite artist so of course this one is a winner to me.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 25 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar

A Werewolf Sort of Christmas and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words




So, how many of you heard the news that for the first time since 1977 there will be a full moon on Christmas Day, coming to peak at 6:11am Christmas morning. This means, of course, that Santa, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas or whatever name you think of him by will have a full moon to deliver presents on Christmas Eve when the moon is starting to wax.

Of course, I thought of werewolves.  A werewolf type of Christmas.Wolf Howling at the mooon clipart

Christmas werewolves or shifters of any other  nature but mostly werewolves.  I swear it must be all those M/M books I read because I had thoughts of weres in red hats howling in delight running under a full moon, with a sleigh full of toys pulled by reindeer flying above.

Tell me I’m not alone.

Kendall McKenna’s werewolf Marines, Poppy Dennison’s shifters, J.L. Langley, Cardeno C,  so many just jumped to mind. I’m sure Paul, Stella, and the rest could give me a list a mile long.  What or whose werewolves jumped into your head when I said wolf shifters?  Do you have  favorites?   Or are you thinking was the color of the wine? White or red? Hmmmm.

It will be 2034 before the next full moon falls again on Christmas.  What do we call this December full moon?  In the Northern Hemisphere, where I live its called the Cold Moon, the Moon Before Yule, or Long Night Moon.  All of which are fairly self explanatory. But as a shout out to all our friends down under, and for a look at our differences in seasons, here is a list of the names for the full moon in the  Southern Hemisphere: Strawberry Moon, Honey Moon, Rose Moon.  I guess if you are from Florida or California that isn’t so strange.

So just in time for a werewolf Christmas, have you read J.L Langley’s With and Without Series , Cardeno C’s Mates Series, Kendall McKenna’s The Tameness of the Wolf series ,  just for starters.  Which ones would you recommend?



This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 13:

  • A Werewolf Sort of Christmas and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A MelanieM Advent Story Review: Somewhere to Be by Amy Yip

Monday, December  14:

  • A Nutty Christmas Anthology: Maddy Christmas’ by Harper Jewel, S.A. Garcia, Meg Bawden, Chris McHart (excerpt/contest)
  • In the Contemporary Spotlight: Parker Wiliams ‘Haven’s Creed’ (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Jaye McKenna a Guardians of the Pattern Bundle  Release(giveaway)
  • A Stella Advent Story Review: Hearth and Home by E.T. Malinowski
  • A Sammy Review: Unbound, Unbroken by Nasia Maksima (In His Arena #2)
  • A Stella Review: Midwinter Night’s Dream by Eli Easton

Tuesday, December 15:

  • In the Spotlight: G.A. Hauser ‘Along Comes a Man‘ book blast and giveaway
  • Rob Rosen ‘The Love Triangle Gone Wrong‘ book blast and giveaway
  • Coffee Sip and Book Break with DC Juris’ ‘137 Owens Street’ book blast and contest
  • N.R. Walker’s Red Dirt Heart Couple is Back with ‘Red Dirt Christmas’ (excerpt and giveaway)
  • A MelanieM Review: Red Dirt Christmas by NR Walker
  • A Stella Review:  How to Walk Like A Man by Eli Easton
  • A MelanieM Advent Story Review: Mission Mistletoe By Jessica Payseur

Wednesday, December 16:

  • In the Book Spotlight: Brina Brady ‘For Me’ book blast and giveaway
  • Bailey Bradford ‘Destined Prey charity tour and contest
  • Jimmy’s Erotic Adventure In Time And Space Continuum (Episode 1) (giveaway)
  • A BJ Review: Something Like a Love Song by Becca Burton
  • A MelanieM Advent Story Review: Kismet by Cassie Decker

Thursday, December 17:

  • Dean Pace-Frech ‘Need Your Love’ book blast and giveaway
  • Coffee Sip and Book Break: Broken Record by Lilah Suzanne
  • Its a Return to Bluewater Bay with Stuck Landing (Bluewater Bay #11)
    by Lauren Gallagher (tour and contest)
  • A Stella Advent Story Review: Hapless by Therese Woodson
  • A Paul B Review: Kenai (Watchers #1) by Caitlin Ricci and A.J. Marcus

Friday, December 18:

  • Christmas Woe To Odes of Joy? Find out with Champagne Kisses by Lynda Aicher (tour and contest)
  • Karen Stivali ‘Moment of Silence’ release day book tour and contest
  • Audiobook Spotlight:Angel Martinez Audible Release: ‘Hell For The Company’  (excerpt and contest)
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Hell for the Company by Angel Martinez, Narrator Vance Bastian 
  • A Stella Advent Story Review: Best Laid Trap by Rob Rosen
  • A F.D. Review: Kaminishi by Jan Suzukawa

Saturday, December 19:

  • A Mika Advent Story: Old Acquaintance by Avon Gale3 snowflakes













Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Turns 4 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words



Happy 4th Anniversary to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words!

We’ve all been so busy that our 4th anniversary almost slipped by.  We turned 4 last Thursday and what an amazing 4 years its been. Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words started out as a place for my reviews and small essays, and yes, well, rants on writing.  Little by little it grew, then as we say in cliches, in leaps and bounds, especially in the last year, when we sort of exploded.

All sorts of amazing people joined as reviewers  from all over the place, bringing in a wide spectrum of perspectives born of different ages, gender identifications, race and even location.  Its been splendid and I hope to see it continue.

We’ve had new reviewer columns, author discoveries and interviews, even our own contests and more to come.    I’ll leave more of the reflections to the end of the year column, don’t make me get all weepy now.  Anyway,  Happy Anniversary to us!  We don’t look a day older and that should change in the new year!

More Announcements:

We need more reviewers.  Love to read?  And write reviews?  Send me an email and a link to some of your reviews.  Write me at melaniem54@msn.com and let’s talk.

Also from Jay Northcote a free book (today is the last day): From Jay:

Hi, everyone! Cold Feet – my Christmas novella from December 2014 – is going to be free to download at Amazon for three days this weekend. The offer runs from Friday 4th till Sunday 6th. EST:

Cold Feet by Jay Northcote is free from Friday 4th – Sunday 6th of December 2015


Cold FeetBest friends snowed in together. When the heat rises, will they get cold feet?

Getting snowed in at a remote cottage in Wales with someone he’d fancied for ages isn’t exactly how Sam expected to spend Christmas. His feelings for Ryan are pointless. Ryan’s straight—or so he thought.

Until now, Ryan’s kept his feelings for Sam buried. Why ruin a friendship over what might only be gay experimentation? Playing it cool seems safer, until a cold snap makes sharing body heat vital. In their Welsh safe haven, anything seems possible.

As Ryan’s reserve melts away, Sam wants more than stolen kisses under the mistletoe. But a sudden thaw means making decisions. They could face the New Year together—unless one of them gets cold feet.

Buy links:
Universal Amazon link: http://mybook.to/ColdFeet_JayN


This Week  At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


Sunday, December 6:

  • Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Turns 4 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A BJ Advent Story Review: Grateful by Kim Fielding

Monday, December 7:

  • Holiday Book Spotlight Continues with Home For the Holiday M/M Anthology (excerpts/contests)
  • Coffee Sip and Book Break with Annabeth Albert ‘Status Update’ (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Get A Roadmap to Your Heart with The Deepest Blue by Christina Lee (excerpt and giveaway)
  • A MelanieM Review: Status Update by Annabeth Albert
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Story Review: Elf on the Beach by TJ Nichols

Tuesday, December 8:

  • Cover Reveal for Lane Hayes ‘A Kind of Truth’ (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Our Science Fiction Focus is On Chris T. Kat ‘Against All Odds’  (excerpt and giveaway)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Holiday Hotel Hookup by Jeff Adams
  • A MelanieM Review: Dirty Laundry (Cole McGinnis, #3) by Rhys Ford
  • A Stella Review:  Prickly By Nature (Portland Pack Chronicles #2) by Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade

Wednesday, December 9:

  • Book Spotlight is on Tivi’s Dagger by Alex Douglas (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Join in for an Exploration of Life’s Kinks with  J.A. Rock’s The Subs Club (contest)
  • Its Release Day for Professional Distance by Silvia Violet (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: A Trip to Remember by Meg Harding
  • A BJ Review: Y Negative by Kelly Haworth
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  The Subs Club by J.A. Rock
  • A PaulB Review: Believing in the Traitor by Charlie RIchards

Thursday, December 10:

  • Voss Foster’s  ‘A Fool’s War’ book blast and giveaway
  • Coffee Sip and Book Break with Indigo by RJ Jones‏ (excerpt and giveaway)
  • The Greatest Gift by Felice Stevens Release Day and contest
  • A MelanieM Advent Review: Kismet by Cassie Decker
  • A Paul B Review: Kenai (Watchers #1) by Caitlin Ricci, A.J. Marcus

Friday, December 11:

  • Jordan Hawk ‘s ‘Maelstorm’ Release Day and Giveaway
  • In the Book Spotlight: Laurie Terson ‘Rockin’ Around the Ranch’ (excerpt and giveaway)
  • LB Gregg’s ‘With This Bling’ Riptide Tour and Giveaway (giveaway)
  • A Melanie Review Redux: With This Bling by L. B. Gregg
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Story Review: Home Is Where the Christmas Trees Are by CJane Elliott
  • A BJ Review: SPECTRE (#1-6) by Jordan L. Hawk

Saturday, December 12:

  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Menorahs and Mistletoe by Jess Roth










A MelanieM Advent Story Review: Whispers of Old Winds by George Seaton


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryAfter Sam returns home from two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, he moves to the Colorado mountains, where he hopes to begin a new life with his husband, Michael. Sam becomes the sheriff of sparsely populated Pine County, while Michael opens a curio shop for tourists where he sells his art. When Sam and his deputy attempt to rescue a body from a dangerously fragile mountainside snowpack, Sam’s perception of the world, his husband, and the veracity of truths whispered in old winds, are called into question.

It was the title that drew me to this story.  Whispers of Old Winds promised something magical and ancient and that’s exactly what George Seaton delivered along with an established romance and mysticism in the Colorado mountains.

Sam and Michael’s back history is delivered in nice brief glimpses throughout this short story.  We see how they met, and tiny moments from their previous lives, including Sam’s tours of duty where he saw things he couldn’t quite bring himself to believe.  Now married and the sheriff of a quiet Colorado town, a call to rescue someone (dead or alive) from an area to be avoided at all costs brings the supernatural back  into Sam and Michael’s world.  Or maybe its been there all along.

Seaton’s story is far larger than the 38 pages listed.  Its full of native american mythology,  shapeshifters,  and worlds far beyond the mundane we see around us.  The author’s writing is so beautifully plotted and vividly described that he pulls us so smoothly into the lives of his characters and the events that are occurring that when the action starts we are jarred out of our complacency along with the characters.

The characterizations are wonderful, especially those of Sam, Digger (the naive Deputy) and Hank Tall Horse, the old Ute Indian so central to the story.  Michael is more vague, but I wonder if that wasn’t on purpose, especially given the ending of the story.   There is so much here that it would be a shame for the author not to continue on, to bring them all back for a larger book that they call cry out for.  That is the only reason for the less than perfect rating, a feeling that things were left undone, unsettled and maybe a bit shaky.

Several of the advent stories have their own covers.  How I wish this had been one of them.  It deserved it.  I highly recommend this story.  Its unusual and quite wonderful.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 38 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
edition language English


A MelanieM Advent Story Review: Christmas Miracles of a Recently Fallen Spruce by Brandon Witt


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryPaxton Peterson’s favorite day of the year is his annual Gay Boy Christmas dinner. He’s checked and double-checked his to-do list, because nothing stresses him out like the unexpected. Confident everything will run smoothly, Paxton embarks on his yearly snowshoed hike through the Rocky Mountains near his home. His perfectly planned evening is cut short by Logan Charles’s careless enjoyment of his brother’s snowmobile, and Paxton is stranded in the woods. It’s the worst thing that could’ve possibly happened to him—or maybe the best.

Christmas Miracles of a Recently Fallen Spruce by Brandon Witt was that unexpected present you find under the tree, the one you have no idea what’s inside from the shape or in this case the title.  What Brandon Witt delivers is a delightful tale of a annual hike gone wrong when he gets hit by a snowmobile.  The characterizations are realistic, the  scenes beautifully rendered, glowing yet natural, and the men funny and real.

I so wanted to spend more time with them and to see what happened as the door shut behind them.  No instant love, nothing more remarkable than a new connection that sparkles and might turn into something wonderful for the future.  I loved this story and hope that the author will take this couple and revisit them in the future.

Love Christmas stories but without a lot of sweetness or holiday overtones?  This is the one for you.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon

Book Details:

| Buy It Here

Kindle Edition, 25 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
edition language

A MelanieM Advent Story Review: Fireworks and Resolutions by Leandra Dohman


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StorySomething big happened at the office Christmas party between Joseph and Carter, his coworker and ultimate crush. Too bad Joseph doesn’t remember it. Now, it’s New Years Eve, and Joseph finds himself locked in the bathroom with Carter. Joseph doesn’t understand why his natural confidence fizzles out whenever Carter is around, but the man reduces him to an awkward mess. If he can just find the courage to be himself, there might be more fireworks in his future than the ones they watch from the balcony.

Fireworks and Resolutions by Leandra Dohman is short, cute and very like a Christmas sugar cookie. Its very much like you would expect and yet you are so happy to see it and it tastes so good.

Leandra Dohman  takes the holiday office party and gives it a sweet happy ending instead of the smarmy, regretful one it normally gets.  Cute and awkward meets tall and handsome but it works, you find it sweet and adorable and yes, the ending is full of fireworks.

I liked the characters, the scenes really do move very quickly and the story is over in a snap or should that be in a blink of an eye.  If you like holiday stories, you will like this little romance.

Cover notes are not included unless the cover is different from the generic one done by Paul Richmond.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published December 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish
series Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar


A MelanieM Review: Northern Lights by Asta Idonea


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryA dream romantic vacation to Iceland to see the Northern Lights turns into a nightmare when James’s workaholic boyfriend, Richard, again insists on putting his work first. After a call from Richard’s office, an argument ends with the couple splitting up for good. Not only has Richard left James, he’s left him abandoned to explore the park alone, where James quickly gets lost. But just when things seem darkest, the Solstice works its magic, and James finds the guiding light he needs. Or it finds him.

Northern Lights by Asta Idonea was a lovely way for me to dive into this collection.  Asta Idonea brought so many delightful elements to this holiday short story.  A heartbroken man left by his long term partner in Iceland when an argument turns into a breakup that should have happened long before now.  Now James has to face an uncertain future on every front, no home, no stability, no partner and even the likelihood of not enough income to support himself.   All while he’s in a place he always wanted to see and photograph.

The author makes us feel James’s fear and while not exactly pain, the knowledge that he knew this was coming and the hurt that carries with it.  And as James tries to pick himself up and travel around to places in and around Reykjavik, we get to hike along with him, delighting in the discoveries he finds as he goes and the despair he feels when reality intrudes.  The author’s descriptions are wonderful and inviting and it gets even better as disaster strikes James and his path changes for the better.

Northern Lights is full of the old traditions and old gods, the beauty of the Northern Lights and a path to a new future that can open up when you least expect it.  At 29 pages, I would have loved more of the setting and couple, but what I got set the mood perfectly for the first day of December and the holiday season.  And yes it made me want to grab a plane to Reykjavik, not for the first time either. I recommend this story and I need to explore this author’s writing more as well.  Happy Reading!

Cover Artist:  Paul Richmond did the wonderful generic cover used for the majority of the stories, great job as always.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |

Book Details:

ebook, 29 pages
Expected publication: December 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish
series:Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar