Into December and Our Holiday Stories. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


Into December and Our Holiday Stories

It’s officially December and our holiday stories, in all formats, are here for our reading and listening pleasure!    While some of us may have returned to our comfort reads this holiday season, there are plenty of wonderful new stories out there to add to your reading festive list!

One of mine this year has been Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert!  How I loved that sweet contemporary fake boyfriend story!  If you are in the mood for audio?  Try this one, especially if you are already a fan of RJ Scott’s Texas series.  I loved listening to Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott  and Narrated by: Sean Crisden.  Barb, our Zany Old Lady, just loved Mr. Naughty List (Home for the Holidays #2) by Leta Blake while I just finished the wonderful No Place Like Home by Annabeth Jacobs (which I will review this week) and The Christmas Oaks (Laurel Holidays #1) by V.L. Locey.

Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin was recommended by two of our reviewers!  Not to be left out?

A Christmas Wedding by A E Ryecart
717 Miles Christmas by Sophia Soames
A Boyfriend For Christmas by Jay Northcote
Yuletide Treasure (Goddess-Blessed #3) by Eliot Grayson
Mr. Frosty Pants (Home for the Holidays #1) by Leta Blake and John Solo (Narrator)


Some of these stories we have reviewed already, some will be reviewed this week.  And there will be more to come.  What stories have you read or listened to that you have loved or enjoyed this holiday season?  Ones that have made your   annual  Holiday List?  Comment and let us know!


This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 1:

  • New Release Blitz with Excerpt for Starlight (Dark Space #3) by Lisa Henry
  • Into December and Our Holiday Stories. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 2:

  • Review Tour – Annabelle Jacobs – No Place Like Home
  • COVER REVEAL Rialto (Unbreakable Bonds #8) by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
  • BLOG TOUR A Broken Winter by Kale Knight
  • A Lucy Review: Snowdrop in a Storm (Snow Globes #3) by Ava Kelly
  • A MelanieM Review : No Place Like Home by Annabelle Jacobs

Tuesday, December 3:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Stocking Stuffers, A Holiday Themed Romantic
  • Release Blitz – Eli Easton – Angels Sing
  • BLITZ Pattern for an Angel by CJane Elliott
  • An Alisa Review I’ve Got You (True-Blue #2) by Becca Seymour
  • A MelanieM Review: Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #4) by A.E. Wasp

Wednesday, December 4 :

  • Release Blitz – Warrior’s Way by M.J. Calabrese
  • Release Blitz, for V.L. Locey – The Christmas Oaks
  • TOUR Becoming Us” by Becca Seymour
  • An Alisa Review Becoming Us (True-Blue #3) by Becca Seymour
  • A MelanieM Review: Boys of Summer (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A.E. Wasp

Thursday, December 5:

  • Release Blitz  – Awakening (Wild Oak, Book 1) by JJ Harper
  • Release Blitz – Waxing Poetic for Christmas by Mara Townsend
  • A Lila Review Peter Cratchit’s Christmas Carol by Drew Marvin
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Honour by A.F. Henley
  • A MelanieM Review: Skater Boy (Hot Off the Ice #3) by A.E. Wasp

Friday, December 6:

  • Cover Reveal – What Works For Us by Colette Davison
  • Review Tour – Jay Northcote – A Boyfriend For Christmas
  • An Alisa Review Rules for Santa (Davey’s Rules #3) by Susan Hawke
  • A Stella Review : A Boyfriend For Christmas by Jay Northcote
  • A Melanie Review The Wolf and the Sparrow by  Isabelle Adler

Saturday, December 7:

  • Release Blitz Request – Red Popcorn Strings & Gumball Rings – Nell Iris


A MelanieM Review: Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert


Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

He’s Mr. Right Now, but for how long?

When Russ suffers a Thanksgiving disaster, his gorgeous neighbor Esteban is there to save the day. And after an innocent mix-up leads to the former Hollywood hottie playing the role of Russ’s date, Russ thinks scoring Esteban as his fake boyfriend is a huge win. The newly discharged marine is healing inside and out and could use some holiday cheer.

For his part, Esteban is intrigued by his big, bad neighbor. He likes how his matchmaking cat brings out an unexpected caring side of Russ. Desire flares as the reasons to continue their ruse pile up for both men.

And pretending feels so good. From chocolaty kisses to late night cuddles, their burgeoning friendship is getting cozier and cozier. But as the end date for their little deception looms, all the real feelings they’ve tried to ignore come tumbling in. Each must decide whether they have what it takes to ring in the New Year as a couple.

Mr. Right Now is a stand-alone holiday novella with sweet, low-angst feels, spicy love scenes, and foodie inspired, quirky Oregon romance with a military flavor. Happy ending guaranteed with no cliffhangers!

Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert is exactly the sort of story I love to read during the holidays.  For me, it’s close to a perfect Christmas story.  Little angst, holiday celebrations, fake boyfriend trope, adorable animals (cats in this one), and a great chemistry between the main characters.

Located in Portland, a go to city for so many of Albert’s stories, I immediately took to these characters. Russ, the ex-marine trying to adjust to life without his life within the service and being  gay …outwardly gay for the first time.  And Esteban, the actor who has retreated from Hollywood to Portland and a new life closer to his larger and close family.  Two neighboring condo units, a wandering Siamese cat, and an attraction that jumps off the page.  Albert’s descriptions alone paints such a great picture of these two.

Russ is massive, tall, all marine muscles and haircut, gentle,  with a reserved nature.  Estaban is slimmer, Hollywood star gorgeous, older, and more outgoing in nature, preferring colors and a kitchen to cook in.  Albert’s writing lets us into their shared space of small condos, their introduction, and then growing relationship via the “fake boyfriend” need that springs up and doesn’t quite go away on schedule.  It’s lovely, sexy, and heartwarming.  And just what I want and love to read for the holidays.  Or anytime of the year.

It’s the romance Annabeth Albert writes so well and one of the reasons I would love for her to revisit this couple for their wedding.  I hope she is listening.  Perhaps a Valentine’s Day story?

Looking for your next holiday romance?  I highly recommend Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert.  I’m sure I will be rereading it over the holidays to capture the glow once more.

Cover art is nice but honestly I would have loved something a little more Christmassy,  but it’s ok.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Published November 14th 2019 by Annabeth Albert
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Fake Dating the Prince by Ashlyn Kane


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A royal deception. An accidental romance.


When fast-living flight attendant Brayden Wood agrees to accompany a first-class passenger to a swanky charity ball, he discovers his date—“Call me Flip”—is actually His Royal Highness Prince Antoine-Philipe. And he wants Brayden to pretend to be his boyfriend.


Being Europe’s only prince of Indian descent—and its only openly gay one—has led Flip to select “appropriate” men first and worry about attraction later. Still, flirty, irreverent Brayden captivates him right away, and Flip needs a date to survive the ball without being match-made.


Before Flip can pursue Brayden in earnest, the paparazzi forces his hand, and the charade is extended for the remainder of Brayden’s vacation.


Posh, gorgeous, thoughtful Prince Flip is way out of Brayden’s league. If Brayden survives three weeks of platonically sharing a bed with him during the romantic holiday season, going home afterward might break his heart….

Sometimes a story and a reader just mesh.  The romance has just the right combination of sweet comedy, heady falling in love, and deeper relationship  issues to make it all work and bring it alive.  Your face grins continually and your heart feels warm.

That’s what Fake Dating the Prince by Ashlyn Kane is to me.  It’s that sparkling, sweet romance you remember and will reread when you need a lift.  The characters that actually dance across a ballroom and into your heart! With parents you love to boor!

l adore it when a story exceeds your expectations.  I always enjoy the Dreamspun Desires line from Dreamspinner Press.  One that started out giving a M/M twist to the older romance tropes we typically read about.  Fake marriages, fake boyfriends, mistaken identities, you name the trope and the authors give it a fresh new LGBT twist.

Here of course, it’s the fake boyfriend and fiance.  From the small European country no one has ever heard of .  Considering the novels and movies where that occurs, must be a zillion of them. The country, the family, and everything about this story made me grin like mad!  Made my heart happy and everything outside their road to happiness and HEA a blank .

And isn’t that what a light-hearted romance is supposed to do?  There’s no real angst here, no great problems.  Just two lovely men looking for love and finding it in each other. In a small place no one has ever heard of.  Plus we get two, not one but two great families.  Really, I could have had much more of them both.If the author is listening.  we need a sequel and a wedding.

If you love contemporary romance and are looking for your next sweet story?  Here is one I highly recommend.  I just adore it.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  Great cover, that is the personification of Flip!

Sales Links:   Amazon, Dreamspinner, Barnes & Noble, Indigo Books, Target

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, Dreamspun Desires #84, 212 pages
Expected publication: June 18th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English

A Stella Review: How Not to Blend (Lovestrong #1) by Susan Hawke


RATING 4 out of 5 stars

One clueless single dad…

Dr. Corbin Davis is a busy guy just trying to do his best as a single parent. He may be oblivious to a lot of things, but surely he would’ve noticed something as important as his fifteen-year-old son, Grayson, being bullied, right? And what the heck is non-binary, and why hasn’t Gray shared this all-important part of himself with his own dad?

Plus one sassy Southerner…

Andy Ferguson, or Kandi as the Thursday night drag community knows him, is just trying to get along in a small town and hold things together while he takes care of his beloved Gam-Gam. If she’d just get off his back about finding himself a man, that would be fantastic, thank you very much. He’ll get around to love… one of these days.

Equals a pair of fake-boyfriends who will keep you in stitches.

When Corb gets the wild idea to ask Andy to pose as his boyfriend to let Gray know that his dad is bisexual and open-minded enough to talk to about his nonbinary status, Andy is amused and just intrigued enough to say yes… especially since he seems to be in the market for a fake boyfriend himself, if it will get Gam-Gam to quit nagging.

This is the first book in the LOVESTRONG series about finding love and being yourself in a small town. Intended only for 18+ readers, this is an mm romance fill with all the fun, fluff, and feels you’d want from an S. Hawke book.

How Not To Blend is the first book I read by this author (considering the other name too). I like the “fake boyfriend” trope, I like stories where the main character is a father, I like characters that carry heavy background on their shoulders. I found these elements in this new release so I took a chance and picked it up. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. In my opinion the plot was well developed and delivered. It was not a boring reading, cause things happened, I was often waiting for the next shoe to drop. Sure, a couple of scenes were over the top, sometimes facts were too simple. But what I look for in my books are escaping and good times, here I got them. Plus a lot of laughs, some tears, a lovely happy ending. And I met quite a lot of second characters I’d like to read their own HEAs. Moreover, for a very personal reason, I felt a deep connection with Andy and Corbin and that’s the main reason why I ignored the faults the story has and easily enjoyed the journey.

The cover art by Ana J Phoenix is well done but I can’t see the MCs in the model and so not fitting at all.



Kindle Edition, 276 pages

Published January 15th 2019


Edition Language English

A Lucy Release Day Review: Wanted Bad Boyfriend by TA Moore


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Nathan Moffatt is a 37-year-old wedding planner who loves his mother, Ally, and his best friend, Max.  What he doesn’t love is how they are constantly at him about finding someone of his own. Despite his protests, they (and seems like everyone else on the island) are always trying to set him up.  In desperation he decides to enlist the help of Flynn Delaney, the local bad boy who everyone gossips about and no one seems to like.  If he can show off Flynn as a boyfriend, everyone will be relieved when they break up.  What could go wrong?

Nate is the wedding planner at the Granshire, “… one of the top ten destination-wedding locations in the UK.  Wedding parties arrived from around the world.”  It’s not the easiest place to get to but people believe it’s worth it.  It is Nate’s job to make sure the couples get what they want and their weddings go off smoothly.  We get some wedding planning details, particularly of Katie and Bradley, a TV star who is going to be married at the Granshire if things stop happening to complicate matters. 

Flynn is the owner of the local garage, bequeathed from his dad, and is also a rescue worker.  When Nate asks for the favor of being his fake boyfriend, he immediately says no.  But Nate works on him a little.  “He could resist anything but pettiness and pretty men.  Now there they both were in one well-dressed package.”  Even if Nate presents it badly, “So I thought I’d get one- a really bad one, or at least the worst one I can find at short notice on the island.”  “And you immediately thought of me,” Flynn said.”

So they begin this whole fool the locals drama and the problem is that Flynn is not a bad boyfriend.  There is one time he acts “badly” and I thought he had good reason to.  It’s more of Nate being a bad boyfriend than anything. 

Secondary characters are interesting. I absolutely loved Ally. She is recovering from cancer and doesn’t want people treating her like she is about to die.  Flynn doesn’t do that, although he is embarrassed when she observes, “So you’re the one that gave my son a hickey”.  She also doesn’t treat Flynn like he is the island pariah, even when Max is incredibly rude about him.  That brings us to Max, the best friend who needs to get a life and grow up, facing his father.  Max acts badly way more than Flynn ever does. There is also Teddy, Max’s father and Nate’s boss, who is an a**hole of the highest order.

I am a big fan of the fake boyfriend trope so I was excited for this.  There are things that didn’t add up for me, or maybe I should say things that I wanted explained.  Flynn is the island a**hole, most people treat him badly and they have all sorts of nasty stories about why he left the island in the first place and why he came back, but it is never really explained why they all feel that way.  There is no defining event in the past that caused this thinking, other than him not returning for his father’s funeral, by which time he was already the island’s lead jerk. . Another point was, Nate just shows up at Flynn’s lighthouse (which he has been hounding Flynn to let as AirBnB for the weddings) and clumsily and insultingly puts forth his proposal for fake boyfriend.  Did they know each other before? I know Flynn knew of Max but it is never mentioned that Nate and Flynn were friends.  Nate had a crush on the older man (by five years) but that didn’t explain they seem to know each other now.

I liked that each chapter begins with either gossip or an attempt by someone to hook Nate up.  It made me both sad at the nasty things said and smile at the obvious attempts (I think you’ll have so much in common.   You’re both gay, after all). 

The rumors that fly about Flynn are seriously horrible at times.  “Is it true that Delany was a whore you and Max used when you are in London?”  I kept thinking, why does he stay here? And when his reason came out, it made me want to hug him. Go into this knowing that the whole worst boyfriend isn’t really Flynn and it’s a fluffy, easy read.

Cover art by Reece Notley is interesting but not really relevant to the story.  There is a man I assume to be Nate reading a newspaper with the wanted add circled and that isn’t what this was at all.  So cute cover but misleading.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 218 pages
Expected publication: August 21st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Review: Faking It (Ringside Romance #2) by Christine d’Abo

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Max Tremblay should be happy. His night club, Frantic, is one of the most popular gay clubs in Toronto, and his childhood refuge, Ringside Gym, is well on the way to reopening. But when he finds yet another drunk in the alley beside the bar, Max isn’t sure this is the life he truly wants.

Grady Barnes has it all. He’s rich, famous, and wants for nothing. Well, nothing but a good relationship with his father. When he discovers that his father is going to force him into an arranged marriage, Grady has had enough. He tracks down Max, the man who got him to safety after a night of overindulgence, and makes him a proposal: pretend to be his fiancé for two weeks and he’ll invest in Ringside Gym.

When the pair travel to Vancouver to attend a family wedding, the flames of their mutual attraction ignite, and they discover that the only difference between pretend and reality is how well they can fake it.
I totally love the fake boyfriend trope.  I don’t know why because I wouldn’t believe it for minute in real life, but I love reading about them in books.  This story did not disappoint.  This was one of the better ones I’ve read.
Max helps Grady one night at his club and a series of events lead to them pretending they’re a couple while they attend a wedding for Grady’s brother.  How hard can it be?  Well, as it turns out, pretty hard.  Max underestimates the horribleness that is Grandy’s family.
The two men find they are genuinely attracted to each other but Grady’s personal life is a mess and he can’t be a partner to Max when he can’t even deal with his own life.  The story takes a serious twist mid way through and it becomes a story filled with emotions.  There’s a bit of heartache for everyone involved before we finally get to their hea.
This is the second book in the series but it can easily be read as a standalone.  There are a few appearances by characters from the first story but only in a peripheral way.  
I enjoyed this one a lot, even more than the first book in the series, and it’s one I would definitely recommend.
The cover is done by L.C. Chase and I think she did a great job of it.  The cover is striking and catches your attention right off.  It’s also complementary to the cover on book one.
Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 238 pages
Published May 8th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN13 9781626495531
Edition Language English