A MelanieM Review: Family Matters (Brandywine Investigations #4-5) by Angel Martinez


Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

With his career firmly established and his reputation as a successful PI growing, Hades should have the perfect life with his human lover, his faithful ferryman, his dogs and the parts of his family still speaking to him. But murder and chaos are never far away for death lords as his nephew Dionysus and his oldest friend Charon are drawn into the maelstrom.

Includes: Books, Bulls, & Bacchanals: Brandywine Investigations #4 Midwinter Dancing: Brandywine Investigations #4.5 Pack Up the Moon: Brandywine Investigations #5

With Angel Martinez’s fertile imagination, she has created a universe in which Lord Hades gets a divorce, gets kicked out of the underworld and starts a detective agency.  Of course, there’s so much more to it than that.  It involves so many gods and goddesses hanging out in the “real world” as well as on the Olympic plain, all doing their thing.  It’s fun, it’s a madhouse of murder and mystery and the author often turns well-known mythology on it’s head time after time.  Yes, it’s also absolutely marvelous great times.

I’ve taken the two stories that make up Family Matters separately.  They both take place in the Brandywine Investigations universe and have some of the same characters, in that Dio and Leander, along with Hades and Ti makes appearances in Pack Up the Moon.

Books, Bulls, & Bacchanals: Brandywine Investigations #4: Rating: 5 stars

Everyone assumes life’s one big party for Dionysus, but even the god of wine and orgies has problems. His anger management issues are out of control, and his siblings suggest a visit to the Eternal Library to find a cure. The library of the gods is a strange and confounding place, though, one that Dionysus has avoided for centuries, and his certainty that the library hates him is confirmed when a killer strikes during his visit.

Life as the only librarian is blissfully peaceful for Leander, giving him the security and quiet he so desperately needs. Considered a monster as a child, Leander’s memories of his imprisonment in the Labyrinth left deeply carved emotional scars. But when a young woman is murdered in his library, he needs to emerge from his self-imposed seclusion to help find the killer who might still stalk the hallways.

Forced to keep company with Dionysus, Leander swings between whether the unpredictable and charming little god will keep him safe or drive him to distraction before the killer is found.

I absolutely loved this story.  Here again the author takes two well known mythological figures Dionysus and the Minotaur and puts her own spin on their characters, personalities, and back histories.   Personally, I like her take on them  better.  Dio as he’s called is a slightly damaged, loving chaos god whose brain was scrambled by what you might call an acid trip.  He wants to be loved and accepted for who he is.  Hard when part of that includes orgiastic events that he needs to feed his life force.  For too many lovers, that’s been  breaking point along with a certain impossible to contain destructive anger.  One that explodes when he finds his human assistant dead in the Underworld Library.

Leander, head librarian at The Eternal Library, is the Minotaur.  However, here, instead of a fierce monster, he was an abused teenager, unjustly imprisoned by his family and betrayed by Theseus.  He’s a figure of utter shyness, poignancy, with a good measure of PTSD thrown in.  All in a huge minotaur’s body.  All he wants is his books, his garden, and to be left alone with his red panda assistants (so  fantastically  adorable).   But one murder, several robberies, and that’s quite impossible.

The authors characterizations, wonderful plot, sweet romance, and all the suspense make this a 5 star romp that both endearing and edge of your seat exciting.  Loved it.

Pack Up the Moon: Brandywine Investigations #5 Rating 4.5 stars out of 5

Charon, Hades’ ferryman of the Dead across the River Styx, has watched Hades himself and several of Hades’ nephews all find love.  And quietly wished for love himself.  To pass in the normal world, he runs Stygian Funeral Home when he isn’t helping solve mysteries with Lord  Hades.  Then it happens, he has a run in with the raccoon demi god Azeban and his crow Kaukont and everything starts to go terribly wrong.  Or right after a very mixed up fashion even for a Chaos god.  With the world and all its souls hanging in the balance, can love and a ton of goddesses and Chaos gods save the day?

Chary, that wonderful Chaos god who has appeared in all the stories, now gets his own romance.  Long overdue and I’m so happy with the results.  No less than the utter end of the Death Lords and the World could be at stake here.  And the resolution and unlikeliest of heroes is also a Raccoon.  Well, a raccoon god and a crow.  There’s  the Martinez humor, a great deal of pathos in two characters who never thought they’d find love and do with each other, near death experiences, and a wonderful drum dance of goddesses and this story came very close to perfection.    Perhaps I wanted a little more comeuppance for the evil deeds done but maybe that ‘s not possible when you are talking about gods.

If you love mythology, Angel Martinez and her wild takes on everything from murder mysteries to every known god pantheon there is, this is the universe and stories for you.  Grab them all up while you are at it.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art: Rebeckah Murray.  I like this cover.  Clearly different from the norm.  That Leander and Dio on the front.  I liked it.

Sales Links:  Mischief Corner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 502 pages
Published February 28th 2018 by Mischief Corner Books
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Brandywine Investigations #4-5

Please note: Books, Bulls & Bacchanals has been re-edited with a few story adjustments for this edition.

Valentine’s Day Stories and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


Valentine’s Day Stories

Yes, it’s Valentine’s Week!  The air is full of love and romance, balloons, flowers, cards, and whatever else a loved one may desire.  Stuffed animals?  Songs?  Mixed tapes….yes that dates me! lol  What things have you received? From friends and loved ones…sometimes even a those little candy hearts with messages were enough to make your day.  I can remember some stories that actually captured those elements.  Apparently you all did too with your recommendations.

Here’s some stories from me you may have missed for your Valentine’s Day reading:

Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows By Ari McKay
Letters From Cupid by Ari McKay
Conversation Hearts by Avon Gale
Valentine Rainbow Anthology
A Secret Valentine by BG Thomas
A Cupid’s Wager by Deanna Wadsworth
Campfire Confessions by Bru Baker

And coming out this week on Valentine’s Day (and to be reviewed as well)

Hearts and Flour by Tara Lain
Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells


Here are some of the Valentine’s Day Stories our readers are listing and recommending:

From Ami:

I loved this F/F novella by Aidan Wayne “Making Love” because it’s about Cupid and also featuring an asexual character. It’s cute, it’s adorable, and for me FITS the Valentine’s day vibe.

From Jen:

I just looked through my Read list and I haven’t read too many Valentine’s Day stories. But one that I really loved was

  • Lazy Valentines (Lazy Days #2) by K-lee Klein.

From H.B.:

  • Looking forward to the valentine’s book list and recs from everyone. I don’t think I have too many on my own list over the years (and I started tagging them a on goodreads a year and half after I started reading m/m fiction). My recs are:
    6 Days to Valentine by L.E. Franks
    The Colors of Romance (A Valentine Rainbow) by Ashavan Doyon
    Fruity on the Inside by G.R. Richards
    On Valentine’s Day by Raine Delight
    From Your Secret Admirer by Debora Day
    Naughty Cupid/A Cupid’s Wager by Deanna Wadsworth (A Cupid’s Wager was part of the A Valentine Rainbow Set published by Dreamspinner)


However, there’s still time to get your stories into us to be added to our Valentine’s Day list.  See our  giveaway below!  And Happy Valentine’s Day in advance!

Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Then it’s soon to be Valentine’s Day and I know there are book written with this in mind.  Can I think of them now?  No!  But maybe you can.  Who can remember Valentine’s Day stories?  Or maybe ones with Cupid in them?  I know there are a few of those out there.  Of course we will have a giveaway attached to that.  It’s our Cupid or Valentine’s Day Giveaway! Give us your favorite Valentine’s Day stories!  The one overflowing with romantic, love, roses, or whatever!  Giveaway is a gift card from Dreamspinner Press for $10.  Contest  ends on February 17th at midnight.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 11:

  • Valentine’s Day Stories
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, February 12:

  • Bite Me by Beth Bolden Release Day Blitz
  • BLOG TOUR Rebel by K.M. Neuhold & Nora Phoenix
  • Cover Reveal: Forsaken by J.R. Gray
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  The Station by Keira Andrews
  • A Stella Prerelease Review:  Love on a Battlefield by Posy Roberts
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Model Bodyguard (Haven Investigations #2) by Lissa Kasey and Brian Hutchison (Narrator)

Tuesday, February 13:

  • J. Scott Coatsworth on Lander
  • Release Blitz: Three’s the Charm by P.A. Friday
  • Review Tour and Giveaway : In Wild Lemon Groves by Selina Kray
  • SERIES TOUR for Shatterproof Bond by Isobel Starling
  • A Jeri Review: Winning Edge by Keira Andrews
  • A MelanieM Review:In Wild Lemon Groves by Selina Kray
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Infected: Throwaways (Mean Streets #2 Infected Universe) by Andrea Speed

Wednesday, February 14 -Valentine’s Day 💘:

  • DSP Promo Amy Lane
  • Lander (Oberon Cycle Book 2) J, Scott Coatsworth Tour
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Cam Boy by Quinn Anderson
  • Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker Release Day Blitz
  • A Lila Release Day Review:  Hearts and Flour by Tara Lain
  • A Lila Release Day Review:  Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells
  • A MelanieM Review:Lander (Oberon Cycle Book 2) by J.Scott Coatsworth

Thursday, February 15:

  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway for The Artist’s Touch by EJ Russell
  • In the Promo Spotlight: Andrew Grey
  • Release Blitz for DJ Jamison’s Hearts & Health 1-3 Box Set
  • A MelanieM Review: Oh Yeah, An Elf  by L.L. Brooks
  • An Alisa Review :GHOST WOLF by Hurri Cosmo
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Finding Mr. Wrong by Charlie Cochet and Andrew McFerrin (Narrator)

Friday, February 16:

  • DSP Publications Promo Andrea Speed  on Infected: Throwaways
  • Release Blitz Tour – RJ Scott & VL Locey’s Poke Check
  • Review Tour – Sam Burns’ Wolf & The Holly
  • A Free Dreamer Review:Wolf & The Holly (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #2) by Sam Burns
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Blackbird in the Reeds (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #1) by Sam Burns
  • An Alisa Review: Alpha Dragon: Nyve by Kellan Larkin and Kaz Crowley

Saturday, February 17:

  • Blog tour for Resist and Triumph charity anthology Joe Bone
  • BLITZ September (Audio) by Robert Winter



Heartbreak, Hearthounds, And A Tale of Two Winstons. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


Heartbreak, Heartterriers, And A Tale of Two Winstons

My heart is breaking this Sunday.  On Friday, after what was supposed to be a routine visit to the vet, for annual shots and to check out a cough, I found out that my redoubtable terrier, Winston has an aggressive tumor in the spleen, a cancer that’s already metastasized to his lungs. Prognosis is most likely one week.  This from a boy who was after a skunk, and racing the fence with a deer only days ago.  I’m in complete shock and utterly devastated.  He’s my heart terrier, my boon companion.  I was sure I would have him for at least 10 more years as I had the Winston before.  But its not to be and by this time next Sunday, my Winston will be gone.

So, because I’m in pieces and I need to spend as much time as I can with him, I’m re-posting this morning A Tale of Two Winstons, the journey of how this magnificent Winston came into my life.  Oh, he will always be a part of my heart. He’ll be so missed.

WinstonII home


A Tale of Two Winstons


Somethings are just meant to be, no explanation, no rational reason, they just are.  Somewhere a song is sung, a ripple forms in the water, a door closes, a window opens, and a dog finds its way back to its forever home.

It’s been a week to the day that Winston died, and this household has been a very changed, quiet place.  The dogs have been upset and grieving as have I.  Then this morning we woke to the smell of gas.  Flinging open the windows, we called the gas hotline and quickly the emergency crew arrived to locate the source and shut down the gas line.  It was a small issue, one quickly resolved but it meant that we were all home for the day, an unlikely occurrence. We had food we intended to donate to the local animal shelter and now had the time to do it. I checked the computer for address and hours of operation for the Montgomery County Humane Society.

There on the website was a picture that riveted me.  Up for adoption, dog 151 who looked remarkably like Winston.  I tucked that picture into my head, gathered up the food and we left for the shelter.  I checked in and we waited for our name to be called to state our business.  Upon hearing my name, I approached the desk and they gave me a slip, asked what dog I wanted to see and directed me to the back towards the kennels.  I didn’t correct them.

Through the door, past kennels full of dogs needing homes.  I averted my eyes, my heart sore.  We approached a cage, I looked down and nearly fainted.  There he stood, tail waving, face open and smiling, his entire body shaking in happiness – Dog 151.  He looked just like Winston, almost identical.  The attendant hooked him up to a leash and we took him outside, all the while telling us he just came in yesterday.  He was neutered, 4 years old, and had been rehomed twice.  We looked at him, he looked at us, and I heard myself saying “we want him, we want to adopt him”.  There was never a moments hesitation.

She handed us a slip of paper.  How can something so flimsy carry such weight?  It meant that he was taken.  How I hated leaving him there in the kennels while the routine paperwork had to be filed.

There were pages to fill out, and pages of information about him to be received.  Instead of having to wait for an interview, somehow someone was available to interview us immediately instead of the usual waiting period.  We sat and waited for our name to be called,  looking over the paperwork.  I was focused on the staff,  when I heard my name called out.

“Melanie, his name is Winston.”


“His name is Winston!!!!!”

Disbelieving, I looked at the paper she was holding up.  There, plain as day, next to the name for the dog being given up was the word Winston.  Dog 151 was Winston.   The tears that had been threatening from the moment I saw him spilled over.  The staff asked about the tears and the story of Winston poured out.  Even they thought the series of events unlikely.  The wonderful person who was our adoption counselor. Addie Soares who interviewed us had Winston brought in and he was as much a part of the interview process as we were. Sitting at our feet, body wagging a mile a minute, it was clear to all we were a family.  We talked some more and then she asked if we wanted to take him home today.  The answer was a resounding “yes”.

We had been warned he would likely bolt because of past issues so they gave us all new tags, harness and collar.  We keep a leash in the car just in case a dog needs to be rescued.  Out to the jeep we went.  Winston took one look at the car and leaped for the seat.  The ride home was a breeze as he sat safe and interested in my lap.  Then we were home.  Questions formed in my mind.  What would Willow and Kirby think?

I shouldn’t have worried. Willow kissed him, and Winston kissed her back.  Kirby came running up, happy to greet him.  Turns out Winston was just as overjoyed to see Kirby.  We employed the usual tactics to introduce new dogs to each other but really we needn’t have bothered.  Much sniffing ensued, much licking ensured, much peeing ensued, and they were fine.  So were we, again.

Now we are all ensconced on the bed, watching The Voice, and the dogs are sleeping peacefully next to us on the bed as well.  This is why king sized beds were invented.  Winston’s feet are moving in his sleep, his brows moving in tandem.  His slumber is full of dreams. Willow is curled up on her pillow and Kirby is doing his normal imitation of a teenage boy, unmoving and splayed out.  We are at peace, and we are whole once more.

There are certainly differences between them as it should be.  One is not the other.  One is not the replacement for the other, and their differences are to be celebrated.  This Winston has a long undocked tail, and a wide open personality.  This Winston lacks the arduous back history of my other Winston.  That Winston was wary of new circumstances, never taking treats or unfamiliar food.  This Winston took two treats immediately and then looked for more.  But there are also similarities.  The huge personality that says I will not give in, that persistent nature, hearty spirit and indomitable soul.

He is sleeping on his back now, at ease in posture and attitude.  Winston knows he is home.

They had asked us if we intended to keep the name Winston.  I looked at him, and thought of all the things that came together for us to become a family, and replied “yes, that is his name.”  He is Winston, a different Winston but Winston none the less.  Different but equal.

A song is sung, a wing beats on the wind, a direction is chosen, ripples form and a dog comes home just as another leaves.  Who is to say how these patterns are formed, and the paths chosen?   Somehow I know this was meant to be and Winston is smiling down upon us.  I will always love my Winston and miss him.  I will celebrate and welcome this Winston’s homecoming.

One is mourned and one is found.  A home is made whole as is a heart.  I swear I hear a song and a bark in the air…..

Here is Winston finally in his forever home.WinstonII asleep


This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 14:

  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Cover Reveal for LOVE TIMES FIVE by Lily G Blunt

Monday, January 15:

  • Review Tour – Lost In Time – A.L. Lester
  • BLITZ Beneath the Surface by Rebecca Langham
  • BLITZ Life After Humanity by Gillian St. Kevern
  • A Caryn Review: Lost In Time by A.L. Lester
  • A Stella Review: Friends and Lovers by Tinnean
  • An Ali Review:  A Purple Winter by Mel Bossa

Tuesday, January 16:

  • Bleeding Like Me by Riley Parks Tour
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo Jeff Adams and Will Knauss VIDEO
  • DSP GUEST POST BA TORTUGA ON Fighting Addiction
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Fighting Addiction (Fighting Addiction) by B.A. Tortuga
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Beneath This Mask (Enhanced #3) by Victoria Sue
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Ghost of a Chance (Requiem Inc. #1) by Kris T. Bethke

Wednesday, January 17:

  • Cover Reveal for Selina Kray’s In Wild Lemon Groves
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway for Tribute Act by Joanna Chambers
  • Blog tour for Resist and Triumph charity anthology
  • An Ali Review: Two Man Station (Emergency Services #1) by Lisa Henry
  • A MelanieM Review:  Tribute Act (Porthkennack #8) by Joanna Chambers
  • A Stella Review:The Fortune Hunter by Bonnie Dee

Thursday, January 18:

  • DSP Promo Amy Spector
  • Release Day Blitz A Way with You by Lane Hayes
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Romantic Behavior by LA Witt and Cari Z
  • A Julia Review :Thirteen Mercies, Three Kills by Liv Olteano
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Spun! by JL Merrow and Mark Steadman (Narrator)
  • A Stella Pre Release Review: When the Devil Wants In by Cate Ashwood and J.H. Knight

Friday, January 19:

  • Book Blast – The Loss of Self – An Intimate Autobiography by Alek Martin
  • Release Blitz – The Station – Keira Andrews
  • Review Tour – Coach’s Challenge (Cayuga Cougars #3) – V.L. Locey
  • A MelanieM Review: Coach’s Challenge (Cayuga Cougars #3) by V.L. Locey
  • An Ali Review: An Amy Lane Christmas by Amy Lane (bundle)

Saturday, January 20:

  • A MelanieM Review: On Davis Row by N.R. Walker

An Alisa Release Day Review: I Only Want to Be With You by J Scott Coatsworth


Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Derrek is dealing with the recent, unexpected death of his mother. He’s been alone for five year since his husband Will died, and he’s ready to find someone new and to start living again. Ryan lost his partner, David, in an auto accident, and is dating Alex, who doesn’t treat him right.

Derrek can’t figure out why Ryan won’t see what’s right in front of his face. Why does Ryan come to him to talk about all his hopes, dreams, and fears, then go home to Alex?

If Derrek can figure that out, they might just have a shot.

So….essentially Derrek and Ryan have been dancing around each other for years, being friends while Ryan is so sure that Derrek is still mourning his dead husband while he stays in a relationship that isn’t healthy.  We can see Derrek hurting every time he sees Ryan’s boyfriend put him down or cheat, all it takes is Derrek to tell him that he deserves better.  This story was cute but didn’t really sit well with me, I understood after Ryan explained at the end of the story about his lack of self-worth but I just couldn’t get why none of Ryan’s friends said anything to him over the past few years.

The cover art by Catherine Dair is nice and works well for the story.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, ~8,000 words

Published: December 27, 2017 by Mischief Corner Books

Edition Language: English

A Holiday Story Collection Not to Be Missed! A Holiday to Remember Collection (Guest Post by F.B. Cassidy & Giveaway)


A Holiday to Remember banner

For the first time, Mischief Corner Books is releasing a month-long collection of holiday-themed tales:

Traditional Winter Holidays can be tough for a variety of reasons—family pressures, finding the right gift, homesick longing, and haunting memories to name a few. This collection showcases eleven queer short stories, from tender contemporaries to sweet paranormal to far-flung space tales, all designed to make you want to reach for your hot cocoa and your favorite snuggly spot. Come join us for A Holiday To Remember.

A Holiday to Remember - All Covers

Guest Post: Christmas Romance by F.B. Cassidy

There are many traditions we associate with winter holidays—specifically Christmas.  Opening one present on Christmas Eve.  Attending a religious ceremony.  Enjoying a turkey dinner with family.  Driving around the neighborhood to look at the festive lights.

Many of these traditions can even cross into the realm of romantic.  A great example is kissing under the mistletoe.  Or, having your significant other dress up as Santa Claus and then start kissing under the mistletoe.  The idea behind “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” had to derive from someone’s kink.

On a serious note, I see Christmas as a very romantic holiday for one specific reason. It was the day my husband proposed to me.  Our love story was a whirlwind.  We started dating in August, we were engaged on Christmas, and married the next August.  Everyone assumed our rushed courting was because of a pregnancy.  It wasn’t.  I simply knew from our very first kiss that he was the one I wanted to be with the rest of my life.

On Christmas morning, my then-boyfriend had me go out onto our back porch.  Before we started dating, we’d been hanging out as friends, and we spent a lot of time on his back porch.  It was there I told him I liked him—fancied him, was the wording I used—so it was there he told me he wanted me to be his wife.  It was a beautifully emotional day for me.  One I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

I wanted to convey that sense of romance that I feel when thinking about Christmas to readers.  My character, Mel, isn’t looking for love when the story starts.  But after seeing his best friend Aldo so happily married, he thinks it’s time to start contemplating his own future.  A simple observation can make a drastic turn in someone’s life. Carlos, on the other hand, knows what he wants, more specifically who he wants, and he charges in.  Two very different sides of the situation, but they’re able to meet in the middle.  

Mel and Carlos fit together, the way I think my husband and I fit together.  We see the flaws in each other, but love the strengths.  We accept our quirks, and encourage them.  We give support in all things.  I don’t doubt that Mel and Carlos will do all of these as they grow as a couple.  I can picture it all so clearly.





Rainbow Beanie - AHTR Prize

For this tour, Mischief Corner Books is giving away two $25 gift certificates to their eBook store, and two rainbow beanies. To enter, just use the rafflecopter here, or below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Story Blurbs & Info

Watermelon KissesWatermelon Kisses
by Freddy McKay


Life hasn’t been easy for Amir since he fled Iran after a brutal imprisonment. The trauma experienced at the hands of the guards left a dark spot on his soul. The one constant in his life since relocating to Chicago has been his lover—now husband—Esmail, whose steadfast love and support has soothed his wounded heart.

​But this Shab-e Yalda, Amir wants to be the one giving his husband something special, because even after the darkest nights, the sun will rise again.


Freddy grew up in the Midwest, playing sports and running around outside. And honestly, that much has not changed since Freddy was small and throwing worms at other kids, except worm throwing has been replaced with a healthy geocaching addiction. Freddy enjoys traveling and holds the view a person should continually to learn about new things and people whenever possible.

Freddy’s contemporary LGBTQ book, Incubation: Finding Peace 2, won 3rd Place – Best Gay Erotic Fiction in the 2012 Rainbow Awards. In 2013, Freddy’s story, Internment, tied for 3rd Place – Best Gay Fantasy in the Rainbow Awards. Freddy’s steampunk/SF story, Feel Me, was a Finalist and honorable mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards for SF. And in 2015, Freddy’s urban fantasy Snow on Spirit Bridge was also a Finalist and honorable mention.

For more information on Freddy’s work, please visit or email:

Website: Freddy’s Stereograph
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/FreddyMacKay
Email: freddy.m.mackay@gmail.com

(One of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Best of 2017)

But to Love MoreBut To Love More
F.B. Cassidy


Mel finally gets to go home for Christmas. In his absence, his hometown has changed, and Carlos, his best friend’s little brother, is all grown up and interested in a relationship. But Carlos has his work cut out for him since Mel’s having trouble seeing past the little brother part and his big brother, Aldo’s determined to keep them apart.


Foster Bridget Cassidy is a rare, native Phoenician who enjoys hot desert air and likes to wear jackets in summer. She has wanted to be a fiction writer since becoming addicted to epic fantasy during high school. Since then, she’s studied the craft academically—at Arizona State University—and as a hobby—attending conventions and workshops around the country. A million ideas float in her head, but it seems like there’s never enough time to get them all down on paper.

Website: https://fosterbridgetcassidy.wordpress.com/

Corey's Christmas BundleCorey’s Christmas Bundle (Atherton Pack 5)
Toni Griffin

Being pregnant is not all it’s cracked up to be, especially when you’re male and a shifter. Even though the world now knows about wolf shifters, their male’s ability to bare young is still a closely guarded secret. Since Corey’s pregnancy is now visible, he’s been stuck at home working on code and waiting for company to drop by. Problem is, though, the human government wants to know where Corey is.

As Christmas and Corey’s due date draw ever nearer, Ben devises a plan that will not only get Corey out of the house, but allows the wolves of Atherton Pack to give the community some Christmas cheer.


Toni Griffin lives in Darwin, the smallest of Australia’s capital cities. Born and raised in the state she’s a Territorian through and through. Growing up Toni hated English with a passion (as her editors can probably attest to) and found her strength lies with numbers.

Now, though, she loves escaping to the worlds she creates and hopes to continue to do so for many years to come. She’s a single mother of one and works full time. When she’s not writing you can just about guarantee that she will be reading one of the many MM authors she loves. Feel free to drop her a line at info@tonigriffin.net anytime.

For more information about Toni’s work, please visit:

Website: http://tonigriffin.net
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/toni.griffin.author

Safety Protocols for Human HolidaysSafety Protocols For Human Holidays
Angel Martinez

As a security officer on an interspecies ship, Growlan Raskli’s experienced in heading off species-specific aberrant behaviors in order to keep the peace. But when her captain asks her to find out what’s bothering their sole human crew member, Raskli’s out of her depths. She hardly knows anything about humans and she’s not a psych doctor.

Something’s definitely upset Human Jen, something to do with human holidays. The more time Raskli spends studying humans and interacting with the intriguing Human Jen, the more personal the assignment becomes. Determined to lift the dark cloud from Human Jen, Raskli will do whatever it takes—within safe parameters, of course.


While Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres, she writes both kinds of queer fiction – Science Fiction and Fantasy. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, two cats, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate. For more information on Angel’s work, please visit:

Website: Erotic Fiction for the Hungry Mind
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Angel.Martinez.author
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1010469.Angel_Martinez
Email: angelmartinezauthor@gmail.com

Secrets & SilkSecrets & Silk
Nicole Dennis


Quiet, strait-laced David Appleton thinks he’s going to have a problem at work. A new co-worker discovered his secret in the locker room. Unable to confront someone, David let him walk away. Now he worries everyone will know his deepest held secret. A secret hidden under his signature vest, tie, and trousers.

Since walking in on his co-worker, CJ O’Connell tries to get a moment to speak with the shy David, but nothing works. His last hope—the Secret Santa Gift Exchange party. Perhaps a special gift can peel away the secrets.


A quiet one, Nicole Dennis curled up with the latest book of a favorite author. Since the beginning, there were these characters in her head, worlds wanting to be built on paper, and stories wanting to be told. She began writing during class and continues to this day. Now she can let others into her imagination and worlds that always celebrate the love between two or more people within LGBT, paranormal, and fantasy.

During the day, she works in a quiet office in Central Florida, where she also makes her home, and enjoys the down time to slip into her imagination. She is owned by a semi-demonic tortie calico, affectionately known as Fat Cat. For more information on Nicole, please visit:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NicoleDennis.Author
Blog: http://nicoledennisauthor.blogspot.com
Website: http://nicoledennisauthor.com
Email: nicoledennis.author@gmail.com
GoodreadsQ&A with Nicole Dennis: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/50397-q-a-with-nicole-dennis
Goodreads Profile: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2791975.Nicole_Dennis

Winter HomeWinter Home
Kassandra Lea

It’s Christmastime and the snow is falling. Restoring an old Victorian manor has been keeping contractor Brett Hawkins busy. The project’s meant to be complete by Christmas, but there’s no way he can get it done in time, especially with the big day right around the corner.

Meanwhile, his beloved Manuel Aguilar is grappling with depression, and he’s consumed by guilt that it’s kept him from putting up the decorations. But his biggest concern is that he may be ruining the holiday for Brett. As Manny struggles, unable to recognize his own courage in every small gain, Brett has a surprise that may help break depression’s hold.


I have my mom to thank for so much. First of all, she fostered a love of reading. According to her I’ve been reading since I could hold a book and I got my first library card at age 3. Growing up I used to read 100 books a year, but of course, that doesn’t happen as often since there’s writing to do and a day job.

Secondly, I have to thank her for always pushing me to keep chasing my dream of being an author. Who else am I going to bounce ideas off of, and she helps me when I get stuck. Suppose you could say she’s my biggest fan.

When I’m not writing I enjoy time with my dog, tending my garden, baking sweet treats, walking through crunchy fall leaves and blankets of cold snow, playing video games, and reading! I’ve a fondness for horses and blankets (is it possible to own too many?)

And yes, some days I still wish I was Batman. For more information about Kassandra and her work, please visit:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cheddarsgal
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7369580.Kassandra_Lea
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leakassie/

Christmas Eve Craigslist KillerChristmas Eve Craigslist Killer
Jill Wexler

The public library’s computer geek, aka Travis, is content skirting the edges of social interaction. He’s fully committed to being a boring, twenty-something IT guy who likes his office more than people, a guy someone like Connor would never fall for. Connor, who works on the library floor as a page, is outgoing, social, and charming and everything else that stands for “fun.”

An interaction between the two at the library on Christmas Eve has Travis accidentally mentioning that he failed to find this year’s hottest toy for his nephew. Immediately, Connor goes on a quick hunt online, and finds one. The only problem is that the Craigslist seller is hours away and Travis is sure spending hours in a car with quirky, handsome Connor can only end badly.


Jill started writing back in the day of notebook paper and erasable pens (blue ink is best), when her mom’s typewriter was out of ribbon.  Then she graduated to a word processing program in MS-DOS, then WordPerfect.  Her computer sadly caught the Blue Screen of Death and all was lost.  She stopped writing for an extremely long time, because “life.”

She lives in the upper Bible Belt, rolls her eyes a lot and drinks enough wine to consider it a sacrifice to the gods that her kids won’t need too much therapy down the road.

A while back, Jill picked up writing again with a woman’s site and the writing fever spiked.  But she’s actually new to publishing, so there may or may not have been more wine involved recently (only one glass was harmed in the making of this story and it was a mason jar so…bygones).

Articles: http://suburbanmisfitmom.com/writer/jill-wexler/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jill.Wexler73
Email: Jillwexler73@gmail.com

New BeginningsNew Beginnings
Jayne Lockwood

Nick is not looking forward to his second Christmas without Sammi, his gorgeous ex-fiancee. She left him on New Year’s Eve, a week after their engagement, and he still doesn’t know why.

A chance meeting whilst out Christmas shopping reveals that Sammi is now Sam, a transgender man. As the reasons behind their break-up become clearer, Nick cannot make sense of his new feelings. He is shocked by the deep attraction he still has to Sam, and what that says about himself.

It will take Nick’s straight-talking family, and Sam’s guiding hand, to help him discover that gender is no barrier to love.


Jayne Lockwood has been writing for most of her life, starting with really bad poetry as a teenager, usually railing against nuclear war (it was the 1970’s.) There followed a couple of novels, long since consigned to flames (probably just as well, TBH,) and the hazy idea that maybe one day, she would get something published. Her first successful writing assignment was for the college newspaper of the County College of Morris, in Randolph, New Jersey, where she studied Journalism.

Since then, Jayne has been involved in projects closer to home, working closely with other authors to continue to develop their writing. Two pieces of her prose can be found in Chalk Road, a collaborative anthology from local writers, sponsored by Wycombe District Council, and she has invariably been involved in a writing group, as well as running a local book group.

She has also had five Black Lace titles published by Virgin Books, under the pseudonym, Savannah Smythe, and has collaborated with glamour celebrity, Abi Titmuss, to produce 10 Fantasies, Abi’s collection of short stories.

Jayne has also published three M/M erotica stories, Lexington Black, Docklands Diamond and My Boyfriend Is A Dog, under S A Smythe. In addition to that, she writes book reviews for WROTE Podcast, a forum for LGBTQ readers and writers. She helped set up the podcast in 2015 with fellow writers, S A Collins (sacollins.com) and Vance Bastian (vancebastian.com) and is proud to say the podcast is going from strength to strength.

The Cloud Seeker is Jayne’s first mainstream novel, and draws upon her background as a Chilterns woman and her affection for the US, where she lived for two years.

Soon after, she rediscovered the very first manuscript she started back in 1996. After many hours of updating, it was finally published on Amazon. Closer Than Blood is a tale of hit men, blackmail and forbidden passion, set in Manhattan. Both novels are currently available as ebook and paperback, from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and many on-line book retailers.

She always has at least one novel in the background, and at the present time she is working on her first science fiction novel, working title Euphoria, based on the nuclear bunker near where she lives.

For more information about Jayne and her work, please visit:

Website: https://hollowhillspublishing.blogspot.com/

A Piece of OurselvesA Piece Of Ourselves
Tray Ellis

Balancing holidays between two families can make cheerful celebrations into chores. Carson Benedetti’s mom has overscheduled the Christmas holidays and she’s more than insistent that boyfriend Tynan Harris come into the family fold. There’s so much to do Tynan can’t find time to bring Carson over to his own family and he feels like they are being left in the dust.

​After dating for nine months, and with their relationship becoming more serious, Tynan’s patience is sorely tested by the multitude of Benedetti family traditions keeping them busy. Tynan needs to figure out how to find some breathing room, split their time more fairly, and make Christmas more than just tradition by rote.


Tray Ellis grew up across from an empty field, where she spun a lot of imaginary adventures, helping to prepare her for a lifetime of writing. When she isn’t writing, she stays active by hiking, cooking, stacking the odd cord of wood in the shed, baking, and being too busy to keep her home in any semblance of order. Currently she tries to find a balance between the logical way she thinks and the flights of fancy she often daydreams about. Mostly, the daydreams are winning. For more information about Tray, please visit:

Website: https://trayellis.dreamwidth.org
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6564767.Tray_Ellis

I Only Want to Be With YouI Only Want to Be With You
Scott Coatsworth

Derrek is dealing with the recent, unexpected death of his mother. He’s been alone for five year since his husband Will died, and he’s ready to find someone new and to start living again. Ryan lost his partner, David, in an auto accident, and is dating Alex, who doesn’t treat him right.

Derrek can’t figure out why Ryan won’t see what’s right in front of his face. Why does Ryan come to him to talk about all his hopes, dreams, and fears, then go home to Alex?

If Derrek can figure that out, they might just have a shot.

Buy Links:


Scott is the admin for the Queer Sci Fi site. He has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com/
Facebook: https://facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

A New Year on Vega IIIA New Year On Vega III
Siri Paulson

On the colony planet Vega III, everyone knows Beck—outgoing, fabulous, and genderqueer—and nobody notices Anil, the quiet plant biologist. But when Anil finds Beck hiding in his greenhouse, lonely and missing Earth, it’s Anil who is able to comfort Beck by letting them talk about what they miss most—the feeling that comes with celebrating the holidays with loved ones, especially New Year’s Eve.

​The two of them are drawn to one another, but both of them are hiding secrets about their sexuality. With trust between them already on shaky ground, Anil’s elaborate plans to cheer Beck may well backfire.


I write all over the fantasy and science fiction spectrum, including (so far) secondary-world fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, Gothic, historical paranormal, spaceships, and various unholy mashups of these.

I grew up in Alberta, Canada, but now live in an old house in Toronto. My other current passion is contra dance, a social/folk dance done to live Celtic and roots music. My favourite places in the world are the Canadian Rocky Mountains and a little valley in Norway. In my other life, I edit non-fiction for the government. For more information, please visit or email:

Website: https://siripaulson.wordpress.com/
Email: s_l_paulson@yahoo.ca

An Alisa Review: The Christmas Eve Cragislist Killer: A Holiday to Remember by Jill Wexler

Rating:  4 stars out of 5
The public library’s computer geek, aka Travis, is content skirting the edges of social interaction. He’s fully committed to being a boring, twenty-something IT guy who likes his office more than people, a guy someone like Connor would never fall for. Connor, who works on the library floor as a page, is outgoing, social, and charming and everything else that stands for “fun.”
An interaction between the two at the library on Christmas Eve has Travis accidentally mentioning that he failed to find this year’s hottest toy for his nephew. Immediately, Connor goes on a quick hunt online, and finds one. The only problem is that the Craigslist seller is hours away and Travis is sure spending hours in a car with quirky, handsome Connor can only end badly.
This was cute.  Travis hasn’t had all that much experience with guys and hasn’t had all that much luck, he wants to give his nephew something to help him relate to others his own age as he sees himself in the boy.    This gives Connor the perfect opportunity to get to know the man he has been attracted to.  I enjoyed their playful banter and the friendship they began on their trip.  Both of them are adorable and I’m glad they finally had something that pushed them together.
The cover art by Catherine Dair is great and is perfect for the story.
Sales Link: Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, ~9,000 words
Published: December 18, 2017 by Mischief Corner Books
Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Secrets & Silk: A Holiday to Remember by Nicole Dennis


Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

(Part of the “A Holiday to Remember 2017 Series”) 

Conscientious and detailed to a fault, David Appleton refuses to leave for the office Christmas party until he finds the error in a report submitted by Marc, one of the workers in his department. Aside from the fact that this guy constantly tries to undermine David, the bottom line is that David won’t allow anything with his department’s signature on it to go out incorrect.  Get the picture?  David is pretty darn straight-laced.  He’s also a nice guy, a gay man who has never had a partner, and a man with a secret underwear fetish that he doesn’t want exposed.  He actually came close to being outed for his sexy pants when CJ, a coworker, happened to see him in the locker room after his workout one day, but so far, CJ seems to be keeping his lip zipped.

After finding the error and having a confrontation with Marc, David heads to Santa’s secret gift exchange.  Marc and his buddies slip a gift into the exchange that’s intended to embarrass David, but CJ, this year’s Santa, spots it and knows it’s not really for David since CJ is the one who drew David’s name.  The clearing up of the confusion over the gifts and over that day in the gym and a consequence for Marc lead to a satisfactory conclusion for this light holiday romance. 

This story had a promising plot bunny, but unfortunately, the execution was poor.  The author is a new author to me, and I’m not sure how experienced, but very definitely her writing style, the transitions from scene to scene, and the missed opportunities for humor or further dialogue were quite below average.  So two stars for the fact that the overall story was okay and an extra half because it’s Christmas, and I don’t like being an Ebenezer who shoots down an author’s efforts at holiday romance. 


Cover art by Freddy MacKay features a handsome guy in a plaid vest and dark slacks superimposed over a gift box with tissue paper in disarray.  This would be David after opening his gift from CJ.   Very nice representation of the story.

Sales Links:  Mischief Corner Books | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 40 pages
Expected publication: December 13th 2017 by Mischief Corner Books, LLC

An Alisa Review: Corey’s Christmas Bundle (Atherton Pack 5) by Toni Griffin

Rating:  5 stars out of 5
Being pregnant is not all it’s cracked up to be, especially when you’re male and a shifter. Even though the world now knows about wolf shifters, their male’s ability to bare young is still a closely guarded secret. Since Corey’s pregnancy is now visible, he’s been stuck at home working on code and waiting for company to drop by. Problem is, though, the human government wants to know where Corey is.
As Christmas and Corey’s due date draw ever nearer, Ben devises a plan that will not only get Corey out of the house, but allows the wolves of Atherton Pack to give the community some Christmas cheer.
This was a great look at the men from Atherton.  Corey’s pregnancy came as a surprise to their friends but he loves the feeling and knowing that he is carrying his and Ethan’s child.  I really wish I would have been able to see him as Santa but my imagination did a pretty good job.
All these men will do anything for their friends even if it means being in an embarrassing situation.  I loved seeing them all again and can’t wait to see more and the rest of their friends finding their mates and happiness.
The cover art by Freddy MacKay is wonderful and I love it.
Book Details:
ebook, ~20,000 words
Published: December 6, 2017 by Mischief Corner Books
Edition Language: English
Series: The Atherton Pack #5

December,Time to Say Goodbye, Time to Remember the Best of 2017. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


It’s December.

Time to Say Goodbye, Time to Remember the Best of 2017

At the end of the year, it’s time to look back and reflect on everything and everyone that made an impact on us this year.  Instead of remembering what was lacking in 2017, better to remember on those things and people that made life better for us…all of us in 2017 and make note here.

I’m not talking just books this year but people too.  This year saw the passing of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words reviewer Paul Berg, someone who’s lively presence here in his reviews and in my emails telling me about his backgammon tournaments I still miss. This  year we also lost author Eric Arvin after a long illness, thankfully his amazing stories ensures his incredible mind, heart, and imagination will always be with us.  Those two people were just the main two that I was thinking of when writing about those that have made such a lasting impact on me this year.

And not just people.  Many of the older LGBT publishing houses closed or have announced they are closing.  That includes Loose ID on Friday after 13 years in operation.  They join Samhain Publishing, Torquere Press, Musa Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Wilde City Press, ARe (All Romance eBooks), and others that temporarily escapes me.  All gone or on the way out.    That represents a hosts of authors, editors, cover artists….so many people working to bring LGBTQIA stories to us where before our choices were slim to almost zero.  I don’t think I need to tell you that the competition is the primary reason.  I know they will tell you the same.

I think of all the first time authors who were cared for by these presses, helped to craft their stories and then given a place for us to find them long before Amazon ever cared about our niche fiction and its readers.  How they will all be missed but what an amazing impact they left behind. For that alone, they should be remembered.

Who has made an impact on you this year?  Start thinking about it.  Next week starts our Best of 2017 Giveaways.  We need your Best of in whatever Categories you would like to submit.  Have a Best of Covers?  Great!  How about a Bests of Supernatural Romance? Perfect! Best Historical Romance? Love it!  Getting the idea?  So what’s your Best of 2017?  I will be gathering mine for the next 2 weeks and will trot them out at the end of the month.  Prizes will be offered up!

Now, this week more Advent Release Day Reviews and holiday stories, along with our regular release day reviews, tours and giveaways.  Something for everyone!  Happy Reading.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


Sunday, December 3:

  • Time to Say Goodbye, Time to Remember the Best of 2017
  • Romeo Preminger on Thiago
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Release Day Review: The Peppermint Schnapps Predicament by Clare London
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Thiago by Romeo Preminger
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Laugh Cry Repeat by John Inman

Monday, December 4:

  • Dyeing to be Loved by Aimee Nicole Walker Audio Tour
  • Review Tour – Joanna Chambers’  Merry & Bright
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Regret Me Not by Amy Lane
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Hope Is the Thing with Feathers by Brandon Witt
  • An Ali Review:  Merry & Bright by Joanna Chambers

Tuesday, December 5:

  • Dreamspinner Press Promo Tara Lain on Snow Balls (Balls to the Wall #6)
  • INTERLUDE TOUR If the Fates Allow Holiday Anthology
  • Spotlight on Only With You by JD Chambers
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Junkyard Heart by Garrett Leigh
  • A MelanieM Advent Release Day Review: Salvaging Claus Day by J. Alan Veerkamp
  • A MelanieM Review: The Botanist (The Sin Bin #3) by Dahlia Donovan
  • A Stella Review: If the Fates Allow Holiday Anthology
  • An Alisa Review: My Choice, My Chance by Taylor Rylan

Wednesday, December 6:

  • DSP Publications Promo David C. Dawson
  • Release Blitz for Love Happens Anyway  by RJ Scott
  • Release Blitz for Raven by HJ Perry
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: ​Snow Balls (Balls to the Wall #6) by Tara Lain
  • A Stella Advent Release Day Review: The Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change by Chris Scully
  • An Alisa Review: Corey’s Christmas Bundle (Atherton Pack 5) by Toni Griffin

Thursday, December 7:

  • DSP Dreamspun Promo Julia Talbot
  • Spotlight on Andrew Grey
  • Release Blitz for Jesus Kid by Kayleigh Sky
  • Release Blitz for On Your Knees, Prospect by KA Merikan
  • A MelanieM Advent Release Day Review: An Open Window by Rick R. Reed
  • A MelanieM Review: Hurricane (Stormy Weather #3)  by B.A. Tortuga
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Embrace the Fire (Through Hell and Back #3) by Felice Stevens and Kale Williams (Narrator)

Friday, December 8:

  • Amy Lane on Writing, Books, and her release Regret Me Not
  • Solstice Prince by SJ Himes Blog Tour
  • Review Tour : Deep Edge (Harrisburg Railers #3) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • A MelanieM Review:Deep Edge (Harrisburg Railers #3) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • A MelanieM Advent Release Day Review: Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings by Nell Iris
  • An Alisa Review: Once Bitten (A Darker Hollow #2) by Shannon West and T.S. McKinney
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Fool of Main Beach (Love in Laguna #5) by Tara Lain and K.C. Kelly (Narrator)

Saturday, December 9:

  • An Alisa Advent Release Day Review: Pining for Perfect by Ki Brightly
  • Blog Tour Snow Falling by Davidson King
  • Release Blitz for Ruby Moone’s The Mistletoe Kiss 



A MelanieM Release Day Review: Watermelon Kisses by Freddy Mackay (Mischief holiday story)


Rating: 5 stars plus out of 5

Life hasn’t been easy for Amir since he fled Iran after a brutal imprisonment. The trauma experienced at the hands of the guards left a dark spot on his soul. The one constant in his life since relocating to Chicago has been his lover—now husband—Esmail, whose steadfast love and support has soothed his wounded heart.

​But this Shab-e Yalda, Amir wants to be the one giving his husband something special, because even after the darkest nights, the sun will rise again.

Really, Watermelon Kisses by Freddy Mackay  is one of those stories that makes me want to run outside, grabbing people to say “have you read this story? You must read this story…”.  Because it’s so powerful, it’s message of hope and love so enduring and impactful that I want to send it out there as a holiday gift to everyone.

And it starts out so gently, and like the gentle ripples spreading across a lake, you have no idea of the power of the swift currents waiting for you just underneath the initial surface you see, waiting to sweep you emotionally under.

You first meet Amir when he’s shopping for Shab-e Yalda.  Freddy Mackay gives a description of the religious holiday and the dishes they eat at the back of the story.  Don’t miss those.  But they aren’t needed to read the story through…the first time. Or the second. Or even third. From the manner in which you meet him and the way he’s handling the shopping, you know that there’s something wrong.  But the revelations about Amir unfold slowly, heartbreakingly, with hints and then facts that will crush you… little peeks into his  past history and horrors over the course of the story.  At points I had to stop because I just   not have enough tissues nearby to go on.  But go on you must.  Because this beautiful story is about surviving the dark, waiting for the light, the sunrise to arrive bringing hope and love.

Mackay’s writing is exquisite.  Each word, each sentence is precisely right…forming a picture in your mind and heart of the past, present, and finally, what the future may hold for Amir and husband Esmail.  Waiting for the golden rays of the  sunrise to put them back together again reminded me of the ancient Japanese art of mending broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold. Called Kintsugi which means golden repair because you can see the seams of gold glinting in the cracks of the newly whole pottery,  the sun shining down on Amir and Esmail seemed to help seal and mend the broken man huddled in the darkness.  So powerful, so enduring….this is a story that you will want to reread often.  It will be in the top stories of 2017 for me and I want everyone to go out and read it immediately!  That’s how highly I recommend Watermelon Kisses by Freddy Mackay.

Cover art is wonderful containing an important element of the story but nothing can really do justice to this story.

Sales Links:  Mischief Corner Books | Amazon

Book Details:

First Expected publication: November 29th 2017 by Mischief Corner Books, LLC
Edition LanguageEnglish