A MelanieM Review: The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh by Jess Moore

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Jeremy Warsh has been in off-mode ever since his grandpa’s death a couple years ago. He set aside their shared passion, comic art, and hasn’t looked back. As an introvert from the other side of town, he fully expects to spend his boring life bagging groceries until, maybe one day, he’s promoted to store manager.

Yet, his two best friends, Kasey and Stuart, are different. They’re not afraid to demand more out of everyone. When Kasey comes out, Jeremy’s inspired. He picks up his colored pencils and starts drawing comics again, creating a no-nonsense, truth-talking character named Penny Kind. Who speaks to him. Literally.

The friend group set in motion Stuart’s plans for a huge Homecoming prank, and if they can get Penny’s comic trending, they might be able to pull it off. Could this be a stepping-stone to a future Jeremy’s only dreamed of? And after he kisses a boy at a college party, will Jeremy finally face what he’s been hiding from?

I don’t know why I  haven’t found or heard of this author before but Jess Moore is now firmly on my radar based on the absolute  brilliant storytelling I found in The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh by Jess Moore.  This novel just blew me away on so many levels that I hardly know where to start and I’m certain not to do it justice.

All the trials and tribulations of high school can be found here, as well as the angst and anxiety that seniors face that final year going forward into an uncertain future.  All these unformed young humans, trying to figure out who they are, how to be not only the best person they can be but what type of person that is, including the sex of the person they are attracted to and want to date.   Frame that within the even larger framework of telling their friends, family, and horror, the school network finding out…all before the homecoming? It’s stress by the truckload on teenage shoulders trying to do homework, tame their hair, skirt bullies, and find love.

And Jess Moore has delivered us into a world full of characters that we recognize immediately as so realistic that we lose our hearts to them, bleed for them, and cheer them on as they slowly find their paths forward.  Sometimes it’s a wonder any of our young survive high school.

Jeremy Warsh is such a memorable young man.  When we first meet him, he’s still grieving over the loss of his grandfather, the other person, other than his mother, who really raised him, who was his foundation.  He’s got a white boy’s “fro” with his frizzy hair, sort of pudgy, tall, intelligent, responsible, kind, and about the change the course of his life.  He’s our narrator and window into his world and life.  I couldn’t have wanted anyone finer or more complex.  Kudoes to Moore on his creation.

Jeremy’s best friends Stuart and Kasey each have their own journeys to go on while still being part of Jeremy’s and he a strong partner in their decisions as well.  Especially Kasey’s. But Jeremy has an unusual support from a cartoon he’s started to draw, a sassy girl called Penny Kind.  She offers up all kinds of advice on herself, Jeremy’s life, and how the cartoon is being drawn.  How I loved this aspect of the story!

Another deeply moving and heartfelt portion?  The mother/son relationship between Jeremy and his mother.  It never feels anything but real. It contains its natural flaws of any such familial relationship , but the support and love that flows between them is something that’s a joy to read.  I just adore the dynamics here.  In fact that goes for all the relationships as laid out by the author for Jeremy and his family and friends.  It all has a truly vivid and authentic ring to every thread and character set down in the story.

That includes Jeremy finding Matt and his discovery that he’s gay.

And the manner in which he deals with his lifelong school bully.

This book is amazing!  This review  doesn’t begin to go into the many layers of storyline and the nuances of life these young characters face with determination, grit, tears, and laughter.  And the reader will be there with them every gripping step of the way.

Just be aware that once you start it, you won’t be able to put it down.  So pull out that ice cream, get comfortable and be prepared to settle in until this astonishingly moving story is over and you’re cuddling your Kindle close to your heart.  Because that’s how The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh by Jess Moore makes you feel.  About Jeremy, his future, and this story.

It’s one of my top ten of 2018.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  I like this cover and don’t.  Because both eye catching in its portrait of a teenager but clearly not Jeremy.    I ‘m not sure anyone could capture Jeremy or Penny KInd!

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published November 26th 2018 by SunFire Imprint of NineStar Press
ISBN 139781949909487
Edition Language English

Best of 2018 – Week 2 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Best of 2018 – Week 2

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words continues to share its Best of 2018 lists with all of you, this time from our reviewer Ali.  Are you making your lists and checking them twice? I know I am.
Happy Reading and Listening from Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words!

From Ali….

Favorite Books of the Year:

Favorite Audiobooks of the Year:

Infamous by Jenny Holiday/narrated by Michael Fell
They Both Die in the End by Adam Silveria/narrated by Bahni Turpin, Robbie Daymond, Michael Crouch
Family Man by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton/narrated by Colin Darcy
How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune/narrated by Derrick McClain

Favorite Series of the Year:

Seven of Spades by Cordelia Kingsbridge
Death and the Devil by LJ Hayward
Big Bad Wolf by Charlie Adhara
The Woodbury Boys by Sidney Bell

Favorite Covers of the Year:

 

 

Pisces Hooks Taurus by Antya Sunday / Natasha Snow
Death of a Bachelor by M.A. Hinkle / Natasha Snow
Gray’s Shadow by K.A. Merikan / Artist: Natasha Snow
To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen / Artist:Garrett Leigh
Lights & Sirens by Lisa Henry / Artist:Natasha Snow
One Eyed Royals by Cordelia Kingsbridge / Artist: Garrett Leigh
Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 16:

  • Release Tour for The Strength of His Heart – Victoria Sue
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Advent Calendar Review: Make a Circle by Elliot Joyce
  • An ALisa Review: Strength of His Heart (Enhanced World #4) by Victoria Sue
  • A MelanieM Review: The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh by Jess Moore
  • Best of 2018 – Week 2 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 17:

  • Review Tour for Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott
  • Release Blitz  – Operation Toy Rescue by Sarah Hadley Brook
  • PROMO J.P. Barnaby on Saving Hannah
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: A Holiday Tradition by Chrissy Munder
  • A MelanieM Review: Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Strength of His Heart (Enhanced World #4) by Victoria Sue

Tuesday, December 18:

  • Release Blitz – Full O’Festive Spirits by Zakarrie Clarke
  • From These Ashes by Davidson King Blog Tour
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Tit for Tat by JS Harker
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Homebird by Amy Lane
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Saving Hannah by JP Barnaby
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The CEO’s Christmas Manny Series: Beyond the Boardroom by Angela McAllister
  • An Ali Advent Calendar Review: Once in a Lifetime by Cassie Decker

Wednesday, December 19:

  • Review Tour –  – Trusting by Ruby Moone
  • Review Tour for  Christmas Prince by RJ Scott
  • Book Blast – Little Harbour by Sophia Soames
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review: Colina de Lavanda by August Li
  • An Alisa Review Something To Celebrate by Evelyn Benvie “Escape From the Holidays Story”
  • An Alisa Review : Trusting Jack by Ruby Moone
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott

Thursday, December 20:

  • Release Blitz – Kink Aware (Kiss of Leather 9) by Morticia Knight
  • DSP PROMO JS Harker on Tit for Tat
  • An Alisa Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Q*Pid by Xavier Mayne and Rudy Sanda (Narrator)
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Forbidden Pursuits (The Galactic Captains #2) by Harry F. Rey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review:Summer Santa by Ward Maia

Friday, December 21:

  • HARMONY INK PROMO Verity Croker on Jilda’s Ark
  • Review Tour – Sarah Hadley Brook – Operation Toy Rescue
  • DSP PROMO Sean Michael
  • An Alisa Review: Paradise Lodge by Riina Y.T.
  • A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review:Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tutus and Tinsel by Rhys Ford
  • A Stella Review : Operation Toy Rescue by Sarah Hadley Brook

Saturday, December 22:

  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Review:Season to Shimmer by Kim Katil
  • An Alisa Audio Review: Going Overboard (Anchor Point #5) by L.A. Witt  and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Alisa Review: Mine for Christmas by AD Lawless

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Matt Westin was shocked when he ran into Cody, his grade-school best friend—pleased, but shocked. Devastatingly handsome was an understatement when it came to Cody, with his hazel eyes, wide smiles, and broad shoulders.

It was less shocking, months later, when Matt found out just how far he’d go for Cody. A desperate request for Matt to play his boyfriend over Christmas and save him from his mom’s meddling blind-date plans completely hammered that fact home.

Matt couldn’t resist saying yes, not when it meant getting closer to Cody. The only question was how would he ever be able to let him go when it was over?

Such a perfect friends to lovers story.  Matt and Cody were friends as children but lost track of each other over the years but quickly begin their friendship again and grow close.  Cody puts them in an almost impossible situation but it helps push their feeling out into the open.

It was funny how much these two have had crushes on each other but being oblivious to the other’s feelings.  I loved how Cody’s family quickly accepts Matt into their midst and it makes Cody feel so much more for him.  This was so sweet and a perfect holiday story.

I like the cover art by Natasha Snow is great and the standard for holiday shorts this year.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 14,500 words

Published: November 26, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949909-41-8

Edition Language: English

First of Our Best of 2018 Lists. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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First of Our Best of 2018 Lists

So this Sunday we are starting off with our first of our Best of 2018 lists.  First up is our reviewer Alisa with her Top Stories down to her Top Covers.  Yes, we have always shared our love of book covers here along with our appreciation of the various artists talents.  Lately we have had some new names appear doing absolutely incredible covers alongside the artists who represent the best in the industry.  So make sure you check out all the names to go along with the beautiful covers we put out there.  Maybe give us a few suggestions of your own.

Also relatively new are the narrators in the  audiobook Best of category.  I listen to more and more audiobooks every year and can’t stress the importance of a fabulous narrator.  They can make or break an audiobook.  Check out who Alisa has as her favorites below.  Do you have yours?

Each week we will roll out more lists…keep an eye out to see how our lists compare with yours.  Did you miss some books?  Did we agree on others?  Let me know!

 

From Alisa:

2018 Top Stories/Novels

Guarding His Melody by Victoria Sue

Blood for the Spilling by TJ Nichols

Promises Part 4 by AE Via

Elemental Magick by Jacki James

Us by Shaw Montgomery

Professor Adorkable by Edie Danford

Discovery by Quinn Ward

Expecting by Sarah Havan

After the Weekend by Silvia Violet

The Swap by Annabella Michaels

Best Audiobooks

Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn, narrator Kirt Graves

Kairos by Mary Calmes, narrator Michael Fell

Freckles by Amy Lane, narrator Nick Russo

BFF by KC Wells, narrator Michael Mola

Pins and Needles by AJ Thomas, narrator Jason Riley

Best Series

Men of Meadowfall by Anna Wineheart

Studies in Demonology by TL Nichols

Promises by AE Via

Requiem Inc. by Kris T. Bethke

College of United Monsters by CB Archer

Cold Case Psychic by Pandora Pine

Enhanced World by Victoria Sue

The Accidental Master by MA Innes

Kink in the City by Quinn Ward

Strength by MA Innes

Best Covers

Blood for the Spilling by TJ Nichols, cover artist Catt Ford

Heart of a Redneck by Jodi Payne, cover artist Alexandria Corza

Edge of Living by HL Day, cover artist HL Day

Elemental Magick by Jacki James, cover artist Vicki Brostenianc

Expecting by Sarah Havan, cover artist Melissa Liban

 

Now here is this week at our blog.  We continue with more Advent Calendar stories, I have reviewed an incredible M/M historic romance today called The Bibliophile by Drew Marvin Frayne.  You really should check that out. The Yakuza Path series by Amy Tasukada is as far from a holiday saga as you can get.  But it’s brilliant, bloody, and a must read. Number 4 is out this week.  If you love holiday series, The Christmas Angel series is not to be missed, several of them are also on to be reviewed as well.  So much going on.  Don’t miss a day here.

 

Happy Reading!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 9: ☃️

  • First of Our Best of 2018 Lists.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Book Blast Love’s Trials by Janice Jarrell
  • A MelanieM Review: The Bibliophile by Drew Marvin Frayne
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Oz (Finding Home #1) by Lily Morton
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: Holiday Island by A.D. Ellis

Monday, December 10:☃️

  • COVER REVEAL: Amanda Meuwissen’s A Model Escort
  • Release Blitz for Home For Christmas by RJ Scott
  • Review Tour for A Soldier’s Wish (A Christmas Angel Story) by NR Walker
  • Release Blitz Tour for  Trusting Jack by Ruby Moore
  • A Lila Advent Calendar Review: Boca Dreams by Scudder James Jr
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Soldier’s Wish (A Christmas Angel Story) by NR Walker
  • A Lucy Review : Under The Felt Mistletoe by Nell Iris
  • An Alisa Review: Mine for Christmas by AD Lawless

Tuesday, December 11: ☃️

  • PROMO Andrew Grey
  • Release Blitz  Tour – Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs
  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Chasing Forever by Kelly Jensen
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Stetsons and Stakeouts by BA Tortuga
  • A Lucy Review : All I Want Is You by DJ Jamison
  • A Free Dreamer Advent Calendar Review: Tulsi Vivah by Anna Kaling
  • A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Showers, Flowers, and Fangs by Aidan Wayne

Wednesday, December 12: ☃️

  • Review Tour – Jordan L Hawk – The Magician’s Angel
  • Review Tour – Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs
  • Review Tour – The Deafening Silence (The Yakuza Path #4) by Amy Tasukada
  • A MelanieM Review:The Deafening Silence (The Yakuza Path #4) by Amy Tasukada
  • A Lucy Review : Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs
  • A Lila Advent Calendar Review: Guess Who’s Coming to Karamu by Cy Blanca
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady :The Magician’s Angel (The Christmas Angel #3) by Jordan L. Hawk
  • An Alisa Review: Celebrations in the Season of Long Nights by Mere Rain, a”Escape From the Holidays” Collection from Mischief Corner Books

Thursday, December 13:  ☃️

  • Spells & Stardust Anthology Tour
  • HARMONY INK PROMO Aidan Wayne
  • Book Blast for Pain and Promise by Lazlo Thorn
  • Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code by Charlie Cochrane Blog Tour
  • A Caryn Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Blessed (The Matawapit Family #1) by Maggie Blackbird
  • A MelanieM Review: Spells & Stardust by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: Death to Christmas Sweaters by LE Franks

Friday,  December 14:  ☃️

  • Review Tour –  Christmas Homecoming by LA Witt
  • PROMO BA Tortuga
  • Review Tour for Shrewd Angel (The Christmas Angel #6) by Anyta Sunday
  • Review Tour  for Rebellion by Naomi Aoki
  • An Ali Advent Calendar Review:The Night Sky Festival by S.A. Stovall
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Rebellion by Naomi Aoki
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady: Christmas Homecoming (The Christmas Angel #4) by L.A. Witt
  • A Lucy Review: Shrewd Angel (The Christmas Angel #6)by Anyta Sunday

Saturday, December 15:  ☃️

  • Review Tour – Neve Wilder – Dedicated (Rhythm Of Love #1)
  • Tour for  Meik&Sebastian – Obsessed #4 by Quin Perin
  • Book Blast: Blessed (The Matawapit Family #1) by Maggie Blackbird
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review: Too Hot for Santa by Helena Stone
  • An Alisa Review: Meik&Sebastian – Obsessed #4 by Quin Perin
  • A MelanieM Review: Dedicated (Rhythm Of Love #1) by Neve Wilder
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Holiday Home Hotel (An Escape from the Holidays Story) by Lou Sylvre
  • A MelanieM Review:  Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code (Cambridge Fellows #12.7by Charlie Cochrane

 

 

 

 

A MelanieM Review: The Bibliophile by Drew Marvin Frayne

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Nathanial Goldsmith is the only son of the richest man in the Idaho territory, Jessum Goldsmith, the Silver Baron of the Western Lands, as he is called in all the newspapers. But life in the late nineteenth-century American West weaves no magic spell for Nathanial, who longs for the academic worlds his father has forced him to leave behind.

To toughen him up, Nathanial’s father has indentured him to a ranchman, Cayuse Jem, a large, raw-boned, taciturn man Nathanial’s father believes will help teach his son to “become a man.” Cut off from his books and the life he has always known, Nathanial is not only forced to co-exist with Cayuse Jem, but to truly get to know him. In doing so, Nathanial discovers there is more to this silent horseman than meets the eye. And, in the process, Nathanial also learns a few things about life, about human nature, and about the differences in being a man and a boy…

I love historical fiction and romance but I’m also very aware of exactly how difficult it is to get it right.  Not only does the author have to craft a splendid plot, create multidimensional characters, give them chemistry with each other, as well as a romance to root for, but then they must place all that within the structure of a certain time period without making it look like a information dump.  Or that they haven’t done any research at all (please don’t get me started in on the use of Wikipedia as research).

So yes, rare is the author or novel that pulls it all together and gets it right.

The Bibliophile by Drew Marvin Frayne gets it right.

The Bibliophile is essentially the journal of young Nathanial Goldsmith.  It starts in September 1888 and ends in October 1890, three years that become a lifetime of growth.  The first thing the reader notices is that the language is correct for the time period.  Not modern in phrase or thought, it takes a while to adjust to Nathanial’s diary entries and internal dialog.  But very soon, that strangeness of “the tongue” and era become second nature and you ease into Nat’s world and connect with someone on the turning point of his life.

I can’t being to say enough of how Frayne was able to draw me into the mind and heart of Nat, a young book lover who only wants to stay in college and become a teacher yet is doomed by the fact that that he is the only son of a wealthy, hard man determined to mold him into the image of the son he wants, not the person Nathanial actually is.  The first entries are heartbreaking in their earnestness and honesty over his situation.  He’s at college and knows he must return to Idaho and a family that holds him and book learning in little regard.  And books are the only things he truly loves because he’s had so little of it in his life.

Nathanial has been away from the mansion his silver baron father calls home for a while so in many ways he’s younger than another boy who would have stayed on the frontier of Idaho.  He’s not “tough” or manly as his father would have him.  An altercation see’s his father sending him off to be an indentured servant to a brusk, somewhat wild rancher.  And this is where the story will, I believe, hit home with most readers.  The scenes where Nathanial is going through hardships he never believed of as a servant to Cayuse Jem are authentic, painful, and gritty.  He’s a child of privilege now a servant  performing chores he never dreamed of or knows how to do.  Since the reader has come to care greatly for Nat, this is an especially hard section to get through.

It’s also the beginning of Nat’s training.  Cayuse Jem starts to call him “boy”.   If you see that in terms of sexual use, you would be correct. The relationship here is very much daddy/boy or dom/sub without the kink. Although the sexual relationship does not come until an emotional bond is developed and Nat is ready for a sexual one.  He is also 18 when the journal starts.  But over and over again, throughout the story, the rancher is training Nat, gentling him as though he is one of the wild horses he works with, to be his. They love either other, no question, however, there is a definite framework or dynamics to their relationship. There are numerous references to historic Greek practices of older men taking younger ones as lovers, also Nez Perce same sex couplings, are used as foundation material by the author.  How the reader feels about all this will frame out how they will continue on with the story.

As a side thread to this is also an indelible storyline about two Nez Perce men who are incredibly important to Cayuse Jem and Nathanial.  That would be Chuslum and Motsqueh.  These two men will earn as deep a portion of your heart as Nat and Cayuse Jem do.  From them we venture into the lifestyle of the tribe, the Indian wars, the current situation, medicine and culture. It’s a rich, vivid element of The Bibliophile and one for me that is perhaps my favorite.

As Nat’s journal entries continues, you forget almost that he’s writing…you are there walking alongside them during their daily duties, getting a feel for life as it was lived in Idaho in the late 1800’s, from the politics to the books read, the food eaten,  and yes, even the clothes worn.  The author naturally immerses you into their world, making you care what happens to them, well aware that back then life was so precarious and could turn on a moment.

There are things I could go into here but this is a book that needs to be experienced.  Be prepared to weep.  I cried buckets.  I should have expected that and I still wasn’t ready. Damn you, Frayne!

The amount of emotional growth Nathanial shows during this story is amazing, especially in the last pages.  I needed that epilogue.  It was perfection. The flawless narrative touch.The author had me worried the chapter before and then delivered the 5 star send off.

After the story was done, I thought to myself….I didn’t get to savor all the nuances, the bits and pieces that I was sure that I had missed but I was still not ready to dive back in to the emotional journey that Nat needs to go through.  But I will and soon.  Because this is a book to be treasured.  I’ll just remember to have my box of tissues handy.

Cover art by Natasha Snow.  Not sure how I feel about this cover.  On the surface its fine, has all the elements.  But it doesn’t stand out, the tones,while right for the era are just blah.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published November 26th 2018 by NineStar Press
Original Title The Bibliophile
ISBN 139781949909432
Edition Language English

Into the Holidays We Go and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Into the Holidays We Go and Oh What Our Lists Will Bring!

It’s official, we’re in December, the last month of the year.  The beginning of the winter celebrations where we see the longest night of the year, the bonfires light to drive the darkness away and the return of increasing daylight, one minute at a time.  We acknowledge the passing of the old and the arrival of the new.  We reflect and look forward.  A time of straddling the boundaries between what has gone the year past and what we will make of the time that’s coming.

As with all things we’ve had our incredible highs and unexpected lows in losses this year.  Authors who’s passing has left us a much smaller and poorer community.  I’ll talk about that later this month.

I want to also remember all the wonderful authors, and their stories, the cover artists and their work, on books we loved this year.  It’s so hard to winnow it down into lists.

How do you compare an  outstanding cozy mystery series with a violinist with autism with a soaring SciFy masterpiece about a sentient spaceship?  Can’t possibly go in the same category and do both authors justice!  Or the finale of a urban fantasy that  reads like a nerd’s list of wanna’s but has been constructed ever so carefully  amidst careening mind blown action.  Do you throw that in against a book with deeply drawn portraits of lovers in a contemporary romance?  No, again, I think not.

Plus we have some outstanding 5 star holiday stories that surely deserve their own category?  How to divide up the list into sections without going crazy?

Hmmmm.

Thoughts anyone?

Anyhow, I’m working on that and lists will be soon rolling out.  Let me have a few of your Best of 2018.  We will be awarding some gift certificates just because it’s December for those who participate.

 

Happy Reading, get those  lists in, and check out all the stories we have coming at you this week!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, December 2:

  • Release Blitz – Saving Jax by L.M. Brown
  • Blog Tour for Drawn  to You by Jaclyn Quinn
  • Closer by F.E. Feeley, Jr Book Blast
  • A Barb The Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review:That Turtle Story by C.S. Poe
  • Into the Holidays We Go and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 3:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Rough Trade by Sidney Bell
  • Release Blitz  A Soldier’s Wish by NR Walker
  • Review Tour – Neutral Zone by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • An Ali Review: Rough Trade by Sidney Bell
  • A MelanieM Review :Neutral Zone (Harrisburg Railers #7) by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey
  • A MelanieM Review:  Best In Show by Kelly Jensen
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review: Barbies and Beaches by Asta Idonea

Tuesday, December 4:

  • Book Blitz Defensive Play by Jamie Deacon
  • Review Tour –  Christmas Angel (The Christmas Angel #1) by Eli Easton
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Sunshine in the Dragon’s Heart by Jaime Samms
  • A Caryn Review Broken Halos by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review: Mosquitoes and Mistletoe by Ren Holly
  • A Lucy Review: Christmas Angel (The Christmas Angel #1) by Eli Easton

Wednesday, December 5:

  • Cover Reveal for  Illumined Shadows by G.R Lyons 
  • Review Tour  for Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen
  • Release Blitz Tour –  – The Deafening Silence by Amy Tasukada
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review  Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen
  • A MelanieM Review: Loving a Warrior by Melanie Hansen
  • A MelanieM Review: The Holiday Spirit by Carole Cummings
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Advent Review:The Last Birthday Party by Mere Rain
  • An Alisa Review Surreal Estate by Jesi Lea Ryan

Thursday, December 6:

  • Review Tour – Kim Fielding – Summerfield’s Angel
  • Havoc (Tattoos and Ties) by Kindle Alexander New Release Tour
  • DSP PROMO Liv Olteano
  • Cover Reveal – A World Apart by Mel Gough
  • A MelanieM Review: Havoc (Tattoos and Ties) by Kindle Alexander
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Summerfield’s Angel by Kim Fielding
  • A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review: Warren’s Peace by Emjay Haze
  • A MelanieM Review:Lucky Town by Morgan Brice

Friday, December 7:

  • PROMO Jaime Samms
  • Mischief Corner Books”Escape From the Holidays” Collection
  • Blog Tour – The Stars May Rise and Fall by Estella Mirai
  • An Alisa Review: The Last Prince by Shawn Bailey
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review:  Semper Fae by Angel Martinez
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review:Trapped in the Valley of the Kings by Blue Jones
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: P.S. I Spook You by S.E. Harmon and Noah Michael Levine (Narrator)

Saturday, December 8:

  • Release Blitz – Nell Iris – Under The Felt Mistletoe
  • Release Blitz – The Selkie Prince’s Unexpected Omega (The Royal Alphas)
  • Release Blitz for Ari McKay – Designer Holiday
  • An Alisa Review: Slow Thaw by J. Scott Coatsworth (MCB anthology)
  • A Caryn Advent Calendar Review:The Faller by Daniel de Lorne

 

An Alisa Review: Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon by Damian Serbu

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Santa has big plans to release a story about himself right before Christmas, revealing his true nature as a vampire. He decides the best advanced publicity comes from reality stories and enlists Simon the Elf, a captive former human, to hit Chicago for the holidays and strike up a romance.

Santa wants Simon to document the whole thing, so they can give people a taste for life under Santa’s enslavement before the main story hits. Forced to the Second City against his will, Simon at first resists Santa’s orders, knowing a romance would be short lived at best, and at worst bring some innocent victim into Santa’s evil orbit.

But Simon failed to reckon with the charm and wit of Jonah, a hot guy he meets his first night on the town. Falling hard, Simon takes up with his new love despite knowing the awful choice ahead of him. Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon, tells you this tragic love story in the elf’s own words.

So this is apparently a prelude to Santa is a Vampire that comes out later this month and Santa wants people to like Simon before his book comes out.  That is probably that what I am waiting for the most to see if it continues anything from this story at all.

Santa hasn’t put himself in a good light in this book but doesn’t really mean to but I do like Simon.  I see him struggle to do Santa’s bidding and how he doesn’t want to hurt Jonah but I loved their instant connection.  I don’t know if it’s quite the tragic love story Santa had wanted but you can still see Simon’s hurt at having to leave Jonah.

I like the cover art by Natasha Snow is great and the standard for holiday shorts this year.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 11,400 words

Published: November 5, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949909-12-8

Edition Language: English

Series: Simon the Elf

New Release Blitz Tour for Santa is a Vampire by Damian Serbu (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Santa is a Vampire

Author: Damian Serbu

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 26, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance, Male/Male

Length: 76800

Genre: Paranormal, vampire, elf, humor, satire, reindeer

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Synopsis

Simon the Elf wants to tell you the true story behind Jolly Ole St. Nick. Yeah, he’s a vampire. But that alleged gift giver and lover of children hides more than that fact from you. And what about Mrs. Claus and Rudolph? Venture into a world of enslaved elves, enchanted animals, and death wrought by Santa himself. With his sharp wit, Simon will lead you into the darkest realms of Christmas. Warning: Simon cusses a lot. But you would, too, if Santa held you captive.

Excerpt

Santa is a Vampire
Damian Serbu © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Jolly old St. Nicholas. What a laugh.

If you only knew the real story behind Santa Claus. He keeps it buried for a reason, after all. Because you’d hunt him down up there in his North Pole ice castle if you even had a remote idea regarding his real identity.

Mrs. Claus and Rudolph too. Well, maybe not the missus. It’s complicated. But more on them later. Back to Santa.

Let’s peek in on this esteemed man who brings gifts to children and represents the blessed holiday of Christmas, shall we? He would kill me if he found out I leaked this information. Well, I intend to leak it, no matter the consequences, because I’m keeping this in a journal. If you’re reading it, I probably succeeded. Which means dead Simon the Elf, for sure, if he discovers me telling people any of this information. But death might improve my situation since this enslavement sucks big ones. I started this secret blog and will release it without concern for my well-being.

So, if you’re reading it, I’m probably dead.

This first little story will tantalize you, get your feet wet with everything I want you to learn.

It’s late November, so Santa moves around a lot more freely because everyone expects to see him out there, greeting the children and gathering their Christmas orders. A lot of fools dress up like him to please the little kiddies or earn a buck. Everyone sees these fake Santas everywhere they go. Good enough for the real Santa Claus, because it hides him. He appears as another of the fool Santas walking about during the holidays.

That and his silly outfit disguise him—What a costume he picked!—but again it serves his purpose well. The ridiculous beard and red outfit mean Christmas cheer, presents, and a happy fat man coming to spread joy. Of course, he manages a real beard and authentic outfit to intensify the experience when people meet him.

Do you know why he wears red? I do. It hides the blood stains better. Okay, confession time. I’m throwing out my theory, but don’t ask for proof. He never said that or explained the red. It just makes sense to me. Even though he usually cleans the blood up. Oops. Getting ahead of the story again. Let’s take a deep breath and refocus.

By the way, in case you require my credentials, I’m an elf. Trapped against my will to do Santa’s bidding. More later.

Okay, focus. Late November. Turkey Day’s come and gone and Santa enters prime time. He creeps out of the ice palace, chains the poor reindeer to the sleigh, and speeds away, with a couple of elves, including me, enchanted in the sled against our will. We never know, until he issues a command, what he intends for us. Sometimes we ride along to keep him company; sometimes we get clean-up duty; sometimes we have to help.

We fly over various parts of the world, almost land in Germany until Santa spies one of those Secret Hunters. “Dangerous. Let’s go someplace else.”

“Scared, are ya?” I glance over at him. “Ouch!” Santa backhands me. It’s another curse of mine, but one I came to elfdom with. See, I’m a bit of a smart-ass and can’t hold my tongue. Gets me in trouble a lot.

“Let’s find someplace more hospitable.” Santa instructs the reindeer to change course and never answers my question. But I suppose the slap upside the head could be considered an answer, of sorts.

To America, the land of advancement and scientific reasoning. I recognize the coastline right away. Why, even the hardcore Christians dismiss Santa as a legend based on an alleged saint from the past. Saint, indeed. But such thinking helps hide his true identity.

We swoop over New York, but Santa seldom likes to hunt there because it doesn’t really present a risk. Masses of people living on top of each other, often killing and dying without his assistance. Where’s the challenge in hiding a body in that mess?

Moving right along, the reindeer glide over the little town of Wilmington, Ohio. It offers Santa everything he desires. I know from experience. Remote. Tranquil. Peaceful for the most part. Until a dead body materializes right in the midst of the holiday cheer. Santa’s way of taking a dump on Season’s Greetings in a happy little community.

So Santa guides the sleigh over Wilmington College and sets it down in the town cemetery. We can’t land on roofs yet, without people wondering if Santa’s calendar got all out of whack. Few people enter a cemetery in the midst of a cold November so we can hide out here.

He orders the reindeer to shut up, except Rudolph, who gets to run and do his own thing. He trots off with his bright-red nose high in the air. The other reindeer stay here. I often wonder if anyone questions the sudden appearance of reindeer manure where no reindeer exist. Of course, even if they thought about it, no one would come to the conclusion that Santa hid his sleigh and reindeer in the cemetery for a spell. Because most over the age of seven don’t think he exists.

Once he gets the reindeer squared away, Santa tells a couple of my fellow elves—two I think are big assholes, so you know—to watch the sleigh and get the hell out of Dodge if anyone shows up. Santa can summon us from afar, so no worries there.

Me? I get the distinction of tagging along with him. He makes me his personal assistant on these sublime missions because he knows how much I despise it. The killing. The secrecy. And his perfect disguise of being Santa. Well, this pains me to admit, but I think he also enjoys my company for some twisted reason, especially my mocking of him and constant chatter. We have a complicated relationship, to put it mildly, compelling him to keep me close, no matter how much I detest it.

My compadres snicker as I run along to keep up with Santa. I take a second to stop, turn around, and give them the bird.

We saunter right down Main Street and wave at the passing cars when they honk. I almost puke every time he lets out a jovial, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” Little kids run up to him and say hello, followed by asking for presents. He feigns delight and interest while holding back an inclination lurking beneath the surface. Sweet little kid blood.

We get far enough away from prying eyes to meander down a residential street. Then we wander around while Santa scouts the houses and makes an assessment of our target. This goes on for a couple hours, until most children lie sleeping in bed. Even most adults are passed out by now.

One car zooms past. I wonder what they think, seeing Santa amble down the road amidst these houses, lit up for the holidays. Do they think it’s someone’s dad, surprising the kids in disguise? A hired dude going to a party? Maybe it’s a stripper, dressed for the occasion until the ladies (or men) demand the pants and coat come off?

Nope. It’s the Real McCoy. And the lady behind curtain number one, alone in her house as she waits for her husband to get home from the night shift, just became dinner. Okay, I have no idea if a husband on a night shift exists. I lied to make the story better. But the woman sits alone in this normal-sized house. Looks like she’s dusting or cleaning something.

Sometimes Santa walks right up to the front door. Knocks or rings the bell, and the fools open it for him. Listen, even without Santa’s hidden reality, who opens their door for a dude in a Santa outfit unless you’re expecting the stripper I referenced?

Anyway, no front door this time. Or back door. Instead, he touches the side of his big-ass nose, grabs me by my neck, and yanks me along as we fly through the air, land on the roof, and plunge into the chimney. He could get in the fucking house any way he wants, by the way. He does the blackened chimney thing for two reasons. One, for effect. You know, back to living up to the legend and playing by the rules. Despite the fact the sleigh and reindeer remain hidden among the dead in the cemetery and not up here on the roof with us. No one will question a big guy in a Santa costume plopping into their fireplace and shouting out a “Yo!” It may startle them, but since it conforms to the legend, people tend to go with it. Idiots. Two, he does it tonight because I hate it. I hate heights. I hate flying. And I hate when he touches me.

We hit the fireplace grate and roll out onto the carpet in the living room, where we stand in triumph before the poor woman, who gives a yelp. Actually, she screams bloody murder.

“Shh, my dear one. Shh!” Santa puts his finger up to his lips and winks at her. “Nothing to fear. I imagine you didn’t believe in good ole Santa anymore? Adults so seldom do these days. But as you saw from my arrival through your chimney, I do, indeed, exist!” Santa sweeps his arms out with a flourish, to indicate his body and presence in the flesh.

The woman stops screaming, thank God, before my eardrums rupture.

“And this here is my worthy assistant, Simon.”

“I’m not here because I want to be—” Santa clamps his hand over my mouth and glares a warning. Right. I’ll stop, because getting locked in the ice dungeon when we get back to the North Pole totally sucks.

“Is he all right?” she asks him and points to me.

This is what gets me so pissed off. Stupid fucking people. I want to shout back at her. Hey! Lady! Wake up! A big fat ass plunged down your chimney with a little elf under his control. You scream, but because he wears a red suit and laughs and has a crazy beard, you relax and engage him? Trust me. You do not want to engage him!

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Damian Serbu lives in the Chicago area with his husband and two dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys. He has published The Vampire’s Angel and The Vampire’s Protégé with NineStar Press. Coming later this year from NineStar: The Vampire’s Quest and Santa Is a Vampire.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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An Alisa Review A Fated Bond by T.L. West

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Joseph Roth, a young member of the Rockfort Paranormal Department which is in charge of keeping vampires, shifters, fairies, and all kind of supernatural creatures in check, finds himself facing more than he bargained for when he is assigned to investigate a mysterious murder. Not only is Joseph stuck between his department and a prestigious vampire family, he’s unaware of the target on his back. With the department keeping secrets from him, Joseph decides to uncover the truth on his own, unaware that dark forces are on the rise. Will Joseph be able to find the truth in time or is his search allowing the enemy to come close enough for a kill?

I felt like I was missing something in this story.  Joseph has been working for the paranormal department and becomes the target of one bad guy.  Greg has felt like he was waiting for something for the last 25 years, he doesn’t expect that connection to Joseph to put Joseph in danger.

This story shows a lot of different points of view and different sides of the story.  Unfortunately the story seemed half completed, maybe another book will come in the future but it isn’t marked as a series.  It seems this is loosely connected to Angels and Man-Beasts that I read last year and I felt the same way with that story.  I felt that Joseph and Greg were just a small portion of the book and wish there had been some sort of conclusion by the end of the book.

I like the cover art by Natasha Snow and the visuals are connected to Joseph and Greg’s portion of the book.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 39,800 words

Published: November 5, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949909-14-2

Edition Language: English

My Thankful List? Great Editors! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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On My Thankful List? Great Editors!

As we countdown to Thanksgiving, I start thinking about things I’m grateful for.  It’s not always the usual things on everyone else’s lists.  The oddest or not so odd things pop up every day that can make me grateful for various and sundry items that might not get mentioned around the turkey table come Thanksgiving. So I thought I might bring up a few starting with a doozy that struck me yesterday (and almost every day at this blog).

Editors!

I’m absolutely, stupendously, over the moon grateful to every great editor out there still  squinting at every submitted manuscript and soon to be released books they have before them, working furiously to make sure that what is finally accepted/or released, if that, is worthy of both the author and publisher as well as the reader’s emotional (and monetary) input.  Someone who throughout the process with their red pen/pencil/marker/sword of blood/ cuts a swath through any writer’s purple prose, dense narrative, self involved point of view (goddess help me, the “I, I, I, I, I’s”), the love of tricks over substance, and cliche over depth.  That’s without even getting a start on spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Damn why is the umlaut there?  I know wherefore art thou umlaut and it’s not  (insert curse word) there!

Don’t even get me started on word choice! Argh!  The help some writers have needed here!  There’s apparently a whole bunch of people out there with nary of clue about words and their definitions, just picking them willy nilly out of the air!  Miss Malaprops Indeed!

Poor overworked editors!  In the larger publishing houses, jobs are broken down into smaller sections, some of which I listed below:

Developmental editor—As detailed above, the developmental editor helps the writer from the idea stage through the final draft. He may suggest topics, help with research, verify facts, and plan the structure of the manuscript. He works through successive drafts with the writer. He’s as concerned with the structure of a manuscript as much as he is the words and meaning.*

Substantive editor—Helps a writer improve his fiction manuscript by focusing on story elements, plot, characterization, dialogue, order of scenes, point of view, voice, setting, word choice, sentence construction and syntax, and pace—anything that could improve the strength of the manuscript.

And Copy Editors that do fact checking as well as all the other things I listed above, line item elements such as spelling, etc..

But for smaller publishers and Editing services (proofreaders and copy editors), how many of those are rolled into one or two people?

I sometimes cringe when I read an acknowledgement or forward from a writer that talks about friends that read the manuscript and told them to publish it.  The writer thanks them for their loving support and encouragement.  I mentally think “that’s terrific”, and then hope that author also found a editor too.   Sigh.  Oh the perils of self publishing.  Or even a publishing house as well.  A editor doesn’t always mean a good or great editor.  Again my kudos to all you great ones out there!

Some err towards being a friend and  middling copy checker.  Nuh uh.  And trust me, that can do far more harm once that book hits release time.

How many reviews have you all read that said needed a editor or better editor?  Yep! So true.  There’s a reason for that.

What exactly is the role of an editor anyway?  Well, here is a definition I found repeated several blogs:

An editor polishes and refines, [they] direct the focus of the story or article or movie along a particular course. [They] cut out what doesn’t fit, what is nonessential to the purpose of the story. They enhance the major points, drawing attention to places where the audience should focus.

Some of that is almost guaranteed to make a writer gnash their teeth, weep tears, and pull out some hairs.  No one wants to cut words, sentences, characters, or even whole parts of plots to have a book make sense. Yet that’s an editor’s job if that’s what it takes to make the story cleaner, polished, and substantially a finer story. And the author a better writer.  It’s a process.

Again, when you say you hired a editor, what did you hire?  Or did you hire a Proofreader?  Not the same as any good or great editor will tell you.  Each and everyone has a job to do.  Hire the right one for the right job.

Really someone should have stopped these headers, right? Or placement?

One of my favorite blogs is called the Blood Red Pencil which focus’ on writing and, of course, editing.   If you are as fond of the subject as I am  check out the link below:

Blood-Red Pencil: Do Editors Use Red Pencils?

 

As to what launched this week’s post, well, it’s Thanksgiving.  I’m just going to say I’m so grateful to each and everyone one of you  overworked, gorgeous, and absolutely fabulous editors who have provided such incredible help to the authors and their stories I’ve read all through the years!  I appreciate your hard work, I hope if you’re in the States you have a great Thanksgiving, or weekend if you’re abroad.  Kudos to you all!  A big Mwah!

Thoughts anyone?

Now onto this week’s books and tours.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 Sunday, November 18:

  • RELEASE BLITZ – Comply by Lee Manarte
  • Review Tour and Giveaway for  Heat For Sale by Blake Moreno
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  Heat for Sale by Blake Moreno
  • My Thankful List? Great Editors!
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, November 19:

  • Release Blitz To Be Honest by S. M. James
  • Sale Blitz for 2 Robert Winter Titles
  • BLOG TOUR Secrets Revealed (Dragon War Chronicles Book 2) by AG Carothers
  • An Alisa Review: Date from Hell by Gareth Vaughn
  • An Alisa Review: Lost and Found (Dave&Carter) by Quin Perin
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Secrets Revealed (Dragon War Chronicles #2) by A.G. Carothers
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Finn by Angel Martinez

Tuesday, November 20:

  • Kaje Harper on Fair Isn’t Life
  • BLOG TOUR The Billionaire’s Wish by Geoffrey Knight
  • Release Blitz – Garrett Leigh – Crossroads (Skins #4)
  • A MelanieM Review The Burning Magus (Blue Unicorn #3) by Don Allmon
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Quenched in Blood (Asheville Arcana #3) by Ari McKay
  • A Caryn Review:Semper Fae (Endangered Fae #3) by Angel Martinez
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review:  His Consort by Mary Calmes

Wednesday, November 21:

  • Review Tour Leta Blake – Alpha Heat
  • BLOG TOUR Broken Halos by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • Release Blitz – Joanna Chambers – Mr Winterbourne’s
  • A Lucy Review: His Christmas Sweater by CM VAlencourt
  • An Ashlez Review : Walking In A Winter Wonderland by Claire Castle
  • A Stella Review: Accidentally On Purpose by JM Snyder
  • An Alisa Audio Review: Alpha Heat (Heat of Love #2) by Leta Blake and Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)

Thursday, November 22: Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Book Blast – Polyamory on Trial by Jude Tresswell
  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: The Burning Magus by Don Allmon
  • An Alisa Review: A Fated Bond by T.L. West
  • A MelanieM Review:  Blackwood (Perth Shifters #1) by Pia Foxhall
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Rabi and Matthew by L.A. Witt

Friday, November 23:

  • Review Tour – LA Witt – The Husband Gambit
  • Release Blitz – Pia Foxhall – Blackwood (Perth Shifters #1)
  • Release Blitz Tour – Jay Northcote – Stuck With You
  • An Ali Release Day Review: My Regelence Rake (The Sci-Regency #3) by J.L. Langley
  • A MelanieM Review:  The Husband Gambit by L.A. Witt
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Diego (Endangered Fae #2) by Angel Martinez

Saturday, November 24:

  • Tour The Cub Club by Ardy Kelly
  • Release Blitz with ARC Reviews – Lost and Found by Quin Perin
  • Judith/Oz by Lily Morton Release Blitz and Review
  • A MelanieM Review: Best in Show by Kelly Jensen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Editor’s Blog