For Something Old, Something New, and All Things Wonderful – Best of 2018 Lists Continue. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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For Something Old, Something New, and All Things Wonderful –

Best of 2018 Lists Continue.

It’s wonderful to look past, over the year, in books I mean, and remember all the stories, authors, narrators, and artists that have crossed my computer and Kindle as well as those of all the reviewers here this year.  They have taken Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words across galaxies and back into time.  These authors have brought their own twist to every known romantic trope and created some new ones for contemporary stories, paranormal love affairs, and supernatural romances.

They’ve made us cry with shared pain, bent over in laughter at situations and dialogs we understood and connected with, and stories that suffused us with  warmth and love and a need to hug our readers close as a way not to let those characters and their lives go, not yet.

So here are some more of our lists of stories that have risen from a very high group this year.

From another of our long time reviewers, Barb our Zany Old Lady.

 

Barb our Zany Old Lady’s Best 0f 2018

Best of 2018: Audiobook 

Hush by Tal Bauer audiobook, narrated by Joel Leslie

Can’t Hide from Me by Cordelia Kingsbridge. narrated by Nick J. Russo

The Consumption of Magic by TJ Klune and A Wish Upon the Stars by TJ Klune, narrated by Michael Lesley

 Best New Author in 2018:

Salt Magic Skin Magic by Lee Welch – one of my top choices of the year.

Best Outstanding series in 2018:

Seven of Spades by Cordelia Kingsbridge, including One-Eyed Royals, published in 2018

Twisted Wishes series: Counterpoint and Syncopation, both in 2018, by Anna Zabo

Something Like Series: Capstone book #11 Something About Forever by Jay Bell

 Best Humorous Story in 2018:

Robby Riverton Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton

Best Holiday Story 2018:

Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

A Touch of a Brogue by Christine Danse

Best Drama of 2018:

Truth and Betrayal by KC Wells

Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

 Best Paranormal of 2018:

Alpha Heat by Leta Blake

 Best Contemporary of 2018:

The Little Library by Kim Fielding

Oz by Lily Morton

A Little Side of Geek by Marguerite Labbe

And {drum roll}

Best Book of 2018 and Best Cover of 2018:

Boy Shattered by Eli Easton

⛄️Also from our reader H.B.:

I’ve not read many books this year. Of the ones I read I did love a majority of
Anyta Sunday’s books
Mercury’s Orbit by Lia Black
Anáil Dhragain: Dragon’s Breath by Stephan Knox
Falling Out of Fate by Madeleine Ribbon
The Dragon’s Thief by Riza Curtis
Conned by Charity Parkerson

We still have more lists to come….from readers, reviewers and myself next week.  This week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words a lighter week for the holidays.

Enjoy, be merry and light!  Be safe and happy reading!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 23:

  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: Santa on the Beach by Crystel Greene
  • For Something Old, Something New, and All Things Wonderful -Best of 2018 Lists Continue.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 24:

  • On Tour with Weezo’s Blues by Layla Dorine
  • A Lucy Review: Midnight Angel by  Kevin Klehr
  • A Lila Review: Nothing Special VI (SWAT Edition) His Hart’s Command by AE Via
  • A MelanieM Review: Designer Holiday by Ari McKay
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Advent Review:Twenty-Nine Hours to Eternity by Elizabeth Noble
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Love Blooms by Stephanie Hoyt

Tuesday, December 25 (Christmas Day) 🎄

  • A MelanieM  Advent Calendar Review: Holidays Are Where Your Heart Is by Bru Baker
  • A Stella Review : The Christmas Lights Battle by Skylar M. Cates
  • A VVivacious Release Day Review: His Cursed Prince by Ryan Loveless
  • An Ali Release Day Review: The Boyfriend Cruise by Deanna Wadsworth

Wednesday, December 26:

  • Katey Hawthorne’s Superpowered Love Release Blog Tour
  • An Ashlez Review:  Island Angel by Alex Slorra
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: Purrfect Holiday by Jana Denardo
  • A MelanieM Review: Deja Vu by Addison Albright
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review:  A Wish Upon the Stars (Tales From Verania #4) by T.J. Klune and Michael Lesley  (Narrator)

Thursday, December 27:

  • DSP PROMO Ryan Loveless
  • An Alisa Audio Review : Under a Blue Moon by Bru Baker and Dorian Bane (Narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Join the Club (Four Kings Security #3) by Charlie Cochet
  • A Lila Advent Calendar Review:The Legend of Gentleman John by TJ Nichols

Friday, December 28:

  • DSP PROMO Tere Michaels
  •  Release Blitz – G.R Lyons – Illumined Shadows
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Fox and Wolf (Apex Investigations #1) by Julia Talbot
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Accidentally on Purpose by J.M Snyder
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Advent Calendar Review:Hero for the Holidays by Charles Payseur

Saturday, December 29:

  • A Lila Advent Calendar Review: Haste Ye Back by R. Quincy Cameron

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

How do I put what this book meant to me into words? I can’t find terms to describe this outstanding work. Phenomenal, Heartbreaking, Touching, Realistic, Emotional, Hopeful? All of these, yet none can do the job on its own.

The book is in two segments: before and after.  Before Trevor’s son, Riley, is killed in action in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and After as Trevor starts the painful process of trying to survive without his reason to live. I’m still reeling as I write this. That section was so emotional for me that tears are still leaking, and those who know me know that I don’t let those suckers loose easily. 

My son was in a similar situation, IRL, the year before Riley shipped out.  My parent trigger was pulled over and over again throughout this realistically told story.  The rare calls that only came during the night, which was their daytime.  Going off grid on patrol somewhere top secret.  The IEDs and constant danger from snipers and suicide bombers.  All that and more.  It was a very painfully emotional year for me and as I read Riley’s story and Trevor’s reactions, I was right there with them as my heart beat too fast, or I felt lightheaded, frightened, and finally, sobbing.  Honestly, I don’t know how a parent can survive the loss of a child, but if there are words to describe the hell that is having your child in a situation like Riley was in, Ms. Hansen surely found them.  Kudos for such an outstanding and sensitive portrayal of that time period. 

And the after?  Trevor was so broken it didn’t seem likely he could put one foot in front of the other.  The stages of grief are clearly portrayed. The breakup with Carl, the slowly developing friendship with Jesse, Riley’s BFF and battle buddy, and their long and very slow burn that develops into so much more—all inevitable as readers could tell by the time it happened. The beauty is in the journey we take with Trevor and Jesse along the way as they revisit their memories of Riley: the child, the friend, the soldier.  And, as with the main characters, the secondary characters are well-developed and have their own issues and impact from their time in Afghanistan, most notably PTSD. The author doesn’t gloss over any of it.  Each issue is addressed, some more in-depth than others, all of it making for an emotional read. 

Riley isn’t a fleeting character either. Though he dies in this story, his memory is kept alive throughout the book, in part during Trevor’s stages of grief, but in part through his annual visits to Arlington National Cemetery, where Riley is buried alongside other soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There is a romance in here.  Honest there is, but the couple’s story is wrapped up in so much other emotion that needs to be addressed, the romance is almost secondary.  Jesse and Trevor together were beautiful, though they didn’t come together as a couple until the latter part of the book.  And when they did, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.  There is so much emotional depth to this story that I’m back to saying what I did at the beginning of this review: there are no words that can do it justice. 

Topping my Best of 2018 list, this book deserves to be read.  Grab the tissue box, find a quiet place where your sobbing will not bother others, and just read.  Read until your heart breaks and heals itself, because it will heal, and by the end of the story, joy is in store for all those who finish.  Joy and a sense of peace and accomplishment and the knowledge that you’ve just read something very special.  Needless to say, I very highly recommend this story to all lovers of MM romance, angst, age gap, hurt-comfort, and deep feels on all stages of life’s spectrum. 

~~~

The somewhat bland-colored cover features a rear view of two men gazing into one another’s eyes.  Neither appears to be younger than the other so it doesn’t quite represent the characters and isn’t appealing. 

Sales Links: Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 451 pages
Expected publication: March 26th 2018 by Carina Press
ISBN139781488097058
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Only love can heal an impossibly broken heart 

There’d forever been a thread running through Trevor Estes’s life—his son, Riley, strong and constant like a heartbeat. But when Riley is killed in combat, everything in Trevor’s life unravels into a mess he doesn’t know how to mourn.

Then Jesse Byrne, Riley’s friend and platoon mate, arrives on Trevor’s doorstep with a box of Riley’s things. Jesse’s all-too-familiar grief provides an unlikely source of comfort for Trevor: knowing he’s not alone is exactly what he needs.

Trevor never imagined he’d find someone who fills his heart with hope again. As the pair celebrate Riley’s memory, their unique bond deepens into something irreplaceable—and something neither man can live without.

But diving into a relationship can’t be so simple. Being together means Trevor risking the last link he has to his son…leaving Jesse to wonder if he’ll ever be enough, or if Trevor will always be haunted by the past.

Be prepared for Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen to break your heart and leave you sobbing on multiple occasions.   You have to figure that from the synopsis but the actual reading of it will rend your heart into little pieces, especially if you have children of your own.

All due to Hansen’s terrific writing and beautiful characterizations.  In Point of Contact we actually get to know and come to love Riley,  the son and  center of Trevor Estes’ life.  Through countless scenes of family intimacy that will seem so familiar to those with children, we connect with their fierce bond and familial love, and we watch with gut wrenching horror because we know the pain that’s approaching the oblivious father and son.  And no, you can’t and won’t want to stop reading.

Everything that happens within this story are events that happens to families everywhere.  Sons and daughters die in combat overseas leaving their grieving parents to try and deal with their deaths, their absences, their lack of futures…everything.  In part, this story deals with one father’s grief and inability to deal with his son’s death. Point of Contact and the author takes us with Trevor and Jesse from the moment Riley dies.  For Jesse, he’s there and that will impact him and their squad for the rest of their lives.  For Trevor?  It’s a ring of his doorbell and two military men with a somber duty to carry out.

All the intertwining threads here that continually bring Jesse and Trevor together with their love of Riley being the magnetic force and his love for them holding them all together.  Hanson also works with both Jesse’s and Trevor’s PTSD along with their deep-seated grief, problems within Riley and Jesse’s squad of survivor guilt and many more authentic elements pertaining to subject such as these.  All handled with sensitivity, believability, and great respect.

Flowing through all this is the growing relationship between Trevor and Jesse. I love how the author builds the relationship between these two men as they work their way through their loss and pain.  I felt their sorrow and yes, anger, and connected to them emotionally on this journey to love and HEA.  What an deeply moving story.

I loved this story and I highly recommend it.

Cover art is ok.  Its hard to tell if one man is older than the other.

Sales Links: Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 451 pages
Expected publication: March 26th 2018 by Carina Press
ISBN139781488097058
Edition LanguageEnglish