A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Winter Oranges coverJason Walker, former child star and now B-movie regular is sick and tired of Hollywood and the paparazzi cameras that seem to be present wherever he goes, so he buys a ranch in Idaho in the hopes of finding peace and serenity. That may have worked, except for the ghost haunting his guest house who can’t be seen by anyone but Jason.

He nearly passes out when he discovers that the young man, dressed in 19th century clothing, is actually trapped in a snow globe. It seems that the only person who has seen him in over 150 years is Jason, and they eventually discover that it’s likely that Jason is a descendent, and decide that’s the only possible reason for it. Benjamin Ward would have been nearly twenty-one when his sister put a spell on him and trapped him in the globe. She was trying to keep him from enlisting in the Confederate Army when the Civil War began, but before she could let him out, the globe was stolen, and he’s been trapped ever since.

He’s sweet and funny and loves discussing just about everything. He’s been manifesting outside the globe for years, usually in an empty room because he’s confined to the room where the globe is located, but occasionally he’s in a room where someone is watching TV, so he’s hooked on sitcoms, especially those from the eighties when he spent a lot of time living with an elderly woman who loved to watch TV. When Jason accidentally winds the globe in Ben’s presence, they discover that he can also be heard by Jason. He keeps Jason company, helping him work through the issues of feeling lonely and abandoned by his family and the best friend he loves but can’t have. Dylan has been Jason’s best friend and on-again-off-again lover for years, but he’s not interested in commitment, and it breaks Jason’s heart to see him with other men and women when he longs to be the man’s only companion. But he slowly discovers that by spending all his time with Ben, he’s formed a stronger bond with him, and it soon occurs to him that he’s falling in love with the young man.

When they discover a way for Jason to enter the globe and be with Ben sexually, it’s not a simple solution because on his return to the real world, Jason suffers traumatic headaches and severe nausea and vomiting, which when witnessed by the local police chief, lands him in the hospital. Ben is frantic, not knowing where Jason has been taken and even if he’s alive, so when he returns, they decide to stop trying to find a way to be together in the globe. In the meantime, Dylan has also discovered that Jason seems to be talking to himself a lot and that he’s extremely possessive of the snow globe. Fearing his friend is losing his mind, he takes steps to separate Jason from the globe.

There’s so much drama in this story that I wanted to read it with one eye closed. As it was, I had to put it down and walk away a few times because my nerves were shot. I was very afraid for both Jason and Ben, both individually and as a couple. Jason appeared to be losing his grip on sanity, and I thought he was going to be taken from Ben, but the culminating action of the story was even more dramatic and traumatic than I envisioned, and I thought I was going to scream before the finale. I can’t begin to describe the tension I felt and the fear I had for both men, and I honestly could not figure out how the author could possibly resolve this drama. But resolve it she did, and in a most spectacular and satisfying way.

I actually had to wait a few days before writing this review because I was concerned that the stress I felt while reading was going to negatively influence my rating of the story. Now that I’ve had time to breathe and relax, I can only sit back and admire the mind of an author who can be so ingeniously creative. This was a wonderful love story and a unique one at that. If you like paranormal or even just a creative twist to your MM romances, you should love this one. Don’t hesitate to buy it.

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Cover Art by LC Chase depicts a winter scene with a young man inside a snow globe. It’s beautifully done and very attention-getting, though it doesn’t quite represent the snow globe described in the story that contained only a log cabin in the woods.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 325 pages
Published November 28th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
original titleWinter Oranges
ISBN 162649357X (ISBN13: 9781626493575)
edition languageEnglish

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/

A Very Special Charity Spotlight: A Intimate Look at Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton (guest post and giveaway)

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Winter Oranges cover

Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist:  L.C. Chase

This title is part of the Love for the Holidays: A Charity Bundle Benefiting
the GLBT National Help Center collection. 
You can purchase it and learn more about the charity bundle here.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so happy to have  Marie Sexton here today to talk about the inspiration behind her Christmas novel, Winter Oranges.  Marie is sharing some of her photos from her Pinterest board and thoughts behind her characters.  Winter Oranges is one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Highly Recommended Novels.

Hello, everybody! This is Marie Sexton, and I’m thrilled to be here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words today talking about my Christmas novel, Winter Oranges. I thought I’d share some photos that helped inspire the novel.

First things first: I started with the house. I originally planned to set the book in rural West Virginia, so I started out researching older homes. Later, I decided to move the story to Idaho, and I ended up making the house a “revival” built in the 1980s, which meant there was no “servant’s room” on the ground floor. I rearranged the entire dining room/kitchen setup, and added a Winter Oranges House Planspantry/mudroom. The other problem was, I kept picturing the garage on the left side of the property (the left when facing the house, that is). I tried over and over to flip that image in my mind, but it didn’t work. And why would the garage be on the family room side of the property rather than the mudroom side? It didn’t make sense. So I flipped the entire bottom floor. But for the most part, this is Jason’s house. (I’m sure he paid more than $1548 for it, though!)

The next step was the snow globe. Yes, I could have just made it up, but I wanted a photo. It needed to look old-fashioned and have a cottage. So I settled on this one:Winter Oranges_Snow Globe

Now, for the characters.

Winter Oranges_Tom HughesIn my brain, Ben looks like Tom Hughes, minus the bad boy attitude.

Ben’s clothes were based largely on this picture:Winter Oranges_civil war men

And Jason… well, I wasn’t entirely sure what Jason looked like. I was pretty sure he was blond, and I knew he was in his late 20s. That was good enough, until I got to a line where somebody says to him, “You look familiar.” Jason hates his semi-celebrity status, so rather than telling her who he really is, he says, “Some people say I look like [some other celebrity].” The problem was, who did he look like? I spent a stupid amount of time googling actors, but I finally decided on William Moseley.Winter Oranges_William Mosely

That’s it for my primary sources of inspiration, but for more pictures, check out my  Winter Oranges Pinterest Board. Have an image you’d like to add? Leave your Pinterest user name in the comments, and I’ll send you an invitation to add to the board.

And be sure to check out Winter Oranges! 20% of the proceeds go to the GLBT National Help Center.

About the Book

Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

Winter Oranges is one of Riptide’s 2015 charity titles.

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website:  “http://www.glbthotline.org/

HYPERLINK “http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/winter-orangeshttp://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/winter-oranges

About the Author

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along.

Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Connect with Marie:

WinterOranges_TourBanner

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Winter Oranges, Marie Sexton is giving away two titles from her backlist and a $50 Amazon gift card! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 5, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Happy Reading and Good luck!

A MelanieM Review: Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5    ★★★★★

Winter Oranges coverJason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

Ever looked at a cover, read a blurb and just known, known that the book had a story you just needed to read?  Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton did that for me.  I’ve long held a fascination with snow globes, especially the idea that the people and things  inside them were alive, existing in a world we could only look at.  Add to that the elements of love and a man trapped out of time and I was hooked. Plus it was Marie Sexton writing the story!

Marie Sexton’s character of Jason comes across as believably real and lost,  his old career dying or maybe its Jason who tired of dealing with being a Hollywood actor and the problems that comes with it.  We feel his weariness, his loss, and his uncertainty now that he’s fled to the backwoods and this peculiar house.  Because quite frankly we are wondering if he made the right choice too.  As charming as Sexton makes the house seem on first appearances, she also manages to bring a air of eeriness and oddity with it as well.

With those elements flowing through the narrative from the beginning, when Jason’s actor friend with benefits, Dylan, makes his appearances into the scene, its acts as a jarring, albeit lively,  interruption into Jason’s new isolated life.  Just as I suspect Sexton meant it to be.  At first we welcome Dylan short visits into Jason’s new life, and then slowly everything changes when Ben and the globe enters the story.

Such a magical element.  A snow globe. All those possibilities of what could lie inside.  Here they contain a young man, trapped outside of  time, the reason why I will let the story explain for itself.  The romance that develops between Ben and Jason is so real, so heartfelt and fragile that each moment they are together in the story is one you  treasure as much as they do.

How does it end?  With stunning danger, heartbreak, tears and laughter.  And love, so much love.  I adored this story.  Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton is its own delightful treasure.  One to be taken out, reread for its magic and romance, and love against all odds relationship.  Perfect for the holidays no matter what holiday that would be.  I highly recommend this story and this author.

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Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center. Love for the Holidays: A Charity Bundle Benefiting the GLBT National Help Center – See more at:  Riptide Publishing

Cover design by L. C. Chase  is  perfect, just perfect for this story.  I loved it because it drew me in and made me need to see what  was inside.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing  preorder  Other links to follow closer to  release  date

Book Details:

ebook, 325 pages
Expected publication: November 30th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
original title Winter Oranges
ISBN13 9781626493575
edition language English