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

 

A MelanieM Review: Rhino Ash (Saturday Barbies #2) by Lindsey Black

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Ashley Jameson always tries to do the right thing, but that’s hard when your nephew keeps eating crayons, your niece is dressed as a pudding and your obnoxious older brothers crash the church’s Sunday brunch with the guy you’ve been crushing on for five years. Going to work to fight fires is a welcome relief from family obligations, until the Riot Squad arrives to investigate and Ashley once again finds himself dealing with his siblings. Oh … and Finn Hale.

But Finn’s dark past continues to haunt him. As work gets increasingly busy with a string of arson attacks on illegal immigrants, Finn steps in to be the shoulder Ashley needs to lean on, but Ashley struggles to do the same for the man he loves. Juggling family and work can be difficult, but Ashley soon discovers that the real challenge is when it’s not a struggle at all … because you’ll do anything for the ones you love.

I fell in love with Lindsey Black’s writing through her debut novel Fishy Riot (Saturday Barbies, #1).  That story introduced us to the crazy Jameson clan (police officers, doctors, EMT, firefighters) and assorted extended family members, including partners, children (vastly entertaining little ‘monsters’) and more.  It was an enthusiastic, marvelously engaging romp!  I adored the clan, the adventure, the mystery and humor and wanted more immediately.  But had to wait until now to see what and who in the Jameson family was going to get their story told next.  Lucky us!  It’s Ashley Jameson, the odd child out in names (Tay, Hay, Shay, etc) and youngest of the large pack who finds his HEA here in Finn Hale, his twin brothers partner in the Riot Squad.

One of the things I love about this  author is her ability to bring me to laughter one second and tears the next.  That’s totally in keeping with the characters here and the situations they find themselves in within this story and in Finn Hale’s case, deep within his backhistory.  The themes of family,  pain and recovery, even the self doubt that Ash carries within him about how his own family sees him.  These are layered, multidimensional characters who easily get to you because they feel so real, so human.  I found myself wanting to slide into their Saturday family barbeques myself if only to be a part of the craziness.

It’s not just the family appeal that comes across but the grit and pain of the business of firefighting or what they come across during this investigation.  It’s heartbreaking and the descriptions here telegraph the exhaustion, the heat, the intensity the firefighters feel as they enter the buildings, flames all around, floors collapsing, to save the people within…and sometimes don’t.

Rhino Ash (Saturday Barbies #2) by Lindsey Black proves that the first book and this author was indeed a glorious find and now a series to hang onto.  So is this amazing author.  I need more, so much more from her.

If you haven’t read Fishy Riot, grab that one up first and meet the Jameson family and then come here to Rhino Ash for the next Saturday Barbie!  I’ll be going back to reread them both together as I can’t get my fill I recommend them that much!

Cover art by Angsty G is perfect in continuing to brand the series while containing elements for the story. Love it.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, first edition, 276 pages
Published October 27th 2017 by Netherwood Press
ASINB076QYSS1N
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Saturday Barbies:

Fishy Riot (Saturday Barbies, #1)

A MelanieM Review: The Blinding Light by Renae Kaye

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Blinding Light coverJake Manning needs another job and needs it desperately.  He’s paying off his mother’s loans and keeping his sisters fed and on track with their lives but the job he’s working at isn’t enough and he just got fired from the last job he had.  Housekeeping?  A piece of cake as that’s all he’s done all his life as the parent figure  to his kids sisters. So any housekeeping job, even one with a person who makes the other housekeepers quit, is great.  But nothing in Jake Manning’s life has prepared him for  Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude… and blind man.

Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, and his demands had his previous housekeepers quitting in large numbers. But in Jake, Patrick has met his match.  Jake makes his house spotless, finds his demanding notes amusing and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves.  And what’s more, Jake doesn’t act as though being blind means living a restricted life.

Patrick finds Jake’s scent irresistible, Jake finds Patrick gorgeous and they love being together.  His sisters are starting to life their own lives, Jake’s mom looks to be on the path to sobriety, after all his sacrifices, can it be that Jake will finally be able to live his own life and have the future he wants?

The Blinding Light is another terrific tale from Renae Kaye.  Her complicated  main characters of The Blinding Light are Patrick Stanford, a “nose” for a high priced perfume company with degrees in Chemistry, a guide dog and not much else in his life.  Patrick has been blind from birth and Kaye takes us directly into his home and the typical life he leads with furniture and objects that must staying exactly where they are, braille readers, and the adjustments that people without sight have to make in their lives.  It’s straightforward, fascinating, and full of insights (no pun intended).   His backstory is as complicated and layered as Patrick himself.  I really liked that dimension to this character.  He was real, snarky, intelligent, and finally pretty open hearted in his outlook.

Then there’s Jake Manning.  Forced by his mother’s continued irresponsibility and bad parenting, combined with her substance abuse problems, Jake has been the glue that holds his family together.  With sisters at all ages including a baby, Jake has been their parent, their means of support, their everything…to an extent they are not  even aware of.   That’s where the loan comes in.  Kaye has burdened Jake with a load of family complications and issues and yet he is still a positive, aggressively happy young man.  And I think that’s my only problem with Jake.  Where’s the frustration and anger?   Jake just takes the pounding that life is giving him and continues to make ice cream floats instead of dents in  walls.  I loved his character, don’t get me wrong.  But he just felt too good, too forgiving and that bothered me.

The side characters are as good as the main ones, although they really only exist to lightly support the relationship between Patrick and Jake and Jake and his family.  How it all comes together works, although again, that ending just felt a little forced. Still, I found their relationship and the snappy, funny dialog between them charming and delightful.  That goes especially at the beginning when Jake and Patrick are just trading notes to each other, parts of that is hilarious.

The Blinding Light is well written and a lovely read.  It flows easily and quickly to the resolution. And for all that I wanted there to be a tad more reality in Jake’s reactions to his family’s situation, I enjoyed watching them come together and their HEA at the end.

I recommend The Blinding Light, along with The Shearing Gun and Safe in His Arms.  You can’t go wrong with a Renae Kaye story.  Happy Reading.

Cover Artist Bree Archer.  I get where the artist is going with this design but it is just too hazy to be a great cover.  Covers should pull you in with a compelling design.  While the elements sort of go with the story, it just doesn’t do the job well. And actually the models don’t resemble in clothing or age at all.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback  All Romance (ARe)  Amazon      Buy it here

Book Details:

ebook, 212 pages
Published July 14th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 13th 2014)
ISBN139781627988131
edition languageEnglish

Not What I Expected and This Week’s Reviews

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Doctor__NeedleSo, there I was lying on the hospital table waiting for the fluoroscope to start up and the doctor to appear to give me an injection. With a very long needle.  One the size of the Empire State Building. And of course, the first words out of his mouth are “well, this shouldn’t hurt very much” and my heart sinks.  Because between you and me, I have a long history with that phrase (as I am sure most of you do as well) and it isn’t a good one.

I can remember various dentist offices and dentists themselves saying that just before annihilating my mouth in a frenzy of drills and numbing injections that never seemed to work.  I remember vaccines and pops of cotton that, yes indeedy, hurt, even though the doctors swore up and down they wouldn’t.

And then there were the injections I received for rabies (8 of them at the time) that alternated sites, left, cheek, right cheek (not the face mind you), left arm, right arm, stomach…well you get the drift.  Oh the perils of being a park naturalist.  There have been ones for the flu, tetanus, and during anaphylactic shock, epinephrine.  I have had ones for antibiotics and ones for steroids.  Lots and lots of shots over time and always with the same result.  Shot then pain.

And you know what?  Each time, the doctor assured me it shouldn’t hurt very much.  And  each time it most certainly did.

drag queen sharon needles

knitting needlesNow I don’t have a problem with needles themselves.  I even adore certain needles, like my mahogany knitting needles or knitting needles of any type.  I also think the drag queen Sharon Needles is pretty darn awesome.  I even have a certain fondness for sewing needles even though I am hardly proficient with them.  They have repaired many a beloved teddy or tiger and for that I am grateful.

But medical needles, long, long medical needles?  I think not.  True they are necessary but I don’t have to like them and once more here I was waiting to be injected.  But first they had to find the right spot….yeah, topical anesthesia  doesn’t help there.  And yes, I felt that needle going in…and in…  and the doctor asked me…wait for it…did I feel it and did it hurt?  He’s lucky all I shot him was a glare. Cause yes I did feel it and yes, it hurt.  Argh.  And I am not, repeat not a baby about these things and I have a high tolerance for pain. But yeesh….they need to find something different to say…cause I am telling you that has truly gotten old.

So here I am, my hip is throbbing.  The doctor said I should feel better in a day…if the shot works.  Sigh.  Sometimes life is a crap shoot.  Sometimes you role doubles and sometimes snake eyes. And by now I really should know to stick to the needles I like when given a choice, and leave the others alone.  Because here is something I have learned over the years….when someone tells you its not going to hurt, run, run like the wind in the opposite direction, it’s going to hurt like hell.

Now for the week ahead in reviews.  It’s one terrific book after another this week.   There are two guest blogs on our schedule. One by the fabulous Abigail Roux for the release Shock & Awe.  And the other by an author whose books have always appeared on my must read list, L.B. Gregg and her latest release How I Met Your Father.  Added to that are two new books in series I just love, R.J. Scott’s Texas Family and Kate McMurray’s The Stars That Tremble and this will be a stellar week indeed!

Twas the week before the week of Thanksgiving…..

Monday, Nov. 17:   Texas Family by R.J. Scott
Tuesday, Nov. 18:   The Stars That Tremble by Kate McMurray
Wed., Nov. 19:         Guest Blog by L.B. Gregg for How I Met Your Father
Thurs., Nov.20:      Guest Blog and Contest by Abigail Roux and Shock & Awe release
Friday, Nov. 21:       Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux
Sat., Nov. 22:           How I Met Your Father by L.B. Gregg