Wednesday, December 11, 2019

ARC Review: 2019 Advent Calendar: Homemade for the Holidays by Dreamspinner Press

From The Blurb:
Choosing the right gift for that special someone can be the most daunting part of the holidays. In a sea of mass-produced items, why buy when you can DIY? The end-of-the-year festivities are the best time for crafts, whether they’re made from yarn, paper, flour, or even code. And with some love and luck, these special presents might inspire a romance that lasts an evening… or a lifetime. Nothing makes the season merry and bright like a gift handmade from the heart, and to bring smiles to the faces of the ones they care about, these guys are willing to get creative.

Karen's ratings and reviews:

It's that time of year again...

and I'm not talking about tax time. I'm talking about the most wonderful time of the year...Christmas and once again Dreamspinner Press has brought out their  holiday anthology.

This year I got to read and review 5 of these stories for 'My Fiction Nook' and I've reviewed and rated each story individually below...

Christmas Ghost by Jenn Moffatt

Karen's Rating:  

‘Christmas Ghost’ is a sweet story about second chances at what many like to think of as ‘the most wonderful and magical time of the year’ but for carpenter Steve Browning this year doesn’t hold a lot of magic. He’s faced with losing his mother unexpectedly and in the hopes of making the season better for other he donates her costume jewellery to the local community theater.

When he’s met by his friend Camille and her twin brother, Troy. Steve doesn’t hesitate to take the chance to renew his friendship with both of the Baxter twins but it’s Troy who not only captures his attention but his heart.

While I liked the premise of this story and the character interactions were good. I really just felt like it needed a bit more to flesh it out and really bring home the connection between the main characters and lock down that holiday feeling. I can honestly say if the author decides to add to this story or provide a follow up…I’m in. So, while this one wasn’t a 5 star read for me it was 3 solid stars with a whole lot of feel good holiday potential.

Blogtour: After Vertigo by Amanda Meuwissen

Please welcome Amanda Meuwissen with 

After Vertigo


In a flash, the world changed. A solar flare—later dubbed Vertigo—activated the DNA of more than half the world’s people, granting them special abilities. Brilliant scientist Benjamin Krane might be Powerless, but his inventions are the only thing giving the police a fighting chance against super-powered evil. Ben doesn’t have much of a life beyond work, and when he gets wind of a robbery one evening, he decides to test his newest invention personally….

A thief, rogue, and shameless flirt, Grey Miller—aka the Streak—likes shiny things, but he doesn’t hurt people. When Ben catches him—and proposes they team up against the real bad guys—Grey doesn’t know whether it’s the offer or the man he can’t resist. But one thing’s for sure—they’re an ideal match in more ways than one.
With a psychotic supervillain’s catastrophic plan moving forward and everyone he cares about in danger, now might not be the best time for Ben to give in to Grey’s seduction, no matter how tempting. Grey is a man of secrets, and if Ben wants a future with him, he’ll have to learn to trust Grey—and himself.

Get the book:

Let’s Talk About Sex

This week is the release of my 10th M/M romance title, After Vertigo, and while traditionally my books are more focused on a deep plot and romance than just eroticism on the page, I’m certainly no stranger to sex scenes in my stories. 
After Vertigo takes an approach I haven’t before though, other than with my one Young Adult novel, Life as a Teenage Vampire, and a smattering of older fanfiction. In my new release, the protagonist, Ben Krane, is a virgin—a forty-year-old virgin to be exact with deep-rooted social anxiety—who lives vicariously through romance novels but gets courted and caught up in adventures with a very flirtatious and bold love interest, Grey Miller.
I think it was more my dabbling in fanfiction on the topic that made the idea of having an older virgin protagonist so appealing. When I’ve written loss of virginity in stories before, I always try to make it something very special, with a caring partner, because not everyone gets to experience that in real life. And readers have told me how hopeful and sweet that is for them, whether they are still a virgin themselves or not, because while the sex can be steamy, the focus is on connection and romance over the heat. 
Because of Ben’s virgin status in After Vertigo, the heat of this story comes across more in the beginning through sexual tension between the characters, and then also through the M/F romance novel Ben is reading, lending to fantasies he has but no early sex scenes. The sex in this story is earned, a drawn-out courtship that I hope readers find enthralling and worth the wait. 
Virginity can be a touchy subject. Some people are virgins later in life because of choice, sexual preferences, or just circumstance. Part of Ben’s reasoning is his issues with social anxiety and low self-esteem. He doesn’t understand how the mysterious and sensual Grey could possibly find him attractive. 
I use a lot of juxtaposition in my writing, and the constant return to Ben reading his romance novel is obviously meant to create parallels with his own sexual experience and desires, helping him get closer to finally asking for what he wants and giving over to his cravings. 

Cover Reveal: Under The Covers by KC Wells

We are delighted to reveal the cover image for K.C. Wells' upcoming novel

Under The Covers

a Dreamspun Desires title


Can they find their HEA in Romancelandia?

Chris Tyler loves his job. He photographs some of the hottest guys on the planet, but none stir him like Jase Mitchell. He’ll never let Jase know – he values their friendship too much to spoil it.

Jase is looking forward to the Under The Covers Romance convention. It’s a great opportunity to connect with readers who want to meet their favorite cover model, but more importantly, with agents who could advance his career. Too bad the only person he yearns to connect with is Chris.

What Chris wants is Jase in his life, but he’s afraid that’s sheer fantasy. What Jase desires is a Hollywood dream, but that will mean leaving Chris behind. What both crave is a real-life romance and their own Happily Ever After.

And now, drum roll, please...

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Re-release Review: Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings by Nell Iris

From The Blurb:
Young couple Ellis and Casey’s Christmas is set to be a lean one. Struggling financially, they’re only able to manage the most basic needs for their holiday celebration. They can’t afford luxuries like a turkey. Or decorations. Or presents. Between the recent death of Casey’s beloved momma, and Ellis’ estrangement from his family, all they have is each other. 
When Ellis finds the saddest looking Christmas tree south of the Mason-Dixon line thrown outside his workplace and brings it home to Casey, things look up. Because what more do you need to have a Merry Christmas than enthusiasm, ingenuity, and someone to love?

Karen's rating:

It's the gifts from the heart, that are truly priceless...

'Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings' is a re-release from 2017's DSP Advent Calendar. Other than a new cover I'm not really sure how much if anything has changed. The story seems to be about the same length as it's previously release.

Casey and Ellis may not have much but they know how to make the most of what they have and appreciate it. It hasn't been the greatest year for Casey. He's lost his mom and she was the one person aside from Ellis, that he knew he could count on and who approved of his relationship with Ellis without reservation.

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