Release blitz and #giveaway: The Fortune Hunter by Bonnie Dee

 

 
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 68,000 words
Cover Design: Fantasia Frog Designs
 
Blurb

A man with nothing finds everything.

Abandoned at birth, WWI veteran Hal Stanton faces bleak employment prospects in post-war London. Desperation spurs him to reinvent himself to hook a wealthy wife, one he will be devoted to even if he feels no real passion. But when he meets his fiance’s cousin, Julian Needham, it’s all he can do to keep his heart in check and his eye on the prize.

From the moment he’s introduced to the charming stranger Margaret plans to marry, Julian suspects the man’s motives yet fights a relentless attraction. He’s determined to reveal Hal as a fraud but must handle the matter delicately to protect his sweet cousin’s feelings. A weekend at the family estate should allow time and opportunity for him to expose Halstead Wiley.

Even as the men match wits in a battle of attempted unmasking, powerful sexual attraction threatens to overcome them both and win the day. Can a true love connection possibly grow between these adversaries without destroying lives and loved ones?

Continue reading “Release blitz and #giveaway: The Fortune Hunter by Bonnie Dee”

Advertisements

Sunday Review

book review banner smaller

After reading Ballerina Dad by Amy Aislin, I went and bought all of her books I didn’t already own. My resolution for the new year is to support all the authors I love, by buying and reviewing their books. Not all of the reviews will end up here on the blog, but I’ll post them on Goodreads and whatever site I bought them from.

But this book definitely earned a spot on the blog. It’s my second Amy Aislin book and I adored it as much as the first one. For this week’s book review: As Big as the Sky by Amy Aislin.

as big as the skySam wants nothing to do with his irresponsible, sarcastic neighbor…or does he?

Sam McAuley is having a rough start to the summer: Not only is he being sued, but the new guy running the animal rehabilitation center next door has no idea what he’s doing and his runaway chickens constantly end up in Sam’s pristine yard. 

Everything is temporary for Bo Novak. For as long as he can remember, it’s been one town to the next, one school to the next, one job to the next. Even his current job—running his sister’s animal rehab center while she’s away on a four-month leave—is temporary. And he does know what he’s doing, thank you very much. Sure, things don’t always run smoothly, but the stick-in-the-mud next door could be a little nicer about it. 

One overheard conversation, an olive branch, and a baseball game might show these guys that being at odds isn’t really what they want, and that what they want might just be each other.

Don’t you just love it when you find an author whose writing just…fits? Cinnamon who used to review for Love Bytes said something fabulous to me: I click with your writing, she said. I was very honored by the statement, but also really liked the sentiment. And that’s how I feel about Amy Aislin. I click with her writing.

So the other day as I battled my jetlag, I needed something cute and heartwarming to read so I picked this up. And it delivered!

Sam was embarrassed to admit that instead of forming his own opinion, he’d let Laura’s perceptions about her brother color his own. He’d basically judged a book by its cover. If Bo’s cover was shiny and loud, his inside pages were fragile, vulnerable to rough handling. He had a feeling Bo’s book was only half finished, the story stalled in the middle, the blank pages in the second half of the book just waiting to be filled.

What can I say other than…*swoon*?

I really, really liked Bo. He was a fabulous character and the quote above describes him perfectly. There’s so much more to him than meets the eye, but Sam sees him for what he is…at least after he overcomes his initial prejudices.

I see you, Bo. I see you.

Sam is under a lot of pressure when Bo arrives at his sister’s place to take care of her business when she’s busy elsewhere, and is rude and unfriendly at first. But then Sam overhears Bo’s lonely confession to a pig and he realizes what a d*ck he’s been, and decides to apologize. Of course, Bo accepts, and they start hanging out with each other and one thing leads to another and soon they’re in each other’s arms.

Yes, the relationship happens very fast. I guess you could call it insta-love, but I love a good insta-love story. And this one doesn’t feel forced or unrealistic, on the contrary it feels believable. Real. I feel Bo and Sam’s interest for each other, and Bo is so ready to be seen for who he is. To be accepted and loved. And Sam is just the guy for that.

You’re so special, Bo. you deserve someone who’s yours, and I want to be that person.

There’s some minor drama in the book, but never between the MCs. They know what they want and stand by each other the way lovers are supposed to. I love books like that, books where the guys meet early in the story and decide they want to try to make a relationship work. So when Bo’s sister turns out to be a bitch, Sam is right by his side, just the way Bo stands by Sam through his legal troubles.

I have one very minor niggle. I’m sad we didn’t get to see the super secret comic Sam was making in the end. It was built up as if it was important, so I would have loved reading about it. But it’s not niggly enough to affect the rating, I’m just a curious person I guess 🙂

This is a romance with a capital R, full of sweetness and emotions and was just what I needed. I give it my warmest recommendations.

5-stars

Check out Amy Aislin if you haven’t already read her books. She’s definitely worth it.

 

Cover reveal: Love Times Five by Lily G. Blunt

 

Title: Love Times Five
Author: Lily G. Blunt
Cover Art: Jay Aheer at Simply Defined Art
Release Date: January 19, 2018
Genre/s: paranormal, gay romance, contemporary, polyamory
Length: 77, 000 words

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

There’s safety in numbers and plenty of love to go around.

When Colin searches for his missing colleague and buddy in the hills of northern England, his life is changed forever. Not only does he find Shaun living in a cabin with the mysterious and undeniably gorgeous Zach, but he also discovers the reason Shaun went AWOL in the first place. Colin wants to draw his friend away to safety, but Zach soon mesmerises him, and he’s happy to stay in his company, for now.

Passing hikers, Wes and Dane, need some assistance, and the three men are willing to oblige. Thus begins a friendship that develops into much more.

The five men each have their own secrets. Some are shared, others are kept hidden. It’s only a matter of time before they are exposed and the consequences could change everything for them all.

Available to purchase now from PayHip

Pre-Order Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Smashwords

 

Excerpt – From Chapter One

The wooden cabin situated across the sloping meadow was a decent-sized dwelling, with two curtained windows on either side of the door. A covered porch stretched across the front with two old-fashioned rocking chairs and a new SUV was parked to the side.

Movement on the grass in front of the cabin confirmed the place was indeed inhabited. Colin halted in his tracks at the edge of the tree line, his breath on hold, wary of making his presence known. He squinted to get a better view of the two men walking close together. One was sleek and elegant, dressed in dark clothing. He towered over the other smaller, more familiar, figure in a sky-blue T-shirt.

Shaun?

Even from that distance, there was something recognisable about the upward lift of the chin of the shorter man; the way he held his body and the way the breeze ruffled his dark hair.

Yes, thank God. That’s got to be Shaun.

Colin snuck behind the nearest tree and peered from around the trunk, not wanting to be seen nor to interrupt them. Not yet anyway. Perhaps he wouldn’t need to make himself known. If he was mistaken and it wasn’t Shaun after all, he could slink away and return home without disturbing them. If it was him, Colin wanted answers. He wouldn’t be able to leave without finding out what the hell Shaun was doing here. With this stranger.

The stranger placed his hands on Shaun’s biceps and leaned in closer. He raised an arm, gripped Shaun’s jaw and pushed him backward.

Colin’s stomach clenched.

If he hurts Shaun… Colin patted his penknife, a comforting weight where it nestled in his trouser pocket. He’d lost count of the number of times just carrying the knife had given him the confidence to stand up to thugs who thought it was okay to call him out on his sexuality. Colin was proud he could hit most targets with it and had his father to thank for his accurate throwing skills. He was proficient enough to frighten this guy.

The cabin stood on the far side of a wild grassy expanse leading down to a small lake beyond. It was a picturesque setting with early spring flowers peeking through here and there. The sun glinted off the dark surface of the lake, and a rowing boat lay overturned at the water’s edge. Normally, Colin would have taken shot after shot with his phone to capture the charming view. But not today. This was not a sightseeing trip. It might even be a matter of life or death. For Shaun, for himself, maybe for them both considering how the taller guy unsettled Colin. If Shaun was being held captive, it would be up to Colin to rescue him.

A pained groan filled the quiet of the meadow; louder than the songbirds and the insects humming in the air.

Colin shuddered all over. His skin prickled with the fear rippling through him.

He slowly eased the penknife from his trouser pocket. The handle felt cool in his sweaty palm. Running his thumb over the edge of its sheathed blade, he itched to flick it open. It would take a second to expose the knife and throw it. If only he were a little closer, he’d be sure of hitting his target spot on. He’d need to be accurate if he wanted to rescue his buddy from his captor.

Colin held back a growl. He’d do everything in his power to help Shaun. His body was strong and muscled—too big, Colin worried sometimes. Shaun was slender and wouldn’t stand a chance against this imposing man.

The man steered Shaun towards the large stump of a felled tree, and pinned him onto his back. Shaun didn’t struggle or fight, only crying out when the man lunged towards him.

What the… are they kissing and making out?

The powerful man nuzzled on top of Shaun: licking, nipping, and sucking on his neck. Submitting and not resisting, Shaun allowed the man to take what he needed. A sludge of sickness rolled through Colin’s gut, making him want to puke, like it often did whenever Shaun hooked up with another guy.

Swallowing the bitter-tasting bile, Colin crept over the ground to the adjacent tree, placing his feet gently, trying to make himself light, so as not to disturb the entwined couple. A twig snapped beneath his cumbersome weight and he froze.

The two men remained engrossed in each other. Neither of them glanced his way. Sweat trickled down Colin’s back. His skin burned. He wiped the moisture from his brow and stepped closer, gripping the knife so hard his knuckles cracked.

What the hell is he doing to Shaun’s neck?

A chill ran over Colin’s damp skin. Shaun had mentioned a possessive date who’d bitten him at a nightclub a week or so before he’d disappeared. In fact, it was after that encounter Shaun had started acting out of character. Colin had been worried enough to persuade him to get the bite checked out by his doctor, in case it got infected. Could this be the same sick fuck who was currently grinding his hips against Shaun, trying to get himself off as he latched onto his neck?

Colin’s heart thudded, his blood heating with a mix of anger and jealousy. He mustered all his strength, and his nostrils flared when his next breath filled his lungs.

He strode towards the rutting couple, but Shaun’s groans of arousal slowed Colin’s pace.

“Yes, Zach, that feels good.” Shaun’s passion-filled voice drifted across the meadow.

Was his friend in any real danger? Had he been drugged and was being held against his will? It didn’t seem like it. Fuck, what should he do? Goddamn Shaun, he’d worried the hell out of Colin, and here he was having some sort of debauched make-out session with this creep while Colin had been traipsing the hillsides looking for him.

Colin gritted his teeth. Whatever had happened to Shaun, he needed to find out what the hell was going on. He continued his steady approach.

Surely these guys must know he was standing not ten feet away from them by now, but Shaun’s eyes remained closed, his lips parted, a look of ecstasy on his face. The guy on top sucked on his neck like there was no tomorrow. He’d have a massive hickey later, and Shaun didn’t seem bothered by it.

Colin’s dick twitched, and he huffed at its traitorous response. How many times had he witnessed other lithe young men rubbing against Shaun like this in clubs and he’d wanted to take their place? And he would have too, if he’d thought for a second he was the kind of guy Shaun wanted.

Right now, Colin should haul this leech off Shaun and drag his friend back home, back to work, back to where he belonged.

And still the guy feasted on his neck, sucking and lapping as if his life depended on it. And Shaun was getting off from that. His erotic purrs and moans captivated Colin. Damn it, his dick hadn’t been this hard in weeks. Why couldn’t someone… Shaun… suck on him like that?

Shaun’s eyes fluttered open, and on catching sight of Colin, widened.

“Stop, Zach,” he said, pushing him away.

Had they not heard his approach?

His neck-sucking friend—Zach—turned leisurely. He raised an eyebrow in challenge, wiped a trickle of blood from his mouth with the back of his hand, and stared with a self-satisfied smirk at Colin. Had he known Colin was standing there all this time?

Cocky bugger. Granted, he was a good-looking cocky bugger. Lean torso and long legs, with smooth, pale skin, yet his eyes were dark and mesmerising. His features appeared almost sculpted, his nose was perfect, and his clean-shaven square jaw made him so very handsome.

Don’t get distracted. He’s dangerous.

Shaun rose to a sitting position on the tree stump. Blood trickled from two round marks on his neck. He raised a hand and covered the injury.

Colin blinked. Zach had bitten into Shaun’s neck and hurt him. The reality slammed into Colin. He shook his head, trying to clear away a fuzzy feeling, and flicked open his knife. He held it poised, ready to throw. He still wasn’t sure if this was consensual or if Zach was a nutter who’d done something to overpower Shaun.

“Step away from him,” Colin ordered, making his voice deep and commanding, his arm steady with the knife. “I’m taking Shaun home with me.”

Zach shook his head slowly, but he stayed put. Shaun rose to his feet, his eyes fixed on Colin. He held his hands out in a calm down and take it easy posture.

“I mean it, sunshine. One sudden move and I’ll throw this blade at you. I’ll make you bleed.” And Colin meant every word. He was prepared to take this guy out to rescue his friend.

“Hey, Col. You’ve got it all wrong. He wasn’t hurting me.” Shaun took a step closer to Zach instead of Colin.

And that action hurt Colin more than a solid punch in the gut.

“Yeah, Col. Listen to him.” God, Zach was smooth, with a sexy drawl of a voice. His dark, imposing gaze shifted between the knife and Colin’s eyes. And still his body language screamed be wary of me. He couldn’t be trusted. He was going to pounce any second, Colin just knew it.

With a flick of his wrist, Colin tilted the knife, and before he could sound off another warning, it was Shaun who leaped forward, snarling. His clothing shredded and scattered into the air and, out of the blur of movement, before him stood a pale grey wolf baring its teeth.

 

 

About the Author

Lily G. Blunt enjoys writing contemporary gay romance and paranormal stories. She loves to explore the relationship between two or more men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of feelings between them. Lily is often inspired by the lyrics to songs and is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head. Only a few of these ever make their way to the page.

Lily reviews for several blogs and has recently launched Gay Book Promotions, an online book promotion service for authors of LGBT+ romance and fiction. She loves to hear from readers and other authors.

Contact and Social Media Information

Amazon | Amazon UK | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Gay Book Promotions

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

#SuperShort

super short banner smaller

I’m doing things a little differently for this week’s #SuperShort. When I talked to my friend Addison the other day, I complained that my writing mojo was lost after my holiday vacation in Sweden, that I hadn’t prepared a Flash Fiction story for this week, and that I didn’t have any ideas for one. So, she offered to throw some prompt words at me.

I accepted, even if I’ve never used that method as inspiration before. These are the words she gave me (found here):

26803594_556143514728235_1316412924_n

They didn’t seem too impossible (like the words I sometimes throw at her on Fridays…but to my defense she asks for words and I’m just being a good, helpful friend…and she’s a pro at this 😁) so I mulled them over the whole day until an idea popped into my head.

And I’m so freaking proud of myself because I managed to incorporate all of them! I thought I’d might fix one or two, but not all five. Yay me!!

And thank you, Addison. I needed the virtual kick in the butt. 😁

Now, let’s get to the story, shall we?? (I might have taken some liberties with the words, but I figured it was allowed.)

divider blue

The First Meeting

I kept my gaze firmly on the winding road cutting through the woodlands even though it wasn’t car sickness that made my stomach twist in knots. We were alone, hadn’t met another car in ages, and Matt had stopped trying to talk to me several miles back, probably tired of my monosyllabic answers.

When my knee started its incessant bouncing for the tenth time the last five minutes, he reached over the center console and rested a hot palm on my thigh, stilling my leg with a light squeeze.

“Baby, you don’t need to be nervous,” he said.

I swallowed around a big lump in my throat that threatened to make its way into my mouth. “I know,” I croaked out. And I did. He’d told me many, many times. Mom is the nicest and most levelheaded person you’ll ever meet, he’d said. Heck, my dad even used to call her Mellow Meg. The silly nickname had elicited a smile from me but hadn’t really calmed me down. And now, less than five minutes before I would meet her, I had a hard time breathing.

It was the first time in my life I was going to meet the parents. Or parent, since Matt’s dad had died a year before we met. Thirty years old and scared to death to meet someone who apparently was the most agreeable person on God’s green earth and who had no problems whatsoever with Matt being gay if Matt was to be trusted. And he’d never lied to me before, so I had no reason to doubt him.

But it didn’t help. My own family had reacted badly when I came out, and I’d never met the parents of my only serious boyfriend before Matt because he wasn’t out to them. Meeting his family had never been an issue for the entire four years we’d been together.

Matt, on the other hand, was completely different. As soon as our relationship had turned serious, he’d wanted us to go see his mom. I want the two most important people in my life to meet, he’d said and curled his big body around mine where we’d lain in his cozy bed. His thick fingers had played with my treasure trail and short-circuited my brain, making it impossible for me to deny him anything.

Not that I’d ever been able to say no to him. Whenever I tried, he would just kiss me and kiss me and kiss me until my legs turned to spaghetti and a kaleidoscope of butterflies took up residence in my stomach. His warm brown eyes, his lush mouth, and his big hands with the thick fingers could convince me to do anything.

So here I was. About to meet his mom. Desperately hoping I wouldn’t faint like a damsel in distress on her doorstep.

Curling my hands into fists, I shuddered at their clamminess. I rubbed my palms on my pants because no one wanted to shake a sweaty hand.

A house materialized in the distance and my heart stumbled between two beats. The fist around my throat tightened.

What if Mrs. Johnson was fine with Matt being gay, but not him being with me? What if she didn’t like me? I wasn’t the most talkative of guys under normal circumstances. What if I did something to offend her? My parents had taught me manners, of course, how to be polite and correct when meeting new people, but nerves always made a knot out of my tongue and left me a stumbling mess.

My knee resumed its bouncing when Matt turned into the driveway leading up to the small, ranch-style house. It was surrounded by trees and looked nice and inviting. Like a real home. I groaned and ran my fingers through my hair.

Matt parked the car and got out after shooting me a quick smile. I followed him before I had time to change my mind and do something stupid, like climb over to the driver’s side and hightail it out of there. I trailed behind him on the path leading up to the house like a baby duck padding after its mama. Feeling just as small and vulnerable.

He didn’t knock when he stopped in front of the door. Instead, he turned to me and cupped my cheeks. And just like that, I could breathe easier. I looked up and met his gaze and the lump in my throat dissolved.

“Oh, baby,” he murmured as he leaned forward and nudged the tip of his nose against mine. “I promise she’ll love you.”

I bit my lower lip to stop it from trembling. How could he promise me something like that when my own mother had refused to speak to me for years because of who I was? How could he be so goddamned sure?

“And Ike?” He slid his hands down and ran his fingers through the short hairs on the back of my neck.

“Uh-huh?” Needing to be connected to him, I hooked my index finger in one of the belt loops of his faded jeans that made me want to fall to my knees and worship his muscular legs.

“Even if she doesn’t, it won’t change a thing. I love you. That’s all that matters.”

I tugged him closer and rose on my tippytoes so I could rest my cheek against his. “I love you, too, Matthew,” I whispered.

We stood like that for several minutes. His breaths puffing against my cheek and his caressing fingers made me forget everything but him. His woodsy scent found its way into my nose and I inhaled him, taking his essence into my body. My darling Matt. Steady as a rock, and mellow like his mom.

When the knot in my stomach had untangled, I pressed my lips against his stubbly cheek before taking a step back. “I’m ready,” I said.

Together, we turned to the door. I lifted my hand and knocked.

divider blue

That was fun. So, leave me some words in the comments and I’ll try my best to incorporate them in a story. But please, leave more than one so I can be picky…if you decide to not play nice and leave me a word like skullduggery… or diaphanous or something equally evil  😁

While you do that, I’ll browse through Instagram and see if I can find something inspiring. It’s best to have a back-up plan, don’t you think? 😁

Happy Friday, everyone!

Release blitz and #giveaway: Not All Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks by Rebecca Cohen

 

 
Length: 45,613 words
Cover Design: Brooke Albrecht
 
Blurb

Neither of them wants to fall in love, but getting exactly what they don’t want might be the best thing to ever happen to them.

Mark hopes his boredom with his current job will be alleviated by a short stint in Basel, Switzerland. When he meets Steffen, who struck out on his own from an old-money family to establish an IT firm, Mark expects some fun, great sex, and a clean break when his job is done. The arrangement is perfect for Steffen, who has been content with casual after a betrayal—and has a taste for British men after attending university in the UK. But as they explore the city’s rich history and traditions, Mark begins to see Steffen as much more than a tour guide with benefits. If he isn’t careful, the trip meant to break the lull in his career might end up breaking his heart instead….

Excerpt
Mark had two and a half months left in Basel, and the idea of several weeks of no strings attached sex was as exhilarating as it was nerve-racking. It was the kind of offer his younger self would’ve jumped at—but he wasn’t that man anymore, and he wasn’t sure he could be again. “I wouldn’t say reticence.”

“No? Then perhaps my English is rusty, as I do not have a better word for it.”

“Okay, you’ve a point. But you have to understand that it’s not every day that an attractive man states so bluntly that he wants to fuck me.”

“Then the men in the UK are stupid. Or you are not mixing with the right type of men.”

Steffen wasn’t completely wrong. The truth was he had spent his university days shagging about, enjoying the writhing mass of bodies in the clubs and gay bars. At the time he’d loved the anonymous and varied encounters, but then he’d decided he needed to grow up and join the adult world. Suit, tie, steady job, and long-term boyfriend, with cozy Friday nights in and dinners for two, not body shots and glory holes. “I gave up clubbing after university. These days I don’t go to the type of places where men go to keep things casual.”

Steffen seemed to consider his response before replying. “So it would be the fleeting nature of our encounters that would bother you?”

“Possibly. I suppose my needs changed, and I wanted more than the emptiness of another hollow shag.” It felt like an important admission, something he’d never talked about before, but it needed to be said to explain why he wasn’t dragging Steffen out of the restaurant and back to his lodgings. “The only one-night stand I’ve had in the last ten years turned into a yearlong relationship. I hadn’t planned it. It just sort of happened.”

Steffen waved a piece of veal in his direction. “I cannot give you permanence.”

“I’m not asking for it,” Mark added quickly, and he meant it.

“What I am hearing is you are not against the theory of enjoying a few weeks of fun before you return home. But equally, I am not convinced you are fully in favor either. If you do not wish this, we will finish our dinner, shake hands, and depart as friends. You are not beholden, either way.”

Steffen wasn’t offering an anonymous shag. It wasn’t thanks for the fuck, now fuck off, but instead something in the middle. Mark’s love life had been in the doldrums since John left, ostensibly because Mark’s job had eaten away any free time and John had decided enough was enough. He didn’t have any more free time now, and that wasn’t going to change, which would no doubt annoy any new boyfriend, so why not take Steffen up on his offer? He picked up his wine and took a sip of liquid courage. “Throw in being my personal tour guide of the city and I’m in.”

Steffen offered up his wineglass in a toast. “I plan to give Basel Tourism Office a run for their money.”

Mark copied and took a sip of his wine. Never had agreeing to sleep with someone felt so formal, borderline making a business deal. But somehow it didn’t feel wrong; instead it was as though he was entering something that didn’t require constant renegotiation. He would know where he stood with Steffen. Sex, hopefully very good sex, if he was lucky, and he suspected Steffen’s experience might make up for his own rusty skills and help polish them up nicely. “Let’s hope I don’t find you lacking—I’d hate to leave a terrible review on TripAdvisor.”

“Oh, there are plenty of people who can attest to my abilities.” Steffen waggled his eyebrows. “I will give you my personal guarantee that you will not find me wanting—in any capacity.”

Mark skewered the last piece of meat. “You’re certainly not lacking in confidence.”

“Have you only just noticed?”

 
Author Bio
 

Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and young son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

Blog: http://rebeccacohenwrites.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.cohen.710
Twitter: http://twitter.com/R_Cohen_writes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

There’s no place like home

I’m back home in Kuala Lumpur after almost two weeks in Sweden. Actually, I came back on January 4th, but I’ve spent my time since battling a severe case of jetlag and catching up, but I still feel really behind. My Christmas and New Year’s in Sweden was really nice, I hung out a lot with my darling daughter and my family and met a lot of old friends and it was fantastic. But it was also really busy and sometimes stressful. I didn’t have time to read, or hardly even to go online. Writing was out of the question, and if I hadn’t prepared all the Christmasvaganza posts before I left, the blog would have been a sad, empty place for the holidays.

I’m stressed because I haven’t caught up. I’m supposed to read and comment on a friend’s writing, but my brain is tired and unfocused so I haven’t been able to, and feel like a failure. I need to get back to writing. I need to catch up on the lovely reviews of my books that popped up when I was away. I need to get back into the loop.

So here’s to hoping this Monday brings a new, fresh start for me where I have time and energy to do all those things and more.

Wanna see some pictures from my holidays in Sweden while we wait for that to happen?

P1080255

The tree at my daughter’s place. The theme for this year (yes, we have themes!!) was red.

P1080306

Lussekatter (saffron-buns) baked by my mother-in-law. They’re delicious!!

P1080344

My dad’s meatballs, made from elk meat. Soooo yummy!!

P1080664

I warmed up by the fire at my brother-in-law’s place when we visited with him and his lovely family.

P1080677

We went on a road trip to visit a friend in Årjäng, close to the Norwegian border.

P1080853

And we spent New Year’s Eve celebrating my father-in-law’s 70th birthday with rainbow bubbly.

P1090025

My darling daughter knows her mother really well, and gave me this for Christmas. Tea! In Pride packages!! Isn’t it fabulous? In the tin is a version of Earl Grey: Earl Gay. And the other tea tastes of rhubarb, cream, citrus, and strawberry.

P1090029

I gave myself these for Christmas. I use The Emotion Thesaurus all the time when I write and I have them both in ebook…but sometimes nothing beats thumbing through a print book 🙂

Best Books 2017

Hi everyone, I hope you’ve had a great first week of January and started the year as you want to continue and all that…you know what I mean 🙂

There won’t be a review this Sunday. Instead, I thought I list the 9 best books I read last year, my 2017 favorites.  They weren’t necessarily published last year, but I read them in 2017 – that’s the criteria.

Drum roll, please.

top9

2017 was a good year for holiday stories as you can tell. And for short stories, since pretty much all of them are shorts, except Freckles (170 pages according to Goodreads.) And Snapshots, but that’s a collection of shorts. It was also a year for new discoveries: I hadn’t read Amy Aislin, Clare Davis & Al Stewart, Ruby Moone, or EF Mulder before.

This was my bookish year according to Goodreads:

goodreads year

Compared to 2016, I slacked off this year and only read 149 books (to last year’s 246). Average for 2016 was 3.3 stars, so this year was an improvement. The average length was 86 pages compared 134 in 2016. So, I’ve read shorter and fewer books…but better. I can live with that 🙂

What were your favorites from last year?