Book Recommendations

5 Books to Look Forward to in December

December is right around the corner and I actually have a bunch of days off from the Day Job around Christmas, so I’m in the process of filling up my virtual book shelf so I have something to read when I can spend my days on the couch in front of the fire, drinking tea immersed in a good book.

There are five upcoming JMS Books releases I have my eye on, and I thought I’d share, if you’re also on the lookout for something to read.

  • The Scent of Pine is Holly Day’s 12th release this year (wohoooo, such great work my friend) and it sounds like a lot of fun, and the MCs sound like they’re the kind of quirky characters Holly writes so well.
  • December with Peppermint is a sequel to October by Candlelight that I read and loved and gushed about here. And you know I’m a huuuuuge fan of K.L. Noone so I can’t wait to get my greedy hands on this one.
  • The Music Box by Kassandra Lea is a re-release that I’ve read and loved before but I’ve never spoken about it because it was released by Dreamspinner Press. As you may know DSP has a history of not paying their authors, so I’ve been reluctant to promote them. So I’m extra happy to see this book being released by another press so I can finally talk about it, because it’s awesome.
  • I’ve had the good fortune to read an early version of Yule Be Naughty by my dear friend Kris T. Bethke. It’s a tale of kinky shifters, something we definitely need in December as opposed to all the wholesome family fun we’re supposed to engage in 🙂
  • Ellie Thomas is rapidly making her way into my list of favorite authors, so I really look forward to A Midwinter Night’s Magic. She had me at “the guests are expected to take part in a recital of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Christmas Day” in the blurb, because I adoooore A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So adding this to my cart is a no-brainer.

Doesn’t that sound like a lovely stack of books to read on my lazy days off in December?

Tell me, what releases are you looking forward to?

Nell Iris' Christmas, Sale

Black Friday…eh Saturday? Sale and a Pre-Order

Who’s up for a Black Friday sale? But Nell, you say, Black Friday was yesterday! Yes, you’re right, of course, but I simply didn’t have the time to tell you about this yesterday. But lucky for us, JMS Books decided to extend the Black Friday sale into today, too, so there’s still time to buy cheap books.

And I’m not kidding when I say cheap books, because JMS Books offers 60% off all e-books, including pre-orders. So what’s better than to tell you that my Christmas story, The Santa Emergency, is now up for pre-order? 60% off means you can buy it for only $1.20. Wohooo, how cheap is that?

And a book up for pre-order means a book cover. Wanna see?

I have a Santa emergency and I desperately need your help.

Sigge isn’t exactly a grinch when it comes to Christmas, but he’s not a fan of the holiday either. So when his new neighbor Kristian shows up in a panic, begging him to help by donning a Santa suit, Sigge’s gut reaction is to say no. But Kristian is cute and funny, rendering Sigge powerless against his heartfelt plea—especially after a promise of spending more time together—so he agrees.

The instant connection deepens as they share mulled wine and conversation as easy as breathing. But is it just holiday magic swirling in the air, or is it something real? Something that will last into the new year and beyond?  

All my books are on sale, so check out the link to my author page if you have been waiting for an amazing sale to fill your e-library. Maybe some of my other holiday books since Christmas is just around the corner?

Nell Iris' Christmas

Advent calendar @ M/M Euro Book Banter on Facebook

I’m not a huge fan of Facebook. I mean, I’m a member and I have an author page, but I don’t have my own group. I’m a member of a few groups, but I’m not very active because to be honest, I haven’t really understood the purpose of groups. Maybe it’s because I’m too introverted to be in huge group of people, even if this group is completely online and I don’t have to actually see them in real life?

But there’s one group where I’m trying a bit more to be active; the M/M Euro Book Banter. Have you heard of it? It’s a place to discuss books written by European authors, but anyone, no matter where they live, is welcome to be a member. It’s a great idea, and I want to support it, and that’s why I’m trying to do better, trying to interact more.

And now the mods have arranged a really fun thing: an advent calendar. It means that every day from December 1st through the 24th, one European author will take over the group for the day and post fun stuff. And most importantly: offer some kind of giveaway. Doesn’t that sound like a lot of fun?

And I’ve signed up to be a part of it.

23 wonderful authors and yours truly have signed up for the advent calendar in M/M Euro Book Banter

Look at this lovely group of people, wouldn’t you wanna come hang out with us? Maybe read about European holiday traditions, maybe get the chance to win something fun in the giveaways? Maybe find a new author you haven’t tried before?

If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, hop on over to Facebook and join the group! I hope I’ll see you there on the 22nd.

About Nell, Book Recommendations

The Perfect Sunday™ 

Happy Sunday, everyone. I’ve decided that today will be The Perfect Sunday™ because wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to do any of the boring adulting stuff and could just indulge in things that make up happy? So in that perfect world, my Perfect Sunday™ would look like this:

(Oh, and a caveat: this is The Perfect Sunday™ for November. If you ask me in July, it’ll look completely different.)

The Perfect Sunday: a Moodboard. I should’ve added a rain cloud because rain will preferably smatter on my roof.

Warm sweaters, fuzzy socks, bowls of soup and cups of tea. Candles and music and books. Of course books, because without books, it wouldn’t be perfect. It would be a perfectly ordinary good day, but we’re striving for perfection today, and books are necessary for perfection. And on days like today, when I just want to wrap myself in warm, cozy things, I’ve decided that re-reading titles from my Goodreads feelgood-shelf is in order. So on this Perfect Sunday, I’ll be reading either of these:

Four titles from my Goodreads re-read feelgod shelf.

Fluff and romance, my two favorite things in books. Fluff and romance make my soul feel good, sort of like tea and a fireplace make my body feel good.

So there you have it. My recipe for a perfect Sunday. Now, if all of you could keep your fingers crossed that my day will actually turn out like this, I’d be grateful. ❤️

Tell me: what would your perfect Sunday look like?

About Nell

New Release Spotlight: The Quid Pro Quo by A.L. Lester

Today, I welcome the lovely A.L. Lester back to my blog. She’s here to talk about her newest release, The Quid Pro Quo.

The Quid Pro Quo: Walter Kennett

Hello there everyone! Thank you so much to Nell for letting me drop in today to tell you all about my latest release.

The Quid Pro Quo is the second in the Bradfield trilogy, although it will stand alone. It’s set a few months after the end of The Fog of War and stars Walter Kennett, Sylvia’s friend, and Simon Frost, a detective who comes to Bradfield to investigate a murder. It’s a gay, historical, paranormal, romantic murder-mystery with a m/transm couple set in rural England in 1920.

Today I’d like to introduce you to one of the main characters, Walter Kennett!

Walter Kennett (Walt)

Born: 1880, East End of London.

Profession: Nurse. Joined army at age of eighteen in place of their twin brother, who joined up and then changed their mind. Army nurse (orderly) with Royal Army Medical Corps until discharge in 1919. Served in Second Boer War in South Africa among other places.

Smokes: A pipe.
Drives: Does drive. Not much bothered about it.
Lives: Went where army sent him during his service. Now living at Bradfield, with Sylvia.
Appearance: Small, running a little bit to fat now he’s forty, dark brown hair and eyes, London accent.
Personality: Sarcastic, loyal, competent, secretly in love with Sylvia. Pansexual, transgender. Can cook. Reads travelogues for pleasure. He’s never found a woman he liked enough to marry and the chap he liked like that died in the war.

So the first thing to say about Walter is that he’s trans. It wasn’t relevant in the first book, and I don’t think I even mentioned it, but as I was writing I knew in my own mind. And it’s a massive plot fudge. When I was sketching out the characters for the trilogy I wrote a short scene for each of them, to work out a bit about who they were. However I approached it, Walter was trans. And by the 1890s, there were medicals for army admission. There are certainly women and trans men who have served in the military—James Barry is the most well known, but there were a few soldiers in the American Civil War and someone called Phoebe Hassel, who was discharged in 1817 when she was flogged and discovered to be a man (bottom of page seven, you have to register, but it’s free). But you only ever find out about the ones people noticed, not the ones who went through their whole career without being found out.

Walter is trans. There was no way of getting round it—when I began writing I tried to make him a cis man and I just couldn’t, he wouldn’t cooperate. So I’ve fudged it. He joins up in place of his twin brother, who bottles out after signing the papers. And if I can use enough creative license to write a story with creepy howling creatures who come from the great beyond and people enjoy it, I hope I can be allowed enough wiggle room to let him go through his army career without being found out. Or if he was found out, for people to cover up for him.

The other thing Walter doesn’t want people to find out at the beginning of the book is that he’s deeply in love with Sylvia. He met her in 1915 when he was seconded to the hospital at Royaumont to help the Scottish Women’s Hospital people set up. For some inexplicable plot reason he was never un-seconded. When he was discharged in 1919, he went to work with Sylvia as her Practice Nurse. He knows he doesn’t have a chance with her, but she knows his secrets, he knows hers and they’re very good friends. He keeps his feelings under wraps and he was very happy to watch her developing relationship with Lucy in The Fog of War.

Now though, he’s got his own story. I hope you like him!


Village nurse Walter Kennett is content with his makeshift found-family in tiny Bradfield. However one midsummer morning a body is found floating in the village duck pond, dead by magical means.

Detective Simon Frost arrives in Bradfield to investigate a inexplicable murder. The evidence seems to point to Lucille Hall-Bridges, who lives with doctor Sylvia Marks and nurse Walter Kennett at Courtfield House. Simon isn’t happy—he doesn’t believe Lucy is a murderer but  he’s sure the three of them are hiding something. In the meantime, the draw he feels toward Walter takes him by surprise.

Walter is in a dilemma, concealing Sylvia and Lucy’s relationship and not knowing how much to tell Frost about the paranormal possibilities of the murder. He isn’t interested in going to bed with anyone—he’s got a complicated life and has to know someone really well before he falls between the sheets. He’s taken aback by his own attraction to Detective Frost and angry when Frost appears to twist the spark between them to something transactional in nature.

Will Walter be satisfied to stay on the periphery of Lucy and Sylvia’s love affair, a welcome friend but never quite included? Or is it time for him to strike out and embark on  a relationship of his own?

The second in the Bradfield trilogy, set in the Border Magic universe. Stands alone. Transm/m couple.

Buy-link :: Buy from JMS Books ::  Add on Goodreads :: Find on author-website


As Simon was replacing the device on the telephone table a pretty young woman put her head out of a door at toward the end of the hall. “Sylv!” she said, “Do you want tea? I’ve boiled the kettle.” and then when she realised he wasn’t who she thought he was, “Oh, I do beg your pardon! I thought you were Dr Marks!”.

“She’s still in the surgery,” Simon nodded across the hall.

The woman emerged into the hall. “Lucille Hall-Bridges,” she said, extending a hand. “I’m a friend of Sylvia’s. I help with the house.”

Simon took her hand in his. Her grip was sure and warm. “Detective Frost,” he replied. “Nice to meet you, Miss Hall-Bridges. She had a recent bruise running from her jaw to just below her eye, entering the black-and-purple stage.

“I’ve made a pot of tea,” she was saying. “I don’t know whether anyone will want any, but I do like to feel useful and tea is so…normal-making, isn’t it?”

He nodded, slightly bemused at her chatter. “Yes, indeed,” he said. “Very normal.”

She gave a perfunctory tap on the surgery door, opened it and disappeared inside without waiting for a response. “Sylv, Walter, I’ve made tea. Would you and your detective like to come into the drawing room?” Her voice faded, presumably as she joined them in the examination room.

There was a pause. Then, “Oh!” he heard her say. “Oh.” She sounded a little shocked. “What’s happened to her hands?” she asked.

“Scraped on the bottom on the pond I think,” Simon heard Dr Marks say. “She was face-down in the water.”

“Oh.” Miss Hall-Bridges’ voice was small. “Sylvia…there’s…she’s…I can feel…do you think…?” Her voice trailed off and Dr Marks spoke over her, clearly away they might be overhead.

“Let’s not worry about that now, shall we? The policeman is sending her down to Taunton to a postmortem. You go and take the tea-things into the drawing room. We’ll just cover her up.”

Awaiting Buy-link : Buy from JMS Books  Add on Goodreads : Find on author-website

About A. L. Lester

Writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense, mostly. Lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a terrifying cat, some hens and the duckettes. Likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.

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