Author Spotlight

Friday Favourites with Roe Horvat

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Today I have a special Friday Favourites post. My guest is Roe Horvat whose third book, A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat, is released today. I discovered their writing earlier when a friend on Twitter recommended Roe's debut, The Layover, which ended up being one of my #bestbooks2017. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of their newest release and after reading it I can say is "Wow. What a ride." What speaks to me the most in Roe's books is how deeply European they feel, all the details are there and it makes me feel right at home in their writing world. Anyway, I will be reviewing A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat soon and in the meantime read on to get to know Roe Hrovat a bit better and don't forget to grab your copy of it. 

Friday Favourites


1. Favourite place
My backyard—a wooden patio, strawberries, a steep cliff, and a view over Gothenburg.

2. Favourite food and drink

Favorite: A proper hamburger with bacon and cheese, and strawberry daiquiri. However, I can’t imagine my life without bread, butter, and beer – those are necessary.

3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song

Morphine (Cure for Pain)

4. Favourite movie/TV series

A Room with a View (1985), Kontroll (Hungary, 2003) 

Iron Man, Avengers

Black Books, Red Dwarf

5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby

Reading :D

I walk, too. Preferably alone.

6. Favourite books 

All time:

Douglas Adams

Jane Austen

Bohumil Hrabal

Charlotte Brontë

…I’m sure I forgot someone important.

LGBTQA+ fiction and romance:

They know :D

7. Please introduce your latest/upcoming release (what inspired you to write, what can the readers expect from it, etc.)

A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat comes out today – Dec 15th. It’s a sad book about finding happiness and a peace of mind. Simon is my closest imaginary friend (I have to say “imaginary”—otherwise they might lock me up), and I needed him to stop suffering—so I wrote him a chance for a better life.


A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat

Beaten Track Publishing

m/m contemporary romantic fiction novel, 63000 words

Add to Goodreads
Purchase links: Publisher / Amazon
Blurb:

Simon had always expected love to feel different than this. Whether it was his Catholic upbringing or the poetry he’d read—Simon had thought that true love would be uplifting, fulfilling, that it would give a meaning to his loitering, and add joy to his leisure. But not this kind of love. This love was a flesh-eating monster, sharp-clawed and evil-eyed, ravishing his mind with medieval cruelty.

Dr Simon Mráz is a respected specialist and lecturer at the Charles University in Prague. He is a serious man, responsible. His students call him The Cruel Doctor Frost not because he’s unkind, but because of his unwavering, ice-cold composure. As a psychiatrist, he values sanity. And sanity can be found in work, restraint, and self-control.

Not many know of that one time in the past when The Cruel Doctor Frost lost his cool. His ill-advised, secret affair with a student left Simon deeply wounded. Since that day, every minute of Simon’s life has been a struggle to remain sane, functioning. He’s managed so far—as long as he is needed, as long as his work makes a difference, Simon can scrape together enough strength to get up in the morning and run off the nightmares. But when his friends begin drifting away, his beloved protégé becomes independent, and the man who bereaved Simon of his precious sanity might return… Simon’s mind and body stop responding to his impressive willpower. 

Author Bio and Links

Roe was born in former Czechoslovakia and endured a miserable adolescence in the post-communist wasteland. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, they left for Germany and later, Spain.

Finally, they settled in Sweden, where the weather is nasty but the freedom great. Roe works as a motion graphics artist, loves Jane Austen, Douglas Adams and everything in between, preferably by the fireplace with a strawberry daiquiri in hand. Roe writes contemporary romantic fiction – it conveniently balances out their real-life pragmatism.

When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, Roe can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.



Alyssa Cole

Joint Review: An Extraordinary Union and A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole

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Title: An Extraordinary Union (The Royal League #1)
Date of publication: 28 March 2017
Genre: Historical romance, the Civil War 

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Goodreads
Add to Goodreads

My rating: 5 Stars



Blurb

As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other

Review

I can't believe I waited this long to read this. It's a remarkable, engaging romance with strong suspense elements, a romantic spy thriller during the US Civil War.

I loved both the hero and heroine each of whom went through a journey of their own. Elle is one of the best romance heroine I have read in a while. She is strong and independent and super smart (with eidetic memory) and she is a spy for the Royal League helping the Union. As a free Black working under the disgiuse of a mute slave, she has a lot to deal with without the added complication of meeting a charming white man (who also happens to be spy for RL)

Malcolm was a complex and intriguing hero. Charming and easy going, he is in fact closer to a beta hero than an alpha. I liked how him meeting Elle and getting to know her forced him to examine his his own hero/white saviour complex. And he was not bitter or angry over but rather accept he had a lot to and improve about himself and the world went on making both of them better. 

There was no easy sway for them to be together. They both first had to believe it was possible and then start working on making it a reality while still doing their mission. Their romance was very physical but also based on mutual respect and admiration. Elle is smarter than him and he is not intimidated by this, but rather in awe of her strengths, endurance.

She takes a risk, opens her heart to the impossible. There was much focus on the inner struggles between what she feels is her duty to herself and her people and the love she feels for Malcolm, willing to trust him. In the end they we were working together for the benefit of her people while following their hearts.

The story was full of plot twists and turns that kept me on the edge the whole time I was reading.

This is an exquisitely written story, rich in detail in the lives of slaves and slave owners and soldiers and rebels. All character are vivid, memorable. Highly recommended read!

Purchase links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | B&N

*** *** ***

Title: A Hope Divided (The Royal League #2)
Date of publication: 28 Nov 2017
Genre: Historical romance, the Civil War 

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 3 Stars

Blurb

The Civil War has turned neighbor against neighbor--but for one scientist spy and her philosopher soldier, war could bind them together . . . 

For three years of the War Between the States, Marlie Lynch has helped the cause in peace: with coded letters about anti-Rebel uprisings in her Carolina woods, tisanes and poultices for Union prisoners, and silent aid to fleeing slave and Freeman alike. Her formerly enslaved mother's traditions and the name of a white father she never knew have protected her--until the vicious Confederate Home Guard claims Marlie's home for their new base of operations in the guerilla war against Southern resistors of the Rebel cause.

Unbeknowst to those under her roof, escaped prisoner Ewan McCall is sheltering in her laboratory. Seemingly a quiet philosopher, Ewan has his own history with the cruel captain of the Home Guard, and a thoughtful but unbending strength Marlie finds irresistible.

When the revelation of a stunning family secret places Marlie's freedom on the line, she and Ewan have to run for their lives into the hostile Carolina night. Following the path of the Underground Railroad, they find themselves caught up in a vicious battle that could dash their hopes of love--and freedom--before they ever cross state lines.

Review

This is the second book in the series and it's very different in tone than the first book despite the outward similarities. This is the story of Ewan, Malcolm's brother (who is a soldier and interrogator for the Union) falling for Marlie, a free mixed race woman (spy for the Union and healer woman).

It's a very character focused story where the suspense elements are less prominent than in the first book. For me it read like an exploration of the human soul with its darkest, scariest corners but there was also light and hope there too.

Marlie comes from tradition of healers but she also believes in science and she pracitces a mixture of hoodoo beliefs and scientific approach to healing. She leads a sort of privilege, sheltered life, while still helping the Union in her own small way. Then her world gets turned upside down and she finds herself questioning her own identity, her place and role in life. She goes through a lot of change in order to come to accept and understand the past, to find room for dreams and hopes for the future.

Ewan is just as complex, his world is actually in turmoil though outwardly he appears calm and in control of his life. It's only towards the end we see more of his inner struggles when he truly opens to Marlie. I admit I was taken aback by the whole torture aspect and his ability to rationalise and justify it. I much more subscribe to her view of violence/torture as hurting you as much as it hurts the other person. I remain ambivalent toward the hero, all the violence he did and the way it comes so easy/naturally to him makes me hesitant to fully stand by him. 

As far as the romance is concerned, I really wanted more of it. They meet under difficult circumstance and most of their time together they are on the run, hiding, which is not perfect situation for a romantic affair to bloom, yet my issues with it were different. Marlie and Ewan feel strong physical attraction to each other and find pleasure and comfort in each other's company but also they are keeping a lot of secrets, never really admitting it all, never truly opening up to each other until the very end. Add to this the fact that they have massively different views (which they both change in the course of the story) and I feel they didn't truly connect for most of the book. Their intimate connection is only forged after they share their worst secrets, and there are some ugly and scary things that the war has brought to the fore.

That said, I loved the details of the world he author (re)created, the complexity and multilayered-ness of the society both in the South and in the North. This story strays far away from the familiar stereotypical stories about the Civil War. It shows a less idealised, more real picture of all ordinary people who lived through it and how it affected from the very their very physical corporeal existence to shaking and fully destroying their souls.

There is a minor detail having to do with fertility problems which really bothered me and I just can't let it go. It's personal thing and most readers wouldn't notice/pay attention to it but for it was big deal and affected my enjoyment of the story.

Overall, I liked the story, the focus on the issues of identity and what makes us who we are, how free/not-free everybody is wase interesting to read. The romance didn't quite work for me and I felt its resolution was rather rushed, it left me wanting more redemption of the hero and more independence for the heroine.

I remain pretty invested in this series as a whole and I'm looking forward towards the next installment, An Unconditional Freedom, coming out in 2018.

Purchase links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | B&N

Author Spotlight

Friday Favourites with Tamsen Parker

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I'm happy to have the lovely Tamsen Parker over today sharing her Friday Favourites and talking a bit about her latest book, Love on the Tracks,which was released earlier this week. It a mf romance between a female luger and a boy band lead singer. This is the first in a crossover series of 5 winter sports romances to come this winter.




1. Favourite place
I’m a New Englander at heart, I can’t really imagine living anyplace else for any length of time. That being said, I love to travel. New Orleans and Montreal are two of my favorite cities to visit. When I want to pretend reality’s not a thing, a long weekend in Las Vegas is nice—I don’t even gamble, I just like all the food, shows, spas…the whole place is a giant spectacle. Kauai is lovely, and I like going to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania at any time of year. Probably my favorite small place is a little church courtyard in Stockholm. There’s a tiny little statue called Järnpojke and I loved going to visit him, especially when I was having a bad day. He’s so tiny, and yet he brings people so much joy—reminds me that even when we feel small and helpless sometimes we can actually have a bigger impact than we think.    

2. Favourite food and drink
My favorite drinks are sweet Rieslings, gin cocktails, and pretty much anything with elderflower liquor in it. Food is so much harder! My favorite junk foods are Kit Kats (they disappear RAPIDLY from my desk, Idek where because I swear I didn’t eat that many) and Bugles (which I only get at airports to limit my consumption). I also really enjoy a good steak—which, if one more wait-person tries to give Mr. Parker my steak and pass his fish off on me? I’m going to start flipping tables. And after a childhood of loathing Brussel sprouts, they’re now one of my favorites. Also Kane’s doughnuts, pot roast, empanadas from this little place in Chicago that I get when I go see Amy Jo Cousins. Um, it’s possible I should’ve waited until after lunch to answer this question…

3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song
I tend to listen to my book playlists while I’m writing, so what I’m listening to shifts based on what I’m writing. But right now, I’m listening to a lot of stuff by The Head and The Heart, Lord Huron, Michael Kiwanuka, Alpha Rev, Leon Bridges, and Anderson East.

4. Favourite movie/TV series
Right now I’m watching mostly things I’ve seen before because I’m multitasking, and I watch a lot of kids movies because I have a six year old. Moana, The Avengers movies (especially Captain America), Star Wars, Wonder Woman are all on regular rotation. I love Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, BBC adaptations of Jane Austen novels, and I just watched Alias Grace which was really good but also profoundly disturbing. We’re also devotees of John Oliver, so Last Week Tonight is one of the few current shows I watch.

5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby
I’m a planner addict! Which means I have truly excessive amounts of washi tape and stickers in my office. I also collect Funko Pops, but only badass women figures. I like watching movies, and we have season tickets to the Boston Pride which is a women’s pro hockey team. When my friends and I aren’t just going out for dinner, we like to do artsy things like clay classes, paint nights, hand-lettering workshops, and our next adventure is a crash course in glass-blowing. And of course, I love to read.

6. Favourite books (feel free to list as many as you want; all-time favourites or newly released ones; grouped by sub/genre or other criteria)
Oh, this is a terrible/wonderful question to ask an author!

My auto-buy authors are KJ Charles, Rose Lerner, and Alyssa Cole, so pretty much everything by them makes the list.

The Subs Club series by JA Rock
Old School Discipline and Working Out the Kinks by Misha Horne
Off Campus (and pretty much everything else) by Amy Jo Cousins
Comfort Object by Annabel Joseph
The Comte by Edie Harris
The Fly Me to the Moon series by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner (with bonus points to Earth Bound, which just killed me)
Reawakening by Charlotte Stein
Wanderlust by Skye Warren
A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant
A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai

This is in no way exhaustive! I could keep going all day, but I should probably go take care of edits on the fifth SIG book…

7. Please introduce your latest/upcoming release (what inspired you to write, what can the readers expect from it, etc.)
Love on the Tracks is Book 1 in my new Snow and Ice Games series. I got the idea for the series when I was speaking to my editor at SMP Swerve, and she mentioned that she and her team had been talking about Michael Phelps (it was right after the summer Olympics). He’s been the dominant men’s swimmer in the world for a while now, but he got beat—and beat by Joseph Schooling, who’d met Michael Phelps when he was just a kid. Which, HI, does that not scream m/m romance? I thought it did. So I came up with a five book series and here we are.

Love on the Tracks is inspired by the super cute relationship between Simone Biles and Zac Efron. Theirs was platonic, but Love on the Tracks is basically about what might happen if it didn’t stay that way, and with a luger heroine and a boy band singer hero.

The Snow and Ice Games books are all coming out around the Winter Olympics so you won’t have to wait long for them (Love on the Tracks: 12/5, Seduction on the Slopes: 1/16, On the Edge of Scandal AND Fire on the Ice: 2/6, On the Brink of Passion: 3/6). They are category-length (~55k words) so they’re fast reads with the pulse pounding excitement people love about sports romance but with sports that don’t tend to get a lot of play—luge, slalom skiing, women’s hockey, figure skating, speed skating, and pairs figure skating. Also, you should know that Fire on the Ice is so dirty my editor had to stop reading it on the subway because it made her blush so hard.

I’m so excited to welcome everyone to the SIG snowglobe, thanks so much for reading! xoxo

Blurb

Welcome to the Snow and Ice Games where the competition is fierce and the romance is HOT.

Rowan Andrews is the unexpected darling of the Denver Snow and Ice Games. Luge has never captured the American public’s imagination as much as figure skating or even hockey, but her outsized personality and dare-devil ways have got everyone’s eyes glued to the track. Including a certain chart-topping heartthrob.

Zane Rivera is the lead singer of License to Game, the hottest band in the country. When Zane finds out Rowan Andrews has had some complimentary things to say about him, he arranges to meet her while he’s in Denver enjoying the games. And when a photo of him kissing Rowan on the cheek goes viral, they both see the advantages of faking a relationship for the publicity.

After Rowan’s injured in her final race, their relationship starts to feel all too real to Zane. But is this rock star ready to fall in love?

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Google Play / iBooks / Kobo




Author Bio and Links

Tamsen Parker is a stay-at-home mom by day, USA Today bestselling erotic romance writer by naptime. Her novella CRAVING FLIGHT was named to the Best of 2015 lists of Heroes and Heartbreakers, Smexy Books, Romance Novel News, and Dear Author. Heroes and Heartbreakers called her Compass series “bewitching, humorous, erotically intense and emotional.”

She lives with her family outside of Boston, where she tweets too much, sleeps too little and is always in the middle of a book. Aside from good food, sweet rieslings and gin cocktails, she has a fondness for monograms and subway maps. She should really start drinking coffee.

Social Media Links: Facebook / Reader Group / Twitter 



Contemporary Romance

Review: Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh

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Title: Cherish Hard (Hard Play #1)
Author: Nalini Singh
Date of publication: 14 Nov 2017
Genre: Contemporary romance 

Author's links:

My rating: 3 Stars


Blurb

Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.

Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.

And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.

As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart. 


Review

This was a nice and sweet story but I had some issues and in the end, there was nothing memorable about it.

Isa is young woman who longs for a family, looking for a balance between work/time with family/friends. Writing a heroine like her carries the risk of her being seen as a cliche and anti-feminist, yet she didn't read like either to me and I appreciated the effort Nalini Singh took in presenting a heroine like her in contemporary romance. Unfortunately, this is almost all I liked in her. She came off as too perfect, too caring, too much the opposite of her mother (who was the evil business woman absentee mother stereotype incarnate).

Sailor was an interesting hero, younger than Isa, focused on his career, passionate about his work and the people close to him. wants to give her everything she never had. He fell for Isa hard and fast and made it his mission to provide her with everything she was missing in her life and to convince her he is the right one for her. Unfortunately along with his tenderness and care and affection, he came off as too possessive, too protective, too certain she is the one for him. I'm ok with insta/meant-to-be romance in Nalini Singh's  shifter series, it makes sense to me re mates but in contemporary it bothers me. His conviction that she is  his from the get-go and he just needed to convince her of this fell off on many levels.

A common feature in all of this author's work which I like a lot is the ethnic diversity of her characters. Isa is half-Australian/half-Icelandic and her mixed cultural background was present in the story. I also very much appreciate the variety of family relationships we see in this story, biological and chosen family mix and balance each other.

There were some interesting family/friendship dynamics and the romance was very emotional and intense but none of it made the story stand out from any other contemporary romance out there.

Overall, I prefer Nalini Singh's paranormal romances to her contemporary ones which so far has been a hit or miss for me. I'm open to reading more in this series but I will definitely approach the next books with caution and lower expectations.

Purchase links: Amazon/ B&N / Kobo / iBooks

'Nathan Burgoine

Friday Favourites: 'Nathan Burgoine

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It's time for Friday Favourites and I'm extremely happy to have 'Nathan Burgoine, author of queer SFF and romance, over today. Read on to learn of his favourite things and because of the season they are all Holidays related. You can check out his latest release, Handmade Holidays, a m/m Christmas romance, which was released earlier this week by Nine Star Press and which I absolutely loved (my review)!



Friday Favourites with 'Nathan Burgoine

1. Favourite place
I know there are no “rules” to the Friday Favourites, but it’s snowing out right now, and given that I’m trying to get into the right mood for the holidays, I’m going to try to answer all of these with a winter or holiday bent. 

So: British Columbia, specifically the Okanagan Valley. When I lived there for a year, it was the most magical winter ever. I was in high school at the time, and made some of the best friendships I’d ever make, and between the mountains and the snow, it was just beautiful. 

2. Favourite food and drink
Once the snow starts to fall, it’s all about mugs of white hot chocolate after walking the Husky. I can’t have regular hot chocolate thanks to it triggering headaches, but a white hot with a dollop of Bailey’s? Winter perfection.

As for food… Hm. Y’know, it’s a total comfort food thing in Winter to have a bowl of chili and toasted bread that’s pretty much been made floppy with the amount of butter I’ve put on it. Especially, again, if I’ve just come back from thigh-deep snow with a bouncing Husky who is totally already pining for his next trip.

3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song
Once the snow starts, I kind of duck and cover and turn off the radio. After decades of working retail, it’s safe to say the vast majority of the holiday music out there leaves me, well, cold. But! There are a few. 

First, Sting’s “Soul Cake.” I love it, and it’s folksy. Finding the lesser-played songs get me through the holidays. Loreena McKennit’s winter albums, “December Will Be Magic Again,” by Kate Bush, “The Closing of the Year,” from the Toys soundtrack, “Christmas Wrapping,” by the Waitresses (the best Christmas carol ever, in case anyone’s asking), and—of course—The Pogues and Kristy MacColl’s “Fairytale of New York.”

4. Favourite movie/TV series
Keeping to my self-imposed winter theme? The Hogfather put on by the BBC was brilliant (the actress who played Mary in Downton Abbey plays Susan to perfection). I love everything about that series, and really, what’s not to love? Terry Pratchett meets Santa Claus. 

I also re-watch A Christmas Carol every year (the one with Alastair Sim, and the black and white version, thankyouverymuch). I try to pretend I don’t see the camera in the mirror, and when he does his dance and nearly-stand-on-his-head moment, I pretty much cackle with delight, no matter how much the season might be getting me down. 

5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby
During the holidays, baking comes to the forefront, as does snow-shoeing. The show-shoeing thing comes from the aforementioned Husky, who will happily bound through snow that’s up to his chest. I’m less happy about trodding through the stuff, so my snow-shoes help tremendously.

Baking, on the other hand, fills the house with lovely scents and helps me fill the “I’m always hungry!” that seems to come with the arrival of winter. Swiss Ginger Cookies, Pecan Points, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies, Lemon Squares… I’m not a good cook (I follow recipes and do so adequately), but I love baking, and have the knack. And there are enough social opportunities in winter that I can give away half of every batch or cake or what-have-you.

6. Favourite books 
I have a two-pronged attack for the holiday season when it comes to reading, and there’s a lot of re-reading, too. The first involves earbuds under my hat, hood, scarf, and winter coat: audiobooks. I have some go-to holiday titles. The Patrick Stewart performance of A Christmas Carol and Eli Easton’s Blame it on the Mistletoe (anything narrated by Jason Frazier is pretty much a one-click for me) get a re-listen every single year (I tend to save “Blame it on the Mistletoe” until I’m baking cookies, because the main character is super anti-sugar and I’m contrary like that), and I try out new queer audiobook holiday stories as I can find them. This year I bumped into Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles (another Eli Easton), and will no doubt find more.

On the physical book reading side, without fail I always revisit Becky Cochrane’s A Coventry Christmas, and then I try to find new queer holiday novellas to add to my collection. This year I bumped into Heart’s Alight, by Elliot Cooper (a lovely Hanukkah novella) and Sock it to Me, Santa! by Madison Parker (a cute, YA Christmas story). I also try out lots of anthologies, as it’s a great way to meet new authors, I love short fiction, and they’re bite-sized for a daily sit-down dose of holiday cheer. Upon a Midnight Clear, edited by Greg Herren, gets pulled out again year after year, but I’m always on the lookout for more.


Title: Handmade Holidays
Author: 'Nathan Burgoine
Genre: MM holiday romance

Purchase links: Publisher / Kobo / B&N / Amazon


Blurb

At nineteen, Nick is alone for the holidays and facing reality: this is how it will be from now on. Refusing to give up completely, Nick buys a Christmas tree, and then realizes he has no ornaments. A bare tree and an empty apartment aren’t a great start, but a visit from his friend Haruto is just the ticket to get him through this first, worst, Christmas. A box of candy canes and a hastily folded paper crane might not be the best ornaments, but it’s a place to start.

A year later, Nick has realized he’s not the only one with nowhere to go, and he hosts his first “Christmas for the Misfit Toys.” Haruto brings Nick an ornament for Nick’s tree, and a tradition—and a new family—is born.

As years go by, Nick, Haruto, and their friends face love, betrayal, life, and death. Every ornament on Nick’s tree is another year, another story, and another chance at the one thing Nick has wanted since the start: someone who’d share more than the holidays with him.

Of course, Nick might have already missed his shot at the one, and it might be too late.

Still, after fifteen Christmases, Nick is ready to risk it all for the best present yet. 


Author Bio and Links

'Nathan Burgoine grew up a reader and studied literature in university while making a living as a bookseller. He loves to write shorter fiction and has had dozens of short fiction pieces and two novellas published. His first novel, Light, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. Since then, he's written two more: Triad Blood and Triad Soul; all three are available from Bold Strokes Books. A cat lover, 'Nathan managed to fall in love and marry Daniel, who is a confirmed dog person. Their ongoing "cat or dog?" détente ended with the adoption of Coach, a six-year old husky. They live in Ottawa, Canada, where their tree is full of ornaments.


Flickr Images