Shiny Things – a Thanksgiving Read

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays I watch in movies and think ‘well, that looks nice’ and then I move on with my life without sparing it much more thought. This year, I thought I’d read a story for Thanksgiving – we do it for Halloween and Christmas so why not Thanksgiving? Well, maybe because people are too busy eating turkey or for the fact that Thanksgiving stories are pretty hard to come by. I spent quite some time looking for a Thanksgiving book I wanted to read and I’m sad to say nothing really caught my interest, but then I remembered Shiny Things by Amy Spector.

If you think Amy Spector is all horror and blood and gore you’re wrong. Shiny Things is a gentle new adult romance.  I loved it when I read it in 2014. Back then I didn’t know Amy Spector and everything with writing was new and shiny and rather scary. The story made me cry then and I thought maybe it wouldn’t now, but I got quite emotional while reading it this morning.

Shiny Things is about Nathaniel who’s father kicked him out when he found out he was gay and Vincent, the boy who got him kicked out. It’s Thanksgiving ten years later and these boys, now young men, meet again. Vincent is the owner of a gallery and Nathaniel is there to renovate said gallery.

There is one scene when Nathaniel is watching the paintings in the gallery and sits down to talk to the artist that had me sobbing – both in 2014 and now – it’s just a few lines but it’s enough to stir my emotions.

If you haven’t read it, you should! Shiny Things is part of the Boughs of Evergreen anthology and the proceed from that anthology goes to the Trevor Project.

Book Cover Shiny Things by Amy SpectorA story from Boughs of Evergreen: A Holiday Anthology

At sixteen, Nathaniel Avery was shipped off to live with an aunt in hopes of quelling a budding relationship between him and another boy. Ten years later, a frantic call from his younger brother and his father’s failing health, brings him back home.

Just weeks before Thanksgiving and the most important day in Vincent Cooke’s career, he nearly collides with the grown version of the boy he never really forgot.

Will a gallery renovation, the holiday season and the art of a mad genius help them to rebuild a friendship and rekindle a romance?

What sharp teeth you have!

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It’s October—the month of monsters! Do you have a favourite monster? I do. About ten years ago I read every vampire story (mostly PNR) I could get my hands on. This went on for a while so, in the end, I grew a little tired of tall, dark and deadly and started mixing it up a little. But as the nights grow darker I find myself wanting back to the time when I curled up on the sofa and read a novel a day, most often one including sharp fangs tearing through delicate skin.

But where are the gay vampires?

I know there are tonnes of M/M vampire stories out there, and maybe I haven’t read the right ones. Maybe I grew a little tired of these evil hotties even before I started reading M/M. Maybe, just maybe, the gay vampires are too busy having sex to actually take part in a rememberable plot.

I don’t mean to criticise, not really, but when I think of vamps, the books popping up in my mind aren’t M/M. I’m thinking of Black Dagger Brotherhood (yeah, I know one book in there is an M/M but it’s the weakest in the series in my opinion), Anita Blake, Nighthuntress, Sookie Stackhouse, Chicagoland Vampires, Guildhunter, I even think of Twilight before I think of an M/M story—though that’s probably more because of well-done marketing than a rememberable plot.

garlic, vampie repellent
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So where are the gay vampires? I scrolled through my read list to see which books I’d forgotten because some pale hunk must have swept me off my feet these last years. There must have been someone, right? Nah, not really.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Jordan Castillo Price‘s Channeling Morpheus series but, as much as Wild Bill drags me in, the stories have little to offer outside the bedroom activities. I really liked Winter Winds by Missouri Dalton about Cillian the deaf vampire. And let’s not forget Harvey Feng in the Sanguine series by Harper Lou. You have to love a cross-dressing, vegetarian vampire. Among the favourites, I also have to mention Jordan L. Hawk’s Hunter of Demons. I’ve only read the first in the SPECTR series but I so loved Gray.

I’m still missing a gay vampire snagging and managing to keep my attention, though. I miss desperately searching for the next book in a series. I miss not being able to put the book down until the dreaded ‘The End’ stares back at me.

Which vampire books should I read?


Chain of Secrets | Debbie McGowan

Book COver Chain of Secrets by Debbie McGowanLast but far from least in the Love Unlocked anthology we have Chain of Secrets by Debbie McGowan. This sweet, gentle read made me aware of there being something out there called love hearts sweets—we do not have them here in Sweden, or I have at least never seen them. There’s this cute little game Josh and George play in the story with love hearts that made me smile.

Cover Design by Debbie McGowan


Josh and George have always shared the special bond of friendship. From days in primary school, to holidays spent riding their bikes along the canal, theirs is a promise to remain best friends forever.

But can that promise withstand the trials of adolescence, and the changes in their feelings towards each other?

NOTE: this is a fully stand-alone story, but it contains significant spoilers for anyone reading the Hiding Behind The Couch series, and should be read after The Harder They Fall (season three).



They stopped, chained their bikes together and collected their sweets and drinks before they clambered up the concrete slope. They often had a rest under this viaduct. Not that he’d told Josh, but George liked to think it was their secret place that no-one else ever came to. It wasn’t special, just a road over the canal. But it got them out of the sun, and it was a good place to rest up before they rode the last mile home.

For a few minutes, they lay on their backs, catching their breath and cooling down. Josh reached into the bag of sweets, pulled out two lollipops, and held one out to George. Sitting up straighter, George took the lollipop, and Josh settled back, with his hands behind his head and his knees up, using the traction of his shoes to stop himself from sliding down the slope. He rolled the lollipop around, and the stick slid from one side of his mouth to the other.

George was transfixed. The stick switched sides again. A car rumbled overhead. The sugar left a glossy coating on Josh’s lips, and George wondered what they would taste like, how it would feel to press his lips to Josh’s and…kiss him. George’s heart was hammering in his chest at the thought. He wanted to kiss Josh, more than anything else. He wanted to taste the lollipop on his lips, lick the stickiness away. He wanted it so much he couldn’t stop watching the stick bobbing. He could just reach over and snatch that stick, pluck the sweet from Josh’s mouth, and kiss him.

Josh looked at him in puzzlement. Had he said something?

“Huh?” George asked. His cheeks were burning. The moment had passed, and for now the desperate urge to kiss Josh was lost.

George replayed that moment all the way home, and for days, weeks, months afterwards. He couldn’t seem to get the thought out of his head. He had wanted to kiss Josh. He still wanted to kiss him. Did he know? Could he tell what George was thinking?


At Ellie’s house, Josh got out of the limousine and gasped at the sight of his friend in her beautiful, long blue dress. She smiled and blinked back tears. Three years of fighting bulimia, and counting. Josh could see the pain, hidden behind her flawless make-up and slight yet shapely figure. Another item to add to the list of things that must not be allowed to ruin what might be their last night out together, forever.

Josh waited for Ellie to settle into her seat and sat next to her. He could feel George watching him. The finality of the occasion threatened to overwhelm him, and he waited until George’s attention had shifted before glancing his way.

George. His best friend. The boy with the bubble of blonde hair, the little ruffian with the rusty bike.

George. The tall, handsome eighteen-year-old, star footballer with his own horse.


Lifting the champagne flute to his lips, George tilted his head back to take some of the fizzy golden liquid into his mouth. He met Josh’s gaze, swallowed and smiled. A concerned smile. Josh smiled back. Suddenly, the enormous car was too small, the cooled air was too warm, George was too close, too…beautiful. How had he never noticed before?


You’ll find TChain of Secrets here:

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Cover Love UnlockedLove Unlocked is a collection of seven short stories and novellas – unique LGBTQ romances inspired by the Love Lock Bridge.

The Trap by Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Writer’s Lock by Victoria Milne
Locked in the Moment by Dawn Sister
The Weekend by J P Walker
The Scarlet Lock by Caraway Carter
He Melted Us by Ofelia Gränd
Chain of Secrets by Debbie McGowan

You’ll find Love Unlocked here:

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