Snow and Winter Series by CS Poe with a winner Rose

29759618I discovered C.S. Poe‘s “Snow and Winter” Series after I read, “Joy” a novella she recently published with Dreamspinner press. I  really liked “Joy” and as one does, upon discovering a good “new to me” author I went looking for a back list. What I discovered were two recently published mystery novels, “The Mystery of Nevermore” and “The Mystery of the Curiosities”.  The heroes of the stories are, crotchety New York City antiques dealer Sebastian Snow and closeted NYPD Detective Calvin Winter. These two are adorable together, and kept me on my toes with all the trouble they got into and boy, could they accumulate the dead bodies! I loved both books and I am glad to hear there will be more from Snow and Winter in the future.

Before I get into further into the books, let’s talk wine. I had gone back and forth between a strong red or something else for this post, mostly because the stories are set in a NYC winter and red goes quite well with the bone splitting cold that NYC can serve up during that season. However, as I was browsing one of regular wine purchasing spots, I found that Dark Horse Wines has a come out with a rose, and the label reads “Dry.Bright.Crisp.”, how cold I pass that up? It basically sums up Sebastian Snow in three words! Now I love me some Dark Horse and this rose is as delicious, as the label says it is. Crisp, very bright, great flavor, and a bottle goes for $9.99. I will be getting more bottles of this over the summer for sure!

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Now the books! C.S. Poe is a Josh Lanyon fan, and that comes through in the stories. I would not go as far as calling them an homage to the “Adrien English Series”, but those of us who are staunch fans of Jake and Adrien, will be hit with a bit of nostalgia when reading Calvin and Sebastian’s romance. That is as far as it goes though, these novels stand very solidly on their own, and they are full of curious and interesting little twists that make them quite unique.

In the first novel of the series, “The Mystery of Nevermore”, we meet our heroes Sebastian and Calvin when they are thrust into a bizarre murder mystery with a serial killer who seems to have an unnatural obsession with Edgar Allan Poe. Sebastian is NOT a professional when it come to solving murders, but this minor detail does not slow him down in the slightest, much to Calvin’s chagrin.  He is out to get himself killed trying to figure out this puzzle, and he does let a few near death experiences deter him from that end!

These two are hilarious and very intense together, and as much as the stories have a high content of humor and geeky cuteness, also C.S. Poe brings some serious matters into her story and does them quite well. Severe trauma in romance/mystery is something that is used freely in the genre, and yet it is done well VERY seldom. I think C.S. does a commendable job of rendering the effects of trauma and what PTSD looks like. Calvin and Sebastian have a lot to overcome if they want to be together, and C.S. Poe by giving us an authentic outlook of what that may entail, gives us a love story that feels a lot more genuine.

In the second novel, “The Mystery of the Curiosities”, is another twisty mystery where we are regaled with an infinite amount of obscure information about the business of the curious and macabre. I thought this story was highly entertaining, if a bit bloodthirsty, then again if I wanted tame, I would not go for the murder mysteries right?! In this story, we get deeper into Calvin and Sebastian’s lives, we learn more about them, and get a better sense of how things are between them. We also get more of some of their supporting cast of characters, Sam the shop assistant (hopefully Sebastian’s sidekick in future stories!), as well as Pop, who really is a gem of a parent. All in all I loved both books and want a lot more of all these characters in hopefully the not so distant future!

I HIGHLY recommend these novels, and suggest you got get them if you have not read them yet.

You can buy one or both books in Snow and Winter Series HERE.

You can read more about C.S. Poe HERE.

Happy Monday everyone, Cheers and Happy Reading!




Interview: Josh Lanyon chats about Fair Chance and Washington State Wines

Hello Again!

I have so many MANY reviews pending for you! Will have  a lot of stuff in the next couple of weeks. First up, the always amazing, Josh Lanyon has stopped by for a glass of W, and a chat about her latest release, the final novel in the All’s Fair Trilogy, Fair Chance. In this thrilling final installment we visit again with Elliot, Tucker, Rollie and of course The Sculptor. I have loved reading this series, and as much as I hate to say goodbye, this novel was a very satisfying end to it. The mystery was top notch, and Elliot and Tucker were fantastic.

Before I go to the interview, of course have to talk about what wine you should be looking for to pair with this delicious book. I chose a Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blend from Washington State winemakers Charles & Charles. These wines are produced in the Columbia Valley, and I have yet to have a bad bottle, they are also very affordable, this bottle goes for a bout $11.99, to total deal. The wine is bold, spicy and highly drinkable, if you find it, get more than one bottle!

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So, back to the book. If you have been in the gay romance game for any amount of time, you almost certainly have read Josh Lanyon, and know that when it comes to mysteries, she sets the standard. Fair Chance completely lives up to that. I loved this story, because even three books in, she managed to build on the arc of the past two novels, and delivered a fresh mystery, as well as whole new point of view in our heroes’ love story. As always dialogue and characters were on point, and all in all, I wish we could have Elliot and Tucker coming back to us forever.

I had some questions for Josh on the book, and of course on wines…She was kind enough to oblige, SO without further ado, here is my Happy Hour Chat with Ms. Lanyon:

TTB: Josh! Thanks for visiting and welcome. So, they’ll be back right?

JS: Maybe in a coda. But the story of Elliot and Tucker is now complete. 😊

TTB: May I ask why you decided to stick with Corian throughout the series? There was certainly enough there to keep us very interested, but it is not your usual approach.

JS: All’s Fair is the first deliberate, conscious trilogy I’ve written. Up until now it’s either been sequels or full on series. The demands of a trilogy are a little different, in that there has to be a clean, tight storyline connecting all three books. It’s a short, intense journey from book I through book III—with compact, structured character and plot arcs.

You’ll see something similar happen in the Art of Murder trilogy, though I don’t want to give too much away. 😉

TTB: Other than Tucker and Elliot, of course, my favorite character in the series was Rollie. Who was your favorite character to write in the series?

JS: It’s hard not to love Rollie in these days of anti-intellectualism and the rise of the alt-right. He’s a difficult and complicated character—probably the most complex character in the trilogy. He’s got such an interesting history—possibly the most interesting history of any supporting cast member I’ve written. I love that readers are really split when it comes to Elliot’s pop. He rubs some people the wrong way, but that’s not a bad thing when you’re hoping to create a memorable character. 😉

TTB: Now as you know other than the books, this blog is about food and wine. For this story I had thought of doing a cocktail but then found a bottle of my favorite Washington State winery Charles & Charles and decided to go with that. Do you have any favorite Washington made wines?

JS: I am astonished to find that I don’t seem to be familiar with any Washington wines. Oregon, yes. But as I was studying wine lists for Washington (because, yes, I’m also a wine geek) I saw two I would love to try based on label alone. 😊

Long Shadows Poet’s Leap Riesling Columbia Valley 2008 and Sleight of Hand Cellars The Archimage Walla Walla Valley 2007. Granted these are both getting a bit long in the tooth now, but still.

TTB: One last question, so we learned what Tucker’s favorite meal was in this story, can you tell me what would be Elliot’s favorite thing to come home to after a hard day at work?

JS: For Elliot it would not be so much what he ate as what he cooked. He’s got a healthy appetite, and he loves pizza and seafood, but he’s not someone who gives a lot of thought to his meals. He does find it relaxing to cook, and particularly to cook for Tucker.


That is all for today folks, thanks again to Josh for the interview and insight into the series. If you have not read this series yet, please do, you will not regret it.

Cheers and Happy Reading!