Mascara & Bandages by Brandon Witt

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mascara & Bandages: by Brandon Witt
Series: Mary’s Boys #3
Release Date: July 12th, 2017
Pages: 121 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Ariel Merman is a new drag queen who’s already finding a family at Hamburger Mary’s. After a performance as Ariel, Zachary Cooper walks home in his makeup and is assaulted by homophobes. Zachary’s worry that the attack has thrown a wrench in his good fortune is eased when he looks into the eyes of his doctor.

Dr. Teegan Chau is a little lost after divorcing his wife and coming out of the closet, but he can’t deny the pull he feels toward the young man he patches up. Luckily, Zachary takes the initiative and asks Teegan out. But attraction is the easy part of their blossoming relationship—as they deal with an ex-wife and child, being a drag queen in a heteronormative culture, Zachary’s lingering trauma from his attack, and Teegan acclimating to life as part of an out-and-proud gay couple.

The challenges seem daunting at the start of a romance. Can Zachary and Teegan make it through the rough patches and take a chance on the love that’s been missing from both their lives?

three-half-stars

Left wanting more. That is my initial thought after reading this. I didn’t feel like it was finished at all. Felt like it left off in the middle of the story except it ended. I enjoyed this a little bit more then book 2 in the series. It starts off with a brutal attack. Both guys kinda deal with heavy life choices in this book. I do enjoy reading Witt’s writing because I always get the most vulnerable and realistic feelings while reading his work. I love that he puts so much emotion into his writing and character development. My only downfall is that this book ended about 50 pages to short.

Zachary is alone. He’s young, both parents are gone, and his own redemption is being Ariel Merman. While being Ariel Merman, Zachary’s insecurities and self-esteem is completely gone. He doesn’t have to think of his life, he doesn’t have to think of his future, he just has to let Ariel take over and enjoy it for the time being. He’s attacked and its left all his doubts, fears and insecurities come swimming to the surface. The only plus is meeting Dr. Teegan Chau. He’s a gay man, but not out and proud. Instead he’s swimming through murky waters since coming out to the people that matter a few years ago. The plus side is a boulder is lifted off his shoulders. He can live his truths and care for the people most important in his life.

I did like the two of them together. It was nice to see the relationship grown on page. I liked the nervous energy that each guy had. It is super new for the both of them, and I liked the realness of it. I could see these two being something in the future. I think with each other’s personality they work well together.

Its really no surprise that I liked this story. I do enjoy Witt’s writing alot. I love the series and can’t wait for more. I think if you love reading about real problems, guys persevering, and falling in love then picking up the Mary Boys books shouldn’t be an issue. Its a recommend for this series.

signature-fonts

About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Vodka & Handcuffs by Brandon Witt

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Vodka & Handcuffs: by Brandon Witt
Series: Mary’s Boys #2
Release Date: April 26th, 2017
Pages: 112 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.

Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.

Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force.

Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?

three-stars

Yeah, Bunk that’s exactly how I feel.

I took a few days off from writing my initial thoughts and feelings for this book. The blurb and the Vahin had me really excited to read his book. I liked him a lot in book one. My rating is very generous because I like the author, and know how great his stories can be. This was a total letdown for me. I feel cheated because they couldn’t even build up to a relationship without all the outside interrupting them. Some might classify this as a HFN, but I can not. They spend literally a blink of eye together, and it was nothing that I read that seemed like they connected. It was not good. There, I said it.

I enjoyed Vahin as a character in book one, but in this book he kinda seems lost. I guess that has to do with his past playing heavy on his mind. I don’t know if it took away from his character, but it definitely posed a bigger mystery to him? I thought it would be some resolution for him at the end since his past was presence so much, but it was none. I don’t know how to write this when I feel like pieces of the story were so disjointed.

Marlon, Marlon Marlon. Why?? Two people of color as main characters and their story was not good. I don’t really get Marlon. I guess he never seemed into Vahin. I felt like Witt forced them together, I didn’t feel the steam, love, lust or any connection between the two. Marlon had to deal with his horrible partner as a Denver Police Officer. One could ask why he is still a beat cop at 38, but that just randomly flew out of my head. Kudos to Witt writing some realism in this story. He always is able to deliver some realistic fiction in his stories. The subject is very much true and happening so prevalent in this day and age.

It had a few funny laughs, but nothing to wow me about the book. I really wish it was light hearted, smutty with this side of drama like book one, but I digress. I’ll still read Witt’s forthcoming book. This just didn’t work for me.

 

signature-fonts

About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Nachos & Hash by Brandon Witt

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Nachos & Hash: by Brandon Witt
Series: Mary’s Boys #1
Release Date: January 25th, 2017
Pages: 105 • Format:eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Darwin Michaels is living his dreams in the Mile High City. While Denver offers the perfect job, scrumptious dining, and whirlwind dating options, Darwin is losing hope he’ll find the right man to spark his interest for more than a one-night stand—until he sets eyes on Cody Russell.

Cody has just accomplished his life’s goal—get the hell out of Kansas. In one fell swoop, he lands a job at Hamburger Mary’s and gets a newfound family and the chance to be with other gay people! All that’s missing is someone special. But when Darwin shows his interest, Cody is sure it’s too good to be true. After all, what can Darwin possibly see in the high school dropout serving him nachos?

As Darwin falls in love, Cody struggles to realize his worth. When his past threatens the fragile life he is building, Cody spirals into a moment of dark desperation. But Darwin is determined to show Cody that love and family and home are there for him… will Cody accept what is offered?

four-stars

 

Nachos & Hash is a really good start to a series. Feel like this is one of Witt’s more lighter reads, but the tears were still there. He didn’t go to far. It was light-hearted I guess because of the MC’s being so young. 21 & 24 and trying to navigate what they both want out of one another. Nachos & Hash brings both guys from small Midwestern cities together at place in their life when they need someone.

Darwin & Cody were really adorable together. I really liked them a lot. Cody!!! I just want to re-brain him. Show him what love looks like, feels like, and what it means to be cared for. His parents did him no favors in life. They didn’t show him any love, care, or compassion. I really just wanted to hug him, and take him refugee into my home. Well, I didn’t really need to. Darwin did a great job with his patience, his teachings, and his love for Cody.

Of course its hardships in this book, it wouldn’t be a Witt book without be blubbering crying somewhere. Instead, it was as real as it can be. Darwin wants to settle down, and he’s young but he’s ready. Cody doesn’t have any idea what a relationship is or pertains. His entire sexual experience is one-offs, cars, trucks, rest stops. He has no idea about intimacy, cuddling, and just being around someone for the heck of it.

At the worst of times when his happiness is threaten he does a bad thing. It was heartbreaking to see that that was his only way out. It was hard to see him hurt like that, and instead of reaching out to the family that he has made for himself in Denver he decided to let his inner thoughts and demons get the best of him. It hit me harder then I expected it. I mean throughout the book it was kinda carefree, and sweet that Cody needed all this reassuring on what to expect out of a relationship. His self esteem was basically low, and he put on this facade to other people so they won’t notice the pain. Here’s where Witt’s talent truly comes into play. He knows how to craft a scene and evoke these emotions out of us. I loved the cast of characters in this story, I love the outcome of the story. I would have really liked to see Darwin’s family make a visit or some epilogue with them just so Cody can realize what he had wasn’t normal.

It was rapid them falling in love, but when you are that age it’s easy. Trust me, your inhibitions are lowered, and its easy to fall super hard and super fast. Nothing wrong with wanting forever at this age. Just make sure you put forward your best effort if you expect the same to you. The characters were great, and loved seeing Mandonna again. Ooh wait until Vahin’s book is up. I truly Brandon’s work and he’s a super sweet person. Definitely a recommend!

About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Teddy Bears by Brandon Witt

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

teddy-bearsTeddy Bears: by Brandon Witt
Series: 2016 Advent Calendar-Bah Humbug
Release Date: December 1st, 2016
Pages: 47 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Other than working the front desk of a gay bathhouse in Denver, Brian McKay is a bit of a recluse. At the best of times, his social life consists of work, role-playing games at a local toyshop, and making YouTube videos with his Teddy Bear hamsters. The arrival of the holidays—with the annoying music, Christmas shopping, and all the reminders of how he disappointed his father—just reinforces his reclusive nature.

When James Olsen, a gorgeous daddy bear who frequents the bathhouse, notices him, Brian is at a loss. He’s not proud of his own bear status or his struggle with weight. The idea that James has interest in him beyond an easy hookup is more than Brian can fathom. But with a little bit of holiday magic, James might help Brian learn to accept Christmas again—and himself.

four-stars

I think this sums up what James means to Brian.

I really adored this story. I love the feeling you get when reading this story. Teddy Bears is such an adorable, feel good story. Acceptance plays a major theme in this story. I love how quirky Brian is. I love how unapologetic James wants him to be. It was really good. I also love that they are both over 40!!! I wouldn’t mind re-visiting these two in the future. I definitely need to see what shenanigans is Phillip up to. The whole bathhouse madness, bathhouse Santa, Angel & Spike plus whatever else is going on in town needs to be shared with the masses.

Brian McKay isn’t a grouch per say, but he doesn’t like Christmas. It stems from parents who didn’t listen to a thing their children wanted or was like for Christmas. Sure it’s not about the presents, but Brian just wanted something that would show his personality. Fast forward all these years later and he’s doing things he wants to do. He and his hamster star in their own web series! I freaking love this. He works at a Bathhouse where he meets a sexy Daddy Bear named James Alan Olsen. I really liked James. I think his confidence was able to slither onto Brian. Brian isn’t so secure with his body and things, and James likes him for who he is helps him a lot. I thought the pacing of the story was good, and the writing was spot on. It was a little teary eyed from me a time or two.  I would definitely recommend this Holiday story to people. It’s very sweet, comforting, and relatable as well. Brandon does an amazing job!

About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Son of Money by Brandon Witt

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

son-of-moneySon of Money by Brandon Witt
Release Date: July 11, 2016
Pages: 284 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

Randall Morgan, youngest son of one of Seattle’s wealthiest families, rejected his family’s money to live free of their control and pursue his career as a photographer. To make ends meet, Randall does erotic photography and massage—a secret he keeps from his family so he can remain a part of his young niece’s life. But the price of that relationship is high, and Randall is once more slipping under his family’s thumb.

Noah Carroll is the spokesperson for the Seattle Humane Society, and the city holds a special place in his heart. When fate intervenes during a pet adoption, Noah finds himself face-to-face with his first love—Randall.

While Noah and Randall are not the teenagers they once were, the flame of a first kiss long ago draws them together. Their romance is beginning to grow, but someone is out to destroy Randall and expose all he keeps hidden.

When secrets and rumors thrust Randall into the public eye, his relationship with Noah isn’t the only thing that comes under threat.

two-half-stars

 

This is my exasperated face. I think I’m more upset that I had to give this lower rating to an author I like. Brandon Witt is such a sweet person, and unfortunately it wouldn’t be fair to whoever reads the blog for me to lie about my rating. Sure I could give him 5 stars for being an amazing person, but it doesn’t negate the fact that I disliked everything but the dogs and Noah in this story.

I don’t do well with the rich family and holding people hostage tropes. Meaning, I’m so over the fact that grown adults are under the thumb of their parents for money. This was different, Randall turned his family down, so why didn’t he have a back bone? Why is it okay for a 35 yr old to have every aspect of his life controlled? It pissed me off big time, and as soon as I knew that was the way it was going it kinda turned me off from the rest of the story. I mean, he said he turned down the money, but it didn’t seem that way. The entire scandal was so OTT. The Steward situation bothered me big time. Randall gave up. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

UGh!!! I liked Noah big time. He’s my kind of guy. What I didn’t like was the way they kinda fell into the relationship. I figured you haven’t seen him for over 10 years, and people changed. To automatically try to get that kid love back was juvenile in my mind. I would have like to see them work up to a connection with one another. I would liked it to have been super slow, and I would have liked Randall to grow a pair, and stand up for himself.

This just didn’t work for me. As much as I love Brandon Witt, I just couldn’t connect and deal with it. I am looking forward to more of his work though.

About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Guest Post: Brandon Witt – Son of Money

 

SonofMoney_FBbanner_DSP

Oh My Shelves welcomes author Brandon Witt back to the blog with his latest release – Son of Money, out Monday, July 11, 2016 from Dreamspinner Press – to share with us an excerpt from the book that is part over the top, part endearing and all sorts of the classic writing we have come to love from Mr. Witt.

Don’t miss the backlist giveaway too!

* * * * * *

Part of what I greatly enjoyed in writing Son of Money were some of the over-the-top moments.  In many ways, the book is sort of soap opera in feel and in tone.  From moments of arguments of a wealthy family to hidden secrets to suspicion and drama.  But there are the opposite sort of moments as well.  Where there is sweetness, love, and humor.

One of the scenes that I knew I’d write even before the entire plot had been developed was a disguise-laden tour of Seattle’s Pike Place Market.  That location is one of my happy places, and it seemed to be the perfect location for Randall to find some of his joy once more.  In this scene, Randall has been in hiding for several days due to public accusations going around the city.  Finally, his love interest, Noah, had enough and put his foot down, demanding Randall start to take control of his own life once more. He thought of a clever and funny, and fairly ridiculous, way to get Randall out and about without the fear of humiliation. Or at least without being recognized…..

* * * * * *

I stared at the two wigs laid out on the hotel bedspread. Harper emerged from her place under the covers to sniff them.

He had to be kidding. It was a truly horrible joke. Granted, I hadn’t noticed Noah had a poor sense of humor, but maybe I’d been blinded by the great sex. Now that we hadn’t slept together again for a bit, I was seeing his humor for what it really was.

“I got these too.” I looked up at the sound of his voice, seeing him hold out two pairs of glasses. One with thick, dark rims, the other with wire-and-tortoiseshell frames. “I thought the black ones would go well with the dark wig. The wire with the red one.”

“You’re serious? I mean, you can’t be, but you are.”

Noah’s grin was hesitant. “Yeah. I’m serious. You need to be out and about in a place you love, and you need to feel safe doing it.”

I picked up the auburn wig, which was short enough for a typical man’s haircut, but long enough to have a bit of curl to it. “And no one is supposed to be able to recognize us in bad hair and fake glasses? Just because it worked for Superman, doesn’t mean it will in real life.”

“Yes, it will. Despite how you feel, you’re not as famous as Superman. I bet you could walk around as yourself for a little bit before someone notices. And with these, no one will. Plus Superman didn’t have a wig.”Journey to Seattle. You'll find more than just coffee...

“Why didn’t you go all the way and get women’s wigs? I could have gone full drag.”

He sniggered. “Randall, the idea is to blend in. And as pretty as you are, you would make one hideous woman, and people would definitely be staring.”

I glared at him. “And two wigs? Am I supposed to switch halfway through the day, throw people off?”

“No. Whichever one you don’t want is for me.”

“Why? People aren’t going to recognize you.” I grimaced at my stupid comment that showed how self-absorbed I really was. He was nearly as likely to be recognized as me.

If my words bothered him, Noah didn’t let on. “It will be fun. We’ll do it together. It will be like we’re playing dress-up.”

“We are playing dress-up.”

He narrowed his eyes. “You know what I mean. Now, which do you want? Black or redhead?”

“I’m not going to—”

“I thought you said you trusted me.” There was the hurt. Just a touch of it, but enough to pull at my heart.

I let out a frustrated sigh. “I’ll be the redhead. With your tan you’d look ridiculous.”

He grinned. “Great! I was hoping you’d say that. I like these glasses.” He shoved the thick frames on his face.

“Yep. Ridiculous.”

“Whatever. We need some ridiculous. At least in a good way.” Noah tossed me the wire-and-tortoiseshell glasses. “Let’s walk the dogs and then leave them here for a bit. I want breakfast, and you’ve always bragged about the French place.”

“Le Panier?”
He shrugged. “Sure. Whatever it’s called. Let’s just get there.”

 

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt and that you’ll loose yourself in all the wonder Seattle has to offer in my novel Son of Money, out July 11.

 


son-of-moneySon of Money by Brandon Witt
Release Date: July 11, 2016
Pages: 284 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

Randall Morgan, youngest son of one of Seattle’s wealthiest families, rejected his family’s money to live free of their control and pursue his career as a photographer. To make ends meet, Randall does erotic photography and massage—a secret he keeps from his family so he can remain a part of his young niece’s life. But the price of that relationship is high, and Randall is once more slipping under his family’s thumb.

Noah Carroll is the spokesperson for the Seattle Humane Society, and the city holds a special place in his heart. When fate intervenes during a pet adoption, Noah finds himself face-to-face with his first love—Randall.

While Noah and Randall are not the teenagers they once were, the flame of a first kiss long ago draws them together. Their romance is beginning to grow, but someone is out to destroy Randall and expose all he keeps hidden.

When secrets and rumors thrust Randall into the public eye, his relationship with Noah isn’t the only thing that comes under threat.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

SonofMoney_headerbanner (1)

About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Under a Sky of Ash by Brandon Witt

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

UnderaSkyofAshLGUnder a Sky of Ash by Brandon Witt
Release Date: March 21, 2016
Pages: 270 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

More than an decade after leaving Colorado to attend college and escape his past, Isaiah Greene moves back and builds a life in Denver as a special education teacher. When he meets Ben Woods, the mentor of one of his students, the attraction is immediate. The revelations that they’ve both suffered traumatic childhoods form a bond between them.
Raised by an abusive grandmother, Ben is a recovering addict who has made a family with his construction worker boss, Hershel, and Hershel’s husband, Daniel—drag queen ManDonna. Adding Isaiah to his life gives Ben a glimpse of a future he’d never dreamed possible for himself.
Both Isaiah and Ben are survivors, but when guilt drives a wedge between them, the past threatens to end their relationship.
Ben and Isaiah embark on journeys of self-discovery. Though their path will be difficult at times, humor and love find a way to bring light to the darkness.

three-stars

Reading this story was a little eye-opening with the way that relationships come about. Isaiah and Ben must have been destined to be together. Two guys who went through equally traumatizing things at a young age come together for love and happiness. This is my second Brandon Witt book to date. I’m just learning his style and word play I guess. I really enjoyed two of the supporting couples a lot. Hershel and ManDonna were amazing characters, and I loved every minute they were on page. I can say now that I don’t know how I feel about Ben & Isaiah individually. Especially Isaiah, I know what he went through, and how he is now, I don’t think after 12% I really connected with him. I understand Ben and I get his actions on the decisions he made later on in life. I get at 25 why he’s a recovering addict and I get him fighting for his sobriety each and every day.

This story dealt with a lot of things, self discovery being one of the biggest thing. I don’t think Isaiah discovered his true self, maybe in time it would tell. I would have loved Isaiah to have some peace for himself. I’m not sure the guilt of his childhood would ever allow him to show his true self whoever that is. I will say I do like him with Ben, he might be the normalcy Ben yearns for. I did like seeing Ben in his big brother glory. He might be a little unpolished when it comes to being a parental figure, but just him attempting and trying was so worth it.

When the past comes out it’s like a stabbing motion in my chest. I didn’t know what it meant for Ben or Isaiah. So much happens over their shared past it’s hard to see the outcome for these two. I really liked how the author wrote those scenes. They definitely needed to figure out their things by themselves. I literally hated Ben’s grandmother. It was sickening seeing her treating Ben like that. I don’t really know how I feel about Isaiah’s parents. Maybe it was their way of handling the situation, but it’s a scary situation to be in. I just wanted Isaiah to yell, punch, and break stuff. I felt like he needed an outlet. This was a good read for me. Emotional at times, happy at others, and definitely a positive outcome by the end. I’m starting to enjoy Brandon Witt’s writing.

About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Guest Post: Brandon Witt

UnderSkyofAsh_headerbanner

Oh My Shelves welcomes author Brandon Witt to the blog , to talk about his new release, Under a Sky of Ash – releasing from Dreamspinner Press Monday, March 21, 2016 – and keeping a balance of true to life drama, angst, and conflict in his stories. 

* * * * * *

“If I put that in a book, people would say that it’s too over the top and too dramatic.”

I say those words all the time.  This was especially true in my fifteen years working with students and families in the special education system.  You read a child’s file and are blown away by the abuse they have suffered, the amount of abandonment and hurt they have endured.  You listen to a stressed parent about how their child’s disability has impacted their lives, how they sometimes dream of running away or ‘taking the easy way out.’  You attend district meetings and sit in awe-struck furry over a new law the country or district handed down from people who have never stepped foot in a classroom and yet believe they know what is best for you and your students.  You think to yourself, ‘No one would ever believe this.’

Basically, just think of Trump.  If anyone told you two years ago how that political campaign would go, you would have laughed them away.

I fight that battle as I’m writing. Constantly.  I try to keep a balance of drama, angst, and conflict, mostly because I know readers will roll their eyes and go, ‘Wow. That was fake.’  It’s not a“That’s my little slut. Momma raised you right.” judgment on readers.  We all do it.  I do it too, especially when I read stuff I don’t understand or am not familiar with—like crime dramas, spy movies, that sort of thing.  They all seem fake to me because they’re over the top.  Maybe they aren’t.  They’re just not in my realm of expertise.

I have that fear with Under a Sky of Ash.  Honestly, there is a lot of trauma in this book.  Some of which, some people will read and think, “Huh, Brandon went off the deep end with that one.”  I can promise you, I didn’t.  In all honesty, I have students and student’s families who’ve experienced, lived through, or done much worse.

Under a Sky of Ash focuses on two men who have each had either extremely abusive childhoods and/or experienced a traumatic experience in their formative years.  Those experiences end up both drawing them closer together and threatening to tear them apart.  There are parts of this novel where you might think I’ve lost my ever-loving mind, that such things would never happen.  And, I so, so wish you were right.

Under a Sky of Ash is one of my favorite books I’ve written.  I think the drama and angst is real and palpable.  In addition, and contrast, I think it is also one of the funniest books I’ve written.  Ben, That hunk of man meat from last night get you pregnant_ You need some penicillin_ You know I keep that shit by the bucketful. –ManDonna-2who was raised by an abusive grandmother, finds a new family in his construction worker boss and his drag queen husband, ManDonna.  ManDonna was one of those characters who was supposed to show up from time to time simply to be a support to Ben.  Instead, she took over.  She became real from her opening scene and stood over my shoulder and prattled on and judged over the entire writing of this novel.  During her scenes, my fingers would type, and I would laugh and laugh and laugh.  Honestly, I can’t take credit for one damn thing she says or does.  None of it was planned.  She came to life and I simply wrote what she told me to—often reading it over and thinking, I can’t say that.  I took some comfort in that I didn’t say it.  She did.

I can’t wait for you to love Isaiah and Ben, and I cannot wait for ManDonna to cause your eyes to pop and laughter to explode from you.

So, you may very well experience that sensation as you read Under a Sky of Ash.  The one where you think, that is too over the top to be real, both in terms of drama and in terms of humor.  Well, I hope you never learn that the drama is anything but over the top.  And I hope you get to spend time with drag queens so that your life can be over the top and humor and love, as well.


UnderaSkyofAshLGUnder a Sky of Ash by Brandon Witt
Release Date: March 21, 2016
Pages: 270
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

More than a decade after leaving Colorado to attend college and escape his past, Isaiah Greene moves back and builds a life in Denver as a special education teacher. When he meets Ben Woods, the mentor of one of his students, the attraction is immediate. The revelations that they’ve both suffered traumatic childhoods form a bond between them.

Raised by an abusive grandmother, Ben is a recovering addict who has made a family with his construction worker boss, Hershel, and Hershel’s husband, Daniel—drag queen ManDonna. Adding Isaiah to his life gives Ben a glimpse of a future he’d never dreamed possible for himself.

Both Isaiah and Ben are survivors, but when guilt drives a wedge between them, the past threatens to end their relationship.

Ben and Isaiah embark on journeys of self-discovery. Though their path will be difficult at times, humor and love find a way to bring light to the darkness.


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About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

The Imperfection of Swans by Brandon Witt

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ImperfectionofSwans[The]LGThe Imperfection of Swans by Brandon Witt
Release Date: January 18, 2016
Pages: 284 • Published by: Dreamspinner Press  • Format: eARC
Purchase Links:  Dreamspinner •  Amazon • ARe

Kevin Bivanti’s dream is to open a wedding dress shop, a place with the stunning gowns to make every bride-to-be feel adored. At thirty-eight, he quits a successful advertising career to buy an old brownstone in a trendy Boston neighborhood and to make his dream a reality. When one of his cosigners drops out, fate intervenes, ushering in Casper James, who hopes to open his own bakery. With Casper willing to take the risk, their ambitions meld into a wedding dress and wedding cake boutique.

Extensive renovations to the brownstone, an affair with his ex-husband, family drama with his mothers, and the anxiety of significant life changes push Kevin to the brink of a nervous breakdown. In the midst of stress and uncertainty, Casper becomes more than a business partner, a mutual attraction that adds another layer of intensity and risk.

With their dreams on the verge of reality, Kevin and Casper must find the courage to face the stress of managing their attraction, the gamble of a new business venture, and the resurgence of Kevin’s personal demons.

four-stars

My very first Brandon Witt story, and it will not be my last. I really liked the authenticity of the characters, I loved the theme of the novel, and I love the realistic fiction trope of it as well. I adored Casper as a character. I think he was such a breath of fresh air, and refreshment from all the other character I’ve been reading lately. Casper was just Casper. He didn’t want nothing from anyone. He was calm, sweet, and honest. He had such a great spirit about himself.Kevin, Kevin, Kevin lord have mercy on my soul!!! His neuroses were giving me anxiety. Sometimes I wanted to throttle him, and other times I wanted to grab him put on pajamas; vege out on the couch and watch Steel Magnolias while we cry and let it out!!!! For all his neuroses he wasn’t a bad person, or character I think he just lived in his head to much and was a bonafide perfectionist.I really like the friends to trope story between these two. They definitely became good friends with good intentions, but you can definitely tell when they fell in love with each other. I think the author did a good job on writing about a subject that is not in many M/M books. It’s something we see in the M/F world, but not alot in this one. I think he did an amazing job on the thought process with a person with an Eating Disorder goes through. Everyone doesn’t suffer the same, but I’m glad that Kevin was able to have the support system that he did have. I couldn’t imagine as a parent learning this about my kids after so many years. He hid it well, and it’s almost addict similarities because sometimes we don’t see what’s right in from of our faces. It took an outside person to notice and start the chain of events to recovery. I really liked reading that part.

Brandon Witt has my style of writing and story telling. He did a really good job with keeping me interested in the characters even when Scott was in the picture. I’m not even sure on how I feel about him, because it was all Kevin’s decision. I will say I loved Renata and Noelle, best moms ever. This really big family was amazing. I loved all of them. Some scenes were emotional and I teared up at, and other scenes were funny. Especially the wedding dress scene with the guys. It was hilarious. I was grinning from ear to ear, because reading it from Casper’s point of view, you could tell how happy he was just to see how light Kevin was. He was like a new Kevin. Gosh, I kinda wanted this to be way longer just to see Kevin on his journey and both guys living their dreams. Hopefully we’ll visit them again some times soon.

The cover!!!! I really like this cover, so simple but elegant. The inside of the story was the same. Each chapter started off with a bride in a silhouette. It was really nice. I enjoyed the notes at the end of the story, from the author as well as the cover model.

About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witt

Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witton 2014-09-29
Pages: 330
AmazonNarrator: Andrew McFerrin
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
The death of his wife four years earlier left Travis Bennett a shell of the man he used to be. With his dog by his side, Travis raises his three children, manages his business, and works as a ranch hand. But every day, every minute, is an aching emptiness. Wesley Ryan has fond memories of the small Ozark town of El Dorado Springs. Seeing it as a safe place to put his failed relationships behind him, Wesley moves into his grandparents’ old home and takes over the local veterinary clinic. An early morning visit from Travis and his dog stirs feelings that Wesley seeks to push away—the last thing he needs is to fall for a man with baggage and three kids as part of the package. Life, it seems, has other plans.

This story featured a bisexual widower and a veterinarian who had no problem declaring his sexuality. I won’t give a synopsis because many reviews have done a great job with that already. I just want to say that I liked Travis Bennett as he was trying his best to raise three kids after the death of his wife. He really struggled with her loss and accepting his sexuality but I loved that he worked his way to Wesley Ryan. Travis didn’t take attraction to Ryan lightly. Travis agonized about it until he made up his mind to submit to it. I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook as Travis gave his best effort in romancing Ryan. It was endearing and cute. I found the secondary characters, Mason, Wendy, the in-laws etc to be entertaining.

All the characters were flawed, but that’s what made this book so good to me. It was complicated but real, especially given the fact that they lived in a small town. I also liked that we finally saw that the deceased wife knew about Travis and didn’t reject him for being attracted to me as well.

I think the author did a great job of not overloading the book with sex but gave a lot of varied emotions throughout the book. I will definitely read this author again.

*Special thanks to Dreamspinner Publishing for the audiobook for review.

 

About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.