Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Review: Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton


Title: Winter Oranges

Author: Marie Sexton

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Release: 30th November 2015

Genre: M/M  (Christmas)


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Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.


Mark’s Review

Nothing represents the ultimate in Christmas Kitsch more than a snow globe but in the hands of Marie Sexton it becomes a mysterious object full of wonder, beauty and love.  This was a super sweet Christmas story that has addictive qualities once I started there was no putting it down.

Jason is a bit of an has been actor and has now bought a rural retreat to get away from all the media attention and prying eyes. Although he still gets offered some roles through his agent he’s really not proud of how his career has progressed and he has one friend with benefits, Dylan. The arrangement works well for both of them. I suppose each to their own but these sort of arrangements in my opinion can be a little one sided and this is definitely the case with Jason. Jason loves his friend and probably would have wanted more but Dylan is the sort of person that will nail anything with a pulse and is definitely not the sort of person to commit to any kind of relationship.

Jason is alone in his newly acquired retreat or so he thinks until he keeps noticing someone waving from the window above the garage. First of all he thinks he has an intruder but after the local sheriff doesn’t find anything or anyone he starts to think it must be his imagination until he goes to check for himself. He gets the fright of his life but after the initial shock he finds Ben, someone who is trapped inside the globe for 150 years, put there by his sister to protect him. He is however able to project himself beyond the globe and appear in an ethereal form. OMG!! I just loved Ben. I loved the way that he found the greatest of joy in the simplest of pleasures. A real lesson in what we seem to miss today in life with all its stress and disappointments. Just by being, Ben’s optimistic and almost childish joy is a lesson to us all. He has seen a lot over the 150 years he has been in the globe and now he has someone who can see him. He is overjoyed.

Jason first of all thinks he’s going crazy but comes to accept the young man in the globe and their friendship blossoms into something truly wonderful and loving. My heart just melted every time Ben appeared and when Jason started to fall for him I fell with Jason. There are however limitations and Ben can only go so far from the globe before it pulls him back in. Therefore Jason always has to take the globe with him in order that Ben can be by his side. This of course also leads to some hilarious moments where Jason is always trying to appear not to be talking to himself or a snow globe in case someone thinks he is nuts. I could just imagine these scenarios, especially when the media and photographers are waiting around the corner for a scoop. His friend Dylan becomes worried about Jason’s behaviour and when Jason tells him the truth then you can imagine the response. Now he has to convince Dylan that everything is OK by at least ignoring and denying Ben to Dylan.

However, Ben’s and Jason’s love deepens for each other and Jason is determined to find a way out of the globe for Ben. There must be a way. In the last minute when everything seems to be going wrong for Jason he realises with a flash of inspiration of exactly how he can release Ben from the globe. I loved the whole mystery aspect behind this too. The clues were always there as to how get Ben can get out of the globe, but Jason just wasn’t reading them correctly. He tries to trace his genealogy, starts experimenting with various ways especially when he discovers by dreaming he can enter the globe to be with Ben. The whole mystical aspect of this story is riveting and when everything is revealed at the end the whole thing seems more plausible than you would possibly think which is testament to the wonderful plotting and writing talent of Marie Sexton.

This book is a wonderful piece of story telling, exquisitely written, well plotted and needs to be on everyone’s Christmas wish list. An adorable, beautiful tale of love that shows us all to enjoy the simple things in life. I will be thinking of dear Ben for a long time as this character taken up residence in my heart and won’t be leaving for a long time.



And suddenly, Jason realized what he was seeing—the boy. And the room. Specifically, the boy and the part of the room directly behind him, both at the same time, in a way that was utterly impossible.

“Holy shit!” Jason backed up quickly, ramming into the doorframe, practically falling onto the landing. He took another step back, discovered too late there was nothing beneath his foot, and fell down the first few stairs, twisting his ankle and banging his knee before managing to catch himself on the banister. Still he stared, horrified and unbelieving at the boy, who now stood in the doorway of the guest room. He looked much as he had in the window—young and thin and pale, his skin almost translucent.

No. Not almost translucent. Literally translucent. Everything from his baggy, high-waisted trousers and worn boots to his rough-woven white shirt and old-fashioned waistcoat, was not quite solid. Jason could see right through him to the cheap watercolor hanging over the bed. He wasn’t sure how he’d missed it before—whether due to the reflection of the sun on the window, or whether his mind had simply refused to see it—but staring at the boy now, it was quite clear he wasn’t real.

“You really are a ghost,” Jason gasped out, still clutching the banister with both hands.

The boy shook his head, pointing behind him into the room, his lips moving as if he were talking, but no sound came out.

“Is this a prank?”

The boy frowned, shaking his head. He started speaking again, as mutely as before.

Jason’s mind reeled, grasping at possibilities. “Are you a hologram? Are there cameras somewhere?” He wanted to look around for some, but he didn’t dare take his eyes off the figure above him. “Who put you up to this?”

The boy kept shaking his head, gesticulating with his hands, moving his lips.

As horrified as he’d been, Jason’s alarm faded, made less urgent as the pain in his knee and ankle started to sink in. Was an interactive hologram somehow more plausible than a ghost? He didn’t think so. Whatever this was, he didn’t feel threatened. The apparition—or whatever the boy was—hadn’t moved from the doorway. He was still talking, gesticulating wildly, and Jason sighed and said, “I can’t hear you.”

The boy stopped, blinking in shock, dumbstruck as the words sank in. He appeared to take a deep breath. Finally, his lips moved. Only two words, but between context and lip-reading, Jason understood. You can’t?

Jason shook his head, rubbing at his sore ankle. “No.”

The ghost slumped, crestfallen. He spoke slowly and deliberately, pointing at Jason and then at his own eyes, and then at himself. But you can see me?

“Uh, yeah. I think we’ve established that.” Jason stood up, testing his weight on the twisted ankle. It didn’t feel great, but he was pretty sure he hadn’t done any real damage. He rubbed his bruised knee, still watching the boy at the top of the stairs, trying to make sense of it all.

He’d always imagined ghosts to be white, but this one wasn’t. Yes, the boy’s skin was pale, but it was clearly a natural skin tone against his shirt. His pants were dark gray, his boots and waistcoat black. Jason searched the walls and the ceiling, still wondering if the boy was some type of projection, but he didn’t see any cameras. The technology for such an advanced hologram may have existed, but Jason doubted it came cheap. Even a tabloid chasing a sensational photo wouldn’t have the resources to put together such an elaborate hoax. And if they did, they sure wouldn’t waste it on JayWalk.

The boy watched him, his eyes bright with hope. His lips moved, and he gestured behind him. Jason didn’t need to hear him to know he was being invited back into the guest room. It seemed absurd. Shouldn’t a ghost be trying to scare him? Yelling “Boo”? But no. Instead, he was inviting Jason inside, maybe for a nice spot of tea.

Jason wasn’t entirely sure he hadn’t lost his damn mind.

“I don’t know . . .”

The boy held out his hand, looking heartbroken. Looking desperate. His lips formed one simple word. Please.

What did Jason have to lose? His life? His sanity? His peace of mind? He hadn’t felt too sure about any of those things to begin with.


Meet Marie Sexton


Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.





Purchase Links



Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

Sinfully Santa ~ He’s here!

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Sinfully Santa’s Question: What do you think about snow globes or tell us about a snow globe you have?

Answer Santa’s question by leaving your answer in the comments on the post, enter the draw below to open more chances to win. With a bit of luck you maybe chosen

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  1. I love them. It makes me think of childhood and the wonder of looking at a miniature scene inside.

  2. I loved snow globes as a child but the only ones I had were the little plastic ones that got cloudy, dirty looking water eventually. About 20 years ago someone gave me a nice one for Christmas and I love it. I have to turn it over every time I walk past. :-)

  3. I was never really into snow globes, but I did receive a beautiful, quite large Winnie-the-Pooh one as a gift and love it. It plays music too. But other than that, I don't have any others and while I do get drawn to unique ones in the stores sometimes, it's not enough to bring one home.

  4. When I was a child the only snow globes that I saw were in movies. Not a thing that you could find where I live. And only recently you can find them but there are cheap plastic things so for me a glass snow globe is something exotic,

  5. My son has the cutest snow globe given to him by his great-grandparents over 20 years ago. It has a puppy holding a slipper in it's mouth and it plays the song That Doggie in the Window.

    Just downloaded Winter Oranges and I can't wait to read it. :)

  6. As I child I thought there were some magic involved in keeping real snow inside of a ball ! I think I never saw a glass one, just cheap plastic ones... I never had one either :-( I kind of outgrow the want for one though ;-)
    Thanks to Sinfully to throw us right into the magic of Christmas with these Advent giveaways.

  7. To be very honest, I've never seen a snow globe except in movies or pictures. I would really love to see one/have one. Something about them seems magical and invokes the spirit of holidays.

  8. I really like them. I try to buy one in every city I visit. My favourite one is the one I bought last year in my first visit to Paris...

  9. I was given a cheap plastic one as a child with a tropical cruise ship inside (complete with floating sparkly sand) - the closest I had been to snow at the time. The second I received as part of my daughter's "baby's first Christmas" photo pack which had delicate snow flake shapes suspended around her picture in the centre (in a special insert to keep it dry). I adored both.

  10. I love them , we had 2 on the mantelpiece when I was a child and I loved to shake them up.

  11. They do always put a smile n my face!
    I have a christmas village one, which I do like to make snow every day in the holidays!

  12. If anybody's interested, you can see the picture that inspired Ben's snow globe here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/488570259554262979/
    Thanks again to Sinfully for letting me stop by!

    1. Oh Thanks Marie, that's brilliant. Going to have a look now :-)

  13. Snow globes are an interesting item. I remember wanting them when I was growing up and how they always represented happiness. As I look back I get a little nostalgic about it. Today, asking me about this item, I have no real opinion about what it means to me except that it would be something my children could break, another item to clean, something to find a place for. Man, I am very negative about snow globes :) However, thinking back on my childhood makes me remember the happiness.

  14. I'm not a big snowglobe fan normally, but we have one that we get out every Christmas that I just love. It plays Oh Holy Night. :)

  15. I have a few snowglobes that were gifts from my grandmother. Now that she is gone, they are special and I always think of her when I see them.

  16. I love snow globes. I have one that has carousel horses on the outside and the corrousel on the inside as well.

  17. I actually used to collect them (when I had expendable cash lying around). I had them out all year round. Now I just bring them out a Christmas time.

  18. I like snowglobes I used have a lot when I was young but they got thrown out when we moved.

  19. We don't really get snowglobes here in Guatemala. Might be the whole not having snow. They are lovely though. And the one this story is based on is especially so.


  20. I think there's something magic about them, unfortunately we currently only have a cheap plastic one.

    Just downloaded Winter Oranges and looking forward to the holidays when I'm going to read lots of Christmas Stories.

  21. I think snow globes are really pretty, but I haven't ever seen one that I really wanted to own.

  22. Love the review! Book sounds amazing :) I enjoy snow globes; shaking, admiring, and playing the music!

    1. Oh my favorite one I have is from my honeymoon from almost 15 years ago. It is of Minny and Mickey ice skating in their wedding clothes!

  23. Interestingly enough I never got into collecting snow globes, even though I seem to collect everything else under the sun. The only one I have is a Christmas one my daughter bought me at a school Christmas store a couple years ago.

  24. My favorite snow globe was one with the Eiffel Tower I bought in Paris.

  25. I had a snow globe with a picture of my cousin and me from our high school graduation which was really great!

  26. I love snow globes! Unfortunately I don't currently have any though right now because I've had to cut back on "stuff" in the house, but I love them. Especially the ones with the sparkly type of snow :)