A PaulB Review: Galactic Treasure (Earth Con #2) by Theodora Marie Adams

Rating 3 out of 5 stars

Earth Con Galactic TreasureTolkian warriors Zaraheed and Valvik are sent to Earth to search for the ancient Ark scrolls. They make their way to Earth Con, a science fiction convention in Austin, Texas. They meet rising author Connor Masterson. The three then bond during the conference while the aliens track down the missing scrolls before the space pirate G’herkon finds them.

Zaraheed and Valvik are sent to Earth by General Tsubotai in search of the Ark scrolls. These scrolls contain the ancient history of their people and might provide answers to why their people were dying earlier than expected. Posing as Zack and Victor, the two go to Austin, Texas to a science fiction convention called Earth Con. While standing in line to enter, they meet Connor Masterson, a native of the city. Connor, who writes magna that closely follows the history of the Tolkian, is taken by the two travelers. He offers to show them around the city during the duration and after the conference. Connor falls for the foreign travelers. Zack and Victor must protect their new human lover while searching for the scrolls before a space pirate finds them first.

The romance between the three characters seemed to lack something for me. It started out as the aliens talking about someone in line at the convention as a way to have fun while trying to complete their mission. Meanwhile, Connor, who believes he is just an average guy, cannot believe that not one but two studs are after him. They all get hot and heavy after a party in which Connor becomes inebriated by alien alcohol. Once an alien doctor tells the pair that they have bonded with Connor, they know that their lives are tied together. But then once they have to leave, they decide to court Connor while have a really long distance relationship. The situation just did not add up for me. However, the sex scenes were well written, which can be a challenge when it comes to threesomes.

The other part of the book concerns the search for the scrolls. The plot twist involving the space pirate for me seemed to be telegraphed too much.

It was a decent book but the ending felt hollow for me.

The cover art by Karen Fox depicts our three protagonists as described by the author. The long braids and pointed ears of the aliens are well done.

Sales Links:  Changeling Press     All Romance (ARe)       amazon      Galactic Treasure

Book Details
Ebook, 100 pages
Published September 11, 2014 by Changeling Press
ISBN: 07097-02286
Edition language: English
This is book two of the Earth Con series. It can be read as a stand-alone. The books written by different authors include:

Fever Hitch (Earth Con, #1) by Ayla Ruse
Galactic Treasure (Earth Con #2) by Theodora Marie Adams

A MelanieM Review: Who Knows the Storm (The Vigilante #1) by Tere Michaels

Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Who Knows the Storm coverSometime in the future, a mysterious climate event caused torrential rains to fall, raising the water levels in New York City so high that huge areas were soon lost underwater and what civilians that could were evacuated, never to return.  Now a vastly different New York City is rising up from the flooded land, one where decadence reigns—gambling, the flesh trade, a playground for the wealthy. And underneath? Crime, fueled by “Dead Bolt,” a destructive designer drug.

Left behind in the initial evacuation as a young teen, now a grown Nox Boyet leads a double life. At night, he is the Vigilante, struggling to keep the streets safe for citizens abandoned by the corrupt government and police. During the day, he works in construction and does his best to raise his adopted teenaged son, Sam.

High priced whore, “model” Cade Creel, a high-end prostitute working at the Iron Butterfly Casino is asked by one of his influential “regular” clients to hand deliver an envelope to a person named Sam Boyer.  Never did Cade expect his delivery to take him into the worst parts of town where mugging and killings are frequent, and the best options where even worse outcomes have been known to occur.  A “rescue” by the Vigilante and the delivery made to Sam trigger an intense attraction between Nox and Cade, one that  ignites as dark figures from Nox’s past and the mysterious peddlers of Dead Bolt begin to descend—and put all their lives in danger. When things spin out of control, Cade is the only person Nox can trust to help him save Sam.

My hopes for Who Knows the Storm ran high.  The author?  One of my favorite and an automatic buy for her stories.  The synopsis?  Intriguing and current, especially the element of a climatic weather event drowning New York City, a possibility that many experts expect to happen in the not so distant future.  Plus it was the first in a new series called The Vigilante, another bonus.  Unfortunately, while Who Knows the Storm has many fine attributes, taken together they never add up to a logically constructed, gripping whole story. Sigh.

Set in some vague dystopian future, the settings and locations made sense while the backstory did not.  Everyone expects the sea levels to rise, especially given recent storms like Hurricane Sandy which left a wide path of destruction in its wake, including submerged subways and highly populated boroughs underwater. But here there was no effort made to reclaim the city, leaving it to crumble,falling into such disrepair and unhealthy state that no one returns to live there?  That’s the first premise the reader has to buy into and its a huge one that never feels believable.  New Yorkers giving up on their city?  The rich and influential fleeing, leaving their riches behind?  Uh no.  Especially when there are already cities (think Amsterdam or Venice or…) with the working technology to erect sea barriers.  There exist pumps to flush out the subways (which they did in Sandy), and so much more that is general knowledge that this “world building” is off to a shaky start on a foundation built on plot that never comes together.  I never bought into this dystopian world  and that lack of believability and connection damaged the rest of the story.

Then there were the characters.  Nox Boyet’s past is seen through the eyes of an abandoned 15 year old, one living through an ecological disaster of immense proportions.  This element of the story is both moving and affective.  We don’t need a reason for the rains to become affected by a young person in danger in uncertain times.  The descriptions and scenes are desperation incarnate and the frailty of Nox’s situation pulls the reader in…for a while.

Then we transition from the past, forward to a year and then to the nebulous present and Nox as not only an wary adult but a father of teenaged son.  The vast gap between the child left behind and the aged Nox just highlights the missed opportunities to flesh out the world building and answer the many questions floating around in the reader’s minds.

The pov switches from character to character, transitioning in a manner that’s not always as smooth as one could hope.  Michaels is also trying to establish all the main series plot threads, events and characters while balancing the need of the immediate storyline and character growth.  Sometimes it works and other times not so much.  Events from the past are reintroduced throughout the story but often lead to more questions not answers.  There are character with multiple identities and everywhere a facades are erected to hide the actual events and people responsible for them.  I rather liked the “smoke and mirrors” aspect to Michael’s plot.  There are some nasty little surprises in store for the main characters and shocks for the readers as well.  It’s a convoluted trip Tere Michaels takes us on.  There are white-knuckle moments galore, and gut clenchers (yes I know that’s not a word but it should be) to satisfy most picky of  action/suspense readers around.  But…..it never all comes together and feels like a harmonious whole.  It’s feels jumbled and a bit dense in places, and the “aha” moments  come and go a little too quickly.

The last thing?  The ending, which leaves major components and figures unresolved and unidentified.  That’s actually ok with me as this is the first in a series, and I can see the author using this mysterious scheme and head villain as an “umbrella layer” for all the books to come.  I was left strangely unsatisfied at the end of the story.  I just don’t think this part of the story was part of that unsettled feeling.  I’m still thinking about that one.

If you are a Tere Michael’s fan or a lover of dystopian stories, you might love Who Knows the Storm (The Vigilante #1).  This is a story that could go either way with readers, some will love it and others won’t make it to the finish.  You will have to be the judge.

 Cover Artist: Angsty G.  The coloration is nice.  I wish the idea of a New York Red District rising out of filth laden waters would have translated to the cover.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press                    All Romance  (ARe)                   Who Knows the Storm             buy it here

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published October 17th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632162175
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Vigilante #1

On Tour with Aria Grace’s “Choosing Happy” Book tour and contest

2ChoosingHappyBanner300x250

Check out the latest M/M Romance from Aria Grace.  We have an exclusive excerpt for our readers and a contest with several prizes for you to enter.

Book Name: Choosing Happy
Goodreads Link
Author Name: Aria Grace

Author Bio:

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Aria enjoys the year round sunshine and laid back environment of the west coast. She lives with her husband and two children on a quiet hill that gives her lots of time to read and write. Her first series was a semi-traditional look at sexy gigs found online. She has now ventured into the exciting M/M world of gay erotica. She loves to hear from readers so please feel free to drop her a note or visit her at http://www.ariagracebooks.com.

Author Contact:

https://www.facebook.com/aria.grace.37

http://facebook.com/ariagracebooks

@ariagracebooks

CHPublisher: Surrendered Press
Cover Artist: Sexy Men Pix

Sales Links:  Amazon  iTunes    Nook   Smashwords

  Choosing Happy Blurb:

Book 3 of the More Than Friends Series. Can be read in sequence or as a standalone.  (Book #1 is free)

Steve is living in Portland with many regrets. He has alienated the people he cares most about by making bad choices that continue to haunt him. When he meets a kid that’s in a bad relationship and needs some help, Steve reluctantly offers it, knowing it’s his chance to redeem himself. What he doesn’t expect is to find happiness. It’s there, all he has to do it choose to accept it. 

For mature readers.

Categories: Contemporary, Gay fiction, M/M Romance\

Choosing Happy Exclusive Excerpt:

I hit the snooze button for the first time since high school. Always an early riser, I never sleep past six so when I crack an eyelid and see it’s seven fifteen, I groan. After a quick shower to wake up, I step into a pair of old jeans and grab the first t-shirt my fingers touch then run down the steps. The bike needs gas so I get in my truck instead and drive the six miles to work.

Having become more of a slave to technology than I’d like to admit, I’m walking and texting Allen when I hear a tiny voice.

“Hi.”

Startled, I look up and see my little duck huddled in the shadows behind my cart.

He’s curled in a tiny ball against the generator and looks like hell.

“Hey, kid.” I kneel down in front of him. “What are you doing here?”

Tears flood his eyes as he looks away. “I didn’t know where else to go.”

In the dim light, I couldn’t see his battered face but when I brush his hair aside and see a line of caked blood that crosses from the middle of his scalp to his cheek bone, I want to kill someone. “Did that prick do this to you?”

He won’t look at me. By the way he flinches, I know he’s scared. I take a deep breath and lean back on my haunches. “We should go to the police. I’ll take you.”

“No.” He jumps up and backs away, ready to bolt. “I’m sorry I came here. I’m fine.”

The way he’s limping pisses me off even more but I force a steady voice. “Okay, okay. No cops.” I slowly reach forward and hold my hand out to him, praying he’ll take it.

With a tentative step, he walks to me and lets me guide him into the trailer that serves as my shop.

 

 Pages: 36,000 words

2Choosing HappyBadgeTour Dates/Stops:

17-Nov

Parker Williams

17-Nov

The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat

18-Nov

The Hat Party

18-Nov

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

19-Nov

Regular Guys, Hot Romance

19-Nov

Amanda C. Stone

20-Nov

MM Good Book Reviews

20-Nov

Molly Lolly

21-Nov

LeAnn’s Book Reviews

24-Nov

Wake Up Your Wild Side

24-Nov

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

25-Nov

Love Bytes

26-Nov

Book Reviews and More by Kathy

27-Nov

  • Contest: Rafflecopter Prize:
    $25 amazon or itunes gift card (sent electronically) and signed paperback of any Aria Grace Book (shipped within US)
  • International winners can receive 2 free Aria Grace ebooks of their choice via amazon.com instead of a paperback.

Rafflecopter Code:
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Winner Announcements and its almost Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving_Quotes_Carl Sagan

The Rush is On!

Thanksgiving almost here and the rush is on for getting all things ready whether it is shopping for ingredients, finalizing the menus and guest lists, traveling to family and loved ones.  Whatever is on your agenda, this is the week we are all scurrying to get it done.

And then its December.  Oh my.

So Happy Thanksgiving for those of us in the US and Ex pats Abroad!

And Happy Reading to all and to all a Good night!

Giblets cartoon

STRW Winner Announcements:

Meredith Shayne’s winners were:
Ist Prize – Paperback – Denise D.
2nd Prize – $10 BDP Voucher – H.B.
3 x 3rd Prize – ebook – Trinitee M., Lisa G., Shelly H.

Susan MacNicol’s “Love You Senseless” Winner is Serena S

Sarah Madison’s ” Walk A Mile” Winner is Bronwyn H.

Our Schedule this Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words:

Monday, November 24, 2014:

  • MelanieM Review: Who Knows The Storm by Tere Michaels
  • Choosing Happy by Aria Grace Excerpt Tour and Contest
  • A PaulB Review: Galactic Treasure (Earth Con #2) by Theodora Marie Adams

Tuesday, November 25, 2014:

  • TB: Bailey Bradford Off Course Book tour
  •  Charlie Cochrane’s No Better Corpse for the Job Book Tour
  • Sloan Johnson Teach Me Cover Reveal and Release Date Announcement‏
  • A MelanieM Review: Radiant Burn by Laura Harner (PF2014)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014:

  • VBT: The Bones of You by Laura Stone.‏  Tour and contest
  • Renee George ‘Kiss My Ash’, Book tour and contest
  • A MelanieM Review: Sand and Ruin and Gold by Alexis Hall
  • A PaulB Review: Ciro by Remmy Duchene

Thursday, November 27,2014 – Happy Thanksgiving!:

  • A MelanieM Review: Manipulation by Eden Winters
  • A Sammy Review: Thunder Snow by Owen Keehnen
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  Third Eye by Rick R. Reed

Friday, November 28, 2014:

  • Share the Love - Lucky Strike by Jane Davitt -book tour and contest
  • A PaulB Review: “Unjustified Claims (Hidden Wolves #3)” by Kaje Harper
  • Iyana Jenna ‘Slippery Slope’ Excerpt Tour and contest
  • A MelanieM Review: Chestnuts Roating Anthology (Angel Martinez, Freddy Mackay, Toni Griffin

Saturday, November 29, 2014:

  • Texas Fall (Texas #6) – RJ Scott Book Tour and Contest

And Then That Happened by Liam Livings Book Tour and Contest

ATTH_Tour_logo

And Then That Happened, by Liam Livings

Published by Love Lane Books

For all buy links please check here: http://lovelanebooks.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/and-then-that-happened-by-liam-livings.html

 

And Then That Happened


ATTH_400x600Should you settle for a nearly perfect happiness or put your heart on the line for more?

It’s 1999 and 28-year-old Dominic’s carefully planned suburban life with his boyfriend Luke is perfect. His job as a nurse, his best friend Matt, his relationship with his parents, everything is just right. He and Luke have been together ten years, seen each other through friends’ deaths and their parents’ ups and downs, and even had a commitment ceremony.

Gabe isn’t happy with his boyfriend, but he stays with him, because, well it’s complicated.

Fate throws Gabe into Dominic’s life. And then that happened. Gabe’s open relationship, impulsive nature, enthusiasm for life and straight talking advice are fascinating to Dominic. They’re friends, they click over a shared love of Goldie Hawn and Gabe shows Dominic there can be more to life than planned and safe. So why can’t he take his own advice?

And Then That Happened is about finding a new kind of happiness, even when what you have is already perfect. And how sometimes perfect isn’t quite what it seems.

AUTHOR BIO


Eight things about Liam Livings, one is untrue, can you guess which one?

  1. He lives, with his partner, where east London ends and becomes nine-carat-gold- highlights-and-fake-tan-west-Essex.
  2. He was born in Hampshire with two club feet (look it up, it’s not nice) and problem ears, needing grommets: this meant he was in plaster from toe to groin until he was two, and had to swim with a cap and olive oil soaked lamb’s wool over his ears – olive oil bought from a health food shop, before it was sold by supermarkets.
  3. He started writing when he was 14: sat in French lessons during a French exchange trip, for want of anything better to do, he wrote pen portraits about his French exchange’s teachers. He wrote for his school’s creative writing magazine and still writes a diary every day.
  4. He grew up on the edge of the New Forest – not in the New Forest mind, but on the edge. Now it’s a national park, it’s so much more glamorous. He went to uni in London and never really left.
  5. One evening, flicking through the channels, he stumbled across the film, Saving Private Ryan, and it took twenty minutes of not seeing Goldie Hawn in an army uniform, before he realised it wasn’t actually the film, Private Benjamin.
  6. When not writing, he also enjoys baking.
  7. He avoided any sport at secondary school by having an orthodontist appointment between the age of 14 and 16, and when he was old enough to drive, just drove home instead of playing rugby/hockey/whatever.
  8. He is a car geek, his particular passion is old French classics, and his every day car is what is popularly referred to as a ‘hairdressers car’ a Mazda MX5 in powder blue – Muriel.

Contact Liam through:

Contest:  Enter to win a Win $15 giftcard for Amazon or All Romance, plus free ebooks from Liam Livings and Love Lane Books.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.   Use the Rafflecopter link provided for the entry form and for all additional contest details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  OR   http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f922301b40/

And Then It Happened Excerpt:

Gabe and Dominic discuss their past love lives after going to a concert together

Lying on twin beds, we compared notes on our favourite bits of the concert, sipping hot chocolate from the room’s store. Gabe said he couldn’t believe I’d never been to a concert before.

I said there were lots of things I’ve never done before. Gabe lay on his bed, arms behind his head, smiling at me.

‘I wish I’d tried a few more things, a few more men, before Luke,’ I said quietly. ‘You did, you’ve got more than your fair share of men during your early twenties.’

‘And before,’ he replied.

‘I can’t shake this feeling I’ve missed out on so much. Missed something which, for so many gay guys, is such an important part of coming out, growing up gay.’

‘You must have had your reasons why you didn’t.’

‘Course I did. I was scared, scared of all the people around me dying. And I’d met Luke, and he was nice to me, so…’

‘…you stayed together.’

‘Yeah, weeks became months, months years, and before I knew it, we’d been together a third of my life.’

‘I didn’t really think about it at the time, it wasn’t an experience, I was just living my life, being me, meeting people, seeing what happened. Same as you I suppose, only none of the people I met, stuck, so I moved onto the next one. It’s no better or worse, just different.’

‘You would say that, though, wouldn’t you?’

‘I don’t have anything to compare it to, so I don’t know.’

‘I just feel like I’ve missed out on so much, from being scared to try things.’

‘But it doesn’t matter if in the end, you’re happy.’ He paused. ‘You are happy aren’t you?’

I picked up my book and started to read. Gabe sat on the bed next to me, stroking my arm slowly. I put the book down and lay on my side, tears making the pillow damp, I felt Gabe lay behind me, his arm around my waist; we lay like spoons, fully clothed as he turned the light off.

A Aurora YA Review: Under the Stars by Geoff Laughton

Rating: I give this book 5 out of 5 stars

Under the Stars coverDSP : “Ethan Tanner is an out and proud, fastidious, and fashionable sixteen-year-old vegetarian who likes theater and musicals. This year, it’s his sister’s turn to pick the vacation destination, so he ends up on a dude ranch he knows he is going to hate. What with the dirt, animals, and germs, he can’t possibly be happy.

Jason McCoy is the closeted sixteen-year-old son of the ranch owners and is trying to find his place in a world that doesn’t seem to fit him. He takes an interest in Ethan, shows him around, and gets him to ride a horse. When he invites Ethan camping, Ethan thinks Jason must be joking. But Ethan takes a risk, and the two boys bond under the stars.

After that, Ethan and Jason are inseparable. Their friendship grows into something deeper as they begin to figure out what they want from life. But Ethan’s home is in Chicago, and the distance might be more than the two teenagers—and their blossoming relationship—can withstand.”

 

Under the Stars follows a sixteen year old boy, Ethan, as he goes on a vacation with his parents and little sister to a ranch. At first, Ethan is reluctant to go and doesn’t think he’ll enjoy the trip much at all, but because it was his sister’s turn to choose where they wanted to go, he didn’t have much choice. When he actually arrives at the ranch, Ethan quickly connects with the owner’s son, Jason, and the two of them develop a close relationship.

As someone who isn’t usually much of a fan of contemporary, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Within the first few pages I was completely drawn in, and I related to Ethan immediately. One thing I absolutely loved about this book was the representation of Ethan’s parents and the close relationship they had, even though they didn’t all necessarily agree throughout the entire book. It didn’t go the route of representing parents as being completely unsupportive, which I think could be a great thing for young adults who are reading this book and might be considering coming out to their parents to see that positive dynamic represented.

Jason and Ethan were both great characters who I loved seeing interact with each other, and all of their discussions and the things they did seemed very real. Ethan’s growth, especially, throughout the book, was something I really enjoyed, because he did change, but he held onto who he was and he didn’t make a one-eighty turn around. All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely read it again any time.

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

The cover art is simple, but pretty and well suited to the book. I think the dark color scheme definitely makes it appealing, while the bright color of the fire draws the readers eyes to the bottom of the page where the artist wants them to look.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner ebook & Paperback      All Romance eBook     amazon      Under the Stars

Book Details:

ebook, 180 pages, YA young adult title
Published October 9th 2014 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN139781632163080

A MelanieM Review: Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witt

Rating: 5 stars out of  5

Then the Stars Fall coverIn the four years since the death of his wife,  Travis Bennett has become a shell of the man he used to be.  Travis raises his three children, manages his business, and works as a ranch hand, his only companion his dog, Dunkyn. The hole inside Travis feels as deep and recent as the day she died, a situation that often leaves him depressed and unable to shake off the moods it leaves him in.

Fond memories of the small Ozark town of El Dorado Springs and the need to leave his broken relationship behind, find Wesley Ryan moving into his grandparents’ old home and temporarily taking over the local veterinary clinic while that owner goes on a much needed sabbatical.  But while the loving memories remain, the small town atmosphere isn’t exactly conducive to his colorful clothes and admittedly “gay” nature.  Wesley is feeling pretty lonely until Travis brings in his corgi for treatment.

Travis’ reaction to Wes’ recommendation of surgery is far beyond Wes’ expectations.  Travis is adamant that Dunkyn, his dog, be treated without surgery, something Wes knows the dog needs.  Wes is sure he will be seeing the duo again.  Travis, dog and all, is exactly the type of man Wesley goes for.  But with three kids and a beloved wife in the past,  Wes is sure he is straight.  Or is he?  Wes does know he came to El Dorado to get away from his man issues and he’s not looking for a relationship,, especially one with someone as complicated and loaded down with baggage as Travis Bennett.  Fate, however, has plans for Travis and Wesley whether they want it or not…

First that gorgeous cover and then the synopsis drew me to this book but it’s the story within that has  kept me thinking and repeatedly revising my overall connection to and perception of Then The Stars Fall by Brandon Witt.

So many elements about this story had me off balance right from the start.  The plot is situated in a small (pop 3000 plus) conservative town, El Dorado Springs, in  Missouri.  There some of the citizens, including main characters, think nothing of dropping words like  “faggot” and “retard” frequently into their conversations.  These offensive terms are thrown about so carelessly that I almost put the book down before I had gotten past the opening chapters.  That the main character, Travis Bennett, and his best friend are the main offenders made it worse.  Yes, they were called on it, by Caleb,Travis’ oldest son, but did it stop?  No.  And I was appalled that the author thought I would be able to connect with a man such as Travis.  But I did….eventually.  Because Travis for all his faults (and there are so many) comes across as a complex human being, a realistic work in progress, especially at age 42.  The world of pain, loss, and conflict in his background, combined with episodes of good deeds and even better behavior will have the reader flip flopping like a fish out of water in their opinions of this tormented man.

Next up his crude, loud and over the top best friend, Jason Baker, who spews such slurs,derogatory remarks, and unfair judgements with an equally unsettling ease that again I couldn’t believe we were supposed to like him.  Quite frankly, I was afraid that was never going to occur but it did as well. Between Jason and Travis the almost constant barrage of offensive terms and slurs almost derailed this story. Luckily, the author balanced such raw characters with ones that were easier to empathize with and enjoy.  Characters such as Wesley Ryan, Travis’ sister Wendy who I adored,, the Bennett children, and even the Corgis Dunkyn and Dolan, all lined up to pull the reader along the rippling narrative and keep us afloat until most of the people of the town combine to win us over.  Quirky, obstinate, surprising and recognizably human, the folks of El Dorado Springs continue to show new facets of their personalities each time they appear in the story.  And it’s these layers that will make the reader grow fond of the town and fonder of its people.

What else threw me off?  The constantly changing point of view.  After a while it felt more like the play Our Town than a novel.  Everyone gets a chance to chime in here, even Dunkyn the dog. I have to admit at times I thought him far more admirable than some of the others characters, but then Corgis are like that.  That large number of voices took some time getting adjusted to, but when you do, then this strange format enables the reader to get a real, intimate feel for El Dorado, its history, its present, and hopefully its future.  We get a sense of community and that’s necessary for the reader to achieve because this town is so much a  part of its people that it acts as just one more main character in a story full of them.

Looking back I can’t even remember when the shift of perspective started, when the affection I felt towards the characters and story outgrew my irritations until those faded away.  It was a slow changeover for me, and yes, for Wesley as well.  This is a town that takes a lot of getting used to.  In Brandon Witt’s Authors Notes, he writes about his childhood which prompted this story.  Here it is in his words:

I KNEW I would return to the world of The Shattered Door, the town I grew up in, one day. I wasn’t sure when or how, but then Travis and Wesley showed up, asking to be with Dunkyn and Dolan—or maybe it was the other way around. Shattered told the tale of the pain, fear, guilt, bullying, etc. that I felt growing up. However, there was another part during those years in El Dorado Springs. Lightning bugs. Thunderstorms. My grandpa’s buffalo. My chickens. Friends that I loved dearly. Simone’s Drive-in (if you’re ever driving on 54 and pass through El Do, you have to stop and get a burger. They’re perfect!). Despite the pain I felt a lot of the time, there was so much good, as well. So much beauty and love. I hope I was able to capture that aspect of El Do with Then the Stars Fall.

By the end of this story, Brandon Witt had really captured it all.  The joys, the hardship and pain, the gorgeous memories and the manner in which a town grows a part of you, no matter your age or location.  It was quite the emotional journey that Then the Stars Fell  and its characters took this reader on.  It constantly challenged me to think about the people, Wes and Travis’ romance, and the town as well as my own opinions and judgements.  It held me firm to the story until I was completely won over.  It’s a journey you shouldn’t miss.  Then the Stars Fell by Brandon Witt is one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words must reads of the year.  If Brandon Witt isn’t on your list of authors whose stories are automatic buys, he should be and this is just one more example why he belongs there.  Grab it up today!

Cover Artist:  Anne Cain.  What an astonishing cover.  So evocative of the farm and township of the story.  One of the best of the year.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback          All Romance (ARe)              amazon     Buy it Here

Book Details:

ebook, 350 pages
Published September 29th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1632162598 (ISBN13: 9781632162595)
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.brandonwitt.com/

In the Book Spotlight: The Superstar by Patricia Logan (book tour and contest)

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Book Name: The Superstar
Author Name: Patricia Logan

Author Bio:

Patricia Logan resides in Los Angeles, California along with her husband, four children, her grandchild and ever increasing number of cats. When not being stage mom, baking cookies, or scooping kitty litter, she writes steamy, award winning, gay erotic romance and tries to lead her readers on a journey of discovery with more than a little angst.

Author Contact:

Publisher:The Superstar Cover
Cover Artist: Jeff Adkins: http://www.jpadkinsdesigns.com
Sales Links: amazon

The Superstar Blurb:

Storm Ellison is the sexiest man on two legs. The gorgeous young star of “Trapped on an Island”, the hottest reality show on television, is instantly recognizable the moment he leaves his palatial mansion. Paparazzi follow him everywhere, leaving him no peace or privacy, selling his pictures to the tabloids, and cementing his reputation in the press as a slutty gay playboy. As Storm prepares to sign his first major movie deal, his manager decides he needs protection. What he doesn’t expect, is to be attracted to the cold bastard who’s now running his life.

Balthazar Grant, freelance bodyguard, is a huge, handsome, rough and ready former Marine, trained by the best, and willing to step between Storm and anyone stupid enough to come at him. Always stoic and serious, Taz lends a deadly presence to Storm’s entourage whenever he ventures out in public. Storm doesn’t want a bodyguard, much less one who won’t let him live his fast and loose lifestyle with impunity and he’s certainly not one to be dictated to by an overconfident Marine who has opinions about everything including who he should hook-up with.

When a deadly threat hits Storm’s world, he’s suddenly living his own reality show, only this one has an outcome which doesn’t involve being voted off an island. Will Storm wake up before it’s too late and will Taz be able to fight his attraction to the handsome young superstar while trying to convince him he’s in very real danger? The pair will soon learn that reality is stranger than fiction.

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, M/M Romance

The Superstar Excerpt:

Jules grinned again. “You like Storm, Taz. You LIKE like him!” she raised her voice and Taz looked around to see who else could have overheard her.

“I like him fine, Jules; I work for the guy,” he replied, intentionally misunderstanding her.

“No, Taz, you are ‘in like’ with Storm,” she reiterated. She reached up and took hold of his sunglasses, dragging them off his face. “Look me in the eyes and tell me you don’t like Storm like that, big guy. Whoa, those are some dreamy eyes,” she sighed.

Taz felt embarrassed and exposed without his shades and hated the fact that she could see the very real truth in his eyes when all he wanted to do was deny it. He averted his gaze, staring out onto the dance floor only to regret it immediately when he noted Storm’s arms wrapped around the twink, his lips being plied by the smaller man’s as their lower bodies ground against each other to the beat of the music. The moment he saw them, he frowned.

“See? That’s what I’m talkin’ about, Taz. You can’t stand the way that other man touches Storm. You want him for yourself,” she said emphatically.

Words: 82,000

Tour Dates/Stops:

PSuperstarBadgeTour Dates/Stops: 

19-Nov

Multitasking Mommas

Michael Mandrake

My Fiction Nook

20-Nov

Tara Lain

Cate Ashwood

Parker Williams

21-Nov

Hearts on Fire

Love Bytes

Queer Town Abbey

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

24-Nov

It’s Raining Men

Velvet Panic

Prism Book Alliance

25-Nov

BFD Book Blog

26-Nov

Inked Rainbow Reads

Molly Lolly

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-book copy of ‘The Superstar’ by Patricia Logan. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the Rafflecopter link provided for the entry form and for all additional contest details.

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Enter the Wonderful World of Gabriel’s City by Laylah Hunter: Exclusive Excerpt, Great Giveaway and more!

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Hi, everyone, thanks for having me on this tour for Gabriel’s City! Don’t forget to leave a comment at the end of this post to win a chance at the ZOMG Smells giveaway!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Spoiled young aristocrat Colin Harwood has always enjoyed flirting with danger, but he’s always been able to retreat to safety—until bad decisions and a chance encounter plunge him into a world far more savage than his own. Gabriel is an urban legend, famous in the underworld for his unpredictability and violence. He’s also a believer fairy tales, and quick to decide to the handsome stranger who came to his aid must be good luck. With few other options remaining, Colin will need to keep his wits about him to learn to survive in Gabriel’s City.

Gabriel’s City Blurb:GabrielsCity_200x300

For spoiled young aristocrat Colin Harwood, the port city of Casmile is a buffet of easy pleasures. But when he steps into a pub brawl to help a dangerously outnumbered young man, he is drawn into the seedy underbelly of the city the young man calls home.

Gabriel is a cutpurse and a knife for hire, practically an urban legend. His vision of Casmile is touched by a strange combination of faith and madness, driven by fairytale logic and a capacity for love that he often must suppress to survive. He’s always worked alone, but when a dashing dragon who calls himself Colin saves him in a bar fight, he pulls Colin into his world.

Gabriel’s city is nothing like the refined, socialite existence that bored Colin senseless. Colin finds adventure and excitement there—and maybe even love. But with his layers of finery stripped away, nothing remains to protect him from poverty or danger—except Gabriel. So he must choose: go back to the civilized young man he once was, or fly free as Gabriel’s dragon.

Title: Gabriel’s City
Author: Laylah Hunter
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: Imaliea
Genre/Sub-Genre: Historical, M/M Romance

About Laylah Hunter

Laylah Hunter is a third-gendered butch queer who writes true stories about imaginary people in worlds that never were. Most of hir work deals with queer characters, erotic themes, and the search for happy endings in unfavorable circumstances.
Hir mild-mannered alter ego lives in Seattle, at the mercy of the requisite cats and cultivating the requisite caffeine habit, and dreams of a day when telling stories will pay all the bills.

Connect with Laylah:

Website:  laylahhunter.com
Twitter:  @LaylahHunter
Goodreads:  goodreads.com/Laylah_Hunter

Laylah is Riptide’s Featured Author for November!

Giveaway! I have the good fortune to be friends with the charming people who run ZOMG Smells, who make, as their tagline says, “Fine nerdy scents for fine nerdy people.” They have created a set of perfume oil blends inspired by the characters of Gabriel’s City, and I’d like to give some away at the end of this tour! You’ll get seven 5-ml bottles, one of each of these scents, including a nice spectrum of masculine through feminine notes. Leave a comment that includes your email address to enter!

The Battle of Troll Bridge

There are a lot of stories embedded in the narrative of Gabriel’s City. Some of them are told in the book and others are only mentioned, because I’m pretty sure I can’t get away with pulling a Tolkein and interrupting the main story with folklore every few pages. But this one seemed like a good insight into the way Gabriel approaches the world, so here it is: his account of the Battle of Troll Bridge. It’s a bit gory. But only a bit.

“And if nothing more clever has come along, why, he must be living there still,” Colin finishes. It’s the way tales always end, nothing particularly interesting, but Gabriel sighs contentedly all the same. “Does that make it your turn?”

“Mmm. It does.” Gabriel leans back, looking up at the old stones of the bridge overhead, as if some cue is written there. “This was not so many years ago, maybe a handful, maybe less. It was a strange winter in Casmile that year—which means colder than this, but dry.”

Colin nods. He remembers the winter Gabriel’s talking about; there were barely any winter rains, and the next year’s harvest was poor.

“And there was a boy in the city who had the favor of the Lady, but not much else to speak of.”

How many people get to hear the tales of Gabriel’s exploits from his own mouth? “He must have had his wits about him,” Colin says.

Gabriel’s smile flickers knife-quick and disappears as if he’s pocketed it again. “Oh, always. The Lady wouldn’t love someone who couldn’t find his way back out of trouble.

“But times were hard, and the winter had been strange, so the boy had nothing to keep off the rain when one afternoon he was caught in it. He had no coin for taverns, but he was close by the river, so he darted down to take shelter beneath a bridge.”

He pauses there, and Colin thinks his arched brow might be prompting a response. “But the trouble with sheltering under a bridge is that you might run afoul of a troll.”

“It’s nearly guaranteed, in the winter,” Gabriel agrees. “The troll under this bridge was called Black Tom, and he was a nasty thing. Huge and hulking, snaggle-toothed and mean. This was his bridge, and he meant to share it with no-one.

“He said as much, in his booming growl, when the boy came tumbling down the bank to take shelter from the rain.

“It’s raining, the boy pointed out to him, and I don’t plan to stand out in it.”

“I bet he did.” Colin can imagine the way Gabriel would have sounded then, the petulant tone that means he’s only moments away from making someone bleed. “That can’t have pleased the troll.”

Gabriel shakes his head. “He wasn’t kind in the least, and nor was he clever.” His expression turns cold and guarded. “He said he couldn’t see why he’d want to let someone under his bridge who was too scrawny even to make a good meal.”

Colin feels a chill that has nothing to do with the stone at his back. He’d bet that wasn’t really the appetite Black Tom wanted to satisfy. The cold winter he remembers was four years ago; he was having his first polite fencing lessons that year, and Gabriel was already facing this. “What did you do?”

“The boy laughed at him. When your enemies are big and mean, it helps if they’re also angry, because then they forget whatever cleverness they had. Black Tom was easy to anger. He struck out at the boy, a vicious blow, but the boy was too quick for him, and dodged it. Again he tried, and again he missed. But as he reared back for a third strike, the boy slipped on a patch of wet moss and fell. The troll was on him in a moment, claws at his throat.”

Even though he knows how this story ended, Colin finds himself tense. “And then?”

“Then he’d made a terrible mistake.” The grim satisfaction in Gabriel’s tone makes Colin brace for the worst. “He’d forgotten to watch the boy’s hands, hadn’t he? And he had such a soft underbelly. So easy to cut up.”

“And then you pushed him into the river,” Colin says, hoping they can skip the rest of the killing.

“He lost his grip on the boy’s throat,” Gabriel goes on, undeterred. “And he tried to grab the knife, but he had always been too slow. It went up beneath his ribs, here, and then blood started running from his mouth, and even if you’re a troll, you’re done for then. The boy pushed him away as his strength failed, and then watched all the strength run out of him, until he was finally still.

“The boy had come there with the Lady’s favor, and he still had it. So he thanked her, and rolled Black Tom into the water, where She turned him to stone.”

“That’s—” But it would do no good to say that was impossible, would it? Colin bites his tongue.

“So the troll was defeated, and the boy had his shelter, and if nothing more wicked has come along, why,” Gabriel spreads his arms, taking in the scene, their place under the bridge, “perhaps he shelters there still.”

Get Into the Holiday Spirit with Mischief Corner Books ‘Chestnuts Roasting’ Anthology from Angel Martinez, Silvia Violet, Freddy MacKay, and Toni Griffin (book tour and contest)

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 Book Name: Chestnuts Roasting Anthology
Goodreads Link
Authors Names: Toni Griffin, Angel Martinez, Silvia Violet, Freddy MacKay

Four authors, four different perspective on the holidays.  Now for something a little different.  Instead of a full author interview, I asked each of the authors one question. Where did your inspiration come from?  Here are their answers…

Angel Martinez:

Yes. Everywhere. Everything. A conversation, a painting, a moment on the street, Freddy daring me to try something – there are no limits or predictable patterns for inspiration. I use a lot of science news and folktale as starting points, but those are certainly not my only inspirations.

Silvia Violet:

My story is set in Baton Rouge. I lived there for six years so all the celebrating Christmas when it still feely summery outside comes from personal experience. A scene with a barista asking out a guy who considered himself straight just popped into my head one day. I wrote it down, knowing I’d use it eventually and when I started thinking about Christmas stories, there it was.

Freddy MacKay:

I decided I wanted to write a fantasy, so I went shopping for mythical creatures. I like to go for the more obscure, lesser used/known creatures. When I found my “demon” I was hooked because I knew I hit something different and fun for me to write.

Toni Griffin:

My story, Wreath of Fire, is book two in my Smokey Mountain Bears series. It’s my only series set outside of Australia and the reason for that is in 2012 I visited Gatlinburg TN and the surrounding areas. I met some amazing people, had the time of my life in one of the most relaxing, picturesque settings I could have ever imagined. This place needed to be put down on paper. When the idea for the Cabin for Two anthology was being thrown around I knew exactly what I wanted to write. A Bear in the Woods was born. It’s taken me a little while to get back to the characters and write book two, but I can guarantee you won’t have to wait as long for book three.

 

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Author Group Bio:

Mischief Corner Books is an organization of superheroes… no, it’s a platinum-album techno-fusion group…no, hold on a sec here…

Ah, yes. Mischief Corner is a diverse group of authors who met on a mountain in Tennessee and decided since we probably were too easily distracted to rule the world that we’d settle for causing a bit of mayhem instead.

In addition to making mayhem, we publish books with a diverse range of genres and topics… we live to break molds. 

MCB. Giving voice to LGBTQ fiction.

Author Contact:

Mischief Corner Books Website and Store
MCB Facebook page

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books, LLCChestnutsRoasting10x15
Cover Artist: Catherine Dair
Sales Links:  

 

Blurb(s):

Christmas means different things to everyone, but most often it’s all about pulling loved ones close and brightening the gloom. The fire’s crackling. The snow is piling up outside, even if it’s only in your dreams. Time to snuggle up with some cocoa and some stories carefully crafted by the Mischief Corner Crew to warm hearts and cockles.

Wreath of Fire: Smokey Mountains Bears 2 – Toni Griffin:

Michael’s trying to start a new life away from his abusive father, but he’s drifting and not sure what he wants. When he accidentally starts a kitchen fire, the hot new fireman who comes to the rescue is not only another bear shifter. He’s Michael’s mate. Michael desperately needs to get his act together and figure out what he wants if he has any hope of claiming the bear fated to be his.

A Christmas Cactus for the General – Angel Martinez

Exiled to Earth for perhaps the worst failure in Irasolan history, General Teer must assimilate or die. Earth is too warm, too wet, too foreign, but he does the best he can even though human males are loud, childish louts whom he can’t imitate successfully. When a grieving seaplane pilot strikes up a strange and uneasy friendship with him, he finds he may have been too quick to judge human males. They are strange to look at, but perhaps not as unbearable as he thought.

Holly Jolly – Silvia Violet

I’m not gay. I just notice men sometimes. Everybody does, right? I notice Dane a lot, like every time I’m near him, but just because I think he’s an attractive man that doesn’t mean I like him, does it?

I’m also not a fan of Christmas. Too many years “celebrating” with my Bible-thumping family ruined the holiday for me. So what if I envy all these cheerful souls dashing about with smiles on their faces? I don’t have to like Christmas, do I? If anyone could get me in the Christmas spirit, it would be Dane with his easy, relaxed manner and his gorgeous smile. If that were going to happen, though, I’d have to find the courage to talk to him and to admit that maybe I don’t know myself all that well after all.

Snow on Spirit Bridge – Freddy MacKay

Alone in Japan, Finni is struggling against the constant distrust, avoidance, and xenophobia he experiences every day. He misses home. He misses his family. Nightmares come all too frequently because of the stress, and well, Christmas is just not Christmas in Japan. Not how he understands it.

Distressed by how miserable Finni is, his roommate, Mamoru, offers to be Finni’s family for Christmas. Little does he know how much one agreement would change everything between them, because both of them kept secrets neither ever dreamed were true.

Categories: Contemporary, Fantasy, Humor, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy (Please note: Not all tags refer to the collection of stories.)

Excerpt From Snow on Spirit Bridge by Freddy MacKay

Chapter One

There should be snow. Lots of it. Moreover, it should be below freezing with clouds, not this sunny and fifties crap. People should be huddled together and hurrying to get inside. It didn’t feel like Christmas otherwise.

With a sigh, Finni glanced around the train platform.

If he’d been home in Chicago, snow would blanket the streets and salt would crunch under his feet. Shop windows with mannequins would line the Magnificent Mile with Christmas winter scenes. The tree would be up at his parents’, decorated with bright lights and homemade ornaments he and his siblings made over the years. One or two presents would lie under the tree as a teaser for the younger cousins. Warm drinks would be waiting for him as he stepped through the door and brushed the snow off his coat. His family would smile at him and voices would call out to him.

If he’d been home in Chicago.

Tokyo wasn’t home.

A big, bustling city, yes, but not home.

As people hurried from one shop to the next, got on and off the trains, and ran about in their jackets and sweaters, Tokyo couldn’t have been farther from home. Yes, decorations were up at cake shops and at the department stores, but they weren’t the same. The plastic Christmas trees seemed more likely to come alive and hunt people down than give off a relaxing pine scent. They didn’t give off the same cozy family feeling Finni connected with. Everything was geared toward couples.

Since when was Christmas about couples?

A pang of loneliness ate at Finni’s gut. All he wanted was his parents, his brothers and sisters, and his cousins, aunts, uncles, and some snow. He needed to see everyone was happy and okay. Was that too much to ask for?

A chilled wind blasted Finni, and he looked up, expecting the train, but nothing rattled down the tracks. Other people grabbed their coats and hunched. Some young girls squealed and huddled closer to each other. Finally, a shiver wracked Finni, clueing him in to the unusual temperature drop.

Temperatures had plummeted from the fifties to almost thirty since he’d arrived on the platform, not normal weather. In only a T-shirt, even Finni felt the cold.

Finni sighed, closed his eyes, and concentrated on sunshine and warm thoughts. He almost laughed under the circumstances. The people would think he was odd and leave an even bigger circle around him. One more oddity to make Finni miss home even more.
The swoosh and rattle of a train making its way down the tracks caused Finni to open his eyes, watching expectantly with the others.

About damn time. Usually the trains didn’t run late unless something untoward happened. Like a jumper, which occurred more often than Finni comprehended. He risked a glance around and saw the people more relaxed, the extreme temperature flux now gone, just an oddity to discuss among themselves.

The train hissed to a stop, the doors popped open, and everyone hurried on, ready to leave the unusual drop in temperature behind them. While the men and women bumped into each other, the girls giggling as they passed Finni, he still got a wide berth as he ducked through. The crowd moved and swayed in a loose circle around him until Finni got to his spot by the doors and faced the window.

Once again, the seat next to him remained empty, no one sitting down even though the train was packed. Not every foreigner got quite the same treatment he did, but his size—not to mention the blond hair and blue eyes—made people’s reaction to him more extreme. Finni ignored the slight, though it stung more than it had the past couple of months. He’d learned not to notice when people stared or jumped in surprised when they looked up at him or moved away as soon as they noticed him after they sat down. Better to stay quiet and pretend nothing happened than draw attention to the behavior. It only made things worse.

Except today, the unfounded fears of the people he’d rode the train with since his move mid-October dug into him like claws. He sighed, leaned against the windows, and closed his eyes, exhausted.

Sleep wasn’t easy lately. Nightmares waited for him, ones that made it harder to be away from his family. He yawned, fighting off the weariness, but the rocking of the train called to him like a siren to a sailor.

No matter the direction he looked in, Finni only saw white. The snow beat down on him as he cried out. Torrents of wind spiraled all around him, the weather mimicking his heart.

Why hadn’t anyone come? The sky was dark. Someone should have found them by now. He trembled in the cold and felt so tired. He just wanted to sleep.

But he couldn’t. Not yet.

Finni tried to call out, but his voice had given out long before the sun went down.

He clutched Gunder to him. Realization had finally sunk in, but as he sniffed, Finni knew he’d never let Gunder go. No matter what.
He should’ve kept up with him. Kept Gunder in his sights, but his brother ran so much faster than he did. His legs were so long and big compared to Finni’s scrawny ones. Someday, he’d be bigger than Gunder, though, he just knew it. Then he’d be able to outrun his brother.

When they were grown up, three years wouldn’t be that big of a difference in age.

“Hear that, Gunder?” Finni asked in a whisper, pressing his face against his brother’s. “I’m going to be bigger than you someday. Be able to run faster. So…so…so…”

He broke down, sobs torn from his chest. How did they get home? Finni just wanted Mom and Dad. He just wanted to go home with Gunder.

“Mom!” His voice barely made it out, but he had to try. “Dad! Somebody!”

Nothing. He was alone. All alone.

Mom. Dad. I don’t want to be alone.

He screamed and the wind picked up, whipped around him in a cyclone. The temperature dropped farther.

“Finni! Gunder!”

Who was that?

“Finni! Where are you boys?”

“Gr-gr-grandpa?” Guilt warred with hope. He should hide. Everyone was gonna be mad. So, so mad. They’d never like him again.
The wind’s moaning stopped. The snowflakes stirred no more. Grandpa’s huge, hulking figure appeared.

“Grandpa,” Finni cried out. The hiccups came as he tried to get it all out. “G-G-Gunder fell through the ice… I-I-couldn’t reach him. Gunder…he… I-I-tried to g-g-get us home.”

“Oh, oh. Oh, Finni,” his grandpa said quietly. Tears ran down his cheeks.

Oh no. Grandpa was mad.

“My little boy.” Grandpa wrapped his big arms around them and kissed his forehead. “My poor boys.”

Finni wailed, and the snow picked back up.

 

Snow on Spirit Bridge – Freddy MacKay - Angel Martinez Reading The Excerpt – so wonderful!

Pages:

MCBBadgeTour Dates/Stops:

20-Nov

Amanda C. Stone

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

21-Nov

Parker Williams

24-Nov

Love Bytes

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

25-Nov

Hearts on Fire

26-Nov

BFD Book Blog

27-Nov

MM Good Book Reviews

28-Nov

Velvet Panic

1-Dec

Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings

Molly Lolly

2-Dec

Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves

Cate Ashwood

3-Dec

My Fiction Nook

Queer Town Abbey

Prism Book Alliance

4-Dec

Multitasking Mommas

Cathy Brockman Romances 

 

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: First prize: $25.00 GC (choice of Amazon or ARe) and a choice of Tote or Mug from the MCB Redbubble store (choice of graphic). Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the link provided for the entry form and for all additional contest details.

Second prize: $5.00 GC (choice of Amazon or ARe) and choice of sticker from the MCB Redbubble store
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