A MelanieM Review: Rhino Ash (Saturday Barbies #2) by Lindsey Black

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Ashley Jameson always tries to do the right thing, but that’s hard when your nephew keeps eating crayons, your niece is dressed as a pudding and your obnoxious older brothers crash the church’s Sunday brunch with the guy you’ve been crushing on for five years. Going to work to fight fires is a welcome relief from family obligations, until the Riot Squad arrives to investigate and Ashley once again finds himself dealing with his siblings. Oh … and Finn Hale.

But Finn’s dark past continues to haunt him. As work gets increasingly busy with a string of arson attacks on illegal immigrants, Finn steps in to be the shoulder Ashley needs to lean on, but Ashley struggles to do the same for the man he loves. Juggling family and work can be difficult, but Ashley soon discovers that the real challenge is when it’s not a struggle at all … because you’ll do anything for the ones you love.

I fell in love with Lindsey Black’s writing through her debut novel Fishy Riot (Saturday Barbies, #1).  That story introduced us to the crazy Jameson clan (police officers, doctors, EMT, firefighters) and assorted extended family members, including partners, children (vastly entertaining little ‘monsters’) and more.  It was an enthusiastic, marvelously engaging romp!  I adored the clan, the adventure, the mystery and humor and wanted more immediately.  But had to wait until now to see what and who in the Jameson family was going to get their story told next.  Lucky us!  It’s Ashley Jameson, the odd child out in names (Tay, Hay, Shay, etc) and youngest of the large pack who finds his HEA here in Finn Hale, his twin brothers partner in the Riot Squad.

One of the things I love about this  author is her ability to bring me to laughter one second and tears the next.  That’s totally in keeping with the characters here and the situations they find themselves in within this story and in Finn Hale’s case, deep within his backhistory.  The themes of family,  pain and recovery, even the self doubt that Ash carries within him about how his own family sees him.  These are layered, multidimensional characters who easily get to you because they feel so real, so human.  I found myself wanting to slide into their Saturday family barbeques myself if only to be a part of the craziness.

It’s not just the family appeal that comes across but the grit and pain of the business of firefighting or what they come across during this investigation.  It’s heartbreaking and the descriptions here telegraph the exhaustion, the heat, the intensity the firefighters feel as they enter the buildings, flames all around, floors collapsing, to save the people within…and sometimes don’t.

Rhino Ash (Saturday Barbies #2) by Lindsey Black proves that the first book and this author was indeed a glorious find and now a series to hang onto.  So is this amazing author.  I need more, so much more from her.

If you haven’t read Fishy Riot, grab that one up first and meet the Jameson family and then come here to Rhino Ash for the next Saturday Barbie!  I’ll be going back to reread them both together as I can’t get my fill I recommend them that much!

Cover art by Angsty G is perfect in continuing to brand the series while containing elements for the story. Love it.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, first edition, 276 pages
Published October 27th 2017 by Netherwood Press
ASINB076QYSS1N
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Saturday Barbies:

Fishy Riot (Saturday Barbies, #1)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Wild Wild Hex (Hexworld #3.5) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A wild, wild, wonderful short story in the Hexmaker series, this one features Rafael, a hawk shifter, who is also a wanted criminal. He’s somewhat of a Robin Hood among the poor in the Southwest and when Hexas Ranger, Enoch Bright catches up to him, he also stumbles upon the location of the Bone Gang, a group of robbers and murderers that are much worse than Rafael can ever be.

They decide to team up to pursue the gang and will do this by creating a partial bond. Yes, Rafael is witch Enoch’s familiar, but neither of them really want to bond permanently. By creating the partial bond, they can work together without getting too involved. Or so they think…

This is a wonderful addition to the series, bringing a whole new dimension to the world of the Hexmakers. Instead of only having access to the witches and familiars in New York, we now have the Hexas Rangers (I LOVE this name!) who cover the Southwest, and I sincerely hope we will see more of them in the near future. I wouldn’t mind more of Rafael and Enoch either, since we didn’t really have the time for their attraction and their story to fully develop within this short.

I highly recommend this series to all lovers of any form of paranormal adventure, but if you have a soft spot for cowboys, this one is for you. Plus, it’s a good place to jump in if you haven’t read other books in the series. It can easily be read as a standalone since there’s no mention of the previous books or characters.

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Cover art by Jordan L. Hawk is in the same style as others in this series and features both MCs in the top panel—the dark-skinned Hexas Ranger and the Hawk flying in the background. The middle panel features the title and the lower panel depicts a desert sunset. It’s very attractive, gives information about the story, and ties to the theme of the series—all the things that give it appeal and let readers know this is something to read.

Sales Links Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | Smashwords|Nook | iBooks

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 77 pages
Published October 27th 2017 by Jordan L. Hawk
ASINB076WVTXZ1
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL http://jordanlhawk.com/books/hexworld-series/
SeriesHexworld #3.5

An Alisa Release Day Review: Heart Unheard (Hearts Entwined #2) by Andrew Grey

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

The attraction between Brent Berkheimer and Scott Spearman peels the wallpaper, but Brent is Scott’s boss, and they’re both too professional to go beyond flirting. Their priorities realign after Scott is badly injured in an accident that costs him his hearing, and Brent realizes what is truly important… he wants Scott.

 

Scott pushes Brent away at first, fearing a new romance will just add to his problems, but perhaps he will find unexpected strength and solace in Brent’s support as he struggles to communicate with the world in a new way.

 

Just as they decide the chance of a happy future together is worth the risk, Scott and Brent discover darker challenges in their way—including evidence that the “accident” Scott suffered may not have been so accidental.

 

This was another great story and it takes place about two years after Heart Unseen.  Brent has tried to keep his distance from Scott to avoid any problems at work or to weigh him down with an older man.  Scott has flirted with Brent but since nothing has ever gone further feels that Brent isn’t interested.

 

Brent has been trying to figure out what to do about his attraction to Scott and the accident quickly puts things in perspective.  Scott is overwhelmed with healing from the accident and being treated as breakable that he isn’t sure he has that strength to try a relationship.

 

This story is told from both characters’ point of view so we are able to see their thoughts and feelings.  Brent has kept his personal doubts from everyone, even his best friends and mother, for so long he doesn’t even know how to vocalize them.  I loved Brent’s conviction to stand by and support Scott even if Scott doesn’t want more; I think his support was what helped Scott become stronger and more confident.  Scott’s strength to help Brent get over his doubts was wonderful.  I loved seeing Trevor and James again and hope the next book helps Dean find someone.

 

Cover art by LC Chase is absolutely wonderful and I love how understated it is.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: November 17, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-152-3

Edition Language: English

Series: Hearts Entwined #2

Tom Early on Writing, Characters and his novel The Doorway God (Seasons Rising #2) (author interview)

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The Doorway God (Seasons Rising #2) by Tom Early
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Art by Sadie Thompson;
Cover Design by Paul Richmond

Available for Purchase at Harmony Ink Press

Amazon | Google Play | Kobo

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Tom Early here today in our author’s hot seat answering questions. Welcome, Tom.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Tom Early, author of The Doorway God

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

That depends very much on the character. Fay has a lot of me inside him, which is the result of writing in the first person, living through a similar period of my life at the time, and learning a bit of the rules of writing as I went. Other characters like Sam or Tyler are based mostly off people I know, or amalgamations of traits from people I know very well. But everyone has at least a bit of me inside them, I think.

  • Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Not in the least, unless you have a life free of mistakes and such a high opinion of yourself as to think you’re infallible. Fay has a lot of my life experiences in him, in some way or another. A lot of those are mistakes or otherwise embarrassing moments. That does not a Gary Stue make – it just makes him real enough to be relatable.

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Fantasy is an interesting beast in that regard. I love it because I get to build up a whole lot of worlds and cultures and rules from nothing, but then I need to make sure that it’s internally consistent at all times, and that everything that isn’t fantasy is still believable and follows internal logic. The more you want people to believe in magic, the more the material has to follow the strict rules of physics, and the magic has to follow the rules you’ve clearly set out for it. I end up researching a lot of what I’ve already set down, ironically enough. That, and some basics of hospital and university procedure for certain scenes.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Very definitely. I’ve always had a soft spot for fantasy, and that’s never gone away. Nobody who knows me is surprised that that’s the genre I write.

  • Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

I haven’t had that happen quite because of hurting, but I have had to put aside ‘in progress’ stories before because I felt I wasn’t quite up to the task at the time. Sometimes because I felt I didn’t have the talent or experience, and other times because the subject matter was something I had to steel myself for, and didn’t feel emotionally up for it at the time.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I love realism, but I’m also a terrible sap. Give me HEA every time, just with acknowledgment that there are always bumps in the road to be dealt with – they just don’t have to be dramatic and spell out an end.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I think it’s a very good thing, because it’s affordable and accessible to a lot of people. I don’t think it’s going anywhere, and I’m glad for the chance to see it develop in my own time. I don’t think it spells the end of print books, but there are always growing pains.

  • How do you choose your covers?

When I was young and foolish, I signed a blood pact with a demon. They told me the terms and conditions of the pact, and from there I was directed to an individual known as Sadie, who was then put in charge of my covers from that point onwards. I regret nothing – their art is truly spectacular and suited perfectly to my books. (Check my books for contact information – Sadie’s art isn’t something to be missed)

  • What’s next for you as an author?

Functioning as a human being while finding time to write, I imagine. Beyond that, I’m not sure – I just know that I’m not done writing with the conclusion of Seasons Rising as a series. I hope to stay working with Harmony Ink Press for a long time yet!

  • What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I’m fascinated by people who are nothing like me, especially if I can figure out the core of their personalities. That’s also mostly impossible, but I do my best anyway. Anyone who has the confidence to tackle the world head on and can talk with total strangers without feeling like an alien is someone I would like to get to know better. 

  • Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

I once wrote an entire complex of assassins and a city plagued by a name no one could remember how to speak aloud while more than a little drunk. I reread it the next morning and took some choice bits to squirrel away for later, and then deleted the other 70% or so. As it turns out, drunk me likes very much to run with the coolest idea he can think of in the moment… which often happens to be something someone else has written.

  • If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

I do very well in places where I am completely comfortable and not lacking in outside stimulus. Coffee shops tend to work very well for this, especially if I can snag a comfy chair. Give me background people chatter, a sugary caffeinated drink the size of my head, and decent wifi, and I will be more than happy to sit and write away the day for hours.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To wide our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write because writing makes me happy, and because I believe that stories help make the world a happier, more understanding place. There’s a lot going on today that I can’t do a damn thing about. This is something I can do to make a difference in my own way. If I can take care of myself and maybe help others a bit too with my writing, I’m going to do it.

Blurb

The Seasons are coming to Janus University, and Fay’s and Sam’s lives will never be the same.

Through last year’s deadly Trials, Fay and Sam gained admittance to the magical university, and the coming of autumn signals the start of the school year. But both of them have goals beyond their studies. For Fay, it’s finding a way to contain the ancient and evil spirit of Winter, which has no regard for human life. Fay has vowed to never let Winter kill again—but working with the school’s headmaster, Didas, is a risk. Didas cannot see past the potential power he can draw from Fay, and since Fay’s boyfriend and familiar, Tyler, is away at Tufts University, Fay might have to face his possession—and his dreams of four mysterious figures—on his own terms.

While trying to help Fay, Sam seeks information about her mother’s past in the magical world of Gaia, but will she like what she uncovers? To survive, Fay and Sam must make alliances, but it’s harder than ever to tell friend from enemy.

About the Author

Tom Early is currently a student at Tufts University who probably spends more time than is wise reading and writing instead of studying. More often than not, he can be found wrapped in a blanket on the couch forgetting most of the things he was supposed to do that day. 

When not writing, Tom can be found either reading, gaming, drawing, scratching his dog, or bothering his friends. He also frequently forgets that it’s healthy to get more than six hours of sleep a night, and firmly believes that treating coffee as the most important food group makes up for this. If you show him a picture of your dog, he will probably make embarrassingly happy noises and then brag about his own dog. He’s always happy to talk about any of his previous or current writing projects, because people asking him about them reminds him that he should really be writing right now. 

On Tour with Embrace the Fire (Through Hell and Back #3) by Felice Stevens and Kale Williams (Narrator) (excerpt and giveaway)

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Embrace the Fire Audio Tour

Embrace the Fire

Through Hell and Back Series, Book 3

Felice Stevens

M/M Romance

Release: 03.24.17

Audio Release: 10.31.17

Embrace the Fire Audio Cover

Narrator: Kale Williams

Listening Length: 9 hours and 42 minutes

Cover Design: Reese Dante

Cover Photo: Varian Krylov/ Strangeland Photography

 

BUY LINK

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2yu0NiV

Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2mem4vf

 

BLURB

 Brandon Gilbert has spent years in hiding, but he’s finally accomplished his dream of working as a public school teacher. When offered the chance to help bullied children, there was no way he could say no. Not to mention that meeting Dr. Tash Weber, the psychiatrist who helps them, a sad yet sexy older man, ignited a spark inside Brandon he’d never had before.

Though five years have passed since the death of his lover, Dr. Sebastian “Tash” Weber has no interest in relationships or love. But young, enigmatic Brandon awakens his heart and his desire. Despite Tash’s best efforts to push him away, Brandon unlocks the passion for life Tash thought he’d lost forever.

Falling in love wasn’t part of the plan for either Brandon or Tash, but neither family disapproval nor self-doubts can stop them from embracing the fire that burns between them. And when Brandon returns home to fight for a future he never imagined possible, he and Tash discover that the one thing worth fighting for has been with them all along.

Embrace the Fire Teaser 1 darker

Embrace the Fire Teaser 3

EXCERPT

“Care to tell me what’s wrong?” Brandon zipped up his jacket.

“You don’t know? All weekend I’ve been deluding myself. We were caught up in this bubble we created, but now? Now that I have to come face-to-face with your brothers and Gage.” Tash shook his head. “I don’t know if I can do this.”

Heart beating madly, Brandon swallowed. “Can’t do what?” Don’t do this, please; don’t hide yourself away.

“Us. You, me. We’re at different places in our lives. You’re starting out, and with Ash and Luke, you have a whole new world open to you—places to explore and new people to meet.”

Tash unbuckled his seat belt and opened the car door but didn’t get out. “I’m the opposite. I’m ready to settle down. I’m not interested in nightlife and the latest scene. I can’t and won’t ask you to give it all up.” Tash climbed out of the car and slammed the door.

The hell he says. If Tash thought he’d simply state his opinions like God and proclaim what Brandon should do with the rest of his life, he was in for a fight. He wrenched open the door. “I’m not giving anything up. I was never into that.” Brandon slammed the car door behind him with a vicious thump. “Who do you think you are? You say you don’t want to be with me, yet you then get the right to lay out my life in neat little puzzle pieces so it all comes perfectly together as you see fit.”

Tash had stopped in his tracks but didn’t turn around. Hopeful that was a sign he was at least listening, Brandon continued.

“Sure we were in a bubble; it was wonderful this weekend, beautiful and amazing.” He advanced on Tash and stood before him. “Don’t think I don’t know, maybe better than anyone, how something so perfect and magical can be ripped away with no warning.” He put a hand on Tash’s shoulder, hoping Tash wouldn’t move away from him. “And now the hard stuff begins—reality and all the trouble that comes with it. But aren’t you willing to try? See where this journey takes us?”

“Brandon, you’re—”

“Don’t say it. I’ll tell you what I am. I’ve been homeless and hungry. I’ve lived on the streets with rats, not knowing where I would sleep at night. Do you think I’m looking for a man whose only interest is a twenty-dollar glass of wine and where the next party is?”

Tash said nothing, and Brandon had no more strength to argue. Besides, they were at the clinic to do a job. Last time he’d screwed up by running out, and he’d be damned if he’d do it again.

Felice Logo

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS 

Twitter:https://twitter.com/FeliceStevens1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/felicestevens/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8432880.Felice_Stevens

Instagram: https://instagram.com/FeliceStevens

Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/felicestevensauthor?ref=hl

Newsletter:   http://felicestevens.us8.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=d43061d90bf2256eb322ed69f&id=586ac8fa57

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John Solo on Narrating and Leta Blake’s Smoky Mountain Dreams Audiobook (Blog Tour and Giveaway)

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Today the narrator of Smoky Mountain Dreams, John Solo, is interviewed by the author of the book, Leta Blake. Come find out everything you want to know about narrating gay romance audiobooks and why you should read/listen to Smoky Mountain Dreams!

There are two options for this interview! You can read the answers below or listen to John’s smooth voice give you his more spontaneous answers in the following audio interview:

https://vimeo.com/242100856

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Narrator John Solo

How long have you been voice acting and narrating audiobooks?

For myself, the number for voice acting and narrating audiobooks is the same. 3 ½ years.

How many books have you narrated now and do you have any especial favorites that you’d recommend readers check out?

I’ve voiced over 90 audiobooks (I think the number is around 92 right now?). Some are under the pseudonym Jack Wayne, some are not available to the general public, but most are under John Solo.

Some of my current favorites are; “The Well,” by Marie Sexton (I’m just producing her newest book, “One Man’s Trash”, and if you are interested in the hot steamy side of things…), “Seven Card Stud” by Ava Drake (this one is kind of a hidden gem in my opinion… it has a very comedic, almost “Private Eyes” feel to it), and “Places in Time” by Cardeno C.

If you are interested in other genres and like my work, check out the Bubba the Monster Hunter series by John G. Hartness. Imagine Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Larry the Cable Guy. It is the funniest series I’ve ever had the privilege to work on!!! “The Malaise Falchion” by Paul Barrett (narrated by me as Jack Wayne) is I think my personal favorite piece of work ever (I got to do an ogre voice… I mean, c’mon, how fun is that?!?).

And, wow, “Smoky Mountain Dreams,” by Leta Blake may be one of the best romance titles I’ve ever read, and that’s saying something!

What was your favorite part of working on Smoky Mountain Dreams?

The character growth of Jesse was intriguing to me, and as an actor, it gave me a whole lot of meat to chew on. The backdrop of the Smoky Mountains gave the entire book this… atmosphere? The same kind of thing that happens in a Tarantino flick with the music track, you know? I had almost as much fun narrating some of the descriptive narrative as I did with some of the deep emotional scenes!

You were amazing at capturing all the emotions in Smoky Mountain Dreams. As a voice actor, how hard is it to put yourself in characters’ shoes if their lives are quite different from your own?

Awwww…. Thank you! When I read things like that about me my brain automatically fires off a sound clip of Han Solo saying, “Great, kid! Now don’t get cocky…”.

Are you implying that I’m NOT an 80 year old grandmother from Gatlinburg? Seriously, though, this is exactly what makes this career so much fun!!! Remember when you were a kid, when you had this imaginary world created in your head that you could play in for hours on end without ever getting bored? I had GI Joe and Star Wars action figures handed down to me by 3 older brothers, and I absolutely treasured them! One day I was playing in a medieval fantasy world, the next I was on a spaceship… Guess what? I get to do that every day now. And you know the best part? People PAY me to do it!!! Shhhh… don’t tell my clients that it’s kinda fun.

Is it hard? Absolutely, otherwise everyone would be doing it. As a studio owner and audiobook producer (I produce close to a dozen other voice actors as well) I can’t count how many times I’ve had friends/family/relatives/acquaintances/store clerks say, “You’re a voice actor? You know, everyone tells me I have a great voice, I bet I could do that!”. Not to discourage anyone from trying, but it’s not as easy as just having a good voice and reading a book. But if it was? I wouldn’t still be enjoying it and looking forward to going to “work” every day.

I try to attach at least one or two emotions or general states of being to each character (sometimes many, many more) that I can identify with. For instance, Chris’s grandmother got the mental tag of “ornery”. While I’m not an 80 year old grandmother from Gatlinburg, I can most definitely identify with “ornery”. From there I develop a voice and often mannerisms for the character, record a preproduction voice sample, listen back, make changes, and repeat the process until I like it.

Here’s a funny side note; when working on a book where I had to voice a fairy godmother type character, I found it best to hold a pink toy wand (look, there are real wands, OK?) in my hand and gesture with it while recording her lines. Whatever works, eh? Although, that particular wand made a sound effect when you waved it, which I kept forgetting… that was a fun time editing!

If you could give readers/listeners one reason to pick up Smoky Mountain Dreams, aside from your own awesome narrating skills, what would that reason be?

I’ve produced over 300 gay romance audiobooks. I have narrated close to 80 of them myself. This book kept ME entertained from beginning to end.

 
 
Narrated By: John Solo
 
Length: 14hrs 46mins
 
Blurb


After giving up on his career as a country singer in Nashville, Christopher Ryder is happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee. But while his beloved Gran loves him the way he is, Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. Even when he’s center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.


Bisexual Jesse Birch has no room in his life for dating. Raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother, he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart

https://player.vimeo.com/video/237399843
SMD Sample from Leta Blake on Vimeo.



November 13 – Gay Book Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews
November 14 – Alpha Book Club
November 15 – V’s Reads
November 16 – Diverse Reader
November 17 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Blog
November 20 – Gay Book Reviews, Reading In Sarah’s Corner, Valerie Ullmer, OMG Reads
November 22 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
November 24 – Bayou Book Junkie, Gay Media Reviews, Making It Happen

Author Bio

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family



Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/letablake
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LetaBlake
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/letablake
Website: https://letablake.wordpress.com

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An Alisa Review: Vampire Claus by Robert Winter

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

’Twas the night before Christmas, but what’s stirring is a little more dangerous than a mouse.

 

Taviano is nearly two hundred years old and never wakes in the same place twice. Weary and jaded, the vampire still indulges in memories of childhood Christmases in Naples. He lingers in shadow, spying on mortals as they enjoy the holiday.

 

When Taviano spots a handsome young man in Boston loaded down with presents and about to be mugged, he can’t help but intervene. Soon he’s talking to joyous, naïve, strong-willed and funny Paul, a short-order cook who raised funds to buy Christmas presents for LGBTQ children. Before he knows what’s happened, Taviano is wrapped up in Paul’s arms and then in his scheme to get the presents delivered by Christmas morning.

 

A vampire turned into a Christmas elf… What could go wrong?

 

This was a nice holiday story with a bit of a twist.  Taviano has pretty much hated himself since he was turned into a vampire.  Paul quickly brings some light into his world and he doesn’t want to let him go.

 

Paul hasn’t had the best time since coming out to his parents but he does have some support from the rest of his family and is just trying to get by on his own.  Even with this he has a positive outlook and it goes a long way to helping Taviano see himself in a new light.  I loved Paul’s view of the world and how he only saw the good that Taviano did and ends up giving Taviano a purpose.  We learned much about Taviano’s life before he was born and its mysterious connection to Paul but Taviano doesn’t think much on his past as he doesn’t feel worthy.  Taviano continues to prove himself when he defends Paul against the Boston vampires and comes out on top.

 

The cover art by Dar Albert is great and I love the visuals of the characters.

 

Sales Link: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 112 pgs

Published: November 15, 2017 by Robert Winter

Edition Language: English

A VVivacious Review: Testing the Limits (Daniel and Ryan #9) by Tamryn Eradani

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Daniel and Ryan get back to basics after an intense threesome.

I feel like this is going to be a short review because when you are reviewing the ninth book in a series you have almost certainly said everything you can about the things that define the series as a whole but sometimes when I write reviews I discover a whole hoard of thoughts while typing up so who knows.

This isn’t my new favourite in the series and that makes me a little sad because unknowingly after reading the last one, which I thought for sure I would hate but in reality ended up loving, my expectations might have gone up, so this one was a little disappointing.

This story is one big scene, a very intense scene but a scene nonetheless. So there isn’t much story development and this story reads as an effort to get back to basics after that insanely intense threesome. Also, Ryan kept bringing Brett up during the scene which was a little weird, to say the least. It didn’t seem to be in character with Ryan to be insecure and considering how he flipped my entire view on the threesome with his perspective it was really off-putting. In fact, I felt like the author kept bringing up Brett to make it clear that that threesome hadn’t changed the equation between Daniel and Ryan. But the thing is I already knew that and this felt like an unnecessary reminder.

All in all this story is a pretty good scene but the fact that it was following the story arc which has progressively seen more and more momentum in Daniel and Ryan’s relationship was a bit of a letdown. The author has kind of been teasing the whole meet the family thing in the past two books and I really wanted more along that angle.

The next book seems to be more of a story rather than being based around a scene so I am curious to know where that takes us.

Cover Art by Natasha Snow. I love her covers.

Sales Links:   NineStar PressAmazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 23rd 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781947904088
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Daniel and Ryan #9

An Ali Audiobook Review: Buried Bones (Bones #2) by Kim Fielding and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Werewolves don’t have a how-to manual—nor do men embarking on a new life together. 

It’s been a few weeks since Dylan Warner wolfed out and killed Andy, the crazed werewolf who originally turned him and later tried to murder Chris Nock. Architect Dylan and handyman Chris are still refurbishing Dylan’s old house as they work out the structure of their relationship. They come from very different backgrounds, and neither has had a long-term lover before, so negotiating their connections would be challenge enough even if Dylan didn’t turn into a beast once a month. 

To make matters worse, Dylan’s house is haunted, and events from both men’s pasts are catching up with them. Dylan has to cope with the aftermath of killing Andy, and Chris continues to suffer the effects of a difficult childhood. 

In his quest to get rid of the ghost, Dylan rekindles old friendships and faces new dangers. At the same time, Chris’s father makes a sudden reappearance, stirring up old emotions. If Dylan and Chris want to build a lasting relationship, they’ll have to meet these challenges head-on.
This is the second book in the Bones series and it catches us up with the MC’s from book one.  Dylan and Chris are a couple now and they are working on both developing their relationship and fixing up the old house.  While overall things are going better there is still a problem.  A ghostly one this time. And, in their search to figure out the haunting, they accidentally get themselves involved with a werewolf pack.
Who’s haunting it and why is something they slowly figure out with the help of a psychic grandma who’s not scared of much of anything.  We meet her grandson Ery who is Dylan’s friend and who will be the MC of the next book in the series.
Overall I found this to be a sweet and enjoyable story.  I don’t quite feel the connection between these two main characters that would take this from a series I liked to a series I love.  It’s not a favorite of mine from this author but I still find it enjoyable.  I like the low angst level also.
This audiobook was narrated John Solo and I think he did a good job.  His voices for both of the MC’s were distinct and I also enjoyed the way he did the side characters.  I felt the performance added to the story.
If you enjoyed the first book in this series I think you will enjoy this also.  If you have not read book one you should do that first.  This book does not work as a standalone.
This cover is done by Christine Griffin.  I’m not a big fan of the animated style of covers so this is not a favorite of mine.  I do think the artist is talented and it is a great representation of the story.
Audiobook Details:
Release Date Sep 25, 2017
Type Novels
Length 8:00

Lyn Gala on the Many Expressions of Love and her story ‘Tap-Dancing the Minefields’ (author guest post)

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Tap-Dancing the Minefields by Lyn Gala
DSP Publications
Cover art by Anne Cain

Buy at DSP Publications |  Amazon 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words welcomes Lyn Gala here today on her tour for Tap-Dancing the Minefields. Welcome, Lyn.

 

I write romance, so clearly I’m obsessed with people falling in love or being in love or struggling to make love work.  But sometimes I miss seeing a wide range of love.  In Romeo and Juliet, everyone talks about the young couple, but what about Mercutio’s love for Romeo? 

In Frankenstein, I am obsessed with how much the creature struggles to find brotherly love with all these imperfect people.  For one shining moment, he has it, sitting in a hovel with a blind man who talks to him like an equal, and then the family returns and reveals the truth about the monster’s horrible appearance.  That breaks my heart.  And I maintain that Huck Finn’s redemption comes when he learns to love Jim.

So I want a romantic love interest, but I also want deep, abiding love in all its forms.  Tap-Dancing grew out of that desire. Back in New York, Tank lost too many people he loved.  He took those broken connections and used them as an excuse to run as far and as fast as he could—ending up in the northern wilds of Alaska running supplies to a remote Army base.  Once there, Tank finds himself in the center of an alien conspiracy, a military unit struggling to defend the planet and a group of people who share the sort of camaraderie Tank desperately needs.

Lev is shy with a core of steel and a big heart, and Tank is immediately attracted to him.  But this story is also about Aldrich who is the mentor and father figure Tank needed.  It’s about Brian Hoffer who tried to be the big brother Tank needed and John who actually filled that role. It’s about how these people all love each other, and yes, Lev and Tank are the centerpiece because they have the romantic love, what the Greeks called eros—sexual passion.  And they do have a lot of passion.

But I wrote this with a list of the Greek words for love sitting in front of me.

I love the fact that the Greeks identified a number of different ways that love can develop in the human heart, and I want to explore all of them.  Philia, deep friendship, motivates these people as much as their desire to protect the world.  When Aldrich is talking to John or Deborah, who are technically under him in the chain of command, the ludus, playful love, shows as they tease each other.

These soldiers have agape, a love for all people that drives them to protect others, even when their own lives are at risk. Deborah and her husband show pragma, a deep longstanding love. More than any of my other books, I think this one has a happily ever after in that Lev and Tank develop that pragma by the end.  They have patience for each other, and love that comes from a place of compromise and patience can survive anything.

But more than anything, this is about philautia—self love. Tank hates himself for not being perfect and being helpless to stop evil in the world. Much of this book is about his struggle to forgive himself for being imperfect—for losing friends to a fight he couldn’t hope to win.  He is damaged in ways that only another warrior could recognize, and much of the book is about his struggle to forgive himself and rediscover his philautia because until he can open his heart to himself, he can’t truly allow Lev into it.

I will admit that I am stupidly in love with these characters.  I love how broken and flawed they are and how they keep fighting no matter what.  The love running through these guys isn’t about hearts and flowers. This love is steel and fire.  And sometimes the fire does burn too brightly.

Blurb

Sometimes the fiercest battle a man faces is against himself.

In the hidden alleyways of New York City, George “Tank” Tankersley defeated what he believed were demons. But the victory cost too much. Tank joined the Army in the hope of outrunning the guilt haunting him—only to stumble into a vast and deadly conspiracy, the enemies he’d hoped to never encounter again, and the arms of the brilliant, eccentric scientist tasked with saving humanity.

In a world where the line between dark magic and alien science is thin, Dr. Lev Underwood must reverse engineer recovered alien technology to give humans a fighting chance against the extraterrestrial beings who consider Earth nothing more than a petri dish. His old friend, Colonel Clyde Aldrich, wants to protect Lev from entanglement with the scarred and emotionally volatile young soldier, but Lev cannot help the pull he feels toward Tank. Still, his first loyalty is to the secret government program, and love might have to take a back seat to protecting the world. But if he can find a way, Lev wants both.

Excerpt:

The connecting door opened, and Clyde looked up as John stood in the doorway, silently watching. He had no censure on his face, but he stood as a mute witness as Tank’s cries gradually faded. It took over an hour, but eventually the stiff muscles and hard tremors faded until Tankersley lay limp in Clyde’s arms, either asleep or too worn out to keep grieving. Clyde didn’t fool himself. This was the first step on a long journey. But at least Tankersley had the balls to start down it. Plenty of men could never face their own fears.

“You want to give me a hand?” Clyde asked softly. John moved into the room, a silent shadow as he walked over and knelt down to scoop Tankersley up. He was really out of it. His eyes didn’t even flicker as John lifted him and moved him to the bed.

Clyde sat on the floor feeling nearly as exhausted himself. Watching Tankersley fight through all the pain made his own wounds feel rawer than they had in a while. Losing people. It wasn’t easy. And the officers for whom it became easy weren’t worth spit.

John frowned at him, and Clyde made a production of standing with his stiff knees. Usually he was exaggerating when he talked about his old legs, but Tankersley had put his weight onto Clyde’s left leg, and he had a raging case of pins and needles. Sitting on the edge of the bed, Clyde rubbed his sore leg.

“You guys wouldn’t hurt so much if you weren’t so willing to give your love to so many people,” John commented.

“Yep,” Clyde agreed. They’d talked about it on the gladiator ship—the danger of loving others and the way it stole a man’s soul when those people died. Clyde figured that neither of them needed to talk about it, because both of them had seen their share of men struggling to carry the emotional burdens the world required of them. Really, Lev should have found someone with fewer scars.

Author Bio:

Lynsey “Lyn” Gala started writing in the back of her science notebook in third grade and hasn’t stopped since. Westerns starring men with shady pasts gave way to science fiction with questionable protagonists, which eventually became any story with a morally ambiguous character. Even the purest heroes have pain and loss and darkness in their hearts, and that’s where she likes to find her stories. Her characters seek to better themselves and find the happy (or happier) ending.

When she isn’t writing, Lyn Gala teaches history in a small town in New Mexico. Her favorite spot to write is a flat rock under a wide tree on the edge of the open desert where her dog can terrorize local wildlife. Writing in a wide range of genres, she often gravitates back to adventure and BDSM, stories about men in search of true love and a way to bring some criminal to justice… unless they happen to be the criminal. Find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lyn.gala