A MelanieM Review: Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming by Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot, B.A.Tortuga

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Midnight Rodeo Homecoming coverDoes just the thoughts of a rodeo fill you with anticipation of fun, knuckle cracking suspense and danger?  And good looking cowboys too?  What happens when you take all that and add in demons, vampires,  weres of all types, and a ghost or two?  The answer to the last question is Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming ,a collection of three stories by authors Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga.

The Darque and Knight Rodeo is famous for its wild bulls, great bull riders ,over the top bullfighters and much, much more.  If only the humans who came to watch knew who and what were really behind the gates and stands when this rodeo came to town.  Three stories look into the lives and loves of the Darque and Knight Rodeo. This rodeo is run and employees nothing but Supes as the Supernatural are known, in search of a home, love and a family.

Those stories are Welcome to the Pack by BA Tortuga, Oklahoma Rain by Kiernan Kelly, and Big Bear, Little Bear, by Julia Talbot. Don’t miss out on a single one!

This book checked all the boxes for me.  It’s got the rodeo and cowboys (as such), it’s got  weres (both cat, wolf, and more), vampires, demons, and paranormals…all on the search for love, home, and a family.  It’s also by Kiernan Kelly, BA Tortuga, and Julia Talbot, a trio of authors who always manage to bring it home with their stories and viewpoints.  All three stories are centered around the Darque and Knight Rodeo (love that play on words).

I’ll be taking a look at each story as they appear in the book.  First up? A werewolf homecoming of sorts in “Welcome to the Pack”.

“Welcome to the Pack” by BA Tortuga – 4.75 stars

Bullfighter Denver returns home when his twin brother and pack Alpha, Denton, is killed by a bull at The Darque and Knight Rodeo.  Denver left the pack when it was decided that Denton would be the Alpha and now Denver is returning to reclaim the role and get the pack in order.  It’s been decades since Denver has been back and the pack isn’t all that happy to see him. Denver must fight for the right to be Alpha and try to heal the hole caused by the loss of his brother.  Only another outcast, Blaine, seems to be in his corner.  A necessary support to have when all the bulls they fight are possessed by demons!

My favorite story of the three but not by much.  The universe building here is superb.  I can’t get enough of this rodeo and all the beings that make up this rodeo!  This is a tale of two brothers, really.  One has died by the beginning of the story but Denton’s presence is felt throughout as Denver greatly misses him and is often compared to his brother.  Denver has been working the “mundane” rodeo circuit as humans are called and now returns to his former pack in disarray.  They’ve gotten sloppy, mean, and not exactly welcoming to Denver.  As Denver fights his way back into the pack, he finds a mate and a home.  Along the way the readers finds out such details as there is a caged demon inside of each bull.  I’m sure that many cowboys would find this entirely plausible! The cat shifters, a pride, that runs the cafeteria, food stands, and give massages to those they care for.  I would love a story about that Pride and its members.

Blaine, an outsider by way of his unusual birth and size, is a wonderful character.  I adored him and his relationship with Denver.  This is the longest story of the three and could easily have been its own book.  And series.  Plus there is a Russian tiger shifter, Dimitri, in need of a mate.  I need that story as badly as he does his HEA!  I wonder if BA Tortuga takes bribes?

Oklahoma Rain by Kiernan Kelly – 5 stars

Blaze Morgan  looks like a mundane but he’s not.  Instead Blaze has a hidden psychic talent that allows him to scout out the locations in small towns along the rodeo circuit where Darque and Knight can set up for a while.  Blaze supplies patches when holes appear in the magic wards that kept their real identities masked and the magical nature of their rodeo hidden from the mundanes that buy the tickets at each stop. Blaze even has a talent for mind control but that only applies to the humans he meets and not any Supes he comes into contact with.  That proves to be a problem when Blaze finds a homeless pair hiding out on the deserted farm where Darque and Knight are getting ready to set up for a run.

Zack and 10 year old human Mikey have been using the farm as their home for a while and Blaze’s appearance shattered the temporary home they have made together.  Telekinetic Zack saved Mikey from abusive kidnapper, and the farm has served them both as a place for Mikey to try and heal and a  haven for Zack.  Blaze invites them to join the rodeo as they can always use another psychic but not everyone is happy to have a human child around.

This story got me too.  Loved poor damaged Mikey and his relationship with Zack.  Zack, Blaze and Mikey make a wonderful family but not everyone is happy to have them there.   Kelly builds the suspense and anguish skillfully as she does the love and bonding between the two men and the wounded child.  As it all comes to an explosive ending, the reader is fully engaged and ready to do battle along side Zack, and Blaze to keep their family safe and together.

Loved this story too as so many other types of beings appear here to deepen the universe all three authors are building.  Vampire Cody and Demon Philip own and run Darque and Knight, dragons are used as barrel racers and a single burp can set the tents on fire.  Cheetah shifters and wolf shifters and so many others are bull riders, barrel racers, and more.  There is even a Grand Wizard Dermid who sets the spells that enchant the rodeo to keep it safe. It just keeps getting more fascinating the more you know about it.

Big Bear, Little Bear, by Julia Talbot – 4.5 stars

Grizzly bear shifter Ozzie is the barrel man and clown for Darque and Knight Rodeo. Little Black Bear shifter, Ben, trains and supplies the best rodeo horses while managing on being the worst bulldogger. And Ben has the biggest crush of Ozzie but Ozzie thinks Ben’s too young and inexperienced. Then Ben is badly hurt and sent home to recover. When Ben comes back, Ozzie is surprised how much he has missed the little bear. But there’s something different about Ben, something he’s hiding and Ozzie is determined to get to the truth and let the little bear know how much he cares.

Of course, the barrel man and clown is a Grizzly shifter! How perfect!  And Julia Talbot gets the feel of a bear in human form just right as they lumber along with their love of honey, fruits, and finally each other.  The author brings the natural history of bears into her story in subtle but genuine  ways and it just elevates this story up another notch.  Ben’s injury almost killed him and the ensuing trauma has had enormous side effects, as it should.   Ben’s gentleness and forlorn demeanor plays off beautifully against the jovial good nature and confidence of Ozzie.  They are made for each other and Julia Talbot’s lovely story charts the  path of their romance  from start to finish.  More please, much, much more!

I really adored Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming.  I can only hope that this book is a precursor of more stories to come.  Darque and Knight Rodeo is full of amazing beings, each with their own stories to tell.  How did Philip and Cody get together? A demon and a vamp?  What about Dimitri and the Pride of cat shifters?  Plus there is Denver’s triplet brothers to get in trouble and surely other paranormals that could use a job at a rodeo?  I can think of character after character with a story that needs telling and these three authors are just the ones to do it.

I highly recommend Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming.  Its fun, lively, engrossing….just a great read.  Pick it up and become involved in the lives of the supernatural and paranormal as they find their way to HEA and a home.  You will be happy you did.

Sales Links:  Torquere Press           All Romance eBooks (ARe)              Amazon                    Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming

Cover by Anne Squires.  Love this cover.  I only wish there had been a bit of a supernatural air about it, maybe claws on the hand or something.

Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages
Published July 16th 2014 by Torquere Press
ISBN 1610407776 (ISBN13: 9781610407779)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=76&products_id=4220

Want Bliss? Get it with Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau’s Bliss Book Tour and Contest

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Need some Bliss in your life?  Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau are here to tell you how and talk a little about the inspiration behind this story.  There is a wonderful contest to enter as well as  an excerpt  to read.  

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Hi! We’re Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau, authors of Bliss.  We’re touring the web talking about our influences, our writing process, giving you a behind-the-Bliss_150x300scenes look at our book, and even a sneak peek or two! And what would a blog tour be without a contest? We’re giving away a copy of the first novel we wrote together: King of Dublin!

Here’s today’s look at one of our influences for the Bliss: the history of crime and punishment. And is it rehabilitation or revenge that motivates the law?

Hi! Lisa here. A long, long time ago, I started a thesis at university. It didn’t last long. I threw it in once I was tempted by the lure of full time work, and an actual full time wage. There’s only so long you can survive on two-minute noodles and fierce late night discussions about philosophy. Anyway, I went and got a job, and the thesis was never written.

Had it been, it would have been all about the history of crime and punishment. Specifically, the Panopticon, which was a prison designed by the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. The design of the Panopticon meant that every cell could be monitored by a guard in a single, central guardroom. While of course a single person couldn’t be looking at every prisoner in every cell all the time, the prisoners themselves would have no idea when they were being observed and would adjust their behaviour accordingly. This fits very nicely into the Victorian idea that criminals, like poor people, foreigners, and children, were untrustworthy and morally degenerate.

The Victorians knew that prisons didn’t work. You sent a man to prison for a minor offence, and what happened? He met other prisoners inside, and came out with new criminal skills. The Panopticon would prevent fraternisation between prisoners, and prevent them from forming criminal networks they could exploit once they were released. If you couldn’t speak to a fellow prisoner, and if you couldn’t even recognise one once you were outside, good luck getting together for that next big crime spree. Sounds cruel? Here’s the previous method:

It was in Victorian times that society first started to question the point of prison. Was it to punish, or was it to rehabilitate? Interestingly, this is a question we’re still struggling with today, and one that I don’t think we’re any closer to answering.

In Bliss, it’s a question that Rory James thinks the city state of Beulah has figured out: rehabilitation through restitution. Convicted criminals pay off their debt to society with a period of servitude where they are indentured to the person they wronged. Rory is a recent immigrant to Beulah and only finds all this out once he’d the victim of a crime, and suddenly expected to share his home with the man who assaulted him: Tate Paterson.

Tate, another outsider, didn’t look any further than the fact that Beulah had no prisons before deciding to try his luck thieving there. It never occurred to him that there were no prisons in Beulah because they had an altogether more unusual method of crime prevention. In Beulah there is no need for guards, or masks, or chians or Panopticons. In Beulah, Tate’s own mind will become his prison.

They’ll put a chip in his head that will prevent him from being violent. It will make him desperate to earn Rory’s forgiveness, and his praise. It will make him want to serve in any way he can. It will make Tate a happy slave.

And he won’t be able to tell a soul.

Contest
Thanks for following our tour! To celebrate our release, we’re giving away a copy of our first joint release — King of Dublin. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your facebook or goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because we won’t be able to see it otherwise! On September 1, we’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win the prize!

Bliss_500x750About Bliss

They’re always happy.

Rory James has worked hard all his life to become a citizen of the idyllic city-state of Beulah. Like every other kid born in the neighboring country of Tophet, he’s heard the stories: No crime or pollution. A house and food for everyone. It’s perfect, and Rory is finally getting a piece of it.

So is Tate Patterson. He’s from Tophet, too, but he’s not a legal immigrant; he snuck in as a thief. A city without crime seems like an easy score, until he crashes into Rory during a getaway and is arrested for assaulting a citizen. Instead of jail, Tate is enrolled in Beulah’s Rehabilitation through Restitution program. By living with and serving his victim for seven years, Tate will learn the human face of his crimes.

If it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. Tate is fitted with a behavior-modifying chip that leaves him unable to disobey orders—any orders, no matter how dehumanizing. Worse, the chip prevents him from telling Rory, the one man in all of Beulah who might care about him, the truth: in a country without prisons, Tate is locked inside his own mind.

You can read an excerpt and purchase Bliss here.

About the Authors

Lisa Henry lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.

Her writing reflects everything she loves: diverse casts of characters, a sense of history and place, equal parts witty and filthy dialogue, the occasional mythological twist, and most of all, love—in all its weird and wonderful forms.

When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her daughter or sipping a drink at her favourite coffee shop.

She also writes queer-flavoured  M/F as Heloise Belleau.

  • Chat with her on Twitter using the handle @HeidiBelleau.
    Browse her website at HeidiBelleau.com or HeloiseBelleau.com.
    Check out her books on Goodreads.
    Follow her Facebook and Tumblr accounts.
    Or contact her using good old-fashioned email: heidi.heloise.belleau@gmail.com

Follow the entire tour here