And now for December and the Week Ahead At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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It’s December!

Snowflakes, Snow Angels, and Icicles…Oh My!

The end of the year is coming and December is full of holidays, family, love, and ok…tons of stuff to do!  Riptide’s Share the Love Charity Contest continues.  Look for the link on the Share the Love cover and click to vote for your LGBTQ charity of choice!

There is so much going on that I had to slide our November Summary of Reviews and Best of Lists into the middle of the week!  Its been that crazy!

Here is a sneak peak at some of those covers sure to be on our November and, well probably, Best of 2014 lists.  In no particular order:

Then the Stars Fall coverThe Eskimo Slugger coverSand and Gold and RuinSemper Fi cover

 

 

 

 

 

TheCircusoftheDamned_500x750Cutting Out coverSpaghetti Western coverWholehearted cover

What were some of your favorite covers last month?

Winner Announcements:

Winner of Haley Walsh’s contest is Peaches

Winner of Keira Andrews “Semper Fi” contest is Jeffrey Owens

 

Congratulations!  Happy Reading

 

Now for the Week Ahead:

Monday, December 1:

  • Excerpt Tour: A Spartan Love by Kayla Jameth (contest)
  • Tina Klemke’s Shifting Weight Book tour and Contest
  • Groom of Convenience by Vicktor Alexander Book Tour and Contest
  • Three the Hard Way by Sydney Croft – Share the Love Tour and Contest

Tuesday, December 2:

  • Book Blast: Murder in Torbaydos by Ian James Krender‏ (tour and contest)
  • Kayla Jameth ‘A Spartan Love‘ Book Tour and Contest
  • A MelanieM Review: Work in Progress by John Inman
  • A MelanieM Review: Craberry Pi by Lee Brazil

Wednesday, December 3:

  • The Chase and The Catch Blog Tour‏ by AF Henley
  • A Sammy Review: Nothing Ventured by Jay Northcote
  • A MelanieM Review: Fever Pitch (Love Lessons #2) by Heidi Cullinan
  • November Summary of Reviews and Best of Lists

Thursday, December 4:

  • Derrick Knight – Miracle on Mistletoe Lane Virtual Book Tour and contest
  • Out of CTRL by SA Welsh – Exclusive excerpt tour and contest
  • A Mika Review:  Teaching Professor Grayson by Kade Boehme & Allison Cassatta
  • A PaulB Review: Desert Foxe by Haley Walsh

Friday, December 5:

  • Finding Matt by JD Ruskin Book Blast and contest
  • Love Lane Book Tours: Jack Frost by  Meredith Russell(contest)
  • ZA Maxfield’s Hell On Wheels Book Tour and contest
  • A MelanieM Review:  Darach’s Cariad by RJ Scott

Saturday, December 6:

A MelanieM Review: The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate by Kay Berresford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Back! The Texans Are Back in RJ Scott’s Texas Fall! (book tour and contest)

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RJ Scott’s heartwarming Texas family is back in Texas Fall! There’s a wonderful excerpt to read and a contest to enter.   Check it out! 

Texas Fall by RJ Scott

Book six in the Texas series

For all buy links when they become available click here:

http://rjscottauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/texas-fall.html

Texas Fall 400x600Jack is focusing on building an equine therapy school for children with special needs and works hard along side his normal horse training and breeding program. He and Riley have settled into a softer, quieter, kind of family life, but that doesn’t stop them using the barn with the door to the fullest!

But the lull comes before the storm.

Riley and his new assistant travel to Laredo, and across the border into Nuevo León as part of an exploratory team and things very quickly go to hell. Riley is caught in some serious Cartel problems and suddenly everything Jack holds dear is threatened.

Add in Vaughn and Darren’s story, revisiting Robbie, Eli, Liam and Marcus, alongside Sean and Eden and the wedding that never was, and this story promises you everything you want from a Texas series book.



Author Bio:

RJ Scott has been writing since age six, when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies. She was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader herself, she can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, her first real true love will always be the world of romance where she takes cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and writes dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men.

With over sixty titles to her name and counting, she is the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway. She is also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

Her goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

Contact RJ Scott via:

Contest:  Win a $15 gift card and free e-books, must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the link provided for all additional contest details and for the entry form.Texas Fall 400x600

a Rafflecopter giveaway    oR    http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f922301b41/

Texas Fall Excerpt 1

“You can’t hide the whole night,” Riley said from behind him. Jack turned to face his husband, leaning back against the stable door and waiting for the lecture. Riley was happy as a pig in shit right in the middle of it all: juggling babies, catering, socializing, and hell, everything that Jack was avoiding right about now. “People asked where you were,” Riley added.

Riley sure looked good tonight, his blond hair just this side of bed-head spiky, his long legs in black pants, the dark green shirt so perfect against his warm skin tones, and his hazel eyes sparkling with enthusiasm for life. Sexy. Very sexy, all toned and slim and hard and hot. Jack cleared the thoughts of kissing the life out of Riley from his head. He’d need all his faculties to deal with Riley when Riley wanted him to go back inside and host the party.

Anyway, he was suspicious that anyone really worried where he’d gone. “Who asked?”

Riley stepped right up into his space, close enough so that Jack could inhale the scent of his man. The combination of familiar citrus was underscored by deeper notes of mulled spices from the kitchen and some punch concoction Eden had made.

“Actually, no one asked,” Riley admitted. “Josh mentioned that he was impressed you’d lasted an hour.”

Jack huffed a laugh. He was surprised his brother hadn’t come out and hidden right next to him. Seemed that enjoying socializing skipped the male Campbell line entirely.

“So,” Jack began slowly. “What are you doing out here?”

Riley placed his hands on Jack’s hips, then slid his fingers through belt loops to tug Jack away from the door and flush up to him.

“I was asking myself,” he explained, “just where would my husband be when it’s only ten at night and he was looking for peace. I tried everywhere.” He pressed a gentle kiss to Jack’s lips, then smiled down at him, that few inches in height he had just enough to force Jack to lean his head back a little. “Actually that’s a lie. I looked in the twins’ room, checked in on Max, then came here.”

A MelanieM Review: Chestnuts Roasting Anthology (Mischief Corner Anthologies #5) by Mischief Corner Books

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Rating: 4.75 (rounded up to 5) stars out of 5 

ChestnutsRoasting10x15Christmas 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.

Mischief Corner Books is comprised of four authors, Toni Griffin, Angel Martinez, Freddy MacKay and Silvia Violet who met on a Tennessee Mountain top and (in their own words) “…and decided since we probably were too easily distracted to rule the world that we’d settle for causing a bit of mayhem instead.

” That’s how Mischief Corner Books was born.

In this holiday anthologies, their four different perspectives has never had a better showcase for their talents.  It’s a heartwarming collection that veers from bear shape shifters to contemporary romance then on to the supernatural and back again.  Chestnuts Roasting  gets the flow and placing of the selections just right, an issue I find most anthologies have a hard time perfecting.  This is such a strong collection that while I had my absolute favorites, I loved them all.  So will you.

The first story from Toni Griffin, Wreath of Fire: Smokey Mountains Bears 2, concerns a young bear shifter still trying to recover from years of family abuse, a forlorn young man, one in need of hope and love.  The second story is A Christmas Cactus for the General By Angel Martinez.  Talk about totally unexpected and wonderfully quirky.  It’s told from an alien’s pov, and  yes, its a wonderful holiday story.  Next up?  Holly Jolly By Silvia Violet, that’s the “bah humbug” tale of the bunch.  You know you need one and Silvia Violet delivers her Scrooge into the holiday spirit via romance and coffee!  Oh, but its that last story that  will bring out the tears, the hankies, and the scores of music you want to listen to at this time of year. Chestnuts Roasting ends as it should, on reflections of love and family, of life and death,  and perhaps something more. The last and utterly memorable tale is Snow on Spirit Bridge By Freddy MacKay.  Never has blowing my nose and weeping away made me so happy.

Here are the stories in the order they appear in the book with a few comments by me.

1.  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 heartwarming story that captures the pain of a young man feeling like an outsider at the holidays.  Everything he attempts goes off course until Michael is almost ready to give up.  Then another outsider arrives to how him the way home.  I loved Griffin’s group or sleuth of bear shifters, such a welcoming family.  It makes Michael’s background and family history even more poignant.  A lovely introduction to this marvelous anthology.

You can read this story as a stand alone, or if you would like, you can read about the first Smokey Mountains Bears in A Bear in the Woods

2. 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.

Angel Martinez is a favorite author of mine.  Her ability to weave mythology and folklore into her contemporary stories is beyond amazing.  Here Angel Martinez explores the idea of humans and American culture as seen through the eyes of an exiled alien.  The character of Teer is a wonder.  He never thinks or reacts like a human being at any point in the story, his alien persective is kept intact as he tries to understand and adapt to his strange new world that is his home.  But if Teer is a true alien, than the man that falls into a friendship with Teer and then love, Bruce, is almost as much or more of an outsider from the people in the town they both live in.  Snarly, rude, perpetually brusk and alone, Bruce also stays on the outskirts of community.  His alienation is by choice while Teer’s was forced.  This story is full of humor, pathos, and romance of an unlikely yet wondrous sort.  And yes, this is one of my favorites although I loved them all.

3. 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?

Holly Jolly is a cute, contemporary holiday romp with a heart.  Every holiday collection needs a “Scrooge” type character and Tom the narrator fills the bill nicely.  Only later do we find out the source of Tom’s harsh outlook and then everything about Tom snaps into place and he becomes more than just a formulaic persona.  In fact, Tom’s past and actions make him not only admirable but courageous.  Totally worthy of a hunky Dane who works at The Coffee Bean.  I really enjoyed the layers the author added to Tom, Dane, and even Tom’s best friend Shelley.

And the idea of putting Holly Jolly in between the alien Teer of  A Christmas Cactus for the General and the wildly enchanting and mystical characters of Snow on Spirit Bridge By Freddy MacKay gives the reader a little break from the angst and pain that both stories contain.  Great job of placement all the way through this collection.

4.  Snow on Spirit Bridge By 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.

Oh, this story.  I can’t even begin to describe all the astonishing facets and elements that appear in Snow On Spirit Bridge.  On first glance what appears to be a contemporary holiday story of a lonely, homesick exchange student, Finni, one who happens to be huge, blond haired and blue-eyed, traipsing through the streets of Japan on the eve of Christmas.  Again we have an outsider’s perspective on a different culture. This time the setting is Japan with the Japanese peoples wariness and sometimes dislike of outsiders playing a huge part in Finni’s sense of isolation.  But as the snow swirls around him and his sadness deepens something magical and unbelievable happens.  MacKay combines several mythologies into her story and it works perfectly.  Snow on Spirit Bridge addresses great pain and loss for several characters.  And the last chapter will leave you smiling even as you weep your way through a box of tissues.  A marvel of love, holiday cheer and the vastness of possibilities that just might exist make this my favorite story of the collection just as I expect it will end up as yours.  This should have been the last story in any collection.  And as the last story here, it works to make this one of the more memorable anthologies of this or any other season of the year.

I adored Chestnuts Roasting and absolutely recommend it for your Holiday reading pleasure.  But the authors and their stories are so good, it makes wonderful reading at any time of the year.  Pick it up today!

Cover artist Catherine Dair cover is lovely and brings the warmth of the holidays in its design.

Sales Links:   Mischief Corner Books     All Romance (ARe)          amazon                buy it here

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: November 27th 2014 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN139781311874092

A PaulB Review:Unjustified Claims (Hidden Wolves #3) by Kaje Harper

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Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

Unjustified Claims coverHaving run away from his home pack in Michigan, Brandt Davis spends his time in his wolf form. Winding up following a wolf pack in Minnesota, he stumbles upon an injured man, Ethan Sjulstad. Ethan, having tumbled off a cliff, thinks he must be suffering from delusions when a large wolf and a handsome, naked man come to help. Together, they must try to heal each others’ wounds, both physical and emotional.

This is the third book (with two intervening novellas) of the Hidden Wolves series by Kaje Harper. While it could be read as a stand-alone, it is recommended you read the other books in order to pick up on some of the finer details of the plot lines.

Brandt, a werewolf from Michigan, travels west after fleeing from his home pack after his stash of gay porn is found by his alpha. Spending his time in his wolf form to try to forget his troubles, he follows a pack of wolves in the Boundary Water area of Minnesota. Hearing a scream, he goes to investigates. He finds man with a tree branch through his leg. The man tries to scare the wolf away to no avail. The wolf then brings the man his backpack, which had fallen out of reach. Seeing the man struggle, Brandt decides to shift and help the man in his human form.

Ethan, hiking to get his mind away from having his motel vandalized by homophobes, believes he must be out of his mind with delusion when first a large wolf, then a naked man come to his rescue. As Brandt helps get Ethan to safety, the two talk as to how each of them wound up in their situations. After successfully getting help for Ethan, Brandt decides to help Ethan out getting his hotel into shape while he is recovering from his injuries. The two begin to grow closer during the process.

I loved the interplay between the two main characters. Having meet not in the best of circumstances, they help each other deal with their problems. Brandt struggles with a particular fetish that he favors. Ethan shows his that it is not only alright but encourages Brandt. Ethan’s spying is understood considering that Brandt is trying to escape from a “cult” that dislikes gay members. Ethan only wants to protect the man he is growing to love.

I also enjoyed visits from Simon and Paul along with Aaron and Zach, the main characters in the previous two books as well as Paul and Megan who are spunky human mates in this little werewolf pack.  I would  recommend this story and the series, but make sure you read them in the order they were written.

The cover art by Winterheart Design has one of the cabins of Ethan’s motel with the images of Ethan and Brandt above it. The models are perfect depictions of what I would think the couple would look like. It also fits in with the motif of the previous book’s covers.

Sales Links:   MLR Press            All Romance eBooks          amazon              Unjustified Claim

Book Details:
Ebook, 398 pages
Published September 19, 2014 by MLR Press
Edition: English

Series: Hidden Wolves:
Unacceptable Risk (Hidden Wolves #1)
Unsettled Interlude (Hidden Wolves #1.15)
Unexpected Demands (Hidden Wolves #2)
Unwanted Appeal (Hidden Wolves #2.5)
Unjustified Claims (Hidden Wolves #3)

Share in the Love Collection Tour with Jane Davitt’s Lucky Strike (charity tour and contest)

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It’s Share the Love Collection Tour – Part Deux!  The holidays are a time of joy and giving.  Riptide Publishing and authors Jane Davitt, Kelly Jamieson, and Sydney Croft have combined their efforts in the Share The Love 2014 Collection for Charity.

Check out Jane Davitt’s story, Lucky Strike and then read the details how YOU can help choose the LGBTQ Charity to receive the 2015 collection proceeds! This year’s Share the Love collection Charity is It Gets Better organization.  Pick up a copy of Share the Love 2014 and get a head start on the holiday giving,, and then help out your favorite local LGBTQ charity as well!

Lucky Strike by Jane DavittLuckyStrike_200x300

Death’s a heartbeat away, but love is even closer.

Flying a traveler to Leap celebrations on the luxury planet Crestal is no problem for intrepid partners Jake and Rill, even if they have to navigate a deadly meteor shower to get there. But their fresh-faced, privileged passenger is carrying more than Leap gifts: Lian has a message to deliver, treachery and murder to avenge, and a killer close on his heels.

Lian thought he was ready for independence from his overbearing extended family, but his first solo trip off-planet has landed him in a nightmare of deadly intrigue. Though he’s devastated by betrayal, and no longer able to tell friend from foe, he’s fascinated by the gruff pilot and scorchingly handsome first mate who’ve become his reluctant rescuers.

With a dazzling fortune at stake and the fate of the United Protectorate of Planets in their hands, there’s no time for the three men to fall in love. But with their future measured in hours, crew and passenger may have just enough time to discover that three can become one, and that together they are strong enough to beat any odds.

Each year, Riptide Publishing releases a holiday collection in support of an LGBTQ charity. Twenty percent of all proceeds from the  Share the Love collection  will be donated to the  It Gets Better Project.

This collection would not be possible without the talent and generosity of its authors, who have brought us the following holiday stories:

• Three of Hearts  by Kelly Jamieson (releasing November 17)
• Lucky Strike  by Jane Davitt (releasing November 24)
• Three the Hard Way  by Sydney Croft (releasing December 1)

About Jane Davitt:

Jane Davitt is English, and has been living in Canada with her husband, two children, and two cats, since 1997. Writing and reading are her main occupations but if she ever had any spare time she might spend it gardening, walking, or doing cross stitch. She’s recently taken up yoga and loves discovering her ability to bend.

Jane has been writing since 2002 and wishes she’d started earlier. She is a huge fan of SF, fantasy, erotica, and mystery novels and has a tendency to get addicted to TV shows that get cancelled all too soon.

She owns over 4,000 books, rarely gives any away, but is happy to loan them, and is of the firm opinion that there is no such thing as ‘too many books’.

Share the Love Bundle

Contest and Giveaway:

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $25 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 7. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

(If you can’t or would rather not include this whole text, here is the link to our website. Feel free to include as much or as little as you would like: http://riptidepublishing.com/help-us-choose-charity)

Help us choose a charity!

Every year, Riptide Publishing releases a Holiday charity bundle with themed stories by bestselling authors. Twenty percent of the net proceeds of each bundle goes to a charity that serves the LGBTQ population.

Royalties from Riptide’s 2013 Home for the Holidays charity collection have raised over $14,000 in nine months for the Ali Forney Center, and continue to yield several hundred dollars per month in royalties donations. Our 2014 Share the Love charity collection will be raising money for the It Gets Better Project, and we hope to report even better results than in 2013.

 

For 2015, the theme will be Holiday Surprises, and we’ll have stories by HelenKay Dimon, Christine d’Abo, and Marie Sexton. But we don’t have a charity yet.

We need YOUR help to choose the 2015 charity.

Nominate your favorite LGBTQ charity below and Riptide might choose it as the 2015 Holiday bundle charity!

The chosen charity for 2015 will immediately receive a $5,000 advance against royalties (paid in 2015 on announcement of the award recipient). The charity will continue to receive 20% of all lifetime net sales income from the 2015 holiday charity collection, in the form of a monthly royalty check.

Three honorable mention charities will each receive a $250 donation.

Click here to nominate a charity. Both supporters and representatives of a charity can submit a nomination.

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In the Book Spotlight: Slippery Slope by Iyana Jenna (blog tour and contest)

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Book Name: Slippery Slope
Goodreads Link
Author Name: Iyana Jenna

Author Bio:

Iyana writes M/M short stories and novellas. Her works have been published by Evernight Publishing, JMS Books, Books to Go Now, Torquere Press, Bitten Press, Leap of Faith Publishing, Breathless Press, and Alfie Dog Fiction.

Iyana lives in Jakarta, a city famous for its traffic jams, a lot of cars and motorcycles, and people selling stuff on the roads. You can spend two hours on the road going to a place you can reach in half an hour in a normal situation. Thanks to the traffic jams, though, Iyana can come up with a lot of stories, mostly shorties, as she prefers to spend the time during her trips writing into her cell phone rather than sleeping.

Another thing Iyana loves is kitties. Right now she has three of them. Their names are Cil, Horus, and Betsy, and one kitten. When she doesn’t write, she plays with them, or they would play with her when she writes.

Publisher: JMS Books
Author:  Iyana Jenna
 Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Sales Links:  JMS Books     Amazon US    Amazon UK   Smashwords     All Romance (ARe)  Bookstrand

Slippery Slope Blurb:

Actors Ethan Grey and Alex Haynes are gay, but in Hollywood, they can’t be open unless they’re willing to be typecast in future movies or they’re dating prominent gay producers. Since neither are willing to become stereotypes, and neither have studio boyfriends, they take another path — hiding their relationship under the cover of a pretend girlfriend.

What works for Ethan, though, doesn’t work for Alex, who screws up to the point of losing his job and the chance to get another. His manager finally finds him another job across the pond, where he meets Nathan Wells.

Nathan can be the prominent producer Alex needs to further his career, but there’s something Alex doesn’t know about the man.

Soon Wells grows obsessed with Alex, and he’ll do anything to keep Alex from getting away.

Though Nathan wants Alex for himself, there’s still Ethan to think about. Is the love story between Alex and Ethan really over? Or will Ethan find a way to get his boyfriend back?

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

Words: 20,000

Excerpt:

“Come on, Ethan. You don’t have to pretend. I’m in love with you, but I’m not blind. There’s clearly someone else you’d rather be with right now instead of me.” Lea wrapped herself up in the silky coverlet, leaving Ethan staring at her, shocked, as he sat back on his heels.

Feeling ashamed yet not totally guilty, Ethan backed away from the bed and put on his jeans.

“Who is it that you want, Ethan? It’s Alex, isn’t it?”

Ethan just looked out of the window. The setting sun was golden on the horizon.

“I—I need to do something,” he mumbled then, and left the room. He felt Lea’s eyes boring into his back but Ethan just couldn’t make himself turn around. He’d been unfair to her from the very beginning.

Ethan sank into the chair and turned on his notebook. He hadn’t checked his email for too long. This might be the best time to do so. Time to find out what was hot in the world right now.

His eyes fell to the first mail, and Ethan’s heart started to pound. It was a Google alert he had for Alex. It had been months since he’d heard anything about Alex. Ethan felt like crying.

 

SSBadgeTour Dates/Tour Stops:

24-Nov

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

The Hat Party

25-Nov

BFD Book Blog

25-Nov

Bayou Book Junkie

26-Nov

Up All Night, Read All Day

MM Good Book Reviews

27-Nov

Parker Williams

3 Chicks After Dark

28-Nov

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

Love Bytes 

 

Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-book copy of Slippery Slope. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the link provided below for all contest details and for the entry form.

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A MelanieM Review: Manipulation (Diversion #4) by Eden Winters

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Lucky Lucklighter has a new life. His old life wants him back.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]From the jail cell courtesy of a life of crime, complete with drug lord lover, Lucky Lucklighter surfaced with a new life,  a new name and a new career as an agent for the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau.  Now Simon “Lucky” Harrison, Lucky even has a new boyfriend and partner,Bo Schollenberger.  Bo Schollenberger arrived at the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau in much the same way as Lucky.  As a pharmaceutical chemist, Bo ended up with a drug addiction and his  illegal deeds brought him to the attention of the head of the Bureau looking for just the right  or wrong type of men for his narcotics team.

Through perseverance and charm, Bo worked his way under Lucky’s defenses and his “I-Get-Along-Fine-Alone” mindset until Lucky starts thinking the unthinkable…that they might just have a future together.

But now Bo is missing.  Their last case involved unexpected ties to bigger crime syndicates, and a voice from Lucky’s past who whispers ““Did you miss me?”

Now Lucky must figure out who is lying and who he can trust?  The voice belonged to someone he was told was dead and now seems very alive.  And there is more to Bo’s absence than people are telling Lucky.  Is Bo missing by choice or by abduction? Every clue, every trail Lucky follows leads him back to the drug Corruption and the syndicate flooding the US markets full of this dangerously addictive drug.   With temptation all around, what won’t Lucky do to find the man he loves and bring him safely home?

Eden Winter’s Diversion series captured my heart from the moment I met Lucky Lucklighter and Bo Schollenberger in Diversion (Diversion #1).  I love complicated wounded men and here were two that not only fell into that category but did so in a way I had never seen before.  There are so many layers to these men.  Lucky’s background is a patchwork of hot cars, adrenaline rushes, and poor choices that led from boosting cars for drag racing to major involvement with a crime lord as employee and lover.  Lucky is  highly intelligent, walled off, and confident, while still leaving space in his heart for his sister, her children, and finally Bo.

Bo Schollenberger. Where to start?  Each book reveals more complications and dimensions to this already convoluted personality.  At first glance and meeting, Bo came across as extremely affable and gentle, a victim of his addiction and circumstances.  A far cry from Lucky and his unrepentant outlook who when given a choice between continuing life behind bars or freedom as an agent chose freedom.  Certainly a choice made from expediency instead of a need to “do right”.  But nothing is as it seems, and the more that Lucky (and the reader) got to know Bo,  the more we realized that Bo has depths and pain to him and his past then he was ready to reveal or deal with.

Oh the joy of discovery.  Each new story and case has uncovered new insights into each man and their past.  Bo and Lucky’s interpersonal dynamics has deepened and expanded along with their relationship.  It’s hot, sexy, at times tender and rough.  You never know from moment to moment what to expect when they get together.  And to their chagrin and our delight, neither do they.  Uncertainty, hesitation, an emotional neediness…all that is new to Lucky and it has contributed to his inability to commit to just about anything.  I love it when a reader can’t predict what the main characters will do in any given situation.  It keeps us on the edge of our seats as the plot swivels and swoops through dangerous highs and deceptively deadly lows.  This is a E Ticket ride in every way.

Eden Winters has also chosen a highly unusual subject and law enforcement agency, in this case the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau,  as the foundation for this series and as professions for Lucky and Bo.  Think hard, how many series and books are developed around pharmaceutical corporations, over/under the counter drugs, and the criminals associated with the shipping and stocking of known medications?  I can only think of one.  Eden Winter’s Diversion series.  That aspect of  this series has been an eye-opener about the giant pharmaceutical corporations, and not in a good way.  More than once it has sent me running to research different elements that have popped up during Lucky and Bo’s cases, ones that left this reader thinking about new issues far into the night.  This series world building is as quirky, complex, and believable as the characters living out their messy lives within it.  I obsess over the characters relationships, the plots, the surprises and then go back and start them over again to see what clues and secrets I missed out the first reading.  And then wait for the next book to arrive.

This story contains quite a few stunning revelations, more layers of deception than ever before and angst by the boatload.  Once started I couldn’t put it down until it was finished…right around 2:45am.  And could I sleep after that? Uh no. Manipulation contains shocks that will shake the foundations of Lucky, and Bo, and even Walter their boss.  Where there had been certainty, now is left nothing but fog and questions.  The narrative is concisely told, the tension and suspense increasingly exponentially until the plot feels as tightly wound as a coiled spring.  It explodes with all the dangerous impact one might expect and the ramifications will still be unfolding right into the  next book in the series, Redemption (which is being written now).

Each year a book from this series has found its way,  deservedly so, onto the Best of lists for Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and others.  This year is no different.  Manipulation will be high on my Best of 2014 lists, just as I expect Redemption to be there on the list for 2015.  All are highly recommended and Must Reads that should be on everyone’s TBR stack of stories.

If you haven’t discovered this series yet, please, please, don’t start here.  The pleasures and joys that come from the character growth and relationship dynamics is best enjoyed if you start at the beginning and Lucky and Bo’s first meeting in Diversion.  I have a list for you below.  Make it your check list of stories to read. Eden Winters is a remarkable author, and the creator of Lucky and Bo is certain to find her way onto your automatic buy list if she is not there already.

Tag this story and series one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Highly Recommended Must Reads!  Happy Reading!

Cover artist: L.C. Chase.  Terrific cover perfect for the character and story inside.

Sales Links:  Rocky Ridge Books     All Romance (ARe)         amazon           buy it here

Book Details:

ebook,
First Published November 1st 2014 by Rocky Ridge Books
seriesDiversion #4

Books in the Diversion series in the order they were written and should be read:

Diversion (Diversion, #1)
Collusion (Diversion #2)
Corruption (Diversion #3)
Manipulation (Diversion, #4)
Redemption (Diversion, #5) coming in 2015

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review –Third Eye by Rick R. Reed

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Third Eye coverA riveting, nail-biting, thought-provoking, frightening thriller, this story is much more than an M/M romance—it’s a brilliant tale worthy of recognition on the NY Times Bestsellers List.

Cayce D’Amico is just a regular guy raising his seven-year-old son on his own, holding down a job as a waiter at the local diner in the economically-repressed town of Fawcettville, Pennsylvania. He’s young, gay, divorced, and totally focused on his son, Luke. One evening, when he realizes Luke is no longer in his back yard, he sets out to find him just as a thunderstorm hits the area. At the edge of the woods, he’s struck by a broken limb as lightning strikes the tree next to him. Luke is okay, but Cayce isn’t.

Waking in the hospital, he finds it odd that he knows something personal about the aide who touches his arm, and next, he’s struck with images that he soon learns are from a missing girl—one who Cayce can see is dead. It happens again the next day—this time with visions of another kidnap victim. Frightened, but knowing that if it was his son who was missing he’d want help, he goes to the home of the latest victim to offer assistance in finding her but is promptly turned away. Later that night he receives a call from the mother of the first victim, who claims the other mother called her in warning, but that she’s willing to listen to him. The two set out to find the girl, following Cayce’s visions.

Dave Newton is a reporter, if you can call it that in this small town of very little news. A native of England, he followed his lover here years ago—a lover who left him here with only the company of a bottle and a handful of drugs to get by. He’s kicked the drugs but still toys with the booze occasionally—anything to get through the boredom of his life. He’s intrigued by the story of the man who was hit with the limb and when he went to the hospital to say hello, he became even more intrigued by the man himself. Cayce is a nice guy, one who could possibly thaw his heart if he allowed it. It’s Dave who Cayce turns to when he and the mother of the missing girl find her grave. And it’s Dave who offers a shoulder for Cayce to lean on as the story develops, and Cayce is hounded by the press and shunned by the police.

It’s also Dave who supports and assists Cayce as he tries to solve the most important mystery of his life when someone close to him is taken. And when the two rush headlong into an exciting, nail-biting search they get results, just not the results they were looking for.

In this story, the author leads us on an emotional journey fraught with danger and more ups and downs and hairpin turns than an out-of-control eighteen-wheeler. It’s completely different from any of his other works and absolutely brilliant in its execution. Seriously, this ranks right up there with any of the world-renowned mystery writers of our time. The complexity of the storytelling, the attention to detail and the hold-your-breath plotline make this story outstanding. The author keeps the reader on the edge of their seat with flashbacks via Cayce’s visions alternating with scenes of what’s happening in real time to Cayce, and then scenes of the kidnappers and their victims, telling us just enough in each chapter to make the move to the next chapter vital to the reader’s need to breathe. Seriously, this book is very difficult to put down!

The romance in this story is secondary to the major plot with no explicit sex scenes. The attraction between Dave and Cayce develops as more of a true support of one partner for another with some kissing and handholding rather than the hot and heavy sex “on page” that could have been portrayed but would have detracted from the core story.

I can’t recommend this story highly enough. To be honest, I’m not a person who normally reads thrillers, and I never watch horror movies unless I’m forced to do so, and even then I peek through my fingers. I desperately wished I could peek through my fingers at some points in this story, but I was compelled to keep going and I’m so glad I did. The ending was all I had hoped it would be, and the possibility for a happy future for Dave, Cayce, and Luke was set in place. All is well in my world. Don’t miss the chance to read this book.

Caution: This book contains graphic violence and hetero rape with some scenes through flashback and some in real time.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson. Cover depicts a bright light superimposed over the figures of a man and a clock. The light may have been meant to illustrate the visions the man had, and the clock would symbolize time running out. Although I can understand that, I did not find the cover particularly attractive or attention-getting.

Sales Links:               amazon     buy it here

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 266 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by DSP Publications (first published January 2008)
ISBN139781632163400

A PaulB Review: Ciro (Shivers ) by Remmy Duchene

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Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Ciro coverCursed by Hera at birth, Ciro Pyktis must try to keep his brothers from wrecking havoc on the world. Things become complicated when he meets his mate, architect Carter Olabasu. Can this son of Zeus stop his hellion brothers while keeping his lover safe?

Ciro Pyktis, son of Zeus and the goddess of the Storm Winds, along with his brothers are cursed by their step mother Hera. As Ciro is the first born, his mother and the Olympians have tasked him to try to keep his brothers in line. When his brother Gala causes a storm and refused to back down, Ciro must take his life. To try to forget the fight with his brother, Ciro decides to head to a bar to unwind.

Carter Olabasu’s relationship with his brother Kofi has been strained since Carter came out to him. Trying to patch things up with his brother, Kofi suggests the two go out to dinner and a party at the Firewall, a popular straight club. There he is approached by Ciro, who offers to buy him a drink. Before things progress much further, Kofi comes looking for Carter. Ciro mistakes him for Carter’s boyfriend and takes off.  But the instant attraction between them sets off events that  will change everything for them both.

Ciro is the first book  of the Shivers series by Remmy Duchene. I enjoyed how Ms. Duchene has actually added to story of the Olympians by including a new branch in the mix. Also terrific? How the author included several lesser known children of the Olympians to the known pantheon of the main twelve gods. It is difficult to add something to two millennia of storytelling but the author should be commended for her accomplishment.

I also liked how the idea of mates was mixed into the mythology. As most know, the gods just went after whomever they wanted. The idea of predestined love is a nice addition to this mythology and I enjoyed the author’s twist to the Greek gods.

This is a great start to a new series and am looking forward to seeing where Ms. Duchene will go in future books.  I highly recommend reading this story.

The cover art by Posh Gosh depicts Carter and Ciro looking down on a storm raging over a Grecian arch. It draws you in and is well done.

Sales Links:  Totally Bound Books    All Romance eBooks(ARe)    amazonUS   Ciro
Book Details
:

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released by another publisher. It has been revised and re-edited for release with Totally Bound Publishing
Ebook, 151 pages
Published: October 31, 2014 by Totally Bound
ISBN: 978-1-78430-259-7
Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Review: Sand and Ruin and Gold by Alexis Hall

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5 (for story and cover)

Once upon a time . . . that’s how the old stories always begin.

And so this one begins, in a land both foreign and familiar, it’s a tale of princes, and merfolk and love…of a sort.

Once upon a time there was a king of a fallen kingdom. He was just and he was beloved. Or so the numbers said. One day, he gathered together the greatest, wisest minds in all the land—not sorcerers, but scientists—and he bade them fashion him a son. A prince. A perfect prince to embody his father’s legacy. 

Sand and Gold and RuinBut as fate would have it, nothing ever turns out as planned and the golden perfect prince had other ideas for his future. After gazing upon the dances of the mer in a performance, our prince runs off to join the circus, the Cirque de la Mer.  Once there the prince trained the merfolk,  he performed with them, and  thought he was happy…for a year.

Time brought strange thoughts and emotions to the prince the closer he got to the merfolk. Then Nerites arrives, a mesmerizing merman who refused to be trained or tamed.  Nerites was something far more than the prince ever expected.  Nerites was savage and unknown.

How does the tale end?  Ah, there’s the rub.  For every prince, there exists a beast, and for every love, there exists a forever heartbreak.  Sand and Ruin and Gold has them all.

Sand and Ruin and Gold hearkens back to the olden stories.  Not the comforting ” Disneyfied” fairytales but those of Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson.  Here the darkness and unknown reign supreme, not happy endings or light.  Less a tale of romance, this beautifully written short story builds an atmosphere of  creeping foreboding, a sense that not everything is as it seems.  The poetic nature of the narrative combined with an imagery that will enchant, then leave you haunted by the possibilities, make Sand and Ruin and Gold by Alexis Hall a short story that refuses to be limited by category or trope.

The feeling of something just off kilter is already present at the beginning.  Hall’s prince isn’t born, he’s a genetically perfected young man, created to be the ideal heir to a “good” king who resides over a fallen land.  The clues and telling phrases are slipped in sparingly at first, then in ever increasing numbers. As new descriptions of the circus and the shows appear, a far different picture emerges from our original assumptions of the merfolk and the circumstances at the Circus.  And along with it comes the feeling one gets when the hairs rise off your arm when frightened or the queasiness that originates in your stomach when it dawns on you that something you thought was happily normal or ordinary turns out to be fearfully, horrifically wrong.

Alexis Hall understands how to build a powerfully evocative story, one that runs more along the lines of those classics passed from bard to bard, told around fires in great halls and forests alike.  Whether those bards be from the past or perhaps even our future, that is but one more chilling aspect of this story, a tale that exists in the mists and ocean eddies of the dark seas of this unknown world. But its Hall’s stylistically vivid and powerful narrative with its lush descriptions that makes this story so stunning, so poignant.  This is how it starts out:

“I must have been very young when I saw the mermaids at the Cirque de la Mer because it was the nurse who took me and her place in my life was soon surrendered to tutors. I don’t think my father ever found out.  He would not have approved.

The day is little more than a sensory haze, of pastel children, the laughter of strangers, and the burn of salt and chemicals at the back of my throat.

The mermaids, though.  They are as vivid as stained glass, even now.”

Told from the prince’s pov, we feel his assumptions of his life and the circus fall slowly away as comprehension and understanding arrive building block by building block as events unfold around him.  It is a tale of deep love faced amidst horrifying truths.  One reading will not be enough to capture all the incredible and terrifying moments as sudden realization, and insight sets in.

And then there is that ending, the one that will refuse to let you go.  Its in the words and feelings that emerge, and the tears that will run down your face as you try to decide the implications of words strung like pearls, luminescent and beyond value.  An ending that will send you back to the beginning of the story and start this tale once more.

I highly recommend this story to all readers.  This is a story that should be on everyones shelf, whether it be made of wood or eReader.  This is one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Best of 2014 as is its cover.

Cover Artist:  Simone.  The artwork for Sand and Ruin and Gold is every bit as lush and haunting as the story itself. One of the best covers of the year.

Sales Links:    Riptide Publishing           All Romance (ARe)        amazon          Sand and Ruin and Gold

Book Details:

ebook, 39 pages
Published September 22nd 2014 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626492318
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://riptidepublishing.com/title