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

Love’s in the Air with Renee George and Kiss My Ash! (book tour and contest)

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Book Name: Kiss My Ash
Goodreads Link
Author Name: Renee George

Author Bio:

Multi-published, best-selling author Renee George has been a factory worker, an army medic, a nurse, a website designer, a small press editor, an artist, and a teacher, but writing stories about sexy alpha men is the BEST job she’s ever had. When she turned thirty, she went back to college and earned her BA in creative writing. She has been married to the love of her life, a wonderful man who supports in every way, for over half her life (and that is a VERY long time!). She happily lives in a small, Midwest town with her husband, two needy dogs and a very independent cat. Anything else you want to know, just ask. She’ll give you all the nitty gritty dirt.

Author Contact:

Publisher: Ellora’s CaveKiss my Ash_FINAL_HiRes

Sales Links: http://www.ellorascave.com/kiss-my-ash.html

Kiss My Ash Blurb:

A werewolf who’s hairless in full shift.

A water sprite who can’t hold his shape at the slightest touch of water.

An ash-tree nymph with a black thumb who kills every bit of flora in her vicinity.

That’s Fortunate, Missouri, in a nutshell—the town for abnormal paranormals. Nymph Romy, however, can one-up them all—her particular flaw is killing her. But thanks to a possible love spell, the wolf and the water sprite could be Romy’s key to cheating death. And the three misfits may find that even imperfect creatures can still create a sexy, loving, perfect union.

Inside Scoop: Sol, Romy and Lucien love each other—emotionally, spiritually and physically. Which means both ménage and male/male action. You lucky reader, you.

A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Categories: Bisexual, Erotica, Fantasy, Fiction, Menage/Poly, Paranormal, Romance

Ellora’s Cave Publishing note:  “Kiss My Ass” Excerpt is only for those who are 18 years of age and older: By reading further, you state that you are 18 years of age or above:

An Excerpt From: KISS MY ASH
Copyright © RENEE GEORGE, 2014
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

Mathias was a korrigan, a fairy dwarf, and to his detriment, he’d been born male. An abomination amongst the korrigans, who were always female. Even his own mother had wanted him dead, but you can’t kill an immortal.

When he finally strolled out from behind the counter, his height no more than four feet, he held a red clay pot filled to the brim with a dark, loamy soil. Carefully, he handed it to Romy. “Here.”

She stepped away. “And what the hell am I supposed to do with dirt?” Maybe Mathias was tired of her bringing back dead plant after dead plant. It didn’t matter how much she watered the damn things, fed them, or even talked to them—none survived. She’d stopped giving them names after a while, awash with guilt and shame over each death.

His red eyes sparkled with excitement. “In this soil, there is a very special seed, my girl. Very rare and unique. I’m entrusting you with its care.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me. There is no way in hell I’m taking on a ‘rare and unique’ plant. No. No. No. Give me a hardy shrub or weed. Better yet, maybe a cabbage. I won’t feel so bad about a cabbage when it croaks.”

Romy was a dryad; specifically, an ash tree nymph. Which meant, in theory, plants should flourish around her, but she couldn’t even keep her own tree alive. Her mother had postulated it had something to do with the sperm donor, aka Romy’s biological father, but the elder dryad had refused to say more on the subject. Tree nymphs were traditionally a love-’em-and-leave-’em race of females. They didn’t get involved with beings they considered no more than means to an end. Males born to tree nymphs always developed into the same race as the male halves of the couplings, while the females were always dryads.

Unfortunately, something had gone very wrong in the making of Romy. It hadn’t taken long after the dryad equivalent of puberty set in before her people had decided she was toxic.

She pushed the pot back to Mathias. “Uh-uh. You’ve seen my track record.”

When her “birth defect” had eventually started to affect the trees of her forest six months ago, Romy had been summarily kicked out by the other dryads. Of course, her people had called it a “long, extended respite” and sent her to the town of Fortunate, Missouri.

The moniker, over the years, had become a joke. The town had been named after the Fortunate Isles, also called the Isles of the Blessed, and had been used for more than two hundred years as a dumping ground for the “paranormally challenged”. Those who didn’t fit in with their own kind were sent to Fortunate to finish out their days. For immortals like Mathias, the end of days was a long-ass time.

For Romy, well…without a tree to tend, she wouldn’t live another year, the chlorophyll drying in her veins. The plants were test subjects for her, to see if she could sustain life. So far, they’d served only to help ease the ache of dying. But as far as tending plants and making them flourish, she failed constantly.

For Mathias to trust her with a “special” plant…no way was she taking on that kind of responsibility.

It was one thing to kill a common houseplant, but a whole ’nother thing to be responsible for something “rare and unique”. Was Mathias crazy? Romy shook her head again. “I can’t. Don’t you have an air plant or something? Hell, those suckers don’t even require watering.”

He patted her hands, his fingers soothing and gentle. “Ah, but my dear, I hope this may be the answer to—”

Mathias’ explanation was cut off by a barking baritone. “Ah, shit!”

Romy put the pot on the counter as she scooted around Mathias to see who the unfamiliar voice belonged to.

In the greenhouse area beyond the main shop, two long, well-muscled legs and a firm ass, all packaged in perfectly tight jeans, stood nestled between two rows of plants.

“Hello,” Romy said.

The owner of the legs and ass straightened, making him a foot taller than Romy. And oh goddess, did he have an upper body and face to go with the lower half—thickly muscled chest and broad shoulders crowned by a face with bow lips, a Roman nose and the brightest green eyes. All framed by messy, shiny black hair that fell about his shoulders. It was as if the gods had decided to create perfection.

Ridiculous though—they would never do that. But hot damn, they’d come pretty close.

“Uh, hello yourself,” he said back, dusting his palms against his jeans.

His really low voice, which would have better suited a grizzly bear, sent a humming through Romy that made her body sing.
“What have you done now, Lucien?” Mathias asked when he walked into the back. His presence was enough to break the harmony, and Romy snapped out of her new-guy-induced daze.

“What a great name.” She smiled. It made her feel foolish, but she couldn’t punch down the giddiness.

“It’s a name.” He shrugged then leaned over again, which gave Romy another clear shot of his fabulous ass. When he stood once more, he held a small plant, cradling the roots carefully. He looked at Mathias. “I broke the pot, but the fern is fine.”

Lucien had a slight accent, but Romy couldn’t put her finger on the origin. If possible, it made the young man even more exotic and mysterious.

Mathias shook his head, making his red beard sweep his chest. “Where’s Sol?”

“I’m here!” Sol Winter, who’d been working for Mathias long before Romy had moved to Fortunate, stepped out from behind the last row of plants. He wore a baby-blue polo shirt that matched his light-blue eyes. It also complemented his tan, a deep golden bronze. Natural, according to him. Strange for an elf, but who was Romy to judge? His long blond hair was pulled into a ponytail. He often wore it down and spilling over his shoulders, but generally had it tied back for work.

Sol was taller than Lucien by several inches and a little broader. His smile brightened when he saw Romy. “Hey, you.” His mouth turned down in sympathy. “Kill another one?”

They’d had a strange relationship ever since Romy had arrived in Fortunate, which generally involved spirited banter and sarcasm. Even when the conversation turned a little mean, Romy was still thankful for Sol. He was the closest thing she had to a friend.

“Shut the fuck up.”

“Nice.” He raised a brow. “Bitchy much?”

Even though she was certain Sol was gay, it didn’t stop her from having some wicked fantasies about him. After all, the man was hot-hot and knew how to dress. “Takes one to know one.”

“Someone woke up on the wrong side of the oak this morning.” Sol scooped a handful of topsoil and pitched it at her.

“Oh no you didn’t.” In retaliation, Romy grabbed a nearby hose and squeezed the nozzle trigger, dowsing Sol where he stood.

“Stop!” Lucien yelled.

Too late. At Lucien’s shout, Romy turned, the spray of water slapping across the man’s face—and Lucien instantly melted into a clear puddle on the greenhouse floor.

Mortified, she dropped the hose. “Oh no!” She shook her head and stumbled forward. “What have I done?” Not only was she a plant killer, apparently she was a man killer as well.

Two lips formed in the clear pool. “I’m fine. Really.”

KMABadgeWords: 27,000
Tour Dates: November 26

Tour Stops:  Parker Williams, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Molly Lolly, The Hat Party, BFD Book Blog, For the Love of Bookends, Love Bytes, Tara Lain, Regular Guys, Hot Romance, It’s Raining Men, My Fiction Nook, Fallen Angel Reviews, Cate Ashwood, MM Good Book Reviews, Velvet Panic, Decadent Delights, Havan Fellows, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Kimber Vale, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Queer Town Abbey

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $20 Amazon Gift Card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Use the Rafflecopter link provided for the entry form and for all additional contest details.

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Virtual Book Tour: Laura Stone and her release, The Bones of You (book tour and contest)

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The Bones of You

by Laura Stone

Laura Stone is here today with her latest release, The Bones of You.  I got a chance to ask her some questions about her inspiration for this story, and much more.  Check out the blurb and excerpt and don’t forget to click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the contest.

 

Laura Stone is giving away a $25 Interlude Press GC to one randomly drawn winner and multi-format copies of THE BONES OF YOU to ten randomly winners via Rafflecopter. One randomly chosen host will win a $25 Interlude Press GC.  Use this Rafflecopter link to enter.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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My Interview with Laura Stone…

What was your inspiration for the story? The Bones Of You is actually the title of a song by an English alternative rock band, Elbow. It’s just a beautiful, romantic piece of music about a man suddenly stopped in his tracks by the memory of a former love, one he’d believed he’d gotten over. I just could not get that idea out of my mind, and that’s something I think we all do at some point with old lovers: what are they up to now? Would we work as a couple now? I wanted to explore what that could be like for two people who stopped being together not because they stopped loving each other, but because life wasn’t working for them. And now, living on different sides of an ocean, how could it work again?

Do you have a muse? Without question, it’s music. I love big, sweeping epic rock songs, classical music, you name it, I love it. Music has always been a part of my life growing up, and every song always tells a story to me, even if it’s just orchestral. When one of those stories won’t leave me, I have to sit and write it out.

Do you work on one project at a time or many? In the past I’ve only worked on one project at a time, but now, if I get stuck, I’ll pick up something else and work on it, usually something like a short story, just to keep the creative juices flowing.

Hero or Antihero?  Who would you chose and why? You know, this is going to be corny and uncool, but the Hero. I think I’ve had my fill of the tortured past as an excuse for bad behavior and trying to help change them. How about we stick with the person who’s already become the good guy from the start? So uncool, I know. Now, who am I fascinated by… That’s a different story! But choose? Gimmie the hero!VBT_TheBonesOfYou_CoverBanner

People say write what you know.  Do you think that is right or even important? This is one of those phrases people bandy about, and I think it does a massive disservice to new writers. I mean, if authors had to stick to “writing what they know,” then Thomas Harris has a lot to answer for with his Hannibal Lecter! I think a better idea is to write what you want to know about. Research, educate yourself, and go! But I will say that you should write the emotions that you know. But setting? Place? Time? Nah, have fun!

What is the first book you read that really meant something to you? Hand’s down, it’s Anne of Green Gables. L.M. Montgomery was formative for my humor, my sense of fantasy, gosh, the types of friendships I wanted! Everyone deserves a Diana Berry. Anne was someone who dreamed and hoped like I did. It was such a relief to “meet” a character in a book that felt the way I did about life.

What do you find sexy in a man? How much time do we have? Ha! I love a confident man, one who isn’t posturing or peacocking for attention. A man that is confident in himself doesn’t feel the need to put other people down, doesn’t put himself above his partner, and knows that when he reaches out, they’ll reach back. A great set of (long, strong) legs and a broad set of shoulders doesn’t hurt, either!

What’s next up for you? I’m working on two different books, in fact. One is contemporary, our protagonist Becca has been dealing with the grief of losing her ex and struggling with when it’s okay to move on. (The beautiful and fun Dani Torres isn’t making it easy to resist.) The other is set in the mid-1800s, and is based off an actual gravesite in Tombstone, Arizona where two cowboys insisted on being buried together. Turns out that being homosexual and a cowboy was pretty common back then. Who knew?

Cover_The Bones of YouTHE BONES OF YOU
by Laura Stone

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The Bones of You BLURB:

Oliver Andrews was wholly focused on the final stages of his education at Cambridge University when a well-meaning friend up-ended his world with a simple email attachment: a clip from a U.S. morning show.

The moment he watches the video of his one-time love Seth Larsen, now a Broadway star, Oliver must begin making a series of choices that could lead him back to love—or break his heart.

The Bones of You is full of laughter and tears, with a collection of irritated Hungarians, flirtatious Irishwomen, and actors abusing Shakespeare that color Oliver and Seth’s attempts at reconciliation.

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The Bones of You Excerpt 

And that’s when he heard it, a beautiful voice that was painfully familiar. God, that sounds just like… He dropped the satchel–the papers thankfully stowed away–and turned to his computer screen. It felt like time had stopped, that it took him forever to see proof on the screen that he’d heard what he thought he had heard. That’s when he saw him.

Oliver immediately forgot that he needed to get to campus, that he had a mountain of work ahead of him, that he’d not even eaten yet. Seth. Seth, his first love, his first, well, everything, was on his computer screen, singing. And if he’d thought Seth had a beautiful voice as a teenager, that was nothing to how he sounded now. Clearly his time at Juilliard and whatever he’d done after had developed his voice into something truly special, almost otherworldly.

Oliver gripped the computer with both hands, his face close to the screen, breath trapped in his aching chest. Seth, tall and lean, his pretty, still-boyish face aglow from the joy of performing, was in the middle of the studio, hands clasped in front of him, eyes closed and head tilted slightly as he sang a song Oliver wasn’t familiar with. He didn’t care; he was transfixed by the line of Seth’s long throat, how the fitted shirt he was wearing accentuated the breadth of his shoulders, the small smile on his face as he sang. It was Seth, but now so much more than the captivating boy he had loved all those years ago.

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Laura StoneAUTHOR Bio and Links:

A life-long fan girl, Laura Stone takes a leave of absence from the glamorous life of motherhood while the kids were in school, devoting her days to writing full-time. In the past she’s worn the hat of actress, Master Gardener, and computer geek, but now sticks mostly to a Texas Ranger’s ball cap as she raises her children. They’re not fully raised, but then again, she would say that she isn’t either.

She began telling stories to her parents at the age of four. She was so successful in catching her parent’s attention that her father actually dislocated his back, trying not to sit on her imaginary cat, Doka.

She lives in Texas as proof that it’s not totally populated by hard-line right-wingers—and because that’s where the good tamales are from.

Connect with Laura:

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