A Mika Review: Truth in Lace (Desires Entwined #3.5) by Tempeste O’Riley

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5:

Truth in Lace coverWhen Alexander James Noble looks in the mirror, he sees a freak looking back at him. Despite his high grades and plans for culinary arts school after graduation, his parents would hate him if they really knew him.

Forced on a shopping trip with his twin sister, Lyric, and her friends, Alex eyes the girls jealously, longing to be able to dress like them—to be them. The constant struggle of being “gender fluid,” wrestling with an identity that seems to change daily, begins to wear on Alex. But all those questions and fears seem more manageable when his sister gives him his first skirt and lace panties.

When I say this was a shortie, this was a shortie. I didn’t know how to rate this because it’s literally under 25 pages. Its 24 pages to be exact. I liked it, because it was when Alex first understood  what being gender fluid meant. I didn’t understand the author only producing this short novella as I felt like it could have been more with this subject. What did Alex do, following this coming of age sort of moment? More of his story would have been great. I liked him and Lyric. I liked Lyric supporting him, it was a rarity at their age to understand and accept Alex with no qualms, or restrictions. It was a nice short story and with a nice prologue.

Reese Dante created this cover, and like the previous covers it had symbolism written all over it I liked this cover the best, I really went in with happiness because I thought it would be thoroughly talked about.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook (free)    All Romance (ARe) (free)    amazon      buy it here for $1.99
Book Details: 

ebook, 24 pages
Published November 5th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632165213
edition languageEnglish
seriesDesires Entwined #3.5

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

Designs of Desire (Desires Entwined, #1)
Bound by Desire (Desires Entwined #1.75)
Desires’ Guardian (Desires Entwined, #2)
Temptations of Desire (Desires Entwined, #3)
Truth in Lace (Desires Entwined #3.5)

A MelanieM Review: One Holiday Ever After Anthology by Tere Michaels , Elle Brownlee , Elizah J. Davis

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

One Holiday Ever AFter coverThe holidays are times of reflection, celebration, and coming home to those you love and who love you back.  It’s a time to reconnect with who you are and who you hope to be.  And sometimes, if you are lucky, this is also a season of miracles, of love found and a home discovered.  From New York City, to the winter isolation of the Maine woods, to the quaint, small town charm of Idaho, the men in these stories have different holiday desires. They’re looking for familiarity or fresh starts, but they have one thing in common—their happily ever afters might be waiting in the last places they think to look.

This season I have three top anthologies, all holiday collections.  One Holiday Ever After is among them, primarily because of the excellence in stories and heart from Tere Michaels, Elle Brownlee and Elizah J. Davis.  Before One Holiday Ever After, I was really familiar with only Tere Michaels, but after the wonderful stories from Elle Brownlee and Elizah J. Davis, I have searching out to find more stories by these authors.  Did I have favorites among the three stories?  Certainly but only by the smallest of margins.  Here is the story synopsis and my shortened reviews:

Holiday Roommates by Tere Michaels

As an out of work actor Nate Brandywine needs an emergency roommate for the month of December. During a humiliating gig as a Christmas elf at a NYC department store, he meets Sean Callahan, his producer and a man struggling under the weight of a past-due loan. Sean’s desperate for a place to stay in the city for a few weeks. A month of sharing a workplace and an apartment with someone you can’t stop flirting with? Maybe the holidays won’t be so terrible after all.

I love Tere Michaels and this short story just highlights why.  The characters of Nate and Sean are so believable and vulnerable that the reader will take them into their heart.  The secondary characters are as wonderful as the primary ones and the story’s plot is a realistic one that will pull you in immediately.  A great way to start a must have anthology.

Holiday Sanctuary by Elle Brownlee

Chris Declan is trekking through the wintry wonderland of rural Maine, searching for inspiration and himself, when he’s lost in a hug snow storm. The surprise blizzard that finds him seeking refuge in Paul Bak’s secluded cabin. Paul Bak’s secluded cabin is a prime spot to research and watch birds, a perfect place for an isolated Ornithology researcher. As the snow cuts them off from all around them, making the best of being snowed in together soon becomes a comfortable friendship with fireside chats, a quaint holiday celebration, and more. But despite their growing closeness, there’s one thing they avoid—what will happen when the snow clears and the holidays end.

Elle Brownlee had me at the name of Paul’s cat, Myn.  It’s short for…well, I will let Paul explain it:

“It’s for Moamyn.” Paul steered the conversation away from, well, wherever else it might have gone. But he couldn’t stop wondering after that last comment. “A long time ago in a land far away, the aforenamed and possibly apocryphal Arabian who wrote a definitive treatise on falconry.”

Be still my heart.  An ornithologist’s love story, complete with references to the subtle glory of the grasshopper sparrow.  I adored everything about this story, from the slow exploration of Paul’s comfy cabin, full of hidden objects full of clues to Paul’s character and passion for his profession to the wry humor and intellect that is Chris.  It’s slow, wonderful, and makes an impact on the reader that they won’t be fully aware of until the end.

Holiday Homecoming by Elizah J. Davis

Gavin Anderson never thought making it as a writer in LA would be easy, but when his latest project falls through, he gives up on Hollywood and heads to Bonabri, Idaho in hopes that the peace and quiet of his childhood home will help him figure out his next move. Instead he finds Eric Nichols, his parents’ cute and charming housesitter who is there to experience the small town Christmas festivities. Gavin’s plans for quiet reflection are no match for Eric’s holiday cheer, and he soon finds himself swept up in the spirit of the season. Gavin thought his life had hit a dead end, but in coming home he finds what might be a new beginning.

Here is a story full of the 3 H’s – hope, holiday, and heartwarming.  I finished this story and just kept on smiling as I remembered scenes and dialog from Elizah J. Davis’ Holiday Homecoming.  Adorableness, thy name is Eric Nichols, a man in search of love and home who finds it unexpectedly when he housesits for his best friend’s neighbors in the quaint small town of Bonabri, Idaho.  The town of Bonabri may not actually exist outside these pages but how I wish it did!  It comes to life in all its Chrismassy, nosy glory and I loved it.  I feel the same way about the disillusioned Gavin returning home after failing in Los Angeles and his slow “return” to the human being he always was underneath.  Much like the other two stories, I wish the author had made this a full length book.  Not because this feels incomplete in any way, it doesn’t.  But because I hated to say goodbye to the characters and town once they had hold of me.    It’s a fantastic story and a great way to finish out this must have holiday anthology.

I would read this One Holiday Ever After at any time of the year.  Still in the holiday season and spirit?  Perfection.  Missing the holidays because it is (fill in the blank season)?  This anthology will pull you in and make you remember why you love the holidays so.  It’s one of the top story collections of the year and one you won’t want to miss.  I am so glad I didn’t and you will be too.  A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Best of 2014 books!Best Books of 2014

 

 

Cover Artist: Angsty G.  Love the cover, it works perfectly for the collection and spirit of the stories found within.

Sales Links:        Dreamspinner Press ebook & Paperback      All Romance (ARe)   Amazon    Buy it Here

Book Details:

book, 280 pages
Published December 19th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1632165783 (ISBN13: 9781632165787)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttps://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5849

Blast Back to the Past with Abigail Roux’s According to Hoyle (book tour and contest)

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AccordingHoyle_TourBanner

 

Hi! I’m Abigail Roux, the author of ACCORDING TO HOYLE. Thanks for having me. And don’t forget the giveaway! Check out the details at the bottom of the post to see what you can win!

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Blurb

By the close of 1882 in the American West, the line between heroes and villains is narrow. Total chaos is staved off only by the few who take the law at its word and risk their lives to uphold it. But in the West, the rules aren’t always played according to Hoyle.

US Marshals Eli Flynn and William Henry Washington—longtime friends and colleagues—are escorting two prisoners to New Orleans for trial when they discover there’s more than outlawry to the infamous shootist Dusty Rose and the enigmatic man known as Cage. As the two prisoners form an unlikely partnership, the marshals can’t help but look closer at their own.

When forces beyond the marshals’ control converge on the paddle wheeler they’ve hired to take them downriver, they must choose between two dangers: playing by the rules at any cost, or trusting the very men they are meant to bring to justice.

According to Hoyle Excerpt:

“Mr. Baird, I trust your end of this issue has been taken care of?” the old man rasped.

“I’m afraid there were some complications,” Baird reported. “Stringer is well on his way, but Rose refused to work with us. He then escaped before we could dispatch him.”

“Escaped.”

“Yes, sir. Escaped.”

“How ?”

“Pure luck, I assure you, sir. An earthquake, in fact.”

“An act of God,” the old man said in his disconcerting voice. He raised his spotted hand to scratch at his eyebrow.

The gold and jewels of the rings on his fingers reflected the light in odd patterns.

Baird fought not to be distracted by it. The silence fell heavy in the room. Dust motes floated by his head in the shaft of light let in by the frosted window. Baird waited for the old man to continue.

“Very well. Can his knowledge harm us? Harm our plan?”

“Certainly, if ever he were to find all the pieces.” Baird knew better than to hedge his answers. The truth and only the truth was the thing to give to his employer.

“Will he?”

“He couldn’t possibly, sir.”

“You believe a man who would be so lucky as to stumble upon an earthquake when one is needed could not possibly have the good fortune to piece together this puzzle you have so artfully taken apart?”

Baird pressed his lips tightly together to hide his frustration. “Point well made, sir. What would you have me do?”

“Kill him.”

“It’s already in the works, sir.” Baird had hired two men to track Rose down and dispatch him. The last telegram he’d received had put them somewhere in Nebraska. Baird was confident Rose would find no earthquakes there.

“And Stringer ?” the old man asked without acknowledging Baird’s forethought.

“He is quite capable. I have given him the bare bones of our orders and he assures me it will be done.”

The old man’s thin white hair flew in wisps around his head and his eyebrows seemed to weigh down the skin of his forehead, giving the impression he was constantly scowling. When he offered his snaggletooth grin, he appeared quite ghastly.

Baird smiled politely. He knew how this game was played. He’d begun his lengthy career as a Pinkerton agent during the War Between the States. He and others like him had acted as spies for the Union army, repeatedly going behind enemy lines to do the bidding of those with higher rank.

Baird had risen quickly. After the war, when the Secret Service department had been formed to help handle the workload of the US Marshals, Baird had been one of the first ones to be recruited. On the surface, the Secret Ser vice were involved with suppressing the counterfeiting of paper money, which had become popular since the currency of the failed Confederacy so many people had hoarded lost its value. But their reach extended much further than that; though they still performed the duties that had been their beginning , now they were also tasked with protecting government officials at certain times, and more importantly, they still acted as spies for the government, on both native and foreign soil.

Baird did not like farming out jobs to untrustworthy and unpredictable outlaws. If they failed, it would be on his head.

“And the information you intended to harvest from Rose. Where do you intend to get it now ?” the old man asked.

Baird had no good answer for that. Men who’d spent time peacefully with the tribes were few and far between. “I’m still seeking an answer to that, sir.”

“Very well. Inform me at once when you hear of any news.”

“Yes, sir,” Baird answered as he stood and tipped his head. “A good day to you, General.”

“John,” the general called after him as he turned to take his leave. “You may see fit to make certain your loose ends are tied. If Rose shows his face in New York, you had better not shows yours.”

Baird’s polite smile faltered only slightly. “Yes, General,” he said obediently, cursing under his breath as the heavy door shut behind him.

You can purchase According to Hoyle here!

About Abigail Roux

Abigail Roux was born and raised in North Carolina. A past volleyball star who specializes in sarcasm and painful historical accuracy, she currently spends her time coaching high school volleyball and investigating the mysteries of single motherhood. Any spare time is spent living and dying with every Atlanta Braves and Carolina Panthers game of the year.

Abigail has a daughter, Little Roux, who is the light of her life, a boxer, four rescued cats who play an ongoing live-action variation of Call of Duty throughout the house, a certifiable extended family down the road, and a cast of thousands in her head.

Connect with Abi:

Website: http://www.abigailroux.com
Twitter: @abigailroux
Facebook: facebook.com/Abigail-Roux
Tumblr: abiroux.tumblr.com
Goodreads: goodreads.com/AbigailRoux

Giveaway

Thanks for following the tour! You can win an ebook copy of a novel of your choice from my back catalog, and a $10 Riptide gift certificate!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because I won’t be able to see it otherwise! On January 9, I’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!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.