A Stella Review: The Errant Prince by Sasha L. Miller

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

The Errant Prince coverMyron’s task is easy enough on the surface: locate the runaway Prince Tamsen and bring him home. But Tamsen is not merely a talented wizard, he’s an exceptionally stubborn one, and dozens of others have already failed at the task. When he manages to find the cabin where Tamsen is hiding, Myron isn’t foolish enough to mistake the find for a victory.

 Instead of attempting to drag the prince home by force, Myron tries a different tact: patience. He might not be able to best Tamsen magically or physically, but Myron can certainly out-stubborn him. He’s nothing if not used to doing what other people say he can’t.

But neither prince nor soldier expected stubbornness to be the crack in armor they’ve both become adept at wearing…

Lately I’m reading a lot of quick and sweet fantasy stories and The Errant Prince by Sasha L. Miller  is one of them, a cute novella with a really slow burn between MCs and no sex scenes.

Myron is a soldier of the King’s Guard, sent after the spoiled Prince who ran away from his duties seven years ago. When he is finally able to track him down he finds a beautiful man with bright red-orange braided hair and who lives selling the herbs and the vegetables he grows in his garden. Runaway Prince Tamsen in fact lives alone in an old cottage in the Heart Forest. He was able to stay hidden all this time cause he is a very strong wizard. While everyone failed, Myron is determined to find a way to approach the Prince and take him back to the palace. He just needs to be patient and wait for the stubborn Prince with no manners at all.

Basically the book consist of two parts: “The Improper Soldier” told by Myron’s POV and “The Errant Prince”, told by Tamsen POV. The first part was really good, it was lovely to see Myron try to make bundle of herbs and drinking nasty tea just to approach Tamsen and show he can trust Myron. It was funny reading about them arguing, Tamsen scowling and Myron grinning and provoking him.

In the second part of the book, when they are at the palace, I found myself bored as some scenes felt too long, too slow and with almost too many details, for example when Tamsen teaches Myron how to shift. At the same time I loved this second part cause it helps me to see a new Tamsen, more open with his (not yet) personal guard and not the unpleasant young man we met at the start of the story. Here we read about a few second characters, some likeable like Tamsen’s brother, Stirling, the current King, some to just hate, like the stupid parents of Myron, who decided to don’t love their daughter (Myron) anymore just cause he can’t feel himself as a daughter anymore but as a son.

The Errant Prince is really interesting and the final part so sweet, for me this story was definitely a winner. As always I’d like to read more about these characters and their magical world.

Cover art by Natasha Snow. This cover is perfect, sweet and magical as the book, I can see myself in front of cottage. Lovely!

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press      All Romance (ARe)       Amazon      Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: February 18th 2015 by Less Than Three Press
original titleThe Errant Prince
ISBN139781620045091
edition languageEnglish

 

 

A MelanieM Review: Quinn’s Gambit by Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

An unregistered, human con wizard and a duty-bound, straightlaced elf cop. As New York explodes with dangerous creatures, their passion goes nuclear.

Quinn's Gambit coverAfter a terrible magical accident at Berkeley created unpredictable holes between realities—all manner of non-human creatures started popping into our world.  From selkies to trolls, elves to Sasquatches, all the magical creatures needed help because their was no returning them to their world or families.  These magical events are called RARE—Random Anomalous Reality Events. And they have made magic now a reality, pulling it out of fiction and relocated it firmly in reality.

The result was a great deal of chaos, pain, anger, and confusion. Displaced elf Valerian works with AURA—the Agency of Unnatural Resettlement and Assimilation—to intercept these beings as they appear in the human world, helping the peaceful ones and subduing the violent, malevolent ones. It’s good, satisfying work, and Val would be happy if he wasn’t so lonely.

Quinten is a young human just trying to get by. But Quintan has a background awash in pain and betrayal and isn’t about to put his trust in any establishment, an attitude that makes New York City a difficult place to make a living. A bit of a con with a fluid moraltiy, still Quinten has a good heart if also one that’s kept under lock and key.

 Living by his wits and sometimes magically-induced luck, he works as a ‘free-lance magic user’, or unregistered mage and small time con—according to the authorities. The last thing Quinn wants is to draw the cops’ attention, but when an Event happens right on top of him, he’s forced to turn to AURA for help.  And that means an introduction to Val and the  very agency Quinten has been trying to avoid.

But darker events are looming over all mage users and its’ up to Val, Quinten and a small group of friends (or almost friends) to stop the evil existing in their midsts.

Already a huge fan of Angel Martinez and her fantasy worlds, now I’m going to add Bellora Quinn to my list!  Quinn’s Gambit, the first in a new Aura series, pulled me in by the first paragraph and kept me enthralled until the very last word.  All of the characters the reader will meet inside Quinn’s Gambit are so beautifully realized!  It really doesn’t matter who the character it, whether its Val, the elf prince,  Kai, a drow and IT specialist and his lover Tensin a Yeti, or Sin aka Sinistrus a unlucky succubus who prefers men instead of the females he needs to feed on. One after another, a whole cast of bewitching characters appear to capture your heart and make you care about the tumultuous situation and universe they find themselves in.

The authors leave the origin of the blast and the experiment performed somewhat murky.  All we know is that now holes in the fabric of the universe is allowing beings from other levels or plains of existence to fall through, permanently, into this one.  Just from the mention of a selkie who committed suicide when she fell shockingly to ground in a desert in southwestern United States, and the reader gets it.  These poor beings have been ripped without warning from their worlds and loved ones, and the authors make us feel their continued pain and confusion.  Valerian lives with the constant pain of loss and we hurt for him because the cost to him and the others falls within the spectrum of loss we can well imagine.

Quinten is another special character.  His background is slowly revealed to all in the story and once known, explains his living and working circumstances as well as the wall he has created around his heart.  I think there is still so much more to be divulged about Quinn.  There is an enormity to him and his powers that the authors are just starting to explore.  Quinn is a puzzle and we still don’t have all the pieces to this compelling young man when we reach the end of this story.   I can’t wait to see what else will come.

Quinn’s Gambit contains several mysteries, a ton of heartbreaking dramas, and, of course, a romance to begin and solidify between Quinn and Val.  The writing is tight, the imaginative elements splendid and engrossing, and the heat that occurs between Quinn and Val so hot and sexy its almost combustible.   The only place that I wanted more was the ending.  I wanted it to be fuller, longer, and with more exposition to the scenes there.  Yes, I wanted the  “cherry on the top, with sprinkles”!  Lucky for us all, Quinn’s Gambit is but the first in a new series, Aura, from Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn.  I.   Can’t. Wait!

Pick up Quinn’s Gambit (AURA Series #1) by Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn and begin your journey within this amazing new universe.  It’s one of my favorite, highly recommended reads this month, perhaps of the year.

Cover artist Posh Gosh does a great job with the New York City skyline and Quinn.  Terrific job.

Sales Links:    Totally Bound              Amazon    Buy It Here  links to come

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: March 6th 2015 by Totally Bound
ISBN139781784304423
edition languageEnglish
url https://www.totallybound.com/
seriesAURA Series #1

Visiting with Silvia Violet on her latest Novel, Burning Up (Fitting In #3) (contest included)

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Burning Up (Fitting In #3) by Silvia Violet
Release Date: February 18, 2015
Goodreads Link

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Silvia Violet Bio:

Silvia Violet writes erotic romance in a variety of genres including paranormal, contemporary, sci fi, and historical. She can be found haunting coffee shops looking for the darkest, strongest cup of coffee she can find. Once equipped with the needed fuel, she can happily sit for hours pounding away at her laptop. Silvia typically leaves home disguised as a suburban stay-at-home-mom, and other coffee shop patrons tend to ask her hilarious questions like “Do you write children’s books?” She loves watching the looks on their faces when they learn what she’s actually up to. When not writing, Silvia enjoys baking sinfully delicious treats, exploring new styles of cooking, and reading to her incorrigible offspring.

Where to find the author:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Silvia_Violet
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/silviaviolet

Burning Up 600x900

Burning Up:

Bryce has been a firefighter for ten years, but when a horrific house fire leaves him reeling, he moves to a new city, hoping to shove those memories behind him. As he adjusts to his new station, Bryce keeps to himself until Matt and Toby, two hot young men in his unit, throw temptation in his path. Bryce knows better than to mess around with men he works with, especially two newbies who are in the closet. But after a difficult day, Matt and Toby offer him compassion and friendship, which slips so easily into sex Bryce finds the combination irresistible.

Matt and Toby want to expand their relationship to include a third, and they’ve set their sights on their sexy bear of a lieutenant. Their first night together is a scorcher, and, more than that, it feels right, to all of them. But since Bryce refuses to hide who he is, and dating men on his shift is against the rules, all three men are going to have to make some tough choices if they want to stay together.

Categories: BDSM, Contemporary, Menage/Poly, M/M Romance, Firefighters, Romance

Sales Links: Amazon All Romance (ARe) Smashwords

 Burning Up Excerpt:

“They’re watching you again,” Mason spoke in a low voice as he whizzed past Bryce, carrying drinks to the opposite end of the bar.

“You’re imagining things again.” Ever since Mason swore that Toby and Matt, who’d become regulars at the bar after Bryce started working there, were gay and interested in Bryce, he’d been teasing Bryce about their interest.

Bryce told himself not to look, but he couldn’t help glancing toward the corner booth where they always preferred to sit before going back to wiping down the bar. Did they sit there because it gave them a good view of the bar? Bryce scowled. No way in hell were his hands shaking. No way in hell was he letting himself get his hopes up. Even if they were gay, even if they were interested in him, starting something with two guys from work would be the pinnacle of idiocy. Hell, getting involved with more than one guy was insane from the start. Just because Mason and his boyfriends had made a threesome work didn’t make it realistic for Bryce. There was an exception to every rule.

“You’re wrong,” Bryce said as he passed Mason on his way to take a customer’s order.

Mason snorted in reply.

Bryce was glad to see the bar was filling up. He did not need to spend the next hour telling himself not to look at Toby and Matt. He did plenty of that at the firehouse. Toby’s smile could heat up and entire room and Bryce never wanted to look away from it, unless it was to contemplate running his hands through Matt’s wavy brown hair while staring into his dark eyes.

But if Mason was right and they were gay, maybe they really were lovers. If so, he had no business approaching them, whether they were watching him or not. Just because they liked to look didn’t mean they wanted to play. They didn’t need him fucking up whatever they had going.

Plus, they worked together. They were a team, with people’s lives on the line.

The line at the bar grew long, and Bryce got busy taking orders, making drinks, and ringing people up at the register. When things finally slowed down, he needed a bathroom break. As he headed to the back, he noticed Matt and Toby playing pool with a couple of guys he recognized as regulars. Toby waved and he waved back, hating the way his pulse accelerated. What the hell was wrong with him?

He pushed open the door of the restroom but failed to check his instinct to glance back over his shoulder. Toby’s eyes were glued to his ass. There was no doubt about it this time. He whirled back around before their gazes had a chance to meet.

So Toby wasn’t straight. Bryce had to admit that now. He was gay or at least bi, but he was just appreciating the scenery. That didn’t mean anything. Bryce appreciated guys’ asses all the time.

When Bryce left the bathroom, Toby and Matt were leaning in close, talking, arguing actually based on the angry expressions on their faces. Bryce hurried back to work, glad he didn’t have to decide whether to speak to them or not. Several minutes later, Toby appeared at the bar. Mason, the little bastard, wasn’t busy, but he made no move to take Toby’s order.

“What can I get you?” Bryce asked.

“Just cashing out our tab.” Our? Maybe Toby was just buying that night.

“Sure.” Bryce looked Toby’s name up in the register, ran his card, and handed him the receipt to sign.

“Thanks,” Toby said, flashing a smile that made his eyes twinkle. How was it that he made that single word sound flirtatious? Bryce was supposed to be the one who flirted, the one in control of a situation, but despite Toby being so much younger, Bryce ended up flustered every time they spoke.

Pages or Words: 45,000 Words

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A MelanieM Review: Palace Dog by R.E. Nelson

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Final--Palace DogIn April 1975, as the government in Saigon is falling, Michael Andrews prepares to make his way back to Vietnam to find the love he was forced to leave.  But the story and their love starts 4 years earlier when Michael joins the Air Force to get out of combat and Vietnam only to be sent there to teach English to the Vietnamese military for a program called Palace Dog.

As an artist,  Michael found life lonely and unsatisfying. In the midst of war, Michael searches for direction and meaning. He ultimately finds love and hope with Thao, a young Vietnamese art student, only to have their already uncertain future wrenched from them when he is pulled out of the country.

For Michael, his return in 1975 is inevitable and without question, though the outcome he hopes for is anything but assured.

Set against the background of the Vietnam war and the fall of Saigon, R. E. Nelson gives us a love story between an American soldier and Vietnamese artist that is deep in emotion,  and full of drama of the times as it is surrounded by personal and social complexities. Taking place across a four year span, the plot and author reveal an appreciation for the culture of Vietnam that is both rich in texture and deep on history in Palace Dog.

A first novel for Nelson, Palace Dog rarely falls into the traps laid out for other authors writing in historical fiction.  It helps that the author has traveled and lived in Vietnam (as well as other Middle Eastern and Asian countries) so he is intimately familiar with the sights and sounds and yes, aromas, that such foreign locals offer visitors.  And he writes the story in such a way that you feel like you are walking down those streets, along with Michael, for the first time, experiencing the vibrancy, smells, color, and action of a Saigon marketplace at its busiest.  The noise, the yelling which to Americans would seem as arguments which in turn is really a system of the daily haggling of seller and customer at play, the children begging in the streets along with the animals.  It feels so real that Michael’s uncertainty and fear is understandable, because we would feel that way too.  Also apparent, the separation between cultures and between the south Vietnamese soldiers living in disreputable conditions and the American military still trying to pull out a win.  The juxtaposition in cultures and their clash is everywhere and Nelson portrays it with a clarity and attention to detail both remarkable and telling.

Michael Andrews, quite wrongly, thought he could skip the whole Vietnam war experience by joining the Air Force, thinking it would all be over by the time he was through.  But as history tells us, Vietnam had a way of turning any military action by an enemy into failure, bogging it down by efficient guerrilla warfare and tactics that each nation (French, American…) who got involved was unprepared for.  We didn’t understand the territory and we didn’t understand the people and the cost to all was atrocious.

Michael and his group of teachers represent a variety of perspectives, in all their physicality, mental and emotion stability.  First there is Michael, a thoughtful man, more artist than soldier, who lands in Vietnam confused about his sexuality.  That he and his fellow teachers are offered women and men (the last quietly) as sexual partners and something more is not a reality Michael knows how to deal with.   It horrifies him as much as it intrigues him.  For his friend and fellow teacher, Randy, Saigon presents a whole new world to explore and he does so with a vigor and sense of adventure  at first admirable and then haunting as he falls in love with a local girl, an all too common situation back then.  From Danny’s perspective, he finds he has to grow up and make decisions about his future and theirs. And then there is Richard, a troubled man whose pain and anger at his confusion (at being in Vietnam and perhaps something more) makes him an emotional time bomb on legs.   How they handle their deployment to this cultured city breaking down under the constant bombardment and its casualties of war is as believable as every other aspect of this story.   It’s a wide spectrum of behaviors and people that represented Americans , abroad.

Now that I’ve dealt with the Americans, I want to say that I fell in love with the Vietnamese characters created by Nelson.  It feels right, from their facial features to the trappings of their houses, the culture described  by the author is rich yet fraying. Even the tight family bonds, as seen in Thao and Tuan’s family, are being destroyed by the sons lost in combat and an uncertain future as the Northern Vietnamese get closer to winning and taking with each day.  We start by meeting Tuan, a student of Michael’s who introduces him to his family, including his brother Thao.  It is a relationship that stutters as first, as the language barrier is high.  Nelson’s characters speak broken english as they would under these conditions.  While some readers might find that dialog tough to follow, I thought it gave the relationship and story an authentic feel.

It would be easy for a romance to get buried under the enormity of the situation of Saigon at the time, and it almost happens here.  But the restraint that Nelson shows in bringing along the relationship is needed.  Because it’s not just the cultural obstacles that have to be overcome but Michael has to come to grips with his sexuality, a much harder leap to make.  For Michael, sex with women has been uninspiring and frustrating.  Now in Saigon, temptation is everywhere.  And as he starts to explore his sexuality he also starts to realize his feelings for Thao go far beyond friendship.  As to Thao?  I will let those revelations fall as they will.

Palace Dog opens with Michael returning to Saigon to look for Thao and bring him to the US.  It’s a mission fraught with danger and his chances for success slight at best.  Saigon is about to fall.  The middle story happens in Spring 1971.  The ending once more returns for the last chapter of the war, for us and for Michael and Thao.  It is journey of heartbreak, a clash of cultures and love set against a historic background of war and geopolitical change.   Its rich and remarkable in its storytelling.

For anyone who remembers the scenes of people scrambling across rooftops to reach the last helicopters and planes taking off as the city falls, the anguish, desperation and sense of betrayal for those left behind felt as strong on those pages as it did  the day I watched it happen on the tv.   That Nelson was able to make this time in history come alive through a deep love and relationship between two men, Michael and Thao, is quite the achievement and makes this story one for all to read. Palace Dog is haunting, sometimes hard to read, emotionally compelling and its quiet joys will linger long time after you have finished their story.   Its one of my highly recommended reads.   And I will leave you with the images it brought back to mind as clear as the day they happened.

Fall of Saigon helicopterFall of South Saigon

 

 

 

 

The last helicopter out of Saigon.

Cover artist: Paul Richmond.  What a gorgeous portrait, perfect in everyway.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback   All Romance (ARe)  Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Expected publication: February 27th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632165381
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com

In Our Book Spotlight: Palace Dog by R. E. Nelson

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Palace Dog by R. E. Nelson
Goodreads Link: February 27, 2015
Final--Palace Dog

R. E. Nelsen is here today, a author new to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  They’re here to talk about Palace Dog, a new  novel to be released February 27th by Dreamspinner Press.  Check out Nelson’s bio, and the synopsis and excerpt we have for you all today, along with a contest to enter.  And look out for an upcoming review…

Author R. E. Nelson Bio:

R.E. Nelson was born in Texas and raised in Southern California. He has been writing for as long as he can remember. One of his earliest recollections related to writing is winning an essay contest in sixth grade–something patriotic about the American flag. When he travels, his preference is staying in select areas for an extended period of time and learning about that place. He has lived in both Vietnam (twice, actually) and Saudi Arabia, and also spent time in Egypt, South Korea, Shanghai (his only China visit thus far), and Dubai. Now he is happy to call San Francisco home.

And now for something a little different. At each stop, a new question for R. E. Nelson, a broken interview as it were.  Our question?  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words:– What was the last Halloween costume you wore?  Nelson’s answer? An Arab thobe –  Note: The Thobe is a traditional garment worn throughout the Middle East.

Where to find the author:    Twitter: @RENelson13

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback

STRW Author BookSynopsis

About Palace Dog…

In April 1975, as the government in Saigon is falling, Michael Andrews prepares to make his way back to Vietnam to find the love he was forced to leave. 

But Michael’s journey begins four years earlier. He joins the Air Force to keep out of the Army and out of Vietnam, but his first assignment is teaching English in Saigon to members of the Vietnamese military in an Army program called Palace Dog. 

As an artist, and a man, before his time in Vietnam, Michael found life lonely and unsatisfying. In the midst of war, Michael searches for direction and meaning. He ultimately finds love and hope with Thao, a young Vietnamese art student, only to have their already uncertain future wrenched from them when he is pulled out of the country. 

For Michael, his return in 1975 is inevitable and without question, though the outcome he hopes for is anything but assured.

Categories: Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

The cyclo had bumped across the bridge, following the curve in the road, then moved quickly down the final straight stretch, past houses and shops, past rows of trees and walls and occasional open spaces, past vendors who lined the street’s edge selling gasoline in glass bottles. Motorcycles, Lambretta mini-buses packed with people, cream-and-blue Renault taxis, pedestrians with baskets and boxes—all crowded the street. Noises, smells, and smoke came from everywhere, and as the driver increased his speed, I smiled, gripping the metal frame tighter and pushing slightly with my feet as the moist wind rushed around me.

Speeding through the streets of Saigon, wearing the green Air Force-issued jungle fatigues, my life of a year ago seemed unreal.
Pages or Words: 206 pages

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Contest:  Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Palace Dog’. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Prize  notifications by Pride Promotions. PDBannerTemplate

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Tour Dates: February 27, 2015

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