In the Spotlight: Hammer and Bone by Kirby Crow

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STRW In The Spotlight Header

Hammer and Bone by Kirby Crow
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Kirby Crow
Roberto Quintero

Hammer and Bone cover

 If that amazing cover isn’t enough to draw you in, check out the synopsis below!  

STRW Author BookSynopsis

 

About Hammer and Bone

The purest evil lives in the hearts of men.

Carnival mystics. Zombie tribes. Bad magic in the Bayou. Mage-princes, alien cities, and soul-stealing priests. The grim monsters in the worlds of these dark, speculative tales are true horrors, but it’s the people you should fear the most.

People like Michel, a boy pining for his best friend, Ray. But a presence in the swamp calls Michel to avenge another lost love, and he must decide which summons to answer. Or Angelo, a prescient cop who denies his visions until they endanger the man he loves. Or Bellew, an overseer in a shantytown of criminals sheltering a revenant and feeding it from their ranks.

From ruined lands of steam and iron, to haunted Southern forests, to brutal city streets where hope and damnation flow from the same spring, only a few stubborn souls possess the heart to challenge evil on its own terms. Some wield magic, some turn to rage or even love, but the ones left standing will survive only if they find the courage to carve their own paths to freedom.

Even if it means carving through flesh.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About the Author

Kirby Crow is an American writer born and raised in the Deep South. She is a winner of the EPIC Award and the Rainbow Award, and is the author of the bestselling “Scarlet and the White Wolf” series of fantasy novels. Kirby and her husband and their son share an old, lopsided house in the Blue Ridge with a cat. Always a cat.

Her published novels are:

Prisoner of the Raven (historical romance)
Scarlet and the White Wolf: The Pedlar and the Bandit King (New Adult fantasy, m/m, Torquere Press)
Scarlet and the White Wolf: Mariner’s Luck (New Adult fantasy, m/m, Torquere Press)
Scarlet and the White Wolf: The Land of Night (New Adult fantasy, m/m, Torquere Press)
Angels of the Deep
 (paranormal/horror)

Circuit Theory (novella, scifi, Riptide)
Coming Soon:


Malachite (speculative m/m, New Adult, 2015)
Poison Apples (collection, dark fantasy, m/m, 2015)
Scarlet and the White Wolf 4 
(New Adult fantasy, m/m, 2015)

For upcoming news of her future novels, visit her website at http://KirbyCrow.com

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published March 2nd 2015 by Riptide Publishing (first published February 28th 2015)
ISBN139781626492042
edition languageEnglish
Sales Link:  Riptide Publishing

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Lights! Camera! Cupid! A Bluewater Bay Valentine’s Day Anthology

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5BWBlogo_Web

Cupid is visiting Bluewater Bay, and he’s leaving chaos in his wake.

Lights! Camera! Cupid! coverIt’s been my experience that anthologies generally have stories which are great, not so great, and middle of the road. In this one, that’s not true—they are almost all terrific. To help me come up with an overall rating, I’ve rated each individual story and decided to leave that rating so that readers can see which ones I thought were the best.

The stories are:

Just Another Day by L.A. Witt

Levi Pritchard hates Valentine’s Day. In fact, he absolutely abhors it, so when he comes home to find that his lover Carter Samuels (“Starstruck”) has bought him a rare DVD for his collection and is making Pasta Carbonara, his favorite meal, he knows he’s going to have to say something ,and that it will likely hurt Carter’s feelings. He does, and it does, and after a brief period of time out for both of them and a call by Levi to his friend Anna, he does the unexpected and sits down with Carter to explain why he hates the holiday then takes Carter upstairs for a very special Valentine surprise. Saying more here would spoil the surprise but readers will definitely love it as much as Carter does! 4.5 stars

Nascha by Amy Lane

It never ceases to amaze me that Amy Lane can create an entire story spanning over fifty years, sketch full characters with both a history and a future, stir in a little (or in this case a lot) of angst, and spit out a story that is full, rich, memorable, and creates a lump in my throat and a pain in my heart. If I had to assign one word to this story it would be depressing. Another would be complex. It’s a story about Nascha, an American Indian and gambler, who falls in love with his two best friends, Kitten and Rawlins, from the time they are teens. Though those two legally marry, in their hearts they are a part of him, and it’s Nascha who struggles to feel that he’s bound with them forever, especially when life circumstances stink and he ends up trying to raise his niece, then ultimately his grandnephews, one of who has Asberger’s.

I struggled to get into the story at first, especially since there are some M/F sex scenes at the beginning when the story is being established. Later when the reader is engaged in the plot, all of the scenes make sense but it is a very complex story for so few pages. But it works, and it’s one of the best of the anthology. 4.5 stars

No Easy Way by S.E. Jakes

Cary Teijan, a teacher who holds the interesting job of tutoring both the delinquents who keep getting suspended and the child actors from the Wolf’s Landing TV show being filmed in Bluewater Bay is shocked when he runs into Dylan James on the set. Dylan is the man he was so deeply in love with in high school who has recently returned after six years in the service, and he’s also the subject of the M/M romances Cary writes under a pen name, romances which are highly successful.

Dylan is back and he wants Cary with all the passion he felt years before, but Cary resists with that same degree of passion because Dylan walked away from him without a word, and Cary is finding it hard to forgive and forget. This story is lengthier than most others in the anthology and is both intriguing and exciting. The fun in watching Dylan go after Cary and watching Cary continually give in then run away makes for a great short story and fits perfectly with the Bluewater Bay stories previously released. 5 stars

Helping Hand by Anne Tenino

Lucas Wilder is the son and brother of lumberjacks who have lived and worked in the Bluewater Bay area for generations, but he’s not willing to follow the family footsteps into the logging business. He barely knows how to hold a saw! He’s just been accepted into a prestigious art school, and he’s terrified to tell his homophobic father that there’s now one more reason for his father to hate him. In fact, he gets so flustered that he spills the beans about being gay shortly after he announces his plans to attend college to study art. Thankfully, his best friend Audrey is there to help him through this fiasco as she’s been there for him throughout high school. Both are looking forward to leaving the town behind them forever when they go to college.

Gabriel Savage, lumberjack and best friend of Lucas’s brother Zach, spots Lucas walking home a few nights later and stops to give him a lift. He gives him more than that too—his first sexual experience as a gay man. To be honest, I’m not sure I get the point of this story. I’ve re-read the entire section of their hookup several times and I still don’t quite understand the point the author was trying to make so for me, this story wasn’t on the same level as the others. In fact, whether it was just supposed to be a quick hookup or whether Gabe truly wanted a lasting relationship with Lu, really doesn’t matter. Either way, the story lacked the spark and interest the others held and that’s very disappointing since I generally love Anne Tenino’s work. 3 stars

I’ll Be There by Z. A. Maxfield

This was a great story to cap the anthology as Nash Holly fights desperately to make his way to the Chicago area to be with Spencer Kepler (“Hell on Wheels”) on Valentine’s Day during the worst snow storm to hit the Midwest in years. It isn’t even so much that it’s Valentine’s Day as the fact that Spencer is so socially inept that he fears meeting the guest of honor at the fan convention he’s volunteered to attend—a woman who is dying of cancer. In a brief Skype session with Nash, Spencer reveals more about his feelings related to his own mother’s death from cancer than he even realized himself. Readers get to witness how Spencer acknowledges the past and, learning from it, deals with the present and waits hopefully to see if Nash can make it. And we get to witness Nash as he delves into his true feelings for Spencer and his gratitude for having Spencer in his life. Their love is greater than the sum of both parts and this story is perfect for their first Valentine’s Day together. 5 stars

If you’ve been reading the Bluewater Bay stories, you know they can each be read as a standalone, as can this anthology. However, readers of the stories will recognize the characters in the first and last stories of this anthology and that will only add to the enjoyment of the book. I recommend this one to all lovers of M/M romance and especially to those who enjoy the added spice of the Valentine’s Day holiday and all of the ways love can be expressed.

Cover art by L.C. Chase depicts a movie set clipboard with a faded out red background of two of the MCs looking at each other with stars in their eyes. Perfect for the stories inside.WolfsLanding_transparent

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing    All Romance (ARe)   Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 226 pages
Published February 9th 2015 by Riptide (first published February 7th 2015)
ISBN139781626492615
edition languageEnglish
seriesBluewater Bay #6

 

Bluewater Bay series, one location, different authors (and all highly recommended by Barb and Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words:

 

 

A MelanieM Review: Splat by Alana Ankh

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Rating:  3.25 stars out of 5

Splat!

Splat coverThat’s the sound Deacon Hearst hears when something  hits his windshield. But what could it be? It’s unlike anything that Deacon has seen before and with good reason. It is a fairy—or rather a Sidhe—with a gaze the color of the moon and thus eloquently named Mooneyes. The little creature’s wing is broken by the windshield and its beginning to pour. What can Deacon do but take the fairy home to heal.

But as Deacon nurses Moon back to health, he discovers Moon’s beauty is more than skin deep. Though they’re very different, especially in size, they’re alike in their loneliness, their need for affection. Despite the weirdness of the situation, Deacon finds himself falling for Moon.

Moon is starting to feel the same.  But they are separated by more than size, their worlds and families are about to collide.  But Moon has a few secrets of his own, secrets that could change both their paths for life.

I have to admit it was that cover, title and plot of Splat that pulled me in.  It was funny and warped enough that I had high hopes for the humor content inside.  Instead what I found was a sweet, if not completely memorable, M/M fantasy romance by Alana Ankh.  And it started off so well…

The story opens with Deacon fleeing his parents home and their continual attempts to see him straight and married to a daughter of one of their friends, no matter how often he tells them he is gay.  To add to his poor mood, it begins to rain.  And on his  trip back home to his house in the woods, a fairy hits his windshield  like a Palmetto bug on steroids.  It’s pretty darn humerous right down to the sound effects of whooshing of the wipers and the visual effects of a small miserable fae going back and forth across the glass (ok, I found that funny, don’t judge).

Deacon meet Mooneyes (and with that name the story started to slide sideways for me).   Deacon gets over the appearance of a fairy pretty calmly and after figuring out that a wounded fae in a downpour is not likely to make it, takes Moon home to heal.   Attraction and lust ensues, albeit on a tiny scale.

Soon the author is throwing in more plot elements, one right after the other.  Seems neither Moon’s or Deacon’s families want gay sons and are going out of their way to ignore their sexual choices in pursuit of their own plans.  Plus there is several more fae complications to plow through.  Ditto on Deacon’s side.  I just wished that the author would have concentrated on the quixotical and funny romance at hand.  But no, that’s not to be.

Ankh pretty much ignores the fairy world building with a few exceptions and that lack is felt throughout the story.  Deacon’s background is better fleshed out but the side bits about his job and boss just add to the confusion.  And a strange bit about a man who offers Moon his assistance.

Still where this story goes right is the interaction and feelings that spring up between Deacon and Mooneyes.  That was sweet, and believable, even given the circumstances and the separation subplot that felt like a reasonable event given what happens beforehand.

Splat held out so much promise for something completely different yet it ended up as one more sweet,outside of the title and cover, love story.  If that is what you are in the mood for and love fae/human romances, Splat might just be your thing to read. I will  comfort myself in knowing I have one of the most memorable titles and covers to add to the Most Humerous of 2015.

Cover art by Paul Richmond.  Pretty funny, I hope that was the intent.  I did keep hearing “oh, no, Mr. Bill…”

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press    All Romance (ARe)     Amazon       Splat! Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 127 pages
Published February 11th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press, LLC
ISBN139781632164841
edition languageEnglish

A PaulB Review: Ansleigh’s Grotto by J.T. Cheyanne

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Ansleigh's Grotto coverWhen his grandfather passes, Dylan Matthews inherits his Virginia estate. Dylan must deal with his past both remembered and forgotten to fulfill the terms of his grandfather’s will.

Dylan Matthews spent his summers at his grandfather’s estate while growing up. Just after his eighteenth birthday, he has an argument with his father. Fifteen years later, his grandfather passes. At the reading of the will, the family learns that while the rest of the estate is to be divided among them, Dylan is the sole heir to the Virginia homestead so long as he lives there for one year. Also, there are two letters that his grandfather has left for Dylan to read explaining his actions.

Upon arriving at the estate, Dylan reacquaints himself with the staff of the manor. He also meets Leigh, whom they say takes care of the flora and fauna on the estate. Dylan is smitten by Leigh and the feelings are returned. Unknown to Dylan, this is not the first time he has met Leigh.

Leigh, or Ansleigh, is the grandson of the Seelie or Light Fae king. Many centuries ago, to end a war between the Seelie and UnSeelie or Dark Fae, the first grandchild of each king were promised to each other as mates. The only way to prevent this mating from happening is if one were to find true love and his Cosantoir or keeper. Ansleigh has waiting for fifteen years for Dylan’s return to the estate because he has formed this bond during Dylan’s visits. He is heartbroken when Dylan disappears one day without saying goodbye to him. Now he must get Dylan to fall in love with him again even though Leigh did something that might prevent that from happening again.

Dylan and Leigh must overcome how they left things fifteen years ago and must also deal with an UnSeelie prince who is bound and determined to claim Ansleigh as his as promised by their grandfathers. Their lives and the fate of the grotto depend upon the successful resolution of this dilemma.

I really enjoyed this book. The author creates a realistic fantasy world in the Virginia grotto estate of Dylan’s grandfather. The supporting characters are well rounded and give added humor to the thrills of the conflict. Making Dylan a game developer allows for a perfect epilogue though I saw it about half way through the book. I would encourage anybody to spend some time in Ansleigh’s Grotto.

The cover by Tracey Weston shows two men embracing above a manor house surrounded by lush greenery. It draws the reader in and gives a good representation of the grotto.

Sales Links:        Amazon             Buy It Here

Book details
Ebook, 179 pages
Published: January 28, 2015 by Laz & Lachi Publication
Edition: English
ISBN: 978-0-9899725-2-9

In the Book Spotlight: Oliver (Whitedell Pride #6) by Catherine Lievens

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Oliver (Whitedell Pride #6) by Catherine Lievens
Release Date: March 1, 2015
Goodreads Link

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Author Catherine Lievens

Catherine lives in Italy, country of good food and hot men. She used to write fantasy as a child, but it was reading her first gay erotic romance novel that made her realize that that was what she really wanted to write.

After graduating from college in English language and translation, she divides her day between writing, reading, taking care of her son and reading some more.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catherine.lievens.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorCLievens
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/catherine200405/
Other: https://authorcatherinelievens.wordpress.com/

Publisher: Latrisha Waters
Cover Artist: eXtasy Books

Sales Links: eXtasy Books

STRW Author BookSynopsis

 

About Oliver…

What matters is not what you are, but who you are.

oliver72Oliver is human, or at least he was until the Glass Research Company kidnapped him and experimented on him. Now he has a bear sharing his mind, but he’s not able to shift, and he’s confused. Is he a shifter, or a human? What’s worse, he’s getting sicker every day, and no one seems to know how to help him. He can’t even bond with his mate because he doesn’t want Sebastian to hurt if something happens to him.

Sebastian wants his mate to be cured, and the only way to do that is to go to New York and kidnap one of the company’s scientist. With the help of his pride brothers, he manages to do just that, but having Oliver cured doesn’t mean all their problems are over.

Oliver will have to deal with learning how to shift and trying to convince Sebastian that he’s fine and that he can be claimed, but once he manages to do that, other problems arise. Will the two lovers finally have the time to just be together, or will the pressure push them apart?

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

 

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Shit. Shit, shit, shit! Oliver didn’t know what had happened or how to solve this. Well, he knew what had happened. He had shifted for the very first time, but did he really have to do it while naked in bed with Sebastian? Even more so, did it really have to be like, seconds after they had just made love and claimed each other?

If Sebastian hadn’t been so quick to move away, Oliver would have shifted while…ugh, he didn’t even want to think about it!

“Uh, love? Careful with those claws, okay?”

Oliver realized that he had been digging into the mattress so he awkwardly tried to get his claws out of the fabric, but it seemed that every move he made, he managed to just rip it apart a little more. He was scared to move, but he could hear the bed creaking. It wasn’t exactly made to host a fully grown bear plus his mate, even if Sebastian was in human form.

Pages or Words: 37,854 words

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Contest:  Enter to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Use the Rafflecopter code provided by Pride Promotions below to enter and for all additional contest details.

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Tour Dates: March 2, 2015

Tour Stops:

Parker Williams, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Molly Lolly, Inked Rainbow Reads, Wicked Wolves and Dreaming Dragons, Bayou Book Junkie, For the Love of Bookends, Bike Book Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, 

Kimi-Chan, Fallen Angel Reviews, Cate Ashwood, My Fiction Nook, BFD Book Blog, My Fiction Nook, Velvet Panic