A MelanieM Review: What’s in a Name? by Pat Henshaw

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

What's In A Name coverBarista Jimmy Patterson couldn’t be having a worse birthday.  After a night of watching his boyfriend hook up with other men,  Jimmy decides to get rip-roaring drunk. When the hot, bearish owner of Stonewall’s Saloon comes to his rescue and takes him home, the night starts to look up.

The day after brings sobriety and more kindness on the part of the bar owner, a man who has befriended Jimmy but whose name still remains a mystery.  Why?  Because every time Jimmy sees him at the bar, the man is wearing a tag with a different name.

After dumping his boyfriend and moving out, again with the help of the nameless bar owner, Jimmy wants nothing more than to find out the name of the man is he growing so very fond of .   “Guy” Stone (a combination name Jimmy gives him) gives Jimmy seven guesses, one for each night he takes Jimmy out on a date.

But the happy guessing game is interrupted by a series of crimes, aimed both at Jimmy and “Guy”.  Are these hates crimes by business owners trying to drive away the “gays” or is it something personal?  It will take both of them to get at the answer and final their own future in the bargain.

What an enjoyable story!  From the characters to the plot, what Pat Henshaw crams into 90 pages is a wonder!  Honestly, I wasn’t sure about the plot, a guessing game of identities between two adult men?  But within the context of the story and given the history between the men, it works on every level.

What at first glance seems another case of “instalove” is indeed something more.  Why?  Because although Jimmy and “Guy” jump into bed immediately (after Jimmy sobers up), we find out that Jimmy has been frequenting this bar for over a year and during that time, the two men have slowly become friends, laying the groundwork for the relationship that develops.  That aspect of this story totally disarmed me as did the endearing characters at the center of this story.

Take Jimmy for example.  His real name?  King James Patterson, so who wouldn’t go by Jimmy?  He co owns a local coffee shop about to expand in another location and his co owner, Felicity, is a wonderfully realized secondary and female character who adds  balance to Jimmy and helps show his character is a different, more responsible light.  While his love life may be in tatters, his business is doing great as is his friendships.  Jimmy is adorable, relatable, and easy to fall in love with.

Which brings us to “Guy” Stone, owner of Stonewall’s (no, not that one) out in the Sierra foothills, a place that the LGBTQ community flocked to when San Francisco got too expensive (read the author’s note, its wonderful).  Stone is a nickname he picked up in high school.  “Guy” is an appellation given to him by Jimmy who has to call him something while trying to guess his true name.  One that is probably just as embarrassing as Jimmy’s.  The delightful surprise that awaits Jimmy and the readers at the end is giggle worthy.  But back to Guy.  He’s a large, looming bear of a man whose manners, intelligence, and multifaceted personality draws both Jimmy and the readers in.  We buy into the relationship because we have embraced the characters.  Win win as they say.

The author incorporates major vandalism to both mens establishments and a minor mystery to solve.  I have to admit the mystery is not that difficult to figure out.  However, I did love the secondary plot threads that came  into play here and wished the author had embellished that aspect of this story more and left the true criminal out of the picture all together.  But that’s just me.   What else did I wish for?  More than just 90 pages.   These characters, their settings and secondary characters could easily have slid into a novel-sized story and I would love to see them back again.

Whether that happens or not, I recommend What’s in a Name? by Pat Henshaw for all lovers of romance and bears in love.  Its quirky, fun, and a quick read.  Now I need to see what else Pat Henshaw has written, as these characters and their romance has me hooked.

Cover art by Angsty D. Love, love that cover,  just perfection all the way around.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 90 pages
Published January 21st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original titleWhat’s in a Name?
ISBN139781632163998
edition languageEnglish

A Sammy Review: Falling (Fall or Break #1) by Barbara Elsborg

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

“I’m well aware I should just accept the things I can’t change. I know the mantra—live one day at a time, enjoy one moment at a time, accept hardships as the way to peace, accept the world for what it is. But I don’t believe in God.”

“You don’t need to believe in God, you need to believe in yourself. There’s another line in the Serenity Prayer about having the courage to change things that you can. It’s not just about acceptance.” Malachi inched his fingers closer. “Start the rest of your life right now.”

Falling coverNeither Malachi nor Harper have necessarily had it easy. Life, for each of them, is a series of missteps and stumbles. Ten years ago, Harper managed to not only stumble, but crash. Convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and serving time that wasn’t his to serve, the world outside looks to be a jaded place, not an easy release from the literal and figurative bars he’d been living behind for years.

Malachi, on the other hand, has escaped a prison of his own. Out of a long-term relationship defined by control, he’s lost his job and is left with no money. He has a roof over his head, but even that is suffocating.

One happenstance meeting doesn’t bring them together, but a second one does. Their connection is instant and strong, but is it strong enough to withstand a world so stacked against them and a guilty conviction that is burned within Harper’s skin?

He’d spent so many years swamped by waves of bleakness that he’d grown to accept them as part of him. He’d been in a prison of his own making as a boy, and barely escaped it as a man before he’d lost his freedom again. The only thing imprisoning him now was the past. It was up to him to put it behind him and let the man in his arms be his future.

I’m a picky reader at times, but I can honestly say that from the very start, this book had me and it never let me go, not once. I had to take a long break in reading, and when I came back, it hadn’t let up at all. I was captivated and enticed and I loved every second of it.

The novel itself isn’t a light, fun story. It has a lot of heavy subject matter that doesn’t quite sit right in the pit of your stomach, and that’s part of what I liked so much about it. The author put the characters in places others would be too afraid to. She made both characters wrecked but able to stand. They weren’t weak, they were damaged and beautiful.

It’s funny, though, because this is one of the first books I’ve read, at least in a long time, where there was laughter during sex, and I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed that until here. It was as if their intimate connection and the release that came with it was truly an escape from the shadows surrounding them. I truly enjoyed it. Not to mention each scene was steamy and lovely and though there were plenty, I never got bored of them.

The mystery element of this was also pretty good. Typically I figure it out within the first fifty percent, and then I spend the rest of the book just waiting for the characters to open their eyes. In this one, I found out about the same time the characters did. I had an inkling, but I had many of those, so it was nice to still be waiting toward the end, as opposed to having a “well now you get it” moment.

I also have to say that it takes a special author to take a character, build them to be disliked, and then make you feel for them, to the point where you want them to have their own story. This is how I am with Conrad. I want to read his story, I want to learn to feel with him.

This story has many good points, and it has left me ready to seek out more by this author.

I enjoy the cover art by Kanaxa. I think the dark shade of it fits the mood of the story and I appreciate the use of texture. What I’m not so sure of is the choice of fonts. For the title, I get that the L’s are meant to simulate the act of falling, but instead all I can think of is the symbols for the world trade centers. Whoops.

Sales Links:  Samhain Publishing      Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 335 pages
Expected publication: March 24th 2015 by Samhain Publishing
original titleFalling, available for preorder prior to 3/24
ASINB00Q33IKYG
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.barbaraelsborg.com/book/falling/
seriesFall or Break #1

Jump Into the Supernatural with N. R. Walker’s Cronin’s Key (excerpt and contest)

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Cronin’s Key by N. R. Walker
Release Date: March 13, 2015
Goodreads Link 

Is N. R. Walker an automatic buy for you?  She is for us here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  We are so pleased to showcase N. R. Walker’s lastest release, Cronin’s Key, the first in a new supernatural series from this amazing author.  Check out the blurb, and excerpt below and don’t forget to enter the contest at the end! Enjoy!

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About Author N.R. Walker…

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance.  She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

Where to find the author:
Website: http://nrwalker.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003907957620
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.R.WalkerAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NR_Walker

Publisher: N.R. Walker
Cover Artist: Sara York

Sales Links:  Amazon

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STRW Author BookSynopsis

NYPD Detective Alec MacAidan has always been good with weird. After all, his life has been a string of the unexplainable. But when an injured man gives him cryptic clues, then turns to dust in front of him, Alec’s view on weird is changed forever.

Cronin, a vampire Elder, has spent the last thousand years waiting for Alec. He’d been told his fated one would be a man wielding a shield, but he didn’t expect him to be human, and he certainly didn’t expect that shield to be a police badge.

Both men, strong-willed and stubborn, are still learning how to cope with the push and pull of being fated, when fate throws them another curveball.

Rumors have spread quickly of turmoil in Egypt. Covens are fleeing with news of a vampire who has a talent like no other, hell-bent on unleashing the wrath of Death.

Alec and Cronin are thrown into a world of weird Alec cannot imagine. What he learned in school of ancient pharaohs and Egyptian gods was far from the truth. Instead, he finds out firsthand that history isn’t always what it seems.

Categories: M/M Romance, Paranormal

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

 

Alec patted his belly, which was now full of pizza and coffee. Then he thought of something. “When was the last time you fed?”

“Two days ago.”

“Is that too long?”

“I will need to feed soon, but it’s bearable.”

“What is not bearable?” Alec asked. “I’m just curious. I guess I should know these things. I mean, is it uncomfortable for you to be near me right now?”

“Of course not.”

“Is it a hunger, or a thirst? Does your throat burn until you feed, or what?” Alec asked out of pure curiosity.

“It is a hunger,” Cronin answered. “Though not like a human hunger. It affects the whole body, not just the stomach. The whole body craves it.”

Alec considered this. “I can see that, I guess.”

Cronin gave a smile. “You talk of such matter with ease. Does it not bother you?”

“Not as much as I thought it would,” Alec said. “I try not to think about the human loss of it, to be honest. Kinda like how I try not to think about the pigs that die to give us the amazing thing that is bacon.” Alec stared out the kitchen window for a while, looking over the city as he thought about what he just said. “I’m not sure when I stopped caring for human life… I’m a cop, I shouldn’t…” he shook his head. “I don’t know when that changed.”

“When you changed,” Cronin said softly. “When you met me.”

“I changed when I met you?”

Cronin nodded. “As I did when I met you.”

Oh. Alec paused. “Is that part of the fated thing? We change?”

“Yes. Fundamental changes to our psyche, to adapt to the needs of our significant other.”

“But I’m still me,” Alec said quietly.

Cronin gave him a small smile. “You will always be you. You just adopt certain tolerances.”

“So, normally if something pissed me off with someone, like something they did—like snoring! If they snored—I ‘d hate it, but if you snored, I wouldn’t care.”

“I don’t snore.”

“That wasn’t my point.”

Cronin chuckled. “Your point was correct, yes.”

“So what pisses you off in other people, but not in me?”

Cronin thought for a moment. “I don’t like being interrupted when I’m talking. It is frustrat-”

“Like that?” Alec said with a smile. “Like me interrupting you like that?”

Cronin huffed. “Yes, like that.”

Alec snorted. “But it still annoyed you.”

“It’s a work in progress.” Cronin let out a half-laugh, half-sigh. “It frustrates me far less with you than someone else, believe me.”

“Then I shall try my very hardest not to interrupt you ever again,” Alec said, with a smirk and flick of his eyebrow which meant he shall try his very hardest to interrupt Cronin every chance he got.

Cronin sighed. “I also find sarcasm rather tiresome.”

“Excellent.” Alec laughed and finished his breakfast and made himself another coffee.

Alec leaned against the kitchen counter with his second cup of coffee in his hand, and it was as though Cronin was waiting for him. He cleared his throat. “So, given the events of yesterday, I wondered whether you wished to continue our date? Considering it was cut short.”

Alec hid his slow-spreading smile behind his coffee cup. “I would love to, but I thought research might be in order, given the events of yesterday.”

“Research of what?”

Alec was stunned. Research of what? “Uh, everything we learned yesterday, none of which makes sense.”

“Jodis and Eiji are seeking out information as we speak.”

“I thought you said they were eating out?”

Cronin smiled. “They are doing both. They’ve gone to Egypt-”

“They’ve what?” Alec cried, interrupting him. “By themselves?”

“They’re safe,” Cronin told him. “They’re verifying the information Bes gave us yesterday. Though we’ve no reason to doubt him, I wanted to be sure.”

“You asked them to go?”

“Yes. I took them.”

“You what?”

“I was only gone for one second. The apartment is well alarmed, and you were sound asleep.”

Alec put his cup down and ran his hands through his hair. “And?”

“And they are searching out any other information we might use.”

Alec sighed. “And what about me?”

Cronin blinked. “I don’t know what you mean. What about you?”

Alec took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “I’m a detective. Figuring shit out is what I do. I research, I study, I figure shit out.”

“Alec, I cannot risk you being out there. Please understand, it’s not my wish to see you confined here, but until this risk is over-”

“I don’t need to leave here,” Alec replied. “As much as I’d like to.” He rolled his eyes. “But we have this thing now called the internet. I mean, it is only recent in your perspective of timelines, and I know you think Shakespeare is still classed as popular culture, but it is the twenty-first century.”

Cronin glared at him for just a moment. “I take back what I said before. I do believe that I detest sarcasm more than being interrupted.”

 

Excerpt: 
Pages or Words: 83,000 words

Tour Stops:

Parker Williams, Amanda C. Stone, MM Good Book Reviews, Bayou Book Junkie, Redz World, Molly Lolly, Cate Ashwood, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, SA McAuley, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Andrew Q. Gordon, My Fiction Nook, BFD Book Blog, 3 Chicks After Dark, Divine Magazine, Elin Gregory, Carly’s Book Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Love Bytes, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, The Blogger Girls, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Fallen Angel Reviews, Nephylim, It’s Raining Men, Michael Mandrake, Velvet Panic

 

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Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: Two copies of Cronin’s Key (2). Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Rafflecopter link and prizes provided by Pride Promotions.

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In the Spotlight: Release Day for One Snowy Night by Louise Lyons

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 One Snowy Night by Louise Lyons
Publisher:  Wayward Ink Publishing
Release Date:  March 13, 2015

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 Spring may almost be here but we are bringing all of you one more winter’s tale.  It’s Release Day for Louise Lyon’s One Snowy Night!  Check out the synopsis and excerpt below.

Title: One Snowy Night
Author: Louise Lyons
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing 

Sales Links:   Amazon US    Amazon UK       Amazon AU   WIP      All Romance (ARe)    B&N

 

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STRW Author BookSynopsis

About One Snowy Night….

Main character, Keith Brambles, is an up and coming British singer. He has had one disastrous first date after another, finding most men are only interested because of who he is. After yet another failed meeting, he sets off for home, driving too fast for the conditions. He loses control of his car in the snow and finds himself stranded – with no mobile phone signal and an outfit completely unsuitable for braving the freezing conditions.

Just as Keith has begun to think he’s destined to spend a night in his car, possibly suffering from hypothermia, a potential rescuer arrives, but Keith wonders whether he might have more to fear from the man, than the weather.

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

“You’re Kent Brambles,” his rescuer said; a statement rather than a question.

Shit. “Uh…yes. Keith, actually. Kent’s just my…um…my…”

“Stage name?” The man grinned, but then grimaced a little.

“Yeah. I’m guessing my…uh…my music isn’t your cup of tea,” Keith said nervously.

“I’m into my rock and roll.” He smiled again and extended a large hand. “Mike Talbot.”

Surprised, Keith swapped hands with the cup of coffee, and slid his small, frozen hand into Mike’s big warm one. Mike gripped it firmly and gave it a brief shake, then let go.

“So what are you doing out here, driving in these conditions?” Mike asked.

“I…um…I went to meet a friend in Lincoln. It wasn’t snowing when I set off,” Keith replied.

“A friend? You mean a date?”

“Yeah.”

“What’s he doing letting you drive home in this shit? Couldn’t you stay over?” Mike’s brows furrowed, and Keith’s eyes widened. Appearances certainly could be deceptive. White Van Man, big, bearded, and apparently tattooed, didn’t seem to care that Keith was gay. Keith silently reprimanded himself for stereotyping his rescuer.

“Well…he…um…” He paused and shrugged. “It was a first date. He was only interested because of who I am.”

“That must be a pain in the ass. Do you get that a lot?” asked Mike.

“More often than not.”

“Maybe you’re looking in the wrong place, or for the wrong type of guy. You should try one who’s not into your music, and you might have better luck.” Mike grinned and winked.

 

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About Louise Lyons

Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the Church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy. Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered Fan Fiction in her late twenties.

Posting stories based on some of her favorite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad Dobermann, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races into the house afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and joy, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

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Social media links
Website: http://louiselyonsauthor.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/louiselyonsauthor
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/louiselyons013

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