A MelanieM Review: Death by Dragon by Madeleine Ribbon

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Death by Dragon coverSince his mother died, the victim of an attack by a powerful vampire, Rafael “Fell” Harwick, has been living, no hiding, in his cabin deep in the woods.  A half incubus and witch, Fell is considered a hybrid that other supernaturals avoid, either because of his incubus half or the fact that he’s a witch.  Fell only goes into town when he needs to feed and that is infrequent because Fell hates feeling like a whore who needs the sex act to exist. Fell also doesn’t want to draw attention to himself and his location.  Then a trio of shifters is pursued by humans to his doorstep and his world changes forever.

Humans aren’t supposed to know about supernaturals yet three shifters are being shot at and grievously wounded by a group of human hunters.  Someone has broken the Silence and there will be hell to pay from the Immortal Council and their Keepers of Silence who enforce their laws.  Despite Fell’s determination to remain hidden and apart, he goes to the aid of the shifters and uses his magic to help them.

Now revealed, Fell is pulled into a supernatural resistance group trying to bring down the very vampire who killed his mother and who wants him in his power.   But acceptance is hard to come by as one of the shifters hates incubus and the other is a emotional mess. And even their leader doesn’t trust Fell because he’s a witch.  Despite everything Fell is determined to go on…until one last piece of knowledge is revealed.  One of the people Fell is helping will also be the one that kills him.  What’s a half incubus and witch to do?

Death by Dragon by Madeleine Ribbon is the third book I have read by this author and it’s the best yet!  Ribbon’s world building is marvelous and sets the foundation for the numerous clashes and supernatural relationships to come.  Supernaturals and  Immortals exist along side an unaware human population, divided by stringent laws that make it very clear that humans are not to know that the others exist.  Those who break the “Silence” as the law is called, are hunted down by the Keepers of Silence, something to be avoided at all costs.  Yet someone has broken or is bending the law as much as possible in order to obtain as much power and gain as he can.  Already the tension is high between all the characters within the story.  They can be found on all sides of the magical partition and even often straddle the boundaries laid out between various supernatural factions and families.

Caught in the middle while doing his best to remain invisible is Fell Harwick.  Isolated by his circumstances and orphaned by violence and need, Fell is that character whose vulnerability and appeal immediately draws in the readers.  We fear for the precarious situation he finds himself in and love his strength and determination that spills out even when fear and pain overwhelms him.  Fell is a marvelously endearing character and I loved him and hated what was to come.  And there is a ton of bad stuff ahead. As Fell is also part seer he knows (although the readers keep hoping not) that he will be unable to avoid the path already laid out for him.    Ribbon takes this slight, angst filled young man and turns him into someone truly heroic by the end of the story by way of  ordeals he endures and the travail that follow.

Just as there are layers upon layers to Fell’s character, the same hold true for the two shifters he saves, Jett and Theodore, members of the local resistance group.  Opposite from each other in every way, from physique to emotional stability, they even differ on how they interact and accept Fell  and Fell’s true nature.  Truth be told I never liked Theodore much, understood him yes, liked him no.  But Jett?  There’s a character I adored, even when I wanted to throttle him for his stubbornness and rigidity.  Ribbon has a whole slew of characters here to act as support for her plot and main characters, some are fully fleshed out, others disappear and you won’t miss them.   But those characters that stick in your head, like Corran does, are ones that you will want more of at the end of the story.

Madeleine Ribbon keeps building various Venn diagrams within her layered plot, groups set apart by their nature, groups set apart by their political aspirations and schemes for power, groups set apart by family and groups set apart by relationships. Then Ribbon builds in stress, horror,  pain, and suspense where each overlaps the other(s).  There will be murder most foul, and even scenes that border on torture. Love, longing, and hot sexy scenes as well to offset the horror that arrives on its heels. Yes, my stomach did a flip flop or three in various places in this  novel.  I’m betting yours will too.  Why?  Because these beings become real and the readers, myself included, will find themselves full invested in each characters current circumstance (usually beyond precarious) and in agony over their futures, including if they are to have any at all.  That Fell knows who will kill him is one of the overriding threads that will have you in tears.  Her descriptions and vivid imagery will haunt you  long after the story is done.  Trust me on this.

Only the ending left me wanting more.  More of the Keepers and more of what comes next for the characters involved.  It felt a little unfinished and I’m hoping that’s because the author has more in store for us and this universe that’s so captivating and addictive.

Not familiar with Madeleine Ribbon?  Death by Dragons is a wonderful place to begin your acquaintance.  Love romance and shifters?  Here is a terrific story for you!  And yes, here be Dragons, dark, fierce and utterly memorable.  I highly recommend this story to all.  Grab it up and start reading today.

Cover artist:Syneca Featherstone.  Not a fan of this cover.  There were so many wonderful elements to draw on and this is the one she choose?  Uh, no.

Sales Links:  Loose Id      All Romance (ARe)     Amazon     Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 283 pages
Published February 16th 2015 by Loose Id LLC
ASINB00TQ89CXI
edition languageEnglish

A Stella Review: He’s Just Knot That Into You by Nico Jaye

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

He's Just Knot That Into You coverWhen Tanner moves to Chicago for a new job, he experiences his First Shift, a revelation that signifies he’s met his mate since the last full moon. The only problem? He doesn’t know who it is. To find his mate, he enlists his new assistant Jon to arrange a series of dates, but each one turns out more disastrous than the last.

With the next full moon quickly approaching, Tanner finally determines the identity of his true mate. Unfortunately, Jon has since disappeared, and Tanner must now begin a new search. Is it really Jon’s family crisis pulling him away, or is Jon just not that into him?

Are you ready for a hot encounter between a lycan and mashed potato? LOL

Tanner is a thirty years old werewolf, he just moved to Chicago to work at The Dilarium, a small publishing company. He’s almost resigned to be alone, when he had the First Shift, meaning he has found his mate. He only needs to understand who he is.

Jon is his adorable assistant, the one with cute bowtie and tortoiseshell glasses. He is Tanner’s mate but the Lycan is not aware of him yet. Tanner has only twenty-nine days to find his mate. With Jon help, he set up some meetings with potential mates. While looking for a mate in a married man, a playboy one and a vegetarian one, Tanner will realize Jon is the only one to date.

He’s Just Knot That Into You is a very particular book, I never read about a shifter searching for his mate like that. It has a unique premise, with interesting new aspects on the shifters’ world. But what happened with the title? I love it and the “knot” part is assured with some steamy sex, but the “not that into you” part confuses me, the MCs are obviously into each other as soon as they knew they were mates.

I admit that the title and the cover caught my attention at first sight. I was so ready for a sweet and cute story and I wasn’t disappointed. Only one thing, I didn’t enjoy the ending. First, in my opinion there was no need for the final ending scenes, it is a light book, but most of all it left me with a lot of unanswered questions. It felt almost forced but it didn’t get enough pages. I think that space could have been easily used to develop and show us more of Tanner and Jon together. I wasn’t able to feel a connection between them yet. I’m hoping for a sequel and I’m wondering if there is a chance for a second story with some male pregnancy elements.

Cover art by Anna Sikorska. A really cute cover with an unusual use of the yellow color. Well done.

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

Book Details:

Published March 18th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ebook, 127 pages
ISBN13 9781632168238
Edition language English

A Paul B Review: For a Dragon’s Redemption (Highland Dragons #5) by Charlie Richards

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For A Dragon's Redemption coverWhen Chieftain Goth offers Ross McCord’s sister as a bride for an alliance with another clan, the shepherd must find a way to keep his family together. Will the sexy man he meets trying to fulfill the Chieftain’s alternative be able to help him out of his situation?

Ross McCord is a shepherd at the edge of Chieftain Goth’s territory. When summoned to the castle, Ross finds out that the Chieftain has promised his sister to a member of a neighboring clan to form an alliance between the two clans. Having promised his dying mother he would keep the family together, and knowing the fuss his sister would create, Ross asks the Chieftain if there was another way to help the clan, The Chieftain tells Ross that if he is able to find a way to get to the village where the wayward son is living, the betrothal would be called off and Ross’s duty to the clan fulfilled.

Ziethmann is a dragon of the warrior class. However, he tires of the constant drill that the warrior class must undertake to prepare for a future battle. As such he has a tendency to goof off or act up. As punishment for his misbehavior, Ziethmann is assigned additional tasks to help the dragon community. Returning home from one such task, Ziethmann spots a human trying to climb the cliffs to the dragon valley. Recognizing the human as an asda, or human who can mate with a dragon, he investigates.

Ross is attracted to the sexy redhead. Having never been with a man before, he finds that curious. After trying to lie about the reason he is trying to enter the dragon territory, Ziethmann convinces Ross to have some fun. After their encounter, Ziethmann once again asks what Ross is doing trying to get into the valley. Ross tells him about his sister and that he was sent to find the Chieftain’s son, who is another asda.

Things begin to get complicated when two young dragons show up to challenge Ziethmann’s right to Ross as an asda. To make matters worse, when Ziethmann goes to the elder council to get approval for his relationship with Ross, his grand-sire states that he is not worthy of an asda. While this is going on, Ross must make his way back to his clan to try to save his sister from an unwanted marriage and process the existence of dragons in this world. The two new lovers must resolve these challenges before they are able to make their happily ever after.

I enjoy Charlie Richard’s Highland Dragons series and this book is no exception. The dialogue is written partly in a brogue style to emphasize the fact that the series is set in medieval Scotland. The characters of Ross and Ziethmann seem to be perfectly tailored for each other. Ross is the consummate family man who will protect them no matter what. Ziethmann, while mischievous when getting bored about doing the same thing repeatedly, is nonetheless a man of honor who will protect his asda and those he loves. The meeting at the elder council provided something new for Ziethmann, which should alleviate the boredom he has experienced in the past.

This is the fifth book in the Highland Dragons series. As with most of Ms Richard’s series books, it can be read as a standalone but in order to get some of the back story it is best if you read the series in order.

The cover art by Angela Waters is gorgeous. In the foreground you see the muscular shepherd carrying his sword looking at the red dragon of Ziethmann in the background.

Sales Links:  eXtasy Press          Amazon     Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 76 pages
Published March 1st 2015 by eXtasy Books Inc
ISBN139781487402488
edition languageEnglish
seriesHighland Dragons #5
Series: Highland Dragons
For a Dragon’s Touch (Highland Dragons #1)
For a Dragon’s Protection (Highland Dragons #2)
For a Dragon’s Treasure (Highland Dragons #3)
For a Dragon’s Forgiveness (Highland Dragons #4)
For a Dragon’s Redemption (Highland Dragons # 5)
 

In the Spotlight: Whispers of Home by April Kelley (author interview and contest)

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STRW In The Spotlight Header

Whispers of Home by April Kelley

whispers of home

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words has April Kelley here today to talk about her latest release, Whispers of Home.  Check out our interview below as well as the excerpt and contest to enter.

Our April Kelley Q & A…

Q. Where did the inspiration for this book and series come from?

He’s going to kill me for this, but I’m telling it anyway. So my best friend was dating this cowboy type of guy. The cowboy was a really smooth talker and very handsome. He talked the pants right off my friend, literally. The cowboy dumped my friend and we hated him after that, but he was still hot enough to inspire me to write Travis. Plus, I had to give my friend a happy ending.

The series was inspired by a character in the book, Jackson. I wanted to give him a story too. His story will be one of the last ones I write.

Q.  What is the series to be called and how many books are planned?

The series is called Pickleville, named after the town. I’m planning 9 books in the series, although I may do an extra Halloween story maybe.

Q.  Will they focus on the same couple in each book or a new  couple/book?

Each book is focused on a new couple although Jaron and Travis visit us in each book.

Q.  Why Pickleville as the name for the town?  Is it real?

Some of this goes back the inspiration for the story, so bare with me here. I’m a little weird and probably make sense to very few people with my logic. Naming the town Pickleville is a prime example of this. So first, I had a dream about a girl and boy who were on a date at the movies. They were maybe sixteen years old and were clearly in love with each other. It was really dark by the time the boy walked the girl home. He kissed her good-night and started for home. On his way home a group of older boys in a car stopped him, dragging him in the car. They took him to an out of the way dirty road and beat him to death.

Needless to say it was a very sad, terrifying dream that stuck with me for a while.

So what does all this have to do with how I got the town where Jaron and Travis live?

About this same time my best friend was dating the cowboy type guy I mentioned earlier. And I mention that he was the inspiration for Travis. Jaron’s character came to me and I began to write. A little into the first few chapters I had to come up with a name for this town, except the name for the town had to be unique because initially Jaron hated being there and couldn’t wait to leave.

Then I remembered the dream and thought maybe the boy that died felt a lot like Jaron did about his town. Neither fit it very well. I wanted something completely ridiculous sounding as a punishment for the group of older boys that hurt the geeky kid.
And that was my weird, twisted logic for naming the town Pickleville.

As for whether Pickleville is real or not well, there may be a town called Pickleville somewhere in this world, although I don’t know for sure. The town in this series is a complete a figment of my imagination.

Q.  It sounds as though Whispers of Home is not strictly a romance but has hints of suspense and a murder mystery as well. Had you planned in those elements from the start?

My main goal for this story was just to tell the romance between Travis and Jaron. The mystery and suspense part, are just minor parts of the story and were something that just sort of came as I wrote.

Q.  Do you like to read in the genres you write in?

I’ve been reading the M/M romance genre for many years now, long before I actually started writing in the genre. I think reading in the genre you write in is essential for the growth of any writer including myself.

Q.  Do you work on one book at a time or several?

I’m usually a one at a time kind of girl.

Q.  What’s next for April Kelly?

After wrapping up Pickleville? I’m working on a new series now called Lakehouse Security. The inspiration for this series is my own little part of the world here next to Lake Michigan. This one has more action and mystery in it which is a challenge for me.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Author April Kelley:

Born and raised in Southwest Michigan, April lives with her husband and two kids. She has been an avid reader for several years. Writing her first story at the age of ten, the characters in her head still won’t stop telling their stories. If April isn’t reading or writing she can be found outside playing with a farm full of animals or taking a long walk in the woods.

Where to find the author:
If you wish to contact her please email mailto:authoraprilkelley@gmail.com.
You can also find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/april.ott.12?fref=ts

 

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Publisher: eXtasy Books
Cover Artist: Carmen Waters

Sales Links:   eXtasy Books     Amazon

STRW Author BookSynopsis

All Jaron McAllister wanted to do was get out of the small town where he grew up. After being bullied all his life for being gay, that’s exactly what he does. He loses all contact with everyone in the town of Pickleville, including his emotionally distant mother and the only true friend he ever had.

When his best friend and mother of the child they share, get murdered he knows he must ask for help in the one place he thought he would never go back to. Coming back home isn’t easy and finding himself attracted to the town man-slut spells disaster. Travis Heath isn’t at all what his reputation suggests though.
Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Jaron looked through the window of the diner from across the street. His mother’s hands gripped a mug, probably full of coffee. Jaron thought he was meeting Brian but apparently Brian had other plans. Brian always did think he knew best, the bastard. Jaron was fully aware his oldest friend had set this up, probably getting in touch with Gloria McAllister right after Jaron had called the first time, telling her when Jaron would be here. Brian had never understood that the relationship Jaron and Gloria had wasn’t like the relationship Brian had with his own father.

Looking at his mom through the glass was like watching a movie of her. He had never felt the connection with his mom that he thought he should, even as a small child. Maybe that had been his fault. That he wasn’t quite what she wanted in a son and therefore kept just enough distance to make it seem like miles. Which was why he was confused she had come instead of Brian.
When he was eighteen years old he had thought he left because of a burning desire to fit in somewhere, because he certainly hadn’t fit in very well in Pickleville. He needed that connection to another human being, that knowing he was so important to another human being they just couldn’t live without him. Ironically, it was a five year old boy he felt unconditionally connected too. Now that he knew the unconditional love a parent felt for their child, he wondered at his mother’s parental instincts.

He stood on the sidewalk in front of what used to be a place called the Hobbyist’s Dream but was now an Asian market. He noticed the place was empty when he had arrived but his back was turned now, his complete attention on the woman in the window. He thought the Asian place probably wouldn’t have lasted long back in the day. Who knows now? The diner was the only one in town, or was until they put in a McDonald’s by the highway. Jaron hadn’t realized that things in this town could change until the bus passed by the fast food restaurant. Somehow he expected everything to be the same, as if time would stand still just because he didn’t feel any different now that he was here.

Standing here, he felt that maybe he left to put the physical miles between himself and the only parent he had ever known. He had never fit in with her either.

He felt a tug on his hand and looked down at sweet blue eyes. This small boy was as dependent on the next few minutes and the woman in the window as he was. “I’m thirsty,”

Bobby said, around the thumb in his mouth.

“Me too. Let’s go.” Jaron stepped off the curb and onto the street, gripping onto Bobby’s hand just a little tighter, pausing for a car, and then continuing until he came within inches of his mother, the glass the only barrier now. She looked directly at him, showing more emotion in those few seconds than he had ever seen from her during his entire childhood. He looked away and walked through the door of the restaurant.

Pages or Words: 44,597 words

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Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Whispers of Home’. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Rafflecopter link and prizes provided by Pride Promotions.

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