A MelanieM Review: Gavin & Morgan (Storming Love: Blizzard #5) by Nicole Dennis

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Gavin and Morgan coverDrained from forecasting both hurricanes and twisters, Gavin Larson, a meteorologist, accepts a request to become the head forecaster for a Philadelphia television station. He goes for a trial time during winter. A calm, quiet winter where he can recharge. Until he discovers a series of potential events ready to clash.

Taking over his family’s position, Morgan Rylee Whittaker III feels the pressure to follow their lofty attitude, he can’t stay hidden in the executive suites. He jumps into the chaos. Bumping into the meteorologist, Morgan feels a thump of arousal, but listens when Gavin locates a dangerous blizzard heading up the coast.

Together, they protect and prepare Philadelphia from the incoming nor’easter. They dance around the steady beat of attraction brewing between them as the storm rages.

Gavin & Morgan by Nicole Dennis brings up the end (for me) of MLR’s Storming Love: Blizzard collection and it’s fitting that it goes out with a romance between a meteorologist and the owner of a tv station during the blizzard of the century.  Gavin Larson is an intense, “owned by his job” man.  His passion is the weather but that passion has taken him into jobs such as hurricane and then tornado forecasting that has left him burned out.  The offer of a job at a station in Philadelphia holds out the promise of less meteorological drama and some much needed down time.  After all, says his old college friend that hires him, nothing huge ever happens weather wise in Philly.  Of course, Mother Nature and a Polar Vortex have other ideas.

Also trying out a new position is Morgan Rylee Whittaker III, stepping into the manager shoes at his family media company.  When he meets Gavin, its due to the fact that Gavin sees unstable and dangerous fronts forming and wants to start alerting the community around him that a huge  snow storm is headed their way.  It doesn’t help that newcomer Gavin is the only meteorologist with this forecast or that the “on camera” old school weatherman refuses to use Gavin’s forecasts.  It’s a clash of  old established ways of doing business against the new “youngsters” at the station, even if one happens to be the son of the owner.

It’s a great storyline and one I enjoyed immensely.  Dennis makes her characters and their passions for their jobs believable and grounded in authenticity of the forecasts heard nightly on the weather forecasts.  The weather patterns and the buildup, from equipment to the various fronts forming to build the “storm of the century” felt plausible and real.  The same goes for the attraction building at the same time between the men during this stressful time.    I liked that this is no instant love sort of story, more instant attraction and respect that might grow into something larger and deeper down the line.

In fact, Gavin and Morgan could easily have been written as a much larger story.  The men and their backgrounds were not only complicated and interesting but the present position that each found themselves in could have been made more layered by adding the background that was only hinted at.  I wanted to know more about Gavin’s past stressful jobs and the life style that brought him to Philadelphia.  Same goes for Morgan and his strained relationship with his father.

The clash of personalities of the station was also well done as was the “wear and tear” of a 24 to 48 hour non-stop working situation during a “storm of a lifetime” broadcast.  That aspect of the story was fleshed out beautifully and felt as real as any other element here.

What hurt the story?  The editing and incorrect word choices not caught by either the author or editor.  At one point in the story, Gavin is said to be ” the finest meteorologist and one of the most facetious  researchers” in the country.  Uh, no.  Facetious would be if he  “treated serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor” or was flippant about his job.  That is the opposite of Gavin. Further along, poor Gavin got the brunt of even more malapropisms when it talks about his calm “facade” when I suppose the author meant demeanor or mien.  Façade which is actually the spelling Dennis used means ” outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality”, definitely not what the author intended.  I think Dennis wanted to get across that Gavin had a strong, calm presence in front of the camera in face of this dangerous storm.  But that’s not what she said. Oh, for a Funk and Wagnalls.  These inappropriate word choices had pulled me straight out of the story because I was so dumbfounded that the errors had not been caught before publication.   There’s more but I think I made the point needed.  Poor editing hurts a story, it stops the flow of the narrative and makes the reader start concentrating on structural elements rather than the plot.  This should have rated a 4 star or higher rating.  But the inaccuracies and inconsistent editing pulled it down.

I liked this story, and thought the major elements were well crafted.  Perhaps I’m too picky and the things that bothered me about the story aren’t as important to you.  Pick it up and decide for yourself.  For me, its spring and I’m looking forward to flowers, and higher temperatures while putting the snow, Polar Vortexes, and all things similar away for another season.  If you find yourself missing the cold, and snow and ice of the past months, pick up any of the six stories that form the Storming Love: Blizzard collection.  There you will find a story sure to bring those months and romance alive once more.

Cover art by Kris Jacen.  A simple cover that serves to brand the series as a collection.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 81 pages
Published February 22nd 2015 by ManLove Romance Press
ASINB00TXELCB0
edition languageEnglish
seriesStorming Love: Blizzard

Stories in the Storming Love: Blizzard Collection are:

A BJ Review: A King’s Ransom by Lia Black

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Rating:   4.25 stars out of 5

A King's Ransome cover

Kaidos Vailinn is a Wander-born thief trying hard to overcome an unfortunate past when he’s approached by a gentleman offering him a large sum of money to recover a kidnapped prostitute for return to the King of a distant kingdom. Kaidos is surprised when he undertakes the mission and discovers upon trying to bed Veyl that not only is the prostitute in question the highest paid companion in the brothel, but also very much male.

Thus begins a journey of epic fantasy proportions. A King’s Ransom is a longish book separated into two parts. Part One was awesome—I adored it. Veyl and Kaidos are sexy, quirky well-developed characters that captivated me and had me thoroughly invested almost immediately. I was absolutely riveted watching them fall in love on their journey across the kingdom to an unknown end. As their pasts are revealed in all its delicious angst, they had me enthralled. Then about midway through came part two and everything changed.

At that point, the book shifted from a tightly focused love story to a sprawling Lord of the Rings style epic set within a complex world of elves, werecreatures, mages and demons in a kingdom of political intrigue. The storyline complexity bumped up to encompassed three m/m love stories, and to facilitate that there are several new POV characters introduced. None of them were bad, in fact, all were interesting and well-drawn. But I’d become so completely invested in Veyl and Kaidos, that this shift threw me.

The entire book is well-written with compelling characters, wonderful storytelling and world-building. Part two just wasn’t the story that I personally craved after having become engrossed in part one. Having the main couple separated for nearly the whole second part of the book had me itching to hurrying through all the other fun stuff going on in order to get back to the relationship of Veyl and Kaidos again. In the end, the brief time on-page after they were reunited left me wanting just a bit more.

Veyl and Kaidos are an awesome couple. I enjoyed them so much that my only niggle with this book centers around my annoyance at having them share the spotlight with any other couples no matter how interesting and fun they were.

Cover Artist: Cinchbug. I appreciated the cover more after reading the story than before.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 432 pages
Published February 1st 2014 by Smashwords
original titleA King’s Ransom
ISBN139781311782328
edition languageEnglish

A Sammy Review: Slasherazzi by Daniel A. Kaine

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Slasherazzi coverAlex Beckman, newly promoted to detective, already has the case of his career, no, his life. The serial killer dubbed Slasherazzi is like nothing anyone’s seen before. With each murder, the killer is getting more and more daring. At first, the bodies were found his slashes all done postmortem, but now the killer is torturing them first, and takes it even a step further when he picks high-risk targets.

It seems nothing can be done to catch him. He’s too careful, too precise. To top off the theme of failure seeming to seep into Alex’s life, he’s also maybe-somewhat back on with his on-again off-again boyfriend, Vincent Fairfield, a journalist who got his first big break by breaking Alex’s trust.

With the bodies piling up and suspicion brewing, there’s no telling who the killer may be, or where he’ll strike next.

Hello, mind fuck, how are you today? Good, that’s great. Me too.

I had hunches along the way and they often went back and forth. It’s this person, no it’s this person, oh man, what if it is that person. This story got me so twisted with theories and when it finally revealed the truth, I felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks.

First of all, I have to commend Mr. Kaine on his delivery of the reveal. I’ve never seen anything like it, and it was the most perfect way to do it. I was speechless and actually had to reread that particular part a few times. My first thought was “He’s jerking my chain, right?” Nope, no chain being jerked by Mr. Kaine. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

I was literally at 92% and still had no idea what was going to happen, so when it did, yep. Stunned. I’m still cruising on that misty dafuq feeling. I feel like I’m floating, or maybe I just lost my brain for a bit.

Okay, so, the rest of the story. It was good too. I’ve never made it a mystery that I love all things dark and delirious. This hit all those buttons, and then some. As an editor or beta reader, I’ve always encouraged authors to push more, just a little more, reach that much more. Well, I think that this author reached that far and then reached some more. He truly exposed some of the most raw, fucked up imaginations I’ve read in a long time, and I ate it up. Completely, totally, ate it up. If you’ve read the book, that will probably make you throw up in your mouth a bit, but so be it.

This story is not for someone who can’t handle explicit details of mutilation and torture. When I say that, I don’t mean the kind of torture we read in BDSM. This torture is so twisted and depraved, it left even me speechless.

So, Mr. Kaine, may I have a ticket to the darkest parts of your mind? I think I rather like it there. Until then, I think I may have to reread this with new eyes.

The cover art by Wilde City Press fits the story nearly perfectly. The only exception is that I wish the knife had been made of a different material (as to resemble a certain weapon in the story). All in all, though, it represents the story quite well.

Sales Links:   Wilde City Press       Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 189 pages
Published June 11th 2014 by Wilde City Press
ISBN139781925180152
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.danielakaine.com
settingTampa, Florida (United States)

A Mika Review: Defined by Deceit by A.E. Via

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Defined by Deceit coverLife isn’t always fair, and that’s something that Llewellyn Gardner knows about first hand. His life was on the fast track until one night of extreme passion changed everything. Now eight years later, he’s still living with the aftershocks of that night. Everywhere he turns or runs, there’s another reminder. What the hell do you do when you try to drown your demons only to find out they can swim?

Shane Smith, Jr. owner of Smith Construction, could see the emotional turmoil within his new employee — it’s why he hired him. There was something about the gorgeous, misunderstood man with the overly expressive eyes that came to their small town with a past no one was willing to overlook. Shane could see the good in Llewellyn, and those eyes of his were a clear window to his soul. Shane wasn’t going to let the man live a future of solitude because his past had been plagued with deceit.

Llewellyn wasn’t sure what to think about Shane. After years of protecting himself from being tricked twice, he was now faced with worry again. What would happen to him if Shane didn’t believe his truth, and walked away? Llewellyn wasn’t sure he’d be able to survive being left alone. Again.

I’m shocked and in awe of this book. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t read this author for her writing skills or plots at all. I strictly went into reading this book because she writes good SMUT. OMG, Tamika, be still with your tongue until you know next time. She has surprised me, with emotions that I haven’t gotten out of her yet. Man the first 50% of this story had me in constant tears. I literally wanted to go to inbred, backwoods Virginia (Just my personal opinion, excuse me if this isn’t you =) ) and rip a new hole in Moss the sixth! I literally wanted to destroy him with everything I had in me. After my initial shock and treatment of Llewellyn I wanted to try to see where this was going to go.

I can’t really say much without giving up the plot. A.E. Via,  if you are reading this please write a book for Ace & Big Waldo!!! Please, I’m begging you. Back to the story, Llew has to get his life together and it’s not easy. I couldn’t imagine being in his shoes. It was so heartbreaking what he went through, but he is a survivor. One thing that surprised me was when he was confronted with his past. He let it go, and his reasoning made sense. Whereas I wanted what Shane wanted, revenge, anger and everything else, but that didn’t matter because Llew is an awesome guy.

Let’s talk about Shane Smith Jr, he gave a guy a chance when the entire world turned his back on him. Shane’s spirit was just a breath of fresh air. Honestly I didn’t think he had a mean bone in his body but he definitely isn’t a pushover. I liked how the relationship between the two progressed. I absolutely loved the scene between Big Daddy and Shane. Their relationship made sense in a way, which I would like to see in more m/m books with the southern states as the setting. The supporting cast was good. Leslie is a great brother; Ms. Pat was good as well. I really am impressed with this book, and can’t wait to see if we get a follow-up!

. Cover Art by.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 300 pages
Published March 26th 2015 by Via Star Wings Publishing
original titleDefined By Deceit
ISBN139780990608981
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.authoraevia.com/new-release

 

In the Spotlight: Falling (Fall or Break #1) by Barbara Elsborg (author interview and contest)

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STRW In The Spotlight Header

Falling (Fall or Break #1) by Barbara Elsborg
Samhain Publishing

Falling cover

Author Barbara Elsborg is here today to talk about her book, Falling, and the Fall or Break series.  Check out our interview below and the book details  that follow.

Contest: Enter to win a eBook from Barbara Elsborg’s library.  Leave a comment below, along with an email address where you can be contacted.  And also click on the Rafflecopter link below as well.  Contest ends midnight, April 21st (2 weeks from today):
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

An Interview with Barbara Elsborg on “Falling”….

1. What prompted you to write Falling?

I hate the idea of someone being put in prison for something they didn’t do. I hate the idea of someone being accused of something they didn’t do! It made me think how awful it must be to be in prison and be constantly encouraged to admit your guilt and how hard it must be to stand against that pressure. It used to be the case that if you didn’t admit your guilt you spent more of your sentence behind bars. That’s not really true now BUT since a parole board has to agree to your early release, if you haven’t accepted your guilt it can be a reason to deny you the chance of life outside on license. I had to do a lot of research to check I had my facts right!

2. Where do you draw your inspiration?

Everywhere. Things I’m told, things I read or see. An addiction to Google! Another inspiration for Falling was when a friend told me of a young man she knew who was a teacher in Scotland – accused of abuse by a pupil. He was innocent. The accusation was withdrawn but the damage was done and he left teaching. I think in these days of political correctness, you have to be so careful what you say and do and in a way, it’s a shame. We need a better balance.

3. Falling is the first in the Fall or Break series. Will you continue with the couple in Falling or will each subsequent book feature a different set of MCs?

The next book Breaking – features Conrad – a minor character out of Falling. It’s a stand alone book but it does help to know who Conrad used to be with. Malachi and Harper have a little part in Breaking – out in July. I prefer writing books that tell the story of one couple, and end it rather than let it run to several books.

4. Or will the series chart the progression of the relationship?

So no – LOL – the series will be about different MCs!

5. Were you a prolific reader as a child?

Huge reader. I used to be trouble with the local library because I took books back to change them for new ones before they’d filed the cards for the ones I’d taken out. (that dates me!) I read very fast. 80 pages in 30 minutes of a paperback – often even quicker. I also read up to 3 books at the same time – not actually at the same time but I have 3 by the side of the bed now, all part read, plus the one on my Kindle. I read according to mood! I’m not always in the mood for romance. I like suspense and thrillers.

6. If so, what book or author made a impact on you as a child reader?

That’s really hard. I think I might pick the Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. I loved the idea of another land up a tree!I was scared of heights though so I never climbed trees.

7. And has that impact continued into adulthood, as a reader and writer?

No. Enid Blyton was of her time. Some stories like the Magic Faraway Tree can be read now, but the others are dated. I didn’t have a favourite author. I just read anything. Once I was in my teens I was addicted to James Bond books. Then I branched out to the classics. There aren’t many genres I won’t try. The one I have the most difficulties with is hard core sci fi. It’s too technical for me.

8. Who do you consider your influences as an author today?

Impossible to say. I’ve read so much and loved so much- Adele Parks, Jennifer Crusie, Fiona Walker, Freya North – but I love thriller and suspense writers like Mark Billingham, Tom Wood, Karin Slaughter, Harlan Coben, Mo Hayder – so many. I also love regency romances – Eloisa James, Mary Balogh, Julia Quinn… too many to mention. I think any good author that you read has to have some influence if only to encourage you to write better.

9. What drives you to write? And have you always written?

What drives me? The love of telling a story, the need for a happy ending, a belief in love, an interest in what makes people tick. I have always written. I started with fan fiction as a teenager for TV shows and wrote my first novel in my early twenties. I found writing was a way to escape a not very happy time at school. I could dive into my own world, make myself the heroine and give myself a HEA.

10. What’s next for Barbara Elsborg?
I have an MM called The Demon You Know out in April. An MMF called Talking Trouble out in May. Breaking out in July and I’ve just finished writing an MM tentatively called Give Yourself Away. It’s going to be a year of many releases!! But on a personal note, I’m going to be at RT in Dallas if anyone would like to meet me!

STRW Author BookSynopsis

About Falling…

Falling is easy. Landing without breaking your heart? Impossible.

Harper is no longer behind bars, but it doesn’t feel like it. Ten years serving time for a crime he didn’t commit have left him shut down, numb, and a frozen wreck over the simplest of choices.

He’s acutely aware of the dark-haired young man checking him out in the supermarket, but he’s too deep in panic mode to even meet the guy’s gaze. Afraid the slightest move will trigger a fall that will never stop.

Fresh off a long-term relationship with a controlling man, Malachi is stuck living with relatives who think he’s a waste of oxygen. The tall guy in the long, gray coat is the first bright spot he’s glimpsed in a long time…though the man’s unblinking stare at a bottle of shower gel is a touch alarming.

Hard experience tells both of them to turn away before lust turns to hopeless attraction, and inevitably to disaster. But once their sparks connect, the arc of electricity is too strong to deny. Even if the cost is too much to bear.

Warning: Contains an ex-con with disaster written all over him, a boy toy who’s trouble with a capital T, a damp old British house, compulsive meddling, and enough hot sex to cure the severe case of nervous babbling.  Read an excerpt here at Samhain.

Sales Links:  Samhain Publishing           Amazon       Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 282 pages
Published March 24th 2015 by Samhain Publishing
original titleFalling,ASINB00Q33IKYG
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.barbaraelsborg.com/book/falling/
seriesFall or Break #1

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About Barbara Elsborg:

Barbara Elsborg lives in West Yorkshire in the north of England. She always wanted to be a spy, but having confessed to everyone without them even resorting to torture, she decided it was not for her. Vulcanology scorched her feet. A morbid fear of sharks put paid to marine biology. So instead, she spent several years successfully selling cyanide.

After dragging up two rotten, ungrateful children and frustrating her sexy, devoted, wonderful husband (who can now stop twisting her arm) she finally has time to conduct an affair with an electrifying plugged-in male, her laptop.

Her books feature quirky heroines and bad boys, and she hopes they are as much fun to read as they are to write.

Contact/follow Barbara at her blog/website:  http://www.barbaraelsborg.com/