A MelanieM Review: A Cut & Run Series Review (Crash & Burn #9) by Abigail Roux

Standard

Cut & Run Series Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Crash & Burn coverBook Rating:  5 stars out of 5 for Crash & Burn (Cut & Run #9) by Abigail Roux

In 2008, two authors – Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux – introduced two  complicated and dangerous men to the M/M readers all over.  Little did they know what had been born that day with Cut & Run, the first of nine main stories, multiple side stories and a side series, Sidewinders.

Here is the blurb for that first novel:

A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case. Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He’s cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he’s paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it’s hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic cliche: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple. They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer. Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again – this time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer’s knife.”

 It was the first time that Ty Grady and Zane Garrett met and disliked each other immensely.  The glares flared, the snarkCut & Run cover flew, and the action accelerated the antagonism and attraction that sparked between them.  And the readers were hooked! Oh, man, were we hooked!  These guys were so dark, so complicated, so brilliant and charismatic that we had to have more.  Thank goodness, Abi and Madeleine were listening.

Already the comments were piling up and they all were sounding very similar:  “Love Ty, Love Zane, love the lines, the suspense, the action (oh, that action!)   And that was just book one.  Then came Sticks & StonesSticks & Stons cover followed by the amazing Fish & Chips (how I loved those titles).  Yes, just thinking about that book makes me run to start reading it all over again.  Ty and Zane masquerading as a gay couple on the high seas.  Here are a few lines from that memorable book:

Fish & Chips coverFish & Chips Quotes:

“When Ty was truly hot and bothered, it could be an amazing experience, like being mauled by a lion without the fuss of needing stitches after.”
― Abigail Roux, Fish & Chips

“Falling in love or just plain falling : they were both terrifying at any speed”
― Abigail Roux, Fish & Chips

Remembering now?  It was also the first time the L word was mentioned.  What a wild emotional journey that story was! A true leap to love and promise, however temporarily acknowledged, for them both.  This story was memorable for so many reasons and elements.  A large gem in a box full of diamonds.

From there we and Ty and Zane tried to move forward, always an iffy proposition with these two.  Nothing is every easy…its guns, and shootouts and physical trauma to go along with the emotional high stakes that kept pulling us in deeper and deeper.

Divide & Conquer coverThere was  Divide & Conquer (Cut & Run, #4)  which traumatized the heck out of me and kept me clued to the page through every heartbreaking scene.  This was Zane as we have never scene him before and hoped we never would again.  The fear for Zane and Ty was palpable all the way through.  This was also the last book that Madeleine Urban cowrote.  Now Ty and Zane become all Abigail Roux’s and the transition was as smooth as it could be for these two.  Abigail Roux truly made both men her own.  And ours.

Favorite quote: “First time I saw you, after I got over hating you, I knew,” he said, echoing Ty’s words, “I knew I’d fall in love with you”

 Armed & Dangerous coverArmed & Dangerous (Cut & Run, #5)  One of my favorites (ok, they all are, but this is high on a high list).  Ty and Zane separated but brought back together for a case that involves Julian  Cross, an enigmatic assassin?agent?man about crime? Julian is a puzzle that will keep on giving (read Warriors Cross) right up to the end in Crash  & Burn.  Loved Julian!  But it was the development in Ty and Zane’s relationship that made this story sing and resonate so with the readers.  The barriers were breaking down along with our hearts.

Armed & Dangerous Quotes:

“What do you want, MacGuffin, a duel?”
“No.” Julian held out both hands, one palm flat, the other held over it in a fist. “Rock, paper, scissors. Two out of three.”
Ty rolled his eyes and held out his fist, apparently willing to play. Julian hit his palm three times, and Ty kept time with his fist in the air. But when Julian threw a paper, Ty reached into his jacket with his other hand and pulled his gun, aiming it at Julian.
“Ty!” Zane said in exasperation from the front seat.
“Glock, paper, scissors. I win.”
“You are an ass,” Julian muttered.”

“I love you” Ty said, the quiet words devoid of any self-consciousness of his usual bravado. ” And I’ve never been able to say that before with such conviction. I can’t remember a time when you weren’t the first thing I thought of, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I don’t care what stands in our way.” —that noise is me sobbing away

Dine & Dash coverDine & Dash (Cut & Run, #5.5) a cute, free short story is followed by one I consider another foundation stone for Ty and Zane because we travel first to West Virginia and a close look at the Grady clan and its convoluted dynamics and then to Texas for an entirely new perspective on the Garrett family and Zane’s  background.

Of course, I’m talking about…

???????????????????????????????????????Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run, #6).  We had the well deserved calm in their relationship before an emergency blows it all to hell.  We get a determined tiger on the run, a knife throwing game of oneupmanship and so much insight into both Ty and Zane that at times I felt like my heart was bleeding.  But no  that was still to come.  Quotes?  A gazillion of them here but I chose only a few:
Stars & Stripes Quotes:

“I love you,” Ty said out of the blue, his voice almost sing-song.
Zane laughed. “You’re drunk.”
“I loved you before I was drunk.”
― Abigail Roux, Stars & Stripes

“Had a gay bull I had to sell last year. That was a damn nuisance. Gay son? That don’t cost me nothing.”
― Abigail Roux, Stars & Stripes

“She told me to wait,that I was going to lose a finger.” Earl looked toward the kitchen and back at Ty and Duece. He snorted. “I asked her, did she think I was stupid? Then a couple of snips later, whack. Off went the finger. And you know what that woman said to me? I said ‘Mara you cut my finger off.’ And your mother said to me, ‘Well Earl who’s stupid now?”
― Abigail Roux, Stars & Stripes

Yes, I had to end on a laugh.  I love those Gradys no matter what, and that includes Chester and his shovel.

???????????????????????????????????????Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run, #7) brought the boys to New Orleans and confrontations with their past and each others part in it. Never before have I so wanted to hunt Abigail Roux into the ground.  This book just plain hurt.  I cried buckets of tears, wiped out several shelves of tissue boxes and still couldn’t let this story go.  The story was stunning, the reverberation deep, lethal, and perhaps unforgivable.  If this is not the finest story of the group, I don’t know what is.  The writing was remarkable but more indelibly was the impression it left on our hearts and Ty and Zane.

Just one quote because the tears will start flowing all over again.

Touch & Geaux Quote:

“You told me one time that . . . I was your compass. I gave you direction when you were lost,” Ty said, nearly choking on the words. He glanced up, eyes reflecting like liquid in the low light. “Well, you were my anchor. You were something solid for me to hold onto. I wanted you to remember that.”

 Just two more to go and we couldn’t believe that soon it would all be over.  How was Abigail Roux going to pull it all together? There was a mole at the FBI, Ty and Zane weren’t sure who they could trust, their relationship was getting deeper and decisions needed to be made. So of course, Deuce, Ty’s brother, decides to get married on an island off of mainland Scotland.  In a storm.  With murderers on the loose and the targets not defined.  The Sidewinders are present and the air ripe for physical violence, emotional trauma and unforgettable goings on.   It was a wedding, for cripes sake.  Didn’t they know better than to invite Ty and Zane?

???????????????????????????????????????Ball & Chain (Cut & Run, #8), as I said, takes place on a private island in Scotland where Deuce and his fiance, and their child, will be married.  Everyone is along for the celebration and ceremony, including many participants with their own agendas.  Here, a spectacular murder takes place, albeit one that I wished had happened much earlier.  Never liked that man.  Or trusted him.  Roux should have killed him twice.  Not all fans were as crazy about this book as they were others.  Too many  other relationships intruded into Ty and Zane’s in this, the penultimate story.  But really, I don’t see how Roux could have gotten around that factor.  She had one more book to bring it all to a head and other people and their relationships had to be included at this point to make sense of it all at the end.  This book gets much better when you have read Crash & Burn because it fits this story more easily into the whole then when read at first.

Ball & Chain Quotes (more of them because hey, its almost over):

“Zane hurried to catch up. “Wait, Ty, you want to do that with her with us?”

“She’s a year old. She won’t understand death and destruction for at least another year.”

“If we ever decide to adopt, you’re a mute in any interviews.”

“Understood.”
― Abigail Roux, Ball & Chain

“You’ve taken a lot of hits in the last few days, Ty. Let me take this last one for you.”

Ty stared at him, struck breathless, struck speechless. He snaked his arm around Zane’s neck and hugged him tight. He nodded, still unable to speak.”
― Abigail Roux, Ball & Chain

“Zane sighed. “I was so hoping this would be a normal vacation.”
Ty smacked him on the side of the head. “Don’t use bad words.”
― Abigail Roux, Ball & Chain

“You let me think I was being stalked by a ghost, you fuck nuts!”
― Abigail Roux, Ball & Chain

And here we are.  Book 9.  The official series finale, Crash & Burn.Crash & Burn cover  I sort of, really, absolutely hoped this day wouldn’t come but of course, it had to.    At some point Ty and Zane had to come to an ending, no matter how much we wished otherwise.  How was Abigail Roux to end the series?  Ty…oops tie  up all the loose ends?  And finally, make our guys and their relationship whole and as happy as it can get for these two.  And where are the kitties?  Ty needs his kitties.  Who didn’t cry with Smith & Wesson went home to Julian? Huh? Huh?  Nope, Ty needs a furball of his own because they don’t let people have tigers as pets in Baltimore.  I know this for a fact! So how did it all turn out?

Happily, wonderfully, totally satisfyingly kill those bad guys, kiss as though you will love each other forever again two thumbs up.  Or as much as it can be when I really don’t want to say goodbye.  So many people we have come to love over the nine books are present and accounted for. I will miss them too. We learn about the mole, (damn you!),  many  people die, some that you liked, Chester had a wild time with his shovel and, yes, there was another wedding much closer to home.  I wept more buckets, laughed a ton, and reminisced all the way through this story.  And I loved every word of it.

I know we reviewers try to remain objective but with Cut & Run, I just can’t. Ditto Crash & Burn.  Thank you, Abigail Roux for continuing on after Madeleine stopped writing and making Ty and Zane truly your own. For that’s how I think about them now. Thank you, Madeleine and Abigail, for two of the most loved characters out there. Ty and Zane?  What a great ride its been! It’s been eight wonderful, memorable years of love, sex, suspense and action.  What a saga and its one that will remain always high on my to be rec’d list and Best of Lists and Most Memorable Lists and whatever lists you can think of.  I’m betting its all that for you too.  The only thing I can hope for now?  Seeing them again in some of the other stories and hoping that all the books ended up published together in paperback so I can page through, over and over again and remember why I love them so.

So here it is.  The End.  And the final quotes, at least for this post.

Crash & Burn:
“You realize we’re looking at our future, right? Two of us in a retirement home, bitching about our catheters and heated blankets.”
― Abigail Roux, Crash & Burn

“Can I start calling you hubby?”
“Do it and die.”
“Snookums, then.”
― Abigail Roux, Crash & Burn

 and I’ll end it with this one, words that will send me running back to the very first story and start the ride all over again.

 
“- Some roads to love aren’t easy, and I’ve never been more thankful for being forced to fight for something. I started this journey with a partner I hated, and a man in the mirror I hated even more. The road took me from streets of New York to West Virginia, from the place I born to the place I found a home. It forced me to let go of my past and face my future. And I had to be made blind before I see. (…) I promise to love you until I die. (…) – I promise to never leave you alone in the dark, he whispered.”  
Abigail Roux, Crash & Burn

Here are the books in the order they were written and should be read and their sales links:

In Our Book Spotlight: 100 Days by Mimsy Hale (contest/author interview)

Standard

spotlight on books

100 Days by Mimsy Hale
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Goodreads Link

100Banner300x250

About Author Mimsy Hale

Mimsy Hale has been a contributing ghostwriter to several bestselling nonfiction books. She is also an established writer in online fan communities, where her stories have hundreds of thousands of reads. 100 Days is her first novel.  She lives in Suffolk, England, with her roommate and four cats.

Where to find the author:

http://www.mimsyhale.co.uk
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/themimsyhale
Twitter: @mimsyhale
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mimsyhale/

Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Front cover concept by Abbi Lawson
Cover design by Buckeyegrrl Designs

Sales Links:
IP Web Store: store.interludepress.com
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/100-Days-Mimsy-Hale/dp/1941530230#

100 Days Synopsis:SM100Days 900px COVER-Front-1

Jake and Aiden have been best friends—and nothing more—since the age of six.  Now 22-year-old college graduates, they take a road trip around the USA, visiting every state in 100 days.

As they start their cross-country odyssey, Jake and Aiden think they have their journey and their futures mapped out. But the road has a funny way of changing course.

Fifty states. Two boys. One love story.

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

Excerpt:

Because anything really could happen, couldn’t it? What if what happened in Philadelphia wasn’t a total mistake, but simply the prelude to Jake finally listening to what his instincts have been telling him for weeks? What if, what if, what if…

“What are you doing? Come see this!” Aiden calls out.

Jake takes a deep breath and steps out of the shadows. Aiden is silhouetted against the fading sun, the light picking out the auburn in his hair, and as he stretches his arms up over his head, one finger hooked through the woven bracelet he bought earlier, he grins out at the horizon. Jake feels as if he’s watching Aiden through brand new eyes; he knows that there is rescue in those arms. Suddenly he wants to fall into them and hold on until he feels safe.

Aiden turns away from the vista, pushes his sunglasses up on top of his head and looks down at Jake, his eyes sparkling with warmth and light. He leans forward and holds out his hand, and he looks… beautiful.

Pages or Words: 346 pages

Contest:  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Interlude Press gift card; Five multi-format eBook editions of 100 Days.

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
100BadgeTour Dates & Stops:

7-Apr

Kimi-Chan

Cathy Brockman Romances

Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves

The Hat Party

My Fiction Nook

8-Apr

3 Chicks After Dark

Bayou Book Junkie

Molly Lolly

9-Apr

Hearts on Fire

Cate Ashwood

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

Book Reviews and More by Kathy

10-Apr

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

Prism Book Alliance

13-Apr

Amanda C. Stone

Parker Williams

14-Apr

Carly’s Book Reviews

Velvet Panic

Inked Rainbow Reads

15-Apr

Boys on the Brink Reviews

Wake Up Your Wild Side

BFD Book Blog

16-Apr

Divine Magazine

Prism Book Alliance

17-Apr

The Blogger Girls

Love Bytes

20-Apr

MM Good Book Reviews

Rainbow Gold Reviews

Dawn’s Reading Nook

 

A Mika Review: Crash & Burn (Cut & Run #9) by Abigail Roux

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5 :

Crash & Burn coverIt’s been five years since Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett first worked together to solve the Tri-State murders, and time has been both harsh and kind. Engaged now, they face the challenge of planning a deeply uncertain future together. Zane is at the pinnacle of his career with one last mystery to solve, while Ty is at sea in a world where he’s no longer the tip of a spear.

There’s just one more hurdle in the way of their happy ever after: a traitor from their inner circle who threatens to burn their world to the ground.

Squeezed between the Vega cartel, an unknown mole, and too many alphabet agencies to count, Ty and Zane must gather all their strength and resources to beat the longest odds they’ve ever faced. To make it out alive, they’ll need help from every friend they’ve got. Even the friends who might betray their trust.

I love you, Ty & Zane, you both have opened up so many people’s eyes and hearts with your love for each other. I will never be able to talk about my m/m love without ever mentioning you guys!

 I’m so proud of myself for being able to read this without spoiling it for people. I basically updated my reading status and that’s it. I was a nervous wreck reading this book. I missed the email when I got home yesterday because I was watching Being Mary Jane and her antics. Then I decided to grab my kindle during the commercial break and holy S*&%$ it was there. I started reading straight through. I think I took one bathroom break, and grabbed a box of Kleenex.

I was worried how Abigail Roux was going to wrap up an entire series in one book. She did it. I was happy with everything that happened between these two. I laughed, cried, was on edge until that very end. Everyone knows I am absolutely Team Zane, but you can’t be Team Zane without being Team Ty as well, they just don’t work well without each other.

This book had some of the emotional scenes every throughout the entire series. I loved that she brought back the gang together, threw in some old faces, family and everything came full circle. There are some things that I am confused or don’t believe it should have happened, but it’s something I’m going to have to deal with. I don’t have the usual words of my loving reviews because this is fresh after sleep and I’m still sensitive to the acts involved in this book. I think everything flowed together. I want to write about my favorite scenes but I can’t without spoiling it. I’m just going to smile while thinking of them.

Do I wish down the line we can see the company man? Sure, I actually hope to see them sooner than later. I love the dedication, strength and love that Ty and Zane decided to dedicate to each other. Thank you two for sticking together for us. Thank you , Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux for bringing these two into the world.

Cover Art by L.C. Chase, One big explosion is definitely right. From page 1 to the very end it’s non stop with the twist and turns. I liked it. I would have preferred them as a couple but that’s hopeless wishing!

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

Book Details:

ebook, 419 pages
Published March 28th 2015 by Riptide Publishing (first published March 1st 2015)
original titleCrash & Burn
ISBN139781626492028
edition languageEnglish
seriesCut & Run #9
charactersTy Grady, Julian Cross, Preston, Nick O’Flaherty, Liam Bell

Want Some Zombie Love? Spotlight on My Zombie Boyfriend by T. Strange (excerpt and contest)

Standard

myzombieboyfriend1400
My Zombie Boyfriend by T. Strange

Goodreads Link
Release Date: April 15, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

New author T. Strange is here with her first book, My Zombie Boyfriend.  Check out the blurb and excerpt below and don’t forget to enter the contest at the end!

STRW Author BookSynopsis

 

About My Zombie Boyfriend

Edward Grey is a medical student by day, necromancer by night. He lives alone with the first zombie he ever raised, his childhood cat, Boo. Edward’s life is simple: studying medicine, training his necromantic powers with his mentor, Mariel, and having weekly dinners with his parents. When he finds a very attractive corpse in a park and brings it home to reanimate, he accidentally creates a sassy, free-willed zombie who believes Edward is the one who murdered him.

With no memory of his former life, Edward names the zombie Kit and tries to win his trust. Kit slowly adjusts to his new un-life with Edward’s help, though he’s still suspicious of Edward’s role in his death and is convinced that Edward is hiding his former identity. Edward is very attracted to Kit, but understands why Kit doesn’t trust him. As they become closer to one another, Kit turns to Edward for comfort and love. The fragile trust they’ve built together will be tested when Kit unexpectedly regains his memory and seeks revenge on his murderers.

RC

Pages or Words: 64,000 words

Categories: Humor, Romance, Horror, Contemporary, M/M Romance, Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Paranormal

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Kit took one look at the concoction and raised his eyebrows in disbelief and disgust. “What is that supposed to be?”

“It’s your food. Mmm! Delicious, brains! Zombies love brains!” I could see right away that I had gone too far.

“I am not a dog or a child, Edward. And I don’t appreciate your stereotyping.”

Oh, great. I had offended a zombie. What a schmuck. “I’m sorry, Kit. Won’t you at least try it?”

“Is that a slice of brain?”

“…yes. Technically. It’s not human!”

“Oh, it’s a brain, but it’s not human. That makes it all better. What’s in the rest of it?”

“The rest of the cow?” No, this was not going at all well. I pleaded. I cajoled. I begged.

He poured it down the sink.

Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: B. S. Clay

Sales Links:  Torquere Press

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About Author T. Strange

My Zombie Boyfriend is T. Strange’s first full-length novel, though she has published several shorter works with Torquere Press. When not writing, T. enjoys gardening, spending time with her horse, and, of course, reading. T. lives in Canada with her wife, surrounded by pets.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tq.strange
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTStrange
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TqStrange
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/tqstrange/
Goodreads Author Page
Tumblr: http://tqstrange.tumblr.com/
Torquere Author Page

BannerTemplate

Tour Dates & Stops: April 10, 2015

Parker Williams, Bayou Book Junkie, Tara Lain, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Molly Lolly,

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Love Bytes, Charley Descoteaux, Decadent Delights, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Cate Ashwood, Divine Magazine, MM Good Book Reviews, TTC Books and More, Andrew Q. Gordon, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Wake Up Your Wild Side, 3 Chicks After Dark

 

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘My Zombie Boyfriend’ by T. Strange. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Rafflecopter link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Musical Interlude with Alex Beecroft and Blue-Eyed Stranger(guest post and contest)

Standard

Blue eyed Stranger cover

kantele-11-string-model

If you have read the reviews of both of Alex Beecroft’s Trowchester novels, you will know that I am deeply in love with this small village and its inhabitants.  In Blue-Eyed Stranger, the music and musical instruments that Alex Beecroft makes sing through the many passages of this story were old in origin but new to me in sound and shape.  woman playing the kanteleI had to go looking through the web for the pictures of the instruments themselves and the sounds they bring forth.  If only I had this post before hand!  Morris dancing, the kantele, and other folk tunes have become my latest obsessions thanks to these stories and their author.  Read on and let them become yours as well.

STRW In The Spotlight Header

A Musical Interlude – a Blue Eyed Stranger Guest post

It occurs to me that there’s a lot of music in BES, and it’s music of a kind with which most readers may not be familiar. ‘Folk’ in general conjures up different things on either side of the pond, and then there’s the Viking music which scarcely anyone has heard. So, come with me on a whistle-stop tour around the music in Blue Eyed Stranger.

Let’s start with the title. In fact the blue eyed stranger the title refers to is Billy Wright himself, champion dancer of the Stomping Griffins, but this is the dance and the tune that morris aficionados will think of if you ever say ‘Blue Eyed Stranger’ to them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQGJj-gkaO0

It’s also a good example of the Cotswold style of morris, which the Boy prefers because of its technical difficulty, (lots of tricky footwork) but which tends to leave audiences cold.

This, on the other hand, is a good example of the Border style of morris, which the Griffins find themselves doing more often because it’s what the people like to watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjRTALO-l1w

Quite honestly I largely agree with the people on this one.

Somewhere around the middle of the book, Billy takes an unsuspecting Martin to a session at his local pub. If, like Martin, you’ve never wandered into anything like that before and are a bit bemused, it goes a bit like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCzMh5f89Wc

Anyone can turn up. If you know the tunes you break out your instrument and start playing along with everyone else. If you don’t know them, you listen hard and try to pick them up by ear, or you go and buy another beer. If no one’s playing and you can think of a tune, start it and everyone who knows it will join in with you. If you don’t know the tunes it’s trickier, so it’s a good idea to go on somewhere like Folk Tune Finder and learn a few things before you go. Most folk music is in the key of D or G. Stick to those and you should be fine.

The world of folk music and dance is still a very vibrant and lively part of most English towns and villages. There’s little difficulty in coming across it if you’re looking. Indeed, sometimes when we break out the instruments people leave the pub, going ‘oh, blimey, we don’t want that!’ So sometimes you can even find it when you’re not looking.

The world of Ancient music is a different story, but it too is out there.

Here is an example of the five stringed kantele that Annette plays. I think if you listen closely you can just about pick up the sound of it singing to itself underneath the tune. It’s clearly something which is difficult to capture on a recording.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VEr-Suti4M

Technically, the kantele is a Finnish instrument rather than a Viking one, but as I’ve said elsewhere, the Vikings had trade routes just about everywhere. And speaking about things that are found just about everywhere, this next instrument – the Anglo Saxon hearpe (also known as a lyre) – is ancient and ubiquitous and found everywhere. You can evidently do a lot more on it than it initially seems. A lovely thing!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHA5SvmJyJM&list=RDQHA5SvmJyJM#t=173

this is what Martin lends to Billy and Billy – who is a violinist – picks up immediately.

Later, after the book closes, they start researching the music of ancient Meroe, from which Martin’s ancestors come, but I found when I started looking into it that it was a huge subject about which I was not yet equipped to have an informed opinion. But interestingly, look

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApHRWB9zcLs

that lyre is not a far cry from the Saxon one, is it? I like to think the musical traditions would fit well together, since their players obviously have.

BlueEyedStranger_TourBanner

STRW Author BookSynopsis

 

Blue Eyed Stranger (Trowchester #2) by Alex Beecroft

Billy Wright has a problem: he’s only visible when he’s wearing a mask. That’s fine when he’s performing at country fairs with the rest of his morris dancing troupe. But when he takes the paint off, his life is lonely and empty, and he struggles with crippling depression.

Martin Deng stands out from the crowd. After all, there aren’t that many black Vikings on the living history circuit. But as the founder of a fledgling historical re-enactment society, he’s lonely and harried. His boss doesn’t like his weekend activities, his warriors seem to expect him to run everything single-handedly, and it’s stressful enough being one minority without telling the hard men of his group he’s also gay.

When Billy’s and Martin’s societies are double-booked at a packed county show, they know at once they are kindred spirits, united by a deep feeling of connectedness to their history and culture. But they’re also both hiding in their different ways, and they need each other to be brave enough to take their masks off and still be seen.

Link to STRW Review:  Find it Here

Buy It Here:  Riptide Publishing

Book Details:
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-212-7
eBook release: Apr 6, 2015
eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-213-4
Print release: Apr 6, 2015
Word count: 67,000,Page count: 246
Cover by: Lou Harper

This title is part of the Trowchester Blues universe.

 

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.

Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel,Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in theCharleston City Paper, LA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.

Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.
Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.

She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.

Connect with Alex:
Website: http://www.alexbeecroft.com
Blog: http://www.alexbeecroft.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexBeecroftAuthor
Twitter: @Alex_Beecroft
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Alex_Beecroft

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

BlueEyedStranger_TourBanner

Giveaway

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a draw for a $15 Riptide gift card. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 11. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!  Must be 18  years of age or older to enter.  Prizes provided by Riptide Publishing.

Release Day Blitz – Craving Stains by Alina Popescu

Standard

Craving Stains Release Day

Synopsis

Wynn Brenwood has been trapped by his mother since birth, shut away in a sterile, hospital-like apartment.

Is it her desire to keep him safe that sees him locked up in his pristine cage? Or are her motives less innocent and well-intentioned?

Wynn longs to break free to experience the world he sees beyond his window.

Desperate to escape, he meets Doyle, a handsome, leather-clad, and enigmatic stranger.

But is Doyle real, or is he just a figment of Wynnís imagination?

cravingstains-waywardinkpublishing-JayAheer2015--samllpreview

Buy Links

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UUE58SU/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00UUE58SU/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00UUE58SU/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00UUE58SU/
WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/craving-stains-by-alina-popescu/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cravingstains-1766728-145.html

Excerpt

A nervous giggle escaped him and he rolled his eyes. It was hard to keep his emotions under control. Twenty years made for one long wait to finally breach the confines of his apartment. He looked around, taking in the large, pure white room with its scarce, minimalist furniture. The wall made of nothing but floor to ceiling windows was his favorite part. Sure, it threw away anything from the sun that was not pure light—UV filters, air cleansing devices, and CDC grade measures all made sure no microbes or bacteria ever penetrated this cage—but it was still his only direct connection with the outside world.

Wynn snorted, thinking of how unnecessary it would all become the moment he stepped outside and returned home alive. Only then would these absurd measures his mother had taken be forgotten. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He had to prove to her he could stay healthy and walk outside. He was tired of the Maid Bot 2000, his computer, his TV, and the books he kept buying. He supposed he should be thankful for the ‘Rise of the eBook’, yet he could not love them, not really, not like a normal reader. The TV programs, the news and stories on the Internet, the photos and videos of faraway places, the gripping stories in the books he read, they were all cruel reminders of the life he’d been denied. A normal human being, even if they never did go to that exotic beach on the other side of the world, still knew they could. They weren’t stranded, abandoned in their own home, with the somber doctor that came to inspect every inch of Wynn’s body as their sole contact with the outside world, other than his mother of course.

He perked up when he heard the click of the outside door opening. It unlocked when a certain code was pressed into the keypad on its right side. Wynn had seen the process through the security system; he’d never been on that side of the apartment. His mother’s high heels clicked on the floor, the hiss of dry showers cleansing her followed. Ten meters of different heads pushing air and heuristic nanobots, mixed into the traditional bacteria- and virus-killing formulae. It was all the rage in disease control: microscopic machines programmed to guess what would make a potentially deadly intruder, and isolate the tiny killers before they could be spread. Wynn imagined it cost a lot, but there was nothing his mother wouldn’t do to keep him alive. To what end, he could not guess. Maybe she just enjoyed having him a prisoner.

A bright smile curved his mouth, this time reaching his eyes. Wynn did not have to fake his pleasure at seeing his mother; it was as natural as it could be this time around. She was taking him outside. He supposed it made sense to even think he might love her one day. If he got to enjoy a normal life, experiencing the outside world, Wynn was ready to forget everything about how she’d kept him locked up and alone for as long as he could remember.

She walked to the armchair he was sitting on, taking step after stiff step. Wynn had always thought he hated the sound of her heels hitting the marble floor, but today it heralded amazing new adventures, so he smiled and stood up. She took his hands in hers, giving them a little squeeze and gracing him with a tight smile.

Moira Brenwood was a beautiful woman, he knew. She was tall and slim, always full of grace, perfect in every detail, from the way her hair was pulled up into a messy bun, to the impeccable line of her eyebrows, and the flawless makeup.

“Good morning, darling. How are you today?” Her voice echoed in the large room, coming back to him with the same rehearsed warm notes.

“I’m great, Mother. Let’s go!” he urged, shaking her hands and chuckling.

“Wynn! Where are your manners?” she hissed through clenched teeth. He saw the disapproval in her look and the way her lips were pressed together. Moira didn’t take too kindly to rude people.

He cringed and gave her an apologetic smile. Damn it, don’t screw this up! Don’t give her any reason to take back her promise of allowing you outside!

Alina PopescuAbout the author

Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and she has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm. Born and raised in Romania, she finds her inspiration in books of all genres, in movies, and the occasional manga comic book. She is a proud geek who needs her fast Internet and gadgets more than she needs air.

Social Links