A MelanieM Review: Drama Queen: A Nicky and Noah Mystery by Joe Cosentino

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Drama Queen CoverIt could be curtains for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodies popping up all over campus, Nicky must use his drama skills to figure out who is playing the role of murderer before it is lights out for Nicky and his colleagues. Complicating matters is Nicky’s huge crush on Noah Oliver, a gorgeous assistant professor in his department, who may or may not be involved with a cocky graduate assistant…and is also the top suspect for the murders! You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat, delightfully entertaining novel. Curtain up!

Reading Drama Queen by Joe Cosentino reminded me of watching some of those early tv detective shows…you know the light hearted ones that didn’t take themselves too seriously.  Unlike shows along the lines of Criminal Minds or CSI, back then the formula called for a lively and fast paced storyline and a couple in love.  Think “Moonlighting” (my favorite), “Hart to Hart”, “McMillan and Wife”..well you get the idea. The quips came fast and furious, the love between the main characters never in doubt (mostly), something their repartees reinforce, and the investigations are launched as the body(ies) start to fall almost as soon as the opening credits are over.  It was enjoyable, accessible, and if it was sort of predictable, well there was comfort in that as well.

Quite frankly we never got to know the people being killed off, so their murders didn’t leave much of an impression other than to act as the starting point of the script and mystery.  That sort of happens here.  Nicky and Noah’s grand murder mystery adventure takes place within the cloistered, somewhat incestuous hothouse atmosphere of a small town college drama department.  Even without the murders, this department has enough angst and maneuvering going on “backstage” it doesn’t need the drama in the play that is being staged as the book opens.   Professors are vying for tenure, students and teachers are swapping more than reposts, and a long seated crush is about to be revealed!  Its over the top, melodramatic and viewed through the lively, inquisitive and theatrical eyes of Professor Nicky Abbondanza.  Outside of the Treemeadow College theater club and the Drama Department, Nicky has two things he obsesses about…his nine and a half inch long penis and Noah Oliver,  the stunning assistant professor going for tenure in his department.  We get to “hear” lots and lots about both of them, so just be prepared.

Noah is younger,  holding a few secrets of his own but clearly meant for Nicky from the get go.  That they are going to get together is never in doubt as the bodies, yes as in more than one, start to fall.  As members of the Theater Club and Drama Department dwindle down by various lethal means, Nicky and Noah’s romance takes flight along with the investigation.

Did I enjoy myself?  Absolutely!  There’s nary a dark and scary grit to be found here, nothing raw or actually terribly believable.  It’s lighthearted fare, meant to be fun and that’s the spirit that I read it in.  Outside of hearing a little too much about Nicky’s giant appendage and how he wields it, I thought the interdepartmental manipulations and tactics fun and realistic, more so than some of the characters.  No matter, they often came to a quick end before their lack of substance started to bother me.

Want something quick and lively to read?  A story that won’t stress your heart or thoughts for that matter?  A “feel good” (in more ways than one) story for murder enthusiasts and lovers of detective stories?  Then Drama Queen: A Nicky and Noah Mystery by Joe Cosentino might just be the thing for you.  I’m hoping that this is just the start for Nicky and Noah.  If Jessica Fletcher could have so many murderers in Cabot Cove, why shouldn’t the same hold true for Treemeadow College?

Cover art works.  Its got drama galore from the design to the fonts used.  I like it!

Sales Links:  Lethe Press (paperback) Amazon  Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Lethe Press
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edition languageEnglish

A Stella Review: Chasing the Rainbow by Kade Boehme

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Chasing the Rainbow coverBobby Gugino realized he may have met the man of his dreams in Jody Olsen, only neither of them were gay, so far as Bobby knew. But when Jody came out and ended his marriage, Bobby’s entire worldview was skewed, and his own health issues lead to his own coming out. Fast forward four years and Bobby runs into Jody again, but Bobby may be too busy making up for lost time to see how great they are together.

Jody Olsen’s got guilt and mommy issues, but his coming out was smooth and his life had settled into a mundane pattern of kissing frogs while waiting for prince charming and helping run his mother’s book store in New York’s East Village. When Bobby comes bumbling back into his life with a surprising shared passion for the written word and an endearing love for sugary Frappuccinos, Jody can’t help but be quickly swept up by the man.

The struggle to be patient with Bobby and his being unsure about being committed to someone is not an easy one. Does Jody hope for his happy ever after with Bobby, or is the lure of chasing the rainbow too much to fight against?

Sometimes writing a review isn’t easy at all. Especially if you don’t have a lot to say about the book and your full review could be explained in one sentence. I know I’m in the minority here because Chasing the Rainbow by Kade Boehm is a well-loved book and I’m feeling a little uncomfortable at writing my opinion, but I try to always be honest in what I say.

I’m a huge Kade fan. He writes beautiful and emotional books that affect me. Most of the times. This one? In my opinion something went wrong. I’m not sure what, because, of course, the story is interesting, sweet and real. It’s a quick and light read with just couple of dramatic scenes. Nothing too heavy, a lovely way to pass your afternoon on the beach. I don’t even want to focus my thoughts on the plot or the development of the relationship between MCs. There was nothing wrong in them so everything I could say would be pointless. But when I finished reading Chasing the Rainbow my first impression was: “did I read a Boehme’s book?”. Definitely it wasn’t what I was expecting. It left me unsure so I took some time to think about.

I finally can say it was really nothing special for me. Maybe because I missed the emotional part I usually get from Kade’s work, maybe the timing wasn’t right, I don’t know. I simply couldn’t feel the characters at all.

I’m giving Chasing the Rainbow a three stars rating even if I would have given lesser. But I can’t ignore the book in its entirety and just basing my rating on something that went wrong in MY reading.

Cover art by Reese Dante. A really sweet cover. Have you seen the smile? I’m in love with it!

Sales Link:  Amazon    Buy It Here

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 156 pages
Published May 15th 2015 by Kade Boehme (first published May 14th 2015)
edition languageEnglish
url http://kaderade.blogspot.com/search/label/Chasing%20the%20Rainbow

In the Spotlight: The LD50 of Memories (‘Division P’#4) by A. R. Moler (excerpt and giveaway)

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The LD50 of Memories (‘Division P’#4) by A. R. Moler
Release Date: June 10, 2015

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Goodreads Link
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: BSClay

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Sales Links:   Torquere Books

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Navy Pilot Cameron Bradshaw and orthopedic surgeon Mason Flynn are fast working towards solidifying their new family. But life is full of bumps and bruises– from a sudden lack of diapers for their daughter to Mason’s bigoted father passing away. Cam is having scary psychic shock episodes too. After a terrible experience doing a Division P body-finding job, Cam’s shields crash hard and he suffers life threatening physical side effects. The solution complicates their lives further. Still, between Jane, their new nanny, and the men reconnecting with an adult sibling apiece, they can see their new family forming around them. Maybe it’s time to make it all official?

Pages or Words: 41,600 words

Categories: Bisexual, Erotica, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance, Urban Fantasy

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Can’t breathe. No air. Try harder. Pressure. Blackness. Fear. Can’t Breathe. Can’t breathe.

“Cam! Cam! Wake up! It’s not real!” The voice was familiar. He wanted to touch it so badly. The dirt was cold and heavy and he couldn’t draw a breath to scream. Suddenly, there was warmth against his lips and a pinching sensation on his nose. Hot air was forced into his lungs. A heavy surge of tingling energy roared through his body. More air. The blackness was lifting. More air. He coughed. His lungs objecting to the force. Gasping. Sucking in clean cool air. Warm hands on his skin. Cam’s eyes slowly dragged open.

Mason was staring down at him, an expression of blatant concern on his face. “You stopped breathing.”

Cam realized he was lying flat on the hospital bed, head tipped back a little, with Mason kneeling beside him. The woman doctor that had sedated Cam earlier was a step behind Mason. She handed Mason an oxygen mask and he pressed it gently against Cam’s face.

“Try to breathe normally,” Mason said, taking Cam’s hand and placing it over the plastic mask.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About Author A.R. Moler:

A.R. Moler is a chemistry professor at a community college, a homeschooling mom and an avid science fiction fan. She is a devotee of first hand research for her writing whenever possible and to this end has – learned to fire a handgun, been rappelling, ridden with both EMS and the police, flown a helicopter, bought a motorcycle and learned to ride it. She has traveled to nearly all the places where her stories are set and taken hundreds of photos for documentation. She has been writing since her high school years, but only recently has become published. She recently launched a website for her writing http://armoler.com

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amoler
Website: http://www.armoler.com

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘The LD50 of Memories” by A.R. Moler. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Tour Dates & Stops: June 16, 2015
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Its A M/M Fairy Tale! “The Rules of Ever After” by Killian B. Brewer (interview and giveaway)

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The Rules of Ever After by  Killian B. Brewer
Release Date: June 9, 2015

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Sales Links: Amazon, Duet Website,
Interlude Web store: store.interludepress.com

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Goodreads Link: Goodreads.com/KillianBBrewer
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: BuckeyeGrrl Designs

What Happens when A Prince Chooses A Prince? A M/M Fairy Tale with its Own HEA!  Killian B. Brewer is here for an interview on fairy tales gone LGBTQIA and the inspiration behind The Rules of Ever After.

Our Killian B. Brewer Interview…

• Do you consider “The Rules of Ever After” a M/M fairy tale?
I wrote “The Rules” to be a m/m fairy tale but with an eye toward the original intent of fairy tales—to offer life lessons. I also wanted to include elements of adventure. The adventure the princes go on is inspired by things as varied as the travels in The Odyssey to the old “Road Movies” of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Though a m/m story was my original intent, I discovered that the female characters in the story had just as much story to tell as well. After all, if a prince is not pursuing the princess, she has to change the rules for her life as well. So the story is not limited to just the m/m aspect and grew to incorporate more than that as I wrote.

From the blurb it does seem to include many fairy tale basic elements, the stepmother, the fairies, royalty, castles….are we thinking along the lines of Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella gone M/M? 
For the specific tale of these two princes, I was inspired by the old tale of the princess and the pea. But there are other fairy tales represented in the book, including Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin and even a nod to Snow White. By changing the gender of a princess to a prince, I had to explore how that would change the actions of the characters in the story.

What do you consider the most romantic fairy tale?
The original Grimm’s tales are often not incredibly romantic. I do love the tale of Sleeping Beauty and it is my favorite of the Disney versions of the tales. I think as a young gay man, I was drawn to the idea of a dashing prince risking his life to find his true love. After all, half the fun of a fairy tale is imagining yourself in the plot.

What do you consider the most important elements of a fairy tale and did you include them in your story?
All fairy tales should have a quest, a romance and a touch of magic. Also, the characters should learn a lesson while on the journey. I tried to incorporate all of this in The Rules. One of the most enjoyable parts of plotting out the novel was figuring out how to inject magic into the story and building the world in which my characters live. I knew I wanted fairies in the story, but wanted to make sure their influence on the characters was minimal. I wanted the characters to be active in their own tale and growth, not just subject to the whims of the fairies. I also knew I needed a villain, and the “wicked stepmother” is such a common theme in the original tales that I had to create one.

What was the inspiration behind The Rules of Ever After, including the title?
Years ago while studying the Brothers Grimm’s tales for a college class, I had the thought, “What if the prince climbed the tower and found another prince?” Rules grew out of that thought. Fairy tales and royal life both have very definite “rules” for how the characters should behave. But when you have a prince who would prefer his happily ever after to be with another prince, the usual fairy tale and royal “rules” won’t necessarily work. As I began to play with that idea, I realized that it would apply to the LGBTQ community, who have had to create our own new rules for life. I wanted to write a tale where a young gay man could imagine himself in the stories we all grew up with but that never included all of us. The idea of rewriting the rules is what inspired the title.

Which do you prefer Disney fairy tales or Grimm’s?
I love the Disney versions, but I really prefer the tales of the Brothers Grimm. The stories are darker and don’t try to hide the scary and unpleasant parts of life from a reader. The tales the brothers collected weren’t necessarily told for children. They were folk tales that were told by and to adults as well.

• What’s next for Killian B. Brewer?
I originally thought Rules would be a stand-alone novel, but I am currently working on further adventures for the characters. I realized that there is more story to tell about what happens for fairy tale characters after the “ever after.” Also, I am in the early stages of plotting out a book that is more reality based and set in the south. Many of my favorite authors are Southerners and I would like to explore the weird world of the South that I live in.

STRW Author BookSynopsis

The rules of royal life have governed the kingdoms of Clarameer for thousands of years, but Prince Phillip and Prince Daniel know that these rules don’t provide for the happily ever after they seek.

A fateful, sleepless night brings the two young men together and sends them on a quest out into the kingdoms. On their travels, they encounter meddlesome fairies, an ambitious stepmother, disgruntled princesses and vengeful kings as they learn about life, love, friendship and family.  Most of all, the two young men must learn how to write their own rules of ever after.
Pages or Words: 256 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance, Young Adult

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

“Phillip, don’t believe all those stories your scribe told you. Magic is not defeated by waiting for someone to come rescue you from it. You have to fight it.” Daniel paused and took a breath before reaching out to take Phillip’s hand again. “I sat around for two years waiting for someone to come along and fix my problems. No one came, and nothing changed. Then I realized that maybe the person I was waiting for was me. So I went out to find my own answers.”
“I’m not you. I don’t even know where to begin.” Phillip sat back on the edge of the bed.
“You begin the way everyone does,” Daniel explained, “one foot in front of the other.”
“I’ve barely been out of this castle. I don’t know what’s out there.”
“Well, you’re in luck. You know someone who does.”
“What? Who?” Phillip cocked his head and stared at Daniel in confusion.
“Me!” Daniel winked and pointed to his chest. “I know what’s out there. I’ve been wandering all over the kingdoms for months now. I’ve studied the maps and the histories. I know how to fight and how to survive.” Daniel stood up. “I’ll come with you,” he continued. “I’ll help you find her, and we’ll bring her down together. We will fix this.”
Daniel could almost see the wheels turn in Phillip’s head as he considered Daniel’s offer. He looked over at his father, then back down at his feet before glancing up to Daniel with a look of tentative hope. “Why would you do that?”
Daniel pondered the question for a moment, unsure of the answer himself. The pain in Phillip’s face touched Daniel’s heart and made him want to bring back the mischievous, laughing man he had met just two nights before. This was not his problem, and he had his own concerns to deal with, but looking at Phillip’s terrified face, he knew he wanted to help. He knew he had to.
“I’m not being completely selfless. I’m still going to be looking for my own answers. But I can help you look, too.” Daniel held his hand out to Phillip. “Come with me. Let’s go get you some food and make a plan.”
“You’re just saying this to get me to eat.”
“No. As I said, I feel responsible. If I hadn’t gotten in that bed—”
“But you did.” Phillip mumbled before turning to look at Daniel with his eyes wide. “And you passed the test. I thought for sure you were the answer—”
“The test? I still don’t understand about this test.”
“Yes. You were the first to spend the night in the bed and be kept awake by the pea under the mattresses. Okay, maybe some of the others could have passed if I hadn’t—”
“Phillip? You think a pea kept me awake?” Daniel stepped back and knitted his brows; he had clearly missed some element of that awful night’s events. Though he was glad to see some sign of activity from Phillip, Daniel was thoroughly confused. “Why was there a pea under—”
“Yes. You passed the test. Maybe it is a sign!” Phillip stood and turned to Daniel; excitement spread across his face. “Maybe you are here to help me.”

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Killian B. Brewer grew up in a family where the best way to be heard was to tell a good story, therefore he developed an early love of storytelling, puns and wordplay.  He began writing poetry and short fiction at 15 and continued in college where he earned a BA in English. He does not use this degree in his job in the banking industry.

He currently lives in Georgia with his partner of ten years and their dog. Growing up in the South gave him a funny accent and a love of grits. The Rules of Ever After is his first novel.

Where to find the author:
Facebook: Facebook.com/KillianBBewer
Twitter: @KillianBBrewer
Pinterest: Pinterest.com/KillianBBrewer
Home Page: killianbbrewer.com

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Interlude Press Gift Card. 5 e-copies of ‘The Rules of Ever After’ by Killian B. Brewer. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
Rafflecopter Code:
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