A MelanieM Review: Potato Surprise: A Brimstone Prequel (Brimstone 0) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Potato Surprise coverBefore Ness, before Corny, before Leopold and Heckle and Mac, there was just Shax and Verin and a newly stolen, er, acquired cargo ship. Join Shax on his first adventure in space in which a pampered demon prince has a lot to learn.

When a steel trap of celestial and infernal politics threatens to close around them, Shax and Verin flee Earth’s system in a stolen ship, leaving everything behind. It’s an elegantly simple plan, with a new ship and a new life as carefree brigands among the stars.

But the ship seems to hate them, and in order to have any sort of life they need funds. A frightened man offering them a contract to deliver three mysterious crates comes just in time, and Shax is sure their troubles are over. Out of his environment and in over his head, Shax scrambles to understand the players and the consequences of his new life. With cargo that’s not what it seems, shadowy motives around every turn, and a gorgeous rogue named Julian for a dash of added confusion, Shax’s grand schemes of a new start may be his demise before he can even begin.

First of all. Angel Martinez.  Let’s just get that  out of the way.  That author’s name is all I need to pick up a book.  The title Potato Surprise in combination with science fiction certainly added that dash of anticipation of  the quirky, the oddball, the unexpected, and the highly imaginative.  You will get all that here. Loved it.

Potato Surprise is a prequel to Brimstone (a collection I grabbed up after reading this wonderful story).  Here we get our first introduction to the space faring or fleeing demon Shax, his companion Verin, and their  newly acquired ship, renamed The Brimstone.  The Brimstone has a delightful IA with a drag queen personality, Ivana Cockatoo!  Together the three of them form a slightly less than formidable ship of privateers, willing to trade/ship  merchandise legal or otherwise, especially otherwise across the galaxy.  This includes those surprising potatoes.

Angel Martinez’ imagination is fearless.  Her demons  may know other demons that fit within our prescribed notions of what demons should look like and how demons should act, her demons may even be related to demons that act that way.  But Shax?  He is one surprise after another, loyal, with an endless and often troublesome appreciation for the “pretties”,  his charm is as boundless as his enthusiasms.  I adore Shax.  Verin  is a little more hard core or perhaps hard shell,..hard to say.  The other books I just now reading let me have more of a feel for his character and background.  But here Verin is a solid, loyal as well, presence in both the stories and in Shax’s life and he anchors the stories.   Verin may blow smoke, but there’s definitely fire behind it.

Oh, Ivana!   Ever since Kirk ended up temporarily with a flirtatious computer on the Enterprise, IAs with entertaining or wildly scary personalities have appeared in stories and screen plays.  I love Ivana Cockatoo.  Ivana immediately embraces the new name and new owners.  They certainly are a better fit for Ivana than the previous owner and this IA jumps into the new life with a joy that’s downright infectious.    Ivana is an equal partner in crime and party here, and valued family member.

Why Shax and Verin had to flee Earth is only sketchily filled in here.  More details come in the later stories.  There is a planet side romance, don’t all pirates have one?  That has its own tender, loving element of its own.  There are moments of beauty, scenes of glee and disgust, then its time to leave once more.  Off on more adventures, more travels and certainly more transactions that will get them into danger and the money they need to continue charging through the galaxy together.

The Brimstone’s crew has me hooked good and proper.  This prequel did that job beautifully.  I love Shax, Verin, and Ivana.  I can’t wait to see how far Angel Martinez takes this crew and what amazing things and places they get to go and what mayhem they commit when they get there.  Let me tell you floating bovines is in your future if you love this as much as I do!  Its not to be missed!

Cover art by Fredi McKay.  Wild and includes elements from the story, although not as I had pictured them in my imagination.

Sales Links:  Mischief Corner Books  |  All Romance (ARe)  |

Book Details:

ebook, First, 120 pages
Expected publication: August 29th 2015 by Mischief Corner Books, LLc
original title: Potato Surprise: A Brimstone Prequel
edition language English
series Brimstone 0

A Stella Review: ACE by Jack Byrne

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

ACE coverJake Tanner is a gay asexual man who finds peace on his small Australian farm and is content to lead a quiet life taking care of his animals. Then a random act of kindness on his part sets in motion a complex series of events that results in him playing the piano in a local pub and meeting Damien Jamieson, a sexy gay biker with a penchant for leather. Damien finds Jake instantly irresistible, but that could be the worst thing for their budding relationship, as Damien is determined to bed the reluctant Jake. However, Jake has no intention of going along with his plan. If there’s a chance for anything between them, Damien will have to figure out how to turn Jake on without scaring him off.

ACE was my first novel by Jack Byrne, non considering the story done for the A Taste of Honey anthology (still waiting for the sequel BTW!). I know he usually writes historicals and in fact his Bushrangers series is next on my reading. I picked up ACE because I was really curious about the asexual aspect, as last month I read another book on the same subject and really liked it.

I read ACE and soon loved it. It’s well written but most of all it’s real, emotional, sensitive and sexy too. I was caught up in Damien and Jake’s story from the start. The characters were well defined. Especially Damien, so sure of himself, he is sexy and wants Jake no matter the cost. He seems so strong but he hides a deep insecurity due to his young years spent on the streets taking care of himself and the person who become his daughter, Diane.

The story was unusual to me, starting just with the relationship between Diane and Damien, never met a 29 years old father of an (adopted) 24 years old. It was interesting  look at their dynamics. Moreover, the relationship between Damien and Jake was strange too and I’m not talking about the asexual aspect. It was strange but absolutely believable because it felt real and possible. All the struggles,  emotionally and physically, of two people so different from each other, still so needy and full of love to give. Two aspects, the physical and the emotional one, so fused together, seeing Damien so frustrated to not be able to be completely himself with Jake and use the sex as the only way to show his feelings, the only one he knows about. And it’s exactly when that way is barred that I found the realism in the story.

And where some people had some misunderstanding with the blurb, I can say that I didn’t find this strong feeling Damien has in wanting Jake as a constriction or a duty, just as something normal and real. I know, I’m saying the world real a lot, sorry.

Now about the asexual aspect, I could have a lot to say but I’ll keep it brief. I read the book when I still knew nothing about ace people, I wanted to see how the author dealt with it. The word “asexual” was at no time mentioned by the two MCs. The story is a discovery journey, one Jake is still working on. It’s a complex and well done story and later, when I went looking for more clarifications about a couple of things that seemed to be “unclear”, I discovered the author makes his stories this way.

I was pleasurably surprised by ACE and I’m going to read more by this author soon. I want to highly recommend it.

Cover art by Christy Caughie. The cover is clean and fits the story perfectly. I like it.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Published July 15th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781623801670
Edition Language English

A Mika Review: Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts by Charlie Cochet

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Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Geeks Bearing Gifts CoverJulian “Quinn” Quinetro, a gruff, tough Miami SWAT officer, has been injured on the job, and all he’s looking for is a little peace and quiet to recover—difficult to achieve with his large Cuban family. An adventure in picking up his prescriptions puts him in the path of his geeky, brownie-baking neighbor, Spencer Morgan. Spencer sweeps into Quinn’s life like a tropical storm of sunshine and rainbows. Not surprisingly, it’s chaos at first sight. Quinn’s in need of a little tender loving care, and Spencer decides he’s just the man for the job. Their very different lives might clash, but they might also find some common ground—and maybe more.

Funny scenes, sweet moments and scorching times. You definitely can tell this is a Charlie Cochet story. This was a cute novella. I really liked the character development that we got for Spencer and Quinn. Spencer was adorable in his chef aprons and super hero clothing. I did see some similarities between him and another character of hers, so clearly that’s her  comfort zone. Quinn was uber hot. I liked him a lot, I thought his beginning sexy was extremely sweet. I enjoyed seeing Quinn’s family rain down terror on him. I enjoy reading about families, and Quinn’s were no different. I think where Spencer lacked masculinity he made up for it in confidence.

I’d love to see this as a full length novel, or even a sequel where we catch up with more characters, especially Javier and Quinn’s cousin. What was that all about? LOL.

 Cover Art by Anne Cain:  I think the cover was nicely done. An good representation of Spencer. Definitely liked the chef’s apron aspect.

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

Book Details:

book, 68 pages
Expected publication: August 19th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634764780
edition languageEnglish
charactersSpencer Morgan, Julian “Quinn” Quintero settingMiami, Florida (United States)

 

In the Book Spotlight: Herc’s Mercs: Once A Hero by Ari McKay (excerpt and giveaway)

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Herc’s Mercs: Once A Hero by Ari McKay
Release Date: August 26, 2015

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Goodreads Link
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: BSClay

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Sales Links:   Torquere Books

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Ezra Levin retired from Hercules Security to pursue his dream of being a private chef. But when the life of his gorgeous employer, Judge Mason Whittaker, is threatened, Ezra quickly realizes that once you’re a Merc, you’re always a Merc.

Pages or Words: 44,325 words
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Thriller

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Mason shook his head. “I wasn’t paranoid enough,” he said. “You were. You knew it could get bad. I didn’t believe it — didn’t want to believe it. It almost killed me.”

“I did not want to believe it either. I hoped I was wrong, but my instincts were telling me something bad was going to happen. Now that it has–” Ezra’s voice broke, and he brought Mason’s hand to his cheek, clinging tightly. “I cannot be objective. When I saw you there, saw all that blood…” He shook his head, and Mason thought he saw the glimmer of tears in Ezra’s eyes before Ezra looked away. “I cannot be merely an employee. I tried. If you want me to recuse myself, I will.”

“What?” Mason was confused, but he could see Ezra’s pain, and he reached over with his free hand, touching Ezra’s cheek. “Are you saying you want to leave Jamie and me?”

“No!” Ezra stared at Mason, wide-eyed. “No, I don’t want to leave. But if you want me to remain only your employee, I cannot do that any longer. I tried to maintain my professional distance, especially after I overstepped so badly, but I cannot do it after this.”

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who collaborate on original m/m fiction. They began writing together in 2004 and finished their first original full-length novel in 2011. Recently, they’ve begun collaborating on designing and creating costumes to wear and compete in at Sci Fi conventions, and they share a love of yarn and cake.

Arionrhod is an avid costumer, knitter, and all-around craft fiend, as well as a professional systems engineer. Mother of two human children and two dachshunds who think they are human, she is a voracious reader with wildly eclectic tastes, devouring romance novels, military science fiction, horror stories and Shakespeare with equal glee. She is currently preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

Where to find the authors:

Facebook Author Page
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriMckay1
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/arimckay
Website: http://www.arimckay.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153630.Ari_McKay
Amazon Author Page

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Tour Dates & Stops: August 18, 2015
Amanda C. Stone, Bayou Book Junkie, BFD Book Blog, Bike Book Reviews, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Charley Descoteaux, Divine Magazine, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Happily Ever Chapter, Inked Rainbow Reads, MM Good Book Reviews, Molly Lolly, My Fiction Nook, Parker Williams, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, The Jena Wade, V’s Reads, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Velvet Panic, Wake Up Your Wild Side

 

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Herc’s Mercs: The Bigger They Come’.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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Get Swept Into the Past with Amelia Bishop’s Uncharted Hearts (excerpt and giveaway)

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Uncharted Hearts by Amelia Bishop
Release Date: August 14, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Amelia Bishop
Cover Artist: Amelia Bishop with photo by Dan Skinner

Sales Links: Amazon

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My Interview with Amelia Bishop and a Surprise Recipe!

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Amelia Bishop, author of Uncharted Hearts. Welcome, Amelia and thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi! Thanks for having me here.

My current book is an m/m/m romance, set in 1795. It’s a story about making your own family, even if that family is outside of the norm. I hope that even though it is set in the past, this story will appeal to readers who don’t often choose historical romances.

Open up your recipe box! Give us something that would thrill us.

Oh man I just stumbled across this recipe a few months ago, and it became an instant favorite in my family: S’mores bars.

I’ll confess, I don’t really like s’mores all that much. Which is funny, considering I am a Girl Scout leader and an avid camper. But I’m not a big marshmallow fan, and s’mores are just so messy and hard to eat. Also I feel like the cookie-to-filling ratio is all off in traditional s’mores.smores bar_interview4

But then I found this recipe, and I love it!

It’s a little more work than actual s’mores, because you have to make the dough and assemble them, but the end product is so superior it is worth it.

Now, I will agree, there is something magical about roasting marshmallows over a fire, and assembling s’more sandwiches in the flickering firelight. And even the strings of melted marshmallow goop sticking in your hair and on your chin might be part of the appeal, for s’more purists.

But personally, I’m just all about getting as much of that chocolate-cookie-marshmallow combination into my mouth in the most efficient way possible. And this recipe, my friends, is the way.

(There are a lot of recipes out there for s’mores bars. This one is unique, though, in that it completely encases the chocolate and marshmallow, just like a regular s’more.)

I highly suggest visiting this site:  http://lovintheoven.com/day-11-smores-cookie-bars/ and making these s’mores bars this summer! They taste pretty good around a campfire, too.

Thanks so much for having me here today!

About Uncharted Hearts

Clayton Taylor is smart and skilled, and born into privilege. His expertise with navigation lands him a job on The Irish Lady, a ship which promises a world of new experiences. Half in love with Peter, The Lady’s roguish captain, Clayton signs on for adventure and a chance to test his skill against the sea. Once aboard he meets Jorge, a pillar of quiet strength.

Clayton’s life among the sailors and thieves is happy, wild, and free. He learns to sail, to fit in with the crew, and to cheat at cards. There isn’t a course he can’t chart, or a job he can’t design.

But Clayton can’t navigate love, nor can he plan for the whims of his heart. Bold and direct and often stubborn, Clayton’s uncharted heart will plot its own course, bound for a union with two men who need him as much as he does them.

Together Clayton, Peter, and Jorge will discover the heart has no need of map and compass.

Pages or Words: 240 pages
Categories: Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Menage/Poly, Romance

Excerpt

The Irish Lady’s gangway was up, and I had a flash of panic. Was I too late? I caught a glimpse of Peter on deck, and called out to him. “Sir! Peter Simpson!”
He turned and strode back to the rail, a light in his eyes and a smile on his face. My trunk seemed suddenly much easier to haul.
A large black man lowered the gangway, and looked me over as I struggled up it, raising an eyebrow at my large case. He wore his hair in long twisted locks, and his shirt, open at the chest, revealed heavy glistening muscles. I swallowed hard. Was this a ship full of temptation? Would I spend my entire time here aroused and useless?
“You came!” Peter rushed to me, not hiding his excitement.
I nodded, smiling.
“I’m so glad.” He brushed his fingers over my cheek in a move much too affectionate for public display. I glanced at the large man, but he’d turned away.
“Come, I’ll get you settled in and explain your position.” Peter hoisted one end of my trunk, and led us toward the hatch.
I felt as if I had to ask him, before I went below, exactly what kind of situation I was signing on to here. “Just what sort of a ship is this, precisely? I’m sure you aren’t an entirely reputable merchant?”
He dropped his side of the trunk, and I feared I’d erred. Perhaps that was too forward a thing to ask. But his crooked grin told me he was not offended. “Is that a problem?”
Good lord, he was sexy. His chin was shadowed with a fine dark stubble, and his hair was gathered at the top of his head in some sort of ridiculous knot, which only accentuated his chocolate brown eyes and thick brows. “No…” I smiled. “But you’ll have to teach me.”
His mouth opened on a gasp. Finally, I’d unbalanced him.
“Gladly,” he rasped, and picked up the trunk again.

About the Author

I am a reader and writer of romantic erotic fiction of all varieties. Sometimes, the little stories in my head just need to be shared (and sometimes they are just for me). I enjoy red wine, black rum, shell-hunting walks along the seashore, and solo late-night drunken dance parties.

Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amelia.bishop.507
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/ameliabishopauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/anotheramelia
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ameliabishop507/
Blog: http://www.ameliabishop.wordpress.com

Final for Amelia Bishop updated

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $15 Gift Card (Amazon or ARe).  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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Tour Dates & Stops:
14-Aug
Prism Book Alliance, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Inked Rainbow Reads

17-Aug
BFD Book Blog,

Amanda C. Stone

18-Aug
Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Just Love Romance

19-Aug
MM Good Book Reviews, Love Bytes

20-Aug
Bayou Book Junkie, EE Montgomery