Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words: Best Books of September 2015

Standard

Books, reading clipart 090

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Best Books of September 2015

From the contemporary to the supernatural, from the urban fantasy to an historical romance, the best books of September has something for everyone.  Each title is linked to the review.  I’ve included books with ratings from 5 stars to 4.5 stars just to narrow the field.  

Which titles did you miss out on?  Check them back out now!  Tomorrow we have our Best Book Covers of September for you to look over.  Don’t hesitate to chime in with your own choices for Best Book and Best Cover in the comments.

Best Books of September 2015 (4.5 stars up to 5)

ACID by Wulf Francu Godgluck & S. van Rooyen

Betrothed: A Faery Tale by Therese Woodson

Beyond the Surface (The Breakfast Club #1) by Felice Stevens

Blind Heart (King of Hearts 4) by Havan Fellows

Chasing Death Metal Dreams by Kaje Harper

Dangerous Spirits (Spirits #2) by Jordan L. Hawk

Fit to be Tied (Marshals #2) by Mary Calmes

Give An Inch by K. D. Sarge

High Stakes (Four of Clubs #4) by Parker Williams

Other Side of the Line by Marguerite Labbe

Sloe Ride (Sinners #4) by Rhys Ford (this will represent all the Sinner’s series)

Such a Dance by Kate McMurray

Texas Wedding (Texas #7) by R.J. Scott

The Last Yeti by Tully Vincent

The Summer House (English Hearts #1) by R.J. Scott.

Three’s Company by N. R.. Walker

Winter Wonderland (Minnesota Christmas #3) by Heidi Cullinan

A MelanieM Review: High Stakes (Four of Clubs #4) by Parker Williams (Pulp Friction 2015 #15)

Standard

Rating:  5 stars out of 5      ★★★★★

High Stakes coverBen Nelson marvels at the resiliency of his lover, Artie Middleton. He takes everything life throws at him and comes out the other end stronger than ever. It’s with this strength in mind that Ben tosses Artie a curveball that will change both of their lives forever.

A single question from Ben’s lips has Artie rushing headlong toward his happily ever after. One that he never thought he’d have and is now being served to him on a silver platter. He has it all—friends, family, and a future. But even a gifted psychic can’t see everything, and Artie is about to get a wakeup call.

Things he thought to be true about his past aren’t as clear-cut as he believed. His history with some of the people in his life runs deeper than he realized. And he’s about to learn a previously unknown threat from his childhood has returned to rip it all away.

Artie soon finds that in this game, the stakes couldn’t be higher: the lives of everyone he loves.

We’ve reached book four in the latest Pulp Friction series and we all know what that means if you’ve read any of the previous series.  It’s time for some serious angst and despair.  Boy, does Parker Williams and High Stakes deliver that in, well, clubs. Can’t very well say spades can we?

Using the poker game analogy, the stakes of the games are raised up even higher still.  Within these 60 pages, Parker Williams fills in more of Artie’s history and family background, along with a connection to another character’s past.  The author uses this information not merely to inform but to scare the living bejeezus out of us with the ramifications it brings.

If any book has a purpose in a series (and this one surely does), its to show the closing in of evil around our small gang of knights gathering to do battle.  And the odds aren’t looking good.  The despair pours off the descriptions, and the angst flows even over the most joyful of scenes.  And that ending?  A shocker to the soul.  That one went beyond a mere gnashing of teeth and tearing of the hair into the “Oh Nooooooooooo!” *cue to  screams of disbelief*.

I did not see that one coming.  When you can hide something like that event in the small clues stashed away in bits and pieces throughout the tale, well, that’s wonderful storytelling.  Well done, Mr. Parker!  Still devastated but well done.

Two more books to go.   One more by Parker Williams and then the series finale written by all the authors and combined story lines.  I can’t wait to see how they are going to pull this off.  I  am totally perplexed about the whole thing.  The villains, the subplots, and just how its all going to work itself out.  Am I a happy camper?  Yes, I am.

All the stories are short, so it easy to catch up if you need to start at the beginning of a series.  There are four of them that are connected here.  I have them all listed at the bottom of the review.  Use it as a TBR list if you haven’t already.

Love paranormal romance?  Murder mysteries?  Supernatural beings?  Why not combine them all in the style of a pulp fiction series?  They have it all here.  Now I just can’t wait to see how it will all end.

I highly recommend this series and all the interconnected series its attached to.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I’ve been ambivalent about these covers from the start.  But I really like this one.  Especially with the shadows that can be taken a number of ways.  Great job.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 65 pages
Published September 13th 2015
ASINB015DBPJHE
edition languageEnglish
seriesPulp Friction 2015 #15, Four of Clubs #4
other editions (1)
High Stakes (Four of Clubs #4) (Pulp Friction 2015, #15)

 

☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠

About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner

Round Three:

Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Playground (Four of Clubs #3) by Parker Williams
Diamonds Edge (Ace of Diamonds #3) by Laura Harner

Round Four:

Dead Man’s Hand (Jack of Spades 4) by Lee Brazil
Blind Heart (King of Hearts 4) by Havan Fellows
High Stakes (Four of Clubs 4) by Parker Williams
Diamond Flush (Ace of Diamonds 4) by Laura Harner

A Stella Review: THE LAST YETI by Tully Vincent

Standard

Rating 5 stars out of 5    ★★★★★

Loss. Sometimes it’s slow and inexorable. Sometimes it happens in an instant.

The Last Yeti coverJrake is a yeti-shifter who has lost contact with others of his ancient species. Emerging from years of self-imposed isolation, he’s desperate to find proof that he’s not alone in a world full of the humans he hates.

Rohn Sheldon lost everything that mattered to him in a devastating moment of inattention. Gone are his lover, his right arm, and his career. His belief in himself is at an all time low as he struggles to find his place in a world he’s no longer sure he wants to belong to.

Two men, one facing cataclysm, the other fighting his way back from it. Can they find hope in each other?

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

Dear Author,
Yetis are made to wander the wilderness mostly alone, and only meet up occasionally. For three long years I have searched the earth and, finally, I have accepted it: I am the last of my kind. I do not belong in the world of people or technology, but the only other choice is dying of loneliness. I have managed to create a life on the edge of society, terrified to come close, terrified of being recognized as the monster only little children believe in. Lately I have realized staying in the wilds may have been a less desolate life.

Can you maybe find me someone to be alone with together?

Photo Description:
A well-built man with dark facial hair stares into the camera, eyes piercing and expression uncompromising. He wears primitively constructed fur clothing that leaves much of his muscular, veiny arms and toned torso bared to the weather. Although his skin is damp from the snow, he seems unaffected by the cold.

This story may contain sexually explicit content and is intended for adult readers. It may contain content that is disagreeable or distressing to some readers. The M/M Romance Group strongly recommends that each reader review the General Information section before each story for story tags as well as for content warnings.

The Last Yeti by Tully Vincent is already on my “favorite shelf” because it was one of the few books I really felt lately. I was very curious about this story when it came out in the Love is an Open Road event on the MM group on Goodreads. For different reasons: first of all I had never read about a yeti shifter before so I was intrigued by this new world and how would have been shown by the author. Then, have you seen the cover? It alone deserves all the stars. I can anticipate to you that the story exceeded my expectations, not only from the writing part but especially in the emotional side. In fact I was caught in the story from the start, but what surprise me more was the pull I felt from both MCs, I was soon there in their lives and empathize with them. I felt them hurting and loving. In my opinion the author made an amazing work at characterizing Rohn and Jrake and leaving nothing unexplored.

Rohn is still mourning the loss of his life partner, Evan, dead two years ago in the same accident that took his right arm and his painter career too.  Still recovering from an alcohol abuse, Rohn thinks to be a failure to everyone, to his dad who wants him to be his business’ heir. To Evan for letting him die in the accident. Now that he can’t draw anymore without his right arm, he’s a failure to himself too. Tired of feeling helpless and to be always babysitted, he has come to Alaska to show his dad and himself too that he can take care of himself.

Jrake is a yeti shifter. Desperate in his researches of another yeti, he is almost resigned to the fate of being the last yeti in the world when he smell another of his kind just in Alaska, his home country, but he cant find it. His coldness versus the human world led him to live a life mainly in his preferred form, the yeti one, alone and far away from the humans. When he first met Rohn I admit it was a little hard to watch him to be so indifferent at the beginning, before he saves Rohn from dying in the iced river, even if he should have let him go and die since Rohn saw him as a yeti. Jrake is tired of being alone but he is so used to push his human side aside, it’s not easy to thrust and let him find a closeness with the man who came into his world unexpected.

The story is heartbroken, sweet and emotional. It is detailed and never once shallow about Jrake and his yeti world. Everything is well explained, I followed him in his hunting, fishing  and shifting. I particularly liked The Last Yeti is not the usual shifter story about destined mates I’m used to read, on the contrary, Jrake isn’t really looking, not even hoping, for a partner.

The writing style is my favorite, with two different POV, the use of the third person past. It made the reading quick and the words flew easily and there was never a pause in the story. Behind their meeting and spending time together there is a lot going on around the MCs.

Moreover I liked the story a lot cause I was able to see every little thing in my head. There are some parts that are so evocative. Plus, the sex scenes are hot and sexy just as I like them to be. I loved the ending part but I loved more to know that there is a WIP sequel already. I can’t wait to see them together and to know how they will be able to live their lives as a couple, I’m hungry for more. Well done!

Cover art by Tully Vincent*. It’s perfect in every detail, it was eyecatching to me.

Book Details:

ebook, 201 pages
Published August 26th 2015 by MMRomanceGroup.com
Edition Language English
DOWNLOAD LINK (free) http://www.mmromancegroup.com/the-last-yeti-by-tully-vincent/

Note:  Tully Vincent is also our reviewer BJ for purposes of clarification.

A BJ Review: Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Rattlesnake coverA drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. One cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker who ends up dying before he can get him to his destination. When a letter the dead drifter wrote to the son he hadn’t seen in years turns up in his car, Jimmy decides to continue the journey to Rattlesnake and deliver the letter in person.

The small town of Rattlesnake is nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras, and it’s centerpiece is the historic Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little, the drifter’s son himself. Jimmy feels an immediate attraction to Shane, and when his car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.

There Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace, but tells himself it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.

As always with Kim Fielding, this book was well-written and the characters well-drawn. However, this story was quite slow to engage me and even after it did, the pace was often slow for me. Perhaps this was due to Jimmy’s lengthy stories or the longish descriptions of the town and its history, not sure. But I can say that the characters and engaging storyline were more than enough to keep me reading despite it. However, if you are looking for action or a fast-paced storyline, then this may not be the book for you.

I felt for Jimmy the drifter with no confidence in himself, a man who’d been told from an early age he wouldn’t amount to anything and had taken that to heart. I understand it intimately because I lived it. The black sheep with strange inclinations born into a broken, poor family, check. Being told you’ll never amount to anything (in my case the mantra was, you have brains but no common sense). Yes! And the need to get away? Hell, yes! In Jimmy’s case as a drifter, in mine moving to the other side of the country. So hell yes, I get Jimmy.

But yet, I don’t. Because he’s given up. On love, on finding or making a home. On himself. Forty-three and he never attempted to better himself, to prove them wrong? He let his naysayers and abusers dictate his life for so long? He never stood up and decided he wanted something, and he was going to damn well strive to get it?

To be honest, I wanted to strangle him each time he was going to bail and walk away. He’d start to pack, but it rained or whatever. Would he have really or was he fooling himself and making excuses? Probably the latter. Either way bothers me no end. He’d allowed them to take his spirit, to strip him of his self-worth and confidence so completely that he didn’t even try in all those years? That is just incredibly sad. I have the self-confidence of a gnat, its hard and scary to try and possibly fail. It’s hard to trust. Maybe impossible. But giving up? Never. And when he finally did change his life, it was because he’d found someone else. It didn’t come from within him.

Shane was a whole different thing. Adored him from the start. There was a man who life had kicked, but he got back up like the energizer bunny. His stunning bravery, loyalty, understanding, and trust just floored me. The constant cheerfulness despite the chronic pain was just a little bit over the top, but I still adored him. And the amazing family behind him as a foundation, all wonderfully drawn secondary characters.

The romance between the two men was touching, heated and memorable, and this story packed some serious feels. Very enjoyable. But the slow pace and my annoyance towards Jimmy kept it from being five stars. I enjoy flawed characters–very much so. But I still want them to find strength in themselves. Because, hell, if I’d waited for someone (or a whole town in this case) to rescue me and offer me a home, to give me someone to believe in, I’d still be wallowing in my own mire.

The cover by L. C. Chase depicting a drifter and his duffle waiting for a ride on the side of the road is fitting for the story. However, the man walking towards him on the freeway threw me off as he met Shane in a saloon and never traveled with him nor was picked up by him or anything.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published August 31st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original title Rattlesnake
ISBN 1634764773 (ISBN13: 9781634764773)
edition language English

A Free Dreamer Review: Late Summer, Early Spring by Patricia Correll

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Late Summer Early Spring coverHour of the Lotus
General Sho Iwata is devastated when the man he secretly loves, Prince Narita, is struck with a mysterious illness. Iwata’s current lover, Hiroshi, is well aware of the general’s unrequited passion. But that isn’t his biggest problem. His sister is Narita’s favorite consort, but Hiroshi believes she has been replaced by an imposter. When they discover the true cause of the illness, they will have to battle an ancient spirit and survive.

Fox Hunter
Lord General Iwata Sho sets out in search of the mysterious Fox Hunter. When he finds his former lover, Hiroshi, he discovers a changed man, scarred inside and out and consumed by vengeance. Together with Narita’s grown son Daigo, Iwata and Hiroshi pursue the malicious spirit as it leaves bloodshed in its wake. Iwata worries about what will become of Hiroshi when the fox is defeated—if Hiroshi’s revenge doesn’t kill him first.

I absolutely love historical Japanese novels, especially when there’s an element of typical Japanese mythology. So when I read about this book, I just had to have it. I have to admit, I totally didn’t realize that this book was actually two stories until I read the blurb again just now. It didn’t feel like two separate stories when reading. One definitely doesn’t work without the other, so it’s a good thing that it comes as a package.

 Late Summer, Early Spring by Patricia Correll had so much potential: Two samurai, a mysterious demon and a reunion after decades apart. And it definitely was intriguing. I was constantly wondering what was happening to the poor prince. And when the demon did finally show up, it was a very creepy revelation and I was glued to my Kindle to find out what happens next.

The relationship between Hiroshi and Iwata fell a little short over all. I am aware that DSP titles aren’t supposed to focus on the romance, which is usually fine by me, but here I really felt that the author could have easily made the relationship feel more real without taking anything away from the main plot, if only she’d decided to let the actions speak for them. I don’t expect major declarations of never ending love from two samurai warriors, but Ms. Correl could have shown more of the physical intimacy. Simple touches and kisses would have gone a long way to making me really feel the connection between the two.

The biggest downfall of “Late Summer, Early Spring” was the length, or rather the lack thereof. The fantasy and the relationship fell short because of that. I’m convinced the author could have easily filled twice as many pages and the story wouldn’t have lost any of its suspense. More details would have been nice overall.

Still, I really liked what was there. Lots of suspense and an intriguing plot with interesting characters. This could have been a truly amazing book, if only it had had more space for details. A real shame.

Cover Art by Anne Cain. I really quite like the cover. It’s unique and fits the book well. It looks a little like it could be an antique Japanese painting.

Sales Links: DSP Publications |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 168 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by DSP Publications
Hour of the Lotus published by Dreamspinner Press, May 2013.