Scary Review Redux: Vampirism and You (Guidebook #01) by Missouri Dalton (A MelanieM Review)

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Vampirism and You #2Louis’ whole life was planned right to a bite on the neck at his seventeenth birthday. The British native has a whole lot of changes coming his way. There’s the cravings, the urges, the relocation to rural USA…it’s a lot for a teenager to handle. Throw in the possibility that he might not be as straight as he always thought and it’s a tangled mess as Louis tries to navigate his new life as a vampire.

Things aren’t going to be easy though, and his foster-vampire Duncan is determined to make Louis a fine upstanding example of vampirism—or else. Louis has his handbook though to explain well, some things. But not everything.

When a new vampire shows up in town, Louis thinks he’s finally found someone to confide in, except Eli has his own agenda and Louis is about to find out that being a vampire means more than drinking blood and causing mayhem—there are also dirty politics, dark secrets, and a whole lot of reading assignments.

Louis Von Graves has had an unusual childhood. His family name is Krekowski but his parents named him Louis Von Graves. It’s almost as though they knew what would happen to him. You see, Louis’ family are indentured servants to vampires, specifically, The Countess and have been for more generations than can be remembered. When he was younger, Louis’ name was picked out of a hat filled with the names of children from all the servants. Why? So that the chosen one would be turned on his 17th birthday and become a vampire, a child of the Countess. It doesn’t matter what the child wants, its wham, bite, death, and you’re a vampire.

So here he is, 17 and a new vampire. He has been taken away from his family and friends in England and given over to a foster sire who will teach him how to be a vampire and all the rules and regulations that go along with it. But no one told him he would have to go to America, and no one told him he would have to go to school. With a bunch of american high school kids no less. So what is a sullen, pouting, teenager to do when his world has been turned upside down, he has powers he doesn’t know what to do with and a overwhelming desire to drink his classmates blood? Why be given a guidebook of course.

But the book, Vampirism and You (A Beginner’s Guide to the Change) that his foster-vampire sire Duncan gives him can’t prepare him for everything. A new vampire appears at the house he shares with Duncan and while Eli appears to be friendly, Duncan hates him and tells Louis to stay away from Eli at all costs. And while Louis wants to eat the girls around him, he doesn’t want to date them. Does that make him a gay vampire? Louis isn’t sure what the answer is but increasingly all the questions about his sexuality seem to have Duncan as their focus.

But soon Louis learns that life is not all vampire fun and games. There is great intrigue, and evil court politics to contend with. Plus Louis is having nightmares that keep getting more vivid all the time and the answers seem to lie in his past. Louis must contend with unexpected evil, horny cheerleaders, and the possibility he just might be gay all at the same time. Hopefully the guidebook can help him, now only if he could remember to read his homework!

I have found a new addiction and it’s not one book or even two. It’s a new series from Missouri Dalton and Torquere Press’s YA Press, Prizm Books. The Guidebooks series revolves around a group of supernatural guidebooks, each a part of a series for a group of supernatural practitioners and/or supernatural beings. Whether it be necromancers or vampires or something more, each book is delivered or given to a teenager as they come of age (whether it is being turned or coming into their powers). The first book in the series, Vampirism and You (A Beginner’s Guide to the Change) is given to one Louis Van Graves shortly after he is turned on his 17th birthday.

What a spectacular idea for a series! And with Missouri Dalton, an author I have come to throughly enjoy, as it’s creator, the series has really taken flight into the realm of classic storytelling. Louis Van Graves is that typical teenager at 17 years of age who has been made to do something he never wanted to do. Of course, we aren’t talking woodshop here. Louis has been made into a vampire through no true choice of his own. Not only was his name picked out of a hat but he also was promised something huge by the Countess if he agreed to be turned. In exchange for his mortal life, the Countess agrees to let his sister live a normal life and his family leave her employ to become “normal” once more after centuries as indentured servants. But that meant that Louis had to become the sacrificial lamb for his sister and family, something none of them even tried to stop. So Louis’ feelings here are more than the normal sullen, pouting teenager. In Dalton’s hands, we have a young intelligent man, separated forever from his family, forced by love to become something he never wanted and removed to the American Midwest, a foreign place in everyway, including culture no matter that we both speak “English”. Louis is profoundly hurt, not that he would ever let on and he is trying to figure out what it all means. Just as any teenager is trying to do but in extreme circumstances. The character of Louis manages to come across as not only a believable teenager going through the appropriate stages of emotional growth but also as a realistic young vampire trying to figure out his newly dead and supposedly long lasting status. Such a dichotomy, to walk the halls of high school, navigating the social cliques of that age but having to walk hallways full of newly categorized food.

Louis has to contend with not only relocation and new status as a vampire but a foster sire as well. Duncan (another marvelous character) has taken control of Louis as the Countess is not “terribly maternally”. This is Louis’ first introduction to Duncan his foster sire. Louis has been shipped off in a coffin, wearing clothes more suitable to a 18th pirate than a teenage boy:

Then again — the hearse went over a particularly large pothole, knocking my head into the lid of the coffin. It didn’t budge so much as a centimeter, seeing how I was locked in. Apparently her ladyship thought I might try to make a run for it. How right she was. The hearse quite suddenly rumbled to a stop. I heard the doors open and close. And then my coffin was being lifted and carried. An odd sensation I’ll admit.

There was the sound of doors — sliding doors, sucking sounding, like at the market. Footsteps echoed outside the coffin, not wood floors, tile probably.

They didn’t take me to a morgue did they?

Another ten minutes of jostling and my coffin was set down — not far down, probably on a raised surface. There was a jingle of keys and click of one turning in a lock before the lid was pushed open. I rolled over and sat up, and was met with the speculative look of a man much better dressed than myself. His dark hair was slicked back neatly, and his striped blue button-down shirt was tucked into pressed black slacks.

“Hello, Captain,” he said, blue eyes hiding laughter rather unsuccessfully.

“Bite me.”

“I may take you up on that.” Without a word, he slid his arms under my legs and armpits and lifted me out of the coffin, setting me down on my feet.

“Bloody hell!” I glared, “I didn’t ask for help.”

“Uh huh.” He picked up a clipboard from a table next to my coffin, which itself was on a metal table in the gray-tiled room with gray walls and flickering overhead 6 lights. There were three other tables, two of which held open coffins.

“I see you’ve come to us from Countess Von Graves.”

“Yes.” So the Von Graves name came from her ladyship — it’s still ridiculous.

“She’s marked you as a flight risk — well, first things first, a change of clothes.” He jerked his thumb at the door. “Follow me.” Not having any other choice, I followed. The next room was carpeted, narrow, and long. A table ran along the length of the left side of the room, mirrors covered the right-hand wall — not that I could see myself in them anymore — and there was a door at the very end. The table had a myriad of things. Boxes filled with odds and ends, files, clothes, and a couple of coolers. He grabbed jeans and a plain black T-shirt from the table and tossed them to me. Of course it was black. Never mind that I looked much better in other colors. “Put these on.” He turned around, I suppose to give me privacy, and I stripped down as quickly as I could and redressed in the fresh clothes. Much better.

“All done.”

He turned to me and grinned. “Good.” Walking farther into the room, he dug through the clutter on the table to retrieve a small metal vial and a bracelet that had an obvious setting for the tiny vial at the front. He stepped back to me. “Now, the Countess marked your file, but I prefer to just ask. Are you a flight risk?”

“No,” I snapped.

“So yes then.” He nodded. “You get a tracking device.” He held up the vial and bracelet. The bracelet he snapped around my wrist before I could blink. Then, he bit down on his lip, drawing blood, and dripped one drop into the vial, closed it, and slid it onto the bracelet with a click.

And with that, Louis’ education begins.

I love how beautifully Dalton incorporates the typical teenage feelings and moods into a 17 year old newly formed vampire with it’s own newly acquired needs. Louis has not just regular teenage hormones to contend with but the hyped up sexuality of a vampire. Quite overwhelming to someone who has never dated. Louis must traverse not only the pitfalls and crevasses of an american high school but those of vampire society, each with its own dangers.

Missouri Dalton never loses track of the age of her main character or of her core audience no matter how dire the circumstances of Louis’ life or unlife becomes. Louis’ has a singular voice, so typically teenage but full of personality. He is alternately sarcastic and hopeful, wry and hurt, little sparks of youthful arrogance appearing when you least expect to do along with equal amounts of hidden humility. So engaging, that you become involved in Louis’ plight immediately as the true precarious nature of his status becomes known. And that leads us into the darker sections of this novel.

Yes, there are plenty of funny situations here but there are also just as many dire ones as well as the book continues, these are vampires after all. There are references to some horrific events, none of which are described or actually referred to in terms that I think might be warranted. There is a “blood rape” where one is bitten against their wishes. That is described but not in overly vivid terms. Dalton doesn’t need them in order for us to see and feel the horror of the event. And there is more, also either in the past or not described. But they do occur.

This is also a book about a teenager finding out not only he is gay and coming to terms with his sexuality. But it’s also about being a sexual person. OK, think of teenagers and their hormones and then multiply that. And Louis’ has to come to grips with all of that and more. It’s funny, it’s painful and at one point horrific. And at alls times, it also feels very real. There are no explicit sexual scenes here, just the wants and emotions associated with sexuality. Louis’ emotions are those we can easily understand with dealing with growing up and becoming a sexual being. It’s confusing, confounding, and can overwhelm our senses. Plus with Louis there is something more going on. The vampires or at least a contingent of them are dark, evil beings and have been so for centuries. And they want Louis. Not a good thing, trust me.

Missouri Dalton has also populated this book and her series with one memorable being after another, each a fully fleshed out (for the most part) character with real feelings and emotions backing up their actions. Her settings too ring with authenticity from high school plays and social dynamics to the Courts of Vampire Society that feel as real as the high school gymnasium. Not a hint of a jumbled narrative to be seen here.

My only issue is a slight one and that would be the ending. A few loose ends still frayed and lagging in the wind. They are tied up neatly in the beginning of Necromancy and You (Guidebooks #02) but still those bits here keep this from a perfect 5 star rating. This is a YA story but definitely geared towards the older crowd. I am thinking 15 to Adult, nothing younger. There are some very dark issues here that have to be addressed, not just youthful hormones. I can’t say anything further because I won’t spoil this book. But if you have a sensitive child, read the story for yourself first before giving it to them. Always a good idea at any rate.

I have to admit I read Necromancy and You first, and then came back to pick this one up. How do they fare? Well, I found this story to be a little darker but both are just outstanding and I will be recommending this series as one of the Best of 2013 and 2015. it holds up that well. Whether you are 15 or 50 and older, this story and this series is for you. Memorable characters, thrilling narrative, great dialog…really it has it all. Start at the beginning and work your way through. What a marvelous journey it is going to be.

Book/Series Covers by LC Chase. Each cover is the cover of the Guidebook given to the teenager in the story. This a great idea and the covers work perfectly in every way.

Sales Links: Torquere Books |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 199 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Prizm Books
ISBN1610404297 (ISBN13: 9781610404297)
edition language English
url
series Guidebook #01

Halloween Book Spotlight Special: Devil’s Jawbone by BJ Sheppard (excerpt and contest)

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Devil’s Jawbone by BJ Sheppard
Release Date: October 31, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: BJ Sheppard
Cover Artist: BJ Sheppard

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Blurb

As night descends on the town of Devil’s Jawbone, no one is safe. The veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and the darkest side of human nature is boiling to the surface. The supernatural and the natural are colliding, and in this sleepy town, the bump in the night is taking human form. Innocence will be lost; the villain will become the victor; spirits will rise and Satan himself will come to town.

In an eerie collection of short speculative fiction, author BJ Sheppard will grab your imagination, bringing new life to the classic campfire tales synonymous with the scariest of occasions. Halloween will never be the same again.

 

Pages or Words: Approximately 50,000 words
Categories: Gay fiction, Horror

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Excerpt

Janine Richards had been the first to see the body, arriving an hour early to train for that Friday’s track meet. Through the indigo rays of morning, she had expected peace and quiet but instead had been gifted with the body of the football team’s quarterback hanging from the centre bar of the goal post. The police had arrived after her frantic call and all the yellow tape in the world couldn’t stop the student body from stopping to share in the horror, the grief that had blanketed DJ High.

Riley fought his way through the crowd and stopped only when Logan’s body, still hanging one hour after its discovery, swung lazily on a gentle autumn breeze. His stomach lurched and his eyes prickled, yet he couldn’t peel them away.

What, only one day previously, had been a generally happy, albeit momentarily pissed, Logan Greenway was now reduced to a bloating blue-black sac of meat swaying from the goal that Riley himself had scored over several times at practice the night before. The soccer net around his neck had bitten bloodily into his neck, which was pitched at an awkward angle and coated with what looked like thick black paint under the gentle rays of morning sun. Riley fought the urge to run, closed his throat against the violent clench in his stomach that had only occurred before when he was sick, and turned from the body that was once his teammate.

Logan had not been suicidal, that much was the truth. He had been distracted, pissed at Coach for his harsh behavior, but Logan Greenway had been the boy who had it all. Nothing about his life had held a suggestion that things weren’t going exactly the way he wanted.

Riley thought to his own home life, to the secret of his father’s sudden departure that lingered on the tip of his tongue ready to be spilled. Everyone has a secret, he thought, playing nervously with the straps of his rucksack. But what was Logan’s?

It didn’t matter anymore. Logan Greenway was dead. And school was out for the day.

 

Buy the book: Smashwords | Amazon UK| AmazonUS | AmazonCA |AmazonAU

Meet the Author

My name is BJ Sheppard and all at once I found myself an author. Such a strange sensation to actually feel you deserve the thing you had aspired to for many years. After all, all it took was computer access and an inner world that reads like a Sheryl Crow song to pound the keys and translate my crazy ideas onto the page. I feel like I could have business cards printed. Maybe wear a black roll neck and perch my glasses on the tip of my nose. I could drink whisky and smoke a cigar and do all those really stereotypical things I imagine all writers do. Perhaps I could get laid a little more? This is not the end. Nor the beginning. Hell, it isn’t even about me. My boys write themselves; I really don’t have that much say in the matter. As long as my characters need a voice, I have two chubby typing fingers and a need to please— watch this space: there is more to come.

Where to find the author:

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Tour Dates & Stops: October 31, 2015

Parker Williams, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, The Hat Party, SA McAuley, KathyMac Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Bayou Book Junkie, Inked Rainbow Reads, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Charley Descoteaux, Louise Lyons, Cheekypee Reads and Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, Velvet Panic, Molly Lolly

 

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: eBook of ‘Devil’s Jawbone’ by BJ Sheppard.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Scary Review Redux: Lily By Xavier Axelson (A MelanieM Review)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Being a single Dad is hard enough but when Pryor loses his daughter Lily in an unthinkable event he thinks he has experienced the ultimate horror but it’s when Lily returns he realizes his nightmare has only just begun…

LilyWhen Pryor’s daughter Lily is taken by a wolf, Pryor is convinced she has turned into the creature he sees lurking in his woods. He swears she promises to return to him. But is it his despair and desperation making him see things or is there something more lurking in the shadows of the forest?

When he meets Ned, a silversmith who helps him with a plan to bring his daughter back into his life, he begins to live again. But can his newfound love help ease the horror that may be waiting? What if the ultimate horror isn’t when Lily was taken but it’s when Lily returns and he realizes his nightmare has only just begun…Its Father’s Day and two men are waiting for a little girl to appear.  They are waiting for Lily.    Lily, his beloved little girl, had been lost a year ago, dragged off into the woods by a wolf.  In the time since, Pryor, consumed with his loss, has retreated to his cabin, his days numbed by his grief. Only the love and support of  Ned, his partner, and a plan to reclaim his daughter has kept him sane.  And now the time has come to see if she will return to him, if only for a day.

What a marvelous short story Lily is.  Lyrical in language and strong in its empathy for a parent’s pain, it has a singular voice in Pryor, Lily’s father.  To Pryor ” still believe being Lily’s father is the most important thing in this world.”  And you feel that hole in his life so acutely as she described just before she is ripped from him, her hair all “wild and white – blonde”.  Pryor’s voice and his descriptions provide a wealth of clues and information about his past.  He hears voices, whether is the derogatory words of his dead mother, or whispers from the woods.    He described his lover’s beard as his “summer fur”, and stares into the moonlight woods searching for signs of his daughter.   All three characters here are beautifully realized, one heartbroken, one steady and one filled with wildness and innocence.  I love how we are fed bits of information until we can finally spin together the fibers that make up the tapestry that is this family and its tragedy.

There is such a distinctive style to this story, as the mundane are juxtaposed with the magical.  Like silk against the skin, this story glides over into your memory.  I loved this and hope you will feel the same.

New cover, much better than the original.  Adds a little more shiver to the tone with the new font and love the white wolf. Although I am never a fan of a division so severe in the design, the red line here, especially when it bisects the title.  That’s a minus.

 

Sales Links:  Amazon | Buy It Here

Books Details:

ebook, 54 pages, every page a must read
Published May 2014 by Seventh Window Publications (first published January 13th 2012)
ISBN139780989606035
edition languageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: Purpose by Andrew Q. Gordon

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Purpose coverForty years ago the Spirit of Vengeance—a Purpose—took William Morgan as its host, demanding he avenge the innocent by killing the guilty. Since then, Will has retreated behind Gar, a façade he uses to avoid dealing with what he’s become. Cold, impassive, and devoid of emotion, Gar goes about his life alone—until his tidy, orderly world is upended when he meets Ryan, a broken young man cast out by his family. Spurred to action for reasons he can’t understand, Gar saves Ryan from death and finds himself confronted by his humanity.

Spending time with Ryan helps Will claw out from under Gar’s shadow. He recognizes Ryan is the key to his reclaiming his humanity and facing his past. As Will struggles to control the Purpose, Ryan challenges him to rethink everything he knew about himself and the spirit that possesses him. In the process, he pushes Will to do something he hasn’t done in decades: care.

There are two things you should know before you start reading this book. First of all, the story is pretty violent at times. In the beginning, Gar is essentially a cold-blooded killer. He does have his reasons, but he still kills people. Second, there is no happy end, probably making “Purpose” more of a sci-fi/fantasy story than a traditional romance.

This book was incredibly intense and emotionally challenging. I found myself deeply engrossed after only a few sentences. I couldn’t put my kindle down at all. I started this on a long train ride, where I usually read a bit and then turn on my laptop. This time, I didn’t even unpack my laptop. And the train ride suddenly wasn’t all that long either.

The setting seemed very unique to me. Gar/Will is possessed by what he refers to as the Purpose. He doesn’t really know all that much about It. He only knows that It somehow draws the souls of innocents to him and he has to avenge them by killing their killers. Memories of former hosts have shown him that ignoring Its will results in insanity within a few days.

Like previous hosts, Will has adapted the persona of Gar, a cold, emotionless man, who lives solely for the Purpose. He doesn’t have friends, family or a lover, so when he finds himself suddenly attracted to Ryan, it comes as a huge shock. He hasn’t been attracted to anybody in forty years and suddenly he feels like he just has to speak to this stranger on the train.

With Ryan’s help, Will takes over again and pushes Gar to the back of his mind. It was intriguing to watch cold, distant Gar slowly turn back into Will. They really felt like two completely different people. Reading about Will’s pain broke my heart. Reading about his struggles and doubts made me want to hug him. It was frighteningly easy to feel really connected to him.

The author came up with some pretty interesting ideas. Like the scrambler-box that lets Will turn invisible or take on a completely different look at his will. That explains how he managed to go undetected for forty years. He did kill countless people, after all, and the police don’t make a distinction between innocent victims and those who truly deserve to die. The author eventually came up with a thoroughly logical explanation for everything and I absolutely love him for that. Andrew Q. Gordon really thought this through.

The relationship between Ryan and Will is absolutely crucial for the plot and yet somehow doesn’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things at the same time. I could really feel the connection between those two.

The author decided to solely write from Will’s POV, which worked really well. I loved that there were more personal journal entries in between the normal chapters. Even when Will was still Gar, the journal entries felt very thoughtful and emotional.

I decided to knock off half a star because while there eventually was an explanation for everything, it took a long time to get to that point, often leaving me wondering just how this all worked.

To sum it up, I absolutely loved this book. It was unique, imaginative, intense and deeply moving. Had everything been explained a little sooner, I would’ve happily given this the full five stars.

This is my first book by Andrew Q. Gordon, but it definitely won’t be my last. This man seriously knows how to write!

I’m also fast becoming a real fan of DSP Publications and their unique fantasy novels.

Cover: The cover by AngstyG is brilliant. It shows Gar in his black-and-white world and Will in his world that suddenly has shades of gray.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by DSP Publications* (first published June 21st 2013)
ISBN1634761626 (ISBN13: 9781634761628)
edition language English

A BJ Review: Dark Space (Dark Space #1) by Lisa Henry

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Dark Space coverBrady Garrett needs to go home. He’s a conscripted recruit on Defender Three, one of a network of stations designed to protect the Earth from alien attack. He’s also angry, homesick, and afraid. If he doesn’t get home he’ll lose his family, but there’s no way back except in a body bag.

Cameron Rushton needs a heartbeat. Four years ago Cam was taken by the Faceless—the alien race that almost destroyed Earth. Now he’s back, and when the doctors make a mess of getting him out of stasis, Brady becomes his temporary human pacemaker. Except they’re sharing more than a heartbeat: they’re sharing thoughts, memories, and some very vivid dreams.

Not that Brady’s got time to worry about his growing attraction to another guy, especially the one guy in the universe who can read his mind. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just biochemistry and electrical impulses. It doesn’t change the truth: Brady’s alone in the universe.

Now the Faceless are coming and there’s nothing anyone can do. You can’t stop your nightmares. Cam says everyone will live, but Cam’s probably a traitor and a liar like the military thinks. But that’s okay. Guys like Brady don’t expect happy endings.

Lovely sci-fi story. Intriguing premise, wonderful writing that dragged me right into the action and didn’t let me go. Awesome world-building. But overall it was the characters that blew me away. Such nuance! The telepathy between the two main characters was handled beautifully. Cam’s face and reputation had drilled into Brady’s mind. But everyone had given him up for dead. Now he’s not only back among the living, but connected to Brady. In his head. Heart beats synced. But really… imagine having to share your head with a sexy, poster boy soldier emerging from a traumatic experience that you yourself could never have endured.

For me, this story showed so clearly how two people often react so completely differently to the same experience. How they handle it and deal with it in ways that the other may even find hard to understand. While one person may come through an event mostly unscathed and may even look back and see the positives that came from it, another may come away severely damaged.  Cam came through the traumatic events with Kai-Ren and the faceless, but Brady clearly would not have been able to do the same.

Despite the dark elements of this story (prior non-con for both main characters, scary, no terrifying, aliens, and even the death of secondary character) and the dismal dystopian world in which it’s set, the relationship that develops between these two MCs is amazingly sweet and their sex nurturing as well as sizzling hot. The angst was handled perfectly.

For those who don’t believe in gay-for-you, give this one a try. It might change your mind. That element was excellently handled. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Brady didn’t have any lengthy self-hating, but analyzed and accepted what he was feeling. Heck, every element was excellently handled. This was a stunning story—I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Well, yes, I could. I want more! And luckily, the author seems to have heard our cry as book two, Darker Space, is out now. Look for my review here soon.

The cover set’s the theme perfectly as m/m sci-fi… the darker, muted colors work perfect for the novel’s tone. The model is exactly how I had pictured the main character Brady.

Sales Links:   Loose id LLC | ARe | Amazon | Buy It Here


Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages
Published December 4th 2012 by Loose Id, LLC
original titleDark Space
ISBN139781623001124
seriesDark Space #1

Dark Space
Darker Space (Dark Space)

A Paul B Review: Paws, Preening and a Pumpkin Patch (Wolves of Stone Ridge #31) by Charlie Richards

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Paws, Preening and a Pumpkin Patch coverHessian (Hess) Roshburg, a Kodiak bear shifter, has come to the Stone Ridge wolf pack territory to meet with a former military acquaintance.  It seems the pack has gotten itself mixed up with some vampire, gargoyles and the CIA.  He also has information about the shifter council that he believes that the pack alpha Declan McIntire should know about.

Gilbert, a raven shifter, and his flock have recently settled in the territory of the Stone Ridge wolf pack after being held captive in Russian for several years.  The wolves helped liberate them from the captors and offered them sanctuary until they have readjusted to real life.  Things like clothes and how to use a telephone is lost on members of his flock who were taken captive at an early age.  To help in their transition Gilbert and his flock decide to go out dancing at a local club that is frequented by the local shifters.

At the bar, Gilbert watches members of his flock flirt hopelessly at the bar staff and other bar patrons.  While headed to the bar to retrieve drinks for his friends, he runs into a big bear of a man.  Gilbert realizes that not only is this man a shifter, but also his mate.  Gilbert tells Hess that Fate must be mistaken since they are total opposites and that now was not exactly a good time to find his mate as his flock needs him.  Hess must convince his mate that he can have both if he wants.  However, will the information that Hess has retrieved for his friend put a premature stop to this mating before it even begins?

This thirty-first book in the Stone Ridge series introduces two new characters in the series.  We have met Gilbert in passing while he was held captive in Russia but know nothing about him.  His reluctance to mate with Hess is understandable.  First he is the de facto beta to this flock of birds that have been held captive for up to forty years for some of them.  Next, he feels that Hess has betrayed them because government agents are after Hess because of the information that he stole.  The character of Hess was somewhat confusing to me.  He left his clan at 27 because he was stronger than the alpha but is still roaming about as a loner.  And he speaks to others in somewhat youngish manner.  He calls a cougar shifter “kitty” and his mate “pretty slender.”  It just seemed out of place for someone who is as strong as Hess is supposed to be.  But I still enjoyed the book despite this.

The cover art by Angela Waters once again delivers.  It shows Gilbert in the foreground in his human form with Hess in his bear form wandering around a pumpkin patch in the background.  The cover perfectly fits the book.

Sales Links:  Extasy Books | Goodreads | Amazon

Buy It Here

Book details

ebook, 102 pages
Published October 15th 2015 by Extasy Books
ISBN139781487405496
edition languageEnglish
seriesWolves of Stone Ridge #31

Series:  Wolves of Stone Ridge

Get Into the Halloween Spirit with VL Locey ‘An Erie Halloween’ (excerpt and giveaway)

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An Erie Halloween (Lake Erie Shifters #1) by V.L. Locey
Release Date: October 20, 2013

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Torquere Press

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Blurb

Templeton Reed has been hiding his inner polecat since he was a child. Keeping his animal secreted is hard for a shifter, especially when one is living in a secret community of mystical beings. It`s the wolf shifters that cause Templeton the most trouble with their darned sensitive noses.

Templeton has a run-in with the Lake Erie pack and their alpha, Mikel Lupei, at the Office for Transmogrification Registration (OTTER). Templeton has a desk job checking registration papers and dealing with wolf shifters is not part of his job description. After that upsetting meeting the meek and mild office worker suddenly finds himself in the center of not only civil unrest among the shifter community, but a violent plan for a coup aimed at rousting Mikel.

Templeton and Mikel, a skilled tracker of rogue shifters, are soon not only fighting for their lives, they`re also fighting the rigidly archaic rules of their kind, as well as the person responsible for trying to take over Mikel`s pack from the inside. Can this magical odd couple turn a passionate attraction into a full-fledged love affair?

 

Pages or Words: 65 pages
Categories: M/M Romance, Paranormal

Excerpt

As I walked, I rolled odd change around inside my coat pockets. The streets were busy as last minute shoppers ran to get their candy and costumes for the big night tomorrow. Head down and mind running a mile a minute, I never saw the brick wall disguised as a man I ran into. Face into the wind, I never smelled him either. The amber eyes and brindle hair were all that stopped me from either screaming or shifting. Mikel pulled me into a small bookstore. I went along because I really had no choice, but once inside the quaint bookery, I jerked my arm from his grasp. Several patrons glanced at us. Mikel muscled me into a row holding non-fiction and historical. He grabbed a book and opened it, his sharp gaze flitting between me and a fascinating how-to grow-your-own-beets book.

“Is there a reason you abducted me from the street?” I asked, moving back slightly when his big body pressed closer to allow a woman to pass behind him. His proximity was beyond distressing. It was arousing. Now that he had me cornered, there was no getting away from the heady scent that he exuded: Part sin, part warm fur, part earthy pine, wholly distracting.

“I`ve been trying to contact you for days. Why didn`t you return my calls?” he whispered, keeping his big chest plastered to my left arm. My spine was firmly against a bookshelf.

“There are several reasons,” I replied trying to sound snooty but sounding meagerly twitterpated. “One is that our classes don`t mix. . .”

“That`s a paltry reason, Templeton,” Mikel said gruffly, snapping his beet book closed.

“Well, it may be for you, but when one`s boss tells one to keep his distance and – hey!” I grabbed for my glasses when he plucked them off the bridge of my nose. Folding my arms over my pea coat, I glowered at the oaf. There would be no leaping up and down. Those days ended when I left high school. The touch of his fingers on my chin brought out an age-old response. I jerked back hard. The bookcase behind me wobbled dangerously. Mikel dropped his book to steady the shelving unit. My heart was trying to explode through my chest like an alien baby. The lycan inhaled several times then gave me a dark look.

“Calm yourself, Templeton, your odor is growing stronger.”

“Sorry, it`s just this is all too – too much,” I gasped, working to calm myself before the tingling at the base of my spine began. The bells over the front door tinkled melodiously. Soft conversation bounced off the spines of books. Mikel tipped my head back and kissed me. Right there in the middle of the non-fiction. His lips were soft. Sinfully soft. It took my lashes a moment after his mouth left mine to flutter upward. Squinting skyward, I tried to read his face but it was a blur. My glasses were placed back onto my face, albeit crookedly, and then I could see the glow of golden eyes. Oh my . .

Buy the book: Torquere Books

SAVE 50% by using this code: eriehalloween at checkout.

 

Meet the Author

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, two dogs, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and three Jersey steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.

 

Where to find the author:

 


BannerTemplateTour Dates & Stops: October 30 & 31, 2015

October 30, 2015

SiK Reviews, The Hat Party, Havan Fellows, Bayou Book Junkie, Happily Ever Chapter, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Jessie G. Books, 3 Chicks After Dark, Inked Rainbow Reads, Charley Descoteaux, MM Good Book Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Book Blog, Sassygirl Books, Cathy Brockman Romances, Cheekypee Reads and Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

31-Oct

Molly Lolly, Parker Williams

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘An Erie Halloween’ by V.L. Locey.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Contemporary Spotlight: Will & Patrick Wake Up Married ( Wake Up Married Episode 1) by Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths

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Will & Patrick Wake Up Married ( Wake Up Married, Episode 1)

by Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths

Publisher:  Leta Blake Books
Release Date: October 27, 2015

Genre:  Romantic Comedy M/M Romance
Tags:  gay, woke up married, tropes, rom-com, mafia, forced marriage, disabled heroes

Book/Buy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Wake Up Married Banner

Book Blurb

Join the wild ride in this vibrant and fun first installment of the new romantic comedy serial by best-selling author Leta Blake and newcomer Alice Griffiths!

After a drunken night of hot sex in Vegas, strangers Will Patterson and Dr. Patrick McCloud wake up married. A quickie divorce is the most obvious way out—unless you’re the heir of a staunchly Catholic mafia boss with a draconian position on the sanctity of marriage.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Will and Patrick don’t like it, or each other, but they have to make the best of it until they can find another way out of their marriage. To ensure the trust fund Will’s charitable foundation relies on isn’t revoked by his mobster grandfather, he and Patrick travel to Will’s hometown of Healing, South Dakota, posing as a newlywed couple in the throes of true love at first sight.

Complicating their scheme are Will’s unresolved feelings for his all-too-recent ex-boyfriend Ryan, and Patrick’s desire to get back to the only thing that really matters to him in life: neurosurgery. Will they fool everyone? Or will the mafia get wind that their marriage is a fake? Throw their simmering attraction into the mix and all bets are off!

Episode 1 of 6 in the Wake Up Married Serial.

Excerpt

Patrick sits down beside Will and rubs his hands together in anticipation. “So, what did Granny say? Can she free me from the shackles of our loveless union?”

Will puts his head in his hands. “It’s not going to be as easy as I hoped initially. It might take some time.”

“We knew that. How much time? A week? Two?”

“Maybe a month?”

“What?” Patrick’s voice is loud.

“Maybe more than a month? Possibly up to a year?”

Patrick’s eyes grow dark with anger. “Don’t tell me the all-powerful Eleanora Molinaro you were going on about so enthusiastically when you were convincing me of this half-baked scheme can’t make a little inadvertent marriage disappear.”

“Could you hold it down?” Will whispers. “Or do you want someone to hear?”

“Oooh, right, the Molinaro spies. Might have the place bugged. Guess I shouldn’t yell then? I’m not your toy, Will. I want a divorce and I want one now,” Patrick hollers.

Will glares at him. He raises his own voice, saying, “Don’t be so dramatic, baby!”

He stares Patrick down, daring him to say something else. “You know I love you more than life!”

Patrick looks daggers at him. “Who do you think you’re fooling, Will? The bellhops? The maids?” He wipes a hand across his face and rises. “You know, no. I can’t believe I’ve let your paranoia and insanity drag me across the country into this hornet’s nest of absurdity and—”

Patrick rants on, but Will’s not paying attention anymore, because Patrick’s tossing his new clothes onto the bed, and getting out his suitcases.

“Wait,” Will says, putting his hands on Patrick’s arms. “Wait, don’t.”

Patrick throws a shirt into the bag and sighs. “What do you want from me? I gave your plan a chance, but there is no way in hell I’m going to hang around this town for a year. Not when I could be at the Mayo Clinic or Cedars-Sinai or Vandy. Not when I can be honing my skills and expanding my practice. I am not small-town material, Will. I’m the big-time. I have absolutely no desire to play your loving spouse indefinitely and if

your grandmother can’t get us out of this mess? Well, I sure as hell can.”

“Look,” Will says. “I know you can. I just need you…no, no, stop that. You’re not going anywhere.” Will pushes Patrick, trying to move him away from the bags.

Patrick lurches toward him, gripping his forearms and shoving him back with surprising strength. “I’ve been pushed around enough in my life, Will. Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’m going to take care of this my way.”

Will breathes in hard. Terror and attraction jolts through him at once. He swallows and backs away from Patrick, his hands shaking, and his throat dry. Blood rushes in his ears.

Patrick picks up his bag and heads for the door. Will tries to block Patrick from getting it open.

“Really? It’s come to this? Holding me against my will?”

Will pushes the barely open door shut with a hard slam. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Patrick. This is just our first lover’s spat. That’s all. The first of many to come in our long, wonderfully happy marriage.”

Patrick stares at him like he’s kind of impressed by this level of insanity. “Good God, you’re drinking your own Kool-Aid.”

“Yeah, well, it’s a very, very expensive drink.”

“You think you’re so clever don’t you?”

Will shrugs. “I think I don’t know what else to do.”

Heat Level (1 being no sexual content, 5 being erotica): 2 for this Episode, 5 for entire serial
Pairing: M/M
Length: 32,000 words

Author Biosimage

Leta Blake

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more about her by following her online:

Alice Griffiths

A long-time reader of romance novels, Alice Griffiths finally took the plunge into writing, teaming up with best-selling author Leta Blake for the ‘Woke up Married’ serialized comedy. A lover of tropes, Alice enjoys mining old ideas and putting a fresh, funny spin on them. Formerly working in the newspaper industry, Alice is now an art curator. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

You can find out more about her by following her online:

Tour Schedule

10/26

Bike Book Reviews

http://bikebookreviews.blogspot.com

10/26

Unrandom Randomness

http://bronwynheeley.blogspot.com.au

10/26

Gay Book Reviews

Front

10/26

Mikky’s World Of Books

http://mikkysworldofbooks.blogspot.fr/

10/26

World of Diversity Fiction

http://wodfreview.com

10/27

BookWinked

Www.bookwinked.com

10/27

Literary Nymphs Hot List

http://literarynymphshotlist.blogspot.com/

10/27

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

http://www.scatteredthoughtsandroguewords.com

10/28

two chicks obsessed with books and eye candy

twochicksobsessed.com

10/28

3 Chicks After Dark

http://3chicksafterdark.com/

10/28

Sinfully Addicted

http://sinfullysexybooks.blogspot.co.uk/

10/28

Gay.Guy.Reading and Friends

http://ggr-review.com/

10/28

Andrew Grey

andrewgreybooks.com

10/29

JB’s Book Obsession

http://jbsbookobsession.blogspot.com/

10/29

QUEERcentric Books

http://www.blog.queercentricbooks.com

10/29

V’s Reads

http://vsreads.com

10/30

Abbey’s 1-Click Book Blog

http://www.abbeys1clickblog.com

10/30

Inked Rainbow Reads

http://www.inkedrainbowreads.com

10/30

Bayou Book Junkie

http://bayoubookjunkie.blogspot.com/

10/30

Teatime and Books

http://www.teatimeandbooks76.blogspot.com

10/30

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

http://ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords.com

10/30

MM Good Book Reviews

https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/

Giveaway

Wake Up Married Banner

Prize: 2 copies of Will & Patrick Wake Up Married (Wake Up Married, Episode 1)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Must be 18 years of age to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Indigo Marketing.

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A Scary Review Redux: Sand and Ruin and Gold by Alexis Hall (A MelanieM Review)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5 (for story and cover)   ★★★★★

Once upon a time . . . that’s how the old stories always begin.

And so this one begins, in a land both foreign and familiar, it’s a tale of princes, and merfolk and love…of a sort.

Once upon a time there was a king of a fallen kingdom. He was just and he was beloved. Or so the numbers said. One day, he gathered together the greatest, wisest minds in all the land—not sorcerers, but scientists—and he bade them fashion him a son. A prince. A perfect prince to embody his father’s legacy. 

Sand and Gold and RuinBut as fate would have it, nothing ever turns out as planned and the golden perfect prince had other ideas for his future. After gazing upon the dances of the mer in a performance, our prince runs off to join the circus, the Cirque de la Mer.  Once there the prince trained the merfolk,  he performed with them, and  thought he was happy…for a year.

Time brought strange thoughts and emotions to the prince the closer he got to the merfolk. Then Nerites arrives, a mesmerizing merman who refused to be trained or tamed.  Nerites was something far more than the prince ever expected.  Nerites was savage and unknown.

How does the tale end?  Ah, there’s the rub.  For every prince, there exists a beast, and for every love, there exists a forever heartbreak.  Sand and Ruin and Gold has them all.

Sand and Ruin and Gold hearkens back to the olden stories.  Not the comforting ” Disneyfied” fairytales but those of Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson.  Here the darkness and unknown reign supreme, not happy endings or light.  Less a tale of romance, this beautifully written short story builds an atmosphere of  creeping foreboding, a sense that not everything is as it seems.  The poetic nature of the narrative combined with an imagery that will enchant, then leave you haunted by the possibilities, make Sand and Ruin and Gold by Alexis Hall a short story that refuses to be limited by category or trope.

The feeling of something just off kilter is already present at the beginning.  Hall’s prince isn’t born, he’s a genetically perfected young man, created to be the ideal heir to a “good” king who resides over a fallen land.  The clues and telling phrases are slipped in sparingly at first, then in ever increasing numbers. As new descriptions of the circus and the shows appear, a far different picture emerges from our original assumptions of the merfolk and the circumstances at the Circus.  And along with it comes the feeling one gets when the hairs rise off your arm when frightened or the queasiness that originates in your stomach when it dawns on you that something you thought was happily normal or ordinary turns out to be fearfully, horrifically wrong.

Alexis Hall understands how to build a powerfully evocative story, one that runs more along the lines of those classics passed from bard to bard, told around fires in great halls and forests alike.  Whether those bards be from the past or perhaps even our future, that is but one more chilling aspect of this story, a tale that exists in the mists and ocean eddies of the dark seas of this unknown world. But its Hall’s stylistically vivid and powerful narrative with its lush descriptions that makes this story so stunning, so poignant.  This is how it starts out:

“I must have been very young when I saw the mermaids at the Cirque de la Mer because it was the nurse who took me and her place in my life was soon surrendered to tutors. I don’t think my father ever found out.  He would not have approved.

The day is little more than a sensory haze, of pastel children, the laughter of strangers, and the burn of salt and chemicals at the back of my throat.

The mermaids, though.  They are as vivid as stained glass, even now.”

Told from the prince’s pov, we feel his assumptions of his life and the circus fall slowly away as comprehension and understanding arrive building block by building block as events unfold around him.  It is a tale of deep love faced amidst horrifying truths.  One reading will not be enough to capture all the incredible and terrifying moments as sudden realization, and insight sets in.

And then there is that ending, the one that will refuse to let you go.  Its in the words and feelings that emerge, and the tears that will run down your face as you try to decide the implications of words strung like pearls, luminescent and beyond value.  An ending that will send you back to the beginning of the story and start this tale once more.

I highly recommend this story to all readers.  This is a story that should be on everyones shelf, whether it be made of wood or eReader.  This is one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Best of 2014 as is its cover.

Cover Artist:  Simone.  The artwork for Sand and Ruin and Gold is every bit as lush and haunting as the story itself. One of the best covers of the year.

Sales Links:    Riptide Publishing           All Romance (ARe)        amazon          Sand and Ruin and Gold

Book Details:

ebook, 39 pages
Published September 22nd 2014 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626492318
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://riptidepublishing.com/title

A Free Dreamer Review: Retribution (Tribute #2) by Kate Pearce

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Retribution_600x900Cheated out of his exit from the Tribute program, Kai Mexr is forced to return as a trainer for one more year. His trainee, Aled Price, is an idealistic Mitan patriot who Kai struggles not to loathe on sight, and who seems up for any challenge Kai sets him. As Aled learns to give up control and endure the program’s worst, Kai is drawn into an intense sexual game that leaves him wanting more.

But then Aled must fulfill his duty as Tribute. He must endure the Ungrich—or die.

When Aled returns, it takes Kai’s ruthless presence to pull his trainee back from the brink of madness. Surviving the Ungrich makes Aled doubt his blind allegiance to his planet—and to everything else he’d never thought to question. But with Kai at his side, Aled finds a new cause to believe in. And with the help of master trainer Akran and his partner Anna Lee, Aled and Kai forge unbreakable allegiances of blood, sex, and love that could save the entire planet from the Ungrich for good.

Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes: Dubious Consent, Non-Consent, Explicit Violence, Heavy Kink

 First of all: Please do take that warning seriously. I don’t think there was a single really consensual sex scene in this book. There was even a bit of tentacle rape, though that was rather short and non-explicit. There’s also a LOT of kink here. If any of those things bother you, this is not a book for you.

I didn’t read book one of the series but I never felt like I missed vital information. So this definitely works as a stand-alone, even if the ending has a very mean cliff hanger.

Essentially, “Retribution” is 100 pages of pure sex, with a bit of combat training mixed in. The sex was really, really hot and very kinky. I decided not to read this while out in public after a few pages. It had me all hot and bothered. 😉

I didn’t realize there would be in this, so I was a little worried when I started reading and saw the tentacles at the beginning of each chapter. Tentacle rape is so not my kind of thing, but those scenes were mercifully brief and unlike everything else, also rather non-explicit.

There was no real plot here and the world-building was pretty much non-existent. Honestly, I didn’t mind that much. The occasional bit of porn is fun and this had just the right length.

If you’re looking for a quick, hot read with tons of kink and don’t mind non-/dub-con, then you’ll like “Retribution”. Just don’t expect too much plot.

I’m not sure if I want to read part 3 as well, since that seems to be M/M/F, which I’ve never tried.

The cover by Lou Harper is quite hot, just like the story. Well done.

Sales: Riptide Publishing |  |Amazon |  Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 100 pages
Published October 5th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN1626492883 (ISBN13: 9781626492882)
Series: Tribute