A Stella Advent Story Review: Nøtteknekkeren by Felicitas Ivey

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Rating: 3,75 stars out of 5

Notteknekkeren coverThijs and his older brother, Rik, are spending Christmas Eve at their uncle Yvo’s annual gathering. For Thijs, it’s the first time he’s been there in almost a decade.

Thijs has vague memories of the magical Christmases spent with his uncle. But he doesn’t know if the images in his mind of the enchantment that happened while he waited for Santa are dreams, memories, or the product of years of therapy for an accident he doesn’t remember. He just knows when he stopped visiting Uncle Yvo, the dreams stopped too.

Are his dreams of a prince waiting for him every Christmas Eve just dreams? Tonight might finally be Thijs’s chance to learn the truth.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar package “Sleigh Ride”.

I admit when I started reading Nøtteknekkeren by Felicitas Ivey I was a little dubious cause in the first part I had not idea where it was going. I’m not saying a lot about it since it was so short and unexpected, I don’t want to spoil it. But I can say it was cute and really, really well written, the reading flew by easily and the characters were all interesting. There were some fairytales elements that gave the story something extra.

The only remark I want to add is that I think this story, as the author wrote it, needed a little more pages to be fully developed, especially in the relationship between our MCs. Nonetheless it was so magical, mysterious, I found myself be captured by it. And the ending was so sweet.

The cover art by L.C. Chase is cute and very fitting.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 55 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB018RSH5YU
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar
Other Editions (1)
Nøtteknekkeren (2015 Advent Calendar – Sleigh Ride)

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A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Flesh Market (Bodies and Souls #1) by Kate Lowell

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Flesh MarketSpecial Agent Leo Gale is up a creek. A year and a half of deep cover is about to go up in flames. He needs help – something, someone to salvage the operation and save the lives of untold numbers of trafficked teenagers.

But he wasn’t expecting the partner they sent, or his own gut-punch of a response to the man.

Julian worked hard for that FBI Honors Internship. It was supposed to be a foot in the door. He’d never expected it to catapult him into the middle of a major undercover operation. Yet here he is, sleeping on a filthy mattress and using every trick in the book to avoid torture–and worse. He’s never felt so scared, or so alive, in his entire life, and he’s not sure if it’s the danger, or Leo, that’s making his heart race.

There’s no time to think about it, though. The operation is heating up, and Leo and Julian are running out of time and options. As choices become more difficult, they must find a way to take the traffickers down, or risk becoming just another set of organs for sale.

This is a riveting, nail-biting, action-adventure with a few very dark moments as two men go undercover to bust a ring trafficking in prostitution and organ harvesting.

FBI Special Agent Leo Gale was planted undercover over a year ago to infiltrate a ring specializing in kidnapping young, well-to-do teens. It’s slow going, and he’s helpless to stop the kidnapping of these young men and women who are trained and sold into prostitution nearly every day. He needs to decide whether to blow his cover and call in a raid, or stick it out. Just after he receives a message saying help is on the way, he finds himself promoted to the procurement team. And when his help arrives, it isn’t in the form of a rescue—it’s another agent, a young man named Julian Fitzroy.

Julian is actually an intern in the analyst division of FBI headquarters when Leo’s boss spots him and decides he’d be perfect for the job of going in as a kidnapped teen. Promising him a spot in the next FBI training class, he gets Julian set up for Leo to procure. The two are immediately attracted to each other, despite the fact that Leo is in his late thirties. He’s never given Julian’s background, but he figures Julian is about twenty-five or so, and he also assumes he’s been an agent for a year or more. Julian’s immediate task is to survive the training, aka torture, without blowing his or Leo’s cover.

He does, and together they uncover the fact that this “flesh market” is not only kidnapping young men and women for prostitution, but they’re also kidnapping those who aren’t so handsome or beautiful for a secondary market—organ harvesting. When they find out that the boys and girls who aren’t able to be broken for service prostitution are moved to the organ harvesting program, both men decide they must put an end to this travesty, no matter what. Julian refuses to allow Leo to call a halt to the operation until they get their hands on the data for the operation, even though it puts him in jeopardy.

The author takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions as Julian manages to survive beatings and a night with a wealthy client and his other “boy.” The descriptions of some of the activities related to captivity and organ harvesting may be too dark for some readers, so caution is advised. However, overall, the story itself is extremely interesting, and the way the author works through the finale and solution to getting the men out of there is very heavy in action and suspense.

There is no HEA, but the HFN is satisfying, and it’s very evident that there will be a sequel. This story would be perfect for those who enjoy age gap, law enforcement, and/or dark themes.

~~~

Cover art depicts a young man in the arms of a larger, tattooed man with the profile of another man in the doorway beyond. This scene represents Julian being held, and supposedly trained, by Leo while Leo’s boss looks on to be sure he’s doing his job. It’s a perfect representation of the helplessness of the situation for both men.

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

Book Details:

ebook
Published November 10th 2015 by Loose Id
ISBN139781682520321
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBodies and Souls #1

Jump Back Into The Fantasy World of Jay Jordan Hawk’s Onwaachige the Dreamer (The Two-spirit Chronicles #3) (excerpt and giveaway)

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Onwaachige the Dreamer (The Two-spirit Chronicles #3) by Jay Jordan Hawke
Release Date: December 17, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

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Blurb

What would you do for the boy you loved? What if to save him you had to abandon him forever?

Fourteen-year-old Joshua Ishkoday faces an impossible decision as a terrifying dream sets him upon a thrilling and treacherous journey of self-exploration through the dangerous vastness of the Wisconsin northwoods. There, along with his best friends, Mokwa and Little Deer, Joshua summons the power to confront his greatest fears. To do so, all he has to do is trust in his dreams. Unfortunately, Joshua discovers that his dreams have been deceiving him thanks to the intrusion of strange creatures. For out in the middle of the forest dwell the enigmatic Memegwesi, bizarre manitous who have a special plan for Joshua. Joshua soon realizes that he has three monsters to battle: the extraordinary creatures haunting his dreams, the dangerous torrential storm brewing in the northwoods, and finally, the greatest demon of all—his homophobic mother.

 

Pages or Words: 200 pages/57,547 words
Series is best read in order.
Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Paranormal, Young Adult

Excerpt

A Scout is Brave – Excerpt #9 (197 Words)

            Cody realized he had made a big mistake. But somehow it just seemed easier to talk about homosexuality now that he had already spent a few hours discussing it with Joshua. Taboo subjects rarely seemed forbidden once shared. And frankly Cody didn’t think he had said anything that was out of line, but the sight of his father coming toward him with a fierce and determined expression, dramatically illustrated otherwise.

            Pastor Bob grabbed and pinched his son’s ear as he caught up with him.

            “Come with me,” he grunted, pulling his son forward.

            “Ouch,” Cody whimpered as his dad pulled him down the trail. “Dad, that hurts!” he cried out.

            “Don’t you ever embarrass me like that again in front of anyone!” Pastor Bob shouted. He didn’t let go of his son’s ear as he continued his tirade. “What’s the matter with you anyway? Do you want people to think you are some sort of queer!” Pastor Bob got a sick look on his face as he said that hated word. “Now get back to camp!” he yelled, letting go of Cody’s ear.

            Cody ran down the trail to the campsite. He cried all the way back.

Pukawiss the Outcast – Excerpt #9

 

“Okay, so I wasn’t supposed to tell you any of this,” Mokwa said. “That’s why I’ve been reluctant to talk about it.”

“What do you mean?” Joshua asked.

“Gentle Eagle asked me not to say anything. And when he asks you not to do something, you listen. He’s an elder, and he’s my friend.”

“Okay, so why doesn’t he want me to know? What are the Midewin exactly?”

“They are sort of a secret society of—” Mokwa paused for a second. “—of medicine men,” he finally said. “Their job is to preserve the old ways. They are powerful shamans.”

“Why is that a secret?” Joshua asked.

“Well, when the Christians tried to stomp out Ojibwe religion, they saw the Midewin as a threat. Many were persecuted. That sort of forced them underground, so to speak.” 

“What does any of this have to do with me?” Joshua asked. “Why did Pastor Martin want to know if I heard about them?”

“He is just paranoid,” Little Deer said. “If we are telling you about the Midewin, it means to him that we are ‘converting’ you.”

“Yeah,” said Jenny. “To Pastor Martin that’s like the dark side.”

 “But I still don’t know what my father, or my grandfather, has to do with all of this,” Joshua said, confused. “It doesn’t make sense.”

“I told you that I’d tell you about the Midewin,” Mokwa said to Joshua. “But you’ll have to get the rest from your grandfather.”

Onwaachige the Dreamer – Excerpt 9

“Pukawiss, maybe when we get to Manitou River you can take a nap or something. You probably just need to dream for the manitous to talk to you.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Joshua said, finding the suggestion agreeable. “I’ll try.” But he was increasingly convinced that this whole thing had been a bad idea. He had dragged his best friends into the Northwoods based solely on a dream. Granted, his dreams had been miraculously accurate so far, but this dream was different. He was putting his life on the line for it. Even worse, he was putting the lives of his friends on the line. It was an awesome responsibility to bear.

But next to the self-doubts and the anxiety was a powerful and exhilarating sense of liberation. Certainly being away from civilization, out in the dark forest, could be quite terrifying. They were, after all, relying solely on their own resourcefulness and what little supplies they had brought with them. But Joshua felt increasingly confident that he had learned enough to survive out here, for a few days at least. And he had his friends with him to help. Their faith in Joshua helped him to find his own confidence. Maybe his dreams really were messages from the manitous….There was something very comforting about knowing that above and beyond the trials and tribulations of life, there was in fact a larger meaning and purpose to it all. So what if he didn’t know the entire plan? That simple cry for help he heard in his dreams hinted at a much larger world than people normally perceived, one that reached out to Joshua and noticed him. It was frightening and comforting at the same time. And with those contradictory thoughts, Joshua believed everything was going to be all right. The manitous were with him, watching over him, determined to keep him and his friends safe. That, he finally understood.

A sudden burst of light filled the sky, releasing a violent rumble that shook the ground below them. It had quickly grown ominously dark, and any moment now, they would all be soaked.

“Thanks so very much, manitous! Appreciate it! Really, I do.”

 

Buy the book: Harmony Ink

 

Meet the Author:

Jay Jordan Hawke holds a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in history, as well as a second master’s in Outdoor Education. He loves everything sci-fi, especially Star Trek! He teaches high school history and anxiously awaits the day when he can write full time. His hobbies include camping, movies, reading, running, and writing. His first book, Pukawiss the Outcast, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist for Best Young Adult Gay Fiction. He resides in one of the Great Lakes states.

Where to find the author:

 

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Tour Dates & Stops:

17-Dec

18-Dec

21-Dec

22-Dec

23-Dec

24-Dec

25-Dec

28-Dec

29-Dec

29-Dec

30-Dec

Final

 

Giveaway

Enter to win a Two e-books to two different winners from any of the three books in the series (Pukawiss the Outcast, A Scout is Brave, or Onwaachige the Dreamer).  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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Mannies Incorporated Series is Back with Three To Get Ready ( Mannies Incorporated #4) by Sean Michael (excerpt and giveaway)

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three to get ready

Three To Get Ready ( Mannies Incorporated #4) by Sean Michael
Release Date: December 18, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Sean Michael
Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sean Michael here today to celebrate the  release of Three To Get Ready. Welcome, Sean.

Thank you for helping me to celebrate the release of Three To Get Ready, a Mannies Incorporated story.

So usually, I’m usually knee deep in frigid temperatures and lots of snow at this time but this year there is no snow, there are no cold temps, it’s early fall or mid-spring weather. At the end of December. This makes me sad.  Christmas cookies, however, make me happy, no matter what the weather is doing outside.

Cookies are one of the things that help manny Dan and his charge Nathan bond over in Three to Get Ready. Together they make all sorts of cookies, but the first ones they bake together is peanut butter. I myself do not like peanut butter cookies. I don’t actually like peanut butter in anything sweet aside from paired with jam in a pb&j sandwich. So I’m not going to be sharing any peanut butter cookie recipes. I will however share one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes. Maple Cookies. This is also a very Canadian recipe as it has real maple syrup in it. They have the added benefit of being very easy to make – which for me is always a requirement!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Maple Cookies

Ingredients:

1 c. butter

1 c. brown sugar (packed)

1 c. real maple syrup

Directions:

Cream those together really well.

Then add an egg and a teaspoon of vanilla

In a separate bowl, sift together 4 c. flour, 2 t. baking soda, 1/2 t. salt

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients

Roll into 1 inch balls and place on greased or parchment paper covered cookie sheets

Press a walnut into the top of the ball – I try to use a whole section so it looks like wings

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes

A couple of these cookies and a glass of milk would be a wonderful snack to munch on while enjoying Three to Get Ready.

Sean

Smut fixes everything

Now more about Three To Get Ready ( Mannies Incorporated #4) by Sean Michael

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Blurb

Single father Jack Jones is in dire need of a new nanny. His five year old son Nathan is legally blind, he has twin baby girls arriving in less than two months and the girl currently working for him is leaving at Thanksgiving to go home and continue her higher education. If Mannies Incorporated doesn’t come up with a viable candidate soon, he’s not sure what he’s going to do.

Dan Miller is on the hunt for a new job. He’s had some great placements with Mannies Incorporated, many as Manny to multiple birth families to get them over the hump. He even has experience with special needs children, so the job he’s interviewing for looks like it’s right up his alley.

When Dan arrives at Jack’s house, he discovers that this Jack Jones is his Jack Jones, the man he was in love with during college, and who broke up with Dan because Dan wanted children. Will Dan and Jack be able to put the past behind them and work together, or will their past keep them from having a future together?

Pages or Words: 64,000 words/190 pages
This book can be read as a standalone
Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

Excerpt

Dan Miller followed the instructions on his GPS to one Jack Jones’ house for his interview. He was trying to decide if it was a good or bad omen that he’d dated a Jack Jones. It had ended, so maybe bad. On the other hand, they’d ended because Jack didn’t want kids and he did, which was better to learn early on, before they’d invested a lot of time in each other, right? So good sign.

Chuckling at himself, he went over what Drake at Mannies Inc had told him about the family.

Single gay dad, one special needs son – the boy was nearly six and clinically blind. Apparently he could see general shapes if they were high contrast and he could see lights and light contrast. There were twin girls on their way. In a couple of weeks in a few weeks in fact.

Newborns were Dan’s favorite. He loved that new baby smell. He loved their chubby little cheeks and limbs, their fat bellies and how quickly they changed.

After reading the file, he’d had to agree with Drake that he seemed like a really good fit for the family.

The position was live-in, so he paid close attention as the condo came into view. Not far from the beach, it was a decent size, not too big, but not tiny. The front was neat and he could see the backyard was fenced in.

Pulling into the drive, he turned off the engine and took a deep breath. Okay. Interview time. He climbed out of the car, with his best ‘I’m the perfect man to look after your kids’ face on.

He knocked on the front door.

“Daddy! Maddie, someone is here!”

“I’ll get it, man. Hopefully this one will work for your daddy, Mr. Picky. I have to leave the week of Thanksgiving. I have to.”

The door opened and a lovely dark-skinned young woman stood there with a skinny little boy in thick glasses. “Hey there. Can I help you?”

“Hi, Dan Miller. I’m here to see Mr. Jones?”

“Sure. Come on in. I’m Maddie, Nathan’s personal assistant.” She winked at him.

“Very nice to meet you.” He shook her hand.

Then he turned his attention to the little boy. “Hey there, You must be Nathan.”

“Uh-huh. Nathan James Jones.” One hand was held out. “Pleased meeting you.”

Dan took Nathan’s hand and shook it solemnly. “Pleased to meet you, too.”

“Hey there. Sorry, man. I was paying some bills. Crazy life.”

Dan looked up at the familiar voice and blinked. Strong jaw, blond curls, and the bluest eyes in the history of the earth — that was Jack. His Jack.

Dan felt like he’d been poleaxed.

His Jack who didn’t want kids, no way no how was he fucking crazy for even suggesting it.

“Jack?” Oh, smooth, Dan. Clearly it was Jack. Hell, even if he couldn’t believe his eyes, the folder he’d gotten from Drake had said the guy’s name was Jack.

“Dan? Danny? Oh, my God!” Jack’s eyes went wide. “Look at you. You look amazing.”

He kind of hated the way Jack’s words made him stand a little taller, a little straighter. “So do you. The years have been good to you.” Twelve years. Shit, things had changed in that time, that much was obvious, but not how just a glance from those devastating eyes could make his cock perk up. That hadn’t changed a damn bit.

Buy the book::Amazon |All Romance Ebooks

 

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Meet the Author:

Often referred to as “Space Cowboy” and “Gangsta of Love” while still striving for the moniker of “Maurice,” Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to “Chicago.”

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.

Barring any of that? He’ll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

18-Dec: Inked Rainbow Reads, Gay Book Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, Kirsty Loves Books, Dawn’s Reading Nook

21-Dec: Sassygirl Books

22-Dec: Open Skye Book Reviews, Divine Magazine, Book Lovers 4Ever, Foxylutely Book Reviews

23-Dec: Velvet Panic

24-Dec: Unquietly Me, The Novel Approach

25-Dec: Havan Fellows

28-Dec: Up All Night, Read All Day, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

29-Dec: MM Good Book Reviews, Prism Book Alliance

30-Dec: Bayou Book Junkie

31-Dec: Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, The Hat Party

1-Jan: Happily Ever Chapter

4-Jan: QUEERcentric Books, Full Moon Dreaming

5-Jan: Making It Happen

6-Jan: Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings

7-Jan: Multitasking Mommas, 3 Chicks After Dark

8-Jan: Molly Lolly, A.M. Leibowitz

11-Jan: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

12-Jan: Jessie G. Books

13-Jan: Bonkers About Books

14-Jan: Love Bytes, Alpha Book Club

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Three To Get Ready’ by Sean Michael.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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