A Barb, the Zany Old Lady Review: Horsefeathers by Caitlin Ricci

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

HorsefeathersWhen Justin arrives at the mustang roundup run by the Bureau of Land Management, he’s dismayed to see that none of the mares or geldings meet the requirements his boss had given him for his next purchase. But he’s fascinated by a dark gray stallion, one with unusual forest-green eyes. The first time Brother Mustang sees Justin, he’s rightfully fearful and wants to charge the man, but Nohatu, the human who lives side-by-side in Brother Mustang’s mind is able to keep the stallion calm. Unfortunately for them, Justin makes the purchase, and Nohatu and Brother Mustang find themselves taken far away from the land they’ve known.

Caitlin Ricci took an interesting twist on shifters with this story. Each half lives within the current form, but they are not one and do not always agree. In addition, the human prefers being in the shifted form, even though he’s often in a subjugated position. We learn rather quickly that Nohatu prefers sex with men because as soon as he’s found in the stallion’s pen, he’s shipped off to the bus station, and on the way, he manages to seduce Justin into stopping for a quick blowjob. It turns out that sex is the means by which they pass on the spark to shift when they meet someone who appears to be of “their kind.” And they believe Justin is. The way the background is filled in is via storytelling by Nohatu of the tale of his own turning. It’s a clever way to impart a lot of information in a brief way.

Overall, the story was very short, but it was packed with a lot of information. On the negative side, there was no time for a romantic buildup, and in fact, it felt like there wasn’t even a romantic element promised for the future. The story ends with a HFN and actually felt as if might have been an introduction to some future series or novel.

There also wasn’t enough time to fully develop any of the characters, and although I felt a little sympathetic to Justin, I lost that when he made his decision at the end. And because Nohatu and Brother Mustang were at odds with each other throughout most of the story, and neither had a likeable personality, I couldn’t manage any empathy toward their joint or individual well-being.

Since it is so short and does display a clever and interesting treatment of shifters, I’d recommend the story to those who enjoy paranormal shifter stories with a different twist.

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Cover art by Natasha Snow features a leafy background on which is the head of a white horse, looking down, with some of his mane flopped forward. If I look closely, I can see a hawk-like bird instead of the horse—one ear a beak, one a body, and the horse’s mane the full wingspan of a hawk in flight. It may be an optical illusion, but due to the content of the story, I suspect the artist did this purposely, and if so, she did a remarkable job.

Sales Links:   Less Than Three Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published January 13th 2016 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620046920
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL settingColorado (United States)

A MelanieM Review: The Music of the Spheres by Chase Potter

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5    ★★★★★

Cover - The Music of the SpheresAn athlete and introvert from a family touched by loss, Ryan Mattson splits his life between reading and spending time with his dad and precocious younger sister. With the wounds of Ryan’s past almost healed, high school is simple, and so is everything else.

But that changes when he’s paired with Adam for a class project. Adam, the guy with birthmarks like flecks of mud and compost-brown eyes that hide behind dorky glasses. Grudgingly, the two young men work together, and as they do, an unlikely friendship is formed.

With the passing college years, their bond deepens and grows. Even Ryan’s sister and dad take a liking to Adam, and the family – always missing a voice – seems to gain another. But just as Ryan is forced to confront what Adam really means to him, his family is dragged toward crisis. And beneath the silent snows and starlit sky of a Minnesota winter, their friendship will be tested more than ever before.

I discovered Chase Potter through his wonderful debut novel, The Race for Second.  Two more stories followed, each even better than its predecessor, but now he’s written The Music of the Spheres, a novel so moving and heartwarming that I found it impossible to put down.

Its a tale of two young men, told from the perspective of Ryan Mattson, whose world was shattered when his mother died.  Rebuilding after that trauma made his small family stronger and more bonded but a little insular. So when a school assignment brings him into contact with Adam Haskamp, Ryan’s reactions aren’t exactly social. Then again neither are Adam’s.  Its not a particularly good first beginning but slowly, like a tentative dance, the two young men start to discover things about each other that they connect with.  How I loved this way to bring them together.  Potter made it feel so natural, you could feel it when the friendship kicks end and the vulnerabilities start to reveal themselves through the conversations and the descriptions of the body language and clothes.

Those characters are going to dig themselves so deep into your heart, starting with Ryan who doesn’t see himself as the special, caring person he is.  Ryan can be a little, no a lot, naive about things. Like those who just don’t pick up on clues while everyone else around them has not only gathered all the clues but solved the mystery and moved on to something else. I know people like that so I could see Ryan so clearly.  Adam too is painted so beautifully in words and descriptions that I could never get enough of him, every scene just cried out for more of his presence as his personality is so strong and yet so painfully vulnerable.  And together?  They have a friendship and romance everyone will want to see work and become something wonderful.

There’s Ryan’s father and brilliant sister and their own interactions with Ryan and Adam, at the start and as the relationship progresses.  Trust me, there is so much to love here.  You will find yourself quickly connected to these characters and their lives, your emotions riding along with theirs.  Yes, have that box of tissues handy, you will need it at times.

I’m not going into too much detail here, so much of this story should be savored, from the small revelations to the large painful realities everyone must go through.  It all feels so authentic that at times I thought my Kindle would bleed with the  pain and angst.  There are sections that some might feel a little slow but there are times in Ryan’s life when its introspection not action that he needs, so the pace feels right to me.

There is one nagging element, the tale of the disappearing blind dog.  He’s there and then, he’s gone.  I did talk to the author about this and was satisfied.  Unfortunately, I can’t say more at this time.  Hopefully that will change in the future and I will be able to update this review.  But it wasn’t enough to take away from the rating.

Need a story to lose yourself in?  Love a friends to lovers romance?  I haven’t even mentioned the magical inspiration behind the title, that might bring you to tears. It did me as did the story behind the cover.  The Music of the Spheres by Chase Potter has it all, deep friendship, family, self knowledge and enduring love.  Please don’t pass this one up,  I highly  recommend it to all.

 

Cover Artist: Chase Potter.  That is Chase and his husband, then fiance’, in that photograph on their engagement trip.  It makes that cover and its part in this book even more magical.

Sales Link:  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 239 pages
Published January 21st 2016 by Chase Potter Books
ASINB01AXJ6YO8
Edition LanguageEnglish

Need A New Romance to Love? Check out Chase Potter’s The Music of the Spheres (guest post and giveaway)

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Cover - The Music of the Spheres

The Music of the Spheres by Chase Potter
Publisher and Cover Artist: Chase Potter
Release Date January 21, 2016

Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so happy to have Chase Potter here to day to talk about his latest novel, The Music of the Spheres.  Welcome, Chase, please tell us a little about the inspiration behind the story and that gorgeous cover.

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The Music of the Spheres by Chase Potter

Never before have I written a book quite like The Music of Spheres. Even the writing process itself was unique for me. At the beginning of November, I had just released my third book, and I wasn’t remotely interested in starting another project.

Then the inspiration came. A post about two guys graduating college who had shared a close friendship for years. A friendship defined by an innocent physical intimacy and a captivating sense of shared affection. A friendship that ran deep, touching each of their lives in a hundred different ways and eventually bringing the original poster to ask, “Are we… boyfriends?”

I was hooked. I built an outline over the next two days, and then I began to write. With my husband out of state, I had nothing but time. And just three weeks later, I was done. It took forty cups of coffee, five bubble baths, and a dozen beers spread across several tough scenes, but barely after I’d started, the manuscript was done and it felt like something amazing.

It’s no big secret that I like metaphors, and I put a lot in this story too. The title has its own special place in the book, and the covers features me and my husband as the silhouetted figures, courtesy of our engagement pictures (which incidentally were taken years ago by the young woman to whom the book is dedicated and who was the basis for one of the main characters.)

From the beginning, creating The Music of the Spheres was really a wonderful experience. The story had a certain symmetry and cohesion that not only made it painless to create but also let me fall in love with it. I laughed and I cried, and the emotions stuck with me longer after I’d finished writing. That’s the kind of story I love to write, and I’m excited to share it with readers.

About The Music of the Spheres

Cover - The Music of the SpheresAn athlete and introvert from a family touched by loss, Ryan Mattson splits his life between reading and spending time with his dad and precocious younger sister. With the wounds of Ryan’s past almost healed, high school is simple, and so is everything else.

But that changes when he’s paired with Adam for a class project. Adam, the guy with birthmarks like flecks of mud and compost-brown eyes that hide behind dorky glasses. Grudgingly, the two young men work together, and as they do, an unlikely friendship is formed.

With the passing college years, their bond deepens and grows. Even Ryan’s sister and dad take a liking to Adam, and the family – always missing a voice – seems to gain another. But just as Ryan is forced to confront what Adam really means to him, his family is dragged toward crisis. And beneath the silent snows and starlit sky of a Minnesota winter, their friendship will be tested more than ever before.

Contemporary, friends to lovers, gay fiction, romance, coming out.

Kindle Edition, paperback (coming Jan 25), 239 pages
Published January 21st 2016 by Chase Potter Books
 authorphoto Chase Potter

 About the Author

 Chase Potter lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his husband Mitchell and their dog Alex. The Music of the Spheres is his fourth novel. Raised in rural Minnesota, Chase has also lived in Germany and Austria. The experiences growing up in a small town and his struggles to adapt to foreign culture and language have served as inspiration in his writing.

Giveaway

For the Rafflecopter giveaway, five copies of The Music of the Spheres. Copies will be in the form of a gifted Amazon Kindle copy.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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Its Greek Gods and Rock n Roll with ‘The Backup’ by Erica Kudisch (guest post and giveaway)

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The Backup by Erica Kudisch
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist Jay Aheer

Read An Excerpt/Buy It Here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Erica Kudisch here today to talk about her latest novel, The Backup, along with the music and a touch of mythology.  Welcome, Erica.

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Hi all! Erica Kudisch here, promoting my debut novel THE BACKUP, queer urban fantasy with a side of myth and music. Thanks so much for keeping up with the blog tour! Be sure to swing by the other stops for awesome multimedia content and a $50 prize package giveaway!

Nik’s Latest Album: LAST AGAINST THE PRECIPICE

CD Cover_FINALCD Back Cover_FINAL

Nicole Peterson of Inappropriately Adorable has graciously supplied the cover art for Nik’s new release!

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About The Backup

I’m supposed to be better than this. I’m supposed to have a tenure-track job teaching music history to undergrads, writing papers about Bach, and proving to kids like me that you can work your way out of Harlem. I’m not supposed to be following a rock star around the country, fetching his mail, making sure his groupies are of age.

I’m definitely not supposed to be sleeping with said rock star, who claims to be the Greek God Dionysus. At first I thought it was a load of crap. Nik’s fans might think his music captures their hearts—and souls—but I knew better. Until one of Nik’s orgiastic concerts gets out of hand and I don’t know which is worse: that he might be a god after all, or that he has a body count.

Nik doesn’t care what I want or what I should be. He wants to tear down the world I’ve built, warping all I am, until his music is all that’s left of me. I can’t let him do that. I shouldn’t believe in him. I’ve seen what happens to the people who believe in him.

But I can’t get his song out of my head.

About Erica Kudisch

Erica Kudisch lives, writes, sings, and often trips over things in New York City. When not in pursuit of about five different creative vocations, none of which pay her nearly enough, you can usually find her pontificating about dead gay video games, shopping for thigh-high socks, and making her beleaguered characters wait forty thousand words before they get in the sack.

In addition to publishing novellas and short stories as fantastika-focused alter-ego Kaye Chazan (What Aelister Found Here and The Ashkenazi Candidate, both available at Candlemark & Gleam) Erica is responsible for the BDSM musical Dogboy & Justine, and serves as creative director and co-founder of Treble Entendre Productions.

She also has issues with authority. And curses too fucking much.

Connect with Erica:

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The Giveaway

To celebrate the release of The Backup, Erica is giving away iTunes and Riptide credit totaling $50! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 30, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!

The Sage of Will & Patrick Continues with ‘Will & Patrick Fight Their Feelings’ by Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths

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Title:  Will & Patrick Fight Their Feelings (Wake Up Married, Episode 4)
Author: Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths
Publisher:  Leta Blake Books
Release Date: 1/25/16

Book/Buy Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Book Blurb

Follow Will & Patrick in this fourth installment of the romantic-comedy serial, Wake Up Married, by best-selling author Leta Blake and newcomer Alice Griffiths!

Will and Patrick have embraced adding hot sexy-times to their fake marriage, but as their emotions deepen, they confront whether or not they want to be more than friends-with-benefits. Freshly free of a restrictive relationship, Will’s not ready for more than exploratory fun. And no matter how Patrick feels about Will, his own difficult past has left him wary of love.

The heat is high (and occasionally kinky) in this episode of the Wake Up Married serial, but Will and Patrick struggle to accept their mutual affection, much less confess it. How long will they fight their feelings?

Episode 4 of 6 in the Wake Up Married serial.

Genre:  Romantic Comedy M/M Romance
Tags:  gay, woke up married, tropes, rom-com, mafia, forced marriage, disabled heroes
Heat Level: 5
Pairing: M/M
Length: 38,000 words

Excerpt

Wrung out after the long night, Patrick shovels in the eggs and toast he ordered from room service. His mind drifts lazily as he eats, but when he hears the shower turn off, his stomach churns. He hates that his brain can ruin a perfectly good moment with memories that make him twitchy.

“About last night…” Will’s voice cracks slightly.

Patrick’s heart stops.

“Maybe it shouldn’t happen again?”

A sharp, deep pain lances into Patrick and he can’t breathe. It’s so unexpected, this horrible feeling, and he can’t think of anything to say. But hope and lust surge together as Will shoves away from the door. He grabs Patrick so hard it hurts and kisses him until the world shifts under their feet. 

Yep, it had happened again. Had it ever. God, their second night in a row of sex had been—

Patrick jerks back to the present as the bathroom door swings open and Will strides out fully dressed in a pair of trousers and a button-up shirt. The eggs churn faster in Patrick’s stomach.

Will sits at the breakfast table. He tests, calculates, and injects his insulin before starting on his cottage cheese on toast. He looks up, fixing Patrick with a resolute gaze.

Patrick dodges the look and pokes his eggs with his fork. “Do we have to talk about it?”

Will takes another bite and chews deliberately.

“Because I don’t want to talk about it.” Patrick’s much more interested in a “don’t think, just do” policy when it comes to sex with Will. He’ll take that over revisiting the surprising pain of Will’s near-rejection the night before.

Will’s brows draw low and he chews for a long, tense moment. Patrick’s heart lurches like a skipping record until Will speaks. “Really? So you think there’s nothing to talk about?”

“Nope.” Patrick’s fork scrapes against his plate. “I don’t see why there would be.”

Will, of course, has other ideas. Like that’s anything new. “Patrick, we had sex again last night. Three times.”

“I know what we did, Will.”

“And?”

“And I liked it. And I don’t regret it.”

Will pulls his lower lip between his teeth. “You really liked it?”

“Puddin’-pop, you were there. Do you doubt you’re the best lay I’ve ever had?”

“The best?”

“Unequivocally.”

Will grins and eats some more of his cottage cheese on toast, joy rising up like the sun on his face. “You too. I mean, you’re the best I’ve had.”

Shocking. Patrick wants an award for not saying that out loud. He reaches out and takes hold of Will’s fingers. “I like being with you. I like what we’re doing and I don’t want to talk about it.”

Will pulls his hand away and scratches his ear uncertainly. “Why?”

“Because I don’t want us to stop.” He clenches his fist on the table and summons the strength to say, “Unless you want to stop?”

Will shakes his head and studies the food. After putting some eggs on his plate and compiling another cottage cheese and whole-wheat toast sandwich, he clears his throat and tentatively meets Patrick’s eye again. “So you think it’s okay if we—”

“Screw without professing our undying love first?”

Will flushes but nods.

“We’re having sex, not committing a crime. Of course it’s okay. Why make it into something it’s not?”

Will butters his toast and carefully doesn’t meet Patrick’s gaze again. This. This is why Patrick doesn’t want to talk about things. “What did I say wrong now?”

Will shrugs and takes a bite of toast. He finishes chewing and swallows. “What would we make it into that it’s not?”

That’s what I don’t want to talk about.”

“Because you think I’ll say we can’t have sex anymore if there’s no hope of us really falling in love and making a little family together?”

Patrick breaks into a fine sweat. “Won’t you?”

He has no idea what thoughts the tiny hamsters on the wheels in Will’s mind are cranking out, but he can imagine they’re racing overtime as Will gazes at him silently. He feels like he might puke.

Will’s mouth tilts up at the corner. “No.”

“What?” Patrick chokes on his toast and has to grab a swallow of water.

“No, I won’t say we have to stop. We’ll keep on…you know.”

“Having sex.”

Will’s eyes go hot with lust. “Yeah. We’ll keep having sex.”

“I knew you liked it.” He leans forward, smirking. “Now, tell me what you liked best. In detail.”

Will adjusts his napkin in his lap. “I thought you didn’t want to talk about it.”

“I didn’t want to talk about ‘Oh, woe, it was wrong, and I’m still hurting over Ryan, and we’re getting divorced as soon as possible,’ because I know all that.”

Will finishes off his cottage cheese sandwich. “I get it.”

“Tell me all the dirty stuff. I want to hear how much you loved it.”

Will’s smile is soft. “Oh, I loved it.”

Author Bios

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:

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Giveaway

Enter to win 1 copy of any Will & Patrick episode. 2 winners will be selected. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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