A Free Dreamer Review: Foxes by Suki Fleet

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

FoxesWhen Dashiel’s body is found dumped on an East London wasteland, his best friend Danny sets out to find the killer. But Danny finds interaction difficult and must keep his world small in order to survive. By day he lives in an abandoned swimming pool and fixes electrical devices to trade for supplies, but by night, alone, he hunts sharks—a reckless search for dangerous men who prey on the vulnerable.

A chance meeting with an American boy selling himself on the streets throws this lonely existence into disarray. Micky is troubled, fragile, and Danny feels a desperate need to protect him—from what, he doesn’t know. As Danny discovers more about Micky, he realizes that what Micky needs saving from is the one thing Danny can’t help him fight against.

To save Micky, Danny must risk expanding his world and face something that scares him more than any shark ever could: trusting he will be accepted for who he is. If a freezing winter on the streets, a sadistic doctor, and three thousand miles don’t tear them apart first, that is.

I’ve been a fan of Suki Fleet’s writing for a long time, so I just had to have this book. I had high expectations and I wasn’t disappointed.

The tone is achingly bittersweet. There’s the bitter reality of Danny’s life in an abandoned swimming pool, desperately lonely after the death of his best friend. He’s dead set on finding Dashiel’s killer and protect other boys and girls like him. So Danny follows dangerous men all over London, alone, at night, without telling anybody. He also writes descriptions of every street walker he meets during his search. One night, he meets Micky and his carefully arranged world spins into chaos.

That’s when the sweetness starts seeping in. Because the love story is absolutely beautiful. I was often torn between wanting to grin like a loon and wanting to cry my eyes out.

I loved that Suki Fleet didn’t turn this into an angst-ridden cinderfella story. There’s no easy solution at hand, no rich lover who rescues the poor rent boy. Micky and Danny both have next to nothing. Both have issues aside from being poor that can’t be solved with a sudden influx of money. Still, the beautiful love story was a great counterpoint, keeping just the right balance of sad and happy. The result was an incredibly addicting story that I just couldn’t put down. I just sort of fell into the story and it didn’t let me go till the end.

Both MCs proved to be very likeable. They’re unique and well developed. They have their quirks and troubles and simply felt very much alive. Suki Fleet created an intense connection between me and Danny and Micky. They have depth and aren’t just cardboard cut-outs. Suki Fleet’s character building is simply beyond words.

Foxes were a bit of a recurring theme throughout the story. A little detail that endeared the story even more to me.

The writing style is quietly poetic and fits the mood of the story perfectly. Suki Fleet can conjure an incredibly dense atmosphere with very few words. It’s an incredible gift. I could practically see the streets of London before me and feel the bitterly cold rains on my skin.

By now, you’re probably wondering why I only gave this story 4.5 stars. There’s an easy answer to that: I didn’t like the ending.

Now, to be fair, I’m very picky about my endings and I’m often dissatisfied. In this case, the HEA felt forced and a little rushed. It was jarring after the slow quietness of the rest. It didn’t really fit the otherwise so realistic story either. Honestly, I’d have been perfectly happy with a HFN or even a tragic ending. But I’m weird like that.

“Foxes” is a quietly poetic story, without much excitement, that is still incredibly addicting with its bittersweet love story. Suki Fleet is one of the most talented writers out there and she deserves more readers. So, go read this. And everything else she’s written. She’s amazing.

The cover by AngstyG shows two things at once. At the top, you can see the silhouettes of two men walking toward the sunset. On the bottom are two silhouetted naked figures, one leaning down to the other, as if they’re about to kiss. I love the cover, it portrays the same sense of quiet bittersweet as the story itself.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 274 pages
Published February 8th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634769211
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review:THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND by Joe Cosentino

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RATING 3,25 out of 5 stars

The Naked Prince coverCinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Follow Cinder and Prince Charming in this twist on the classic “Cinderella” tale, as they discover their inner strengths and find their very own happily ever after. Enjoy “The Naked Prince” and three other reimagined Tales from Fairyland, each with a unique spin on stories we all know and love, including “The Golden Rule,” where eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden, after being thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents, breaks into the cottage of three burly men on Bear Mountain, “Whatever Happened To…?,” in which friction ensues between a celebrity with a growing appendage and the reporter who has a thing for giants, and “Ice Cold,” where young Gaelen must save his love Kieran after a handsome but evil prince freezes Kieran’s heart and bewitches him into being the prince’s slave.

I’ll be honest and say I picked The Naked Prince And Other Tales From Fairyland just for the cover, it was too cute to resist and being the coverwhore I am, I had to have it. Plus I was very curious because I haven’t read a lot of retelling fairytales and nothing by Joe Cosentino yet.

The premises were great and they were well delivered, the stories are all well done and smart, engaging, funny and sweet. My personal problem with them is their shortness, too few pages to really enjoy each fairytale.

The Naked Prince is probably my favourite one. It is the retelling of Cinderella with a wonderfully sweet Cinder. Great characters, the second ones too, especially Maxwell and Mortimer, the two dead dads of our hero. I would love to read their own story together. To me this was the more developed and complete, it caught my attention until the end, a very beautiful ending.

The Golden Rule follows the adventures of Gideon, when just kicked out of his home ends in the three bears’ cabin in the middle of the woods. In this retelling of Goldilocks and the three Bears I found myself a little disappointed because I was cheering on a naughty foursome and I had to settle for some fun and a couple of misunderstandings.

Whatever Happened To…? is the one that gave me more troubles. At the beginning it bored me a little but I re-evaluated at the end and read it a second time to truly appreciate it. It was really hilarious and so surprising at the end, when the author revealed his name. It’s based on the Pinocchio fairytale, but of course with a dirty MC.

Ice Cold is the most emotional, following Gaelen in the desperate searching of his Kieran at times broke my heart. It stands out from the others and I would have loved to have more. Here too there were some interesting second characters that were more important that the main ones.

The cover art by Paul Richmond is the reason why I picked this collection. How could I resist? So cute.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

Published January 27th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Kindle Edition, 105 pages
ASIN B01AIUDWGK
Edition Language English

 

A Lila Review: Taking the Long Way by Max MacGowan‏

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Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars

Taking the Long WayMale escort Rye Bellamy is looking for a way out. Any way out. He’s getting older, and clients are getting more dangerous. If he doesn’t find something better, he knows he won’t survive.

He sees his chance in Marcus Townsend, a functionally blind Army veteran. Marcus, who refuses to accept his condition as immutable, has a shot at seeing a specialist who might be able to help him—but that doctor’s based on the other side of the country.

When Rye and Marcus meet, they realize they can help each other. Marcus can’t drive, but Rye can. Marcus knows what Rye is, but he likes him anyway. In fact, he more than likes him. Driving cross-country with a near stranger is a daunting task, but Rye’s biggest risk is falling for the gentle, stubborn-hearted soldier—and it might already be too late to stop that.

They plan to part ways when they reach their destination, but plans change as the affection between them grows. Now neither wants their journey to end, but continuing means finding a way to bridge the distance between who they were and who they’d like to become.

The opening scene is pretty typical for the . We get the young man in the right place, at the right moment, ready to save the blind man, who resented the help. But even so, gets intrigued by the first impression the rent boy leaves in his skin and life. From there we moved to learn more about Marcus and his family.

 Next, we see how Rye’s and Marcus’s lives get to a point in which a change is needed. They both tried to work to achieve the change but realized they might need help. A chance encounter, at least for Rye, gets them together once again, and they found in each other the answer to their prayers.

 Their cross-country road trip takes the majority of the story, and we get to experience the sights with them and through Marcus’s senses. They did several touristy stops and made some interesting findings on their way. Everything they saw or experienced made a difference in their relationship and their next step on the road.

By the time they arrived at their destination, Atlanta, their new found friendship had developed into something more, even when they both wanted to deny it.

 Taking the Long Way starts interesting enough, but as soon as they met for the first time, the story slows down all the way to the very end. The situations during the trip are mainly predictable, and the MCs passed too much time inside their heads, letting the lack of communication step between them.

 I had taken the coast to coast trip, and the descriptions of the areas were spot on. There’s really not much to see in certain areas, other than farms, fields, and miles upon miles of flatland roads.

I think my main issue with the story is the distance between the MCs. It’s not until the very last part of the story, almost in Georgia, that I felt the real need they had for each other. And at that point, it was too little too late. The same is to be said about the events occurring after they arrived and how they changed their lives.

 I enjoyed the last twenty percent of the story, and I wished the author had gotten into that comfortable writing space earlier in the story. Their trip had potential, but it was perhaps too encompassing for a fictional romance in which the characters’ feelings should have been more important than the sceneries they were experiencing.

The cover by Valerie Tibbs goes well with the story and the road trip the characters took from coast to coast.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe

 Book Details:

 ebook, 234 pages
Published: February 12, 2016, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781634769235
Edition Language: English

 

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In Our Contemporary Spotlight: LE Franks’ ‘Six Days to Valentine’ (excerpt and giveaway)

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6 Days to Valentine (Yes #1) by LE Franks
Release Date: January, 2014

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas

Blurb

In Nick’s perfect world, Valentine’s Day would be struck from the calendar.

Nick’s dreams of a Happily Ever After were shredded long ago and the last thing he and his customers need is a bunch of happy loving couples rubbing it in their faces.

Bouncer Fat Boy Newman is willing to bet he knows Nick’s heart better than he does. He has just six days to change Nick’s mind about romance and the holiday and the perfect man to do it.

Too bad it’s not him.

Too bad Nick’s not going down without a fight.

Too bad he cheats.

 

Pages or Words: 24,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Humor, M/M Romance, Romance

Excerpt

I looked again at the stunned blond sprawled at my feet. From this angle, he might be considered cute, certainly the butt in his jeans was worth exploring further, but for some reason, it was his cap that caught my eye. I could see part of a logo from one of those Texas schools—the one with the horns. Reaching down, I hooked it with my finger. I held it up so I could see it clearly, though it was hard to mistake the long white horns stretching across the front of the orangey wool.

Hmm, old-style baseball cap. I peered inside and checked out the underside of the brim, looking for his name. Someone had signed it in black ink, but it was worn and smeared in places, making it barely legible. Given the fading and the stains on the sweatband, it hadn’t been new in a very long time. Certainly not when this guy was in school.

“My hat. Please.” A soft drawl and a hand moving into my line of sight distracted me. It’s possible, though unlikely, that I missed him waving up at me; I’d had quite a late night, after all. I think, instead, that my brain froze the second he pushed himself into the cobra pose and looked deep into my eyes.

I hadn’t gotten much sleep after leaving the bar in the early hours of the morning. I’d walked around the neighborhood, halfway hoping I’d get rolled by a drunk or knifed in an alley. It was a thoroughly depressing failure. I was still there, still intact, and still feeling guilty as hell, all of which pissed me off to no end. Even worse, everyone I’d seen since entering the bar had congratulated me on my win, while FatBoy was doing a spectacular job of avoiding me.

I sat still, considering the blue depths, the straight nose, the plump pink lips, the strawberry locks curling over his ears. Then FatBoy finally decided to make an appearance, jerking the man up by his pits and dangling him in front of me like a rag doll.

Surprising as the maneuver was, it did have the added benefit of shaking his limbs out so I could get a nice long look at the whole…package.

“Ever hear of picking up after yourself?” FatBoy growled his exaggerated drawl at me. I guess that answered the question of whether or not FatBoy was still mad.

“Yeah…no…” I muttered, thinking about the wrongness of the whole thing and absently fondling the cow head on the front of the hat, forgetting what I’d been asked just a moment before.

“What the hell?” the blond jerked away from our bouncer, grabbing his hat and inadvertently catching my pinky in the adjustable strap.

“Yow!” Fuck that hurt. I shoved my finger in my mouth, sucking furiously where part of the nail was now missing.

“Shit, sorry, man. You just…” The blond trailed off as he fixed his attention on the hand now shoved between my lips. You’d think he’d never seen a man suck on anything before.

I might have answered him, but I’d hopped off my stool and was now too busy brushing bar floor debris off the front of his well-formed chest. My hand slid down the front of him until fingers gripped my wrist tightly just as I was getting to the fun parts, freezing my hand in place at his waist.

“My name’s Cameron.” It was a perfectly reasonable answer to an obvious question that I hadn’t asked. He removed my hand from his body before stepping out of my personal space to sit. I wanted to follow, but in a rare show of restraint, I chose leaning against the bar two stools down.

God, I need a drink. And a bed. And a man. And a way to go back through time.

Hell—two out of four ain’t bad. Well, more likely one out of four, which sucked, and my night was going to get worse…

When Rachel came in, she was going to skin me and make rainbow boots out of my hide. The story was already making the rounds, and my act of treachery, while still hidden, was lying like a dead skunk, stinking up the air between FatBoy and me.

I was waiting for inspiration to strike, gifting me with the perfect pickup line—the dazzler that would have my tongue in Cameron’s mouth and his beautiful golden body pressed up against the wall in the supply room with enough time before I had to officially clock in for work.

Apparently not. All I was hearing from the celestial chorus was the sound of crickets. I went with the old standby and introduced myself. “I’m Nick.”

I must have been grinning like an idiot. I could feel my cheeks begin to ache, and my palms developed an unexpected dampness. Rubbing them hastily against my soft denims, I reached across to him and held out my hand.

“Call me Cam.” He smiled. Sweet Jesus, it was a beauty of a smile, and I felt my cock begin to fill. Dammit. The lunch bartender chose that moment to lean over and smirk at me.

“Soooo, Niiiiiick…who’s your friennnnd?” Christine made a decent margarita and a top-notch Bloody Mary of her own special recipe, but her gaydar was broken. Anyone could tell that this sweet angel of the south was 100% boy meat.

“Ma’am! Cameron Fielding at your service.”

I was stunned as I watched my morsel of seraphic delectability stand and doff his cap, and felt a shiver run up my spine. It seemed to be in a race with the tightening of my jeans and the galloping of my heart, and I had a sudden irrational urge to pull him closer and sniff his hair. And maybe touch it.

What the hell?

 

Buy the book:

Wilde City Press | ARe |Barnes & Noble | Amazon

 

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Meet the Author

LE Franks lives in the SF Bay area and writes M/M Romance in a unique mix of humor and drama with enough suspense to produce fast paced stories filled with emotion and passion and featuring characters that are quirky and complicated and sometimes a little bit dark. LE Franks is a best selling author and finalist for 2013 & 2014 Rainbow Awards. Her books are available through her publishers at MLR Press, Dreamspinner Press and Wilde City Press and Pride Publishing and online bookstores.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops: February 12, 2016

Parker Williams, Posy Roberts, Bayou Book Junkie, TTC Books and More, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, A.M. Leibowitz, Divine Magazine, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Bonkers About Books, Alpha Book Club, Mikky’s World of Books, The Jena Wade, MM Good Book Reviews, Velvet Panic, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Sassygirl Books, Man2ManTastic, BFD Book Blog, Attention is Arbitrary, Happily Ever Chapter, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Molly Lolly, Rainbow Gold Reviews

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: eBook copy of ‘6 Days to Valentine’.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Dedications, Inspiration and More: Writing ‘Foxes’ by Suki Fleet (guest post)

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Foxes by Suki Fleet

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist AngstyG
Release Date February 8, 2016

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Suki Fleet here today to share some insight into the background and inspiration behind Foxes, her latest novel.  Welcome, Suki.

  Homelessness and ‘Foxes’ by Suki Fleet

Be the change you want to see in the world.

This is the dedication at the beginning of the story. When I searched for whom to credit it to, I found it’s a quote often mistakenly attributed to Mahatma Ghandi. One source says the original quote of Ghandi’s is more something like this:

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”

  I like them both a lot.

For me this change goes hand in hand with kindness, on a big or small scale. Danny’s kindness in Foxes is a bright light in the dark that makes up a lot of his world. He is the change I’m talking about. He’s also badly scarred, and copes with the life a little differently, and he’s homeless, though he doesn’t live on the streets.

I’ve written about homelessness before in This is Not a Love Story. Foxes takes a very different approach. With This is Not a Love Story I focussed more on making a social statement about how society treats homeless people. This story isn’t as desperate or as hopeless as Romeo and Julian’s story was either. Foxes is about how it doesn’t matter what you’ve got, it matters what you do. It’s about making a difference to someone—about how small kindnesses can change someone’s life for the better.

Make a difference. Be the change.

Blurb

When Dashiel’s body is found dumped on an East London wasteland, his best friend Danny sets out to find the killer. But Danny finds interaction difficult and must keep his world small in order to survive. By day he lives in an abandoned swimming pool and fixes electrical devices to trade for supplies, but by night, alone, he hunts sharks—a reckless search for dangerous men who prey on the vulnerable.

A chance meeting with an American boy selling himself on the streets throws this lonely existence into disarray. Micky is troubled, fragile, and Danny feels a desperate need to protect him—from what, he doesn’t know. As Danny discovers more about Micky, he realizes that what Micky needs saving from is the one thing Danny can’t help him fight against.

To save Micky, Danny must risk expanding his world and face something that scares him more than any shark ever could: trusting he will be accepted for who he is. If a freezing winter on the streets, a sadistic doctor, and three thousand miles don’t tear them apart first, that is.

Tags: Contemporary, New Adult, Gay Fiction

Foxes Buy Links

Amazon.co.uk  | Amazon.com | Dreamspinner Press | ARe |

About the Author

Suki Fleet grew up on a boat and as a small child spent a lot of time travelling at sea with her family. She has always wanted to be a writer. As a kid she told ghost stories to scare people, but stories about romance were the ones that inspired her to sit down and write. She doesn’t think she’ll ever stop writing them.

Her novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014 Rainbow Awards and was a finalist in the 2015 Lambda Awards.

Links