A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: James Eyre by Jade Astor

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

James EyreA gender twisting adaptation of the classic Gothic romance Jane Eyre!

In Victorian England, 21-year-old James Eyre, frightened by his feeling for another man, decides to leave the boys’ school where he has spent ten years, first as a student and then as a teacher. He manages to secure a position as a private tutor for Axel Vance, the ward of a wealthy man who owns an estate in Yorkshire.

From the night of his arrival, James begins to sense that things are not as they should be at Thistleton Manor, the home of the enigmatic Edmond Manchester. Late at night, wild screams seem to echo through the house, and during the daytime objects disappear from James’s room and are replaced with sinister-looking voodoo dolls. Though his instincts tell him to flee, James stays on because he enjoys his duties and the company of his pupil—and even more so because he has begun to develop an attraction for his employer, Mr. Manchester.

To his surprise, Mr. Manchester seems to return his feelings. However, a jealous former lover and a phantom-like presence in the house seem determined to tear them apart. If he is to have any hope of a happy future with the man he loves, James must solve the mystery of Thistleton Manor and save Edmond’s life as well.
I may be the only person in my age group in America who has never read Jane Eyre so although I know this story is based on that classic, I can only rate this story on its own worth, and it is indeed worth it!

James Eyre, a teacher at Gloamwood, the school where he’s lived since he was a young boy when his uncle sent his ward away to be educated. First a student, now a teacher, he’s in love with his best friend, though neither man has ever expressed their feelings out loud, and Hallum, his love, is now planning to marry, a role expected of all young men. James, on the other hand, will not marry, and to get away from the happy couple, he accepts a position at Thistleton Manor located on the moors far north of London.

He is to be tutor to Axel Vance, the ward of Edmond Manchester in a big old rambling mansion staffed with only a handful of servants. Complete with mysterious, loud screams in the dark of night, coming from what sounds like above but may be outside, the mansion is very definitely a cold and spooky place. Right from the beginning, he enjoys working with Axel, a bright young man who wants to be Robin Hood, but there are others in the household he can’t warm up to. That includes the butler and a servant named Gregory who James suspects is behind both the night screams and the mysterious disappearance of his favorite cravat. He also extremely dislikes Edmond’s friend Ivor, a man with whom Edmond obviously had a dalliance in the past and who seems to want to get back with Edmond in the present.

But Edmond has his sights set on James, and when he acts on them, James reciprocates. A virgin in all things related to sex, James falls madly for Edmond, and even when things that go bump in the night cause a serious injury to Edmond, James expresses his devotion and determines to stay and get to the bottom of the mystery. From that point on, the mysterious person who is responsible for the noises in the night takes the forefront in the story. And though James is called away to London to answer his uncle’s death-bed summons, he hurries back just in time to be embroiled in danger as the mystery at the mansion comes to a head.

I enjoyed this story, my first from this author. The romance was sweet, with most scenes between the men going fade-to-black, and with James’s innocence and his idealistic attitude appropriate to the Victorian era in which this story is set. The mystery and resulting action were highly interesting and entertaining, though I found the London interlude to be unimportant in any way other than to get James away for a few days. Most of all, I felt like I was reading a highly enjoyable M/M version of a classic novel, and I’d recommend it to all lovers of classic old-fashioned love stories complete with handsome MCs, a precocious ward, and spooky night horrors.

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Cover art by E Connors depicts a well-dressed young man looking back toward an imposing manor house silhouette against a darkened sky complete with “bats in the belfry”— a modern depiction of a classic scene.

Sales Links:  ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 186 pages
Published January 20th 2016 by Dark Hollows Press, LLC
ASINB01AVUZYXQ
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Ali Review: Spirit by John Inman (audio version), John Anthony Davis (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

SpiritAUDLGJason Day, brilliant designer of video games, is not only a confirmed bachelor, but he’s as gay as a maypole. One wouldn’t think being saddled with his precocious four-year-old nephew for four weeks would be enough to throw him off-kilter. 

Wrong. Timmy, Jason’s nephew, is a true handful. 

But just when Timmy and Uncle Jason begin to bond, and Jason feels he’s getting a grip on this babysitting business once and for all, he’s thrown for a loop by a couple of visitors—one from Tucson, the other from beyond the grave. 

I’m sorry. Say what? 

Toss a murder, a hot young stud, an unexpected love affair, and a spooky-ass ghost with a weird sense of humor into Jason’s summer plans, and you’ve got the makings for one hell of a ride. 

This was an enjoyable story with both a mystery and a paranormal twist. The main character Jason is a likable MC and his narration is filled with humor. I didn't find the child very realistic or age appropriate in his behaviors but he was an entertaining twist to the story so I overlooked most of that. I found the end to be predictable but it was one of those stories that still warms your heart so again, I overlooked that too. The story is creative and has a lovely happily ever after at the end. I did this on audio and enjoyed the narrator. He had a nice voice and did all of the different characters well, including the child. I think this will entertain even those who don't typically like paranormal stories as the ghost part doesn't overwhelm.

Cover art by Reece Dante. I like this cover a lot. I think it is a really good representation of the story. It's just spooky enough to draw you in.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

NarratorJohn Anthony Davis
Length6 hours and 47 minutes

Get In on the Beginning of Hot, New 5-Part series with Trainwreck (Trainwreck #1) by Michele Micheal Rakes (guest interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Trainwreck (Trainwreck #1) by Michele Micheal Rakes 
Release Date: January 25, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Michele Micheal Rakes

Cover Artist: Drai Bearwomyn
Cover Photography by Dan Skinner
Editing: Tina Adamski

 

Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Michele Micheal “Mikey” Rakes, author of (Trainwreck, here today. Hi,Mikey, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

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All my friends know me as Mikey, but I write under my full name so my mother can be proud of me. I’ve written other books for Loose Id: Saving Kane, Fourth and Long, and I’m working on the two follow up books for those stories. Trainwreck was written in six months toward the end of getting my degree in surgical technology, back in 2010. Took a while to get these guys out there for readers.

  • Tell us about your book.

Trainwreck was the first book I completed and was my 1,111 page 380,000 word opus. Hehehe. Well, I decided to break it up into five parts because I thought it might be easier for readers to digest during work breaks and whatnot…all those places we like to squeeze in some reading(i.e. the bathroom). Trainwreck is more about Vince than any of the other characters, but it is a polyamorous romance as well as a crime thriller. Vincent Sweetwater is a LAPD detective who is returning to work after a motorcycle accident. The murder of a young girl propels him back into a world he used to frequent, to catch a killer, but also solve the mystery of his childhood. He is living with his estranged wife and he’s living a lie. This is a dark novel. A story of one man struggling through the pain of his past and the dismal reality of his present until circumstances give him another chance at happiness.

  • How difficult was it to get into the main character’s head?

Not terribly difficult to get inside Vincent Sweetwater’s head, because so much of me is in that character. Greg Dunne was difficult at times because he is as vulnerable as Vince, yet he is the more dominant character.

  • Is this book a standalone or do you plan on visiting it again?

Trainwreck’s a five part series that I plan to have all released by June. The other parts are in various stages of edit. A sequel has already been written, as well, called Surviving Adam. I plan on releasing that next year.

  • Why did you choose to write M/M stories?

I prefer M/M stories, but Trainwreck is a poly romance. Book One is M/F. In Book Two, there are elements of sadomasochism, and M/M. Book Three is where the poly begins and more of the submission dynamic comes into play. Trainwreck began as a romance novel where the hero and heroine were already on the first of divorce. Vince began to whisper in my ear about his sexual proclivities and so told me he was more than a womanizer. I simply let Vince tell his story. His sexuality confusion and his need to know what is locked up in his mind. This is very much a psychological thriller as well as a romance.

  • Where do you find your inspiration?

 

I find my inspiration in a number of places. Saving Kane was inspired by a real case where a gay man was lured into a gang rape and robbery. Garrett has his hero/love interest was all me. I took inspiration for Fourth and Long from my love of football. Trainwreck stems from my gender issues and also a catharsis for my own issues. I always have this need for dragging characters through the muck and mire before handing them a happy ending. In my opinion, there’s enough sad endings in real life, I don’t want to write one. My wife passed away in October of last year. My husband and I are still coming to terms with the fact our poly is over before it really got started. I never dreamed Mary would die so young. We had plans. Trainwreck is being released because she loved this book and I promised her to grab my balls and put it out here for all the readers willing to take a chance on what she called a wild ride.

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Blurb

Detective Sergeant Vincent Sweetwater hates dead bodies. That’s why he’s an undercover narc and not a homicide dick. So why is he standing on a sandy beach in California staring at a lifeless body—oh yeah, the suicide attempt. Lieutenant Hanson is making a statement. Something about life worth living. Shows what he knows.

As Vince examines the tortured body, he feels an empathy and déjà vu for the victim, her wounds are similar to scars he has only a vague memory receiving. An intense desire to find her killer fills his queasy belly as a dark game of cat and mouse begins.

The young woman’s death forces Vince back into a secret life dominated by sex, perversion, and sadomasochism. Estranged from his wife he still loves and longing for the man who possessed him once, Vince buries his torment deep inside meaningless sex.

*Warning: This book contains adult content and situations. NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH.

 

Pages or Words: 374 pages
Categories: BDSM, Bisexual, Crime Fiction, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Ménage/Poly, Romance, Thriller

Excerpt:

Vince grabbed the remote and clicked on the news. He paid little attention as he rubbed his aching hip. When Lola Romero began her news report he glanced up to see an official photo of himself in uniform.

“Jesus, talk about an old fucking picture.”

Despite being only twenty-three in the photo, he hadn’t appeared young and fresh faced. His eyes had held a kind of darkness even then, and his best efforts were unable to hide the pain.

“An L.A.P.D. Information officer confirmed the return to duty of Detective Vincent Sweetwater just one week after a horrifying display of violence toward a man who was reportedly beating his five-year-old son in the parking lot of a Home Depot in Inglewood. Detective Sweetwater was nearly killed last year in a motorcycle accident on the Pacific Coast Highway and is still under scrutiny following alleged misconduct while under deep cover with the narcotics division.”

“Bite me, Lola.” Vince shut off the TV, flopping back on the bed, staring into the darkness.

“Fuck my life. It was more than a year ago. Bitch.”

I hate people.

 

Buy the book: Amazon

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Meet the author:

Michele Micheal Rakes lives in a small town in the shadow of a big mountain and works as a surgical technologist assisting in the removal of tonsils and testicles. Three grown children, a one year old granddaughter named Thrasher, two psychotic Egyptian Mau’s, a husband with hair down to his knees, an Amazon for a wife, two Harley’s, and a ferret named Teeny Tiny Ferret Feet (husband insists her name Little Feet, we all know he’s wrong) life is gets pretty wild.

Note: Wife recently passed away from cancer and this book is dedicated in loving memory of Mary Louise Castleman. Love you babe!

Where to find the author:


Tour Dates & Stops:

17-Feb Book Lovers 4Ever, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

24-Feb Love Bytes, Mikky’s World of Books

2-Mar Full Moon Dreaming, Man2ManTastic, Bonkers About Books, Bayou Book Junkie

9-Mar    BFD Book Blog, Velvet Panic, My Fiction Nook, Gay Media Reviews, The Novel Approach

16-Mar   Happily Ever Chapter, Hearts on Fire

23-Mar  Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Three Books Over The Rainbow

30-Mar Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, KathyMac Reviews

6-Apr Havan Fellows, Jessie G. Books

13-Apr Cathy Brockman Romances, Inked Rainbow Reads

20-Apr Divine Magazine, Prism Book Alliance

27-Apr Molly Lolly

4-May Dawn’s Reading Nook

11-May Alpha Book Club

18-May MM Good Book Reviews

25-May Louise Lyons

1-Jun Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: Three separate prizes: $15 GC, A copy of Trainwreck, Saving Kane/Fourth and Long gift pack.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

 

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When Loss Turns to Love…Grein Murray’s ‘Capturing Oliver’ (excerpt and giveaway)

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1 Capturing Oliver E-Book Cover


Release Date: February 5, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Grein Murray
Cover Artist: Kellie Dennis  

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Blurb

Oliver seems to be settling into his new life after losing his parents. With an apartment and college to pay for on his own, Oliver works hard to make ends meet. A handsome Italian man who comes to the restaurant Oliver works at has caught his eye. The man not only makes Oliver nervous but excited at the same time.

One night changes everything yet again for Oliver; his world is turned upside down. Could being at the wrong place at the wrong time actually turn out to be the best thing to happen to Oliver or the worst?

 

Pages or Words: 156 pages
Categories: Gay fiction, Romance

Excerpt

“I’m so sorry, Oliver.” Amondo pulled Oliver’s wrist to his mouth and kissed the red marks that encircled them. “I’ve never been that turned on before. I was too rough.” A sad look took some of the sparkle out of Amondo’s eyes.

“It was perfect, Amondo. Don’t apologize. I’ve never felt anything like that before. I’m okay.”

Amondo took Oliver’s face gently in his hands and kissed him. Then he rolled so Oliver was laying on his chest. “I’ve wanted to do that from the first day I saw you.”

Buy the book:  Amazon

Meet the author:

When I’m not writing I like going to concerts. Music is a big part of my life, I’ve played bass guitar since I was a teen. I love nature and enjoy hiking and working with causes that help protect our planet and wild animals.

I have loved books all of my life and have always enjoyed escaping the ordinary world by getting lost in a good book. I read a lot of different genres of books but have fallen in love with MM. I support the gay community and hope one day people will see that love is love and that it is a beautiful thing no matter your gender, race or religion.

I am an avid animal lover and have quite a collection of pets in my home. I love ancient history and have studied Alexander the Great as well as Egypt and it’s pharaohs. I also am very interested in angels and have researched them and will put that to use in future books.

I hope that my readers continue to fall in love with my characters and that my stories touch their lives and bring them happiness.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops: February 17, 2016

Parker Williams, Divine Magazine, Velvet Panic, Full Moon Dreaming, Bayou Book Junkie, The Hat Party, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, BFD Book Blog, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, MM Book Escape, My Fiction Nook, Happily Ever Chapter, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Jessie G. Books, Iyana Jenna, Charley Descoteaux, Unquietly Me, Molly Lolly, MM Good Book Reviews, Alpha Book Club, Kirsty Loves Books, Mikky’s World of Books, Man2ManTastic

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $5.00 Amazon gift card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

 

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Its all Romance and Killers with ‘Conversation Hearts’ by Avon Gale (excerpt and giveaway)

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Conversation Hearts

Conversation Hearts by Avon Gale
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist Aaron Anderson

Release Date: February 10, 2016
Goodreads Link

 

Blurb

It’s Valentine’s Day, and grad student–and male escort–Levi Barron expects to spend his evening with a client who’s paying him for his services in bed… not an assassin who needs to borrow the view from his hotel room in the morning.

With nothing to do but endure the company of his unwanted guest, Levi and the assassin, Sinjin, spend some time bonding over HGTV, minibar beverages, Flannery O’Connor short stories, terrible Valentine’s candy, and the necessity of lying about their jobs.

Their evening takes an unexpected turn when they decide to indulge in their mutual attraction, and in the morning Levi doesn’t know if he’s spent the night with a hired killer or a hydraulic engineer with a very specific fantasy. Either way, the two have enough chemistry–in and out of bed–that Levi isn’t sure one night with Sinjin will be enough.

And a message left in candy suggests the feeling is mutual.

Buy Links:

Excerpt

IF GIVEN a choice, Levi Barron would definitely prefer to have been stood up, rather than have a gun pointed at his head.

His client for the evening was already two hours late, and just when it looked like Levi would be spending Valentine’s Day reading some poorly articulated thoughts of college freshmen about Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, he heard the unmistakable sound of a door opening. Levi put a bit more Southern in his Georgia accent as he went to meet his client—only to find himself greeting the business end of a gun.

“Well,” the guy said, sighing. “This is awkward.”

Levi couldn’t seem to breathe. He’d heard stories about this kind of thing happening (and he’d maybe, once or twice, watched a few similar-yet-sexy versions of this exact scenario on RedTube), but the reason Levi’s agency rented a room in a luxury hotel in downtown Nashville wasn’t just for client comfort.

It was also so that Levi and his colleagues didn’t end up robbed or sold into sex slavery.

“I don’t have any money,” Levi said immediately, raising his hands even though the man hadn’t told him to do anything with them. “The agency handles all of the financial transactions. Even, uh, gratuity.”

That Levi was a poor graduate student in American Literature being robbed at gunpoint was sort of hilariously depressing.

The guy lowered the gun. “What? I’m not here to rob you, for fuck’s sake.”

Oh God. Suddenly being a sex slave didn’t sound as appealing as those videos implied it would be. “Are you going to kidnap me and sell me to a sex dungeon?”

Worst. Valentine’s. Day. Ever.

“Are those actually real? I thought they just existed on RedTube.” The gunman, dressed in black with equally dark hair and eyes, looked kind of like Edgar Allan Poe. Only without the creepy mustache.

Levi couldn’t believe this was really happening. At some point he expected cameras and a television reveal, followed in a few days by an uncomfortable meeting with the English department about his choice in part-time jobs.

“Are you going to kill me?”

The man grimaced. “I’d rather not. Look, I just need to borrow the window for a few minutes in the morning. No reason anyone has to die.” The man paused. “Anyone other than the… never mind.” He set something down on the ground. Either the guy was going to pull a violin out of there and serenade Levi, or it was a rifle case.

Rifle case. Windows. Gun. Shady guy dressed in black, skulking around and breaking into hotel rooms.

Levi’s uninvited guest was an assassin.

“You’re going to kill someone on Valentine’s Day?” Levi made a face, even as he backed away and glanced anxiously toward the window. “That’s awful. What are you, evil Cupid?”

“Technically I’m not going to kill anyone until tomorrow,” quoth the raven. His voice went flat and cold. “But if you keep asking me questions, I might change my mind. Now sit down and let me think.”

Levi sat.

About the Author

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Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Find Avon:

@Facebook||   @avongalewrites.com||  @twitter || bourbon and candy (avon’s mailing list)

Giveaway

Win a copy of Conversation Hearts!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Dreamspinner Press

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