A Lila Audiobook Review: Eyes Only for Me by Andrew Grey and Tristan James (Narrator)

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

eyes only for me audiobookClayton Potter has been in love with his straight friend, Ronnie, for years, but he knew he didn’t have a chance, or that’s what he though. The book starts with Clay taking care of a business party for Ronnie and making it a success. We get to see Ronnie’s way with women and the relationship Clay and Ronnie share with their gym partners.

From the moment Clay gets the call about his father, Ronnie takes charge, helping him get to the hospital. He’s the support Clay needed and always craved, which confuses Clay. Ronnie booked a hotel for them to spend the night and that’s when their friendship starts to change.

The next morning, they deal with the consequences of their time together as best as they could. Clay felt Ronnie’s distance but understood his reactions. With Clay staying behind to take care of his father, they have the opportunity to think about their next move.

For the rest of the story, we get to see how they struggled to save their friendship and to be what the other needs. Their pasts and current situations take a toll on their new relationship, and they had to make the decision to give up on each other or fight through.

Eyes Only for Me wasn’t what I expected. The blurb sounded interesting, and I was ready for a nice friends-to-lovers story, instead, I got to read about two men that happened to be in the right bed at the right moment. I can say that this story didn’t work for me.

In my opinion, the MCs have two personalities each. One when they are having sex and another when they are not. There’s nothing wrong with having or giving control to your partner during sex, but the way Clay treated Ronnie felt uncomfortable. From their very first time, Clay is cornering Ronnie and acting as if Ronnie had been involved with men before.

Yes, some descriptions let the reader know that Ronnie wasn’t getting what he wanted with women, but Clay’s magically transformed him. For me, Ronnie went with the flow just because he could. I didn’t felt a connection between them other than in Clay’s musings. According to him, Ronnie was the type of partner he wanted, but that knowledge didn’t translate into the relationship.

Also, Ronnie’s memories about an event in his childhood felt unnecessary, and it’s a topic I don’t consider should be used to create tension between the characters or to be perhaps a reason Ronnie had never considered a relationship with a man.

The description of the settings and the characters were interesting and relatable. The writing is up to par. One thing the author was able to show very well was the friendship between the men, their gym trips, dinners, and breakfast meetings. We get to see all the personalities and how they interact. What they meant to each other and how far they would, or not, go for each other. And the way the author described how Ronnie’s mind works was credible.

Tristan James is one of my favorite MM narrators, and he definitely saved this book for me. If I had read the ebook, I’d probably had rate it a lot lower than three stars. As always, Tristan delivered an excellent performance. I enjoyed the way he made a distinction between Clay’s words and his narration. The female voices weren’t as perfect as the others, but that’s to be expected.

I loved the cover by L.C. Chase and the intensity of the characters. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see Clay and Ronnie in them.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Tristan James
Length:  6 hours and 19 minutes

Published:  January 25, 2016, by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B01AYJEIC2
Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Rag and Bone (Rag and Bone #1) by K.J. Charles

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Rag and BoneIt’s amazing what people throw away…

Crispin Tredarloe never meant to become a warlock. Freed from his treacherous master, he’s learning how to use his magical powers the right way. But it’s brutally hard work. Not everyone believes he’s a reformed character, and the strain is putting unbearable pressure on his secret relationship with waste-man Ned Hall.

Ned’s sick of magic. Sick of the trouble it brings, sick of its dangerous grip on Crispin and the miserable look it puts in his eyes, and sick of being afraid that a gentleman magician won’t want a street paper-seller forever—or even for much longer.

But something is stirring among London’s forgotten discards. An ancient evil is waking up and seeking its freedom. And when wild magic hits the rag-and-bottle shop where Ned lives, a panicking Crispin falls back onto bad habits. The embattled lovers must find a way to work together—or London could go up in flames.

Set in the world of A Charm of Magpies, this is the story of Crispin Tredarloe and Ned Hall, who according to the author’s note, were featured in her short story “A Queer Trade” within the Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy anthology. Though I didn’t read this short prequel, I was easily able to follow this story as a standalone.

Crispin is a graphomancer, a practitioner of blood writing, a rare talent. Graphomancers use writing and drawing to practice their magic and can draw an injury or death for those they wish to harm. But Crispin doesn’t have good control over his skill, and after having been used by the infamous warlock Mr. Marleigh to assist him in his evil mission, he’s more than happy to take the advice of the justiciars and study with Dr. Sweet, a visiting professor who is well-versed in graphomancy. Crispin needs to learn how to use his talent without relying on the pen Marleigh directed him to create, a pen which uses his own blood to write. And he’s trying to do all this under the watchful eye of the justiciars, many of whom believe he’s a warlock and unable to learn a non-threatening way to use his gift.

Ned is a waste man, collecting paper from all over town to sell for a penny a pound. His quarters—a small corner of his part of a store he shares with a rag-and-bottle shop—are filled to the brim with paper and the accompanying paper dust. But he has a little corner in which his bed is squeezed, and it’s there that he and Crispin find their moments of happiness in the deep of night. And on one of those nights, they discover a burning heap in the middle of the rag-and-bottle shop next door, and the heap turns out to be Mr. Voake, the owner. The other mystery surrounding the burning corpse is the presence of a jug from which the song Scarborough Fair seems to be originating. The only one who can hear it is Ned, a man who is not born to the world of magic. But it appears he has a rare talent for hearing things related to magic that others cannot.

Ned sets off alone to discover if any other rag-and-bottle shops have reported a death and is dismayed to find that there were indeed more. In fact, Ned’s discoveries lead him to the conclusion that evil magic caused the deaths. When Ned disappears, he’s able to connect with Crispin through Crispin’s magic and, together, the two have to fight off a very ancient and very malevolent spirit that has managed to come to life. The story is very exciting, complex, and intriguing from that point on, not only due to the frightening discovery they make, but also due to the consequences the men face when a justiciary investigation, led by Stephen Day, uncovers the magical power unleashed by Crispin as he and Ned fought for their lives.

Though I enjoy this author’s work, it took me awhile to get into this story. I believe it’s due to the fact that I didn’t enjoy this couple, as a couple, as much as others in the Magpies world. Tristan was very unassuming, with low self-esteem and a high quotient for misunderstanding the comments others made about him. Ned was smart, but very defensive about being a person of color in the world of magic, including the dreaded justiciars. Possibly due to the circumstances and time period of the story, neither man was overly demonstrative with the other, and I just didn’t feel the loving bond of a strong connection as I did with Stephen and Crane, or with Jonah and Ben (Jackdaw).

If you are a fan of KJ Charles’s work, by all means pick this up. The history and feel of the era, the complexity of the mystery and magic, and the chance for a quick revisit with Stephen Day and Mrs. Gold, all make this one well worthwhile. Though I personally didn’t connect with the MCs, I still enjoyed the story, and I’m looking forward to more tales from this world.

~~~~~

Cover Art by Angela Waters clearly depicts both MCs in period attire. Though it’s in color, it gives the impression of having been done in daguerreotype, thereby making the photo appear authentic.

Sales Links eBooks:  Samhain Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 146 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Original Title:Rag and Bone
ISBN139781619234734
Edition LanguageEnglish

A VVivacious Review: Souls for Sale Series (Books 1 & 2) by Asta Idonea

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
 
Souls for Sale seriesThomas Ives has a made a deal with the devil, for which he has given up his chance at heaven, or has he…?
 
Saul is a demon deal-maker extraordinaire, always ready to go the extra mile to secure a soul. But he doesn’t know the night he is in for when he gets Tom to sign on the dotted line.
 
In the weirdest twist of fates, a night of passion see these two beings falling in love. But hasn’t Saul already condemned his lover to a lifetime of misery in hell, isn’t Tom’s soul condemned to eternally burn in the fiery pits of hell, well not if Saul has a say in it…
 
This book comprises of two stories TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY DEMON and HELL TO PAY.
 
“Twenty-First Century Demon” is a short story telling us how Saul and Tom met while “Hell to Pay” follows these two as they are on the run from the demons of Hell.
 
These books are written (mostly) in first person, but what is unique about these books is that the reader is a known presence to Saul and Tom, but again mostly to Saul as he actually makes comments on what he believes to be are the reader’s thoughts, indirectly it’s like he is talking to us and we are following him all around, even when they have sex so basically he refers to us (the reader) as a demon-groupie and a voyeur (and he would be right). This was indeed a unique experience and what I liked about this way of writing is that it got me involved in the book really fast.
 
Now again if you remember I said mostly first person that is because we have three narrators – Tom and Saul who both use first person in a talking to a third person way and then there is Baruchiel who is talked about in the third person. But these are all technicalities that don’t detract from the reading experience, in fact Saul’s “talking’ really had me engrossed in the story from a very early stage.
 
To some extent it is hard to find the basis to Saul and Tom’s love, if you ask me the best explanation is love at first sight/sex because this is the one aspect of the book which is extremely vague. They fall in the ‘I am ready to take on hell for you’ way in the span of hours, this decision changes their entire lives, forces them on the rum from Hell and frankly I don’t understand how it is possible. This is exactly where Saul’s “talking” comes in handy because even though I am sceptical of their love which has sprung up out of nowhere, the fact remains that it seems like he is telling me a story which makes me give him creative liberty over the events.
 
Now if you just push the details of how they fell in love aside the premise of the rest of the story is really interesting. Tom, Saul and Baruchiel are all extremely likeable characters and you will get caught up in their drama.
 
While I loved Tom and Saul’s extraordinary love and all their small moments that they share, what I loved most about this book was the story of how a demon falling in love can rend heaven and hell into chaos. The story is interesting and appealing in the way angels and demons always are. I loved Baruchiel as the little angel trying to do good and taking on big bad demons in the name of love.
 
More than a love story this book is appreciable because it has an awesome plot given a nice execution with very likeable characters and the premise is such that it has a lot of potential which the book successfully delivers.
 
Overall if you like a good old angels and demons story with heaven and hell settling disputes because a demon falls in love with a human, this story is just for you.
 
Cover Art by 8th floor studio. I loved the cover it is vague but at the same time it is a picture trying to get something across, and it is eye-catching.
Sales Links:  Wayward Ink Publishing | ARe | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 139 pages
Published February 5th 2016 by Wayward Ink Publishing
ISBN139781925222784
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersSaul, Thomas Ives, Adramalech, Baruchie

A Paul B Review: Stealing Dragon’s Heart (Lifting the Veil #6) by Susan Laine

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Stealing Dragon's HeartTen years after the Unveiling, Finn Greyson knows all about mythical creatures.  It has also made his life as a master thief a bit more difficult as security has increased with the new times.  When his fence offers him a job of breaking into a master collector’s suite and stealing the Earth Shard, Finn is reluctant to take the job.  New Shanghai has become a walled city with few if any escape routes.  Finn is already a wanted man in the city anyway.  Add in the fact that his fence only says that Finn would know the object when he sees it, the job seems almost impossible.  Considering the amount of money that could come his way, Finn decides that this could be his last job and agrees to the mission.

Cameron Feilong has possession of the Earth Shard.  It is one of five pieces of the Elemental Crystal, along with ones representing wood, water, metal, and fire.  Each shard is protected by a guardian.  If the five shards are reformed into one crystal, then dangerous things could happen.  The last time the elven race got an evolutionary advance while others devolved into more basic creatures.  Cameron is one of the five charged to make sure these objects are never together again.

Finn breaks into Cameron’s suite and is amazed at all the priceless objects that are stored on the multi-level apartment.  Pushing away ideas of stealing a couple of the priceless art pieces that he sees, Finn searches out for his bounty.  Strange things begin to happen to him after he passes a small dragon statue in one of the hallways.  When he starts dancing an Irish sword dance and singing nonsensical rhymes, Finn realizes that he has wandered into a dragon’s lair and his horde.  When confronted by Cameron in his dragon form, Finn tells Cameron the reason that he is there.  Cameron is alarmed and immediately goes to where he stores the Shard.  Noting that it is gone, Finn realizes that he has been set up.  When the New Shanghai police arrive asking about a murder in Cam’s suite, Cam also realizes that he is being set up to take the fall for Finn’s murder.  Together the pair must solve who is willing to kill both of them and prevent the mastermind from retrieving all five shards before it is too late.  But in the end will Finn be able to steal something even more precious than the shards of the elemental crystal?

This is the first Lifting the Veil book that I have read from Susan Laine, but I have read several of her other books.  As with the other books that I have read by hear, I totally enjoyed it.  What I really liked was the different settings that she built within her mythical world.  From the barren tundra home of the first lycan to the underwater world of the Undine, her descriptions gives the reader a sense of the worlds that these people live in.  Each of the four settings where we find a new guardian is brought to life.

I also liked how Finn, while seemingly the weakest of those searching for the shards, might actually be the strongest.  His persistent optimism might annoy Cam somewhat but it is what is needed to accomplish their mission.  When he has to make a couple of decisions that test his moral system, you can feel the pain he goes through as he is weighing his options.  Because of his actions, he lashes out at the guardians for not being there when he thought he needed them most.    At the end, he realizes that he might have been a bit harsh and hopes it is not too late to make things right.  I look forward to reading more in this series.

The cover art by Anne Cain is a pretty drawing of what I think is Cameron’s mountain retreat.  While it is a gorgeous cover, I wish the cover had more to do with either the elemental shards or the characters themselves.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details

ebook, 240 pages
Expected publication: March 2nd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634769723
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series:  Lifting the Veil

Its Love and War with American Flyboy by N.D. Clark (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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American Flyboy by N.D. Clark
Release Date: December 5, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: N.D. Clark
Cover Artist: Graphicxdesigns

Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to be interviewing Nolan Clark, author of American Flyboy. Hi Nolan, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

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I was born in Biloxi, MS and educated at NC State University. I’m an American author who loves reading and writing gay romance/erotica set in historical backgrounds and spending time with my husband Jim, going for long walks in nature parks, dining out and taking in the occasional movie. I’ve been with my husband, Jim for almost sixteen years, and we were married two years ago, shortly have the US Supreme Court ruling allowing gay people to marry throughout the United States.

American Flyboy is my first book and it is a highly readable, erotic M/M romance set amidst the backdrop of World War II.

  • Nolan, can you give us ten tips for becoming a better writer?

1-Read as much as you can in the genre in which you write.

2-Check out the books by well-established and successful authors.

3-Write something every day, even if it’s just a few ideas about your next scene, no matter how crazy they might seem; there will always be a few good ones.

4-Set writing goals; my minimal is 250 words five days a week.

5-Use actions verbs.

6-Make sure you have a good understanding of POV. This still trips me up at times.

7-Persistance; don’t listen to people or even your own voice telling you to give up. Steven King’s first book, Carrie, only netted him a few thousand dollars.

8-Invest in a good thesaurus.

9-Have beta readers read your book just before you’re ready to publish.

10-Indie writers should learn to edit their own books; paying an expensive editor will put you in the poor house considering most indie authors never sell more than a few hundred copies of any book and that’s if they’re lucky (Don’t believe me, do some research, you’ll be stunned). I hired an editor for my first book, and I don’t expect to ever recover this cost; I will learn to edit my own books from this point forward. One of the books I recommend on self-editing is Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon.

Fantastic, advice.  Thank you so much for a  wonderful interview. Now for more about American Flyboy…

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Blurb

American Flyboy is a highly readable, erotic M/M romance set amidst the backdrop of World War II.

The story is fast-paced and characterized by the believability of its characters, notably the protagonist, Lt. Kenneth Hellman, and the romance that develops between Kenneth and Colonel Wilhelm Braun. The erotic reader in search of well-nuanced, sexy love/lovemaking scenes will not be disappointed; the author is gifted with an affinity toward creating realistic, absorbing sex scenes.

 

Pages or Words: 163 pages, 55,260 words
Categories: Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Ménage/Poly

Excerpt

Wilhelm whispered in soft breaths, “Raise your hands above your head, Kenneth.” Standing behind him, he pulled the grimy POW uniform top over his head and inhaled deeply. “I find your scent intoxicating.” It was unexpected, Wilhelm’s warm breath gently caressing the nape of his neck; Kenneth’s breath quickened. Loosening the silk blindfold, Wilhelm allowed the soft, smooth fabric to glide over Kenneth’s massive, broad shoulders tapering to a V-shaped torso and down his naked back.

Shuddering at the sleek sensations, Kenneth asked, “Are you trying to seduce me Wilhelm?”

In response, Wilhelm stepped closer and pressed his body into Kenneth’s. Wrapping his arms around his waist, Wilhelm kissed him innocently. “I’ve wanted to do that from the first day we met.”

Kenneth kissed him back softly, lingering. He felt safe and whole.

Coaxing Kenneth’s lips apart, Wilhelm’s tongue entered his mouth, tickling the sensitive palate with light flicks. Their lips crushed together with bruising kisses. Wilhelm broke away, gazing longingly into Kenneth’s eyes. “To answer your question, Kenneth, I am guilty of feeding a wounded POW a wonderful meal, relieving his pain with fine brandy, delighting him with romantic music and drawing him a hot relaxing bath of chamomile salts to soak away the stress of a bad day. Your glass is empty. Why don’t you finish undressing and ease into your bath while I get you another drink.” Wilhelm’s voice trailed off as he left the bathroom. “It’s baffling how you arrived at such an audacious conclusion as seduction.”

“My mistake,” Kenneth called after him, laughing to himself. He kicked off his dilapidated work shoes and pushed his boxers and grungy work pants down his long, muscular legs. Raking his strong fingers through the water, heightened the aroma of chamomile, and he inhaled the relaxing scent before slipping into the warm liquid heaven. His tired muscles released their tension as he submerged his body to the neck. Kenneth held his breath and slipped his head under. As he closed his eyes, his exhaustion seemed to float to the surface, and his thoughts drifted to Wilhelm, charming, handsome, tall and strong. His cock swelled to a full erection as he surfaced and rested his head against the back edge of the tub. Wiping the water from his eyes, he inhaled deeply and faded into sleep.

 

Buy the book:

Meet the author:

N.D.Clark was born in Biloxi, MS and educated at NC State University. He is an American author who loves reading and writing gay romance/erotica set in historical backgrounds and spending time with his husband Jim, going for long walks in nature parks, dining out and taking in the occasional movie. He has been with his husband, Jim for almost sixteen years and was married two years ago, shortly have the US Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriage throughout the United States.

Where to find the author:

 


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