A MelanieM Review: Jury of One (Lindenshaw Mysteries) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

JuryOfOne_600x900Inspector Robin Bright is enjoying a quiet Saturday with his lover, Adam Matthews, when murder strikes in nearby Abbotson, and he’s called in to investigate. He hopes for a quick resolution, but as the case builds, he’s drawn into a tangled web of crimes, new and old, that threatens to ensnare him and destroy his fledgling relationship.

Adam is enjoying his final term teaching at Lindenshaw School, and is also delighted to be settling down with Robin at last. Only Robin doesn’t seem so thrilled. Then an old crush of Adam’s shows up in the murder investigation, and suddenly Adam is yet again fighting to stay out of one of Robin’s cases, to say nothing of trying to keep their relationship from falling apart.

Between murder, stabbings, robberies, and a suspect with a charming smile, the case threatens to ruin everything both Robin and Adam hold dear. What does it take to realise where your heart really lies, and can a big, black dog hold the key?

What marvelous characters! What a hedgerow maze of a plot! With Jury of One Charlie Cochrane moved her cozy mystery series even closer into my heart.

Characters Adam Matthews and Robin Bright melt you with their genuineness.  By that I mean, I believed in them utterly.  Their kindnesses and their doubts about the relationship in its newness, their intelligence and perceptions about each other and the people around them.  I accepted them as real and moved forward into the story from the first page.

The two person pov continues and I love it here.  Both Robin and Adam are strong, necessary voices here and the contributions the different perspectives make to the plot and relationship are necessary to the story and series.  We see what Robin’s continuing need to hold onto his flat is doing to the relationship on Adam’s side and his.  That’s the more intimate element.  Then when it comes to the larger scope, that of the murder mystery or mysteries here, we see how segments in both of their lives are starting to add up to a startling…well, that’s best left to the author and this wonderful book.

I think what really engages me here is the details in their lives.  Having teachers in my background, I understand when Adam faces a evening of grading papers or other such things that he has brought home to work on. He’s used to it or was until Robin entered his life. Now he loves the companionship but it seems to be missing. And Robin?  Coming home so exhausted from his cases and long hours that he can barely keep his eyes open to see his way to their bed, let alone  converse, eat, or make love in a new relationship?  He’s a inspector on a murder case and that’s his life.  Something brand new for Adam and a huge adjustment for them both.  Neither backs away from it, the author makes sure of it but I love how its handled.

And then there’s himself, that big black Newfoundland Campbell who lends a ear, a discerning look or much, much, more when needed.  Yes, I adore him too.  He’s as much of this family as Adam and Robin and the village they live in.

So make room Midsomer Mysteries, I’m adding another English mystery series to love.  I can’t wait for the third mystery to arrive.  For those of you new to the series, you have several choices.  The audiobook is out and my review will be coming shortly.  Or you can follow the ebook route.  Either way catch up.  This is a series to treasure if you love your murder mysteries and a realistic wonderful main couple like Robin and Adam, with a big Newfy thrown in for good measure.

I highly recommend them all.

Cover art by L. C. Chase is well done and works for the mystery inside.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing |  ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 298 pages
Published March 21st 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleJury of One
ISBN 1626493766 (ISBN13: 9781626493766)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series:  Lindenshaw Mysteries

A Jeri Review: It’s a Long Way to the Top (Acts of Insanity Book 1) by Cherry Cox

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

It’s a Long Way to the TopEveryone has secrets; some even have secrets they keep from themselves.

Los Angeles, 1985. Jackson ‘Jax’ Reed is the lead guitarist of Acts of Insanity, a hard rock band forging its place on the Sunset Strip.

After firing his lead singer, and with a showcase gig for record executives just a few weeks away, Jax is forced to find a new frontman – fast.

When Harley Moore walks in to audition for the gig, the secret that Jax is desperately trying to keep hidden, even from himself, begins to unravel and threaten everything that he and the band have worked for.

Can Jax keep his secret hidden? Can he keep his growing love for Harley a secret? Or will his need for love and acceptance threaten everything he’s worked so hard to create?

It’s a Long Way to the Top is the first book in the Acts of Insanity series.

To call this book an erotic romance it quite a misnomer. What it is is a story of an up and coming rock band in the 80’s and the lead guitarist is a severe drug addict. Perhaps the book is an erotic romance- but the romance is between Jax and heroin.

Being the 80’s, Jax is in the closet. Because being gay was still far from accepted, especially from a hard rock guitarist. But he is falling hard for the new lead singer.

While we watch Jax and the band navigate the rock scene in LA in the mid- 80’s, we also watch not only Jax descend into deep heroin addiction, but he also then drags his lead singer with him.

Jax is a narcissist to the nth degree. You want to believe he cares about his music, about hitting it big, about his band, about Harley, but really he cares only about heroin and when he will get his next fix.

Honestly, if you read this book not as a work of erotic fiction but one of a story of drug addiction in the 80’s rock scene, I would have given it a higher rating. As it was I could barely get through it because it was a melting pot of drugs, booze and co-dependency. What it is not is a gay romance. At all.

The cover art really depicts the characters and the theme of rock in the 80’s. Get me my Aqua Net!

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 246 pages
Published October 22nd 2015 by Paperback Pleasures
ASINB016GYA0HG
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesActs of Insanity #1

Nicola Haken “Broken” Author Guest Spot and New Release/Author Introduction

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Broken

Broken byNicola Haken

Buy It Here at Amazon

Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words welcomes Nicola Haken, author of Broken to sit down and talk a little about herself and her latest release broken.  Hi, Nicola, thanks for answering some questions for our readers today.

Why did you make the jump from M/F romance to M/M romance? (Being Sawyer Knight is your first MM I believe)

 

I’ve always written the kind of stuff I like to read. When I first started writing, MF New Adult stories were my favourite and they remained that way for a long time…until I discovered MM! I genuinely had no idea the MM genre existed and became really curious after reading Freeing by EK Blair – an mm novella spinoff in her MF Fading series. Something about that story resonated with me. In intrigued me so much I read it again almost straight away. I wanted more, but didn’t know I could get it. Then I accidentally stumbled upon Double Full by Kindle Alexander and one-clicked it without knowing what the story was about. That was the day I discovered this whole genre of MM goodness existed and I haven’t looked back since.

 

Deciding to write MM myself was really scary! It’s a much smaller (although growing) genre and the readers in it know exactly what they like to read and I had no idea if I’d be able to give them that. But I took a deep breath and gave it a go, did my thing, and was completely blown away by how well Being Sawyer Knight was received.

 

I feel like I’ve found my home. MM is my favourite thing to read, and to write. I love the chemistry between the leading characters. I love being in the heads of ‘my’ guys. I love seeing struggles they shouldn’t even have to face being resolved, seeing them in love and accepted, all the while hoping this will be real life for all people one day. Most of all I love the community feel of the MM genre. I’ve made some incredible friends here, gained amazing readers and support.

 

I did jump to MM romance, and I’m pretty sure I’m here to stay (if they’ll have me lol).

 

Souls of the Knight was set in the US. Being British, was it difficult to acclimate to US slang, etc?

 

Yes! This is where American beta readers come in handy to put me in my place. Like most people, I knew the basics – trunk/boot, chips/crisps, elevator/lift, etc. – but there are so many phrases and words that I had no idea weren’t used across the pond! As with all aspects of writing, learning the lingo is something I’ve got better at with each book, although I’m sure if you look hard enough there will no doubt be telltale signs that I’m a Brit at heart.

 

Broken is set in London, any reason for the switch back “home”?

 

It’s actually set in Manchester, and my reason for that is simply because I live there. This book focuses on mental health and I know how the services and support offered works in my area. It’s something I have a lot of experience with, and I’m sure things work differently in the US. They also differ in the UK, depending on which area of the country you live in, so that is why I stuck with my hometown, because I know the facts to be true of someone who lives here. It was also really refreshing to not have to worry about language and slang mistakes. I could use words that spill out of my mouth every day, like skint, minging, and tosser, and know that they wouldn’t be out of place!

 

Will Broken lead to a series? (this may get deleted after I finish the book because it might answer the question

 

No. Broken is a standalone. James and Theo’s story is complete, which makes me a little sad because I love those guys.

 

Do you set certain hours or times to write or do you write when you can or when the mood strikes?”

 

With four children it’s very much a case of whenever and wherever I can! There aren’t many times where I can sit down with my laptop so I write everything the old-fashioned way, with a pen and a notepad which I carry around everywhere with me in a carrier bag (not very glamorous, I know!) and then type it up when I get the chance. 

Blurb

When Theodore Davenport decides to switch his mundane job for a career, he walks into Holden House Publishing with enthusiasm and determination to succeed. As he settles into his new role, makes new friends, and dreams of making it to the top, everything is going to plan.

Until he meets James Holden, CEO of Holden House.

James Holden hasn’t been able to stop thinking about his encounter with the timid man he met in a club bathroom last week, and when he discovers the one haunting his dreams is an employee, he can’t seem to stop himself from pursuing him.

Just a little fun – that’s what James tells himself. He can’t afford to care for someone who can never reciprocate, not once they find out who he really is. James believes nobody deserves the burden of being attached to him. He’s a complicated man. Damaged. Difficult. Demanding.

Broken.

Is Theodore strong enough to confront James’ demons? More importantly, is James?

Please note:This book contains scenes of self harm, mental illness and suicidal ideation which may be uncomfortable for some readers.

Bio:

Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children (seven if you include the dog and cats!) She is the author of Broken, the MM romance Souls of the Knight series, and the New Adult/Contemporary MF romance novels Missing Pieces, Saving Amy and the Take My Hand series. When she is not busy playing with her imaginary book friends (or talking about them with real life friends!) she can usually be found carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all round slave duties. Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…

Contact Nicola at

Marie Sexton Talks Images and Inspiration And ‘Trailer Trash’‏ (author guest post and giveaway)

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Trailer Trash

Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton
R
iptide Publishing

Cover Art by Jay Aheer

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

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Hello, everyone! I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m here today to talk about my New Adult novel, Trailer Trash. Trailer Trash is about two high school seniors in small-town Wyoming in the mid-1980s. I thought I’d share a few pictures that helped inspire book, and a few that might help illustrate the setting.

Trailer Trash was born from this image:Cody

I’ve since learned that this picture is of actor Nicholas Hoult, but this picture has always been Cody in my mind.

This is the picture I have for Nate, although it isn’t perfect.

NateTrailer Trash is set in the fictional town of Warren, Wyoming, along the I-80 corridor. If you look at a map of Southern Wyoming, and find the spot about midway between Rawlins and Rock Springs, then go ten or fifteen miles north into nowhere, you’ll have the approximate location of Warren. This area of Wyoming is so windy that there aren’t many trees, but many of the ones that grow in that area look like this:

(credit: http://www.wildwestcycle.com/f_snowy.html)FlagTree

Now, I’ve driven I-80 across southern Wyoming many, many times, and it’s hell. It’s windy and barren and goes on forever, mostly flat and straight as a ruler. On a good day, that section of I-80 looks like this:

I80_GoodDay(credit: http://www.sn-reisewelt.de/cms/tag-14-yellowstone-national-park2.html)

On a bad day, it looks like this:I80_BadDay

(credit: https://weather.com/news/news/snow-blinds-drivers-along-i-80-in-wyoming)

The wind along this stretch of interstate is so bad, it’s been known to blow semis over:

https://youtu.be/vA16ivK6iDI

https://youtu.be/HKD-YXMAW4A

I originally started this story back in 2011. I put it on hold for years, but I always knew I’d finish it someday. But this is the collage I used both times around (I’m pretty sure Heidi Cullinan made this for me back in 2011).Trailer Trash Collage

The setting for Trailer Trash may look depressing, and to a large extent, it is. But I love Cody and Nate so much, I just had to tell their story, and I promise, these boys do earn their happy ending.

About Trailer Trash

It’s 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford’s life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he’s living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There’s no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall—not even any MTV. The entire school’s smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn’t fit in.

Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody’s dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate’s dad says Cody’s bad news. The other kids say he’s trash. But Nate knows Cody’s a good kid who’s been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he’s beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship.

Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.

About Marie Sexton

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along.

Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Connect with Marie:

Giveaway

To celebrate, Marie is giving away a $50 gift card to either Amazon or All Romance Ebooks, winner’s choice. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 26, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Love Fantasy Romance? Check out Ceílí by Moriah Gemel (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Ceili 1600px COVER (RGB) - Front

Ceílí by Moriah Gemel
Release Date: March 17, 2016

Goodreads Link: www.goodreads.com/moriahgemel
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Design – CB Messer, Cover art by Ari McFarland

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Moriah Gemel author of Céilí. Hi Moriah, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Thank you for having me. I’m an author at night and a stay-at-home mom during the day, and I’ve been writing since the age of seven. My current book is called Céilí and it’s about a man who finds where he belongs after a lifetime of searching, and how he comes to protect that life at all costs.

  • Do you have pictures that you use for your characters? Can you share them with us?
    Sure can! Here we go:
  • This is the picture I use for Devon, my main character. In reality he’s a model named Nate Gill, but he’s what I have in mind for Devon.Picture1 gorgeous blk guy

This is the picture I use for Eldan, Devon’s love interest. In reality he’s a model named Tim Borrmann.geeky white guy

  • What kind of book would you like to write that people would see as a huge departure for you?
    It’s funny, I’ve written such a wide variety of stories that I’m not sure anyone would be surprised if I wrote anything. I’ve written everything from high fantasy to horror. I’ve written very dark stories and I’ve written light ones. So I’m not entirely sure, to be honest.
  • Have you ever killed a character? Was it traumatic for you? If you haven’t killed one, would you ever consider it?
    I have killed a character or two in my day. It was not traumatic for me—I’ve done far worse to characters than just killing them. I’m not afraid to go there with my stories.
  • Favorite location you’ve ever written about?
    I’ve loved writing about LA. It’s a shame I live across the country, I’d love to visit and see all the places I’m writing about, but for now my friend Meg, Google, and Google Earth are my best friends when dealing with writing about LA.
  • What’s your favorite season and favorite activity for that season?
    I love fall, and to be honest I just love going for walks in the fall. The crunch of the leaves under my feet is a sensory heaven for me, and the brisk air is my favorite kind of air. I love just taking my son, holding his hand, and taking him on a walk around town or to the playground.

Blurb

The Los Angeles music scene has not been kind to Devon Caelin. He struggles to fit in and has a streak of bad luck the length of the Sunset Strip. One rare rainy night, he drowns his sorrows from bar-to-bar, until he stumbles into an alley club called Céilí. He discovers that it’s home to a small community of mystical people making their way in the human world, and that he found it only because he is Fae himself. With mentoring from the pub’s proprietor, Eldan—a powerful Fae Lord protecting his kind in the city—Devon unearths his past and discovers his magical abilities. His life appears to be back on track—until a member of the Faerie Court is murdered and the secret of their world is threatened to be revealed.

Pages or Words: 200 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Fantasy, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Excerpt

“This is where we’ll do the spell,” Eldan says. “I can open the channel easily enough, but I’d like you to assist in keeping it open. Stand behind me when I tell you to, and put your hands on my shoulders. If we’re compatible, I’ll be able to take some of your energy to bolster mine, just enough to maintain a stronger connection than I would on my own, all right? You might get a little dizzy, but I promise you’ll be okay.”

“I’m not afraid, Eldan.” Devon is excited to see this magic performed, to see the Queens. What will they be like, these women that Eldan is wary to speak of?

“No. You aren’t, are you?” Eldan smiles. “Well. Best get on with it then. Stand nearby, please?”

Devon settles himself just behind Eldan, and Eldan nods. Then, he pulls a little vial from his pocket and shakes it.

“Here we go.”

He uncorks the bottle, and Devon smells something almost metallic. Eldan walks to the first corner of the table, to the right, and pours a drop of whatever’s inside the vial over the little pile of dirt.

Cré.” His hand hovers over the bowl, and the dirt spreads and forms a flat plane under his palm. Eldan smiles and walks on.

He walks to the back right of the table and pours a drop into the empty bowl. “Aer,” he says and his hand hovers. The bowl trembles, and the dust motes in the air within it coalesce and spin. He walks on.

The third bowl holds sticks, and Eldan pours the liquid on them before hovering his hand, causing them to burst into flames. “Tine.” Devon can’t help but push his breath out and shake his head. This is cool. All this magic, it’s really real. He thought it was a story for children, but magic is real, and he’s a part of it. He never thought much about fairytales but now he wishes he had, because it would make this moment so much better.

Finally, Eldan pours into the fourth bowl, filled with water, and his hand hovering creates little waves that splash on the sides of the bowl gently, as though upset. “Uisce,” he says and then he walks on.

He circles the table counter-clockwise three times and, when he reaches the head of the table once more, he nods to Devon. “Now.”

Devon steps up as Eldan turns away and puts his hands on Eldan’s slim, strong shoulders. Immediately, his palms tingle, as Eldan waves a hand. The mirror in the center of the table stands up, reflecting them. Eldan presses a palm to the center of it.

Oscailt agus a léiriú,” Eldan says. Devon wishes he knew what the hell he was saying, but it’s pretty, in any case. Celtic? Gaelic? Something. “Na Ríona I Talún Samhraidh.”

The mirror clouds, and Devon licks his lips and stands on his tiptoes to see over Eldan’s shoulder. Nothing happens, though, for long moments, in which Eldan’s breathing comes quick and loud. Devon squeezes his shoulders, and Eldan whimpers faintly. But he slows down, and Devon keeps squeezing, staring at what he can see of Eldan’s face, staring at the delicate line of his jaw, his high cheekbone, the flutter of an eyelash, the jut of his nose, which is freckled and fair.

But then the clouds part, and there they are.

 

Buy the book

 Interlude Press: store.interludepress.com

 

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Meet the Author

 

Moriah Gemel has developed a dedicated following for her realistic, sexually-charged stories over twelve years in online fan communities. Moriah is passionate about diversity in fiction, as well as realistic depictions of BDSM and sex education. Her first novel, Load the Dice, was published as a serial in ten parts. Céilí is her second novel. She lives with her husband, young son, and two cats.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/moriahgemel

Twitter: @moriahgemel

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

17-Mar: Book Lovers 4Ever, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, BFD Book Blog

18-Mar: Happily Ever Chapter, Divine Magazine, Unquietly Me, Wake Up Your Wild Side

21-Mar: Outrageous Heroes, Nephy Hart, Inked Rainbow Reads, Velvet Panic

22-Mar: The Hat Party, Rednecks and Romance, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

23-Mar: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Alpha Book Club

24-Mar: MM Good Book Reviews

25-Mar: Full Moon Dreaming

28-Mar: Kirsty Loves Books, A.M. Leibowitz, My Fiction Nook

29-Mar: Havan Fellows, The Novel Approach

30-Mar: Love Bytes, Bayou Book Junkie, Molly Lolly

Final

Giveaway

 

Enter to win. Must be 18 years of age or older.  Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotion.
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