A BJ Audiobook Review: Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall ~Narrated by Alexander Doddy

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Rating:     3 out of 5 stars

Waiting for the Flood audioPeople come as well as go.

Twelve years ago, Edwin Tully came to Oxford and fell in love with a boy named Marius. He was brilliant. An artist. It was going to be forever.

Two years ago, it ended.

Now Edwin lives alone in the house they used to share. He tends to damaged books and faded memories, trying to a build a future from the fragments of the past.

Then the weather turns, and the river spills into Edwin’s quiet world, bringing with it Adam Dacre from the Environment Agency. An unlikely knight, this stranger with roughened hands and worn wellingtons, but he offers Edwin the hope of something he thought he would never have again.

As the two men grow closer in their struggle against the rising waters, Edwin learns he can’t protect himself from everything—and sometimes he doesn’t need to try.

This is my third book by this author. I adored For Real, abso-freaking-lutely loved it. But the other one I’d read not so much, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with a third one. Even after listening to it, I’m wasn’t sure and had to really think about it. There were parts that I found quite slow, where my attention drifted away and I had to struggle to make myself focus on the story. But then there were other parts that I found to be deep and poignant, that jerked at my heart in the way they felt so raw and real. The writing was lyrical, slow-paced, contemplative.

The premise of two men meeting during a storm/flood appealed to me, as I usually adore such stories. But there were many times that I was confused by the words and conversation, which may have been part of why my mind often wandered. I enjoyed Adam’s character quite a lot, but Edwin not so much. He seemed so very hung up on his old relationship even though a few years had past, that he let it influence him to the point that he cut himself off from life, and he very nearly let it get in the way of something good several times.

I’ve not listened to too many audios narrated with a UK accent, so it took me a tiny bit to get used to it. Not that it wasn’t lovely, as it certainly was, just that it was a little bit harder to understand for me at first until my ears got attuned to it. I felt that he did a stellar job at handling Edwin’s speech impediment.

Beautiful cover… I adore rain and these guys walking hand in hand in it totally did it for me.

Sales Links:  Riptide PublishingAudible | Amazon


Book Details:

Audible Audio, 3 pages, Listening Length: 2 hours and 51 minutes
Published May 23rd 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published February 21st 2015)
ASINB01FXZ0FX8
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSpires Universe

A BJ Audiobook Review: Where Nerves End (Tucker Springs #1) by L.A. Witt ~ Narrated by Iggy Toma

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Rating:     3.5 out of 5 stars

Where Nerves End audiobookJason Davis can handle a breakup. And an overwhelming mortgage. And a struggling business. And the excruciating pain that keeps him up at night thanks to a shoulder injury. But all of it at once? Not so much. When his shoulder finally pushes him to a breaking point, Jason takes a friend’s advice and gives acupuncture a try.

Acupuncturist Michael Whitman is a single dad struggling to make ends meet. When a mutual friend refers Jason as a patient, and Jason suggests a roommate arrangement to alleviate their respective financial strains, Michael jumps at the opportunity.

But Jason soon finds himself regretting it—he’s too damn attracted to Michael, and living with him is harder than he thought it’d be. In fact, the temptation to act on his feelings would almost be too much if not for the fact that Michael is straight. Or at least, that’s what their mutual friend claims.

This book began well for me. I liked Jason, felt for him and what he was going through, and was very eager to see him find the help he needed to get his life on track. When he met Michael and not only was he able to help him with his pain, but with his financial problems, that was working for me. I enjoyed Michael and his son for the healthy lifestyle and his caring. I felt the chemistry of Jason’s immediate attraction and his frustration at Michael being straight.  I also enjoyed all the stuff on the eastern medicine, acupuncture, cupping, etc. Very interesting.

Midway through I begin to not enjoy it quite as much. First the characters have a talk and Michael has the perfect opportunity to say something to Jason that he chooses not to reveal. The next thing we know, the whole story changed for me. I’m not a fan of misunderstandings, miscommunications, and of MC having sex with other people in my books. In this book, we get all three, I’m sad to say. And nope, I didn’t enjoy that part at all. Why did that have to happen? It left me pouting. Later, after he pursues Jason and they have an interlude, Michael does explain his reasoning, and it actually made sense a bit until the next thing he turns around and does is deny the whole thing and suddenly it makes no sense at all. Michael’s complete denial to everyone, even though he admitted he’d knew for years and years and even thought he’d grown up with a close gay friend who he never confided in bugged me as well.

So while I enjoyed how the story ultimately ended, the storyline itself lost its glow for me after that. However, Iggy Toma is a wonderful narrator and did a great job of keeping me engaged. He brought the characters to life and gave them dimension. I enjoyed the distinct voices he used, and the emotion he put into each scene. I’d give the narrator 4 stars and the story 3 stars for an average of 3.5.

The cover  by L.C. Chase ties in with the rest of the series and does an adequate job of representing the guys and the town although I didn’t find it sexy or particularly appealing.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon | iTunes


Book Details:

Audible Audio, 7 pages, 6 hrs 55 mins
Published December 20th 2015 by Riptide Publishing (first published June 3rd 2012)
ASINB019NHFKC8
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTucker Springs #1 settingTucker Springs, Colorado (United States

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North ~ Audiobook narrated by Tobias Silversmith

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Blueberry Boys audioWhen Connor Graham returns to the town where his lived with his uncle, mom, and brother, the last thing he expects is to meet a man who attracts him like a magnet. His uncle has passed away and Connor and his brother have inherited the family blueberry farm that has a tenant farmer working the land. The farmer is Jed Jones—a very shy, very sexy man with a severe stutter, making speech difficult for him.

But Jed’s stutter makes no difference to Connor as the two get to know each other. And though the brothers are selling the farm, Jed’s place is secure for at least the next two years due to his lease, so the sale isn’t an impediment to their attraction. What is an obstacle is Jed’s religious upbringing, his firm place in the closet, and the distance between the farm and Connor’s job as a well-known fashion photographer who is based in New York City but travels the globe.

With Jed’s permission, Connor decides to use the farm as the backdrop for his next fashion shoot, buying the men more time to get to know one another. It’s time well invested, but there’s an expiration date, and as they reach the end, Jed breaks it off with Connor. He’s not the type for a long distance relationship, and though Connor tries to make him see reason, he eventually returns to New York.

Circumstances combine to allow Jed to come out to his family and to reconcile his church’s teachings with his homosexuality and life goes on. Jed and Connor ultimately get together, and it’s likely not in the way many readers would expect, but it does leave the men with their HEA.

I was disappointed in this story, the first I’ve read from this author. It was a sweet tale, but I didn’t feel the spark. The romance between the two men was more of a sexual chemistry and less of a bonding of two hearts. To be fair, I don’t have the book to go back to revisit some of the scenes I felt were choppy or where there was a disconnect between the guys, so I can’t get into detail. This is an audiobook review, and that is too difficult to do.

The narrator, Tobias Silversmith, was a fast reader; so much so, that at times I had difficulty catching what he said. The story felt rushed, and I don’t know if it was the story as written, or if the speed was set by the pace of the narrator. But it wasn’t appealing. I didn’t hurry to get back to the story when I was occupied with other tasks, and I didn’t look forward to what the characters would do next. They were just waiting there for me to get back to them. I felt like there was not much happening in their lives anyway, so why not wait? Needless to say, I don’t recommend this in audiobook format.

~~~~

I loved the bright, colorful cover art by LC Chase that prominently features a spilled bucket of blueberries superimposed on a background of a farm field with two young men holding hands.

Sales Links:  Riptide PublishingAudible |Amazon

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 5 pages, 4 hrs 22 mins
Published May 20th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published November 28th 2015)
Original TitleBlueberry Boys
ASINB01FWBX0PS
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Review: Crashing Blue by Della Boynton

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Crashing BlueFrancisco Cabot is an undercover narc for the police. Having lived his entire life on the underbelly of society, he’s the perfect man to infiltrate hardcore gangs, gather bulletproof evidence against them, and make certain their bosses spend a lifetime behind bars. He hides a dark secret, though, that causes him to harbor a ravening hunger for revenge that not even his long list of successes can quench. But a man can only live with revenge and the refuse of humanity for so long, before not even his fantasies of innocents and his ideals are enough to light the growing darkness in his soul.

The last man Cabot expects to save him from that darkness is Christopher Caldwell, the son of the biggest drug king in the city and the man Cabot has been sent to destroy. Falling in love with the enemy was never the plan, but when Christopher begs Cabot to leave everything behind to be with him, Cabot finds himself longing to do just that. His life of violence, gangs, and slums can’t be left behind so easily, though; they’ll be lucky to make it out alive.

Crashing Blue works as a suspense story, but the romance between the main characters become secondary to the drama/case and Snow. The story was originally published under the title Snow, which seems more fitting taking into consideration Chris’s and Cisco’s HFN.

Francisco Cabot’s undercover work shaped his life and his need for justice. He moves from case to case without much trouble until an assignment goes wrong and he’s transferred to a new precinct. From that moment on, everything he was and knew about himself starts changing until he had trouble walking the line between good and bad. His relationship with Christopher Caldwell was unexpected, but at the same time, it was something both of them needed. The

Their relationship, the case, and the suspense were done well. The story keeps the reader engaged, wanting more with every page. Unfortunately, the answers we get along the way only served to bait the reader into an incorrect guess. I don’t mind the wait, but I don’t like to be misled just to find in the end that I was right to start with.

The characters and settings were interesting, as well as the main plot. Some of the wording, especially during the sex scenes seems out of place and takes the reader out of the story. Overall, it was a good story, just not for me.

The cover by Syneca Featherstone has two shirtless men with a window in the background. They seem distant, but it’s hard to place them in the story. The wave in the font is the only thing pertinent to the book. The cover is, perhaps, too generic.

Sale Links: Loose Id | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 172 pages
Published: January 26, 2016, by Loose Id
ISBN: 9781682520734
Edition Language: English

Its Paranormal Crime & Mystery with Breathing Betrayal by Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham.(character interview, giveaway)

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Breathing Betrayal BannerTitle: Breathing Betrayal

Author: Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham

Series Title and Number: Elemental Evidence, Book One

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Cover Artist: Emmy Ellis

Release Date: June 7th, 2016

Heat Level: 3

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 96,902

Genre/Tags: Crime and Mystery, Erotic Romance, Paranormal

Add to Goodreads

breathing betrayal cover

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have a character here to interview from Breathing Betrayal to interview:

Character Interview with Doctor Ilmarinen Gale

RS: You’ve lived in a lot of different places. What would you say is your favorite place?

Mari: Well, I think I’ve lived in just about every continent now. My parents travelled a lot for work. Father worked for various Space Agencies and Mamma was with Medecins sans Frontieres. I was born in Africa, though I don’t remember anything about that, and raised in New York State, London, Paris and Kota Kinbalu, in Malaysia. I think Malaysia was probably my favourite, it’s such a beautiful country and the people are so sweet and friendly. And the food is absolutely to die for. We had a beautiful house there with huge gardens and a view of the mountains, I still dream about it sometimes.

RS: Tell us a little about how your talent works? Do you need special software?

Mari: It’s sort of hard to explain, but I’ll try. The communications networks we use are made up of different kinds of waves and they operate on all kinds of frequencies. Our brain waves work in similar ways. What Air Elementals like myself can do, if you can imagine this, is to find a place where we can switch the frequency of our brain waves to the same pattern as the technology. Once I’m on the same frequency, it’s easy to push my thoughts along those waves. Now, every time we communicate with someone, by phone or on the internet, we create a kind of node where the energy from those waves pools and swirls around. I can use those nodes to navigate from one conversation to another, or look at documents stored in the Cloud, or chase a series of calls and plot the location of the caller. A hacker can trace calls and documents but I can see, literally at a glance, who you last spoke to, and who they last spoke to before that and all the people who spoke to them in a certain time limit, ad infinitum. It’s quite draining though, I can’t do it for extended periods at a time without running the risk of burning out my ability, or becoming hooked on the feeling of being out of my body. It’s a sensation like nothing else in the world. If I get lost in the moment and don’t come back to my physical body, I suppose it could actually kill me.

RS: Oh my! That sounds dangerous. Do you take precautions?

Mari: (laughing) You make that sound quite… suggestive. I suppose I don’t really, beyond trying to ensure that when I’m going to have to surf for a longer time, or go deep into a system, I have someone with me to interrupt me, if I overrun. I’ve experimented with setting the alarm on my phone, which works for a shallow surf. If I’m very deeply immersed though, it can take a serious commotion to bring me back.

RS: What sort of Elemental are you?

Mari: My classification is Air. The medieval scientist Paracelsus who first categorised us, called my kind Sylphs, but I always think that makes us sound rather trivial and flighty. The things we can do are far more weighty than that. Family rumours said that my Great Grandmother was what scientific historians call a Remote Viewer, she could surf deep and see through the eyes of a person on the other side of the continent, if she tried hard enough. It’s a Legendary skill, no Air Elemental has been able to do that for almost a century.

RS: I bet there’s a big demand for something like that though. Have you thought about going into business for yourself? I bet you could make a lot finding…information, for people.

Mari: <frowning slightly> If I was less… ethical, perhaps. Yes, I concede, there is a market for my talent. I’ve never been out of work, since leaving University, let’s put it that way. But a lot of the things I do for my employers aren’t exactly encouraged in the mainstream, I suppose.

RS: Aren’t you even a little tempted though? I mean, you could find out who <censored reality TV star’s name> is dating before anyone else.

Mari: <looking bemused now> Why would I want to know that?

RS: Because it would be a *scoop*. You’ve missed your calling Dr. Gale. You could have been the greatest reporter ever!

Mari: <laughing> I don’t think I’m cut out to be a journalist. I’d need to be far more curious about things for a start. Now if a certain cute interviewer happened to leave his phone by my seat while he went for a coffee… I might decide to find out if he was dating or otherwise. But stalking people I don’t care for… no, I think not.

RS: <blushing> Speaking of dating. Rumor has it you’re seeing a certain Detective?

Mari: Now, you see, that’s why you’re a journalist and I’m a scientist. Let’s just say, I’m not currently unattached and I’m quite happy about that, shall we?

RS: I must say it’s been a pleasant interview Dr. Gale. Thank you for joining us today.


Mari: You’re most welcome. Thank you for having me.

Synopsis

Jake Chivis is the descendant of Fire Elementals with a gift for psychometry, the ability to see memories from touching objects. After a bad breakup and trouble at work, Jake gave up his career as a detective in Detroit and moved to England to join a research program studying Elemental gifts at University College London. It seemed like the perfect way to escape his past and start over, and this time he’s vowed not to fall into the trap of dating a coworker. At least that’s the plan, until he meets Doctor Ilmarinen Gale.

Mari Gale is blond, sexy, relentlessly academic and comfortable in his own skin in a way Jake envies. After a handful of embarrassing encounters, Jake is ready to resign himself to staying under the radar, but when a colleague’s brother goes missing, he and Mari must work together to find him. As they dig into the inexplicable disappearance, Jake is impressed with Mari’s competence and unique skills, and even more impressed by his ability to wrap Jake around his finger. Together the unlikely pair discover murder, betrayal, secrets and just how high Mari can fan Jake’s flames.

Excerpt

Rain pink-pink-pinked against the window pane and drip-drip-dripped into the pot that Jake had placed under the leak in the hallway. Murky gray morning light greeted him when he opened his eyes. Another drizzly day. He had thought that was just some persistent stereotype, a comic exaggeration—about how rainy it was in London—but so far, this month, it was turning out to be true.

Jake was steadily getting used to the weather. It really wasn’t all that different from his native Michigan. He had been told by his colleagues this was an unusually wet November and that when winter finally kicked off, it wouldn’t be as severe as he was accustomed to. That was something to be glad about, at least.

The weather was not the only thing he’d had to get used to after moving a little over three and a half thousand miles away from the only place he’d known. London was worlds away from Detroit. It was still alive for one thing, not a dying husk. It was cleaner too, even with more than ten times the population. London had its crime and its dangerous places just like any large city, but even the urban degeneration here had a certain vibrancy to it that was unlike the desperation and decay of Detroit.

Enough of that.

Thinking about home was a guaranteed way to put him in a bad mood. At least he didn’t hate his new abode.

The apartment was small and leaky but it was clean and bug free and he didn’t have a lot of stuff anyway. Four rooms—kitchen, bathroom, small living room and a closet-sized bedroom that was barely big enough to hold a double bed and the armoire. The kitchen was equally tiny. A small fridge, sink and an ancient two-burner stove. There was just enough counter space to plug in his coffeepot. He was not complaining. The small space made it easy to keep warm and clean and discouraged clutter. It was also paid for, which was another big plus.

He hadn’t liked that idea at first. He thought the university should just pay him outright and let him figure out how to deal with the rent and utilities, but he had to admit that having them take care of the bills took some of the worry off his mind. Unfortunately he still had plenty of other things to worry about.

No, he told himself firmly. He was not going to start off the day thinking about home and everything he’d deliberately left behind when he got on the plane. That was over.

Jake dragged himself out of bed and across the living room to the bathroom. After a quick slash, he washed his face, finger-combed his hair with wet hands then threw on some sweats and he was ready for his morning run. There would be time for a shower and food later. Back in Detroit, he would have started his day by driving to the track or the gym to work out before heading to the station house. Here he could walk or use public transportation to get just about anywhere he needed to go. At first the idea of not having a car, of not being able to just hop in and drive wherever he had to go, any time he wanted, had given him more of a panicky, trapped feeling than being an ocean away from everyone he knew and everything familiar. A car was the very first thing he’d asked about, after moving his meager belongings into the apartment. The research assistant who’d been assigned to ensuring he got settled in and had what he needed had told him to give it a week or two and, if he still wanted to purchase a car, the university would arrange it. At the time, Jake had thought there was no possible way he could survive for so long without a vehicle at his disposal, but by the end of his first week he had explored the Tube, the cabs and the buses, got himself an Oyster card and found he could get around remarkably well without having to fight through traffic behind the wheel. He hadn’t brought up the need for a car again.

There was a small park only one street over from where he lived, and several right around the university, but they were little more than decorative green space—compact garden squares hemmed in by the tall, dark façades of houses and office buildings—nice for a picnic maybe, but not big enough for a run. Fortunately Regent’s Park was fairly close to where he lived and the paths and trails there were perfect. The park was never truly empty but this early in the morning, especially on such a wet, gray day, only the dedicated were out. They all had little earbuds or headphones on and their eyes were fixed forward, everyone in their own private bubbles. No one stopped to say good morning. No one drew him to one side to ask if he could touch their grandmother’s wedding ring and tell them if she’d hidden cash somewhere in the attic. It was great. It was almost perfect, except for one thing.

There was one other person from the university that liked to run the same route he did and while Jake didn’t see him every morning, it happened often enough that he’d started looking for the guy while he ran. That annoyed him. Running was his time to clear his head. It was meditative. He could tune out and think of nothing. Or at least he could until he started paying more attention to the people he passed than he did the simple rhythm of putting one foot down in front of the other. Now during his morning runs, he was distracted by looking around to see if he’d catch sight of a particular slender figure whose long legs ate up the distance like the wind.

Jake told himself that he was only looking so that he could avoid him, and thereby avoid having to make polite conversation. It definitely wasn’t because of the way the ridiculously tight Lycra leggings he wore outlined every muscle in his lean thighs or the way his perfect ass looked so tasty in them. No, not at all.

Jake never had been very good at lying to himself. Even so, admiring that sexy little derrière from a distance was all he would do. He had learned his lesson about getting involved with coworkers. Anyway, it was unlikely he’d see him today, given the dismal weather. He could stop looking around and just concentrate on pushing himself.

* * * *

The park was usually Mari’s first call of a morning, though he sometimes gave his running a break when the weather was this grim. Today the rain was that fine, persistent drizzle that evaded umbrellas and invaded just about all items of clothing that weren’t a wetsuit. He was used to it, having spent almost the last three of his twenty-seven years here, at UCL, but after the sunshine of his previous job in Barcelona, it was still kind of a comedown to walk out of his front door on a morning like this.

Fortunately the park was just around one corner, and the university campus just around the other, one of the perks of living in town. Papi had wanted to pay for a place out in the countryside, arguing that it would be more peaceful, but his Mama would hear none of it. The London house had been her grandmother’s then her father’s. He had been renting it out for years while the family lived abroad but now it was finally useful, even if the reason behind its new purpose was a less than happy one. Plus, Mama argued successfully—because no one, not even Papi, would dare to fight with her right now—it was also a short cab ride to the hospital, not an ungodly trek through the suburbs every time she had treatment or saw her oncologist.

He pushed those thoughts away, determined not to dwell on what might be, knowing she would not thank him for it. She had not wanted him to come to London at all, but on that point he had dared to defy her and anyway, he’d already been offered and had accepted the post at University College London. It was a decent job, even if London was not Barcelona.

There was no one quite like Tomas here, but maybe that was a good thing too.

Mari put his head down and pushed on into the clinging miasma of the chill London rain. Tomas Arregui was something else he would rather not think about right now. With the clarity of hindsight, perhaps it had been for the best that the job had come up with UCL when it did. Given longer to chew over the frustration of his on-again, off-again lover, he might well have been driven to do something he would most certainly regret.

Damn it, though! The memory of Tomas was like a persistent tic that wouldn’t let go of his hide once its nasty little fangs had sunk in.

He was glad of the distraction presented in the form of another early-morning loper and his spirits perked up even more when he was able to make out the familiar form and easy gait of the new guy who was working with the Web Security Team. Mari had spotted him striding through the park before, though they had never spoken. Lester in the print room said he was American, though Mari thought there was a slightly Hispanic look to his rough-cut, thick black hair and darkly handsome features. Maybe Romani, even? He couldn’t be sure.

He was well built without looking chunky, except when he was bundled up in several layers of damp running gear, and almost as tall as Mari’s six-foot-two-inch frame, which was a plus. It got embarrassing trying to flirt with men who were forced to look up at him all the time.

Not that he had any idea if Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome was even that way inclined. But that never stopped him testing the waters. Alicia in his department said that one day some guy was going to punch his lights out for flirting the way he did, as if every man in the world was automatically gay and, by definition, hot for him.

He’d made her laugh with his mock-horrified response. “You mean they aren’t?”

Breathing Squared

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Meet the Authors

Bellora Quinn: Originally hailing from Detroit Michigan, Bellora now resides on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida where a herd of Dachshunds keeps her entertained. She got her start in writing at the dawn of the internet when she discovered PbEMs (Play by email) and found a passion for collaborative writing and steamy hot erotica. Soap Opera like blogs soon followed and eventually full novels. The majority of her stories are in the M/M genre with urban fantasy or paranormal settings and many with a strong BDSM flavour.

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Sadie Rose Bermingham: A storyteller since before she started school, Sadie also enjoys reading, photography, live music and long walks on the beach. Sadie has worked as a bookseller, a pedigree editor for the racing industry and a local and family history researcher. Originally from the north of England, she has been working her way across the UK ever since. She currently resides on the south east coast with her long term partner, where she hopes to buy a mobile home and establish a whippet farm.

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