A MelanieM Review: All Note Long (Perfect Harmony #3) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

All Note LongGiving true love a spin . . .

Michelin Moses is a country music star on the rise. With a hit single under his Texas-sized belt buckle and a sold-out concert tour underway, his childhood dreams of making it big are finally coming true. But there’s one thing missing—a promise to his dying mother that he’d find it—him—when the time was right. With a little luck, he won’t have to wait too long . . .

Lucky Ramirez is a hunky boy toy who dances at The Broom Closet, one of West Hollywood’s hottest gay bars. He loves what he does, and he’s good at it—almost as good as he is at playing dumb when he spots Michelin Moses at the bar. What happens next is off the charts—and keeps Michelin coming back for more. He’s just not sure it’s the right move for his career. But if Lucky gets his way, Michelin will get Lucky—and no matter how the media spins it, neither of them will be faking it . . .

I picked up All Note Long (Perfect Harmony #3) by Annabeth Albert because of the author not because I read the previous stories in the series.  I’m going to have to rectify that, and not just because I love her writing.  I loved this story and the characters.

As with any Annabeth Albert story, its her characters that pull me into their lives, immediate situations and dramas.  Here its Michelin Moses, closeted country singer in a gay bar for a friend’s bash and a dancer called Lucky.  The clash between the two is that immediate as is the attraction which goes wrong because of Michelin’s attitude.  Which is not what you might expect of a popular country singer.  Michelin might be the anthesis of your image of what pops into your mind when those words come up.  He’s withdrawn, insecure, and so unable to stick up for himself that yes, the phrase doormat might leap to mind.  Except that it doesn’t.  At least for me.

Why?  Because Albert dives deep into the reasoning behind Michelin’s thoughts, feelings and actions.  If you aren’t behind the fact that he is acting that way, the author certainly let’s you understand why he is behaving in such a fashion.  And you feel sorry for him and cheer for him as the changes take place as the story moves forward.

Lucky?  Well, howdy and hey there!  What’s not to love about Lucky?  Although not without flaws as well because Albert writes human, Lucky has his own issues with regard to Michelin but he has a great family and support system.  I loved his family and wish we could have spent more time with them.  Plus again, the author gives us dogs!!!  Another weakness of mine.

At the beginning of each chapter are some wonderful tweets from fans that helps move the story forward.  I believe it occurs in each story in the series but as this is the first story that I’ve read I think its a marvelous tool and I loved it.  Each tweet sparkled with life and felt real.  Just that extra touch I’ve come to expect from this terrific author.

Toward the end there’s this wonderful moment, the sort you wait for in every book.  Here Annabeth Albert delivers such a perfect “awww moment” that you’ll be crying, its that good.    And now I need to go and get the others in the series.  See what else I missed.  But this works perfectly as a standalone.  So if you’re like me and haven’t read the others, pick this one up, and get reading.  You’ll love the story of Michelin and Lucky.  I highly recommend them and this story.  And Annabeth Albert of course.

Cover art doesn’t do much for me.  Could be the cover for just about any story.

Sales Links:  Amazon 

Book Details:

ebook, 320 pages
Expected publication: August 2nd 2016 by Lyrical Shine
Original Title All Note Long
ISBN 160183506X (ISBN13: 9781601835062)
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Island Doctor (Island Medics #1) by Sue Brown and Narrated by Adam Rivington

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

island-doctor audioJeff Martin is a closeted doctor on the Isle of Wight. He prefers to remain in the closet primarily from the fear that his coworkers and patients will not want to deal with a gay doctor, and it’s pretty easy to do since his longtime lover, Tris, lives over three hours away and never comes to visit Jeff—it’s always Jeff who makes the drive there. Until one night when he arrives late and discovers Tris doesn’t come home until the next day. And it’s evident Tris has been with another man. Storming out, Jeff realizes on the way home that this really needs to be the last time he sees Tris because he’s turned the other cheek one time too many.

He’s almost home when he meets a sexy mechanic after his car breaks down. All he wanted was to get home into his own comfy bed and cry himself to sleep. But Cameron Gillard is larger than life, and Jeff is immediately drawn to him. Before long, he and Cameron are seeing each other everywhere they go—not impossible to believe on their small island. Cameron introduces Jeff to other gay men who live there–Sam and Liam from The Isle of… Where? are among the men who become Jeff’s friends too. And when he’s outed accidentally, he’s shocked at the wonderful support he receives from his fellow doctors and other coworkers and quite surprised by the number of patients who really don’t care. In fact, he’s discovered a whole world he’d been missing by being with Tris every weekend.

He and Cameron fast become romantically involved, until Tris shows up and manages to throw a monkey wrench into the works, and Cameron departs in a fit of jealousy.

I enjoyed this audiobook both because the story had such a homey appeal and because the narration was outstanding. It certainly didn’t hurt that so many of the men from The Isle series were featured in this story as well. And a certain very likeable character from this book (Logan) is going to get his own story in the next installment of this new series so I’m really happy about that.

The major drama in this book surrounds the relationships of the characters themselves. Jeff is seen interacting in all his facets—as a doctor, a friend, a neighbor, a coworker, and a lover. Cameron isn’t given as much page time, however, we do get much more family and family drama with his character, as his great grandmother is one of Jeff’s patients, and her daughter provides a lot of drama. His parents were wonderfully supportive as well. And the previously mentioned characters from The Isle were also given quite a bit of focus, principally Liam, who was still not fully recovered from his past traumas. Tris was the perfectly devilish ex-lover, providing just enough relationship drama to drive a wedge between Jeff and his new man.

Overall, it was a sweet story with a super narrator who had an authentic British accent. I definitely recommend this one in audio format.

The beautiful cover art by LC Chase depicts both MCs (very good-looking!) superimposed on a photo of the isle.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Release Date Apr 29, 2016
Type Novels
Pages 214
Length 6:12
SKU 7773

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Checkmate (All for Love, #1) by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

CheckmateWhen sword for hire Teodoro Ciéza de Vivar accepts a commission to “rescue” Lord Christian Blackwood from unsuitable influences, he has no idea he’s landed himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate King Philip IV of Spain and blame the English ambassador for the deed. Nor does he expect the spoiled child he’s sent to retrieve to be a handsome, engaging young man.

As Teodoro and Christian face down enemies at every turn, they fall more and more in love, an emotion they can’t safely indulge with the threat of the Inquisition looming over them. It will take all their combined guile and influence to outmaneuver the powerful men who would see them separated… or even killed.

Now I’m usually not all that interested in historical novels, especially if they’re set in Europe. But something about the blurb for “Checkmate” grabbed my interest. Probably the fact that Teo is a mercenary. I do like my mercs. Either way, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to broaden my horizon a little. Unfortunately, I really didn’t like this book all that much.

The beginning wasn’t that bad. The first 20% or so felt like about 4 stars, with a little too much jealousy between two strangers. But once Teo and Christian got together, it just kept getting worse.

Both MCs seemed extremely possessive from the start. They essentially only met hours ago, under less than ideal circumstances, yet they’re instantly attracted to each other and also instantly extremely jealous and possessive. A little bit of jealousy is perfectly fine by me, but just like in RL, I find such extreme possessiveness very off-putting. It just didn’t make sense to me. I’m willing to get behind a bit of insta-lust, but this felt a little too close to insta-love for my tastes.

Something else that bothered me from the beginning was the constant head-hopping. If the authors had limited the POVs to the two MCs, that might have been okay. But virtually every character, no matter how minor, seemed to get their say at some point. Keeping track of whose thoughts I was reading got old really fast.

After much woe about unrequited love that isn’t actually unrequited, and some meddling by a well-meaning best friend, Teo and Christian finally get that the attraction is mutual. I had hoped that now we might be able to concentrate on the plot a little more. But instead of the constant pining we now got constant sex. And sadly, that sex didn’t do anything for me. To be honest, I was so annoyed after a while I just ended up skipping the sex scenes. They felt extremely cheesy and drawn-out and just really not all that hot to me.

I didn’t particularly like Christian. He read like a typical poor little rich kid, with daddy issues and a dead mother. Why do rich characters in romance always have to have issues with their parents? Does being rich make you a bad parent? His insecurities and Teo’s reassurances were seemingly endless.

At one point, Teo has to face charges for comitting sodomy. There’s a bit of torture here, but nothing explicit. I actually liked that part, because it was something very realistic and I hoped the rest of the plot might get a little more realistic as well. Unfortunately, I was once again disappointed.

Instead of trying even harder to keep their relationship secret, the two of them throw caution to the wind. They hug and kiss in broad daylight, in plain sight of anybody who might look out a window and then proceed to have tedious sex in a barn. That was one of a few serious face-palm moments for me.

The ending wrapped up nicely and everybody gets their HEA without any real trouble. And I was glad that this book was over.

“Checkmate” just pushed all the wrong buttons for me. I hate overly jealous and possessive people, in RL as well as in stories, and the writing style just didn’t really agree with me. I am still glad I read this book though, because now I know once and for all that typical romance novels just aren’t for me.

If you’re on the look for a nice, fluffy love story with a historical backdrop, by all means, go for it. You might just enjoy this.

The cover by Reese Dante shows a chess board and a headless male figure, probably Teo. I think it looks really good.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 294 pages
Expected publication: July 25th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press (first published 2009)
Original TitleCheckmate
ISBN 1634774639 (ISBN13: 9781634774635)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Cover Reveal for Flying Fish (Sword and Silk Trilogy #1) by Sedonia Guillone (excerpt)

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FlyingFish_postcard_front_DSP

Flying Fish (Sword and Silk Trilogy #1) by Sedonia Guillone
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Buy Link:  Dreamspinner Press

 

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for coming out today to check out the incredible cover for my upcoming release at Dreamspinner Press. Flying Fish is my first release at DSP so I’m especially excited. Reese Dante is an awesome artist and I am in love with this cover. I love writing M/M romance set in feudal Japan. The way of the samurai lends itself very well the M/M stories and my imagination always gets away with me. The hero, Daisuke Minamoto was inspired by the real life ronin Kansuke Yamamoto, one of the great swordsmen of the samurai age. There are a few parallels between what I know of Yamamoto’s life and the character of Daisuke but which are mixed in with what I have created in my particular world. I hope you will enjoy it! Hugs, Sedonia

 

Blurb

In eighteenth century Japan, during the golden age of samurai and of the Kabuki theater, young actors known as “flying fish” traveled the countryside, performing for audiences by day and giving their bodies to their samurai patrons at night.

 

Genji Sakura is one such flying fish, yet he dreams of finding the man he can give his heart to and leave the loneliness of his itinerant life behind. Though he loves theater, he doesn’t love every part of his profession, especially some of the patrons. So when a handsome ronin comes upon him stealing some solitude for a bath in a hot spring and their encounter turns passionate, Genji’s surprised and delighted.

 

Daisuke Minamoto’s past fills his life with a bitterness that grips his soul and makes him dangerous. Yet passion takes him when he spies on a graceful young man bathing naked in a hot spring. He has always loved women, but he can’t deny the call of his heart.

 

About the Author

Multi-published, award-nominated author, Sedonia Guillone lives on a river in Maine with a Renaissance man who paints, writes poetry and tells her she’s the sweetest nymph he’s ever met. When she’s not writing erotic romance, she loves watching spaghetti westerns, Jet Li and samurai flicks, cuddling, and eating chocolate.

 

– Buy Link(s) –

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/flying-fish-by-sedonia-guillone-7363-b

 

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

Kai Province, Edo Period, Japan

During the Tokugawa Shogunate

 

Ah, finally, the hot spring! A sunny summer afternoon to himself to enjoy a soak and not another soul in sight with whom he’d be forced to share. Who’d have thought such an oasis of luxury awaited a lowly traveling Kabuki actor, a flying fish who jumped from town to town with his troupe, entertaining merchants, peasants, and samurai? Unimaginable. Except that it had happened. And might not last long.

Genji stared a moment into the placid water of the small pond, surrounded by large rocks between which one could slip to reach the water. Steam rose invitingly from its surface. Even the twittering birds in the trees surrounding the small enclave of rocks seemed to be ordering him in quickly. A hot spring like this would probably not remain undiscovered for long. Once he went back to the troupe’s quarters, only the Buddha might know when he’d have this chance at solitude again.

That was all the encouragement he needed. Genji pulled open the sash of his kimono and let the article slip to the rock below his feet. On top of that, he dropped the small knife he carried, which when sheathed appeared to be a woman’s fan. A mistake probably, leaving it there, considering there were bandits in the countryside who could assail a lone person. But the briefness of time made him throw caution aside.

He stepped out of his wooden sandals, not bothering to fold his clothes neatly. The tie in his hair also landed on his discarded garments, as he fully intended to wash his hair in this hot water. Another luxury he couldn’t have dreamed of before this moment. Now he was naked, having already daringly left off the loincloth before parting from his quarters in the village. Who wanted to spare the valuable time to unwrap it in the instance that he found the legendary hot spring spoken of by the innkeeper?

He covered his knife with the folds of the kimono, left it within his reach, then stepped into the water. And immediately smiled. Delicious already and the water had barely submerged him past the ankle.

Anchoring his weight on one rock, he lowered himself in to his upper chest. Mmm, more luxurious heat penetrated his skin. The perfect relaxation. Bending forward, he soaked his long hair, then yanked his head back and scrubbed his scalp with eager fingertips. It wasn’t the same as having someone else do it for him, but it made his eyes close with pleasure all the same. Dipping down again, he rinsed his hair until he felt certain all the dust of the road had washed away, leaving the long, ebony strands gleaming.

He squeezed the excess water from the length of his hair then found a spot to sit and recline, where a rock jutted out into a natural ledge underneath the water. The sun warmed his face, and the water warmed his body. Warmth filled him. Made his soul as warm as his body. In moments like these, he could forget for a little while. Forget his childhood memories of the anguished cries of women and children as they all were forced from their homes in the aftermath of their lord’s defeat and herded onto the platforms to be sold. The sun made a reddish glow of the darkness behind his closed eyelids, a starburst of light that blocked out even the worst of his childhood visions.

A breeze passed over, blowing cool on his damp skin, rustling the leaves of the bushes and trees surrounding the tiny pool. However, when the breeze died down, the rustling of the leaves continued. Heavier, with the crunch of tiny twigs under the weight of something on top of them.

Genji’s eyes shot open. Sunlight flooded them, blinding him for a moment. The surface of his skin crackled to life. He strained to hear, and his body tensed, ready to spring from the water for his knife an arm’s length away.

Another snap of twigs.

He sat bolt upright. “Who’s there?” he growled.

Silence.

Genji might have thought it was an animal in the brush, but his inner voice told him otherwise. It whispered to him that he shared this tiny oasis with another human being. Someone who’d been spying on him, watching him wash his hair.

Genji leaned over, slipped his hand within the folds of his kimono, and wrapped a hand around the hilt of his knife, a gift from a high-ranking samurai who had patronized Genji’s talents in the past, both on and off the stage. “Answer me,” Genji said, his voice tight. Years of acting had taught him how to infuse his tone with whatever emotion was needed for effect. In this instance, he sought for threatening. “I’m armed. I know how to use this knife.” Indeed, he could follow his threat with action. That same samurai had taught him some basic swordsmanship, in between sessions of intense lovemaking.

Silence still answered him, yet the sense of another human presence remained.

Genji slid the knife from its scabbard.

“If you don’t show yourself on the count of three,” Genji went on, gaze trained on the rocks that hid part of the brush, “I will climb from this pool, seek you out, and gut you. Don’t think I won’t do it.” Though slim and narrow in build, with finely etched muscle and not the brawn of a highly trained samurai or laborer, Genji had speed and agility. As a dancer, he’d found the principles of movement were the same.

“Relax, peasant,” a voice said suddenly from behind the brush. “I’m obeying your order.”

Genji’s insides jumped. The voice, deep and male, held a hint of mockery tinged with admiration. Though the owner of the voice hadn’t threatened his safety, Genji continued to hold his knife at the ready, should the stranger indeed mean him harm.

The leaves and branches of the brush rustled and snapped, and within seconds, a figure emerged. He came to a stop at the edge of the rocks.

Genji stared, blinking, not so much because the glare of the sun made a halo of blinding light around the stranger’s broad figure, but because when the man moved so as to block the sun from Genji’s eyes, the vision before Genji was that of a wild warrior.

Darkness. The word rose in Genji’s mind as the stranger moved a few steps closer. Dark eyes, swarthy skin, jaw and cheeks covered with more than a few days’ growth. And though his abundant black hair was pulled back, much of it had escaped its tie and rioted about his rugged face.

The man, obviously a samurai of some sort, would have been handsomely imposing had his clothing not been ragged and desperately in need of washing, even his rope sandals, though Genji felt certain that the blades of his weaponry, long sword, short, and knife, were polished to perfection within their woven scabbards. The hands that handled those weapons were large, fingers thick, and his legs in their gaiters below the hem of his kimono were also thick, muscled limbs of coiled strength.

Genji’s tanto and his limited ability to use it were a mere joke in the face of this obviously skilled warrior, however ragged and dirty his state. His fear must have shown, for the stranger gave him a sudden lopsided grin and began to untie his belt, lowering his weapons to the rocks.

“I apologize for coming upon you the way I did, like a sneak thief,” the samurai said. His hands went to the tie of his kimono and worked it open. “I thought you were a woman when I saw you from a distance, washing that hair.”

Genji exhaled a tiny bit. But only a bit. He set his tanto onto the rock behind him, an excuse to avert his gaze from the thickly muscled torso being revealed. For some reason, the man’s growing nakedness made Genji feel testy. “So you would have continued to spy on me, taking advantage of my undress had you not seen I’m a man?”

The samurai didn’t answer though his dark gaze shifted away from Genji in a way that appeared guilty. He removed his gaiters, unwrapped his loincloth, dropping everything on top of his other ragged clothing, and Genji got an eyeful of the samurai’s musuko. Even in its softened state, the member hinted at delicious thickness when erect. The sac beneath it was equally abundant-looking, heavy and full.

Cover Reveal for Amber Kell & RJ Scott’s ‘The Case Of The Guilty Ghost’ (Cover Reveal and Giveaway)

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Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Authors: Amber Kell & RJ Scott
 
Cover Art: Meredith Russell
 
Release Date: September 23 2016
 
Series:
 
End Street Vol 1 – The Case of the Cupid Curse #1, The Case of The Wicked Wolf #2
 
End Street Vol 2 – The Case of the Dragon’s Dilemma #3, The Case of the Sinful Santa #4
 
The Case of the Purple Pearl #5
Blurb
 
Bob is lost in grief, Sam is fighting for his family, and there is no middle ground. Can their love survive?
 
Bob is grieving over his brother’s sacrifice. Guilt ridden and devastated, he buries himself in vampire mourning and pulls away from Sam. When Bob’s family demands Sam faces the consequences for his part in Ettore’s death, Sam is left to deal with them alone.
 
Ettore is in the Aset Ka waiting room, next in line for the ceremony where his soul will be torn from his body. But a shocking discovery makes him second guess his entire existence and the choices he has made.
 
A forgotten past binds Theodore ‘Teddy’ McCurray Constantine III to Ettore and when the curse tied to Ettore is broken by his death, Teddy’s past returns to him with a vengeance.
 
A royal family in denial, a demonic curse, and long forgotten love, leaves no time for Sam to take a breath. Is it too late to save the vampire kingdom?
 
Author Bios
 
Amber Kell has made a career out of daydreaming. It has been a lifelong habit she practices diligently as shown by her complete lack of focus on anything not related to her fantasy world building.
 
When she told her husband what she wanted to do with her life, he told her to go have fun.
During those seconds she isn’t writing, she remembers she has children who humor her with games of “what if” and let her drag them to foreign lands to gather inspiration. Her youngest confided in her that he wants to write because he longs for a website and an author name—two things apparently necessary to be a proper writer.
 
Despite her husband’s insistence she doesn’t drink enough to be a true literary genius, she continues to spin stories of people falling happily in love and staying that way.
 
She is thwarted during the day by a traffic jam of cats on the stairway and a puppy who insists on walks, but she bravely perseveres.
 
 
E-mail: amberkellwrites@gmail.com


RJ Scott is the bestselling gay romance author of over ninety MM romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing. 
 
RJ also writes MF romance under the name Rozenn Scott.
 
The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.
 

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