A MelanieM Review: Full Circle: Forester Triad Act Three (Tales of the Forest #3) by Blaine D. Arden

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Full Circle“I have great responsibilities, but my path ahead is as foggy and blurred as the path behind me.”

With forester Taruif freed, Kelnaht has claimed him openly at Solstice before tribe and Ma’terra as his partner, but with their third, Ianys, bound by an old promise, their triad is still incomplete. Sneaking around puts the most strain on Ianys. He and Kelnaht must keep their relationship a secret or he will lose his daughter, Atèn.

When several children fall ill with more than a summer bug, truth seeker Kelnaht is assigned once more to investigate. What he finds is deadly and threatens the life of every underage child in the tribe, including Atèn. Then a wounded traveller is found in the forest, left to die after a vicious attack.

With Taruif and his apprentice on the hunt for a cure, Kelnaht focusses on the attacks, but the clues are few and more children are infected. Nothing seems to connect until both the traveller and Atèn dream of the same grey-haired elf. Driven by fear for his daughter, Ianys pulls away from his lovers. Kelnaht can only pray Ma’terra will guide him to a solution that brings them all together and keeps Atèn safe from harm.

I reviewed this story when I was happily reporting on the release of the trilogy in one volume, A Triad in Three Acts: The Complete Forester Trilogy
by Blaine D. Arden. There I said…”

“Its outstanding.  Full Circle: Forester Triad Act Three (Tales of the Forest, #3) starts off with first one, then another of the village’s children falling ill.  A heartbreaking scenario, especially true when the village has lost their children in the not too distant past. Then it sweeps up our triad, newly back together but keeping it a secret when Ianys’ daughter falls ill as well.  Yes, another mystery to solve, one so close to the heart for all three lovers that it threatens to tear them apart once more.

Arden makes us feel every bit of the direness of the situation, the pain of the parents, the building anxiety of the village as they wait to see whose children will fall next and the mystery as to where the illness is coming from.  You will be there in the square with them as the fear and anger builds, the hopelessness too.  Its such an incredible story because it also is where all the answers to the triad’s problems will arrive and all the history will be finally revealed.  Really, its one of those page turners I just couldn’t put down once I started.”

But that really didn’t explain the twisting, complicated relationships between Taruif, Kelnaht and Ianys I had come to understand and love (it took 3 stories but I finally arrived at wanting them to be together). Arden display of family dynamics at all levels of functionality, to the extremely poor to the tight knit, carries the reader to emotional highs and lows along with the characters themselves.  I’m not often a fan of menage or M/M/M but here I not only believed in the relationship but hoped for their future together.

Arden also had created a long ancient history and evil that had followed the village through the tales as well.  Its wrapped up here but not without grief and loss that will tear at your heart.  That the evil is rooted in something that you will be able to understand and even momentarily connect with is what helps define this as a 5 star story.  The evil is not a one dimensional being but one of such depth and authenticity that any reader will be able to recognize the pain at the center of it all.  Its makes everything that happens all the more tragic.

There is also a sensuality to the story.  These men love each other, even when one is angry and missing from their triad.  When they flow back together its sexy, sensual, and magic.

I loved this story.  Its was in turn…sad, bitter, sensual, exhilarating, heart-stopping suspenseful and finally full of love and joy.  It pulled everything together in an ending I loved.  I couldn’t and wouldn’t ask for more.

Book cover by Simone is lovely and perfect for the story.

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Book Details

ebook, 1st Edition, 140 pages
Published August 15th 2016 by Cayendi Press
ISBN139789082296679
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://www.cayendi.nl/?page_id=195
SeriesTales of the Forest #3, The Forester Trilogy #3
CharactersKelnaht, Taruif, Ianys

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Tasting Notes by Cate Ashwood and Narrator Michael Pauley

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Tasting Notes AudiobookThere’s nothing that can’t be solved over a glass of excellent wine.

 

Joseph “West” Weston has paid for his wealth and success with long hours at the office and no personal life to speak of. Meetings, conference calls, and paperwork dominate his waking hours and have kept him from honoring the promise he made to his late grandfather years before.

 

After leaving the Marines, Robert “Rush” Coeman returns to his hometown and settles in as a Christmas tree farmer. His life is quiet and simple, and he likes it that way. When West arrives in town and buys Rush’s parents’ vineyard on a whim, that simple life is turned upside down. The animosity between them is palpable, but Rush shelves his preconceived notions in order to protect his parents’ legacy. He agrees to help West learn how to run the vineyard, and Rush soon realizes that love doesn’t necessarily come in the package he expected.

 

West decides to take time off to fulfill his promise to his grandfather, the first impulsive thing he has done in years.  While on his road trip he quickly makes another impulsive decision to buy a winery even though he knows nothing about running one.  Rush feels obligated to show West the ropes in order to protect the winery’s reputation, but soon learns that West isn’t quite what he originally thought.

 

This story is told from both character’s points of view.  West feels so lost and hasn’t had anyone to rely on but himself for years.  When he is forced to get help from the gruff Rush he has a bit of a reality check, but knows this isn’t his usual environment.  Rush has to learn to get over some of his pre-conceived notions before they can make their future work together.

 

Michael Pauley did a nice job narrating this story.  The use of different voices for the characters helped me keep track of the story.  However, his reading was a bit mechanical and I got most of the characters emotions from the word more than his speaking.

 

Cover art by Anna Sikorska is beautiful and works well for this story.

 

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Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 6hrs 12min
Published June 30, 2016 (ebook first published October 26, 2015)
Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Priddy’s Tale by Harper Fox

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Priddy's Tale by Harper FoxWhat doesn’t kill you sometimes makes you wish it had…

Priddy’s a lost soul in a part of Cornwall the tourists don’t get to see. He’s young, sweet-natured and gorgeous, but that’s not enough to achieve escape velocity from his deadbeat village and rotten family life.

He’s a drifter and a dreamer, and self-preservation isn’t his strong suit. An accidental overdose of a nightclub high leaves him fractured, hallucinating, too many vital circuits fried to function in a tough world. When a friend offers him winter work in a lighthouse – nothing to do but press the occasional button and keep the windows clean – he gratefully accepts.

His plans to live quietly and stay out of trouble don’t last very long. A ferocious Atlantic storm washes a stranger to Priddy’s lonely shore. For a shipwrecked sailor, the new arrival seems very composed. He’s also handsome as hell, debonair, and completely unconcerned by Priddy’s dreadful past.

Priddy has almost given up on the prospect of any kind of friendship, and a new boyfriend – let alone a six-foot beauty with eerily good swimming skills – out of the question entirely. But Merou seems to see undreamed-of promise in Priddy, and when they hit the water together, Priddy has to adapt to Merou’s potentials too, and fast. His lover from the sea might be a mere mortal from the waist up, but south of that line…

Far-flung west Cornwall has a hundred mermaid tales. Priddy’s loved the stories all his life. Now he has to face up to a wildly impossible truth. Merou’s life depends upon his courage and strength, and if Priddy can only find his way in the extraordinary world opening up all around him, all the ocean and a human lifetime needn’t be enough to contain the love between merman and mortal.

Harper Fox is by far the best weaver of tales I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I have one other favorite who is an excellent storyteller, but Harper’s tales are just that: the sort of tales I would imagine would survive history in the telling from one generation to the next. There’s a certain atmosphere present throughout the story, making me almost feel as if I’m an observer in a pub on the Cornish Coast as I listen to a wise old sailor tell us about Priddy and his merman, Merou. 

Priddy suffered brain damage from overusing certain drugs when he was already drunk and not mindful of his decisions. His best friend, Kit, holds himself to blame, so when he leaves for college, he arranges a job for Priddy, manning his grandfather’s lighthouse. The job suits Priddy well as he takes his meds and slowly goes about his tasks. He’s even starting to feel a bit stronger and more content, when one night he spots a boat in trouble, and by the time he gets to shore, he only sees one head bobbing in the water. 

He rushes in to help the drowning man, nearly drowning himself, and is shocked when the man seems to be stronger than he is and ends up rescuing him. Unfortunately, he’s touched the man—a man who he later finds out is a merman—and because he touched him, the man takes on human form (complete with External John Thomas!) and is able to stay “topside” for a while.  When the man named Merou suddenly begins to change back and is in danger of dying from being on land, Priddy manages to find the strength to get him back in the water, thereby saving his life. 

Through a series of on-land and in-sea adventures, the two become close and Priddy is granted a wish for saving Merou’s life, a wish that restores his mental abilities. But the side effect is his development of gills and an eventual change takes place that neither of them had asked for.  In the meantime, Kit has fallen in love with one of his professors, one who has a keen interest in mermaids, and the two show up at the lighthouse, bringing with them more havoc than help when the professor reveals his true nature. 

I’m trying hard not to give anything away, while at the same time, I’m trying to give a brief overview of the grand scope of this story. All his life he’s heard legends of mermaids in that area of the coast so imagine Priddy’s surprise when he realizes they aren’t just a figment of old men’s imaginations.  This story comes complete with mystery and suspense, romance and danger, and a future for both Priddy and Kit that neither man could have envisioned.

I loved the world-building in this story, the three-dimensional characters, and the plausible explanations for things previously thought to be the product of a fertile imagination.  And I loved the love—the love between two men that will survive to infinity and the love of one friend for another—a love that will survive time as a new tale is woven that will be told for future generations to come. 

Honestly? There was nothing about this story I didn’t like, except perhaps for the professor, and he was the perfect villain so no problems there.  I recommend this to all lovers of fantasy, and for those who have had a fascination with mermaids, mermen, and other mythical sea creatures.  Of course, if you love a good tale to be heard around a fire during a cold winter night, this story is just the one to meet your expectations. 

The cover depicts Merou in his human form, wrapped in one of Priddy’s towels, and is very nicely done.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 159 pages
Published June 20th 2016 by FoxTales Publications
ISBN139781910224557
Edition LanguageEnglish

Riptide Publishing’s Tour and Giveaway: Looking for Group by Alexis Hall

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Looking for Group by Alexis Hall
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by Simoné

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Riptide Publishing’s tour and giveaway for Alexis Hall’s Looking for Group.  Check it out below and don’t forget to leave a comment and be entered in the giveaway.

About Looking for Group

So, yeah, I play Heroes of Legend, y’know, the MMO. I’m not like obsessed or addicted or anything. It’s just a game. Anyway, there was this girl in my guild who I really liked because she was funny and nerdy and a great healer. Of course, my mates thought it was hilarious I was into someone I’d met online. And they thought it was even more hilarious when she turned out to be a boy IRL. But the joke’s on them because I still really like him.

And now that we’re together, it’s going pretty well. Except sometimes I think Kit—that’s his name, sorry I didn’t mention that—spends way too much time in HoL.  I know he has friends in the guild, but he has me now, and my friends, and everyone knows people you meet online aren’t real. I mean. Not Kit. Kit’s real. Obviously.

Oh, I’m Drew, by the way. This is sort of my story. About how I messed up some stuff and figured out some stuff. And fell in love and stuff.

About Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.

He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.

He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.

He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.

Connect with Alexis:

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Looking for Group, one lucky winner will receive their choice of 3 ebooks from Alexis Hall’s backlist. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 3, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!