A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Tart and Sweet (Candy Man #4) by Amy Lane

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Tart and Sweet by Amy LaneIn the Army, Robbie Chambers turned on his lover out of fear—and he hasn’t been able to live with himself since. Now he’s out of the Army but still trapped in the closet that brought on his most cowardly moment, and he starts to think he’ll never be able to fight his way free.

Until he sees Cy McVeigh. Beautiful and uninhibited, Cy is dancing on the boardwalk at Old Sac for no other reason than the moment called for it. Robbie not only joins in the dance but is smitten from the very beginning.

However, Robbie still has old business to clear up, and when he helps out a kid in need and comes face-to-face with the man he betrayed, he’s forced to come clean with himself. He can’t redeem his mistake if he’s still locked into his old patterns, and he won’t ever be worthy of Cy if he can’t earn Adam’s forgiveness. He’s going to need all the help he can get from the people at Candy Heaven in order to make things right with his past so he can have a future with Cy.

Oh, Amy, Amy, Amy. You have a way of taking my heart, tying it in knots, giving it a good shake, and then smoothing it all out so that I’m left feeling happy and content and well satisfied. 

Lovers of this series will find even more to love in this installment.  Robbie Chambers, the soldier who broke Adam’s heart, has found his way to Sacramento, to the “Old Sac” area where Candy Heaven sits along the boardwalk.  Trying to prove to himself and his parents that he’s straight, he has a girlfriend in tow for the dinner with the family, but before the evening is over, his attention is captured by Cy McVeigh. The sleek, dark-skinned dancer has a positive, upbeat attitude that can’t be missed as he moves to the beat of music and grabs Robbie and his date to dance along with him. When the dance is over, Robbie knows what he has to do. 

Within a few days, he’s broken up with the girl who was someone he picked up in a bar and didn’t really want to have a relationship with, and he looks up Cy, the man he can’t get out of his mind.  As coincidental circumstances unfold, Robbie ends up helping Finn (Candy Man), who’s been injured by a passing car while crossing the street, and he finds himself in Candy Heaven, talking to Darrin and Ezra, Darrin’s protégé.  If you haven’t followed the series you won’t get as much out of this book, but if you have, you will find this a very satisfying story, with visits from past characters, including a surprise visit with Mikhail (Mickey) and Shane from Making Promises. Let’s just say I’m happy I wasn’t in public because I had a definite fan girl moment when the proud Russian dancer showed up as Cy was instructing children in his dance class.

Each of the characters in this series has a role in this story, providing closure to any open threads and hope for their futures.  But mostly, it’s about Robbie and Cy, Adam and Finn, and Robbie’s efforts to find forgiveness from Adam and Adam’s ability to provide it.  As with others in this series, there’s growth and maturity, difficult decisions to make, and redemption and forward movement as those decisions become a new way of living. 

I can’t recommend this highly enough. I would need pages and pages to go into detail on every little thing I liked or loved about it.  It’s difficult to talk about this book without mentioning the series since this is the capstone on what has been a wonderful adventure with the gang at Candy Heaven. 

The bright and beautiful cover, obviously done by the talented Paul Richmond, is in keeping with the theme of the other books in this series and depicts a dog and a cat, likely those owned by Adam and Finn, the MCs from Candy Man, who play a principal role in this final episode of the series.

Sales Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published September 5th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleTart and Sweet
ISBN 1634776984 (ISBN13: 9781634776981)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesCandy Man #4

An Alisa Review: Dirty Talk by Joey Jameson

Standard

Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

dirty-talk-ninestar-pressVegas is a hot phone sex operator who knows just how to make your deepest, darkest fantasies come true either with a gentle whisper in your ear or with a rough growling command. When he’s in control, you know you’re in good hands. Vegas can tickle or scratch whatever itch or fetish a caller can throw at him.

 

But his job at the exclusive ‘Black Vanilla’ has its dark side, which becomes all too clear when Vegas receives a call one night that hits a little too close to home.

 

Somewhere out there, someone’s watching him. Someone who’s taken their fantasy one step too far. It isn’t long before Vegas finds himself entangled in a web of dark and dangerous obsession. An obsession that can only end one way.

 

“Dirty Talk” will take you deep into the world of stimulating oral desire and blur the lines that exist between our ultimate fantasies and harsh reality.

 

This was an interesting story and not quite what I expected.  Vegas has not had it easy in life, his parents died when he was young, his grandmother died when he just finished high school and pushes him to move away from his closed minded hometown.  He heads for the excitement of New York, but isn’t exactly ready for his life there.

 

This is a very dark story with twists and turns everywhere you go, but I couldn’t help but feel that Vegas didn’t deserve anything that was happening to him.  He tries to see the good in others which leaves him blind to some of their real actions.  I had a real WTF moment at the end of the story, and I’m not quite sure what to think of the ending.  This book was much different from what I usually read, but kept me interested throughout the story.

 

Cover art by Natasha Snow is nice and catches your eye.

 

Sales Links

 Nine Star Press

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

6f71e-all2bromance2bbutton

 

Book Details:

ebook, 180 pages
Published: 2nd Edition, August 1, 2016 by Nine Star Press
ISBN: 9781911153589
Edition Language: English

Warning: scenes of violence and sustained threat

A MelanieM Review: Re-Inventing Love by Storm Grant

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Re-Inventing LoveEngineer and assistant inventor,Maximilian Grun is in love with his employer, but he daren’t reveal the truth. It’s 1910 and if Canadian authorities learned of his homosexuality, they’d deport him back to Germany where the country of his birth would become the country of his death.

When promising young inventor and mathematician,Dr. Jasper Hamilton expresses his own feelings for Max, the young German regretfully declines. He cannot risk their partnership, their reputations” their very lives!

Then a rival inventor sabotages their inventions. Jasper is caught between the physical and the metaphysical, reduced to atoms, and transported to the spirit plane! Max is devastated, deeply regretting his lost chances.

But Jasper manages to communicate across the aether, telling Max he must reverse the machine’s polarity. But without Jasper’s talent for mathematics, the calculations defeat Max.

Can the would-be lovers bridge the gap between life and death to finally be together?When a ghastly lab accident blows a respected inventor away, his loyal assistant must devise a way to bridge the gap between the planes of existence to reunite them in life and in love.

I was not sure what to expect from Re-Inventing Love by Storm Grant.   The premise was intriguing and the author was completely new to me.  Two things I liked.  Plus it was historical, another bonus.  The story  turned out to be so much more than I ever  imagined.  It was a wonderful historical novel, rich in elements from that era.  It was a paranormal tale, filled with inventive touches real and imagined.  The author’s note where Grant’s give’s a nod to the inspirations behind the story should not be missed. Finally, its a sweet, touching romance, still in keeping with the era, noting that such same gender love is forbidden, likely to lead to imprisonment and death.  And on every level that it explores and incorporates into the story, it works beautifully.

The story starts off in Germany,  with a young apprentice and his older mentor working on a special invention and things go very badly.  We follow the the young man’s recovery through various scary scenes and months which I won’t spoil here.  They are of high importance in making the character of Maximilian Grun feel authentic, as both a scientist and as a damaged man.  We get the full history on Max…his troubles, his pain, everything.  Even his naivete’.  And Grant surrounds him in the elements of the era, from laws to major points in the history timeline.

When the story lands in Canada, and the household of Dr. Jasper Hamilton and his forward thinking sister, Octavia, I was throughly entranced.  Then became even more so.  Dr. Jasper was already an inventor who along with his trouser-wearing sister (and house servants/assistants) had filled his house with his inventions from toasters (that burnt toast if you weren’t careful) to washer tubs for washing clothes.  A marvel indeed and based on inventions present at the time.  Octavia, a widow, is a bright, sparkling presence, whose personality leaps off the pages alongside that of her brother and their other household occupants (cat included).  Really, be prepared to fall in love with this entire household.

How Max comes to find employment and a home here with Jasper and Octavia is a neat twist of tale and villain.  Yes, the author has engineered a believable villain for this story.  His actions are both plausible and reprehensible, thoughtless and based on self gain, no matter the cost.  So you get a layered and understandable man to cringe at his every appearance.  Its wonderful.

There is also the paranormal element here, ghosts, another plane of existence to explore.  Its deliciously done.  Storm Grant is clearly having fun here, from the name of the device (see the author’s notes again) to the racket, explosions, and results that occur).  Most are mind boggling, all are marvelous and great for the story.  I enjoyed each and every scene, right up to and including the unexpected final one.

I often watch a series here called The Artful Detective. I believe the author refers to the same show as the Murdoch Mysteries in her notes.  A Canadian detective in the 1900’s who uses science (often ahead of his time) and inventions to solve crime.  It was one of the inspirations behind the story as both incorporate actual history and real inventions into their storylines.  Both the series (I bet the name difference is due to the country where it airs) and this story are charmers.

Whether you are a fan of historical novels, this is one story you won’t want to miss out on.  Its got a little bit of something for everyone.  But mostly?  Its just plain wonderful.  I highly recommend Re-Inventing Love by Storm Grant.  Now I need to seek out and read other books by this author.  What a treat.  And while you’re at it check out The Artful Detective as well.

Cover art by Deana Jamroz.  I liked this cover.  A bit old timey true in keeping with the paperback mysteries and dime novels.

Sales Links

MLR Press LLC

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published April 21st 2016 by MLR Press, LLC
ASINB01ENHDG6U
Edition LanguageEnglish

 

Its Coffee Sip and Book Break Time with Re-Inventing Love by Storm Grant (Excerpt)

Standard
Title: Re-Inventing Love
Author: Storm Grant
Genre: Historical M/M Romance
Publisher: MLR Press
-LIMITED TIME $3.99 SALE-
Engineer and assistant inventor Maximilian Grün is in love with his employer, but he daren’t reveal the truth. It’s 1910 and if Canadian authorities learned of his homosexuality, they’d deport him back to Germany where the country of his birth would become the country of his death.

When promising young inventor and mathematician Dr. Jasper Hamilton expresses his own feelings for Max, the young German regretfully declines. He cannot risk their partnership, their reputations—their very lives!

Then a rival inventor sabotages their inventions. Jasper is caught between the physical and the metaphysical, reduced to atoms, and transported to the spirit plane! Max is devastated, deeply regretting his lost chances.

But Jasper manages to communicate across the aether, telling Max he must reverse the machine’s polarity. But without Jasper’s talent for mathematics, the calculations defeat him.

Can the would-be lovers bridge the gap between life and death to finally be together?

He steeled himself against his desire to grab the man and kiss him soundly. Instead, he settled for leaning even further into Max.

Max made no attempt to draw away.

They sat side-by-side. Was Max’s breathing quickening? But Jasper’s own thudding heartbeat and shaky breaths masked all other sounds. He cleared his throat again and pointed to the rough sketch on his desk.

“If we were to reroute the electrical current through an asbestos filter prior to it connecting with the element, we may be able to regulate heat without having to monitor it quite so vigilantly.” Jasper tapped the page.

Max leant forward, his shoulder sliding along Jasper’s own. “Ja. Yes. It could work. Not with the insulated wires you haff drawn here, but with…” He snatched up a pencil, scrawling quick, firm marks on the page.

Jasper relaxed. Tuning out the engineer’s words, he rode the cadence of the accented voice like a wave. He fought his smile, but lost. It was so good to have a partner on whom he could rely.

If only there was a way for them to be more than working partners.
STORM GRANT pens long and short tales. Her work spans genders and genres, offering good guys and bad puns. Her alter ego, Gina X. Grant, writes funny urban fantasy.

HOSTED BY:

In the Urban Fantasy Spotlight – Shatterproof by Xen Sanders (Riptide Tour and Giveaway)

Standard

Shatterproof_600x900

Shatterproof by Xen Sanders
R
iptide Publishing
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

~~~

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Xen Sanders here today to talk about Shatterproof and share his favorite character with our readers.  Welcome, Xen.

~~~

Hey there. I’m Xen Sanders, and thank you for joining me for the release of Shatterproof! (I will have you know that exclamation point was under duress. Grr. I am grrr and dour and deadpan man-thing. Really.)

I’m immensely grateful that some of my favorite blogs have opened their doors and given me an opportunity to talk about a book that means so much to me, and that comes from so much personal experience. Stick around to chat, ask questions, and join in the discussion for a chance to win a $30 Riptide gift card and a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card! (@*$%!#ing exclamation points…)

Who is your favorite literary character of all-time?

That would have to be Gerald Tarrant from C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire Trilogy, and to some extent his doppelganger and descendant, Andrys Tarrant. I think Gerald Tarrant is what shaped my love of villains; he’s why I’d pick Loki over Thor any day. He’s the ultimate in seductive evil; even better for that he was once one of the most noble, upright, honorable and righteous men in the world, and yet his desperation to achieve an end drove him to become a thing so formidable and terrible that only his code of honor keeps him from descending into a ravening, blood-drenched beast. He’s committed terrible atrocities, and he acts as a moral foil to the hero of the series; slowly but surely his presence erodes at this utterly faith-driven warrior-priest until he finds himself excusing greater and greater evils and plunging into darkness himself with a terrifying intimacy as he unknowingly follows Tarrant’s own path: giving in to the sensuous lure of the black, the night, the deep and soundless song of the secret dark in order to accomplish an ultimate goal. Tarrant is both an object lesson and the defiance of it, because he warns of the self-destruction inherent in sacrificing all to attain an objective…even as he rises above to stand cold and pure and ruthless and beautifully cruel, an unlikely and undefeatable hero made up of a strange combination of pathos and refined, elegant malice.

About Shatterproof

 

Shatterproof_600x900Saint’s afraid to die. Grey can’t stand to live.

 

Grey Jean-Marcelin wants to die. He thought painting his passion—vivid portrayals of Haitian life and vodou faith—would be enough to anchor him to this world. But it isn’t. And when the mysterious man known only as Saint saves Grey from a suicide attempt, it’s more curse than blessing—until Grey discovers that Saint isn’t just an EMT. He’s a banished fae, and can only survive by draining the lives of those he loves.

 

All Saint needed was a simple bargain: one life willingly given for another. But as Saint’s feelings for Grey grow deeper, centuries of guilt leave him desperate to save a man who doesn’t want salvation, even if Grey’s life means Saint’s death.

 

When Grey’s depression consumes him, only he can decide if living is worth the struggle. Yet his choice may come too late to save his life . . . or Saint’s soul. And whatever choice he makes, it may shatter them both.

 

Purchase at Riptide: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/shatterproof

 

About Xen Sanders

 

Xen Sanders is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in the metropolitan wilds of the American Midwest. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant and business writer, and his nights writing genre-bending science fiction and fantasy tinged with a touch of horror and flavored by the influences of his multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual background—when he’s not being tackled by two hyperactive cats. He wavers between calling himself bisexual and calling himself queer, but no matter what word he uses, he’s a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA representation and visibility in genre fiction.

 

He also writes contemporary romance and erotica as Cole McCade. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts:

 

He’s recently launched the Speak Project, an online open-access platform where anyone can anonymously or openly share or read stories of abuse—a way for survivors to overcome the silencing tactics of abusers to speak out against what was done to them, and let other survivors know they’re not alone.

 

He also runs an advice column called Dammit, Cole, where he occasionally answers questions about everything from romance and dating to the culture of hypermasculinity, from the perspective of a male romance author:

 

Looking for more? You can get early access to cover reveals, blurbs, contests, and other exclusives by joining the McCade’s Marauders street team at:
• http://www.facebook.com/groups/mccadesmarauders/

Shatterproof_TourBanner

Giveaway

 

To celebrate the release of Shatterproof, one lucky winner will receive $30 Riptide Credit and a $25 gift card to B&N or Amazon. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 10, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!