A Stella Review: Of Love and Corn Dogs (Of Love and… #1) by Parker Williams

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

of-love-and-corn-dogsWith more money than he could spend in ten lifetimes, Darwin Kincade still couldn’t keep death from stealing his lover. A little older and a whole lot wiser, flirting with his twice-a-week waiter is the perfect no-risk substitute for a real relationship. Until the night his routine is upended by the restaurant’s newest employee.

Ricky Donnelly loves people. While being a server isn’t his dream, he’s good at it. When a grumpy man is seated in his station, Ricky sees there’s more to him than he lets on, and when the man relaxes, he’s actually sweet.

As the two men bond over a discussion about corn dogs— something Darwin’s never heard of—he realizes how much he’s missed out on in his life. He vows to open himself to new experiences—including, perhaps, a chance at finding love again.

Not wanting anything to muddy their blooming relationship, Darwin hides part of himself from Ricky. He likes the look in Ricky’s eyes, unclouded by Darwin’s notoriety. Unfortunately, the truth can never stay hidden, and when it comes out, Darwin may lose any hope of holding onto the future they’ve begun to build.

Of Love and Corn Dogs by Parker  Williams is the light and easy read I was so craving when I  opened the file on my kindle. That’s one of the reasons why it was a winner to me.

The story between Rick and Darwin is sweet and so lovely. They fall for each other in an heartbeat, almost from the first time they see each other in the restaurant where Ricky is working, at least for a couple of more days. And then bad luck and a nasty man will force him to resign. While trying to find a new job to sustain himself and pay his school debts, the friendship with Darwin starts to develop in something more. Problem is Darwin forgets to tell Ricky he is a very wealthy man and when Ricky finds out how and where his new boyfriend lives, well let’s just say he’s not happy.

I appreciated a lot of elements in this story:  I liked the writing but it was nothing new because I already read (and quite enjoyed) other books Parker Williams wrote in the past. I loved the lightness and the easiness the plot had, how the MCs gave themselves to each other. Yes there was a little bump in their HEA because Ricky doesn’t need a knight to save him from his unlucky life, he’s a strong young man, used to taking care of his troubles alone. While Darwin, although his life is too full between his job and his wonderful brother, is pretty much lonely and can’t wait to give himself and everything he owns to Ricky. Plus there are some great secondary characters, starting with Maria and Henley, they are supportive and don’t waste a moment to cheer Darwin. What I really loved or better who I fell in love with was Ricky, maybe because I emphasized with him and his life so much, maybe simply because the author depicted a great character.

If you’re looking for a light, sweet and angst free story, don’t miss this new release by Parker Williams.

The cover art is not my favorite, but fits the story well.

Sales Links

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BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 154 pages

Published September 23rd 2016 by Parker Williams

ISBN13 9781941841471 

Edition Language English

Of Love and … series #1

A Melanie Release Day Review: The Disciple (The Wheel Mysteries #4) by Susan Laine

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

the-disciple-by-susan-laineGus Goodwin witnesses a young man acting strangely at his occult shop—and a day later the same youth is found brutally murdered at a secluded Radical Faerie sanctuary in the mountains. Gus and his private detective boyfriend, Niall Valentine, once again find themselves in the middle of a murder mystery.

First to cross their path is Professor Alex Kittridge, Gus’s ex-boyfriend. Then into the picture stumbles Autumnsong, the biggest enigma they’ve ever encountered, to complicate the already confusing case. As Gus and Niall try to decipher the meaning of the cryptic poems left at the murder scenes, their pasts not yet laid to rest put a strain on their relationship.

Gus and Niall must uncover a slew of secrets within a spiritual group of queer social rebels before the vile killer strikes again—or the investigation could very well end up being their last.

The fourth book in The Wheel Mysteries by Susan Laine, The Disciple, finds Gus Goodwin and Niall Valentine one year into their  relationship.  Each book in the series has a Wiccan holiday at its center and for The Disciple, its Lughnasadh or Lammas. Laine intends for the series to run the length of the Wiccan sabbat or holiday calendar so we have a ways to go yet.  Lucky us!

I have long adored this series, not only for its characters and its murder mysteries but for its accurate use of the Wiccan religion.  Wiccan beliefs are beautifully interwoven throughout the story, including its connections to nature, practices…its a lovely way for those unfamiliar with this religion to meet it.  And through Gus Goodwin a Wiccan, whose nonjudgemental mind and sharp intelligence, often brings us into learning about other forms of pagan religions as well.  This time it is the Radical Faeries, another group that gets a compassionate and open-minded treatment from Laine.  At his side?  His  fiance’, P.I Niall Valentine, who’s mind has become more accepting while remaining just as suspicious as it needs to be.  They are a great combination.

Unfortunately, a member of this group has been murdered  and that brings our favorite couple into the investigation.

Gus and Niall’s relationship is always a work in progress, a factor that makes them and their partnership believable and feel real.  They fight,  make up, have doubts, and work through their issues like mature adults.  I love that.  Plus their sex scenes are very hot!  But its as a couple I appreciate them so much.  Their love and appreciation for each other shines off the page.  That also improves with each story as their love has deepened and gotten stronger as its been tested with each murder case and crisis.

Laine doesn’t disappoint us here with the mysteries either.  We find out about the murders, the culprits and maybe something far more sinister. It did feel a little long towards the end.  It felt as though it had wrapped up only to continue on.  But then we get something so marvelous waiting at the end.  No spoilers but oh how I loved this book!  I had no idea that was going to happen.  I was stunned with joy.

Love murder mysteries?  How about  romance too?  Here’s a whole series to gobble up!  Start at the beginning and work your way through until you reach The Disciple.  I highly recommend them all.  Susan Laine has laid the ground work for the next book to come and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us there.  I wonder if it will be out by Yule?  That’s the next Wiccan holiday on the calendar!  I’ll be waiting.

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht.  What a gorgeous cover.  A true favorite of mine.

Sales Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: October 21st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634776623 (ISBN13: 9781634776622)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesThe Wheel Mysteries 

A VVivacious Review: My Bare Naked Heart by David Avery

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
 
my-bare-naked-heartThe year is 1957 and John Branson has entered a whole new world as he gets admitted to Inverness College in Vermont. His first year at Inverness is a roller-coaster ride that brings with it friendship, first love, sexual exploration, betrayal, heart break and lots more.  In a time when being homosexual was illegal, he struggles with his feelings towards men. Despite his apprehension he ends up making life-long friendships and ushering in an era of his life where all his hidden desires are for once and for all confronted.
 
This book is written in an autobiographical style and chronicles the first year in college of our MC, John Branson. What I liked about this autobiographical style was that when John talked about a particular person, he gave his entire perspective on that person that he had formed over the course of his life instead of being limited to the present, so it was like you had a little glimpse into the future and a more solid grasp of the person’s character. What kind of freaked me out was that sometimes in his glimpses of the future he sounded like an old man and I realized that John, if alive today would have been my grandfather’s age and that kind of freaked me out a little and also in a roundabout way put into perspective the time period we were dealing with.
 
This book is a literal cock-fest, John has six friends, Anthony, Howell (aka Howl), Ted (aka Sasquatch), Daniel (aka Wonder Bread), Freddy and Eddie (aka Shorty), and all of them are introduced with descriptions of their cocks. I have never in my life read such detailed descriptions of cocks and I actually studied Anatomy, so yeah that helped get me into John’s frame of mind of a horny teenager fascinated by cocks.
 
It takes time for the book to get interesting but once it managed to capture my imagination, I really liked it. This book at its heart is about John’s experience with his sexuality, his journey as he comes to terms with himself and kind of assimilates what he feels with how everybody else feels about it.
 
This book has a richness of characters. There is Anthony and his unfailing loyalty and his monster cock. There is Daniel who is a little uptight but he really comes through when John needs him to and Shorty who was this amazing person. I really liked him. I had the same revelation about him as John does and I kind of hate the fact that we know exactly how his future turns out to be. Then there was Dusty, Dusty was so amazing but in a way I kind of regretted the fact that we never got to see him in the same light as John views his friends, because John puts Dusty on a pedestal, his descriptions of him appear tinted.
 
My only issue with this book is a (spoiler, so read ahead at your own peril or just skip this paragraph) the infidelity. The fact that it happens on two separate occasions doesn’t help matters. What my major issue with it was not that it would happen, but that I personally didn’t get how he could think about Dusty as he did and still manage to hurt him twice. I mean once I can attribute to his ineptitude in relationships but the second time just felt wrong. Also I couldn’t reconcile John’s personality with this little titbit.
 
I liked how this story evolves and I loved the ending, even though I am half crazed trying to figure out what all, that last sentence could have possibly meant.
 
Cover Art. I really liked the cover especially the likeness of Inverness College.
Sales Links
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Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 326 pages
Published October 14th 2016 by Walt Whitman Press
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Edition LanguageEnglish

A Caryn Review: One Pulse Anthology

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

one-pulse-anthologySince the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016, people worldwide have donated a total of more than 23 million dollars to the OneOrlando Fund set up to benefit the victims and their families.  It seems like a lot of money, but between the number of people affected, and the severity of their injuries – mental and physical – that money will be exhausted fairly soon.  Also, after the initial outcry and horror that such a thing could have happened, and for such a reason, the shooting has faded out of the headlines.  But for those who were directly affected, and for all people in the LGBTQ spectrum, the shooting is still at the forefront of their thoughts, and fears, and worries.  So I was very pleased to see Dreamspinner Press put out this anthology to raise money for various LGBT organizations in central Florida, and I jumped at the chance to review it.  Dreamspinner also has another anthology coming out in time for the 2016 holiday season, that will also benefit the same charities.

At first, I planned to do a short review on each story individually, but at a total of 31 stories (and almost 200,000 words) that just wasn’t possible.  The stories are written by a combination of well known and lesser known authors from Dreamspinner’s ranks, and run the gamut of genres.  There are contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, historical, and sci-fi works.  Most are romances, but some are not.  Most are M/M pairings, but there was also one F/F and one M/M/M/M.  Some stories were extremely good, some less so, but there was only one that I had to DNF.  My favorite was The Tithe by K.C. Burn, which was one of the fully original stories, but there were several that were in the various universes created by the authors in other published works (like Edmond Manning’s They Danced which tells another tale of the Lost and Founds, which would not have made much sense to me if I hadn’t read one of them first).  The stories ranged from1 star to 5 star ratings, and overall the anthology really is more of a 3 star read, but I give it an extra star because of the generosity of the authors and the other people from Dreamspinner involved in putting it together.  I looked at the call for submissions, and they were due only a month after the shooting itself, which is an incredibly short period of time to write something really good, so I actually expect the next anthology to be even better.

I also hope that there will be a little more detail of which organizations the money will be going towards in the next anthology.  Overall, I do recommend this collection, especially for those who like to read shorter stories.  I plan on buying the next anthology when it’s available.

The cover art, by Paul Richmond, really fits with the title of the anthology and the reasons it was written.  I like the symbolism of one pair of hands holding and caring for another, checking a pulse as a nod to the name of the nightclub, and the rainbow coloring for Pride.

Sales Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 574 pages
Published September 19th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleOne Pulse
ISBN139781635330984
Edition LanguageEnglish

Shift into Romance with Wolf, in League (Wolf #3) by A.F. Henley (guest post, teaser, and giveaway)

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Wolf, in League (Wolf #3) by A.F. Henley

It is such a huge pleasure to not only be back as a guest here on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, but to be able to introduce you to the third release in my Wolf series, Wolf, in League. This is such an exciting time for me and I am honoured to be able to share that moment with you. For those who might be joining the tour for the first time, welcome, and thank you very much for stopping in. For those who have been following along since the start, thank you, it’s awesome to have you back.

As I’ve no doubt already said along the line, I promised myself I was going to keep the intros short, get right to the excerpts, and try not to take up too much of everybody’s valuable time. But I beg you for just a quick moment so that I can let you know about the giveaway I’ve got coming along with me. To celebrate this new release, I’m offering up a signed, print copy of Wolf in League, a “crystal and silver” diamante Howling Wolf Pendant, and a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market, to one lucky tour-wide winner. Just follow through to the end of the post for all the details.

And now, the teaser, and another quick look at Wolf’s villain…

Tiny Teaser: Post 11

Brothers, hear me…

His fingers stilled. His expression darkened. Sweet fuck, he hated the formality. Despised it, even. “Brothers.” As if. As if in a hundred thousand decades that would ever be the feeling he’d have for the rest of them. But the dark old princes insisted on it, and for now it was wise to keep the illusion of servitude. There would come a time when he would make the rules. After all, didn’t they already lean in to listen? Didn’t they already ask him the how and the when and the where? Did they not cock their eyebrows and pretend to confer and consider while merely waiting for him to give them the answers? Was he not, in fact, already making the rules? Setting up the game pieces? Making the moves?

And was he not already making them very well?

Oh, yes. He was.

At least in this crazy world of Skype and emails, scanners and instant messaging, there was no need for mental connections or face-to-face meetings. A good thing, really. The time he would have had to take socializing, smiling, and convincing others with his sure expressions and stances was time well saved. And there was so fucking much to do.

… It is time. Time in Europe and Asia. Time in America, in Africa, Australia, and the Antarctic. Time in every corner of every continent, every county and city of every country.

It is time to rise.

Wolf, in League Excerpt

© AF Henley, 2016

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Blurb

Wolf, in League

It’s been months since anyone at the Committee has had any contact from the O’Connell family or their pack members, and they are not happy. Suspicious of the activities that took place in D.C. and determined to find out what the wolves are up to, the Committee recruits one of their newest residents, Doctor Matthew Dietrich, to play the part of neighbor and infiltrate the family.

Matthew has always been a keep-to-himself kind of person. Though idealistic and optimistic, he prefers to work in solitude, at night, while he researches the findings that he hopes will one day change the world. When he’s approached by the executives of the Center, he has no idea why they’d choose him. And to say he is skeptical over the concept of men that can shift into wolves would be an understatement. Until he meets his new partner, the man that will play the part of his “husband” in the Committee’s scheme, Doctor Gavin Strauss.

Genre: Gay, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Notes: Wolf, in League contains some explicit and violent content

Book 3 in the Wolf series

Purchasing Link

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The Giveaway

On behalf of the tour, please join the giveaway by taking part in the Rafflecopter below. The prize consists of a signed, print copy of Wolf in League, a “crystal and silver” diamante Howling Wolf Pendant, and a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market.

For all the terms and conditions, please check out the t’s and c’s posted on the Rafflecopter.

** Please note that this giveaway is being offered tour-wide and there will be one winner awarded for the entire event.

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY HERE:

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As always, my heartfelt thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me today, and a great big thank you to you, as well, for joining me. Best of luck with the giveaway and I hope you enjoyed the post!

Until next time,

AF Henley ❤

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About the Author

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.

A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.

Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012.

For more information, please stop by for a visit at afhenley.com.

Cari Z. Shares Her Love of Writing Weapons and her latest release Friendly Fire (giveaway)

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Friendly Fire by Cari Z.
R
iptide Publishing
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Release date: October 17, 2016
Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Cari Z here today to share her thoughts on her latest  release Friendly Fire and her love of writing weapons in her guest  blog, Weapon of Choice.  Welcome, Cari!

Weapon of Choice by Cari Z

So, hey—I like writing weapons.

This isn’t news to anyone who’s read me before. If I had a tagline (gosh, I should have a tagline, get on that, brain) it would be something like, “Guys and guns,” or “Romantic explosions for all!” Or not, whatever, but really—I like writing weapons. I like thinking about how to use them, and I like writing characters who use them well. I like futuristic weapons and old-fashioned weapons and common items that just happen to be at hand used as weapons. I like fight scenes, armed and unarmed, and I love me some big old explosions.

I also love training with weapons. Not all of them—despite a childhood filled with firearms, I’m still not really a gun girl. They’re important and contemporary and something to know how to use, especially if you live in America, but I don’t carry one and I don’t own one. I do own a lot of knives, though. However many you’re thinking, add a few more. Plus a couple of tactical pens, and an extendable baton or two. Or three. One of the best things about writing a contemporary novel? Getting to give one of my main characters, Lennox, the job of my dreams: arms merchant!

No, just kidding, someone else in the book is an arms merchant, and this isn’t really his story. Lennox installs home security systems, but he also sells weapons for personal protection. This is where the old adage “write what you know” really came into play for me in Friendly Fire. I train with Spyderco-style folding knives (dull ones, because I want to be able to play more than once) a couple of times a week, and am familiar enough with sticks and batons not to beat the hell out of my hands—or my partner’s—when working with them. I love knives. If I could have written a dozen more chapters about Lennox doing nothing but stroking his weapons while describing them in loving detail, I would have. *snerk* Sadly, I couldn’t work that in, but if you read Friendly Fire, you’ll see my predilections come to light in a couple of scenes.

Hey, it could be worse. I could be really into potato canons. Actually…

Blurb

friendlyfire_600x900Elliot McKenzie is the king of reinvention. Five years after losing his job and his lover and almost going to prison, his self-help program, Charmed Life, is more successful than he’d ever dreamed. He thinks he’s put his sordid past firmly behind him, until he starts receiving cryptic threats . . . and realizes it might not be as over as he’d hoped.

 

Security expert Lennox West has been lost since a deadly skirmish in Afghanistan led to his forced retirement from the Army. His PTSD makes helping his ex raise their daughter a challenge. When his ex’s sister asks him to set her boss up with a security system, Lennox isn’t expecting anyone like Elliot McKenzie—a man who captures his attention and makes him feel relaxed for the first time since leaving the service.

 

But Elliot is dangerously stubborn. Even as the threats against him escalate, he refuses to involve the police, and Lennox fears that stubbornness could kill him. A battle of wills ensues that brings them closer to each other than either man expected. But if the threats turn real, they might not live long enough to get their future together.

About Cari Z

Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She’s still climbing that ladder, but can’t stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.

Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.

Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.

Connect with Cari:

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Friendly Fire, one lucky winner will receive a copy of Friendly Fire signed by Cari Z! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 22, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!