A MelanieM Review: Too Many Cases by Julia Rancourt

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

too-many-casesJo is a man of multiple worlds. He was born in the mundane world, but while working as a private detective, he inadvertently chased his quarry into Otheropolis, a parallel world filled with magic. Deciding to stay, Jo is joined by Simone Of Hecate, his partner in more ways than one, and resumes his private detective work in his strange new home.

But when his private life in the mundane world comes under assault, on top of three new cases, and multiple attempts on his life, Jo starts to wonder if maybe mundane was better than magical after all.

Too Many Cases was a neat little story by Julia Rancourt.  Full of a delicious setting called Otheropolis that joined  with our mundane  parellel world, its main character is a detective called Jo trying to fit in in a world where he feels more at home than he ever did in the world where he was born.  And there the clues start falling immediately for your first twist in the story.  That of gender.  Its wonderful and I loved Jo even more  for it being unexpected.  Jo has some of his  own obstacles to overcome in this story as well as mysteries to solve.  Jo is joined by his partner Simone of Hecate, a witch.

I was expecting this to be a M/M story, its not.  I mistook Simone for Simon (face palm).  I’m going to leave the pairing off.  It’s a LGBTQIA story, there’s no sex, well little sex with heat to it. and it revolves around the mysteries which I really enjoyed. But yes gender does come into it and I like the way the author handled it for our main character and for the story.

What I did want was more of Otheropolis.  The concepts that Rancourt lays down for  her world  are intrequeing. I  want to know how the families  rule, more on the weather and how its all laid out.  It sounds  fascinating and all this story did was wet my taste for more.

Looking for something a little different?  With mysteries and main characters to grab at your interest and perhaps your heart too?  Give Too Many Cases by Julia Rancourt a try.

Cover art was interesting and I liked it, just like the book.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published October 10th 2016 by Less Than Three Press, LLC
ASINB01MCS3F95
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Review: A Sip Of Rio by Teodora Kostova

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

a-sip-of-rio-by-teodora-kostovaLiam Young has a problem – he’s booked a romantic holiday to Rio de Janeiro months ago, but when he breaks up with his boyfriend, all his plans fall apart. Not only is his dream holiday slipping through his fingers, but Liam is tired of getting his heart broken.

Blaine Reed has a solution that can save Liam’s plans. Recently divorced, Blaine needs a break, and a couple of stress-free weeks in Rio with a sexy guy like Liam sound like heaven.

Liam and Blaine hit it off right from the start, becoming good friends even before they’ve left London. Despite their efforts to ignore the simmering attraction between them, it boils over when they end up sharing a room in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

Being together in Rio is easy, and it’s exactly what Liam needs – no feelings, no drama, nobody getting hurt.

Until someone does.

When the holiday bubble bursts, it’s up to them to find a way to be together outside of Rio’s seductive magic.

A Sip of Rio is a travel log story with two lovely main characters. The way they met and how their friendship started set the tone for the rest of the story. Liam and Blane had great chemistry from the very beginning and their love story felt easy and dynamic.

The author did an excellent job making the settings an integral part of the story. It was interesting to see Brazil through their eyes and how small details like height played a role. They enjoyed their time together and met interesting characters too. There were funny moments mixed with serious conversations, but the overall story was sexy, low angst, and easy to read.

My main issue with the story was the pacing. It started strong and interesting, but when the characters arrived in Brazil time slowed down. As soon as they left, time sped up again and we get a rushed ending.

The solution to their relationship problems and how they will get together, in the end, didn’t ring true to me. It was too much of a fairy tale for a story that did great showing the reader a contemporary setting. Also, I think that the wrong MC asked for forgiveness. Perhaps in the reverse, it would have had a stronger ending.

The cover goes with the feel of Brazil. The models seem a bit generic, but overall it represents the heart of the story.

Sale Links: Kindle Unlimited

ebook, 151 pages
Published: Oct 6, 2016, Kindle Unlimited
ISBN: B01M10UDTY
Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Of Paws and Pet Rocks by J.D. Walker

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

of-paws-and-pet-rocks-by-jd-walkerBarry Dunning is a pet stylist and a gentle soul. Animals love him and he adores them. And while he would love to have a dog or cat of his own, the lease on his tiny studio apartment doesn’t allow pets. So, he paints miniature cats and dogs on rocks, instead.

 

Hurt by an ex-boyfriend, Barry doesn’t date. But his sister Trixie is always pestering him to get back out there, though he doesn’t think anyone would want him or his baggage.

 

Not so. Sheldon Svenson, the owner of the animal shelter where Barry volunteers on weekends is attracted to Barry and asks him out on a date. Barry — for once taking his sister’s advice — accepts.

 

Dinner ends in disaster, but Sheldon, undaunted, pursues Barry and asks for another chance. Will Barry decide to risk losing his heart?

 

This was a wonderful short sweet story.  Barry has basically been surviving since his ex left him high and dry three years ago, feeling like he doesn’t deserve a nice guy and that no one should have to deal with his problems.  Sheldon has carried a torch for Barry since they first met and since he is now unattached he is willing to take the plunge.

 

Barry continues to tell himself and others that he is happy with his life, but we can see how much he is hurting from the beginning of the story.  His sister and her husband are hilarious and a great source of support for him, no matter how much he tries to deny it.  Even though this story is told from Barry’s point of view you can see how much Sheldon really cares for him and is willing to wait until he is ready.

 

The cover art is wonderful and gave me a great visual for Barry interacting with the animals.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | ARe

 

Book Details:

ebook, 39 pages

Published: March 30, 2016 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634860680

Edition Language: English

A Stella Release Day Review: Murmuration by TJ Klune

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RATING 2,75 out of 5 stars

murmurationIn the small mountain town of Amorea, it’s stretching toward autumn of 1954. The memories of a world at war are fading in the face of a prosperous future. Doors are left unlocked at night, and neighbors are always there to give each other a helping hand.

The people here know certain things as fact:

Amorea is the best little town there is.

The only good Commie is a dead Commie.

The Women’s Club of Amorea runs the town with an immaculately gloved fist.

And bookstore owner Mike Frazier loves that boy down at the diner, Sean Mellgard. Why they haven’t gotten their acts together is anybody’s guess. It may be the world’s longest courtship, but no one can deny the way they look at each other.

Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.

But something’s wrong with Mike. He hears voices in his house late at night. There are shadows crawling along the walls, and great clouds of birds overhead that only he can see.

Something’s happening in Amorea. And Mike will do whatever he can to keep the man he loves.

My review on Murmuration by TJ Klune will be brief. You want the truth? I don’t have a lot to say. I could have given it 5 stars because in a way it deserves the highest rating but I can’t and I’ll try to explain why without spoiling it. Basically I’m not sure what to make of the plot. I found the relationship between Mike and Sean sweet and cute.  I liked the story.  I found it mysterious, it intrigued me since I read the blurb and it kept my interest through a long part of it. I had no idea what was going to happen, where the author was going to take the MCs,  but I wasn’t worried because I knew I would have an HEA.

I liked the writing, it’s easy and great and brought me to Amorea and its sceneries and habitants. It brought me on a balcony, it brought me on a sterile room. I appreciate the author’s talent, his invention, he loves words and he knows how to use them to create unique and awesome sentences.  I have to give it to TJ. The book is amazingly written and well done, really really well done. Unexpected as everything TJ writes.  I’m blown away but still not in a good way.

That said I can’t give it 3 stars. The problem is I’m so disappointed and angry. This story was hard to take to me and I can’t overcome  the bitter taste if left on my heart. I could have so loved Murmuration but TJ ruined everything. He destroyed what I loved, who I loved, all the people I met in Amorea, in the last part of the book. And to me is unecceptable. And the ending? That was supposed to be a HEA? It wasn’t.

The cover art by  Reese Dante is amazing, one of the best covers I saw this year.

Sales Links

        

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 324 pages

Publication  date October 28th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1634774558 (ISBN13: 9781634774550)

Edition Language English

Love Urban Fantasy? Hank Fielder Shares Inspiration and More Behind ‘Make Someone Happy’! (Author Guest Blog)

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Make Someone Happy by Hank Fielder
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reamspinner Press
Release Date: October 26, 2016
Cover artist: Paul Richmond

Sales Links

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  • Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?

Hank Fielder: Hi everyone!  I’m privileged to be talking to you today about my new book, called “Make Someone Happy.” Inspiration is a great topic to start out with. I love that inspiration can be drawn from anywhere — from memories, personal experiences, from other stories, from dreams, from places and journeys.  Even from thin air. 

For my new novella, called “Make Someone Happy,” I started getting the idea based on a place: a modest little day spa.  A friend gave me a gift certificate for a massage.  I was excited and nervous at the same time.  After all, someone you don’t know is rubbing you all over, in a good way!  It’s not sexual, but it’s pretty intimate.

I started thinking, what if two massage therapists working together started to feel more than simple friendship for one another?  What if one was experienced and self-assured? That’s Andre.  What if the other guy was new to the job, not as good at it yet — and secretly falling hard for his friend and co-worker?   This is Joe, the main character. I decided it would be fun to throw in a little magic and help our inexperienced hero Joe with a magic wish: to have a magic touch.  The massage he gives Andre leads them both on a journey of intimacy, passion and desire — and trouble.

Magic can lead to unforeseen consequences, in love and in fortune.  At the center of the story is the love shared between Joe and Andre, and the test of true love is the story’s main conflict.     

  • Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else?  Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?

HF: It’s great that MM romance offers a chance to explore so many different genres.  I’d always wanted to write an urban fantasy.  I knew I wanted to try a light touch in a fantasy story of genuine passion, with real stakes involved. 

In “Make Someone Happy,” Joe is skeptical about magic; he’s never thought about it much.  But when a beautiful “good” witch, who happens to be giving up white magic because of its unforeseen consequences, offers Joe a single wish, he plays along.  He’s done the witch a great favor — he rescued her kitten, named Angel. We’re off and running.

I’ve tried to keep the story urban, contemporary and real, with real life problems.  And that’s what I love about urban fantasy.  If the story works, it opens our eyes to the “real” magic all around us.  The miracles of falling in love, of crisp autumn nights, of the deep bonds we can share with another person — that puts the sparkle in your day.  Or put another way, playing with the urban fantasy genre is simply another way of enjoying the fun of story itself, of entering a magical world.

  • Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?

HF: I think so, yes.  Even baddies can be reader favorites, right?  Who doesn’t “like” Dracula, for example?  So timelessly wrought, so impeccably evil.  Or the Wicked Witch of the West.  We don’t want her to win, but we have a blast rooting against a worthy antagonist.

But I like my good guys best.  I can’t help but like Joe Wells, the hero of “Make Someone Happy.”  Andre is gorgeous and kind, but Joe is such an everyday guy, keeping his spirits up even when he thinks he’s going to lose his job; even when he wonders how he’s going to win the love of Andre.  I relate to his struggles, and his joys.

Nick Davanger from my novel “Emerald Idol” is another favorite of mine.  (Well, you asked!)  He faces up to his demons and triumphs.

  • How early in your life did you begin writing?

HF: I used to draw heaps of primitive little comic strips when I was a kid.  I actually hear of lots of adult authors who started this way.  I tried to write seriously when I was in school and I just kept at it.  I’m always reading and can barely remember when I wasn’t.  Anyone reading this knows the love of which I speak.    

  • Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?

HF: We always had a lot of books and I took to fairy tales like an ugly duckling to water.  Hans Christian Andersen, Roald Dahl and Charles Dickens wrote the kinds of stories I and millions of others remember so fondly.  I see no reason to stop reading them now or ever, even if I’m lucky and live to be 100.  Who could forget James and his giant peach, or the Snow Queen, or the Little Match Girl?  These storytellers are the giants I look up to.    

  • Anything else you’d like to say about “Make Someone Happy”?

Just that I hope readers will enjoy it and find a little magic in a simple urban tale.  And that they laugh at the funny parts!

About Make Someone Happy

Massage therapist Joe Wells is in a little over his head with his first job at the posh Magic Touch Sports Spa. He’s also secretly falling for his friendly, sexy coworker, the top-notch masseur Andre Swift.  All the clients clamor for Andre, and so far none have taken to Joe. 

On the verge of being fired, Joe saves the life of a mysterious kitten belonging to a white witch, who grants him a wish: a magic touch that could save his job and maybe even win him Andre’s love and respect. As Joe’s stock at the spa rises to crazy and barely manageable levels of success, demand for Andre’s services drops off. Will Joe lose Andre to an out-of-control spell?  Or worse—Andre’s love might prove to be only a result of the magic, just like Joe’s sudden talent.    

 

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About the Author ~ Hank Fielder

Hank Fielder is from Wisconsin and has lived in London and California. A passionate devotee of soulful romantic music, he has worked a variety of jobs, but his favorite occupation is storyteller. He counts his blessings every night before bed.   His published books and stories include MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY, EMERALD IDOL, WHEN WE PICKED APPLES LAST AUTUMN, and CHRISTMAS IN THE JOINT

> Visit him online at http://www.authorhankfielder.blogspot.com and on Twitter at @HankFielder http://www.twitter.com/HankFielder.