A Paul B Review: Enemy of My Enemy (The Executive Office #2) by Tal Bauer

Standard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

enemy-of-my-enemy-by-tal-bauerI feel like I just binge watched a season of 24.

Tal Bauer’s second book in The Executive Office series starts out shortly after the first book left off.  President Jack Spiers, having survived a coup attempt by former General Porter Madigan, is looking to a return to normalcy.  That includes selecting a new Vice President and starting his life with Ethan Reichenbach, the former lead agent on his Secret Service detail.  Ethan, meanwhile, must adapt to his new role as First Gentleman, dealing with issues such as White House flowers and china patterns.  However, those are not the only duties the new First Gentleman will undertake.

Jack wants Madigan eliminated.  The former general has been leaving calling cards for the President as he breaks out the worst prisoners from several jails around the world.  Always seeming to be at least one step behind, Jack develops a black ops mission with Ethan in charge.  Their mission is to hunt down and kill Madigan.  However, they will find Madigan’s reach extends far beyond just the United States.

Russian President Sergey Puckkov has his own problems.  The Russian economy tanks after Puchkov has several people arrested for corruption.  In the new spirit of cooperation, Jack offers to help the Russian president.  This draws the ire of General Moroshkin of the Russian Army.  He believes that Puchkov is becoming too friendly with America and something must be done about it. 

So Madigan and Moroshkin join forces to take out their respective enemies.  Through a series of terrorist attacks, they have Jack and Sergey on their heels.  During a meeting between the two leaders in Sochi, Moroshkin makes his move staging his own coup against Puchkin.  Jack and Ethan barely escape but are surprised to find someone waiting for them at Olympic Stadium while they wait to be evacuated.  Sergey and his aid Sasha are determined to stay behind and fight the coup or die trying.

Enemy of My Enemy is just as action packed as Enemies of the State.   In that book, Jack believes he lost Ethan due to events out of his control.  This time, it is Ethan who believes he has lost Jack—not once but twice.  When the surprise that Madigan leaves for Jack in Sochi is revealed, Ethan decides he has to step away while Jack deals with the problem.  Then later an explosion threatens Jack’s life once again.  We also see a renewed romance between Adam Cooper, the leader of Ethan’s black ops team and Prince Faisel of Saudi Arabia and the unrequited love of Sasha for President Puchkin.  The book ends way too soon as we must wait for the next book to see what becomes of our six heroes and if Madigan and Moroshkin are brought to justice.

Natasha Snow delivers an excellent cover for the book.  It has our six warriors above the image of the White House.  It is a simple perfect cover for the book. 

Sales Links

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | ARe

Book Details

EBook, 287 pages

Edition Langague:  English

Published:  October 24, 2016 by NineStar Press

ISBN:  978-1-911153-96-2

Series:  The Executive

Enemies of the State (The Executive Office #1)

Enemy of My Enemy (The Executive Office #2)

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Catching Heir by Julia Talbot

Standard

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

catching-heir-by-julia-talbotIs he in love with an old hotel—or its new owner?

Professional snowboarder Cullen Patrick is successful and kinda famous. So when he inherits an old Colorado hotel from an unknown relative, he really should leave well enough alone.

Matt Nathanson has been managing the Treeline Estates since college. He loved the elderly former owner, and he stands to inherit the place if no one claims it in the next week. Of course, Cullen shows up, and Matt thinks it’s time to move on. He doesn’t want to like Cullen, no matter how engaging the guy is, or how hunky.

Cullen has grand ideas for the Treeline, but he doesn’t want to implement them without Matt, and he’s not sure he’s ready to give up snowboarding. Can Matt convince Cullen that putting down roots is worth it… and maybe catch his heir at the same time?

I throughly enjoyed Julia Talbot’s Catching Heir, another contemporary romance in Dreamspinner Press’ Dreamspun Desires series.  It follows a storyline of the lost inheritance and the found heir.  Someone is about to inherit a …fill in person’s heart’s desire…home, ranch, palace estate…you name it and then up pop’s the long lost heir to take it  back.  In this case its a beautiful old hotel, a  grand dame of hotels that Matt Nathanson stands to inherit in 24 hours if no heir arrives to claim it.  But of course, one does in the person of Cullen Patrick, grandson of who owned and loved Treeline Estates dearly and who recently died.

Part of this review is hard to write because as much as I adored the story, its what’s missing about it that nags at me and makes me wonder about those parts I feel are left out.  I really like these characters, Matt especially.  You get the feeling he’s been caught in a time warp of his making and that of Ben Patrick, Cullen’s grandfather.   Ben plucked Matt right out of college and brought him to the Treeline as a young man, a hotel filled with 60 somethings and a owner who dwelled in the past.  You certainly get a wonderful feel for this character immediately.

Cullen too fits that snowboarder image and extreme sports athlete although I wish he had a bit more layering to him.  He needed more a past to match that of Matt,   although they make a great couple.  I like how the author moves him from immediate jerk status to one to comes to appreciate Matt and the hotel.  That’s lovely.  Plus its great to watch the slow process of Cullen easing Matt out of the closed in life he’s lead all these years at the hotel as their romance deepens.

But you know who’s missing?  Ben Patrick..the dead man at the heart of the hotel, staff and who was Matt’s best friend and mentor.  I really needed to get a feel for him and that hole haunts this story, much like his empty room Matt refuses to enter.  We don’t know anything about their relationship all those years, not even a memory.  He’s a ghost that pulls this story down by his absence.

Talbot has given Matt and Cullen a wonderful secondary cast with the hotel staff.  We get a feel of what it is to run something like that as well as set up a snowboard run, all of which was interesting and well folded into the story.  It also helped to authenticate both men and made them believable.  There was a side thread that was less so but it was a flash and then it was dropped.

All in all, a sweet, contemporary romance and another terrific addition in this series.

I recommend it, let that cover pull you in.  Its a perfect representation of Cullen, perfectly adorable.

Cover art by Paul Richmond does a wonderful job once more.

Sales Links

0dbe2-dreamspinner2blogo

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

6f71e-all2bromance2bbutton

 

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Expected publication: December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163477678X (ISBN13: 9781634776783)
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL

A Caryn Release Day Review: The Santa Hoax by Francis Gideon

Standard

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

the-santa-hoaxOne of my favorite things about reading – as opposed to watching TV or movies – is that although an author can give me details about a character’s physical appearance, I can take those details and create a person in my mind who looks, sounds, and moves in the way that seems right to me to fit in the story.  It’s usually a shock to see that same character portrayed by a specific actor/actress, because they are never what I imagined myself.

And that’s what I was thinking about as I read this story about Julian, a trans boy who has just started high school.  His image of himself is never what he sees in the mirror, or in pictures, or in how other people look at him.  If the disconnect is so surprising to me when comparing an imaginary character with an actor portraying that same imaginary character, what must it be like to feel that about yourself?  Every day?  What must it be like to have people call you by a name that is not yours?

Julian Gibson is 14, and just entering high school in Toronto, Canada.  He has felt like a boy since he was old enough to know the difference between boys and girls, but he has only found the words for it in the past few years.  He hasn’t told anyone that he is a boy, and of course is afraid of how they will react.  As he and all the kids around him are entering or moving through puberty, he feels that disconnect between who he is and who he looks like much more acutely, and every day it causes him more distress.  He’s always been the quiet, bookish type, very intelligent, but living more inside his head than anywhere else, and high school is the time when he truly realizes that he will need to learn how to interact with the outside world.  If he doesn’t define himself, others will do it for him, and they will never know who he really is.  He decides that if he can just tell 3 people, that it will become real – yes, he is aware that he’s a little like Pinocchio wanting to be “a real boy” – and now he just needs to find a way to do that.

Those were all the things I loved about the story.  The premise is interesting, the description of Julian’s inner world and the discordance with what happens on the outside is exceptionally well done.  But the plot, well, it’s kind of meh.  I was so frustrated that the conflict is all within Julian’s mind.  When he does start to slowly come out, there was no negativity from others at all.  None, zip, nada.  Everyone not only is supportive, but they also know exactly how to be supportive.  No issues with forgetting to use the correct pronouns, no awkward interactions while reconciling Julian with Julia, and not even any questions like “how does that feel?”  Julian’s girlfriend, who mostly identifies as lesbian, basically just says OK when Julian explains how important it is that she thinks of them as a straight couple, and immediately he is her boyfriend, and that’s that.

The only external conflict had to do with gender specific bathrooms.  Really?  I know that North Carolina made a big deal about that, and the far right continues to make a big deal about it, but I personally think there are many more important discrimination issues facing transgender people.  I say this as a heterosexual, cis-woman, so of course I could be wrong, but I thought the focus on the bathroom issue was disingenuous at best, and a cop-out at worst.

Overall, the book fell short of what I hoped it would be, but it at least made me think more about the internal conflict that any transgender person must feel as they grow up and come to terms with their identity.  And I would definitely want to read a story with transgender teens again in the future.

Cover art, by Alexandria Corza, is also pretty meh.

Sales Links

Harmony Ink Press

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book Details:

ebook, 254 pages
Expected publication: December 1st 2016 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1634774272 (ISBN13: 9781634774277)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Bah Humbug Advent Calendar Day 1: Bite Night by Clare London

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

2016-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-bah-humbugCreatures of the Night and Santa’s Christmas duties don’t mix. Every myth and bedtime story tells you so.

But on Christmas Eve, when the Elves walked off the job over pension rights, it was time for me—Irwin, the only vampire on Santa’s payroll, despite recent diversity initiatives—and my trusty team to help out. Just deliver a few parcels, Santa asked me. Just help out on your local patch. Just for one night.

Armed with my reluctance to face all that human sentimentality, and accompanied by a wise-cracking werewolf and an unruly fairy with a taste for vodka, I did my best. Honest.
But we were heading for disaster until I came face-to-face with cute babysitter Benny. It’s Santa’s Number One Rule—no interaction with the clients. But Benny somehow managed to upset my appetite, inflame my libido, and restore my faith in the Christmas spirit, with one cheeky smile and a tasty body piercing.

It’s Christmas, and the show must go on!

I’m usually a bit on the fence about holiday stories, since I neither like winter nor fluff. But the blurb of “Bite Night” proved impossible to resist.

And it paid off. “Bite Night” is a hot, fun read – just the thing to keep you warm during a cold winter night.

I liked the idea that Santa employed not only Elves but also other species like vampires, fairies and shape shifters. The three of them made for a very unique team.

The sex was hot, the dialogue witty and the MCs were likeable. The length was perfect – one very unusual night in the lives of both MCs.

Sales Links

0dbe2-dreamspinner2blogo

Book details: ebook

ebook
Expected publication: December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug

Scotty Cade on Writing and His Latest Release ‘Only Forever’ (Guest Author Interview)

Standard

 

Only Forever by Scotty Cade
D
reamspinner Press

onlyforever400x600

Master Captain Theodore Gourdin has always loved the ocean.   But his devotion to maritime life left little possibility for a long-term relationship. After two failed marriages and numerous unsuccessful relationships, Theo gave up on finding the person who completed him and decided the sea was his soul mate. When offered the opportunity to captain the newly launched megayacht Eternity, Theo jumped at the chance. With Eternity’s maiden voyage looming, Theo focused all his energies on hiring his crew and readying his ship. The last thing he expected was to finally lose his heart in the process.

After twelve years at sea, First Officer Heath Rawlins was restless and in need of a change. A gay seaman’s life could be a lonely one, but to Heath the positives far outweighed the negatives. With excellent recommendations and an impressive résumé, he was quickly offered a position on the private megayacht Eternity. Heath’s heart skipped several beats when he finally met the ship’s captain. He was handsome and charming. And… familiar? Had they met somewhere before? Highly unlikely. But as smitten as Heath was with the gorgeous captain, everything inside him screamed, Abandon ship! Rough seas ahead!

**

~

Hi Kids,

scottycadeScotty Cade here. First off I’d like to thank Melanie and everyone over at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for giving me the opportunity to be with you again. I love giving you a sneak peak into my latest books and offer you a little insight into my world of creativity. I hope you enjoy this interview and as always feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line if you have any additional questions. Oh and I almost forgot—read on for an excerpt and a chance to win an eBook.

Here we go:

From where did the inspiration for “Only Forever” come? A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?

Actually all of the above. I’m almost certain it has happened to you as well, but a few times in my life I have met a person that I feel a very strong connection to. It doesn’t have to be romantic, although it can be, but the bond is almost instant. I believe that I have known that person before. We are old souls reconnecting. Am I experiencing a memory? Absolutely. Is it a former place or journey? I say hell yeah. Is it personal? Without a doubt. Without getting all Zen on you, I’m a firm believer that our life here on earth is just one stop along the way in our spiritual journey.

When writing this story, were you a planner or a pantzer? And why?

I’m usually a planner. I’m somewhat OCD and all my ducks need to be in a row for me to relax and clear my head, so I plan my work and work my plan. Now that doesn’t mean my stories always turns out the way I’d planned. Many don’t, but that’s how it starts out. For this book, it came to me so fast I had no time to plan. I sat at my computer and started typing. It’s short of a novel at just under fifty thousand words, but that’s because it wasn’t planned. When I typed “The End,” I could have gone back and added a few more chapters, but it just didn’t feel right. It was Heath and Theo’s story and they deserved it to be without distractions or other useless fluff that might add words but nothing to the story.

Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?

Where writing is concerned, contemporary romance mixed with a little mystery is my favorite to write. The romantic mysteries are not my best sellers by far, but I so enjoy plotting them. My easy romance novels are the best sellers. The novels that deal with overcoming struggles, etc. are always a hit. I love writing them as well, but almost everything has been done at one time or another. Over and over again. So finding a way to add a new twist is hard. For the record, I hate angst. Especially in the way of cheating boyfriends or husbands so I normally avoid angst. If the story requires it, I add some, but its usually resolved pretty quickly. When it comes to reading, I love when love crosses boundaries. When people just fall in love with a person, not a sex. Its been referred to as “Gay for You,” so much it makes me cringe. I hate that term, but it is what it is. On the other hand, I believe people are born sexual and society most times determines who we’re supposed to love. It always seems so taboo when a supposed straight man is attracted to another man and I love when love or attraction win. Anyway I digress. But I love reading those stories the most.

If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now, at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?

I don’t think I would change one single character of miner. Between you and me, all of my characters, at one time or another, have been criticized harshly. They are either too sweet, too mean, too nice, too handsome, too smart, too insecure, too cocky, etc. You get my drift. Every character strikes a cord with a reader for one reason or another in a negative or positive way, but each of my characters are who they are. They called to me and I wrote about them and that’s that.

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

Wow! That’s a tough one. I LOVE all my characters but I connect more with the ones searching for something. For instance, “Losing Faith,” brings too characters together who are both searching for different things. But they help each other find what they need and find each other in the process. That to me is the ultimate. When I started that story I had no idea how it was going to end because I didn’t want it to be a cliché. I didn’t want them to fall in love because it had to be a novel with a HEA. I wanted them to either truly fall in love or become best of friends. Luckily for them, they fell in love and completed their worlds.

If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?

It would sort of depend on where I was and my mood. If I were stuck at LaGuardia, I would be so royally pissed I’d read an SJD Peterson novel. She’s always so edgy and provides a good way to relieve frustration. If I were on a beautiful island or a planet, probably Maris Black. I especially loved “Owing Corey.”

How early in your life did you begin writing?

In my career I was the SVP of Marketing and Public Relations for a large publicly traded company based in Atlanta GA. In that job I wrote constantly. Marketing pieces, ads, commercials, annual reports, branding guidelines, etc. but I didn’t start writing fiction until about seven years ago. My husband Kell and own and Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. We normally head south for the winters, but one particular winter we decided to stay. It was so boring and cold that I had to do something with a distraction. So I started writing a book. I always said everyone has on good book in them so why not write mine. It took the entire winter, but after I finished it I gave it to a couple friends to read and they both suggested I send it to a few publishers. I guess I was one of the lucky ones, because out of three publishers I chose, two wanted the book. I of course chose Dreamspinner Press, which is my only home and I’m thrilled to have them represent me.

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?

I was a very late bloomer when it came to reading. As a kid I read what was absolutely required for school, but I was way more into music. With that said, the first book I can remember reading that stayed with me and still does is “The Scarlet Ibis,” by James Hurst. It is the tale of two brothers and written in first person by one of the brothers whose name is never mentioned, but only referred to as “Brother.” He recounts the life of he and his little brother who was nicknamed Doodle. Doodle was born very sickly and was never expected to live past infancy, or sit up or crawl or even walk for fear of his weak heart stopping. But he does. After one horrible scene the brothers bond and “Brother” vows to help Doodle be a normal kid. One day, a big red bird appears in their garden, looking sick and tired. The boys’ father identifies it as a scarlet ibis, a tropical bird that was blown off-course by a recent storm. When the bird dies, Doodle, pitying the creature, buries it. The story has been described as “rich in symbolism.” The Scarlet Ibis is the main symbol in the story, as is the color red and the ibis in comparison to “Doodle” as fragile yet majestic. The storm is often compared to Doodle’s brother because the brother pushed him too hard, much as the storm did with the scarlet ibis. In the end Doodle does not survive and “Brother” finds his lifeless body lying on the ground with blood flowing out of his mouth, staining his throat and shirt a brilliant red. Doodle died like the scarlet ibis: bloody red and far away from home. Recalling this story still send chills up and down my spine. If you haven’t read this book, please do.

Okay so you’ve read what makes me tick, so now tell me what makes you tick. If you’ve had an experience connecting with someone like Heath and Theo, tell me about in the form of a comment. If you do, you will be entered into a drawing to win any book from my backlist.

Now here’s an excerpt. Enjoy!

Scotty

onlyforever_fbbanner_dsp

Excerpt:

Theo and Heath met the crew in the formal dining room, where the chef had set up an appetizing spread. Theo had told Heath he’d requested a buffet because he didn’t want anyone serving anyone else tonight. There would be plenty of time for that later. Tonight was all about coming together as a crew, and Heath was pleased that Theo wanted everyone to be equal and on the same playing field.

When dinner was over, Theo brought everyone out onto the bow. He retrieved the two bottles of Dom from a canvas bag and handed the bag to Heath. From it, Heath handed everyone a champagne flute while Theo popped the top on one of the bottles. When everyone had a full glass of champagne, Theo dug into the bag and retrieved the other bottle.

“To a great journey, a great ship, and a great crew.” Theo looked at Heath. “To borrow a line from our very capable first officer, I wish us all fair winds and following seas. I hereby bring this ship and this crew together as one.”

Theo slammed the bottle against the hull, and everyone cheered and sipped their champagne. When things had settled a little bit, Heath knocked his pocketknife against his glass. Everyone quieted, and he spoke. “The Captain and I asked that you be in full dress uniforms tonight for this very special occasion, but let me assure you that unless we have guests on board, we will be a lot less formal.”

“Thank goodness,” Craig interrupted, pulling at his collar.

Everyone laughed.

“Cliff?” Heath asked when all was quiet again. “Do you have that package I shipped?”

“Yes, sir. Right here.”

Heath looked at Theo, who seemed to be intrigued.

“I took the liberty of ordering some casual everyday attire for the crew.”

Heath ripped open the box and pulled out a pair of teal-green shorts and a white T-shirt that had Eternity running up and down the left front of the shirt.

Theo smiled and nodded. “Nice job.”

“There are various sizes for everyone,” Heath continued. “And Georgia, there are women’s sizes in there as well.”

“Thank you,” she replied.

“I want you all to look sharp every day, but more importantly, feel comfortable while doing it.”

The ship’s crew applauded, and Heath felt a blush coming on.

“I think it’s time for a few pictures.”

Theo positioned his iPhone on the bulwark, set the timer, and ran back and stood next to Heath, draping his arm over Heath’s shoulder. When the flash went off, Heath was smiling broadly, and he hoped the camera captured this very special moment.

Georgia stepped out of the group. “Okay, let me get a shot of our captain and first officer.”

The other crewmembers parted, and Theo and Heath were left standing side by side, Theo’s arm still hung loosely over Heath’s shoulder. Heath turned to Theo and their eyes met briefly. Both their smiles broadened. Theo held Heath’s gaze until Heath turned to the camera and Theo followed his lead.

It was very late. The ship was quiet, the celebration long over. But there was no sleep for Theo. Much to his chagrin, Heath was sleeping peacefully, his breaths steady and sure. The rhythmic sounds were familiar, soothing, and reassuring, but instead of luring him into slumber, they seemed to tease and taunt him.

He’d tossed and turned for the better part of two hours and had finally given up, resigned that it would indeed be a very long night. In the darkness of their cabin, Theo reached for his phone and brought up the camera roll of the evening’s pictures. He studied the pictures one by one, from the beginning of the evening to the end. His crew seemed genuinely happy and excited about their new adventure, and as he scrolled through them, he stopped and gasped. On his phone was a photo of him and Heath. They were standing very close to one another, and Theo’s arm was draped over Heath’s shoulder. They were gazing into each other’s eyes and smiling broadly.

Theo studied the picture for a long time. He remembered posing with Heath for a similar picture. The next shot was the one he remembered. He slid his finger back and stared at the other picture again. Georgia must have snapped this one before they were looking at the camera. And the look on Theo’s face as he gazed into Heath’s eyes was undeniable. He knew it, and anyone who looked at this photo would know it as well. The thing that caught his attention, even more than his expression, was the expression on Heath’s face. He was looking at Theo the same way. He could only describe it as adoringly, with an indisputable twinkle in his eye. Was it just first officer admiration of his captain, or was it more? It looked like more to Theo, but he might be wishing for something that just wasn’t there. Either way, he saved the photo to a private file and deleted it from his camera roll. This one he would keep.

Buy Links

0dbe2-dreamspinner2blogo

amazon square borderARe borderB&N borderApple borderKobo border

5668c-goodreads-button

scotty-cade-tuxedo

About the Author

Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years. He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication.  When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side.  Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, all of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there.  He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.

Here’s where you can find me:

www.scottycade.com

www.facebook.com/scotty.cade

www.twitter.com/ScottyCade

scottycade@gmail.com

scotty@scottycade.com

An Alisa Review: Architect of Love (Fated Soulmates, #2) by John Charles

Standard

Rating:  3 stars out of 5

architect-of-love-by-john-charlesHe could work miracles with His Hands

Lance Bartner loved working with his hands, made his living refinishing furniture. Nights out were for fun with friends and the occasional hook-up. Though the L word had never been spoken, he would have enjoyed a relationship had the right man crossed his path. But who would want a laborer like Lance? He wasn’t college educated, didn’t live in a fancy loft condo, didn’t drive a Lexus, and didn’t even
own a suit.

Forrest Dentren, was an architect and city planner who had become a local name when his design for the Monroe City Center was chosen as one of the top three contenders. Well educated, extremely well built, and as both men and women put it, just plain hot. Some said he was married to his job, others said he was too picky, many said he didn’t want to share the spotlight.

One hot, uninhibited sex-filled night

When Forrest broke his routine and went clubbing on a weeknight, he spotted Lance. The attraction was immediate from both sides of the dance floor. They both felt it. A few drinks later, still feeling it, they left for Lance’s apartment.

It was never supposed to turn into anything more than one hot fuck

Two people from opposite ends of the world, no roadmap, not directions, no ideas how to make it work.

 

This was my first book by John Charles and I don’t think his writing is for me.  I liked the basis for this story, but didn’t enjoy the execution.  I did read this without reading the first book, but didn’t feel like there was anything I was missing.  Lance has some of the lowest self esteem I have ever seen and even his mom supports that in her own way, while Forrest has always been fully supported in everything he does.

 

Even though we see both characters points of view and emotions I had trouble connecting with them.  We are given all the background of these characters almost immediately after meeting them and it feels like it’s just listed out to me.  I could feel how insecure Lance is, but didn’t see anyone willing to show him that he is worth more.  Forrest pretty much gives him an ultimatum that he has to get over his insecurities and doesn’t seem willing to compromise anything in his life.  I was happy to see them together in the end, but never really saw them grow their relationship before it jumped to the last chapter.

 

I know my review seems pretty critical for giving it 3 stars, but I know a bunch of the things I didn’t like are just about the way the book is written, but not the actual story.  Because of that I was just frustrated throughout the rest of the reading.  I’m not sure I will read any more stories by this author.

 

Cover art is nice and pretty typical of many books, but also follows the pattern for the series.

Sales Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Smashwords

Book Details:

ebook, 123 pages

Published: December 1, 2016 by Manifest Vision Publishing

Author: John Charles

ISBN: 9781882598144

Edition Language: English

Series: Fated Soulmates

Antonia Aquilante on The Sorcerer’s Guardian (Dreamspinner Press Guest Interview and giveaway)

Standard

the-sorcerers-guardian

The Sorcerer’s Guardian (Chronicles of Tournai #4) by Antonia Aquilante

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Release Date: November 28, 2016

 Buy Links

0dbe2-dreamspinner2blogo

amazon square borderARe borderB&N borderApple borderKobo border

5668c-goodreads-button

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Antonia Aquilante here today answering some of our author questions and talking about her latest fantasy release, The Sorcerer’s Guardian. Welcome,  Antonia!

Our  Interview with Antonia Aquilante

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

Anywhere and everywhere. It could be something I see or hear or read, a place I go, a piece of art, an experience, anything really. I think my subconscious gathers up little bits and pieces and then reveals a character or story to me. Part of the Chronicles of Tournai series came in a dream.

  • Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And  why?

More a pantser than a planner. I do some planning, mostly getting to know my characters and a general idea of where I’m starting and where I want to end up. I figure the rest out as I write. Sometimes I wish I could outline because it seems like it would be less stressful (especially when I’m in the middle of a story wondering if I have any idea what I’m doing!), but it hasn’t worked for me. I’ve had to learn to trust my writing process.

  • 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?

Fantasy romance is my first love in writing. I really enjoy creating fantasy worlds that people can lose themselves in, and that I can lose myself in too. The Chronicles of Tournai is fantasy romance, and I just love the world and characters. I am currently writing a contemporary with some paranormal elements, though, which is different for me. I read widely in a variety of genres (including all the ones you’ve listed!), but fantasy is a favorite to read as well, along with paranormal and historical. I like to get swept away into another time and place in a story.

  • If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?Can a author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?

My writing career is still fairly new, but with every story, I’m learning more. I’m sure there are things I would do differently just in the mechanics of writing, but I can’t think of a character I would really change. I’m sure an author can have favorites, but I think I would feel bad. It might be a little too much like a parent having a favorite child for me!

  • If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?

I can’t just have my Kindle? Because the best part of it is that I can have all the books with me. But, if I have to pick, I’d need books by authors on my comfort read list: Jordan L Hawk, KJ Charles, Megan Erickson, Rhys Ford, Avon Gale, Lisa Kleypas, JL Langley, Heidi Cullinan…I could keep going, but I should probably stop!

  • How early in your life did you begin writing?

I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. Before I knew how to write them down, I would act them out with dolls or draw them. Then I started writing them down and never stopped.

  • 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?

I remember there were always books around. My mom is a reader, and I think I get being such a voracious reader from her. I remember her reading all the time when I was a child (now we share books). I loved Anne of Green Gables, Nancy Drew, A Wrinkle in Time, and Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet among many others. When I was about 12, I discovered Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey and then I read my first romance novel (a Nora Roberts). I still have those much-loved copies of my favorites on my bookshelves. Some of them are falling apart from too many readings despite being careful of them.

Thank you for letting me visit today!

the-sorcerers-guardian

Blurb

Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, has honed his Talent through years of study and made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, and arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings, which is how Savarin prefers it. Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack. They are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. To his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompanies him.

 

Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain and takes pride in his service. He must obey the princes’ orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere. And despite his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, he has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. Loriot and Savarin clash during their journey, but there’s another reason for the tension between them, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still fortify Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution endangers both him and the royal family.

M/M Fantasy Romance

Length: Novel
Series: Chronicles of Tournai

About the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

Giveaway

Rafflecopter info:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6bec30eb3/?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Nicky and Noah are Back in Drama Cruise (Nicky and Noah Mystery #3) by Joe Cosentino (Release Day Guest Post, and Excerpt)

Standard

drama-cruise

Drama Cruise (Nicky and Noah Mystery #3) by Joe Cosentino
Lethe Press

Sales Links

Lethe Press

myBook.to/DramaCruise

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drama-cruise-joe-Cosentino/1125194754?ean=9781590216231#productInfoTabs

SLEUTHING WITH NICKY AND NOAH

Drama Cruise, the third Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino, published by Lethe Press

I was always a big ham. Just ask my family and friends who were forced into watching my musical extravaganzas in my neighbor’s garage—starring me. Thankfully my parents didn’t commit me, but instead indulged me. So after majoring in theatre in college, I became a professional actor, working in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint onstage), Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage), Charles Keating (NBC’s Another World), Jason Robards (Commercial Credit computer commercial), and Holland Taylor (ABC’s My Mother Was Never a Kid TV movie).

Coming from a funny Italian-American home, humor was always a large part of my life. I remember my mother mopping the floor while singing, “Let Me Entertain You” from the musical Gypsy, and my father smoking a cigar with my mother’s sweater around his waist belting out, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair” from South Pacific.

At the same time, I discovered my fascinating for reading mystery novels. Actually, it was more than a fascination. I read every Agatha Christie book about ten times, and I still didn’t see the surprise endings coming. My favorite were the cozy mysteries in the warm and fuzzy locations with romance and happy endings (but obviously not for the murder victims). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any cozy mysteries with openly gay sleuths.

A while back I became a theatre college professor and ultimately department head. I quickly realized that a college theatre department is loaded with a lot more than greasepaint and applause. Humor, drama, mystery, and romance are everywhere.

I put my four passions (theatre, humor, mystery, and college) together and created the Nicky and Noah mystery series. They are the kind of novels I like to read: funny, theatrical, sexy, wild, and wacky with a solid mystery full of plot twists and turns at the center—and a surprise ending! The novels are set in an Edwardian style university founded originally by a gay couple (Tree and Meadow) whose name the university bears: Treemeadow College. The clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning, and at the center is a touching gay romance between Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza and Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver.

In the first novel, Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015), itDrama Queen Cover is winter, so white snow, cherry wood mantels surrounding blazing fireplaces, and hot chocolate are in abundance. College theatre professors are falling like stage curtains (while Nicky directs the college play production), and Nicky and Noah must figure out whodunit and why. In the second book, Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), it is fall, so gorgeous leaves of amber, violet, and scarlet blanket the campus. Nicky is directing the college’s bodybuilding competition, and bodybuilding students and professors are dramamusclecoverdropping like barbells. In each book Nicky and Noah eavesdrop, seduce, role play, and finally trap the murderer, as pandemonium, hilarity, and true love ensue for a happily ever after ending—until the next book.

Drama Cruise takes place in summer as Nicky and Noah go on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back. Nicky and Noah must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring Noah and other college theatre professors from all over the world. Complicating matters are their both sets of wacky parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with the handsome couple. Martin Anderson (Nicky and Noah’s department head) and his husband are also along for the rocky ride. As in the first two books, there are a slew of colorful, hysterically funny victims and suspects like the cruise director who talks endlessly about her glory days as a theatre major in college, the ship’s doctor who is looking for the secret of life, Nicky and Noah’s porter who wants them to adopt him, and the captain of the boat who insists he has seen the ghost of his former sea captain. The theatre professors are equally as colorful, including an alcoholic who believes he has seen a mermaid, a hypochondriac looking for love, a comic with a cat of nine tails in her closet, and a Shakespearian actor who can’t keep his hands off his volume of the Bard—or off anyone else. I chose an Alaskan cruise since my spouse and I embarked on such a journey. We had amazing meals (after amazing meals), fantastic ocean views, spotted a whale waving its tail at us, and went on a helicopter ride to the glaciers. We also took land excursions to a tramway over the mountains, a totem pole park, a log climbers show, a frontier habitat, and a Native American village. Our cabin sported a private balcony and a gay porter who seemed excited to find a gay couple onboard ship. Onboard ship we raised our noses at an art show, played bingo like senior citizens on church night, gambled like card sharks at the casino, and saw a musical revue with singing and dancing cupcakes. When we returned home, I decided to immortalize our trip by setting the third Nicky and Noah mystery onboard a cruise to Alaska.

Writing these novels has brought me great pleasure. I very much enjoy plotting out the stories, clues, characters, and twist endings. It’s not unusual for me to laugh out loud in my study as the voices in my head say the most amazing things. It is my joy to share these stories with you. So take your front row seat. The boat is leaving from port. Lights up and ahoy matey! Alaska here we come! And let me know what you think via my web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com. P.S. – Drama Luau, the fourth Nicky and Noah mystery, releases in six months.

a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO from Lethe Press

drama-cruise

DRAMA CRUISE (a Nicky and Noah mystery)

Theater professors and couple, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are going overboard as usual, but this time on an Alaskan cruise, where dead college theatre professors are popping up everywhere from the swimming pool to the captain’s table. Further complicating matters are Nicky’s and Noah’s parents as surprise cruise passengers, and Nicky’s assignment to direct a murder mystery dinner theater show onboard ship. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the curtain down on vacationing theatre professors before it is lights out for the handsome couple. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining third novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and ship ahoy!

Praise for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015):

“Without doubt the funniest book I have read this year, maybe ever” “brilliant” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“I cannot stop laughing. Drama Queen is Hardy Boys-meets-Murder She Wrote-meets-Midsummer Murders, with a side of parodic, farcical, satire.” “Who-dunits don’t come more whodunnity than this.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews

“I’m hoping that this is just the start for Nicky and Noah. If Jessica Fletcher could have so many murderers in Cabot Cove, why shouldn’t the same hold true for Treemeadow College?” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Reviews

“This fast-paced, hilariously funny, entertaining novel will have you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out who-dun-it!” Joyfully Jay

“a murder mystery, a comedic romp, an investigative caper, and a love story all rolled up into one nifty little novel” The Novel Approach

“I am not used to reading books that make me snigger out loud, but in Drama Queen Joe Cosentino has struck a great balance between his use of tongue in cheek humour and a compelling mystery which we want to see solved.” Divine Magazine

“I love this story, just the right mix, of fun, hilarity and mystery in the mix. The storyline is fresh and well thought out, and the dynamic of the characters is through the roof! Bike Book Reviews

Praise for DRAMA MUSCLE, the second Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press, Rainbow Award Honorable Mention:

“reading these books is like watching a fabulous comedic, murder mystery, action, adventure, romantic film.” “I was giggle snorting and laughing so much I had to stop reading. Joe Cosentino’s writing is absolutely flawless. He’s a master storyteller and will keep you guessing and utterly riveted until Drama Muscle’s highly satisfying ending. This is an absolute gem of a book, and series.” Divine Magazine

“Book 1, Drama Queen was always going to be a hard act to follow with its belly ache laughter approach but in this “smirkathong” – yes I was smirking throughout the book, my top lip still aches – the author succeeded in delivering another comic classic!” Three Books Over the Rainbow

“a perfect balance of humor and romance into a continuously twisting plot.” “Cosentino will keep you entertained and guessing until the very end.” 3 Chicks After Dark

“As with the first book, there are laugh out loud, completely funny sections. And enough of the mystery and suspense that keeps me reading” “I look forward to the next story” The TBR Pile

“laugh out loud funny” “Readers will be on the edge of their seats waiting for the killer to be revealed.” “As a romance, readers will love seeing Nicky and Noah settling in to living together in their Victorian home.” “I highly recommend this series.” Joyfully Jay Reviews

“This is a wonderful addition to the series! I fell in love with Nicky in the first book and he just gets better. Filled with humor and action. Noah evolves in this story, his character grows into a more mature yet still adorable sidekick to Nicky. They are perfect together, in detective work and in family situations. I hope that there are more to follow.” Crystals Many Reviewers

“This book is a comic romp that simultaneously celebrates and lampoons a mash-up of genres: the bloodless murders (in this case six) of Agatha Christie and her ilk, the screwball movie mysteries of Nick and Norah Charles (it’s Nick and Noah here), and the simile-rich voice-overs of film noir– all updated for a gay context.” Elisa Rainbow, Rainbow Awards

About the Author

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press); Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries; and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015, and has won many Rainbow Award Honorable mentions including for Drama Muscle. Upcoming novels are Drama Luau (fourth Nicky and Noah mystery) and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (fourth Cozzi Cove beach novel, NineStar Press).

Excerpt of DRAMA CRUISE, the third Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino, Lethe Press:

The stunning movie star’s long jet-black hair created a silky fan on the cold marble floor. Surrounding her were a crowd of guilt-ridden faces: her

possessive husband and producer, her handsome young paramour and co-star, her aggressive agent and female lover, her jealous sister and stand-in, and her

makeup man who knew all her secrets (and she knew his). A detective arrived on the scene, took one look at the murdered beauty, and fell in love.

“Nice job, people! Let’s take ten.”

That was me, Nicky Abbondanza, Professor of Directing at Treemeadow College, a white stone Edwardian-style private college in the quaint and picturesque

village of Treemeadow, Vermont. And how did I become the director of a murder mystery dinner theatre show on a ten-night June cruise from San

Francisco to Alaska and back? I spotted an online ad seeking theatre professors to present theatrical workshops for passengers on a cruise, culminating in a

murder mystery dinner theatre presentation on the last evening. Okay, technically my colleague and fiancé Noah Oliver, Professor of Acting at Treemeadow,

spotted  the ad in an educational journal, but I applied for my department head and mentor, Martin Anderson (producing the show), my Noah (acting in the

show), and me (directing). Martin’s husband, Ruben, came along for the ride.

Martin and Ruben are a sweet, elderly couple (don’t tell them I said that)  who have been together forever and have two grown daughters. For our part,

Noah and I are both tall, but the similarity ends there. I have dark hair, long sideburns, a Roman nose, and a pretty pumped body thanks to the gym on

campus. Noah has exquisite curly-blond hair, sky blue eyes, a smooth build, and the most loving heart on land and sea. I am just a tad older than Noah—but

what’s seven years? A lot when you are thirty-six and your lover is twenty-nine.

Oh, there’s one other little thing. Actually, it’s not so little. I have a thick nine-and-a-quarter inch penis—flaccid. Luckily, Noah is very open (pardon the

pun) to my anatomical quirk.

After flying from Vermont to New York to San Francisco and waiting on endless security lines in the airports, the four of us got to the boat, where we

waited on a long security line to come onboard. After unpacking in our cabin then getting a quick lunch at the bountiful buffet, Noah and I made our way through

the sea of polyester, and somehow remained awake during the life boat drill.

Then we dodged photographers, dollar signs shining in their eyes like paparazzi at a closeted gay movie star’s mansion, and headed to our first rehearsal. As the

dining room was occupied with guests eating lunch, we rehearsed in a nautical themed lounge onboard ship.

After an hour and a half of rehearsal, it was break time. While the other professors scattered like televangelists near an IRS building, Noah and I sat on a

cozy loveseat next to a gas brick fireplace. Noah looked amazing in an aqua polo shirt and white pants, while I was a bit more toned down in yellow slacks and a

cranberry hoodie. I took Noah’s soft, warm hand in mine, and said adoringly, “I can’t believe we’re here.”

Noah responded, “My first cruise.”

“My little virgin.” I kissed his cheek.

He looked out of the porthole and kissed the cleft in my chin. “The sky and the water are gorgeous.”

“I hope we get to the deck to see them.”

“We won’t be rehearsing all day, Nicky.”

“Don’t you need a break, handsome, young paramour character?”

Noah snuggled his shoulder into my chest. “I’d rather wallow away the minutes with my intended.”

We shared a warm kiss.