A Lila Audiobook Review: Undercover Boyfriend by Jacob Z. Flores and Rusty Topsfield (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

undercover-boyfriend-audiobookTwo men, one lie, and a whole bunch of trouble.

Marty Valdez is in serious trouble. His sister’s wedding is around the corner, and everyone expects to meet Marty’s super-successful underwear model boyfriend – whom Marty invented. Now Marty has to produce a half-naked hottie or suffer the worst humiliation of his life.

FBI agent Luke Myers is in serious trouble. He’s been working undercover to take down a dangerous drug cartel, but his cover’s blown and he needs to disappear. Luckily, a geeky yet intriguing comic book artist gives him the perfect opportunity. Luke just has to pretend to be his boyfriend, and pretending is what he does best. But between Marty’s mother and his ex, Luke might’ve bitten off more than he can chew, and Marty’s knack for finding trouble might ruin more than just his sister’s wedding.

Undercover Boyfriend is one of my favorites in the Dreamspun Desires series. The plot seems simple from the start, but the author did an excellent job adding to it as the story moved forward. It balances the romance and the mystery well even when the reader can guess who the antagonist is and what would happen next.

I love Marty and Luke, separately and as a couple. They’re easy characters to fall for. I kept wishing for everything to go right for them even when this series guarantees a HEA. They’re sweet and over-the-top, but it worked with the character and plot building in the story. It’s great to see how protective of Marty Luke is from the very beginning. And how much compassion Marty has for Luke when they first met.

As I mentioned, the mystery is as important as the romance. It brings to different characters together and continues to build up to the very end. The reader can connect the dots, but it doesn’t take from the story itself. The slow build goes beyond the main characters. It includes every scene in the story.

The secondary characters are as good as the principals and I hope we get to see some of the guys later in the series. Marty’s mom and sister were perfect. Everyone, even the villain, had a reason to take part of the story. There are a lot of coincidences to make the story shine, but in the end, we get another good book by this author.

I like Rusty Topsfield narration. It complimented the story’s soap opera feel. He did an excellent job emphasizing the characterization and making Marty and his family feel realistic.

The cover by Bree Archer matches the rest of the series and gives the reader a nice visual of Luke’s appearance. Adapted to audiobook format.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner |  Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Rusty Topsfield
Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes

Published:  August 9, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B01JVMUDAY

Edition Language: English

Series:  One Fine Day
Book #1: Undercover Boyfriend
Book #2: Suddenly Yours

An Ali Audiobook Review: Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
winteroranges_audiobookJason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

This book takes a certain level of dispensing with reality. I mean…..person trapped in a snow globe. Once you get past that though this is a sweet tale of friendship and then romance. The two men are both extremely lonely in their own ways. Neither has had anyone to love them in a long time and they’re both in serious need of that. Of course things don’t go smoothly. (People generally think you’re crazy when you carry a snow globe with you everywhere and talk to someone no one else can see.) True love wins in the end though.

I thought the story was well written. The pacing was good and both of the main characters were enjoyable. I found myself rooting for them both and was happy when they got their happily ever after. This was creatively done story and while part of it takes place at Christmas I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a Christmas story. It’s a read you could enjoy year round.
This was narrated by Nick J Russo and I thought it was done very well.  I typically enjoy this author a lot and this was no exception.  He did all of the voices well and I never had a hard time telling the difference between the two MC’s.
Cover by L.C. Chase:  I like the cover.  It is nicely done and captures the essence of the story very well.
Sales Links

Audible, Amazon, iTunes

Book Details:

Audio release: December 7, 2016

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/

A Lila Review: Revolutionary Temptation by Silvia Violet

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

revolutionary-temptation1777 New York City

The American colonists are fighting for their independence, but the battlefield is not the only place to wage war. When General Washington’s head of intelligence asks Captain Jack West to spy on the British in New York, Jack agrees, despite reservations about this ungentlemanly pursuit.

Jack’s contact in the city recruits bookshop owner Elias Ashfield, an impeccably dressed sensualist who flaunts his desire for both men and women and seeks a place in high society. Jack longs for a simple life guided by clear principles. Eli is a risk-taker who knows how to get what he wants. And he wants Jack in his bed.

Events in Jack’s past have made him fearful of acting on his secret craving for a man’s touch, but Eli intrigues Jack as much as he infuriates him. As Jack and Eli search for the information the rebel army needs, they realize there’s more between them than mere lust. But finding a way to be together may prove more difficult than defeating the British Empire.

Revolutionary Temptation is the first LGBTQ+ story I read taking place during the American Revolution. It was interesting to see the mix of fictional characters interacting with historical ones. The author did an excellent job placing the story, and getting the reader into its historical frame.

The book does start slow, but it’s necessary. We get to see Jack and Eli individually and interacting with Mrs. Sullivan–who acts as a third main character. And that, I think, is where my issue with the story starts. This book is a two in one–a romance & a literary fiction story.

I wish we got more of the fiction element than the romance, though. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Jack, Eli, and their love. I simply wanted that it to merge better with the overall arc. Sometimes, I expected to know more about their work for the rebels, just to have it interrupted by the romance; and vice-versa.

The emotions and intrigues in this story run high. There’s plenty of smexy scenes and page-turning moments. The amount of detail is up-to-par and most secondary and supporting characters had a point and a story to be part of the book. I’m looking forward to more about Eli’s, Jack’s, and Constance’s adventures. The author has a great fictional world to work with.

I’m sure it was hard to find models to fit the period and Jack’s & Eli’s characteristics, but Meredith Russell did a good job adjusting the cover to fit the story.

Sale Links: Smashwords | Amazon | Payhip 

ebook, 254 pages
Published: January 17, 2017, Silvia Violet Books
ASIN: B01N2ZPANE
Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Hanukkah Gifts by Jacob Cheyenne

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

7c869-hanukkah_gifts_400x600Twenty-five-year-old TV producer Jared Greenfield loves his big city life — job, friends, and shopping — but even with all the fun of big city life, he feels a longing for something, or someone, more. Then, on the very first night of Hanukkah, he spots a handsome, sweaty basketball player at the Jewish Community Center.

 

Tall, dark, and Orthodox, the young and athletic Shai Goodhart strikes up an easy friendship with Jared, only to discover Jared has very little appreciation for his own Jewish heritage and religion. Determined to enlighten this “Bad Jew,” Shai invites him over for a family Hanukkah celebration.

 

Then Jared discovers Shai’s deepest secret and the biggest threat to his future. Over the eight days of Hanukkah, deep emotions pull them closer and closer together. Can they ever reach across the divide of their shared culture and fall in love?

 

This was a nice short story.  Jared has always identified as Jewish, but doesn’t necessarily follow the religious laws as many more observant Jews do.  When Shai invites Jared to his family’s Hanukkah celebration he gets a better glimpse of his heritage and is intrigued by not only his religion but also of Shai.

 

Jared can’t seem to help but fall in love with the innocent Shai, however their interactions don’t always leave him feeling so wonderful with Shai’s wavering.  I understood Shai’s reluctance to leave his family’s grasp as it is all that he is know, but I could just see and feel how Jared’s heart broke every time things were looking up for them and Shai would just retreat back.  The only thing I didn’t like is that Shai never really made the decision for himself to completely be with Jared, but only after his family kicked him out did he suddenly decide that he could be out and proud with his love.  I enjoyed the story, but it didn’t quite have the warm and fuzzy feeling I was hoping for in the end.

 

The cover art gives a nice visual of Jared and the traditional Jewish dreidel.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 87 pages

Published: December 24, 2016 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634862967

Edition Language: English

Blog Tour – Max, Brad, and Maisie Mystery Series by L.G. Fabbo-Gonnella (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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Max, Brad, and Maisie Mystery Series by L.G. Fabbo-Gonnella Banner

Do I Really Write the Books by L.G. Fabbo-Gonnella

I want to express a hugely sincere thanks to the host of this blog site for asking me to do a guest post for the readers today. I’m touched and honored by this gift to me. I am on record as saying blogs like this are critical to authors. To be asked to contribute…truly gobsmacked.

So hello all, my name is L.G. Fabbo-Gonnella. I am the author of Max, Brad & Maisie mystery series. In case you did not notice THAT was a shameless personal plug * wink*.

My post today is about my weird idea that, on some level, I merely transcribe what my characters tell me to put down on the computer screen.

Let me begin this post by emphasizing that this is my personal view of myself as an author. I’m sure every writer had his or her own thoughts in this area. All are equally justifiable. Okay that should short-circuit dissenters . So onwards we go.

I have said to many friends that I do not write my two mystery series {Mark Julian Vampire PI being the other one} but rather, “just take good notes when they start talking”.  I know this personal concept may be the subject for a psychiatrist’s couch but for now it’s a guest posting.

Let me attempt to explain:

When I write a mystery book, I visualize the inhabitants in each story as fully formed people. I mentally create the scenes they are in, their interactions between each other and the dialogues that occur between them. My focus is so intense a semi-reality takes hold in my brain. They come alive in that brief flicking time frame. So I write … taking notes as I refer to it. As I type, I don’t truly observe the computer screen or what I’m pounding out on the keyboard. I’m mentally fixated on getting down their unfolding drama.

I will freely admit that there are times the plot goes off in directions I never initial contemplated. Yet, somehow, in those mental  “writing zones”, the characters seem to inform me that such a literary detour is both natural and critical to the case I am writing or, let me employ the word transcribing in keeping with my post’s theme.

As I end this post let me quickly assure you I never confuse my reality with the ones found in my books. My point here is that, for me, in order to write what I hope is a fun book; I mentally create a fictional reality in my head. After that occurs, on some level in this author process, I’m not thinking per se but just typing away as these awesome character creations have at it. In the end I believe the end product is a rattling good yarn. Don’t believe me? Well get one of my mystery books and personally check it out but, be careful. You might become so engrossed in reading them that you find that you too are dragged into their reality. If it happens, please take detailed notes on what is going on there and quickly send your scribbling to me. It may very well make the next book. OR, simply drop me a hello. I love emails and reply, honest.

My email is l.g.fabbo-gonnella@gmail.com

My Facebook page is @ ““The Mystery Writings of L.G. Fabbo-Gonnella”

 

Max, Brad, and Maisie is a gay mystery series by author L.G. Fabbo-Gonnela. Read on to discover the three books in the series and find out more about the author! There’s also a giveaway and you are all encouraged to enter!

Murder In The String of G

Max, Brad, and Maisie Mystery Series, Book One

Maisie was an irrepressible burlesque queen of the fifties who was a star in the Cassandra Theater. She was killed in what was initially ruled to be an accidental trip and fall down a spiral staircase. In fact, she knows it was a murder but, why was she killed and why the later cover-up? Unfortunately, however, what can a ghost to do about it? And so, her shade haunts the theater hoping to find someone to help her.

It turns out to be a long wait. In two thousand and six two young wanta-be actors arrive at the newly restored Cassandra Theater to audition for a play. One is Max, who is gay, and the other is his roommate Brad, who is straight. For reasons unknown at first, Maisie finds she can connect with them both and seeks their help in proving she was murdered and who did it. After initial hesitations, the boys agree to help her solve her killing. The book follows the pair as they stumble towards finding answers while dodging a hired gun, a serial killer of young men and, for Brad, Maisie’s tendency to “fondle his rump” at inopportune times.

Excerpt

Murder in the String of G

The Cassandra Theater, New York City circa 1959:

The tall statuesque blonde stood in front of the grimy scratched mirror. “Geez you think they put in some decent bulbs in the lamps,” she groused as she squinted to see herself in the theater’s poorly lit dressing room. She gazed about the dingy enclosure with its washed out wallpaper and grimy ceiling. “Better days huh,” she muttered in disgust as she returned her eyes at her reflected image.

“Okay Maisie” she sharply said as she took in her naked form. “So tomorrow you are thirty-eight so what does it matter.” She let her blue eyes focus on her two large breasts that somehow, in defiance of gravity and the laws of physics, still thrust straight out from her full figured five foot ten inch frame. “Well at least you two haven’t sagged yet,” she said with a throaty laugh as she touched her breasts. “I think I’ve still a good three to four years left in burlesque.” She pivoted slightly to take in her firm tight rump. “Yep the old chaise still has a few miles to go on the meter too.”

She faced the mirror, gave her image a knowing wink, and then quickly began to dress shivering in the chilly air of the unheated and dingy room. As Maisie slipped into her undergarments she took in her shabby surroundings with its dirt encrusted small windows and cracked wall coverings.

“Well you’ve come a long way huh girl and all of it down,” she said before sighing as she noticed a large wet stain on the ceiling. The sight of the well-used furniture and generally run down fixtures of her dressing room always depressed her. This was a far cry from the lavish places where she had worked in the past.

Murder In The String of G

Buy links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A7SOOKM/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00A7SOOKM/

Murder in the Squared Circle

Max, Brad, and Maisie Mystery Series, Book Two

Maisie’s favorite young pro-wrestler, Stan DaMann, is arrested for allegedly murdering his hated rival. Maisie is convinced of Stan’s innocence. Determined to find the real killer she convinces the hapless Max and Brad into posing as a new wrestling tag team. Out of their depth, they find themselves involved a murky world of underground sex bouts while facing off against two brothers who think vice may be nice but incest is best. As Max and Brad’s wrestling début approaches our trio is eager to find the killer before the killer finds them. Max has another problem in the form of a good-looking Australian wrestler named Liam. Could Max be falling for a guy who might turn out to be that killer?

Murder in the Squared Circle

Buy Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EC0ZY0A/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00EC0ZY0A/

Murder in Noir

Max, Brad, and Maisie Mystery Series, Book Three

It seems as if Max and Brad’s dreams of a career in acting have finally arrived. The duo have been cast in the Broadway revival of that forties noir classic “Blood Fell onto my Window Pane”. Even more exciting, the production has movie stars Barrett Conover and his Italian wife Europa making their Broadway début. Max has had a huge crush on the husband ever since he saw the actor in the classic gay film “Going Tops for a Bottom”. As for Brad, he has been a fan of Europa ever since he saw her in the French classic comedy “Buxom Babes for Balzac.”

The play also has a rather lurid past. During its first run in 1948, two members of the company were victims in an unsolved murder. Maisie soon convinces the boys it would be fun to try and solve the decades old crime. What starts as a lark however, suddenly takes a unexpected turn as evidence of a blackmail scheme is revealed. Events soon turn deadly when the trio seeks to uncover who is being blackmailed and, critically, who is behind it. Hidden scandals, an attempted rape and murders both old and new are now part of the script for a, “Murder in Noir”

Murder in Noir

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EUSMEKM/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00EUSMEKM/

Giveaway

Prizes: 1 bundle of Murder in the String of G + Murder in the Squared Circle, and 1 copy of Murder in the String of G

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About the author

L.G.Fabbo-Gonnella is a resident of NYC. He has often said Manhattan is the underlying unspoken character in many of his books. “I guess its a love affair that I have with her,” he once said. “I could live here forever and yet still find magical things about her that I never knew existed.

When not seeking out interesting new locales for his books he can be found dinning with friends and enjoying all the city he adores has to offer.

Though he has not yet met the supernatural denizens of NYC, he does hope too one day. And yes, there is a “letter Lounge” albeit under a different name.

He can be reached at L.G.Fabbo.Gonnella@gmail.co
Facebook: https://facebook.com/Mystery-writings-of-LG-Fabbo-Gonnella
Website: http://fabbo-gonnella.blogspot.com

In the New Release Spotlight: Marina Ford on ‘Lovesick’ (Dreamspinner Press author guest blog)

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Lovesick by Marina Ford
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reamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Available for Purchase at

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Also at Dreamspinner Press in Paperback

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Marina Ford here today. Welcome, Marina!

~

Hi, I’m Marina, and I want to introduce you to my debut novel “Lovesick.” It’s the story of a university lecturer, Leo, who is based in London, and who spent the last couple of years mooning after a colleague of his, who disappoints all of Leo’s hopes by getting engaged. The story of how Leo recovers from this blow, how he finds love and friendship, and how he becomes a better person in the process, is told in the form of a diary.

It’s the only book I’ve ever written in this form, and it was an interesting challenge. Normally, chapters give you, the writer, a framework for how to organise your plot points. But diary entries are not like chapters. Stories, friendships, issues don’t evolve, usually, within the span of a day. While most novels (written either in the first person or third person perspective) involve a certain level of foreknowledge by the narrator, and therefore allow you to bring up things that will later become important, diaries have to seem like they are written a day at a time, and so if you, as the writer, want something mentioned that may later become important but feels innocuous or meaningless to begin with, you have to think of clever ways of including them.

The decision to convey Leo’s story in the form of a diary was mostly dictated by the type of story I wanted to tell. Since Leo’s perspective, and especially his flaws which this perspective exposes, are part of his arc, it made sense to tell his story in a way that revealed Leo to the reader, that might not be obvious to Leo himself. The diary form allowed me to present a ‘slice-of-life’ novel in a way that didn’t feel like I was cluttering the reader’s mind with irrelevant detail. The things Leo notices in his day-to-day life, which he thinks are worthy of being mentioned in his diary, tell us often more about Leo than they do about anything else. His wry observations about his neighbours, his work, his family and his friends serve not just to make us aware of the world around him, but mostly to unravel the way Leo sees the world – and eventually it allows us to monitor his growth and progress as a human being.

I had great fun writing this book. It was a labour of love from start to finish. I hope this comes through while reading it. It’s meant to be funny, light and romantic. I hope it’s as enjoyable to read as it was to write. 

Blurb 

Friday, 23 January
The cat funeral.
Yeah, that happened today. I went and participated in—aided and abetted?—a cat funeral.
London life is tough on idealists. In an ideal world, after years of flirtation, Leo would be cosily settled down with Jack, his long-time crush. In an ideal world, Jack wouldn’t now be engaged to a woman. And in an ideal world, Leo would move on.
When handsome new neighbour Alex moves in opposite Leo, an opportunity to do so presents itself. But Alex is probably straight, working class, and poorer than Leo. While Jack’s engagement unravels, and Leo’s friendship with Alex deepens, will Leo manage to find happiness with the right man? Or will he succumb to his enemies: self-doubt, family expectations, and pride?
Told in diary form, this is both the story of a love triangle in London and the chronicle of a man’s struggles to confront his self-image and overcome his insecurity.
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Author bio:
Marina Ford is a thirty-year-old book addict, who would, if permitted, spend all of her time in bookstores, libraries, or in her own bed with stacks and stacks of books. Luckily, she has a husband and a dog who force her to interact with humans of planet Earth from time to time. In fact, she so enjoyed falling in love with her husband that she can’t resist evoking those same feelings in the love stories she creates in her head. She does not believe in love at first sight— but she does believe in Happy Ever After, though it must be earned. She likes her stories to be light and frothy, since real life can be miserable enough without making up more of it in fiction. She lives in England, loves rain (gives one an excuse to stay at home and read books, right?), long walks (when it doesn’t rain), history, love stories, classical literature, pulpy literature, Jane Austen, languages, and dogs. It is her dream to one day possess an enormous country house in which each room is a library (okay, maybe except for the kitchen), and in which there are more dogs than people. A smaller and perhaps more realistic dream of hers is to make people smile with the things she writes.

Swing Back into History with Silvia Violet’s Revolutionary Temptation (recent release)

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Revolutionary Temptation – Silvia Violet

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | KOBO 
 
Length: 67,500
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 

Blurb

1777 New York City

The American colonists are fighting for their independence, but the battlefield is not the only place to wage war. When General Washington’s head of intelligence asks Captain Jack West to spy on the British in New York, Jack agrees, despite reservations about this ungentlemanly pursuit.

Jack’s contact in the city recruits bookshop owner Elias Ashfield, an impeccably dressed sensualist who flaunts his desire for both men and women and seeks a place in high society. Jack longs for a simple life guided by clear principles. Eli is a risk-taker who knows how to get what he wants. And he wants Jack in his bed.

Events in Jack’s past have made him fearful of acting on his secret craving for a man’s touch, but Eli intrigues Jack as much as he infuriates him. As Jack and Eli search for the information the rebel army needs, they realize there’s more between them than mere lust. But finding a way to be together may prove more difficult than defeating the British Empire.

 
 
January 19 – MM Good Book Reviews
 
Author Bio
 

Silvia Violet writes fun, sexy stories that will leave you smiling and satisfied. She has a thing for characters who are in need of comfort and enjoys helping them surrender to love even when they doubt it exists. Silvia’s stories include sizzling contemporaries, paranormals, and historicals. When she needs a break from listening to the voices in her head, she spends time baking, taking long walks, curling up with her favorite books, and spending time with her family.

Newsletter: http://silviaviolet.com/newsletter
Website: http://silviaviolet.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/silvia.violet
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Silvia_Violet
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/silvia.violet/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/silviaviolet/

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