A MelanieM Release Day Review: Cemeteries by Moonlight (States of Love) by Hunter Frost

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

cemeteriesbymoonlightfs_v1When a serious bout of writer’s block threatens to delay mystery author Drew Daniels’s newest book, his aunt offers her New Orleans apartment in the heart of the French Quarter as a writing retreat. She neglects to mention that it’s occupied by the enigmatic and sexy Finn Murphy, a cemetery tour guide with a penchant for Victorian attire and a Cajun accent.

A body discovered in an open crypt forces reclusive Drew to deal with Finn’s eccentric group of friends and his underlying attraction to the hot Cajun—despite warnings about Finn’s violent past. Drew might write this stuff, but he’s never had to solve a real-life murder. With a deadline looming and a killer on the loose, this retreat is proving to be anything but helpful for Drew’s novel. Drew can only hope he won’t end up a tragic tale for the Ghostly Legends & Lore, Inc. haunted tour.

Dreamspinner Press has a wonderful thing going with these new series (World of Love, States of Love, Perchance to Dream) its started featuring different authors and an umbrella theme.   Here in Cemeteries by Moonlight (States of Love) by Hunter Frost  its the States of Love series (a favorite of mine) and a new author, Hunter Frost.  Hunter Frost is down in New Orleans and Louisiana for a tale of romance, mystery and yes, murder.  All wrapped up in 108 pages.  I have to admit I fell under this author’s spell quite easily.

Frost has a love for this lush, historic city and it oozes out of her tale, Cemeteries by Moonlight.  Full of New Orleans places, and details, yet the story never feels like its encumbered by the City’s own past, more supported and embraced by it.  Drew Daniels is certainly in need of it as he has writer’s block.  He’s an interesting character, with a disability (Tourettes) I have only seen one other time in a M/M story.  Its handled perfectly here, and you accept it and Drew as a complete whole as you should.  Drew is so well drawn that he comes complete with a father you wish to get to know better as well as a home town of Baltimore.  He’s the real deal.  More of a shadow figure?  Finn Murphy.  I loved Finn, but parts of Finn remain nebulous all the way to the end.  This was either due to the lack of length or perhaps Frost is  intending to add on a sequel (my personal hope for this story).  There were still so many questions in my mind about Finn and his history.

There is of course, a mystery or two that plays out here, a killer on the loose, and a relationship that’s evolving.  Frost twines them all together using the streets and history of New Orleans and just the right hint of the paranormal to spice things up.

I loved the identity of the killer, made perfect sense.  I just wished for a little more investigation, more phone calls from dad (a police connection), more aha! moments.  This story really deserves them, its so good.

I hope that the author revisits this world and couple again.  Why leave it at one mystery to solve?  Why not more?  I think Drew and Finn have something here…lets investigate it!

Cover art by AngstyG is perfection.  This artist nails it every time.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 108 pages
Expected publication: January 18th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332435 (ISBN13: 9781635332438)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStates of Love settingLouisiana (United States)

A Stella Release Day Review: Permanent Ink by Jaime Samms

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

permanent-inkPermanent Ink by Jaime Samms, released by Dreamspinner Press, is a second edition, I haven’t read the first one so I’m not sure how much or if it was revisited. I usually like what the author writes so I was really curious about this new to me novella. Plus “opposite attracts” is a trope I truly love in my books.

I found Permanent Ink to be a good story. The characters were well developed considering the length of the novella, just sixty pages. I particularly liked the secondary characters, Angel and Jack, the little scenes with Angel’s mum. All of them were what friends and family are supposed to be, the love they shared is pure and strong.

There were a couple of things that kept me from rating the story more than 3.25 stars. First of all I would have preferred to have Dwayne POV too. Eric’s one wasn’t enough. I struggled understanding what was going on in Dwayne mind and his POV would have helped me a lot. For example to actually see the desire they seemed to have for each other. In fact apart from the sexual parts, did they like each other? Did they want to be together? I had no idea what they were feeling. A couple of”I love you” spoken in the epilogue didn’t satisfy me at all. I wanted more from the MCs and sadly I didn’t get it.

That said, Permanent Ink is a good story, well written from one of my favorite authors. It just misses the fire that make me really love a book.

The cover art by AngstyG is awesome, it caught my attention and together to the author name, brought me to be interested in the story, I wasn’t even interested in the blurb.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 63 pages
Expected publication: January 18th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published February 1st 2011)
ISBN 1634777794 (ISBN13: 9781634777797)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A VVivacious Release Day Review: In Your Court (World of Love) by Reece Pine

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Rating – 1 Star out of 5
 
in-your-court-by-reece-pineRegan a.k.a Ray is in Ho Chi Minh City (a.ka. Saigon), Vietnam as a volunteer basketball coach at the Ho Chi Minh Central Crane School for a week. But this week is also Ray’s goodbye to a sport he has loved for too long but is now unable to play because of his crippling back ache.  So for one week he is going to play through the pain and when the week ends he plans to curl up and pay for it.  He has everything worked out but what he didn’t take into account was falling in love, unfortunately a distance as large as the Pacific Ocean isn’t going to be easy to ignore.
 
Have you read the blurb for this story? If you haven’t, read it, it is painfully accurate and also 80% of the story.
 
The book is written in a lingo which as the book is written entirely from Ray’s perspective translates into I have no idea why Ray thinks and talks like this.
 
This story is extremely disjointed and vague. It is so vague that  having read it I still have no idea what Xin does for a living, why or how Ray was in Saigon and also who both these characters actually are. I mean yes the story does inform us about these things but if you stop and think about it you will be completely befuddled. Let’s take Xin’s job for example he tells us in many words that he is a glorified translator but later on we find out that he matches companies with tax-deductible sponsorship opportunities, makes connections, talks to a lot of people and since he speaks multiple languages he translates for his father, but in all this mess of words I still don’t know in any concrete sense what it was Xin does for a job and how that translated in him being in Vietnam coincidentally on the first day of Ray’s stay there. Also if volunteers other than Ray had been there in Crane School, why the hell did they need a translator for Ray when they had managed without one before?
 
Basically the story seems to make no sense. Things seem to happen just because they are planned to happen that way and the strings calling the shots are not so invisible. I couldn’t for the life of me understand Ray’s motivations or what he wanted from life and that is despite being in his head all the time so it was almost impossible to get a grasp on Xin, he might has well have been an alien.  Also while Ray’s condition is one of the only things in this book that is spelt out, while the science made sense, I had no idea how the disease translated to Ray and his life.
 
One of the aspects of this book was the culture shock. The author talks about the differences in culture but the problem was that at no point in the story did the differences seem to end at no point in the story was there the realization that we are all just people no matter how different, in fact the differences just seemed to be building on till they became almost insurmountable.
 
The first half of the story which is the part in Crane School adds absolutely nothing to the story. The story actually doesn’t start till Ray’s obligations with the school are over so technically Ray and Xin fall in love over 3 days, the worst part is I would have accepted it if it was written in a convincing matter but yeah that never happened.
 
I just can’t understand why Xin and Ray fell in love. They have nothing together that would equate a good relationship and they have no chemistry. The first sex scene in this story is around the 60% mark and it was the slowest sex scene in history, the scene spans 10 plus pages and was just so boring, why, just why was this so long and so detailed. Unfortunately the subsequent sex scenes were no improvement.
 
One of the reasons I picked up this book was that I thought this book would focus more on the relationship between Xin and Ray and would centre around their decision to stay together despite odds and I was hoping we would get to see them take a leap of fate as they rearrange their lives around being together but that was a pitiful 5% of this book and the answer was a yes without any thought, planning, knowledge or understanding.
 
If you ask me just skip this book the only pleasure I got from this book was when I was pounding my frustration into this review. The characters are vague, they story makes no sense and the blurb reveals all there is to know.
 
Cover Art by Garrett Leigh. I liked the cover but the guy on the cover fits no description of Xin’s and I’m pretty sure that is not supposed to be Ray.
Sales Links
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Book Details:
ebook, 120 pages
Expected publication: January 18th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332249 (ISBN13: 9781635332247)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWorld of Love settingVietnam

A Caryn Release Day Review: The Mighty Have Fallen by Bonnie Dee

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Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

the-mighty-have-fallenThe book opens up with Trevor Rowland quoting the Bible (because I am a nerd, I looked it up, Samuel 1:25, KJV) “How are the mighty fallen in the midst of battle!” referring to himself.  He had been a wealthy, celebrated stage actor when he suffered a stroke that left him completely blind.  To add insult to injury, while he was still in rehabilitation his boyfriend ran away after emptying their bank accounts, and Trevor found that he had been swindling him all along.  Trevor is feeling pretty low – he used to have it all, and now he’s disabled, poor, and feeling like an ass for not recognizing that his boyfriend was so shallow and dishonest. He is depressed, angry, bored, scared, and frustrated.

The same page introduces Jack Burrows, a blue-collar East Ender who moved in with Trevor one month ago mostly to split the rent, but partly to help Trevor out with household chores.  He is almost annoyingly optimistic and cheery, and has decided it is his mission to get Trevor to find meaning in his new life.  He does so by suggesting that Trevor look into doing voice-overs, and amateur drag queen performance.  Which Trevor immediately does and his attitude and his life turn around almost instantly.

So at this point, I was already sitting back and considering the story very detachedly, because it felt forced and awkward.  The reader is dropped into the story literally at the moment that Trevor is transforming his life, so the backstory is all told instead of shown and I wasn’t convinced.  I also did not feel the realities of losing one’s sight as an adult was portrayed very realistically – Trevor usually acted like a sighted person, so when the cane actually was mentioned it seemed intrusive.  I recently read Running Blind, by Kim Fielding and Venona Keyes, and that portrayal of a man who lost his sight (also from a stroke, imagine that) was much more credible.  Then there was the insta-love aspect – I really hate insta-love because I think it is a cop-out so an author can avoid plot and characterization – although I know that is not unusual for this author.  I was dubious about the whole business of Trevor doing a drag show, despite the extensive monologues about how it equated with his previous career and why the music he chose to lip-sync was so meaningful.  Jack’s character was too perfect, and though the accent did help to bring his voice to life for me, it slipped frequently (for an amazing example of the accent done well, and the contrast between posh and uncultured voices, read Glitterland by Alexis Hall)

When I realized that I was comparing this book to others just to see how it fell short, I knew it was going to be a miss for me.  The conflict before the happy ending was the usual misunderstanding blown out of proportion – so overused – and the drag show, which should have been a pinnacle of the story, was unimpressive.

Cover art by Bree Archer is nice but way too dramatic for this story.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 112 pages
Expected publication: January 18th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332370 (ISBN13: 9781635332377)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Kim Fielding on Rocky Horror and her release Love is Heartless (Love Can’t Series #2) (guest post and giveaway)

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Love is Heartless (Love Can’t Series #2) by Kim Fielding

Dreamspinner Press
Cover art by Brooke Albrecht

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kim Fielding here today.  Welcome, Kim!

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Kim Fielding on Rocky Horror!

It’s just a jump to the left….

When I was in high school—back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth—my friends and I used to go to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was playing at the Clinton Street Theater in Southeast Portland (where it began playing in 1978 and still shows every Saturday night!), which was way across town from our suburb. But we’d pile into vehicles and make our way across the city. Sometimes we dressed up (that’s me, far left, as Janet). Sometimes after the movie we’d go to Carrow’s for coffee and cinnamon rolls.rocky

What was the appeal of Rocky Horror? Well, participation was fun. I still remember all the lyrics and callbacks. Rocky himself was awfully sexy in his little gold Speedos, and Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter was perfection. And of course it was cool to stay out really late. More than that, though, I think the film spoke to those of who were… different. The crowd at the Clinton Street wasn’t made up of the cool kids—the jocks and the preppies and the cheerleaders. Sitting in the audience were boys who liked to wear girls’ clothes, people of all shapes and sizes and eccentricities. At Rocky, nobody shunned us for being weird. We’d stand out in the cold, waiting for the theater to let us in, and for that time we were colleagues. For suburban teens in the early eighties, Rocky was subversive.

Life went on. I grew up, moved away, found my own place in the world. But Rocky still has a place in my heart. So when a local theater had a midnight showing this summer—outdoors—I took my 16-year-old daughter. We sang along and tossed playing cards and had a wonderful time. The venue was sold out, some of the audience members ancient like me but many of them younger, and it was a blast. Rocky still speaks to the eccentric, I think.

In my newest book, Love Is Heartless, Colin takes Nevin on an impromptu date to Rocky. At the Clinton Street Theater, in fact.  Colin loves musical theatre anyway, so he’s a fan from way back. But Nevin had a hardscrabble childhood and an adulthood without much whimsy, so this will be his first time.

Are you a Rocky fa-an? Which character is your favorite?

Blurb

Small but mighty—that could be Detective Nevin Ng’s motto. Now a dedicated member of the Portland Police Bureau, he didn’t let a tough start in life stop him from protecting those in need. He doesn’t take crap from anyone, and he doesn’t do relationships. Until he responds to the severe beating of a senior citizen and meets the victim’s wealthy, bow-tied landlord.

Property manager and developer Colin Westwood grew up with all the things Nevin never had, like plenty of money and a supportive, loving family. Too supportive, perhaps, since his childhood illness has left his parents unwilling to admit he’s a strong, grown man. Colin does do relationships, but they never work out. Now he’s thinking maybe he won’t just go with the flow. Maybe it’s time to try something more exciting. But being a witness to a terrible crime—or two—was more than he bargained for.

Despite their differences, Colin and Nevin discover that the sparks fly when they’re together. But sparks are short-lived, dampened by the advent of brutal crimes, and Colin and Nevin have seemingly little in common. The question is whether they have the heart to build something lasting.

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press

Find Kim!

Website: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KFieldingWrites/

Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

Author bio:

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

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In Our New Release Spotlight: Afraid to Fly (Anchor Point #2) by L.A. Witt (excerpt and giveaway)

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Afraid to Fly (Anchor Point #2) by L.A. Witt
R
iptide Publishing
Cover Artist L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here At Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to be hosting L.A. Witt today on her Afraid to Fly tour.  Welcome, L.A.!

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Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Afraid to Fly, the second book in the Anchor Point series!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Afraid to Fly) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 22nd, and winners will be announced on January 23rd.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

Excerpt

(Clint)

Thanks to skipping lunch, I was able to slip out of the office around four thirty. Travis was held up for a while because he had a meeting with the CO, but about ten minutes before I got home, he texted me to let me know he was on his way.

While I waited for him, I couldn’t sit still. I’d showered and changed into a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, and now all there was to do was wait. And wait. And try to keep myself calm and cool.

Why isn’t he here yet? He should’ve been here five minutes ago.

Did he remember how to get here? Wait, I’d given him my address, and his car had GPS. He’d find the place. Right? Did I need to text him with my apartment number?

What the hell is wrong with me?

And then . . .

Footsteps on the walkway.

The distinct sound of boots.

Fuck yes.

I opened the door right as he stepped onto the porch. Neither of us said a word. He hooked his fingers in my waistband and pulled me in close, and we were back in each other’s arms. We kissed. Stumbled. Somehow made it off the porch and into the apartment without falling on our asses, and I was so tangled up in him, I couldn’t even remember for sure if we’d closed the door.

I opened my eyes briefly. Glanced past him.

Yep. Door was closed.

Where were we?

I cradled the back of his head and kissed him even harder.

“Sorry I took so long,” he panted against my lips. “Fucking traffic through the gate.”

“’S’okay. You made it.”

“Finally.”

“Mm-hmm.”

His hands slid across my bare skin, emphasizing how dressed he still was. That wouldn’t do. This uniform needed to be on the floor right now.

He must’ve had the same idea, because we both started fumbling with buttons. One by one, they gave. I pushed the blouse off his shoulders.

“By the way,” I said as I ran my hands up the front of his snug T-shirt, “one more hour at work, and I would’ve run out of military bearing.”

“You and me both,” he said between kisses, and slid his hands down over my ass. “Today was killing me. Even before you showed up in my office.”

“Tell me about it.” I started kissing my way down his neck. “You didn’t have to stand up in front of a class and try not to get a hard-on.”

He laughed, tilting his head to the side as I inched toward his collarbone. “Maybe I should’ve teased you a bit more.”

“That wouldn’t have been a good idea.” I bit his shoulder through his clothes, and he responded with the most delicious groan.

“Not a good idea?” He pressed against my dick. “Why not? What would’ve happened?”

“All kinds of . . . court-martial-worthy . . . offenses.” I groaned softly. “On government property.”

“More than what we already did?”

“So much more.”

“Hmm. Scandalous.” He dipped his head and kissed my neck. “Might have to step up my game at work. See what happens when you lose all your—”

“Don’t you dare,” I growled.

“Or what?”

“I’ll tell the CO.” I curved my hands over his ass. “Tell her you seduced me in my office.” I kissed beneath his jaw and murmured, “Tell her I was . . . helpless to resist . . . your charm.”

We both broke out laughing.

“Go ahead and tell her,” he said. “I won’t deny it.”

“Shameless bastard.”

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About Afraid to Fly

Once a fearless fighter pilot, Commander Travis Wilson is now confined to a desk. It’s been eight years since the near-fatal crash that grounded him, and it still rules his life thanks to relentless back pain.

Lieutenant Commander Clint Fraser almost drowned in a bottle after a highly classified catastrophe while piloting a drone. His downward spiral cost him his marriage and kids, but he’s sober now and getting his life back on track. He’s traded drones for a desk, and he’s determined to reconcile with his kids and navigate the choppy waters of PTSD.

Clint has been on Travis’s radar ever since he transferred to Anchor Point. When Clint comes out to his colleagues, it’s a disaster, but there’s a silver lining: now that Travis knows Clint is into men, the chemistry between them explodes.

It’s all fun and games until emotions get involved. Clint’s never been in love with a man before. Travis has, and a decade later, that tragic ending still haunts him. Clint needs to coax him past his fear of crashing and burning again, or their love will be grounded before takeoff.

Afraid to Fly is available January 16th from Riptide Publishing.

This title is #2 of the Anchor Point series.

About L.A. Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

Website: http://www.gallagherwitt.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GallagherWitt

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Afraid to Fly, one lucky winner will receive $10 in Riptide Publishing credit and two books of choice from L.A. Witt’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!