A PaulB Review: Max, Brad, and Maisie Mystery Series by L.G. Fabbo-Gonnella

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Series Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

murder-in-the-string-of-g-2Author L. G. Fabbo-Gonnella spins the classic noir murder mystery for modern times in the Max, Brad and Maisie series.  Max and Brad are two young (early 20s), struggling actors trying to break onto Broadway who work in a local pub to pay the bills.  When signing up to audition for a role in a new play at a renovated theater, they encounter the ghost of Maisie, a burlesque dancer who was murdered in 1959.  This begins an unusual friendship between the three as go about trying to emulate Hercule Poirot and Topper at the same time. 

Brad is a straight male of Italian heritage who fancies himself a ladies man with a thing for voluptuous women.  Max often complains that he thinks with the head in his pants instead of the one on his shoulders, which can get him into trouble.   

Max is a gay male who is searching for something meaningful.  Having moved to New York from Kansas, he finds a friend in Brad and they decide to room together.  He knows that they should not get involved in trying to solve these mysteries, but as Ethel always seemed to go along with Lucy, he backs his friend whole-heartedly.  He just hopes that they don’t get killed in the process.

Maisie doesn’t have that problem as she’s already dead.  Previously tied to the theater where she was killed, she know moves around with “her boys” as they try to solve the mysteries that they encounter.  While she was a burlesque performer, she is still a lady.  She laments the decline of civility in the modern world but finds a hobby in watching wrestling on television.

In Murder in the String of G, the trio set about to prove that Maisie was in fact murdered and whom committed the crime.  In Murder in the Square Circle, Maisie insists that she and her boys investigate when her favorite wrestler is charged with the murder of his rival in the ring.  In Murder in Noir, the boys finally have parts in an upcoming Broadway play (bit parts, but you have to start somewhere).  The boys find blackmail notes tossed on the floor and decide to investigate further. 

To say that these three are not Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot would be an understatement.  While they have good instincts as to what paths to follow, it seems they always stumble unto the proper solution to the mysteries.  Add to that the fact that Brad somehow seems to find himself naked and tied or handcuffed to a bed and you see that they should not be in the private investigating business.  If you are nostalgic for classic mysteries, give this series a try.  I will state that the books could use a more thorough editing but was not a major problem. 

Dustin Kime does a good job with the covers of the three books.  For String of G, the ghost of Maisie is superimposed on the backdrop of the Cassandra Theater where she was murdered.  For Square Circle, a young wrestler is on the cover.  And for Noir, the lead actor for the boys’ play is featured in a classic noir pose.

Buy links:

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

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

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

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murder-in-noirBook Details

Murder in the String of G

EBook, 127 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  December 2012 by Amazon Digital Services

ASIN: B00A7SOOKM

A Lila Review: The Impossible Boy by Anna Martin

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

the-impossible-boyThis is not your average love story.

Ben Easton is not your average romantic hero. He’s a tattooed, badass, wannabe rock star, working in a perfectly horrible dive bar in Camden Town. His life is good, and he’s totally unprepared for how one man will turn it upside down.

Stan isn’t your average heroine. As a gender-fluid man, he proudly wears his blond hair long, his heels sky-high, and his makeup perfectly executed. A fashion industry prodigy, Stan is in London after stints working in Italy and New York City, and he quickly falls for Ben’s devil-may-care attitude and the warm, soft heart Ben hides behind it.

Beneath the perfect, elegant exterior, Stan has plenty of scars from teenage battles with anorexia. And it only takes the slightest slip for his demons to rush back in while Ben is away touring with his band. With the band on the brink of a breakthrough, Ben is forced to find a way to balance the opportunity of a lifetime with caring for his beautiful boyfriend.

The Impossible Boy is more than a romance. It’s the story of a young man adjusting back into life when dealing with anorexia. And how his sexuality, love life, and career were affected by it–before and after. It can be considered a coming of age novel set in London.

The book is divided into two parts. The first sixty-four percent is more of an introduction to Stan’s and Ben’s life and romance. I’d have been okay if the book ended there. Not that the rest isn’t worth it, but the second part felt like an addition or a longer view to a well-established relationship.

We spent a lot of time experiencing the story as Stan. And perhaps, that’s one of the reasons I find a disconnected between the two parts of the story. Almost like he blocked us from what was really happening, just like he was doing with the rest of the world. But by the end of the story, it’s easy to see that we were indeed blocked. It was part of Stan’s coping mechanism and we need to understand it like Ben had to.

The amount of detail in the story could be a bit overwhelming, but just like Stan, it was like learning more about the country, new people, and himself. One thing I appreciated was how the symptoms of Stan’s anorexia were presented as part of his personality, and not as a checklist to diagnose his medical condition.

This story is mostly sweet. It has a very young adult feel even when the main characters are older than what’s expected. There’s a slow burn that becomes love making; never fucking. They go on dates, spend time together, talk about work, and hang around with friends. The topics discussed are serious but there’s not a lot of angst. If not for Stan’s anorexia, this could be a fairytale romance.

All the secondary characters are great. The bandmates acted as normal young people trying to get into the spotlight. They’re not perfect, but they do work well together. They look out for each other and are a family. I do need to accept that my favorite character in the book was Tone, not the MCs. He’s more than Ben’s & Stan’s best friend, he’s the reason they understand each other. Plus, he’s lovely.

Overall, this is a good read. Just be sure you’re looking for something more than a simple romance story. It’s slow-paced and some of the switches between scenes can be quite abrupt, but it brings the story together in the end.

The cover by Garrett Leigh is beautiful. It fits Stan perfectly, not only physically, but emotionally.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | Nook

ebook, 204 pages
Published: January 17, 2017, Dreamspinner Press (Perchance to Dream)
ASIN: 1635332052 (ISBN13: 9781635332056)
Edition Language: English

 

A Jeri Review: Afraid to Fly (Anchor Point #2) by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

afraid-to-fly_600x900Two Navy men, both damaged in similar but different ways while on the job. Afraid that no one will put up with them and their problems long term, they find each other.

Travis was a Naval pilot until he landed his plane in the ocean instead. Grounded to a desk job with chronic back pain, he just wants to get through his day. Clint was a drone pilot on a classified mission when something went wrong. To this day he is haunted by it and the fact that it is SO classified he cannot talk to anyone about it, not even a therapist. So while he is physically fine, the PTSD wakes him every night.

Some of the things I really liked about this book: that there are boring desk jobs in the military, that both main characters were closer to middle aged than “legal”, and that you can suffer from PTSD even if you weren’t on the front lines.

Travis does everything he can to not seem like he is in so much pain because even with a desk job, he can be given medical discharge from the Navy. And when you are way closer to 40 than to 18, starting a career over is not something you want to look forward to.

That being said, I felt that it was very repetitive and that Clint was almost too good. He never complains at all about how Travis’ pain rules everything. Including, and especially in the bedroom. Of course when you love someone you love who they are, but dealing with chronic pain like that can and does get to the partners as well. Trust me, I know from experience. I wanted Clint to get at least frustrated once about the situation. But he kept saying “It’s fine, I understand”.

A lot of times I see books with trigger warnings and I don’t worry about it because I didn’t think I was the type to be triggered. Even when something in a book hit a little to close to home (me). But chronic pain I think might have to be my trigger warning because I wanted to be upset and frustrated for Clint.

Another person could have a totally different take on this. Admittedly, my opinion is skewed because of real life.

Afraid to Fly is the sequel to Just Drive, but can very easily be read as a stand alone.

Cover art by L.C. Chase works perfectly for the story.

Sales Links

Riptide Publishing

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Book Details:

ebook, 347 pages
Published January 16th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626494991 (ISBN13: 9781626494992)
Series:Anchor Point #2

Brandon Witt on Writing and his new novel ‘Nachos & Hash (Mary’s Boys #1)'(guest blog and giveaway)

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Nachos & Hash (Mary’s Boys #1) by Brandon Witt
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reamspinner Press
Release Date: January 25, 2017

Cover Artist: AngstyG

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Brandon Witt here today talking about writing and his latest story, Nachos & Hash.  Welcome, Brandon!

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My writing has always mimicked my own life.  Maybe that’s true for all authors.  Maybe it’s just me being self-absorbed. Let’s hope it’s all authors…

For me, my life is split into two separate parts.  Actually, there’s way more than two, but in this sense, just the two.  I grew up in a small farming Ozark town of 3,000.  I moved to Denver, which I thought was the biggest city in the world at the time.  I love Denver, but if it wasn’t for my nephew, I’d be moving again.  It feels too small to me now.  I want SanDiego, Seattle, New York, San Francisco!  Though I’m an introvert who doesn’t want to talk to people, I do love living in a city.

My writing often follows that same path.  My books are set either in small, rural towns or large cities.  I’m fascinated with the difference between them.  How the rules of society and interaction are so varied and distinct.  They really are very separate worlds.  And the people who adamantly prefer one over the other are typically very different types of people. 

In Nachos & Hash, I wanted to play around with the two men who were relatively new to the ‘big city’ life of Denver. Both of whom are from small Midwestern towns.  Both of the characters are young (Cody being 21 and making him my youngest character yet) and both are coming of age in very different ways. And believe me, coming of age in a city instead of small town is a dramatically different experience.

Cody and Darwin both capture different parts of me when I was coming out and coming of age, though both of them came out quicker than I did.  Cody is 21, but a young 21 in a lot of ways, at times almost feeling childish.  Darwin, at 24, is an old 24, at times making choices far beyond his years.  If you put both of these men together, you get the mess that I was through my twenties.  In so many ways younger and more naive than my peers. And scared shitless.  But on the other hand, I was vastly more mature and ‘old acting’ than my peers.  There was huge split in my experiences that made both of these things happen at the same time. I guarantee, at times, you’ll want to shake Cody for being too childish and likewise roll your eyes at Darwin for being such an old man.  However, I firmly believe age is just a number and few of us fall into where we are supposed to be all of the time.  It’s in that awkwardness, that transition from country-life to city-life, from childhood to adulthood, with all of it’s ugly twists and turns that I think will make you both relate to Cody and Darwin and allow you to fall in love with them.

One random person who comments will receive a $5 Amazon gift card!

Please come along to Joyfully Jay on the 23rd to get a sneak peak at the entire series.

Nachos & Hash Blurb

Darwin Michaels is living his dreams in the Mile High City. While Denver offers the perfect job, scrumptious dining, and whirlwind dating options, Darwin is losing hope he’ll find the right man to spark his interest for more than a one-night stand—until he sets eyes on Cody Russell.

Cody has just accomplished his life’s goal—get the hell out of Kansas. In one fell swoop, he lands a job at Hamburger Mary’s and gets a newfound family and the chance to be with other gay people! All that’s missing is someone special. But when Darwin shows his interest, Cody is sure it’s too good to be true. After all, what can Darwin possibly see in the high school dropout serving him nachos?

As Darwin falls in love, Cody struggles to realize his worth. When his past threatens the fragile life he is building, Cody spirals into a moment of dark desperation. But Darwin is determined to show Cody that love and family and home are there “for him… will Cody accept what is offered?

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About Brandon Witt

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Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about….

Nachos & Hash Links

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Giveaway

One random person who comments will receive a $5 Amazon gift card!  Don’t forget to leave your email address should you be the one who Brandon chooses.  Contest ends January 27, 2017 at midnight.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Jan 5- The Novel Approach

Jan 9- Tam’s Two Cents

Jan 11-Mary Newman’s Blog

Jan 12- SusanMacnicol.net

Jan 19- Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Jan 23- Joyfully Jay

Jan 24-Love Bytes

Jan 25 – (Release Day!)

Jan 25- Divine Magazine

Jan 26- Prism Book Alliance

In Our New Release Spotlight: Quarry (The Vampire Guard #2) by Elizabeth Noble (author interview and special excerpt)

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Quarry (The Vampire Guard #2) by Elizabeth Noble
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SP Publications

Available for Purchase at

DSP Publications

amazon square borderB&N borderKobo border:

 and Google Play

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Elizabeth Noble here today. Welcome, Elizabeth. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest novel.

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Thank you for having me on your blog today! I loved the questions you sent.

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

The short answer to the first question is yes. I do a bit of a combination and my story planning is something akin to chaos. Honestly, sometimes I don’t know how I pull it all together to create a book. I know there are authors who have detailed outlines for every chapter.

I’m not one of them.

Generally, I start out with a few scene ideas that turns into a plot. Then I’ll complete a rough story synopsis and general outline for the book as a whole. My outlines or story overviews are mostly a few lines of this, that, and something else that needs to happen somewhere begin Chapter 1 and The End. I take those few scene ideas and write a story around them. No one is more surprised than I am at how I interconnect those scenes. It’s a discovery and journey I love taking with each and every book.

As to the second question, the why…I really have no idea. I’ve accepted that’s simply the way my mind works. I’ve tried various method of detailed outlines or mind maps and they turn into a log jam every time.

How early in your life did you begin writing?

Honestly? Before I could write. I remember when I was very little making up and telling stories to anyone and everyone who’d listen. I think at that time in my life I was a constant chatterer and probably drove those around me nuts. I lived with my grandparents and though I have siblings I spent very little of my life with them. So, in essence, I grew up an only child. My grandparents, particularly my grandfather, loved books and encouraged my storytelling. I think they were happy when I learned how to write, however. I was always gifted with pads of paper and pencils!

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 don’t remember being read to, but I’m sure I was. I do remember reading books even before I started school, and I remember my grandmother teaching me to read. She used to get frustrated when I was in early grade school and only brought home books on birds and wildlife from the library instead of storybooks.

The books I loved the most as a child were ones like Black Beauty, King of the Wind, Call of the Wild and Lassie. After those I loved books by Jules Verne and read all of them.

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Blurb

The members of the Vampire Guard—Jonas Forge, spy and soldier turned cop; computer hacker extraordinaire Blair Turner; Declan, thief, con man, and ex-pirate; and medical examiner and werewolf Dr. Lucas Coate—face a dangerous and elusive enemy.

And this time, it’s personal.

Over the course of three hundred years, a man has touched each of their lives in ways they are only just realizing. When a hunt for a psychotic killer in the present resurrects memories and clues from the past, they discover how they have been affected and are bound by the existence of a ruthless vampire criminal. Now, while preventing a heist at a high-tech art show and thwarting several large-scale explosions, the team must employ their unique blend of science and supernatural abilities to put an end to the machinations of the man toying with their lives.

This time, he won’t slip through their fingers.

This time, it’s more than a case. It’s a hunt, and Forge, Blair, Declan, and Lucas won’t stop until they’ve captured their quarry.

Excerpt (this was one of those scenes that lead to the rest of the book):

Jonas laid his hand on Declan’s shoulder for a few beats. “It’s okay.” He settled on the ground beside Blair and pulled him close. “You’ll be fine.”

Blair reached over and ran two fingers down Jonas’s cheek. “You’ll do okay without me.”

Jonas sighed and shook his head. He shifted his weight so he squatted as much as possible behind Blair instead of beside him and slipped his hands under Blair’s arms.

“Ready?” Declan asked. Jonas nodded.

“We can do this,” Lucas said. He, along with Ori and Kai, positioned themselves with Declan at various points along the chunk of concrete pinning and trapping Blair. Even with all four of them, it was a strain lifting what had at one time been a wall. They got it up far enough so Jonas could haul Blair out.

Blair shouted through clenched teeth and shuddered. He reached around and gripped Jonas’s shirt with one hand. Shifting him carefully, Jonas hefted Blair up and held him in his arms.

“I don’t want you to die,” Blair whispered. He rested his head on Jonas’s shoulder and ran his fingertips over Jonas’s cheek again. “Declan promised he’d take care of you.”

Jonas raised his eyebrows and sighed. Declan pinched the bridge of his nose for a few seconds and said, “He’s lost a lot of blood.”

Jonas leaned to the side and stared down at the dark puddle under the chunk of concrete. “I see.”

Blair gasped a few times and touched Jonas’s face again. “Don’t die. You don’t have to die if I do.”

“I have no plans on dying, and you’re not going to either. Not today anyway,” Jonas said softly.

“Normal folks die from blood loss. You vamps are cool. All you do is become delirious.” Lucas patted Jonas’s arm. “Get him on the stretcher so I can see what we need to do.”

Once Blair was on the stretcher, Lucas ripped the material covering his leg. Bones stuck out in places they shouldn’t have, and his leg bent sideways right below his knee.

Lucas reached up and put his hand on the side of Blair’s neck. “The good news is, you’re a vampire, and this will be healed in a week or two. The bad news is, you’re a vampire, and there isn’t a lot I can do about painkillers.”

Blair licked his lips and nodded. “Quick. Do it quick.”

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About the Author

Elizabeth Noble lives by the adage “I can’t not write”. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t make up stories and eventually she learned how to write them down. A part of every day is spent living in worlds she created that are filled with intrigue and espionage.  Using a real love of scifi and urban fantasy highlighted by twisty plots she crafts stories taking place in a slightly altered version of our world.

When she’s not chronicling the adventures of her many characters Elizabeth is a veterinary nurse living in her native Cleveland, Ohio. She shares her little brick house with an adorable canine princess and her tabby cat side-kick. Elizabeth is a fan of baseball, basketball (go Cavs and Indians!) and gardening. She can often be found working in her ‘outside office’ listening to classic rock and plotting her next novel waiting for it to be dark enough to gaze at the stars.

Elizabeth received several amateur writing awards. Since being published, several of her novels have received honorable mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Her novel Jewel Cave was a runner-up in the 2015 Rainbow Awards in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category. Ringed Love was a winner in the Gay Fantasy Romance category of the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

Please visit Elizabeth Noble at:

Visit The Vampire Guard:

  • The Vampire Guard website: http://bit.ly/232TyHH
  • Email members of The Vampire Guard:  jr.vampx@gmail.com

Other links:

Release Blitz & Review Tour for Anna Martin’s The Impossible Boy (giveaway)

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The Impossible Boy – Anna Martin

 
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh
 
Length: 67,000 words
 
Blurb

This is not your average love story.

Ben Easton is not your average romantic hero. He’s a tattooed, badass, wannabe rock star, working in a perfectly horrible dive bar in Camden Town. His life is good, and he’s totally unprepared for how one man will turn it upside down.

Stan isn’t your average heroine. As a gender-fluid man, he proudly wears his blond hair long, his heels sky-high, and his make-up perfectly executed. A fashion industry prodigy, Stan is in London after stints working in Italy and New York City, and he quickly falls for Ben’s devil-may-care attitude and the warm, soft heart Ben hides behind it.

Beneath the perfect, elegant exterior, Stan has plenty of scars from teenage battles with anorexia. And it only takes the slightest slip for his demons to rush back in while Ben’s away touring with his band. With the band on the brink of a breakthrough, Ben is forced to find a way to balance the opportunity of a lifetime with caring for his beautiful boyfriend.

 
 
January 21 – Urban Smoothie Read
January 23 – Bonkers About Books
February 1 – Romantic Fanatic
February 3 – Bayou Book Junkie
 
Author Bio

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south west of England and now lives in Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before turning her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theatre (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), visiting friends who live in other countries, Marvel Comics, learning new things, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.

Although her most recent work is in the LGBT Adult Fiction genre, in the past Anna has worked on a variety of different projects including short stories, drabbles, flash fiction, fan fiction, plays for both children and adults, and poetry. She has written novels in the Teen/ Young Adult genre, Romance, and Fantasy novels.

Anna is, by her own admission, almost unhealthily obsessed with books. The library she has amassed is both large and diverse; “My favourite books,” she says, “are The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.” She also several well-read copies of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park books and re-reads the Harry Potter novels with almost startling regularity.

Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading and creative ass-kicking provided by her closest friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept any responsibility for anything Anna has written.

 

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http://www.twitter.com/missannamartin

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