An Ali Review: Duncan Andrews Thrillers Vol. 1 (Duncan Andrews Thrillers #1-4) by Stephen Osborne

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
duncan-andrews-thrillers-vol-1Private detective Duncan Andrews’s best friend Gina is a witch. His dog is a zombie. And his dead boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost. So it’s hardly any wonder that he uses his connection to the supernatural to help him solve cases. In Pale as a Ghost, Duncan’s on the trail of a serial killer who may not be human, while also trying to move on in his dating life. In Animal Instinct, someone is using the skull of a powerful wizard—Gina’s father—to control animals and attack young Ashton Marsh. In The Scarlet Tide, Duncan’s latest case leads him to Chicago and a band whose members are all vampires. And in Dead End, Robbie’s cousin Jason has moved into a house that’s haunted by a serial killer, and Gina’s on the run from witch-hunters. Through it all, Duncan must solve the case and balance a complicated personal life.
Pale As Ghost
This first book introduces us to Duncan and his band of misfit friends.  He’s a private detective who just so happens to have a best friend who’s a witch, a dog who’s a zombie and a dead ex-boyfriend who’s ghost lives with him.  During this story Duncan works on two different cases, a missing girl and a blue ghost that is haunting a family.  There’s some action and some comedy and it a little bit of bittersweet as Duncan realizes that a ghost can’t meet his needs and maybe it’s time for him to move on to a living boyfriend.  I enjoyed this first book and getting to know this crazy cast of characters.  
Animal Instinct
On this installment someone is using the skull of a powerful wizard to control animals and they’re not doing good things with them.  Duncan’s friend Gina is distressed because the skull is that of her father and she knows how much damage he could do.  Something serious happens that prevents Gina from being able to help and in addition Robby decides that maybe it’s time to move on to the after life. This one was one of my favorites.  The plot was fast paced and entertaining and the side stories with Robby and Gina were emotional in parts.
The Scarlet Tide
Book three has Duncan heading to Indianapolis on case.  This leads him to a rock band made up of vampires.  He sets out to destroy them but the charismatic leader, Hunt, gains a psychic  hold on Duncan, and forces him to look at things in his life he doesn’t really want to.  There’s a lot going on relationship wise in this book and the author keeps me guessing as to how things will end up in the long run.  The rest of the plot was fast paced and super entertaining.
Dead End
This story finds Duncan investigating the ghost of a serial killer that is haunting Robbie’s cousin’s house.  Duncan goes in thinking it will be an easy case until the ghost almost kills him.   Things get serious quickly and they have their hands full with this ghost.  There is also a major plot development with the ongoing plot line between Duncan and the men in his life.
Some of the books I liked more than the others but overall I felt that this was a really good box set.  Duncan is a great MC and his attitude was super fun and entertaining.  There is a unique cast of characters who all add to the overall story line.  The romance aspect was as entertaining as the mysteries were.  I enjoyed the author’s writing style and while the first person story telling style doesn’t always work for me, it did here.  I’ll definitely be continuing with the other books in this series.
Covers by Anne Cain:  I liked all of the covers for these books.  I think they are really well done.  They are cohesive and yet each stands out.  I especially like the use of color on them.
Sales Links
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Book Details:
ebook, 642 pages
Published December 2nd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635331080 (ISBN13: 9781635331080)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDuncan Andrews Thrillers #1-4

A Free Dreamer Review: Speakeasy by Suzey Ingold

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

speakeasy-by-suzey-ingoldIn the height of the Prohibition era, recent Yale graduate Heath Johnson falls for Art, the proprietor of a unique speakeasy tucked away beneath the streets of Manhattan where men are free to explore their sexuality. When Art’s sanctuary is raided, Heath is forced to choose between love and the structured life his parents planned for him.

I totally have a thing for the Prohibition era and the whole air of forbidden love and fun it brings, so I was thrilled to discover “Speakeasy”. I will say that while I find the era fascinating, my historical knowledge about is pretty much non-existent. If you want to know if this story sticks to historic facts, then I’m not the right person to ask.

Heath is a good boy. Quiet, obedient, good grades and never disputes his parents’ decisions. Of course they don’t know that he actually prefers men and has no intention of marrying the girl his mother picked for him. I really liked Heath from the very beginning. He really matures over the course of the book and finally starts living his own life.

Art was a true gentleman and I loved the way he wooed Heath. It was charming. He can easily relate to Heath’s need to keep quiet and please his parents, having a very similar background. There’s no unnecessary drama about money, since both MCs aren’t exactly poor. This way, there was more room for real plot.

The romance was rather slow burn and there was absolutely no explicit sex. Every time, Heath and Art were together, I truly felt their infatuation and got that silly grin of the newly in love myself. It was wonderful.

There were only two minor things I didn’t like so much. The HEA was a bit too easy for me, given the circumstances. And I’m not a huge fan of first person present tense POV. I decided to give this book 5 stars anyway, simply because it was such a very charming love story.

Overall, I really, really liked “Speakeasy” and I will definitely keep an eye out to other works Suzey Ingold.

The cover is absolutely gorgeous. It’s what made me take a closer look at the book in the first place.

Sales Links

Interlude Press

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Book details:

Kindle Edition, 218 pages
Published February 18th 2016 by Interlude Press
Original TitleSpeakeasy
ASINB01BN54KOM
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Paul B Review: The Last Dragonet (Dragon Prophecies #1) by Shannon West and Susan E. Scott

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

the-last-dragonetLuca Wessex is a dragon spawn.  Born of a Red dragon and human mother who died in childbirth, Luca belongs to the lowest class of dragon society.  Keeping away from the gangs that most of the spawn seem to form, Luca just wants to get by in life.  He works a few hours a week at a corner market run by an elderly man who has been more of a father to him than his own abusive one.   His troubles begin when a couple of Golden dragons, the ruling class of dragons, ask him about the local gang leader.  Full blooded dragons look down on spawn so it looks like he is screwed no matter what happens.

Dmitri and his brother have been sent to get information from Luca.  Trying to convince the little spawn to cooperate is not easy.  Even being attacked by the gang of spawn is not enough to convince Luca that Dmitri is his best option.  The one thing he does know is that Luca does not know the true secret to his heritage and just how valuable he is to dragon society.  And one thing that a dragon knows about is treasure.  Dmitri knows that he must move quickly if he wants to have Luca not only as part of his horde but also in his life.

Dmitri takes Luca to his home in remote Russia.  If he thought fighting spawn in the United States was bad, Dmitri runs into more problems at home.  Dmitri’s parents are not thrilled to have the half breed staying in the mansion.  Dmitri’s neighbor, who happens to be Luca’s grandfather, wants Luca to stay with him, no matter what it takes.  And Dmitri must also convince Luca that he is not just part of his horde but wants something meaningful with him. 

This is a great start to the new Dragon Prophecies series by West and Scott.  Poor Luca has had a rough life and things in the beginning do not seem to improve for him.  Being attacked and then virtually kidnapped for his own protection, he doesn’t really trust anybody.  He falls for Dmitri but only wants to pursue things if he is more than just a treasure to be hoarded.  The prophecy at the end of the book needs to be explored more in future books in this series.  I cannot wait for the next book to come out.

E Connor’s cover design is gorgeous.  A built man with his shirt open stands in front of a Russian mountain with a dragon circling the mountain.  It fits the book perfectly. 

Sales Links

Dark Hollows Press

Buy It at Amazon

Book Details

Ebook, 147 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  December 20, 2016 by Dark Hollows Press

ISBN:  978-1-946379-03-0

Series:  Dragon Prophecies

The Last Dragonet (Dragon Prophecies #1)

A MelanieM Review: The Case of the Wandering Wolves (Trickster’s Eye #1) by Mell Eight

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

the-case-of-the-wandering-wolvesSix years ago Latrans found his mate—and had to let him go. Now York has returned pleading for Latrans’ help. His daughter has been kidnapped and Latrans is the only person York trusts to get her back. But a simple matter of rescue proves to be far more complicated than anticipated, and even having his mate at his side may not be enough to win the day.

I dive right into every Mell Eight book with enthusiasm and a certain amount of expectation on what I’m going to find in her stories.  Her imagination almost certainly provides me with something new to think about, great characters and a wildly entertaining story.  However, The Case of the Wandering Wolves (Trickster’s Eye #1) by Mell Eight did provide some a couple of elements I liked, it mostly had me scratching my head in disappointment.  Why?  Because there are huge holes in the narrative here and in the thinking of the characters and plot.

It all revolves around the mate bond and what happens when that occurs.  Unfortunately here, the mate bonding is between were and human, twice over.    In the first pairing… Latrans and York, Latrans first pushes his attraction/need for his mate unto the human with disastrous results.  It didn’t help that York is closeted, only has the slightest leanings or interest in men (he might be bisexual, a path not investigated here). But Latrans does eventually leave his mate alone, knowing that as a human, York cannot feel the same as he does.  Realistic, and  totally abandoned when another were/human pair appears later in the story.

That human is expected to adjust to the fact that they are a part of a bonded pair, a fact that shocked me given the factors surrounding that pair’s history. (Spoilers) .  Its even more unbelievable given York’s stilted little speech about forgiving Latrans’ stalking bonding behavior etc. at the end of the tale.  One, where did that language come from?  A therapist? A brochure? It didn’t sound like anything the man had said previously in any of his conversations, so it was jarring. Secondly, the child and her welfare.  Let’s just say, that got a little mixed up here as well.  At least in my opinion.

There is a mystery.  Two actually.  One gets solved fairly quickly.  The other?  Well the villain is not really never in doubt.  The ending is a HFN and this story a set up for a series that seems to revolve around the detective agency that Latrans runs with his friend called The Trickster’s Eye (Latrans is a were coyote). I will mostly likely pick up the second book to see what happens.  It can only get better.

Cover art is so so.  It could also be so much better.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press

Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published January 11th 2017 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620049358
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTrickster’s Eye #1

An Ali Release Day Review: Gaining Trust (Kiss of Leather #5) by Morticia Knight

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

gaining-trust-kiss-of-leather-5-by-morticia-knightChuck isn’t sure what he needs and Master Jordan can’t wait to show him.

 

Stone’s shy junior investigator, Chuck, can no longer deny his interest in the BDSM lifestyle. The beautiful connections and raw emotions he’s witnessed between so many of the Doms and subs at Kiss of Leather leave him yearning for something he’d never dared hope he could have—unconditional love and care from a man. He isn’t sure if he can take the chance of having a real relationship when he’s not out to his meddling parents yet, but the sexy Master Jordan, Gavin’s friend and the owner of Club Consequence, makes him want to take that chance.

 

Master Jordan has been biding his time until he can get next to the super-fine Chuck. Gavin warned him that Chuck isn’t in the lifestyle, but there’s something special about him that speaks to Jordan’s heart. When they’re finally alone, the chemistry is off the charts and Jordan can tell it won’t take much to bring Chuck willingly into the world of BDSM.

 

An unexpected development in the case of Corey’s kidnappers shocks them all, but not as much as what happens with Chuck’s family. Jordan teaches Chuck that secrets hold power over the person keeping them, and that gaining trust can only be achieved through complete honesty.

 

I loved this story just as much as I have with all of the others in this series.  Chuck and Jordan have been dancing around each other for the last couple books, so it was great to see them finally get their own story.  It’s great to see Chuck’s trust building in Jordan when he has to deal with his combative family dynamic.

 

We got a quick look at Josh and David working to fix their relationship problems from the previous book, but leaves a little mystery for the future with the possibility of an additional owner for the club that gives the opportunity for more characters to come into play in future books.  The rest of the book was on Chuck and Jordan’s budding relationship.  Once they got going they moved pretty fast, but they had a lot of build up that had been in the background in the previous books, so they weren’t just jumping in.

 

They mystery of Corey’s previous dom continues throughout this book and brings in some new twists that may play a bigger role in later books.  I look forward to reading more in this series while they solve the mystery, but also to see more of all the wonderful characters in this series.

 

The cover art is great and follows the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 142 pages

Expected Publication: January 24, 2017 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 9781786515384

Edition Language: English

Series: Kiss of Leather #5

In Our Hot Release Spotlight: Broadway Babe by J.C. Long (author interview)

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Broadway Babe by J.C. Long
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

BUY LINKS:

 

Hi Everybody, I’m J. C. Long, author of Broadway Babe! Thanks so much for joining me, and thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me today! In preparation for my novella Broadway Babe coming out tomorrow I did a little interview for you guys! Enjoy!

 

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

 

It really depends on the story. Broadway Babe came from my personal life more than anything else. I was a huge theatre geek in high school, and even now have an immense love of musicals. I performed in a lot of shows, and though I never made it to Broadway I can imagine what it’s like, and have a few friends who actually did and helped provide a little insight for this story.

 

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

 

Again, the answer is it depends on what I’m writing. For a mystery, I’m a planner—I need to be so I can lay the scenes properly, leave the right hints and clues in the right places. With contemporaries I’m a bit of a pantzer in that I know where I’m starting and where I’m ending, but only have a vague idea of the middle bit.

 

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?

 

Scifi and fantasy were my first loves as a reader. These stories provide true escapism, with real, easy to recognize heroes and villains that are pretty black and white. It’s fun as a reader and a writer to fully immese yourself in a fantasy world where you get to make up the rules of the game. Recently, though, contemporaries have drawn me as a writer, because they provide me a way to show people around me that there is still happiness out there, and love really does win.

 

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

 

I definitely think it’s possible to have favorites—some characters come from a very real experience for an author, a very raw emotional center. For me my favorite in any given book I’m writing is the character that is the easiest to write, the one who’s voice I hear the strongest. In Broadway Babe that’s definitely Annabelle—though of course I love my boys. Annabelle just spoke so strongly to me, even when Tate or Mike didn’t want to.

 

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?

 

Oh God, I’ve been there—minus a snowstorm, and it was LAX instead of LaGuardia—after a hellish return trip from Japan (where I now live) that should have been 21 hours total that evolved into a 3 day odyssey thanks to bad flights and an unexpected overnight stay in China. I go to old favorites at that point, comfort reads, and high atop that list is Rhys Ford—I adore her work, particularly her Cole McGinnis series.

 

How early in your life did you begin writing?

 

I started writing actual coherent stories in the 6th grade for my English class. My teacher assigned us weekly vocab, and we had to use each word in a sentence. I found that boring, so I started writing a story where each word came up in the prose or dialogue somewhere.

 

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 raised by my grandmother, and I wanted to be just like her. She was an avid reader, so I forced her to teach me to read. By 4 years old I was sitting next to her on the couch with a book in my lap and read.  As for the books that impacted me, I’d say the work of Alexander Lloyd. His were my first introduction to fantasy, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Also, Chris Wooding’s Broken Sky series showed me that not all fantasy has to look the same.

 

What question would you ask yourself here?

 

What would I ask myself? I’d ask myself why the hell I didn’t bring ranch dressing to Japan from the states! Dumb move, really dumb move. Oh—you mean about writing? Hmm. Why is it impossible for me to get any work done without cartoons from my childhood in the 90s playing in the background—or Bob’s Burgers; I love that show. Answer: Who knows?

 

If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?

 

My life as a romance novel? That would be boring, guys. I wouldn’t want to read it. I guess I’d call it Mistakes Were Made. Oh my God, there’s an idea! The plot bunnies just started racing! Thanks, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words! I really hope that you enjoy Broadway Babe and the sweet story between Tate and Mike! It’s out tomorrow!

 

BLURB

 

Tate O’Connor has worked hard to realize his dream of dancing on Broadway, and it’s about to pay off with a premier in his first show. He doesn’t expect the distraction of sharing the stage with his celebrity crush: Broadway superstar Mike Chang. Drama ensues both onstage and off as Tate and Mike work closely and realize there could be something between them. However, there are those who don’t think an up-and-coming dancer is good enough for someone with Mike’s talent and fame, and rumors and misunderstandings might lead to broken hearts if Tate and Mike can’t work through their confusion and insecurity.

 

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AUTHOR BIO

 

J. C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an Army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his lifelong involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States, J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that.

 

His favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing, and Korean food (not in that order… okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts, and wishing he were writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.