A MelanieM Review: Sons of Devils (Arising #1) by Alex Beecroft

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Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

British scholar Frank Carew is in Wallachia to study the magic generator on nobleman Radu Vacarescu’s land. There, his party is attacked by bandits and his friends are killed. Pursued by a vampiric figure, he flees to Radu’s castle for help.

Unfortunately, this is precisely where the vampires came from. If allowed, they would feed unchecked and spread their undeath across the whole Earth, but Radu maintains a shaky control over them and keeps them penned in his tiny corner of the country.

As Frank recovers from his assault, Radu finds himself falling for the young man. But loving Frank and not wanting to lose him leaves Radu vulnerable to his demons’ demands. Can he bear to let them feed on the man he loves? Or must he give in to their blackmail and set them free to feast on his entire country?

I have mixed feelings about this story.  From the synopsis it feels as though it will be told from Radu’s pov.  Instead, its mostly from Frank’s and that gives this story an entirely different and for me disappointing perspective.  Think prey instead of predator because that’s mostly what Frank is here.  He’s the mouse the cats play with before they eat him.

Given that the story is seen from a very shaky Frank who never seems to be able to recover from the constant mental, emotional and physical shocks and attacks he’s under, you never get the chance to know Radu. Or understand the attachment forming between himself and Frank.  Yes, he yells out that “he’s mine” but I never got that was out of  love, more a sense of protection and possessiveness.  Honestly?  Frank’s a bit of a wash too.  There’s a neat bit about magic here but that’s quickly lost which was the most interesting thing about Frank.

Had the story been told from Radu’s perspective, I think I could have understood his feelings more.  As it was I felt that they were lacking. At least towards Frank.  His bitterness and rage about other aspects of his life?  Yep, got that in spades.  Wish his relationship with Frank was as easily laid out in this story or as powerfully felt.

Beecroft does a superb job with the location and foundation here.  You understood the role of the peasants, the culture, and the dire situation they were in.  The castle itself is absolutely hair-raisingly scary.  These are not your sparkly or nice  vampires.  These are your old-fashioned predators who see humans as food.  They are cruel and rapacious.  So if you are expecting anything else.  This is not the story for you.

The story starts to fragment when two other elements are brought in, that of magic (the reason Frank had come to the land) and a war that starts up in Istanbul against Britain that will pull everyone here in.  But you don’t fully get that until book 2.  Just a sudden switch in narrative which is jarring, then a switch back to Frank and then a switch again at the end.  It took me a while to remember where in the switheroo I was.  All ends on a bit of a question mark leading to Angels of Istanbul (Arising #2).  I suppose I will go there just to see what happens next to Frank and Radu.  I’ll let you know what I find.

Cover by: Simoné. Absolutely beautiful covers.

Sales Links   Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 232 pages
Published March 13th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626495548
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesArising #1

An Alisa Review: Nightsong by A. M. Leibowitz

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

 

Nate Kingsley is a master at messing up. Out of jealousy, he outed his best friend in a public and embarrassing way. Now he’s doing his best to make up for his crimes, but it’s left him empty and frustrated, unfulfilled even by his career as an opera singer and creative director. He enters an unsatisfying relationship he keeps hidden from his closest friends. When that ends on a disappointing note, he seeks solace in his crush on one of the drag queens performing at his favorite club.

 

Izzy Kaplan is an EMT by day, a drag queen named TaTa Latke by night. He hasn’t been in a relationship since his divorce from his wife, despite the best efforts of his mothers and his work partner. He avoids their suggestions in favor of attending the opera alone to see the gorgeous baritone who’s caught his eye. He knows it’s just a fantasy, but it’s easier than starting over.

 

A charity performance to benefit a local youth shelter and clinic puts them in each other’s lives in an unexpected way. They begin to emerge from their relationship disasters, slowly building trust. But unknown to themselves or each other, they are facing separate health crises that might be enough to send them both running the opposite way. It will take drawing on the love and strength of their friends and families to bring them back together again.

 

This was an enjoyable yet frustrating story.  Both characters seem to not want to admit what they want to others let alone to themselves while not seeking the support they both need.  They seem so absorbed in their own issues they have trouble seeing past themselves.

 

Nate doesn’t know what to do now that he has alienated his best friend and while he wants to heal that relationship he continues to be jealous and confused over his friend’s life and relationships.  Izzy has pretty much lived his life in limbo since his divorce and hasn’t moved forward which isn’t helped by his constant reminder from his mother and his ex-wife on how her life has moved on.  Both of them have shocking news that could break their budding relationship if they aren’t willing to try.

 

We get to see both of these characters’ points of view, which helped to understand their actions and feelings even if they frustrated me.  Nate keeps himself closed off from pretty much everyone; even his best friend doesn’t really know the real Nate.  Izzy has just continued his life without seeking out any change and while his best friend can read him like a book he avoids talking or admitting the truth.  I was happy that in the end they found what they were looking for even if there are some big bumps along the way.  This book was presented as part of a series but able to be read as a stand-alone, I’m not sure that is completely accurate and felt that I was missing a bit for awhile and the characters from the first story are important in this one.

 

Cover art is wonderful and gives a good background to the story.

 

Sales Links: Supposed Crimes | Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 205 pages

Published: May 1, 2017 by Supposed Crimes

ISBN-13: 9781944591243

Edition Language: English

Series: Notes From Boston #2

 

A VVivacious Review: Fierce by Rob Rosen

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Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5
 
Lucas has superpowers or as he likes to call it, he is super. He was raised by wolves, is as hairy as one and is in love with his best friend Craig.  But as luck would have it Craig reciprocates Lucas’ love and also knows his super secret.
 
In the summer before senior year Craig and Lucas start a relationship and become a superhero duo that saves the world, but as they are superheroing the differences between Craig and Lucas become starkly apparent. Will things work out between these two or will this difference of opinions turn them into mortal enemies?
 
I am utterly confused as to whether I liked this book, loved it or barely tolerated it. As I read this book there were parts that I barely tolerated, some that I liked and some that I loved.
 
Let’s start with the things about this book I barely tolerated and the first among those things would be Craig. Early on in the book I mistakenly made the assumption that Craig and Lucas were end game and this made the fact that I didn’t like Craig all that more disquieting. I think quite a few people reading this book would make that assumption, I know I did, but I feel like this book should be read as an adventure that follows Lucas’ life story. Craig falls more in the evil genius than superhero category in this book and his backstory does make him the perfect foil for Lucas’ Fierce (Lucas’ superhero name). 
 
I personally didn’t find the beginning of this book interesting to the extent that if I wasn’t reviewing this book I would have probably quit reading it at this point but having said that I do realize that if I hadn’t continued reading I would have missed the best part of this book.
 
The best part of this book was the dilemma of being a superhero. Almost in all superhero stories the people closest to the superhero are benefitted even if they are in the wrong because well that’s how the story goes and the same thing happens in this one to an extent. But what I liked about this book was that it took that example and made Fierce/Lucas face the truth that even when you do the right thing it will turn out be the wrong thing for someone good, someone who doesn’t deserve the punishment for the justice you have meted out. I think the best part of this book was bringing into focus that superhero stories make the world black and white when the world is rarely so. I loved this book for that and I loved the confused, struggling with himself and his superhero identity version of Lucas.
 
I liked Lucas’ character quite a bit and I understood and fully sympathized with his fervour to find out about his birth parents. But from here on the plot feels a little repetitive, it seemed like all these people did was go to Granite peak and back and up again and back and so on and so forth. Also the resolution of the plot isn’t as cut and dry as I would have liked. I didn’t understand the idea behind the whole revenge plan that happens post Fierce’s rescue and after that the story is all muddled up.
 
For me none of the side characters, except Craig, stood out much. I liked Todd and Lucas and their relationship though I think it is time that someone tells Lucas that he does a very bad job of hiding his superpowers.
 
This book has its moments but you will have to take the good with the bad.
 
Cover Art by Rob Rosen. I liked the cover but why Lucas is wearing glasses on the cover is beyond me a tribute to Superman perhaps?
Sales Links:
Book Details:
ebook, 225 pages
Published March 25th 2017 by JMS Books LLC admin@jms-books.com
ISBN139781634863599
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Book Release Highlight! Spritzer – A Sparkling Gay Romance by Jon McDonald (guest blog with a short story, excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance

Author: Jon McDonald

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: March 27

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 75300

Genre: Romance, LGBT, gay, bisexual, contemporary, enemies to lovers, humorous, romance

Add to Goodreads

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Jon McDonald here today to celebrate the release of his new book, Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance.  He’s brought a remarkable short story along with him for our readers, in addition to an excerpt and giveaway.  Welcome, Jon!

✒︎

Jon McDonald: Here’s a short story from another of my NineStar books, Gotta Dance with the One Who Brung Ya.

Midnight Clear

   There was a seam on the roadway crossing the bridge, such that when a car passed over, it sent a thump thump echoing underneath. When it was busy during the day, the thump thumps came frequently, overlapping and creating a thunder that echoed along the riverbank. During the night, the sound came infrequently and accented the stillness.

   It was going to be a very cold Christmas Eve—with the scent of snow already in the air—and there had been a few flurries as the afternoon gathered into dusk before the clutch of night took its frigid hold.

   Rainbow and Gal were huddled around their meager fire, kept alive by scavenging the riverbank for anything that would burn—hopefully through the entire night. Their few belongings were stacked up like sandbags around a foxhole to help keep out the needles of icy wind. The tips of their fingers poked out through worn gloves as they fumbled with a dented pot to heat water so they could use the damaged Ramen Noodle Soup packet scrounged from a dumpster behind the 7–Eleven . Maybe Gal would wait till midnight to give Rainbow his gift—a short flask of brandy that Gal had saved for from a week of panhandling when Rainbow wasn’t around.

   In country, the coppers flew overhead like crazy-wheeling drunks—thump thump, thump thump. Rainbow was Corporal Edward Declan Connelly—Boston Irish. So raw he still thought they were fighting the enemy for the good of the country. He was called Rainbow because he was that way. His best and only buddy was Gal—short for Gallagher but also because he was perceived to be Rainbow’s gal. They had soon found each other despite the monsoons, the mud, the lousy food, the blood, the moans, the endless boredom, and the constant rain of shells—thump thump, thump thump. They managed, however, to get away together now and then for half an hour, hidden amongst the sacks of flour in the storeroom behind the mess. Time so precious and ever so brief, their hearts—thump thump, thump thump.

   After the slaughter was over, and they were shipped home and dumped on the streets of LA, they stayed together. Somewhat broken, keenly cunning, resourceful as two feral cats, together they opened a shop repairing typewriters and small business machines. Then came the computer. They struggled, tried to adapt, created more debt to stay afloat, and finally had to flee in the dead of night in their broken-down Pontiac to the Rocky Mountain west. Their car barely made it across the Continental Divide—thump thump.

   They never completely recovered. Too many demons. Too much alcohol. Inner wounds too tender. But they stayed together through it all. There was never one without the other through many decades, many journeys, many disappointments.

  * * * * *

   “Deck, oh Deck. I can’t believe you’re still abed. And this being Christmas morning and all.” His mother called him Deck, not Eddie. But he didn’t want to stir. The room was cold—the covers warm, scooched up tight around his head, cradling his ear. Only his susceptible eyes and nose were exposed to the bite from the window slightly ajar. He promised he’d get up at the count of ten.

   “Eight, nine, nine and a half, nine and three quarters…”

  * * * * *

    “Soup’s ready.” Gal offered Rainbow the watery, soft noodles.

    “Thanks.”

    It was dark now. The fire glowed and sputtered. Gal put on a few more pieces of wood from a broken table someone had tossed onto the riverbank rather than take to the dump. They ate in silence.

   Thump thump. Rainbow’s mind wandered to the sleeper car his family was taking to Chicago to visit his grandmother; snuggled in his berth, eyes almost closed. Thump thump. The sound of the train lulled him toward sleep. Thump thump. He always watched for that moment when waking turns into sleep like a snake gliding silently into water. But he could never quite grasp it—it always just slipped away. Thump thump, thump thump.

   Gal always cooked. Rainbow always cleaned—tonight taking their few bowls and cooking pot down to the stream to wash up. With tonight’s cold, it was hard to find any running water, and Rainbow had to hack at some ice to find the little trickle to serve his need. Though poor and without much provision, they were both meticulous about keeping clean—their persons and their possessions. Rainbow carefully rinsed the pot and bowls and climbed back up the bank to their shelter under the bridge. He stored the utensils and scooted up close to Gal, sitting by the fire.

   “Here, let me warm you,” Gal whispered as he straddled Rainbow from behind, wrapping his blanket around the both of them. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his gift. “I know it’s not quite Christmas yet but thought you could use this now.” He opened the brandy and handed it to Rainbow. Rainbow bowed his head in gratitude and offered the first sip to Gal.

   They sat like that for some time, drinking quietly, the cars overhead passing less often now. Thump…thump.

   Rainbow was the first to notice the child—six, maybe seven. The way the boy stood at the edge of the bridge it looked as though he was lit from within, but of course, Rainbow thought, it had to be the play of the streetlight against the ice reflecting up from the river below.

   “Gal…” Rainbow breathed so softly it could hardly be heard. Gal looked up and saw the child now holding out both his hands filled with Christmas cookies.

   “For you,” the child said softly.

  * * * * *

   Eddie continued his countdown, “Nine, nine and a half, nine and three quarters. Nine and seven-eighths…”

   “Edward Declan Connelly, I am not going to call you again,” his mother boomed from the kitchen.

   “Oh boy, she means business now.” Eddie knew that for sure. And for just a minute longer he savored the warmth of the covers trying to drag him back into sleep. But then he could smell the wafting scents of Christmas—oatmeal, apples, cinnamon, brown sugar. And there were tangerines, coffee, and bacon sizzling on the stove. He bounded up and out of bed, shut tight the window, and still in his pajamas with the fuzzy feet, faced the light pouring through the door and quietly walked toward his mother.

  * * * * *

   The police cruiser was parked on the bridge, the lights blinking and swirling. Thump thump. Two officers were responding to a call from a pedestrian who believed he had spotted something suspicious under the bridge. The officers scrambled down the riverbank and peered. It was dim and hard to see. There were the remains of a fire still smoldering, sending up curls of smoke like lazy spirits going home. And there, huddled together and covered with a thin blanket, were the bodies of two men locked in a tight embrace, drifted snow cradling their faces.

   “Oh jeeze,” one of the officers commented. “Looks like we got ourselves a couple of stiffs. Better call it in.”

   The second officer stared uncomfortably at the bodies. “Will you look at that,” he said. “Two guys in each other’s arms. So desperate to keep warm they had to resort to that.” Thump thump.

Synopsis

Spritzer Vallier is the manager of a large commercial jug winery in Northern California. The new owner, Spritzer’s great-aunt Del, wants to make a quality champagne as well as the cheap wine that is the bedrock of their business. Being a down-to-earth, no-nonsense guy, Spritzer resists Del’s fantastic idea. However, she insists and hires Michel, a French champagne master, to direct the setup of the new venture for four years until Spritzer can take over the running of the winery by himself.

Spritzer and Michel must work closely together and right from the beginning it is clear there will be fireworks. Michel tends towards arrogance and control. Spritzer resents Michel’s authority and demands, and is a bit of a stubborn hot-head.

Keeping the two in check is Del—steady, caring, and wise, she directs the two toward the accomplishment of her dream.

Storms, accidents, and money problems plague the progress of the new winery, but eventually Michel and Spritzer work their way towards a successful conclusion to their efforts. But fate seems to have another destination for them as well, as they begin to fall in love with each other.

Excerpt

Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance
Jon McDonald © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Spritzer Vallier stood in contemplation, gazing at the strange sight before him—a couple of dozen or more folks, dressed mostly in black, standing at the crest of a hill overlooking a Sonoma vineyard. It stretched out below them as far as one could see in every direction; rows and rows of cultivated grape vines, marching neatly in their straight lines. The early morning mists slowly evaporated in the warmth of the climbing morning sun.

Spritzer ran a hand through his dark, curly, unkempt hair, distracted from the immediacy of the memorial service for his recently departed great-uncle Tom, as his mind wandered to the urgent need to be harvesting the glowing, ripe grapes spread out before him. There is a moment when the grapes’ sugars are at their peak, and any delay might harm a season’s harvest. Spritzer had checked the sugar levels in the grapes just yesterday afternoon and decided that they should start the harvest today. But Aunt Del, Tom’s sister, had already arranged for the memorial service to be held this very morning.

He shook himself free from those thoughts, and turned his attention back to the droning priest. Spritzer was standing between his great-aunt Del—short for Deloris—and his childhood buddy, and occasional girlfriend, Kan. He turned to his aunt and squeezed her arm, as the priest extolled her brother’s many virtues.

“Are you holding up all right?” Spritzer asked gently.

Del looked over and smiled. “It’s still hard to believe he’s gone.”

“I know.”

Kan—blonde, lean, and tomboyish—leaned into Spritzer and whispered, “Nice service, don’t you think?”

Spritzer turned to her and said, “Yeah, yeah. But look at all those fuckin’ grapes. The old man would kick off just when I need to start the harvest, right?”

Just then, a biplane approached from behind the gathering, flew low over the heads of the crowd, and began to spray the vineyard.

Kan looked puzzled. “Isn’t this an odd time to be spraying insecticide, for Christ’s sake?”

“That’s not insecticide, that’s Uncle Tom,” Spritzer answered, with a flash of his quirky grin. Kan looked at him questioningly. “Some people want their ashes at sea. Uncle Tom…” He gestured toward the vineyard.

“Yuck. It’s going all over the grapes. What’s that going to do to the wine?”

Spritzer thought about that for a moment, then answered. “Probably make the horrid supermarket plonk we produce a hell of a lot better than it was when he was alive.”

Kan laughed and turned back to the service.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Jon McDonald lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has seven published novels, a memoir, and three children’s books. His short stories have appeared in a number of prestigious publications. He considers himself a genre-bending author—he loves to take an established literary genre, play with it, and turn it on its head. He has lived abroad and traveled extensively.

Website | Facebook | eMail

Tour Schedule

3/27    Hoards Jumble

3/27    Molly Lolly; Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

3/28    The Novel Approach

3/28    Zipper Rippers

3/28    Happily Ever Chapter

3/29    Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

3/29    Stories That Make You Smile 

3/30    Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

3/30    Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

3/31    Bayou Book Junkie

3/31    MM Good Book Reviews

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Release Blitz – Dirty Games by Barbara Elsborg (giveaway)

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Buy Links:

Amazon US:http://amzn.to/2ngRgoH

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2oyifgF



Length: 108,000 words


Blurb

The last thing Linton needs when he arrives home after three months in the States, is to find his beautiful flat is a squat, complete with his younger brother Dirk, who’s lying in Linton’s bed with a couple who’ve paid him for sex. Dirk isn’t even supposed to have a key. But after Linton throws Dirk out, life slams in hard and if his brother is to have any hope of a future, Linton has to play dirty. Or at least pretend to. What he hasn’t factored in is having to play the game to the bitter end.

Film star Thorne Morrisey has everything. Good looks, charm, seductive magnetism and a voice that could charm a snake from its basket. He can also be a real shit and yet people still love him – though he’d rather not have the love of his ex. Owen’s a suicidal wreck after Thorne dumped him in a very public and humiliating way and Owen’s wealthy brother has his own reasons for wanting revenge on Thorne. Max’s weapon of choice is his employee, Linton.

Linton and Thorne are on a collision course and in for the game of their lives. But who’s playing who?

Author Bio

Barbara Elsborg lives in Kent in the South of England. She always wanted to be a spy, but having confessed to everyone without them even resorting to torture, she decided it was not for her. Vulcanology scorched her feet. A morbid fear of sharks put paid to marine biology. So instead, she spent several years successfully selling cyanide.

After dragging up two rotten, ungrateful children and frustrating her sexy, devoted, wonderful husband (who can now stop twisting her arm) she finally has time to conduct an affair with an electrifying plugged-in male, her laptop.

Her books feature quirky heroines and bad boys, and she hopes they are as much fun to read as they were to write.

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Release Blitz & Review Tour – Goodnight My Angel (Angel Enterprises #2) by Sue Brown

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Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2npoGT3

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ohyCCg


Cover: Meredith Russell


Angel Enterprises Series


Morning My Angel (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb

Callum Ross has a tough decision to make. After years of working for the covert ops agency in the UK and owning his own security firm in the US, he’s forced to choose between the business he loves, and the new fragile relationship with his partner, Josh Cooper.


A bottle of whiskey and almost being killed by a motorbike helps Cal make the decision, and he moves to the UK with plans to set up his own security consultancy. Then the head of the covert ops agency where Josh now works asks Cal for help. Agency operatives and their families are being injured or killed, including Cal’s friends.


Cal is asked to investigate with Josh’s assistance. As the number of victims increase, they’re aware either of them could be the next target for the killer. Josh wants Cal to back away from the investigation in case he gets hurt, but Cal refuses, putting a strain on their relationship.


Then they discover the motorbike incident wasn’t an accident. Who tried to kill him, and why?

 



April 3 – Diverse Reader, The Novel Approach, Books Laid Bare Boys, Sexy Erotic Xciting
April 5 – Making It Happen, Keysmash, The Way She Reads
April 7 – The Geekery Book Review, MM Good Book Reviews
April 10 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
April 12 – Bella’s Blog, Bayou Book Junkie, Bonkers About Books, Padme’s Library, Love Bytes

Author Bio

Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot, and has become an expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. She had an Aha moment and put pen to paper that same day. Sue may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Come over and talk to Sue at:
sue@suebrownstories.com
http://www.suebrownstories.com/
http://www.facebook.com/suebrownstories
http://twitter.com/suebrownstories
http://suebrownsstories.blogspot.com/

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