Free Dreamer’s Leipzip Adventures End, May Begins and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words welcomes the last of Free Dreamer’s Book Adventures at the Leipzig Book Fair.  Next week she answers your questions and we announce the winners of the Free Dreamer Contest!  Take it away, F.D.!

Oh, and welcome the Merry Month of May, more on that too!

Free Dreamer’s Leipzig Adventures End and May Begins

Welcome back to the final instalment of my book fair adventures in Leipzig.
Back at our bungalow on Saturday night, I was awaited not only by my two temporary roommates but also by two other classmates. We only had two uncomfortable chairs, so the five of us ended up sharing two single beds. We chatted and gossiped till way too late. It was around 1.30am when we finally threw them out.
Since none of us wanted to get up earlier to pack their stuff, we took care of that in the night. While picking up my clothes and throwing them into my suitcase, I found a bra that most definitely wasn’t mine. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be my classmate’s binder, who’d needed it for her cosplay. Obviously, the best way not to forget it the following morning would be to hang it on the door knob of our front door. We speculated on the meaning of a bra on a door latch as opposed to the traditional sock. We never did find an answer to that question…
It was about 3am till our stuff was packed and we were all showered. One of my roommates said she’d take care of the alarm and everything. Said she’d probably go for a walk in the surrounding woods before waking us the following morning. Well. What woke us was a knock at the door, about half an hour after we’d planned to get up. Luckily it was a classmate at our door, who was slightly confused why we’d hang a bra on the door. It might have been a little weird to explain that to our teacher… XD
So the three of us dressed in a hurry, neither of us really all that awake. At the bus stop where we’d agreed to meet my teacher told me she didn’t have a train ticket for me. Suddenly I was worried I’d have to find my own way back home! A few tense minutes at the train station talking to a friendly employee there and I parted with 105€ so I could catch the same train as everybody else. That was the cheapest option available to us and I was just glad I had a safe way to get home.
Once on the train, we started writing our postcards. And once we’d finished writing them we realized we only had 5 minutes to change trains at the last German train station. Since we’d bought stamps, we ended up giving our postcards to the conductor, who was kind enugh to post them for us.
The train ride was looooong. We had all slept very little the last three nights and were all exhausted. Some took a nap but I’ve never been able to sleep on a train in broad daylight. On the first train, we read lots of crappy teenie magazines. We learned that it’s no fun to have a baby when you’re only 14. We also learned that boyfriends don’t like it when we post sexy pictures on our Instagram accounts and that you should talk about stuff like that in a relationship. We also tested our coolness and I turned out to be coolest of them all. All in all, it was a very educating train ride. That left me feeling kind of old and wise. XD
The next part was worse, somehow. It was a faster, more modern train. The people there weren’t as loud and we were more spread out. The time for education had passed and me and the four classmates from the night before played cards. We were in this weird state when you’re beyond exhausted and have passed into that hyperactive phase. We even played the card game my friend had gotten for her 4-year-old son and started imitating the sounds of the animals we saw on the cards. We ended up talking about all sorts of random things and laughing way too loudly. I think our poor fellow travellers were slightly annoyed by us.
And then we were finally back home, after 3 nights of way too little sleep and 8 hours on the train. I was glad to be home again, tbh. All in all, the book fair weekend was great. Way too short, though. I’m planning on going again next year, but not as part of a school trip. If you ever get the chance to go to a book fair like this one, you should absolutely take it. It’s totally worth the experience.
I’ll be back a final time next week to answer all the wonderful comments my reports have gotten.

📚Some Questions for F.D.:

✍🏼From Jen: Which books did you take photos of and end up getting free copies when you got home?

✍🏼From Purple Reader: For your fair, as a dreamer, what did you anticipate or expect the most from going, and how did that go? Were your expectations met or exceeded? (I hope they were). I know what you’re saying about Sanderson. I read his concluding 3 vols. in the Wheel of Time series, and thought they picked the quality back up to what I saw in the first 3 vols. But I’ve since gravitated to gay fiction, so haven’t read anything of his since. Do any of his stories involve a gay protagonist?

✍🏼From Didi: I always want to go and see an int’l book fair! How much plan did you do prior to going (you’re not take “we’ll just see what’s interesting there” tactic and go with it, surely? What’s your most favorite “souvenir” from the event (books purchased incl.)? 🙂

✍🏼From H.B.: Did you get to attend many discussions and if you did which ones were your favorite(s)? It’s great you got to meet Brandon Sanderson. I haven’t read one of his books yet although I have my eye on a few of his stories. In general what book of his would you suggest I start with?

 

Stay Tuned for Winner Announcements Next Week Along with Answers to Your Questions…Yes we are picking more than one! So leave more questions for F.D. at the end of today’s blog!

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 30:

  • Free Dreamer’s Leipzig Adventures End and May Begins
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, May 1:

  • Release Blitz – The Perils Of Intimacy by Rick R Reed
  • Release Blitz- Bryan T Clark’s Come To The Oaks
  • Release Day Blitz: Nate and the New Yorker by Kevin Klehr
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Risky Behavior by LA Witt and Cari Z
  • A Lila Review: Perils of Intimacy by Rick Reed
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Stage Two (Series: Lexington Lovers Book Three) by Ariel Tachna
  • A Stella Review: Catch A Falling Star by Matt Burlingame
  • An Alisa Review: Sand Trap (The Wyverns #4) by L.M. Somerton

Tuesday, May 2:

  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Brigham Vaughn & K. Evan Coles
  • Release Blitz Positive Reinforcement by Tamryn Eradani
  • Review Tour – Toxic (Treacherous Chemistry #2) – Avylinn Winter + Volatile
  • A VVivacious Review: Toxic (Treacherous Chemistry #2) by Avylinn Winter
  • A VVivacious Review: Volatile (Treacherous Chemistry #1) by Avylinn Winter
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: The Winter Dark by J.S. Cook and  K.C. Kelly (Narrator)

Wednesday, May 3:

  • Release Blitz & Review Tour While You See A Chance by Alexa Milne
  • Release Day Blitz I Do, or Dye Trying by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Concourse by Santino Hassell
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: For a Good Time, Call (Bluewater Bay) by Anne Tenino and EJ Russell
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Somewhere on Mackinac by Jeff Adams
  • A Stella Release Day Review: By the Numbers: Adding it Up (By the Numbers #2) by Tory Temple and Chris Owen
  • A Alisa Release Day Review: The Dusk Parlor (World of Love) by S.A. Stovall

Thursday, May 4:

  • Release Blitz: Urgent Care (Hearts & Health #3) DJ Jamison
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: You Are the Reason (The Tav #2) by Renae Kaye and Dave Gillies (Narrator)
  • A Julia Review: The Rest is Illusion by Eric Arvin
  • A Stella Release Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
  • An Alisa Review: Hot Wednesday by Taylor Kinney
  • A MelanieM Pre-Release Review:  Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford

Friday, May 5:

  • Book Blitz Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter
  • INTERLUDE PRESS The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Poppy’s Secret by Andrew Grey and John Solo (Narrator)
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter
  • A Kai Review:Anything For You (A Middleton Romance #1) by Ethan Day
  • A VVivacious Review: The Art of Mutual Pleasure by K.A. Merikan

Saturday, May 6:

  • Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens Blog Tour
  • A MelanieM Review: Wolf in King’s Clothing by Parker Foye

A Julia Review: Realm of Passion (Sexy Snax #114) by Courtney Breazile

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Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Irresistible magic in a tempting body.

Callie’s body is the perfect hiding place for the magic of the fairy realm. Malia is the perfect guard for her body against the demons determined to have the magic for themselves. Malia can’t resist the magic—it calls to her—and Callie’s body is as close as she can get to it. Surprised to find the body so welcoming, Malia refuses to give it up once she has it.

What can I say about Realm of Passion by Courtney Breazile? First of all, I have never read anything that felt so rushed before – be it short story, novella or novel. The storyline has enough content that you could and should fill at least twice as many pages with it. It is basically a plot worthy of an entire novel pushed into the format of a novella. Scenes that feel like they should be important for character and plot development are only given a quick mention consisting of no more than a couple of sentences. The lore is hastily explained and very standard for a fantasy story. Even though the end takes place in a completely different realm than ours, there is only just the faintest trace of world building and we learn hardly anything about the fairy realm or its inhabitants.

The characters are of course majorly suffering from the hasty writing as well. We get to learn next to nothing but the most superficial information about their personalities, relationships and motivations. They cannot respond to events with the proper amount of emotions or opinions since there is almost no time before jumping to the next scene. In the beginning, for example, Callie loses a patient on the operating table, goes to puke in the bathroom and is already contemplating on treating herself to dinner two paragraphs later – seemingly without any repercussions of just watching a woman die under her hands a few hours earlier! The reader is not nearly given enough time and exposition to become involved with the characters and their actions in any shape or form. Therefore, the characters feel empty and impersonal. The person, who is supposed to be the main villain, receives probably one and a half pages of appearance time in the end and the two supporting characters are apparently killed but it is only mentioned briefly afterwards and no one seems to care anyway.

The worst example for this lack of proper character development is Callie, the main protagonist, whose feelings and decisions make almost no sense whatsoever. She lives a normal life until she finds out that magic is real and demons are coming to hunt her down because she carries magic within her that is needed to save the fairy realm. Oh, and she can now shoot beams of light from her hands that incinerate people. Basically, within a chapter of learning all of this and being kidnapped, she can only seem to think of one thing: hot sex with her fairy kidnapper who, of course, also immediately lusts after Callie in return! The sex scenes are described in greater detail than any other more plot-relevant scenes. That said, while the first sex scene might still be semi-entertaining, the ones that follow are mainly just the same over and over again. When the two protagonists profess their love for each other, you cannot help but cringe and shake your head, since they have barely gotten to know each other at this point nor spent more than maybe two days in each other’s company.

The only reason I gave this novel 1.5 stars is because at least the basic idea for the plot and characters seemed interesting enough which makes it just all the sadder that the material was treated this way. This felt like it should have been the plot outline for a story rather than the actual finished book.

I did like the cover art by Posh Gosh with its comic-like style. However, a pretty cover cannot redeem a story lacking so severely in execution.

Sales Links:   Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 47 pages

Published April 9, 2012

by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-85715-938-0

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Sharp Shooter Tokyoite by Charlie Godwyne

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

It’s 2035 and Kei is a half-Japanese, half-American asthmatic forced to relocate to Vancouver in order to breathe. Despite the difficulties that being in Japan entails, Kei goes back time and again to spend time with Taka, best friend and confidante, and help him hunt illegal pornographers. But no matter how badly Kei wishes they could be together permanently, life seems determined to keep them apart.

I was so looking forward to this story from reading the blurb.  It had so many things that intrigue me, a Japanese location with Japanese or half Japanese characters with unusual jobs, who exist in a dystopian world.  Unfortunately the execution just didn’t pan out.

For starters, the narrative comes out as muddied instead of clearly defined.  There is a weird intro about shooting a crow that really has nothing to do with the rest of the story, nothing about the world building is substantial other than the fact that there are  pornographers still  in existence (not a surprise) and that the air quality is bad, even worse if you have asthma.  How is this supposed to be a reach when it already exists now?  When there are people who need to wear masks in cities during yellow and red zone days? It happens around the world now from Arizona to China so to have this story located in 2035 makes little sense.

So already you have 2 marks against this story.  Then you get to the characters.  Kei and Taka, who have such a disjointed relationship that there is absolutely no chemistry between them and therefore no connection between them and the reader.  I really couldn’t figure out why they wanted to stay together.

The best part of this story?  The very last part which was cut short when the story ended.  That’s when the author should have picked up and run with it, that whole concept was great.  But no, that was the end of the story.  Oh well.

Cover artist:  Natasha Snow.  Neat cover, nice design.

Sales Link:   Less Than Three Press  | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 40 pages
Published April 26th 2017 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620049860
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blitz – Laurent and the Beast by KA Merikan (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Length: 135,000 words


Cover: Natasha Snow


Blurb

Nothing can stop true love. Not time. Not even the devil himself. 


1805. Laurent. Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart.

2017. Beast. Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.

Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.

Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse. Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.

In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living.

What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.


Excerpt 

Hound’s alarmed growling was coming his way, along with whines, when he reached the right door and opened it, only to have the massive Rottweiler’s body rush past him and into the corridor. Beast expected his pet to rush toward the room where the accident happened just minutes ago but Hound looked back at Beast, as if signalling he wanted to be followed, and rushed the other way, stirring the worst of feelings in Beast.

Was there an intruder somewhere in the house? With the sheer size of the former asylum that has served as the Kings of Hell Clubhouse for the last fifteen years, it was easy to overlook things happening in the disused parts of the property. They once had a bunch of teenagers who came over wanting to spy on the orgy. That thankfully didn’t end in blood, and out of the whole mess they got Jake to join their ranks.

Beast wondered whether he shouldn’t go back to the armory and get himself a gun but ultimately decided against it. There would be police and emergency services coming for Davy, and he didn’t want to run around with a firearm, no matter how good their relationship with the local police was.

Hound moved as if he were following a clear trail, but Beast couldn’t smell anything apart from dust and dampness. They were leaving behind the shouting and even the sound of the ambulance approaching, and eventually entered a corridor so disused it had a thick layer of dust on the floor. Now even Beast could see faint footprints in the dust, and next to them, dark droplets that could be blood.

Hound smelled the traces, looked back and broke into a run, which had Beast following him with the worst of expectations as to what he would eventually find. His heart beat faster as they ran down the dark hallway.

The building was a labyrinth, and this far away from where they all lived and worked, it wasn’t even wired anymore, so he breathed in the smell of mildew and followed Hound through the darkness in hope he would not stumble.

Windows in the doorless rooms on both sides of the corridor were the only source of light, now delivering a faint red and blue glow of the approaching ambulance. For all Beast knew, this could have been a gothic castle, something out of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with bloodthirsty monsters waiting for their next victim in one of the endless hallways, and yet he only ran faster, listening to the steady tap of Hound’s paws.

Without any hesitation whatsoever, Hound rushed inside one of the rooms and gave a growl so vicious something inside Beast mourned his decision not to take a gun with him. But no one shot at him when Hound let out a single bark. Beast pushed past the empty doorway, jumping over a fallen chair, only to see someone hiding in the shadows.

Judging by the long, wavy hair and small stature, Beast at first thought it was a woman, but then the person spoke with a distinctly male voice.

“I… I’m not certain where I am.” The stranger took half a step out of the shadow, and into the flashing light coming from outside. His accent was distinctly foreign. French maybe?

Beast took him in with a scowl. Blood covered the stranger’s face, hair, dripped from his chin, from the tips of his trembling fingers, and stained the outfit that looked as if he’d stolen it from the set of a costume drama. Knee-high boots, fitted pants, a vest worn under a tailcoat.

“What the fuck are you doing on our property, boy?” hissed Beast, watching the soft features of a very young man. “Whose blood is this?” he asked, still cautious. In his experience, a non-threatening presence could hide an adept fighter, so he was not taking any chances as he joined Hound in front of the stranger, who was so short in comparison to Beast’s own six foot five form that his red-stained head only reached Beast’s pecs.

The stranger backed away into the corner, whimpering in fear the moment Hound growled at him again and lowered his head, but Beast wasn’t having any of it and grabbed the boy’s arm. “Is the blood yours then? Someone attacked you? Where?” he asked, not hesitating to pat the intruder down, to make sure there were no weapons hiding under the fancy coat.

The boy tried to weasel out of his grip, but he didn’t seem adept at using force. “N-no. I don’t think it’s mine. I don’t know. Is this hell?”

Beast groaned, staring at the silly-looking young man, whose white shirt was completely drenched in red. Someone must have died to produce this much blood.

“You will explain yourself to King.”


 
 
Author Bio

 

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

 

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Love Free Books? Who Doesn’t? Love Jay Northcote? Combine the Two! Check it Out Here!

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Free promotion running this weekend

Hi folks
Hope you’re all well. I’m just letting you know that Like a Lover (Housemates #2) is free at Amazon this weekend: 28th – 30th of April. The offer is already live and ends Sunday.

Full details

Like a Lover (Housemates #2) is free to download at Amazon this weekend.

Although it is part of the Housemates series, this story can be read as a standalone.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014O4TCMY
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B014O4TCMY
Universal Amazon link: http://mybook.to/likealover_jayn

Find the whole series here:

http://tinyurl.com/housemates-JayN

LikeaLover_EBOOKJosh has a plan: get through uni with a good degree and no debts. Focused on his goals, he’s working as an escort to pay his way. He enjoys the no-strings sex and doesn’t have the time or inclination for a relationship. Falling in love definitely isn’t part of the deal–especially not with a client.

When Rupert meets Josh in a bar, he’s smitten on sight. He’s never paid for sex before, but when Josh propositions him, he can’t resist. He should have known one night would never be enough. Luckily for him, he has an inheritance to support his addiction to Josh, because his job in IT wouldn’t cover the cost.

With each appointment the lines get increasingly blurred. Something is developing between them that feels more like a relationship than a business transaction, but they come from different worlds and to go from client-and-escort to lovers seems impossible. If they want a future together, Josh and Rupert have a lot to overcome.

***

Have a great weekend!
Thanks 🙂
Jay

A Jeri Review: Unsteady (On Solid Ground #3) by Melissa Collins

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Although this book is officially the third in a series, it absolutely can be read as a stand alone.

Melissa Collins writes really good damaged men. Damaged in a way that makes you want to cheer for them and hug them and want their happily ever after.

Micah was an army brat, moving every few years and never really making connections with people. When his father finally retired and they settled in Texas, he found himself defending Jude against bullies in the high school locker room. Offering both friendship and a work out partner, they were inseparable.

Jude thought he was doing the right thing by telling Micah to get out of his life. Looking back, it was totally the wrong thing. But 10 years have passed and he still can’t forgive himself. So when Micah suddenly calls him out of the blue looking to visit, crash at his place, whatever- Jude can’t say no.

Micah and Jude have a long road of forgiveness to travel together.  But watching them reconnect, forgive and fall in love again is beautiful. Even though Micah had way more issues than Jude- it was Jude who broke my heart. Ten years later, still taking care of his father, living in the closet and working at the school of his bullied childhood. And even though Jude was doing what he loved at the school- I can’t imagine going back there day after day.

And just when I thought Micah was doing well- Jude takes him on a surprise day trip. And Micah freaked out. Ugh I was gutted. His agony was so evident. Especially since the trigger was something you wouldn’t even think of!

Two beautiful but damaged souls healing together and healing each other. This story will rip your heart out, but also make you swoon. It was beautifully written with great regard to the life a soldier with PTSD and permanent injuries would have.

Cover design: Sommer Stein at Perfect Pair Creative Covers.  Cover is hot and eye-catching.

Sales Links  AMAZON

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition
Published April 28th 2017 by M. Collins Author, LLC
ASINB071V5B5T1
SeriesOn Solid Ground #3

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Best New Artist by BA Tortuga

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

 

Kasey “Tuff” Tuffman just told Nashville to kiss his you know what. After winning Best New Artist at an award show, he knows it’s time to head back home to Texas. So after a very public meltdown, Tuff makes his way to Austin, where the Red Dirt music lives large.

Jonah Littlejohn once loved KT more than anything in the world. When KT loses it on national TV, Jonah knows he has to reach out and offer his home studio as a place to heal and make music. A bad relationship has left Jonah broken and wary of romance, but he wants to help his old lover out.

Seeing Jonah again proves to Tuff that he’s made the right decision. Now all he has to do is convince Jonah that they’re the most perfect duet there’s ever been.

Because of BA Tortuga and  Best New Artist, I now know about Red Dirt music, its place in Texas country music and and the artists so often thought of when that term comes up. I want to listen to all their music.  I know about a place called Amaya’s in Austin that makes the best enchiladas. I know I need to go and eat there.  I know about Tuff and JoJo, Littlejohn recording studio and their family of friends and well, family.  I know I love them all too.  Finally, I know know that B.A. Tortuga needs to write another book with these people in them not in the least because of Doodle and Nana, because I need everyone back home in Texas, where they belong, happy deep in my heart.

That’s a lot of knowing.

But then again, Best New Artist is a lot of book.  There’s no question that B.A. Tortuga is a  Texas gal,  this book oozes love for this state out of every narrative pore possible.  Locations, names, food, music…the story is steeped in all things that this author loves and wants to share with her readers.  It’s doled out in bits through her characters, two and four footed, an element I treasure.  In Best New Artist, we have Kasey “Tuff” Tuffman who left home and the man he loved behind 10 years ago chasing a dream of fame and fortune only to find what he wanted wasn’t what he found.  Cue a very loud, unrehearsed and bridge-burning meltdown on television after being awarded Best New Artist.  Watching said meltdown?  The man he still loves and left behind.

The story is told from Tuff’s and JoJo’s (Jonah’s) perspectives which is necessary in order to catch up on some of the 10 year gap between the time they split up and the time they reunite.  Who was responsible each time for the breakup and the decision to reunite might surprise you.  Jonah Littlejohn isn’t just the man  waiting on Tuff to return, thank goodness.  He’s become a hugely successful musician in his own right with a sought after recording studio and group of in house musicians.  But he also has his own story to tell, a darker element here but very well done.    There is no immediate romance but a slow burn  as they get to know each other once more, figuring out trust issues and the question of being outwardly gay in a country music world.  BA Tortuga has layers upon layers for these characters to work through, just as it should be after 10 years apart.  Taking that journey with this couple, as painful as it is at times?  So rewarding and heartwarming, even more so as they come back together.

Its also not just Tuff and JoJo working out their relationship, all the people around them are involved and affected by the changes they are going through and realistically, we get believable behaviors from all of them as well.  I adored them all, and don’t even get me started on Doodle!  As I have a Doodle, I recognized him immediately, he runs the pack here.

Best New Artist by BA Tortuga is a terrific contemporary romance.  It sings with the lyrics of a deep love that not even a 10 year separation can vanquish, and dances to a Red Dirt tune that only this amazing author can write.  Its heartwarming and wonderful.  Pick it up today.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  I love the cover.  Its bright and eye-catching and works for the story.

Available for Purchase at

Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635336589 (ISBN13: 9781635336580)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Personal Challenges (Personal #4) by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This book is the culmination of the series which started with Making It Personal, the story of Will and Blake that served as the foundation for the characters and situations in the rest of the series. In book two we met Rick and Angelo, and in book three the focus was on Ed and Colin. I enjoyed most of the books, giving four stars to the early ones and five stars to book three. However, at least two years have gone by since I read that last book, and I have to be honest—the specifics of the characters and couples didn’t stick with me over the course of that time—understandable since I’ve read at least 500 more books since then.

That leads to my word of caution—this is not a standalone, and not only should you read the first three books before this one, but if it’s been awhile since you did, it would be in your best interest to reread, or at least review, the previous books before starting this one. I did not do that and my enjoyment of the early part of the book was compromised by my lack of recall. Of course, once I started to really get into the story, I did remember the situations in which the couples met and my enjoyment of this story increased exponentially.

Each couple in this series faces a personal challenge, or crisis, during this finale. For Will and Blake, it’s a medical problem with their newborn son, for Angelo and Rick, it’s simply a lot of interference from Angelo’s mother as she “helps” plan their wedding—for two years now—and it’s time to finalize everything. For Ed and Colin, it’s a voice from the past—Colin’s ex who contacts Colin to say goodbye as he’s dying and that leads to deep secrets being revealed and multiple heartstrings being pulled.

The story was interesting and I found myself looking forward to the next step in the process for each of the couples. At times humorous, most often serious, the author took the time to explore each couple’s issues in depth, and toward the end of the story it became highly emotional. And as luck would have it, I was in a waiting room surrounded by other people when I got to the last chapters. I had to furtively sneak a tissue out of my purse to wipe my eyes as I quietly sobbed through both the heartache and the heartwarming events as each couple came to closure in this story.

On a lighter note, aside from the main storyline, the author seems to have planted the seeds for a new couple to appear in a future book—Franco the ex-priest and Anthony, the wedding planner. I enjoyed their dynamic and would indeed like to see them get their own story.

So overall, yes, I recommend this to lovers of MM romance, and if you’ve enjoyed any of these couples’ stories in the past, by all means, pick this up.

~~~

Cover art by Meredith Russell depicts two men, both with bowed heads, one man with his arms around the other—a good symbol for the couples in the story without trying to depict any one individual couple. The sepia tones are fairly subdued and not necessarily attention-getting but the somber color scheme goes along with the seriousness of the issues the couples face.

Sales Link

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published April 7th 2017 by Island Tales Press
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPersonal #4

An Ali Review: See My Words (Spectrum Nights #2) by Melanie Hansen

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Successful underwear model Scott Ashworth is lucky—his attack at the hands of an unknown assailant will leave no visible scars. His professional goals are still within reach, and best of all, his stepbrother Rylan Mahoney is back in his life, their teenage infatuation at last getting the chance to deepen into something more.

Thrown together by the circumstances of Scott’s injury, Rylan’s long-dormant feelings for him are quickly rekindled, though he’s haunted by the memory of Scott’s disappearance on the night of his eighteenth birthday and the six missing years that followed. Rylan pushes Scott for the truth, a firm believer in the maxim that secrets lose their power once they’re shared—but resurrecting old demons almost always comes with a price.

Before Scott knows it, his life is spiraling out of control, his toxic insecurities welling up to threaten the fragile relationship he’s building with Rylan. Learning to let go of the past and believe in himself will be Scott’s greatest challenge, or else he risks losing Rylan forever this time.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series but unfortunately did not like this second book as much.  This installment picks up immediately after the previous book ended.  The story then chronicles Scott and Rylan on their journey from friends to lovers.
The overall plot was fine but I just found their relationship dynamic exhausting.  There was so much unnecessary drama.  Scott in particular was really hard for me to like.  I had sympathy for him in the first book but found I had lost it by about mid-point in this story. Some of his behaviors were defense mechanisms but a lot were just because he was a jerk.  I also didn’t care for any of the people he had surrounded himself with.  His boss, his coworkers, his ex-boyfriend, etc were all just horrible and I was done with the lot of them by the time we got to the end.  Rylan, who I really liked in the last book, also got on my nerves.  He was kind and understanding of Scott’s issues but almost to the point of being a door mat.  I imagine people who have been through the things Scott had would have a lot of the issues he had, but it didn’t make it any easier to tolerate.  The entire thing, the plot, the MC’s, the relationship dynamic, just annoyed me to death.
For me the best part was the last 15% or so.  Finally Scott steps up and starts working on getting himself together and he forces Rylan to step back and let him.  I felt like the author did a good job on redeeming Scott by the end of the book.
I think a lot of people will enjoy this book and many won’t have the issues I did with it.  The writing itself was well done.  This book should not be read as a standalone as it is the second half of the story that was started in the book Pieces of Me.
Cover:  I like the cover art on this.  It is eye catching and I like how the covers of this book and the previous one match.
Sales Links
Book Details:
ebook, 278 pages
Published April 24th 2017 by Ninestar Press
ISBN139781945952951
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSpectrum Nights #2

 

Amy Lane on Writing, Books and her new release in the Little Goddess series ‘Quickening, Vol. 1’ (author interview)

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Quickening Vol. 1 (Little Goddess #5 Vol. 1) by Amy Lane
D
SP Publications
Release Date:  May 2, 2017

Buy Links

Vulnerable Amazon | Vulnerable DSPP | Quickening Amazon | Quickening DSPP

~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ Interview with Amy Lane~

How much of yourself goes into a character? That depends on the character—every character has a little bit of me or somebody I know in them—but some have more than others.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?  Not really—very early on, I learned that when you put your own experiences in the hands of another person they become a different thing altogether. For Lady Cory, when she was an alienated adolescent, she got pissed off. I got mousy—and I liked her reaction better.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures? 

LOL—anybody who says you don’t do research when world building hasn’t paid attention.  Research to me usually means answering the question, “Hey, is that plausible?”  Sometimes it means defending yourself to your editing staff. I once wrote (in a fantasy) that it got colder right after sunrise. The entire editing staff jumped my shit and said it was impossible, and I had to pull three different sources that said it was totally possible. Even when you’re writing fantasy, you’re building on a long collected established code of wisdom and lore, and it’s good to know who’s ground you’re treading.  No—I choose my genre depending on what I like to read at the moment. The research follows.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing? Holy Goddess yes. The Blue Fairy Book, Norse Myths, To Kill a Mockingbird, Alice in Wonderland, The Hero and the Crown, and countless Harlequin Presents are all battling for supremacy with every damned story.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed? No. Once only have I put a story aside, and it’s because I was 70K in, and it was only halfway, and I needed my Christmas story before I’d be finished. Other than that, no. I start, I work to the finish, and I hope for the best.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?  I like HEA, but I don’t mind series that work for it—for example, Fish Out of Water, there are going to be a few more books there, and those guys are continually working for their balance.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?  Absolutely.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?  (I listed a few above so I’ll skip this one.)

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?  I think there are already two kinds of e-book audiences. One is the potato chip audience—reads absolutely everything, one or two books a day.  This is the type of reader that Kindle Unlimited was made for—and that’s wonderful, because that kind of addiction could bankrupt a person.  Also, I started out as an indie-pub, and my editing was not great, and people still found my books and treasured them—so I’m glad to see there is a growing outlet for that writer to get discovered and loved. 

The other reader is more the steak and salad audience—has either limited time or limited income or both, and will read all of an author’s backlist, from beginning to end, because this author has pleased the reader in the past, and it’s worth the reader’s time and effort—and possibly more money—to stick with one writer because there’s a component of trust there. These are often the authors who have a press and a slightly higher book price—there are gatekeepers there to make sure the product is as good as it can be. The thing is, this audience is starting to find itself. For a while, after KU came out, established writers were floundering, but as this audience realized they couldn’t read ALL the books and started relying on their favorite authors as they had before, and things are stabilizing again.

The fact is, e-books as entertainment are still one of the cheapest and most popular forms of entertainment—it’s up to authors and publishers to figure out how best to utilize their accessibility.

That being said, I still remember being part of the Rainbow Book Fair in New York City—where people brought suitcases and filled them with paperbacks, because, as hard as it is for us to believe, there are still people who devote their love of reading to print books. I think print still has a while to go on the favorite list—but e-book will continue to rise.

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)  I usually ask for an image or a set of images, and the cover artist the company provides submits drafts for my approval. I actually have a very funky, odd visual sense—one of my favorite things to make as a knitter is a blanket or sweater put together out of scraps. This isn’t the greatest thing in marketing—it’s taken me a few years to figure that out—and I think it’s one of the reasons the New York publishing houses usually just hand an author a cover and say, “Yes. This is your cover. Deal with it.”  Because some of my covers are STUNNING, but some of them make me wonder what was in the water when I was having that conversation.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?  My favorites are the underdogs. The Little Goddess stories will always be my favorites. Fish Out of Water—totally my favorite. Racing for the Sun—top of my list.  I know that I have stories that are more popular than those—and I’m proud to have written them, but some of them get so much love I’m like, “Oh, Beneath the Stain has been soooooooo appreciated. This other one needs my support more.”

What’s next for you as an author?  Well, I’m trying to write a little more paranormal and urban fantasy—the trick is getting it to sell, because it doesn’t always do what we want it to. Coming out I have Quickening 1& 2, Manny Get Your Guy, Red Fish/Dead Fish, Familiar Angel (a paranormal) and Regret Me Not (the Christmas story I just finished), followed by Stand by Your Manny. 

So, something for everyone, I hope

Blurb

Little Goddess: Book Five
Volume One


Cory thought she’d found balance on Green’s hill—sorceress, student, queen of the vampires, wife to three men—she had it down! But establishing her right to risk herself with Green and Bracken had more than one consequence, and now she’s facing the world’s scariest job title: mother.

But getting the news that she’s knocked up takes a backseat when a half-elf hunts them down for help. Her arrival brings news that the werewolf threat, which has been haunting them for over a year, has finally arrived on their doorstep—and it’s bigger and more frightening than they’d ever imagined.

Cory throws herself into this new battle with everything she’s got—and her men let her do it. Because they all know that whether they defeat this enemy now or later, the thing she’s most afraid of is arriving on a set schedule, and not even Cory can avoid it. The trick is getting her to acknowledge she’s pregnant before she gives birth—or kills herself in denial.

Excerpt

Bracken nuzzled my cheek and, very carefully, put his hand on my abdomen again. I felt nothing but a little bit of hardness there, like I’d had a very full meal, except lower.

“What did you do? Why did it hurt?” I asked, half-afraid he’d put the pregnancy at risk in an effort to get through to me. I should have known better.

“Just talked to it,” he said. “One of them shares my gift. It was painful to have us talk through your blood.”

I noticed the way he said “one of them.” Elves did not pass down their own traits in the DNA. In fact, nobody really knew how elves and trait heredity really worked. Bracken’s parents were both lower fey. His mother was a pixie—three and a half feet of sex kitten with violet hair. His father was a redcap—same height, but built like the forgotten corner of a rock quarry.

Bracken was six feet six of beautiful, broad-shouldered, mostly smooth, pale-skinned, big-eyed sidhe perfection.

For all I knew, I was carrying a rock quarry and a pixie in my womb—but somehow I didn’t think so.

I blinked very slowly, wrestling with one thing at a time. “Does that mean I’m going to bleed out every time I pop a zit?” Yes, it was a gross analogy, but my skin hadn’t been this cluttered with acne since I was a junior in high school. Click. Oh, hell. Of course I was a big pimply mass of estrogen. Fucking Jesus—this was not going to get better.

“No,” Green said, his eyes meeting Brack’s. “In fact, we’re pretty sure the other one has my healing power. We think it was, perhaps, the Goddess….” He trailed off delicately.

“Trying to make sure I don’t die of my own stupidity?”

The lingering tension that had been present since I’d first gaped at Green and said “Oh fuck no!” began to dissipate.

“Not stupid, Corinne Carol-Anne,” he said softly. “Just very, very young.”

I usually railed at that. I’d finally reached twenty-two, right? Hell, there was a time I didn’t think I was going to live past twenty—and given how many scary things had tried to kill me, getting here was quite an accomplishment.

But not now. I had never felt so young in all my life—not even the morning I’d woken up in Green’s arms and we’d realized that our vampire lover had died the night before, and it was the two of us alone and grieving.

I snuggled in more tightly, and Bracken got a little closer. His hand brushed my breast as he did so, and my nipple gave a little shriek of pain. I gasped but kept it to myself—because hey, what girl hadn’t endured a boob shot when snuggling with one of her ginormous husbands, right?

Bracken grunted and stared at me through eyes the color of a weedy, brackish pond in shadows. “That hurt,” he stated.

“Yeah. The girls have been a little tender ever since Monterey….”

Just that quickly a kaleidoscope of our adventure down by the sea flickered behind my eyes. In particular, there was the moment when Teague, our alpha werewolf, and his husband, Jack, passive-aggressive pain in my ass, had both teamed up to protect me.

“Oh, hell. Was that why Jack decided to side with me? Because I’m pregnant?”

Dammit! Of all the…. I’d wanted to win Jack over with my leadership abilities, or with my ability to protect his lover, who was one of my captains and one of my best friends, or even with my friendship with their wife, Katy, whom I both adored and was dazzled by.

“You have a problem with that?” Brack asked curiously. Yeah, Brack’s brain worked along straightforward lines—as long as the result was that I was protected, he didn’t give a crap why.

“I would have liked it if he’d just thought I was a good enough leader to serve,” I grumbled. “I mean, what’s a girl gotta do?”

Bracken pulled out from under my arm, his eyes blazing. He ran a distracted hand through his dark hair, setting it on end like an angry hedgehog, and stared at me.

That’s what you’re worried about?” he asked, sounding outraged. “Do you know how many dangerous, foolish things we did in Monterey? And you’re worried that Jack followed you for the wrong reasons?”

I shivered—which was one of the by-products of having an emergency field transfusion of his blood, which I didn’t remind him of, because hey—one more thing to be pissed at me for, right?

So instead of arguing, I actually thought about what he was saying. Then I wished I hadn’t.

’Cause, well, we’d jumped out of a helicopter to be caught by my magic and my magic alone, which was a first for me in the flying department. We’d stood up to a gigantic rabid wolf pack with nothing but exhausted, injured werewolves and a few tired Avian shifters as support, and I’d….

Oh God, I’d….

I’d been forced to mass kill again, when I’d sworn I’d never do that. Not on purpose. Not so soon after having to issue a death warrant on vampire children because they’d had the bad luck to be turned by a pedophile and would never be sane, never be safe, never be human again.

In my mind I went back to that moment, the lot of us trapped under the force field I’d erected out of magic and desperation in a back alleyway. We’d been just far enough from the sea for us to lose the smell of hope. The rogue wolves had been throwing themselves against it for what seemed like forever, and I’d been growing tired. I could make the shield lethal. I’d been able to kill with my power from the very beginning, but I just kept hoping they’d see sense, that they’d stop somehow, that I wouldn’t have to waste so many fucking lives….

And I’d been teetering between trying to fight our way out and simply making the shield enough to kill them all, when Teague—my captain, my right-hand man, my friend—had looked at me and whimpered. His back end had dropped then—as it should, since he’d been recovering from breaking every bone in his body less than a week before—and I’d seen it in his eyes.

Please.

His mates were there, Jack and Katy, and he wanted them to live.

Or that’s what I’d thought.

Instinctively I placed my hand over my lower abdomen, thinking of what we could have lost there. What Bracken had known I’d been risking.

“You didn’t say anything,” I whispered. I looked over my shoulder at Green. He was gazing at me levelly, with no apologies and no regrets.

“No,” Green said. He and Bracken were staring at each other as though they were reliving a terrible conversation of their own.

“But—” But why? Why would two men who had made my health and welfare their bloody science for the past two years not protest, not try to protect me, not try to talk me out of my own stupid pride when I had their children on board?

“You never would have forgiven….” Bracken looked around the living room like he was looking for words. “Anybody!” he burst out. “Any of us. You, me, Green—hell, the children-to-be. And if, Goddess forbid, anything had happened to Teague, it would have been—” He stood for a moment and flailed his arms. “Cory-a-geddon. You would have self-detonated. This whole… baby thing would have begun under a—”

“A black karmic funk of epic proportions,” I supplied, feeling a little queasy just thinking about it. Of course, since I’d been feeling queasy pretty much for the past two and a half weeks, that was no big news. “But….” I could have died? Well, I could have died a lot of times in the last two years. I kept arguing that I would be fine—there were no promises, and my entire purpose was protection.

But….

Nothing.

“I asked for this?” Quiet revelations do sometimes sound like questions. “I did. I… I said I knew best, and… and….”

“And we trusted you to know best,” Green said quietly. “We trusted you with you, and our children.”

I closed my eyes, somewhat reassured. “That’s….” But I couldn’t do it. Maturity had apparently gotten me into this mess. It was time for honesty to get me out.

Terrifying!” I wailed, and then I dissolved into stupid tears on Green’s chest.

Bracken sighed and plopped behind me, and I cried until I fell asleep.

About the Author

Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.
 
Twitter: @amymaclane