A Stella Review: Angel by JL Merrow

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

How do you know if you’re one of the damned?

As a child, Don wanted to become a priest. Now a grown man mostly at ease with being gay, he’s left the Catholic Church and has chosen instead to help people through his work as a parole officer.

His strong faith is shaken when his latest assignment turns out to be Michael, a young man Don hasn’t seen since he took Michael to church as a child — and saw his parish priest cast Michael out of the church as a demon.

Meeting him as an adult re-ignites the obsession Don had with the boy he couldn’t save. But can Michael be saved at all? Or is the strangely compelling demon with a taste for risky sex as damned as he believes himself to be?

JL Merrow is an amazing writer, I’m a huge fan of her works. It seems I already missed this short when it was first released, I couldn’t miss it this second time.

The blurb tells you everything you need to know about the story, I read it and liked it. Angel is a super short story, well written, quick and engaging. Being so short there wasn’t really space for a lot of development in the romance part, to be honest pretty inexistent. But the author was great at showing me how deep Dan was into Michael, from the moment they met again twenty years later, Michael is everything Dan can think and dream of. From that moment Dan will go after him and try to save him.

I have to say I wish Angel was a little longer and I would have preferred to have Michael POV too. I was interested in the MCs and yes, I wanted more about them, about what happened all the years they were apart, and I wanted more of them together. For these reasons I was going to give this short just three stars, then the ending part blew me away. The last pages were really beautiful and emotional, the feel of acceptance, the feel of love mixed with fear, all of these filled my heart.

The cover art by Witten Ink Designs is well done, simple, clean and fitting.

Sales Links:   JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 34 pages

Published March 11th 2017 by JMS Books LLC (first published February 24th 2010)

ASIN B06X3TDMW5

Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Joy (States of Love) by C.S. Poe

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Down on his luck is Gideon Joy’s default state. He doesn’t know why he expected anything different on his cross-country trip, but not surprisingly, the hits keep coming—literally this time. Gideon strikes a moose with his car in New Hampshire, not only totaling his own vehicle, but damaging one belonging to local construction worker Silas Bright. He has no choice but to stay in Lancaster and take a job that’ll pay for the repairs. And in a town so small, Gideon’s always running into Silas. What starts as annoyance between them soon blooms into something much more romantic. But when Gideon’s notorious bad luck rears its head yet again, how many disastrous dates will Silas be willing to weather before realizing Gideon’s not worth it?

Despite Gideon’s desire to remain in the quaint community that has accepted him as one of their own, past fears of inadequacy threaten the very joy he left Los Angeles to discover. If he’s to find a happily ever after with Silas, Gideon must learn that sometimes it’s okay to not be the best. And true happiness might be waiting in a small town nestled among the great White Mountains.

Do you know what I wanted to see in Joy (States of Love) by C.S. Poe that I  didn’t get?  More length!  More of this wonderful story!  I felt as though I was just settling down into the town and couple when it stopped.  Not abruptly, no that irritates me to no end but just too early.

You see, by the time, the author brings this story to a close, I was emotionally invested in Gideon Joy’s emotional journey, his growth as a person and the happiness he had found in this small town and with the shy wonderful man, Silas Bright.  I had just gotten to know the town regulars, some of their habits and gotten glimpses of the promising future ahead for Gideon and those people coming to care for him.  And ending at 76 pages?  It just wasn’t enough!

Poe had done way too good a job with the characterizations and the location.  I felt as though I knew these people and that town.  While I wasn’t  ready to move in (way too cold up there for me), it was close thing.   The author did a beautiful job of connecting me to all these people, not just the MC’s and then set me loose.  From the opening sequence ~ that darn moose ~ through all the amazing small town feel that Poe brings  alive so vividly right up to looking at the Milky Way spread across the night sky, I felt I was walking, working and, yes, sometimes, wondering with Gideon as he worked things through in his mind and heart.

Sigh.

Is it any wonder I would love to see this couple and town revisited?  Nope, 76 pages wasn’t anywhere near enough.

But while I’m hoping for that to happen, I’m recommending you all pick this up and see for yourself why I  love it so.

Cover Artist: Reese Dante. I love this cover.  It captures the character and attitude perfectly.

Sales Links

 

Book Details:

ebook, 76 pages
Expected publication: April 5th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635333503
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStates of Love setting New Hampshire (United States)

A Lila Release Day Review: Leap of Faith (FireWorks Security #1) by Jackie Keswick

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Close friends and partners at FireWorks Security, Joel Weston and Kieran Ross know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They have each other’s backs, make a formidable team, and carefully ignore their volatile chemistry.

When Kieran struggles with the aftermath of an assignment gone wrong, Joel is there to help. When Joel is caught in an explosion, Kieran jumps into a burning marina to rescue the man who means so much to him. But they never discuss what’s closest to their hearts, not prepared to risk their friendship for the mere possibility of something more.

Faced with bombs, assassins and old ghosts, Joel and Kieran must find out why they’re targets, who is after them and—most of all—how each would feel if he lost the other. Can they continue as best friends, or is it time to take a leap of faith?

Leap of Faith is a mystery/suspense novella set in Connecticut. The first thing with learned about is Joel’s longing for Kieran. After that, we briefly meet their team at FireWorks Security just before we jump right into the action, and I mean that literally.

Just like with The Power Of Zero series, which I’m a big fan of, the author did an excellent job creating an action-packed story. There’s a lot going on, and every detail is important in the end—from the MC’s backgrounds, their current job, drug cartels, federal agencies to future implication, in and out of their firm.

There’s chemistry between Joel and Kieran, but I like them better as friends. The UST takes more than sixty-five percent of the story, but the wait pays off. Their four-year partnership is obvious and they worked together like a well-oiled machine. I don’t think there was enough time to fully enjoy their new-found relationship.

I tend to fall for the secondary characters and this story is no exception. I loved Dale, Joel uncle, and the mystery surrounding Dr. Leven. I’m looking forward to their stories. Overall, this is a nice start to a series. There’s no cliffhanger, but the path is set for the rest of the books. It’s a quick read too. If you need something a bit different, this is your story.

I’m not a fan of the cover by Garrett Leigh, but I like the font and the models. It does represent action, though.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | Nook

ebook, 125 pages
Published: April 5, 2017, Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 1635334098 (ISBN13: 9781635334098)
Edition Language: English

Series: FireWorks Security
Book #1: Leap of Faith

An Alisa Review: Broken Bastard (Broken #1) by A.L. Simpson

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Present Day

 

My name is Tyler Maxwell Alexander. I’m twenty-eight years old. A few months ago, I had it all. An executive job in a prestigious investment firm owned by my father. Ha! Yeah, right – father. I’ll explain about that later. I lived in a waterfront apartment overlooking the harbor and drove a Mercedes convertible.

 

Then, in the blink of an eye, it was gone. All of it. Everything, except the clothes on my back. I was broken. A bastard. Did I mention, I’m gay? No? Oh well, I have now.

 

This is the story of how my fairytale life turned to shit in the blink of an eye…..

 

This was a story that kept my attention and there was always something going on.  Tyler finds out that he isn’t really his father’s son and to top it all off he is accused of stealing from his family and is sent to jail.  There he meets Bailey who is to help him transition to prison life, but becomes much more quickly.

 

Both of these characters are sweet maybe just a bit to perfect for my tastes.  Tyler goes through so much in a short amount of time, but comes out of it just as quickly if I followed the timeline correctly.  Bailey meets Tyler at the very end of his sentence and has to leave him behind.  I had trouble connecting with the characters even though I could feel their pain and worry everything just seemed to come together to easy once the hard stuff was mostly done.  While I have some issues with it I still greatly enjoyed the story and even look forward to the second story in the series and I don’t often read stories with female MCs.  I do however want to point out there were quite a few editing errors (jelly instead of jello and a lot of missing quotations).

 

The cover art is nice and catches your eye.

 

Sales Link: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 176 pages

Published: February 26, 2017 by A.L. Simpson

Edition Language: English

Series: Broken #1

Bru Baker on Writing, Books, and her latest release ‘Tall, Dark, and Deported’ (author interview)

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Tall, Dark, and Deported by Bru Baker
Release date: April 1, 2017

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Bru Baker here today talking about her latest novel, Tall, Dark, and Deported! Welcome, Bru!

✒︎

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Honestly, I draw a lot more from the people around me than I do myself. It’s not even a conscious thing, but after I’ve formed a character I might realize I’ve incorporated mannerisms, speech patterns, and personality quirks from people I know. I do my best not to base a character on a real person, but there are often bits and pieces of a few people influencing things.

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?

There’s definitely a line there that we as authors have to skirt. That said, I often use my own experiences in books because I’m able to give a scene more depth if I know how a situation or event feels firsthand. Actually, the entire premise for Tall, Dark, and Deported came about from an experience I had coming home from GRL in 2015. I found myself stranded after my connecting flight home from Chicago was cancelled. The ticket counters were overwhelmed and no flights were available. They offered me a solution that would get me home thirty-six hours later–and Chicago is only a three-hour drive from my home in Indianapolis! So I started talking with two strangers who’d also been scheduled for that flight and we hatched a plan to rent a car and drive. Granted, I just used the experience as a jumping-off point. I certainly didn’t find myself crossing an international border and engaging in a Green card marriage like Mateus and Crawford. (My husband would have something to say about that, I’m sure. *g*)

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

I’m a former journalist and I work in the reference department of a library–it’s safe to say I adore research. I have so much respect for authors who can craft a world out of the ether, but I’m not one of them. I tend to blend research with make believe. I’ve driven from Seattle to Vancouver along the road Mateus and Crawford take in Tall, Dark, and Deported, but the hotel they spend is plucked from my imagination. And of course, I’ve taken a lot of liberties with immigration policies.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m a fan of HFN, mostly because I have an overactive imagination and leaving a couple at the HFN give me the chance to fill in the blank for them myself as a reader. As a writer, I don’t like to tie up all the loose ends in a pretty bow because that’s rarely how life works. I want to leave my characters in a place where they’re happy and clearly meant to be together forever but without spelling out every action they’ll take.

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

I was a horror and classic literature fan as a teenager. My favorite authors in high school were Daphne DuMaurier, Emily Bronte, Robin Cook, Stephen King, and Michael Crichton. It’s an interesting mix. They’re still my go-to comfort reads, especially Rebecca and Wuthering Heights. As an adult I read a broad spectrum of things as part of my job as a librarian, but my favorites at the moment are cozy mysteries and quirky romances.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I know most authors would say they couldn’t choose because they love them all, just like parents are supposed to say that when you ask them which of their children they love the most. But I do have favorites, both among my books and my kids. (I joke, I joke. Most days both kids annoy me equally. No favoritism!) Playing House is hands-down my favorite of the books I’ve written, and I think it’s because it was the hardest to write. Writing is almost always sheer joy for me. I’m pretty sure I smiled maniacally all the way through writing King of the Kitchen, and writing Talk Turkey actually made me laugh out loud. But Playing House came from a very painful place for me–imagining what kind of emotional bonds someone with autism could forge as an adult, and whether or not they could successfully navigate marriage and parenthood. My son is on the spectrum, and there just isn’t a lot of positive representation of people with ASD in books and movies. So Playing House was me challenging myself to write a character who could make the average reader fall in love with a character who is flawed in a way that wasn’t quirky or eccentric, but real. I’ve had readers message me after reading the book and tell me they see themselves or their partners in the main character and that it encouraged them to seek help or a diagnosis, sometimes for the first time ever. And that’s amazing.

What’s next for you as an author?

Right now I’m working on a submission for Dreamspinner Press’s Advent Calendar Anthology. I absolutely love fluffy holiday romance, and I have a really soft spot in my heart for the Advent anthology in particular because it gave me my break into publishing in the 2012 calendar with my short story, Traditions from the Heart. I’m also in edits right now on a release that’s coming out toward the end of the year with Dreamspinner as part of the Dreamspun Beyond line–it’s about werewolves! True to my style, of course, one of them turns out to be a pretty big failure as a werewolf. So big, in face, that he has to go to a camp to learn how to werewolf. Enter hilarity, a little angst, and, of course, romance.

Blurb

Crossing the border into love.

Snap decisions and misguided ideas bring Portuguese national Mateus Fontes and businessman Crawford Hargrave together at the Canadian border crossing.

Mateus is caught in a catch-22. With his almost-expired tourist visa, entrance to Canada is denied, but the US won’t let him back in either. Crawford thinks he’s solved things when he tells the border agent they’re engaged, and it works—except now they have to actually get married before either of them can get back into the United States. But Crawford has been burned by marriage once, and he’s determined not to make that mistake again.

Neither of them expects real feelings to bloom out of their fake marriage, but they do. And the two of them have to learn how to be honest with each other to make things work, which is especially hard when their entire marriage is based on lies.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 236 pages

Tags: Gay; M/M; Dreamspun Desires

About the Author

Bru Baker spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Book Blitz: Broken Bastard by A.L. Simpson (excerpt and giveaway)

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Broken Bastard by A.L. Simpson (Blitz Banner)

Title: Broken Bastard

Series: Broken Series, Book 1

Author: A.L. Simpson

Publisher: A.L. Simpson

Cover Artist: A.L. Simpson

Release Date: February 26, 2017

Romance Genre(s): Contemporary, M/M

Pages: 176

View on Goodreads

About the Book

Blurb

BrokenBastard

Present Day

My name is Tyler Maxwell Alexander. I’m twenty-eight years old. A few months ago, I had it all. An executive job in a prestigious investment firm owned by my father. Ha! Yeah, right – father. I’ll explain about that later. I lived in a waterfront apartment overlooking the harbor and drove a Mercedes convertible.

Then, in the blink of an eye, it was gone. All of it. Everything, except the clothes on my back. I was broken. A bastard. Did I mention, I’m gay? No? Oh well, I have now.

This is the story of how my fairytale life turned to shit in the blink of an eye…..

Excerpt

Joshua Alexander barges into my office, no polite knock at the door, no excuse me, how’s your day? He glares at the files strewn on my desk before training his angry gaze onto me. “Pope file, now.”

I rummage through the pile, locate the Pope investment file, and thrust it in my father’s direction. He snatches it from me and turns to leave.

“They won’t stay. We can’t offer them the return the Phillips can. He said he would leave half with me but that’s it.”

Dad swings around and pins me with narrowed eyes. “Thinking like that will get you fucking nowhere in this business. Half is not good enough. Samuel won’t take no for an answer, he’ll demand they keep it all with us.” He storms from my office and I can’t resist giving him the bird behind his back. Yeah, real mature I know.

Samuel is my brother, three years younger than my twenty-six years and mom and dad’s golden child. Literally. While I have hair as black as coal and pale gray eyes, my brother is surfie blonde with clear ice blue eyes. The image of my father. I’m tall at six feet seven inches, he is average at five feet eleven inches. My body is hard with washboard abs I work hard to keep. Samuels is soft with a little too much fat around the middle. In looks we are poles apart. In temperament, we are planets apart.

I’m easy going, slow to anger. A loner and a little on the shy side. Samuel is a mean motherfucker like our dad and has a deadly short fuse. Fuck, his temper could blow you into outer space. Brothers we might be, friends, we are not. Hell, we don’t even like each other, can’t even stand to be in the same room together most of the time.

We all work downtown at Alexander’s Investment Corporation. It was my grandfather’s business, handed down to my father. One day, being the eldest son, it will be mine.

When I finally take control, if there is a business left to take control of, changes will be made. We miss out on, and are losing, accounts because of dad’s and Samuel’s greed. Our commission is one of the highest in the city. As I said – greed. The only thing keeping most accounts with us, and the business afloat, is loyalty to my father. God only knows why! We also have a high success rate in recommendations. Or should I say, I have a high success rate. Not to blow my own trumpet but, Dad and Samuel are shit when it comes to selecting successful investments. They don’t study the market and make snap decisions which usually backfire. Big time.

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

About A.L. Simpson

Author Bio

I’m an Australian and live in Queensland. I have always loved to write and have a vivid and overactive imagination. In my spare time, when I’m not writing, I love to walk, read and shop.

I believe no mountain is too hard to climb, no river is too wide to span and no journey is too difficult to complete. I follow my dreams and I urge and encourage others to do the same. With a positive attitude, the impossible can become possible.

Connect with A.L.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Giveaway

Three lucky winners will receive an e-copy of Broken Bastard, the latest contemporary m/m romance by A.L. Simpson. To be in with a chance, simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. The contest closes at midnight EST on April 15 and is open to entrants worldwide.

Good luck!

Enter here.

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