A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Hawaiian Fragrance (The Hawaiians 3) by Meg Amor

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Danny’s a fourth-generation Big Islander from the wealthy Lucerno ranching family. He’s gorgeous–a mix of Portuguese male and Argentine passion, all dark-haired, smoldering sensuality. His family disowned him for being gay, and now he’s part of the Masterson-Mahikoa “lost boys” family.

When he meets the wealthy, sophisticated, sensuous Brazilian, Paolo Bastini, he’s swept off his feet into a glitzy Las Vegas lifestyle of money and luxury–the world he grew up in. But it takes Danny away from Hawai’i where his soul roams free and his family lives. He struggles as Paolo plays loosely with their partnership and thinks Danny is being “a baby” for wanting a monogamous relationship. And who is this past lover firmly wedged in Paolo’s heart?

Zane is severely deaf–finding new dance partners is hard. When he loses another one, Danny steps in to dance the tango competitions with him. Jealousy flares and things reach dangerous levels between Paolo and Danny. His adopted and birth family must bond together in a daring rescue of Danny from the depths of Brazil.

But he’s not completely out of danger. Now he’s fighting an attraction to the feminine Zane, who’s always annoyed him. Which man has his heart?

Well, here we are on book 3 of The Hawaiians and if you’ve been following my reviews, you know that I’m completely and utterly gone on these stories.  Totally besotted!  Hawaiian Fragrance just adds another layer of love.  Its Danny’s story.  Danny Lucerno is one of the “lost boys” of the Masterson-Mahikoa household, a group of older throwaway teens that one by one were found and gathered under one roof by Kulani Mahikoa (the Orchid).  It’s now a two dad household with Rob Masterson added (Hawaiian Lei).  Of course, in Meg Amor’s universe, no one is an island, literally. So while it is Danny’s story, its also Zane’s (another throwaway) and Zane’s connection to Danny,  Danny’s past tumultuous relationship (non existent at the present) with his birth parents as he calls them and the new man in his life, Paolo, who his family isn’t all that comfortable with.  So we get Danny, Zane, the twins (how I love them), Kulani and Rob, Matty and Beau, everyone who’s entwined in the lives of the Masterson-Mahikoa family.  The family dynamics, as complex as they are loving, have a real family feel to them.  Danny is older but when Rob and Kulani are arguing about Paolo and his relationship with Danny, the love and decisions on how to handle the situation feel both “fatherly” and responsible while still treating Danny as an adult.  I love the way the different situations are worked through here, the communication avenue is left open to the teens, letting them know at all times they are loved and safe, no matter their age.

Another thing I can’t get enough of?  The author’s love of Hawaii and her ability to envelope her readers with her deep affection by way of her vivid descriptions of the flora, fauna and locations around the BI.  It’s lush and tropical and I can almost see and smell the beautiful aromas coming through the pages…

I pull out from Banyans and drive us out to Honaunau on the South Kona coast. In the small town of Kainaliu, I stop and buy us a pink can each of Pass-O-Guava Nectar-POG-at Oshima Drug’s. Zane points at the “buying cherry” signs for the ripe red coffee berry, and we both fill our lungs and exhale loudly, laughing. We always do this when they’re roasting Kona coffee, and the rich scent fills the air. If we continue along Mamalahoa Highway, we’ll get whiffs of fresh hot oil frying local Kona Chips too but today we wind down Napo’opo’o Road.

I love this road; it always relaxes me. Lush jacarandas snow their purple blossoms everywhere, and the flaming orange flowers of the poincianas are popping. There’s thick tropical growth either side of the road, towering avocado trees, coffee farms, and ocean views around every curve, all the way down the hill.

We cut across the flat bottom road to Honaunau. It’s a good time of the day to be here. Not many people getting into the water at Two Step, mostly just locals catching a late afternoon swim or snorkel. The energy will be good for Zane too.

 

Ah, the combination of Danny and Zane.  Its Danny’s story, but it needs Zane too.  Zane’s deaf so his speech here is that of someone who is deaf.  No it doesn’t take any getting use to and in the acknowledgement and dedication, Amor explains the speech pattern she uses for Zane and the friend  she based Zane’s speech pattern on “… Janet from years ago who had never worn hearing aids. Sam heavily consulted on this book and the upcoming Hawaiian Ginger to give accurate portrayals of sounds, speech, and things that go wrong with hearing aids.”  To me, it makes Zane that much more authentic and real.  I love Zane and together with Danny, they have become two of my favorite character in this series.

Danny has a lot of things to work out here, emotionally, intellectually.  Parts of this story are suspenseful, gripping and gut wrenching.  I was not expecting that in this story.  Plus Amor throws in the wonderful element of dance.  Zane is a dancer, but so is someone else, totally unexpected. The beauty of expression and desire of a certain Latin dance is explored here and it’s so well done.  There were so many surprises here.

Really, the characters are so beautifully written, the storylines incredible and the locations from BI to Las Vegas to places I can’t tell you without spoiling it are wild, real and will make you want to take flight and be there (mostly).

Hawaiian Fragrance (The Hawaiians 3) by Meg Amor is a deep joy of a book.  Its has romance, family, suspense, and the possibility of a new love on the horizon.  It ends like a Fred and Ginger movie, lightly, lovingly, and getting us ready for the next one in the series, Hawaiian Ginger which is Zane’s story.  I have it now in my hands.  Review coming soon!  But if you haven’t found or started any of these great books yet, get started!  I love this  whole series and the author has promised more to come.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art by Syneca Featherstone is again gorgeous and as lush as Hawaii itself.

Sales Links:  Loose id LLC | AMAZON

Book Details:

ebook
Published May 2nd 2017 by Loose Id
ISBN13 9781682523568

Hawaiian Lei (The Hawaiians, #1)

Hawaiian Orchid (The Hawaiians, #2)

Hawaiian Fragrance (The Hawaiians, #3)

Hawaiian Ginger (The Hawaiians, #4) coming soon

An Ali Review : False Start (Wilmington Breakers #2) by Sloan Johnson

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Nixon Cross isn’t wired to share his life with anyone. He’d considered a relationship once, but after the one man patient enough to put up with all his quirks shut him down, he committed all of his energy to football and helping his players. Now, one of his players need more help than Nixon can provide and his former flame is the one man who will know what to do.

Retired NAFL player Lincoln Sims had no choice but to stay in the closet; he was a professional athlete at a time when it was impossible to be honest about his sexuality. After retiring, he confessed his secret to his wife and son because he was tired of living a lie. Now, he’s ready to live his life. Nixon Cross is the man he left behind but could never forget.

Can these men find a way to recover from their false start years earlier?
This was my first time reading this author and I really enjoyed her writing style.  This book was a little more serious than I thought it would be when I went into it.  That’s a good thing though.  I think the author did a very good job handling some difficult issues.  People, myself included, love sports and expect a lot from athletes, but we rarely think about the consequences for them later in life.
The story is told by alternating points of view between the two men. I really liked both of the MC’s.  It was very refreshing to get two older MC’s.  They were in their 40’s and I think they were presented in a realistic manner.  There was no drama and no bad communication tropes.  Once they decide to be together they work hard on making things work out with each other.  I think the author did a very good job making both Nixon and Lincoln likable and people you could empathize with. 
The two men are away from each through parts of the book but the author still managed to show us how much they meant to each other.  I really bought into their romance and I was rooting for these two the entire time.  This is a second chance romance which is one of my favorite tropes.  It was so well done here.
This is the second book in the series but can be read as a standalone.  I have not read book one and I was able to completely understand and enjoy this.  That being said, I enjoyed this enough that I will be going back and reading the first story.
If you enjoy sports romance and/or second chance loves I really recommend this.  There are a lot of good things going on in this book.  
Cover Art:  The cover was done by Cover Me, Darling and I thought it was well done.  It compliments the first book in the series and represents the story pretty well.  My only complaint is that the cover model looks too young to be either MC.
Sales Link:  Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 231 pages
Published May 13th 2017
ASINB07287YH28
SeriesWilmington Breakers #2

A Jeri Release Day Review: Return of the Chauffeur’s Son by Tara Lain

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This was a cute book. It was an homage to Sabrina, the Audrey Hepburn classic with a modern- and gay- spin. Set in the Napa Valley wine country with Luca as an up and coming chef, his childhood best friend and crush James and James’ older brother Dylan. The brothers grew up affluent, sons of a winery owner- while Luca and his father the chauffeur lived over the garage.

I really liked that this book was set in wine country. Having lived there for 10 years, I know how cut throat restaurant and wine business can be- especially when there are awards to be handed out. Tara Lain got that completely right.

All of the characters were interesting in this story.  From the three main characters to all of the parents and the secondary characters. Each held their own without distracting from the story- in fact they really enhanced it.

Like I said, it was a cute story. There was a good balance between the drama of the restaurant side of the story and the sweetness of the romance side. Although I did want to really smack James upside the head more than once. 

If you are looking for something sweet to perhaps cleanse the palate, but still want a good story- this one is for you.

 

Cover Artist: Reese Dante.  Cover is cute and inviting.

Sales Links

         

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 200 pages
Expected publication: June 2nd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleReturn of the Chauffeur’s Son
ASINB06XBFXFG1
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: To Touch You (Mates #4) by Cardeno C.

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

 

“His name is Salvatore Rossi. He’s a vampire. And he’s my true mate.”

 

By not relying on anyone except himself, Salvatore Rossi escaped a dead-end existence and reached the height of corporate success. But just when he has everything he always wanted, fate throws Salvatore a challenge he can’t solve alone and a young wolf shifter comes to his rescue.

 

Since childhood, Yoram Smith’s family was certain he would grow to become Alpha and save their beloved pack from its slow demise. When the time comes for a new leader, Yoram is forced to juggle his duty to care for a splintering pack with his duty to care for an absent mate, and his own strength suffers.

 

Being turned into a vampire didn’t alter Salvatore’s life philosophy: if you don’t rely on anyone, nobody can let you down. But when the boy who saved his life becomes a man who needs his help, the icy vampire must find his humanity.

 

I enjoyed this book just as much as I have the others in the series.  Yoram is a very strong shifter and when he recognizes his true mate at the age of 7 and is then able to convince his family to help Sal when he is very sick.  As he gets older he will do anything to protect his mate even if than man doesn’t want him.

 

I loved Yoram’s unending love for his mate no matter what his mate wants he will take care of him.  Salvatore has always known that he has to protect himself and doesn’t rely on anyone else; when he realizes that he actually is relying on Yoram he just lets it happen and doesn’t actively acknowledge it.  For the longest time Yoram does all the bending but I loved Sal’s determination to help his mate and his pack once he fully understands and accepts his place at Yoram’s side.

 

For the first half of this book we see most of the story through Yoram’s eyes and see how accepting he is of his life and his determination to do what is right for his mate and also for his pack.  We begin to see more of Sal’s thoughts and in that we can see his confusion when it comes to what he was told originally and how he begins to feel as Yoram gets older.  We got to see the other characters in this series in the book more frequently than we have in others and I loved seeing how Yoram was able to finally bring Ethan back into his home pack after such a long time.

 

Cover art is wonderful and I love the visual of these two characters together.

 

Sales Links: Amazon | PayHip

 

Book Details:

ebook, 260 pages

Published: May 4, 2017
ISBN: 9781942184690

Edition Language: English

Series: Mates Collection

J.T. Hall on the Yokai, Asian Mythology, and her release ‘Fraud Twice Felt (The Oddities #2)’ (guest blog and giveaway)

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Fraud Twice Felt (The Oddities #2) by J.T. Hall
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase from Riptide Publishing

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have J.T. Hall here today talking about the influences in her latest story in her Oddities series, Fraud Twice Felt.  Welcome, J.T.

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Yokai in the Oddities Series by J.T. Hall

No, I’m not talking about the popular anime series, but the “real” yokai, or Japanese legends of spirits which often take on monstrous forms and torment mankind.

I’ve always had a fascination with Japan and Japanese culture. I don’t know why, but I find their culture intriguing, from the grace and beauty of geisha, origami and bonsai trees to the crazy and often funny television shows and manga. My partner is Japanese-American, and we were fortunate enough to be able to visit Japan several years ago. I’ve been wanting to include more of this cultural influence into my writing ever since.

When I started designing a gay paranormal romance series, I didn’t want the typical vampires and werewolves and other European monsters. I’d read up a lot about Shintoism and the concept in Japan that everything has a spirit. So I decided in my “demon-infested” world that the so-called demons would come from Asian mythology rather than European. And since this is set in the Pacific Northwest where there’s a large Japanese community, having yokai seemed appropriate.

The term “yokai” is made up of kanji for “bewitching” and “apparition,” “spectre,” or” mystery,” so basically it means a bewitching ghost. The term was used during the Meiji period (1868-1912); previously the same types of creatures had a different name that relates more to the spirits within things.

The whole concept behind the yokai is that they are the life energy that dwells within all things, and they take various forms, often to the detriment of humans. In the lore, various forms came from the stories of different religions including Shintoism, Taoism, and Buddhism. In fact, yokai don’t have to be of Japanese origin at all—any strange, supernatural entity (like Bigfoot, a will-o-the-wisp, etc.) is described in Japan as a yokai. The term includes any mysterious being.

Because of all these different meanings and origins, and because there are really no rules about dealing with yokai, I felt they were perfect for the series. The yokai in the Oddities series are interchangeably referred to as either yokai or demons—the latter is more used by those of European descent or Judeo-Christian faiths. After all, there is no Hell in Japanese lore but outsiders might not know that. In the background of the world, German scientists opened up a portal between the natural world and the supernatural in their quest for the atomic bomb, and this allowed the yokai to begin manifesting on Earth wherever there is nature. (This ties in nicely with the Shinto beliefs that everything has a spirit). While there are religious figures shouting that this is the Apocalypse and that these are demons out of Hell, in this world the Japanese lore is actually the reality, so those views are misguided.

I hope readers enjoy these spirits and monsters out of Japanese lore as they read Book 2 of the Oddities series, Fraud Twice Felt.

About Fraud Twice Felt

Three weeks after solving his old boyfriend’s murder, bounty hunter Derwin Bryant is trying to let go of the past and embrace his new life with Elliot Leed, a former rentboy and fellow Oddity. Elliot, meanwhile, is trying to adjust to working at Bob’s Bail Bonds and having a real relationship despite his strange power of Object Reading. Hanging over the couple is the fear that Roy Yoshiro, notorious gang lord, will make good on his threats to claim Elliot. If that happens, not even Derwin’s superhuman strength will be enough to protect the man he loves.

Their concerns are overshadowed when Derwin’s friend asks for help finding her missing son. It’s not long before the case takes Derwin and Elliot back to the crime-ridden underbelly of the city and straight into Yoshiro’s clutches. Two gangs are vying for power, and Derwin and Elliot get caught in the middle of their very public fight.

Derwin and Elliot must find a way to thwart both gangs’ plans and escape alive. This time, one misstep could spell disaster for all the inhabitants of Nis.

Available now from Riptide Publishing

About The Oddities Series

The government wants to control Oddities. Regular people condemn them. And the corporations want to study their DNA . . .

Derwin Bryant is a bounty hunter, a demon hunter, and has an Oddity that allows him to feed on pain to increase his strength and speed. Elliot Leed is a rent boy turned private investigator with a rare Oddity of his own—the ability to read objects with strong emotional imprints. Together they take on cases that no one else can, in a city full of corruption, crime, and the forgotten poor.

It’s a tough place for two men in love to make a difference.

Check out The Oddities! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/oddities

About J.T. Hall

J.T. Hall has been writing for many years under this name and others, and has appeared in magazines, anthologies, and online books. She earned her BA in creative writing from the University of Arizona, her Master’s in education from Argosy University, and works as an independent technical writer for state and federal programs. In her free time, she volunteers for the LGBT community and is active in the leather scene. She has a teenage daughter and a partner of over ten years. They live in sunny Arizona with three adorably cute dogs, three black cats, and a hamster who loves peanuts.

Connect with J.T.:

Blog: jthallwriting.wordpress.com

Twitter: @JTHall7

Tumblr: www.tumblr.com/blog/jthallwriting

GoodReads

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Fraud Twice Felt, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit and an ebook from J.T.’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 3, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Tara Lain on Tara’s Travels and her release ‘Return of the Chauffeur’s Son’ (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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Will the promising chef with dreams of starting his own restaurant and winery see the dark, quiet lure of his long time crush’s conservative older brother, Dylan Armstrong?

Tara’s Travels by Tara Lain

Hi. I’m so glad to be here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to talk about my new release, Return of the Chauffeur’s Son. This book is loosely based on the tropes and themes of a wonderful old romantic movie called Sabrina, but while that film took place in and around New York, this story is set in Napa Valley, CA.  As I was writing the book, I was taken back to some of my favorite experiences in Napa (drinking champagne high among them) and that got me thinking about other top vacations I’ve taken. So I thought I might share some of those with you. Here are some of my favorite vacays –

  • Salvador, Brazil – While this same trip included Rio de Janiero, which is amazing and astounding, the place in Brazil that most impacted me was Salvador in the Bahia region. Sultry and warm, Salvador is the home of voodoo and it shimmers with a palpable mystery and spirituality. The food in Brazil is phenomenal in general, but in Salvador it just blew me away. Lots of chicken, seafood and rice, moqueca seafood stew is the regional dish. All of Brazil has much history of slavery since they were the last country to have slaves, and Salvador has the beautiful slave church. If you plan to make the trek to Brazil, don’t miss Salvador.
  • New York – I’ve been to NYC a gazillion times and never get tired of the visit. I’m a huge fan of live theater, so on trips to the big city, my husband and I often get tickets to 5, 6 or more shoes. One trip, we tmed it right to get opeara tickets at the Met and saw Marriage of Figaro and Madame Butterfly in never-to-be-forgotten performances.
  • Paris – I’ve also had the privilege of visiting Paris more than once. I think it’s the most beautiful city in the world (even including Venice that gives it a run for its money) and is so lively and ever changing, it’s always a wonder. The food is at least as good as people say, such that even a simple omelet can be a culinary experience. There are concerts going on all the time in amazing, historic venues – like the time we saw a string quartet perform in Sainte-Chappelle.
  • Ashland, Oregon – I know this seems very unexotic compared to the others, but Ashland has a justifiable famous Shakespeare Festival that captivates me. For my birthday this year, my honey and I are going back to Ashland to see a bunch of plays. The town is charming – very artsy and walkable like Laguna Beach – and it makes for a fun, relaxing vacation.

Add to that, trips to Napa Valley where I love to hop from winery to winery for little tastes and then finally settle in with a good meal and a nice glass of champagne.

I call Return of the Chauffeur’s Son my champagne novel. It’s full of sparkle, tang and romance. I hope you enjoy it.

Return of the Chauffeur’s Son
By Tara Lain
 
Blurb: 
Luca McGrath may be returning to Napa Valley, California, as a promising chef with dreams of starting his own restaurant and winery, but his heart still lives with the bad-boy son of a billionaire, James Armstrong. Luca spent his childhood playing games with the golden boy of California society, so blinded by James he barely noticed the dark, quiet lure of his conservative older brother, Dylan Armstrong.
But now Luca’s home, and his own powers of attraction are enough to make James question his dedicated heterosexuality and his promised marriage to a wealthy and powerful businesswoman. The obvious attraction between Luca and James spurs Dylan into action—but he’s fighting a huge secret. While Luca dreamed of James, Dylan dreamed of Luca. When Luca gets caught in the struggle between the brothers and gets accused of culinary espionage he’s ready to chuck the fairy tale—unable to even imagine Dylan’s power to make his dreams come true.

 

         

 

 

Excerpt

James grabbed her, picked her up, and swung her in a circle before setting her down and starting a very accomplished foxtrot.

Luca watched them dance off, his gut twisting. He liked Nila so much. Why the hell did she have to love James?

A big warm hand clamped his shoulder. His breath sucked in. Slowly, Dylan turned him, and when they were face-to-face, Dylan wrapped Luca in his arms and began to dance.

If Sasquatch had just asked him to waltz, he wouldn’t have been more amazed. “Uh, will your guests be okay with same-sex dancing?”

Dylan whispered close to his ear, rumbly and low, “Ask me if I care.”

Luca smiled. “Dylan, do you care?”

“Not one tiny fuck.”

Every hair on Luca’s body stood on end. The hairs made a matched set with his cock, which leaped to attention and saluted. Whoa. Keep your distance or he’ll know. The old song said something about needing someone all the way, and his penis nodded in agreement. I could run! Get in my new car and drive. Uh, that would be the new car Dylan practically bought for me. He swallowed. “Thank you for helping with my car. I could never have bought it without your, uh, family discount.” He laughed tightly.

“You and Francis have always been a part of the family.” The deep vibration of Dylan’s voice tickled through Luca’s chest and dove lower. “I remember when you and James used to play like brothers.”

Not a subtle reminder of fraternity. “Yeah, how many times did we turn the great room into a gigantic fort?”

“I seem to recall being turned into the enemy and attacked once or twice.”

“We did love to follow you around.”

His voice got closer and breath warmed Luca’s ear. “I should have realized you were a little too interested in the fact that all my dates were guys.”

Two could play this game. He slipped his lips closer to Dylan’s ear. “You were my role model. I used to peek out the window and watch you kiss boys under the big tree by the pool.”

Dylan laughed deep and throaty. “I finally figured out you were watching.”

“Once I saw a guy go down on you. Your head was back against the tree trunk, and I could hear you moaning.” He whispered softly, “It was the first time I ever came that wasn’t a nocturnal emission.”

The sound from Dylan’s throat sounded half snort and half moan. “I didn’t know about that time, or I might have come inside and paddled your butt.”

“I might have liked it.” He laughed. “Right after that I realized I never felt that way when I saw girls.”

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Website:              http://www.taralain.com

Blog: http://www.taralain.com/blog

Goodreads:        http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain

Twitter:               http://twitter.com/taralain

FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/taralain

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 37. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

 

About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
You can find Tara at Lain

               



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