A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Draakenwood (Whyborne & Griffin #9) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

It’s difficult to imagine that a person can have such a fertile imagination that she can create characters and situations, not only set historically in the turn of the twentieth century, but also consisting of unfailingly original paranormal beings and activity, but Jordan Hawk pulls it off every single time. This is no exception. To top it off, running through these stories is a love that grows stronger with each installment—Griffin Flaherty and Percival Whyborne—two men who hold a very special place in my heart.

In this installment, someone is killing off members of the founding families of Widdershins, sucking the blood from their bodies until only the husk is left, and it looks like Whyborne is the murderer. Now, he’s going to have to get involved in finding the culprit before the monster gets to his father. Griffin, of course, is by his side and they’re joined in the adventure by two new members of the Endicott family—Whyborne’s distant, and estranged, relatives.

Whyborne’s twin sister, Persiphone, and their mother, Heliabel, both of whom are now ketoids who live in the sea also join in. And one of the funniest, laugh-out-loud moments of the story occurs when Percival comes upon Persiphone and her lover—his secretary, Miss Parkhurst—engaged in a sexual act on his desk in his office. The scene is priceless and I’m laughing even now as I write this review. Poor, unsuspecting, naïve Whyborne had no idea up to the moment he opened his office door. Hilarious!

In the usual way the author builds these stories, there’s plenty of background information and the suspense continues to build as the story unfolds—to the point where I was madly and avidly reading every word as quickly as I could devour them. This was quite an adventure as the maelstrom fought to take care of those whom it had collected for Widdershins, including Griffin, whose life is in deadly peril when he’s taken by the monster into the Draakenwood. The only available person to lead the battle to save his family and friends is Percival and he rises to the task, most ably assisted by both the police force and the gang of librarians who’d helped him in the past.

Honestly, there are barely words to describe how ably the author weaves the tale and instills it with both humor and terror alike. There are definitely more adventures awaiting our guys in the future, however, as the setup toward the end of this one indicates. Have no fear—Whyborne and Griffin are together again at the end of this book—along with a new piece of office furniture for Whyborne. (That original desk had to go!)

I highly recommend this book and this whole series to all lovers of MM romance and paranormal adventure. It’s simply wonderful.

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This cover by Lou Harper, though done in a similar style to the others in the series, is much more colorfully attractive than the ones previously done and features two characters from the story. To be honest, though I know one is Whyborne, I’m not sure who the other is since the features don’t look the same as past covers featuring Griffin. So overall, it’s attractive, but leaves me wondering who it represents.

Sales Links

Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | Smashwords | Nook | iBooks

Book Details:

ebook, 246 pages
Published June 2nd 2017 by Widdershins Press
ISBN139781941230251
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWhyborne & Griffin #9

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Road To The Sun by Keira Andrews

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

I couldn’t catch my breath when I read the blurb and learned this was available for review! Keira Andrews is one of my favorite authors and May-December MM romance pushes all my buttons. And, oh my gosh, to get into it and find out the younger MC is a father and has never acknowledged his attraction to men so—virgin!—what’s not to love here?

Jason Kellerman loves his daughter, Maggie, above all else, and from the time of her birth when he was only a young teen, she’s been the driving force in his life. Maggie, 8 years old and very enjoyably precocious, was the result of one night when he and his BFF decided to experiment. Unfortunately, Maggie’s mom died in an auto accident with her parents when Maggie was only six months old. Though Jason’s wealthy parents tried to obtain custody, thinking they could do a better job of providing for her needs, the judge awarded custody to Jason who had just turned eighteen. He left everything he knew behind in his bid for independence and his struggle to show everyone that he could raise her on his own and so far he’s done an amazing job.

Maggie is quite the character throughout this story and though I often don’t care for kids who seem too far beyond their years, in this case, Maggie is perfect. Jason has brought her to a national park in Montana where she can pursue her love of animals, birds, geological formations and the great outdoors. She’s smart and sweet and he’s worked his tail off to give her the vacation she’s asked for—even if it means her daddy has to work twice as hard to pay the bills when they return, and in the meantime, might get eaten by a bear!

When they meet forty-one-year-old park ranger, Ben Hettler, Jason is struck by how much he likes the man, going so far as to think he’s attractive as well. Though uncomfortable about this, he realizes he can just enjoy his time in Montana and not worry about finding another guy attractive.

Ben is equally attracted to Jason, and though concerned about the age gap, Ben sees how Jason looks at him so is hoping for a chance at a vacation romance. But when he realizes Jason has never been attracted to men and is actually sexually inexperienced with men or women, he’s shocked, yet still intrigued.

It’s not until disaster strikes, however, that things heat up between the two and their reliance on one another and their closeness steps up the attraction. But first, they need to work together in a race against time to save Jason’s daughter. And then, maybe, there will be time for them. Or maybe not.

This is a wonderful story, very fast-paced, nail-biting, and scary, and yet the author manages to incorporate a beautiful May-December romance with engaging characters, both of whom I want to meet and befriend forever.

Jason may be young, but he’s not immature. The author takes the time to build his character and to show the beautiful interactions he has with his daughter, and Maggie is blessed to have such a strong, yet loving man as her role model. Ben is everything I would hope for in an older man who’s looking to have a loving relationship with someone he can eventually partner with for life. He’s always wanted children but his former partner put it off until it was too late for them, but with Jason, he sees a possible future. He’s a bit self-sacrificing, however, and allows Jason to leave without telling him his true feelings. Will he eventually get up the nerve to act in their best interests? One needs to read the book to find out. 

Honestly, this book is worth every penny and worth every minute of your time. It’s not just a romance—it’s an adventure. Highly recommended.

Cover is sweet and eye catching and was unavailable at review time.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 314 pages
Published May 22nd 2017 by KA Books (first published May 19th 2017)
ASINB0711YJ1BT
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alessandro Audiobook Review: As You Wish (Shatterproof Bond #1) by Isobel Starling and narrated by Gary Furlong

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Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

Narration Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

 

One wedding, two best men, one hell of a love story!

Declan Ramsay’s brother Oliver was marrying Annabelle Aiken at a fairytale castle on the banks of Loch Ness in Scotland. The bride and groom decided that Annabelle’s gay younger brother would share the best man duties with Declan. Declan had never met the kid who was to be his joint best man. Sam Aiken was abroad, working as an interpreter and finishing his studies. He wouldn’t meet Declan until a few days before the wedding, so the best men communicated and planned their speech by email for more than a year.

But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to realize the kid isn’t a kid at all, but a tall, blond, and athletic young man. Declan is sure he’s straight, so he’s alarmed by the ferocious attraction he feels for Sam. And as the attraction is reciprocated, the events at Dunloch Castle change everything Declan has ever believed about himself.

But, is Samuel Aiken all that he appears to be?

 

The story is about Samuel Aiken and Declan Ramsay, they have been in contact for almost a year now planning the wedding of Sams sister. They got along really nicely, up until the point where they meet in person. Declan doesn’t really like Samuel, or does he? During the course of the wedding, they get to know each other better. And there is an undeniable attraction between those two, but there are still some parts missing and things don’t really add up.

 

Oh well, my first thoughts after reading this book is that I’ve got mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it wasn’t something new or exciting… The whole theme with the wedding is quite a popular plot for M/M books, so its quite difficult to make it interesting and fresh. Usually when reading a book/listening to a book I finish it quite quickly, but this time it was not the case. It took me like 2 weeks to finish this book. I got through the first 3 hours rather quickly, but I couldn’t see anything happening.. so I just didn’t finish it quickly. Not necessarily because this book was bad or anything. It just didn’t catch me.. if you know what I mean.

 

The story of this book was okay, I guess. As I said above, the plot wasn’t something new, so I knew what to expect when I started this book.

I really liked the setting of the book, I love to read about some Scotsman.(Hehe) But I feel like this story had something missing.. I think there was quite a big elephant in the room, but it wasn’t really discussed until the end. There were some things that didn’t really add up and I think the author could’ve used the potential of this book better. I think there was something going on behind the scenes, that we didn’t get to know, maybe we will get to know it in the next one.

What I enjoyed about this book were the characters. The development of the relationship between the two main characters, went quite fast, but the MCs alone were lovely. I really liked the grumpy feeling I got from Declan.(he is this manly, grumpy guy who is generally not really satisfied with his life.) He shows that with his behaviour towards people. I think this could’ve been explored more thoroughly. On the other hand, I didn’t enjoy Sam that much… I think there was a huge portion of his character missing and I always got the feeling that he is holding something back. I don’t think that the side-characters are worth mentioning, they were nice, but not memorable.

I think there were a lot of plotholes in this story and questions unanswered.

 

Oh well, the writing.. this was something I felt was kind of lacking? Or confusing rather. This book is written in the third person point of view. We follow the characters as a spectator. The thing was that sometimes it was hard to tell which characters I was following. Maybe it would’ve been different if I had read this instead of listening to it, but sometimes I was just like “What’s going on?”. Also I find that the writing had a weird pace to it. Like the first half of the book was quite good in pace, but the end was so rushed. Not just the end, but like 40% of the book was just.. sex and little plot. Some things could’ve been explored more. I wished this book had a little bit more detail to it.

 

Oh my lord, the narration? It was soooo good, I really really loved it. Every character had his own voice. The narration speed was okay. I loved that Gary Furlong even added accents to the Scotsman. It just sounded very sexy. Even though I sometimes really needed to concentrate on what he was saying, because he even made the accent thicker, when it was described that way. Loved it!

I recommend this story to all people who are looking for a light, sweet read with not too much depth in the story and don’t expect a masterpiece.

 

The cover art is by the author herself – Isobel Starling. I think the cover is quite fitting, because it pictures something that really happens in the book.

 

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook
Published May 9th 2017 by Audible (first published October 5th 2015)
Original TitleAs You Wish
SeriesShatterproof Bond #1
CharactersDeclan Ramsay, Sir James Aiken, Annabelle Aiken, Oliver Ramsay, Sam Aiken settingLoch Ness, Scotland, 2015 (United Kingdom)
London, England, 2015 (United Kingdom)

An Alisa Release Day Review: Growing His Dream (Planting Dreams #2) by Andrew Grey

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

Love can grow in even the harshest conditions.

 

Life has been a struggle for Lachlan Buttar ever since his mother passed away and left him unprepared to take care of himself. He’s gone from homeless to staying with a local minister, but it soon becomes clear he will be better off, and safer, on his own. Fortunately Foster and Javi agree to take Lachlan in and offer him a real home on their dairy farm.

 

It’s there that Lachlan meets another of the workers, local farmer Abe Armitage. Though the attraction between them is instant, Abe refuses to act on it until Lachlan returns his interest. By then, strong feelings have taken root, and a passionate romance quickly blossoms. But both men carry baggage that could crush any chance of happiness together, particularly since Lachlan witnessed a crime, and there are those who will do anything to make sure he cannot reveal what he’s seen.

 

This was a very sweet story.  Lachlan is very lucky when Harriet picks him up as he is walking after he decides to leave the minister’s home.  He is immediately welcomed by the family and taken under their wing but it takes the love of Abe for Lachlan to really feel as if he has a home to come back to.

 

Abe tries to be a gentleman to Lachlan because of their age difference and he doesn’t want him to feel forced in anyway.  I loved how he waited until Lachlan was eighteen before he would even acknowledge his attraction verbally.  Lachlan and Abe showed great care for each other and the farm, letting everything take the time it needed to for them to feel comfortable with their relationship and future.

 

This story was told from both characters’ points of view and allowed us to see what was going on in their heads.  However jaded Lachlan was because of everything he has been through he is just as innocent because he hasn’t really had much life experience.  You could feel how scared Abe and Lachlan were about their future.  They were both so open with each other and supporting but couldn’t talk about what was going to happen when Lachlan went to school until everything came to a head and it didn’t quite line up with how they acted with each other.  It was wonderful to see Harriet and Grandma Katie again along with Foster and Javi and to see that the farm is still a success with all the changes Foster has made.

 

Cover art by LC Chase is wonderful and gives a great background for the story and follows the same style as the Planting His Dream.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: June 9, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781635338133

Edition Language: English

Series: Planting Dreams #2

Susan Laine on An Island in the Stars (guest post and exclusive teaser)

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An Island in the Stars by Susan Laine
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Susan Laine here today talking about her latest New Adult science fiction story, An Island in the Stars. Welcome, Susan!

Thank you kindly, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, for having me here today. Hello, readers. I’m Susan Laine, an author with Dreamspinner Press. I’m here to talk about my upcoming novel, An Island in the Stars. It comes out in a few days on June 12, 2017.

Here’s the blurb:

“Sam, a geeky college freshman, has bigger problems than lusting after Marcus, sexy jock, college junior, and his big brother’s best friend. Chasing after a beanie caught in the winter wind turns into a tumble down the rabbit hole for them both—science fiction style.

Sam and Marcus find themselves trapped on a tropical island in the middle of a strange ocean on an alien moon. The sole structure is a ruined temple devoted to the art of love. Flustered, confused, and unable to return home, they need to figure out a means of escape from a hostile jungle teeming with dangerous life-forms.

In this tale where opposites attract and secret crushes are revealed, two very dissimilar young men discover they actually have a lot in common after all, but it will take their differences as much as their points of connection to survive on an island in the stars.”

The topic today is science fiction and genre mashups. As you can read from the blurb, the story is mainly science fiction. Mainly. It’s also gay romance, erotic at that, and new adult.

Science fiction shows the world of the future—but this story takes place in the present day. Science fiction usually takes place on a spaceship or, like I said, in the future but here the elements of scifi are shown in the setting: an alien planet. The advanced technology was created by aliens; humans have no knowledge of them. Neither of the heroes knows how to use this alien technology and has to learn in order to survive. An aptitude in science is a must for people trapped on an alien world.

Thankfully, Sam has his heart set on becoming a scientist and Marcus understands physics. That shows the human element that’s present in the genre, as humans struggle to come to terms with new science, tech, and development. Advancement can he depicted in a positive or negative light. I’m sure that despite their unintentional arrival on an alien planet the boys retain their humanity and keep their moral backbone.

Here’s an exclusive teaser excerpt showing some aspects of the genre:

The light above flickered. A slow hum rose in the chamber, and a heavy noise like grinding gears or generators powering up echoed inside the walls and under their feet.

Then a bright flash brought up a slightly upward tilted, panoramically concaved, blue-glowing holographic console in front of Marcus, who still sat in the chair.

“What the fuck?” Marcus called out in surprise, raising his hands at his sides, his eyes wide and his mouth gaping. “What the hell just happened?”

Sam had only ever seen such elegant holographic technology in the science fiction TV shows he loved to watch. But that was fiction; this was fact. “It’s a hologram.”

If you liked that little scene, here’s the buy link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/an-island-in-the-stars-by-susan-laine-8561-b

Thanks again to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for arranging this guest post.

You can find me:

In the Spotlight: Grrrls on the Side by Carrie Pack (excerpt and giveaway)

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Grrrls on the Side by Carrie Pack
Interlude Press
Publication: June 8, 2017

 

Purchase Links:

Interlude Press |  Amazon |  Barnes & Noble |  Apple Target 

Kobo |   Smashwords |Book Depository |   Indiebound 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Carrie Pack on her Grrls on the Side tour. Welcome, Carrie.

GRRRLS ON THE SIDE by Carrie Pack

Summary

The year is 1994 and alternative is in. But not for alternative girl Tabitha Denton; she hates her life. She is uninterested in boys, lonely, and sidelined by former friends at her suburban high school. When she picks up a zine at a punk concert, she finds an escape—an advertisement for a Riot Grrrl meet-up.

At the meeting, Tabitha finds girls who are more like her and a place to belong. But just as Tabitha is settling in with her new friends and beginning to think she understands herself, eighteen-year-old Jackie Hardwick walks into a meeting and changes her world forever. The out-and-proud Jackie is unlike anyone Tabitha has ever known. As her feelings for Jackie grow, Tabitha begins to learn more about herself and the racial injustices of the punk scene, but to be with Jackie, she must also come to grips with her own privilege and stand up for what’s right.

Excerpt

The club is dirty and small, and I have to stand on my tiptoes to see the stage, but I don’t care because these are my people: the hardscrabble freaks and losers who are angry at the world for their lot in life. Dramatic? Sure. But no one here looks at me like I’m some sort of zoo animal. An elephant with too much hair. A rhinoceros missing her horn. Here I am just a girl with cool boots, who maybe looks like she could kick your ass.

Mike seems in his element, too, and taller somehow, protective almost. When a guy with a safety pin through his left eyebrow bumps into me during the opening act, Mike shoves him back. At first I think we’ve won, but Eyebrow Piercing continues to thrash. I step to the side and let him go crazy. Who cares? This band is shit anyway. Mike lifts his brow as if to say, “Want me to kick his ass?” But I shake my head. No point in getting kicked out before the good bands start. We make our way to the other side of the venue where I can see the stage a little better.

We stand there for a while, taking in the scene. The opening band continues to suck. I’m not even sure the bass player’s amp is on. Their sound is top-heavy, like a car stereo with the speakers blown out. Mike nods in the direction of the merch tables. Looks like all the bands are selling CDs and a couple of girls are handing out flyers. We sidestep the thrashing masses to get a better look. I pass up the CDs; I don’t get my allowance until Monday, and I already blew my savings on the boots. A girl about my age catches my eye and smiles. Her brown hair is barely past shoulder length and much shinier than mine. Bright pink barrettes frame her pale face near her forehead. It should make her look childish, but instead she looks cool. I smile back.

“Hey, you interested in doing some shit?” she asks. Her pale green eyes sparkle with determination.

“Like what?”

“About all the bullshit in the world that girls have to put up with.”

Thinking she’s joking, I laugh. “That’s ambitious.”

“Just because we’re girls doesn’t mean we can’t change things. Here.” She hands me the flyer I’d noticed her passing out. “We meet on Tuesdays.”

About the Author

Never one for following the “rules,” Carrie Pack is a published author of books in multiple genres, including Designs on You, In the Present Tense and the forthcoming Grrrls on the Side (2017). Her novels focus on characters finding themselves in their own time—something she experienced for herself when she came out as bisexual recently. She’s passionate about positive representation in her writing and has been a feminist before she knew what the word meant, thanks to a progressive and civic-minded grandmother. Coincidentally that’s also where she got her love of red lipstick and desserts. Carrie lives in Florida, or as she likes to call it, “America’s Wang.”

* * *

Connect with Carrie Pack at carriepack.com, on Twitter @carriepack, and on Facebook at facebook.com/mscarriepack.

Giveaway

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Release Blitz for Spring Break by Elle Keaton (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Accidental Roots Series
 
Storm Season (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
No Pressure (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
Blurb

 

Sometimes a guy needs a break. Carroll Weir got one–but it wasn’t what he expected.

All he dreams of is escaping dreary, damp Skagit, WA, for a warmer climate. Instead, Federal Investigator Carroll Weir is assigned to a cross-agency case involving geoduck smugglers and a very dead Fish and Wildlife Detective.

Sterling Bailey, the regular bartender at the Loft, likes to think of his customers and employees as family since he doesn’t have one of his own. Exhausted and tense, Carroll Weir wanders in one night and one thing leads to another. All in a night’s work, right?

Who murdered Fish and Wildlife Detective Peter Krystad? Does the killer have Weir in his sights? Things begin to heat up between them but Sterling and Weir will have to move past their personal history in order to change the course of their future.

The spark burning between them is hot enough to scald unless they’re careful somebody’s going to get burned.

Though part of the Accidental Roots Series this book can be read as a standalone. 

Author Bio

Author, photographer, rare Pacific Northwest Native, Elle grew up in Seattle, WA., with the Cascade Mountain range to the east and Olympics to the west. Less than two hours northwest lie the majestic San Juan Islands. To the northeast is the Methow Valley and the scrub deserts of Eastern Washington. Geography ripe with material.

A graduate of Western Washington University, Elle has a BS in biology which taught her to be tenacious. The closest she has come to biology since then is having two kids. Like an experiment or something. She’s lived in four states (none of which were gaseous), London England, and Hong Kong; always knows what time it is, and has no problem finding parking even in the most difficult places. Cannot balance a checking account.

Elle’s series Accidental Roots, mostly set in the Skagit Valley of Western Washington, will make its debut spring of 2017. Storm Season is tender, sometimes irreverent, full of nosy neighbors and help when the hero didn’t think he needed it. Writing has always been a passion but not something she was able to take seriously until recently. Now her head is full of ideas and not enough time in each day.

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