A MelanieM Release Day Review: Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Romancing the… #2) by Clare London

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Is this the makeover of a lifetime?

Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.

Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.

Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Romancing the… #2) by Clare London is everything I look for in a contemporary romance and more.  Beautifully written, great characters, fantastic storytelling! I fell completely in love with every aspect of Clare London’s tale, from the characters to the location (especially the location) to the plot.  This is one of those stories I just wanted to add on a star or plus sign because the characters touched me so.

Told from both Perry and  Greg’s povs, the blurb doesn’t give the reader any idea of the bad situation Perry is in when given the assignment by his boss to track down the estranged brother of a popular “pop/media” family to bring him back into the fold for a TV reality show.  Perry is in a bad situation at home, due to an ex-boyfriend and the stress at work, the family is a challenge to work with and the place he must travel to?  An unknown factor to Perry.

Greg Ventura left family, his brothers and their bullying behind, preferring life on the isolated isle of North Uist.  There he’s made a life without tvs or media and even phone for the most part.  So it’s not surprising he’s unaware of the arrival on the island of one Perry Goodwood, there to bring him home and make him over.  But Perry’s arrived under the worst conditions, Greg’s not only what he not expected but he’s refusing all offers and Perry’s stuck.  It’s such a engaging situation and London makes it magical.

North Uist is a featured  player here along with all its inhabitants and local charm.  It pulls the reader in as thoroughly as it did Greg and it does Perry,  the landscape’s harsh beauty combining with the warm-hearted, enveloping nature of the villagers and the isolation provide a enchantment that serves as a solid foundation for story and romance.  I wanted to find a plane, then a ferry, and then immerse myself in life here as well.  It’s as real to me as anywhere I’ve ever visited and the pull here feels true.

With North Uist as the background, having two main characters such as Perry and Grey, well, the story becomes irresistible imo.  Greg has been so wounded by his family, his brothers specifically.  Constantly belittled and bullied, made to feel ugly and not wanted, that mindset became a permanent part of his emotional and mental state.  He’s withdrawn to the island, almost hiding thinking himself unworthy in so many ways, unable to see himself as others do.  That he has friends who look after him, trying to pull him into the meager social life of the isle is testament that they see him far more clearly than he sees himself.  Greg is a wonderfully constructed character and watching the layers peel away here is a true joy of this story.

Perry also is a bundle of pleasing depth.  Interested about everything, outgoing, he finds himself embracing the island and its people to his surprise.  And Greg too.  From Greg’s introduction (and his stone cottage and his dog) to Perry, we are both completely lost in their relationship.  Perry is intelligent, charming and perceptive.  He’s a great match for Greg, and for the island itself.  He  just has to figure that out.

But it’s not just the main characters, it’s all the other people you meet here.  From Bridie, Greg’s friend, Greg’s dog Rory, the people at the pub, Marty who gets the fresh scallops and so many others, you’ll feel like you’ve known these people for a lifetime.  You get tangled up in the lives of island, how it’s lived…how they share it together. It’s a strength here as well as the fear from the parents that all the young people will be lost to the mainland.  I don’t know…I just can’t say enough about this entire story.

Yes, I can.  I didn’t want it to end.  I could have happily stayed there, watching these men live out their lives among friends.  I wanted to see that too.  Leaving that place left me sort of heartbroken.  I wasn’t ready.  But I was so happy to have read it in the first place.  You will be too.  I’m putting Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Romancing the… #2) by Clare London on my highly recommended list.  Don’t miss this one!

Cover art by Bree Archer is perfect with the island in the back and Perry in the front.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, Dreamspun Desires #36, 260 pages
Expected publication: June 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleRomancing the Ugly Duckling
ISBN139781635333879
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Romancing the… #2 settingScotland

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Two Cowboys and a Baby (Dreamspun Desires #30) by B.A. Tortuga and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

A little bundle of joy means big changes.

 

Hoss McMasters has a working ranch, a bull riding career, a nosy momma, and a best friend he’s been in love with since he can remember. He’s a busy, happy cowboy, living the good life.

 

Then one morning he discovers a baby on his doorstep.

 

Well, Hoss does what any reasonable man would do—he calls his momma and his buddy, Sheriff Pooter, and they head to the clinic to see if Doc knows of any suddenly not-so-pregnant girls.

 

In the meantime, Hoss and his best friend, Bradley, have their hands full trying to care for an infant, run a ranch, and deal with the sudden confession that Bradley doesn’t hate Hoss for coming out to him in high school. In fact, Bradley’s been trying to catch Hoss’s attention for damn near a decade.

 

This was essentially a sweet story the biggest problem is that these two don’t know how to communicate, at all.  They have been completely oblivious to each other for years with Hoss actually thinking his best friend really hates him to being gay but still letting him live on his property and spending time together.  Huh?  That just confused me even more.

 

I could see Hoss’s confusion when it came to the baby showing up on his porch, I mean really who would expect a man with no experience with children to suddenly be willing and able to be the care giver to a baby that showed up on his porch?  He and Bradley work well together taking care are the baby and starting to show each other how they feel when they are thrown another curve ball.  And Bradley does what he did in high school, basically runs away to protect himself.  I was glad that they were able to work things out but up until the very end both of them were so unsure of their relationship I had trouble really connecting with them.

 

Dorian Bane did a nice job narrating this story.  I was able to keep track of the story and characters which is always nice.  I enjoyed the different voice he used and he portrayed their emotions and personalities well.

 

Cover art by Bree Archer is nice and follows the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 5hrs 51min
Published April 25, 2017 (ebook first published March 15, 2017) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Dreamspun Desires

A Kai Review: Boys Don’t Cry by J.K. Hogan

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Mackenzie Pratt is having the worst luck of his life. His apartment building is being torn down, and since he’s jobless and just weeks away from graduating college, he can’t find anywhere else he can afford to live that isn’t a critter-infested dump. As he’s lamenting the very real possibility of job hunting while couch-surfing, he gets an offer from the coworker of his best friend. An in-demand mobile app developer and heir to his parents’ fortune, Laurent Beaudry is literally an eccentric billionaire. Even though Mackenzie realizes he’s basically living the plot of a cheesy romance novel, he takes the proffered room in Laurent’s Baltimore mansion. He finds his new housemate to be grumpy, brooding, and, at times, incredibly kind and endearing. Raised by his brother after their father’s death, Mackenzie spent his formative years plowing headlong through school, focusing on little else beyond earning his teaching certification. He’s never taken the time to explore love and relationships, much less sexuality, so when he finds himself being courted by another man, he has no idea what to do. And when he realizes he might actually return those feelings, his life takes a whole new direction.

Wow… Reading this was just a pleasure to me!

I loved almost everything about this book: The writing, the characters, the plot, the low angst, the HOT parts… It was just so good!

I loved Laurie so much! He was really weird and grumpy sometimes and to everybody who didn’t actually know him, he was just a cold bastard. But how a cold person can be the one who offers to a practically stranger (Mackenzie) a place to live,  just because the guy would be ejected from his place? Can you relate it to a cold person? No, he wasn’t cold. And soon enough Mackenzie learned that.

Laurie was an orphan who didn’t have a normal childhood and was left by everybody that he loved. So he had put a cold mask on to the world. But thankfully he couldn’t keep his disguise with Mackenzie for so long.

And we had Mackenzie.

Ah, Mackenzie, I wanted to strangle you sometimes, so you would admit for yourself what I already knew about you. Urgh! But I love you too.

Mackenzie was a guy who had lived so focused on making everybody happy his entire life, that he had never taken the time to be in a relationship. At the age of 23 years old, he had never explored his sexuality. So when he realized he was attracted to Laurie he struggled a little. He didn’t want to admit it even to himself. Good thing that Laurent was persistent and didn’t let Mack freak out.

Mackenzie doubts and fears felt real and even with a lot of concerns and denial he didn’t break apart from Laurent and I really loved him for that. He just took more time to notice that his feelings for Laurie were unquestionable and real.

Laurent and Mackenzie together were so amazing. They were hot, yeah yeah! They were also sweet and felt like a real couple. I can say I absolutely connected with them.

I also loved the other characters; Tayler in special. And even though River was a little of an ass with Laurent at first, I liked him too. So here is a think about these two characters (Tayler and River): I think there were something between them. Did you pick up the sexual tension as I did? I mean, they just snapped at each other but was clear for me that they needed a bed. Seriously, it was just me seeing it?

Anyway, this story was delightful. It was well written with Mackenzie point of view and I really loved how it worked.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was:

I’m curious about Laurent’s uncle and I wanted to see the jerk going to hell. In the book, he appears briefly and I really wanted to know what happened to him and what he really did to Laurent in the past. Also, I wanted to see Henry (Laurent’s ex) going to hell too… Yes, I think I’m a little revengeful in the moment. Lol

Well, I was just looking for updates about this author, since this is my first book by her. And just found out that will be published another as a book sequel to this one. Yay! *Happy dance* So, yeah, I’m happy.

If you didn’t read this book yet, go get it now and read. I recommend!

The cover art by KHD Graphics is nice and sexy.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Ebook: 234 pages

Published May 25th, 2017 by Euphoria Press

BA Tortuga on Casts (Cats?) of Thousands and her release ‘What the Cat Dragged In (Sanctuary #2)’ (author guest post)

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What the Cat Dragged In (Sanctuary #2) by B.A. Tortuga
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have B.A. Tortuga back again talking about her latest story,What the Cat Dragged In (Sanctuary #2). Welcome, B.A.!

✒︎

Casts (Cats?) of Thousands by B.A. Tortuga

Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of stories.

I had a reader ask me why there were so many people in my stories and, I have to tell y’all. I’m one child of ten. My daddy is one of seven. Moma Sue is one of six. My stepmom? One of fourteen. Stepdad? One five.

Small families aren’t my expertise.

Not only that, but I come from people that collect folks. We are happy to bring people into the fold and adopt them as our own. I have ‘family’ in Canada, in New Jersey, California, Colorado, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania… I grew up like that, and I don’t know another way.

It’s sort of like being part of this huge weird pack of choice. I have dozens of kids that know me as Auntie Pooh, tons of support when I need it, and an endless supply of people to pray for. 😉

You know that’s how it works, right? The more people, the more chances of drama and strangeness, especially from the rednecky side of the fence (and believe me, I have a shitload of folks on the rednecky side of the fence. You ever known someone that broke his neck playing redneck polo? No? I have.)

My universe is populated by huge families and casts of thousands, because I love being surrounded by family with all their bumps and scars and weirdnesses and love, because in the end, that’s what we’re all about right? The love?

Even if they make you a little bit nutso?

Much love, y’all.

BA

Blurb

A Sanctuary Novel

Don’t people know that cats and dogs don’t mix?

Connor Ragbone finds things. Sometimes it’s gold, sometimes jewels, sometimes people. Set in his hippie ways, he never thought he’d find a pack, but with Sam and Gus and their goofy shifter family, he fits right in. Then he finds Brock.

Shifter Brock Herman is undercover alone, working to break up a poaching ring. The last thing he needs is for Connor to wreck his sting. And now the crazy bobcat just won’t go away!

The poachers lead Brock and Connor on a merry chase all over Western Colorado, looking for shifter bears, but it’s a lost pup who brings them back to Nevada and the pack Sam and Gus are building. That’s when Brock has to decide whether he still travels alone or if Connor and his crazy family are where his heart belongs.

This follow-up to Just Like Cats and Dogs is a feel-good shifter romance novel where cats and dogs prove they can be way more than the enemies nature has made them.

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at www.batortuga.com

Release Blitz and Review Tour for Clare London’s Romancing The Ugly Duckling (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 63,000 words
 
 
 
Blurb

 

Is this the makeover of a lifetime?


Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.


Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.


Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

Excerpt

After the meal, they settled in the living room again. Greg poured himself a glass of what he introduced as his homemade wine, but Perry politely declined a glass for himself. He couldn’t recall any decent wine he’d ever drunk being that particular shade of purple. He was definitely making a mental shopping list for when he could find somewhere civilized, and gin and tonic would come several steps above couscous on that.

Greg picked up a book and started reading. Perry waited a while—after deciding against asking what they could watch on the miniscule TV in the corner of the living room, with obvious dust settling on the controls—then coughed to get Greg’s attention. “Where do you need me tomorrow?”

Greg peered at him over the book. “What are you talking about?”

“Working together, remember? Um. What exactly do you do, apart from painting?”

Greg’s look was possibly sly, but that could have been due to the waning light outside the cottage.

“Sometimes I work in the Sea Bird restaurant.”

Perry thought he remembered seeing a sign to that place on his journey here in Dougie’s car. The building itself had been very small, more like a tea room, with a single light on in the front porch, and it didn’t look very open for business. But he’d go with the flow. “Are you a chef?”

Greg laughed. He seemed more relaxed tonight. “No, I think you’ve realized my cooking skills aren’t the best. And it’s not really big enough for a chef and full kitchen staff. I mean, it wouldn’t meet your London standards.”

“That has nothing to do with anything.”

“What?”

“My London… standards, experience, whatever you want to call it. I’m in Uist now, and I want to know what you do here.”

Greg was looking at him oddly. Was he, Perry, coming across as too bossy? God, this man was impossible to gauge properly.

“It’s more of a large dining room where friends can hang out.” Greg still sounded reasonably relaxed. “It’s owned by a couple of elderly sisters who are marvelous cooks, and we sometimes hire it out for a celebration. We’re not big on dinner parties here, you can imagine. I help out with serving when it’s busy. But mainly I provide the fish dishes, especially scallops.”

“You’re a fisherman?”

Greg nodded slowly, his gaze still on Perry. “Yes, you could say that. I’m a diver. I dive for scallops.”

“Can’t you just… I don’t know.” Buy them in a shop? “Don’t they have official suppliers?”

Greg frowned. “Hand-collected scallops are better. The sweeter ones are chosen, and the dish is more precious. Haven’t you ever tasted the difference?”

It pained Perry to admit weakness, but he did. “I’ve never had scallops in my life.”

Greg’s eyes narrowed. “I thought you lived in the center of the sophisticated city?”

“We can’t all afford posh restaurants,” Perry snapped back, then blushed at—yet again—having to admit shortcoming.

“Oh.” Greg blinked. “Well, you’ll see them in the raw when you come out in the boat tomorrow with me.”

“When I…? Tomorrow…? Boat?”

Greg smiled slowly. “Yes. The weather should be fine, so I’m driving west past Lochmaddy to one of my favorite coastal seawater lochs. I’ll pack some provisions so we can eat lunch there. You can help carry the equipment, then collect the scallops into boxes and keep watch for me.”

“We… I….” Perry was struggling for words. Worse, Greg seemed to realize it and find it highly amusing. “I’ve never been in one.”

“One what?”

“Boat. I’ve never been in a boat. Well, until the ferry two days ago.”

Greg nodded, also slowly. “That’s fine. You can stay here if you want.”

“No!” Perry’s cry was instinctive. Did this brute of a bloke think he, Perry, was a lightweight? “I will not! We made a deal.”

“Okay. Well, I hope Bridie brought a selection of decent waterproofs as well as your day clothes, because you’ll need them.”

“You said the weather should be fine….”

“Just in case,” Greg said ominously. He concentrated back on his book.

Perry sat silently for a long moment. In fact, everything was silent, inside the cottage and out, apart from the occasional call from a bird, and Greg turning a page. Perry wasn’t used to such quiet. Nor was he used to living in close quarters with a man who barely tolerated him, and actually wanted him to get lost. There was a small pile of paperbacks on the table beside Greg’s armchair, and Perry picked one up. He also wasn’t used to reading anthologies of horror stories, his preference being for romantic comedies and the occasional biography—but he supposed there was always a first time. Opening it to the first chapter, he bit back a sigh. At least he’d won this stage of the battle with Greg Ventura, and he had more time to convince him about the TV project.

But thinking about the trip out onto a likely freezing Scottish loch tomorrow, he wasn’t sure whether the price would be too much to pay.

Author Bio


Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.


She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.


Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

Release Blitz for RJ Scott’s Kingdom Series vol 1

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Buy Links: Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2srlI6P

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2t0Oto0

 
 
Length: 81,000 words
 
Blurb
 

The Vampire Contract


A vampire guilty of murder on the run from justice to prove his innocence. A werewolf sent to retrieve him with one thought ~ that only the guilty run.


Vampire Micah Jamieson is found guilty of killing his human husband. He runs from the execution he is facing to get home. He just has to pray he’ll reach home before supernatural law enforcement, in the shape of a Glitnir Court Retriever close in on him.


Wolf shifter and Retriever, Connor Strand easily captures Micah and he’s fully prepared to take the runaway in. But his wolf has other ideas.


Something about Micah challenges Connor and his long held beliefs. What if Micah is actually innocent? Will Connor put to one side his own prejudices, and then risk both his life and career to keep Micah safe?


The Guilty Werewolf


Declan Finlay is the best Retriever that Glitnir has.


Well, he is now that Connor Strand has gone rogue.


He is sent to find Connor – the guilty werewolf. But he doubts that his best friend could ever be guilty and he resolves to track him down and find out why he ran with the renegade vampire.


When the Fae Alliance, reporting to Glitnir, demand that he not go alone he is forced to accept the Incubus, Levi Tiernan, an assassin, as his companion on the journey. If Declan doesn’t kill Connor, then Levi will.


What happens when old lust and love dictate action and suddenly Declan is questioning everything he loves.


The Warlock’s Secret


In a world where magic is rare, Joseph Jamieson is one of the most powerful holders of power. Orophin Tiwele, or Phin to his friends, is the son of the Elf King and has magic of his own. The rules say two supernatural beings with magic cannot be together and Joseph and Phin have lived by that rule despite their attraction to each other.


The resistance is growing larger each day, but traitors threaten everything Joseph has built. He wants peace, but soon comes to realize the way to peace, is through war.


When the only thing that will save lives is Joseph and Phin working together, it becomes impossible to see where magic and passion end and where love could begin.

 



Author Bio


RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.


The last time she had a weekís break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldnít defeat.


mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk
www.rjscott.co.uk/
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