A Jeri Release Day Review: What’s the Use of Wondering? By Kate McMurray

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is the second book in the series WMU, a young adult series set at a small college. There is some character cross over from the first but this one can be read as a stand alone easily.

Logan’s life is all about violin. Trying to live up to the dreams of his parents, he spends his life playing and practicing. So he is a bit apprehensive when he gets a new roommate. But Peter isn’t what Logan believes.

I have to say, Peter put up with a lot of bs from Logan. He was so rude at the start- and all because of the giant chip on his shoulder. Peter could have lashed out or flat out ignored Logan, but he continually offered an olive branch to find common ground. Even though the common ground was obvious.

There was some tough love in there as well between the two of them. Encouraging each other to do what they want and be themselves. Living up to the expectations of your parents has to end in order to be truly happy.

Logan and Peter really were a good compliment to each other. While it started out as an opposites attract kind of thing, they really had more in common than they knew. Building a relationship on that commonality was what made this such a sweet read.

I have to say I loved that musical theater continued in this book from the first. Being a theater junkie and proud drama geek, it brought back some amazing memories.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson.  Lovely and eye-catching.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 182 pages
Published July 3rd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB071K9XC3S
SeriesWMU #2

A MelanieM Review: Feral Dust Bunnies (Offbeat Crimes #4) by Angel Martinez

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

An orphaned kitten may be the only witness to romance and the impossible.

Officer Alex Wolf responds to a lot of ‘paranormal’ calls that aren’t. Exotic pet birds aren’t monsters and unusual dog breeds aren’t aliens. It’s a good thing he likes the animal control officers, but he both yearns for and dreads those calls where he runs into ACO Jason Shen. Jason’s scent is so delicious that Wolf has a difficult time humaning around him.

Animal control calls take a disturbing turn, though, when Wolf and his lizard-man partner, Krisk, discover the impossibly mummified bodies of rats and an unfortunate mother cat. The rescue of the cat’s sole surviving kitten not only gives Wolf more time with Jason, which is both perplexing and wonderful, but also leads to dangerous discoveries. Something inconceivable stalks the city and its officers of the law. Wolf has to figure out what it is before it can attack and drain the life from the people and the kitten he loves.

I should know by now that the cuter the title the scarier the story with this series and Angel Martinez.  I mean we started at Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters which laid down the universe and characters (book 1) and with each story after, the author has been ramping it up!  The monsters have been scarier, the romances more heartwarming, the couples and their various backgrounds far more fascinating and absorbing than it might appear on the surface…it just keeps getting better and better.  Next came giant pills bugs in space (The Pill Bugs of Time (Offbeat Crimes, #2).   Trust me, that’s something that doesn’t bear thinking about too closely.  Great story though.  Followed by two of my favorites, animated clothing in love (Hunter Green Pea Coat (Offbeat Crimes, #2.5) and the truly remarkable, almost unimaginable verse spitting flying books and a vampire with blood issues (Skim Blood and Savage Verse (Offbeat Crimes, #3).

Then Feral Dust Bunnies showed up. Be still my heart!  If I was one of those people who used emojis in their reviews, I’d be throwing them everywhere. Hearts and stuff. Why?  Because I loved this story.  First of all.  That title!  Hooked!  I always knew those suckers were alive!  Next up.  The characters.  Wolf and his  lizard partner Krisk were always mentioned in the other stories as being good if strange and uncommunicative officers of the 77th Precinct, the one that handles the offbeat and downright weird crimes.  Feral Dust Bunnies gives us the real insight into their partnership and Wolf’s background, and such a sad one it is.  He’s an actual wolf, cursed as a pup and turned into a human.  The full story is actually poignant as is his continuing attempts to navigate the human world through a wolf mind.  Martinez does an amazing job of making Wolf such a believable being.  We’re in his head and heart as he tries to work through the simplest of things as a grocery list which can still confound him yet have the great skill set to solve the most difficult of crimes.  He’s given an amazing foster mother to help him work through daily life tasks and be his support as well as a great friend and partner in Krisk whose story we’ve yet to hear.

In one awful event, two amazing things happen for him and the readers.  Wolf finds an orphaned kitten and he calls on the services of ACO Jason Chen, who makes Wolf want to lick him.  I tell you, these two characters (and yes Audacity the kitten is a full blown character) are almost beyond description they are that good!  Wolf’s  interaction with them, I want to say Audacity, but you really can’t leave Jason out of any of it, is intimate, tender, believable and will leave you with a hurt face, because you’re smiling too much over each scene.

Of course, Wolf is never alone.  His ‘pack’ is the other officers at the 77th Precinct and they figure largely in this story too.  Martinez treats them with all the love and care you would expect.  They may not get a lot of time on the page but when they show up, it’s as the fully fleshed out characters we know and love.  And sometimes laugh at or with.

In Feral Dust Bunnies, a villain we’ve only been getting hints about further solidifies here.  The plot thickens as a famous detective says and becomes even more frightening for everyone involved.   There’s another story with Wolf coming out  ~ Jackalopes & Woofen-Poofs (Offbeat Crimes, #5).  I’m on that like hotcakes!    Where do we go from there?  I have no idea. Quite frankly the author’s mind is a wild, imaginative and scary place.  I haven’t a clue where she’s taking us but I can’t wait to hop on board.  I may need my blankie and a kitten.  Plus a broom.

New to this series?  Start at the beginning and meet all the detectives at the 77th Precinct.  Watch them find love while solving some of the wildest cases you will ever read about.  The writing is excellent, the pace as fast as rollercoaster and the imagination of one Angel Martinez?  Out of this world!

Cover art by Posh Gosh is nice and I have to admit how do you do Feral Dust Bunnies?

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 115 pages
Published June 20th 2017 by Pride Publishing
Original TitleFeral Dust Bunnies
ISBN139781786515933
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Offbeat Crimes #4

Series:

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Imperfect Harmony by Jay Northcote and narrated by Mark Steadman

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

This was a terrific story, made even better by Mark Steadman’s audio performance. Jay Northcote’s books seem to get progressively better and he’s up there among my favorites now. In fact, his stories are among the ones I reach for when I’m feeling down or stressed as they always lighten my heart.

This is no exception as we see the love story between John Fletcher, an older man who is grieving for his long-term partner who was killed two years before, and twenty-two year old Rhys Callington, who also happens to be grieving the tragic loss of his lover and best friend.

The men become friends and then lovers, and as their affection grows, John begins to have second thoughts while Rhys is in favor of second chances. Mark Steadman takes us through all the emotional turmoil and angst we’d expect from this May-December, nineteen-year age-gap romance. But, the beauty of the story lies in the men’s personalities, their struggles to overcome their grief—individually and together—and John’s final awakening to the gift he’s been given for a second chance at love.

Very sweet and romantic, as well as, an interesting storyline and endearing characters. I highly recommend this audiobook.

 

Cover is striking with its black and white coloration.

Buy links:
Audible.com
Audible.co.uk
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook
Published June 12th 2017 by Jaybird Press (first published April 15th 2016)
Original TitleImperfect Harmony
Edition LanguageEnglish

Amy Lane Sharing “too quiet” kid stories on her Manny Get Your Guy Tour (author guest post)

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Manny Get Your Guy (The Mannies #2) by Amy Lane
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art by Paul Richmond
Available for Purchase at:  Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so happy to have Amy Lane back again, this time sharing “too quiet” kid stories on her ‘Manny Get Your Guy‘ tour.  Welcome, Amy!

 

…too quiet… Part 3 by Amy Lane

So my last two posts in the tour have been “too quiet” kid stories—and seriously, most parents have a zillion of them. Somewhere in my archives I’ve got pictures of not one, but TWO little girls who thought it would be a laugh riot to get into mom’s makeup when they were bored. Squish’s picture has lipstick everywhere on her face. Chicken’s has mascara EVERYWHERE—right after her bath.  Never turn your back on them—something will attack.

But in a bustling household, sometimes, you just can’t be everywhere at once. And sometimes, little things get overlooked.

Our cable service provider is Comcast. I know—this doesn’t SEEM like it has anything to do with childcare, but bear with me.  Because in our neighborhood, we can have Comcast or Direct TV, and at one point in time—back when Squish was a baby and Zoomboy could fit in tiny places—we thought we were getting Direct TV.

The two bozos they sent to drill holes in our house and restring all our cables and generally screw up our entertainment system were not only not very bright—they were also not very FAST. They instilled maximum damage, but it took them nine hours of walking in and out of my relatively crowded, busy house in order to do it. And in the meantime, I had to make dinner and give baths and generally try to run my house while Mate said things like, “Do we HAVE to drill the hole?”

Anyway…

Around about hour seven, it got to be “too quiet.”

We were missing a kid. 

Strange people had been going in and out of our house all day and WE WERE MISSING A KID.

MANHUNT!

Lock the dog in the bedroom, the big kids were looking under the bed, in the closets, behind the shoes, Squish was clung to, on somebody’s hip, as the whole family wandered our 1000 foot square house with increasing panic, screaming ZoomBoy’s name.

WE COULDN’T FIND ZOOMBOY!

The panic.

Seriously.

The panic.

Mate ran a circle around the block, and we couldn’t find him.

He ran the half-mile, larger circle.

Nothing.

I got into the car and turned on my brights and tooled around the neighborhood. Holy God, my kid was missing, I was going to have to call the police, I was going to have to issue an amber alert, I was going to have to…

Slow down as I was pulling into my driveway because he was running out of the house looking really pleased with himself.

“Mom! Mom! I hid between the coffee table and the couch and NOBODY FOUND ME!”

I almost smacked my child in the face.

“Were… uh… were we uh playing hide-and-seek?” I asked, spots floating in front of my eyes.

“No. I just thought I’d hide.”

“Uh, okay, hon. That was, uh, special. Maybe next time, tell somebody we’re playing that game? Mom was really worried.”

“Okay. Where’d you go?”

“TO FIND YOU!”

“But I was in the coffee table!”

“I know that now.”

“Are you okay?”

“I need to go cry on Dad now.”

“Can the guys go?”

“Yes.”

“Are they done?”

“I don’t care.”

“Good. They’re loud.”

So, yeah. Too quiet.

Also, a lesson in how no matter how hard you try as a parent, you never have it nailed down. 

By the way—Direct TV? Didn’t work. We had no service for the first 48 hours and when we complained they told us we’d forfeit our deposit if we quit now.

We forfeited the deposit, fixed the hole in our wall, and never ever strayed from Comcast again.

And we made it a family rule that you could never, ever, ever start a game of hide-and-seek unless you told people that you were hiding first.

Yeesh… I have to admit, I feel bad giving Taylor four kids and chaos for this book. I mean, I survived it, but poor Taylor.

He’s not going to know what hit him.

It’s a good thing Brandon’s there to help.

Blurb

The Mannies

Starting over and falling in love.

Tino Robbins’s sister, Nica, and her husband, Jacob, are expecting their fifth child. Fortunately, Nica’s best friend, Taylor Cochran, is back in town, released from PT and in need of a job.

After years in the service and recovering from grave injury, Taylor has grown a lot from the callow troublemaker he’d been in high school. Now he’s hoping for a fresh start with Nica and her family.

Jacob’s cousin Brandon lives above the garage and thinks “Taylor the manny” is a bad idea. Taylor might be great at protecting civilians from a zombie apocalypse, but is he any good with kids?

Turns out Taylor’s a natural. As he tries to fit in, using common sense and dry wit, Brandon realizes that Taylor doesn’t just love their family—he’s desperate to be part of it. And just like that, Brandon wants Taylor to be part of his future.

Sequel to:

The Virgin Manny

Blurb:

The Mannies

Growing up and falling in love…

Sometimes family is a blessing and a curse. When Tino Robbins is roped into helping his sister deliver her premade Italian dinners when he should be studying for finals, he’s pretty sure it’s the latter! But one delivery might change everything.

Channing Lowell’s charmed life changes when his sister dies and leaves him her seven-year-old son. He’s committed to doing what’s best for Sammy… but he’s going to need a lot of help. When Tino lands on his porch, Channing is determined to recruit him to Team Sammy.

Tino plans to make his education count—even if that means avoiding a relationship—but as he falls harder and harder for his boss, he starts to wonder: Does he have to leave his newly forged family behind in order to live his promising tomorrow?

Available at:  Amazon

Blog Tour Dates:

June 24 – MM Good Book Reviews

June 27 – My Fiction Nook

June 28 – Open Skye Book Reviews

July 1 – Boy Meets Boy

July 3 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words  

July 5 – Love Bytes

July 6 – Long and Short Reviews

  

STRW Interview with M.A. Church on her new release ‘Texting, AutoCorrect, and a Prius’ (author interview and excerpt)

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Texting, AutoCorrect, and a Prius by M.A. Church
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have M.A. Church here today talking about writing, characters, and her latest release,

Texting, AutoCorrect, and a Prius.  Welcome, M.A.!

 

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Our Interview with M.A. Church

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

A lot. Many of my characteristics, thoughts, feelings, and reactions are built into my characters. Actually, both my main characters have many of my personality traits.

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

Absolutely! Research plays a vital role. I mainly write paranormal and sci-fi, but I spend a lot of time checking mythology. I’m a firm believer in you have to understand a myth before you can flip it on its head.  If I’m writing about werecats, I feel it’s necessary to the understand habits and reactions of felines, whether they’re big or small.  Many of my paranormal stories are based in present day, so I have to make my shifters fit into that environment.

I do enjoy research, but I love making up worlds and cultures. It’s one reasons why I’m so fond of sci-fi. But even with that, research plays a key role in making the unbelievable believable.

  • Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

I have but not recently. There was a scene in Shadows in the Night where the main character’s mother was dying. I struggled with it because it was close to when I lost my mom. It caused some bad moments, but I got through it. Frankly I think it made that scene much stronger.

  •  Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m good either way.  I like HEA, but sometimes the story just isn’t set up for that. I’d much rather have an ending that is HFN than to force HEA. As long story ends with the characters happy, I’m good, even if all their issues haven’t been resolved.

  • How do you choose your covers?  

The main thing I look for is something that highlights my story and picks up the feeling of the book. I want something that portrays a very basic element of the book so readers know at a glance what my story is about.

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

I’d say it’d either be The Harvest series or Trouble Comes in Threes from the Fur, Fangs, and Felines series. The Harvest was originally written right after my mom passed away. The books kept me from losing my mind.

Trouble Comes in Threes doesn’t have that memory connected to it, but it was the first threesome I ever wrote. It was well received, fortunately. And I did worry about how to portray a threesome believably.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I have a book coming from Dreamspinner in October called Dragon’s Hoard. It’s part of the new Dreamspun Beyond line, and I’m very excited about that.

At Sixes and Sevens is under contract with Dreamspinner and will *probably* be out in November. It could be October, though.

Blurb

Clay McDonald finds the perfect car on Craigslist and is quick to send the seller a text:

Is your penis still for sale?

AutoCorrect strikes again. Damn—he should’ve proofread. How embarrassing.

Luckily Darrell Anderson, a mechanic and the owner of the Prius, is more amused than offended, and the two men agree to meet. When they do, the attraction is instant, and a date is arranged. But a series of mishaps, misunderstandings, and misplaced assumptions sorely test the new relationship.

In a contemporary romantic comedy about the perils of technology and dating in the modern world, a text that went so wrong might just lead to something so right—but only if Clay can refrain from jumping to conclusions and give love the benefit of the doubt.

 

 

Excerpt

“Whoa, whoa. The truck is fine, and there’s nothing wrong with it. You didn’t hear me because I drove the Prius. Which means you’re going to need to take me back up to the shop since I left my truck there.”

Darrell groaned. Of all the rotten, underhanded…. “Oh, come on. Seriously? You just ruined my Saturday.”

Bert laughed, a cocky little grin on his face. “Hey, I told you it had to be parked here.”

Darrell continued to grumble as he went back to arranging the food. “I was trying to forget about it. Does that mean you posted the ad on Craigslist?”

“As a matter of fact, I did this morning.” Bert opened his beer. “It should be up already.”

Of course it was. “Lovely. Just what I want to do on my weekend off. I’m assuming you put my cell phone number on the ad?”

“Yup.” Bert sipped his beer, then put it down on the counter. “Look, if something comes up, just let the call go to voicemail.”

Darrell poured a soda for himself. “Thank you, Captain Obvious.”

Bert smirked, then drank some more of his beer as he studied Darrell.

“What?” Darrell demanded as he opened the chip bag.

Bert slowly sho✒︎ok his head, an overdone look of pity on his face. “You’ve got all the symptoms.”

Darrell knew he was going to regret asking, but just like a moth to the flame, he couldn’t resist. “All the symptoms of what?”

“BBS.”

“As sure as I’m standing here, I know better, but okay….” Darrell scrubbed his hand over his face. “I’ll bite. What is BBS?”

Grinning madly, Bert took another sip of his beer, then with exaggerated patience, put it on the counter. “Blue ball syndrome. Dude, you desperately need to get laid. You’re grouchy, your sense of humor has left the building, and quite frankly, your one-liners need a couple more lines.”

Darrell tilted his head back, stared at the ceiling, and sighed helplessly. “I had to ask, didn’t I?”

About the Author

M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!

When not writing, she’s on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two grown children.

She is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Social Media Links:

A

Sean Michael on Memories, Writing and his release ‘Making a Splash’ (author guest post and excerpt)

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Making a Splash by Sean Michael
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs | Tibbs Design

Available for Purchase at

      
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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sean Michael here today on his Making a Splash tour. Welcome, Sean!

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Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me today.

In Making a Splash, Austin is a natural diver. In fact, he’s at a public pool, showing off for his friends when Vince discovers him. He’s on the three meter board.

I can remember when I was around ten, I jumped off my first five meter platform. Thinking back on it, I’m surprised I actually not only made it up there, but then jumped given that I now have a crazy fear of heights. I don’t even like standing on a chair to reach for something at the top of bookcases.

However, this time I not only climbed, I also jumped. Now, I had never jumped from this high and no one had ever told me how I should do it. I remember jumping and going deep enough that my feet touched the bottom of the pool. I did push up but not very hard and I didn’t think I was going to break the surface in time to take the breath I needed. What a panic! I did not go for a second jump.

Of course, now I know that I should have spread my arms as soon as I hit the water and if I made it to the bottom, I should have pushed up hard. Live and learn.

I’m jealous of Austin and his ability to play so freely not only that high up, but doing tricks in the air at the same time.

Sean Michael

smut fixes everything

Blurb:

After a scandal of Olympic proportions, Vince Dawson lost his job as a diving coach and is on a downhill slide. So when he sees Austin Brody at a local pool, diving like a trained athlete, he thinks he’s found his ticket back to the big leagues.

Austin thinks Vince is crazy for wanting him to dive competitively. He dives for beer and smokes, while working double shifts as a welder. Still, he’ll give training with Vince a shot.

But Austin isn’t willing to let Vince rule his life, and Vince—used to hopeful young athletes folding under pressure from him—finds Austin baffling… and hot. Even if they can work together and become more than friends, they still have a long way to go before they’ll be ready to compete. 

Excerpt:

Vince stood as he watched the kid climb the ladder, moving to get a better viewing angle of the board, one that would also afford him an excellent position to see Austin’s entry. Man, the kid moved like he didn’t know it was challenging to swing all that height up on his hands on a springboard. A springboard. No one in their right mind did handstand dives on a….

Two twists. Two and a half somersaults and then into the water like a knife.

Jesus fuck.

Vince was headed for the water before he could say “I don’t follow diving anymore.” He pushed his way past the kids gathering around, eyes on the tall, skinny blond. “Who’s your coach?”

“Huh?” A big pair of green eyes met his. “I don’t play ball.”

“I sure as hell hope you don’t.” He nodded toward the diving board. “I’m talking about diving. No way you picked those moves up on your own.” No fucking way.

“Nope. Practiced ’em on the trampoline.” Austin hauled himself out of the water.

“All by yourself.” He didn’t follow diving anymore, Vince reminded himself. He was done.

“Yep. I like jumping. Hell of a rush.”

“Tell you what. You show me the toughest dive you know how to do, and I’ll buy you dinner.” With a captive audience and without all the other people trying to get a piece of the kid, maybe he could convince Austin that he was exactly what Austin needed in a coach. Or at least he could if he were still in the diving world. Which he wasn’t.

“Dinner like McDonald’s or dinner like shrimp and steak?”

He chuckled. Kid was smart too. He took a mental look at his bank account and wished he hadn’t.

“Like dinner anywhere you want.” After all, he didn’t follow diving anymore, wasn’t going to get back into coaching. But if he did? This was the person he’d want to do it with. It would be worth breaking the bank for.

“It’s a deal.” Austin held his hand out to shake.

About the Author

Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.

Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.

Sean Michael on the web: