A MelanieM Review: The Wooden Samurai by Alex Morgan

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

In 1708 Japan, Hirata, a samurai serving Lord Takarada, is enjoying his elevated status in the daimyo’s army when he finds a gift, a wooden carving of a samurai on a horse. Hirata realizes he has a secret admirer, and soon discovers Matsuda, a young archer in Takarada’s retinue, has taken a liking to him.

But Hirata isn’t ready for a relationship with a man and refuses Matsuda. When he realizes he really does love Matsuda, the archer is far away with Lord Takarada in Edo Castle, and Hirata doesn’t know when they will return.

Hirata decides to convince Matsuda he is ready, but before he can put it into action, an earthquake and a tsunami destroy the daimyo’s manor.

Is Matsuda still alive? Is it too late for love to bloom between the two men?

The Wooden Samurai by Alex Morgan sets out a huge tale for itself and its far too big for its 45 pages to accomplish.  That’s a sad thing because I loved the premise and this sort of story is just the thing that always hooks me in.  I love stories of feudal Japan and samurai, especially if they get their history correct and can make their settings come alive as Alex Morgan did.  Lord Takarada’s manor is a living, breathing small village unto itself…full of life, swarming with people, structures we get to see through the eyes of Hirata, the samurai who serves him.

While the setting, the history and the events that occur are dramatic and more than enough to connect any reader to the story, the relationship between Hirata and Matsuda isn’t.  It just has too many flaws, due in part to the short nature of the tale.  Enlarged, I think The Wooden Samurai could be an entirely different novel but at 45 pages there’s just not enough time for the switch from Hirata not having any leanings towards sexual feelings towards not only men but Matsuda himself to love just isn’t plausible, no matter the circumstances.  Morgan just doesn’t make the case here with enough passion or enough interaction between the men to make me believe it.   Again,  the author has so much going on, that had everything been explored in more depth, whether it was the events occurring (no spoilers here but how I wanted more) to seeing Matsuda and Hirada converse, be, whatever, with each other enough to have a chemistry that I felt was lacking here.

So, The Wooden Samurai earned it’s 3 stars not on it’s romance but on everything else which was so well done.  Alex Morgan can write, I think the author just got really ambitious here for a short story.  I’d love to see an expanded version sometime down the line.  I will certainly be looking forward to Morgan’s other stories, longer ones, in the future.

Cover art has nice touches.  But I wish that the wooden samurai carving that plays such a large part in the story could have been featured on the cover instead of the overused naked torso.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 45 pages
Published June 24th 2017 by JMS Books LLC
ASINB0721TRMXN

A VVivacious Review: Spa Weekend (Daniel and Ryan #6) by Tamryn Eradani

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Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Daniel and Ryan are going away for a Spa Weekend, their first planned trip away, together. And if this wasn’t already special, Ryan wants to try something new in the week leading up to the Spa Getaway.

This is book 6 in the Daniel and Ryan series. Having come so far into the series I finally have a handle on the pulse of things.

I remember in a lot of my initial reviews for this series, I talked about being disappointed with the pace of things. It often felt that we would go one step forward only to go two steps backwards. But after having read so far I have really come to enjoy the slow pace of this story and I have also come to realise that while the story develops slowly, we are slowly but surely moving forward. Despite the fact that I couldn’t realise it at first Daniel and Ryan are moving forward as I have come to realise after reading this story and the reason I didn’t realise has probably got more to do with the blinders Daniel has on when it comes to feeling than with story progression.

This series has adapted a meandering way of storytelling where you have no idea what’s next or where all this leads up to but you know it is somewhere good.

I liked this instalment to the series because we got to see a definite step forward in regards to Daniel and Ryan’s relationship but more importantly, I finally got to see Daniel’s legendary control slipping and it was enlightening.

I definitely want to read more even though initially I wondered, how different can a Spa Weekend be from a Weekend Getaway but the excerpt definitely has me on board.

Cover Art by Natasha Snow. I definitely love the new covers for the series. The covers for the first five books were just variations of each other but this one is definitely different than the first five though I think it is started up its own theme, with the covers to come. Anyhow, loved the cover it is amazing and I especially loved the green overtones.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 43 pages
Published July 3rd 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781947139374
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDaniel and Ryan #6

A Kai Review: One Plus One (Maths #2) by P.A. Friday

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

James Cape has been in love with his mother’s best friend Laurie since James was sixteen and Laurie an inaccessible twenty-six. When he’s turned down flat by the older man just after his nineteenth birthday, James’s best friend Al encourages him to forget Laurie and find someone else. And James tries, he really does. But can he cope with his feelings for Laurie, his best friend’s home-life problems, and the deteriorating health of his father, all at the same time? And will Laurie ever notice the young man who’s right in front of him?

Sorry guys, but this book didn’t work for me. **sad face**

Well, the premise was interesting and I was truly intrigued by the blurb. You see, I love age-gap romance, so I was up and even excited to read this title, however when I finish it I was really disappointed.

The novel was well written, simple language and fluid, but the plot and the story’s development felt lame and flat.

James had a crush on Laurie and when he was nineteen he assumed his feeling for the guy. I really liked it about James. He went for it at the time (way to go, James!). Unlucky for him, Laurie turned him down. Aaand, after that they almost never had an interaction in the story.

Years went by and I didn’t see a connection between them. Actually, James avoided Laurie like a plague for a while. And It would be fine if after that they started to develop some interaction so us, readers, would see them together and cheer for them at some point. It didn’t happen, though. The entire book they felt like strangers. They even didn’t talk or anything. Actually, Laurie almost didn’t appear in the story, so how I suppose to cheer for him and James as a couple when they had limited communication?

Actually, James had a huge interaction with Al, his best friend. They were close and loved each other and …[spoiler ALERT]

P.S: I just found out that there is another book where James, Laurie, and Al are a threesome of some kind. And this can make sense, after all… but, I really don’t find in me desire to read that story. So, If you read the book 1 in this series and liked it or not, let me know. I want to know your opinion.

Anyway, there were few things that I liked in this book. The father problem was one of them. James’ father had multiple sclerosis and I liked how it was aborted, even though I felt really emotional about that.  [LITTLE SPOILER ALERTI cried! Really ugly cry. Maybe was just me that cry for everything. But just in case, keep the tissues close by.

 

Well, My conclusion is: this story simply didn’t work for me. I couldn’t find a connection between the MC, and I felt the end was forced and abrupt.  There were ways to the author to change the plot a little and maybe this would be a nice story. But the author didn’t and I didn’t like… so…. that’s all, folks.

 

The cover art by Natasha Snow is okay and interesting. That was one of the things that intrigued and instigated me to read the story.

Sales Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/One-Plus-Maths-Book-ebook/dp/B073V5QYYJ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500479410&sr=8-1&keywords=one+plus+one+by+p.a.+friday

NineStar Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/one-plus-one/

Book Details:

E-book: 115 pages

Release Date: July 31st, 2017 by NineStar Press

Edition Language:  English

ISBN: 978-1-947139-51-0

Series: Maths

A Lila Review: The Blacksmith Prince by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

17th century Perigord is a county of sun-drenched villages and dark forests, languid rivers and moonlit lakes. It is a corner of France teeming with spirits, dryads and nymphs, and like everywhere else, witches are burned at the stake.

Born with the second sight, young fisherman Jehan wants nothing but to keep his head down, work hard, and stay out of trouble. Which works well enough until a suspicious string of bad luck befalls the village smith and his wife. Their adoptive son Giraud is everybody’s dashing darling, who behind his sooty smile and swashbuckling manners has buried a painful connection to the supernatural himself. Fearing that some evil is afoot, Giraud turns to the only other man in town who knows about the hidden world around them – Jehan.

Before long, they are embroiled in a quest involving brigands, witches and noble fey, while their friendship and attraction gradually shifts into something deeper. If they manage to survive ancient feuds and everyday prejudice, they might even have a chance to forge a Happily Ever After all of their own.

The Blacksmith Prince is a lovely fairytale that takes the reader on an adventure from the very beginning. One of the authors’ strong suits is their capability to create magnificent worlds, filled with peculiar characters, and this story is not the exception. The 17th century Perigord they described only enhances the story, grounding the characters, and allowing them to grow as they explore it.

Giraud’s and Jehan’s love is simple and chaste, but strong enough to have them taking risks for each other. Their friendship is the base of their relationship and the importance of family is strong in both cases. They were willing to do everything for each other and for those they love.

Jehan is my favorite in the couple. The way he interacts with the mythical creatures is funny and keeps the reader wanting to know more. His powers were perfect for the story and only added to it. Giraud didn’t stay behind. His talent complemented Jehan’s and made their adventure work.

The only reason it’s not a perfect five for me is that some parts were a bit slow and I wanted more information in some plot’s aspects. Other than that, this story is a perfect combination of magic, love, and an engaging plot. Definitely, worth reading.

The cover by Lady Tiferet follows the authors’ style and shows Giraud in one of the story scenes. It goes with the descriptions and the fantasy genre, but it has a comedic feel that takes a bit away from it.

Sale Links: SmashwordsAmazon | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 290 pages
Published: July 14, 2017, by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus
ISBN: 9781542456104
Edition Language: English

An Alisa Release Day Review: Smitty’s Sheriff (Hope #3) by Cardeno C.

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Todd is too flakey. Richard is too stubborn. Together, they’re perfect. A May-December couple get a second chance at love.

 

Retired soldier Richard Davis wants a stable life in a quiet town with a forever man. Becoming the sheriff of Hope, Arizona, accomplishes two of his three goals, but instead of finding a serious partner, he falls for too-young-to-be-committed and too-flakey-to-be-serious Todd Smitty. Richard won’t find the right man if he’s obsessed with the wrong one, so he walks away from Todd.

 

It’s lust at first sight when Todd meets his sister’s army friend. He sets his sights on the worldly, strong, stable older man, and the more time he spends with Richard, the harder he falls. But after three years together, Richard cuts off all contact with no explanation.

 

When a mutual obligation requires Todd to move into Richard’s house, he’s thrilled at the opportunity to earn a second chance. Ignoring Todd from across town was hard enough. Can Richard resist temptation under his own roof?

 

This was a sweet story even if I was frustrated with some of the characters actions.  Richard is so sure that Todd isn’t the right man for him and doesn’t want to hold him back so he breaks off their relationship.  Todd has been so confused as to why Richard broke off their relationship that when they have to work together and watch Todd’s niece he is so scared of doing something wrong.

 

This story definitely had a d/s undertone to it, Todd is completely submissive to Richard’s dominate nature and that is where some of the problems lie with these characters.  Todd loves to be taken care of which makes sense considering what we learn about him in this story while Richard is afraid that he is making too many decisions for Todd and it isn’t what Todd wants.  However, I still can’t understand Todd’s thought process about having sex with other guys before that since Richard didn’t specifically say anything that he could sleep with whoever, that part just didn’t work for me.

 

This story is told from both characters’ points of view which gives a nice look into both of their thoughts.  It takes some work on Todd’s part but he finally gets Richard to talk about why their relationship fell apart and they are able to clear the air with each other.  Richard is breaking his own heart staying away from Todd while Todd can’t help but hope they will be able to work it all out.

 

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

 

Sales Links: Amazon | PayHip

 

Book Details:

ebook, 33,297 words

Published: July 17, 2017
ISBN: 9781942184737

Edition Language: English

Series: A Hope Story

Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus on”Capturing Magic” and their latest novel ‘The Blacksmith Prince’ (guest post)

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The Blacksmith Prince by Beryll Brackhaus and Osiris Brackhaus

Editing & Proof Chantal Perez Fournier
Layout & Book Design Julia Schwenk

Cover Anna Tiferet Sikorska | tiferetdesign.com
Map Kosmic | kosmicdungeon.com

Available at: AmazonBarnes&NobleKoboiTunes and Smashwords

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Beryll Brackhaus and Osiris Brackhaus today as they talk about ‘Capturing Magic’ and their latest novel “The Blacksmith Prince”.

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“Capturing Magic” by Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus

When authors go on vacation together, it is inevitable that book ideas will happen, ranging from crazy nonsense to viable stories. Many, if not most of them, will never get written, simply because you can only write so much and you’ll have to pick what you want to work on.

When Osiris and I went to France last year with another author friend, we spent two wonderful weeks filled with eating and plotting novels and soaking up the very special atmosphere of the Perigord.

It feels, in many ways, like a magical place, a little lost in time. It is very easy to imagine men in laced shirts with large hats, dashing and daring. You just need to squint the right way and the cars disappear from the narrow roads and are replaced by horses. When you walk in the woods, you can almost hear faery creatures whisper in the underbrush.

There was talk of pirates, of orcs and dwarves and of a fisherman.

The fisherman turned out to be the most persistent. When we got back home, we were supposed to start working on ‘Moonstealer’, the third part of our Smilodon pride series. But the fisherman just kept talking about his hopeless love for the local blacksmith, about fairies and curses. He was relentless. So in the end, we had to give in and write down his tale.

All the little details we saw in France effortlessly wove themselves into the tapestry of the story. The swallows over the river, the steep cobblestone alleys, the breathtaking view over the valley from the cliffs, the food, the golden afternoon light – sights and sounds everyone who has set a foot into the Perigord will instantly recognize.

We hope we managed to capture the magical feeling of those wonderful two weeks on paper, wrapped in a story that makes it fun and beautiful to read for everyone. Maybe we will even manage to make our readers feel the beauty and joy of that corner of the world, and that in itself would feel like magic to us.

Tagline

Once upon a time, a young blacksmith sought a witch’s help to save his parents. And foolhardy as he was, he paid him with a kiss…

Blurb

17th century Perigord is a county of sun-drenched villages and dark forests, languid rivers and moonlit lakes. It is a corner of France teeming with spirits, dryads and nymphs, and like everywhere else, witches are burned at the stake here.

Born with the second sight, young fisherman Jehan wants nothing but to keep his head down, work hard, and stay out of trouble. Which works well enough until a suspicious string of bad luck befalls the village smith and his wife. Their adoptive son Giraud is everybody’s dashing darling, who behind his sooty smile and swashbuckling manners has buried a painful connection to the supernatural himself. Fearing that some evil is afoot, Giraud turns to the only other man in town who knows about the hidden world around them – Jehan.

Before long, they are embroiled in a quest involving brigands, witches and noble fey, while their friendship and attraction gradually shifts into something deeper. If they manage to survive ancient feuds and everyday prejudice, they might even have a chance to forge a Happily Ever After all of their own…

From Rainbow-Award-winning authors Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus, ‘The Blacksmith Prince’ is an old-fashioned, swoon-worthy historical fantasy romance about tender love in a time when history and fairy-tales were one and the same.

ISBN-13 978-1542456104 (softcover)
ASIN B071QZG4R5 (ebook)\
Length 290 Pages /  85.000 words
First publication July 14th, 2017

Buy Links

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071QZG4R5

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/718344

Createspace https://www.createspace.com/6850143

And others on http://www.brackhaus.com/the-books/blacksmith-prince/

About the Authors

Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus are a couple currently living their happily ever after in the very heart of Germany, under the stern but loving surveillance of their cat.

Both of them are voracious but picky readers, they love telling stories and drinking tea, good food and the occasional violent movie. Together, they write novels of adventure and romance, hoping to share a little of their happiness with their readers.

Beryll

An artist by heart, Beryll was writing stories even before she knew what letters were. As easily inspired as she is frustrated, her own work is never good enough (in her eyes). A perfectionist in the best and worst sense of the word at the same time and the driving creative force of the duo.

Osiris

An entertainer and craftsman in his approach to writing, Osiris is the down-to-earth, practical part of our duo. Broadly interested in almost every subject and skill, with a sunny mood and caring personality, he strives to bring the human nature into focus of each of his stories.

Contact

Email osiris@brackhaus.com

Website http://www.brackhaus.com

Twitter @brackhaus

Facebook Osiris Brackhaus

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6427435.Osiris_Brackhaus

Review Tour of Smitty’s Sheriff by Cardeno C.

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Smitty’s Sheriff, a sexy, heart-warming MM romance by Cardeno C. is available now!

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Todd is too flakey. Richard is too stubborn. Together, they’re perfect. A May-December couple get a second chance at love.

Retired soldier Richard Davis wants a stable life in a quiet town with a forever man. Becoming the sheriff of Hope, Arizona, accomplishes two of his three goals, but instead of finding a serious partner, he falls for too-young-to-be-committed and too-flakey-to-be-serious Todd Smitty. Richard won’t find the right man if he’s obsessed with the wrong one, so he walks away from Todd.

It’s lust at first sight when Todd meets his sister’s army friend. He sets his sights on the worldly, strong, stable older man, and the more time he spends with Richard, the harder he falls. But after three years together, Richard cuts off all contact with no explanation.

When a mutual obligation requires Todd to move into Richard’s house, he’s thrilled at the opportunity to earn a second chance. Ignoring Todd from across town was hard enough. Can Richard resist temptation under his own roof?

Excerpt:

“Todd.” Leanne snapped her gaze toward him. “You’re not too young to know the nickname people used to call guys named Richard, are you?

“Uh.” Todd blinked and darted his gaze between Rich and Leanne. They were finally paying attention to him and all he wanted was to go back to being invisible.

Dick,” she said. “Big D got his nickname before we met, but some of us in my squad figured it wasn’t just about his last name being Davis. So we had a bet going.”

She flicked her gaze to Rich again, as if expecting him to interrupt.

He didn’t.

“Problem is, we couldn’t agree on which side won because we couldn’t get solid evidence.” She focused on Todd. “But now I have an eyewitness.”

“I, uh, I don’t—” Todd stammered, hating being in the middle of what felt like an argument.

“Don’t let Sparky get to you,” Rich said, still completely unbothered.

“Some of the guys saw Big D in the latrines, and they said he’s big all over, but when they tried to collect on the bet, the other side made a good point.” She narrowed her eyes menacingly at Rich. “If the man’s a show-er, that means he isn’t grow-er, so he doesn’t actually have a big D, now does he? That means the other side should win.”

Todd drew his eyebrows together and tried to follow Leanne’s question. “Are you saying you guys have a bet going on the size of Rich’s dick?”

“Yep.” Leanne leaned against the chairback, looking smug. “And you, little brother, are going to settle that bet.”

Normally, Todd had no problem talking about a guy’s package. Hell, in the right situation, dicks were damn near his favorite topic. But he had never spoken to anyone about Rich’s body or, really, anything else related to Rich because he knew that was off limits. Of course, Leanne was asking him the question because she already knew he had the answer.

Flicking his gaze toward Rich, Todd said, “Am I allowed to…”

“It’s a simple question,” Leanne snapped. “Is he a grow-er or a show-er?”

Rich didn’t tell him to stay quiet so Todd figured he had permission to answer. “Both.”

She blinked.

“Seriously.” He bobbed his head. “Length, girth.” He held his hands far apart. “It’s awesome.” As long as he had permission to share, he figured he should be thorough in his explanation. “His balls too.”

Leanne coughed.

“I mean it. They’re huge. Each one’s a mouthful by itself.”

“Ehm.” Leanne cleared her throat. “Thanks.” Looking decidedly uncomfortable, she held her palm up in a stop motion. “I’m good on the details. You don’t need to keep going.”

“Are you sure?” After a lifetime of being the butt of the joke with his siblings, Todd enjoyed turning the table. “I can sketch you a picture, but I’ll need one of those extra-long pieces of paper if you want it to scale.”

“That won’t be necessary.” Leanne actually blushed. “I’m all set.”

Rich threw his head back and laughed. “Thanks, Todd. Eighteen years these jackasses have had the silly bet going and I do believe you just put it to rest.”

Thrilled with the praise and relieved to be playing and flirting with Rich again, Todd smiled broadly. “No problem. When it comes to your big D, I’m always willing to lend a hand.”

He settled into the chair, comfortable for the first time that night, and when the conversation turned back to stories about people he didn’t know, he truly didn’t mind. Eighteen years was a long time. If Rich had cared about putting an end to the bet, he’d probably had a dozen different chances. That he did it now, meant his goal had been less about the bet and more about a point. Todd knew something about Rich that nobody else did, or at least nobody who mattered enough to meet his friends. That meant Todd mattered. Leanne knew that now. And so did he.

SS-ANKU

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McFarland’s Farm

Start the Series Today!

(Free in Kindle Unlimited)

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Jesse’s Diner

(Free in Kindle Unlimited)

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Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/tibqX7

Audio: https://goo.gl/7hnF2G

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/jLqoym

About Cardeno C.

Cardeno C.—CC to friends—is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few awwws into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

CardenoC.

Connect with Cardeno C.

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/CardenoC

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Blog: http://caferisque.blogspot.com

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