A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Spectred Isle (Green Men #1) by K.J. Charles

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

After the war (WWI) archeologist Saul Lazenby returned home in disgrace when his affair with another man led to charges of treason when some of the innocent remarks he made to his lover were pieced together to cause a disaster for Saul’s fellow soldiers.  After serving his time, he’s lucky anyone is willing to hire him.  His parents have disowned him and he’s found a job with a nice, but clueless and bumbling major who is convinced he can find the location where the body of Geoffrey de Mandeville has been buried. 

Legend says that deMandeville lived as an outlaw, was excommunicated, and was buried alive by the Knights Templar, and his ghost now watches over London and Camlet Moat, where his house was located, in the heart of the city. There is a well in Camelet Moat to which all kinds of legends are attached, including of course, buried treasure, or possibly deMandeville himself. 

All of the arcane activity that has recently increased in the area seems to point to a tear in the veil with deMandeville somehow involved.  The Green Men, principally Randolph Glyde are the only arcanists still remaining who have any chance at all of defeating those from beyond. Glyde is the last of twenty-three generations of arcanists, the most powerful of the families, and may be the only hope of saving mankind.

When both Saul and Randolph keep showing up at the same time in the same place, it’s pretty obvious that one of them is involved in some way with the bizarre, unexplainable things that have been happening recently—things like a tree suddenly combusting before their eyes.  But it’s not until they end up trapped on a spiritual plane together, and Randolph needs to use his arcane abilities to get them out of the trap, that the two realize there’s more than magic between them. 

I can’t begin to do justice to this highly complex and imaginative otherworldly mystery created by the inimitable KJ Charles in early 20th century England.  Her stories are such a fine mix of reality and imagination, they always astound me, and most definitely, always entertain me.  This is the beginning of a new series and it packs a powerful punch! 

Saul is the kind of guy you want to take home and wrap up in arms of love.  Emotionally damaged by circumstances beyond his control, living in poverty, and barely able to earn enough to keep food on the table, his once highly promising career in archeology is lost. He’s now reduced to being front man for a bumbling major on a quest to prove his crazy ideas are based in reality. 

Randolph is from an old, proud family, rich in the heritage of arcane abilities, and responsibility was literally driven into him from childhood.  He takes everything seriously, including his promise to keep Saul safe.  When his cousin Theresa comes back from the dead to impart her knowledge to Saul in Camlet Moat, and Saul agrees to become the Walker of the Moat, the future of the two men is sealed in fate.  That Saul readily accepts everything about Randolph and his abilities, and that they are developing strong feelings of love for one another is a bonus.

If you enjoy tales of the spirit realm, witchcraft, or other inexplicable mysterious happenings, you will likely enjoy this tale. Add in a romance between two men who can’t believe their good fortune to find a possible life partner during a time in history when it seemed virtually impossible, and you’ve got a great story to look forward to.

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Cover by Lexiconic Design features a lone man in 1920’s attire, smoking a cigar while leaning against a temple or church wall. It’s probably Randolph and fits the story, but the subdued tones aren’t very attention-getting.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook, 271 pages
Expected publication: August 3rd 2017 by KJC Books
ISBN139780995799073
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesGreen Men #1

A MelanieM Review: Knight Errant (Legends of Osaire Book 2) by T.A. Creech

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sequel to Witch King

When an Archmage needs a guard to see him through the enchanted Alahanai Forest, dwarf Einith Redstone jumps on the opportunity. The amount of coin offered for the contract is enormous, and he wants to help a fellow dwarf find his Heartstone. And then Einith is stunned when the enticing elf Tae’liamath joins them as their guide.

Their journey through Alahanai is more dangerous than expected, physically and personally. Between the search for a missing knight out of legend and a bond unexpectedly formed, Einith and Tae find themselves growing close, and their emotions are sent reeling. With a Heartstone at stake, magickal encounters, and falling for each other, Einith and Tae have much to overcome before their journey ends.

Knight Errant (Legends of Osaire Book 2) by T.A. Creech reads like a much longer story.  In  that I mean, the author, T.A. Creech has managed to make 107 pages feel like double that in a marvelous way.  Creech (a new author for me) managed some lovely universe building, great characters that made me committed to the tale and their relationships (I laughed, cringed, and white-knuckled in all the right places).  Not only that but did it in a way that I felt I didn’t lose much by coming in at the second story.

Yes, once again I dropped into a series at book two. Honestly I had no idea because when you are looking at the title there was no indication there was a previous story or even a series. However, I enjoyed this so much that I intend to go back and pick that one up asap.  Unfortunately I already know how it ends (those characters appear here), and my favorite ones from this story, the dwarf and the elf will probably be nowhere at all.  Sigh.  How I came to love them both!

Yes, I think this will turn out to be one of those series that needs to be read in sequence as when the characters from the first story popped up here I really had no idea who they were or their importance in this universe (huge).  What I enjoyed was the author’s myth building, ability to create an atmosphere (in one case dark, full of black magic) and make me feel it creep from the page as well as play with the characters emotions.

The romance between dwarf Einith and elf Tae is slow, and a wonderful thing to behold.  I loved Einith and his recognition that his Heartstone might be at hand was a joy to read. I really could have used a second book with these two and I hope this is not the last of them that we see in this series.  There’s another couple here too that you will need just as much of.  The four of them are just plain addictive narratively speaking. More, T.A. Creech, I definitely need more!

So back to book one I go.  If you are as unfamiliar with this series as I was, you will want to go there to.  There head here for a wonderful fantasy adventure.

Cover art is dramatic and perfect for the story.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 107 pages
Published July 8th 2017 by JMS Books LLC
ASIN B073MFBBDS

An Ali Audiobook Review: Unbreak My Heart (Unbreak My Heart #1) by K-lee Klein and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Brett Taylor’s world collapsed three years ago when he lost the love of his life. Almost as bad as the grief is the advice he’s starting to get from everyone and their brother, telling him it’s time to move on. They’re flat-out wrong. He left his career as a musician and escaped to his ranch because he needs the peace and quiet, and he’s doing just fine. He doesn’t want anyone invading his memory-filled, booze-fueled solitude. 

JT Campbell’s world has been defined by his parents’ money, status, and his own empty relationships, until he’s desperately sick of it. A quest to find something meaningful leads him to Brett’s failing ranch. It’s supposed to be a brief stay. JT never wanted to be anyone’s savior or compete with the ghosts of lovers past. Still, he can’t help wanting this gruff and grieving man. 

JT’s mind knows it’s a bad idea, but his heart keeps pushing him to find out what lies beneath Brett’s rough and broken exterior. Brett’s not going to make it easy. JT can only be patient, keep his sense of humor, and hope for the day he may be allowed far enough into Brett’s world to unbreak his heart.
This was a touching, slow burn romance.  JT has his work cut out for him with Brett.  Brett is struggling so hard with Walt’s death that he hasn’t allowed himself to heal or to move on in any way.  Once he realizes he cares for JT he’s racked with guilt.
The two men become friends first and Brett is hesitant with even that.  As the story goes on Brett begins to open up with JT.  It’s a hard road though because Brett can’t let go of the past and he’s even more afraid to risk his heart again.  J.T. is more in control of his feelings but he too sways a bit when things get difficult between them. Both of them make their share of mistakes along the way.
There are some really lovely moments in this story.  There some sad ones where you see glimpse of Brett’s past with Walt that will tear your heart out.  There are also some really romantic ones between Brett and J.T. when they finally get together.
There aren’t a lot of characters in this.  Besides the main two, it’s mostly a ranch hand/mentor/friend of Brett’s and Brett’s mother, both of whom I adored.  Both of these characters really added to the plot and they were as well done as the MC’s.
This audiobook was narrated by Nick J. Russo and I thought he did a very good job.  He did a nice job on Brett’s voice by giving it an authentic Southern cadence (rather than the stereotypical ones often done).  All of the characters had unique voices and they were are equally well done.  I think hearing this story added a level of emotion that made it even better.
Overall I found this really enjoyable.  This was a touching story that had some of my favorite components; hurt/comfort, a bit of angst and a lot of romance and tender moments.  It was well narrated and that added another layer of emotion to it.  I had never read this author before and I’m eager now to read more of her works.
Cover art by Reese Dante is gorgeous, capturing the people beautifully.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon | Audible | iTunes
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook, 2nd Edition, 11 pages
Published June 28th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published August 25th 2013)
ASINB073BPHYLN
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesUnbreak My Heart #1

An Ali Audiobook Review: The Necromancer’s Dilemma (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #2) by S.J. Himes and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Even love can die without trust.

Angel’s brother, Isaac, has returned home, and the pair begin to make slow and awkward attempts back to each other. Learning how to be a brother to a grown man instead of a parental figure has Angel adjusting his behaviors and habits, and Isaac still remains a mystery. Was it merely entering adulthood that turned Isaac away from an overprotective Angel, or does Isaac carry a secret that will keep them from finally being a real family?
Daniel Macavoy, Angel’s new apprentice, is torn between his bond with Angel and the grasping machinations of his father. Dealing with a traumatized apprentice with dangerous holes in his magical education, saving Daniel may be harder than Angel first thought—especially since the biggest problem is not revenge, but guilt.
The one shining beacon in his life is Simeon, Elder vampire of Boston’s only Bloodclan. Four hundred years old and sexy as sin, Simeon is warrior and sage, patient and cunning. The strength Angel draws from Simeon’s devotion and the newborn mate-bond between them is steadfast and true…and the fount of death magic that animates the undead lord places Angel in the midst of a power struggle for control over himself, his lover, and his family. 
Through it all, Angel is beleaguered by the unwanted attention of a troll-hybrid, the adventures of a dragon in the city, and a serial killer has decided to hunt the back alleys and midnight streets of Boston.
This is the second book in this series and I found that I enjoyed this one even more than the first.  Angel and Simeon have an established relationship and we see it continue to grow during this story.  That was good for me because I found it to be a bit insta-love in book one.  I enjoyed watching them as they grow as a couple.
This book had an intricate plot that revolved around a series of murders Angel is looking in to.  It was fast paced and full of action.  I loved the world building and the setting the author created and I was entertained by all the different paranormal creatures in this.  (A favorite being the little dragon.)  Both Daniel and Isaac were in this and it appears we will be getting books on each of them down the road.
This audiobook was narrated by Joel Leslie and he also did book one.  I was glad to see the author used the same narrator so that the voices used were consistent. The narrator did a nice job on this and his voices for both Angel and Simeon are very distinct, as were the large cast of side characters.
The end of this left me really looking forward to the next book in the series.  If you enjoy paranormal/urban fantasy this is a series you should check out, although I do recommend you read the books in order.
Cover:  I like this cover a lot.  It fits well with the first book in the series and it does a great job of setting the vibe for the story.

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio
Published July 21st 2017 by SJ Himes (first published July 1st 2016)
ASINB0742K4BSH
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Beacon Hill Sorcerer #2

Review Tour: The Necromancer’s Dilemma by S J Himes and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Title: The Necromancer’s Dilemma
Author: SJ Himes
Narrated By: Joel Leslie
Length: 7 hours 47 minutes
Series: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #2
Release Date: July 21st 2017
Genre: MM Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

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Even love can die without trust.

Angel’s brother, Isaac, has returned home, and the pair begins to make slow and awkward attempts back to each other. Learning how to be a brother to a grown man instead of a parental figure has Angel adjusting his behaviors and habits, and Isaac still remains a mystery. Was it merely entering adulthood that turned Isaac away from an overprotective Angel, or does Isaac carry a secret that will keep them from finally being a real family?

Daniel Macavoy, Angel’s new apprentice, is torn between his bond with Angel and the grasping machinations of his father. Dealing with a traumatized apprentice with dangerous holes in his magical education, saving Daniel may be harder than Angel first thought – especially since the biggest problem is not revenge, but guilt.

The one shining beacon in his life is Simeon, Elder vampire of Boston’s only Bloodclan. Four hundred years old and sexy as sin, Simeon is warrior and sage, patient and cunning. The strength Angel draws from Simeon’s devotion and the newborn mate-bond between them is steadfast and true – and the fount of death magic that animates the undead lord places Angel in the midst of a power struggle for control over himself, his lover, and his family.

Through it all, Angel is beleaguered by the unwanted attention of a troll-hybrid, the adventures of a dragon in the city, and a serial killer has decided to hunt the back alleys and midnight streets of Boston.

Contains male/male sexual content. Violence, gore, sex, vampires. A cute dragon and some snark. Okay, lots of snark.

Purchase: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iTunes

Find The Beacon Hill Sorcerer series on

Here is a Soundcloud clip from the audiobook

 https://soundcloud.com/jojofro-1/necro-sample-5

Goodreads

EXCERPT

“You’re doing it again,” Angel accused with a glare and teasing pout, crossing his arms, his now empty coffee cup crushed in one of his hands.

“And that would be?” Simeon asked with a grin, turning to face Angel, leaning down to sniff at his neck and short brown hair. The blond highlights were growing out, and Simeon wanted to run his hands through the strands.

“Staring at me with that lovey-dovey expression on your face,” Angel grumbled, and Simeon chuckled. He may complain, but Simeon could smell just how happy Simeon’s loving regard made the necromancer.

“As I love you, and as the planes of your face are intriguing as that of an old Italian master’s painting, gazing upon your visage with adoration is just something you’ll need to grow accustomed to,” Simeon whispered, kissing under Angel’s ear. Angel sighed, his scent happy and warm with the spice of his arousal. Simeon licked the warm skin he found there, the taste of salt and the thrum of blood pulsing just under the surface making his body hum in returned desire. Though the scent of death magic his mate gave off just by existing was enough to calm his desire to bite. Angel would welcome his bite, he was sure of it, but their bond wasn’t strong enough yet to grant Simeon immunity from magic poisoning.

“Only the two of you would get frisky at a crime scene,” a rough whiskey-laced voice complained behind them. Simeon sighed with reluctance and pulled away from his mate, turning to nod a greeting to the gruff detective.

“Hey, O’Malley,” Angel smirked, moving the bottom hem of his sweater over his groin. Angel was aroused, and Simeon growled quietly, satisfied at the reaction he got from his mate.

1 Necromancer's Dance Audio Cover
Book One

Title: The Necromancer’s Dance
Author: S J Himes
Series: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #1
Narrated by: Joel Leslie
Length: 8 Hours 8 minutes
Release Date: 21st March 2017
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, MM Romance

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In a world where magic is real and evil walks amongst humanity, a young sorcerer is beset by enemies, both old and new.

Angelus Salvatore is the only necromancer in all of Boston, and his name is whispered warily by the undead and fellow sorcerers alike. He and his brother Isaac are the lone survivors of an attack by an army of the undead, in which Angel used a spell so powerful it forever marked his place in history. Now, years later, Angel struggles to balance his career as a teacher of the higher magical arts, his role as big brother, and a tenuous relationship with an Elder vampire from the local clan. When his brother’s boyfriend is used as a pawn in a mysterious plot to draw Angel out, Angel is once again drawn back into the old hostilities that fueled the Blood Wars and led to his family’s death.

Leaning on others for help is something Angel cannot do, and while he searches for clues as to who may be targeting him and his brother, Angel finds his heart steadily growing occupied with Simeon, Elder and vampire. Dealing with death magic and vampires on a daily basis may leave Angel jaded when it comes to life and staying that way, but the more time he spends fending off the ancient vampire’s attention and affections, the more he realizes he wants to give in.

Can Angel find out who wants him dead, and keep his heart safe in the process? How can he fall for a vampire, when his whole family was torn apart by an army of the undead? Death stalks the streets of Boston’s historic Beacon Hill…and there is no one more suited to battle against death than a necromancer.

Purchase: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK I iTunes

Listen to an audio teaser from The Necromancer’s Dance at Soundcloud.

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About the Author

I’m a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I’m at the best part in a book. I write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with occasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that’s perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), and The Wolfkin Saga. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on…. I’m a nomad, and I’ve yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.

Links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Facebook Fan Group | Twitter | Amazon
About the Narrator

web version joel arm

Joel Leslie is a UK transplant, growing up with American parents in a British commonwealth. A classically trained actor with an MFA in theatre from USC, he is often cast for his unique ability to deliver native, authentic combinations of American and British sounds. His great range and ability to bring characters to life with honesty, wit and versatility delights producers and listeners alike.

He is proud to have a strong following with m/m listeners and an ongoing relationship with some of the finest writers in the genre. He loves that every day he gets to share these beautiful, inspirational and empowering GLBT characters with the world. When not in the booth he spends his time chasing after two loquacious wiener dogs.

Find a list of Joel’s books on Audible

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Susan Mac Nicol “Revival” Tour and Giveaway (excerpt and giveaway)

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Revival Tour

Title: Worth Keeping
Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Release Date: December 23rd 2013
Published by: Boroughs Publishing
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance

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Abused horrifically as a boy, Nick Mathers has come to terms with his existence as a man. Mostly. Other days life seems a little much. Especially when Nick knows he’ll always be alone.

On those days his thoughts turn black. He walks the Norfolk coast and considers the frigid embrace of the waves. And then, one stormy night, he finds someone who’s tasted just that. The beautiful stranger on the beach is near death, and Nick rushes him home to slowly nurse back to health. As he does, he finds a love unlike any other.

Owen Butler’s body is as warm as the sea was cold, his heart as big as an ocean. And Owen is a man who swears to repay the favor. Nick can yet be saved from himself, and he will see that he is indeed a man … worth keeping.

Worth Keeping on Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Boroughs | B&N | Smashwords | iBooks

Karen Jones

EXCERPT

“Jesus, Nick, for God’s sake, man, wake up. You’re having a nightmare.” The panicked voice of Owen Butler stirred Nick into wakefulness. He sat up in panic, his chest heaving, his throat raw and sore. He reached out an arm, grabbing Owen’s shoulder tightly. Owen winced and brushed hair from Nick’s sweat-drenched face. Nick stared at him blindly. Socks jumped up and down in agitation on the bed, his paws waving frantically as he chittered in panic.

“Nick, you were screaming. You had a nightmare. It’s all right.” Owen’s soothing voice cut through Nick’s fear and he started to breathe deeper, more evenly.

Owen encouraged him. “That’s right, take deep breaths. You’re awake. You’re fine.”

Nick’s tears rolled down his cheeks as he sobbed quietly. Owen leaned forward, wiping them off with tender fingers. “God, you’re a bloody mess, aren’t you? And I thought I was a basket case. Come here.”

Nick was pulled into a pair of warm arms and a hard chest that promised comfort and safety. It had been a long time since he’d been touched this way. When he was in the town with his regular fuck buddy, Daniel, it was pure sex. At Nick’s insistence, there was no kissing, no real tenderness, just lust and animalism that ended in both of them getting their relief and then Nick going home. He’d never stayed over, as that would have been too intimate. But this stranger holding him close, softly stroking his hair and his back, lulling him back to sleep. This was intimate and it felt good, just for a while. He closed his eyes, enjoying Owen’s closeness and scent.

GIVEAWAY: Win a SIGNED copy of Saving Alexander by Susan Mac Nicol

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About the Author

Susan bio pic

Susan Mac Nicol is a self-confessed bookaholic, an avid watcher of videos of sexy pole dancing men, geek, nerd and in love with her Smartphone. This little treasure is called ‘the boyfriend’ by her long-suffering husband, who says if it vibrated, there’d be no need for him. Susan hasn’t had the heart to tell him there’s an app for that…

In an ideal world, Susan Mac Nicol would be Queen of England and banish all the bad people to the Never Never Lands of Wherever -Who Cares. As that’s never going to happen, she contents herself with writing her HEA stories and pretending, that just for a little while, good things happen to good people.

Sue is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. She’s also Editorial Manager at http://www.divinemagazine.biz, an online LGBTQ e-zine, and she’s a Charity Board trustee at http://wwwbeingmecampaign.com in London.

She’s passionate about research for her books and has stayed in a circus, taken lessons from a blind person on how it feels to be non-sighted, and travelled to a lighthouse with maintenance crew to see first-hand what it’s like inside. She’s also writing a screen play with a Hollywood actor named Nicholas Downs, with a view to taking her latest release, Sight Unseen, to the big screen.

All in all, she’s happy with her lot and loves that you love to read her books.

You do, right?

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

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