A MelanieM Pre-Release Review: House of Cards (Porthkennack #4) by Garrett Leigh

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Calum Hardy’s life has unravelled. Reeling from the betrayal of a man he once loved, he boards a train heading south, with no real idea where he’s going except a world away from London.

Brix Lusmoore can hardly believe his eyes when he spots one of his oldest friends outside Truro station. He hasn’t seen Calum since he fled the capital himself four years ago, harbouring a life-changing secret. But despite the years of silence, their old bond remains, warm and true—and layered with simmering heat they’ve never forgotten.

Calum takes refuge with Brix and a job at his Porthkennack tattoo shop. Bit by bit, he rebuilds his life, but both men carry the ghosts of the past, and it will take more than a rekindled friendship and the magic of the Cornish coast to chase them away.

There’s a phrase that get’s uttered here whenever Brix or someone feels that a person has been charmed or perhaps conned even by a Lusmoore’s abilities to sway you over, they say “you’ve been Lusmoored”.  That I have by this place and people, this story. Everything about Garrett Leigh’s House of Cards resonates with me.  From the cornish seaside town of Porthkennack (mythically created for this series yet so believably alive), the harsh sea that calls to the residents, bringing them home, the characters Leigh created that I’ll not forget, or their love story that I’ll soon return to, House of Cards is one of those stories that I’ll always love.

In Calum Hardy and Brix Lusmoore, Leigh has created two damaged men that life tore apart and now ten years later throws back together just when each will need them the most.  On the surface, it’s Calum, so desperate for a life raft.  The author makes his pain, his feelings of low or no self esteem vivid, his vulnerability real and aching.  Years of  domestic abuse under the influence of his bullying, dominant boyfriend has reduced him to the point he’s turned everything over to him, finances, beloved tattoo shop…life choices to the event that breaks him and sends him fleeing.  Garrett has us with him every step of the way.

Switching perspectives, we get Brix Lusmoore, in demand tattoo artist and owner of his own shop in the village.  Brix is as full of complexities as they come, with the depth of the sea behind him.  I adore this man and his family.  The Lusmoores are an ancient Cornish family, their roots almost as old as the island rocks, some still carrying on the old ways that have served them so well in the past, ways not terribly legal.  It’s a fine line that Brix walks here with them.  Then there are the chooks, the rescue hens that are a vital element for the story and a tie for the villagers too.  A rescue line that works both ways for more than one person in this story.  Brix has his own pain and secrets to reveal as the title of the story indicates.

There is no quick romance here.  There can’t be under the circumstances.  Both men are too heavily damaged, too much needs to be revealed, too much healing needs to be done.  But it happens, quietly, beautifully and as it should.

The writing is so wonderful, the storytelling flows so naturally that it went by far too quickly in my eyes.  I could have stayed within this universe, within Porthkennack,  helping to rescue more chooks for many more stories.  A book you take to heart will make you feel that way.  House of Cards is one of those.  I highly recommend it!

Cover art by GD Leigh is gorgeous and perfect for the character and setting.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 249 pages
Published July 17th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleHouse of Cards
ISBN 1626495440 (ISBN13: 9781626495449)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPorthkennack #4

A Jeri Pre-Release Review: Controlled Burn by Erin McLellan

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I generally really like books set in colleges. So many different people, away from home, new friendships, etc. And while I did like this book, I definitely didn’t love it.

Joel is the typical closed off main character. He erected giant walls around himself after his boyfriend died while reading a text from him.

Paulie is the complete opposite of him. He is out and proud, even though it ended up getting him disowned by his super religious family.

I enjoyed the slow build of the relationship between Paulie and Joel. They had good chemistry, but if I was Paulie there was no way I would put up with Joel.

If anything this book was a perfect example of how you choose to live your life. Something tragic happened to Joel and he turned inward and let that tragedy define his life. Paulie also had something tragic happen- but he chose to see the good in the world.

There was some angst- again, Paulie has the patience of a saint- and a decent love story, but it kind of left me wanting a bit.

Cover by: Natasha Snow. Gorgeous cover.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon to come

Book Details:

ebook, 309 pages
Expected publication: August 14th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleControlled Burn
ISBN139781626495760
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Review: Elemental Hope (Warlocks #2) by L.M. Somerton

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A warlock’s blood gives him life. It can also bring his death.

It’s no wonder Evrain Brookes, newly fledged warlock, is feeling the strain. A coven of power-hungry witches is after his blood. Literally. A psychotic warlock wants him dead. His godfather’s training regime is about as much fun as chewing on nettles and an overweight, scarily perceptive cat has moved into his house.

His boyfriend Dominic yearns for a normal life, or at least a safer one. He accepts his role both as Evrain’s submissive partner and as the conduit through which he channels his gift—but he’s afraid for his lover, and the lengths Evrain’s enemies might go to in order to fulfill their lust for power.

When Evrain falls victim to a plot between the Octis Coven and malevolent warlock Symeon Malus, it’s up to Dominic to rescue him. With the help of the two other North American warlocks, Shadow the cat and an old enemy, Dominic takes steps to get his lover back. There’s a high price to pay and no guarantee that the risks he must take will work out but Evrain is worth going through hell for, even if it costs Dominic his life.

Elemental Hope takes Evrain, Dominic, and the rest of the crew into another adventure against Symeon Malus–plus the Octis Coven. The story focuses on the relationship between Evrain and Dominic, and from there, we get to see Evrain growing into his powers, and how they all deal with the threats from the coven.

The plot is simple but it works well with the limited amount of characters and the world they’re in. The pacing adds to the suspense and helps keep the story from wandering or becoming tedious.

The D/s relationship continues to be a central point in the story, as well as their sexual interactions. The author did a good job keeping both aspects interesting and relevant. Even when there are multiple sex scenes, they all moved the story forward.

The cast of characters expanded a bit. In addition to Gregory and Coryn with have Nathaniel, Felix, and the return of Damon.  And don’t forget the witches. As before, the characterization was up to par and everyone played a role in the story. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Nathaniel and Felix and how Damon fit with them.

This book definitely outdid the first one. I’m looking forward to more stories in this world.

The cover by Posh Gosh is similar to book #1 in the series. Once again depicting Evrain and a pseudo-cemetery.

Sale Links: Pride | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

ebook, 165 pages
Published: August 15, 2017, by Pride Publishing
ISBN: 9781786516084
Edition Language: English

Series: Warlocks
Book #1: Elemental Love
Book #2: Elemental Hope

An Alisa Review: Needing Seth by Shawn Lane

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Shy and a bit of a science fiction geek, Seth Landers is afraid he’s going to die a virgin.

 

Then one day, Casey Logan, the sexier-than-sin doctor where Seth works, notices him. Not only that, but Casey actually asks him out!

 

Seth’s life could finally change for the better, but only if Casey can convince the shy geek that he needs Seth in his life just as badly.

 

This was an adorable story.  Seth has been the awkward geek since he was a teen and finally decides he wants to change his look.  The next day Casey notices him and it looks as though his luck could be turning around.

 

We see everything from Seth’s point of view but we can mostly see Casey’s emotions through him.  I felt for Seth that his parents don’t support his choices while even his friends see him as the geek.  Casey grabs on to his connection with Seth with both hands but they both have to learn how to be a couple.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is a great picture of Seth.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 77 pages

Published: July 15, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634864107

Edition Language: English

Jo Ramsey on Characters, Writing, and her release Dolphins in the Mud (Harmony Ink Author Interview)

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Dolphins in the Mud by Jo Ramsey
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Available for Purchase at Harmony Ink Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Jo Ramsey here today with an author interview and a new release to share with our readers. Welcome, Jo!

♦︎

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Jo Ramsey ~

  • Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

To be honest, no, I don’t think there’s that tight a line. A Mary Sue/Gary Stu is a character the author wants to be. The one all the other characters love. The one whose many accomplishments leave people in awe. The one who solves the mystery, or drives the entire plot, simply because of their skills and sheer awesomeness. In general, I would suspect that the experiences of a Mary Sue/Gary Stu character aren’t even close to the experiences of the author. They’re the experiences the author wishes they’d had.

An author using their own experiences to inspire a character isn’t the same thing. The character might share personality traits with the author, or with someone the author knows, but isn’t so heavily based on the source that anyone can tell who it is. Also, someone’s real life experiences often aren’t ones where they’ve saved the world and are beloved by all who know them, so an author who uses their own experiences is not likely to be creating a Mary Sue/Gary Stu. Some of my characters share my experiences and/or personality traits, but they’re very definitely their own people.

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

I do not enjoy research at all, so in general I will avoid it whenever possible. I much prefer creating my own worlds, or, with contemporary fiction, writing about characters and situations that are very similar to people and things in my own life.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

When I was ten, someone gave me a copy of The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper. In the book, a typical 11-year-old boy, the youngest in his family, learns that he’s the last of a group that exists to fight evil. The story is heavily inspired by Arthurian legend and mythology, and the idea that someone “normal” and often overlooked could have such amazing things happen to him captured my imagination.

Although nearly all of my books with Harmony Ink Press are contemporary fiction, my heart lies more in writing paranormal/fantasy. Primarily urban fantasy, where someone who is seemingly “normal” and often overlooked has amazing things happen to them. Some of my previous books, all of which are now off the market, followed that basic concept. Fighting evil, even if you don’t believe you can. Learning that you have power and are a hero, even if you’ve spent your entire life being taught otherwise. Even in my contemporary fiction, I incorporate some of those ideas with characters who, rather than fighting evil, fight things like mental illness, bullying, and trauma, and come out as heroes.

  • 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?

When I wrote Work Boots and Tees, the fifth book in my Deep Secrets and Hope series, I had to stop several times. Jim, the main character, is a sexual abuse survivor who, as a teen, sexually assaulted two girls he was dating. In both cases, he didn’t recognize it as assault; they didn’t say no, after all. When he realizes what the girls perceive as having happened, he’s devastated. In his mind, he has become as much a monster as the man who abused him.

I’m also a sexual abuse survivor, and, like Jim, was quite young when it happened. His memories and flashbacks of the abuse hit far too close to home for me. Although my life didn’t go the way Jim’s did, throughout writing his story I could feel the anguish, anger, and fear he experienced. I went much more deeply into his head than I have with almost any other character I’ve written.

Unfortunately this caused me to have more severe PTSD reactions than I had in a while. I had plenty of support from my loved ones and my therapist, but for my own mental health I had to stop working on the book a few times to give my brain a reset before I could continue.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I much prefer happy-for-now. I don’t think happily-ever-after is at all realistic. Even in the best relationships, there is sometimes conflict. And people change over time, so “the one” for you might not be the one five, ten, twenty years down the road. I prefer realistic endings to artificial ones.

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I have read some romances, though most of my reading is nonfiction at this point. The romances targeted at teens have improved since I was a teen, in my opinion. The ones I remember reading back then were always about a girl having to choose between two boys, and that annoyed me, partly because I couldn’t even get one boy interested in me and partly because I didn’t understand why the girl couldn’t just have both boys so they could all be happy.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I think ebooks will become more popular, but I doubt they’ll ever entirely replace hard-copy books. Some people just enjoy holding a physical book in their hands. It’s also a lot easier to highlight or otherwise mark things in a physical book than an ebook. Personally, I think ebooks are great in terms of saving space, but I prefer physical copies.

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

It’s fairly easy for me. My publisher contracts an artist to create the cover based on a form I submit that includes descriptions of the main character(s) and the setting, and I’m sent three versions from which to choose. I choose the one that comes closest to what I’ve envisioned, and feels the most “right” to me.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

That is a good question! I’m currently working on a novel about an abusive relationship between two teenage boys. I think that dating abuse among teenagers happens far more frequently than people realize, and I also believe that abuse between same-sex couples is vastly underrepresented in fiction. Most abusive relationships I’ve seen depicted are between heterosexual couples. I know two teens who were involved in abusive relationships, and I felt it was important to depict.

Readers can always find out more about what I’m working on and what I have coming up by visiting my website, http://www.joramsey.com, or my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/JoRamseyAuthor. They can also check me out on the Harmony Ink Press website, where they’ll find my new release Dolphins in the Mud among other books. https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/dolphins-in-the-mud-by-jo-ramsey-485-b

 

More about Dolphins in the Mud – Blurb

Stranded. Hopeless. Trapped. No one to turn to and no way to reach the freedom just beyond his grasp….

That’s how Chris Talberman feels when his family moves to an isolated New England coastal town and leaves him alone to care for his severely autistic sister, Cece.

Chris knows how the dolphins stranded in the cove near his home must feel—he understands their struggle better than he can express. But the tragic event has a silver lining. It’s there, while chasing his sister, that Chris meets Noah, a boy his age who is as kind and handsome as he is fascinating. Not only has Chris found the friend he needed, but the possibility for love—

Until Chris’s mother abandons the family and Noah reveals his own hidden pain. Now Chris must care for the person he thought would care for him.

Kindle Edition and paperback, 2nd edition, 180 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by Harmony Ink Press (first published May 29th 2012)
ASINB071WX1KGR

In Our Spotlight: Permanent Ink (Art & Soul #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn (Riptide Publishing and Giveaway)

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Permanent Ink (Art & Soul #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Natasha Snow

Available for Purchase at Riptide Publishing

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Avon Gale and Pipe Vaughn here today to talk about their  wonderful new story, Permanent Ink. Welcome to you both!

✒︎

 

 

Hi! This is Piper Vaughn and Avon Gale and we’re here today to talk about our sexy new contemporary romance, Permanent Ink, in which the worlds of street art and tattooing collide when a silver-fox tattoo artist falls for his much younger apprentice – who also happens to be his best friend’s son.

 

About Permanent Ink

 

At twenty-three, Poe Montgomery is going nowhere. He still lives in his father’s basement and spends most of his time tagging with his friends. When an arrest lands him in debt, Poe accepts the front desk job at Permanent Ink, the tattoo shop owned by his father’s best friend, Jericho McAslan. Jericho is nearly twice Poe’s age, but with his ink and prematurely graying hair, he quickly takes the starring role in Poe’s hottest fantasies.

 

Jericho is known for his ability to transform poorly designed tattoos into works of art, but he was once as aimless and misdirected as Poe. Wanting to pay it forward the way someone once did for him, Jericho makes Poe his apprentice and is determined to keep things strictly professional. Easier said than done when Poe makes his interest—and his daddy kink—abundantly clear.

 

Jericho can’t resist Poe or their intense chemistry for long. But between the age gap, tension with Poe’s father, and Poe’s best friend calling him a sellout, they’ll need to ensure they’re both on the same page before they can rewrite their rocky start into something permanent.

 

Now available from Riptide Publishing. 

About Avon Gale

 

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal Midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert, and will never say no to candy.

 

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

 

Connect with Avon:

 

About Piper Vaughn

 

Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, sci-fi, she loves them all (and has an over-two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She’s an avid tea drinker, a hockey fanatic, a vintage typewriter collector, and loves to travel so much she has “wanderlust” tattooed on her ankle and dozens of countries on her bucket list. Recently, she discovered the world of nail art and realized she’s pretty handy with a paintbrush—as long as it’s a miniature one.

 

As a bisexual and Latinx person, Piper takes great pride in her heritage. She grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood and strives to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. She currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, son, and a cat that has Piper wrapped around her little paw. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life … even if it’s only in a book.

 

Connect with Piper:

 

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Permanent Ink, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card and a “Poe” coffee mug! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 12, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Release Blitz for KA Merikan’s My Dark Knight (Kings Of Hell MC #2) (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Length: 145,000 words
 
Kings Of Hell MC Series
 
Laurent & The Beast (Book #1) – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Love or hate. Life or death. No inbetween. No compromise. No rules in love and war.

Knight. Party monster. Handsome Savage. Doesn’t do monogamy.


Elliot. Obsessive. Intense. Uncompromising.


Newly single, Knight is done with relationships. All he’s interested in is bringing down The Count, an Internet personality who is tarnishing his family name. An opportunity to crush him comes when the audacious clown shows up at the Kings of Hell MC clubhouse to film for his YouTube channel. But when Knight meets Elliot, the man behind The Count, he no longer knows what to do with him.


Knight has never seen a more pathetic creature than Elliot. He’s also never met anyone who needed him more. Skinny, messed up, and a bucket of trouble as thick as tar, everything Elliot does seems to be a wordless death wish. No matter how much Knight hates Elliot’s alter ego, under the makeup and theatrics hides a fragile young guy with a passion for history, and Knight can’t help but catch Elliot every time he falls.


Elliot has bad taste in men. Always hopelessly attracted to violent brutes, his favorite is a long dead serial killer. But he gets more than he’s bargained for when he seizes an opportunity to meet the man of his dreams. The ghost is manipulative and dangerous, offering Elliot all he’s always wanted, for a price he can’t possibly pay.


Elliot is faced with an impossible choice between two men.


One alive, one dead.


One carnal and honest, one drizzling sweet, poisoned promises into his ear.


One unwilling to commit, the other promising an eternity together.


And Elliot doesn’t settle for half-measures. He craves a love that is all or nothing, passion that will consume him, and desire to burn him alive.


Elliot is ready to either get that, or die trying.


POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: enemies to lovers, protector, cruelty, motorcycle club, alternative lifestyles, demons, tattoos, impossible choices, deception, crime, self-discovery, healing, black magic, gothic, commitment, ghosts, possession

 

Author Bios
 

K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.


K.A. Merikan have a few sweeter M/M romances as well, but they specialize in the dark, dirty, and dangerous side of M/M, full of bikers, bad boys, mafiosi, and scorching hot romance.

 

Giveaway