A MelanieM Review: Lavender by Xavier Axelson

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

 

Following the sudden death of his father, Lawrence “Law” Crow must not only comfort his bereaved mother, but also find the strength to continue running the family business, a local and beloved lavender farm in the mountains of northern California. At first, consumed with his own grief and struggling to find meaning in life, Law indulges in his vices, mainly by surrendering to his sexual urges with numerous men, all in a desperate battle to forget his pain and to end the emotional turmoil tearing him apart.

But when a stunningly handsome and passionate Spanish soccer player named Garbi suddenly crosses his path, Law discovers light in the possibility of love. Does Garbi have the ability to heal Law’s shattered heart, provide him with purpose, and help him fully embrace the joy of living once again amidst the beautiful and fragrant lavender fields?

I read  Xavier Axelson for the lyricism of his narrative.  His words can flow with a beauty that can haunt you, surprising you with their imagery and emotions.  From the synopsis, this seemed perfect for that the sort of story I’ve come to expect from this author in the past.  What I found was a mixture of new and remembered.

There’s a rough, gritty side here that I wasn’t expecting.  On one hand, I think it works well.  Law Crow is deep within the misery of his grief over the death of his father, the hole left by his mother’s fleeing to France, and his inability to deal with it all other than have copious amounts of clinical sex.   That’s exactly what we get when we aren’t getting gorgeous descriptions of the lavender fields, the house and memories.  Almost, textbook anatomy sex.  Maybe for some, it might have some appeal.  I feel that the author was letting us know that Law was mechanically “going through the motions”.  But it was too much for this reader.  Not when he was also delivering this:

“Surrounded by lavender fields, the isolated farmhouse stood out against the sunburned sky. My mother, statuesque and graceful, cut a striking image amidst the swaying lavender, reminding me of a knife stuck in the earth.”

Things improve immeasurably when Garbi enters the novel.  Still tons of sex, but as Law starts to recover emotionally so does the story.  You might say Garbi saves both Law and Lavender.  It’s not that you don’t feel for Law, adrift in his mourning.  It’s that the overwhelming sex takes you away from the story  in a way that distracts you and not in a good way. I get what the author was trying to do but imo it just didn’t work with this reader.

I could see and smell the fields of lavender spread out from the house.  I could imagine the aroma lingering on his clothes and body.  I loved Garbi and his teammates.  There is so much to love here in this story.  The characters and raw emotions that Axelson pulls from them and their scenes makes this story one to read, especially at the end.

The dawn broke across the fields, a sight I never grew tired of experiencing. I approached the lavender with hesitant excitement. I placed the urn on the table and undid the lid. The last knot of grief unwound from my heart, and a lightheaded joy washed over me. In my mind?s eye, I saw him whisking my mother across the wooden floors of the family room, and heard the piano.

Play the keys, Law. It’s time.

There’s so much more after that.  A satisfying ending and a HFN romance amidst lavender fields.  It still remains true, Xavier Axelson has a way with words that makes me want to read his stories.  I can’t wait to see what stories are coming next.

Cover art by Written Ink Designs is lovely, if too purple.  I get why.  Lavender infuses everything about this story so why not the cover.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published July 15th 2017 by JMS Books
ISBN139781634864220

An Ali Review: As Big As The Sky by Amy Aislin

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

Sam wants nothing to do with his irresponsible, sarcastic neighbor or does he?

 

Sam McAuley is having a rough start to the summer: Not only is he being sued, but the new guy running the animal rehabilitation center next door has no idea what he’s doing and his runaway chickens constantly end up in Sam’s pristine yard.

 

Everything is temporary for Bo Novak. For as long as he can remember, it’s been one town to the next, one school to the next, one job to the next. Even his current job running his sister’s animal rehab center while she’s away on a four-month leave is temporary. And he does know what he’s doing, thank you very much. Sure, things don’t always run smoothly, but the stick-in-the-mud next door could be a little nicer about it.

 

One overheard conversation, an olive branch, and a baseball game might show these guys that being at odds isn’t really what they want, and that what they want might just be each other.

 

This was a beautiful story and I loved it.  Sam and Bo don’t start out on the right foot due to Sam’s assumptions based on Bo’s sister’s warning before he came but Bo’s heartbreaking moment on the back porch give him some clarity about his neighbor.

 

All Bo wants is a friend, he doesn’t think he will ever find someone who would really love him.  My heart broke for him when he thought about being abandoned by his family and friends.  Seeing him doubt that anything good would happen for him almost made me cry.

 

We get to see the story through both of the MC’s eyes.  I was happy when Sam realized how he was acting toward Bo and quickly made a change getting to know the real man.  He did everything he could to help Bo see himself better but I think that the support of his family towards Bo did even more for him to realize that he is wanted.  I’m still not sure in the end if Bo’s sister had really changed her view of him but I think Bo realized she wasn’t as perfect as he always thought.

 

The cover art by Melody Pond is beautiful and perfect for this story.

 

Sales Links: MLR Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 134 pages

Published: August 4, 2017 by MLR Press

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour: A Cambridge Fellows Mystery novella (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith like nothing more than being given a mystery to solve. But what happens when you have to defend your greatest enemy on a charge of murder?

I’m a huge fan of Charlie Cochrane.  Her love of history and her ability to bring various eras to life vividly and memorably on the page can be seen no where better than her Cambridge Fellows Mysteries.  In this series, her remarkable characters Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith meet in St. Bride’s College, Cambridge, England, 1905.  That was their first story Lessons in Love.  From that start, we watch these two men grow, sometimes falter, mature, and continue to love each other through the years and history that follows.  The last book release was Lessons for Sleeping Dogs (Cambridge Fellows #12) and the year was 1921, setting Cambridge. Of course, they are at their beloved St. Bride’s College, a place that’s kept their secret and them safe all these years.

Their greatest enemy here? Well, that would be their neighboring college next to them…one so dastardly that the name is often never spoken.  Especially since its Head has been involved in several imbroglios and a nasty encounter with a beloved member of their small group of friends.  Now their are being asked to investigate whether one of their worst enemies could actually be innocent of murder?

What follows is a charming, complicated (it’s Jonty and Orlando of course) murder investigation.  It will touch on many past elements and stark realities about that era.  Soldiers in what we now call PTSD from the war being one of them,  Jonty’s past abuse as a child, and others are all threads included here. If you are unfamiliar with the series, they might slip by you without a much of a trace.  But if you are, they deepen much of the poignancy that flows here.  Jonty and Orlando have been together 20 years at this point, a lovely measure of time.  Yet still the fear of being caught out hangs over them and they are always cautious with themselves and their relationship.

The author bring’s us into Jonty and Orlando’s lives again gently, her conversations with them flows with the language and usage of words of the times yet it never feels forced or hard to read.  Indeed, its warm, welcoming, and easy.  After all these stories, it feels like  walking into the drawing room again and seeing old friends.  What a joy.   The story flew by all too quickly and it was another case closed before I knew it.

I hope Charlie Cochrane never closes the books on her Cambridge Fellows Mysteries.  I hope Jonty and Orlando never really get so old that they can’t go sleuthing together and that St. Bride’s will always be waiting for them when they return home.  Unfamiliar with the series?  Start today with Lessons in Love and work your way through.  There’s some real heartbreakers in the series but don’t worry.  The sun continues to shine on them both.  This is proof and a great story to boot.

Cover Illustration by Alex Beecroft is utterly charming and perfect for the story. Had no idea this talented author was an artist as well.

Buy links:    Amazon | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 82 pages
Expected publication: August 14th 2017 by The Right Chair Press
ASINB073Z3LL3K

An Alisa Release Day Review: Bone to Pick by TA Moore

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Cloister Witte is a man with a dark past and a cute dog. He’s happy to talk about the dog all day, but after growing up in the shadow of a missing brother, a deadbeat dad, and a criminal stepfather, he’d rather leave the past back in Montana. These days he’s a K-9 officer in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and pays a tithe to his ghosts by doing what no one was able to do for his brother—find the missing and bring them home.

 

He’s good at solving difficult mysteries. The dog is even better.

 

This time the missing person is a ten-year-old boy who walked into the woods in the middle of the night and didn’t come back. With the antagonistic help of distractingly handsome FBI agent Javi Merlo, it quickly becomes clear that Drew Hartley didn’t run away. He was taken, and the evidence implies he’s not the kidnapper’s first victim. As the search intensifies, old grudges and tragedies are pulled into the light of day. But with each clue they uncover, it looks less and less likely that Drew will be found alive.

 

I really enjoyed the banter and chemistry between the two MCs.  Cloister follows his gut and keeps his cards close to his chest throughout the whole book while Javi keeps everything to himself but seems more preoccupied with getting the job done.

 

Cloister didn’t have the best time growing up and makes a point of not letting anyone get to close to see him completely.  But his past actually does a lot to help him succeed in his job and help find what is missing.  Javi is so focused on moving up the ladder he doesn’t even want to consider a personal relationship let alone letting anyone close to him.

 

I was able to connect with Cloister right away, even if he didn’t let others know his thoughts and feeling we were definitely able to see them.  As I learned more about him I felt more and more for what he has gone through.  And while we saw the story through Javi’s eyes too I couldn’t quite connect with him; most of the time I just thought he was acting like a jerk.  This story doesn’t really have a nice happy ending but it is left open ended and I would be interested to see more about these two in the future.

 

The cover art by Anne Cain is absolutely perfect.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages

Published: August 14, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-63533-839-3

Edition Language: English

Charlie Cochrane On Her Obsessions with Pre/Post 1900’s and ‘Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour’ (Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway)

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Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour:
A Cambridge Fellows Mystery novella (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries)
by Charlie Cochrane
Alex Beecroft  (Illustrator)

Buy links:    Amazon | Amazon UK  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Charlie Cochrane here today with her new Cambridge Fellows Mysteries story, Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour! Welcome back, Charlie! 

✒︎

 

Charlie Cochrane on Her Obsession with Pre and Post 1900’s

I’m obsessed with the era either side of 1900. To the extent that if I buy (or borrow from the library) any new books set in the era I have to smuggle them into the house in a plain brown wrapper or my daughters tell me off. I try to pretend they’re for research purposes (I write many of my stories in the Edwardian/WWI era) but that’s stretching the truth. It’s the characters who fascinate me.  Sassoon, Owen, Brooke, Graves, Gurney and the rest – I can lap up both their works and their life stories.

Okay, you might say, that’s all very well setting a context for your writing but how does the romantic element work in?  The simple answer is that Siegfried Sassoon was gay, Wilfred Owen was gay, Rupert Brooke and Robert Graves had experienced homosexual encounters/longings, Vera Brittain’s brother Edward might have sacrificed himself in the line as he was under suspicion of sexual relations with his soldiers…the list goes on. Scratch the surface of almost any of the WWI poets and you find some connection (personal or through friends) to what would have been, at the time, a deliberately hidden world of gay men.

It’s a strange era, with a bit of a dichotomous feel. On the one hand the disgrace of Oscar Wilde would still have been sharp in the nation’s memory but Robert Ross, Wilde’s lover and staunch supporter, still had a sort of coterie in London where several of these poets congregated. (Owen, whose one extant letter to Sassoon suggests he was in love with him, got drawn into this network after meeting Sassoon at Craiglockhart.)

Inevitably, given the illegal status of homosexual relationships, cover ups were ripe. Edward Brittain’s commanding officer kept the story of his impending enquiry secret until he was attacked in print by Vera Brittain. Sassoon’s autobiographical novels skirt around his sexuality and he destroyed some of Owen’s letters to him for which the poet’s brother Harold was grateful. Harold did much (through both his own biography of his brother and destroying much of Wilfred’s correspondence) to sanitise the poet’s image; I wonder what he thought about Wilfred’s poem on the subject of rent boys, “Who is the God of Canongate”?

Because of the secrecy gay men had to live under, mysteries remain, some of which we may never be able to solve. Did Edward Brittain deliberately choose death in combat over disgrace? Was Wilfred Owen seduced by Charles Scott Moncrieff? Was the death by drowning of Michael Llewelyn Davies part of a suicide pact? How can we understand the lives of gay men at a century’s remove? Read the most up to date biographies, clearly, especially those which rely on first hand sources. (Dominic Hibberd’s “Wilfred Owen a new biography” is one of my brown paper wrapped books.)  Access correspondence from the time, and look at the changing drafts of the poems. Read the finished poems themselves, with the gift of hindsight. Maybe you’ll end up like me, so inspired by the tales you’ve heard that you’ll want to write about the era.

Title: Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour (m/m mystery)

Blurb:

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith like nothing more than being given a mystery to solve. But what happens when you have to defend your greatest enemy on a charge of murder?

Excerpt:

Cambridge 1922 

“Owens? Owens?” Orlando Coppersmith’s voice sounded louder, and clearer, from his chair in the Senior Common Room at St Bride’s than it had ever sounded before. And with good cause.

“Steady on, old man. We’re in enough of a state of shock without you making sufficient noise to wake the dead.” Jonty Stewart smiled at his friend’s uncharacteristic outburst. Although friendship would hardly be the most accurate way to describe their relationship. Even the description “lovers, companions, colleagues and partners in solving crime” didn’t quite cover the depth of the bond they’d build up in nigh on twenty years. If their hair bore the odd silver thread, their ardour hadn’t cooled.

“Wake the dead or, harder still, wake some of the dons,” Dr. Panesar agreed, mischievously.

“Good point, Dr. P.” Jonty sniggered. “Some of them give the impression they’ve been asleep since 1913.”

A quick glance around the oak panelled room supported his assertion. St. Bride’s may have been one of the most forward looking of the Cambridge colleges, embracing the fact the year was 1922 rather than pretending it was still 1622, but some aspects of the university, including crusty old dons, seemed to be an immutable fixture.

“In which case,” Orlando pointed out, “we’d have ten years of history to explain to them, much of it unpleasant, let alone this latest scandal. St. Bride’s men being asked to defend Owens. What is the world coming to?”

About the Author

Because Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her mystery novels include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows series, and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Lethe and Bold Strokes, among others.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie regularly appears at literary festivals and at reader and author conferences with The Deadly Dames.

www.charliecochrane.co.uk

Giveaway

Comment below for the chance to win an audio copy of Lessons in Love. One winner to be drawn from total comments from all blog tour stops.

Ravon Silvius on Characters, Writing and The Storm Lords (DSP PUBLICATIONS Author Guest Tour)

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The Storm Lords by Ravon Silvius
DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Where you can find the book 

DSP Publications |  Amazon  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ravon Silvius here talking about writing, characters and their latest fantasy release, The Storm Lords. Welcome, Ravon.

♦︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview With Ravon Silvius

Hello everyone, Ravon Silvius here! Thanks so much for interviewing me! I’m here to promote my newest book as well as talk about my career as a writer!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Honestly? Very little. My life is rather boring and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, so nothing much of my life makes it into my stories. The one thing that might make it in is my curiosity–I’m a researcher in my day job, so some of my characters will likely have a healthy scientific interest.

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?

Interesting question. I think sometimes having real life experiences influence things is for the better. In The Storm Lords, Rowen is mute, and if I was also mute I maybe could have written him even more accurately. Having real experiences to fall back on can often make those experiences feel more real and tangible to the reader. But I could also argue that you don’t necessarily need real life experience to write about something, especially in fantasy. After all, I’ve never summoned a storm, but I can still write about Kristoff using his power. It depends on context, I think.

Of course, the Mary Sue/Gary Stu question comes up if you write a character based entirely on yourself, and never portray the character in a bad light. Think of self-inserts in fanfics. I’ve never done that, thankfully. Like I said above, if I wrote a character based on myself, it would be a really boring character.

 

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

A bit of both. Writing fantasy is fun because you can do anything, but things also have to make sense within the world. For The Storm Lords, I made up the cultures and geography and magic system and everything about the world, but I did do research on weather systems and how they could conceivably work. There’s a lot of fantasy, but I think having the most fantastical things (summoned storms) feel somewhat real (like using the proper terminology and the basics behind how hot and cold fronts work) makes the story more immersive. I think the general rule with fantasy, though, is that you can do and make up anything as long as its consistent within its own world. 

For science fiction, a bit more research is usually required, of course. For my sci fi stories, I did a lot of research on space travel and what sort of cybernetic enhancements might make it easier. I also looked up a lot of information on the theory of a space elevator for my upcoming anthology collection featuring cyborg erotica. 

 

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

As a kid, I read a lot of animal fantasy–things like Watership Down or TailChaser’s Song. I liked the fantasy aspect and the uniqueness of the animal world. As I got older, I started reading more traditional fantasies–things like Wheel of Time and Valdemar. I got into science fiction even later than that, with books by Ben Bova. I enjoy reading almost anything, but my favorites have always been genre. Its both escapist and gives people a caricatured look at the world, with genre writing sometimes able to tackle subjects in an oblique, interesting way. The Enforcers series is like that, a look at inequality in a world with those who can use magic and those who can’t. Plus, who wouldn’t want magic to be real?

 

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 always have a rough idea in my head of where I want a story to end up, so I don’t often run into a problem where I don’t know where the story is going to go. I did have a slight problem while writing the Storm Lords where Rowen’s motivation for a while was to ignore his memories of his old home and strive to forget it. It was an unhealthy way to deal with what he had lost, and it had to come back and bite him–but that part was hard to write!

 

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?


I prefer Happy For Now over Happily Ever After. With HEA, I always wonder “What’s next,” especially with younger characters. Nothing stays happy forever. Maybe that’s a cynical way of thinking, but HFN feels more realistic, like the story we see is a part of a character’s life and not their entire existence. It makes the characters feel more real.I think the saddest story I wrote was Remembrance–it was very much a HFN, with the characters finding love, but the reader knows the world is going to end sooner rather than later. But I liked  ending it that way–the characters’ story was complete, but they and the world they live in had more in it to experience. I like leaving things a bit open for readers to imagine the future.

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


Ebooks are the future! In all seriousness, though, I love Ebooks. As a child and teenager, my only options were the hardcover books in book stores, and while I found a lot of my favorites this way, I also began noticing quite early on that a lot of them were very derivative. You’d see a lot of the same stories over and over, and what was worse, books came out so slow, and I read so fast, that I often couldn’t find new books in my favorite genres! 

Ebooks changed all that. I can go to Amazon and find unique works, either self-published or put out by publishers like DSP, who cater to my exact tastes (like genre with healthy doses of romance!). Ebooks can be released more quickly, and give authors who may not have been discovered traditionally a chance to shine. Of course, I still like paperback, but I am very glad Ebooks have made their mark. 

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


It depends on the cover. I am not a visual person, so I usually just fill out the cover art form and let the artist do their thing. Most of the time I’m happy with whatever they provide–cover artists are good at their job! I will usually provide a sentence or two of things I’d like to see–with the Enforcers series, for example, I usually request steampunky-type things, and for The Storm Lords I requested a storm somewhere in the art. I think it turned out great! 

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

This is a tough question! I love all of my work, from the shortest of the cyborg erotica stories to my longest work, the entire WaterLord trilogy. If I had to pick an absolute favorite, it would likely be Remembrance, which was discussed above. Its a science fiction story set in the future of a dying world, and it follows Aldric, a soldier who’s been traveling since the war ended. Its very bleak, but I think its a beautiful story.

Of course, I also love The Storm Lords, my most recent book from DSP. I love Rowen and Kristoff, and I hope others do too!

 

What’s next for you as an author?

 I have a few things coming out soon, and a few other things in development. Book 8 of the Enforcers Series, Allies, is coming out soon. Coming in October is an anthology of erotic short stories featuring cyborgs–there are 6 stories, all very hot. And of course, The Storm Lords has just come out! Check it out if you like fantasy with M/M romance. 

In the works I have book 9 of the Enforcers series, which will likely finish the series. I’m also working on a paranormal story feature a vampire. And finally, I hope to write the sequel to Freshman Blues, my first book with Dreamspinner.

Book Blurb:

The Storm Lords

The heat took everything from Rowen: his parents, his voice when the local cure for heatstroke poisoned him, and the trust of his fellow villagers, who branded him a water thief. It would have claimed his life when he was deemed unworthy of precious resources and left in the sun to die, had not a strange man named Kristoff ridden in on the wind and told Rowen he had power. 

Rowen works hard to become a Storm Lord, one of a secret magical group that brings storms to break the heat waves overtaking their world. But Rowen is starting his training at a disadvantage since he cannot speak and is much older than the other novices. The desire to please Kristoff inspires him to persevere even more than the threat of being sent back to his village to die should he fail. Still, he cannot gather rain, and when his abilities manifest, they are unlike anything known to the Storm Lords. Unless Kristoff can help him control his deadly powers, the entire world will be in danger.

Kristoff might be among the mightiest of the Storm Lords, but he’s never been a mentor before. For a chance to be with Rowen, he’s willing to risk everything.

About the author:

Ravon Silvius lives in a tiny apartment with two tiny cats in a tiny town in the United States. Despite the cramped living quarters, Ravon enjoys coming up with big ideas for novels, with some plots coming from Ravon’s findings as a neuroscience researcher and others coming purely from Ravon’s imagination.

Where you can find me:

My website: ravonsilvius.blogspot.com

My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ravon.silvius

I’m on twitter too, sometimes: https://twitter.com/ravonsilvius

And please check out my goodreads page!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4897217.Ravon_Silvius

Cover Reveal Blitz: Cataclysmic Shift (The Aloysius Tales Series #3) by Tara Lain (excerpt)

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Cat or man? Duty or love? 

Who prevails after the great cataclysmic shift?Check out the brand new cover for the 2nd Edition of CATACLYSMIC SHIFT!

 

Cataclysmic Shift
(The Aloysius Tales Series, Bk #3)
by Tara Lain
Blurb:
Super cat, Aloysius, may be the most powerful witch’s familiar in the world, but when he takes a blast at the hand of an evil witch he loses it all — power, memory, and his feline form — to become the ethereal human beauty, Alain Bellarose. When Alain wakes up naked on the floor surrounded by dogs and cats, his eyes first set upon Luke Elliott, the handsome and mysterious veterinarian. Suddenly, the prospect of being human doesn’t seem so bad.
Luke has a lot to hide and he likes animals way more than people, but he can’t resist the flamboyant boy who washes his face with the side of his hand and tries to lick his own privates! The loss of Aloysius depletes the power of the Witch Master, Killian Barth, and that of his “secret weapon” Sammy and leaves their coven sitting ducks for two very nasty females. When Alain discovers that he’s really a powerful cat, he’s faced with the ultimate choice. To protect his community, or stay with the man he loves.
Available for pre-order at

 

Also available in paperback
 
Release Date: 
September 13th 2017 
Excerpt

 

Excerpt  – Cataclysmic Shift; To the vet

Blaine stroked the silky black fur and looked up at Killian with pleading eyes. “Okay, baby, do your stuff. Make him well.”

Killian took a breath. He placed both hands on the slim body. Only a small spark of life force pulsed, but it was steady. Thank gods. “He took a strong hit. Those females are very powerful.” Sadly, without Aloysius, Killian was less so.

With focus, he ran a ripple of energy into the cat. “Come on, guy.” The strong heart beat faster, but his eyes didn’t open. Al was a mighty creature. Even that huge hit shouldn’t have been able to keep him down.

Another stream of energy flowed from Killian’s hands and his mind.

Blaine frowned. “Why isn’t he waking up?”

“I don’t know, darling.” Killian closed his eyes and focused on the still point that was Aloysiusness. Odd. Somehow changed. Oh gods. Al had to be okay. The world’s most powerful familiar could not be put down. He couldn’t be.

“My God, Professor. What happened to your cat?”

Killian’s eyes flew open. Hells, he’d forgotten where they were. The next class was coming in. He looked up at the girl who often sat in the front row of his witchcraft class. “Hello, Miss Eberle. He fell and got injured. He’s alive but unconscious.”

She knelt down, her pretty face a study in sympathy. “Oh no, he’s such a wonderful cat. He has to be okay.”

“Yes, he does have to be okay. Dr. Genneau and I are going to take good care of him.”

She looked up with tears glistening. “Take him to the vet right away.”

“Uh, yes. Yes, we will.” He reached down and carefully picked up Al’s limp body. Blaine huddled beside him, and they started walking toward the side door where Blaine had come in. Students gathered around and murmured their hopes and wishes. Funny, that was what some of them called him—Mr. Wishes. Al was a very popular cat at the university.

Moving slowly, they finally got to Killian’s car in the back lot. Thank gods he hadn’t brought the motorcycle today. Blaine climbed into the passenger seat, and Killian laid Aloysius on his lap. Tears dripped off Blaine’s chin. Not much made Blaine cry.

Killian petted Blaine’s head and then Al’s soft side. He knelt beside the car and laid his head on Blaine’s leg, beside the cat. “He’s alive. And he’s so powerful, Blaine. He has to be all right.” But what in the hells to do?

Blaine wiped a tear from his cheek. “That girl had an idea. He’s a cat. Maybe we should take him to a vet?”

Killian raised his head. “But he’s not a cat.”

“He has a cat’s body. There’s a guy in my men’s group who’s a vet. Young, but he seems real capable and compassionate. I could call him.”

Killian’s eyes widened. “Take a witch’s familiar to a vet?”

 

The Aloysius Tales Series
 
Book #1
Spell Cat
Available for purchase at
         
Also available in paperback
 
Bk #2

 

Brush With Catastrophe 
Available for purchase at
         
Also available in paperback
Grab the first two books in the series and get all caught up before the release of Cataclysmic Shift!
About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in gay romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 40. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Romantic Suspense, and more. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
You can find Tara at Lain

               

Presented By

Review Tour – Amy Aislin’s As Big As The Sky (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
Length: 37,000 words
 
Publisher: MLR Press
 
Blurb
 

Sam wants nothing to do with his irresponsible, sarcastic neighbor…or does he?
Sam McAuley is having a rough start to the summer: Not only is he being sued, but the new guy running the animal rehabilitation center next door has no idea what he’s doing and his runaway chickens constantly end up in Sam’s pristine yard.

Everything is temporary for Bo Novak. For as long as he can remember, it’s been one town to the next, one school to the next, one job to the next. Even his current job—running his sister’s animal rehab center while she’s away on a four-month leave—is temporary. And he does know what he’s doing, thank you very much. Sure, things don’t always run smoothly, but the stick-in-the-mud next door could be a little nicer about it.

One overheard conversation, an olive branch, and a baseball game might show these guys that being at odds isn’t really what they want, and that what they want might just be each other.

 



August 4 – Xtreme Delusions
August 7 – The Geekery Book Review
August 8 – Bayou Book Junkie
August 9 – Millsy Loves Books, Cupcakes and Bookshelves
August 10 – MM Good Book Reviews
August 11 – Au Boudior Ecarlate, Sarandipity, Making It Happen
August 14 – Diverse Reader, Books Lovers 4Ever, Bayou Book Junkie, Nicole’s Book Musings, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews, Jessie G Books
August 15 – Love Bytes
August 18 – My Fiction Nook

Excerpt

The chicken was in his yard again. Ugly red wattle dangling beneath its beak like loose jowls, brown feathers puffed in an inflated sense of superiority. On any other day Sam normally wouldn’t have cared so much about the mess it was making of his garden, but this was the third time in as many days, the magazine crew would be here within the hour, and he’d told Bo to fix his damn fence.

Sighing, Sam set his mug on the counter. He really hadn’t had enough coffee yet to deal with this.

He walked out of the kitchen and down the hall to the front door, where he put on a pair of flip flops before exiting his house. Down the driveway, a left at the tiny gravel sidewalk, around the hedges in Bo’s yard, up Bo’s driveway. The early June sun pierced his eyes. He knocked on the front door and waited for Bo to answer.

Ever since Bo had taken over running Big Sky—the animal rehabilitation center next door to Sam’s—four weeks ago from his sister, Laura, it had been one disaster after another. Damaged enclosures, a pygmy goat with diarrhea, equipment that didn’t work, flooding in the cows’ pen after a bad rainfall, a yappy pair of not-quite-housebroken puppies. And now? Broken fences and runaway chickens.

The door opened, revealing a rumpled Bo dressed in old jeans, hiking boots, and a T-shirt streaked with dirt. He was out of breath, as if he’d run to the front door. The pair of dirty work gloves in his hand told Sam he’d probably been working out back.

The unsure smile on Bo’s face turned into a scowl when he saw who stood on his doorstep at nine in the morning. Sam ignored how cute Bo’s frowny face was and drew himself up to his full six-foot-three height. Bo was not his type. Too short, too lean, eyes too brown, hair too blond. Too flaky, too temperamental, too feisty, too…too much.

Nope. Not Sam’s type at all.

Bo’s hands went to his hips. He looked like a knight defending his domain. A tiny, skinny one with a bad attitude.

“What now?” he snapped.

“You didn’t fix the fence,” Sam said.

“I—”

Sam held up a hand, cutting Bo off. “Look. I know you know what day it is. The crew’s going to be here in less than an hour. The last thing I need is your chicken masquerading as a prison escapee messing up my garden.” Bo’s lips twitched at that, but Sam ignored how that made him feel and continued. “Fix your goddamn fence. And get your chicken out of my yard.” Bo opened his mouth to speak but Sam didn’t give him the chance. He turned and descended the porch steps. “Oh.” He turned back to find Bo still frowning at him, lips pressed in a tight line. “And if your chickens keep escaping, maybe there’s something wrong with the chicken coop?”

The slamming door at his back was surprisingly satisfactory.

Author Bio


Amy started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head. Based in the suburbs of Toronto, Amy is a marketer at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night. Book enthusiast, animal lover and (very) amateur photographer, Amy’s interests are many and varied, including travelling, astronomy, ecology, and baking.

Amy loves connecting with readers! You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter or sign up for her infrequent newsletter at www.amyaislin.com/signup