An Ali Audiobook Review: Legal Tender (Art Series #4) by Andrew Grey and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Timothy left home when he was eighteen to get away from his reckless mother, but he never stopped visiting his grandfather, who taught him what love was all about. Now that Grampy has passed away, Timothy finds that the old man’s legacy is everything Timothy has dreamed of—and more.

Inside the house Timothy loves so much is a cache of coins with historical value… and a mystery, because one of them isn’t supposed to exist. In memory of his grandfather, Timothy sets out to make sure that the mystery and the coins are given their due honor. In his quest to keep the government from confiscating his grandfather’s legacy, he meets Joiner, whose interest in Timothy is as clear and open as Timothy is guarded. There are things about Timothy’s life and his past he doesn’t want anyone to know, not even the kind man who is helping him with the complications of legal tender.
This was a lovely story of one man learning to overcome his past and to find himself worthy of a good relationship.  When Timothy finds the coins mentioned in the blurb, he needs some assistance in how to handle them/keep them.  This is the point where he meets Joiner.  Over the course of the story, Timothy begins to open up and share his past with Joiner which allows him to slowly fall in love with the man.  The development of their relationship was slow and sweet and touching in a few places.  My only complaint was the tragic abuse background Timothy had.  This is solely a personal thing but I’m becoming tired of this trope.  There seems to me that there are a bunch of hardships/difficulties that characters could go through rather than the abusive parent who does horrible things to their child. (note there are potential trigger issues of child abuse and sexual assault in this story)
This was the fourth book in the series but works fine as a standalone.  There are some characters from the previous books as well as some cross over from the author’s Bottled Up series.  If you have read those you will probably enjoy seeing the characters.  If you haven’t you will be fine reading this.  The author does a good job of giving enough information about those relationships that you are easily able to follow along.
The narrator of this audiobook was done by John Solo.  I thought it was done fairly well. I find this narrator to be hit or miss for me and I’m not quite sure why that is.  There was nothing particularly wrong with this, it was just that Timothy in particular just didn’t sound like I thought a man of his age would.  It’s quite probable this is a case of “It’s not you, it’s me.” 
Overall I enjoyed this story and the narration.  I think this is a good example of this author’s storytelling style and I think this will be a hit with fans of his. 
Cover by Anne Cain.  This cover was done by Anne Cain and I think it is a nice cover. It is a good representation of the story and the characters.
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio
Published July 27th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published April 5th 2012)
ASINB0747VJ9BG
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesArt Series #4

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Three Player Game (Bluewater Bay) by Jaime Samms

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Vince’s life has improved immeasurably since he moved to Bluewater Bay two years ago. He’s gone from working for a man he hated, to helping found a company he believes in. And he and boyfriend, Pete, have built a delicate balance of power between them that keeps them both grounded and thriving.

Almost, anyway.

Pete’s job on the set of Wolf’s Landing is demanding. He needs lots of downtime off set, and that’s where Vince’s firm but gentle control isn’t always enough. And for Vince, Pete’s constant high-energy needs are turning out to be more than he can handle alone.

It’s no surprise to either of them, then, that sparks fly when Vince’s coworker Lee enters the picture. Outwardly, Lee is tough and confident, but when a bad back confines him to Pete and Vince’s spare room, the cracks start to show and his desire for connection begins to peek through.

Pete and Vince both like what they see under Lee’s prickly outside, but now the three men must learn that love isn’t about beating the game—it’s about balance, trust, and letting each other in.

From the minute I started reading this, I was confused.  I felt like there was a relationship history—whether friends, lovers, or enemies—missing from the setup because we should know who they are and how they fit together.  It didn’t help that each chapter was narrated by a different MC so three alternating POVs and two of them were already a couple. Should we have known this? I still don’t know.  But even with giving that alternating POV, I wasn’t getting enough information on the men to actually care about them.  I didn’t even know what they looked like, although there was one early mention of one of them having curls and another with Asian heritage. So I studied the cover photo and I studied the blurb and I went back twice to reread my review of the first Bluewater Bay story from this author, and there I was at chapter eight, and still clueless. 

Somewhere in the middle, I realized that maybe the chef and the other “money man” they were talking about was the same couple from the first book this author wrote for this series.  I was right and discovered it was How the Cookie Crumbles, but considering I read that over eighteen months ago—which was over 500 books ago for me—and the author is using two minor secondary characters in this book, I think she would have been much better off assuming we knew nothing about these men at all, and maybe later in the story, showing us the connection.  There wasn’t enough character-building to get me invested in this threesome.  Pete and Vince were not presented as a strong couple.  I got that they were together, but I didn’t feel emotion from Vince, and Pete came across as a sex kitten looking for someone to dominate him when he needs to be less hyperactive.  Lee was rude and obnoxious throughout most of the book, so I honestly didn’t care at all what happened to him. I certainly couldn’t relate to him at all and simply wanted to move past him, whether it was his own POV chapter or one of the others. 

Toward the end, I started to feel the connection between the threesome, and overall, by the conclusion of the story I was pleased with all of them, but I can’t honestly recommend this as a good example of a ménage book.  To me, there needs to be a deep connection between all three men, and that didn’t come across as the case here.  There were connections—like the old connect-the-dots games I played as a kid—but not enough to recommend this. 

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The cover by LC Chase was very informative in that it features three handsome men.  As I said before, I actually referred to the cover a few times to get an idea of what the characters looked like.  The threesome pictured—interestingly and maybe subconsciously?—are pictured as three separate characters facing in different directions and not all embracing one another.  Freudian? Or a portent of the contents of the book?   

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 263 pages
Published August 14th 2017 by Riptide Publishing (first published August 2017)
ISBN139781626496699
SeriesBluewater Bay #20

A Kai Review: Like Two Parting Seas (States of Love) by Zhara Freytes

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Rating: 2.75 out of 5

After two years of internet chats and crappy video calls, Nathan and Leonardo will finally meet face-to-face, and the anticipation is killing them both. Their slow-simmering desire to be together soon boils over as Nathan shows Leo around his hometown of Boise, Idaho. Witty conversation fills their days, passion fills their nights, and both young men know they belong in each other’s lives. But how can a romance, let alone a relationship, work when Nathan’s career is in Boise and Leo must soon return to his home in Italy? Since neither is ready to say goodbye to the budding love affair, they’re determined to find a solution before the end of Leo’s holiday.

Well, the story’s premise was great. The long-distance friendship turning into something more, caught my eye and I needed to read this. I thought would be a sweet and great story. Unfortunately, the execution was disappointing. The story was flat, really fast paced and felt very incomplete.

The plot was Okay and could be so much more if it had been better developed. Unfortunately, the novella was really short to the reader really to connect with it.

There were a lot of events where the author “told” what happened and didn’t “show” it. That was frustrating. I couldn’t get a sense of the MC’s friendship before they met face-to-face, nor when they truly hooked up. Even when they were together spending time with each other, there were gaps in the story telling. That was a big turn off for me about the story.

The sex wasn’t much described. Actually, it was basically off-pages and it felt like we were losing a part of the story where the MC’s was really bonding their feelings.

The novella wasn’t all bad, though. This book is part of States of Love series. In this series, each author selects one state and surround their story around that area.

Idaho is where Like Two Parting Seas’ story took place and I really liked to know more about this state: some of its sights and culture.

I also liked the easy and fluid writing. I would be very interested in reading a longer romance by this author, where she could actually develop the story.

The end was abrupt and without a conclusion. A kind of HFN, that absolutely needs a sequel.

The cover art by Brooke Albrecht is nice and sweet. I like it!

Sales Links

Dreamspinner Press 

Amazon

Book Details:

Ebook: 49 pages

Publication: August 30th, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

Séries: States of Love

ISBN13: 9781635338966

Edition Language: English

In the Spotlight: Zhara Freytes on Writing, Characters, and her release ‘Like Parting Two Seas’ (author interview)

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Like Two Parting Seas (States of Love) by Zhara Freytes
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Purchase Link:  Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Zhara Freytes here today talking about her latest release Like Two Parting Seas. Welcome, Zhara!

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Zhara Freytes ~

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I tend to write from personal experiences because I feel it makes my writing more authentic, but I also like to give my characters their own personality that might defer from my own in a lot of ways. So I would say it’s an even balance depending on what the story is and what the message that I’m trying to get across is.

  • 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?

There definitely is a tight line. A character should be multidimensional and should be their own person. Making them like anyone else, making them have no flaws, is doing an injustice to any character an author might create. Using personal experiences can help, but it’s important to remember that you’re not writing about yourself, so to speak. You’re writing someone else’s story through your writing.

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

Research, for me, is important, especially when writing about a real place or culture. I wouldn’t want to misrepresent something that might offend someone. Even in the supernatural genre, I think it’s important to research and make sure the world you’re creating is your own and that you’re not stepping on any toes.

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

Definitely. I think it helped me realize what genres I like more and which I could relate to more so that in my writing it will sound authentic and not forced.

  • 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?

Yes, more than once. Sometimes I get so sucked into the world of my characters that I start to believe I’m the one going through it. It’s heartbreaking to watch your characters suffer because they become your children, your family. You want them to be happy and when the story isn’t heading that way, it can be emotionally stressful.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like happy for now ending more because I think it’s more enjoyable for the readers to make up their own conclusions about what happens in the future. I never want to force my readers to accept something that they, maybe, don’t agree with. HFN allows everyone to make their own ending and be happy with the result.

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

Yes. Romance is my absolute favorite genre to read. Especially because there’s so many different romantic relationships to explore and the content it neverending.

  • Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

I don’t think I have a specific major influence other than life itself. There’s so many stories that need to be told and I enjoy telling them and putting my own spin on them. Life is the best experience that I can have as an author.

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

The internet grows by the year and I think nowadays it’s so much easier to read something off a phone or tablet and not have to deal with a paperback. Sure, it’s always nice to read a paperback, but it’s so much simpler to not have to lug a physical book around and be able to pull it up on your electronic and read it whenever. I think as the days go on, it will become more popular.

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

I like to have it represent something from the book. If it’s a book that has a strong music influence, I’d like my cover to have something with music on it.

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

No, I don’t think so because each story is unique and it wouldn’t be fair to my characters to choose a favorite. It’s like choosing a favorite child; not a very nice, or easy, thing to do for most.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I hope to only grow as an author, make the next book bigger and better than the last. That’s my goal.

Blurb

After two years of internet chats and crappy video calls, Nathan and Leonardo will finally meet face-to-face, and the anticipation is killing them both. Their slow-simmering desire to be together soon boils over as Nathan shows Leo around his hometown of Boise, Idaho. Witty conversation fills their days, passion fills their nights, and both young men know they belong in each other’s lives. But how can a romance, let alone a relationship, work when Nathan’s career is in Boise and Leo must soon return to his home in Italy? Since neither is ready to say goodbye to the budding love affair, they’re determined to find a solution before the end of Leo’s holiday.

 

Blog tour for Survivor by T.M. Smith (giveaway)

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Title: Survivor
Author: T.M. Smith
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: August 22, 2017

Taylor Langford’s world is torn apart when he is only thirteen years old—his parents killed, leaving him alone and orphaned. With no living relatives, he’d certainly be another statistic if not for the intervention of the policeman who found Taylor in the crawl space where his mother hid him that fateful night. Despite the tragedy and resulting anguish in his life, Taylor knows how lucky he is.

Frank Moore is a rookie with the Dallas Police Department when he and his partner answer a call in Devonshire, one of the city’s more affluent neighborhoods. They think the young boy in various pictures throughout the home has been kidnapped until they find him, shaken but alive. Officer Moore recognizes the pain in the kid’s eyes, having lost his own mother to cancer when he was just a boy. He steps in, making sure Taylor is placed with a loving foster family. Over the years, Frank becomes a permanent fixture in Taylor’s life.

A decade later, the case remains unsolved and the once gangly, uncertain teenager is now a college graduate who knows exactly what he wants. He’s coming home to the man that helped mold and shape his life, the man he’s loved for as long as he can remember, Frank Moore. But Taylor isn’t the only person returning to Dallas, and while Frank is distracted by his own conflicting feelings and the new bond growing between the two, the past creeps up on them, determined to finish what was started ten years earlier.

A note from the author…

I hope you enjoy Frank and Taylor’s story. It’s been a long road to get them settled, but I’m happy with where this story has taken them. When I started this book, the intent was to write a stand-alone story, but that has changed. Characters continually evolve throughout the writing process, and there are several characters in the book that want to tell their story. I’ve grown especially fond of Rory and I can’t wait to write his book, which will take us back to when he first joined the Bureau, and continue on to his happy ever after.

Please be advised: This is a May/December romance, and as in life, there are sexual situations that take place prior to the main characters finding their way to one another. This is not gratuitous; it is meant to show character growth and self-realization. There is absolutely no cheating.



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A military brat born and raised at Ft. Benning Georgia; TM Smith is an avid reader, reviewer and writer. A Texas transplant, she now calls DFW her home. Most days she can be found curled up with a good book, or ticking away on her next novel. 

Smith is a single mom of three disturbingly outspoken and decidedly different kids, one of which is Autistic. Besides her writing, she is passionate about Autism advocacy and LGBT rights. Because, seriously people, Love is Love!

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Release Blitz for Healing Him (The Den Boys #2) by Amanda Brennan (exclusive excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Healing Him
Author: A.T. Brennan
Series: The Den Boys #2
Release Date: August 29th 2017
Genre: MMM Erotic Contemporary Romance

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“I hated that I was like this, but after years of trying to work through it I was beginning to feel like I’d never be normal.” ~ Cody

Hiding the fact that I was in love with my best friend Isaac used to be the most complicated part of my day, until a chance meeting with a handsome stranger named Jonah sent my life into a tailspin. Scars from my past have stopped me from giving in to my desires for so long, but I’m done being afraid. I want both men. I just don’t know if I’ll be able to trust that anyone can love me.

“I knew it was a bit messed up, but there was no jealousy or envy when I thought of my men together.” ~ Isaac

I’ve loved Cody for as long as I’ve known him, but have always held back because of his past. Then I met Jonah and I knew there was no way I could choose between them. I want it all—the man I’ve loved for so long, and the one I’m quickly falling for. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

“I wanted to believe it was all true, but I couldn’t push aside the fear that I was just a distraction until the two of them got together.” ~ Jonah

After having my heart broken I never thought I’d find love again. I wasn’t looking for anything real, and then I met not one, but two men I can’t resist. Isaac and Cody are everything I ever wanted but didn’t know I could have. I want to believe the three of us can work, but a part of me can’t get past the fear that I’ll be the odd man out, again.

*This is Book 2 of The Den Boys series, but can be read as a standalone – no cliffhangers.

*This book is intended for an 18+ audience and is a story of male/male/male romance and love. There are graphic depictions of man parts doing naughty and sexy things, so please be sure this is the kind of book for you before reading.

Find Healing Him on Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Available on Kindle Unlimited

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

Jonah

I was no stranger to attraction and I did okay when it came to picking up, but between what I felt for Cody and now what I was feeling for Isaac, I was confused as fuck.

If it were any other situation I would have continued to flirt with Isaac, then maybe see if he wanted to leave with me, but Cody complicated things.

It was obvious there was something going on between the two of them, and while Isaac was sending all the right signals, I didn’t feel right going for it if it would hurt Cody.

Again, I had no idea why the fuck I was thinking like this. I’d met Cody once, and it had been pretty obvious that he wasn’t looking for anything from me. I didn’t know why I was feeling such loyalty for him, but it was right there in the forefront of my mind.

Giveaway: Win an ebook of your choice (gifted via Amazon)

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About the Author

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A.T. Brennan, who also writes under the name Mandie Mills, is a romance and erotica author. A native of Ottawa, Canada, she enjoys picking up and moving from city to city every few years. A former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, current entrepreneur and freelance writer, she enjoys spending her days working on her many projects and her nights writing and not getting enough sleep. Currently she lives on Canada’s East Coast with her family, both two- and four-legged. She enjoys collecting books and exploring the different sides of romance and romantic expression in her works.

Links: Website | Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter | Amazon

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COVER REVEAL for Waking the Behr (A Foothills Pride Story) by Pat Henshaw (excerpt and giveaway)

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Book Title: Waking the Behr (A Foothills Pride Story)

Author: Pat Henshaw

Cover Artist: AngstyG

Genre: contemporary gay romance

Length: 29,689 Words/88 Pages

Release Day Date: September 20, 2017

Pre-Order Link

Dreamspinner Press

Blurb

Both Ben and Mitch think they know exactly what they want. Turns out, they don’t even know their own hearts.

Good old boy Ben has dated women his entire life, while gay nightclub owner Mitch has never considered unsophisticated country boys his type. But after they start hanging out, the small-town contractor and the urban entrepreneur are both stunned by the electricity sparking between them.

As they step outside their comfort zones to spend time together, Mitch finds he enjoys rural car rallies, and Ben is intrigued by the upscale bars Mitch owns in San Francisco. When they share their lives and grow closer, they start to question the way they’ve always defined themselves. Then they kiss and fling open the door to love. Now they must step up and travel the road that may lead to happily ever after—even if that path isn’t one they ever expected to walk.

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Excerpt

(From Ben Behr’s point of view. Contractor Ben has signed up new client Mitch O’Shea and is going to lunch with him outside Stone Acres, California, at the Rock Bottom Cafe in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Mitch has nicknamed his custom-made muscle car Rita.)

Driving Mitch’s Rhino GX up to the Bottom was every good old boy’s wet dream. The thing greedily gobbled up the road. A couple of times I felt like I was holding it back with a thin piece of rope that was on the verge of breaking.

Mitch, the bastard, laughed at me the whole way.

“Let her have some head.”

“Can’t. We’re coming up on a couple of tight switchbacks. Don’t want us to go off the road before we’ve had lunch.”

“Pussy,” he whispered.

Easy enough for him to say. I was sure glad I hadn’t let him drive. We’d have been careening all over the place and probably would’ve had a lot more near misses.

I could just imagine my cell lighting up with calls as we passed some of my friends in their trucks. I felt them all staring at Rita as we flew by.

“You could have let her go,” he grumbled after we parked at the Bottom.

My hands were shaking from exhilaration. My zillion-dollar smile had to be glowing. Fuck. A guy could come just from driving this baby.

“Whatever,” I mumbled, because I really didn’t have any words at all. I had no native language at that point. I was cruising on the blissful release of having danced with Rita.

As we rounded the corner of the parking lot and headed for the front door, my brother Connor nearly bumped into me.

“What the fuck is that thing, Ben?” He was practically panting as he took in Rita.

“Well, damn me. There are two of you beauties,” Mitch whispered close to my ear.

“Yeah, well. Mitch O’Shea, this is my younger brother, Connor. Connor, Mitch.”

They stared for a split second before Mitch thrust out his hand and Con grabbed it.

“Hey, nice to meet you. What kind of car is it?”

They stood much too close, in my opinion, as Mitch listed Rita’s specs.

Not that I was jealous or protective or anything. I mean, Mitch had said he was gay, and Con definitely was. So they were a perfect match, right?

Are you kidding? my dick sneered.

My gut screamed that Con was encroaching, which was really weird. It wasn’t like I had any real designs on Mitch. I mean, I’m straight, even though I was between women and didn’t really feel like hunting down another one at the moment.

So what if I was attracted to Mitch? He was a good-looking guy. I had a lot of good-looking friends.

True, none of them made me want to run my hands all over them, though. Which was beside the point, right?

“So you’re here for lunch?” Con asked Mitch.

I nodded, but Con didn’t acknowledge me.

“Mind if I join you?” he asked, staring at Mitch.

Couldn’t he tell he was the third wheel at this party?

I shrugged, and Mitch nodded. I had no clue what the nod meant.

Lorraine, the Bottom’s co-owner, latched on to us near the hostess stand, scooped up three menus, and said over her shoulder, “Right this way.”

Connor was having lunch with us, then.

“Let me give you a quick overview about the roadhouse, Mitch. Then you’ll have some basic info to think about. Okay?” This was a working lunch, right? So I’d best be acting businesslike.

Mitch nodded, and Con, fortunately, figured out what was going on and shut the fuck up.

After we ordered, I walked Mitch through the building’s long list of minuses and its one plus—it was a sturdy old bugger. He told me he’d get back to me about what he was going to do. I had a feeling he’d already decided and was going to call the Realtor to make an offer once we were back in town. You don’t often find guys dancing around like crazy idiots who don’t already have their minds made up.

As we ate, I watched Mitch and Con chat. I sat there and mentally took notes on how gay guys flirt. If nothing else, I guess I could chalk lunch up as a learning experience.

Meet the Author

Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, has spent her life surrounded by words:  Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Pat was born and raised in Nebraska where she promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California.  Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube.

Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion.  Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.

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