Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Published August 28th 2017 by Eli Easton
Original TitleHow To Save A Life
Series Howl at the Moon #4
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Colorado wedding planner Mason O’Reilly lands a major contract: a two-hundred-guest wedding at the Leanin’ N Ranch, where his friends Ford and Stoney are working to provide a safe space for GLBT events. The Wright/Preston ceremony is a destination wedding, and as the grooms are from Texas, everything is done over the phone and email. There’s no way that could lead to trouble, right?
Oil tycoon Noah Wright isn’t happy about the impending disaster, but he admires Mason’s quick thinking and grace under pressure. And that’s not all he likes about the out-and-proud wedding planner. Even though Mason’s interested in Noah, his Mr. Right can’t possibly be a rancher from Dallas.
Finding Mr. Wright, the second story in the Leaning N series by BA Tortuga, involves wedding planner Mason O’Reilly, a secondary character from Commitment Ranch. I had wanted Mason to get his HEA and here he does. Though it takes a while.
All the wonderful characters from the original story are here, Stoney, Ford, their kid and the various ranch hands including their chef (who needs his own story). They form a wonderful foundation along with the Leaning N ranch for Mason and Noah Wright to meet, clash and learn to love. Of course, there are Texans, lots of mad Texans, transplanted to Colorado with a side trip south for good measure. I have to admit, that was the part that threw me here for a little while.
Normally I love the Texas influence in BA Tortuga’s stories but when it went upscale (how I love me BA Tortuga’s redneck cowboy lovers) as it did with Wright’s family, especially with Noah’s mother who I sort of despised, part of the heart went out of this story and it went cold. I understood that we needed to see where Noah was coming from and how much he had to work through. Totally worked. Still think his mama owes Mason a huge apology.
It took at trip back into the snow, up into the mountains of Colorado to find the warmth and heart of this series, for Noah to realize where his future was, as well as the fire and romance that pours out of this series. The Leaning N Ranch and all the come out of there are special. BA Tortuga creates these little villages of people that form unique families, ones you never get tired of reading about. All sort of quirky and wonderful. There are lesbian partners, chefs with a past who make up incredible concoctions, tattooed hulks who show up and never leave only to become indispensable in the kitchen, and of course Stoney and Ford and their kid. Now there’s Mason and Noah.
Can’t wait to see who’s next. Yes, I love this series. Yes, I recommend it. Pick up the first one and head to this one next. I’m already eagerly awaiting the next installment.
Cover Artist: Bree Archer. I like the cover but wish it was just a little more detailed.
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:ebook, 1st edition, 226 pages
Expected publication: September 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Series: Leaning N
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
When Zane moves into an old gothic brownstone, he discovers the house comes equipped with a caretaker—Kit, who lives in the basement. Zane is immediately drawn to the charming and attractive Kit. But Kit is much more than he seems. He is a two-hundred-year-old half-human, half–red-fox spirit who guards a Gate between the mortal and spirit worlds—a fact Zane should recognize, but doesn’t.
Orphaned at a young age, Zane never learned he comes from a long line of mystical Keepers. Kit needs Zane’s help to protect the Gate, but how can he tell Zane of his legacy when that will crush Zane’s dreams of traveling the world? If he takes up the mantle, Zane will be bound to the Gate, unable to leave it. But when Zane realizes Kit’s true nature, and his own, he’ll have to make a choice—fight to protect Kit and the Gate, or deny his destiny and any chance of a future with Kit.
Finder’s Keeper is one of those stories where one of the main characters arrives at a place, in this case an old brownstone bequeathed to him and his twin sister by an unknown uncle and immediately feels a connection. Ties to that place and to the handsome man he finds making him coffee and breakfast the next morning. Not instant love feelings but something that goes deeper. An emotional tie that somehow Zane can’t explain away, not that he really wants too.
I have to admit to having felt those from time to time. I’ve never really tried to categorize them. But you walk into a place, across a landscape or gaze into a stranger’s eyes, if even for a passing second and there’s a spark of recognition that isn’t possible, or a feeling of coming home when you’ve never been there before. In a way, Anthony uses that as a basis for her story of Finder’s Keeper only here the relationship between house and family, Gate and Keeper is almost cellular as well as spiritual.
Anthony makes it more realistic for Zane to accept his feelings for the house and its caretaker by having Zane and his sister orphaned at a young age as well as giving a difficult romantic history for Zane. All of which would make a house and new location suddenly look like a very attractive path if you’re looking to make a home. Especially if you feel as though you’re being led there. Which Zane is.
I liked all the characters Shira Anthony fills her story with and there’s quite the collection here, including Lor the demon, and Zane’s sister who I really could have used much more of. I hope that’s rectified in the next stories. I even really loved the romance here. I don’t think instant love has a place here. As set out by the author, their attraction and yes, love for each other is believable. The only thing that semi-irritated me towards the end was the dithering Kit did over the relationship binding, ignoring what Zane was telling him. Once yes, but repeatedly? That started to feel forced.
Oh Kit, he was amazing. I loved the Kitsune element here and hope that somehow the author will find a way to bring Kit’s father into future stories. Anthony has built so many intriguing minor (who knows) story threads into Finder’s Keeper that I can’t help but hope they will be fleshed out in future sequels to come. Lor the demon alone needs his own story too. And he’s not alone.
I’m loving this new Dreamspun Beyond line from Dreamspinner Press. If you love paranormal or supernatural romances, then Finder’s Keeper, the first in a new series from Shira Anthony is just the thing for you.
Cover art by Aaron Anderson. I just love this cover. Just the right element of spookiness and a gorgeous otherworldly model. Perfect!
ebook, Dreamspun Beyond #4, 236 pages
Expected publication: September 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English
Series Heart’s Gate #1 setting Cleveland, Ohio (United States)
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
When Nathaniel “Than” Kelly is told to uncover and report on the secrets in widowed billionaire, viral sensation, single dad, Dominic Montgomery’s closet on why he’s so hell bent in giving his daughter the world, he doesn’t expect to lose his heart in the process; but it may be too late to earn forgiveness of a man who has already experienced loss and betrayal.
Widowed, billionaire father, Dominic Montgomery would do anything to make his daughter, Vienna, smile. Whether it’s taking her to see Taylor Swift in concert every time she’s close to Woodstock to dressing up in a tutu and dancing in her ballet recital to singing Disney songs anywhere… anytime. He’s doing everything he can to be the perfect father. Even if that means pretending he’s in a Disney movie, the handsome prince in search of his princess. There’s just one problem.
Dominic’s bisexuality. It’s a secret he was planning to take to his grave, but his wife discovered it and it caused her death. But when word gets out about his “Musical Day” and undercover reporter Than Kelly arrives, Dominic falls… HARD. But, can he put aside his guilt to find his own happily-ever-after with the man who may just be his fairytale come true, or will he allow it to rule him forever?
Life Is Not a Musical didn’t live up to my expectations. I’m a big Vicktor Alexander fan but it was hard for me to get into this story. It has interesting characters and a nice premise, but overall, it was too much when put together.
The relationship between Than and Dominic adds the most to the story. It’s easy to see Dominic’s guilt and Than’s regret. I enjoyed Than’s interactions with Vienna, but Dominic’s were a bit too over-the-top.
The author did create the framework for a Disney-like musical story. All the events and the preparations fill the bill and it’s executed well. Also, Dominic’s bisexuality is an important component and it’s very well-written. As well as the acceptance and explanations for other sexualities and identities
If you are looking for a soap opera-like story, this might be your story.
The cover by Jared Rackler shows Than and Dominic during Musical Day. It does show an important scene, but the composition is a bit awkward.
ebook, 263 pages
Published: August 11, 2017, by MLR Press
Edition Language: English
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Lina Langley here today on her Welcome to Crash tour. Welcome, Lina.
Sam Riordan is a minor but important figure in Welcome To Crash. Part of the reason for that is the frame of reference that he provides for Damien as a character. When Damien gets a job at Crash, he’s ridiculously excited. It’s the equivalent of getting a job at Andy Warhol’s studio. Of course, Sam Riordan is supposed to be long dead, and everyone around Damien acting as if he was still alive and simply around is completely dismissed by Damien. It’s just something that artsy people that he doesn’t get would do. And Damien is, in effect, right. That is absolutely the kind of stunt that Sam Riordan would pull off, if he wanted to. Damien isn’t wrong in thinking that. Sam Riordan is more than just a painter, he’s an artist (and an artiste), hugely influential in Damien’s worlds in ways that don’t simply influence the story, but rather the entire cultural framework that encompasses it.
Sam Riordan is an amalgamation of various artists who were hugely influential, mostly in the twentieth century. He’s heavily based on both David Bowie and Salvador Dali.
The thing about these artists is that not one of them was perfect as people, but they were both hugely influential in their mediums. In Welcome to Crash, Sam’s presence is seen as something of a myth. Even when people speak about him, even in the studio, they do so in hushed tones. Long after Riordan is supposed to be dead, his presence lingers–John has a job at his studio, Damien thinks he’s extremely lucky to have landed it, and Levi is writing a book about it.
Sam Riordan’s relationships closely resemble those of Salvador Dali’s. He’s married, to someone who he considers the love of his life, but unlike Dali, he’s openly bisexual. While Salvador Dali denied that he had any homosexual inclinations, it was rumoured until the end of his life that he had a passionate love affair with Garcia Lorca. Federico Garcia Lorca was a legendary Spanish playwright and he was openly in love with Dali. While Dali denied claims that the two were involved romantically, many of his peers contend this. Whether or not the playwright and the artist were involved, Dali and his wife were deeply in love and they had a long, fulfilling marriage. Their relationship, first as artist and muse, and then as artist and wife, was complex and often complicated, but they were madly in love. The relationship with Sam Riordan’s wife, while only briefly touched on in the book, is extremely similar to the one that Dali had with his wife. When it’s looked back within an academic and historical framework, Sam Riordan’s relationship with his wife is matter-of-fact, just another facet of a modern art genius who dared to break the norms of what society dictated a marriage between a man and a woman had to be at the time. Unlike John, however, Sam Riordan is not a punk in the slightest. His convictions are a lot more whimsical and he’s only anti-establishment when it serves a purpose. He is who he is, and he’s proud and unapologetic, but he’s also shy and prefer to communicate through his art.
Which brings me to the second artist that Riordan was based on: David Bowie.
David Bowie’s influence on modern pop music cannot be understated. He told the world that he was gay, then as bisexual, in the 70s, and he pushed performance boundaries with androgynous make-up, dresses and other concepts which weren’t as accepted at the time. He was firmly part of gay culture while he was at the top of the charts in the 70s, releasing songs like “John, I’m only dancing”. Bowie’s sexuality was thoroughly questioned at the time and he spoke publicly about it through the years, often changing what he said. Bowie pushed hard against the boundaries of gender representation and what gender was. Some academics argue that it was done carelessly, in ways that only hurt the queer community (especially the gay community, which at one point, believed they had found an ally in the huge rock star and just as quickly lost it), but the influence of David Bowie’s androgyny and cross dressing in more mainstream pop culture remains far reaching to this day.
His sexuality–or the public persona surrounding his sexuality–wasn’t what influenced Sam Riordan’s character the most. David Bowie’s personas weren’t designed only to push boundaries, they were there because he was famously shy. David Jones could never perform in front of an audience, but Ziggy Stardust was the kind of star that would announce he was quitting to a packed stadium at the very height of his career. This is the kind of artist Sam is, famously shy and willing to adapt as long as he gets to push boundaries.
Sam is a background character through the story, but his existence is complex and he plays an important role, both for Damien’s story and in the context of his cultural framework. That’s the reason that Damien thinks, well, if anyone is alive even though they’re supposed not to be, of course it’s Sam Riordan.
Rav Miller looked into the terrified, intelligent eyes of the chocolate Labrador on death row, and knew he’d do anything to save him. When the dog, Sammy, escapes and heads to Mad Creek, Rav follows. Mad Creek. The town had become legendary in Rav’s mind after he’d met that bizarre group last year. Rav dismissed his crazy suspicions back then, but when he arrives in Mad Creek, he knows it’s true. Dog shifters exist, and apparently they all live in the California mountains. It’s enough to blow a bad boy’s mind.
Sammy has something in common with Rav—neither one of them trusts people. After Sammy’s abuse as a dog, he particularly dislikes tough-looking men like Rav. But when Sammy gets a chance to work with rescued dogs at the new Mad Creek shelter, his deep compulsion to help others overcomes his fear. Rav and Sammy bond over saving strays. If they can each find the courage to let someone else in, they might find their way to love.
Sheriff Lance Beaufort doesn’t like humans moving into Mad Creek, especially not the tattooed and defiant Rav. When Rav starts a rescue shelter, the town thinks he’s wonderful! But Lance isn’t fooled. He doesn’t buy Rav’s innocent act for one second. How much does Rav know about the quickened? What is his game? And why did he have to show up now, when Lance and the other town leaders are overwhelmed by all the new quickened pouring in?
Rav knows how to save a life. But can he save an entire town? Can he rescue Mad Creek?
Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 5-star Rating Review here.
Eli Easton has been at various times and under different names a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a long-distance walker. She began writing m/m romance in 2013 and has published 27 books since then. She hopes to write many more.
As an avid reader of such, she is tickled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, two bulldogs, several cows, and a cat. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.
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