A MelanieM Review: Knightsgift by J. Hepburn

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5
Three knights, each bearing the Knightsgift that gives them power and life, ride to the aid of a small village where people are disappearing in the forest. One knight seeks the aid of a herbalist, a sharp-witted, strong-willed woman, who can tell him what the Sheriff will not…
Knightsgift is the first story I’ve read by J. Hepburn but based on the characters, themes, and worldbuilding I found within this tale, it certainly won’t be the last.  In fact, I’m hope that the author is considering making this the first in a series about the Knights here, the Healer, and the backstory into the training they all undergo when the Knightsgift comes to each of them.
The Knights here are already battle-hardened experienced Knights, years away from the time the Gift came to them.  These three Knights seem to travel together often on missions for the King, so their friendship and ease with each other speaks of a deep kinship.
The Knights are Heskan, Tahis and Donaar, and Tahis is the Knight we get to know the most intimately of the three.  Donaar, the fierce, indomitable female knight is second leaving Heskan the one with the least storytime.  Their mission is to solve who or what is behind the disappearances/murders of villagers in Sweetwater.
However, things are rarely simple and the state of Sweetwater itself is murky and needs further investigation.
I loved these Knights, the Herbalist Tala, and most of the “lowly” villagers of Sweetwater.  Hepburn came up with great characters, lively, believable, some endowed with a magic that flows from them, and an entire village of people depending on each other to get by because they knew help was not coming from the “upper echelons” in town and rules  set down to see to their safety.  The author was able to show the emotional cost and close knit relationships of all the people of the village to each other in a short story.  I believed in them all.
There’s several elements here, important ones I hesitate to mention.  One is about the nature of Tahis and how that Knight perceives themselves.  I just love how this is done, it feels natural, and the potential for a relationship with Tala is just one more reason I would love to see this story become the first in a series.  The second is the Knightsgift itself.  There are some astonishing revelations that the author unfolds later in the story that cry out for more backhistory and more exposition.    Again, more stories please.
Finally, there’s the reason behind the missing villagers….I needed a little more, not much because some of that was outstanding, grant you.  But why there?  This story came so close to a 5 star tale for me….
Knightsgift by J. Hepburn is a story that still intrigues me.  My mind is still jumping to all these places the author has led it to with their incredible imagination, great characters and wonderful plot.  If you’re looking for heat and hot sex, this is not the book for you.  But if you’re looking for a wonderful fantasy with LGBTQIA characters, a possible romance in the future, and, hopefully more to come?  This is the story for you.
Cover art:  Kirby Crow.  Cover is simple and elegant.  I liked it.
Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press  | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook
Published January 3rd 2018 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781684311682
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: Waking the Prince by Shawn Lane

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Living a quiet life in a remote village, Roland does not expect the arrival of the powerful warrior, Magnus, who speaks of fates and prophecies. Surely Roland can’t be the lost royal prince who is destined to slay the evil sorcerer, Veronious, with a legendary sword. Roland doesn’t even know how to wield a sword.

When Roland’s identity is confirmed and danger nears, he flees with Magnus, who trains him for battle by day and teaches him passion by night.

Just as Roland finds the legendary sword, Veronious learns Roland is the lost prince and casts a curse on him. The beautiful prince falls into a deep sleep, not to stir for a hundred years … unless he is awakened by true love’s kiss.

So, I obviously went into this story knowing what the ending would probably be but I wanted to see how they got there.  Roland has spent his life in a tiny village without much interaction with the outside world.  Magnus doesn’t expect to find the beautiful man who has never been trained as was expected.

Roland wants to not die a virgin and tests Magnus’s patience at times.  They both play off each other well though I didn’t like Magnus’s insistence at pushing Roland away and not showing him how he felt.  It was a little suspect at how they found out about the curse to me, I would have liked a little more story there.  I liked seeing Roland grow a back bone as the story went on and gained faith in himself to do what was needed.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is nice and gives a visual of our sleeping prince.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 79 pages

Published: September 18, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634864442

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Review: Why I Need You by Colette Davison

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Following the death of their parents, Fin put his life on hold to raise his little sister. He’s convinced her well-being is all that matters, even if it’s at the expense of his own. A chance meeting with Noah opens his eyes to the possibility of happiness. A happiness that could shatter the moment Noah discovers Fin has an eight-year-old in tow.

Noah has been living a lie for years. When he gets publicly outed, he gets kicked out of his parents’ home and business. Although he’s angry at being disowned, Noah knows it means he’s finally free to love whomever he wants. But in order to have a fulfilling and lasting relationship, Noah has to get past his repressed upbringing and inhibitions, before Fin walks out of his life.

In order to stay together, Fin and Noah have to be brave enough to be honest with themselves and each other.

Colette Davison continues her wonderful Why I Left You series with Why I Need You.  In the first story, we were there as we learned that Fin’s parents were killed by a drunk driver.  Why I Need You picks up that story after that fact. Fin has assumed sole guardianship of his  8 year old sister and is working as a waiter, having left the college after the tragedy.  He’s still buried in his grief, while trying to manage the household and support his sister.  What a tough job for someone still young himself.

About to crash into Fin’s world is Noah, a deeply closeted, unhappy man.  Noah’s entire life has been trying to hide who he really is from his conservative parents who run one of the big local funeral companies, one he’s expected to take over, whether he wants to or not.  He’s been taught to  live up to his parents expectations and rules, never let them down or venture outside their imposed boundaries.  The consequences?  A  damaged Noah that even he  doesn’t understand or recognize the extent of what living such a life  has done to him.

Davison brings these two souls together on one night that changes everything, especially for Noah.

I loved the  emotional, intimate quality of the writing.  Davison has a way of making us feel of part of these men’s lives and daily decision making.  She alternates chapters from character to character so we can see the impact of the events and occurrences happening on each man and their lives.  For Fin, that includes his sister, his job, and his inability to move past his parents death.  For Noah, it’s the damage done to him by his upbringing making him unable to physically reach out to others, even so much as publicly hugging or even shaking hands.  How these two work together to form a relationship is a journey you will want to take with them through this story.

Why I Need You by Colette Davison is a beautifully written, heartwarming romance.   I absolutely recommend it and the one before it.

Cover art: Charlotte LR Kane.  I love the cover.  Beautifully done.

Buy Links – Available on KU

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 249 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Smudged Ink Press
ASINB078LJLHG2
Edition Language English

Sean Michael on Writing, Romances and his release ‘Bases Loaded (Going for the Gold) (guest blog)

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Bases Loaded (Going for the Gold) by Sean Michael
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Release Date: January 18, 2018

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback  |  Amazon Barnes and NobleKobo  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sean Michael back today to talk about his release Bases Loaded. Welcome, Sean!

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Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me today.

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

Both yes and no. My absolute favorite genre has always been sci-fi, which I don’t write very much of. But I also read a lot of fantasy, contemporary, and when I was in university, Harlequins were the way to get out of my head and out of the heavy reading before going to bed at night. So yes, those genres do match what I write.

  • 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 my characters hurt, I hurt. I hate those parts, so I tend to write very quickly while I’m doing those sections – to get to the happy parts quicker.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Absolutely. There’s enough sadness in the world and I want my happy endings.

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

Yes. See above for Harlequins being my escape reading during university.

  • Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

Not necessarily can’t become a love interest, but definitely will become less of a character and more of a caricature. And if a characters faults aren’t balanced by good points, too, they’re going to become far less interesting to the reader, let alone a love interest.

  • What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

No doubt ‘milking the prostate’ which was indeed written into one of the Briar Rose books.

  • If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

I’d love a little cottage by the ocean (North Atlantic because I prefer it cold). The sound of the waves soothes my soul. And of course there wouldn’t be a lot of people around because writing happens best for me when the house is quiet and empty.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To wide our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write because I have to. If I go too long without writing I get twitchy. And I write what I write because everyone deserves love and a happy ending. I write to make myself and my readers happy.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

There are always new characters to play with and deadlines to make me focus!

Sean Michael

Smut fixes everything

Blurb:

Can they survive the off-season and keep from striking out?

Baseball player Brett must get rehabilitation for his shoulder if he wants another season in the Major League. He and his partner, Benj, take off to the boonies to stay with physical therapist Ralph, a tough-talking, routine-setting guy, and Jean, Ralph’s Cajun lover, who cooks as well as he loves.

Brett and Ralph butt heads from the beginning. Ralph wants Brett to be more in touch with his feelings; Brett wants Ralph to give him his therapy and leave him alone. Benj and Jean get along far better, with Jean showing Benj around the kitchen and reassuring him when things with Brett get strained.

Before Ralph can even begin to work on Brett’s shoulder, though, Brett faces an even more difficult physical challenge, one that does more than threaten his career. He and Benj have to work through some tough issues, making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives together. Their gradual friendship with Ralph and Jean helps them through the bad times, but even that might not be enough to pull them through.

About the Author

Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.

Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.

Sean Michael on the web:

WEBSITE: http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

BLOG: http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/

TWITTER: seanmichael09

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/seanmichaelpics/

Tour: Sound of Silence by Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Sound of Silence
Authors: Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney
Release Date: January 23rd 2018
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance

BLURB

Renzy Callen exists on the periphery of life, and not just because of the horrific childhood event that robbed him of the ability to speak. Walling himself off from the rest of the world as a means of protection, he occupies his time with art, music, and an obsession with self-help groups—whether he needs them or not. His isolation protects him, and he’s immune to drama and emotional games… or so he believes. Everything changes when he meets Seven and Morning Moreaux-Maddox, the wealthy, jet-setting siblings who move from a life of sophistication in Europe to humdrum Redcliff Hills, Missouri.

Both Seven and his sister are impossibly beautiful and elegant, like the stars in magazines and high-fashion models on the runway. When Renzy is pulled into their push-and-pull of affection and rejection, he realizes there is more to both haunted Morning and cold, diamond-sharp Seven than meets the eye.

The three teens embark on a quest to learn the reason behind Renzy’s selective mutism, and something more than friendship blossoms between Renzy and Seven. It’s during this trip of a lifetime that the three realize the truth they seek might be found in the sound of silence.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Harmony Ink | iBooks

Find Sound of Silence on Goodreads

EXCERPT

Seven

I don’t go straight to class. First off , I don’t give a shit if I’m late to Physics for the Curious, which actually is the class’s laughable name. More importantly, though, is this: I dropped the ball with Morning last year in Paris, and she’s paid a high price for my lax behavior. I’ve sworn on all things holy and unholy that I will not drop the ball again. Therefore, I’m required to lurk in the hallways when I’m supposed to be in class, sizing up our new environment so that I will be ready to protect her.

This is what I’m doing when I notice him—the very same dark- haired imp I saw running out of the Take Back Our Power meeting. I’m not comfortable with this—catching sight of the same boy two times in one day in such close proximity to my sister. I consider it my duty to study him, to memorize his face, to do what I should have done for Morning last year, at which I failed so miserably.

So I scrutinize each feature as if my plan is to sculpt his face out of clay, with no reference point but my memory. Despite the rage that scorches my eyelids with every goddamned blink, I like what I see.

GIVEAWAY: Win $15 Amazon Gift Card!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/391d73bd90/

About the Authors

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.

Links: Facebook | Twitter

Raine O’Tierney loves writing about first loves and friendship. She believes the best thing we can do in this life is be kind to one another, and hopes her stories always reflect that. Raine loves encouraging people to write and has been known to repeat the phrase “I believe everyone has a story to tell” endlessly, until she breaks down even the most stubborn non-writer!

Raine lives outside of Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, fellow M/M author Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job.

Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

RIPTIDE TOUR Twice in a Lifetime by Jodie Griffin

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Twice in a Lifetime by Jodie Griffin
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Jodie Griffin here today on her Twice in a Lifetime tour.  Welcome, Jodie.

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Hi! I’m Jodie Griffin, and I write contemporary romance and kinky erotic romance. I’m here to talk about my sixth published book, TWICE IN A LIFETIME, a contemporary female/female story with mature characters—and my first story for Riptide! I’d like to thank all the blog hosts for letting me stop by, and I hope you take the chance to visit all of their sites. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card.

About Twice in a Lifetime

When widow Talia Wasserman applies for a job with the local police department, she’s shocked to discover she’ll be working for Lieutenant Eve Poe, an officer she’d met—and been attracted to—during a long-ago citizen’s police academy workshop. Fifteen years later, the spark is still there, and no one’s currently in Talia’s life or in her bed. But there’s just one teeny, tiny problem. Eve is her boss, so she’s completely off-limits.

Eve feels a sizzling connection with Talia from the very first, but Talia works for her, and that’s just a bad idea. Besides, Eve needs to focus on the person sending disturbing emails to her office, and not on the woman who quickly makes herself invaluable to the department. It’s too bad her heart doesn’t agree with her.

Then Eve is badly injured in the line of duty, and Talia’s worst fears are realized. She may lose her chance at happiness with the woman she’s come to love, and she can’t survive that kind of loss twice in a lifetime.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

 

About Jodie Griffin

Jodie Griffin didn’t always want to be a writer. She spent hours reading, but school papers were written one painful word at a time. Then a story idea came, demanding to be put on paper. After years of practice, she took the leap, submitted her first manuscript, and hasn’t looked back.

Jodie is also an avid photographer, a chocoholic, and a lover of bad puns. When she’s not writing, she’s likely out stalking the moon for that perfect shot.

Jodie’s own happily ever after includes one incredibly supportive husband and one future heroine. Visit Jodie at www.jodiegriffin.com.

Connect with Jodie:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Jodie-Griffin-165472856805202/

Twitter: twitter.com/Jodie_Griffin

Tumblr: jodiegriffin.tumblr.com/

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/jodiegriffin/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorjodiegriffin/

Giveaway

  • To celebrate the release of Twice In a Lifetime, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 27, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!