An Ali Release Day Review:When the Devil Wants In by Cate Ashwood and JH Knight

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
John Turner has been living a lie most of his life. Growing up in the rural Georgia town of Magnolia Ridge, he’s only ever let one person truly know him: his best friend, Chloe. To the rest of the world, they’re the perfect couple, but just between them, she’s helping John hide in plain sight.

Matt Kinsley, a cop from San Francisco, moves to town looking for a slower pace and to reconnect with his Southern roots. Starting over in Magnolia Ridge means taking a step into the closet, but Matt finds that with John for company, he doesn’t mind so much.

As the two start to explore a possible relationship, a horrific murder rips the town apart but brings John and Matt together in ways neither could’ve imagined. Matt must decide where his loyalties lie while John resists the urge to run again. Together, they have to discover who the real devil is before another life is destroyed.
I was pretty excited when I saw two authors I enjoy a lot co-authoring a book.  This story is part romance and part murder mystery.  The two men have a hook up and think that’s where their relationship will end but as the mystery aspect unfolds the two men end up seeing a lot more of each other.
Unfortunately for me I felt that the two aspects didn’t mesh all that well together and I don’t think either story line got enough development.  The mystery started good but there were some unusual twists and I felt like the ending got wrapped up too quickly.  I would have liked a bit more development of that plot.
I liked both of the MC’s but had a hard time feeling their connection.  They’re together sexually but not really emotionally until late in the book.  I would have enjoyed more development in this aspect also.
Overall this was an enjoyable book but it didn’t wow me.  Possible that’s my fault for not having realistic expectations.  
Cover art:  This cover was done by Cate Ashwood.  I think it’s a really lovely cover and I like it a lot.

Sales Links:   AmazonDreamspinner Press

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, First, 264 pages

Expected publication: January 30th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN B078X5Q28C

Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Hurricane Reese by R.L. Merrill

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The life of Tony-winning musician Reese Matheson resembles a natural disaster, and caregiver Jude De La Torre is caught in the eye of the storm. But can the love of two opposites survive caring for an ornery octogenarian with wayward balls and a meddling family insistent upon tradition?

Fresh off the successful London run of his musical, the last thing Reese expects when he comes home is a house surrounded by paparazzi and his girlfriend throwing his stuff into the pool. All he wants to do is spend time with his beloved grandfather and musical mentor who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Reese knows he doesn’t have much time left before the elder Matheson forgets who he is. In classic “Hurricane Reese” form, he moves into the cottage by the sea and displaces Jude, the intriguing caregiver he hired two years before. When Grandpa proves too much for Reese to handle on his own, Jude comes to his rescue, taming Grandpa… and the Hurricane as well. Soon all Reese can think about is how to get Jude out of his scrubs and into his bed—permanently. Will Hurricane Reese destroy everything in his path, or will this odd couple learn to harmonize together?

I’m going to start off this review by saying that my perspective on this story and my review is based on my feelings towards one of the main characters and not on the writing or perhaps even the storyline of Hurricane Reese except with regards as to how the author met her obvious objective of her story themes.

I found Hurricane Reese to be well written, her characters well constructed, especially so in the case of Grandpa Matheson, a musician now battling dementia.  Grandpa’s music still flows out of him when he’s not playing cards with gangsters and flirting with red heads.  He’s engaging and poignant. But then there’s the times he can’t remember or take care of himself….that’s shown in equal devastating measure.  It’s with Grandpa and Jude’s large Filipinos family that my heart lies.  I adored them. I found them, their interactions with Jude and Reese to be realistic and believable.  Even Jude as he fights to remain true to his family’s expectations and his roots is understandable and  someone you can connect to (outside of his affection towards Reese that it).

No, all that reads like a 5 star story.

Then there’s the title character Hurricane Reese,Reese Matheson.  Therein lies the rub.  At least for me.  I   just can’t abide this character.  He’s self absorbed, oblivious to the effects his actions has on others, nor does he seem to actually care once he realizes the turmoil he’s left in his wake.  Self involved to an amazing level that he can descend on a grandfather he barely visits, toss out a caregiver without thought to his grandfather’s needs or his caregiver’s, and then panic on when it appears like it’s not working for him? Uh no.

I would like to say he redeems himself or demonstrate enormous growth as a human being, but for me, that never really happens.  It seems that this character takes a sort of pride in the fact that he stirs things up, causing havoc wherever he goes.  Yes, he makes a sort of amends for several events that leave you gobsmacked, but you wonder, honestly, how much he’s changed.  And throughout the story, I always question, other than this guy’s obvious good looks, what on earth  made Jude sleep and fall in love with him?  What a total lapse in judgement!

So where does it all leave me?  With writing that I like and 3/4 of a story’s worth of characters I enjoyed.  But none of that was the romance and none of that was the title character.  You might feel differently.  If you are a fan of this author, take a chance on this book.   For me I just can’t get past the hurricane that’s Reese Matheson.

Cover Artist: Kanaxa.  I loved the cover.  From the color tones to the model.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 205 pages
Expected publication: January 30th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640801769
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Review: A Boyfriend for the Weekend by Caitlin Ricci

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Dexter is a horse trainer, a bachelor, and Jamal’s favorite client. Their regular Tuesday sessions have been going on for years and things are great, so when Dexter has to go out of town to show his friend’s Gypsy Vanner, he invites Jamal along for the weekend as his boyfriend.

A Boyfriend for the Weekend is a cute friends-to-lovers short story. It’s more than romance, it’s about friendship and family. Yes, there are smexy times involved but the majority of the time we get to know more about Dexter’s and Jamal’s friendship.

Based on the title, the reader would assume Dexter needed a boyfriend for the particular event but in reality, they go together as friends and from there move forward into a relationship. It’s a satisfying HFN.

It’s a quick, sexy, and out of the box look into the start of an uncommon relationship. Perfect for an afternoon read or to read between longer books. Well-written and interesting characters with a backstory.

The cover by Erin Dameron-Hill describes the main characters and brings the theme of the story to the forefront.

Sale Links: eXtasyAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 40 pages
Published: January 5, 2018, by eXtasy Books
ISBN: 9781487416768
Edition Language: English

Emjay Haze on Writing, Romance and her new release ‘Home is Where You Are’ (author interview and giveaway)

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Home is Where You Are (States of Love) by Emjay Haze
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Release Date: 1/26/18

Available now for Sale at:  DreamSpinner Press |  Amazon  

Thank you for visiting my blog tour at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. I’m Emjay Haze, author of Contemporary m/m romance. Home is Where You Are is my first book with DreamSpinner Press and I’m excited to share it with you on release day.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Emjay Haze, author of Home is Where You Are

 

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think my traits tend to pop up in more of my minor characters, since the main characters are both men usually in their twenties/thirties and I’m a fifty-plus year old woman, lol. I love writing strong-willed characters and I think that comes from me.  I also like to write them a little quirky and feisty and that’s definitely me.

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

When I was growing up, my mom introduced me to romance novels, but a lot of times, they didn’t really have a HEA, the way I wanted them, anyway. As I got older, I really got into Robert Ludlum books and other spy and mystery-type novels, and totally went away from romance. I didn’t even like watching rom-coms.  Then, in 2009, I discovered m/m romance in the form of online fanfiction and fell in love with the genre. I started writing stories around my favorite music artist and then eventually moved to original characters and writing short stories and novels.  I realized I didn’t hate romance at all, I was just reading the wrong kind.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I love happy endings, and I think everyone deserves one. That’s why I love this genre.  If I had to pick one, I’d have to say HEA. I want my two lovebirds to ride off into the sunset together and be happy forever.

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

I love e-books, because I have a kindle and subscribe to kindle unlimited, so it’s easy to download and read books.  I can start on my kindle at work, and then move it to my phone or tablet on the weekend.

It’s a shame that so many bookstores have closed over the years, but I don’t see them going away all together.  I think there are enough people that still want to read a book and not an electronic device. My last novel came out in both e-book and paper book and it was thrilling when I got to hold it in my hands, and I was able to give signed copies to friends. You can’t do that with an electronic version.

I see e-book formats expanding as the technology grows, and less books coming out in hard or paperback.

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

For all of my published works, I’ve had a publisher who provides the artist for the cover and I’ve never been disappointed. For Home is Where You Are, I had given her some general info on the settings, characters, etc, and my artist came back with three great covers to choose from.  Sometimes I have sort of an idea, and the artists have all taken my ramblings and turned them into something really beautiful.

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

That’s a “who’s your favorite child” question, so the answer is no, of course not, lol.  I love all of my characters and it’s really hard to choose just one. So far, they’ve all been pretty different, so it’s impossible to pick a favorite.  I do really adore a few of my minor characters, though. The best friend in my new novel coming later this year is awesome. Her name is Andrea, and she’s a hoot, feisty and outspoken and a great friend.  I also wrote a social worker character who took care of my foster kid main character for a very long fan-fiction story that I wrote years ago, and I absolutely loved her strength and character and the way she stood up for my protagonist.  But main characters, nope, I can’t pick one.

  • If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I have more trouble flawing my characters, lol.  I love them and want them to be perfect, but it’s way more interesting to read about someone with flaws who grows in a story.  My family and I were watching a horror movie the other day and none of us couldn stand the protagonist at first. She was a real bitch. But, as the film progressed she started to grow through all of the difficulties she was having. I liked it and understood her, but my twenty-year-old could never get past not liking the character at the beginning. So, yes, I believe that they have to have redeemable qualities, but a few flaws make them deeper characters, but not so many that you can’t forgive them.

  •  Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

Haha.  Drunk? No, but I used to write a lot of fan-fiction and those sexy scenes are written much better with a few beers in the system—more uninhibited and the scene flows better. Of course, you have to edit, but I’ve never had one that I had to completely rewrite because it was a mess.

 

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

I have a vision of having a house on the beach or a lake (where it’s warm) and having my laptop outside on a large wooden round table with a large umbrella overlooking the water while I’m wearing a tank-top and shorts and bare feet, sipping on a cool drink.

Right now, I sit at a very warped card table at the end of our family room with the big-screen TV and family watching to the right of me.

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

If I had to pick one, it would be to get away.  I write because I have so many stories in my head that need to get out. I have distraction issues, but when I’m writing, I can totally immerse myself into the story and ignore everything else. I love developing characters and building a story and seeing it come to life.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I have full-length novel coming out with NineStar Press sometime in April called After Hours. It’s the first of a three-book series. I’m working on the second book now. I really love writing m/m romance, and I think I will always write in that genre, but at some point I may try something new like a spy novel.   

Blurb:

For a chance at a future filled with love, he’ll have to face a painful past.

Eric, recently dumped by his boyfriend, is summoned home after his dad suffers a stroke. His family farm in rural Vermont holds memories he’d rather forget, but he—with his degree in agricultural business—is needed to clear up a predicament with the bank. In trying to forget the bad, Eric has also lost sight of the good: green meadows dotted with grass-fed dairy cows and the sugar maples that once produced the area’s finest maple syrup. With Eric’s help, they will again.

A captivating farmhand named Phil tempts Eric to give the countryside another chance, but before they can consider being together, Eric must move past more than his feelings for his ex-boyfriend—he’ll need to stand up to the ghosts that sent him running from the farm in the first place….

Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Pages: 95
Part of the States of Love Series by DreamSpinner Press

Giveaway

I have a rafflecopter giveaway of 3 e-copies of Home is Where you Are, and a Grand prize of the e-book and a gift pack of Vermont maple syrup and maple candy.

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About the Author

Emjay Haze is a Pennsylvania girl living in a Virginia world, growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs and moving to Northern Virginia to follow her now husband of twenty-plus years. She has two kids in college, a year-old puppy named Max, a black-and-white cat named Tux, a gecko named Rex, a yellow tang called Reggie, and we hear the eels are coming this week.

The family pastime is baseball, specifically the Nationals. She’s also a huge Redskins fans and loves classic rock. Emjay graduated with a degree in Creative Writing in 2015 after realizing it was the only thing she really wanted to do.

She has a wide and diverse work history in the fields of travel, hotel management, high-tech communications, web development, real estate, and the nonprofit health care industry where she has held positions such as travel agent, hotel concierge, web programmer, Realtor, account manager, and many, many others, giving her a varied and unique set of experiences that she draws upon in her stories and characters.

Emjay fell in love with the m/m romance genre after discovering the world of fanfiction several years ago and hasn’t looked back. Her family keeps asking when she’ll write something they can read, but she’s still having too much fun with her boys. Her goal is to broaden the minds of those who might not normally pick up a gay romance because it’s more about the person than the sexuality. She’ll take you on a roller-coaster journey, but you’ll always get a happy ending.

Website: http://www.mjhauthor.com/emjayhaze

Twitter: @emjayhaze

Facebook: www.facebook.com/emjayhaze

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14254769.Emjay_Haze

Cordelia Kingsbridge on Signature Cocktails and her latest release Trick Roller (Seven of Spades #2) (guest post and giveaway)

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Trick Roller (Seven of Spades #2) by Cordelia Kingsbridge
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art:

Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Cordelia Kingsbridge’s tour for Trick Roller. Welcome, Cordelia!

 

The Boulevardier by Cordelia Kingsbridge

In Kill Game, we learn that bourbon is Levi’s spirit of choice, and his usual drink is an Old Fashioned – until Dominic introduces him to the Boulevardier.

Working in bars and restaurants off and on for a decade has given me some great experience with interesting, uncommon cocktails. I had Dominic choose the Boulevardier for Levi because, like the detective, the drink is straightforward, unusual, and the perfect balance of bitter and sweet. The Boulevardier makes an appearance in every novel in the Seven of Spades series.

A twist on the classic Negroni, the Boulevardier replaces gin with bourbon for a richer, more autumnal flavor profile. Want to make one of your own? Follow the simple recipe below:

Ingredients

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth

Combine all ingredients and stir with ice until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled glass (either a rocks glass or martini glass will work well) and garnish with a lemon or orange peel. Enjoy!

Thanks for checking out the blog tour for Trick Roller, the second book in the Seven of Spades series!

We rejoin Levi and Dominic three months after the events of Kill Game. Although most of Las Vegas believes the Seven of Spades is dead, our two heroes know better. It’s only a matter of time until the killer resurfaces…

About Trick Roller

It’s the height of summer in Las Vegas. Everyone believes the serial killer Seven of Spades is dead—except Levi Abrams and Dominic Russo—and it’s back to business as usual. For Levi, that means investigating a suspicious overdose at the Mirage that looks like the work of a high-class call girl, while Dominic pursues a tough internship with a local private investigator. The one bright spot for both of them is their blossoming relationship.

But things aren’t so simple. Soon Levi is sucked into a dangerous web of secrets and lies, even as his obsession with the Seven of Spades intensifies. Dominic knows that Levi isn’t crazy. He knows the Seven of Spades is still out there, and he’ll do anything to prove it. But Dominic has his own demons to battle, and he may be fighting a losing war.

One thing is certain: the Seven of Spades holds all the cards. It won’t be long before they show their hand.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About the Seven of Spades Series

Las Vegas has never seen a serial killer like the Seven of Spades.

The self-styled vigilante is on a mission to cut down the wicked and treacherous, and Sin City has no shortage of targets for their bloody wrath. What happens in Vegas . . . ends with the Seven of Spades’s calling card on a grisly corpse.

Standing against the killer are Levi Abrams, a dedicated homicide detective locked in a constant struggle to restrain his own dark side, and bounty hunter Dominic Russo, a charming rogue with a heavy secret weighing on his shoulders.

The hunt for the Seven of Spades sends Levi and Dominic on a collision course, igniting a passionate relationship forged in conflict and sealed with blood. Together they’re stronger than the sum of their parts, but a wily, elusive serial killer isn’t the only threat that will strain their bond to the breaking point.

Ante up, because the Seven of Spades is all in. Are you?

Check out the Seven of Spades series! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/seven-spades

About Cordelia Kingsbridge

Cordelia Kingsbridge has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, but quickly discovered that direct practice in the field was not for her. Having written novels as a hobby throughout graduate school, she decided to turn her focus to writing as a full-time career. Now she explores her fascination with human behavior, motivation, and psychopathology through fiction. Her weaknesses include opposites-attract pairings and snarky banter.

Away from her desk, Cordelia is a fitness fanatic, and can be found strength training, cycling, and practicing Krav Maga. She lives in South Florida but spends most of her time indoors with the air conditioning on full blast!

Connect with Cordelia:

Email:  cordeliakingsbridge@gmail.com

Tumblr: http://ckingsbridge.tumblr.com

Twitter:  @c_kingsbridge

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cordelia.Kingsbridge/

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Trick Roller, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 3, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!