A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Seth and Casey by RJ Scott

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This story features an established couple who have been married for five years—Seth, a firefighter, and Casey, a teacher in a small Vermont town. 

Seth was injured six months ago when a building collapsed on him as he was trying to rescue a young mother.  Trapped there for hours, he watched all the victims in the room with him die, one by one, until he lost consciousness.  Now, he’s struggling to come to terms with his injuries—injuries that not only left him scarred with pins in his thigh and groin area, but impotent, full of anger, and possibly with so much physical and emotional damage that he’ll never return to the career he’s wanted all his life.

Casey is done.  He’s been loving and supportive, has tried gentle urging to get Seth to face his fears and see the department-recommended counselor, and has tried tough love. Nothing works, and as Seth lashes out at him and Casey reacts in fear, Casey knows he has to back away for a while so they can each get a better perspective.

Contrary to Casey’s hopes, however, instead of reassessing their situation and drawing them closer together, Seth reverts to his crutch—alcohol.   And as the time approaches for Casey’s class trip, which Seth promised to attend, Casey realizes he’s taking the ten kids alone, making him feel like it’s the last straw.

This story was a study in the emotional havoc that can occur to someone who has undergone trauma, and the resulting collateral damage that can result to those who love them.  I appreciate the author’s gentle and thorough handling of the subject.  I also really liked both characters—even Seth, whose behavior was quite unlikeable.  I also liked the fact that the author didn’t give them an easy fix. Both men had issues to work through and they were given the time and circumstances to do so. Granted, they had a boost from a snowstorm that stranded Casey and those ten kids and a rescue by a crazy firefighter who should not have risked his own life yet again, but did.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable story, quite short, but packs a lot of punch.  If you like emotional turmoil, hurt-comfort, established couples, and stories with a happy ending, I highly recommend this one.

~~~~

Cover by Meredith Russell features a firefighter in gear, set against the background of a cabin being bombarded by falling snow—perfect for the content of this book. 

Sales Links:   Amazon |  books2read.com/SethCaseyRJ-

Book Details:

**This is the re-edited version of Seth and Casey, and includes 9,000 extra words and a new cover**

ebook, Second
Published February 7th 2018 by Love Lane Books Limited (first published February 6th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://rjscott.co.uk/

An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Soldati Prince (Soldati Hearts #1) by Charlie Cochet and Narrator: Manuel Pombo

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

One moment Riley Murrough is living a normal life working in a coffee shop, and the next he’s running for his life from demons, learns he bears the mark of a shape-shifter king from a magical realm, and—worst of all—he’s destined to become the mated prince to the arrogant tiger shifter he would rather strangle.

 

Khalon, the shifter king, is equally distraught at the idea of being bound to a human prince, and along with his Soldati warriors, he sets out to return Riley to his own world where he belongs. On their journey they might discover why the priestess brought them together—if they can escape the demons and make it to her alive.

 

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this story but I did enjoy it.  Khalon is appalled at the idea of mating with a human and he does not disguise this while Riley is just trying to figure out what is going on.

 

Khalon pretty much just acts like a spoiled brat to Riley and their situation.  Even when Riley sees the sweet side of him it’s hard to really start to like him.  I could feel Riley’s confusion about the situation and what would you expect but those around him seemed to think he needed to adapt faster.  The characters started to grow on me some more as the story went on.

 

Manuel Pombo did a nice job narrating this story.  I could get a feel of the characters’ emotions while listening.  The different voices he used for the characters helped me keep up with what was going on.

I love the cover art by LC Chase is nice and seems to work well for this story.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 3 hrs 27 min
Published: January 10, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Soldati Hearts #1

A Lila Audiobook Review: How To Bang a Billionaire by Alexis Hall and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Rules are made to be broken . . .

If England had yearbooks, I’d probably be “Arden St. Ives: Man Least Likely to Set the World on Fire.” So far, I haven’t. I’ve no idea what I’m doing at Oxford, no idea what I’m going to do next and, until a week ago, I had no idea who Caspian Hart was. Turns out, he’s brilliant, beautiful . . . oh yeah, and a billionaire.

It’s impossible not to be captivated by someone like that. But Caspian Hart makes his own rules. And he has a lot of them. About when I can be with him. What I can do with him. And when he’ll be through with me.

I’m good at doing what I’m told in the bedroom. The rest of the time, not so much. And now that Caspian’s shown me glimpses of the man behind the billionaire I know it’s him I want. Not his wealth, not his status. Him. Except that might be the one thing he doesn’t have the power to give me.

How to Bang a Billionaire is a more refined, gay version of Fifty Shades of Grey. I did laugh a lot more than with Anna and Christian, but the essence of both stories is the same. A dark, brooding hero that can’t love and keeps everyone at arm’s length, and a young man in distress, helpless without his cool and collected love interest.

There are differences, for example, this story has less supporting characters and young Arden is not a vulnerable, oblivious virgin. There’s no goddess or internal voices even when the reader spent a considerable part of the story in Arden’s head. But overall, the similarities are many.

The characters and the settings are interesting and the author’s prose beautifully written. Humor plays an important part as well as in-depth conversations between the main characters. I enjoyed the descriptions and the troubles Arden got into. I like how Caspian felt comfortable to be himself when he was with Arden.

One of the only things I didn’t like about the story related to the conditions Caspian had for Arden. He accepted him and his rules, only to complain about it a short time after. Caspian had all reasons to move forward without him; which he didn’t do. The other was the lack of background about Caspian. It was hard to get to know him thru Arden’s eyes.

Just like every series, this is not a complete story. It has the start of something good and a solid happy for now. It opens the door for a future that if it follows the Fifty’s saga it won’t have a lovely end until a third book is available.

The narration by Joel Leslie makes everything better. It’s easy to follow the characters’ perspective and how they feel about each other. He makes the reader feel what the characters are feeling making the story more personal and enjoyable.

After reading the story, I’m still unsure of who is on the cover by Brian Lemus. I believe is Caspian but I can be wrong.

Sales Links:  Hachette | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Joel Leslie

Length: 11 hours

Published: January 16, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Hachette Audio
ASIN: B078WZLVX4
Edition Language: English

Series:  Arden St. Ives
Book #1: How to Bang a Billionaire

Liv Olteano on Writing, Inspiration and her new Dreamspun Beyond release Lover, Lover (guest interview and giveaway)

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Lover, Lover by Liv Olteano
Dreamspinner Press
Dreamspun Beyond Title

Cover art: Aaron Anderson

Goodreads Link  

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback Amazon | B&N Kobo   

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Liv Olteano on tour for  Lover, Lover.  Welcome, Liv.

Our Interview with Liv Olteano – Lover, Lover tour

  • What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

Hmm… if I’m honest, the most interesting thing I find about someone is their set of contradictions.

I’m sure we’ve all noticed this: the most interesting people always have some sets of contradictions around which their personality is built. Sometimes these contradictions are harder to pinpoint, and other times they wear them proudly and for all to see. If someone has no contradictions I can identify, I generally tend to believe them to be dishonest or phony somehow.

So I’m aware I also write characters that feature contradictions, because by reflex I build characters that come off as real people to me. In fact, when I write a certain story, I see those characters as real people, and explore them just as I do when I meet someone new.

I’m aware some look for these inconsistencies as proof of faulty building – in fictional characters as well as in real people – but I must disagree. There’s no such thing as linear anything when it comes to real life, so why should fiction try for it?

  • 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.

The simple truth of the matter is I address the toughest parts of a story – those pesky bits that give me trouble – when I’m not actually drunk but just a bit tipsy. There’s something about the altered chemistry of the brain, the lowered inhibitions, and the more risk-prone thought process of such times that simply makes me breeze through the rough patches. Ideas flow differently; I don’t bump my head against anything – genre, tropes, plot outline – and just immerse myself in the joy of writing what I feel. I call it feel-writing, because right then I simply let the characters and story do their thing without any sort of authorial intervention. It’s exhilarating, and the highest degree of freedom I’ve ever personally experienced – and writing, as a process, is in itself a form of freedom so that’s saying something.

I don’t think I’ve ever read the material written like that the next day to find it not up to par. Those parts tend to become my favorite ones of that particular story, in fact.

  • 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?

I think that for each story, the answer is different. In fact, I think that for each chapter or significant scene of the same story, there are different reasons behind the writing.

When I was writing Lover, Lover for instance, a close friend was contemplating an imminent breakup. I already knew the story would be a second chance romance, but the details of the relationship and how things would mend was a total unknown to me at that point. I don’t like to outline the relationship part of my stories, because the exploring as I go makes it all feel a lot more fun and authentic to me.

In my mind were all these thoughts resulting from talks my friend and I had about breakups, about where all the love goes and how it slips away; about all the shared memories and times – how can one move on from everything they’ve known for years of their life, how they can rebuild and why they feel the need or desire to do so.

I’d thought about these things a lot, so I wanted to explore not how people break up or why they would get back together, but what might happen when my characters – Drew and Angelo – reunite some years after their breakup, when they still have feelings for each other. So I wrote the story to find that out.

Blurb:

Twin souls reunited.

Drew’s always been a fighter: first in martial arts competitions, and now as a dreamcatcher—keeping the people of Seattle safe from spaga attacks that would drain their life force in their sleep. All he has to do to become a full member of Team 32 is complete his first mission.

But the first one he has to defend is his ex, Angelo… the only man Drew ever loved, even if he was the one to leave. Drew never got over Angelo, and it seems Angelo might feel the same, despite the heartbreak he suffered at Drew’s hands.

As the chase after a powerful and resourceful caster hits close to home, old feelings resurface. But if Angelo learns of the dreamcatchers, he’ll be a target for the spaga. And how can he trust Drew now that Drew’s keeping bigger secrets than ever?

Excerpt

“I put the phone back in my pocket and looked toward the bed. The victim stirred beneath the covers. I knew they were supposed to be sound asleep, but I held my breath nonetheless. It was really weird to stand and look at someone who was sleeping—I felt a bit creepy. The person had to be turning on the other side or something, but then the head poked up. The bedroom windows were positioned so the light from the street hit his face—because I saw clearly it was a man. He blinked a few times and looked at me, his face slack from sleep and probably the shock of staring at someone standing in his bedroom. He had hazel eyes and dark brown hair, and his skin looked just as deliciously tan as I remembered it. His face had changed a bit. The angles were sharper and the lines more prominent. He looked more grown-up somehow. But it was him, without a doubt: Angelo, my first real steady man. The one that got away—well, more accurately, the one I’d walked out on five years ago. Even if he could see me, the red charm still being active, he was supposed to go right back to sleep. If he’d remember anything at all, he’d be convinced it was a dream.

“Drew? Is that you?”

My heart skipped a beat or five. He was most definitely not going back to sleep. He was freaking talking to me! I panicked and quickly swallowed the green charm. I found myself immediately back at our home base, in the webs room, my heart pounding like hell.

Claw poked his head into the room. “Hey, man. Back already?”

I stared at his long, straight black hair, at his black eyes. I’d had a bit of a crush on Claw when I first met him. Something about his dark skin had always reminded me of Angelo’s permanent tan. But Claw’s black eyes with their intense, brooding gaze had never been like Angelo’s glimmering hazel ones. I felt my stomach tighten. Just thinking about his name did things to me, all these years later. I was such a huge moron—they had to invent a whole new league just for me.

“Come into the kitchen,” Claw said. “We’ve got a bit of a celebration going on here. You finally popped your dreamcatcher cherry after all.”

I smiled while my pulse spiked. Oh, crap. Way to end my very first mission—I hadn’t done the cleansing. I’d panicked and fled, without doing the cleansing. Goddamn it! For tonight, having used my red charm there would keep the home shielded. But without the cleansing it would be a beacon to all spaga, calling their attention to the premises and the residents, starting next nightfall. I had to get back there before that. No way was I going to tell Claw I’d screwed up on my first ever mission. No way. I just had to hope Aashi wouldn’t think to check up on my work. She didn’t, usually—at least as far as I knew. I could fix this.

I went into the kitchen where Claw and our other teammate, Taka, were holding up glasses of champagne. I took mine and we toasted to me not being the junior anymore. We didn’t hang around too much after that, going to our rooms instead. Claw had to attend the daily dreamcatcher leaders meeting for the Seattle area. Taka probably went back to his room to read—he was always reading, it seemed to me. And I just went to my room, hoping that the excitement would wind down and I’d be able to sleep.

It took a while. I kept thinking about five years back. I kept remembering nights spent with Angelo, and the sweet mornings after. All the things I now yearned for, and from which I’d run away then. I’d been dealing with a lot of confusion at the time. I hadn’t been able to find my center, and the steady connection between us had only made me feel more off-kilter when it came to everything else. I’d needed to sort myself out. So I walked out on him and tried to do just that.

It seemed to me that before shaking shit off and figuring yourself out, you had to get piles of shit a mile high weighing you down so you’d have the proper incentive. So I’d worked on my pile until it was nice and large. And then I’d shaken it off and figured out who the hell I was and what I wanted from life. Sad thing was, in my rare moments of honesty, I knew part of what I wanted was what I’d had with Angelo.

The look in his eyes tonight kept overlapping with the look in his eyes the day I’d moved out. It had hurt to walk out that day. I could imagine how it must’ve hurt him to see me do it. I had to make amends somehow. I had to keep him safe.

I finally fell asleep with the image of his hazel eyes running through my mind over and over again.”

Want to read more from Chapter 1? Check out the book on the Dreamspinner Press site (Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lover-lover-by-liv-olteano-9289-b ) and hit the Read an Excerpt button right beneath the cover xD

 

 

About the Author

Liv Olteano is a voracious reader, music lover, and coffee addict extraordinaire. And occasional geek. Okay, more than occasional.

She believes stories are the best kind of magic there is. And life would be horrible without magic. Her hobbies include losing herself in the minds and souls of characters, giving up countless nights of sleep to get to know said characters, and trying to introduce them to the world. Sometimes they appreciate her efforts. The process would probably go quicker if they’d bring her a cup of coffee now and then when stopping by. Characters—what can you do, right?

Liv has a penchant for quirky stories and is a reverent lover of diversity. She can be found loitering around the Internet at odd hours and being generally awkward and goofy at all times.

Links:

Giveaway

 

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Release Blitz – Loving Kit by L.M. Brown (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Loving Kit

Author: L.M. Brown

Publisher: Fireborn Publishing

Cover Artist: Sheri McGathy

Genre/s: Romance, Sci-fi, MMM Menage, MPreg

Length:  87 500 words/235 pages

Blurb

Logan McRae never expected to see two aliens when he woke from cryogenic sleep. He has lost his ship and his people and he questions whether he has lost his mind. As he gets to know Halor and Kit he realises he might just lose his heart as well.

Logan expected to wake on the spacecraft Mercury, ready to pilot the ship down to New Earth. Instead he comes out of cryogenic stasis to find he is on another ship with two alien beings, neither of whom can understand anything he says. Unfortunately, they are all the help he has if he wants to find his people and resume his journey.

Kit doesn’t know what sort of creature he has accidentally purchased, but it is definitely male and isn’t so very different from him and his lover, Halor. The language barrier might be a problem, but Kit knows the language of love doesn’t always need words.

Prince Halor of the Hawk Clan has always been reluctant to expand his nest beyond himself and Kit, but it is obvious from the start that his feline lover is attracted to their unexpected guest. Halor will do anything to give Kit the happiness he deserves, even invite another man into their bed.

Logan has no idea that Kit isn’t quite like other men until their passion results in unexpected consequences. Now he must choose between his mission and the two men who have given him everything he ever wanted, as well as things he never dreamed of.

Excerpt

When Logan stepped out of the cubicle, the cat-man was waiting for him with a clean kilt, similar to the ones worn by them. Logan had never worn such a garment in his life, but it was clear this was the only alternative clothing available if he wanted his flight suit cleaned.

His decision made, his covered himself quickly, though not quickly enough to avoid the frank appraisal of his feline host, whose green eyes lingered just a little too long on his groin.

Logan had taken his share of lovers before leaving Earth, but he couldn’t recall ever being looked at quite like that. The feline licked his lips and made no effort to hide his stares.

During his time on the ship, Logan had watched the two lovers touch and kiss almost constantly whenever they were together in a room. He had seen the feline drop to his knees and suck the cock of the bird-man at least once a day. Late at night, when they had disappeared down the hatch, the sounds of their sexual activities echoed throughout the ship. Even if they hadn’t given him a show right there on the flight deck, Logan would have to have been blind and deaf not to have figured out their relationship was far more than that of shipmates.

Since he had been seeing far more than was decent, Logan had also noticed that their feline and bird-like features were combined with those of men. Fur and feathers may have replaced hair, their eyes may be those of birds and cats, but there was enough about the two of them to make it clear they were very much men, not so different from himself.

They were actually quite pleasant to look upon. The feline was adorably cute, with a mischievous grin that never failed to bring a smile to Logan’s lips. As for the bird, Logan not only admired his elegant beauty, he was in awe of his incredible strength.

Logan shivered at the want he saw in the eyes of the cat-man. He might not understand a word he said or even know his name, but the blatant sexual need in his gaze needed no translation.

The squawk of the bird-man alerted them to his presence. Logan jumped, feeling guilty, despite having done nothing to encourage the cat to stray.

The feline grinned and licked his lips again. He meowed and gestured to Logan’s dirty clothing. Logan hoped he was going to get them cleaned, not have them thrown away.

Logan stepped aside so the cat-man could pass him, only for him to run his clawed finger lightly along his chest, sending another wave of shivers down his spine.

As the cat-man passed his lover, the bird-man tapped his arse playfully, causing the feline to swipe at him with his tail. Logan could tell they were merely playing and relaxed a little. As long as the bird-man didn’t think he was trying to steal away his lover, things should be okay.

The feline vanished from sight and Logan stepped towards the door. That was when he realised the cat-man wasn’t the only one who apparently admired his human body. The bird-man halted his progress with a hand on his chest, which turned into a soft caress, running over his abdomen and down to the front of his kilt.

Logan couldn’t have stopped his body reacting if his life had depended on it.

Buy Links

Fireborn Publishing

Amazon US 

Amazon UK  

Goodreads Link 

About the Author 

L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances. She believes that there is nothing hotter or sweeter than two men in love with each other… unless it is three.

When L.M. Brown isn’t bribing her fur babies for control of the laptop, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Giveaway

To win a $10/£10 Amazon gift card please visit my blog and leave a comment on my new release announcement post.

It will start from the 19th February 2018 and run until midnight GMT on 3rd March with the winner being chosen on Sunday 4th March 2018.

RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

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Release Day Blitz for Hard To Let Go by Jaclyn Quinn (excerpt)

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 Hard to Let Go RDB Banner

HARD TO LET GO

JACLYN QUINN

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 02.19.18

 Hard to Let Go Cover

 COVER DESIGN: Morningstar Ashley/ Five Star Designs

COVER PHOTO: Stock Photo

 

BLURB

Owen Richards lives a quiet life in his small hometown of Haven’s Cove. He has a rewarding life consisting of three very supportive—not to mention feisty—women, and a successful bakery that he owns and absolutely loves. Yet, Owen can’t seem to shake this emptiness inside or the intense feeling that something is missing. A sudden encounter with a man from his past, one he despises, turns his entire world upside down. When Owen finds himself attracted to that sexy man, he questions everything, including his sanity. After all, only an incredibly disturbed person would find that he can’t stop thinking about his high school bully.

Brody Walker never expected to return to Haven’s Cove. He’s made a life for himself in Boston where he can truly be the person he was always meant to be. But an unexpected call has Brody facing all the demons he’d left behind so long ago. Now, he’s faced with not only a difficult goodbye, but one long overdue apology to a man who is no longer that lanky kid from high school. The challenge is to convince the guy he’s changed—and also prove he’s worth taking a chance on.

When passions ignite, truths are exposed, changing beliefs these men have held on to for years. Faced with the knowledge that things aren’t always what they seem, will they choose to hold on to the incredible thing they’ve found…or is it easier to give in to the fear and let go?

Hard to Let Go Teaser 1

Hard to Let Go Teaser 2

EXCERPT

“Do you always put chocolate chips in your blueberry muffins?”

He looked down at the bowl then up at Leslie. He’d been fucking up all morning and it pissed him off to know it was because of that asshole. “Shit. Guess today’s special has been decided, chocolate chip blueberry muffins.”

“Sounds yummy if you ask me, but then, I pretty much like chocolate in everything.” Leslie laughed and tossed some chocolate chips in her mouth.

Owen shook his head and said, “Yeah, I know you do. If you eat one more chocolate croissant, I’m docking your pay.” He bumped her with his hip to move her out of the way as he reached for the muffin pan.

“Like hell you will. It’s called quality control. How else are you gonna know if this stuff is good enough to sell? You’re welcome,” she deadpanned, shrugging her shoulders. “Besides, if you being distracted gets us more chocolate in your baked goods, I don’t see a problem.” Leslie winked at him and tucked a red curl that had fallen out of her hair tie back with the rest of them on top of her head. They each had pale skin, but with Owen’s dark chocolate brown hair and her red curls, they didn’t even look related.

“Who says I’m distracted?” he asked defensively. He was totally fucking distracted. Man, he really needed to get his mind off of the shit-storm that barreled into town this morning. Luckily, all of the mistakes he’d made were ones he could salvage…so far.

Owen’s mind had been going back to the close call that morning over and over again. He knew he was being immature blaming Brody for anything that happened. Owen’s the one who almost caused the accident by running the stop sign. He was just so damned pissed at himself, because before he recognized Brody, he’d let his eyes wander over his well-developed body. The perfect fit of his jeans, the plaid shirt that clung to a broad chest, the goatee that made him look rugged and mysterious, and the brown hair just long enough to tuck behind his ears. That was not even close to the clean cut, all-star athlete that used to make Owen’s life a living hell.

Without his high school jacket or him hiding behind the ring leader, Chuck, no one would know it was Brody Walker. Except it was him. He was one of Chuck’s lackeys, always there, taunting Owen and egging Chuck on. The fact that Owen had let his eyes wander over his perfectly sculpted—no…shit, Owen—over that piece of shit—yeah that’s better—disgusted him. Proof positive he just needed to get laid.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I have been an artist from a very young age. From drawing cartoon characters and evolving into portraits, making jewelry, photography, and now writing. I have an amazing support system in my family and friends and couldn’t be more grateful.

I live in central New Jersey, love summers at the Jersey Shore, rock music, wine, sexy men, and laughing a lot with my amazing friends and family. Sunday dinners at my parents’ house are crazy, hysterical and you can count on a movie quote…or ten…being thrown out. Insults between siblings is how we show our love for each other!

When I’m not creating, you can find me reading books from my favorite authors. I’m a hopeless romantic, starving for passionate characters and always craving that happy ending, whether in reading or in writing my own books.

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