A Jeri Review: Theoden: A New Haven Series Prequel by Nicholas Bella


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This is the prequel to a series that I haven’t read. It has just never been on my radar. But this looked interesting and being that it was a prequel, I was basically starting at the beginning. Vampires, dragons and werewolves oh my!

Lots of prequels (I have found) are not very long. Not so with this book. It was loooooonng. It follows the life of Theoden- starting as a young boy up until he is quite old. Being quite old as a vampire is relative though.
The first half of the book really sucked me in. (Sucked me in, vampires. Get it?) The world that is built was really interesting. The lives of the vampires, dragons who aren’t necessarily in animal form and werewolves that are used as toys.
And while the first half was interesting and I enjoyed it- there was this thing that bothered me a bit. As the youngest vampire, Theoden has to submit sexually to his brothers whenever he wants. He hates one of his brothers, but all three are rather rough with him. But he has to just submit. Seemed kind of rape-y to me. It could really turn people off.
Anyway…. after the first half being rather detailed and covering a rather short amount of time, the second half jumps centuries at a time. There is a story going on, but really it is mostly filled with sex. The whole book is filled with sex. Hate filled sex, loving sex, rape-y sex, voyeuristic sex. I think if you cut 90% of the sex scenes, this book wouldn’t even be 100 pages long.
And I get it- the author warns you that it is filled with sex. But I felt like there was a decent story there that was just overshadowed by…sex.
This was a tough one for me, but ultimately I can only give it 3 stars
Cover art: Jay Aheer.  The cover art works for the character and draws your attention. Striking.

Sales Link: 



Book Details:
The New Haven Series Prequel
Dark Paranormal Erotica/GLBT/BDSM
Kindle Edition, 346 pages
Published March 21st 2018 by Dark Desires Publishing, LLC
Price: $4.99 Ebook/$ Paperback $13.50

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Ginger Snaps (Belladonna Arms #5) by John Inman


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Though I normally love John Inman’s stories and I’ve salivated over the Belladonna Arms books, alternating between laughing and smiling over the sweet, sappy MM romances, this one just didn’t reach the bar set by the other four. 

Usually, the stories are about a very nice young man who’s down on his luck and finds his way to the Belladonna Arms where the world’s biggest (and largest) drag queen, Arthur, takes him under his (considerable) wing and then the love pollen that seems to saturate the former hotel works its magic.  And lo and behold, after some starts and stops, he falls in love with another very nice young man.

And that’s the case here at the beginning of the book: Reed has left his wife, having realized that he can’t push his homosexuality any further inside than he’s been doing for years.  Gideon has broken up with his boyfriend, who very cruelly took all of Gideon’s possessions and donated them to Salvation Army.  He only saved his laptop because it happened to be in the trunk of his car.  Arthur has put both young men in apartments next to one another and is simply waiting for the love pollen to sprinkle their way.  The Belladonna Arms seems to be infested with love pollen that has worked to bring other couples together in the past.  The only issue with these two is that both young men are redheads and neither wants to fall in love with a redhead. 

Soooo, of course, that’s what happens.  They bond over the sorry state of their apartments, so Reed pulls out hammer and tools and sets about repairing both his and Gideon’s apartments, both having been sorely neglected in the past.  For several weeks, all is well and then Reed’s ex-wife throws a wrench in the works just before Arthur’s wedding.  Coinciding with all the usual craziness associated with wedding preparations, the San Diego area is experiencing tremors and small earthquakes—all of which send Arthur into screaming and hiding mode. The stress takes its toll on him and he ends up in the hospital—but not without visits from all the residents of the Arms. The big guy is a sweetheart and everyone secretly loves him.   

Then Reed breaks Gideon’s heart…and leaves pieces all over the floor.  He totally goes against all the promises he’s made to Gideon and leaves him in tatters.  To be honest, this reader would not have taken him back.  He pulled a really stupid, IMHO, stunt and should have been cut from the book, never mind from Gideon’s life.  But love is blind, and this is fiction, so the two end up back together in time for the grand wedding event.

As I said earlier, this story just didn’t cut it for me.  I don’t think my sense of humor has changed drastically over the years, but the Arthur earthquake and wedding scenes were too OTT for me. And Reed’s wife?  Not even worth the pages she occupied in the book.  Then there’s the chapter devoted to Reed and Gideon babysitting little Artie—the baby Sylvia and Raymond adopted—which I suppose to many may have been funny, but not to me.  I had no interest in it or patience for it at all, and in fact, I’d have preferred the chapter be cut from the story. 

I can stretch this to a 3 star rating, though if we all rated in half scales, I’d likely give it 2.5—mostly due to Reed’s ex-wife who is still irritating me, days after I finished reading the book.  For those who have read other books in the series, I’d recommend reading this one and would be interested in other reviewers’ opinions. For those who haven’t read the series, this can’t stand alone and needs to be read after the others.  Start with Serenading Stanley, which to me was the best, and work your way through.  It’s a nice series of MM romances and worth taking the time to read.


Cover art by Aaron Anderson depicts a ginger young man at work welding, with open shirt, low-rise jeans, and with a darkly shaded apartment building in the background.  Nicely done, it depicts Reed and the Belladonna Arms.   

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleGinger Snaps
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Belladonna Arms #5

An Alisa Release Day Review: As I Am by Melissa Collins


Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Chase Hansen. Broke. College drop out. Male stripper.

My life wasn’t at all what I imagined it would be. I should have been finishing up college, interning with a well-respected business, partying with my friends. But instead, I was raising my seventeen year old brother, struggling to make ends meet. Love wasn’t even on my radar. Besides, what did I have to offer? A few crumpled singles pulled from my G-string? Defeated and exhausted, I knew I had zero chance of finding someone to love me just as I am.

Noah Carpenter. Angry. Betrayed. Doctor.

Just when I thought my life was going exactly as it should, everything turned upside down. With my final rotation in medical school complete, I finally achieved my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. What I never expected was to catch the man of my dreams in our bed with the man of his. Beyond infuriated, I struggled to piece together the remnants of my life. Just when I’d decided to give up on love altogether, I found a man who loved me just as I am.

Oh man, both of these guys and everything they have been through, they totally deserved to find love and that it’s together is even better!  Chase had to make some hard decisions after his parents died and hasn’t really had any support or help.  Noah has given himself over to being a doctor and after his last relationship ended he doesn’t really see the point in trying again.

Chase is at the point where he is just trying to survive and in his own mind he knows that no one would want him if they really knew everything he had going on.  Noah has a great group of friends around him but is quick to think the worst after catching his ex cheating.

I couldn’t help but feel for these guys.  I was easy to relate to Chase because I know what it’s like to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders even if I couldn’t in other ways and I loved watching Noah just take care of and support him when he needed it, it was just what his fragile heart needs.  I still couldn’t really like his friend Gavin though, even if at times he thought he was helping he didn’t do much and thought about himself first.  Noah is very cynical in his assumptions but I loved that he was willing to apologize and accept when he was wrong and the unconditional support from Chase was just what he needed.  I loved these guys so much and the only reason it’s not 5 stars is that there were just too many points that I felt the characters didn’t fully resolve what they were talking about or doing.

The cover art by Sommer Stein is great and I love the picture of these characters together.

Sales Links:

Google Play

Book Details:

ebook, 320 pages

Published: April 25, 2018 by Melissa Collins

Edition Language: English

Jane Darius on Characters, Writing, and her new release This Must Be the Place (Nick and Ben #2) (author guest blog)


This Must Be the Place (Nick and Ben #2) by Jane Darius
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Jennifer Vance
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Jane Darius here today talking about writing, and her latest story This Must Be the Place. Welcome, Jane.



Hi, I’m Jane Darius, and I’m the author of This Must Be the Place. You can preorder a copy of the book here. I wrote a short story that has the same characters in 2014, which you can buy here. I’m really excited to hear what people think of the new book. It is kind of like an origin story of how Nick and Ben get together Here’s a summary just to give you an idea of what the book is about.

A Nick and Ben Story

Having explosive sex is easy for Nick and Ben—getting past their hang-ups and opening up to each other won’t be.

Handsome New York City bartender Nick might’ve left life—and his abusive, homophobic father—in West Virginia far behind, but even though he was a star quarterback in high school, he can’t outrun the effect those years had on him. He’s still not comfortable as a gay man, and he keeps his relationships short… as in a single night.

Hotel reviewer Ben is a hopeless romantic, but he can’t seem to find a guy who feels the same. After being cheated on again, he doesn’t expect to spend forever with Nick, but even their one-nighter doesn’t go off without a hitch. Ben falls asleep on Nick’s couch, and in the morning, they have to face their hookup that wasn’t…and the fact that there’s a connection between them whether they’re looking for one or not.

I’ve also answered the interview questions, which I had so much fun with! If you want to know more about me (or upcoming books), you can follow me at janedarius.tumblr.com or on Instagram @janedariuswrites.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Jane Darius

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I feel like at least a little piece of me goes into every character. I know that sounds weird, but it’s definitely how I view it. I feel like there’s a part of me in every story, and that’s why I get so attached to everything I write. And I feel like it makes characters, stories, and everything you can write more genuine if you’re willing to share some of yourself with others.

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?

The whole idea of a Mary Sue is really steeped in sexism in fiction to me. No one considered James Bond to be a Mary Sue/Gary Stu (although he could have easy been considered one), and guys are constantly writing themselves into stories every day. I feel like this didn’t become an issue until women got more attention for writing blatant self-insert fantasies (even though men are just as guilty of the same). That said, I think what will always be disappointing about reading a story with a character that is an obvious Mary Sue is that they usually aren’t well-rounded. Many times, they have all the strengths and none of the flaws. And, honestly, that’s always going to be boring to read except to the person who wrote it.

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

I like to do a bit of both. Sometimes, I go down the rabbit hole of looking up how far one destination is from the other and which fruits are in season during the time of my story. Sometimes, I just throw in something I like or build a new world altogether because the current one we live in can tend to suck.

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

Absolutely. I loved stories that were dialogue heavy and funny. I hope my writing provides people with the same things.

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?

Totally. As far as This Must Be the Place goes, I wrote the first draft in 2014, and when I first tried to get it published, it wasn’t good enough. I worked on it for a long time, and it’s finally ready to be published. I have also put things aside because of time, emotional stress, intimidation. Sometimes I think you just have to be ready and sometimes you have to plow ahead. (Lots of conflicting viewpoints, I know!)

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I really do love both, but I think which one you use should depend on the story and where the characters are at in the end. It’s not necessary to force an HEA when an HFN is more organic.

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

Yes. I also love romantic movies.

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

I’ve had a lot of influences in my life, and I feel like I can see them more now that I’m older. Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon definitely affected my ability to write dialogue and I’m grateful to both of them for that. Everybody says it, but I do think it’s true that you start out by imitating the people you admire and then you begin to create new, original work that starts to look like yours.

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

I think it’s a great option. Though I don’t ever think it will or should completely replace paper books, I think it’s gotten people to read more and try out more genres or stories, which is always a good thing. I recently got my first Kindle, and I love it. I got it for work, and it’s so handy and helpful.

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

I worked with Dreamspinner who set me up with a cover designer named Jennifer Vance. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook. She’s really great! We went through so many pictures together to find some guys who really gave me a sexy, Nick-and-Ben-y vibe. 

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

Currently, Nick and Ben are my first published lead characters, and I think I’ll always have a special place in my heart for them because of that reason. I love writing, and I love all my stories for different reasons, though. I am always so excited to share them with people.

What’s next for you as an author?

I have an idea for a sequel to This Must Be the Place. I would love to be able to write it, and I want to focus on that next. I just wish the days were longer sometimes! 

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 don’t think anyone is too flawed for love, although sometimes, it’s nice to see people work through their flaws in a way that doesn’t require the love of someone else or happen because of someone’s love. I like to see people change because they want to, not because someone else changes them. But you definitely don’t want to load up a character with flaws just to make them seem more real. People have good and bad in them just like everything else in life.


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

Yes, I’ve been known to notice character traits in myself, friends, and family members and put them into a character, although I would never mine for them on purpose. I think there’s realism in seeing who people are and what makes them tick, and I like noticing character traits in others who are very different from me. I think you also have to turn that scrutiny inward though.


Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Yes, I have, and I’m hoping to have it happen more often, haha!


Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

Yes. Sometimes, it feels good to write things down when I’m sad or not sure what to do. In some instances, it can help solve the problem, but at the least, I usually feel a little better.


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.

Lol! Yes, but in my early twenties, I learned from experience that, at least for me, there’s a fine line between coherent, insightful drunk writing and misspelled, unintelligible drunk writing.


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

In a bed and breakfast or hotel by the sea or in the mountains. I think it would be a place that is beautiful, secluded, and serene (and hopefully pet friendly so I can bring my cat!). I’m working on a solo writing retreat for the summer that would offer me this chance.


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 write because it’s fun, which is harder now because making my living through writing has made it a little less fun lol. But I keep on writing because I can’t imagine doing anything else. And I definitely write to simultaneously escape and to understand not only myself but the world around me. I feel like one of the most difficult things to explain about why I write is that I want to always be saying something important and writing crazy-fun emo shit simultaneously. My constant goal is to be able to do a little of both at the same time.


What’s next for you as a writer?

I am a freelancer working from home, so I’m always writing. I have had a goal of publishing a novel for a long, long time, and now that it’s finally happened, I’m ecstatic. However, when I finally reached that goal, I realized it wasn’t like, “Okay, now I’m done!” The desire to publish more and write more doesn’t go away (there was recently a Jane the Virgin episode that I think captured this feeling well). Next, I want to publish something else, pay my bills, and keep working on writing what I love.

About the Author

Jane Darius is a writer and dreamer who wants to travel the world. If you try to talk to Jane when she’s writing, she will probably get scared like you just snuck up on her, as she sometimes gets lost in the world of her characters. Someone once told her that writing is like being alone in a dark room. She understands the sentiment but prefers to think of it as sitting by a warm fire while her characters tell her their stories. When she’s not writing fiction, Jane blogs and writes featured articles for a number of websites. In her spare time, she loves to watch movies, drink various beverages, and yell at her favorite TV shows. Writing makes her smile like nothing else does. You can follow Jane at http://janedarius.tumblr.com.

Release Blitz for The Sinner & The Saint (Ellery Mountain #8) by RJ Scott (excerpt and giveaway)



Cover Design: Meredith Russell
Length: 40,000 words approx.
Ellery Mountain Series

Army medic Ben Rockwell is in Ellery to work with the Veterans Center creating a new specialist unit for post trauma care. Desperate to make amends for battlefield decisions he regrets, he is focused on the unit and nothing else. Until some stranger moves in next door and throws him a curveball. He’s no hero, even though everyone says he is, and the lies burn inside him.

Leaving drama and chaos in his wake, Nicholas Merrick fled London and is hiding out in his friend Jason’s house, until everything back home dies a death. The choices he made in his life were to keep his best friend safe, but as a result everyone sees him as the bad guy.

When these two meet, the attraction is instant. Can they ever be their true selves, and find love as a result?


Chapter 1

Loud banging, with added yelling, pulled Nick out of a nightmare. After a restless, irritable, crunchy-messy night of tossing and turning, he had finally fallen asleep some time before dawn, and now at fuck o’clock in the morning there was knocking at the front door. And some asshole shouting words that he couldn’t make out. Was this part of his dream? He couldn’t tell.

For the longest time he lay flat on his back, unwilling to move. The sheets were wrapped around him like a mummy, the quilt on the floor, and he was still in that half world between nightmare and reality. Even closing his eyes didn’t help dispel the vivid images of him walking up to the Oscar podium completely naked and with the Queen pointing and laughing at him.

Naked as the day he was born, hanging loose and free, and no one saying a thing. Apart from the laughing that was. Like it was okay that one of the Oscar nominees was walking up the steps free of any and all clothing.

Not to mention no one commented on the Queen throwing popcorn at him.

Yep, it had been that kind of nightmare, and it wasn’t the first time he’d had it. And where the Oscar fear came from he didn’t know. There would never be a chance of an Oscar for. Not for the guy whose acting career had happened by accident and formed only because of a personal rebellion against his straight laced family. His resume included two sequels to the highly profitable, but formulaic, shit-bad, Angels of Bedlam franchise, with his entire fee going charity because he didn’t need the money.

Nick hadn’t been in the first UK funded Bedlam film. Said film had been praised for its ingenious twist on a dark horror romance. No, he was the handy British villain in the next two, the studio cashing in on any money that was left out there in a saturated market by ticking all the boxes. Explosions, tick. Strong, but mostly naked, female lead, tick. Sexy down on his luck, in te wrong place at the wrong time, male lead, tick.

And him, the ubiquitous bad guy with the English accent.

The follow up were certainly not Oscar material, and once Nick pulled his fragmented sleep-addled thoughts into line, he focused on the statistical likelihood of even being nominated for an Oscar in the first place, let alone accepting it naked.

“Fuck me,” he muttered to the empty room and rolled onto his front. The banging had stopped and no one actually knew he was here, so, he wasn’t going to answer the door in a place that wasn’t even his.

Jason McInnery and his husband, Kieran, lived in this stunning home, in the small town of Ellery, Tennessee. Glass floor to ceiling, wide open rooms, a pool in the garden, and the most comprehensive jungle gym he’d ever seen for Jason and Kieran’s son, Jonas. Even the damn guest room was beautiful, a huge wood carving took up nearly one wall, and the view from the window out to the mountain was stunning. At least that was the adjective he was supposed to use for what he could see. Objectively, he could see it was spectacular, but was too lost in confusion since he got here to think about it too much. A quick glance at the clock showed him it was five am, like midnight or something back in London, and still dark in the shadow of the mountain, so he rolled over and pulled the covers up to his neck.

Even in the middle of the chaotic remnants of his nightmare he welcomed the heat that cocooned him and willed the knocking to stop. Which it did. The mess of dreams forgotten, he drifted on as many good thoughts as he could muster and was very nearly asleep when the banging started up again. He groaned and hid his face under the pillow, willing the person creating the noise to go away. Then it ceased again, and he closed his eyes, but didn’t remove the pillow. Dawn was too close now and the room would fill with light because he hadn’t even taken the time to pull the drapes.

Unfortunately, his bladder had other ideas about what he needed to do, and cursing, he grabbed the sheets and untwisted himself. Feet planted on the floor he scrubbed a hand over his face, the untamed beard was just another reminder of everything that was horribly wrong about his life right now. Normally he would have just the right amount of stubble, but the last instalment of Angels of Bedlam, cunningly entitled, Bedlam Adrift, called for him to be a castaway, hence the beard, which he’d left to tangle.

No point in worrying about it anyway. He’d left London to get away from paparazzi, and their incessant need for more, and he was in unofficial hiding. Therefore, no one would see his beard, or his bloodshot eyes.

He caught sight of himself in the mirror.

“Jesus, you look fucked.”

Bedhead. Bags under his eyes. Beard. It was a whole cacophony of B-shit. Yawning widely, he padded across the bedroom to the half bath, emptying his bladder and washing his hands. He’d gone to bed as nature intended. Well, warm nature anyway, completely naked, which probably led to nightmare. Packing back home had been done in less than five minutes, his priority was money, passport, his phone, his laptop and associated chargers. It seemed like his messed-up head hadn’t thought any kind of pajamas were needed, or indeed underwear.

The next choice was shower or bed, and the exhaustion of the past few days, the media attention, making sure Heather was okay, fleeing the UK, ending up here in the middle of rural Tennessee, it was all too much and he sighed.

“Bed it is,” he muttered to his reflection. As soon as he woke up he was going online to order everything he’d forgot to pack. Jason had said to help himself to anything he needed but helping himself to his friend’s clothes didn’t feel right.

He yawned again, and stepped out into the cooler bedroom, eyes only half open.

“Hands where I can see them,” someone shouted, and Nick, startled, his heart pounding, fell backwards into the bathroom, catching himself on the jamb as best he could. He blinked to focus on the man in front of him.

The cop.

The gun.

The cop holding a gun on him. Immediately he raised his hands, and then lowered them to cover his junk, and then raised them again when the cop didn’t move.

RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.

She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the following links below:

Email RJ (rj@rjscott.co.uk)
Goodreads Page
RJ’s Blog
RJ on Twitter
Library Thing Page
Tumblr (some NSFW (not safe for work) photos)


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Release Blitz and Giveaway for As I Am by Melissa Collins


As I Am by Melissa Collins is LIVE!
Grab your copy:
Google Play

Chase Hansen. Broke. College drop out. Male stripper.

My life wasn’t at all what I imagined it would be. I should have been finishing up college, interning with a well-respected business, partying with my friends. But instead, I was raising my seventeen year old brother, struggling to make ends meet. Love wasn’t even on my radar. Besides, what did I have to offer? A few crumpled singles pulled from my G-string? Defeated and exhausted, I knew I had zero chance of finding someone to love me just as I am.

Noah Carpenter. Angry. Betrayed. Doctor.

Just when I thought my life was going exactly as it should, everything turned upside down. With my final rotation in medical school complete, I finally achieved my lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. What I never expected was to catch the man of my dreams in our bed with the man of his. Beyond infuriated, I struggled to piece together the remnants of my life. Just when I’d decided to give up on love altogether, I found a man who loved me just as I am.

Cover design: Sommer Stein at Perfect Pear Creative Covers

Photography: Christopher John at CJC Photography

Models: Sam Wiles and Aaron Michael Bell

Join me on Facebook for a $50 Amazon gift card giveaway!
Melissa Collins Author Page


Melissa Collins has always been a book worm. Studying Literature in college ensured that her nose was always stuck in a book. She followed her passion for reading to the most logical career choice: English teacher. Her hope was to share her passion for reading and the escapism of books to her students. Having spent more than a decade in front of a classroom, she can easily say that it’s been a dream.
Her passion for writing didn’t start until more recently. When she was home on maternity leave in early 2012, she read her first romance novel and her head filled with the passion, angst and laughter of the characters who she read about it. It wasn’t long before characters of her own took shape in her mind. Their lives took over Melissa’s brain and The Love Series was born.

Website | Amazon | Facebook | FB Reader Group | BookBub | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Also, now and leading up to release day, Melissa has put On Solid Ground (http://mybook.to/osg) on sale for FREE