A MelanieM Release Day Review: My Fair Captain (Sci-Regency #1) by J.L. Langley

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

When Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins goes undercover to investigate the theft of an IN weapons stash, the mission raises painful memories from his past. Using a title he fled nearly two decades earlier, Nate once again becomes the Earl of Deverell, heir to the Duke of Hawthorne, in order to navigate the ins and outs of a Regency world. But planet Regelence—where young lords are supposed to remain pure until marriage—has a few surprises for Nate, not least of which is his attraction to Prince Aiden.

A talented artist, Prince Aiden Townsend isn’t interested in politics and the machinations of society gentlemen, and he adamantly rejects the idea of marriage and a consort. Aiden wants the freedom to pursue his art and determine his own future. But the arrival of the dashing and mysterious Deverell awakens feelings of passion and longing the young prince can’t deny.

As Nate uncovers a conspiracy reaching far beyond the stolen weapons, his future is irrevocably altered by the temptations of a life he never thought he could have. Drawn into the web of intrigue, Aiden is in danger of losing his life… and his heart.

Well, this is a surprising review to write because I thought I knew exactly how this was going to go before I started the book and wrote the review.  Talk about a teaching moment.  Sigh.  Never make assumptions.  Trite but oh so true.

You see I thought I knew the book I was going to read.  Why?   Because I read the first edition published in 2007.  Well, my paperback copy (yellowed and well loved due to multiple readings) says 2008.  Really, I read that thing so many times I had it half memorized.  I mean, that book sizzled!  Just the growled “Boy” from Hawk to Aiden was enough to have me fanning myself.  And the sex?  Off the charts!  Spanking and yes, fisting. My Fair Captain was incendiary!

It also was funny, layered, and grounded in an amazing universe so well built that it could support a series. As finally did.

Add to that a complicated intergalactic conspiracy that has it’s intricate groundwork laid down in this novel for books to come (The Englor Affair,My Regelence Rake (Sci-Regency #3), a fantastic family and cast of fully developed characters you couldn’t get enough of and you had an addictive 5 star novel.  I’m one of its biggest fans. I knew exactly what to expect when I picked up the new release from Dreamspinner Press.

Only that’s not what I got.

I got My Fair Captain…Lite.

From the original 341 pages down to 244, gone are all the BDSM aspects of the story (a favorite element quite frankly).  The few times that that Hawk calls Aiden “boy” here it makes no sense  and its most likely because they forgot to delete it.  Now he calls Aiden “Sweetheart”.  I actually shuddered.  So far out of character is that nickname as a replacement for “Boy”.

Another character I loved got a lightening of character.  Trouble was a dangerous, brilliant teenage soldier who was capable of threatening to kill someone in the first story.  This made total sense as he had been in countless battles with Hawk on the Lady Anna spaceship.  The second version?  Thrown out the window! That aspect of Trouble where he could actually take down someone in combat or kill someone?  Gone, and with it something of value.  It was endearing to have Trouble wearing bunny slippers knowing he was a predator.  Not as funny when that was removed.

Yes, I got out my paperback after completing the eBook and went page by page because I was so dumbfounded by the changes.

Some beloved passages remain the same.  A lot really.  But there are also major shifts to just a sweet romance, away from the complicated, sensual story I first fell in love with.  So how to review this?  There’s so much of the old still here that I loved?  And yet so much elemental that’s gone.  The framework is here, the characters are all here, but even they aren’t exactly the same…mostly.  It’s just different enough for someone to have read and still loves the original to be off-putting. Like I said all the robust flavor and depth has been removed…and now it’s lite beer.

Which is fine if that’s to your liking.

So, I guess if you are new to this series, you won’t have the same expectations as I did and will enjoy this series immensely. It really does  have great characters, a fast paced plot, lots of humor and romance.  And with four brothers, more stories (one for each) to come.

But if you are like me, a lover of the original.  Skip it.  Run, don’t walk, back to our paperback copies, grab hold and start reading them again like I did last night.  All of a sudden it was 2008 and I had just discovered this incredible author and this amazing book I couldn’t get enough of.  Now to turn on that fan.

First Edition published by Samhain Publishing Ltd., June 2007

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design.  Again, sweet and nice.  Lite! Will never live up to the hottness that was that original Anne Cain cover.  It brought in the half naked torso craze that’s so common now everywhere.  Tired of half naked torsos?  Blame it on this cover because (fans self) thats where it began.  See the original cover design below.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 244 pages
Expected publication: May 29th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 2007)
Original Title My Fair Captain
ISBN 1640806865 (ISBN13: 9781640806863)
Edition Language English
setting Regelence, 4829
The Original Cover Art by Anne Cain 2007:

A Lucy Review: And The Next Thing You Know by Chase Taylor Hackett

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Rated 4.5 stars out of 5

Jeffrey Bornic has this vision of his idea partner.  He will be gorgeous, successful, fit, intelligent, socially adept, etc etc etc.   He was dumped by his musician boyfriend, Roger, months ago and he’s still working on the new partner thing.  Maybe because

“Got up in a bad mood. 

Again. 

It had been a stretch of bad moods lately.  Seriously.  Since like October.

I suppose that means since Roger.  Old boyfriend.  Make of that what you will.”

The thing is, Jeffrey is kind of an arrogant jerk.  He’s a lawyer and he puts a lot of time into that. He has one really good friend, Rebecca, who works at the same law firm, and that’s sort of it.  He works all the time and he can be so rude. 

When his apartment is under construction, this elaborate remodel, he turns to Rebecca for a spot on his couch. Problem is, Rebecca’s firebrand little brother, Theo, has already staked a claim on that spot on the couch.  The first time the two meet is a comedy of errors and Jeffrey comes off looking like an idiot.  Theo is a songwriter and is short, red-haired, snarky and homeless right now.  He will not, however, be jobless.  “As long as you’re sleeping on my couch, you’ll have a job.  Or it’s back to the farm.  This is not the Rebecca McPherson Unemployed Songwriters Retreat.”  Where does Rebecca find him a job?  At their law firm of course!  Jeffrey is facing not only the man who makes him crazy but finds out that Roger’s best friend, Tommy, is now working for the firm as well.

The two of them end up having to share the couch for a while and they spend all their time insulting each other, something starts to change.  At least for Jeffrey it does.  Theo has a maybe-boyfriend named Madison who treats him pretty negligently but he’s got harassing Jeffrey to brighten his days.  I admit, there were a couple times, such as blindsiding Jeffrey at the party with Roger, showing up where Jeffrey was having dinner with parents or the aftermath of Hamilton, where I thought, Theo is too much.  He’s out to hurt people.  Maybe it was because Jeffrey seems to be really in love for the first time (Roger W. Prescott Memorial Project notwithstanding) that he appears the more vulnerable one here.  He’s the one doing the sweet things (the shoelaces, omg) and trying hard.  Of course, his past actions of being a douche come back to bite both of them and that was painful.

Thank heaven for Tommy, who befriends Theo at work and is the voice of reason when Theo needs it.   We really, really need Tommy’s book. 

The story is told in alternating first person point of view and we also get Tommy’s thoughts.  I loved being able to connect with everyone like that.  Getting to see Jeffrey grow as a person, become stronger, was a glorious thing.  There were times I wanted to hug him, such as when he shows Theo his under-construction apartment, and times I wanted to hug Theo and times I wanted to shake them both.  They both do some growing up here and it was wonderful.

I have to admit I read this before the first in this series and I am so glad I did.  The Jeffrey Bornic of this book is snarky, obnoxious and arrogant but he isn’t vile as I thought he was in the first book, Where Do I Start?  Had I read the series in order I wouldn’t have bothered with Jeffrey’s book and I’d have missed out.  The Jeffrey of this book was serious.

Completely recommend this book, especially for those who love characters who redeem themselves and those who love the snark. 

The cover art was sort of middle of the road for me.  Headless torso in a long sleeved t-shirt was, I assume, Theo, with Jeffrey’s hands clasped around his middle.  While I liked the idea of the closeness, I was disappointed we didn’t get the red hair that Theo is so known for.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 290 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Lyrical Press
Original TitleAnd the Next Thing You Know . . .
ASINB071VHV289
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWhy You? #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Riven (Riven #1) by Roan Parrish

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Theo Decker is a rock star—his dream come true. But he hates it. Give him his music and he’s happy, but give him paparazzi, crowds of fans, and no privacy and he’s immobilized with fear. He’s even socially awkward around his bandmates. Riven was a three-person band looking for a lead singer who could compose music when they happened to connect—a match made in heaven, or at least in rock star heaven. But they were all friends before Theo joined them so he continually finds himself on the outside looking in. Uncomfortable is almost too mild a word to describe how he feels both on and off stage when he’s on tour with them.

Caleb Blake Whitman is a formerly famous brilliant musician and a currently recovering drug addict. His fear of relapsing again (his fourth time) is so huge that he’s secluded himself at a cabin in the woods and spends most of his time alone and in his vegetable garden. A former bandmate and lover, Rhys, visits frequently and supports him wholeheartedly. He also has support from his sponsor, Huey, an old codger who says little, but knows much about life.

When the two meet, it’s like the stars collide. Theo is over-the-top excited to meet someone like Caleb and Caleb is in awe of Theo’s talent. As their relationship moves from friends to friends-with-benefits to more, however, Caleb is frightened of the thought of relapse. And he knows it will happen if he allows himself to enter Theo’s world. After all, each time he tried to stay clean in the past, it was something related to touring with his band that triggered him into relapse, and though he wants this time to be different, he’s deathly afraid it won’t be.

What happens along the way makes for a complex and beautiful love story. The author’s treatment of addiction, recovery, triggers, and the need for a sponsor and an outlet for the fears is spot-on. Her portrayal of Theo as a young, insecure musical genius was totally different from what I expected and absolutely perfect for this story. Caleb and Theo belong together and readers should enjoy their journey. It’s not an easy one but there is an HEA and for that I was most thankful.

I highly recommend this story to lovers of MM romance, especially to those who love a story featuring musicians, age gap, hurt-comfort, addiction recovery, and just plain love.

A note about the cover: This is a stunning cover – the best I’ve seen in a long time, unfortunately the cover artist is not listed in the ARC. Most of the cover is solid black with a view of the MC, Theo Decker, through the thick lettering of the title: RIVEN. The author’s name appears below in thin white lettering. This cover is unique and extremely well done.

Sales LInks:  Penguin House | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 235 pages
Expected publication: May 29th 2018 by Loveswept
Original TitleRiven
ASINB0755Z3SH1
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesRiven #1

An Alisa Release Day Review: Love You So Madly (Love You So Stories #2) by Tara Lain

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Ben Shane has it all… and he’d like to give some of it back. While he loves his job heading a foundation that funds worthy causes around the world, his engagement to one of America’s wealthiest men leaves him feeling more like a trophy wife than a valued partner. The first warning that his relationship might not be designed to last is his irresistible lust for Dusty Kincaid, the golden-haired, bright-eyed handyman for his company.

Though Dusty is odd for a twenty-three-year-old—no liquor, no sugar, and he can’t even drive—the more Ben gets to know Dusty, the more he admires him. But is Ben going to give up a guy who drives a Ferrari for one who takes the bus? He must be mad. Dusty knows he and Ben can never work. After all, Ben’s perfect… and Dusty isn’t. But Ben might surprise everyone with proof that he’s only mad in love.

I read the first book in this series when it first came out years ago and loved it, I was excited to see the author is now continuing the series because I love a sweet shorter story almost all the time.  Ben is drawn to Dusty when he first sees him and finds that he enjoys his company much more than his fiancé.  Dusty has been a bit sheltered due to his health concerns but embraces the chance to spend some time with Ben.

I still can’t figure out why Ben said yes to Alan’s proposal, he doesn’t seem to really have anything in common or enjoy spending time with him, it may just have been flattery at the time.  I did love his openness to Dusty and how willing he is to adapt his life to someone who actually matters to him.  I loved seeing Dusty finally get something good in his life and you could see how he didn’t want anyone to feel bad for him.  Both of these characters were wonderful and it was easy to connect and see what they were feeling.  I can’t wait to read more of these stories as they come out.

The cover art by Reese Dante is great and I love the visual of Dusty.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 120 pages

Published: May 29, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-448-7

Edition Language: English

Series: A Love You So Story

An Ali Audiobook Review: The Quarterback by Mackenzie Blair and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback at Bodine College, a small Southern Division II school with an ultra-conservative Dean of Athletics. Matt is also very much in the closet, and he thinks he’s kept his secret well hidden. Until his best friends take him to a happy endings massage parlor and request a male masseuse for him.

In walks Trevor Kim, a gorgeous, pierced, tattooed fellow Bodine student who does massages—without happy endings—to pay for school after his family kicked him out for being gay. Trevor takes one look at Matt and breaks all his own rules about mixing business with pleasure.

Matt needs to keep his scholarship, win the National Championship, and survive his asshole father. Instead, he falls in love. Trevor needs to accept that the football god is meant to end up with him rather than a perky cheerleader. It’s time for a happy ever after for both of them.

I think I may have enjoyed this book more had I read it years ago when I first started reading this genre.  Now, all I could focus on were the never ending stereotypes and the less than politically correct statements.  (The side characters are all kind of horrible every time they open their mouths.)  I feel like in today’s age this type of stuff is not ok and I’m not sure how half of the stuff in this book slipped past editors, especially editors from a LGBTQIA publishing house.   
 
As for the plot itself, it was enjoyable.  Both of the MC’s were likable and I thought their romance was really sweet in places. 
 
This was narrated by Greg Boudreaux and I thought he did a really good job.  I liked his work with both of the MC’s as well as all of the side characters. 
 
I feel like I should have more good things to say about this because the story itself was not bad.  It was in fact pretty good in a lot of ways.  At the end of the day though I just couldn’t get past my annoyance at the stereotypes.  I’m giving it a middle of the road rating because although I found a lot of the dialogue offensive that might not be the same for other readers.
 
Cover:  I think the cover is nice but it does not stand out from many other covers out there.
Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Audible
Audiobook Details:
9 hrs 35 mins
Audible Audio, 10 pages
Published April 17th 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published September 9th 2017)
Original TitleThe Quarterback
ASINB07C7MYH7X
Edition LanguageEnglish

JL Langley on Characters, Writing, and her new release ‘My Fair Captain’ (author guest interview)

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My Fair Captain (Sci-Regency #1) by J.L. Langley

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is  happy to have J.L. Langley here today talking about writing, characters, and one of our favorites stories, My Fair Captain.  Welcome, J.L.

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with J.L. Langley ~

 

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?  

It actually depends on the character, but I’d say there is always something of me in my characters. I find the ones that are most different from me are the toughest to write.  In my upcoming story, Diplomatic Relations, Blaise gave me absolute fits because he is so different from me. I had a hard time trying to put myself into his mindset and think like him. Fortunately, I do have a very good friend and critique partner that identified with Blaise very easily and helped see things the way he did.

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

No research doesn’t play a part in my genre choice at all. I always start with characters, I’m very character driven, but I do love research.  Like most authors, I find myself losing hours and hours in research because I love to learn new things. 

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

Not at all.  As a child, I read Judy Blume. Sadly, I didn’t read as a teen. I know that sounds so bad, but it’s true.  I think English Lit really soured me on reading. I do NOT like literature as a general rule. Especially the things we read in High School. I can sum high school literature up in one word: depressing. I learned really early on in jr. high school that Cliff’s Notes were my friend! I’m not sure I actually read any books after I discovered Cliff’s Notes. Sadly, college literature was even worse. I wanted to throw the book at the professor for making me read, The Lottery. Trust me, he got an earful! And I’d still like to have a few words with whomever wrote the screenplay for Seven.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?  

HEA all the way!  As you can probably tell from my answer above. I read for two reasons: to learn (as in how to do something or what happened in the past. I don’t want a moral lesson) or for entertainment. Nothing makes me madder than wasting my time and getting a bad ending. I’m like that with movies too. If I want real life, I’ll watch the news. When I read, I want to be entertained. I want to feel wonderful and refreshed when I’m done.

 

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

If I had to pick I’d have to say Julia Quinn. I absolutely love everything she writes. She has a wonderful sense of humor and her books are always romantic. She’s a very character driven writer. Growing up? Judy Blume? She had a pretty good sense of humor as well and I do tend to include humor in my writing.

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

As a reader, I didn’t like ebooks to begin with.  I wanted a paperback, or preferably a hardback. I wanted that keepsake. Now I won’t read a book if I can’t get it in ebook. Which oddly enough it’s kind of ironic because I love libraries and being surrounded by actual, physical books. There is just something about the smell of them. I definitely see a day where ebooks are the only books.  More and more we gravitate to the electronic. Since I’ve been published I’ve seen a huge shift.  When I first started my print books always sold more than my ebooks, but now? I kind of surprised publishers still do print, they just don’t sell much anymore.

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

My Regelence Rake is my favorite.  As to why? I’m not really sure. Oddly enough though those are not my favorite characters. 

  • 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 so. The more flawed the better. You can redeem just about any character. After reading Larissa Ione’s, Rough Rider, I’m certain of that. Talk about incredible conflict and incredible character development. Larissa is amazing and that story especially is awe inspiring. <bows at Larissa’s feet>  She definitely redeemed the unredeemable.  

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

Hmmm…  this isn’t exactly the same thing, BUT… the scene in the Broken H where Shane hears Jamie and Gray in the kitchen and one of them, Gray, I think, says, “suck the head!” And Jamie yells, “eewww… No I don’t like the taste. Stop pushing my head!” It actually happened in RL.  My youngest BIL and I were in the kitchen at a New Year’s Eve party and he was fixing a beer for my husband. I happened to come in as he put the lime in the Corona then added the salt.  It started foaming and the rest his history. We noticed the room got very quiet and we looked up and everyone was standing at the door staring at us.  Needless to say, the beer got all over the floor and everyone died laughing. It then dawned on my BIL and I how the whole exchange had sounded He looked over at me and sighed and said, “This is going in a book, isn’t 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.  

Nope. I don’t drink. But I have gotten up in the middle of the night and written ideas down when I was still asleep. Needless to say, they have never made it into books, but they are always entertaining to read the next morning. Lets see there was one about a vampire turtle who shot spider webs…  seriously! I read it the next morning and was like O_O  Really?  I couldn’t stop laughing.

 

My Fair Captain Blurb

When Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins goes undercover to investigate the theft of an IN weapons stash, the mission raises painful memories from his past. Using a title he fled nearly two decades earlier, Nate once again becomes the Earl of Deverell, heir to the Duke of Hawthorne, in order to navigate the ins and outs of a Regency world. But planet Regelence—where young lords are supposed to remain pure until marriage—has a few surprises for Nate, not least of which is his attraction to Prince Aiden. 

A talented artist, Prince Aiden Townsend isn’t interested in politics and the machinations of society gentlemen, and he adamantly rejects the idea of marriage and a consort. Aiden wants the freedom to pursue his art and determine his own future. But the arrival of the dashing and mysterious Deverell awakens feelings of passion and longing the young prince can’t deny.

As Nate uncovers a conspiracy reaching far beyond the stolen weapons, his future is irrevocably altered by the temptations of a life he never thought he could have. Drawn into the web of intrigue, Aiden is in danger of losing his life… and his heart. 

 About the Author

J.L. Langley said her first words at six months of age. By the time she was a year old, she was talking in complete sentences and, as most of her family and friends will tell you, she hasn’t shut up since. After becoming an accomplished motormouth, J.L. set out to master other avenues of self-expression, including art, and dance.

 

She attended the University of Texas, where she majored in art, and worked as a dance instructor on the side. Her love of artistic expression in dance landed her a career in which she taught and performed for over twenty-five years. After marriage to her junior high school sweetheart and the birth of their children, J.L. decided to try her hand at writing. To date, she has several successful novels and a handful of novellas to her credit.

 

She lives in Texas, where she was born and raised, with her real life hero, their rowdy two boys, two even rowdier German Shepherds and ten goldfish, one of which is named Jaws. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book, appreciating the communication skills of other writers.

Social media links:

Website: http://www.jllangley.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjllangley

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jl_langley