A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Hush by Tal Bauer and Joel Leslie (Narrator)


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

It’s impossible to summarize the “meat” of this story in a single paragraph. Even the blurb only covers part of it, but in a nutshell—Federal Judge Tom Brewer has hidden his sexuality ever since he was a young college grad eagerly looking forward to law school. In the climate of the early eighties, when men were first diagnosed with the new AIDS disease, there was no room for doubt if a young man wanted to become a successful lawyer, so he turned away from everything he was and buried his sexuality very, very deep. Mike Lucciano, the US Marshal assigned to the federal judges protection detail, is an out and proud gay man, and he may just happen to hold the key to that safely locked away heart of Judge Tom Brewer.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Joel Leslie made this story 5 stars for me, though the raw material was certainly exemplary to begin with. This action adventure, complete with political intrigue was done in combo with a beautiful heartwarming MM romance amidst the chaos of a federal court, terrorist plots, and political intrigue.

Action packed, nail-biting suspense abounds in this story. And just when I thought things were going to run smooth, they took a turn toward crazy. And the people? Who do I trust? Who’s guilty? Who’s innocent? Who’s clueless? And who’s simply misinformed? Amazing characters, awesome situations, a grand international adventure—all rolled into one powerful story.

There are plots and subplots, characters to love and characters to hate, and both subtle and not-so-subtle nuances to the importance of any given situation. There’s no doubt Tal Bauer is a storyteller and there’s no doubt Joel Leslie can take that story and run with it. A man of a thousand voices, he brings me to my knees in heartbreak when one of our characters is at death’s door. And he brings an ear-to-ear smile to my face when the joy of finally being the man he should have been able to be all along comes to Tom Brewer.

I very, very highly recommend this story in audiobook format to all lovers of MM romance, especially to those who love older men, action/adventure, political intrigue, and a heartwarming HEA.


Cover art depicts a man with a gun to the back of his head, set against a background of the metro DC area. Just perfect for the story!

Sales Links:   Amazon  | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Length: 19 hrs and 22 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-01-18
Language: English
Publisher: Tantor Audio

An Ali Audiobook Review: All the Way to Shore (Stories from the Shore #1) by CJane Elliott and Tim McKiernan (Narrator)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Jonathan Vallen has never felt good enough. A gentle musician who loves to garden, he’s woefully unsuited to running Vallen Industries, the family business. When his father hires a hotshot executive, Marco Pellegrini, to save the company, Jonathan moves away and leaves his humiliation behind. A year later and forty pounds lighter, Jonathan runs into Marco on an LGBT cruise. Marco doesn’t recognize him, the sparks fly, and Jonathan pretends to be someone else for the week—Jonah Rutledge—someone good enough to be loved.

Marco Pellegrini has always been driven. He rose from poverty to the pinnacle of business success, and he’ll do anything to protect his reputation—including hiding his bisexuality. Having saved Vallen Industries, he’s weary of the rat race and ready for a more meaningful life. When Marco meets his soul mate for that new life—Jonah Rutledge—on an LGBT cruise, he prepares to stop hiding and start living.

Back on land, the romance crashes when Marco discovers his perfect man is not only a lie but the son of his boss, Frederick Vallen. Jonathan resolves to win Marco back, but Frederick takes vengeful action. Jonathan and Marco must battle their own fears as well as Frederick’s challenge to get to the future that awaits them on the horizon.

This was a fun and enjoyable story.  The blurb does a good job of explaining the plot.  The romance is well done and I enjoyed both of the main characters.  They’re a bit flawed but still good guys.  They each have a quirky side character which I also thought added to the story.
The story was narrated by Tim McKeirnan and I thought he did a good job on it.  I enjoyed the way he did both of the main characters as well as the side characters.  I thought the narration added to the overall story.  I had not listened to this narrator before but will definitely try him again.
Overall this was an entertaining audiobook.  The plot was fun and sweet and had really likable characters and the narration was also good.  It’s relatively short and would make  for a great summer pool side listen.
The cover was done by L.C. Chase and I think it was well done.  It fits the characters and the overall plot well.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio
Published April 19th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published November 23rd 2016)
Original TitleAll the Way to Shore
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStories from the Shore #1

An Alisa Review: What It Seems by Sydney Blackburn


Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Michael’s straight and infatuated with a woman he worked with one day, over a year ago. But when he finally sees her again, he’s astounded that the woman of his dreams is a man in drag.

Darcy is ace and not interested in dating anyone, so he and Michael just hang out. A lot. When he needs to do an on-screen kissing scene, Michael is the best person to ask for help.

Michael soon discovers he isn’t as straight as he thought he was, and Darcy likes kissing him a little too much for someone certain he never would. Those are a lot of changes to accept, but they just might be worth it.

This was a wonderful story of self-discovery for both of the MCs.  Michael has spent so much time waiting to see Darcy again he almost loses his chance when they first actually talk.  Darcy likes making a new friend and they soon begin to date without noticing.

Michael and Darcy are both blind a bit to each other and their feelings a bit but grow a great friendship in that time.  I was able to see Michael spends his time coming to terms with his bisexuality and looking up any information he may need.  It was sweet to see Darcy find that he wasn’t as ace as he always thought but find the acceptance and answers he needed.  I loved watching both of these men slowly grow their relationship, even if they didn’t realize it at the time.

The cover art by Natasha Snow is great and I loved the visual of Darcy.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 66 pages

Published: May 21, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-948608-66-4

Edition Language: English

Ashlyn Kane on Characterization, Gary Stu, and her new release His Leading Man by Ashlyn Kane (author guest blog)


His Leading Man by Ashlyn Kane

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Bree Archer

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ashlyn Kane here today talking about her latest contemporary romance, His Leading Man.  Welcome, Ashlyn.


Hi all! I’m Ashlyn Kane, and I’m here as stop one on the His Leading Man blog tour. Thanks so much to Stella and Melanie for hosting me! If you haven’t heard about the book, here’s the blurb:

He wrote a comedy. Fate directed a romance. 

Drew Beaumont is bored of the same old roles: action hero, supervillain, romantic lead. He’s not going to let a fresh gay buddy comedy languish just because they can’t find him the right costar. No, Drew bats his eyelashes and convinces everyone that the movie’s writer should play Drew’s not-so-straight man.

Aspiring writer Steve Sopol has never had a screenplay optioned. Now one of Hollywood’s hottest properties wants to be in a movie Steve hasn’t finished writing—and he wants Steve as his costar. Turns out the chemistry between them is undeniable—on and offscreen.

Drew swore off dating in the biz, but Steve is the whole package: sharp, funny, humble, and cute. For Steve, though, giving in to the movie magic means the end of the privacy he cherishes. Will the credits roll before their ride into the sunset? 

If that strikes your fancy, you can buy it on the Dreamspinner website or on Amazon.com.

And now for more about me!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

If I’m doing my job right, just enough to get me into their mindset for writing, and not so much that they all start to sound alike. That was a bit tricky in my newest book because it features Steve, who’s a somewhat private writer, so of course we’ve got that in common: the desire to tell stories, particularly unique ones. But Steve’s leading man (or vice versa depending who you ask) is Drew, who’s a flashy movie star—very different on the surface, until you realize that is just another way to tell stories.

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?

I grew up in fandom mumble-mumble years ago, which gives me a knee-jerk reaction to those names. To me Mary Sue or Gary Stu doesn’t mean just a self-insert but a character who’s “too perfect,” and when people use the term that way I want to go off on a tangent about how male power fantasies are allowed (Bruce Wayne, anyone?) but female ones get called out as two-dimensional. But to answer the question I think you mean: this isn’t something I personally struggle with. I’m a deeply boring person. No one would read a book about me, and I wouldn’t want to write it!

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

Hmm, I think only in that I’ve always been eclectic. As a kid I read everything I could get my paws on, from the Bunnicula series and Nancy Drew to Harry Potter to The Green Mile. The first romance novel I ever read was about a woman with superpowers. I write a little bit of everything too (except historical, which is too much research!), the flashy Hollywood romance sort of books but also the quieter, almost pedestrian ones, and even paranormal. My next book after this is magical realism, which is a fun universe to write in and I’m debating revisiting it. The only thing I haven’t really done yet is sci-fi, which I read a ton of growing up but I think I’m too—lazy? intimidated? uninspired? all of the above?—to try writing. I mostly write for fun, so I prefer not to have to think too hard. Thinking is for editing!

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

HEA all the way. This is why sequels make me nervous! What if you take the happy ending away from them??? No, thank you!


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

A sense of humor is so important. Life can be brutal and tragic and lonely and hard. I think that it’s important to share it with someone who can cheer you up. That could come in the form of kindness too, rather than humor, but it’s usually the humor people notice first. Kindness is quieter, but also important. I think, in this genre, a lot of what people are looking for boils down to levity and kindness, so I try to make sure each book has a good portion of each, however that works out character-wise.


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.

Oh sure, only every time I’ve ever gotten stuck on a sex scene!


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

Because I need to tell stories. I’ve been writing since I was six years old. My parents used to read me bedtime stories; once they turned off the lights and closed the door, I’d lie awake and make up more stories to tell myself. It’s a part of me that’s always been there—some kind of self-soothing behavior, maybe. It’s like watching TV, except backwards.


What’s next for you as a writer?

Well, I’ve got another book coming with Dreamspinner late this summer, and then we’ll see! I have a few ideas floating around, but none of them has taken quite firm enough root yet. Ask me again in two months—maybe I’ll have a better answer!

ASHLYN KANE is a Canadian former expat and current hockey fan. She is a writer, editor, handyperson, dog mom, and friend—sometimes all at once.

On any given day, she can usually be found walking her ninety-pound baby chocolate lapdog, Indy, or holed up in her office avoiding housework. She has a deep and abiding love of romance-novel tropes, a habit of dropping too many f-bombs, and—fortunately—a very forgiving family.

Twitter: @ashlynkane

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ashlyn.kane.94

Website: Ashlynkane.ca

Release Blitz and Giveaway for Out, Proud, and Prejudiced by Megan Reddaway



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 85,000 words approx.

One’s proud, one’s prejudiced, and they can’t stand each other.

Quick-tempered Bennet Rourke dislikes Darius Lanniker on sight. Darius may be a hotshot city lawyer, but that doesn’t give him the right to sneer at Bennet, his friends, and their college. It doesn’t help that Bennet’s restaurant job has him waiting at Darius’s table. So when his tutor recommends him for an internship at Darius’s Pemberley estate, Bennet isn’t sure he wants it. He’s also not sure he can afford to turn it down.

Darius is a fish out of water in the small college town of Meriton, but something keeps pulling him back there. He’s helping out a friend with business advice, nothing more. If he’s interested in Bennet, it’s not serious. Sure, Bennet challenges him in a way no other man has. But they have nothing in common. Right?

Wrong. Their best friends are falling in love, and Bennet and Darius can’t seem to escape each other. Soon they’re sharing climbing ropes and birthday cake, and there’s a spark between them that won’t be denied.

But betrayal is around the corner. Darius must swallow his pride and Bennet must drop his prejudices to see the rainbow shining through the storm clouds.

A standalone novel—a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Note: contains mention of past abuse.

About The Author

MEGAN REDDAWAY lives in England and has been entertained by fictional characters acting out their stories in her head for as long as she can remember. She began writing them down as soon as she could.

Since she grew up, she has worked as a secretary, driver, barperson, and article writer, among other things. Whatever she is doing, she always has a story bubbling away at the same time.

For news of Megan’s gay romance releases and two free stories, visit her website: http://meganreddaway.com

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In Our Spotlight: Cash Plays (Seven of Spades #3) by Cordelia Kingsbridge (giveaway)


Cash Plays (Seven of Spades #3) by Cordelia Kingsbridge

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Garrett Leigh

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing |   Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Cordelia Kingsbridge’s tour for Cash Plays.  Check out the details below and don’t forget to enter the giveaway.



Thanks for checking out the blog tour for Cash Plays, the third book in the Seven of Spades series!

After the Seven of Spades returns at the end of Trick Roller, they resume their vigilante mission with a vengeance. Levi and Dominic do their best to keep up, but a bloodthirsty serial killer isn’t the only threat they face…



About Cash Plays


In this game, the stakes are life or death.


The Seven of Spades is back with a vengeance—the vigilante serial killer has resumed their murderous crusade, eluding the police at every turn. But a bloodthirsty killer isn’t the only threat facing Sin City. A devious saboteur is wreaking havoc in Las Vegas’s criminal underworld, and the entire city seems to be barreling toward an all-out gang war.


As Detective Levi Abrams is pushed ever closer to his breaking point, his control over his dangerous rage slips further every day. His relationship with PI Dominic Russo should be a source of comfort, but Dominic is secretly locked in his own downward spiral, confronting a nightmare he can’t bear to reveal.


Las Vegas is floundering. Levi and Dominic’s bond is cracking along the seams. And the Seven of Spades is still playing to win. How many bad hands can Levi and Dominic survive before it’s game over?


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?



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:



To celebrate the release of Cash Plays, Cordelia is giving away a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 9, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!