A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Recruit by Addison Albright

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Phillip Brewer has terminal cancer. Considering his youth, that death sentence is shocking and depressing so he spends his good days walking around and enjoying the sights Mother Nature provides, knowing his time for joy is limited. When he meets Albert Manlii, a good-looking older man, he’s immediately attracted at first, and then he’s intrigued by the bizarre proposal Albert makes. Albert is offering him eternal life if Phillip chooses to join his organization. That organization is made up of vampires and its sole purpose seems to be to keep them functioning as a society without coming to the attention of humans.

Intriguing? Yes. But he must agree immediately and then the conversion will be done as soon as he agrees. So saying yes and diving in with both feet, he’s suddenly a part of this vast organization and he’s most definitely in the midst of a romance that he’s unprepared for. It seems Albert is his soulmate and that couldn’t make Phillip happier.

The story had so much potential but the action and execution was choppy. It’s as if the author wanted to cover everything and made an outline of key points. Then she filled in those points but not enough and somewhere along the way there’s a disconnect. Scenes don’t feel complete. New situations aren’t fully explored. The romance is fast, definitely insta-love, though that’s somewhat normal for a soulmate situation. But even the scenes of the two together are sketchy at best. Every scene seems rushed. It would likely have been so much better if it was much more fully developed.

But on the whole, I liked this story and I definitely liked the concept. Unfortunately, the execution keeps me from going any higher than 3 stars.

~~

The cover by Written Ink Designs features a close-up of a young man in a hoodie with blood at the corner of his mouth. This represents Phillip’s initial vampire bite and fits the story perfectly.

Sales Links:  Amazon |    Books2Read Universal Buy-Link | Publisher/JMS Books, LLC

Book Details:

ebook, 69 pages
Expected publication: June 16th 2018 by JMS Books, LLC
ISBN139781634866668
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttps://authoraddisonalbright.com/my-publications/stand-alone-stories/the-recruit/
CharactersAlbert Manlii, Phillip Brewer, Neil Franklin

A MelanieM Review: Butterfly Assassin by Annabelle Jacobs

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Murder, mystery, and an inconvenient attraction… 

Shifter Aaron Harper gets drawn into illegal underground fighting to keep an eye on his best friend. The thrill of the fight keeps him coming back for more, but discovery could mean imprisonment and banishment from their pack. Without a beta to watch over them, common sense takes a back seat.

Michael Archer of the Shifter Crimes Task Force is investigating recent murders. Despite the brutal cause of death pointing to the work of a shifter’s claws, instinct tells him a well-known nightclub owner is involved, but they have no proof.

Aaron and Michael’s paths cross after another body with the same injuries is discovered. With Aaron finding himself on the wrong side of the SCTF and Michael looking for a killer, any attraction between them is both ill-advised and unlikely. But fate has other ideas.

Butterfly Assassin is a story written in one of this author’s favorite universes of mine, that of the Regent’s Park Pack series.  It’s an ongoing wolf shifter series that just keeps getting better with each couple and story so I was delighted to see a standalone novel set in that universe pop up as a new release.

There are a few crossover characters (the scary Council) but mainly this murder mystery has it’s own wonderful group of shifter and human pairings and characters to get acquainted with.  Like the members of the Clapham Common Pack such as Aaron, Harry, Sam (shifters) and the human crew of the Shifter Task Force (Michael Archer and his partner Frank Coldwell to name the most important).  There are, of course, so many more here.

The story begins in the illegal world of the underground fights.  Aaron’s best friend has gotten himself deep into this world via betting and brought Aaron along with him.  Now Aaron is know as the Butterfly Assassin, an “unbeatable human fighter”, a problem in itself as Aaron is a wolf shifter.  And a wolf fighting a human?  Illegal in so many ways on top of the illegal fights.

Jacobs brings this gritty, bloody world alive along with the way a wolf’s super senses make the scene awash with unpleasant odors and sounds.  While I loved this aspect, the rest, including Harry and Aaron’s relationship takes a while to track.  That makes connecting the murders and delving into the meat of this story a bit of a delay.

More of this universe gets filled out which I love.  The biting to save a life, the rules and regs governing shifters and humans. It all makes the series foundation is more solid.

Although, once it happens…it zings!

However, what does hold this back from a bit of a higher rating is the comparison to a more recent story in the Regent’s Park Pack series.  And it’s a couple comparison…the other  couple is even brought up here.  I’m going to go into a bit of detail so maybe you can see why this story  leaves me a bit sad.

In book 4, Bitten by the Alpha,  Alpha Cam had lost his human wife in the shifter wars and vowed never to love again.  But he fell in love with his Beta, Gareth, they mated and bonded in this story.  During which Cam admitted that while he loved his human wife deeply, finally bonding with a wolf shifter was like nothing he had ever felt before.  He finally felt complete because he could now “feel” his mate through the mate bond.  In other words, it was something he  now  knows he was missing his human wife, and the love he had felt for her was pale in comparison for the love he now felt for Gareth.

Here the couple is  again a shifter and a human who doesn’t want to be turned, so they will never have that mate bond between shifters. They even mention Cam and his wife as an example of it working.  But if you read Cam’s story, you know that really, Cam now realizes he never had a “true” love as much as he did love her, he and his wolf were always missing something.

That knowledge sort of haunts this romance for me.  True both Aaron and Michael are only at the very beginnings of their relationship but Michael seems firm in remaining human.  So HFN but what future?  For me this was a hot romance.  I loved the couple but honestly wondered what the future held for them both.

I would like to see if  Annabelle Jacobs played with this  pack again.  There were several open ends here.  What happens to Wilson?  And Harry seriously needs someone to take him in hand before he gets in trouble again.

So yes, I really liked this story.  The mystery was terrific. Full of suspense, great action, and really fast pace! If you haven’t read the other stories, that lack of bond might not bother you as it clearly does me. They are a great couple.

And yes I do recommend this story.

Cover art:  Garrett Leigh at Black Jazz Design.  I love this cover.  Broody, hot, and totally Aaron.

Sales Links

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 280 pages
Published June 8th 2018
ASINB07DJ1L29H
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Damage Control (Laws of Attraction #1) by Kate McMurray

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Senate candidate Parker Livingston chose his political dreams over a future with the man he loved. He lives with constant regret about not having Jackson Kane in his life. Or in his bed. And when a strange woman is found dead in Parker’s apartment, Jackson is the only person Parker trusts to help clear his name.

Jackson never forgave Parker for the way their relationship ended. He moved on, built a name for himself as a criminal defense attorney, and swore he’d never let heartbreak back in. But when Parker shows up on his doorstep, wild-eyed and handsome and desperate for his help, Jackson can’t say no. Parker is a lot of things, but he’s no murderer.

I absolutely loved the characters in this story. Each was well-developed and their personality was spot-on with their role in life, up to and including Parker’s campaign manager, Martha. Neither Jackson nor Parker is a yes man to the other. They disagree on politics and the economy and aren’t afraid to debate their ideas, opinions, and experiences. I wanted to dislike Parker because he basically just walked out on Jackson after they’d lived together for a few years, but because of the author’s time and patience in developing his personality and making him a living example of his political ideals, I was able to see why he left. Jackson was strong and yet the wounded one in their initial relationship—always thinking of the best ethical next step and questioning his moral judgment—a very likable character.

The host of secondary characters were also important to the plot and the underlying mystery and suspense added to the drama that culminated in the crisis in the latter portion of the story. The resolution for the question of whether or not Parker would come out and put Jackson ahead of his campaign was not one that was easily guessed by this reader. Without giving spoilers, suffice it to say that mystery was kept tight-lipped to the end.

I also appreciated the author’s depth of knowledge, and the obvious research she did, on economic topics and the political aspects of both parties—those that are more conservative and those that are more liberal. Health care, the economy, law—all were well-structured and supported in the story. In other words, it was evident the author took time to get facts and didn’t just enclose the MCs in a bubble that focused only on the couple themselves. The romance was there and the sex scenes were hot, but it was expertly woven in to a politically astute and dramatically intriguing story.

Very highly recommended.

~~~

Cover is done as a black-and-white photo of two men in suits—one leaning on a post toward the rear and the other in the front appearing to be opening his suit jacket. Though I normally don’t like black-and-white covers, this one is perfect for the story and the characters.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: June 18th 2018 by Carina Press
ISBN139781488099519
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: Stowaway Heart by Suede Delray

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Joel Ricki has decided he’s had enough of being in foster homes. A few weeks before his eighteenth birthday, he plans to grab a bus to anywhere. Before he does, he has only one desire, to see The rock group Unhinged in concert. He doesn’t have a ticket but he’s not going to let that stop him. In fact nothing will stop him from seeing the band that saved him.

Stone Lewis is the frontman for Unhinged. He is gorgeous, and talented. It appears he has everything. Yet he can’t sleep at night and he drinks too much. Consumed by guilt and grief, the nightmares remind him of the brother he lost in a horrific car accident two years ago. Then Joel Ricki shows up on their tour bus and everything changes

This was an alright story but there were just a few things that couldn’t redeem it for me.  Joel successfully gets into the concert but hides out on the wrong bus.  Stone takes Joel under his wing and helps him build a life now that he is free to make those decisions.

Joel has had to do a lot of things to survive the times he has been on the street and wants to escape the endless circle he has been in and we see him get the chance to do this with the help of all the members of Unhinged.  He is very emotionally open and innocent and wears his feelings on his sleeve.  Stone feels responsible for Joel but not just in the older brother sort of way.  Stone hides his feelings behind booze and what his record label wants him to do.  I can’t forgive him for using and hurting Joel the way he did throughout the book though, I just feel that he dug the knife a little too deep before he finally opened his eyes.

The cover art by Martine Jardin is okay gives a nice visual of Stone.

Sales Links: Extasy Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 195 pages

Published: April 27, 2018 by Extasy Books

Edition Language: English

In Our New Release Spotlight: Under a Blue Moon (Camp H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker (special excerpt and guest post)

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Under a Blue Moon (Camp H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art: Bree Archer

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Bru Baker back talking about her latest release, Under a Blue Moon. the  second is her marvelous Camp H.O.W.L. series. Welcome, Bru.

♦︎

 

 

I’m here on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to kick off the tour for Under a Blue Moon, the second book in the Camp H.O.W.L. series. Thanks for joining me!

I had a lot of fun with Tate and Adrian in book one, but I really wanted to come back to Camp H.O.W.L. so readers could get more of an idea about what a luxury werewolf camp for teens going through the Turn (aka their wolfy puberty) would be like. So this time around, we get to see more of the activities and day-to-day life at Camp H.O.W.L.

Both Drew and Nick are new hires at Camp H.O.W.L., so readers will get to experience the camp through fresh eyes. It was a lot of fun to write the two of them sampling the classes–I think my favorite has to be Agility Training, which Drew calls Werewolf Parkour. Since he’s human, he doesn’t have a great time with that one.

Drew and Nick meet on the way down to Camp H.O.W.L. Nick is struggling to cope with all the smells and sounds on the plane when things take a turn for the worse and a socked foot comes through gap in the seat to sit on his armrest. Drew comes to his rescue and gets the foot to retreat–and before you say that’s unrealistic, it happened to me on a recent flight to Los Angeles. The hilarious thing is it happened well after I wrote about it. I guess I had bad karma for putting poor Nick and Drew through it.

If Nick and Drew knew they were going to be working together their first meeting probably would have gone differently. But they were just two strangers on a plane, and when a storm grounded the plane and they had to deal with an unexpected layover, they let their mutual attraction take its course.

All hell breaks loose when Nick realizes the attractive, funny human he’d slept with is the new doctor at Camp H.O.W.L. I wouldn’t call Nick specist, but he has some definite beliefs about whether or not a werewolf and a human can relate to each other enough to have a successful relationship. Luckily, Drew spends the book proving him wrong at every corner.

Excerpt:

Nick’s seat shook as the person behind him moved around, and a second later a socked foot emerged between the seats and propped itself on Nick’s armrest. Nick gritted his teeth and fought the urge to whirl around and bare shifted fangs at the person. At least the foot didn’t smell, but still. Common decency.

He was never flying with an airline that didn’t give you seat assignments again, no matter how outrageous the baggage fees were on other carriers. He normally boarded shortly before the flight attendants closed the doors, but on this airline he’d been assigned a boarding position, and if he hadn’t boarded early, he’d have been stuck in an even worse spot than he was in now. At least the seat next to him was empty.

He’d taken the window because it was the farthest he could get from the other passengers, and thankfully the person who’d sat in his aisle had left a seat between them. With any luck it would stay empty.

Nick leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes, but that only magnified his other senses. He could hear the baggage handlers tossing suitcases into the cargo hold underneath them and the low hum of the pilots running through their preflight checks. A kid a few rows back needed a diaper change, and someone else was watching one of those annoying BuzzFeed videos without headphones.

His flight from Denver to St. Louis had left so early that his fellow passengers had been blissfully quiet. Most had slept. He’d stuffed his earbuds in and listened to Morrissey wail about toxic relationships and the failings of the human condition to while away the two and a half hours.

This flight was barely an hour in the air, so with any luck he’d make it to Indianapolis before his migraine made his head explode.

“Sorry, just sliding by,” a voice said, and a moment later someone dropped into the seat next to him. He heard a hiss and a squeal from the row behind them, and when he cracked open an eye, he was gratified to see a laptop bag sitting on top of the armrest-stealing foot.

The bag lifted and the socked foot disappeared abruptly amid angry muttering from the girl it belonged to. Nick wondered if offering the man a high five would be considered rude.

“Sorry,” the man mouthed when Nick turned to him. “That was probably rude, but oh my God, who does that?”

The man gestured toward the armrest, and Nick half fell in love in that moment. He’d done it on purpose! And he was gorgeous, Nick realized as he took in the man’s strong jaw and broad shoulders. His cheeks were flushed like he’d had to run to catch the flight, and holy hell, between that and the bedhead, the effect went straight to Nick’s groin.

“Sociopaths,” Nick mouthed back. “Same people who bring Chipotle on the plane.”

Blurb:

Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them, and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of Drew’s private practice patients threatens his life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?


Buy links:

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

About the Author

Bru Baker writes sophisticated gay romantic fiction with strong characters, real-world problems, and plenty of humor.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Review Tour and Giveaway – Butterfly Assassin by Annabelle Jacobs

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Buy Links: Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2JbEM1C

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2JaNPQl

 
Length: 82,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

Set in the Regent’s Park pack world


Clapham Common—a new pack with their own set of problems…


Shifter Aaron Harper gets drawn into illegal underground fighting to keep an eye on his best friend. The thrill of the fight keeps him coming back for more, but discovery could mean imprisonment and banishment from their pack. Without a beta to watch over them, common sense takes a back seat.


Michael Archer of the Shifter Crimes Task Force is investigating recent murders. Despite the brutal cause of death pointing to the work of a shifter’s claws, instinct tells him a well-known nightclub owner is involved, but they have no proof.


Aaron and Michael’s paths cross after another body with the same injuries is discovered. With Aaron finding himself on the wrong side of the SCTF and Michael looking for a killer, any attraction between them is both ill-advised and unlikely. But fate has other ideas.

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

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Review Tour – Overtime (Cayuga Cougars #4) by V.L. Locey

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Buy Links: Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2JzieYH

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2t5thxR

 
Length: 68,000 words approx.
 

Cover Design: Reverie Formatting and Design

Cayuga Cougars Series


Book #1 – Snap Shot: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Open Net: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Coach’s Challenge: Amazon US | Amazon UK
BlurbSander March is one season away from the pros, or so everyone tells him.If only Sander had as much faith in his ability as the Cougar coaching staff does. Outwardly, he’s cocksure, borderline bitter, and slightly sarcastic. All that strut and sass hides a wounded soul though. Working to hide a brutal past filled with humiliation, abuse, and a family member who still haunts him, Sander has never found the kind of comfort and understanding he so desperately needs. Until he meets Mateo Castillo, a minor league baseball player for the nearby Elmira Egrets. Mateo and Sander click instantly, and a budding friendship develops between the two athletes.

Mateo then introduces Sander to his boyfriend, Noah Coombs, an aspiring manga comic creator. The three men find themselves bonding strongly, and that slowly gives way to sexual attraction. Eventually, Mateo and Noah invite Sander into their relationship. The path to happiness isn’t going to be easy for Sander as he faces criticism from his friends, teammates, and the press for his choices. The brash young star can handle all that, it’s when his abuser shows up in Cayuga that Sander fears not only for his own safety, but for the lives of the two men he has grown to love. Will Sander’s past tear him away from Mateo and Noah, or will he be able to leave the darkness behind?

Warning – This story has disturbing subject matter.

 



June 13BooksLaidBareBoys, Xtreme Delusions, June 14The Novel ApproachJune 15We Three Queens, Bookaholic & Kindle, Nerdy Dirty & Flirty, Love My Reads, June 16MM Good Book ReviewsJune 18Mainely Stories, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, June 19Bayou Book JunkieJune 20Jim’s Reading Room, Making It Happen, MM Good Book Reviews, Wicked Reads, June 21Joyfully JayJune 22Mirrigold, Bayou Book Junkie, A Book Lovers Dream Blog, OMG Reads, June 23Gay Book Reviews

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Dr. Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.


When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

 

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