A Free Dreamer Review: Bones and Bourbon by Dorian Graves

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Half-huldra Retz Gallows is having an awful day. First, he wakes up in the middle of driving to who-knows-where with an angry unicorn head in his passenger seat. This is almost normal, thanks to a lifetime of sharing a body with Nalem, a bone-controlling spirit with a penchant for wicked schemes and body-stealing joyrides. It’s probably a bad idea to ask what else could go wrong.

Jarrod Gallows left home with plans to rescue his little brother from possession. Instead, he got saddled with a dead-end job as a paranormal investigator, a Faerie curse, and a daredevil boyfriend who might be from another world. At least he’s got a new job—except why is his brother Retz here and why does this sudden reunion feel more like a bane than a blessing?

This day’s going to get worse for the Gallows brothers before it gets better. To survive, they’ll have to escape the forces controlling them, as well as the wrath of carnivorous unicorns, otherworldly realms, and even their own parents. Only time will tell if they’ll make it out alive…or sober.

I’ll be honest, “Bones and Bourbon” had me sold after the first paragraph of the blurb. That sounded so weird and crazy, I knew I just had to read it. And the book definitely delivered.

First of all, this is not a romance. Jarrod is in a relationship with a very interesting young man with a penchant for crazy ideas but that’s really not the focus of the plot at all. Rather, “Bones and Bourbon” is a wild Urban Fantasy with a protagonist who happens to be in a relationship.

The world building was excellent. I have a thing for myths and fairy tales of any kind. I’ve never heard of huldra (and some of the other creatures) before but there are actual myths about them. It was so fascinating. The author does a great job of describing their individual oddities. I’ve never met a character who’s literally only skin and bones. No blood, no internal organs, no nothing. And Jarrod has a cow tail, which is all kinds of weird and awesome at the same time. There were so many different creatures from all sorts of different cultures and I’ve heard about maybe half of them. Dorian Graves definitely deserves extra credit for creativity and uniqueness.

Nalem is probably one of the most interesting people I’ve met in a book in a very long time. His abilities are intriguing and also pretty creepy. We really don’t know anything about him and that makes him all the more fascinating.

All four of our protagonists are actually really interesting. And likable, with the exception of Nalem. Though even he has his moments. Oh, and they take “daddy issues” to a whole new level.

I’m Austrian, born and raised, so it added another layer of awesomeness that our protagonists were named after Austrian places. Retz is a tiny village I’ve never heard of before, even though it’s actually not that for from where I live. I’m always thrilled when authors remember little Austria exists.

The whole story was an incredibly wild ride of insanity and blood and violence. Definitely not for the faint of heart. Or unicorn fans. Because they’re actually vengeful bastards and extremely hard to kill. Which is all kinds of awesome, if you ask me. I think I’ve found my inner unicorn thanks to this book! And the best thing about this? This is only the first part in what promises to be a truly amazing series!

If you’re on the hunt for something a very different fantasy novel, and don’t mind dark and twisted stories that can get pretty gory and a little gross, then this is the book for you.  “Blood and Bones” will very likely make it under the top five books of 2018 for me. I’m not easily impressed, but this book did it. I can’t believe it only has less than 300 pages.

I’m not sure if I like the cover by Natasha Snow. It’s a bit generic, tbh.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 268 pages
Published April 23rd 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781948608527
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Day and Knight (Day and Knight #1) by Dirk Greyson and Andrew McFerrin (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

 

As former NSA, Dayton “Day” Ingram has national security chops and now works as a technical analyst for Scorpion. He longs for fieldwork and scuttling an attack gives him his chance. He’s smart, multilingual, and a technological wizard. But his opportunity comes with a hitch. His partner, Knighton, “Knight”, is a real mystery. Despite countless hours of research, Day can find nothing on the agent including his first name.

A former Marine, Knight crawled into a bottle after losing his family. After drying out, he’s offered one last chance: along with Day, to stop a terrorist threat from the Yucatan. To get there without drawing suspicion, Day and Knight board a gay cruise, where the deeply closeted Day and equally closeted Knight must pose as a couple. Tensions run high as Knight communicates very little, and Day bristles at Knight’s heavy-handed need for control.

But after drinking too much, Day and Knight wake up in bed together. As they near their destination, they must infiltrate the terrorist camp and neutralize a plot aimed at America’s technological infrastructure. If they hope to have a life after the mission, one that might include each other, they must learn to trust and rely on each other.

Day and Knight by Dirk Greyson was an enjoyable action adventure story, the first in a new series by this author.  As I write this review, I am well into the third story, so I can happily report that the series and stories gets better with each novel.  I jumped into the series with the audiobook and I’m delighted that I did.  It’s an excellent version because Andrew McFerrin does such an incredible job with the narration that he became an automatic buy based on his superb voicing of the story and characters here.

This is the start of a partnership both on and perhaps off the job for two wounded men,Dayton “Day” Ingram and Knighton “Knight:”.  At some point we will learn his full name but for most of the stories he is referred to as Knighton or Knight.  It’s a cute concept and works well, except that  nobody ever makes a crack about their names.  Which seems exceedingly odd to me.  I think the puns and wise remarks would be flying all over the place but nope, not at all.

Knight has just climbed out of the bottle after losing his wife and child to an assassin, the result of a job he did for the Agency. Day lost his parents when he was young and was raised by his older brother, a fact that left deep marks on him. Both men are marred by loss and grief, neither has moved on completely from their pasts when they are paired together, Day for his first time as a field agent for Scorpion.

Day is here and remains throughout the stories my favorite character.  Knight feels the most “hidebound”, least disciplined, and so bogged down that I found it hard to believe that he was the Marine the author said he was.  It took a while for the whole Day/Knight combination to win me over.  The strength was in the working together on board to piece together the case that helped cement their partnership for me (and them).

The use of a gay cruise both highlighted the strong and weak points of this story.  I thought the idea of traveling undercover using a gay cruise great.  It was done perfectly by Ty and Zane on Fish & Chips (Cut & Run #3)
by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban.  Day and Knight don’t quite live up to that here.  For one,  Knight is on a loop of guilt about his wife and son.  And for every step forward he makes, he takes 20 back, which gets extremely tiresome here.  We are supposed to empathize with him but after a while it just gets old.

Day is a delight of enthusiasm, smarts, and sexiness.  He’s loving being in the field and eventually wins over his partner in multiple ways.

While the cruise works for many reasons (constant proximity to each other, launching pad to romance, gay identity), the idea of side trips to the ruins and the rest has a great deal of holes.  I hate to say more because of spoilers but all that action taking  place so close to the ship and within Mexican heritage sites?  Well, I think more of the story went towards fast paced action thriller there towards the end and perhaps less on the well pulled together geographical, researched side.  On the high side again?  Lots of fast paced high action adventure!  And another mystery to solve at the end.

This is going to be one of those slow, slow, slow burn romances.  Sex is not equating with love here because of tons of guilt and lost family.  Remember I said all those steps back, right?  And both men are firmly in the closet with their families and at work and intend to stay that way.  So Knight and Day aren’t so different after all.  It will be a long haul for them both.

Which brings me to….

An element I want to address that bothers me. Not just in this story but appears in the second one as well (yes, I’ve listened to that one too).  That’s the consistent use of outdated phrases that are, for the lack of any other term, sexist and  demeaning to the women/the female gender. I know that they are/were overused stereotyping phrases heard growing up but to hear them here? Its disappointing and a little shocking.  Listening to them  come out of the mouth of an excellent narrator made it all the worse because I haven’t heard them in a while. All those “scream like a teenage girl, run like a girl, act like a….” Today if  actually said in a crowd would get you stares and maybe an actual “asshole” or two.  So what are they doing here in an LGBT series?  Is the writer so out of step culturally or so insensitive that he can’t understand why such phrases should not only be left out but decried?  Maybe I’m being overly sensitive here but I don’t think so.  If you can’t go up to a little girl or teenage girl and say something like this to their face (and I don’t think you can), then it doesn’t belong here.  In this book, spoken by LGBT characters who know what its like to be mocked.  Maybe in a book, I could have glossed over it, but the narration highlighted it.  Here Andrew McFerrin did too great a job.

And yes, that brought my total enjoyment of the story down each time a phrase popped up and I cringed in disbelief.

I don’t remember such  glaring sexism in Dirk Greyson’s/Andrew Grey’s other works so I’m at a loss as to why they appear here.  It turns out that Dirk Greyson is another name that Andrew Grey writes under, something that was recently brought to my attention.  It did surprise me because I know he does research his stories and travels extensively, both of which aren’t really reflected here.

So without those elements, this story would have gotten a much higher rating. I really was into it and then kicked right out again.  I liked it enough to head over to the next in the series and the one after that.  It gets better.  Enough to recommend the first in the series.  I definitely recommend you seek out Andrew McFerrin’s other audio narrations.  What an outstanding job.  I will be doing the same.

Cover art: L.C. Chase. The models work well for the two characters and sets the tone and branding for the story and series.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 7 hours and 22 minutes

Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published April 12th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 4th 2015)
Original TitleDay and Knight
ASINB07C3CCLCR
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Day and Knight :

Day and Knight

Sun and Shadow

Dawn and Dusk

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Shelter from the Storm by Kate Sherwood

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

This was an unexpectedly interesting story that was fun to read—the perfect enemies to lovers story with a touch of humor and a historical twist.

Grif is a mercenary traveling through the mountains in winter. Even he knows it’s a stupid idea but he needed to leave the last town he stopped in and he really doesn’t care if he makes it through winter or not.

Kiernan is a sweet, innocent young man who thinks the mission his lover, the son of the ruler of his country, sent him on is of utmost importance and he won’t give up until he makes it through the snow-covered mountain pass. When a body unexpectedly tumbles from the cliff above him, he drags the unconscious but still-alive man back to the makeshift shelter he erected for the night.

Little does he know it’s the best move he ever made because, though the gruff mercenary treats him like dirt and steals his supplies, he ultimately also teaches Kiernan how to survive in the winter. He also disabuses him of the notion that he’s going to make it through the pass before spring. And then the worst insult – he opens the highly important message Kiernan is carrying so Kiernan can see what his life is worth to his former lover.

I enjoyed the banter between the characters so much! It was lively, sometimes humorous, always honest, and often painful for Kiernan to hear. Ultimately, Kiernan accepts Grif’s offer to tag along with him and take shelter in a cave until spring. That, of course, lends a lot of time for Grif to teach him how to survive and for Kiernan to teach Grif the meaning of friendship and love.

The story was like an unexpected gem, and I highly recommend it to those who love a good enemies-to-lovers romance and those who like stories set in medieval times.

The cover by Kanaxa features a man dressed in a medieval warrior outfit holding a sword and a shield and in the background a smaller man is looking back over his shoulder. The background is dark gray and close-up readers can see that it’s actually mountains. The whole collage is the perfect representation of Kieran and Giles and their snowbound adventure in the mountains.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 154 pages
Published August 20th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Shelter from the Storm
ISBN 1626497788 (ISBN13: 9781626497788)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Audio Review Tour and Giveaway – Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers #1) by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey/Sean Crisden (Narrator)

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Buy Links: Audible US | Audible UK
 
Length: 5hrs 10mins
 
Narrated By: Sean Crisden
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Blurb
 

Can Tennant show Jared that age is just a number and that love is all that matters?


The Rowe brothers are famous hockey hotshots, but as the youngest of the trio, Tennant has always had to play against his brothers’ reputations. To get out of their shadows, and against their advice, he accepts a trade to the Harrisburg Railers, where he runs into Jared Madsen. Mads is an old family friend and his brother’s one-time teammate. Mads is Tennant’s new coach. And Mads is the sexiest thing on which he’s ever laid eyes.


Jared Madsen’s hockey career was cut short by a fault in his heart, but coaching keeps him close to the game. When Ten is traded to the team, his carefully organized world is thrown into chaos. Nine years his junior and his best friend’s brother, he knows Ten is strictly off-limits, but as soon as he sees Ten’s moves, on and off the ice, he knows his heart could get him into trouble again.

 

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)

 

 

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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Blog Tour Circle of Trust by Aimee Nicole Walker & Nicolas Bella (excerpt and giveaway)

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Circle of Trust Tour Banner

CIRCLE OF TRUST

NICHOLAS BELLA & AIMEE NICOLE WALKER

M/M PARANORMAL ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 08.07.18

Cirlce of Trust Cover 

COVER DESIGN: JAY AHEER/ Simply Defined Art 

 http://mybook.to/Circle_Of_Trust

BLURB

Lorcán Kennedy is a take-no-prisoner vampire whose grit is tested when slain vampires start showing up in his sector. His investigation reveals a blessed weapon was used in the slayings, which leads him to a rogue hunter with a grudge against vampires.

Christian Wolfe is a no-nonsense hunter who believes the only good vampire is a dead one, but his code of honor keeps his hatred in check. When his integrity is questioned, he will do anything to defend it, including work with his enemy.

Vampire and hunter unite to solve the case, although for very different reasons. Lorcán wants to prove he is worthy of his Regent title once and for all. Christian wants to uncover who is framing him for the vampire deaths. It sounds easy enough, but neither are prepared for the desire that arcs between them when their eyes meet for the first time. When longing glances give way to passionate kisses and scorching touches, these powerful beings will learn that their bond goes beyond mere attraction. It is fate.

Sparks and fangs fly in this second installment of the Genesis Circle, a paranormal romance series written by Nicholas Bella and Aimee Nicole Walker. This book contains explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.

Cirlce of Trust Teaser 3

Circle of Trust Teaser 4

EXCERPT

The knock on my door let me know Christian was waiting on the other side. I stood in front of the door and took a deep, calming breath. Jesus Christ, why was I so nervous? I’m over a century old, why was I acting like some schoolboy meeting his first crush? It was ridiculous. I silently chastised myself for being a dolt and opened the door. Ahhh, there he stood in all his handsome glory. He was looking at me with eyes that held desire and curiosity. There was also a bit of agitation in his expression. Well, let’s see if I could get rid of it and help him focus more on the desire and curiosity he was harboring.

“Come in,” I said, opening the door wider.

He stepped inside, and I closed the door, locking it.

“Okay, I’m here, what did you need to show me that you couldn’t send over the phone?” he asked, getting right to business. Okay, here was the dilemma. Do I show him what I know and risk killing the mood I was setting up, or do I just pounce on him, rock his world, and then show him what I’d discovered? Hmmmm, decisions, decisions.

I decided to make my move. I walked over to him and pushed him into the chair. He fell into it, legs flying up from the impact. I didn’t give him a chance to recover before I was climbing into his lap. I grabbed him by the back of his head and kissed those lips I’d been thinking about all night. I thought he would push me back, but he didn’t… at least not right away. He was kissing me again, giving me that same fire he burned me with in the alley, and I was melting in response.

I felt his arms embrace me as he kissed me harder, more passionately, as if he couldn’t help himself. I caressed his bearded cheek as I relished his tongue in my mouth. Even the taste of him was intoxicating. I wanted him. Just when it was getting extra hot, he must have found the wherewithal to hit the brakes. Like we needed him to do that.

He pushed me off him, and I landed with a hard thud on my ass. His muscular chest heaved as he sucked in deep breaths of air, attempting to gather his senses. He was staring at me now, his gorgeous blue eyes clouded with lust. It was what we both needed, and I wasn’t about to let his hatred of vampires ruin the moment I knew we both wanted.

“What the hell are you doing?” he asked.

“What we both want,” I said then climbed back into his lap and pressed my lips to his again. That time, he didn’t try to push me away. Instead, he began ripping off my shirt, sending buttons flying in every direction. Sure, it was a designer garment, but I was willing to sacrifice it to get Christian in my bed. I helped him take my shirt off me then I leaned back just enough to snatch his jacket and shirt from his body.

Oh yes, sweet baby Jesus, yes! His chest was covered in dark, black hair. Not too thick, but perfect for running my fingers through. That’s just what I did, too. I started from the trail leading to his treasure trove and worked my way up to his nipples, letting my fingers glide through his silky hair and over his smooth skin. I hadn’t been this aroused in I don’t know how long. I sought his lips again because they tasted so damn good. While I was lost in the pleasure of his mouth, I kept my hands firmly on those muscular pecs I’d been wanting to touch since I first saw him.

His hands were all over me, stroking my back until they reached my ass, and he gripped both cheeks, giving them a nice squeeze. I moaned as I broke the kiss and started sucking and licking his neck, making my mark. He was moaning too, and if I didn’t know any better, it would seem he was trying to seduce me to bite him. He turned his head, exposing his neck to me, and his natural scent floated up my nostrils, calling to my hunger. There was something special about the blood of the Institute hunters. The scent of it was more intoxicating than any other being I’d ever smelled. I always wanted to know what it tasted like, and my mouth began to salivate at the possibility.

I wanted to bite him, to taste his essence, the fluid that made his heart beat and his cock hard. I wanted his blood to flow into me just as his semen flowed into me. Soon, my love. I held my fangs in check and only sucked gently at the tender flesh of his neck, just below his beard. I rubbed my cheek against his, enjoying the rough hairs lightly scrubbing my face. In that moment, everything that had been bothering me seemed to disappear, and all that mattered was Christian.

I had to have more of him. I moved down, kissing and licking his chest, sucking his perky nipples. I didn’t stop there, we both raced to undo his pants and pulled them down and off. Finally, I got to see him fully naked, and what a beautiful sight he was. I let my eyes trail over him slowly, and they widened when I got to his erection. He was huge, bigger than any man I’d ever been with. Great holy moly, I should have done some squats and stretches before he came over to prepare for this beast.

Aimee Logo

I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I’m a girly tomboy

who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees.

I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever-after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.

FACEBOOK

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Nicolas Bella Logo

About me? Hmmm, I’m just a person with a wild imagination and a love for words who was sitting around the house one day and said, “Why hasn’t anyone written a book like this before?”. As with every storyteller, I wanted to share mine with the world. I like my erotica dark, gritty, sexy… and even a little raunchy. I’m not afraid to go there and I hope you aren’t afraid to go there with me. When I’m not writing, I love watching movies and TV shows, clubbing, biking, and hanging out with family and friends. I love life.

I’d love to hear from you, feel free to send me a shout out!

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In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway for Shelter from the Storm by Kate Sherwood

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Shelter from the Storm by Kate Sherwood
Riptide Publishing

Cover Art: Kanaxa

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing

 

 

About Shelter from the Storm

A healer and a warrior fight to survive the winter . . . and each other.

Grif is tired of life as a mercenary—tired of life, period. So he heads off into the mountains, not much caring whether he lives or dies. But when his indifference leaves him unconscious in a snowbank, a stranger finds him and insists on dragging him back from death.

Kiernan doesn’t really have time to nurse a stranger back to health; he’s on an important mission. He doesn’t know why the message he’s carrying is significant, but he’s determined to deliver it, even if it means risking his life in the winter mountains. Still, he can’t just walk away from a fellow traveler in need.

Grif didn’t want to be saved, and he sure as hell doesn’t want to be stuck with an annoying, naïve do-gooder. But since when do the mountains give men what they want?  The snow is too deep to travel. Food is scarce. Grif and Kiernan learn to depend on each other, and eventually to care about each other. Neither of them wanted it to happen. But sometimes the mountains don’t give men what they want; sometimes, the mountains give men what they need.

 

 

About Kate Sherwood

Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Connect with Kate:

Website: http://katesherwoodbooks.com/
Twitter: @kate_sherwood

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Shelter from the Storm, Kate is giving away a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 26, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!