A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Lonely Hearts Bundle by Posy Roberts

Standard

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

From the blurb:  Stoic men, who believe they’re happy alone, find the world turned upside down when their perfect someone stumbles across their path. The Lonely Hearts chat room is a place where men support men on their way to finding true love. 

There are five main members: Hugo, Luther, Marc, Andrew, and William. Their philosophy is, “Figure out how you keep screwing up your happily ever after. Once you know, you’re more likely to find the true thing.”  This novella bundle includes: Bent Arrow, Stroke of Luck, Momo, and Love on a Battlefield.

As the book begins, we drop into the chat room to see the conversation among the Lonely Hearts Club members. Good-natured banter abounds, and shows that the guys are okay with where they are and pretty much accept that they are single and have each other to commiserate with.

Bent Arrow

The first story is about Luther, who works the oil rigs in North Dakota. Deep in the closet, not only do the roughnecks he works with not know he’s gay, neither does his family—especially his mother.  When the water in his trailer goes on the fritz, he meets Erik, a plumber, and from the hint given by the arrow tattoo Luther spots, he’s also interested in men.  When he inherits a small home from his grandmother, he asks Erik to come along to help him fix it up. I enjoyed this story very much. It’s amazing how much background information and current events and activities the author was able to cover in one novella. Most definitely ending on a HEA, Luther had to face his fears to win the man of his dreams. 4 stars

Stroke of Luck

Marc meets the love of his life when he least expects it, but it takes both men some time to realize each is what the other has been looking for. Having a bad year, Marc’s apartment fire is the last straw. He’s lost everything and now he’s at Goodwill trying to buy a few dishes and clothing items when he spots a very hot man trying on red spandex pants. Oh yes, he’s hooked. But it’s immediately apparent the man is taken. Or is he? This is a sweet story about a man whose life is still entwined with his best friend, former girlfriend, roommate, and apparently codependent partner. After a major misunderstanding and a fun costume party, Marc and Cas find their way to their own HEA.  3 stars

Momo

I liked this story but something felt off from the beginning and I finally realized it’s because a long period of time is covered in this short novella and most was filled with narrative, rather than dialogue, so we were “told” the story, rather than “experience” it as the men met and fell in love.  Plus, William wasn’t a good character for me. His nature is private and reserved, and I struggled to understand him from the beginning. His childhood and back story didn’t grab me, so faced with an adult who wears a mask—a persona—to hide who he really is from his coworkers, his hookups, and even his family made it difficult to root for him. 

Nate works as a geisha at a tea room. Momo is a role he loves since it allows him to exercise his acting skills and to allow his feminine side free reign a few hours a week. He seems to be a really great character, always smiling, happy-go-lucky, enjoying life. I wish we could have had some of the story from his POV. All we get is some dialogue with William and narrative about Nate’s life so, although I liked him more than William, I didn’t get to fully enjoy him either. 

William loves Nate’s Momo persona and it’s his love of the carefree man that finally allows him to let his guard down and let his own personality shine through.  They do get their HEA but I can’t rate this higher than 2 stars.

Love on a Battlefield

Two teens meet and fall in love on a Civil War reenactment battlefield. They didn’t get much time together but years later, after writing to each other through the years, the two are still friends. Shep went to college, then toured Europe, and Andrew joined the military and was deployed, then injured. He now works part time and tutors adults with dyslexia. Shep is coming for a visit soon, and after all this time, Andrew is still hoping that the spark they felt years ago might still be alive. When they meet again, they pick up where they left off, and within a few days of shared experiences, declare their love.  Of course, they have an HEA. Unfortunately, the premise, the interactions, and the reunion didn’t ring believable to me, so this one is also 2 stars.

~~~

The cover by Sloan J Designs has a muted background featuring a young dark-skinned man, wearing only jeans, in the foreground. Somewhat bland, it didn’t grab my attention.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 394 pages
Published October 19th 2018 by Labyrinth Bound Press
Original Title Bent Arrow / Stroke of Luck / Momo: My Everything / Love on a Battlefield.
ASINB07JL7PW54
Edition Language English

An Ali Release Day Review: Blood Red Roulette by Jana Denardo

Standard
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars 

Arrigo Giancarlo’s friends think he’s a rich young man with the unusual job of paranormal investigator, working with his psychic assistant in Las Vegas. In truth he’s a two-thousand-year-old vampire and member of the Chiaroscuro, a group of Supernaturals dedicated to keeping humanity safe from the more dangerous of their kind. He’s also openly bisexual… but alone.

When he spots Luc St. John in a bar, Arrigo is intrigued. What begins as an effort to repay the kindness shown to him in the past quickly turns into much deeper feelings for the suffering and displaced Cajun. For Luc’s part, he feels too poor, too uneducated, and too bound to his hateful family to ever be worthy of elegant and cultured Arrigo.

An old enemy, Eleni, blames Arrigo for murdering her true love. On the anniversary of that death, she’s back to take revenge. As Arrigo’s closest friends fall victim to savage attacks, he fears nothing will keep Luc safe. Should he break both their hearts and let Luc go, or is it too late? If Luc’s already in Eleni’s sights, Arrigo knows that like most things in Vegas, the odds are against him.

This was an entertaining paranormal romantic suspense.  The majority of the book was about Eleni’s attacks and Arrigo’s effort to catch her.  There is a side plot of Arrigo meeting Luc and falling with him.
I liked the mystery part better than the romance. I never felt a connection between Arrigo & Luc.  The romance wasn’t believable for me is the reason I didn’t rate the book higher.
The writing itself was pretty good but there were a lot of necessary details & it weighed the book down in places. A lot of it could have been cut out & wouldn’t have effected the overall story.
I liked this but didn’t love it. I didn’t really click with the author’s writing style.  I think others may enjoy the story more than I did since that’s a personal preference kind of thing.
Cover: This cover was designed by Tiferet Design. I love the cover.  It’s what made me want to read the book.  I think it’s fantastic.
Sales Links:  DSP Publications  |  Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 1st edition, 350 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by DSP Publications
ISBN 139781640807587
Edition Language English

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick

Standard

Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

This starts in first person with Jason experiencing a horrible act of violence. He is saved by a stranger named Liam and they are both probably in shock because they flee the scene and wash off any evidence. Not that I’m sure how any of it would have helped the police. With the killer still at large, they are holed up in a hotel room. Two months later Jason has PTSD and is not coping well. Once again, Liam comes to his rescue. When they start back to school in the Fall, their relationship continues to develop. All of the sudden Jase is like a new, different person or maybe he is his old self. I don’t know because I don’t know who he was before the event. What I do know is that the second half of the book focuses on yet another tragedy, this one is Liam’s past. The point is for Jase to save Liam, as Liam saved Jase. The confrontation with a fellow survivor seems created just for drama and conflict. When there is yet another emergency, Jase’s reaction is OTT. Liam does need to see a mental health professional, but all of this feels like an adult Afterschool Special (yes, I am aware this dates me) with a pointed message and no subtlety.

People can get close when they’ve shared life changing moments, but this is slightly exploitative–as if the tragedy is a way to execute a gay for you story. The sex scenes are not all that sexy, just intense. There could be a believable, heartfelt story of a man who realizes he’s attracted to another man in the wake of a trauma. Tragedies make people question who they are and confront their view of themselves. Two guys bonding and realizing they are bisexual when they develop feelings for each other is entirely possible. This would have been more realistic if they had gotten to know each other first, before the sexual element was introduced. They even read more as demisexual, although I’m not sure that fits either. Then they get to the point of power exchange and I feel like that is another reason/excuse given to why they are attracted to each other. It’s the delivery that makes it feel unnatural.

The message of the book is a good one (“gay, straight, bi, pan…all labels, and I don’t need them”); I’m just not convinced by the execution of this example. But this message rings loud and clear, “time to live life fully because you never know when it’s all going to be over.”

The cover art by Natasha Snow shows the two main characters and a theater that played such a huge part in their story. The pixelation seems to convey how scattered and torn apart they are by trauma.

Sales Links:   NineStar Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, Second Edition
Published October 29th 2018 by NineStar Press (first published February 14th 2016)
ISBN 139781949909074
Edition Language English

Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga on Interesting Personalities and their new novel Heart of a Redneck (guest post)

Standard

Heart of a Redneck by Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art:  Alexandria Corza

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga here today on tour for their latest novel, Heart of a Redneck. Thank you both for answering some of our author questions today!

✒︎

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga

 

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

Jodi:

I think some of those interesting traits are exactly what we’re exploring in Heart of a Redneck. How family and upbringing shape you into who you are and inform your values. Which traditions you hold onto and which you reject, and the things you’re willing to compromise or even give up for someone else. The ways things like geography and privilege influence your opinions and your perspective.

Gordon’s family wasn’t tight, his father wasn’t present or terribly motivated, and that’s made Gordon feel like he has something to prove. He’s an overachiever, he’s confident, he thinks fast and has high expectations, and that’s built a successful and profitable restaurant. But he left home easily, he’s never had family support and he doesn’t really know to do anything but work 24/7.

BA:

I love clever people, funny people, and I’m totally addicted to honesty. Trust me, my wife is witty and wonderful.

I think the honest is what resonates with Colby. He is who he is, full stop. He loves working, babies, dogs, the mountains, and Gordon. Simple. Strong. Straightforward.

*grins*

Blurb – Heart of a Redneck

Colby McBride is a blue-collar cowboy trying to make ends meet laying tile in Colorado. A loner by choice, Colby works hard with his hands and finds his peace camping in the mountains outside Boulder. Gordon James is a white-collar restaurateur who owns not one, but two successful establishments in downtown Boulder. He’s a sophisticated urbanite who is devoted to his work and is accustomed to getting what he wants.

The men are friends, but sparks fly when Colby falls in love and decides to show Gordon how much fun a good old boy can be. They’re just beginning to explore their relationship when Gordon’s sister’s suicide leaves him with custody of his five-year-old niece.

Colby comes from a huge family and is eager to help with the girl and to prove his worth to Gordon. But neither of them is ready for the tremendous changes to their already busy lives, or for how this new relationship with Olivia challenges them, complicating the way they interact with each other.

They say opposites attract, but can these two very different men work together to join their disparate lives and form a strong, if highly unlikely, family?

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press buy link: http://bit.ly/hoardsp

Universal Link(Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo etc): https://books2read.com/u/38rp2L

 

About the Authors

Jodi Payne takes herself way too seriously and has been known to randomly break out in song. Her men are imperfect but genuine, stubborn but likable, often kinky, and frequently their own worst enemies. They are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they stumble along the path to their happily ever after. For those looking to get on her good side, Jodi’s addictions include nonfat lattes, Malbec and tequila any way you pour it.

BA Tortuga: Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery ménages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

Social media

Jodi:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JodiPayne

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/payne.jodi

FB Author Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jodisgents/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/267617.Jodi_Payne

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jodipayne1800/?hl=en

BA:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/batortuga

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/batortuga/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/batortuga

Instagram: https://instagram.com/batortuga/

In Our Author Spotlight: Ripe: Letters by Alan Semrow

Standard

Ripe: Letters

by 

Published October 1st 2018

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Alan Semrow here today to talk about his new release Ripe:Letters. Welcome, Alan.

✒︎

Alan Semrow on Writing His Latest Book, Ripe: Letters

I started writing Ripe, my new collection of letters to men, at the end of the winter of 2018. The whole concept had been something I’d been playing with for some time, but, really, the impetus for these pieces came out of an opportunity that presented itself out of nowhere. I was approached by Christopher Heide at Chosen Magazine to contribute some stuff to the magazine. I’m rarely one to turn down such an offer, but I had been starting to think I was suffering from a bit of writer’s block.

See, my first book, Briefs, a short story collection had come out in 2016. At the time of its release, I felt pretty far removed from those stories—I was very ready to tell people that I wrote these stories when I was young, which is true, and that I was living a totally different life than I had been while writing Briefs.

After the release of the book, I really struggled with writing a follow-up (there were probably three or four books written in between Briefs and Ripe, but none of them sufficiently conveyed what I wanted to convey). Like I said, my life was totally different. I lived in a new, much bigger city. I’d made tons of new friends. I’d also had some very real experiences with a wide array of men. And I wanted to write about it—about coming of age in the city and the moments I shared with people who ultimately ended up shaping the last few years for me.

But how? Could I mask it all in a fictious veil? Could I straight up just write a memoir? How could I approach it in a way that felt new and different, but also allowed me to convey my point of view?

That’s where the opportunity at Chosen came into play. This was a nonfiction publication, so, yes, I’d have to write nonfiction. So, I wrote one piece called “Right Where You Left Me,” which is basically a celebration of these very specific moments I’d had over the course of two years. It went over well.

And then 40-plus letters followed VERY quickly. To me, the letters summarize these very particular experiences I’d had—they pay tribute to people that I’m ultimately glad to have spent that time with. And they do so in a way that’s positive and humorous and joyful and super sexy. I wanted to create something that was an ode to these situations I’d found myself in. But I also wanted to put out something that reflected the many ways my life had changed over really only a couple years.

I’m happy to say I’m proud with the end result. I think it does just what I wanted it to do. And I think whoever reads this will find themselves relating. It’s about the tender, sexy moments we spend with people. It’s about longing for human connection. It’s about allowing yourself to be affected (and vulnerable) when it feels right. It’s all what makes us human.

About Ripe

Funny, sexy, evocative, and brutally honest, Ripe is Alan Semrow’s ode to relationships with men. In this epistolary book, Semrow writes to the men who have impacted his outlook, reminded him of basic life lessons, surprised him in more ways than one, and left him reeling for days. Writing to one-night-flings, men he has never met, and men he’ll never stop running into, Semrow touches on some of the most constant human themes—love, lust, desire, and the yearning for connection. All the while, the book details a man’s journey navigating and blooming by way of the modern gay scene. Readers will find familiarity and hard truths in Semrow’s statements about the intricacy and explosiveness of the intimate moments we share.

About Alan Semrow

Alan Semrow’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry has been featured in over 30 publications. Apart from writing fiction and nonfiction, he is a professional copywriter, a monthly contributor at Chosen Magazine, and a singer-songwriter. Previously, he was the Fiction Editor for Black Heart Magazine and a Guest Fiction Editor for the Summer Issue of Five Quarterly. Semrow’s debut short story collection, Briefs, was published in 2016. Ripe is his second book. Semrow lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Purchase Ripe: https://www.amazon.com/Ripe-Letters-Alan-Semrow/dp/1723761680

Semrow’s Blog: https://alansemrowriter.wordpress.com/

Release Blitz and Giveaway for A Vampire’s Heart (Ellowyn Found #1) by Kayleigh Sky

Standard

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKAvailable exclusive to Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 98,551 words
 
Publisher: Kiss Drunk Books
Blurb
 

Vampires live.


And they hunger…


Otto Jones, a cop assigned to the seemingly random murder of a vampire, would rather hide out in the nearest bar than waste his time on a dead vamp. He hates the bloodthirsty demons. But when the king of the vampires commands him to work with one of the lesser princes and find the killer, he has no choice.


Prince Jessamine Senera is ready to sacrifice his happiness in a loveless marriage for his family’s benefit… but not yet. He dreams of adventure, excitement, and true love. He lives on romance novels and detective stories and wishes he could drink synthetic blood like every other vampire. But he can’t. He needs human blood to survive and is hated by vampires and humans alike.


As Otto and Jessa draw closer to an entity that doesn’t want to be discovered, Otto finds the heart he thought long dead opening to the romance-loving Jessa. No good can possibly come from falling in love with a vampire, but when a shadowy assailant attacks Jessa, Otto will descend into the darkest pit of the earth to rescue him.


If you like vampires, mythical and urban settings, intense suspense, and happy ever after, then you’ll love this first book in the dark and mysterious Ellowyn Found trilogy!


A Vampire’s Heart is a stand-alone paranormal dystopian noir romance with a satisfying conclusion to the love story and a central mystery that weaves the trilogy together.

A
So… About me. I’ve never run a marathon or scaled Mt. Everest. I’ve never scuba dived or sky dived. I’ve surfed though. That was fun. I have six tattoos, and I really love ink. I also love all plants. Zinnias are one of my favorite flowers. If you’ve never see a zinnia, look it up. Very pretty. It’s an old-timey plant but super easy to grow. Anyway, the big thing I do is write m/m erotic romance. But as much as I love romance and sex, I really love going deep into the dark with my characters. What are their wounds? How can I peel them raw and drag them into the light? This leads to some fairly dark stories sometimes, but even the dark ones come with humor. I think the contradictions in people are ripe for hilarious scene setups. I need humor and light in my life—otherwise, I go into some pretty dark places myself. I live with only one cat now—I once had thirteen. That was crazy. I take up most of the things I research for my characters—photography, tarot, and jewelry making for example. I even bought a recorder once because Ori from Jesus Kid played one. I love that part of my job. I also love to walk and lift weights. I’m not a big fan of yoga—just throwing that out there. So far, all of my characters embody something of me, and all of my characters have given me something of them. But no matter what the struggle is from book to book, love always wins out. I’m strong on plot, strong on character, stronger on love. You can count on happily ever after from me every time. I write my stories to open hearts and uplift spirits. Love matters. It counts. And it’s for everyone.


Peace.


Website: http://www.kayleighsky.com
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/kayleigh.sky.writer
Kayleigh’s Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1770182486372453/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/kayleighsky/766385570110391
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/skyboundlove
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kayleighsky/
Kayleigh’s Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cmLIpP
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/kayleigh.sky.writer
Bookbub: http://www.bookbub.com/author/kayleighsky
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/kayleigh-sky

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions