A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Join the Club (Four Kings Security #3) by Charlie Cochet

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I seem to be in the minority for this series and this book.  I liked it but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it in any way. This one had a good core theme, but the romance felt so off to me. Most of the time I felt like I was watching a soap opera. Given the background of these characters, I expected men who were not demonstrative and kept emotions controlled until safe to bring them out. Maybe the men I know are not typical because they men were so OTT smoochie and the sexting and quick work breaks for sex before they had a long-term commitment were inappropriate and totally out of character with their professional roles.  They’re older guys so I would think they could better handle their sex drives.

Mason, a former Texan, kept his twang but is now a detective in Florida—at least until he fails a drug test because he neglected to list his cough meds at the time. Suspended for an unknown time (eventually 8 weeks!) he takes a job with Four Kings Security.  Mason is Ace’s former lover from book one. Lest we forget that, it’s repeated ad nauseum throughout the story by so many different characters that it became annoying. When the 18-year-old son of one of the Kings’ deceased comrades teases him about it, I threw in the towel.

Mason has had a crush on Lucky, Ace’s cousin—one of the Four Kings—since book one. I gather there was a kiss or two in either that book or the second one, but apparently these two are destined to be together because most of the book is about their budding romance, hot sex, and eventually, everlasting love.

Thankfully, the core story was good, though much of the detail was quite unbelievable. A valued detective suspended for eight weeks because of cough meds that can be proven by contacting his doctor about the prescription? That’s an extraordinary length of time. But it was necessary so that Mason could get comfortable at Kings Security and could fall in love, not just lust, with Lucky.

As with the other books, there was a lot of extraneous background information in this story. I’m used to more dialogue from this author, through which readers can follow the story and make their own decisions about characters.  But this book, and series, has page after page of narrative and repetitive information.

The crucial action toward the end has a rather mild, and unrealistic, outcome and the men find their way to their HEA. 

The cover by Reese Dante features a man who must be Lucky as he has dark hair, scruffy beard, and what appear to be camo pants and dog tags. He’s handsome, and I love the bright purple big city background. 

Sales Links: 

Amazon Kindle US
Amazon Global Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 261 pages
Published November 19th 2018 by Charlie Cochet
ASINB07KNXDHQJ
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesFour Kings Security #3

A Lila Advent Calendar Review: The Legend of Gentleman John by TJ Nichols

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Banyn, a fae, escorts the souls of children to Magh Meall, but one Christmas, he comes for a lad who isn’t quite dead, and he breaks a rule rather than wait while John fights a battle he’ll ultimately lose. So begins a long-running affair that crosses the border between life and death, the human and fae realms, and even oceans to strange countries with different gods and rules.

John Rourke renounced a religion that had no place for him and returned to the old ways. Convicted of theft, he is sentenced to transportation and suffers brutal punishment—until he escapes to live on his own terms as a bushranger. When vengeance against his tormentor consumes him and threatens his life, John finds he has only one holiday wish—to see his fae lover one last time.

The Legend of Gentleman John is not a traditional Holiday story. It does take place at the end of December and the dates are important to the story, making it relevant to the season.

I did enjoy both main characters, John and Banyn. They were unique and complemented each other paths.  Following the timeline takes a couple of pages, but it’s easy to spot the changes in time and the need for them. 

There’s a lot of world-built for such a short story. It’s interesting to see how John grows and how Banyn tries not to interfere with his life. I wanted a chance to see more of the times they were together, happy, before the end of the story. 

Which brings me to a heart-melting ending. I wish everyone that lived before us had a chance to redeem themselves and be loved & remember as John did. 

The cover by Brooke Albrecht follows the 2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes template. The picture within could be John’s.

Sale Link: Amazon | Nook | Dreamspinner

Book Details:
ebook, 40 pages
ISBN: 9781644050644
Published: December 1, 2018, by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

An Alisa Audio Review : Under a Blue Moon (Camp H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker by Bru Baker and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

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 his private practice patients threatens Drew’s life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?

 

This was a nice continuation in the series, though there are a lot of assumptions going on which make it hard for these two to be together.  Nick and Drew are both starting new jobs and when they spend a night together have no idea that they will be working together.

 

Nick has seen so many horror stories about dating and marriages come to life that he fears getting seriously involved with a human, even one as in depth as Drew.  Drew wants someone to love him but isn’t willing to back down from what he wants to get it.

 

Both of these guys have issues from their past causing hurt but also have to learn to trust someone else.  I could see both of their pain and how much it hurt Nick when he thought his chances with Drew were gone and how Drew’s assumption that Nick didn’t want him hurt him too.  It just seemed to me as they finally are talking things out it all goes back to assumptions again which was like taking two steps back.

Dorian Bane did a great job narrating this story.  I was easily able to connect with the characters and feel their emotions in his reading.  His voice changes so much you really get to see the differences and personality of the characters.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is great and works well for this story.

Sales Links: Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 6 hrs 40 min

Published: October 26, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

Edition Language: English

Series: Camp H.O.W.L. #2, Dreamspun Beyond

Ryan Loveless on Characters, Writing, and her new release His Cursed Prince (author guest blog)

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His Cursed Prince by Ryan Loveless

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Release date: Dec 28, 2018 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Ryan Loveless here today talking about characters, writing, and her new release His Cursed Prince. Welcome, Ryan. 

 

 
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Ryan Loveless

 

 

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?  And how much  of yourself goes into a character?

 Yes, the less research needed, the more likely I am to write it. I can turn anything into an hours long research project, so I like to keep things as lowkey as possible or else I get buried and never get anywhere. Case in point: my home is filled with Victorian history books from about 15 years ago when I had a plotbunny in that era. The research I wanted to do drowned me and the book was never done, even though I finished a draft. On the other hand, I did a lot of research into brain trauma and recovery for Ethan, Who Loved Carter and I loved it. However, I had a strong motivation to write that book because I wanted to do a character with Tourette’s, like me. I didn’t have as much motivation to stick with the Victorian story.  His Cursed Prince is set in a fantasy world mixed with reality. I had to look up the names of some flowers and that’s about it. It was wonderful.  

  • Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed? 

 I have a story I hope to revisit one day. I put it aside because it is basically my story, of what would happen if I went back where I’m from. I stopped when I realized I was writing my own family. It got too hard to process that and I got uncomfortable with it. I struggled with the character’s motivation for returning home because I kept thinking, “Well, I wouldn’t go back for that reason.” 

  •  Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?  

 I mainly recall my Stephen King phase as a young teen. All my life, I’ll read anything put in front of me. Romance is not my go-to (that would be realistic fiction YA or detective stories), but I do read it. In the last four or five weeks I’ve read Crazy Rich Asians, The Good Neighbor: Fred Rogers’ biography, Nurturing the Wow, about bringing spiritualism from a Jewish perspective into parenting, Fawkes, a magical-realism retelling of the Gunpowder Plot, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda), Dumpling, and a few days ago I started Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years, about the later years of Elizabeth I, and Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, which I’ve had the ARC of forever and decided to read because the buzz is amazing. (Sidenote: I was home sick for 2 weeks. This much reading is rare.) For the record, I recommend all of these books.  

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

Not a person, but a reality: Always having books around, reading as much as I could, and growing up in a rural area where I was isolated a lot. I have siblings, but they were out of the house working on the farm and I was at the house. There were kids my age around, but we all worked and didn’t see each other much, so there was a lot of time to let my imagination go while I was shucking corn or pulling weeds or cleaning. We did some writing contests at school and then I did an english major with a writing emphasis at college. Reading is still a huge influence. I also love talking to my author friends like CJane Elliott and Carolyn Gray who are so passionate about writing. Since I started a job that I love a few years ago, I’m not as intent with writing as I used to be, but it’s still a wonderful feeling to make those words happen. I get a lot of joy out of reading other people’s words too.  

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

Any way you can get words to a person is great. I do wish more people knew that they can probably get ebooks from their library. It will automatically return, so no late fees! And if your library doesn’t have a book, you can request it and they will probably buy it. Ask your librarian or visit your library’s website for more information! 

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part) 

I almost exclusively work with LC Chase now through Dreamspinner, and as far as I can tell, the way it works is she reads my mind.   

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

 I think everyone’s favorite is Ethan, Who Loved Carter (also available in YA adaption!) But my personal favorite is “In Me an Invincible Summer” because it’s exactly what I wanted it to be. It took about 3 years to write, lots of consultations to get the ins and outs of an actor’s life right, and I got to write somewhat unlikeable characters and get myself to fall in love with them.  

  • What’s next for you as an author? 

 Dreamspinner will be releasing another novella in May, called A Cordial Agreement. Edits are all done and once again LC Chase read my mind to produce the cover. I’m trying to write more this year too, and my first project is a prequel to Invincible Summer focusing on Hunter and Chris. There will be some surprises there. I’d also like to revisit Paeder from Pop Life and This is Our Love Song at some point. I love writing him. 

  •  If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest? 

 I think if you love a character, you should write it and not worry. Like Paeder has a lot of issues. Derek has issues. Hunter. Oh my God. Most of my characters do. If you’re going to say that someone is too flawed to be a love interest, I think it sends a negative message because we are all flawed. We are all worthy of love. It doesn’t need to be exclusive of those flaws. It can be including them. We have flaws AND we are worth love. 

  •   Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened? 

 In Me an Invincible Summer, This Is Our Love Song, His Cursed Prince, Last Chance Charlie, A Cordial Agreement, quite a few fanfics. I had the Year of WIPs in 201X and then 201Y was the Year of Finishing WIPs. I’m hoping this year will be the Year of Finishing Anything I Start.  

  • If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why? 

 I know that the best place for me to write is in the dining hall of Grand Central Terminal with my battery full, wi-fi off, and the noise level at a dull roar. It keeps me focused. Some people want a cottage on a lake, I like hustle and bustle. (But I also want a cottage on a lake for non-writing days.) 

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

 I read for self-care and I hope that someone will read my stories for the same reason. I am happy to provide a distraction from the real world. If someone reads my books and then feels like they had a little reprieve, I’m glad about that.  

 

 

Here’s the blurb:

 

Three facts about Tuckington Belle:

1. Given the choice between illegally scaling the royal castle’s walls to steal flowers for a client at his family’s dress shop or going on a date with a girl his brother set him up with (“He’s fertile, and he can sew!”), Tuck will scale the wall like a spider after a fly.

2. If, upon knocking himself unconscious when he falls off the wall, Tuck wakes up bruised, blindfolded, and inside the castle, where—based on the unearthly wails heard nightly—the prince no one has seen in ten years is probably a ghost, Tuck would still choose this over a date with a girl.

3. Tuck thinks it’s time to admit he’s gay.     

 

Three facts about Prince Frederick George Deor (Read and approved with great reluctance by Lord “Protocol is Protocol. Stop Being a Pain About It” Todd):

1. He brought a curse upon himself and now bears the skin of a snake. 

2. He can’t take his eyes off the injured thief recovering in the castle.

3. Friendships born from lying and insisting the other person wears a blindfold can blossom into true love—which he needs to break the curse.

About the Author

 
Ryan Loveless is the author of numerous M/M romance novels and short stories. She is honored to be recognized as a Rainbow Book Award winner (several titles), Epic eBook Award finalist (In Me an Invincible Summer), and a Florida Author and Publisher Association Awards bronze medalist (Ethan). She lives in New York with her family, a sentence that brings her great joy to write.

You can contact/follow author Ryan Loveless at:

Twitter: @ryanloveless