A Stella Advent Calendar Review: Colina de Lavanda by August Li

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

A Story from the Warmest Wishes: Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar

Lord protector of whores, thieves, sorcerers, and deviants.

Owning a parcel of land the railroad needs to cross means Edward gets to run the border town around the station as he sees fit. What starts as a place to indulge his varied appetites becomes a haven to society’s castoffs, and if Edward encourages legends about its founder to flourish, well, he’s not so much a liar as a man who wants to protect all the cultures living in peace. Being mayor means folks might ignore his vices, but they also expect him to fix what goes wrong.

When a crushing heat wave and drought threaten not only the town’s diverse holiday celebrations but its very existence, Edward must turn to the one man he’d rather french kiss a timber rattler than face—the icily elegant Cantonese mage Edward walked out on but never stopped loving.

I was over the moon when I saw this new release by one of my favorite authors in this year DSP Advent Calendar. I am a huge fan of August Li, I found all the titles I read so far always so well done, each time I fall in love with the characters and the plots. I am sure I already said it, but the reason why I love the author so much is because August always creates amazing settings and new places to discover, with a magical writing that catches my attention from the first words.  Colina de Lavanda has all these qualities and so much more.

It was so easy to follow Edward throughout his town’s roads, solving problems and trying to finally put roots with Shu, the man who owns his heart. The line binding their souls is so frail and strong at the same time, Edward just needs to be brave and open his home to the beautiful mage.

This short is a second chance at love story, set in a magical town, where everything can happen and sometimes the unthinkable can be real. I was intrigued and curious about the plot, I wasn’t expecting what happened and I was so intensely surprised, Colina de Lavanda was of course a huge winner to me. I read it for a second time two days after the first read, cause I was missing the emotions and astonishment the story gave me.

I feel to recommend it if you’re looking for something different, you won’t be disappointed.

The cover art by L.C. Chase is simple and fitting, I like it.

SALE LINKS  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 57 pages

Published November 30th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN B07L1HLXKW

Edition Language English

A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Fox and Wolf (Apex Investigations #1) by Julia Talbot

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Rey, a fox shifter, is an information broker. When one of his clients gets murdered, he’s thown into intrigue he doesn’t even understand. He’s threatened, his apartment is broken into, and dire crocodile shifters are after him. I have to admit every time they were called dire crocs, my mind asked is there any other kind? Dylan is the wolf shifter at Apex Investigations assigned to his case. While Dylan and Rey fall into an easy relationship, Dylan’s boss Mike is suspicious if Rey is really an innocent victim.

This book introduced the group of misfit cats, wolves, and bears that form the “pack” of Apex Investigations with Mike as the Alpha. Brock has a past history with fox shifters and doesn’t trust them, which affects how he treats Rey. He’s also hiding some pretty big secrets from the people who supposed to be his “pack” more than colleagues. Kit, James, Carrie, and Griz are not fully fleshed out.

This is really about scent and instinct paving the way for attraction, trust, and mating. Shifters form a chemical bond that needs to be strengthened with time and intimacy for feelings to develop. This is pretty quick as Dylan and Rey seem partially bonded after a day. I don’t mind the insta-lust. I did mind that even though they are in a safe house because of the threat to Rey, they go shopping and then go back to the headquarters making themselves targets. In fact, I like forced proximity so it’s a shame they didn’t stay in the safe house and get to know each other better. One of the first problems they have is Dylan not trusting Rey’s judgment–Rey is way more forgiving than me. As soon as the crisis has past, they are back to mating to strengthen their bond. The book is fun, going from one crisis to another to move the story along, but I don’t really feel that emotionally invested–even with multiple POVs.

I feel like if you liked the Protect and Serve series (m/m) by Silvia Violet (now republished as Law and Supernatural Order) or Badge Bunny by Cynthia Sax and Fox and Feral by Angela Knight (Protect and Serve series (m/f) from Changling Press), then you might want to try this one.

The cover is by Kanaxa and shows Rey with a shadow of Dylan in front of the office. I think it’s very striking and the rain made me laugh (it’s raining cats and dogs, or when it rains it pours are both true here.)

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 138 pages
Expected publication: December 28th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781640809710
Edition Language English
Series Apex Investigations #1

A Chaos Moondrawn Advent Calendar Review: Hero for the Holidays (Spandex and Superpowers #4) by Charles Payseur

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Cody is house sitting for Dr. Devious during the holidays after a disastrous break-up. Devious is the boyfriend of one of Cody’s dearest friends. When superhero Wayward Sun, aka Sonny Skyes crash lands on the island drunk, turns out he just got dumped too. This is just a lot of fun from start to finish. I loved the bartender. Everyone is hooked on this soap opera, so we get a bonus plot too. It’s actually not possible for a short story to pack more of a wallop than this. There is profanity and a brief sex scene. The blurb told me everything I needed to know so if it appeals to you too, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. There are other short stories in this world, but after reading this I’m going to try the novella, Comic Book Romance.

The cover art is by Garrett Leigh and I think it’s perfect for this story with a touch of humor.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 49 pages
Published December 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English
Series Spandex and Superpowers #4

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Accidentally on Purpose by J.M Snyder

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Love older MCs? Love slow burn, even in the bedroom? This one is just right for those of us who want to read about two older guys who find their way to romance. Granted, in this case, they get a little push from a 14-year-old, but nevertheless, they get there.

Alan Travers has custody of his nephew Brooks, and when Brooks is police-escorted home from the mall one night, Alan’s not upset because it’s Detective Jim Garrison who brings him home.  Jim is the “hot” cop Alan has been admiring from afar and has been too tongue-tied to ask out.  It just so happens that Brooks offered to help him find the perfect opportunity to have a chance to talk by using himself as bait to get picked up for breaking curfew. 

Alan is still pretty tongue-tied and definitely self-deprecating. At fifty-three years old, he’s not in the best shape—or at least, not from his perspective—but Jim likes what he sees and the two end up going out after days and days talking on the phone until late at night. So at the end of their date, which doesn’t feel like a first date at all, they finally make it to bed. 

The author takes the time for the two to get to know one another and even in the bedroom scene, several chapters cover their time together. After all, it’s been some time—years—for both of them, and Alan has to get past the hurdle of undressing before another man, and Jim has to search for condoms. When he finally found some, though unopened, the box was over ten years old!  There were quite a few laugh out loud moments in this story and the sweetness of their romance shines through. When Brooks goes missing the morning after his date with Jim, Alan gets the chance to see his detective in action.   All is well in the long run, and the couple manage to find their way to a nice HEA by the epilogue. 

Very enjoyable, I recommend this to those of us into late-life romance. 

The cover features two handsome older men, a light blue background and a cup of coffee – symbolic of their first meeting when Alan dumped his all over Jim’s shoes.  Any cover featuring an older MC attracts my attention these days.  Very nicely done!

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 173 pages

Expected publication: November 24th 2018 by JMS Books LLC

ASIN B07JMGFC8L

Edition Language English

Tere Michaels on Characters, the end of a Series and her new collection Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories (Faith, Love & Devotion #7)

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Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories

(Faith, Love & Devotion #7)

by

Tere Michaels

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Tere Michaels here today on tour with Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories
(Faith, Love & Devotion #7) by Tere Michaels.  Faith, Love & Devotion has always been one of my favorite series and I will say it’s hard to say goodbye to it. So Tere’s talking about her characters, the collection and the final chapter.

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Tere Michaels

 

Thank you so much for having me!

Writing the final chapter in the Faith, Love & Devotion series has been a bittersweet experience for me. These characters are so precious to me, and I wanted to give the readers a glimpse past “Happily Ever After” into the future. So it’s happy – but also a little bit sad to say good-bye!

By doing a collection of stories, I was able to extend my reach beyond a year in the life, or a few years. I tried to hit some of the big events, both good and not-so-good, focusing on how these characters would handle it. (Spoiler alert: a lot of sarcasm and a few moist eyes.)

Forever & Ever is a love letter to my readers, a thank you for all their support over the past ten years. And of course, the bow on top is finally getting Matt and Evan hitched!

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

What’s funny to me, in revisiting Matt and Evan, and Griffin and Jim, is seeing how much of my own marriage is represented in their relationships! The basis of my relationship is humor – it’s our love language. And I realized how much I inject that into my characters.

Also overthinking. Matt might have my sharp tongue but Evan has my overactive brain! 

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

HEA! That’s why I’m in this game – I want you to feel like these characters stay together far beyond “the end.” Like, these people are so perfect for each other, they’ve earned their happy ending and you never have to worry about them again. LOL

I read a lot of different genres but I feel very strongly about romance having an HEA. The emotional arc is the most important thing, so when I get to the end, I want that “forever” to be earned and memorable and meaningful.

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

My first romance was “Palomino” by Danielle Steele, purchased for change at a garage sale. I read ALL her books, for years (“Fine Things” and “The Ring” are two of my favorites), but mostly I read historicals. Celeste De Blasis’ “Black Swan Trilogy” was my obsession. I loved that series.

YA wasn’t really a thing when I was a teen so I went straight from Nancy Drew to adult romance novels! It’s funny that I only write contemporaries when I refused to read them as a teen/young adult.

  • Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  

Weirdly enough, my biggest influencer was Dean Koontz. The first book I read of his – “Lightning” – was a contemporary love story/sci-fi book with time-traveling Nazis. I was knocked off my feet because it was this perfect blend of genres and tropes, with snappy dialogue and humor and emotion. And I thought – my God, you’re allowed to write like this!? It was a revelation. I really feel like that book was a key that unlocked my writer’s voice.  I didn’t need to write “formally.” I could be me.

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

It’s like choosing your favorite child! (I only have one child so that’s not exactly hard for me…)

Two books immediately come to mind, and probably not the ones people would imagine. “Love & Loyalty,” the second book in the Faith, Love & Devotion series is my favorite. It took me three tries to start that book, and Griffin took forever to be born in my head but once he showed up, that book was a joy to write. There are still moments that make me cry when I read them!

The second is my novella “Holiday Roommates.” I was struggling with writer’s block and one day a man in an elf suit bemoaning his life popped into my head and boom! Nate Brandywine arrived and my block was wiped out. Nate and Sean are the epitome of my writing – they are both good people struggling through rough times, but they still work to help other people, and never lose their sense of humor. I love them dearly.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I am writing a new series, set against the backdrop of a Broadway show. Since Broadway musicals are one of my favorite things in the world, I am loving the chance to play in this world! I’ll be following several characters involved in the production (actors, a director, the money man), and their romances, as well as the show itself moving from casting to opening night.

I also have the last Vigilante book finally coming out in 2019! And another secret project I can’t quite talk about just yet! 

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

I like good people who are trying to grow and learn and heal. People who are eager to know themselves better. All my characters are on a personal journey – good people, doing their best, and not always succeeding. I can’t write an anti-hero. Even my Vigilante series character is basically a really good guy, who doesn’t always make the best decisions! That internal struggle fascinates me about people, and it always, always finds its way into my characters. In fact, that internal journey is the basis to my stories – it’s where a book starts for me.

  • 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?

That’s a tough one! I write stories about real people working through real life hardships on their way to a happy ending to bring some positivity into the world. If someone reads one of my books and goes – yeah, let’s keep going. I can do this – then my work here is done.

And that’s why I write for a living. But for me, personally – I don’t how to stop. LOL Even if I’m not writing words down, stories are still being born in my head. It’s been that way my entire life and it’s like trying to explain why you breathe. The alternative doesn’t really exist.  

About Forever & Ever – A Faith, Love, & Devotion Anthology

What happens after the story ends?

Join Matt, Evan, Jim, Griffin, and their friends and families for a glimpse of what happens after happily ever after. Between growing up and growing pains, weddings and retirement, changing careers and changing diapers, life is never boring. Changes, decisions, tears, and joy await as the years march on.

Faith, Love, & Devotion Series:

 

About the Author

Tere Michaels unofficially began her writing career at the age of four when she learned – via a Disney magazine subscription – that people got paid to write stories. It seemed the most perfect and logical job in the world and after that, her path was never in question.

Tere’s specialties are snark, angst, and happily ever afters. And not so happily ever afters that eventually work out because she is, after all, a romantic – tempered with realism. She has written fifteen books including her popular Faith, Love & Devotion series and the superhero saga The Vigilante.

Nothing makes her happier than knowing she made a reader laugh or smile or cry. It’s the purpose of sharing her work with people. She loves hearing from fans and fellow writers and is always available for speaking engagements, visits, and workshops. Send her a message through her contact page or connect with her on Twitter(@TereMichaels) and Facebook .

Tere Michaels

www.teremichaels.com

https://twitter.com/TereMichaels

A VVivacious Recent Release Review: His Cursed Prince by Ryan Loveless

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Rating: 2 Stars out of 5

Tuckington Belle believes it is high time to admit that he is gay when scaling the wall of a castle to steal wildflowers sounds like a better plan than talking up a girl. But, on his way down from the wall he gets jostled by a dog and falls unconscious, only to be rescued by a guy who insists that Tuck stay blindfolded in his presence. As Tuck finds himself returning to the castle night after night, he starts to fall for this mysterious stranger. But who is this stranger and why does he insist that Tuck not see him?

It took me forever to finish this book despite the fact that it isn’t all that long. This book just didn’t have me constantly begging to know what happens next.

The book feels very childish. This book is childish not in the sense that it is written for children but written in the way children see the world as one cohesive blob like a person is either good or bad with nothing in-between. I missed the nuance. I actually can’t figure out why this book was written in such a manner because the writing style really detracted from the story. I quite liked the message this book was trying to convey but it lost its impact because I just couldn’t take this book very seriously.

The characters were very black and white and one dimensional. This book is a take on Beauty and the Beast and for a re-telling of one of the most genuinely dark and convoluted fairy tales, this story failed to capitalise on all the aspects that make the original so irresistible.

I really liked the ending and how the curse was broken was truly commendable and I enjoyed the message the story wanted to convey. But, there were certain things that could have used more development. Primarily among them being Tuck and Frederick’s relationship which was accelerated throughout its course and truly these two characters knew very little about each other. Also, the juxtaposition of technology felt rather convenient, I felt like we were wilfully ignoring how difficult it would be to keep such a secret in a world run rampant with mobile technology being a thing. Also, the castle defences were woefully inadequate in comparison to the technology this world possesses or appears to possess because nothing is really clear in that regard.

This story just wasn’t for me though I loved its message I can’t ignore the fact that it took me forever to get through it.

Cover art by L. C. Chase. I liked the cover, it rather succinctly frames the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 98 pages
Expected publication: December 28th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640809253
Edition Language English

Release Blitz and Giveaway for Illumined Shadows (Treble and the Lost Boys #3) by G.R Lyons

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 

Length: 100,000 words approx.


Treble & The Lost Boys Series


Book #1 – Ice On Fire – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Heavens Aground – Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb


When Victor Lucius was sixteen years old, a few cruel words out of his mouth led to a brutal tragedy, one that Vic has been trying to make up for ever since. Now, working as a missing persons expert, Vic tracks down and rescues people from abandonment or abuse, trying to alleviate the guilt constantly weighing him down.


His latest case—a boy who was kidnapped at the age of two and then held captive for nineteen years—is by far the darkest of his career. If there’s any chance of Vic finally redeeming himself, helping this boy might be it.


But rescuing Colby from his basement prison is only the beginning, and brings a whole new struggle to Vic’s life:


Temptation…


(Note: This story takes place in a fictional world, the same as in the Shifting Isles Series. There are multiple gods, different names for the days of the week, etc. A glossary is included.)


Author Bio


While daylighting as office manager for the family auto repair business, G.R. Lyons can often be found working on one of multiple manuscripts or desperately trying to keep up with the TBR pile.


Anarcho-capitalist, quietly ‘out’ trans guy, former belly dancer, coffee guzzler, highly-sensitive introvert, CrossFit enthusiast, and lover of m/m romantic fiction.


Email: grlyons@grlyonsauthor.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/grlyonsauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/grlyonsauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/grlyonsauthor
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/doumteksonata/
Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/author/grlyons

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