A Free Dreamer Review: The Witchin’ Canoe by Mel Bossa

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Though his mother named him after a priest, there’s nothing saintly about McGauran O’Dowd. He needs to escape the slums before he’s forced into marrying his friend’s sister and revealing the sin he’s managed to hide so far.

When McGauran gets hired as a logger by ruthless business man Gédéon Latendresse, people warn him –the Latendresse family is cursed. Twenty years ago, Gédéon rode the witchin’ canoe from the camps to the city to stop his brother’s wedding. But that night, Gédéon broke one of the Chasse Galerie rules, and now the Devil’s come for his due.

And that due, McGauran soon finds out, is Gédéon’s sheltered young nephew Honoré, the most enchanting man McGauran’s ever met. The lover he’s been praying for.

Cursed, Honoré is slipping into madness and threatened to be interned. When the winter comes, McGauran is stuck at the shanties, helpless to save Honoré from his tragic fate. He’ll do anything to save the man he loves, even bargain with the Devil himself.

The Witchin’ Canoe is a very unusual setting and definitely nothing like any other book I’ve read before.

First of all, I have no idea how historically accurate this book is. I literally know nothing about Canada during this period in history. But it all seemed realistic, for what that’s worth.

This book is about two very different people falling in love with each other. There’s Honoré, he’s rich, but lonely and possibly cursed or mentally ill or maybe he just doesn’t fit society’s expectations. He’s an intriguing young man and I liked him from the very start. Then there’s McGauran, who lives in the slums in desperate poverty. He’s lonely too, even though he has friends and a woman he’s expected to marry soon. He was also extremely likable. There are many minor characters showing up throughout the book, but no matter how short or unimportant their appearance, they all got a unique personality with actual depth. Not all of them were likable, but that made the cast all the more interesting.

The poverty surrounding Mac was extremely well described. I could literally taste Mac’s desperation to somehow change his depressing surroundings. But with a sickly mother and no education to speak of, that’s not exactly easy.

Likewise, the house Honoré lives in was easy to imagine. It was all very mysterious and also a little bit creepy at times. Just enough to give you a little thrill.

The whole story had a gothic, mysterious feel to it that was very addicting and made it very hard to put down the book.

There were only two things that bothered me. First, there’s the romance part of the story. While the relationship itself takes a while to develop, it’s essentially love at first sight for both of them. They barely even talk to each other during their first meeting and still they’re in love. There’s a huge societal gulf between these two and they seemingly had no trouble whatsoever to cross that, which seemed a bit idealistic to me. Then there was Mac’s mother. She can’t support herself and yet Mac plans to run off to the wild all on his own, seemingly without a care what that would mean for his mother. He’s such a responsible young man otherwise, so it just felt very much out of character for him.

“The Witchin’ Canoe” is very high quality fiction, with a subtle creepiness. Some very mysterious things are going on here and it’s sometimes hard to tell reality from imagination. I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to more fascinating books by this author.

The cover has all the important elements of the story and yet it still doesn’t quite do it justice. It just doesn’t look mysterious enough to me.

Sales  Links:  JMS Books LLC  | Amazon

Book details:

ebook
Published January 5th 2019 by JMS Books
ISBN 139781634867894
Edition Language English

 

A Lila Release Day Review: Escape to Paradise (A Planet Called Wish #4) by Caitlin Ricci

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Rate: 5 stars out of 5

His attraction to men means Kalean is the black sheep of his wealthy and powerful family—but it won’t get him out of attending his brother’s pretentious wedding ceremony. Kalean doesn’t want to go, but if his parents insist, he has a stipulation: he’ll be there with a man on his arm.
On the pleasure planet, Wish, Kalean goes to a brothel to meet some potential escorts. But the man who captures his attention isn’t one of those on offer….


Descani is as surprised as anyone at Kalean’s attraction to him—and at his own interest in the young man. He’s even more perplexed as a bond begins forming between them.


But a murder rips apart Kalean’s family and redefines his role. He’ll be isolated on his cold and barren home world, far from the warm and colorful planet of Wish—and the arms of the man who’s coming to mean so much to him—unless he can find a way to escape the forces separating them.

Escape to Paradise has the perfect combination of sweet and sexy. It’s short but it has enough plot twists to keep the reader engaged. And great characters for everyone to love. It can be read as a standalone but reading the previous three books is worth it. I did want a little more from previous characters.

It’s an easy read with an amazing world-build and people from all around the universe. Everything from technology to food to sexual preferences are part of the plot.

Since the opening scene, the reader gets a connection with Kalean and Descani. Their quick friendship and easy banter are endearing. There’s a lot of promise in those few pages and the author delivers in the end.

The last part of the story felt a bit rushed but that’s expected on a novella. I enjoyed the glance at their future together.

I hope this is not the last book in the series.

The cover by Brooke Albrecht isn’t as beautiful as the previous in the series, but it goes well with the story.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | AmazonKobo

Book Details:

ebook, 145 pages
Published: February 1, 2019, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-64405-108-5
Edition Language: English

Series: A Planet Called Wish
Book #1: To the Highest Bidder
Book #2: Fantasy for a Gentleman
Book #3: Falling into the Black
Book #4: Escape to Paradise

An Alisa Review : Awakenings and French Songs by Nell Iris

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

An existential awakening and lots of French chansons equal a favorite neighbor seen in a new light.

Iggy Wilker never expected his 36th birthday to turn into an existential crisis. When Iggy’s friends celebrate him with his usual favorite pastime — drinking, dancing, and willing guys — he suddenly wants nothing to do with any of it. He’s fed up and ready for something else. The question is what?

Ronan Clenney has had his eye on his neighbor forever, but as a single father of a precocious eleven-year-old, he’s never believed he stands a chance. But over a late night cup of tea, it seems circumstances have changed. Is this the right time, finally?

Iggy has never believed in romance, but can Ronan show him he’s wrong? That love is a real thing?

This story was sweet.  Iggy has hit that point in his life that the partying and quick encounters don’t feel right.  Ronan’s life is focused around his daughter and though Iggy has become a part of their life he hasn’t let anyone in close.

I liked this story but didn’t feel a strong connection to the characters.  Being a short story a surface view is expect but I just felt as though I would have liked to know them better.  Though Iggy seems to be having a existential crisis he quickly decides what is it he wants and Ronan quickly accepts his advances though he tries to make it sound as if they need to move slowly.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is a sweet picture of the characters.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 11,120 words

Published: January 12, 2019 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634868471

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Audio Review:His Consort by Mary Calmes and (Narrated by Scott Smith)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A new life in New Orleans is all Jason Thorpe had hoped: his quaint little store attracts a devoted staff and his warm, loving heart grants him a loyal circle of friends. He’s perfectly content, having left behind the chill of a confusing and danger-filled night in Washington, until he discovers something unbelievable lurking in the steamy darkness of the shadowy streets of the Vieux Carré, something that turns out to be terrifying… and utterly mesmerizing.

The prince of the vampyrs, Varic Maedoc, is visiting New Orleans when he finds out the man who once helped his counselor is there in the Quarter. He thinks to simply meet and thank Jason—until he lays eyes on him. Varic’s devoted himself to protect the honor of his race, and he’s never wanted a mate before… but he immediately knows he must have this man, and no one else will do.

Varic may want to bring Jason safely into his world, but someone who doesn’t like the human’s soothing influence on vampyrs has deadly plans that would disrupt Varic’s dreams. Now, unable to tell friend from foe, Jason finds himself wondering how to hold on to the prince’s heart when he’s fighting for his life.

I’m a big Mary Calmes fan, both of her contemporary stories and her fantastic supernatural series as well.  So I was enthusiastic to hear she was including vampires in her next release, His Consort and couldn’t wait to see what spin she would put on the vampire mythology. A plus was waiting until it came out in audiobook so I got the additional pleasure of listening to the superb narration of Scott Smith as he effortlessly voiced character after character, making each come alive for me, scene after scene.  That extra half point is his alone.

I found His Consort entertaining, enjoyable, and, honestly, a wonderful Mary Calmes story.  It has so many of her hallmark elements here.  It also had aspects to the story that sent me looking for answers I never found. Like will it be a series? For me (and others) I found a sort of similarity in format or perhaps setup in His Consort to another beloved series.  That would be Change of Heart.  Here we follow Jason to New Orleans and a new life after exiting military service and the death of his best friend.  He gathers around him, in a new home, new “family”, much like Kin did, then comes Varic with his group who we slowly get to meet and become close to, ala Logan, then towards the end of the story you can see as the two groups begin to come together as one.

It’s a complex, and slow process.  And very much has the feel of the author laying down the foundation for a series, not just the framework for one story.  So as Jason meets all these different people and various events happen…without meeting Varic, I really didn’t mind.  I was caught up in the world building the author was laying down before me.  Plus I really liked all the characters I was meeting, watching all the complicated dynamics play out, the new relationships form, watch Jason get his “besties” together and formed into an odd family.

Plus there is the whole vampire mythology thing going on here to explore.   Loved that.

So while there wasn’t an immediate romance (at least not Jason and Varic’s ) to connect with, there was so much fascinating story threads running around grabbing my attention that I didn’t want the audiobook to stop (and didn’t).  I had to know what was to happen next!  All the other couples, the devilish delights, and suspense ! Tiago and Hadrian’s story is definitely one I hope she is writing even now.  There are so many elements laid down that are similar in structure to Change of Heart that I’m hoping that it’s because this is just the first in a series and not just one story.

I will  say that I love the New Orleans location.  There is something special about that shop, customers, and the dynamics being played out there between the casts that need more exploration. I hope Malta is to this story what Egypt was to Change of Heart.  I can’t wait to find out.  So much promise here.  So many great characters waiting in the wings for their chance at love.  This is different in that you don’t get an immediate romance, but I thought the wait was more than worth it.

I definitely recommend this audio version of His Consort by Mary Calmes.  The narration by Scott Smith is splendid and the story just needs the sequel it cries out for.

Cover Artist: Reese Dante,  I love, love this cover.  That’s Varic to a T.  Just mesmerizing.

Audio Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audiobook

Length 6:33

Published December 20th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published November 20th 2018)
Edition Language English

Want a New Contemporary Story and Series To Love? Check out Inside Out (Road to Blissville #7) by Aimee Nicole Walker (excerpt and giveaway)

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INSIDE OUT

A ROAD TO BLISSVILLE NOVEL

AIMEE NICOLE WALKER

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 01.14.19

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COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art

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Romeo Bradly and Julius Shepherd moved to Blissville for the same reason: a fresh start. Romeo was looking for a school district where he could make a real impact in the lives of students and faculty, and Julius was eager to teach one of his passions to the best and brightest at a school with a nationally ranked science program. But the sleepy little town offered them much more than they’d bargained for—quirky people, unlikely friendships, and an all-consuming attraction that turns them inside out.

When unexpected circumstances threaten to cancel the school play, Romeo’s theater background and Julius’s musical expertise make them the perfect pair to save the day. Working together so closely makes it harder for the men to ignore their growing feelings. After all, the heart knows what it wants and doesn’t care about age gaps, race, or a professional conflict of interest. Romeo and Julius will learn that they have far more in common than they realize, and their differences will make them stronger if they give love a chance.

Their commitment to each other and the play will be tested when outside forces target them as a couple and exert pressure to cancel the production. Romeo and Julius vow to prove their love can conquer any challenge and will burn strong well beyond the curtain call.

Inside Out is a whimsical, May/December romance featuring a man learning to love again and a man falling in love for the first time. It is the sixth book in the Road to Blissville series and can be read as a standalone book or part of the series. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.

Buy Link: http://mybook.to/Inside_Out

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EXCERPT

It was nearly impossible to keep from checking the clock after receiving the text from Rome that he was on his way back to Blissville. I tried watching the football games on TV, but I couldn’t tell you the score or even who was playing. I also kept my ears tuned for the sound of his car pulling up outside.

The apartment I rented was above a garage and could only be accessed by walking through it, which might make many feel like they were trespassing. Wren did keep a classic car in the garage below and a ton of tools, so I was always cautious to keep the door locked. When I finally heard Rome’s car pull into the driveway and stop beside my car, I jogged down the steps and opened the outside door.

“Hey,” I said when he and Dolly reached me.

“Hey yourself,” he said warmly. I could see how badly he wanted to kiss me, so I stepped closer and met him halfway. I didn’t want there to be any hesitation between us unless we were in a place where PDA wouldn’t be appreciated.

“I wasn’t sure if I should kiss you in open view of Dare and Wren’s house,” he said, staring at my lips. “They might not be watching.” I moved until my lips were just a breath away. If he wanted me, he would need to come and get me. “Then again, they could have the binoculars out.”

aimee nicole walker 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.

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Blog Tour Terrible Things by Beth Bolden (excerpt)

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TERRIBLE THINGS

BETH BOLDEN

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 01.19.19

terrible things cover

Cover Design: Cate Ashwood

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When Caleb Chance walked out in Detroit five years ago, leaving his band, millions of his fans and his lover behind, Leo knew he could never forgive.

Some things, no matter what the cause, are unforgivable.

But Leo never expected Caleb to show up again, clean and sober and wanting to get their band, Star Shadow, back together. He definitely never expected to agree to Caleb’s plan.

He never expected to confront the love of his life again—or the disaster of his past, the hopelessness of his future, and every terrible thing he’s been carrying inside him.

But maybe some things aren’t so terrible after all.

mybook.to/terriblethings

stay forever now available

first time now available

old incarnations now available

EXCERPT

“Are you sure you’re going to be okay setting up without help?” Caleb asked.

Leo rolled his eyes, trying to return to normal interaction. Caleb didn’t need to know about all the little, unbearably painful, things that still caught him unawares. It turned out that grief wasn’t only that yawning chasm of missing someone so much your teeth ached; sometimes it was the tiny, most insignificant bits of a destroyed, disintegrated life.

“I’m perfectly capable, you know,” Leo insisted. “I can have people over without making a mess of it.”

“Of course you can. I just want to help,” Caleb said, sounding flustered. “That’s why I offered to cook.”

“You shouldn’t be cooking for your own celebration,” Leo said.

“You used to like it when I cooked.”

Leo couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled out of him at this understatement. “I fucking loved it when you cooked.”

Caleb looked pleased. “That’s good. Really good. I mean, I want to make you feel that way. Again. Um.” He hesitated, mouth twitching. “All the time, actually.”

It was good to hear. Leo had missed someone taking care of him.

But again, that wasn’t exactly accurate. For Christmas two years ago, Benji had given him the services of a housekeeper for six months. At the time, Leo had been over the moon, thinking it was the perfect gift. But it turned out that he hadn’t liked someone in his business all the time. He didn’t like the way she’d look down her nose at him for leaving dirty dishes overflowing on the coffee table or the way he’d track mud in after a run or that sometimes he wouldn’t leave his warm, comfy bed until two in the afternoon.

In the end, he’d written her a big check, buying both her absence and her silence.

So, specifically, what Leo missed was Caleb taking care of him.

“Maybe that’s something we could do again. Dinner sometime.” At first Leo couldn’t believe he was suggesting it—hadn’t he just thought that Caleb back in the kitchen was too much to handle? But he also told himself that they were trying to be friends again. And friends could share a friendly meal.

“Really?” Caleb sounded incredulous, but he was looking at Leo like he’d just hung the moon and the sun and the stars in the sky.

“Of course,” Leo said, like it wasn’t a big deal. “I know we’ll be off on the tour soon, but maybe when we get back.”

“That would be so great.” He paused. “Like maybe even . . . maybe even a date?”

Leo was twenty-six years old but he honest-to-god blushed when Caleb said the magical d word.

“Sure,” Leo said. He couldn’t believe he’d said yes. He also couldn’t believe Caleb had asked after last night’s conversation.

“I know it seems sudden,” Caleb added.

Leo shrugged. “It isn’t like we set a date and time. Just . . . sometime in the future.”

“Nice and vague,” Caleb agreed. “Vague is good.”

Leo was aware they were both grinning at each other like idiots. This was confirmed when Max wandered over and did a double take.

“You two,” he said with a short, barking laugh. “Stop flirting and get going. You’ll see each other soon, I promise.”

beth bolden logo 2

Beth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with her supportive husband. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox play baseball. She’s a fan of fandoms, and spends too much of her free time on tumblr.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published eight novels and two novellas, with Catch Me, the next novel in the Kitchen Gods series, releasing in May 2018.

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Website: www.bethbolden.com

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Cover Reveal for Forlorn (Wavesongs #2) by Elvira Bell

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Forlorn by Elvira Bell

Book 2 in the Wavesongs Series

Available to Preorder at Amazon

Release Date: March 9, 2019

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Synopsis

Nick Andrews is back in England. He is a broken man, living on the streets and trying to cope with everything he’s been through. Nick thinks that his life is over, but then Tom comes along. Tom, who is handsome and wealthy and intent on making his acquaintance.

Nick ends up as Tom’s valet, a position that brings him to the remote estate of Ravensleigh. At Ravensleigh, he soon realizes that Tom and his family have a past laden with shadows. Nick regrets coming there, but at the same time finds it harder and harder to resist Tom’s advances.

Then one night, a stranger arrives at Ravensleigh. And Nick’s world is turned upside down once more.

Warning: This book ends with a cliffhanger. The series as a whole will have a HEA ending.

Please note that the books in the Wavesongs series should be read in chronological order!

Meet the Author


Elvira Bell lives in Sweden and spends most of her time writing, reading or watching movies. Her weaknesses include, but are not limited to: vintage jazz, musicals, kittens, oversized tea cups, men in suits, the 18th century, and anything sparkly.

Elvira writes m/m fiction with a touch of romance and has a penchant for historical settings. She adores all things gothic and will put her characters through hell from time to time because she just loves watching them suffer. It makes the happy endings so much sweeter, after all.

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