A Free Dreamer Review: Treasure (The Lost Gods #1) by Megan Derr

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Nine gods ruled the world, until the ultimate betrayal resulted in their destruction. Now, the world is dying and only by restoring the Lost Gods can it be saved.

Nine hundred years ago, the Dragons of the Three Storms, gods of chaos, tried to destroy their land of Kundou. Only by rising up and slaying the Dragons and stealing their power was Kundou saved. Now, that power resides in the royal family and grants them the right to rule.

But that power comes at a terrible price, and Prince Nankyokukai is determined that he will be the last to pay it—even if it means surrendering his chance with the man he has waited for his entire life.

I can’t believe it took me seven entire years till I finally got around to reading “Treasure”. I don’t know why I didn’t read it sooner, but it was worth the wait.

Okay, I have a thing for dragons and mermaids and gods and pretty much everything this book had on offer. But it’s so rare to find all these things combined in one single book. Needless to say, I was utterly thrilled to find all of it rolled into one, with an interesting love story on top.

The world building was well done and not something I’ve come across before. There are several names that are actually Japanese or Russian words. But since I don’t speak either of those languages, the meaning escaped me. I’m honestly not entirely sure what to think of real languages in a completely made up world, that has absolutely nothing to do with our own. Even though I’m an atheist in RL, I’m absolutely fascinated by Fantasy religions. And “Treasure” certainly didn’t disappoint in that regard. Religion is actually pretty important part of this universe and I quite enjoyed the concept.

The romance is also vital to the story. We actually have two couples in this book. I think that was a bit ambitious and the second kind of fell by the wayside. I rooted for Kin and Kyo and thought they were absolutely lovely together. But I felt like they were the main couple of the book and kind of expected a second book about the other couple. Their romance just didn’t feel as fully realized.

The plot was full of action and I really didn’t expect the way it ended. That was one hell of a plot twist, that I definitely didn’t see coming!

As much as I enjoyed the book as a whole, it really could have used a slightly more thorough spellcheck. Several times, Kin and Kyo got mixed up and it really pissed me off. If you can’t keep your MCs apart, then maybe you shouldn’t give them such similar names! Mixing them up is a major no-go and I was actually tempted to rage quit just because of that.

The cover by Leburdendesigns is very pretty. The map is quite fitting, the MCs spend most of the book travelling.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published January 25th 2012 by Less Than Three Press (first published 2012)
ISBN 139781936202997
Edition Language English
SeriesThe Lost Gods #1

A MelanieM Pre-release Review: Jacked Cat Jive (The Kai Gracen #3) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Stalker Kai Gracen knew his human upbringing would eventually clash with his elfin heritage, but not so soon. Between Ryder, a pain-in-his-neck Sidhe Lord coaxing him to join San Diego’s Southern Rise Court, and picking up bounties for SoCalGov, he has more than enough to deal with. With his loyalties divided between the humans who raised him and the Sidhe Lord he’s befriended and sworn to protect, Kai finds himself standing at a crossroads.

When a friend begs Kai to rescue a small group of elfin refugees fleeing the Dusk Court, he’s pulled into a dangerous mission with Ryder through San Diego’s understreets and the wilderness beyond. Things go from bad to downright treacherous when Kerrick, Ryder’s cousin, insists on joining them, staking a claim on Southern Rise and Kai.

Burdened by his painful past, Kai must stand with Ryder against Kerrick while facing down the very Court he fears and loathes. Dying while on a run is expected for a Stalker, but Kai wonders if embracing his elfin blood also means losing his heart, soul, and humanity along the way.

In a series that by turns has been dark, gritty, wondrous, and wild in the previous stories, Jacked Cat Jive has me gobsmacked with it’s , dare I say it, jacked up gloriously layered plot,  the multiple story threads running and twisting and turning each pulling your attention this way and that, while the author carefully weaves a vivid complicated tapestry that will pull them all back together into a stunning whole.

It’s a stunning series, grounded in a warped universe where dragons fly over cracked highways, elven palaces grow themselves, and the peace between humans and non is tentative at best in a world where neither quite understands the new laws of nature and reality can buckle along with the ground.

If someone would ask me what are my favorite elements, I couldn’t tell them, because there are far too many.  From the world building to the characters and the weirdly complicated, often twisted relationships.  This is a harsh landscape, not only of land but of the mind and soul.  And Rhys Ford gives us the same tortured, determined, and incredibly real beings that now inhabit it.

Kai Gracen has undergone many changes since , the first story in the series, Black Dog Blues.  He’s grown, learned more about his past, accepted responsibilities ,j and given much thought as to what his genetic pool makes him as a person.  It’s a journey of self that continues, along with his relationship with Ryder, the High Lord of the Southern Rise Court (Mad Lizard Mambo (Kai Gracen #2).  Talk about your slow burn!  They haven’t even kissed yet!  And it’s book three!

This story is so crammed full of high adventure, suspense, breathtaking hijinks and political manipulations of all sorts along with the just ol pull at your heart emotions that this author never forgets is needed as the heart that holds it all together.  It’s the perfect combination of them all and I couldn’t stop reading once I started, I think I ended somewhere around 3 am.

We are introduced to new characters even as we brace to let old ones go. Ford breaks our hearts even as she prepares us for further attachments and excitement to come.  Really this is my favorite story in the series yet.  And that is saying something.  Because this series is already full of favorites.

The writing is tight and flows like a fast moving river.  The characters are both real and fantastical, flawed and incredibly moving.   And the universe building, which continues to evolve, is absolutely stunning.

If you love urban fantasy, here is a series for you.  But they are not standalone stories but should be read in the order they are written.    Already I’m primed for the next in the series.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Kai, Ryder, and everyone they care for.

I highly recommend this and all the stories listed below.  Stay tuned

Cover Artist: Chris McGrath. I like the cover, Bright, colorful although not quite as edgy nor my idea of Kai.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 253 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2019 by DSP Publications
ASIN B07L8LZSLK
Edition Language English
Series Kai Gracen #3

Mad Lizard Bites(.05)

Black Dog Blues

Mad Lizard Mambo

Jacked Cat Jive

A VVivacious Release Day Review: Helix by Anna Martin

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
This is a very interesting novel. Also, I think I might have rated this one less than it deserved.

James’ truck breaks down and the guy who comes to tow his truck is Dylan. They are both attracted to each other and it is the perfect meet-cute if you ask me. Steve hooks up with Mark and they try to give it a go. Unknowingly, Steve is Dylan’s adopted father and Mark is James’ father and when the truth comes out it, everything comes to a head and with so many feelings mixed in they are going to be quite a few hurts to soothe when the dust settles.

This book is told from the alternating perspectives of James and Steve.

James and Dylan definitely stole the show from me. I feel like they were much more open regarding their relationship even if they didn’t go into specifics. Though Dylan did play it close to the chest for a while, I feel like that given his upbringing that was more because he wanted to protect himself than anything else.

I never did get where Steve and Mark are going with there relationship. Since we never do get Mark’s perspective it is hard to say where things are with regards to him but with Steve, you can tell that he has fallen hard but he is playing it coy in front of his friends and his son.

I really like the parent-child relationships in this one. Especially Steve and Dylan who are like the coolest father-son duo ever. I don’t care what Steve claims in the book he is a cool dad. I especially loved the fact that for Steve Dylan’s security and stability came over all else.

This book was one in which I really got to compare romances. A romance with younger protagonists who are still having their first experiences with love and another with older guys with responsibilities. There is just something about young love, about the innocence at the age that can’t be recaptured again. And personally, the fact that Mark and Steve are so prominently fathers and the fact we do get James’ perspective just made Mark and Steve very real parents. I realise I have read books where the MCs have kids but the fact that we never get the kids perspective in such a way that makes the MC a parental figure makes me ignore that label. Because truthfully I couldn’t ignore that label for these two. These two are super kinky but something about the fact that they are father-figures really made me cringe. I must confess that I am way closer to James and Dylan’s age than Steve and Mark’s and also I am not a parent so I can’t look at things the way Steve and Mark do. I can’t reconcile with Mark and Steve the parents with these kinky individuals. I truly understand James’ desire to ignore the fact his father might have sex at all. I never want to think about that either.

I realise that people who are parents would truly gain more from this book because they can identify with both sides of the fence but unfortunately I can truly only identify with one.

Also, there also remains the fact that the first thing that Mark focuses on when he realises Dylan is Steve’s son is his issues. I haven’t forgiven him for that. I know he did apologize but the fact that we don’t see it play out given our two narrators means there is something in me that needs closure regarding this issue. And since I can’t in all capacity forgive Mark I wonder how Steve can which just makes their relationship that much more complicated for me.

The fact that they are parents automatically puts them on a pedestal for me and I expect more but Mark and Steve truly have nothing figured out with regards to their relationship.

I would have definitely wanted more Frances but I get that the choice of narrators prevented that to an extent.

James and Dylan are the stars of this story for me. They are so cute. I love them so much. There are the snuggliest, cuddliest and squidgiest couple ever. I so totally want another epilogue like that epilogue.

This story blew my mind, it made me realise new things about me. I feel like people who can see themselves as kids under parental authority and who can see themselves as parental authority would gain much more from this story. Despite all that this story is still pretty amazing.

Cover Art by Garrett Leigh. I love the cover. It has a really fresh look and all that blue just reminds me of beaches and a cover that reminds me of beaches and water can never be bad.

Book Details:
ebook, 1st edition, 200 pages
Expected publication: February 26th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781640808904
Edition Language English

Cooper West on Thoughts about Beauty and her new novel ‘Mixed Signals’ (author guest blog)

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Mixed Signals by Cooper West

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Buy links

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Cooper West here today talking about her new novel Mixed Signals. Welcome, Cooper.

✒︎

When Beauty is a Mixed Signal

By Cooper West (2/18/2019)

Is there such a thing as “too beautiful”?

This question came to my mind years and years ago, when I made the accidental acquaintance of a truly astoundingly beautiful woman. By any measure of traditional beauty, she scored a 100%. Why she wasn’t a model, I’ll never know, but what I did come to know about her was that she was creative, intelligent, witty, a great dancer…

…and almost pathologically insecure.

It opened my eyes to the unique and often overlooked problems that people who possess exceptionally good looks have to deal with. For my friend, her astonishing features meant that she was in a constant state of being objectified and used by everyone around her. Men wanted her as eye candy and a status symbol; women wanted to be associated with her, or wanted to hate her for what she had that they felt they lacked. She believed that most people who tried to connect with her could not be trusted, and not without reason. On top of that, she was fully aware that her looks were transitory, that someday she would age out of the “beautiful young woman” category that she felt (incorrectly) was her only real social advantage, and that terrified her.

For someone whom I at first thought “had it all,” she was a person I eventually came to feel sorry for. What good is having it all if you are always alone and wary of everyone around you?

Years later, I decided to write that into a character, and that character is Frank (Francis) Sheldon in my new book Mixed Signals.

(Full disclosure: it’s not a new book, it’s a second edition, but instead of being a super short novella it is now a long and plotty book full of intrigue and, of course, romance!)

Frank is that guy: rich, privileged, gorgeous, popular. He’s got everything most of us think any guy would be thrilled to have.

And yet…

My goal with Frank was to show that sometimes, a charmed life might be privileged but not easy. Frank got washed out of the US Air Force under the old “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that ended so many careers of LGBTQ+ service members. He doesn’t particularly want to inherit all the responsibility and drudgery of his father’s corporate empire, nor does he want to go into politics like his older sister. He’s constantly preyed upon by people who are out for his looks and his money, and he finds it hard to trust anyone completely. He spent years carefully living in the closet only to be outed and have his career goals destroyed in one fell swoop.

He’s a lucky guy, is Frank, but he’s the only one who doesn’t think that’s true.

Well, he was until he met Benjamin.

Benjamin is not quite the everyday-Joe character, as he’s a bit of a brilliant computer nerd and a brat. He shares some of the insecurities most of us would identify with, I think (or maybe just me!): not spectacularly handsome, not spectacularly wealthy, and not spectacularly noticeable at all. Unlike Frank, Benjamin’s life has been marred by tragedy after tragedy as well as financial frustrations. He got a free ride for his doctorate but he also had to raise his younger sister after the deaths of their parents. My goal with Benjamin was to make him the one we can all relate to, despite his IQ and social klutziness.

Frank’s expectation is that he can pretty much seduce whomever he wants without working for it while also not having to commit to a relationship with someone he doesn’t trust. But, in a nutshell: Benjamin is not impressed!!! Frank is used to people seeing the surface-value aspect of his life — handsome! Rich! Envied! — and not seeing him as a person. Benjamin, though, pretty much only sees Frank as a person, and not only that, but as a person he is not particularly interested in (or is he?).

It was fun to write his story because I enjoy turning tropes upside down. This could have easily become a “billionaire daddy” romance because technically, yes, Frank’s family are billionaires and he can drop millions of dollars on a hobby without thinking much about it. While I have nothing against billionaire daddy stories, I wanted to show how that kind of advantage in life can work against a person in unexpected ways. I hope you enjoy the twists and turns Frank and Benjamin go through on their way to true love!

 

Blurb:

Devastatingly handsome pilot Frank Sheldon is doing his best to avoid his inheritance of money, charm, and good looks by rebuilding his life on his own terms after being discharged from the Air Force just before the repeal of DADT. When he unexpectedly meets the eccentric geek Benjamin Kaplan, sparks don’t quite fly, despite Benjamin’s obvious interest. Frank is not one to back down from a challenge, but what does any of that have to do with his sister’s campaign for governor, or the muckraking political website attacking her opponent, who just happens to be Frank’s unlamented, very closeted, ex-boyfriend? It’s hard to fall in love when all you are getting is mixed signals!

 

About the Author

Busting out of the fanfiction scene in 2012 with the publication of her first original full-length book, Dawn in the Orchard, Cooper West writes stories that capture the heart and imagination. She is now known for her bestselling book The Protector, set in her unique Guardsman’verse of weredogs and bonded pairs, and plans to continue to release more books in that series but also enjoys writing modern, quirky contemporary romance stories.

She’s still a fangirl at heart, with an everlasting crush on Chris Evans and an ever-rotating list of OTPs. Bisexual and raised in a queer household, Cooper has been writing “slash” since she was a teenager and did not understand much about biology. She’s learned a lot since then! *wink wink nudge nudge*

 

social media info

 

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In Our Supernatural Spotlight: ECHOES by LA Ashton

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Echoes by L.A. Ashton

Cover Art: Natasha Snow

February 25th 2019 by Ninestar Press

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Blurb

After one thousand years of listless eternity, Oskar is used to his particular brand of loneliness. But a long walk through middle America and a few chance encounters will lead him straight to a man he’d known to be long since dead―his childhood best friend, Aranck.

Being undead hasn’t stopped Aran from living life to the fullest. He has all the money and power his charm and business savvy could earn him, and plenty of friends. Lately, though, something seems to be missing. After a millennium, perhaps the world’s shine has worn off—and that’s when Oskar stumbles back into his life, reminding him of who he used to be.

Together the two vampires remember what it felt like to live, all the while navigating a conflict with the local pack of werewolves. A lot has changed in a thousand years, and only time will tell if those changes will bring Oskar and Aranck closer together, or ensure they remain apart.

About the Author

L. A. Ashton is an LGBT+ author writing LGBT+ fiction. They were born and raised between neat grids of corn and soybean fields. They enjoy rock music, traveling, and anything else that adds color to their daydreams. They believe in the healing properties of art and of having a cat firmly stationed on one’s lap.
Email: Contact@LAAshton.com
Twitter: @LAAshton_

New Release Blitz and Giveaway for Helix by Anna Martin

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Length: 61,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
 
Blurb
 

When high school student James has trouble with his truck, Dylan, who is studying to be a mechanic, comes to the rescue. James thinks he hides his immediate attraction well, but is happy to be wrong when Dylan asks for his number. Since James is new to romance, they take things slowly, and because Dylan is in college, James keeps the budding relationship secret from his overprotective dad.


Across town, Mark, a teacher and single father to James and his sister, Frankie, meets Steve at a bar for what both believe will be a quick hookup. Mark doesn’t see any reason to tell his kids about Steve or press Steve for details about Steve’s adopted son…. It’s just sex between them. Isn’t it?


Two very different love stories grow side by side, each hidden from the other. But all of that changes at a family barbecue, when Mark decides it’s time for his kids to meet Steve and for him to meet James’s boyfriend, who none of them realize is Steve’s son, Dylan. The inevitable explosion means the two couples have some explaining to do to soothe the hurt feelings of their families—and lovers.

 

Author Bio

 

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the southwest of England and now lives in the Bristol, a city that embraces her love for the arts. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.


Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything thatís put under her nose.


Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.


https://www.annamartin-fiction.com/
http://www.facebook.com/annamartinfiction
http://www.pinterest.com/annamartinficti/
http://instagram.com/missannamartin
http://www.twitter.com/missannamartin

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