A MelanieM Review: Echoes by LA Ashton

Standard

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

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.

It’s rare that a story with vampires and werewolves can offer up a new narrative slant on both but Echoes by L.A. Aston does, and with a story full of jaw dropping, mind spinning, never saw that coming stunning twists.  Do I love this story?  Why yes I do!

A thousand years weren’t enough to forget him.”

There are soooo many elements here to love.  First off, let’s start with the two main characters.  They have been separated for hundreds and hundreds  of years, each thinking the other has died.  One a Viking, the other an Algonquin Indian, both now over thousand years old.

Oh, my, the world building here is extraordinary.  Their backstory, which will slowly be revealed throughout the novel, intense scene after scene, as we get their history together, and then their years apart is rich in detail,  and  incredibly emotional. This along with the ability to connect  us intimately with the action and immediate reality of whatever is taking place.  Whether it be wonder or more like it, horror. and loss, makes us feel so much a part of their story that we can’t bring ourselves to put down the book.

Indeed, my Kindle was clasped tightly in hand until the story was done and then sometime after as I didn’t want to let them go.

And now the longing and feeling of ‘rightness” now that they have reconnected?  Just amazing.  Along with a slow burn and UST because, they never got around to that first kiss no matter how deep the love each carries for the other.

Plus one, Oskar, has been a wanderer and the other, Aranck/Aran, has been tied to one place as he’s now got his own District to control and a peace between vampires, humans and weres to keep in place.  An attack on a local pack threatens to undo all Aran has accomplished with his treaty.  But now with Oskar returned and at his side, as a sort of second-in-command, Aranck feels settled and alive again.

Told from a few perspectives, and beautifully done, because you are only hearing from a small number of voices (no spoilers), it enhances the story, the relationships , and the atmosphere the author is going for.

The author’s characters, all of them, from the main couple, to all the various secondary and sundry other personalities are all so well done.  They are all equally crafted with care, given depth, back histories, unique voices, and temperaments.  Doesn’t matter whether it’s a vampire bartender that “feels”  too human or a hot-headed were, you believe in them and their actions wholly for as long or as little time that they are on the page.

But the true story and power belongs to Oskar and Aranck.  Their history together, what they endured, their journey back to each other, and, their love.

Oh, yes, and, for that double dose of cherry on the top?  Several stunning twists as well.  I really hope that all the reviewers keep these under wraps, it would be a shame to spoil them for any reader.

I could read this over and over again.  And never get enough of this world and couple.

So of course, I had to write the author after I finished and ask if they had considered making this a series.   Because it’s just that amazing and there are just enough open possibilities at the end to support one, and the answer is yes.  Ashton is considering it.  So I’m holding my breath for more.   After reading this, I believe you will be too.

So yes, I highly recommend Echoes by L.A. Ashton to all lovers of supernatural romance and mystery fiction.  It’s purely fantastic.  You love vampires and werewolves?  This is for you.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  Natasha Snow once again delivers on a  gorgeous and haunting cover that’s perfect for the story within.  Such an amazing artist.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published February 25th 2019 by Ninestar Press (first published September 19th 2017)
ISBN 139781950412082
Edition Language English

 

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Concatenation (Lost in Translation #1) by Catherine Lievens

Standard

Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Dorran finds a dead body in his new apartment building. Turns out the lead detective on the case is his ex-boyfriend Eli whom he hasn’t seen since high school, more than ten years ago. The dead guy turns out to be John, the person Dorran bought the apartment from. John’s uncle Francis had owned the apartment before he died–not too long ago either. As Dorran is cleaning out Francis’ belongings so he can move in, he starts to feel a kinship with Francis. Suddenly things are out of place and he feels like he’s being touched, but no one is there. Then, there are his neighbors, all gossips and in everyone’s business. While they may not tell the police investigating John’s death everything, they seem to want to tell Dorran. As Dorran gets dragged into the case through no fault of his own while trying to do the right thing, his own curiosity gets engaged. Eli warns him to stay out of it as it’s police business. They also have their own personal issues that need to be resolved if Eli is going to keep coming around.

This story has a lot going for it, but it didn’t quite come together for me. I felt removed from the characters and not emotionally invested in their second chance romance. There is some contradictory information as Dorran thinks about Eli and their history. The reader is told Dorran loved Eli, but his thoughts about the Eli he knew aren’t very flattering. The reader is also told Eli runs from confrontation and his problems. Yet Dorran is the one who left Eli because he wouldn’t come out. Eli keeps saying he forgives Dorran, but Eli is still bitter about this even though he admitted it was his own fault. Dorran is still beating himself up over his decision. I think this conflict as a plot point could have been better written. There is also some repetition.

The neighbors are all somewhat interesting. There could have been more done to make them be creepy, invasive, and meddling in a way the audience could treat them all with suspicion. They are all supposed to be suspects. There was a murder in the building, possibly two, and yet this is not atmospheric at all. The reader is told Dorran is upset at finding the body, having nightmares, and feels uncomfortable as the neighbors all want to talk about it. The guy is having stuff move around in his apartment! Yet, I didn’t feel that fear at all. In fact, he decides having a ghost is just fine and no big deal. I did guess who was responsible for John’s death, but the details of why are revealed only at the end. This story didn’t grab my attention or emotions as much as I had hoped it would.

The cover art is by Angela Waters. I’m not sure this conveys anything about the story. It has a noirish quality in the background and this is a who-done-it. This is not how I pictured these guys.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 168 pages
Published June 1st 2018 by eXtasy Books Inc
ISBN 1487419724 (ISBN13: 9781487419721)
Series Lost in Translation #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Milo (Finding Home #2) by Lily Morton

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Milo and his author, Lily Morton, delivered me right to the door of a very satisfying, feel-good Happy Ever After. No disappointment knocking on my door, for sure.

The prologue tells us Milo’s story in a nutshell.  He’s in an abusive relationship, at first emotional, and now physical, which brings out the stutter that he’s worked years to overcome. Feeling unworthy, painfully inadequate, and most definitely awkward, he’s about to be abused yet again by his domineering artist lover when his brother’s best friend Niall shows up to rescue him and literally carry him away to a new life. That new life is at Chi an Mor, the beautiful ancient estate owned by Silas, the sweet man whom we first met in Oz.

Five years later, the story opens to show us Milo has adapted to his new life as an art restoration expert in Silas’s employ and is best friend to Silas’s husband, Oz. Pause for a moment here—Oz and Silas are exactly as I’d hope they’d be at this point in time. Parents of a beautiful 7-month-old girl, Cora is the love of their lives. I was thrilled to have this glimpse of their future because Oz remains one of my all-time favorites. So when the couple has to rush off to London to help Oz’s mom, who better to watch Cora than Milo? Well, add Niall to that because the heat in the mansion has failed and as estate manager, he lives nearby so offers his home to Milo and Cora. Not because Niall has the hots for Milo. Oh, no. Certainly not. {smirks}

The author took the time to make each of these men very real. Their backstory—individually and together—and the interactions with one another were spot-on. Each was different and yet so complementary to one another it’s a wonder there aren’t bookends or salt and pepper shakers in their image. The beauty of this story is in the details that allow us to get to really know each man. Niall’s past relationship with Gideon, Milo’s brother, causes some upset for all three men as it becomes known. But accepting Niall’s maturity and his devotion to Milo is fairly easy in the long run as deeds speak louder than words. The author’s writing style and unique sense of humor carry us forward so quickly I was shocked when I reached the end. I wanted more. I need more, and I certainly hope more will come with Gideon finding his own love at the hand of Lily Morton in the near future. 

The scenes involving the group who went on the ski trip were priceless. Milo’s quiet acceptance of the quirky group was taken in stride “when to anyone else this would have had more disaster written over it than getting a ticket on the Titanic.” Witnessing Niall’s realization that he’s no longer interested in hookups and is far past scoffing at those who claim love is wonderful was delightful to behold. “Emotion fills me all of a sudden, like I’ve inhaled happiness helium.” Need I say more? Lily Morton is highly talented and Milo and Niall reap the benefit of that talent.

When I open one of this author’s books, I know I’m in for a treat. I highly recommend this story and the one before because this can be read as a standalone but it’s so much better after reading Oz. Reading it alone would be like having an ice cream sundae without the sprinkles and cherry on top.

The cover by Natasha Snow features a close-up of a handsome young man, long hair blowing in the breeze. Done in a purple tone, the cover grabbed my attention immediately.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 280 pages
Published February 15th 2019
ASINB07NN13TCW
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Finding Home #2
Characters Niall Fawcett, Milo Ramsay

An Alisa Release Day Review: Skin and Bone (Digging Up Bones #2) by TA Moore

Standard

Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Cloister Witte and his K-9 partner, Bourneville, find the lost and bring them home.

But the job doesn’t always end there.

Janet Morrow, a young trans woman, lies in a coma after wandering away from her car during a storm. But just because Cloister found the young tourist doesn’t mean she’s home. What brought her to Plenty, California… and who didn’t want her to leave?

With the help of Special Agent Javi Merlo, who continues to deny his growing feelings for the rough-edged deputy, Cloister unearths a ten-year-old conspiracy of silence that taps into Plenty’s history of corruption.

Janet Morrow’s old secrets aren’t the only ones coming to light. Javi has tried to put his past behind him, but some people seem determined to pull his skeletons out of the closet. His dark history with a senior agent in Phoenix complicates not just the investigation but his relationship with Cloister.

And since when has he cared about that?

I enjoyed the banter of these MCs just as much as I did in Bone to Pick.  Cloister just wants to bring people home and find those who are lost, he finds much more trouble this time.  Javi is struggling with his feelings towards Cloister and continued issued with his job.

Cloister continues to struggle with nightmares and everything from his past, while it makes him a good deputy it hurts to see him struggling.  I love his connection to Bourneville and how dedicated they both are to each other.  I still have trouble with Javi and I can’t quite figure out why everyone he is working with has it out to get him.

I still like Cloister and could easily connect with him, he doesn’t want to make anyone feel responsible for him and though he like Javi isn’t going to push him.  Seeing some of the story trough Javi’s eyes we are able to see that he cares for Cloister no matter how much he doesn’t want that complication.  Most of this story was focused on the mystery and finding out who Janet Morrow is and why she was attacked though we get glimpses of Cloister and Javi together.  It looks as if there will be more books featuring these two and I look forward to them.

The cover art by Bree Archer is great and I love it.  It’s similar in style to the first book but not a copy which is always nice.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages

Published: February 26, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-940-6

Edition Language: English

Series: Digging Up Bones #2

Emory Schneider on Characters, Contemporary Writing and their new release ‘The Truth Beyond the Bitterness (World of Love)’ ~ author guest blog

Standard

The Truth Beyond the Bitterness (World of Love) by Emory Schneider

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Emory Schneider on tour today for their new novel, The Truth Beyond the Bitterness.  Welcome, Emory.

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Emory Schneider

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I like both. I am always ready to do research and broaden my knowledge and I enjoy creating worlds for my stories, too.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m a big dreamer and I wish every love story would have HEA. Life doesn’t work that way, and that’s why so many people enjoy happy endings.

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

I didn’t read many romance books until I was sixteen or seventeen but haven’t stopped since then.

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

I live in the Czech Republic, so it is complicated and expensive to purchase any physical books by authors out of the Europian Union since I would have to pay duty on them and VAT twice. Therefore I prefer to buy ebooks. I do own a bookshelf full of books, love to hold them in my hands and sniff the pages, but ebook format makes books available for more people around the globe.

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?

That can happen. It might be an opportunity for the character to learn about their mistakes and change themselves. Of course, that requires a lot of time and the story would become boring, but I believe there is a way to handle it. I’m not so sure I would ever be able to write it, though. Also, it highly depends on the protagonist – if they are willing to support their love interest and wait for their transformation.

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

This is a hard question. I find every trait somewhat interesting. The most challenging thing is to combine them so the character is interesting and readers see them in the way I want.

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?

About two years ago I started writing a fantasy story and I got stuck six chapters in. Everything seemed wrong about it. I decided to put it away and worked on The Truth Beyond the Bitterness. There were two reasons for why the first story didn’t work – worldbuilding and confidence. When I got the deal for my novella, it boosted me to get back to the previous story.

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

First of all, I write so my head doesn’t explode. I use it as a chance to také a break from everyday life, but in the same time, I feel other people might find it interesting to experience how someone from central Europe looks at the world. I mean I like to read stories from all around the world.

What’s next for you as a writer?

I am writing a fantasy novel right now. I hope I finish the story before the end of this year.

About the Author

Emory Schneider was born in Děčín, the Czech Republic, as the fourth of five children and later moved to the western part of the country to find a job. They ended up working as a brazer in Pilsen—yes, the home of the beer. Emory spent a lot of their childhood discussing possible scenarios for cartoon and manga series they watched with their brother and pretending they were a knight or a spy. Their love of books and stories in general motivated them to learn English, although they had nearly failed the subject for two years.

During their teenage years, they started to make up M/M romance stories, but it took them several years to put any of them on paper. When not working or writing, Emory tries to fight their laziness and burn some calories they probably gained from staring at chocolate bars at the shopping mall or drinking some of the Coke they bought for their husband.

You can contact me at:

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2DUKjY4

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2NY5vRH

Website: http://bit.ly/2OzZ0nw

 

The Truth Beyond the Bitterness

Can love erase a lifetime of fear and bitterness? Kuba flees the oppressive influence of his strict Catholic family as soon as he graduates high school. In the big city of Pilsen, Czech Republic, he can get a fresh start. Although he is fairly content sharing a flat with his coworker and filling it with books, he knows he’s destined to be alone unless he can come out of the closet. But he just isn’t ready to bare his soul to the world.

When he meets his roommate’s friend Emil, he begins to reconsider. Is a chance at romance with the gorgeous man—and fellow bibliophile— incentive enough for Kuba to face his demons?

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Available for purchase at: http://bit.ly/2ze9AaY

Cover Reveal and Giveaway for Shadows on The Border (Lost in Time #2) by A.L. Lester

Standard

 

 
Release Date: March 9 2019
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Lost In Time Series
 

The Gate (a FREE short story introducing the characters from Lost In Time)
Amazon US | Amazon US | JMS Books


Book #1 – Lost In Time – Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

Newspaper reporter Lew Tyler and his lover, Detective Alec Carter, are working out the parameters of their new relationship. Meanwhile, time traveler Lew is trying to decide whether he wants to stay in the 1920s or find a way to get back to 2016, and Alec doesn’t know if he can bear the vulnerability of being in love with someone who uses such dangerous magic.


Fenn is a Hunter from the Outlands, come through the Border to search for the murderous Creature and its offspring at the behest of the Ternants, who maintain the balance between Fenn’s world and ours. Fenn strikes a bond with Sergeant Will Grant, Alec’s second in command, who is keen to learn more about his own magical abilities. As time goes on, Will grows keen to learn more about Fenn, as well.


Fenn has their own painful secret, and when they appear to have betrayed the team and goes missing in London, Will is devastated. He has to choose between following his heart or following his duty.


Moving through the contrasting rich and poor areas of post-First World War London from West End hotels to the London docklands, the men need to work together to capture the Creature … and choose who – and what — is important enough to hold on to and what they may need to give up to make that happen.


Author Bio


A. L. Lester likes to read. Her favorite books are post-apocalyptic dystopian romances full of suspense, but a cornflake packet will do there’s nothing else available. The gender of the characters she likes to read (and write) is pretty irrelevant so long as they are strong, interesting people on a journey of some kind.


She has a chaotic family life and small children, and she has become the person in the village who looks after the random animals people find in the road. She is interested in permaculture gardening and anything to do with books, reading, technology and history. She lives in a small village in rural Somerset and is seriously allergic to both rabbits and Minecraft


Website: http://www.allester.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CogentHippo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALLesterAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cogenthippo/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/A.-L.-Lester/e/B01MZ6R1QR/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/allester

Giveaway

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

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions