A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Wounded Soul by Annabelle Jacobs

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Ian has feelings for his best friend Blake, who doesn’t reciprocate. In a moment of impulsiveness, he takes home a stranger named Jesse. But Jesse isn’t who he seems to be and suddenly Ian and Jesse are thrown into circumstances that will change their lives. While the general population doesn’t know vampires exist, branches of the government and law enforcement do. Most vampires are in covens that follow the rules laid out by the Vampire Liaison and Crimes Division so they are no longer hunted and killed. But some vampires like to kill and are not happy about being monitored. The cast is rounded out by: the coven leader Raphael, Jesse’s sire and former lover Peter, Ian’s best friends Blake and Cate, and Jesse’s best friend Lys.

When Blake joins the VLCD, things get complicated. The circumstances put everyone in danger as one bad decision after another happens at a frantic pace. On the one hand, this helps pull the plot along without a lot of time to question or poke too many holes in it. On the other hand, I kept wondering why everyone just went along with the crazy parts. Although Blake’s POV happens occasionally, I wanted to know way more about his job and training, so I am hoping that will be another book. I thought how all the police just jump up and do whatever Raphael says at times unbelievable.

There are several things that make this book work: the chemistry between Jesse and Ian, having someone a reader can love to hate, and the friendships which give the book heart. Although the relationship between Ian and Jesse is fast, with the way things happen I didn’t have an issue with that. Where this author shines is individual scenes between characters. The book is very entertaining with likable main characters, but it could have been great instead of just good with more detailed world building, especially a more realistic view of the relationship between the vampires and law enforcement.

The cover artist is Garrett Leigh. Since both Ian and Jesse are tall with dark hair, I have to guess, but I would say this is Jesse. Along with the title, it hints at Jesse’s past and is appropriate for the story.

Sales Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2XQCbgv

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2J1E19X

Universal Link: books2read.com/WoundedSoul

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 245 pages
Published April 28th 2019
ASINB07R8TMVYK
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Proper English by K.J. Charles

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A beautiful lesbian love story wrapped in an intriguing mystery, this is most definitely KJ Charles at their best. No matter what the plot or who the characters, I always recognize this author’s writing style. The mystery is superb, the characters diverse and interesting, and the setting in rural England is beautiful.

Patricia (Pat) Merton is invited to a shooting party at a friend’s estate and is shocked to find that besides the men she expected to be there, her hunting buddy’s fiancé and a host of others have been invited. The All-England Ladies’ Shooting Champion, her hopes were for a peaceful hunt without having to deal with social niceties or other foolish games. Pheasant hunting is right up her alley. Sitting in the parlor with the ladies? Not so much.

Fenella (Fen) Caruth is lovely, in Pat’s estimation. Literally well-rounded, with a large-sized bosom and plenty of curves, she’s also charming, witty, and fun-loving, and Pat falls hard. But the house party isn’t all good times. The host’s son-in-law is a dastardly villain. In fact, I constantly pictured cartoon character Snidely Whiplash every time the man opened his mouth. He was so bad, he was almost a caricature, and yet, he wasn’t. He was serious about cutting people down and most serious about the blackmail schemes he engaged in—until he was stopped.

After a rough start, Pat and Fen gravitate together to solve the mystery. Aided by Pat’s brother Bill and her friend Jimmy, son of the Earl and next in line for the title, the quartet eventually put together a good working theory. And then another disaster strikes. I loved the pacing of this story. There’s so much to like. First, this underlying blackmailing cad constantly throws out tidbits meant to upset the whole household. Then, there’s a rift between engaged couple, Fen and Jimmy, and a romance develops between Pat and Fen, while another two couples pair off as well. In fact, there’s a lot of coupling and there’s explicit FF sex in the relationship with Pat and Fen that appears to be heading for a HEA by the end.

So those who don’t wish to read a FF romance, with a wonderful underlying mystery, should not pick this up. It would be a travesty to downgrade it due to a misunderstanding. This is a historical romance between women—two very unique, very engaging women at the turn of the 20th century. Those who appreciate KJ Charles’s work, with attention to historical detail and ability to hide the “bad guy” in a whodunit story, will love this book and I highly recommend it.

And a PS—the story takes place two years before Think of England (my first KJ Charles read) and the cover design is by the same artist. A pretty woman stands looking toward the sky against the background of an estate house. This is Pat and she’s beautifully portrayed in this artwork by Lexiconic Design.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: May 8th 2019 by KJC Books
Original Title Proper English
ISBN 139781912688104
Edition Language English
SeriesThink of England

An Ali G Release Day Review: Love Conventions by Morgan James

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

A happy ending worthy of a TV fantasy… in real life?

Ashland Wells is an actor of sci-fi cult fame but with little direction for the future, when handsome grad student Remy Beaumont lands in his lap at a fan convention. Remy is everything Ash ever wanted and wished he could be—including out and proud. For twelve hours they’re the best of friends. But the convention ends, and saying goodbye to Remy might be the biggest mistake Ash has ever made.

A few months later, they’re reunited on a new production—Ash as an actor, Remy a writer—and though Ash doesn’t plan to let him go twice, being with Remy means going public about being gay. He’s not sure that’s a risk he—or his career—can handle, no matter how great the temptation.

If only they could write themselves the romantic happily ever after they both need.

This was a good story.  Ash and Remy hit it off from the get go and when they meet by chance again they actually get the chance to know each other.  When they see each other again a few months later it seems like fate.

I enjoyed this story and felt like I was right there watch these two navigate their relationship but just felt their communication often felt stilted or non-existent.  That and the constant switching of words (i.e. series vs seasons), even in the same conversations left me re-reading more often than I would have liked to make sure I knew what was going on.  The ending was a bit sudden but it looks like they were able to work it all out.

The cover art by Alexandria Corza is alright and gives a visual of Ash, though I saw him as more gruff than that.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 248 pages

Published: May 7, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-728-0

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: A New Leash on Life by Deirdre O’Dare

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Beaten by the IT recession, Justin has come back to his hometown where he’s inherited a small house from his mother. Surely Barry, his old crush and sometime nemesis, is long gone. Jobs are scarce, so impulsively Justin seeks to buy into a pet grooming business. But when he has to visit the local bank for a loan, who sits behind the big desk but Barry?

Justin’s appearance jolts Barry out of his miserable rut of a life. What if they were to pick up where a brief boyhood attraction abruptly ended? Then his mother’s sudden stroke throws his whole life into a tumbled ruin.

Juggling business and pleasure can be a complex, risky endeavor. Will Justin resist Barry’s charms and flee again, or will fate give them a new leash on life?

Another story that just did not work for me and I don’t think it’s a good omen when I feel like I have to force myself to finish a book around 50 pages.  Justin is going back to his hometown in a last ditch effort to survive since losing his job.  Barry has been living his life per his mother’s wishes for so long that seeing his boyhood crush seems to throw him out of his mundane life.

These two seem to have the lingering lust from their teens but other than that they don’t do anything to actually be in a relationship.  They both ran as teens in fear of being gay but the way Barry just assumes and kinda forces himself to be in Justin’s lifealong with his attitude didn’t endear himself to me.  His attitude about finding out he was adopted didn’t help me like him anymore.  Justin just seems to let himself be led by Barry in some ways and though he kinda stands up for himself at one point it doesn’t last long.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs has a nice visual of Justin and his dog.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 16,988 words

Published: March 23, 2019 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634867610

Edition Language: English

Morgan James on Characters and his new release Love Conventions (guest blog)

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Love Conventions by Morgan James

Dreamspinner Press
Published May 7th 2019
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Morgan James today on tour for the new release Love Conventions.  Welcome, Morgan!

✒︎

As I pondered what to write for this blog post, I did some searching. Not soul searching, but topic searching. As I considered the many suggestions, one topic leapt out at me for this book like it might not have for another—How much of yourself goes into a character?

Like many aspects of my writing process and questions about it, the shortest and simplest answer for this will always be “It depends.” For example, the slutty, party-happy competitive hockey player Dante Baltiera from my work Winging It doesn’t have much of me at all. Though his love interest, Gabe, certainly inherited my need for privacy and a low profile.

But when it comes to Love Conventions, the short answer has to be “Quite a lot actually.”

I find it somewhat challenging to craft a character that doesn’t want to lean towards introspection and catastrophizing and away from partying and risk-taking. Well, some of the time.

Sometimes the creative process is slow and aggravating and a struggle every step of the way. And sometimes it’s easy and happens almost without conscious thought.

Ash was like that. Ash was the sort of character who came to me fully formed—well, except for the red hair, or the beard, or the being Scottish, those details were all surprises mid-work that required back editing for continuity. Ash was always a shy giant who wanted a quiet life but somehow stumbled into fame.

And that is me in Ash—shy, quiet, happy to let others steal the spotlight, and yet wanting to pursue a creative career that practically demands one hog it. But it’s not just some of my more introverted traits that Ash took. He also took my love of reading and all things sci-fi and geeky.

From the first page of the first draft, Ash wasn’t just part of the sci-fi world because he’d acted in it, but also because he’d loved it. Ash’s Doctor Who obsession was one of the first character-building details he offered up, and the role it plays in his life has always been a focal point for his character. The fact that his love for the show connected him to family, that it helped him define himself in social spaces, and that it made him feel a kinship with con-goers are all essential to who he is—and as I write it out here, the parallels to my own life grow more and more clear.

Of course, as I ponder this question about my writing, I wouldn’t want to leave Remy (the love interest) out of the equation. Remy is less like me—he is a risk-taker, he’s a “jump in first with both feet and then wonder about the consequences later” sort—but Remy also shares my love of all things geek, and unlike Ash, his personal experiences with fandom culture more closely resemble my own.

But of course, if Remy was also too much like me, then he wouldn’t be a good match for Ash. So, it’s probably all for the best that my answer to the question “How much of me is in each character?” will always be “It depends.”

Blurb

A happy ending worthy of a TV fantasy… in real life?

Ashland Wells is an actor of sci-fi cult fame but with little direction for the future, when handsome grad student Remy Beaumont lands in his lap at a fan convention. Remy is everything Ash ever wanted and wished he could be—including out and proud. For twelve hours they’re the best of friends. But the convention ends, and saying goodbye to Remy might be the biggest mistake Ash has ever made.

A few months later, they’re reunited on a new production—Ash as an actor, Remy a writer—and though Ash doesn’t plan to let him go twice, being with Remy means going public about being gay. He’s not sure that’s a risk he—or his career—can handle, no matter how great the temptation.

If only they could write themselves the romantic happily ever after they both need.

Dreamspun Desires #81, 196 pages

About the Author

Morgan James is a clueless (older) millennial, who’s still trying to figure out what she’ll be when she grows up but is enjoying the journey to get there. Now, with a couple of degrees, a few stints in Europe, and more than one false start to a career, she eagerly waits to see what’s next. Morgan started writing fiction before she could spell and wrote her first (unpublished) novel in middle school. She hasn’t stopped writing since. Geek, artist, and fangirl, Morgan tends to pass free hours with imaginary worlds and people on pages and screens—it’s an addiction. As is her love of coffee and tea. She lives in Canada with her massive collection of unread books and acts the personal servant of too many four-legged creatures.

https://twitter.com/MorganJames71

 

Looking for New Contemporary Romances? Check Out the Release Blitz for The #lovehim Series Box Set by S. M. James (excerpt and giveaway)

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 RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The #lovehim Series Box Set

Author: S. M. James

Publisher: May Books

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Release Date: May 4, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s:  Friends to lovers, mild hurt/comfort

Themes:  Coming out, friendship, family, chronic illness, internalised homophobia

Heat Rating:  1-2 flames

Length: 290 000 words/ 1,000 pages

Box Set of three books and three short stories

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

Six stories. Three couples. One perfect kind of love.

Blurb

Read the first three books in the #lovehim series and their short stories. 

That Feeling When 

A summer camp romance where a bi actor and a closeted ballet dancer are blackmailed into keeping their relationship a secret.

No Big Deal 

In the meet cute to To Be Honest, Angus finally gets a roommate … and a big, fat crush.

To Be Honest 

Angus and his adorkable roommate Tyler, embark on a cross country road trip to confront Angus’s catfisher. 

For The Win 

The meet cute for In Case You Missed It, Brooks agrees to one non-date with Darien because they’ll never see each other again … right?

In Case You Missed It 

Love is supposed to be simple, but Brook’s secret will put their relationship to the test. 

PLUS A BONUS NOVELLA NOT YET RELEASED

In Real Life 

The sequel to That Feeling When, where Archie and Landon visit Australia and try to make their relationship work amidst judgmental family and pushy exes.

Excerpt (From No Big Deal)

I groan and give him a playful shove, not able to resist touching him, but it just makes the urge to do it again worse. “I think I’ll manage.”

I’ll manage because I don’t even watch the end. I watch Tyler from the corner of my eye. The way his chest expands with each breath, the way he scratches his nose, or rubs his arm. I catch everything.

I really need to get out of here, to put some distance between us, but I can’t. I don’t want to, which is the really messed up part.

The movie ends with that same song that’s played through the whole thing and instead of choosing another, or returning to his own side of the room, Tyler rolls onto his side, legs hanging off the bed, and tucks a pillow up under his arm.

“Okay, if you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?”

I shift around so I’m facing him and try to be subtle about putting distance between us again. I lean back on my hands, my knees filling the void between us. “Tokyo.”

“Huh. I didn’t picture you for a big city guy.”

I shrug and nod at him. “Same question.”

“The Central Library in Vancouver. Reason one.” He holds up his thumb. “I get to visit another country without having to fly, reason two.” He holds up his forefinger. “I could spend my life there and never read all the books they have. Plus it looks like the Colosseum. Which I’ll never see. Because I hate planes.”

“You’re afraid of flying?” It’s my turn to try and hold back a laugh.

“I happen to have a healthy appreciation for how much it would hurt to plummet to my death.”

“Okay so what do you like?”

He considers the question for a moment. “Quesadillas, marine life, old school computer games … and you.” He shrugs like what he said was no big deal. Just a random list.

I try not to hide how awkwardly I swallow. “I guess you’re pretty cool too.”

He lets my lame reciprocation go. “So football … do you actually love it? Or is it one of those things where you tried it, you were good, and Mom and Dad were so proud you couldn’t give it up for fear of disappointing them?”

“Wow. That was oddly specific. Umm … no. It’s one of the ‘I’m an only child and my mom’s dead so Dad is proud of anything I do’ things.”

“Oh.” Tyler’s eyebrows jump up and it’s weird to see him caught by surprise. “I shouldn’t have pried.”

“Don’t worry about it. I was young, I barely remember her.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“No. Trust me, if I do, I won’t be much fun for the rest of the day. I mean … it’s hard to miss something you never had. And, well, it makes me feel a bit guilty.”

Tyler’s looking at me with so much sympathy it’s kind of hard to look away from. He reaches out and gives the spot just above my knee a squeeze. I feel it all the way up my leg.

“Okay, how many guys have you hooked up with?” He’s trying to take my mind off it and I’m so grateful.

“Umm … two. The first was the summer before I came out. It was kind of a confirmation, I guess. Sloppy and rushed. The second …” I rub at my mouth to try and hide the smile. “The second was last Christmas break. Dad and I went to a Christmas party with some of his work friends. I didn’t know the guy, and I know I’ll never see him again, and I think that’s what made it so hot.” I nod at him again. “Same question.”

“How many guys have I hooked up with? I can honestly say zero.” He catches my eye with a grin. “Sorry, Angus.”

He gets a laugh from me. “If you ever want to try it, you know where to find me.” I don’t know what makes me say the words but I immediately regret it. Maybe repressing my sexuality for so long isn’t the best idea.

“Noted.”

“Obviously I meant girls, you idiot.”

“In that case.” He frowns as he thinks. “Also zero.”

“No way.”

“I know. I struggle to believe it myself.”

“Do you ever get lonely?” I’m not sure where the question comes from.

Tyler’s serious when he answers. “Only all of the time. Mom and Dad are super busy, and I don’t really have any friends.”

“Except me.”

He lets loose his smile, all teeth and squinty eyes. “Except you.”

“It’s very possible you’re my only actual guy friend too. At least, the only one who doesn’t see me as the gay kid.”

“What do you mean?”

“I just have so be so careful around people. Honestly, it gets pretty exhausting, but it’s safer. Like, I can’t joke around with my teammates in case they think I’m coming on to them or something. I mean, I’m not an idiot, I wouldn’t set myself up to fail by falling for a straight guy.”

“Yet you just offered to hook up with me.”

My stomach clenches and he starts to laugh but I’m kind of uneasy about it. I’d meant it as a joke—obviously—but to him … it had been too easy to say.

About the Author

S. M. James writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters.

While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.

​​Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBTQ characters.

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Instagram

BookBub

Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a $20 gift card or one of two eBooks of the box set

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RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

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Review Tour and Giveaway for Wounded Soul by Annabelle Jacobs

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Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2XQCbgv

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2J1E19X

Universal Link: books2read.com/WoundedSoul

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

 
Length: 89,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

One night can change everything…


Jesse Sykes has lived far longer than his youthful appearance suggests. Becoming a vampire after tragedy struck seemed the only option when his soul was shattered, after all he’s no stranger to having to hide what he is from the rest of the world. But eternal life isn’t without problems or heartache.


With a good job and great friends, Ian Moreton’s life would be almost perfect—if only he wasn’t in love with his best friend. His feelings are unrequited, and in an effort to move on, he takes a chance on a one-night stand with the handsome stranger he meets in a bar.


Jesse knows the risks of becoming attached to a human, but with neither of them looking for anything serious, where’s the harm? At least, that’s what Jesse thinks until his chemistry with Ian proves off the charts.


A second hook-up solidifies their connection…and brings Jesse to his senses. He scrambles to protect Ian from danger, but it’s already too late. With Ian unwittingly drawn into a world he knows nothing about, events are set in motion that will change both of their lives forever, and it’s up to Jesse to steer them safely through it.

 

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AJacobs_fiction
Website – www.annabellejacobs.com
Email – ajacobsfiction@gmail.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ajacobsfiction

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Check out Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words review here.  We definitely recommend it.