A Stella Review: If You’re Going Through Hell Keep Going (Mann of My Dreams #1) by Tinnean

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Mark Vincent, spy with the Washington Bureau of Intelligence and Security, has become the lover of Quinton Mann, spook with the CIA. With what’s going on in both their organizations, can two such diverse men maintain any kind of relationship?

Mark Vincent and Quinton Mann have finally kind of, sort of, exchanged promises. Mark has returned from an assignment on the West Coast, and he’s looking forward to spending some quality time with his lover. After all, it’s the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. What could be better than a little beer, a little corned beef on rye, and Quinn in his bed?

However, on Monday it’s back to the grind—this time to an almost empty department: Matheson is away on assignment and Ms. Parker, Mark’s secretary, is taking sick time, something she never does. But these aren’t the only signs of something unusual, well, more unusual than normal, going on. Gradually, Mark uncovers a series of events going back to the previous spring and involving not only his senior special agent but Theo Bascopolis, a former rent boy who is Mark’s friend.

While Mark unravels the threads of the Gordian knot the WBIS has become, he realizes how deep his feelings for Quinn have grown. But can a spy like Mark ever hope to be “the one” for a spook like Quinn?

I first met Mark Vincent when I read The Light in Your Eyes some years ago, I fell in love with Theo and Will, but I have to admit the character of Mark intrigued me a lot. Although the Mann of My Dreams series doesn’t let me know how Mark met his Quinton, I didn’t have problems to see how amazing they were and how deep their relationship was. Sure they worked in two very different worlds, two enemies, it was hard to spend time together, they were always caught in some dangerous mission. Still their own little time was precious, I adored every single scene. But I found interesting their calls too, and all the measured words and gestures they shared.

Plus the author did a wonderful job at keeping me updated, with all the lovely second characters she showed me, with all the previous missions the MCs did. I’m not a huge fan of the use of a single POV, in this case it was just Mark’s, it always feels like I’m missing something. Not this time, even hearing only Mark’s thoughts, I was able to know how in love Quinn was, how ready he was too to make a step forward in their life.

I can’t wait to read the next installment in this series and see where the author will lead these men.

Cover art seems better suited to a supernatural story than to this one.  Not a fan.

SALE LINKS JMS Books LLC | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook 337 pages

Publishing date July 31 2019 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781310203404

Edition Language English

Series Mann of My Dreams #1

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Winter’s Knight (New Amsterdam #2) by Kelly Wyre

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

If you want a continuation of Clark and Daniel from book one, there is a short story numbered 1.1. This second book in the series actually gives more details on the backstory of how clubs Bliss and Break came to be. There is finally more shown about Clark’s side job with Lucien, complete with glimpses of Lucien and Clark’s complicated relationship as friends, business owners, and employee/employer, which help address one criticism I had for book one. Apparently they are not just bar owners, but they and their friends/employees have formed a vigilante group bent on taking down a BDSM club involved in the skin trade, run by the mob.

Lucien hasn’t seen his friend Shea for three years, since he quit his job and vanished. Lucian has kept tabs on him and he seemed alright: maybe just dropped out of the rat race to sidestep the expectations of his family. This had some amazing parts, and then had things that just didn’t work for me. Lucian is in love with him, yet stops talking to him? It’s weird that Lucian just decides to finally ask Shea out on a date under these circumstances. One thing that confused me was how close Lucian seems to Shea’s family, and how Shea is supposedly close to his family, yet when Shea just stops going home, no one goes to see him? He built his house on the family property! The author tries, unsuccessfully in my opinion, to explain this away. Could Shea really stay hidden just by selling his things and changing his job? His parents go to society and charity galas; could Shea really be that much of an unknown quantity with the mob looking for him?

They have known each other since they were six, so the three years apart helps separate the love of a childhood friend from the love for an adult. This unravels slowly, the reader working out the story of Shea from Lucien’s point of view. Shea has a country accent at the beginning, fine since he grew up on a farm, albeit a wealthy successful one. Yet, at times he is very loquacious. At first it seemed to only be pretty protocol speech when they Scene, but then it fades in and out at other times also. Yes, he is well educated, but it just doesn’t seem to me like this character ever found a consistent voice. I struggled with Lucian as well. Some of his dialogue is so pretentious, “and thus you please me greatly,” not just when they Scene, but all the time. Yes, they call him Prince, and he plays that up, but…at times his words still seemed forced, awkward, and highly stylized–like he was trying too hard to be posh. This too is weakly explained away by, a lisp? My theory is that the author is too caught up in dichotomy, but opposite sides to everyone doesn’t always translate into successfully making them complex characters.

This becomes about taking down the bad guys in military mode with guns and state of the art equipment. Though, Lucian is aware of his “arrogant insanity at orchestrating such chaos.” Although dubcon and murder are mentioned, they happened previous to the events in this book and are not described. There is, however, on page torture. I couldn’t help but think of the Unbreakable Bonds series by Drake and Elliot, so if you liked those, you might like this, but the sense of closeness, of friends as family, is not quite realized. Lucien’s father is a corrupt politician with ties to the mob, so although Shea’s storyline finds resolution here, there could be more bad guys for the vigilante friends to go after in the future. Yet, they also introduce a criminal named Kris Fawkes with the enemy of my enemy is my friend type of scenario.

The sex scenes here are tempered a bit at the beginning due to Shea’s past trauma, which is actually very effective. It’s when the BDSM becomes more involved that I think it falls down. “Shea had to trust that what he longed for wouldn’t harm him so long as he did it with the man who claimed to love him.” This needed more deft handling. So, for me the erotic parts where a mixed bag. Since this is a romance, I’m going to judge it on that part of the book, more so than anything else, and even relying on a shared history, this didn’t sparkle where it could have.

The cover design by Natasha Snow matches the series, but I have no idea what this cover is about.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:Kindle Edition, 183 pages
Published September 8th 2019 by JMS Books LLC (first published April 2012)
Original Title Winter’s Knight
ASINB07XD9162C
Series New Amsterdam #2

A MelanieM Review : A Thousand Lifetimes by Kate Hawthorne

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 6

My name is Ezra Clarke, and I’m twenty-three.

Forever.

If you’re counting in vampire years, I’m actually two-hundred and eight, and if living that long has taught me anything, it’s that nothing lasts forever. And that’s been fine. It’s… whatever. I’ve never wanted anything that long, anyway, which is why I’ve never taken a mate, but that all changed when I met Declan Byrne.

He’s young, handsome, and he doesn’t do what I tell him to. He smells like cinnamon and has eyes that remind me of the daytime sky. Every kiss we share feels like home, and no touch lasts long enough.

I need him to be mine.

And for the briefest moment he is, and life is perfect… and then it isn’t. Rogue vampires threaten to pull us apart, and complicated politics are painful reminders that a world exists beyond our privacy of our bedroom.

But if anyone thinks they can keep me away from Declan, they have another thing coming. My mate and I have a thousand lifetimes to live, and we’re just getting started

A Thousand Lifetimes by Kate Hawthorne is a story that has me waffling on the rating.  I go up on certain elements and down on others, falling smack dab in the middle where I”m still not sure it belongs.   It is the first novel by this author I have read.  The reader sort of falls into the story where Ezra has already turned Declan into a vampire, so there is a somewhat established relationship.  It’s a bit confusing because what the reader is missing is any sort of universe building.

Vampire family structure, politics, how they and the humans interact, if at all in this world.  All that comes into play and any information is gleaned is in bits and pieces as the story builds.  To say, that leaves the reader floundering a bit would be correct.  When the huge fights and story resolution comes, you finally get some of the structure you should have had all along.  But a foundation? No, I can’t say I ever felt I got any.  It’s all rather vague.  Which is alarming because so much of the heavy narrative lifting depends of the impact of the political activity here.  To not understand it, takes away the value of the actions.

My other concern?  The main character of Ezra.  Hawthorne has built some intriguing characters here, ones I did or do believe in.  I especially wanted to know more about Ezra’s vampire family  (mother and father) and brother.  That relationship needing further exploration and held my interests more than Ezra and Declan.  And with far less page time.  For me (and this is absolutely a subjective view), I never liked Ezra.  As the narrator of the story, he was just plain unappealing.  His actions felt selfish and self involved to the point of endangering the family.  And at one point he commits an act that for me is one he never recovers from, a shocking case of cowardice and betrayal.  Believable? Yes.  But it made me dislike him all the more and care less about the couple.

So.  Well done characters, interesting story that certainly needed more foundation.  I’m intrigued enough to hope that another story with the family trio comes along.  As I said you might feel differently about Ezra.  If you love vampire stories, check it out and see for yourself.

Cover art is certainly dramatic but he looks more like a mentalist than a vampire.  At least to me.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published October 3rd 2019 by Amazon Digital Services
ASIN B07XYJHRQ5
Edition Language English

Love a Supernatural Romance? Check Out the Blog Tour for A Thousand Lifetimes by Kate Hawthorne (guest blog, excerpt and giveaway)

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A Thousand Lifetimes - Kate Hawthorne

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kate Hawthorne here to talk about her new release A Thousand Lifetimes.  Welcome, Kate.

✒︎

Writing Ezra and Declan was a lot of fun because Ezra really is terribly broody. He’s been without a long term partner the entire time he’s been a vampire (over two-hundred years), and all he sees are the downsides to what his life has become. Then, he meets Declan, who is absolutely thrilled with the turn of events, including his intense connection and attraction to Ezra.

I’ve realized one thing I really like to write about, whether it’s contemporary or paranormal is star-gazing. I know that’s such a weird kind of thing to have your characters be into, but I think there’s something to be said for being out in nature with your partner and realizing how vast the universe is and how small you are in comparison. I have a lot of characters star gaze, and Declan and Ezra actually have another conversation later in the book about all the stars Ezra wants Declan to see. While lying on his back. Getting laid.

In the below excerpt, they’re on their first proper date, and they’re playing the good old get to know you game. They’ve gone through favorite colors and movies, and things are about to get real.

I sigh, “How old are you, even?”

“Twenty-three. Well, almost. My birthday is in six weeks.”

Fuck. I’ve cursed him to an eternity of being twenty-two.

“What day?”

“Thursday. June seventeenth.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Enough. When is your birthday?”

“February ninth.”

“Is that, like, when you were born born, or when you were turned? Is that what it’s called? Turned, right?”

“That’s my actual birthday. I don’t celebrate the day I was turned.” 

“Ezra, I’ve got to be honest.” Declan pulls his legs up onto the bench and he sits cross-legged so he can look at me. “You’re really fucking broody. I get the whole vampire aesthetic, but you’ve got to relax a little.” 

“It’s difficult for me to believe that you’re so okay with what’s happening.” 

“Why wouldn’t I be?” He jumps up and spins in a circle with his arms in the air. He drops his head back and stares at the sky and I know from experience he can still make out every single star and galaxy up there. He spins and spins, then comes to a stop and drops to his knees at my feet. He’s smiling up at me so wide, with all these straight white teeth and his bright blue eyes, and I thread my fingers together behind his neck and box him in between my legs. 

“I didn’t have anything before I met you,” he whispers. “And you’ve given me the entire world, Ezra. How do you not see that?” 

 

 

 

Kate Hawthorne has a new MM paranormal romance out: “A Thousand Lifetimes.”

My name is Ezra Clarke, and I’m twenty-three.

Forever.

If you’re counting in vampire years, I’m actually two-hundred and eight, and if living that long has taught me anything, it’s that nothing lasts forever. And that’s been fine. It’s… whatever. I’ve never wanted anything that long, anyway, which is why I’ve never taken a mate, but that all changed when I met Declan Byrne.

He’s young, handsome, and he doesn’t do what I tell him to. He smells like cinnamon and has eyes that remind me of the daytime sky. Every kiss we share feels like home, and no touch lasts long enough.

I need him to be mine.

And for the briefest moment he is, and life is perfect… and then it isn’t. Rogue vampires threaten to pull us apart, and complicated politics are painful reminders that a world exists beyond our privacy of our bedroom.

But if anyone thinks they can keep me away from Declan, they have another thing coming. My mate and I have a thousand lifetimes to live, and we’re just getting started.

Get It On Amazon


Giveaway

Kate is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

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Excerpt

A Thousand Lifetimes meme

The whole drive back to the house, Declan smiles at me like I’ve given him all of his Christmas presents a day early. It’s unreal, the way it makes hope and want and happiness bloom inside a place that’s sat vacant for two centuries.  As soon as we get out of the car, he’s at my side, lacing our fingers together and he presses against me like he wants to be attached, and I don’t hate it. The way Declan acts around me makes me feel like I’m bigger than I am, like maybe I didn’t do such a bad thing after all.

I unlock the front door and hear clinking glassware from down the hallway. My parents are up, obviously. I want to pull Declan upstairs because I’m not ready to share him yet. I only want him to be mine and I want this time to be ours. Just for one more night.

That’s a lie.

A lot more nights.

I want at least four more years of nights before I need to worry about whatever my parents are about to unload on us.

“Ezra,” my father calls from the dining room, and the hope inside of me plummets into the floor.

“We’re going upstairs,” I answer.

“Ezra.” This time it’s my mother and I curse them both under my breath because they know I can’t say no to her. I’ve never been able to.

“It’s okay,” Declan whispers against my neck. “I hope they like me.”

I turn and cup his face in my hands, and I’m pretty sure it’s impossible for someone to not like him. He’s perfection.

I nod and lead him into the dining room where he stands nervously half a step behind me. My mom gets up and comes around the table and looks at me like I’ve done something wonderful. She has this proud smile on her face and her eyes shift to look at Declan.

“And who are you?” she asks in this soothing way she has about her. She’s trying to get him to relax, and I equal parts appreciate it and hate it.

“I’m Declan,” he answers, staying still. “Declan Byrne.”

“Old name.”

“That’s what Ezra said.”

Her lips twitch into a smile. “How are you feeling, Declan? Let’s come and sit down.”

She returns to her seat at the table and we both follow. Declan slips into the chair he sat at earlier, and I take mine. My parents both have drinks in front of them, and my mom asks if we want anything. Declan reaches over and grabs my thigh, his fingertips treacherously close to my sac.

“I’m alright for now, thank you,” he says.

“Declan, these are my parents, Birdie and William Clarke.”

“It’s nice to meet you.”

“How are you fairing, then?” my mother asks again. She slides her hand across the table, palm up, and my father tangles their fingers together.

“Fine, I think.”

“He’s fine,” I answer. “We’re both fine.”

“You, darling, were far from fine when it was your time. Have things changed so much now that such a life changing experience can be so well-received?” my mother says, and I bristle at the insinuation. I reach beneath the table and take Declan’s hand.

“Our circumstances weren’t comparable,” I whisper, clearing my throat when the words catch. I don’t want to have this conversation.

“I really am doing okay,” Declan interjects. “I think it will be an adjustment, obviously. But it’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”

A wave of fear and disgust washes over me and I blink Declan into focus. He’s looking across the table at my mother, but there’s no doubt we’re feeling the same way. I grip his hand tighter, and hope he knows that he has me now, and whatever happened to him in the past won’t ever happen again.

“I’m sure Ezra has told you the basics, yes?” My father finally speaks up.

“No sun. No food. No silver.”

“I assume since you’ve turned the two of you have… been intimate?” He looks properly embarrassed, and I wonder what he would have looked like if he could blush.

“Yes,” I answer.

“Was there… a blood exchange?”

“Yes,” I bite out.

“Good. The mate bond is sealed.”

“What now?” I cock my head to the side.

“Once the mate is turned, the bond is there, but it’s weak until it’s sealed with a blood exchange. If you’ve done that, the bond is sealed.”

“Why haven’t you ever told me that before?”

“I honestly never expected you to take a mate, Ezra,” my mother answers, taking her hand out of my fathers and folding them together neatly in front of her.

“You wanted to go to Hawaii,” I grumble.

“You’re such a wonderful boy.”

“I can hear his thoughts,” Declan blurts out. “Is that normal?”

My mother raises an eyebrow and shoots a quick glance at my father. “Sometimes.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means there’re different degrees.” He waves his hand in the air with a small flourish. “Sometimes the bond between mates is stronger, more solid.”

“Like soul mates,” my mother supplies.

“Soul mates?” I ask

“What else is there?” Declan speaks over me, and my parents ignore my question for his.

“It’s a list,” my mother laughs. “It varies, I think. Some of it develops over time, some never. Like William said, it varies.”

“What kinds of things though?”

“I don’t think that’s appropriate dinner conversation.”

“I’ve had dinner.” Declan shoots a challenging look across the table.


Author Bio

Kate Hawthorne

Born and raised in Southern California, Kate Hawthorne woke up one day and realized she had stories worth sharing. Now existing on a steady diet of wine and coffee, Kate writes stories about complicated men in love that are sometimes dirty, but always sweet. She enjoys crafting hard-fought and well deserved happy endings with just the right amount of angst and kink.

From estate sale shopping to shoe worship, there’s something in at least one of her books that’ll tickle your fancy. Visit her website at http://www.katehawthornebooks.com

Author Website: http://www.katehawthornebooks.com

Author Facebook (Personal): http://facebook.com/katehawthornebooks

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://facebook.com/authorkatehawthorne

Author Twitter: http://twitter.com/katewriteswords

Author Instagram: http://instagram.com/kate.hawthorne

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17636987.Kate_Hawthorne

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kate-Hawthorne/e/B0791M6HFZ/

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Release Blitz and Giveaway for Ready For You (Oahu Lovers #3) by Crystal Lacy

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited 
 
Cover: Crystal Lacy
 
Length: 66,000 words approx.
 
Oahu Lovers Series
 
Book #1 – Brave For You – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
Book #2 – Change For You – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
 
Blurb
 

After mistakenly kissing a straight guy, Reggie expects Shohei to run the other way—not continue their fledgling friendship like nothing happened. Now if only Reggie can stop thinking about how Shohei’s lips tasted.


Shohei has never thought of himself as anything other than straight, but he can’t seem to forget the kiss he shared with Reggie. When Reggie volunteers to help him experiment with his newfound curiosity, he doesn’t resist the temptation.


It’s just a little bit of experimenting between friends, right? 


A geeky, slow burn bisexual awakening MM romance with a HEA and no cliffhangers set in Honolulu, Hawaii.

 

Crystal Lacy lives with her loving family in Hawaii, where it is always either drizzling or sunny and never snows—which is a shame, because she prefers being cold to being damp and hot unless it’s for Very Good Reasons. She writes queer romance, mainly M/M, but also some F/F. She has aspirations to one day write a YA novel about cats.


Crystal is a long-time fangirl and writes slash fanfiction for the Harry Potter and NBC Hannibal fandoms. She has a deep love for fandom culture, and can be frequently spotted on Twitter and Tumblr reblogging pretty fan art.


Join Crystal’s readers group on FB for sneak peeks, bonus content, and ARC opportunities or subscribe her newsletter for monthly book giveaways, recs, news, and more! You can also follow Crystal on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

 

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Cover Reveal for First Priority by Este Holland (excerpt)

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: First Priority

Author: Este Holland

Cover Artist: The Write Designer – Lisa Messegee

Release Date: October 17, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Alpha, nerd

Themes: Overcoming anxiety

Heat Rating: 3.5 flames 

Blurb 

Adam:

Meeting an A-list movie star like Truman James wasn’t part of my life plan, but neither was temporarily living with my bully of a stepbrother. Being hit on by said celebrity definitely hadn’t been planned.

I wasn’t up for wild parties or talking in front of cameras, so why did I find myself answering Truman’s phone calls and texts? Even more confusing, why did I go on a date with the man? 

Beating my social anxiety wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, and avoiding the stubborn actor was even harder, so when I was thrust into the spotlight, there was only one thing I could do…

Run.

Truman:

From the moment I set eyes on Adam Hendrix at my Oscar party, I was enraptured. His sweet demeanor and pretty-boy looks captured my heart from the start, and I refused to let Adam get away. 

I never intended to out Adam to the media, but that’s exactly what I did. So, when the paparazzi began to swarm, I did the only thing I could to protect Adam… I whisked him away to a place no one could get to him.

Safe on the little island I loved, I let my guard down and showed Adam the real me. The one only a few people in the world know.

But will it be enough to make him stay? Will I be enough to make him happy? 

This is a m/m contemporary romance; alpha/nerd; low angst novel. Trigger warning for some bullying. 

Excerpt 

I was in Truman James’s car, driving west to Malibu. I’d only been there twice in my life to go to the beach with some people in college. It was a nice place, and nowhere near my stratosphere of everyday life.

What the hell was I doing there? Was Truman really that pigheaded that he couldn’t take no for an answer? If I thought for one second I’d be able to handle the media or his rich lifestyle, I’d feel like a million bucks. As it was, I felt like a little kid sitting on plastic furniture in Grandma’s formal parlor, not allowed to touch a thing. Truman hadn’t told me not to touch anything; I’d imposed that rule upon myself because I was terrified I’d break some priceless work of art or some expensive piece of electronics.

Stomach aching with nerves, I blurted, “Let’s go somewhere else.”

Truman started at my outburst. “Like where? I’m not exactly inconspicuous.”

I took our general location into consideration. “Turn off at the next exit and head toward Pasadena.”

Truman glanced over at me with a pensive frown.

“What?” I asked.

“It just occurred to me that I really don’t know you very well. Are you planning on putting me in some compromising situation, taking photos, and selling them to the tabloids?” He waited a beat, then gave me a shit-eating grin.

I smacked his arm with the back of my hand. “Very funny.” Although it kind of wasn’t. It wasn’t hard to imagine people doing that to him, and it almost made me feel sorry for him. Almost.

About the Author 

Este Holland is a writer and reader of all things Romance. She’s also a treasure hunter, a word wizard, a lover, and a fighter. She was born and raised in WV, and now lives in Virginia. She works in marketing during the day. She began writing novels in 2012.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram: @este.holland.writer  

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