A Caryn Review: Rise (Dancing with the Lion #2) by Jeanne Reames

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of historical fiction, but I recognize that it is inherently much more difficult to write a historical biography, and especially when the character written about is almost mythical.  As Dr. Reames mentions in her postscript, the information about Alexander is nebulous, contradictory, overlaid with myth and altered by centuries of political changes – there is no way to know the full truth.  Add to that the fact that the society he lived in is also poorly understood and completely foreign to the world we live in today, and writing a book of this scope becomes hugely difficult.  What sources are to be believed?  Which facts or theories will work best with the narrative the author wants to present?

The differences between this book and the first are stark.  Book I was about learning who Alexandros was, how he thought, how his experiences formed his adult character.  There was significantly more attention paid to the relationships he had with his friends, his family, and, of course, Hephaistion.  His military training and its importance to him as a prince was described, as were the wars Phillipos was waging, but the focus was not political at all.  I found it much more character and relationship-driven, which is, of course, what draws me to a book and is my personal preference.

Book II is more about the external factors in Alexandros’ life, and how he reacts to them.  His father presented him with a command during one of the campaigns shortly after the book started when he came of age, and from there Alexandros embarked upon what was to be his career and his life.  Military campaigns, political machinations, conquered territories…  the pace was much faster, allies and enemies were introduced in confusing array, and old friends and acquaintances from the first book changed in how they interacted with the Pellan court.  I have to admit, I got a little overwhelmed and confused, especially because I (sadly) know almost nothing about ancient Greece and Macedonia and their history, and I did not stop to look at the background information the author supplied in separate websites.  I admit to being a little shallow with my books – most of the time I just like to read and let the story soak in, rather than to study it.  I feel that to truly appreciate this book, you would need to either have some knowledge of the era going in, or to commit to studying.

That being said, I did enjoy watching Alexandros grow into his own.  For good or bad, it seemed that his focus on being Phillopos’ heir, and anticipating becoming king, led to increased distance between him and Hephaistion.  They became soldiers and officers primarily, and their relationship, though still close, seemed less romantic.  Less about love, and more about loyalty and reliance.  Which was absolutely necessary, but still a little disappointing to me as a romance reader.

Finally, <SPOILER ALERT>, I was not really prepared for the book to end where it did.  Although I knew this book was “The story of Alexander before he became ‘the Great”” I was surprised that the book ends when Alexandros becomes king at the exact moment of Phillipos’ violent death.  It was more than abrupt, and if another book was in the making, it would have been an excellent stopping place, but I understand this to be the final book in the series.

For those readers who are more knowledgeable about the ancient world, for those that are more interested in the historical facts (as much as they can be known) of the era, and for those that enjoy empire building and intrigue over relationship development, this will be a great read.  For me, it was good, but not great.  The 3 star rating has more to do with what I like personally than it does with the quality of the writing in the book, so I hope those reading this review will take that into account!

Cover art by LC Chase matches the first, but I found it interesting that Hephaistion is the man on the cover rather than Alexander…

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 350 pages
Published October 21st 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Dancing with the Lion: Rise
ISBN139781626499003
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL https://riptidepublishing.com/products/dancing-with-the-lion-rise
SeriesDancing with the Lion #2

A Lucy Review LEGENDARY LOVES Volume 2 (In My Arms Again by Nell Iris The Murky Depths by Kassandra Lea Weekend at Bigfoot’s by Addison Albright

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JMS Books’ Trios are themed collections of three gay romance stories by a trio of authors. Each story is available separately, but readers can get all three for a discounted bundle price.

Legendary Loves Volume 2 contains three paranormal shifter M/M romances just in time for Halloween! Contains the stories:

In My Arms Again by Nell Iris: Oxen is lonely, feeling like he’s waiting for something, and can’t focus. But when a very ill stranger collapses on his doorstep, everything changes. The stranger, Vinge, is a Pegasus unable to transform. Both men feel an instant connection that swiftly grows deeper. The questions surrounding Vinge are many. Why is he so familiar? What will it take for the depth of their connection be revealed?

The Murky Depths by Kassandra Lea: Tired of the daily grind of his job, Keston heads out for a weekend at his family’s cabin in Kona Woods. Turns out he isn’t alone, though, as there are others lurking in the shadows. When a near-death experience brings Ness waltzing into his life, everything Keston thought he knew is turned upside down. Will facing what scares him bring to Keston’s life what it’s missing most?

Weekend at Bigfoot’s by Addison Albright: There’s nothing about perky — twinky? — Oliver Hughes that would make Sensational News’ (Never Fake! We Swear!) reporter Wilson Banks think Bigfoot actually exists. But while pursuing soundbites for a tabloid story about Bigfoot, Wilson witnesses something he wasn’t meant to see. In Wilson’s new reality, is there room for love with someone whose dreams are as big as his … er … feet?

While this is an Anthology Volume, the stories are also sold separately and so are reviewed that way below:

In My Arms Again by Nell Iris

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Trapped in a growing sense of restlessness, Oxen the hunter is lonely. Feeling like he’s waiting for something—or someone—he’s unable to focus on getting ready for winter. But when a handsome and very ill stranger collapses on his doorstep, everything changes.

Vinge is from a Pegasus family but has never been able to transform. As soon as he awakens in Oxen’s care, both men feel an instant connection, which grows deeper as Oxen nurses him back to health. Something profound within each man calls out to the other, but neither knows what it is.

The questions surrounding Vinge and their deepening relationship are many. Why is Vinge so familiar to Oxen when they have clearly never met? Why are they both reluctant to take the first step to a real commitment? And what will it take for the true depth of their connection be revealed?

This novella has sometimes very flowery descriptions in a very old world setting.  Owen has been feeling off- restless and unable to hunt – for weeks.  As if he is waiting for something.  The something comes in the form of a man, Vinge, banging on his cabin door, nearly dead of fever.  As Oxen nurses the man to health, he has the immediate sense of connection and doesn’t understand why. They know each other’s names without being told and they understand what the other is thinking without trying. 

As Vinge heals he shares more of his story with Oxen – he is a Pegasus who was abused and tortured with the consent of his family because he is unable to transform from human.  It was heartrending to know the pain inflicted on him for being different, a happening that occurs every day.

The book is very character driven, with Oxen and Vinge coming together with no issues at all.  There is a meet the villagers moment and Oxen’s neighbors, Thorwald and wife, appear briefly. 

The explanation for the connection between them was rushed and seemed a little tacked on.  I think here the length worked against the fullness of the story. I am a fan of Nell Iris and I will continue to read her work but this one was not a favorite of mine.

The cover, showing Oxen with an overlay of a Pegasus, fit the story very well and conveyed the mood.

Buy Links

 Publisher |  B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

 Murky Depths  by Kassandra Lea

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

While Keston enjoys his occasional video game tournaments with the kid across the hall, he’s grown tired of the daily grind of his job. With a bit of a push from his boss, he heads out for a weekend at his family’s cabin in Kona Woods. A little time away from the hustle and bustle sounds like just the thing he needs.

Turns out he isn’t alone, though, as there are others lurking in the shadows. When a near-death experience brings Ness waltzing into his life, everything Keston thought he knew is turned upside down, and he runs in fear.

But will facing what scares him bring to Keston’s life what it’s missing most?

Keston is just burned out and while he likes his apartment, he’s questioning his job and his life.   He likes his job.  “Being a manager was great, he thrived on leading others and keeping things orderly.”  He has a good apartment with neighbors he gets along with, especially little Molly, his gaming partner, and her mother.  He is close with his parents.  But something is missing. His family has a remote cabin in Kona Woods and he goes there with the idea of rest, relaxation and maybe considering what to do now.

Of course, we all know about best laid plans.  When Keston walks to the lake for a relaxing canoe ride, he ends up falling asleep and wakes in the middle of a terrible storm.  “And while he’d napped, the gloriously calm fall day decided to play a dirty trick on him.” As he tries to get back to shore, he is absolutely sure he is going to die.  “This is where I die.  This is how it all ends.  No more late nights at my desk with the glow of my lamp to keep me company.  No more wheeling and dealing and helping my team.  No more getting my butt beat by a ten-year-old. No chance of love.”  Despite the impossibility of it, he is saved by Ness, a stranger with a Scottish accent. 

This opens Keston’s reality up to something he would never dream of and the connection between he and Ness is powerful.  There are family secrets that need to be uncovered and of course dealing with Biggie.  But those come after Keston’s incredible freak-out upon this new reality and I appreciated that freak out so much.  Faced with facts that turn your world around I thought it was a realistic response.  Terror!

While I loved Molly, the ten-year-old neighbor, she definitely didn’t seem like a child to me.  Perhaps the fact I am a teacher of primary children, but I rolled my eyes a few times at some of her dialogue. “Don’t take too long,” Molly said, getting up.  “We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.”  Despite that, I liked both Molly and Frannie, her mother.  The comments about people questioning why Keston is friends with Molly made me sad, as it would be suspect these days.  Keston is, however, a “…big brother-father-super cool uncle all wrapped into one…”

There were more than a few editing issues, usually the wrong word.  Quit instead of quite, snack for smack, a few added words.  They weren’t enough to drag me from the story but definitely noticeable. 

Things were a little too easy to forecast for me.  As this author is new to me, I will give another book of hers a try, although maybe not a paranormal.

The cover matches the story completely, although it is a total spoiler for the story!

Buy Links

 Publisher |  B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Weekend at Bigfoot’s by Addison Albright
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

It wasn’t supposed to be REAL! Bigfoot doesn’t actually exist. Yetis, shifters, creatures of the night … none of those exist. Right? Right?

There’s nothing about perky — some might even say twinky — Oliver Hughes that would make a skeptic like Sensational News’ (Never Fake! We Swear!) reporter Wilson Banks think otherwise. But while pursuing soundbites for a tabloid story about Bigfoot, Wilson witnesses something he wasn’t meant to see.

In Wilson’s new reality, is there room for love with someone whose dreams are as big as his … er … feet?

In a word: cute. It was a unique take on shifters, in this case, Bigfoot. Wilson is a reporter for a National Enquirer type newspaper, the Sensational News. Despite this, he has standards on what he reports. He won’t lie or make up “news”. When he is sent to Tallbear to track down a Bigfoot sighting, he is annoyed but ready to give it his best. He won’t do slasher stories, but finds a way to make it interesting. “I’m going to include statements from people who insist they’ve seen Bigfoot, but I think the slant my story might take will be on the dangers of becoming too obsessed with proving it.” Wilson decides to focus his story on these dangers of obsession with Bigfoot when the death of an elderly woman, Ida, caused by a trap put out to snare Bigfoot, comes to his attention.

He meets Oliver, “Oliver Hughes, aka ‘Bigfoot’” and falls instantly in lust with the sparkly, dark-haired twink. Oliver works for the bed and breakfast his sister owns, which happens to be the place Wilson is staying, as well as being a very talented graphic designer. It turns out that Ida was the aunt of Oliver and his sister, Lena.

Wilson really does come across as a fair reporter. He believes that most of the people he interviews about Bigfoot truly believe the stories they tell him. Emma, who saw Bigfoot fifty years ago and has stuck with her story ever since, and even Harold, the man who set the bear trap that killed Ida. He is respectful when he interviews and people open up to him.

Wilson and Oliver begin a weekend fling and Wilson is so enamored with the colorful Oliver, waxing poetic about his eyes. Oliver himself is adorable. “You don’t need to be nervous.” Oliver’s tone was amused. “I’m a sure thing, yet no hard feelings if you’d rather not.” They laugh a lot together.

The “… something he wasn’t meant to see” from the blurb comes at the end of the book and even though you easily guess what is going to happen, it was fun and funny. I liked the book, an easy, fun trip through the tabloids.

The cover, featuring Oliver amid a rainbow background, fit the story very well.

Buy Links

 Publisher |  B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Sales Links to Legendary Loves Vol 2:

Buy Links

The books will all be 20% off at the publisher’s site through October 25.

Legendary Loves, Volume 2

 Publisher |  B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Z7G17JM/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07Z7G17JM/

Book Details For Legendary Loves:

ebook
Published October 19th 2019 by JMS Books, LLC
ISBN139781646561186
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL https://www.jms-books.com/contemporary-c-29_93/legendary-loves-volume-2-p-2978.html

An Alisa Review: For a Unicorn’s Happiness (Legendary Shifters #2) by Catherine Lievens

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Toby has known little more than loneliness since he was taken from his home and his family was killed. He’s a prisoner, forced to heal the members of the gang that bought him from the men who kidnapped him.

Until he’s not.

Camden didn’t expect to find out that Sam’s brother, the brother who was sold to a gang, is his mate. He’s not sure where to go from here. Toby is understandably wary and cautious, and most of the time, he won’t let Camden close enough to talk to him. Camden doesn’t have a problem giving him the time and space he needs, but they might not have much of it.

When the envoy from another pack arrives and demands Camden give up one of the unicorn shifters, Camden refuses, even though he knows the Rosewood pack doesn’t stand a chance. The pack is small, and its members aren’t warriors. He’s not about to give Toby or Sam up, but he has no idea how his people are going to deal with this—or if they’ll make it out alive.

Another enjoyable story.  Toby and Camden slowly start to navigate a friendship and then a relationship.  I don’t know something about this story just seemed to drag and I had a hard time keeping with it.

I felt that the drama with the Springfield pack was drawn out and the in between was Camden trying to figure out how to keep Toby and Sam safe and Toby worrying about trusting people.  I really liked the two brothers that came to help and like that they will continue to be around since one of them found his mate.  I’ll continue to read this series and I like this author though at times the writing can be very predictable.

I like the cover art by Angela Waters and the visuals for the characters.

Sales Links: eXtasy Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 161 pages

Published: September 20, 2019 by eXtasy Books

ISBN: 9781487426255

Edition Language: English

Series: Legendary Shifters #2

Release Blitz – LEGENDARY LOVES Volume 2

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RELEASE BLITZ

Collection Title: Legendary Loves Volume 2

Publisher: JMS Books, LLC

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Length:  71 700 words 

Release Date: October 19, 2019

Add on Goodreads

 

Blurb

JMS Books’ Trios are themed collections of three gay romance stories by a trio of authors. Each story is available separately, but readers can get all three for a discounted bundle price.

Legendary Loves Volume 2 contains three paranormal shifter M/M romances just in time for Halloween!

It contains these stories:

In My Arms Again by Nell Iris: Oxen is lonely, feeling like he’s waiting for something, and can’t focus. But when a very ill stranger collapses on his doorstep, everything changes. The stranger, Vinge, is a Pegasus unable to transform. Both men feel an instant connection that swiftly grows deeper. The questions surrounding Vinge are many. Why is he so familiar? What will it take for the depth of their connection be revealed?

The Murky Depths by Kassandra Lea: Tired of the daily grind of his job, Keston heads out for a weekend at his family’s cabin in Kona Woods. Turns out he isn’t alone, though, as there are others lurking in the shadows. When a near-death experience brings Ness waltzing into his life, everything Keston thought he knew is turned upside down. Will facing what scares him bring to Keston’s life what it’s missing most?

Weekend at Bigfoot’s by Addison Albright: There’s nothing about perky — twinky? — Oliver Hughes that would make Sensational News’ (Never Fake! We Swear!) reporter Wilson Banks think Bigfoot actually exists. But while pursuing soundbites for a tabloid story about Bigfoot, Wilson witnesses something he wasn’t meant to see. In Wilson’s new reality, is there room for love with someone whose dreams are as big as his … er … feet?

 

Buy Links

The books will all be 20% off at the publisher’s site through October 25.

Legendary Loves, Volume 2

 Publisher |  B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Z7G17JM/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07Z7G17JM/

 

 

BOOK 1

Book Title: In My Arms Again

Author: Nell Iris

Publisher: JMS Books, LLC

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Length: 21 809 words 

Release Date: October 19, 2019

Genre/sM/M Historical Paranormal Fantasy Gay Romance

Trope/s: Soulmates, age difference, hurt/comfort

Themes: Finding your soulmate, reunited, family conflict, acceptance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links

 Publisher |  B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Two strangers. An unexpected familiarity. Instant connection.

Blurb 

Trapped in a growing sense of restlessness, Oxen the hunter is lonely. Feeling like he’s waiting for something—or someone—he’s unable to focus on getting ready for winter. But when a handsome and very ill stranger collapses on his doorstep, everything changes.

Vinge is from a Pegasus family but has never been able to transform. As soon as he awakens in Oxen’s care, both men feel an instant connection, which grows deeper as Oxen nurses him back to health. Something profound within each man calls out to the other, but neither knows what it is.

The questions surrounding Vinge and their deepening relationship are many. Why is Vinge so familiar to Oxen when they have clearly never met? Why are they both reluctant to take the first step to a real commitment? And what will it take for the true depth of their connection be revealed?

 

Excerpt  

His eyes are still closed when I kneel next to the bed again, but I can tell he’s awake by the way his head tracks my movements. 

“I will lift your head and help you drink,” I explain before touching him again, and he tilts his chin down, giving me permission. I slide my hand around his neck, cup the back of his head, and ease it off the bed. He drinks in deep gulps until the bowl is empty, and when I lower him back down to the pillow, he sighs. 

“Thank you, Hunter.”

I stiffen at his words. “Do you know me?”

Slowly, he moves his hand from his side and lays it on his chest. “I feel you,” he says.

“How?” My head is spinning with all the questions this man’s arrival has brought. For every passing hour, they multiply, and I can no longer keep track of them all.

The stranger doesn’t answer my question—somehow I knew he wouldn’t—so I try another approach. “I am afraid you have me at a disadvantage. I know not who you are.”

His pries his eyelids open, long eyelashes fluttering like a hummingbird’s wing. Even in the dim light of the cabin—cast only by the flames in the hearth—I can make out the color of his eyes: so dark they’re almost completely black, generously sprinkled with flecks of gleaming gold, and despite the obvious tiredness, his gaze is bottomless and intense. It pulls me in and settles some of the restlessness in my chest at the same time. 

And when he looks at me, I understand what he’s talking about. 

I can feel him, his presence. As though his heart beats next to mine in my chest. As though his breath mingles with mine when it leaves my mouth, as though I see myself through his eyes. As though I know him.

“My name…” His voice falters.

“…is Vinge,” I finish, a gasp escaping at my own words. 

“Yes.”

 

BOOK 2

Book Title: The Murky Depths

Author: Kassandra Lea

Publisher: JMS Books, LLC

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Length: 20 106 words

Release Date: September 19, 2019

Genre/s: M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy 

Heat Rating: 1 flame

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links

 Publisher |  B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Who…or what is lurking in the shadows?

Blurb 

While Keston enjoys his occasional video game tournaments with the kid across the hall, he’s grown tired of the daily grind of his job. With a bit of a push from his boss, he heads out for a weekend at his family’s cabin in Kona Woods. A little time away from the hustle and bustle sounds like just the thing he needs.

Turns out he isn’t alone, though, as there are others lurking in the shadows. When a near-death experience brings Ness waltzing into his life, everything Keston thought he knew is turned upside down, and he runs in fear.

But will facing what scares him bring to Keston’s life what it’s missing most?

 

Excerpt 

“Crap,” he growled. Keston scrambled for the paddle as the first fat raindrop landed on his cheek, coursing down like a year he didn’t remember crying. The once gentle rocking was becoming stomach upsetting and mixed with his actions threatened to capsize him. “Crap, crap, crappity.” 

Why didn’t you check the weather forecast, you fanned fool? Instead of being a sitting duck for an electric charge you could be sitting safely before a fire while letting the storm rage on. Even sticking to his original plan would have had better results, he’d simply have raced back through the woods with prayers of no branches falling on his head. Being soaked head to toe he could accept. 

Which might happen sooner than he hoped. 

The wind picked up, forcing the trees to dance and tearing the leaves from their branches. Keston pitched dangerously to one side and narrowly avoided taking an unwanted swim by shifting his weight the other way. His belongings slid back and forth along the bottom of the canoe. Lightning. Thunder. His pounding heart prodded by fear and adrenaline. And then it hit, the deluge of rain, almost like having a bucket of water dumped over his head, or perhaps this was how coaches felt after the end of a great game when thee players got all excited and doused them in Gatorade or whatever. 

He was soaked instantly. 

And it was a cold rain, one that dropped the temperature significantly in a matter of seconds. Gone was the beautiful autumn day replaced with a chill that left each breath as a puff on the wind. Keston shivered, somehow managing to wrap his fingers around the paddle. He gripped it tightly and dipped one end into the lake, which by now was tossing him about as if he was a rubber ducky in a child’s bath. 

The waves were getting worse. 

 

BOOK 3

Book Title: Weekend at Bigfoot’s

Author: Addison Albright

Publisher: JMS Books, LLC

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Length: 29 800 words

Release Date: September 19, 2019

Genre/s: M/M Contemporary Paranormal Gay Romance (with a pinch of Mystery and Comedy)

Trope/s: Meet Cute, Forbidden Love, Fling Turns into More

Themes: Love (or at least lust) at first sight, secrets, paranormal surprise

Heat Rating: 3 flames

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links

 Publisher |  B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

It wasn’t supposed to be REAL!

Blurb 

It wasn’t supposed to be REAL! Bigfoot doesn’t actually exist. Yetis, shifters, creatures of the night … none of those exist. Right? Right?

There’s nothing about perky—some might even say twinky—Oliver Hughes that would make a skeptic like Sensational News’ (Never Fake! We Swear!) reporter Wilson Banks think otherwise. But while pursuing soundbites for a tabloid story about Bigfoot, Wilson witnesses something he wasn’t meant to see.

In Wilson’s new reality, is there room for love with someone whose dreams are as big as his … er … feet?

This fun novella has a paranormal twist, a hint of mystery, and a flavorful dollop of romantic comedy. Mix it all together for a satisfying HEA!

 

Excerpt 

Wilson’s gaze traveled lower, and if possible, widened further. Because holy mother of Sasquatch, Yeti, and the Abominable Snowman, Emma Pearson had not been exaggerating when she’d insinuated that Bigfoot was well-hung. If anything, she’d underplayed it.

Bigfoot—that’s who he had to be—squawked again with a noise that had an admonishing tone, as if calling out Wilson’s rudeness for gawking at his junk, then covered said junk with his massive hands.

“Sorry,” Wilson muttered. It was reflexive and seemed weird in the circumstances to be calmly apologizing to Bigfoot. Why the hell wasn’t he freaking the fuck out? Most normal people would be.

A vision of Mark screeching, “I don’t think I’ve ever once seen you get worked up over anything,” flashed through Wilson’s head. Apparently Mark had a point.

Wilson blinked. There would be absolutely no way to get the mouth and flaring nostrils of this…creature so perfect in such a close inspection if he wasn’t real. He was real.

And if this was the ultimate test of pragmatism, then—Wilson straightened his back—he was going to pass it with flying colors.

 

About the Authors

Nell Iris

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along but let’s face it, she’s not Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a 40-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, where she spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her life long dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, and loves writing diverse and different characters.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook Author Page  |  Facebook Profile  

Twitter: @nellirisauthor  |  Instagram: @nell_iris  |  Goodreads

QueeRomance Ink   |  BookBub

 

 

Kassandra Lea

Born to a military family, Kassandra Lea has been reading since she could hold a book. Growing up she wanted to be Batman, then she discovered writing and realized she could be whatever she wanted if she lived vicariously through her characters. When not writing, she can be found hanging out with her dog, pursuing her love of horses, and cheering on the Packers. She lives in southern Wisconsin in an old house with her mother, a gang of furry monsters, and a ghost.

Author Links

Facebook  |  Twitter: @Cheddarsgal  |  Instagram  |  Goodreads

 

Addison Albright

Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a smidgen of drama/angst, and a healthy dose of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook Author Page  |  Facebook Profile  |  Twitter

BookBub  |  QueeRomance Ink  |  Amazon

Newsletter sign-up  |  Instagram: (@addison.albright) |  Audible

 

 

Giveaway

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 your choice of ebooks from each author’s backlist (3 books for each of 3 winners)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

 

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Blog Tour and Giveaway with Exclusive Excerpt for “Minuet” by A.M. Leibowitz

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Minuet

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host author A.M. Leibowitz here to day on tour with their latest story Minuet. Welcome to STRW and thank you for the exclusive excerpt below.

✒︎

 

A.M. Leibowitz has a new queer MMF romance out: “Minuet.”

When it comes to love, Mack Whitman prefers to limit it to writing songs and poetry. Aromantic, he’s content to have quality friendships and people who sometimes also share his bed. He’s never considered himself the jealous type. But when he sees everyone in his life, from his best friends to his occasional partners, moving toward more settled lives, it leaves him frustrated, disappointed, and worried he’ll be left behind.

Amelia Roberts doesn’t care about the genders of her partners as long as she follows her one rule: Don’t ever fall in love. It’s worked out well for her, since that’s a line she knows she’ll never cross with Mack. He’s as happy as she is to keep things as they are. The only trouble with her philosophy is that she didn’t count on meeting the one person who might change her mind.

Jomari O’Brien’s supportive family made it smooth for him to transition several years ago. Since then, he’s been in and out of love, and other people’s beds, plenty of times, and he has no regrets. Each one is a small part of a larger symphony. Becoming involved with two people at once is a more complicated harmony, but it’s one he’s willing to learn as long as they are.

Their individual melodies become discordant as they struggle to make them fit together. But if all three can learn to play with each other instead of against, they may yet hit all the right notes.

Minuet Unique Post #4 (Exclusive Excerpt)

Mack stuck it back on the bedside table. “We should probably talk.”

“Probably. Maybe should’ve before we had wild monkey sex.”

Mack chuckled. “You may be right.”

He scooted closer, and Jomari rolled so he was tucked against his side. Mack curled an arm around him. Jomari put out a finger and traced the ink on Mack’s right side where he could see it. There was a Celtic cross on his right pec, and his entire right arm was done to look like an electric guitar. Above the cross was a line of text. Jomari could only see part of it, but he knew what it said: Seeking something yet unfound though I have diligently sought it. He’d asked Mack about it the first time they’d been together, why he had that particular quote from Walt Whitman. Mack had been dismissive, saying they shared a last name. Jomari wondered if his answer would be different now they knew one another better.

Mack had ink on the other side, where Jomari couldn’t currently see it, though he knew what it was. Beneath where his cheek now rested, Mack had a heart made from the treble and bass clefs. In place of the dots on the bass clef symbol was a semicolon. The arm encircling Jomari’s shoulders was covered in flames, and Mack had an androgynous angel on the back of that shoulder. His other shoulder blade had a second Whitman quote: Every moment of light and dark is a miracle. Jomari idly wondered now whether Mack planned to get any more or if he felt the canvas of his body was complete.

“You love her, don’t you?” Mack’s voice was a hesitant murmur.

Jomari contemplated pretending he had no idea what Mack was talking about, but that wouldn’t solve anything. “Yeah.”

“In love, not the way I love her.”

“Yes.”

“You tell her that?”

Jomari was caught by Mack, like every other person he’d spoken to about the subject. He sighed. “Not exactly. We had a date. I took her ice skating, and we—are you sure you’re okay with me telling you this?”

“I am.” Mack squeezed Jomari’s shoulders. “Go on.”

“We kissed, on the ice, right in front of everyone. After, I asked about going back to her place. I think she assumed I meant for sex, but I wanted to tell her in private how I feel about her. Instead, she told me she needed to slow things down. And then she left for England. She’s back, but she hasn’t called.”

He settled back down and returned to contemplating Mack’s tattoos. It was easier to focus on the letters and images than to allow himself to think about Amelia. Everything was so confusing. Before, he’d had the impression things were tense between Mack and Amelia because of him. Now Mack seemed to be trying to get them together.

Eventually, Mack pushed a little, and Jomari shifted off him. Mack turned over and propped himself on his elbow. He brushed Jomari’s bangs off his forehead, and tiny worry lines appeared around Mack’s eyes when he cupped Jomari’s cheek.

“I hope this wasn’t a bad idea.”

Jomari sat up and hugged his knees. “I told you that from the beginning.”

Mack sat up too. “You did. But I was thinking less with my brain and more with my dick at the time.” He nudged Jomari’s shoulder with his own.

“Same.”

“We both have things to tell Amelia.” Mack leaned his head on Jomari’s shoulder. “The two of you can give each other something I can’t.”

“But—”

Mack lifted his head and turned slightly. He took Jomari’s face between his palms. “That’s not a bad thing. I see it now. I don’t know how it all fits together, and I’m…” His shoulders rose and fell with a deep breath. “I’m scared of losing you both. But she deserves this happiness without worrying for me. So do you.” He lowered Jomari’s head to kiss the top of it. “Tell her.”

About the Series:

When Trevor, Nate, Jamie, and Mack moved in together, they had no idea how it would change their lives. Four roommates. Four stories about living and loving in the City on a Hill.

Publisher | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

A.M. is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card AND the first three books in the series in eBook format as a single prize. For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4794/?


Excerpt

MEME2 - Minuet

‘They paid for the groceries and headed for Mack’s van. Once they’d loaded it up, Mack went to start the van, but Trevor put a hand on his arm.

“Wait.”

“What?”

“I’m not letting you go home without talking about what the hell that was back there. You were really pissed off when you came to see me. You’re calm now, but if you go back home, you’re gonna get right back into that mess all over again.”

He was right, and Mack knew it. He turned over the engine. “Look, it’s freezing out here. I’ll drive you back, and I’ll explain on the way.”

“Fair enough.”

Mack waited until they were out on the road to say, “It’s fucking weird, having both of them together. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before, but not like this. I don’t know. It felt like they were doing this bonding thing, and I wasn’t part of that.”

“I get it,” Trevor said.

“Do you? Because your family looks different.”

“What is it you wanted? To have Amelia to yourself? You’ve said she’s not your girlfriend. So why does it matter?”

“I don’t know!” But he did know. He had a very clear idea why it bothered him so much. Mack slammed his palm against the steering wheel. “She and I…we’re both fucking Jomari. We all know, but we’ve never hung out just the three of us.”

Trevor seemed to contemplate that. “Yeah, I’d say that’s different from my family. It really bothers you, huh?”

“Not that. It’s…” Mack didn’t know how to explain the way he’d seen the tender gestures between Amelia and Jomari. Sure, she would do the same for him, but it didn’t look or feel identical for some reason Mack couldn’t pinpoint. “I guess they’ve been getting to be closer since she started playing with Cian’s band.”

“Makes sense. Spending more time together. But you think there’s more going on?”

“I don’t know,” Mack admitted. “Up until now, I wouldn’t have thought so. She always said she was mostly into women. She doesn’t date men, and she made that clear to me. I didn’t care. But now here she is, and I can’t really tell what’s going on. She’s already cancelled plans with me so they could go out.”

“Ah.” Trevor was quiet a moment. “People change, you know. Until Andre, I thought I only loved Marlie and the couple times I fooled around with guys were, like, just sex. Then after Andre, I thought maybe Marlie was my exception and I mostly wanted guys. Now I’m not sure, but it doesn’t matter because this works for us. Jamie’s only into men, but I know he’s fucked women on camera and enjoyed it. He said Cian can’t separate love and sex, he’s got a high drive for both, and he doesn’t care about gender at all. Maybe Amelia’s needs have changed.”

“Maybe.”

It wasn’t only about whether or not her relationship with Jomari was changing. It was why. Why now, after years of things being the same? What made him different from everyone else? Mack hated the feeling she’d finally had enough and was choosing someone who might be able to give her what he couldn’t. But why would she have told him their kind of relationship was enough if it wasn’t? She knew who he was and that he made no apology for it. Was it like Trevor said, and she was changing, or had she been dishonest?

“Listen,” Trevor said as they pulled into his driveway. “Why don’t you invite Jomari for Thanksgiving?”

“What? Why?”

“It might be easier if it’s not the three of you having to figure this out alone, that’s all.” Trevor unbuckled, but he didn’t move. “Talk to them. The only way I made it work with Andre and Marlie is by telling them both the truth. And the only way I didn’t fuck it up with Jamie was by telling them I needed him in my life too.” He curled his fingers into a fist. “If only we could work that out.”

Mack didn’t reply. Jamie was still a sore spot for both of them. He helped Trevor unload the groceries and put things away. They had some time for him to think about inviting Jomari, but he wasn’t sure he was going to.

“Thanks for your help,” Trevor said. “Hey, you feeling better?”

“Maybe.” Mack accepted the Night Crawlers from Trevor. “I should get these to the others.”

“Good luck.”

Back in the van, Mack looked at the package on the passenger seat. For once, Trevor was right, but tonight he didn’t have the right words. Instead, he would bring the sour gummies as a peace offering and sit with them this time, even if it meant he had to watch confusing science fiction shows. He pulled out onto the road and headed for home.


Author Bio

A.M. Leibowitz

A.M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. They keep warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings.

Their published fiction includes several novels as well as a number of short works, and their stories have been included in multiple anthologies. They are an occasional host for Bi+Plus, a podcast for the bi+ community, as well as doing bi+ advocacy work and curating the best-of bi list on the QueerBooksForTeens website.

They are a social media contributor for Supposed Crimes, LLC, and they post about news, reviews, and updates. In between, they blog coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, books, chronic illness, and their family.

Author Website: http://amleibowitz.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/AMLeibowitz/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/amyunchained

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amyunchained/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8544236.A_M_Leibowitz

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/a-m-leibowitz/

Author Amazon: https://www.booklinker.net/author-links.php

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

Jeanne Reames on Writing Kleopatra and the Sisters and the new release Rise (Dancing with the Lion #2) (guest blog and giveaway)

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Rise (Dancing with the Lion #2)  by Jeanne Reames
Riptide Publishing

Cover Art: LC Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Writing Kleopatra and the Sisters

In the guest blogs for Becoming, I talked about Alexander and Women, and Alexander’s Mum, but I wanted to save his sisters for the release of Rise, as all three have more important roles in the second half.

In my first drafts of Dancing with the Lion, Kleopatra—Alexander’s only full sister—played a role, even a significant one near the end, but not as a point-of-view character. Yet I’d developed a real love for the character, and it finally occurred to me, “Hey, why don’t you just let her speak for herself?”

So I did.

For a variety of reasons, I stayed out of Myrtalē’s head (Alexander’s mother, better known to posterity as Olympias). But Kleopatra was another matter, and it seemed useful to provide her view not only on her brother, but also on their mother and father.

Yet she added so much more. Kleopatra opens a window onto the women’s quarters. Some of that is shown in Becoming, but we get a better view in Rise with Kleopatra’s undermining of her father’s last wife, also a Kleopatra. (The Macedonians had popular names too, so think of “Kleopatra” as the ancient Macedonian version of Taylor, Madison, or Elizabeth.)

It’d be a spoiler to tell what happens, but suffice to say the three sisters (really half-sisters) gang up on the interloper. Kynnane wields a spear (yes, she really could; her father took her to war), but Kleopatra? She wields an abacus and a loom. And she’s the chess master behind it all. Or perhaps we should say, the math mind behind it, three steps ahead of everybody else.

Kleopatra would go on to become the Queen of Epiros where, after her husband’s death, she took over as regent for her son. She and her brother would remain close, and reportedly, when he was told that she’d taken a lover, instead of expressing the expected outrage, replied, “Well, she ought to be allowed to enjoy herself.”

Dancing with the Lion is a coming-of-age story for Alexander and Hephaistion, but also for Kleopatra. Although a secondary character, she has her own journey to maturity across both books. I hope readers enjoy reading about her as much as I enjoyed writing about her. And if/when I continue the series, she’ll remain a significant secondary character, providing an important view on what’s happening back in Greece, as her brother wends his way across Asia.

 

About Dancing with the Lion: Rise

The story of Alexander before he became “the Great.”

Finished with schooling, Alexandros is appointed regent of Makedon while his father is away on campaign. He thrives with his new authority—this is the role he was born for—yet it creates conflict with his mother and Hephaistion. And when his soldiers, whom he leads with unexpected skill, start to call him “The Little King,” his father is less than delighted.

Tensions escalate between Alexandros and his father, and between Makedon and the city-states of southern Greece. As the drums of war sound, king and crown prince quarrel during their march to meet the Greeks in combat. Among other things, his father wants to know he can produce heirs, and thinks he should take a mistress, an idea Alexandros resists.

After the south is pacified, friction remains between Alexandros and the king. Hostilities explode at festivities for his father’s latest wedding, forcing Alexandros to flee in the middle of the night with his mother and Hephaistion. The rigors of exile strain his relationships, but the path to the throne will be his biggest challenge yet: a face-off for power between the talented young cub and the seasoned old lion.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About the Series

Alexandros is expected to command, not to crave the warmth of friendship with an equal. In a kingdom where his shrewd mother and sister are deemed inferior for their sex, and his love for Hephaistion could be seen as submission to an older boy, Alexandros longs to be a human being when everyone but Hephaistion just wants him to be a king.

Check out the series today!

 

About Jeanne Reames

Jeanne Reames has been scribbling fiction since 6th grade, when her “write a sentence with this vocabulary word” turned into paragraphs, then into stories…and her teacher let her get away with it—even encouraged her! But she wears a few other hats, too, including history professor, graduate program chair, and director of the Ancient Mediterranean Studies Program at her university. She’s written academic articles about Alexander and ancient Macedonia, and does her best to interest undergrads in Greek history by teaching them (et al.) to swear in ancient Greek.

Her Website: https://jeannereames.net/Dancing_with_the_Lion/DwtL.html

On Facebook: facebook.com/jeanne.reames.3

On Instagram: instagram.com/jeannereames

On Twitter: twitter.com/DrReames

 

Giveaway

To celebrate this release, one lucky person will win a $10 gift card to Riptide. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 26, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!