A Stella Review: The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton

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RATING 3 out of 5 stars

In medieval England, duty is everything, personal honor is more valued than life itself, and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society.

Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.

Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of a gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian. It’s a partnership that will test every strand of his moral fiber, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honor, and love.

Although Eli Easton is one of my favorite authors, I skipped this title when it was first released in 2013 cause I’m a not a huge fan of historicals in the mm genre. Still with this new edition, I decided to give it a chance. I have to admit I’m still not sure if I liked it or not, that’s why I’m going with three stars as rating.

From the beginning it was pretty clear how much Christian and William were into each other, it was not just an attraction but they were nursing a more important feeling, the kind that last forever, through some difficulties and killings.

The book is surely well done, the author is a guarantee, she can write, she can think interesting plots, she always gives me awesome and well delined characters. I had a hard time with the reading, but it’s my fault, my English isn’t good enough for historicals, I often had to stop and search for words.

The reason why I can’t give the book an higher rating is the ending part, I like happy endings and here of course the characters were lucky to have their own, but the author decided to give me more informations about their time together, I can’t say more because I don’t want to spoil the ending,for me it was too much. And it left me a sour taste, instead of a big smile I usually wear when I finish a book I truly enjoyed.

The cover art by Jane Holmes and Anna Tif Sikorska is eye catching, I love it.

SALE LINKS  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 3rd edition, 153 pages
Published August 26th 2019 by Pinkerton Road LLC (first published June 1st 2013)
Original Title The Lion and the Crow
ASINB07X1V2B3N
Edition Language English
Characters Sir Christian Brandon, Sir William Corbet
setting England

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Deal Maker (Mixed Messages #2) by Lily Morton and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Jude and Asa are at the top of my favorites right now. And their son, Billy—not every author can create a precocious five-year-old and keep him from being annoying, but between Lily Morton’s writing and Joel Leslie’s delivery of Billy’s adorable voice, I’m sold on Bill as my favorite child of 2019.

This audiobook made the original story even better with Joel Leslie’s vocal interpretation of Asa and Jude and the rest of the cast of characters. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—these people become real to me when I can hear their emotions expressed in their voices. There’s drama, humor, anger, and sadness in this story, and every voice is so distinctive there’s never a doubt about who is speaking, especially Billy—what a great voice he was given!

Asa, an older well-known actor, is a gentle soul who loves his son and is extremely protective of his privacy. His heart was broken by a former model after a four-year relationship. So when Jude shows up needing a place to stay and willing to take a PA job to help Asa out, he’s shocked when he’s despised just because he’s an empty-headed male model.

Jude is normally pretty even keel but he can do revenge with the best of them so he proceeds to show Asa just how airheaded a model can be. The author opens each chapter with a note from Asa, written by Jude, in answer to fan mail. The notes are so witty, snarky, and downright decadently humorous, it’s hard to keep from laughing out loud in public places.

We met Jude in the first book, as he’s Dylan’s BFF. His character is much more fully developed here and he’s simply a wonderful person. Caring and concerned for his parents, whom he helps financially, always ready to help a friend in need, and with a great sense of humor, and a huge love for Billy, but his fear of commitment nearly destroys his chance at happiness.

Of course, the author gets them to their happy place, but Jude’s stubbornness does not make the HEA very easy to achieve. I love the way the author handled the last few chapters to bring them together. And the epilogue? Couldn’t be better!

An outstanding audiobook with a super performance by Joel Leslie. I very highly recommend it.

As for the cover by Natasha Snow, the handsome man on the colorful cover definitely attracts attention.

Audio Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible

Audio Details:

Audible Audio, 289 pages
Published September 28th 2019 (first published December 22nd 2017)
Original Title Deal Maker
ASINB07YGTGJWV
Edition Language English
Series Mixed Messages #2

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Shot in the Dark (New Amsterdam #3) by Kelly Wyre

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 Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Ellis Parker is a military man who puts his faith in truth, duty, honor, and living for the moment.

Keeping that peace isn’t easy, and he reveres the person who helps him stay on his chosen path: Ellis’ former Dominant lover and New Amsterdam’s most well-connected bartender, Maxwell Clark.

So when Clark makes a rare and unexpected offer that might let Ellis relive the days when Ellis was Clark’s, who is Ellis to refuse such a chance?

This is numbered the third book in this series, but it is much shorter than the others, more like the two short stories between book one and two. I feel like it could be read as a standalone since most of it is a flashback that actually takes place before book one. It features Ellis, who works as an instructor at a shooting range. Ellis had met Clark and Tim at a support meeting for veterans with PTSD more than five years ago. So far Break, the BDSM club Clark co-owns, has been mentioned, even glimpsed at, but not really utilized. Clark was known as a dom at Break, yet he’s mostly been a submissive in the context of the previous books, so this was the first chance to see him dominate someone and use equipment. I thought the scene was hot, intimate, and well done. Since Clark is Daniel’s submissive and husband, it made me wonder if being a dom was something he missed. That is answered a bit at the end, opening up the possibility for seeing more of Clark in that role. This doesn’t really do anything more with any previous plotline. If you have read the previous books, you should like this and if you haven’t, this might be good to see if you like the writing style of this author.

This cover is by Natasha Snow. It matches the others in the series; they tend to focus on the city rather than anything more personal to the storylines.

Sales Links: JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details;

Kindle Edition, 35 pages
Published September 21st 2019 by JMS Books LLC (first published September 4th 2012)
ASINB07WTRFN3Y
Series New Amsterdam #3

Check Out the Release Blitz for Their Special Agent (Thistle Hearts #1) by Mel Gough (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Their Special Agent (Thistle Hearts #1)

Author: Mel Gough

Cover Artist: Najla Qamber Designs

Release Date: October 24, 2019

Genre/s: Reverse Harem, romance/mystery

Themes: Polyamory (MMFM), crime solving

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK

 

A murder. Three gorgeous men. One choice – Do your job, or follow your heart?

Blurb 

On the eve of the Thistle Hearts reunion tour, the rock band’s manager is found murdered. When Special Agent Carrie McDonald arrives to assist with the investigation, the band has mixed emotions about the involvement of the FBI. Jay, Lou and Corey have everything riding on a successful comeback, and their manager’s violent death has thrown them into turmoil. The last thing they need is the wrong kind of press.

As Carrie delves into the case, the band’s complex history of desire and tragedy emerges. Their shared passion intrigues and excites her, and gradually, the men open up and draw her into their ménage.

But a killer is on the loose, and he’s not yet done with Thistle Hearts.

Can Carrie prevent another brutal crime and protect the men who offer her a future beyond her wildest dreams?

 

Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

The rain came down in sheets. Special Agent Carrie McDonald wiped her face on the sleeve of her black windbreaker. No use. Everything was soaked.

Special Agent Susan White joined Carrie at her lookout post by the cordoned-off stretch of highway. “Thank god that’s someone else’s mess to clean up.” She squinted at Special Agent Cortez talking to a Travis County Sheriff’s Deputy next to an SUV in the ditch with its wheels still slowly revolving in the air. He looked like a swarthy, drowned rat. Carrie felt sorry for him.

The San Antonio field office would take the rap for this clusterfuck. She tried not to feel relieved about that.

The scene on this stretch of highway was straight out of the latest installment of The Fast and the Furious. A pick-up and a black sedan lay upside down across the lanes, flattened and still smoking. The railings that SUV had crashed through were mangled shards of metal. A fourth vehicle lay out of sight in a deep ravine, curls of smoke marking its resting place. Everything was illuminated sideways by the setting sun. The ambulances were long gone, but the coroner’s van still idled nearby.

Three dead drug mules. Two civilians, on the way home from a choir recital, also dead. And three seriously injured Austin PD detectives made it a calamity beyond the usual drug bust.

Would they ever work out exactly what had gone wrong? Right now, the narrative was confused and short on detail. As far as the forensics team had worked out, one of the unmarked law enforcement vehicles had been en route to head off the suspects fleeing hell over leather from the sting op gone south in downtown Austin. That had been where Carrie and Susan had been detailed to cover one of the routes out of the city. The sedan, carrying two agents from the FBI’s San Antonio field office, was in hot pursuit. Poor visibility, a narrow stretch of road of hairpin bends and a car full of stressed-out perps under the influence had made for an explosive combination. The drug traffickers’ car had swerved on the opposite lane to overtake the SUV carrying a mother and teenage daughter just before another narrow curve. They’d met a car with three Austin detectives racing to aid the operation head on, and the world had exploded in screeching metal and glass.

Carrie gave a sigh. She nudged her partner. “Come on. Cortez says to call it a day.” It wasn’t like them getting soaked here made the slightest bit of difference. The hillside swarmed with LEOs from Austin PD, the Travis County Sheriff’s Department and the San Antonio field office. Two Criminal Investigation agents on loan from Baltimore were of scant use in the clean-up.

Susan nodded as Cortez’s angry voice carried up to them. “Let’s get out of here.”

Their rental sedan sat thirty yards back from the cordoned-off scene, and Susan pointed the keys at it. The lights flashed and the doors clicked open. Even in the middle of a crisis, she’d never leave a car unlocked that contained weapons and ammunition. Behind her back, Susan was sometimes called Agent Lily White. Carrie appreciated her partner’s uprightness. It was one reason they got on so well and she chose to work more with her than any other agent.

Thinking of Susan’s nickname made Carrie smile, but when she slid into the passenger seat and her gaze took in the carnage on the highway, the smile quickly faded.

Fucking hell, this one’s gone sideways.

“Gibbs’ll want a report.” Susan buckled up.

“Yeah.” Carrie sighed. She reached into the backseat where their luggage was stowed and dug in her carry-on for a towel. As she slid back into her seat, the wet windbreaker made a squelchy sound against the fake leather. She grimaced and wriggled out of the jacket, dropping the sodden thing in the foot space.

She quickly rubbed her short hair dry, then handed the towel to Susan, who took her time to undo the knot at the back of her head, wincing as the rubber band snagged on her long auburn tresses. She folded down the visor and tried to untangle the mess that the wind and rain had made of her do. Usually Carrie envied Susan her beautiful hair. Tonight, not so much.

She folded down her own screen and smoothed down the much shorter strands of her dark brown bob. She looked a fright, with chapped cheeks and a sodden collar. At least her hair would be as good as dry before they got back to the motel. “I hope they can give us our rooms back for one more night.”

“We were the only ones in that place for the last three days,” Susan pointed out from under the towel. “More likely they’ve gone bankrupt since we checked out. Maybe we should find somewhere else. Somewhere less—”

“Dank?” Carrie suggested. Susan snorted.

“Yeah.” She sighed. “Gibbs would flip his shit if we upgraded on the company dollar.” She chucked the towel in the back and started the car. “Back to the Bates Motel it is.”

 

About the Author 

Mel Gough loves writing about love – but with a twist. Nominated for the 2019 Selfies Awards, her bisexual romantic suspense novel He is Mine is a typical Mel Gough story. She needs her HEA fix, but on the way there will be thorns and fire, and sometimes brimstone. All right, that might be over the top, especially since her stories are firmly based in the real world – though not always in the here and now.

Born in Germany, exploring other realities has been Mel’s siren call since she was young. Books opened up a plethora of worlds, and soon gave her a strong love of the English language. After an MA in Anthropology, field work in the middle of nowhere seemed like one adventure too far, so Mel settled in London, which, to misquote Dr. Johnson, she will never tire of.

Mel loves to bend genres – her romances are gritty and dark, and sometimes there’s a dead body. She’s been told that her prose is beautiful yet disturbingly real. She’s curious about bygone times, and hopes to speculate about the future in one of her next books.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Instagram  |  Newsletter Sign-up

 

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway  for a chance to win one of three ebook copies of Their Special Agent

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

 

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Join in on the Blog Tour with Excerpt for Second Song (Sugarhouse Blues story ) by Edie Danford

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Second Song

Sugarhouse Blues Series

Edie Danford

M/M Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 10.07.19

SecondSong-cover

Blurb

A wounded singer’s second act. A bodyguard’s redemption. Two grieving souls find healing in love’s sweetest song.

Sage

Four years ago, a brutal attack shot down my soaring music career. My bodyguard, a man I loved like a brother, was killed, and serious injuries left my voice permanently damaged.

Songs silenced, I retreated to my Vermont home, unsure I’d ever perform again.

Now I’m ready to go public with my new act. But, yeah, I’m a little nervous. So to handle security for a trial-run tour, I’m hiring a guy I trust absolutely—Antonio Callan, my former bodyguard’s brother.

But when Antonio shows up, all super-chill fierceness and warm, understanding eyes, I’m up against an unexpected risk—losing my heart.

Antonio

Touring backwoods bars with a reclusive singer is the wrong gig at the wrong time. But how can I refuse the wounded kid my brother thought of as family?

After a week in Vermont, I’m feeling more helpless than heroic.

Sage has grown up, and I’m crazy-attracted to him. His broken-but-beautiful voice knocks me out, and his quiet courage sings to my soul. The more time we spend in close quarters, the harder it becomes to resist our attraction.

Soon, Sage’s second act is rocketing to the top of the charts, and being his hero takes on a whole new meaning. It’s up to me to take his cue and find the courage to reach for a star.

Second Song is the first in the two-book Sugarhouse Blues series and can be read as a stand-alone. Contains angsty-hot pining (and Vermont pines), first-time lovin’, sappy songs (and Vermont maples), and the healing power of loooooove.

Cover Designer: Natasha Snow

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y982YV6

Second Song promo teaser 1 (1)Second Song promo teaser 2

EXCERPT

“This Chicago weather might send you back to Cali real quick.” I gesture toward the windows and the sleet-rain coming down.

Sage smiles slowly as he glances from the window to me. That addictive guitar lick plays in my head again. “This amount of snow and ice does not impress. But you—all hot-bodyguard official in a suit…” He gives me a greedy-hungry look, like maybe I’m one of those maple creamees he loves to slurp. “I’m very impressed.”

“Likewise.” I smile back, my gaze traveling over his features. He’s the sunny beach come to visit. Skin tanned gold, eyes ocean blue, and damn, that smile heats me all the way through.

He looks down at his tea, then he takes a breath and meets my eyes. “So I came to Chicago to take you on a date. That is, if you say yes when I ask you.”

I gently ease against the chair’s back. And then I loosen my tie because breathing has become a genuine hardship. “Sage. Damn.”

“Just…let that sit for a while. I’m too chicken to actually ask you at the moment.”

I make a sound that’s half-laugh, half-curse, and I wonder what I’ll say when I can speak.

I am beyond flattered he’s come all this way to ask me out. I’d be the biggest dick in the world if I refused. I don’t want to refuse. Excluding life-and-death and world-peace scenarios, I want Sage more than I’ve ever wanted anything, ever. But what would happen if I said yes?

Lots of shit has happened in the last couple months, but I don’t think our personal circumstances or our feelings have changed. I’d still be incapable of a casual hookup with Sage Hazen, still incapable of following him where Second Song takes him.

And as for him…

Well, he is not looking casual. Two sunset-colored spots mark the center of his cheeks. His hands are shaking. He stands, walks to the fireplace, and picks up the guitar. His left hand fumbles the tuning pegs. His right hand makes sweaty-squeaky sounds on the shiny wood.

He goes to one of the windows, turning his back to me as he tries to tune and strum. He’s skinnier than he was two months ago; his stupidly sexy skinny jeans don’t cling as tightly as they’re supposed to. Closing my eyes, I pinch the bridge of my nose and try to take steady breaths.

“Working on something new,” he says.

“Yeah?” I look up at him.

He turns to face me. “It’s sexy,” he says, waggling his eyebrows, making an effort and succeeding.

I laugh. “Everything you do is sexy.”

“Uh, no. It’s not.”

“It is. And you have about forty million fans who’d agree with me.”

“Forty million fans don’t know me, Antonio.” His expression turns serious.

“No,” I agree. “They don’t.”

I’m lucky enough to know him, though. And that’s really the point of this meeting, isn’t it?

Edie Danford logo

Edie lives in Vermont with her husband, two sons, and random creatures that might or might not be pets. She loves libraries (where she’s found play, work, and love since she was a kid), long walks (unless ice is involved), lewd language (in the right context), luscious romance (of any variety), and alliteration.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.ediedanford.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/edie.danford

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ediedanford

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