A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Vespertine by Leta Blake & Indra Vaughn with Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

I sat on this review for a few days because I needed to absorb just how much the story meant to me. I was overwhelmed with not only the plot but with Michael Ferraiuolo’s performance. Let’s say I know which audiobook I’m nominating for best performance next year.

On the surface, this looks like it will be a book about a priest who yearns for the love of a rock star, but it’s far from that. It’s the story of a young man who loved another young man in their teens, but not enough to overcome his desire to enter the priesthood. Add to that some (poor) advice from his mother, who focused on the wrongness of loving another man rather than the rightness of having the freedom to love whoever he chooses in whichever way he chooses, and you have a gay priest who is an LGBTQ advocate. He also runs a center for homeless LGBTQ teens supported in part by the church and in part by grants and charitable donations.

The boy he loved, Nicholas Blumfeld, had been adopted at birth by two loving and supportive parents, but Nicky ran from them and his ghosts when Jasper turned from him, and he ended up as Nico Blue, lead singer and songwriter for Vespertine. After the demands of his career, his tour, and his manager lead him to one drug too many, he ends up in rehab and ultimately returns home to the parents who still love and support him.

Nicky and Jasper renew their friendship and ultimately their love for each other. We readers have the pleasure of watching that unfold as Nicky struggles through his recovery and Jasper struggles with his decision to continue as a priest or give it up for the man he realizes he still loves. The teens in the shelter play a major supportive role in this story as does Nicky’s family and Ramona, one of his bandmates. All were well-developed characters, some of whom I’d love to meet. The authors did a beautiful job of bringing this story to life and of showing the internal and external struggles both Nicky and Jasper faced—individually and together. This is one of those love stories I will remember for a long time. In fact, I loved this audiobook so much I bought the e-book as well. I’ll be rereading and relistening for a long time to come. 

The beautiful cover design by Dar Albert features a handsome bare-chested man, a church window in the background and a guitar-playing, sunglasses-wearing rock star to the right—attractive and perfect for the story. 

Audio Sales Links: Amazon | Audible

Audio Book Details:

Audiobook
Published December 16th 2019 (first published September 7th 2015)
Original Title Vespertine
ASIN B082QSFYS8
Edition Language English
setting Maine (United States)

Don’t Miss Out on the Release Blitz and Giveaway for The Edge Of The World by Garrett Leigh

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Cover Design: Black Jazz Design
 
Length: 60,000 words approx.
 
Blurb
 

Shay Maloney is living his dream—on tour with his pirate/folk-rock band. But you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’re from, and that’s where moody filmmaker and researcher Ollie Pietruska comes in.


The band’s management persuades Shay to let a television company film a documentary about his roots beyond his adoptive Irish family, and Ollie comes into his life knowing more about Shay than Shay’s ever known about himself.


But while Ollie holds the key to Shay’s past, he’s also hiding deep scars. Even as the hardships of the tour bring them closer, Ollie’s demons threaten the blossoming romance. They might both reach the breaking point before Ollie realises he’s been standing on the edge of the world for too long, and it’s Shay who holds the key to his future.


A friends-to-lovers, rock star, road-tripping romance, with a guaranteed happily-ever-after.

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer.


Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.


When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.


Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.


Website: http://www.garrettleigh.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

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Check Out the Release Blitz with Excerpt for Dravyn’s Garden (D’Vaire Book 15) by Jessamyn Kingley

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Dravyn’s Garden (D’Vaire, Book 15)

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson, Mayhem Cover Creations

Release Date: January 16, 2020

Genre/s: M/M Urban Fantasy

Trope/s: Fated Mates

Themes: Love, Facing Reality, Power

Heat Rating:  3 flames

 

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

In one extraordinary garden, is it possible to grow love?

Blurb 

Drindyr Duke Dravyn D’Vairedracon is is a quiet man who finds happiness amongst his plants. His affinity for living things astonishes those around him since he doesn’t have a drop of druidic blood in his veins. Awed by his talent, his family grows convinced that someday when Fate pairs him, it will be a druid that is at his side. Someone to care for and who shares his love of gardening would be a dream come true for Dravyn.

Killian the Dwyer is a man broken and his secrets are plenty. Once the leader of the Circle of Druids, he handed off his duties and escaped, his whereabouts unknown. Rumors abound that he makes his home high in a tree in a faraway land. He is missed, and many who care for him reach out to no avail. Full of pain and taking comfort in his solitude, Killian only leaves the sanctity of his leafy abode to answer an invitation he finds himself unable to ignore.

Killian makes his first public appearance in centuries, and when he locks eyes with Dravyn, they discover they are mates. Astonished, neither man says a word and Killian retreats. Two and a half years of silence on Killian’s part have passed, and Dravyn is tired of waiting. He wants the other half of his soul but is convinced Killian won’t do for the job. Fearful of what the future holds but afraid of defying Fate, Killian cannot help being intrigued by the talented dragon. As they settle in Dravyn’s expansive garden, if the pair can find common ground, they might just discover the seeds to grow a love without limits.

 

Excerpt

Yanking off his gloves, Dravyn crammed them into the back pocket of his cargo pants. Crossing his arms over his chest, he waited for the guy to cross the distance between them. He was the last person on this planet Dravyn wanted to see, but if he wanted his freedom, he was going to have to deal with Killian the Dwyer.

“This is an amazing garden for a dragon,” Killian said once he was a few feet from where Dravyn had his boots planted into the sandy dirt.

“For a dragon?”

“Shifters aren’t normally known for their cultivating skills.”

“What exactly do you think we are known for?” Dravyn asked, wondering why the hell they were having this weird-ass conversation. He didn’t think Killian could be any more condescending if he tried.

“The obvious answer is for going from man to beast.”

“And when we aren’t in beast form, what is it you think we do?” 

“I don’t know. I’ll confess I don’t really know any shifters.”

“You live in a tree; do you know anybody?”

“What’s wrong with living in a tree?”

“Look, I don’t give a shit where you live. What are you doing here?”

“I thought that would be obvious. We’re mates. I’m here to see if we can make things work.”

“I wrote you letters for two and a half years. You ignored them,” Dravyn pointed out. “So, excuse me if I’m surprised you have any interest in Fate.”

“Druids believe in Fate.”

“Apparently on their own sweet-ass timetable, with no concern for anyone else’s feelings.”

“I know you’re angry, and you have every right to be but—”

“But nothing, Killian the Dwyer. Go back to your tree.”

“I have a lot of explaining to do and—”

“Excuses to make.”

Killian’s brownish-green eyes with their interesting glints of gold narrowed. His face was even more remarkably handsome than Dravyn recalled, which only pissed him off more. The glossy hair was shaggier, and he seemed to have forgotten to put on shoes, but Killian was a perfect male specimen of lanky proportions. “Are you going to let me finish a statement?”

“You can talk all you want,” Dravyn retorted. He pulled his gloves out of his pants and tugged them on. “I’ve got work to do. Take your damn plants back too, I don’t want them near my garden.”

“I wasn’t going to leave them behind, so I’m going to need space in your precious garden.”

“Nope, get lost. You’ve got experience in that. Like when you walked into a ballroom and refused to acknowledge your mate, then teleported home to your tree.”

“You seem very bitter about the tree thing.”

“Must be nice to ignore your responsibilities and hide in a tree.”

“Hiding?”

“You heard me. Now beat it so I can work,” Dravyn growled as he crouched to check on his hybrid. There was no way he was going to lose another one. This plant had taken over a year of work to create, and each time he took one out of his cramped greenhouse, it refused to bloom and died. He wanted to give a cutting to Ellery for his solarium, so he had to solve this puzzle.

“I don’t know where to go. Where’s our room?”

Dravyn rocketed back to his feet and whipped around. “Our room?”

“I’m guessing you don’t sleep in a tree, as you’re strongly opposed to anyone occupying one. I promise you it doesn’t hurt the tree in question.”

“I’m not opposed—shit, who cares. That’s your business, not mine. What you aren’t doing is sleeping in my room.”

Killian took off and marched toward the deck that accessed Dravyn’s section of the house. 

“Hey, where the hell do you think you’re going?” Dravyn demanded as he stalked after the sexy druid.

“That deck.”

“Stay away from it,” Dravyn snarled, but Killian was already thundering up the wooden steps.

“Wow, you hypocrite. Look at this,” Killian crowed once Dravyn got up to the wide deck. “That’s a bed in a tree.”

“Get off my deck.”

Killian stuck his head into the open doors of Dravyn’s sitting room. “Indoor and outdoor living. Very nice. Oh, and there are two beds, so we don’t have to share right away.” Killian dropped his bag on the one nestled in the tree. “I’ll take this one until we get to know one another better.”

“You aren’t sleeping in my room.”

“It’s a beautiful space.”

“It was until you marched into it.”

“It’s okay, we have to try. We might not be able to make this work, but at least we’ll have given it our best shot.”

Dravyn shook his head and pulled his baseball cap lower, over his eyes. The druid was stubborn, and he wasn’t going to sacrifice his hybrid for this asshat. “You need to go. Take your plants, your bare-ass feet, and get lost.”

Killian’s gaze dropped to his toes as Dravyn stomped back down the stairs. “I hate shoes.”

“Well, I hate you.”

“Okay, I deserve that,” Killian called after him.

“You should also think about a haircut.”

“Look who’s talking.”

 

About the Author 

Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.

Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.

Visit her website.  Follow her on Facebook  She loves to engage with readers there.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |   Facebook |   Twitter  |   Pinterest  |  Facebook Group

 

 

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts here

EJ Russell On Oregon Locations and her new release Howling on Hold by EJ Russell (guest blog and giveaway)

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Howling on Hold by E.J. Russell

Riptide Publishing

Published January 13th 2020
Cover Art: L.C.Chase

Sales Links:

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

Around Oregon by E.J. Russell

I’ve been an Oregon resident for—*checks watch*—almost thirty years now, and have lived in the same spot in the country outside Portland for twenty-nine years this month. (You’ll note I didn’t say I’ve lived in the same house, because the house we moved into isn’t the house we live in now. We’ve done two different remodels—neither one of which is completely finished, but I digress…)

Because I love Oregon and it’s what I know best, most of my books are set here. In fact, there’s only one—Tested in Fire—that’s not (if you don’t count the occasional side trip into Faerie, Sheol, or the Welsh Underworld). Consequently, there are some places and/or iconic objects that show up in Howling on Hold that have appeared in other books as well.

In no particular order…

Voodoo Doughnuts

I dare anyone to walk through the Portland International Airport and not spot at least one person carrying Voodoo Doughnuts’ signature pink box. I took this photo on the Amtrak train between Portland and Seattle, so even our neighbors to the immediate north can’t seem to resist the magic that’s in the hole. That pink box makes a cameo appearance in Howling on Hold, as it did in Stumptown Spirits. In Wolf’s Clothing, the doughnuts emerged from the box when Christophe brought them to Trent as a peace offering. Maple-bacon bars, anyone? (BTW, Voodoo has extended its reach beyond Oregon—they’ve now got stores in Denver, Orlando, Austin, and Hollywood!)

Forest Park

Portland is known for its urban green spaces, and Forest Park is one of the most well-known and extensive. In Howling on Hold, Tanner sees the park as a refuge, but in Stumptown Spirits, it had a more sinister edge as the sight of a legendary ghost war. Trent revisits the park in Wolf’s Clothing despite  the panic it triggers. In Cutie and the Beast, David, Alun, and Mal enter Faerie from the park, and in Bad Boy’s Bard, Niall and Gareth emerge from Faerie into the park, where David has to rescue them outside the Audubon Society. I took this picture of Balch Creek in Forest Park the day my Curmudgeonly Husband and I toured the Witch’s Castle (the site of the ghost war)—it’s similar to the terrain Tanner negotiates in Howling on Hold.

Portland Old Town and the Pearl District

I’ve placed two significant imaginary places from my Mythmatched story universe in downtown Portland. The Bullpen, the shifter bar visited by Casimir in Vampire with Benefits and by Hamish in Demon on the Down-Low is located in Old Town. Chase and the other guys from Portland Howling Residence Seven (aka, the Doghouse) take Tanner to the Bullpen for his twenty-oner party, where, er, hi-jinks ensue.

The Pearl District, the trendier area that got a lot of exposure in the television show Grimm, is where the Supernatural Selection offices were located in Single White Incubus, Vampire With Benefits, and Demon on the Down-Low. In Howling on Hold, those offices have been taken over by Quest Investigations, the private investigation company run by Mal Kendrick (from The Druid Next Door) and Niall O’Tierney (from Bad Boy’s Bard). Chase consults with Quest after the, er, hi-jinks.

What can I say? Once I find a place I like, I can’t resist revisiting! What about you? Any favorite spots that you come back to again and again? (And by the way, fictional spots totally count!)

About Howling on Hold

Sometimes it’s harder to teach a young dog new tricks.

That’s why werewolves embark on a Howling: a three-year rite of passage in which they’re sent to a group residence to wrestle with their wolfy instincts and assimilate into the Wider World. But Tanner Araya’s Howling is almost over, and he could be called back to his remote pack at any moment. His twenty-first birthday might be his last chance to act on his strongest instinct and finally kiss Chase Denney.

Chase is RA at the Howling residence affectionately dubbed “the Doghouse,” and he takes his job seriously. So seriously that when he realized he was developing feelings for a resident, he forced himself to keep Tanner at a distance. But now that Tanner’s twenty-one, he’s not Chase’s charge any longer. They could be friends or—if Chase is lucky—something more. At least until they both return to their home packs for good, as tradition demands.

It would take a miracle for them to get together—especially when the other Doghouse werewolves insist on “helping.”

Warning: Many Frisbees are harmed in this story, forgiveness is not always easier than permission, and the five-second rule does not apply.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

About the Mythmatched Universe

Wait . . . Is that . . . No, it couldn’t be. Could it? A fae at the florist? A demon at the deli? A werewolf at the Y?

Humans will never know. They can’t know, or the lives of every supernatural creature on this world—or under it—would be at risk.

So the supes of every nation, culture, and pantheon joined together in uneasy alliance, vowing to keep their society secret in order to survive among humans.

But when you spend every moment hiding your true nature, how can you ever find true love?

Check out the Mythmatched universe today!

 

About E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Connect with E.J.:

Website: ejrussell.com

Blog: ejrussell.com/bloggery/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author

Twitter: twitter.com/ej_russell

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ejrussell/


 

Giveaway

To celebrate this release, one lucky person will win a $25 gift card to Riptide and their pick of an ebook from E.J.’s backlist. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 17, 2020. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. For more chances to enter, follow the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!