Blog Tour for Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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When a SEAL medic inherits three young children, he must battle to keep the family together and keep his long-held feelings for the man challenging him for custody at bay.

Squared Away

Series: Out of Uniform #5

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): April 16. Print, ebook, and audio all available.

Length (Print & Ebook): 80,000 words

Subgenre: m/m military romance

Includes: military romance, insta-family, hurt/comfort, angst, interracial, heroes-with-kids, gay romance, demisexual/gray ace hero, first time, loss, reunion, forced proximity

Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ptQhFH

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2ptc00A

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Squared-Away-Audiobook/B07BGJ3FRF

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/squared-away/id1326105516?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/squared-away-1

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/squared-away-annabeth-albert/1127659238?ean=9781335980809

Carina Press: https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781335980809_squared-away.html

Synopsis:

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

What Annabeth Albert has to say about this book in her Out of Uniform series:

“I wanted to write a book about the nature of family and how loss and tragedy can shape family, mold it into something stronger, force growth and change. I’m enormously proud of SQUARED AWAY as a result because how I fell in love with this little family.”

“When Wizard first appeared in ON POINT as a secondary character, I was intrigued by him, but it wasn’t until I let myself get into his head that I really saw how complicated he was. I feel honored and privileged to have been able to tell his story.”

“No book gets written in a vacuum and this one is no different. I owe a huge debt on this book to my sensitivity readers who really encouraged me to dig deep.”

Praise for the series:

“Albert delivers a solid hurt/comfort story…” RT Book Reviews on SQUARED AWAY

“Mark and Isaiah’s budding relationship happens with sensitivity and steamy moments…” RT Book Reviews on SQUARED AWAY

“Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a unique look at SEALs’ lives, showing us the insides of their hearts and homes and the love that drives them.” ~Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.  

“Sexy, sweet and heartfelt, Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a fresh take on Navy SEALs that will delight and entertain romance readers.” ~Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.  

 Excerpts:

“I take it that’s a yes?”

“It’s always going to be a yes for more kissing.” Isaiah scooted closer. They’d done the massage and goodnight kiss routine a few more times, but he was careful to not press for it, to let it be Mark’s idea.

Mark gave him a fast but still electric kiss. “I was thinking about this when I was helping you outside earlier. It’s crazy how much I like touching and kissing you.”

“I love touching you too.” Isaiah trailed his fingers down Mark’s cheek. “You haven’t had that before?”

“Not really. I’ve had a lot of kisses that felt like getting my earlobe chewed by a cat or trying to kiss a salmon. Not awful but not ‘can’t wait to do it again’ either. Had some kisses I liked, but right as I was getting comfortable, the other person would try to take it to the next level. And that was always a disaster.”

“Even with your friend? The other medic?”

Mark shrugged and looked away. “He got huffy when I didn’t want to get naked after a few kisses. Called me a closet case.”

“I’m sorry.” Isaiah patted his leg, not sure what else to say. “You’re a great guy. You deserve all the good kisses—no fish or earlobe chewing allowed. And you deserve to go at your own pace. Always.”

“I feel guilty. Like I should be doing something more for you…”

“Hey now. I’m getting amazing kisses from a hot-as-fuck guy who also likes to massage me until I’m a pile of limp lettuce. Trust me. I’m not getting a shabby deal here. At all.” If anything, Isaiah felt guilty for how very much he was enjoying all this. “And add in yard work help and cleaning? Man, you’d be a lot of people’s idea of a dream date.”

“Good.” Mark leaned in for another, softer kiss. “Because I really like doing this.”

“Me too.” Isaiah tried to calm the thumping of his heart. Careful, he warned himself even as his long-comatose hope monster hefted itself up and did a dance. He couldn’t afford to go falling for Mark again, yet with each kiss, each tentative touch, he could feel his grip on his resolve weakening.

About Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.  The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ  romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Connect with Annabeth:

Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Group | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

Giveaway: win 1 of 2 ecopies of any back catalog book by Annabeth Albert:

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Direct Giveaway Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0353/

Sean Kennedy on Writing, Characters and his new release The Obstruction of Emma Goldsworthy (Get Out #3)

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The Obstruction of Emma Goldsworthy (Get Out #3) by 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sean Kennedy here talking about writing, characters, and his latest release in his Get Out series, The Obstruction of Emma Goldsworthy.  Welcome, Sean.

♦︎

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Sean Kennedy ~

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think there’s a little bit of me in every character, even the ‘bad’ ones!  You can’t help but write what you know.  I think Emma, at the point of time we meet her in the book, is a ittle uncertain of herself and her abilities, and is comparing herself to those around her who seem to be enjoying more success.  Emma’s only twenty, so I hope she grows out of that.  I think I’m too old so I’ve lost all hope for me!

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  

I tend to write contemporary, but when I did write a historical novel I found the research to be one of the most enjoyable parts.  I like finding out things, even if I never used them in the book.  But I do research for all of my books, just so I can give them a little flavour.  Emma lives in Canberra, which is a city I’ve only been to once.  I had to try and find out where she would go for a coffee or a beer, what suburb she would live in, and all those kinds of things.  Sometimes you take liberties but most of the time I try to be accurate.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

I wasn’t a romance reader per se, but I did love the classics.  I’ve always been a huge Jane Austen fan so I would say they were the closest thing to romance I read.  I can’t really count Wuthering Heights in that as Heathcliff and Cathy are two of the worst people in the world and destroyed everybody they knew.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA?

I like either.  As long as they’re together in the end!  Even if it’s uncertain, I’ll make up in my head that it’s the real thing and they will live the rest of their lives together anyway.

  • Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  

I always think I sound like such a wanker when I answer this question.  I’d have to go with my top three favourite writers.  Margaret Atwood is an expert world builder and social commentator.  Tim Winton and Stephen King are so incisive when it comes to characters and their interactions with each other.  And hell, I can’t go without Jane Austen who just does everything in one package.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

Tigers and Devils.  I truly feel like Simon is part of me.  Even now, he still pops into my head and tells me what’s going on with him.  When I go back to Melbourne I expect to see him turning the corner and inviting me for a coffee.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

There’s the fourth and final book in the GetOut series, which focuses on Will Deanes and his troubled friendship with Micah Johnson.  And there will be the fourth Tigers and Devils book, which is currently in edit mode.

 

  •  If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

The southwest town of Albany is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  I would like a house overlooking King George Sound, where I could watch out for whales in winter, while enjoying a cup of coffee and sitting at my laptop.  That would be bliss.

BUY:  https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/the-obstruction-of-emma-goldsworthy-by-sean-kennedy-535-b

About The Obstruction of Emma Goldsworthy

Measuring up to her friend Micah Johnson’s success is an uphill battle for Emma Goldsworthy, but it’s one she’s determined to win. She works hard to stay on task and excel in her hockey program at the Australian Institute of Sport, but her mettle is tested when her ex-girlfriend returns from studying abroad… with a new American girlfriend by her side. Apparently she’s come out of the closet, something she wasn’t willing to do for Emma. Still, Emma has moved on from her ex—despite what those around her want to believe. Besides, there’s someone else on Emma’s mind—a girl she met once in passing and can’t stop pining for… even though Emma doesn’t know her real name, or even what she looks like beneath her costume.

About the Author

Sean Kennedy lives in Perth, Western Australia, but his heart still belongs to his hometown Melbourne—which is also the home of Simon Murray and Declan Tyler from his series Tigers and Devils. A disciple of cult leader David Lynch, Sean is glad he lived long enough to see the revival of Twin Peaks in 2017.

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/sean__kennedy

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/sean.kennedy.58511

 

 

An Alisa Release Day Review: Lost Souls Found (Requiem Inc. #2) by Kris T. Bethke

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Dying is all in a day’s work. Love is more dangerous.

Ghostwalker Sam Jones has been half in love with Michael King since he started working at Requiem Inc. But Michael is his boss and a Guardian, to boot. Sam thinks they could make it work anyway, but Michael uses his position and his age to keep Sam at arm’s length.

When Sam continues to volunteer for the most dangerous cases, Michael has to intervene. He tells himself he’s just doing his job, but he’s always seen Sam as more than another operative, and he can’t bear the thought of not taking his chance. The connection between them has been strong from the beginning, and Michael’s telepathy adds unexpected depth and an edge to their new romance, but working together while they try to build their relationship might be the hardest part of their job if they don’t make some sacrifices.

I have been excited to read about Sam and Michael since I read the last book and it didn’t disappoint.  Sam has been pining for Michael since they first met ten years ago but Michael finally crosses a line and Sam decides to take the step to separate them.  That’s just the step that pushes Michael to actually talk to Sam about his feelings and see that future may be possible for them.

Michael continues to break Sam’s heart every time he denies their connection but it’s just that unfortunate thing to finally push Sam too far and for Michael to open his eyes.  Michael needs to take care of Sam and even with good intentions it bleeds into their work life.  There is a solution coming but will it be too much of a sacrifice for one of them to make?

We don’t get to see how these two have interacted in the past but seeing them in the previous book helps with that along with seeing both of their points of view.  I loved seeing Sam find the support he has always wanted from Michael which gives them both the type of connection they have longed for.  Michael has been hesitant and has trouble not being able to take care of Sam in all ways and causes some tension when bringing Sam back to life.  I see the next story is going to be about Avery who we got to know in the first story and can’t wait to see him find love again and see a potential for Tyler to be a focus in the future too.

The cover art by Aaron Anderson is great and I love the visual of Sam how it follows the same style as the first book.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 212 pages

Published: April 17, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-453-1

Edition Language: English

Series: Requiem Inc. #2, Dreamspun Beyond

A MelanieM Review: Big Man by Matthew J. Metzger

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Max Farrier wanted to follow in the family footsteps and join the Navy once, but he’s better off focusing on just surviving his last year of school and going to work in Aunt Donna’s shop once it’s over.

After an incident at school puts Max in the hospital, Aunt Donna’s had enough. She signs him up for private lessons at a Muay Thai gym. Boxing—she says—will change everything.

But it’s not boxing that starts to poke holes in Max’s stupor—it’s his sparring partner. Cian is fifty percent mouth, fifty percent attitude, and isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with a bully in the street. Cian takes what he wants, and doesn’t let anyone stand in his way—not even himself.

Big Man is my first novel by Matthew J. Metzger that I can find.  It will definitely not be my last.  Big Man is an incredibly moving, deeply impactful story.  It recounts one young man’s journey from a state of intense poor self esteem, wanting to hide within the walls of his home due to bullying and his body hatred, to one of happiness, pride, and ability to move forward in life.

It is not always an easy story, especially since the voice is Max’s and as we meet him he’s a beleaguered young man under attack at school.  The bullies there are relentless, having just put him into the hospital again.  The reader gets the raw account of this very attack right down to the moment he blacks out from Max’s perspective and it so painful.  Trust me when I say parts of this book are very difficult to read as it must be for those who are actually bullied.  You can actually feel Max’s fear when those three boys approach him.  It’s visceral in its ability to churn your stomach and his.

You see Max is a big, gentle man. Read that to be obese as well as large period.  He’s called Fatso Farrier at school by the bullies and that name has become ingrained in his mind and soul to the point he can’t move past it.  There are other major transitions as well in his life.  His beloved grandfather, who stood in for his dad who died with he was a toddler, has passed.  They recently moved into his ‘Aunt Donna’s’ house. His mother is happily remarrying… his ‘Aunt Donna’ (not that he has a problem with that, he doesn’t), and he needs to decide his future if he is going back to school for 2 more years.  So much on Max at the moment that he’s caught in stasis.

I’m debating saying more here because later in the story so much becomes clear to Max and to the reader at an important juncture.  If you are familiar with people fighting with  poor body image and/or issues with weight, some may be aware of some of the emotional factors that go along with them.  Here those factors are gently clued in, one by one until finally we get the entire package that is Max Farrier, past, present and, yes, future.

I will say that the author seems familiar with these issues and treats Max with sensitivity and compassion while sort of coming at it sideways.  By that I mean, Max (and the reader) isn’t seeing the whole picture right up until the end.  We are Max.  We don’t notice things changing until others tell us.  It’s a format that works here beautifully.

One of the ‘people’ telling Max things?  His boyfriend Cian.  I have no intention of spoiling that wonderful aspect of this story. I’ll just say that character and storyline is an absolute joy. In fact, one of the things about this story is families. What makes a family, finding and creating families.  And the love that  binds them together.  This story is full of that.  Max survives because of that, and lives to become the person he was always meant to be. Someone magnificent.  A Big Man.  Don’t miss out on this story.  It’s heartbreakingly wonderful in all the best ways.

Yes, it’s one I highly recommend.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  The  ocean is an important element for Max and the story but I wish somehow the cover was different to reflect how amazing this novel was.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Published April 9th 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781948608381
Edition LanguageEnglish

Feeling Springy! What’s Old is New Again.This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Feeling Springy! What’s Old is New Again.

So many things that I love about Spring! Yes, new things abound from young sprouts to tadpoles but also the fact that what has seemed old and seemingly dead, perhaps even barren, teems with life once more. Old oaks and maples majestically green out with canopies wide  where before you may have seen only bare limbs and trunks scarred and bent by age.  Gardens left covered with weeds still send forth bounty of flowers and produce no matter what sort of neglect they have suffered, and those secret patches of wildflowers sought out year after year, the lady slippers and the showy orchis, still emerge, no matter what changes their habitat have undergone, thankfully.

Other things can be like that and sure enough one of my favorite movies came up.  Somewhere in Time.  It’s not only a beloved movie that has been used recently in a M/M romance story (Somewhere on Mackinac by Jeff Adams)   but uses a familiar trope (time travel to see  or save a loved one).  Of course, right on the heels of that one, I watched a new Netflix anime Kuromukuro (outstanding) that had another man out of time element.  He was seeking revenge for a woman.  No spoilers.  But more movies and books of this vein started to pour through my mind, all the twists and turns that various authors and writers had given this theme.  Taken something old and made it new again.  And again.  And again.

We love our familiar tropes for just that reason.  Our monsters turned heros who find love, second chance at HEA, meet cutes, our lovers reunited, our ghostly romances, our time traveling lovers, even our aliens from space, all of these come up again and again.  Writers reach back and try to make the old new, fresh with their own perspective and storylines.

So in keeping with our Spring topic.  What  tropes do you see the most of?  Which do you think are overused or just plain used? And which get the best new spin?  I’m just plain curious to see what you all have to say on this topic.  Name stories or movies if you wish or just comment.  It’s our What’s Old is New Again Giveaway!.  And it will carry us into the end of the month for a gift cert for $10.  Leave your name and a comment and a email where you can be reached if chosen.

✒︎

♦︎Announcement:  The winner of our What’s New In LGBT Romance Fiction Giveaway is Steve Wroten.  Steve, please contact Stella at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com and she will hook you up with your gift certificate. Congratulations!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 14:

  • Feeling Springy! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  •  BLITZ Deadly Dorian by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Monday, April 15:

  •  Dreamspun Promo Kris T. Bethke on Lost Souls Found (Requiem Inc. #2)
  • Harmony Promo Sean Kennedy on The Obstruction of Emma Goldsworthy (Get Out #3)
  • Release Blitz – Addison Albright – The Contingency Plan
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Full Plate by Kim Fielding
  • A Caryn Review:Asylum (Pride and Joy #2) by Robert Winter
  • A MelanieM Review: Big Man by Matthew J. Metzger
  • An Alisa Review :Precious Moments by Casper Graham

Tuesday, April 16:

  • COVER REVEAL – Under Five by Michael War
  • AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – Shatterproof Bond Series by Isobel Starling
  • BOOK BLITZ for NATURAL ENEMIES by Roan Parrish
  • TOUR Whirlwind by J.V. Speyer
  • A Lucy Review: Big Man by Matthew J. Metzger
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Lost Souls Found (Requiem Inc. #2) by Kris T. Bethke
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Crocus (Bonfires #2) by Amy Lane
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Obstruction of Emma Goldsworthy (Get Out #3) by Sean Kennedy

Wednesday, April 17:

  • BLOG TOUR SQUARED AWAY by Annabeth Albert
  • Book Blitz – Five Dares – Eli Easton
  • REVIEW TOUR Ari McKay – Like The Night
  • Theoden: A New Haven Series Prequel by Nicholas Bella Blog Tour
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Late in the Day (The Vault #2) by Mary Calmes and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)
  • A Lucy Review: Coming Out In The Art by J. Sanders
  • A MelanieM Review: Like the Night (Blood Bathory #1) by Ari McKay
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Getting His Man (Getting His Man #1) by B.G. Thomas and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)

Thursday, April 18:

  • DSP Publications Promo Aidan Wayne
  • RELEASE BLITZ Life Is A Stevie Wonder Song – V.L. Locey
  • BLOG TOUR Redeeming the Stepbrother by Andrew Grey
  • A Jeri Review: Campus Life by TC Orton
  • A MelanieM Review:Inked in Vegas (Heathens Ink #5.5) by K.M. Neuhold
  • A Lila Review: Let Me In by Luna David
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady  Review: Soul to Keep (Rented Heart universe) by Garrett Leigh

Friday, April 19:

  • BLOG TOUR Heartbeats by Jenna Kendrick
  • Book Blast – Omega Required by Dessa Lux
  • DSP Promo Amy Lane
  • BLOG TOUR Redeeming the Stepbrother by Andrew Grey
  • A MelanieM Review :
  • A Caryn Review: Surprise Delivery (Hearts & Health #5) by DJ Jamison
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: A Daring Ride (The Bullriders#2) by Andrew Grey and Narrator: John Solo

Saturday, April 20:

  • Release Blitz Jay Northcote – Second Chance
  • Release Blitz – Love For All Seasons – Various Authors
  • A MelanieM Review: One Last Heist by Dahlia Donovan

A MelanieM Review: Lessons in Chasing the Wild Goose by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith like nothing more than being handed a mystery to solve. But why would anybody murder a man with no enemies? And was it murder in the first place?

I’m always so thrilled to see another Jonty and Orlando mystery be released from Charlie Cochrane.  It means I get to go back and spend my time with those deeply in love Cambridge Fellows I have come to adore over a series of stories that span 20 years of their lives together in approximately Edwardian England.

While the earlier stories follow a rigid timeline, the later tales are more fluid so I never know where they might fall along the 20 some span of years so far.  Lessons in Chasing the Wild Goose sees them in their later years, post WWI,  where the effects of that war is still raw, on them and England.  Both men still bear the scars of service, inside and out.  And as this story is to prove, they are far from the only ones.

There are so many things I admire about Charlie Cochrane’s writing and this series.  For one, its authentic, from the language down to the accoutrements of the people at every level of society you see within the stories.  And not once will it every feel anything but completely natural and easy (as opposed to a knowledge dump).  You become immersed in the times, first pre-war England and then all the horrors of  WWI, the very first war of devastating impact with chemical weaponry and  more.  We see it all through the eyes of Jonty and Orlando, Jonty’s family, and the extended “family” they have gathered together at St. Bride’s College, where they have taught all these years and met.

Then, there are the characters, no people, you have come to love over the series of stories.  Its not just Orland Coppersmith and Jonty Stewart, but everyone that Cochrane has created as foundation characters, including the Stewart family and the St. Bride’s College staff, from the head of the college right down to the men who take in the luggage and keep the grounds proper.  Not to forget the housekeeper at their cottage or the detectives they work with.  Nope, all real.  And when over the course of the years, some die, as the intrepid Mr. and Mrs Steward did, how I wept with loss.

So you can imagine, jumping into a new mystery is like coming home again.

Here Cochrane has come up with a doozy of a murder mystery. A man is hit by a car but his wife is convinced it was murder.  It kept me guessin with layers upon layers, surrounded with the poignancy of the survivors and the ever  deepening ramifications from WWI upon people and place.  Stepping up is Jonty’s sister and brother in law to help with the mysteries (yes, multiple) as well as the crew from St. Bride’s.

But the best?  Being gently swung back into the loving, long-established relationship of Jonty and Orlando.  It now has all the hallmarks of a couple who knows each other so well they answer for each other,  the adoration for each other, for each other’s intellects  to their aging bodies is cellular that it glows off the page.

How I love them and this series.  Its one of my heartstones of fiction and one I always recommend.  Now I have another story to add to my recommendations.  Love historical fiction and romance?  Pick up Lessons in Chasing the Wild Goose by Charlie Cochrane.  I hope you are familiar with all of the Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, of which this is but one.  Gather them all up and hold them close.  They are true gems!

Cover art: Alex Beecroft.  Love the cover.  Works perfectly for the story and its charming.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 104 pages
Published March 19th 2018 by The Right Chair Press
Original TitleLessons in Chasing the Wild Goose
ASINB0791HH4VB
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Cambridge Fellows

Review Tour and Giveaway for Soul To Keep (Rented Hearts #2) by Garrett Leigh

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Length: 62,000 words
 
Cover Design: Black Jazz Design
 
Rented Heart Series
 
Rented Heart (Book #1) – Universal Buy Link
 
Blurb
 

Recovering addict Jamie Yorke has returned to England from California. With no home or family to speak of, he sticks a pin in a map and finds a small town in the Derbyshire Peak District. Matlock Bath is a quiet placeóhe just needs to get there, keep his head down, and stay clean. Simple, right? Until a chance meeting on the flight home alters the course of his so-called life forever.


Ex-Army medic Marc Ramsey is recovering from life-changing combat injuries while pulling nights as a trauma specialist at the local hospital. Keeping busy is a habit he canít quit, but when Jamieóso wild and beautifulóbursts into his life, working himself into the ground isnít as compelling as it used to be.


?Marc falls hard, but chaos lurks behind Jamieís fragile facade. Heís winning his battle against addiction, but another old foe is slowly consuming him. Both men have weathered many storms, but the path to the peace they deserve might prove the roughest ride yet.

 

April 3 – The Novel Approach
April 9 – My Fiction Nook
April 16 – OMG Reads
 

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.


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 photographer Dan Burgess.

Giveaway

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This story has moved up to my favorite of the series, and in fact, it’s going on my Best of 2018 list.  Annabeth Albert took several tough-to-get-right topics, among them grief and sexuality, and put them into a poignant story of two young men who struggle to meet the emotional and physical needs of young children who are suddenly orphaned.  The men, Navy SEAL Mark Whitley, aka “Wizard,” the best medic in the field, and Isaiah, aka Ike, a young man who’s crushed on Mark for years, step up to take over the child care when Mark’s sister and Isaiah’s cousin are killed in an auto accident.   Unfortunately, Mark’s sister’s will is five years old and though it names him as the child’s guardian, there are now two more children.  On the other hand, her husband’s recent will names Isaiah as guardian of all the children and states that she agrees. However, without a signature, Isaiah is facing a long battle to get permanent guardianship. 

As with all of this author’s books that feature military characters, the setting and the circumstances are accurate and intriguing.  Wizard is on deployment when he learns of his sister’s death and is sent home on emergency leave where he finds that Isaiah has been on-scene since the accident, caring for the kids and holding off the memorial service for his return.  Originally attracted to the young man six years before, he aborted an intriguing sexual offer from Isaiah who was then much too young for Mark.  But in the meantime, he’s heard stories of Isaiah’s promiscuousness, even with Mark’s buddies, including Ben Tovey (On Point) and aside from the fact that sex doesn’t really interest Mark anyway, sex with Isaiah is most definitely off the books now. 

Days have passed since I finished this story and the characters and plot are still strong and clear in my memory. That alone is a tribute to how much I loved the book. I’ve been procrastinating about writing the review because I can’t find the words to fully express my appreciation of this author’s talent, her research into not only military life, but the intricacies of determining where one falls on the sexuality spectrum.  The sensitivity and concern for accuracy that she shows in the way the topic is presented comes through loud and clear. 

And thankfully, there are no tropes related to nasty relatives, and the children are precious without being overly precocious.  The support Mark receives from his unit and that Isaiah receives from his friends and aunts is wonderful but not overdone.  And the emotional changes in Isaiah’s relationship with his father don’t happen overnight either; they, too, take time to develop and are a welcome outcome of good communication. 

There really aren’t any negatives here for me.  And one other positive of note that needs to be included is the kissing! Ahhh, so satisfying. So sweet.  These two have a very special bond, and for once, I can enjoy a story without the bedroom becoming the most used room in the house.  Just sayin’.  It’s nice to have a romance between two MCs that doesn’t start with a hot and heavy sex encounter. 

I very highly recommend this book.  It can be read as a standalone, though readers should consider the whole series simply due to how outstanding it is.  If your interest is in learning more about Navy SEAL training, child custody issues, demisexuality and asexuality, including gray ace, this story would be perfect for you.   And if you are simply looking for an outstanding MM romance, look no further. 

Cover art: is hot, relevant and wonderful.

Sales Links:   Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: April 16th 2018 by Carina Press
Original TitleSquared Away
ASINB0789LDCTR
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOut of Uniform #5

Alex Whitehall on Family, and the new fantasy release Magic Runs Deep (author guest blog and giveaway)

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Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall

Riptide Publishing

Cover Art:
Sales Links:

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Alex Whitehall today on tour for Magic Runs Deep, one of our happily recommended stories. Welcome, Alex.

✒︎

 

Hello, everybody! I’m Alex Whitehall, and I’m here today touring for my fantasy novel Magic Runs Deep, which is about one man’s search to find himself—and true freedom—after a long imprisonment, and the path to trust that he follows along the way.

Family is an important part of every life—no matter what form it takes—and a lot can be gleaned from looking at family structure. In Magic Runs Deep, we see the family interactions of two very different characters, from the brother to the king to a man who comes from a large family that is strongly tied together. The Elrid, king’s brother, only has one immediately family member left, and the bond between the brothers is strong, but it also has molded Elrid into a man who is self-reliant, and who, although he loves his brother, struggles to truly understand the extent that Veier, who comes from a close-knit community with an extended family, relies on and misses his family over the course of the book.

Over the course of the book, we see Elrid and his brother interact, and the playful banter makes it obvious they care for each other—even if they get frustrated with each other as all siblings do—but both men seem to stand alone, isolated from one another. Some of this is, of course, due to the role they play on the page and what Veier can see happening, but most of it is the culture and world they were raised in.

Meanwhile, Veier comes from a large family, who he thinks of often. He mentions being raised by his uncles and mother, recalls his siblings fondly, and while his father was often absent because of duty, there was always plenty of love to go around, leaving Veier fulfilled. Elrid speaks rarely of his family, since it’s not central to his life, while Veier thinks about his family constantly, and not just because it reminds him of home.

To learn more about Veier’s family and to see if he gets to return home, you’ll have to check out Magic Runs Deep. Meanwhile, what does family mean to you?

 

About Magic Runs Deep

 

For the last five years, Veier has been chained to a king’s throne in his bear form. When a neighboring kingdom overthrows the crown, Veier’s imprisonment ends, but true freedom is not so easily earned. With blood on his hands, he needs someone with patience, strength, and trust to help him become the person he was before and prove to the invaders that he isn’t the monstrous king’s loyal pet.

 

Elrid, the invading king’s brother and a powerful mage, is everything Veier despises. He’s also the only thing between Veier and execution, because he thinks he can help Veier change from an aggressive bear shifter into a reasonable man. While the pair have a rough start, with long talks and mutual leaps of faith, they begin to care for each other.

 

However, the closer Veier gets to his freedom, the closer he is to losing Elrid. He must find balance in his heart and his life if he wishes to truly claim the freedom he’s been given—and the man he loves.

 

About Alex Whitehall

 

If there are two types of people in the world, Alex Whitehall probably isn’t one of them, despite being a person. Their favorite pastimes include reading, horseback riding, sleeping, watching geek-tastic television, knitting, eating, and running. And wasting time on the internet. And spending glorious evenings laughing with friends.

 

While Alex prefers sleeping over doing anything else (except maybe eating), sometimes they emerge from the cave to be social and to hunt for food at the local market. They can be found blogging, reading, and tending after their aloe plants.

 

Connect with Alex:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Magic Runs Deep, Alex is giving away an ecopy of Second Skin! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 14, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

How do I put what this book meant to me into words? I can’t find terms to describe this outstanding work. Phenomenal, Heartbreaking, Touching, Realistic, Emotional, Hopeful? All of these, yet none can do the job on its own.

The book is in two segments: before and after.  Before Trevor’s son, Riley, is killed in action in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and After as Trevor starts the painful process of trying to survive without his reason to live. I’m still reeling as I write this. That section was so emotional for me that tears are still leaking, and those who know me know that I don’t let those suckers loose easily. 

My son was in a similar situation, IRL, the year before Riley shipped out.  My parent trigger was pulled over and over again throughout this realistically told story.  The rare calls that only came during the night, which was their daytime.  Going off grid on patrol somewhere top secret.  The IEDs and constant danger from snipers and suicide bombers.  All that and more.  It was a very painfully emotional year for me and as I read Riley’s story and Trevor’s reactions, I was right there with them as my heart beat too fast, or I felt lightheaded, frightened, and finally, sobbing.  Honestly, I don’t know how a parent can survive the loss of a child, but if there are words to describe the hell that is having your child in a situation like Riley was in, Ms. Hansen surely found them.  Kudos for such an outstanding and sensitive portrayal of that time period. 

And the after?  Trevor was so broken it didn’t seem likely he could put one foot in front of the other.  The stages of grief are clearly portrayed. The breakup with Carl, the slowly developing friendship with Jesse, Riley’s BFF and battle buddy, and their long and very slow burn that develops into so much more—all inevitable as readers could tell by the time it happened. The beauty is in the journey we take with Trevor and Jesse along the way as they revisit their memories of Riley: the child, the friend, the soldier.  And, as with the main characters, the secondary characters are well-developed and have their own issues and impact from their time in Afghanistan, most notably PTSD. The author doesn’t gloss over any of it.  Each issue is addressed, some more in-depth than others, all of it making for an emotional read. 

Riley isn’t a fleeting character either. Though he dies in this story, his memory is kept alive throughout the book, in part during Trevor’s stages of grief, but in part through his annual visits to Arlington National Cemetery, where Riley is buried alongside other soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There is a romance in here.  Honest there is, but the couple’s story is wrapped up in so much other emotion that needs to be addressed, the romance is almost secondary.  Jesse and Trevor together were beautiful, though they didn’t come together as a couple until the latter part of the book.  And when they did, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.  There is so much emotional depth to this story that I’m back to saying what I did at the beginning of this review: there are no words that can do it justice. 

Topping my Best of 2018 list, this book deserves to be read.  Grab the tissue box, find a quiet place where your sobbing will not bother others, and just read.  Read until your heart breaks and heals itself, because it will heal, and by the end of the story, joy is in store for all those who finish.  Joy and a sense of peace and accomplishment and the knowledge that you’ve just read something very special.  Needless to say, I very highly recommend this story to all lovers of MM romance, angst, age gap, hurt-comfort, and deep feels on all stages of life’s spectrum. 

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The somewhat bland-colored cover features a rear view of two men gazing into one another’s eyes.  Neither appears to be younger than the other so it doesn’t quite represent the characters and isn’t appealing. 

Sales Links: Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 451 pages
Expected publication: March 26th 2018 by Carina Press
ISBN139781488097058
Edition LanguageEnglish