A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Deosil (Whyborne & Griffin #11) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Rating: 5+ stars out of 5

I’m so sad today. Last night I finished one of my all-time favorite series. Whyborne and Griffin have become important to me. They are not only sweet and strong and fearless, they are my ideal couple—two halves of a whole—and that can readily be seen in this final story. I read this sooo slowly because I didn’t want the story (or the series) to end. I’m not ready to say goodbye to Griffin Flaherty and Percival Whyborne. Hmm…perhaps I’d better start reading it all over again from book one, Widdershins.

In this last installment, all the pieces of the puzzle come together as the maelstrom faces the masters with Whyborne and Persephone who are the only ones who can stop the other-worldly beings. But it’s never an easy task, as we readers all know, and the author takes us through a clever labyrinth of emotional highs and lows with tragedy and trauma, heartache, and fear, before, finally, success.

The entire cast of characters plays a role in this one—everyone from Heliabel, Persephone, and the other ketoi, to the dweller of the deep, the umbrae, and the Queen of Shadows. Then there’s the librarians, the sheriff’s deputies, the Endicotts, Griff’s brother Jack, Niles Whyborne, and the founding families. All are ready to defend Widdershins. Widdershins knows its own, and those of Widdershins are willing to die to defend what they have. Topping the list is a very pregnant Christine and her husband Iskander, and of course, Griffin Flaherty and Percival Whyborne—all united as family of the heart.

I can’t begin to say how very complex and clever each and every book in this series is. Over the years, the author’s storytelling skills have amazed me, charmed me, and engaged me in the adventures of a young man who started as a mousy virgin librarian, unsure of himself, unwilling to go along with what his family expected, and with little self-esteem—a young man who became a force to be reckoned with as he defends Widdershins—the town, the people, and the maelstrom from other-worldly creatures. He stands tall and confident with the respect of those around him and the rock-solid love of his husband, the man who stands beside him always, his darling Griffin.

Don’t miss a chance to read this book if you’ve started the series.  And if you haven’t started, why not? This is simply exceptional.

A word about the cover by Lou Harper—it’s bright and attractive and features our two heroes in motion, ready for the masters. Perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Kobo

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 244 pages
Published October 11th 2019
ASINB07XYBC854
Edition Language English
Series Whyborne & Griffin #11

Whyborne & Griffin series (Goodreads)

An Alisa Review: Bishop: A True Lover’s Story by A.E. Via

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

At only thirty-two, Bishop Stockley has lived a hard-knock life. His gang was his family, the streets his home. Until the crew he’d always called his brothers betrayed him. After doing five years in a federal prison, Bishop is back at his dad’s trailer and working for his landscaping company, thrust into a legit world where he’s no longer the alpha—a world where a criminal record is the least of his disadvantages, because Bishop can’t read or write. Illiteracy had never been an obstacle for him on the streets, he didn’t need to know how to read Moby Dick to survive, he needed to know how to read people… and that was a hustle he’d learned hard and fast. Now, he had to change his life.

Bishop’s only support system was a young, inexperienced dad who’d insisted he call him Mike all their life—since they looked more like brothers than father and son. And his hot-tempered, childhood, best friend from ’juvie, Trent. Bishop already had the deck stacked against him, but he wasn’t afraid of hard work to change his situation, and he did want to change. Especially after he encountered Edison Scala, a kind-spirited office manager who didn’t hesitate to come to his defense… a man that saw past Bishop’s grass-stained coveralls. A man who wasn’t intimidated by his stern features and his silence.

Edison hadn’t grown up the way most of his peers had. He’d been raised by a single father who’d owned an old-fashioned barber shop where Edison was taught how to not only shave with a straight razor, and shine shoes, but also how to treat others, to not judge, to be a gentleman, to be respectful and speak without profanity. But, the biggest lesson he’d learned, was to always be himself. His lack of friends and a social life wasn’t his fault. No matter how much weight he gained, no matter how many times his staff called him a square, Edison did not need to change.

Bishop knew Edison was off-limits. He’d made personal vows to himself when he was released from prison, ones that he never intended to break. But, when Edison asked him about providing landscaping services at his home, there was no way he could refuse. He hadn’t expected Edison to feed him, praise him, encourage him, and look at him the way he did—as if Bishop was somebody. Mike and Trent warned him not to mix business with pleasure and he didn’t intend to.

I continue to love all the books I have read by this author and this one was no exception.  Bishop and Edison have been hurt by life in different ways.  Bishop doesn’t feel he is worthy of pretty much anything, having grown up in a gang and going to prison and being illiterate makes him feel like less of a person.  Edison grew up as an outsider and it doesn’t seem to have changed as an adult but he still longs for a special connection with someone.

I hated to watch Bishop struggle with his inability to read and how important he put that in his life.  I understand that his ex hurt him badly when calling it out to everyone but he does have great support from his dad and Trent.  He just has to take the step to make himself feel worthy enough to be with Edison.

I never quite understood why Edison allowed Skyler to continually get under his skin and even believe him to have changed at times.  I know some of it was Edison’s hope for friendship but at the same time we begin to see Skylar’s true motives as he sees Edison finding happiness.  I was so glad that Edison and Bishop stood by each other through thick and thin even if there was some drama associated with it.  I look forward to more stories in this series to see their relationship continue and even see Trent find someone.

The cover art by Jay Aheer is great and I love the visual of Bishop.

Sales Links: Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 395 pages

Published: September 30, 2019 by Via Star Wings Books
Edition Language: English

Series: A True Lovers Story #1

A Free Dreamer Review: Master of Restless Shadows (Master of Restless Shadows #1) by Ginn Hale

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Freshly graduated Master Physician Narsi Lif-Tahm has left his home in Anacleto and journeyed to the imposing royal capital of Cieloalta intent upon keeping the youthful oath he made to a troubled writer. But in the decade since Narsi gave his pledge, Atreau Vediya has grown from an anonymous delinquent to a man renowned for penning bawdy operas and engaging in scandalous affairs.

What Narsi―and most of the larger world―cannot know is the secret role Atreau plays as spymaster for the Duke of Rauma.

After the Cadeleonian royal bishop launches an unprovoked attack against the witches in neighboring Labara, Atreau will require every resource he can lay his hands upon to avert a war. A physician is exactly what he needs. But with a relentless assassin hunting the city and ancient magic waking, Atreau fears that his actions could cost more than his own honor. The price of peace could be his friends’ lives.

“Master of Restless Shadows” is the kind of book that should come with the warning “This book will make you late. Do not read if punctuality matters to you.” There aren’t many books that have made me lose track of time so completely.

I read somewhere that this was a spin-off of the author’s well known “Lord of the White Hell” series and that you should read that series before starting with this one. Well, this is the first book I’ve ever read by Ginn Hale and I had no trouble understanding what was going on. I guess it might be set in the same universe.

I will admit it took a little bit to get into the book, mostly because the religion reminded me a lot of Christianity, especially of the Roman Catholic variety. I don’t like it when fantasy religions are so clearly inspired by real ones. But once I got over that, I started to really enjoy the story and when my tardiness started to become an issue. I still think “Sorry, can’t work today, I can’t stop reading” should be an official reason to stay home or at least be late.

The world-building is stellar. It’s very complex and, other than the main religion, utterly fascinating.  It’s never confusing, though, and it’s perfectly interwoven with the plot itself. There’s no boring info-dump and yet you learn everything you need to know.

This is mostly brilliant Fantasy with a very slow-burn romance. The first kiss happens somewhere around the 70% mark, if I remember correctly. But that allowed for a natural development of the relationships and when that kiss finally happened, I was inwardly cheering them on.

The magic system was really interesting. It was a good mix of people who can do magic and those who can’t.

To sum it up, “Master of Restless Shadows” is a brilliant book. I do have on tiny criticism, but since I enjoyed the rest of it so much, I rounded it up to a generous 5 stars.

If you like well-written Fantasy with a bit of romance that happens to be of the m/m variety, then this I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book. Just don’t expect a super romantic love story with a Fantasy backdrop.

I’m a bit on the fence about the cover by Zaya Feli. I wouldn’t expect a Fantasy novel hiding behind it, it looks more historical. It still looks nice, though.

Order it now:  Blind Eye Books  | Amazon | Smashwords

 

 

Book details: Kindle Edition, 671 pages

Published October 8th 2019 by Blind Eye Books (first published October 6th 2019)

Don’t Miss Out on the Release Tour for The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth (excerpt and giveaway)

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The Shoreless Sea - J. Scott Coatsworth

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out, the final book in his Liminal Sky trilogy: “The Shoreless Sea.” And books one and two are on sale!

As the epic trilogy hurtles toward its conclusion, the fight for the future isn’t over yet. It could lead to a new beginning, or it might spell the end for the last vestiges of humankind.

The generation ship Forever has left Earth behind, but a piece of the old civilization lives on in the Inthworld—a virtual realm that retains memories of Earth’s technological wonders and vices. A being named Lilith leads the uprising, and if she succeeds in setting its inhabitants free, they could destroy Forever.

But during the generation ship’s decades-long voyage, humanity has evolved. Liminals with the ability to connect with the world mind and the Inthworld provide a glimmer of hope. They’ll have to face not only Lilith’s minions, but also the mistrust of their own kind and persecution from a new government as homotypicals continue to fear what they can’t understand.

The invasion must be stopped, the Inthworld must be healed, and the people of Forever must let go of their past and embrace what they’re meant to become.

Series Blurb:

Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs. At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.

Dreamspinner | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | QueeRomance Ink | GoodreadsGet Books One and Two on Sale!

Liminal Sky Series sale

The eBook for book one in the Liminal Sky trilogy, “The Stark Divide,” is just 99¢, and book two, “The Rising Tide,” is $1.99 at all vendors:

The Stark Divide Buy Links – 99¢Dreamspinner | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

The Rising Tide Buy Links – $1.99Dreamspinner | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play


Giveaway

Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour, along with three eBook sets of his Oberon Cycle trilogy. For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4778/?


Excerpt

MEME-Shoreless-Sea-03

Kiryn Hammond-Clarke floated in the darkness of space, stars he’d never seen in person twinkling against the velvety black depths.

The voice came to him from out of nowhere. “Can anyone hear me?”

In his dreams, he could hear. Like when Belynn let him ride in her mind.

The voice repeated, sounding stretched and thin. “Is anyone out there?”

In the distance, a single star glowed brighter than all the others, though it was still just a small golden dot.

Kiryn reached out toward the light, his hand naked to the cold of the void.

Ice crystals formed on his arm, hardening it in place. The cold reached into his bones like knives of frozen glass. It raced up his bicep, the burning cold fire of the void.

He snatched back his arm, but he was too late. The freezing grip reached his heart, and he screamed silently—

Kiryn awoke with a start, sitting up in bed in his dorm room drenched with sweat. He ran his hands through his dark hair, letting them come to rest clasped behind his head.

First Light flashed past in the trees outside his window, brightening up the room.

The world was utterly silent.

The silence, his constant companion since birth, was particularly soothing after his rude awakening. It wrapped itself around him like a blanket, a suit of armor, a barrier between him and the hustle and bustle of the outside world.

Between him and emotion.

He held his arm out for inspection, half expecting it to be blackened by the void. Instead, it looked perfectly normal. Warm and tan, halfway between his mothers’ sepia and white skin tones.

He shivered at the memory.

The bed moved under him, and his date from the night before sat up, his mouth moving soundlessly.

The man was handsome, a Thyrean sent to the university at Micavery for his higher schooling—long limbs, blond hair shaved short, warm brown eyes.

His name was Dax. Or Zack. Or something.

Kiryn’s lipreading was decent, but he hadn’t bothered to spend too much time learning this one’s name. Dax or Zack hadn’t seemed to mind much.

Kiryn pointed at his ear and shook his head.

The man’s mouth closed, and he blushed. “Sorry. I forgot.”

That one was easy enough to read.

He grabbed the piece of cotton paper and a pencil Kiryn kept at his bedside just for that purpose and scribbled something out longhand, then handed it over to him.

It’s Dax. And are you okay?

Kiryn stared at him. Did you just read my mind? Maybe there was a little Liminal in him. He laughed, wondering not for the first time what it sounded like from the outside. It felt clunky and awkward on the inside.

He sighed and took the paper and pencil.

Dax’s hand lingered over his for an extra second before letting go.

Bad dream. Class in fifteen minutes. He hesitated, then scribbled, Dinner?

Dax took the paper, and a grin lit up his face. His eager nod needed no translation. I work at the hatchery until six. Meet me there?

Kiryn nodded and grinned.

Dax slipped out of bed and pulled on his trousers and white shirt, the V-neck showing off his chest to perfection.

Kiryn sat back with his hands behind his head, admiring the view.

He leaned over, kissed Kiryn on the cheek, and mouthed, “See you.”

When Dax left, Kiryn grabbed a change of clothes and headed down the hall to the dorm bathroom. He hopped into the shower, using the aromatic red berry soap bar his mom and mamma had sent him from the Estate. The smell transported him, and he closed his eyes and imagined himself standing among the long, even rows of red berry vines that arched across the hillsides.

His parents worried about him, out here alone, but it was Andy who had insisted he go.

When Kiryn had been born congenitally and profoundly deaf, Andy and Shandra had learned sign language from the world mind in vee.

There were so few other deaf people in Forever. So few like him.

The day before he was set to leave for university, to catch the public wagon headed for Darlith and then Micavery, he’d had a huge panic attack.

His parents had sat him down along with his sister, Belynn:

 

“I’m scared. Why do I have to go away?” He was fidgeting, nervous.

“You have to go. There’s nothing here for you.” Andy indicated the Estate, where the family had built a thriving agricultural business on the backs of Trip’s and Colin’s earlier work.

You’re here.” His hands signed it while his knee bounced up and down.

Andy shook her head. “This is our place. You need to go.”

He flushed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was such a burden.”

“No.That was emphatic. “That’s not what I meant. We don’t want you to get trapped here, working on the Estate for the rest of your life. There’s a whole world out there for you to explore.” She looked up at Shandra, who nodded.

“I’ll go with him,” Belynn said and signed it at the same time, but he could hear her inside his head too.

Mom could do that, too, of course, but she had to touch him to do it.

“You’re not ready.” Shandra glared at Belynn and shook her head.

“I’ve been with Kiryn in every vee class since I was born. I’m only two years younger than he is. Let me go with him to help.”

Kiryn frowned. He wasn’t sure he wanted his little sister tagging along after him, cramping his style. If he decided to go.

Belynn’s hand found his, palm to palm, and he could feel her emotions. We can take care of each other. That thought was private, just for him, inside his head.

Maybe so.

Andy looked at Shandra. “They could take care of each other.” She echoed Belynn’s thought and touched Shandra’s hand. Something passed between them.

Shandra looked at him and then at Belynn, uncertainty clear on her face. “We could… try it.”

Belynn squeezed his hand. “Yes!”

“For a semester.” Andy kissed Shandra on the forehead.

Kiryn thought about it. It would be nice to have someone close by, just in case. Someone who really knew him. “Okay.” And it would be a lot less scary.

Now he was here, and Belynn wouldn’t be far behind.

Where are you, big brother? Belynn’s insistent voice.

I’ll be back in a minute. He pulled the towel from its wooden peg, dried off his hair and shoulders.

A couple of the other guys in the dorm, Stave and Trevor, waved on their way to their own showers. Cute as hell, but straighter than the old antenna on Micavery’s village green. Well, except when Stave got drunk on red berry wine….

Kiryn grinned. He pulled on his trousers and shirt and padded back to his room. Belynn was waiting for him on his bed. “How did you get in?” he signed.

They touched palms, the emotions flowing between them and synching.

“Easy. Aric at the front desk is a sucker for a pretty girl.”

“Like I said, how did you get in?”

She stuck out her tongue at him. “Come on. We’re going to be late.” She tugged him off the bed, and Kiryn barely had time to grab his carry sack before she had him out the door and down the hall.


Author Bio

J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

A Rainbow Award winning author and Science Fiction Writer’s Association (SFWA) member, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecitng their own reality.

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

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

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

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ/

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National Coming Out Day..a bit late. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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National Coming Out Day….a bit late.

 

National Coming Out Day was Friday, October 11, the 31st such coming out celebration and I didn’t want such a wonderful event to pass by without Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words making note of just how special and wondrous this occasion is. Our Twitter feed is full of stories, poignant, funny, accepting, sad, hilarious, and heartbreaking.  They have been running the full gamut of emotions, and histories, up to and including the advice that not everyone is ready to come out.  That they will know when, and if, that time comes that they feel safe and ready to make that step, a step only they should make for themselves.

As I said Friday, October 11, marked the 31st Anniversary of National Coming Out Day, a landmark in and of itself. Here are some special links, courtesy of HRC:

A Resource Guide to Coming Out

Transgender Visibility: A Guide to Being You

History of National Coming Out Day : started in October 11, 1987

 

For many more links (coming out at school, at work, inspiring stories, and helpful links, please check out HRC’s full link

National Coming Out Day | Human Rights Campaign |   https://www.hrc.org 

 

No matter the age when someone realized “who” they were and stated it out loud, from the earliest of ages to later in life, the ability to be i your truest self , whatever that may be, is a right everyone should have.  Here are some stories. Happy National Coming Out Day….a bit late.

National Coming Out Day: 2019’s top LGBTQ coming out stories

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, October 13:

  • National Coming Out Day..a bit late.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, October 14:

  • Review Tour – Ruby Moone – Loving Daniel (MC Securities #3)
  • Review Tour – Beth Laycock – Guarding His Heart
  • AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR – DARK RIVERS by Morgan Brice
  • A Stella Review: Things Happen That Way (Mann of My Dreams #2) by Tinnean
  • An Alisa Review : Loving Daniel (MC Securities #3) by  Ruby Moone
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Dark Rivers (Witchbane #2) by Morgan Brice and Kale Williams (Narrator)

Tuesday, October 15:

  • Cover Reveal, – Sally Malcom – Twice Shy (A New Milton Novel)
  • BLOG TOUR Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale
  • Blog Post The Twelfth Knight (Guardians of Camelot #1) by Victoria Sue
  • BLITZ for Natural Disaster by Erin McLellan
  • A MelanieM Review: Wrecked by Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga
  • A Lila Review The Spymaster’s Secret By Antonia Aquilante
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Master of Restless Shadows (Master of Restless Shadows #1) by Ginn Hale

Wednesday, October 16:

  • Review Tour Bishop: A True Lover’s Story by A.E. Via
  • Blog Post – DJ Jamison”
  • The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth Tour
  • An Alisa Review: Bishop: A True Lover’s Story by A.E. Via
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Deosil (Whyborne & Griffin #11) by Jordan L. Hawk
  • A MelanieM Review:The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth

Thursday, October 17:

  • Post CONFESSIONS OF A GAY CURMUDGEON by Andy V. Ambrose
  • Release Blitz – Slow Birth (Heat of Love 2.5) – Leta Blake
  • BLITZ Starting from Scratch by Lane Hayes
  • An Alisa Review: Blood Wine (The Blood Bond Series Book 2) by Aimer Boyz
  • A Stella Review: Love on the Hudson by KD Fisher
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ghost House by Jacqueline Grey

Friday, October 18:

  • Release Blitz  – Doctor’s Orders by Emma Jay
  • Release Blitz – Felice Stevens – Running From My Heart
  • Review Tour – Con Riley – After Ben (Seattle Stories #1)
  • A Stella Review : The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Rule Breaker (Mixed Messages #1) by Lily Morton and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
  • A Stella Review: After Ben (Seattle Stories #1) by Con Riley

Saturday, October 19:

  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Lucky Break (Clean Slate Ranch #4) by A.M. Arthur
  • A MelanieM Review: The Necromancer’s Reckoning (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #3) by S.J. Himes

A MelanieM Review: Lessons in Playing a Murderous Tune (Cambridge Fellows #12.8) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Orlando Coppersmith is called in to solve not one but two problems: a suspected murder and a mysterious violin. So why is he reluctant to take the case – is it because it came from the warden of his old college? Once more, it’s up to Jonty Stewart to get his partner through the challenge and employ their own, unique, way to finding a solution.

Well a clink of the bubbly to Charlie Cochrane!  The latest in the long running Cambridge Fellows series,Lessons in Playing a Murderous Tune (Cambridge Fellows #12.8 ) is a absolute delight of a mystery.  Even at 107 pages, its intriguing, all the clues scattered enough to tickle the brain and keep the reader truly puzzled, along with providing new astonishing bits of information about long established characters in this series, things I never would have guessed at! Nor am I giving away here.

In fact, I think the short length plays to the strength of the mystery.  Its concise, taut, pulling all the clues and players together in a swift and timely manner for a perfect Orlando and Jonty revelation!  Full of twists and as I love when it happens, helped along by some of my favorite other characters to Jonty’s father along with what we all know think of as (as Orlando would be shuddering as I type this), their very own Baker Street Irregulars, that very deeply wonderful group of scholars from St. Brides College.

As with every story, the relationship dynamics of Orlando and Jonty’s deep love for each other  is a strong element here, albeit a gentle one this time.  Here its Orlando’s need to prove himself to the college he’s returning to as a man but left as a boy.   Their interaction shows the depth of time together, the knowledge of each other and just how deep and strong their love has become through the years and series.  Gentle, heartening, and remarkable.

As are all the stories in this series and the couple at the heart.

But don’t take my word for it.  Pick them all up and read them in the order they were written, at least up to book number 11, then the timeline jumps around after that.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art: Alex Beecroft.  Love this cover.  Perfect for the times and tone.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 107 pages
Published August 26th 2019 by The Right Chair Press
ASINB07VXWRMJ9
Series Cambridge Fellows #12.8
Characters Jonty Stewart, Orlando Coppersmith

Cambridge Fellows (all the books here at Goodreads)

A Free Dreamer Review: Shinigami (Takamagahara Monogatari #2) by Xia Xia Lake

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A coming-of-age love story between an orphan and the heir of the richest family in the Land of Yamato. The human world meets the yōkai in a power struggle for the fate of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu.

While he battles to find his own path, Hirotsugu finds solace in a boy who will become his secret friend, then his salvation, and then as they become adults together, the love of his life.

After the good first part of the series, I was really curious about the actual novel. And I was not disappointed.

Shinigami” is part two of the series, even though it’s set before the events of “Kogitsune”. You should read “Kogitsune” before you pick up this book. It’s a free short story, so there’s nothing to lose and it will definitely help you understand this book.

I’m not sure if the blurb quite does this amazing book justice. It sounds a little trivial, when this story is anything but. I probably wouldn’t call it a “coming-of-age love story” either, more like historical fantasy steeped in Japanese mythology with a healthy dash of heartbreaking romance.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Japan and it’s folklore and mythology.  After the very good first part, I had very high expectations of this second installment. And “Shinigami” did not just live up to them, it actually exceeded them.

I’m somewhat familiar with Japanese mythology, but not an expert by any means. There’s a dictionary at the end of the book, so you can always cross check if you don’t understand something. You should still be familiar with the most common Japanese titles, though. I actually felt like I now know more about Japan than I did before starting the book, but it never felt like the author was writing a lecture.

The romance itself is rather slow burn, since the book essentially starts with Hiro’s birth. So it takes a while for Hiro and Ryu to meet and it takes even longer for a romantic relationship to develop. But that allowed for a natural growth of their feelings and it was wonderful to witness it. There’s not a ton of sex either and it’s not very explicit, but it was definitely very sensual.

The setting of ancient Japan was extremely well written. The author clearly did a lot of research and knows what she’s writing about. I loved all the details and it made it all very real to me. It’s not always an easy read, so you might not want to read while half asleep. Unless you know your Japanese history and mythology in your sleep, then you’re all set. If not, it does require a bit of concentration, because it’s a rather complex story.

I was happy to get a background story for a few characters of the first part. Biko-san makes another appearance and he’s so adorable. I’m totally naming a cat after him, if I ever get one.

There were some very emotional moments, both happy and sad. It never felt sappy or over the top, though. The ending was both heartbreaking and wonderful and I’m eagerly awaiting part three. That one will be about a minor character who only got one scene in the entire book, but I’m still curious to learn more about him.

Overall, “Shinigami” is a truly brilliant book. If you love historical fantasy, Japanese mythology and folklore and don’t mind a slow-burn, non-traditional romance, you must read this series. One of my highlights of the year.

That cover. Oh my god. So cool. I love it. I’m totally having a fangirl moment just because of the cover. It’s perfect and makes me sad I don’t own a print version. It would look great in my bookshelf.

Book 2 – Shinigami 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

Book details:

Kindle Edition,245 pages

Published October 1st 2019 (first published August 13th 2019)

Takamagahara Monogatari Series

Kogitsune

Shinigami

Special Books I’m Promoting This Weekend and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Book Highlight Weekend!

So I thought I’d do something a little different this weekend and highlight some books I thought should be in the spotlight. In case a few readers here and there had missed them.  Each for varying reasons but the first being excellence.

The first one is a teaser, you can preorder it now from MacMillan (Tor), the author is T.J. Klune.  Perhaps you all have heard of him? lol

The cover is amazing, the reviews from those that have read it incredible…

Charlaine Harris, the author of the True Blood books read The House in the Cerulean Sea and said, “The House in The Cerulean Sea is a modern fairy tale about learning your true nature and what you love and will protect. It’s a beautiful book.”

1984 meets The Umbrella Academy with a pinch of Douglas Adams thrown in.” (Gail Carriger)

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

An enchanting love story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is Lambda Literary Award-winning author TJ Klune’s breakout contemporary fantasy.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Expected publication: March 17th 2020 by Tor Books

 Pre Order LinksAmazon | Tor | Goodreads | Barnes&Noble

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Next up?

Sales Links:     

All Proceeds Go To Charity:

Amazon US

Everywhere Else

Book Details:

Buy for $4.99 or try Kindle Unlimited to read over a million titles
Kindle Edition, 761 pages
Published October 1st 2019

That would be the Heart2Heart Vol 3 AnthologyYou can find the link to the tour hereAll proceeds go to charity and the anthology is only available for the next 90 days!

Blurb

Once upon a time, a group of authors wondered… What if the Heart2Heart app — the dating app with a glitch that matched up the oddest, most perfect couples, and sponsored the charity date raffles that helped dozens of people find love — offered a classifieds section, too?

Need a handyman who knows how to wear a tool belt? Have a closet of drag costumes that needs a new home? How about finally tracking down that guy who made the perfect drink, or who’s just the right height to reach the top shelf?

Join some of your favorite authors of gay romance as they bring you sixteen brand-new stories inspired by reader suggestions!

Once again, all proceeds from this collection will go to the authors’ favorite LGBTQ charities (which are named and linked -see above tour), to ensure that love in all its forms will be celebrated and protected every single day of the year!

Participating Authors:Annabeth Albert , May Archer , Mary Calmes , Charlie Cochet , Eden Finley , Susan Hawke , Sloane Kennedy, Lucy Lennox  , Lily Morton , K.M. Neuhold , Nora Phoenix , Layla Reyne , Piper Scott, Damon Suede , Hailey Turner , Aimee Nicole Walker

#MustHave

One look at that lineup tells you this is something special!

In Addition….

And just in case you are having problems finding some of these authors and their stories lately?  Here are  some links to a few novels.  Not familiar? Pleases check them out! Those are links to the Amazon sales sights and the blurbs can be found there as well.

 

More authors next week.

 

Until then. Have a great weekend.  Happy Reading and happy listening to all your stories and authors.  Don’t forget to check out our week ahead below!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, October 6:

  • Don’t Miss Out on the Book Blast with excerpt for The Black Mask by Samuel King
  • Love Historical Romance? Check Out the Release Blitz for Lost and Found by Liv Rancourt (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Check Out the Release Blitz with excerpt for the Best Man (Close Proximity #1) by Lily Morton
  • Special Books I’m Promoting This Weekend and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, October 7:

  • Review Tour – Jay Northcote – Where Love Grows
  • Review Tour – V.L. Locey – Life According To Liam
  • Release Blitz – Con Riley – After Ben (Seattle Stories #1)
  • A Stella Review: After Ben (Seattle Stories #1) by Con Riley
  • A MelanieM Review : Life According To Liam by  V.L. Locey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote

Tuesday, October 8:

  • TOUR In Safe Arms by Ann Grech
  • Shots on Goal (Stick Side #3) by Amy Aislin – Cover Reveal Blitz
  • RELEASE BLITZ Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale
  • Release Blitz  – Elle Keaton – Conspiracy Theory
  • A Stella Review: Things Happen That Way (Mann of My Dreams #2) by Tinnean
  • A Lila Review: Sundown, Holiday, Beacon (Extraordinary Book 1) by K.L. Noone

Wednesday, October 9:

  • Review Tour Request – Coast To Coast – RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • Book Blitz – BITE – Various Authors
  • Blog Tour Ground Zero by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • An Alisa Review:  BITE Anthology (Various Authors)
  • A Stella Review : The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton
  • A MelanieM Review : Coast To Coast (Arizona Raptors #1) by  RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Ground Zero (Zero Hour #1) by Aimee Nicole Walker

Thursday, October 10:

  • Cover Reveal – Precariously Mated (D’Vaire, Book 14) by Jessamyn Kingley
  • Review Tour – Shinigami by Xia Xia Lake
  • Blog Tour “Dog Tagged” by James Brock
  • An Alisa Review: “Dog Tagged” by James Brock
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Shinigami by Xia Xia Lake
  • A MelanieM Review: Lessons in Playing a Murderous Tune (Cambridge Fellows #12.8) by Charlie Cochrane

Friday, October 11:

  • Release Blitz – Crystal Lacy – Ready For You
  • Cover Reveal – First Priority by Este Holland
  • New Release Tour for A Thousand Lifetimes – Katey Hawthorne
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Winter’s Knight (New Amsterdam #2) by Kelly Wyre
  • A Lucy Review: The Captain’s Flirty Fireworks by Eleanor Harkstead and Catherine Curzon
  • A MelanieM Review A Thousand Lifetimes by Katey Hawthorne

Saturday, October 12:

  • Release Blitz  – DJ Jamison – Wrangling A Groom
  • Book Blast – The Killing Spell by Shane Ulrrein
  • A Free Dreamer Review: The Killing Spell by Shane Ulrrein

A MelanieM Review: Heart2Heart Anthology, Vol. 3

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Rating: 5 stars out ot 5 (because just one of these stories earns it that let alone so many)

Once upon a time, a group of authors wondered… What if the Heart2Heart app — the dating app with a glitch that matched up the oddest, most perfect couples, and sponsored the charity date raffles that helped dozens of people find love — offered a classifieds section, too?

Need a handyman who knows how to wear a tool belt? Have a closet of drag costumes that needs a new home? How about finally tracking down that guy who made the perfect drink, or who’s just the right height to reach the top shelf?

Join some of your favorite authors of gay romance as they bring you sixteen brand-new stories inspired by reader suggestions!

Once again, all proceeds from this collection will go to the authors’ favorite LGBTQ charities, to ensure that love in all its forms will be celebrated and protected every single day of the year!

This collection will be available for only 90 days before it’s gone forever.

It’s rare that I come across an anthology that I actually gush about because the stories are just that good but Volume 3 of the Charity Anthology Heart2Heart is absolutely amazing!  From the overall concept to the authors involved to the stories inside, this is a 5 star ride all the way.  I’d say E Ticket but how many remember what those are any more?

The fabulousness starts right at the beginning with a split story that explains the concept behind the stories of this Collection.   That’s right a story, The Closet (Parts 1 and 2) by Eden Finley, both open and close this incredible collection.  The story both calls forth the birth of the ads format and sees in retrospect what those ads have caused to happen.  It’s lovely, poignant, and oh so touching.  And throughout all the other stories, the fact that this one was missing it’s ending hovered in the background waiting gracefully for it’s time to come.

Want to know just what a treasure awaits you? Here they are without ratings because, honestly, they all shine so brightly and with such variety, that you will be rereading them over and over again.  I can say that only 2 missed the mark with me and slid to a 4 and I think that was just my reading preferences.

  • The Closet by Eden Finley Part 1: 

A young man and a friend go to empty his deceased uncle’s home, one he hadn’t seen in years only to find someone who had loved him and knew him far better than anyone else.   As I said , this story “bookends” the collection.  It splits upon a revelation and the idea of putting ads in a dating app that the friend runs called yes Heart2Heart.  I won’t spoils the amazing delights this story holds but it sets the bar and gets your heart ready for what’s to come.

  • The Book by Aimee Nicole Walker:

Bookstore owner seeking identity of adorkable customer...” i

This how the ad starts.  Oh these ads. So many had me laughing out loud, including this one.  The story was fun, charming, sexy, and yes, romantic. Loved it!.  If you know this author, then you are aware of how quickly she can build a universe, fill it with great characters, and a relationship that you know will last.  She does it here. Line up the hearts!

  • The Date by Annabeth Albert

Wanted: Companion for exquisite five course gourmet Valentine’s Day dinner at a top-secret Portland restaurant, no sex or romance required…

I should just leave this at “nuf said”.  Because if you are again familiar with her stories, you are in for a treat.  In fact, I wanted this to be double the length as I didn’t want to leave this could behind.  I loved the food (yes, yes, there is food), amazing characters to grab your heart, and the perfect setting.    I want this couple for a lifetime, including their marriage! Listening, Ms Albert?

  • The Yarn Wrangler by Charlie Cochet:

Help Wanted: Yarn Wrangler.  Have you ever thought to yourself,  : I wonder what a house full of yarn looks like? Have you ever dreamed of getting paid to box up a whole bunch of yarn?…”

Yes, bring on the guffaws!  They are warranted!  While the start is oddly not humorous it quickly tumbles into lovely gentle laughter and love.

That’s how Simon meets Liam in a house full of yarn collected by his grandmother.  Plus there’s a cat with a yarn batting average any pitcher would be jealous of.  Oh but there’s an expensive boyfriend and….well, this a gem to be unraveled slowly.  And smiled and yes, giggled at.  Happy endings all around.

  • Dork Lord by Damon Suede: Missed Connections: Lion eyes, I love to watch you swim.

Tarquin, a swimmer finds his match where he least expects it.Hot, sexy, typical Damon Suede story.

  • Top Shelf by Hailey Turner: 

Can You Be My (Tall) Knight in Shining Armor? is how this ad starts. A very cute tale about a short guy in need of some tall help in his new apartment in DC.

  • The Family Reunion by K.M Neuhold:

Needed:fake boyfriend to get my parents off my back.

This is the story of Lawrence, the premed student needing a break and Roman the son needing a boyfriend for a reunion with his family in Boca.  Neuhold nicely turns around the character of Roman who isn’t all that likable to begin with into soHelp meone we can connect with in the end.  Lovely story.  And a believable ending.

  • The Last Drop by Layla Reyne

Dear Mr. Manhattan, We met nine months ago at a bar in New Orleans… starts the long ad

I just found this author with her book Dine With Me.  My only issue with this story is no recipes!  I needed the recipes for the drinks and meals served like crazy!  You will drool through this story.  Over the men and their relationship too..   Greg Valteau, chef and owner, and Tony Monaco, bartender extraordinaire.  Everything about this is sensual, hot, and amazing.

  • The Dog Walker by Lily Morton

SOS Call From Cornwall! Me: Broken right arm with a general lack of ability to do anything for myself for a few weeks….” is how this ad starts off.

No getting around this.  The Dog Walker is one of my favorites.  Something about this understated, gorgeously written story got under my skin immediately.  From the language to the layered relationship and the gentle revelations exposed over time.  It’s continued to haunt me.  I want more.  I can’t sing its praised enough.

Surprisingly it starts off with sex between Sim and Ziggy, a bold act for a nuanced relationship. Won’t say anymore.  Buy this collection for this story alone.

  • The Treehouse by Lucy Lennox:

“Help Wanted: Building  a treehouse for my kids this weekend and need a extra pair of hands…..”

This is why I read anthologies.  To wonder why I don’t read more stories by Lucy Lennox and smack my head.  This is a wonderful bright contemporary love story.  Great characters like Harvey the Angora Rabbit farmer just returned from NZ and Bryn with two kids trying to build them a treehouse, plus a matchmaking sister in a small town.  I adore this story.  You will too.

  • The Restoration by Mary Calmes

“Help Wanted: Laborers to assist with basement restoration. ….”

Of course, this is Mary Calmes so we are talking about the restoration of more than just a basement.  It’s a broken marriage in need of repair.   Alasdair McKenna aka Sandy is separated from his military husband who is always away on assignment and needs his flooded basement restored.  It’s been six months since he’s seen Kyler but it seems that Kyler is still looking after him…..

This is very Mary Calmes in the relationship between the men, one very protective, scary in a military way.  Sandy with his circle of friends who support them both.  The story works so well because the author knows her men and their dynamics.  It all works and works just as it should.  HEA!

  • The Vase by May Archer

FOR SALE: Antique Vase Authentic Limited edition hand-painted vase  from  local artist…”

I really left the best parts of that ad out, as I have for most of these ads.  Nauticolli indeed.  May Archer has another winner here with this story.  I easily wanted ti expanded, and a sequel too.  I has so much heart and I love the main characters and their relationship, short as it is.  Their future is so bright and I want to know what happens next.  Surely we need a followup story?  Pretty please.  We need to know how Malachi will get on with Landon’s cats don’t we?  Just read this story!

  • The Helping Hand by Nora Phoenix

Wanted: Someone with serious  furniture assembly skills and a buttload of patience who speaks IKEA…

Anyone who has ever had to assemble anything let alone something from IKEA, well you will relate to this story and the characters.  A gentle bear of a science fiction writer who needs help assembling his new furniture and the nature photographer who will show him patience for his furniture and in loving him as well.  Another gentle story, sweet, and endearing.

  • The Dream Machine by Piper Scott writing as Emma Alcott

For Sale of the Low, Low Price of Free….

 

I will admit that this story seems the odd one out of the bunch, not a contemporary romance but one with a science fiction or whatever twist.  Just want a story I connected with but I could have been that it felt jarring among the others.  In another collection, it might have gotten a different reaction.

  • The Wedding Date by Susan Hawke

Date Needed! If you like weddings, awkward events where your date’s ex is the man of the hour, open bars, and crappy cake, I’m your man!…

Back to the lovely contemporary romance and with a unexpected twist.  Especially as it starts off with Hunter who fosters kittens with special needs.  Absolutely endearing, and the kittens are described in depth and will grab at your heart along with Hunter.Quinn answers the ad and the story is on.  Another true charmer in a collection’s worth.

  • The Wrong Guy by Sloane Kennedy

We bonded over a screw… of the nuts and bolts variety.

Travis and Jackson have been friends for a while and yet some things remain to be discovered between them.    It takes an ad to bring it all out in the open.  I liked this story.  Felt raw and real in places, emotional and painful, especially when assumptions you’ve made about someone turn out to be false.

  • The Closet Part 2 by Eden Finley

I debated putting the ad in that started it all.  In the end, I hit delete.  That’s as much a part of this story as walking into that closet.  And reading this ending.  It’s everything.

This is a one of a kind collection of stories.  It’s one you must read, and not just because its for chairty.  But because these stories resonate.  They are full of laughter, love, sex, sensuality, food, and romance.  Even yarn and kittens!

Don’t let it pass you by. It’s only here for 90 days.  Grab it up now.  I highly recommend it.

Cover art by AngstyG is perfect for the collection and tone.  love it. Makes you feel it just looking at it.

Sales Links:     

All Proceeds Go To Charity:

Amazon US

Everywhere Else

Book Details:

Buy for $4.99 or try Kindle Unlimited to read over a million titles
Kindle Edition, 761 pages
Published October 1st 2019
ASINB07XP6D2M5
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: American Love Story (Dreamers #3) by Adriana Herrera

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The third in what continues to be a top favorite series, the author brings us a completely different sort of romance from the others in the series. Set in Ithaca, New York, home of Cornell University, this time it’s Patrice’s turn in the spotlight, and he certainly shines. Oh my, does he shine! A quick word about the cover: it’s to die for! The stunning black man, his locs tied back, the smile on his face, the dimples… Oh my gosh, he’s gorgeous and should definitely attract attention to this book. I know he attracted my eye. And throughout this story we learn he’s as beautiful inside as he is outside.

This series features four young men who grew up together in New York City. All sons of Caribbean immigrants, the men are of an age to strike out on their own. In American Dreamer, Nesto pursued his dream by taking his food catering business to Ithaca, where he met the man of his dreams. In book two, Camilo Santiago Briggs, or Milo to friends and family, is a social worker and project manager in a nonprofit that serves victims of domestic abuse. He meets his dream man in the City in the least likely location—his workplace. Their story is told in American Fairytale.

Now it’s time for Patrice, who has been hired as a professor at Cornell University—the greatest achievement of his life. He wants to make his momma proud since she worked two jobs to raise him after they fled from Haiti on their own when he was a child. Patrice is not only a professor, however. He’s also an activist and his Black Twitter feeds have thousands of followers. Now, shortly after arriving in Ithaca, he learns about the narrow-minded cops who pull over young men for “driving while black.” And Patrice is full on board with bringing that to an end.

Last summer, Patrice showed up in Ithaca to help Nesto set up his business and at the same time met Easton Archer, the tall, gorgeous, intelligent assistant district attorney. Now he’s back and he’s not sure he and Easton stand a chance, because Easton’s job puts him in conflict with Patrice’s activism, and though they are sizzling in the bedroom, their personal and professional lives continue to collide until a single traffic stop sends them into disaster.

Just like with the previous books, there’s so much to like about this story—the writing, the pace, the Haitian cultural information, the relationship-building, the secondary characters, and the core message of drawing strength from family and friends. When Patrice finally lets his guard down, he and Easton face a very nice happy ever after.

I’m definitely looking forward to more from this author in future and I very highly recommend this book to all lovers of MM romance, and especially to those who enjoy stories so rich in cultural heritage that readers are inspired to learn more.

Cover is one of STRW Best of 2019.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon | Kobo | | Audible

Book Details:

ebook, 352 pages
Expected publication: October 7th 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488053936 (ISBN13: 9781488053931)
Edition Language English
Series Dreamers #3

Dreamers Series

American Dreamer

American Fairytale

American Love Story