A Month Full of Pride. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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A Month Full of Pride

 

As we count the days down towards the end of June, we’ve have a wonderful month full of Pride.  And we have one last week to go.  Last week we announced the winners of our Pride Readers Best Coming Out Stories Giveaway.  This week we put together a list of all of those recommended stories.  Please feel free to add to it by commenting or let us know if we’ve left any out.  It’s always great to have a place to lookup those stories we love to read but can’t always remember their names.  We will have a place here to start looking up Rec Lists (coming soon).  Here is our Readers Best Coming Our Stories:

Readers Recommended Best Coming Out Stories!

Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain
Ready For Love by Stella Starling
Falling Together by SK (Shelley) Grayson
#gaymers series by Annabeth Albert
Thanks a Lot, John LeClair by Johanna Parkhurst
Patient Eyes by Andy Eisenberg
Kaje Harper’s Life Lessons

Josh Lanyon’s Death of A Pirate King
John Goode’s Tales from Foster High.
Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim
The Catch Trap-Marion Zimmer Bradley
Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

My Summer of Wes by Missy Welsh
There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford
Superhero by Eli Easton
Bad Boyfriend by KA Mitchell.
True Colors by Anyta Sunday
American Love Songs by Ashlyn Kane
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secret of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Unexpected Guest by Andy Eisenberg.
Boy Meets Boy” by David Levithan

Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy

 

We have one last week for everyone to enter into our Father’s Day giveaway.  Give us your best stories with families and children, gay dads and their kids…

~Pride Father’s Day Celebration Giveaway – Last Week~

Give us your best suggestions for books involving LGBTQIA families or LGBT people with children stories.  I just finished last week’s wonderful Accepting The Fall by Meg Harding, with firefighter Zander Brooks learning to cope with fatherhood as the parent of a bright, frightened 5 year old.  Terrific story.  And Dragon Home by Mell Eight with William, the foster parent of two growing dragons kits (a whole different set of parenting skills required there).  But I know there are soooo many out there!  Let’s start a list!

So for Father’s Day, what books melted your heart?  That had children, maybe puppies or kittens or both?  Amy Lane’s Promises series just jumps to my mind.  What comes into yours?  Ones that break your heart and then puts them back together again.  Stories you never forget because your heart won’t let them go….

Tell me which ones you love and let’s share our favorites.  A random reader who leaves a comment or readers (you never know here) will receive a $10 gift certificate.  Dreamspinner Press or Amazon, your choice.    Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Happy Pride Month.   Giveaway ends midnight June 30th.  Winners announced July 1st.

Sad Announcement

And now for some very sad news.  Author A.C. Katt has passed away suddenly.  Kris Jacen of MLR Press announced the news on her FB page.  Many of our reviewers here, including Paul who also passed away recently, loved her stories including her Werewolves of Manhattan series.  Here is more on the author:

AC Katt was born in New York City’s Greenwich Village. She remembers sitting at the fountain in Washington Square Park listening to folk music while they passed the hat. At nine, her parents dragged her to New Jersey where she grew up, married and raised four children and became a voracious reader of romantic fiction. At one time she owned over two thousand novels.

Now, most of AC’s books are electronic (although she still keeps six bookcases of hardcovers), so she never has to give away another book. AC writes GLBT andis to writing, a late bloomer, however, she’s found her niche writing GLBT romance. She currently writes for MLR Press, JMS Books, and Decadent Publishing.

She will be missed.  Our condolences go out to her family and friends.  Her stories will always be with us.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 25:

  • A Month Full of Pride.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, June 26:

  • DSP GUEST POST Erik Swill on Too Many Temples
  • Release Day Blitz Nate’s Last Tango by Kevin Klehr
  • A Lila Review: Waiting for You (Lifesworn #1) by Megan Derr
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Slim Chance by Jeff Erno
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Model Investigator (Haven Investigations #3) by Lissa Kasey
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances #5) by Avon Gale

Tuesday, June 27:

  • Blog Tour Moro’s Price by M. Crane Hana
  • Release Day Blast Regret by Christina Lee
  • Smitty’s Sheriff (Hope Collection) by Cardeno C. /Tour
  • A Caryn Review: Misdemeanor (Responsible Adult #1) by C.F. White
  • A MelanieM Review McShayne’s Dragon (McShayne’s Bloodline Book 1) by Nicole Dennis
  • An Ali Review: Windward (Mirror #2) by Kirby Crow /Meridian (Mirror #1) by Kirby Crow
  • An Alisa Review: The Sky at Night by Wayne Mansfield

Wednesday, June 28:

  • Audiobook Review Tour for See Me (Lightning Tales #3) by K.C. Wells
  • HARMONY INK GUEST POST Haven Francis on Riding with Brighton
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: See Me (Lightning Tales #3) by K.C. Wells
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Pyresnakes by Tray Ellis
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Texting, AutoCorrect, and a Prius by M.A. Church
  • An Alisa Review:  Incubus Touch (Polar Nights Book 1) by Siryn Sueng

Thursday, June 29:

  • DSP GUEST POST Jeff Erno on Slim Chance
  • RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Oversight by Santino Hassell
  • A New Way to Dance by Sean Michael Blog Tour
  • A MelanieM Review: The Hawaiians 4: Hawaiian Ginger by Meg Amor
  • An Ali Review: His Pirate (Second Chance #2) by Stephanie Lake
  • An Alisa Review:  That Alien Feeling by Alessandra Hazard

Friday, June 30:

  • Blog Tour for  Different Dynamics by Tamir Drake
  • DSP GUEST POST Kate McMurray on What’s the Use of Wondering?
  • DSP GUEST POST Tray Ellis on Pyresnakes
  • Review Tour for RJ Scott’s Kingdom Series Vol. 2
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Something’s Brewing at Joe’s by SJD Peterson
  • A MelanieM Review: Kingdom Volume 2 (Kingdom #2) by R.J. Scott
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  ​A Destiny of Dragons (Tales From Verania) by TJ Klune

Saturday, July 1:

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Manny Get Your Guy (The Mannies #2) by Amy Lane

 

 

 

A MelanieM Review: Scrap (The Bristol Collection #3) by Josephine Myles

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

In a battle of the alpha males, who will end up on top?

On the surface, Derek “Call me Dare” Nelson’s life is simple. He’s happy doing up campervans while living in a slightly illegal caravan in his riverfront yard. But life gets more complicated when a smooth-talking, handsome property developer offers to buy the land out from under his feet—the very same man Dare had to escort from a party nine months ago for causing a drunken scene.

Grant Matravers is living a double life, attempting to adjust to weekends as a single, soon-to-be-divorced gay man while staying in the closet during the week. The strain of keeping up appearances at work while missing his kids is bad enough, but add in an attraction to the shaven-headed, tattooed, totally unsuitable Dare and Grant finds his emotional barriers wearing dangerously thin.

Dare blasts through those barriers in a way Grant isn’t prepared for, challenging everything he thought he knew about himself as a gay man. But as their chemistry heats up and the intimacy between them grows, Grant edges towards a decision that could blow up in his face. Exposing a mess of complications that could destroy any chance for their happily ever after.

Product Warnings: Contains one sharp-suited man desperately in need of redemption, another whose thuggish exterior does a pretty good job of hiding his heart of gold, frotting in camper vans, a sensual head-shaving scene and several (noisy) guest appearances from Mas.

Of the three stories, Junk, Stuff, and Scrap of The Bristol Collection, I have to admit Scrap is teetering on my favorite here, primarily due to the character of Derek “Call me Dare” Nelson.  The reader first meets Dare in Stuff when he visits his favorite antique shop Cabbages and Kinks owned by Perry and run by Mas, the couple from that story.  Dare pops up throughout the novel, most importantly at the end where he meets and throws a drunken Grant out of Perry and Mas’ party.

Scrap, the title of the story, seems to come from the yard filled full of scrap metal that Dare uses to refurbish his vans.  Campers to us Americans.  Old VW’s and such, retrofitted with sparkling new counters and curtains, engines and more, ready to take on a new life and new family.  Its a job and life Dare loves, living on the land his family owned, working with his hands using skills his father taught him.   That Dare looked like a “tattooed, skin-headed thug” on the outside?  Well, never hurts when you’re gay and someone thinks  you’re deserving of a beating. Dare Nelson is that character that once you start peeling back the layers, you just love him more and more.  What’s one man’s scrap is another one’s treasure and while Dare may appear to be a human sort of scrap, he shines more than most.

Grant Matravers, well, he was the character that was going to be so hard to like here. Grant was the reverse Dare in a way.  Shiny on the outside but hollow in the inside where it counts. He was ugly, a downright cheating mess of a man in Stuff.  I really couldn’t understand how Myles was going to make him someone we would not only connect with but root for but redeem him she did.  Grant has so many things to work through, apologies to make, decisions to come to, hard choices to make.  While Dare knows who he is and has a solid foundation, Grant is only solid to the eyes but his core?  Needs rebuilding and each moment is pivotal for his character and those he loves.  This also includes his children and his ex-wife.

Josephine Myles always gets me with her well-rounded characters.  They have depth and a humanity that defines them beyond the normal quirkiness and flaws.  You fear for them, you love and take them to heart just as I did here and all the other stories.

The Bristol Collection is a total joy to read.  Each and every couple with their issues and romances to work through before they can get their  HEA is a story that will stay with you.  Scrap has me smiling even now as I remember why I wanted more at the end even as I thought is was great as it was.  Sigh.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book Details:
ebook, 258 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Samhain Publishing
Original TitleScrap
ISBN 1619224925 (ISBN13: 9781619224926)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Bristol Collection #3

Release Blitz and Giveaway for ‘Scrap (The Bristol Collection #3)’ by Josephine Myles

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 80,000 words
 
 
Blurb
 

In a battle of the alpha males, who will end up on top?

On the surface, Derek “Call me Dare” Nelson’s life is simple. He’s happy doing up campervans while living in a slightly illegal caravan in his riverfront yard. But life gets more complicated when a smooth-talking, handsome property developer offers to buy the land out from under his feet—the very same man Dare had to escort from a party nine months ago for causing a drunken scene.

Grant Matravers is living a double life, attempting to adjust to weekends as a single, soon-to-be-divorced gay man while staying in the closet during the week. The strain of keeping up appearances at work while missing his kids is bad enough, but add in an attraction to the shaven-headed, tattooed, totally unsuitable Dare and Grant finds his emotional barriers wearing dangerously thin.

Dare blasts through those barriers in a way Grant isn’t prepared for, challenging everything he thought he knew about himself as a gay man. But as their chemistry heats up and the intimacy between them grows, Grant edges towards a decision that could blow up in his face. Exposing a mess of complications that could destroy any chance for their happily ever after.

Product Warnings: Contains one sharp-suited man desperately in need of redemption, another whose thuggish exterior does a pretty good job of hiding his heart of gold, frotting in camper vans, a sensual head-shaving scene and several (noisy) guest appearances from Mas.

Author Bio


English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.


Jo’s novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs and an incessantly curious toddler.


Website and blog: josephinemyles.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/josephine.myles.author
Twitter: @JosephineMyles
Newsletter: eepurl.com/hrQ4s

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A MelanieM Review: Kingdom Volume 1 (Kingdom #1) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The Vampire Contract

A vampire guilty of murder on the run from justice to prove his innocence. A werewolf sent to retrieve him with one thought – that only the guilty run.

The Guilty Werewolf

Declan Finlay is hunting the guilty werewolf, his friend Connor. The incubus, Levi Tiernan, is his companion on the hunt. If Declan doesn’t track and kill Connor, then Levi will.

The Warlock’s Secret

In a world where magic is rare, Joseph Jamieson is a holder of power. Orophin Tiwele, or Phin to his friends, is the son of the Elf King and has magic of his own. The rules say two supernatural beings with magic cannot be together and Joseph and Phin have lived by that rule despite their attraction to each other.

Let me take the stories of RJ Scott’s Kingdom series Vol 1  one by one.  These tales, the first three in the series, build on each other, each picking up where the other left off.  None should be considered standalone stories because you need all the previous information and character foundation laid out to get the gist of the impact of the search and the issues with the Glitnir Court here.

None of these stories are of great length yet Scott manages to build wonderful  characters and interesting relationship dynamics between them all.  Brother to brother, brother to potential lovers/mates.  There’s frenemies to lovers, second chance at love stories…so many favorite tropes the author visited here within this volume that’s easy to read,  easy to please, and hard to put down.

♦︎The Vampire Contract – 4 stars

A vampire guilty of murder on the run from justice to prove his innocence. A werewolf sent to retrieve him with one thought – that only the guilty run.

Vampire Micah Jamieson is found guilty of killing his human husband. He runs from the execution he is facing to get home. He just has to pray he’ll reach home before supernatural law enforcement, in the shape of a Glitnir Court Retriever close in on him.

Wolf shifter and Retriever, Connor Strand easily captures Micah and he’s fully prepared to take the runaway in. But his wolf has other ideas.

Something about Micah challenges Connor and his long held beliefs. What if Micah is actually innocent? Will Connor put to one side his own prejudices, and then risk both his life and career to keep Micah safe?

I loved the Micah and Connor story.  Micah had the most interesting element here because of all of the surprises he had in store for the reader.  They just kept coming.  Poor Connor, his inner wolf had no issues knowing where he stood which made the relationship aspect delectable if a little predictable.  I found this to be Micah’s story all the way, which was fine as he will have a powerful role down the line.  This story started laying down the universe and the issues within it.  Loved it.

♦︎The Guilty Werewolf – 5 stars out of 5

Declan Finlay is the best Retriever that Glitnir has.

Well, he is now that Connor Strand has gone rogue.

He is sent to find Connor – the guilty werewolf. But he doubts that his best friend could ever be guilty and he resolves to track him down and find out why he ran with the renegade vampire.

When the Fae Alliance, reporting to Glitnir, demand that he not go alone he is forced to accept the Incubus, Levi Tiernan, an assassin, as his companion on the journey. If Declan doesn’t kill Connor, then Levi will.

What happens when old lust and love dictate action and suddenly Declan is questioning everything he loves.

The Guilty Werewolf is amazing and it rests on the shoulders of 2 great characters.  I can’t help it.  My favorite?  That incubus, Levi Tiernan, the assassin, who undergoes an amazing evolution here, one he expects in a way.  The other is Declan Finlay, an already troubled Retriever, pursuing an old friend under  circumstances he can’t or won’t believe.  Nothing here is as it seems and the characters and their painful path to romance shine under this layered, twisted narrative approach by RJ Scott

♦︎The Warlock’s Secret 4,75 stars out of 5

In a world where magic is rare, Joseph Jamieson is one of the most powerful holders of power. Orophin Tiwele, or Phin to his friends, is the son of the Elf King and has magic of his own. The rules say two supernatural beings with magic cannot be together and Joseph and Phin have lived by that rule despite their attraction to each other.

The resistance is growing larger each day, but traitors threaten everything Joseph has built. He wants peace, but soon comes to realize the way to peace, is through war.

When the only thing that will save lives is Joseph and Phin working together, it becomes impossible to see where magic and passion end and where love could begin.

The Warlock’s Secret is a story that could have easily doubled in size for all the author  set out to accomplish here.  It’s a huge tale bringing in all the couples from the three stories but the focus is on Joseph and Phin as well as the growing resistance movement to Glitnir.  Secrets are revealed, rescues are undertaken, more horrors are uncovered…it’s one giant thing after another.  And it works to lay down more groundwork for the next three stories coming and the revolution that’s in the air.  The only reason it didn’t get 5 stars is that when you are trying to cover so much narrative ground in so few pages, there are bound to be some holes, are there are some I found here.  I wanted more background on a big character I cannot name (would be a spoiler) and a certain book.  Hopefully that’s coming.

Joseph and Phin?  A lack of communication did them in early on and it almost does again.    Wanted to shake them both, good thing as characters they are magic together, literally.  I also can’t wait to see more of them in the stories in the future.  Should be one wild ride.

What’s better than having three books?  Three books in one volume so you can easily blow through all three in one read as I did. It made for sorting out all the relationships and ties and family dynamics easy.  Loved it and loved these stories.  Now I’m on to Vol. 2.  I’ll let you know what I find.  In the meantime, I highly recommend all three stories in one volume.  Werewolves shifters, vampires, Fae, incubus Oh My!

Cover art by Meredith Russell does a nice job with the characters.

Sales Links:Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, 296 pages
Published June 14th 2017 by Love Lane Books Limited
ISBN139781785640643
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://www.rjscott.co.uk
SeriesKingdom #1

A BJ Review: Winter Kill by Josh Lanyon

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

Winter Kills coverFBI Special Agent Adam Darling was moving up the ranks until a mishandling of a high profile operation left someone dead and his career on shaky ground. Now he’s working a serial killer case when him and his partner are sent to investigate a body in the little town of Nearby.

Deputy Sheriff Robert Haskell is laid-back, easy going and a bit of a joker, but an efficient and tough cop. When the town Sheriff calls in the FBI on a cold case, Agent Darling comes to town and him and Rob enjoy an unexpected one-night stand before the man goes on his way. Rob doesn’t figure to see the intriguing man again, but when the curator of a Native American museum is murdered several months later, the Sheriff calls in the FBI a second time and asks specifically for Agent Darling. With the body count rising, it soon begins to appear that they may be investigating more than one serial killer—one past and one present.

There are actually two mysteries here going on at the same time, some cold cases from twenty years prior and some a modern killer. Could the killer be one and the same? Or are have two serial killers made the small town of Nearby their hunting ground?

The beginning of the story happens in the past from a POV that is never revisited (for a very good reason), and then we go to the varying POV of the two MC. That initial different point of view, the time jump, and then the other two points of views threw me off a bit, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like this for the first few chapters. But Lanyon’s writing is excellent as always, so I kept going and it paid off. I was soon sucked in.

The plot/mystery is quite complex. There is a lot going on, at one point almost too much, but it was reeled by in nicely. I enjoyed the setting, winter in a small, rural town, because rural is right up my ‘lives in middle of nowhere’ alley. I also enjoy reading stories with Native Americans and their histories and legends. The tough female cop who had instincts sharp enough to pick up on little things that even Rob had been overlooking was an awesome addition to the cast of characters. And the pairing of the laid-back, somewhat argumentative but humorous Rob with the more uptight, by the book, and troubled-by-past-events Adam worked well for me.

As far as the mystery in this book goes, there is no neatly tied up with bow ending. We do get to know who did what, but the motives, whys and wherefores are not fully explained. Some may complain about it not being scrupulously tied up. But I was fine with it. In real life, I tend to think the arresting cops don’t really get to know all that stuff, especially right away and in a scenario such as this set up. The guys don’t collect all the clues and put it all together to solve the mystery. They start to put bits and pieces together, and then WHAM, events explode and the stakes are instantly high. So maybe later when it comes to trail possibly the guys will find out more, but I accept that they wouldn’t know all that and found it to be just realistic

Towards the end, the focus shifted to the romance rather than tidying up all the loose ends and motives of the crime. The case was over, solved. In their past and time to focus on their own life. YES! I’m all in with that. In fact, the ending was my favorite part, and I don’t want to give too much away. However, I will say that I thought it was sad and yet brilliant the way Lanyon began the book with a hopeful man in love who didn’t get his HEA, and then wrapped it up with a hopeful HFN for the main couple.

There were two things that kept this from being a perfect five for me. First off, most of the sex scenes started off fun but ended as fade to black. Why? I wanted more. And second, for the first time in a Lanyon book, I found editing errors. Gasp.

Oh, and one more thing. I want to ask Josh Lanyon to please tell me the ex named Tucker that Adam Darling mentioned without a last name is NOT Elliott’s Tucker! Tucker and Elliott are a favorite couple.

The cover photo at the bottom gives a sense of place, season, cold; and the photo at top is right in your face–a gun sighted straight on you. ‘Go ahead, make my day.’ it seems to say. And this book might do just that.

Sales Links

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iBooks
Smashwords

Book Details:

ebook, 181 pages
Published May 31st 2015 by Just Joshin
original titleWinter Kill
ISBN139781937909277
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.joshlanyon

A MelanieM Review: Fair Chance (All’s Fair #3) by Josh Lanyon

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Elliot Mills comes face-to-face with evil in this follow-up to Fair Game and Fair Play from bestselling author Josh Lanyon  

One final game of cat and mouse… 

Ex–FBI agent Elliot Mills thought he was done with the most brutal case of his career. The Sculptor, the serial killer he spent years hunting, is finally in jail. But Elliot’s hope dies when he learns the murderer wasn’t acting alone. Now everyone is at risk once again—thanks to a madman determined to finish his partner’s gruesome mission.

When the lead agent on the case, Special Agent Tucker Lance, goes missing, Elliot knows it’s the killer at work. After all, abducting the love of his life is the quickest way to hurt him.

The chances of finding Tucker are all but impossible without the help of the Sculptor—but the Sculptor is in no position to talk. Critically injured in a prison fight, he lies comatose and dying while the clock ticks down. Elliot has no choice but to play this killer’s twisted game and hope he can find Tucker in time.

I don’t know if Fair Chance (All’s Fair #3) by Josh Lanyon is the end for one of my favorite couples, Elliot Mills and Tucker Lance, but if it is, Josh Lanyon is sending them off in an magnificent “Bon Voyage” of a story!  Fair Game, the first story, is one novel I still return to when I want one of those comfort read romances, not because of the story line, which is downright horrific and scary but for the couple and the intense relationship and hot sex! That book never gets old.  Fair Play, the second story, was a little more problematic, still great, it dealt with Elliot’s father Roland Mills, his past with a sixties activist group and a missing person.  I love the interchange between Elliot and Roland, Roland and Tucker, and the dynamics between the three are always charged and somehow that book almost destroyed that for me (and them).   At the start of Fair Chance, things are still strained between father and son.

But Fair Chance?  It not only returns to the case and serial killer that made that such a stunning mystery, The Sculptor, but it takes the relationship between Elliot and Tucker and shows us just how far they’ve come from that first story.  The couple has worked on resolving their trust issues, open lines of communication between them and their partnership has evolved into a mature, warm, and deep-hearted strong one.  Still hot, amazingly sexy but now based more more than attraction, need and a love they were afraid to admit to.  All of which makes Tucker’s disappearance even more devastating when it occurs.

As others have  said, damn that blurb!  There are far too many elements given up there.  I wish that one in particular had not been mentioned.  But even with that huge one glaring at you (and a few more as well), Lanyon’s elegant writing, purposeful, elaborate construction of the mysteries and investigation, as well as the ever building suspense keeps one at the edge of both hope and despair along with Elliot.

Roland is present here as a steadying presence for his son just when he needs him the most and Elliot acquires a dog named Sheba, an amazing character in her own right.  All of these things are excellent and I  loved them.  But at the core here is Elliot, Tucker, and their love.  That’s at stake here with Tucker’s disappearance.  We never forget that, not for a moment.  Nor do we forget who Elliot is up against…evil incarnate in the form of the Sculptor and his plans for them both.  It’s a heart-stopping race and I was invested emotionally the entire story, and not just because of my love for this couple, but at the thought of just what was loose on those around them.  What an amazing read!

I highly recommend Fair Chance, along with its predecessors, Fair Game and Fair Play. This whole series is downright addictive as is this couple.  I hope Lanyon is going to continue the series but if she doesn’t she’s given them a powerful sendoff.  I couldn’t ask for more!

Cover art is ok.  I probably wouldn’t be happy with any cover depicting the characters as I have my own ideas of what they look like at any  age.

Sales Links

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iBooks

Book Details:

ebook, 336 pages
Published March 13th 2017 by Carina Press
ISBN139781459293618
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesAll’s Fair #3 settingWashington (United States)

An Ali Audiobook Review: The Interborough (A Five Boroughs Story) by Santino Hassell and Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5
The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.

David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.

The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.
 
I know I’m in the minority here, but Ray and David were my least favorite couple in this series.  I really didn’t have much interest in reading more about them but the author promised more Nunzio so I was here in a hot minute.  I have to say this turned out to be a really enjoyable story and I’m super glad I read it.
 
These two have been together over a year at the time this takes place and they are really struggling.  Ray is working himself ragged with two jobs and school and David’s struggling with insecurities due to a number of things.  The book starts with them in a bad place and things only go down hill.  I probably say this in every review of this author’s work but I think his number one strength is his ability to make his characters feel so real.  He writes every day, average people who are flawed and who you can relate to in different ways.  There’s a saying in marriage therapy that there is “your side, their side and the truth”.  This was the case here.  Ray and David are both trying but they see everything differently and they were both wrong.  But they were also both right.  Anyone who’s been in a long term relationship knows how hard it can be sometimes.  There’s even a discussion at one point about how love is not always enough to make a relationship work and I think a lot of us know how true that can be.  So, there’s some angst here. There’s a bit of heartache for both of the MC’s.  But, there’s also some beauty in the rawness of their emotions.  These two work for their hea but that just makes seeing them get it so much more beautiful.
Hands down though, my favorite part of the book was the epilogue.  That was everything!  Maybe my favorite thing this author has ever written.  I enjoyed this entire book but even if I hadn’t have, it would have all been worth it just for the epilogue.  
I had originally read this book when it first came out but wanted to try it on audio, mostly for the epilogue part.  This was narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo and I have to say it was a fantastic narration.  He took this book to another level and his narration made Ray and David come to life. Every bit of humor, romance, sadness, anger, it was all here and it was packed with emotion.  I bought into these two and their romance way more in hearing it than I did in reading it. The audio took me from liking this story to loving this story.
This is the fourth book in this series and should not be read as a standalone.  It is basically a continuation of the book Sunset Park.  You would definitely need to read at least that one before you read this.  If you’re a fan of this series I definitely recommend this audio.  It was just wonderful.
The cover was done by Mel Seser and I think it was nicely done.  The same model was used for all the books in the series about the Rodriguez brothers and I think that was a great move.  It ties them all together nicely and is a good representation of the characters.
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, 1 page
Published May 15th 2017 by Riptide Publishing (first published October 24th 2016)
Original TitleInterborough
ASINB071VP1NQ4
SeriesFive Boroughs #4

A Caryn Review: Enlightened (Enlightenment Series #3) by Joanna Chambers

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*Happy sigh*

What a wonderful happy ending!  If you’ve read the first two books, you will be so satisfied with this culmination of David and Murdo’s story.  I’m a little sad to leave them behind, but there’s always another reread!

I also found that by the time I finished Enlightened, the titles of each book really started to have new meaning to me.  Provoked introduced David and Murdo not only to each other, but to a new type of attraction that neither had experienced before.  Beguiled showed them discovering new and increasingly fascinating aspects of each other, and letting down some of their internal barriers.  Enlightened found them realizing that not only was a relationship possible, but absolutely necessary, and a source of more happiness and contentment than they ever imagined.  The words, the titles, are a perfect description of the progression of their friendship and love.

The book opens with David still residing at Murdo’s estate at Laverock.  Their time there has been idyllic – a time of quiet companionship, physical exploration, growing mutual respect, and surprisingly an evolving business partnership.  Both men were aware of how fragile and fleeting this time was, but knew it had to come to an end eventually.  The end, however, came in an unexpected and somewhat tragic way when David’s old mentor and Elizabeth’s father, Patrick Chalmers, made a dying request:  for David to find Elizabeth and once again keep her safe from her abusive husband.  Doing so required David to travel to London, and quickly, and leave their protected life in a bubble behind.  Murdo had been putting off going to London for weeks, but he now had a good excuse to delay their parting, so he accompanied David.

London for David was just the place Elizabeth and Euan lived, a place for the job he had to do.  But London to Murdo was so much more – the site of his father’s political machinations and the mistakes that Murdo made trying to live up to his father’s expectations.  Also the place he hid a secret from David that he was afraid would tear them apart – the woman he was engaged to.

That is the only spoiler I will give in this review.  Once that little nugget of information was dropped, the pace of the book sped up and the resolution to their problems was striking, shocking, complete, and perfect.  I loved this description:

The knot of ropes that bound Murdo to his father was Gordian in its complexity and subtlety.  Tonight, Murdo had swept a sword through it, disdaining its cleverness.  Severing it with determination and without concern for the consequences.

With one swift stroke, all the pieces fell into place, and if there was sacrifice, it was worth it.  And they rode off into the Scottish highlands to live in peace and happiness.

I still love the cover art for the series, the models were perfect, but I wish they would have incorporated both models onto this final cover.  I thought Murdo deserved at least as much presence as David in this one…

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published April 23rd 2017 by Joanna Chambers Books (first published May 6th 2014)
ASINB071RK71MR
Series Enlightenment #3

A Caryn Review: Beguiled (Enlightenment Series #2) by Joanna Chambers

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Don’t you just love it when a sequel is even better than the original?  Provoked may have been a good book, but Beguiled just blew me away.  I can’t wait to read the last installment, so forgive me if this review seems a little rushed!

Those of you who read my reviews know that I am a huge fan of characterization, and falling in love with the characters is what makes me fall in love with a book.  I am so deeply invested in David and Murdo now, that I am already grieving leaving them behind when I finish book three.  Both men were introduced to the reader and to each other in the first book, and there was a subdued type of adventure going on that introduced the city of Edinburg, as well as all of the secondary characters who reappear in Beguiled.  What makes this second book so appealing to me is the deeper delving into the backgrounds and motivations of both men, the beginnings of their awareness of something new and different, and a slow sea change in attitude.  So, the rest of this review will barely touch on plot!

In Provoked, Murdo was presented as a typical aristocrat, blissfully ignoring the plight of the common man, devoted to pursuing pleasure without the sticky moral trappings of 19th century societal expectations.  He didn’t exactly toy with David, but he made it clear in the very beginning that what he and David had was purely physical attraction.  Although he had been able to dally with men in a bit freer fashion than David because of his wealth and status, emotional attachment was not something he wanted or even considered the first few times they met.  Murdo did not feel that same sex activity was immoral, and also found nothing wrong with marrying a woman while continuing to have sex with men.  David had a much more conventional set of principles, so he not only felt sinful by “indulging” in sex with men, but felt there was something perverted about him that he wanted it.  He viewed marriage as a sacred bond before God, so he would not even consider marrying a woman, much less being unfaithful to her with a man.  Although their motives were different, the result they expected was the same:  sex without emotional involvement.

Beguiled occurs two years after the events of Provoked.  In those two years, both David and Murdo found themselves thinking back on their brief time together in ways that surprised them – with a great deal of yearning, and a sense of something important irretrievably lost.  Meeting again was therefore much more emotional on both sides, and the two years apart broke down barriers in both men.  In this book, David’s inner conscience was much less vehement about declaring him a pervert for wanting men, and he was able to see that there was more between them than just lust and physical release.  Murdo was willing to accept that he wanted more from David, and found himself sharing secrets he never intended to as he opened himself.

Against this impassioned background, the historical events and adventure played out with a great deal more meaning than that of Provoked.  I liked how once again ideas such as universal suffrage and rights of women were presented as incredibly radical (it is so good to live in 2017!), and our heroes – who by nature of their homosexuality were already outside the norm – were willing to embrace those notions as well.

The only thing I really didn’t like about the plot was at the end when David did not tell Murdo his plans for the rescue, which didn’t really make sense when in all other ways they had become so trusting of and necessary for each other.  Painting that decision as another of David’s self-sacrificing moments just didn’t sit quite right with me.  Of course, it created a perfect set up for the next book, but I wish the author could have found a way to achieve those ends without David keeping Murdo in the dark.

On to the final book!

Cover art is again superb.  The model’s intense expression and partially shadowed face are perfect for Murdo.  Even the font of the title is ideal for the picture and the story.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published April 23rd 2017 by Joanna Chambers Books (first published December 24th 2013)
Original TitleBeguiled
ASINB0722GJFD4
SeriesEnlightenment #2

A MelanieM Review: The Monet Murders (The Art of Murder #2) by Josh Lanyon

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

All those late night conversations when Sam had maybe a drink too many or Jason was half falling asleep. All those playful, provocative comments about what they’d do when they finally met up again.

Well, here they were.

The last thing Jason West, an ambitious young FBI Special Agent with the Art Crimes Team, wants–or needs–is his uncertain and unacknowledged romantic relationship with irascible legendary Behavioral Analysis Unit Chief Sam Kennedy.

And it’s starting to feel like Sam is not thrilled with the idea either.

But personal feelings must be put aside when Sam requests Jason’s help to catch a deranged killer targeting wealthy, upscale art collectors. A killer whose calling card is a series of grotesque paintings depicting the murders.

Nothing I love better than diving back into a Josh Lanyon murder romance.  I love the tight writing, the skillfully constructed mysteries and the complex  relationships between the main characters.  It’s never, never an easy romance.  The obstacles between the men are often huge, sometimes or frequently of their own making, and by the end of the story, it can still be a question mark as to if they are together or will stay that way.  On top of dealing with their own issues and that of their personal dynamics, they have their cases and killers to deal with.  It’s just outstanding!

When The Monet Murders story picks up, the conflicted relationship of Jason West and Sam Kennedy, two FBI agents is again in an uncertain stage.  It doesn’t help that FBI Special Agent Jason West’s Art Crimes Unit is in Los Angeles and Sam Kennedy is in Quantico, VA in the Behavioral Analysis Unit as their Chief.  What it takes to bring them together again, at least physically is a murder or three, all starting with a phone call from Sam.

It kicks off with Jason at the special dedication gala of a museum wing for his grandfather.  We get another peek into the prestigious family background and makeup that belongs to Jason West.  More of that will be filled in later as the story progresses.  It’s a call to action and one that Jason eagerly answers as it means that he will be seeing Sam once more.

Lanyon gives us a crime scene under the Santa Monica pier that starts us off on the  Monet Murders and the reunion of Jason and Sam.  Needless to say nothing about that crime scene bodes well for the couple or for the case.  The LAPD called them in but some of the local cops aren’t happy about having the FBI there, it seems to tie in with another case Jason and  Sam are already working, but then again maybe not.  Muddied clues abound as does the relationship (or non relationship) between Jason and Sam.  The stress and tension is vivid, pouring off the page, a testament to the author’s ability to create just the perfect atmosphere for this scene and meeting.

A fake Monet, so poorly painted as  to be garish, ties more murders together.  As the investigation continues and Jason’s case opens up further leads to involve older crimes, I was just completely hooked.  I love the art elements here, and the mysteries (and side stories) were completely fascinating.  Woven in between the various investigations and detective work, is the romance and shaky relationship between Sam and Jason.  As before, the sex scenes between these two are combustible, making it even harder each time Sam pulls away.  How I love these two even as I want to throttle Sam.

There’s a scary island full of graveyards, some terrific action/suspense scenes to have you quaking as you read and enough plot twists and turns to keep the mystery lover satisfied.  The romance too had an ending that I just loved, although this is Josh Lanyon and her characters so you know I want to add a for now here.

The Monet Murders (The Art of Murder #2) by Josh Lanyon is a splendiferous book.  It left this reader satisfied on so many levels, the mystery lover adored the murder mysteries and how the case was solved, the romance lover can’t get enough of this couple, their convoluted relationship and their path to HEA or whatever they are going to end up with.  The Art of Murder series is ranking high on my all time favorites with just two stories so far so I can’t wait to see what book three brings.  I highly recommend them.

Cover by Johanna Ollila.  I like the cover with Monet’s Lilies painting on t-shirt.  Nice.

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 311 pages
Published May 25th 2017 by JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
ASINB01MYC6ZOZ
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Art of Murder :