An Ali Audiobook Review: Murmuration by T.J. Klune and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
murmuration-audioIn the small mountain town of Amorea, it’s stretching toward autumn of 1954. The memories of a world at war are fading in the face of a prosperous future. Doors are left unlocked at night, and neighbors are always there to give each other a helping hand.

The people here know certain things as fact:

Amorea is the best little town there is.

The only good Commie is a dead Commie.

The Women’s Club of Amorea runs the town with an immaculately gloved fist.

And bookstore owner Mike Frazier loves that boy down at the diner, Sean Mellgard. Why they haven’t gotten their acts together is anybody’s guess. It may be the world’s longest courtship, but no one can deny the way they look at each other.

Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.
Something’s happening in Amorea. And Mike will do whatever he can to keep the man he loves


But something’s wrong with Mike. He hears voices in his house late at night. There are shadows crawling along the walls, and great clouds of birds overhead that only he can see.
So this book is a trip. It’s impossible to discuss the plot without spoilers so I’m going to skip that. I will say that this book had me hooked from the beginning. At first I wasn’t sure what was going on. Then part way in I thought I had figured it out. I was wrong. Then I had a new theory and I was part way right. And then…….gah. (I could do this all day.) 

Here’s what you need to know. The writing was fantastic. It is some of TJ’s best work imo. I literally couldn’t put this down because I was dying to know what was going on. There are plot points that I really disliked. Plot points I’m not comfortable with. And yet……..I was captivated by this story.

There is a really unique romance. It’s so different than anything I’ve ever read before. It’s this sweet, pure, 1950’s courting type romance and I never would have thought that was my thing but apparently it is. (I still need my smut and won’t be running off to find these kind of romances in general but it really worked with the plot).

The end keeps you guessing. I mean right up to the very end. The very last paragraph or two. I was holding my breathe and while I knew I was intrigued I under estimated how emotionally invested I was because all of a sudden I had tears in my eyes. 

I did most of this on audio and the narrator, Kirt Graves, was excellent. One of the best I’ve listened to. I got about half way through on audio and then switched to reading because I was so impatient to find out what was going to happen. I then switched back to audio for the last few chapters. If you like audios I recommend doing this story that way. It was top notch and really added to the overall storytelling. 
Cover by Reese Dante: I love the cover.  I had seen the guy on the cover on some other books so I didn’t think much about it going into this story.  After reading it though, I have to say the cover is perfect for the story.  
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Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio
Published January 16th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published October 28th 2016)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Caryn Review: Unspoken by R.A. Padmos

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Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

unspoken-2I wanted to like this book so much.  Historical (yes!), set in the Netherlands (yes, yes!) during the  years prior to and during the second World War.  I expected a romance that would develop during a time of danger, sacrifice, and privation.  And I got – well, I’m not quite sure.

Stefan was a married man with 3 children, a caring wife, and a tremendous sense of pride responsibility for them.  In the interwar period in Europe, even in countries that had not been allies of Germany during WWI, there was too much unemployment, too much poverty, and too much hopelessness.  Stefan was a hard worker, and humiliated to find himself on the dole most of the time, punctuated by brief stints of working.  In his daily walk about the city to find work, he ran into Adri, an out of work painter, who was also in line to receive benefits.  Stefan had never been attracted to men in his life, but something about Adri just struck him, and the passion between the two of them was more than he’d ever had with his wife.

Adri always knew he was a homosexual, and had discovered those subtle ways to find other like minded men.  And though homosexual activity was not illegal – as it was in most of the rest of the world – it was still frowned upon and something to be kept hidden.  (The author was insistent upon repeating, frequently, that as long as the men involved were both over the age of 21 that sex between two men was legal.  Although Stefan and Adri did get arrested once, I wan’t quite clear on why that happened, but maybe public indecency?)  Adri was also drawn to Stefan from the beginning.  The men became friends first, then lovers, and eventually Adri was even adopted by Stefan’s family as a sort of honorary uncle.

The majority of the book takes place before the war starts, and was primarily an ongoing monologue in Stefan’s mind of what it meant that he and Adri were lovers.  He insisted to himself and Adri pretty much right up until the end of the book that he was not really a homosexual, and that effeminate men were worthy of ridicule and abuse.  He kept trying to walk away from Adri – resulting in his wife getting pregnant with a fourth child – but always ended up coming back to him.  He felt responsible to provide for his family, so he would not abandon them, even when he eventually realized that he loved Adri more than he loved his wife.  When the Germans occupied the country, he was even more sure that he needed to stay with them and provide food, shelter, and safety, but he still carried on with his affair with Adri.

I was never really sure where this book was going, whether it reached any particular goal, or even how to classify it.  It’s not a romance, not a memoir, certainly not an adventure.  To be honest, the closest I can come is saying that it was Brokeback Mountain set in prewar Holland – but I never connected to these characters.  To be honest, Stefan just irritated me – I wanted him to either accept that he was going to carry on an affair, or break up with his lover, or his wife (to be fair, I felt the same way about Ennis in Brokeback Mountain).  His ongoing denial of who and what he was just didn’t touch me at all.  In the end, it was just a long, meandering book with what seemed like endless angst without resolution from Stefan, that ended abruptly and unsatisfyingly.

I do not know this author, but I guess from the writing that English is not her first language.  I would believe that she was Dutch, or at least from some part of Europe, as she had excellent grasp of the culture and the history of life in occupied Europe, as well as the hidden culture of gay men of the period.

Cover art by Posh Gosh is absolutely beautiful, and the park bench is an important symbol in the book and really the perfect image to use.

Sales Links

Pride Publishing

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Book Details:

ebook, Revamp Edition
Published March 29th 2016 by Pride Publishing (first published May 1st 2012)
ISBN139781786513946
Edition LanguageEnglish

Tour and Giveaway: TWO NATURES by Jendi Reiter (exclusive excerpt)

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Title: Two Natures
Author: Jendi Reiter
Release Date: September 15th 2016
Genre: LGBT fiction, MM Romance

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Two Natures is the coming-of-age story of Julian Selkirk, a fashion photographer in New York City in the early 1990s. His faith in Jesus helped him survive his childhood in the Atlanta suburbs with an abusive alcoholic father, but the church’s condemnation of his sexual orientation has left him alienated and ashamed.

Yearning for new ideals to anchor him after his loss of faith, Julian seeks his identity through love affairs with three very different men: tough but childish Phil Shanahan, a personal trainer who takes a dangerous shortcut to success; enigmatic, cosmopolitan Richard Molineux, the fashion magazine editor who gives him his first big break; and Peter Edelman, an earnest left-wing activist with a secret life.

Amid the devastation of the AIDS epidemic and the racial tensions of New York politics, Julian learns to see beyond surface attractions and short-term desires, and to use his art to serve his community.

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Saddle Road Press

**Kindle Price $0.99 from February 20th – March 17th ** (normally $9.99)

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Honors:
2016 Rainbow Awards: First Prize, Best Gay Contemporary General Fiction; First Runner-Up, Debut Gay Book
Named one of QSPirit’s Top LGBTQ Christian Books of 2016

TN Ch 8  Exclusive Excerpt for Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

“No repeats,” I told Phil. Again.

“What if there’s no one new around?”

Phil’s sulky tone, and the tickling of his fingers up my bare leg, distracted me in opposite ways from fixing us the sole breakfast dish in my repertoire, green tea and cheese grits, with a little something extra to chase away his hangover. “Try a different club. This is NewYork. They have more than one.”

“I don’t tell you what to do at your fancy-ass parties.”

“There are no parties. The only time I get down on my knees is to fix the wind machine.” Fourteen-hour days in the studio didn’t leave me much time to enjoy the no-strings-attached side of our relationship. Sure, I’d squeezed in a few gropes and groans in the back room of New Eden, jolts of furtive pleasure that left me dizzy with the momentary assurance that catching a boy like Phil hadn’t been just a fluke. Until I remembered that he could have the same adventures, and more, all day at the Ironman, training athletes who bench-pressed more than I weighed, while I was hauling tripods on the subway.

“So…no repeats, right?” I breathed out in a rush, before his hand between my legs could sidetrack the conversation. My arm jostled the pot on the stove, spattering the dingy wall.

“Okay, okay,” he murmured into my neck. His breath was hot, like cigarette embers. Phil was like that, rough words at cross-purposes with his body language. I was happier when I only believed half of it.

“And no bringing them back here.” I pressed my advantage, and my hip into his groin.

“You paying rent?”

“I will be, next month, I promise. But that’s not the point. I thought maybe, out of the goodness of your heart, you would spare me the sight of somebody else’s pubes on my soap when I shower in the morning.”

“Come on, maybe you’d like one of them. Probably take him away from me ’cause you’re so gorgeous.”

You’re all I want, I nearly said, but smiled and settled for the compliment, rather than admit something I wasn’t sure was true. Two months into living with Phil, and more than a year since our first hookup, I was working up the nerve to clarify our open relationship, and gaining a begrudging appreciation for its opposite. Marriage has the advantage of simplicity, like government forfeiture of your assets. Over here: you get the last name, the bankbook, the steering wheel, the 60-hour workweek, and the drunken tumble with your wife’s best friend. And you: here’s the kids, the white dress, the dinner table, the paid-up mortgage, and the moral high ground. As for me, right now the good life looked like a mattress in the basement with only two pairs of sneakers by the door, but this was proving more complicated than ordering a McDonald’s Happy Meal without the fries.

I was in my final semester at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and interning as an unpaid assistant to the photographer Dane Langley. More like assistant to the assistants; while Pierre accompanied Dane to Paris and Vince lunched with ad agency reps, I fixed lighting equipment and shopped for organic baby food. Everyone at school said I was lucky to have landed a spot with Langley, who had done album covers for Paula Abdul and Gloria Estefan, and had an ad contract with Revlon. Last week his girlfriend had dropped by with their new baby, which they left with me, sans backup diaper, while they went to lunch at Lutèce. The baby’s name was Taylor, which didn’t give me a clue to its gender. I figured, since the girlfriend was Swedish, it might respond to Abba, and indeed, it fell asleep for a full twenty-five minutes after I sang “Dancing Queen” four-and-a-half times.

Between these glamorous assignments and my job pouring three-dollar coffees at The Big Cup, I was barely at school anymore except to pick up my mail. Phil had resisted my switching my address to his apartment, claiming that his sublet wasn’t, technically speaking, totally legal. On the bright side, this spared me from telling my parents that I was living with him.

Having a male roommate wasn’t suspicious in itself, but combined with a career in fashion, and the fact that Phil and I could quote long stretches of dialogue from “The Prince of Tides,” my mother might be forced to recognize that her sensitive boy was experimenting with the homosexual lifestyle. Then would come the weekly letters, suddenly seeded with references to girls I hadn’t thought about since junior high, who had all grown up to be God-fearing, bosomy

A-students and were miraculously still single. Last week in Dane’s studio I had seen Allure cover model Cheryl Kingston’s rose-tipped breasts, pale and translucent as porcelain teacups. I was replacing the roll of seamless paper for the backdrop, and she ignored me, as was her right. Dane was all honey to her, a come-to-Papa smile on his swarthy bearded face. She didn’t have to worry about being touched, not like your average Tatiana or Mary Lou, as Dane guided them into

poses for some designer’s spring catalog, his hand steering this one’s waist, unbuttoning that one’s sweater. The Swedish girlfriend was half his age. They seemed very happy, but that was probably because her mother knew where to send her mail.

I was sorting through the latest stack of bills and credit card offers on our bed one morning while Phil fed me strawberries. He could be very sweet. Just when I’d gotten used to his blue-collar tough-guy routine, he’d surprise me with little things like washing my back in the shower, or reading to me from one of the books he read to make up for not going to college. As pillow talk, I ranked the I Ching above Atlas Shrugged but below Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder. But it’s the thought that counts. Without Phil, I might have forgotten that there were publications without pictures in them.

Leaning back against Phil’s warm bare stomach, I tossed my junk mail on the floor without looking through it. He ran juice-stained fingers through my hair. Sometimes I was so happy that a place like this existed, where I could be with a guy, naked and alone. He understood what it meant, too, a privilege that was all ours, no matter how many hours we spent running other people’s errands.

“Wait, that looks like a real letter,” he said, picking an envelope out of the discard pile.

I recognized my mother’s square ivory-tinted stationery. “See, I told you I’d be able to pay the rent.”

After depositing two fifties in the coffee tin on the windowsill (I never worried about our communal accounting; Phil had too much pride to be a sponger), I skimmed the closely written pages. “Huh, my sister’s looking at colleges in — whoa!” I caught my breath and my vision blurred for a moment. My jerky hands hunted around for the envelope. “What’s the postmark on this letter?”

Phil found the cast-off envelope under our rumpled blanket. “Last Monday. Why?”

“You see, this is what happens because I don’t get my mail here,” I snapped at him.

“Man, we’ve been through this. What is your problem?”

I reread the paragraph that had raised my heart rate faster than a triple espresso. “They’re coming.”

“Who? Where? Careful, your elbow’s in the bowl.” Phil rescued the strawberries in time to spare me from washing the sheets twice this month.

“My family. Here. Next week.”

###

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About the Author

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Jendi Reiter’s books are guided by her belief that people take precedence over ideologies. In exploring themes of queer family life, spiritual integration, and healing from adverse childhood experiences, her goal is to create understanding that leads to social change. Two Natures is her first novel; a sequel is in the works. Her four published poetry books include Bullies in Love (Little Red Tree, 2015) and the award-winning chapbook Barbie at 50 (Cervena Barva Press, 2010). She is the co-founder and editor of WinningWriters.com, an online resource site for creative writers.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Blossom of the Samurai (Sword and Silk Trilogy #3) by Sedonia Guillone

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

blossom-of-the-samurai-sword-and-silk-trilogy-3-by-sedonia-guilloneThe samurai’s only true master is his heart….

For seven years while training for his life as a samurai, Toho Morimasa has been away from Aoki, the beautiful actor who helped him to heal from the trauma of his parents’ brutal murders. Now, nightmares that Aoki is in trouble plague Toho’s sleep, and he makes the journey back from Edo to Kai, no longer wanting to be away from Aoki’s side. Once there, Toho meets the very real source of his nightmares and vows to honor and protect Aoki. When his beloved Aoki is brutally assaulted, will Aoki survive long enough to understand that the love Toho has for him is the love he too has been craving his whole life but doesn’t feel he deserves?

A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.

Blossom of the Samurai ties up the stories of the three couples that make up the Sword and the Silk Trilogy by Sedonia Guillone and its such a lovely finish to this trilogy.

I’ve been reading her Samurai stories for years and started on this path with Flying Fish back in 2009 (it was rereleased by Dreamspinner Press in 2016).  Sedonia Guillone’s tales are gentle tales that move at a pace unusual for most stories, their narrative almost oriental in their flow and language at times.  Gentle and yet visited by the violence of the times, all the characters endure hardship to find their other half.  One samurai, the other an actor/courtesan, except in the second story which acts as a bridge to the first and third.

In Flying Fish, (a name for a traveling actor) its Genji Sakura and masterless samurai, the ronin Daisuke Minamoto, in Blind Love (Sword and Silk Trilogy #2) the couple is Hirata Morimasa and Anma Sho, leading to the final story with their foster son, Toho Morimasa and Aoki, the actor in Blossom of the Samurai.  All three couples (or 5/6ths of them make important appearances here).  It brings all their stories full circle, giving the reader further insight into Toho’s tale from Blind Love, and retribution for Hirata and Sho.

I’m hard-pressed to describe Guillone’s style of writing.  Soft, yet it has its share of sword  fights.  Flowery but able to recognize the harshness of life as it occurs to the  characters here.  And pain does come with a  swiftness that’s breathtaking even though we’ve been expecting it.  I love her layered characters and the way in which we are able to feel their deep connections to each other with a minimal amount of words as well as the inclusion of Japanese words and settings in an easy, informal manner.  It brings this era alive for the reader in a way I love.

However, I wish there was more to this story.  I wanted to know more about Toho and what was going to happen with Aoki and their life together.  I wanted more length, more of them.  It ended too soon.  At 112 pages (although that’s this author’s style too), that short length was not enough to bring this gorgeous tale to the fullness it deserved.  That’s my only qualm here.

If you love ancient Japan, and lovers in search of their soul mates, pick up Sedonia Guillone’s  Sword and Silk Trilogy.  I loved all the stories, ending with   Blossom of the Samurai.

Cover art by Reese Dante is lovely but not exactly spot on for all the characters.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 112 pages
Expected publication: February 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634775449 (ISBN13: 9781634775441)
Edition Language English

Its Valentine’s Week and Love is In the Air! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Its Valentine’s Week and Love is In the Air!

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day and surely Love is in the Air!  All those hearts, balloons, and boxes of chocolates and other signs of romance all around are making me think of so many things, like the best love stories in movies and of course, in books (cue the soundtrack to Doctor Zhivago)!  We can all remember the traditional love stories, meaning het of course! I’m sure they are popping into mind even now.  Romeo and Juliet, Lancelot and Guinevere (Arthur got a raw deal I think), Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, Paris and Helena,Tristan and Isolde…most ended unhappily I know.  But ah,  how bright their love and passion burned!  We can even think of our happy love movies.  Love Actually is played constantly during the holiday season (love has so many faces).

But how about LGBTQIA love?  Is Brokeback Mountain the first movie that comes to mind?  How about Shelter or Big Eden or Latter Days?  They didn’t have big names attached to them but the romance and love left you smiling instead of feeling torn apart.  Perfect for Valentine’s Day watching!  What’s your recommendations for Valentine’s Day binge watching?

I can remember my very first novel, outside of fanfiction (K/S among others) that was not only M/M but had a happy ending.  That was The Catch Trap by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  I still have my hardback copy.  It was a revelation.  The idea of m/m romance and love with the possibility of a future in some way. The Catch Trap was published in 1979 which was when I first read it so a future then is markably different then the way in which LGBTQIA romance (and marriage) is regarded today (bigotry not withstanding).  Some of my comfort reads are also my favorite love stories but not all. Some of my favorite couples also had pain, loss and suspense attached to their stories as well.  Here are some of those.

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Some of My Favorite Couples and Their Series in no particular order:

Ty and Zane of Abigail Roux’s Cut & Run series (some written with Madeleine Urban)

Lucky and Bo of Eden Winter’s Diversion series

Jory and Sam of Mary Calmes’ A Matter of Time series

Jin and Logan of Mary Calmes’ A Change of Heart series

Adrien and Jake from The Adrien English Mysteries by Josh Lanyon

Jonty and Orlando from Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows Mysteries

Jim and Griffin as well as Evan and Matt from Tere Michaels’ Faith, Love & Devotion series

And this is without adding in those couples from my comfort list books!  There’s more as well.  Do you have your favorite couples?  Tell me which ones I missed!

Goodreads has its own Listopia: Best Gay/Lesbian Fiction With Happy Endings (140 books).  You might check out this list too.    But back to your favorite couples and your favorite love stories.  What love stories jump into your mind when I say  “Romance”!  That love with a capital L story where “one swims the oceans, fights all the fights, does everything they must to be with the one they love” story.  Give us your list and see if you come up with Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Valentine’s Day gift card!

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Valentine’s Day Love Story Challenge.

Yes its time for the Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Valentine’s Day Love Story Challenge.  Give us your list of either top couples and their story or top love stories with your email address. One random reader will be chosen to receive a $10 gift certificate by midnight next Sunday, February 18th.  This is a quick contest so get your lists in this week.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

And as a reminder, our Comfort Reads Giveaway also closes on the 17th.  So here is two chances to win a gift certificate.

📚Comfort Reads Giveaway from Last Week!

Send us your List of Comfort Reads!  Your Snuggle Up To, Comfort Blankey Books!  One random reader with a List will be chosen to receive a $10 gift certificate from Dreamspinner Press.  Contest ends February 17 at midnight.  Please leave your name and email address where you can be reached if chosen.

Now for this week’s schedule.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sunday, February 12:

  • Its Valentine’s Week and Love is In the Air!
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A MelanieM Review:  Flaunt by E. Davies

Monday, February 13:

  • DSP GUEST POST Ari McKay on Letters from Cupid
  • DSP GUEST POST Tara Lain on Fire Balls
  • Release Day Blitz The Start of Something New by Tamryn Eradani
  • A Caryn Review: Too Soon For Love by Kimberly Gardner
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Jerricho’s Freedom by Jake C. Wallace
  • A VVivacious Review: The Start of Something New by Tamryn Eradani
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale and Scott R. Smith (Narrator)

Tuesday, February 14 (Valentine’s Day):

  • DSP GUEST POST Evelise Archer on Jaeger
  • DSP GUEST POST Lila Leigh Hunter on Dating in Retrospect
  • Jared’s Family by VS Morgan Release Blitz and Giveaway
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Yes, Professor by Renae Kaye
  • A PaulB Review: The Atherton Pack 4 by Toni Griffin
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  Letters from Cupid by Ari McKay
  • An Alisa Releases Day Review: Warlock in Training by TJ Nichols

Wednesday, February 15:

  • DSP PUBLICATIONS GUEST POST TJ Nichols on Warlock in Training
  • Release Blitz Clare London – How The Other Half Lives
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The New Wolf (Building the Pack #1) by RJ Scott
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Blossom of the Samurai by Sedonia Guillone
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Poppy’s Secret by Andrew Grey
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  Dating in Retrospect by Lila Leigh Hunter

Thursday, February 16:

  • DSP GUEST POST Remmy Duchene and BLMorticia on Wounded Pride
  • Release Day Blitz Learning to Want by Tami Veldura
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Where There’s Smoke by Cari Z and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: What the Cat Dragged In by Kate Steele
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Hanging The Stars (Half Moon Bay #2) by Rhys Ford and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Behr Facts (Foothills Pride #3) by Pat Henshaw and David Ross (Narrator)

Friday, February 17:

  • Suki Fleet – Foxes Tour and Giveaway
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Half by Eli Lang
  • A Stella Review: Half by Eli Lang
  • A Paul B Release Day Review: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • A Caryn Review: How The Other Half Lives by Clare London
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Foxes by Suki Fleet

Saturday, February 18:

  • A MelanieM Review:  Necessary Medicine by M.K. York
  • A MelanieM Review: Danced Close (Portland Heat, #6) by Annabeth Albert

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A VVivacious Review: The Puritan Pirate by Jules Radcliffe

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Rating: 3.75 Stars out of 5

 

the-puritan-pirateLieutenant Thomas Peregrine finds himself in a rather unusual position. He is serving as a naval liaison on the pirate ship, Audacious. He keeps to himself but he is unable to control his attraction to Gabriel Quinn, the sailing master of the Defiant. But one drunken night reveals one too many secrets and Gabe & Thomas find themselves on the way to a deeper connection. But when the Defiant finds itself in mighty trouble, what will Gabe’s fate be and will Thomas be able to survive it…

 

I liked this book quite a lot. It is an interesting read with well fleshed out characters and a daring plot.

 

This book uses a lot of words which are no longer in popular use and there are lots of phrases in different languages. So yeah sometimes I used to get stuck on certain words and phrases because I had no idea what they meant. Also this book is based in the West Indies and the book makes ample use of the tumultuous political scenario the countries of the Indies were facing in the late 17th century. Since I truly have no idea about the history of the Indies somethings definitely went over my head but I felt like the book definitely makes use of history to consolidate its plot. Alas, I have no idea about this history or how accurately it is depicted in this book.

 

What I loved about this book was the plot and our main characters.

 

The plot of the book is quite well written and it was interesting to read about naval warfare. For one it is very different than land warfare and has its own appeal. I loved the story of this book and its intricacies. The plot is simple but very well-executed and the book is well paced so you don’t lose interest.

 

My favourite part of this book was Gabriel and Thomas. I like the personalities of both characters, wherein Thomas is a guy firmly in control and Gabriel is just a happy-go-lucky kind of guy who can’t wait to break Thomas’ facade. But these two together were simply, hot. I mean the sex scenes between these two characters are some of the best I have ever read. I loved how the author wrote about the domination and submission between these two characters and I appreciated the fluidity of it.

 

Overall this book is a hot and interesting read.

 

Cover Art by Valerie Tibbs. I liked the cover, it complements the story.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook
Published January 3rd 2017 by Loose Id
Original TitleThe Puritan Pirate
ISBN139781682523018
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Calling His Bluff (Club Raven #3) by B.A. Tortuga

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

callinghisbluff1400x2100Patrick’s loss is Remy’s gain.

A Club Raven Novel

After his twin dies in battle, it’s Patrick Daniels’ duty to marry his brother’s fiancée. Too bad he can’t make himself do it, and in his distress, he manifests a psychic talent that’s stronger than the tornadoes in his native East Texas. Then a mysterious man from a place called Club Raven steps in and sweeps Patrick off to the booming East Coast city of Baltimore.

Club Raven veteran Remy Blanchard sees Patrick and knows, even though Patrick is very ill, that this is the challenge he’s been waiting for. He nurses Patrick back to health, and begins to teach Patrick to control his talent. His methods might be unconventional, and Patrick might be new to the kinds of sexual games Remy knows best, but the two of them find something in each other that might be just as magical as the gentleman’s club where they meet.

 

Calling His Bluff (Club Raven #3) by B.A. Tortuga is the best of the 3 Club Raven stories in my opinion.  All three are have at their center Club Raven, a mysterious living structure located at the locus of paranormal and/or supernatural power.  On the outside its a gentlemen’s club for the wealthy with kinky tastes, occasional dungeon parties in the 1890’s sort of thing but inside?  It houses men (and beings) with varying powers who conduct research, provide their own sort of paranormal law enforcement, power training, well, they do whatever they feel is necessary to protect themselves and the fact that paranormals exist.  It  provides these authors with a broad base with which to have their stories and character flow in whatever direction they choose within the vaguest of constraints.  There is only a  small circle of characters that interact with each other in each story.  And yes, all three definitely use the BDSM and D/s elements in their relationships.

Here, B.A. Tortuga uses those two elements in the strongest most logical manner.  Its also one of the reasons I feel this is the best of the three stories.  That and the characters have layers, real depth to them lacking in the other stories.

Patrick Daniels’ twin brother has died on the battlefield that Patrick survived.  Those circumstances are mysterious but now he’s being pushed by his family to marry his brother’s fiancée and take over his brother’s responsibilities.  There’s a couple of problems with this plan of his father’s.  One is Patrick’s attraction to men (not a legal or understandable thing in the 1890’s).  The other?  A head injury that has left Patrick with memory issues and now the power to call up a power with enough destructive force to blowup buildings.  Of course, his family would call it the devil in him.  So he’s hauled off in a cage to Club Raven.

Tortuga gives us the man with memories that come and go, flashes of something full of pain, stresses that bring on power he can’t control, and a wound in the back of his head he won’t let anyone near.  He’s a danger to himself and everyone around him.  The choices are dire.  Kill him or teach him.  Immediately.

This is where Remy Blanchard comes in.  Another great character who understands and sees something in this young, wounded man.  And not just because Patrick is gorgeous.  But his pain and need.  In so many ways, Patrick is a blank slate because of his wounds (physical and emotional).  Here the D/s dynamics make sense as does the need for the relationship to start immediately.  There is no time for them to move slowly because of the threat Patrick’s uncontrolled power poses to everyone (towns) in the vicinity and the possible exposure of paranormals to the outside world.  Something to be avoided at all costs. Still Remy is as gentle and kind as he can be.

I actually wanted to rate this story higher yet a few things held me back.   One was some of the unanswered questions that remained at the end of the story.  I wasn’t sure if that was because the author intended on revisiting this couple or what have you.  I don’t want to go into these “holes” here but they pertain to Patrick’s history and brother.  It was hinted at and I kept coming up with several possible options of my own.  But to never know exactly what the truth was is still a teeth grinding issue.  Other than that?  Just an terrific tale.  Read this, skip the other two. And yes, I hope BA Tortuga eventually comes back to this and gives me the answers I seek about Patrick and his brother.

Cover art  again works for the series branding and for the characters in the story.

Sales Links

Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 201 pages
Published January 17th 2017 by Evil Plot Bunny LLC
ISBN139781942831426
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesClub Raven #3

A Paul B Review: For a Dragon’s Control (Highland Dragons #10) by Charlie Richards

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

for-a-dragons-controlRyder MacGree has missed his brother Ian since he left the village.  Ian was supposed to marry the daughter of a rival clan’s chief.  This started a string of people disappearing from his village who were never seen again.  Having learned that Ian went to the Kartelle Valley has driven their father Chief Goth into madness.  No matter how many men the Chief sends, they never return.  Ryder wants to end this pointless one-sided war but is not sure how to do this.

Returning home one day, Ryder finds Ian’s best friend Ewan in his home.  Ewan tells Ryder that Ian is nearby and will take him to see Ian.  With Ian and Ewan is Elder Combs.  Combs proposes a solution to Ryder’s problem as suggested by Ian.  As Ryder has reached his majority, if he should take a consort then Goth must step aside and Ryder would become Chief.  And seeing as Ryder is Ian’s brother and probably an asda (a human who can bond with a dragon), Combs brings three prospective consorts with him.  Ryder must choose between Eustize the male herald, Ryantra the female warrior or Tygo the male healer.

Tygo is the best healer in the Karstelle Valley.  Despite his young age, he desperately wants to claim an asda as his own.  When he hears of the trip to Clan MacGree’s village, he goes along.  He is taken by the beauty of the clan’s countryside and interested in the plants that he has never seen before.  But that is second to the beauty he sees in Ryder.  While Tygo knows that Clan MacGree has not had same sex consorts as Karstelle Valley does and he will probably lose to the female dragon warrior, he hopes he can win the heart of the future chief.

This is the tenth and final book in Charlie Richard’s Highland Dragon series.  I have enjoyed this trip to medieval Scotland.  What started out as a son’s refusal to marry a woman he not only does not love but could not “lie down” with as he prefers the company of males ends with a satisfactory resolution to the obvious one sided war started by his father.  The dragons of the Karstelle Valley would just want to be left in peace and in the end they will get their wish. 

As for this book, Ryder must decide between the easy choice of selecting Ryantra (and probably ensuring a successor) or the difficult choice of Tygo whom he seems to have a connection to but is of the same sex and may not be accepted by his clan.  He must also ensure that they all live until the bonding as his father is out to stop this arrangement before it can be completed.  As the two cultures are different, how Ryder must prove a bonding goes directly against the possessive nature of dragons and he must find a solution to that as well. 

Once again the cover by Angela Waters is simply stunning.  Tygo’s yellow dragon is seen flying behind a kilt wearing Ryder.  Ms Waters has never failed to deliver the perfect cover for any of the ten books in this series.  I must complement her on the work she has done.

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eXtasy Books

65a2f-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book Details

Ebook, 84 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  October 7, 2016 by eXtasy Books

ISBN:  978-1-4874-0896-1

For A Dragon's Touch For A Dragon's Protection For A Dragon's Treasure For a Dragon's Forgiveness For a Dragon's Redemption For a Dragon's Healing For a Dragon's Persuasion

A MelanieM Review: Wishful Thinking (Club Raven #2) by Kiernan Kelly

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

wishfulthinkingSometimes doing the right thing requires otherworldly help.

A Club Raven Novel

Tony Brazzio, part-owner of Club Raven in Baltimore, is gifted with a psychic talent that allows him to influence the behavior of others. His first project, to rehabilitate hoodlums Bull and Dandy, fails when the lure of fat wallets ripe for the picking is too great for them to ignore. After Bull and Dandy fall into serious trouble beyond simple petty theft, Tony takes it upon himself to bail them out.

Charged with making a pair of blackmailing pickpockets “disappear,” Detective Thomas Arthur Clare is determined to get the job done. He doesn’t count on Tony’s interference, or his attraction to the mysterious, handsome man, to sway him.

Wishful Thinking (Club Raven #2) by Kiernan Kelly is the PWP story in the middle of what I think of as the Club Raven trilogy, three books written by three different authors that centers around a live structure seated on a meeting of lay lines/power positions that fronts itself as Club Raven. Its now a gentlemen’s club with odd  peculiarities (BDSM dungeon on occasion, paranormal library, law enforcement branch for paranormals, halfway house, you name it, including boarding house).  Here the most shallow of characters, pull in other shallow characters, who act and react with no apparent concern for their era or amazing surroundings.  A detective is thrown into this PWP soup for no good measure and just muddles it further with a jawdropping instalove, insta BDSM scene that had my head spinning.

That alone came close to turning this  book into a DNF.  So much in this tale made absolutely no sense, from the characters, to their actions, that you stopped  trying to make sense of it all and just wanted to race to the finish line.

What a waste of a perfectly neat plot device.

Cover art is the best thing about the story.

Sales Links

Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 171 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Evil Plot Bunny LLC
ISBN139781942831433
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesClub Raven #2

Club Raven:

Happy Medium (Club Raven, #1)  by Julia Talbot

Wishful Thinking (Club Raven, #2)  by Kiernan Kelly

Calling His Bluff (Club Raven, #3)  by B.A. Tortuga

A MelanieM Review: Happy Medium (Club Raven #1) by Julia Talbot

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

happymedium-1Andrew is out to debunk Max as a medium, not make love to him…

A Club Raven Novel

Max Bellame is working his way through 1870s Baltimore as a medium, even if he knows nothing about spirits. He uses the power of his mind to move objects, convincing his clients he’s the real thing.

Andrew Meechum works for Club Raven, a gentleman’s club that doubles as a paranormal research facility. He sets out to debunk Max, only to be fascinated by the man. Can Andrew convince Max to take a chance on love, and to find his true calling as a medium, or will their personal demons force them apart?

Happy Medium is one of three Club Raven stories that center around a 1800’s gentlemen’s club that’s actually a living structure that house men/beings who have paranormal talents.  Its also a library, science lab, law enforcement branch, ‘what have you’ when it  comes to the needs of the paranormal.  Its also very, very, kinky.  Think local dungeon in the 1890’s.  You only get enough knowledge about Club Raven to want to know more.  Its fluid enough that each author (there are 3) can bend it according to the needs of her story.

I read the stories out of order, reading this one second.  I think it hurt all three in comparison to be honest.  One story had depth to the characters, their relationship and the reason for the D/s dynamics was laid out beautifully.  In another it was more PWP.  Happy Medium is well, just that,  the novel that falls exactly between the two.

We meet Max Bellame at a seance’.  He’s got true ability to move objects with his mind and uses that telekinesis to make his clients think they are talking to the dead.  Enter Andrew Meechum from Club Raven, investigating Max, to see if he’s the real deal.  There’s an attraction between them them even as the seance starts to go wrong.  Yes, you could say that  sparks flew.

I liked the characters, I thought the author did a good job in laying out who they were, backgrounds etc.  What bothered me about them and their relationship?  How quickly they jumped immediately into not only sex (in the 1890’s!) but a BDSM relationship, specifically a D/s when one had no prior knowledge of kink or the workings of such.  It was “strap me now”.  And that bothered me so much wondering about the time frame (imprisonment or worse), the fact that someone new and frankly distrustful of the man and club would jump into acts that require high levels of trust.  Well, it hurt the rest of the story.

Which was quite good.

There is another plot layer which I wish had been enlarged  (and the bdsm edited into a smaller role) which included Club Raven in a large role, its inhabitants, and other beings.  That was far more dynamic in my opinion.  I loved the interaction between Max and Andrew here.

Insta love/insta D/s is one thing that pulled this story down.  The surrounding layers and  plot threads made it  interesting as did seeing characters I had already encountered in the other stories appear.  I still enjoyed the tale.  You might not be bothered by the instalove aspect.  Club Raven has so much to offer, I’m wondering if these authors are going to go past these three books.  I would love to see what the paranormal part of the Club  holds out for the lost souls of the 1800’s.

Cover art works for the characters and novel.

 

Sales Links

Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 186 pages
Published January 17th 2017 by Evil Plot Bunny LLC
ISBN139781942831419
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://www.evilplotbunny.com/index.php/happy-medium-a-club-raven-novel/
SeriesClub Raven #1

 

Club Raven:

Happy Medium (Club Raven, #1)  by Julia Talbot

Wishful Thinking (Club Raven, #2)  by Kiernan Kelly

Calling His Bluff (Club Raven, #3)  by B.A. Tortuga