A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Beneath This Mask ( Enhanced World #3) by Victoria Sue and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

As with the rest of the series, this story is spot-on, from the author’s nicely crafted plot and characterizations to the narrator’s outstanding vocalizations.

We first met Gael Peterson in the earlier books in this series. Gael is the enhanced team member whose face is scarred. In this installment, it’s his turn to get a human law enforcement team member. But Gael and Jake rub each other the wrong way, or at least, Gael takes Jake’s actions the wrong way, so Gael ends up with Drew as his partner, at least temporarily, and Jake is assigned to Vance whose new partner is on an undercover assignment and not yet available to the team.

It’s actually good that Gael and Jake aren’t partnered because they develop a friendship on their own that leads to a more romantic involvement—until Gael perceives Jake has turned against him. The intrigue and action that takes place in the main plot and in secondary scenarios is something one must pay close attention to in this audiobook. It’s not so easy to turn a few pages back to reread when one is listening, so I’m glad I was glued to my device from beginning to end, and I had already learned from past experience with these books that it’s important to listen carefully. The excitement and intrigue swept me away. Add to that the fact that I really wanted Gael to have a life partner and Jake was perfect for him. Then, there was the subplot surrounding Ethan, the young enhanced boy who only communicated with Gael, and when it looked like he was being transferred to a psych unit, it broke my heart. So as I said, I was fascinated with this story, totally wrapped up, and was by turns either heartbroken or rooting for the enhanced team like a crazed cheerleader.

The only thing I didn’t like in the story was one particular character, but his coworkers didn’t like him either so I’m in good company. And maybe the voice Nick J. Russo gave that guy had a little to do with it. Just sayin’—great narration.

And what an ending we got! There was not only a Gael and Jake HEA, but there was a perfect segue into Vance’s story, which I’m sure will be next in the series. Between the excellence of the writing and the awesome narration, this is one book, and series, I can highly recommend to friends who like an action adventure with a light paranormal twist.

~~~

The cover by Brooke Albrecht depicts a scarred face in the upper right pane, all done in shades of red, likely indicating the fire that caused the scars. And in the lower pane, a man with a machine gun is poised to take a shot. With the swirling bright colors, the cover is attractive and is tied in by those colors with the other books in the series. Very cleverly done.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

7 hours and 16 minutes.

Audible Audio, Unabridged, 8 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published January 16th 2018)
ASINB07DYK4WRV
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesEnhanced #3

Audiobook Tour for Unscripted Love (Road to Blissville #1) by Aimee Nicole Walker (excerpt)

Standard

 Unscripted Love Audio Tour Banner

UNSCRIPTED LOVE

Road to Blissville Series, Book 1

AIMEE NICOLE WALKER

M/M ROMANCE

AUDIO RELEASE: 05.29.18

 

Unscripted Love Audio Cover 

PHOTOGRAPHER: Wander Aguiar

COVER ARTIST:  Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art

Narrator: Joel Leslie

Listening Length: 8 hours and 49 minutes

UL Full Cover 

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2uzVnkV

AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/2tzosN1 

BLURB 

Kyle Vaughn had three goals in life: become a vet, find the man of his dreams, and start a family. He easily checked off the first item on the list when he took over his grandfather’s veterinary practice. Too bad he wasn’t as lucky in love.

Chaz Hamilton took a leap of faith when he decided to pursue a career in writing, but one best seller didn’t mean he could quit his day job. All work and no play threatened to make Chaz a very dull man when the only romantic action he saw was in the pages of his manuscript. Too bad he couldn’t write his own happily every after.

Circumstances pushed the two men together, and one magical kiss beneath fireworks and stars changed everything. Kyle knew his luck had finally turned around and Chaz found a man far better than any book boyfriend ever written. There was just one problem. Chaz has kept a secret from Kyle that could ruin their chance at a beautiful life together.

Kyle and Chaz learn that the best-laid plans often go awry, the heart has a mind of its own, and the greatest love is unscripted.

The books in the Road to Blissville series can be read either as standalone books or as part of the series. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for mature adults 18 and older.

UL Teaser 4

UL teaser 5

UL Teaser 6

EXCERPT

“What’s wrong with Harry?” Dr. Vaughn aka Dr. Dimples, Dr. Do Me, and Dr. D asked me. Harry? No, I manscape to within an inch of my life. No wild bush with hairy man berries here! Dr. Vaughn narrowed his eyes and leaned toward me a little bit. I leaned back in surprise causing him to chuckle. “Stay still a second,” he said, “you have something in the corner of your eye.”

Dr. Vaughn cupped the left side of my face in his big, strong hand and gently worked something loose from my right eye. Hand to God I thought I was going to faint right then and there. I prayed hard that the trembling I felt was internal because I was nowhere close to being in the guy’s league. I saw the kind of man he dated, and I didn’t measure up—probably in more ways than one. In fact, I’d just seen him flirting with his ex-boyfriend in the damn lobby. I couldn’t blame him for wanting to climb the hunky detective, but I had a feeling that ship had long sailed. Detective Wyatt had his eyes set on my best friend Josh, who tried really hard to hide his mutual attraction to the man.

“There,” Dr. Vaughn said. He held his finger up to show me the eyelash he’d worked free from the corner of my eye. “Aren’t you supposed to make a wish and blow on it?”

Do me, Dr. Dimples. Do me, Dr. Dimples “Are we still talking about the eyelash?” I asked. I felt my face flame red with embarrassment when I realized what I’d said. Dr. Vaughn’s eyes widened as if maybe he imagined my lips wrapped around his cock, but that was probably wishful thinking on my part.

“Uhhh,” the normally unflappable man said.

For the life of me, I don’t know what made me do it. Perhaps it was his blown pupils or the racing pulse at his neck, but I wrapped my hand around his wrist and lowered my lips until they hovered over his finger with the eyelash. I kept my eyes locked on his while I gently blew on his finger. Dr. Vaughn swallowed hard then broke eye contact long enough to look down at his finger. A wide smile had bloomed across his face before he said, “Looks like you need to blow a little harder.”

Sure enough, my eyelash dangled from the tip of his finger. That little bastard was clinging to the sexy vet’s fingers for dear life. Dr. Vaughn cocked his eyebrow as if he dared me to do it again and I surely couldn’t back down after the stunt I pulled.

Aimee Logo

I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I’m a girly tomboy

who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees.

I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever-after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.

FACEBOOK

AMAZON

TWITTER

BLOG

Joel Leslie/Narrator

Joel Leslie is a UK transplant, growing up with American parents in a British commonwealth.  A classically trained actor with an MFA in theatre from USC, he is often cast for his unique ability to deliver native, authentic combinations of American and British sounds.  His great range and ability to bring characters to life with honesty, wit and versatility delights producers and listeners alike.

He is proud to have a strong following with m/m listeners and an ongoing relationship with some of the finest writers in the genre.  He loves that every day he gets to share these beautiful, inspirational and empowering GLBT characters with the world.

His authors have praised him as “a narrator among narrators, a man whose ability to create different characters rests on the power of his voice and his impeccable delivery,” and a “true delight…” “his professionalism, good humor, and charm make him a dream to work with,” “Anyone else would only be second best”.

Joel has consistent access to his home studio for all production needs.  When not in the booth he spends his time chasing after two loquacious wiener dogs.

http://www.joelleslienarration.com/

Vibrant Promotions Logo

A Lucy Audiobook Review: Hearts and Flour By Tara Lain/ Ry Forest (narrator), Stephen Kurpis (narrator)

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

In a word, I thought this story was adorable. Micah is a raw vegan food evangelist who owns a vegan cafe, making up for a childhood of poisoning (alcohol) that finally killed his mother. He is rabid about all things healthy and wants his customers to take it as seriously as he does. He gets upset when they “mostly” follow healthy guidelines.  To top it all off,  he goes home early and finds the cheating, pathetic loser he calls his boyfriend having sex in their bed with someone else. Very classy guy, who is then shocked that Micah is kicking him out.  Dharmaram is such a user it is ridiculous.  But poor Micah.  “And here he sat.  Alone.  Dharmaram didn’t want him.  His customers didn’t want him.”

When he begins to realize even his most loyal customers may be following some of his advice but certainly not all of it (as evidenced by the giant cupcakes he keeps catching them eating), its demoralizing for him. He decides to attend his friend Yancy’s anti-Valentine’s Day party (orgy) to get laid and forget the cheater. Here, he meets Queen, who is so pretty in a fire engine red dress that Micah first thinks he is a woman, and hot sex ensues. Queen is very reticent about meeting up again but Micah can’t forget him. When he calls Queen, they go out again and sparks again fly.

It is when Micah realizes who Queen really is, i.e. Quentin the evil cupcake baker, that the problem starts.  Despite the obvious attraction, “So masculine and ladylike at the same time.  So brazenly sexy and so innocent. You turn me on like a Ferrari ignition”, Micah can’t get past the “poison” that Quentin is selling to his customers.  As a vegetarian, even I was thinking “Micah, calm down!” but poor baby, he had a rough week.

There is more drama with Dharmaram, who really just is a piece of work.  There is Queen’s lovely Southern grandmother, Mary Beth, who is gentile and the typical Southern lady.  Or is she? The love she has for Quentin and he for her is so wonderful.

There is quite a bit of sex for the length of the book and the rest really is fluffy and cute. I did want to get to read Micah having an orgy of cupcakes (SUGAR cupcakes) but that will have to wait. I am positive he will succumb to Charismatic Cupcakes sooner or later. Recommended for a light, quirky read.

Interestingly enough, there are two narrators, Ry Forest and Stephen Kurpis, but I would have sworn it was all the same person.  I was a little worried at first because the voice seemed melodramatic but as the book progressed the voices fit.  Quentin is given that South Carolina drawl, sexy as hell.

Cover art by Amanda Kelsey shows Micah holding a fluffy pink cupcake and I felt that was a great fit to the book.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible |

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook
Published June 19th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published January 30th 2013)
Original TitleHearts and Flour
Edition LanguageEnglishsettingCalifornia (United States)
Laguna Beach, California (United States)

An Ali Audiobook Review: Leaning Into the Look (Leaning Into #6) by Lane Hayes and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Standard
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Grant Kostas made a career based on his looks before joining his family’s real estate firm. He may not love his job but he’s better at sales than he thought. And when he’s poised to bring in the biggest account of the company’s history, even his father is impressed. Unfortunately, the extra attention highlights Grant’s personal life. His parents accept that he’s gay. They just wish he’d meet a nice Greek man.

Miles Harrison is a fabulous red head going through a rough patch. Between getting dumped by his long-term boyfriend and finding a new place to live in the city, he’s nearing his wits end. He’s not sure why he thought rooming with his boss’s friend was a good idea. Miles has had a crush on Grant for years. However, he knows attractive people aren’t always pretty on the inside. As the two men grapple with external problems, they form an unexpected bond of friendship and trust that feels like the real thing. The only way to know for certain is to let go of fear and leaninto the look.

I’m a big fan of this series and I keep thinking there’s got to be one I don’t like but so far it hasn’t happened.  I really like this group of friends and the guys they fall for.
We’d met both Grant and Miles numerous times in previous books so we already had a bit of a feel for them.  This story is told from Grant’s point of view and we learn of all his insecurities and the expectations (from his family and from himself) that he deals with each day.  He’s a complex character and one I thought was well done.
Although we don’t get Miles’ point of view I still felt he was a well fleshed out character and one we got to know well.  Miles is a lot and I wasn’t sure I was going to like him from his scenes in the other books but I ended up really liking him.  He was a bit of a mess but he was a good guy and he and Grant somehow ended up being perfect for each other.
I liked the overall plot as well as the characters.  The romance was touching and sweet and I was rooting for these two the entire time.
This audiobook was narrated by Nick J. Russo who I thought did a very good job.  I’m not a big fan of the same narrator doing all the books in a series if they’re about different couples.  It makes me think “Oh such and such MC sounds like such and such MC”.  Overall though it wasn’t a problem.  This series seems to be going back and forth between Mr. Russo and another narrator.
So….another really good book in this series and another really good narration.
Cover:  I thought the cover was lovely.  I like the covers in this series.  They’re all nicely done and they are uniform in a way that immediately lets you know that they’re all part of the same series.
Sales Links:  Amazon
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, Unabridged, 9 pages
Published June 18th 2018 by Lane Hayes (first published March 21st 2018)
Original TitleLeaning Into the Look
ASINB07DPTPJ7Q
SeriesLeaning Into #6

An Ali Audiobook Review: Family Man By Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton/Colin Darcy (Narrator)

Standard
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Sometimes family chooses you.

How does a man get to be forty without knowing whether he’s gay? That’s a question Vince Fierro is almost afraid to answer. If he is gay, it’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, he can’t help but wonder if he’s been playing for the wrong team.

There’s only one way to settle it, once and for all—head for Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.

Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek to the sultry strains of Coltrane, Trey finds himself wanting to help Vinnie figure things out—no promises, and no sex.

It seems like a simple plan, until their “no-sex” night turns into the best date of their lives and forges a connection that complicates everything.

I originally read this book when it first came out in 2103 and I was new to reading this genre.  I really enjoyed it at that time.  When I had the chance to review this on audio I was both excited and nervous.  I wondered if this book would stand the test of time (and honestly many of my reads from then have not).  I’m happy to report that I enjoyed it just as much.  Honestly probably more because the narrator was excellent and really added to the story.
The story is told in alternating points of view.  We hear from both Vince and Trey which was a bit weird at first because one is told first person pov and the other third.  It took me a minute to get my head around that but once I got used to the change I was able to easily follow along.
Vince is almost 40 and kind of lost.  He has a good job that he enjoys and a big, loving family but he’s just not happy and he’s failed every relationship he’s tried.  A series of events lead him to Trey who is a younger guy he knows from the neighborhood.  Sparks immediately fly and Vince is able to take baby steps towards dating a guy.  His journey is a tough one and there were times I wanted to shake Vince, but mostly my heart ached for him.  He’s so caught up in his fear and his overwhelming family and cultural expectations.  At his core though he is a really good guy.  He is kind and thoughtful and once he decides he’s committed to trying this thing with Trey he’s all in.
Trey I also loved as a MC.  He’s in his mid twenties but he’s way more mature.  Unfortunately his alcoholic mother has ensured he grew up way before his time.  I really loved the plot line that Trey wants to wait to have sex.  It wasn’t for religious reasons, just he wanted it to be special.  I don’t think I’ve read that before in the m/m genre and I thought it was a lovely change.
I thought the authors did an excellent job showcasing what it’s like to live with an addict.  Trey’s feelings were so honest and real and I thought they made a wise choice in not trying to pretty any of it up.
One of the highlights of this book for me was the narration.  It was narrated by Colin Darcy who I had not listened to before.  He did an excellent job.  He really nailed all of the characters and his performance made the book even more emotional to me than when I read it.  I had not listened to this narrator previously but will definitely seek out his work in the future.
This new cover was done by Kanaxa and I love it.  It looks enough like the old cover to not be a jarring difference but at the same time it’s totally unique.  The cover models match my perceptions of the MC’s perfectly and fit the feel of the plot really well.
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 12th 2013)
Original TitleFamily Man
ASINB07DFT349S
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersVincent Fierro, Trey Giles settingIllinois (United States)

An Ali Audiobook Review: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane and Narrator: Gomez Pugh

Standard
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.

Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven Harry to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.

In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

This was an interesting book for this author.  She doesn’t write a lot of paranormal and this is the first one I’ve read by her.  The blurb does a fairly good job explaining the plot of the story.  There’s a lot going on here.  Angels and shapeshifters with magic and daring rescues and some romance.  It was a unique plot line and the adventures were fast paced and entertaining.
 
The problem for me I think was the romance vs plot ratio.  This read much like an urban fiction or fantasy story where a lot of time is spent on world building.  That’s fine with me if I know that going in.  I went into this thinking it was going to be more romance based.  Although this is not marked as being in a series I think it might be.  There seemed to be some romance building for Harry’s brothers.  I enjoyed this enough to check out the next books if it does in fact turn into a series.
 
The audiobook was narrated by Gomez Pugh who I thought did a very good job.  His voice was really good for all of the characters which is saying a lot because there were a lot of characters in this book.  They each had unique voices and I always knew who was speaking.
 
Overall I enjoyed this and would recommend it.  I would especially recommend the audio version.
 
Cover:  The cover was done by Reese Dante and I thought it was nicely done.  It does a good job of representing the plot and main character of the book.
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published June 5th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published October 20th 2017)
Original TitleFamiliar Angel
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: With A Kick Collection #1 by Clare London and Joel Leslie (Narrator

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This collection includes Clare London’s first two London-based novellas of the With A Kick series—A Twist and Two Balls and Slap and Tickle. Also included are two short stories featuring the characters in these books—Nice and Snow and Smack Happy.

With a Kick is a new ice cream shop, featuring ice cream for adults, i.e., ice cream made with liquor in a variety of flavors, one of which is named for the shop’s accountant, Bryan, and his new boyfriend, Phiz—Slap and Tickle. Patrick and Lee are the struggling owners who hope to be successful in the little shop located in the heart of London.

Each story is a self-contained romance, but Patrick and Lee are featured in each story that shows the progress of both their relationship and the business.

A Twist and Two Balls— Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage. Unfortunately, his alter ego, Eddy March, hasn’t got further than a bit part in a TV series. One day, when he’s late for an audition, he can’t pay his taxi fare, so he runs off and is chased by the irate driver, Nuri.

This is a sweet romance that starts off with antagonism and moves to love between an awkward, self-proclaimed actor and a cab driver, who has a secret profession. I enjoyed the pace of this story and both characters were terrific. Eddie is hysterically funny as he discovers he doesn’t have enough money to pay Nuri. Nuri, on the other hand, comes off as gruff at first, but it turns out he’s got a sweet marshmallow center.

The two have their ups and downs as does Eddie with his career, but in the long run, it’s family that’s important, and family who help both of them, and the two men get to do what they love best and stay with the person they love best—each other.

Slap and Tickle— This short starts right off with a great scene between Brian, the staid accountant for With a Kick, and Phiz, whose name should have been Spaz. Phiz is a fast-talking, can’t-control-his-mouth klutz, who can’t hold a job because of said klutziness. He also suffers from social anxiety, yet he keeps choosing jobs that require socialization. Joel Leslie kicked it out of the ball park with the voice he gives Phiz. Good heavens, it was perfect! I was hooked immediately, so I was along for the ride as he and Brian got to know each other and began to share their most intimate desires.

This story has a mild BDSM theme and when Brian’s dominant side comes out, Phiz calms and quiets as he finally met a man who can give him what he needs.

Nice and Snow is the first short story—which is actually quite long—and features Nuri and Eddie during their first Christmas season. Nuri is now brushing up on law studies so he can pass the bar exam, and Eddie is working as an actor in a comedy show. Right up his alley, his natural sense of humor has made him very popular.

The story centers on their individual memories of holiday seasons and their plans for this first one. Of course, Nuri’s family wants them to share with them, but Eddie insists they start their own memories because his memories of Santa, Saint Nick, Baba Noel, or whatever name is used are not good ones.

A surprise cab fare and a short ride across town brings both men their Christmas wishes come true. It also leaves them realizing they may have to rethink their beliefs in the jolly old elf. A great story, it provides a nice closure to Nuri and Eddie’s story.

Smack Happy

A delightful short, short story about my favorite character, Phiz, and his Dom, Brian. Phiz is patiently—or impatiently—waiting for Brian to finish his work so he can give Brian a Valentine’s Day gift. Brian finally gives up trying to get anything done when Phiz’s antsy movements and constant interruptions make it clear Bryan had better pay attention to his boy. When Phiz presents him with his gift, the two try it out and find that a good smack on the rear was exactly what Phiz needed to make him happy and peaceful. Add in a taste of Slap and Tickle, the ice cream treat the guys at With a Kick created in their honor, and it’s a perfect Valentine’s Day for these sweethearts. Very cute and a perfect ending for this very nice audio.

Joel Leslie was, as usual, outstanding, and the stories were intriguing and fun. This audiobook sped by and I’m looking forward to the next edition in the series that should be released soon.

Highly recommended.

The cover features a handsome young man and there’s a sweet treat obviously created at the With a Kick ice cream shop in the bottom right corner.

Buy Links and Listen to a sample here

Audible US

Audible UK 

Amazon

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 8 hours and 40 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Jocular Press
Audible.com Release Date: June 20, 2018
Language: English
ASIN: B07DVRZ7SY

There’s More to Romance and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

There’s More to Romance …

The last couple of weeks we’ve been discussing the elements that “break” our romance books.  The things that stop the reading cold or leave us with a DNF.  Cheating is up there on the list.  And at the end of today’s blog hand out a few gift certs and post the last of the comments on the subject.

But what about the opposite?

What in our romance stories gladdens our hearts?  Makes a story jump out of the ordinary?  Widens our outlook?  Let’s us perceive something special about a piece of the world or aspect of falling in love that we hadn’t seen or thought of in the same way before?  That in some way the author dug a little deeper into your heart with their tale, that some element that connected you so completely to the characters and their relationship hooked you, that even now, you can’t forget their love story.

Something that made that story magic beyond your expectations.

I was thinking Shelter the Sea (The Roosevelt series) by Heidi Cullinan , Clear Water by Amy Lane, and RJ Scott’s the Texas series (and attached Legacy group),  Watermelon Kisses by Freddy MacKay,Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan,Tales From Verania series by T.J. Klune just for starters.  Those are a few that leapt to mind in seconds.  Can you guess what elements in each might have made them memorable?  Have you read the stories?

Of course my list stretches for far longer.  That’s merely a tease.

But each of those grabbed at my heart while stretching my mind and horizons in some way. They made me cry and laugh and fall in love. Over and over.

Quickly now…which books popped into your head?  Let me know…let all of us know and why.  And then I’ll fill you in  next week on more of my choices and why they made my list as well.

Now let’s put a close to our Romance No’s:

From P.R.:

I’ll chime in here – so busy couldn’t comment last week but agree with most everything. My perspective is that I understand why folks can not like cheating – ONE reason folks can like rom is for escapism, and they don’t like RL intruding b/c they already have too much of that. In that way, I think rom is a type of fantasy, and I can relate. Been there. But I usually appreciate more where MCs have RL flaws, and that’s reality, which includes in a majority of straight & gay relationships, “cheating,” (I love the Boystown series). And my being a cis gay male amongst other gay guys, let me tell you – I know there is much more diversity there than depicted in m/m rom, that it’s part of the culture, and frankly that’s why many guys think gender makes a difference among authors b/c one does not often “get it.” I think personally it has more to do with targeted audience, experiences, preferences, empathy, deep understanding … and it’s all good. You said it best “Life is messy and its always been about how the author has handled the subject.” A WELL-WRITTEN TALE TRUMPS A TROPE EVERY TIME (pun intended).

Ami:

Holy! EXCREMENT!?!? WTH!!! Okay, that will be a HUGE NO for me

Furthering my comment from last week in which I can still tolerate cheating but getting really pissed off when it comes to threesome, or ‘forced’ threesomes brought me to a couple of books. “A Vintage Affair” by Josh Lanyon made me VERY angry because the love-interest suddenly brought a woman to sleep with the MC because he wanted to “challenge” the MC that sex is just sex. Then I also DNF “My Heartache Cowboy” by ZAM who also introduced threesome scene in the middle.

I guess i’m good if the threesome is stated in the beginning, or the book is marketed as threesome. But if it somehow introduced in the middle, without any warning, it’ll be huge NO for me.

And H.B. with a no on poo, “Blood play and humiliation would also bother me.”

Yep, poo is a big no for lots of us.

Very enlightening!  And while cheating still remains a big no, it still comes down to the author and great writing.

Winners Announcement!

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is handing off $10 gift certs to: Chris Tharrington and ashleyomelia

Please contact Stella at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com and she will get your gift cert to you.  Congratulations!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, July 8:

  • There’s More to Romance and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Release Blitz – Riza Curtis – The Dragon’s Thief
  • The Pet Stylist and The Playboy by Rebecca James Release Blitz

Monday, July 9:

  • DSP Promo Scotty Cade
  • Release Blitz for Tight Quarters by Annabeth Albert
  • BLITZ – Nectar and Ambrosia by E.M. Hamill
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: WITH A KICK Collection #1 by Clare London
  • A MelanieM Review: Hard Contact (Guild Enforcer, #1) by Ali Atwood
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane and Narrator: Gomez Pugh

Tuesday, July10:

  • Leaning Into Forever by Lane Hayes Blog Tour
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo j. leigh bailey
  • BLOG TOUR The Wulf Chronicles by Wulf Francu Godgluck
  • A Caryn Review: Love Me Louder by Christina Lee
  • An Alisa Review A Desperate Love by J.D. Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Leaning Into Forever by Lane Hayes

Wednesday, July 11:

  • Review Tour – Garrett Leigh – Believe (Skins #3)
  • Temple of Time by Geoffrey Knight Blog Tour
  • RELEASE BLITZ Love it Like You Stole It by Ki Brightly
  • A Jeri Review : Believe (Skins #3) by Garrett Leigh
  • A MelanieM Review: Bloodlines (Boystown #7) by Marshall Thornton
  • A MelanieM Review: Born of Air (Dragon Soul #4) by Sean Michael

Thursday, July 12:

  • Harmony Promo Annabelle Jay
  • Release Blitz – The Omega’s Second Chance by Kenna Grace
  • DSP Promo Andrew Grey
  • An Alisa Review: Discovery (Kinky in the City #3) by Quinn Ward
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Camwolf by JL Merrow
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Family Man By Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton/Colin Darcy (Narrator)

Friday, July 13:

  • DSP Promo Z. Allora
  • BLOG TOUR for Badlands by Morgan Brice
  • 99c Book Blast – Double Dare by Jeanne St. James
  • A MelanieM Review: Ground of Insurrection by Mell Eight
  • A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Galaxies and Oceans by N.R. Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Balefire (Whyborne & Griffin #10) by Jordan L. Hawk

Saturday, July 14:

  • BLOG TOUR (Exclusive Post) Pursuing Happiness by Jessie Pinkham
  • Release Blitz – To Love & Protect His Omega by Quinn Michaels
  • A MelanieM Review: The Wolf at Bay by Charlie Adhara

Audiobook Release Blitz for Leaning Into the Look (Leaning Into Stories #6) by Lane Hayes and Narrator: Nick J. Russo (excerpt ad giveaway)

Standard

 

Title:  Leaning Into the Look

Series: Leaning Into Stories, #6

Author: Lane Hayes

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Original Release Date: March 23, 2018

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 8 hours and 20 minutes

Genre: Romance, friends to lovers, San Francisco, humor, businessmen

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Grant Kostas made a career based on his looks before joining his family’s real estate firm. He may not love his job but he’s better at sales than he thought. And when he’s poised to bring in the biggest account of the company’s history, even his father is impressed. Unfortunately, the extra attention highlights Grant’s personal life. His parents accept that he’s gay. They just wish he’d meet a nice Greek man.

Miles Harrison is a fabulous red head going through a rough patch. Between getting dumped by his long-term boyfriend and finding a new place to live in the city, he’s nearing his wits end. He’s not sure why he thought rooming with his boss’s friend was a good idea. Miles has had a crush on Grant for years. However, he knows attractive people aren’t always pretty on the inside. As the two men grapple with external problems, they form an unexpected bond of friendship and trust that feels like the real thing. The only way to know for certain is to let go of fear and lean into the look.

Listen to an audio excerpt & purchase at Audible

Excerpt

I stopped short when we reached the other side of the street and then backed him against the brick façade of a bank building and pressed my lips over his. It was a bold move and not one I’d ever tried on any man in public before. But I couldn’t help myself. It felt oddly freeing to share one of the bleaker parts of my past with him. I wanted to thank him somehow but that seemed awkward so I kissed him instead. I held his head and glided my tongue alongside his, loving the moment when he flung his arms over my shoulders and responded with fervor. When we broke for air, I rested my forehead on his and grinned.

“Your ass is pretty spectacular too, Mi.”

He chuckled good-naturedly. “Thanks.”

“No really. I think I’m love with it.” I lowered my hands down his back and squeezed his cheeks as I molded his pelvis to mine.

“That’s kind of romantic. But if you’re thinking about falling in love with me too…don’t.”

I backed up slightly to get a better look at him. “Okay. I won’t.”

“Pinky promise.” He held up his right hand and wiggled his fingers.

“What makes you think you’re so irresistible?” I asked, wrapping my pinky finger around his.

“I’m not and you’ll figure it out sooner or later. But I like you and I want you and…”

“And what you’re really saying is you don’t want to fall for me.” I kept my tone light, hoping a jocular vibe would steer us from turning this into an uncomfortable conversation.

“Maybe.”

“Look, Mi. I’m not—”

“No. Listen. Don’t make this into a big deal. It’s not. We’re going to have a grand adventure. Just me and you. We’ll do incredible things and have amazing conversations and lots of sex. And when it’s time to say good-bye, we won’t ruin it by pretending we were ever in love. What do you say?”

Nothing. I had nothing to say. All I could think was maybe he really was crazy because who said shit like that?

But when I looked past the lighthearted swagger I saw the cracks in his armor. He was scared and battered and raw on the inside. Kind of like me. And somehow I had a feeling it wasn’t an ex-lover that made him so cautious. I only knew he was right. We were a couple of oddballs who unexpectedly found ourselves inhabiting the same circle. Temporarily.

But love? I should have walked away. Or at the very least, laughed at his wild leap. Instead I cocked my head and squinted. “What kind of adventures?”

Miles grinned. A slow-moving, gorgeous upturn of the lips that morphed into something celestial. He literally took my breath away. I hoped the dizziness faded before I gave him a reason to think it was a good thing he’d issued a warning about getting too attached.

“All kinds! We’ll turn this town upside down being one hundred percent ridiculous.”

“Okay…” I gave a half laugh and pushed a stray lock of hair behind his ear. “What do you have in mind? Dancing, parties—”

“No. More like Trivial Pursuit marathons, Netflix binge-watching fests in our Pjs, the compare and contrast game and—”

“The what?”

“Don’t worry. We’ll have fun. You’ll see,” he assured me earnestly as he laced our fingers together and pulled me away from the wall.

I glanced down at our joined hands and briefly thought about joking that he should be careful about giving me mixed signals. But I knew my limits. My comedic timing was crappy and the last thing I wanted was to push him away. I might not love Miles but I liked him. A lot. And holding his hand while we wandered through town under a sea of rainbow flags on a random Sunday felt special. The way new beginnings sometimes did.

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won first prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

Meet the Narrator

Nick is an award winning narrator with a fan following for his work in fiction, specifically in the romance genre. His performances in two of Amy Lane’s books, Beneath the Stain and Christmas Kitsch, made him the recipient of Sinfully M/M Book Review’s Narrator of the Year – 2015. When he’s not in the booth, Nick enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessica, and kids, (aka their beagle Frank and cat Stella), drumming in his cover band, exploring rural back roads with his wife on his motorcycle, or being enthralled in a tabletop role playing game with his friends.

 

 

Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

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

Blog Button 2

A Free Dreamer Review: Armistice (The Amberlough Dossier #2) by Lara Elena Donnelly

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Armistice returns to Donnelly’s ravishing 1930s Art Deco-tinged fantasy world of Amberlough with a decadent, tumultuous mixture of sex, politics, and spies.

In a tropical country where shadowy political affairs lurk behind-the-scenes of its glamorous film industry, three people maneuver inside a high stakes game of statecraft and espionage:

Lillian, a reluctant diplomat serving a fascist nation,

Aristide, an expatriate film director running from lost love and a criminal past,

and Cordelia, a former cabaret stripper turned legendary revolutionary.

Each one harbors dangerous knowledge that can upturn a nation. When their fates collide, machinations are put into play, unexpected alliances are built, and long-held secrets are exposed. All is barreling towards an international revolt…and only the wiliest ones will be prepared for what comes next.

First things first: “Armistice” is NOT a stand-alone story. At all. If you haven’t read the first book yet, don’t read this review, as it contains spoilers for book 1.

While “Amberlough” was set in a world similar to Europe, “Armistice” is largely set in a world that’s similar to India. With significant differences, however. The society is mostly matriarchal. Not extremely so, but women are definitely the ones with more power. I always find that an interesting concept and love to explore matriarchal worlds. And once again, the author did not disappoint. The setting was extremely well developed, with lots of little details that made the atmosphere all the more real. As soon as I read the first sentence, I immediately fell into the setting and found it extremely hard to resurface.

The feel of this book is very different from the previous one. It’s still intense, but there’s less action and drama. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this book any less than the first one, it’s just different, quieter somehow. Which is a weird thing to say about a story that features Cordelia Lehane… I loved getting to know her better. Lillian, Cyril’s sister, also made for a very interesting MC. We do get a bit more of Ari, but really, this book is all about the women.

Just like “Amberlough”, we get yet another cliffhanger ending. Endings are hard for me. It’s so easy to ruin an otherwise good book with a crappy ending. And usually I despise cliffhangers, especially if it’s not the first part of a series. But Lara Elena Donnelly writes perfect endings and I actually like her cliffhangers.

Honestly, there’s so much more to say about “Armistice” but somehow I lack the words to express just how awesome this series is. Like, seriously, these two books are among the best I’ve read in a very, very long time and I have a feeling the author might become one of my favourites. Read it. It’s so, so, so worth it. And I might just die from sheer anticipation till part 3 FINALLY gets released.

The cover is gorgeous and matches the first part perfectly. I might just buy book three as a paperback because I finally want one of these amazing covers in my physical bookshelf.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book details: ebook, 384 pages

Published May 15th 2018 by Tor Books

The Amberlough Dossier Series:

Amberlough

Armistice

Amnesty coming in 2019