A MelanieM Review: Monster of the Week (The Rules #2) by F.T. Lukens

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

In the sequel to F.T. Lukens’ The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic, spring semester of Bridger Whitt’s senior year of high school is looking great. He has the perfect boyfriend, a stellar best friend, and an acceptance letter to college. Oh, he also has this incredible job: assistant to Pavel Chudinov, an intermediary tasked with helping cryptids navigate the modern world. His days are filled with kisses, laughs, pixies, and the occasional unicorn. Life is awesome.

But as graduation draws near, Bridger’s perfect life begins to unravel. Uncertainties about his future surface, his estranged dad shows up out of nowhere, and, perhaps worst of all, a monster-hunting television show arrives in town to investigate the series of strange events from last fall. The show’s intrepid host will not be deterred, and Bridger finds himself trapped in a game of cat and mouse that could very well put the myth world at risk. Again.

In F. T. Lukens’ novel, Monster of the Week, it’s the end of the senior year of high school for Bridger Whitt with all the anxiety, stress, and sheer anticipation that time of year brings to kids everywhere. For Bridger that means being in a new relationship with the popular sports star boyfriend, finishing his finals, dealing with prom and the yearbook quotes!  But that’s not enough, because for Bridger, it’s also about daily tasks like gathering unicorn poop for pixies. All  part of his job as a assistant to Pavel Chudinov, intermediary extraordinary to the non human realm that Bridger is  now a part of.

That realm and it’s beings actually form an unconventional “family” for Bridger, along with his  boyfriend Leo, and bestie Astrid,a support system Bridger will need if he’s to graduate and make it through to attend college next year.

I adore this story.  It’s a sequel to The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic but if you haven’t read that one, the author does a great job in  giving the reader all the pertinent information here so  you don’t feel like you have missed too much.  Except for all the joyful and scary goings on that is but that’s another story.

Here we are dealing with the end of senior year and that plenty scary enough.  Bridger is full of senioritis!  All the “what ifs”  are filling his brain and making him crazy.  The leaving behind, the fear of the future, the new boyfriend, the what will happens, ….everything!  And Lukens makes us remember ours while bringing Bridger’s freakout front and center in funny and heartbreaking ways.

Plus there’s his job and  there is always something wonderful and fundamentally hairraising going on there. This time it’s a cable TV show headed to town for an expose to film the residents about the events that happened in the previous story.  Things Bridger was in the middle of and no one wants exposed!

The pace is fast.  The writing is excellent and the characters amazing.  Lukens has gifted the readers with a story that resonates with genuine teenage feelings, sharp, sparking dialog, and in some truly heartrending moments, recognizable angst and family drama to empty many a tissue box.  Those scenes with his returned absentee dad?  Felt so authentic and sadly real.

As this is a true YA, the sex  scenes are non existent or left to the mild kissing.  Everything else happens “stage left” as it were.  And that’s perfect.

I’m hoping this isn’t the end for this gang and couple.  I would hate to see the end of Pavel, and Elena, the pixies, and the Unicorn.  More of Astrid and Luke, and even Bridger’s mom.  She’s hilarious.  And most definitely more of Bridger and Leo.

Because this ends on a HFN, as it should.  They are, afterall, teenagers.

But wouldn’t you like to know what comes next?  I certainly would.  Here’s hoping Lukens is listening.

Until then I highly recommend both stories in The Rules series.  Read them both.  They are quite remarkable!

Cover art is sassy and fun.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: October 15th 2019 by Duet Books

A MelanieM Audio Review: Lucky Town (Badlands #1.5) by Morgan Brice and Kale Williams (narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his boyfriend, Myrtle Beach homicide Detective Vic D’Amato, find that the only thing more frightening than murder might be navigating their first holiday season as a couple.

A trip back to Pittsburgh to spend Thanksgiving with Vic’s large, exuberant family means dodging old frenemies and a bitter ex-boyfriend. A cold case comes back to haunt Vic when a murdered woman’s ghost begs Simon for justice. Then a new murder back in Myrtle Beach looks suspiciously familiar, and the dead man’s ghost isn’t playing nice.

When Simon gets a vision of the next victim before the crime occurs, he realizes that all the murders are supernaturally linked. Catching the murderer will take his psychic sleuthing skills along with Vic’s street smarts to avert a tragedy.

Can they do right by ghosts past, present, and yet to come without ending up in the crosshairs of a killer for Christmas?

I read Lucky Town when it first came out and enjoyed it but I was doubly curious to see what Kale Williams would bring to the story and if that would change my outlook on the novel.  Turns out the answer is yes.

There was a space of time between the ebook and audio version that enabled me to become more familiar with Morgan Brice and the marvelous interconnected series of paranormal romances and their foundation universe of entwined allied couples.  local mythology of ghosts/demons, and murders/mysteries.  I’m talking not just the Badlands series which includes this story but the Witchbane series, the new Treasure Trail which starts a new series and more.  All have couples that are mentioned in each others books and are connected through the work they do.

Which means I could now approach Lucky Town, the second time around with a wider foundation myself of its background and appreciation for the universe its author is still creating.

Plus I get the invaluable Kale Williams, a narrator I adore, delivering a remarkable narration that brings both men and the various other characters right to life.    There are ghlosts, bourags, and all sorts of things that nastily go bump in the night here.  Plus Simon and Vic still settling into their relationship and home in Myrtle Beach.

One of the many elements I have come to look forward to and appreciate in droves is the use of each locality and its mythology in the series.  If it takes place in Myrtle Beach then that beachtown is explored, casually, through the storyline, as you would if you lived there.  And it’s local ghosts and legends pop up as you would expect them to.  Or just those southern scary monsters of the region spun out and taken another look at.

The human relationships are real and complex.  And intertwined with the paranormal.   Here the edge between the two is thin and murkey to our endless entertainment.    And chills.

I loved listening to Lucky Town. I thought Kale Williams narration elevated the story a tad for me.  Made it more exciting.

As I’m already connected to this series and couple, that’s saying a lot.

So yes I recommend this audio version, yes, to the series and yes to this story.  Now to wait for the nest releases to arrive.

Cover art works as does the models for the characters.

Buy Links

Audible US  |  Audible UK  

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  

Audio Details:

Audiobook
Published March 29th 2019 by Tantor Audio (first published October 29th 2018)
Edition Language English
SeriesBadlands #1.5

Check Out the Audio Tour for Lucky Town (Badlands #1.5) by Morgan Brice and Kale Williams (narrator)

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AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR

Book Title: Lucky Town (Badlands #1.5)

Author: Morgan Brice

Publisher: Tantor

Narrator: Kale Williams

Release Date: March 29, 2019

Genre: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance

Trope/s: Established relationship, second chances

Themes: Commitment and trust

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 3 hours and 9 minutes

It’s the second in a series, but it can be read alone

Add on Goodreads

 

Can they do right by ghosts past, present, and yet to come without ending up in the crosshairs of a killer for Christmas?

 

Blurb

Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his boyfriend, Myrtle Beach homicide Detective Vic D’Amato, find that the only thing more frightening than murder might be navigating their first holiday season as a couple.  

A trip back to Pittsburgh to spend Thanksgiving with Vic’s large, exuberant family means dodging old frenemies and a bitter ex-boyfriend. A cold case comes back to haunt Vic when a murdered woman’s ghost begs Simon for justice. Then a new murder back in Myrtle Beach looks suspiciously familiar, and the dead man’s ghost isn’t playing nice. 

When Simon gets a vision of the next victim before the crime occurs, he realizes that all the murders are supernaturally linked. Catching the murderer will take his psychic sleuthing skills along with Vic’s street smarts to avert a tragedy. 

Can they do right by ghosts past, present, and yet to come without ending up in the crosshairs of a killer for Christmas?

 

Buy Links

Audible US  |  Audible UK  

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  

 

About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Other books include Witchbane, Dark Rivers, Badlands, Lucky Town, The Rising, Treasure Trail. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

Join my Worlds of Morgan Brice Facebook Group! Get the early scoop on upcoming books and new series, see new covers first, enjoy insider news and special contests and giveaways! Plus it’s where I get my beta readers and launch team!

 

Author Links

Amazon

Facebook Group

Pinterest (for Morgan and Gail)

Twitter: @MorganBriceBook

Website

BookBub

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a new release

 

 

 Check out the other blog posts and reviews here

 

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The Closing of Less Than Three Press

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Less Than Three Press  Is Closing

 

I am so sad to announce that the wonderful LGBTQIA publishing house Less Than Three Press is closing.  Here is the announcement at their website.

 

 

 

 

Important Announcement From Less Than Three Press

Dear Customers and Supporters of Less Than Three,

It is with a heavy heart we announce the closing of Less Than Three Press. Despite our best efforts, we cannot continue on. We apologize this comes so sudden, but the past month has made it clear that it’s best if we withdraw now, rather than keep hoping and pushing, and end things too late to exit gracefully and with minimal harm.

Thank you for believing in us, and helping us with our dream of seeing more queer representation in the romance genre. The past ten years have been a joy and honor, and we truly regret we won’t have ten more. It’s been a wonderful journey, and we’re grateful to everyone who lent their support and encouragement as we worked to bring more queer representation to the romance world.

If you have purchased a book that has not yet been released, your preorder will be refunded within the next few days. Your library will be available to download through September 30, 2019. If you have any questions, please email service@lessthanthreepress.com. We anticipate a large volume of requests, so please be patient as we work through replies.

Sincerely,

Samantha, Megan, and Sasha

 

 

Less Than Three has always been an incredible press full of wonderful authors and artists, editors and well, just amazing people.  We are poorer without them.  They will be greatly missed.

 

For more of this announcement, see their website.

Fated Mates and Shifters Your Thing? Check Out the Tour for Serpent’s Teardrop (Blackwood Pack #7) by Mary Rundle (excerpt and giveaway)

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Serpent's Teardrop - Mary Rundle

Mary Rundle has a new MM paranormal book out: Serpent’s Teardrop.

The Blackwood Pack saga continues…

This is part of an on-going series by Amazon Bestselling Author, Mary Rundle, and catching up on previous titles is advised. Readers of the past books will enjoy meeting old friends once more as the pack does what it does best ̶ caring for one another and helping shifters everywhere.

Brian, a.k.a. “The Loch Ness Monster” has searched for his Fated Mate in vain for more than 600 years until he scents Reif in the frigid waters of the lake. But his mate seems to be purposely eluding him, so Brian turns to the Shaman of the Blackwood Pack to help find him.

Reif, one of a line of ancient shifters thought to be extinct is drawn to Brian but must focus on completing a mission to free his enslaved people from the clutches of an evil group. Despite his powerful attraction to Brian, he hides from him, believing it’s the only choice he has.

That changes when Reif surreptitiously kisses Brian while he’s sleeping, setting off a chain of events that puts both of them in mortal danger, and the powerful Blackwood pack resolves to help them stave off the wrath of vampires and witches.

Along the way, both Brian and Reif learn some hard lessons about the mutual trust necessary to achieve the happiness and fulfillment both have sought for hundreds of years.

A heartbreaking confession, an action-packed rescue, a riveting courtroom battle and many unexpected twists and turns make this passionate love story by Mary Rundle impossible to put down once you’ve read the first page.

Series Blurb:

Join the journey of the Blackwood Pack, seven brothers who are gay wolf shifters in search of their fated mates – stories about love at first sight with twists and turns, angst and humor, romance and adventure. Each book has two main characters who meet, fall in love, mate and achieve an HEA but the stories also chronicle the continuing saga of the Blackwood Pack. The series is best appreciated by reading the books in order.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Amazon AUS | Amazon GMY | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Mary is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4773/?


Excerpt

Serpent's Teardrop

After brunch was over, Logan asked, “Brian, what can we do for you?”

Macushla! Nothere. C’mon everyone, let’s talk in the living room,” Kieran said, as he got up. “There’s a lot to discuss.”

Brian chuckled to himself as everyone quickly rose and followed the Shaman; no matter how big these wolves were, it was apparent they weren’t going to disagree with him. Taking a seat near Logan, Brian waited until he received a nod before beginning. “I have an intruder in my loch and I need help findin’ it. I have been lookin’ for him since I scented him the day I took the laddies out on my boat, but canna find him.”

“You use ‘it’ and ‘him’. Why?” asked Logan.

“Because I dinna know what the intruder is,” Brian answered. “Only that it can shift so it can dive deep to the bottom of the loch and then shift back when it’s on land.”

“Do you know what form it has in the water?” asked Slate.

“Naw, I’ve never seen it…only scented it in the water,” Brian replied.

“What about when it’s on land?” asked Zane.

“Naw…I can only find the place where it leaves the water because its scent ends there,” Brian said.

“Does it have the same scent on land as in the water?” asked Colton.

“I dinna know. There’s nae a scent on land…at least none that I found,” Brian said.

“Huh! Have you seen it when it’s on land?” asked Kieran.

“Naw, Shaman, I’ve never seen it on land. I can feel its presence but nae anythin’ else,” Brian replied. “I think he becomes invisible on land.”

“That wouldn’t hide his scent,” Colton said.

“Maybe it has an anti-scent spell like we do,” suggested Zane.

“What spell are you talking about, lover? You smell pretty good to me,” David said with a smile.

“Are you sure? I mean Mystia put one on each of us so our uncle and his goons wouldn’t be able to find us,” said Zane.

“David can smell you,” Kieran said, “because the gods made sure he couldn’t be affected by anything, including witches’ spells, which is why Mystia’s anti-scent spell doesn’t work on him. Your scent is still hidden from everyone else, unless you had her remove it.”

“Good to know that, babe,” Zane grinned at his mate. “One less thing to worry about.”

“So why doesn’t the intruder have a scent? Could it have a spell preventing Brian from picking it up?” asked Dakota.

Pausing a moment to listen to his spirit, Kieran answered, “No, there isn’t a spell but my spirit doesn’t know what’s concealing it.”

“What about footprints? Did you find any at the location where it left the loch?” asked Slate.

Shaking his head in frustration, Brian said, “Naw, nae a one. I dinna know how that can happen.”

Laying a hand on Brian, Kieran sent him some love as he asked, “Why don’t you tell us everything starting with the day you took me and my friends out on the loch?”

Recalling that day, Brian’s cock hardened instantly at the memory of the delicious scent washing over his body as he floated on his back in the loch. Now, squirming in his seat, hoping to hide his erection, Brian groaned inwardly, closing his eyes, finally accepting what he’d been denying all along—the intruder was his Fated Mate. How can that be? I’m too auld to have one.

“Brian? Are you all right?” asked David.

Kieran caught Brian’s eye. “I already know about it. Will that make it easier for you to tell us.”

“Ye know it’s my Fated Mate?” Brian asked, in disbelief.

“Yes, my spirit told me,” replied Kieran. “So go ahead, I promise we’ll help you find him.”

“Him? Are you sure?” Brian asked.

“Yes,” Kieran said, softly.

Relieved to know that much at least, Brian began, “I was doing a back float when a passing boat’s wake carryin’ my mate’s scent washed over me. Shifting, I dove down, searching for it, but twas weak and quickly dissipated. That night, I searched again and the scent was stronger, but as I followed it, I realized twas at least an hour old. It led to the shoreline, where I shifted and climbed onto the bank, but there was nae a trace—even though I felt its presence.

“Every night, the same thing happened, even though I went into the water at different times—sometimes early, other times later, but twas always the same… except for last night,” Brian said. “After cruising the loch, I waited until the sky turned pink before I shifted and climbed aboard my boat. As I headed below, I felt someone watching me and I sensed my mate was somewhere near the marina’s buildings, but still I could nae see him.” Brian was getting agitated by this time, prompting Kieran to lay a calming hand on him. After a few moments of silence, the sea serpent continued.

“I decided to search the area lookin’ for a clue to help me figure out who he was, but could nae find anything. I know he was close by, because I again could feel his stare and sensed his presence,” Brian said, his frustration now evident. “Please Shaman, I need yer help. I dinna know why my mate is hidin’ from me, but I feel something is amiss and he needs me.”

“Of course we’ll help you won’t we,macushla?” Kieran asked, glancing at his mate.

“My mate’s right, Brian,” answered Logan. “Our Alpha regards you as a member of the Blackwood Pack so whatever needs to be done, we’ll do.”

After hearing a chorus of ‘absolutelys’ and ‘count-me-ins’, Brian felt his sea serpent relax, confident his mate would soon be found. “Thank ye, thank ye, I canna tell ye how much I appreciate it,” Brian said, with a sigh of relief.


Author Bio

Mary Rundle

The first book I ever wrote was Dire Warning in 2017 and, much to my delight, it became an Amazon Best Seller. Readers loved it and I was on my way to chronicling the Blackwood Pack, seven brothers who are gay wolf shifters in search of their fated mates– stories about love at first sight with twists and turns, angst and humor, romance and adventure and, of course, happy endings.

Now, six books later, Ghost Walker, another Best Seller, has just been released to critical acclaim. I love the M/M paranormal genre because it gives my imagination a lot of territory in which to roam. My mind can really run wild and come up with some amazing stuff when it doesn’t have to stay inside the box

My readers tell me they feel like they’re a member of the pack as the stories unfold. As if they’re right there in the middle of the action. Others tell me it’s like watching a fast-paced movie. My writing style pulls no punches– readers love it and are always clamoring for the next book.

Stories come to me as if they were being channeled by my characters, all of whom I love (except for a few villains). They are eager to recount their lives, loves and adventures and are not inhibited when it comes to revealing steamy details.

I currently live in the Northeast and love the beautiful change of seasons, my husband, and our quirky calico cat, though not necessarily in that order. I’m always happy to hear from my readers and can be reached through Facebook, Twitter, MeWe, or my website.

Author Website: http://www.maryrundle.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/maryrundle69

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

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaryRundle69

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maryrundle69

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14246427.Mary_Rundle

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/mary-rundle/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Rundle/e/B0763CDQQ6

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

An Alisa Review :A Series of Fates Anthology 1-3 by C.C. Dado

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Denying Fate (#1) – 3 out of 5 stars

Fate is a funny thing. Some try to cut its threads, while others wrap themselves in it like a blanket.

Young wolf shifter Max is cocky and crass. Unlike others his age, he has yet to discover a talent that will serve his pack. Since childhood, he’s been convinced the pack alpha is his mate, but Alpha Christian cannot envision unfiltered and directionless Max taking the place of his elegant mother at the head of the pack. As Max begins to build a life with his best friend, he also begins to see that maybe what he thought was inevitable was all in his head, and it’s time to move on.

Or are they both denying fate?

Oh man is Christian stubborn and at times deliberately hurtful but he does make it up a bit by the end.  I struggled to like Max throughout this whole book, I know he knew the Christian was his mate but he also didn’t treat him with respect back and felt he acted childish.  I also didn’t get why it they took years to actually get to the claiming part.

I guess those were my gripes (a bit of a holdover from the last few not so good books I read) but I did enjoy the book and felt I got to know these characters better in the other books.

The cover art by Brooke Albrecht is nice, I like the visual of Max.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 83 pages

Published: August 31, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781640807297

Edition Language: English

Embracing Fate (#2) – 4 out of 5 stars

Sometimes you just have to embrace your fate.

Seth has a secret: he has a crush on the human next door. His brilliant plan to meet Jack, the man of his dreams who happens to be an animal trainer? Take wolf form and ask his best friend, Max, to take him next door for training. Seth is the only one surprised when things go horribly awry.

Still, can this shy wolf and a human meet their fate as mates?

Seth so adorable and shy, he comes up with a crazy plan to actually meet and send time with his mate but it allows him the opportunity to find the ability to relax around Jack.  I really liked Jack for who he is and how open he was to this new community he lived in, though I felt his initial reaction to shifters was strange he did come through in the end.

I liked Max much more in the story and found him hilarious at times, he was the perfect complement to Seth’s shyness.  I loved that Jack felt such a connection to Seth’s wolf even before he knew the truth about everything,

The cover art by Brooke Albrecht is once again nice, it follows the same style as before but gives us a visual of Seth.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 91 pages

Published: October 26, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781640807303

Edition Language: English

Fearing Fate (#3) – 3.5 stars out of 5

He is a fearless protector by nature and in his heart. But nothing’s ever simple with love… or fate.

At nearly seven feet tall, Zeus’s role had always been to protect the pack—but his newest charges need him more than most. Kimber and Kron are transplants from another pack, and they have a dangerous stranger on their tails. Zeus is determined to do his duty and drive the human out of town. But when he confronts Toren, his wolf has other ideas….

Something isn’t right, but should a huge, tattooed wolf with a secret soft heart fear his fate—to love a man with secrets of his own?

I was glad that Zeus finally go to show his soft side, he always has to be intimidating and protective but here he was able to let his guard down to take care of Toren.  Toren is so sweet and confused, he doesn’t know why he was sent but doesn’t want the kids to get hurt and then to find that his mother had been poisoning him his whole life did nothing to help his feelings of insecurity.  I didn’t quite like that Toren was never flat out told what was going on with him until he was in pain from his wolf coming forward, I think some sort of conversation should have happened,

I love that the guys from all these stories have built a family together and while some of them do have family still around this group has become their primary family, even sitting together during the pack meals.  They went through quite a bit in a short period of time but it all turned out well in the end.

The cover art by Brooke Albrecht is nice and I like the visual of Zeus and the town he has sworn to protect.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 71 pages

Published: December 14, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781640807310

Edition Language: English

Love A Shifter Romance? Don’t Miss the Series Tour for The Series of Fates by C.C. Dado (excerpt and giveaway)

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SERIES REVIEW TOUR

A Series of Fates Series and Anthology

Easter Valley is a place for shifters to thrive, protect each other, and be themselves. It’s also a place for friendships, laughs… and love. From the Alpha, to the shyest of pack members, these mates find their way into each other’s arms in this trio of romantic comedy tales, and while the path to love can be bumpy when fate is involved, the endings are always happy.

The stories should preferably read in order but can be read individually as they have their own main characters and HEA.

Author: C.C. Dado

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Genre/s: Paranormal Comedy,  M/M Romance

Trope/s: Fated Mates

Themes: Shifters

Overall Heat Rating: 2 flames (my stories are intended to be more comedy romance, bordering on young adult)

Add on Goodreads

 

BOOK 1

Book Title:  Denying Fate

Length: 23 500 words/ 83 pages

Release Date: August 31, 2018

 

Blurb

A Series of Fates: Book One

Fate is a funny thing. Some try to cut its threads, while others wrap themselves in it like a blanket.

Young wolf shifter Max is cocky and crass. Unlike others his age, he has yet to discover a talent that will serve his pack. Since childhood, he’s been convinced the pack alpha is his mate, but Alpha Christian cannot envision unfiltered and directionless Max taking the place of his elegant mother at the head of the pack. As Max begins to build a life with his best friend, he also begins to see that maybe what he thought was inevitable was all in his head, and it’s time to move on.

Or are they both denying fate?

 

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press  |  Amazon US  | Amazon UK

 

BOOK 2

Book Title: Embracing Fate

Length: 27 222 words/ 91 pages

Release Date: October 26,  2018

 

Blurb

A Series of Fates: Book Two

Sometimes you just have to embrace your fate.

Seth has a secret: he has a crush on the human next door. His brilliant plan to meet Jack, the man of his dreams who happens to be an animal trainer? Take wolf form and ask his best friend, Max, to take him next door for training. Seth is the only one surprised when things go horribly awry.

Still, can this shy wolf and a human meet their fate as mates?

 

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press  |  Amazon US  | Amazon UK

 

BOOK 3

Book Title: Fearing Fates

Length: 21 250 words/ 71 pages

Release Date: December 14, 2018

 

Blurb

He is a fearless protector by nature and in his heart. But nothing’s ever simple with love… or fate.

At nearly seven feet tall, Zeus’s role had always been to protect the pack—but his newest charges need him more than most. Kimber and Kron are transplants from another pack, and they have a dangerous stranger on their tails. Zeus is determined to do his duty and drive the human out of town. But when he confronts Toren, his wolf has other ideas….

Something isn’t right, but should a huge, tattooed wolf with a secret soft heart fear his fate—to love a man with secrets of his own?

 

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press  |  Amazon US  | Amazon UK

 

 

Excerpt from Embracing Fate

Seth walked down to the bakery to get the ovens warming and opened the window behind the sink so it didn’t get too hot. It was still early morning, but it was already at least seventy degrees out. He could smell the morning dew burning off under the sun. He spent the next few hours preparing the backup set of baked goods for the display cases. Max had come in a little while ago to get the front ready for another busy Saturday. Seth was really glad they had high school kids helping out in the afternoons now, so they didn’t have to put in such a long day. Seth was on his last batch of cupcakes. He’d grabbed the muffin tin off the cooling rack and started filling the paper cups with batter when he heard a commanding voice pierce through the window.

“Sit.”

Seth was unable to control his response as he dropped his spatula and sat his butt hard onto the floor. What the hell was that? Not even his alpha had that type of control over him. His premonition of undecidedly awful things coming ran through his mind—this is it. He barely registered the squeak of the swinging half doors as Max walked into the kitchen from the front.

“Whatcha doing there?” Max asked, leaning across the kitchen island.

Seth stared up at Max, his eyes blown wide. “I have no idea,” he said, the cupcake tin he had somehow managed not to drop still held awkwardly in the air.

“Lie down.” The voice came through the window again.

Max looked at Seth questioningly as Seth instantly fell onto his back.

“Okay…,” Max said, obviously trying to stay calm. “That was weird, right? Did you just lie down because someone outside said to?”

Seth whined, lying on the floor of the bakery in shock, scared eyes staring toward the ceiling.

Max came around the island, rushing to help Seth up.

“Okay, I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m calling Christian.” Max pulled his phone out of his pocket.

“Wait,” Seth said, needing a moment to process.

“Umm, no. We should call Christian.” Max leaned over the sink to see out the window into the backyard. “There’s a guy out back at the house next door. I think it’s the new neighbor. Maybe he’s an evil wizard or something. Is that a real thing? Oh….” He paused. “He’s pretty hot, but like not really my type. I like them with a little more muscle, to the point where their shirts stretch just a bit across their chest and shoulders, like Christian’s do. But he’s not bad, lanky, brunet too,” he said, sounding disappointed. “I prefer blonds, and he has on glasses. Can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of a man in glasses, but they fit on him.”

“Are you seriously checking out my neighbor right now?” Seth demanded, his anxiety starting to lower from DEFCON 3 as he took calming breaths.

“No, I mean yes, but not for me. Sorry, okay. Focus. Let’s get you up off the floor. We’ll call Christian and Zeus.”

Seth let Max help him up off the ground, and he peeked out the window. “Wait,” he said again, stopping Max’s hand as he reached for the phone in his pocket. “I’m not scared anymore.”

“What do you mean, you’re not scared anymore? You just laid down on the ground because someone told you to.”

“I know. And it scared me at first too. Normally I’d still be having a full-blown panic attack in the corner, probably crying a little, but I’m not.”

“Okay, so, you don’t want me to call Christian because you’re not freaking out anymore that someone is controlling your mind?” Max sarcastically summarized.

Seth shook his head at his friend. “I meant, I’m not panicking. The voice, it makes me feel different, like in a good way, peaceful almost.”

“I don’t know what’s going on, but you’re obviously not thinking clearly. You’ve lost the ability to make your own choices. I’ll have Christian’s lawyer draw up papers. I’ll be your legal guardian from now on.”

“If you’re ever the rational one out of the two of us, we’re both screwed, and I’m not insane, just curious, I guess. I don’t want to tell them yet.” Seth looked out at the stranger again. He was tall, his dark brown, wavy hair fell just past his shoulders, his nose was a little too big for his face, and Seth thought it was perfect. “Handsome but not too perfect.” His earlier words to Max about his preferences played back through his mind, making him take a deep breath.

Max leaned in next to him a bit to get a better look. “What is he doing out there?” Max attempted to whisper, watching intently out of the window.

“Zeus said he was a trainer.”

“Oh, Seth,” Max said, pausing to choke back a laugh with his fist. “He’s a dog trainer.” He snorted, apparently unable to hold it in any longer, “And you’re… you’re obeying his commands.”

Seth could barely make out what Max was saying past his laughter.

“Shit, I think I may die,” Max said, bent over the counter, holding his side. “This might be the best thing that has ever happened in my life.”

“I hate you,” Seth said, focusing his attention back out the window. Recalling his conversation with Zeus, the new neighbor was a dog trainer. Seth watched as the man knelt down in the grass and patted his leg for the dog to come. The chocolate lab bounced his way across the yard, ramming into the man.

“That’s a good boy.” The man’s purr sent chills over Seth’s body. His wolf was definitely awake, pulling at him to get closer.

 

About the Author

I write about painfully awkward, usually embarrassing, romance because long confident gazes followed by sexy dancing NEVER happens to me. I am a native of the Pacific Northwest, and will probably never leave. I’m like a hypochondriac sundae, with claustrophobic sprinkles, and a big cherry of anxiety on top, so I don’t travel much. I read to relax my mind, so I love getting lost in someone else’s story, even if it is only for a little while.

 

Author Links

Twitter: @C_C_Dado

 

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Standalone or Part of a Series? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Standalone or Part of a Series?

Ok, all of you know, it’s usually something I’m reading or just read that sets off a topic for my Sunday blog, and that’s the case again today.  Actually I’m surprised this hasn’t come up before now because I feel pretty strongly about it.  And that’s whether a book is labeled a standalone story or is part of a series.  And should a reader know that in advance of picking up a book to read.

My answer is yes, let the reader know.

Give your reader as much information about your story to make an informed guess as to whether to go and read the previous stories or to jump into the middle or, as I just did without any inkling, end up at the end of a trilogy that killed off a main character.  Was I happy?  Uh no.  This while giving happy endings to characters I had no idea who they were but apparently had stories that preceded this one.

How did I find that out?  Because while the title and blurb gave no indication that this novel was part of a series and the finale, when I went looking for  (hopefully) stories or notes that would indicate that the author would have new books coming to resolve this ending (there were ways given the nature of this book), instead I found reviews for the others in the series.  I was flummoxed.  Looking over each title, none indicated it was a part of a series/trilogy.  Yet the two characters in books one and two only get their resolution in the third novel.  One actually dies in his story. So uh, without reading them, what is their ending like? Got to be cliffhangers.

How do you feel about picking up stories you think are standalone only to find  that they are part of a series?

Sometimes it hasn’t mattered.  I have come in many times in the middle of contemporary series that feature multiple couples throughout the stories and pictured up the other books with no problem.  It depends I think on the narrative and overall arc.  I’m trying to think if I have done the same with a fantasy or paranormal series, and the answer is probably given the sheer amount of books I’ve read.  But again, I’ve already noted in my review that said novel or story, unlike whatever the blurb has said, isn’t a standalone, that its a part of a group of tales to be read in the order they were written.

I just did that with a Josh Lanyon book (The Art of Murders series) and a Ana Newfolk book from her Made In series.  The foundation and universe is the series each author has painstakingly created for their stories. Especially in Josh Lanyon’s case where The Art of Murders is a brilliant labyrinth of twisted psychology, deep emotions, and murder mysteries. Separating one out of the mix?  Can’t and shouldn’t be done.  In fact, the number of series where you shouldn’t come into the middle far out number the ones where it probably wouldn’t matter so much.  That’s like falling into the middle of Abigail Roux’s fabulous Cut & Run series with Ty Grady  and Zane Garrett.  You could do it but why would you? Or Amy Lane’s Fish Out of Water Series or or or…

So why do it at all?  Why say standalone if they really aren’t?

Hmmmm. Well, probably to sell stories for one.

People are less likely to commit to a series than they are to one story.  Well not me.  I love series.  But others, probably. Ok poll time let’s find out.

 

I can’t wait to see how this turns out.  How do people really feel about reading one book. One or  three or more?  For me it’s the more the merrier honestly.

Unless I come in on the end and they have killed off a major character with no hope of revival.  Sigh.

But I can see publishers or authors wanting to put their stories out there and making them as accessible to readers as possible, even if (in my opinion)that’s labeling them as a standalone when they aren’t (again my opinion) or lumping them under a bazillion of genre tags.  Ok, how many times lately have you seen a story labeled as a sci fy fantasy paranormal supernatural romance?  It’s a cat and bunny romance, you are already there.

Head desk!

Well that’s a topic for another Sunday.

Anyhoo, back to my topic.  How do you feel about standalones and series?  Write in and let me know.  There’s a $10 Amazon gift card waiting for a lucky reader chosen among the replies. And please take our poll, I’m dying to see our answers!

Oh and as to the book that set this all off?  I’m reviewing it later this month.  See if you all can guess which one it is. lol

Note:

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is looking for Reviewers!  We are looking for reviewers for our blog.  If you love to read or listen to LGBT stories and share your thoughts about them with others, consider reviewing with Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  Please send all inquiries to scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.  We are very flexible about how many reviews each reviewer takes on.   That’s entirely up to each reviewer’s own schedule.

And now onto our week ahead.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, July 14:

  • Standalone or Part of a Series? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • SALE BLITZ – RYKER – RJ SCOTT & V.L. LOCEY

Monday, July 15:

  • REVIEW TOUR Chef On Top (Sizzling In The Kitchen #3) – MJ O’Shea
  • SERIES REVIEW TOUR – The Series of Fates by C.C. Dado
  • Release Blitz – Alison Temple – Cold Pressed
  • An Alisa Review :Denying Fate (A Series of Fates #1) by C.C. Dado
  • A Lucy Review: Invisible by Iyana Jenna
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Chef On Top (Sizzling In The Kitchen #3)  by MJ O’Shea

Tuesday, July 16:

  • Review Tour Request – C.F. White – Love & Tea Bags
  • Tour for “Serpent’s Teardrop” by Mary Rundle
  • Blog Post – Victoria Milne – Purple Method
  • Book Blitz  – WS Long – Revving It Up Box Set
  • A Stella Review: Love & Tea Bags (Pink Rock Series #1) by C.F. White
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Warm Heart (Search and Rescue #1) by Amy Lane

Wednesday, July 17:

  • Cover Reveal, – Joanna Chambers – Gentleman Wolf
  • AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR – Lucky Town by Morgan Brice
  • PROMO M.D. Grimm
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Lucky Town (Badlands #1.5) by Morgan Brice and Kale Williams (narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Terms of Service (The Heretic Doms Club #2) by Marie Sexton and John Solo (Narrator)

Thursday, July 18:

  • R GREY PROMO ON Oasis
  • Release Blitz Signal – Sam Burns & W.M Fawkes – Patron Of Mercy
  • Release blitz Beautiful Trauma by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • BLOG TOUR Treasure Trail by Morgan Brice
  • An Alisa Review: Treasure Trail by Morgan Brice
  • A Caryn Review: Dancing with the Lion: Becoming (Dancing with the Lion #1) by Jeanne Reames

Friday, July 19:

  • Release Blitz  – What Lies Beneath – RJ Scott
  • Release Blitz – Hanna Dare – Black Sky Morning
  • Release Blitz – Eli Easton – How To Run With The Wolves
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Kneading You by CS Poe
  • A MelanieM Review: Séance on a Summer’s Night by Josh Lanyon

Saturday, July 20:

  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Craving’s Creek by Mel Bossa
  • A Lucy Review: 9 Willow Street by Nell Iris

A Free Dreamer Review : Salmon and The Hazel (Rowan Harbor Cycle #8) by Sam Burns

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Jesse’s only priority in life is protecting the people he loves, so he’s determined to see Rowan Harbor’s wards rebuilt. There’s just one problem: they’re missing an ingredient that can’t be ordered online.

Jesse volunteers to search for the missing component in the realm of the fae, but his boyfriend, Sean, isn’t letting him go alone. The town has an enemy among the fae, so they’ll need to keep a low profile. Along their way, they find unexpected allies, surprising enemies, and a whole host of problems.

The journey is a test of their endurance, but also of their relationship and their faith in each other. Can they find what they need and get back home in one piece in time for the summer solstice?

I can’t believe “Salmon and the Hazel” is already the penultimate book of the series. Only one more book to go!

Once again, this book is not a stand-alone, you have the read all the previous books in the right order to fully understand and enjoy them.

I’ve liked Jesse and Sean from the beginning. They’re great together and I really enjoy their dynamic.

This is the first book of the series that isn’t set in Rowan Harbor. Instead, Sean and Jesse go traipsing off into the realm of the fae to find that one crucial ingredient for the warding spell. It was interesting to discover a whole new world, but I would have liked a few more details.

Sean and Jesse really grow as a couple. Or rather, Jesse does, I guess. I really liked how they worked together in this weird and potentially dangerous world. Their adventure was very enjoyable and I loved some of the things the author came up with.

I was happy with their HEA. It was perfect for the two of them and it wasn’t as cheesy as that of Devon and Wade.

Overall, this was once again a thoroughly enjoyable trip to Rowan Harbor. It makes me a little wistful that I won’t get another book with Jesse and Sean.

Cover Design: Melanie Farlow @ Clause & Effect The cover fits with the rest of the series, even if I’m not a huge fan of the overall look.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK – Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Book details: ebook, 146 pages

Published July 4th 2019

Length: 43,000 words approx.

The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series


Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Stag and the Ashe – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 – Adder and Willow – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6.5 – In Any Light – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #7 – Eagle In The Hawthorn – Amazon US | Amazon UK

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Jaeger’s Lost and Found by Ofelia Gränd

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Archie, Archibald Jaeger, is from a long line of respected finders. Unfortunately, his talent for finding doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. His business partner and best friend Edie, is the only person keeping him from being a hermit. When a vampire named Gael comes looking for a finder to help with his missing coven, there is more on the line than ever before. Archie is completely out of his comfort zone with someone’s life in his hands. Gael is having to face home truths in the face of his imminent death. Coming to care about each other in these circumstances, no one saw coming.

What made this novella work for me was all of Archie’s quirks, compulsions, and neuroses. Gael has to face his own bad judgments, regrets, and mistakes. They had no room to judge each other, and with the clock ticking down, no time. It’s their foibles that make them dimensional. Their support of each other is uncharacteristic of how they interact with others. They just fit together. The author does a good job of capturing steamy moments of carpe diem. I enjoyed the flashes of humor. The moments that tugged my heart made this worth reading.

Unfortunately, there is not much world building so details about nagi, shifter, or vampire culture, or life in the human or nonhuman zones aren’t explored. Edie is a large part of the plot and is only on page at the beginning and the end. The big issue is how Gael’s mental connection to his coven is described as a “Milky Way of linked minds, his internal sky of diamonds” which seems too similar to the Psy-Changling series by Nalini Singh. With the way this was resolved, I do wonder about what changes in character Archie would have, but there is no way to know.

The cover design was done by Written Ink Designs. I think that is supposed to be rain, which most of the story takes place in. There is also supposed to be a ghostly hand, so it could be that? I’m not really sure this cover communicates anything about the story at all except showing Archie.

Sales Links: JMS Books LLC | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 100 pages
Published June 1st 2019 by JMS Books LLC
ASINB07S9PP8L5
Edition Language English