A Free Dreamer Review: Time Turns (Out of Time #4) by C.B. Lewis

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

As a consultant analyst for the most technologically advanced firms in the country, Danny Ferguson knows he’s seen a lot of crazy stuff, but nothing comes close to his newest position at the Temporal Research Institute, the world’s foremost time travel organisation.

The corrupted piece of code Ferguson found on the TRI’s closed network is a serious concern for Lysander O’Donohue, the director of the TRI. Unable to trust his own people—any one of whom might be the source—he’s forced to put all his trust in Danny to solve the mystery of the corrupt code and find the identity of the enemy within.

But when an unexpected temporal gate opens, a straightforward code analysis becomes something a lot more complicated.

I read and really enjoyed part three of the series, so I was eager to get my hands on the next book. And Time Turns certainly didn’t disappoint.

While this is part four of an ongoing series, I think it works perfectly fine as a stand-alone. The protagonists from part three get barely any on-page scenes and the important events are summed up early on. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t read part three, though, because it’s just as good as this one, albeit quite different.

Coding isn’t necessarily something I’m crazy about. The few times I’ve been exposed to it, I found rather boring. But this book actually made it seem really fascinating. The way Danny works with it is like a new form of art. You don’t need to understand it to appreciate its beauty. And the author didn’t delve too deeply into the theory, so it never got boring or confusing.

I was utterly captivated from the very beginning and I used every free second to continue reading. Neither of the protagonists actually did any time-traveling and there wasn’t actually all that much action. But somehow there was this suspense that just made it extremely hard to put down the book. This is the kind of book that should come with a special warning: “Do not read if you don’t want to be late.” Seriously, I was almost late for work more than once.

Lysander is a really interesting guy. He’s a very private person and has some unexpected secrets. And Danny is just plain adorable. Sure, he’s cocky and overconfident, but also extremely loyal and hard-working.

I absolutely loved the relationship dynamic. Danny was so mindful of Lysander. And Lysander never took advantage. The progress felt natural and the sex scenes, while few and far between, were really hot.

As for the mystery part, the revelation of the bad guy was completely unexpected to me. I don’t read a lot of mystery, though, so maybe an avid crime/mystery reader could have deduced who the culprit is sooner.

Overall, “Time Turns” was a brilliant book and my first 5-star-book of the year. And it’s made me even more eager to read the rest of the series.

The cover by Natasha Snow fits with the rest of the series and the story, but it’s a little nondescript. I’m not a fan of covers where the models make up the largest part of the design.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 400 pages

Published September 16th 2019 by NineStar Press

Out of Time Series

Time Waits

Time Lost

Time Taken

Time Turns

Out of Time

Here It Is! The Release Blitz for Loose Ends (Badlands Book 4) by Morgan Brice (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Loose Ends (Badlands Book 4)

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Natania Barron

Release Date: December 30, 2019 

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy, MM paranormal romance

Trope/s: Spooky supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, dark magic.

Themes: Trust, loyalty, commitment, partnership

Heat Rating: 4 flames

It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and

features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels.

Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

Length: 62 000 words/ 220 pages

Add on Goodreads 

As a deadly trap closes around them, can Simon and Vic tie up the loose ends to stop the threat, or will they become the newest ghosts of the Grand Strand? 

Blurb 

Cold cases, old enemies, ex-lovers, and vengeful spirits are making life dangerous for psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato. 

The ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless, trapped by love, secrets, scandals, and spells, keeping Simon busy protecting the living from the unhappy dead. Someone from Vic’s past is out to destroy him and everyone he holds dear, and the high-profile trial of the first case Simon and Vic worked together puts them in the spotlight—and put a target on their backs. As a deadly trap closes around them, can Simon and Vic tie up the loose ends to stop the threat, or will they become the newest ghosts of the Grand Strand? 

Loose Ends is an urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with spooky supernatural suspense, hot sex, hurt/comfort, feisty friends, found family, ghosts galore, and dark magic. It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels. Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

Buy Links

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK  |   Kobo  |   Nook

Excerpt

“The hauntings are worse than ever. Someone else is going to get killed.” Josh Ryan hunched over his steaming cup of coffee. Out front, Mizzenmast Coffee was packed with java addicts

waiting in line for the best, and only, pirate-themed specialty coffees on the Grand Strand.

That was why Simon Kincaide had ushered his guest to the less- used second seating area, which still had a full-sized pirate statue, a treasure chest, and a motley stuffed parrot from its days as a bucca‐ neer attraction. Tracey Cullen, Le Miz’s owner and Simon’s best friend, had turned a building she couldn’t afford to redecorate into Myrtle Beach gold with her hit café. Only the regulars ever both‐ ered to come into the second room, which meant Simon and Josh might have a chance to talk uninterrupted.

“You guys explore a lot of abandoned places. I’ve never seen you rattled by ghosts before,” Simon observed.

Simon owned Grand Strand Ghost Tours, a logical undertaking for someone with a strong gift as a psychic medium and a Ph.D. in folklore and mythology. His abilities were the real deal, and when he wasn’t leading ghost tours or helping deal with bothersome haunts, he was an official consultant with the Myrtle Beach Police Department on supernaturally-linked crimes, along with his boyfriend, Homicide Detective Vic D’Amato.

“Yeah, well. Usually we run into cold spots, see a few orbs, maybe hear something we can’t explain,” Josh replied. “We’ve never had a ghost push one of my team off a roller coaster platform. If Cam hadn’t been a gymnast, he’d never have been able to catch himself on that beam, and he’d be dead.”

“You’re sure he didn’t slip?”

Josh shook his head. “Not Cam. He’s like a cat. And he said afterward that he felt hands on his back before he was pushed.”

Simon sipped his latte as his mind raced. Josh headed a team of urban explorers and paranormal investigators who prowled around abandoned buildings, old ruins, and the sites people left behind. They documented the beauty of decay with their cameras and video and tried to verify reports of ghost sightings. Josh was also one of Simon’s “Skeleton Crew,” the joking name given to the young, untrained psychics who found their way to Myrtle Beach and strug‐ gled to control or understand their abilities. Simon knew that Josh’s ability to sense ghosts was real. So if he said he’d seen something…

“Cam’s all right?”

Josh nodded, ducking his head to take a gulp of coffee and hide the worry in his eyes. “He pulled some muscles. It was a hell of a dismount. But nothing broken. It could have been way worse.”

“Did you get any idea who the ghost was?”

“No. But we knew there were rumors that the park was haunted —even before it shut down for good.”

Buccaneer Thrill Park had a snakebitten history. A couple of rich out-of-state investors thought a pirate-themed major amuse‐ ment park was the kind of idea that couldn’t fail. Simon vaguely remembered reading about the park opening ten years ago before he’d moved to Myrtle Beach from the state capital in Columbia. The park had promised to offer the tallest and fastest coasters, trendy bars, a star-studded celebrity launch, and all the high-tech hoopla money could buy.

They built it, but no one came. By the end of the second season, Buccaneer closed for good, amid whispers of hushed-up visitor

deaths, paid-off injuries, and financial mismanagement. The front‐ man, Greg Ellington, was found shot to death in his office a day before the press broke the story of embezzled funds and colossal ineptitude. Thad Stevens, the other partner and principal investor, vanished without a trace.

“I’ve been poking around on the Buccaneer story since the place shut down,” Josh said. “My team’s visited probably a dozen times. Plus, I knew people who worked on the construction and disman‐ tling, and who ran the rides when it was open.” He leaned forward, dropping his voice. “They won’t talk on the record, or to the police, but I’ve heard all their stories. And the rumors that got out? They’re just a fraction of how fucked up that place was.”

Simon sat back in his chair, settling his lanky body and long legs as best he could. He warmed his hands on the hot paper cup and tucked a strand of long chestnut hair behind one ear. “Tell me.”

“One of my sources was a crane operator when they were installing the Riptide Roll steel coaster,” Josh confided. “He saw one of the workmen fall from the top of the first hill when they were assembling the ride. Says the guy died on impact. The company paid to hush it up. Same thing happened when another worker was crushed to death. A load of steel pipe shifted, and he ended up underneath it.”

“Jesus.”

“That’s not all of it. The place was only open for barely two seasons, but the ride operators had stories that would curl your hair. Riders got whiplash, one girl lost a couple of fingers, and a kid died from head injuries when his ride car came loose and crashed. Not to mention the operator who got electrocuted when he had to run his ride in the rain.”

“If the owners had to cover all that up, no wonder they went bankrupt,” Simon said, shaking his head. “I can’t believe they didn’t get shut down.”

“Their rides continued to pass inspections from the state office —or maybe someone got paid off. Still, they closed suddenly before the end of their last season,” Josh said. “Whistleblowers went to the media. The situation was going to be ugly. But then it turned out to be even worse.”

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.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, and Treasure Trail. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

Read a copy of my Badlands short story Restless Nights here for free

Social Media Links 

Facebook Group  |  Pinterest (for Morgan and Gail)  |  Twitter: @MorganBriceBook   

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a new release  

 Follow me on BookBub  |  Instagram

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of three ebook copies of any book in the Badlands series

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts here

An Alisa Review: Forbidden Bond by Lee Colgin

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Vampires and werewolves are historical enemies. When the Peace Accord that imposes an uncomfortable armistice between the species is threatened, the entire supernatural community must respond.

Young vampire heir Sinclair Davis successfully petitions the council for permission to attend a werewolf dominated university. Surrounded by a pack of unwelcoming wolves, Sinclair’s first meeting with their alpha doesn’t go well. The handsome wolf hates him.

Alpha wolf Mitchel Edgehill is furious when the university sends a vampire to be housed among his pack, even if he is cute. But there’s nothing he can do since the paperwork has been signed. They’ll have to find a way to coexist.

As tension rises within supernatural society and violence escalates between vampires and werewolves, an uneasy truce develops between Sinclair and Mitchel. The pair attend a peace conference in hopes of preventing war, but when a rogue group of humans attacks, Sinclair is kidnapped and held for ransom. Can the alpha wolf work with vampires to save Sinclair, or will war break out after all?

Man, everyone in this society has biases against the others.  I was so glad to see that Sinclair was different and he helped Mitchel and his pack also see that vampires aren’t so bad, even if it didn’t start out so well.  I liked this world and how far it all went in the end for peace among everyone, not just the paranormals.

I liked Sinclair and Mitchel’s slow burn romance but once they decided they wanted to really make a go at it they jumped right into it.  I was glad they stood their ground when others opposed their relationship and quickly showed the others how they could work together.  I will be looking forward to reading more books by this author.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is great and I really like the background of the school where most of the book takes place.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 54,100 words

Published: December 23, 2019 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-951880-06-4

Edition Language: English

Series: They Bite #1

And Still More 2019 Best Of Lists and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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And Still More 2019 Best Of Lists

Here we are mid January and the cold is upon us. After mid temperatures, it is finally feeling like winter here.  Our look at last year’s wonderful stories continues this week with our reviewer Alisa’s choices for her Best of 2019.  Check them out below:

From Our Reviewer Alisa:

 

2019 Best ebooks

Blood Wine by Aimer Boyz

Kept in the Dark by Charlie Cochet

The Hands We’re Given by O.E. Tearmann

Surviving the Shadows by Miranda Turner

Mason’s Run by Mellanie Rourke

All or Nothing by Riina Y.T.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Andi James and Lila Wilde

The Sweetest Thing by E.M. Denning

At Home by Carly Marie

His Two Alphas by Anna Wineheart

Best audiobooks

Untamed by Carly Marie, narrator Bolton Hill

Homeward Bound by HJ Welch, narrator Nick Russo

Mr. Frosty Pants by Leta Blake, narrator John Solo

Nothing Special V by AE Via, narrator Aiden Snow

The Swap by Annabella Michaels, narrator Michael Pauley

Best Series

Finding Home by Carly Marie

Davey’s Rules by Susi Hawke

My Truth by Ann Grech

Brotherhood of Ormarr by Jacki James, Michelle Frost, Steph Marie, Bobbie Rayne, Michele Notaro and Sammi Cee

Bid Bad Wolves by Queenie Wise

 

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 19:

  • And Still More 2019 Best Of Lists and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday,January 20:

  • Cover Reveal Loose Ends (Badlands Book 4) by Morgan Brice
  • Review Tour – Served with a Twist by Jet Lupin
  • BLITZ Out of Time by C.B. Lewis
  • An Alisa Review Forbidden Bond by Lee Colgin
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Time Turns (Out of Time #4) by C.B. Lewis

Tuesday, January 21:

  • Release blitz Adam Bomb by Kilby Blades
  • BLITZ Winter Masquerade by Kevin Klehr
  • An Alisa Review Don’t Ask Don’t Tell by Miski Harris
  • A MelanieM Review The Edge of the World by Garrett Leigh

Wednesday. January 22:

  • Release Blitz – Fade In (A Tales of Bryant Romance) – V.L. Locey
  • Release Blitz – Loose Ends (Badlands Book 4) by Morgan Brice
  • A Melanie Review Consorts of the Red King by Eden Winters
  • A Melanie Review Fade In (Tales of Bryant #3) by V.L. Locey

Thursday, January 23:

  • Release Festivities for Powder & Pavlova by Jay Hogan
  • AUDIOBOOK TOUR – Love’s Trials by Janice Jarrell
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Rescuing Kyle Special Forces: Operation Alpha by Lynn Michaels
  • An Alisa Audio Review:All the Way to Shore (Stories from the Shore #1) by CJane Elliott, Tim McKiernan (Narrator)

Friday, January 24:

  • Release Blitz Ted of the d’Urbervilles by Rob Rosen
  • Blog Tour – Hathornatum (Pleletus #1) by Taylin Clavelli
  • A Stella Review: Powder and Pavlova (Southern Lights #1) by Jay Hogan
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Hathornatum (Pleletus #1) by Taylin Clavelli

Saturday, January 25:

  • A MelanieM Audio Review:All I Want Is You by DJ Jamison and Wyatt Baker (Narrator)

EJ Russell On Oregon Locations and her new release Howling on Hold by EJ Russell (guest blog and giveaway)

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Howling on Hold by E.J. Russell

Riptide Publishing

Published January 13th 2020
Cover Art: L.C.Chase

Sales Links:

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

Around Oregon by E.J. Russell

I’ve been an Oregon resident for—*checks watch*—almost thirty years now, and have lived in the same spot in the country outside Portland for twenty-nine years this month. (You’ll note I didn’t say I’ve lived in the same house, because the house we moved into isn’t the house we live in now. We’ve done two different remodels—neither one of which is completely finished, but I digress…)

Because I love Oregon and it’s what I know best, most of my books are set here. In fact, there’s only one—Tested in Fire—that’s not (if you don’t count the occasional side trip into Faerie, Sheol, or the Welsh Underworld). Consequently, there are some places and/or iconic objects that show up in Howling on Hold that have appeared in other books as well.

In no particular order…

Voodoo Doughnuts

I dare anyone to walk through the Portland International Airport and not spot at least one person carrying Voodoo Doughnuts’ signature pink box. I took this photo on the Amtrak train between Portland and Seattle, so even our neighbors to the immediate north can’t seem to resist the magic that’s in the hole. That pink box makes a cameo appearance in Howling on Hold, as it did in Stumptown Spirits. In Wolf’s Clothing, the doughnuts emerged from the box when Christophe brought them to Trent as a peace offering. Maple-bacon bars, anyone? (BTW, Voodoo has extended its reach beyond Oregon—they’ve now got stores in Denver, Orlando, Austin, and Hollywood!)

Forest Park

Portland is known for its urban green spaces, and Forest Park is one of the most well-known and extensive. In Howling on Hold, Tanner sees the park as a refuge, but in Stumptown Spirits, it had a more sinister edge as the sight of a legendary ghost war. Trent revisits the park in Wolf’s Clothing despite  the panic it triggers. In Cutie and the Beast, David, Alun, and Mal enter Faerie from the park, and in Bad Boy’s Bard, Niall and Gareth emerge from Faerie into the park, where David has to rescue them outside the Audubon Society. I took this picture of Balch Creek in Forest Park the day my Curmudgeonly Husband and I toured the Witch’s Castle (the site of the ghost war)—it’s similar to the terrain Tanner negotiates in Howling on Hold.

Portland Old Town and the Pearl District

I’ve placed two significant imaginary places from my Mythmatched story universe in downtown Portland. The Bullpen, the shifter bar visited by Casimir in Vampire with Benefits and by Hamish in Demon on the Down-Low is located in Old Town. Chase and the other guys from Portland Howling Residence Seven (aka, the Doghouse) take Tanner to the Bullpen for his twenty-oner party, where, er, hi-jinks ensue.

The Pearl District, the trendier area that got a lot of exposure in the television show Grimm, is where the Supernatural Selection offices were located in Single White Incubus, Vampire With Benefits, and Demon on the Down-Low. In Howling on Hold, those offices have been taken over by Quest Investigations, the private investigation company run by Mal Kendrick (from The Druid Next Door) and Niall O’Tierney (from Bad Boy’s Bard). Chase consults with Quest after the, er, hi-jinks.

What can I say? Once I find a place I like, I can’t resist revisiting! What about you? Any favorite spots that you come back to again and again? (And by the way, fictional spots totally count!)

About Howling on Hold

Sometimes it’s harder to teach a young dog new tricks.

That’s why werewolves embark on a Howling: a three-year rite of passage in which they’re sent to a group residence to wrestle with their wolfy instincts and assimilate into the Wider World. But Tanner Araya’s Howling is almost over, and he could be called back to his remote pack at any moment. His twenty-first birthday might be his last chance to act on his strongest instinct and finally kiss Chase Denney.

Chase is RA at the Howling residence affectionately dubbed “the Doghouse,” and he takes his job seriously. So seriously that when he realized he was developing feelings for a resident, he forced himself to keep Tanner at a distance. But now that Tanner’s twenty-one, he’s not Chase’s charge any longer. They could be friends or—if Chase is lucky—something more. At least until they both return to their home packs for good, as tradition demands.

It would take a miracle for them to get together—especially when the other Doghouse werewolves insist on “helping.”

Warning: Many Frisbees are harmed in this story, forgiveness is not always easier than permission, and the five-second rule does not apply.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

About the Mythmatched Universe

Wait . . . Is that . . . No, it couldn’t be. Could it? A fae at the florist? A demon at the deli? A werewolf at the Y?

Humans will never know. They can’t know, or the lives of every supernatural creature on this world—or under it—would be at risk.

So the supes of every nation, culture, and pantheon joined together in uneasy alliance, vowing to keep their society secret in order to survive among humans.

But when you spend every moment hiding your true nature, how can you ever find true love?

Check out the Mythmatched universe today!

 

About E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Connect with E.J.:

Website: ejrussell.com

Blog: ejrussell.com/bloggery/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author

Twitter: twitter.com/ej_russell

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ejrussell/


 

Giveaway

To celebrate this release, one lucky person will win a $25 gift card to Riptide and their pick of an ebook from E.J.’s backlist. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 17, 2020. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. For more chances to enter, follow the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

A Free Dreamer Review: Wren and Oak (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #9) by Sam Burns

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Rowan Harbor has been peaceful for a now unprecedented two months, but everyone knows it’s the calm before the storm. The Summer king is coming for the thorn—a weapon destined to bring his end—and Fletcher has never felt so helpless.

When the disturbing dreams start and his mentor, Oak, is hesitant to discuss them, Fletcher doesn’t know where to turn. He and his boyfriend Conner are in the process of moving in together, and he doesn’t want to add anything else to Conner’s list of concerns.

With a vengeful fae waiting for his chance to raze Rowan Harbor to the ground, Fletcher has to find a way to protect everything he loves and survive the coming storm.

This is it. The final part has arrived. And I can’t believe I actually managed to finish a series with 9 whole books. Okay, 9 short books, but still. And to think I almost didn’t continue reading after the first part…

So we’ve all eagerly anticipated “Wren and Oak”. It didn’t disappoint, that’s for sure.

Fletcher and Conner are my second most favourite couple and I love reading about Oak.  So the scenes with Fletcher and Oak together were a big plus for me. Oak makes a great teacher and it was really interesting to learn more about Fletcher’s abilities. I just wish he’d done a little shapeshifting.

The strange dreams bring an undercurrent of suspense to the whole story, which not a lot of the previous parts had. And the sex was hot, of course.

There were some things that I didn’t like as much, though. One of them was the lack of communication between Fletcher and Conner, which led to a bit of relationship drama, which could have been avoided. I’m not a fan of that particular trope.

Some parts of the story were a little over dramatic for my likes. I’m not going to go into details, because that would be a spoiler, but that final showdown was a bit much.

At the same time, the book also felt too short as a whole. Maybe I’m a little biased because it does make me kinda sad that this is the end, but it feels like there was more to tell.

Overall, it was a worthy end of a good series. If you’re reading this review to figure out whether the series is worth reading, I can only say it definitely is. It does have its ups and downs, but on the whole, it’s a pretty great read.

Cover Design: Melanie Farlow @ Clause & Effect The cover, while accurately depicting a part of the plot, looks a bit too gloomy and dramatic for me. But it fits with the other covers and it’s not your run-of-the-mill m/m romance cover, so it’s alright.

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

Book details: Kindle Edition, 145 pages

Published December 26th 2019

Length: 45,000 words 
 

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

Book #8 – Salmon and the Hazel – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #9 – Wren and  Oak series finale

More Best of 2019 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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More best of 2019 Lists

 

We are continuing on this week with more best of lists.  This time from our reviewer Chaos Moondrawn!  Let’s check out her Best of 2019!

 

Chaos Moondrawn Best Of 2019

The Best Of The Best

This year I read approximately 200 stories/books, although I didn’t review them all. If you have been reading my reviews, both here and on my own blog, you’ll know I like quirky–books that do things a little differently than the status quo. They still have to make sense, connect with me emotionally, and tell a good story.  I gave 5 Stars, without rounding up, to these books that were published this year:

Digging Deep, Digging Deep 1, by Jay Hogan

This book gave a realistic depiction of being in a relationship with a chronically ill person with humor, honesty, and dignity whilst still managing to be a romance. The author didn’t cover over the gross or inconvenient things about illness the way most books do.

The Ghosts Between Us, The West Hills 1, by Brigham Vaughn

People handle grief differently and sometimes they fall in love at completely the wrong time with someone others might deem inappropriate. Oh well, that’s their problem.

The Story Of Us by Logan Meredith

Literally, no one agreed with me about this book featuring an older prudish, judgmental man falling in love with a young student and porn star. With breaking the fourth wall and only one point of view, some people didn’t dig it.

Best Covers

The Witchstone Amulet cover by Tiferet Designs, Healing Glass cover by Jackie Keswick,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The King’s Dragon cover by Natasha Snow, Taji from Beyond the Rings by R. Cooper cover by Lyn Forester, Anhaga  by Lisa Henry cover by Tiferet Designs, Hell and Gone by Tal Bauer cover by Danonza, Clean Break by Erin McLellan cover by Natasha Snow, Ramen Assassin by Rhys Ford cover by Reece Notley, Earth Fathers Are Weird  by Lyn Gala cover by Lyn Gala.

The Best Of The Rest

Best Contemporary

Arctic Sun, Frozen Hearts 1, by Annabeth Albert

Best Behavior by Matthew J. Metzger

Heated Rivalry, Game Changers 2, by Rachel Reid

Ramen Assassin by Rhys Ford

The Other Book, Those Other Books 1, by Roe Horvat

We Still Live by Sara Dobie Bauer

Best Fantasy/Paranormal/Science Fiction

Anhaga by Lisa Henry

Dead Man Stalking by T.A. Moore

Empire of Light, Voyance 1, by Alex Harrow

Healing Glass, Gifted Guilds 1, by Jackie Keswick

Space Train by David Bridger

The Shoreless Sea, Liminal Sky 3, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Best Holiday

A Faerie Story by Barbara Elsborg

Best Dark Themed/Taboo

Sick And Tragic Bastard by Rowan Massey

Please read the tags and get ready for a big, fat, ugly-crying meltdown if you have a soul. Then, read or watch the fluffiest, sweetest stories you can find for a week after.

Best Rerelease

Release, Davlova 1 and Return, Davlova 2, by Marie Sexton

This dark romance duology (pay attention to the tags) was originally released under the name A.M. Sexton. I don’t think there are any substantial changes. Expect rich, bleak, dystopian world-building.

Honorable Mention

The King’s Dragon, Fire And Valor 1, by W.M. Fawkes and Sam Burns

The Stone Amulet by Mason Thomas

I read so much fantasy this year. These two books stayed with me even though I rated them lower than the others. Why? Maybe I didn’t have enough coffee.

Dec 31, 2019

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 12:

  • More Best of 2019 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, January 13:

  • Blog Tour Rules to Obey by Susan Hawke
  • BLITZ Breaking the Surface by Rebecca Langham
  • Review Tour – Con Riley – Saving Sean
  • A Stella Review : Saving Sean (Seattle Stories #2) by Con Riley
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Tough Guy (Game Changers #3) by Rachel Reid

Tuesday, January 14:

  • Release Blitz His Fake Prison Daddy by Thursday Euclid and Clancy Nacht
  • BLITZ Unraveling by Rick R. Reed
  • An Alisa Review: Rules to Obey (Davey’s Rules #5) by Susan Hawke
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Wren and Oak (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #9) by Sam Burns

Wednesday, January 15:

  • Cover Reveal – Hold Me Up by Colette Davison
  • Book Blast – Damaged Hearts by Jan St. Marcus
  • Vlog Tour for Unexpected by KM Neuhold
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Rebound (Overtime #1) by V.L. Locey

Thursday, January 16:

  • TOUR Howling on Hold by EJ Russell
  • Release Blitz – Dravyn’s Garden (D’Vaire, Book 15) by Jessamyn Kingley
  • Release Blitz Garrett Leigh – The Edge Of The World
  • An Ashlez Review: Star and Fire by R Parr

Friday, January 17:

  • Cover Reveal – A Summer of Smoke and Sin by TJ Nichols
  • BLOG TOUR International Banker, Beach Boy by Mia Terry
  • A MelanieM Review: Head in the Game by Jeff Adams
  • A MelanieM Review: Consorts of the Red King by Eden Winters

Saturday, January 18:

  • A MelanieM Review: The Hunt for Red Fluffy (Brimstone #6) by Angel Martinez

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Forbidden Bond by Lee Colgin

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Historically enemies, there is now a peace treaty between vampires and shifters. As vampires push to announce their existence to humans in the face of technological advances in order to control the PR, many shifters disagree, threatening the peace. The real problem is that it’s just an armistice: there is no integration or friendship. Sinclair, a living vampire, has been accepted at a shifter college for graduate study, which is an historic opportunity. His father, who presides over the Vampire Council, is worried about his safety. He might be right as Sinclair is met with hostility and suspicion. The POV then switches to Mitchel, the Alpha on campus, whose uncle Marcus runs the Werewolf Council. Mitchel’s parents where killed by vampires, so he has no love of their kind. As Sinclair and Mitchel actually get to know each other, they become friends while they try to help maintain peace between their species. Others struggle to accept a world where vampire and werewolf date and humans know of their existence.

Each chapter is started by a news report updating the reader about the issues and fears in the supernatural community. I thought it was a little gimmicky. This is firmly in the new adult genre even though Mitchel is older. It has an enemies to lovers, slow burn vibe–fun, flirty, a little juvenile–at the beginning. Then, all of the sudden, their relationship is serious with sexy times and a violent, action packed plotline. The vampires are ruthless and bloodthirsty when threatened, while the wolves come off as more squeamish and less prepared for violence. Other supernatural species are mentioned in passing, but not focused on so they have no face. It was great to see Erika as a strong female Alpha wolf who takes charge in the crisis, yet none of the secondary characters are very detailed. This story is enjoyable even though it doesn’t break any new ground in this subgenre.

The cover art by Natasha Snow works well with the titles to convey much of the story.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

ebook
Published December 23rd 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN13 9781951880064

Join Us for the New Release Tour for Life Minus Me (The Evanstar Chronicles #5) by Sara Codair (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Life Minus Me

Series: The Evanstar Chronicles, Book .5

Author: Sara Codair

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 6, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 23500

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, Angels, Mental illness, Psychic ability, Pets, #ownvoices, Fae/fairies

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Synopsis

Mel is half Angel, but despite her ability to heal and read minds, she feels powerless to help anyone. When a prophecy shows a local pet supply store owner driving their car off a bridge, Mel sets out to stop it.

Baily, owner of Barks and Bits, is barely holding it together. Things keep going wrong, and their depression spirals out of control. Just as they start wondering if they’d be better off dead, a new friend provides a glimmer of hope. But is that enough to keep living?

Mel never thought saving Baily would be easy, but she can’t figure out when, where, or why Baily’s suicide will happen. As her confidence fades away, she wonders how she can help anyone when she needs so much help herself.

Excerpt

Life Minus Me
Sara Codair © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Mel

Saturday

Sun beat down on Mel’s cold, rosy cheeks, and wind whipped her blonde hair into a frenzy of thrashing strands. She sped up on I-95 in a yellow Jeep Wrangler with the top down on a chilly Saturday morning in January. The fact that she even felt cold at all reminded her that she was a little human…25 percent human.

A salty chill grew in the air. A green bridge loomed on the horizon. It crossed the Piscataqua River, the border between Maine and New Hampshire, leading her from the place where she, a seemingly human college senior who lived with her grad-student fiancé, was deciding which medical school to attend, to one where she was an Angel-Elf-Human hybrid who fought Demons and healed minor injuries. Sometimes, Mel felt like she lived in two worlds. In one, science and reason left little room for belief in the supernatural. In the other, her maternal grandmother was an Elf, her father was an Angel, and the rest of her family members were Demon hunters.

They weren’t technically two separate worlds so much as cultures, one hidden from the other. Mel led a double life in this messy multifaceted world where she tried her best to make it a better place. She tried, but she failed more than she succeeded.

She tapped the steering wheel with her fingers, drumming a rhythm to a song someone was listening to in the car in front of her, one she wasn’t hearing through her ears, but through telepathy she’d failed to turn off. She understood even less of the science behind her mind reading than that of her healing abilities.

Speeding up, she passed the pickup truck whose driver was loudly thinking about the music he was listening to and how it reminded him of his ex-boyfriend. Mel imagined the rush of wind, the growl of her engine, and a big brick wall shielding her mind from everything outside her skull until the music ceased. Mostly. She’d inherited her telepathic powers from her father, but she didn’t control the ability nearly as well as he did.

She tightened her grip on the steering wheel. It was going to be at least another hour before she got to Mary’s Eats, a diner where she was meeting her cousin, Erin, for breakfast.

Driving was difficult when her attempts to control her telepathy failed, but crowded restaurants were more of a challenge. When Mel stepped through glass doors into the diner, other people’s thoughts battered the mental walls she’d constructed around her mind. She squeezed by the line of customers waiting for tables, ignoring their glares and reinforcing her shields so the dull, incoherent murmuring of a dozen minds faded away.

The L-shaped room was filled with pink and blue tables that had been there since the 1950s. The faux-wood vinyl floors were less than a year old, installed around the same time the owners had gutted the walls to insulate them, updated the wiring, and added gender-neutral bathrooms. Those bathrooms, along with the large portions of bacon that the restaurant served, were why Erin often insisted on meeting here.

Erin sat in the fifth booth from the line, hood up and headphones on. Rocking back and forth to the beat of music Mel couldn’t hear, Erin shredded a straw wrapper and stared at the silverware. Two menus sat untouched on the edge of the table.

A bony shoulder collided with Mel’s back. Newspapers flew up into the air and floated to the floor like feathers from broken wings as a man with wispy gray hair and pasty skin jumped backward.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, catching his balance on the side of the booth. “I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

“It’s fine. It’s a good thing you didn’t fall.” Mel bent down and started picking up the dropped papers.

“I’ll get them. I’m healthier than I look.” The old man bent down and scooped up more pages.

Mel picked them up quicker and then helped him back to his feet.

“Thank you,” he said, before shuffling off to a table where a younger person with short brown hair and rosy cheeks glared at a computer screen.

“Cooper, these numbers don’t look right,” said the person, picking at chapped lips.

Cooper clutched his disorganized newspaper to his chest as he looked over the person’s shoulder. “That check was only supposed to be for $5,000, not $50,000!”

“Call the bank. They close at noon,” said the younger person.

“Mel? Someone else is going to walk into you if you keep standing in the middle of the aisle,” said Erin, whose hood and headphones were now off.

“Good point.” Mel slid into the seat across from Erin. “It’s been a long week.”

“It must be horrible, going back to school after having a month off.” Erin gathered pieces of their shredded straw wrapper into a pile and slid them under the menu.

“You had a couple weeks off too.” Mel fidgeted with the ring on her left-hand ring finger.

“Over which I had to write a five-page paper. You had no homework and get to start all new classes.” Erin picked up the butter knife and put it down, squeezing their hands together.

“Are you okay?” Mel leaned forward and tilted her head, peering at Erin’s grass-green eyes, barely resisting the temptation to let her shields down so she could read Erin’s mind.

“Not really.” Erin yanked their right hand away from their left, running their fingers through short, red curls. “The meds my new doctor had me on were actually working until I broke out into hives, got really dizzy, and couldn’t keep a single meal down.”

“That sucks.” Mel curled her hands around the edge of the booth’s seat, digging her fingernails into the old vinyl. Erin wasn’t much more human than Mel, which was probably why medications intended for humans didn’t work. But Erin didn’t know that, and Mel couldn’t tell them the truth—she was bound by an oath that was impossible to break. Had she known what the consequences of this secret would be, she never would’ve agreed to keep it.

“Yup. My stupid brain is already foggy again, and I can’t focus on getting anything done.” Erin picked up the fork, spun it around, and ran their fingers over the prongs.

Mel snatched it out of their hand. “Careful.”

Erin rolled their eyes. “I wish the server would hurry up and come back now that you’re here. I’m starving.”

“Me too.” Mel slid Erin’s napkin and butter knife closer, farther away from Erin.

“Really? You think that little of me?” Erin stood up, fists clenched as they stared out the window to the street where their car, a Jeep Cherokee built four years before Erin was even born, was parked outside.

“Erin, I’m sorry. I just…it’s an old habit, maybe. I’m sorry.” Mel’s hands shook as she waited for Erin to either accept the apology or storm away. Her chest got tight and her eyes burned. A year and a half ago, she had sat with Erin in this very diner, thinking Erin was just fidgeting, not realizing until she dropped her shields that Erin had a butter knife under the table and was nervously running their thumb back and forth over the edge until it bled. It was the type of thing that used to happen all the time, and each time Mel intervened, Erin pushed her further and further away, resisting help no matter who it came from.

Erin took a deep breath and sat back down. “I don’t cut anymore, and if me being off medication means you’re going to start meddling with my life again, I’m not talking to you. Either accept that I’m fine without your interference or leave me alone.”

“Okay. I’ll stop. I won’t intrude.” Mel gritted her teeth. Erin would’ve died if she hadn’t meddled. Erin’s bitterness over Mel’s interference in a suicide attempt was a sign Erin was not fine at all, but there was nothing Mel could do about it without crossing boundaries and breaking the fragile trust she’d built with her cousin.

Erin leaned forward. “I have a good therapist now. Mom isn’t ignoring me as much as she used to. Be my cousin and friend. Don’t act like some guardian angel trying to save me.”

Mel squeezed her eyes shut, holding tears in. She’d do what Erin asked, for now, even though it made her feel like a complete failure, like the shittiest Angel ever.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Don’t miss Book #1 in the The Evanstar Chronicles series, Power Surge, available from NineStar Press

Erin has just realized that for the entirety of their life, their family has lied to them. Their Sight has been masked for years, so Erin thought the Pixies and Mermaids were hallucinations. Not only are the supernatural creatures they see daily real, but their grandmother is an Elf, meaning Erin isn’t fully human. On top of that, the dreams Erin thought were nightmares are actually prophecies.

While dealing with the anger they have over all of the lies, they are getting used to their new boyfriend, their boyfriend’s bullying ex, and the fact that they come from a family of Demon Hunters. As Erin struggles through everything weighing on them, they uncover a Demon plot to take over the world.

Erin just wants some time to work through it all on their own terms, but that’s going to have to wait until after they help save the world.

Meet the Author

Sara Codair lives in a world of words, writing fiction in every free moment, teaching writing at a community college and binge-reading fantasy novels. When not lost in words, Sara can often be found hiking, swimming, or gardening. Find Sara’s words in Alternative Truths, Helios Quarterly, and Secrets of the Goat People, at https://saracodair.com/

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Announcements and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Announcements and Less Than Scattered Thoughts

Announcement 1:

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is Going on Hiatus as of February 1, 2020.  We intend on  returning June 1, 2020.

 

Real life has been complicated and incredibly time consuming of late.  The effects of aging is often not kind, and it’s hard to see it’s impact upon one’s parents.  And then have to deal with it.

Sometimes the change is gradual, and then, without notice, like some out of control vehicle, the changes speedup rapidly, veering off in directions you least expected, leaving you scrambling for time, plans, and someone to provide assistance for you and them.

And it all takes time.

I have tried handling  this, my life, and the blog.  And it hasn’t been going well.  So for now, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words will go on hiatus February 1 until June.  Our intention is to return then, restored and recovered.

I hope you will return as well.  Trust me, this was a very difficult decision as I love this blog, our reviewers, authors, and readers so.  We make no money off of STRW and do it solely out of love.

We hope you will stay with us all through January and return to us in the summer.

 

Announcement 2:

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Does Not and Will Not Support Dreamspinner Press Through Tours or ARCs, now or in the future.

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue  Words has not worked or accepted tours or ARCS since October 2019,  and will not,  (even if they manage to pull off some sort of restructuring deal and avoid bankruptcy) from Dreamspinner Press, its owner Elizabeth North, and any of its associated presses.  Like other bloggers, readers, and tour owners, we too had hoped originally that DSP would turn things around.  Then began the long parade of authors out of Dreamspinner, the lengthy tweets and tales of unpaid royalties (still unpaid royalties and unreturned emails), the impact DSP”s action’s have had on these author’s lives, the immeasurable pain and stress that’s been caused, and, their latest maneuver, makes any support impossible.

I am sorry for those authors still remaining at that firm for whatever reason.  If any of you have ARCs that are self published or published with another press, we will be happy to help you promote those upon our return in the Summer and this January.

On a hilarious side note, when contacted by a certain author for Dreamspinner, asking if we wanted to continue with their tours/ARCS, we politely said not at this time.  And were then informed we were put on their blacklist. lol    A company that acts in such a (insert word of choice here)  manner, imo,  and acts towards to many authors but has a blacklist?  That’s irony. #payyourauthors

A last note on this  subject here.

We also fully throw our support towards those blogs, authors, and readers who have been so brave and vocal in supporting the LGBTQIA+ authors who left Dreamspinners and have been outspoken about the reasons why and the impact on their lives and writing.  This includes Jay of Joyfully Jay, RJ Scoot, Avon Gale, TJ Klune, BA Tortuga, Jodi Payne, Julia Talbot, Sean Kennedy, Sean Michael, Anna Zabo, among others. There are over 80 ex DSP authors, all with the same story.  They need our support.  We  will be here to help them through January and again in the summer when we return.

Plus I will be reading all through my blog’s hiatus so I will have a backlog of books to review come return time!  None of which will be DSP!

 

Now on a more positive note.

Here is Lila’s Short Best of 2019 List:

From Lila:

Best Cover – I Was a Gay Teenage Zombie by Alison Cybe

Best Novel – Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke

Best Audiobook – Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch: narrated by Joel Leslie

Overall Best – Bishop by A.E. Via

Now onto this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 5:

  • Announcements and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, January 6:

  • BLITZ Love on the Spectrum by Alec Nortan
  • BLITZ Life Minus Me by Sara Codair
  • Blog Tour – Inheritance (Deadly Curiosities #4) by Gail Z. Martin
  • A Melanie Review Inheritance (Deadly Curiosities #4) by Gail Z. Martin

Tuesday, January 7:

  • Cover Reveal Signal – Fade In (A Tales of Bryant Romance) – V.L. Locey
  • Reveal Blitz Shots on Goal (Stick Side #3) by Amy Aislin
  • BLITZ Lord of Thundertown by O.F. Cieri
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Devil’s Hour by Aimee Nicole Walker

Wednesday, January 8:

  • BLITZ Boiling Over by Thea McAlistair
  • AUDIO BLITZ All the Way to Shore by CJane Elliott
  • REVIEW TOUR – A.E. VIA – PROMISES: PART 1 (BOUNTY HUNTERS #1)
  • An Alisa Audio Review A.E. VIA – PROMISES: PART 1 (BOUNTY HUNTERS #1)

Thursday, January 9:

  • BLOG TOUR Devil’s Hour by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A MelanieM Review: The Hunt for Red Fluffy (Brimstone #6) by Angel Martinez

Friday, January 10:

  • Release Blitz – Biker Daddy (The Grimm Tales of Smoky Vale Book 1) by Gianni Holmes
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Forbidden Bond by Lee Colgin

Saturday, January 11:

  • A MelanieM Review: Head in the Game by Jeff Adams