A Caryn Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

So I finished Single White Incubus a few months ago, loved it, and wanted to know what happened with the other two guys who were left at the altar.  And of course, this author never disappoints me, so this is the story of Rusty Johnson, inactive beaver shifter, and Casimir Moreau, vampire.  It is definitely not a stand alone book, and I will try not to put any spoilers from either book in this review.

Casimir was the youngest of the vampires, after their near extinction as a race caused them to strike a deal with the rest of the supernatural community to ban further vampire creation.  Despite only being 100 years old, he was already bored and dissatisfied with his undead existence, and he managed to get into quite a bit of trouble.  To the point that the vampire council  decided that he needed a permanent keeper, and they also decided the best way to accomplish that was to marry him to an incubus of excellent breeding and social standing.  Supernatural Selections guaranteed the match would be perfect, and the vampire council was happy to be in charge of the choice.

Rusty was an anomaly and an embarrassment to the shifter community.  Unable to shift, too tall, too awkward, and all too conscious of these faults that the beaver community would not let him forget.  The last straw was when his boyfriend dumped him for a female beaver shifter, and took the house that Rusty had lovingly built for the two of them.  Rusty signed up with Supernatural Selections and was matched to a bear shifter who lived far enough away that he wouldn’t ever have to deal with them again.  It seemed perfect.

But when Rusty and Casimir showed up at the office to get hitched, they found their perfectly selected mates had married each other, through an incredible snafu.  It wouldn’t have been such a problem, but Cas faced a very real possibility of being staked in the sun if he didn’t show up to the council married.  Shifters and vampires are anathema to each other (thank you, Twilight lore), and Cas thought getting married to Rusty would be a phenomenal fuck you to the vampire council, so he convinced Rusty – with the help of plenty of alcohol – to sign a temporary marriage contract.  Rusty was a great guy though, and Cas wasn’t completely selfish, and he figured the charade would also benefit Rusty, because what would be better than showing up at his ex-boyfriend’s wedding with a husband guaranteed to piss off the entire beaver shifter clan?

Getting to know these guys as they got to know each other was the best part of the book.  Rusty was such a boy scout, honest, kind, generous, but not prudish or stuck up at all.  He was completely unaware of his charms, both mental and physical, and that is the kind of character that I love best.  Cas was a bit of a bad boy, but he had matured enough to know there was more to life, and Rusty brought out the best in him.  They were both misfits in their communities, but what made them stick out there turned out to be what made them exactly right for each other.  But just when they were discovering how good they actually were together is when the web of lies and old grudges started closing in on them, and the consequences became a matter of life and death.

There were more plot twists and turns in this book than the first of the series – like the Fae Out of Water series that spawned this one, the books seem to be getting more complex and a bit darker as they progress.  This one is still as much comedy as it is romance, but there is definitely more of the mystery about it, and even more foreshadowing of a huge reveal in the next book.  I’m pretty sure I know what’s up with those AIs (Angel Interfaces) now, and why they are so sneaky and ominous, and I can’t wait to see if I’m correct when I read the next book.  And I’m thrilled that it will be about Zeke, the demon employee of Supernatural Selections, who’s definitely got some secrets of his own.

Once again I couldn’t give a full five stars, mainly because the resolution of the book required the use of a plot device that I absolutely hate, and that I think may screw up all the hints and foreshadowing that were otherwise really well done.  This is a personal pet peeve though, other readers might not mind it.  I was happy to see that the characters from Druid Next Door featured prominently in this book, just as those from Cutie and the Beast featured in book one.

Cover art by L.C. Chase fits perfectly with the series, but I was disappointed that it was all about Cas, and nothing really represented Rusty.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 300 pages
Published November 26th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Vampire with Benefits
ISBN 1626498563 (ISBN13: 9781626498563)
Edition Language  English
Series Supernatural Selection #2

Single White Incubus

Vampire with Benefits

Aidan Wayne on Writing, Happy Endings, and their new release Showers, Flowers, and Fangs (author guest blog)

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Showers, Flowers, and Fangs by Aidan Wayne
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist:  Tiferet Designs

Buy Links:

Harmony InkDreamspinner Press |  Amazon  |  Googleplay  

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Aidan Wayne on tour for their new YA release, Showers, Flowers, and Fangs.  It’s a novel we highly recommend!. Welcome, Aidan.

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview  with Aidan Wayne

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing? – Absolutely. I love YA of all types; fantasy, historical fiction, contemporary, you name it. I grew up on everything from Anne of Green Gables to the Harry Potter series, with a whole lot of variety in between. But while I loved all of these books, the representation in many of them was… lacking, especially when it comes to the main characters. And the books I did find that had queer MCs (usually gay white males, let’s be real here) weren’t what I wanted. I didn’t want tragedy. I didn’t want “desperately trying to fit in.” I wanted fun and humor and acceptance and escapism. And I wanted more than just the G.

Darren, the main character in Showers Flowers and Fangs, is a total flaily spaz, a loyal friend, and Tries His Best. He’s bad at math (which how both his parents are accountants), good at video games, loves the rain, and tiger lilies are his favorite flower because they taste the best. Oh, and, y’know, there’s the whole “half-fae” thing. He’s also a trans teen, bi, and completely accepted by his community.

I just want more fun stories where LGBTQ kids get to do things like be magic or pilot space stations or exist in the 1800s.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why? – Yes! Or, wait, was I supposed to pick between the two? There are pluses to both. On one hand, I love happily ever afters. I love characters getting a happy ending… as long as it ultimately makes sense within the story premise. Point A to Point B to Point C to Point HEA. But sometimes an HFN fits a story–how it’s evolved and where it’s gone. A Happily Ever After doesn’t entirely work. More needs to happen, which may or may not have taken place in the book. This is especially true in YA. For instance, Showers Flowers and Fangs is a “happy for now” ending. It has to be; the characters are teenagers. They do make great progress and the story ends happily, but a “happily ever after” makes no sense yet.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going? – I think the ebook format is great! I’m someone who never wants to be without a book, and with ebooks and a phone I can have as many as I want any time I want. Traveling used to be an exercise in Picking Books and I distinctly remember several years ago going to visit a relative and lugging around the last four Harry Potter books because I wanted to reread them. With ebooks, all those problems are solved. I do admit to enjoying having physical copies of my books though, because I think that’s really special. And, well, ebooks are also a lot easier to pirate which actively hurts me personally as an author. But there is so much merit (and better availability and accessibility) when it comes to ebooks. Overall I’m very glad they exist.

How do you choose your covers? – I’m not a very visual person at all, so usually I draw a blank when filling out a cover artist questionnaire sheet. Mostly what happens is that the cover artist gives me some options, I realize what I don’t like or want, and we sort of narrow things down from there. Actually, Showers Flowers and Fangs is the one exception out of all of my covers so far. I knew EXACTLY what I wanted. And wow, did my cover artist deliver. I love it. It perfectly captures everything I wanted it to.

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation? – I remember being… maybe fourteen? reading Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer and being furious when the main character (who had been disguising herself as a boy) revealed herself to be a girl. Worse: that’s when her love interest exhibited said interest. Not before the reveal. Same with the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce. And Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede. And so many, many, many others. Then there were the books where a male dressed up as a female–usually for laughs, or as part of some hackneyed plan that ended terribly.

I got… really tired of these trope. I wanted MCs to stay disguised as boys forever (and still get their love interests, if they wanted one) and to not be ridiculed for dressing and/or presenting a certain way. It didn’t ah, really sink in as to maybe why I reacted so viscerally to this trope until a lot later.

Anyway. The point is that, especially now, I write a lot of trans, non-binary, and otherwise gender non-conforming characters (having happy endings, this is important), and will continue to do so pretty much until I die.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why? – Ironically? Showers. Showers Flowers and Fangs is my favorite. I am varying degrees of proud of all my work (with and without ways I can think of improvements) but writing Showers was an amazing time for me. I don’t think I stopped grinning once while writing it. I was delighted to discover things as they came to me. I love all the characters. I think the plot and premise is fun. There’s overcoming sadness and getting out to the other side. There’s acceptance and love. There’s magic and friendship and laughter and ice cream.

It makes me happy.

I hope it makes readers happy, too.

BLURB

Darren is your average half-human, half-fae trans teenager, busy figuring out his powers and puberty while trying to survive finals. When Vlad, a newly turned vampire, moves in with the witch down the street, he and Darren get off on the wrong foot. Darren is always one to give somebody a second chance, though, and as they become friends, he realizes Vlad is just lonely and struggling with his new powers. That’s something Darren can definitely relate to, and he’s happy to lend his support. But while he coaxes Vlad out of his shell, Darren ends up learning about Vlad’s past… and the danger Vlad is in. Darren only wants to help—help Vlad feel comfortable in his own skin and help him feel safe.

He hadn’t planned on falling in love.

About the Author

Aidan Wayne lives with altogether too many houseplants on the seventh floor of an apartment building, and though the building has an elevator, Aidan refuses to acknowledge its existence. They’ve been in constant motion since before they were born (pity Aidan’s mom)—and being born didn’t change anything. When not moving Aidan is usually writing, so things tend to balance out. They mostly stick with contemporary romance (both adult and YA), but some soft sci-fi/fantasy has been known to sneak in as well, and they primarily write character-driven stories with happy endings. Because, dammit, queer people deserve happy endings too.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website: aidanwayne.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aidanwayne

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15164017.Aidan_Wayne

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AidanWayneWrites/

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/cO6OGL

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Showers, Flowers, and Fangs by Aidan Wayne

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Darren is your average half-human, half-fae trans teenager, busy figuring out his powers and puberty while trying to survive finals. When Vlad, a newly turned vampire, moves in with the witch down the street, he and Darren get off on the wrong foot. Darren is always one to give somebody a second chance, though, and as they become friends, he realizes Vlad is just lonely and struggling with his new powers. That’s something Darren can definitely relate to, and he’s happy to lend his support. But while he coaxes Vlad out of his shell, Darren ends up learning about Vlad’s past… and the danger Vlad is in. Darren only wants to help—help Vlad feel comfortable in his own skin and help him feel safe.

He hadn’t planned on falling in love.

The blurb of Showers, Flowers and Fangs sounded extremely promising and I had quite high expectations. And I’m happy to say the author certainly didn’t disappoint.

I loved the world this book is set in. There are all the supernatural creatures you’ve ever heard of – and more. They live peacefully with the humans and half-breeds are far from unusual. That’s not a concept I’ve come across before. Darren got a bit unlucky with his abilities. He’s trans, but human medicine doesn’t agree with him and his fae powers aren’t all that strong either. So while he can pass with the help of a glamour, actual transitioning isn’t going to happen quite so easily. The author obviously put a lot of thought into their universe and how the rules affect the MCs. The world building was really well done and flowed naturally into the plot.

Darren and Vlad were adorable together. This is very much a coming-of-age story about the first experiences with romance, which are complicated by Vlad’s past. There are a few darker moments, but overall it was an absolutely heartwarming read, without it ever getting cheesy and overly fluffy. Just a feel-good story, with great depth and a bit of humour.

I liked both our MCs. Darren is extremely likable from the beginning and while it might take a while for Vlad to warm up, he’s still a wonderful person. Even though this is a Fantasy book, it just all felt very realistic to me.

We get quite a few surprising reveals and the book was very addicting. It was a super fast read and I enjoyed every single second of it. It’s quirky, unique and absolutely adorable. It’s also suitable for younger readers. I’d probably recommend this to kids aged 13 and above. Of course it also works for adults, like me. I hope there’ll be more books set in this wonderfully imaginative universe.

The cover by Tiferet Design is very pretty. It reminds me of a fairy tale and I love the blue background.

Sales LInks:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 190 pages

Expected publication: December 11th 2018 by Harmony Ink Press

First of Our Best of 2018 Lists. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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First of Our Best of 2018 Lists

So this Sunday we are starting off with our first of our Best of 2018 lists.  First up is our reviewer Alisa with her Top Stories down to her Top Covers.  Yes, we have always shared our love of book covers here along with our appreciation of the various artists talents.  Lately we have had some new names appear doing absolutely incredible covers alongside the artists who represent the best in the industry.  So make sure you check out all the names to go along with the beautiful covers we put out there.  Maybe give us a few suggestions of your own.

Also relatively new are the narrators in the  audiobook Best of category.  I listen to more and more audiobooks every year and can’t stress the importance of a fabulous narrator.  They can make or break an audiobook.  Check out who Alisa has as her favorites below.  Do you have yours?

Each week we will roll out more lists…keep an eye out to see how our lists compare with yours.  Did you miss some books?  Did we agree on others?  Let me know!

 

From Alisa:

2018 Top Stories/Novels

Guarding His Melody by Victoria Sue

Blood for the Spilling by TJ Nichols

Promises Part 4 by AE Via

Elemental Magick by Jacki James

Us by Shaw Montgomery

Professor Adorkable by Edie Danford

Discovery by Quinn Ward

Expecting by Sarah Havan

After the Weekend by Silvia Violet

The Swap by Annabella Michaels

Best Audiobooks

Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn, narrator Kirt Graves

Kairos by Mary Calmes, narrator Michael Fell

Freckles by Amy Lane, narrator Nick Russo

BFF by KC Wells, narrator Michael Mola

Pins and Needles by AJ Thomas, narrator Jason Riley

Best Series

Men of Meadowfall by Anna Wineheart

Studies in Demonology by TL Nichols

Promises by AE Via

Requiem Inc. by Kris T. Bethke

College of United Monsters by CB Archer

Cold Case Psychic by Pandora Pine

Enhanced World by Victoria Sue

The Accidental Master by MA Innes

Kink in the City by Quinn Ward

Strength by MA Innes

Best Covers

Blood for the Spilling by TJ Nichols, cover artist Catt Ford

Heart of a Redneck by Jodi Payne, cover artist Alexandria Corza

Edge of Living by HL Day, cover artist HL Day

Elemental Magick by Jacki James, cover artist Vicki Brostenianc

Expecting by Sarah Havan, cover artist Melissa Liban

 

Now here is this week at our blog.  We continue with more Advent Calendar stories, I have reviewed an incredible M/M historic romance today called The Bibliophile by Drew Marvin Frayne.  You really should check that out. The Yakuza Path series by Amy Tasukada is as far from a holiday saga as you can get.  But it’s brilliant, bloody, and a must read. Number 4 is out this week.  If you love holiday series, The Christmas Angel series is not to be missed, several of them are also on to be reviewed as well.  So much going on.  Don’t miss a day here.

 

Happy Reading!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 9: ☃️

  • First of Our Best of 2018 Lists.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Book Blast Love’s Trials by Janice Jarrell
  • A MelanieM Review: The Bibliophile by Drew Marvin Frayne
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Oz (Finding Home #1) by Lily Morton
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: Holiday Island by A.D. Ellis

Monday, December 10:☃️

  • COVER REVEAL: Amanda Meuwissen’s A Model Escort
  • Release Blitz for Home For Christmas by RJ Scott
  • Review Tour for A Soldier’s Wish (A Christmas Angel Story) by NR Walker
  • Release Blitz Tour for  Trusting Jack by Ruby Moore
  • A Lila Advent Calendar Review: Boca Dreams by Scudder James Jr
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Soldier’s Wish (A Christmas Angel Story) by NR Walker
  • A Lucy Review : Under The Felt Mistletoe by Nell Iris
  • An Alisa Review: Mine for Christmas by AD Lawless

Tuesday, December 11: ☃️

  • PROMO Andrew Grey
  • Release Blitz  Tour – Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs
  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Chasing Forever by Kelly Jensen
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Stetsons and Stakeouts by BA Tortuga
  • A Lucy Review : All I Want Is You by DJ Jamison
  • A Free Dreamer Advent Calendar Review: Tulsi Vivah by Anna Kaling
  • A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Showers, Flowers, and Fangs by Aidan Wayne

Wednesday, December 12: ☃️

  • Review Tour – Jordan L Hawk – The Magician’s Angel
  • Review Tour – Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs
  • Review Tour – The Deafening Silence (The Yakuza Path #4) by Amy Tasukada
  • A MelanieM Review:The Deafening Silence (The Yakuza Path #4) by Amy Tasukada
  • A Lucy Review : Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs
  • A Lila Advent Calendar Review: Guess Who’s Coming to Karamu by Cy Blanca
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady :The Magician’s Angel (The Christmas Angel #3) by Jordan L. Hawk
  • An Alisa Review: Celebrations in the Season of Long Nights by Mere Rain, a”Escape From the Holidays” Collection from Mischief Corner Books

Thursday, December 13:  ☃️

  • Spells & Stardust Anthology Tour
  • HARMONY INK PROMO Aidan Wayne
  • Book Blast for Pain and Promise by Lazlo Thorn
  • Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code by Charlie Cochrane Blog Tour
  • A Caryn Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Blessed (The Matawapit Family #1) by Maggie Blackbird
  • A MelanieM Review: Spells & Stardust by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: Death to Christmas Sweaters by LE Franks

Friday,  December 14:  ☃️

  • Review Tour –  Christmas Homecoming by LA Witt
  • PROMO BA Tortuga
  • Review Tour for Shrewd Angel (The Christmas Angel #6) by Anyta Sunday
  • Review Tour  for Rebellion by Naomi Aoki
  • An Ali Advent Calendar Review:The Night Sky Festival by S.A. Stovall
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Rebellion by Naomi Aoki
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady: Christmas Homecoming (The Christmas Angel #4) by L.A. Witt
  • A Lucy Review: Shrewd Angel (The Christmas Angel #6)by Anyta Sunday

Saturday, December 15:  ☃️

  • Review Tour – Neve Wilder – Dedicated (Rhythm Of Love #1)
  • Tour for  Meik&Sebastian – Obsessed #4 by Quin Perin
  • Book Blast: Blessed (The Matawapit Family #1) by Maggie Blackbird
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review: Too Hot for Santa by Helena Stone
  • An Alisa Review: Meik&Sebastian – Obsessed #4 by Quin Perin
  • A MelanieM Review: Dedicated (Rhythm Of Love #1) by Neve Wilder
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Holiday Home Hotel (An Escape from the Holidays Story) by Lou Sylvre
  • A MelanieM Review:  Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code (Cambridge Fellows #12.7by Charlie Cochrane

 

 

 

 

Into the Holidays We Go and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Into the Holidays We Go and Oh What Our Lists Will Bring!

It’s official, we’re in December, the last month of the year.  The beginning of the winter celebrations where we see the longest night of the year, the bonfires light to drive the darkness away and the return of increasing daylight, one minute at a time.  We acknowledge the passing of the old and the arrival of the new.  We reflect and look forward.  A time of straddling the boundaries between what has gone the year past and what we will make of the time that’s coming.

As with all things we’ve had our incredible highs and unexpected lows in losses this year.  Authors who’s passing has left us a much smaller and poorer community.  I’ll talk about that later this month.

I want to also remember all the wonderful authors, and their stories, the cover artists and their work, on books we loved this year.  It’s so hard to winnow it down into lists.

How do you compare an  outstanding cozy mystery series with a violinist with autism with a soaring SciFy masterpiece about a sentient spaceship?  Can’t possibly go in the same category and do both authors justice!  Or the finale of a urban fantasy that  reads like a nerd’s list of wanna’s but has been constructed ever so carefully  amidst careening mind blown action.  Do you throw that in against a book with deeply drawn portraits of lovers in a contemporary romance?  No, again, I think not.

Plus we have some outstanding 5 star holiday stories that surely deserve their own category?  How to divide up the list into sections without going crazy?

Hmmmm.

Thoughts anyone?

Anyhow, I’m working on that and lists will be soon rolling out.  Let me have a few of your Best of 2018.  We will be awarding some gift certificates just because it’s December for those who participate.

 

Happy Reading, get those  lists in, and check out all the stories we have coming at you this week!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, December 2:

  • Release Blitz – Saving Jax by L.M. Brown
  • Blog Tour for Drawn  to You by Jaclyn Quinn
  • Closer by F.E. Feeley, Jr Book Blast
  • A Barb The Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review:That Turtle Story by C.S. Poe
  • Into the Holidays We Go and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 3:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Rough Trade by Sidney Bell
  • Release Blitz  A Soldier’s Wish by NR Walker
  • Review Tour – Neutral Zone by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • An Ali Review: Rough Trade by Sidney Bell
  • A MelanieM Review :Neutral Zone (Harrisburg Railers #7) by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey
  • A MelanieM Review:  Best In Show by Kelly Jensen
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review: Barbies and Beaches by Asta Idonea

Tuesday, December 4:

  • Book Blitz Defensive Play by Jamie Deacon
  • Review Tour –  Christmas Angel (The Christmas Angel #1) by Eli Easton
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Sunshine in the Dragon’s Heart by Jaime Samms
  • A Caryn Review Broken Halos by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review: Mosquitoes and Mistletoe by Ren Holly
  • A Lucy Review: Christmas Angel (The Christmas Angel #1) by Eli Easton

Wednesday, December 5:

  • Cover Reveal for  Illumined Shadows by G.R Lyons 
  • Review Tour  for Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen
  • Release Blitz Tour –  – The Deafening Silence by Amy Tasukada
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review  Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen
  • A MelanieM Review: Loving a Warrior by Melanie Hansen
  • A MelanieM Review: The Holiday Spirit by Carole Cummings
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Advent Review:The Last Birthday Party by Mere Rain
  • An Alisa Review Surreal Estate by Jesi Lea Ryan

Thursday, December 6:

  • Review Tour – Kim Fielding – Summerfield’s Angel
  • Havoc (Tattoos and Ties) by Kindle Alexander New Release Tour
  • DSP PROMO Liv Olteano
  • Cover Reveal – A World Apart by Mel Gough
  • A MelanieM Review: Havoc (Tattoos and Ties) by Kindle Alexander
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Summerfield’s Angel by Kim Fielding
  • A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review: Warren’s Peace by Emjay Haze
  • A MelanieM Review:Lucky Town by Morgan Brice

Friday, December 7:

  • PROMO Jaime Samms
  • Mischief Corner Books”Escape From the Holidays” Collection
  • Blog Tour – The Stars May Rise and Fall by Estella Mirai
  • An Alisa Review: The Last Prince by Shawn Bailey
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review:  Semper Fae by Angel Martinez
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review:Trapped in the Valley of the Kings by Blue Jones
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: P.S. I Spook You by S.E. Harmon and Noah Michael Levine (Narrator)

Saturday, December 8:

  • Release Blitz – Nell Iris – Under The Felt Mistletoe
  • Release Blitz – The Selkie Prince’s Unexpected Omega (The Royal Alphas)
  • Release Blitz for Ari McKay – Designer Holiday
  • An Alisa Review: Slow Thaw by J. Scott Coatsworth (MCB anthology)
  • A Caryn Advent Calendar Review:The Faller by Daniel de Lorne

 

E.J. Russell on Parallel Timelines and her new release Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) (guest post and giveaway)

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Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell
Riptide Publishing
Cover art: LC Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host EJ Russell here today  talking about the release of her new book, Vampire with Benefits. Welcome, EJ>

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Hello and welcome to the blog tour for Vampire With Benefits! I can’t wait for you to meet Rusty and Cas, the second mismatched couple in my Supernatural Selection series (part of the Mythmatched universe). Thank you to all of you and to this blog for helping me celebrate the book release!

Parallel Timelines

By this point in my writing life, I’ve penned several series: Art Medium, Legend Tripping, Enchanted Occasions, Fae Out of Water, and now Supernatural Selection. In most of these, the books in the series progress chronologically—in other words, the second book’s events occur after those of the first book, the third book’s events after the second.

Supernatural Selection is the first series I’ve written where the events in the first two books occur contemporaneously. As a result, I was twisted into a brain pretzel for much of my writing process!

The events of both books are set in motion in Single White Incubus when Ted and Quentin sign a blood mating contract without checking the fine print. At that point, the clock starts ticking—and their relationship has to build and mature within the time leading up to the full moon, when they’ll be able to marry their intended perfect matches, Rusty and Casimir.

So I knew where Vampire With Benefits had to start—the day Quentin and Ted accidentally married each other. Rusty and Cas had to meet that same day, and their relationship had to build and mature in the identical timeframe, culminating at the full moon, when all of them needed to be back at Supernatural Selection.

The “build and mature” part of each equation was the easy part—during the two-plus weeks where they’re saddled with the wrong spouse, they have only each other and their extended friends-and-family group to deal with. In Rusty’s case, that’s his clan, particularly his ex-boyfriend. For Cas, it’s Kristof Czardos, the head of the vampire council (who made his first appearance in Cutie and the Beast), as well as a few other significant others.

The kickoff wasn’t too bad either—just get ‘em to the Supernatural Selection office and slap them into each other. Piece of cake, right?

But the timing of the final scenes at the Supernatural Selection offices? Oy.

Conversation with myself: “Who’s in the building now? Are they upstairs or in the lobby? Where’s Zeke? Where’s Quentin? Where’s Ted? Where’s Rusty? Where’s Cas? What the hell was I thinking?”

It was definitely a blood-pressure-raising exercise, but it was kinda fun too. I enjoy logic puzzles, and getting everything to work out in the end was sooo satisfying—although I may have turned my editors’ hair gray!

My hair, of course, was already there.

 

About Vampire With Benefits

A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but this broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.

Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

About Supernatural Selection

Are you a shifter who’s lost faith in fated mates? A vampire seeking a Second Life companion? Or perhaps you’re a demon yearning to claim a soul (mate)?

Congratulations! Your search is over!

Welcome to Supernatural Selection, where our foolproof spells guarantee your perfect match.

Until they don’t.

Check out Supernatural Selection 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 the release of Vampire With Benefits one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and an ecopy of The Druid Next Door, the second title in the Fae Out of Water series, also from the Mythmatched universe! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 27, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

And Into December We Go! This Weekend at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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And Into December We Go!

 

With Thanksgiving leftovers still stockpiled in the refrigerator, a few final things this blogger is happily thankful for.  All the wonderful reviewers here at  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, the wonderful tour and promotional people and groups that work so  hard to help the authors get their stories and books promoted, the publishers, the editors (in every form), the writers producing all these amazing stories that transport us each and every day into other lives and worlds from contemporary to science fiction and everything in between.

And to all the readers of our blog in every format as well.  I’m thankful for you all too.  I love reading your comments and our interaction and look forward to December and soon another year together.

Hard to believe 2018 is ending soon.

This week we welcome the arrival of December.  Oh my.

If you look over this week’s schedule, much like the store’s decorations and merchandise all around you, you will notice the arrival of all the holiday stories has gone from a trickle to a flood.  It’s a veritable holiday feast of stories from Amy Lane to KC Wells.  There’s even a Hockey Holiday Anthology where 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to charity. December 1st also begins the start of our reviews of Dreamspinner Press’ Advent Calendar stories, one a day until the end of the month.  This year’s theme is Warmest Wishes!  We will also be reviewing again collections of stories from Mischief Corner Books, a grand selection that usually ranges from pagan to science fiction and many more.  That’s just touching on a small tip of our holiday story iceberg that’s awaiting you here!

Not that we will be forgetting our normal reviews for fantasy, contemporary, and other types of LGBTQIA fiction.  Nope, those will be included as well.  Busy, busy, busy.

Plus we need to start thinking about what stories and covers made our Best of 2018 this year.  Do you know which made your list?  Start jotting down names because you know I’m going to ask for them soon!

In the meantime, check out our schedule for the upcoming week, contemplate your leftovers if any, and happy reading!

 

 

This Weekend at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, November 25:

  • Release Blitz – JM Snyder’s Accidentally On Purpose
  • An Alisa Review: Centaur of Attention (College of United Monsters #2) by C.B. Archer
  • A MelanieM Review: Best in Show by Kelly Jensen

Monday, November 26:

  • REVIEW TOUR – Comply by Lee Manarte
  • Cover Reveal for Ithani by J.Scott Coatsworth
  • Release Blitz for Neutral Zone by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • REVIEW TOUR – Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert
  • A MelanieM Review: Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert
  • A Free Dreamer Review : Comply by Lee Manarte
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Rend by Roan Parrish

Tuesday, November 27:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Vampire With Benefits by EJ Russell
  • BLOG TOUR Rough Trade by Sidney Bell
  • Santa is a Vampire by Damian Serbu BLITZ Tour
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Sweet Clematis (Being(s) in Love #9) by R. Cooper
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review:Blood for the Spilling (Studies in Demonology #3) by TJ Nichols
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Blood for the Spilling (Studies in Demonology #3) by TJ Nichols
  • An Alisa Review: Santa is a Vampire by Damian Serbu
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Secretly Dating the Lionman (Cowboys and Angels: Book Two) by Sue Brown

Wednesday, November 28:

  • On Tour with Havoc (Tattoos and Ties) by Kindle Alexander
  • Release Blitz Tour Request – Melanie Hansen – Loving A Warrior
  • Review Tour for Mr Winterbourne’s Christmas by Joanna Chambers
  • An Alisa Review Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon by Damian Serbu
  • A Lila Review The Billionaire’s Wish (My Billionaire #3) by Geoffrey Knight (
  • An Ali Review : Mr Winterbourne’s Christmas by Joanna Chambers
  • A Lucy Review: Stay Awhile (Escape from the Holidays) by Kassandra Lea
  • A MelanieM Review: Hockey Holidays Anthology – Various Authors

Thursday, November 29:

  • Release Week Blitz Christmas Lane by Amy Aislin
  • HARMONY INK GUEST POST Jeff Adams (video)
  • Beat of Their Own Drum by KM Neuhold , Blog Tour
  • An Alisa Review: Peaches and the Shadow by K.L. Noone
  • A MelanieM Review: The Stars May Rise and Fall by Estella Mirai
  • A Lila Review: Beat of Their Own Drum by KM Neuhold
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Christmas Lane by Amy Aislin

Friday, November 30:

  • Review Tour – Jay Northcote – Stuck With You
  • Review Tour – Garrett Leigh – Crossroads (Skins #4)
  • Release Blitz for Old Acquaintance – Annabelle Jacobs
  • An Ashez Release Day Review: Strays and Lovers by John Inman
  • A Jeri Review : Crossroads (Skins #4) by Garrett Leigh
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review Semper Fae by Angel Martinez
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Stuck With You by Jay Northcote

Saturday, December 1:

  • Review Tour for Leta Blake – Mr Frosty Pants
  • Release Blitz – Santa Daddy – Keira Andrews
  • Release Blitz – DJ Jamison – All I Want Is You
  • An Alisa Review Burning Down the House (Escape from the Holidays) by Gregory L. Norris
  • A Jeri Review : Mr. Frosty Pants (Home for the Holidays #1) by Leta Blake
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Law of Miracles by KC Wells
  • A Caryn Advent Calendar Review: An Everyday Hero (2018 Advent Calendar Daily – Warmest Wishes)
    by E.J. Russell

 

An Alisa Review A Fated Bond by T.L. West

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Joseph Roth, a young member of the Rockfort Paranormal Department which is in charge of keeping vampires, shifters, fairies, and all kind of supernatural creatures in check, finds himself facing more than he bargained for when he is assigned to investigate a mysterious murder. Not only is Joseph stuck between his department and a prestigious vampire family, he’s unaware of the target on his back. With the department keeping secrets from him, Joseph decides to uncover the truth on his own, unaware that dark forces are on the rise. Will Joseph be able to find the truth in time or is his search allowing the enemy to come close enough for a kill?

I felt like I was missing something in this story.  Joseph has been working for the paranormal department and becomes the target of one bad guy.  Greg has felt like he was waiting for something for the last 25 years, he doesn’t expect that connection to Joseph to put Joseph in danger.

This story shows a lot of different points of view and different sides of the story.  Unfortunately the story seemed half completed, maybe another book will come in the future but it isn’t marked as a series.  It seems this is loosely connected to Angels and Man-Beasts that I read last year and I felt the same way with that story.  I felt that Joseph and Greg were just a small portion of the book and wish there had been some sort of conclusion by the end of the book.

I like the cover art by Natasha Snow and the visuals are connected to Joseph and Greg’s portion of the book.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 39,800 words

Published: November 5, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949909-14-2

Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: His Consort by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Jason Thorpe, former military, opens a quaint little shop in a home he inherited when one of his former buddies was killed in action. He meets a gregarious and beautiful woman named Ode, who becomes his best friend and business partner and settles down. Little does he know, however, that New Orleans is heavily populated by a vampyr population—some born and some made (result of a vampyr and human mating). Oddly, when he’s around, the two groups don’t feud, but it isn’t until later in the story that we learn of his personal connection to the world of vampyrs when he meets Prince Varic, his apparent mate.

Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this story as much as I had hoped. I’m a huge fan of Mary Calmes and rarely dislike one of her characters, but in this instance, I couldn’t warm up to either Jason, the “everyone loves me” character, so typical of her stories, or to Varic, the vampyr prince—dark, handsome, alpha male.

Like the Change of Heart series, the author needed to build this world from the ground up and though it was interesting, there was more on-page time devoted to the background and world-building than there was for any romance. While building the vampyr world, the author also introduced a whole host of vampyr characters, including those who were pure and those who were made. There was also the world of the royalty: not only Prince Varic, but information about both his parents, the courtesans, and two other characters who had a major role in Varic’s life and in this story.

And then there was Jason and his host of friends, because of course, he’s one of those people who are too good to be true and attract friends like flies to honey. He didn’t work for me because his character didn’t seem to fit with his past behaviors, like his military background and the life choices he’s made. And then that background and life experience didn’t fit with someone who would swoon at his vampyr mate and more or less play the role of a dainty maiden. Granted, he fought alongside the vamps a few times, but he continued to be super sappy over Varic, and I couldn’t warm up to him at all.

Now Varic is another story. In fact, I didn’t like him at any point in the story. He was, as one would expect a vampyr prince who is hundreds of years old to be, quite full of himself. Self-centered, know-it-all, super-alpha male, not considerate of how his actions affect Jason, at first, and simply too OTT. Definitely not my cuppa, and as I said, even toward the end, I was not a fan.

Add to the fact the characters weren’t believable as loving mates, the overabundance of new facts in the world building made this much less than I’d hoped. I liked it. Yes, the story was complex and interesting once I understood the various factions, but I never moved beyond minimal liking it.

The cover by Reese Dante features a gorgeous, long-haired man in a black suit—the perfect representation of Varic.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 284 pages
Expected publication: November 20th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640809628
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Quenched in Blood (Asheville Arcana #3) by Ari McKay

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

Will love mean rebirth… or death?

Vampire Julian Schaden has been warning the Asheville Paranormal Council of an impending demonic incursion for more than two decades. Over the past two years, he and his friends have fought as hard as they can with little help, since Micah Carter, the demon hunter who should have led them, shirked his responsibility and then perished.

Desperate for anything that might aid the fight, Julian enters the Carter property and finds something he never dared hope for: young Thomas Carter, the heir to a long line of demon hunters.

Thomas knows nothing about the supernatural world. But the prospect of a real life, outside the sheltered, isolated farm where he grew up, calls to him, and the idea of fighting the Unholy feels right.

Julian agrees to train Thomas even as he struggles against an unexpected, unwanted attraction. Thomas is too young and innocent to get involved with Julian, but opposites attract, and this is one battle Julian seems fated to lose. A prophecy from a dying mage comes with a bleak warning: the upcoming battle will claim Thomas’s life. To keep his home and friends safe, Julian may have to sacrifice the only love he’s ever known.

The Asheville Arcana series/trilogy comes to an end with Quenched in Blood (Asheville Arcana #3) by Ari McKay.  Three close friends, Arden Gilmarin, Whimsey Hickes, Julian Schaden, (with former benefits) will have found  their mates/lovers and HEA and the series arc resolves with a crashing thunderous finale. 

The previous stories have introduced  the fact that there’s a major demon in the area looking for an artifact.  And to that end the demon will kill, enslave, and perform many heinous actions and be the master ordering the slaughter of many of those close to the main characters here.  It’s been a wild emotional ride watching half-elf Arden Gilmarin fall in love with alpha werewolf Eli Hammond in Out of the Ashes, the first in the series Equally so, Harlan Edgewood, possessed werewolf,  fall for mage Whimsy Hickes in Forged in Fire.  Whimsy Hickes remains still one of my all time favorite character names.  Thank you, Ari McKay!

Now it’s vampire Julian Schaden’s turn.  He has had a rough time watching his former lovers and friends find their HEA and mates.  He’s withdrawn from everyone into his castle, seemingly to conduct research but mostly to remove himself from the society of others.  Meanwhile the threat of the demon and those it is changing to help  accomplish its goals is growing stranger.

McKay is excellent at drawing out the suspense while creating anguish over the events and actions of the demon at large.  Who and what that demon is will not be revealed until late in the story.  As it should be.

The majority of the story is finding Micah Carter, his training, and relationship with Julian.  I wish that the story here was longer and maybe stronger.  I almost felt that he and Julian needed more time together for their relationship to “gell” as much as the others did.  I liked them together but for some reason never quite got as much as a emotional connection as I did the other two couples.

I think that’s because the other two stories didn’t have to carry as much a load as this  one did.  It had not only Julian and Micah’s romance but the ongoing story exposition, and then the series arc finale.  That’s a huge narrative load to carry and I think some elements had to lighten under that burden, the romance being one of them.

I thought the march towards the end and fighting scenes spectacular and heartbreaking.  I was so happy with the resolution although again, a little more explanation would have been wonderful.  That can be a dicy thing when ending a series.

When I look from the first introduction of the three men to the very last sentence, to the entire series arc, each relationship, the world building, and all the characters (quirks, cultures, and back histories), I think that Ari McKay accomplished a remarkable thing.  The Asheville Arcana series is a fun, scary, hair-raising thrill ride of a romance trilogy and this was a wonderful send off.

I definitely recommend this and  all the rest.

Cover art: Aaron Anderson.  Love the cover with it’s incorporation of an important element of the storyline.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages
Expected publication: November 20th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781640809444
Edition Language English
Series Asheville Arcana

Out of the Ashes

 

Forged in Fire

Quenched in Blood