A Barb the Zany Old Lady: Howling on Hold by EJ Russell

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I admit, I was attracted to this story by the cover and the blurb—and the fact that it was a standalone since I haven’t read any of the author’s other stories and I don’t like starting in the middle of a series. But I was disappointed in that there were multiple characters from previous books who played a strong secondary role in this story. There were also references to situations and past events that those who’ve read the other books would likely recognize. 

Apparently, though, when it comes to werewolves, this is the first time they’ve been explored. Those other books were about the Fae, and vampires, and other shifters and more, whereas this one focused on werewolf packs, their hierarchy, and the training of “juniors,” those who have passed certain criteria and now enter a three-year Howling school where they learn how to suppress the things that make them wolves so they can pass unnoticed in the human world. This book is about Tanner, a young wolf howling student who turns 21 and is worried that his uncle will call him back early so he can take over his legacy as pack alpha, his dad having died years before. And it’s about his RA in “the Doghouse,” Chase Denney, a guy with high moral standards who refuses to act on his attraction to Tanner. 

After a series of misunderstandings and a possible threat on his life, Tanner goes into hiding for three months. Chase isn’t aware he’s gone, due to his own series of misadventures that bans him from going back to the Doghouse, and when he returns, he immediately sets out to find Tanner and tell him how he really feels. Even when the two find each other, there’s still threats from otherworldly creatures to contend with, intercessions and assistance by the (apparently important) characters from previous books, and a dirty, underhanded plot from one of Tanner’s family members.

To be honest, the story felt way too busy with information overload. Perhaps it hit me that way because the author was trying to fill in all the past issues for those new to the book, or perhaps that’s the author’s writing style, but there was a lot of narrative, and in proportion, very little dialogue. Facts, facts, and more facts had my head spinning with information I did not find interesting so I had a difficult time following many parts of the story. I enjoyed the sweet and simple romance between the two young men, but that took up very little page time. A few less characters, both new and past, and a few less plot twists would have gone a long way toward making this a better book. More face-to-face time with more dialogue, less about the antics of the other wolves in the house (which didn’t seem to go anywhere or have a point to them), and a note linking this to the other books in this paranormal world would definitely have made the story more enjoyable.

The cover by L C Chase is really attractive and shows, in cartoon style, a wolf standing on a cliff edge, howling at the sky, with a cartoon bubble filled with hearts coming out of his mouth, instead of the traditional howl. Very cute and it’s what sold me on reading this story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 237 pages
Published January 13th 2020 by Riptide Publishing
ASINB081H7NLR6
Edition Language English

A Free Dreamer Review: Hathornatum (Pleletus #1) by Taylin Clavelli

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Have you ever wondered if that little voice inside you is actually, your voice?

Egypt captivates Benjamin. As an adult, he immerses himself in his chosen profession, as an archaeologist in the ancient city of Abydos. For Ben, the hieroglyphs, and paintings unlock dreams of a time long lost.

The dig Ben works on is financed by Ashari Hathonatum. For many years, the man has been looking for the one who completes him. He initially saw his heart’s match from a distance. But that was a long time ago and from an alternate universe. When Ashari encounters Ben, he wonders if he is the reincarnation of the man he saw, through another’s eyes, all those years ago. Will the secrets Ashari hides about his heritage stop their love blooming, or will others from his dimension, determined to keep Ashari from his heart’s match, rule the day?

Hathonatum is quite a wild story. There’s reincarnation, aliens, fantasy and ancient Egypt all rolled into one. While I like a wild story every now and then, I have to admit this one was a little too wild for me.

The book started off strong. I was immediately captivated and fascinated. The archaeology parts were really interesting. I’m not a huge history nerd, but mix in a bit of Fantasy and I’m all for it. And then there was the mystery surrounding Ashari.

But once that mystery started clearing up, it just got weirder and weirder. I don’t want to give away too much, bet let’s just say there were a lot of unexpected revelations.

I didn’t quite buy the romance between Ashari and Ben. I just didn’t feel it, for some reason. And of course Ben, a grown man, was a virgin who’s never even had a crush on anybody before. So not a trope I enjoy.

The sex scenes were pretty good, though. I liked that they switched. That’s a trope I do enjoy very much.

The ending was the last straw for me. I wasn’t happy with how everything turned out and it essentially made me dislike all the characters. At least it’s not a horrible cliffhanger. The storyline is pretty much finished and it’s obvious who the MCs of book 2 will be. I won’t be reading that one, though.

Overall, this book was just a bit too much for me. If weirdness doesn’t put you off, give it a try. Maybe it’s just me.

The cover looks a bit weird, too. The guy (I’m guessing it’s Ashari) looks a bit like Jesus. But I guess the weirdness fits the book and at least there’s no half-naked men on it. So yay for uniqueness.

Sales Links:  MLR Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published January 18th 2020 by MLR Press
ISBN13 9781641222914
Edition Language English
Series Peletus #1

Join Us for the Blog Tour for Hathornatum (Pleletus #1) by Taylin Clavelli (excerpt and giveaway)

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BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Hathonatum

Author: Taylin Clavelli

Publisher: MLR Press

Genre/sScience Fiction, Contemporary M/M, Interracial (Alien/Human), Inter-dimensional, Reincarnation. Multi-Verse, Historical elements.

Heat Rating: 3 – 4 flames

Length:  89 000 words         

The story can be read as a standalone. It is the first book in the Pelethus Series. The next book involves different main characters that are connected to those in Hathonatum. 

Buy Links – Coming Soon

Publisher: MLR Press  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Hathonatum is a love story that spans time, dimension, universe and death.

Blurb 

Have you ever wondered if that little voice inside you is actually your voice?

Egypt captivates Benjamin. As an adult, he immerses himself in his chosen profession, as an archaeologist in the ancient city of Abydos. For Ben, the hieroglyphs, and paintings unlock dreams of a time long lost. 

The dig Ben works on is financed by Ashari Hathonatum. For many years, the man has been looking for the one who completes him. He initially saw his heart’s match from a distance. But that was a long time ago and from an alternate universe. When Ashari encounters Ben, he wonders if he is the reincarnation of the man he saw, through another’s eyes, all those years ago. Will the secrets Ashari hides about his heritage stop their love blooming, or will others from his dimension, determined to keep Ashari from his heart’s match, rule the day?

**The story is written with British spelling/grammar. **

Excerpt 

Though Ben loved the thought of studying Seti, he was part of a small crew concentrating on Narmer (3180-3120 BC), whose tomb was located to the west of the dig, almost as far away from Seti as a tomb could get. Not much was known about the first pharaoh of the combined kingdoms, and Ben wanted to help discover something new. He wanted to shed light on a life that no one knew about—a new phenomenon to capture the imagination.

Ben had been on-site for a little over a week when he saw an intriguing man talking to Terry, his dig leader. Judging by his skin, Ben suspected the man to be local, but it was difficult to tell. Other than his face, the only other exposed part of him was his hands. The rest of him was covered with clothing designed to keep out the worst of the sand—layered, lightweight, loose, and black.

When the man locked gazes with him, Ben found himself staring into a vibrant blue sea of lapis lazuli, framed with black lashes and dark eyebrows. It wasn’t until a fellow worker walked between them that the connection was broken. When Ben sought to re-establish contact, the other had his back to him. Ben returned to his work, clearing out a trench of sand. The heat and excitement over what his group might find overshadowed any musings concerning the stranger. 

At the end of the day, Ben was so tired he clambered onto the city-bound truck with as much grace as a stumbling mummy. 

That night, while lounging on his bed, images of dark blue assaulted him. The event was rare for him, considering Egypt was his prime…prime everything.

Every day, the journey to the ruins was like being transported back in time. Ben could close his eyes and almost feel like he was there, in ancient Egypt. Often, he imagined he could see a partial image of the hustle and bustle of the ancient civilization continuing around him. At other times, he was in the quiet solitude of a temple. The images were odd, considering ancient Abydos was a graveyard.

From the drop-off point the next day, Ben made his way to tombs B17 and B18—the tombs attributed to Narmer. He worked there all morning with his small, square trowel and brush, slowly moving away the sands of eons. 

As lunchtime approached, he relocated to the edge of the main dig and took his break. From there, he would imagine life in ancient Egypt.

Daydreaming, he chose to walk back to his station. 

Suddenly, an alarm sounded. It was the warning for a sandstorm. It was similar to what his grandparents had described as the air raid warning from the war. 

There was a flurry of activity while people efficiently covered artefacts and other areas of importance. Ben glanced around, noticing the storm was a lot closer than he’d originally thought. It had come out of nowhere. What crept toward the dig seemed like a moving wall of cloud, dense enough to shield the view and engulf anything below it. If it wasn’t for the cottonlike plumes of wheat colours, Ben could have believed a curtain of rain was heading his way. The screen of rapid shadow was making quick progress toward the dig, swallowing all in its path. Briefly, Ben went rigid, unable to move. When the sound of hissing reached his consciousness, and sand stung his feet and face, he dashed toward shelter. He was running a losing race. 

Abruptly, he was grabbed and pulled to the floor behind a shallow wall. In a spell of activity as sleek as the sandstorm, a mask was put over his face, and his body along with that of his saviour rolled together. Over and over, they turned. Coming to a halt, and dizzy, Ben found himself cocooned, head to toe in a thick blanket. From the outside, the two of them probably resembled a fat, discarded mummy. 

As Ben regained his senses, he could feel a wall to his back and secure arms around him. The only thing between them was his messenger bag containing the bottles of water he was required to keep on him to prevent dehydration in the desert sun. 

Panting, he opened his eyes to a familiar sea of lazuli.

About the Author 

 

I am proud to be British and proud to be an author of gay romance stories from varying genres. I write under the pseudonym Taylin Clavelli, not because I don’t want my real name out there, but because I think my real name is unmemorable for an author. The name came about from a night of Skype and a lot of wine.

My first published work – a comedy called Boys Toys and Carpet Fitters – came out in 2012. It was part of a Dreamspinners anthology called Don’t Do This At Home. Since then, I have produced a further two novels and five short stories, not including Hathonatum. 

As well as being married for close to thirty years, and have a grown-up family, who I adore – I work part-time at a Manor Hotel, where I am also the resident historian. I am a book reviewer, too for a well-known site.

Not being a spring chicken anymore, I have a few hobbies that over the years have come, gone and resurfaced again. I am an experienced horse rider, and 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. I help my husband with DIY projects, upcycle as much as possible and love my garden. As for those simple things that make me stop in my tracks. The dawn chorus, baking bread, lasagne, and the scene where Shadowfax makes his screen entrance.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win: 

 A choice of paperback + swag from Dakota Skies, Secret Of The Manor or 5 shorts from Taylin – 3 winners

A choice of 1 ecopy from Dakota Skies, Secret Of The Manor or 5 shorts from Taylin – 5 winners

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

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!

 

In the Spotlight and Giveaway:Anyone but You by Brien Michaels

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Anyone but You by Brien Michaels

Riptide Publishing

Published December 9th 2019
Cover art: LC Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing |

 

About Anyone But You

Murder is one hell of a drag.

Jack Kieza has a problem. He’s deeply attracted to men, but his homophobic family has left him too afraid to act on it. With his thirtieth birthday around the corner, his curiosity gets the best of him, and he finds himself at a gay club. After spending a fiery night with drag queen Sheila Saltue, everything changes. Especially when he discovers her alter ego: his boss, Ryan Swift.

Ryan knew he should’ve said no the second Jack approached him. Now he can’t stop himself from texting Jack every chance he gets. But Jack won’t let him take the wig off during sex, and being Sheila off-stage is wearing thin.

The more time they spend together, the more intense their feelings get, but Jack isn’t ready to date a man yet. When drag queens start turning up murdered, it forces Jack to reexamine his feelings, because what if Ryan is next? While Jack wants their burgeoning relationship to work, it would mean having to admit who he is to the world. And that’s an idea as frightening as death.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!


About Brien Michaels

Brien Michaels was hatched shortly before the turn of the century. He grew up in the DMV area and has been creating characters for as long as he can remember, starting with an imaginary friend named Farquad Beaverhausen. Before turning his considerably wicked imagination to writing, he was an actor, aspiring film student, movie theater concessionist, and the first human to enter the seventy-second dimension. Though it is unclear whether he made it back or if Farquad’s evil twin, Brad, has taken control of his body. He’s currently on the run from the Secret Police, who want to bring him in for questioning regarding the whereabouts of erotica authors L.A. Witt and Lauren Gallagher. If you encounter him, please contact his publishers immediately, as he likely should be chained to a desk writing and not out walking children in nature.

Twitter: @BrienMichaels


 

Giveaway

To celebrate this release, one lucky person will win a $10 gift card to Riptide. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 14, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Counter Culture by JL Merrow

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A delightfully humorous, yet poignant, story about two young men who have a chance meeting late one night when one spots the other removing a coil from an old refrigerator someone has trashed. Odd? Bizarre? Robin Christopher (cruel parents picked that name!) is intrigued enough with Refrigerator Guy to learn more.

Refrigerator Guy turns out to be Archie Levine, an avid steampunker and new father. After the usual “misunderstanding” scenario, Robin learns Archie and the baby’s mother aren’t married and aren’t even in love, so all is clear. Except—Archie’s mother is heading a protest march against the store where Robin works as she and her fellow protestors assume the well-known store took advantage of local homeless persons in their holiday ad campaign. Unfortunately, Robin doesn’t tell Archie where he works; instead, saying he’s an accountant.

The story is long, complex, and full of JL Merrow’s unique style of humor, and of course, Robin’s lies are found out, he and Archie break up, and both are devastated. Will they find their way back to each other? You know it!

What I loved most is the author’s humor and the way the plight of the homeless was portrayed. Readers are subtly presented with the facts through meeting a few of the “rough sleepers” who have their own places in the doorways and alleys surrounding the area. The author doesn’t preach but readers are certainly given food for thought and a nudge toward increased awareness of the problems facing those who live on the street.

MM romance readers who love steampunk should certainly enjoy this story, as would those who simply enjoy a sweet romance between two engaging characters.

The cover by LC Chase features two men: one in steampunk attire, one in a 21st century T-shirt. They are looking at each other in apparent shock—mouths open in surprise. It’s fun, it’s colorful, and it’s spot-on for the story.

Sales Links:   

Riptide Publishing | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 344 pages
Published November 4th 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Counter Culture
ISBN13 9781626499218
Edition Language English

In The Spotlight Tour and Giveaway:Counter Culture by JL Merrow.

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Counter Culture by J.L. Merrow

Riptide Publishing
Published November 4th 2019

Cover Art: LC Chase

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo

 

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today to celebrate the release of my new rom-com, Counter Culture, which features a clash of cultures between a socially conscious steampunk and a stressed-out department store retail worker.

About Counter Culture

Customer service has never been this personal.

Robin Christopher, beleaguered retail worker, isn’t having an easy November. His boss is raising stress levels planning a Black Friday to end all Black Fridays, his family doesn’t understand him, and his best friend thinks his new crush is a hallucination brought on by watching too many episodes of Doctor Who.

Archie Levine dresses in Victorian style and divides his time between caring for his young son and creating weird and wacky steampunk gadgets from bits of old junk—when he’s not looking after his mum and trying to keep on good terms with his ex. The last thing he’s got time for is a relationship, but the flustered young man he met while disembowelling a fridge is proving very tempting.

When his mum’s social conscience is roused by a local store with a cavalier attitude to the homeless, former rough sleeper Archie shares her anger. Little does he know that Robin works for that same store. When Archie finds out he’s sleeping with the enemy, things could cut up very rough indeed.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

 

 

About JL Merrow

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. 

She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Two of her novels have won Rainbow Awards for Romantic Comedy (Slam!, 2013 and Spun!, 2017) and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers Association, Verulam Writers and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: https://jlmerrow.com/, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

 

 

Giveaway

To celebrate this release, one lucky person will win a $10 gift card to Riptide. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 9, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

A MelanieM Review: The Dragon CEO’s Assistant (Golden Kingdom) by Jenn Burke

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A Golden Kingdom Novel

The heart remembers.

When Aidan Bishop staggers out of the woods, naked and suffering from amnesia, he needs to relearn who he is and where he fits in the world.

His boss, nearly five-hundred-year-old dragon Nassim, head of a successful tech company, hurries to claim his wayward assistant and guide him back into the life he disappeared from. As they get to know each other again, Aidan wonders if their relationship went deeper than employer and employee. But Nassim isn’t telling, and Aidan has a secret of his own… even if he doesn’t know it yet.

I am always up for a dragon book.  Can’t help myself.  So The Dragon CEO’s Assistant by Jenn Burke felt like it was in my wheelhouse.  Fantasy, a mit of a mystery, romance, and yes, a dragon!  Yippee!

Turns out I enjoyed Jenn Burke’s tale of dragon romance and mystery, although I hadn’t realized it was part of a series, one I wasn’t familiar with.  Not that it made a difference here as this story works very well as a standalone.

We are dumped immediately into the mystery as Aiden appears naked and without memory coming out of the woods within distance of a building.  One that happens to be one where he used to work.  From there we meet several co-workers, and of course,, his boss, the gorgeous and impressive dragon,Nassim.  The story is told from Aiden’s perspective so we get his total puzzlement, his lack of foundation for everything around him, and his awareness of Nassim on many levels.

The story progresses as Aiden tries  to figure out who he is and where he figures out his place in the world, getting hints that all isn’t well from things happening around him.

Burke gives us different fantasy beings, elements of mystery and suspense while not forgetting the romance and love.  I wish I could say that the aspect of romance and love felt substantial here but that didn’t feel like it to me.  That was the only element that I thought needed strengthening.  The mystery, the suspense?  All good but the relationship?  The love and background between Aiden and Nassim?  That was missing and the story felt the lack

The Dragon CEO’s Assistant by Jenn Burke was a sweet fantasy romance with a touch of mystery and suspense.  I enjoyed it as I do most of this author’s writings. If you like dragon’s, lovers reunited, and second chance stories, I am sure this is one you will enjoy too.

Cover art: really works for the character and story.  Nice!

Sales Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X3T8JYJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-dragon-ceo-s-assistant

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dragon-ceos-assistant-jenn-burke/1132374115?ean=9781644055175

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/the-dragon-ceos-assistant/id1471192566

Book Details:

ebook, 211 pages
Expected publication: October 29th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Dragon CEO’s Assistant
ISBN 139781644055175
Edition Language English
Series Golden Kingdom

Love a Touch of Fantasy in Your Romance? Check Out the Tour for The Dragon CEO’s Assistant (Golden Kingdom #2) by Jenn Burke (excerpt and giveaway)

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The Dragon CEO’s Assistant by Jenn Burke

Series: Golden Kingdom #2

Release Date: October 29, 2019

Subgenre: LGBTQ+ Paranormal Romance

Order here:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X3T8JYJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-dragon-ceo-s-assistant

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dragon-ceos-assistant-jenn-burke/1132374115?ean=9781644055175

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/the-dragon-ceos-assistant/id1471192566

Synopsis for The Dragon CEO’s Assistant:

The heart remembers.

When Aidan Bishop staggers out of the woods, naked and suffering from amnesia, he needs to relearn who he is and where he fits in the world.

His boss, nearly five-hundred-year-old dragon Nassim, head of a successful tech company, hurries to claim his wayward assistant and guide him back into the life he disappeared from. As they get to know each other again, Aidan wonders if their relationship went deeper than employer and employee. But Nassim isn’t telling, and Aidan has a secret of his own… even if he doesn’t know it yet.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48057624-the-dragon-ceo-s-assistant

Release Blitz Teasers:

#1:
“You have PTSD.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“Why, because it’s been three hundred years?”

“Yes, that, and I’m—”

“Don’t say dragon.”

Nassim huffed and snapped his teeth shut. Aidan tried not to flinch at the noise.

“Seriously, though. It makes perfect sense. That kind of shit changes you.” Aidan couldn’t remember a specific example of how posttraumatic stress disorder affected someone, but he felt the rightness of that truth, as nebulous and intangible as it might be at the moment. “I bet there are mythos therapists who can—”

“No.”

“Do not pull the ‘I’m dragon, I’m too cool to be helped’ thing.”

“It’s not that important. I don’t need to seek out professional help.”

“Huh.” Aidan rubbed a finger over his chin. “What do you think Jasper would say if I asked him about this?”

Okay, that rumble was more a growl than a happy noise. Nassim whipped his head up. “I told you this in confidence.”

“No, you didn’t.”

“Aidan—”

“There was no mention of confidentiality in our conversation.”

“Aidan!”

“Hmm. You might be right, Nassim. I don’t think I’m very objective at all.”

“But foolhardy,” Nassim breathed, his words more felt than heard. “Very, very foolhardy.”

“No.” Aidan stood and leaned forward to look Nassim in one of his big, fiery eyes. “Just unwilling to let you suffer in silence anymore.”

Nassim blinked, and the fire embedded in his eyes dimmed. After a moment his head sank back to the ground. “I will consider it.”

Excerpt :

“You’re in deep shit, Nassim.”

With a soft chuckle, Aidan sat back down at his desk and told himself he shouldn’t listen to the conversation happening between the brothers, but the door was open and the office was really quiet…

“I told Inas I wasn’t coming tonight,” Nassim rumbled.

“And you thought she’d be okay with that, why?”

“Faz, I can’t.”

“I get it,” Fazl said, his voice low. “But your family obligations don’t disappear just because—”

“She understands.”

“Our sister has a huge heart. Of course she understands. That doesn’t mean she isn’t disappointed you won’t be there for her eard al’usra.”

“I’m not comfortable leaving him alone.”

Aidan frowned at the image of Mace Windu on his desk calendar, not really seeing it. Had Nassim picked up on how he needed someone nearby all the time?

They rarely saw each other after dinner most nights—Nassim went upstairs to his office to do whatever, and Aidan amused himself with his laptop or books—but he was always aware that Nassim was only a dozen or so steps away. Aidan knew he’d have to get over this fear eventually.

Maybe—maybe he should make an effort tonight.

“So bring him along.”

Aidan’s eyes widened.

“Fazl.” Nassim’s voice was intense and full of warning. “No. He’s not ready to—”

“Merry gods. It’s a family party, Nassim. Not—”

“Don’t take that tone with me. You know we’re overwhelming on the best of days, and he’s not… he’s not ready.”

“He’s not? Or you’re not?”

Why would that even be a question? Why would Nassim not be ready for Aidan to meet his family? Maybe he didn’t want to blur the lines between his personal and professional lives any more than they already were. The situation was weird. How many employees lived with their CEO boss temporarily because they had nowhere else to go? But the wording Fazl used… that was even weirder.

Two things were clear, though—Nassim had to attend this family event, and he didn’t want Aidan there. So time to suck it up and be a big boy.

Biting his lower lip, he stepped up to the open door and rapped softly on the frame. “I don’t mind being alone. You can drop me off and go.”

Nassim’s gaze shuttered. “No.”

“It sounds like this is an important family thing. I’m not going to do anything but stay in the apartment and—”

“No.”

Fazl reached across the desk and smacked Nassim on the back of the head. “Enough.”

“Asshole. Just because you’re older, you—”

“Wait,” Aidan said. “He’s older?”

“By about fifteen years,” Fazl confirmed happily.

“But… you’re…”

“Younger-looking?” Fazl flicked the silver at Nassim’s temples, and Nassim arched back, away from his fingers. “Poor baby bro went gray early.”

“Because I’ve had to deal with you all my life.”

Fazl laughed.

A smile flickered across Nassim’s lips and then disappeared as he regarded Aidan. “I don’t want to leave you alone.”

“Moron,” Fazl said under his breath. Then, louder, “Aidan, since my brother is being a stubborn ass, I have a question for you.”

Nassim’s eyes flashed. “Faz—”

“Would you come to our family event tonight?”

“Uh….” Aidan’s gaze traveled between the brothers. “If I wouldn’t be intruding, I—”

“You would be more than welcome,” Fazl assured him. He turned to Nassim. “There. See? Easy.”

Nassim ignored him and moved around the desk to come closer to Aidan. “We don’t have to go. Seriously.”

“Is there a reason I shouldn’t go? Will it be a problem for a human to be present?”

Nassim pressed his lips together. “No.”

“Then I—” He glanced between Fazl’s wide, welcoming grin and Nassim’s gentle frown and solidified his decision. “I’d love to go.”

“Excellent,” Fazl said with a clap of his hands.

“Do you need a ride?” Nassim asked grudgingly as his brother slipped through the doorway past Aidan.

“You and your cars. No, I’m good.”

Rolling his eyes, Nassim said, “For the gods’ sakes, don’t scare the humans.”

“No promises.” Fazl waggled his brows as he headed out the door.

Aidan watched him leave, his brain working overtime. “Is he—”

“Going to transform and fly? Over a heavily populated area with humans who aren’t used to seeing dragons in the sky? Yes. Yes, he is.” Nassim sighed. “We’d best get going if we’re to get there on time.”

“There meaning…?”

“My family’s estate and caves. It’s a couple of hours to the west.”

“Caves?” Aidan murmured. But Nassim was already busy packing his laptop into his messenger bag, leaving Aidan to contemplate what the hell he just agreed to.

Author Bio:

Jenn Burke has loved out-of-this-world romance since she first read about heroes and heroines kicking butt and falling in love as a preteen. Now that she’s an author, she couldn’t be happier to bring adventure, romance, and sexy times to her readers.

Jenn is the author of a number of paranormal and science fiction romance titles, including the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series (authored with Kelly Jensen) from Carina Press.

She’s been called a pocket-sized and puntastic Canadian on social media, and she’ll happily own that label. Jenn lives just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and two kids, plus two dogs named after video game characters…because her geekiness knows no bounds.

Author links:

Website: http://www.jennburke.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeralibu

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jeralibu/

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/295814398039168/ (Jenn Burke’s Epic Adventurers)

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jeralibu/

Newsletter sign-up: http://bit.ly/jennburkenewsletter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9869819.Jenn_Burke

 

 

Giveaway:

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A MelanieM Review: Something Wild by Anna Martin

Standard

Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

The South Pacific Archipelago is home to a tiny island community of around three hundred scientists… and twenty thousand dinosaurs. As a paleogeneticist, Kit Sterling leads a team studying the dinosaurs to unlock the unanswered questions of evolution.

But there is something more dangerous than dinosaurs on the islands.

Head ranger Logan Beck discovers evidence of poachers, while rumors of a black market for dinosaur leather swirl around the community. Kit and Logan haven’t always gotten along professionally, though that has nothing to do with their attraction to each other. So when they’re thrown together to save an injured infant dinosaur, their professional disdain turns into a clandestine romance.

With not just the injured dinosaur at risk, but all of the precious dinosaurs on the islands too, Kit and Logan have to figure out how to balance their budding romance without letting their careers go extinct.

I enjoy the writings of Anna Martin and looked forward to something a little different from her latest release, Something Wild.  It has just a smattering of Jurrassic Park about it, however, in this case, there is no genetic tampering but islands that had been discovered with dinosaurs living on them all long somewhere in the Pacific ocean.  Yes, a bit of a stretch but go with it.

A quick moving science fiction romance, it has elements of some action adventure (of course, there’s dinosaurs involved) and espionage, to go along with the romance.  For me the romance is one that you could call “instalove” given that the men themselves go from frenemies (loudly arguing over science papers etc) to lovers in a blink of an eye.  But the characters themselves are so engaging that the jump into bed and a full blown relationship that could get them fired gets an eye roll and then accepted.

I also liked the dinosaurs, Dizzy included, and would have loved to have had this element made more inclusive here.  We get some realistic science work and labs which is then promptly thrown out the window narratively speaking for the sake of the plot and some action adventure.  Neither of which made sense given the intensity of these men’s previous careers and their commitment to them and their jobs.  They start of as highly praised professionals in their fields and then start acting as interns flying about the island.  That sort of puzzled me to no end.

Same for other characters.  Loved the mothers, but the character of one lab assistant/roommate had a personality that first read older, then younger, then older.  No  real foundation to her, although she started out so strong.  A real shame.  That more of less happened throughout the story.  Certain elements or storylines started out of the narrative gate with real appeal or fullness but sort of petered out, leaving holes as the story trudged towards it’s ending.   And then there was that ending.  Oddly unsatisfying.  The epilogue trailed off, with no certain resolutions to specific problems.

Did I enjoy this?  Sure.  Will I remember it?  Hmmm, probably not.  It was fun, but the issues kept stopping me here and there just enough to make me question certain things and I need a steady read all the way through for a total enjoyment in my stories.  How do you all feel about that?  If cute dinosaurs and scientists in love are your thing, check out Something Wild by Anna Martin.

Cover Design: Alexandria Corza.  Come on.  The model looks like Kit so that works but why not at least give us a dinosaur instead of tracks.  Just ok cover.

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 216 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07WN8VWVF

Length: 67,000 words