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:

Win a amazing prize package for the “The Dragon CEO’s Assistant” release!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f03112/?

A MelanieM Review: Something Wild by Anna Martin

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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

A Caryn Review: Rise (Dancing with the Lion #2) by Jeanne Reames

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of historical fiction, but I recognize that it is inherently much more difficult to write a historical biography, and especially when the character written about is almost mythical.  As Dr. Reames mentions in her postscript, the information about Alexander is nebulous, contradictory, overlaid with myth and altered by centuries of political changes – there is no way to know the full truth.  Add to that the fact that the society he lived in is also poorly understood and completely foreign to the world we live in today, and writing a book of this scope becomes hugely difficult.  What sources are to be believed?  Which facts or theories will work best with the narrative the author wants to present?

The differences between this book and the first are stark.  Book I was about learning who Alexandros was, how he thought, how his experiences formed his adult character.  There was significantly more attention paid to the relationships he had with his friends, his family, and, of course, Hephaistion.  His military training and its importance to him as a prince was described, as were the wars Phillipos was waging, but the focus was not political at all.  I found it much more character and relationship-driven, which is, of course, what draws me to a book and is my personal preference.

Book II is more about the external factors in Alexandros’ life, and how he reacts to them.  His father presented him with a command during one of the campaigns shortly after the book started when he came of age, and from there Alexandros embarked upon what was to be his career and his life.  Military campaigns, political machinations, conquered territories…  the pace was much faster, allies and enemies were introduced in confusing array, and old friends and acquaintances from the first book changed in how they interacted with the Pellan court.  I have to admit, I got a little overwhelmed and confused, especially because I (sadly) know almost nothing about ancient Greece and Macedonia and their history, and I did not stop to look at the background information the author supplied in separate websites.  I admit to being a little shallow with my books – most of the time I just like to read and let the story soak in, rather than to study it.  I feel that to truly appreciate this book, you would need to either have some knowledge of the era going in, or to commit to studying.

That being said, I did enjoy watching Alexandros grow into his own.  For good or bad, it seemed that his focus on being Phillopos’ heir, and anticipating becoming king, led to increased distance between him and Hephaistion.  They became soldiers and officers primarily, and their relationship, though still close, seemed less romantic.  Less about love, and more about loyalty and reliance.  Which was absolutely necessary, but still a little disappointing to me as a romance reader.

Finally, <SPOILER ALERT>, I was not really prepared for the book to end where it did.  Although I knew this book was “The story of Alexander before he became ‘the Great”” I was surprised that the book ends when Alexandros becomes king at the exact moment of Phillipos’ violent death.  It was more than abrupt, and if another book was in the making, it would have been an excellent stopping place, but I understand this to be the final book in the series.

For those readers who are more knowledgeable about the ancient world, for those that are more interested in the historical facts (as much as they can be known) of the era, and for those that enjoy empire building and intrigue over relationship development, this will be a great read.  For me, it was good, but not great.  The 3 star rating has more to do with what I like personally than it does with the quality of the writing in the book, so I hope those reading this review will take that into account!

Cover art by LC Chase matches the first, but I found it interesting that Hephaistion is the man on the cover rather than Alexander…

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 350 pages
Published October 21st 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Dancing with the Lion: Rise
ISBN139781626499003
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL https://riptidepublishing.com/products/dancing-with-the-lion-rise
SeriesDancing with the Lion #2

Jeanne Reames on Writing Kleopatra and the Sisters and the new release Rise (Dancing with the Lion #2) (guest blog and giveaway)

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Rise (Dancing with the Lion #2)  by Jeanne Reames
Riptide Publishing

Cover Art: LC Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Writing Kleopatra and the Sisters

In the guest blogs for Becoming, I talked about Alexander and Women, and Alexander’s Mum, but I wanted to save his sisters for the release of Rise, as all three have more important roles in the second half.

In my first drafts of Dancing with the Lion, Kleopatra—Alexander’s only full sister—played a role, even a significant one near the end, but not as a point-of-view character. Yet I’d developed a real love for the character, and it finally occurred to me, “Hey, why don’t you just let her speak for herself?”

So I did.

For a variety of reasons, I stayed out of Myrtalē’s head (Alexander’s mother, better known to posterity as Olympias). But Kleopatra was another matter, and it seemed useful to provide her view not only on her brother, but also on their mother and father.

Yet she added so much more. Kleopatra opens a window onto the women’s quarters. Some of that is shown in Becoming, but we get a better view in Rise with Kleopatra’s undermining of her father’s last wife, also a Kleopatra. (The Macedonians had popular names too, so think of “Kleopatra” as the ancient Macedonian version of Taylor, Madison, or Elizabeth.)

It’d be a spoiler to tell what happens, but suffice to say the three sisters (really half-sisters) gang up on the interloper. Kynnane wields a spear (yes, she really could; her father took her to war), but Kleopatra? She wields an abacus and a loom. And she’s the chess master behind it all. Or perhaps we should say, the math mind behind it, three steps ahead of everybody else.

Kleopatra would go on to become the Queen of Epiros where, after her husband’s death, she took over as regent for her son. She and her brother would remain close, and reportedly, when he was told that she’d taken a lover, instead of expressing the expected outrage, replied, “Well, she ought to be allowed to enjoy herself.”

Dancing with the Lion is a coming-of-age story for Alexander and Hephaistion, but also for Kleopatra. Although a secondary character, she has her own journey to maturity across both books. I hope readers enjoy reading about her as much as I enjoyed writing about her. And if/when I continue the series, she’ll remain a significant secondary character, providing an important view on what’s happening back in Greece, as her brother wends his way across Asia.

 

About Dancing with the Lion: Rise

The story of Alexander before he became “the Great.”

Finished with schooling, Alexandros is appointed regent of Makedon while his father is away on campaign. He thrives with his new authority—this is the role he was born for—yet it creates conflict with his mother and Hephaistion. And when his soldiers, whom he leads with unexpected skill, start to call him “The Little King,” his father is less than delighted.

Tensions escalate between Alexandros and his father, and between Makedon and the city-states of southern Greece. As the drums of war sound, king and crown prince quarrel during their march to meet the Greeks in combat. Among other things, his father wants to know he can produce heirs, and thinks he should take a mistress, an idea Alexandros resists.

After the south is pacified, friction remains between Alexandros and the king. Hostilities explode at festivities for his father’s latest wedding, forcing Alexandros to flee in the middle of the night with his mother and Hephaistion. The rigors of exile strain his relationships, but the path to the throne will be his biggest challenge yet: a face-off for power between the talented young cub and the seasoned old lion.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About the Series

Alexandros is expected to command, not to crave the warmth of friendship with an equal. In a kingdom where his shrewd mother and sister are deemed inferior for their sex, and his love for Hephaistion could be seen as submission to an older boy, Alexandros longs to be a human being when everyone but Hephaistion just wants him to be a king.

Check out the series today!

 

About Jeanne Reames

Jeanne Reames has been scribbling fiction since 6th grade, when her “write a sentence with this vocabulary word” turned into paragraphs, then into stories…and her teacher let her get away with it—even encouraged her! But she wears a few other hats, too, including history professor, graduate program chair, and director of the Ancient Mediterranean Studies Program at her university. She’s written academic articles about Alexander and ancient Macedonia, and does her best to interest undergrads in Greek history by teaching them (et al.) to swear in ancient Greek.

Her Website: https://jeannereames.net/Dancing_with_the_Lion/DwtL.html

On Facebook: facebook.com/jeanne.reames.3

On Instagram: instagram.com/jeannereames

On Twitter: twitter.com/DrReames

 

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 October 26, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

National Coming Out Day..a bit late. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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National Coming Out Day….a bit late.

 

National Coming Out Day was Friday, October 11, the 31st such coming out celebration and I didn’t want such a wonderful event to pass by without Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words making note of just how special and wondrous this occasion is. Our Twitter feed is full of stories, poignant, funny, accepting, sad, hilarious, and heartbreaking.  They have been running the full gamut of emotions, and histories, up to and including the advice that not everyone is ready to come out.  That they will know when, and if, that time comes that they feel safe and ready to make that step, a step only they should make for themselves.

As I said Friday, October 11, marked the 31st Anniversary of National Coming Out Day, a landmark in and of itself. Here are some special links, courtesy of HRC:

A Resource Guide to Coming Out

Transgender Visibility: A Guide to Being You

History of National Coming Out Day : started in October 11, 1987

 

For many more links (coming out at school, at work, inspiring stories, and helpful links, please check out HRC’s full link

National Coming Out Day | Human Rights Campaign |   https://www.hrc.org 

 

No matter the age when someone realized “who” they were and stated it out loud, from the earliest of ages to later in life, the ability to be i your truest self , whatever that may be, is a right everyone should have.  Here are some stories. Happy National Coming Out Day….a bit late.

National Coming Out Day: 2019’s top LGBTQ coming out stories

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, October 13:

  • National Coming Out Day..a bit late.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, October 14:

  • Review Tour – Ruby Moone – Loving Daniel (MC Securities #3)
  • Review Tour – Beth Laycock – Guarding His Heart
  • AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR – DARK RIVERS by Morgan Brice
  • A Stella Review: Things Happen That Way (Mann of My Dreams #2) by Tinnean
  • An Alisa Review : Loving Daniel (MC Securities #3) by  Ruby Moone
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Dark Rivers (Witchbane #2) by Morgan Brice and Kale Williams (Narrator)

Tuesday, October 15:

  • Cover Reveal, – Sally Malcom – Twice Shy (A New Milton Novel)
  • BLOG TOUR Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale
  • Blog Post The Twelfth Knight (Guardians of Camelot #1) by Victoria Sue
  • BLITZ for Natural Disaster by Erin McLellan
  • A MelanieM Review: Wrecked by Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga
  • A Lila Review The Spymaster’s Secret By Antonia Aquilante
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Master of Restless Shadows (Master of Restless Shadows #1) by Ginn Hale

Wednesday, October 16:

  • Review Tour Bishop: A True Lover’s Story by A.E. Via
  • Blog Post – DJ Jamison”
  • The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth Tour
  • An Alisa Review: Bishop: A True Lover’s Story by A.E. Via
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Deosil (Whyborne & Griffin #11) by Jordan L. Hawk
  • A MelanieM Review:The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth

Thursday, October 17:

  • Post CONFESSIONS OF A GAY CURMUDGEON by Andy V. Ambrose
  • Release Blitz – Slow Birth (Heat of Love 2.5) – Leta Blake
  • BLITZ Starting from Scratch by Lane Hayes
  • An Alisa Review: Blood Wine (The Blood Bond Series Book 2) by Aimer Boyz
  • A Stella Review: Love on the Hudson by KD Fisher
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ghost House by Jacqueline Grey

Friday, October 18:

  • Release Blitz  – Doctor’s Orders by Emma Jay
  • Release Blitz – Felice Stevens – Running From My Heart
  • Review Tour – Con Riley – After Ben (Seattle Stories #1)
  • A Stella Review : The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Rule Breaker (Mixed Messages #1) by Lily Morton and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
  • A Stella Review: After Ben (Seattle Stories #1) by Con Riley

Saturday, October 19:

  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Lucky Break (Clean Slate Ranch #4) by A.M. Arthur
  • A MelanieM Review: The Necromancer’s Reckoning (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #3) by S.J. Himes

A Free Dreamer Review: The Musician and the Monster by Jenya Keefe

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Hatred is a spell only true love can break.

Ángel Cruz is a dedicated session musician, until loyalty to his estranged family forces him to work for Oberon: the feared and hated envoy from the Otherworld. Overnight, Ángel is taken from his life, his friends, his work, and trapped in a hideous mansion in the middle of nowhere, under constant surveillance, and with only the frightening fae for company.

Oberon’s poor understanding of humans combined with Ángel’s resentment and loneliness threaten to cause real harm to the pair. Then a long winter together in the mansion unites them in their love of music. Slowly, Ángel’s anger thaws, and he begins to realize that Oberon feels alone too.

Gradually, these two souls from different worlds form a connection like none other. But hate and prejudice are powerful things, and it’ll take all the magic of their love to stop the wider world from forcing them apart.

I love a good story involving the fae and “ The Musician and the Monster” promised to be a new take on them. And I have to say, I quite enjoyed it.

I will admit it took a little till I fully connected to the story. It was a little slow in the beginning and I struggled to understand Oberon. I really think his POV would’ve made it much easier to understand him. He might not look all that different from your average human, but he doesn’t act like a human at all. I guess that would have also made it hard to write his voice, but I have seen this done successfully before.

After a while, it did click and I started to really enjoy the book. Once Ángel, and we, slowly get to know Oberon, the fae turns out to be a really interesting person. The author does a pretty good job at making him more accessible to the reader and I really liked him. I would have loved to learn a little more about the world of the fae, though.

The pace is rather slow and there’s not that much action, other than one big bang toward the end. I think the pace fit the story, even if it didn’t create any suspense in the traditional sense of the word. But I did find it harder to put down the book the further along I got.

I especially liked the end and I’d love to see a sequel. It felt like such a wonderful new beginning for everybody involved.

Overall, “The Musician and the Monster” is a good, enjoyable book that keeps getting better and better the more you read. I do think Oberon’s POV would have helped push it more towards “great” instead of just “good”. Still, if there is a sequel at some point, I will most definitely read it.

If you like quiet Urban Fantasy with a very slow burn, then you should give this one a try. If you want a fast-paced, suspense filled story full of action and magic, then this probably isn’t the book for you.

The cover by Shayne Leighton is gorgeous and fits the story perfectly.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Book details:

ebook, 300 pages

Published September 30th 2019 by Riptide Publishing

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: I’ve Got This (Joy Universe #1) by Louisa Masters

Standard

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Derek Breyer is the director of one of the theme parks at Joy Universe, a park the author modeled after the infamous mouse park. He’s gorgeous, smart, personable, and career-driven. He also happens to be as nice as he looks, but when he meets the new dancer, direct from Broadway, Trav Jones takes an instant dislike to him. Derek seems too good to be true, and very much like the high school bullies Trav had to avoid in his teens.

When circumstances keep throwing them together, and Trav gives him a chance, Derek turns out to be the opposite of Trav’s original suppositions, and within a few weeks of dating and hanging out, they realize they are in love. Now a new problem arises: what happens after Derek’s contract expires midsummer?

I liked this story but, to be honest, the first person POV in present tense is something I really dislike. And to top it off, the author kept dropping asides from the character to the audience, i.e., me—the reader, and that totally turned me off and tuned me out. This happened more often toward the end of the story so by the last page I was happy to say goodbye to Joy Universe and its cast of characters.

The story itself is interesting as a murder occurs at the beginning along with a major disaster that strikes much of the cast of performers and Derek has to hustle to keep it all contained. As the story unfolds, the murder brings negative publicity to the park and Derek faces the loss of the job that is a part of his life. He may also lose Trav if he can’t open up to him emotionally. All that was well and good, but those times when the character speaks directly to the reader? No, just no. I don’t only dislike that—I hate it. So overall, though the romance was sweet, it was pretty much insta-love, the sex was off-page so those who like fade to black will be happy, and the situation is resolved enough at the end that all parties are happy.

The cover by Reese Dante features a head shot of a handsome blond man, exactly like the MC in the story. The light colors and the face of the man attracted me to the story and I wasn’t disappointed.

Sales Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |  | Goodreads

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 195 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644053256
Edition Language English