A MelanieM Releases Day Review: Absolute Heart (Infernal Instruments of the Dragon #1) by Michael Vance Gurley


Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Infernal Instruments of the Dragon

As the British Empire builds power based on new clockwork and steam technology, Ireland draws its might from its potent magical traditions. Only two boys with little in common can end the fighting between the two nations and prevent a terrible worldwide war.

Gavin Haveland’s dreams are in the sky with the airships, while his reality as a High Councilman’s son means hiding secrets that will get him executed if revealed.

Orion of Oberon is not just a powerful mage, he’s the nephew of the Irish queen, and the one she’s sent him on a quest for the ancient Dragon Stones that will bolster her fading power. In the process, he might restore his family to their rightful place in society.

With enemies determined to stop them by any means necessary and war or peace hinging on their success, Gavin and Orion must find a way to work together, despite the centuries of mistrust between their nations.

Absolute Heart (Infernal Instruments of the Dragon #1) by Michael Vance Gurley is the first that I read by this author and it won’t be the last.  If for no other reason then this story is but the first in a new series, something that thrills me for several reasons which I’m going to go into here.

Gurley spends a good amount of time within his novel world building and it pays off.  He has a world torn apart in the past by an all too powerful mage bent on world domination, the consequences of that horrific battle have come down through the ages, with an Ireland fiercely holding on to its magic and mystical energies and the land.  While in England and beyond, steam power and coal is driving industry and the Empire forward.   Such divergent natures and thoughts of living are written into every part of Gurley’s world, including those who would rebell.

Each side is represented by a young man.  Gavin,a would be pilot of steamships, the son of a Counselor of England’s most powerful.  And Orion, son of Oberon, mage, for the magical Ireland. Two sides of the coin of a broken realm that’s forever at battle with each other.

Gurley has laid them both with a giant tasks and several prophecies, only one of which is covered here, both are fated for greatness.  And as this fast paced plot shows there are so many elements here that the author has just become to reveal.I love how the author cobbles together a sort of misfit gang to backup Gavin on his flight across London and success in his journey towards fulfilling his destiny.  Oh my, Landa (a master artificer in a top hat quite won my heart), Wish, and what’s his name, right  Lucas.   Each with their own relationship issues with family and each other.  Landa a girl who dresses/identifies as a boy (it’s never clear) nor practically steals the novel.  I actually found Landa to be such a leading character, with such a strong identity and layered personality that she often put Gavin into the “pale” at times.  So did her relationship with Wish, another steely, persistent, almost loutish types who wins you over.   Then there is Lucas who just barely comes into his own at the end.  Most of the time I couldn’t remember his name.  The problem with this is that he’s the romantic other half for Gavin.  Or supposed to be.

Then Orion arrives.  And clearly that’s who Gavin is supposed to be with.  Excerpt the author wants Lucas, at least in this book.  And there is a Lucas wannabe named Riley for Orion back in fairyland.  Just as bland with with little backstory for us so meh.

As you can tell, my issues with this story are with the romance relationships.  Well four of the relationships. Gavin and Lucas.  Orion and Riley.  To be exact.

The rest of this novel?  5 stars worth  of fantasy steampunk action adventure.  That’s so well written and thoroughly enjoyed every word of it.

But when it came to write YA romance?  Well, excerpt for Landa and Wish who are at the “at least you  aren’t insulting me” stage anymore, the other two just don’t have any chemistry.  We are told they do.  But we don’t see it or at least I didn’t.   We don’t get any feel for Riley other than he follows Orion around like a puppy dog, ditto Lucas for Gavin.  In many respects you could switch those two out for each other.  Only Gavin and Orion had a semblance of spark between them.   It would have almost have been better to have left this without any romance but a total steampunk fantasy crossover.  That would, imo, have left me feeling better at the end instead of resigned at what I felt was a banal ending for two couples.

Maybe the next story will fix that.  Here’s hoping there’s still more to put aright with the world ….

Still, romance aside, the rest of this story is fantastic.  A great mashup of fantasy, steampunk, magic, and action/adventure.  I’m looking forward to the next installment  Pick up this story and see what I’m excited about.  And check out Landa!

Cover art, which is uncredited, show a disturbing trend in not matching the cover to anything that has to do with the subject matter of the story.  Which includes magic, fae, flying ships, swords, steampunk and battles over London.  Instead you get this with that metal heart. But really?   Considering where it is for much of the story.  Nah.

Sales Links: Harmony Ink Press | Dreamspinner Press (paperback) | Amazon |

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published July 23rd 2019 by Harmony Ink Press



Join Us for Breakaway by Charlie Novak (excerpt and giveaway)


Breakaway Tour Banner


Charlie Novak

Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance, Second Chance Romance

Release Date: 07.23.19


Cover Designer: Natasha Snow/http://natashasnow.com/


When your life revolves around a single goal, is there room for love?

Christian King is a rising star in English football. He’s talented, devoted, and on the road to glory. He’s following the path that’s been laid out for him since he was four, and he has no plans to deviate from it. Christian’s life revolves around a single goal—to be the best… until he runs into his first love ad former best friend, David.

David Cade is just trying to survive the final year of his PhD intact, while battling long hours, unmotivated students, and the idea that academia might not be for him. But a chance encounter with his first love’s twin sister changes everything, and suddenly David is faced with the realisation that he can’t leave the past behind.

When David and Christian are drawn back together, sparks fly. Soon, Christian is forced to confront his deepest insecurities. Can they break away from their fears for a second chance at true love?

Breakaway is a 79,000 word contemporary gay romance featuring light angst, glittery bath bombs, a ginger-haired roommate/pet, shared Star Wars love, and a meddling twin sister.

Universal Book Link: http://mybook.to/breakaway




We were still chatting after dinner, so we took our pudding into the living room, while Christian sang Monika’s praises and practically danced on the spot about being allowed pudding during the week. He’d always had a phenomenal sweet tooth, and I guessed that being a professional player was seriously at odds with his desire for sugar.

“Do you want to watch a film?” Christian asked as he flopped onto the sofa, carefully holding his bowl of lemon tart while searching for the remote.

“Sure,” I said, settling next to him and taking in the details of the room. It was light and airy, with large French doors at one end that I assumed opened up onto the garden, although it was too dark to see. The room was lit with the soft glow of lamps, which gave it a warm feel despite its size. The two sofas were scattered with a large selection of colourful cushions and throws, and in one corner a large television stood on a wooden stand. There was a unit beside it filled with Blu-rays and games as well as random knick-knacks and photos, and I was sure I could see a scattering of trophies in amongst them. I was dying to be nosey, but I also knew that wasn’t polite.

“What do you fancy? I’ve got Netflix and Amazon Prime,” Christian said. He gestured at the unit.

“Or there’s lots of Blu-rays up there. Take your pick.”

“I’ll have a look,” I answered, seizing my chance to satisfy my curiosity. I placed my bowl on the solid coffee table and meandered, over but before I could look at any of the photos, something on the floor behind the coffee table caught my eye.

It was a giant LEGO set, half assembled and spread across the carpet, the carefully numbered bags laid out neatly next to the large instruction manual.

“Holy fuck, is that the Millennium Falcon?” It was still more of a frame than anything else, but the shape was still recognisable.

“Yeah,” Christian said, his cheeks tinting again which made something funny pulse in my chest. “I, um, I like building them for fun. They’re good to take my mind off things, help me focus on being in the moment instead of dwelling on stuff. And I like Star Wars.”

“Do you have others?”

Christian nodded, chewing his lip and smiling. “I built the Death Star in the spring. That was fun, but it took hours. It’s upstairs so I don’t knock it over.”

My inner geek was dancing. I’d always loved Star Wars, and Christian and I had spent hours watching them as kids. My mum had even taken the two of us to see Revenge of the Sith for my birthday. As an adult I’d always longed for a couple of these sets, but they were so fucking expensive I’d never imagined getting one. I mean, this Millennium Falcon kit was worth nearly seven hundred quid.

“Can—can we build it now?” I asked, trying not to hold my breath.

“Really? I mean, you’d be interested in that?” There was a note of astonishment in Christian’s voice, while mine was barely controlled excitement.

“Of course! I’ve always wanted to get my hands on this.”

“Okay,” Christian said with a nod. “Let’s do it. Do you want to put a film on in the background? Maybe The Force Awakens? I haven’t seen it in a while.”

“Sounds perfect!”

Ten minutes later we were sitting on the floor, the opening credits of the film playing in the background while Christian talked me through what he’d done so far. It was obvious that he took his building seriously, and I had to admit it was adorable. After my pep talk, he handed me a bag and showed me the instructions he wanted me to follow.

“You know, I’m sure there’s a terrible joke about inserting things somewhere in there,” I said, watching the way Christian’s face flushed as my words filtered through.

“Probably,” he added. “But I’ve never thought of it.”

“Me neither, I’m not good with words.”

“I find that hard to believe—you’re doing your PhD.”

“Nah, that’s all smoke and mirrors,” I joked.

“So, tell me more about your work,” Christian said, picking up his own pieces. “I don’t know much about academic stuff beyond what Lily’s told me.”

I smiled, opened my bag, and began talking. And I didn’t stop. Well, not until the early hours of the morning. By that time, we’d covered my degree, Lily, our mums, the Champions League, and the new Star Wars and Marvel films. The only thing we’d avoided discussing was our relationships, but I figured that was because neither of us had much to tell. Plus, talking about new partners with exes is one of those weird grey areas I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to avoid.

With every word, I could feel Christian slotting back into my life like he’d never left, but at the same time, this wasn’t the same Christian as before. It was a new version—older, smarter, and sweeter. He was driven and determined and had a desire to know as much as he could and actually seemed interested when I spent another hour talking about my work. He talked non-stop about how proud he was of Lily and how much he loved her, and he was so endearingly serious and charming that I couldn’t help but be bowled over by him. And he was so disarmingly handsome that every time he smiled or chewed on his perfect, pink lips, the hot ball of desire in my chest burnt hotter and hotter until it felt like there was a supernova inside me.

I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt this way about anyone.

It had probably been six years.
Author Photo (Charlie N)

Charlie lives in England with her husband and a severe lack of dogs. She spends most of her days wrangling other people’s words in her day job and then trying to force her own onto the page in the evening.

She loves cute stories with a healthy dollop of angst, even more fluff, plenty of delicious sex, and happily ever afters – because the world needs more of them. Charlie also believes that love comes in all shapes and sizes.

Charlie has very little spare time, but what she does have she fills with cooking, pole-dancing, reading and ice-hockey. She also thinks that everyone should have at least one favourite dinosaur…

Website: https://charlienovak.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/charlienwrites
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charlienwrites/
FB Readers Group (Charlie’s Angels): https://www.facebook.com/groups/1287247458080320/


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Vibrant Promotions Logo

Love Fantasy? Check Out the Book Blitz for The Exile Prince (The Castaway Prince #2) by Isabelle Adler (excerpt and giveaway)


Title: The Exile Prince

Series: The Castaway Prince, Book Two

Author: Isabelle Adler

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: July 22, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 22900

Genre: Fantasy, LGBT fantasy, royalty, androgyny, gender-bending, cross-dressing

Add to Goodreads


Having chosen exile rather than face persecution at the hands of his family, Prince Stephan of Seveihar has finally found refuge in the south kingdom of Segor with his lover and former servant, Warren. For the first time in his life, Stephan is free to be who he really is, to explore his sexual identity and his fascination with all things feminine.

But it seems life has other plans, and the quiet happiness Stephan has run so far away to find is once again threatened by sinister forces from his past. Will Stephan and Warren’s newfound love be strong enough to weather the danger that could rip them apart forever?


The Exile Prince
Isabelle Adler © 2019
All Rights Reserved

The warm morning breeze carried the smell of sea salt, exotic spices, and the promise of a distant sandstorm.

Stephan breathed deeply, closing his eyes against the gentle currents, and leaned on the windowsill, offering his face up to the sun. It was not yet noon, but the heat was already building up. Soon the busy streets of the port city of Varta would empty, the denizens taking a brief respite during the midday hours to hide in the relative cool of their homes, away from the glare of the ruthless sun. At dusk, all activity would renew with rekindled vigor as the streets around the harbor filled with the cries of peddlers hawking their wares, the music of wandering performers, and the general hubbub of a large city going about its business. But for now, Stephan simply enjoyed the bright sunshine, which had been so rare in his native Seveihar, before he’d be forced to retreat to the shade of his rooms.

No, their rooms. He’d been living with Warren, his former footman and current lover, for the past six months, sharing the two cozy rooms in one of the quieter districts of Varta. The modest appointments were a far cry from the richness of his father’s royal palace in Sever, but luxury was low on Stephan’s priority list. These short months were the happiest he’d been in his entire life. Granted, at twenty years old, he was still at the beginning of his journey, but with his father gone and the rest of the family actively persecuting him, he’d had his fair share of misery.

Stephan sighed and closed the wooden shutters. Even so, the room was still softly illuminated, filled with translucent, soporific light. The hem of his white silk robe trailed after him as he made his way to the large writing desk, cluttered with sheaves of paper and different-colored inkwells. Warren, being the son of a merchant, was the one with the experience and a practical grasp for business, and he had been the one to suggest they invest the money left from selling Stephan’s extensive collection of jewelry in local commerce. For centuries, Varta, the second largest city of Segor, had been a crucial junction for the passage of goods between the deep south and the northern countries and provinces—including Seveihar and rival Esnia. With trade burgeoning in recent years, investing in independent shipping ventures seemed like a sound plan, although they were only now beginning to see any returns. None of it was enough to make a fortune, but for now, at least, they were able to live comfortably.

Stephan settled in a chair and pulled out a stack of letters he wanted to sift through one more time. While Warren was responsible for the finances, Stephan handled the records and correspondence. As a member of the royal family, he was well-versed in several languages, including Segati—a dialect spoken in Segor and along the long stretch of the southern coast. But reading and writing with a teacher weren’t the same as practicing the language among native speakers, and Stephan wanted to brush up on his communication skills as much as possible to be able to navigate the often-equivocal patterns of business negotiations with Segorian merchants and ship owners.

He was writing down some notes on a piece of paper when the door opened, and Warren stepped in, letting out a long-suffering sigh as he closed the door and took off his sweat-soaked scarf.

Stephan smiled as he rose to meet him. He threw his arms around Warren, planting a quick kiss on his lips. Warren’s skin, flushed and hot, still carried traces of salt and fish smell.

“I missed you,” Stephan said playfully.

Warren grinned in response, taking Stephan’s hand and kissing his fingers. “I’ve only been gone a few hours. And I still stink from the docks.”

“I don’t mind.” Stephan nodded at the leather-bound ledger sticking out of Warren’s coat pocket. “Any news?”

“The ship should arrive any day now. With the price of silk going up, we should make a nice profit off this consignment.”

“You might be the one to blame for the increase in prices,” Stephan teased. “You didn’t have to buy me quite so many dresses.”

“Of course I did. They make you happy. And I love seeing you in them.”

Warren let go of Stephan and threw the ledger on the desk. He was still smiling, but Stephan could sense tension in the rigid set of his shoulders and the way his smile quickly turned from genuine to strained.

“What’s wrong?” Stephan asked. “Are you worried about the ship being delayed?”

Warren shook his head and sat on the long bench beside a low dining table. He picked an orange from a fruit bowl and began peeling it.

“I’ve heard some bad news from Seveihar,” he said, avoiding meeting Stephan’s eyes.

Stephan sat back at the desk, tucking his long hair behind his ear in a nervous gesture. He knew he wasn’t going to like it.

“The war has started, hasn’t it?” he asked quietly.

Warren nodded. “Rumors spread fast in this city. It seems the first thing your brother did after ascending to the throne was declare war on Esnia.”

Stephan swore softly. His older brother, Robert, had been warmongering to garner political support, but until now, Stephan had clung to the naïve hope he wouldn’t go as far as actually starting a full-blown territorial war with their neighbor. Or at least that his advisers would stop him from making such a foolish move, if he wasn’t prudent enough to restrain himself. Even after fleeing his homeland and abandoning his title, Stephan couldn’t help but feel somehow responsible for the wellbeing of its people. Waging a war when most of them were already struggling with the increase in waterway taxes his uncle Rowan had decreed last fall would only add insult to injury.

“That wasn’t what got me worried, though. There’s more.” Warren dropped the peelings on the table and frowned at the naked fruit, as if surprised it turned out to be an orange after all. “There’s talk about Seveiharians in Varta. Apparently, an envoy arrived at the Governor’s palace two days ago. They were trying to keep it secret, but again, Varta is anything but surreptitious.”

Stephan shrugged. “So? They must be here to amend trade agreements. War changes demand, and the usual shipping routes would need to be altered if the Zenna River proves too dangerous now for regular transport.”

“No doubt.” Warren handed him a few orange slices, and Stephan popped them in his mouth. He flicked his tongue across his lips to lick away the juice, noting the way Warren’s gaze took on a familiar intensity as he followed the tiny movement.

Warren’s unmistakable interest sent a jolt of heat down his belly, triggering his own arousal. He licked his lips again, this time in an involuntary response to the thought of what he and Warren could be doing to while away the sultry midday hours. But apparently Warren wasn’t done yet.


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

Meet the Author

A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.

Website | Twitter


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Review Tour and Giveaway for Cold Pressed (Seacroft #2) by Allison Temple



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
Length: 80,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Cate Ashwood Designs
Seacroft Series
Book 1 – Top Shelf – Amazon US | Amazon UK

No strings attached is all Oliver can offer. He’s hiding a broken heart that holds him back from diving into a new relationship, but he’ll go on a blind date to make his family happy. Just one date, though; he doesn’t have time for love to derail his plans.

Divorced and demoted to the night shift, Nick has his own problems. He’s got an ex-wife who needs him and a kid with one foot in juvie. The last thing Nick needs is to butt heads—or other body parts—with a tempting hipster who wears a sad smile on their blind date.

Their chemistry can’t be denied, though, in an argument or in bed. No strings sex is uncomplicated and that’s what Nick and Oliver need. But getting into bed together is one thing. Staying out of each other’s hearts soon becomes so much more complicated than either one imagined.

Cold Pressed is an 80k contemporary MM romance. It features a smoldering bisexual single dad, a broken-hearted hipster with a thing for beet juice, and a friends-with-benefits arrangement that blooms into the HEA you’ve been looking for.


Allison Temple has been a writer since the second grade, when she wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. Her grandmother typed it out for her and said she’s never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before. Allison took that as a challenge and has gone on to try to break her previous record in all her subsequent works.

Allison lives in Toronto with her very patient husband and the world’s neediest cat. She splits her free time between writing, community theater stage management, and traveling anywhere that has good wine. Tragically, this leaves no time to clean her house.

Newsletter (get two free shorts right now): https://allisontemplebooks.com/newsletter
Facebook Reader group: https://facebook.com/groups/allisonsalist
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07B7P5591
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/allison-temple
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17490635.Allison_Temple
Twitter: https://twitter.com/allitemplebooks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/allisontemplebooks/


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions


A Lucy Review The Positions Of Love Collection by JM Snyder


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

When Matt diLorenzo gives his lover, Vic Braunson, a copy of the Kama Sutra for Gay Men as a Christmas gift, they find it doubles as a handy reference guide to Vic’s superpowers. All they have to do is test out the positions to see which one gives Vic what ability. 

Included are the tales……
Book I: The Positions of Love (This is their first Christmas together, but Vic dreads trying to find the perfect gift for Matt and playing Santa at his company party.)……
Book II: Two Pillars Position (A quickie in the pool showers seems like a good way to start the morning, but what power will this new position give Vic?)……
Book III: Clasping Position (Valentine’s Day. Matt and Vic have reservations at an expensive steakhouse, but an intimate moment before dinner causes more sparks to fly than they expect.)……
Book IV: Hammock Position (After a day spent by the river, can Vic use his latest unintentional superpower to help rescue a school bus full of children?)……
Book V: Two Dogs Position (Matt’s party proves too much for Vic’s heightened senses. But when he overhears a struggle in the apartment above, all thoughts of celebration disappear.)……
Book VI: Cowboy Position (Matt has a secret fetish–he loves to watch a man eat. Good thing his lover Vic has a voracious appetite.)……
Book VII: Kneeling Butterfly Position (Matt wants to go clothes shopping, something Vic hates to do, so Matt suggests a quickie in the dressing room to sweeten the deal.)……
Book VIII: Pillar & Ivy Position (Vic suggests making love in the pool where Matt works, but the resulting superpower washes out his plans for the rest of the day.)……
Book IX: Tripod Position (When Matt discovers Vic’s leather fetish, he suggests they go clubbing to celebrate Vic’s birthday. But Vic isn’t the only one watching Matt’s dance moves.)……
Book X: Lotus Position (While on vacation, Vic’s latest superpower attracts the attention of a young kid, whose delight at discovering a real-life superhero almost leads to disaster.)……
Book XI: The Arc Position (It’s Halloween, and Roxie is having a party. Matt wants them to dress as policemen, but Vic’s latest power creates a costume for him on its own.)……
Book XII: Sideways Position (When Vic meets Matt’s family, he makes a good impression on his lover’s grandmother–his latest power allows him to communicate with her in Italian.)

It is amusing to me that way back in the day, circa 2007, I had actually read a few of the Positions of Love stories.  I read them individually, with weeks or even months in between the next installment, with other books in between.  I thought they were pretty good and so when the whole collection came out together now, I thought it would be great to reread the ones I had read and finish the series to date of the ones I hadn’t. 

What I didn’t count on, however, is that by reading them all at once I would become aware of the overwhelming amount of sex that tends to overshadow the whole story.  Because I hadn’t read them in a row, I guess I didn’t realize it.  This is a shame because the premise of the books is a creative one.  For an unknown reason, Matt’s semen causes odd and random powers in Vic, a different power for each sexual position.  They share a telepathic bond, in each other’s minds all the time and able to speak not only to each other telepathically but often to others, usually Vic telling someone off, especially since “…but it also tuned him into everyone else’s thoughts as well.”  Vic has a permanent case of superhuman strength (he is able to lift one thousand pounds like it’s a bag of flour and is always looking for something to actually challenge him).  This is all so interesting and I really liked that aspect.  I also looked forward to knowing what the power was going to be.  They are sometimes embarrassing, sometimes helpful and often dangerous. 

Vic is a badass, tough and grumpy to everyone but Matt.  He had a rough past, including losing touch with his little sister, Mary, when they went into foster care.  However, he has family in Matt.  “Matt was his heart and soul, and he’d do whatever it took to make the man happy.”  This is another place where reading them altogether changed my viewpoint a little because I started to think Matt was spoiled to the point of being a brat.  Vic does what Matt wants, when he wants to, whether Vic likes it or wants to or not.

Matt does at one point really feel badly about the powers Vic ends up with, even though it isn’t on purpose.  “In that instant, Matt hated the powers he bestowed upon his lover.”   Especially since the power at that time was heat ray vision, where anything Vic looked at burned up, including his own hands before he realized.  Vic, though, knows Matt is his family.  “I’d do it again in a heartbeat and you know it.  Loving you is worth whatever price I have to pay.” 

The powers aren’t all bad and other than the superstrength and the telepathy, they aren’t permanent.  They wear off after a few hours or are replaced with another power when Matt and Vic have sex again.  He is able to teleport for a while, telekinesis allows him to be a hero in what could have been a tragedy, fireworks to make Matty happy also make Vic happy.  Some I don’t want to give away because they are so creative (if dangerous!)

There is a great side character in Officer Kendra, who is slowly in the know about what Vic is capable of, but she is trustworthy with it.

All in all, the stories (some very short) are clever.  I recommend reading them just a couple at a time so the sex isn’t overpowering to the story.

Cover art, showing Matt and Vic kissing was so close to being perfect! The black locks of Matt, the bald head and muscled form of Vic.  Missing, however, were the tattoos and piercings that Vic is known for.  But overall, an excellent cover.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books | Universal Link

Book Details:

Published June 4th 2016 by JMS Books LLC
SeriesThe Positions of Love #1-12

Michael Vance Gurley On Writing YA and his new Release Absolute Heart (Infernal Instruments of the Dragon #1) + Giveaway


Absolute Heart (Infernal Instruments of the Dragon #1) by Michael Vance Gurley

Dreamspinner Press
Publication: July 23rd 2019
Steampunk / Teen Fiction

Buy link  at Dreamspinner Press  (paperback) Kindle link to come

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Michael Vance Gurley here today talking about the new YA Steampunk release Absolute Heart (Infernal Instruments of the Dragon #1). Welcome, Michael.




I have a dark and dirty secret I am going to confess to your faithful readers: I love the young adult genre and I’m not afraid to admit it. I remember when we had to hide the YA books, and deny reading them. Now it is pretty widely accepted and they are being turned into movies. There’s an easy buy in to the struggles of young people and the instant underdog vibe of these stories. There are so many high risk situations explored in YA but the feel is fresher and less saturated with blood and murder overall compared to adult books. Although YA is changing, it is still so focused on relationships as much as the plot, and I find it refreshing. I am a devout reader. At any time I can be appropriately accused of reading a novel, listening to an audiobook, reading a graphic novel, and sitting next to a stack of comics I’m tearing through, like four seasons in one day. I get asked how I can do it without mixing them all up and then I remind folks of how many TV shows they are into weekly. Then they nod and seem to get it. I like opening people up to the idea you can read a bunch of stories at the same time. I’m not quite Elvis and his TV sets yet though.

I think my writing is influenced by what I read in some metaphysical way, as much as how the people I meet or the places I’ve been inform characters and the arenas I invent. I love Scott Westerfeld and Cassandra Clare’s Steampunk worlds, and the adventure style of a Holly Black faerie book. I think the challenge is in creating your own clockwork alternate history or your own faerie culture that is true to the genre but isn’t a clone of some great author. The creative process has no limits in YA unless we as authors, or as readers, start giving in to the idea that tropes have to be filled or our book won’t be accepted or we won’t enjoy the read.

A big roadblock to writing younger used to be having to end happily ever after. This is changing so much. Harry Potter had to win at the close of each book, but there was such a breakthrough there of a massive experience that spanned books. Ending on a high note where everyone but Chewbacca gets a medal isn’t totally necessary anymore. Hunger Games taught us this too. Now the human living in faerie doesn’t have to win in book one, and in fact can leave us worried for their sanity and safety. Steampunk is a growing sub genre and like fantasy, often lends itself to multi book epics. It is also growing more common in YA to dangle some threads at the end, mix it up, maybe not have the good guys win too fast. You don’t have to leave teens or the largely adult reader hanging, but I enjoy finding a way to mess up the status quo so even though we are almost happy for now, we might also hate that the book ended in that rough spot.

However, after my first  over, The Long Season, left the reader in charge of making some conclusions, I challenged myself to hand out a few figurative medals at the end of this one. I wanted people to be somewhat satisfied but also to say, “No way, that can’t be it.”

I hope people enjoy exploring the Steampunk world, the airships and warlocks, artificers and pilots of this late 1880’s England set adventure. Gavin is prepped, his goggles firmly on, gloves gripping the wheel to guide the reader into the high stakes of coming out and coming of age during war. He openly shares his best friend, the ever impressive tinkerer Landa, and the handsome Irishman who brings danger everywhere he goes. These friends have important things to do if they are going to give the reader a happily ever after, and it all starts here.

You can read the first chapter on the purchase link at the Dreamspinner and Harmony Ink sites, but here’s an excerpt which showcases the meet cute I hope brings a smile to your face amidst all the war and risk the boys are facing.


Orion slipped away from the hut and headed around several tents and lean-tos until he found himself at the side of Victoria’s tent. A simple distraction spell caused the people who walked by to look away as he dashed through the flap and gently dropped it closed behind him.

Orion stopped and gaped at what he found inside. In front of a tub stood a slim boy about his own age. He was poised to lower himself into the steaming water. The lanterns in the room danced across his thick brown hair and illuminated the bruises on his thin sides and back. Something stirred deep inside as Orion glimpsed the muscles in the boy’s legs and backside contract and release as he lowered himself into the water, hiding what he thought to be an attractive arse.

“Ahhh.” The lad let out a long sigh of relief as his body melted into the hot bath water. He leaned his head against the wooden back, his eyes closed. He looked like someone trying to forget a hard day. He took another deep breath and let it out slowly. Another and his shoulders drooped farther into the tub.

Orion suddenly felt guilty, secretly standing in the room with this bather. The lad massaged his own neck with one hand. Orion had to adjust himself when he couldn’t control the excitement he felt. He knew he needed to discover a way to the Dragon Stone, which the handsome British lad could lead him to. Or at least he could, according to the visions.

“Hope I’m not interrupting,” Orion stated with more than a little humor in his voice.

The boy bolted upright to his feet and turned to defend himself, splashing water over the sides onto his clothes and everywhere. “What the hell?” he said. Before he could cover himself, Orion took him in.

“Well, at least I know the water isn’t cold,” Orion complimented, trying again to fake an English accent. After the incident with Victoria, he worried his British impression would not work but needed to try to blend in. He knew he shouldn’t but couldn’t help from looking as the water dripped down the small but muscled chest to his….

“Huh?” the lad answered, staring at Orion’s face, his mouth agape. Orion noticed how this young man’s lips curved in a Cupid’s bow. Orion was the one fully clothed but suddenly felt self-conscious and nervously tucked his hair back into his green hooded cloak. The other lad’s cheeks looked flushed but he felt hot.

“Uh-hmm, it’s rude to point,” Orion said, his gaze traveling the lad’s length until he glanced at the boy’s crotch. The young man peeked down quickly to notice his penis had indeed begun to betray him. He snatched a towel from the side table and haphazardly wrapped it around his dripping torso.

“Who… who are you?” he managed to eke out.

Orion stepped forward and thrust out his hand to shake, which resulted in awkward towel readjustment so the boy could return with a free hand.

“I am called… Zachariah,” Orion lied. He held the hand firmly but gently for a long time, studying his face. “Yours?”

“Gavin Ha—Gavin. Why are you in here?”

“I’m sorry, is this your tent?”

“Well, no, but I’m….”

“I am only joking. I heard there were other new people here and thought I’d get to know them. You.”

“Do you mind?” Gavin asked as he motioned to his clothing on the floor by Orion’s feet. Orion bent down and retrieved the pants and the undergarment still in place inside them and handed them to Gavin.

Gavin blushed.

“So you’re the one who arrived yesterday? How did they capture you?”

“I wasn’t captured,” Orion said, a little laugh escaping his lips. He batted his eyelashes at Gavin. “I came here of my own free will. And as far as I can tell, you could leave when you wish as well.”

“That’s what Victoria said,” Gavin replied. He moved behind a changing screen to put his pants back on. “Why did you come?”

Orion grinned, but it was wasted since Gavin hid behind a screen. “So you and your friends came in one of those infernal clanking machines?” Orion chided himself for the slip immediately because British people didn’t express hatred of machines.

“What’s that?”

“Did you come from London?” Orion quickly added to cover his slip up. His accent and native colloquialisms came out the faster he talked.

“Do you not know what’s been happening?”

“Tell me, please. Recently my head’s been way up in the clouds, it seems.” Orion couldn’t help himself. His wit had gotten him into trouble more times than he could recall, but it was also the only way he could expel the restless energy he had felt from the moment he stepped into the tent. When Gavin came out from behind the changing screen in a crisp shirt tucked neatly into tight pants and a sharp vest pulling it all together, Orion felt himself being drawn to him.

“Faeries attacked London, maybe beyond,” Gavin said. This shocked Orion out of the haze caused by infatuation.

“Faeries? It couldn’t be. There hasn’t been an attack in—”

“Well, there has been now,” Gavin finished. “We were barely able—”

“Oh Gavin—” a tall, lanky boy entered and startled them. The boy took one look at Gavin and his wet hair, then Orion, and stopped.

“Lucas, this is…,” Gavin began, before seeing how Lucas looked on Orion with anger. Lucas composed himself quickly and turned away from Orion.

“Miss Hanover has assigned us sleeping quarters for the day since we didn’t really get much rest.” He paused dramatically, then continued, “She put Landa in her own room, Wish in one with a family, and we are sharing a room in the pub.”

“There’s a pub?” Gavin asked.

“The others have already gone to bed. Let’s go. I’m zonked.” Lucas was acting possessive in front of Orion, and Gavin’s frown spoke volumes. They weren’t together. Not really. Orion could tell that much. Gavin breathed too fast, his body tense with growing anger until he closed his eyes to calm down.

“I will let you rest, then, but tonight over dinner, I want to hear all about your daring escape from London,” Orion prompted.

“That would be fine, Zachariah,” Gavin said.

“I’m Lucas, by the way. We will see you at dinner.” Gavin shot Lucas a frown, and Lucas returned the look.

They walked away, Gavin sneaking a peek over his shoulder on the way out.



As clockwork-powered England and magic-driven Ireland war against each other, two boys will rise to their destinies.

The son of a powerful British councilman, Gavin Haveland is more interested in airships than politics. He’s also hiding not one, but two secrets—and either one could cost his life.

Orion of Oberon is the nephew of the Irish queen, tasked with crossing the sea and finding the Dragon Stones that will restore her flagging power. Along the way he hopes to defeat the unscrupulous Brotherhood of the Mage and regain his family’s honor.

Fate throws them together, but they’ll have to follow their hearts and trust each other to prevent war from breaking out on a global scale and evade the agents their governments send to sabotage them.

About the Author

Michael Vance Gurley writes fiction with unconventional settings. Whether he is writing about hockey players in the Roaring Twenties or magicians in Victorian England, he promises something different. His first novel, The Long Season, discovered the secret world of professional athletes from the Jazz Age who fall in love with one another. Traveling around the world with a passion for history brought about a kiss of the Blarney Stone, which sparked the steampunk/magic blended Absolute Heart.

Michael won a “Pitchapalooza” literary event and garnered high praise for his books from readers and authors such as Jeff Adams, Brent Hartinger, and Jay Bell. His work with children in schools and LGBT outreach allows him to tap into the YA genre with authenticity and the respect of others. Michael has written short stories, comic books, and poetry since he was a little kid, eventually owning his own comic book publishing company. Not so secretly, he wants to be Green Lantern.

When not writing or working, Michael wanders from Chicago and the best pizza in the world to see Broadway plays, Alaskan glaciers, penguins in Antarctica with his husband, and once sang in a band in Italy. He reads constantly, takes photos with stars, and plays with his dog, Finnegan.


The author has graciously brought an ebook copy of Absolute Heart to giveaway to one of our readers.  Just leave a comment here with your email address and one winner will be chosen and  notified.Must be 18 years of age or older.

Review Tour and Giveaway for Patron of Mercy (Lords of the Underworld #3) by Sam Burns ➕ W.M Fawkes



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

Length: 70,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Natasha Snow

Lords of the Underworld Series

Prince of Death – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
Prisoner Of Shadows – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link


Lach has spent the last few thousand years counting only on himself. What he needed, he took. What he wanted, he won with charm. All except a god he turned his back on an age ago, when he had a different name and didn’t know what he was giving up.

Thanatos, god of merciful death, is one of the gentlest gods in the pantheon—easing the transition between life and death for billions of mortals. But he has faced eternity alone. After breaking his heart on the sharp words of a fisherman’s son, he hasn’t been able to connect with anyone.

Now, Lach is crashing back into Thanatos’s life, dragging him into an adventure that could save the world . . . or kill them both.


Sam Burns wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.
If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a Wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.

W.M. Fawkes is an author of LGBTQ+ urban fantasy and paranormal romance. With coauthor Sam Burns, she writes feisty Greek gods, men, and monsters in the Lords of the Underworld series. She lives with her partner in a house owned by three halloween-hued felines that dabble regularly in shadow walking.

Website: https://www.fawkeswrites.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fawkeswrites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FawkesWrites


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions


Book Blitz and Giveaway for The Positions Of Love Collection by JM Snyder



Length: 99,966 words.
Publisher: JMS Books 

When Matt diLorenzo gives his lover, Vic Braunson, a copy of the Kama Sutra for Gay Men as a Christmas gift, they find it doubles as a handy reference guide to Vic’s super powers. All they have to do is test out the positions to see which one gives him what ability …

Contains the stories:

The Positions of Love: When Vic’s boss asks him to play Santa at the company Christmas party, the enticement of more time off sweetens the deal. It might be a wonderful holiday season after all … if he can only find the perfect present for his lover.

Two Pillars Position: Some mornings, Vic stops by the gym to bench-press a few thousand pounds, show off for his fellow bodybuilders, and spend some time with his lover before he has to start his day. A quickie in the pool showers seems like a good way to get the blood pumping …

Clasping Position: Though Vic had difficulty finding a suitable gift for his lover for Christmas, Matt has the perfect evening planned for Valentine’s. He’s made reservations at an expensive steakhouse for the two of them, and hopes the intimate dinner is a prelude to a night of love. But things get a little frisky before they leave for the restaurant.

Hammock Position: Spring is in the air, and Matt convinces Vic to join him for a little rest and relaxation on the sunny banks of the James River. What’s more enticing than sex on the rocks by the river’s rapids?

Two Dogs Position: Doggy style brings out the animal in Vic, literally. He finds out the hard way, when Matt invites friends over for a party. Vic’s heightened senses reel from the sights and sounds, and he locks himself away in the bathroom just to get his latest superpower under control. But what he hears in the apartment above puts the party on hold.

Cowboy Position: Matt diLorenzo has a secret fetish — he loves to watch a man eat. When Vic finds out, he suggests they share a quiet, indoor picnic. Something sinfully sexy, for just the two of them. On the menu? Whipped cream, fresh strawberries, and chocolate syrup drizzled over Matt’s bare skin for Vic to lick off.

Kneeling Butterfly Position: It’s a rainy Saturday and Matt wants to spend it at the mall. And what Matt wants, he gets. There’s only one little problem. He loves shopping; Vic does not. Still, the promise of sex in the dressing room sparks Vic’s interest.

Pillar and the Ivy Position: One of Matt’s favorite sexual positions, but he doubts his ability to support Vic’s weight as they make love standing up. He’s not the one with super strength, after all. Vic thinks maybe they could pull it off … in the gym’s swimming pool.

Tripod Position: It’s Vic’s birthday, and Matt wants to do something special. When he discovers his lover has a leather fetish and used to be into clubbing, Matt thinks it’d be fun to go out as a couple to celebrate his special night. But while Matt looks sexy in boyshorts, Vic isn’t the only one watching.

Lotus Position: When Vic has a few days off from work, the two visit Wildwood, New Jersey, a tourist town Matt used to frequent as a child. Though Vic isn’t keen on crowds and would prefer to spend his downtime at home, Matt entices him with the offer of sex on the beach … and he doesn’t mean the drink, either.

The Arc Position: It’s Halloween, and Roxie is having a party. Matt wants to dress as policemen but Vic’s latest power creates a costume all his own.

Sideways Position: For Thanksgiving, Matt takes Vic home to meet his parents. The diLorenzos aren’t quite sure what to make of their son’s lover. Matt’s Nonna tends to lapse into her native tongue without realizing it. Imagine everyone’s surprise when Vic answers her in flawless Italian.

Author Bio

J.M. Snyder is a multi-published author of gay erotic romance who started writing fanfic (specifically, boyband slash). She has worked with several different e-publishers, including Amber Allure Press and Torquere Press, and has short stories published in anthologies by Alyson Books, Cleis Press, eXcessica, and Lethe Press. In 2010, she started JMS Books LLC to promote and publish her own work as well as that of other authors she enjoys.

For more information, please visit jmsnyder.net.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions


A Chaos Moondrawn Review : Patron of Mercy (Lords of the Underworld #3) by Sam Burns & W.M Fawkes


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This is a series where the gods are living amongst humans in modern times. It was described as a standalone, so even though this is the third in the series, I tried it and I didn’t feel like I missed anything. This is the story of a couple who break up when Glaucus pushes Thanatos away, afraid he will be brokenhearted when the god gets bored with him and leaves. Of course, centuries later they are both still heartbroken. When Demeter throws a temper tantrum and stops the crops from growing, Glaucus, now going by the name Lach, asks Thanatos to help him. He needs a Titan, but he really wants to get Thanatos to forgive him. Much of the book is Lach trying to spend as much time with Thanatos as possible in the hope of reconciliation.

There is a glossary in case you don’t know anything about Greek myths. As a Pagan I always hope maybe someone will write the personalities a little more realistically, but it’s always just fun–the gods acting as the author wants them to. Thanatos is hurt that people are afraid of him–he is the god of merciful death and is a bit of a pacifist marshmallow compared to the other gods. Misericordia, Lach’s magic sentient boat, is a good foil even though she can’t speak, but none of the other characters are really three dimensional. The Fidelis Filii cult as the bad guys are pretty ridiculous, but even fools can wreak havoc. Lach is a liar, pirate, and thief with a big heart and is mostly harmless. He is supposed to be the charming rogue persona that plays for laughs, however this doesn’t have the humor of, say, the Brandywine Investigations series by Angel Martinez. Still one of my favorite quotes for this is, “he didn’t get to push happiness away just to sate that broken part of him that felt like he hadn’t earned it—not if it meant hurting the person he loved,” which shows the growth arc of Lach. This is imaginative and has some genuine heartwarming moments. The sexy times are well done, both in terms of heat and moving the relationship forward.

The cover art was created by Natasha Snow Designs. I believe this is Thanatos on the cover. I don’t really understand this background, but it may be when he portals from one place to another. It is striking.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published July 18th 2019
Edition Language English
Series Lords of the Underworld #3

Lords of the Underworld Series

Prince of Death – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
Prisoner Of Shadows – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Summer Reading: StandAlones, Series and Genre! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


Summer Reading: StandAlones, Series and Genre!


As the heat continues here and across most of the midwest and eastern coast, it’s a perfect time for reading.  Series or standalones as we started to talk about last week.  Our poll is running almost neck and neck as far as preferences are concerned.  So we are leaving it up another week to see if we can tip the scales.

Me?  Series are a given.  Love having more than one story to dig deep into.  Doesn’t matter if it’s two more, three more or, be still my heart, seven or more stories, to love in a series.  I know how hard that must be for a author to sustain.  But as Yoda would say, love them I do.

Does it matter whether the series is fantasy or science fiction or supernatural or contemporary?  Not a whit!  I love them all.  Bring them forth!!!!!

Although I do wonder if one type of series is easier to sustain than another but that’s a question for authors.   If you are listening, please feel free to chime in.

Summer reading in the past was always a time for the big blockbuster books (along with the big blockbuster movies).  You’d lug the heavy hardback bestsellers to the beach in your carryall, the Michael Crichton’s, the latest Stephen King,  Mario Puzo, Danielle Steele, ….and now it’s Kindles and and more authors than I can happily name.

Back then the genre didn’t matter much.  Swinging from the horror of King to the romance of Nora Roberts to the intrigue of James Patterson to the fantasy of J.K. Rowling, we read it all any time of the year, but especially during the summer.    So it has never seemed to matter what genre we read.

Or does it?

Poll time times 2!

Turns out I’m also listening to my stories too.  Another wonderful way to get through this heatwave when looking outside and watching the weeds grow is your only choice.  Lightening my mood this week was the audio for Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and Ramón de Ocampo (Narrator.  I adored this.  A perfect summer read  or audio in every way!  Funny,, sweet, lighthearted and adorable.  Catch my review on Saturday.

A Participation gold star and $10 Amazon gift card will be handed out next Sunday!

Have a great week and stay cool.  Happy Reading and Listening to all.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words




Sunday, July 21:

  • Summer Reading: StandAlones, Series and Tropes!
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Blog Tour Guest Post – Heidi Cullinan ‘s Doctor’s Orders

Monday, July 22:

  • Book Blitz – The Positions Of Love Collection – JM Snyder
  • PROMO Michael Vance Gurley + Giveaway
  • Review Tour – Patron of Mercy (Lords of the Underworld #3) by Sam Burns & W.M Fawkes
  • A Lucy Review The Positions Of Love Collection by JM Snyder
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Anhaga by Lisa Henry
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review : Patron of Mercy (Lords of the Underworld #3)  by Sam Burns & W.M Fawkes

Tuesday, July 23:

  • Review Tour -Cold Pressed (Seacroft #2) by Allison Temple
  • BLITZ The Exile Prince by Isabelle Adler
  • BLOG TOUR Breakaway by Charlie Novak
  • A Stella Review : Cold Pressed (Seacroft #2) by Allison Temple
  • An Ashlez Review: Julie the Pianist (Miss Baxter’s Girls Book 1) by Davina Lee
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Four ( Love By Numbers #2) by Tia Fielding
  • A MelanieM Releases Day Review: Absolute Heart (Infernal Instruments of the Dragon #1) by Michael Vance Gurley

Wednesday, July 24:

  • TOUR The Midspring Rebellion by Doreen Heron
  • Review Tour – What Lies Beneath – RJ Scott
  • A MelanieM Review : What Lies Beneath (Lancaster Falls Trilogy #1) by R.J. Scott
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Enough by Matthew J Metzger
  • An Ashlez Review: Anise the Snowboarder (Miss Baxter’s Girls Book 2) by Davina Lee
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review:Anhaga by Lisa Henry

Thursday, July 25:

  • Release Blitz  – Trusting The Elements – Elle Keaton
  • RELEASE BLITZ Out of the Office by Louisa Masters
  • RELEASE BLITZ Eminently Elf (D’Vaire, Book 13) by Jessamyn Kingley
  • BLOG TOUR Crossing Nuwa: Escape by Sean Ian O’Meidhir and Connal Braginsky
  • An Alisa Review Out of the Office by Louisa Masters
  • An Alisa Review Pack Strap Carry (Carry Me #9) by Charlie Richards

Friday, July 26:

  • Review Tour – Eli Easton – How To Run With The Wolves
  • Lisa Henry on Writing and Anhaga
  • BLOG TOUR Intoxicating by Onley James
  • A MelanieM Review:  Stand In Place by Mary Calmes
  • A Stella Review:How to Run with the Wolves (Howl at the Moon #5) by Eli Easton
  • An Alisa Review Close to Home (Finding Home #3) by Carly Marie

Saturday, July 27:

  • TOUR Ignite by Drake and Elliott
  • Release Blitz – Jay Northcote – Nothing Ventured
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and Ramón de Ocampo (Narrator)