A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Truth & Betrayal by KC Wells

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When I began to read this story in the morning, little did I know I would not be able to put it down until the last page—and that was somewhere past midnight. This story was so interesting, so riveting, and so beautifully written that I kept reading throughout the day to the exclusion of everything else in my life.

Character-driven, this emotional tale takes us from the time Jake learns his older brother Caleb has died in a traffic accident through the next year as Jake discovers that he’s not the only one with a Caleb-sized hole in his life. Through Caleb’s death, he learns more about his brother as he meets both his partner and his friends who lead Jake on a journey that reveals details of the last seven years of Caleb’s life. Some details are sweet, and some are shocking, but they help to bring him closure. They also give him the willingness to accept who he is and move forward with a new strength to his convictions. He falters and stumbles along the way but ultimately with support of his new friends, he discovers the love of his life, a man who can be both friend and companion, supporting him, loving him, and giving him hope for a bright future together—that man is Liam, Caleb’s former lover.

Without giving away spoilers, it’s tough to describe the full scope of what takes place, but I must say one of the things that stood out clearly to me was the fact that the story wasn’t rushed. Details weren’t glossed over. Situations were realistic. And the pace was unhurried. This story literally unfolded, page by page, and each page was filled with dialogue. To me, an author who “shows” the action rather than “tells” the action can engage the reader and pull them into the story more easily. Allowing the characters to come to life with words and thoughts through dialogue, text messages, and email conveys what’s actually happening at the time and adds to the overall enjoyment.

Ms. Wells also covers sensitive topics throughout the story. Liam is black and gay and Caleb and Jake come from a rural, predominately white Southern town. Several gay couples Jake meets while visiting Caleb’s friends in Atlanta have an open relationship. He learns intimate details of Caleb’s relationship with Liam that shock him. And he learns the pros and cons of PrEP and bareback sex for men in a committed relationship. The author brings a sensitive approach to these topics but is clear and concise in explaining a variety of views.

I believe this story is the best KC Wells has written, to date. I have my favorites as I’ve read almost all of her work, but this touched my heart in a special way. I don’t recall being so captivated by a story in a long time. It’s the love that shines through here—love for a brother, a lover, a parent, a family, a friend, and more. I suppose I could go on and on, and I could go into detail about Jake’s discovery of love and Liam’s discovery of the kind of love that lasts a lifetime, but it’s best if I leave the details for the next reader. And I hope there are many. This is a story that deserves to be shared. And it’s most definitely going on my Best of 2018 list. I very highly recommend it to all lovers of MM romance.

The cover by Meredith Russell perfectly depicts both MCs, exactly as described in the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 403 pages
Published August 3rd 2018
ASINB07G1BWKXF
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Creature (Bureau #3) by Kim Fielding

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This was an incredibly touching story about a “creature” given life after death. John, as he named himself, is quite sentient and though his limbs don’t cooperate, his heart doesn’t beat, and he needs no food or water, he still seems human.

Early in the story when he was still in captivity, as he crawled back into his corner at night after having basked in the joy of a small ray of sunlight that came through his cell window during the day, he captured my heart and never let go. Oh my gosh, Kim Fielding gets me every time. No matter what genre, she always manages to hit my feels and shake some tears loose. At that point in the story, I was hooked and there was no putting the book down until I finished it.

Harry is a young man, who’s down on his luck in the early 1950s and wants to work for the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs but has failed to get in. He is, however, a candidate for a special project. There’s a man who’s apparently experimenting with bringing bodies back to life, and Harry is assigned to lure him into a trap set by the Bureau. All he has to do is use his own creature—provided by the Bureau—a zombie-like monster they have in a cell in their headquarters. If he can get the man to admit to his experiments, and/or to show where those experiments are taking place, Harry will be offered a permanent position with the Bureau.

The story is like a modern version of Frankenstein’s monster. But it takes a major turn from the original by giving a gentle young man like Harry custody of a very loveable creature. John is completely different in personality from the original monster, and by the end of the story, it’s John who is able to articulate the difference between himself and the monster described in the Frankenstein novel.

One of my favorite themes was used in this story—slow burn romance—one that developed between John, a being who had started as not much more than a skin-over-bones sentient zombie, and Harry, who was a good guy who only wanted to do the right thing for both his boss and the creature he was coming to care for. I thought the way the author allowed for the creature’s physical and mental development to change a little each day as John took care of him was incredibly creative. By the time Harry and John were ready to meet with their target, John appeared to be less creature and more human, except for the scars that showed where he was cobbled together.

There’s plenty of action and exciting drama when the meeting finally takes place and the conclusion was much more interesting than I anticipated. Is it possible for Harry and John to find happiness together? Only Kim Fielding can make me root for a “creature” to get his HEA. And only by reading the story will readers find out for sure. I highly recommend this story. Though third in a series, it can easily stand alone. Plus, one more bonus: all proceed benefit Doctors Without Borders.

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The attractive cover features a man sitting curled in on himself, with only the top of his head and arms and legs showing, and all are covered by scars created as the body was sewn together. Very creative and perfect for this story!

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 101 pages
Expected publication: May 7th 2018
ASINB07BZWY2MB
SeriesBureau #3

J.A. Rock Talks Bed Bath & Beyond and the latest release,Manties in a Twist (The Subs Club, #3) -giveaway

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Manties in a Twist (The Subs Club, #3) by J.A. Rock
Riptide Publishing
Cover art by Kanaxa

Purchase a Copy/Read an Excerpt here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have J.A. Rock here today to talk about the latest in The Subs Club series, Manties in a Twist and share a little insight into the book and characters. Welcome, J.A.!

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Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and right now I’m touring the internet talking about my latest release Manties in a Twist—Book 3 in The Subs Club series. Thanks so much to the blogs that are hosting me on this tour, and be sure to leave comments on the tour posts for a chance to win your choice of two backlist ebooks and a $10 Amazon gift card!

Bed Bath & Beyond

Full disclosure: I’ve never been inside a Bed Bath & Beyond, the store that Ryan and Kamen make their bitch in Manties in a Twist as they decorate their new apartment. I’ve only heard tell of BB&B in legend. My mom’s obsessed. My brother made multiple trips there when he moved in with his girlfriend. Even my sister has purchased linens there. But for some reason it’s this terrifying and magical place that I’m afraid to set foot in.

I’m not much of a decorator. I made my roommates pick out all the stuff for our apartment. I don’t really see what’s wrong with having a coffee table that’s missing one leg. I did, for research purposes during Manties, browse the BB & B online store, but I feel like that doesn’t do it justice. I’m picturing an epic castle of home necessities—a place where, like Pier One and Crate & Barrel, I would a) not know what anything is called, except maybe “towels” and b) break something valuable within ten minutes of stepping inside.

The part I’m most curious about is the “beyond.” I understand what I might find in the bed and bath sections, but “beyond” just seems so…vast. Are we talking kitchen? Automotive? Lawn and garden? Is there a small, sad food court, like at SuperTarget?

I don’t have plans to investigate anytime soon, so I guess I’ll just have to keep imagining this veritable Eden of domestic merchandise—this place that seems like an adulthood rite of passage, that makes Kamen and Ryan feel like they’ve finally conquered growing up. Any BB & B fans here? Is it something I should try once? Or is it overrated?

About Manties in a Twist

MantiesInATwist_600x900Look, I’ll never stop missing Hal, but this Subs Club my friends started to review suck-ass doms isn’t gonna bring him back or give him justice. For me, it’s just another chance to hang out with my friends, even if they think I’m too dumb to understand the important work we’re supposedly doing.

But maybe I’m not as dumb as they think—at least I know when I’ve got a good thing going. Which is why I just moved in with my dom. Ryan’s awesome possum. He’s really short, never makes me feel stupid, and is up for anything. One word: costumes. Two more words: women’s underwear. We’re all about the lace, no leather.

Except when we do pony play. We first tried it as a joke, but turns out I’m ballin’ at it. Now PetPlayFest is coming up, and I wanna take down the Subs Club’s archrival, Cinnamon the ponygirl, in the horse show.

My friends think I’m spending too much time with Ryan and ignoring my obligations to the group. But since when is friendship an obligation? Ryan’s my first serious relationship, and I want to take it . . . seriously. At some point I need to think about my future, not my past.

—Kamen

About the Subs Club series

After the death of their friend Hal at the hands of an irresponsible dom, submissive friends Dave, Kamen, Miles, and Gould band together to form the Subs Club—an organization seeking to expose dangerous local doms. The club slowly evolves as romances blossom, loyalties are tested, and tensions mount in a community already struggling for unity in the wake of Hal’s death.

From domestic discipline to knife play to fashion paraphilia, and from family drama to new jobs to first loves, the members of the Subs Club explore life’s kinks inside and outside of the bedroom as they attempt to let go of the past and move forward.

About the Author

J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including By His Rules, Take The Long Way Home, and, with Lisa Henry, The Good Boy and When All The World Sleeps. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

Connect with J.A. Rock:

MantiesinaTwist_TourBanner

Giveaway

To celebrate, J.A. is giving away your choice of two ebooks from her backlist and a $10 Amazon gift card. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 9, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!