Bru Baker on Celebrity Chefs, Characters, and her new release Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1)

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Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1) by Bru Baker

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Buy links:

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Google Play

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Bru Baker here today talking about her new series, a followup to the popular Camp H.O.W.L. series we loved so much.  Welcome, Bru!

🐾

If you’ve read any of my books you’ll know that food is featured in pretty much everything I write. Sometimes it’s center stage, like in Talk Turkey and King of the Kitchen, but even when it’s not a huge part of the book, it’s there. I love it when my characters cook together or share a romantic meal.

I’m a big foodie myself, and I love watching celebrity chefs. There’s something so soothing about watching the magic of television cooking, where nothing takes more than a few seconds to cook and you can see an entire complicated recipe come together from beginning to end in under thirty minutes.

One of my favorite celebrity chefs gets a cameo in my latest book, Stealing His Heart. Food has been part of every Camp H.O.W.L. book, from food fights in the camp mess to romantic picnics and home-cooked meals. This is the fourth book in that universe, and it’s no different–though it’s not exactly our heroes who are doing the cooking.

Most of the characters in the Connoll Pack series, which is a spin-off of Camp H.O.W.L. set in New York, are some sort of Supernatural being. You’ll have to read the book to find out if our celebrity chef is one, too.

Blurb:

Stealing His Heart

A Camp H.O.W.L. Novel

Connoll Pack series 1


Love sneaks in like a thief in the night.

Danny’s parents raised him to believe his wolf was a curse. He’s part of the wealthy and powerful Connoll Pack, but only nominally. He abandoned that world to volunteer with supernatural kids, and he isn’t looking for a mate….

Max is a shifter who is also a detective. He’s working a case that could make or break his career. Danny’s caught up in the case he’s on, and he’s also irresistible. They’re a bad match—Max, an Alpha having trouble with his new powers and Danny, who trusts Alphas as far as he could throw one. But they can’t get enough of each other, and they might bond before they even see it coming.

They could be amazing together, but they have to get past a few obstacles—especially since someone close to Danny might be involved in the thefts Max is investigating.

Excerpt

Stealing His Heart, by Bru Baker

“You might get hungry later,” Ina said, pressing a box full of Tupperware containers into Max’s hands.

He didn’t see how that was possible. Her clambake fed two hundred, and no one went hungry. Max had eaten his fill and then some. Ina rented dozens of picnic tables and covered them all in huge sheets of parchment, and the easy atmosphere meant Max didn’t have to worry about eating his lobster the right way. Danny, Sloane, and Ina had all circulated, helping the Janus Foundation kids who’d never seen a clambake before. It hadn’t been like any of the fundraisers Max had attended with the Cresswells.

For starters, everyone had been wearing tacky plastic bibs with lobsters on them—and they’d loved it. Mrs. Cresswell hired a band, and the entire afternoon had been full of food, music, and yard games. The kids loved it, and so did Max.

“I don’t know if we have room for all this on the boat,” Max said, eyeing the box.

Ina waved off his concern. “Three shifters, two Weres, and a teenage selkie? You’ll eat it before you go to bed tonight.”

That was probably true. Ray and Tori were coming to spend the night, and Max and Danny were taking Joss out for a weekend sail after they left in the morning. Well, the captain was taking the boat for a sail. Max knew nothing about sailing, but the Cresswells’ yacht had a full crew.

“There’s an extra serving of pavlova in there too,” Ina said with a wink. “Something for you and Danny to nibble on as a midnight snack. I remember how insatiable new mates are. Did you know my husband is a werewolf? Back when we bonded, J—”

Max bent down and kissed her on the cheek to cut her off. He liked her husband, and he wanted to continue to be able to look him in the eye.

“Thank you for everything, Ina. Next time you’re in the city, you should come by. The Torres family lumpia recipe is the best you’ll ever taste. We’d love to have you.”

Ina clapped her hands together. “That sounds fantastic.”

Sloane shouted for him from the car, and Max apologized as he rushed out the door. Tori raised an eyebrow when she saw the box but obligingly took it and rested it on her knees while he climbed in.

“Finally,” Sloane said as Ray started the SUV. “I adore Ina, but she’s a talker.”

“She’s lovely,” Tori said. “And the food was amazing.”

“It always is,” Danny said from the passenger seat where he was squeezed in with Joss. “Remember the time we spent Thanksgiving there, Sloane?”

“Everything had at least two sticks of butter in it and tasted like angel tears and unicorns,” she said dreamily.

Dreamspinner Press, release date March 5, 2019

About the Author

Bru Baker writes sophisticated gay romantic fiction with strong characters, real-world problems, and plenty of humor.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

An Alisa Audio Review : Under a Blue Moon (Camp H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker by Bru Baker and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of his private practice patients threatens Drew’s life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?

 

This was a nice continuation in the series, though there are a lot of assumptions going on which make it hard for these two to be together.  Nick and Drew are both starting new jobs and when they spend a night together have no idea that they will be working together.

 

Nick has seen so many horror stories about dating and marriages come to life that he fears getting seriously involved with a human, even one as in depth as Drew.  Drew wants someone to love him but isn’t willing to back down from what he wants to get it.

 

Both of these guys have issues from their past causing hurt but also have to learn to trust someone else.  I could see both of their pain and how much it hurt Nick when he thought his chances with Drew were gone and how Drew’s assumption that Nick didn’t want him hurt him too.  It just seemed to me as they finally are talking things out it all goes back to assumptions again which was like taking two steps back.

Dorian Bane did a great job narrating this story.  I was easily able to connect with the characters and feel their emotions in his reading.  His voice changes so much you really get to see the differences and personality of the characters.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is great and works well for this story.

Sales Links: Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 6 hrs 40 min

Published: October 26, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

Edition Language: English

Series: Camp H.O.W.L. #2, Dreamspun Beyond

JS Harker on Winter, Characters, and her new release ‘Tit for Tat’ (author guest blog)

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Tit for Tat by J.S. Harker

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  |  Amazon  |   B&N  |   Kobo 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J.S. Harker today talking about the inspiration behind her character Flynn and her new novel Tit for Tate.  Welcome, J.S.

✒︎

Hi there, I’m JS Harker. I’m here to promote my new holiday release Tit For Tat. It’s my second book published in the Dreamspinner Beyond line and I can’t believe the year’s flown by. I’m excited to share the new story with you, especially anyone who, like me, would rather be reading in my room than braving holiday parties. I wanted to balance the holidays with the time of year as well.

Call me strange, I actually like winter. Give me snow, long nights, and cold winds and I’m pretty happy. One winter, in college, the Goo Goo Dolls were playing on campus. While my college spread out over several blocks, walking from place to place never took terribly long, so I encouraged my friends that we should walk instead of taking the shuttle out to the arena. Normally, not a problem. But that night? Full blown blizzard. I’m talking the see six feet ahead of you maybe kind of storm. And somehow, I stubbornly made my friends walk it. It’s not something I recommend because wow, it could have gone way wrong. We had a straight path to walk and we knew the campus really well. But it’s been a decade and I can still feel how bitter cold the wind was, the plodding slow pace we had to go at, and the sheer utter amount of snow that was everywhere. That was also the year I climbed the giant snow piles cleared off the parking lots.

Those experiences were part of the inspiration for Flynn, one of the leads from Tit For Tat. He’s a Winter fairy and comes from the part of the fairy kingdoms that resemble wide open plains covered in snow. As much as he loves his home, he also has this need to explore our world. He and Ariel from Little Mermaid would probably make good buddies—they both just have to know what’s out there. Flynn’s gone so far as to get a job in a mall, playing one of Santa’s elves. He gets to see a wide variety of humans there, but it’s Derek, who works at the toy store, that catches his interest.

While confidence and curiosity come naturally to Flynn, Derek is much more of an inside person. He’s insecure, but he still longs to have adventures. He just doesn’t think they’re possible until he meets Flynn. Writing an insecure, introverted character was a little harder for me. In part it was because Derek shares a lot of the same feelings I’ve had and I’m still new to intentionally opening up on the page, but also because he liked hiding away while I was drafting the story. But he’s in awe of Flynn, fascinated by him, and eventually in love with him.

When I was editing Tit For Tat (because of course the muses strike when you’re busy with a project, right?), I got inspired to write more stories set in the same universe. Every novel is a complete stand alone and focuses on a different season. I’m currently working on a summer story and a fall/Halloween adventure. I’m also working on another novel for Dreamspinner that would feature an FBI agent who investigates the paranormal and attracts the attention of an agent of a secret government organization.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll check out Tit For Tat, and that your new year is shiny and full of good fortune.

Blurb

Cold has never been so hot.

College sophomore Derek is busy working over his holiday break—but his shifts at the toy store are no hardship if they mean more opportunity to dream about the sexy new guy working as an elf in Santa’s Workshop. When his mother gifts him a bag of cookies, Derek regifts them to Flynn as an excuse to get to know him. Flynn has presents to offer as well, and soon they’re dating, with Derek finding out his comfort zone is bigger than he imagined.

But Flynn is hiding a secret—he’s really a winter fairy whose magic is bound to the season. He can’t stay in the mortal realm, and Derek doesn’t want to lose contact with his family. Can they find a way to hold on to each other when the snow and sugar plums melt away?

 

About Author J.S. Harker

JS Harker loves stories. She was one of those kids who always had a book in her hands and spent many hours adventuring with her siblings. These days she wanders into her imaginary worlds and conjures up tales of magic, passion, and happily-ever-afters. She currently lives in the part of the Midwest that makes Tatooine look interesting by comparison (not that she’s ever obsessively thought about becoming a Jedi or anything).    

Links:

Website: www.jsharker.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JS-Harker-236521747017598/

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tit for Tat by J.S. Harker

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Cold has never been so hot.

College sophomore Derek is busy working over his holiday break—but his shifts at the toy store are no hardship if they mean more opportunity to dream about the sexy new guy working as an elf in Santa’s Workshop. When his mother gifts him a bag of cookies, Derek regifts them to Flynn as an excuse to get to know him. Flynn has presents to offer as well, and soon they’re dating, with Derek finding out his comfort zone is bigger than he imagined.

But Flynn is hiding a secret—he’s really a winter fairy whose magic is bound to the season. He can’t stay in the mortal realm, and Derek doesn’t want to lose contact with his family. Can they find a way to hold on to each other when the snow and sugar plums melt away?

Tit for Tat by J.S. Harker is one of those fantasy holiday stories that had a lot of potential but ended but as a sweet Christmas tale that never delivered on the promise of all the elements it held inside it.  There very quite a few things I liked about this story.  You have cute single Derek who is crushing on the elf working at Santa’s Workshop next to his Toy Store where he works at the Mall.  Only the elf isn’t human, he’s a Winter Fae, complete with snarky, ancient companion (who I really enjoyed, think a wicked Tinkerbell with a penchant for  gold spikes and stacks of pennies).

Flynn is an elf out of element…a innocent about the world he is visiting.  So he has questions about everything around him, another adorable aspect of the story.  As I said there is plenty to like.  Harker starts to put everything in place for the romance and cultural smashup.  But for me, something got lost.  I’m not a fan of instantlove which this turned into.  And  with the faery kingdom, different fae tied to the various seasons, there wasn’t the world building I hoped to see as a foundation for the other story threads the author ran here and there amidst the romance.

It all culminates in a HFN that is a nice touch that raises as many questions as it solves if you examine it too closely.

So for those just wanting a fantasy holiday story with a twist, Tit for Tat might be the thing for you.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.  I’m assuming that’s Derek and not Flynn, so it’s a good representation of the character.  Brrrrr.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 242 pages
Expected publication: December 18th 2018 by Dreamspinner Presss
ISBN139781644051078
Edition Language English

Liv Olteano on Writing, Characters, and her new release ‘Lover Behind Enemy Lines (Dreamcatchers #3)’ (guest post and giveaway)

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Lover Behind Enemy Lines (Dreamcatchers #3) by Liv Olteano 

M/M Adult Paranormal Romance

Release date: December 4 2018

Cover designer: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links:   Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Liv Olteano here today on tour for the latest story in her Dreamcatchers  series, Lover Behind Enemy LInes.  Welcome to our Author’s Chair!

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Liv Olteano

  •  If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

My ideal scenario for writing (and reading too, come to think of it!) is this: I’m in a cabin somewhere in the mountains. Out my huge windows, I can see mountain peeks somewhere in the distance. I’m sitting in front of a fire place. The scent of burning wood mixes with the clean air, and the scents of wood from inside the cabin. The armchair I’m cuddled into is huge, and the fluffy blanket covering my feet makes me feel warm and strangely protected – like it’s a magic shield, keeping all evils of the world (like alarm clocks and cars honking – God, I have those!). The huge steaming mug of coffee resting beside my laptop is warming up my hand as I’m cupping it. My cats are lounging on the sofa, right beside my armchair. I set up some nice background music, close my eyes for a moment, and then when I open them up my fingers fly over the keyboard as I write with wild abandon. Sigh. Having that be a part of my regular day-to-day life – wouldn’t that be amazing? 🙂

  • What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

If I’m honest, one of the things I find most interesting in someone is intelligence expressed via humor. A good sense of humor and being funny (the snarky flavor, particularly) is the sport of a sharp mind, in my opinion. I do tend to make my characters funny, if not consistently throughout the story, then at least here and there. I can’t help it. I love someone who has a lot of knowledge that I don’t, so they always have things to tell me that I’ll be really curious about. But they need to be the humble sort of smart, not arrogant about it. I hate arrogance in people. Cocky can work here and there, if sprinkled with the right amount of self-deprecation.

I don’t really think about these things when I help a character climb out of my head, lol. But I suspect that my likes do seep into my creation, if not in every character, then in at least one of them in every story.

  •  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

As a reader, I love stories about characters that have plenty of faults. In fact, I love them to be unrepentant about those faults. And I don’t want the author to “fix” them, either, unless it’s really destructive…and not even then, most of the time.

I’m a firm believer in realistic fiction. I love realistic romance, with stories that don’t end in idealized endings and characters that more often than not make the wrong choices and end up hurting those they love. The grace of forgiveness comes when it’s very hard to achieve it, not when everything conspires to help you along.

Blurb:

True mates, together at last.

Claw—fearless leader of Seattle’s Team 32—has faced many dangers during more than a century and a half as a dreamcatcher. Yet nothing has ever scared him more than his obsession with Nathan Gallagher. Tormented by visions and dreams about the man ever since he first laid eyes on him, Claw now has to deal with living under the same roof with the object of his most ardent desires. And Nathan is so much more than a simple crush.

Brother of the caster who’s been plaguing Team 32’s area and less-than-willing houseguest of the team after a strange break-in attempt, Nathan may hold the key to finally apprehending his sister and putting a stop to the havoc she’s wreaking on Queen Anne…. Meanwhile, Nathan’s wreaking some havoc of his own on Claw’s heart.

Excerpt

“Nathan stirred on the bed, and as he opened his eyes, his eyelashes fluttered. They were blond and long, mostly visible through the shadows they cast on his cheekbones. His eyes were a very dark brown, though; as dark as night, full of doubt and mistrust, but also holding some tantalizing secret that refused to make itself known to me despite my attempts to uncover it. Nathan stirred my interest in so many ways that it was getting very scary very fast.

I sat on the chair next to the bed. “Hey. I thought I should bring you something to eat.”

“What the hell is wrong with you?” he asked and squinted.

“What do you mean?”

“I broke into your house, pitiful as it went. You were all pissed. Okay, I get the point: I won’t break into this house again.”

“Well, at least you learned that lesson.”

“I did, okay? I did. But why are you keeping me handcuffed to a bed now? Do you run some human trafficking ring?”

“Why did you break in?”

This was familiar ground. I’d asked that question a lot of times since he was here. He had yet to give me a believable answer.

As expected, he pouted and looked away. His gaze landed on the plate I’d brought. “Can you at least free one of my hands so I can eat like a normal person?”

I sighed and got the fork out of the nightstand drawer where I’d stashed it. “Because that went so well the last time.”

“You’re not feeding me again. I’m not your fucking pet.”

“Of course not. I wouldn’t handcuff a pet.”

“Screw you,” he muttered.

“I wouldn’t do that to a pet, either. And I’d advise against waking everyone up. They won’t like the fact that I’m feeding you the leftovers they were no doubt planning to devour later on. Now, are you hungry or not?”

His light cheeks colored a delicious rusty shade. “I’d rather you just killed me already than humiliate me like this.”

I sat back in the chair. “We don’t kill people, Nathan. Surely you know that.”

“No, I don’t know; in fact, I don’t know much of anything except that you have an obvious boner for handcuffs.”

I didn’t. I did have a boner for him, but I disliked seeing him cuffed to the bed. Unfortunately, it was how things had to be for the moment. And Nathan refused to help me help him out of the situation.

“Again with that?” I sighed heavily. “You broke into our house. You have to know who we are.”

“Well, I know next to nothing about you people.”

“You knew something before deciding on this house.”

“You only think that because you know who I am,” he hissed.

“And what a coincidence it was, then, that you—who knew nothing about us—broke into this home, where we—who know things about you—live. Call me crazy, but I think it just seems far-fetched.”

He looked away, and silence fell over us like a thick blanket. It was almost smothering for me. If he kept this up, Aashi would lose her patience and cast the forgetting spell on him. He’d lose track of ever seeing either of us. And I’d lose my chance to get through to him. If that happened, I felt sure that sooner or later I’d follow him. Why I was so sure, I couldn’t really understand. But it was an unshakable and terrifying truth. If he refused to see things our way, then that had to mean he was on his sister’s side and maybe even working for her. And if the side he’d choose was his sister’s, then I would follow in that direction too, sooner or later. If that meant I’d cross to his sister’s side, as detestable a thought as it was, then I would eventually do it. Being around Nathan was that much of a necessity already.

Decades of longing and regret were weighing down on me, and they would keep on doing so until I’d lose it. I knew for sure that this was my second and last chance at making things right between what I saw in Nathan’s eyes and my own heart. But he knew nothing about me. He remembered and felt nothing. This was part of my torment.

His eyes haunted my dreams and my waking hours since I’d first glanced into them, what felt like a lifetime ago, back in Denny Park. Drew and I had followed him due to one of Drew’s infamous though usually on-point gut feelings. It was how we’d identified the caster we were dealing with—obviously Nathan’s sister, considering how much they resembled each other.

I knew a lot about the man lying on a bed before me. He was Nathan Gallagher, son of an influential family of ley line witches that was part of the strongest coven of Seattle. Despite his pedigree, in witch circles he had a reputation for avoiding the practice of magic like the pest. He had a sister, Vivian Gallagher, who had been reported missing as a child. Our caster lady had to be precisely that sister. That was one more thing we needed him to tell us about, in fact. That and why he’d decided to break into our house.

I knew the story of Nathan Gallagher’s life as Taka could piece it together from his research. But when I looked into his eyes, it wasn’t Nathan Gallagher that stared back at me. His eyes, windows to his soul, told me he was someone else. When our gazes met, I wasn’t in the here and now anymore. I went back to the sound of water gurgling down rocks and wind whistling through trees; to the sound of laughter, to skinny-dipping in crystal clear waters while everything inside us seemed murky but exciting. When I looked into his eyes, I saw my sweet and so terrible first love, and felt the pang of more than a century-and-a-half-worth of longing.

“Look at me,” I said in as terse a tone as I could so I wouldn’t betray my emotions.

He turned his face back in my direction, though it took him a couple of seconds to find my gaze with his.

“Let me feed you. I assure you I see absolutely no humiliation in it.”

His gaze scanned my face. I wished he’d be reassured by the sincerity in my heart. It was a joy and privilege for me to feed him, in fact; it would never be a way to belittle him, regardless of circumstances. But I couldn’t tell him that. I knew he’d think I was crazy, and that I really couldn’t afford—even if the thought crossed my mind more often than not of late.

“Is this some elaborate scheme to gain my trust? Do you guys think the good cop/bad cop routine is going to get better results than just asking? Because it won’t.”

“You are not my enemy, Nathan.”

“Well, I’m your prisoner, so you are my enemy.”

“Fine, then. See me as an enemy, if you so desire. But please eat.”

He looked at the plate again, this time with a tint of suspicion. “Is it drugged?”

I used my fingers to grab some bits of cold turkey and carrot salad and stuffed them in my mouth. After swallowing, I wiped my hand on one of the napkins stashed under the plate. “Happy now?”

“Delirious.” He huffed and rolled his eyes. “Maybe you drugged just some bits, though.”

“Think of it this way: if the food is drugged, then you’ll be aware of less time spent here.”

“Encouraging thought,” he deadpanned. “And then you can cheerfully rape me, because I’m so out of it. Don’t think I don’t see how you look at me, buddy.”

I widened my eyes. “Rape you? Dear spirits and heavens, I would never.”

“I bet that’s what all rapists say.”

“And how could I prove to you that I wouldn’t do such a thing?”

“You could uncuff me,” he said, shrugging a little.

I smiled. “Nice try.”

“It was worth a shot. So you’re sure you don’t want to rape me?”

“I’m positive.”

“Bummer,” he muttered. “Sex would have given me something nice to do to pass the time, at least. It wouldn’t be rape, though.” He waggled his eyebrows.

“So you actually enjoy handcuffs,” I concluded.

“Not necessarily. But I’d enjoy you.” He looked at the plate for a moment, then back at me. “That stuff smells torturously good.”

“Are you asking me to feed you, then?”

“Of course not. You keep me handcuffed to a bed and refuse to make the most of it, so I won’t humiliate myself by asking you to feed me next. But if you felt so inclined to get some of the food close enough to my mouth, it wouldn’t go to waste. That’s all I’m saying.”

So I did just that. He ate everything I’d brought up. When he was done, I wiped his mouth—to his mortification, if his expression was anything to go by. It wasn’t really necessary to wipe his mouth, I had to admit; that one I did purely to indulge myself. ”

Want to read more from Chapter 1? Check out the book on the Dreamspinner Press site (Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lover-behind-enemy-lines-by-liv-olteano-9940-b ) and hit the Read an Excerpt button right beneath the cover xD

About Liv Olteano:

Liv Olteano is a voracious reader, music lover, and coffee addict extraordinaire. And occasional geek. Okay, more than occasional.

She believes stories are the best kind of magic there is. And life would be horrible without magic. Her hobbies include losing herself in the minds and souls of characters, giving up countless nights of sleep to get to know said characters, and trying to introduce them to the world. Sometimes they appreciate her efforts. The process would probably go quicker if they’d bring her a cup of coffee now and then when stopping by. Characters—what can you do, right?

Liv has a penchant for quirky stories and is a reverent lover of diversity. She can be found loitering around the Internet at odd hours and being generally awkward and goofy at all times.

Links:

http://liv.liviaolteano.com

http://blog.liviaolteano.com/

https://twitter.com/LiviaOlteano

https://www.facebook.com/LiviaOlteano

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6952513.Liv_Olteano

 

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

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

Will love mean rebirth… or death?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I definitely recommend this and  all the rest.

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

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

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

Out of the Ashes

 

Forged in Fire

Quenched in Blood

An Alisa Release Day Review: Fangs for the Memories ( A Dead and Breakfast #2) by Julia Talbot

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

One wolf lost his memory, but they’ll both lose their hearts.

 

Bitten werewolf Tom owes the folks at the Dead and Breakfast big for saving his life. So when they ask for help with a rogue wolf on the premises, he’s happy to do his part….

 

Though he isn’t quite prepared for what he’ll find.

 

Werewolf Nathan lost everything to a sadistic kidnapper—his freedom, his memories, and maybe even his ability to be human. But as soon as he meets Tom, he knows he might be able to reclaim his life. And even a turned wolf like Tom feels the mating call. The trouble is, Tom isn’t the only one who wants Nathan, and they’ll need help from all their supernatural friends at the D & B to defeat a powerful enemy and keep their love—and themselves—alive.

 

This was another cute story in this series.  Tom doesn’t think he will ever have a mate and is even more surprised when he finds him at the D and B.  Nathan is struggling to survive and find how he can trust, he feels a pull to Tom and the safety he provides.

 

There are many more at the D and B now, which gives the hope of more stories to come.  Once Nathan regains himself he is the bouncy one in this relationship, with the help of Ed, but I think it also helps Tom to unwind and let go a bit too.

 

We get to see the story from both characters’ points of view and it helps to understand them both.  Though we don’t see as much into Nathan’s past probably because it would be painful for him we find out what has happened which made me so happy that he has found love and a new family.  Tom will carry everything on his shoulders if he can and I love that his friends won’t let him do that.  I continue to love how the characters give into their animal’s basic instincts so much, it is so entertaining.

 

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is great and I love how it goes with the series.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 222 pages

Published: November 6, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-835-5

Edition Language: English

Series: A Dead and Breakfast #2, Dreamsun Beyond

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Calculated Magic by SJD Peterson

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Never too late for love.

Three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old warlock Tikron must find his true love or forfeit his immortality. But if he hasn’t found his ideal mate in all these centuries, the prospects don’t look too bright.

That is, until he sees mathematician Richard Beaumont. It’s love at first sight and Tikron’s future just go a whole lot brighter.

Except Richard doesn’t believe in love at first sight. He doesn’t believe in love at all. He certainly doesn’t believe in magic. His life is ruled by statistics and logic, and they tell him a relationship with Tikron has only a 10 percent chance of success. That’s unacceptable—even if the attraction between them is off the charts.

With his powers waning and the clock ticking down, Tikron’s last hope is showing Richard the true meaning of magic.

I absolutely had fun reading Calculated Magic by SJD Peterson.  There were places where I giggled and outright laughed in joy (that winking squirrel certainly did me in).  The characters of Tikron, his best friend Ry, their antics and conversations kept me totally entertained as did his wooing of Richard the mathematician who lived in emotional isolation except for his dog.  The crumbling of Richard’s barriers, although a tad swift,  felt believable because intellectually, Richard was able to delight in a new world to explore with his brilliant mind.  That was in keeping with his personality. All the plans and scenes as Tikron revealed that magic was real to Richard?  Priceless!

All these positives overrode the other issues I  found within the story.  Yes, I had some.  A curse that never quite felt real or explained fully, nor a villian that was fleshed out to be a real threat to our heroes or his mother. That aspect of this novel was missing and I wished had been added.  We had little of the bachstory, knew next to nothing of the coven (convenienctly explained away to Richard but as readers we needed the background).  It was all quickly resolved in the end, too quickly in my mind as it was the reason for all that went on in the story.  That sort of meant it was never much of a threat to begin with.  Shame.

Tikron’s friend, Ry, could definitely have his own story.  He’s hilarious!  Maybe several.  I’m not sure who or what it  would take to get him to settle down.  Now that would be a story!

In the meantime, if you want a magical comedy with romance included, Calculated Magic by SJD Peterson might be the thing for you.  I enjoyed it despite the issues.  You might too.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza does a fun job with the cover and the idea of Tikron, right down to the  scar on his face and a magical vibe. Nice.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 230 pages
Expected publication: October 16th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640807204
Edition LanguageEnglish

SJD Peterson on Getting to Know Jo and her new release ‘Calculated Magic’ by S.J.D. Peterson (guest blog)

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Calculated Magic by S.J.D. Peterson
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host S.J. D. Peterson back today in our author’s interview chair, talking about characters, writing, and the latest in the Dreamspun Beyond titles, Calculated Magic.  Welcome, Jo!

 

GETTING TO KNOW JO

How much of yourself goes into a character? 

I don’t know how a writer could tell a story without putting a bit of him or herself in each character. We (writers readers, & editors) bring our own life experience to each story written or read. I try to make each character unique yet even when I base that character on someone I know, there is still a part of me in each one.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

All the time!! I am one of those who always have more than one story going at a time. Typically, I’ll have a happy, sad, angry ect story going and depending on my mood that day, it’s the story I am going to work on. (Another reason I suck at deadlines) If I’m happy, I’ll be telling a fun, light story, with ewwy gooey love. On the flip side, if I’m sad, the angst is flowing. Now, if I’m pissed off… yup everyone is going to die.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like them, but I don’t think a good story has to end in one. I’m more of the, you don’t get happy unless you deserve it. In my world if the guy Is an asshole, he doesn’t deserve HFN or HEA. For the really big jerks, it may take more than one book before he’s become worthy of the love.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I never read fiction when I was a teenager, hell I didn’t read it most of my adult life either. I have always been a bit of a history buff and when I wasn’t reading about history, I was reading true crime. I am not embarrassed to admit that it was Twilight that brought me to reading fiction and ultimately to writing my first book. After watching that movie, I came home read the novels then moved on to the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I was literally reading novel a day to make up for all the years I missed. I no longer have much time to read but when I do get a chance, I cherish it.

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I surf the web. Sometimes I write a story based on a picture I see but most of the time, I have to go in search of photo. I have been blessed with finding the perfect photo and being given permission by the photographer to use it for my cover. Plan B, Quinn’s Need, Jess’s Journey, Tag Team and My Hometown are all examples of that.  I have a hard time picking one as a favorite since I love them all for a different reason. However, if forced to choose one, I’d have to go with Ty’s Obsession since my son created that one for me

Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

You mean people actually write sober? Like my hero the late great Earnest Hemmingway, I write drunk and edit sober.

Just kidding hehehe I’ve only been drunk a couple of times while (tipsy doesn’t count) and I have no clue if EH wrote drunk either. You see, Hemmingway never said, Write drunk, edit sober The quote is all over the internet being attributed to EH, but no one ever gives a source in Hemingway’s works or conversations. It was the novelist Peter De Vries who said it. You go Pete!

Anything else you want to know, just ask. I’m an open book!

~Hugs~

Jo

Never too late for love.

Three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old warlock Tikron must find his true love or forfeit his immortality. But if he hasn’t found his ideal mate in all these centuries, the prospects don’t look too bright.

That is, until he sees mathematician Richard Beaumont. It’s love at first sight and Tikron’s future just go a whole lot brighter. 

Except Richard doesn’t believe in love at first sight. He doesn’t believe in love at all. He certainly doesn’t believe in magic. His life is ruled by statistics and logic, and they tell him a relationship with Tikron has only a 10 percent chance of success. That’s unacceptable—even if the attraction between them is off the charts.

With his powers waning and the clock ticking down, Tikron’s last hope is showing Richard the true meaning of magic.

Buy Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/calculated-magic-by-sjd-peterson-9910-b

About the Author

SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can’t cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.

Visit Jo on

Twitter: @SJDPeterson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SJD.Peterson

Blog: www.sjdpeterson.com

Email: sjdpeterson@gmail.com

 

A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: The Librarian’s Ghost (The Supers #2) by Sean Michael

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

I was really excited to read this one because I enjoyed the first one in the series, The Supers. Coming off of a house exploration where there was no paranormal activity, the guys get asked to investigate McGregor Mansion. The gothic style house was built in the 1780’s, so there have been plenty of deaths on the property. There is something weird and dangerous going on right away.

Many of the details just don’t gel for me in this book. We’re told Payne McGregor is at his wit’s end and is ready to pay for an exorcism, yet at the house he seems resigned, dismissive of the things that are happening. We keep getting told how rude Will, the cameraman, is to Payne upon meeting, but I didn’t read it that way at all so I was a little confused. It wasn’t until about chapter four that we even get a bare bones description of what Payne looks like (trim beard and glasses.) Then, even though he is older than the other characters, and highly educated, he ends up sounding the same way they do when he thinks or speaks. As soon as possession came up, Flynn said he was “out” which I assume was a stress response to what happen in the first book. It’s unclear to me if he was kidding or not, but he does stay with the team.

There are other things that don’t work for me. For example, near the beginning Will is worried about demons. Later, randomly, we get this sentence “‘None of the workers saw a demon, though, right?’ Payne offered.” Why was Payne worried about demons? (As a weird aside, daemon is the Latin word for the ancient Greek daimon which is just a benevolent spirit; the idea of malevolent “demons” is ancient Near Eastern and Abrahamic. I thought it was strange Will used holy water and then prayed at one point, even if it was casually done in fear. If the author is going with quasi-Christian ideals, what is done with the bones later is anathema. My personal preference would have been to do without religious references altogether.) The first book was more atmospheric, even though the situation turned out to be less dire. I also missed the sexual tension from the previous book. I like forced proximity as a trope, but the time shifting scenario created to get Payne and Will together didn’t help cement their attraction like it was meant to. The banter seemed forced and the flirting was strange and awkward. Even if they were being influenced by a ghost, this was handled in a very clunky way so I didn’t feel emotionally invested in the explicit sex scene that happens after.

The plot moves towards the final showdown in the basement. This time when Will is possessed it is very noticeable; if it had been that bad in the beginning I doubt the men would have been able to shrug that off and still get together so it makes me understand what the author was trying to do at the beginning. The other problem is what they do with the bones. No matter how you slice or dice it, they broke the law. Since there are clues about where this takes place (Aero bar and Coffee Crisp), my best guess would be Canada. I don’t know Canadian law but the Coronor’s Act or the Archaeology Act would have to be considered. In the UK, it would be the Burial Act of 1857. If this takes place in the US, state laws differ, but every jurisdiction has some kind of law governing the discovery of human remains. In Utah, for instance, it is a third degree felony for anyone except an archaeologist, the Medical Examiner’s office, law enforcement, or a licensed mortician to disturb, move, remove, conceal, or destroy human remains. Since they are filming this to make a TV show, it’s a problem. Maybe in trying to appeal to all audiences the author was vague about which country this actually takes place in, but the devil is still in the details. Like when after all this incredibly disgusting stuff happens, Will kisses Payne on the neck before they take a shower. I cannot even convey how skeeved out this made me.

This could have been a nice opposites attract story with the mild mannered librarian and the cameraman who looks like a biker–with both of them liking organization and being compatible in the bedroom, it would have worked. As it is I have a difficult time believing they are moving in together after two days. While I really liked the first book in the series, this suffers a bit by comparison. Since there are two more ghost hunters in the group, I would expect there to be two more books for Jason and Darnell who are barely mentioned in this book. I would cautiously recommend this book if you like ghost stories and want an easy read as long as you are not too concerned with having a lot of detail.

The cover artist is Alexandria Corza. It is in keeping with the other Dreamspun Beyond covers. The model represents the main character Payne, who is a librarian. Some of the scenes also take place in the library of the mansion so it’s appropriate to the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, Dreamspun Beyond #29, 210 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640807389
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Supers #2