A MelanieM Review:Wedding Bellskis (Holidays with the Bellskis #3) by Astrid Amara

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Seth Bellski and Lars Varga have opened their own law firm that specializes in representing the underrepresented–whistleblowers, disadvantaged employees, and those lacking power. The good news is, business is never slow.

But that also means they are busy when all Seth really wants to do is plan his pending nuptials. So when his brother-in-law approaches him with concerns about his own business, and when Lars’s brother gives them the cold treatment, Seth wishes he could just tune them all out.

But holidays are all about families, even the annoying members. If Seth and Lars are going to enjoy their joint Hanukkah/Christmas celebration this year, they’re going to have to deal with the brother that has a problem, and the brother that IS the problem. And do so before anything else comes in the way of them and their happily ever after.

Ah, Wedding Bellskis (Holidays with the Bellskis, #3) by Astrid Amara, what I can only assume is the final story in the Bellski tale is finishing off with Seth and Lars now happily established in their law practice and  after all this time,  able to get married and ready for it. It’s been a long time coming for this couple and a great way to go out in style but it has to be Bellski style!  So that involves tons of family drama from both sides of their families, business intrigue, familial angst (of course involving the Vargas), and mayhem all around.  It’s wonderful.

It’s been ten years for Seth and Lars, what a journey it’s been!  From Lars’ closeted lawyer status and Seth’s as his paralegal lover who called it off to equal partners in a successful law firm and happily out couple, it’s been a tumultuous, adventurous, funny, and heartwarming road to the present.

It all begins with a law case and reflection on marriage, the story unfolding from there.  The fact that they couldn’t get married was huge in the earlier stories.  That they legally can now shines just as large in Wedding Bellskis.  What an earth shattering difference ten years can make!  Planning the wedding takes over, with input from both families, just as you would assume it would, but with more chaos because the Bellskis are involved.

I’m not sure how only three stories, even ones spaced as far apart as these, has managed to feel so warm,vivid, and alive, but Astrid Amara has managed it.  I love these people and wish to celebrate in their lives, no matter what is happening, and Astrid Amara’s writing lets me do just that.  Her narrative pulls me intimately into each setting and the scenes unfolding there.  I feel as though I’m standing off in a corner, inches away, from the shouting or the hugs, or the laughter or tears that maybe flowing.  Or even the bullets whistling past your head.  That happens too.

All the characters I’ve come to love show the emotional and personal growth one would hope to see over ten times time.  They’ve aged and so have we but the love and romance has only deepened between Seth and Lars.  We get that too.  Now they get their wedding and oh what a marriage!  I loved it.  It was perfection for these two, and a great way for them to go out in style.  Although, Astrid Amara, if you’re listening, another holiday story with the Bellskis is always welcome!  Who knows what happens with the happily married couple?

For me this story is a must read but pair it with the other two stories.  Read all three together for a trilogy to charm your socks off! .I think this series is magical any time of the year and I highly recommend it.

Cover art by April Martinez continues with the menorah branding all three but the men now look a little young for Lars and Seth.

Sales Links:  Loose id | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 128 pages
Published December 12th 2017 by Loose Id (first published December 11th 2017)
ISBN139781682524398
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHolidays with the Bellskis ;

Carol of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #1)

Miracle of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #2)

Wedding Bellskis (Holidays with the Bellskis, #3)

A MelanieM Review: Two Feet Under (Lindenshaw Mysteries #3) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Things are looking up for Adam Matthews and Robin Bright—their relationship is blossoming, and they’ve both been promoted. But Robin’s a policeman, and that means murder is never far from the scene.

When a body turns up in a shallow grave at a Roman villa dig site—a body that repeatedly defies identification—Robin finds himself caught up in a world of petty rivalries and deadly threats. The case seems to want to drag Adam in, as well, and their home life takes a turn for the worse when an ex-colleague gets thrown out of his house and ends up outstaying his welcome at theirs.

While Robin has to prove his case against a manipulative and fiendishly clever killer, Adam is trying to find out which police officer is leaking information to the media. And both of them have to work out how to get their home to themselves again, which might need a higher intelligence than either a chief inspector or a deputy headteacher.

Adam has a new job at a new school, Robin’s working to combine  police officers from different locations into one group, and Robin’s former Sergeant is thrown out of his house and needs putting up.  Sounds like a perfect time for a murder or two!

How I love sinking back into Charlie Cochrane’s cozy mystery series, Lindenshaw Mysteries, now on it’s third book, Two Feet Under.  From the first story,The Best Corpse for the Job (Lindenshaw Mysteries, #1), we’ve watched Robin and Adam become a couple, establish a home  ( Jury of One (Lindenshaw Mysteries #2) , and now become happy in their relationship.  As they’ve grown more secure in themselves as partners and in their relationship, it’s been wonderful to watch their dynamics change, not only when at home but during the investigations as well.  Because once a body pops up, somehow all clues or a few unlikely leads will point towards Adam. Or someone he knows.  Or perhaps even something that Campbell has buried in the garden…you can never be sure how Campbell is involved.  But that Newfie will be important somehow!  Ah, the thrill of anticipation.

Here in Two Feet Under, the mysteries were wonderfully challenging!  It wasn’t just Adam, Robin, and his crew muttering to themselves as they tried to figure out whodunnit.   I too was at the crossroads a few times on this one.  How delicious!  Plus we also got the mole in the station, all the great side characters that ramble through the villages around and near Abbotson. We tumble through the local pubs, out into the streets, and across the wild hillsides in pursuit of killers and the truth.  It’s wonderful.

Or sometimes, we just deal with the fact we have an unwelcome guest we need to figure out how to boot out of our house.  There’s that too.  One whose been a staple character in the first two stories. Oh my.

All that, plus not forgetting the love and warmth of the relationship between Robin and Adam.  Charlie Cochrane pulls is all together famously!

Here’s a cozy to spend the night with.  Or day with.  Or both.  I read it right through because I had to know whodunnit.  I was completely satisfied with the ending.  Now I can’t wait for the next mystery to roll out and my next visit with Adam, Robin, and Campbell.

If you love mysteries and romance, a fan of cozies, don’t let this series or book pass you by! The writing is wonderful.  Charlie Cochrane has done it again!  I highly recommend them both.  They’ll charm you into forgetting that maybe you should be looking over your shoulder! Murder’s like that!

Cover art by L.C. Chase is so much fun.  You’ve got to have that wonderful Newfie, Campbell, on the cover, he’s in the middle of everything, so bloody smart!

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 294 pages
Published January 6th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ASINB078VW89KR
Series Lindenshaw Mysteries #3

A MelanieM Review: Miracle of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #2) by Astrid Amara

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Too much family…too little Egg Nog.

It’s been three years since Seth Bellski forced his boyfriend and ex-boss Lars Varga out of the closet. Since then, Seth has passed the bar and become an attorney, and Lars has started his own firm. Their sex life has gotten steamier, and everything seems perfect between them. Until the holidays arrive.

It’s bad enough that Seth’s mother and father want them over every single night of Hanukkah. And that Lars’s less-than-tolerant parents are sleeping in the room next door for the duration of Christmas, putting the kibosh on their kink. They also end up attorneys representing opposing sides in a divorce case, one which quickly proves to be much more than it seems.

Amidst Hanukkah candles, Christmas lights, burned dinners and delayed court appointments, can Lars and Seth’s relationship survive the ultimate holiday challenge: too much family?

From my review in 2011, pre Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words:

I loved this. What a wonderful surprise to see this release. I loved the first book in the series, Carol of the Bellskis from Astrid Amara that was released last year. So this was a joyful present this December. This sequel finds partners Seth Bellski and Lars Varga happily together and getting ready for the holidays, Hanukkah and Christmas. For the first time, this will include Lars’ family, who is still not comfortable with the idea of their son being gay and his meeting live-in lover. Plus Seth’s loving and loud Bellski family has decided to migrate west and join them in Seattle-permanently.

The ensuing holiday stress brings much snark, cooking and loud arguments and of course love. Astrid Amara does this so well that when I finish one book I immediately want the next one to know what happens to her characters. These are real people with flaws who argue, laugh, make love and get stressed out. I love every minute I spend with them. And that includes Ruthie and Herman Bellski, the rest of their brood. I even warmed up to the Vargas along with Seth as the book drew to a close. It is also great to have a book that includes Hanukkah rituals as much as Christmas in the story, Seth is Jewish after all.

So definitely put this on your TBR stack, right near the top. Include the first book, Carol of the Bellskis too. It’s a win win for you. And then you will be like me, hoping that the next holiday season, finds another gift from Santa and Astrid, another Hanukkah spent with Seth and Lars and all their families.

Yes, this story is all that and more.  Little did I know at the time I would have to wait until the end of 2017 to get to the end of their story (so worth it), but here in Miracle of the Bellskis, you see Lars and Seth in the middle stages of their lives and relationship.  They’ve both made adjustments and grown as individuals.  I have always admired Amara’s depth of characterizations, and her ease of letting her characters flow into another stage in their lives is so wonderful and pertinent here.

If you loved them before, prepare for that to deepen as once more the holidays of Hanukkah and Christmas advance on Seth and Lars with all the chaos and hilarity that entails.  The joy in reconnecting with these stories just makes me feels warm all over at just the thought of them.  If you aren’t familiar with them, find them now.  You get the fun of reading all three together!  It’s a series I highly recommend.

Cover art by April Martinez is perfect.  I love the menorah that pulls together all three covers as well as the characters.  That’s Lars and Seth for me.

Special note:  on sale now at Loose id.

Sales Links:  Loose id | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st Edition, 110 pages
Published December 13th 2011 by Loose Id
Original TitleMiracle of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #2)
ISBN139781611185713
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Holidays with the Bellskis

Carol of the Bellskis 2009
Miracle of the Bellskis 2011
Wedding Bellskis 2017

A MelanieM Review: Sin & Saint (Executioners #4) by J.M Dabney

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Eric and Ellison Gant better known as Sin and Saint were opposite sides of the same coin. They epitomized the nicknames given to them by their friends in the band Executioners. One thing Sin and Saint did well was fight and being inseparable means they have a lot of disagreements, but one thing they agree on is Sheriff Camden Pelter was theirs. The older, stoic man didn’t agree, yet they were determined to change his mind.

Camden Pelter had the daunting job of turning the Powers Sheriff Department around. The residents of the Georgia town didn’t have much faith or respect in the Deputies serving them. That’s where he came in and he was determined to do his job. That was easier said than done with two annoying brothers Sin and Saint who dogged his every step. No way in hell was he getting mixed up in the chaos that were the Gant Twins. Now if only if he could get them to listen and realize they didn’t have a chance of changing his mind.

Since the first mention of Camden Pelter and the twins, I (and tons of other fans of J.M. Dabney) have been waiting for this book.  Through story after story, Sin and Saint (Eric and Ellison Gant) have been chasing the older, gorgeous Sheriff of Powers, Georgia only to be rebuffed time and again.  Still, we knew that Camden would eventually come to the realization that the twins were his and we’d get that story.

And it would be full of sizzle and probably some kink.

However, I wasn’t expecting some terrific suspense scenes, high action, and some real twists to come our way as well.  Sin & Saint (Executioners #4) by J.M. Dabney delivers with a pack, a punch, and a high note on every level as the last story in the Executioners series.

For one thing, we now get up close to the twins.  The author delivers more nuanced characterizations with Eric (Sin) and Ellison (Saint), two who may look identical to those who don’t know them but who’s differences extend from the emotional to physical variations that have had an huge impact on one of them.  Past histories too that have done the same.  Camden Pelter comes in for close inspection in every way as well, from his background and local familial ties to his sexuality…his need to dominate and take care of those he loves.

Then all three men are pulled gently together to form a loving triad quite unlike any of the triads already in existence in the connected series.  It’s a slow, hot pace that should leaving you with a need for a fan.

However, Sin and Saint is not just about romance but also the need to tie up some loose ends with regard to the last corrupt  Sheriff and his organization.  In comes the high action, suspense, and some great twists in the narrative that I just adored.  Truly I love it when my expectations are overturned and the plot takes a turn I didn’t expect all of which happened here.

It ends as it should and I was hopelessly overjoyed and looking forward to the beginning of the new  series.  That would be the Trenton Security series, although I’m not yet sure that’s the name.  It will involve the guys in the Trenton group that we’ve meet before and were heavily involved here in this story.  And yes, I can’t wait!

So another great series, Executioners comes to an end with Sin & Saint but what an ending it was!  A great storyline, a long anticipated romance and triad coupling (can that be with three), and just some wonderful writing that drove this narrative crazily along to an ending that was exactly what I hoped for.   All that and more is why I’m highly recommending this story  and all the books in the Executioners series by J.M. Dabney.

If you haven’t met her glorious bunch of huge, damaged, sometimes violent men and the ones that love them, there’s no better series to start with that this one.  But now you have three series to read before the fourth series start, grab them all up and get reading! I have the list below for you all to check out.

Cover by Winterheart Designs:  I love this cover.  That’s  Sin and Saint personified.  Just perfection.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Edition Language English
setting Georgia (United States) 

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Sin and Saint (Executioners #4) by J.M. Dabney

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Eric and Ellison Gant better known as Sin and Saint were opposite sides of the same coin. They epitomized the nicknames given to them by their friends in the band Executioners. One thing Sin and Saint did well was fight and being inseparable means they have a lot of disagreements, but one thing they agree on is Sheriff Camden Pelter was theirs. The older, stoic man didn’t agree, yet they were determined to change his mind.

Camden Pelter had the daunting job of turning the Powers Sheriff Department around. The residents of the Georgia town didn’t have much faith or respect in the Deputies serving them. That’s where he came in and he was determined to do his job. That was easier said than done with two annoying brothers Sin and Saint who dogged his every step. No way in hell was he getting mixed up in the chaos that were the Gant Twins. Now if only if he could get them to listen and realize they didn’t have a chance of changing his mind.

Since the first mention of Camden Pelter and the twins, I (and tons of other fans of J.M. Dabney) have been waiting for this book.  Through story after story, Sin and Saint (Eric and Ellison Gant) have been chasing the older, gorgeous Sheriff of Powers, Georgia only to be rebuffed time and again.  Still, we knew that Camden would eventually come to the realization that the twins were his and we’d get that story.

And it would be full of sizzle and probably some kink.

However, I wasn’t expecting some terrific suspense scenes, high action, and some real twists to come our way as well.  Sin & Saint (Executioners #4) by J.M. Dabney delivers with a pack, a punch, and a high note on every level as the last story in the Executioners series.

For one thing, we now get up close to the twins.  The author delivers more nuanced characterizations with Eric (Sin) and Ellison (Saint), two who may look identical to those who don’t know them but who’s differences extend from the emotional to physical variations that have had an huge impact on one of them.  Past histories too that have done the same.  Camden Pelter comes in for close inspection in every way as well, from his background and local familial ties to his sexuality…his need to dominate and take care of those he loves.

Then all three men are pulled gently together to form a loving triad quite unlike any of the triads already in existence in the connected series.  It’s a slow, hot pace that should leaving you with a need for a fan.

However, Sin and Saint is not just about romance but also the need to tie up some loose ends with regard to the last corrupt  Sheriff and his organization.  In comes the high action, suspense, and some great twists in the narrative that I just adored.  Truly I love it when my expectations are overturned and the plot takes a turn I didn’t expect all of which happened here.

It ends as it should and I was hopelessly overjoyed and looking forward to the beginning of the new  series.  That would be the Trenton Security series, although I’m not yet sure that’s the name.  It will involve the guys in the Trenton group that we’ve meet before and were heavily involved here in this story.  And yes, I can’t wait!

So another great series, Executioners comes to an end with Sin & Saint but what an ending it was!  A great storyline, a long anticipated romance and triad coupling (can that be with three), and just some wonderful writing that drove this narrative crazily along to an ending that was exactly what I hoped for.   All that and more is why I’m highly recommending this story  and all the books in the Executioners series by J.M. Dabney.

If you haven’t met her glorious bunch of huge, damaged, sometimes violent men and the ones that love them, there’s no better series to start with that this one.  But now you have three series to read before the fourth series start, grab them all up and get reading! I have the list below for you all to check out.

Cover by Winterheart Designs:  I love this cover.  That’s  Sin and Saint personified.  Just perfection.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Edition Language English
setting Georgia (United States) 

A MelanieM Review: King (Executioners #3) by J.M. Dabney

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Andrew King’s life wasn’t what he’d expected it to be. At thirty he was a single dad who drove his rig to make ends meet and played in his band Executioners on the weekends. King saw himself being a husband again one day because that’s what was expected. When Melanie had gotten pregnant, their parents had given them one choice—they’d stuck it out a year. At twenty-eight, he became a single dad when Melanie went off to college. He loved his son more than anything, and they’d quickly fell into a life of just the two of them, well, not just the two of them there was Lincoln too. His ex-wife was still his best friend. They all co-parented Mal, it was natural and right.

Lincoln Church lived for his nephew and his teaching job. While King, his ex-brother-in-law, worked driving a truck. As a result, Mal ended up living with him most of the time. It was the closest Linc would ever come to being a dad. The only bleak spot in his life was his feelings for King which he thought would never be reciprocated. It wasn’t so bad because he still had King and Mal in his life and that meant the world to him.

A stupid accident and a broken leg sidelined King, keeping him off the road. When King needed help, Lincoln rushed in, and King couldn’t deny his attraction or love for Lincoln. Would one kiss ruin the weird, little family they’d created?

Out of all the books in all of the connected series, the main characters in King are probably the most little known elements when we first meet them.  In every other story, from the Twirled World Ink group through Brawlers and now the Executioners, the main players are known entities because we’ve encountered them multiple times in just about everyone else’s stories.   Powers, Georgia has become an intimate, familiar destination full of people I’ve come to know and love.  Reading a story in any series feels like a homecoming.  Which is why King is such a standout amongst them all.

Turns out intentionally so.  I interviewed J.M. Dabney for my Author Spotlight not too long about and this is what  the author had to say about the character and book:

The Executioners have two more books, King who you see a little of in the course of the series. Unconsciously, I believe I kept him a bit more sequestered for the fact I wanted a bit more mystery with him. Readers see him as a player, but I also highlight his love for his son. It the dichotomy of what allow the readers to see and what is actually happening behind the scenes. Hinting at what is to come, but hopefully surprising them when they finally to read the book.

I think Dabney accomplished exactly  what she intended here.  King presented himself as a character I was eager to get to know and what emerged was a story of sweetness and love, both romantic and familial.

After the complexities and angst of Ghost and Joker (which remain my favorite stories and two of my best of 2017), King arrives as almost a light-hearted complement to the others, demonstrating that not everything in Powers has a dark side.   Here it’s more of lack of communication and a dose of fear over losing what each man does have of the other in their lives.  Dabney makes us understand King’s fear as well as Lincoln’s, just as she always does, with her ability to get under their skin and into their minds and hearts.

And it’s not just King and Lincoln but Melanie (and the rest of the gang that shows up here) that arrive as fully developed characters, believable and compelling by their very nature.  I flew through this story, enjoying the relationship dynamics, the hot sex and of course, the happy path to love and HEA.

Up next?  Why that would be Sin & Saint (Executioners #4) and their man the Sheriff.  What a ride that’s going to be.  I can hardly wait. Until that arrives, grab up King (Executioners #3) by J.M. Dabney for a wonderful, warmhearted romance. I highly recommend this story and series.  For all the interconnected series, check out the list below.

Cover art by Winterheart Design .  I’m so in love with these covers.  They match the men perfectly with just that right touch of grittiness and believability.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 123 pages
Published November 21st 2017 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC
ASINB077PMMBLL
Series Executioners

  • Executioners – third series

A MelanieM Review: Deep Edge (Harrisburg Railers #3) by RJ Scott & VL Locey

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

One man’s passion, another man’s lies. Can love fix even the darkest of hearts.

Trent Hanson is a figure skating phenom adored by millions around the world. His whole life has been dedicated to the sport he loves even when the sport – and his own family – have turned against him. From the playground to the Olympics to his parent’s living room, Trent has fought against bullies and homophobes to be the out and proud gay man he is. But the constant fighting has left Trent tired, lonely, and skittish. All those fears will have to be shelved though when he’s hired to spend the summer working with the Harrisburg Railers ice hockey team. Who would have guessed that the man fate has decided to pair him off with is Dieter Lehmann, all-around sex god and a man who seems to have everything to prove and doesn’t care who he hurts to get what he wants.

Dieter has spent too many years languishing in the minors and a secret addiction to prescription painkillers means his career is in a downward spiral. His ex is blackmailing him and he’s close to walking away from it all. But when he’s called up in the run for the Stanley Cup to cover injuries he has a taste of what it’s like playing in the NHL and he realizes that a place on the Railers roster is what he wants more than anything. More than listening to his heart, and even more than caring for the infuriating figure skater who gets under his skin. When he crosses the line to get what he wants, he knows he has lost his way. He has to change, but is it too late for both his career and any chance he might have at love?

I’ve fallen in love with this series about the Harrisburg Railers hockey players and the men they love. It has built out from the core couple upcoming hockey star, Tennant Rowe of the famed Rowe Brothers and Coach Jared Madsen (Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers #1).  Their coming out and romance launched the team into LGBT acceptance and brought in Layton Foxx, the professional to help the Railers with the couple’s coming out to the public and the NHL.  He also found romance within the team, although that’s still a secret (First Season (Harrisburg Railers #2).

And with each story, the characters background has become a little more complicated, and perhaps even layered over with tones of isolation, denial, and abuse. Never does that come more abundantly clear than with Dieter Lehmann, a complex hockey player who’s looking at his last chance  to be the man and player he wants…if he just doesn’t screw it up as he has in the past.  Dieter has been on the edge of our consciousnesses for the last two stories, a vivid irritant of a man who had to come up to be seen.  What a story RJ Scott and VL Locey has for him.

It includes flamboyant, smokey eyed Trent Hanson, a figure skater with his own huge demons to fight.  A tiny powerhouse come to film a reality series amongst the “hockey apes” as he calls them.  Loaded with preconceptions left over from an awful highschool loaded with jocks who bullied him mercilessly, the authors do a beautiful job, first by making this man real and authentic with his story, skating history, and ethnicity (love his grandmother the snippy pumpkin).

So while you could think this is just an opposites attract story, it also includes much  deeper, more serious  layers that speak to addictions, recovery, and therapy.  And does so in a realistic and even gritty manner at times.  For tackling all that, plus the romance, and the continuing overall series arc and pulling them off to a grand effect? Deep Edge (Harrisburg Railers #3) by RJ Scott & VL Locey is a story that’s close to perfect.  Truly with each story this series just keeps getting better and better.  I can’t wait for Poke Check (Stan’s story), to arrive.  

If you love contemporary romance, check out RJ Scott and VL Locey’s Harrisburg Railer’s series.  The writing is great, you’ll love the characters and the plots and there’s more stories to come!  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art by Meredith Russell. Unfortunately not a fan of this cover.  That’s definitely not my idea of Trent Hanson.  Looks like he has two black  eyes instead of the perfectly applied eyeliner he’s known for.  Beautiful and delicate?  Uh no.

Sales Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | KOBO | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 181 pages
Published December 1st 2017 by Love Lane Books Ltd

A MelanieM Review: The Botanist (The Sin Bin #3) by Dahlia Donovan

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

When mistaken identity leads a young botanist into trouble, Navy SEALs come to the rescue.

Aled Demers prefers plants over people. He survives an attack in Anguilla alive but emotionally and physically scarred. Back home in Cardiff, he struggles with PTSD and his unraveling life.

Wyatt “Earp” Hardy lives for his SEAL brothers. Retiring from military service brings new challenges for him to face. The last thing he expects is for his next mission to involve falling for the much younger botanist.

If the botanist has the strength to heal, can Wyatt find the courage to love?

If someone wanted a quick introduction to the writing style of Dahlia Donovan and a reason why they should definitely read her stories, then look no further than her novelette The Botanist (The Sin Bin #3).  At 84 pages, it has the emotional heft you would expect of a much larger novel, layered characters and relationships so fully developed that their range and dynamics flow off the page and into your heart.

It starts off with a rescue where Wyatt meet Aled, a victim of mistaken identity.  The result of that leaves Aled a mass of scars, inward and outward, unable to function.  Donovan is able to paint a clear picture of a  man crumbling under the effects of PTSD, it’s painful and you hurt for this gentle young botanist.  So does Wyatt.

This is a gentle story that starts from an act of extreme violence.  Of one man working to free another from the walls of fear and the horrors of his torture that now bind him.  Along the way they fall in love.  It’s the trust, the easing into each others lives, and finally the bravery to go forward…this time in tandem.

This is more a romance, there’s very little actual sex. That makes sense when you consider that most of the story Aled is so damaged that he is not feeding himself.  To have them jump into sex would destroy any authenticity the author is building up between her characters and her readers.  No, the beauty lies in the  conciseness of the narrative and the future unfolding for them both.

You don’t need to read the other stories in The Sin Bin but I absolutely recommend that you do.  The series is about a group of men that  support each other and their partners.  Their lives are intertwined and they make appearances in each others tales.  To read them in order is  to have a great understanding of each man, their “larger family” and back history.  Plus each story is such a wonder in itself, why miss them?

My only reason in not giving this 5 stars is a snippy one, I wanted more.  You will too.

Cover art by Claire Smith is lovely.  I love the Ginko leaf overlay and the faded background that binds all the series together.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Hot Tree Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 84 pages
Published August 26th 2017 by Hot Tree Publishing
ISBN139781925655063
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Sin Bin #3

The Sin Bin Series:

1. The Wanderer – BC & Graham

2. The Caretaker – Tens & Freddie

3. The Botanist (short story) – Aled & Wyatt

4. The Royal Marine – Hamish & Akash

5 The Unexpected Santa (short story) – Gray & Scottie

6. The Lion Tamer – Gray & Scottie

7. The Haka Ever After (short story) – Tens & Freddie

8. TBD – Zeb & Silus

Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Junkyard Heart (Porthkennack #7) by Garrett Leigh

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Junkyard Heart (Porthkennack #7) by Garrett Leigh
Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: GD Leigh

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Garrett Leigh’s Junkyard Heart tour. Thank you for such a wonderful interview.

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Garrett Leigh Interview ~

  •  House of Cards featured Calum Hardy and Brix Lusmoore, and Kim Primrose was a part of their story.  Now we have Junkyard Heart, Kim’s story.  How much of that cast returns?

Pretty much all of them. There’s Kim and his BFF/Ex Lena, Lee, Brix, and Calum. Plus new character Jas, and his family. It was a lot of fun to bring them all together again, and add the new faces to the mix.

  •   Since Porthkennack is such a small, ancient village with tight connections everywhere, will those be as visible as they were in the previous story?

Yes. Kim is a Porthkennack native, and Brix’s oldest friend, so he has the same connections and links that Brix had, as well as some unique to him. For example, much of the furniture that comes out of his woodshop is made from materials scavenged on the beaches.

  •    What draws you to write where such a location is as much a character in the story as Porthkennack is?

I was super excited to be invited to write for the Porthkennack series. I’ve never written about a location such as Porthkennack, and unraveling its mysteries was a complex task, especially when there were four other authors to consider. Pulling all our ideas together was awesome.

  •   Would you or do you live in such a small tightly woven community as Porthkennack?  If you don’t, would you like too and why?  If not, why?

I like the idea of a tiny community like that, but I don’t think I’d want everyone knowing my business! That being said, Porthkennack turned out to be far more diverse and welcoming than you might imagine of a small English town.

  •   When you write a character such as Kim who’s a carpenter, how much research do you do into his profession?  Or the professions of all your characters?  Or does sometimes it work in the reverse?  You get interested in a profession and then assign it to a character?

My partner is a jack of all trades, so the carpentry thing wasn’t too hard. He’s also a pro photographer, so that was Jas covered. I usually to pick professions that I have a good knowledge of beforehand. I worked as a chef for many years, and know a lot about tattooing. My brother was in the military, and I know a lot of nurses who work in various hospital departments. I think it’s a dangerous game to set a book in a profession/location that you know nothing about, and getting bogged down in research can really affect your word flow.

  •  How many more stories do you intend to write in this Porthkennanck series?

No more, I’m afraid. To the best of my knowledge, the Porthkennack series is complete.

 

 

About Junkyard Heart

Tired of the London rat race and the heartbreak that comes with it, photographer Jas Manning returns to Porthkennack, the Cornish seaside town where he spent every childhood summer on his father’s farm. Resigned to year-round rain, wind, and homemade jam, he’s sorely unprepared for the impact that artsy carpenter Kim Penrose has on his heart.

Kim’s free-loving reputation precedes him, and he’s as generous with his inked-up body as he is with his time. The sex is hot, the easy friendship even better, and Jas’s time with him building his family’s new farmhouse canteen is everything Jas was missing in his empty city life.

But Kim’s carefree existence isn’t as simple as it appears. He’s worked hard to vanquish his demons and build his dreams, but the devil on his shoulder is ruthless, and when it comes to call, their happy bubble bursts like it was never there at all. The canteen opening looms, but Kim is gone in more ways than one, and it’s down to Jas to shore up Kim’s soul and convince him that he deserves his place in Jas’s heart.

Available now from Riptide Publishing.

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

Social media:

Website: http://garrettleigh.com

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighbooks

Cover art enquiries: blackjazzdesign@gmail.com

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Junkyard Heart, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 9, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: The Caretaker (The Sin Bin #2) by Dahlia Donovan

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Who cares for the caretaker when his burden grows too heavy to bear?

Freddie Whittle devotes his life to his cancer patients, cheese, and his overprotective fathers. His big move to Cardiff is tainted by bigot neighbors and a dismal social life. He wants something more but doesn’t know what until he runs headlong into a Scottish-Maori mountain of a man.

Taine Afoa retires from international rugby feeling restless. He left his career behind and relocates for a change of pace. The last thing he expects is to become infatuated with someone who seems far too young and innocent for him. No matter how hard he tries, it’s impossible to get Freddie out of his mind.

Can Freddie handle the intensity of Taine’s naughty sexual desires?

And when the strong alpha male tangles with the playful nurse, will this May-December romance end before it even begins?

The Caretaker is book two in Dahlia Donovan’s international bestselling gay romance series, The Sin Bin. Each one features hot rugby players and the men who steal their hearts.

The Caretaker is the second story in Dahlia Donovan’s Sin Bin series revolving around a group of retired rugby players and the men they love.  While the name the sin bin refers to the penalty box in the game, here it evolves into a bar named appropriately The Sin Bin, owned and managed by the group.  Freddie Whittle is a character we first met in The Wanderer.  He played an important part in the cancer treatment and recovery of Graham Hodson, one of the main characters there.  Freddie stood out, even as a secondary character and you just hoped that meant he was coming back to get his own romance.  Now here it is.

His romantic match is Taine Afoa, a part Scottish, part Maori retired rugby player who is one of the aforementioned group.  He’s older than Freddie, an element other characters need to work through.  Taine’s has an unusual history of being abandoned as a baby, raised by a local priest, and has a hamster as a beloved pet.  So many layers to this kind man.  A lot of kinks as well as we find out as the story proceeds.

He’s the perfect match for Freddie, a man burdened down by two overprotective fathers (think smothered), a job that comes with heavy grief of losing clients you get close to, and neighbors who seem to be constantly attacking him because he’s gay.  He needs a huge rugby player in his life and gets one.  This is a wonderful romance to watch happen, no instant love.  Just a recognition that they work together as a couple and want to see what happens in the future.  It’s a HFN ending with a story with a HEA coming up further down the series.

I love that sort of realism that Dahlia Donovan deals with here. We see Freddie’s job and it’s effect on him up close. The maturity and strength it takes to handle that job.  Things aren’t perfect, unfortunate or bad things happen to people and they learn to deal.  This is a grownup look at life and romance.  It’s refreshing, realistic, and wonderful.

The sex scenes are wonderful kinky (erotic spanking) and very hot!  It matches the chemistry between Taine and Freddie perfectly.  I thought I had my favorite couple of the series down but Taine and Freddie kept growing on me until I have to admit they are right at the top too.  I can’t wait for their HEA book to arrive, that would be The Haka Ever After.  See the entire list below.

I love this series and all the characters that Dahlia Donovan has created for it.  They are so human, some broken, some brave, all intelligent, quirky, and multidimensional.  Throw romance into the mixture and this series has an unbeatable combination.  It’s one I highly recommend, including The Caretaker.

Cover art by Claire Smith is perfect, and contains an important element of the story.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 244 pages
Published July 8th 2017 by Hot Tree Publsihing
ISBN13 9781925448924
The Sin Bin Series:

1. The Wanderer – BC & Graham

2. The Caretaker – Tens & Freddie

3. The Botanist (short story) – Aled & Wyatt

4. The Royal Marine – Hamish & Akash

5 The Unexpected Santa (short story) – Gray & Scottie

6. The Lion Tamer – Gray & Scottie

7. The Haka Ever After (short story) – Tens & Freddie

8. TBD – Zeb & Silus

9 The Blacksmith (novella) – Ivan, Rolly, & Wes