An Alisa Release Day Review: Cougar Chaos (Mountain Spirit Mysteries #4) by A.J. Marcus

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

cougar-chaos-by-aj-marcusParks and Wildlife Officer Brock Summers-Weir and his new husband, wildlife rehabber Landon Weir-Summers, are on their honeymoon high in the northern Colorado Rockies when they find an orphaned cougar cub. They quickly discover that there have been a number of cougars injured or killed in the area around Steamboat Springs. Although they are supposed to be on vacation, they work with local officials to try to find out what’s happening to the big cats.

When they get too close to the answers, their camp is ransacked and an ominous message is left. Rather than letting this intimidate them, they step up their investigation in the hopes that they can find the people responsible for the carnage and still manage to have a happy honeymoon.

This is the fourth book in the series and it was my favorite so far.  I liked this one a lot.  As the blurb states Brock and Landon get involved in a case while on their honeymoon.  This story was mostly focused on the mystery since the guys are in an established relationship.  The mystery itself was really interesting.  It was fast paced and action filled and I was totally engrossed in it from start to finish.  As usual with this series the animal aspect is the star of each story and I really like that.  The author appears to do a great job with his research and information and I learn things each book.  We learn a lot about canned hunts in this and honestly it was just heartbreaking in places.  (gah….people are just horrible to animals sometimes) Being a big animal fan myself and someone who used to do animal rescue, I really appreciate the passion and advocacy for animals and nature that are in each book.  You can tell when reading these stories this is an important subject to the author.  It comes out so clearly through his characters.
While this is an ongoing series this book can be read as a standalone.  If you are looking for a uniquely done series you really ought to check this out.
Cover:  I like the cover and it fits well with both the story and the other covers for the previous books.
Sales Links
7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle
Book Details:
ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: September 13th 2016 by DSP Publications
ISBN 1634770749 (ISBN13: 9781634770743)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Paul B Review: A New Alpha in Town (Hardwood Shifters #1) by A.J. Marcus

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

A New Alpha In TownTanner Groff has been on a mission since his wolf shifter pack was killed by hunters last year.  The former alpha, now lone wolf, has been crossing the country trying to find other shifters to warn them of the danger and prevent another slaughter like the one his pack experienced.  But lately, being a lone wolf has been trying on him.  Tanner wants to feel like he belongs somewhere, as wolves as social creatures.  He hopes to run into another wolf shifter pack or at least a group of shifters willing to let him stick around for a while.  Sensing a storm coming, Tanner decides to stop for a snack before going forward in front of the storm.  While there he scents another shifter at the truck stop.  He decides to follow the van that this shifter gets into.

Van Saunders is a bear shifter from a hidden community of shifters in Colorado.  He and his friend Parker are delivering merchandise that members of his community have made to be sold to the human world.  Knowing that a storm is coming, Van wants to get home for the first snow celebration that happens every year.  Having made a pit stop, Van is eager to get back on the road.  However, an accident further up the freeway and the approaching bad weather force the pair to exit and stop at another truck stop further up the road.  Uneasy with all the humans there, Van decides to take the back roads back home despite the bad weather.  As he gets ready to get into the van, he sees Parker struggling with another man.

Tanner, who had wiped out on his motorcycle, arrives at this truck stop thanks to the kindness of a fellow biker driving in a truck.  Noticing that he found the shifter’s van that he lost due to his accident, Tanner is relieved.  Then he sees the gorgeous bear shifter struggling with a man who appears to be trying to abduct him.  Not seeing Van’s partner anywhere, Tanner shifts to his wolf form and kills the would-be kidnapper.  Now Tanner and Van must work together to find Parker before he is either killed or is tortured for information on the shifter community.  They must also deal with the growing attraction that is building between them and not let it distract them from their mission.

This first book in A J Marcus’s new Hardwood Shifter series strikes all the usual chords when it comes to shifter novels.  You have shifters trying to remain hidden from society while trying to become more modern in their ways.  You have the evil hunters who want to kill all shifters.  And you have mates who fall for each other at almost first site.  The community of Hardwood Valley is somewhat unique in that it features a collection of different shifters that have been living together for over 200 years.  When you throw in the mages that protect the village you have a something that is not seen in most books.  The real treat of the book is Van’s friend Parker.  His shifted form is unusual and his personality fits his animal form.

The cover art by Latrisha Waters fits the book well.  Tanner in his leather jacket along with Van in his bear form are in front of a snowy Colorado mountain.

Sales Links:  Extasy Books | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 82 pages
Published April 15th 2016 by eXtasy
ISBN139781487406950
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series:  Hardwood Shifters

A New Alpha in Town (Hardwood Shifters #1)

An Ali Review: Grizzly Discovery(Mountain Spirits Mysteries book 2)‏ by AJ Marcus

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Grizzly DiscoveryLandon Weir and Brock Summers are happily settling into their life as a couple, easily balancing Landon’s work as an animal rehabber with Brock’s career as a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer. When they find a bear shot and skinned, they set out to discover who’s behind the heinous act.

Events force Brock to come out to his boss, causing him and Landon to rethink how public they want to make their relationship. As more bear sightings – and more carcasses – show up in the area, Brock is attacked by a black bear he’s trying to release back into the wild, but his injuries don’t prevent him from helping Landon and their friends with the investigation. Despite leads being thin on the ground, the two men try to uncover the poachers before more bears are killed. But when the evidence points them in an unexpected direction, Teller County’s bear population may not be all the killers have in their sights.
I enjoyed this second installment of this series.  This series is more focused on the mystery in each book , with the romance being an addition to the story.  I felt the mystery was well done and interesting.  Each of the books in this series is very full of information about wildlife laws, animal rehab, etc.  If you have no interest in those things you may not like this.  Personally I find these books really interesting and informative.  I like both of the main characters and there are a host of interesting side characters that add to the plot line.  The romance is sweet and there is no angst or unnecessary drama.  This is the second in the series and can be read as a stand alone although you’ll enjoy the romance aspect more if you read them in order.   If you’re looking for something a little different and like animals and/or mysteries I definitely recommend this series.
Cover art.I liked this cover and I think it is a good representation of this story and the feel of this series overall.
Sales Link:  DSP Publications | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 200 pages
Published March 24th 2015 by DSP Publications
ISBN 1632160269 (ISBN13: 9781632160263)
Edition LanguageEnglishSeriesMountain Spirit Mysteries 

An Ali Review: Moose Fever (Mountain Spirit Mysteries #3) by A.J. Marcus

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Rating:   3.5 out of 5 stars
MooseFever-finalColorado Parks and Wildlife Officer Brock Summers and his fiancé, wildlife rehabber Landon Weir, are preparing for their wedding when someone starts killing moose along a creek in the northern part of Teller County. As the moose casualties rise, human bodies turn up, and the case is taken over by the sheriff’s office. When a Forestry Service Ranger is killed, the service joins the hunt. 

All signs point to one of the many photographers who have been taking pictures of the moose. Then Landon discovers a small piece of gold in the creek and they believe they have a motive, but they’re still lacking solid suspects. Bullets fly as they seek to track down the perpetrator while trying to get everything wrapped up in time for their marriage.
Another good installment in this series.  Brock and Landon are entertaining as usual as they try to solve the mystery of who is killing both moose and humans.  The story is fast paced and interesting.  This one also focused on their wedding and their families so there were some really sweet and touching moments in this.  This is the third book in the series and while it could be read out of order you would probably enjoy the romance part better if you had read the previous two books.  I find this author’s writing in this series to be solid and consistent and I really enjoy them.
I liked this cover.  I think it’s a great match to the previous books in the series and it fits the overall feel of the story.

Sales Links: DSP Publications |   Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published April 12th 2016 by DSP Press
ISBN139781634763431
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series: Mountain Spirit Mysteries 

A.J. Marcus Is Here! Talking Moose Fever and Mountain Spirit Mysteries (author guest blog)

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Moose Fever (Mountain Spirit Mysteries #3)by A.J. Marcus
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SP Publications

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have A.J. Marcus here today to share some thoughts about adventures, writing, and the latest in the Mountain Spirit Mysteries series, Moose Fever.  Welcome, A.J.!

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Moose Fever by A.J. Marcus

What is every-day for one is a great adventure for someone else.

There is a fine line for many of us about what makes for an interesting book. I think that’s one of the really cool things about writing; trying to find that line for readers and pushing them over it. Since I tend to write a wide variety of genres, my beta readers are also fairly diverse and sometimes they don’t get certain genres. My mystery/thriller series Mountain Spirit Mysteries is one that confuses a couple of them since they don’t normally read thrillers. But even though the books are outside their comfortable genres, my betas enjoy the series and a couple of them actually get excited about another Brock and Landon book before they even read it.

I draw a lot of what I put into the books from life, either my adventures, exploits of my friends, stories I’ve had told to me by various people I meet, or the news. Often an entire book is a mix of things. That is very true for “Moose Fever”. I took a bit of the news, snippets of things a friend of mine, who happens to be a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Manager, told me without saying too much about the people involved. I asked my father-in-law a lot about gold prospecting in the local creeks. And I threw in some of my own animal encounters from back when I was helping out at a wildlife rehabilitation center. Now readers get to figure out which parts are what.

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what part of a book is really from an author’s own life experiences, and what part is just things they’ve read online or in books. When we actually go out and interview people, we can get some of the excitement they feel about their subjects. That thrill, often comes through when we do our job right. I hope I convey things well and folks get a good feeling for our natural world as we follow Brock and Landon along on their adventure to discover who’s killing the moose of Teller County and why, all while they’re trying to get ready for their wedding. In “Moose Fever” we get a bit of family drama along with the excitement of bullets flying and Brock and Landon’s enduring love for each other that readers have come to expect from the Mountain Spirit Mysteries.

BlurbMooseFever-final

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer Brock Summers and his fiancé, wildlife rehabber Landon Weir, are preparing for their wedding when someone starts killing moose along a creek in the northern part of Teller County. As the moose casualties rise, human bodies turn up, and the case is taken over by the sheriff’s office. When a Forestry Service Ranger is killed, the service joins the hunt.

All signs point to one of the many photographers who have been taking pictures of the moose. Then Landon discovers a small piece of gold in the creek and they believe they have a motive, but they’re still lacking solid suspects. Bullets fly as they seek to track down the perpetrator while trying to get everything wrapped up in time for their marriage.

Buy Links

DSP Publications | Amazon

Excerpt

Landon cuddled in tighter to him. “Something’s wrong. More than just finding a human body. What’s going on?”

A long, slow sigh escaped Brock. “I talked to Mom today.”

“Okay. When are they arriving for the wedding? I don’t know how much space we can make here for everyone, but I want your folks and my folks at least to stay with us.”

“About that. Mom’s not real sure they’re going to make it.”

Landon sat up and looked at Brock, not bothering to hide the shock that coursed through him. “What do you mean, they aren’t real sure they’re going to make it? Is someone sick? I thought you said they were fine.”

“They are.” Brock sounded miserable. “Mom’s worried about what my grandmother is going to say. I told you a while back that they’re fairly old-fashioned. She doesn’t want to upset them by saying the whole family’s coming. She was thinking it would just be better if they all stayed home in Tennessee.”

“Stay home in Tennessee?” Landon hugged Brock tightly. “How do you feel about it?”

“I don’t know. I don’t want to disappoint you. You’re all excited about our families meeting and having a nice, happy wedding. I’m not sure that’s going to happen.” He paused and paled. “Well, at least the families meeting. We’re going to have a nice, happy wedding. I’ve told you I’m not real close with my family. Most of it’s because they don’t believe in who I am.”

Landon didn’t let go of Brock. He wanted to show his love in the face of Brock’s family’s absence. “Well, I don’t care about that. Do you really want your folks here?”

A faraway look crossed Brock’s face. He nodded. “I do. I’ve had this hope ever since we moved in together that maybe, if they could meet you and see what an awesome guy you are, maybe they could set aside some of their prejudices and be happy with who I am and not just who they want me to be.”

“Then we’ll do what we can to convince them to come to the wedding. Maybe if your folks like me, they can get your grandparents to come around too.” Landon did his best to sound hopeful and upbeat. “The world’s changing. Who knows what will happen?”

“You’re not mad that they might not come?”

Landon shook his head and kissed the hollow of Brock’s neck. “I can’t be mad at you for something like that. I’m a bit frustrated with your folks for upsetting you, but not at you. You don’t have any control over it. You should know that.”

Brock combed his fingers through Landon’s hair. “I should, but sometimes folks get upset about things others have no control over. It’s nice to know you’re logical about this. I love you.”

“I love you too. Brock, we’re going to be married soon. I want everyone to be happy for us. If your family can’t be, we’ll understand and let my family and our friends spread the joy for us.”

ajmarcus1a

About the Author

A.J. Marcus

A.J. has been writing to pass the time since high school. The stories he wrote helped him deal with life. A few years ago, he started sharing those stories with friends who enjoyed them and he has started sending his works out into the world to share with other people. He lives in the mountains with his extremely supportive husband. They have a lot of critters, including dogs, cats, birds, horses, and rabbits. When not writing, A.J. spends a lot of time hiking, trail riding, or just driving in the mountains. Nature provides a lot of inspiration for his work and keeps him writing. He is also an avid photographer and falconer. Don’t get him started talking about his birds, because he won’t stop for a while.

Web Contact Info:

A Paul B Review: The Leprechaun’s Gamble (Gifts of the Fae #1) by A.J. Marcus

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Leprechaun's GambleA leprechaun gets but one chance to find love in the mortal realm.  If the leprechaun is successful, they may live out their life with their true love in the mortal world with occasion visits back to the fairy world.  If unsuccessful, they must find love in the fairy world which has proven difficult to do.  Knowing both the reward and costs, young leprechauns gamble to find their true love.

Ailin is one such leprechaun.  Having passed up his chance last year thinking he was too young for such an adventure, he decides to go forth this year.  He knows that the portal will open on St. Patrick’s Day and will have until the equinox a few days later to find his love.  Having found the portal site, Ailin crosses through then casts a spell to protect himself from the rush of other leprechauns coming through.  Once he regains his senses, he heads to town.  On the way, he meets a brownie, a dark fairy from another fairy kingdom.  Ailin ignores the brownie’s temptations and finds a festival in the nearest town.  He is off to find the man who will love him.

Rohan is a farmer to the north of the town.  He inherited his grandfather’s farm recently and loves the simpler life.  He enters a jig dance contest at the local festival.  As competitors begin to drop, he notices the only one keeping up is a good looking red headed man, who happens to be Ailin in his human guise.  Impressed that he can keep up, Rohan offers to buy the man a drink at the local tavern.  The competitive nature in both men leads to a game of darts where wagers are made by the patrons.  Finding the man challenging, he asks the man to come back to the farm with him.  Ailin is overjoyed at the possibility that Rohan might be the one and accepts.  Now he must turn this attraction to true love in the next few days or else he will never find mortal love.

This is the first book in the Gifts of the Fae series by A. J. Markus.  If you are looking for two alpha males you have found it in this book.  Both men acknowledge their competitive nature, which includes the size of their equipment.  Of course both are well hung, as it seems they have to be the best at everything they do.  It was interesting to see Ailin dance around some of Rohan’s questions as Ailin cannot lie to the human but also did not want to reveal his true nature until he know Rohan was the one for him.  Overall it was an enjoyable start to this new series.

The cover art is perfect for this book.  We have the red headed Ailin with his scruff standing beside the dark haired Rohan wearing what looks like a tam o’shanter.    These fit the description of the characters perfectly.  The rainbow above the author’s name is a nice touch.  Kudos go to Carmen Waters for the cover.

Sales Links:   eXtasy BooksAmazon

Book Details

ebook, 53 pages
Published March 14th 2016 by eXtasy Books
ISBN139781487406516
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series:  Gifts of the Fae

The Leprechaun’s Gamble (Gifts of the Fae #1)

A Ali Review: Eagle’s Blood (Mountain Spirit Mysteries #1) by A.J. Marcus

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
 
Eagles BloodBrock Summers is a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer with a heart of gold. When he discovers a video of golden eagles being shot and learns of a nest in trouble, not even a blizzard can stop him from trekking up the mountain in an attempt to rescue them.

When Brock returns with the one eaglet he manages to save, Landon Weir, the local wildlife rehabilitator, patches up the bird and the injury Brock suffered during the rescue. Though they have been friends and colleagues for years, their shared passion for protecting wildlife and the feeling of Brock’s body under his hands makes Landon see Brock differently. For the first time, Landon wonders if they can be more than friends.

To Landon’s surprise, Brock asks him out to dinner to thank him for his aid, but before they manage their first date, another video of eagles being killed surfaces. Neither man will let inclement weather, a dangerous mountain, or armed poachers stop them from rescuing the eagles—or each other.
 
 
This is a story about a wildlife rehabber and a Parks/Wildlife officer. The story is mostly about poacher who are killing eagle’s for illegal sales. I found this all really interesting and the author seems to have a good knowledge of all things related to wildlife, care and laws. (Some I know from a rehabber friend and some I Googled). If you find this kind of stuff interesting you will probably enjoy this book. If not…I don’t know.
There is romance in this but it’s not the main focus and it’s not as well done as the mystery part of the plot. There is a lot of telling about the guy’s feelings and very little showing. I didn’t really feel their connection at all. I will keep reading these though cuz I loved all the animal stuff.
 
Cover art.I liked the cover a lot.  It’s artfully done and is a good representation of the story.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 200 pages
Published April 14th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press (first published April 13th 2014)
ISBN 1627986286 (ISBN13: 9781627986281)
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL
SeriesMountain Spirit Mysteries #1

A Paul B Review: Passion’s Storm (Elemental Passions #1) by A.J. Marcus

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

5067passionsstorm510web-500x750Dan, also known as the superhero Torrent, is shaken when his boyfriend for the last five years decides he has had enough. Having been kidnapped several times by both Dan’s arch nemeses and want to be criminal, Burt decides that the last time was once too much. The heartache is so much that he creates a major storm that engulfs Bay City. He responds to a call from his team The Elite to help take down the latest threat to the city. When he meets his arch nemesis the Blaze in battle, he thinks of his ex being tortured by the Blaze. Dan nearly beats the Blaze to death. He is suspended for a month for his actions.

When Dan returns to the team, Dan learns that he must mentor one of the new recruits to The Elite. Corann, also known as Redwood, can manipulate plant life like he does the weather. Dan is instantly taken by the young protégé. Thoughts of Burt grow more distant as he realizes the man is not coming back. Corann sympathizes with Dan as they begin to explore the attraction they both feel for each other. However, being heroes means that they must put themselves in danger. What neither man knows is that the greatest threat to the two of them might just come from within.

This first book in the Heroic Passion series by AJ Marcus struck the right balance between romance and super hero action. The action scenes felt like I could see either the comic book panels or the scenes playing out on your favorite hero TV series or movie. While the heroes’ and villians’ powers feel familiar, the author puts enough of a twist on them to make them seem new. The romance between the two characters did not seem as rushed as one might think. And the author makes the heroes have human characteristic and flaws just like their mortal counterparts.
It will be interesting to see where the author takes this series in future books.

The cover art by Latrisha Waters has our two heroes kissing with their backs to us. Instead of clothing or skin, we see a turbulent storm brewing across their backsides. It’s an inventive cover for the book.

Sales Links:   eXtasy Press |  Amazon

Book Details

EBook, 80 pages
Published: January 15, 2016 by eXtasy Books
Edition Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4874-0608-0
Series: Heroic Passions