Amy Lane on The Least Important Puppy and her new release Paint It Black (Beneath the Stain #2) ~ author guest blog

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Dreamspinner Press
Publication: August 13th 2019
Cover Art:

 Sales Links 
Buy at Amazon 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Amy Lane here again, talking about the latest story in her Beneath the Stain series, Paint it Black. Welcome, Amy!

 

The Least Important Puppy

By Amy Lane

As we read Beneath the Stain, we get the feeling that Cheever is an entitled punk, a user, a grabber, someone who doesn’t recognize what sacrifices his brothers have made for him and takes advantage of what he’s handed.

As we read through Paint it Black, and see Cheever as a young adolescent, miserably bullied, assaulted, alone, we start to see him as the least important puppy in a pack of over the top extroverts.

Both things are true.

Neither of them are true.

Perspective is like that.

Cheever was the center of the older boys’ being. The sent money to him, they worried about his schooling—they worked their asses off so Cheever didn’t have to go through school like they had, bullied and angry. But in order to do that, they had to leave Cheever and his mother and go on the road.

And even if a kid gets the logic of how that happens, he’s not going to feel that in his heart.

By the time we catch up with Cheever in Paint it Black, eight years have gone by—and the brothers have tried to make amends. They’ve taken care of all Cheever’s material needs, and they offer, month after month, year after year, olive branches to him to try to welcome him into their fold. They have bonded after years in the band, years on the road together, even their years in poverty when Cheever was still a little kid—and they’re looking at their little brother helplessly, thinking they have nothing in common.

Cheever is looking at them helplessly, thinking all the awful things he went through are so awful, they wouldn’t love him if they knew.

And we, the reader, realize that if Cheever can only tell them, he’ll realize that his brothers, who love him, are the perfect people to understand.

And that Blake Manning, who has fallen in love with him, will get it better than most.

And that’s the painful beauty of giving multiple perspectives of the same story. Because nobody’s a villain. Everybody is just doing their human best. We know that when Mackey and the others left, they were in rock and roll hell. We know that Cheever was all alone and drowning.

They think the other one had it best.

It’s our job to reconcile the perspectives, to suss out the truth in the different experiences. And when we do that, we realize that there are no least important puppies in family. Just lost brothers who need to be welcomed back to the fold.

Blurb
 

A Beneath the Stain Novel

Everybody thinks Mackey Sanders’s Outbreak Monkey is the last coming of Rock ’n’ Roll Jesus, but Cheever Sanders can’t wait to make a name for himself where nobody expects him to fill his famous brothers’ shoes. He’s tired of living in their shadow.

Blake Manning has been one of Outbreak Monkey’s lead guitarists for ten years. He got this gig on luck and love, not talent. So hearing that Cheever is blowing through Outbreak Monkey’s hard-earned money in an epic stretch of partying pisses him off.

Blake shows up at Cheever’s nonstop orgy to enforce some rules, but instead of a jaded punk, he finds a lost boy as talented at painting as Mackey is at song-making, and terrified to let anybody see the real him. Childhood abuse and a suicide attempt left Cheever on the edge of survival—a place Blake knows all too well.

Both men have to make peace with being second banana in the public eye. Can they find the magic of coming absolute first with each other?

 
 
About the Author
 

Amy Lane lives in a crumbling crapmansion with a couple of growing children, a passel of furbabies, and a bemused spouse. She’s been nominated for a RITA twice, has won honorable mention for an Indiefab, and has a couple of Rainbow Awards to her name. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action-adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.
 
 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Warm Heart (Search and Rescue #1) by Amy Lane

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

I have a long and love-filled history with Amy Lane stories and I’m sure most have been four or five stars for me, but this one squeaked in at a 3.5 and the .5 is only for the warm and fuzzy feelings I’m left with from the end.

Tevyn is an Olympic-level snowboarder, in his midtwenties, strong-willed, driven, with a dying grandmother who raised him and a manager/financier who loves him. Mallory is that manager and has come out to Tevyn’s current event to let him know his Grandma Missy is in her last days in hospice care. Mal’s the kind of guy who wouldn’t have just called—because he cares too much for Tevyn. What he doesn’t know is that Tev cares for him as well. Each hopes they’ll get a chance to finally tell the other how they feel. When they leave to get Tevyn to her side, the helicopter they’re in is hit by a vicious updraft and crashes.

The two men and their injured pilot, a friend named Damian, survive the wilds for over 5 days in a snow cave they’ve hollowed out and through extremely ingenious and highly creative ways of making things work. The only luggage they pulled from the copter before it slipped over the cliff was Tevyn’s go-to bag and apparently that young man not only carries hand warmers, water, protein bars, and extra clothing, he knows creative ways of making those all work to help them survive. Together with Mal’s high-end wool overcoat with the silk lining, a thermal blanket, and creative weaving, they manage to keep out the wind, create snow shoes, and toward the end, they even manage an impossible slide down the mountain. 

All of this lends to the excitement but the romance fell flat for me. We’re told about their past attraction and the current situation acts as a catalyst to get them talking, but when they declare their love for each other, it’s based more on the backstory that readers weren’t present for so their closeness feels more like insta-love. I didn’t feel the depth of emotion usually present in an Amy Lane story. The words were there but they didn’t penetrate my heart. I guess that’s the only way I can say this. I liked the men, separately and together, but not as a couple.

I totally disliked Mal’s best friend and former lover, Charlie, portrayed as nasty female who was jilted, though apparently she wasn’t. They parted amicably and are still business partners. And, supposedly, she and Mal have been friends for years. She acted more like a jealous bee-atch. So no, not good. I also liked Damian and his unrequited love for a young man named Preston. I hope their story is book two. In hindsight, I suspect my feelings on this book relate to how unbelievable their crash survival was and how even more bizarre their eventual trip down the mountain was. I guess you’d have to read it to believe it so don’t be put off by my review. If nothing else, it makes a great survival handbook.

The cover by Alexandria Corza features a handsome young man wearing a handknit sweater. This is a great tie-in to the sweaters knit by Grandma Missy that the guys wore in the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 226 pages
Expected publication: July 16th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07PRBV7V2
Edition Language English
Series Search and Rescue #1

A Lila Audio Review: Hiding the Moon (Fish Out of Water #4) by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A Fish Out of Water/Racing for the Sun Crossover

Can a hitman and a psychic negotiate a relationship while all hell breaks loose?

The world might not know who Lee Burton is, but it needs his black ops division and the work they do to keep it safe. Lee’s spent his life following orders—until he sees a kill jacket on Ernie Caulfield. Ernie isn’t a typical target, and something is very wrong with Burton’s chain of command.

Ernie’s life may seem adrift, but his every action helps to shelter his mind from the psychic storm raging within. When Lee Burton shows up to save him from assassins and club bunnies, Ernie seizes his hand and doesn’t look back. Burton is Ernie’s best bet in a tumultuous world, and after one day together, he’s pretty sure Lee knows Ernie is his destiny as well.

But when Burton refused Ernie’s contract, he kicked an entire piranha tank of bad guys, and Burton can’t rest until he takes down the rogue military unit that would try to kill a spacey psychic. Ernie’s in love with Burton and Burton’s confused as hell by Ernie—but Ernie’s not changing his mind and Burton can’t stay away. Psychics, assassins, and bad guys—throw them into the desert with a forbidden love affair and what could possibly go wrong?

Hiding the Moon is all about Burton and Ernie. I like it, but it didn’t add anything out of the ordinary to the plot. Rating it by itself, I would have given it five stars, As a retelling of A Few Good Fish, I will give it two stars.

Jackson’s & Ellery’s are as integral to the book as Burton and Ernie since we are rereading the previous book in the series from a different point of view. I want it more about the main characters. Perhaps for the story to start after the previous one and not to run parallel. It seems as they’re playing second fiddle in their own story.

As always, there’s a lot of detail and characterization. The flow works, and the moments between Burton and Earnie are worth reading.  In general, is a good bridge for all the related books.

I loved Greg Tremblay narrating the previous books but I didn’t realize the narrator for this one was Nick J. Russo. Which is surprising. Most of the characters’ voices were pretty similar.

The cover by Reese Dante is completely different from the first three books in the Fish Out of Water series. It has a similar air than Racing for the Sun but not enough to to make them cohesive. It is pretty and it goes with the story plot.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Length: 7 hours and 34 minutes

Published:  April 25, 2019 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07QYW2FDW
Edition Language: English

Series: Fish Out of Water
Book #1: Fish Out of Water
Book #2: Red Fish, Dead Fish
Book #3: A Few Good Fish
Book #4: Hiding the Moon

An Ali Release Day Review: String Boys by Amy Lane

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Seth Arnold learned at an early age that two things in life could make his soul soar—his violin and Kelly Cruz. In Seth’s uncertain childhood, the kindness of the Cruz family, especially Kelly and his brother, Matty, gave Seth the stability to make his violin sing with the purest sound and opened a world of possibility beyond his home in Sacramento.

Kelly Cruz has loved Seth forever, but he knows Seth’s talents shouldn’t be hidden, not when the world is waiting. Encouraging Seth to follow his music might break Kelly’s heart, but he is determined to see the violin set Seth’s soul free. When their world is devastated by a violent sexual assault and Matty’s prejudices turn him from a brother to an enemy, Seth and Kelly’s future becomes uncertain.

Seth can’t come home and Kelly can’t leave, but they are held together by a love that they clutch with both hands.

Seth and Kelly are young and the world is wide—the only thing they know for certain is they’ll follow their heartstrings to each other’s arms whenever time and fate allow. And pray that one day they can follow that string to forever… before it slices their hearts in two.

There is nothing I love more than an angsty story and this one is full force, grade A angst. This author is the queen of making a reader cry. I almost never cry when I read a book and if I do it’s maybe my eyes getting a bit misty. But full on sobbing while trying to breathe, that’s only happened a few times and each of those have been one of this author’s books. This one got added to my ugly cry list list.
The blurb does a good job of giving the reader an overview of the story. There is a ton more that happens but I don’t want to spoil anything. There is the story of the two mc’s throughout their lives but there is also the story of their families and friends. There is a lot going on here but it is beautiful and emotional and sometimes a bit heart breaking.
As usual with this author the writing is top notch. She knows how to tell a story and to draw the reader in to the character’s lives. I loved both of these guys and was invested in their story from almost the first page.
This is one of the best this author has written in my opinion (which is saying a lot). I highly recommend this if you’re looking for an original plot that will bring out every emotion in  you.

Cover art: Reese Dante:  This cover was done by Reese Dante and I like it a lot. It’s very clean and modern looking while capturing the vibe of the story.

Buy Links– Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details;
ebook, 341 pages
Expected publication: May 28th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644053393
Edition Language English

Amy Lane on Hanging by a Thread and her new release String Boys (author guest blog)

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String Boys by Amy Lane

Dreamspinner Press
Publication: May 28th 2019
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Buy Links– Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Amy Lane back again and blogging with us on tour for her new wonderful release, String Boys. Welcome, Amy!

 

Hanging by a Thread

By Amy Lane

So when you are very young and very in love, one of the most difficult things to deal with is temptation.

Seth and Kelly have seen people they love do pretty unforgivable things by the time Seth has to go away to school. They’ve watched Seth’s father work hard to atone for his fall from grace, and they’ve seen Kelly’s brother spiral into guilt and substance abuse because he can’t deal with the things he’s done.

They know that the consequences of a misstep far outweigh the rewards for giving in.

So when that temptation comes knocking—in the pretty coworker who’s kind to Kelly or the rakish redneck that Seth finds himself playing with in a honky-tonk dive, they totally see how the other person could be tempted.

They’re so young. It’s not like they’re unaware that cheating can be a thing.

So they develop a code phrase for, “Is it too hard to do this? Do we need to end this thing that started when we were too young anyway?”

They ask, “Do you need me to walk away?”

And the response is always, “No! I will never need you to walk away.”

And some people might think that’s doubt talking. It is, in fact, maturity. They would rather “walk away”—part on good terms, say goodbye while they still love each other—than do the unforgivable thing.

So much of String Boys is about holding onto love by a thread. There is so much against Seth and Kelly—and as the boys themselves acknowledge, the world is wide and they are very small. They couldn’t have made it without the thread of communication. Without having a code phrase or a way of dealing with even the possibility of infidelity that didn’t cause them to lose everything they love about each other.

They may have been hanging on by a thread, but there’s nothing saying that thread can’t be forged by tensile-strength steel.

Blurb–
 

Seth Arnold learned at an early age that two things in life could make his soul soar—his violin and Kelly Cruz. In Seth’s uncertain childhood, the kindness of the Cruz family, especially Kelly and his brother, Matty, gave Seth the stability to make his violin sing with the purest sound and opened a world of possibility beyond his home in Sacramento.

Kelly Cruz has loved Seth forever, but he knows Seth’s talents shouldn’t be hidden, not when the world is waiting. Encouraging Seth to follow his music might break Kelly’s heart, but he is determined to see the violin set Seth’s soul free. When their world is devastated by a violent sexual assault and Matty’s prejudices turn him from a brother to an enemy, Seth and Kelly’s future becomes uncertain.

Seth can’t come home and Kelly can’t leave, but they are held together by a love that they clutch with both hands.

Seth and Kelly are young and the world is wide—the only thing they know for certain is they’ll follow their heartstrings to each other’s arms whenever time and fate allow. And pray that one day they can follow that string to forever… before it slices their hearts in two.

About the Author
 
Amy Lane lives in a crumbling crapmansion with a couple of growing children, a passel of furbabies, and a bemused spouse. She’s been nominated for a RITA, has won honorable mention for an Indiefab, and has a couple of Rainbow Awards to her name. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action-adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

A Lila Audio Review: A Few Good Fish (Fish Out of Water #3) by Amy Lane and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A tomcat, a psychopath, and a psychic walk into the desert to rescue the men they love…. Can everybody make it out with their skin intact?

PI Jackson Rivers and Defense Attorney Ellery Cramer have barely recovered from last November, when stopping a serial killer nearly destroyed Jackson in both body and spirit.

But their previous investigation poked a new danger with a stick, forcing Jackson and Ellery to leave town so they can meet the snake in its den.

Jackson Rivers grew up with the mean streets as a classroom and he learned a long time ago not to give a damn about his own life. But he gets a whole new education when the enemy takes Ellery. The man who pulled his shattered pieces from darkness and stitched them back together again is in trouble, and Jackson’s only chance to save him rests in the hands of fragile allies he barely knows.

It’s going to take a little bit of luck to get these Few Good Fish out alive!

A Few Good Fish is better than Red Fish, Dead Fish. And yes, that’s exactly how I started its review. Another thing I mentioned, that it was best to read Racing for the Sun too. In this case, it’s imperative since Ace’s and Sonny’s part in this book is almost as important as Jackson’s & Ellery’s.

The events in this story take place shortly after the end of book two and gave the reader a view of Jackson and Ellery trying to find some normalcy on their lives. Their day-to-day still involved several cases but they tried to establish some time for themselves as a fairly new couple.

Jackson’s health has an important role in the story as well as his relationship with G*d and Lucy Satan. The book is pack with action and more than enough feels for all to laugh and cry a bit. None can do that better than the author. We also get a glimpse of a possible future in which they work, love, and play together, expanding their family.

Overall, this is one of those stories that is not perfect or all gooey filling but the characterization is outstanding. Jackson, Ellery, Ace, Sonny, Burton, Earnie, and everyone else are incredible characters coexisting in a world where life is not easy but love conquers all.

The short story at the end of the book could be listened at first. It will fill some holes in this story.

It feels like Greg Tremblay narrates these books back to back, without any publication time between them. The characterization is impeccable as always, and he transmits all the feelings the author gave the characters. It’s easy to follow the story, and feel like part of it.

The cover by Reese Dante still quite literal. Same clean lines and elements as the previous two. Perfect for the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Length: 10 hours and 15 minutes

Published:  January 24, 2019 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07MXNDT9K
Edition Language: English

Series: Fish Out of Water
Book #1: Fish Out of Water
Book #2: Red Fish, Dead Fish
Book #3: A Few Good Fish

Amy Lane on Courting a Demon and her new release Familiar Demon (Guest Post and Excerpt)

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Familiar Demon (Familiar Love #2) by Amy Lane

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Reese Dante

Buy Links:   Amazon |   Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Amy Lane here today on tour for her latest release Familiar Demon.  Welcome, Amy.

Courting a Demon By Amy Lane

So, what’s it like to court a demon?

Well, in the case of Edward and Mullins, there’s quite a bit of preparation.

First, Mullins must be ready to get out of hell—it turns out that hell is mostly run by bozos and that the REAL devils are humans without restraint and without conscience who are given the power to hurt. With a judicious use of magic—and some self-realization on his part—Mullins is free to go.

Except, well, about that magic…

Turns out that the spell to release a demon from hell was cooked up a long time ago. All sorts of things—horns of ibexes, dodos eggs, dinosaur bones, three strands of hair from an elven king—are sort of hard to acquire.

And let’s talk about being ready to get out of hell. Lots of us live in hells of our own making. It’s comfy here. We know where the fridge is. The whips for self-flagellation are handy. We know who to blame when the world goes wonky. Why would we want to leave?

So talking Mullins out of staying in hell—and putting together the spell that will get him out when he’s ready—are two of the focal points of the book, and neither of them are easy. So how do you start a planetary scavenger hunt in a minivan and stop a demon for blaming himself for simple human failings?

Well, like so very much else in romance, it all starts with a kiss…

Familiar Demon—Exclusive Excerpt:

“Nice,” Edward said with a sigh. “This was one of few items I didn’t have in the minivan when it blew up.”

“Wait a moment!” Mullins protested. “You… you had most of the ingredients in the minivan before it blew up?”

“Yes. Yes, I did. And then we all went on a mission without Harry and they spotted us and were completely on our tail with guns and Emma pulled us out of the minivan with that boomerang thing she does in her sleep, and the minivan was sailing through the air like an unmanned cruise missile. Are you happy?”

“But… but you were doing this before? Without my knowledge? Edward—why?”

“Because I wanted it all done before we told you!” Edward exclaimed. “I wanted to offer it—and I know it’s silly and simplistic and sad—but I wanted to offer it, like a courting gift, and say, ‘Mullins, I’ve loved you forever. Will you leave hell for me?’ And then everything I’d collected went kaboom and….” Edward’s shoulders slumped. “Harry and Suriel were separated. And I know we told you about it afterward, but… but I thought I was going to lose my brother, Mullins. And I was terrified. So I gave up the search until Suriel was released from heaven, and now—”

“Now you’re ready to search again.” Mullins bowed his head. “Edward, you have nothing to be ashamed about. You should have asked me first—”

“So you could say no?” Edward demanded.

Mullins shook his head, eyes focused on Edward’s loopy scrawl. “I wouldn’t have said no,” he whispered. “Not to you.”

And Edward had to grin, his heart warming in his chest. “And that is the best thing I’ve heard all day. But about that last thing—”

“I’ll search for it,” Mullins told him soberly. “But sometime—not now—I think I’m going to have to tell you the story about how one young cotsman became a demon.”

“I’m waiting to hear it,” Edward whispered. “Mullins, you’re growing thin. Let me kiss you, and you can wear my love under your skin, to protect you until it’s time again.”

Growing thin was the expression Francis had coined for the transparency Mullins formed around the edges before Mullins asked for the words that would banish him back to hell.

“Kiss—”

Edward ignored him, turned his head, and cupped his jaw. His fingers slid through the façade of the beast like a photo projection on the wall, and he could feel the faint bristle of day-old beard abrade his palm. “I can see you, this close, Mullins. I know who I’m kissing. You are a very beautiful man.”

He found Mullins’s mouth unerringly, and Mullins’s gasp of surprise told Edward the touch was alien, and not unpleasant.

Edward breathed softly and found the seam of Mullins’s lips with the tip of his tongue, and Mullins’s breathy little moan sent wildfire ripping through Edward’s blood.

He slid his fingers along the back of Mullins’s round, human skull and plundered.

So many years of depending on this steady, practical demon. So many years wanting to escape the strictures of courtesy and magic that bound them.

And now Edward was tasting him, and he tasted rich, sweet, exotic—Turkish coffee and cinnamon.

Mullins groaned and lifted his hand to Edward’s temple—

And sliced his skin with the sharp edge of his hoof.

Edward gasped and Mullins jerked back, turning away and shrinking inward.

“Let me go,” he murmured, like the last hour of them working together, partnering as though they had a future, had never happened.

“Never.”

Edward reached for his chin and found it—still human under his fingers. He gave a little pull and Mullins reluctantly turned toward him. Edward couldn’t see him anymore, but he could feel him under his fingers. “That kiss is my vow to you, Mullins. I fell in love bit by bit, you understand? For the last fifty years, it’s been you, just you, in my heart, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t been there from the very first. You and me, we have things to do together. This isn’t the end. I may let you return to your cell, to gain strength, to think about the challenges we have together, but trust me, I’ll be summoning you again. And if you don’t come, I’ll know you’ve been taken, and thanks to you, I’ve got a plan—”

“What’s the—”

“Enough. Enough of the plan.” Edward smiled and tapped his forehead, calling up his brother’s mantra when things got really hairy. “It’s all up here,” he said.

Mullins didn’t smile back. “You’re right,” he said quietly. “I do have a soul. But if you get hurt before we can make this come true, you’ll break my heart.”

Edward nodded, suddenly sober. “Understood. I’ll say the words to let you go, and I swear I’ll call you back again.” A drop of blood dripped over Edward’s forehead from the cut Mullins had left, and before Edward knew how to react Mullins leaned forward and lapped.

The buzz of magic that passed through the room left them both breathless.

“What the—”

“I’m sorry!” Mullins muttered. “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I did that—”

Edward’s cockiest grin took him by surprise. “I do. You locked that promise in blood, you clever boy. I’m sworn to it for real now—written right in the annals of hell, isn’t that how the blood oath goes?”

Mullins shut his eyes. “It was unconscionable—”

“It was heroic!” Edward crowed. “And I owe you the same sort of heart. I’ll get you out of there, beloved. Just hang on, understand?”

To his relief Mullins nodded, and Edward reached out and touched his face tenderly. “Get thee gone, demon,” he said, voice choking on the old words. “Return only when summoned, harm none in this house, harm none at my hearth. Get thee gone.”

And Mullins disappeared, fading into the air, leaving only the heat of his body and his hope behind.

Blurb: 
 

For over a century, Edward Youngblood has been the logical one in a family of temperamental magical beings. But reason has not made him immune to passion, and Edward’s passion for Mullins, the family’s demon instructor, has only grown.

Mullins was lured into hell through desperation—and a fatal mistake. He’s done his best to hang onto his soul in the twisted realm of the underworld, and serving the Youngblood family when summoned has been his only joy. Edward concocts a plan to spring Mullins by collecting a series of items to perform an ancient ritual—an idea that terrifies Mullins. He can’t bear the thought of losing Edward and his brothers to a dangerous quest.

But every item in their collection is an adventure in brotherhood and magic, and as Mullins watches from the sidelines, he becomes more and more hopeful that they will succeed. When the time comes for Mullins to join the mission, can he find enough faith and hope to redeem himself and allow himself happiness in the arms of a man who would literally go to hell and back—and beyond—to have Mullins by his side?

About the Author

Amy Lane lives in a crumbling crapmansion with a couple of growing children, a passel of furbabies, and a bemused spouse. She’s been nominated for a RITA, has won honorable mention for an Indiefab, and has a couple of Rainbow Awards to her name. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action-adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

A Lila Audio Review: A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Seeing the truth and falling in love.
Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan’s friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man.
At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he’s never met a kinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”

A Fool and his Manny is an all encompassing book. It brings the previous story lines into one. Reminding the reader of all the unique characters in the series over the years. I have no idea how the author can keep with the events in such a large expanse of time.

Quinlan and Dusty are great together.  It’s easy to see how their relationship evolved over the years. At times, I had trouble believing the age difference between the main characters. They both felt pretty young after they started their relationship.  As if Quinlan has stopped growing up to wait for Dusty.

This is a slow burn, very detailed story. Each tidbit of information plays a part later on, including things from other books. We get to see how the family grows and how Quinlan and Dusty are wrapped in their own little world.

Having everyone and their families show up in this book only added to that sense of family. And the author hinted to the new generation of characters taking over the series.

Overall,  this is a sweet, happy book. With real life events and many coincidences. It keeps the reader engaged even when some parts are a bit slow.

Kenneth Obi is the third narrator for this series and he did an excellent job bringing the characters we love to life. It’s easy to get back into the family and the little quirks that enhanced each character.

Another quote cover by Bree Archer. It gives the reader a little peek on Quinlan.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Kenneth Obi
Length: 6 hours 18 minutes
Published: December 6, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07L4X236Y
Edition Language: English

Series: The Mannies
Book #1: The Virgin Manny
Book #2: Manny Get Your Guy
Book #3: Stand by your Manny 
Book #4: A Fool and his Manny

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Homebird by Amy Lane

Standard

Rating : 5 stars out of 5

 

Crispin Henry isn’t an adventurer. He learned early on that the world is a frightening place and that home is rare and precious. If his friends didn’t drag him to sports games and ill-advised trips to Vegas, he wouldn’t get out at all—and his trip to Munich for Oktoberfest is no exception. But it’s there that he meets Luka Gabriel, and he learns to take a chance.

 

Luka is a free-spirited world traveler, working at Oktoberfest to feed his enchantment with new places and new people. His only possessions fit in his backpack, and he depends on the kindness of strangers for a place to sleep. Crispin should know better—but he takes Luka’s hand anyway, and together they turn three nights in Munich into the relationship neither of them has been brave enough to risk—and neither can let go of.

 

When Luka turns up on Crispin’s doorstep before the holiday season, Crispin takes him in on hope alone. Yes, he knows the odds are good Luka will flutter out of his life again and leave him bereft, but isn’t it worth it to see if Luka is a homebird after all?

Yes, I knew to grab that box of tissues beforehand.  Check!  Because it was going to be one of those Amy Lane stories and at Christmas too!  About two damaged men, both broken in much the  same way, yet convince by life that the way to mend themselves lay in vastly different and opposite directions for their hearts.   Kill me now. The tears already threatened to flow.

But I dived right in, because on this too big for arms outstretched journey, there’s so much laughter, enlightenment, and joy to be found as well as the pain and ache that goes with life and love.

And no one does that as well as Amy Lane.

I mean I had tea out my nose when reading that burrito drive through scene.  Priceless! Getting ahead of myself.

But it’s Crispin and Luka’s tentative path towards love and a home that will make this a comfort read for me over and over again.  And Crispin’s circle of friends who became Luka’s, well, they were mine almost immediately.  How  could you not love this diverse group of men whose layers continues to unfold revealing more and more depth throughout the book, more heart, more pain, more of everything.  I wanted to hold onto them all and never let any of them go.

The imagery the author uses here, from the birds in flight, to empty nests with bits of colored yarn sprinkled throughout a neighborhood are haunting.  They play with your mind and twist into your heart, just as they do in the story, becoming unforgettable.  Just as the men they are associated with.

I loved this story.  I think you will too.  It’s beautifully written.  It contains such feeling of family (whoever that may be), recovery, and finding the path home wherever and whoever that may be.

I highly recommend this.        And don’t forget to read the author’s forward.  I would love to see that photo!

Cover art: Reese Dante.  This cover is everything.  That’s Luka and the bird with a piece of yarn in its mouth is symbolic of an important part of the storyline.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: December 18th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781644050101
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

Sometimes the best Christmas gift is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a rich, entitled, oblivious jock, and he might have stayed that way if he hadn’t become friends with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. When Oliver kisses him goodbye before Rusty leaves for college, Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But nothing can help Rusty survive a semester at Stanford, and he returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. But with Oliver’s love and the help of Oliver’s amazing family, Rusty realizes that failing college doesn’t mean he can’t pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

Nobody can built characters quite like Amy Lane and put them into situations that then quietly begin to tear the reader’s heart apart, piece by tiny little piece. Rusty Baker is one such character, improbbly so.  On the exterior, he’s would appear to have everything to succeed in life.  He’s  rich, a jock, with a father who is determined to see him into a great school and going places.   That’s the exterior.

It takes  meeting Oliver, not rich not a jock, to reveal the real Rusty Baker. The gentle, insecure, and gay person Rusty is.  There’s also more that becomes readily apparent to Oliver as he tutors Rusty through his classes in high school.  Rusty has a learning disability that never goes named here but is perfectly spelled out in the way he “feels” when he get overwhelmed by his classes, projects, or professors.  God, how you feel for him.

Throughout the story, and as you can imagine Rusty’s life, the damage done to him hasn’t been delivered through physical blows, damning smacks to the body, but in deadly featherlight cuts to the heart and psyche.  It’s been his father, his mother supporting the patriarch, behind the worst of them. Amy Lane, like a surgeon of phrases, uses her words to slice through Rusty and our hearts over and over at unexpected times, leaving all of us shattered.

I was not prepared for how much this book would hurt.

But for all the wounds, there is the healing balm of Oliver, Oliver’s Dad and his family, Rusty’s sister, and even Rusty’s college roommate who encircle this damaged young man, help him to heal, build him a new foundation of family, support, and love.

Oddly, enough I think of Oliver and Rusty snuggling with Peanut as one of my favorite scenes.  All happy and content, perfect Christmas.   For me, even with all the Amy Lane tears that fell, this was a holiday story to remember.  And treasure.

It’s one I highly recommend.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  Not a fan of this cover.  There is so much more the artist could have pulled from.  Indistinguishable from any other couple.  Nothing special that separates it out for this story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, Second Edition, 200 pages
Expected publication: December 7th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published December 7th 2013)
ASINB07JGXPM71
Edition Language English
Characters Oliver Campbell, Russell “Rusty” Calvin Baker setting California (United States)
El Dorado, California (United States)