A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Super for You Bad for Me by Asta Idonea

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This was like an adult comic book without the pictures. Darn. I really would have liked to have seen some of these action shots, but I had to dust off my imagination and allow the author’s words to create the visual imagery. And create it, she did.

One has to take the whole story with a grain of salt so if you are the kind of reader who wants a very down-to-earth MM romance, this may not be for you. Imagination is the key. After all, how many contemporary superheroes do we get a chance to read about, especially one as sweet as Oswell Outterridge, aka Greenbird.

Oswell Outterridge is just an average guy looking to become an actor, so naturally, he kicks off his career as an extra on the film where his heartthrob, Kane Teague, has the star role. He’s shocked when Kane notices him and asks him out but pleasantly surprised once they get to know each other. It’s a very slow burn in a nonexplicit relationship, but the two eventually realize they love each other.

In the meantime, Oswell gets an opportunity at the film studio to be in a special scene where he is slimed. Though most people wouldn’t want that, he knows it’s his chance to get a credit so he’s all for it. Unfortunately, he swallows some, and aside from the raunchy taste, he finds out later that it has other side effects. He’s suddenly able to telekinetically move objects and is shocked when his actions save some customers at the restaurant where he works between action jobs. In fact, he’s so excited, he has a suit made and decides to put his gift to good use and call himself TelekineticusRex. Too bad when his photos hit social media, he’s dubbed Greenbird. What a letdown.

I must say throughout the whole story, the author’s sense of humor shines through. This story is fun and satiric, campy and goofy, but all in all, it’s great entertainment. For those of us who have grown up with a love of superhero comics, Greenbird should be a treat. And the good news is that no matter how much trouble Oswell lands in as Greenbird, and no matter how many times his archenemy (of course he has one!) tries to wipe him out, he manages to be the victor, and he and Kane ultimately find their way to a very happy ever after.

The artfully designed cover by Paul Richmond features a young man dressed in a green lycra bodysuit, arms crossed at his chest. It’s the perfect representation of our superhero, Oswell Otterridge – the Greenbird.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: August 14th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640802087
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review Day Review Day 27: Santa for Hire (2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug) by Asta Idonea

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

santa-for-hireDepartment manager Richard Barratt is less than happy when his department is selected to house the log cabin in which Santa will reside during the holiday season, starting in mid-November, at the large retailer where he works. His thinking about the holiday runs along the lines of bah humbug ever since his boyfriend/fiancé walked out on him on Christmas Eve two years before. It didn’t matter that the man was a cheat—he simply ruined Richard’s holiday celebration forever.

Even after Blaine Ryder, a really cute actor, is hired to play Santa, Richard still wants nothing to do with that section of his department, and when Santa flirts with him, he’s even more uneasy. When Blaine takes it a step further and lures Richard into the cabin for a little after-hours fun, Richard’s reaction is not what Blaine is hoping for.

This is a cute holiday romance, somewhat predictable in its formula, but sweet nevertheless. For those of you who, like me, can’t get enough of holiday romances, this one will definitely fill your sweet tooth and provide some holiday cheer.

Cover art by Paul Richmond is the brand cover for the series.

Sales Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 31 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635331897 (ISBN13: 9781635331899)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2016 Advent Calendar – Bah Humbug

A VVivacious Review The House Guest by Asta Idonea

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
 
the-house-guestWhen Zach shifted into his new apartment he bought an antique cupboard. On closer inspection that cupboard seemed to have a lock on one of its drawers. The lock sets Zach’s imagination loose with all the things that the lock could be hiding but the empty drawer that greets him was not one of his choices. But looks like that drawer was not so empty after all, as Zach’s apartment seems to magically cleaned every night and on top of that Zach’s house seems to be haunted with the sounds of someone laughing and singing at night.
 
This is a short story featuring Zach and a house spirit or domovoi named Bogdan. The premise of this book is good enough to have set the stage for a full length novel but the author manages to hit all the high points even in this much shorter format but I would have loved to know more.
 
What I loved about this book would have to include the fact that Zach’s house was not haunted by a ghost, I love the fact that the author’s imagination could fuel the existence of a domovoi which seems to be quite a helpful spirit and not a ghost at all. Also I loved the concept of the domovoi and especially Bogdan, he seemed to be so happy-go-lucky and the kind of person who takes everything in his stride.
 
This story is extremely enjoyable and I loved the pairing of Zach and Bogdan and how they had set up a rhythm of sorts with regards to each other.
 
Somethings I would have loved to have more information on would be the subject of domovoi especially in regards to their creation. Also I wanted to know if Zach and Bogdan had a future together, because things are kind of up in the air in those regards.
 
Overall this is a very enjoyable read. Asta Idonea is an amazing author and this story is very well written. Also this story is very well rounded off anything that has been raised as an issue in the story is dealt with. Also this short story is bound to leave an impact because the story is just so damn good that I am pretty sure anybody who reads it will be left wondering.
 
Cover Art by Winterheart Design. I loved the cover featuring Zach and the Bogdan.
Sales Links
c60a7-waxcreative-amazon-kindle
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 37 pages
Published October 26th 2016 by MLR Press
ASINB01MCZ5J4D
Edition LanguageEnglish

A VVivacious Review: Fire Up My Heart by Asta Idonea

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Rating: 5 Stars out of 5                    ★★★★★
 
Fire Up my HeartFane Maddox works in a rundown gay bar and battles loneliness. His life has been the same for ages but one flickering, neon sign and two legs hanging out of a dumpster are going to change his life forever.
 
Jo-E is one in a line of top-notch service bots but with a fried wiring, but when Fane fixes the glitch and wakes Jo-E up something is different. Jo-E realizes that ever since Fane woke him he has been different, for one he now has opinions and… emotions?
 
As Samuel Yapp the robotics engineer who discarded Jo-E realizes the discovery he trashed, he can’t wait to get his hands on Jo-E again but what will Fane decide to do – give Jo-E up or fight for him?
 
This story is set in the year 2045 where service bots are common and the race to the creation of strong Artificial Intelligence to the extent that it mimics humanity is on.
 
This is a short story/novella but it packs a punch. The author has a really awesome ability of investing the reader in the fate of the characters of the story from very early on. I read this story in a single sitting and the read was most enjoyable.
 
We have Fane Maddox who is lonely and his loneliness is tangible but Fane is a really nice person, I loved his personality, his humanity. He is one of those characters you like just because they are human and all humans deserve to be loved even if they are nothing extraordinary. I actually loved the character of Fane he came across as a really simple and straightforward human being.
 
Jo-E on the other hand is inching ever closer to humanity but his every human emotion seems tied to Fane. Like every robots take over the earth movie fan out there I am a bit scared of his abilities especially towards the end but what I loved about this story was that we got a look-see into Jo-E’s wiring and how he sees the world and how he figures out what is happening to him.
 
This story is fantastic on so many levels. The best part of the story was that how invested it had me in its characters and their happiness. Also I loved how the romance between Fane and Jo-E is handled, so carefully and slowly and plausibly. The author gives generous times to both characters to work out their feelings for each other and the plot which heightens their emotions for each other works out very well and gives the story the right push at the right time.
 
This story is sweet and has you thinking a lot and I am awfully intrigued about knowing more about these two characters also about the implications of having such strong-AI on a rogue bot because seriously remember every book and movie that has robots take over the world and enslave the human race.
 
This story has it all and is a must read. This is my second book by this author and from what I have deduced so far this author is really good.
 
Cover Art by AngstyG. That cover is just beautiful and along with that blurb I don’t think anyone in their right mind can resist being intrigued by this book.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:
ebook, 67 pages
Published May 25th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634773330 (ISBN13: 9781634773331)
Edition Language English
URL

Join in the M/M Fairytale Fun with Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods by Asta Idonea (guest blog and giveaway)

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Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods Banner

Title: Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods
Author: Asta Idonea
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance
Length: Short Story Collection (novel length)
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Asta Idonea here today to talk about Taking the Magic out of Magic. Welcome, Asta!

~~~~

Taking the Magic out of Magic

I decided from the start that Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods would be straight contemporary romance. In the adaptation of fairytales and myths, that obviously poses a conundrum: what to do with all that magic?

There were some fairytales I had to discard at once, for they required a magical element to make the retelling viable. Take that out, and they wouldn’t work. In a paranormal or sci-fi setting there would have been ways around it—but not in contemporary.

When I had my tales in mind, I then had to find ways to keep that sense of magic without any actual hocus-pocus. For me, this meant focusing on the characters and their relationships. The magic had to come from them, be it through the strength of their feelings or the manner in which they handled unexpected situations.

Romance is the driving force within all six of the stories; although, it is different for each. In some, the romance is established and the characters must overcome adversity to stay together. In others, the love is newly found, often unlooked for and in unusual places.

So perhaps it isn’t right to say there is no magic within these tales. There may be no spells or fairy godmothers, but each of the characters experiences a little enchantment as they find the man of their dreams.

Synopsis

Fairytales and Myths for the Modern Gay

The modern age is devoid of magic.

Or is it?

How else could a stolen guitar or a lost shoe lead to love?

What but magic could spark romance at a workplace assessment?

Or turn a mean-spirited monster into a man?

Six fairytales and myths are given a contemporary MM twist in this collection of stories, proving that sometimes the mundane can be magical too.

DRAGGED INTO LOVE (Þrymskviða)
When Theo’s landlord steals a prized guitar in lieu of rent owed, he informs Theo he will return the instrument on one condition: he wants a date with Theo’s twin sister.

LOVE’S CODE (Ariadne and Theseus)
Andre must pass the examination if he wants to keep his job.

However, he is distracted by his unspoken love for fellow programmer, Eren.

GUESSING GAMES (Rumplestiltskin)

Sasha told a little white lie in his job interview and it won him the role.

Only now he is faced with a pile of work he doesn’t know how to complete.

ASSIGNATIONS AND ULTIMATUMS (The Strange Elopement of Tinirau)

Hunter and Ross are in love, but Ross’ father keeps trying to set him up with undesirable, yet powerful, older men, the latest of whom happens to be Ross’ boss.

Beasty Businessmen cover

LOST AND FOUND (Cinderella)
Cillian is dreading the work masquerade ball, but once there he finds himself romanced by a dashing stranger, only to flee when he discovers the man’s identity.

A DEBT IS A DEBT (Beauty and the Beast)

Dunstan Griffin is not a man to let a debt slide, so when debtor Alfred Siskin offers the EA services of his son, Wynn, in lieu of payment, Dunstan accepts.

Book Trailer

Buy Links

Don’t miss the March Sale! All Wayward Ink Titles titles are 35% off on the WIP website, 30% off on AllRomance, and 30% off on Amazon.

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/beastly-businessmen-and-guitar-gods-by-asta-idonea/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CUNOSB6/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01CUNOSB6/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01CUNOSB6/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B01CUNOSB6/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-beastlybusinessmenandguitargods-1997418-149.html

Audio Excerpt

Giveaway

Prizes: 2 x $6.99 WIP Gift Card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Beasty-Businessmen-3d-render

About the author

NICKI J. MARKUS was born in England in 1982, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Nicki launched her writing career in 2011. She published works through Wicked Nights Publishing and Silver Publishing before both companies closed their doors. She is now self-publishing some of her works, including the novella Time Keepers and the fantasy novel The Ragnarök Chronicles.

Nicki also writes M/M fiction under the alternate pen name of ASTA IDONEA and has had several short stories published by Wayward Ink Publishing. She is currently working on her first M/M novella.

Nicki works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys: music, theatre, cinema, photography, sketching, and cross stitch. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel.

Social links:

Website: http://www.nickijmarkus.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickiJMarkus

Time to Reveal the Cover for Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods by Asta Idonea (giveaway)

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Beasty-Businessmen-banner

Synopsis

Fairytales and Myths for the Modern Gay

The modern age is devoid of magic.

Or is it?

How else could a stolen guitar or a lost shoe lead to love?

What but magic could spark romance at a workplace assessment?

Or turn a mean-spirited monster into a man?

Six fairytales and myths are given a contemporary MM twist in this collection of stories, proving that sometimes the mundane can be magical too.

DRAGGED INTO LOVE (Þrymskviða)
When Theo’s landlord steals a prized guitar in lieu of rent owed, he informs Theo he will return the instrument on one condition: he wants a date with Theo’s twin sister.

LOVE’S CODE (Ariadne and Theseus)
Andre must pass the examination if he wants to keep his job.

However, he is distracted by his unspoken love for fellow programmer, Eren.

Beasty Businessmen cover

GUESSING GAMES (Rumplestiltskin)

Sasha told a little white lie in his job interview and it won him the role.

Only now he is faced with a pile of work he doesn’t know how to complete.

ASSIGNATIONS AND ULTIMATUMS (The Strange Elopement of Tinirau)

Hunter and Ross are in love, but Ross’ father keeps trying to set him up with undesirable, yet powerful, older men, the latest of whom happens to be Ross’ boss.

LOST AND FOUND (Cinderella)
Cillian is dreading the work masquerade ball, but once there he finds himself romanced by a dashing stranger, only to flee when he discovers the man’s identity.

A DEBT IS A DEBT (Beauty and the Beast)

Dunstan Griffin is not a man to let a debt slide, so when debtor Alfred Siskin offers the EA services of his son, Wynn, in lieu of payment, Dunstan accepts.

Book Trailer

Pre-order Links

Don’t miss the March Sale! All Wayward Ink Titles titles are 35% off on the WIP website and 30% off on AllRomance. The 30% discount also applies to all Amazon websites for Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods pre-orders and the first few days after release.

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/beastly-businessmen-and-guitar-gods-by-asta-idonea/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-beastlybusinessmenandguitargods-1997418-149.html

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CUNOSB6/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01CUNOSB6/

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01CUNOSB6/

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B01CUNOSB6/

 

Excerpt

ONCE UPON A time the world was a place of magic and fantasy. People believed in fairy realms, healing potions, and true love’s kiss, and witchcraft, spells, and curses were accepted as fact, a part of life. Once upon a time….

But those days are long gone. The world has changed, magic replaced by technology, wonder by disillusionment, and fairytales and myths reduced to the purview of children, bound within the pages of a book or on the screen, no longer real but pure make believe.

Or are they?

Let us, dear reader, travel together to a place where all is not as it seems. Come with me to London’s financial district. Hand in hand, we will enter the imposing yet innocuous office building of DunGriffinCorp. It doesn’t look like much at first glance, I grant you. No different from any other firm here in the City. But take the time to peel back the layers and you may be surprised at what you find. For within these walls magic and romance still abound. The employees of DunGriffinCorp don’t know it yet, but several of them are about to have their lives changed forever.

Beasty-Businessmen-3d-render

About the author

NICKI J. MARKUS was born in England in 1982, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Nicki launched her writing career in 2011. She published works through Wicked Nights Publishing and Silver Publishing before both companies closed their doors. She is now self-publishing some of her works, including the novella Time Keepers and the fantasy novel The Ragnarök Chronicles.

Nicki also writes M/M fiction under the alternate pen name of ASTA IDONEA and has had several short stories published by Wayward Ink Publishing. She is currently working on her first M/M novella.

Nicki works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys: music, theatre, cinema, photography, sketching, and cross stitch. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel.

Social links:

Website: http://www.nickijmarkus.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickiJMarkus

A VVivacious Review: Souls for Sale Series (Books 1 & 2) by Asta Idonea

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
 
Souls for Sale seriesThomas Ives has a made a deal with the devil, for which he has given up his chance at heaven, or has he…?
 
Saul is a demon deal-maker extraordinaire, always ready to go the extra mile to secure a soul. But he doesn’t know the night he is in for when he gets Tom to sign on the dotted line.
 
In the weirdest twist of fates, a night of passion see these two beings falling in love. But hasn’t Saul already condemned his lover to a lifetime of misery in hell, isn’t Tom’s soul condemned to eternally burn in the fiery pits of hell, well not if Saul has a say in it…
 
This book comprises of two stories TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY DEMON and HELL TO PAY.
 
“Twenty-First Century Demon” is a short story telling us how Saul and Tom met while “Hell to Pay” follows these two as they are on the run from the demons of Hell.
 
These books are written (mostly) in first person, but what is unique about these books is that the reader is a known presence to Saul and Tom, but again mostly to Saul as he actually makes comments on what he believes to be are the reader’s thoughts, indirectly it’s like he is talking to us and we are following him all around, even when they have sex so basically he refers to us (the reader) as a demon-groupie and a voyeur (and he would be right). This was indeed a unique experience and what I liked about this way of writing is that it got me involved in the book really fast.
 
Now again if you remember I said mostly first person that is because we have three narrators – Tom and Saul who both use first person in a talking to a third person way and then there is Baruchiel who is talked about in the third person. But these are all technicalities that don’t detract from the reading experience, in fact Saul’s “talking’ really had me engrossed in the story from a very early stage.
 
To some extent it is hard to find the basis to Saul and Tom’s love, if you ask me the best explanation is love at first sight/sex because this is the one aspect of the book which is extremely vague. They fall in the ‘I am ready to take on hell for you’ way in the span of hours, this decision changes their entire lives, forces them on the rum from Hell and frankly I don’t understand how it is possible. This is exactly where Saul’s “talking” comes in handy because even though I am sceptical of their love which has sprung up out of nowhere, the fact remains that it seems like he is telling me a story which makes me give him creative liberty over the events.
 
Now if you just push the details of how they fell in love aside the premise of the rest of the story is really interesting. Tom, Saul and Baruchiel are all extremely likeable characters and you will get caught up in their drama.
 
While I loved Tom and Saul’s extraordinary love and all their small moments that they share, what I loved most about this book was the story of how a demon falling in love can rend heaven and hell into chaos. The story is interesting and appealing in the way angels and demons always are. I loved Baruchiel as the little angel trying to do good and taking on big bad demons in the name of love.
 
More than a love story this book is appreciable because it has an awesome plot given a nice execution with very likeable characters and the premise is such that it has a lot of potential which the book successfully delivers.
 
Overall if you like a good old angels and demons story with heaven and hell settling disputes because a demon falls in love with a human, this story is just for you.
 
Cover Art by 8th floor studio. I loved the cover it is vague but at the same time it is a picture trying to get something across, and it is eye-catching.
Sales Links:  Wayward Ink Publishing | ARe | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 139 pages
Published February 5th 2016 by Wayward Ink Publishing
ISBN139781925222784
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersSaul, Thomas Ives, Adramalech, Baruchie

A MelanieM Review: Northern Lights by Asta Idonea

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryA dream romantic vacation to Iceland to see the Northern Lights turns into a nightmare when James’s workaholic boyfriend, Richard, again insists on putting his work first. After a call from Richard’s office, an argument ends with the couple splitting up for good. Not only has Richard left James, he’s left him abandoned to explore the park alone, where James quickly gets lost. But just when things seem darkest, the Solstice works its magic, and James finds the guiding light he needs. Or it finds him.

Northern Lights by Asta Idonea was a lovely way for me to dive into this collection.  Asta Idonea brought so many delightful elements to this holiday short story.  A heartbroken man left by his long term partner in Iceland when an argument turns into a breakup that should have happened long before now.  Now James has to face an uncertain future on every front, no home, no stability, no partner and even the likelihood of not enough income to support himself.   All while he’s in a place he always wanted to see and photograph.

The author makes us feel James’s fear and while not exactly pain, the knowledge that he knew this was coming and the hurt that carries with it.  And as James tries to pick himself up and travel around to places in and around Reykjavik, we get to hike along with him, delighting in the discoveries he finds as he goes and the despair he feels when reality intrudes.  The author’s descriptions are wonderful and inviting and it gets even better as disaster strikes James and his path changes for the better.

Northern Lights is full of the old traditions and old gods, the beauty of the Northern Lights and a path to a new future that can open up when you least expect it.  At 29 pages, I would have loved more of the setting and couple, but what I got set the mood perfectly for the first day of December and the holiday season.  And yes it made me want to grab a plane to Reykjavik, not for the first time either. I recommend this story and I need to explore this author’s writing more as well.  Happy Reading!

Cover Artist:  Paul Richmond did the wonderful generic cover used for the majority of the stories, great job as always.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |

Book Details:

ebook, 29 pages
Expected publication: December 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634769648
edition languageEnglish
series:Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar