John Inman on Writing, Research, and his new release Nightfall (author interview and giveaway)

Standard

Nightfall by John Inman

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host John Inman back again, talking about his latest release Nightfall. Welcome, John.

♦︎

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with John Inman ~

Q.–Does research play a role in choosing what genre you write.
A.–Well, research certainly had a lot to do with writing NIGHTFALL.  One of the reasons I had never tried writing science fiction before was because I knew that to write about a scientific subject, you have to know a little bit about it. Even with science fiction where the plot may not be exactly realistic, you still have to have a basic knowledge of the real subject before you can start skewing the facts.  Even so, I’m sure I made a few factual goof-ups.  So if there are any scientists out there looking to read a gay romance, you might want to pick up SHY instead.  In that one, at least, I knew what the hell I was talking about.  Haha.
Q.–How do you choose your covers?
A.–I’m glad you brought up book covers, because I think the cover for NIGHTFALL is absolutely beautiful.  It was done by Anna Sikorska at Triferet Designs.  I love the colors, the panorama of the red sky, and the two characters in silhouette are perfect.  The way I choose a cover is just try to pick a moment from the story that will maybe translate visually.  I give the idea to the incredible artists at DSP, and they come up with a few choices for me to pick from.  I’ve been happy with all my book covers.  Some are memorable, some are just nice, but I really have liked them all.  I’ve often thought how hard it must be for writers who self-publish to find the artwork for their stories.  I’m so glad I have a publisher behind me to make that job so much easier.
Q.–Do you have a favorite among your own stories, and why?
A.–I think some of my best stories are SHY, THE HIKE, LOVING HECTOR (love the donut fight) and the Belladonna Arms series, all five of them.  But my absolute favorite is THE BOYS ON THE MOUNTAIN.  That’s the book that got me to New York City with a nomination for the Lambdas, and that’s the book I fought hardest to write while my lover at the time was dying of cancer and my business was going to pot.  Everything at that point in my life was falling apart except for that book.  It’s my longest novel and it took me a flat year to write it, but that’s the one I’m most proud of.  I know it’s horror, but I love it anyway.  Maybe just because it was so hard to finish.  But most definitely because of the Lambda nomination.  That meant everything to me.  Even losing didn’t hurt.  Getting there was the main thing.  A highpoint of my life.  And having my husband there with me made it even better.
Q.–Why do you write?
A.–That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it.  I think I write just because it’s something I’ve always had to do.  It’s like a compulsion.  Even when I was a kid I was writing stories.  I don’t remember exactly, but maybe even with crayon, haha.   I’m happiest when I’m writing.  I love the solitude of it.  I like the fact that I can go anywhere I want and I can bring anybody in the whole wide world of imagination along with me when I go.  Some people talk about how they struggle to write.  Not because of the turmoil going on in their lives, but just the simple problem of putting down one word after another.  I get hungup sometimes in the middle of a story, but I never come to a screeching halt.  Knock on wood, not yet anyway.  I just plod along, move the story forward a little bit to get away from the problem area, and go back later to repair the damage.  Stopping is the worst thing a writer can do.  I think basically, the main reason I write is because I have never found anything else that makes me happier.
Q.– If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write where would that be, and why?
A.–I think the best place for me to write is right where I am right now.  I have my own office overlooking a birdbath and fir trees in the backyard.  I have the beautiful weather of Southern California shining down on the house.  I have a cat sleeping on either side of me.  I have total silence except for the sound of birds outside, and I have my husband piddling around in some other part of the house, humming to himself sometimes but always trying to be quiet about it.  I think if a writer is happy with himself inside, it doesn’t matter where he is physically when he tries to write.  The real story comes from the heart.  If he has peace and happiness there, then he’s got it made.  Nothing else should be a problem.
Q.: Any last words about your new release, NIGHTFALL?
A.: I just hope a decent percentage of the people who read it, enjoy it.  Book releases are always a little nervewracking.  A few reviews will hurt, a few others will make you feel good.  Then one day you get an email from some farm kid in Podunk, Arkansas, telling you how much your book meant to him, and all the other stuff is forgotten.
I want to take a minute to thank everyone at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for letting me spend a few minutes talking about my new book.   I hope NIGHTFALL finds a welcome home in a few laps and I hope everyone who gives it a chance will find a smile or a gasp here and there as they travel through the pages.
Keep reading, everybody!
John
_________

About Nightfall

Joe Chase and Ned Bowden are damaged men. They each bear scars from surviving the world they were born in. Deep scars, both physical and emotional.

When fate offers its first kind act by bringing the two together, suddenly their scars don’t seem so bad, and their lives don’t feel so empty.

Yet that kindness comes at a price.

Just as Joe and Ned begin to experience true happiness for the very first time, the world turns on them again.

But this time it turns on everyone.

_________

About the Author

John Inman is a Lambda Literary Award finalist and the author of over thirty novels, everything from outrageous comedies to tales of ghosts and monsters and heart stopping romances. John Inman has been writing fiction since he was old enough to hold a pencil. He and his partner live in beautiful San Diego, California. Together, they share a passion for theater, books, hiking and biking along the trails and canyons of San Diego or, if the mood strikes, simply kicking back with a beer and a movie.

John’s advice for anyone who wishes to be a writer? “Set time aside to write every day and do it. Don’t be afraid to share what you’ve written. Feedback is important. When a rejection slip comes in, just tear it up and try again. Keep mailing stuff out. Keep writing and rewriting and then rewrite one more time. Every minute of the struggle is worth it in the end, so don’t give up. Ever. Remember that publishers are a lot like lovers. Sometimes you have to look a long time to find the one that’s right for you.”

Giveaway

John has generously agreed to giveaway with this post, a book from his DSP backlist to whichever reader we choose.  So leave a comment for John, along with your email address should you be chosen.  And  may the force be with you!  Happy Reading!

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Ginger Snaps (Belladonna Arms #5) by John Inman

Standard

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Though I normally love John Inman’s stories and I’ve salivated over the Belladonna Arms books, alternating between laughing and smiling over the sweet, sappy MM romances, this one just didn’t reach the bar set by the other four. 

Usually, the stories are about a very nice young man who’s down on his luck and finds his way to the Belladonna Arms where the world’s biggest (and largest) drag queen, Arthur, takes him under his (considerable) wing and then the love pollen that seems to saturate the former hotel works its magic.  And lo and behold, after some starts and stops, he falls in love with another very nice young man.

And that’s the case here at the beginning of the book: Reed has left his wife, having realized that he can’t push his homosexuality any further inside than he’s been doing for years.  Gideon has broken up with his boyfriend, who very cruelly took all of Gideon’s possessions and donated them to Salvation Army.  He only saved his laptop because it happened to be in the trunk of his car.  Arthur has put both young men in apartments next to one another and is simply waiting for the love pollen to sprinkle their way.  The Belladonna Arms seems to be infested with love pollen that has worked to bring other couples together in the past.  The only issue with these two is that both young men are redheads and neither wants to fall in love with a redhead. 

Soooo, of course, that’s what happens.  They bond over the sorry state of their apartments, so Reed pulls out hammer and tools and sets about repairing both his and Gideon’s apartments, both having been sorely neglected in the past.  For several weeks, all is well and then Reed’s ex-wife throws a wrench in the works just before Arthur’s wedding.  Coinciding with all the usual craziness associated with wedding preparations, the San Diego area is experiencing tremors and small earthquakes—all of which send Arthur into screaming and hiding mode. The stress takes its toll on him and he ends up in the hospital—but not without visits from all the residents of the Arms. The big guy is a sweetheart and everyone secretly loves him.   

Then Reed breaks Gideon’s heart…and leaves pieces all over the floor.  He totally goes against all the promises he’s made to Gideon and leaves him in tatters.  To be honest, this reader would not have taken him back.  He pulled a really stupid, IMHO, stunt and should have been cut from the book, never mind from Gideon’s life.  But love is blind, and this is fiction, so the two end up back together in time for the grand wedding event.

As I said earlier, this story just didn’t cut it for me.  I don’t think my sense of humor has changed drastically over the years, but the Arthur earthquake and wedding scenes were too OTT for me. And Reed’s wife?  Not even worth the pages she occupied in the book.  Then there’s the chapter devoted to Reed and Gideon babysitting little Artie—the baby Sylvia and Raymond adopted—which I suppose to many may have been funny, but not to me.  I had no interest in it or patience for it at all, and in fact, I’d have preferred the chapter be cut from the story. 

I can stretch this to a 3 star rating, though if we all rated in half scales, I’d likely give it 2.5—mostly due to Reed’s ex-wife who is still irritating me, days after I finished reading the book.  For those who have read other books in the series, I’d recommend reading this one and would be interested in other reviewers’ opinions. For those who haven’t read the series, this can’t stand alone and needs to be read after the others.  Start with Serenading Stanley, which to me was the best, and work your way through.  It’s a nice series of MM romances and worth taking the time to read.

~~~

Cover art by Aaron Anderson depicts a ginger young man at work welding, with open shirt, low-rise jeans, and with a darkly shaded apartment building in the background.  Nicely done, it depicts Reed and the Belladonna Arms.   

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleGinger Snaps
ISBN139781640800311
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Belladonna Arms #5

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ginger Snaps (Belladonna Arms #5) by John Inman

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

Even with a string of earthquakes jarring the tenants of the Belladonna Arms, rattling nerves and smashing dishes, life still manages to plod along as usual. Love pollen continues to fall, romances continue to flourish, and Arthur, the grand Pooh-bah in residence, continues to plan his upcoming wedding extravaganza.

In the midst of all this drama fall Gideon Chase and Reed Kelly, two redheaded losers at love who find themselves regrouping under the auspices of the most incorrigible matchmaker in heels.

Arthur sees hope for the two right away. He leases them adjoining apartments, then continually tweaks their budding friendship in the hope it will slip into love. Just as Arthur’s plans are coming along nicely, Reed’s past shows up to toss a monkey wrench into his and Gideon’s blossoming romance.

With Arthur’s wedding ceremony nigh, and Reed and Gideon on the verge of heartache yet again, Arthur faces one inescapable conclusion.

It will take more than love pollen to sort this mess out.

There’s is absolutely nothing better than to be home again in that faded six-story apartment building called The Belladonna Arms high atop a hill overlooking the ocean, a fabulous view of the city,  and new possibilities for love for all who arrive there.  For you see, it’s full of  love pollen  as each book has proved time and again.  Love pollen and cats.  Both figure large in each story.

John Inman has written so many incredible stories in many genres from contemporary romance to humor to the supernatural and horror.  But none has so captured my heart and left me wheezing from laughter or yes, sniffly from tears as his Belladonna Arms series and the oddball family that has sprung up in each apartment on every floor.  I thank John Inman every time each one/or couple makes an appearance in his stories.  And they do. In every one because they are a family that supports each other, no matter the occasion, in this case Arthur and Tom’s wedding (omg…the wedding dress).  The earth itself is having conniption fits over Arthur’s upcoming wedding as earthquakes galore are running through the area.  Through Inman’s vivid descriptions and our in depth knowledge and love or these characters we feel every quake and shimmy as if we were there.

The author really makes us a part of this family too.

From the moment heart hurt, homeless ginger haired Gideon Chase walks to see The Belladonna Arms because Ben  has told him he can get him a room there, we know Gideon is on a special journey.  One that starts with Arthur in all his drag  splendor waiting at the entrance, shifting boobs made of quinoa bags and all,  of The Belladonna Arms.  Then we move to red-haired Reed, his marriage, his decision not to live a lie, and again his arrival at The Belladonna Arms.  Two gingers, both hurting, now side by side neighbors.  Let the love pollen flow.

Lacking the necessities, all of the couples of the apartment building gather round Gideon to help him furbish his new home.  By chapter three, I’ve wrapped this book around my heart like a favorite comforter, so happy I feel to be back in their midst.  Then Gideon opens his door to two of my favorite kleptos, married couple Charlie and Bruce,  And it happens.  I’ll say the words.  Internet ballet lessons.

Ok, now I’m starting to wheeze here and the tears are streaming down my face.  I’m laughing so  hard that typing is a fail.

Brilliance.  The humor here will just grab at you when you least expect it.    This is just the first of many such scenes.

Of course, there’s plenty of poignancy too.  Reed has some powerful issues to work through and he’s not always as successful as one would hope at  first in finding his way.  Nothing here is ever easy.  But The Belladonna Arms family comes through again and again in the most amazing ways.  Inman finds paths that lifts everyone up, not just the main characters, but the secondary ones, that in other hands might have come out looking somewhat villainous, and that would have been   such a shame as well as unnecessary.

No one leaves The Belladonna Arms feeling unloved or a Belladonna Arms story feeling less that a bit dusted by love pollen yourself. I can’t help but wonder if a certain half naked flower boy will be featured in the next story.  Here’s hoping!

But until then I’m keeping myself warm with the laughter and love I find within the pages of Ginger Snaps (Belladonna Arms #5) by John Inman.     I know I will see Reed and Gideon again so this is but a seeya later.  And I keep bursting into giggles and outright laughter over the thoughts of Gorilla tape and cowboys hats and plie’s.  Truly my stomach hurts.  But not my heart.  John Inman has left that in excellent shape.

Now to wait for my next visit.  Until then I highly recommend you take a trip  to the Belladonna Arms yourself.  Meet everyone and fall in love.  Start at the beginning and work your way here.  Join in on the family fun.

Cover art: Aaron Anderson.  Normally I love Aaron Anderson’s work but I think this is a miss.  You have a story about gingers and you cut the top off the model so you miss out on the color of the hair?  Nope.  Plus the bandana really belongs to Charlie.  Fail all around.  Except that its done in the style that brands the series.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleGinger Snaps
ISBN139781640800311
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Belladonna Arms #5

A Stella Releases Day Review: Laugh Cry Repeat by John Inman

Standard

RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Wyeth Becker is a quiet man. Staid, serious, calm. A librarian. When he meets preschool teacher Deeze Long, he discovers joy for the first time in his life. With joy comes laughter, excitement, and a new way to look at the world through the eyes of the kindest, most loving man he has ever met.

When tragedy strikes and Deeze loses his joy, it is Wyeth who helps him find it again. It is Wyeth, the man who never truly understood happiness, who pays that gift back. Giving all he can of himself to the man who changed his life. Restoring in Deeze what he now so desperately needs.

But the road of their relationship doesn’t end there. The joys and sorrows of life are never-ending. As they set out to weather the highs and lows together, Wyeth and Deeze hang on to the one thing that makes all the tears and laughter worthwhile.

Love.

For only through love can life be truly savored at all.

This new release by John Inman was  another success by this favorite author of mine. He’s an amazing writer and I surely already said it in the past but each new book is a confirmation, with the characters and the plots he builds, the emotions he can make the readers feel. I shed more than one tear as I usually do every time I read his new titles. He has the ability to hit the core of the matter and to leave me without a breath to breathe. I felt like this more than once during my reading of Laugh Cry Repeat.

I fell in love with Wyeth and Deeze as soon as I met them. Both of them positive characters, both of them stubborn people, the first in the strong will to be alone with his lovely dog, Chances,, the second with the strong desire to conquer and be loved by Wyeth. I adored how they met and dated, how they finally admitted their feelings. I was overwhelmed by how lovely and caring persons they were, how passionate about their works as librarians and teacher. And then there were the second characters, the little Jack, the noisy neighbour Agnes, the cousin Laurie. The way the interacted, always right and measured.

Laugh Cry Repeat is a powerful story, a novel hard to forget for the themes it speaks of, some more evident and loud, others subtle but not less important at all. It’s a book packed with love in every form love exists for a soulmate, for a job, for a life deserved to be lived although its  cruelty days, although we are about its strongness, because yes it can be a clichè, but love really is all around us and living without it it’s impossible. And this novel showed all.

The cover art by Reese Dante is well done, I like it and I can see the MCs in the models’ faces.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Expected publication: December 4th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781635336344

Edition Language English

A Stella Release Day Review: The Hike by John Inman

Standard

RATING 4,25 out of 5 stars

Ashley James and Tucker Lee have been friends for years. They are city boys but long for life on the open trail. During a three-hundred-mile hike from the Southern California desert to the mountains around Big Bear Lake, they make some pretty amazing discoveries.

One of those discoveries is love. A love that has been bubbling below the surface for a very long time.

But love isn’t all they find. They also stumble upon a war—a war being waged by Mother Nature and fought tooth and claw around an epidemic of microbes and fury.

With every creature in sight turning against them, can they survive this battle and still hold on to each other? Or will the most horrifying virus known to man lay waste to more than just wildlife this time?

Will it destroy Ash and Tucker too?

The Hike is one more proof ( one I didn’t need to know) how talented John Inman is. With this new release he made a hit again. The book is a succession of emotions, I was enthusiastic as soon as I saw the author had a new book coming soon, I was curious as soon as I read the blurb. Then I fell in love with Ash and Tuck in a bit, and it was inevitable. Later I was intrigued because I wasn’t understanding what was going on and John was amazing at keeping the suspense on high levels, I was scared and yes the tension was at eating me. At some point I admit I wanted to kill him because he wrote about something I’m not going to mention, but it’s something he should have avoided and I won’t forgive him (that’s also the only reason I didn’t give the story the full five stars). And at the end the feeling of satisfaction I got from the reading was deserved, to the characters since they went through so much, and to me too, because let’s be honest, I suffered with them.

And to me here stands the winning element of The Hike, how much I was able to connect with the characters, to feel them and their minds, to empathize with their hurting. Both Ash and Tuck were loveable, sweet and cute how I like my MCs, caring and brave. They are best friends first of all and even if now, ten years later their first meeting in high school, they are ready to admit their feelings for each others, they are determined to put the friendship on the first place. But the love is too strong and the hike they began will bring them to be fiercely sure of their future together.

I want to recommend The Hike because it is a great reading, the author writing is perfect and the mystery part is the ice on the cake, a little more that the author likes to add in his stories, like he did in the latest Love Wanted. I am definitely going to put John Inman among my favorite authors.

The cover art by Maria Fanning is very well done, and so fitting in the colors, the font, and looking at it now that I finished the book, I like it more cause I can truly see The Hike in it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 206 pages

Publication Date: September 4th 2017

ISBN13 9781635335361

Edition Language English

A Stella Release Day Review: Love Wanted by John Inman

Standard

RATING 4,25 out of 5 stars

When it rains, it pours. Not only has Larry Walls been evicted from his apartment, but his hours have also been cut at the department store where he works, leaving him facing homelessness.

Meanwhile, Bo Lansing, a total stranger to Larry, toils at a dead-end job as a fry cook while attending night classes to become a certified chef. When the school closes its doors without warning, leaving Bo in the lurch for thousands of dollars in tuition, his dream of becoming a chef is shattered and his financial troubles spiral.

Desperate for a new beginning, each man answers an ad for live-in help posted by a wealthy recluse, and wonder of wonders, they are both hired! Just as their lives begin to improve, a young Kumeyaay Indian named Jimmy Blackstone joins the workforce at the Stanhope mansion.

When Mr. Stanhope’s true reason for hiring the young men is discovered by one of the three, a fourth entity makes its presence known.

Greed.

With all these players vying for position in a game of intrigue orchestrated by one lonely old man and a mischievous ghost, can a simple thing like love ever hope to survive the fray?

After having so loved My Dragon, My Knight a couple of months ago, I was very eager to read this new release by John Inman. I’m surprised by how much I actually enjoyed Love Wanted, it has all the elements that should have brought me to dislike the novel. Instead it was a huge success. Probably this review will contain some spoilers so better skip it if you don’t want to know a couple of things.

First of all if you like me are not a fan of multiple POVs this should not be your story, to me sometimes even just the two MCs’ POVs are too many, so go figure when each character has its own POV.  In this case they were perfect, I deeply fell in love with all the characters so of course I wanted to know everything was going on their minds. And their voices beautifully mengled together to create a lovely narration.

And just when I was engaged and in love, the author decided to turn one of my beloved MC into a greedy and nasty person. I was shocked, angry and didn’t really know what was going to happen, especially cause I tend to not read blurbs when the authors are the ones I prefer. First I learnt to love him, then I had to learn to hate him and want him away from Larry.

And then in this novel you will find ghosts and I’m easily spooked, but these ghosts are awesome and funny and jealous. At last there is going to be a death, and it was predictable and natural, I know he was going to die, but still I wanted him to live forever so it saddened me a little.

These are all the elements why I should have despised Love Wanted, instead I adored it and the main reason why this happened is simply and powerful, I couldn’t resist Roger and his love for Jeremy and all the people in his life. He is a force of nature and he caught my heart.

Hats off to John Inman and his amazing writing.

The cover art by Maria Fanning is fitting and simple. I like it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 270 pages

Publication Date: June 19th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1635334721 (ISBN13: 9781635334722)

Edition Language English

An Alessandro Audiobook Review: Willow Man by John Inman and Austin Rising (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

 

Woody Stiles has sung his country songs in every city on the map. His life is one long road trip in a never-ending quest for fame and fortune. But when his agent books him into a club in his hometown, a place he swore he would never set foot again, Woody comes face to face with a few old demons. One in particular.

With memories of his childhood bombarding him from every angle, Woody must accept the fact that his old enemy, Willow Man, was not just a figment of childish imagination. 

With his friends at his side, now all grown up just like he is, Woody goes to battle with the killer that stole his childhood lover. Woody also learns Willow Man has been busy while he was away, destroying even more of Woody’s past. And in the midst of all this drama, Woody is stunned to find himself falling in love—something he never thought he would do again.

As kids, Woody and his friends could not stop the killer who lived in the canyon where they played. As adults, they might just have a chance.

Or will they?

 

Woody is a country singer(not yet successful) who travels across the US doing jobs in bars. After his manager gets him a really good job in his hometown San Diego he is kind of spooked, because his hometown has some memories he rather not face. But he does it anyway, because he wants to get famous. But as soon as he arrives in San Diego he gets a visit of an old friend. The friend who has basically ruined is life. After his first show, he meets his old childhood friends and the journey begins. But there is a threat lurking in the shadows, and they’re all familiar with what and who the threat is.

 

Oh well, after I read the blurp I was really interested, that’s why I decided to review this book. And of course I’m a sucker for audiobooks. And it all could’ve been so good. I need to add, that this was my first ever horror book, in M/M or otherwise. And I thought I would like the genre, because I’m really into horror movies. But this was just not for me. I felt quite detached from this story, it didn’t draw me in as I hoped it would. I didn’t get spooked or felt hardly scared at all. It was just a “horror” story, with grotesque language from the evil in this book. It made me cringe a lot of times. Also, the story was quite depressing. I know this was a horror book… but I thought at least there could be some good moments… but there barely were any. At least not ones that I could understand and really relate to. And then there is this matter of the insta-love thing. Which I’m not a fan off, and I think in such a serious book, there is no place for that. I can relate to it a little bit, but not really.

 

As for the characters in this book, I think they were great. There was a lot of depth to them and they all felt like different people, this is one of the reasons I enjoyed this book. In such a short time, well it was so short, I think I dragged a little bit(a lot) one learns to love the characters. They all had character traits that were solely them. Like Cathy, I really loved her, she is like a witty, fearless(most of the time) and such an understanding person. The other 4 characters were great as well.

 

Now, lets talk about the writing and what bothered me and what I thought was just great. The writing was really beautiful, I think that was one of the best written books I’ve read so far. The expressions the author used, were so lyrical and just satisfying, even thought that made the narration rather slow moving.

Now to the things I didn’t really like about the writing and I will include a little bit of the issues I had with the construction of this book. Well as I said I really loved the writing, but it made the book really, really slow moving, to that point, that I couldn’t keep my interest. If I hadn’t decided to review this one, I probably would’ve quit and not finish it. I was listening to the audiobook and normally I just speed the narration just a little bit, because often the speed is just too slow for me. The speed that I use is 1.25. For this book I sped it up even further, sometimes I put it on 1.5 or even 1.75, just so I could get this book done as fast as possible.

The big issues that I had were with the construction of this book. When you read this book you are basically following 2 stories and several POV(the book is written in 3rd person POV). One of the stories is of Woody and his friends when they were younger, barely hitting puberty(13 years old). And because you followed the grown up Woody in the first few chapters, one basically knows what will happen in the peak of the story of the past. That’s what really was annoying. There is all the build up to an event you already know what will happen, yes you don’t know exactly how it will come to pass, but one knows the outcome. So there was no suspense at all. At least not in the story when they were teenagers.

The other story, where the group of friends are adults, isn’t quite what I would’ve liked it to be. As I said above, there was insta-love, which I couldn’t relate to at all but also the end was just a little bit anti-climactic. I thought at least there would be some blood, but no, there was just some groping of the evil and some cringy conversations going on. I was really disappointed.

 

The narration was superb. Austin Rising did a REALLY good job at narrating this book. Each character had their own “voice”. They even differed from the 2 story lines. The adults got their own voice and the teenagers did as well. But they weren’t as much different than the teenagers “voices”. So one could still distinguish which of the characters is “speaking”.

 

Would I recommend this book? Yes and no. For the ones who like a really dark story, with a lot of hurt and heartache, who are also a little in horror, I would definitely recommend this. But if you are looking for a book with equal amounts of romance and horror, like I did, I wouldn’t. For me it was quite a depressing story, not fun to read at all. I even needed to read a light hearted novella in between to just get through this book.

 


The Cover art of “Willow Man” by Aaron Anderson was quite fitting to this book. I think it shows the mood of the book and the intention of the author.

 Sales links:  DSP Publications | Amazon

  

Book Details:

Ebook 350 Pages

Published January 13th 2015 by DSP Publications

ISBN: 1632163500

Edition Language: English

Audiobook 12 Hrs 50 Min.

Audiobooks published April 7th by DSP Publications

ASIN: B06Y2KZRD8

Edition Language: English

Narrator: Austin Rising

A Stella Release Day Review: My Dragon My Knight by John Inman

Standard

RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Danny Sims is in over his head, torn between his abusive lover, Joshua, and Jay Holtsclaw, the bartender up the street, who offers Danny the one thing he never gets at home: understanding.

When Joshua threatens to get rid of Danny’s terrier, Danny knows he has to act fast. Afraid of what Joshua will do to the dog, and afraid of what Joshua will do to him if he tries to leave, Danny does the only thing he can do.

He runs.

But Danny isn’t a complete fool. He has enough sense to run into the arms of the man who actually cares for him—the man he’s beginning to trust.

Just as their lives together are starting to fall into place, Danny and Jay learn how vengeful Joshua can be.

And how dangerous.

I have to say I wasn’t expecting a story like the one I got to read in My Dragon, My Knight. I’m used to laughing with John Inman and his works, while this new release is more serious and angsty, I was waiting for some drama of course, the blurb is pretty clear, but I wasn’t ready for this level of abuse.

I’d like to make a little promise. The book speaks loudly of domestic violence, if you are not comfortable with it, the author has written a lot of great and different stories, just go there and skip this new one. I read My Dragon, My Knight and soon after another story with the same theme, and although I have never been victim of a violence like this, it made me cringe more than once. I soaked up and then I couldn’t take it anymore.

That said, John Inman has confirmed how talented he is, I loved the plot, I loved the characters but what conquered me was the writing. This novel was a pleasure to read, I spent one night on it and I didn’t even realize the time passing. It totally captured me and my heart. The words were never too many and just the right ones. Yes the writing totally satisfied me, actually the whole story filled my craving for a good read. You know when you read a book and you want more? Not always is a positive thing, often it means the author lacked somewhere or you simply wasn’t in the mood. Well, this time my mood and My Dragon, My Knight aligned.

Danny had a special place in my heart. I was happy for him to have found Jay on his path, first a friend to trust, then a place where he and his dog Jingles can take a shelter, finally a special person to love. And then there is Jay. Gentle, caring and ready to wait for Danny to be brave. I loved how, although he had lost his lover just the year before, Jay wan’t closed in his grieving, on the contrary his openness made him more lovable.

Now I would like to explain why I didn’t give My Dragon, My Knight the full five stars, because not sure if I have been clear so far but I really adored this book. One thing I couldn’t overcome and ignore, the death of a second character, not going to tell you who because I don’t want to spoil your reading, but of course someone will die. I could have easily done without that.

My Dragon, My Knight by John Inman is a winner, I surely will reread it in the next future, it has all the little details I like to find in my books, friends to lovers, age-gap, characters with huge baggage on their shoulders, cats! I feel to highly recommend it.

The cover art by Reese Dante is simple, real and fitting. I like the font, the colors, everything.

Sales Links

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 200 pages

Publication Date: March 31st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781635332858

Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Acting Up by John Inman

Standard

Rating:  3 stars out of 5

acting-up-by-john-inmanIt’s not easy breaking into show biz. Especially when you aren’t exactly loaded with talent. But Malcolm Fox won’t let a little thing like that hold him back.

Actually, it isn’t the show-business part of his life that bothers him as much as the romantic part—or the lack thereof. At twenty-six, Malcolm has never been in love. He lives in San Diego with his roommate, Beth, another struggling actor, and each of them is just as unsuccessful as the other. While Malcolm toddles off to this audition and that, he ponders the lack of excitement in his life. The lack of purpose. The lack of a man.

Then Beth’s brother moves in.

Freshly imported from Missouri of all places, Cory Williams is a towering hunk of muscles and innocence, and Malcolm is gobsmacked by the sexiness of his new roomie from the start. When infatuation enters the picture, Malcolm knows he’s really in trouble. After all, Cory is straight!

At least, that’s the general consensus.

Acting Up by John Inman has been a hard book to review.  I love John Inman.  I find his books hilarious, his characters by turns gut wrenchingly funny, full of self doubt, sometimes followed by the pain of their pasts or present, nerdy, shy, verbose, hormone driven, dog loving….characters that I could always  connect with and love.  Then came Malcolm.

Connecting with Malcolm took some doing, especially as the book’s in his pov.  For about the first 25 to maybe even 30 percent I really struggled to like Malcolm. So snarky as to be self involved, he had just one too many traits that he threatened to derail his his own story.  Even Cory showing up didn’t exactly help.  Not immediately.  Which was probably a good thing.  It wouldn’t have felt believable.  Malcolm had some thinking and growing to do.  So did Cory.  And right when you wanted to pack this story in, a funny thing happened, the characters turned themselves and it around.

Just prior to Cory making a confession, Malcolm had started to realize that his feelings were changing and therefore, his behavior should follow.  And instead of a snarky hard to read story, Acting Up becomes a wonderful, sweet contemporary romance it really could have been/was all along.   This includes Malcolm’s hilarious mother who always is there for surprisingly good advice (along with her latest beau) and Cory’s sis and Malcolm’s roommate.   As John Inman swings us into the end of the story, he wraps up the romance with a finale that leaves us all smiling.    I just wish it hadn’t taken so long to get it all started.

So I don’t know what to tell you.  I loved 3/4th of this book and thought  that made up for the beginning.  But some of you might not be able to get through that 25 percent.  That decision I will leave up to you.

Cover art by Reese Dante is wonderful and a perfect representation of the characters.

Sales Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published December 23rd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleActing Up
ISBN 1634773551 (ISBN13: 9781634773553)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ben and Shiloh (The Belladonna Arms #4) by John Inman

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

ben-and-shiloh-by-john-inmanShiloh Smart is alone and looking for a fresh start. Convinced he’s finished with love forever, he signs a lease at the Belladonna Arms, a tacky, run-down apartment building situated high on a hill in downtown San Diego.

Determined to turn his back on romance, Shiloh works hard at carving out a life for himself where love doesn’t stand a chance and staying single is all that matters.

Then his drag queen landlord’s nephew, Ben Moss, moves in. Thanks to a rumor Ben has heard since childhood of a fifty-year-old crime and a fortune in stolen money, he sets out to find the loot supposedly hidden decades ago in his uncle’s apartment building.

The minute Ben spots a kilted Shiloh toddling off to work at the Scottish restaurant up the street where he waits tables, he falls hard and fast for the aloof young redhead. Even a hidden treasure can’t compete in Ben’s eyes with the beautiful waiter with the fiery copper hair.

But even while he diligently works to break down Shiloh’s defenses, Ben doesn’t give up his quest for buried treasure. Soon, as their friendship deepens, the two young men join forces in a search for the stolen cash.

As the treasure hunt gathers steam and all the tenants get involved, Ben and Shiloh come to realize the greatest treasure isn’t buried in the Belladonna Arms at all. It’s buried far deeper—in each other’s hearts!

Its always a pleasure to take a trip back to the Belladonna Arms, that aging apartment building sitting high on a hill in San Diego that happens to be full of love pollen waiting to fall on the most unusual of couples.  In this fourth installation, its Ben and Shiloh who gets the heap helping of pollen and much, much more.

Shiloh Smart, like all the people who end up at Belladonna Arms, has been dumped by his boyfriend.  Now homeless, he needs a new place, close to his work (a restaurant that calls for him to wear a kilt) and that’s also cheap enough for his budget.  He has no intention of ever, EVER, falling in love again.  His heart is closed up good.  Except that the Belladonna Arms has other ideas and people in store for Shiloh and that would be Ben, the nephew of our endearing drag queen, Arthur.

For me, Ben and Shiloh was a little different story then the normal Belladonna Arms tale.  For one, we have a mystery to contend with, plus it seemed more of a ensemble story than normal.  While we do concentrate on Ben and Shiloh who are an odd and adorable mixture, all our other couples are very present here as well.  I have to admit I loved seeing them all, making it even harder to pick favorites.  I might even have a new favorite character in Shiloh’s mom.  She’s hilarious.  Inman surrounds his new couple with all his old ones, adding in the resident cat and her kittens (also adorable), and a mystery from the past to boot.  My mind was swirling all over the place, thinking about Sylvia and the new baby, our fav kleptos, and where the heck did that new couple with the bow ties come from? So it wasn’t always on Ben and Shiloh like perhaps it should have been, least that’s my opinion.  Not that there wasn’t tons of sex. Hey, there was!  I was just missing some other component…

I’m just not sure Ben and Shiloh got the depth of treatment that, say Ramon and Barney  did in Coming Back (Belladonna Arms #3).  That was an amazing, angst driven story.  My heart hurt for Ramon.  Certainly that’s not called for in every story.  Not everyone needs to go through what Ramon did.  And perhaps comparing the two isn’t fair as the characters aren’t the same in makeup and history.  However, the differences struck me none the same.  One book was deeply centered about one couple, and this was lovingly a Belladonna Arms affair.

However was my heart and mind happy and satisfied?  You betcha!  I love Belladonna Arms.  I could sit on the steps and watch the goings on all day and all night long side by side with the kitties.  There are still rooms to be filled.  Another just got emptied.  Love pollen at work again.  Who will be next up the steps of the Belladonna Arms?  I can’t wait to find out!

I highly recommend this series and this story.  Pick them all up and get acquainted with some of the most delightfully quirky characters you will ever want to fall in love with.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.  The artist does a terrific job with the character and with branding the series.

Sales Links

        

 

Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages
Published October 10th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163477146X (ISBN13: 9781634771467)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series: Belladonna Arms: Add to your Goodreads shelf here: