A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: P.S. I Spook You by S.E. Harmon and Noah Michael Levine (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

From the blurb: SA Rain Christiansen used to be the agency’s golden boy. It just takes one moment of weakness, one slight, tiny, itty-bitty paranormal sighting, and all of a sudden he’s the agency’s embarrassment. His boss gives him one last chance to redeem himself—go down to Brickell Bay, play nice with the local police, and leave the ghost sightings behind. Rain is determined to do exactly that, even if it kills him. Cold-case detective Daniel McKenna’s latest investigation is going nowhere fast. Five years earlier, high school student Amy Greene went missing after leaving her part-time job and was never seen again. Daniel is glad to finally have the FBI help that his department requested, even if it does come in the form of his ex. It doesn’t help that Rain is pretty sure he’s falling in love with Danny all over again—if he ever stopped. Add to that the frustration of seeing ghosts at every turn while he works a case that’s stalled in its tracks, and Rain is starting to wonder if second chances and happy endings are just for fairy tales.

This was a great story with an established couple who drifted apart and are thrown together by work circumstances, one reluctant medium—FBI SA Rain Christiansen, and cold-case detective Daniel McKenna, who still loves Rain but not his ability to see ghosts. 

The story has so much potential with more than one ghost making requests of Rain whose friends and former lover all seem to think he’s lost his mind. One cold case provides the main plot substance as Rain is visited by the victim’s ghost who leads him to her car hidden in the Everglades. Explain that to his boss and his lover? No way do they understand. There’s a lot of push-pull on the romance and plenty of suspects. Of course, Rain is the type of self-willed character who leaps before he looks, landing him in deep trouble. I liked the plot and the dynamic between Rain and Daniel, as well as Rain’s snarky, humorous attitude.

What pulled the story down a notch for me was the narration. When the speaker wasn’t identified in the dialogue, I couldn’t really tell who was speaking until I figured it out based on what was said. In other words, the narration wasn’t good. The narrator didn’t have enough distinction between the voices of the two MCs. He also mispronounced words, though that’s minor in comparison to the major issue of having two similar voices. I was frequently lost, and though I found the story interesting, I feel sad that I didn’t enjoy it as much as my friends who read the e-book seemed to. So, though I can recommend the story to those who enjoy a mix of romance and mystery, I don’t recommend the audio version.

The cover features two young men kissing in the upper pane while in the bottom pane of the cover a young girl stands with her back to the camera—a great representation of the missing girl.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible |

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, Unabridged, 9 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Tantor Audio (first published June 12th 2017)
Original Title P.S. I Spook You
Edition Language English setting Miami, Florida (United States)
Florida (United States)

A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: A Deeper Blue (The Game #2) by S.E. Harmon

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5 

This is the second book in the series and should be read in order for maximum emotional impact. A year later, Blue is still basically in the closet. Happily ever afters are work.

So, I’m not going to lie: I was upset about Blue using a beard. Keeping this secret is destroying what they have. At the end of book one Blue had planned to come out and it was Kelly who stopped him. In this book, Blue has let the fear take over and Kelly is the one that wants to be part of a normal relationship where he can participate in Blue’s life like any of the other guys on the team and their wives/girlfriends. Blue was also supposedly the romantic one, yet it is Kelly that seems to be waiting for the big gesture while still not being all in. As a gay man, Kelly understands what Blue would face coming out publicly way better than Blue does. Fear of losing Blue when the discrimination starts, of Blue resenting him, makes him hold back a bit of himself. Even as annoyed as I was, this book sucked me right in.

Of course, Blue is good at pushing things away too–like thoughts of retirement and fear of injury. This time, I was glad to see more football. It was important to show more of Blue’s family as it lets the readers know that Kelly is not correct in blaming football for all of their problems. There were several moments when I wanted to strangle Blue, but I understood all too well why he is the person he is and wanted him to make better choices for his own happiness. Conner has been a good and supportive friend to Kelly, but it’s nice to see that Blue has friends who have his back also. There are some incredibly painful moments in this, but the author doesn’t wallow in them. Those big moments in life (wedding, birth, major illness, death, coming out) are when you find out who really cares for you, and it’s not always who you think, or even hope.

This worked really well as a duology and the epilogue was everything I wanted for these guys, where it was always going in between the bouts of mild angst. I enjoyed both of these books.

The cover art is by Kanaxa. I like the cover, and I supposed it is supposed to be Blue. Blue has new tattoos, as discussed in the book, but not as many as that, and of course, the tattoos are not the same as this model.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner PressAmazon
Book Details:
ebook, 260 pages
Expected publication: October 30th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640808089
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Game #2

S.E. Harmon on Writing, Characters, and her latest novel “The Blueprint” (author interview)

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The Blueprint (The Game #1) by S.E. Harmon
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Buy Links

Dreamspinner PressAmazon   |   Kobo  | B&N

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have SE Harmon here today talking about writing, characters, and her latest novel, The Blueprint.  Welcome, SE!

♦︎

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with SE Harmon ~

 

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

I was banned from reading romances as a kid…my mother called them “love books” and told me I was too young to read such things. That only led to me coming up with more and more creative ways to sneak and read them. At one point, I was actually reading in the shower (with my back turned to the spray). I think this career choice was pretty much inevitable.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I was a hold-out on ebooks. I love a good paperback book in my hands–the look of them, the feel of them, even smell them…sublime. One of my favorite days of the publishing process is when my author copies arrive in the mail and I can hold the book in my hands. Rub it on my face a little. Dance with…okay, nevermind, this is getting a little weird.

At one point, I ran out of space for my paperbacks and actually rented a storage unit for them. An actual storage unit. I defended myself to friends and family and claimed it was for other things, but we all knew the truth. I lost the majority of my book collection when spiders took over my storage unit…but that’s another story, one that involves me running away from the unit with bug spray—a can of Raid that might as well have been air freshener for all the good it did.

Now that I’ve thoroughly established my long-standing love affair with books, I must admit I truly appreciate the convenience of ebooks. My ereader is with me at all times and ebooks are definitely here to stay.

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Little bits here and there, but mainly a sense of humor–I wouldn’t be able to relate to the character otherwise. I don’t know how to relate to pod people who can answer questions without a nice, piping hot side of sarcasm.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

HEA, always. Real life is full of HFNs. I want the fairy tale in my fiction. If you’ve read The Blueprint, you may notice that it is a bit of a HFN, but don’t fear. Kelly and Blue get their HEA in the sequel, Darker Blue.

Blurb

Kelly Cannon is generally satisfied with his life—he has a great job that he loves, friends, and a wonderful family. But his love life has reached a new level of pitiful. Why? Well, his heart decided to break all the rules. Don’t fall in love with a straight guy. And definitely don’t fall in love with your best friend.

NFL standout Britton “Blue” Montgomery has pressure coming at him from all sides. From his father, who’s only interested in Blue’s football career. From his coaches, who just want him to play without getting injured again. The fans. His agent. His mother, who popped back up on the radar after leaving his family years ago. Now his relationship with Kelly is on shaky ground, and that frightens Blue more than anything.

When Kelly admits he’s in love with Blue, bonds are tested, and Blue has to decide what’s really important. He doesn’t want to lose the number one person in his life, but the cost to keep Kelly close might be more than he’s willing to pay.

It’s a good thing his nickname is the Blueprint—it’s time to draft a new set of plans.

Release Date: March 13 2018

Edition/Formats Available: ebook & Print

Excerpt

My phone rang for the third time, and I swore and dug in my pocket. “Yeah?”

“Wow.” Blue’s deep voice sounded vaguely impressed. “You only made me call three times.”

“I figured answering was the polite thing to do.”

“And since when do you do the polite thing?” His chuckle was warm and soft. “I figured I’d call and congratulate you. It didn’t seem like the type of thing to leave on voicemail.”

Congratulate me. It bothered me that he wasn’t bothered that I was possibly getting engaged to someone else. I felt a little… deflated.

I cleared my throat. It was hard to hear him clearly over the din in the background—a hip-hop beat, loud voices, and the occasional raucous laughter. “Where are you, anyway? I thought you had a game.”

“I did. One of the players wanted to show off his new boat, and it turned into a thing. I thought I’d swing by after—”

“There is no after. We’re pretty much wrapping things up over here.” The fact that his party sounded a thousand times more fun than mine didn’t improve my mood. “Sounds like you guys are having a good time. You must’ve won.”

“Of course. I can’t think of a better way to kick off a season than winning our last preseason game.” At my lack of response, he went on. “So where’s Robert?”

Probably at a witch doctor’s house asking him to construct a skinny, black-haired, gray-eyed voodoo doll named Kelly.

“Gone,” I said shortly. “I told him no. Well, to be perfectly accurate, I said yes, and then I said no.”

“Fuck, Kel.” Even over the noise in the background, I could hear the exasperation. “I thought you liked Robert.”

“I did. Just not enough to marry him.”

“Wow.” He seemed nonplussed for a moment. “I don’t know what to say to that.”

“It is what it is.”

Somewhere in the background, a feminine voice murmured something. She sounded close. Like almost in his ear. Something… flirty? Blue murmured something back, and then she giggled. Giggled. I tightened my hand on the phone. I couldn’t lie—I wanted to hurt him right then, even though I had absolutely no right to be angry, no right to expect his exclusive attention.

This.

This was why I’d been pulling away from Blue. Because he had no idea how hard it was to be just friends. But the more I pulled away, the harder Blue pushed for things to remain just the way they were.

“I have to go,” I said shortly.

“Maybe I could drop by sometime this week. I know things have been kind of crazy lately, but we could hang out. Catch a movie? I know I could stand to watch something other than game film.” The smile in his voice invited me to laugh along, but I wasn’t in the mood.

“I’m going to be pretty busy this week.”

I heard the question in his voice. “The entire week?”

“Yes. I have a job, you know.” Defensiveness made my voice sharp, and I couldn’t seem to stop myself. “I can’t just drop everything every time you decide to stop by.”

“I’m not asking you to. If you’re busy, you’re busy.” He paused. “Are you sure you’re okay? You sound weird.”

“I’m fine. Call me later, okay?”

“Sure. As long as you’re really all right.”

Why wouldn’t I be? Did I sound pissed? Annoyed? Irritated that I couldn’t have his undivided attention for two minutes? I was feeling pretty raw. Alone. Jealous that he was somewhere with some woman having a perfectly good time. I was ready to curse out whoever said love should be multiplied, not divided. I wanted Blue’s love all to myself, and that was… well, ridiculous. I had to hang up before I said some shit I probably shouldn’t say.

“Of course I’ll help you with that,” I said loudly, pretending to talk to someone else. “Blue, I’ve got to go.” I jabbed the end button and sent the phone to sleep. He called right back, and I put the ringer on silent.

I honestly didn’t know what else there was to say.

 

About the Author

S.E. Harmon has had a lifelong love affair with writing. It’s been both wonderful and rocky (they’ve divorced several times), but they always manage to come back together. She’s a native Floridian with a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters in Fine Arts, and now splits her days between voraciously reading romance novels and squirreling away someplace to write them. Her current beta reader is a nosy American Eskimo who begrudgingly accepts payment in the form of dog biscuits.

Website: http://seharmon.weebly.com

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

A Mika Review: So Into You (The PI Guys #2) by S.E. Harmon

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 

So Into YouScreenwriter Noah Ashley has a few four-letter words for his agent when she suggests he improve his script by shadowing a PI. Still, because he’s an artist dedicated to his craft and she knows where the bodies are buried, he agrees. Then he spends a little time with the gorgeous PI, and suddenly it seems like a really good plan. The PI doesn’t seem to entirely love the idea, but Noah has never been afraid to go after what he wants.

PI Drew Rodriguez is used to people depending on him. He’s the classic rock for his family. Responsible. Dependable. The classic rock would never succumb to the borderline sleazy temptation of friends with benefits, no matter how sexy that temptation is. Drew is looking for something enduring.

Despite Drew’s misgivings, it’s not long before they’ve got all the requisites for friends with benefits going. Friendly, good conversation? Check. Fun times in and out of bed? Check. Hot, electrolyte-sapping sex? Double check. Falling in love? Yeah. About that….

  **Le Sigh**, I really had so many high hopes of this book after Stay With Me (The PI Guys, #1). That book was so freaking good. For that to be S.E. Harmon’s first book, she knocked it out the park! I was captivated by the humor, the love, and the insecurities between both characters. I fell in love with those two guys. Drew was awesome in that  installment, and when Noah finally got going, it was great.

Here’s the biggest issue it was too much filler information being thrown at us. It was too in my opinion. I was extremely bored in the beginning. It took a long time for Drew and Noah to meet and connect. I did like Drew and his family dynamics. I think that story line worked well seeing as his characters is an all or nothing kind of guy. Noah definitely grew on me. He had a few issues that he needed to work on, and I’m confused on why we didn’t see it happen in the book if he made it such an issue in the beginning. I didn’t get the closure I think we deserved off that plot line at all.

MACKENZIE!!!! I love Mac, he is hilarious. I think every moment he was in the story I was grinning from ear to ear. It was nice seeing him and Jordan show up at times through the story. I’ll admit I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a sequel to their story. Outside of all the boring things, I truly liked Noah and Drew together. They were good together, and you can definitely see the love come out between those two. Sure the writing feels a bit on the comedy side at times, but I would rather have a smile on my face instead of a scowl. So all in all it was okay, I really wish we could have cut most of the filler material. It was definitely rated higher to me.

Cover Art by L.C. Chase, I liked the cover and thought it was hot. My only thing was that I didn’t know which guy it was suppose to be.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 326 pages
Published January 4th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 163476806X (ISBN13: 9781634768061)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe PI Guys #2