A Caryn Review: Earthly Pleasures by Sera Trevor

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Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

It was hard for me to characterize this book – it’s a little bit fantasy, but definitely had some fairy tale vibes about it as well, probably because the setting made me think of 17th – 18th century France.  It turned out to be not quite what I expected…

Prince Paurick is the second son of the king of Alland.  He had no responsibilities and a large allowance, and his life was all about hedonism.  Dressing in the latest fashions, getting drunk on the best liquor, sleeping with the most beautiful men, and planning his new pleasure palace took up all of his thoughts and energy.  Nominally he was the ruler of Tuatha, but could never be bothered to even visit the backward, downtrodden country.  He avoided his father and his older brother, both of whom took their roles as rulers of Alland very seriously, as much as possible.

Paurick was therefore very surprised to receive a royal summons the morning after a typical night of debauchery.  When he arrived at his father’s castle, he was shocked to find that the high priestess of the Goddess had an important task for him – to save Tuatha from the famine that was causing mass starvation.  (There were a few pages of explanation about how the ruling family descended from the Goddess, and had special powers, blah, blah, but it felt like an afterthought the way it was thrown in just before the high priestess assigned her task).   Paurick’s first thought was that he would have to abandon plans for his pleasure palace, when the priestess told him that all he had to do to save the country was to copulate with one of her acolytes.  And just for a few months, until fertility was restored to the land, and he could even do it from the comfort of his regular palace instead of going to Tuatha.  Suddenly, this sacred task was starting to sound like a great idea to Paurick, especially when she stipulated that the chosen acolyte was male instead of female!

Until Brother Laurel stepped forward, and he was just plain ugly.

Brother Laurel was committed to the Goddess, and felt truly blessed by being allowed to serve Her in Her temple.  He was born Tuathan, but was brought to Alland basically as a slave when he was a child, and to him, being chosen as an acolyte was a miracle that saved him from what was likely to be a very short life of extreme misery.  Acolytes took vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity, although in this instance the chastity vow was temporarily lifted for the good of the country of Tuatha.  Laurel did not ask how copulating with Paurick was supposed to restore fertility to the land – he just did what his high priestess ordered him to do.  And if that meant several months of forced receptive anal intercourse from an arrogant, spoiled, obnoxious prince, well, it was for the good of the people, and it wasn’t like he hadn’t suffered before.  (BTW, although Laurel might have expected it, there is thankfully no rape or non-con/dub-con in this story)

The first half of the book follows the two men as they negotiate their way through this task – and although Paurick doesn’t treat it as sacred at all, he is at least not the monster than Laurel initially thought he was, and the men come to care for each other.  The temporary nature of the assignment seemed like a saving grace when they entered into it, but as the season progressed, they fell in love.  And in doing so, both men saw the best in each other, and wanted to emulate that in themselves.

For probably the first 30-40% of the book, I have to say I was not involved, not convinced of the friendship between Paurick and Laurel, much less that they really fell in love.  The Goddess magic seemed like an afterthought rather than essential to the storyline.  And it felt like Laurel’s character should have been a woman, and the author’s decision to make this about two men made no sense.  Fortunately, about two thirds of the way through of the book, things changed and it felt like this was a story for adults who had real conflicts – love vs duty, secular vs sacred – and both men grew up enough to see there was real evil and manipulation in the world, and they had to stand up and make sacrifices to improve it.  But then I got the impression that the author wrote herself into a corner, and so the resolution was rapid, deus ex machina, and left me mostly dissatisfied despite the HEA.

I could not find the artist for the cover, but I have to say that if I saw the cover and title without reading the blurb, I would have pegged it for regency erotica – probably hetero – and passed right over it.

 

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 164 pages
Expected publication: November 7th 2018
ASINB07GTXJDZN
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

At last, the novel-length expansion of the award-winning novella!

Lord Jasen of Grumhul, an impoverished young nobleman, has come to the Draelands to find a rich husband to help pay his father’s debts. To the shock of everyone, he ends up attracting the attention of King Rilvor himself, and the dragons who control the magic in the land. Becoming royalty wasn’t something Jasen either expected or wanted, but he can’t control his growing feelings for kind and handsome king. Scheming factions at Court conspire to keep him from Rilvor’s side, and now Jasen has to decide if the chance at true love with Rilvor is worth the burden of being the husband of a king.

This sweet and funny Cinderfella romance is complete at ~85000 words and ends in a solid HEA. After all, true love always wins in fairy tales!

Well, as someone who loves all things dragons, Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor was a novel I couldn’t wait to start into.  It has all the elements guaranteed to pull me in.  A King looking for a new consort, dragons who play a major element, and a young man throwing his fate to the winds because of the misdeeds of his father.  Yes, yes, and yes!

Sera Trevor let me know right at the start I was in splendid “narrative” hands when, for starters, it came to the father/son dynamics.  Jasen’s reprobate of a father is a drunk, a gambler, and a total loss when it comes to handling money.  He’s run through the considerable estate Jasen’s mother had left him and his father, their castle or mansion, or whatever is left is in a sad state of disrepair, and the what money is left is sliding fast through his father’s fingers.  So Jasen hates him, right?  No.  Bitter perhaps, but he loves his father, while understanding exactly who he is, extreme faults and all.  Trevor doesn’t make a villain out of him where others would have. Instead we get the realistic complicated relationship of a father and son trying to love each other giving the current state of affairs (albeit directly due to the father’s actions).

The author, though, also lets us in, immediately, into a secret.  Jasen is special.  When he spies the dragons soaring in the air above near the castle, his heart heats up.  Something new and different.  And magical.  Oh the anticipation that starts to build for the reader!

From there on out, we walk next to Jasen as he (the bumpkin at the court), finds two friends, makes a magical connection, and a connection quite unexpected.  I just enjoyed the fun and joy that seems to rise out of this character! I often found myself smiling along with whoever was in his company because as written, he’s downright charming and endearing.

So too are the other characters.  They make their mark on you.  Whether it is King Rilvor,  Jasen’s new friends, or even his court enemies, they are so well written, that they leave quite the impression.  This includes the King’s many children too.  I wouldn’t have minded a game of mudball with them myself.

This is a world I would happily return to and a couple I would love to see more of down the road.

If you love fantasy, dragons, and romance, Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor is a  novel not to be missed.  I loved it and highly recommend it.  And will probably end up reading it again.

Cover art is lovely and works for the characters.

Sales Links:   Amazon

Book Details:

indle Edition, 2 edition, 295 pages
Published April 7th 2018 (first published July 28th 2014)
Original TitleConsorting with Dragons
ASINB07BHHTFXZ
Edition LanguageEnglish

 

On Tour with Curses, Foiled Again by Sera Trevor (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Curses, Foiled Again

Author: Sera Trevor

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: November 27, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 98700

Genre: Paranormal, vampires, witches, undead, abduction, paranormal, addiction, ghosts, homophobia, immortal, magic users, dark, drug/alcohol use, dark, blood play, curses

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Synopsis

Felix is a vampire—a fierce creature of the night who strikes terror into the hearts of everyone unlucky enough to become his prey. Or at least, that’s what he thought was true, until he met John. John is completely unimpressed with Felix, much to his dismay. Felix becomes fixated on proving his ferocity to John—and when that doesn’t work, he strives to make any impression on him at all.

John is a witch, and as all witches know, vampires are notoriously stupid creatures who only have the power to hurt those who fear them. Besides, he’s under a curse much more frightening than any vampire. Felix’s desperate attempts to impress him annoy John at first, but gradually, they become sort of endearing. Because of his curse, John has pushed everyone in his life away. But Felix can’t be hurt, so there’s no harm in letting him hang around.

Felix is technically dead. John has nothing left to live for. But together, they might have a shot at life.

This dark and witty vampire romance for adults is complete at 100,000 words, with no cliffhanger. Despite some dark twists and turns, it ends with a solid HEA.

Excerpt

Curses, Foiled Again
Sera Trevor © 2017
All Rights Reserved

One: The Witch Boys of Sunset Boulevard

Someone smelled delicious.

Felix really ought to have been sated. He had fed that night already, but in spite of his satiety, the new aroma tempted him like nothing before. It was the same dark tang that normally inspired his appetite, but with a sweet note buried in the scent—like an orange at the peak of its sweetness, right on the cusp of rotting. It didn’t take him long to discover the source of the aroma; it was a young man in a hooded sweatshirt, making his way down Sunset Boulevard. He walked with remarkable confidence for being on his own at two o’clock in the morning. Felix grinned. He liked the confident ones; their shock when confronted with the likes of him was always amusing.

He raced ahead of the young man with superhuman swiftness, jumping in front of him with his fangs bared. Felix loved this part, right before the attack—the moment when human confusion and animal terror mixed together as his victim realized their fate. Any moment now, he would scream. Or at least, he would try to. By then it would be too late.

The young man jumped and inhaled sharply at Felix’s sudden appearance. But once he’d given Felix a good once-over, he let out his breath in a relieved puff. There was no screaming, no futile attempt to flee or freezing in terror. In fact, it was Felix who froze in place, confused by the young man’s strange reaction.

As Felix tried to gather his wits to think of what to do next, the young man brushed past him and continued on. Felix shook himself out of his muddle. He brought a hand up to his mouth, feeling to make sure his fangs were still bared. They were. Perhaps the young man hadn’t seen him clearly; the lighting here was particularly poor, and mortal vision was not very good.

He zipped ahead of the young man and jumped out at him again, making sure he was directly under a streetlight. He raised his arms and hissed for good measure.

“You can stop doing that,” the young man said. “I’m not afraid of you.”

“Oh really?” Felix sneered, although in honesty he was taken aback. “We’ll see if your bravery lasts when I sink my fangs into your yielding flesh!”

He attempted to pounce, but nothing happened. He tried again, but his limbs just wouldn’t cooperate. As he stood there in confusion, the young man stepped around him and continued walking.

Once Felix had collected himself, he set out after the young man again, this time trotting beside him. The young man paid him no attention.

“Have you put a spell on me?”

“No.”

“Then why can’t I attack you?”

“Because I’m not afraid of you,” he said. He wasn’t even looking at Felix. “Vampires can only attack people who fear them.”

Felix scoffed. “That can’t be true.”

“Think about it. Can you ever remember a time when a potential victim wasn’t afraid of you?”

“Not that I recall.”

“Then if you only ever confronted people who were afraid of you, how would you have found out you couldn’t attack someone who wasn’t?”

Felix turned that over in his mind. It did make a certain amount of sense.

They continued to walk together. Felix tried to startle him a few more times, hoping it would raise enough fear for Felix to strike, but it didn’t work. The young man’s face remained expressionless, as if Felix weren’t even there. He was a remarkably good-looking fellow, with sandy-blond hair and blue eyes. He was so pleasant to look at that Felix eventually ceased his efforts to frighten him in favor of simply gazing at him. His sweatshirt was not zipped all the way, but the T-shirt underneath was too baggy to give even a suggestion of the body it concealed. He wished the young man would take it off, or at the very least remove the hood.

After some time, they came to an apartment building. The young man approached one of the doors on the first floor. “Well, I would say it was nice meeting you, but it wasn’t, really,” he said as he took out his keys. “Good night.” He unlocked his door.

Felix blocked the door with his body, preventing the young man from entering. “You’ve led me straight to where you live,” he said in his scariest voice. “I could strike when you least expect it, in your very home. Certainly that will frighten you enough for me to attack!”

“Vampires can’t enter a home unless you invite them. Did you really think I wouldn’t know that?”

Felix scowled. “How do you know all this?”

“None of your business. Now unless you want to stand around here until dawn, get your hand off my door and go away.”

“Maybe I do want to stand around here,” Felix said. “You can’t make me leave.”

The young man rolled his eyes. “Fine.” He leaned on the wall a few steps away from the door and took a pack of cigarettes and a silver lighter out of the pocket of his hooded sweatshirt. He perched a cigarette between his pink lips and lit it.

Felix remained where he was. The young man didn’t even spare him a glance as he smoked his cigarette, gazing instead at the smoke as it left his lips and dissipated into the night air. Felix felt annoyed; surely he was more interesting than a cloud of smoke!

“Why are you out alone so late?” Felix asked. “While you may not be afraid of vampires, you are still vulnerable to mortal attackers.” An idea flashed through Felix’s mind. “What if I got a gun? Would you be afraid of me then?”

The young man rolled his eyes again. “Why are you so intent on killing me?”

“I don’t want to kill you. I want to drink your blood.”

“And that’s not the same thing?”

Felix had to think about it. “No, I don’t think it is,” he said. “It’s true that my victims swoon, but I’m fairly certain they survive.”

The young man raised an eyebrow. “You don’t know for sure?”

“There isn’t much reason for me to linger after I’ve fed, is there?”

“I guess not.” He took another long drag of his cigarette. “So why do you want to drink my blood? You’ve already fed tonight.”

Felix looked at him with surprise. “How did you know that?”

“You’ve got blood on your chin.”

Felix wiped his face with the hand that wasn’t holding the door shut. Sure enough, it came away red. “Doesn’t that make you feel at least a little scared?” he asked plaintively.

The young man finished his cigarette with one final inhale, dropped the butt on the street, and then stubbed it out with his toe. “Sorry to say, but it takes a lot to make me feel anything at all.” He pulled out his pack of cigarettes again and took another one. “Would you like one?”

The young man offered the pack and his lighter. Felix stared at the cigarettes and then back at his face. The young man put his hand forward farther. “Go on. Take one.”

Felix frowned, wondering at the young man’s sudden generosity. John stood just out of reach, so Felix had to step closer to him to accept the pack and the lighter. Felix’s fingers brushed over the skin of the young man’s hand. It was so warm.

“Thank you,” Felix said, a little dazed.

“No problem.” The young man’s smile was dazzling.

Felix smiled back and turned his attention to the pack of cigarettes, pulling one out and readying the lighter—

—and then, quick as lightning, the young man slipped inside his apartment and slammed the door shut behind him.

Goddamnit!” Felix shouted after him, pounding on the door. “Come back out here!”

There was no answer. Felix stomped around in a circle, cursing. Once he composed himself, he went back to the door. “Well, I’m keeping your cigarettes! And your lighter! And you’ll never get them back!”

This also failed to get a response. Felix examined the lighter. On one side there was a figure etched into the metal: a dragon, or a demon. Some mythical creature, at any rate. On the other side, there was an engraving: To John. Love, Rob.

A gift, then. Perhaps he could use its sentimental nature to his advantage. “I really mean it!” he shouted. “I’ll throw this lighter in the sewer!”

Still no response.

With a huff, he zipped away. His preternatural speed meant he only had to travel a few moments before he reached the estate in Beverly Hills where he resided with his sister, Cat, and her husband, Richard. The sprawling wrought iron gates were shut, but unlike the young man’s closed door, the gates posed no barrier to him. He launched himself upward and over the curled letters that spelled out the name of the estate: HAPPY ENDINGS. Under it was the image of a boar, cast in iron. The sign’s rusted state made the promise of the words ring a bit false. Nevertheless, it was the only home he had, and he had no desire to meet the dawn.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Sera Trevor is terminally curious and views the thirty-five book limit at her local library as a dare. She’s a little bit interested in just about everything, which is probably why she can’t pin herself to one subgenre. Her books are populated with dragons, vampire movie stars, shadow people, and internet trolls. (Not in the same book, obviously, although that would be interesting!) Her works have been nominated for several Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards, including Best Contemporary, Best Fantasy, and Best Debut, for which she won third prize in 2015 for her novella Consorting with Dragons.

She lives in California with her husband, two kids, and a cat the size of three cats. You can keep up with her new releases and gain access to bonus content by signing up for her newsletter.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | eMail | Newsletter

Tour Schedule

11/27 The Blogger Girls

11/27 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

11/27 Bayou Book Junkie

11/27 Love Bytes

11/28 The Novel Approach

11/28 Divine Magazine

11/28 Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

11/29 Stories That Make You Smile

11/29 Shari Sakurai

11/30 Erotica For All

11/30 Happily Ever Chapter

12/1 MM Good Book Reviews

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Author Discovery: Sammy on Author Sera Trevor

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Author Sera Trevor

INTRODUCTION:

I’ve had the privilege of working with a number of awesome authors. One of those authors who I ended up betaing for by chance this year is Sera Trevor.

Prior to betaing for her, I read her story, Consorting with Dragons, and found myself utterly charmed by her imagination. I’m not usually one for dragons and all that magical fun, but I don’t necessarily turn my head to it either. I decided to give it a shot when it was picked for me for a Gang Bang challenge, and I’m oh so happy that I did.

Consorting with Dragons is just the first book that gives us a look into the mind of Sera Trevor. Whether it’s contemporary or fantasy, she manages to create a world and atmosphere that captures readers from the start and makes letting go nearly impossible.

I had the pleasure of catching Sera for a brief interview to talk a bit about some of her past books, her process, and what we can hope to see from her in the future!

INTERVIEW:

Sam: Hey, Sera! Thank you for joining us on Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words for a mini-interview. Something I really like about your stories is how new they feel. Can you tell me a little about how a plot comes to fruition with your stories?

Sera: I start with a general premise and a vague notion of where I would like to go with a story, then create my cast of characters. After that, I write out in summary the plot of my story, chapter by chapter. When I have the frame of the story gingerly propped up, I set my characters loose and watch them knock it over while laughing at me. So I prop it back up, make some repairs, then set them loose again. Repeat until the story doesn’t fall down.

Sam: Sounds like a good plan to me, but I’m curious, how did you get the idea for The Troll Whisperer? Oscar is different from any character I’ve read and the plot line is quite original. It made me wonder if maybe you know an Oscar in real life, haha.

Sera: Fortunately not! (Or maybe unfortunately, depending on how you look at it. The guy does have his good points, as Noah would undoubtedly point out. However, Noah has a lot more patience than I do.) One of the reasons I love writing is that it gives me the opportunity to really explore different human experiences, and I like the challenge of working with difficult characters especially. I feel like taking on characters like Oscar is an exercise in compassion – to put yourself in the shoes of someone behaving badly and try to get where they are coming from.

Sam: Ah, that’s actually a really good point. I definitely felt that I grew to understand Oscar more as I read on. I imagine other readers feel the same. That was your first time really venturing into publishing contemporary, right? Can we expect any more of that genre from you?

Sera: Quite possibly! I’m more of a genre girl, but I had so much fun with The Troll Whisperer that I would definitely do contemporary again if the right plot snags me.

Sam: Very cool. So what do we have to have to look forward to from you in the future?

Sera: Right now, I’m working on the long-awaited expansion to Consorting with Dragons, as well as the sequel, Lances and Lovers. L&L will give Larely the guard his own love story when he rushes to the aide of yet another handsome young lord in distress, although said young lord is rather bad at accepting help, has a nasty temper, and has an equally wild dragon companion who threatens to wreak havoc on the populace. Larely’s got his work cut out for him, is all I’m saying. Risyda and Polina will be making an appearance as well. Plus, there will be baby dragons!

Sam: Great. I’m really excited to get my hands on it! I’ll make sure to keep my eyes on the lookout. How can readers keep up on any updates or news?

Sera: You can sign up for my newsletter at http://www.seratrevor.com/newsletter to get notified of new releases, plus you’ll get access to bonus content and sneak peeks of my works in progress.

Sam: Awesome. I know I’ve signed up for it already. Full of fun perks. And where can readers get their hands on your books?

Sera: You can pick up my books at AmazonSmashwords, and All Romance eBooks.

Sam: Anyway, thank you for your time. I certainly look forward to seeing more of your stories.

Sera: Thank you for having me! It’s been a lot of fun!

BIOGRAPHY:

Sera Trevor has been a fan of gay romance from probably too early an age. (You know those buttons on certain websites that you have to click to verify you’re over eighteen? She would totally click them before she was eighteen. Please don’t tell her parents.) She is too disorganized to decide on a subgenre, although her imagination has a decidedly fantastical bent to it.

She lives in California with her laptop, Kindle, and several hundred books. Also, she has some kids and a husband.

The Pink Wedding coverthe Troll Whisperer coverA shadow on the Sun coverConsorting with Dragons cover

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Consorting with Dragons is available at the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s webpage here, but will not be available at major retailers until the expansion is complete.