A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk ~ Audiobook narrated by Tristan James

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

HexbreakerWill a dark history doom their future together?

New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang.

Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within.

Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved.

But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.

Get ready for eight-and-a-half hours of entertainment from the talented mind of the highly creative paranormal author, Jordan L. Hawk, and the smooth, delicious, and melodic voice of Tristan James.  There would’ve had to have been a very big goof-up in this audiobook for me not to enjoy it with that talented combo involved.  And there wasn’t, so I did. A lot! 

This is book one in a new series, Hexworld, though there is a prequel, The 13th Hex, that can be read prior. It’s not necessary, but IMHO, it adds to the story since the characters from the prequel are featured as principal secondary characters in this one.

Tom Halloran has been living a lie for eight years, hiding from his past identity as Liam O’Connell of the notorious O’Connell Gang, who started the Cherry Street fires. Tom saw his father and brother go on a killing rampage, wiping out his whole family, and when Tom used his hexbreaking skills to remove the hex from his brother, the man immediately died.  Tom now carries the guilt of killing his brother, and the grisly memory of his father tearing his mother’s face half off, along with the guilt of not being able to stop any of it. He hides his hexbreaking abilities and is working as a regular cop in New York City, having assumed the identity of a man he found dead in an alley who was fresh off the ship from Ireland and on his way to take a job as a patrolman.

Though he wants nothing to do with the Metropolitan Witch Police, the other law enforcement agency in the city, his mission to find out who killed one of the shopkeepers on his patrol takes him there, and that’s when the adventure begins.  Because he meets Cicero, a cat familiar, unbonded, untamed, and the most beautiful man Tom has ever seen—though with the temperament of an aloof cat who got away with the cream.

This story sets the stage for this new world, the world of hexbreakers, witches, and familiars who work for the MWP, trying their best to maintain law and order in the turn of the (19th to 20th) century. There’s angst, heartache, and regret; but there’s also hope, bravery, love, and redemption.  The adventure is complex and interesting, and the world-building was outstanding. 

As Tom and Cicero, aided by Dominic and Rook, attempt to solve the mystery surrounding the murders that appear to be caused by the same hex that killed Tom’s family, they are joined by a host of secondary characters, some of whom turn out to work for “the bad guys” and some of whom I hope will return in future installments of this series.  Tristan James’s talent for speaking with authentic-sounding British and Irish accents enhances this already amazing story. 

The book is totally different from the Whyborne and Griffin series, and yet equally as intriguing and satisfying.  Don’t miss a chance to get into this series now.  It’s going to be a wonderful adventure.

The cover art, by the author, depicts two men holding hands and embracing—one behind the other—in the top pane; and a background map of NYC with the shape of a black cat superimposed over the map in the lower pane. The cover is attractive and perfectly conveys both the characters and setting of the story.

Sales Links

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook
Published August 3rd 2016 by Widdershins Press LLC (first published May 6th 2016)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHexworld #1

Cover reveal for Code Name Jack Rabbit (The Vampire Guard #1) by Elizabeth Noble (excerpt and giveaway)

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Code Name Jack Rabbit (The Vampire Guard #1) by Elizabeth Noble
Release Date: July 12, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: TL Bland

Blurb

Meet the newest members of the Vampire Guard, where legend and myth meet science and technology.

Jonas Forge, vampire. Once a spy and soldier, now a cop, Forge enjoys the life he’s built with his friends in Flint, Ohio.

Blair Turner, PhD. Blair, a vampire and computer hacker with exceptional skills, shares a powerful empathic bond with Forge, his soulmate.

Declan, vampire, ex-pirate, ex-fur trapper, thief, and con man. Declan is Forge’s former lover and soulmate to Lucas Coate.

Lucas Coate, MD, Flint’s medical examiner. A werewolf living amongst vampires, Lucas is also one of Forge’s best friends.

Their lives become complicated when an impending presidential visit throws them headlong into a world of high tech vampire spies and espionage. Recruited into the Vampire Guard by the secret society of the Akhkharu Nasaru, they uncover a werewolf terrorist organization known as the Qiguan.

Together they must thwart a murder attempt on the open waters of Lake Superior while tracking a previously unknown biological weapon controlled by the Qiquan—a weapon that may very well mean death for one of them.

 

Pages or Words: 67,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Werewolf Shifters, Thriller, Urban Fantasy

Excerpt:

Lucas decided it was his good luck—no, it was a real blessing—neither Declan nor Forge could read his mind. Right now he wanted to kill them both. Lucas could do it too. Ten minutes wolfed out was all he needed. Vampires might be faster, but werewolves were stronger.

Being in a surveillance van with three vampires wasn’t the fun and excitement one might expect it to be. Lucas liked Kai, but he was sure Ori would agree that in this circumstance, Kai would have to die too.

Forge was pacing, at least as well as a man could inside a van with three other decently sized men. Lucas was leaning against one side, gazing at a camera feed, and doing his best to stay out of the way and not strangle Forge.

Declan put both hands on Forge’s shoulders and said, “Jonas, he’ll be fine.”

“He’s never done anything like this.” Forge turned and stared at the monitor. “Damn, I wish I could see him and not just hear him.”

“Jonas, it’s a pizza parlor, and she’s a research scientist. What the hell can she do to him?” Declan asked. Forge and Kai both turned to look at him. Declan heaved a sigh and shoved Forge into the seat beside Kai. “Relax. You can hear every word they say and feel what Blair feels. If anything goes wrong, you’ll know it practically before he does. You and I muddled through information collection with far less support and lived.” Declan rolled his eyes and focused on Lucas.

“I should go out there and back him up. In case.” Forge started to stand, but Lucas helped Declan push him back down.

“In case of what? They run out of pepperoni?” Lucas asked.

“She might recognize you,” Kai said. “You’re the head detective of this town. There is no need to take the risk someone will recognize you and blow everything. Besides, when making contact with someone with the express purpose of entering some sort of relationship with them, having your bond mate hanging around a few feet away is a bad idea.”

“He speaks from experience,” Ori chimed in and chuckled.

“You all do realize I can hear you, right?” Blair’s voice was crisp and clear coming from the speaker.

“Heads up. There she is. She’s about to walk through the door,” Kai said. He pointed to the monitor. “Got to love predictable people.”

 

 

Buy the book:  DSP Publications eBook and Paperback

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Meet the author:

Elizabeth Noble lives by the adage “I can’t not write”. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t make up stories and eventually she learned how to write them down. A part of every day is spent living in worlds she created that are filled with intrigue and espionage. Using a real love of scifi and urban fantasy highlighted by twisty plots she crafts stories taking place in a slightly altered version of our world.

When she’s not chronicling the adventures of her many characters Elizabeth is a veterinary nurse living in her native Cleveland, Ohio. She shares her little brick house with an adorable canine princess and her tabby cat side-kick. Elizabeth is a fan of baseball, basketball (go Cavs and Indians!) and gardening. She can often be found working in her ‘outside office’ listening to classic rock and plotting her next novel waiting for it to be dark enough to gaze at the stars.

Elizabeth received several amateur writing awards. Since being published two of her novels have received honorable mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Her novel Jewel Cave was a runner up in the 2015 Rainbow awards in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Divine Magazine, BFD Book Blog, The Dark Arts, Man2ManTastic, Bayou Book Junkie,

Oh My Shelves, The Hat Party, Charley Descoteaux, Book Lovers 4Ever, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews,

Alpha Book Club, MM Good Book Reviews, Molly Lolly, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Velvet Panic,

Kirsty Loves Books, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Full Moon Dreaming, Outrageous Heroes

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: Two winners will receive a backlist book from Elizabeth’s extensive collection! Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

 
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Barb, A Zany Old Lady Throwback Thursday Review: The Summer House (English Hearts #1) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

English 1 the summer house jpgThe last thing veterinarian Connor Lawson needs in his life is a sexy, rich playboy like Ashby Sterling-Haynes. Connor once had a relationship with a wealthy playboy, and once was enough. In fact, not even his best friend knows the dark secret and emotional pain Connor carries from that encounter, but it is still affecting his life, and if he has any hope for a future with a man, he has to find a way to deal with it.

Ashby Sterling-Haynes is the youngest son in a wealthy, titled family. Currently the chief of the accounting department at the corporation’s headquarters in London, he’s staying at the country estate while his brother Ben, who manages the estate, is on his honeymoon. A mild flirtation with the vet leads to so much more, and a summer in which Ash thought he’d be bored, turns into a journey of self-discovery when he apprentices with a local carpenter to indulge his creative side and his itch to work with wood. Once only a dream, he discovers that his “hobby” may indeed turn out to be his career, at the same time he discovers that his flirtation with Connor is leading to a rich and fulfilling friendship and a deep and abiding love.

There are both struggles and poignant moments as Connor and Ash interact in the community. And there’s both humor and heartache as Connor works through his past fears, and Ash discovers what love is all about and realizes that he’s not only willing to fight for Connor, he’s eagerly looking forward to it.

I loved this couple. I haven’t loved another couple so much since I first met Jack Campbell and Riley Hayes in The Heart of Texas. Their chemistry was spot-on, and both their individual personalities and their behavior as a couple were genuine and exciting. The secondary characters, especially Landon and Rachel and Mick were all vital to the story and complemented the whole.

I highly recommend this one to those who love their M/M romance with a nice mixture of humor, angst, hurt/comfort, and sexy times all rolled into one very enjoyable package.

~~~~
Cover design by Meredith Russell depicts two young men with an English estate in the background. The men look exactly the way I would picture Connor and Ashby after having read the story, so IMHO, it’s perfect.

Sales Links:  RJ Scott  –  All Romance (ARe) Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

A standalone, English Hearts story

ebook
Published May 29th 2015 by Love Lane Books Limited (first published May 27th 2015)
urlhttp://www.rjscott.co.uk
seriesEnglish Hearts #1

A Paul B Review: Xavier (Gillham Pack #1) by Catherine Lievens

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Xavier coverXavier’s life has gone to hell. He has broken up with his boyfriend. A stalker after his ex has attacked him. Now people change into animals. It’s enough to make one pass out.

Xavier has ended his relationship with Andrew, who is dating someone new. However, a stalker who has taken an obsession with Andy does not know this and attacks Xavier. When friends of Andrew find a job for Xavier in the nearby town of GIllham, Xavier’s world is about to turn upside down. Xavier finds out that not only are Andrew’s friends shape shifters but also the men that he will be working for in Gillham.

Andy is a member of the Gillham pack of wolf shifters. When his alpha and best friend Kameron asks Andy to watch over a man sent by the local cat pride for his protection, Andy reluctantly agrees. When he meets Xavier, he recognizes the man as his mate. Making moves to confirm his suspicions, Andy scares Xavier worse than the stalker that is after his ex Andrew. Making matters worse for Andy is that Xavier wants to talk to his ex for some sort of explanation.

Once mates are explained to Xavier, he goes into a depression since he figures the only reason Andy would want an overweight accountant is because Fate had put them together. Andy assures him that despite the mat e pull that he could walk away if he wanted to do so.

Andy agrees to give Xavier time to settle into the world of the paranormal and mates.

As things begin to settle down for Andy and Xavier, outside forces start to put a strain on their building relationship. Some members of Andy’s family are not happy about him taking a human male as a mate. Also, news about some former pack members who were sold by the former alpha to scientists is brought to the pack’s attention. When Andy returns from the rescue mission, his and Xavier’s lives will be changed.

This is the first book in a new series by Catherine Lievens. The author has incorporated characters from her Whitedell pride series to help kick off this new series. While it would be helpful to have read the Whitedell series to understand some of the overall plotting between the two series, it is not essential. She has set up the scene for future books especially that of Kameron, the wolf pack alpha and Zach. I believe that Zach’s refusal to mate with Kam has something to do with the scientists or associates of the former alpha. I look forward to seeing how this series progresses, especially with Zach.

The cover art by Latrisha Waters shows a build man who I assume is Andy and his wolf. It is a good cover except that the man doesn’t quite match the description of Andy. It is noted that Andy is tattooed and pierced and those could be seen from his work clothes. The man on the cover has neither that I can see. It is a small quibble on my part.

Sales Links:  eXtasy Books  |  All Romance (ARe)  |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

Book details
Ebook, 121 pages
Edition: English
Published: June 15, 2015 by Extasy Books
ISBN: 978- 1-4874-0301-0
Series: Gillham Pack
Xavier (Gillham Pack #1)

A Stella Review: Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna #1) by Tara Lain

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Rating 4 stars out of 5

Knight of Ocean Avenue coverHow can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgement blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising star, celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

 

Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain was simply a joy to read. This series started so good I can’t wait for the next one, hoping it will be sweet and light and positive like this one. If you, like me, are a sucker for flamboyant characters, gay/out for you and opposites attract, this book is definitely a must read!

The book opens with Billy being left by his girlfriend Annie. Billy, a gorgeous man and a sweet one (too sweet for Annie, let me tell you!), doesn’t have a high opinion of himself, most cause he isn’t literate, but he’s an amazing son for his parents and brother for his sisters. It’s because of his hard work in the construction area and lot of sacrifices that the girls went to college. He helps his family in any way he can. He just wanted a good girl to be by his side but each time they left him. Then he meets Shaz and things start making sense. Shaz is everything Billy isn’t: gay, flamboyant, stylish. The chemistry between them is soon explosive and evident.

“Oh God, I am gay. I am.” He wanted to laugh. He wanted to cry.
Shaz’s soft high voice sounded muffled against his chest. “Yes, dear. I think you are.”
“What does that mean?”
“We’ll find out. Don’t worry. It’s better to know.”

Talk about perfect characters! Tara created a wonderful couple, two men perfect for each other and perfect in the eye of the reader. That kind of persons you absolutely need in your life, as a brother or friend. I was soon caught in their lives, but most of all I was cheering for Billy, he so needed something beautiful like Shaz to happened to him.

“When I was a kid and other boys played baseball and rode skateboards and made fun of me, I dreamed of knights in shining armor. One knight specifically who would ride in on his great palfrey, sweep me up in his arms, and rescue me from the cruelties of being me. A hero who would look into my heart and not see a sissy who liked to sew and try out girl’s makeup, but a secret princess waiting in a tower. Waiting for him.” […]“The years passed, no knight came, and I let the cruelties make me as hard as the people who dished them out. But the day I first saw you in that coffee shop, not letting the bully get to me even though you didn’t know me at all, I saw that you were a knight. And today you stripped the cloak from your armor and revealed you were my knight.”
Billy shook his head, fighting the heat behind his eyes. “I’m no knight.”
“Kind, loyal, true, and brave. Works for me.”

I loved this book, still I didn’t give it five stars. The reason is really simply. I love angst, troubled stories and I NEED stories like Knight of Ocean Avenue in between to help me relax a little. It’s so good to read a light, lovely and simple story. But… this one was too simple. Everything went to smoothly till the end and it left me craving for just a tiny little bit more of something.

I’m waiting impatiently for the next one, I hope to get to see Shaz and Billy once again, but I have my eyes on two second characters who deserve their HEA together. Will Tara fulfill my wish?

Cover art by Reese Dante. Reese has a unique style that I’m becoming to like more with each cover I see.

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

Book Details:

Published May 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ebook, 254 pages
ISBN13 9781632165763
Edition Language English

 

Its Release Day for The Summer House (An English House Story #1) by RJ Scott (excerpt and giveaway)

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The Summer House
An English House Story #1
Release date: 29th May 2015

Buylinks: RJ Scott Blogspot

About The Summer House…

Ashby Sebastian Sterling-Haynes has had a lot of boyfriends, but he’s never found the one.

The only person he can form an attachment to is his fourteen year old niece, and even that is in jeopardy when babysitting her cat goes all kinds of wrong.

Veterinarian, Connor Lawson is much happier working with animals than with people. He has deliberately returned home and to the Summer House he recalled from childhood holidays for peace and quiet and the chance to heal from wounds no one would ever see.

When his next door neighbor comes into the practice with a cat that has been in a fight he hides in his office because this Ashby guy is all kinds of dangerous. Too hot, too rich, too titled, and way too sexy for his own good.

Can two men who refuse to believe in love ever learn that love is the easy part of the journey to forever?

 

Excerpt:

A horrible, furious, screeching scream broke Ash’s silence and startled him from his introspection. Quickly pocketing the snake and the knife, he levered himself to stand. Jogging off the pins and needles from sitting in one place too long, he mourned the loss of the peace he’d found carving. The screaming yowling sound stopped abruptly, and Ash stopped walking, trying to get a handle on where it had come from.

Then a soft mewling sound coming from the shed caught his attention. Cautiously he approached the building and opened the door, a streak of orange fleeing the scene so fast that Ash stumbled back in shock. Pivoting on his toes, he caught sight of a huge ginger cat disappearing over the wall, and he heard the most pitiful sound. Peering through the gloom of the dusty interior, he couldn’t see anything but he could hear the noise, a heavy breathing, a low mewling, pathetic, needy, scared. Taking out his cell, he used it to locate the noise and found Tux, laid flat on his side and making a noise that sounded like a purr but was more of a vibration of his whole body.

“Oh, you have got to be fucking kidding me.” Less than a day in charge, and he’d already failed in keeping Stephanie’s cat safe. Wearing only board shorts and a T left him nothing to wrap around Tux.

“Should I even be moving you?” Looking around, he located some sacks and carefully used the material to pick up the injured cat. Instinctively he cradled the tiny body against his chest. At least Tux stopped mewling. Only after he stumbled out into daylight did he see the blood.

And only then did he start to run.

-About RJ Scott-

RJ Scott

RJ Scott has been writing since age six, when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies. She was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader herself, she can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, her first real true love will always be the world of romance where she takes cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and writes dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men.

With over seventy titles to her name and counting, she is the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway. She is also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

Her goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

Follow/Find the author here:

rj@rjscott.co.uk
https://www.rjscott.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/Rjscott_author
https://www.facebook.com/author.rjscott
https://www.librarything.com/author/scottrj
https://www.tumblr.com/blog/rjscott (some NSFW (not safe for work) photos)
https://www.pinterest.com/rjscottauthor/

Giveaway

Competition to win $15 Amazon/Are giftcard, closes 12th June at 00:01 GMT (London).  Must be 18 years of age or older here in the US.  Prizes and link provided by the author.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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