Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review : Bear With Me (The Bears of Falcon’s Ridge) by Susan E. Scott

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Bear with MeThis is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I enjoyed the romance that developed between a big, burly bear shifter who happens to be the town sheriff and head of his clan and the young gay man, the family black sheep who has come to make an offer on land that’s been in the Falcon family for years.

When he arrives on the outskirts of Falcon’s Ridge, Connor Rhodes is not surprised to be pulled over for speeding by the local sheriff. What he is surprised at is the size of the sheriff, his gorgeous silver-gray eyes, and the hint of interest he spots in those eyes.  Connor flirts outrageously, but as expected, gets nowhere with the sexy guy in uniform.  Connor is there on behalf of his father whose sole purpose seems to be to get the land surrounding the town for real estate development.  Connor is only there because his other brothers weren’t available and doubts he’ll be very effective, but he decides to enjoy his mini-vacation anyway.

Caleb, known to all as Falcon, is drawn to the young guy, and when he pulls him over the next day for what appears to be drunken driving, he’s shocked by the feelings he’s rapidly developing for Connor.  Consulting with his grandmother, he finds out that members of his clan can have a fated mate, and though he doesn’t want him, he suspects Connor may be his.  When his desire and need to take care of Connor overrule his good sense, he marks Connor with the mating bite. Finding out there’s no way out of it, the only thing he can do is confess about the mating, and about the fact that he’s a bear shifter.

Both men have to face some truths and overcome the factors against them. Connor is a city boy, and Falcon is the clan leader, so there’s no way he can leave the area.  Add to that the facts that Connor’s dad wants that land no matter what; Falcon’s grandmother informs him either or both men will become ill and possibly die if they are separated; and the decisions that need to be made could be a matter of life or death.

This story was quite good as well as fun and interesting.  Though some aspects were predictable, the characters themselves were well-rounded, and the secondary characters will likely star in their own stories in the future.  A quick and easy read, I’d recommend this to those who enjoy shifter stories as well as stories of soulmates and true love.

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Cover Art by E Connors depicts a tall, muscular male with a naked torso and arms crossed in front of his chest.  Very nice depiction of Falcon.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 118 pages
Published December 28th 2015 by Dark Hollows Press, LLC
ASINB019YHF7X4
Edition LanguageEnglish

Cover reveal for Eden Winters ‘A Bear Walks Into A Bar’ (Cover reveal, excerpt and giveaway)

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A Bear Walks Into A Bar


Release Date: January 16, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Cover Artist: Jacqueline Sweet

Blurb

It takes one strong alpha with a tight grip to keep a mountain full of shifters under control. Sawyer Ballantine’s contending with an uppity wolf leader and a herd of shifter elk bound and determined to take over. He might be the lone bear on the mountain, but he’s not going to allow another four shifters to just move in, especially not when they whiff of power. They’ll either be his in all ways, or they’ll be gone.

Dillon, Jerry, Kevin, and Brad have no one but each other since their shifter groups kicked them out. The young bear, wolves, and fox make a merry ménage, pooling their meager shifter skills and serving beer. They’ve stumbled into more than they understand, caught in the dispute between the Urso of Ballantine Mountain and the elk. But winter’s setting in, and they don’t know how to keep Dillon safe for hibernation.

And then a bear walks into their bar.

 

Pages or Words: 63,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Consensual Non-Monagomy

Excerpt

“Where exactly are you going? Would you at least tell me that?”

“A town nobody’s heard of about thirty-five miles from home.” If Sawyer needed to hide, he’d find a similar out of the way spot. Too bad this particular spot sat on the border between elk and predator. Just because they lived off vegetation didn’t mean his rivals weren’t a threat—an expert marksman had joined the herd a few years ago. He’d been tough and stringy, but ceased being a problem.

Conversation grew impossible when Sawyer fired up his bike. Mother Moon, but he loved the rumble of the big Harley between his thighs, the wind on his face, tempting his sensitive nose with a million different scents: moss, pines, rabbit, clover, chicken barbequing on a grill at a campsite downhill, all awaiting him once he reached his mountain.

Fluffy clouds overhead cast shadows over the scenery, and the crisp scent of snow drifted over the highest mountaintops. Colorado. No greater place existed on earth.

Occasionally he caught a whiff of human emotions: anger, fear, sorrow, lust. Especially lust.

Damn, he needed to get laid.

Buy the book: All Romance EbooksAmazon

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Meet the Author

You will know Eden Winters by her distinctive white plumage and exuberant cry of “Hey, y’all!” in a Southern US drawl so thick it renders even the simplest of words unrecognizable. Watch out, she hugs!

Driven by insatiable curiosity, she possibly holds the world’s record for curriculum changes to the point that she’s never quite earned a degree but is a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit.

She’s trudged down hallways with police detectives, learned to disarm knife-wielding bad guys, and witnessed the correct way to blow doors off buildings. Her e-mail contains various snippets of forensic wisdom, such as “What would a dead body left in a Mexican drug tunnel look like after six months?” In the process of her adventures she has written fourteen m/m romance novels, has won several Rainbow Awards, was a Lambda Awards Finalist, and lives in terror of authorities showing up at her door to question her Internet searches.

When not putting characters in dangerous situations she’s a mild-mannered business executive, mother, grandmother, vegetarian, and PFLAG activist.

Her natural habitats are airports, coffee shops, and on the backs of motorcycles.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Bayou Book Junkie, The Hat Party, BFD Book Blog, Mikky’s World of Books, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Ogitchida Book Blog, Love Bytes, Boys on the Brink Reviews, Velvet Panic, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, V’s Reads, Charley Descoteaux, Happily Ever Chapter, Multitasking Mommas, Bonkers About Books, KathyMac Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Dawn’s Reading Nook, 3 Chicks After Dark, Andrew Q. Gordon, Alpha Book Club, Tara Lain

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘A Bear Walks Into A Bar’ by Eden Winters.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Special Book Treat! Bailey Bradford Interviews Miller and Gideon from Off Course (Coyote’s Call #1) (book tour only)

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Today at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, we have a special treat for our readers.  Bailey Bradford is here with a interview between her bear shifter Gideon and her coyote shifter, Miller.  Their story, Off Course is the first in Bradord’s new series, Coyote’s Call.

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Hi there, I’m Bailey Bradford and I’ve got a new series starting up. It’s titled Coyote’s Call and the first book is Off Course. To introduce y’all to it, I thought I’d do something I haven’t before, and interview the main characters, Miller Hudson and Gideon Wells. Then a better idea occurred to me—Miller and Gideon should interview each other! So today’s post is Miller interviewing Gideon. When Gid interviewed Miller, they ended up running off to have fun. *shakes head* New love—it’s so sweet to see.

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Miller Hudson: Okay, I’m Miller, and I’ll be interviewing Gideon Wells. Gideon is my partner, my lover, pretty much the center of my world.

Gideon Wells: Talking like that’s going to result in this interview being over so I can kiss you, and kissing leads to naked, and naked is good.

Miller: Ah, yeah, it’s really, really good, but we have to do this first. Now tell everyone about yourself.

Gideon: I’m just a guy. Well okay, I’m a bear shifter. I can shift, and I point that out because Miller and his people are coyote shifters that have lost the ability to shift. Which maybe you’d think would make them just people, but it doesn’t.

Miller: Right, because we all feel that pull of the moon, and the need to shift and run, and we can’t do it. It’s a kind of hell I don’t think I can adequately explain, and besides that, this is about you, Gid. How’d you end up in Texas?

Gideon: Ugh, right for the bad memories, huh? It’s okay. Doesn’t hurt anymore. I got banned from the bear clan I was a part of because while I could shift, my senses weren’t anywhere near as sharp as they should have been. For example, I didn’t have the hearing a bear does, and let me tell you, not being able to smell like a bear can? Means not tracking food so well, and when you’re a big, lumbering predator, that’s a real impediment. There were other things, too, but let’s not go there. So I got banned, and given a car and my bag of belongings. I just drove. My mind was kind of in a bad place. Then there was a fire, and scorpions, and yeah, next question.

Miller: Do you ever feel out of place as a bear shifter surrounded by coyote shifters? Even when they can’t shift?

Gideon: Nah, and that’s odd because I always felt out of place everywhere. It seemed like I just never fitted in with my clan, and living on my own as a bear was dangerous, given my screwed up senses. It was weird. I got here, and after a few days, it just felt like I’d finally found my home. That was scary and amazing at the same time.

Miller: That deserves a special treat—after the interview. One more question. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Gideon: Oh, that’s easy. Under you, or on you, or bent over—

Miller: Gid…

Gideon: Well, you asked. But if you mean in a non-sexual way—and ow, that hurts to even say!—then I see me with you of course, and maybe a cub or pup or two.

Miller: You know we can’t have kids.

Gideon: Duh, but we could adopt, or maybe ask someone to be a surrogate. Don’t you want to have little Miller juniors and Miller-ettes running around? And maybe some little bear cubs, too? Hey, I didn’t know you could go that shade of pale.

Miller: We, uh…that’s all for today, folks. Thanks for stopping in. Gid and I have to go now. It seems there’s future plans to discuss.

Title:  Off Course by Bailey Bradfordoffcourse_800
Pulisher: Totally Bound Books
Cover Artist:
Sales Links:  Totally Bound Books

 

Blurb for Off Course:

This is book one in the Coyote’s Call series, see the full series listing here

Gideon’s worst night ever starts out with a bang that will change his whole life.

Gideon Wells has been cast out of his bear shifter clan for being a curse, and he’s inclined to believe they’re right. After all, everything from fertility rates to shifting abilities has gone down the tube since he was born. Then when his car catches fire and mutant scorpions—he thinks they’re mutants, anyway—almost get him, he’s more certain than ever that he’s bad news.
Not that he’s just going to roll over and die.

Ignoring a prophecy might not be wise, but coyote shifter Miller Hudson has seen and heard too many false prophecies to put any faith in the one proclaiming him to be the alpha and—along with a mystery bear mate—the saviour of the now defunct coyote den he grew up in. Besides, there’s no need for the den to be brought back together. None of them can shift, so what’s the point?

The buzzards circling overhead on the far edge of his property lead him to the very last thing he ever expected to find.

Reader Advisory: This book contains references to and threats of assault and rape, scenes of fisting and mild BDSM.

Like the sound of Off Course? Buy it here!

BaileyBradford_OffCourse_BlogTour_mobile_final

About Bailey Bradford:

A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn’t happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey’s brain demanding to be let out.

Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey’s office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey’s presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.

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A MelanieM Review: David’s Dilemma by Rae Brewer

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

“Two shifters walk into a bar…”

Jaguar Bk 4Panthera Agency Operative Johnny Walking Bear is in San Francisco for a case. A head cold is making him miserable but with the job not starting until Monday, Johnny wants to take advantage of the city and a free weekend to enjoy eating out, drinking and having lots of sex.  Especially the sex now that he is away from his family home and siblings.  Johnny wants a mate but while he’s looking some honey and mead would make this bear shifter very happy.

Cat shifter David Kern is very unhappy at the moment.  Another confrontation with his ex has David depressed and looking for a diversion.  When his friends call to invite him for a night out at the bars, not even his nasty cold can deter David from a night of clubbing and the chance for a hookup.

So two shifters walk into a bar, in this case David and Johnny.  Their attraction to each other is immediate and intense. No wonder that they end up in bed together at the end of the night.  Their night together is memorable and sexy.  Neither wants the night to be over but Johnny has a job to do. He  leaves David’s house without leaving his name or contact  information.  What neither shifter is aware of is that they are mates.  Between David’s cold blocking his senses and Johnny’s drunken state and cold, neither could sniff out the truth before they parted.

What is a shifter to do when a chance encounter brings him the very mate he has always wanted but he doesn’t realize it at the time?  Through a series of mishaps, miscommunications and wrong assumptions, David and Johnny have  a rocky road to love and HEA, one that also comes with a secret organization  with evil plans who might just be the biggest obstacle of them all.

Rae Brewer’s David’s Dilemma has some terrific elements to it.  One of my favorites is the premise.  Two shifters unable to use their senses, one because of a head cold, the other because he’s drunk, meet, connect, have great sex and then part.  What they miss is that they are a mated pair because neither could smell out the truth at the moment.  That’s funny, a great use of natural history and kind of poignant.  I only wish Brewer has used this element to its fullest promise, instead it gets a temporary treatment and then its gone.

Another great aspect of this story is the bear shifter clan that Johnny belongs to.  Here bear natural history and behavior comes across beautifully.  Large, lumbering, that Johnny is a bear  shifter is evident from his actions to his physiology.  Throw in a terrific family unit of healers and other gifts, and the package is complete.  Again, this book could have focused on the Walking Bear  clan alone and made me a happy reader.  That was a fully realized group of characters and their household was one I could have spent much more time in.

But most of this story deals with other elements.  There is the David/Johnny hookup and mishaps to follow.  That was kind of charming even though I never felt that Brewer made her panther/bear pairing believable.  Also this is the fourth story in the Panthera Agency series and the only one that I have read.  They seem to be a lesser part of this story until the ending.  I couldn’t get a real feel for what they do other than they are run by a group of shifters who help locate and return missing shifters to their families.

That agency and Johnny’s job felt less solid and less an integral part of this story than perhaps Brewer had planned.  It needed more background into the agency  and its operatives to make sense of the events that followed and to understand who all the characters mentioned fit into the story and series.  Brewer also throws in a twist that comes off as more contrived than believable.  Someone realizes they have been drugged and their reaction is almost nonchalant?  This part of the story alone called for a suspension of belief that it was never going to get, as did all the events that stemmed from that act that followed.

I wish Brewer has almost made this into a shifter romcom.  That premise just begged for a lighter treatment and narrative.  That is was bogged down in a less than stellar sort of espionage  plot towards the end made little sense  while making those elements of the story that were well done stand out starkly in contrast.  Which is did by bringing in the Walking Bear family to reintroduce a semblance of a well achieved characterizations to that chaotic ending.

So David’s Dilemma is a bit of a mixed bag here.  Some elements were wonderful, others did not achieve the same level of believability and completeness.  The decision is yours.

Cover art: Jess Buffetf.  Loved this cover.  Great job.

Sales Links:          All Romance         Amazon         David’s Dilemma

 

Book Details:
ebook
Published August 26th 2014 by Smashwords Edition, JK Publishing
ISBN139781311637376

Review: Bar None Anthology by Sean Michael, BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, and Kiernan Kelly

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Bar None coverDo you like your bartenders hot, sexy, and maybe even artificial?  Torquere Press presents an anthology where all the stories revolve around the bars, drinks and the men who serve them.  Authors BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, Sean Michael and Kiernan Kelly deliver four sexy and ultimately loving romps through the bars and bartenders of our dreams.

Here in the order they are found in the anthology are the stories of Bar None:

Bartender Rescue by BA Tortuga
Kind of a D.R.A.G. by Kiernan Kelly
The Blue Moon Bar By Julia Talbot
Flair, a Hammer Story By Sean Michael

I really looked forward to reading this anthology and it came through as anticipated.  I have a mini-review posted after each title.

1.  “Bartender Rescue”by BA Tortuga – 4.75 stars out of 5

Shane and Galen from the Stormy Weather series return in this short story of burnout and escape.  As the story starts long term lovers Shane and Galen have almost switched place as far as occupations go.  Now it is Shane who is the Owner and CEO of a number of successful bars, heading out each morning in a 3-piece suit, micro managing his bars and neglecting his lover, Galen.  The stress is mounting and Shane is turning to pharmaceuticals to stay awake and energized, none of which makes Galen happy.  Shane knows things aren’t working but doesn’t know how to step off and out of the business treadmill.

When the answer pops up in the form of an old would be boyfriend of Shane’s, Galen is more than ready to take advantage of the situation.  Now if only he can get  Shane to agree.

I love this couple having been with them through all sorts of angst and misadventures, including hurricanes and miscommunications.  Now we get to see a different dynamic with this couple, with beach bum Shane being the uber responsible business owner and Galen ending up the laid back part of their relationship.  Tortuga writes this couple so realistically you can practically watch them walk off the page.  They are settled in their relationship, with bone deep knowledge of each other and their needs telegraphing with each bit of dialog and loving touch.  And it is painful to watch when each person realizes that the relationship and each other is being neglected.  Wonderful writing, great characters and a realistic situation make this story of the best.

I loved every part of this story and the only thing that kept it from a 5 star rating is a lack of backstory for those readers new to Shane and Galen.  Even without going into enormous detail,, even a little past history would have been enlightening for those new to this couple.

2. “Kind of a D.R.A.G.” by Kiernan Kelly. Rating 4 stars out of 5

Kiernan Kelly takes bartenders intergalactic with this story of a bar with a captive audience as it is located on a prisoner planet somewhere in space.  Inhabited by prisoners, a few free humans and tons of androids who handle  almost every job possible, Kelly’s story contains a lot of humor, a few nice twists, and a far reaching ( yep, went there) ending.

Max, bartender and really only of human in residence at Club Grinder, a dive and strip club on Sirius 7.  It is in fact the only bar on Sirius 7, “a penitentiary rock located among a fistful of tiny, uninhabited planetoids at the ass end of the galaxy”.  Other than The Boss who is the  owner of the club, Max is the only human around, the rest of the employees, strippers, Drag Queens Betty Boob and Ivana Hump, every one is an android. In a funny, Lucille Ball twist, Kelly starts off her story with the two Drag Queens breaking an android stripper in the most awkward and humorous way possible. Soon the Drag Queens are using The Bosses D.R.A.G machine to create a new one.  Of course, everything starts to go wrong immediately and the plot takes flight.

I enjoyed this story and found parts of it hilarious. While the plot was predictable, the characters and the charm and endearing personalities make this story outshine its plot structure.  Funny, charming, just a lovely way to spend some time.  I could really see this group coming back for an encore.

3. “The Blue Moon Bar” By Julia Talbot.  Rating 3.5 stars out of 5

Werewolf Hugh Dailin is crazy about his bear shifter bartender Seamus Deane but his wolf pack and family disapprove of homosexuality, wanting him to find a female mate and have a bunch of pups.  But Hugh is sure that his mate is the burly guy with all that great hair and muscles that just happens to work for him.  The tension is getting to them both, with each snarling at the others in frustration and rage.  Something has to give and it does when a lion comes into the bar and demands the return of his cub, a cub that’s gone missing. Then one of their own goes missing too and both must scramble to find the person responsible before more vanish.

I liked this story, especially since shifters, any type of shifter from sloth to owl, are favorites of mine.  But this story needed a little bit more of plot, characterization, background, and exposition. We never really find out who, what and why is behind the mystery. And everything is resolved almost in seconds.  It just feels lacking which is a shame as the bones of this story are wonderful.  Still, I enjoyed Hugh and Seamus and wished I had more of their relationship.

4. “Flair, a Hammer Story”  By Sean Michael. 5 stars out of 5

Author and consultant to bars on drinks, specialty recipes and Flair, Nathan Edwards is wary when he approaches the location of his next client, a man named Xavier who owns an establishment called The Hammer. The exterior is nondescript but what Nathan finds inside is anything but ordinary.

Nathan is intelligent, handsome and OCD which makes for an intriguing combination to Master Jarrod, a Dom who just walked into The Hammer for lunch and a place to check emails.   Nathan is there to train the club’s bartenders in Flair and to give them new recipes to try out for their clientele.  He has no idea as to the type of place The Hammer is or the people who are members.

Artist Jarrod stopped by the Hammer on impulse for lunch and to check on his emails from clients.  But he stays to watch Nathan train the staff, pulled in by the young man’s magnetism, looks, and intelligence.  An invitation to lunch goes well until the Dom in Jerrod comes out to play to Nathan’s consternation.  When Jarrod pursues the relationship, can Nathan accept Jarrod’s lifestyle or will Jarrod’s feelings for Nathan force Jerrod to leave the lifestyle behind?

This is my favorite story of the collection.  It’s just masterful (yes, went there as well)!  Sean Michael gives us two completely authentic, layered characters and then creates a believable and charming slow buildup to a wonderful romance that all readers will love and root for.

Nathan is an especially unusual character.  He has OCD but uses it to his  advantage in his business.  He makes no apologies, sure of himself and easy in his skin.  And while he is startled as to the true nature of the club he is consulting for, it doesn’t bother him even though he is uneducated about the lifestyle.  Then he meets Jarrod, strong, handsome and artistic and Nathan is charmed.  But a stray comment and too strong attitude naturally finds Nathan pulling away.

I really liked that Michael introduced us to a character unfamiliar with bdsm and D/s relationships.  By doing so, the author can educate Nathan and the reader at the same time about the lifestyle and the most common misconceptions.  And Sean Michael does so in a manner that doesn’t feel forced or academic.

This is also the beginning of a relationship so we aren’t sure exactly what compromises each man is going to make for the other. Our only certainty being that these men do belong together.  Books containing elements of bdsm are a minority in the type of books I normally review but Flair, a Hammer story is so well done, from the marvelous characters to the realistic and intelligent relationship between Nathan and Jerrod that it makes me want to read the rest of the stories in the Hammer series to see if they match the promise and the happiness I felt after reading this tale of love found amongst the cocktail glasses, shakers and bottles of a bar and its bartender.   Great job and a wonderful way in which to end this collection.

If you are unfamiliar with any of these authors, Bar None is a great way to familiarize yourself with their style of writing and the characters they like to play with.  I enjoyed them all and think you will too.  Consider this definitely recommended.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 223 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Torquere Press
ISBN 1610405811 (ISBN13: 9781610405812)
edition language English