A Free Dreamer Review: Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

After scientists stumbled across an anomalous human hormone present during moments of emotional intimacy, further research created the ability to harness the direction of living energy and pinpoint when two lines will merge. Personalized chips are now implanted beneath the thumbnails of every infant, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. Fate is now a calculation.

But loving someone isn’t.

When Shannon Wurther, the youngest detective in Southern California, finds himself face-to-face with Aiden Maar, the reckless art thief Shannon’s precinct has been chasing for months, they are both stunned. Their Camellia Clocks have timed out, and the men are left with a choice—love one another or defy fate.

The idea of a sort of inbuilt clock counting down to Day X isn’t exactly a new idea. Usually, Day X marks the person’s death. In “Fortitude Smashed” the Camellia Clock counts down to the second when you meet the love of your life, your soulmate. I think that was an interesting take on things.

With the whole Camellia Clock and personalized chip set-up, I’d expected a Science Fiction story. What I got, however, was a contemporary story set in  present-day California.  I must admit, I was a bit disappointed by that. It almost seemed a little bit lazy to me, as if the author didn’t want to bother with coming up with a whole new world. Instead, she opted to set it in the present day and just added the Camellia Clocks. Consequently, there was very little worldbuilding involved. I would’ve liked to know how the whole Clock thing actually works and if there is a way to opt out of having that chip implanted.

Considering Shannon is a cop and Aiden is a thief, I’d expected lots of tension there. So I figured, even if there’s no SciFi plot there, at least there’s still gonna be lots of conflict. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t. Aiden stops his thievery pretty soon and the tension between the two is the usual romance-tension. I will say that I’m normally not a reader of contemporary romances, because I always feel like I need a little more than “just” a love story. And that’s just what “Fortitude Smashed” is: Just a contemporary love story.

I liked that both Aiden and Shannon had their issues. Especially Aiden struggled with mental illness and Shannon was wonderfully supportive. Neither of them was exactly perfect but they still worked together really well.

There were plenty of sex scenes and they were really hot, without being overly explicit. Taylor Brooke definitely has a way with words. All her descriptions are wonderful, no matter if she was writing about the landscape or body parts. She definitely also has a sense of humour and I found myself laughing out loud a lot.

Overall, “Fortitude Smashed” was a bit of a disappointment to me. I’d expected SciFi but got contempary. I’d expected a crime plot but got a “normal” love story. I guess I mostly just had the wrong expectations. As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of contemporary romance novels and I probably wouldn’t have picked this up, if I’d known it wasn’t Science Fiction.

Still, this book did have its moments and I’m sure lovers of contemporary romance witha bit of a twist can and will enjoy this book. It just wasn’t for me.

Cover: I really like the cover. It looks very summery and is a nice change from the usual covers of M/M romance. And it matches the feel the story gave me.

Sales Links:

Amazon

Interlude Press

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository 

Book details:

ebook, 346 pages

Expected publication: September 21st 2017 by Interlude Press

Words from International Literacy Day and Updated Recovery Links. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Words from International Literacy Day and Updated Recovery Links.

 

Last week we were focused on Hurricane Irma as she left a swath of devastation across the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, the Keys and Florida.  Recovery is going to take months, if not years.  The pictures that come from the path of the hurricane are heartbreaking as are the stories of the people just getting back into to their neighborhoods to see what’s left of their homes.  I’ve included an updated list of organizations where you can donate if you so wish below:

Charity Navigator – Your Guide To Intelligent Giving | Home

Charity Navigator’s Approved Lists for:

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Friday evening, August 25th, as …

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma made landfall in Barbuda on Wednesday …

Charities with Perfect Scores

Army Emergency Relief – Religion – Last Chance for Animals – Health

Also, I’ve not forgotten our International Literacy Day! Because of the Hurricane Irma our results from International Literacy Day slid to this Sunday. we had some wonderful comments that I wanted to include below from our readers:

 

📚 From H.B.I think it’s important to get children active in reading early in life. Here in the states it’s easier to do but I feel promotion should be upped so communities know when a event or program is occurring. As for abroad I suppose the same can be done. Also if we had more volunteer programs not just missionary organizations go abroad and/or raising money for equipment and videos may even help some communities.

As for me I’ve always read. My sister use to force me to do it, I wasn’t allowed to watch tv when I wanted to. Instead I would be forced to sit down and read or write. It was my main source of entertainment. It fed my imagination, served as an escape and stress reliever.
humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

From Jen:I think the biggest thing we can do to promote literacy is to read to kids. We read to our kids starting when they were infants and they are both avid readers now. Supporting library programs, school programs etc. where books are read aloud. We also have the opportunity to donate books to our school and to a program for underfunded schools via Scholastic Books.

I’ve read a lot ever since I was young. Books open up new worlds to me and also teach me about people and cultures I might never know otherwise.

From Purple Reader:

Thanks so much for your attention to literacy. It is a necessary part of education, which I believe so strongly in. Being able to read really does free a person. That was true for me, and I’ve seen it in others. A whole new world opens up. Then comes the critical thinking skills to make sense of it all, the decision making skills to do the right things with it, and all in the context of a well grounded value system.

Reading is the first step, it opens the door that would otherwise be closed. But most times people cannot do it alone. I try to do my part by volunteer tutoring GED students at the LGBTQ center here. The people’s growth is amazing and I’m so proud of how they become solid citizens of the world.TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

and from

Ami:

Well, I live in Indonesia, where the level of people reading is pretty low. It’s a sad situation really. We don’t have a very established libraries — I always feel jealous when I see one abroad. I guess my way of promoting literacy or books usually by speaking about it on social media. Or donate books when I can — cannot exactly donate my MM romance collection, different culture and all. Because books definitely change my life. I actually discovered about my asexuality by reading books!

Announcements: Our winners of the International Literacy gift certificates are Ami and Jen.  Congratulations!.

Next week we start to move forward into things autumnal, things scary and always bookish.  Until then happy reading.  Here’s a peak at this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue

Sunday, September 17:

  • Words from International Literacy Day and Updated Recovery Links
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, September 18:

  • Review Tour – Clare London’s Between A Rock & A Hard Place
  • Dreamspinner Promo Jacques N. Hoff on Tufted and Tatted
  • BLITZ Fate Heats Things Up by Sarah Hadley Brook
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Off the Beaten Path by Cari Z
  • A MelanieM Review: Murder and Mayhem (Murder and Mayhem #1) by Rhys Ford
  • A Karen Review: Between a Rock and a Hard Place (London Lads #5) by Clare London
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tramps and Thieves (Murder and Mayhem#2) by Rhys Ford

Tuesday, September 19:

  • Dreamspinner Promo BA Tortuga on Finding Mr. Wright
  • TOUR A World Apart by Mel Gough + giveaway
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Covet by Yolande Kleinn
  • A Caryn Review: The Druid Next Door (Fae Out of Water #2) by EJ Russell
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Manny Get Your Guy (The Mannies #2) by Amy Lane and John Solo (Narrator)
  • A MelanieM Review: Pop Tart (Asian Idols #2) by Shawn Bailey
  • An Alisa Review: Cursed (Alpha’s Warlock #1) by Kris Sawyer

Wednesday, September 20:

  • RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Bad Boy’s Bard by EJ Russell
  • Review Tour for Amy Tasukada’s Year One
  • TOUR Torin by Lance Withton
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: I Heart Boston Terriers by Rick R. Reed
  • A Lila Review: By Fairy Means or Foul: A Starfig Investigations Novel by Meghan Maslow
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Waking the Behr (Foothills Pride #7) by Pat Henshaw
  • A MelanieM Review: Year One (Would It Be Okay to Love You? #2) by Amy Tasukada

Thursday, September 21:

  • BLOG and Review TOUR Someone To Call My Own by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • BLITZ Figure Study by Suzanne Clay
  • A Free Dreamer Review Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Leaning Into Love (Leaning Into Stories #1) by Lane Hayes
  • A VVivacious Review: Caught In Between (Daniel and Ryan #8) by Tamryn Eradani
  • An Alisa Review: Someone to Call My Own (Road to Blissville #2) by Aimee Nicole Walker

Friday, September 22:

  • Dreamspinner Promo Jodi Payne on Creative Process
  • RELEASE BLITZ Waking the Behr by Pat Henshaw
  • Review Tour for KA Merikan – Manic Pixie Dream Boy
  • Review Tour for Marshall Thornton’s Night Drop
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Why I Love Bodyguards (Why I Love… #3) by T.A. Chase
  • A MelanieM Review: Night Drop (A Pinx Video Mystery #1) by Marshall Thornton
  • An Ali Review:  Manic Pixie Dream Boy by  KA Merikan

Saturday, September 23:

  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Mahu by Neil S. Plakcy and Joel Leslie Narrator
  • Release Blitz Tour – Amy Tasukada’s Would It Be Ok To Love You
  • Release Blitz for Tour: PROPHESY by A.E. Via

 

A Julia Review: The King and the Criminal (The Heart of All Worlds #2) by Charlotte Ashe

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What happens when the fairytale ends but the journey continues? Book II of the Heart of All Worlds series finds Sehrys and Brieden living peacefully in Khryslee. But when King Firae breaches an ancient, spellbound pact by crossing The Border into Villalu in pursuit of a convicted criminal and is trapped there, Sehrys is forced to ascend the throne in his absence, a role he was once groomed for, but Brieden fears and dreads. Meanwhile, Firae must rely on the very criminal he was after to help him reach home alive—a man his own mother exiled long ago but who awakens something in his heart more potent than his sworn duties as king.

As each man struggles to understand his own destiny, devotion, and legacy, a deeper and more urgent truth confronts them all: Their world is in far greater danger than they realized, and each of them plays an integral part in its fate.

The King and the Criminal by Charlotte Ashe is the second novel in the author’s “The Heart of All Worlds” series. I had previously reviewed the first entry “The Sidhe”, which was a favourite of mine, and I’m happy to say that this one is a more than worthy successor.

While Brieden and Sehrys still play a pivotal role and there is quite a bit of character development for them, we now get to follow the journey of another pair of characters who both have already been introduced in the first book: ruler of one of the Sidhe nations and Sehrys’ former fiancée Firae and Tash, a Sidhe who has been exiled to the human lands for his crimes. But even more so than in the first book the romance part of the story is intricately intertwined with greater narrative of political upheaval and a more imminent threat to the whole of Villalu. The author did a fantastic job in balancing out the change of focus. Not one scene feels superfluous or out of place here.

Tash and Firae are both really interesting and engaging characters and I have greatly enjoyed following the progression of their relationship. I’m especially fond of Tash because unlike Sehrys or Firae he was not naturally gifted with powerful magical abilities or influence but relies mostly on his wits and aptitude for learning to work through a tricky situation. Firae on the other hand is rather impulsive and temperamental. You can see how there is much for them to learn from one another. While theirs is definitely not a love-hate type of relationship, there is quite a bit of wariness (but also mutual sexual attraction) between them at the beginning of their journey. The pacing is really well done and I found it quite believable that these two would eventually develop stronger feelings for each other.

Much to my delight the human twin sisters Cliope and Brissa are getting more attention this time as well as they keep on working towards uniting Villalu under the rule of the latter. And though they seem to be making good progress in that regard, things aren’t as simple as an ancient magic threatens to destroy all of humanity and it is up to a select few to prevent it from happening. The world building is quite detailed and this time we get to see more of what’s going on behind the barrier and learn in greater detail about the culture, society and magic of the Sidhe.

If you’re a fan of Fantasy and are looking for a well-written story with detailed world building and engaging characters, I can only recommend this series and you can be certain that I’ll be eagerly awaiting its continuation.

I simply adore the cover and interior illustrations by Sarah Sanderson. They are so unique and beautiful. I especially like that if you compare the covers of the two books, you can clearly see the difference in the dynamics between the two couples based on their gestures and facial expressions alone.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 325 pages

Published December 8, 2016

by Interlude Press

ISBN: 978-1-941530-87-0

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Review: Broken Records (Spotlight #1) by Lilah Suzanne

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Los Angeles-based stylist Nico Takahashi loves his job—or at least, he used to. Feeling fed up and exhausted from the cutthroat, gossip-fueled business of Hollywood, Nico daydreams about packing it all in and leaving for good. So when Grady Dawson—sexy country music star and rumored playboy—asks Nico to style him, Nico is reluctant. But after styling a career-changing photo-shoot, Nico follows Grady to Nashville where he finds it increasingly difficult to resist Grady’s charms. Can Nico make peace with show business and all its trappings, or will Grady’s public persona get in the way of their private attraction to each other?

Book One in Lilah Suzanne’s “Spotlight” series.

Broken Records (Spotlight #1) by Lilah Suzanne is one of those books and series I ended up backing into by mistakenly starting at the end of the series.  Without realizing it was part of a trilogy, I picked up and read (and reviewed) Suzanne’s  Blended Notes, the story the concludes the Spotlight trilogy.  It’s a wonderful story but as I mentioned in my review, I absolutely felt of lack of backhistory that reading the previous stories might have provided.  And I was going to rectify that.

Wow,  am I glad I did!

I love, love Broken Records.  Yes, it absolutely gave me the missing foundation and history I needed to give heft and depth to Nico and Grady’s relationship in Blended Notes.  Here I get to watch it all begin.  I have the joy of watching the characters, meet, mesh, love, laugh, have hot sex (fans self) and decide, that they are it for each other, no matter what.

Lilah Suzanne introduces both characters, supplies them with their history, supporting cast of characters and businesses so each remains fiercely independent financially of each other for better or worse.  Nico Takahashi has a little bit more in his support section. ( I don’t consider people with a financial hook in you a support system, plus I read book three.) There’s Nico’s partner Gwen Pasternak and her wife, as well as Nico’s family.  On Grady’s side?  Well, it’s much smaller and sadder.  How each other navigates the perils and trust issues between them is a realistic element here along with the whole music/style side of the business.  All of this was hinted at in Blended Notes but to read/experience here?  Amazing!

Yes, there are moments I laughed out loud.  And some I sniffled.  Suzanne takes the believable approach that love isn’t just romance, that a relationship is communication and sometimes hard work.  Between Nico and Grady, fear of the spotlight and fear of being left behind, the work is constant even if the love is always present.

I loved all the characters here, including Gwen, her wife, and others  that keep popping up throughout the story to add in wisdom, levity, strength and support.

Yes, I wish I had read this story first.

But  coming at it backwards somehow works too.  I have an appreciation for the timeline, I can get a real free for the character growth and the relationship dynamics that play out over the course of three stories (yes I’ve read the second as well).  I’ve fallen in love with the entire trilogy and every single character in it.  You really need to put Spotlight the trilogy on your must read series list.  But read them in order!  I highly recommend them all…second book review coming up.

Cover art brands the series and works for the storyline as well.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 280 pages
Published December 17th 2015 by Interlude Press
ASINB0190QX8WQ
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Spotlight:

Goodbye August and Hello September! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Goodbye August and Hello September!

As summer draws to a close and fall starts to peek around the corner it’s time to start thinking about those Best of Lists.  Best Contemporary Romances, Best Science Fiction, etc.  Best Covers.  So start compiling your lists for this year’s Best of in your minds and getting them ready because you know what’s coming! Too soon?  Just an early preparation call….

We have closed out our Fantasy Recommendations below.  Please check them all out.  Plus I’ve added them to our Menu on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words front page for easy viewing.  Well done, readers!  And thank you everyone who commented!

Our winners are:  Suze and Purple Reader!  Please contact Stella at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com and she will get in touch with you about your gift certificates!

Fantasy Titles Recommended – 

Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling
Dance with the Devil series by Megan Derr
Charm of Magpies series by KJ Charles
Hexworld series by Jordan L Hawk
Woke Up in a Strange Place  by Eric Arvin
The Druid Stone (Layers of the Otherworld #1) by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Galway Bound (Layers of the Otherworld #1.1) by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Hainted by Jordan L. Hawk
The Pirate’s Game (Etsey Novels #3) by Heidi Cullinan and
Etsey novels by Heidi Cullinan
Kushner’s Riverside
 Now we are taking a short break from giveaways and will return the first full week in September with something new for everyone!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, August 27:

  • Release Blitz- Ruby Moone’s Memories
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 28:

  • Dreamspinner Promo A. R. Barley
  • DSP PUBLICATIONS TOUR Mark David Campbell on Eating the Moon
  • INDIGO BLITZ Nate and Cameron Collection by Kevin Klehr
  • A Caryn Review:  Becoming Andy Hunsinger  by Jere’ M. Fishback
  • A Melanie Release Day Review: Remember When by SJD Peterson
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Draakenwood (Whyborne & Griffin #9) by Jordan L. Hawk and Julian G. Simmons  (Narrator)

Tuesday, August 29:

  • Release Day Blitz The Highlander by Kasia Bacon
  • Release Blitz for Magnetic (Treacherous Chemistry #1.5) by Avylinn Winter
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Midlife Crisis by Audra North
  • A Kai Review: Yanni’s Story (Spencer Cohen #4) by N.R. Walker
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Dali by E.M. Hamill
  • A MelanieM Review: A Book of Revelations by A.C. Burch
  • A VVivacious Review: Magnetic (Treacherous Chemistry #1.5) by Avylinn Winter

Wednesday, August 30:

  • COVER REVEAL Waking the Behr by Pat Henshaw
  • 3 day release blitz *Healing Him by Amanda Brennan
  • Blog tour for Survivor by T.M. Smith
  • Dreamspinner Promo Zhara Freytes on Like Parting Two Seas
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Three Player Game (Bluewater Bay) by Jaime Samms
  • A Kai Release Day Review: Like Two Parting Seas by Zhara Freytes
  •  An Ali Audiobook Review: Legal Tender (Art Series #4) by Andrew Grey and John Solo (Narrator)

Thursday, August 31:

  • Felice Stevens Audio Tour and Review for Learning to Love
  • INDIGO TOUR My Life as a Myth by Huston Piner
  • Release Blitz – Annabelle Jacobs – Maybe This Time
  • An Ali Review: My Dark Knight (Kings Of Hell MC #2) by KA Merikan
  • An Alisa Review: Protecting Max by Edward Kendrick
  • A MelanieM Review: Male Bonding by Angela Claire
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook: Review Learning to Love by Felice Stevens and Derrick McClain (Narrator)

Friday, September 1:

  • Dreamspinner guest post SJD Peterson
  • Release Blitz – Clare London – Between A Rock & A Hard Place
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Glamour Thieves by Don Allmon
  • A Caryn Review: Stone by Stone by Stevie Woods
  • An Alisa Review: Without A Compass by Helen Juliet
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Submission (Deviations #1) by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Well-Tailored: A Thorne and Dash Companion Story by Silvia Violet and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)

Saturday, September 2:

  • In the Spotlight:The Veranda (Lavender Shores #3) by Rosalind Abel
  •  A MelanieM Review: Justified by Mell Eight

A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Blended Notes (Spotlight #3) by Lilah Suzanne

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Grady Dawson’s future looks bright. He’s at the top of his country music career, has a close-knit group of friends who have become his Nashville family, and has found solid ground in his personal life as he plans his intimate, private wedding with Nico, his stylist turned lover turned love of his life. It seems Grady has finally left his difficult childhood and tumultuous youth behind. That is, until his past shows up on his doorstep, news of his upcoming nuptials is leaked to the media, and his record company starts issuing demands that challenge his integrity as an artist and as a person. The foundation Grady built his new life on begins to crumble and fast. Can he have his future if he’s haunted by his past? Can he continue making music if it means comprising his convictions? Must he make the ultimate choice between a private life with Nico and the public demands of his career?

I came to Blended Notes (Spotlight #3) by Lilah Suzanne without having read the first two stories (Broken Records and Burning Tracks) and I think that was a mistake.  Each preceding novel gives you the various stages in the Grady Dawson/Nico Takahashi romance/relationship as well as supplies you with the surrounding cast members and overall series foundation.  Coming blind into Blended Notes without all that back history and relationship tapestry means that you as a reader are forever feeling like you are missing pieces of a puzzle or playing catch up in a larger game. And that’s a shame because this is a marvelous story.

When Blended Notes opens Grady and Nico are an engaged couple planning a wedding. The stress of that event is showing on the couple as well as the fact that Grady’s recording label wants him to change the lyrics on a song he wrote especially for himself and Nico, making it hetrosexual in its romantic orientation.  If Grady doesn’t buckle under to the demands of the recording studio, his future career is shaky, information he is withholding from his fiance. Both men start to withdraw into past patterns (here is where reading the previous stories would have helped immensely) of behavior rather than communicate what’s really going on between them.

There is so much here.  Complicated angst-filled pasts, family drama, present day Nashville pressures for a Country Music Artist to appear “straight”, interpersonal dynamics, pre-marriage stress…honestly the author empties the narrative bag here, addresses them all and comes up shining.  Lilah Suzanne makes you care about Grady and Nico, their complicated lives and their forthcoming wedding which seems to be in jeopardy under the strain of all the current pressures.  How each man handles it is beautifully drawn out, allowing us to peer into the connection and love that ties them both so closely together.

I love all the wonderful elements in Blended Notes,  from the old car that Grady finds and starts to refinish that also allows him to find connections to his relatives and Nico’s father to the backup musicians that come to his aid and revive him emotionally and musically.  Suzanne reaches out and brings so much depth to her characters and their situation here that after a while I’ve forgotten that I’ve missed out on two thirds of their story and just let the story flow over me all the way to the dramatic and oh so satisfying end. Yes I loved that ending too!

It also will send me back to pick up the stories I considering how I love this story so I want to see how it all began.  So back to Broken Records and Burning Tracks I run!  If you are familiar with this series, you will love Blended Notes!  If, like me, you are new to Lilah Suzanne’s Spotlight series, start with the first two stories and then find your way here.  This is a series you won’t want to miss!

Cover art works well for the story.  Like the design very much.

Purchase Links:

Interlude Press |  Amazon Barnes & Noble  | Target | iTunes |  Kobo |   SmashwordsBook Depository |

Indiebound 

Book Details:

ebook, 275 pages
Published August 17th 2017 by Interlude Press
ISBN139781945053405
SeriesSpotlight #3

In Our Recent Release Spotlight: Blended Notes by Lilah Suzanne (excerpt and giveaway)

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Blended Notes (Spotlight #3) by Lilah Suzanne
Interlude Press

Purchase Links:

Interlude Press |  Amazon Barnes & Noble  | Target | iTunes |  Kobo |   SmashwordsBook Depository |

Indiebound 

 

Today I’m interviewing Lilah Suzanne author of Blended Notes, book three in the Spotlight series. Hi Lilah, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

  1. Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing come from? Well, my dad is a musician and my parents met doing theater, so growing up in a family that encouraged creativity probably helped. I was also the sort of kid who was constantly reading; I devoured anything I could get my hands on. Writing always felt like a natural fit for me, I’ve been doing it since I was pretty young.
  1. What were your goals when you started this book? Do you think you met them? I wanted to do justice to Grady’s journey and give him a voice from his own perspective, and I wanted to write a satisfying coda to everyone’s journeys in all three books in the Spotlight series. I feel good about how all of this came to fruition, yes. That said, I can see myself writing short spin-offs for more minor characters who didn’t get as much focus, like Spencer or Clementine.
  1. Have you ever co-written with someone before? Not successfully! I’ve always tackled writing projects on my own—it’s a bit of a solitary journey for me…though I do have a short story coming out in the upcoming holiday anthology, If the Fates Allow, so that maybe sort of counts?
  1. Tell us about your favorite character in a book (yours or someone else’s). Oh, am I allowed to pick a favorite from my own characters? Is that like picking a favorite child? I’ll say, Grady is most important to me, being from the South, and being bisexual, like me. Also he’s gone through some trauma in his past, he’s messed up pretty badly at times, and yet he works so hard on being kind and compassionate, and he still finds his happily ever. I think that’s an important message.
  1. List five foods you can’t live without. I am sort of the opposite of a foodie, so I am actually well practiced at going without certain foods. Instead of my five essential foods, I’d like to pick Grady’s, because that says something about him: Barbecue (of course!); Nashville-style hot chicken; Mello Yello counts as food as far as Grady is concerned; frozen custard; and of course, pecan pie.

BLURB

Grady Dawson’s future looks bright. He’s at the top of his country music career, has a close-knit group of friends who have become his Nashville family, and has found solid ground in his personal life as he plans his intimate, private wedding with Nico, his stylist-turned-lover, turned love of his life. It seems Grady has finally left his difficult childhood and tumultuous youth behind. That is, until his past shows up on his doorstep, news of his upcoming nuptials is leaked to the media, and his record company levels demands that challenge his integrity as an artist and as a person. The foundation of Grady’s new life begins to crumble, and fast. Will he be forced to make the ultimate choice between a private life with Nico and the public demands of his career?

BLENDED NOTES ~ EXCERPT

Have you ever had a moment when you looked at someone and the whole world disappeared?

* * *

Grady’s earliest memory of his mother is watching her leave. It wasn’t the first time she dropped him off at Memaw and Granddaddy’s house, and the remembered moment itself is unremarkable: He’s standing by the road; a cloud of dirt from the driveway into the trailer park lingers hazily in the air; he can see the taillights of her car lit red at the stop sign. The right one blinks a signal, the car turns, and she’s gone. Memaw came to collect him soon after, and he doesn’t recall what he did next—whatever rambunctious five-year-old boys like to do. Maybe he got on his bike and tore around the neighborhood, training wheels be damned. Or maybe he found a squirrel to harass with a makeshift slingshot of forked stick and rubber band. Maybe Memaw plunked him down in front of their old jumpy television.

Sit down for five seconds, Grady. Land’s sake! she’d say, with a look rather similar to the one Nico has when Grady comes around to the aisle where Nico is browsing for home decor. Grady had wandered off when he spotted an old gramophone on display.

“There you are.”

“Here I am,” Grady confirms, dropping a kiss onto Nico’s cheek. Nico leans into him with an easy, comfortable affection that grounds Grady, makes him feel wanted and safe. Grady takes a clear glass bottle from the shelf filled with clear glass bottles of all shapes and sizes and colors and asks, “Do we need apothecary jars?” The label on the jar reads: Green Pain Pills.

Nico takes the jar and turns, holding it up so it catches the sunlight streaming through the plate glass windows in the front of the boutique. “I mean, we don’t not need apothecary jars.” He tips his head and narrows his eyes, assessing the jar before putting it back on the shelf. Nico is determined to fill their new home with things that represent them; it’s sweet, but, for Grady, unnecessary. Nico expresses himself visually: his clothes, his hair, the elegant yet assertive way he holds himself. Of course he’d want knickknacks and furniture and art that speak to the life they’re building together. For Grady, it’s less tangible, not a particular thing he could put on a shelf. It’s two toothbrushes in the holder, the sound of a familiar car pulling into the garage, the lingering scent of Nico’s cologne in their bed, the way Nico brushes a peck to Grady’s lips before he leaves: never a goodbye, always a see you later.

“Did you find something you wanted?” Nico moves on to a display of antique paperweights. One looks like a crystal ball.

“Oh, yeah.” Grady lifts his eyebrows and quirks his lips. Nico shakes his head at that, picks up the crystal ball paperweight, and passes it slowly from hand to hand. “I knew you were going to say that and yet—”

“And yet you still asked,” Grady finishes, teasing, “Why, I think you may even like it.”

Nico hums. He puts the paperweight back. “I suppose I must, considering that I am marry—” He snaps his mouth shut, then glances around to be sure no one overheard him. They’re alone in the store, but still Nico mouths the end of that sentence: “Marrying you.

And, lord, but does that thrill Grady to his bones, silent or spoken or acted out with charades. He’s marrying Nico, they’re getting married, he and Nico are marrying each other. Grady can tell his own smile is goofy, and Nico has one to match. In the quiet corner of this very unusual store, they can be openly giddy—for a moment.

* * *

Blended Notes, the final installment of Lilah Suzanne’s the Spotlight Series will be published by Interlude Press on August 17, 2017.  Connect with the author at lilahsuzanne.com; on Twitter @lilahsuzanne; and on Facebook at facebook.com/lilahsuzanne.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lilah Suzanne has been writing actively since the sixth grade, when a literary magazine published her essay about an uncle who lost his life to AIDS. A freelance writer from North Carolina, she spends most of her time behind a computer screen, but on the rare occasion she ventures outside she enjoys museums, libraries, live concerts, and quiet walks in the woods. Lilah is the author of the Interlude Press books Spice, Pivot and Slip, Broken Records, and Burning Tracks.

GIVEAWAY

Book Tour Rafflecopter Giveaway widget code:
Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Blended Notes // Five winners receive Blended Notes eBook
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Our STRW Fantasy Recommendations Continues and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Our STRW Fantasy Recommendations Continues

Are you at glued to however you watch tv these days when GoT comes on?  That’s Game of Thrones of course.  The lavish, addictive, often dark fantasy series from HBO adapted from George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire, one that’s he still writing, I  might add if you aren’t someone who read the books  first and then started watching the series.  Or lives in Outer Mongolia, although I’m convinced they get GoT there too.  It’s a land where winter’s coming, a woman ride’s a dragon to her destiny, there are terrifying whitewalkers and even scarier queens now sitting on the iron throne.  There’s Tyrion a dwarf who drinks and knows things plus so many mad wonderful, awful, horrific events that have occurred that we stay fastened to this series as though epoxied. You can’t help it.  It’s magnificent.  And its fantasy.  People love fantasy,  From Tolkien to George R. R. Martin, to the stories of our childhood, whether it be Harry Potter or Peter Pan, imagining the impossible or the improbable has always captured our imagination and our attention.

We want to slide into those worlds, those adventures, see those dragons!  How I loved Anne Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series and Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series just to name two that I couldn’t get enough of.   But really I gobbled them all up.  And still do today.  I just finished last week Don Allmon’s Glamour Thieves and another story in Megan Derr’s Tales of the High King, a series Lila loves as well.  Megan Derr can do no wrong in her  fantasy stories.  Just check our our recommendations for her below.

We are still working on our Fantasy Rec lists.  You all know?  I forgot the Supernatural/Paranormal lists, so those may have to come next.  But for now, lets concentrate on the Fantasy ones.  Our Giveaway runs until August 26~you just might see books you never got to or ones you definitely want to reread!

(Extra note:  We are still looking for reviewers, please contact us if you know of anyone or want to review for us yourself.  Write to us at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com)

 

Fantasy Titles Recommended – 

Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling
Dance with the Devil series by Megan Derr
Charm of Magpies series by KJ Charles
Hexworld series by Jordan L Hawk
Woke Up in a Strange Place  by Eric Arvin
The Druid Stone (Layers of the Otherworld #1) by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Galway Bound (Layers of the Otherworld #1.1) by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Hainted by Jordan L. Hawk
The Pirate’s Game (Etsey Novels #3) by Heidi Cullinan and
Etsey novels by Heidi Cullinan

Fantasy Fiction Rec Giveaway

Send in your recs  for your favorite fantasy book/ or series!  Don’t forget to add your email address where we can reach you if chosen to receive our gift certificate of $10.

Again, gift certificates to a reader chosen at random who left a comment along with their email address where they can be reached if chosen.
Contest ends at midnight on 8/26.  That’s two weeks to get your recommendations in!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

This Week At Scattered Thoughts And Rogue Words

 

Sunday, August 20:

  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Our STRW Fantasy Recommendations Continues

Monday, August 21:

  • Book Blitz & Review Tour – JM Dabney – Ghost (Executioners #1)
  • DSP GUEST POST Vivien Dean
  • TOUR The Vampire’s Protege by Damian Serbu
  • TOUR Blended Notes by Lilah Suzanne
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior #2) by LA Witt and Cari Z
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Fool of Main Beach (Love in Laguna: Book 5) by Tara Lain
  • A MelanieM Review: Ghost (Executioners #1) by JM Dabney
  • An Alisa Review Wrong Place, Right Time by April Kelley

Tuesday, August 22:

  • DSP GUEST POST Alex Standish for Changing Tides
  • Review Tour – Elin Gregory – The Bones Of Our Fathers
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior #2) by LA Witt and Cari Z.
  • A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) by Julia Ember
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Just Add Argyle (Fabric Hearts 3) by KC Burn
  • A MelanieM Review: The Bones Of Our Fathers by Elin Gregory
  • A Stella Review: TBD

Wednesday, August 23:

  • Blog Tour *Inhuman Beings by Richard May
  • Review Tour – Jay Northcote’s Tops Down Bottoms Up
  • A Jeri Review: Tops Down Bottoms Up by Jay Northcote
  • A Lila Review: The Heart of the Lost Star by Megan Derr
  • A VVivacious Review: How to Love a Monster by Lyssa Dering
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Coasting by Yvonne Trent

Thursday, August 24:

  • Cover Reveal First Season (Harrisburg Railers #2) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • HARMONY INK GUEST POST Julia Ember
  • RIPTIDE TOUR The Druid Next Door (Fae Out of Water #2) by EJ Russell
  • An Alisa Review: Dude Mama by Michael P. Thomas
  • A Caryn Review: Becoming Andy Hunsinger by Jere’ M. Fishback
  • A MelanieM Review: One in Vermilion by Kris T. Bethke
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford and Greg Tremblay  (Narrator)

Friday, August 25:

  • TOUR for Grounded by Aidan Wayne
  • Tour and Giveaway for The Runner by Karma Kingsley
  • Retro Tour: Men of London series by Susan Mac Nicol
  • A Lila Review: Conned By Jana Denardo
  • A MelanieM Review: Trust with a Chaser (Rainbow Cove #1) by Annabeth Albert
  • An Ali Review: Love You Senseless (Men of London #1) by Susan Mac Nicol
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Cowboys Don’t Come Out by Tara Lain and K.C. Kelly (Narrator)

Saturday, August 26:

  • Blog tour FORBIDDEN LUST BY GRAYSON KNIGHT
  • Release Blitz Without A Compass – Helen Juliet
  • A MelanieM Review: The Lonely Merman (Landlocked Heart #1) by Kay Berrisford

 

A Free Dreamer Pre Release Review: Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

After scientists stumbled across an anomalous human hormone present during moments of emotional intimacy, further research created the ability to harness the direction of living energy and pinpoint when two lines will merge. Personalized chips are now implanted beneath the thumbnails of every infant, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. Fate is now a calculation.

But loving someone isn’t.

When Shannon Wurther, the youngest detective in Southern California, finds himself face-to-face with Aiden Maar, the reckless art thief Shannon’s precinct has been chasing for months, they are both stunned. Their Camellia Clocks have timed out, and the men are left with a choice—love one another or defy fate.

The idea of a sort of inbuilt clock counting down to Day X isn’t exactly a new idea. Usually, Day X marks the person’s death. In “Fortitude Smashed” the Camellia Clock counts down to the second when you meet the love of your life, your soulmate. I think that was an interesting take on things.

With the whole Camellia Clock and personalized chip set-up, I’d expected a Science Fiction story. What I got, however, was a contemporary story set in  present-day California.  I must admit, I was a bit disappointed by that. It almost seemed a little bit lazy to me, as if the author didn’t want to bother with coming up with a whole new world. Instead, she opted to set it in the present day and just added the Camellia Clocks. Consequently, there was very little worldbuilding involved. I would’ve liked to know how the whole Clock thing actually works and if there is a way to opt out of having that chip implanted.

Considering Shannon is a cop and Aiden is a thief, I’d expected lots of tension there. So I figured, even if there’s no SciFi plot there, at least there’s still gonna be lots of conflict. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t. Aiden stops his thievery pretty soon and the tension between the two is the usual romance-tension. I will say that I’m normally not a reader of contemporary romances, because I always feel like I need a little more than “just” a love story. And that’s just what “Fortitude Smashed” is: Just a contemporary love story.

I liked that both Aiden and Shannon had their issues. Especially Aiden struggled with mental illness and Shannon was wonderfully supportive. Neither of them was exactly perfect but they still worked together really well.

There were plenty of sex scenes and they were really hot, without being overly explicit. Taylor Brooke definitely has a way with words. All her descriptions are wonderful, no matter if she was writing about the landscape or body parts. She definitely also has a sense of humour and I found myself laughing out loud a lot.

Overall, “Fortitude Smashed” was a bit of a disappointment to me. I’d expected SciFi but got contempary. I’d expected a crime plot but got a “normal” love story. I guess I mostly just had the wrong expectations. As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of contemporary romance novels and I probably wouldn’t have picked this up, if I’d known it wasn’t Science Fiction.

Still, this book did have its moments and I’m sure lovers of contemporary romance witha bit of a twist can and will enjoy this book. It just wasn’t for me.

Cover: I really like the cover. It looks very summery and is a nice change from the usual covers of M/M romance. And it matches the feel the story gave me.

Sales Links:

Amazon

Interlude Press

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository 

Book details:

ebook, 346 pages

Expected publication: September 21st 2017 by Interlude Press

Mourning the Loss of Summer Doldrums. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Mourning the Loss of Summer Doldrums

Ah, mid August.  Usually, that boring time of the month when the temperatures are heating up, vacations may be winding down, school is only weeks away…a time of calm, normally before things start up again.  The heat makes you slow down, the winds are becalmed, leaving ships drifting in the seas….

But all now seems in turmoil around us, I shy away from the news, the media (living in the Metro area makes this almost impossible) making want to cringe or more from what I hear being relayed daily.  Never did I think our country would come to this.  I admit to feeling incredibly disheartened these days.  Enough to long for those boring summer  doldrums of old.  And it wasn’t even that long ago that things seemed so promising.

Like the fresh start of summer every year.  Those days are always so full of promise, things we want to do in our time off, places to visit, things to accomplish maybe, or just relaxation, perhaps.  By mid-August, reality sets in as Autumn starts to peep around the corner, bringing another season, the arrival of Fall, and the closure of another summer.  Was it everything we hoped for?  Like a summer romance, it rarely is but the memories can remain golden if looked at in the right light.  So I’m wondering how we will remember this summer?  In what light, will we hold up these memories?  It’s too early to say.  I do know that now I’m looking forward to fall, to clear away the summer doldrums for the briskness of the fall air and the promise of a new clarity.  We can hope, can’t we?

In the meantime, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words accumulations of lists go on!

We are still working on our Fantasy Rec lists.  You all know?  I forgot the Supernatural/Paranormal lists, so those may have to come next.  But for now, lets concentrate on the Fantasy ones.  Our Giveaway runs until August 26~

(Extra note:  We are still looking for reviewers, please contact us if you know of anyone or want to review for us yourself.  Write to us at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com)

Fantasy Titles to be Added To:

Purple Reader starts off our recs with this from last week’s rec list (I stuck it here, because it seemed to fit):
Readers Recs:

Fantasy Fiction Rec Giveaway

Send in your recs  for your favorite fantasy book/ or series!  Don’t forget to add your email address where we can reach you if chosen to receive our gift certificate of $10.

Again, gift certificates to a reader chosen at random who left a comment along with their email address where they can be reached if chosen.
Contest ends at midnight on 8/26.  That’s two weeks to get your recommendations in!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, August 13:

  • Mourning the Loss of Summer Doldrums.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 14:

  • Cover Reveal Blitz: Cataclysmic Shift by Tara Lain
  • DSP PUBLICATIONS TOUR: Ravon Silvius on The Storm Lords
  • Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour by Charlie Cochrane Blog Tour and Giveaway
  • Review Tour – Amy Aislin’s As Big As The Sky
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Bone to Pick by TA Moore
  • An Ali Review: As Big As The Sky by Amy Aislin
  • A MelanieM Review: Lavender by Xavier Axelson
  • A MelanieM Review: Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour by Charlie Cochrane

Tuesday, August 15:

  • Dreamspinner Promo: Yvonne Trent on Coasting (States of Love Story)
  • TOUR: The One Thing I know by Keelan Ellis
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway for Three Player Game (Bluewater Bay) by Jaime Samms
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review:  Out of the Shadows by K.C. Wells
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Guardian (Aisling #1) by Carole Cummings
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Romancing the Ugly Duckling by Clare London and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Wednesday, August 16:

  • Book Blitz – Misha Paige – Beast of a Time (Hellbound Hound #1)
  • TOUR King of the Fire Dancers by S.T. Sterlings
  • Review Tour – Clare London’s Peep Show
  • A Caryn Review: Peep Show by Clare London
  • A Free Dreamer Pre Release Review: Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke
  • A Lila Release Day Review:  The Foxling Soldati (Soldati Hearts #2) by Charlie Cochet

Thursday, August 17:

  • Cover Reveal for Mel Gough’s A World Apart
  • Review Tour – RJ Scott – Gabriel (Legacy #2)
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Controlled Burn by Erin McLellan
  • Andrew Grey on Ebb and Flow (Guest Post)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Gabriel (Legacy Ranch #2) by R.J. Scott
  • A MelanieM Review: Glamour Thieves by Don Allmon

Friday, August 18:

  • Dreamspinner Promo Tara Lain’s Fool of Main Beach
  • Tour: Becoming Andy Hunsinger by Jere’ M. Fishback
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Jay Northcote’s Tops Down Bottoms Up
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review:  Northern Star by Ethan Day and Jason Frazier (Narrator)
  • A VVivacious Review: Weekend Getaway (Daniel and Ryan #7) by Tamryn Eradani
  • An Alisa Review: Grounded by Aidan Wayne

Saturday, August 19:

  • Release Blitz – Getting Through – J.S. Finley
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Shax’s War (Brimstone #3 by Angel Martinez and Vance Bastian (Narrator)