It’s the “Vegas Hustle” by Ethan Stone – What’s His Passion? Book Tour (contest)

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ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords is happy to host Ethan Stone’s and Totally Bound’s Vegas Hustle Book Tour today.  As part of the new What’s His Passion? imprint at Totally Bound, they have brought a great contest along with them.  See contest details below as well as a blurb and excerpt from Ethan Stone’s Vegas Hustle

♦Contest:  To celebrate the launch of What’s his Passion? Totally Bound is giving away a bundle of prizes. Enter here for your chance to win! Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

vegashustle_800 badge♦Blurb for Vegas Hustle:

A business trip to Las Vegas becomes a life or death situation for a comic book fan.
Comic book geek Adam Brand is young, good-looking and wealthy. He’s also a virgin because he’s not skilled at picking up guys. While in Vegas with his friend Dean to finalize a real estate deal, he throws caution to the wind and hires a professional. Hustler Javier Campos is just Adam’s type and his first time is perfect.

♦Excerpt from Vegas Hustle:

“Yes, I’m looking forward to our other plans, too.” I smirked.

He leaned forward and eyed me. “Dude, we’re talking about you having sex for the first time and you sound like it’s just another day.” Dean had a fake ID and had gotten one for me as well. He’d been going out to bars and clubs and having sex with men since he was sixteen. He’d promised me we would party until we found the right guy for me to sleep with.

“I’m nervous about it,” I admitted.

“Adam, it’s going to be awesome.” He sat back in the chair and closed his eyes.

“Did you see that Hispanic stud in the hallway earlier?” I’d only gotten a quick glance at him but it was enough. He was a few inches shorter than me, had a goatee, light-brown hair and beautiful brown eyes.

Dean nodded.

“Damn, he was hot.”

Dean lowered his sunglasses. “You know he was a hustler, right?”

“A what?”

“A hustler,” he repeated. “Hooker. Prostitute. Whore.”

I forced my jaw closed, trying not to let my naiveté be quite so obvious. “How do you know?”

“There’s no way a dude like him could ever afford to stay at the Bellagio. He’d probably just finished with a customer.”

I knew hustlers existed, but the ones I’d seen and imagined were dirtier and skankier than the hottie in the hallway. “You ever hired one?”

He shook his head. “I don’t see anything wrong with it but I’ve never needed to pay for sex when it’s so readily available.”

I wondered what the man charged. He had the body type I craved as well as a rough edge that made my body tremble. Being kissed and touched by him had to be a thrilling experience. A man who got paid for sex was no doubt good at what he did.

Want to find out more about the characters from Vegas Hustle?

Totally Bound
WHP_Ethan Stone_Social Media Patch_finalYou can purchase it here!Totally Bound Tour Banner

And I Saw A Sea of Squirrels….and the Week Ahead in Reviews!

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And Then I Saw A Sea of Squirrels……grey squirrel drawing

Its fall and my patio and lawns are full of nature’s bounty, aka nuts.  Lots and lots of nuts and therefore lots and lots of squirrels (and deer but that’s for another story from this park naturalist).   This year is a high cycle year so all the oaks, hickories, and beech trees in my backyard were groaning under the weight of the nuts they bore.  And have now loosed them upon every surface available, turning every spare inch into a prickly hulled,DSCN4046 brown blanket or a mosaic of shiny hard bits and pieces of acorns to go along with the prickly hulls of the beech nut.  Of course the green golf balls of the black walnut are dropping too, sounding like hail during the worst of storms.

And my dogs hate this.

I don’t blame them.  Those prickly little bits and pieces hurt the pads of their paws, jagged hulls of shells courtesy of sharp squirrel teeth are just the right size to work themselves between the pads and wedging themselves firmly to great pain and discomfort.  No amount of sweeping is stopping the tide.  It’s relentless, a constant cacophony of sound followed by a carpet of discarded husks.DSCN4053

I think most people don’t realize that nuts are cyclical.  That each year the harvest is that much greater than the year before with the various animal populations that depend upon them for food expanding along with them.   And then the year that follows the one with the biggest yield is all but barren.  No nuts, or at least very little.  People start reporting seeing skinny or starving animals.  And they reason that such a thing helps to keep populations down.  And certainly that is true for the present day.  But not always.

Did you know people once saw seas of squirrels as they migrated through?

Yes, Eastern gray squirrels used to migrate, following the cycles of the oaks, and hickories and other nut bearing trees.  Back when the midwestern and eastern forests were one contiguous mass of forest.  Back before we started to carve out our settlements, and farms and cities. Back when there were only small farmsteads and villages that dotted the forests, tiny punctuation marks of humanity.

Then the animals lived much different lives than they do today.

One of my college professors,  Dr. Vagn Flyger wrote a report for the University of Maryland on a squirrel migration as recent as 1968.  Oh, how he loved squirrels and imparted that love to his students!  And this recent migration, from Vermont to Georgia, fascinated him.  You can read it here.  But even more fascinating are the earlier account of waves of squirrels so massive that it took days before the end of the hoard could be seen.  Or as Robert Kennicott in his article “The Quadrupeds of Illinois” in The Annual Report of the Commissioner of gray squirrelPatents for 1846 stated  “it took a month for the mess of squirrels to pass through the area.”*

Just imagine what that must have looked like! Tens of thousands, perhaps millions of squirrels following the wild harvest through the vast forest of the midwest and east, flowing like a grey furred river, leaping and bounding over every surface as they passed their way through the immediate area.   Here is another quote (from that  *same article ):

*In 1811, Charles Joseph Labrobe wrote in The Rambler in North America of a vast squirrel migration that autumn in Ohio: “A countless multitude of squirrels, obeying some great and universal impulse, which none can know but the Spirit that gave them being, left their reckless and gambolling life, and their ancient places of retreat in the north, and were seen pressing forward by tens of thousands in a deep and sober phalanx to the South …”

No longer.

We still have them migrate occasionally.  The last reported one was likely 1998 in Arkansas but nothing like the vast migrations of the past.  And how can they with no massive forest or massive stands of trees, following the bounty of nuts and seeds as the cycles demanded?  Like the beaver before them, we have changed their natural history and lost something special in return.

Now the Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is regarded as a cute backyard dweller or bird seed eating pest.  They get into attics or gnaw on wires.  We are amused by them, infuriated by them, and in some cases regarding bird feeders outsmarted by them.  They throw nuts at my dogs and tease them unmercifully and I laugh, of course.  They are a constant in my yard and a source of food for my owls and hawks.  They are as familiar to me as my wrens and woodpeckers…and my life would be poorer without them.

But once they moved across the land in rivers of energy and gray fur, millions of them covering the landscape and making people stop in their tracks, marveling to see such a sight.  Just once I wish I could have been there, standing beside those folks so I too could have said “and then I saw a sea of squirrels…”.

The Migration of the Grey Squirrels

by William Howitt

When in my youth I traveled
Throughout each north country,
Many a strange thing did I hear,
And many a strange thing to see.

But nothing was there pleased me more
Than when, in autumn brown,
I came, in the depths of the pathless woods,
To the grey squirrels’ town.

There were hundreds that in the hollow boles
Of the old, old trees did dwell,
And laid up store, hard by their door,
Of the sweet mast as it fell.

But soon the hungry wild swine came,
And with thievish snouts dug up
Their buried treasure, and left them not
So much as an acorn cup.

Then did they chatter in angry mood,
And one and all decree,
Into the forests of rich stone-pine
Over hill and dale to flee.

Over hill and dale, over hill and dale,
For many a league they went,
Like a troop of undaunted travelers
Governed by one consent.

But the hawk and the eagle, and peering owl,
Did dreadfully pursue;
When lo! to cut off their pilgrimage,
A broad stream lay in view.

But then did each wondrous creature show
His cunning and bravery;
With a piece of the pine-bark in his mouth,
Unto the stream came he;

And boldly his little bark he launched,
Without the least delay;
His busy tail was his upright sail,
And he merrily steered away.

Never was there a lovelier sight
Than that grey squirrels’ fleet;
And with anxious eyes I watched to see
What fortune it would meet.

Soon had they reached the rough mild-stream,
And ever and anon
I grieved to behold some bark wrecked,
And its little steersman gone.

But the main fleet stoutly held across;
I saw them leap to shore;
They entered the woods with a cry of joy,
For their perilous march was o’er.

Now for the Week Ahead in Reviews (and  Autumn Sedum in my garden):DSCN4051

Monday, Sept. 30:         Sonata by A.F. Henley

Tuesday, Oct. 1:              September Summary of Reviews

Wed., October 2:            Goblins by Melanie Tushmore

Thurs., October 3:         Dominant Predator by S.A. McAuley

Friday, October 4:         The Isle of Wishes by Sue Brown

Sat., October 5:               Knightmare (City Knight #2) by T.A. Webb

Review: Accidental Alpha (Pack Partners, #1) by Poppy Dennison

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Book Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Accidental Alpha coverOne year ago police officer Lex Tompkins was stabbed while on the job.  The severity of the wounds and the long recovery time meant disability and retirement for Lex as he could no longer physically do his job.  Bitter, Lex withdraws from everyone he knows, buying seven acres in the middle of nowhere to hide in and retreat from society.  But almost from the beginning his plans go awry. Lex has a neighbor when his real estate agent promised him none.  And that neighbor, Spencer Robinson, always seems to have a ton of people at his house and a party going on.  Plus the guy isn’t even Lex’s type.

When a toddler shows up alone in Lex’s front yard, he knows that there is only one place he could have come from. Lex picks the kid up and starts to head across the street when the toddler bites the heck out of his neck.  Lex passes out and the next moment wakes up in Spencer’s house as the new Alpha werewolf of a small and dysfunctional pack of werewolves.

Faced with new responsibilities that he doesn’t want, Lex also finds himself attracted to Spencer, someone he never looked twice at before.  What’s a bitter excop to do when Fate rearranges his life in ways he never imagined?

Poppy Dennison became a go to author of mine when I started reading her Triad series (now at book four). So when I saw that she had a new shifter story out, I knew I had to have it.  Accidental Alpha, the first in the Pack Partners series, starts with a hysterical premise, what happens when a toddler accidentally turns a person into a werewolf? I love it when an author gives me a new twist on a popular genre and that’s exactly what Dennison has delivered here.

Dennison has created a unique pack structure for her werewolf story which includes the toddler’s position within it and the reason why he bit Lex in the first place.  This is a small and somewhat dysfunctional pack with a few shifters hanging at the outskirts of the core group that is not getting along without leadership.  Into this interesting group dynamics, Dennison thrusts her disabled alpha cop, Lex Tompkins.  I really liked his character, he comes across as a hard core cop who loved his job.  And the type of personality that it takes to be a cop is exactly the type of leadership needed in an Alpha.  I liked the manner in which Dennison  connects those dots not only for the reader  but for Lex as well.  Lex is a man in need of a job that requires him to police and take care of people and that is exactly what he gets again.

This pack is made up of some very damaged, sad, and angry shifters. Each comes with their own set of challenges that Lex must first decipher and then deal with.  That includes his very strong attraction to Spencer which is clearly a werewolf thing Lex needs to get figure out immediately before his own behavior gets out of control.  I liked the pack that the author has created for this story.  There’s the toddler, Aiden, who is quite adorable.  His mother Mia, two special special favorites of mine Ruby and Nathan, Justin and more.  And then there is Spencer, the neighbor and perhaps potential mate.  I connected with the character of Spencer as well.  Quiet and unassuming, he has a reserve to him that works when the rest of the pack is spiraling out of control.  Its a nice yin and yang  sort of relationship that will evolve with the story and the series.  It’s also a lovely change from the wham bam mate thing that overwhelms characterization and plot that I so often read in shifter stories. Poppy Dennsion sets out a structure for not only the pack but for acquiring mates as well.

The ending of Accidental Alpha sees Lex, Spencer and the rest slowly adjusting to each other and the change in pack dynamics.   It’s a new start for them all and an appropriate place to end the first book in the series.  Poppy Dennison had laid her ground work while still leaving room to flesh out the personalities and back history of the individual pack members.  I also expect to learn more about Lex as well.   Accidental Alpha leaves me wanting more of the Pack Partners series and that’s exactly what it should do.  Great job, Poppy Dennison.  I can’t wait to see what will happen next.  Please don’t make us wait too long.

Cover Art © 2013 Wilde City Press Photo by Kent Taylor, courtesy http://www.ragingstallion.com  What a perfect cover!  That’s Lex exactly.

Book Details:

ebook, 56 pages
Published September 11th 2013 by Wilde City Press

Review: Crucify (Triple Threat #4) by Laura Harner

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Crucify TT4Sitting in a booth at the Chances Are, Zachary listens as a friend of Jeremiah’s, Nick Gabriel, explains the history and man behind his employment as a prostitute, a Catholic priest.  This priest has an affinity for very young men who are confused about their sexuality and sees their confusion as a means to abuse them.  For Jeremiah, this case also represents a chance for him to go undercover to prove himself to his Doms and help stop this sexual predator.  If only he can get Zachary and Archer to agree.

Using Jeremiah as bait seems like a good idea, at least in the beginning.  Then Wick and Chance weigh in on Jeremiah’s current status with Archer and Zach.  In their opinion, there is not much difference between Jeremiah and his contract and Nick’s profession.  It’s an epiphany for Zachary.  Exactly how does Jeremiah fit into his and Archer’s relationship?  Is the contract between the men a barrier to any real future for the triad? The answer lies in their current investigation and it will have reverberations for all involved.

Crucify is the fourth story in the Triple Threat series and L.E.  Harner uses its plot to bring the series back to its original explosive element of relationships and change.  In each story, she has explored how does the addition of Jeremiah is changing the relationship dynamics of Zach and Archer.  From content and somewhat complacent established couple of 15 years, the introduction of Jeremiah has reenergized the Master Dom in Zach who, more or less, relinquished that role to Archer in their commitment to each other.  But up until now,  neither Archer or Zach has addressed what, if any, future Jeremiah has with them and in what role.

Harner has made this series a study in all sorts of relationships and not just Archer and Zach’s complicated one.  In Crucify, relationships between Ben, Jeremiah and “Gabe” are up for inspection, as are those of Chance and Rory, Wick and Zach, even Wick and his mini Wick as well as so many others. Harner explores the delicate balance between these complicated men.  Sometimes its the relationship between friends, sometimes its relationships between lovers, and every permutation in between.  I love that the author recognizes that sometimes those relationships that seems the strongest are in fact fraught with issues that threaten to shred partnerships, leaving the participants in tatters.  Sometimes it really is all about the perspective.  And that can change in an instant.

I like to mention that this story and series features a m/m/m triad, with elements of D/s to their relationships.  The bdsm content is made accessible to all readers by the manner in which Harner explains each man’s need and desire for this aspect of sexuality in their lives.  It makes sense as does the threesome.  Even if these are not the elements you normally read, don’t let this make you shy off from the series.   It a hot sexy component of these mens relationships and it works here.

Harner writes in layers.  Layers to her characters, layers to her plots and those added dimensions gives this story and series a realistic flavor and spice that is to be savored.  Whether it is the world weary voice of Zach or the humorous aspect to sometimes horrific events,, it all adds up to one great series and one conflicted and compelling trio of characters.

There is more to come in the Triple Threat series.  Do not miss a single story!  Pick them all up, read them together or singly just as long as you read them in order.  I highly recommend them all.  Here is a quick taste as Zach questions Nick:

“Spill, Nick. What does the church have to do with you? Did they kick you out? Because I can’t do shit about that—”

“They have a group for guys like me. Like us. Homos.” The words shot out with the force of a gun blast.

I nodded. I knew a little about the pray-the-gay-away movement—people who think homosexuality and Christianity are incompatible—although I wasn’t aware of any local connection. My interest spiked, and I could only imagine the conflict this young man must feel. Combine a street-wise hooker and the up-and-coming young businessman, sprinkle liberally with Catholic guilt. A nervous breakdown waiting to happen. Good luck with that.

Book Details:

ebook, 60 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN13 9781937252571
edition language English

Books in the series in the order they were written and should be read:

Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1)
Retribution (Triple Threat #2)
Defiance (Triple Threat #3)
Crucify (Triple Threat #4)

Don’t Miss Out! The Tameness of the Wolf Insanity Continues with Contests and Dog Tags!

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Strength of the Wolf Banner

It’s been a week since Strength of the Wolf was released and the insanity continues!!StrengthoftheWolf4

If you missed yesterday’s post, go check it out really quick. I talked about the werewolves in, Strength of the Pack and Strength of the Wolf, how I created them, and why I gave them the characteristics that I did. There’s still time to enter to win an e-book copy of Strength of the Wolf, so go get yourself signed up! The winner will be announced, right here, tomorrow!

Today, you can enter to win a set of authentic Dog Tags for the main characters of Strength of the Wolf! These are highly coveted dog tags, featuring the vital statistics of Tim Madison and Jeremy Wagner, from Strength of the Wolf. These are brand new! No one has a set, yet, so you might be lucky enough to be the first!

KM Dog TagsHere is everything you need to know to get entered for your chance to win! The winner will be announced tomorrow, as well, so don’t wait! Get entered!
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1bf30764

Love and Dog Tags,

Kendall

www.kendallmckenna.comBlack Wolf from the back

www.facebook.com/kendallmckenna

www.facebook.com/thetamenessofthewolf

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Buy Links:

MLR Press LLC

Amazon

All Romance 

Review: Retribution (Triple Threat #2) by L.E. Harner

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Triple Threat Retribution coverWhen Archer Wilde gave Zachary, his husband of 15 years, a submissive named Jeremiah for a year, he never anticipated the fallout that was to come.  Both Archer and Zachary are Master Doms, and only within their relationship, does Zachary take a submissive posture.  So Archer thought a  submissive of his own would make Zachary happy.  But the reality was exactly the opposite and it threatens to destroy their happy and balanced loving relationship of 15 years, one they have worked hard to achieve.

Submissive Jeremiah has a signed contract and nothing else.  He had hoped to find a loving home and a Master Dom to teach him the ways of the lifestyle he needs in order to be whole.  Instead he finds a household in discord because of his presence and the very real possibility that he will be asked to leave before he even is given a chance to prove himself.

Jeremiah’s predicament leads him to make a disastrous decision.  He calls on an abusive Dom who has a grudge against Archer and Zachary to train him. When Jeremiah disappears, Archer and Zachary race against time before the damage inflicted upon their boy is too deep to undo.  This time, their retribution is personal.

What an astonishing book and series!  With every new development, the characters and their relationships just get more layered with an authentically human  feel to them.  Retribution picks up exactly where Triple Threat left off.  Zachary and Archer have retired to their bedroom ostensibly to talk about Jeremiah but instead they proceed to have white hot sex. Sex that will both reassure them of their love and reestablish a connection that Archer almost broke with his unwanted gift of Jeremiah to Zachary.  That Jeremiah is not exactly welcome is now obvious to Archer’s dismay.   Harner’s characterizations are perfection.  We can see Archer Wilde making this error in judgement because he so rarely doubts his own brilliance that he thinks he knows what is best for all around him.  Plus Archer has made that all too human mistake of forgetting just who his partner is because the years together has lulled them into complacency.

As with Archer, Zachary too is a beautifully realized portrait of a man stunned by his lover’s actions.  It shakes him to his core and not just because he didn’t see it coming.  It turns out that a  past trauma involving a prior submissive of Zachary’s have left Zach scarred and unable to make that commitment again.  All of these mens flaws come to the surface with one bad decision and the one to pay is Jeremiah.

L.E. Harner certainly knows how to build the suspense into a plot.  When Jeremiah disappears, the reader immediately knows something awful has occured. But what had happened and where was Jeremiah?  The answers to those questions are guaranteed to raise the reader’s anxiety, making us despair for Jeremiah’s safety.   Harner’s narrative threatens danger at every curve and a certainty that violence is lurking near the end.  I loved every minute of Retribution.  And that includes the ending.

The characters here have issues to settle amongst themselves,  and by the end of this story, Archer, Zach and Jeremiah are on their ways to resolving some of them.  But not all.  And those unresolved issues will be carried into the following stories.   This aspect of the series continues to give these characters and their relationship a very human feel.  I have always felt that it is a human being’s flaws, not their perfections, that help to connect them with their fellow beings.  And that is as true in fiction as it is in real life.  L.E. Harner recognizes that fact and builds it into her stories and people.

So go and pick up this story and make a commitment to this remarkable series.  But make sure you start at the beginning story, Triple Threat, and work your way through as these are not stand alone tales and need to be read in the order they were written.  For those of you who hesitate when seeing that elements of bdsm (D/s relationships) and threesomes are present,  don’t let this stop you with this series.  It works, it feels real, and you will come to love the men involved just as I do.

Books in the Triple Threat series to date are:

Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1)
Retribution  (Triple Threat #2)
Defiance (Triple Threat #3)
Crucify (Triple Threat #4)

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 1st 2013 by Hot Corner Press
ISBN13 9781937252489
edition language English
series Triple Threat

It’s Contest Time! The Release of Strength of the Wolf by Kendall McKenna is Almost Here!

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Note: This event has been postponed until Monday, Sept. 9.

Good morning, everyone!  I have several great announcements to make today.  On September 6th, Friday, the long awaited sequel to Kendall McKenna’s Strength of the Pack releases from MLR Press and to celebrate, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is hosting a two – part guest blog by Kendall McKenna as well as a two- book contest/giveaway.

On Thursday,  Part 1 of Kendall McKenna’s blog will be posted as well as kick off the first book giveaway.  For those of you new to Kendall McKenna, she is one of my absolute must have authors.  Her stories include some of the most authentic, gritty military characters in recent memory, so realistic that she has garnered the approval of soldiers who have read her books and commented on her remarkable details and knowledge of the military universe.  In this series, The Tameness of the Wolf,  Kendall McKenna gives us a new  twist on wolfshifters. In her stories, the wolfshifters and the military work together in special units, each with their own commander.  It is a new arrangement and not without its own unique issues and misunderstandings.  I love the way her universe combines the boredom and terror that goes hand in hand with combat units abroad with the supernatural element of wolf shifters with their pack rules and hierarchy.  It’s amazing and compelling.

The first book in the series, Strength of the Pack (The Tameness of the Wolf #1), revolves around the dynamic relationship between  Lt.. Lucas Young and the True Alpha pack leader Sargent Noah Hammond, who has just  transferred into his platoon.  We watch as they first establish a working relationship and then a personal one, a bond steeped in myth and old legends.  It’s raw, primal, disciplined and oh so real.

There is a power and strength to McKenna’s characters equal to the intensity of the military actions and battles the platoons and soldiers find themselves in.  McKenna’s wolfshifters have a true primal feel to their characters, you never forget the animalistic behaviors  exhibited are their true natures, not ones they assumed.  The author’s Marines exude the  military discipline and attitudes  that Marine training and experience have ingrained in them.  These are not characters easily forgotten.

That first story earned a 5 – star rating and a multitude of fans.  And now finally we get a sequel.  The wait is almost over. So here is the schedule for Kendall  McKenna’s guest blog and book contests.  All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of each days blog, its that easy.  So mark your calendars and join us for a 4 day celebration of Kendall McKenna’s The Tameness of the Wolf series and new book release.

Thurs., Sept. 5:  9/9  Kendall McKenna Guest Blog Part 1 – Start of contest
Fri., Sept.6:         9/10 ,Repost of The Strength of the Pack review
Sat.,Sept 7:          9/12Kendall McKenna Guest Blog Part 2,winner of 1st book announced, start contest for 2nd book
Mon., Sept 9:    9/14  Review of The Strength of the Wolf and Winner of Strength of the Wolf announced

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Strength of the Pack

Mother’s Day and The Week Ahead

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Short and sweet today.  It’s Mother’s Day and the cookout here is only hours  away.   Plus it’s my birthday week, so I expect to have a hopefully fun filled, jam packed schedule.   So if life and my schedule permits, here is the week a head in reviews:

Monday, May 13:                  The Sky Is Dead by Sue Brown

Tuesday, May 14:                  Never A Hero  (Tucker Springs #5) by Marie Sexton

Wed., May 15:                        Night of Ceremony by M. Raiya

Thursday, May 16:                Bad Attitude by KA Mitchell

Friday, May 17:                      Bullheaded by Catt Ford

Saturday, May 18:                Lenny For Your  Thoughts by Anyta Sunday

So there it is. Got to go.  Wish like mad it would warm up,  Poor plants, flooded and now cold.  Is that a sniffle I feel coming on?

Sunday, Glorious Sunday and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Finally, our weather seems to have evened out into a semblance of spring and the day is truly glorious.  The sun is shining, the day is warming up and a slight breeze is ruffling the remaining cherry blossom petals on the trees that line the streets of my neighborhood.  My hostas are now at least 4 inches above the ground, my early azaleas are starting to bloom, and the trees all around are raising almost single handedly the pollen count for the entire Metropolitan area.  In fact all my gardens are shaking off their winter doldrums, waking up to the warm spring sunlight and recent nourishing rains.

I love this time of year, the season of rebirth and new growth.  For me, spring is something I also internalize, a time for changes inside as well as out.  I look at the house and think “time to spruce up a bit, hmmmm, new paint job for the living room?” or maybe just the time to start donating or throwing away those unused or rarely used things around the shed, in the basement or in my closet, definitely my closet.  Time to buck up and get rid of those size 8 jeans that have not seen the light of day since my late twenties or those gaucho pants I so dearly loved in my 30’s.  And what do you know? Jumpsuits are back, but maybe not in that military green and Pointer Sisters style.  I know all trends come back around in time, but really, I doubt I will ever see that size again no matter what Weight Watchers tells me!  Why have I kept a bike helmet when I don’t ride a bike?  And what did I think I was going to do with that broken hand turned coffee grinder?  Wait until it was an antique?  In that case, my basement is full of antiques to be, just waiting for their time in the sun.  Kind of like me. I do admit to looking in the mirror and thinking that perhaps a swath of purple would look amazing in my hair and that maybe a visit to the new tattoo parlor that just opened up might just be the thing to add to my calendar.

Hey, its spring and the possibilities are endless, promise of new growth, any type of growth,  is everywhere.  Why not just go with the flow and see what’s new around you?  New places to explore, new people to meet and  always new authors and new books to take along with you on your journey.  Here are some books you might want to consider:

This is what our week ahead in reviews looks like:

Monday, April 15:                 Fire for Effect by Kendall McKenna

Tuesday, April 16:               The Good Fight by Andrew Grey

Wed., April 17:                       The Fight Within by Andrew Grey

Thursday, April 18:               Highland Vampire Vengeance by J.P. Bowie

Friday< April 19:                    Loving Hector by John Inman

Sat, April 20:                           Into This River I Drown by T.J. Klune

That’s the plan at any rate.  I think I have gotten over my snit fit with Into This River I Drown, at least enough to offer a reasonably objective review.  We will see on  that one, rarely does a book make me want to cheer and smash things as that one did.  And thanks, Lynn, for the recommendation of the John Inman book, that was great.  If any one out there has a book they think I have missed out on, please send me the titles, authors and publishing house.  I make no promises but I am always looking for something new to read.

So, that’s it.  There are gardens calling and color samples waiting to be pondered over.  The terriers are gazing longingly out the windows, telling me its time to head outside.  I totally agree with them.   See you all later.

Review: Something New Under The Sun (Falling Sky #2) by L.A. Witt

Standard

Rating: 5 stars

Something New Under The SunLiam  Lansing is a genetically modified vampire who makes his living as a contract killer but once lived as a favored scion in his wealthy family’s compound in The Sky.  Daniel Harding, heir to  Cybernetix, hated the modifications his father’s corporation built and loved one person, Liam.  Their relationship cost Liam everything as his family disowned him for loving Harding and cast him into The Gutter.  Daniel remained behind working surreptiously to bring his father down, imprisoned in an ivory tower and thinking his former lover was dead.

Former lovers and antagonists, Liam Lansing and Daniel Harding have been reunited and resumed their relationship under the most traumatic events.  Daniel’s father, head of Cybernetix a modification empire, hired Liam to kill his son but had  laid a trap for Liam as well. But the father’s plans backfired when the men united to escape into The Gutter where they schemed to destroy Daniel’s father and his corporation along with him.  But there are more things at stake than Liam is aware of.  Hidden secrets hold the key to the destruction of their plans and the future of their relationship. Can Liam and Daniel put aside the past to maneuver through the obstacles looming before them?  Or will the forces combining against them bring them down once and for all?

Something New Under The Sun picks up right after the events in A Chip In His Shoulder.  I loved reading one book right after the other and felt that it maximized my enjoyment of this intense, suspenseful series. Not necessary but it satisfied my impatience to more forward after the events that occurred in the first book.  Over twice as long, this second book achieves everything L.A. Witt set out to accomplish with her first story.  We are back in The Gutter, that distempered landscape of grimy factories and downtrodden workers, the unholy existing along side the broken. It is a hellish place that L.A. Witt brings to life and where we meet up with Liam and Daniel once more.

In a neat twist, the pov switches from Daniel Harding to Liam Lansing at the beginning of the story and more of Liam’s back history is revealed to the readers. Witt outlines enough of her previous book that any reader fresh to the series is not totally confused by the events of this story.  From the beginning, the author starts to build the suspense and reader anticipation as we watch Liam and David weave together their plans for retribution and the destruction of Cybernetix.  As they cobble together the plans and equipment, more of The Gutter and its inhabitants are revealed.  We traverse the filty, narrow alleys and meet up with Gizmo, a modifications wizard who has been helping Liam, for a price of course, with his own “enhancements”.  Gizmo is quite a wonderful character and I could see him so clearly in my mind, from his dialog to his physical form.  Gizmo made such an impact on me that I hope to see more of him in the coming installments.

And this brings me back to the marvelous characters that L.A. Witt creates for her stories.  Daniel and Liam, larger than life in the first story, have been given additional depth and dimension here in the second.  We learn more about what drove Daniel to take the actions that set in motion Liam’s fall from grace and his own isolation.  And even more of Liam’s past seeps out to tease the reader further about those first years of survival in The Gutter.  I cannot help but think that more will be forthcoming in future stories to flesh this out this part of Liam’s past.  Even though we still have gray areas with respect to their backgrounds, these are beautifully realized people, flawed and determined to regain what was once theirs.  I loved them more as I discovered the basis for the hurt and pain their past has cost them.

The author, after establishing characters that grasp at our hearts and minds, proceeds to set the reader on a thriller of a ride when Daniel and Liam actually set their plans in motion.  Quickly upping the suspense and anxiety we feel for our heros, Witt moves the action along at a fast pace as they set out for The Sky and the Cybernetix building.  Really, the events escalate so rapidly that it is breathtaking.  We barely get through one nasty surprise, then another is quickly upon us. And neither the reader and the two men we have come to care are allowed a moments rest.  This is a A Ticket white knuckle ride and I loved every hair raising minute of it.

The dystopian society L.A.Witt has created for her Falling Sky series is a vividly realized world populated with people I cannot get enough of.  The ending came a little too soon and perhaps too easily for me but I am greedy like that.  I would have wished for a more drawn out resolution to Liam’s family issues.  Perhaps that is coming in the next books in the series and I still want to hear more of Gizmo, he deserves his own story within this remarkable framework.

After finishing this book, I immediately wanted more, a testament to the author’s power to create a world easy to escape into and dwell for a while.  I absolutely recommend Something New Under The Sun.  Buy it and settle down for a wild ride of action, adventure and romance as lovers reunite in the Gutter and aim high for The Sky.

Cover art by LC Chase is lovely with its easy to read titles and dark towers behind the model.  Again I only wished that there had been a way to put some of the physical modifications on the model that are so important to the plot.

Books in the Falling Sky series:

A Chip In His Shoulder (Falling Sky #1)

Something New Under The Sun (Falling Sky#2)