Love That Hint of the Magical in your Stories? Check Out the New Release Blitz for He Dreams Magic by Emme C. Taylor (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: He Dreams Magic

Author: Emme C. Taylor

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: October 28, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 88100

Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, fantasy, alternate universe, literature, horror, captivity, magic, magic users, action/adventure, monsters, slow burn

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Synopsis

Ren has always wanted to leave, to escape his quiet village life. He wakes up from gold-tinged dreams with his heart pounding and a yearning for something he can’t name, can’t hold. He longs to experience something magical just once in his life.

Nico’s monsters don’t lurk under the bed. They walk in daylight. They haunt him every day of his life. He’s possibly the strongest magician of his time, yet he’s trapped. All he wants is an out.

At a magical carnival in the middle of a forest, Ren and Nico collide. They’ve been on this collision course their entire lives, always hurtling toward each other. For both men, escape is now. They have no choice but to flee together. Monsters and betrayal hunt them across strange lands. They find themselves on a journey to save each other—and possibly the world. All they have is one another, Nico’s magic, and a lifetime of half-remembered dreams. But finding each other, finally having someone to rely on, might be the strongest magic of all.

Excerpt

He Dreams Magic
Emme C. Taylor © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Ren

The lake was on fire. Ren dipped his oars into the water and swept himself closer to the blaze, each stroke an exultation. He’d been waiting months for this, counting down the hot summer weeks to autumn and rain and flames.

He was ready to throw himself into the burn.

The fire came on time, as it did every year. The first rainstorm of autumn brought them down from the sky. Or so the story was told. Ren couldn’t quite bring himself to believe they rode through the skies on storm clouds and dropped to the ground between thunderclaps, stealing their impossible power from the lightning.

Then again, they were magicians. Anything was possible.

Ren’s village, Klein, lay huddled in the dark at his back. On the opposite shore, half the forest flickered red. The low clouds caught and held the glowing light from below. The spectacle could be seen from every village in the surrounding valley, a beacon: come, step into the heat, play with us, burn with us.

For the first time in his life, he was going to see it up close. From the quiet safety of Klein, the spectacle always gave the impression of a town set aflame. So near to it, it wasn’t like that at all. More like the whole world had ignited. His fingers around the wood paddles twitched with anticipation. This was it. Finally. Finally.

By the time Ren reached the middle of the lake, half of it alight, a bright crimson flared across the surface and leaped like waves in wind. Reflections set the rest of the lake ablaze so that it seemed to Ren he was sitting in the very middle of the conflagration. So far, he had avoided the areas of the lake that had caught flame.

Magic. God, yes. He could practically taste it in the air, and he wanted more of it. He’d dreamed of magic for years, a gold thread of it always in his mind’s eye. Since childhood, magic remained a ball of yearning lodged in his chest. Ren had to see it for himself. Touch it. Experience it. He wanted to drink it, have it sear his throat.

For years, he’d heard whispers of this from people in nearby villages, those who had gotten close to it over the years.

Those who’d walked through it—and come out on the other side.

Ren paused in the middle of the lake to take it all in. He would be seeing fire in his dreams that night.

His turn had come to walk into this wild world.

He dug his oars into the lake, his reflection rippling away from the boat with each stroke. Ren pushed himself closer to the ruby burn, a moth drawn to the dangerous lure of light.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Emme C. Taylor can be found wandering stormy beaches with a pen and notebook in hand, waiting for inspiration or lightning to strike. She believes the atmospheric environment helps her to write the grittiest parts of her stories. Crochet and dark chocolate ease her mind when her characters aren’t cooperating. Emme will happily talk about almost anything to avoid having to talk about herself. How about this weather, huh?

Twitter | Instagram

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A MelanieM Review: The End of All Stories (Legends of Badal’Shari #1) by Julia Rosenthal

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

On a quest for truths that his books can’t provide, Vael leaves the golden spires of his safe home to travel north, to the territories of the tribes there. But he gets far more than he bargains for when he is bound to Kayan, a chieftan’s son, in a mating ritual performed by a mysterious priestess.

According to her, it is their destiny to save all of Badal’Shari from a terrible cataclysm. And though Vael has serious doubts about fate, and even more doubts about Kayan, he agrees to embark on a so-called journey to save their world..

It wasn’t until I searched Goodreads for more information about the author that I realized this story was the first in a series.  Be still my heart.

I was both happy and surprised by this information. The End of All Stories (Legends of Badal’Shari #1) by Julia Rosenthal represented a new science fiction title by a new author for me. At the time I picked it up and started reading there was no indication that this was the start of a Legends of Badal’Shari series.  Nor did I get that from the ending of the story which the author wrapped up to my complete satisfaction.  But Rosenthal has built within this story such an amazingly complex foundation of cultures and rich world building that it easily will support a series.

She has created several races of beings, their cultures , systems of faith, a mythology that weaves legends, religion, fated mates into epic journeys.  And it all starts in a library.

I throughly enjoyed this story, from beginning to end.  The characters, especially Vael, who’s inquisitive nature and gentle soul made it easy to  love him.  More problematic for some will be Kayan, who at times is physically abusive.  For those for whom this is a trigger, be warned.  It’s not often but it happens and it’s within context of the tribe of warrior society that Vael has traveled to.  I can say that Kayan will address his actions as will others throughout the story. There is no sexual abuse.

There are cardboard characters here.  Whether or not you like their actions, its due to the fact these are believable viable beings you are reading about. Rosenthal provides, via other characters and means, the explanations/motivations for peoples various behaviors.  People here, are  as they say,  all too human.  Which makes the story.

There is an element of Vael falling for Kayan perhaps far too quickly for me, given his behavior, even with the fated disposition.  But the author’s other elements and their scenes together sold me on their relationship.

And then there was that later section of the story. Just amazing.  All the details, the suspense, the action, and yes, heartbreak, leading up to that ending which I loved.  Which I will not spoil here.

There are couples here I wish to see more of.  People here I wished to see more of.  So I’m thrilled that there will be subsequent stories.  I can only hope these people will reappear in them.  Fingers crossed.

Need a new author and story/series to enjoy?  Pick up The End of All Stories (Legends of Badal’Shari #1) by Julia Rosenthal. It’s one I highly recommend.

Cover art: Natasha Snow. I like the cover which seems to be the inside of a tent of Kayan’s tribe.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published June 27th 2018 by Less Than Three Press, LLC
ASINB07DGS7PTV
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLegends of Badal’Shari #1

A MelanieM Review: Lyle’s Story (Landlocked Heart #2) by Kay Berrisford

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Lyle, a merman, and Ben, his human, work together in a seaside ice-cream parlour and their life together is bliss. Or would be, if not for Ben’s constant worries about career and money, and Lyle’s dark past—a myriad of secrets, lies, wild magic, and foul deeds, which now threaten to catch up with him.

When Lyle’s merfolk family accuse him of murder, Ben and Lyle’s bond is stretched to the limit. Not only does Lyle seem unsuited to Ben’s dreams of domestic happiness, hismagical powers are spinning dangerously out of control. Even Lyle isn’t entirely sure he’s innocent.

With Ben dragged deep into the enchanted processes of merfolk justice, escaping with his life—and getting home to an important job interview—is just the start of the challenge. Uncovering Lyle’s inner truths without destroying their love could be a step too far…

Lyle’s Story is the second in Kay Berrisford’s Landlocked Heart series and I think it succeeds far better than the original story.  I liked so much about Lyle’s Story, especially in comparison to The Lonely Merman (Landlocked Heart, #1) which I liked but had issues with the format and ending.

Lyle’s Story is straightford lovely storytelling.  All the gaps and narrative whopping holes from the first story are filled in beautifully here, the characters and their relationship show real growth, and I just loved some of the elements (mysteries) that the author added into the overall series arc.

Ben and Lyle’s relationship is still in its formative stage and they are adjusting to each other and their hopes for the future.  It’s charming and oddly realistic considering one is a merman.  Lyle’s nature is not that of a human, Ben is human…there’s fins, magic, and much more to deal with, including Lyle’s past that he hasn’t been entirely truthful to Ben about.

I loved how Berrisford folds practicality and magic, myth and the mundane all together and it works.  This new addition to the series has me totally charmed and now I can’t wait to read the next installment.  The Landlocked Heart has captured mine.  If you are a lover of merman, romance and HEA, perhaps this is just the series and stories for you.

Cover art by J. Ang is simple and brands the series.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published September 27th 2017 by Less Than Three Press
Original TitleLyle’s Story
ISBN139781684310401
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLandlocked Heart #2

Amy Rae Durreson on Writing and Recovery (DSP PUBLICATIONS GUEST POST)

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Recovery (Reawakening #3) by Amy Rae Durreson
Published May 9th 2017 by DSP Publications

Available for Purchase at

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Amy Rae Durreson here today talking about writing, characters, and her latest story in her Reawakening series, Recovery.  Welcome, Amy Rae!

✒︎

 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Amy Rae Durreson

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Hmm, I think this is less about character traits than experiences. I’m a fairly quiet, easy-going person—some of my characters are too, but others are completely the opposite. What is more important, in my view, is finding enough common experience that you can emphasize with the character. Unlike Raif in Recovery, I’m not a twenty-something ex-resistance fighter on a quest to wake a sleeping dragon, but I have many experiences of anxiety, of not being sure what to do next with my life, with travelling to new places, and meeting people who are more complex than they seem at first. All of those are stepping stones to getting inside a character’s skin, even one who is superficially very different from me.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

For me, the difference is in how the writer presents the character to the reader. If the reader is expected to admire and idolize a character without question, that’s a Sue/Stu. If the reader can emphasize with them and see their flaws and hesitations, then you have a real character. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using bits of your own life to create a character. The problem arises when you demand that everyone worship your self-insert as flawless.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I just going to sit here and laugh hollowly. I do enormous amounts of research when I’m writing a fantasy novel. I look for historical analogues to my fantasy setting and mine them for little details which I can integrate into my imaginary world. For Recovery, I read a lot about Renaissance Venice, which is the inspiration for Aliann, the main setting, but I also read a lot of travel writing, from various centuries, and researched details from the design of an early printing press to formal garden design in medieval Europe to the history of pirates in the Mediterranean. Recovery was actually a fairly light research book—the previous book in the series, Resistance, was much more demanding—I learned enough about the bubonic plague for that one that I actually managed to pass the CDC’s online CPD module for ER doctors despite being an English teacher in real life (easier than it sounds—it was multiple choice and I guessed a few). I also read quite broadly on topics which look like they might come in handy for later books. Nothing is ever wasted.

Needless to say, I get twitchy whenever someone tells me that is must be so lovely to write fantasy where you can just make stuff up (my mother is notorious for this).

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

The first book I remember reading is The Ladybird Book of King Arthur Stories. The first I remember loving so hard I cried when the library wouldn’t let me keep renewing it was Diana Wynne Jones’ Charmed Life. I was pretty much doomed to write fantasy.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

No, but there are some stories I couldn’t have written any earlier. A Frost of Cares was like that—it was the final cathartic stage in a long process of healing. I went through a relationship similar to the one Luke has with his ex in that book, and it left its mark on me. I wasn’t ready to write about it for a long time, but now I’ve written that book, it seems to have lost its power to hurt me. The story I’m working on at the moment is hard, and is drawing on a lot of issues I encounter in my day job to do with childhood trauma, but in a way that’s actually feeding back positively—I’m all the more determined to take those problems seriously, having been inside my characters’ heads and considered them from a different perspective.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’ve given up trying to write HFN—I always end up making it HEA by mistake. I like to think that at the end of my books, all my couples have the potential to continue living happily together. For some of them, I even have little bits of personal headcanon (I know, for example, that after he retires, Siôn from Spindrift likes to go and sit in the back row of Mattie’s lectures and listen to him being passionate and inspirational. Mattie’s got a beard and a belly and a bald patch by then, but Siôn still thinks he’s the most beautiful thing in the entire world).

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I’ve always enjoyed romantic subplots in my reading, but I didn’t read any pure romance until my early twenties. I was spending every other weekend with my boyfriend at the time, who was studying on the other side of the country, and before I headed back to the station I’d buy myself a few romances to see me through the journey home (fellow Brits with experience of Sunday travel will know why one book alone was not enough). They brought me a lot of comfort, but my reading was restricted to a few authors. It wasn’t until I got my first e-reader and discovered m/m that I really started reading lots of romance. That probably explains why I always have a lot of plot in my novels—my roots as a storyteller lie in other genres and I have to weave the romance around those instincts.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

I can definitely see the influence of the books I read a kid in my own writing—I loved Susan Cooper and Diana Wynne Jones, as well as the warmth and benign eccentricity of Noel Streatfeild. As a teenage writer I was lucky enough to stumble across a copy of Ursula K LeGuin’s essay collection The Language of the Night in my local library. I read it over and over again and it completely changed the way I approached writing. As a adult reader, I find it harder to identify recent influences—I read a lot, and absorb it all into the churning creative mess that is my subconscious. A lot of the writers I love most tell very different stories from me, in very different ways.

How do you choose your covers?

I’m very lucky in having Dreamspinner’s art department create my covers. Catt Ford has done all the covers for the Reawakening series and I love them. I don’t know how she transforms my vague ramblings about character and setting into such lovely things, but I’m glad she does.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

Usually the most recent one, simply because it always feels the most vivid and alive to me. Looking back at past works, some have faded in my head a bit and others shine a little brighter. A Frost of Cares and Resistance will always make me proud, I think. Frost because I did something I’d never done before and it worked better than I expected, and Resistance because I’m damn proud of how I put that story together. There were a lot of tears shed over that book, but the end result was beyond what I thought I could do. Ironically, those two are respectively my most and least successful books.

What’s next for you as an author?

I’m working on another ghost story at the moment—this one set in the Scottish borders in an old orphanage with a dark past. There will also be more fantasy. I’m currently playing around with an idea for something fairy-tale inspired with a ridiculously over-the-top love interest with secret motives. There will be more Reawakening books, but they’re on hiatus until I get the last traces of Recovery out of my imagination and figure out how to end the next one.

Blurb

Resistance, exile, plague. Raif has survived them all, but now he finds himself in search of a new purpose. Traveling north to wake the dragon Arden, he hopes he has finally found a leader worthy of his loyalty, but Arden turns out to be more of a frivolous annoyance than an almighty spirit lord. Now bound to Arden’s side despite his frustration, Raif follows the dragon to the rich and influential lagoon city of Aliann, chasing rumors of the Shadow that once cursed his homeland.

With the election of a new duke at stake, Raif struggles to make sense of the challenges he meets in Aliann: a conspiracy of nixies and pirates, selkie refugees in desperate need of a champion, a monster that devours souls, a flirtatious pirate prince, and a machine that could change the world. For nothing in the city of masks is what it seems, from the new friends Raif makes to the dragon he follows—or even himself.

About the Author

Amy has a terrible weakness for sarcastic dragons, shy boys with sweet smiles, and good pots of tea. She is yet to write a shy, tea-loving dragon, but she’s determined to get there one day (so far, all of her dragons are arrogant gits who prefer red wine). Amy is a quiet Brit with a degree in early English literature, which she blames for her somewhat medieval approach to spelling, and at various times has been fluent in Latin, Old English, Ancient Greek, and Old Icelandic, though these days she mostly uses this knowledge to bore her students. Amy started her first novel twenty-one years ago and has been scribbling away ever since. Despite these long years of experience, she has yet to master the arcane art of the semicolon.

Social media:

Twitter: @amy_raenbow

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amyrae.durreson

Blog: https://amyraenbow.wordpress.com/

A MelanieM Review: Love Tokens by Megan Derr

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

love-tokens-by-megan-derrChanda is the Lord of Honey Flower House, which caters to those who have a taste for the paranormal between the sheets. Being an incubus makes him all the better at the job, even if it also leaves him lonely.

Then a demon appears on his doorstep in search of a missing person, and Chanda is quickly reminded why he prefers the relatively quiet life as master of a pleasure house—but also reminds him of a bitter past he’s tried to leave behind, and dreams he gave up on a long time ago.

 

Really, its Megan Derr and her ability to whisk me away to whatever world she has created that keeps me coming back again and again to her wildly imaginative stories and tales of wonder.  Love Tokens, a fantasy novella, is no different.  Chanda is an old succubus and the owner/proprietor of the Honey Flower House which is basically a paranormal whore house for upscale clients with unusual tastes.   Chanda has his own painful past and that clashes with  the demon sent to his place of business on the hunt for a  missing person.

Derr quickly pulls us into this world with descriptions of the Honey Flower House, from the employees to its patrons right up to the owner itself.  Then Azar makes a disconcerting entrance and the emotional explosions start to go off for them both.  I liked that Azar is a demon that displays demon behavior.  He’s not about to throw rose petals at  Chanda.  He’s all demon and his actions are in accordance with that.  Perfect. Chanda’s a succubus and  the same goes for him as well.  Derr keeps her characters well within a certain behavioral spectrum which I appreciated because it made their relationship work on so many levels – emotional, intellectual, giving this story a wonderful foundation to it.

Yes, I believed in both characters and their romance.

My only bother was that I wish I knew more about the couple at the heart of the “missing man”.  They sort of deserve their own story, don’t you  think?  I would love to know how that whole thing came about…hmmm, maybe a Love Tokens sequel is called for with a return appearance by Chanda and Azar.

At forty pages, this could easily be double that  and never wear out its  potential to be more.  I loved it.   If you are a lover of Derr, fantasy or both, this one’s for you.

Cover art by Natasha Snow Designs.  Guy is hot but the cover could be for any book honestly.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, Second edition, 40 pages
Published February 22nd 2017 by Less Than Three Press (first published October 30th 2012)
ISBN13 9781620049372
Edition Language English

Riptide Tour and Giveaway ~ Bitterwood by Rowan Speedwell

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bitterwood-riptide-cover

Bitterwood by Rowan Speedwell
R
iptide Publishing
Cover Art by Lou Harper

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

About Bitterwood

Outrunning a winter storm in the north, Captain Faran of the King’s Guard leads his men and a young mage named Meric to shelter at Bitterwood Manor, the ancestral home of the Daenes. Faran and his troops have been searching for weeks for a mysterious, lion-like beast that reportedly haunts the uncharted northern woods. For Meric, finding that prophesied cat is a matter of life and death.

Though Faran is deeply focused on their mission, the enigmatic Joss Daene, Lord of Bitterwood, fascinates him. Strong and proud, Joss is everything Faran wants in a lover. More, if he were honest. But Joss belongs to Bitterwood, and Faran to his duty.

Together they will need to brave the oldest, darkest part of the Bitterwood in the coldest, deepest snows of winter to find the legendary cat. But time is running out—for Meric, for the kingdom, and for Faran and Joss’s fledgling love.

Purchase at Riptide: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/bitterwood

About Rowan Speedwell

An unrepentant biblioholic, Rowan Speedwell spends half her time pretending to be a law librarian, half her time pretending to be a database manager, half her time pretending to be a fifteenth-century Aragonese noblewoman, half her time . . . wait a minute . . .  Hmm.  Well, one thing she doesn’t pretend to be is good at math.  She is good at pretending, though.

In her copious spare time (hah) she does needlework, calligraphy and illumination, and makes jewelry.  She has a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago, is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and lives in a Chicago suburb with the obligatory Writer’s Cat and way too many books.

Connect with Rowan:

bitterwood_tourbanner-1

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Bitterwood, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 24, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Lila Review: Loving Djinni by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Loving DjinniLeft to die in a sealed tomb, David, an educated and good-natured New York arts dealer and part-time forger, stumbles over an old oil lamp. But instead of producing a little light for David’s last hours, it conjures forth a veritable djinni.
An ancient, tempting, puckish djinni, who in David’s company prefers to show himself as an irresistibly handsome, fit and barely legal teenager. Quite literally an incarnation of trouble waiting to happen.
So what’s a modern man to do with his three wishes, when he can literally wish for anything except the one thing the truly desires – to mend his broken heart?

 

Loving Djinni brings a refreshing breath of air to the traditional MM fantasy genre. It starts as a mix between Indiana Jones and Lara Croft but rapidly finds its own place. I think (please don’t quote me) that this is my first MM djinni story. It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least, and I really enjoyed this authors’ style.

 

David seems a little distant and overdramatic at the beginning of the story, but the reader warms up to him as soon as they learned more about his story. The more time he spent with Sharu, the more we wanted for them to get their HEA. David is the traditional boy next door in everything but his job as a questionable art dealer. That hint of spice he has in him comes through the story creating an interesting character.

 

I have to say that Sharu was my favorite of the two main characters. I like the idea of having the djinni learning about the new world after his long confinement on his own and with minimal help from David. How many times he had been hurt by his masters has obviously shaped the person he’s now. David was the right master for him, caring, loving, but at the same time, intelligent and somehow outgoing.

 

This story has a great amount of sarcasm and humor. Their banter is fun and develops as they get to know each other better. Their daily lives give us an inside of what they both wanted, and there was a nice compromise during their relationship. They worked great as a team and as a couple. Their chemistry is sizzling, and the UST only enhanced it.

 

There aren’t many secondary characters, but Stanley and Mrs. Weintraub worked well, bringing trouble and comedic relief into the story. Yes, Stanley was perhaps too much of a stereotypical antagonist, but it felt real in this fantasy world. My less favorite parts were their history and art related conversations. For some reason, they didn’t read as smooth as the rest of the story.

 

I’m really impressed by this, new to me authors, and I’m definitely looking forward to more books from them.

 

The cover by Natalya Nesterona is perfect for this story. It shows both characters, the lamp, and David’s apartment. A great combination of style and fantasy.

 

Sale Links: Smashwords | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

 

ebook, 190 pages
Published: April 14, 2016, Self-Published
ISBN: 9781310559877
Edition Language: English

 

A Lila Review: The Scholar’s Heart (Chronicles of Tournai #3) by Antonia Aquilante

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Rating: 4 stars out 5

the scholars heartYoungest son of a royal duke, Etan is a scholar at heart who juggles his work for the prince with his studies of the history and legends of Tournai, something of particular interest to him because he shares the magical Talent that runs in the royal bloodline. Etan’s peaceful world turns upside down when his best friend—the man he secretly loves—unexpectedly marries a woman. Though Tristan values his friendship with Etan and has always been attracted to him, he is a dutiful son, raised to shoulder responsibility for the family business one day. That day comes far sooner than anticipated, and he makes a deathbed promise to his father to marry the woman his father chose and become head of the company and family.

A year later, Tristan is a widower with an infant daughter and a mother who demands he marry again quickly—something Tristan resists. Circumstances throw Etan and Tristan together, and even as they succumb to the desires they’ve always harbored, Etan battles his feelings, wary of being cast aside again. When Tristan’s daughter is kidnapped, Etan and Tristan must come together to find her, find the person responsible, and support each other through the ordeal… and maybe beyond.

The Scholar’s Heart is a tale of fantasy and a love story that turns into love.  The prologue sets the pace for Etan’s and Tristan’s relationship. Our first look at how they interact showed us how much they meant to each other, even when they took the other for granted.

By the start of the actual story, Etan is heartbroken, and Tristan walks the line between loving his infant daughter and mourning his wife. It’s this event that brings Etan back into Tristan’s life and rekindles their relationship after almost a year apart. Their easy banter and camaraderie came back with ease.

After several awkward meetings and tribulations, the MCs agreed to explore their desires. Then, they fight their feelings for each other. Etan’s trying to figure out if getting his heart broken one more time is worth it, and Tristan has to fight his mother’s insistence to remarry and have more kids.

The author did an excellent job getting the reader to be part of the events surrounding Ethan and Tristan. I didn’t read the previous two books in this series and didn’t miss any important element. The main characters in book #1 & #2 are an integral part of this book, but we get enough information to know who they are and how they got together without getting spoilers from their full stories. The reader would only need to read them to satiate their curiosity.

Some of the story events were predictable or over the top, but overall, they worked to create a cohesive story. The extra POVs felt unnecessary when we get everything we needed from Etan and Tristan. The pacing was off in the middle of the story making it drag a bit, and the kidnapping mentioned in the blurb doesn’t happen until past the halfway point in the book. At least, the resolution didn’t occur immediately.  Even when I don’t think the reason behind it was strong enough to carry the story.

The combination of settings, the characters, writing style, and folklore makes an enjoyable read– filled with smexy scenes and romantic details. Definitely, a nice fantasy story with the potential for another book in the near future.

The beautiful cover by Anne Cain matches the essence of the previous books in the series and shows Tristan and Etan in an intimate moment during the story.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 294 pages
Published: May 30, 2016, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781634772631
Edition Language: English

Series:  Chronicles of Tournai
Book #1: The Prince’s Consort
Book #2: The Artist’s Masquerade
Book #3: The Scholar’s Heart

In the Fantasy Spotlight: Fragments of a Unicorn’s Soul by J.R. Loveless (excerpt and giveaway)

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Fragments of a Unicorn's Soul

Fragments of a Unicorn’s Soul by J.R. Loveless
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Release Date: 4/6/16

Book/Buy Links

Goodreads | Torquere Books

 

Book Blurb

Content with his life, Elek Keros never questions the ways of the Unicorn. Until one night the sense of something coming awakens him from a deep sleep. He breaks Unicorn law by leaving the enchanted glade his kind lives in to search for what is calling to him. Each night he returns home without answers, but he cannot stop entering the forest day after day to find what he seeks.

The answer lies in a small child Elek rescues. Over the years, he watches over the boy, learns all that he can about the human and steadily falls in love with him. But how can the love he feels possibly breach the divide between their two worlds?

Heat Level: 3
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 12k words
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Urban Fantasy

Excerpt

Elek let out a pained whinny, tossing his head in denial of Jonathan’s words. The human male would not be coming back. It struck such pain through his heart that Elek did not understand how to cope with it. What could he say to make Jonathan remain by his side? Please don’t go.

Heart wrenching at the distress in Elekís voice, Jonathan stifled a small sound and rested his forehead against Elek’s neck. ‘I can’t stay, Elek. It’s not possible.’

Why? Elek demanded.

‘Because my feelings for you aren’t rational! You aren’t human, Elek, and, I can’t do this anymore. All I can think of is you, all I dream of is being here with you. It isn’t possible,’ Jonathan cried, squeezing his eyes shut. Today would be their last day together. He returned to school tomorrow.

Desperation rose in Elek. A strange burning sensation started behind Elekís eyes. Salt stung his nostrils and water welled up, spilling down his muzzle.

Jonathan felt wetness drip onto his neck and he pulled back in surprise. His sapphire gaze widened in shock. ‘Elek!’

I’ love you, Jonathan. Elek keened to him, frantically hoping that Jonathan returned his love.

Jonathan shook his head. ‘No, Elek. No. You can’t. It’s not possible. Please, don’t.’

Elek struggled to his feet, backing away from Jonathan. He’d put his heart in Jonathan’s hands and the human had rejected him. Despite knowing that their love wasn’t possible, Elek couldn’t stop the hurt spearing deep into his soul.

Jonathan gave him a helpless look. ‘Elek, please don’t go.’

A shrill cry echoed throughout the trees and Elek spun around, racing away from Jonathan, trying to outrun the pain. But it haunted him, nipping at his hooves like dogs at the paws of a fox. The human did not return his love. Elek didn’t stop running until he’d reached the glade. His head hung down almost to the ground in sorrow, and the normally vibrant spiral horn had dulled to a grayish color.

Author Bio

J.R. Loveless is a native Floridian who spends her days in an office physically but mentally is frolicking between the pages of her imagination. Writing has been a lifelong passion that escaped from her in the midst of life until she discovered Yaoi. After following breadcrumbs of the anime style, she discovered a forum dedicated to the world of Yaoi. Inspired, she tried her own hand at M/M romances, spending hours building worlds of her own with the newfound support of other forum members. She can never write enough of the electrifying emotions that blaze across the hearts and souls of her characters.

She is a self-confessed Dr. Who addict with a spastic dog and a neurotic cat for companions on her long journey through the many chapters of her life. One day she hopes to visit far off places and have grand adventures like those of the characters in her stories.

Blog: http://jrloveless.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjrloveless
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrloveless
Website: http://www.jrloveless.com

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A Free Dreamer Review: The Prince’s Consort (Chronicles of Tournai #1) by Antonia Aquilante

Standard

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

The Prince's ConsortLegends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures have been lost to time.
 
Or have they?
 
Prince Philip inherited the throne at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to take a wife and conceive an heir—forcing him to hide his attraction to men. When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect the lengths those who oppose their relationship will go to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

Okay, this book was very much not for me. The blurb sounded interesting and seemed to promise a fair bit of drama and angst. Well, there was a bit of both, I guess, but somewhere buried amidst an avalanche fluffy fluff so cute I think it gave me diabetes.

The world building was essentially non-existent. Yes, I am starting to feel like a broken record. It seems like I have to complain about lacking world building in every second fantasy/sci-fi review I write. It’s sad, but true. Really, the fantasy was extremely low-key here.

I’d expected the large cats mentioned in the blurb to actually somehow matter for the plot, but they didn’t. They were mentioned on occasion and there were a couple of scenes involving them, but nothing really important happened.

It was hard to form a connection to the MCs and the things that happened to them. It felt like the author only ever told us what happened, but never showed anything. At times that made for a rather boring story, to be honest. Not even the wedding was narrated in any detail. I just didn’t care about anybody in this story.

The whole story as such felt a little too easy for me. There was insta-love on both sides and the rest just fell into place somehow. Sure, there were those who tried everything to keep the two of them apart, but that part seemed very predictable to me. And since I just couldn’t form a connection to the MCs, I probably wouldn’t even have cared too much if one of them had died.

The thing that bothered me the most, though, was the sudden Mpreg. I do NOT like Mpreg. There’s no hint whatsoever anywhere in the blurb that there’d be Mpreg. If I had known about that, I wouldn’t have picked up this book. I know there are plenty of people out there who like this, but since it’s also something a lot of people absolutely can’t stand, a little warning would definitely be appropriate. It didn’t help that I got the feeling that the author only used the fantasy elements as an excuse for the Mpreg.

Overall, this book just wasn’t for me. Too much fluff, sudden Mpreg, and I just couldn’t relate to the MCs. While reading this book, I felt a kind of annoyed boredom. If you like Mpreg, enjoy tons of fluff and don’t care too much about world-building, give it a shot. Chances are, you’ll love it.

I didn’t, however, and I won’t bother with the rest of the series. And before I pick up anything by this author ever again, I’ll make sure to scan the reviews for some unmentioned Mpreg first.

Cover: The cover by Anne Cain shows Amory and Philip in a loving embrace. I like it, the colours are all very pretty.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 303 pages
Published October 16th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB016ATZM9I
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesChronicles of Tournai #1

Series:

The Prince’s Consort (Chronicles of Tournai, #1)

The Artist’s Masquerade (Chronicles of Tournai, #2

The Scholar’s Heart (Chronicles of Tournai, #3  coming soon