In Our Fantasy Spotlight: The Glamour Thieves by Don Allmon (tour and giveaway)

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The Glamour Thieves by Don Allmon
Riptide Publishing
Cover art by Simone

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Don Allmon here today talking about his exciting new fantasy series The Blue Unicorn and story, The Glamour Thieves.  Welcome, Don!

 

 

Howdy y’all. I’m Don Allmon and I got a debut book name of The Glamour Thieves. It’s the first of a three book series called The Blue Unicorn. It’s a grim kind of fantasy, a cybernetic near-dystopia, a rough-edged romance with few promises except for the ones that matter. Ain’t nothin’ worth earnin’ that wasn’t hard won. Join in on the comments and win yourself some loot.

 

About The Glamour Thieves

 

JT is an orc on the way up. He’s got his own boutique robotics shop, high-end clientele, and deep-pocketed investors. He’s even mentoring an orc teen who reminds him a bit too much of himself back in the day.

 

Then Austin shows up, and the elf’s got the same hard body and silver tongue as he did two years ago when they used to be friends and might have been more. He’s also got a stolen car to bribe JT to saying yes to one last scheme: stealing the virtual intelligence called Blue Unicorn.

 

Soon JT’s up to his tusks in trouble, and it ain’t just zombies and Chinese triads threatening to tear his new life apart. Austin wants a second chance with JT—this time as more than just a friend—and even the Blue Unicorn is trying to play matchmaker.

 

Available now from Riptide Publishing

This title is part of the Blue Unicorn universe.

About Don Allmon

 

In his night job, Don Allmon writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance. In his day job, he’s an IT drone. He holds a master of arts in English literature from the University of Kansas and wrote his thesis on the influence of royal hunting culture on medieval werewolf stories. He’s a fan of role-playing games, both video and tabletop. He has lived all over from New York to San Francisco, but currently lives on the prairies of Kansas with many animals.

 

Connect with Don:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of The Glamour Thieves, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 2, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Candy Land (Hidden Gem #3) by Lissa Kasey

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5       ★★★★★

candyland_final02Cameron “Candy” Michelson Jr. doesn’t have time for distractions. He’s too busy restructuring the red-light district into an adult playland for City M and running the Hidden Gem. But when his companion, Avery “Ivy” Laurent, grows closer to Jack, an investigator for the Institute of Scientific Study, Candy can’t hide his jealousy. Nor his own interest in Jack.

Ivy is crazy about Jack, but he’s also in love with Candy. Ideally, Ivy longs for all three of them to be together, but between Jack’s nonexistent libido and Candy’s supercharged needs, Ivy isn’t sure how to make it work.

When Jack gets called in to help the City M police department investigate a series of violently murdered companions, both Candy and Ivy brace for trouble. But nothing prepares them for Candy becoming the prime suspect.

In a future landscape of corrupt government officials, brutal BDSM crimes, and a host of dark creatures, Candy, Ivy, and Jack must work together to find the killer, save themselves—and learn how to trust each other.

The Hidden Gem stories by Lissa Kasey captivated me from the very beginning with her horrifying vision of a world in chemical ruin, its environs toxic and governments reduced down to geographical areas, even cities where populations clustered, clinging to life such as it was.  Throughout the populations were AMs, mutants both forced by experimentation and born into their genetic forms naturally by evolution…but all hidden from the citizens due to fear.

In each story, the title refers to a pleasure place.  The Hidden Gem, is the top “house” in City M, and Misaki “Aki” Itou is its highest paid  and most sought after “companion”. He will find love with detective Shane McNaughton, and their story sets in motion all the action and relationship dynamics to follow.  Its a 5 star magnificent ride and I couldn’t figure out how Kasey would top it. But of course, she did with Cardinal Sins (Hidden Gem, #2). Again its the name of a house of pleasure and gambling that the owner of the Hidden Gem finds, renovates and reopens for an unimaginable reason…its amazing tunnels of fish tanks that thread through its halls.  Here its the enigmatic Paris Hansworth, former “companion” turned senator and all powerful man who ends up finding the love of his life, Rain,  in the most unexpected place.  Each story gives a clue through the beautiful covers of Shobana Appavu. Yes, its in the blurb but its doesn’t prepare you for the power of the finding and the story itself.

Again, each book is building towards something more but I had no idea how strongly the author was preparing us for the final story in the trilogy until I came to Candy Land.  If I could give a book more than 5 stars I certainly would do so here.

Candy Land picks up the story almost immediately from Cardinal Sins and the three characters, one recently introduced and two we’ve come to know and love in all the other stories.  They all seem to be headed for something interesting as far as a matchup together, a triad, if they can communicate and overcome the enormous physical demons they have and plot hurdles ahead of them.  Cameron “Candy” Michelson Jr we met in the first book as the best friend of Aki and as high a paid companion as Aki was.  Now Candy is running Hidden Gem, has matured and is having trouble finding his way in staying Candy and the boss.   Avery “Ivy” Laurent,a psi paid companion at the Hidden Gem, Candy’s love interest is also interested in Frank, a AM who was partnered with Shane back when they were both cops.  Yes, circles upon circles of relationship dynamics and it all works.  Its important because these Venn diagram relationships are needed when the AM murders and explosive government politics start to intrude upon City M and their lives to the point of horrifying consequences to all.

One of the things I most admired about this story was Kasey’s ability to balance the need to bring the characters maturity along together and apart (especially Candy and Frank) while keep the suspense and deep intrigue mounting on the larger plot level.  Candy had to come to understand and accept Frank’s asexuality if their triad was to work, Frank also had to understand Candy’s need for dominance and Ivy’s need for them both.  It was a delicate give and take between all three and it works so beautifully here.  We get their vulnerability, their strengths, their humor and their pain…in short, we get them as whole viable people. I loved them all and together even better.  That’s saying a lot as threesomes usually aren’t my thing.  And this one is outstanding.

Even better?  The plot!   That nail biting, hold on to your seats because you won’t believe what’s coming next plot.  I ended up reading whole pages twice because they were so damn good.  Had the popcorn going, just hunched over the action, the drama, and the sequences that unfolded on the Kindle before me.  It had it all, angst, parts that had me weeping in anger, sadness and then unbelievable joy.  Yep, this book is over the moon.

When I got to  the end, I was so thrilled, I was stunned with joy.  It was everything I had wanted for each and every character.  How many times do you say that in a story?  Or a trilogy?  That you were completely satisfied with how everything worked out?  Now would I be happy if Lissa Kasey goes back and give Ono his own HEA?  You bet.  I think he deserves it after all this.  And then there’s that little matter of the boat people.  But the main characters?  Happy, happy, happy.

So do I recommend this book?  Silly question.  Of course I do.  All of them to be precise.  And Lissa Kasey too.  I will be picking them all back up and reading them in a row now that I have the trilogy complete to see what I may have missed.  Do yourself a favor, grab them all up, do it too.  Make yourself some popcorn while you’re at it.  You will be there for a wonderful fantasy ride!

Cover art by  Shobana Appavu is as outstanding as the book.  Each cover a clue as to the major element inside.

Sales Links:  Amazon |Dreamspinner PressAReBarnes & Noble

Book Details:

ebook, 274 pages
Published April 25th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634771672 (ISBN13: 9781634771672)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Trilogy: Hidden Gem

hiddengem_final03Cardinal Sins covercandyland_final02

 

A MelanieM Review: Who Knows the Storm (The Vigilante #1) by Tere Michaels

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Who Knows the Storm coverSometime in the future, a mysterious climate event caused torrential rains to fall, raising the water levels in New York City so high that huge areas were soon lost underwater and what civilians that could were evacuated, never to return.  Now a vastly different New York City is rising up from the flooded land, one where decadence reigns—gambling, the flesh trade, a playground for the wealthy. And underneath? Crime, fueled by “Dead Bolt,” a destructive designer drug.

Left behind in the initial evacuation as a young teen, now a grown Nox Boyet leads a double life. At night, he is the Vigilante, struggling to keep the streets safe for citizens abandoned by the corrupt government and police. During the day, he works in construction and does his best to raise his adopted teenaged son, Sam.

High priced whore, “model” Cade Creel, a high-end prostitute working at the Iron Butterfly Casino is asked by one of his influential “regular” clients to hand deliver an envelope to a person named Sam Boyer.  Never did Cade expect his delivery to take him into the worst parts of town where mugging and killings are frequent, and the best options where even worse outcomes have been known to occur.  A “rescue” by the Vigilante and the delivery made to Sam trigger an intense attraction between Nox and Cade, one that  ignites as dark figures from Nox’s past and the mysterious peddlers of Dead Bolt begin to descend—and put all their lives in danger. When things spin out of control, Cade is the only person Nox can trust to help him save Sam.

My hopes for Who Knows the Storm ran high.  The author?  One of my favorite and an automatic buy for her stories.  The synopsis?  Intriguing and current, especially the element of a climatic weather event drowning New York City, a possibility that many experts expect to happen in the not so distant future.  Plus it was the first in a new series called The Vigilante, another bonus.  Unfortunately, while Who Knows the Storm has many fine attributes, taken together they never add up to a logically constructed, gripping whole story. Sigh.

Set in some vague dystopian future, the settings and locations made sense while the backstory did not.  Everyone expects the sea levels to rise, especially given recent storms like Hurricane Sandy which left a wide path of destruction in its wake, including submerged subways and highly populated boroughs underwater. But here there was no effort made to reclaim the city, leaving it to crumble,falling into such disrepair and unhealthy state that no one returns to live there?  That’s the first premise the reader has to buy into and its a huge one that never feels believable.  New Yorkers giving up on their city?  The rich and influential fleeing, leaving their riches behind?  Uh no.  Especially when there are already cities (think Amsterdam or Venice or…) with the working technology to erect sea barriers.  There exist pumps to flush out the subways (which they did in Sandy), and so much more that is general knowledge that this “world building” is off to a shaky start on a foundation built on plot that never comes together.  I never bought into this dystopian world  and that lack of believability and connection damaged the rest of the story.

Then there were the characters.  Nox Boyet’s past is seen through the eyes of an abandoned 15 year old, one living through an ecological disaster of immense proportions.  This element of the story is both moving and affective.  We don’t need a reason for the rains to become affected by a young person in danger in uncertain times.  The descriptions and scenes are desperation incarnate and the frailty of Nox’s situation pulls the reader in…for a while.

Then we transition from the past, forward to a year and then to the nebulous present and Nox as not only an wary adult but a father of teenaged son.  The vast gap between the child left behind and the aged Nox just highlights the missed opportunities to flesh out the world building and answer the many questions floating around in the reader’s minds.

The pov switches from character to character, transitioning in a manner that’s not always as smooth as one could hope.  Michaels is also trying to establish all the main series plot threads, events and characters while balancing the need of the immediate storyline and character growth.  Sometimes it works and other times not so much.  Events from the past are reintroduced throughout the story but often lead to more questions not answers.  There are character with multiple identities and everywhere a facades are erected to hide the actual events and people responsible for them.  I rather liked the “smoke and mirrors” aspect to Michael’s plot.  There are some nasty little surprises in store for the main characters and shocks for the readers as well.  It’s a convoluted trip Tere Michaels takes us on.  There are white-knuckle moments galore, and gut clenchers (yes I know that’s not a word but it should be) to satisfy most picky of  action/suspense readers around.  But…..it never all comes together and feels like a harmonious whole.  It’s feels jumbled and a bit dense in places, and the “aha” moments  come and go a little too quickly.

The last thing?  The ending, which leaves major components and figures unresolved and unidentified.  That’s actually ok with me as this is the first in a series, and I can see the author using this mysterious scheme and head villain as an “umbrella layer” for all the books to come.  I was left strangely unsatisfied at the end of the story.  I just don’t think this part of the story was part of that unsettled feeling.  I’m still thinking about that one.

If you are a Tere Michael’s fan or a lover of dystopian stories, you might love Who Knows the Storm (The Vigilante #1).  This is a story that could go either way with readers, some will love it and others won’t make it to the finish.  You will have to be the judge.

 Cover Artist: Angsty G.  The coloration is nice.  I wish the idea of a New York Red District rising out of filth laden waters would have translated to the cover.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press                    All Romance  (ARe)                   Who Knows the Storm             buy it here

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published October 17th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632162175
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Vigilante #1