Review: Blown Kisses (Whispering Winds #2) by Havan Fellows

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Rating: 5 stars out of  5

Blown Kisses coverRowen Smithe’s world got infinitely larger and more complicated the day he met Mick Rutger, a friend of Finn’s.  Mick is determined to draw Rowen out of his cabin and confined lifestyle and into Mick’s much larger and outgoing circle of friends.  Rowen is equally determined to stay away and removed from the gregarious,handsome Mick.  But now that Mick has moved just across the road from him in another rental cabin, it has become so much harder to ignore his neighbor.

Mick Rutger is fascinated by Rowen Smithe.  Everything about the man from his long black hair to his secretive ways is attractive to Mick and he is determined to find out more and be the man’s friend, if not something even better.  His first move is into the cabin across from Rowen’s and a stray cat to share with his neighbor.   But then something more appears…a threat not only to their shared cat but to all the creatures of the woods, woods Rowen is bent on protecting.

Rowen Smithe’s top priority is no longer trying to quiet his inner demons but to put an end to the evil that has invaded the woods of Mountain Shadows leaving the bodies of small tortured animals in its wake.  And he will need the help of a very nosy neighbor to track and remove those behind the animal deaths.

I should just make this review as short and sweet as this story and just say “go, go now and get this series”.  Don’t dilly dally, or shilly shally around.  This story and series are ones everyone should be grabbing up (and its companions series to boot). Havan Fellows has created in Rowen Smithe, a tortured soul whose background and secretive ways has made the man an enigma to many (including the readers).   Rowen is alternately sexy. self assured and bold, or distressed, angst filled and withdrawn, and all within a space of 5 to 10 minutes.  His is such an unexpected personality and that aspect draws everyone to him like moths to a flame.  And that includes readers as well.  A true naturalist and outdoorsman, his respect for nature is boundless.  Less so  his regard for his fellow human beings.  Only a few have been let inside his personal space and now he is beginning to consider that Mick might be one more person to include in those he trusts.

The model on the cover is perfect for the larger than life persona that is Mick Rutger.  Charming, enthusiastic with all the energy of a Golden Retriever, Mick is determined to get close to Rowen and a kiss from the man in question has only fueled Mick’s desires.  But for every step forward he makes in his pursuit, Rowen takes twice as many in retreat.  Rowen is a puzzle Mick is intent on figuring out and the reader is just as eager as Mick is.  How I adore these characters.  This excerpt is sure to entice you:

Rowen slouched lower and watched through a crack between the curtain and window as the bane of his existence rocked slowly with that fat ass cat sitting on his lap, her head bouncing up and down from his attentions.

“Don’t fucking scratch her so hard. She may be big but she still has a tiny neck,” Rowen mumbled to no one.

He realized what he’d just said and twisted on his heels from his squat to land on his ass against the wall between the front door and the window he’d just been spying out of. He must be mad to be worried about a stray cat that did nothing but run from him every time he stepped outside.

The irony of that thought was not lost on him; he just chose to ignore it for the moment.

But you are mad, aren’t you?

He banged the back of his head against the wall once, twice…when he lifted his head for a third round of punishment, the knock of flesh on wood happened before the contact between his skull and the wall did.

Huh?

Rowen sat quiet for a second, wondering where the extra noise came from when it happened again, and he looked up to the right.

“Shit…” he muttered under his breath. Someone was knocking on his door.

He turned his body, slowly moved the curtain out of the way, and with only his right eye, peered out the window. He couldn’t see the front door from this window, but he wondered if a certain…

Two clear pale blue eyes stared back at him, crinkled around the edges undoubtedly because of the smile Rowen couldn’t see from this close.

Mick moved back enough to lift up Filigree—no, the stray cat—and wave her paw at Rowen.

Rowen gracelessly fell backward on his butt, the curtain fluttering closed when he pulled away. He flipped himself over and scuttled up the stairs to his second floor window and his blessed tree.

He easily climbed out of the cabin and onto the branch then froze with one hand on the window frame and the other on the limb above his head.

Standing beneath him and slightly to the left, a blond-haired man sans a stray feline smiled up at him.

“Thought I’d find you here. So, do you want steak for dinner?”

 

Irresistible right?  Mick waving that little paw at Rowen? Adorable.  But as sweet and funny as that moment and others are, the narrative also is quick to turn as dark as the voice inside Rowen’s mind.  When the small  dead animals start to turn up, its clear that other demons haunt the woods around Shadow Mountain.  Soon the hunt is on for the culprit or culprits and everyone around is drawn into the task.

The narrative is very much like a day on a mountain,  It can start off so promising with blue skies and a warm sun shinning down on you, but before you know it, a front moves in and you are caught out in the wild as a storm rages around you and rescue looks bleak.  That how quickly the mood and relationships twist and turn here.  It makes for a quick, provocative and suspenseful read.  It’s one of the elements that makes this story and series so successful and the Pulp Friction group as a whole.  You never know what’s coming next or which layer is going to be pulled back to reveal a tortured past or criminal element. It’s surprising how fast it all goes by.  It pulls you into the story so completely that when you reach the end you are ready for the next story because you want it to continue immediately.  But I have to wait and so do you, at least for a little while.

If you are new to these characters and series, start with the first story, Blown Away, then Blown Kisses.  So go now, get started reading.  You will fall in love with these characters and their series.  And then move on to the other connecting stories.  They are as addictive as they come and are highly  recommended for all.  All are listed below.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I love these covers, from the models to the branding for the Pulp Friction group.  Just perfect.

Book Details:

ebook, approximately 45 pages
Published April 14th 2014 by Appleton Publishing Avenue
ISBN PF1400002
edition languageEnglish
seriesWhispering Winds #2

Round One of Pulp Friction 2014:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire# 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold# 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows# 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake# 1) by Tom Webb

Round Two of Pulp Friction 2014:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Where the Wind Blows #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by Tom Webb

Review: Higher Ground (Earthquake #1) by TA Webb

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Higher Ground coverCharlie Turner was just 19 when his father died, leaving a hole in the Turner family that was impossible to fill.  Yet Charlie tried, walking away from college, his boyfriend, and his dreams, everything that mattered to him in order to live at home and take care of his younger brother and mom. Now in his 30’s and with Turner & Sons Construction a success, Charlie has little else in his life beyond family and work, something his friends and mother are concerned about.

When his friend and co worker, Siggy, gets pulled away to work at Mountain Shadows, Charlie is left to meet with their newest client, an art gallery owner who wants to expand his space to include more art works.  The owner of the gallery, Amos Greene, is arrogant, cold, and somewhat smug, especially in his initial dealings with Charlie.  His treatment of Charlie borders on demeaning and rude but Charlie demands respect and professionalism  and gets it.  A standoff made tense by the fact that both men are attracted to each other.

But Charlie has more on his mind than a stuffy art gallery owner,  his younger brother is getting into trouble and his mom wants Charlie to reclaim his personal life by moving out into a house of his own at Shadow Mountain.  Getting a life is easier than it sounds and a demanding new client is the least of Charlie’s problems or so he thinks…..

Higher Ground, the first in TA Webb’s Earthquake (PF2014) series, is a wonder of a story.  Webb’s main character, Charlie Turner, has been through the emotional wringer, and the stress and responsibility he shouldered when his father died has not abated. Forced by circumstances to  be “the man of the family”, Charlie forfeited his teenage years and personal life to make sure his mother and younger brother were taken care of.  Managing his own personal pain, Charlie’s focus was on his mother and brother.  And while his mother has recovered, younger brother, Damon,  is swinging deeper out of control.  Only Charlie seems to be able to reach him.

I think one of the  finest aspects of this story is the brotherly dynamics playing out between Charlie and Damon.  The death of their father forced Charlie into his father’s role when his mother was emotionally and physically unable to parent him and Damon.  But now she has recovered enough to realize what that has done to her older son and is trying to make amends. Their mother wants to reclaim her role as parent/authority figure to Damon, and having Charlie leave the house will let her do that and give Charlie the independence he deserves.  But it may be too late for that and Webb makes us see just how fragile the bonds are between Charlie, his mother, and Damon.

And clearly, Webb understands the combustive nature of teenagers too.  It’s hard enough to be a teenager with hormones playing havoc with you at that age. But then to have that young boy deal with the loss of a beloved father in a car accident, the temporary loss of the support from his mother dealing with her own issues? Devastating especially as it comes with a change in his relationship with his older brother  which goes from adored sibling to someone now in an authority position. All this sends him reeling towards poor decisions and emotional turmoil that just gets worse with each new well meaning intervention.

All the characters, all their actions comes across as authentic and painfully realistic.  You will hurt for Damon as much as you do for Charlie.  This is a tough time for both of them and Damon isn’t, not unexpectedly, handling Charlie’s move well.  So many changes to the fundamental foundation of the Turner family, and the author makes us quake in anxiety and anticipation for the next event to impact them and the damage it will cause.

And on top of all this is a mixed up attraction between Charlie and Amos.  The author’s terrific character development of both men let the reader into the roller coaster of emotions their meeting/working relationship has generated.  Charlie, open and friendly, easy in his sexuality.  Amos, cold, calculating and rushing to judgement, all prickly and cultured.  Their clash instigates some white hot sex driven passion which is just as quickly dashed. Webb leads us through all the assumptions each man has made about each other and then onto the path of adjustments they start to make.  There is so much room for growth here, not only in their burgeoning relationship with each other but also with those other characters that surround them, including Amos’ relationship with Damon.

I have to keep double checking to see that this story is only 45 pages in length. It has the feel of a much longer, deeper story.  Webb gives us textured, real characters and a multi-layered plot that pulls us in and keeps us involved from start to finish. There are some deeply wounding events that occur here that ring with all the emotional truth and pain that close siblings can inflict on each other.   It leaves Charlie and the reader hurting and worried about what comes next.  I can’t wait for the next story in the series, Moving Earth (Earthquake #2).  TA Webb made me care about these people.  Now I need to know what happens next.  So will you.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Great covers for all the series and books,including Higher Ground.

Book Details:

ebook, 45 pages
Published March 1st 2014 by A Bear on Books

One of the Pulp Friction 2014 Series

 From the Pulp Friction Group: The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends. The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth. Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Firestorm (Fighting Fire: 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows: 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake: 1) by TA Webb

Guest Authors, Contests and The Week Ahead in Reviews

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Giveaway Alert

While March is deciding whether to be winter or spring, new books are popping up like crocuses, just waiting to be discovered and read.  I have a wonderful group of authors and stories waiting for you this week along with a number of book giveaways and author contests for everyone to enter.

Book with Glasses grey scale

Monday will start off with the sequel to The Fall, a novel by Kate Sherwood.  Tuesday is a 2 book review day with of some of the Pulp Friction 2014 stories.  This year’s series is very different in tone and characters from last years, but just as absorbing.  A new author for me, E.E. Ottoman, is visiting on Wednesday to talk about E.E.’s release, Song of the Spring Moon Waning, a story I think everyone should read.  A copy of that book will be given away as part of E.E. Ottoman’s guest blog.  Thursday is the return of those marvelous group of authors whose stories comprise the Pulp Friction 2014 series.  Laura Harner, Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows and Tom Webb will be stopping by to talk about this year’s series and will give away a $25 gift card from All Romance eBooks!  Friday Heidi Belleau and Amelia C. Gormley continue on their book tour with To The Very Last Inch, The Professor’s Rule #5 (contest also).  And finally, ScatteredThoughts is finishing up the week with another new author for me, Liz Boreno. Liz Boreno will be here talking about her Angel series, Angel’s Hero (The Angel #1) and Angel’s Truth (The Angel#2), reviews of which will follow.  And there will be a book giveaway to go with her spotlight guest blog as well.Frog Reading

Whew!  What a packed and wonderful week in store!  All those great authors and contests too.  Don’t miss out, stay with me all week long.  Now off to whack some bushes just to feel all gardenery and such….

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  • Monday, March 10:           Riding Tall by Kate Sherwood
  • Tuesday, March 11:           Firestorm by Laura Harner, Cold Snap by Lee Brazil
  • Wed., March 12:                 E.E. Ottoman Author Spotlight and Contest
  • Thursday, March 13:        Pulp Friction 2014 Authors & Series Spotlight/Contest
  • Friday, March 14:              To The Very Last Inch Book Tour/Contest w/ Heidi Belleau & Amelia C. Gormley
  • Saturday, March 15:         Take Flight with Liz Boreno, Author Spotlight, Contest
  • Review: Angel’s Hero by Liz Boreno