A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall and Adam R Watson (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I really enjoyed this story. An unusual shifter tale, in this one Veier (rhymes with bear) has been chained to a king’s throne and kept in his bear shifter form for five years. He’s freed when the kingdom is overthrown, but the new king wants him executed and it’s his brother, Elrid, who saves Veier’s life. Elrid is a powerful mage and he rightly points out that the chain indicates Veier was not necessarily loyal to the previous rulers.

But it takes patience and trial and error before Veier is trusted enough to be let outside the room where Elrid works and sleeps with him as the two begin to build trust. He has brief moments of freedom but always seems to be in the wrong place when trouble occurs. He and Elrid become close as he slowly starts to trust that this human may really not wish him harm.

When Elrid is severely injured in an attack by the previous king’s followers, it’s Veier who risks not only his freedom, but his life, to go to Elrid and use his own life force to help Elrid recover and regain his strength. 

I liked the way the author created Veier’s character as a very rough, gruff, hard to get to know man, yet one who we definitely want to get to know and cheer for as he slowly grows from the bear who reacts before thinking to the man who feels all levels of emotion.  Elrid was the strong, silent type—the kind of man with enough patience to wait out Veier’s slow buildup of trust. 

The narrator did a good job with unique vocalizations for each man. If I had one peeve it would be that the MC’s name, Veier, rhymed with bear and he’s a bear shifter. Perhaps the narrator mispronounced it. Or perhaps the author never read the book out loud.  In either event, it caused confusion on several occasions when I was listening as I wasn’t quite sure which word was being used. And at some points in the story, when it was important to know Veier was in bear or in human form, it was frustrating.

Other than that, this is a definite recommendation to my fellow MM romance readers.  Most definitely not insta-love, this is a slow burn, enemies to friends to lovers story with a unique shifter slant. 

The cover by Shayne Leighton features a close-up of a bearded man, hand under chin, and a bear paw print with the title of the story superimposed over it. Very nicely done.

Sales LInks:  Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audio Book Details:

Audiobook
Published October 24th 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published April 9th 2018)
Original Title Magic Runs Deep
Edition Language English

Quinn Anderson on a future for Max and the new release Fourteen Summers (guest post and giveaway)

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Fourteen Summers by Quinn Anderson

Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Melissa Liban

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Quinn Anderson here today on tour with the new release, Fourteen Summers.  Welcome, Quinn.

I’m Quinn Anderson, author of New Heights and the Murmur Inc. series. Welcome to my blog tour for Fourteen Summers! Stay tuned to get fun facts about this release, inside information about my writing process, and to learn how I chose my penname. Leave comments for a chance to win a $10 Riptide gift card. I look forward to chatting with you all!

 

✒︎

Will Max Get His Happy Ever After?

I wouldn’t say I left a “loose end” in this novel, but there is something I left up to readers’ imaginations. For now, at least.

Max—the third POV character in this novel, and the one who’s not involved in the core romance—has a number of revelations during this story. He learns about boundaries, friendship, family, and respecting other people’s space. Most importantly, however, he begins to understand an aspect of his love life he’d previously ignored. I won’t say what (because spoilers), but by the end of the novel, it’s clear he has a path of self-discovery ahead of him.

Unfortunately, with only so many pages and a love story to tell, there wasn’t room to show where Max ends up when all is said and done. I’m not worried about readers finding this frustrating, because it’s set up in a way that makes it clear you can imagine for yourself what happens to Max.

However, if enough people demand it, I could be convinced to write Max’s story. We’ll see if people are curious, or if they’re happy deciding his fate for themselves!

 

 

About Fourteen Summers

 

Identical twins Aiden and Max Kingsman have been a matched set their whole lives. When they were children, Aiden was happy to follow his extroverted brother’s lead, but now that they’re in college, being “my brother, Aiden” is starting to get old. He’s itching to discover who he is outside of his “twin” identity.

 

Oliver’s goals for the summer are simple: survive his invasive family, keep his divorced parents from killing each other, and stay in shape for rowing season. He’s thrilled when he runs into his old friends, the Kingsman twins, especially Aiden, the object of a childhood crush. Aiden is all grown-up, but some things have stayed the same: his messy curls, his stability, and how breathless he makes Oliver. Oliver’s crush comes back full force, and the feeling is mutual. Summer just got a whole lot hotter.

 

Fun-loving Max takes one thing seriously: his role as “big brother.” When Aiden drifts away, Max can’t understand how his own twin could choose a boy over him. Summer won’t last forever, and with friendship, family, and happily ever after on the line, they’ll have to navigate their changing relationships before it’s too late.

 

About Quinn Anderson

 

Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.

 

A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. Her girlfriend swears her sense of humor is just one big Joss Whedon reference. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life, and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Yuri on Ice, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Buffy, and more. Growing up, while most of her friends were fighting evil by moonlight, Anderson was kamehameha-ing her way through all the shounen anime she could get her hands on. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and Tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere. If you’re at an event, and you see a 6’2” redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that’s probably her.

 

Her favorite authors include J.K. Rowling, Gail Carson Levine, Libba Bray, and Tamora Pierce. When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling, cooking, spending too much time on the internet, playing fetch with her cat, screwing the rules, watching Markiplier play games she’s too scared to play herself, and catching ’em all.

 

Connect with Quinn:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Fourteen Summers, Quinn is giving away a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 26, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Blog Tour for Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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When a SEAL medic inherits three young children, he must battle to keep the family together and keep his long-held feelings for the man challenging him for custody at bay.

Squared Away

Series: Out of Uniform #5

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): April 16. Print, ebook, and audio all available.

Length (Print & Ebook): 80,000 words

Subgenre: m/m military romance

Includes: military romance, insta-family, hurt/comfort, angst, interracial, heroes-with-kids, gay romance, demisexual/gray ace hero, first time, loss, reunion, forced proximity

Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ptQhFH

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2ptc00A

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Squared-Away-Audiobook/B07BGJ3FRF

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/squared-away/id1326105516?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/squared-away-1

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/squared-away-annabeth-albert/1127659238?ean=9781335980809

Carina Press: https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781335980809_squared-away.html

Synopsis:

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

What Annabeth Albert has to say about this book in her Out of Uniform series:

“I wanted to write a book about the nature of family and how loss and tragedy can shape family, mold it into something stronger, force growth and change. I’m enormously proud of SQUARED AWAY as a result because how I fell in love with this little family.”

“When Wizard first appeared in ON POINT as a secondary character, I was intrigued by him, but it wasn’t until I let myself get into his head that I really saw how complicated he was. I feel honored and privileged to have been able to tell his story.”

“No book gets written in a vacuum and this one is no different. I owe a huge debt on this book to my sensitivity readers who really encouraged me to dig deep.”

Praise for the series:

“Albert delivers a solid hurt/comfort story…” RT Book Reviews on SQUARED AWAY

“Mark and Isaiah’s budding relationship happens with sensitivity and steamy moments…” RT Book Reviews on SQUARED AWAY

“Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a unique look at SEALs’ lives, showing us the insides of their hearts and homes and the love that drives them.” ~Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.  

“Sexy, sweet and heartfelt, Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a fresh take on Navy SEALs that will delight and entertain romance readers.” ~Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.  

 Excerpts:

“I take it that’s a yes?”

“It’s always going to be a yes for more kissing.” Isaiah scooted closer. They’d done the massage and goodnight kiss routine a few more times, but he was careful to not press for it, to let it be Mark’s idea.

Mark gave him a fast but still electric kiss. “I was thinking about this when I was helping you outside earlier. It’s crazy how much I like touching and kissing you.”

“I love touching you too.” Isaiah trailed his fingers down Mark’s cheek. “You haven’t had that before?”

“Not really. I’ve had a lot of kisses that felt like getting my earlobe chewed by a cat or trying to kiss a salmon. Not awful but not ‘can’t wait to do it again’ either. Had some kisses I liked, but right as I was getting comfortable, the other person would try to take it to the next level. And that was always a disaster.”

“Even with your friend? The other medic?”

Mark shrugged and looked away. “He got huffy when I didn’t want to get naked after a few kisses. Called me a closet case.”

“I’m sorry.” Isaiah patted his leg, not sure what else to say. “You’re a great guy. You deserve all the good kisses—no fish or earlobe chewing allowed. And you deserve to go at your own pace. Always.”

“I feel guilty. Like I should be doing something more for you…”

“Hey now. I’m getting amazing kisses from a hot-as-fuck guy who also likes to massage me until I’m a pile of limp lettuce. Trust me. I’m not getting a shabby deal here. At all.” If anything, Isaiah felt guilty for how very much he was enjoying all this. “And add in yard work help and cleaning? Man, you’d be a lot of people’s idea of a dream date.”

“Good.” Mark leaned in for another, softer kiss. “Because I really like doing this.”

“Me too.” Isaiah tried to calm the thumping of his heart. Careful, he warned himself even as his long-comatose hope monster hefted itself up and did a dance. He couldn’t afford to go falling for Mark again, yet with each kiss, each tentative touch, he could feel his grip on his resolve weakening.

About Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.  The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ  romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Connect with Annabeth:

Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Group | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

Giveaway: win 1 of 2 ecopies of any back catalog book by Annabeth Albert:

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Direct Giveaway Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0353/

A MelanieM Review: Where Death Meets the Devil by LJ Hayward

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Jack Reardon, former SAS soldier and current Australian Meta-State asset, has seen some messy battles. But “messy” takes on a whole new meaning when he finds himself tied to a chair in a torture shack, his cover blown wide open, all thanks to notorious killer-for-hire Ethan Blade.

Blade is everything Jack doesn’t believe in: remorseless, detached, lawless. Yet, Jack’s only chance to survive is to strike a bargain with the devil and join forces with Blade. As they trek across a hostile desert, Jack learns that Blade is much more than a dead-eyed killer—and harder to resist than he should be.

A year later, Jack is home and finally getting his life on track. Then Ethan Blade reappears and throws it all into chaos once more. It’s impossible to trust the assassin, especially when his presence casts doubts on Jack’s loyalty to his country, but Jack cannot ignore what Blade’s return means: the mess that brought them together is far from over, and Ethan might just bring back the piece of Jack’s soul he thought he’d lost forever.

What words do I use?  Highly entertaining! Incredibly suspenseful and thrilling!  Full of unforeseeable twists and turns with characters to die for! Where Death Meets the Devil by LJ Hayward is all that and more I can’t remember reading anything by this author before but in one story Hayward became a must read author.  In a story so smooth, so compelling that I stayed up until the wee hours, caught up in the gripping tale of Jack Reardon and Ethan Blade.  And then that ending!  Swoon!

The format Hayward chooses to help tell this tale definitely pulls you further into the intrigue and drama.  The story switches effortlessly back and forth  between the first time Jack encounters Ethan Blade in the torture shack to the present. You are caught up  reading, then you are flipping at just the right time in the narrative to emphasize the power of the moment. Brilliant.  You get to see the differing mindsets, the history between the men, the change perhaps in dynamics…I don’t think I’ve ever seen this format work so well or contribute  so much to the overall energy of the narrative.  It’s perfect.

So too are the characters.  I can’t say too much except that you will believe in these men, their flaws as well as their strengths.  They have true chemistry and given their tough conditions and situations, you will believe in that and them over and over again.  I’ll say no more.

Where Death Meets the Devil by LJ Hayward has a camel named Sophia, more plots twists than can fill a pool in an oasis,  and a ending I absolutely adored.  It also sent me running to the publisher begging for information about any news about sequels.  Yes, my readers, apparently there’s one in the works. Be still my heart.    So now I’m off to read this story again.  Yes, I loved it that much. You will too.  Put Where Death Meets the Devil on your TBR list and the author LJ Hayward on your must read list as well. You won’t be sorry.  I highly recommend them both.

Cover art: L.C. Chase.  I like the cover.  It works for the story.  Very jazzy.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 395 pages
Published February 26th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleWhere Death Meets the Devil
ISBN 1626497168 (ISBN13: 9781626497160)
Edition LanguageEnglish