A MelanieM Pre-Release Review: House of Cards (Porthkennack #4) by Garrett Leigh

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Calum Hardy’s life has unravelled. Reeling from the betrayal of a man he once loved, he boards a train heading south, with no real idea where he’s going except a world away from London.

Brix Lusmoore can hardly believe his eyes when he spots one of his oldest friends outside Truro station. He hasn’t seen Calum since he fled the capital himself four years ago, harbouring a life-changing secret. But despite the years of silence, their old bond remains, warm and true—and layered with simmering heat they’ve never forgotten.

Calum takes refuge with Brix and a job at his Porthkennack tattoo shop. Bit by bit, he rebuilds his life, but both men carry the ghosts of the past, and it will take more than a rekindled friendship and the magic of the Cornish coast to chase them away.

There’s a phrase that get’s uttered here whenever Brix or someone feels that a person has been charmed or perhaps conned even by a Lusmoore’s abilities to sway you over, they say “you’ve been Lusmoored”.  That I have by this place and people, this story. Everything about Garrett Leigh’s House of Cards resonates with me.  From the cornish seaside town of Porthkennack (mythically created for this series yet so believably alive), the harsh sea that calls to the residents, bringing them home, the characters Leigh created that I’ll not forget, or their love story that I’ll soon return to, House of Cards is one of those stories that I’ll always love.

In Calum Hardy and Brix Lusmoore, Leigh has created two damaged men that life tore apart and now ten years later throws back together just when each will need them the most.  On the surface, it’s Calum, so desperate for a life raft.  The author makes his pain, his feelings of low or no self esteem vivid, his vulnerability real and aching.  Years of  domestic abuse under the influence of his bullying, dominant boyfriend has reduced him to the point he’s turned everything over to him, finances, beloved tattoo shop…life choices to the event that breaks him and sends him fleeing.  Garrett has us with him every step of the way.

Switching perspectives, we get Brix Lusmoore, in demand tattoo artist and owner of his own shop in the village.  Brix is as full of complexities as they come, with the depth of the sea behind him.  I adore this man and his family.  The Lusmoores are an ancient Cornish family, their roots almost as old as the island rocks, some still carrying on the old ways that have served them so well in the past, ways not terribly legal.  It’s a fine line that Brix walks here with them.  Then there are the chooks, the rescue hens that are a vital element for the story and a tie for the villagers too.  A rescue line that works both ways for more than one person in this story.  Brix has his own pain and secrets to reveal as the title of the story indicates.

There is no quick romance here.  There can’t be under the circumstances.  Both men are too heavily damaged, too much needs to be revealed, too much healing needs to be done.  But it happens, quietly, beautifully and as it should.

The writing is so wonderful, the storytelling flows so naturally that it went by far too quickly in my eyes.  I could have stayed within this universe, within Porthkennack,  helping to rescue more chooks for many more stories.  A book you take to heart will make you feel that way.  House of Cards is one of those.  I highly recommend it!

Cover art by GD Leigh is gorgeous and perfect for the character and setting.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 249 pages
Published July 17th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleHouse of Cards
ISBN 1626495440 (ISBN13: 9781626495449)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPorthkennack #4

A MelanieM Review: Broke Deep (Porthkennack #3) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

A Porthkennack novel

Morgan Capell’s life is falling apart by small degrees—his father’s dead, his boyfriend dumped him, and his mother’s in the grip of dementia. His state of mind isn’t helped by his all-too-real recurring nightmare of the wreck of the Troilus, a two hundred year old ship he’s been dreaming about since his teenage years.

The story of the Troilus is interwoven with the Capell family history. When amateur historian Dominic Watson inveigles himself into seeing the ship’s timbers which make up part of Morgan’s home, they form a tentative but prickly friendship that keeps threatening to spark into something more romantic.

Unexpectedly, Dominic discovers that one of the Troilus’s midshipman was rescued but subsequently might have been murdered, and persuades Morgan to help him establish the truth. But the more they dig, the more vivid Morgan’s nightmares become, until he’s convinced he’s showing the first signs of dementia. It takes as much patience as Dominic possesses—and a fortuitous discovery in a loft—to bring light out of the darkness.

I’m such a huge fan of Charlie Cochrane that I rush to pick up anything she writes and this sounded full of elements she could put her unique spin on.  It had historical aspects up the wazoo!  A wreck of the Troilus on the Cornish coast that seems to haunt this one family and village.  So modern times and the past combined, plus a romance between two unique spirits (something Cochrane thrives at – see Jonty and Orlando) and this ought to have been a smash hit.  But after I finished reading it, even the clever parts, I was left feeling a bit let down.  That’s so unusual after one of her stories.  And I’ve been trying to figure out why.

I think it all comes down to a build up that never happens.  It all centers around that unlucky frigate the Troilus and the Capell family.  Cochrane builds up the suspense of what exactly is happening to Morgan (his headaches, nightmares, etc), the dementia of his mother, the past dementia of his maternal line as the story continues.  Dominic, a lovely character btw, adds to the tension with his disbelief yet need to further pull Morgan into more investigations into past history of the wreck and the dead…making things worse.  Things ramp up….until…violins at a pitch ala Hitchcock style…Cochrane then proceeds to narratively undo everything she’s just accomplished.

To say I was astonished was putting it nicely.

What Cochrane did was clever.  But not satisfying.  I went ‘huh, so that’s it?’.  Utterly disappointed and sort of sad.  And you’re left sort of up in the air about Morgan in some matters.

So what to say about Broke Deep?  Its well written, clever certainly.  The village and setting comes alive in the story as does the people who live there as well as Morgan and Dominic.  The mystery needed to be better clarified and for me, I wish my original thoughts about the blurb had been the right ones.  On to the next Charlie Cochrane story!

Cover by: G.D. Leigh.  Dramatic and works for the  story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 249 pages
Published June 5th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626495424 (ISBN13: 9781626495425)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPorthkennack #3

Charlie Cochrane on Titles, Inspiration and her Porthkennack series title ‘Broke Deep’ (author guest blog and giveaway)

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Broke Deep (Porthkennack #3) by Charlie Cochrane
Riptide Publishing

Cover by: G.D. Leigh

Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Charlie Cochrane here today talking about titles, inspiration and her latest story Broke Deep. Welcome, Charlie!

🌊

Where did the title “Broke Deep” come from?

by Charlie Cochrane

I’m not very good at coming up with good titles for books. I usually end up picking the brains of friends or colleagues or editors or anybody I can get my paws on. When we brainstorm a good, catchy title it feels like my team winning a game by fifteen points and on the rare occasion I come up with a name for the book all on my own it’s like I won the lottery!

So I am truly Smuggerella about “Broke Deep” which is my idea and mine alone and which works for this story on two levels. My protagonist Morgan is feeling broken, in terms of relationships and his own health but there’s also the story of a shipwreck which plays a pivotal part in the plot – a ship literally broken on the rocks – and it’s from a reference to a famous real shipwreck the title comes. I’ve always enjoyed the music of Gordon Lightfoot, and in 1976 I bought the atmospheric single “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, which I played and replayed until I almost wore the grooves out. I had no idea at the time it was a story about an actual wreck.

There is something eerily fascinating about the loss of a ship; we all know tales of the Titanic or the Mary Rose. I’ve seen the latter on exhibit in Portsmouth and she’s like a time capsule. Who walked those decks? What were they thinking as they set out? Whether a ship is made of oak (one of the “wooden walls” of old England, maybe) or metal, as the Edmund Fitzgerald was, it’s still at the mercy of wave and weather and the loss of vessel and crew is tragic.

In Lightfoot’s song there is a line that the ship “may have broke deep and took water”, which interested me. Break is an old word for a ship being wrecked; it also means to part the surface of something, so a ship moving through waves will break the surface of the sea. If it breaks deep, that must mean the bow dipping so far into the water that the waves pour over it. Such a powerful image of a mighty vessel being overcome by the power of nature. One day I was listening to the song and I realised that image was redolent of Morgan being overcome by the circumstances of his life. Unlike the ship, though, he finds hope and safety.

 

Broke Deep is the story that refused to sit down and take no for an answer, a tale that waited patiently in my works-in-progress folder for a setting and a context to do it justice. When the Porthkennack universe opportunity came along, Broke Deep bounced into my mind like the most insistent plot bunny, saying, “That’s my home! Write me there!”

 

Reader, I did.

 

About Broke Deep

 

Morgan Capell’s life is falling apart by small degrees—his father’s dead, his boyfriend dumped him, and his mother’s in the grip of dementia. His state of mind isn’t helped by his all-too-real recurring nightmare of the wreck of the Troilus, a two-hundred-year-old ship he’s been dreaming about since his teenage years.

 

The story of the Troilus is interwoven with the Capell family history. When amateur historian Dominic Watson inveigles himself into seeing the ship’s timbers which make up part of Morgan’s home, they form a tentative but prickly friendship that keeps threatening to spark into something more romantic.

 

Unexpectedly, Dominic discovers that one of the Troilus’s midshipman was rescued but subsequently might have been murdered, and persuades Morgan to help him establish the truth. But the more they dig, the more vivid Morgan’s nightmares become, until he’s convinced he’s showing the first signs of dementia. It takes as much patience as Dominic possesses—and a fortuitous discovery in a loft—to bring light out of the darkness.

 

Now available from Riptide Publishing

 

About Porthkennack

 

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

 

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

 

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

 

 

About Charlie Cochrane

 

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

 

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate the release of Broke Deep, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag containing postcards, a notebook, a tea towel, candy and more, all from Charlie Cochrane! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 10, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Gathering Storm (Porthkennack #2) by Joanna Chambers

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

My first story by Joanna Chambers, and I was struck by what a lovely romance she created with her two incredibly endearing main characters. Some of my reviewer friends have called it beautiful, but whatever synonym one uses, be it lovely, exquisite, superb, striking, or another term, it is certainly one well worth purchasing.

It’s the mid-1850s, and Nicholas Hearn is perfectly satisfied with his life as the land manager of the Roscarrock estate—at least that’s what he tells himself. His mother was Romany, and he’s the illegitimate son of the Roscarrock family patriarch, Godfrey Roscarrock. Godfrey is a tough old man, who refuses to acknowledge their relationship, though most people suspect that’s why Nick was hired there.

When he meets new neighbor, Sir Edward Fitzwilliam, he’s struck first by the man’s very rough tone of voice—a result of a childhood case of diphtheria—and second by the man’s very good looks. Sir Edward, aka Ward, comes to the local tavern seeking volunteers for an experiment for one of his scientific projects. He plans to speak to spirits who’ve passed away by recreating storm conditions present when he himself heard his twin brother speak to him just as he died. Ward convinces everyone, including himself, that his motives are scientific and altruistic, but we find later in the story that Nick’s perceptive insight is correct—Ward simply can’t let go of his twin and wants more time to converse with him before he can truly say good-bye.

The story is by no means simple, nor is it short, but it’s packed full of character development and relationship-building between the two MCs. The author delves deep into their hearts and then twines the two tightly together. And she managed to ensnare this reviewer along the way, as well.

I highly recommend this story of love, passion, heartbreak, and heartwarming triumph that ends with a very satisfying HEA. Though part of the Porthkennack series, it simply uses that setting but is a standalone novel. Don’t miss a chance to enjoy the depth of feeling this story evokes. It is beautiful, indeed.

~~~~

The cover by LC Chase features a handsome man in 19th Century dress standing before a landscape complete with cliffs and stormy sea—perfect for this story.

Sales Links

Riptide Publishing

Book Details:

ebook, 309 pages
Published April 17th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626495602 (ISBN13: 9781626495609)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPorthkennack #2

In the Historical Spotlight: A Gathering Storm (Porthkennack #2) by Joanna Chambers (giveaway)

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A Gathering Storm (Porthkennack #2) by Joanna Chambers
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: L.C. Chase

Read an  Excerpt/Buy It at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Joanna Chambers here today.  Welcome, Joanna!

📚

Hello, reader friends! I’m Joanna Chambers and this is the blog tour for A Gathering Storm, my new Cornwall-set historical romance. I’ll be sharing thoughts on my experience of writing about eccentric Victorian scientists, pragmatic Romany land stewards and unscrupulous mediums – come and comment to win a copy of the book and a $25 Riptide gift card!

About A Gathering Storm

When grief-stricken scientist Sir Edward Fitzwilliam provokes public scorn by defending a sham spiritualist, he’s forced to retreat to Porthkennack to lick his wounds. Ward’s reputation is in tatters, but he’s determined to continue the work he began after the death of his beloved brother. 

In Porthkennack, Ward meets Nicholas Hearn, land steward to the Roscarrock family. Ward becomes convinced that Nick, whose Romany mother was reportedly clairvoyant, is the perfect man to assist with his work. But Nick—who has reason to distrust the whims of wealthy men—is loath to agree. Until Fate steps in to lend a hand.

Despite Nick’s misgivings, he discovers that Ward is not the high-handed aristocrat he first thought. And when passion ignites between them, Nick learns there’s much more to love than the rushed, clandestine encounters he’s used to. Nevertheless, Nick’s sure that wealthy, educated Ward will never see him as an equal.

A storm is gathering, but with Nick’s self-doubts and Ward’s growing obsession, the fragile bond between the two men may not be strong enough to withstand it.

Now available from Riptide Publishing

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex BeecroftJoanna ChambersCharlie CochraneGarrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack

About Joanna Chambers

Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. In between studying, finding a proper grown up job, getting married and having kids, she spent many hours staring at blank sheets of paper and chewing pens. That changed when she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna’s muse likes red wine, coffee and won’t let Joanna clean the house or watch television.

Connect with Joanna:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of A Gathering Storm, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit and a copy of A Gathering Storm! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 22, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Stella Review: Wake Up Call (Porthkennack #1) by J.L. Merrow

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.

Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.

When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.

Wake Up Call is the first book in a new series from Riptide Press, set in the town of Porthkennack in Cornwell. I picked this release just because it is written by one of my favorite authors, JL Merrow. I have to say I’m now very curious to read the other stories in the series, all written by a different author, but all of them can be read as a standalone.

It’s not a surprise I loved Wake Up Call, it was really well done, well written too because JL is an amazing writer. Well developed in the plot and in the characters, not just Kyle and Devan, but I knew quite a lot of the secondary characters too, and that was the only reason I didn’t give the book the full five starts. I admit, I fell in love with Ceri, at some point I almost hoped to have another story with Ceri and Devan as MCs. I think she stole my heart and through all the story I was there waiting for her to take the scene. Sometimes my liking for her put a shadow on the main couple. I would love to read Ceri’s own story and I don’t even care it would be a MF or FF book, I just want more of her.

That said I adored Devan and his smart mouth, he was always so positive and open even when he should feel down for all the things life threw on him. And I loved how he approached Kyle and took in his illness, just like everyone should have done. The attraction between them is clear from the first time they laid eyes on each other, but they took their time and it was perfect. And then when big problems happened, they were both ready to help in any way they could. 

Wake Up Call has everything I need to find in a good book and everything I learnt to find in Merrow‘s stories, the humor, the characters never boring and useless,neer shallow, beautiful settings and complete plots.

I think the cover art by Garrett Leigh well depicted the book and its setting. I like this cover and others in the series.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 320 pages

Published April 17th 2017 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN 1626495408 (ISBN13: 9781626495401)

Edition Language English

Series Porthkennack #1

Head to the Shore for Something New in Romance! Wake Up Call (Porthkennack #1) by J.L. Merrow (Riptide Publishing Tour/Giveaway)

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Wake Up Call (Porthkennack #1) by J.L. Merrow
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: G.D. Leigh

Read an Excerpt/Buy It at Riptide Publishing

📚

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host JL Merrow today. Welcome, JL!

📚

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Wake Up Call, the first of my contemporary MM romances in Riptide’s multi-author Porthkennack series.

About Wake Up Call

South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.

Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.

When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.

Now available from Riptide Publishing! http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/wake-up-call

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex BeecroftJoanna ChambersCharlie CochraneGarrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! 

About JL Merrow

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist. She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Connect with JL:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Wake Up Call, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 22, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!