Book Blitz and Giveaway for BITE Anthology (Clare London, Ruby Moone, Sue Brown, Joanna Chambers)

Standard

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 

Vampires old and new, strong and sensual, with desires both predatory and protective. Their attraction is fierce and fascinating, and their love is eternal. We believe they deserve a very special kind of man—and their own happily ever after.


Four best-selling authors bring you their own take on the vampire lover’s story.
In Out of Time by Clare London, the ancient vampire Ambrus tries to protect Edward, a newly-turned young man, hoping to bring him comfort, acceptance of his fate, and eventually love.

In Christmas for a Vampire by Ruby Moone, grief-stricken vampire, Ellis Davenport, faces a miserable, lonely life when it seems the love of his life prefers death to eternity with him.

In A Tale Told in Darkness by Sue Brown, Lee comforts his lover with the tale of Brook, a vampire who falls for his neighbour Michael. When the young man is pursued by someone far more dangerous, only Brook can save him.

In Lamb to the Slaughter by Joanna Chambers, there is very little Lucien St. Villiers enjoys more than hunting for beautiful young men who are eager to learn all that Lucien has to teach them.
Please note: these stories may also be individually available for purchase at various times. This collection is a special event for 2019.
 
Clare LondonWebsite | TwitterBookbub | Facebook
 
Ruby MooneWebsite | Twitter | BookBub | Facebook
 
Sue BrownWebsite | Twitter | BookBub | Facebook
 
Joanna ChambersWebsite | Twitter | BookBub | Facebook
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

Coffee Sip and Book Break with ‘Turn The Page….A Charity Anthology

Standard

turnthepage_postcard_front

That was only the end of the chapter, not your whole story….

Turn The Page…. a donation anthology

by Tempeste O’Riley, Dianne Hartsock, Nikki Prince, Grace R. Duncan, Sue Brown, Aine P Massie, Carole Cummings, Hope Ryan, Mark Zubro, Antonia Aquilante, D. Zander Crane

M/M F/F Transgender Genderfluid

Contemporary Urban Fantasy Paranormal BDSM Romance

(Each story is unique and special, so the genre varies wildly. All are LGBTQ)

Publisher: Abbey of the Brew City Sisters
Cover Artist: Jess Small

Release Date: October 7th, 2016 (ebook/print)

Length: Novel / 270 pages

Order:

Amazon Create Space Smashwords

Description:

Turn The Page…. began as a simple idea and grew from there. No matter how bad things seem to be, just turn the page, there’s more—better—things to come. This is only one chapter in your life. It’s not the whole story. With this simple idea, Novice Sister Eroti-Quill—whom most know better as Tempeste O’Riley—began their quest to help Suicide Prevention and Awareness programs in their area. They managed to con (excuse me, convince) other authors to donate their time and stories to the project, and now, many months later, Turn The Page is born!

The authors in this anthology donated their talent as a way to support Eroti-Quill’s hope for others, to help bring strength to programs that so desperately need funding. It will allow them show those that need support but may not have it, or that may be afraid to reach out, just how much love and understanding surrounds them. Turn The Page…. is a diverse range of stories about the journey of love, hope, and acceptance.

Individual Blurbs:

Happy Birthday to Me by Tempeste O’Riley

When Dave’s best friend drags him out for his birthday—nearly kicking and screaming, he finds more than he expected at Sovereign, the BDSM club he half owned but had refused to step foot in for two years other than for administrative things while it was closed. He didn’t go to clubs. He didn’t sub anymore. Period.

Well… until he sees Master Nicky. Then his plans for his birthday change and he decides that maybe giving himself a present, might not be quite such a bad idea after all.

Robin’s Confession by Dianne Hartsock

How can Robin find true love without accepting himself first?

Purr by Nikki Prince

Sasha’s love was in imminent danger. All she wanted was to keep Tori safe. Stay at the cabin wait for the verdict from the council. That’s all they had to do. One little dip in the lake couldn’t hurt could it?

Lockdown by Grace R. Duncan

Gylam’s never been that great at communication and this time he’s gone too far. His penchant for keeping his mouth shut resulted in a disastrous trip to the local dungeon. Jackson, his partner—both cop and at home—and Dom, is well familiar with Gylam’s tendencies. The punishment he gives Gylam is just shy of his limits, but Gylam knows he’s earned it. It remains to be seen if it teaches him anything, though.

Ducks in a Row by Sue Brown

David spends his afternoons feeding the ducks, a peaceful activity until the day Jeff and his Labrador dog burst into his life. David and Jeff get to know one another, punctuated by Bozo’s mishaps, but David is unwilling to share all his secrets. Will Jeff give him the time he needs?

Butterflies by Aine P Massie

Kyndra visits Jaiden’s shop for a little birthday shopping but is there for more than the pretty blown glass designs she makes—lovely though they are. What she really wants is a date with the beautiful craftswoman. But can she push her fears aside and ask, or will her past get in the way? With Jaiden’s help, can who Kyndra is inside finally shine?

Once Step Back by Carole Cummings

When Sahir is busy running for his life, it never occurs to him that the being in wrong place at the wrong time might turn into the right place at the right time. Not until he literally collides with Nicholas and salvation comes by way of magical intervention. But when Nicholas ends up being the one who really needs help, Sahir has to decide the best way to give it—and how to offer it to someone who can’t even figure out if he wants it.

Superheroes by Hope Ryan

Many people reach a point where they think life can’t get any worse. Rock bottom, where the future is so bleak, they begin to ask, “why bother?”

When homeless gay man Wayne Kent reaches that point, standing on a Pittsburgh bridge on a cold Tuesday in April, the last thing he expects is to get stopped—especially by a man named Bruce Clark.

But Bruce has been there, he’s seen that, he’s thought and felt the things Wayne is now and he refuses to see the beautiful, hurting man become another statistic. Coffee and a sandwich is a first step and Bruce hopes it’ll lead to a permanent step up for Wayne. And maybe even a step toward more together.

Unworthy by Mark Zubro

A love lost over half a century ago. Is there really redemption for all of our regrets, or at least perhaps for one regret? A chance to change the decision you made over half a century ago, or at least a chance to say what was unsaid, to say what could be said now? The love you missed so long ago, and if you could have one moment again, once last chance.

Love and Hope and Magic by Antonia Aquilante

Once each century, a ritual is performed, the magic of which sustains the land and protects it and its people for the century to come. But the person who performs the ritual never survives. This time Ailill is chosen. He is honored and content with his fate, but his best friend Lorcan is not. Lorcan can’t accept the loss of Ailill and can’t see a life without the man he thinks of as his other half. But Ailill knew Lorcan perhaps better than Lorcan knows himself, and he knew a life of love and magic is waiting for Lorcan after Ailill is gone, if only Lorcan can find the courage to reach for it.

Façade by D. Zander Crane

David struggles with his gender identity as he searches his city for a woman-murdering madman in his female alter-ego, Façade. Can he overcome his depression and confusion long enough to stop the Grinning Reaper?

Programs Helped:

     

About the Authors:

Tempeste O’Riley

Homo-Erotic Romance Author, Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t – defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since. Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. They count their friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life.

Tempe is also a PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Rainbow Romance Writers, and WisRWA.

Website: http://tempesteoriley.com/

Dianne Hartsock

Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, and anything else that comes to mind. She lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee warming her hands, which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

Website: http://diannehartsock.wordpress.com/

Nikki Prince

Nikki Prince is a mother of two, who’s always had a dream to be a published author in the romance genre. Her passion lies in raising her children as readers, gaming, cooking, reading and her writing. Her mother can now breathe easy about the child who used to get in trouble because she was hiding books everywhere and reading when it wasn’t appropriate.

Nikki’s a multi-published author with several epublishing houses. She loves to write Interracial romances in all genres, but wants to let everyone know to not box her in, because there is always room for growth.

Nikki’s also a member of Romance Writers of America National chapter and is president of the OCC/RWA local chapter. She is also a member of the online chapter Passionate Ink RWA, The Beaumonde RWA, and the Rainbow Romance Writers (RRW).

Website: http://authornikkiprince.com

Grace R. Duncan

Real, erotic, forever… Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica. A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind. As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Website: http://www.grace-duncan.com

Sue Brown

Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact, she hides so she can plot, and has become an expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. She had an Aha moment and put pen to paper that same day. Sue may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Website: http://www.suebrownstories.com/

Áine P Massie

Áine is a proud member of the Rom-Critters, the Romance Writers of America®, WisRWA, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Áine has always had a particular fascination with vampires, mythology, and the unusual. When she can escape from her children and books, she enjoys… oh yes, reading, playing, ritual, a good cappuccino, and working with her healing stones.

Her first published work came in high school where she was part of a writing and drama group. However, she has been reading the likes of Shakespeare and Poe since late elementary school and enjoys most forms of fiction.

Website: http://apmassie.com

Carole Cummings

Carole lives with her husband and family in Pennsylvania, USA, where she spends her time trying to find time to write. Recipient of various amateur and professional writing awards, she is the author of nine published speculative fiction novels, two series, and… more short stories than she can keep track of.

Website: www.carolecummings.com

Hope Ryan

Young adult/new adult author who loves to write the tough stuff…but always with a happy ending.

Hope Ryan is an out and proud bigender, bisexual, wife of a loving guy and mother to three, including an amazingly brave genderfluid son. She loves to write about the tough stuff, but also wants to see her characters happy in the end. She feels strongly about showing there is hope for everyone, no matter where you come from, how you identify your gender or who you love. Hope likes to play board and card games and can often be found playing God with her Sims or running around, fighting monsters in a virtual version of Middle Earth. Her TV and movie preferences lean towards anime, sci-fi and fantasy, though she’ll never turn down a good happily ever after love story, either. As long as there are explosions or action, she’s happy. She loves to read books of all kinds, though prefers stories about love in its many forms.

Website: http://www.hoperyan.com

Mark Zubro

Mark Zubro is the author of thirty-four novels and five short stories. His book A Simple Suburban Murder won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Men’s mystery. His latest young adult mystery, Gentle, is just out. His science fiction trilogy, Alien Danger, continues to outperform expectations. He spends his time reading, writing, napping, and eating chocolate.

Website: http://markzubro.com

Antonia Aquilante

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the New Jersey Romance Writers.

Website: www.antoniaaquilante.com

D. Zander Crane

D. Zander Crane is an aspiring, if occasional author, computer troubleshooter, and semi-professional putt-putt golf commentator. He resides in West Chester, Ohio, with the ghost of his mother, a Manx named Hae Yu, and a dozen unfinished manuscripts. His inspiration is long-time friend Tempe.

eMail: donovanacrane@gmail.com

Review: Isle of Waves (Isle of Wight, #3) by Sue Brown

Standard

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Isle of Waves coverThrough the many years that they have been together, Wig Tobias and Nibs Tyler’s relationship has been tested and strained but it has always endured.  But then they had never had a year like the past year.  Since new owners took over the restaurant next to theirs, they have made Wig and Nibs life a living hell.  The reason?  Wig and Nibs wouldn’t sell them their beloved restaurant, The Blue Lagoon, which they have  had for as long as they have been together.  Now Nibs and Wig are harassed daily, anonymous flyers are posted everywhere with homophobic taunts and innuendos, and they feel helpless as they watch their customers dwindle and their restaurant fail.

Then the worst happens.  Upon returning from Sam and Liam’s wedding, Wig and Nibs find their restaurant has been vandalized, and the local police seem as reluctant to investigate this as they did all the other problems.  Demoralized, Wig and Nibs are about to give up their dream until all their friends,  Paul and Olaf, Liam and Sam, and the whole Owens family come to help Wig and Nibs in their time of need.  But will that be enough?  Paul and Olaf have their own problems and Nibs is hiding something from Wig too.

As a gale force storm bears down on the island and The Blue Lagoon Restaurant, that just might be the end of it all unless everyone pulls together to find the culprits behind the destruction as well as the strength to go on together in friendship and love.

 

I found this wonderful series and its author, Sue Brown, by the first book in the series, The Isle of… Where? (Isle of Wight #1).  There the author brought us to the indescribably lovely location of the Isle of Wight and the big hearted, gregarious Owens family and those that they love.  First up as a couple on their way to romance, is Sam Owens, a genial, large hearted man who loves his island and his family.  In desperate need of Sam and the Owens is Liam Marshall, who arrives at the island with an urn carrying his best friend’s ashes and a final wish to have those ashes thrown off the pier near town.  Liam is depressed and grief has immobilized him to the point that he can not act on his friend’s wishes.  Sam comes to Liam’s rescue, and then Liam comes to Sam’s.  It was a remarkable journey for both men as well as for the reader.  Between Sam and Liam and the entire Owen’s clan, they managed to engage the reader’s emotions while allowing us enough distance that we could still appreciate the location and the other characters Brown created for the story and series. My only issue was that the story ended a little unresolved, with questions about Liam’s visa up in the air.

With the second story, I learned that each new book will pick up exactly where the previous one will leave off, with the answers to the questions left hanging in the preceding tale. Isle of Wishes (Isle of Wight, #2) is both a mystery and a tale of two romances.  How I loved that book.  Liam is missing and Sam needs to find him and bring him home to the Isle of Wight.  That’s both a romance and  the first mystery here.  Helping Sam is his police inspector brother, Paul.  Paul is bisexual and never met a person he didn’t want to bed.  So who does Brown create for Paul?  Wisconsin Detective Olaf Skandik, a closeted mountain of a man who helps Paul and Sam find out what happened to Liam. Olaf works for a bigoted sheriff in a conservative small town, not exactly a conducive atmosphere for an out and proud English inspector to be attracted to the quiet Olaf. So, of course, while helping Sam  Olaf and Paul fall in lust and maybe love with each other.  More, many more problems ensue to our frustration and delight.

What problems?  The same problems Liam and Sam had or that any couple from two different nationalities would have when trying to live on the same continent.  There are realistic visa issues and citizenship hurdles and most of them are bogged down in the type of bureaucratic paperwork and regulations that can make this an impossibility.  That works out to be as much of a roadblock as any regular mystery found here.  This is a thread that works itself through all the stories and rightly so.  It makes the path to love and HEA messy, authentic, and always in doubt.  While the couples may fall for each other quickly, that they can remain together is never certain.

Sue Brown gets that love and romance is an iffy, questionable affair.  It doesn’t matter if the relationship is recent or well established.  If pressed hard enough, stressed to the maximum by outside pressures and lack of communication, not even the deepest of loves might survive under those conditions.  That’s where the Isle of Waves starts, at a relationship breaking point and an established couple, Nibs and Wig, who have been a constant, loving presence throughout the first two stories.  An older, long established gay couple, they have been the support for Liam and Sam and many others throughout the years.  Now it’s their relationship and their livelihood in danger.  And now Wig and Nibs are the ones in need of love and support and maybe even policework from Paul and Olaf when the local constabulary ignores their problems because of their homosexuality.

That’s kind of a stunning element here and probably a very realistic one as well.  Up until now, the Isle of Wight has seemed relatively accepting of homosexuality with the exception of a certain confectionary making couple.  But Wig and Nibs and Sam handled them easily.  Now with the revelations from Wig and Nibs about the harassment and hate crimes committed against them during the past year out in the open, we start to see the community and the Isle in a different and less idealized light.  It’s heartbreaking and painful and authentic in every way.

Brown never lets her couples and their relationships get off easy.  With all their years together, Wig and Nibs are quietly breaking down under the pressure of losing everything they have worked so hard to build, and that just might include each other if they can’t start talking about the issues facing them.  Both want to protect the other but at what cost?  Those types of questions and situations feel as real as the people that make up this couple.  Earthy, preening, stolid, sexy, stubborn…Wig and Nibs are totally human and wonderfully so.  They engage our emotions and our hearts as they struggle to stay together and keep their restaurant afloat.

And they aren’t the only couple facing overwhelming obstacles here.  Paul and Olaf arrived on the island for Sam and Liam’s wedding but Olaf can’t stay and Paul can’t leave to return to the U.S. with him.  Both have jobs and lives in different countries.  Do they have a future together and how will it even be possible?  Even as they work to help Wig and Nibs, Brown throws up barriers to a future together even as she breaks down others to show us how much these men love each other and deserve to stay together.  Do we have a resolution where Olaf and Paul are concerned?  No, we don’t.  Nor should we.  It took Sam and Liam several stories to pull it together.  I expect no less for Paul and Olaf.

When last I corresponded with Sue Brown, she indicated that there will be a new series for Paul and Olaf.  I can’t wait to see what she has in store for them.  Brown has a  way of creating characters and situations that burrow under your skin and into your heart.  It becomes almost impossible to keep your emotional distance from these men and their complex romances.  Your affections become engaged from the start and stay that way through every hurdle, all the bureaucratic tape, and relationship barriers thrown up against them.  And each new story feeds your need to have more, know more…about what’s coming and how they will handle it together. Or not.

I highly recommend this story and the entire series.  Start at the beginning of course, if you are new to the Isle of Wight series and the men and families at its heart.  I believe you will come to love them as I do.  Get cracking!  We have a lot more to come and I couldn’t be happier about it!

Cover artist is L.C. Chase. Chase are does a wonderful  job of conveying the men, story, and setting in one beautiful cover.

Buy links:     Dreamspinner Press       ARe          Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published May 16th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 15th 2014)
ISBN 1627989528 (ISBN13: 9781627989527)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store
seriesIsle of Wight #3

 Series: Books in the Isle of Wight series in the order they were written and should be read are:

The Isle of… Where? (Isle of Wight, #1)
Isle of Wishes (Isle of Wight, #2)
Isle of Waves (Isle of Wight, #3)

 

Winner Announcements and the Week Ahead in Reviews, Book Tours and Giveaways

Standard

 ✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍

 It’s been a busy week at ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords with May ending and June  just beginning.  It feels like summer is about to begin.  Vacation for some, beach for some, and plenty of wonderful books to read and listen to for all.

Up this week I have cowboys, a mad historical impersonation, chefs, a mystery, and some mad knitters.  Two long awaited sequels are here.  One is Amy Lane’s Blackbirds Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair.  For those of you who have been following this Granby series and want to  know what happened to Jeremy Bunny, here is your answer.  And Sue Brown continues with her Isle of Wight series with Isle of Waves.  Don’t miss a day this week.

Announcement clip art

Congratulations to the following winners of 3 Authors Book Contests.  They have been notified.  Thank you to all who left comments!  Happy Reading!

 

 Winner Announcements!

Winner of RJ Scott’s Giveaway is penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

Winner of Katey Hawthorne’s Fairy Bound giveaway is MHupp20032003 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Winner of S.A. McAuley’s Powerless Book Giveaway is H.B.

books headers blk and white

 

 

The Week Ahead at ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords:

Monday, June 2:             Let It Ride Book Tour with L.C. Chase (contest)

Monday, June 2:             Let It Ride (Pickup Men #2) by L.C. Chase

Tuesday, June 3:             Book Blast/Contest: Their Plane From Nowhere by Princess So

Wed., June 4:                   Dinner at Home by Rick R. Reed

Thursday, June 5:           Blackbird Knitting in the Bunny’s Lair by Amy Lane

Friday, June 6:                 On Tour with D.T. Peterson and The Cove (contest)

Friday, June 6:                The Isle of Waves by Sue Brown

Sat., June 7:                      The Actor and the Earl by Rebecca Cohen

Scattered Thoughts Best Books of 2013

Standard

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Presents:

best-books of 2013

Time for Scattered Thoughts to look back at all the wonderful books read and reviewed in 2013 and try to pick those stories that stood out the most among all the many stories I read.  As always it was a hard thing to do because there were so many this year that crowded at the top.  How to choose between Sarah Black’s The General and the Horse-Lord and her sequel, The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazeri?  Or Ariel Tachna’s Outlast the Night and her Conquer the Flames?  It was only by the mm (seems reasonable) that the latter book for each won out.parabook

Some authors did end up with two books in my lists, whether it was because they were in two different categories or because they were in different series or just because they were that good.  I also ended up with more categories this year, including  Best Humor, Best Young Adult, Best New Vampire and Best New Werewolf.  The variety in genres just begged for subcategories so I created them.  Something really new this year was the interconnected series from the Pulp Friction group. Each series and main characters were intimately connected to each other and culminated in a four author four series finale story.  It was outstanding and earned all four a place on my list.

And then there were the marvelous novels like Harper Fox’ Brothers of the Wild North Seas whose review has slid into 2014 but is one of my top novels of any year.  Anyway, here are the books I chose in alphabetical order.  Which authors/stories were on your list this year?

Best Contemporary Novels of 2013:

  • Best Stand Alone Novels:

Illumination by Rowen Speedwell
The Sky is Dead by Sue Brown

Best Action/Suspense Fiction of 2013:

Collusion by Eden Winters (Diversion series)
Corruption by Eden Winters (Diversion series)
Pulp Friction Series of 2013 (4 interconnected series)

Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux
Touch & Geaux  by Abigail Roux (Cut & Run series)
Worlds Collide by R.J. Scott

Humorous Fiction of 2013:
Books with wings in the sky

Shy by John Inman
Hobbled by John Inman
Tell Me It’s Real by TJ Klune

Young Adult/YA Subject Oriented Fiction:

Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane
Necromancy and You by Missouri Dalton
Vampirism and You by Missouri Dalton

Best Historical Fiction:

Lessons for Suspicious Minds by Charlie Cochrane
On The Lee Shore by Elin Gregory
Trick of Time by JL Merrow

Best Horror/Fantasy:skeleton-clip-art-15-315x600

Dance Only For Me (Dance With The Devil #6) by Megan Derr
Too Many Fairy Princes by Alex Beecroft
The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men by Eric Arvin

Best Science Fiction Novel/ Series of 2013:

Aria of the Eclipse by Vivien Dean
One Breath, One Bullet by S.A. McAuley
Dominant Predator by S.A. McAuley  (sequel to the one above)
Fragile Bond by Rhi Etzweiler
Scorpion (Memory of Scorpions #1) by Aleksandr Voinov (fantasy)

Best Supernatural/Paranormal Fiction of 2013:

Close Quarter by Anna Zabo
Into This River I Drown by TJ Klune
Re-entry Burn (Superpowered Love #5) by Katey Hawthorne
Undertow by Andrea Speed (Infected series)

Best New Vampire (a tie):

The Beast Without by Christian Baines
The Family: Liam by K.V. Taylor

Best New Werewolf:

Strength of the Wolf (The Tameness of the Wolf #2) by Kendall McKenna

Happy New Year, everyone!  Happy Reading To All and May 2014 Be Great!

New Year Book

Scattered Thoughts Summary of Reviews for October 2013

Standard

Oct-BW Header

October 2013 Summary of Book Reviews

It was a terrific month for books.  Sarah Black came out with her sequel to The General and the Horse-Lord titled The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari.  In my opinion it is the best book she has written to date, wide in scope with subtly nuanced characters that stay with you long after you have finished the story.  Also the Pulp Friction group of authors, (Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, Laura Harner and T.A. Webb) start to bring their interconnected series to a close with 4 outstanding stories to equal the memorable characters to be found within. S.A. McAuley also brought us the second novel in The Borders War series, Dominant Predator.  I love those men, and need more of their history and complicated relationship.  Sue Brown gave us The Isle of Wishes, second in the Isle of Wight series, plus Ariel Tachna’s Lang Downs series (one of my favorite) expanded to five with Conquer The Flames, a “must read” book for all.

Well, I will let this list speak for itself.  So many great books here that there is sure to be something for everyone.  Grab up your notepad, IPad or paper, and write down the titles for those stories you might have missed.  I have linked my reviews to each book.  Happy readings!

Lady Reading Book in Chair 50 style    


5 Star Rating:

Conquer The Flames (Lang Downs #4) by Ariel Tachna, contemporary
Chance In Hell (Chances Are #5) by Lee Brazil, contemporary
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5) by T.A. Webb
Dominant Predator (The Borders War #2) by S.A. McAuley
Duplicity (Triple Threat #5) by Laura Harner
Knights Out (City Knight #4) by T.A. Webb
The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari by Sarah Black (contemporary, military)
Wicked Truths (Wicked’s Way #5) by Havan Fellows, contemporary
Wild Onions by Sarah Black (supernatural)

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

Enigma by Lloyd A. Meeker (4.25)(contemporary, paranormal)
Goblins, Book 1 by Melanie Tushmore (4.5 )(fantasy)
Home Team by Jameson Dash (4)(contemporary)
Isle of Wishes (Isle of Wight #2) by Sue Brown (contemporary)
Knightmare (City Knight #2) by T.A. Webb (4.75)(contemporary)
Northern Star by Ethan Day (4.25)(contemporary)
Playing Ball Anthology (4.75)(contemporary, historical)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3) by T.A. Webb (4.75)(contemporary)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Burning Now by A.R. Moler (3)(fantasy, supernatural)
Fool For Love by Cassandra Gold (3)(contemporary)
Strange Angels by Andrea Speed (3.75)(supernatural)
The Night Visitor by Ewan Creed (3 stars)(contemporary, supernatural)
Wireless by L.A. Witt (3.5)(science fiction)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

Justice (Leopard Spots #10) by Bailey Bradford (2)(shifters, supernatural)
The Unwanted, the Complete Collection by Westbrooke Jameson (2.5)(science fiction)

1 to 1.75 Star Rating:

None this month

Other Blogs:
Author Spotlight: Havan Fellows on Wicked’s Way Series and Pulp Friction
Author Spotlight: Lee Brazil on Chances Are Series and Pulp Friction
Author Spotlight: T.A. Webb on City Knight Series and Pulp Friction
Author Spotlight: Laura Harner on Triple Threat series and Pulp Friction
Author Spotlight: Sarah Black on Wild Onions
Author Spotlight: Sarah Black on Writing Old Men and the second General release

Review: Isle of Wishes (Isle of Wight #2) by Sue Brown

Standard

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Isle of Wishes coverAfter the tumultuous events of the past months, life for Sam Owens and Liam Marshall is finally on track.  They are getting married and Liam’s visa issues have finally been resolved.  So Sam sends Liam back to his home in Michigan to pack up his belongings for the final move to England and married happiness with Sam.   Everything is fine until Liam stops returning Sam’s phone calls. Sam trusts Liam and their love so Sam knows that something has gone terribly wrong.

Sam intends to go to the States to look for Liam but knows he will need help and support.  So he turns to his brother, British Metropolitan police officer Paul Owens, to accompany him to Michigan.  If anyone can find Liam and get them both safely back to the Isle of Wight for their wedding its Paul Owens. Upon landing, they soon discover the trail leads to a small town in Wisconsin, outside of Milwaukee where LIam’s rental car has been found.

Once in Milwaukee, openly gay Detective Paul Owens starts investigating Liam’s disappearance and runs smack into the closeted but gorgeous Wisconsin Detective Olaf Skandik.  Olaf returned home after he left the service and joined the police force.  But the small town attitudes and close-knit community now feel restrictive, and Olaf is afraid that coming out will leave him both without a job and family.  But as Paul and Olaf start investigating Liam’s disappearance together, mutual attraction flares into something much more, shocking them both.  What happens when a casual attraction turns into love for men separated by an ocean of responsibilities?

Isle of Wishes is the second story in the Isle of Wight series and it deepens my love for these men and their families that started in The Isle of…Where?.  In that book, we first meet Sam Owens and Liam Marshall when Liam arrives on the Isle of Wight to scatter the ashes of his best friend, Alex.  Sam and Liam meet and fall in love, passionately and forever within weeks of Liam’s arrival and Sue Brown absolutely makes the reader believe in this love affair and Sam and Liam’s need for each other.  The author also surrounded this pair with a collection of characters, mostly Sam’s family, including one of his brother’s, a police officer named Paul.

Brown gave this motley, large family such depth and dimension to their characters that I fell in love with them as much as I did with Sam and Liam.  At the end of that story, we left Sam and Liam happy but starting the process of getting a residency visa for Liam and dealing with other issues.  Brown had convinced us that they were on the road to happiness but still had a journey in front of them. So naturally  I wanted the next chapter in their lives immediately.  Sigh.

Instant gratification are two words not in Sue Brown’s vocabulary, at least not in this series.  Her readers had to wait over a year to see what happened next to Sam and Liam and the Isle of Wishes gives us a startling answer.  Liam disappears to the consternation and heartbreak of Sam and fans of this series.  I love that element of Sue Brown’s stories where items that appear to be safe and straightforward are actually deceptively complicated, whether it is  relationships, sexuality, or even a trip home to finish packing and move.  Nothing works out as planned because life doesn’t function that way and Sue Brown’s stories are most definitely grounded in reality.

That’s why I can accept a casual attraction turning into something deeper, not yet love but greater than just a flirtation and hookup.  It’s also the reason why the cause behind Liam’s disappearance is so plausible as well.  I often find myself nodding in agreement with something I am reading in her stories because its recognizably familiar and human.  This also applies to her characters, whose problems and outlooks reflect our own.

Olaf is that man who finds himself torn between family and job he loves and his sexuality.  Olaf has hidden his sexuality for years and now it has become deeply ingrained to hide his attraction to men.  Given small town attitudes, especially in his town’s law enforcement, Olaf is well aware of what coming out would cost him, his job and his family.  Until Olaf meets the outwardly gay Paul, he has never questioned his decision to remain firmly in the closet.  Then Paul and Sam arrive looking for Liam and Olaf’s life is turned upside down.

Brown makes Olaf’s decisions understandable even as the heat between the men flares white hot.  It’s painful, its frustrating and it feels so real to watch Olaf and Paul work through what they mean to each other even as they follow the leads in Liam’s disappearance.  Paul is a great character too.  Paul is home is in his sexuality.  He is great at his job, loves his family and is astonished at his feelings towards Olaf.  We get it that both men have a hard time believing that their feelings for each other are real given the time frame and situation they are operating in. Sam is there too for every agonizing minute that Liam is gone.  Trust me when I say your heart will be sore but not broken by the end of this story.

And that is primarily why I have not given Isle of Wishes 5 stars.  There are many loose ends left fluttering about at the end of this story, intentionally so.  We do get part of a happy ending and a something more but the author is laying her groundwork for the next installment.  And while I respect that, I do wish it had been pulled together a tiny bit more instead of a surfeit of questions and possibilities.

Still this is a deeply wonderful story.  The writing is crisp and the plot complicated enough to let the romance shine through without obscuring all the other great elements here.  And of course, there are those marvelous characters that we have come to love and who form the  basis and structure for this series.  I don’t think I can place one above the other, they are all so intertwined that separating them out actually would lessen the impact of the story. The Owens family, those by blood and those they adopt are a force to be reckoned with and I love them all equally.

So, what is in the future for this series? Well, per Sue Brown, book 3, Isle of Walls, will be out in May next year. It directly follows on from Isle of Wishes, and although it’s based on Nibs and Wig, it will tell more of Paul and Olaf’s story. Then she has a new series planned with Olaf and Paul, which will start next year.  So many stories to look forward to.  I know I will spend some of the time rereading the first two books while waiting for next spring and the arrival of Isle of Walls.

If you are new to this series, go back to the first story, Isle of….Where?(Isle of Wight #1).  It’s necessary in order to fully understand all the people and relationships to follow.  For no matter where this series goes, the heart of it remains on the Isle of Wight and the incredibly addicting Owens family. Consider this book and this series highly recommended.

Books in the series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and events that occur:

The Isle of… Where? (Isle of Wight #1)
Isle of Wishes (Isle of Wight #2)

Book Details:

ebook, 242 pages
Published August 19th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1627980776 (ISBN13: 9781627980777)
edition language English
series Isle of Wight

And I Saw A Sea of Squirrels….and the Week Ahead in Reviews!

Standard

And Then I Saw A Sea of Squirrels……grey squirrel drawing

Its fall and my patio and lawns are full of nature’s bounty, aka nuts.  Lots and lots of nuts and therefore lots and lots of squirrels (and deer but that’s for another story from this park naturalist).   This year is a high cycle year so all the oaks, hickories, and beech trees in my backyard were groaning under the weight of the nuts they bore.  And have now loosed them upon every surface available, turning every spare inch into a prickly hulled,DSCN4046 brown blanket or a mosaic of shiny hard bits and pieces of acorns to go along with the prickly hulls of the beech nut.  Of course the green golf balls of the black walnut are dropping too, sounding like hail during the worst of storms.

And my dogs hate this.

I don’t blame them.  Those prickly little bits and pieces hurt the pads of their paws, jagged hulls of shells courtesy of sharp squirrel teeth are just the right size to work themselves between the pads and wedging themselves firmly to great pain and discomfort.  No amount of sweeping is stopping the tide.  It’s relentless, a constant cacophony of sound followed by a carpet of discarded husks.DSCN4053

I think most people don’t realize that nuts are cyclical.  That each year the harvest is that much greater than the year before with the various animal populations that depend upon them for food expanding along with them.   And then the year that follows the one with the biggest yield is all but barren.  No nuts, or at least very little.  People start reporting seeing skinny or starving animals.  And they reason that such a thing helps to keep populations down.  And certainly that is true for the present day.  But not always.

Did you know people once saw seas of squirrels as they migrated through?

Yes, Eastern gray squirrels used to migrate, following the cycles of the oaks, and hickories and other nut bearing trees.  Back when the midwestern and eastern forests were one contiguous mass of forest.  Back before we started to carve out our settlements, and farms and cities. Back when there were only small farmsteads and villages that dotted the forests, tiny punctuation marks of humanity.

Then the animals lived much different lives than they do today.

One of my college professors,  Dr. Vagn Flyger wrote a report for the University of Maryland on a squirrel migration as recent as 1968.  Oh, how he loved squirrels and imparted that love to his students!  And this recent migration, from Vermont to Georgia, fascinated him.  You can read it here.  But even more fascinating are the earlier account of waves of squirrels so massive that it took days before the end of the hoard could be seen.  Or as Robert Kennicott in his article “The Quadrupeds of Illinois” in The Annual Report of the Commissioner of gray squirrelPatents for 1846 stated  “it took a month for the mess of squirrels to pass through the area.”*

Just imagine what that must have looked like! Tens of thousands, perhaps millions of squirrels following the wild harvest through the vast forest of the midwest and east, flowing like a grey furred river, leaping and bounding over every surface as they passed their way through the immediate area.   Here is another quote (from that  *same article ):

*In 1811, Charles Joseph Labrobe wrote in The Rambler in North America of a vast squirrel migration that autumn in Ohio: “A countless multitude of squirrels, obeying some great and universal impulse, which none can know but the Spirit that gave them being, left their reckless and gambolling life, and their ancient places of retreat in the north, and were seen pressing forward by tens of thousands in a deep and sober phalanx to the South …”

No longer.

We still have them migrate occasionally.  The last reported one was likely 1998 in Arkansas but nothing like the vast migrations of the past.  And how can they with no massive forest or massive stands of trees, following the bounty of nuts and seeds as the cycles demanded?  Like the beaver before them, we have changed their natural history and lost something special in return.

Now the Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is regarded as a cute backyard dweller or bird seed eating pest.  They get into attics or gnaw on wires.  We are amused by them, infuriated by them, and in some cases regarding bird feeders outsmarted by them.  They throw nuts at my dogs and tease them unmercifully and I laugh, of course.  They are a constant in my yard and a source of food for my owls and hawks.  They are as familiar to me as my wrens and woodpeckers…and my life would be poorer without them.

But once they moved across the land in rivers of energy and gray fur, millions of them covering the landscape and making people stop in their tracks, marveling to see such a sight.  Just once I wish I could have been there, standing beside those folks so I too could have said “and then I saw a sea of squirrels…”.

The Migration of the Grey Squirrels

by William Howitt

When in my youth I traveled
Throughout each north country,
Many a strange thing did I hear,
And many a strange thing to see.

But nothing was there pleased me more
Than when, in autumn brown,
I came, in the depths of the pathless woods,
To the grey squirrels’ town.

There were hundreds that in the hollow boles
Of the old, old trees did dwell,
And laid up store, hard by their door,
Of the sweet mast as it fell.

But soon the hungry wild swine came,
And with thievish snouts dug up
Their buried treasure, and left them not
So much as an acorn cup.

Then did they chatter in angry mood,
And one and all decree,
Into the forests of rich stone-pine
Over hill and dale to flee.

Over hill and dale, over hill and dale,
For many a league they went,
Like a troop of undaunted travelers
Governed by one consent.

But the hawk and the eagle, and peering owl,
Did dreadfully pursue;
When lo! to cut off their pilgrimage,
A broad stream lay in view.

But then did each wondrous creature show
His cunning and bravery;
With a piece of the pine-bark in his mouth,
Unto the stream came he;

And boldly his little bark he launched,
Without the least delay;
His busy tail was his upright sail,
And he merrily steered away.

Never was there a lovelier sight
Than that grey squirrels’ fleet;
And with anxious eyes I watched to see
What fortune it would meet.

Soon had they reached the rough mild-stream,
And ever and anon
I grieved to behold some bark wrecked,
And its little steersman gone.

But the main fleet stoutly held across;
I saw them leap to shore;
They entered the woods with a cry of joy,
For their perilous march was o’er.

Now for the Week Ahead in Reviews (and  Autumn Sedum in my garden):DSCN4051

Monday, Sept. 30:         Sonata by A.F. Henley

Tuesday, Oct. 1:              September Summary of Reviews

Wed., October 2:            Goblins by Melanie Tushmore

Thurs., October 3:         Dominant Predator by S.A. McAuley

Friday, October 4:         The Isle of Wishes by Sue Brown

Sat., October 5:               Knightmare (City Knight #2) by T.A. Webb

It’s Gay Pride Month and the Week Ahead in Reviews

Standard

Its Gay Pride Month, a great time to celebrate and give back to the community. Washington, DC’s Capital Pride is coming up this week and culminates in the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, June 8 and the Capital Pride Street Festival on Sunday, June 9.  If you live in or around the metro area,  there is something for everyone to enjoy.  I mean how could you not want to dress up as a super hero and attend SPANDEX: The Official 2013 Pride Week Superhero Party on Friday, June 7?   Plus the parade on Saturday travels through Dupont Circle, a historically gay neighborhood.  I worked there in the 80’s, and believe me, that place had gay pride before Gay Pride.  Here are the links to the events and places to purchase tickets:capital-pride-superhero-banner

Capital Pride 365

Gay.com – Capital Pride

If you are in the area and taking pictures at the events, send them to me and I will post them here.  And for those of you in other places, send me the dates and info and I will post that as well.

There are also many organizations that help LGBTQ youth  from Promise Place on the DC/Prince Georges County line to The Wanda Alston House in Washington, DC.  Or perhaps the Ali Forney Center in NYC or The Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK.  A favorite organization of mine is The Matthew Shepard Foundation founded by Matthew Shepard’s mother, Judy Shepard. If you haven’t visited that site before, please do so.  It’s both heartbreaking and immensely uplifting to see what has emerged from such a horrific tragedy.

There are not enough shelters and organizations to go around for all of those children and teens in need and those that exist really need our support in every way possible.  One easy way is to buy ebooks.  Several authors and one terrific editor, Kris Jacen, have contributed their royalties from several novels.  S.J. Frost  and Kris Jacen with Finding A Dream, Sue Brown’s The Sky Is Dead, and Lost and Found Anthology (Kris Jacen), whose  entire royalties will be sent to Lost-n-Found Youth, Inc.  And these are only the most recent.  Enjoy a good book and give at the same time.  It’s easy, its enjoyable, and it is needed.

So have a great week.  Celebrate, dance, and make time to read a book or two!  Oh, and check out the cocktail recipe at the end. Here is the week ahead in reviews:

Monday, June 3:                  Outlast The Night by Ariel Tachna

Tuesday, June 4:                  Flawless by Cat Grant

Wed, June 5:                         The Caveman and the Devil by Chris T. Kat

Thursday, June 6:                The Jouster’s Lance by A.J. Marcus

Friday, June 7:                     Stonewall by Martin Duberman

Saturday, June 8:                 Prelude by Shira Anthony and Venona Keyes

Here is a specialty cocktail recipe just for Gay Pride (shakes head, you really went there, didn’t you).  It came from Alex’s Cocktail Recipes

Gay Pride Cocktail:

1 shot Apple sourz
1 shot blueberry sourz
1 shot cranberry juice
2 shots 5 alive
pop rocks
Instructions

Put the cranberry juice and 5 alive into a tumbler. Pour the sourz into shaker over ice and shake well. Pour into tumbler and add a pink umbrella, then sprinkle with pop rocks

“A womanly drink, it won’t get you drunk but drink it wearing hotpants for the ultimate sense of gay satisfaction.”  Alex also has links for other drinks, none of which I can print here.  Visit his site for more information.

Scattered Thoughts May 2013 Book Reviews

Standard

mayIt was a great month in book reviews.  While most of the book fell into the contemporary fiction category, there was a book in just about every genre.  One of my favorites this month was Fragile Bond by Rhi Etzweiler, a science fiction gem of a story from Riptide Publishing. I have also found new authors like Sue Brown and her outstanding The Sky Is Dead.  Don’t pass either of these by. And if you loved Country Mouse by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov, then you won’t want to miss the followup novel, City Mouse (Country Mouse #2).  I thought it was even better than its predecessor.

There are stand alone stories and new books in continuing series. This includes one series (The Night Wars) that I will be reevaluating on the basis of the third book in the series, a real stunner called The Hellfire Legacy by Missouri Dalton.  This is a terrific book and I had not rated the second book very highly.  Now I am going back in June, reading all three together and write a  review of the series in June (and probably a mea culpa or two on my part as well).

The titles are linked to my reviews.  Really, there is something for everyone here.  Here are May 2013’s book reviews in order of rating:

5 Star Rating:

City Mouse (Country Mouse #2) by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov (contemporary)
Fragile Bond by Rhi Etzweiler (Science Fiction)
The Sky Is Dead by Sue Brown (contemporary)

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:
Adapting Instincts (Instincts #4) by S.J. Frost
Bad Attitude (Bad in Baltimore #3) by K.A. Mitchell (4.25 stars) (contemporary)
Bullheaded by Catt Ford (4.25 stars) (contemporary)
Closet Capers Anthology (4.25 stars) mixture
Damned If You Do: The Complete Collection by J.L. Merrow
Leaving Home (Home #4) by TA Chase (4 stars)
Moments by R.J. Scott (4.25 stars) (contemporary)
Never A Hero (a Tucker Springs novel) by Marie Sexton (4.5 stars) (contemporary)
Night of Ceremony (Notice #4) by M. Raiya (4.5 stars) (fantasy, romance)
Noah by Ben Ryder (4 stars) (contemporary)
Shy by John Inman (4.25 stars) (contemporary)
Still by Mary Calmes (4.75 stars) (contemporary)
The Hellfire Legacy (The Night Wars #3) by Missouri Dalton (4.5 stars) (supernatural)
The Isle of…Where? by Sue Brown (4.5 stars) (contemporary)
The Unforgiving Minute by Sarah Grainger (4.75 stars) (contemporary)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:
Chateau D’Eternite by Ariel Tachna (3.75 stars) Fantasy
Fire Horse by Mickie B. Ashling (3.75 stars) (contemporary)
His Heart To Reap by Erin Lane (3 stars) (supernatural)
It Takes Practice by Willa Okati (3 stars) contemporary

2 to 2.75 Star Rating: