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Beyond A Reasonable Doubt by Sharon Johnson

💫✨💫Reviewed by Kiwi💫✨💫

TITLE: Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

SERIES: Doubt series

AUTHOR: Sharon Johnson

PUBLISHER: Wicked Words Publishing

LENGTH: 241pages

RELEASE DATE: November 30 , 2015

BLURB: DeMatteo Santiago is the Alpha of one of the largest prides in North America. He is a young, successful lion shifter, surrounded by a large family and his devoted lover. By anyone’s account he has more than any one man can ask for, but his lion cares of nothing except finding their mate.

An unexpected business trip pits DeMatteo and his long awaited mate on opposite sides of the courtroom. But when challenged by ex-lovers, nosey siblings, and crazy hunters, DeMatteo realizes that finding his mate was the easy part. The real question is whether they will live long enough to be together.

This release is an M/M paranormal shifter romance. This series will contain, graphic violence, graphic language, and Mpreg. What it will not be is an instant mate fairytale, as forces set out to destroy everything and everyone.

REVIEW: Alright, now we’re finally getting into the story of Matt’s life after his parent’s deaths. Now, as I’ve stated before, I love shifter stories in general, lion shifter in particular because I’m one of those crazy cat ladies that love all things feline. I will also admit that I like Mpreg stories; they fascinate me. So, put both of those elements together and of course I’m in.

Matt is a alpha lion of a large pride. I like the fact that he’s not just a lion shifter. He’s a highly successful and sought after attorney in the human world so I like how the author wrote him to be able to balance interacting in and with the human world as well as the paranormal world.

The human world is where he finds his true mate, Sean. Sean’s the opposing attorney in a very messy human divorce. Matt is ecstatic that he find his mate but there’s just a few glitches in the program. One, Sean’s human so there’s the how-in-the-hell-am-I-going-to-explain-this aspect to this mating. Two, they’re both with other people—Sean has a girlfriend, Matt a boyfriend so there’s the how-in-the-hell-am-I-going-to-make-a-clean-break aspect of those situations. Sean’s breakup was painless compared to Matt’s. I felt so very bad for Hugh! It was to the point that I didn’t care for the Matt’s character at all. Even though Matt made it clear that whatever they had was just sex, I still felt that he could’ve handled it with a lot more grace than he did. The way that he did it was a bit foul. It was like he told Hugh and then reminded him that he was just something to play with until the real thing comes along. It was sad. I understood that he made it clear in the beginning what type of relationship it was to be but fifteen years…I felt he could’ve at least given the poor guy a week or two before just tossing him out of the house. And Matt’s sisters didn’t make the situation any better. I actually loathed them for they way they treated Hugh. I felt like they were all rubbing salt in a cut Matt inflicted. It’s like Hugh has been mistreated all his life and were aware of that but didn’t care. They acted like insensitive bitches. And I didn’t care what happened to or with them for the rest of the story.

There’s threats from all sides, human hunters and other paranormals. Add in the mess from the breakup with Hugh and it’s not an easy walk for Matt and Sean. And you know what? They didn’t deserve one. I felt that they deserved every bit of drama and chaos that came their way; they deserved the karma over how their exes were treated.

I really enjoyed reading this book. You know the author did a great job when the reader has such visceral reactions to the characters and you’re absorbed in the storyline.

The only thing about the book that I didn’t quite care for was the tenses. I think it was told in a–I don’t know-narrative voice?  I’m not sure if that’s what it’s called. It was like someone was telling you the story as opposed to you reading it as it’s happening…I can’t explain it properly but it drove me nuts. I tried to roll with it but after the first chapter I ended up substituting the tenses and the changing the wording in my head and that made it easier for it to click. It weird, I know but it’s a quirk of mine.

I usually hate cliffhangers but if the story’s really good, as this one was, I don’t mind it so much. Especially this time because I had the next book on hand so I was able to quickly get to it. In all, I think it worked out rather nicely.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

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Erasing All Doubt by Sharon Johnson

💫✨💫Reviewed by Kiwi💫✨💫

TITLE: Erasing All Doubt

SERIES: Prequel to Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

AUTHOR: Sharon Johnson

PUBLISHER: Wicked Words Publishing

LENGTH: 72 pages

RELEASE DATE: January 8 , 2016

BLURB: Eighty six thousand, four hundred seconds. One thousand, four hundred and forty minutes. Twenty four hours. One day. In his twenty five years of life DeMatteo Santiago had often taken for granted how much could change in a single Day. When DeMatteo crawled into bed at 10:30 pm on May 7th, 1980 there was no way of knowing how the next twenty four hours would forever alter his life. As a young Alpha lion shifter DeMatteo has left his pride, in search of his mate, and a pride of his own. But the fates have been conspiring for centuries to lead him to this precise moment in time. May 8 1980, 10:30 pm, a moment in time that will forever change the life of Matthew (DeMatteo) Santiago. Facing the challenges of being the new Alpha of the largest pride in the United States, DeMatteo must find a way to lead in the face of his own personal tragedy.

REVIEW: This is the prequel to the first book in the Doubt series which is pretty much a map of all the characters in the upcoming books and their lives. This novella reveals how Matt becomes the alpha of the pride after the death of his parents, his relationship with Hugh and such.

You definitely should read this novella prior to starting the first book because it actually gives the background stories to many of the characters. I made the mistake of reading the first book before reading the prequel and I must say that I was a little bit confused as to what was going on and who everyone was in relation to Matt. I stopped in the middle of the first book and went back to the prequel.

I liked how she mapped out each character’s life and gave us a feel of each of the characters. The only issue I had with the story was Hugh’s backstory. You read he’s experienced some abuses from his old pride but it’s mentioned in the vaguest of terms for most part of the story. It’s finally revealed but by this time, I had pretty much giving up on ever finding out. Now reading about his past makes me that much more sympathetic towards what his character goes through in the first book.

You’re not going to really connect with the characters because this prequel is simply a map into the character’s lives and personalities. You will get the full story in the upcoming books. In all, I think she did a good job. This book piqued my interest because I am a fan of shifter stories in general, feline shifters in particular. Because I am obsessively in love with all things cats, I feel that there’s not nearly enough books featuring feline shifters.

This is a nice novella acts as the appetizer before the main courses.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BUY LINKS:

 

Amazon

 

 

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Cover Reveal: The Secrets In My Scowl by A.E. Via

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💫✨💫Cover Reveal💫✨💫

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Title: The Secrets In My Scowl

Author: A.E. Via

Edited by: Tina Adamski

Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Length: 312 pages

Release Date: October 28, 2016

Sparks ignite and tempers flare when a sexy, optimistic wedding planner moves his business in across the hall from a jilted, divorce lawyer’s practice.

“Look smart ass. This is the last time I’m going to remind you about breaking sections of the lease. If there’s a next time, I won’t stop until you and your frilly, white wedding shit is thrown out of here. Do you got it?!”

Wylde looked in Jacob’s pained eyes and answered in his deep voice. “Yeah, counselor. I got it.”
From high school, up until he became a successful attorney Jacob Snowden was convinced that love had it out for him. “Everyone left,” were the words he lived by. His mother, his high school sweetheart, his father, and his fiancé, all left Jacob just when he felt it was safe to let down his guard. Not any longer. Jacob was a determined man, set at keeping people at a distance. If his six foot one, military-made body didn’t scare people off, his permanent scowl surely did. At almost forty, Jacob’s social life was non-existent, but he told himself his work fulfilled him. He helped people get out of their loveless marriages. Jacob Snowden was one of the best divorce lawyers on the east coast and was damn proud of it. So, imagine his disdain when a wedding planner moves into the suite directly adjacent to his… an insanely masculine, male wedding planner.

Wylde Sterling had made quite a name for himself in his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, working for a wedding planner that catered to the elite. He was known for his charm and impeccable taste. Yep, he was incredible at giving couples the wedding of their dreams. But he wanted nothing more than to plan his own. After striking out in love more times than he cared to admit, Wylde decided to start his own business in a new city, hoping Richmond would give him a fresh start. Things started out wonderfully – until he started to piss off the angry divorce attorney next door.

Wylde could see past Jacob’s mean scowl, knowing there was a reason for it. It was the man’s defense mechanism, his means of keeping people away. Everything in Wylde told him to stay away, but he believed Jacob just needed to meet a man who had been hurt as badly as he had.

EXCERPT

They’d just been seated at Kincaid’s, neither wanting to drive anywhere since it was so late and they were both starved. Jacob was still trying to understand who the fuck would dump a guy like Wylde? He felt sexier just standing next to the guy. People smiled at Wylde, while they steered clear of him.
“So you never answered my question.” Wylde said over his menu.
“And that was…?” Jacob asked, expectantly.
Wylde took a long drink of his water and Jacob watched that long, narrow throat work down the cold liquid. “Was it another invitation to your place?”
“Did you want it to be?” Jacob threw back, hiding his slight grin behind his own menu. He hadn’t had a reason to smile in a long time.
“Typical attorney… nice redirect.” Wylde reached over and gently inched down Jacob’s menu so he could see his mouth. “Better,” he said in his soothing voice.
“I um. I guess we’d be more comfortable at my place. It’s a fun board.” Jacob couldn’t believe he’d said that. When was the last time he’d had someone over? Never. Oh, his paralegal came over once, about two years ago, to drop of a file when he had the flu. Damn, even Patrick checked into hotels for their hookups. Probably because Jacob’d always told him he didn’t like anyone in his space. God he’d been a prick. “And, since you’ve been there already.”
“I didn’t snoop. I’m not that kind of guy. The board is pretty visible when you cross your living room.” Wylde cleared it up for him. He’d been dying to ask a few questions about that night, but the humiliation of hearing something ridiculous he’d done had stopped him each time.
“I appreciate that.” Jacob looked away.
“You wanna know what happened that night, don’t you?” Wylde inquired, getting comfortable.
“Only if it’s not going to make me run out of here and wallow in shame for another two weeks,” Jacob grunted.
“Nope. I think you were real in the things you said. All you did was tell me I smell good, and sleep.” Wylde took another drink. “Oh, and you blew my back out.”
Jacob choked on his tea, sputtered brown drops of liquid on his shirt and tie. “Jesus Christ. What?”
Wylde put his fist over his mouth, trying to control his laughter. Jacob was so glad it was late and there were only a few people left in the dining area. “You were draped over my back. You’re quite heavy, counselor. I think I pulled a muscle or two,” Wylde clarified, laughing again.
“You’re an asshole. You know exactly what that sounded like.” Jacob laughed along with him while he wiped his tie. It felt good to joke around like that. Strange, but good.
“You are striking when you laugh.”
“I don’t do it often.”
“I know,” Wylde said seriously.
Jacob sighed after he’d calmed down. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with you, Wylde.”
“Just promise you’ll do something,” Wylde voiced thoughtfully.
Jacob thought about it for a moment. He didn’t respond until their food arrived. “I don’t know if I can promise anything, Wylde. But let’s just say, for you… I’ll try.”
“I’ll take it,” Wylde returned quickly, making Jacob laugh again.

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A.E. Via is an author in the beautiful gay romance genre and also founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books. Her writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children. Adrienne Via has tons of more stories to tell, but she really would like to hear yours. Via Star Wings Books is currently accepting submissions for established and aspiring LGBTQ authors.

Visit my site to learn more! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak on upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next

Author Links :: Website :: Blog :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Amazon

Pre-Order Here

Enter the Giveaway Here! 

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A Different Breed by Angel Martinez

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: A Different Breed

SERIES:

PUBLISHER: MLR Press

RELEASE DATE: August 6, 2016 (first published November 27, 2010)

BLURB: Josh the vampire hunter falls in lust with one of the enemy; Richard has secrets and might not be sane–oh, sure, this will work.

Josh hunts vampires with relentless, cold precision until the night he confronts a gorgeous hunk of vamp in the woods outside Ithaca. Richard destroys all of his prejudices about vampires in the first few moments of conversation and the sexual sparks between them ignite almost as quickly. Richard offers the stability Josh never had. Josh offers the healing Richard needs so desperately.

But it’s nearly impossible just to walk away from a life of violence. An attack one evening leaves a friend in the hospital, Richard with a bullet through his chest, muttering about strange creatures, and Josh fighting to piece together what really happened. Are Richard’s nightmare attackers real, or is Josh’s favorite vamp losing his mind? Is there a reasonable explanation or has the hunter now become prey?

This title has been previously published.

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REVIEW: This story was an absolute joy for me to read. Josh and Richard may just be my new book boyfriends. More so Richard than Josh. I just adore Richard to bits! He was an interesting mix of fierce warrior, sweet, gentle, protective, kind hearted, heartbroken vampire. He’s experienced love and loss many, many times. He’s still in mourning and feel guilty over the murder of his last human lover, whose life was taken by vampire hunters.

Josh is a vampire hunter whose led a hard life. A life filled with violence, abandonment, anger, and pain. He spots Richard one night and just makes up his mind to kill him. But the funny things happened on the way to killing the vamp.

Josh found that he couldn’t do it. One look at the beautiful vampire was all it took and the two men makes a connection. And it’s more than sexual.

I loved, LOVED this story. Josh was vulgar, rude, obnoxious, violent and a smart ass but that I felt was an armor he wore to block the pain of losing his twin sister years prior. Richard also was dealing with the loss of a loved one and these two finding each other at the time they did was perfect.

Martinez did a wonderful job bringing these characters to life. The author had an entire cast of background characters brought in and was able to blend their dialogues and storyline without losing the focus on the MCs. This was definitely not a run of the mill vampire story, believe me.

Every little thing about this book was wonderful. The plot, which has been done before, was done in such a way in this that it wasn’t tired or overused. The storyline was lovely and you will fall in love with the characters. The ending was so very sweet, definite must for those who, like me enjoys a good HEA ending.

I would love to see a sequel to this, maybe a novella just to see how these two guys are doing.

I would definitely recommend this.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01JKJ1E6K/ref=gi_dp_gtfa#nav-subnav

ARe

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-adifferentbreed-2083622-340.html

 

 

 

 

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Wild Retaliation (Seaside Shifters #1) Ethan Stone

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Wild Retaliation

SERIES: Seaside Shifters #1

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

RELEASE DATE: September 7, 2016

BLURB: Chief of Police John Dakota is in a world of trouble. His peaceful town of Seaside, Oregon, has been rocked by a wave of unsolved murders. The bloody deaths are eerily reminiscent of ones that occurred in Seaside years ago. Back then John worked hard to make sure the truth about the killer was never revealed. Now he’s afraid the past is coming back to haunt him.

Trevor English, the nosy reporter who occasionally shares John’s bed, is demanding information about the crimes. He also wants more of John’s affections. But John can’t afford to give in to either demand without risking the revelation of Seaside’s biggest secret: the town is a haven for shifters, and John is one of them.

To solve the crime—and prevent more victims—John must delve into the past. Many members of Seaside’s shifter community are involved, but it’s becoming harder and harder to tell which residents can be trusted. Even John’s family isn’t above suspicion. The body count is rising, and it looks like John is the killer’s next target.

REVIEW: I’m not a fan of mysteries in general, murder mysteries in particular but every now and then, one will pique my interest. This story just happened to have been one of them. This is due to it having one of my favorite things: shifters.

This is the second book I’ve read from this particular author and I must say that I really enjoy the way he tells his stories.

John is a bear shifter, chief of police in the peacefully little town in Oregon when a series of murders rocks the town.

Trevor is an ambitious and pushy reporter who determined to be the one to get the scoop as to who is exactly behind the murders and why. And because of this, he starts demanding answers.

I love the dynamics between the two men in this story. You have John who’s trying to balance trying to catch whoever’s behind the murders and keep the town’s secret while trying to keep his relationship with Trevor strictly casual. The relationship between John and Trevor intrigued me. Trevor clearly wanted more than just the casual set up they had and you know that John did as well but he was fighting against it so hard. After a while, John realized his feelings for Trevor ran a lot deeper than casual sex. It was just his secrets that held him back from opening himself up to Trevor completely.  I actually like the fact that it wasn’t this Insta – love that you see in many shifter stories. Yes, they were mates however they had to build up to the love, the relationship had to develop between these two men. That to me, made it that much better. that to me felt a lot more realistic than the insta- love trope.

You get a bit of everything with this story: you get the paranormal, a murder mystery with a bit of romance thrown in. I liked that the author stepped outside of the box with this as it could’ve easily been a run of the mill murder mystery and I think Stone made a very wise decision adding the paranormal element to it.  There were also added a wide variety of very interesting peripheral characters added. The dialogue, plot, storyline and editing were fantastic.

I really enjoyed this story. There were no plot holes and the story didn’t lag or or drag along anywhere. The pace was perfect; it grabbed and held my interest from the very beginning. The editing and dialogue was perfect. The author did a lovely job of developing these characters, plot and storyline. There were several times in the story that I thought I had it figured out who the murder was only to find out that I couldn’t have been more wrong. The culprit definitely wasn’t who I suspected! This book will keep you engaged and at the edge of your seat until the last page. This is a definite must read and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

 

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Dog Days by TA Moore Guest Post and Giveaway

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Buy the Book: Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dog-Days-TA-Moore/dp/1634775767/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471891004&sr=8-1&keywords=dog+days+a+moore
Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dog-days-by-ta-moore-7489-b

Blurb
The world ends not with a bang, but with a downpour. Tornadoes spin through the heart of London, New York cooks in a heat wave that melts tarmac, and Russia freezes under an ever-thickening layer of permafrost. People rally at first—organizing aid drops and evacuating populations—but the weather is only getting worse.
In Durham, mild-mannered academic Danny Fennick has battened down to sit out the storm. He grew up in the Scottish Highlands, so he’s seen harsh winters before. Besides, he has an advantage. He’s a werewolf. Or, to be precise, a weredog. Less impressive, but still useful.
Except the other werewolves don’t believe this is any ordinary winter, and they’re coming down over the Wall to mark their new territory. Including Danny’s ex, Jack—the Crown Prince Pup of the Numitor’s pack—and the prince’s brother, who wants to kill him.
A wolf winter isn’t white. It’s red as blood.

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

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In my novel Dog Days, ‘the world ends not with a bang, but a downpour’. It’s the opening days of a frost-covered dystopia, and I had so much fun with it. As a writer, I love dystopias. I think there is no better way to expose the architecture of a society than how it collapses under stress. It’s not the only thing I write, but creatively I definitely veer more towards the dystopian than the utopian. Let’s be honest, I’m Northern Irish and my family’s motto is ‘we laugh at bad things’, I wouldn’t know what to DO with myself in a utopia.

Other than probably get kicked out for bad behaviour.

Dystopias have so much more scope to wallow in, so many more questions to answer. Is it survival to keep on breathing, or to hold onto the encultured morals of the world before? Can you justify morality in a world where those depending on you pay the price for your values? Flee to the hills to hermit your way through the bad days, or hunker down and go tribal in your suburbs?

Of course, part of the reason I love dystopias is that I am never going to see one. Not because I have any great faith in things turning out for the best, but because I’d be one of the first to die. Probably not in the first or second wave of deaths, but after that I’d be done for.

First wave of deaths in an apocalyptic/dystopian scenario are going to be down to trauma: zombie attacks, injuries, totalitarian soldiers, corn weevil bites. I live in a small town with no majorly attractive assets to seize, so it’s likely I’ll avoid that. I mean, I might not but I think the odds are in my favour as far as digging in and weathering the storm here.

Second wave is probably going to be medical. People with long-term medical conditions that depend on machinery or drugs to maintain their lives/mobility will start to die off here. Diabetics, for example, or people dependent on dialysis. As access to treatment/hospitals gets more difficult, they’ll fall by the wayside. I’ll still be ok at that point, but I will have lost family members (we are not a healthy people).

So, barring bad luck, I’ll more likely than not to weather the first few months. After that, though? It’s not looking good. I’m short-sighted to the point of being helpless if my glasses are stolen or damaged, I have asthma so a brisk run through a field might well kill me, and I have food allergies that will make scavenging more difficult for me.

Plus, I’m just generally not hardy. I have limited survival skills — I mean, I have a huge stash of survival hints and tips in the cloud, but can I depend on internet access at this point? — and I’m not good in stressful situations. You know the way people are meant to have fight, flight, or freeze instincts? I’ve just got flight. I was once caught rearranging a neighbour’s gnomes into a ‘signalling the mothership’ shape, and — despite the fact I was a: staring right at the man, and b: my house was right behind me — I ran down the street and hid in a bush.

That’s not going to cut it when the corn weevils come, is it? Inner gerbil instinct like that are great in the first wave, but eventually you need to stand your ground.

I figure I have a few months of dystopian experience in me, just the overture of it. Once things start to really fall apart, my general lack of fitness to survive in this situation will demonstrate itself. Unless it’s a very cosy dystopia, I will mouldering in a shallow grave before people even start debating the ethics of cannibalism.

Which kind of makes me feel like a bit of an under-achiever. At least two of my friends are probably going to be warlords at that point, through a mixture of organisational skills, the willingness to field dress dead things, and sheer bloody-mindedness. So I make up for it with my own controlled dystopias, spreading lurgy and ice across the world and writing characters that are far, far better suited to deal with it than me.

Trust me, Dog Days Jack and Danny are much better at dealing with the various indignities of the end of the world than I am.

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Bio:

TA Moore genuinely believed that she was a Cabbage Patch Kid when she was a small child. This was the start of a lifelong attachment to the weird and fantastic. These days she lives in a market town on the Northern Irish coast and her friends have a rule that she can only send them three weird and disturbing links a month (although she still holds that a DIY penis bifurcation guide is interesting, not disturbing). She believes that adding ‘in space!’ to anything makes it at least 40% cooler, will try to pet pretty much any animal she meets (this includes snakes, excludes bugs), and once lied to her friend that she had climbed all the way up to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, when actually she’d only gotten to the beach, realized it was really high, and chickened out.

She aspires to being a cynical misanthrope, but is unfortunately held back by a sunny disposition and an inability to be mean to strangers. If TA Moore is mean to you, that means you’re friends now.

Website: http://www.nevertobetold.co.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TA.Moores
Twitter: @tammy_moore

Dog Days Blog Tour Dates

September 2 – The Novel Approach
September 4 – MM Good Book Reviews –
September 5 – Oh My Shelves
September 6 – Joyfully Jay
September 7 – It’s About the Book
September 8 – Molly Lolly and Kimi-Chan Experience
September 9 – Prism Book Alliance
September 11 – Love Bytes Reviews
September 13 – Boy Meets Boy

Giveaway!

For a chance to win a $20 Dreamspinner Gift Card, simply leave a comment telling us what you like most about m/m science fiction and/or urban fantasy!

Middle Child- Flux by Kim Fielding Guest Post with Excerpt

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Hi, I’m Kim Fielding, here to talk to you a bit about Flux, my new book.

Flux is the second book in a trilogy of dark fantasy books set in a world in which magic is real and those who possess great powers are often tempted to abuse them. The first book, Stasis, took place in the city-state of Praesidium, where Ennek rescued Miner from a terrible punishment. Now, in Flux, Ennek and Miner are on the run, encountering danger and adventures while exploring their relationship and their self-identities.

I think the second book in a trilogy is a lot like a middle child. I’m the oldest child of three. My task was to be a trail-blazer, the first in my generation to try things. That’s the first book, right? It sets the pace. It gets the conflicts going (sorry, Mom and Dad). It gives everyone a sense of what’s going on and what might happen.

The final book is the youngest child, of course. It wraps things up. It draws heavily on what came before, while also carrying the burden of resolving the problems created by its predecessors. It’s often somewhat restrained, in that it has to deal with the shadow of what came before—it may even be judged in comparison to the first and second. But it also gets the glory of the happy ending, right? The joyous moment when everyone’s all grown up and the drama of childhood is over. (Which isn’t to say adulthood is without drama. Maybe that’s why trilogies sometimes grow into much longer series.)

But what about the one in the middle? It has to contend with the legacy of the first, deal with its own arc in a satisfying way, and yet leave everyone still eager to contend with number three.

I think sometimes the middle child—the middle book—gets overlooked. Number one has carried all the flash of something new, and number three has the promise of neatly tying things up. But the poor second book works so hard! In the case of this particular trilogy, Flux is perhaps the hardest-working book of all. The characters are moving all over the place, they’re dealing with life-threatening risks all the time, and yet they’re also coming to terms with who they are. And they’re making important choices about who they want to be—choices that will carry great significance for the final book.

So, what do you think? Have I strained the metaphor too far? Or are you a middle child now feeling allegiance with the second book in trilogies?

Excerpt: 

They shouldn’t have wasted moisture on tears. The vomiting hadn’t helped either. By the time the sun set, the bits of Miner’s exposed skin—his face, his hands—felt hot and sore, and both men were as dry as old paper. Ennek had slept most of the day, slumped against Miner’s chest, but as the sky alit with oranges and reds, he stirred.

“I’m sorry,” he said in a sandpaper voice.

“For what?”

“Not being… better. Stronger. Smarter.”

Miner wasn’t sure whether to laugh at Ennek’s foolishness or cry at the man’s inability to see his own worth. He ended up doing neither, instead caressing Ennek’s back under the shredded shirt, murmuring nonsense syllables at him like a parent might to a distressed child. After a time Ennek pulled away a little. His eyes were very shiny, but he wasn’t crying. “I think we’re not far from land,” he said.

“I saw a gull this morning.”

Ennek nodded. “Good. I can try to steer us to shore. I’m not sure how soon I can row us there, though—”

“You’re in no condition to row us anywhere,” Miner said, because Ennek was still pale and drawn.

“Well, neither are you.” Ennek pointed at Miner’s wrist. Then he frowned and took a closer look at the cut on Miner’s arm. “And this is beginning to fester. You’re dehydrated too.”

“So are you. So much water and nothing to drink.”

Ennek looked out over the edge of the boat and frowned in concentration. “I’ll wager I could remove the salt,” he said, almost to himself.

“You’ve already made yourself sick enough doing magic,” Miner protested.

But Ennek ignored him. He knelt and leaned over the side, scooping up a double handful of sea. Then his frown deepened for a moment and he brought his hands to his face. He sipped cautiously at the liquid and then grinned triumphantly. “It worked! Come here.”

Miner considered arguing but decided that would be pointless. He scooted around until he was next to Ennek, also along the side of the boat.

“Get some water,” Ennek said.

Miner stole a glance over the edge and imagined himself hanging over as Ennek had just done. “I… I can’t.”

Ennek gave him a patient smile. “That’s all right. It probably wouldn’t have worked with your wrist anyway. Hang on.” He leaned over again and brought up more water. “Drink it before it drips away.”

Miner leaned down and put his lips above Ennek’s palms. It was a strangely intimate thing to do, to drink from someone else’s cupped hands. But the water tasted only a bit brackish, and it felt wonderful as it

moistened his tongue and throat. He drank it all, and then Ennek gave him another handful and another, and he would have kept on going, but when Miner saw him begin to sway and noticed the way his breaths became harsher, Miner stopped him. “Drink some yourself,” he insisted.

Ennek managed to drink only two handfuls before he collapsed.

“Don’t you dare throw up that water!” Miner said anxiously, moving Ennek’s head into his lap.

“Trying not to.”

Miner rubbed softly at Ennek’s temple. He didn’t know if would help, but he doubted it would hurt. He felt so useless, just sitting there like a great, timid lump. Ennek closed his eyes, and Miner thought he might have fallen asleep. But then ten or fifteen minutes later, he opened them again. “This is a stupid way to die.”

Blurb:

Ennek, the son of Praesidium’s Chief, has rescued Miner from a terrible fate: suspension in a dreamless frozen state called Stasis, the punishment for traitors. As the two men flee Praesidium by sea, their adventures are only beginning. Although they may be free from the tyranny of their homeland, new difficulties await them as Miner faces the continuing consequences of his slavery and Ennek struggles with controlling his newfound powers as a wizard.

Now fugitives, Ennek and Miner encounter challenges both human and magical as they explore new lands and their deepening relationship with each other.

Buy Links:

DSP Publications–https://www.dsppublications.com/books/flux-by-kim-fielding-298-b

Amazon–https://www.amazon.com/Flux-Ennek-Trilogy-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01I0QTE52/ 

Social Media: 

Facebook—http://facebook.com/kfieldingwrites

Twitter—@kfieldingwrites

Website—http://kfieldingwrites.com

Author Bio:

Kim Fielding is very pleased every time someone calls her eclectic. Her books have won Rainbow Awards and span a variety of genres. She has migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States and currently lives in California, where she long ago ran out of bookshelf space. She’s a university professor who dreams of being able to travel and write full time. She also dreams of having two perfectly behaved children, a husband who isn’t obsessed with football, and a house that cleans itself. Some dreams are more easily obtained than others.

Guest Post With Excerpt from Wild Retaliation by Ethan Stone

From Dreamspinner:

wrcover

Seaside Shifters, Bk 1 

Chief of Police John Dakota is in a world of trouble. His peaceful town of Seaside, Oregon, has been rocked by a wave of unsolved murders. The bloody deaths are eerily reminiscent of ones that occurred in Seaside years ago. Back then John worked hard to make sure the truth about the killer was never revealed. Now he’s afraid the past is coming back to haunt him. Trevor English, the nosy reporter who occasionally shares John’s bed, is demanding information about the crimes. He also wants more of John’s affections. But John can’t afford to give in to either demand without risking the revelation of Seaside’s biggest secret: the town is a haven for shifters, and John is one of them. To solve the crime—and prevent more victims—John must delve into the past. Many members of Seaside’s shifter community are involved, but it’s becoming harder and harder to tell which residents can be trusted. Even John’s family isn’t above suspicion. The body count is rising, and it looks like John is the killer’s next target.

Guest Post

Thank you for visiting me on my Wild Retaliation blog tour. Below is an exclusive excerpt. At this point in the story several murders have already taken place and Sheriff John Dakota, a bear shifter, is expecting more because the deaths are matching ones that took place years before. In this scene he and his friend Jonas Murphy, a wolf shifter, transform and head into the woods to find a man and his twin sons to warn them of possible danger.

Jonas was already at Compton’s field when I arrived. It was a large plot of land near the woods that shifters used to change before letting their animal free. Basically, it was our safe haven.

I strode out into the pasture, and he nodded at me before stripping so he could shift. I watched his transformation because I thought it was a beautiful sight. The way the muscles stretched and changed amazed me every time.

As a wolf, Jonas’s transformation took slightly less time than mine. I didn’t know why it took longer to become a bear, just one of the mysteries of Mother Earth. I’d spoken to regular people who know about the paranormal world, and they always asked what it felt like to transform. And I always said the same thing—it’s hard to explain. There is pain, but it’s not intense and doesn’t last long. And the feeling of being free once my animal is out is amazing. It’s a second part of me, at least half, which I have to force down most of the time. Finally allowing him out is a sensation I can’t begin to describe.

One trouble with shifting is that once you’re an animal, you can’t speak to the person you’re with. Jonas and I were left with strictly nonverbal communication, mainly body movements. Jonas sniffed the air, and I did the same, though I doubted we’d catch the Aguirres’ scent so near to town. They were no doubt much farther away. We’d have to check the usual trails and hope to catch their odors.

Jonas lifted his snout, then gestured toward the woods and took off. I followed him, and he soon disappeared from sight. I could move quickly as a bear, but not as fast as Jonas, especially when he was running at full speed. He’d go out scouting and circle back to check on me.

Being a bear opened my mind, because I no longer had the concerns of the human world. As an animal, it was about the scents and sounds around me. It was simple desires like hunting and climbing and… fucking. Yeah, my bear was a horn dog. I guess because sex was a basic animalistic desire. I’d never had sex while shifted, though I knew some people who did—sex with other shifters while transformed, not sex with wild animals.

Trevor came to mind, most likely because I was focused on sex. Damn, the previous night together had been so hot. More passionate than I’d ever been with another guy. We had a strong connection, and I enjoyed the bond. I just wished he’d stop pushing for more than sex.

My bear didn’t only want sex, though. It also wanted love—a mate. I tried to ignore that desire, but it was strong, extremely strong. I wondered if every shifter felt the same pull to discover their mate. I couldn’t believe what an intense desire it was. One problem was that I had no idea how I’d know when I met him.

Some friends had known their mate the minute they met them. One even claimed he knew his wife was the one for him strictly based on her scent. Was that really possible? Others said it took time for them to realize who they were supposed to be with. My mate wasn’t necessarily a shifter, though that would make it easier. At least I wouldn’t have to explain what I was and hope he didn’t freak out.

Jonas returned, and I focused on the task at hand. He shook his head, telling me he hadn’t found anything yet. I lifted a large paw and gestured toward a lesser-used trail. He nodded, and off we went.

It took several hours and copious amounts of backtracking, but we did finally locate the Aguirre men in a small clearing. The boys were sitting around a campfire laughing and joking while Freddie scaled a fish. Most people would freak out if a wolf and a bear strolled into their camp, but the Aguirres were mountain lion shifters, so they recognized us as some of their own.

Jonas transformed first, and I quickly followed. Calvin and Cameron had blankets waiting for us so we didn’t have to speak to them in the buff.

“What’s going on, Chief Dakota?” Freddie asked.

I was torn over how much and what to share. Freddie didn’t know the truth about the previous killings, so I couldn’t be completely honest. I decided something between the truth and a lie was the best option.

“Do you remember the feral bear nine years back?” I questioned.

Freddie nodded.

“There have been two recent deaths that match the first two from back then.”

He scrunched his eyes. “Animal attacks?”

“Truthfully, Freddie, I’m not sure if it’s animal or not. There are just too many things in common.”

“So what are you thinking?” one of the boys asked. I wasn’t sure which one because I didn’t know them well enough to tell the difference.

“It could be some sort of copycat,” Jonas answered. “A sick bastard who gets off on this type of thing.”

“What does this have to do with us?” the other twin questioned.

“Well,” I answered, “the third and fourth victims of the bear assaults were—”

“Twin boys,” Freddie interjected. “Are my sons in danger?”

“I don’t know for sure,” I replied. “But according to what I know, there are no other sets of twins in Seaside.”

“Shit!” Freddie paced a few steps, rubbing his face. The boys went to their father and put their arms around him.

“Don’t worry, Dad. We’re safe. No one’s coming after us.”

Freddie eyed me. “What do you think we should do?”

I answered, “The farther away from town you are, the better. How long were you planning on staying out here?”

“A couple days at least, but we can extend it.”

“For how long?” I asked.

Freddie shrugged. “I work from home, and I can do that just about anywhere.”

“Then why don’t you three get out of Seaside for a prolonged vacation? Get to Highway 101 and take it as far as you can. Tell your girlfriend where you are but no one else. Have her get in contact with me and only me.”

“You don’t think this guy will come after us, do you?” one of the twins asked.

“I doubt it,” I replied without going into detail. “I think you guys skedaddling will do the trick.”

“Then that’s what we’ll do.” Freddie faced his kids. “Let’s pack up and get out of here.”

“I’ll stay with you until you get out of the woods,” Jonas said. “That way you all have an extra set of eyes.”

I thanked Jonas for the offer, became a bear, and hightailed it back to Compton’s. On the way, nature summoned me, and I wanted nothing more than to follow my animal’s desires. If there weren’t so many things to take care of back in town, I’d locate a stream to play in and catch fish. It had been too long since I allowed that to happen. When all this was over, I’d have to take a weekend off and let my bear out to play.

Bio

Ethan Stone

Romance on the Edge

Ethan Stone doesn’t write your typical boy meets boy stories. With a combination of love and suspense he makes his characters work hard for their

HEAs. If they can survive what he puts them through, then they can survive anything. He enjoys Romance with an Edge.

Ethan has been reading mysteries and thrillers since he was young. He’s had a thing for guys in uniform for just as long. That may have influenced the stories he writes.

He’s a native Oregonian with two kids. One of whom has made him a grandfather three times over; even though he is way too young.

Readers can find Ethan online.

http://www.ethanjstone.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ethan.stone.54 

Twitter: @ethanjstone Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ethanjstone/ 

Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/ethanstone Email: ethanstone.nv@gmail.com 

His books: http://www.ethanjstone.com/my-books

 

Phantom Lover: The Saga of the Lonely Life of a Kumu Hula (Hula Master) by A.J. Llewellyn

phantomEight years ago, I was visiting Lahaina, Maui when I encountered a painting in a gallery window on Front Street. The painting was called Spirit Lover and it captivated me and has held me in its grip ever since. In it, a young woman is in the arms of a powerful-looking Hawaiian man. He is striking. Solid. Masculine. He is all-consuming.
He is also a ghost.
During the day, the spirit lover’s body disappears below the waist. At night, in certain light, his bottom half reappears. I was fascinated by the painting and since I was staying nearby I kept coming to look at the painting day and night. And then an idea formed in my mind. The young man managing the gallery noticed me one morning he tried to interest me in buying the painting but I didn’t happen to have thousands of dollars loitering in my wallet.
But, as he lifted the painting out of the window and took it inside for me to look at it under special lights, I realized how magical that painting was and I could have wept for not having the money to buy it.
It gave me an idea, though. When I returned to my holiday house, I began work on Phantom Lover and created the story of a local hula master posing for a painting. I named him Kimo Wilder and he became real to me. No. He was larger than life to me. I have no idea where the story came from but a few days later I met a real hula dancer in Lahaina and he was training at a local halau, hula school, and he invited me to come and watch.
I met some wonderful teachers and dancers through him. I learned so much that I never knew about hula. For example, learning hula takes many, many years and requires great sacrifice. Dancers spend a long time away from their families to prepare for competition. It sometimes feels like they are preparing for battle.
Many young children in the islands are taught from an early age. In some areas, the children live with their teachers and fellow students in special schools. They are taught secrets about their culture that are taught by word of mouth since there was no written language until the missionaries came to the islands in the 1800s. The children’s talent is noticed at a young age.
Some hula is very painful, such as one performed on the knees. I watched as young girls cried rehearsing a long dance devoted to the goddess Hina (moon goddess), but they loved the dance. Loved the pain.
For a long time, Hawaiian language, music, dance, and literature were banned in the island state’s schools. Today, a huge movement is holding strong and the artists of the Hawaiian culture no longer practice in secret. The more I learned the more I wanted to know about the Hawaiian culture that it became more important than ever for me to create a character that was authentic to its religion and philosophy. Many of those friendships are still important to me today. I have maintained those ties and cherish them and still continue to learn the role of the male hula dancer in the world yesterday and today.
Hula dancers are storytellers.
They have in their hands and feet the heartbeat of their culture, the history, and their songs. The hula dancer conveys so much with the mere twitch of a finger, which is why people always say “keep your eyes on the hula dancer’s hands.”
I know I always do!
Here is a synopsis of Phantom Lover. It’s the first of 16 books in my series, which I am re-releasing through The Pele Press.
The rest will be coming soon. Once they are all released, I will be writing more. I am giving away 2 copies of the ebook, AND a copy of the audio book to two lucky readers so please post a comment telling me what you think of male dancers…and what do you think of hula?

Phantom Lover by A.J. Llewellyn

Purchase Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Lover-Book-J-Llewellyn-ebook/dp/B01KCVLGNQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471830514&sr=8-1&keywords=phantom+lover+a.j.+llewellyn#nav-subnav

Synopsis:

Hawaiian hula dancer Bobby Kikawa has deep fantasies about the alluring, mysterious Kimo Wilder, a gifted kahuna and kumu hula, a hula master. He becomes even more fixated after Kimo poses for an erotic painting called Phantom Lover. He plans to seduce Kimo even though the man is straight, married and known for his extreme loyalty to his wife. 

Alone on a hot night after dance rehearsal on the big island of Hawaii, Bobby manages to persuade Kimo to let him service his neglected, extremely hungry passions. When the young dancer awakens a part of Kimo that nobody else ever has, Bobby both fears and welcomes the incredible power Kimo has over him. The legendary dancer inserts himself into Bobby’s life, but not everyone is happy about their burgeoning romance. 

Things go from one extreme to another with interference from family and friends. Are the men prepared to sacrifice everything for each other? Their red-hot fling threatens not only Kimo’s marriage but Bobby’s sanity when he discovers Kimo is a “Keeper of Secrets” in the Hawaiian culture…a man born of fire and hidden, taboo, dark magic the ancient Hawaiians called Lua. 

NOTE: This book was previously published. This reissued version of the book has been re-edited.

A.J. Llewellyn is the author of over 200 M/M romance novels, who was born in Australia, and lives in Los Angeles. An early obsession with Robinson Crusoe led to a lifelong love affair with islands, particularly Hawaii and Easter Island.
Being marooned once on Wedding Cake Island in Australia cured her of a passion for fishing, but led to a plotline for a novel. A.J.’s friends live in fear because even the smallest details of their lives usually wind up in her stories. A.J. has a desire to paint, draw, juggle, work for the FBI, walk a tightrope with an elephant, be a chess champion, a steeplejack, master chef, and a world-class surfer. She can’t do any of these things so she writes about them instead.
A.J. I started life as a journalist and boxing columnist, and still enjoys interrogating, er, interviewing people to find out what makes them tick.
Friend me/Find me:
email: ajllewellyn@gmail.com
website: http://www.ajllewellyn.com
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Newsletter sign-up: ajllewellynnewsletter@gmail.com – each month I give away a free ebook!
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