4 Stars, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, M.A. Ray, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: The High King’s Will by M.A. Ray

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Title: The High King’s Will (Steel for the Prince: Book One)

Author: M.A. Ray

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 185 Pages

At a Glance: The High King’s Will takes off on an exciting and action packed adventure.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: “The High King’s will crushes all before it. …Fare well, Eagle Eye Wormsbane. If you can.”

Eagle Eye’s world is full of magic. Fairies love him, and his only real friend is the resident unicorn, but since he killed the Worm of Shirith, nothing feels the same. When he collides with beautiful, broken Brother Fox a second time, he knows there’s no going back.

“I’m not in love with him. He needs help, that’s all.”

There’s no shortage of monsters in Fox’s life. The Worm was nothing compared to his own father, High King Beagar. When Eagle suggests an escape, Fox seizes the idea–and he wants Eagle with him.

“Damn propriety! I don’t want a servant! I want you to be my friend!”

The High King’s designs send Eagle and Fox across the sea to Rodansk, a land of summer sunshine at midnight and endless winter dark. Between the two, low-caste Eagle presents the bigger threat to Beagar’s power, and he didn’t even know it. Now that his Prince is giving him so much to lose, he won’t go down without a fight.

“Don’t be afraid. …I’m with you.”

Dividers

Review: Filled with magic, betrayal, danger, and mayhem—not to mention a couple of engaging heroes—M.A. Ray’s The High King’s Will sweeps readers along on an exciting high fantasy adventure. Digging into this story, I have to confess I wasn’t sure whether I was reading a fable or folk lore or a fairy tale. It turns out the answer is yes, I was reading a little bit of all those things, and I found this book to be a delightful tale with a New Adult feel.

Eagle Eye has just been named Wormsbane. He’s slain a dragon and saved the life of Brother Fox, the Crown Prince, but feels unworthy of the title that’s been bestowed upon him by the High King Beagar, certain that it wasn’t skill but luck that was with him that day. When the author introduces us to Eagle and Fox (whose names are what kept me wondering at the start of the book if I was reading a fable or maybe the re-imagining of a Native American folk tale), we don’t learn as much about the slaying as we do about the High King—namely that he’s never going to be up for father of the year. He’s abusive in some brutal and heinous ways, and as the story evolves, we see exactly why Fox is so eager to set off with Eagle to see the world when he has the opportunity.

What I didn’t understand for a good ways into this tale is exactly what sort of creatures Eagle and Fox are. I only knew for sure they weren’t at all human—it’s actually a bit difficult to get a good mental picture of what they do look like, at least for me—but the author does make sure we get a clear picture of this fairy tale world inhabited by trolls, dragons, fairies, elves, as well as humans, not to mention the magic and courage our heroes possess. The world-building along with my compassion for Fox and respect for Eagle made for some good binge reading.

As it turns out, the High King allowing Fox to set off on his adventure, accompanied by Eagle as his guard, wasn’t a rare kindness displayed by a father toward his son. There were much more sinister motives involved, and as the boys discover their journey is going to turn into a fight for survival, this story draws you in to all the danger they face, in the classic hero’s journey fashion. The action scenes are well written and fraught with tension, making for a brisk paced read.

Our young lovers have only just begun, and there are more than a few obstacles they’ll have to overcome, not the least of which is that Fox’s life is the stuff of nightmares and there are many things he’s done and had done to him he can’t put behind him. As the book draws to a close, we’re also left on the cusp of change for Eagle… Yes, the story ends in a cliffhanger, so what that change is remains to be seen. I’m looking so forward to book two to find out, and can only hope these boys will find a talisman of good fortune or that fate will throw some luck their way. Something tells me they’re going to need it.

I’m always excited to be introduced to new authors, and if the entire series lives up to the promise of The High King’s Will, M.A. Ray is one I’ll be paying close attention to.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

 

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3.5 Stars, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Sadonna, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Valentina Heart

Review: Two Hearts One Voice by Valentina Heart

Title: Two Hearts One Voice (Mending the Rift: Book Three)

Author: Valentina Heart

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 95 Pages

At a Glance: The long-awaited ending to a series that should satisfy fans of Merin and Rin.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: They are at war, fearing for each other, both carrying the upbringing of their children and the survival of their country. They are kings.

With the future of the throne secured, Rin and Merin still have little time to rejoice for their children or the unity of their kingdoms. Stuck in the middle of a battlefield, their lives prove to be once again at risk, Rin heads out on a long journey home with his heirs, leaving Merin to lead their army.

Rin receives his rightful title of a king from the Kari council and for once feels as if he belongs on the throne without Merin there to guide him. Missing his husband, he raises their children the best he can, but there’s no end to the war in sight and, after months of futile conflicts, Rin sees Merin cut down in battle.

Distraught and with no patience for his council, Rin threatens the Riki, making even his own men fear him.

Can Rin cope alone and still win the war, or will his sorrow mark the end of his reign?

Dividers

Review: Note: This is the final book in the Mending the Rift series. It is definitely recommended that they be read in order.

Finally! I remember when I read the first book in this series – I was having a 7 hour test at Northwestern Hospital to determine if I would have to have surgery, and between the times I was strapped to a machine I had time to kill, so I started this series. I had totally missed the part where it was the first in a series, and was so mad at the ending! But then book two came along, and I was somewhat mollified. Then the long wait – but not the author’s fault. This series was left in limbo, thanks to the original publisher going under and leaving a huge mess in its wake. Luckily, Pride Publishing came to the rescue, and we finally have an ending to this saga.

Two Hearts One Voice takes place immediately after the end of Owner of My Heart, the second book in the trilogy. Rin has finally given birth to the new heirs, and they all seem to be thriving. While the birth takes a toll on Rin, he is recovering nicely and has help to care for the children. Rin has needed to stay close to Merin during the pregnancy and birth to recover his health and strength, but now there are too many dangers as they remain in the battlefield, and it’s time for Rin to take the children back home.

Once Rin and the children arrive home, Rin assumes his rightful place on the throne and truly serves as an admirable ruler. His daily communications with Merin, raising the children and dealing with the running of the kingdom at home, seem to agree with him, and he is more confident than ever. The children are adorable and a handful, but he does have competent help.

While Merin continues to lead his men in battle, things are never stable at the front, and when Rin sees Merin wounded during their daily communication, he cannot get through and has no idea if Merin is dead or alive. This drives Rin into action, and he vows to either broker a peace or engage in a scorched earth policy. He demands a meeting with the Riki king, and won’t take no for an answer. His power and his magic seem to surge with his fury over Merin’s attack, and he simply refuses to accept defeat. However, he’s unprepared for the price of the potential peace, and he’s not sure he can make the required sacrifice for his husband, his family, or his kingdom. I don’t want to spoil the story, so I will leave the synopsis here, because it’s an interesting dilemma that is best not revealed too soon.

I really liked seeing more of Rin on his own, with his children, and running the kingdom at home. He’s been through so much, and with the love and confidence gained through his true marriage to Merin, he finally is comfortable with the mantle of power that he has rightfully earned. Merin is, as usual, pragmatic and thoughtful and still deeply in love and full of admiration for the strength and beauty of Rin. He dotes on his children and never forgets his duty to his kingdom. He is in awe of the steely determination he sees in Rin. They are a perfect combination and deserve every happiness together.

I’m a little sad that the series is over because I’d really love to see what happens with the next generation. Maybe we’ll get a new series starring those characters sometime in the future.

 

 

 

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5 Stars, Faith Ashlin, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Totally Bound

Review: To Stand Close by Faith Ashlin

Title: To Stand Close

Author: Faith Ashlin

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 223 Pages

At a Glance: Surprisingly deep and thought provoking.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Can love grow and survive for two men on opposite sides of the deepest of chasm—slavery?

In this world one country has cut itself off, and is closed and mysterious to everyone else. What’s the secret it’s hiding? Magic? Monsters? No, just the cruel reality of slavery. But inside its borders life goes on as normal, and it competes with the rest of the world at sport just like everyone else, just to prove that it’s the best.

Nicky accepts that, and is happy in his own small, simple life as a gymnastics coach. He accepts it because he’s never known anything else, but he stays as far away from the brutality of slavery as he can, until he’s given a present he doesn’t want and isn’t allowed to refuse.

As for love? Well, he loves his sport, isn’t that enough?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of slavery.

Dividers

Review: I was completely surprised by this book. The premise sounded intriguing, and I thought I was going to get a little angst, a lot of romance, and…something else. To be honest, at this point I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t a book that would leave me thinking about the characters and the world they live in well after the fact.

To Stand Close is a tough one to read because in this alternate world, a country has cut itself off from the rest of the world because it still practices slavery. When Nicky receives a slave as a gift from the mothers of the girls he coaches for gymnastics, he doesn’t want him because he doesn’t want to think about slavery. He doesn’t agree with it, but he doesn’t really care. He has his own problems to worry about, and slavery is not one of them. But when he sees the fear in the slave’s eyes at the thought of being returned to the preparation center, he agrees to take him.

It’s clear from the outset that Nicky is a good man. He isn’t going to use the slave for anything. Not even cleaning his home. But then, in this country, slaves are good for only one thing: sex. They can be used in any way their owner wants, and that’s it. They can even be passed around to others if the owner wants. And, more terrifyingly, if their owner isn’t around, they’re fair game.

The slave is Michael. He initially is a heartbreaking character. Every time he was on the page my heart ached for him, so unsure of himself and desperate to do anything not to go back to the slave prep center. And it becomes even more awful when you discover where he’s from and how he became a slave in this awful country. Nicky promises to do everything in his power to keep Michael safe because, at first, well, that’s his responsibility.

But it changes.

Throughout the course of the novel Nicky falls in love with Michael, and that’s where the questions start to come in. Nicky is, technically, his master, even if they don’t see themselves as master and slave. So how can Nicky ever be sure Michael really does want to have sex with him? He might say it, but how can he know? Because even though Nicky is a great guy, technically he could just take it if he wanted to. He has Michael’s paperwork.

Most of the time when I read books where there is angst and miscommunication, or lack of listening, I get frustrated, but with this book, it was completely believable and I understood the deeper issues at hand. Nicky is completely right in fearing Michael is doing it to keep him “sweet,” as he says. And while Michael doesn’t seem like that kind of guy, let’s face it, he really is at a disadvantage. If Nicky were to say screw it one day, he could very well end up in a terrible place. And for a slave in this country, he has it made.

I felt for these characters so much. And my heart broke. Often. The ending was good, but I would love more from Michael and Nicky. I want to know what happens to them next. And I want to read more set in this world. I know it might sound terrible, but I want to see how other people react to their slaves and what they do to try to change it.

TNA_Signature_Jennifer






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5 Stars, Bey Deckard, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Release Day Review: Fated: Blood and Redemption by Bey Deckard

Title: Fated: Blood and Redemption

Author: Bey Deckard

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 350 Pages

At a Glance: If it’s a measure of how well I loved this series to say it’s one I’ll read again once its end has had a chance to settle, then consider Fated, and the entire series, well loved.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: With the captain’s mind in shambles, Jon and Tom set out to find the passage home through the black mountain range, hoping to find a cure for Baltsaros’s madness. However, when the men are forced to part ways, darkness takes root in the schism created; fate, lust, and vengeance become obsessions threatening to tear apart the fragile bonds holding the three together.

Following on the heels of Sacrificed, Fated takes the pirates on a quest to find those responsible for the captain’s bloody beginnings. But can they survive what awaits them where past and present meet?

Dividers

Review: Sometimes starting a review is not only hard but pretty damned intimidating, especially when you harbor such a fondness for a series you’re afraid you can’t do it the justice it deserves…other than telling people just to read the books. I guess a reviewer’s job is the “why” of it, though, so here it goes:

The characters—Captain Baltsaros, Tom, and Jon: One a charming, ruthless and deadly pirate; one a former slave born into nobility, cheeky and irresistible; one an innocent young man kidnapped to be used as a tool of the Captain’s bidding, strong and at the same time, vulnerable. What makes these characters special is their individual charisma. Apart, they are a trichotomy—three individual pieces of a puzzle that perhaps shouldn’t fit together; together, however, they are a troika, an interworking of want and need that works as the completion of a relationship which must have Jon at its center for balance. He is the hinge for Baltsaros, for Tom, and at the intersection he plays the important role of not only loving both men but helping them learn how to love each other, to overcome their own insecurity and jealousy.

The journey these men take isn’t always measured in nautical miles but in milestones which draw them closer together and sometimes threaten to tear them apart. Fated: Blood and Redemption is the completion of the trilogy and marks the turning point where the Captain must freely offer of himself in order to bring deliverance to Jon, Tom, and, ultimately, to himself. Fated has an almost dreamlike quality to it, alternating between the past and the present, and steering readers through the psychological stigmata which threatens Baltsaros’s sanity, not to mention affecting both Jon and Tom in myriad ways. Is Fate at play in this story, are these men simply ghosts in the machine? Is every action, reaction, and decision—regardless of how well planned or impulsive—destined to bring these men through hell and spit them out on the other side as if they had no real choice at all? It would seem so. And through it all, they fuck and fight with intensity, as they have from the beginning, part of what makes these books so fantastic, that visceral tension that runs between the three of them.

The Adventure—This series is cleverly crafted Alt U/Fantasy, a bit of swashbuckling, a bit of mysticism, and so captivating because it’s not only original but draws one in emotionally as well. Each time Baal’s Heart sets sail, these men are affected by that journey, and, on the flip-side, these men affect each journey they undertake. It’s impossible not to become invested in the relationship these men have built, to grin madly at Tom and to sympathize with all three of them, and while the books aren’t necessarily romances, there is a romanticism to them: the idea of each loving two men for different but no less powerful reasons, living by their own rules and answering to no one but themselves and those they’ve chosen to keep close.

Fated brings the trilogy full-circle, the end is the beginning, and one can only assume the cycle will continue for these passionate men until the end of their days together. If it’s a measure of how well I loved this series to say it’s one I’ll read again once its end has had a chance to settle, then consider Fated, and the entire series, well loved.






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Bey Deckard, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Character Interview With Captain Baltsaros, Tom, and Jon – The Baal’s Heart series by Bey Deckard

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In what I can assure you is one of the most interactive interviews ever done here at The Novel Approach, I’m happy to bring Bey Deckard to you today. Or, rather, Captain Baltsaros, Tom, and Jon of the pirate ship Baal’s Heart, in anticipation of the April 11, 2015 release of Fated: Blood and Redemption, Book Three of the Baal’s Heart trilogy.

There’s a reason Caged and Sacrificed made my list of Best Reads of 2014, not the least of which is the charm of the three characters who make this series all it is. To know them truly is to love them.

So, without further ado, here they are, the captain, Tom, and Jon.

Dividers

TNA: Gentlemen, thanks to you for agreeing to answer a few questions for me. I have to confess to feeling a bit intimidated by this interview, so let’s start with an easy question and see where it goes from there.

Will you introduce yourselves (or each other) to the readers who may not know you yet?

B: *laughs* There’s no need to feel intimidated, my dear. I assure you that we’re all on our best behaviour. *leans forward in his chair* Lisa, is it? May I call you Lisa?

TNA: Oh, Captain… you may call me anything you wish, but Lisa will do just fine. *winks*

T: *chuckles but stops at a look from the captain*

B: *inclining his head in a little bow* Lisa, it’s very nice to meet you. I’m Captain Baltsaros, captain of the pirate ship Baal’s Heart. We’re honoured to have been invited to speak with you. *smiles and leans back, hands clasped loosely in his lap* Now… let me introduce you to the two young men I have with me. On my left, trying to affect an air of disinterest, is Jon. More recently, Captain Jon Black.

J: *laughs* Well… Not captain anymore, but thank you for that. Pleased to meet you, Lisa. I’m not acting “disinterested”. I’m just… well, I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to be saying.

T: Yer supposed to say yer how-do-ye-do’s, love. Then ye bloody answer all the nice lady’s questions smartly, like a good lad… aye? *shifts in place patting at his trousers looking for something*

J: *rolls eyes* Don’t mind Tom. He’s chafing a little because the captain made him put on a shirt.

T: *snorts*

B: A little decorum goes a long way, Tom. Lisa, I apologize for my first mate. Though he’s the only one of us with legitimate noble beginnings, he enjoys playing the savage.

T: Thomas Hinchliffe of Averdown the Fourth. *side eyes Baltsaros before looking back at Lisa* Pleased to make yer acquaintance, I’m sure. How’s that for bloody decorum?

J: *choking* What? Where in the hells did that come from?

B: *laughs*

T: It’s my bloody name, ducky. *finds what he was looking and pulls a match out of his pocket*

J: I’m sorry, but you hate it when your mother calls you anything but Tom. The look you gave her—wait, the fourth? So your dad was… Ohh… is that why you don’t like being called… *trails off at a scowl from Tom*

T: D’ye mind if I smoke here, lovey? *pulls a slim cigar out from behind his ear and holds it up*

TNA: *gapes* Erm… well… *clears throat* Yes, please, be my guest.

Jon, Tom, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance as well. Tom, I had no idea you were a member of the nobility. *desperately shuffles notes* And Jon, he doesn’t like to be called what? You can’t just leave readers hanging like that. I mean, you can, but you won’t… will you?

J: Oh, well he just doesn’t like it when his mother calls him “Thomas”. I figured it’s just because he likes being an ass, but… it’s got to do with your dad, right? *furrows brows as he looks at Tom*

T: Aye, the name don’t sit right with me for a couple’a reasons, love, that bein’ one of them. The gutless bastard that put me in my ma’s belly is Lord Thomas. I’m no coward like he was. Let’s just stick with Tom, aye? *holds the match to the end of his cheroot and puffs it to get it lit, then goes to drop it on the ground but stops at a soft noise from the captain*

Sorry. *balances the charred match on his knee*

B: *shakes his head and hands Tom the cup of water he’d been drinking from to use as an ashtray* We seem to have hijacked your interview, Lisa. Apologies,please… continue.

TNA: How are all three of you doing after your last adventure, especially you, Captain?

B: I’m recovering, thank you. *the words are said politely, but his expression is a little grim, and Tom and he share a look*

J: *staring down at his hands, face pale* Fine.

T: Aye, we’re fine, missy. It ain’t peaches and rainbows, but we’re gettin’ on the way we do.

B: Indeed we are. *the look he gives Jon is both worried and fond, and Jon lifts his head with a wan smile when he notices Baltsaros watching*

TNA: What are some things you know for sure about the three of you that you didn’t know even a few months ago?

J: *brightens* Tom’s name for one…

T: Don’t make me regret I told ye. *the words are a playful growl, and he blows out a plume of smoke*

J: *laughs* Ok… Sorry, Lisa. Let me think… Things we know for sure… Ummm. Do you mean things we learned about ourselves? Or about each other?

TNA: *grins* Please, do you think I ever have this much fun doing interviews? So, how about if we say a little of both? The roles have changed a bit for all three of you, in your relationship as well as on board ship, yeah? Are you all three comfortable with where you are now, especially in, shall we say, private?

J: Oh. *face reddening a little, he scrubs a hand through his curls and glances over at Tom*

T: For lord’s sake, love! It’s not like she’s askin’ to see yer pecker. *laughs*

TNA: Well, a lady would never ask, but a woman… There’s no telling what we’re apt to ask for. *grins*

J: *stares wide-eyed at Lisa for a moment, then his face splits into a self-conscious grin as he looks down at his hands, slowly shredding the hem of his shirt.*

B: *smirks at Jon and then turns to Lisa with a graceful smile* Things have… changed, yes. I think it’s fair to say that the roles we have both in public and private have shifted in just the past year. While Tom remains my first mate, he and I are much closer thanks to Jon. Jon’s role aboard changed following my… ah… mental lapse, and he continues to function as a failsafe for me in his role of quartermaster. *his smile becomes a little self-conscious* I now know for certain that I obviously need to relinquish control more oft—

T: Ha!

B: —en. *shakes his head at Tom, but he’s still smiling.*

J: I know that both of you learned basic human concepts like “trust” and “lo—

T: Bloody hells! Why d’ye two have to be so fuckin’ meaningful all the godsdamned time? *laughs and then leans forward in his chair, brow furrowed and blue-green eyes mischievous* Lisa, lovey, what I know for certain now that wasn’t bloody apparent before… is that Jon, feeble li’l fucker that he once was, is a right demon when it comes to givin’ me a deep dickin’—

J: Tom!

B: *sits back looking amused*

T: Lemme finish, lad. The lady asked for private, so I’m givin’ her bloody private, savvy? Sorry… where was I? Aye… when Jon’s balls-deep, he can be a real devil, every bit o’ rough that my da is and—*looks over at Baltsaros with a grin*—Da here, can be every bit o’ soft that Jonny-boy can be. It’s a bloody miracle, as far as I’m concerned. If ye ask me, I’m the one who got the best out of this deal. What d’ye think, love? *winks at Lisa*

TNA: Me? *laughs* I think you just changed me from a lady to a woman with one answer, you charming scoundrel. *winks back*

T: *waggles his brows and slouches back in this chair, puffing on the end of his cigar*

B: So, Tom, you’re saying that what you just said isn’t “meaningful”? *chuckles*

T: *shoots a look at Baltsaros, and for a moment the two men just smile at each other*

TNA: *stares* Uh, okay, assuming it can get a little stir crazy spending so much time on board ship, what’s your favorite way to blow off steam?

*All three laugh, and Jon goes an even darker shade of red*

T: C’mon, lad. You tell ‘er, since yer so bloody keen on torturin’ me lately…

J: *looks over at Baltsaros, but when the captain nods in encouragement, it looks like Jon wants to disappear into his chair* Uh… *rubs his face* Ok. Well… the long table in the stateroom got wrecked in the fight against the Reaper—long story *waves it away*… anyway, we had it up on crates at first, but then we found a replacement on our way home, and we had nowhere to put the old one. It just ended up propped against the wall… We were just going to throw it overboard, but one night I was telling Tom about what we called the “begging cross” in the dungeon I used to work in—I was a sort of interrogator in a dungeon in Portsmouth for my—

B: Jon, stay on the subject.

J: *breathes deep with a small nod, one hand picking nervously at the front of his tunic* Tom built a fair replica of a begging cross—it’s really just a big X—with the pieces of the old table and bolted it into the floor of our quarters. *glances over at Tom* And… well… now instead of spending time in the brig like he used to every time he gets into trouble… we tie him to the cross instead so we can take turns… at… *looks at Lisa and falters*

T: *starts to laugh*

J: Hey, you’re the one who’s been doing everything he can to get tied to the fucking thing, why do I have to talk about it?

T: Because ye turn a lovely shade o’ pink, lovey, and it makes my cock hard hearin’ ye speak words that do it to ye.

B: *brow cocked in amusement* Our first mate also took it onto himself to bring some new toys aboard… They’ve proven to be an excellent source of divertissement. Especially coupled with the cross. Tom, do you want me to tell our lovely host exactly what it was that Jon and I were doing that had you begging so charmingly last night?

T: *looking a little abashed, he shakes his head then focuses on Lisa* So what was that next question, lass? Did ye ask it? Can ye ask it?

J: *laughs* turnabout it fair play.

TNA: *fans self – reaches over and pats Tom’s hand* No worries, Tom, I knew that would be a, shall we say, loaded question. I also knew the answer would be a lot of fun. I’ll ask the next question, but pardon me if I seem a bit distracted from here out. My imagination… Oy.

T: *grins crookedly*

TNA: If you were each to write his own memoir, what would the titles of your books be?

B: I think mine would have to have something of madness in it *chuckles* but what about Of Monsters and Maelstroms: The Voyages of Captain Baltsaros?

*Jon and Tom both laugh*

T: Sounds like ye been thinkin’ o’ that for a while, aye? So ye gonna write a bloody memoir?

J: *helpless laughter* Oh gods… emphasis on the bloody

B: *for a moment something like anger crosses his face, but then he joins in on the laughter*

T: Ok… I think… if I were to put my life to paper… it’d be somethin’ like… uhhh—

J: Fucking and Fighting or Hungover and Horny

T: *grinning wide* D’ye see why I love Jonny-boy here so fuckin’ much? He bloody knows me.

B: What about you, Jon?

J: Me? I have no idea. Why would I want to write about what’s happened to me in my life? *he suddenly looks a little withdrawn*

T: *drops his cigar in the cup of water, gets up from his chair, and puts his arms around Jon’s shoulders to bury his face in the side of Jon’s neck*

J: *eyes closed, he listens to the words rumbled against his skin by the first mate and gives a little nod, his brow smoothing out*

B: *watches the exchange and then turns to Lisa with an apologetic smile* Jon’s memoir would be called something like The Burden of Trust.

J: *lets out a small, bitter-sounding laugh*

T: *instead of returning to his chair, Tom sits cross-legged on the floor in front of Jon’s*

TNA: Oh my… well, on that note, last question, gentlemen – can you give us a wee hint as to what your next journey will be? Just a little tease?

*Jon and the captain share a long look*

B: For now? We are heading to Madierus. I’m afraid it’s not a very interesting answer… but I’ve promised Jon that we won’t budge for a little while. Then, once we’re rested and tired of staying in one place, we’ll see.

T: Aye, we’ll see… see how long it takes for Abetha to drive us all bloody mad. Oh, that’s a thought: we could write a memoir together and call it Three Madmen in a Leaky Tub 

B: Baal’s Heart has yet to leak.

T: Aye, but the bloody state of her… unseemly with all them patches.

B: *frowns and nods thoughtfully* We’ll have plenty of time for repairs once we get to Madierus.

TNA: So you’re just going home?

J: *smiles softly, his grey-blue eyes soulful as his fingers stroke the side of Tom’s neck* Nah. Madierus is just… a break. It’ll never be home. Home is the Heart. It’s Baltsaros and Tom and me together. That’s home.

Now, if that’s all the questions… I think it’s actually time to be getting home now. I’m sorry that it got a little serious there. You have to understand that we’ve been through somewhat of an ordeal, and things have been a little rough.

I want to thank you for having us, and I hope you’ll have us again one day.

B: Yes, it was a definitely a pleasure, Lisa. I’ll be sure to send you a letter, should we find ourselves heading for strange waters. *his smile is friendly, and he bobs his head in a quick, charming bow*

T: If ye ever want to come sail with us, I’m sure I could find ye some room, lovey. Just let o’ Tom know. *he winks and quickly pulls Lisa’s knuckles to his mouth for a brief, rough-stubbled peck*

TNA: *gasps* Tom, you are a wicked scoundrel. And I can assure you, gentlemen, the pleasure was entirely mine.

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Fated(200x300)Blurb: With the captain’s mind in shambles, Jon and Tom set out to find the passage home through the black mountain range, hoping to find a cure for Baltsaros’s madness. However, when the men are forced to part ways, darkness takes root in the schism created; fate, lust, and vengeance become obsessions threatening to tear apart the fragile bonds holding the three together.

Following on the heels of Sacrificed, Fated takes the pirates on a quest to find those responsible for the captain’s bloody beginnings. But can they survive what awaits them where past and present meet?

Pre-Order Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble

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Bey Deckard, Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal and Exclusive Excerpt – Fated: Blood and Redemption (Baal’s Heart III)

fated-cover-1200

Title: Fated: Blood and Redemption
Series: Baal’s Heart
Author: Bey Deckard
Cover Artist: Bey Deckard
Release Date: April 11th, 2015
Word Count: 117 000+
Pre-Order Now: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
Goodreads Link: Fated

Blurb: With the captain’s mind in shambles, Jon and Tom set out to find the passage home through the black mountain range, hoping to find a cure for Baltsaros’s madness. However, when the men are forced to part ways, darkness takes root in the schism created; fate, lust, and vengeance become obsessions threatening to tear apart the fragile bonds holding the three together.

Following on the heels of Sacrificed, Fated takes the pirates on a quest to find those responsible for the captain’s bloody beginnings. But can they survive what awaits them where past and present meet?

Dividers

Excerpt: Tom gave Jon a faint smile as he took his place behind the ship’s wheel. Pitching the bastard overboard wasn’t what was bothering him; the man’s life or death hadn’t concerned him in the least… though being ripped apart by those things sure made for a good tale to tell. No, it was the way that Jon’s voice had taken on the same cold, precise tones that so often fell from Baltsaros’s lips. Even his accent had changed a little. Tom shook his head and tightened his hands on the handles without a word.

“You’re worried about me,” said Jon softly.

Frowning, the first mate nodded, keeping his eyes forward.

“Don’t be worried about me, Tom,” said the young captain.

Chewing the inside of his cheek for a second, Tom nodded again.

“We ready?” he asked gruffly. He looked over at Jon and saw that he was staring at him with an odd expression on his face.

“I’m not turning into him,” said Jon. “If that’s what you’re worried about.”

Tom shrugged and turned the wheel a little back and forth, impatient to get going.

“Ye bloody sounded just like him, Jon.”

When Jon reached for him, he wasn’t expecting the sudden, sharp pain in his scalp as his fingers snarled a wicked handful of Tom’s hair and tugged his head back. Jon brought his face close, his storm-grey eyes furious.

“You wanted me to be captain, so I am being captain. It is not easy for me, but I am fucking doing it the only way I know how,” Jon growled through clenched teeth. “If you don’t like it, you can go fuck yourself. And… What makes you think you can go behind my back and string up passengers without my say-so?”

Tom opened his mouth to speak, but Jon’s hand tightened its hold, and he let out a pained grunt instead.

“The issue should have been brought to me first. Me. The captain. Isn’t that how it works on this fucking ship? No. Instead you go around terrorizing people and then suddenly come dump the problem in my lap with no warning, putting me on the godsdamned spot to figure out what sort of punishment fits the crime. I had no idea what to say… Shit, how do you think that makes me look in front of the crew? Half of them still see me as some kind of fucking bed warmer for you and Baltsaros.”

Jon gave Tom’s head a little shake, and he winced.

“You need to work with me, Tom. Not against me. Godsdammit, you know Punga could have sat, not hung, in the brig for another day or two, and we could have taken care of things together. And, for hell’s sake, you ass, of course I was going to pull him out of the water. I saw that look on your face, Tom. I’m not a godsdamned killer. I’ve killed three men now, and I’m pretty damned sure it’s not going to become a hobby. I don’t want to see you doubt me like that again. Understand?” He let go of Tom and stood glaring him.

Tom rubbed the back of his head.

“Yes, Cap’n,” he said sedately with a small nod. Then Tom let the grin he’d been holding back curve his lips and cocked his head. “Feel better?”

Jon’s face creased into a sheepish smile, and he chuckled, nodding.

“Much,” he confessed. “Gods, I am not cut out for this shit.”

Tom shook his head.

“Naw, love. I think yer doin’ just fine. Yer bloody right, ye know. I should stop worryin’ about you so much, and I should’a come to ye the second that red-haired witch came to see me.”

“Ceara came to you?” Jon heaved a sigh and raked both his hands through his mess of curls. “Argh! Fuck. Ok. I’ll take care of her too. If she’s trying to win me over, she sure as hells is taking the wrong path. I can’t stand the idea that people would take things like this into their own hands rather than bother me. Bother me, for fuck’s sake. I know I’m stressed as fuck, but bloody hells, how else am I going to learn?”

Tom grinned wider at Jon’s increased use of profanity.

Jon furrowed his brow and leaned forward, his blue eyes dark in the dying sunlight as he studied Tom for a long moment. When he finally spoke, his voice was low and intimate.

“What? You think this is amusing? Just so you know, if you get us through these mountains in one piece, I plan on using you so thoroughly that the only words left to you will be please and more.”

The first mate blinked, a sudden pulse of heat taking him as his heart kicked up in surprise. He laughed and Jon smiled back a little wolfishly.

“Aye, aye, sir,” Tom said and eagerly grabbed the ship’s wheel again.

Dividers

Author BioAuthor Bio: Born and raised in a small coastal town in northern Québec, Bey spent his early summers on his uncle’s boat and running wild on the beaches of the surrounding islands, lighting fires and building huts out of driftwood and fishermen’s nets. As an adult, he eventually made his way to university and earned a degree in Art History with a strong focus on Anthropology. Primarily a portrait painter and graphic artist, Bey sat down one day and decided to write about the two things that he felt most passionate about: sex and the sea.

Bey currently lives in the wilds of Montréal with his best buddy, a spotty pit bull named Murphy.

Links: Website | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Google+ | Amazon

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5 Stars, Bey Deckard, Erotica, Historical Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires by Bey Deckard

Title: Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires

Author: Bey Deckard

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 380 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Reunited once more, the crew of Baal’s Heart must make the long and treacherous journey south to the towering spires of the Devil’s Isles. The path through the mountain range is fraught with peril; mayhem and tragedy plague the pirate ship, but what the men find beyond the spires is the most shocking of all.

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4 Stars, Less Than Three Press, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Rachel White, Reviewed by Rena, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Rachel White’s “Blood Tells” Is A Tale Of Treason and Murder

Title: Blood Tells

Author: Rachel White

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Pages/Word Count: 304 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Nineteen years ago, Demetrius Fallon was accused of murdering his father by way of a rare, unusual poison. When the crown prince is nearly killed the same way, Demetrius agrees to work with Rodger Dalme, the handsome, friendly captain assigned to the case, in order to find the culprit and prove his innocence once and for all.

But there is treachery in every corner, and if he hopes to untangle the lies of the present, Demetrius will first have to face the shadows of his past … Continue reading

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, JR Loveless, Reviewed by Jackie

Complications Abound In J.R. Loveless’s “His Salvation”


“All resurrection, all salvation, from whatever perdition, lies in love.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky


Title: His Salvation

Author: J.R. Loveless

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 260 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: The ADA Chronicles: Book One

In an attempt to atone for his sins and find some solace, ADA Agent Gabriel Romero helps other Deviants in need. But with threats from both sides—Normals and the Deviants who despise them—he finds it harder and harder to outrun his ghosts, especially after a difficult mission to rescue twin brothers held at an enemy compound, where Gabriel meets Alexander Ryker. Gabriel finds his new charge unexpectedly attractive, and that’s a complication he does not want—one he thinks he doesn’t deserve.
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4 Stars, Blind Eye Books, Langley Hyde, Reviewed by Lisa

Langley Hyde’s “Highfell Grimoires” Is Steampunk And Suspense In An Alt U World


“Many great things have been accomplished by the careful combination of keen minds and ardent spirits.” ― G.D. Falksen


Highfell Grimoires: Highfell Grimoires

Author: Langley Hyde

Publisher: Blind Eye Books

Pages/Word Count: 322 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Born to privilege, gifted in languages and spells, Neil Franklin has planned his brilliant future—from academic accolades to a proper marriage—and is intent upon upholding his family name and honor. The sudden death of his parents shatters all of that, leaving Neil and his younger sister beggared and orphaned.
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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, K.Z. Snow, Reviewed by Lisa

K.Z. Snow Brings The Mongrel Trilogy To A Brilliant Close In “Machine”


“Wind’s in the East, mist comin’ in, like somethin’ is brewin’, about to begin. Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, but I feel what’s to ’appen all ’appened before.” – Mary Poppins


Title: Machine (Mongrel Trilogy: Book Three)

Author: K.Z. Snow

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 224 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Mongrel Trilogy: Book Three

The closing-day flea market at the Marvelous Mechanical Circus always draws a colorful crowd, but salesman Will Marchman doesn’t expect to see a large, elaborate gold wagon on the plaza—especially one called the Spiritorium. The wagon’s exotic looking owner claims he can perform “cleansings and siphonings” via a miracle-working machine housed within. He can supposedly flush the wickedness out of people and places.
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GayRomLit, Jordan L. Hawk, Self-Published

Jordan L. Hawk Joins Us Today To Celebrate The Countdown To GRL, The Release Of “Necropolis”, And There’s A Giveaway!


2014GRL_BlogTour_sq200x200TNA: Hi, Jordan, welcome back! It’s always great to have you here with us. For readers who may not have had the chance to be introduced to you before, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself to get things started?

Jordan: I live in NC, not terribly far from where I spent the majority of my childhood. My ancestors brewed moonshine, so I keep up some of the family tradition brewing beer and mead in my spare time. I live with my wonderful husband (and beta reader) David and our three very cute cats.
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