Audiobook Review: Camp H.O.W.L. by Bru Baker

Moonmates exist, but getting together is going to be a beast….

When Adrian Rothschild skipped his “werewolf puberty,” he assumed he was, somehow, human. But he was wrong, and he’s about to go through his Turn with a country between him and his Pack—scared, alone, and eight years late.

Dr. Tate Lewis’s werewolf supremacist father made his Turn miserable, and now Tate works for Camp H.O.W.L. to ease the transition for young werewolves. He isn’t expecting to offer guidance to a grown man—or find his moonmate in Adrian. Tate doesn’t even believe in the legendary bond; after all, his polygamist father claimed five. But it’s clear Adrian needs him, and if Tate can let his guard down, he might discover he needs Adrian too.

A moonmate is a wolf’s missing piece, and Tate is missing a lot of pieces. But is Adrian up to the challenge?

Listening Length: 6 hours and 55 minutes
Narrator: Dorian Bane

Consistent good fare, this was another DSP Beyond win!

As per the blurb, Adrian has long resigned himself to being that rare werewolf who is unable to shift into an actual wolf - a genetic anomaly that he’s had 8 years to come to terms with. Well apparently, his body is uncooperative in following any of the rules, and Adrian is far away from home as he starts to undergo some terrifying changes heralding his impending shift with the looming full moon.

Luckily nearby, is Camp H.O.W.L., a place where many werewolves-to-be go to for 24/7 support. Tate is a full time psychologist/counselor who works there, and he’s tasked with bringing Adrian in safely. Despite the immediate attraction Tate has for Adrian, he never expects to find in him his mate

Now, this would all be fine and dandy typically, but Tate has had a terrible past, conditioned by a father who used his alpha status to take advantage of those under his care, basically using the idea of the mate bond to control, manipulate, and twist things horribly in his favor. Though Tate escaped that life, his jaded heart has no room for love, let alone a mate, despite all the signs pointing towards him and Adrian being perfect for each other.

Narrated by Dorian Bane, I appreciated his earnestness and enthusiasm on the behalf of all the characters in this story, nicely bringing them to life. He has a consistently raspy voice that is different from the usual narrator, but I felt that this didn't detract at all.

Overall, I obviously liked this understated werewolf/mates story. Some may be a bit bored and some may be frustrated with Tate’s reluctance, but I thought this was still a great slow build with reasonable progression of how two people, both different and both outcasts in their own right, find in each other safety, acceptance, and ultimately, love.

Again, as with most of these types of stories in this series, this was consistently sweet with a dash of sexy, and I enjoyed this easy, laidback listen.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the audio in exchange for an honest review

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Fox and Birch (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #3) by Sam Burns

Celebrate the release of Fox and Birch (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #3) with author Sam Burns and Signal Boost Promotions! Learn more about the latest in the series and enter in the Blackbird in the Reeds eBook giveaway!

Length: 48,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Melanie Harlow @ Clause & Effect

The Rowan Harbor Series

Book #1 - Blackbird In The Reeds -
Book #2 - Wolf And The Holly -


Fletcher Lane wants to protect people. It was why he became a deputy. A month ago, it was why he killed a vampire who kidnapped one of his friends. Now, that death has started a cascade effect that’s tearing his life apart, leaving him possessed by magic that whispers to him in ancient Gothic.

While he’s already fighting for control of his own mind, he has to hold it together when strangers come into town looking for the dead vampire. They say they’re bounty hunters, but Fletcher knows that’s a lie. They’re the same kind of murderers who killed Fletcher’s mother. When one of them puts up a kind front, Fletcher knows that people who hunt the supernatural can’t be trusted. However nice Conner Mason seems, the worst thing Fletcher could do is fall for his act.

This is the third of nine books in The Rowan Harbor Cycle, not a standalone. It continues where the second book left off. Fletcher and Conner will return in book six to continue their story, so this book contains a HFN, not their HEA.


The book was whispering again.

It wasn’t exactly a book anymore, since its pages and binding had been consumed in the fire and the only remnant of it was in his head. But Fletcher didn’t have another word for it than “book,” so that was what he was calling it to himself. Out loud, he tried to talk about it as little as possible.

He hadn’t learned Gothic, and he wasn’t going to, especially not in order to understand the things whispered in his brain by an evil, magic book. Tristan Hunter had assured him that the book hadn’t been evil, just the grimoire of a power-hungry witch who had died hundreds of years ago. Fletcher was hard pressed to see the difference.

The pursuit of power rarely ended well. To see that, a person only had to look at what had happened with the book in the last twenty-five years. They didn’t know how many people Hector MacKenzie had killed in his desperation, but it was at least two, with another planned.

And Fletcher had killed a man over it too, which was how he’d ended up in the position of being driven crazy by a dead witch whispering Gothic straight into his brain.

“Shut up,” he mumbled to it, as though that ever had any effect. The damned thing just kept rambling, like it didn’t understand him any better than he understood it. It probably didn’t. When it whispered to him at the station, it was all he could do to refrain from banging his head against the nearest filing cabinet.

He was sitting at his desk, trying to catch up with the massive backlog of paperwork he’d accumulated over the previous month. With his partner on medical leave for more than half of December, he’d fallen so far behind on everything he wasn’t sure it was possible to catch up. Every time he had a chance, the voice would start again, like a monologuing movie villain.

He had only told Devon, Jesse, and Isla about the whispering, but even to them, he’d downplayed how bad it was. How sometimes it drowned out actual conversations he was trying to have. How sometimes it chanted in a way that sounded like magic to him, and he felt things in his body shifting unnaturally. He shuddered.

About The Author

Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.

If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.





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Audiobook Review: Imperfect Harmony by Jay Northcote

Imperfect harmony can still be beautiful....

John Fletcher, a former musician, is stuck in limbo after losing his long-term partner two years ago. He's shut himself off from everything that reminds him of what he's lost. When his neighbor persuades him to join the local community choir, John rediscovers his love of music and finds a reason to start living again.

Rhys Callington, the talented and charismatic choir leader, captures John's attention from the first moment they meet. He appears to be the polar opposite of John: young, vibrant, and full of life. But Rhys has darkness in his own past that is holding him back from following his dreams.

Despite the 19-year age gap, the two men grow close and a fragile relationship blossoms. Ghosts of the past and insecurities about the future threaten their newfound happiness. If they're going to harmonize in life and love as they do in their music, they'll need to start following the same score.

Narrator: Mark Steadman
Listening Length: 7 hours and 6 minutes

Imperfect Harmony is a second chance at romance story that features two men with a nineteen year age gap. Though their differences in their age might be great, they shared passions in music helps bridge the gap. Set in small town in Britain, John still grieves for his partner. It's been two years but the grief is still present. He lives a quiet life in his former family home alone. A well meaning family friend invites him to a community choir practice. When he finally comes inside for a few, it changes his life for the better.

John sets his eyes on the blue-haired, tatted and (obviously) younger choir director, Rhys and he can't help but be drawn in by the musical talent. John is reluctant to try to live life again. Music helps ease his pain. Getting to know the choir director doesn't hurt either.

A volunteer job at a local senior home, as well as choir practices, helps the men familiarize themselves with one another. Plus, they find they share another thing in common: major losses at crucial points in their lives.

Before you think Imperfect Harmony is heavy with angst, it isn't.

Northcote keeps it (for the most parts) pretty light. There's light hurt/comfort, but nothing you need to crawl up and bury yourself in a corner with liquor for. Though the story is told in dual POV, I felt it was John's story mostly. I enjoy reading loners and widowers. I felt Northcote did a good job here. He showcased John's grief where you can understand why he would react to change the way he did. John's slower to accept his feelings for Rhys. It might be frustrating for some, especially when the main conflict came up. But understanding John, it fit the way he was written.

The story is 3.5 Hearts for me. It was interesting. It had a decent amount of slow build (which I think is needed for characters that are still feeling the effects of loss of a loved one). There was some points where it dragged. I didn't read along to make notes but the dragging parts were mainly in the middle. The mood for the story was tame overall. A little sweet, quiet, slow burn,

Was there sex? Yes, indeedy. It's not a sex heavy book. But the moments read organic. Sweet vanilla with a few realistic moments. *cough*performance anxiety*cough*

Steadman is a great choice for narrating Northcote's words. He gives enough emotion and empathy to all of his characters. It makes for a solid experience. And if you're new audio books or hesitant on trying the audio route, Steadman is definitely a narrator I'd recommend to newbies. I'd rate the narration 4 Hearts since I felt Steadman was pretty good.

I averaged my ratings for the final rating.

If you're looking for romance that features a large age gap and a love for music without a lot of flash and has substance, check out Imperfect Harmony on audio!

Audiobook Review: Pins and Needles by A.J. Thomas

The truth is rarely seen on the surface, and getting to it might mean digging deep….

After a devastating accident and a long stay in the hospital, the last thing petroleum engineer Sean Wilkinson wants to deal with is the settlement the oil company tries to force on him. He’ll never be able to work in his field again, his education is all but useless, and his surgeons are pessimistic about whether he’ll ever walk again. He needs someone in his corner, but most lawyers take one look at his tattoo-covered foster father and turn their backs. It’s just Sean’s luck that the one attorney willing to give him a chance is also the hottest guy he’s ever seen.

As a trial lawyer, Nate Delany has a lot to prove—to his father, the world, and himself. Sean intrigues Nate, and he struggles to reconcile the gifted tattoo artist he can’t stop fantasizing about with the quiet, brilliant engineer. His investigation reveals facts left out of the accident report—including an illicit affair, greedy coworkers, and a vicious corporation that will do anything to protect its bottom line. When Sean’s life is threatened, winning Sean’s case, and his heart, becomes a lot more dangerous.

Listening Length: 8 hours 57 minutes
Narrator: Jason Riley

I'm impressed!

In all actuality though, I’m not that surprised by my like of this because I do love me some romantic suspense.

This starts off with Sean, who by no means has had it easy in life. He’s conquered many obstacles and just when things have finally fallen into place, he suffers an absolutely horrific accident while on an oil rig support ship, leaving his long term goals and his body in ruins. When his case catches the eye of lawyer Nate, Sean’s grateful that someone is willing to help him navigate the many complications that have suddenly materialized in what seems like a straightforward situation. It is anything but.

Nate in turn, has been struggling his whole life to win the approval of his father. When said father fails to see that Nate truly is excellent at his job, it forces him to quit the firm and start anew on his own. Sean’s case will not only prove his worth, but the intriguing young man stirs many many things, and Nate’s determined to be his champion.

Suffice it to say, these two connect on multiple levels despite their disparate backgrounds, and I enjoyed watching them fall in love. There’s all sorts of roadblocks - ex’s, corporate greed, family bigotry, personal insecurity and doubt - all against a backdrop of multiple attempts on their lives. This kept me on my toes in and amongst the technical aspects of oil drilling, the intricacies of various laws, and showcasing the artistic side of Sean as well his brilliant engineering mind. Nate is no slouch either, and though these two have a few missteps, they actually do communicate well with each other. It doesn’t hurt at all that the UST and the sexy smex were very well done. Be forewarned though, there are some major dick head assholes in this story that made me want to cut a bitch multiple times. Grrr.

Please be aware that the narration by Jason Riley is simply a straight forward read through. If you’re looking for a theatrical production with varied voices, you’re not going to find it here. I admit, there were times I was confused as to who was speaking, but Riley’s delivery was pleasant and had inflection which still allowed me to greatly enjoy this story.

Overall, this was a big hit for me despite my small disappointment in not seeing a huge courtroom drama. However, I obviously liked what I got, and this author is now definitely on my radar!

Thank you to the author/publisher for the audio in exchange for an honest review.

Tag Team Review: Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells

A friends-to-lovers novella that came from Out of the Shadows, because Nate and Dylan needed a story….

Nate and Dylan have been pals for a long time. So what if their friends think they’ve got a little bromance going? Doesn’t mean there’s anything more to it than that, right? And even if there is, Nate and Dylan are totally oblivious….

Until the night they share a drunken kiss—and everything changes.

2.75 average

Adam - 2 Hearts

This one of those cases where the book was fine, but I just wasn’t enamored with it.

Nate and Dylan have been best friends since childhood. They spend a lot of time together, certainly more so than they spend with potential girlfriends. It’s a bromance made in heaven.

That is until a drunken kiss tips the balance. Dylan and Nate both want to explore the chemistry between them, which means getting to know each other in a different light.

This novella is a spin-off from K.C. Wells’ Out of the Shadows. I didn’t read that book, but I had no trouble reading ‘Bromantically Yours’ as a stand-alone.

The book jumps right into Dylan and Nate’s love story from the first chapter. It’s possible that the build-up between the two of them happened during ‘Out of the Shadows’, but I definitely would have liked some background on the two.

Even so, it was clear from the start how much these two meant to each other, and how well they understood one another. It might have taken them a while to figure it out, but they were definitely two halves of a whole.


This is a very low-drama read. Nate and Dylan to come to terms pretty quickly with the fact that they were attracted to each other, and that they wanted to see where it might go.

Both men go head-first into their new relationship, with their friendship seamlessly flowing into a romance. While there were a few early-relationship bumps on the road, those were smoothed over easily.

Also, I thought it was very sweet how the two made sure that the emotional chemistry for a serious relationship was there before moving on to the physical side of things. There’s never any doubt that this is the real deal for both men.

However, in the end I felt like the book was just too predictable. There was neither any tension or sparkle to keep me that interested in Nate and Dylan. If you’re looking for a simple and easy friends-to-lovers romance, ‘Bromantically Yours’ might be up your alley.

R *A Reader Obsessed* - 3.5 Hearts

Ahhhh there’s nothing like watching porn together to bring two besties even closer.

This is a nice little spinoff from Out of the Shadows, featuring Dylan and Nate who have been attached to the hip since they were the wee age of eight. They know each other inside and out, are thick as thieves, and though everyone else sees their bromance and assume they’re a couple, the thought doesn’t register with either of them until that fateful night.

Props to Wells for a very well paced friends-to-lovers story. Dylan and Nate pretty much take their new dynamic heads on - confronting it, discussing it, and then experimenting with it. Oh yeah. There wasn’t really any angst or huge roadblocks to overcome, and it doesn't hurt at all that this was all sorts of sexy.

Perhaps this is a bit far fetched in reality, but we all read romantic fiction for a reason, right? So, put aside the fact that these two are supposedly straight, sit back and enjoy them finding in the other everything they want in a partner, lover, and long term relationship, and revel in this fairytale dream come true!

Thanks to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Life on Pause by Erin McLellan

Niles Longfellow is a nerd, and not the trendy type of nerd, either. He wears a historically accurate homesteader costume to work every day, has a total of one friend, and doesn’t know how to talk to guys. So when he gets a flat tire and the hottest hipster ever stops to help him, all Niles can think is that he’s wearing his stupid cowboy getup. Normally, Niles feels invisible to other men, but he’d take that invisibility any day over Rusty Adams seeing him in suede and fringe.

Rusty moved to Bison Hills to help his sister raise her daughter, and nothing is more important to him than that. He’s also fresh off a breakup, and isn’t prepared for anything complicated. But then he meets Niles. Rusty sees Niles as more than a clumsy, insecure guy in a costume. He sees a man who is funny, quirky, and unexpected.

Nothing about their connection is simple, though, especially the lies and insecurities between them. Niles doesn’t know if he can trust Rusty with his heart, and when Rusty’s sister decides to move away, Rusty doesn’t know if he can stay behind.

I was hesitant to read this based on the early reviews but I actually liked it. It's not perfect and it didn't leave an impression like Controlled Burn did, but there's something about McLellan's voice that I find cozy.

Life on Pause is a story of one man's battle with his inner demons and trying to figure out this thing called love. There is angst. There is pain. But I still found Niles' plight to be a sympathetic one. He has low self-esteem, is an introvert and is socially awkward. His appalling self image issues are heavy handed at times and I think this would've resonated more were his backstory better developed to show causation rather than it just being a thing for the reader to accept.

Niles' issues present hurdles in his relationship with Rusty, but not all of their problems. Rusty LIES! I understand why he thought he had to because we got his perspective as well but...

He learns lying is bad and nothing good comes of it. And nothing good does come of it once Niles learns the truth.

This all makes for a long drawn out conflict that keeps them in the periphery of each other's lives. Neither are satisfied by this newfound status and both are butthurt over it, thus the job of reuniting them falls to their friends.

I tend to enjoy my romances when the couple are together more than they're apart which wasn't the case here. Once they do get their shit together they have a heartwarming HEA and I also liked Niles' personal growth. Maybe it was a little sudden but I didn't care too busy wallowing in the sap was I.

"I want every piece of you. I want every reiteration of you. I want every verse."

So I had a few niggles but as I said initially I simply like McLellan's voice. I like that she obviously put time in to research the Native American history to lend credence to this fictitious town in Oklahoma. She was also pretty generous with some smoking sexy times that included rimming, angry sex, prostate orgasm, multiple orgasms, frottage, biting and face fucking.

And Victor. I LOVED VICTOR!!!! Victor is a sassy queen and if he gets a book I will reading the stuffing out of it.

Recommend to readers who enjoy angsty reads with imperfect characters.

A review copy was provided by NetGalley.

Audio Release Blitz + Giveaway: Leaning Into the Fall (Leaning Into Stories #2) by Lane Hayes

Celebrate the release of Leaning Into the Fall (Leaning Into Stories #2) on audio with author Lane Hayes and IndiGo Marketing! Check out the excerpt of Nick J. Russo narrated audio today! Enter in the $10 Amazon gift card giveaway!

Title:  Leaning Into the Fall
Series: Leaning Into Stories, #2
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher:  Self-Published
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Bisexual, humor, San Francisco, May to December romance

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Nick Jorgensen is a quirky genius. He's made a fortune in the competitive high tech field with his quick mind and attention to detail. He believes in hard work and trusting his gut. And he believes in karma. It’s the only thing that makes sense. People are difficult, but numbers never lie. In the disastrous wake of a broken engagement to an investor’s daughter, Nick is more certain than ever he isn’t relationship material.

Wes Conrad owns a thriving winery in Napa Valley. The relaxed atmosphere is a welcome departure from his former career as a high-rolling businessman. Wes’s laid-back nature is laced with a fierceness that appeals to Nick. In spite of his best intention to steer clear of complications, Nick can’t fight his growing attraction to the sexy older man who seems to understand him. Even the broken parts he doesn’t get himself. However, when Wes’s past collides with Nick’s present, both men will have to have to decide if they’re ready to lean into the ultimate fall.

Listen to an audio excerpt & purchase at Audible

 Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Meet the Narrator

Nick is an award winning narrator with a fan following for his work in fiction, specifically in the romance genre. His performances in two of Amy Lane's books, Beneath the Stain and Christmas Kitsch, made him the recipient of Sinfully M/M Book Review's Narrator of the Year - 2015. When he's not in the booth, Nick enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessica, and kids, (aka their beagle Frank and cat Stella), drumming in his cover band, exploring rural back roads with his wife on his motorcycle, or being enthralled in a tabletop role playing game with his friends.  


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Review: Kairos by Mary Calmes

Sometimes the best day of your life is the one you never saw coming.

Joe Cohen has devoted the past two years of his life to one thing: the care and feeding of Kade Bosa. His partner in their PI business, roommate, and best friend, Kade is everything to Joe, even if their relationship falls short of what Joe desires most. But he won’t push. Kade has suffered a rough road, and Joe’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Kade together.

Estranged from his own family, Joe knows the value of desperately holding on to someone dear, but he never expected his present and past to collide just as Kade’s is doing the same. Now they’ve stumbled across evidence that could change their lives: the impact of Kade’s tragic past, their job partnership, and any future Joe might allow himself to wish for….

Short Calmes story gets a short review from the rambling redhead with minimal fangirling.

I love Mary Calmes.

I love the romances she gives us.

I love that she can give us one story about one couple but if you read between the lines and know the lineage of her work, the sum is always greater than the parts of the couple involved.

Now that I’ve said that.

I loved this story! Yes, I know it’s way too short but really anything from Mary is too short however, if you look at the romance, the story is complete.

I loved that we got to meet Kade and Joe long into their established friendship/partnership and Joe being head over heels for his best friend since forever. The banter between these two was fun and the way they both care about one another was beautiful. The UST between them was delicious and from the beginning, you can feel that there is more to how Kade feels than Kade lets on. But Kade’s actions speak just as loud as his words and they started to confuse my head and heart along with Joe’s.

The business with finding Declan, who belongs snuggled into someone’s pocket, really gave the story some meat and gave Kade and Joe to find their footing with one another. I mean, there is a lot that happens in this story with too few pages and it all happens in the span of one day. Yeah, you get your emotions tossed around to end up in a big fat pile of goo all in one day and it’s amazing.

The romance with Kade and Joe is on point for a Calmes romance. You have the fierce loyalty to one another, the protectiveness, the need to claim and the begging that I love and it all works perfectly. The first kiss with these two would have made me crumble from weak knees had I not already been in bed reading. It was perfect and swoony and hot. See. Totally a Calmes first kiss.

Now I know there were a few loose ends left blowing in the breeze with both Declan and Evan and I am hoping Mary has plans for them. Maybe even together because I could see Evan being the one to take care of Declan and Declan being able to grow and fly with Evan’s care. Just saying.

The name dropping ties into Chicago though… I may have had a small fantasy in my head where something comes up and all the Chicago couples collide? I mean, I know there’s a Valentines story with Ian, Miro and Sam and Jory so why can’t Kade and Joe and even Aaron and Duncan show up somewhere too?


I Loved it. This has all the classic Calmes tropes in it and Mary is a goddess.

I am so happy for Kade and Joe. Oh and Joe’s mom. For reasons when you read the book.

Review: Like Father, Like Son by Sarah Masters

Murder is never a good thing…

Fingertips have been turning up in various locations around the city. The problem is, Detective Inspector Matt Blacksmith has no idea why they’re being left where they are. He knows who they belong to, though, so that’s something. However, the man they used to be attached to isn’t anywhere in sight, and Matt worries he’s been killed.

Detective Sergeant Aaron Thaxter is the man who has stuck by Matt through thick and thin for the past few years. In and out of bed, he’s always there, the steadying hand that keeps Matt from drowning in the memories of his past. When the case takes a murky turn, forcing Matt to acknowledge those memories yet again, Matt is grateful that Aaron is there to help him.

Robby Zeus knows that being in a gang isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Despite his dreams of being someone to be feared and respected, now that the reality of being in a gang has slapped him hard around the face, he’s desperate not to get himself into any more trouble. With the help of Matt and Aaron, Robby faces being wrenched from the only life he’s ever known to somewhere safe, away from the gang, where he can live a good life with his ma. But things have never been that easy for Robby. Can he be free from the leaders of the two gangs he’s tied to?

Time will tell. Except time might not be on anyone’s side…

I think what I loved most about this story is that it was set in the UK. While I’m over in Australia, most of the fiction I read is set in the USA, and while I love you all over there, sometimes it’s nice to travel around the world in my novels. I also love that what I believe is local dialect was used as well. I really got a feel for Robby. He seemed like a pretty typical teen that was brought up surrounded by not so great people, and got himself into a spot of trouble (to put it mildly).

Detective Inspector Matt Blacksmith was an interesting character as well. He seemed to be just the right side of experienced to still want to make a difference, and not be completely jaded by life and his job. He is almost there, but there’s something left in him to want to help young Robby and his mum get out of the life they currently live.

The plot for this story was basic, but really good. Robby has always skirted the gang life his father brought him up in, and his mother wanted nothing to do with, but now Robby is in a bit deeper than he wanted to be. No more playing the fence, he is entrenched and has to choose his next move carefully.

Meanwhile there is a mystery that Detective Blacksmith and his partner at work and in life, Detective Aaron Thaxter, need to work through. They think they have an idea what is happening but they still have to follow procedures and work it out the right way.

This story engaged me. The characters were great. I really enjoyed Robby’s character, and how Matt (Blacksmith) reacted to him. There was a detailed backstory thrown in to understand the plot, but not too much that it was overwhelming and caused side tracking.

As a piece of suspense/drama fiction this wasn’t over the top. No incredible angst, the perfect amount for me. I wanted to know how everyone turned out in the end, and I would definitely read more from this author and this world.

I would recommend this to most readers who aren’t turned off by a bit of violence and gore.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion.

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Dead Wrong (Thorns and Fangs #4) by Gillian St. Kevern

Welcome the Dead Wrong (Thorns and Fangs #4) blog tour to BMBR! Author Gillian St. Kevern visits the blog and chats some about writing and her inspiration! Plus there's an excerpt and a $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway! Good luck!

Dead Wrong
Gillian St. Kevern
Thorns and Fangs, Book Four
Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, vampires, werewolves, alternate universe, demons, occult, suspense

Nate’s no supernatural expert, but even he knows a murdered man coming back to life to kill him can only mean one thing—the necromancer is back and out for revenge.

Recruited by Department Seven in a desperate attempt to stop Peter before he claims new victims, Nate quickly realizes he’s in way over his head. His powers are failing him, he’s haunted by Peter’s ghost, and he can’t even remember how he stopped Peter the first time—or why he feels that someone very important is missing from his life.

Ben is fighting for his afterlife. Trapped in the supernatural version of solitary confinement, he knows freeing himself will destroy New Camden’s fragile peace—but what choice does he have? The longer he spends in his magical prison, the harder it becomes to resist his inner vampire. But if Ben wants to help Nate prevent Peter taking over the city, he has to prove himself to his sire—Saltaire, a thousand-year-old vampire with no qualms about using his immense power to suppress Ben’s free will.

As the casualties mount and the city descends into chaos, Ben and Nate must overcome their worst fears and impossible odds—or be written out of existence entirely.

Author Interview

Dead Wrong is the fourth book in the Thorns and Fangs series. How did the series start?

Thorns and Fangs actually started with the character dynamic between Nate and Ben. Even before I knew their names, I knew the type of personalities they had, and how they would clash. Having established their relationship, I then worked out how they met and what was keeping them apart. The city of New Camden with its supernatural citizens filled in around them, and things just went from there.

Thorns and Fangs was my 2013 NaNoWriMo project, and I dived in without a plot or even a series plan. As I wrote, I realized I had material for more than one book, but despite a vague desire to make book four closely related to book one, I didn’t really have a plan. That evolved with each successive book, which gave me a lot of scope to explore, take chances and really push myself and my characters.

Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?

Both. I prefer to ‘be regular and ordinary in [my] life, so that [I] might be violent and original in [my] work’, to paraphrase Flaubert. Actually, I’m just a very boring type of person who likes a routine. I prefer to have a writing routine where I work on my own stories from when I wake up till about lunchtime, with breaks for breakfast and morning tea in between.

However, my schedule is so varied that in between house-sitting, babysitting, dog-walking, I can’t even be assured of my before breakfast writing time. I have to get creative and squeeze it in around my other commitments.

You started writing Thorns and Fangs in November 2013, and finished the final book in the series, Dead Wrong, in September 2017. Has your writing process changed in that time?

It’s changed a lot. Just the process of writing, rewriting, editing and then going through the publication process with Thorns and Fangs taught me so much. For example, when I sat down to write Uprooted, I didn’t worry so much on getting the story perfect because I knew that other eyes would look at it, and see things about the story that I’d missed.

I’ve also learned the importance of outlining before you write, and especially planning a series before you get too far into writing it. I didn’t have an outline for Thorns and Fangs, just a few bulletpoints to get me from start to midpoint, and I got stuck for several weeks on the end. With Dead Wrong, I had the entire story outlined before I even began writing.

Briefly describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first? Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?

I have a structure I try to follow, based on the traditional three-act structure overlaid with Michael Haugue’s Story Mastery and James Scott Bell’s Write Your Novel From the Middle. I take four pieces of loose-leaf paper, devoting one piece for act one, two for act two, and one for act three. I then use post-it notes to block out chapters or beats, depending on which works best for the story I’m writing. Then I fill in the post-it notes with what I know about the story. This helps me work out where I need to do more development. When all the post-it notes are filled out and I can see my story is balanced, I transfer my notes to Scrivener in outline form.

Although classes as M/M Romance, Nate is bisexual. Where did the desire to write a bisexual character come from?

It wasn’t a conscious decision to make Nate bisexual, but it was part of his character since he first came into being. If anything, it was probably a reaction to my own desire to see more bisexual characters in fiction. It just made sense to me that in a story with as large a cast of characters as Thorns and Fangs, you’d have a good number of bi characters—just as there will be straight, gay, lesbian, asexual, transgender and other characters in the cast. Nate and Hunter are both openly bisexual, and there is another character who is bi and isn’t open about it—but that’s a story for another time.

What are the best sources you’ve found for giving an authentic voice to your characters?

YouTube is a fantastic resource for listening to people from a variety of countries or even regions speak. I find it really incredible how we can speak English, but use it in so many different ways. In working on the Thorns and Fangs series, I spent hours on YouTube.
Another great source is #ownvoices stories. My local library has a list of rainbow youth reads that I am slowly working my way through, and I read articles about the issues facing the LGBTQIA community whenever they come across my social media feeds. If you’re writing stories with LGTBQIA characters, even if you’re not straight, I think it’s important to recognize that there is more than one type of experience associated with each letter in that acronym. I spent a lot of time struggling to accept my identity as asexual because my experiences didn’t match what depictions of asexual characters told me being ace was. What’s true for me isn’t necessarily true for others, so it’s really important to make my characters individual enough that their experiences can be recognised as individual. That means opening yourself up to lots of different truths and experiences, even those that seem to contradict your own.

What’s harder, naming your characters, creating the title for your book or the cover design process?

Naming my characters and creating the title for my book are harder than the cover design, mostly because I work with some very talented designers who are really amazing at figuring out what the heart of the story is and coming up with a way to put that across in images. Character names are the second hardest, and characters will often go through several different names during the course of one story. Titles are my kryptonite. The only thing worse than titles are series titles.

What does your family think of your writing?

My family are incredibly supportive. While it’s really lovely, it also leads to situations where my grandma is proudly telling members of her church group that I write books, and I’m really hoping that she’s not going to mention the vampire erotica.

Dead Wrong
Gillian St. Kevern © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
The afternoon had all the gloom of a funeral. The pavement and the drab external walls of the surrounding buildings extended to the gray sky above. Nate and Aki stood in silence in the alley beside their apartment building and contemplated the dead.
Nate, at six feet tall, had to bow his head to look down at them. “You’re sure it’s not, I don’t know, some kind of vampire cat?” He winced. The question sounded even worse out in the open.
Aki looked up at Nate, his hazel eyes flat. “You’re kidding me. Have you ever heard of a vampire cat?”
Nate made a helpless gesture toward the bodies. “Look at them.” There were two desiccated rats and, nearby, a shriveled up bird. “Animals don’t eat like this.” He turned the nearest rat over, noticing what looked like a puncture wound. He crouched to get a closer look.
“Maybe they were sick. Rats are riddled with disease, and pigeons are not any better—don’t touch them!” Aki made a disgusted noise. “Ugh. Keep your gross, infected hands away from me.”
Nate set the rat down and turned his head, giving Aki a speculative look.
Aki stepped backward. “Touch me and I promise I will dump you.”
Nate snorted, turning his attention back to the dead animals. “You can’t dump me. We’re not dating.”
“I can friend dump you—and I will.”
“I co-signed the lease. You’re stuck with me.”
“I’m pretty sure Grant can find me a legal loophole involving pestilence.” Aki stuck his hands in the pockets of his plaid trousers. He drummed one foot against the pavement, the movement making his keychain rattle. “Come on. Let’s go.”
Nate stood slowly, still looking down at the animals. “There’s got to be some kind of explanation for this. Maybe we should call Department Seven?”
“They’d laugh in your face. This isn’t even a case for animal control.” Aki heaved a theatrically loud sigh. “If you’re that desperate for excitement, ask George to take you hunting. She’d jump at the chance.”
Nate frowned at Aki. “I’m not desperate for excitement.”
Aki raised an eyebrow. “Aren’t you? This is the longest we’ve gone without any supernatural mishaps since you got mixed up with the necromancer, and for the last month, you’ve been glancing over your shoulder, listening to sounds that aren’t there, and watching the news for anything paranormal. If that’s not desperation, I don’t know what is.”
Nate shivered. How to explain to Aki that for the last month, he’d had the constant suspicion that there was something there, just on the edge of his awareness? “I’m not desperate.”
“Then why are we hanging out in a shadowy alley, acting like revenant bait?”
Nate blanched. Revenants were the most basic form of the undead, recently deceased with a taste for blood and no thought beyond acquiring it. Nate had been closer than he wanted to hungry revenants. “Bait implies I want to find one. I don’t.”
“Then can we please leave before one finds us—”
Something crunched in the shadows beyond the dumpster.
Nate’s breath froze in his throat. He didn’t dare turn his head to see what Aki was doing, concentrating all his attention on the shadows.
He heard a second crunch, as if something shifted on the stones beyond the dumpster. Nate stepped toward it.
“Don’t.” Aki grabbed his arm. “Please, Nate. This is a seriously bad idea.”
“Stay here.” Nate disentangled himself. “Get ready to call Department Seven.”
“And after that, I’ll call the funeral home.” Aki had his phone in hand. “I’m having them put ‘I told him not to do it’ on your gravestone.”
“Quiet.” Nate knew a revenant couldn’t kill him. At least he was pretty sure he was safe. His experience with the necromancer had woken Nate’s own supernatural side. Being part plant could be inconvenient at times, but it did mean that he was impervious to things that were fatal to ordinary humans. But being a card-carrying psychic wouldn’t protect Aki from becoming monster chow. Nate edged his way around the dumpster carefully. If it was a revenant, he’d have to act fast to stop it preying on Aki.
Nate rounded the corner.
Nothing there? The newspaper was spread out as if someone had been sleeping rough—never a good idea in New Camden, the city with the largest monster population in the world—and it crackled under foot. Was the sound just the wind rustling through its pages? Nate turned to leave and caught a dull glow out of the corner of his eyes. He grinned. “Aki, come and look at this.”
“Is it more dead animals? Because I can pass.”
Nate crouched down. “Here, kitty. I’m not going to hurt you.”
“A cat?” Aki snorted, and Nate heard his footsteps on the stone behind him. “All that over nothing.”
Nate clicked his fingers. “Come on.”
The cat watched him balefully. She stretched, displaying her claws, before taking a step into the light. She flicked her tail, watching Nate out of her one good eye. Her left eye was milky white, with the lines of an old scar above and below. She was skinny, her fur bare in patches, and her tail was crooked. Part of one ear was missing, looking like a tattered flag on a pirate ship, with her prominent ribs the hull.
“Whoa. That’s the ugliest cat I’ve ever seen.”
“She can’t help that. Poor thing. Who knows how long she’s been living out here?”
Aki smacked Nate’s hand away from the cat. “Stop risking animal diseases! Look at it. Probably crawling with fleas!”
“It’s just an old stray cat.”
Aki scoffed. “I was wrong. That’s definitely some variety of hell beast.”
Nate clicked his fingers, succeeding in drawing the cat closer to him. “You’re so mean. Just because she’s been on the losing end of a few fights…”
“More than a few. It’s probably got every disease in the book.”
Nate extended his hand, and the cat cautiously sniffed it. “I think she likes me.”
Aki leaned against the dumpster to watch. “Haven’t you learned anything from the disaster that was you adopting the last stray?”
Nate looked up. “The last stray turned out to be Grant, who we saved from his evil stepdad, getting you a boyfriend in the process.”
“We’re not dating,” Aki said immediately. “If you’re so stuck on Grant, ask him out yourself. I don’t want him.”
Nate smiled to himself, stretching out his hand to the cat’s tattered ears. She hissed, and before Nate could react, sunk her teeth into his hand. He jerked his hand back. “Ow!”
“Ha! Told you!”
Nate sat back on his heels, nursing his hand. “Are you grinning?”
“It’s called schadenfreude.” Aki nudged Nate with the toe of his sneaker. “And you deserved it.”
Nate looked back down, but at his exclamation, the cat had darted back into the shadows. She squeezed into the narrow gap between the dumpsters. All he could see of her was the gleam of her dead eye. “You’re a bad best friend.”
Aki just shrugged. “You should have checked the fine print. It’s too late now. You’re stuck with me.”
Nate stood, dusting off his hands on his jeans. “Maybe Grant will find me a legal loophole.”
Aki elbowed him. “Not allowed. It’s ‘best friends forever.’ Not best friends until Aki hurts my feelings.”
Nate draped his arm over Aki’s shoulders. “Since when is BFF legally binding?”
“Well it is. So it’s a good thing I plan on keeping you around.” He leaned comfortably against Nate’s side. “That’s your cue to say there’s no one you would rather be stuck with.”
Nate paused, guiltily conscious something wasn’t right. There was something—someone—missing.
Nate realized he’d stopped walking.
Aki was watching him with an expression of concern on his face. “I was only joking.”
Nate grinned. He leaned over, tapping Aki on his shoulder. “Got you.”
“You!” Aki demonstrated his feelings of friendship by trying to kick him.

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Meet the Author
Gillian St. Kevern is the author of the Deep Magic series, the Thorns and Fangs series, the For the Love of Christmas series, and standalone novels, The Biggest Scoop and The Wing Commander's Curse. Gillian currently lives in her native New Zealand, but spent eleven years in Japan and has visited over twenty different countries. Her writing is a celebration of the weird and wonderful people she encounters on her journeys. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers, and a member of RWNZ.

As a chronic traveller, Gillian is more interested in journeys than endings, with characters that grow and change to achieve their happy ending. She's not afraid to let her characters make mistakes or take the story in an unexpected direction. Her stories cross genres, time-periods and continents, taking readers along for an unforgettable ride. Both Deep Magic and The Biggest Scoop were nominated for Best LOR story in the 2015 M/M Romance Groups Member's Choice awards. Deep Magic also received nominations in Best Cover, Best Main Character and Best Paranormal, while The Biggest Scoop was nominated for Best Coming of Age. Thorns and Fangs came third in the 2016 Rainbow Awards Bisexual Paranormal/Historical category.

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