Release Blitz + Giveaway: Essex Colony (The Moon Mirror #1) by Lia Cooper


Welcome Lia Cooper and IndiGo Marketing as they celebrate the release of Essex Colony (The Moon Mirror #1)! Discover more about the science fiction romance and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!


Title: Essex Colony
Series: The Moon Mirror, Book One
Author: Lia Cooper
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: December 30, 2019
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Female/Female
Length: 36600
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, LGBT, mutations, scientists, space travel, moon colonists, AI, shifter, interspecies, alien influence

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Synopsis

It’s been 227 days since Essex Colony’s last transmission…

Dispatched to the surface of Essex Prime and tasked with discovering what happened to the colony, Doctor Soran Ingram discovers that most of the colonists are dead and the surviving Executive Officer—Aline Aster—has turned into a ravening wolf-beast. The human survivors claim the XO and her Lunaran fellows went mad and killed everyone, but Soran has her doubts.

Following Aster’s testimony, as well as clues left behind, Soran embarks on a fact-finding mission to retrace the colony’s last steps before disaster struck.

She’ll soon discover more than uncertainty lurks in the dark spaces of the world.

Excerpt

Essex Colony
Lia Cooper © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Federal Standard Days since Last Essex Colony Transmission…227

Essex Colony, Location: Essex Prime/Equatorial 10S, Greenwich Meridian

06:55 AM, Colony Time

Soran stood at the forward port viewing station on board the starship Emery and watched Essex Prime spin slowly below her, a bright blue and green marble hanging in the dark of space. Technically speaking, the planet bore only a superficial resemblance to Earth, but she could see the appeal it must have had for the Earther colonists who had signed on to colonize it for the company. In her time working aboard the Emery, she had learned the importance of superficiality for her Earther colleagues. Something as simple as a color was often enough to evoke an emotional resonance for them.

They had picked Essex Prime for colonization because someone in the company had nicknamed it Earth 3—not to be confused with Earth 2, a planet locally know as L’n’ze-q24—but Soran wondered what they would find when they went down there now. Two hundred and twenty-seven days since since the colony’s last official transmission plus no sign of comms signals since the Emery crossed into local communication range combined into an anxious loop in Soran’s lesser subroutines. Fear, she realized, fear of what they would find.

Essex Prime wouldn’t be the first colony lost to catastrophic failure, whether from some unforeseen natural disaster or a breakdown in the colony’s equipment, or from a dangerous local agent that went unnoticed in the initial planetary surveys. There were a hundred things that could go wrong this far from galactic center.

The ship’s computer beeped at her through the ship’s network to remind her she was expected on the airlock deck in fifteen minutes.

She was dressed in her ground suit and had her go bag packed at her feet—just the essentials. The ship’s sensors hadn’t shown anything out of the ordinary, besides a lack of collected life signs large enough to belong to the colonists. This trip was intended as a brief scouting mission to ascertain the situation on the ground.

<<Contact. Doctor Ingram, did you receive your departure reminder?

Soran shouldered her go bag and acknowledged the computer’s check-in. Externally, she kept her expression blank as she made her way down to the airlock. That fear feeling squeezed at her regulatory system. If she were inclined to hope, she told herself, she’d hope that the colony’s comms equipment had simply suffered a mechanical breakdown and the colonists would greet them on the ground, all accounted for—all of them, but especially one Lunaran in particular. But even as the idea flickered through one of her lesser processes, another part of Soran wanted to shunt it away where it couldn’t hurt her to be disappointed. If she could only match her interior to the smooth expressionless surface of her exterior, then whatever they found couldn’t make that fear feeling worse.

But her interior felt riotous, clenching and twisting tight as her boots crossed the threshold, loud on the docking bay floor. The transport ship awaited her along with the two dozen security and medical personnel scheduled to fly down for the recon.

It had been nearly three years since she’d last seen Aline Aster, but Soran’s memory banks were nearly perfect—far superior to her Earther counterparts’—and she could recall with crisp clarity the feel of the Lunaran’s skin under her cutaneous sensors, the taste of her mouth, the sting of her teeth against Soran’s breasts, and the cadence of her voice winding down as she fell asleep still murmuring the words of a bedtime story from her homeworld. What would it feel like if Soran disembarked on Essex Prime to…nothing. No signs of life, no colony, no Aster waiting with a sheepish explanation for their silence?

But Security Chief Ryan was gesturing at her impatiently to board the transport vessel and Soran did the only thing she could do with this reductive thought string—she cut and pasted it into its own file and then buried it deep below her internal checklist for the mission. They were minutes away from an answer one way or another.

Or more precisely, fourteen hours later, she’d be staring into the malformed face of an answer while that fear in her chest crushed her heart into the sliver of a black hole.

Soran didn’t have a single word in her mouth as she stood next to SC Ryan outside the detention cell, staring in at what remained of XO Aster. Soran had to think of her—it like that or she was afraid the anguish would overwhelm her. She’d never lost someone with a personal—and emotional—connection to her before, and she wasn’t sure that her software had been properly programmed to handle that sort of emotional upheaval. The last thing she could afford to do would be to lose herself here on the ground, especially in front of SC Ryan.

“They found…it lurking around the edge of the forest. At the backside of the emergency compound,” SC Ryan said in a deep, bland voice, his eyes heavy on XO Aster’s hunched form. “Took enough electricity to stop an animal twice as big to subdue and facilitate capture.”

Soran swallowed around the bile in her throat. “And you want me to…?”

Ryan glanced at her finally, with a scowl, and said, “I don’t— Chelsea wants you to find out if it can talk. Find out why it killed the settlers. If there are any other Lunarans running around out there still. Probably a waste of time, but seeing as there’s nothing else for you to do down here, I figure you can’t hurt anything. Maybe ask it if this was their plan all along.”

“Who? The Lunarans? You don’t really think this was intentional?” Soran angled her face so she could glimpse Ryan’s expression without looking at him directly. She knew it unnerved the Earthers when she stared at them too closely.

“From what the survivors have told us—” he began.

“XO Aster is a survivor,” Soran insisted, choosing to ignore that part where she showed little resemblance to her former shape and sentience.

SC Ryan snorted and thrust a thick, calloused finger at the barrier separating them from the detention cell. “That’s a fucking monster,” he said.

“If that were true then what is the point of me—”

“I’m getting tired of your attitude, Ingram,” SC Ryan interrupted. He shot her a narrow-eyed look, a quick up and down that took in her entire person and always made Soran feel like a bug under a microscope—even if the Security Chief had probably never touched a microscope before. “You’re the ship shrink. Ask your questions, see what information you can get out of it, and report to Chelsea. Those are your orders. Don’t think about it too much; that’s not what they pay you for. Just collect the fucking data.”

Soran watched him leave, the door shutting behind him with an ominous clang that seemed to resonate in her perfectly shaped enamel plated teeth. She stared down at her boots, straight and shoulder-width apart, holding her up while her processor counted the individual beats of her circulatory system. A minute passed, or what more felt like a quarter of an hour, before a hoarse voice scraped across the air between her and the detention cell.

“S’not safe.”

A shiver raced down her spine. Soran looked up and met Aster’s all too familiar eyes, her circulatory regulator thumping painfully against the metal ribs of her geneered skeleton.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Lia Cooper is a twenty-something native of the Pacific Northwest, voracious reader, pop-culture addict, and writer. She cultivated an early interest in writing through fandom and completed writing her first full length novel with the help of NaNoWriMo.

In the years since, she’s dabbled in catering, barista-ing, and working as a pastry chef before finally returning full time to the thing she loves most: storytelling.

When she’s not glued to Scrivener, Lia enjoys playing video games with friends and reviewing books for her booktube channel.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Testament by Jose Nateras


Join new author Jose Nateras and IndiGo Marketing as they celebrate the debut release of Testament! Learn more about the paranormal thriller and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!


Title: Testament
Author: Jose Nateras
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: December 30, 2019
Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: No Romance
Length: 51400
Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, Chicago, paranormal, supernatural, thriller, Latinx, #ownvoices

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Synopsis

Gabe Espinosa, is trying to dig himself out of the darkness. Struggling with the emotional fallout of a breakup with his ex-boyfriend, Gabe returns to his job at The Rosebriar Room; the fine dining restaurant at the historic Sentinel Club Chicago Hotel. Already haunted by the ghosts of his severed relationship, he’s drastically unprepared for the ghosts of The Sentinel Club to focus their attentions on him as well.

When a hotel guest violently attacks Gabe, he finds himself the target of a dark entity’s rage; a rage built upon ages of racial tension and toxic masculinity. Desperate to escape the dark spiral he’s found himself in, Gabe flees across the city of Chicago and dives into the history of the hotel itself. Now, Gabe must push himself to confront the sort of evil that transcends relationships and time, the sort of evil that causes damage that ripples across lives for generations.

Gabe must fight to break free from the dark legacy of the past; both his own and that of the hotel he works in.

Excerpt

Testament
Jose Nateras © 2019
All Rights Reserved

I pulled out my phone and checked the time. I needed to be at work at six thirty, and unless the train started moving within the next five seconds, I would be late. A commute that usually took thirty minutes, door to door, was stretching closer and closer to taking forty minutes. Still, the train sat there, idle in its dark underground tunnel. There’s nothing worse than being late and getting stuck on a delayed train car at six fifteen in the morning. Fuck.

I rocked back and forth impatiently, a loose rivet in my seat clicking arrhythmically in its socket. Most of the Chicago Transit Authority’s train cars were in some state of disrepair. This car in particular had maps of the train lines missing overhead, cracked lighting fixtures, fractured chrome, and unsecured hardware. The homeless man stretched out asleep across the seats at the other end of the car didn’t seem to care. Neither did the middle-aged nurse sitting kitty-corner from me, listening to music on her phone through bright-pink earbuds.

I took a deep breath to stop my agitated rocking. The thick smell of synthetic flowers wafted along the length of the train car. An otherwise pleasant smell, in the enclosed space of the train car the scent was overwhelming, almost sickening. It had to be coming from the nurse. How’d I not notice the strength of her perfume sooner?

It occurred to me, if I puked on the ‘L’ right then and there, I’d have no excuse but to call in sick. It wouldn’t be the first time someone threw up on the Blue Line. I wouldn’t even have to actually vomit. I could just call in, hop off the train at the next stop, and grab the next one headed back toward my apartment. Tempting, but I could practically hear the voice of my manager Leslie. “Really, Gabe? What the fuck? Aren’t you just coming back from an extended leave of absence, Mr. Espinosa?”

With the sound of metal grinding on metal, the train started to move. I closed my eyes, allowing the momentum to build and hurdle me toward the misery of employment in the service industry.

Maybe misery was an exaggeration. As the train came to an abrupt stop at the Monroe station, I tried to remind myself there were worse fields to work in. Six blocks stretched between the train platform and the Sentinel Club Hotel. More specifically, six blocks stretched between me and the hotel’s restaurant, the Rosebriar Room, where I worked as a host. Walking so far would typically take around nine minutes, and at 6:25 a.m., I only had five minutes to do so. Officially late, I somehow found the energy to hustle up the stairs from the underground train platform and race out into the November chill.

I found myself caught behind a herd of Chicago commuters: business-bros and cubicle drones trotting to their respective jobs scattered across the Loop. Dodging between the office workers drowsily heading to work, I sprinted through the concrete canyon of downtown skyscrapers.

It was still dark. Only after I made it to Michigan Avenue, across from the green expanse of Millennium Park, could I see the first streaks of orange in the dark-gray sky. I pulled out my phone again. 6:31 a.m. “Shit.”

Speeding through the front doors of the hotel, I hurried to the service elevator. With no time to stop at the staff locker room down in the basement, I headed straight up to the thirteenth floor.

People often say hotels are naturally creepy places. I hadn’t really thought about it one way or another until I started working in one. It was true. The Sentinel Club Chicago was creepy, and being one of the oldest buildings in the city only made it all the more eerie. Before becoming a boutique hotel, the SCC was a historied private men’s club, and the Rosebriar Room, now the hotel’s wood-paneled fine-dining restaurant, once served as the private dining room for the club’s most elite members.

I’d been working there for a year and a half or so, and things I hadn’t noticed at first had started to weigh on my mind. More and more I found myself aware of the creepiness of the place. A laugh echoing in quiet, empty rooms. A flicker of movement out of the corner of an eye. A shadow on a wall with no one there to cast it. The feeling of being watched.

The prospect of spending my morning in such a place sounded pretty miserable. Perhaps I hadn’t been so far off in describing my job as a “misery” after all.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Jose Nateras is a Chicago based Actor, Writer, and Director who’s worked extensively on stage and screen. Having trained at The Second City, The British American Drama Academy (Midsummer at Oxford ’09), Jose is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago. Having graduated with his MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), he’s a resident playwright with ALTA Chicago’s ‘El Semillero’ (residing at Victory Gardens). Jose has written a number of shorts, pilots, and full length films, and is a contributor for The A.V. Club and elsewhere. He’s also been known to play the role of adjunct professor and teaching artist around town from time to time as well.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Review: Unlikely Reunion (Improbable Bonds #1) by Lily Michaels

Erik’s adolescent crush becomes a very adult relationship at his high school reunion.

Seeing his former bullies starstruck is definitely on Erik Stevens’ agenda for his high school reunion. Hooking up with someone is not. He has resolved to end the meaningless sex that has dotted his life, even though it fed his need to dominate. Now he is looking for a man—a submissive—for a relationship that will last forever.

But Erik hasn’t counted on Kyle.

For ten years, Kyle Lincke has cursed his repressed sexuality that, in high school, kept him from acting on his crush…Erik. As soon as he receives Erik’s RSVPed ‘yes’ to the reunion, Kyle begins working up the courage to finally act on his desires, difficult for him to do following a disastrous break-up.

But six weeks of exploration into BDSM and small steps toward a deeper relationship are thrown into jeopardy when Erik’s fame threatens their bond—and Kyle’s fragile psyche.


Occasionally I like to get out of my comfort zone and try to new things. Sometimes they work out. Sometimes they don't. The blurb was a siren's call promising kink and public sex wrapped up in a second chance bow that proved too tempting too resist.

However, this wasn't my cuppa. It's a little too saccharine, a little too instalove, a whole lot underdeveloped and the kink was virtually nonexistent.

However, I feel certain there is an audience for "Unlikely Reunion". Fans of Sean Michael will love this to pieces with its 64 'mines' in just a scant 123 pgs and its warp speed ascent to the boom boom in the first chapter!

Another potential audience is the new to MM crowd who are looking to dip their toes into MM waters and who perhaps have an affinity for a certain ├╝ber famous "BDSM" series featuring a somewhat bratty heroine who is new to kink and a bit... temperamental?

Even though this was a miss for me I'm certain there is an audience for it. I'm just sorry it wasn't me but as always my opinions are my own and YMMV. I'll be off back to my comfort zone now.



An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.



Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Empress of Xytae (Tales of Inthya #4) by Effie Calvin


Author Effie Calvin and IndiGo Marketing celebrate the release of The Empress of Xytae (Tales of Inthya #4)! Discover more about the science fiction/fantasy series' latest and enter in the $10 NineStar press credit giveaway!


Title: The Empress of Xytae
Series: Tales of Inthya, Book Four
Author: Effie Calvin
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: December 30, 2019
Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Female/Female
Length: 83500
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, LGBT, royalty, new adult, magic, paladins, gods, goddesses

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Synopsis

Crown Princess Ioanna of Xytae has kept her truthsayer blessing a secret for twenty years. In any other nation, her powerful magic would be cause for celebration. But Xytae’s patron is the war goddess Reygmadra, and the future empress is expected to be a brutal warrior.

Reserved and peaceful by nature, Ioanna knows the court sees her as a disappointment. She does her best to assuage their worries every day, working quietly beside her mother to keep the empire running while her father is away at war. But when news of the emperor’s untimely death reaches the capital, Ioanna finds herself ousted by her younger sister Netheia, who has the war magic Ioanna lacks.

Princess Vitaliya of Vesolda has come to Xytae to avoid her father’s upcoming wedding, which she sees as an affront to her mother’s memory. Vitaliya has absolutely no interest in politics or power struggles and intends to spend her time attending parties and embarrassing her family. But when she saves Ioanna’s life during Netheia’s coup, the two are forced to flee the capital together.

Despite their circumstances, Vitaliya enjoys travelling with Ioanna and realizes that the future empress’s shy and secretive nature is the result of her unhappy childhood. Ioanna is equally unaccustomed to being in the company of one as earnest and straightforward as Vitaliya, for she has spent her life surrounded by ambitious and cutthroat nobles.

Ioanna cannot allow her sister to continue their father’s legacy, and plots to rally supporters to her side so she can interrupt Netheia’s coronation. Vitaliya knows she ought to leave Xytae before the nation is ripped apart by civil war but finds she is unwilling to abandon Ioanna. But Ioanna’s enemies are always watching…and they’ve realized that Vitaliya is a weakness to be exploited.

Excerpt

The Empress of Xytae
Effie Calvin © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Reygmadra

The Imperial Palace at Xyuluthe buzzed with anticipation. Empress Enessa had finally gone into labor, and the heir to the Xytan Empire would be born within a few hours. The archpriest of Adranus and the archpriestess of Pemele were both there to aid with the birth along with countless members of the imperial court who would bear witness to the historic event.

Reygmadra, Goddess of Warfare and Eighth of the Ten, waited just outside the empress’s chambers, unseen by all who passed. She would not deny she was beginning to grow impatient. She was only here to bless the child, the future empress. Then she would be on her way.

If the child ever arrived.

Reygmadra had no tolerance for children, nor for the tedious conversations that always surrounded a birth—discussions of size, weight, and bodily functions. She had left the empress’s room because she had grown tired of the pointless hysterical screaming, but this was undoubtably worse.

Unfortunately, she could not grant a blessing to a mortal until after it had taken its first breath. This was one of the rules she and her fellow gods had agreed upon when they’d first set out to create Inthya. Even Reygmadra could see the value in this one, for if babies could use magic in the womb, nobody would ever risk giving birth ever again.

Emperor Ionnes was occupied, as always, by his campaign in Masim. He would not return to meet his new daughter for several months. Some of the members of the court were muttering about this, but Reygmadra did not see the trouble. What help could Ionnes be right now? He would only be in the way if he tried to help. At least in Masim, he was serving his nation by leading the army.

She longed to be there, whispering ideas in his ear as he slept, soaking up the power she received when tens of thousands of warriors prayed to her in unison. Of course, the prayers would find her no matter where she was on the mortal realm of Inthya or in the celestial planes of Asterium. But there was nothing like experiencing it firsthand.

Babies seemed to bring out the stupidest, weakest aspects of mankind. One of the Xytans was now relaying a tale of someone else’s labor, and Reygmadra decided to take a walk before she lost her temper and stabbed someone.

She moved through the palace like a specter, her face unseen and heavy footsteps unheard. She was dressed as she usually did when she manifested on Inthya, as a common soldier with short sword and breastplate. If someone did somehow see her, they would think nothing of her.

One of the rooms led out into a garden, and Reygmadra decided she had been indoors for too long. She stepped out into the sunlight, into the fresh air.

Reygmadra didn’t think much of gardens—they were really just a waste of space—but this one was empty, so she would stay for a while. As she moved, she kept an ear to the palace, hoping she would soon hear distant cheers.

“Still waiting?”

A woman dressed as a Xytan noble stood there among the flowers. She had olive-toned skin and long, wavy ebony hair, and her face was impossibly, supernaturally beautiful. The dress she wore was simple but elegant, all wine-colored silk that perfectly emphasized wide hips and a narrow waist. Despite her disguise as a mortal woman, Reygmadra recognized Dayluue—Goddess of Love and Seventh of the Ten.

“It will be a while yet,” said Reygmadra. “Why are you here?”

“I’m feeling neglected,” Dayluue said. “You haven’t come to see me in ages.”

“I’m busy.”

“You’re always busy.” Crimson lips pressed together in a pout as Dayluue adjusted the neckline of her dress aggressively. “Maybe I should call on someone else. I wonder what Nara is doing.”

Possessive rage seized at Reygmadra, and Dayluue began to laugh. But the sound was cut short when Reygmadra grabbed her by the shoulders. A moment later, she had Dayluue pressed between the garden wall and her own body.

“I love it when you get jealous,” Dayluue said breathlessly. “Kiss me?”

Reygmadra brought her lips to Dayluue’s throat. Dayluue tilted her head back, hands clasping at Reygmadra’s hair, and laughed again. “I have missed you,” she said.

“I don’t believe you,” said Reygmadra because expecting strict monogamy from Dayluue was like expecting a bird to refrain from flight.

“I’ll prove it, then.” Dayluue’s eyes sparkled.

“No. I’m busy.”

“I never took you for the sort to get excited over a birth. Or are you finally realizing what I’ve been saying about the population—”

“No. I’m just giving her a blessing, and then I’m leaving.”

“It might be a while,” warned Dayluue. “Labor can last an entire day.”

Reygmadra shuddered. “Awful.”

“Well, they wouldn’t have to do it so often if you didn’t keep convincing them to kill one another.”

Reygmadra rolled her eyes. “Did you come here just to argue?”

Dayluue pressed her lips to Reygmadra’s. “Only if you really want to,” she murmured into her mouth. The scent of her mortal body, flowers and sweat and pheromones, was intoxicating.

They were antithesis to each other, and yet, there was an undeniable symmetry to their domains. They were two primal forces, mindless impulse given sentience. And sometimes the fiery lust Dayluue elicited from her felt identical to the thrill of battle.

Perhaps that was why Dayluue always returned to her. Perhaps that was why Reygmadra did not object to Dayluue’s wandering.

When they met like this in Asterium, it was a union of selves, of auras and magic, and two becoming one in the way none but their own kind could hope to understand. It was delightful to have Dayluue’s energy surging through her, to feel her own spirit within Dayluue. Reygmadra always came away from these unions feeling softer, lighter. But not weaker. Never weaker.

On Inthya, with warm bodies made of blood and flesh, things were different. On Inthya, Dayluue was in control, and Reygmadra was helpless under her expert fingers.

“Kiss me again,” said Dayluue. “But lower, this time.”

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Meet the Author

Effie is definitely a human being with all her own skin, and not a robot. She writes science fiction and fantasy novels and lives with her cat in the greater Philadelphia area.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Swipe by T.A. Moore


Author T.A. Moore visits on the Swipe blog tour today! Learn more about the romance from the Plenty, California series and enter in the $10 Dreamspinner Press credit giveaway!


Title: Swipe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release: December 31
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Blurb: Swipe by TA Moore - A Novel of Plenty, California
As one of the top trauma surgeons in Plenty’s ER, Dr. Taggart Hayes knows how to fix broken things—fractured legs, ruptured spleens, allergies, and traumatic brain injuries. He can put them back together good as new.
A broken heart, though? That’s a bit trickier. Especially when it’s his own.
When Tag swipes on the photo of the hot man in the dating app, he just wants a distraction from the wreck that used to be his life. A one-night stand with a safely inappropriate stranger, no names, no feelings, and no complications.
But the headless photo on the app belongs to a man who isn’t so easy to forget the next day... or the next week. And it becomes increasingly clear that Bass is neither safe nor uncomplicated. Drawn into the dark, criminal underworld his lover inhabits, Tag has to decide if the cure for his broken heart is worse than the disease.

Tour




Tyra’s Book Nook - 26 Dec

MM Good Book Reviews - 27 Dec


Blogger Girls - 28 Dec


Boy Meets Boy - 29 Dec


Two Chicks Obsessed - 30 Dec


Love Bytes - 31 Dec


Author Visit

First of all, thank you so much for having me! I’m thrilled to be here with my new contemporary novel SWIPE by TA Moore. I had a lot of fun writing this book. I hope you enjoy reading it!

I thought I’d share my writing playlist for SWIPE with you guys today. Well, sort of writing playlist. I don’t really have playlists that I write to. Most of the time I actually write to a low murmur of coffee shop noise or occasional environmental ASMR video (a lot of them creep me out, but I like library or bookshop ones). Music distracts me, it keeps one part of my brain focused on something outside the world that I am trying to pin down on paper.

What I do use music for is when I’m...daydreaming about the book I’m writing. I stick my headphones on and let the scenes in my head play out like a movie to a randomly shuffled playtrack while I do...whatever. Shopping, the washing up, or aggressively not sleeping even though I have to get up early tomorrow (I don’t always sleep great).

Sometimes the scene I’m working on doesn’t need any specific music, it can rattle along with anything. Other times the scene needs a certain...beat to set the pace of the scene or something that fits the tone. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I consider ‘I’ve a Horse Outside’ by the Rubber Bandits acceptable for any situation, but I’m not going to try and write an emotional scene to it. Well, not so far. Fight scenes and sex scenes are the most demanding, you really need to get the songs right for them.

As I write I pick songs out of the rotation that really work for this book or a particular scene, so I can queue them up when I need to shortcut my brain into the right frame of mind. By about halfway through Swipe I had this playlist. It’s actually a pretty good one, for me. The music is actually pretty good, it’s varied, and it’s not too long or too short (look, I’m not proud of this, but one book I just listened to three songs on constant repeat).

I hope you like it too! You’re certainly never getting to see the playlist for ‘Collared’ from Devil Take Me. That one was weird.





Author Bio:


TA Moore is a Northern Irish writer of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. A childhood in a rural, seaside town fostered in her a suspicious nature, a love of mystery, and a streak of black humour a mile wide. As her grandmother always said, ‘she’d laugh at a bad thing that one’, mind you, that was the pot calling the kettle black. TA Moore studied History, Irish mythology, English at University, mostly because she has always loved a good story. She has worked as a journalist, a finance manager, and in the arts sectors before she finally gave in to a lifelong desire to write.

Coffee, Doc Marten boots, and good friends are the essential things in life. Spiders, mayo, and heels are to be avoided.

Website: www.tamoorewrites.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TAMoorewrites/
Twitter: @tamoorewrites





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Review: DSP Advent: Homemade for the Holidays Week 5

Choosing the right gift for that special someone can be the most daunting part of the holidays. In a sea of mass-produced items, why buy when you can DIY? The end-of-the-year festivities are the best time for crafts, whether they’re made from yarn, paper, flour, or even code. And with some love and luck, these special presents might inspire a romance that lasts an evening… or a lifetime. Nothing makes the season merry and bright like a gift handmade from the heart, and to bring smiles to the faces of the ones they care about, these guys are willing to get creative. 









Wrapping up the Advent with Week 5. We hope you all had an amazing season with family (of the birth or chosen variety) and friends with whatever you celebrate or if you just call it December. Onward and upward to 2020!


Santa's Little Library by Jana Denardo

For small-town newlyweds Caleb and Quinn, finding the perfect gifts to commemorate their first holiday as a married couple isn’t as easy as it sounds. 

Despite their different cultural backgrounds—Caleb’s Norwegian and Quinn’s Native American—a common love of books, travel, and long walks in the snowy Wisconsin woods brought them together. And though Quinn has Caleb’s gift sorted, Caleb, with his busy schedule at the hospital, might need some help… from Mother Nature.

Ann - 3.5 Hearts

I like established couple stories like this one. The comfort level between the happily coupled MCs, is, well, comforting. The author also did a great job of creating the atmosphere of Caleb and Quinn’s home and town. It wrapped their “problem” into a pretty Christmas bow. The big “problem” was Caleb’s struggle to find the perfect gift for his love. It’s a good Christmas problem to have and reading this story was like wrapping yourself in the snuggliest of woobies on the couch in front of a fire. Can you tell I got comfortable?

The gift was, of course, perfect and seeing how well the two of them “got” each other was a treat. Their relationship and how they met would make a great book, I’d love to get all up in that story.


Setting for Eight, Dinner for Two by B.G. Thomas

To overcome the bad ending of a relationship, Charlie Brooks and a friend plan to decorate his home for the holidays—including elaborate table settings like those made by local ceramicist Tory Phillips. The pieces are exquisite, but Charlie’s on a budget. So Tory convinces him to take his classes and try his hand at making his own dishes for the dinner party Charlie dreams of hosting. As they work together, they grow closer, and the fantasy gathering feels less important than what’s happening between them. When the big day arrives, it might be more magical than Charlie ever imagined.

Ann - 3.5 Hearts

B.G. Thomas can do some romance. It was a little OTT at times for me, and that’s only because I enjoy excessive levels of snark, but for a Christmas story like this, the level was Christmas story purity at its best.

Charlie is a very charming character and is one of those guys I root for as soon as I read about him. He’s an everyman with a heart of gold who gets passed over because he is an everyman, and it took someone like Tory to really see him and get his passions. The two really were made for each other.

It was also nice to read about a more unique crafting experience. I remember taking ceramics back in the day and man was I bad at it. I really could have used a Tory in my life at that moment, but in all honesty, Charlie deserved him most.


Silver and Solstice by T.J. Nichols

Calvin is good at two things: stealing and being the worst boyfriend ever. He can’t help his sticky fingers, even though Rafe has pleaded with him to stop. When a job goes horribly wrong, Calvin’s fate is in the hands of his silversmith boyfriend.

Rafe has done everything he can to put distance between himself and the restrictions of being a princeling. He has a craft, a shop, a shifter boyfriend, and lives a completely disreputable life.

But to save Calvin from spending Solstice in a cage, Rafe will have to step up and face his father, head of the city guard. Rafe’s father has had enough of Calvin flouting the law. Shifters are supposed to be collared in the city.

Calvin finally knows what to make for Rafe for solstice, though it breaks the promise they made to each other….

Ann - 4 Hearts

I liked this unique tale very much. Historical/fantastical was in short supply this advent season, so kudos to T.J. Nichols for making this story be a thing.

The world building was really well done for a short story, not too much detail to take away from the MC’s, but enough to explain motivations and societal roles. While the relationship between Rafe and Calvin was far from traditional in their world, the way it was portrayed fit both them and their environment.

I would really be into this verse and where the author could go with it. I want to read about how Rafe and Calvin met and I can only imagine the dynamics would make for a great tale.


A Stitch in Time by Asta Idonea

When Connor’s friend signs him up for a crochet course, the last thing he expects is to find love. However, at the community center, he meets hunky Finn. There’s only one problem: Finn assumes Connor’s there for the boxing class, and Connor lets him believe it, worried Finn will ditch him if he knows Connor prefers crafting to upper cuts. Can they salvage the situation when the truth comes out?

R *A Reader Obsessed* - 3 Hearts

Super simple. Super sweet. Super short.

Assumptions can definitely get one in a tight spot, and this was no different for Finn when hot guy Conner, mistakes him for the macho type when really, he’s soooo not that.

Ensue a little pursuing and flirting, and Finn and Conner hit if off quick! Equally quick is when the omission of truth can quickly spiral out of control. Good thing Finn and Conner have more in common than they know which can mend quite a lot.

Look no further for a feel good holiday story!

Ann - 3.5 Hearts

A Stitch in Time is a really cute little nugget of a story. It’s a really short one, so just as I was getting settled in, it was over. Which was OK, but I liked the setup and the characters a lot and would have loved to have a little more page time with them once the misunderstanding was resolved.

I did like how the author gave both MC’s the same social foible. They both made assumptions unfairly and thus, misunderstanding, but thankfully it was short lived and both guys had a master crafty woman in their corners to make sure they weren’t stupid for too long.

Again, just a little more page time would have made this story a smidge more memorable and special.


A Swants Soiree by E.J. Russell

Introverted software engineer Brent Levine struggles with the life part of work-life balance, but to hold on to his new job, he’ll have to embrace his employer’s dreaded “staff enrichment” events. This year’s annual ugly holiday sweater party will strain his ambition to remain inconspicuous: everyone has to wear sweaters converted into pants—aka “swants.”

Brent’s an ace at coding, but when it comes to handcrafts, he’s definitely at the far left end of the bell curve. Luckily he encounters seriously cute theater costumer Jonathan at the Goodwill Outlet. Jonathan offers Brent both an acceptably ugly sweater and his expertise in swants conversion. Attraction sparks on Brent’s side, but can Jonathan be interested in a guy like him?

R *A Reader Obsessed* - 3.5 Hearts

Poor Brent. He just wants to do his job with minimal holiday fuss, but when the boss decrees that the annual ugly sweater requirement be changed to swants (sweater turned into pants), it’s Brent’s worst nightmare come true.

What’s a 6’8” guy to do when he desperately always wants to stay under the radar? Fortuitously, Brent runs into Jonathan, theatre costume maker guru, and he can’t believe his luck when the cute guy offers his help.

This totally appealed due to having an awkward geeky MC, and gentle giant Brent, fits that bill perfectly as he tries to push through his fears.

Good thing finally joining in the holiday camaraderie opens Brent’s eyes to so much more at work, and bonus points for scoring great catch Jonathan in the romance department! Cheers!

Ann - 4 Hearts

I had to laugh at A Swants Soiree because swants are so dumb, but also stupidly fascinating and kinda perfect for this years advent prompt.

Companies that want to shove culture down your throat can be amazing or soul crushing, so I could totally get with Brent’s tortured soul. At least everybody seemed to be a good sport about all the nonsense, so it wasn’t like it was something Brent couldn’t survive. With Jonathan’s help of course. 

These two together were a total treat. The chemistry was flying all over the place like glitter, but Brent was charmingly clueless and thank goodness Jonathan had it together. Brent would still be lost in some random thrift store somewhere. I liked that Jonathan had a thing for guys like Brent and it read organically and honestly. I was very happy for these two in the end.


Sweet Anticipation by Andrew Grey

Greg Hansen’s pregnant sister is on bed rest, so it falls to Greg to finalize the arrangements for her best friend’s bachelorette party. Little does he know he’s in for a sweet surprise. When he arrives at the bakery recommended to him, he comes face to face with the man he never should’ve let get away—Rhys Denning. 

 Rhys’s business is booming with the holidays approaching, so he can’t agree to cater the party without help—and that means Greg getting his hands dirty in the kitchen, where the two reconnect over sugar, spice, holiday goodies of all kinds, and even some penis-shaped baguettes! But the most satisfying treat might be the second chance they never thought they’d get.

Ann - 3.5 Hearts

This is the sweetest meet-cute redo. Greg and Rhys were barely-there-boyfriends back in college and Rhys did a dumbish thing and they went their separate ways. Basically, Rhys chose poorly.

The meet-cute as adults when Greg is tasked to help his super-pregnant bed-ridden sister with a bachelorette party. Rhys is a custom baker/kitchen jack of all trades and agrees to help Greg out with all the things. While the initial meeting was slightly awkward and added some good tension, Rhys is like, a full on adult, and addresses the elephant in the room. He apologizes to Greg and is incredibly compassionate and mature. Greg is all grown up about things too and it was honestly refreshing to read mature communication between two adults.

The history between the two makes an HEA very believable and I was happy that Greg got him some Rhys in his life because his sister is a lot. She loves him to death, but damn, she had me stressed out for Greg.




**copies of the Advent stories were provided for honest reviews**