A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Heart Strain (Interlocking Fragments #1) by Michele Notaro & Sammi Cee — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 Holden moved away from Baltimore nine years ago; his life is now in Ithaca where he’s a veterinarian. He has his best friend Gavin and his pit bull Peanut. But when he gets a call his twin brother Hendrix has been shot in the line of duty, he rushes […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Heart Strain (Interlocking Fragments #1) by Michele Notaro & Sammi Cee — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: The Bucket List by RJ Scott

BucketList
Cover design by Meredith Russell

I would rate this 4.5 stars.

Jason contacts Mark about the death of his brother Andrew. Andrew and Mark had been best friends when they were young, but didn’t keep in touch after Mark left town at 15. Now at 33, all the memories Mark buried away are back. It was Andrew’s last wish that Jason complete his bucket list of things he wanted to do and Mark is made a part of it with his 15th high school reunion. Throughout this book they both face grief of a life lost, lost chances, and regret for bad decisions and might have beens. This is tapered with some of the best memories of their lives. Questions of all the missed years are painful. At first, both have things they are hiding; watching them earn those secrets is an emotional rollercoaster. The flashbacks they both have keep the emotional punches coming.

This was a bit unexpectedly triggering for me. Be advised much of this is about child abuse and bullying. The grief and shared history gives them something to bond over initially, but it is being together daily that makes it mean more, letting their relationship blossom. This book come across as very real to me with enough sweet and sexy parts to make it believable they can make it work and not just as a vacation romance. I liked the honest communication between them, both about the past and what they are feeling for each other as it happens. This is about righting old wrongs and really living because life is short, not revenge or comeuppance, although the reader gets a bit of that too.

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Review: Waited So Long by J.M. Dabney

Waited so Long
Cover by: J.M. Dabney Cover Image by: Golden Czermak (FuriousFotog) Cover Model: Caylan Hughes

I would rate this 3.5 stars.

Devon’s secret is…he wants a Daddy, but has not ever told anyone–not even his husband. After their 30 year relationship, and 20 year marriage, has ended, Devon is beaten down by life. Who would want a boy who’s almost 50? Bern, the son of Devon’s best friend just returned from the service. Devon has no idea that Bern has always wanted him. What was once a crush, became caring nearing on obsession for Bern so that he went away to college and then joined the service. As soon as Bern learns of the divorce, he hands in his papers so he can come home and claim what he has always believed was his.

This starts in the past with Bern’s POV, which is a brilliant way to establish him as a character. His Dad Murray gets it because he had a similar dynamic with his wife. Father and son are honest with each other and he knows who his son is as a person. Bern’s upbringing and personality have resulted in him being a dominant caregiver, making him perfect for Devon. Of course, Devon has no idea. Devon’s POV lets us see his shock at Bern as a man. We get to see his sadness, his loneliness, his longing. He has never asked for what he wanted, and buried it in shame.

Bern has a plan, and takes charge…parts of this hit me as a little intense or creepy, him having studied every little thing about Devon’s likes/dislikes for YEARS. This is not just age gap, but age play. While Daddy/little is mentioned more than once, there is not too much detail–the reader is not immersed in this kink, but it has a little more than most novels out there that just use the words. Once they get together, this goes fast with explicit content. There is less dialogue, with large portions of the book happening in their heads. It is also slightly repetitive in their thoughts. I get annoyed when authors write older or younger characters unrealistically so I am happy to report that is not the case here. Devon is age appropriate when he is not a little. It’s great to see Devon embracing his submission, being less self conscious, less insecure, and unashamed about what he wants with Bern. This is a sweet, hot, wish fulfillment story.

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J.M. Dabney’s Website

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Concatenation (Lost in Translation #1) by Catherine Lievens — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5 Dorran finds a dead body in his new apartment building. Turns out the lead detective on the case is his ex-boyfriend Eli whom he hasn’t seen since high school, more than ten years ago. The dead guy turns out to be John, the person Dorran bought the apartment from. […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Concatenation (Lost in Translation #1) by Catherine Lievens — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Not Yet Dead by Jenn Burke

Not Dead Yet cover
Book covers at Carina Press are done in house.

I would rate this 4.25 stars.

An immortal, Wes Cooper is technically dead, but able to travel between this world and the otherplane. Lexi Aster is his best friend and a witch; it was her great grandmother’s spell to resurrect Wes after he was killed. He’s not a ghost since he has a living body, but he can make himself disappear, so that resurrection went a bit wonky. When he witnesses a murder, he is frozen and doesn’t act in time. His guilt motivates him to try and help with the investigation. Except for the first time, the killer actually sees Wes while he’s invisible. Now his ex from 33 years ago, Detective Hudson Rojas, gets assigned the case and Wes’ life gets complicated.

The author takes a huge risk giving the POV to an amoral character who is not terribly mature and so self-absorbed that he has spent no time getting to know or understand the magic that allows him his life. Over the course of the book, it becomes obvious that Wes isn’t a bad guy, that he cares for his friends. Knowing the time period and how he dies explains why he is the way he is, but he is so much more as he starts to care more for others and things outside of himself. Hudson has his own growth that needs to happen for them to get their second chance. As with most of the books I have been reading lately, most of their issues come down to lack of communication, but timing in life is everything. In the end, these guys are sweet together. Wes reads as demisexual, although that word isn’t used. The final love scene was hot and funny at the same time–quite an accomplishment and it helps to make the whole thing real.

The lovers reunited element works well in the story. Lexi and Evan (to avoid spoilers, I’ll say he’s Hudson’s friend) are fleshed out enough to care about what happens to them, but I did want a little more. The mystery and the murders are interesting with enough action to keep the suspense going. If witches, vampires, secret societies and ancient artifacts sound exciting, this is the book for you. I’d be happy to read more in this world.

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Jenn Burke’s Website

 

Review: Renewing Forever by Kelly Jensen, This Time Forever 2

RenewingForever_400x600_41b041ee-8566-4e2f-bb68-375efd54a6b6_1024x1024
Cover Artist Natasha Snow

I would rate this 4 stars.

Frankie kissed Tom when he was 17 and Tom punched him, ending their friendship. Then, Frank left town and hasn’t been back in 30 years. When his uncle dies, he has to go back to deal with his inheritance. Tom has been working for Frankie’s uncle and has now lost his friend, his home, and his job due to his death. He has given up everything to take care of his mother, who is now in a nursing home. The story has dual POV and their childhood is shared through flashbacks. Frankie is still caught in the sadness of the past. Much of this book is sad, reminiscences often are–of dreams lost, bad decisions made, the things you can’t take back. As Frank and Tom start to relive the good times they shared as boys, rather than dwelling on the incident, you would think it would liven up, but for me it doesn’t.

I am not a fan of second chance romances. I tend to think things didn’t work out for a reason. I am not a fan of nostalgia or glorifying the past. But avoiding dealing with things from your teenage years until you are nearing your fifties is not healthy. While my heart ached for both men for different reasons, I was frustrated with them too. Tom has let fear rule him for so long; after fighting it, he finally gives in and decides to explore what they have. Frankie was hard for me to relate to for some reason. His demisexuality seemed to keep him isolated from deep relationships and even his friends didn’t really know him. There was a little bit of comic relief about 60% in when they tour a neighboring resort. I wish that type of interaction had been included more. The best parts are having them recapture their love of the woods and each other–sharing the dream of remodeling the resort.

While this was interesting and well written, I felt removed emotionally at times. That’s okay, because I like to read books that are about many types of people. How boring would it be if we were all alike? It’s a good reminder that other people’s logic and life experience can be completely different and will affect their decisions and outlook. Charlie, Simon, and Brian from book one show up. Brian seems the next one to be paired off, but as he cheated on Simon over and over for a decade, I am not much enthused by this prospect. It will take a lot to redeem this character in book three, but if any author can do it, Kelly Jensen can.

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A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Bad Habit (Bad in Baltimore #6) by K.A. Mitchell — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 Scott and Liam have a history. It’s hard not to love them both right away and want to protect them as children in foster care. The author only spends enough time here to establish the relationship and how heartbreaking it is when they’re separated. When they find each other […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Bad Habit (Bad in Baltimore #6) by K.A. Mitchell — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: One Step Back by Edie Danford — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 Asher is the good boy nerd and Joe is the bad boy jock. Joe’s mom and Asher’s dad have been dating for four years and are about to get married before everything falls apart. Eleven years later, Asher and Joe meet again at a business meeting when they realize […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: One Step Back by Edie Danford — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words