Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Savior by @Rhys_Ford @dreamspinners #BLOGTOUR

Well, I want to thank everyone for following the blog tour for 415 Ink: Savior! I’m going to use the same intro for every piece in case someone jumps in midway because that way everyone starts off on the same page. So if you’re joining midway, be sure to backtrack and catch the other posts because we’ll be exploring tattoos. Be sure to catch Savior, a second book in the 415 Ink series, on its release date of September 18!

This has been a crazy series to write and as much as I enjoyed it, it’s always a challenge to bring a fully fleshed character with very real problems to the page. I hope that you read Savior you will fall in love with Mace and be with him on his journey as he in turn falls in love with Rob.

Since the tattoo shop, 415 Ink, is such a central heart of the series, I wanted to talk about tattoo symbolism very briefly because there’s a lot of opinions and cultural attachments to certain tattoos. What could be presented on this tour is just a small sampling of what people believe certain images mean and how they connect to the people who choose to wear them on their skin.

I’m going to say that tattoos are not for everyone but I do have a hard-core cultural association with them so I’m very fond of tattoos. I feel it is a very personal thing and should be taken seriously because you are going to wear it for the rest of your life. But, I also do believe even the tiniest flash tattoo means something to someone and everyone getting ink should be respected for their choices. Someone’s little flower on an ankle could mean their experiment into pushing themselves to fearlessness or capture memory of something they shared with someone. Not every tattoo needs to be huge or an artistic rendering of the Sistine Chapel. But they should have meaning.

I believe a tattoo should be a piece of yourself the inker draws out of your soul and embellishes on your skin. It should rise up from some part of you to realize its existence.

Much like love. And very much like falling in love.

So there’s also giveaway! Enter to win a $20 USD gift certificate to an e-tailer of your choice which can include Dreamspinner, Amazon, Starbucks or any place I can send a gift certificate without having to sacrifice a chicken. Just follow the blog’s contest rules to enter! 

Comment with your email address to win!!

So let’s talk about ink.

Japanese Tattoos – Fish & Flowers

Koi Tattoos

Let’s start with the Koi, which is the Japanese word for carp, but you’re probably more familiar with seeing the brightly painted giant goldfish that fill many ponds in Japanese and Chinese gardens around the world.

Koi are hardy fish that can survive and thrive against some heavy obstacles. They swim up stream and up waterfalls to get where they want. If they reach the Dragon gate, they will transform into dragons and reach the heavens.

The tales of the strength of Koi lead many people, who have also lived through some adversity, to get a Koi tattoo. It is their symbol of power, of perseverance, and determination to reach their goals and thrive.

Or you might just admire the beauty of the Koi.

If the Koi is swimming upstream, you have yet to achieve your goal, but you are going for it. If it’s swimming downstream, head down, you’ve made it through. You’re a winner, a survivor, and you’re ready to enjoy a better life. As with roses, Koi tattoos have different meanings according to the color of the fish.

Red Koi – represent love and passion, the feelings you have for someone you deeply love and want to honor them. It’s a subtle promise to that individual without inking their name on your body.

Black Koi – represent accomplishments against daunting odds. You’ve been hit hard, but you got back up. You didn’t give up. I made it. You’re a success. No one can take that away from you either.

Blue Koi – represents relationships and reproduction. If it’s swimming upward, you’re fighting to keep your relationship or to begin a family. If it’s swimming down, you’ve given up on your partnerships and hope for a family.

Lotus blossoms are frequently included in Koi tattoos just as real lotus flowers are planted in the ponds they live in. The flowers bring beauty to murky waters and can represent the purity of the person wearing the ink.

Yin and Yang is also often part of a Koi design, with either the symbol itself of a pair of fish in contrasting colors representing balance.

Japanese Flowers

Ume – Plum blossoms are the first flower to bloom each year in February when it’s still winter, it’s a symbol of perseverance, strength, and of the arrival of spring. Often pictured as red, though the real flowers range from white to pale rose to a lush pink.

Sakura – March brings cherry blossoms around the world. It represents the coming of spring and the rebirth of the world from the cold of winter. In a tattoo it is a symbol of renewal. The flower is often tattooed being carried along by wind or water to show the change of seasons.

Chrysanthemum – September’s flower, the symbol of the throne of Japan. This flower is said to represent longevity and perfection.

Lotus - The lotus is a mystical and beautiful that is used to represent Buddhism is several different countries. The flowers can be inked in different colors for various reasons. It symbolizes rising toward enlightenment.

Savior by Rhys Ford

Published by Dreamspinner Press. Coming September 18, 2019

A savior lies in the heart of every good man but sometimes only love can awaken the man inside a savior.

The world’s had it out for San Francisco firefighter Mace Crawford from the moment he was born. Rescued from a horrific home life and dragged through an uncaring foster system, he’s dedicated his life to saving people, including the men he calls his brothers. As second-in-command of their knitted-together clan, Mace guides his younger siblings, helps out at 415 Ink, the family tattoo shop, and most of all, makes sure the brothers don’t discover his darkest secrets.

It’s a lonely life with one big problem—he’s sworn off love and Rob Claussen, one of 415 Ink’s tattoo artists, has gotten under his skin in the worst way possible.

Mace’s world is too tight, too controlled to let Rob into his life — much less his heart — but the brash, Filipino inker is there every time Mace turns around. He can’t let Rob in without shaking the foundations of the life he’s built, but when an evil from his past resurfaces, Mace is forced to choose between protecting his lies or saving the man he’s too scared to love.

Dreamspinner Press Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/savior-by-rhys-ford-9856-b

Amazon Global Link: mybook.to/SaviorAmazonLink 

Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and is a two-time LAMBDA finalist with her Murder and Mayhem novels. She is also a 2017 Gold and Silver Medal winner in the Florida Authors and Publishers President’s Book Awards for her novels Ink and Shadows and Hanging the Stars. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.

She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Harley, a grey tuxedo with a flower on her face, Badger, a disgruntled alley cat who isn’t sure living inside is a step up the social ladder as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people.

Rhys can be found at the following locations:

Email: rhysford AT vitaenoir DOT com

Blog: www.rhysford.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rhys.ford.author

Twitter: @Rhys_Ford

Monday, August 27, 2018

Audiobook Blog Tour #The Secret Chord @AnAudioBookworm @KGuare

Author: Kathryn Guare

Narrator: Wayne Farrell

Length: 10 hours and 26 minutes

Publisher: Kathryn Guare

Series: The Virtuosic Spy, Book 2

Released: Feb. 20, 2018

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Those who love romantic suspense and thrillers with heart have found their new literary crush.

An Irishman on the run. He's left a lot of things behind him...but they're not far enough back.

Conor McBride has lost everything, and if he can't find a way to disappear in a hurry, the next thing he loses could be his life. Running from enemies he's never met and haunted by his own destructive actions, Conor needs a refuge secure enough to hold his secrets. A farmhouse inn tucked amidst the green mountains of Vermont seems ideal, but when his past catches up with him, Conor discovers the beautiful young innkeeper has secrets of her own, and hers are more likely to get them both killed.

Author of the award-winning Conor McBride Series, Kathryn Guare’s character-driven novels are all somewhere on the spectrum between romance and suspense, and some are even perfectly balanced between the two. She has a passion for exploring diverse cultures and cuisine, Classical music and all things Celtic, and has a habit of mixing these into her stories along with other topics and enthusiasms that capture her interest. Formerly, as an executive with a global health advocacy organization, she traveled extensively throughout the world. Currently, as a native Vermonter, she hates to leave home during foliage season.


Narrator Bio

Internationally acclaimed voice actor Wayne Farrell began his professional career at The National Theatre of Ireland, where he met the legendary Irish seanachai Eamon Kelly and became fascinated with the art of storytelling. Using skills learned during this time, Farrell has worked extensively in both documentary and audiobook narration and is widely admired for the rich clarity and versatility of his voice. His credits include award-winning authors such as Donal Ryan, whose debut novel The Spinning Heart won The Guardian’s First Book Award as well as Irish Book of the Year; and New York Times and USA Today bestsellers such as Morgan Rice, author of the fantasy epic The Sorcerer’s Ring.

For those who love a well crafted story with perfectly chosen words, pace and flow, The Secret Chord will strike a tone within you long after the last page.  Kathryn Guare weaves story and characters together like a symphony - intricate, complex and building to a crescendo that will leave the reader a bit breathless.

As a reader who has not read the first in this series (frankly unaware of it being a true series), the complexities of the violin virtuoso turned MI6 agent seeking to save his brother from an international ring of seriously bad guys might have made some of the convoluted plot twists in the beginning a little less cumbersome.  That said, without that knowledge, the truth does out and just tantalizes the reader to continue to delve into the mystery that is Conor McBride.  Kate Fitzpatrick, the unsuspecting Vermont Inn owner, is no shrinking violet and her quiet strength becomes more evident with every challenge thrown at her as she is cast deeper and deeper into the world of intrigue brought on by Conor and his cronies as they tackle the mystery of the millions that went missing in the mission that took his brother's life.  The subtle hints at paranormal ability crop up throughout the story begging the reader to question just how much more is there to the handsome man of mystery?

Wayne Farrell does a brilliant job at narrating this complex story.  He breathes life into each character and moves the storyline along in a manner that seems engaging but not rushed for a book of this length.  There are no gaffs in pronunciation and his subtle brogue is just mesmerizing - keeping me in the car, long past each journey just to catch a little bit more.  

I highly recommend this audiobook - and will definitely be filling in the series with books 1 and 3 both for the story and the narration!  RATING 4.5 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries!!!

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Kathryn Guare. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook and how you selected your narrator.
    • I used “ACX”, which is an audiobook platform offered by Amazon to match up authors with narrators. It’s great, because all the technical bits and bobs that I know nothing about are taken care of. All I had to do was upload a script for the auditions and agree on the contract with the narrator to get it all started, then upload an audiobook cover and description for the Audible and iTunes listings. There was a process for giving narrators an opportunity to audition, using the script I’d provided. I was beyond thrilled to have Wayne Farrell agree to take on the work. He’d narrated one of my all-time favorite books (“The Spinning Heart”) and I could hardly believe my luck!
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • Yes, I love audiobooks. I once had a job with a 1-hour commute both ways and I went through dozens of audiobooks. I love having someone tell me a story. It can be captivating in a way that’s different from reading it on the page, and I don’t think it’s cheating at all. It’s just a different sort of experience, and I just read a news story that science suggests listening to a book is a more emotional experience than seeing a movie based on it!. There are so many books and so little time! I’m happy to use anything that helps me get through more of them and I always have a paperback and an audiobook going at the same time (Well, not at the same time, but you know what I mean!)
  • Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
    • I’m sure that’s true. Probably books that are strong on plot, action and dialogue work the best, but whatever the genre, the things I find tedious when reading a book are the same things I have trouble with when listening to one. If there is too much exhaustive description of setting, or facts and figures, and too little language that pulls me into the story or subject matter, I start to get impatient. But for me, the narrator is key more than genre. If I am enjoying the voice, and the storytelling skills of the person narrating, I can put up with almost anything else.
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • I think I probably had a movie more in mind than the audiobook. Not because I really wanted to see the book made into a movie, but because I could see the movie in my head as I wrote it. Some readers have mentioned that the book feels “cinematic” and they can also easily picture a movie. However, I recently read a news story that scientists believe an audiobook can be a more emotionally involving experience for a reader than seeing a movie based on the book!
  • If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
    • Oh, I’ve had this conversation with so many readers and friends! He’s probably a little too old for the role now, but I’ve always said I’d be happy with Hugh Jackman as Conor. The role he played in the film “The Fountain” struck me as closest to the appearance and personality of Conor. And I think Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) would do a great job as Sedgwick. And for Kate, hmmm, maybe Alexis Bledel?
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • I did provide some brief descriptions of how I viewed the characters, but I thought it best to let the narrator develop his own approach, rather than asking him to adopt an accent or particular vocal style he may not be comfortable with. For me, it was most important that Conor McBride sound authentically Irish, which is why I was determined to have an Irish narrator. There were a few corrections when the UK/Irish pronunciation of a word slipped into an American character’s dialogue, but not often. Wayne has a remarkable range and facility with accents, and by the time I was listening to the chapters he’d already done his own editing and correcting.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • This book is mostly set in Vermont, and I am a native Vermonter, so there are a lot of settings drawn from my own experience. The setting for the Rembrandt Inn was inspired by my cousin’s gorgeous house in Greensboro, VT, which does overlook a gorge that has a brook running through it. My heritage is Irish, so the scenes in Ireland were also drawn from my experiences visiting the places on the Dingle Peninsula.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
    • Well, I have to admit that ever since I wrote the book, I was looking forward to having the romantic chemistry between Kate and Conor brought to life. I almost think hearing it in audio is better than the movie, because it is still the book the way I wrote it rather than an adaptation, and it was really a treat for me to hear!
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • Probably with a little “happy dance” and an ice-cold cocktail.
  • Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
    • Yes, and it was fantastic. I’ll say no more. ;)
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • The standard advice to writers is “write what you know” and I think that is very limiting and intimidating. My advice is “write what you want to know” because that opens up the world for you. Take the time to do the research to learn what you need to, then just go at it and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t do it.
  • Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
    • After you’ve found a narrator who has the voice and skill that you want, and you’ve given them some basic guidelines, you have to let it go and let them do the work. It’s like turning your screenplay over to the director and actors. If the narrator is focused on responding to your detailed direction it means they aren’t developing their own relationship with the story and the result will be less than it could have been.
  • What’s next for you?
    • I’m working on writing the fourth book in the series, and the audio version of the 3rd book, City Of A Thousand Spies is in production so it will be available on Audible and iTunes before too long. Stay tuned!
The Secret Chord Giveaway: ZEUS Bluetooth Headphones Wireless

Aug. 23rd:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Aug. 24th:

T's Stuff

Aug. 25th:

Lilly's Book World

Sefina Hawke's Books

Aug. 26th:

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Aug. 27th:

What Is That Book About

Guilty Indulgence Bookclub

Aug. 28th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

The Book Addict's Reviews

Aug. 29th:

Book Addict

Writers and Authors

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Bad Boyfriend by @ka_mitchell @dreamspinners #REVIEW #AUDIOBOOK

Bad Boyfriend, KA Mitchell, Dreamspinner Press
Bad in Baltimore #2
Causing trouble has never been more fun.

Eli Wright doesn’t follow anyone’s rules. When he was seventeen, his parents threw him out of the house for being gay. He’s been making his own way for the past five years and he’s not about to change himself for anyone’s expectations. For now, romance can wait. There are plenty of hot guys to keep him entertained until he finds someone special.

Quinn Maloney kept the peace and his closeted boyfriend’s secrets for ten years. One morning he got a hell of a wake-up along with his coffee. Not only did the boyfriend cheat on him, but he’s marrying the girl he knocked up. Inviting Quinn to the baby’s baptism is the last straw. Quinn’s had enough of gritting his teeth to play nice. His former boyfriend is in for a rude awakening, because Quinn’s not going to sit quietly on the sidelines. In fact, he has the perfect scheme, and he just needs to convince the much younger, eyeliner-wearing guy who winks at him in a bar to help him out.

Eli’s deception is a little too good, and soon he has everyone believing they’re madly in love. In fact, he’s almost got Quinn believing it himself….

WHEW.....this book is H. O. T.  HOT!Daddy Quinn takes Eli in hand and there is chemistry jumping of the pages right from the beginning.

We met Eli in the first book and for me he stole every scene he was in, so I was excited to read his book. He comes off as flighty but there is so much more to Eli then what he shows. He has a strength at his core from being on the streets from a young age and has walls built high and tight.

Quinn is physically attracted to Eli but he thinks he is a brat and a tease. Who better to take to the christening of his Godchild? The Godchild that just happens to belong to your ex and the woman he cheated on you with! What starts out as a joke quickly becomes so much more. But is it too much too fast?

The sex between Quinn and Eli is scorching and fun to read, but the connection they have outside the bedroom was an even better listen for me. Chet Daniel is back narrating and he does a wonderful job with the characters. His telling of the relationship kicked the story up a notch for me. I am quickly becoming a fan of Mr. Daniel.

Buy Links:

RATING: 4 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries This book was given to us by Dreamspinner.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Hearts & Flour by @taralain @dreamspinners #REVIEW #AUDIOBOOK

Hearts and Flour, Tara Lain, Dreamspinner Press
A raw food fanatic and a cupcake baker -- can two hearts rise above the flour?

To Micah Truveen, raw, vegan food is his religion. So when his devoted customers start showing up with white flour cupcakes, Micah could kill. To cap off a rotten day before Valentine’s Day, Micah comes home to find his boyfriend, Dharamaram, in bed with someone else. In frustration, he throws the rat out and agrees to go to his friend’s orgiastic anti-Valentines party where he meets a gorgeous cross-dressing guy who gives him a night to remember.

Southerner, Quentin Darby wishes he could stop wearing women’s clothes. He desperately wants to live up to the glowing opinion his grandmother holds of him, so he’s never even told her he’s gay. And now there’s this guy who makes him wish he could just be who he is. But Micah finds out that Quentin is none other than the baker responsible for the plague of cupcakes afflicting the community! And Dharmaram adds a little blackmail to the mix. Two guys with nothing in common except love--food for thought.

Yeah, so I wasn't a fan of Micah at first. He really comes off as judgmental and intolerant. But as the story went on and I learned more about him I came to understand his attitude....a little.

Now Queen/Quentin I adored from the beginning. He was caring and thoughtful and sassy.

Queen's line - " Funny how we shape our lives either in concert or opposition to our blood kin." I felt summed up the whole book and couldn't be truer.

This is a quick listen and the narrator has fun with the character voices and accents.

Buy Links:

RATING: 4 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. This book was given to us by Dreamspinner.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Audiobook Blog Tour #Girl VS @AnAudioBookworm @XCulletto @ToniaBlakeVO

Author: Xela Culletto

Narrator: Tonia Blake

Length: 7 hours 2 minutes

Publisher: Xela Culletto

Released: May 21, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction; Young Adult

Before the Vela invasion, Rhyan's biggest concern was getting through a day of school. But when she is thrust into the madness of a kill-or-be-killed world, her true strength emerges and a deadly warrior is unleashed.

Stumbling through the new morals of a post-apocalyptic world, she learns to depend only on herself. As she gets closer to discovering what the aliens actually want, her lethality becomes unmatched, and she soon learns the extent she'll go to in order to survive.

Xela is a working mother of three, living in the Utah. Currently in her ninth year of teaching secondary education, she decided that after talking to students about achieving their dreams, she would take her own advice and complete a lifelong goal of writing a novel. When not playing Legos with her sons, or sorting through the endless laundry, you’ll find her watching The Walking Dead, horseback riding, or working on her next book.


Narrator Bio

Growing up, Tonia told stories at sleepovers and sang in competitive chorale groups. Storytelling and songs eventually gave way to the competing interests of science and veterinary medicine, but she continued to indulge a reading addiction so fierce it led to a recurrent and rather jaunty facial tic under one eye. Audiobooks to the rescue!
Her stethoscope now lives in her sock drawer, and she’s delighted to be telling stories once again, this time narrating audiobooks from her at-home studio in mid-coast Maine. When she’s not in her vocal booth, she enjoys spending time with her family, fur-babies, and on her yoga mat.


I live for a good YA story.  I love a kick-ass heroine.  I appreciate a story that makes me think while holding on to the edge of my seat.  Girl VS has all that and more.  Quite frankly, Girl VS caught me by surprise.  I am not a huge fan of sci-fi and alien apocalype stories are not my usual go-to for summer kicks.  But something about this story sounded intriguing and I am so very thankful I took a gamble.  The story is sharp, writing is strong, action intense and emotions spot on.  The reader takes to Rhyan right away - but not in a pitying way.  She has lost everything and continues to lose what little she acquires along the way and she fights - fights for life, for her friends, for humanity.  Xela Culletto - I am waiting for the next installment because I know you are not done with Rhyan by far!

Tonia Blake is an amazing narrator.  She delivers a strong performance as the voice of a powerful young woman and her supporting cast of characters.  There were no cringe-worthy moments of mispronounced words.  The story flowed, the action swelled and the awkward social skills of a hardened loner girl were given aural life.  This was one of my favorite narrated books this summer.

RATING Four and a half Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries! (It was pretty near to perfect for me!)

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Xela Culletto. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Jul. 19th:

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Lilly's Book World

Jul. 20th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

Jul. 21st:

T's Stuff

Jul. 22nd:

Jazzy Book Reviews

2 Girls and A Book

Jul. 23rd:

Adventures Thru Wonderland

Jul. 24th:

Declarations of a Fangirl

Guilty Indulgence Bookclub

Jul. 25th:

Holed Up In A Book

The Book Addict's Reviews

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