Saturday, June 22, 2019

Book Review: Blue Morning, Vol 4 by Shoko Hidaka


Blue Morning, Vol 4        

Author: Shoko Hidaka
Publisher: SuBLime Publishing
American release date: February 11, 2014
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Yaoi/218 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Akihito has moved into humble lodgings, occupying part of a house once owned by Ishizaki’s old housekeeper. As far as the servants at the manor know, he is staying at the Ishizaki villa. This is a brand new world for Akihito, who has no practical knowledge of how anything works, including such basics as using a sink or a stove. He has a lot to learn! The reason for downgrading his lifestyle is that Akihito plans to relinquish his title in favor of Katsuragi, which he confides to Ishizaki, even as he strongly impresses upon him that Katsuragi must not find out.

Akihito confronts Amamiya at the manor. Amamiya is surprised that Akihito bears him no animosity, considering that he has been working to ensure Katsuragi inherits the Kuze house, unaware that Akihito has the same goal. His surprise becomes even greater when Akihito makes Amamiya the new butler of the Kuze household. However, Akihito is adamant that Amamiya not use Katsuragi’s old room.

Katsuragi has taken on the task of instructing Ishizaki, as once he did Akihito. While discussing the arranged marriage for Ishizaki, Katsuragi reveals knowledge of ishizaki’s true love, a geisha, and tries to tell him that he can have both. Ishizaki laughs, saying that is what Kuze has said too, so why can’t the two of them manage to do that themselves? Katsuragi has no answer to that, and Ishizaki silently wishes he could do something to help the two of them.

Getting into an argument with Katsuragi, Ishizaki inadvertently lets on that Akihito has done something stupid because of his former butler.  Learning the truth, Katsuragi goes to see Akihito in his new home, and Akihito serves him tea, while trying to gauge how much he knows. Akihito confesses to burning some bridges and the reason for doing so. Not surprisingly, a heated discussion between the two men ends with passion. The next day, Katsuragi is convinced he knows what he must do in order to save the Kuze house, but he must act quickly.

When Akihito returns to the manor, he is annoyed to learn Amamiya is in Katsuragi’s old room. But when he goes to confront him, he is surprised to find Katsuragi there as well. Amamiya leaves the two men alone, and they discuss the future of the Kuze house, which will necessitate their working together. Katsuragi makes the first move this time, and passion once more holds sway, which leads to a surprising admission on Katsuragi’s part.

It’s interesting to watch Akihito and Katsuragi go to such lengths, each for the other. It reminds me of The Gift of the Magi, in which a young couple each sacrifice something of value to them in order to give something of value to the other, but the sacrifices negate the gifts, leaving only the love. I’m hoping that’s how this turns out for these two. From the bottom of my heart, I want nothing more than for them to end up together, whether at the Kuze manor or somewhere else. I’m not sure they’re at that point, and it won’t be an easy road to happiness, but I believe they can do it. I love the passion between the two men, and the way Akihito doesn’t care about status or lack of it, he loves the man Katsuragi is and wants to be with him forever, even if he forfeits his own status and wealth to do so. Akihito is the seme in this relationship, and I wonder if Katsuragi’s accepting the role of uke is indicative of something in his past which we aren’t privy to yet. Only time will tell.

Ishizaki is proving to be a very good friend to Akihito. I have to believe his words spoken in anger to Katsuragi were simply a Freudian slip and that he wanted Katsuragi to do just what he did, in the hopes he would be able to talk some sense into Akihito. And now, with another candidate for head of the Kuze household looming on the horizon, what happens next remains to be seen. We’ll have to meet this other person to get a sense of his worth, or even his willingness to assume the Kuze title.

Wheels within wheels and a great deal of machination going on. Where will it end? No one knows. Loved this volume, can’t wait for the next one.




Friday, June 21, 2019

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 3 by Tito Kube


Bleach, Vol 3           

Author: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: October 12, 2004
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/200 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 Ichigo and Rukia deal with the problem of the Mod Soul by inserting him into a stuffed lion and naming him Kon. Now Ichigo has two roommates – Kon and Rukia, who is sleeping in his closet.
The anniversary of Ichigo’s mother’s death arrives, and the Kurosaki family head to the cemetery to pay their respects. Ichigo’s friends know in advance not to expect him to be in school on that day. Surprisingly, when they arrive, they find Rukia there. Ichigo takes her aside to ask why, and she explains she wants to be near him in case a Hollow should show up.

Ichigo was nine when it happened. Even then, he could see dead people, but he couldn’t always distinguish between the living and the dead. So when he first saw the little girl standing by the river, he wanted to protect her and went to her. His mother, who was with him, came rushing after him. He didn’t see what got her, but when he looked she was dead. Since then, he’s blamed himself for her death.

Waiting for Ichigo, Rukia senses a hollow, although there hasn’t been an order. She and Ichigo hurry toward its spiritual pressure, which is close, only to discover Karin already there, on the ground. Worse than that, the same little girl is there who was by the river six years before, when his mother died. Will he be able to settle the past, or will the Hollow defeat Ichigo by dredging up his guilt surrounding his mother’s death?

Rukia pushes Kon into Ichigo’s body while he soul reaps, and she and Kon tend to Karin and Yuzu, taking them home, so Ichigo can do what he needs to do. Afterward, Rukia returns to Ichigo, but she’s promised not to interfere, as he says this is personal, and he has to do it. Can she keep from joining the fight, if Ichigo’s life is on the line?

This is a very poignant volume of Bleach and deals with a lot of what makes Ichigo tick, starting with his mother’s death, which changed him forever, and for which he blames himself.  Ichigo and Rukia’s relationship is strengthened. I have to believe that at some point they will become a couple, but as I’m 169 episodes into the anime and that hasn’t happened yet, I guess we have a ways to go before we see that happen.

The scene with Ichigo and his dad at the end is priceless. And having seen the anime, I realize something I hadn’t noticed before, but that would be shenanigans to call that out so soon, so you’ll just have to figure it out yourself or wait for the revelation, which is a ways off. Kon’s character has toned down, maybe because he’s stuck in the lion body or maybe because he isn’t in fear of being killed now, and he isn’t alone.

Next volume should be great, as we meet Don Kanonji!  Can’t wait!


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #57 (14.2)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Salvation has arrived at Lake Charles, which will be their base of operations for a few nights. To their delight, the motel their manager has booked them into has a pool! And they don't have to work that night. Maybe they'll get a chance to have some fun. See what's happening in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's going on with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #57 (14.2)

Checking in was easy, since Marge had pre-registered the band. All Ben had to do was show his ID and sign the guest register and the smiling desk clerk gave him three key cards.

“Your rooms are in the back, first floor,” he said, motioning with his thumb in that general direction. “Just follow the parking lot around and you should be able to get a spot right by your rooms. We’re not really very full right now.”  He reached for a colorful brochure from a stack on the counter and handed it Ben. “This lists some of the nearest restaurants,” he told them. “And things to do in Lake Charles too. If you have any questions, or need anything, don’t hesitate to ask. We have a breakfast buffet that opens at six o’clock.”

“Thanks, we will.”

Ryan and Ben walked out of the office, hand in hand, headed toward the car. There was no sign of Keanu and Deacon, but Ryan wasn’t surprised. He could understand wanting to be with someone so badly you couldn’t wait the extra few minutes until you received access to your room. Sometimes, the need was too immediate to be denied.

“Let’s grab our bags and go to our room. They can come get their keys after that,” Ben said. Sounded like a great idea to Ryan.

When they reached Cameron’s sedan, Ryan waited for Ben to open the trunk. “Marge seems very nice,” he commented. “At least from the little I’ve talked to her.”

“She is. Very. Salt of the earth,” Ben replied as he reached into his pocket. “She takes very good care of us. And she’s on top of everything that has to do with business. Shit!”

“What’s the matter?” Ryan war alarmed at Ben’s sudden exclamation, but when Ben began to laugh, Ryan relaxed.

“My bad. I totally forgot Aiden’s got the keys. Guess we’re not going to our room right now, are we? Sorry about that.”

“No big deal,” Ryan assured him. He took Ben’s hand in his and squeezed it. “If that’s the worst that happens to us, we’ll be fine. Besides, they said they wouldn’t be long. Why don’t we text them, and while we wait, we can go sit by the pool?”

“Good idea. I like the way you think.” Ben squeezed Ryan’s hand in return. “The boys can join us here if they like. If they decide to come up for air or something.”

Acting on impulse, Ryan wrapped his arms around Ben and kissed him. He felt as well as heard Ben’s moan as Ben parted his lips. His tongue entered Ryan’s mouth, gently probing and exploring. They drew back only to breathe.

“What brought that on?” Ben asked. “Not that I’m complaining, mind you.”

“That was just because I love you,” Ryan said. “More than anything in the world. And I don’t ever want you to forget that.”

Ben’s beautiful blues eyes sparkled, his smile both shy and radiant. He didn’t speak immediately, color rising in his cheeks. Ryan couldn’t help but think how beautiful he was, and how much he liked him without the contacs.

“You know I feel the same way too, don’t you, Ryan?” His voice vibrated with emotion, as though he was on the verge of tears.

Ryan nodded, not trusting to his own voice at that moment.

“Nothing can separate us ever again, right?” Ben continued in a low voice. “Promise?”

Ryan was both touched and alarmed at Ben’s question. Why did he seem so… desperate? What did he think could possibly separate them, now they had found each other, now they were finally together? Pushing aside his concern and focusing only on alleviating Ben’s fears, Ryan responded in heartfelt tones. “I promise,” he vowed. “You and me forever.”

 A wave of relief passed across Ben’s handsome features, his sunny smile returning once more. “Let’s go to the pool,” he said, twining his fingers together with Ryan’s.


As they strolled toward the pool area, Ryan thought to himself that he would reassure Ben as often as Ben needed him to, whatever it took to make his sweet prince happy. And if that made him the princess, then so be it. Or maybe this fairy tale just happened to have two princes after all.

to be continued

Now see what's up with the other Briefers!


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Virtual Book Tour: The Burn by Kristal Dawn Harris

Good morning and please welcome author Kristal Dawn Harris to Full Moon Dreaming! She is here today to talk about her new release, The Burn. Kristal will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning! To find the rest of the stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!



THE BURN
by Kristal Dawn Harris

~~~~~~~~~~~~~



GENRE:

Paranormal Romance

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Leon, a fallen angel cursed to exist as a vampire, has waited for his mate for centuries when Shana shows up on his dance floor wreaking havoc with the other immortals in his club. Embittered by the deaths of her angelic parents, Shana denies Leon. She wants nothing to do with vampires, and walks away only to put both of their lives in danger. Compassion brings Shana back to Leon's side only to find him hovering close to death. Love grows until they are both encompassed by The Burn. Together they battle dark spirits and Lucifer himself, all the while falling deeper in love.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT:



Leon winced when he heard Shana’s name. He wanted to hate her. He tried to curse her. He couldn’t forget her. The taste of her blood burned into his memory. Even now he craved one delicious drop. He didn’t want to look, but he couldn’t turn away. He didn’t want to know anything about her childhood. Her small voice whimpered as her tiny arms wrapped around her sister’s neck. Loud footsteps stomped across the old, linoleum floor. He couldn’t stop himself from watching the nightmarish scene play out before his eyes.

Just as the older girl picked Shana up and started for the basement door, the older woman swung her arm with the metal spatula in her hand. It smacked hard against the bare skin on Shana’s back. The sound of metal striking skin made Leon jerk in outrage. Shana’s small body arched in pain. Leon wanted to comfort her as she cried out then buried her face in her older sister’s shoulder. He watched helplessly as the girls hurried through the dark doorway and disappeared down the steps.

Leon turned his hatred on the older woman with the spatula. She stood in the doorway where the little girls disappeared with her hands on her hips. She grumbled underneath her breath then stomped back to the stove as if nothing ever happened. Fire shot from his eyes as his hands clenched at his sides.







~~~~~~~~~~~~~



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kristal Dawn Harris is an American author, born in Middletown, Ohio, on August 16, 1970. She currently resides in Ohio with her husband. Kristal has been married for 27 years and has two children. She graduated from Carlisle High School in 1988, then furthered her education at Miami University. She has a business degree in Accounting Technology. Kristal spent twenty years working as an Office Coordinator in the hospital until she released her debut novel, “The Rings of Faolan-Emeralds,” through The Wild Rose Press.

In 1999, Kristal suffered a debilitating disease called “Guillain-Barre Syndrome.” This rare disease damaged the nerves in her body requiring the use of drop-foot braces in order to walk. Kristal considers herself a survivor and encourages anyone with a disability to follow their dreams.

Kristal has one more book contracted with The Wild Rose Press which will release in 2019. She is considered a hybrid author since she published “Hand-Carved Wolf” on her own. Kristal is an avid reader who enjoys romance from all genres, but paranormal is her favorite.

CURRENT BOOKS BY KRISTAL DAWN HARRIS
The Rings of Faolan-Emeralds
Hand-Carved Wolf
The Rings of Faolan-Rubies
The Burn
The Red Heart

UPCOMING RELEASES
Red Snowflakes

LINKS
www.kristalharris.com
https://twitter.com/Kristal081670
https://www.facebook.com/kristalharrisauthor/?modal=admin_todo_tour
https://www.instagram.com/kristaldawnharris/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18576974.Kristal_Dawn_Harris
https://allauthor.com/author/kristaldawnharris/
https://www.amazon.com/Kristal-Dawn-Harris/e/B07HP1YKMM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Buy link:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PNK8CPS/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0




~~~~~~~~~~~~~



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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #56 (14.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

The boys are headed to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where they'll stay at a motel while they play a few gigs in the surrounding area, then head back toward Lafayette. Life is good! Everything is going great. Their manager is going to meet them when they get into town, and maybe there will be time to play! See what's happening in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to! Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!

In Pieces #56 (14.1)

As the afternoon progressed, Ryan was enjoying the drive so much that he almost hated to see it end. He’d offered to take the wheel for Aiden, but Aiden had graciously declined his proposal with a knowing look, telling him to just sit back and relax. So Ryan and Ben had done just that. They kissed and cuddled in the backseat and listened to the soft jazz that flowed through the car’s speakers, not saying much. But every touch spoke volumes.

At one point, Abby turned around from the front seat to face them, phone in hand.  She wore a mischievous grin as she regarded them. “Want me to take a picture of you guys for the book? Just the way you are now? Ryan can add it to his love on the road chapter.” She winked at them. Ryan had to laugh in spite of himself. He felt too good not to. He knew there was no such chapter— unless, of course, Ben told him he wanted one, and then that was a different story. He stole a glance at his lover. Ben was unfazed. He stuck his tongue out at Abby then asked. “Want that as part of the picture?”

“Naw, you can keep that for Ryan,” she riposted. “But thanks for the offer anyway.”

“Hey guys, I think we’re here,” Aiden interrupted.

Already? Ryan had lost track of their surroundings. He hadn’t realized they’d reached Lake Charles already. Not only that, they were turning into the motel parking lot, just behind the equipment van. He and Ben straightened from their slumped positions to get a first glimpse of the motel. Ryan wasn’t sure what he’d expected, but he was surprised at what he saw. The motel had a definite southwestern vibe, both in style and color.  Yellow stucco walls, with turquoise and brown accents. Colorful earthenware jars, as well as a variety of cacti  with pink, red, and purple blossoms. An expansive parking lot, with plenty of room. And in the midst of it all…

“Swimming pool!” Aiden cried in obvious delight. “Thank you, Jesus!”  He pulled Cameron’s car up beside the van. Deacon and Keanu were just getting out. From their broad grins, Ryan guessed they’d seen the pool too. The water did look inviting, he had to admit. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been swimming.

“Anybody up for a swim?” Keanu asked. “Last one in’s a rotten egg!”

Ben shook his head. “Sounds good, but we can’t. We’re meeting Marge, remember? Besides, we have plenty of time to have fun after we see her. We’re not playing tonight.”

Before Keanu had time to even think about pouting—which Ryan was coming to realize was his favorite method of dealing with situations he didn’t care for— Deacon forestalled him with, “That gives us time to get swim suits too. I’m guessing none of you packed those, right?”

And there was the reality of the situation. Ryan knew he hadn’t brought one. Why would he think to do that? The idea had never occurred to him that he’d need one. He was pretty sure he wasn’t the only one.

“We could always skinny-dip,” Keanu suggested, but one arch of Deacon’s brow brought him back to earth. “Just an idea.” He shrugged.

“An idea that could get us arrested in public. A private pool is one thing, but not here. You want me to cool you off again? Instead of just your head, how about your whole body? Right in the pool, clothes and all.”

Deacon’s words elicited laughter from everyone, even Keanu. Ryan had the feeling he’d never actually go through with his threat, but at least the situation was easily diffused. The two men might be volatile, but not in any way that made him uncomfortable. They complemented one another very well. Keanu was energetic and outspoken, and Deacon was laid-back and sensible. But it was obvious they came first with each other.

Ryan was about to ask Ben something when he noticed Ben’s eyes were raking up and down Ryan’s body, as if he were taking his measure.  “What would you think about a Speedo?” he asked.

Ryan felt his cheeks grow warm. He couldn’t be sure if it was Ben’s words or the look he was giving him. Whatever he’d been about to ask was quickly forgotten. “I don’t think so,” he stammered.”I don’t really have the body for it.”

“Some people might disagree,” Abby said, which only increased the heat in Ryan’s cheeks. Ben patted Ryan’s inflamed cheek gently.

“Don’t worry, you have the body for it, but I’m not about to share that. We’ll find something not quite so….”

“Skimpy?” Aiden suggested.

“Exactly.” Ben winked at Ryan then pulled his phone from his pocket, typing swiftly. When he was done, he pocketed it again. “I just texted Marge. I have no idea where she is, so while we wait to hear from her, why don’t I get us checked in?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Aiden agreed. “I think I’m gonna stretch my legs a little. Wanna come with, Abs?”

“Sounds perfect,” she agreed. “Scout out the area a little bit while we’re at it.”

“We can guard the van,” Keanu offered.

Ben looked pointedly at the back of the van then back to Keanu. “Seriously, dude? As hot as it is?”

“I never said that.” Keanu held up his hands in protest. “You just have a dirty mind.”

“And who gave him the idea in the first place, hmmm?” Deacon folded his arms across his chest and gave Keanu a pointed look.

“I’m not that much of a horndog!” Keanu attempted to defend himself.

“Yeah, right, tell that to someone who doesn’t know you.” Aiden laughed. “We’ll be back in maybe twenty minutes or so. Text us your room number so we can get our key.”

“Will do,” Ben said. “C’mon, Ryan.” He took Ryan’s hand and headed toward the motel office, leaving the two men to their own devices.

to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers are up to:







Book Review Tour: Derrick by Russell

Please welcome author Russell to Full Moon Dreaming. He's here to tell us about his book, Derrick, the second book in his Gavin Nolan trilogy. Russell will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on Russell's tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post, as well as my review of Derrick.






Derrick

by Russell

~~~~~~~~~~~~~



GENRE: Horror, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, LGBT

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

In Hyde Park, a movie theater erupts in flames on a bitterly cold November evening.

It seems like a job for the fire department, but under Captain Creighton’s direct orders, Detective Gavin Nolan and his partner, Derrick Williamson, must investigate. Arriving on the chaotic scene, they find multiple fatalities —but one of the victims is most peculiar…

Gavin soon discovers that this fire wasn’t the first of its kind. The arsonist has set ablaze other buildings around Chicago, and more female victims left in the same gruesome state have been discovered.

Gavin and Derrick determine that the arsonist is not an arsonist at all—but a sinister serial killer with an agenda.

Juggling the unexpected events in his personal life, Gavin digs into the locations of the explosions. At the same time, Derrick probes into the victims’ lives, searching for any possible connection. 

However, when the next explosion occurs, the killer leaves behind a significant object, and Derrick becomes noticeably reserved. Gavin soon uncovers an enigmatic link, one that points to Derrick’s military past. A time that his partner had wished to forget. Yet, to catch the vicious maniac, Derrick must tell Gavin everything.

In a suspenseful, gripping ride to the end, it is up to Gavin to rescue his partner from the clutches of a  killer. But will he make it in time?

WARNING: This book contains graphic scenes, explicit language, and violent sexual situations.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT:



“Look at that.” Derrick pointed over to the front rows.

At the fifth and fourth rows in the dead center, several more CSI members were photographing two burnt corpses. The explosion blew back the bodies into a crumpled position on the chairs.

Hopefully they had a quick death. Gavin stayed silent.

Moving on, they reached the exit door near the front of the theater. Another warning from Delanie informed them of the rubble and potential structural damage in the next section. Briefly looking back, Gavin heard the crackling of radios, like eerie ghostly crickets fluttering in the distance. In the opposite direction, three firemen were still containing some smoldering chairs.

“Shit,” Derrick muttered, tapping Gavin’s shoulder. He nodded up.

The once ornate ceiling now had entire sections missing. Squinting slightly, Gavin could see the dark night sky.

Once they passed the doorway, a series of portable lights cascaded over the area. Gavin was unable to decipher the debris, the contents of which were haphazardly pushed away from the clear epicenter near the opposite end of the room. Up above, about a third of the ceiling had disintegrated, leaving a huge hole. The cold wind invaded the space, dissipating the soot scent slightly. More CSI team members shifted diligently, gathering debris in clear evidence bags and marking each spot with photographs and red markers. Near the apparent epicenter of the blast, several firemen were discussing the area, pointing at spots.

“Have to get back to my captain,” the young fireman said. “Need anything else, just let me know.”

“Thanks,” Gavin replied.

“Where the fuck do we begin?” Derrick grumbled.

“You can begin by bringing back that hottie,” Susan said behind them.

Gavin turned to find the doctor kneeling near a shriveled, burnt corpse. Her scalpel gingerly poked and prodded the body’s seared skull.

“Isn’t he too young for you?” Derrick returned with a snarky grin.

Gavin stated, “I didn’t see your van.”

“Came through the back.” She looked up at him and then at Derrick. She added, “As long he’s eighteen-plus, no laws broken, baby.”

Shaking his head, Derrick snickered. One of the CSI team, an annoyed-looking woman whose gray hair probably came directly from her stressful job, shot him a glance.

Standing up and ripping off her plastic gloves, Susan said, “No offense, love you guys, but what the hell are you doing here?”

“Creighton’s orders,” Derrick answered first. His midnight eyes darted over the scene.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Russell has been writing for the majority of his life. Slipping into alternative universes allows him to enjoy the process of creativity from the novel’s conception to its final draft. Currently, he lives in South Texas with his wife, two kids and several cats.

DERRICK is a 2018 Winner in the New Apple Literary Awards, receiving Official Selection in Psychological Suspense.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Russell.The.Author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Russell_Writer
https://www.amazon.com/Derrick-Second-Installment-Gavin-Biography-ebook/dp/B07KXG3KH4

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Full Moon Dreaming Interview

DERRICK by Russell
I must share some exciting news with all of you!
My new book, DERRICK, just won in 2018 New Apple Literary Awards Contest as Official Selection in Psychological Suspense. I am completely surprised, flattered and humbled by the honor!
Also to add, GAVIN (Part 1 of The Gavin Nolan Trilogy) won 2017 New Apple Literary Summer E-book Awards as Official Selection in Horror.
What's the hardest part of combining genres in one book?
            I have to discuss the Gavin Nolan Trilogy as a whole, and my unique writing process.  When I began writing, I truly did not know what to expect as the story begins to take hold. As I pen a new story, a beginning usually appears in my head and I start writing. In essence, I write without character descriptions, no outlines nor any research. I just let my fingers (and quite active imagination) command the ship. Because of this, the story builds momentum, meaning that I do not necessarily know what happens at the end until midway through. So if I’m surprised, my reader will feel that rush as well.
             For the series, I was inspired by other authors who create dark, gritty thrillers, which borderline on horror genre. Similar to Harris’s The Silence of the Lamb and Flynn’s Gone Girl, my series heightens the intensity of the scenes, and puts the characters in perilous conditions. Echoing the likes of Clive Barker, Peter Straub and even John Connolly, I create some visceral, graphic content which some of my readers found rather disgusting still they could not help but to keep reading. Finally, I truly love interwoven plots. Perhaps, my inspiration comes from daytime soap opera that my mother used to watch in the 80s. As you will see in the Gavin Nolan Trilogy, my books are not for the light reader. I create multi-layered plots involving my man character and trickle into the secondary characters. On the surface, my series could be easily described as homicide detective novel. However, as you read my books, so much more occurs.
            Needless to say, I wrote GAVIN (Part 1) with a clear intention as a stand-alone piece. However, Gavin Nolan, the protagonist, became a formidable, strong character with a several skeletons in his closet. Being stated, the secondary characters also had strong personalities which develop and push the story forward. Despite the climatic, intense ending, I realized that Gavin’s partner on the force, Derrick Williamson, had much more to say. When I completed the first draft, and began editing GAVIN, I quickly began to write DERRICK (PART 2). In a way, the story starts six months after the events of GAVIN, and the reader discover Gavin in a different point in his life. Yet, the strong friendship between Gavin and Derrick is tested by the hands of deadly madman’s agenda--something connected to Derrick’s military past. As a side note, DERRICK subtly alludes to the final book, QUINN (Part 3). Currently, I’m editing it and hopefully have it out by Spring 2020.  In fact I have a preview of QUINN at the very end of DERRICK.
            Finally, GAVIN and DERRICK is for a mature audience and not for anyone under 18. I have graphic depicted violence, explore and develop strong sexual situations and include rather explicative language. If you are not dissuaded from my disclaimer, then you will absolutely love my books!
            Thanks for having me today! Please follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Russell_Writer. Also, check out my website: www.RusselltheAuthor.com.
            Read to Escape!
            Russell

Derrick (Gavin Nolan Biography Book 2)
Author: Russell
Publisher: CreateSpace
American release date: November 27, 2018
Format/Genre/Length: eBook/GLBT/Mystery/493 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★

Someone in the Chicago area is killing women in a horrific manner. In an attempt to obfuscate what has been done, the bodies become part of an arson scene, probably to throw the police off the track. Detective Gavin Nolan has only recently come to terms with his sexuality, and isn’t open with his friends, family, and co-workers yet. On the other hand, his partner, Chad, has introduced him to friends and family, who have accepted Gavin with open arms. While on a date with Chad, Gavin receives a call from his partner, Derrick, to come to the Opus Theater, where a fire has occurred. When Gavin protests that they don’t do fires, Derrick snorts and tells him these are their boss, Quinn Creighton’s, orders, so they have no choice. Arriving on the scene, they try to figure out why they are there. Looking around among the victims of the fire they come across the body of a woman. Something seems different about this one.  The medical examiner thinks there is residual evidence of rope on the wrists, which has bonded with her flesh. And she appears to be nude.

The detectives don’t realize it, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Working this case will involve digging into the past, as well as taking a good hard look at who they are, and how they got where they are now.

Derrick is the second book in a trilogy, which I didn’t realize when I agreed to review it. I was able to read this book despite that, although there were probably nuances I would have understood better had I read the first book. If you’re interested in reading this, I would suggest starting from the beginning, with Gavin.

This book is very long and complex, especially for a mystery. There are a lot of different characters, some of whom I suspect were introduced in the first book, especially Gavin’s superior, Quinn Creighton, with whom he has some kind of past history. I am guessing we meet Chad in the first book, and that their relationship was more front and center, while in this book, it’s relegated more to the sidelines. Gavin’s relationship with his partner, Derrick, is more central.  The two end up on the murder case at the theater, and are working with a female detective named Evelyn, who is actually under another jurisdiction but whose presence has been requested. Apparently her partner hasn’t bothered to train her very well, and her superior is a dick.

The author, who uses the single name Russell, is not without talent, and he creates memorable characters. The plot is interesting, even if the resolution is somewhat simplistic. What the book suffers from is a lack of good editing, however, including everything from simple word errors to stilted dialogue, which detracts from the enjoyment of the book. These are not major problems, and they could have been easily handled in the editing phase, but they weren’t. This book was obviously self-published, which doesn’t automatically mean it’s bad, but self-published authors are often notorious for either not having editing or having poor editing.

Another problem, at least for me, was when the story changed from being Gavin’s story, completely told in third person narrative, to his partner Derrick’s story, which is done in a first person POV, and goes on for some chapters. And pretty well sets up the ending, including the who-done-it. The only question is how will this play out and who will survive?

It’s an enjoyable story, and if things like the ones I mentioned don’t bother you, then go for it. There is another book left in the series, but I’m afraid it will probably suffer from the same poor editing. I don’t think I’ll be reviewing that one.




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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Book Review: Blue Morning, Vol 3 by Shoko Hidaka



Blue Morning, Vol 3
Author: Shoko Hidaka
Publisher: SuBLime Publishing
American release date: November 12, 2013
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Yaoi/224 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Akihito is beginning to take greater control of Kuze family matters, much to Katsuragi’s surprise. All letters in regard to bank business are to go straight to Akihito. Meanwhile, Akihito is paying his court to the fifteen-year-old Chikako, of the Sajo family, and spends their time together playing games with her. He realizes the gap that exists between the Sajos and the Kuzes, and intends to call upon the —Moriyama, as well as the Ashizakis. Meanwhile former houseboy Amimaya is visiting with the retired housekeeper, Kiku. He reveals to her some of his thoughts regarding Katsuragi, but the older woman makes no direct comment.

Akihito requests that Ashizaki act as his agent in the matter of his proposed marriage, explaining his reasoning behind this decision, which Ashizaki concurs with and agrees to help. But that help will come with a steep price. Is Akihito willing to pay such a price? Afterward, Akihito goes to Katsuragi, and initial conflict becomes into their usual method of resolution—lovemaking. Later, Katsuragi thinks on the original plans he made when he was first put in charge of Akihito’s education, the revenge he intended to extract for promises made to him but never kept, for unforgiveable behavior toward him.  Has something changed now?

Akihito is not pleased that Katsuragi no longer dines with him. He tells the two highest ranking servants that they will dine with him from now on, which makes them uncomfortable. When Katsuragi arrives, Akihito informs him that he will be joining them as well.

When Amimaya returns to visit Kiku, he learns she has returned to her hometown, to his dismay. Furthermore, she has left instructions for him to clean every corner of the storehouse. Furthermore, her instructions emphasize papers that he will find there, given to her by Lord Kuze. Is this significant? Amimaya grasps what he perceives to be the meaning behind Kiku’s actions and agrees to do as she has requested. Maybe his lifelong dreams will come true after all.

Akihito seeks Katsuragi’s opinion on household matters, and as they work together, the butler does something quite unexpected—he kisses Akihito. A thrilled Akihito responds in kind, kissing Katsuragi’s hand. But the moment is spoiled when Katsuragi demands Akihito release him, and he walks away, to Akihito’s dismay.

The next day, Katsuragi receives a request for him to go to the storehouse, where Amimaya has something to tell him. Meanwhile, at school, Ishizake searches for and finds a despondent Akihito, who is no mood to talk. Ishizaki can only imagine what has him so upset, what is usually the cause of his upset—Katsuragi. Ishizaki knows what is being asked of Akihito, and he asks can he actually go through with it, but Akihito doesn’t want to listen and asks, instead, what message Ishizaki has from Katsuragi’s brother.

Amimaya lets loose some rather nasty accusations at Katsuragi. Akihito goes to see Katsuragi’s brother, and learns the former houseboy has made accusations of his own. But the elder Katsuragi also warns Akihito not to trust Tomoyuki.

Back at the Kuze manor, Akihito and Katsuragi now dine alone, as the other servants have begged off, due to their discomfort. Alone, they can talk more freely concerning what Amimaya has alleged.  Will this new information tear them apart or drive them closer together? What is Akihito willing to do in order to stay by Katsuragi’s side and raise the Kuze house, as he has sworn to do?

In this volume of Blue Morning, we learn about Katsuragi’s parentage, and we also get a glimpse into the boy he was, and the expectations he was raised to have by Akihito’s father. There are still pieces of that puzzle that are missing, and if they include, as I suspect, Katsuragi’s sexual abuse by the older Kuze, that will explain much. At the same time, we see more of Katsuragi’s own feelings for Akihito, as his tightly wound fa├žade beings to unfurl at Akihito’s continued tenderness and unswerving loyalty, something he has received from no one before and certainly did not expect from the target of his own ambitions. No wonder he’s becoming confused and uncertain, as he never saw this coming. Will he embrace his feelings for Akihito or deny them in order to proceed with his plan? I’m leaning toward the former, but I am also a hopeless romantic. I’ll be very disappointed if this series ends and these two are not together and very much in love. Guess I’ll have to wait and see.

As usual, the artwork is superb, the story excellent. Both men are very lovely to look upon, but especially Katsuragi. I’m looking forward to the next volume.