Monday, May 16, 2022

The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT


Discovery of the Five Senses


K.N. Smith




GENRE:   Young Adult Action-Adventure, Young Adult Thriller, Urban Fantasy, Mystery/ Thriller






A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory super powers in a race to save mankind. With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, will the boys be able to defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late?






Soft swirls of light rose, dissipating as they spoke.  

“The others are capable, but they need our help. Peace will not come easily. We must give them strength.”

“Druth will destroy our home. He will hurt the gifted ones if the nectar finds him.” 

“They will not survive him.”

“The others must seek the will for survival. They   must understand their own power.”

A transient suspension held the beings in the preserve. Faint flecks of light dotted the landscape.

“In these two worlds, our ideas converge, yet  collide.”

“He must be stopped!”

“It is true.”

“Naculea must endure.”

“It is chosen.”

Now resting upon the succulent, running rich with the life-giving nectar, the beings absorbed its energy, glowing as bright as the sun. 

Thirst became a distant need yet again.

“We must warn… the one.”

“The one who sees.”

“The one who sees and hears much.”

“It is the only way.”

Final clicks faded into silence.


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


 K.N. Smith, winner of the “Best of” in the category of “Outstanding Young Adult Novel” at the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards, is an author, screenwriter, and passionate advocate of literacy and arts programs throughout the world. She inspires people of all ages to reach their highest potential in their creative, educational, and life pursuits. She lives in California with her family.

 Visit K.N. Smith at her website.


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My review:


3.5 stars


The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith follows a close-knit group of high school youngsters who not only deal with the challenges of teen life and angst, but must also find a way to combat an evil that threatens to destroy them and their town.


This young adult urban fantasy story blends typical challenges facing high school upperclassmen with a far more fantastical struggle that has been waging for decades. Filled with lyrical and beautifully vivid descriptions, this story explores bonds of family and brotherhood that is both genetic and formed. I love the diversity and the depiction of families who pull together despite trauma and loss, and younger brother Mason almost steals the show with his devotion and determination to protect his big brother, Jordan. There are intermittent explosive violent encounters, so use caution if that is a trigger.


The fantasy element is a little forced for me, although I like the idea of each of the boys developing a specific sense and working together to form a cohesive unit. Those who are concerned with such things should be aware that there is considerable head-hopping because the third party omniscient point of view tends to be a bit intermittent. I would have liked a little more depth to the characters, but I was able to connect to their struggles and definitely wanted them to be successful in their endeavors.


I think this is a good fantasy adventure story for young adults that also provides inspiration and reminders of how important a good support system is, whether that is parental or peer related.


A copy of this title was provided for review

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Stanley's Christmas Redemption by Gabbi Grey (Spotlight and excerpt) ADULT title


Stanley’s Christmas Redemption

ADULT title
Gabbi Grey




I have life figured out—a good job, a nice car, and an ex-boyfriend whose heart I broke. But then my half-brother dies unexpectedly, and I go back to our hometown to settle his affairs. A quick trip before Christmas. Instead, I get the shock of my life. Do I face this new challenge or do what I’ve always done—run? Or will I stay and get to know the most amazing man I’ve ever met and take on a responsibility I've never dreamed of facing? This will be a holiday season like no other.




I’m a therapist who helps people deal with grief. My life is fulfilling. So what if I’ve been single for years? I have the kids I counsel and co-workers I adore. Maybe I’m tired of going home to an empty house and not looking forward to another Christmas alone. But I’m not going to be taken in by some slick city guy who can’t wait to leave town. I’m not going to upend my life just because I’ve met the man of my dreams. Right?


This is an 85k opposites-attract instalove mid-angst gay romance novel.  Previously published in the charity anthology Secret Santa: A Romance Collection, the story has quadrupled in size with more love, laughs, and a touch of Christmas magic.






I entered the kitchen to find Angus hunkered down on a stool, watching Justin stirring something in a saucepan. A wonderful aroma of tomato and spices filled the room. I used to cook, once upon a time. Loved making elaborate meals for Maddox. I’d puttered around a few times since then, but mostly did takeout. What was the point of cooking for one?

And now two?

Justin’s eyes lit when he spotted me. He pointed to the stool with his wooden spoon. “You’re in time to solve the great debate.”

Tentatively, I sat. “Okay…” My voice held wariness. Of that, I was sure.

“Do mushrooms belong in spaghetti sauce?”

I looked back and forth between the man and Angus, trying to determine who was on which side.

“Don’t think about it,” Justin admonished. “Just go with your gut.”

Our gazes met.

My heart did a little flip.

“Portobello are the best, and you can never have too many mushrooms in the sauce.”

Angus pumped his fist in the air.

Justin rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically. With exaggerated motions, he went over to the fridge and pulled out a container of pre-cut mushrooms. Another sigh exploded from him as he dumped half the tray into the pot.

Angus clapped.

Anything. I’d do anything to make him smile again like that.

Justin held out a raw mushroom slice, and Angus nabbed it, shoving it into his mouth.

Okay, I loved mushrooms, but that was a little much, even for me.

As Angus struggled to swallow, Justin poured a glass of water from the sink. “Drink up, kiddo.”

He did. After several gulps, he put the glass down. “My dad fries them up in butter for me. Mom didn’t love them, but I sure do.” His shoulders slumped.

I met Justin’s gaze, and he nodded, knowing what I was asking. What I needed. I placed a tentative hand on my nephew’s shoulder. Unbelievably, he didn’t tense.

Instead, he sagged into the touch.

He was slight beneath my large hand. So delicate. Much like his father had been around that age. “You know, I don’t remember your dad liking mushrooms so much, but I do remember how much he loved swimming. We had a swimming pool, and he spent every day of summer vacation in the water.” I hadn’t, of course. I’d been too mature for frivolity.

Angus perked up. “I love swimming. I take lessons all the time over at the pool. My teacher is a nice lady named Quinn. She’s going to be a veter…a…”

“Veterinarian.” Justin said the word easily. He pointed to the dry pasta. “Do we break it in half?”

“Only little kids need their pasta short.” Angus jutted out his chin. “I’m not a little kid.”

“No, you’re not.”

Justin said the words quietly, but I caught the flicker of pain in his eyes. Angus would never be little again. What innocence that had been left was gone for good.

I held my hand against the boy, offering what comfort I could. I might be an adult, but I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.



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Gabbi lives in beautiful British Columbia where her fur baby chin-poo keeps her safe from the nasty neighborhood squirrels. Working for the government by day, she spends her early mornings writing contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances. While she firmly believes in happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true love. She also writes m/f romances as Gabbi Black.


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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The Mermaid and the Unicorns by L.T. Getty (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT


The Mermaid and the Unicorns


L.T. Getty




GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure






Daphne’s a typical mermaid, and at least according to her, that’s a problem. She’s courageous and has a beautiful singing voice, but lacks the power of an elemental, the ability to command water with the sound of her voice. Jealous of her best friend, she makes a deal with a sea-witch, only to be betrayed, in place of her beautiful tail and flukes Daphne’s left beached with a pair of human legs. The spell keeping Daphne looking human will become permanent, unless Daphne can hunt down and bring the scheming Lorelei a unicorn horn before the next full moon.


Unable to reach her friends and family for help, Daphne doesn’t know how to walk, much less where to find a unicorn or how to catch one. Even if she’s successful, Daphne’s still not sure if she can trust Lorelei and her pint-sized kraken to keep their end of the bargain and let her return to the sea.






 Echor explored a small rocky cave before he chattered. I saw a fish I'd never seen before. He was orange and white!


"You'll see lots as you travel from place to place," Daphne told the small dolphin. "Come, your mother won't forgive me if I let you roam from the pod."


Why hurry? Echor asked as he swam, spinning around different plants and sponges that grew along the rocks, before focusing in on a vibrant snail. It was not a very old reef, though it was well inhabited by many vividly-colored, small fish. The young dolphin seemed to take pleasure in disturbing them and watching them scurry into their small hiding crevices and among the anemones. You're so lucky that you get to stay in your town all the time. This part of the sea is so beautiful!


"I think it would be neat to see so much of the ocean," Daphne said, thinking of her small town of Thranda. Unlike the dolphins, who often travelled long distances in a single day, most merfolk lived in towns unless they left their communities to hunt or travel to another community. She had known members of his family since she was a little mermaid, and only got to see them a few times a year when they passed through her home to feed in a nearby bay. She heard a series of warnings behind her—the other dolphins had detected something with their echolocation. Unless it was something exceptionally large, they should have been safe within the pod, but Echor was very young. "Echor, let's return to your family." The young dolphin had wandered off while Daphne had turned her head, chasing a seal that had left her bob, trying to swim away from Echor.


"Echor!" Daphne called, swimming after him. She caught up to him, then looked over her shoulder as she heard a familiar sound. An orca! Daphne suppressed a shudder. It was large, but far enough away for her to find a hiding space. Still, killer whales almost always travelled in groups. The killer whale dove when he spotted her. She knew the others would want to help, but they were no match for an orca. He swam quickly towards her and Echor. Daphne knew she would be hard pressed to out-swim the large creature.


Hide! the orca told her.


Daphne then saw the immense shadow and wooden keel of a ship following the orca. The killer whale dove deep, though the water was too clear and shallow to truly hide his massive form. A harpoon followed him, missed, and was quickly pulled back to the surface by a rope. Another harpoon plunged into the water, and then another. The rough waters churned green and grey in the ship's wake, and Echor's warning chatter only told her that there was another human vessel. It came from Daphne's left, and it dragged a net behind it.

The book is on sale for $.99 for a limited time (please check price before purchasing)

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


L.T. Getty is a rural paramedic from Manitoba. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy and generally being creative.


Author Links:

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My review:

3.5 stars


“The Mermaid and the Unicorns” by L.T. Getty follows a young mermaid named Daphne who makes a terrible bargain that leads her into remarkable adventures with…gasp…humans. She learns that there are a lot of good and bad things about those who stay on land, while the humans she encounters discover that some of the things they’ve considered legends may not be made up after all.


This imaginative children’s story is full of magic and adventure. At first, I was a bit concerned that it was going to be a retelling of Ariel and Ursula’s interactions, but it picked up in intensity and managed to provide both teachable moments and entertainment with each subsequent adventure that Daphne experienced. I got a little lost occasionally, trying to remember all of the names of the characters, but subsequent events usually straightened things out. There were a few elements that I’m not quite sure about, but the story still kept my interest, and I think children will be delighted at the range of characters to cheer for and/or boo at.


A copy of this title was provided for review

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Seeds of Love: A Romance Charity Anthology to Benefit Ukraine (spotlight) ADULT titles


Seeds of Love

ADULT titles


Amber Garr, Amy Thorn, Barb Shuler, Brooke Summers, Cassidy London, Cyndi Faria, D.M. Davis, Dakota Willink, DD Lorenzo, Denise Wells, E.H. Lyon, Emery LeeAnn, Erica Himy, Fei Marie Perez, Gabbi Black, Gabbi Grey, Hannah Blake, Heather G Harris, Jenna Lynn, JS Mercier, KA Graham, Kaje Harper, Kelly Kelsey, Lane Bellemore, LC Taylor, Liz Durano, LJ Evans, Lux Miller, Mel Walker, Miranda Grant, M Guida, Pandora Snow, Persephone Autumn, Raisa Greywood, Ramsey Savage, Shelly Hixson, Sophia Henry, Stella Moore, Syd Ryan, Tara Conrad, Tiffany Carby, Vi Summers, Vivian Murdoch, Willow Fox, Yolanda Olson



You can help us make a difference.

SEEDS OF LOVE is a romance anthology to benefit Ukraine. This collection of short romance stories is not available anywhere else. 100% of the royalties will be donated to United Help Ukraine, a charitable organization dedicated to helping the Ukrainian people affected by Russia’s invasion. They are a grassroots, entirely volunteer-based organization that provides aid to wounded Ukrainian warriors, assistance to their families, and support to internally displaced people.

This anthology features 48 authors. The stories include various sub-genres of contemporary romance, paranormal romance, dark romance, and romantic comedy.

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The Lightkeeper’s Love Affair


Gabbi Grey



I just graduated. I should be out celebrating. Instead, a storm's coming and I've got no place sleep except the backseat of my car. At least I have my beloved beagle with me, but seriously, how is this my life?


After a horrific week, I hate being unable to retreat to my island sanctuary. Perhaps sharing my hotel room with a stranger in distress and his dog will take my mind off things. Afterward, we'll separate and never meet again. Right?

*A 10k lighthearted gay romance with forced proximity, a loner, a future school-teacher, and Buddy, the adorable beagle.



The hotel desk clerk held my gaze with a level look, her hazel eyes scrutinizing me.

Buddy rubbed against my leg.

I did mental gymnastics. “Does that come with food?”

“Complimentary breakfast buffet.” She patted her platinum-blonde hair in its elegant chignon.

Ugh, too similar to my mother. None of the scenarios in my mind appealed. The storm that’d been threatening my entire trip up from Nanaimo had finally materialized—part of the reason my poor beagle was cowering by my legs.

So a return trip back to the ferry was out. And likely the ferry back to Vancouver would be canceled due to the high winds anyway. Authorities were threatening to close the highways.

My friend Marcie was never going to make it down here.

Damn woman.

This’d been her idea. Graduation celebration in Tofino. Winter surfing before we started our teaching careers in January. Who the hell surfed in early December? In the middle of storm season on Vancouver Island? My best friend, apparently. With whom I was supposed to be sharing the room. Sharing the expense. Eighteen months of teacher’s college had me completely tapped out.

I laid my head on the counter, revelling in the cool of the granite.


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Bio – Gabbi Grey

USA Today Bestselling author Gabbi Grey lives in beautiful British Columbia where her fur baby chin-poo keeps her safe from the nasty neighborhood squirrels. Working for the government by day, she spends her early mornings writing contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances. While she firmly believes in happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true love. She also writes m/f romances as Gabbi Black.


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Out of the Blue


Kaje Harper

When my high school boyfriend ghosted me, right before senior year, I was afraid for him. I pictured everything from prison to gay conversion camp. But eventually, as his silence persisted, I moved on. Married my best friend, had a great kid together, got divorced. Life happened. Then one day, there he was. Garrett Ingram— red hair, blue eyes, gentle hands, helping out a stray cat as the veterinarian he’d always hoped he’d be. And when our eyes met, nine years felt like no time at all.

- A second-chances, single father, gay romance.


In the alley ahead, a man crouched over a cage with Lily inside. Ben hurtled at him, ignoring my shouted “Wait!” and thumped the man’s back with his small fists. “Let her go! That’s my cat!”

I dashed to scoop him up, hauling his flailing outrage away from the stranger. “Sorry! Ben, stop.” I set him down out of punching range.

“Your cat?” the guy asked.

“Not really. She’s a stray. We just feed her…” The man glanced up at me and I took in red curls and intense blue eyes and a freckled nose, and a rush of deep familiarity— “Garrett?”

His eyes widened. “Nate? Seriously?”

Ben kicked me. “Daddy, he’s stealing Lily!”

Garrett focused on my son. “I’m not stealing the cat. I’m taking care of him. I’m a veterinarian.”

I couldn’t help interrupting. “You did it!” He’d always been brilliant, even when we were both chafing against our crappy school and the jerks and bullies that populated it. At least one of us escaped.

A smile curved his full lips and creased the corners of his eyes. “Yep.” He turned back to Ben. “This little guy’s been living pretty rough—”

“She’s a girl,” Ben said with heavy disdain. “Dad said so.”


Bio – Kaje Harper

I get asked about my name a lot. It's not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old nickname, and my pronouns are she/her/hers.

I was born in Montreal but have lived for 30 years in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, where the mosquito is the state bird, and where winter can be breathtakingly beautiful. Minnesota’s a kind, quiet (if sometimes chilly) place and it’s home.

I’ve been writing far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment, usually M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, historical, SciFi…) I also have a few Young Adult stories (some released under the pen name Kira Harp.)

My husband finally convinced me that after all the years of writing for fun, I really should submit something, somewhere. My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing four novels and three freebie short stories in that series. I was delighted and encouraged by the reception Mac and Tony received.



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Toronto Tryst


Gabbi Black

Silver is the traditional way to celebrate a twenty-fifth anniversary. But Jody Thompson has a unique surprise for her husband on their special evening. Hopefully, it will be something he’ll never forget and a wonderful way to keep their passion red-hot.


This is a 5k word BDSM-light romance short story with a surprise that will delight.


When the cab pulled into their circular driveway, her husband tapped his card and, undoubtedly, again left a hefty tip.

She waited until he came around her side, and alighted when he held open the door.

They waved to the driver and ascended the three steps to the front door.

Phillipe had his keys at the ready, but she placed her hand on his to stop him. “You can always say no.”

He cocked his head and licked his lips.

She expected him to say somethingto demand to know what was going onbut he gave her a brief nod and unlocked their door.



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Gabbi Black bio:


Even though Gabbi Black is a firm believer in happy endings, she makes her characters work for it in every romance she writes, no matter what the genre. From contemporary to BDSM, they are penned early in the morning in her home in beautiful British Columbia while her trusty ChinPoo dog and her cantankerous Himalayan cat keep her company. She also writes gay romances as Gabbi Grey.


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My review: 

I've only had a chance to read Kaje Harper's lovely second-chance gay romance Out of the Blue (who could resist that sweet kid, and a veterinarian, yum), Gabbi Grey's fascinating gay romance The Lightkeeper's Love Affair (I love stories that give a glimpse of secondary characters from other tales in a series), and Gabbi Black's sizzling erotic romance Toronto Twist (nice way to celebrate an anniversary!) , but all were delicious, and I can't wait to read the rest of the stories in this anthology.