Posts Tagged With: Rhys Ford

Honorary Blogger Rhys Ford: Ivo, 18 • Part Two + Giveaway!

Welcome to the 415 Ink Hellion Tour! My name’s Rhys Ford and thank you for stopping by! First off, thank you to all the blogs who participated in this tour and also, a huge shout out to all of the readers who wanted to hear Ivo’s story. It was great being able to write something about the baby of the 415 Ink crew and well, he probably turned out to be the biggest surprise while writing him. So sit back, grab a bit of Ivo’s past on this tour and I hope you’re ready for his debut on Sept 17th! 

Ivo, 18 • Part Two

by Rhys Ford

The woman was older, maybe in her early thirties, her Hispanic features nearly too strong to be called conventionally pretty but she wore her beauty with an easy confidence, her long black hair pushed back from her face. Fairly tall with long legs, her powerful stride carried her across the cement floor and she came to a stop in front of Ivo, raking a controlled gaze over him.

“You seem kind of young,” she said in a husky contralto. “Are you even old enough to drink?”

“You seem like a cop,” Ivo responded, keeping a smile to himself when her eyes narrowed. “And yeah, I’m licensed to tattoo and Bear would sooner cut off his own fingers then let someone who didn’t know what they were doing ink someone’s skin in his shop. As far as booze goes, less you know, the better. I can promise you I’m sober while I’m operating a tattoo machine.”

She regarded him with another cool look then nodded curtly. “Okay, fair enough. So long as you can operate that thing legally, I guess I can’t complain.”

“Actually, complain now because complaining after I put something permanent on your skin is sure as shit not going to do you any good,” he replied, this time giving in to his grin. “Come on over, have a seat and tell me what you want.”

She settled into the chair easily, looping her legs over the footrest. After rolling up her long sleeved shirt, she dug an old watch out of the pocket of her jeans, holding it up for Ivo to see. “I want a rainbow heart on my wrist but it’s got to be small enough to covered by the watch. Can you do that?”

The watch was ancient, an analog piece made of aged metal with a black dial.  Its hands were long, striped with that odd luminescent paint watchmakers used to make the hands glow in the dark. It seemed to keep good time and when Ivo took it from her, he saw an inscription etched onto the back plate.

“To my dearest George from your wife, Adelaine.” He did some mental calculations on the date. “Your parents?”

“Grandparents. She gave it to him for one of their anniversaries. My brother inherited it when they died.” Her eyes glistened, then were hidden behind her long lashes. When she opened them again, any shimmer he might have seen was gone. “My parents kicked him out when they found out he told them he was gay. He told me to hold onto it. That he’d come back for it.”

“That’s fucked up.” Ivo frowned, pulling up his rolling stool with a hook of his boot into its base. “How long ago was this? You haven’t heard from him since then?”

“Twenty years ago.” Her full mouth lifted into a sardonic quirk when he looked up from examining the watch. “He was a lot older than me. I was seven. He was fifteen. I just made detective and I want something… I want to carry something of his with me. I want to wear that watch but one day, he’s going to come back for it so I’m going to need something … about him to have on me for when he does.”

The watch was large but as tattoos went, he would be able to fit maybe a quarter-sized heart beneath it. Glancing at the flash she’d chosen, Ivo knew he could do better than the plain, striped bands of primary hues. Putting the watch over her wrist, he pulled out one of his Sharpies and plucked its cap off with his teeth then drew a dotted line over where the beveled face would rest on her arm.

Something Bear said constantly dug itself out of the back of his brain, growing teeth and chewing on Ivo’s thoughts. Doesn’t matter how big a piece of ink is or what it’s about, kid, his brother would mutter at him as he inked yet another small daisy chain on a young woman’s ankle, every piece of ink means something to that person and they deserve your respect for getting it.

He got that now. Staring into the cop’s strong face, the pain of losing her brother to time and grasping at fading memories led her to walking into 415 Ink’s doors to look for something permanent to hold onto, so she would forget the young man who’d been forced out of her life. He knew how that felt, knew how that abandonment gouged down deep into a soul. The piece of flash she picked out wasn’t going to be good enough. Not for him. Certainly not for her wandering brother to find his way back to her.

“Okay, here’s the deal,” he said, handing her back her watch. “What you want is okay and I can do that in about twenty minutes and you’ll be happy with it. It’ll look nice. But I’m asking you to trust me here, because even though this thing is small, it means something to you and I want you to have something that’s… special. Let me make it a little bit bigger. It’ll still be tucked under the watch but if I can do just a little bit more, I can blend the colours so it looks like a real rainbow and maybe even emboss it, so it looks like a piece of jewelry on your skin. How does that sound?”

Her smile was bright, nearly as brilliant as the colours he intended to use on her silken gold skin. Nodding, she leaned back and plopped her arm on the rest, wrist side up for him. “That sounds fantastic. I’m in.”

“Awesome. Let me just get my inks ready and we can get started.” He stood up then stopped, holding his hand out to her. “Sorry. Fuck. I didn’t get your name. I’m Ivo and you are going to be my first official tattoo.”

“I’m Dell,” she said, giving him a firm handshake. “And I can’t wait for you to get started.”

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , | 47 Comments

Book Review: Hellion by Rhys Ford

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Hellion
Author: Rhys Ford
Series: 415 Ink #3
Heroes: Ruan & Ivo
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 201 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: From the moment SFPD Detective Ruan Nicholls meets Ivo Rogers, he knows the tattoo artist is going to bring chaos to his neat, orderly life. A hellion down to the bone, Ivo is someone Ruan not only doesn’t understand, he’s not even sure he needs to. Everything about Ivo is vibrant, brash, cocky, and arrogant, and Ruan wants no part of him.

Or at least that’s the lie he tells himself when he damps down his desire for the social wild child life tosses into his path.

For Ivo Rogers, life revolves around two things—his family and 415 Ink, the tattoo shop he co-owns with his four brothers. His family might be stitched together by their battle scars from growing up in foster care, but their brotherhood is tight—and strong enough to hold Ivo together during the times when he falls apart.

Now Ivo faces a new challenge when he falls for a cop with an old-school mentality on how a man looks and acts. Ruan is the promise of a life Ivo thought he’d never have, but their clashing perspectives threaten any chance of a relationship. Being the family’s hellion makes it easy to be misunderstood, yet Ivo has faith Ruan will not only embrace who he is but love him as well.  Continue reading

Categories: 4.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Honorary Blogger Rhys Ford: Pho Bo Kho Recipe + Giveaway!

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Pho Bo Kho

by Rhys Ford

Hi! I am Rhys Ford and I would like to welcome you to this stop on the Ramen Assassin Blog Tour!

I am looking forward to introducing you a new series as well as two very fun characters I enjoyed writing, Kuro Jenkins and Trey Bishop. The first book, Ramen Assassin, came to me as a nebulous idea but then really pushed into the forefront of my brain while I was beginning to write Hellion, the third book in the 415 Ink series. Unfortunately, I scared TA Moore with a very bad habit of mine called staring into space while thinking. I was contemplating the ins and outs of a series called Ramen Assassin and she took my crazed, unfocused look as the possibility of a spider of the wall behind her.

There was no spider. But what did come out of it was a murder mystery about a former government operative turned ramen chef and the recovering drug addict, former child star he saves from certain death and eventually falls in love with.

This book allowed me to combine two things I love — killing people and cooking. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. On this blog tour, I’m going to be sharing a few of my favorite dishes as well as a how to throw together ramen with what you have in your pantry and refrigerator. Please be sure to hit up every single stop on the blog tour for a different recipe at each stop as well as that blog’s giveaway!

Be sure to enter to win a twenty dollar gift certificate from Dreamspinnerpress.com! One for every stop!

And now, onto the food…

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Pho Bo Kho

For the Beef:

3-3.5 pounds boneless beef chuck or brisket cut into 1½-inch chunks

5 cloves minced garlic

3 T minced ginger

2½ teaspoons five-spice powder

1½ T brown sugar

1 t of chili oil or chili-garlic sauce (this is your heat element, adjust as needed)

 

For the First of Stew:

3 stalks of lemongrass, remove outer woody bits (mince fine)

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, sliced thinly

I can tomato paste

2 teaspoons of kosher salt

1 T ground black pepper

2 T chili powder

3 T sweet paprika

1/8 c of soy sauce

3 T of chili oil or chili-garlic sauce (this is your heat element, adjust as needed)

 

Second Part of Stew

32 ounces of beef broth

2 cups of pure coconut water/juice (can sub small can of coconut milk mixed in with 1 can of water) OR you can just use water.

2-3 whole star anise

8 large carrots, peeled and cut on the bias into 1½ -inch chunks

 

For Bowl

Rice or mung bean noodles (blanched)

¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Thai or sweet basil leaves

Thinly sliced raw onion

Lime wedges

 

T = tablespoons

t = teaspoons

c = cups

Instructions:

Meat:

Put meat and all ingredients listed under meat in Ziploc bag to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Overnight is best but make sure all air is out of bag.

 

When ready to cook stew:

Next, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet on high heat. Add 2/3rds of lemongrass and allow it to infuse the oil for 1 minute. Next, add the minced onions and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.

Then add all of the beef to the pot, and brown evenly on all sides.  After meat is browned, add rest of ingredients under “First of Stew”. Mix well. Let simmer for a bit.

Now… depending on what you’re using, you’ll toss the Meat, First Part of Stew, Rest of Lemongrass AND Second Part of Stew into either…

A stock pot and let simmer for 2-3 hours on low

A crock pot and let cook for 6 hours on low OR 2-3 hours on high

OR

An instant pot and manually set the for 45 minutes of high pressure. After cooker time it is done, allow to naturally cool and release pressure. Once the pressure has released, open the steam valve then carefully open the lid.

To serve, remove the large lemongrass stalks and any star anise pods you can fish out. Cook your noodles per package instructions, transfer to bowls, and ladle the soup over the top. Garnish with cilantro, Thai basil and serve with some lime wedges on the side.

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Categories: Book Promo, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

Book Review: Ramen Assassin by Rhys Ford

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Ramen Assassin
Author: Rhys Ford
Series: Ramen Assassin #1
Heroes: Kuro & Trey
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 216 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: When life gives Kuro Jenkins lemons, he wants to make ponzu to serve at his Los Angeles ramen shop.

Instead he’s dodging bullets and wondering how the hell he ended up back in the Black Ops lifestyle he left behind him. After rescuing former child star Trey Bishop from a pair of thugs in the middle of the night, he knows it’s time to pick up his gun again. But it seems trouble isn’t done with Trey, and Kuro can’t quite let go… of either the gun or Trey Bishop.

Trey Bishop never denied his life’s downward spiral was his own fault. After a few stints in rehab, he’s finally shaken off his Hollywood bad-boy lifestyle but not his reputation. The destruction of his acting career and his relationships goes deep, and no one trusts anything he says, including the LAPD. When two men dragging a dead body spot him on a late-night run and try to murder him, Trey is grateful for the tall, dark, and deadly ramen shop owner he lusts over—not just for rescuing him, but also for believing him.

Now caught in a web of murders and lies, Trey knows someone wants him dead, and the only one on his side is a man with deep, dark secrets. Trey hopes Kuro Jenkins will stick around to see what the future holds for them once the dust settles, but from the looks of things, neither of them may survive to find out. Continue reading

Categories: 5 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Honorary Blogger Rhys Ford: Ryder’s Folly Part One + Giveaway!

It is hard to believe that we are at the third book in the Kai Gracen series. Black Dog Blues was one of the first full-length novels I’d written inside of an urban fantasy genre I’ve always wanted to explore. The best part about writing Kai Gracen is creating not just the personalities but also the world they inhabit and it’s been great to blend in the fantastical with the mundane.

In his third outing, Jacked Cat Jive, Kai is faced with unique challenge of realizing he really is not as human as he thought and that the Court and its inhabitants mean something to him other than a thorn in his side. And of course, there is always Ryder, the Sidhe Lord who gets under his skin in the best of ways. I’ve enjoyed writing the push and pull of their relationship but also the growth between them as characters. They started off at very different points of view and are slowly working towards an understanding while also fending off any challenges that come at them.

This time out, Kai is not only set to rescue a group of refugees from the Badlands beneath San Diego, he also has to come to grips with his growing friendship with Ryder and how the humans in his life are getting older, something he won’t experience himself for quite a long time.

So I hope that you join Kai and his next adventure and also enjoy this serialized story of Ryder and the trouble he gets into when he doesn’t listen to what Kai says.

Also, I invite you to enter the giveaway on each of the blogs during the tour and get a chance to win a $25 USD gift certificate from an e-tailer of your choice (see below for more information)

Ryder’s Folly: Part One

by Rhys Ford

I was going to die.

It was too soon. I still had too much to do with my life; a Court to establish, discover a way for my people to be more fertile but most of all, I still hadn’t convinced Kai Gracen he belonged at my side. I should be sitting safe — barring Sidhe politics — as Ryder, the Lord of the Southern Rise Court.

Instead, I’d allowed myself to be convinced by Kai to go on a run and once again ending up in a situation where I would die far from my family with the possibly of leaving nothing behind of my body except for what a wild animal shat out near his den to ward off other predators.

I think that was the main reason he was trying to kill me. Given enough time, he would give in to the tight desire brewing between us but as in all things, Kai never did anything the easy way. He had to fight with everything, chew through all possibilities and then choose a course of action I never even considered.

Which was why I was clinging to the side of a large, hairy beast while it thundered us both to certain doom over a sheer cliff.

I’m not sure how I get talked into such precarious situations. No, that is a lie. I know exactly how I get talked into these things. I do this to myself. Because I cannot resist the challenge in Kai’s dusk-hued violet eyes when he throws down an impossible task at my feet.

There wasn’t much time to contemplate why, and how, I was holding onto the shaggy behemoth of a mammal — or at least I thought it was a mammal — instead of working on cementing the Court’s relations with the human world surrounding it. The beast itself smelled. Mostly of manure but also of dried grasses and dirt. Its thick wooly hide scratched my fingers and any other bare skin I had pressed against it, including my belly where my shirt rode up nearly to my chest, inching towards my throat with every thundering stride the monster took. There were bound to be biting insects riding the beast along with me and if I survived the experience, I was sure to be taking them home to the Court if I didn’t get a chance to disinfect myself.

Why didn’t I simply let go?

A few reasons. The first was the creature moved at an alarming speed, carrying us in magnificent leaps over the stretch of plains below the lava fields teeming with dragons. Secondly, those same plains were ripe with razor-sharp grasses and releasing my hold would mean a dangerous tumble through the knife-like surface where I also had a good chance of striking a prickly, shards-of-glass like patch of paho’eho’e lurking in the golden sheaves.

And lastly, but certainly more importantly, if I let go of the bison, I would instantly become a meal for the pride of lions chasing the herd down towards the sea.

I couldn’t hear the cats’ screams and roars as they chased the herd. Not above the gnash of hooves slamming into the ground and the terrified snorts of the angry beasts. For all I knew, the lions hunted silently, slipping through the grasses in a rush of whispered sounds. These were human creatures, so far removed from my experience I had no knowledge of how they hunted but one thing was certain, their teeth were massive, their claws were deadly and their fur so closely matched the swaying grasses, I couldn’t see them chasing us.

But they were there. I knew it. The bison knew it. And it would simply be a matter of time before one of them caught up with the beast I rode and I would be torn apart, leaving nothing for Kai to find once he caught up with me.

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post | Tags: , , , , | 59 Comments

Honorary Blogger Rhys Ford: Tutus and Tinsel + Giveaway!

Ah the holidays.

The time for family and loved ones.

Since I’m rolling out Tutus and Tinsel (a holiday short story where I take you back to Half Moon Bay and see what Deacon, Lang and Zig are up to), I wanted to also stop in on a few of my favourite couples on this tour. So, I invite you to join me as we catch up with Rook and Dante, Miki and Kane, Kai and Ryder as well as Cole and Jae over the next few days.

AND because it wouldn’t be the holiday season without a gift, I’m giving away a $25 gift certificate to the online store of the winner’s choice at EACH stop.

So sit back, grab some hot chocolate, tea or coffee and let’s catch up with some of our guys.

Much love and I hope you all have a great holiday…and be sure to stop by and see how Zig learns what family really means in Tutus and Tinsel. Release Day is December 21st and brought to you by Dreamspinner Press!

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Everything had to be perfect.

Rook knew life, as a whole, was rarely adequate much less perfect but within its thread of events lay minute sparkling moments where perfection occurred in a blink of an eye. A glance the wrong way and that moment was lost. The key to life was to string more than a few of those diamond pristine nano seconds until a longer, Nirvana-inspired experience was wrought.

That’s what he was hoping for.

If only he could get the damned Christmas tree to stand up.

“It doesn’t have to be perfect, cuervo. Sometimes—” Dante must have felt the heat in Rook’s withering, baleful look because he closed his mouth before finishing his sentence.

“It’s got to be perfect. It’s our first Christmas, right? You know that, yeah?” He paced, dropping back a few feet to glare at the tree, willing it to straighten itself. “What the hell was I thinking getting an eight foot tree? What the fuck do I know about Christmas?”

“Rook…” Dante drawled, catching his attention.

What?

“Breathe.” He walked over to the tree to grab its — Rook didn’t even know what to call that part of the tree; possibly its neck — and shook it a few times before tapping it back down on the floor. The tree literally sighed and gave up its tilt, anchoring itself into the stand Rook battled with a few minutes before. “There. And listen to me, nothing has to be perfect. So long as you and I are together, everything can go to Hell and we’ll be fine.”

They were as opposite as any two people could be; a badge-to-the-bone LAPD detective and a former cat burglar who’d figured he’d pushed his luck as far as it could go and had gone straight because he known it was only a matter of time before he’d be caught. Despite Dante’s parents kicking him off the family tree when he came out to them, he’d experienced a happy childhood and forged a strong relationship with his maternal uncle, Manny, a former drag queen and Rook’s current shop manager. Rook’s childhood was much different. He’d been dragged up in the middle of a rotating cycle of carnies and conmen while his mother worked her way through the circuit. Beanie had been a woman of loose morals and even looser ethics but she’d at least left Rook alone for the most part.

Although why she’d left her richer-than-God family to slum under the Big Top was a mystery no one seemed to have an answer for. Yes, her father Archibald was an asshole and Rook butted heads with the old man plenty of times since Archie reached out to him but they had their own rhythm… and if Rook didn’t look too hard at the old man, he didn’t see his own faults mirrored right back at him.

Dante was a different story. So far the detective had tried to pin him for burglary, fucked him, arrest him for murder, help prove Rook was innocent and eventually fall in love with him.

Rook in return did the only sensible thing any man could do; he fell in love with the serious-minded, handsome Hispanic detective right back.

It was just that Christmas was turning into a bitch and a half and Rook didn’t have a clue on how to stop it from getting worse.

“Come help me get the ornaments up on the tree.” Dante began opening the boxes they’d brought out from Rook’s storage area from his inventory warehouse. “And where’d you get all this stuff? Thought you said this was your first tree.”

“Kind of, yeah.” He sat down on the couch, reaching to drag one of the boxes closer. “Mostly this is from estate sales. Anything I found that was December holiday related, I stuck into storage. Figured eventually I’d want to do this whole Christmas thing some day so I saved shit.”

The look Dante gave him was one Rook couldn’t decipher. He’d seen it before and despite its infrequent appearance, he hadn’t quite figured it out. On some level, it disturbed him that Dante had a secret expression Rook couldn’t crack, especially since he’d pretty much lived on his wits and ability to read people for years before he’d hooked up with a law-abiding lifestyle but asking seemed… treacherous so he kept silent, hoping one day to get a clue.

It wasn’t forthcoming any more now than it was the last twenty or so times Dante’s face looked that way.

“So let me get this straight,” Dante murmured, leaving the boxes alone to crouch down in front of Rook. While it was nice not to crane his head back to look at his lover, Dante’s gentle voice set off a wave of alarms in Rook’s brain. “You’ve been saving dead people’s holiday stuff for years now? Just in case you might get a tree?”

“Well, yeah. I mean, there’s memories there in those things. I don’t have memories. Well, not good ones. Not of Christmas. Or kind of anything Beanie wasn’t exactly the cookies waiting for me after school kind of mom.” Having Dante so close was distracting. Much more distracting than simply having a hot guy practically kneeling in front of him. “It’s hard to explain.”

“I know. And I’m trying to understand,” Dante murmured, resting his hand on Rook’s knee. “And this isn’t going to sound good but I don’t know how else to put it. It’s kind of like you’re gathering up leftover memories.”

“Babe, that’s what I do for a living. That’s all I ever do. There’s threads that we can’t see connecting us to stuff in the past and I collect those things so other people can have them again.” Rook leaned his head back, staring up at the ceiling because he didn’t trust himself to speak while staring into Dante’s soulful honey-brown eyes. “Sometimes it’s the little things like a toy they got in a cereal box because they don’t make that kind of cereal anymore and it was a treat their mom would only buy once in a while. And maybe their mom’s dead now that’s something that brings her back. Or it’s a baseball signed by some player a little girl had a crush on when she was nine but see, he really wasn’t famous but she met him once and he was nice to her. And it could’ve been a day she really needed somebody to be nice to her.

“That’s kind of why I keep all of this stuff because a lot of it old and someone had enough of their lives wrapped into this shit that it meant something. And I’m never going to know what those stories are but I can imagine,” he said, his voice growing hoarse for some reason. “Everything with Beanie was never real, never permanent. There wasn’t anything we did every year to hold us together. Fuck, sometimes we have to ditch everything we owned because we were either one step ahead of the law or running from someone she stole from. And I guess I feel like if I toss any of this away, I’m throwing away these people who see the plate on Christmas Eve to wrap things for their kids or lit a candle for over a week to commemorate them not running out of oil long ago. I don’t know. I just feel like whenever I find this stuff in what I buy, I should hold onto it. And maybe pick through all the boxes and find stuff I like so I can continue their memories.”

“But you could have had trees before this,” Dante reminded him gently. “You didn’t have to keep this stuff in storage. You could have —”

“I never wanted to build something with someone before you,” Rook whispered, dropping his head down and cupping Dante’s strong jaw in his hands. “I probably will donate or do something with a lot of it but I wanted to have someone with me when I started looking at other people’s stories. Or at least began imagining where something had been or why it was important. Everything I’ve had in my life has been leftovers. Or at least when I was growing up they were. There was never anything new and it was always a struggle but I knew one day I would find someone I loved and they would give me their childhood to share, their heart to hold onto. So I guess, you’re that guy. You’re the one I want to dig through boxes with and make up stories about why there’s a one eyed reindeer made out of pipe cleaner tucked in with expensive crystal ornaments.”

“Let me guess, you’ll be keeping the reindeer,” Dante said, chuckling.

“Yeah, probably.” Rook grinned at Dante’s deep rolling laugh then stole a kiss the smile could leave Dante’s lips. “No matter what’s in those boxes or whatever we end up putting on the tree, you are always going to be the one who lights up my Christmas and warms my heart. I don’t give a shit about the crystal or even if we found stacks of gold coins in those boxes. Nothing’s going to be as important to me as you. So, let’s dig through this crap and maybe go out and buy some pipe cleaners. I think it’s time we make our own one eyed reindeer so we have something to hang on our tree every year.”

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , | 54 Comments

Book Review: Tutus and Tinsel by Rhys Ford

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Tutus and Tinsel
Author: Rhys Ford
Series: Half Moon Bay #2.5
Heroes: Deacon & Lang
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 79 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 21, 2018
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Zig Reid-Harris has everything an eleven-year-old girl could ever want: a great home, two fantastic fathers named Deacon Reid and Lang Harris, and all the books she could possibly read.

When a school assignment about holiday traditions unexpectedly broadsides her, she discovers burying the past isn’t as easy as it looks, and the stark reality of her life before her adoption sinks in. Ashamed of the bleakness and poverty she came from, Zig struggles with the assignment until an epiphany strikes the whole family—it’s time to start their own traditions.

Zig and her fathers plunge into the insanity of holiday joy, exploring everything the season has to offer and learning how precious family truly is along the way.

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Categories: 4 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Cops and Comix by Rhys Ford

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Cops and Comix
Author: Rhys Ford
Series: Murder and Mayhem 0.5
Heroes: Alex & James
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 38 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 16, 2018
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: It’s all fun and games until someone leaves a dead body on the floor.

Life for comic book store owner Alex Martin usually runs to the mundane. Sure, he has a regular influx of geeks and freaks, but for the most part, it’s a familiar weird. That all changes when he opens up Planet X Comics one morning and finds a corpse in the middle of his shop.

When Detective James Castillo is called in to investigate, Alex is torn between wanting to climb the man like a tree and giving him a wide berth. Luckily for Alex, the handsome detective is just as interested in him—as a suspect in the murder. Continue reading

Categories: 4 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Honorary Blogger Rhys Ford: Tattoo Symbolism + Giveaway!

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Tattoo Symbolism

by Rhys Ford

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 when 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 let’s talk about ink.

Traditional – Sailor Tattoos

Inspired by the ink they saw on the skin of the people they met on their travels around the Pacific, sailors began to mark their own bodies for luck and as badges of honor for milestones they’d passed in their journeys. The life of a sailor was dangerous, and the accomplishments they made had a great deal of meaning for them. Their tattoos were proof they’d sailed thousands of miles, crossed the equator, and survived storms and other dangers of the deep.

Norman Keith Collins aka Sailor Jerry had one of the first tattoo shops in the Western world, established many of the customary designs we see today’s flash art including: anchors, daggers, serpents, mermaids, and more. Collins has since passed away but his family and friends continue his Old School Traditional tattoo styles at Old Ironside, a tattoo shop that stands in the original spot of Sailor Jerry’s O’ahu shop.

Each had its own meaning. Some of the most common sailor tattoos are:

Anchor: An anchor placed anywhere on the body represented that a sailor had completed a voyage that crossed the Atlantic. It also was thought to bring steadiness.

Compass: A compass was so a sailor would always be able to find his way home.

Dice: A set of dice was often chosen by a sailor to show that he was a fearless risk taker. It was also chosen by sailors that enjoyed gambling.

Dragon: A dragon symbolized that a sailor had been to China.

Harpoon: A harpoon was a mark of having belonged to a fishing or whaling fleet.

Hula Girl: A symbol that signified that a sailor had been to Hawaii.

Lighthouse: A symbol of guiding light and protection against a ship crashing against the rocks. It was also known to represent home and shelter.

Mermaid/Siren: The call of the siren was a superstition. It was thought that the beautiful lure of a siren’s voice would misguide a ship, and cause it to wreck, or pull a sailor into the sea to find her where he would drown. Having a mermaid tattoo protected against the dangers of the sea.

Nautical Star: A nautical star was a popular emblem sailors would get to be sure they would be guided home safely.

Pig & Rooster: Both pigs and roosters were kept on board in crates that floated, so a pig on one foot and a rooster on the other was thought to protect a sailor from drowning.

Rope: A rope around the wrist meant that the sailor had served as a deckhand.

Rose & Dagger: Showing bravery and a willingness to fight, a dagger through a rose symbolized a fearlessness of conflict or confrontation.

Ship: A ship with full sails marked a sailor’s voyage around Cape Horn, which is where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet.

Swallow: One of the most well-known of nautical tattoos, a swallow represented every 5000 miles a sailor voyaged. A swallow will always find their way home, and it was thought that the swallow would bring luck and mean that the sailor would return safely home.

Turtle: A hardback turtle was a symbol of passing the equator.

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!

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , | 50 Comments

Book Review: Savior by Rhys Ford

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Savior
Author: Rhys Ford
Series: 415 Ink #2
Heroes: Mace & Rob
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 220 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: A savior lies in the heart of every good man, but sometimes only love can awaken the man inside the 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 and saving the man he’s too scared to love.

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Categories: 4.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment