Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ARC Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.
It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

Jewel's rating:

The MC's of Bonfires are both in their late 40's. I love that. I read a lot of M/M romance and while I enjoy the energy of youth, I find maturity to be entirely refreshing. We don't have the same types of angst and drama here as with many books with younger MC's. Instead, we have two men who know what they want and work to get it.

That isn't to say there is no angst or drama in Bonfires. There most certainly is. But there isn't a ton of melodrama and no ex-wife drama at all (thank you, Amy Lane!). Bonfires is about family - family of your blood and family you choose. It's also about second chances at love and life. It's about finding happiness when you least expect it. And, as a plus, Amy Lane left out the Four Horsemen, this time.

ARC Review: Adrian by Caitlin Ricci

From the Blurb:
There's only one place to go for a guaranteed happily ever after. 
Finding a Faeted match is always supposed to lead to true love, but Adrian doesn’t believe that anymore. After six months of perfect bliss with his fire mage Corrin, Adrian caught him kissing someone else at a party. Now he wants a new match, and he never wants to see Corrin again. A matchmaker at Faeted gives Adrian another mate and tells him to go to a hotel to find him. 
But when Adrian gets to the hotel room, he finds Corrin there, waiting for him. Naked and bound, Corrin has served himself up as a perfect peace offering, if only Adrian is willing to take a second chance at love with him.

Karen's rating:

I liked this one probably more so than Joshua, the first book in this series. Technically we've got an established couple here. Adrian and Corrin were matched up six months ago (before the start of the story) by the Faeted Agency and none other than Dyslander, himself did the matching and Dyslander never...never makes mistakes and yet, something has gone wrong and Adrian is going to make him fix it.

It seems Corrin has cheated on Adrian. Sadly Adrian knows he still loves Corrin but he also knows that when Corrin kissed that Dragon shifter...dragons!!!! I love dragons...wait, he kissed Corrin and Corrin's with Adrian...oh, bad, bad dragon. You need to go back to your cave until you can learn to, where were we? Oh, yes Corrin kissed the dragon and Adrian was standing right there...this did not end well. But I had faith in Dyslander, he'll fix things but his fix was totally not what Adrian had in mind but then again when faced with a naked and restrained Corrin, Adrian soon realizes that maybe this wasn't what he had in mind but he can be as open minded as the next dryad when it comes to matters of the heart.

Spotlight: In The Spotlight by Charlie Cochrane

Please welcome Charlie Cochrane with 

In The Spotlight 


All That Jazz

Francis Yardley may be the high kicking star of an all-male version of Chicago, but bitter, and on the booze after the breakdown of a relationship, he thinks that the chance for true love has passed him by. A handsome, shy rugby player called Tommy seems to be the answer to his problems, but Tommy doesn't like the lipstick and lace. Can they find a way forward and is there still a chance for happiness "nowadays"?

If Music Be

Rick Cowley finds himself taking up am-dram once more, thinking it’ll help him get over the death of his partner. He’d never anticipated it would mean an encounter with an old flame and the sort of emotional complications the Bard would have revelled in. Still, old Will had the right word for every situation, didn’t he?

In the Spotlight was inspired by my love of the theatre – Shakespeare and musicals in particular. That may seem an odd combination, but it isn’t; there are only two sorts of production, those you want to see and those you don’t. And there are actors who have done very well in both genres. Gary Wilmot is not only the best Bill Snibson (Me and My Girl) I’ve ever seen, he’s the funniest Bottom (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). He was a pretty nifty Billy Flynn, too and I’d love to see him as Toby Belch in Twelfth Night.
Twelfth Night is, according to the Oxford Dictionary, “the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking”. That sense of merrymaking and mischief certainly pervades Shakespeare’s play of the same name, but it also has a darker side, two couples finding their happy ever after, set against a background of great sadness and cruelty. It’s full of strange sexual politics and confusion, and the most recent version I saw (at Chichester, with Patrick Stewart as a brilliantly funny Malvolio) didn’t pull its punches in terms of depicting the homoerotic elements.

Blogtour: Three Hearts by Grace R. Duncan

Please say hello to Grace R. Duncan and 

Three Hearts 

Published by Grace R. Duncan
Release date: March 3, 2017
72k Words
Cover artist: Jess Small
M/M Paranormal/shifters


Liam Scott is sick. That’s not supposed to be possible. As a wolf shifter, he’s supposed to be able to heal. The omega gene he was born with means he’s capable of carrying shifter young and Liam is worried that whatever is wrong will mean his one-day hope of having pups will be dashed. But despite the fears keeping him away from the doctor until now, he knows he needs to go.

It turns out the sickness is temporary, but the treatment causes a whole other problem.

Mason’s alpha gene means he’s one of very few wolves who can impregnate an omega male. For two years, he’d been watching Liam, but things kept getting in the way. When Liam shows up in heat, Mason recognizes the opportunity he needs and doesn’t hesitate make to Liam his mate and the father of his pups.

But Liam has old wounds and fears to work through which the pregnancy is only making worse, and Mason isn’t sure how to get past them to show he’s serious about making a life together as loving mates. It’s not until a female wolf decides Mason should be hers that Liam makes his biggest worry known—and Mason can finally put the fears to rest.

Buy Three Hearts at:

Thanks so much to Sandra for allowing me to take up space today!

Worldbuilding is one of my favorite parts of writing non-contemporary stories. Contemporary, of course, have their share of worldbuilding (making up cities/restaurants/whatever) but nothing to the level of the other genres.

I have an entire two-inch binder full of notes, maps, timelines, family trees, language research, and more for my Golden Collar series. Forbes Mates is a leather notebook stuffed full of much the same type of stuff. It, of course, is a bit smaller because it’s still contemporary, albeit with a wolfy-flare.

So, when I started writing Three Hearts, I looked forward to doing more of that fun worldbuilding. Since men could have babies, I knew that I’d need to take a different approach than I did with my other shifter stories. Both the Forbes Mates series, as well as Secrets had shifters hidden from the world. There’s a good reason for that, of course, but that wasn’t going to work for this story.

Because I wanted Liam to be able to be “out” with his pregnancy. That meant the shifters were out to the world. Well… how the hell do you handle that?

It definitely required some thinking and planning. I hadn’t planned any part of the plot of Three Hearts. It was one of the stories I completely pantsed. But figuring out how things would work with the world aware of the shifters absolutely demanded some seriously consideration.

Now, I am very fond, in my world building, of knowing way more about my world than I put into my books. (See above re: the notebooks for Golden Collar and Forbes Mates!) But at the same time, the story was moving so fast for me, I didn’t have as much time to consider it as I wanted. Still, I worked it out as I went and found much of it fell into place for me because it turned out there weren’t a lot of things I needed to include to make it understood.

Of course, there was the pregnancy explanation. I didn’t want to leave that up to the imagination. That part was actually easy for me. But I found I needed to include little things here and there to show other aspects of how the wolves fit into human society.

For instance:
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