Friday, August 22, 2014

Blog Tour: Homecoming by B.A. Tortuga, Kiernan Kelly and Julia Talbot




We're closing out the tour for Midnight Rodeo - Homecoming today. Thanks for joining us!



Blurb:

What happens when rodeos start to get too tough for humans to compete in?
Midnight Rodeo, of course, where supernatural creatures like shifters and vampires work for the prize money, and for the awe of their audience.
In Welcome to the Pack by BA Tortuga, when head bullfighter Denton is killed by a demon bull, his twin, Denver, comes back to take his place. Denver was gone for years, working mundane rodeos and missing his twin. He’s not sure the pack can heal him since the other bullfighters challenge Denver at every turn. All except Blaine, who’s an outcast himself, and who knows Denver is like no one he’s ever met.
In Oklahoma Rain by Kiernan Kelly, psychic Blaze scouts locations for the rodeo company, Darque and Knight, where he finds another psychic talent, Zack, who’s as hot as the Fourth of July. Zack is complicated, though, thanks to his sidekick, Mikey, a damaged kid. Blaze invites the pair back to the rodeo, but not everyone is as happy as Blaze to have them there.
In Big Bear, Little Bear, by Julia Talbot, bear shifter Ben is returning to the rodeo after a long injury recovery. Big bear shifter Ozzie is the barrel man and clown, and he’s been waiting for Ben to come back to the big show. But is Ben ready to ride again, let alone be the lover Ozzie is ready to take on?


Excerpt:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Author of the Month — Cody Kennedy — Week Three






Welcome to Week Three of the celebration of the amazing




featuring the fantastic book, Omorphi, (which is in the progress of being translated into French as we speak!), a true story, and a rafflecopter where you can win an e-copy of Cody’s book Omorphi!

But that is not all this week! You are also getting an exclusive, never-seen-before excerpt from the sequel to Omorphi, Tharros!

Are you excited? WE are!!

Let’s get going at once, here is Omorphi:


Omorphi, by C. Kennedy

From the blurb:

High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. What’s missing from his life is a boyfriend. That’s a problem because he’s out only to his parents and best friend. When Michael accidentally bumps into Christy Castle at school, his life changes in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing could have prepared Michael for what being Christy's boyfriend would entail. Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. After the death of his notorious father, he leaves his native Greece and settles in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he dares to hope that day has arrived. When one of Michael’s team-mates becomes an enemy and an abuser from Christy’s past seeks to return him to a life of slavery, only Michael and Christy's combined strength and unwavering determination can save them from the violence that threatens to destroy their future together.

One of us reviewed Omorphi:

AnnaLund's Rating:




**4.5 stars for this intelligent and gently handled story on very, very difficult themes.**

As you know, I don't write recaps of the story (read the blurb), nor do I fill my reviews with spoilers. This is my experience of the story. My connection to it.
AND WHAT A STORY IT IS.

Christy. You had me, hook, line, and sinker, already when you were sitting up on the bleachers, watching Michael from afar. His #1 Fan.

How somebody can take this subject matter and gently turn it into something so brilliant and elegant, is beyond me. Child abuse, sexual child abuse, in a story that has me cry like a baby and laugh like few books before, without ever even potentially falling into the horrifying trap of exploiting the abuse for the reader's "pleasure"?

Simply amazing.

Even the (quite tame, young and loving) sex scenes are never graphic nor exploiting. All power is, thanks to Michael, left in Christy's hands, for him to rediscover sexuality, love and discover Mike. There is the one scene that just killed me dead, when Christy says he is glad that at least Michael is a virgin, and Michael responds:

"You are too. You have never been touched by someone who loved you."

There is so much in this book that just totally rocked. Or had me sitting in the corner, rocking. The only parts that grated on my sense of correct storytelling were about the slacker security, and while I understand that it was to make the story more interesting, seriously, it just managed to annoy me, and took half a star off my rating.

Nuff said.

One of the most charming characters was to be found on the sidelines: young Lisa. She was a force to be reckoned with, and by god I loved that. More and more intelligent women-side-characters are appearing also in m/m books these days, and I applaud it.

There were people from different continents and several colors in this story, and they all had their own voice. That is quite unusual, so extra kudos for that. (I have no idea if the Greek written in the book was correct, but the Italian could have benefited from a helping hand by a native speaker).

What is great with a story like this is that this was an MC I could really root for. Every step Christy took in the right direction was a screaming victory and I adored him so much for his strength. Even when he froze and walked in the wrong direction. To eventually bolt like a rabbit. God, I screamed for him, rooting so hard.

There is so much understanding about abuse and power play in this story that I am left shattered at the end. But mended, somehow, by the fine example of NEVER GIVING UP ON YOUR FRIENDS.

You stand up for your friends. Every. Single. Time.

And the cover of the book? That is seriously such a perfect image of Christy. I kept closing the book, and looking at the cover for minutes on end.

Beautiful.

Omorphi.

Indeed.


***

I received a free ARC from the publisher, Harmony Ink/Dreamspinner Press. A positive review was not promised in return.






Read an excerpt of Omorphi here.



Buylinks are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with this book, author or booksellers listed.








This fantastic book is being translated into French this summer, by translator Bénédicte Girault, and will be published in 2015.













And now to the thrill of the week for us: the reveal of the Mock-cover of the sequel to Omorphi, Tharros, and an EXCLUSIVE excerpt! AnnaLund’s excitement level is about 62 on a scale of 1 to 10. Just saying.


From the blurb:
Θάρρος Thárros. Greek. Meaning courage
Courage. n. /ˈkərij/
1. The ability to do something that frightens one.
2. Strength in the face of fear, pain, or grief.
 High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. Michael meets Christy Castle at school and his life has changed in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing prepared Michael for what being Christy's boyfriend would entail. Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. He’s left his native Greece and settled in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he knows that day has arrived. Michael has saved him from a past abuser who kidnapped him, yet his past continues to haunt them in perilous ways. When the prosecution of Yosef Sanna begins, threats move from theory to reality and only Michael and Christy's combined strength and determination can save them from the very real danger that threatens to destroy their future together.

And here, exclusively for us, a never-before-seen excerpt from the upcoming book Tharros:

Michael reviewed the last of the five pages of exercises. “Which ones does Christy have to do?”
“His PT plan is different from yours,” Peter answered.
“Can I see it?”
“Sure. I’ll have it with me when you’re discharged.”
“I need to go over it so I know what Christy’s supposed to do.”
“In his case, it’s more what not to do until the bones heal.”
“How long will that take?”
“Varies from person to person. Can be as quick as three weeks, but usually more like six.”
Michael mentally calculated exactly three weeks to prom making a total of five weeks that Christy will have worn casts. Christy had to be out of his casts by then. He just had to be. “We have prom in three weeks. Think he’ll be out of them by then?”
“It’s possible.”
That was noncommittal. “Okay. I still need to go over his PT plan with you.”
“Tell you what. Why don’t you sit in when I go over it with Christy?”
“That’ll work. When are you going to do that?”
“As soon as he’s fitted with the walking casts.”
“Cool. Will he have to use crutches?”
As Michael asked the question, Carol opened the door and Christy entered the room on walking casts and crutches.
“Oh my God, babe, you’re walking!”
Michael took a step toward him and Peter held him back. “Let him come to you.”
Michael shot him an irritated look.
“Stay, filos. I can do this.” Christy chewed his lower lip as he concentrated, tottering from foot and crutch to foot and crutch, and back again for each step. In seven steps, he made it to Michael and collapsed into his arms. Peter caught the crutches before they crashed to the floor.
“Excellent!” Michael complimented.
“It is, but it is also much work. It is better to use the chair unless I am in a place where I cannot.”
“Help him into the chair,” Peter instructed.
Michael looked down at Christy. “Chair or bed?”
“The chair. Do we have the clothes for the journey home?”
Michael braced himself on his good leg and guided Christy into the chair. “Good question. Hadn’t thought about clothes. I’ll call Mom.”
“Christy, I’m Peter, your physical therapist.” He held a hand out for a shake.
Christy shrank back. “I do not need another therapist.”
Peter let his hand fall to his side. “Yes, you do. For the next six weeks I’ll be working with you.”
Christy looked horror-stricken and Michael knew something was about to go very wrong.
“No!” Christy shouted.
Christy’s hysteria rose at the speed of light and Michael bent and cupped his face with both hands. “Christy! Christy, don’t talk to him! Talk to me!”
“I have Rob! I do not need another therapist!” Christy tried to push Michael’s hands away.
“Listen to me. Listen to me!” Michael fought to gain Christy’s focus.
Christy met his gaze, though his eyes continued to dart to Peter and back again.
“Peter isn’t that kind of therapist. He’s a therapist for your legs.”
Now Christy was confused in earnest and his brow dipped in his adorable one-brow frown. “The legs do not think.”
Sadness filled Michael’s heart. Christy’s freedom from slavery over the past year had allowed him to grow, but his reasoning and knowledge remained stunted. Some of the simplest concepts still evaded him. “He’s a physical therapist not a psychiatrist. He’s going to help your legs, and my knee, get better.”
Christy eyed him, his struggle to remain calm immense. If it weren’t for his trust in Michael, he’d be hysterical. “How does he do this?”
Christy’s voice was small and plaintive, reflective of the monumental fear in his eyes, and Michael’s heart went out to him yet again. “He’ll give us exercises and work with us to make sure we do them right.”
“He does not ask questions?” Christy’s voice shook on the asking.
“He’ll ask questions about your legs and body to make sure you’re not in pain.”
“No questions about what they did to me?”
“No.”
“You will be with me when he does this repair?”
“Yes.”
Christy took a deep, calming breath. “Okay.”
“Okay,” Michael breathed through his relief.
Peter gave Michael a quizzical look and he ignored it. Rob and his dad would explain it.
“Peter is going to show you a list of exercises and some pictures, so you have an idea of the kind of exercises you need to do, okay?”
“Okay.”
“I’m going to call Mom to see about clothes.”
“You will stay in the room?” Christy’s voice quavered.
“I’ll be right here.” He turned to face Peter. “He is afraid of most people and doesn’t like to be touched. Will you keep that in mind when you work with him?”
Peter gave him a curious look. “Sure.”
“Get the 411 from Dad.”
Peter nodded. “You got it.”
“411?” Christy asked.
“Your background information,” Michael said gently.
“I will give him the information,” Christy said softly.
This comment surprised the hell out of Michael. Christy never liked to talk about what happened to him and it was the first time he volunteered to offer the information to anyone. He gave Christy’s shoulder a gentle squeeze. “Go ahead.”
“Many men mentally, physically, and sexually abused me from the time I am five years of age. I have one year of freedom now and Rob is helping me to learn what they did to me is wrong and Michael is helping me to live. The kidnap was bad for me. Please do not touch me.”
Michael’s heart swelled with pride. Ten points for Christy. He’d grown so damn much over the past year. “Volley to you, Peter.”
Peter squatted next to Christy’s chair, deliberately lowering himself to appear less intimidating. “I will need to touch you to work with you, but I’ll make sure to explain what I’m going to do and get your permission before I do it. How’s that?”
Christy eyed him suspiciously. “I will make the decision each time?”
“Yes.”
“You will not violate this agreement?”
“No.”
“Do you make the promise?”
“Yes.”
“Okay. I will do this.”
Peter smiled and stood. “Thanks.”
Christy looked up at him with soulful eyes. “You are a very big person.”
Peter laughed warmly. “I need to be because sometimes I need to lift people who can’t move on their own.”
“If they cannot move, how do they do the exercise?”
“I move their body or limbs for them.”
Christy’s brow knitted. “This is not exercise for the person, this is exercise for you.”
Peter chuckled softly. “It counts for them too.”
Christy remained skeptical.
“Will you go over the exercise list and pictures with Peter?” Michael asked.
“I will do this.”
“Okay. I’m sitting on the bed over here and calling Mom.”
“Okay.”
Michael dialed his mom on the old hospital rotary phone and watched as Christy began to speak with Peter. “Hey, Mom.”
“Hey, champ. I hear I’m supposed to pick you up pretty soon,” she greeted cheerfully.
Michael smiled to himself. His mom did her best to mask her worry, but he still heard it in her voice. She’d stifled her hysteria when she learned of the kidnapping and Christy’s rescue, and arrived at the hospital, the consummate professional nurse. She’d refused to leave them for the first forty-eight hours, not sleeping a wink, and supervised everything the nurses did for them. One nurse dared to challenge her and she politely and diplomatically explained that she was a nurse, and proceeded to politely and diplomatically rip the nurse’s head off.
“Yeah. We need clothes, though.”
A brief silence passed before she spoke again. “I’ll bring them with me. Did Rob bring clothes for Christy?”
“Not yet. Want me to call him?”
“Yes. If he isn’t already on his way, I’ll drop by Wellington and pick them up.
“Okay. Can I go home with Christy? Before you take me home, I mean? I want to make sure he gets situated.”
“Are you trying to tell me you’d rather I not pick you up?”
“No, of course not. I’m saying I’d rather you drove us both to Wellington, I’ll get him situated, and then we’ll go home.”
“All right.”
She sounded relieved but tired and it worried Michael. “You okay?”
“Very happy you’re coming home.”
He heard a smile in her voice, but still heard worry. “We’re doing good, Mom. Christy just walked in his walking casts for the first time.”
“Already?”
“Yeah, but I think it was a total tryout. Seven steps exhausted him.”
She laughed softly. “His determination never ceases to amaze me.”
“Me too. I’ll call Rob then call you back.”
“I’ll be here.”
He hung up and dialed Rob. “Hey, Rob, it’s me.”
“Hi, Michael, I was just about to leave to pick Christy up.”
“Mom says she’ll swing by and pick up clothes for Christy and drive us to Wellington.”
Rob humphed unhappily.
“What’s the matter?” Michael worried that Rob didn’t want his mom to drive Christy home.
“I forgot about clothes for him.”
“Just grab some sweats and a scarf and.... Wait, forget the scarf, and I’ll tell Mom to pick them up.”
“Christy won’t leave the hospital without a scarf.”
“He doesn’t have a choice. Dad doesn’t want him wearing a scarf until the staples in his neck come out. Something about the plastic surgeon making sure he didn’t have a second scar on his neck.”
“Did he tell Christy that?”
“Yes, and they settled on wrapping his neck in gauze.”
“He went for that?”
“Dad explained the situation and it’s all good.”
“Amazing.”
Michael could almost see Rob shake his head in wonder over the phone. “It is. He’s doing good, Rob.”
“That’s great. In fact, it’s incredible.”
Michael swelled with pride again. “Yeah, it is. So, can you pull some sweats together for Mom to pick up?”
“I’ll have them ready in ten minutes and include some socks.”
“Okay. And, hey, Rob?”
“What?”
“Don’t forget the pink lace.” He hung up as Rob laughed, a smile filling his face. Christy liked to wear pretty things. As in girly things. It caught Michael off guard at first. Now, it was one of his favorite things about Christy. He’d think it totally weird if he wore boxers or briefs. He hopped off the bed, excited about leaving the hospital, and failed to remember to put his good leg down first. He swore a blue streak as pain zinged up his thigh, ricocheted off his tailbone, and shot up his spine. Black dots danced in his vision as he fought to steady himself against the bed before he lost consciousness.
“Michael!”
Peter’s voice was distant, a faraway warning, as he tried to catch Michael before he face-planted into the floor.
All content ©2011-2014 C. Kennedy. All Rights Reserved.



Read Chapter One of Tharros here.









Cody, talk to us about child abuse. Help us understand what we can do?


Advocate for abused youth. In the U.S., contact CASA (here) and become a Court Appointed Special Advocate for a child in need. YOU may make the difference between survival and not for a child.


What can normal, sensible folks do to help children who are suffering?

Don’t turn a blind eye. Don’t wait for a school or a neighbor to catch the abuse. If you suspect abuse, DO something. If you suspect abuse, any kind of abuse, including bullying, contact the proper authorities immediately. It’s better to be wrong and have it checked out, than to have it go unreported. A child’s life may depend on it. You may be the difference between survival and not for a youth. Check out the Resource Page on my blog (here) if you’re unsure what to do; a simple web search will also provide many options. Type in “how to report child abuse in ______” and fill in the blank with your location.


What do we need to open our eyes about?

The child abuse statistics are alarming. In the U.S., it is estimated that twenty to twenty-five percent of children are abused and that abuse is underreported by fifty percent or more. In Europe, it is estimated that approximately ten percent of children are abused but that abuse is underreported by ninety percent or more. DO something. REPORT suspected abuse. More information here.


Thank you, Cody. Thank you for setting up resources for us to find both information and help.






About Cody Kennedy:
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as: If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.

Check out Cody’s Blog here. Like Cody on Facebook, find Cody on Goodreads, on Twitter @CodyKAuthor, on Tumblr, and read Cody’s free serial story, Fairy.






Rafflecopter and giveaway of one e-copy of Omorphi:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ARC Review: The Pillar by Kim Fielding

The Pillar
From the blurb:

During his youth, orphaned thief Faris was flogged at the pillar in the town square and left to die. But a kind old man saved him, gave him a home, and taught him a profession. Now Faris is the herbalist for the town of Zidar, taking care of the injured and ill. He remains lonely, haunted by his past, and insecure about how his community views him. One night, despite his reluctance, he saves a dying slave from the pillar.
A former soldier, Boro has spent the last decade as a brutalized slave. Herbs and ointment can heal his physical wounds, but both men carry scars that run deep. Bound by the constraints of law and social class in 15th century Bosnia, Faris and Boro must overcome powerful enemies to protect the fragile happiness they’ve found.


Heather's rating:






For all lovers of Brute, I'm telling you, this is even BETTER!

Brute was a lovely fairytale by the immensely talented, Kim Fielding, and this book is very similar in style. It is another dreamy fantasy book, with a quasi-forbidden love story between two damaged, previously brutalized men.

However, this was succinct where Brute was long-winded. This had sex on page (!!!) where Brute's love scenes were fade-to-black. And DAMN, that made a huge difference to me. I have a massive weakness for books where the bigger guy is the bottom, and so the sex scenes were especially hot for me. It was simple, tender stuff, but done in a very beautiful fashion.

I loved the way the town was portrayed. All of the residents of Zidar touched my heart, and I was brought to tears by the quiet ways that they showed their appreciation for Faris.

Blog Tour: Dangerous Wish by Morticia Knight



Today we're happy to host Morticia Knight's new book

Dangerous Wish
(Uniform Encounters #6)





Blurb:

Love is a dangerous emotion that EMT Jared won’t risk. But it looks as though a sweet and sexy National Guardsman is about to make him wish for that—and much more.
EMT Jared Li loves his job, his friends and clubbing. There’s nothing like a night of fun getting glammed up, throwing on some heels and shaking his ass to the latest Britney tune. Life is all about having a good time with as many hot guys as possible.
Dan Harrison has been in the National Guard for about six months and out for not much longer than that. At twenty-two, he’s somewhat innocent, a little shy and not interested in meaningless hook-ups. One night at a karaoke bar changes everything for him when his fellow Guardsman Joseph introduces him to his friend Jared. Dan’s never met anyone like the luscious twink who’s filled with so much life and laughter.
A night of passion shakes them to their very cores. Jared really likes Dan, but doesn’t want to get caught up in any type of exclusive thing. Dan wishes there could be more between them, but is willing just to be friends in order to remain near the androgynous stunner.
Hanging out strictly as friends proves to be almost impossible for them both. Not only does Jared continuously lust after the muscular soldier, but he’s also falling for the caring and compassionate man. Dan’s every sex fantasy stars Jared in one of his daring club outfits, but his heart is what really matters and it’s already been lost to Jared. A traumatic event breaks down the barriers between them and gives them the chance to be together the way they both want. But after Dan is called up by the Guard to assist at a natural disaster, the same bravery that Jared admires in Dan might be the final thing that separates them forever. 
Please note: While this is book 6 in the series, all can be read as standalones. 



Keep reading for our exclusive excerpt and the fact you need for the blog tour's scavenger hunt.


Excerpt:

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