Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book review: Red Dirt Heart 2, by N. R. Walker

From the blurb:

Up until Travis arrived on his doorstep, Charlie had lived a very solitary life. He had surrounded himself with isolation; a couple million acres of red dirt, scorching sun and loneliness. Six months on, winter has settled over the desert, and Charlie has the life he never dreamed possible. But living and working together, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, for six months straight starts to take its toll. Charlie is a stubborn, stubborn man, who tends to have more conversations in his head than what comes out his mouth, whereas Travis has no problem saying what’s on his mind. And even as they both struggle to communicate, struggle to make sense of need versus want, Charlie can see that he’s pushing Travis away - yet seems helpless to stop it. When it all boils down to whether Travis should stay or go, maybe the decision won’t be theirs to make.

AnnaLund's rating:

I adore these boys. I love that it’s not set in the US. I’m in love with their red dirt outback. There is heat in this writing, and it’s not all from the sunshine. There is simply heat, here.

There are some pretty awesome characters, too, both a couple of kick-ass women and a couple of Australian native aboriginals who are both cool, true, and fully fleshed out. As are all the secondary characters here.

Yes, there is so much to discover. At the same time, it’s like stepping into the kitchen where old friends live. It’s recognizable. It’s safe. It’s friendly. There are horses in the yard, and cattle to move. There are more stars in the night-skies than ever, and they all look different from the ones we’re used to.

It feels like home.

And what I really liked is that there is not so much angst. It’s calm, and I really needed this happy. There’s a little trouble, of course, but minimal.

The only thing that bugged me was the chopping off of the final “g”, as in seein’, walkin’, tellin’—not at all because I don’t like the usage, but because it wasn’t consistent. In the same paragraph, it could be used, and then not used. I love it in conversation, a bit less when it’s on and off in the flow of the story background text. Now, use it, or don’t use it.

All in all a gorgeous story, (and for a self-published story, the quality is really very good). I’d like to hook up with these boys again. They say another book is on the way.

I love a series where every book is a complete stand-alone piece, where I don’t feel cheated at the end. Where the storyline is rounded and I feel I’ve got all the answers I needed, for now. That means the next book is just going to be a bonus-new-encounter-with-favorite-boys. Where Australia can re-enter the scene, and charm my socks off.

I love this story. Australia comes alive, in all its immense, colorful, and difficult nature.

It is simply beautiful.


I bought a copy of this book with my own money.

But this book: All Romance eBooks | B&N | Amazon

Thank you for reading, hope you liked this review.

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

ARC Review: First Exposure by Alan Chin

First ExposureFrom the blurb:

Straight, married Petty Officer Second Class Skyler Thompson battles homophobia from his navy buddies, the military, and his wife when he takes a job creating flower arrangements at a gay-owned florist. But rather than yield to pressure and quit, he refuses to give up the joy of creating beautiful arrangements, battling homophobia for artistic expression. His dream is to leave the navy and open his own florist shop.
Ezra Dumphy—his shipmates call him Dumpy because of his obesity—is a gay sailor who likes to dress in drag. He is shunned by his shipmates, tragically lonely, and uses drugs to cope with his solitude. What he wants more than anything is someone to share his life with.
Can these two men, opposites in every way, help each other achieve their dreams?

Rosa's rating


Final Exposure -- One thing I liked and 2 that things that pissed me off.

One thing I liked.

And now for some poetry. While reading this book I was reminded of the only three lines from "The Road Not Taken" (Robert Frost) that I have memorized.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.
There are three main characters in this novel; Skylar, Rosa and Ezra. Each of them repeatedly faces a choice of road to take – not the choice but a choice. Not just once but over and over and over again. Their roads fork and they have to choose which way to go, how to act and react. Do they choose the easy path, the familiar one that others will approve of or do they choose the harder path, the scarily unknown one that has no guarantees but may lead to a beautiful, fulfilling life. It made for a complicated, enjoyable read. At least for the first 50%.

Two things – A.

There are two supporting characters in the novel that are already living a beautiful life. They have a calming influence on some of the characters and the readers. In the second half of the novel something truly horrifying happens to one of them. It’s beyond words and understanding and it happens every day in our world. I don’t object to its realism but I cannot get passed the thought that this man was created solely to provide a powerful life lesson for the main characters. You’ve learned so much, main characters, but here’s a tragic event that will inspire you even further. Go forth and make better life choices. You’re welcome. And perhaps the readers will be inspired as well! You know what? As a reader, I don’t need or want a flashing neon sign that says LIFE LESSONS LEARNED HERE. Just tell me a story, leave out the emotional manipulation, and I’ll either get something out of it or I won’t.

Spotlight: Counterpunch by Aleksandr Voinov - Anchored by Rachel Haimowitz

Welcome to the Belonging ’Verse re-release blog tour with Aleksandr Voinov and Rachel Haimowitz! We’re very excited to be bringing you edited second editions of our Belonging stories, Anchored and Counterpunch (in the case of Anchored, very edited, with over ten thousand new words and a completely different beginning and ending!), which are finally under the same roof and back in print after about a year out of circulation.

We’ll be touring for about two weeks, Aleks discussing his slave boxer and the barrister who tries to free him, and Rachel talking about her slave news anchor and the talk show host who covets him, and both of us discussing the world of Belonging at large—which, as you’ve probably guessed, is not a particularly pretty place. But good things can and do happen in this world, and we hope you’ll stick with us to find out what!

Speaking of good things, don’t forget to comment on this post for your chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the Riptide store! Each new post you comment on earns you an entry into the drawing, so be sure to check out the rest of the tour schedule too!

About Anchored:

Anchored (Belonging, #1)
2nd edition
Network news anchor Daniel Halstrom is at the top of his field, but being at the bottom of the social ladder—being a slave—makes that hard to enjoy. Especially when NewWorld Media, the company that’s owned him since childhood, decides to lease him privately on evenings and weekends to boost their flagging profits. Daniel’s not stupid; he knows there’s only one reason someone would pay so much for what little free time he has. But dark memories of past sexual service leave him certain he won’t survive it again with his sanity intact. He finds himself in the home of Carl Whitman, a talk show host whose words fail him when it comes to ordering Daniel into his bed. Carl can’t seem to take what he must want, and Daniel’s not willing to give it freely. His recalcitrance costs him dearly, but with patience and some hard-won understanding, affection just might flourish over fear and pain. Carl holds the power to be an anchor in Daniel’s turbulent life, but if he isn’t careful, he’ll end up the weight that sinks his slave for good.

Get the book:

About Counterpunch:

Counterpunch (Belonging, #2)
2nd edition
Fight like a man, or die like a slave.

Two years ago, Brooklyn Marshall was a happily married London policeman and amateur boxer with a promising future. Then he accidentally killed a rioter whose powerful father had him convicted of murder. To ease the burden on the prison system, the state sold Brooklyn into slavery. Now he’s the “Mean Machine,” competing on the slave prizefighting circuit for the entertainment of freemen, and being rented out for sexual service to his wealthier fans.

When barrister Nathaniel Bishop purchases Brooklyn’s services for a night, Brooklyn braces himself for yet another round of humiliation and pain. But the pair form an unexpected bond that grows into something more. Brooklyn hesitates to call it love—such feelings can’t truly exist between freemen and slaves—but when Nathaniel reveals that he wants to get Brooklyn’s conviction overturned, Brooklyn dares to hope.

Until an accident in the ring sends Brooklyn on the run, jeopardizing everything he’s worked so hard for. With the law on his tail and Nathaniel in his corner, he must prepare for the most important fight of his life: the fight for his freedom.

Get the book:

About the authors:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Audiobook ARC Review: Dirty Deeds by Rhys Ford

Dirty Deeds (Cole McGinnis, #4)
From the blurb:

Sheila Pinelli needed to be taken out.
Former cop turned private investigator Cole McGinnis never considered committing murder. But six months ago, when Jae-Min’s blood filled his hands and death came knocking at his lover’s door, killing Sheila Pinelli became a definite possibility.
While Sheila lurks in some hidden corner of Los Angeles, Jae and Cole share a bed, a home, and most of all, happiness. They’d survived Jae’s traditional Korean family disowning him and plan on building a new life—preferably one without the threat of Sheila’s return hanging over them.
Thanks to the Santa Monica police mistakenly releasing Sheila following a loitering arrest, Cole finally gets a lead on Sheila’s whereabouts. That is, until the trail goes crazy and he’s thrown into a tangle of drugs, exotic women, and more death. Regardless of the case going sideways, Cole is determined to find the woman he once loved as a sister and get her out of their lives once and for all.

Heather's rating:

Of course I loved this one! I mean, it's Greg Tremblay and Rhys Ford! Greg Tremblay is a MASTER at audiobooks and Rhys was on her game, giving him a kick-ass story. It was blissfully, awesomely perfect.

I swear, Greg Tremblay gives me a book hangover each time I listen to him. The next audiobook after one of his can just never, ever compare! He is at the tippy top of his game, and he shows off his skills here in book #4 of the Cole McGinnis series. I know I always fan-girl all over this narrator but he is just that good! Chills, honestly chills. Why can't all M/M audiobooks be at this level?

Okay, now that my gushing is over, I'll talk a little about the story. For the first time since I started reading this series I knew each character and didn't get anyone confused! <--- huge milestone. I followed the mystery easily, and I loved every second of it. It is amazing how attached I've become to these characters. I feel like they are my little, insane, zany M/M romance second family. Does that make me weird?

I think that Cole and Jae's relationship reached a new level of maturity in this book. They felt in sync, cohesive, and it was lovely to witness. I'm also obsessed with Bobby and what the next book has in store for him *rubs hands gleefully*.

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