Monday, July 25, 2016

ARC Review: Fight the Tide (Kick at the Darkness, #2) by Keira Andrews

Adrift in a post-apocalyptic world, they only have each other. Is it enough?

A virus that turns the infected into zombie-like killers spreads through a burning world thrown into lawless chaos. Lovers Parker and Adam have escaped to the open sea when they hear a message over the airwaves from a place called Salvation Island—a supposed safe haven.

Orphaned as a child, werewolf Adam has always longed for a pack. He’s eager to investigate the island, but Parker doesn’t think for a nanosecond that the voice on the radio can be believed. He doesn’t trust anyone but Adam and is determined to keep it that way. They don’t need anyone else complicating their struggle to survive. Or do they?

Danger on the high seas can surface in a heartbeat, and if Parker and Adam aren’t careful, the current will drag them under.

This gay romance is a dystopian adventure featuring a werewolf, his boyfriend, and their struggle to find a place to call home.

Jewel's rating:

Yeah, so it isn't much of a secret among those who know me that I was clamoring for this book. Yep, Kick at the Darkness was one of my top 10 books last year and as soon as I got word that Fight the Tide was eminent, I was all grabby hands. Patience is overrated.

Fight the Tide wasn't event driven as much as Kick at the Darkness was. It is still about the human condition and finding out who you really are when the times get tough. It's about Parker and Adam dealing with the fears and uncertainties of what the future will bring and figuring out their place in it. Parker, especially has a rough time of it because he isn't as physically strong as Adam. He underestimates himself, though. Parker is strong. He is resilient. But it takes him a really long time to see it. Of all the characters we encounter in this series, it is Parker who goes through the hero's journey.

There's also a mysterious radio call about an island. Too good to be true? Maybe. It certainly would not be the first time. But what if Sanctuary Island is the haven the voice on the radio claimed? What if a new life could be found there? So there are decisions that must be made. Trust or not?

They meet people along the way, some good and some not so good and it's the not so good ones that cloud their hopes of a future where they are doing more than just surviving.

ARC Review: Open Roads by M. J. O'Shea

From The Blurb:
Angus has been with the same guy for ten years. When his boyfriend breaks up with him the night of his thirtieth birthday party and announces his engagement to a twenty-two-year-old less than ten hours later, Angus is… a mess. To put it lightly. He spends days in bed, drinks himself into a stupor every night, and ends up losing his job and his apartment. His best and oldest friend, Reece, decides it’s time for an intervention. And a change of scenery. 
Reece and Angus take off on a buddy trip across the US. They don’t have much of a plan; they just start driving. It takes Angus a couple of days to do much more than grunt when Reece talks to him, but slowly he opens up. They drive, talk, heal, shout, drink a bit too much sometimes, dance, meet new friends… and somewhere between Portland, Oregon, and Portland, Maine, they fall in love. 
Which was the last thing in the world Angus expected.

Karen's rating:

Ok, everyone grab a bottle and join the party and don't worry this is all in the blurb so we don't need to worry about spoiler tags here at Angus's birthday/pity party. And yes both parties are for Angus because seriously if anyone ever deserved to have a double and yes I mean party right now, we'll get to the drinks later.

You see, poor Angus has been living and loving the same guy for 10 years...seriously 10 years and do you know what said guy got him for his birthday? A truckload of grief that's right this guy showed up late for Angus's birthday, not the pity party, he was the kick-off point for that because his birthday present for Angus was to dump him...right there during the party in front of all the guest he kicked Angus's butt to the proverbial curb and then he left because he needed to go change his Facebook status to engaged, and you guessed's not to Angus. Nope, he's engaged to a 22 year old Angus wanna-be. He's one special dude and in case you haven't figured this out because when you ponder this for a moment you'll realize he was obviously cheating on Angus...yep, he's a jerk of the highest order.

And thus begins Angus's pity party. It's gonna last a while, folks, so you might as well make yourselves comfy because this is going to last long enough to cost Angus his job and his apartment. Thankfully Angus still has best friend, Reece because it's around this time that Reece finally realizes that Angus isn't the ok guy he's claiming to be. So Reece steps in basically taking control of things because Angus is in no shape to be left in charge of doing the dishes much less getting his life back under control.

Being the good friend he is Reece does the one thing that any good friend would do. He makes Angus pack a bag and takes him on a road trip. Does this make sense to their but it does to Reece the man who's spent the past ten years missing his friend because of course jerkface didn't like him.

Unfortunately Reece quickly begins to wonder if he's doing the right thing because Angus...well, he's just not the Angus that Reece knows and desperately wants back. It's sheer determination to get his friend back that keeps Reece moving.

As the days pass and they put miles and time between them and the mess that is Angus's life Reece begins to see little glimmers of hope that maybe his friend Angus is beginning to find himself again.

I loved this road trip. So many of the places that Reece and Angus went are places that I would love to visit and for a little bit of time I was right there with them riding along as they started out from their home in Portland, Oregon travelling down the coast and then heading inland to Las Vegas and across the southern states to make their way north again with a journey that ended in Portland, Maine. I actually sat down and googled a map of the United States and followed them on their journey.

The further Reece and Angus journeyed away from the place they called home the closer they got to each other again. Each of them discovering the truth in their hearts of who and what home really was for them.

ARC Review: Roller Girl by Vanessa North

From The Blurb:
Recently divorced Tina Durham is trying to be self-sufficient, but her personal-training career is floundering, her closest friends are swept up in new relationships, and her washing machine has just flooded her kitchen. It’s enough to make a girl cry. 
Instead, she calls a plumbing service, and Joanne “Joe Mama” Delario comes to the rescue. Joe is sweet, funny, and good at fixing things. She also sees something special in Tina and invites her to try out for the roller derby team she coaches. 
Derby offers Tina an outlet for her frustrations, a chance to excel, and the female friendships she’s never had before. And as Tina starts to thrive at derby, the tension between her and Joe cranks up. Despite their player/coach relationship, they give in to their mutual attraction. Sex in secret is hot, but Tina can’t help but want more. 
With work still on the rocks and her relationship in the closet, Tina is forced to reevaluate her life. Can she be content with a secret lover? Or with being dependent on someone else again? It’s time for Tina to tackle her fears, both on and off the track.

Karen's rating:

and a QUILTBAG of stars in my heart for this one.

I read this book for two reasons. The first being I've been promising myself I'd read this author for ages now and the timing has been such that when her books came out I was busy with something else and then I'd squirrel off to something else so when I saw this one on Net Galley it was Fate telling me to get my act together because it's time and the second reason this one's not M/M so I knew it was a step outside of my comfort zone and I do like to make myself take that step from time to time.

What I didn't expect was that I was going to fall head over heels in love with this story. There was just so much about it that for me was special. So what I'm going to do is tell you my least favorite part and get that out of the way so I can babble on about the awesomeness that was the rest of this story...

Truthfully for me the sex wasn't great and I'm not even going to try and analyze why, probably because it was two girls and that's not my thing so pfft whatever, it wasn't the most important part of this book for me and in a way I probably would have found it weird if there was none because hello? Two healthy, sexually active women attracted to each other and not sex? That I would have found weird and disconcerting and while it's not my thing to me the sex scenes were still well done and interestingly enough the romance between Tina and Joe worked for me big time. Seriously, when they were together and when they kissed...well, damn I got butterflies in my stomach right along with them. It was sweet and passionate and the feelz were all over the place and that's what matters to me that I can make that connection to the relationship, that I can feel it coming off the page at me. It doesn't have to be the sex that does it.

Now comes the hard part because I really, really want to share with you how much I love this book and what an awesome reading experience it was for me. You see ironically the author used things that for me have personal meaning. So yes, I have little doubt that this book resonated with me more than it might with other readers and I'm ok with that because we're all different and how we respond to things, and in this case it's a book, is directly impacted by those differences.

Blogtour: Diary Dates by TJ Masters

Please welcome T.J. Masters with 

Diary Dates 

Diary Dates is released today as a Christmas in July story. If you thought that the notion was a purely commercial one, it may have started off that way but you only have to look at the Christmas in July activity on Pinterest to see how popular it has become. In truth a story triggered by the finding of a diary could have been set at any time of the year but I wanted to highlight the fun of the Christmas season in London. There was also the opportunity to mark the close of the year by the giving of new diaries as gifts in readiness for the start of a new year and a new relationship.


Postgraduate student Andrew Chin arrives in London not only to study, but to explore life away from his traditional family in Singapore. His adventure begins at the airport, where he finds the diary of a wealthy British businessman and endeavors to return it.

James Howard is twice Andrew’s age, and he’s not used to selfless youngsters. Despite a rocky first meeting, the two develop an unlikely friendship as James introduces Andrew to the city. James is looking forward to the festivities leading up to Christmas in London and maybe a celebration with Andrew. But will a nasty bout of the flu ruin their romantic holiday?

Not if Andrew has anything to say about it.


They continued on like this for the next few weeks, with James gradually introducing more and more of the city to Andrew. They always had a good time, and Andrew felt himself growing increasingly attached to the older man, but it was during one event he had been particularly looking forward to that he began to wonder if their relationship might develop into something more than just a promise to visit different parts of London together.

They had arranged to meet each other on Regent Street for the switching on of the elaborate Christmas light decorations, something which, for Andrew at least, would mark the true beginning of the season. It was already getting dark when he spotted James striding towards the crowds toward him, looking impressive and imperious in his black wool coat.

“Hello there,” Andrew said, smiling.

In response, James pulled him into a quick but firm embrace. “Hello yourself,” he replied. “I’ve been looking forward to this.”

Hearing that made Andrew feel more relieved than he would have cared to admit. Part of him still worried occasionally that James was only taking him to all of these places out of a sense of obligation. Of course, nothing in his demeanor ever suggested that was the case, but it worried him all the same. It was good to be reassured that James was planning on enjoying himself as well.

“Where should we watch the lights go on?” Andrew said, feeling like an overexcited child. “Where’s the best spot?”

James laughed. “Well, the whole street is going to be pretty busy, as you can see, but I had somewhere in mind. Follow me.”

They navigated their way through the increasingly dense crowds of people filling Regent Street. After a few minutes of walking, James pulled Andrew into a small alcove that housed the door to an upmarket café. It was closed at that time, however, and by standing there they could see the long row of lights suspended along the length of Regent Street.

“Acceptable?” James asked, smiling.
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