Friday, February 12, 2016

Book Review: Status Update by Annabeth Albert

Status Update (#gaymers, #1)
Blurb:

Adrian Gottlieb is winning at life. He's a successful video game designer with everything a man could ask for, including a warm comfy ride to Denver and a date for his sister's wedding. But he finds himself in need of a total reboot when he's left stranded at a snowy campground in Utah. Holiday plans? Epic fail.

That is until Noah Walters offers him shelter for the night and a reluctant cross-country ride. Nothing about the ultraconservative geoarchaeologist should attract Adrian, but once he discovers Noah's hidden love for video games, the two connect on a new level. Soon, a quiet but undeniable chemistry sparks.


Something doesn't add up, though. As the miles accumulate and time runs out, Noah must face the most difficult choice of his life. Meanwhile, Adrian must decide whether he's ready to level up. Is their relationship status worth fighting for, or has this game ended before it's even begun?




Todd's rating:




I think I'm a bit of a victim of book over-hype for this read, as so many of my friends gave this story 5 stars, but I personally didn't get that much fresh or new from this one.

Yes, we had 2 dogs this time, an RV road trip, religious mental battles and Adrian's sister was marrying and having his ex-boyfriend's baby (uhhh, Sister Wives, ewww, "My husband used to fuck my brother, but that's no big deal." Noooooo, that plot point is so not cute, folks.)

However, it sort of felt like I'd already read this one as a mish-mash of several other books.

I'm fully willing to admit that this could just be me and my reading mood, but while fun in several parts of the story, it felt a bit dragged out to me and I wasn't really sorry to reach the last page.

Blogtour: Dormant Heart by Lane Swift





Please welcome Lane Swift with 

Dormant Heart 




Blurb:

Amateur photographer Josh Thornton is out but not so proud. He’s estranged from his family, his boyfriend dumped him, and his job at an estate agency is in jeopardy—especially after he crashes his boss’s car in the middle of nowhere on his way to Hartley Manor. Callum Black works at the English country estate and lives there in an isolated cottage. Left mute by a childhood accident, he’s more comfortable in the company of animals than people. But when Josh—literally—crashes into his life with his camera and his friendship, Callum realizes his peaceful solitude has been more than a little lonely.

Josh’s affection for Callum deepens even as he’s consumed by doubts over Callum’s sexuality and whether Callum could ever love him. And Callum is haunted by the secret that stole his voice—a secret that keeps him tethered to Hartley Manor. When the past comes hurtling painfully back into the present, Josh and Callum have to overcome their fears and breathe life back into their dormant hearts in order to have a chance at their own picture-perfect future.



Excerpt:


Callum walked fast. I couldn’t have taken any photographs of him at this pace even if he’d allowed me to. I soaked up the sight of his shoulders moving countertime with his strong legs. Under the tail of his shirt, I got the impression he’d done a nice job filling out his jeans. He filled out his shirt well too. His muscles were the thicker kind that came from manual labor, not the ripped, sculpted contours acquired at a gym.
Callum had rough hands, but I would bet they knew how to be tender. I envied the woman that got to be the focus of his affections.
Ahead of us, the path ended at the edge of the wood. It opened into a field, and beyond I could see horses in a paddock. I thought that might be where we were going, but Callum carried on along the edge of the wood, down the hill, and back into the woods again. We stopped beside a stream. Nearby, a huge log, from the bottom half of a fallen tree, cut through a long stretch of young trees with thin trunks.
“Look at this place.” I spun around with my face tilted to the sky, dazzled by the sunbeams. “I feel like I’m in a dream. Are you even a real human? Because I’m not sure you are.”
Callum’s shoulders shook and his face crinkled, and man, oh man, the sound of his laughter. I hadn’t realized he could make a laughing sound. His was deep, bellowing, like he was making up for the things he couldn’t say.
He might have taken a piece of my heart with that laugh. No kidding.
He took my wrist and guided me to a shallow nook in the side of the log, where some of the wood had rotted away. Hand on my shoulder, he backed me down into the space. I tried not to think about creepy crawlies or the smell. Anyway, once he crouched down next to me, those were the last of my worries.
His body heat and the smell of him, clean and woodsy, like the outdoors, wrapped around me, close as an embrace. Good job I’d already sat down. “Can I get out my camera?” I said, hoping my voice wouldn’t give me away.

Blogtour: The Promise by Victoria Sue



Please say hello to Victoria Sue and 

The Promise 





Blurb:

The time of Anubis is at hand. Working together against him, the goddess Sirius and the god Orion have helped mankind prepare by uniting Blaze, Conner, Darric, and Aden to fight the evil in the world. But in the war to come, the werewolves will need more allies, and this will extend beyond werewolf kind.


Marcus, an ex-Marine who’d lost both his legs in a landmine accident, is now Human Liaison Officer for Blaze's pack. Having lost his lover too when the man couldn’t bear to live with a cripple, the last thing he expected was that he'd fall in love again, let alone with the werewolf Kellan who seemed to be universally hated by the pack.
The Winter Circle is moving, and a psychopathic pastor has abducted Nate, one of the wolves from Hunter's pack. For once the wolves cannot rescue him — it has to be a human — and now Marcus must save the wolves from their biggest threat: one of their own.
If Marcus succeeds, he will bring in a new era in mankind’s battle against the power of evil, starting with a simple promise and ultimately mending four broken hearts.



Excerpt:



Marcus inhaled appreciatively as he eventually made it to the top of the steps. He loved Aden’s pack house. The upstairs floor was Aden’s and his mates’ living quarters. He was incredibly lucky to be here, and one of the only humans who had been trusted to live with werewolves. Not just any werewolves, thought Marcus with a grin at his own joke. Blaze, Conner, and Darric were the Supreme Alpha triad who had been blessed by the goddess Sirius when they were born over seven hundred years ago. Marcus grinned to himself — didn’t that just roll off the tongue! It was one of those things that even when he’d seen it with his own eyes — first with his buddy in the army, and then here — it was still a truly fucking incredible thing. Werewolves. Thinking of every film in the movies, none of them came even close to how amazing it was, and how goddam lucky he was to be here.

It had only been because of his dad’s friend, Bud Mason, that he’d gotten this gig in the first place. Marcus was a newly washed up Marine with two bum legs. Career finished. Then Bud — Senator Mason — had called him. He knew Marcus was aware of werewolves. Marcus and his unit had been out on patrol, eyes on a swivel as always, but it had been quiet for days. Craig was scouting up front where he liked to be and a sniper had taken him out first.

Marcus had thought he was done for, until the most incredible thing Marcus had ever seen happened in front of his eyes. Craig shifted into a wolf as he lay on the ground.

Marcus had kept his cool, and even though the firefight grew up in earnest, and had pulled Craig to safety. Craig had later explained everything — how werewolves were known about by the government, but not in the main by the general public; that he had shifted because when injured it’s a natural thing for wolf shifters to heal themselves. Marcus had been enthralled. Unfortunately, Craig had been sent home by panicked generals who didn’t realize it wasn’t Craig’s training so much as his incredibly strong shifter sense of smell that was locating the landmines and keeping their asses safe.

The next day after Craig had gone, their Humvee rolled straight over one. Three Marines lost their lives and Marcus lost his legs. The left one above the knee and the right below.

Blogtour: Love At Roades End by Kris T. Bethke



Please welcome Kris T. Bethke and 

Love At Roades End 








Blurb:

Sean Newvine is looking forward to his weekend at Roades End Inn so he can review his stay there for inclusion on his travel website. What he never expects is for the owner, Hunter Roades, to capture his attention from the very start. 
The only problem is Hunter thinks Sean’s been sent by his brother on a blind date so that Hunter doesn’t have to spend Valentine’s Day alone. Once the awkward misunderstanding is resolved, Sean is charmed by Hunter’s formality and hospitality. And when they have a chance to really talk, sparks fly.
A passion-filled night has them both wanting more, but Hunter pulls away knowing Sean doesn’t live in town and the distance might be more than they can overcome. Sean and Hunter must figure out if they can make it work for longer than one night, or if their chance at love will end at Roades End Inn before it can begin.


Excerpt:


“It is Valentine’s Day, after all.” The amusement was clear in his tone.
I nodded and laughed, then studied Hunter over the rim of my cup. Martin’s policy was that it was up to each of his staff members whether they wanted to reveal where they worked. I usually didn’t. I wanted the real experience, without staff working extra hard to please me. I wanted to know how they treated every customer, not just the ones they thought were special. But with Hunter, I found myself wanting to tell him the truth.
“I can assure you that you’ll be getting an outstanding review from Best of Beds. I hope it brings you many bookings.”
It took a moment for my words to register, but I could see the moment that they did. Hunter went bright red, and his eyes nearly bugged out of his head. “You… I didn’t know… and yesterday when you checked in, I….” Hunter made a choking sound and covered his face with both his hands. “Oh my God.”
He sounded mortified, so I did my best to rein in my mirth. Leaning forward, I could barely get a hand on his arm, but I squeezed reassuringly. “Really. Don’t worry about it.” When he peeked up at me through his fingers, I gave him a big grin. “Though I have to ask what that was all about.”
Hunter groaned, but he laughed too and sat back in his chair. His face was still red, but it was fading, and he kept his gaze fixed on the fire. “It’s… well, it’s kind of silly.”
I let that sit there for a minute, but when he didn’t continue, I gently prodded. “You don’t have to tell me, but I’d really like to hear it.”
Hunter was quiet for another long moment before he nodded. I could see his cheeks pinking, but he took a deep breath and looked right at me. “Gregory is always pestering me about how I don’t date. He seems to think I need to settle down. I keep telling him I’m too busy. Lately he’s been threatening to send me someone for Valentine’s Day. So I’d have a date, you know? I never thought he’d do it, but then you walked in the door and….” He shrugged.
“And what?” I asked, perhaps a little too eagerly. “What about me made you think I was your blind date for Valentine’s Day?”
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