Monday, September 1, 2014

ARC Review: Double Up by Vanessa North

Double Up
From the blurb:

Fifteen years ago, Ben Warren was a wakeboarding champion: king of big air, ballsy tricks, and boned grabs. Until a career-ending injury left him broken in ways he still has no hope of fixing. Now he takes his thrills where he can get them, and tries not to let life hurt too much.
Then Davis Fox arrives in Ben’s sporting goods store with a plan to get in touch with his estranged brother by competing in the annual wakeboarding double-up contest. The catch? He’s never ridden before. It’s crazy, but Ben’s a sucker for the guy’s sob story—and for his dimples, too—so he agrees to coach Davis.
Davis is everything Ben isn’t: successful, confident, and in love with life. And he wants Ben to love life—and him—too. But before Ben can embrace a future with Davis, he needs to remember how to hope.

Heather's rating:

Loved it!! I have yet to meet a Vanessa North book that I haven't adored! This author is fast becoming a favorite of mine.

Damn, this is one of the best novellas that I've read in a long time.

Crap load of emotion in only 118 pages? Check!
HOT sex with a toppy top (my FAVE)? Check!
Accurate yet not overly technical sports writing? Check!

I'm getting all overly enthusiastic about this story, but it was just that good! One of my biggest pet peeves in a novella is that the characters tend to feel under-developed. Not so here. I got such a complete sense of both Ben and Davis, and even the side characters came to life. I could even see offshoot books with Eddie as the MC and even the younger brother. This book was full-to-bursting with potential.

Blog Tour: Love and Punishment by Susan MacNicol

Welcome to our tour stop for Susan MacNicol's 

Love and Punishment


On the search for a serial killer, Detective Anthony Parglietto and Flynn Parker learn that every man must make a choice: to kill, to live, to love.
Someone is leaving a trail of bodies throughout London, and Detective Anthony Parglietto is determined to end the violence. Then he’ll return to the man he loves.
Tough, street-savvy, and used to dealing with lowlifes, Flynn Parker is the last person Anthony thinks he has to protect. Then the Bow-Tie Killer strikes close to home and the world turns upside down. Right is wrong, black is white, and a policeman might become a monster. But in the name of love, justice must be served. In the name of love, pain can be endured. In the name of love, a man can taste the very essence that defines him.


Blog Tour: Crosswinds by N.R. White

The Next Chapter Publishing and Author N.R. White announce 


Stranded in an airport during a storm, a random act of kindness and an unexpected encounter leads to a life-changing experience for a young sailor on his way to his first duty station overseas. When Bobby walked into the airports only smoking lounge and asked to bum a smoke, Jack knew there was a reason a crosswind had unexpectedly blown the sailor into his path. It wasn't until several hours later that Jack realized the exact purpose of their chance encounter.

    Release Date - August 28, 2014

Get the book:

Author's Guest post:

Thank you for the opportunity to introduce my first book “Crosswinds,” which will be released on Aug. 29, 2014 by The Next Chapter Publishing. I’m N.R. White, and after 30 years of writing stories for the newspaper I finally listened to what others have been urging me to do for years by putting my talent as a storyteller into book form. Although the Crosswinds series is a work of fiction, the story is based on real events – and in some parts of the series – real people.

With my background in the newspaper industry, a lot of people have asked why I chose to tell this story in a fictional format. The answer is complicated, but the short version is that I’ve learned that God moves in mysterious ways. This is a story I’ve been waiting 20 years tell and it took a crosswind blowing me off course before I finally figured out how the story needed to be told.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

ARC Review: My Haunted Blender's Gay Love Affair, and Other Twisted Tales by Abigail Roux, Andrea Speed, and Anne Tenino

My Haunted Blender's Gay Love Affair, and Other Twisted Tales
From the blurb:

Die Laughing.
A collection of not-so-chilling tales of love and laughter from three of the genre's masters of pulp.
In The Bone Orchard, by Abigail Roux, Pinkerton investigator Ezra Johns and US Marshal Ambrose Shaw have a lot to learn about life—and the afterlife—in their quest to bring a vicious murderer to justice. Fortunately, they've got all the time in the world to figure it out.
In City of Monsters, by Andrea Speed, an ex-investigator turned some-kind-of-shifter (he doesn't know, but with his luck, it's probably nothing cool) is hired to find a missing reverse tooth fairy in the hellish dimension of Dev. But even simple things aren't easy for a guy with more vices than virtues, and his situation gets even more complex when a hot newcomer to Dev with a taste for danger joins him on the case.
In Horny, by Anne Tenino, a group of supernatural law enforcers enlist the help of a human, Ryan Caulfield, to catch Zeus: the god voted Least Likely to Keep It in His Pants. But there's more to Ryan than even he knows, and the satyr searching for Zeus is tempting him with far more than simple justice.

Heather's rating:

All in all, this was a very mixed collection.

"The Bone Orchard" by Abigail Roux

This was a weird mash-up of historical and paranormal romance, and it didn't quite work for me.

While I love a good old-fashioned western story, this felt lazy and not particularly historically accurate. Throw in some old-timey phrases and some cowboys hats and call it a day! I think the author didn't do a great job creating an atmosphere for this story. It sort of just was, without any of that masculine, old-fashion charm that westerns have.

However, my biggest pet peeve was the insta-love. GAH! Why oh why do authors do this to me! Ezra and Ambrose know each other for a hot second and all of the sudden they are in looove? I don't think so. And the sex wasn't even hot, which is normally what Abigail Roux does best.

Now, as someone that has read most of the Cut & Run series but none of the Sidewinder series (Shock & Awe), I didn't appreciate the mash-up between these characters and the Sidewinder ones. Maybe this book is intended for die-hard fans only and I don't fall into that category?

While not a bad story, I didn't think it was particularly strong. One of this author's weaker efforts.

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