Sunday, July 22, 2018

Audio Review: Hearts and Flour by Tara Lain

From The Blurb:
Listening Time:  3 hrs., 13 min. 
A raw food fanatic and a cupcake baker -- can two hearts rise above the flour? 
To Micah Truveen, raw, vegan food is his religion. So when his devoted customers start showing up with white flour cupcakes, Micah could kill. To cap off a rotten day before Valentine’s Day, Micah comes home to find his boyfriend, Dharamaram, in bed with someone else. In frustration, he throws the rat out and agrees to go to his friend’s orgiastic anti-Valentines party where he meets a gorgeous cross-dressing guy who gives him a night to remember. 
Southerner, Quentin Darby wishes he could stop wearing women’s clothes. He desperately wants to live up to the glowing opinion his grandmother holds of him, so he’s never even told her he’s gay. And now there’s this guy who makes him wish he could just be who he is. But Micah finds out that Quentin is none other than the baker responsible for the plague of cupcakes afflicting the community! And Dharmaram adds a little blackmail to the mix. Two guys with nothing in common except love--food for thought.

Karen's rating:




Ok, so other than the grass, this one was pretty darned cute...

If you saw my updates on GR than you saw my comment about how 'delicious' was't a word that I'd use to describe the smell of a freshly mowed lawn...sorry but while I do like the smell of a freshly mowed lawn it just doesn't make me hungry. But neither am a raw food fanatic like Micah Truveen (yeah, he's one of the MCs in this story)

Micah Truveen is a raw food vegan and he's all about the healthy foods. So when he discovers his customers are flocking to the new cupcake shop up the street...you can well imagine that he blows a gasket and then he goes home to find his sleazeball of a boyfriend, Dharamaram doing the nasty in bed with someone else...well he blows another gasket and really who can blame him? Certainly not I. I was so on board with him kicking his backside to the curb and then heading over to his friends anti-Valentine's party (read orgy) where he meets this incredibly sexy, southern belle...Quentin Darby.

Quentin likes his pretty things sexy dresses, stiletto heels and can I just say here...I'm jealous because damn, I can't walk in those things but seems Quentin's a runway queen on them.

Quentin moved to California with his southern grandmother to take care of her. I loved Quentin's grandma...she's awesome, I'd move to Cali to take care of her too. Unfortunately Quentin's got secrets from that he's keeping from her. He's afraid of loosing her love if he tells her that he's gay much less that he's a cross dresser. But Quentin's also not told Micah what he does for a living either...maybe Quentin has a cupcake shop...oopsie, this is going to be an awkward moment.

'Hearts and Flour' was from start to finish a light fluffy, cupcake of a read. While Micah and Quentin might have met under questionable circumstances and it was definitely lust at first sight. Take heart dear reader two things did not occur 1. neither of them was with anyone else at said orgy and 2. it was insta-lust not insta-love.

Spotlight: Redemption From A Dark Past by Kelli Wilkins




Today we shine the spotlight on Kelli Wilkins and 

Redemption From A Dark Past 

An Inside Look at… Redemption from a Dark Past
The latest historical romance from Kelli A. Wilkins


Hi everyone,


Today I’m sharing a look at the making of my latest historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past.
When I sit down to write an historical romance, I never know where (or when) my story will take me. I’ve written romances set in the Old West, the Minnesota wilderness, Colonial Pennsylvania, and Celtic Scotland. Redemption from a Dark Past takes place in another unique locale, the Kingdom of Hungary.
For me, the setting conjures up images of brooding castles perched on treacherous mountaintops, tiny villages, medieval stone cities, vampires, and Prince Vlad. Although the book does not take place in Transylvania specifically, this atypical location appealed to me. It seemed like the perfect place for a Gothic novel filled with secrets, danger, deception, and superstition.
I enjoyed creating the cast of unusual characters and
setting the stage for the drama that’s about to unfold. Right from the start, we meet Lord Sebestyen Adrik and learn that he’s a troubled hero who has hidden himself away in his isolated castle. He’s depressed, guilt-ridden, has an unsavory reputation, and is the subject of nasty rumors spread by superstitious villagers.
The heroine, Katarina, is feisty, clever, and anything but superstitious. She dismisses tales of evil spirits and ghosts, and doesn’t have time for old wives’ tales. She’s ambitious and wants to leave her pathetic job on the goat farm for better things. When she learns that she’s about to be forced into marriage to a much older man, she jumps at the chance to be Lord Adrik’s companion—despite all the terrifying stories she has been told. Katarina’s boldness and intelligence make her the perfect person to free Sebestyen from his dark past.
When I set about creating the mysterious Lord Adrik, I wanted to make him a flawed and sympathetic hero. He has two physical ailments (one most romance heroes never have) as well as several psychological scars. And as if they weren’t enough problems, he also has a reputation as a murderer (among other things). At the start of the book, he has just about given up on life and any hope of being happy. By giving Sebestyen all this “baggage” I made him vulnerable and provided him with lofty goals to reach.
As I wrote, I added layers of secrets, built suspense, and created numerous plot twists and turns. Readers follow Katarina’s adventures and are not sure what—or who—to believe. Can Magda the surly, gossiping cook be trusted? How did Lady Adrik die? Is the castle really haunted? What happened to Lord Adrik’s previous companions? Are the rumors about him true? Katarina is left alone with Sebestyen every night, should she fear for her safety? Everyone says she should!
Over the course of the book, Katarina draws Sebestyen out of his shell, and just when she thought she knew him, she uncovers a disturbing secret he’s been hiding from her. Katarina tries to make sense of it all, while following her heart.
Not everyone in this story is exactly what (or who) they seem to be, and this adds another level of mystery and intrigue to the book. Combining all these elements into a sensual, Gothic romance was a lot of fun, and I hope readers will enjoy this trip into “the Dark Lord’s lair.”
Here’s the book summary, a short excerpt, and links.


Lord Sebestyen Adrik has an unsavory reputation as a madman, murderer… and worse. Lonely and searching for love, he seeks the companionship of local young women, hoping one of them will ease his torment and bring him the happiness he longs for. Katarina is his last chance—but will she fear him like all the others? Or is she the one who can lift his curse?

Desperate to avoid a forced marriage, Katarina agrees to become Lord Adrik’s latest companion, despite the rumors she has heard about him. She discovers the “Dark Lord’s” secret past and realizes he’s not the monster everyone thinks he is.

As their love blossoms, she renews his passion for life—yet they cannot escape the ghosts of the past.

When a meeting of the nobility goes horribly wrong, Sebestyen’s world unravels, and his enemies plot to destroy him. As all seems lost, a mysterious stranger arrives at the castle. Sebestyen must decide if he is a friend or a foe…and if he can find redemption in his love for Katarina, or lose her and everything else that he holds dear.



The excerpt:
Sebestyen winced as he propped his right leg on the padded footstool. He had a crackling fire before him, his belly was full, he’d drunk almost an entire bottle of wine, and yet he was not content.
Another girl had arrived. He had another chance to find happiness, but he didn’t dare get his hopes up. She would probably be another sour disappointment like all the others. Each failure drove a dagger deeper into his heart, and yet, he persisted.
But why? Why did he put himself through the pain, the hurt, and the humiliation of buying another companion? Perhaps it would be best if he accepted the fact that he was cursed. He’d never be happy, never know love again.
He watched the flames and sipped his red wine. The rumors about him had spread throughout the countryside. Lukacs was right when he’d told him that the villagers would not allow their daughters to come here, no matter what enticements he offered. He’d almost given up, but then Lukacs had written with the news that Katarina had volunteered to be his companion. Why? Surely she knew the stories about him.
Despite the tales circulating in the villages, he had never harmed any of the young ladies who came to the castle. If anything, he was generous. He bought them new clothes, fed them, and paid them well. He certainly wasn’t a rapist or a drinker of virgin blood as he was portrayed in the stories.
“But am I the monster they say I am?” he wondered aloud.
He stared at a painting on the far wall. Two boys in formal dress, one with light blond wavy hair, the other with black hair, posed with a black and white dog. He raised his glass in a silent toast to Tristan. The portrait was commissioned when he’d been, what? Ten? And Tristan was nearly fifteen. Those were good times, when life was easy.
Now he was all alone, trapped in this miserable castle and forced to suffer with the boring duties he had inherited from his despicable father. It wasn’t fair. He’d had different plans for his life, plans that included travelling, marrying a woman he loved, and being happy. Instead, he sat here every night drinking himself into a stupor, hating his life, hating his very existence.
He closed his eyes and leaned back in the leather chair. Perhaps Katarina could redeem him and lift his curse. If she did, she would earn riches beyond her wildest dreams. If not, he would suffer bitter disappointment yet again. “Why do I even try?” he whispered. “I’m doomed.”
* * *
Katarina stood in the parlor doorway, clutching her skirts. The large room was lit with three candles, and firelight cast long shadows on the walls. One story about His Lordship seemed to be true; he did live in the dark. She heard a low growling noise coming from the corner. What was that? Did Lord Adrik have a vicious dog?

Audiobook Review Tour: Zen Alpha by Sionnach Wintergreen



AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR


Book Title: Zen Alpha

Author: Sionnach Wintergreen

Publisher: Self-Published

Narrator: Hugh Bradley

Cover Artist: DesignRans

Genre/s: LGBT, Gay Romance, Contemporary

Length: 3 hours and 7 minutes 




Blurb

More than anything, struggling tech support specialist Bradley Evans wants an alpha male lover. He thinks he’s found his perfect match, but when his domineering stock broker boyfriend goes too far, Bradley wonders if his flexible, mindful neighbor might be just what he needs.
Ward Linden teaches autistic middle schoolers and is sexy and kind…but he isn’t quite the alpha Bradley’s been looking for. Do nice guys always have to finish last?
Bradley explores what it means to be alpha male in this steamy, humor-laced gay romance. Due to its sexual content, this book is for adults only.






Buy Links and Listen to an Excerpt here






Karen's review:





When I first read the blurb for ‘Zen Alpha’ it struck me as being a sweet little romance story that I could enjoy on a summer afternoon, so when it crossed my radar as an audio book who was I to say no.
Bradley works as tech support and he’s sure he’s found his perfect alpha made in his current stock broker boyfriend, Jackson but when said stock broker boyfriend crosses a line Bradley decides that he needs to step back and rethink things.
Things become even more complicated when Bradley’s upstairs neighbour Ward Linden steps up offering him the help and support that he should have received from his ‘alpha’ male boyfriend…’WTF!’ what’s with the ‘alpha’ male thing, Bradley…ok, hang on, we’ll come back to this.
Ward’s a teacher for autistic children at local middle school. He’s sweet, patient, kind and sexy as all get out but in Bradley’s eyes he’s so not an alpha male…again with the alpha male.
When circumstances put Ward and Bradley within proximity of each other on a daily basis and a friendship begins to grow blossoming into something stronger Bradley’s forced to look at his definition of what an ‘alpha male’ is and realize that sometimes even an Alpha can be Zen.
Overall, I definitely thought this one was adorable but unfortunately, I had a few niggling moments that definitely impacted on my enjoyment of the story. So, let’s have a quick chat about my niggling moments…

Saturday, July 21, 2018

ARC Review: Blyd and Pearce by Kim Fielding

Blyd and Pearce
Blurb:
Born into poverty and orphaned young, Daveth Blyd had one chance for success when his fighting prowess earned him a place in the Tangye city guard—a place he lost to false accusations of theft. Now he scrapes out a living searching for wayward spouses and missing children. When a nobleman offers him a small fortune to find an entertainer who’s stolen a ring, Daveth takes the case.

While Jory Pearce may or may not be a thief, he certainly can’t be trusted. But, enchanted by Jory’s beauty and haunting voice, Daveth soon finds himself caught in the middle of a conspiracy. As he searches desperately for answers, he realizes that he’s also falling for Jory. The two men face river wraiths, assassins, a necromancer, and a talking head that could be Daveth’s salvation on their quest for the truth. But with everyone’s integrity in question and Death eager to dance, Daveth will need more than sorcery to survive.


Jewel rating:



Kim fielding weaves a tale of intrigue and magic. Of the disparity between the rich and the poor. Of desperation and perseverance. She shows us a world of an another time and a different place. A place where horses are mythical creatures ...

"And you fascinate me—I’ve never met anyone like you. I don’t think anyone like you exists. You’re a mythical creature, like a horse. Can you imagine a large animal that allows people to ride on it and lead it around?”


Even still, some things never change. People are often greedy and backstabby and petty.

Daveth Blyd doesn't have expectations or aspirations. Hasn't always been the case, though. Born and raised in Low, the son of a whore, Daveth has rarely known anything else. He briefly experienced a different life when he proved himself worthy of being a City Guard - though no matter his skills, there were those that never felt him worthy and framed him for a crime that could have cost him his life.

Jory Pearce is not exactly what he seems. Beautiful, with the looks and voice of an angel, Jory sings for his supper, an occasionally sells more than just his voice. Jory's a mystery that Daveth needs to solve. He's wanted for thieving, but something isn't right with that story.

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