Thursday, October 31, 2013

ARC Review: The General and the Horse-Lord by Sarah Black

The General and the Horse-LordFrom the blurb:


General John Mitchel and his favorite pilot, Gabriel Sanchez, served together as comrades and brothers-in-arms for more than twenty-five years. They followed the warrior’s path: honor first, and service, and the safety of the tribe. Their own needs for love and companionship were secondary to the mission. Retirement from the army, however, proves challenging in ways neither expected. 
When old warriors retire, their armor starts falling away, and the noise of the world crowds in. That changing world sets up longings in both men for the life they might have had. After years of loving on the down-low, the idea of living together in the light seems like pure sweet oxygen to men who have been underwater a little too long. But what will it cost them to turn their dreams into truth?


Heather's rating:




**Extra long review ahead... refrain from throwing tomatoes, please...**

This review is probably not going to be a popular one. Among my friends, the vast majority not only loved this book, but they 5-starred it and put it on their favorites lists. However, this book... it really rubbed me the wrong way. So much so that I stayed up for hours after finishing it, thinking it through in my head.

It isn't a big spoiler that this book contains cheating in it. It is one of the first things revealed in the plot so I don't feel bad about putting it out there. Now, I want to make something clear- cheating is NOT a hard limit for me. Some of my favorite books contain an element of cheating in them and I think, if done correctly, cheating can be a powerful plot device. Yes, I think that everyone deserves to find love and happiness and sometimes that can be a messy affair. I get that. However, the way that the cheating was handled in this book really made my blood boil.

**Spoilers ahead**

Blog Tour: Bump In The Night - Riptide Publishing

Welcome to the Bump In The Night Blog Tour!!

And Happy Halloween to everyone who celebrates!!



From the blurb:

Turn off the lights . . .

and turn on your darkest fantasies.
Demon pacts. Ghostly possessions. Monsters lurking in the depths. The things that go bump in the night frighten us, but they also intrigue us. Fascinate us. Even turn us on.
Join us as fan favorites Ally Blue and Kari Gregg bring over-amorous aquatic beasts to life with their mythic twists on the Siren and the monster in the lake. Erotic horror pros Heidi Belleau, Sam Schooler, and Brien Michaels show us just how sexy scary can be with a pair of demon deals destined to curl your toes and set your heart thrashing. And literary masters Laylah Hunter and Peter Hansen weave haunting worlds where ghosts and dead lovers can touch our hearts (and other, naughtier places too . . .) and teach us lessons from beyond the grave.
By turns exciting, evocative, and exquisitely explicit, the stories in Bump in the Night are sure to scratch your sexy paranormal itch. Explore your wildest fantasies with us in this collection of dark erotic tales.

       




Guest Post by Brien Michaels:


Hello…my name is Brien Michaels, and while I write contemporary erotic romance as well as paranormal, my first love will always be horror. It’s weird because I am literally terrified of everything (darkness being right there at the top of the list), but I just can’t get past the love of being afraid. So when Riptide announced a call for erotic horror stories, how could I not jump on the opportunity? It was the perfect opportunity to show the editor what I was capable of in my natural element.

But what is horror, really? Let’s start with the actual definition, courtesy of my macbook’s dictionary app: an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.

So much of what’s out there these days that’s billed as horror really isn’t. Sure it’s shocking, and much of it is disgusting (I mean seriously…did anyone see that Evil Dead remake? *Shudder*), but is it really scary? Not at all. At least, not to fans of the genre. You see it all the time in the countless sequels of horror franchises: the creators have plenty of desire to shock, but they lose that aspiration to really scare someone. The scariest movies, or even books for that matter, take real people and put them in situations that no one would ever want to go through.

Take 2012’s Insidious, for instance. It follows a family whose son goes into a coma and it’s eventually discovered that he’s being haunted by supernatural forces. What makes the film so terrifying is that it’s all atmosphere. You find yourself rooting for this family as these weird things start to happen to them and it just ramps up and up until the climax. People just don’t make horror like that anymore.

What I set out to do with my contribution to this anthology (Out From Under) is to shock, disgust and scare the readers, hopefully at the same time. Brant is an otherwise normal guy (if you ignore the fact that he works for a sperm-eating plant demon) who finds himself thrust into a horrifying situation. Literally, the first line of the story has someone’s head rolling across the floor.

What follows is seriously twisted if I do say so myself. I won’t give too much away, but I will say there a couple scenes involving tentacles going places they probably shouldn’t be going. I think what makes the story so scary, though, is that you don’t really know where it’s going. As soon as you realize where things are headed, you find yourself hoping Brant is going to survive this encounter, mostly because you know he doesn’t deserve what’s happening to him.

***~~~~~***

What are you afraid of? Do you prefer your horror to be shocking? Disgusting? Turn your hair white terrifying? Or all of the above? Sound off in the comments and remember every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $25 Riptide Publishing gift certificate! Entries close at midnight, EST, on November 2nd, and one grand prize winner will be contacted on November 3rd. Contest is available worldwide. Thanks for taking the time to hang out with me today!


Stalk, I mean find, Brien on social media:

         





Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, happy reading!!








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

Blog Tour: Solace In Scandal by Kimberly Dean

Today we shine the spotlight on Kimberly Dean's novel

Solace in Scandal



From the blurb:

Greed and lies bound them together, but will the truth tear their love apart?

When Elena Bardot suffers the backlash of a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by her father, she retreats to the abandoned estate of his partners in crime. Wolfe Manor is lush and private, a perfect place to lick her wounds – until the notorious prodigal son returns. Disgraced billionaire Alex Wolfe is aloof, imposing, and sexy as hell. Elena knows she shouldn’t want him, but attraction overrules her head.

Life behind bars has changed Alex. He doesn’t have time for the complication of a gorgeous little brunette – especially one with her name – but the tension between them escalates. Lust overwhelms their resistance, and the sex is hot and cathartic. They’ve both been betrayed by family, hurt by society, and cast as villains. Alone together, they take solace in slow kisses and sensual nights. Yet while Elena may be content to hide from the world, Alex is driven to reclaim his place atop it. This time, he’s determined to take her with him.

An excerpt:


Someone was stalking around the property and, from the way he moved, he was up to no good. For a moment, he stepped into a space where the branches were bare and she could see him more clearly. He wore a fleece jacket with the hood pulled up over his head. His feet were swift and sure as he moved along the path with hardly any sound.

Elena took a step back.

Someone was trespassing. A photographer? A journalist? Something worse?

Her heart began racing.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ARC Review: Real by Katy Evans

Real (Real, #1)
From the blurb:

A fallen boxer.A woman with a broken dream.A competition…
He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…
Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.
He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .
But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.
I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.
If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?

Heather's rating:



Oh Katy Evans, you made me laugh so hard today. Your brilliant satire on the state of modern women in their early 20s is an insightful critique of the unabashed shallowness and anti-feminist behavior spawned by such books as "Fifty Shades of Grey." Your tongue-in-cheek references to pretentious pop culture icons, and your commentary on the recent abundance of literary misogynists was riveting. The way you crafted your prose eloquently showed how hyperbole and hyper-erotic imagery can be used to destroy the innate sensuality of a character. Bravo for such a smart, funny, poignant work of art. It...

Wait, what?

This ISN'T a joke?

Release Blitz: Tina Leonard - A Callahan Christmas Miracle

Release Day Blitz for 

Tina Leonard




From the blurb:

Becoming a husband and family man in the middle of a raging land feud wasn’t the destiny Galen Callahan saw for himself. But once he laid eyes on Rose Carstairs, he knew the bouncy blonde with the warrior heart was his future. Now, with Rancho Diablo under siege, the eldest Callahan sibling will do whatever it takes to protect his new wife and triplets.

Except Rose refuses to be protected! No husband of hers can stop her from fighting by his side while keeping their newborn sons out of the line of fire. With Callahan lives and legacy on the line, Galen has a new mission: to vanquish a dangerous enemy and bring his family together in time for Christmas!

An excerpt:

Spotlight: Immortalis - Moonlight (a novella) by Katie Salidas

Today we shine the spotlight on Katie Salidas' series 

IMMORTALIS

specifically, Moonlight, a companion novella in the series.





From the blurb:

Good girls don’t wear fur, or fight over men, and they certainly don’t run around naked, howling at the moon. But then, no-one ever called Fallon a good girl. As a human unofficially mated to an Alpha werewolf, Fallon is being pressured to “become”...or be gone. Her mate Aiden, the interim leader of the Olde Town Pack, is in a position that demands he either choose a wolf mate...or leave the pack forever. No matter how hot the sex with Fallon is, he can’t ignore centuries of tradition. Become a wolf or not. If only the choice were that simple. Fallon’s options are further clouded by the overt presence of other females desperate to be the Alpha’s mate. And when these bitches get serious, it’s not just claws that come out. If Fallon wants to keep her man and take the title she’ll have to exert a little dominance of her own.

An excerpt:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

ARC Review: Devil at the Crossroads by Cornelia Grey

Devil at the Crossroads
From the blurb:

The devil covets more than his soul ...
Six years ago, Logan Hart sold his soul to the devil to become the greatest bluesman of all time—and now the devil has come to collect.

The irony is that Logan squandered his gift. High on fame, money, and drugs, he ignored his muse and neglected his music. And despite managing to escape showbiz in a moment of clarity, it’s too late to redeem himself. All that’s left is to try to go out with some dignity. Alas, the prospect of an eternity in Hell isn’t helping much with that goal.

But Farfarello, the devil who bought Logan’s soul, isn’t ready to drag him down to Hell quite yet. He’s just spent six years working his ass off to whip a bluesman into shape, and he refuses to let that—or the opportunity for more sinful pleasures with Logan—go to waste.
 
Heather's rating:




This was another unique take on the classic Faustian tale of selling one's soul to the devil in exchange for power/fame. I fairly recently read The Devil's Metal, and I couldn't help bringing that book to mind while reading this one, though they are two very different books.

Spotlight: Anne McCarthy Strauss - A Medical Affair

Today we shine the spotlight on Anne McCarthy Strauss' novel





From the blurb:

While under the care of her pulmonologist after a life-threatening asthma attack, Heather Morrison enters into a steamy affair with her doctor. This affair violates the state’s code of conduct and his medical treatment violates the Hippocratic oath. Heather’s life is shattered as a result. After the doctor terminates the relationship, Heather begins research for her own healing, and armed with this information, she initiates a civil lawsuit and kicks butt. Although it is a work of fiction, A Medical Affair was extensively researched.



     


Monday, October 28, 2013

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Out for Blood by Mike Walker

Today we shine the spotlight on Mike Walker's new novel 

OUT FOR BLOOD





From the blurb:

National Revealer’s Clark Kelly carved out a killer career as Hollywood’s most-feared gossip columnist following one golden rule:“Everyone’s got a secret…and someone’s dying to tell it!”
Clark never reveals his to-die-for secret!
NEWS FLASH:
Dude’s a vampire!
Studly, witty—and scary—Clark flies the night skies to spy on Hollywood’s behind-closed-doors kinky-jinks! BEWARE, ladies! Our beyond-the-grave badboy’s BITE will make your blood boil! Just ask smokin’ hot starlet TayLo Logan! DANGER!! Can Clark stop a stalker out to drain TayLo dry? Or wreak revenge on a killer cabal feeding stars’ pets to coyotes?
Finally…triggered by avenging fury, Clark goes “rogue vampire!”
Hold the front page! He’s…
Out For Blood!
Available from The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House and these retailers:  

                                 


Book Review: Spook Squad by Jordan Castillo Price

Spook Squad (PsyCop, #7)From the blurb:

Everyone enjoys peace and tranquility, and Victor Bayne is no exception. He goes to great lengths to maintain a harmonious home with his partner, Jacob. Although the cannery is huge, it’s grown difficult to avoid the elephant in the room…the elephant with the letters FPMP scrawled on its hide.
Once Jacob surrendered his PsyCop badge, he infiltrated the Federal Psychic Monitoring Program. In his typical restrained fashion, he hasn’t been sharing much about what he actually does behind its vigilantly guarded doors. And true to form, Vic hasn’t asked. In fact, he would prefer not to think about the FPMP at all, since he’s owed Director Dreyfuss an exorcism since their private flight to PsyTrain.
While Vic has successfully avoided FPMP entanglement for several months, now his debt has finally come due.

Heather's rating:





I have been thinking on this review for a few days now so it is most likely not going to be very coherent. Let me just preface what I'm about to say with the fact that this is one of my favorite series of all time. I love Vic and Jacob and they hold a very special place in my heart. To say that the build-up to this book was enormous would be an understatement. I paid full price for this book (and you guys know that I NEVER pay full price!!!).

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blogtour and Review: Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan






Blurb: 


Love doesn't come with a syllabus.
Kelly Davidson has waited what seems like forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he quickly realizes finding his Prince Charming isn't so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus.
Worst of all, he’s landed the charming, handsome, gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a revolving door.
Walter Lucas doesn't believe in storybook love. Everyone is better off having as much fun as possible with as many people as possible…except his shy, sad little sack of a roommate is seriously screwing up his world view.
As Walter sets out to lure Kelly out of his shell, staying just friends is harder than he anticipated. He discovers love is a crash course in determination. To make the grade, he’ll have to finally show up for class…and overcome his own private fear that love was never meant to last.
Warning: This story contains lingering glances, milder than usual sexual content for this author, and a steamy dance-floor kiss. Story has no dairy or egg content, but may contain almonds.



Available to purchase at

         

ARC Review: Ethan in Gold by Amy Lane

Ethan in Gold (Johnnies #3)
From the blurb:

Evan Costa learned from a very early age that there was no such thing as unconditional love and that it was better to settle for what you could get instead of expecting the world to give you what you need. As Ethan, porn model for Johnnies, he gets exactly what he wants—comradeship and physical contact on trade—and he is perfectly satisfied with that. He’s sure of it.
Jonah Stevens has spent most of his adult life helping to care for his sister and trying to keep his beleaguered family from fraying at the edges. He’s had very little time to work on his confidence or his body for that matter. When Jonah meets Ethan, he doesn’t see the hurt child or the shamelessly slutty porn star. He sees a funny, sexy, confident man who—against the odds—seems to like Jonah in spite of his very ordinary, but difficult, life.
Sensing a kindred spirit and a common interest, Ethan thinks a platonic friendship with Jonah won’t violate his fair trade rules of sex and touch, but Jonah has different ideas. Ethan’s pretty sure his choice of jobs has stripped away all hope of a real relationship, but Jonah wants the whole package—the sexy man, the vulnerable boy, the charming companion who works so hard to make other people happy. Jonah wants to prove that underneath the damage Ethan has lived with all his life, he’s still gold with promise and the ability to love.

Heather's rating:




I'm a tiny bit conflicted about this book. On one hand, Amy Lane's angst-filled books are like chocolate for me. I can't get enough. I loved her tormented main characters and their fight for their happy endings. Ethan is no different. I really liked the bones of this story- the ideas that Amy Lane had for this character. I also always like Amy Lane's style. She writes books that feel sexy and vulnerable. I always feel like her characters are splayed out for my consumption.

My issue with this book is in the details. My first problem is that I thought that Ethan was a bit inconsistent. It seemed very out of character for him to do certain things (I'm trying for no spoilers!) when he seemed very well adjusted, thanks to his years of therapy. Though he craved affection, he didn't seem to have self-loathing, and when those aspects were introduced into the story, I felt like it didn't fit what I had come to learn about Ethan.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

ARC Review: The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari by Sarah Black

From the blurb:

Fresh out of the closet, General John Mitchel and Gabriel Sanchez are settling into their new life together when an old army colleague taps them for a rescue mission to Tunisia. Eli and Daniel, two former Rangers working security, have been arrested in Carthage, charged with blasphemy and thrown into prison. With rampant unrest in the ancient city and an old enemy targeting them, John gathers a team to liberate the two captive men. When he discovers Eli’s boyhood obsession with Al-Jazari’s Elephant Clock, the rescue becomes complicated and strangely beautiful, and John and Gabriel have to risk what they love the most to bring their team home.

AnnaLund's rating:



What a ride. What a ride. Ms. Black, you have done it again.

What strikes me with this story is that this is a regular thriller/army story, which also happens to have some MCs who are gay. It is not an m/m romance book, as such. And although there is very much love in it, there is almost no sex at all, and I’m not even missing it. (You never thought you'd see me write that, did you?)

And Kim, FTMFW, every time. I adore that boy. I ADORE HIM.

Not only is this a book about kick-ass army men (who also happen to be gay men), even the women in this story are portrayed both with respect and intelligence—they are both multi-faceted and three-dimensional.

I especially appreciated Ms Madeline Grant from the US Embassy in Tunis, the description of her going into negotiation mode as a stone-faced rock amazed me. What a woman! Brilliant.

Also Jen was great, a young and fearless woman with ideals and spunk. I love to see this in stories, together with the multicultural backdrops and people. Women’s groups spreading news across Northern Africa? Fucking brilliant. The use of social media? Another brilliant move.

In this story you will find a lot of political views on world events, including religion and terrorism. Ms Black is well-informed and well-researched, it really impresses me a lot.

A good line? Here:

“Too many young men with nothing to do, no jobs, no future, and trouble was likely to follow.”

So few books manage to span diversity like this. There are at least three religions involved, there are Arabs from many different countries, a Korean, some Hispanics, a bunch of Caucasians, a Native American, and everyone is judged or appreciated on personal merit (or demerit, as it were) only. Absolutely refreshing.

I adored the references to the fantastic Spartacus Blood & Sand and Andy Whitfield—what better setting than Carthage? It made my heart sing.

And then, this is also a hilariously funny book, with some true humor shining bright. I found myself screaming with laughter at several passages of brilliant insight and tom-foolery. Like:

“You’re the only kick-ass general I know who needs three gay boys to dress him, John.”

Do you also love beautiful language? It is here. Poetic, even, look:

“Winslow was a little town on the border with Navajo and Hopi land, an aging railroad town the color of dust.”
Can’t you smell the color of that dusty town?

Favorite line:

“I knew that boy when he was a baby pilot, still wet behind the rotors.”

Half a star gets taken away because of the so completely, extremely and terribly fugly cover. I wish Ms Black could get a new artist, because her books are truly worthy of serious cover art. Already the last book in the series had a cover that made my cry in pain. This one is only slightly better, but on a scale from horrible to bad.

An upside in this book is that Martha is now portrayed as a more balanced woman. Last time I was so angry because by god she had reasons to blow a fuse, and was shown off as a shrieking shrew. This time, she has both depth and three dimensions. Thank you.

All in all an absolutely fantastic read. Do not let the title fool you (yes, I know how you read that), nor the cover: This is a good, good book.

It leaves you happy. That's what good stories do to you. They take you, they shake you, and then they leave you a little bit better for having read them.

Out today, October 25th, 2013.

***

I was given an ARC of this book for free from the publisher, Dreamspinner Press.
A positive review was neither expected nor promised in return.



Buy this book: Dreamspinner Press



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

Release Blitz: The Groom by Elise Marion

Release Day Blitz




Even though the book’s hero Lyle Cummings was left standing at the altar in My Ex-Wife’s Wedding he is anything but second best in this book. The Groom can be read as a stand-alone novel.






Author: Elise Marion
Genre: Interracial Contemporary
Size: Novel
ISBN: 978-0-9923696-0-6
Price $5.99
Publisher: Bottom Drawer Publications


From the blurb:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Kindle weekly deals~ Week of 10/19/13- 10/25/13

"How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire" by Kerrelyn Sparks- Adult, parnormal romance~ Price drop to $1.99!




"Finding Cinderella" by Colleen Hoover- YA, contemporary romance~ Price drop to FREE!


"A Shadow of Wings" by Linda Gayle- MM, paranormal romance~ Price drop to $0.99!



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