Thursday, July 31, 2014

ARC Review: Lucas by D.B. Reynolds

Lucas (Vampires In America, #6)From the blurb:


LUCAS DONLON, Vampire Lord, is one of the most powerful vampires in North America and beyond. Charming and irreverent to his friends and lovers, he enjoys everything about his life as a vampire. But when a neighboring lord makes the mistake of declaring war, he quickly discovers that Lucas is every bit as lethal as he is charming. 
KATHRYN HUNTER doesn't care about powerful vampires or their wars. Her baby brother is missing and she will do anything to find him, even if it means going against both her FBI bosses and the local vampire lord. But Lucas Donlon has other plans for the lovely FBI agent who's landed on his doorstep.  
Waging war against their enemies and each other, Lucas and Kathryn will risk everything to keep the most deadly vampire war in hundreds of years from engulfing every vampire, and human, in North America.


Heather's rating:





He gazed down at the sniveling vampire dispassionately, then stepped back and started breaking bones, beginning with the little ones, fingers and toes, the delicate bones in the hand. Heintz groaned softly as first, but by the time Lucas had started on the big bones- the tibia and fibula in the calf, the thick femur in the thigh- the vampire was grunting like a rutting pig, the only sounds of pain he was able to make. Bloody tears streamed down his face as he groveled on the ground, unable to even wipe the snot from his chin.


DAMMMNNNNN, homey don't play!

The funny thing about this series is that when I started it, I was turned off by all the killing and gore. The vampires in ViA are ruthless, utterly ruthless. They aren't the hero that takes the high road and doesn't kill the enemy, they are the kinds of heroes that kill the bad guy slowly and with as much pain as possible.

And I kind of love it now.

"Lucas" was one of the high points in the series, after the more disappointing Duncan. I loved Lucas's Irish twist, his little Gaelic touches. I'm a huge sucker for anyone calling his love, a cuisle, and Lucas just stole my heart.

I also think that Kathryn was a great female MC, holding her own and being a nice counterpart to Lucas. She is no Cyn, but Cynthia happens to be one of my all time favorite female MCs. Kathryn was strong, loyal and was someone I absolutely rooted for.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ARC Review: Home the Hard Way by Z.A. Maxfield

Home the Hard Way
 From the blurb:

Dare Buckley has come home—or at least, he’s come back to Palladian, the small town he left as a teenager. After a major lapse in judgment forced him to resign from the Seattle PD, Palladian is the only place that’ll hire him. There’s one benefit to hitting rock bottom, though: the chance to investigate the mystery of his father’s suicide.
Dare also gets to reacquaint himself with Finn Fowler, whose childhood hero worship ended in uncomfortable silence when Dare moved away. But Finn isn’t the same little kid Dare once protected. He’s grown into an attractive, enigmatic stranger who neither wants nor needs what Dare has to offer.
In fact, Dare soon realizes that Finn’s keeping secrets—his own and the town’s. And he doesn’t seem to care that Dare needs answers. The atmosphere in Palladian, like its namesake river, appears placid, but dark currents churn underneath. When danger closes in, Dare must pit his ingenuity against his heart, and find his way home the hard way.


Rosa's rating:

 


 Home the Hard Way started out so well. I was reading along enjoying the novel with that oooh, this one’s gonna be good feeling when suddenly I hit a wall. There was a major change in one of the characters and after that I was so blindsided I spent the rest of the book wondering what the hell happened instead of involving myself in the story. Frankly, I’m not quite sure if the problem is me or the book. Probably it’s me. Possibly it’s both. I still can’t decide.

The plot of the book is practically a cliché, but one I very much enjoy. A cop, once the hometown hero, returns in disgrace only to take up with the man he left behind. The cop, Dare, is supposed to be the macho character while Flynn is supposed to be smaller and more delicate. There’s a mystery that brings them together and eventually everything is resolved and our two heroes live happily ever after. That’s basically the plot and yet it isn’t. Maxfield takes our expectations, adds some major twists in the characters and completely turns the whole thing around. It’s pretty impressive writing.

My problem is Flynn. On one hand he seems to want love even though he’s scared of it. On the other hand he states quite firmly that he doesn’t have relationships, he fucks people. It’s like he’s the clichéd cop character and the sweeter character combined. It’s an interesting mash up but it never rang true for me. Instead of feeling like Flynn is conflicted, I felt like I was reading about two different people. His attitude changed from scene to scene and I never knew which personality was going to show up. Perhaps Maxfield did this on purpose to create more suspense and a more complicated character but I just felt confused. I had a hard time liking him as a result.

ARC Review: Filthy Acquisitions by Edmond Manning

Filthy AcquisitionsFrom the blurb:

Keldon Thurman hates his job, purchasing serial killer art for a private investor. He would quit if he weren’t completely impoverished, but with no life skills and no ways to generate income, Keldon has no options. 
However, Acquisition Number Five proves to be more challenging than expected. Wheel-chair bound Irene Woullet and her handsome nurse caretaker, Joshua Greene, refuse to cooperate. Keldon’s only chance is to seduce the old-fashioned, simple-living Josh in the hopes that Joshua can persuade Irene. But Keldon has to work fast—he has only two dates to win Josh’s affection. 
With love’s potential in bloom, how can Keldon live with his own worsening conscience as he gathers these filthy acquisitions?

Heather's rating:





Edmond Manning is the author I turn to when I want something offbeat, something a little different than the average M/M romance fare. His stories are unique, quirky, and funny.

This is my third book by him, and I'd say it's the most mainstream. While it still has that "Edmond touch," it is a book that will appeal to just about everyone. Everyone who is interested in a story about a guy collecting serial killer art for a wealthy patron, that is.

Keldon is just the kind of MC I like to read about. He is in a rut, having spend most of his 20s being a pretty boy hanger-on to older rich men, he is now desperate, poor, and confused. Used to using his good looks and powers of manipulation to get what he wants, Keldon has to fight to keep his own desires and morals from disappearing while doing a job that he secretly loathes.

Josh, the nurse of the wealthy, older woman, who possesses the art that Keldon must buy, was one of the most refreshing characters that I've read about in a long time. It isn't often that I read about MCs that are crunchy granola, Luddite-ish men. Sure, it's trendy now to buy organic and local, but Josh takes it to the extreme, living by the sun's cycle, using candles, not owning a car, and being devoted to gardening. Though he splurges with electricity and modernity from time to time, I really got the sense that it would be hard for him to find a guy that wants to live his kind of lifestyle.

These two guys were nice together. They had a tender, sweet chemistry and a lovely emotional connection. Though there was only one sex scene (this book is light on sex content), there was still a good amount of heat between them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Blog Tour: Unexpected Trust by Silvia Violet



Today we proudly host Silvia Violet and her new book

Unexpected Trust

on our blog.



Blurb:

Special Agent Hugh Cranford, better known as Sport, is conducting an off-the-record investigation. He’s after Danny O’Sullivan, a spy rumored to have assisted in the ambush of Sport’s former SEAL team. Danny claims he and Sport are on the same side, and the real traitor is the man Sport is working for. But Danny is a master manipulator. He’s also the most seductive man Sport has ever met. Sport can’t help being attracted to him, but that doesn’t mean he’s willing to trust him.

In his quest to bring down a few highly-placed traitors in the US government, Danny O’Sullivan has been keeping tabs on Sport. When Sport comes looking for him, Danny decides to bring Sport in on his secret mission and into his bed. Sport may not trust Danny, but he wants him. As the two men risk their lives to complete Danny’s mission, they discover neither is as strong as they like to pretend.


Excerpt:

Blog Tour: Down On The Other Street by Jennifer Cie



We are proud to host Jennifer Cie and her new book

Down On The Other Street

on our blog today!



Expected Publication: July 29, 2014
Blurb:

Long winded, unemployed, and timid, on the first date Brendan Bloom is already in love. Comfortably arched over his body, Ryan contemplates murder. Cold, necklace gleaming against the pale tint of her collarbone, the passenger could have mercy. Not a little black book, but a faded love letter out from under the sheets. Some romances ignite on sight, others flare at the base of waterless tubs soaked in agitation. Rooted in the South, this collection of short stories delivers five electric confessions of love, sexuality, and identity across time.


Excerpt:


Release Blitz: Five Weeks by Dannika Dark




Five Weeks
(Seven Series, Bk #3)
By Dannika Dark 

Blurb:
Izzy has always loved the freedom and adventure of life on the road, but she’s recently decided to settle down—as much as a rogue wolf can. When her boyfriend gets her a job working at a hot Shifter bar, she runs into the last person on earth she expected to see again.
Jericho isn't the famous rock star he once was, though he still plays in a local band and loves to party. Beautiful women come and go, but music is his only passion—until a sassy redhead named Isabelle Monroe shows up unexpectedly.
Fate reunites two former friends living with one foot in the present and the other in the past. But will they have a future when one of them is forced to choose between life and death? Old habits die hard, and sometimes the toughest addictions to shake are the ones that control our hearts.




Available for purchase at 

      


Excerpt

Monday, July 28, 2014

ARC Review: Second Helpings by Charlie Cochrane

Second HelpingsFrom the blurb:

Stuart Collins’s life might as well have ended a year ago when his partner died in a car crash. Even Stuart’s widowed father has found new love with an old friend, Isabel Franklin, so why can’t Stuart be bothered to try? 

Then he gets a phone call from Isabel’s son, Paul, who wants to check out whether or not Mr. Collins is good enough for his mother. During dinner together, though, they end up checking out each other. Trouble is, Paul’s got a boyfriend—or maybe he doesn’t, since the boyfriend’s supposedly giving Paul the push by ignoring him. Or maybe Paul just wants to have his cake and eat it too.

Honesty with each other is the only way to move forward. But maybe honesty with themselves is what they really need.

Heather's rating:




I have a thing against couples that fight a lot, or rather, I have a thing against reading about a couple that fights a lot. Not only does it make me a little uncomfortable, but I don't really find it that pleasurable, which, let's face it, is the whole point of reading.

The funny thing is, in this book, the couple argues a ton before they are even a couple.

Overall this book had a lot of nice ideas. I love second chances stories, where someone loses a first love and then finds another person they have chemistry with. I also have a thing for flawed MCs, and this book had two MCs that had a TON of baggage. Additionally, I'm an angst-lover. I like hard fought romances, where the couple faces a lot of obstacles to be together. This book had all of that and more.

What it didn't have was relationship development. These guys just seemed edgy and argumentative when they were together. I honestly didn't have a clue as to why they wanted to start a relationship with each other, and when they started getting all insta-lovey on me, it ticked me off.

I almost knocked this book down to 2.5 stars because of how cold the couple seemed, but there was something I definitely liked about the story. I enjoyed most of it, I think because I wanted these guys to find a happily ever after really badly.

All in all, a nice read that could have been something special if the main couple was more connected and less "fighty-fighty."

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

Thanks for stopping by!!

ARC Review: Damaged Goods by Cooper West


Blurb:

Professor Jesse Ford feels like a failure in both love and life. He's moved home to live over his mother's garage after his previous relationship ended in heartbreak and a minor academic scandal, derailing his career. Tired and disappointed, he holes up to lick his wounds and concentrate on his next book, determined to avoid anything having to do with love or romance.

Jesse starts to change his mind when he meets Templeton, the beautiful and engaging punk rocker working as a short order cook at their small town's popular diner. Templeton, a talented musician, is back in town after escaping from his abusive boyfriend back in Seattle where they had tried to start a band. Encouraged by friends and family, Jesse and Templeton realize they can't fight their mutual attraction.

The two men from very different worlds decide they might have a chance, but they find their tentative romance threatened by the many secrets Templeton is keeping, and Jesse's own bruised heart. When Templeton's dangerous ex shows up, both Templeton and Jesse have to decide whether their fledgling relationship can withstand facing the demons of their pasts.

Dani's rating:




This book lacked chemistry and oomph, and I never bonded with these characters.

Jesse was a stuck-up academic. Templeton was so insecure as to be a doormat. I understand that he had spent years in an abusive relationship, but his personality was not developed well enough for me to see him instead of his fears and self-esteem issues.

Much of the plot revolved around Jesse's academic "scandal" and Templeton's crazy stalker ex. I was constantly annoyed with both MCs, who were robotic and unlikable.

The sex was long-time coming and meh when it finally happened, and even the epilogue, which would usually have me cheering, left me cold. There was a very obvious lack of excitement in the HEA; it felt like a scripted scene from a play with two very bad actors.

The writing included long narrative passages, so I always felt like I was twice removed from the story. The activism angle came out of nowhere. Nothing here really meshed.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

ARC Review: John & Jackie, by TJ Klune

ARC Review: John & Jackie by TJ Klune

John & Jackie
Blurb:

John and Jackie first laid eyes on each other when they were twelve years old. Now, seventy-one years later, Jack prepares to give his beloved husband the ultimate gift. Before he does, they'll relive five key moments from their younger lives together over the course of a single afternoon. From their first meeting and first kiss to the violence of an abusive father and the heartache of growing up, these moments have defined who they have become. As sunset approaches, John will show the depths of his love for the one man who has made him whole: his Jackie. They'll soon learn there is no force more powerful than their devotion to one another.

Rosa's Rating:





You know the comedian Louis CK? He has this great stand-up bit about new relationships. How it’s hard to start them because chances are it’s all going to go wrong. In the best case scenario you meet someone you love, your best friend, and you grow and laugh and live together for 50 years until death. Then you’re alone. Again. And that’s the best that can possibly happen to you. As a bonafide romantic that doesn’t sound too bad to me. Sounds pretty nice actually. That’s basically what this book is about. Two friends and lovers who find each other at age 12 and look back on their lives together at age 83.

I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about it -- which is exactly why I wanted to read John & Jackie.

Query: Could TJ Klune succeed in making me cry?

Answer: Dur.

TJ Klune is great at making people cry. But to me his books are a bit too much. The mother, the girlfriend, the love interest, the best friend, the evil ex, blackmail, pregnancy, near death accidents. I can’t handle all the angst. But John & Jackie has just the right amount. Two men who've loved each other though it all for 71 years, now facing another challenge and – I can’t! I just can’t with this! *sob*

Saturday, July 26, 2014

ARC Review: Living Again by Brynn Stein


Blurb:

Daniel Larson has walled himself off from any possibility of romance since his lover died violently five years ago in Afghanistan. The same bomb that ended his partner’s life took the lower part of Daniel’s left leg. The only support Daniel has, his Uncle Lawrence, is dead-set against anything homosexual, including Daniel.

Now, a popular language teacher at the local university, Daniel's suffering from a car accident that broke his one good leg. His uncle, who is much better at throwing money at things than offering emotional support, provides a rented power chair and a private in-home nurse. Unbeknownst to his uncle, the nurse comes in the form of a man named Jonah Thacker.

Instantly attracted, Daniel and Jonah fight their mutual feelings in favor of professionalism. They become friends anyway, and Jonah shares his life with Daniel, including his handicapped son, Ethan. As Jonah and Daniel grow closer, Daniel becomes more involved in Jonah and his son’s lives, even being there for Ethan when his medical conditions worsen. But when Daniel’s uncle finds out the nurse he's hired is male, he uses all of his resources to keep Jonah and Daniel apart.

Dani's rating:




I read the blurb and did a fist pump because: wounded man, male nurse, comfort/healing, disabilities. What's not to love?

Apparently quite a bit.

It started off promising. Daniel wakes up in a hospital only to be told he broke his non-amputated leg in a car accident. His home nurse is one gorgeous man named Jonah, who has a disabled son (his adopted nephew) whom he's raising alone.

Daniel and Jonah get to know each other.

And they get to know each other.

And they get to know each other some more.

We are told they're lusting for one another, but you'd never know that. Forget the slow burn or sexual tension.

Then once the MCs realize they're into each other, there's a lot of back and forth. Both men are afraid of being hurt. Daniel lost the love of his life, and Jonah was burned by a short-term boyfriend and has Ethan to raise. They have the same damn conversation a dozen times.

ARC Review: Medics, Mayhem, and Mojitos by Sara York


Blurb:

Liam Noble has a hard time talking to guys. When he meets the sexy Jordan McKelvey he's more than speechless.

When Liam Noble meets Jordan McKelvey the sparks fly, but Liam is too shy to act. Because Liam is so quiet in person, Jordan wonders if his feelings are one-sided. If only he could get Liam to open up.

But one night in the bar's stockroom shows Jordan just how interested Liam is. Then Liam disappears and Jordan thinks he's made a huge mistake falling for Liam, but when he finds out where Liam is, everything changes.

Dani's rating:




This is a sweet little novella from Sara York, one medic and one bartender included. It’s the third in a series, but most definitely can be read as a standalone.

Liam is shy and insecure. His last abusive relationship left him feeling helpless and hopeless. He saves lives, but can’t seem to save himself. Enter Jordan, with his cute nephew in tow. Jordan is friendly and unassuming. He has fun tending bar and talking to patrons.

Liam thinks Jordan is way out of his league, and he’s so tongue-tied around Jordan, the relationship feels doomed before it ever gets off the ground. But Jordan isn’t dissuaded easily. He wants Liam, and he’s willing to be patient.

My niggle with this book is that neither Jordan nor Liam felt complex or fully realized. Liam is painfully shy, yet he instigates sex with Jordan and is quite aggressive. While this was hot, it seemed out of character for such an introverted, cautious man. Likewise, as Jordan is put in a situation where he needs to nurse Liam, their bond seems based on comfort and a vague sexual chemistry. In a haze, Liam talks about all the dirty things he wants to do to Jordan, but we don’t see any of them on the page.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Kindle Weekly Deals~ Week of 7/19/14- 7/25/14

"Bound By Night" by Larissa Ione- Adult, paranormal romance~ Price drop to $1.99!
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"Follow The Sun" by R.J. Scott and Meredith Russell- M/M, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $2.99!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20890810-the-real-finn?ac=1


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"The Daughter of Smoke & Bone" by Laini Taylor- YA, fantasy~ Price drop to $2.99!




"Violence Begets..." by P.T. Denys- M/M, dark romance~ Price drop to FREE!




"Laid Bare" by Lauren Dane- Adult, erotic romance~ Price drop to $2.99!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6100797-laid-bare?from_search=true


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002DW933S/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=31BL6ZCXZU6XR&coliid=I3EKC75TTHGLVT
"Stripped Clean" by Ellis Carrington- M/M, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $0.99!



ARC Review: The Book Of Life by Deborah Harkness

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)
From the blurb:

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.
With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close. 

Heather's rating:





What a huge let down this book was. I'm talking EPIC proportion let down.

First of all, I am shocked at all the positive reviews I'm seeing. I feel like we didn't read the same book.

A Discovery of Witches was one of my favorite reads of 2011. I wasn't as much into reading then, and I stumbled across this one while randomly perusing my library for books. I fell in love with the story, the characters, and the magic of it all. I felt like the story was building up for something important, something powerful.

The second book was also pretty successful for me. It was lovely in the way that I find historical fiction is pleasurable. I also have a deep love of time-travel books, so I was practically guaranteed to fall head over heels.

A lot of time has passed since the second, and my expectations were sky high for the third. Unfortunately, the careful world-building fell to crap in the final installment. I'll try to break down my main issues with the story without giving away any spoilers.

1) The POV switches: I have very specific opinions about lots of POVs in the a story: Namely, I hate them. This book had at least 5 different points of view, which irritated me to no end. Why not just two? Those extra points of view just seemed lazy to me, just a way for the author to do some "telling" and less "showing" about the characters. To make matters worse, the author switched from 1st to 3rd person throughout the book! Talk about a headache. It was a terrible choice, in my opinion.

2) The number of characters: This book was like a who's who from the previous two books. I swear, no one was left out. There were so many people re-introduced that I had a hard time keeping track of everyone. The story felt so... cluttered. All of these extra people and their minor storylines weighed the plot down so much. It became sort of jumbled and confusing. I'm not sure why the author didn't just keep her focus on the main characters.

3) The lack of secrecy: I'm so confused! In the previous books, Diana and Matthew guarded the secret of their relationship, the quest for the book, and the secrets of Matthew's family fiercely. In this book? They let it alllll hang out. They tell everyone EVERYTHING! Everyone seems to know what they are searching for, that Diana is pregnant, simply everything! I have no idea why this had them throwing caution to the wind. They freaking told an entire class of students what they were researching. It was madness. Then they are looking for the person "leaking their secrets"... it could be the pizza boy for all they know! It was truly bizarre.

Release Blitz: Chasing Sunrise by Lex Chase



Chasing Sunrise
(The Darkmore Saga, Bk 1)
by Lex Chase

Blurb:

On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Sevon copes with the unrelenting abuse by dressing in women's finery and casting an image of graceful nobility. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, he possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.

On their foray into Priagust, Dominic's men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack's loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic's compliant prisoner.



Available for purchase at 


   



Excerpt


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