Saturday, January 31, 2015

ARC Review: True Brit, by Con Riley

From the blurb:
Winning the United Kingdom’s favorite singing contest is a challenge for half-Afghani Pasha Trueman. He doesn’t have the best voice, but success would be life-changing. His strategy is simple—he’ll make the British public love him. Ex-soldier Ed Britten has a different agenda. Winning means he’ll keep a promise made after a deadly Afghan ambush. His voice is his weapon, but he leaves his heart unguarded. Ed and Pasha’s discovery that the contest isn’t a fair fight calls for creative tactics. Staging a fake love story could bring victory, only there’s more at stake than the prestigious first prize. If winning means surrendering each other, they could both end up losing.

AnnaLund's rating:

Such a different take from the Con Riley we’ve all gotten used to—this story is sidestepping and dancing and singing and I was simply waiting for the bomb to drop.

But there was no melancholy or sadness; there is just life after losing a friend and finding a love.

These boys danced into my heart, and will stay there for a long time. The friendship between contestants is uplifting in this dog eats dog world, and two grown men helping and befriending a 16-year-old girl made me giddy with happiness.

Riley is adding more diverse figures in this story, with a backdrop of London, Cornwall, and Afghanistan. Soldiers, mothers, mansions, and project housing, all in one huge swirl of her paintbrush.

I loved this. I loved the fandom aspect (that not everybody will get, but that’s okay), I loved that Ed (-ward) got whiplash, and I loved the nod to the boy bands out there. I loved that the bad-guys don’t always win, and that smarts can still out-maneuver them.

Yeah. I loved this.

Uplifting seems to be my go-to-word when it comes to Riley’s books. Here it is again.

5 uplifting and shiny stars


I was given a free pre-edit copy of this book by the author, and a positive review wasn’t promised in return.

Buy this book: Smashwords | B&N | Amazon
(buy links will be activated as soon as we have them!)

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.

Book Review: The Shearing Gun by Renae Kaye

The Shearing Gun
At twenty-five, Hank owns a small parcel of land in Australia’s rural southwest where he supplements his income from the property with seasonal shearing. Hank is a “shearing gun”—an ace shearer able to shear large numbers of sheep in a single day. His own father kicked him out when his sexuality was revealed, and since no one would ever hire a gay shearer, Hank has remained firmly closeted ever since.
Elliot is the newbie doctor in town—city-born and somewhat shell-shocked from his transplant to the country. When a football injury brings Hank to Elliot’s attention, an inappropriate sexual glance and the stuttered apology afterward kickstarts their friendship. Romance and love soon blossom, but it’s hard for either of them to hope for anything permanent. As if the constant threat of being caught isn’t enough, Elliot’s contract runs out after only a year.
Todd’s rating:


Finally, it's official. I am no longer the last sad fucker on my friends list to read this book. *FistPump*

I was initially worried that the book wouldn't live up to all of the crazy hype, and it actually was a bit different than I expected it to be, but definitely not in a bad way.

My expectation was that the whole "shearing gun" aspect of the book was some type of official competition circuit, which it really wasn't. Instead, it was just a bunch of really fast sheep shearers who got hired by various local farmers to help shear their sheep, but they *did* keep score of who sheered the most sheep in a given time period. So there weren't any actual trophies and such.

Our tall, dark and handsome hero, Hank, is 25 and owns a relatively small sheep farm in the middle of nowhere Western Australia. He was thrown out a few years back when his embarrassed father finds his gay porn stash, so he moved away to begin a (closeted, small town) life of his own.

He never fishes in his own pond, which requires that he occasionally drives 3 hours to Perth when he has an itch to scratch, because it's both easy and uncomplicated. But Hank never saw the town's cute new doctor, Elliot, coming when they meet after Hank's collar bone is broken during a weekend footie match.

I liked how there was no insta-love here (thank fuck), instead Elliot gets caught semi-non-discretely checking Hank out, then goes to Hank's farm to apologize and they become friends. Slow burn, people. Slow burn. Mmmmm, my favorite. : )

Hank's biggest fear is to be outed and lose his livelihood and, therefore, his farm, but he also has a deep-seeded desire to be loved, which eventually wins out over fear.

I also really liked how, unlike so many other closeted MC's, Hank didn't throw Elliot under the bus when his closet door slowly began to come unhinged. That was very refreshing. Instead, Hank puts on his big boy panties and fights (literally) for his man when the arseholes start arseholin'.

Another difference in this story is that there was never a requisite "breakup scene". Instead, there was a major conflict at the end of the book was a life-threatening event that pulled both main characters, and their feelings for one another, firmly out of the closet.

“I love you, Elliot. I’ve loved you for ages. Of course my heart is involved. I fuckin’ introduced you to my dad for heaven’s sake! Why would I do that if I didn’t love you? I punched my best friend’s brother for calling you names. I snuck around town like a fuckin’ thief just to hold you at night so you could get some sleep. I got tested and told Doc Larsen I was gay, and that was not the easiest bloody conversation in the world. I gave you a lamb to name. I’m planning on buying you a couple of fuckin’ chooks
[chickens] so you’ll stay. What part of that doesn’t say I love you?”



He was speechless for a moment before smiling and saying, “Chooks? Really? You’re going to buy me some chooks?”

Of course he had to pick up on the least important bit of information.

“I love you, Henry Woods.”

I grinned and pulled his head down to mine so I could taste the words on his lips. “Now, why would someone as cute and as smart as you go and do a dumb thing like fall in love with a woolly-headed shearer?”

He smiled lovingly. “I couldn’t help myself. No other man has ever given me a lamb to name or started a fight over me. I was attracted to the outside of the man from the start, but once I got to know the inside, then it was too late. I’ve known for ages, Hank, that you’re the man for me."

And both men acted like *adults* throughout the ENTIRE book. I know, right? Gasp. Shock. The absolute horror of it all.

ARC Review: The Burnt Toast B&B by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz

The Burnt Toast B&B (Bluewater Bay #5)
From the blurb:
After breaking his arm on set, Wolf’s Landing stuntman Ginsberg Sloan finds himself temporarily out of work. Luckily, Bluewater Bay’s worst B&B has cheap long-term rates, and Ginsberg’s not too proud to take advantage of them.

Derrick Richards, a grizzled laid-off logger, inherited the B&B after his parents’ untimely deaths. Making beds and cooking sunny-side-up eggs is hardly Derrick’s idea of a man’s way to make a living, but just as he’s decided to shut the place down, Ginsberg shows up on his doorstep, pitiful and soaking wet, and Derrick can hardly send him packing.

Not outright, at least.

The plan? Carry on the B&B’s tradition of terrible customer service and even worse food until the pampered city-boy leaves voluntarily. What Derrick doesn’t count on, though, is that the lousier he gets at hosting, the more he convinces bored, busybody Ginsberg to try to get the B&B back on track. And he definitely doesn’t count on the growing attraction between them, or how much more he learns from Ginsberg than just how to put out kitchen fires.

Heather's rating:

I really wanted this book to be a home run. Like SO badly. I've read a few stories about transmen or dealing with trans-topics but this is the first where being trans just... was. It was a part of the story, not the WHOLE story. I wanted to kiss these authors for making being trans just another aspect of Ginsberg and not EVERYTHING about him.

I'll talk a few moments about the trans content. I am very comfortable reading erotic romance with a transman MC. In fact, I find many transmen to be really hot. I don't quite get the psychology behind the reason that I'm not at all attracted to lady parts on a woman but a "bonus hole" on a transman? Yeah, I can get down with that. For those of you that are squeamish about the lack of typical male anatomy or think that you won't be able to keep an open mind, I think it's best to just skip this one. I've done some... ehem... research... on this topic, and I think that the way that Heidi Belleau and Rachel Hamowitz depicted the more intimate aspects of Ginsberg was spot on.

Ginsberg was also just an all around lovely character. I really enjoyed his mix between vulnerability and self-confidence, and I connected to him in a lot of ways. I also think hipsters are hot, so there ya go!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Kindle Weekly Deals~ Week of 1/24/15- 1/30/15

"End of the Trail" by Jane Elliot- M/M, historical romance~ Price drop to FREE!
"A Call To Arms" by Shiriluna Nott and SaJa H.- YA, GLBT fantasy~ Price drop to FREE!
"Sweet Dreams" by Kristen Ashley- Adult, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $0.99!
"Pride Mates" by Jennifer Ashley- Adult, paranormal romance~ Price drop to $1.99!
"Rescued" by Bailey Bradford- M/M, paranormal romance~ Price drop to FREE!

ARC Review: Drive Your Truck by Julia Talbot


Home on compassionate leave for his brother’s funeral, Navy SEAL Garrison Matthews needs to blow off a lot of stress and grief before he returns to active duty. In honor of his brother, he takes Bettie, the brothers’ souped-up vintage truck, out for a spin. A bit of an adrenaline junkie, Garrison has no problem finding trouble. This time trouble’s named Walt, and he happens to be Garrison's sister-in-law’s brother.

Neither man expects their fun to amount to anything else, but after an injury sends Garrison home for good, he turns to Walt, hoping to start a new life. Walt is a closeted sheriff's deputy, and while he adores Garrison, he isn't sure he's ready to come out... or for such a big commitment. Being fresh out of the service isn't easy on Garrison either. To find their happy ending, Walt and Garrison must overcome their trust issues and get ready to settle down together.

Dani's rating:

The title is misleading. There is a truck, yes, a 1966 Ford pickup in cherry red, "all gleaming paint and chrome." The truck is important because it belonged to Garrison's older brother, Brandon, who was killed in action.

The "driving" theme, however, is clumsily handled and not central to the story.

Garrison loses his shit at Brandon's funeral. He fucks his brother-in-law (Brandon's wife's brother) Walt through the mattress, then takes off recklessly in his dead brother's truck. Way to honor your brother's legacy, dude. Classy.

Garrison seems to have a death wish. Walt knows he can't tame him. He doesn't even try.

I really like the idea of two alpha males getting it on, but the writing was choppy and distant. There were too many fragments, too many thoughts repeated.

"You're used to being the doer." Walt got it. Hell, Gar was a hero. For real. They had to come with a bit of an adrenaline addiction. An action gene.

The conversations didn't fare any better. Walt and Garrison called each other "man" or "babe." They sounded like overgrown frat boys. There were myriad sentences that ended with "huh." I read some of them aloud and decided that, nope, no one really talks like that.

"God, you're pretty . . . "
"Can we go to bed now?"
"I have food."
"We'll snack in the bedroom, huh? Chicken fingers and ranch."
"Sounds good, babe."

We didn't learn anything of substance about Walt or Garrison. Walt is a closeted cop. Garrison is a SEAL who likes the outlet of "shooting people." They eat pizza and watch sports.

Blogtour: Copping An Attitude (Sin City 2) by Morticia Knight

Please extend a warm welcome to Morticia Knight and

Copping An Attitude
(Sin City 2)


Vegas is filled with human cast-offs, yet officer Parker McLean sees something special in hustler Slade Wolfgang. Unfortunately, so does Slade’s pimp who wants to sell him overseas in the sex trade.

Hustler Slade Wolfgang has little choice over his fate. At the age of twenty, he’s had to survive any way he can since being thrown out of his home for being gay. As soon as he hit Vegas, Slade was lured into the hopeless world of prostitution where he’s become a virtual prisoner to his pimp, the ruthless Julio Estevez. His evil keeper has even threatened to sell Slade overseas as a sex slave.
It’s another typical night on the Strip when Parker comes across Slade. His heart breaks every time he sees someone so young being exploited. Something in Slade’s eyes tells Parker the young man might be in real trouble though – especially after the recent spate of sex worker killings from a rival prostitution ring.
The two men’s lives become intertwined when Slade is almost beaten to death. The danger grows, but so does the relationship between Parker and Slade. Parker helps Slade to heal from the horrific attack and their bond deepens. But the human traffickers are still out there - and they’re still looking for Slade.

Publisher Advisory: Scenes of violence and a brief scene of sexual abuse. Although part of a series, this book can be read as a standalone.


Release Day Blast: The Way Things Are by AJ Thomas

Today we welcome AJ Thomas with

The Way Things Are


A night of drunken confusion at nineteen resulted in Patrick Connelly fathering a child. Determined to be there for his son, Patrick walked away from a sport he loved and forever hid his sexuality. After Patrick's brutal divorce and a vicious hate crime, his son, Jay, has become obsessed with graffiti. Hoping for a fresh start, Patrick moves Jay to his childhood home in Seattle. Within two weeks, Jay is arrested again. On his way to pick Jay up, Patrick stops an assault, then finds himself in handcuffs too. Thinking things canʼt get any worse, heʼs confronted by the sexiest man heʼs ever seen—his sonʼs new probation officer, Ken Atkins.

The hardest part of Kenʼs job is working with difficult parents, and the undeniably handsome Patrick Connelly is going to be a difficult parent. A chance encounter and steamy hookup with Patrick leave Ken blindsided. As they work together to try to keep Jay on the right path, the passion between them proves impossible to resist. When the assault Patrick prevented comes back to haunt them and Jay gets into trouble again, Ken must convince Patrick that ensuring his sonʼs happiness doesnʼt have to mean sacrificing his own.


Ken shook his head, the motion making his entire body sway again. “I can’t believe you,” he said in disgust. “You have a child home alone right now, who needs an actual fucking role model in his life and actual supervision, and you’re here.” He gestured around at the dusty office. “I would have figured you’d be a bit old and butch for most of the clientele at this place.”

Patrick opened his mouth to deny that he was there selling himself, then stopped. “I’m not that old. And I am an employee of Corbin’s Attic.”

Ken chuckled. “You work for the club?”

“Yes. I had a shirt, but some vicious little drama queen insisted I dance with him, and he wouldn’t take no for answer.”

“You should have called one of the bouncers. They’re serious guys.”

“Uh….” Patrick scratched the back of his head. “I am pretty sure none of the other bouncers here would have come to my rescue.”

“Other bouncers?”

“Yeah. Which reminds me, I need to steal another shirt.” The security T-shirts were in a small, tumbling stack on top of boxes in the corner, next to five bigger stacks of black aprons and towels. He sorted through the T-shirts to find his size, then held it up so Ken could see the stenciled yellow “SECURITY” on the back.

“You’re a bouncer?”

Blogtour: Artistic Endeavor by Whitley Gray

Today we welcome Whitley Gray with

Artistic Endeavor


When friends ask one-night stand connoisseur Michael Esteban to introduce college professor and virgin Cobey Miller to the joys of sex, Michael balks. Lust is his thing, not leading a twenty-five year old novice. But shy Cobey has problems meeting men, and their introduction fuels Michael’s decision to help Cobey become a gay-sex-loving guy. It’ll all be fun and games—unless someone falls in love.


What in the hell was he doing here? Cobey ducked his head to avoid eye contact with the other customers and ended up getting an eyeful of a shelf full of dildos. No wonder people went mail order on this stuff. It had seemed like such a good idea to check out Eclipse. After doing a little reading, a little practicing was the next logical step, right?

Wrong. A glittery purple model the size of an overgrown zucchini made him shiver. That thing would never fit. Had to be for laughs, right?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Author Of The Month - Con Riley - Grand Finale

Welcome to our GRAND FINALE celebrations for the awesomely amazing

For our final post, we've got you covered with info about Con's upcoming self-published novel, TRUE BRIT, a great Q&A session where Con divulges some of her writing secrets, and one more chance to win an e-copy of any book from Con's backlist.

First up, TRUE BRIT! While we don't have the cover yet (coming soon, we promise), we do have a blurb, and a special excerpt or two for you.


Winning the United Kingdom’s favorite singing contest is a challenge for half-Afghani Pasha Trueman. He doesn’t have the best voice, but success would be life-changing. His strategy is simple—he’ll make the British public love him.

Ex-soldier Ed Britten has a different agenda. Winning means he’ll keep a promise made after a deadly Afghan ambush. His voice is his weapon, but he leaves his heart unguarded.

Ed and Pasha’s discovery that the contest isn’t a fair fight calls for creative tactics. Staging a fake love story could bring victory, only there’s more at stake than the prestigious first prize. If winning means surrendering each other, they could both end up losing.


Pasha had nothing to lose. He pushed a little harder. “’Cause from where I’m sitting, it kinda looks like you were about to kiss me.” He ignored Ed’s subvocal denial and scrolled to another image someone had enhanced with a romantic, soft-focus filter. “Fuck, it looks like you want to do a whole lot more than kiss me. I was there when it was taken, but if this photo makes me wonder whether you’ve got feelings for me, how do you think it looks to the public?”

Ed’s silence continued, so Pasha kept quietly talking.

“Someone’s cropped this one. You can’t even tell where we are. All that anyone will have to work on is exactly what we’re showing right here. Jesus, Ed, you’re looking at me like I’m the love of your life. I’ll marry the next person who looks at me the same way for real. Or at least tie them to my bed for a very long time.”

All Ed had to offer was a small sound that caught in his throat.

Pasha dragged a finger down the screen of his phone so that its content refreshed. “Tell me you understand what this means.”

The number of times the photo had been shared had doubled in only minutes.

“Every single one of those shares links us to possible voters. And this is only on one social media platform. If a fraction of fans share the photo in other places as well…. It’s—” He struggled to think of clearer ways to describe the potential they had if they worked the fake relationship angle just right. “—it’s….”


Pasha nodded. The numbers increased again and again, as did the hashtags the fans attached to the photo. Some abbreviated their names and merged them together. “It’s not cheating,” he insisted. “We won’t be doing any different than the boy band every time they flirt with Anya. It’s giving the fans what they want, that’s all.”

He nudged Ed with his shoulder. “Is love ever a bad thing, even if it’s only in their imaginations?”

“Wait.” Pasha turned to Ed again so fast he ended up straddling one of his legs. He spoke directly into Ed’s ear. “Do you at least want to try to stay in the competition?”

Ed nodded. Of course he did. It was the only chance he’d ever get to make up for the worst mistake of his life.

Pasha squeezed his wrist, his fingertips digging between tendons before rubbing as if in apology where they’d grasped too tightly. “And you don’t care what we’ll need to do to make that happen?”

“Are you likely to shoot me?”

Pasha frowned before slowly smiling. From this close, the change in his expression was like sunrise over the desert, warmth after a cold night, light after deep purple velvet darkness cloaking hidden danger.

“With a gun, you mean? No chance. I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

“In that case, I’m all yours.”

Well? Don't those make you super excited about the book??

A Q&A With Con Riley:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ARC Review: Black John by Amy Lane

Black John (Johnnies, #4)
From the blurb:
John Carey is just out of rehab and dying inside when he gets word that Tory, the guy who loved him and broke him, has removed himself from the world in the most bitter way possible—and left John to clean up his mess.

Forced back to his hometown in Florida, John's craving a hit with every memory when he meets Tory's neighbor. Spacey and judgmental, Galen Henderson has been rotting in his crappy apartment since a motorcycle accident robbed him of his mobility, his looks, and his boyfriend all in one mistake. Galen's been hiding at the bottom of an oxy bottle, but when John shows up, he feels obligated to help wade through the wreckage of Tory's life.

The last thing John needs is another relationship with an addict, and the last thing Galen wants is a conscience. Both of them are shocked when they find that their battered souls can learn from and heal one another. It doesn't hurt that they're both getting a crash course on how growing up and getting past your worst mistakes sure beats the alternative—and that true love is something to fight to keep if your lover is fighting to love you back.

Heather's rating:

Drug addictions, pornography, family drama, abandonment issues... yup, you guessed it! It's the latest installment in Amy Lane's Johnnies series!

I will always have a soft spot for this series. Dex in Blue was one of my first M/Ms, and so these books are like my M/M homecoming. They are ANGSTY and weighty but I like being put through the ringer sometimes.

I think fans of the other Johnnies books will really love this one. It rectifies some of the mistakes that Ethan in Gold made, IMO. I liked that this book really put the focus on the relationship with John and Galen. They were clearly the MCs, and though there were other characters in the mix, I felt like the other story lines weren't interfering. I also liked the whole back story with John and Tory. It created a lot of compassion for John, who came across as sort of a dick in the earlier books.

Book Review: Silent by Sara Alva

From the blurb:

Alex’s life as a teenager in South Central L.A. is far from perfect, but it’s his life, and he knows how to live it. He knows what role to play and what things to keep to himself. He’s got it all under control, until one lousy pair of shoes kicks him out of his world and lands him in a foster care group home. Surrounded by strangers and trapped in a life where he could never belong, Alex turns to the only person lower on the social ladder than he is: a “special” mute boy. In Sebastian, Alex finds a safe place to store his secrets—those that sent him to foster care, and the deeper one that sets him apart from the other teenagers he knows. But Sebastian has secrets of his own, and when tragedy rips the two boys apart, Alex will stop at nothing to find the answers—even if it means dragging them both through a past full of wounds best left buried. It might just be worth it, for the slim chance at love.

AnnaLund's rating:

I had a moment of feeling uneasy with the gritty talk, when inside Alex’s head. He has internalized so much racial denigratory crap that it almost hurt my eyes. It most certainly hurt my heart.

As did the whole book. This story is heartrending. Sad. Full of devastation. Kids and drug dealers. Young people who probably never stand a chance.

And yet.

In the middle of all this misery is a young man of 15, standing tall, doing his absolute best. He mucks it up, of course, because he is only fifteen years old. But he tries. Oh, lord, but he tries. He almost gets on my nerves with how hard he tries.

There is desperation, then group homes, foster homes, fires, guns and then we meet this one, lonely, silent boy, Seb.

There is love, and forgiveness, and beauty in all this harsh and gritty reality.

This book should be mandatory reading in high schools, as it covers bullying, being different, social services, group homes, institutions and more. It covers life, as is, in neighborhoods I have seldom visited. It spoke straight to my heart, breaking it in the process.

Audiobook ARC Review: Rebound by Chris Scully

Rebound (Heartwarming)From the blurb:
Christmas is a time for peace, love, and goodwill toward mankind. Not! More like cheating exes and absentee friends. For Emmett Byrd, spending the holiday season with his old college friend Terry in San Diego is supposed to be about mending his broken heart. But when Terry deserts him at the last minute, leaving Emmett alone in his condo for Christmas, it's just the icing on the cake of a crappy year full of betrayal and lost love. The only Christmas spirit this Scrooge is feeling is the alcoholic kind. Then a slightly kooky, unsophisticated farm boy named Sky knocks on the door looking for Terry, and a case of mistaken identity reawakens Emmett's hope in happily ever after. 

Heather's rating:

Really sweet Christmas novella, rounded up because the narrator, Michael Stellman, was so freakin' cute!

I'm not sure why this narrator worked so well for me. He doesn't have much vocal differentiation between characters, that's for sure, but he sounded age-appropriate (which is hard to find sometimes) and there was something really attractive about his voice. I've looked him up (I tend to do that- stalker alert!) and though he is older than I had pictured, he has a clear, 20-something voice which was perfect for this story.

The story itself was also super sweet. It is about finding hope and the Christmas spirit, even when you've given up. I really liked Emmett, who was grumpy and jaded but warmed up over time. Sky was more of a mystery to me, but I enjoyed his optimism and mix of hippy/traditionalism.

ARC Review: Tame a Wild Human by Kari Gregg


Drugged, bound, and left as bait on the cusp of the lunar cycle, Wyatt Redding is faced with a terrifying set of no-win scenarios. Best case: he survives the coming days as a werewolf pack’s plaything and returns to the city as a second-class citizen with the mark—and protection—of the pack. Worst case: the wolves sate their lusts with Wyatt’s body, then send him home without their protection, condemning him to live out the rest of his short life as a slave to the worst of humanity’s scorn and abuse.

Wyatt’s only chance is to swallow every ounce of pride, bury his fear, and meekly comply with every wicked desire and carnal demand the wolf pack makes of him. He expects three days of sex and humiliation. What he doesn’t expect is to start enjoying it. Or to grow attached to his captor and pack Alpha, Cole.

As the lunar cycle ends, Wyatt begins to realize that the only thing to fear more than being sent home without the pack’s protection is being sent home at all.

Dani's rating:

Trigger warning: explicit non-con/dub-con; gang rape; torture/murder; humiliation; violence.

The entire book consists of Wyatt, a 28-year-old human, being gang raped by a pack of wolf shifters. The pack alpha, Cole, eventually makes Wyatt his and keeps him as a fuck toy.

There is no world building. We are told that once a month when the moon is full, the mean wolves come out to rape and pillage, so people hide and fortify their doors against attack.

There is no relationship development. Cole gives Wyatt some of his blood, so Wyatt becomes a lust-filled bitch. Cole treats Wyatt like an inconsequential play thing and expects full submission.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ARC Review: Jens & Elliot (Storming Love 2, Blizzard 1) by Sara York


Jens Arnesen is only looking for a taste of the city, a place to experience Boston. What he finds is a sexy naked man who ends up being more than he bargained for.

Elliot Matthews needs a place to stay until the storm blows over and the airports open. Being walked in on by Jens starts out as an annoyance but grows into the best thing in his life.

When the skies clear and the airports open, they have no choice but to part. If only they lived closer to each other then life would be perfect.

When the storm throws them together, can Jens and Elliot make the most of the situation?

Dani's rating:

I read the entire Storming Love: One Storm, Twelve Men series MLR Press put out last year. Two of those stories (by S.J. Harper and Kaje Harper) were standouts. Since I survived a hurricane, I can survive a blizzard too. *puts ski goggles on*

The writing in this story was a little awkward, and I noticed multiple typos, including the dreaded your vs. you're error. Despite the editing issues, I appreciated many aspects of the story.

Jens and Elliot are both insecure as hell and looking for that one special man. The lust to love here is a speeding train, but I didn't really mind that. I liked the idea of two guys trapped together in a blizzard, making their own heat.

There was a point where the story got a little angsty, and much was made of Elliot's dick being a grower, which was kind of confusing. I mean, as long as it grows eventually, it's all good, right?

Book Review: Blood and Rain (Blood # 1) by Shira Anthony

Blood and Rain (Blood #1)Blurb:
Adrien Gilbert has spent several lifetimes searching for the love he lost. Born in the 1800s into a clan of fabled vampire hunters, Adrien once wanted nothing more than to tend his family’s vineyard in southern France or read a good book. But Adrien’s peaceful existence ends abruptly when his older brother, François, is murdered. Bound by his hunter’s oath, Adrien sets out on a path that will forever change his life when he agrees to execute his brother’s killer, the vampire Charles Duvalier.

After months chasing the elusive Charles, Adrien reluctantly makes a bargain with Nicolas Lambert, an ancient vampire. Adrien will escort Nicolas to Paris for his marriage to a rival clanswoman, and Nicolas will help Adrien find Charles. Nicolas’s quiet strength and gentle heart soon convince Adrien that Nicolas is nothing like the vampires he has sworn to destroy. As the wedding date draws nearer, a force intent on destroying the fragile peace between the vampire clans threatens to tear apart both the vampire realm and the world of the hunters. To secure both past and future for those he loves, Adrien must find a way to stop the looming war between hunters and vampires. But first he’ll have to let Nicolas go.

Todd’s rating:

I really enjoyed the first installment of Shira Anthony's new vampire series, Blood and Rain. There were plenty of really good guys and just as many really bad guys, with lines pretty clearly drawn on that front.

I loved the brothers, Adrien and François, as their fates lead them away from their small pastoral vineyard in France and on to more adventurous pursuits than tending to grapes. You see, in addition to being farmers, the brothers were also born into a long line of vampire hunters.

There isn't a problem with vampires per se in this book, since vampires and humans co-exist peacefully, for the most part. The hunters only come into play when a vampire doesn't honor their treaty with the Council of Hunters that allows humans to live unharmed and in peace.

But as usual, humans don't always want to live and let live either, instead grabbing for power, not caring much about an already-fragile peace. Such a human is Verel Pelletier, the (insanely evil) Regent of the Council of Hunters, whose lust for absolute power is all-consuming. (If you've read Shira's other *amazing* series, Mermen of Ea, picture Pelletier as the evil island council and you'd be very close.)

Add to that a self-sacrificing (hot and hunky gay) vampire prince willing to give up his own happiness to marry into the clan of enemy vampires to strengthen the peace and Pelletier being a complete and total arsehole at every turn and Shira has given us a very entertaining read indeed.

From death orders issued on an innocent, to prison breaks, to abruptly-halted weddings, to kidnapping the heart of our hero Adrian, this book has it all and there is never a dull moment. This book had so many moving pieces, which could have very easily gone off the rails, but Shira kept the story tight and running like clockwork, so kudos for that.

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