Saturday, October 31, 2015

ARC Review: The Altered 3 (Lycanaeris #3), by Annabelle Jacobs

From the blurb:

Matt is a single shifter living in a house full of couples. It’s not that he begrudges his friends their happiness—especially after everything they’ve been through—but he wants someone for himself. He wants a mate. Living out in the Cornish countryside there seems little chance of him finding one. Thomas’s life has recently been changed for ever. Newly altered, he finds himself in danger as his mother, a prominent politician, works to put a stop to the mistreatment of altereds and bring those responsible to justice. To keep him safe, Thomas is sent to Cornwall where Matt and his friends offer him refuge until he can return to his home in London. Despite the circumstances surrounding his arrival, Thomas and Matt bond in a way neither of them were expecting. They struggle to come to terms with what this might mean for their future once the threat is eliminated.



AnnaLund's rating:




Oh, but I like it when things get tied up and away, with a tidy, little knot!
And with excellent fun.
I ended my review of the second book in this series, The Altered 2, like this:
Well done, Jacobs. I’m keeping my eye on your work.

And so I did! This last part did not disappoint, and wrapped the whole story up perfectly for me. Even though this third installment of the series brings in very few new facts, it is taking care of all the little things that were left suspended in the previous books, and I really enjoyed getting a deeper feel for all the people involved.

Audiobook Review: Some Kind of Magic (Being(s) in Love #1) by R. Cooper

Some Kind of Magic (Beings in Love, #1)
From the blurb:

Being a police detective is hard. Add the complication of being a werewolf subject to human prejudice, and you might say Ray Branigan has his work cut out for him. He’s hot on the trail of a killer when he realizes he needs help.
Enter Cal Parker, the beautiful half-fairy Ray’s secretly been in love with for years—secretly, because while werewolves mate for life, fairies...don’t. Ray needs Cal’s expertise, but it isn’t easy to concentrate with his mate walking around half-naked trying to publicly seduce him. By the time Ray identifies the killer—and sorts out a few prejudices of his own—it may be too late for Cal.



Rosa's rating:





Book Review: 5 stars

I give out 5 stars for 2 reasons. One, I think the book is ahhhh-MAZING and should be read by everyone. Two, I've read it multiple times and enjoy it each and every time. This is important because I'm addicted to rereads, but not a lot of books hold up. What I thought was pretty good the first time is more like blah blah blah shut the fuck up the second time. Some Kind of Magic falls under the latter category. (The I like it multiple times category, I mean, not the shut the fuck up--you get me, right?)

Actually, the fact that I even liked it in the first place amazes me. The whole story could really be told in about 4 pages. The killer is so obvious they could've arrested him directly after the first murder and then Ray and Cal could've sat down and had one honest conversation. BOOM. And they lived happily ever after. THE END.

But, you know, I don't give a shit. I love the world Cooper creates, I love her characters, I love how she uses fairy tales to create misunderstandings between her heroes. She strikes me as a person who loves stories and I love that.

Audio Review: 3 stars?

As for the audio. Hmmmm...I know I'll listen to it multiple times also. I listened to it 3 times in the past 3 days already. But that was partly because I kept falling asleep. Ron Herczig has the perfect voice for growly werewolf Ray, but it doesn't work for the rest of the story. Also, he pauses weirdly in the middle of sentences. And I sometimes couldn't tell the difference between Ray and Cal when they were talking.

Bookblast: Strength In Numbers by Jessie G.



Please welcome Jessie G. with 

Safety In Numbers 









Blurb:

“Bros stick together no matter what.”
When Chris and Liam made that promise, they had no idea how important it would become or how it would be tested in the most brutal way. Nine years later, their bond cemented in blood, that relationship is all they have to hold on to.

“No matter what happens, this friendship will be the one constant we can count on.”
When Billy and Owen made that promise, they knew exactly how dangerous the world could be. They survived prison by protecting each other and they survived freedom by holding that promise sacred. Now they want more than just to survive and they want it from the brothers whose bond is as strong as their own.
“We are stronger together than we’ll ever be apart.”
When Owen reaches his breaking point, Chris jumps at the chance to make things right for all of them. With the future in their grasp, will they realize their strength is in their numbers and finally become the family they crave?


Excerpt:


That silence hid a lot from their friends, but Liam knew Chris was plagued with memories far worse than his. That’s why they decided not to celebrate alone this year. Billy and Owen were expected any minute and it was the first time they invited anyone to join them. The anniversary was bittersweet for them and they chose to celebrate it because becoming brothers meant that much to them. “Do you think they’ll find it stupid?”
Chris just shrugged as if it was no skin off his back what they thought and Liam knew that was just bravado. Fact was, they both very much cared what the two men thought. “Liar.”
His brother sighed and dropped his head back. As if shit wasn’t fucked up enough, they fell for two bastards just as fucked up as they were. “I know you’re worried about Owen. The business with Colin is growing out of their control and I’m not sure why he thinks it’s a good thing. Is he trying to prove something? And the middle of the night phone calls from the FTR? He’s looking more and more fragile every day.”
Liam knew he wasn’t stating anything new. What he didn’t know was what Chris intended to do about it. Lately, when it came to Owen, Chris conveyed zero intent and seemed to be waiting for Owen to read him as effortlessly as Liam did. Their brother bond had been forged through blood and he was afraid Chris’s expectations of Owen were unreasonable. “Do you see his face every time he thinks he’s failed to understand you? The weight of it is crushing.”
Instead of regret, all Liam saw was anger in Chris. It wasn’t a common emotion for Chris and Liam could name every time he saw it. The fact that Chris knew what he was capable of if provoked had made him extremely conscious of that emotion and he often went to great lengths to contain it.
Owen was the very definition of insecure. Just the type to inspire Chris’s protective instincts, which Liam knew for a fact Owen did. Hell, he inspired Liam’s protective instincts. Owen was stubborn though and he often distanced himself, keeping things bottled up until they manifested elsewhere. Like in panic attacks that felt like heart attacks, which he also tried to hide. Liam nearly lost it when they found out that Billy was keeping Owen’s secret.
Chris nodded slowly, as if he completely followed Liam’s train of thought and waited for him to connect the dots. And just like that, Liam understood. “You’re pissed because he doesn’t come to you when the panic sets in. That he hides it from you and they hide it from us.”
It made total sense, but he had to wonder if they were expecting too much. After all, they couldn’t call what was going on with either man a relationship. No, they were four fucked up bastards trying to come together in some romantic—what? Not a foursome, eww…he loved Chris, but yeah, that just wasn’t happening. And Owen wasn’t his type any more than Billy was Chris’s type. But—always with the fucking buts, right?—what was happening was very definitely happening to the four of them, and Liam now had to wonder if that was the problem, because trying to come together was definitely not the same as being together.
Chris shook his head and shifted in his seat. No, he was right. It wasn’t just their brother bond that made it impossible to move forward as two separate couples. Billy and Owen had formed their own unique friendship in prison and were no more likely to move forward without the other one either. “Just once, couldn’t we have done something the easy way?”

Friday, October 30, 2015

Kindle Weekly Deals~ Week of 10/24/15- 10/30/15

"Dance With Me" by Heidi Cullinan- M/M, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $0.99!

"Focus on Me" by Megan Erickson- M/M, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $0.99!


"#Nerd" by Cambia Hebert- NA, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $0.99!


"Never Never" by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher- NA, contemporary romance~ Price drop to FREE!


ARC Review: Pathfinder by Gun Brooke

Pathfinder (Exodus, #2)
Blurb:

"Following the Advance team, the Exodus ship heads toward a new homeworld. Here they will build a future without the threat of mutated changers. Chief Engineer Adina Vantressa, responsbile for keeping the Exodus vessel operational, stays far away from her vast family. She doesn't trust them. Nurse Briar Lindemay shares a secret with her younger sister Caya, an unregistered changer whom Briar has unlawfully brought with her about Exodus.
Adina and Briar meet, and their attraction grows despite their attempts to stay apart. Briar fears that acting on her feelings will take her focus away from Caya. Adina's emotional scars hinder her, but she can't ignore how Briar makes her feel.
When disaster strikes and the only way to save the Exodus is to trust what the people aboard fear most, will the authorities listen? Or is the journey over and everything lost?"



Arielle's rating:




From the main characters, Adina and Briar, to the incredibly well developed plot, reading Pathfinder was an absolute delight. I have to say, though, at this point I've read a handful of lesbian romance novels and this was one of the best because that's not all it was.

Yes, there two protagonists are lesbians and yes, there are definitely some steamy scenes, but this book stands on its own as a sci-fi fantasy novel. The storyline - and the handful of subplots - are all rounded off and handled with care. The characters are charismatic and hey, the sex scenes aren't anything to ignore, either.


Book Review: Sweetbreads and Sweet Nothings by Evelyn Esrig

Sweetbreads and Sweet Nothings
From the blurb:

Bartender Lukas Schueller's life in Berlin falls apart when his boyfriend, Bernhard, disappears without a trace. A year later Lukas is finally picking up the pieces of his life. He's back on track with his Divinity studies and has found love again in Kristoph, a science professor at his University.
Things are looking up until the shocking truth about his former lover's disappearance comes to light: Bernhard was killed and cannibalized by a man he met on the Internet. Even more horrifying, he volunteered for it. When Lukas receives graphic proof of this, he is haunted by grotesque dreams and unbearable heartbreak.
As he begins to wade into the mystery of why someone would choose to be eaten by someone else, he comes face to face with what it means to confront his own fears and must try to build a new life with Kristoph from the ashes of the old.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.



Rosa's rating:

 


Near the beginning of the novella, Lukas draws a Mobius strip (kind of like an infinity symbol) on his lover Bernhard's soft stomach.

Lukas: "I love this. The never-ending loops of eternity. It's complicated in so many cultures, but I like the idea of it meaning two bodies coming together to become one. It's beautiful, isn't it?"

"That--" Bernhard's voice caught in the back of his throat. His voice clicked as it reset. "That's a really interesting thought. Two separate people becoming one physical being."

"Yeah," Lukas agreed with a shrug. "I like the metaphor." He traced the line with his fingertip. "Two separate pieces make one whole unit. Kind of like us."
About a year after Bernhard suddenly disappears Lukas learns that his idea of "two separate pieces make one whole unit"-- is not two people building a life together, but willingly, happily, becoming food for a hungry, hungry cannibal.

Book Review: Leland's Final Gift by Thianna Durston

Leland's Final Gift
Blurb:
Kinder Thane lost his life partner three years ago and ever since, has folded into himself. He doesn’t speak to friends and only sees his family once a year. Every year on the anniversary of Leland’s death, he spends his time with the ghost of his dead boyfriend.

When Jessie Riley moves in across the hall, it sends his entire existence into a flurry. Suddenly there’s life out there, happiness, the joy of the holidays, and it’s so shocking he almost doesn’t know what to do with it. It gets to be too much but before he can pull back inside and go back to the way he was, Leland has a final gift for him, one that changes everything.



Todd's rating:




This one was actually a good solid 4.25 star read for me, if anyone’s interested in a sweet, short, 40-page Holiday story with a decent number of feels.

After being together for 7 years together, the love of Kinder Thane's life, Leland, was killed by a drunk driver on Christmas Eve, but for the past 3 years since the accident, Leland had been visited Kinder to help him get through the Holidays.

Except this year, Leland recognized that Kinder hadn't begun to move on with his life.
I can’t celebrate the day you died,” he whispered in a husky voice.

I’m not asking you to. But I am asking you to live.

Living’s overrated.

His partner sighed. “Then maybe I need to give you a kick in the ass.

Thane glared into the darkness. “I’m fine.

Right.” The wry amusement in Leland’s tone made him smile, even though he tried to stop it. He could see the curve of Leland’s lips, the expression that would be on his face in that moment. If he weren’t dead. Instantly the smile was gone.

Kinder, am I going to have to encourage you along?

There was no way for Thane to respond to that. He wanted more than anything for Leland to encourage him for the rest of his life, but that wasn’t possible. Besides, why would he want his deceased lover to encourage him to leave Leland behind?

So be it, my love.

Before Thane could ask him what he was up to, someone hollered. “Ahhh!
So, getting his inner ghost on, Leland did something about that and bowled over Kinder's hot new neighbor, Jessie, forcing him into Kinder's lonely life through a concussion and trip to the emergency room. Oops.

Riptide Anniversay Blogtour




Riptide is celebrating their 4th anniversary, woohoo!!! For our tour stop here, we snagged Anne Tenino, because she's super cool like that. Read on what she has to say, and please welcome her to the tour.




Hi!

Guess what? I have an outtake from Billionaire with Benefits (the second book in my Romancelandia series) to share with y’all! It’s short—not an outtake so much as a bare sketch of a scene I intended to fill in later. Pad it with detail and maybe some setting.

I never did that, because it didn’t make it into the final rough draft (yes, there’s a final rough draft, at least the way I write) for a couple of reasons: first because the scene is more about Sam and Ian from Too Stupid to Live (Romancelandia #1) than about Dalton and Tierney (the main characters in Billionaire), and second because instead of going to a Star Trek movie together (which is what I’d planned for them to do in my outline), Tierney and Dalton had sex instead.

I have unruly characters, what can I say? They’re still better behaved than my kids.

Anyway, I’ll set the stage a bit: Tierney asked Dalton to go to a Star Trek movie with him, and Dalton agreed to. When Tierney came to pick Dalton up, he was supposed to be a little preoccupied. Once they’re in the car, Dalton would get tired of waiting for Tierney to tell him what was on his mind and ask outright.

At that point, Tierney reveals that his buddy Ian borrowed something a few weeks ago. He’d forgotten until now, but now that he’s remembered he’d like it back.

“Why don’t we just stop by their place?”

I planned for Dalton to ask. They were on that side of the city anyway, and they had time before the movie started.
At which point I intended to put them on the porch of Ian’s home (it’s a nice porch, big and wooden, with a couple of chairs on it) and have Tierney knocking on the door.

Sam answers, blinking, face screwed up in confusion, and possibly breathing heavily. And so the scene begins (from Dalton’s point of view):

“Hi there,” Dalton finally said when it became clear Sam wasn’t about to speak.
“Um, hi. You just dropped by? Like, with no phone call or anything? I didn’t know you were the kind of people who just dropped by like that,” he babbled, gesturing between them with a plastic . . . toy?

“Hey, that’s one of the things I came for,” Tierney said, pointing toward Sam’s hand. “My phaser.”
Phaser? Dalton suddenly realized what Sam was wearing. “Is that a Star Trek costume?”
“I’d like that back someday, too,” Tierney interjected.
“Surrender, earthling,” Ian’s voice came from somewhere behind Sam, in the depths of the house. “It doesn’t matter where you hide, I’ll find you. Resistance is futile. You cannot escape my alien probe!”

Thursday, October 29, 2015

ARC Review: Bloom Box (Heartsville) by Cate Ashwood


Blurb:
If there's one thing William Sullivan knows less about than how to run a business, it’s flowers. When Will is left carrying responsibility for the flower shop he’d leased for his cheating ex-boyfriend, he is sure it will lead him into financial ruin.

Just when he’s about to abandon all hope, in walks Milo Hart—young, overflowing with energy, and perhaps best of all, a genius when it comes to flowers. Will hires him on the spot and they begin a working partnership that might be Will’s only saving grace. The more time they spend together, the more Will’s feelings for Milo evolve and Will must choose between keeping things strictly business, or taking a chance to let love bloom.


Dani's rating:




Milo & Will's story

This is the third story I've read in the Heartsville series and my favorite thus far!

The stories are standalones and do not have to be read in a particular order, although I "met" Milo, the sparkly florist, in Bookmarked and Clique and was eager to read his story.

Bloom Box, however, is not told from Milo's POV but from Will's—Will, who plans to start a florist shop with his partner only to find out that his partner has been cheating on him all along.

Will doesn't know what hits him when Milo walks into his sad, empty shop clutching a resume. He just knows that Milo is wet and lovely and has experience working with green things.

I loved these two men together. Will is about 15 years older than Milo, who's still in college, but the age difference doesn't matter. Milo knows so much more about business, not to mention flowers, than Will, and Will is happy for the help.

The relationship develops slowly (Will resists Milo for as long as he can, but, let's face it, he doesn't stand a chance), and the sexy times, when they come, are hot and tender.

I loved the sweet moments here: Milo & Will working together, getting coffee, strolling the flower market .. they just fit.

This is a charming story with a bit of comfort/healing and a great HEA!



Get the book:


   
    


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.
~Frederick Douglass







An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

Blogtour: Behind The Eight Ball by MA Church



Please say hello to M.A. Church with 

Behind The Eight Ball 




Blurb:

A cool morning, a yard full of birds, and a kitty on a mission. What more could a werecat want? Beta Heller Wirth has it all, except a mate—a shifter mate, that is. The last thing he wants is one of those dangerous humans who kill without remorse. Heller knows about that firsthand. So what does the goddess Bast do? She gives Heller exactly what he does not want—a human: business owner Lawson Dupre.
Lawson hasn’t a clue what just happened in his car detail shop. One minute a cute client is about to pass out, then he perks up and starts flirting. Next thing, he runs out the door like the hounds of hell are after him. Learning that Heller is a werecat doesn’t freak out Lawson. He happens to be one of those rare humans who knows paranormals exists. He even lives with one. Watch the fur fly as Heller and Lawson battle hurt feelings, misguided beliefs, and a power shift in Heller’s clowder.


Excerpt:



Step.
Step.
Stop.
The rustling of dead leaves caught my attention, and I froze with one paw still in the air. Not moving and barely daring to breathe, I waited. My whiskers twitched as a cool October breeze disturbed the scent of decaying leaves and rich soil. The foliage trembled again as something rooted around.
I slowly lowered my paw. The disturbance wasn’t very noticeable except to my predatory gaze. The movement continued. Gradually, bit by bit, I crept forward, making sure my long fur didn’t disturb the surrounding mounds of dying leaves. It was times like these I wished my coat were short like Dolf’s. One thing was for sure—whatever was below those leaves was going to be mine shortly. All I needed was to cover a little more distance and I’d be close enough.
Step.
Step.
Crouch.
Heart thumping, I watched as the movement continued. My muscles tightened and my bottom started wiggling. Unable to wait, I sprang forward, claws extended. Leaves flew into the air as I landed on my target. Bugs scattered. Eyes narrowed, I searched for…. There! There was the little bugger. I growled at the big black beetle and trapped it with my paw.
Seconds passed. The bug wiggled under my paw, tickling me. Hunched down, I carefully lifted my paw and peeked. Dammit, can’t see. Unable to get a good look, I lifted my paw a little higher… and there it went, scuttling across the ground. Gleefully I slammed a paw down, trying to trap it. Slap. Slap. Slap. Arrgh! What’s the deal? I keep missing.
Looked like I’d found myself in a game of whack-a-mole, except with a beetle. And off we went. The bug scurried away with me hot on its trail. Every time I thought I had a paw on it, I ended up missing. Stupid critter was fast. I bounded along behind as it raced across the ground. Then it suddenly cut back and ran straight under me.
Surprised, I leaped in the air, all four paws coming off the ground. Whoa! Zigged when I should have zagged. I landed and nonchalantly licked a paw. Hope no one saw that. I had to give the bug credit. That was a smart move. The shrill cry of a mockingbird caught my attention. I lifted my head, searching for the little tattletale.
Up in a tree it sat, its warning cries echoing around the yard. I eyed the tree. Hmm, I could climb it, but the stupid bird will probably just take off. Still, might be fun. Maybe after I finished playing with the bug… and damn. The bug.
My attention returned to where it had been, my tail slashing. Great. Lost it. Stupid bird. I sat up and threw a glare over my shoulder at the bird. Standing, I turned my back to the little menace, tail held high. That’s what I think of you, buddy. I prowled around for a while, sniffing, enjoying the coolness of the morning.
In the early morning sunlight, the dew on the grass sparkled like diamonds. Maybe it was pretty, but the stuff was also cold and wet against my paws. I was glad for my fur. As I wandered back toward the house, my stomach growled. I was hungry and… I sniffed. Oh, was that a blue jay I smelled? Oh, oh, a blue jay. Yum.
The human side of me groaned, but the kitty part wanted to jump with joy. The noisy little shits were actually quite intelligent. Catching one was always a feat. Quick as I could, I hid in the bright fall foliage by the back porch. I stayed very, very still so the stupid bird three feet from me didn’t fly off in a panic.
I licked my lips, my whiskers twitching as I watched the little rascal across from me raise its head. Shit, shit, shit. What caught its attention? Come on already. It’s all fine, nothing to worry about here. No cat hanging around. Just go back to pecking around on the ground. Everything’s good. See? I’m not moving, not even breathing.
Crouched low, I waited while my breakfast relaxed and returned to looking for acorns. Other birds came and went, but I refused to get distracted. I knew the one I wanted. Inch by agonizing inch, I crept closer to my prey. My mouth watered and my heart thumped.
The chatter of the birds around me was easy and relaxed, no distress calls sounding. That’s right. Just keep on eating. Soon I’m going to be eating you. My body tensed, back legs ready to spring me into action….

And the phone in the house rang.



Get the book:





A character interview with Lawson Dupre:


Audiobook Blogtour: Until Forever Comes by Cardeno C.

Until FOrever Comes - Audio Banner copy



WLK synopsis

Until Forever Comes: Mates Collection

A sensitive wolf shifter and a vicious vampire challenge history, greed, and the very fabric of their beings in order to stay together until forever comes.Plagued by pain and weakness all his life, Ethan Abbatt is a wolf shifter who can't shift. Hoping to find an honorable death by joining his packmates in a vampire attack, Ethan instead learns two things: Draining his blood releases his pain and his wolf, and he has a true mate: a vampire named Miguel. 
More than four centuries old, strong, powerful, and vicious, Miguel Rodriguez walks through life as a shadow, without happiness or affection. When a young shifter tells Miguel they're true mates, destined to be together, Miguel sends him away. But Ethan is persistent, and being together comes so naturally that Miguel can't resist for long. The challenge is keeping themselves alive so they can stay by each other's side until forever comes.


AUDIBLE US
 
Audible UK
 


Ebook Links

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AmazonUK / B&N / iBooks / Kobo / Oyster / Smashwords
Smashwords Coupon: GT46E



WLK Author Bio

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

ARC Review: Another Shot by Riley Long

Another Shot
Blurb:
When Ben discovers "the one who got away" working at a strip club, he decides to take a chance on letting Ian back into his life.

Ben has a decent life - a boyfriend, a good job, and a supportive best friend. He's shaken up when his boyfriend leaves him without warning and to make matters worse it's just before Ben's thirtieth birthday. His best friend takes him to a strip club to get his mind off the break-up. While they're there, they spot one of Ben's exes. The ex who Ben still has feelings for, but Ben had thought Ian had moved far away. It turns out Ian is still interested in Ben, and sorry for his mistakes. Can Ben let go of past hurt and give this relationship another shot?



Todd's rating:




I truly enjoyed this short 53-page story about 'the one that got away' re-entering your life again, when and where you least expect it.

Ben's boring boyfriend of 6 months breaks up with him for being "too wild" on the eve of Ben's thirtieth birthday, leaving him in a funk, so his BFF, Sarah, takes him to a 'Magic Mike' type of male strip club to cheer him up.

Anywhooo, the last act of the evening was a cowboy named 'Lance'; however, Lance isn't just a stripper. He's also Ben's ex-boyfriend, Ian.

The story of them reconnecting, explaining why their 2-year relationship ended, then Ben deciding to give Ian another chance was a lot of fun.

There were humorous bits, pretty hot, sexy bits and touching bits, all of which were a lot of fun to read.

(Especially the sexy bits.) ;- )

Yes, I know that the story is only 53 pages, but a one page epilogue to cement their HEA would've been the cherry on the top for this entertaining little tale of a second bite at the apple. Just sayin'.

4 *let-them-eat-cake* stars this time around.

--------------------------------------------------------------

"Male Revue" Mini-Rant:

ARC Review: Another Shot (Heartsville) by J.H. Knight


Blurb:
The town of Heartsville means something different to everyone who lives there. For Aaron Forester, it’s a gay-friendly buffer between himself and the rest of the world. After being outed in high school and bullied to the point of violence, his family uprooted their lives and relocated to the small hamlet. He’s moved on from all that and now owns a popular cafĂ© in the bustling shopping district. But after twenty years of happy living, Aaron’s past creeps up on him in the most unexpected way.

Brad Collins only has one regret and he’s carried it with him since he was a teenager. When he moves to Heartsville and gets set up on a blind date with the most adorable, engaging man he’s met in a long time, he couldn’t be happier. But Brad didn’t expect the guy to be the person he outed in high school—who he’s now falling in love with.

Aaron and Brad hit it off instantly—in and out of the bedroom. But after a long overdue apology and a small serving of resentment, is their fledgling relationship worth another shot?


Dani's rating:




Aaron & Brad's story

Aaron is the easygoing coffee shop owner who has cameo appearances in a couple other books in this series. This is the fourth Heartsville book I've read, and it put a big smile on my face.

When Aaron agrees to go on a blind date arranged by his pesky sister, he doesn't expect to meet a guy who pushes all his buttons and then some.

Brad is mature, engaging, and fun. He and Aaron hit it off right away, and the good times commence: pizza dates, pumpkin carving, ferris wheel kisses. No wonder Aaron is smitten.

Ah, but therein lies the rub. Brad ditches Aaron the morning after their first sleepover and then appears a few days later to confess that two decades prior he took a picture of Aaron kissing another boy, which led to Aaron getting bullied.

Despite Brad's revelation, this is very much a feel-good story. Aaron and Brad are ridiculously adorable together. I loved their snappy conversations and the clear adoration they showed one another. There's one sexy scene but many kisses.

Aaron's sister is an awesome secondary character. She pushes Aaron to give Brad another chance. Smart girl, that one.

ARC Review: Keep Hold by Michelle Grubb

Keep HoldBlurb


Claire O'Malley isn't looking for love. In fact, the woman she thought she would spend the rest of her life with just moved to Berlin. Claire's focus is on mending her broken heart. Not easy when you find yourself sharing a house with your ex's older sister, Kathryn Mercer. 
The Kathryn that Claire used to know - frumpy and boring - has disappeared. These days she walks a little taller, looks a little slimmer, oozes charm and confidence, and turns heads. 
Some things should be left alone. Some rules should never be broken. But some opportunities are just too good to miss. 





Arielle's rating:





I'm not going to lie, this book left me feeling a little confused. There were some parts of it I absolutely loved, and other parts that were a little hard for me. But let's see, where to start.

Claire, the protagonist of Keep Hold, is an absolute delight. She's totally relatable, if not a little drama prone. But she's also snarky AF, which is something I adore in a character. The way Grubb wrote Claire's point of view was so funny, I actually caught myself chuckling out load and I've definitely pocketed some one-liners for future use.

Claire is overwhelmingly likable, as are her best friends, Jess (also Claire's ex) and Alex (Jess's wife). Their relationship is really warm and clever and typifies the lesbian relationship cycle: Crush, Girlfriend, Ex, Best Friend. It has happened to every gay woman I know, including myself.

But as likable as Claire is, her love interest is equally unlikable. Kathryn is Jess's older, somewhat estranged, divorced, and pretty homophobic sister. She moves into Jess and Alex's house (with Claire - due to Claire's aforementioned drama) and promptly accuses Claire and Alex of being too cuddly - because watch out, too many cuddles from another person and your marriage is in the shitter, according to her.


Blogtour: Seven Tears At High Tide by CB Lee




Today we're closing out the virtual tour for C.B. Lee and 

Seven Tears At High Tide 




Blurb:

Kevin Luong walks to the ocean’s edge with a broken heart. Remembering a legend his mother told him, he lets seven tears fall into the sea. “I just want one summer—one summer to be happy and in love.” Instead, he finds himself saving a mysterious boy from the Pacific—a boy who later shows up on his doorstep professing his love. What he doesn’t know is that Morgan is a selkie, drawn to answer Kevin’s wish. As they grow close, Morgan is caught between the dangers of the human world and his legacy in the selkie community to which he must return at summer’s end.





Excerpt:



They wander into the house, wipe their wet feet on the welcome mat, climb up the stairs and giggle as they pass Ann’s bedroom. She’s dancing with her headphones on, oblivious to the open door, swaying to the beat.
In Kevin’s bedroom, he quickly scrounges up some clean shirts and shorts. “Here, you can wear this,” he says, handing an outfit to Morgan and then ducking into his bathroom to change. He peels off the wetsuit and hangs it up in his shower, then leans his surfboard carefully against the wall, eyeing the crack. He’ll have to fix it tomorrow.
When he returns, Morgan is holding onto the wet board shorts, wearing the outfit Kevin gave him. He looks curiously at the rock collection prominently displayed on Kevin’s bookshelf. “These are beautiful,” he says.
“Here, I’ll take that,” Kevin says, holding out his hand for the bedraggled board shorts to hang in his shower. He’s certain now that they’re the ones from the lifeguard’s lost and found. Kevin’s starting to worry that Morgan doesn’t have any other clothes, but he doesn’t know how to bring it up. Money can be a touchy subject.
Morgan holds Kevin’s favorite specimen, a piece of green olivine on basalt. Kevin once almost convinced Ann it was an avocado roll—it certainly looks like one, bright green speckled with sesame seeds, wrapped in dark seaweed.
“That’s from Mexico. My family went on vacation to Baja last year, and I got that out of an old volcano.” He tries his best to describe the sweltering heat and the excitement of finding geodes and cracking them open with a hammer. Morgan listens in rapt silence as Kevin talks about the find and tilts the olivine so it catches the light. He sets it back in its spot behind its label, slowly so as not to disturb the other specimens, and Kevin is quietly pleased with Morgan's careful appreciation.
“I changed my mind,” Kevin blurts out.
“About what?”
“I do want this to be a date. For us, to do that,” he says, blushing. “I like you. A lot.”
Morgan’s face breaks into a bright, happy smile.
“And what do we do differently, for this to be a date?”
Kevin can feel the heat on his cheeks. “We can hold hands, if you like. Um, or kiss, if you want to. But we don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. I’m fine just hanging out and watching a movie with you.”
Morgan tilts his head and steps closer. “I want to,” he says, not specifying what, but Kevin knows immediately.
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