Sunday, January 31, 2016

Book Review: King Perry, by Edmond Manning

From the blurb:
In a trendy San Francisco art gallery, out-of-towner Vin Vanbly witnesses an act of compassion that compels him to make investment banker Perry Mangin a mysterious offer: in exchange for a weekend of complete submission, Vin will restore Perry's "kingship" and transform him into the man he was always meant to be. Despite intense reservations, Perry agrees, setting in motion a chain of events that will test the limits of his body, seduce his senses, and fray his every nerve, (perhaps occasionally breaking the law) while Vin guides him toward his destiny as "the one true king."
Even as Perry rediscovers old grief and new joys within himself, Vin and his shadowy motivations remain enigmas: who is this offbeat stranger guiding them from danger to hilarity to danger? To emerge triumphant, Perry must overcome the greatest challenge alone: embracing his devastating past. But can he succeed by Sunday's sunrise deadline? How can he possibly evolve from an ordinary man into King Perry?
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.



AnnaLund's rating:





I can’t explain what this book is.
I can’t explain what’s happening in it.
I can’t help you with choosing this book to read.
I can’t even tell you why I liked it.

But holy hell, I did.
I liked this book so much I walked straight into LOVE and CONFUSION land.
And I have no idea why.

Well, I know a little bit of why. Mostly it’s the fact that this author really knows his way around words. He snares you with verbs and nouns. He makes you think one thing, and then another, and then, when you fall flat on your face once again, you wonder, in your dizzy mind, What happened? How did I fall for that again?

Don’t ask me. I have no idea what happened. But it happened, over and over. All the way to the end. Absolutely shattering experience.

ARC Review: Redeeming Hope by Shell Taylor

Redeeming Hope (Home for Hope, #1)Blurb:

Fifteen years ago Elijah Langley’s world came to an abrupt halt with the death of his high school boyfriend. He keeps his past—and his sexual orientation—hidden until he attends a fundraiser for The Center for HOPE, an LGBT youth center, where he meets Adam Lancaster, HOPE’s infuriatingly stubborn and sexy founder.

A survivor of a turbulent childhood, Adam understands better than most the challenges his youth face. He’s drawn to Elijah’s baby blues and devilish smile but refuses to compromise his values and climb back into the closet for anyone—not even the man showering time and money on HOPE. Months of constant flirting wear down Adam’s resolve until he surrenders to his desires, but Elijah can’t shake his demons.

When a youth from the center is brutally assaulted, Elijah must find a way to confront the fears and memories that are starting to ruin his life, so he can stand strong for those he loves.




My rating:




When Elijah was 17 years old, something terrible happened, something for which he blames himself to this day, and he lost Brian, his best friend/boyfriend.

Many years later, Elijah is deeply in the closet, and has closed himself off to the prospect of ever finding love again. He has a difficult relationship with his parents, all born from that tragic loss. He came across as lonely, even if he has a woman hanging off his arm for whatever social event he's attending, and Sunday dinner with his parents, where the only talk allowed is either about the family business (where Elijah is the CEO) or his mother's desire to see him settling down with a nice girl.

I loved him immediately. I cried for him, for his pain and his grief, none of which he allowed himself to express and deal with, and for the empty life he led.

Then Elijah comes across a pamphlet for a local LGBT Youth center (HOPE), where he meets Adam, who runs the center.

Adam is out and proud, though he also has demons of the past, but he's not willing to go back into the closet for anyone - not even the gorgeous man who starts supporting the center with money, and hanging out.

There is much UST for a while, and the author did a great job with writing those emotions. The interactions between Adam and Elijah were well done, even if Adam wasn't always very nice to Elijah, understandably so due to his history.

When an almost-tragedy serves as a catalyst for a long-overdue discussion with his parents, I was spellbound and on the edge of my seat. And somewhat surprised at the reaction of Elijah's parents, when the truth comes out, and the healing can finally begin.

And Elijah, realizing maybe for the first time that there might just be redemption for him after all, comes clean to both Adam and Kollin. He makes promises he intends to keep, he can for the first time in many, many years see the light at the end of the tunnel and take a deep breath.

I cried like a baby. So there's that.

Elijah does an amazing thing for Kollin. It's... well, you'll see.

There's some almost drama with Adam's ex, but that's quickly squashed, thank goodness, and I really appreciated that the author didn't drag out that particular misunderstanding, when there were plenty of others in this book. I guess I can't fault her for doing it this way though, as it gets Adam to pull his head from his behind and get with the program.

In some instances, the book got a little preachy, especially when it came to Adam talk about the center. There are some really good supporting characters, though, and I would be remiss to not mention Kollin, a young gay teenager with a difficult home life who spends much time at the center. His character was wonderfully done, and I loved the relationship that develops between him and Eli, who possibly sees Kollin as a way to do for him what he wasn't able to do for Brian.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Audiobook ARC Review: Cross & Crown by Abigail Roux

Cross & Crown (Sidewinder, #2)
From the blurb:

When Nick O'Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time.

Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide. The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity.

Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.


Heather's rating:






First of all, I have to say, I'm pretty surprised by the mostly mixed reviews of this one. I'm not a rabid fan-girl of Abigail Roux, but I definitely have a soft spot for all things Cut & Run related. Maybe it was the REALLY good narration by Brock Thompson (excellent choice, by the way), or just that I'm used to not really following the plot of Abigail Roux's stuff, but I had a great time listening to this one!

While I'm on the topic of the narration, I really have to hand it to Brock Thompson. He kept SO many voices distinct and separate, did a great Boston accent (I went to college there so I know my Boston men!), and an Irish accent to die for (no, I have no idea if it was accurate, but it was hot). I think the narration for this book was a huge factor in my rating, and I really want to thank whoever chose this narrator because he was much better than the average reader.

Book Review: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Blurb:
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.



Todd's rating:




I found this one cute and funny, but not entirely what I expected it to be, so while I enjoyed it a lot, it wasn't the all-out 'undying lurve' for which I'd hoped.

The book that I thought I'd be reading went something like this:
Two closeted classmates find one another online, getting to know one another via e-mail, then texts, then calls, finally meeting face-to-face mid-way through the story, then we see their relationship grow while navigating the difficulties of being out and together in a Southern high school.
However, the book, as written, was more like this:
Two closeted classmates find one another online, getting to know one another via e-mail, but never progress to texting or calls, with a bit of butthurt halting e-mail communications for a good bit, while the vast majority of the story concentrates on a class play and tons of straight friend drama surrounding Simon's best male friend and the two girls who like him.
And we don't find out who 'Blue' is until 86% into the story, which I felt left very little time for actual relationship development on-page.

Don't get me wrong, this was a knockout story of high schoolers learning who they are and navigating a minefield of emotions, where every little thing is hormone-driven high drama at its finest.

It was a fun read, but in addition to the (slightly underutilized) blackmailing aspect of the book, it also had a bit of a "whodunnit" feel, with the mystery actually being "Who is 'Blue'?" and the reader is given several different secondary characters who he 'might' be.

My only real issue with the story was that once Blue's identity is revealed, very late in the game, we only get a minimum of Simon and Blue being together as a couple.

I just wanted (quite a bit) more Simon and Blue "us" time, maybe cutting done on some of the dramatics surrounding the play and the romantic lives of the Simon's friends. That would have made the book feel a bit more M/M YA romancey for me.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Kindle Weekly Deals~ Week of 1/23/16- 1/29/16

"Nobody's Hero" by J. Leigh Bailey- M/M, NA, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $0.99!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24637092-nobody-s-hero?ac=1&from_search=1

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OYBCSPG/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=31BL6ZCXZU6XR&coliid=I1A3ROBIUKZ015

"Rough Road" by Vanessa North- M/M, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $0.99!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25413356-rough-road?ac=1&from_search=1

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015VEICWC

"The Darkest Frost" by Tanya Holmes- Adult, paranormal romance~ Price drop to $0.99!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23156152-the-darkest-frost?ac=1&from_search=1

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VDXOY50/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1ZXF97O5XBJ3O&coliid=IA97J9Q1ALKEB

ARC Review: Moonstruck by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O'Shea

Moonstruck (Lucky Moon, #3)
From the blurb:

Surya Patel is the drummer for the massively popular band, Moonlight. When his label suggests a collaboration with Luck, the band Moonlight toured with the year before, he should be all for it. Except he slept with Luck’s manager during the tour and then bolted in the dead of night. He’s regretted leaving ever since, but he knows being around Em will only lead to disaster. Unfortunately for Surya, the person the label sends to sweet-talk him into the collaboration is none other than Emmanuel himself.

Emmanuel Cortez has spent months trying to forget the hottest night of his life—the night he slept with Surya. It’s been a year, but not even the death of his beloved grandmother and the subsequent family drama could keep the memories away. Now his job is to convince Surya to collaborate with Luck, and he has to be professional. But a day spent together leads to another passionate night. This time Surya is the one to wake up alone.

It only takes Em’s departure for Surya to realize he’s had a change of heart. The heat between him and Em burns too brightly to be let go. Surya isn’t satisfied with just one night anymore. He wants forever.




Heather's rating:





I have great love for this series. Moonlight Becomes You was one of my first 5-star M/M reads EVER, way back in 2012. *dreamy sigh* I have the fondest memories of that book. I also 5-starred The Luckiest and my review for that one is just a pile mushy, gushing fawning.

I hesitated to try this one because of the mixed reviews, but when I found out that this book was being re-released I jumped at the chance to give it a go.

I really wanted to love it, and I liked parts of it a great deal, but I grew tired of the same back and forth discussions. These guys lived in their heads SO much, going back and forth and with pros and cons. There are also miscommunications, though most aren't a big deal, but combined with one of my greatest pet peeves (the I'm breaking up with you for no reason because I know what's best for you), it all added up.

ARC Review: Save of the Game (Scoring Chances 2) by Avon Gale


Blurb:
After last season’s heartbreaking loss to his hockey team’s archrival, Jacksonville Sea Storm goalie Riley Hunter is ready to let go of the past and focus on a winning season. His new roommate, Ethan Kennedy, is a loud New Yorker with a passion for social justice that matches his role as the team’s enforcer. The quieter Riley is attracted to Ethan and has no idea what to do about it.

Ethan has no hesitations. As fearless as his position demands, he rushes into things without much thought for the consequences.Though they eventually warm to their passionate new bond, it doesn’t come without complications. While trying to financially help Ethan, Riley must hide his family’s wealth so as not to hurt Ethan’s immense pride. For their relationship to work, Ethan will need to learn when to keep the gloves on and let someone help him—and Riley will have to learn it’s okay to let someone past his defenses.


Dani's rating:




Q. Why did the chicken cross the road?

A. She was cranky to see a M/F scene in the middle of her M/M novel.

Yes, that happened at 12 percent. And I was so appalled, I slammed my Kindle shut. (Which wasn't nearly as satisfying as throwing a book across the room. But whatever.)

Authors, the majority of readers don't want to see one of the MCs fucking someone else, male or female, on page. STOP IT.

But, hey, I didn't let that ruin the book for me.

I do love me gay some hockey players, because who doesn't?

And Riley and Ethan are hot and adorable together. Riley drinks coconut water like it's going out of style and is all fit and bendy. Ethan prefers Pepsi and cigarettes. But they both love hockey and pizza and kissing.

Neither man has been with another man before, but they both realize they are bi (Ethan with a little prodding from Riley's Bad Game porn subfolder) and take to gay sex like a fish to water. Eventually.


Bookblast: Farm Fresh by Posy Roberts



Please say hello to Posy Roberts and 

Farm Fresh

Naked Organics #1
available January 28, 2016




Blurb:

Jude Garrity visits the farmers market every Saturday. As an environmental engineering student, he’s curious about living off the grid and sustainable agriculture.

And one particular farmer.

Hudson Oliva has worked hard to support his commune, where queer people live without fear of harm or retribution. When Jude asks pointed questions about living there, Hudson realizes he needs to be honest about his home. Few people know what the farm is actually about, but Jude is insistent.

Jude moves to Kaleidoscope Gardens, however, his sexual hang-ups make it hard to adjust. He’s an uptight virgin living among people who have sex freely and with multiple partners. When Jude finally loosens up, Hudson is flooded with emotions. Falling for Jude wasn’t part of Hudson’s life plan. But when vindictive rumors about the commune begin to spread, love might be all he has left.



Excerpt:


“You wanted to know where I’m from,” Hudson said. Jude nodded but remained tight-lipped. “I grew up north of Miami in a small city. I couldn’t wait to get out, so I tried to hitch a ride to Seattle. Didn’t get that far.”
“How far did you get?” Jude looked surprised as he asked, so Hudson reached out and pressed his palm to the center of Jude’s chest.
“About five miles away. I’ve been here ever since.”
“What made you run? I mean… maybe that’s too personal.”
Hudson coasted his hand over the slight swell of Jude’s pec and thumbed over his nipple, which stood at attention, pert and flushed, like his lips and cheeks. It was a good color on him.
“My parents sent me away to one of those ‘pray away the gay’ places, which obviously didn’t work, but it probably saved my life since my mom had to haul Papi off me when she told him why I needed to go there. He had so much pride, and having a gay son wasn’t something he could live with. It was as if me being gay made him gay. I was accosted by religion and hatred for who I was from that day until I left, so I became an expert at being secretive and learned to lie through my teeth while living with them. My eighteenth birthday Papi and I fought, and I ended up with another black eye. I packed a bag and snuck out of the house while they were sleeping.”
“Did they call the cops or anything?”
Hudson shook his head and knew his smile was pathetic. He still held hope he and his father could reconcile. He knew Papi would be proud of him and what he’d accomplished on the commune. “I left a note and eventually let them know my address, but in all the years, I’ve gotten one letter.”
“I’ve talked to my parents twice since I left, and both times left me feeling shredded inside.”

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Author Of The Month - Jay Northcote - Grand Finale



Welcome to our Grand Finale celebrations for the amazing and talented 







In today's post, we'll talk about Passing Through, What Happens At Christmas, with excerpts, and Jay's upcoming release, The Law Of Attraction, plus our Q&A, and a chance to win one of her books!!


But first, Passing Through:



Blurb:

Don’t waste a chance at happiness…

Leo is a lonely workaholic with no time for romance in his life. His job in London takes all his energy and commitment. When he goes to Cornwall to stay with his terminally ill uncle, Edwin, love is the last thing Leo expects to find.

Tris lives in a cottage on Edwin’s land. Gay, but still half in the closet, he and Leo bond over their affection for Edwin, and the pull of attraction between them proves too strong to ignore. In Tris’s arms, in the wilds of Cornwall, Leo finds a peace he’d forgotten existed.

On his return to London, Leo finds himself grieving for more than just the loss of his uncle. When some unexpected news gives Leo the chance to return to Cornwall, he’s afraid it will be too late to rekindle things with Tris. But having learned much from his stay with his uncle, Leo doesn’t want to look back and wish he’d done things differently.

It’s time to seize the day—if it’s not already too late.


Excerpt:



The insistent ululating shrieks of seagulls intruded on Leo’s dreams and pulled him into wakefulness. Disorientated, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes and lifted his head to take in the familiar surroundings. Whitewashed walls, bare save for a brass barometer mounted on the wall over the chest of drawers, wooden floorboards, and a brightly coloured rag rug on the floor.
Then he remembered why he was there, and his gut twisted.
It was almost light outside. Leo’s watch was out of reach on the chest, but his phone by the bed told him it was barely past 5:00 a.m. He lay for a few minutes, courting sleep. But his mind was alert and restless, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to doze off again. He was used to getting up before six most days anyway, no matter how late he’d worked the night before.
The seagulls started up again, and Leo gave up on any attempt at a lie in. Lured by their plaintive cries, he got up and rummaged through his case, dressed in running clothes and trainers, and let himself out of the back door as quietly as he could. He padded across the dew-wet grass and through the gap in the hedge. He paused to stretch his legs, still stiff from the drive, and then started to run down the path he’d trodden so many times before. As he descended towards the cove, the path got steeper and more treacherous, and the gentle sound of the waves got louder. Leo slowed his pace to a walk, picking his way carefully down the final rocky scramble onto the beach.
It was only a small cove and inaccessible by car, so it was quiet even in the middle of the day in tourist season. Today, in early May, at this ungodly hour of the morning, Leo had it all to himself. He took off his trainers and socks so that he could feel the coarse sand beneath his feet, and he walked to the water’s edge.
The tide was high. Leo stood and watched the gentle swell and the waves breaking on the rocks. He breathed in the scents of the sea, the scents of a place that had always felt like home even though he’d never officially lived here.
The bones in his feet and ankles ached from the cold of the water, but Leo couldn’t resist the draw of it. A primal need to feel the ocean on his skin had him stripping off his running top and shorts before he had time to think better of it.
The chill took his breath away as he strode into the waves, making his balls try to crawl inside him and pulling every hair on his body to attention. Once he was waist-deep, he plunged in, diving below the surface and emerging with an exultant gasp.
God, he’d missed this.
Striking out from the shore, he swam until his arms ached, then rolled onto his back. He floated for a moment, staring up at the lightening sky, before turning over and heading back to the cove.



Get the book:






Secondly, What Happens At Christmas:


Blurb:

When two friends pose as boyfriends, could what happens at Christmas turn into something more?

Justin is recently and unhappily single. Christmas is coming, and he doesn’t want to face his ex alone at their office party. So Sean—Justin’s best mate and long-time secret crush—volunteers to go with him and pretend to be his new flame.

Sean has always lusted after Justin from afar, but there’s never been a good opportunity to ask him for more than friendship. Posing as Justin’s boyfriend isn’t a chore, and if Justin wants to rebound onto him, Sean’s more than willing. At the party pretence and reality blur, and a kiss on the dance floor leads to a night of passion.

In the aftermath, they both assume it was a one-time thing until fate intervenes. Stuck together in London over the holidays, they give in to temptation again. But what happens at Christmas stays at Christmas... right?



Excerpt:


They made it to the park a few streets away by about half nine in the morning, early enough that the snow was still relatively unspoilt. A few kids were out with their parents, making snowmen and having snowball fights, but there was still plenty of pristine white snow that hadn’t been marked by footprints yet. It glittered as the pale morning sunshine poured from the blue winter sky.
Justin marched over to a quiet corner of the park, packed a lump of snow in his hands until it was about the size of a cannonball, then put it down and started to roll it.
“Snowman?” Sean asked.
“Nope. Snow dick, of course.”
“Seriously?” Sean looked around. “There are children present.”
“They won’t be able to tell what it is from a distance. Don’t be such a spoilsport.” Justin’s first snowball was now about the size of a basketball. “That’ll do,” he said. “Now we just need a few more like that. We’ll stick them together in a tower, and we can sculpt it to make it smooth.”
“You’re an embarrassment,” Sean grumbled, but he joined in, shaping some snow in his gloves and then stooping to roll it into a larger ball.
Justin grinned, amused by Sean’s reluctance. Justin had always been the one to lead him astray. Good to see some things never changed.
Once they’d stacked several snowballs together and smoothed them into a column, they had some artistic differences. They argued for a while about whether the snow dick should be cut or uncut.
“Cut’s easier,” Sean said. “Less fiddly and it will look more obviously like a dick if we can shape the head.”

Apparently Sean’s reluctance about Project Snow Peen had evaporated once his creative instincts had kicked in. Justin chuckled. “This isn’t America, Sean. Anyway, it’s clearly erect, so the foreskin can be pulled back. You get shaping. I’m going to start making the bollocks.”




Get the book:






And, coming very soon, The Law Of Attraction:


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

ARC Review: Farm Fresh (Naked Organics #1), by Posy Roberts

From the blurb:


Jude Garrity visits the farmers market every Saturday. As an environmental engineering student, he’s curious about living off the grid and sustainable agriculture. And one particular farmer.
Hudson Oliva has worked hard to support his commune, where queer people live without fear of harm or retribution. When Jude asks pointed questions about living there, Hudson realizes he needs to be honest about his home. Few people know what the farm is actually about, but Jude is insistent.
Jude moves to Kaleidoscope Gardens, however his sexual hang-ups make it hard to adjust. He’s an uptight virgin living among people who have sex freely and with multiple partners. When Jude finally loosens up, Hudson is flooded with emotions. Falling for Jude wasn’t part of Hudson’s life plan. But when vindictive rumors about the commune begin to spread, love might be all he has left.





AnnaLund's rating:





This was a story I needed to read. A story I haven’t read before. A story that resonated in that part inside me that still feels like it’s missing a piece.

I’m not sure I could ever personally live in a sexual commune like the one described, but it was liberating and beautiful to read about the intricacy of the feelings between the members. This is open relationships to the umpteenth degree. With love and commitment. Friendship and companions. Sex and happiness. All over the place, literally.

I truly loved this unusual story, and the backdrop of an organic farm up on a hill made it all the better. It is quite low on the usual angst, and plenty sexy.

If you cannot fathom a relationship outside of the ordinary couple, this might put you in a situation where you feel a bit lost. But listen! It is well worth reading to the end; come explore something outside your comfort zone?

Spotlight: To Move Forward by Geoffrey Bauernfeind

Please say hello to Geoffrey Bauernfeind and 

To Move Forward 




Blurb:

Twenty years go by quickly and there are moments when you think back and relive some of the good times you shared. Now and then there has been contact, but vague and brief.

Then, one day, you meet and those old feelings resurface. But there is also fear. Apprehension. Questions. He has friends. You have friends. Do you want to see this person? What could he possibly want? Is a reconciliation possible? Do you really want to rekindle that lost love? And if so, at what cost?

Patrick and Ben were more than friends before they went their separate ways. In the years that followed, Patrick stayed true to himself and Ben married. Patrick searched for happiness. Ben seemingly had it all. Now Patrick and Ben, currently divorced, meet at a fair, and suddenly Patrick is thrust into Ben’s life once again. He has no idea what he is getting himself into because, as much as Patrick desires Ben and vice versa, there are skeletons in both cupboards and both must make sacrifices in order to be together.



Excerpt:



Shuffling my feet nervously, I stood inside the main entrance to the State Fair. The crowds streamed into the grounds at a furious pace. Having arrived early, I had time to wait and think and torment myself.
It had been years since I had seen Ben and, after he and his wife split, I also had stopped receiving the family photo at Christmas. The last one was from about five years ago. It showed a smiling young family in matching sweaters. The accompanying letter had been the usual holiday update for family and friends, vague enough as not to be indiscreet by saying, “If we were close, you would know this.” It was well written, impersonal, and, like the others, it had included a handwritten note at the bottom telling me not be a stranger and to visit if I could. I never did. As always, Ben’s wife had written the note to make it seem more personal.
Years of irregular small talk, or the random e-mail, culminated with the suggestion he was going to the fair with the kids and would I join him for the day? I can only imagine his surprise when I sent back a tentative “Maybe,” later followed by the shock of a “Yes.” A fair question to ask would have been, “Why now?” I had asked myself the same thing before hitting 'Send'. After all the years of avoiding Ben, I guess I still wanted to know if he was actually happy. The life I saw in quick glances seemed to be relatively happy and serene with the exception of the divorce, but that would have been a typical exception. The perfect family who happened to split apart. The perfect split where the kids lived with mom and spent every other weekend or more, if they wanted, with dad. Of course Ben was happy. But the question still lingered: Why now?

Blogtour: The Backup by Erica Kudisch



Please welcome Erica Kudisch with 

The Backup 






Blurb:

I’m supposed to be better than this. I'm supposed to have a tenure-track job teaching music history to undergrads, writing papers about Bach, and proving to kids like me that you can work your way out of Harlem. I'm not supposed to be following a rock star around the country, fetching his mail, making sure his groupies are of age.
I'm definitely not supposed to be sleeping with said rock star, who claims to be the Greek God Dionysus. At first I thought it was a load of crap. Nik's fans might think his music captures their hearts—and souls—but I knew better. Until one of Nik's orgiastic concerts gets out of hand and I don’t know which is worse: that he might be a god after all, or that he has a body count.

Nik doesn’t care what I want or what I should be. He wants to tear down the world I've built, warping all I am, until his music is all that's left of me. I can't let him do that. I shouldn't believe in him. I've seen what happens to the people who believe in him.

But I can't get his song out of my head.



Get the book:





Hi all! Erica Kudisch here, promoting my debut novel THE BACKUP, queer urban fantasy with a side of myth and music. Thanks so much for keeping up with the blog tour! Be sure to swing by the other stops for awesome multimedia content and a $50 prize package giveaway!  


FANCAST




Anthony - Jesse Williams
You Know Him As: Dr Jackson on Grey’s Anatomy, Holden in Cabin in the Woods


Actor, activist, and certified hottie. I can totally picture him going from buttoned-up to beat-up to broken and still fighting the whole way through. And those eyes, my goodness.


Nik - iOTA
You Know Him As: The Doof Warrior in Mad Max: Fury Road, Australian Frank N. Furter and Hedwig Schmidt


No shit: this guy can act, sing, shred, write, paint, and scare the living shit out of us all. AND HE’S OUT. Australia is very lucky to have him.

Paul - Idris Elba
You Know Him As: Stacker Pentecost in Pacific Rim, Stringer Bell on The Wire, James Bond (in my dreams) (in everyone’s dreams)


Oh come on, how could I not?


Lansing - Geena Davis
You Know Her As: The motherfucking Commander in Chief


If she showed up at my door and said I was under arrest, I’d let her use my handcuffs.


Elise - Lyndsy Fonseca
You Know Her As: Katie in Kick-Ass, Angie Martinelli on Agent Carter


She has a megawatt smile and can fast-talk like no one else.


Ida - Mya Taylor
You Know Her As: Alexandra in Tangerine, Marsha P. Johnson in Happy Birthday, Marsha!


Gorgeous, talented, and virtually unknown, with enough streetwise and strength to carry through into Ida’s character.


Sydney - Rosie Perez
You Know Her As: The host of The View, Chel in The Road to El Dorado, and so much else.


Since Sydney never appears on screen, I’d want someone with a distinctive voice, vivacious but no-nonsense. Rosie Perez is both.

Julia - Ellen Wong
You Know Her As: Mouse Chen on The Carrie Diaries, Knives Chau in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World


“This sweetfaced young lady is a secret badass.” That is a direct quote from a director.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

ARC Review: Red River by Cardeno C.

Red River (Pack, #2)
Blurb:
Two Alpha shifters join together to lead their pack and build a family.
Commitment, loyalty, and strength aren’t enough to make Wesley Stone’s birth pack accept an Alpha with a physical imperfection, even if it’s a meaningless mark. Putting the safety of his pack above his own wellbeing, Wesley trades himself for another Alpha and agrees to mate with a stranger in a mysterious, insular pack.
Alphas from Jobe Root’s family have led the Red River pack from the first day shifters walked the earth. Now the time has come for Jobe to fulfill his destiny, but to do that, he needs his mate by his side. Spiritual, easygoing Jobe reveres Mother Nature and trusts in fate, yet he can’t help being nervous about how his mate will react to his new life in Red River, his new life with Jobe.
Two Alphas with contrasting personalities, different upbringings, and divergent beliefs come together for the good of their packs. But to stay together, Wesley and Jobe must see beyond the surface and embrace every facet of themselves and their union. 



Todd's rating:




Alllllllrighty now. This book was a serious case of "It's not you, it's me."

This story just never really clicked for me, as 33 y.o. Alpha shifter Wesley was essentially thrown to the wolves (sorry, couldn't resist) because he was different than the other schmucks in the Purple Sky pack.

Plus, the fact that Wesley's Uncle Paul, the 70 y.o. pack Alpha, never straight-up told Wesley that there was zero chance in hell of him ever becoming Alpha of the pack where he was born and raised, when he had over 3 decades to break the news, that didn't sit well with me at all.

Yes, the story got better when Wesley was 'traded' to the Red River pack for an 'acceptable' Alpha to lead them, but other than the mating bond and outward appearances, I never really felt the connection that I *always* feel between Cardeno's MC's in this particular book.

But then the book took a severe left turn and never looked back, which turned my semi-invested interest in the story into full on, "Please, never, ever, ever take me back to this place again" territory.

I can't really give my honest-to-God review of this book unless I let the one big plot twist out of the bag, so if you haven't read pretty much everyone else's Goodreads Shelf tags on this one and don't want to know, now, now, *NOW* is the time to navigate away from the the rest of this review.

I pretty much *always* love Cardeno's books, but...  

Blogtour: Tackling The Tight End by Tara Lain





Tackling The Tight End
(Long Pass Chronicles Series, #3)
By Tara Lain

Blurb:

Everyone wants the best for SCU student and tight end, Raven Nez—and they know exactly what that is. Enter the NFL draft, become a big football hero, promote his tribe’s casino, and make a lot of money to help people on the reservation. Just one problem. Raven really wants to work with gay kids, and while he loves his tribe and likes football, his visions for the future don’t mesh with theirs. Then the casino board hires a talented student filmmaker to create ads for the tribal business and asks Raven to work with him. But the filmmaker is Dennis Hascomb, a guy with so much to hide and a life so ugly it’s beyond Raven’s understanding. Still he’s drawn to Dennis's pain and incredible ability to survive. Captivated by Raven’s stories of the two-spirited and by the amazing joy of finally having a friend, Dennis knows he has to break free from everything he’s ever been taught was good—but that’s a struggle that could kill him and Raven, too. Is there a chance for “the great red hope” and the “whitest guy on earth”? A future for the serpent and the raven?



Available for purchase at 

      
 

You can also order your copy at





Excerpt

Monday, January 25, 2016

Blogtour: The Innocent Auction by Victoria Sue



Please say hello to Victoria Sue and 

The Innocent Auction 




Blurb:

London 1810.
Their love was a death sentence.
Deacon, Viscount Carlisle, was aware of the slums and gin-lanes of London. Just as he was aware of the underground traffic that furnished the brothels and bath houses with human innocents. He was also aware that the so-called justice system would hang the accused without much of an attempt at a defense, unless the unfortunate had deep pockets to pay for it.
He just hadn’t expected to be directly involved in any of it.
It started with a plea for help and ended with forbidden love, the love between a Viscount and a stable-boy. An impossible love and a guarantee of the hangman's noose.
Will Deacon fight for Tom? Will he risk the death sentence and take that fight from the stately halls of his English mansion to the horrors of Newgate Prison and the slums of London?
Or will he realize that if he doesn't, death will be a welcome end to the loneliness of the sentence he is already living?



Excerpt:


Tom was stunning in the candlelight. The servant’s clothes he wore were a hundred times softer than the rough shirt he had taken off him in the stables. Tom’s skin was just as soft, though, the muscles just as firm, and the reaction to Deacon’s touch just as thrilling.
He heard the small moan from Tom’s lips as he pulled the shirt from his trousers, his fingers touching the skin on his abdomen. Tom lifted his arms above his head in silent invitation, and Deacon’s cock swelled in eagerness. Tom let his arms fall as the shirt was thrown aside, and Deacon hurriedly unbuttoned his trousers, as Tom’s fingers went to work on Deacon’s.
Neither of them said a word. It wasn’t just fear that they would be heard, but more an affirmation that while ever they didn’t speak, they were equals, lovers. The sensation of Tom’s teeth as he grazed his collarbone was perfect. Something to be celebrated, not reviled. Surely something that made him feel so complete could never be a sin? For in that one moment, Deacon didn’t have to pretend anymore and he was content.
In moments, Tom had him undressed. “Stay still.”

ARC Review: Until September by Chris Scully

Until September
Blurb:

As a teenager, Archie Noblesse clawed his way out of the poverty, heartache, and abuse of the reservation and left his family behind. Desperate to shake the shadow of his past, he reinvents himself as Archer Noble, an outspoken blogger and controversial author who lives only for himself. But when his beloved sister dies, Archer is saddled with guardianship of his niece and nephew.

Elementary school teacher Ryan Eriksson is devastated when his best friend Marguerite is killed, leaving her two young children orphaned. Helping Archer with his new responsibilities eases his grief, but when Archer offers him custody of the children, Ryan’s left with an impossible choice: get the family he’s always wanted, or respect Margie’s wishes and convince Archer to give parenting—and his heritage—a chance.

To buy time, Ryan promises to stay for the summer, hoping that Archer will change his mind and fall for the kids. But Archer’s reluctant, and the growing attraction between him and Ryan complicates matters. Legal decisions must be made, and soon, before Ryan returns to school. But with hearts involved, more than just the children’s future is on the line.



My rating:





First off, cover love. I adore this cover. It perfectly fits with the story, and it's beautiful. I don't normally comment on covers, but this one deserved a mention.

Secondly, this book was really, really good. Beautifully written, high on the emotions, with much heartbreak but also joy.

I loved how the author included aboriginal culture and issues by making Archie Noblesse/Archer Noble a Cree, and didn't shy away from showing some of the ugly sides of what Native Americans and Canadians are still forced to endure. Alcoholism and drug abuse runs in Archie's family, and extends into child rape and forced sodomy at the hands of his uncle after Archie and Marguerite are placed with their grandmother when their mother disappears. Thankfully, the author refrained from any graphic descriptions, but it's very clear what happened to young Archie.

Archer Noble reinvents himself after leaving the reservation upon his uncle's death. He's well-known and successful as a blogger and author who is out and proud gay, and speaks out against the hetero-normative expectations, including gay marriage and monogamy. He doesn't care whom he offends with his opinions - clicks bring cash, and he's riding the wave of his popularity as a gay man who defies the turning tide of public opinion. He fucks and dumps, never making a lasting connection - heck, he doesn't even have a permanent address. He cares for nothing and no one, except Marguerite, his beloved sister, even though he doesn't see her much. Christmas and birthday presents, and an occasional phone call, are all the connection he has left to his past.

Then Archer's sister dies in a tragic accident and leaves behind two young children, after having lost her husband and the kids' father a few years prior.

Since Archer isn't close by, the kids go home with their teacher, Ryan Eriksson, who's also best friends with Marguerite, after some legal stuff is out of the way. When Archer arrives, he's set on not changing his life(style), but torn between what's right and what he wants.

Ryan makes him a deal - he'll stay, if Archer sticks it out until September, when school starts again, and if Archer still doesn't want them by then, he can send them to foster care. Or give them to Ryan, maybe. See Ryan, despite his outward appearance, has a bit of a backbone, and while he takes much of what Archer dishes out, he's not a complete doormat.

Slowly but surely, Archer changes, even though he fights it at every step.

I loved how the author set the two men as complete opposites, not only in looks but more so in character. Ryan dreams of having a husband and a family - he wants exactly what Archer is so adamant in speaking against - and while his last relationship ended with a break-up, he hasn't given up hope that he'll find someone to be The One. He realizes, of course, that falling for Archer is probably the stupidest thing he could do, but can't help himself anyway.

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