Monday, February 29, 2016

ARC Review: Pawsitively In Love by M.J. O'Shea

Pawsitively in LoveBlurb:

What Austin Lloyd lacks in academics, he makes up for in his love of the animals who frequent his pet salon. He’s not lucky in romance, though, and his family would like him to settle down with a good man. Austin—and his golden retriever, Maggie—couldn’t agree more.

Evan Partridge isn’t good at letting people in. His messy family life and the past that’s shaped him aren’t worth bringing up. But his pug, Dexter, sure likes the pet salon owner.

Austin and Evan get off to a rough start, but being friends soon turns into something more. Unfortunately, Evan’s secretive behavior nearly does the relationship in, and the budding love affair almost crashes and burns when Evan’s troubled sister shows up on his doorstep.

Not speaking to each other is killing them both, but Evan doesn't know how to keep Austin and help his sister at the same time. He just knows he has to try. Winning back Austin’s trust back, however, is going to take a whole lot of work.




My rating:




M.J. O'Shea has an engaging writing style. I immediately adored Austin, owner of a pet salon, and somewhat socially awkward when it comes to hunky men who may or may not be intentionally late picking up their pug.

I had reservations about Evan almost as immediately. Where Austin is open and honest (even when red-faced), I got the feeling that Evan wasn't as honest with Austin in return.

Sure, we find out why over the course of the book, but for almost the entire book, I felt as if Evan had one foot out the door. Still, for most of the book, the budding romance develops in a rather charming way, even if I wasn't sure what was keeping Evan from jumping in wholeheartedly. I enjoyed the book until about 80% when the expected conflict shows up on the form of Evan's adult sister.

If I was supposed to believe that she suffered from depression - well, that didn't work, and was almost an insult to people who truly suffer from this illness. She came across as a spoiled, needy, and greedy brat, who only thought of herself, and who basically used guilt and a "poor-me" attitude to make Evan do her will. She added nothing positive to the story at all, and her only purpose, as far as I could tell, was to create the conflict.

Evan in turn confirmed my suspicions about him being a spineless, miserable rat bastard, when he basically gives up the one good thing he has going for him - Austin - to appease his sister's bitchiness. The woman was so over the top obnoxious that she came across as a cardboard villain, and the story took a severe nose dive for me. Evan allowing her to demand that Austin leave was the absolute low point of this story for me, and something for which I couldn't forgive Evan.

While there were hints throughout the book that Evan had some bad family history, I didn't quite expect how it played out. He cuts off contact with Austin, but then suddenly, possibly due to his misery, develops a little bit of the spine he's been lacking, and sort of kind of puts his foot down with his sister. His apology to Austin wasn't what I had hoped for, and Austin taking him back cost him some points too.

ARC Review: Out of Nowhere by Roan Parrish


Blurb:
The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So do running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.

Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.


Dani's rating:




Colin is a 36-year-old self-loathing, closeted gay man, still living to please his father, and so damn unhappy, he takes his anger out on everyone else, especially Daniel, his younger brother and one of the MCs from book 1.

Colin is also the first-person narrator of the story, and, wow, is that exhausting. Colin hates his life. He hates Daniel for having what he can’t have. He even resents Rafe; Rafe, who saves Colin from a severe beating in the first chapter; Rafe, who is AMAZING.

Much like Rex in book 1, Rafe is patient and steady. He has a past, but he’s turned his life around and now runs a program for LGBQT youth.

Book 1 is angsty, but it has nothing on this book. Colin is so immature, so stunted emotionally, he acts and reacts like a teenager, not a grown-ass man. He rages at Rafe and gets drunk constantly, even though he knows how much this hurts Rafe.

I had a hard time mustering sympathy for Colin and got frustrated with his inability to have a normal conversation. He’s not honest with himself, much less with others, and pushes Rafe away constantly. Colin is a bully, plain and simple. Even his cat doesn't like him.


Blogtour: Rise Of The Alpha Squirrel by Kate Lowell



Please welcome Kate Lowell with 

Rise Of The Alpha Squirrel 




Blurb:

Nathan's met Vince's family, but Vince hasn't met Nathan's, and Nathan would like to keep it that way. Holy smoked almonds, what else do you do when you know how completely nuts your relatives are?

Why, you ease your man into it, by introducing him to normal shifters. Assuming you can find any.

But with a gossipy werehummingbird spreading the news, and a pair of young red pandas wreaking havoc with their fainting goat friends, Nathan’s about ready to climb into a pine cone and pull it in after him.
Then the local playboy weremoose hears about Vince, and Nathan has to find his inner alpha or the consequences will be worse than moldy hazelnuts.




Excerpt:



“Breakfast,” Vince said and waved a hand toward the table.
It was a squirrel’s wet dream. Or it would have been, if good-enough-to-lick-all-over-then-eat Vince hadn’t been sitting on the other side of the table. Maybe he could say it was any other squirrel’s wet dream—whatever, it was the breakfast of Roman squirrel emperors.  
A pile of thick, deep brown pancakes waited for him in the center of his plate. Raspberries and shaved almonds sprawled seductively over the side of the stack, glistening with sweet, sticky maple syrup. Some of the less audacious ones hid decorously beneath the edges of a heavy daub of whipped cream, but Nathan knew they were there, waiting for him to discover them. He could see them peeking diffidently out, uncertain whether they wanted to attract his attention or not.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

ARC Review: The Covenenant, by M LeAnne Phoenix

From the blurb:

When love is forbidden, who can you trust? Seventeen-year-old David has been best friends with Jonathan for as long as he can remember, but the day he sees the pastor’s daughter press a soft kiss to Jonathan’s cheek everything changes. Overcome by jealousy, his explosive reaction reveals a deeper connection that sends their relationship spiraling down into dangerous territory. When their clandestine love is discovered, they have nowhere to turn for help. The brutal circumstances of their parting test David and Jonathan’s covenant to each other in unimaginable ways. Forced to face their fears, it is in their darkest moments that the two young men discover that the courage, hope, and strength they need to fight for their love, has been the foundation of their covenant all along.






AnnaLund's rating:





The story runs, skips, and ducks, and my heart is in my throat most of the time, never thinking the boys will make it out in one piece. But they duck like pros, so there is HEA at the end. **phew**

I have no idea what the author wants to do with these boys going forwards, as this is book 1 in a series. There is, however, a good feeling of completion at the end, so it is certainly a stand-alone book.

All the biblical stuff just swooshed past me, as I am not much of a christian at all, but it was a fun backdrop to the telling of this specific covenant between a David and a Jonathan. It is set in Texas in the early 90s, and that can’t have been an easy time and place in which to be gay. When we get angry about things today, it does us good to look back, just a few years, and see how far we have come, after all.

There were a lot of teenage sexy times in this book. I never really understood how old the boys were, but I surmise underage, even if not by much, which might rub some people the wrong way. It was never explicit, nor exploitative, but quite insistent. Mostly, it was teenage hormones boiling in their blood. That’s good, if you like that kind of thing. For me personally, it got to be a tad too much, but then again, I’m currently off the sexy.

ARC Review: Rock N Soul by Lauren Sattersby

Rock N Soul
From the blurb:

I’m Tyler Lindsey, and until recently, I had an okay apartment, an okay girlfriend, and an okay job as a bellboy at a respectable Boston hotel. Then rock star Chris Raiden died right before I brought his room service—stiffing me on the tip, by the way—and my life went to hell. My fifteen minutes of fame was more like five seconds, and my girlfriend left me in disgust.

But even worse—Chris is haunting me. Not the room where he died, like a normal ghost. No, somehow he’s stuck to me and is insisting on taking care of a bunch of unfinished business in California. So now I have to traipse across the country with the world’s most narcissistic ghost.

But . . . I keep having these weird thoughts. Thoughts about how much I like the way he makes me laugh. Thoughts where I kind of want to kiss the emo-narcissist, even though he’s a ghost and an asshole and I can’t touch him anyway. And even if I could, what will happen when he finishes his business and nothing’s keeping him here anymore?
 




Heather's rating:





Holy crap, you guys, I LOVED this book.

And, yes, it totally took me by surprise.

First of all, Lauren Sattersby is a newbie author, which automatically made my expectations pretty low. Secondly, rock star books are not really my thing, and they can be pretty hit or miss for me.

But, seriously, I'm in mourning that Lauren Sattersby has no backlist for me to devour because I am so crushing on her author-style right now!!

This book was right up my alley for a lot of reasons.

It is slooooooow burn-y. Like really, really slow, which I actually love. It is a HUGE pet peeve of mine when a book doesn't take its time to develop the sexual chemistry and romance. I like the MCs to be friends or just meeting when the book starts, then slowly the attraction builds. That is exactly how this book was for me. Sure, some may say that these guys take too long to get to any action, but for me, the pacing was just spot on.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

ARC Review: Hard Candy (Bend or Break #7) by Amy Jo Cousins

Hard Candy (Bend or Break, #7)
Blurb:
Vincent Lim always assumed his best friend (and occasional hookup) Austin would be waiting for him—that eventually they’d end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss.

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with a dance major, Vinnie knows the drill. Minimize the embarrassment by pretending they’ve never met. Yet Bryan’s vibrant spirit and calm center lure Vinnie like a shelter from an emotional storm.

But Vinnie’s thrown off his game by the rest of Bryan’s total package. Vinnie’s a rowing jock with a single-minded focus on living up to his parents’ academic and social expectations. Bryan might as well be outfitted with glittery butterfly wings—with plenty of pride to match. Vinnie’s haphazard attention to a lover won’t cut it this time.

Physically, they can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction.




Todd's rating:




Well, that was a bit of a pleasant surprise.

When I first started reading how Bryan, a Nicky Minaj-lovin' hip hop dancer from Atlanta, was fine wearing hot pink booty shorts and a mesh half-shirt to class (in *February* in New England), I immediately thought, "Wow, this guy's femme is going to be waaaay too over the top for my personal tastes."

However, although Bryan never "toned it down" (his words,) he actually won me over in the end and no one could be more shocked than I am on that count.

He was pretty irreverent, which I generally found amusing, especially when he was teasing Vinnie and slowly getting him to relax a bit.
Sweet baby Jesus, Vincent, nobody’s gonna die here. You look like you’re headed for the cross, honey.
The story had lots of feels and both Bryan and Austin, while not without their flaws, were generally more mature in their actions than I really expected from them.

It was refreshing to see how Vinnie, with stick firmly planted up his arse, started to change. And grow. And actually care, which was a big difference from him being "a total prick most of the time" (Rafi's words.)

ARC Review: Love Me Like a Rock (Bend or Break #6) by Amy Jo Cousins

Love Me Like a Rock (Bend or Break, #6)
Blurb:
In art and in love, it s the rough edges that make things interesting.

Having grown up with artistic implements always in hand, there's almost nothing Austin can't make real. Except for one thing—an official relationship with his best friend, rowing teammate and occasional hookup, Vinnie.


The combination of emotional and sexual frustration fuels a spark between Austin and the nude model in his drawing class. Austin isn't used to having trouble focusing; models are merely challenging subjects to be rendered on paper. But the geology TA's direct blue gaze is powerful enough to drag Austin's focus away from his physique.


After a quick and very dirty post-class encounter, all the reasons that Austin has been waiting for his best friend go fuzzy in his mind. Sean is nothing like Vinnie. Sean is persistent, pays attention, and makes it clear he wants to be together.


But if Austin can't get his head and his heart on the same page, he could lose his friend, or his lover. Or both.



Todd's rating:




This one left me not sure exactly what to think.

Did I like the book? Sure.

Did it leave me feeling that there were enough interactions between Austin and Vinnie? Uhhh, no.

It felt like Austin and Vinnie said barely 100 words to one another on-page for the entire book. I needed to be shown more about why I should care more about what they had, or could have possibly had to make this story work fully work for me.

So did I love the book as a whole? Ehhh.

I did really like Austin, a lot. And I kinda loved Sean, but he was written as nearly the perfect guy, which felt a bit too 'wrapped up with a bow' for me. Sorry, that's just how I felt.

The one thing that I felt out of place regarding Sean was what he said after the big reconciliation scene. I'm not sure if " Sean's Big Fuck Up " was really necessary, as what he said seemed so out of place when compared to his previous pursual of Austin. That part felt a bit contrived to me.

The story was extremely sex-centric, as they essentially started out being a no strings attached, repeating hook up, before the actual feels came into play for Austin. (The feelings were there the entire time for Sean, kept simmering just below the surface.)

But when things started getting more serious, *that* was when I actually began enjoying the book more. I just wish it had happened a bit sooner.

As the book ends, with a nice epilogue, Austin and Sean have a strong HFN, with hopes of an HEA, if they put in the required effort.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Kindle Weekly Deals~ Week of 2/20/16- 2/26/16

"In the Middle of Somewhere" by Roan Parrish- M/M, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $0.99!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25687508-in-the-middle-of-somewhere?ac=1&from_search=1&from_nav=true

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"Wild Pitch" by Sloan Johnson- M/M, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $0.99!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24597806-wild-pitch?ac=1&from_search=1&from_nav=true

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"Ravenous" by R.G. Alexander- M/F/M romance~ Price drop to $0.99!
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"Promises" by A.E. Via- M/M, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $0.99!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27157568-promises-part-1?ac=1&from_search=1&from_nav=true

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ARC Review: Tartan Candy by K.C Burn

Tartan Candy
From the blurb:

Finlay McIntyre (aka Raven) is a successful adult film star with a penchant for kilts, until an accident cuts short his stardom and leaves him with zero sexual desire, lowered self-esteem, and no job. He knew his porn career wouldn’t last forever, but he wasn’t prepared for retirement at twenty-eight. While trying to figure out the rest of his life, Raven agrees to attend a high school reunion. That’s when a malfunctioning AC unit in his hotel room changes everything.

Caleb Sanderson, an entrepreneur with his own HVAC business, has no idea what to expect when he steps into Raven’s hotel room to fix his AC unit. They’re attracted to each other, but Caleb, closeted, can’t afford a gay relationship, not with his mom pressuring him to produce grandchildren. If he wants to keep Raven—who no closet could hold—he’ll need to tell his family the truth. But Raven has a few secrets of his own. He refuses to reveal his porn past to Caleb, a past that might be the final obstacle to Caleb and Raven having any kind of relationship.

Heather's rating:




I've read a TON of porn star books, and they usually tend to be angsty affairs. This one was no different. I really enjoyed the slow relationship development (but with lots of attraction right from the start), and the plot, though I had a few niggles that dropped down my rating a tad.

Raven is a former porn star who is trying to find his way after an accident leaves him unable to work in the adult film industry. This book is totally hurt/comfort, which I've read time and time again but can't really get enough of. Raven is shy about his body after his accident, and I liked how Caleb was patient in breaking down his barriers.

To be honest, I had a hard time picturing Raven as a porn star. He is a quiet, introverted person, and doesn't have that exhibitionist streak that I sometimes see in porn star characters. I know that Raven has some trauma and hang-ups after his accident, but this book leaned a little towards "magic healing dick" syndrome for my taste. Caleb brought back Raven's sexual desire really easily, though their physical relationship took a long time to develop, which I appreciated.

Blogtour: The Unicorn by Delphine Dryden





Today we're closing out the blogtour for Delphine Dryden with 

The Unicorn 





Blurb:

Delia and Daniel have a picture-perfect life. They like their jobs. They love their house. Everything is coming up roses . . . but in private, they’d rather have the thorns. Their recent forays into kink have brought them closer than ever, but there’s still something missing, and they can’t quite work it out.

Mara knows what she’s missing: a significant other. She tried vanilla, and it was a total bust. But when she and her last girlfriend took things out of the kink club and into the “real” world, they fizzled. Even their friendship is on the rocks now. Mara feels like a lost stray, looking for a forever home.

When the three of them meet up at the brand-new club Escape, their connection is instant. And surprising—none of them were expecting more than a few hot nights. But now they might be ready to bring their kinky threesome into the light of day and build a life together.


Publisher's note: This title is a heavily revised re-issue of a prior story, Roses and Chains, originally released in 2011.



Get the book:






Hi! I’m Delphine Dryden, touring the internet to talk about my latest book, The Unicorn. It’s a geeky, kinky M/F/F romp, it’s part of Riptide’s “Escape” universe, and it’s a much-expanded version of an earlier story called Roses and Chains. Thanks so much to all the blogs hosting the tour! Be sure to comment on tour posts for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate and your choice of two books from my backlist.



Top 5 Reasons I Almost Didn’t Write... [Fill in Book Title Here]


I’m writing this post about my latest release, The Unicorn...but it could apply just as easily to any book I’ve ever written. Sometimes the order is a little different (often the depression/anxiety parts shoots to #1 with a bullet). But generally these are the reasons I don’t get writing done...and I don’t see this changing any time soon! Writers, you’ll recognize these. Aspiring writers, take heed. Readers, have all the sympathy you can muster!


5) Other People:


I could also call this one “how I interact with others as a writer.” When I started out in this field in 2008 or so, I was still working full time for a school district, writing a few thousand words here and there late at night. It was very much a sideline, and I was as surprised as the next person when I got published almost right away. And even by a few years later when I quit the school job to do writing/creative field stuff full time, I tended to still think of it as a hobby, not my actual job. I am still bad at setting limits and treating my writing career as my Actual Job ™. If people ask me to do something—or even just want to interact in person or online—I have trouble saying, “I can’t right now because I’m writing.” But I’m getting better at this, so it’s down to number five. I call that a win!


4) Other Books


Other books are distracting as heck. Reading them is entertaining (I am a narrative junkie, see item #1); it can also feel like working on craft, if I’m taking enough notice of the structure to sense that I’m learning about the writing process as I’m reading. Reading in one’s genre is also essential, we all know that (I don’t actually read much in my own sub-genre; I tend to read historicals and the occasional contemporary that isn’t erotic romance). So it’s easy to rationalize reading when I ought to be writing. Plus my TBR is...too many books to be believed, really. It’s some large number that the human mind has difficulty conceptualizing.


3) Depression with an Anxiety Chaser


Like I said, sometimes this becomes THE BIG ONE and I can’t write at all. But in all cases, even when I’m doing well and my medication is working optimally and I’m not actively experiencing anxiety/panic symptoms...my brain is weird. I have to set up systems to get things done, and sometimes I’ll circumvent my own systems to avoid the work anyway. I trick myself and don’t even realize it until it’s too late. I enjoy writing, and my other main job which is editing...but if I put my tasks for those jobs on a to-do list it generates just enough anxiety for me to become avoidant toward it, so I often procrastinate until it’s near-late or late and I have to do the work in last-second panic mode. I do a lot of my best writing in that mode, I won’t lie about that—but it’s hardly a healthy process or one I recommend.


2) The Day Job

Bookblast: Finding His Home by Thianna Durston



Please say hello to Thianna Durston and 

Finding His Home 
Men Of Falcon Pointe #2





Blurb:

Sebastien Cather moves to Falcon Pointe with a dream to live life his way. Offered a room at 959 Brenton Street, he discovers how liberating it can feel to live among accepting people, especially in a household where they practice loving physical discipline. And he quickly gains a boyfriend in Avery, a fellow student. Unfortunately Avery isn’t his first choice. His roommate David is fascinating and good-looking, and Bastien would do anything to have him—but he doesn’t think the attraction is returned.

Tensions rise as his roommates’ wedding is threatened and his present and past lives clash. Outed by the national media, Bastien knows he will never be able to return home again. Just as he’s sure he can’t handle any more stress, David shows his interest. Bastien slowly makes his way forward, trying to find firm footing in the minefield that is his life. But when his landlord makes an announcement about the future of the house, it may change all of his dreams.




Excerpt:



“Can I ask you something?”
“Sure.”
“I know you say you’re straight. Ever wondered if you weren’t?” The moment the words were out of his mouth, he wished he could bite them back. “No. That came out wrong. What I meant was—” David lifted a hand to forestall whatever he was going to say. Which was a good thing because Bastien had no idea what was about to pour out of his mouth.
“I don’t think anyone is completely het or homosexual. Kinsey made a scale to place someone as to their sexual preference. Of course that was before more genders became acceptable. The chart’s divided into seven possibilities—everything from completely straight to completely gay. It’s my personal belief that we all slide along the scale. At different times in our lives, we may move one or two spots to the left or right. Some have been known to slide from one side to the other.” He shrugged. “In college I was a lot more experimental than I am today. I’ve been with men as well as women. For me it has more to do with the person than the sex they are.”
“What do you mean?”

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Author Of The Month - Kim Fielding - Grand Finale



Welcome to our Grand Finale celebrations for the stupendously talented 





For our final post, we're going to talk about Motel.Pool., Housekeeping, and Pilgrimage, plus you'll see our Q&A with Kim, and get one more chance to win one of her books!



Let's start with Motel.Pool.:


Blurb:

In the mid-1950s, Jack Dayton flees his working-class prospects in Omaha and heads to Hollywood, convinced he’ll be the next James Dean. But sleazy casting couches don't earn him stardom, and despair leads to a series of poor decisions that ultimately find him at a cheap motel off Route 66, lifeless at the bottom of the pool.

Sixty years later, Tag Manning, feeling hopeless and empty, flees his most recent relationship mistake and takes to the open road. On a roundabout route to Las Vegas, he pulls over to rest at an isolated spot on Route 66. There’s no longer a motel or pool, but when Tag resumes his journey to Vegas, he finds he’s transporting a hitchhiking ghost. Jack and Tag come to find much-needed friends in each other, but one man is a phantom and the other is strangely cursed. Time is running out for each of them, and they must face the fact that a future together may not only be a gamble... it may not be in the cards.




Excerpt:

“Fuck!” Tag shouted. He rolled down the car window and let the slipstream tear the postcard from his fingers. It disappeared into the darkness.
“That was littering,” said an accusing voice.
Tag whipped his head to the side—and saw a man grinning at him from the passenger seat. Tag screamed. The car swerved onto the shoulder. He overcorrected, turning sharply the other way, flying across the northbound lane and onto gravel, spinning sideways. For an eternal moment, the car was poised to roll, teetering like a tightrope walker on a windy day. Tag wasn’t wearing a seat belt. He took a breath and waited to die. Then the Camry found its balance and skidded to a halt.
Without even planning to move, Tag flung open his door and leapt out of the car. But then he stood there, breathing hard, every muscle in his body tensed. After several seconds, the passenger door opened. Someone got out—Tag couldn’t see details—and sauntered to the front of the car, where he was illuminated by the headlights.
He was a young man, twenty, maybe twenty-one years old. His sandy hair was short on the sides but longer on top, swept back in a sort of pompadour that probably required a lot of product. He was a couple of inches taller than Tag’s five eight. His plain white tee stretched over wide shoulders and a muscular chest and tucked into the trim waist of his blue jeans. He was smiling.
As Tag gaped, the man turned his back and perched his butt on the hood of the Camry. Tag didn’t see how the guy managed to produce a cigarette and lighter, but the flame flickered brightly, the guy exhaled noisily, and a cloud of smoke drifted through the headlight beams.
Tag stepped around his open door and walked in front of the car. The man looked relaxed, a little amused. “You almost killed yourself just now,” he observed.
“Who the fuck are you? And how the hell…?” Tag ran a shaky hand through his hair. Had he really been so preoccupied as not to notice someone sitting in his backseat when he left the park? He certainly would have noticed him climbing into the front. It wasn’t like the Camry was a big vehicle.
The guy took another puff and tapped ashes onto the ground. “My name’s Jack Dayton.” He tilted his head slightly. “Maybe you heard of me? I was in a couple of movies.”
Tag shook his head mutely, and Jack shrugged. “They weren’t very big parts.”
“But what the fuck…? How…?” Tag smoothed his hair back, as if that might help make sense of things—or at least enable him to utter a coherent sentence. But he remained incredibly confused, his heart beating wildly. Later he might decide that was a good thing; his heart hadn’t been beating much at all lately. But now he only felt like he needed a chair and a stiff drink.
Jack took a few more leisurely drags on his cigarette before grinding it out beneath his heel. He wore black leather boots that looked like they’d seen a lot of miles. “I hitched a ride. Didn’t think you’d mind.”
“Hitched? But… I locked my car. And I didn’t see you, not until just now.”

“Locks aren’t a problem for me. And as for the rest….” Jack blinked out of existence.



Get the book:






Housekeeping:




Blurb:

When Nicky Hauser walks in on his restaurant-owner boyfriend having sex with a waiter, Nicky loses his lover, his job, and his home all in one night. Although he’s nearly thirty, he’s never settled on a true career, and he has nothing to show for his years with Tom. Depressed and unable to find work, Nicky ends up couch-surfing with friends until he lands a house-sitting gig for a wealthy family.

When Nicky’s clients discover that he loves to clean, demand for his services skyrockets. Word of mouth leads him to Spencer Cartwright, a busy computer consultant and a slob. Spencer and his wife divorced when he came out, but he’s never found the time or courage to settle down with a man. As Nicky sets Spencer’s house to rights, the two men find friendship. But Nicky’s past experiences make him wary of risking everything on love.




Get the book:






Pilgrimage:



Blurb:

Fiscal analyst Mike Carlson is good with spreadsheets and baseball stats. He doesn’t believe in fate, true love, or fantasy. But then a fertility goddess whisks him away to another world. A promise has been broken, and if Mike is ever to return to California—and his comfortable if lonely life—he must complete a pilgrimage to the shrines of a death goddess.

A humiliating event convinces Mike to hire a guard to accompany him, and hunky Goran is handy enough with a sword, if a little too liberal with his ale. A man with no home and no family, Goran is deeper than he first appears. As Mike learns more about Goran, his disbelief wavers and his goals become less clear. Contending with feuding gods, the challenges of the journey, and his growing attraction to Goran, Mike faces a puzzle far harder to solve than simple rows of numbers.


Excerpt:


It was time to hit the road. He waited for the hostess or one of her family members to approach his table. Maybe they could tell him how far away Kutina was and how to get there. Instead, one of the other customers rose from his seat, strolled across the room, and collapsed onto the bench across from Mike.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Book Review: The Trap by Claire Davis and Al Stewart


Blurb:
When Sal attends an open exam for an apprentice artist to work alongside the infamous Matthew Picard, the last thing he expects is to be the winner. But then his role is revealed and nothing is ever the same again. As he toils day and night on the unique sculpture, strange sensations begin to affect both him and the watching master artist.

Matthew Picard thought he was through with men and love. What he wanted was for Sal to help him create one final monstrous masterpiece - The Trap.

But as he observes his young apprentice, his focus shifts, and so do the very walls of the gallery.

Is it the beauty of art, or something more magical at work?

As the sculpture is created, a power is unlocked.

Can love save them, or will they be trapped forever?


Dani's rating:




Sal has a tiny bedsit with a dripping tap. He works at a bakery. His mother can't be bothered with him, yet he dutifully calls her every week. Sal is meek. Quiet.

Trapped.

When Sal is granted a coveted apprenticeship working for the astonishing artist, Matthew Picard, he is reborn. Sal doubts and strips himself bare. He must be empty to create.

And Matthew watches; he watches and yearns.

Initially, Matthew thinks in WORDS. It's cement and water and ENERGY. Matthew's been hurt and has locked away his heart. But he wants to mentor Sal, touch him, fill him.

Art, desire, creativity, LOVE: they are all madness, different sides of the same dice.

This is a gorgeous, sensual story, part contemporary dark fairy tale, part magical realism, part true love.

Love was not a guarantee or a right, sometimes it squeezed and sometimes it burned.

We can claw our way out of the ashes and smile. We can dream and touch and MAKE something real. We design our own traps and build our own prisons. And we can set ourselves free.

Release Blast: When Adam Fell by Pat Henshaw




Congratulations and Happy Release Day to Pat Henshaw with  

When Adam Fell 



Cover Art by AngstyG
Blurb:

When his lover Jason’s drug addiction spiraled out of control, TV celebrity chef and cookbook author Adam de Leon walked away from him. Adam also abandoned his renowned restaurant in San Francisco to start a small bistro in the Sierra Foothills.

Five years later Adam is battling the conservative leaders of Stone Acres, California, to open a new restaurant in historic Old Town when Jason turns up on his doorstep—a recovered Jason, now going by the name David and claiming he’s overcome his addictions. What’s more, he begs Adam to take him back and says he’s ready for their happily ever after.

Adam has enough on his plate with problems plaguing the opening of his restaurant. And now he’s having a hard time deciding which to follow—his head or his heart.



Excerpt:


I watched Jason rise from the stoop.
He looked good. His golden hair sparkled in the day’s first light. A happy smile tinged with nervousness spread across his lips. He was wearing a silver-gray Bogner jacket, some sort of expensive pants, and sturdy boots. Hanging from his shirt collar, his sunglasses looked like those high-priced titanium ones. All in all, the guy standing in front of me could easily have fit into the young, hip app crowd now flooding the valley. Too much money and no idea where to spend it. He looked like a guy who’d eat at the Bistro and then fucking strut up to me after dinner, put a wad of Franklins in my pocket, and whisper, “Quit this job and come cook for me.”
Nothing tempted me, especially not the hundred-dollar bills I’d thought were Monopoly money the first time I’d seen them. Nothing had moved me like this, seeing Jason rise straight up in front of me like a fucking miracle.
Standing there in my scuffed clogs, beat-up jeans, and ratty Stanford Cardinal T-shirt, I felt underdressed for this particular dream. Shouldn’t I at least be wearing my chef’s regalia, toque and all? Shouldn’t I have a Henckel in one hand and a Wüsthof in the other? Or maybe clutching a shield made of my cooking classics, which I’d written with an angry, tormented mind but a clear eye to royalties?
“Cat got your tongue?” the vision asked.
“Fucking A, man. Is it really you, Jason?”
“Sorta. Who else would come knocking at your door looking like me?” He flung his arms out like he wanted me to hug him or some shit.
I backed away and kept my hands to myself, though my dick perked up immediately. Did Jason have a twin or a younger brother, somebody who resembled him? I didn’t think so. All I’d thought for five years was nobody—and I mean nobody—could ever have come back from where my Jason had buried himself. At least I never thought so.
There’ve been moments in my life when I was sure I was losing my mind. When I knew whatever tenuous grasp on reality I thought I had was really smoke up my ass. This moment smacked of those. As the legendary John Fogerty sang and the great Yogi Berra is supposed to have said, it was like déjà vu all over again. Only not.

Cover Reveal: As Autumn Leaves by Kate Sands




We're delighted to reveal the cover for Kate Sands' upcoming novel 

As Autumn Leaves 





Hi there! I’m Kate Sands and today is the cover reveal for my new Young Adult novella As Autumn Leaves, published through Harmony Ink Press. It’s a story centered around a teen girl and her journey on discovering her asexuality. I’m very excited about sharing this beautiful cover with you all. Thanks very much to My Fiction Nook for hosting!


The Blurb:


Sixteen-year-old Kayla Caruso, once a well-liked cheerleader, knows that something sets her apart from her classmates. Her reluctance to have sex with a boy she was seeing earned her both the title of “Ice Queen” and the disdain of the other students. Bullied and alone, Kayla finds solace in one of her dwindling group of friends. Althea Ritter is a volleyball star and rumoured to be a lesbian. As Kayla’s interest in Althea grows, so does her confusion. Is she attracted to men or women? Both? Neither? Why does sex even have to matter? Kayla explores her muddled feelings, trying to discover where she fits in, and soon realizes her identity might not be as simple as gay or straight.


Get the book:






The Cover:

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