Monday, July 31, 2017

Audio book Review: Heart Unseen by Andrew Grey

From The Blurb:
As a stunningly attractive man and the owner of a successful chain of auto repair garages, Trevor is used to attention, adoration, and getting what he wants. What he wants tends to be passionate, no-strings-attached flings with men he meets in clubs. He doesn't expect anything different when he sets his sights on James. Imagine his surprise when the charm that normally brings men to their knees fails to impress. Trevor will need to drop the routine and connect with James on a meaningful level. He starts by offering to take James home instead of James riding home with his intoxicated friend. 
For James, losing his sight at a young age meant limited opportunities for social interaction. Spending most of his time working at a school for the blind has left him unfamiliar with Trevor's world, but James has fought hard for his independence, and he knows what he wants. Right now, that means stepping outside his comfort zone and into Trevor's heart. 
Trevor is also open to exploring real love and commitment for a change, but before he can be the man James needs him to be, he'll have to deal with the pain of his past. 
Listening Length: 7 hours and 10 minutes



Karen's rating:




Sometimes the heart sees what the eyes don't...

Trevor's an attractive and successful businessman. He's use to getting whatever man he wants. If his bed's empty it's because he wants it that way. He's a player. He does one night stands, hook-ups but not relationships and that's been fine up until now...up until he looks up and across the dance floor of the club where he's out with some friends and sees James. He's drawn to James and thinks he's the most beautiful man he's ever laid eyes on.

Trevor crosses the dance floor to introduce himself and finds himself stumped when he's not met with the usual response to his attentions. Eventually he goes back to his friends feeling more than a little confused only to discover that James wasn't taken with his looks because he couldn't see him...James is blind has been since he was very young. In light of this new information Trevor decides to try again with James.

I really enjoyed this story. I loved how independent James was and his family. I often find that families can be too perfect or to flawed and for me James's family had more balance. His mom drove me a little crazy at times and yet it was clear that she loved her son and really did want the best for him, his sister was awesome and I really enjoyed their relationship. They were close and that was cool...it happens. I loved that she was teaching her son that being blind was just another part of who James was...it didn't make him less or more just different and different, is ok.

Audio book Review: Cleansing Flame by Andrew Grey

From The Blurb:
Sequel to Rekindled Flame 
Rekindled Flame: Book Two 
Life has been grinding Dayne Mills down almost for as long as he can remember. First he lost the love of his life in an accident that also left him with a permanent injury, and then his mother passed away a year later. When his house burns to the ground, it’s the last straw. He can’t take any more, and if it wasn’t for kind and handsome firefighter Lawson Martin offering him a hand up and a place to stay, he doesn’t know what he’d do. Dayne would love for his relationship with Lawson to evolve into something beyond charity, but he knows going after a man so far out of his league will only lead to yet more heartache. It’s best to just keep his mind on his research. 
It’s that research that leads Dayne to an old student journal that not only provides clues to the Native American heritage Lawson has been searching for, but chronicles a century-old love story. The tale that unfolds might be just what Dayne and Lawson need to remind them that no matter how dark life becomes, love can find a way to shine through. 
Listening Time: 6 hrs, 11 mins




Karen's rating:




If I liked reading this one...

the audio book totally made me love this one.

I liked this book a lot back in March when I read it so I think it goes without saying that when a chance to listen to the audio book presented itself I was all over that and if anything I'm liking it a whole lot more, so there's no read change where my original review of 'Cleansing Flame' is concerned. So I'm just going to add a link to my original review because there's really no point to fixing what isn't broken...
Original Review: Cleansing Flame

ARC Review: Arrows Through Archer by Nash Summers

Blurb:

Built from the bottom up: one perfect gentleman. 

After the loss of his parents, Archer Hart is consumed by grief. Each day, he struggles his way through classes, parties, and trying to put on a good front for the sake of his best friend. But at night, he falls asleep to the sound of gunshots ringing in his ears.

Mallory is a man fighting a war of emotions all his own. When his son invites his best friend back home to Banff over a college break, he’s happy for the company.

Some time during the late-night talks, subtle smiles, and long, long silences, the two men begin to find solace in one another.

But love isn’t always easy, especially when it strikes you straight through the heart.


Dani's rating:


Maybe if this universe of ours was different. Maybe if everything was different and the sky was the ocean and the clouds were the soil. Maybe if life hadn't engrained me with apprehension or uncertainty or a longing for some things I obviously could not have. Maybe then, we would've had words for each other.

Nash Summers' writing needs no accolades. It stands apart in stark beauty.

Arrows Through Archer is about love and loss, grief and loneliness; it's about being stuck and moving on.

I wasn't anticipating Mallory's actions. I wish he'd done more to seek out Archer versus waiting for chance (or fate?).

This isn't an easy romance; it's angsty and sad. Yet so many things about this story appealed to me:


Blogtour: The Valentine's Day Resolution by Ava Hayden




Please say hello to Ava Hayden with 

The Valentine's Day Resolution 






Blurb:

Huxley carries invisible scars from a near-fatal car accident. He sleepwalks through a job at his father’s company, marking time until he can quit and pursue his own dreams. Everything changes the moment he makes eye contact with a stranger while riding to work. It’s as if he’s been shaken out of his stupor, and Huxley vows to find the man.

Thanks to a thieving ex-lover, Paul’s florist shop is on the brink of closing down. He needs to milk Valentine’s Day for all it’s worth—and the irony that a day dedicated to love might help undo the damage of a failed relationship is not lost on him.

When Huxley finds Paul at his shop, both men feel an instant attraction. Before long, they’re falling hard, but Huxley holds back. If Paul knew all the baggage he’s carrying, he might run.

Paul’s gut tells him Huxley is hiding something. Huxley looks like a keeper, but Paul can’t go through another disastrous romance.

When Valentine’s Day arrives, will they have anything to celebrate?


Get the book:


  






Thanks to My Fiction Nook for hosting me today to talk about The Valentine’s Day Resolution!
Have you ever had the kind of friend who won’t let you get away with anything but who is always there for you? Or the kind of friend whose natural personality is over-the-top and who is unconcerned about anyone else’s opinion in public or in private? Combine all of the above, and you get Carson, Paul’s best friend.
Carson encourages Paul to go after Huxley. He’s a cheerleader and a supporter and later, when things aren’t going so well, Carson is there to offer a sympathetic ear for Paul but also some tough love. Sometimes that’s what we need from our friends—a reality check, not a rubber stamp.

Exclusive excerpt:
Paul pushed back from his desk. If he was going to finish reconciling accounts, he’d need more coffee. He pushed the palms of his hands against his eyes for a moment. I’m so tired. He hated spending time on this sort of basic bookkeeping, but he couldn’t afford to pay his accountant to do routine work he could do.
Sade’s “Cherish the Day” played, and Paul picked up his phone. “What’s up, Carson?”
“Honey, are you still at work?”
Paul suppressed a sigh. “Yep.”
“I was hoping you’d go out tonight.”
“No can do. I’ve got to finish up December bookkeeping.”
Pouty silence.
“Believe me, I’d rather go out, but this has to get done.”
“What about tomorrow night?”
“I’ve actually got plans.” Paul stood and carried the phone over to the kitchenette. He filled a coffeepot with his free hand.
“Plans? Do tell. Is there a man involved?”
Paul laughed. “I’m going to the game tomorrow. That’s all.”
“Alone?”

Sunday, July 30, 2017

ARC Review: Olivier by T. J. Nichols

From The Blurb:
Olivier Merlo works for a dangerous man. He does what he’s told without asking questions because he needs to protect his sister and niece. When someone gives his boss trouble, Olivier does what he does best. It’s a routine hit—until the victim’s brother starts poking around. 
Cody Anders left his family behind a decade ago—along with their wealth and influence—to live on his own terms. Still, he knows his twin didn’t die of a drug overdose, and he’ll do anything to find the truth. What he uncovers is a conspiracy that will topple his family and leave him staring down the barrel of a gun. 
Olivier must decide if he’s going to obey orders or free himself from the curse that has guided his hand for centuries. Cody, who challenges Olivier’s notion that no one can love him, holds the key to breaking his chains. But when the truth finally comes out, it might be more than Cody can accept.



Karen's rating:




'Olivier' is book #7 in the series 'Order of the Black Knights' and it's by T. J. Nichols. I'm really enjoying this series so far and while I haven't had the chance to read all of the books I've liked the ones that I have read and have hopes of going back to read the one's that I've had to miss.

'The Order of the Black Knights is very much a series that allows for the books to be read as standalones. There is one character that is a constant in each book and while he is the thread that ties the stories together each story gives a more than sufficient explanation of his connection.

Olivier works for organized crime. Essentially he's a hitman who refers to himself as a problem solver. But for as simple as this might look...appearances can be deceiving. Becoming a hitman was never his goal or ambition for him it was more about circumstances and circumstances are that he has a sister and a niece whom he loves dearly and will protect at any cost and if that cost is doing what he's told to without asking questions...he'll do it.

Audio book Review: Artistic Appeal by Andrew Grey

From The Blurb:
An Art Series novel 
Brian Watson knows close friends Gerald Young and Dieter Krumpf have an ulterior motive when they invite him to their Christmas party. Brian has taken over the case to secure the return of the famous painting called The Woman in Blue to Dieter, but they don’t want Brian to be all work and no play. They intend to set him up with a friend, but he’s not who catches Brian’s eye. Instead, it’s Nicolai, the deaf art restorer caring for the works already returned to Dieter. 
But pursuing Nicolai won’t be easy. A year ago Nicolai had to fight to regain his independence after a bad break-up, and he’s reluctant to give up his freedom a second time. Plus, Brian has competition in Justin, Nicolai’s ex, who wants him back badly. 
Nicolai’s reluctance isn’t the only roadblock. Brian was married to a woman for almost ten years. Now he has to confess to his mother, his ex-wife, and his young daughter that he loves a man—all while conducting a potentially groundbreaking court case and trying to convince Nicolai that love isn’t about co-dependence, it’s about support. 
Listening Length: 6 hours and 42 minutes



Karen's rating:




I really had to think long and hard on whether I was going to give this one a chance. Mostly because book 1 in this series was barely ok for me and I'm a bit of an Andrew Grey fan so, truthfully this made me a bit sad, I'm also a firm believer in second chances so ultimately I figured I should put my money where my mouth is so to speak and that's how I came to be here writing a review for the audio book 'Artistic Appeal' book #2 in Andrew Grey's 'Art' series.

While the MCs in 'Artistic Appeal' are a different pairing a lot of the events from 'Legal Artistry' the first book in this series carry forward to this story resulting in the fact that while I may not have enjoyed the first book as much as this one, I am glad that I took the time to listen to 'Artistic Appeal' because it definitely was to my benefit when I got to this story.

Brian Watson is good friend of Dieter and Gerald the MCs from 'Artistic Appeal' as well as Gerald's colleague and the lawyer who takes over Dieter's case that started in 'Artistic Appeal' and resolves with this story.

When Gerald and Dieter invite Brian to a dinner party with the hopes of playing matchmaker with one of Dieter's friends things don't work out quite the way they're anticipating.  It's Nicolai who captures Brian's attention. Nicolai is an art restorer who has been taking care of the artworks that have recently been returned to Dieter and he's fast becoming a dear friend to Dieter as well.

I really liked the character of Nicolai. He's deaf but he's portrayed as an independent, capable and very functional person. Like anyone who has a sensory impairment he's learned to adjust and compensate for his hearing loss.

Audio book Review: Artistic Pursuits by Andrew Grey

From The Blurb:
Frank Jennings is an FBI agent looking for redemption. Leslie Carlton is an Interpol agent looking for a thief. Attraction flares from the moment they meet on a case searching for a stolen triptych of unique Tiffany windows, but after a single night of stunning passion, Leslie is called back to London to continue his search there. 
When the case heats up again, Leslie returns to the States—and to Frank—but their investigation is complicated by their tumultuous feelings. Is it possible for two dedicated detectives to pursue each other while they’re tracking down stolen art and the unscrupulous man who steals it? 
Length: 6 hours, 39 minutes



Karen's rating:




I'm betwixt and between on this one...

'Artistic Pursuits' is book #3 in Andrew Grey's 'Art' series and I have to admit I'm not sure how I'm feeling about this one. There was a lot that I liked about this story but there were also a few niggles. So at the end of my ponderings this one for me was a little better than good but didn't make it into 'I really love it' territory.

I really liked the overall plot on this one. Mystery/thriller type stories are and always will be catnip for me. Add in that the focus of this story is stolen artworks...specifically Tiffany windows and it was definitely a win for me.

While you could read this one as a stand alone there is a bit of a cross over with Brian and Nicholai the MCs from book 2 having a role to play in this story, so I would probably recommend reading or listening, as I did, to the first two stories...not necessary but encouraged.

Frank Jennings is an FBI agent and one of the MCs in this story and Leslie Carlton works for Interpol. These men meet when the cases they are working on appear to be connected. When Leslie shows up in the states Frank doesn't hesitate to offer him a place to stay. Needless to say working their mutual cases together as well as spending a bit of time in close proximity only fuels the initial attraction that both men felt. After spending one passionate night together Leslie is recalled to London.

ARC Review: The Layover by Roe Horvat

The Layover
Blurb:
Eight years ago, Ondro Smrek fled Slovakia and the bigotry that drove his first lover to take his own life. The demons proved impossible to outrun, though, and now, desperate for somewhere to belong, Ondro is returning to start over. During a layover in Basel, Switzerland, he meets Jamie, an American living in Scotland who is as brilliant as he is beautiful.

Jaded Ondro never would have guessed he could fall in love during a brief layover—until now. When he is put in a position to offer Jamie comfort without hope of recompense, Ondro doesn’t hesitate. Soon, he catches a glimpse of the home he longs for. But with their separation looming, confessing his feelings would only lead to pain and humiliation. Life has taught Ondro not to hope, but then, he never believed in love at first sight either....






Jewel's rating:



The Layover has been all over my feed the past few days. I was unfamiliar with the author, but I decided to take a chance and read it for myself. The story, while short, was beautifully written and engaging and I'm wholeheartedly glad I gave this book a shot. Sometimes you've just got to take a chance, and as it turns out, that theme played heavily into the story that The Layover told, as well.

The Layover is about two men from two very different backgrounds and realities meeting by chance when they are both stranded in an airport. There are a lot of things this story could have turned into that it didn't. It could have turned into a sex-fest. It could've felt like insta-love. It could've felt trite. But it wasn't any of those things, at all. Instead, it was a story of two men getting to know each other and finding that they clicked beyond the physical. It was about taking chances. And it was the story of finding your way home.

Home. It's an interesting concept. It's both specific and vague. Home isn't always a place and sometimes a person can get so lost searching for it that they feel they'll never be able to find their way. But the lucky ones, whether by chance or sheer determination, do find home.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

ARC Reviews: The Bristol Collection by Josephine Myles

Junk (The Bristol Collection, #1)Blurb:

Letting go is the first step to healing…or bringing it all crashing down.

When an avalanche of books cuts off access to his living room, university librarian Jasper Richardson can no longer ignore the truth. His ever-growing piles of books, magazines and newspapers can no longer be classified as a “collection”. It’s a hoard, and he needs professional help.

Professional clutter clearer and counselor Lewis Miller thinks he’s seen it all, but even he has to admit he’s shocked. Not so much by the state of Jasper’s house, but by the level of attraction he still feels for the sexy bookworm he remembers from school.

What a shame that Lewis’s ethical code forbids relationships with clients. As Jasper makes slow but steady progress, though, the magnetic pull between them is so strong even Lewis is having trouble convincing himself it’s a temporary emotional attachment arising from the therapeutic process.

Jasper longs to prove to Lewis that this is the real deal. But first he’ll have to lay bare the root of his hoarding problem…and reveal the dark secret hidden behind his walls of books.

Product Warnings: Contains a level-headed counselor with a secret addiction, a bespectacled geek with a sweet tooth, a killer “to-be-read” pile, embarrassing parents, a van called Alice, and deliciously British slang.




My rating:





I can always count on Jo Myles to write a very British book, and this first one in the Bristol Collection has all the usual charm and style I expect from this author.

Jasper, he with the dull librarian job at the university and the unfashionable somewhat dowdy clothes, is a hoarder. Of books, magazine, newspapers, pamphlets - anything printed, really - and the immense collection in his house is preventing him from really living his life.

The book gave some great insights into what it must be like to live with this disorder (and it is a disorder, let's face it), and how it can impact a person so very detrimentally.

Intellectually, of course, Jasper realizes that he has a problem - unable to use most of the rooms in the house he inherited from his mother, he is cognizant that one day, and likely one day soon, one or more of the stacks of books and other printed materials will collapse and bury him. And yet, he cannot stop himself from bringing home ever more material, because he cannot allow books etc to be just thrown away. His home is a prison, more or less, but he just cannot stop. Even when he tries to remove a single book from his house, his mind simply shuts down and refuses to cooperate. Anxiety is trapping him, in more than just one way.

In a moment of clarity while in the clutches of an anxiety attack, Jasper reaches out to a brother-sister declutter/organizer team and soon meets Lewis and Carroll.

Lewis knows Jasper from long ago, when they were both in still in school, even though Lewis was a few years behind Jasper. Nursing a crush way back when, Lewis still feels the attraction when coming face to face with Jasper.

Jasper remembers Lewis too, and the admiration he had for the younger, but out and proud boy a few years below him.

At 30, Lewis still lives with his parents, dealing with unhappily falling in love with men he wants to change, and a bit of a shopping addiction, which explains his usual lack of funds and having to live with his somewhat eccentric mum and dad.

But attraction is burning brightly, and if it weren't for the dilemma of not dating a client, and Lewis' history of falling for men not good for him, he'd be climbing Jasper like a tree. As their relationship begins to change from a business transaction to friendship to lovers, some of Lewis' demons make him doubt and question his feelings and his motives, and he tries to set boundaries time and again, and breaches every single one himself.

Jasper is a complex and flawed character, full of shame for his hoarding, not willing to allow anyone into his home because of the hoarding, which has cost him what few friends he had, with occasional one-night-stands with his fuck-buddy Mas (he of book 2) the only real human contact he has. It is immediately clear how very lonely Jasper is, and how deeply he yearns for friendship and love. He's shy, but kind, and also has a bit of a backbone when pressed, and I really adored him. I wanted him to get help. I wanted to hug him.

It was fascinating to watch this story unfold. It's pretty quiet and sedate overall, and the romance between Jasper and Lewis grows ever so slowly, which made perfect sense within this plot, but you can see with every passing day how much stronger Jasper gets, how he and Lewis work not only on cleaning out the clutter but also on chasing away their respective demons.

A beautiful story, complex characters, a great supporting cast; this is a book definitely worth your time.


** I received a free copy of this book from Signal Boost Promotions as part of a re-release tour for this series. A positive review was not promised in return. **



Get the book:





Stuff (The Bristol Collection, #2)Blurb:

When Mr. Glad Rags meets Mr. Riches, the result is flaming fun.

Tobias “Mas” Maslin doesn’t need much. A place of his own, weekends of clubbing, a rich boyfriend for love and support. Too bad his latest sugar daddy candidate turns out to be married with kids. Mas wants to be special, not someone’s dirty little secret.

When he loses his job and his flat on the same day, his worlds starts unraveling…until he stumbles across a vintage clothing shop. Now to convince the reclusive, eccentric owner he’s in dire need of a salesman.

Perry Cavendish-Fiennes set up Cabbages and Kinks solely to annoy his controlling father. Truth be told, he’d rather spend every spare moment on his true passion, art. When Mas comes flaming into his life talking nineteen to the dozen, he finds himself offering him a job and a place to live.

He should have listened to his instincts. The shop is already financially on the brink, and Mas’s flirting makes him feel things he’s never felt for a man. Yet Mas seems convinced they can make a go of it—in the shop, and together.

Warning: Contains an eccentric, bumbling Englishman, a gobby drama queen, fantastic retro clothing, scary fairies, exes springing out of the woodwork, and a well-aimed glass of bubbly. Written in brilliantly British English.



My rating:




In this second book from the Bristol Collection, we meet Mas (again, sort of) who was Jasper's sometime fuck-buddy, suddenly out of a job and suddenly homeless. And nevermind the nasty security dude following him and accosting him in the store about the bottles of perfume Mas might be smuggling out in his backpack.

But Mas runs fast, and then slips into a small store while trying to hide from the big bad security dude.

Fortuitously, Mas ends up in a Vintage shop owned by Perry, who's a bit (okay, a lot) more posh than Mas. And quite startled at the young man popping into his store.

With her typical Britishness and fabulous sense of humor, Jo Myles lets their story unfold one vintage garment at a time. Mas is a quirky and often exasperating character, and Perry, much more sedate, doesn't quite know what to do with the quivering and bouncing slip of a boy.

I adored them both so much! Perry doesn't know what hit him, never thought of himself as gay, but holy hot boysecks, there's not a single thing he lets stand in his way once he allows Mas to sex him up. Except maybe for his belief that he's not good enough for Mas.

All the while, Mas has a similar issue thinking that he's not good enough for the very posh Perry in his vintage vests and shirts.

Of course, neither one of them has the guts to talk about their self-doubts so they just dodder along until - well, you read this for yourself.

A fitting continuation of book one, we also get to revisit with Jasper and Lewis, and their oh so happy ever after.

Utterly charming and adorable, this book made me smile and giggle and awww a lot. Perry is wonderful, Mas is slightly crazy, but together they just fit perfectly.

Recommended.


** I received a free copy of this book from Signal Boost Promotions as part of the re-release of this series. A positive review was not promised in return. **




Get the book:





Scrap (The Bristol Collection Book 3)Blurb:

When things come to a head, there’s nowhere to go but down…
On the surface, Derek “Call Me Dare” Nelson’s life is simple, doing up custom campervans while living in a slightly illegal caravan in his riverfront yard. When a handsome, smooth-talking developer offers to buy the land out from under his feet, Dare realizes it’s the same man he had to escort home from a party months ago for causing a drunken scene.

Grant Matravers lives a double life, attempting to adjust to weekends as a single, divorced gay man while staying closeted at work. The strain of keeping up the part-time pretense, missing his kids, and now a problematic attraction to the shave-headed, tattooed Dare, has worn his emotional barriers dangerously thin.

Dare blasts through those barriers in a way Grant isn’t prepared for, challenging everything he thought he knew about himself as a gay man. But as their chemistry heats up and the intimacy between them grows, Grant edges toward a decision that could blow up in his face. Exposing a hornet’s nest of complications that could destroy any chance for happily ever after.



My rating:




This third book in the Bristol Collection is about Grant (Mas' asshole cheating married ex) and Dare, who had a thing for Perry, but didn't succeed.

Blogtour: Spectred Isle by KJ Charles

Today we shine the spotlight on 

KJ Charles 

and 

Spectred Isle 

Expected Pub Date: August 3, 2017



Blurb:

Archaeologist Saul Lazenby has been all but unemployable since his disgrace during the War. Now he scrapes a living working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Saul knows it’s a lot of nonsense...except that he begins to find himself in increasingly strange and frightening situations. And at every turn he runs into the sardonic, mysterious Randolph Glyde.

Randolph is the last of an ancient line of arcanists, commanding deep secrets and extraordinary powers as he struggles to fulfil his family duties in a war-torn world. He knows there's something odd going on with the haunted-looking man who keeps turning up in all the wrong places. The only question for Randolph is whether Saul is victim or villain.

Saul hasn’t trusted anyone in a long time. But as the supernatural threat grows, along with the desire between them, he’ll need to believe in evasive, enraging, devastatingly attractive Randolph. Because he may be the only man who can save Saul’s life—or his soul.


Get the book:

    



Excerpt:


London 1923. Saul Lazenby, disgraced archaeologist, is reduced to working for Major Peabody, a crank who believes in magic. Saul first bumps into a mysterious man when a tree spontaneously combusts in a park. Now he and his employer are off on a train to investigate...


***


They sat in a six-person compartment, in the usual configuration of two facing benches. It was empty except for themselves, but as the whistle screeched and steam billowed, the door opened, and a man sprang in.
“Good day, gentlemen,” he said, slamming the door and removing his hat. “I beg pardon for intruding.”
“Not at all,” cried Major Peabody as the train set off. “It is, after all, public transport; I trust my colleague and I won’t disturb you with too much talk. Good day to you.”
The man sat down opposite Saul, took up his newspaper, looked over it, and smiled. It was a sly, charming, insincere smile and it was worn by the man from the burning tree.
Saul was sure of it. He’d paid enough attention at the time, he’d had that sardonic, highly bred face and voice in his mind for hours after, and here he was, the man who’d been at the Southcott tree, as they set off to see the Southcott box.
It was the kind of coincidence that would delight the Major’s heart, and Saul wasn’t sure he could bear it. He could imagine the saturnine man’s sneer as the Major spouted mystical nonsense, and for all his fussy employer exasperated him Saul didn’t wish to see him mocked, any more than he wished to be known as a lunatic’s jack-of-all-work.
The man was still looking over his newspaper at Saul, and as their eyes met, he tilted a brow in unmistakable question.
God. It couldn’t be—
No, of course it wasn’t an approach. Surely that was just Saul’s own wishful thinking. Although there had been that Like what you see?...
No. And even if it was, Saul had no intention of entertaining it. The man was undeniably the kind he liked—those long, brown, strong fingers on the newspaper, the lean build, the winging brows—but Saul had been husbanding pennies and rationing himself to one meal a day before he secured this post; if he lost it he’d be ruined. He was not going to commit indecent acts in a railway station convenience with a total stranger on his employer’s time, even if that was the stranger’s intent, which, he told himself firmly, it probably wasn’t.
The man was looking at him with amused puzzlement, as though Saul had spoken his determination out loud, and it dawned on him that if it wasn’t an approach, he must seem deranged not to acknowledge the fellow.
“Pardon me, sir,” he said. “I think we’ve met before?”
“I think we did,” the man agreed, lowering his paper. “Randolph Glyde, at your service.”
“Saul Lazenby.”
“Charmed.” Mr. Glyde glanced at Major Peabody, who hastened to introduce himself, and volunteered that he was an antiquarian researcher.
“How fascinating,” Mr. Glyde said. “And are you an antiquarian as well, Mr. Lazenby?”

Release Blitz: Love At The Right Tempo by Michael Mandrake & Remmy Duchene





Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 76,805 words
Publisher: Evernight Publishing



Blurb


Violinist Frederick Tremblay is one of the biggest names in classical music. When it comes to work, he’s all in. There is only time for music and working to make his dreams come through but none for love. Hell, he barely makes time to eat. When he agrees to play at an acquaintance son’s birthday party he figured he’d go in, make his rounds then go home—but his plans change when he walks into the path of Vaughan Singleton.

Vaughan “Sin” Singleton is the disowned heir to a candy empire. After he came out, his life basically ended and he had to start over from scratch. Joining the military was the thing to save him and also the one thing that brought him to his knees. Forced to retire, slinging alcohol wasn’t his dream but he needs something to pay the bills and to assist with easing back into civilian life. When he meets Frederick, Vaughan isn’t looking for love, but one unguarded moment changes everything.

From different sides of the track, Frederick and Vaughan have much to teach each other. But what is to become of their new romance when Frederick’s quirks come to light and Vaughan’s brother shows up?





Excerpt


“Way to step out, man.” Deena giggled.

Frederick ignored her comment and put up his free hand. There was a man behind the bar, but he had his back turned and right now, no one else was there working with him. He looked to be busy drying glasses or perhaps washing. Though Frederick didn’t want to disturb him, he really wanted something else to quench his thirst.

“I’m sorry, excuse me, sir.”

The man turned around and approached them. “What can I get you?”

Frederick eyed the mature gentleman in front of him, taking in his features. Dark brown eyes, hair cut low with a beard and well trimmed mustache. His lips were thick. Kissable. Frederick loved a man with distinct features.

“Oh … um… I’d like a soda. Perhaps a 7-Up or Sprite if you have it.” Frederick continued staring, clutching his violin case tightly in his hands.

Deena seemed to pick up that he was tongue tied. “And I’ll have a beer. Heineken if you have it?”

“Heineken for the lady and a—um—soda for the gentleman,” the bartender said. There was a slightly hitch in the way he said soda, almost as if in disbelief. He then focused his attention on Deena. “Would you like the bottle or a glass?”

“The bottle is fine. I’m a simple kind of gal.” She giggled.

Frederick smiled at the man, still holding onto his violin as if it were a life raft. He wondered why the bartender seemed put off by his request. “Something funny about 7-Up or Sprite?”

The bartender eyed him with his head tilted slightly to the side. “Oh nothing.” He spoke, his lips forming over the two words making them escape his being easily. “Nothing at all.” Without another word, he walked over for a clean glass that sparkled. They had the word Prince’s with a crown on the side in golden letters. Using large hands, the bar man operated the tap to expertly fill the glass with Sprite before grabbing a green bottle of Heineken from a cooler and prying off the cap. When he returned he set the glass before Frederick without a word but offered Deena a smile with her drink. “Ma’am?”

Friday, July 28, 2017

ARC Review: What The Cat Dragged In by B.A. Tortuga

What the Cat Dragged In (Sanctuary, #2)Blurb:

Don’t people know that cats and dogs don’t mix?

Connor Ragbone finds things. Sometimes it’s gold, sometimes jewels, sometimes people. Set in his hippie ways, he never thought he’d find a pack, but with Sam and Gus and their goofy shifter family, he fits right in. Then he finds Brock.

Shifter Brock Herman is undercover alone, working to break up a poaching ring. The last thing he needs is for Connor to wreck his sting. And now the crazy bobcat just won’t go away!

The poachers lead Brock and Connor on a merry chase all over Western Colorado, looking for shifter bears, but it’s a lost pup who brings them back to Nevada and the pack Sam and Gus are building. That’s when Brock has to decide whether he still travels alone or if Connor and his crazy family are where his heart belongs.

This follow-up to Just Like Cats and Dogs is a feel-good shifter romance novel where cats and dogs prove they can be way more than the enemies nature has made them.




My rating:





Whoever said cats and dogs don't get along hasn't met the feline and lupine shifters of this series.

What a fun follow-up to the first book! Also, while this could be read as a standalone, you'd miss out if you didn't read about Sam (a panther) and Gus (a wolf) getting together in the first one.

In this book, we have Connor Ragbone, a bobcat shifter, and Brock Herman, a wolf shifter like Gus.

Connor finds things. Something inside him pulls him in a certain direction, calling to him, even though he never knows what he might find when he answers that call. He never thought he'd have a permanent home base, being a bit of a loner, but he's found a place to come back to with Sam and Gus and their awesome family.

His current call leads him to Brock.

Brock Herman is self-sufficient, self-reliant, and basically also a loner. He's working undercover, trying to break up a poacher ring. He has no time for the bobcat that suddenly shows up in the middle of his ops, but the cat just won't leave him alone, dammit.

I laughed out loud so many times reading this book. Connor is a unique character, and I really enjoyed how much he trusts that inner voice calling him to his next find, and how laid back he was, never questioning whether following the call might end up with him in trouble or not.

Two loners - what could possibly go wrong, amirite?

ARC Review: The Layover by Roe Horvat

The LayoverBlurb:

Eight years ago, Ondro Smrek fled Slovakia and the bigotry that drove his first lover to take his own life. The demons proved impossible to outrun, though, and now, desperate for somewhere to belong, Ondro is returning to start over. During a layover in Basel, Switzerland, he meets Jamie, an American living in Scotland who is as brilliant as he is beautiful.

Jaded Ondro never would have guessed he could fall in love during a brief layover—until now. When he is put in a position to offer Jamie comfort without hope of recompense, Ondro doesn’t hesitate. Soon, he catches a glimpse of the home he longs for. But with their separation looming, confessing his feelings would only lead to pain and humiliation. Life has taught Ondro not to hope, but then, he never believed in love at first sight either....



Todd's rating:




This beautifully-written, short, 100+ page read is about many different things, all of which I'm happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed.

It's about a once-hopeful, young student, who fled from his homeland, because it refused to allow him to be who he truly was or love whom he wanted to love.

It's about that same man, now a jaded, 30 y.o. flight attendant, deciding that he was sick of running and heartsick for a home.

It's about discovering that home is not necessarily a place, especially a place whose people can't accept you as you are. That home can also be a person. Someone that, no matter where you are, as long as you're together, you're exactly where you want to be. Where you need to be.

It's about learning to trust yourself and knowing what will make you happy, as soon as you let go of your past demons and say goodbye to the things holding you back, while clinging to the things that help build you up.

And lastly, it's about taking a chance, no matter how crazy it seems, to reach for that one thing that could make you happier than you've ever been.

One aspect of this story that I truly loved was how, although the majority of the book takes place over only 6 days, it never really felt like insta-love to me.

Sure, Ondro and Jamie fall into bed on day one, but for the following five days, sex is the very last thing that their time together is about.

I loved how Ondro swooped in, without even a second thought, to take care of Jamie when he fell ill. Jamie needed him, so Ondro was there, full stop.

Release Tour: Losing My Religion by A.S Tucker




Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: July 27, 2017





Jaden Barker is a good boy.For as long as he can remember, he’s been preparing for the day he’ll be called as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He’s ready. He’s more than willing. And he can’t wait to spend the next two years serving the Lord and his church. But when a new proclamation from the church is announced, it leaves him questioning everything.

Quinn Owens is trouble with a capital T.

An aspiring actor living in the bowels of Los Angeles, he’s fought long and hard to get where he is, and he’s not willing to give it up for anything. Working for a homophobic boss presents quite a challenge when you’re a gay man, but Quinn knows losing this job means losing his dream. 

Jaden is lost and confused.

Quinn won’t let anything stand in his way.

But when Jaden finds himself living downstairs from the enticing Quinn, neither are prepared for what happens next.

Will Jaden be able to resist Quinn’s charms and remain a devoted Mormon missionary? Or will he fall, finding himself face to face with losing his religion?














As I step into the room, I drop my suitcase on the floor, my duffel bag sliding off my shoulder and falling on top of it. Six bunk beds are crowded into the tiny space, each bed made neatly with a thin comforter stretched tautly across the mattress. It reminds of the dorm rooms I’ve seen in movies and TV shows throughout the years. Except, instead of posters of half-naked women and sports stars adorning the walls, there are pictures of Jesus Christ. Instead of math books and dirty laundry strewed about, there are scriptures and pamphlets about the church. 

So, yeah, it’s just like a dorm room—if the dorm room were in a parallel universe where teenage boys read the Bible and The Book of Mormon instead of play video games and drink beer. 

Welcome to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Elder Scott, the leader of the district I’ve been assigned to, points to the bottom bunk on the left side of the room, indicating I should put my stuff there. All the missionaries in this district of the MTC are going to be serving in the California Los Angeles mission or somewhere in the vicinity. We’re split by the area we’ll be serving in, by the language we’ll be speaking, and, of course, by sex. The sister missionaries are housed in a separate part of the MTC with clear guidelines of what will happen if those borders are breached after hours. 

I pick up my bag and toss it onto the bed before leaning over to grab my heavier suitcase with both hands. Elder Scott bends over to help, and together, we lift the monstrosity onto the bunk. 

“You can hang your suits in the closet,” he says, pointing to a tiny accordion door next to the beds on the right. “Each of you has one drawer in the dresser. Yours will be one up from the bottom. Go ahead and get your things unpacked. I’m going to head to Elder Burke’s class and see if I can borrow Elder Daniels. He’ll be your companion while you’re here.” 

Without another word, Elder Scott turns and exits the room, leaving me in the silent, foreign room by myself. An all-too recognizable pang fills my chest as I look around, and once again, I’m left wondering if I’ve made the right choice. 

It’s just nerves, my inner Jiminy reminds me, trying to soothe my budding panic. 
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