Thursday, August 31, 2017

Audio book Review: The Mystery of the Curiosities by C. S. Poe

From The Blurb:
Life has been pretty great for Sebastian Snow. The Emporium is thriving and his relationship with NYPD homicide detective, Calvin Winter, is everything he’s ever wanted. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Sebastian’s only cause for concern is whether Calvin should be taken on a romantic date. It’s only when an unknown assailant smashes the Emporium’s window and leaves a peculiar note behind, that all plans get pushed aside in favor of another mystery. 
Sebastian is quickly swept up in a series of grisly yet seemingly unrelated murders. The only connection tying the deaths together are curiosities from the lost museum of P.T. Barnum. Despite Calvin’s attempts to keep Sebastian out of the investigation, someone is forcing his hand, and it becomes apparent that the entire charade exists for Sebastian to solve. With each clue that’ll bring him closer to the killer, he’s led deeper into Calvin’s official cases. 
It’s more than just Sebastian’s livelihood and relationship on the line—it’s his very life. 
Listening Length: 7 hours and 15 minutes



Karen's rating:




Once again this is an audio book for an e-book that I read back when it was released, and I liked it 4.5 stars worth and basically as far as the story's concerned I haven't changed my mind and my original review is still good to go...Original Review: The Mystery of the Curiosities

While I enjoyed experiencing this story again. I have to admit there was a little bit of a loss in the audio for me. Derrick McClain was once again the narrator for this one and before I go any further I just want to say I think the tiny issue here is truly a case of it's me. For some reason this time around there were a couple of times when Calvin's voice wasn't quite working for me. Most of the time it was good so I really can't say for sure but there were a couple of times where I just didn't find Calvin's voice as distinctive as I had in the audio book for 'The Mystery of Nevermore'. This combined with the fact that Seb and his lies of omission actually irritated me even more and there were times that I simply found Seb to sound whiny and honestly, whiny is just one thing that I don't do.

Blogtour: The Glamour Thieves by Don Allmon




Please say hello to Don Allmon and 

The Glamour Thieves 



Howdy y'all. I'm Don Allmon and I got a debut book name of The Glamour Thieves. It’s the first of a three book series called The Blue Unicorn. It's a grim kind of fantasy, a cybernetic near-dystopia, a rough-edged romance with few promises except for the ones that matter. Ain't nothin' worth earnin' that wasn't hard won. Join in on the comments and win yourself some loot.




Blurb:

JT is an orc on the way up. He’s got his own boutique robotics shop, high-end clientele, and deep-pocketed investors. He’s even mentoring an orc teen who reminds him a bit too much of himself back in the day.

Then Austin shows up, and the elf’s got the same hard body and silver tongue as he did two years ago when they used to be friends and might have been more. He’s also got a stolen car to bribe JT to saying yes to one last scheme: stealing the virtual intelligence called Blue Unicorn.

Soon JT’s up to his tusks in trouble, and it ain’t just zombies and Chinese triads threatening to tear his new life apart. Austin wants a second chance with JT—this time as more than just a friend—and even the Blue Unicorn is trying to play matchmaker.




Get the book:





About the author:

Release Blitz: Between A Rock And A Hard Place by Clare London



Length: 19,598 words
Cover Design: Tibbs Design
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

London Lads Series

Chase The Ace (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner
How The Other Half Lives (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner
A Good Neighbour (Book #3)  Amazon US | Amazon UK  Dreamspinner 
Peepshow (Book #4)  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner







Blurb
Garry’s at the end of his tether. He’s waiting at Glasgow Airport to meet his friend Will, on their way to a holiday in a Scottish Highlands hotel. Now there’s a ten-hour delay to incoming flights, the seat in the lounge is more like an instrument of torture, and he’s beyond tired of airport food.

He’s also dreading having to apologise for the pass he recently made at Will, his colleague at a London bank, under the influence of too many beers and a long-held crush. Now Will’s been offered a new job offer on a continent thousands of miles away, Garry realises it may be the end of their close friendship—let alone anything more.

To add to Garry’s stress, he’s treated to the company of Emily and Max, two young people who think he needs educating in the ways of the world. Struggling with their well-meaning help and the startling mess from spilled ketchup and noxious-smelling sweets, he’s encouraged to re-examine how he feels about Will and to decide what kind of journey he’d really like them to take together.





Excerpt

Garry suspected he knew what tipped psychotics over the edge.

It wasn’t childhood trauma or thwarted world domination. Far from it! It was the agony of a plastic bucket chair digging into the back of your legs in the middle of a chaotic Arrivals lounge. Add to that the robotic monotone of the Glasgow Airport PA system offering “apologies for the inconvenience caused to those customers awaiting incoming flights from the USA,” and it was like salt rubbed into a wound.

He slumped back in the seat, his arms folded tightly across his chest. He could feel the scowl on his face etching into the muscles. There was noise everywhere—booming announcements over the speakers and the incomprehensible swell of people’s excited chatter. Kids shrieked, and suitcases rattled over the threadbare carpet. Rolling neon signs flashed up reminders to boarding gates, constant alerts to keep your bags beside you at all times, and then—almost as an afterthought—the price of the latest, must-have mobile phone package.

Airport lounges had to be one of the least comfortable places on earth. He hunched down farther, trying to nap. Like it’d be possible in this maelstrom. Bad mood, or what? He’d been up since the crack of dawn, maybe even before. He couldn’t exactly remember the time, as over the years he’d found that lack of sleep caused him, one, serious memory problems, two, to leave the house in an unmatched pair of socks, and, three, the unmitigated loss of his sense of humour.

He was jolted back to attention as a man hauling a heavy suitcase let it run over Garry’s feet. With a cry of pain, Garry wrenched his long legs back under his seat, but not before the wheels had left neat little tramlines over his boots. His toes felt bruised, and his mood teetered further toward homicidal. Luckily the perpetrator had taken a sharp left and vanished into the direction of the car hire franchises, else his suitcase—and probably his limbs—might have been scattered to the four winds.

Garry winced. So much for keeping your luggage with you at all times.

So… what was currently on his agenda? A too-early start; a wickedly uncomfortable waiting area; a psychotic bunch of fellow passengers. The bad omens were already stacking up. He’d arrived at Glasgow Airport rather travel-worn from his own flight from London Heathrow, preparing to meet up with his friend Will somewhere in amongst this mess of humanity.

Then he’d been greeted with the worst of news—a delay.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

ARC Review: Scorpio Hates Virgo (Signs of Love 2) by Anyta Sunday

Blurb:

This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you. 
Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .


Dani's rating:

noun / semi. co. lon

Definition of SEMICOLON
: a powerful grammatical tool that, used appropriately, turns Cal on.

I need no other reasons to love Cal, but there are more:

He's a Virgo (like me); he likes dinosaur T-shirts (the ones with T. rex are Percy's favorite); he puts his family ahead of everything (including his education, which isn't so great); he's all about the gnomes (don't assume you know anything about gnome secrets, because you don't); and sometimes he lies just a little to get what he wants.

Percy is a Scorpio and doesn't trust easily. Returning to the cul-de-sac where his beloved aunt lived, Percy wants to sell her house and move on; he can't handle the memories. Percy is prickly and keeps people at a distance. He doesn't want to try because everyone always leaves.

Despite Percy's insistence that Cal is his nemesis, Percy and Cal are not enemies. They're not even frienemies. They're involved in an intricate mating dance that began years ago when Percy fell off his bike in front of a shirtless Cal.

[A]nd instead of asking if Percy was okay or needed an ice pack, [Cal]'d shaken his head and delivered the first verbal grenade, "All elegance, that was." 


ARC Review: How To Save A Life (Howl at the Moon, #4) by Eli Easton

How To Save A Life (Howl at the Moon, #4)
Blurb:
Rav Miller looked into the terrified, intelligent eyes of the chocolate Labrador on death row, and knew he’d do anything to save him. When the dog, Sammy, escapes and heads to Mad Creek, Rav follows. Mad Creek. The town had become legendary in Rav’s mind after he’d met that bizarre group last year. Rav dismissed his crazy suspicions back then, but when he arrives in Mad Creek, he knows it’s true. Dog shifters exist, and apparently they all live in the California mountains. It’s enough to blow a bad boy’s mind.

Sammy has something in common with Rav—neither one of them trusts people. After Sammy’s abuse as a dog, he particularly dislikes tough-looking men like Rav. But when Sammy gets a chance to work with rescued dogs at the new Mad Creek shelter, his deep compulsion to help others overcomes his fear. Rav and Sammy bond over saving strays. If they can each find the courage to let someone else in, they might find their way to love.


Sheriff Lance Beaufort doesn’t like humans moving into Mad Creek, especially not the tattooed and defiant Rav. When Rav starts a rescue shelter, the town thinks he’s wonderful! But Lance isn’t fooled. He doesn’t buy Rav’s innocent act for one second. How much does Rav know about the quickened? What is his game? And why did he have to show up now, when Lance and the other town leaders are overwhelmed by all the new quickened pouring in?

Rav knows how to save a life. But can he save an entire town? Can he rescue Mad Creek?




Jewel's rating:



This is one of my favorite shifter series. It's cute and delightful and adorably endearing and it doesn't take itself too seriously. Except for Lance -- he takes everything too seriously (I love him, anyway).

How to Save a Life is the 4th book in Eli Easton's <​i>​Howl at the Moon​ and it is brilliant! The innocence and enthusiasm of the quickened in Mad Creek is enough to make me smile for days. I smiled the whole time I was reading this story (well, except for the beginning, which was sad) and I haven't stopped, yet.

Sammy was my favorite breed of dog -- Labrador. He was a chocolate lab whose first human, Mama Charlotte, died in a fall. That was when Sammy first got the spark. It sometimes happens during times of intense grief. But after that, Sammy's life was full of trauma and then he was taken to an animal shelter. And it was horrible and Sammy was so scared. He was terrified of men and so no one adopted him. But just before his time is up, Rav comes and rescues him and takes him to his no-kill shelter, called Hold My Paw.​ But Sammy is no ordinary dog, of course.​

We first met Rav in​ How to Wish Upon a Star, when some of our Mad Creek guys travel to Arizona in search of one of their own, and a cure for a virus that was spreading​ through the quickened​ in Mad Creek. Rav looks like a big, tough, tattooed biker, but the man is a teddy bear​, especially​ when it comes to dogs. In this book, we get Rav's background and we get to see lots of his teddy bear side. He and Sammy were downright adorable.

Review Tour: Tops Down Bottoms Up by Jay Northcote



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 23,000 words approx 







Blurb


Will Rowan’s festival fling with sexy dancer Seth lead to something more permanent?

Rowan is stuck at a folk festival helping out a mate, and it really isn’t his scene. The yoga and singing workshops are bad enough, but morris dancing is the final straw. Bearded men with beer guts prancing around wearing bells—who wants to watch that?
All Rowan’s preconceptions are shattered when he meets Seth—a morris dancer, and the stuff Rowan’s fantasies are made of. Seth persuades Rowan to come to a dancing workshop, and Rowan’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to know Seth better. The attraction is mutual, and a lesson filled with innuendo and flirting leads to an incredible night together.

When Rowan arrives home, he’s gutted to find that Seth has given him the wrong phone number. Assuming Seth did it on purpose, Rowan resolves to forget about him. But fate—and friends—conspire to get them back together. Will they manage to stay in step this time around?


A much shorter version of this story was originally published in the Not Quite Shakespeare Anthology by Dreamspinner Press. This version has been revised and extended. Almost half of it is new content.











Dani's review:






Sexy & Fun!

~~One hot burly morris dancer included~~ 

Rowan thinks all morris dancers are sweaty fat dudes who make a lot of noise. Seth proves him wrong. Seth may be loud, but he carries a big stick. 



Blogtour: Midlife Crisis by Audra North



Please welcome Audra North with 

Midlife Crisis 





Blurb:

Cam McGhee grew up like any other small-town Texas farm boy: he played football, went to church every Sunday, and married his high school sweetheart. But thirty-five years after he said "I do," Cam finds himself nursing a beer in a gay bar, thinking about what might have been.

Dave Montoya is confident, self-assured, and cautiously single. But when he meets shy, uncertain, and clearly-still-not-out Cam in a coffee shop in Austin, his reservations about getting seriously involved again disappear. Cam is everything he’s looking for in a partner . . . almost, anyway.

No matter how much Dave wants him, and how good they are together, Cam can't bring himself to openly embrace the life he was meant to live. After all, when his secret finally gets out, he faces the very real possibility of losing everything that kept him going for the first fifty years of his life, just like he’s feared for so long. But with a little faith—and a lot of love—his dream of living fully, truly, as himself might finally be within reach.





Get the book:





About the author:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

ARC Review: Scorpio Hates Virgo by Anyta Sunday

Scorpio Hates Virgo (Signs of Love, #2)
Blurb:
This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .

* ~* ~* ~*

“Scorpio Hates Virgo” contains sarcasm, sexual content, a slightly sappy HEA, and an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs.It can be read as a standalone.

Themes: friends-to-lovers, slow burnGenre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance





Jewel's rating:



​I swear, no one writes adorkably oblivious characters, like Anyta Sunday. Scorpio Hates Virgo is another winner in ​Anyta Sunday's Signs of Love series. Scorpio Hates Virgo stands alone just fine, as well, with the MCs from Leo Loves Aries only getting a little page time and it is fully explained who they are. But, truthfully, I would heartily recommend reading Leo Loves Aries regardless.​ It was fabulous.​

​Percy​​ is our resident adorkably oblivious character in Scorpio Hates Virgo. He likes to pretend that his feelings for his "nemesis"​, Cal,​ are those of animosity. He tells himself that he doesn't really like Cal, because cal is straight and that could only end badly. ​But the heart wants what it wants and ​Percy, Percy, Percy, you are not terribly observant. Percy has come back to the Twin Cities, so he says, only so he can get his late-Aunt's house in order so he can sell it. But the neighborhood is very close-knit, and they aren't ready to get to know someone new. So, Operation-Get-Percy-to-Come-to-His-Senses ensues and it's all fun and games.

​Cal has been in college for ​​Jurassic Park studies his Paleontology masters​, but moved back home to help his family after his father left. ​Cal is ​also ​Percy's nemesis. The only difference is that Cal doesn't see Percy that way, at all​, and never really has​. It was obvious, to anyone with eyes, that Cal cared for Percy. Maybe Cal didn't realize, until recently, how deep that caring went, but still, Cal was smitten. He shows his caring in his every action, and always has, but Percy keeps up a frustrating distance​.

ARC Review: Controlled Burn by Erin McLellan

Controlled Burn
From the blurb:


At eighteen, Joel Smith’s life fell to pieces. His boyfriend died in a car crash while reading a sext from him, the local newspaper outed them both in the aftermath, and his parents got a divorce. Joel did everything possible to outrun his past: he moved to Oklahoma for college, legally changed his name, and started over.

Since then, he hasn’t let anyone get close—not his classmates, not his roommate, and definitely not his hookups. The strategy has served him well for over three years. Why would he change it now?

But Joel doesn’t plan on the articles about his boyfriend’s death being used as a case study in one of his classes. And he doesn’t plan on Paulie McPherson, who is sweet and giving and fun. In Paulie, he finds a home for the first time in years.

But love isn’t simple, and lies have a tendency to get in the way. Joel must figure out if he’ll allow his grief to rule him, or if his connection with Paulie is worth letting all of his walls come tumbling down.




Heather's rating:






This book tore me up! Wow, what an emotional punch from debut author Erin McLellan!!

Sometimes you just read a book that works, and this one WORKED for me. It was that intense, emotional ride that I didn't know I wanted but, apparently, sorely needed.

It is a hard-fought romance. It is slow burn, without that element of immediate attraction, which I actually loved. The MCs come together organically and naturally over time, and I couldn't get enough. I just couldn't put it down!

However, that being said, I feel like this is going to be a love or hate kind of book with themes that just don't work for everyone.

*Some very minor spoilers may follow*

Release Blitz: Healing Him (Den Boys #2) by AT Brennan




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 71,000 words


About the book:


“I hated that I was like this, but after years of trying to work through it I was beginning to feel like I’d never be normal.” ~ Cody

Hiding the fact that I was in love with my best friend Isaac used to be the most complicated part of my day, until a chance meeting with a handsome stranger named Jonah sent my life into a tailspin. Scars from my past have stopped me from giving in to my desires for so long, but I’m done being afraid. I want both men. I just don’t know if I’ll be able to trust that anyone can love me.

“I knew it was a bit messed up, but there was no jealousy or envy when I thought of my men together.” ~ Isaac

I’ve loved Cody for as long as I’ve known him, but have always held back because of his past. Then I met Jonah and I knew there was no way I could choose between them. I want it all—the man I’ve loved for so long, and the one I’m quickly falling for. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

“I wanted to believe it was all true, but I couldn’t push aside the fear that I was just a distraction until the two of them got together.” ~ Jonah

After having my heart broken I never thought I’d find love again. I wasn’t looking for anything real, and then I met not one, but two men I can’t resist. Isaac and Cody are everything I ever wanted but didn’t know I could have. I want to believe the three of us can work, but a part of me can’t get past the fear that I’ll be the odd man out, again.


*This is Book 2 of The Den Boys series, but can be read as a standalone - no cliffhangers.





Excerpt

“So, start with Insidious?” I asked Cody as we flopped on his small couch.

“You’re evil.”

“What? We’ve seen it so many times you should know when the freaky parts happen. I could have said I Spit On Your Grave.”

“That movie was messed up, not scary.” Cody shook his head and took the beer I held out to him. “I’m never watching that one again.”

“True, how about The Grudge?”

“Fine, but I swear to god, if you change my ringtone to that creepy moaning noise, I’ll never speak to you again.”

I grinned and opened my computer to cue up the movie. We might be able to joke about that incident now, but at the time it had been anything but funny.

The first time we’d watched it together we’d only been friends for about a month. I’d waited until Cody had fallen asleep then downloaded the moaning sound the demon character made as his ringtone. Then I’d snuck into the bathroom, blocked my number and called his phone. We’d been at my place that night, and he’d flipped out.

I’d felt terrible at how badly I’d scared him. I’d thought he’d get a good laugh out of it and that would be the end of things, but he’d been so freaked out he hadn’t been able to sleep for hours.

That was the night I’d learned a little bit about Cody’s past, and why he hadn’t handled the joke well. It wasn’t so much the ringtone that had scared him, it had been waking up in my bed alone, scared and disoriented.

It had taken a few more months for Cody to open up and tell me more about his past, and every time he told me something new my heart broke a little bit more for him. Even now I’d learn about something he hadn’t told me yet, and I’d wish I could take away his pain.

Release Blitz: Magnetic by Avylinn Winter




Buy Links: Pride | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 14,000 words
Publisher: Pride Publishing


Treacherous Chemistry Series

Volatile (Book #1) - Pride | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Toxic (Book #2) - Pride | Amazon US | Amazon UK






About the book:

He’d been afraid of me, and I had used fear to keep him away until I couldn’t stand to be anywhere but close.

Dante Heron has lived a life surrounded by pointless affection and impossible demands. Driven to the brink by his parents in pursuit of fame and fortune, he has learned to circumvent anything that would force him to feel more than he can stand. Until Chris. But then, he drove away Chris just as surely as he’d chased off everyone else.

Lost and afraid of the truth of that rejection, Dante pines from afar—more used to suffering than facing his problems. However, his feelings continue to torment him and no matter how many times he wants to leave the past behind, it won’t let go.

Publisher's Note: Magnetic is a companion book to the Treacherous Chemistry series and should be read after Volatile to appreciate the story.



Excerpt

The spotlight nailed me to the parquet, blinding as I faced an audience I couldn’t see. Drops of sweat ran in rivulets down the nape of my neck, caught by the white starch collar before they could travel farther. The steadfast rhythm from the orchestra pulsed through my blood, holding me grounded while my fingers pressed against the harsh strings of my violin, moving from place to place in a dance my mind barely followed. I simply played, pouring out every last shred of emotion I had from the bottom of my core. Emptying myself of everything.

As always, I was close to losing control. One slip, one finger misplaced, and the night would be ruined.

I could hear Mother’s voice in the back of my mind. Don’t fail us. We have sacrificed so much for you. I opened my eyes and saw her sitting on the front row, a frown on her forehead. Father sat beside her, clasping her hand as if to soothe her annoyance. They were never content, never proud. I wondered if they ever would be.

The cello section initiated the final build-up, stroking their strings with utmost care. I banished Mother from my thoughts, letting myself be swept away, carried in the moment. I had to succeed—and I would. The beast was mine to temper, reined in with the tips of my fingers.

Monday, August 28, 2017

ARC Review: Get a Grip by L. A. Witt

From The Blurb:
If a tree falls in Bluewater Bay . . . could it be fate? A year after his divorce, Shane Andrews isn’t interested in dating—not that he has time, between three kids and a demanding job as a grip. When a windstorm knocks a tree onto one of the Wolf’s Landing soundstages, Shane’s there to help with the mess . . . and so is firefighter Aaron Tucker. 
A former smoke jumper, Aaron’s an adrenaline junkie and way too restless and reckless to be relationship material. As far as he’s concerned, monogamy is for penguins, and he’d rather be alone than tied down. Signing up to be a stepparent? No, thank you. 
But after a scorching-hot night together, they’re hooked. Aaron is a taste of the excitement Shane’s been lacking, and Shane’s pushing buttons Aaron didn’t know he had. The more they’re together, the less Aaron craves wild nights with other men . . . but the more Shane wants to play the field like he never got to in his twenties. 
This could be the love neither man knew he needed, but only if Shane gets his feet back on the ground before Aaron walks away.



Karen's rating:




I was actually going to take a pass on this one. I'm not even really sure why probably more a case of 'so many books, so little time'. Anyways, somewhere along the way during my reading of 'Three Player Game' book #20, this one keep niggling at my brain and I peeked at it more than a couple of times finally deciding that if I was going to spend this much time reading the blurb and starting at the cover, I needed to read the book and just get it done.

What I discovered was that I would have missed out on a really good story if I'd kept to my original plan and skipped this one. Sometimes changing your mind really is a good idea.

Shane's works as a 'grip' on the set of 'Wolf's Landing', he's bi and the father of 3 a teenage daughter and twin boys. It's been a long time since he's dated and after his last divorce he's decided that his relationships needed to be attachment free.

Aaron own's a local garage, he's a volunteer firefighter and adrenaline junkie. He's also a confirmed bachelor who belongs to a large dog named Jack and three cats...Snowball, Oreo and Tiger and luckily he likes his relationships attachment free as well. It's a match made in heaven, right?

ARC Review: The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magic by F.T. Lukens

The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & MagicFrom the blurb:

Desperate to pay for college, Bridger Whitt is willing to overlook the peculiarities of his new job—entering via the roof, the weird stacks of old books and even older scrolls, the seemingly incorporeal voices he hears from time to time—but it’s pretty hard to ignore being pulled under Lake Michigan by… mermaids? Worse yet, this happens in front of his new crush, Leo, the dreamy football star who just moved to town. 
When he discovers his eccentric employer Pavel Chudinov is an intermediary between the human world and its myths, Bridger is plunged into a world of pixies, werewolves, and Sasquatch. The realm of myths and magic is growing increasingly unstable, and it is up to Bridger to ascertain the cause of the chaos, eliminate the problem, and help his boss keep the real world from finding the world of myths.



Heather's rating:





Fun, entertaining YA paranormal romance from a new-to-me author.

I was really impressed by The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic. I'm usually SO hesitant to try a new author because I've been burned time and time again by crappy stories from newbie writers, but this one was worth the chance! If you like your stories a little quirky, then this one is for you.

The world building-elements were super interesting. It reminded me a little of Clean Sweep, but a more rudimentary version with some different concepts. I think if the author had just done a little more developing with the world it would have been amazing, but it was still very impressive.

ARC Review: How to Save a Life (Howl at the Moon 4) by Eli Easton

Blurb:
Rav Miller looked into the terrified, intelligent eyes of the chocolate Labrador on death row, and knew he’d do anything to save him. When the dog, Sammy, escapes and heads to Mad Creek, Rav follows. Mad Creek. The town had become legendary in Rav’s mind after he’d met that bizarre group last year. Rav dismissed his crazy suspicions back then, but when he arrives in Mad Creek, he knows it’s true. Dog shifters exist, and apparently they all live in the California mountains. It’s enough to blow a bad boy’s mind.

Sammy has something in common with Rav—neither one of them trusts people. After Sammy’s abuse as a dog, he particularly dislikes tough-looking men like Rav. But when Sammy gets a chance to work with rescued dogs at the new Mad Creek shelter, his deep compulsion to help others overcomes his fear. Rav and Sammy bond over saving strays. If they can each find the courage to let someone else in, they might find their way to love.

Sheriff Lance Beaufort doesn’t like humans moving into Mad Creek, especially not the tattooed and defiant Rav. When Rav starts a rescue shelter, the town thinks he’s wonderful! But Lance isn’t fooled. He doesn’t buy Rav’s innocent act for one second. How much does Rav know about the quickened? What is his game? And why did he have to show up now, when Lance and the other town leaders are overwhelmed by all the new quickened pouring in?

Rav knows how to save a life. But can he save an entire town? Can he rescue Mad Creek?


Dani's rating:




This series could have been written only by someone who loves dogs. That loves shines through on every page!

Sammy, a chocolate lab, reminds me of my white lab, Magnum. I am his person, and he would follow me to hell and back. He gives and comforts without asking for anything in return.

Sammy loved his mom, but he couldn't save her. When his mom's sister takes him in, her abusive husband takes out his rage on Sammy. Sammy ends up alone in the snow chained to a tree. The next morning he's in a cage at a kill shelter.

Sammy is smart and more cognizant every day; he knows his clock is ticking.

"I know what it's like to love someone and lose them, and end up in a bad place because ... because you were not good enough. I know what it's like to be one of a whole bunch of dogs in a cage, to think no one will ever come for you. To know something bad is going to happen and not to be able to get free ... I know what it's like to want love, to want to give love, with all of your guts and your head and your teeth and everything, but to be afraid to try because it hurts."

When Rav, the owner of the dog refuge in Arizon that played a prominent role in book 3, rescues Sammy, Sammy is terrified. Rav is big and has a beard, just like the mean, scary man who hurt Sammy. But Rav's eyes are kind.

Labs are not guard dogs. They are loyal, playful, goofy, and affectionate. Sammy personifies these traits. He has the corniest sense of humor, but Rav would have it no other way.


Announcement: Romantic Suspense Author Workshop



Attention Authors!

A brand new writing workshop is coming to Bristol this November! Writers of romance, crime, romantic suspense and mystery novels at any stage in their career are invited to join bestselling author Damon Suede and federal law enforcement special agent Geoff Symon, who recently began offering his experience and expertise to authors with his Forensics for Fiction series of books.

Over two days writers will have the chance to stretch their skills with practical workshops and engaging classes in the beautiful surroundings of Armada House. Spaces on the workshop are limited, allowing attendees more opportunities to ask their own questions and gain feedback on their current ‘work in progress’.

This is the first time Damon and Geoff have travelled to the UK to teach, so be sure to sign up and don’t miss this fantastic opportunity!

Click here to register!







Materials provided by Signal Boost Promotions.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

ARC Review: Three Player Game by Jaime Samms

From The Blurb:
Vince’s life has improved immeasurably since he moved to Bluewater Bay two years ago. He’s gone from working for a man he hated, to helping found a company he believes in. And he and boyfriend, Pete, have built a delicate balance of power between them that keeps them both grounded and thriving. 
Almost, anyway. 
Pete’s job on the set of Wolf’s Landing is demanding. He needs lots of downtime off set, and that’s where Vince’s firm but gentle control isn’t always enough. And for Vince, Pete’s constant high-energy needs are turning out to be more than he can handle alone. 
It’s no surprise to either of them, then, that sparks fly when Vince’s coworker Lee enters the picture. Outwardly, Lee is tough and confident, but when a bad back confines him to Pete and Vince’s spare room, the cracks start to show and his desire for connection begins to peek through. 
Pete and Vince both like what they see under Lee’s prickly outside, but now the three men must learn that love isn’t about beating the game—it’s about balance, trust, and letting each other in.




Karen's rating:




Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference...

'Three Player Game' is a menage story that starts with an established couple who have always wanted a third person in their relationship and they've also known for a while who they wanted that third person to be...the problem here is that maybe he doesn't want to be that person or maybe he's just afraid to allow himself to be 'that person'.

Vince and Pete have been a couple for a while now and having a third person in their relationship has pretty much always been a part of their plan. Vince wants that third person to be Lee, a man he has a work history with and while Pete's not as sure as Vince initially that he wants it to be Lee, he's leaning towards 'yes' on the issue and definitely willing to give the man strong consideration.  Lee's the holdout. He's given his trust before it left him hurt both physically and emotionally to the point where he's spent the ensuing years closing himself off from the world believing that he'll only be safe if he's on his own. Vince and Lee have some walls to break down if they plan on making their duo a trio permanently.

There's definitely some history here both between Vince and Pete as I said they come into the story as an established couple and between Vince and Lee on a working level only. As well both Vince and Lee have a connection to their boss, Blair Carruthers, whose story is told in Bluewater Bay #12 How the Cookie Crumbles. Which I admit I haven't read yet, however, I didn't have a problem parsing out the connections pre-Bluewater Bay as the author provides the background as the story goes along.

ARC Review: Suspicious Behavior by L. A. Witt & Cari Z

From The Blurb:
Detective Darren Corliss is hanging by a thread. In between recovering from a near-fatal wound and returning to work at a hostile precinct, he’s struggling to help care for his ailing brother. His partner and boyfriend, Detective Andreas Ruffner, wants to help, but doesn’t know how. And with his own family crises brewing, Andreas is spread almost as thin as Darren. 
For cops, though, life takes a backseat to the job. When a stack of unsolved homicides drops into their laps, Andreas and Darren think they’re unrelated cold cases. But when a connection surfaces, they find themselves on the tail of a prolific serial killer who’s about to strike again. 
Except they’ve got nothing. No leads. No suspects. Just a pile of circumstantial evidence and a whole lot of hunches. Time is running out to stop the next murder—and to pull themselves back from their breaking points.


Karen's rating:




It's time for a little game of catch me if you can...murder style...

Corliss and Ruffner somehow survived the events of 'Risky Behavior' but at what price? Detective Darren Corliss is barely holding himself together between the injuries he suffered in their last case, going back to work at a precinct that's not only less than friendly but views him and his partner Andreas Ruffner as villains for bringing down enough dirty cops and politicians to cause a staffing crisis at several precincts and city hall. Darren's also got a brother who's suffering from early onset Alzheimer's which has left him with his own fears about whether or not he'll share his brothers condition. Along with a lot of Darren's worries. Andreas has a few of his own but he seems to be holding it together a little better.

But both men would definitely agree that what they need is to get back to work...or at least that's what they thought until they were handed some cold cases...cold cases that at first glance only had one connection...the killer. However, once they start to find the connections it quickly becomes clear that there's a clock ticking. One that they have to beat if they want to stop another murder from happening.

The mystery here wasn't really the who did it, I actually figured that part out fairly quickly it was all about the how and why of things. While I really enjoyed the mystery, it was the relationship development between Darren and Andreas that happened in this book that I really loved about the most.

Audio book Review: Legal Tender by Andrew Grey

From The Blurb:
Timothy left home when he was eighteen to get away from his reckless mother, but he never stopped visiting his grandfather, who taught him what love was all about. Now that Grampy has passed away, Timothy finds that the old man's legacy is everything Timothy has dreamed of—and more. 
Inside the house Timothy loves so much is a cache of coins with historical value… and a mystery, because one of them isn’t supposed to exist. In memory of his grandfather, Timothy sets out to make sure that the mystery and the coins are given their due honor. In his quest to keep the government from confiscating his grandfather’s legacy, he meets Joiner, whose interest in Timothy is as clear and open as Timothy is guarded. There are things about Timothy's life and his past he doesn't want anyone to know, not even the kind man who is helping him with the complications of legal tender. 
Listening Length: 7 hours and 3 minutes




Karen's rating:




So maybe I should have just read the book...

I'm really torn on this one because in all honesty I wanted to really love this story. The blurb sounded so good that I couldn't really imagine not loving the story...and although I didn't love this quite as much as I'd anticipated there was a lot about the story that worked for me and I truly enjoyed.

While the story worked for me overall my biggest distraction came from the audio side of things and this is where I'm really torn...you see, I like John Solo. I sort of have a soft spot for him because it was his narration of Marie Sexton's 'Trailer Trash' that made me decide to start listening to and reviewing audio books. However, with this one the narration just didn't work for me and in all honesty I have to say I think this was a little bit me as well, but we'll come back to this later.

'Legal Tender' is the fourth book in Andrew Grey's 'Art Series' and while the blurb for the story intrigued me and sounded really good. In the end it turned out to be just 'ok'. Timothy has returned to his Grampy's home after finding out that his grandfather had left everything to him and not his drug addicted mother. Timothy left home at an early age after his mother betrayed him in the worst way possible. He's cut her out of his life and I say good for him on that one. She didn't deserve to be anyone's mother let alone someone as sweet as Timothy.

Coming back to Grampy's house has also reunited Timothy with his childhood friend, Dieter (one of the MCs from the first book in this series). Timothy also discovers that his Grampy's stories from his childhood were clues to a heritage that he'd been unaware of. Discovering a cache of old coins brings Timothy to Dieter's door in need of help from Dieter's partner, Gerald and introducing him to Joiner, whom Gerald task with finding out how they can enable Timothy to keep a rare coin that the American Government claims belongs to them as it was never monetized or so they claim.

As Joiner works to find a way for Timothy to keep his grandfather's coin the two men get to know each other and their initial attraction to each other becomes more, but the real question is will what they have be enough to keep them together when Timothy finally opens up about why he refuses to have anything to do with his mother.

I loved all the different aspects of this story and how things played out slowly revealing the connections.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Audio book Review: Tart and Sweet by Amy Lane

From The Blurb:
In the Army, Robbie Chambers turned on his lover out of fear—and he hasn’t been able to live with himself since. Now he’s out of the Army but still trapped in the closet that brought on his most cowardly moment, and he starts to think he’ll never be able to fight his way free. 
Until he sees Cy McVeigh. Beautiful and uninhibited, Cy is dancing on the boardwalk at Old Sac for no other reason than the moment called for it. Robbie not only joins in the dance but is smitten from the very beginning. 
However, Robbie still has old business to clear up, and when he helps out a kid in need and comes face-to-face with the man he betrayed, he’s forced to come clean with himself. He can’t redeem his mistake if he’s still locked into his old patterns, and he won’t ever be worthy of Cy if he can’t earn Adam’s forgiveness. He’s going to need all the help he can get from the people at Candy Heaven in order to make things right with his past so he can have a future with Cy.



Karen's Rating:




One last trip to the candy store...

I loved reading this series from start to finish each story had something sweet and  unique to offer and this last book in the series was no exception. It was a 5 star read for me and thanks to Philip Alces, it was a 5 star audio experience.

So let's start with the original review...no changes there loved it, loved it, loved it and here the link to my original review to verify that...Tart and Sweet - Original Review

ARC Review: Lord of Night by Erica Ridley

Lord of Night (Rogues to Riches, #3)From the blurb:


In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series, sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind romance with rollicking adventure. 
Unlike proper debutantes, Miss Dahlia Grenville is secretly Robin Hood in a bonnet. Her home for wayward girls has too many dependents and not enough donations. But just as she's about to pull off the heist of the Season, she tumbles straight into the arms of the handsome detective who has sworn to deliver Mayfair's mysterious thief straight to the gallows. 
Highly principled Bow Street runner Simon Spaulding's world is black and white. There's no mastermind too clever, no criminal alive who can escape the hangman. Until he realizes the delightful young lady he's been courting is a liar and a thief. Suddenly, his career—and his heart—are in peril. How can he bring her to justice when it means losing her forever?



Heather's rating:






Erica Ridley is one of my go-to historical romance authors, and she did a nice job again with Lord of Night, even if the book stretched my imagination to the very edge.

I'm willing to make a lot of allowances in historical romance, mainly because what is historical accurate during the time of these books really isn't my area of expertise. However, even I was practically scratching my head in disbelief at some of these coincidences and situations. You have to imagine a baron's daughter running a school for indigent girls, doing the sweeping and cooking herself, and begging for money at her upper-class parties all while stealing from the rich like a ninja. And she was still accepted in society! Yeah, hard to imagine, right? And that is just Dahlia Grenville's odd backstory (the male MC's is just as far-fetched).

Book Review: Axios: A Spartan Tale by Jaclyn Osborn


Blurb:
I am Axios of Sparta, and I was born to kill. At age seven, I left home to train with other boys where we were taught obedience, solidarity, military strategy, and how to withstand pain. My harsh upbringing stripped me of my weaknesses and forced me to become strong. Ruthless.
But, I craved something greater—a life I could never have. Against all odds, and the toughest training a warrior could endure, I found an unexpected love in the arms of a fellow Spartan. He was the very air I breathed and the water that sustained me. Fighting side by side with him, we were invincible. Where he went, I followed.
However, there was no place for love in Sparta. Feelings were for the weak. The only life for a Spartan was one of battle and brutality with no guarantee of tomorrow. In times of war, all men were put to the test, but the greatest challenge for us was not one of swords and spears, but of the heart.



Jewel's rating:



"This is my life." [...] "A life of gore and violence."



Brutal. Raw. Brilliant. And it wrecked me. Utterly and completely. And I regret not a moment.

Axios: A Spartan Tale is a love story. I've seen the word EPIC used to describe the romance of Axios and Eryx and I cannot help but agree. It's a rare book that gets my emotional investment to the degree that Axios has and I don't think a book has ever affected me so profoundly. Axios made my heart sing and it also made it hurt. I sobbed, but it was worth every tear. Axios is one of the best books I've ever read. This will be the book hangover for the ages.

Axios seemed to be greatly researched and I found myself looking up battles and kings to read more about them. It's such a brutal part of human history and I loved how the author took the characters and wove them into real events. The story is bloody and unforgiving, but the romance was strong, even amidst the violence and brutality. Axios and Eryx were soldiers with a duty to defend Sparta, but they were also men and who loved liked they fought -- with everything they had.

"You and I will never part, my warrior. In this life and the next, we will be just as we have forever been: side by side. There is not a thing that can take me from you, neither the slashing of a sword nor the impalement from a spear, for I will always find you.”


Eryx is a born leader. The son of a coward who was determined to restore his family's honor. Eryx sees the honor and glory of being Spartan. He is Spartan, through and through. He is determined to do his duty, even if it means his death and he looks forward to proving himself in battle. And among the boys in his herd, he is the most likely to succeed. Eryx had a charisma about him and he never spoke in haste. Many saw him as being a bit cold. Except Axios. For Axios, Eryx lets down his guard and tells him stories and encourages him to become a better warrior.
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