Tuesday, August 22, 2017

ARC Review: Trust with a Chaser by Annabeth Albert

Trust with a Chaser (Rainbow Cove, #1)From the blurb:

One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks… 
Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans. 
Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for. 
When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything? 
Trust with a Chaser is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, a hot law-enforcement hero, opposites attract, plenty of sexy times, and one hard-fought, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

Heather's rating:

Pure, excellent Annabeth Albert goodness!

Annabeth Albert is an author that I've come to rely on. There are very few authors that I feel like can guarantee me a great read and Annabeth Albert is one of them. Trust with a Chaser is a perfect example of her consistency.

Annabeth Albert gets people. She gets what drives her characters, and she makes each and every one of her men feel real and complete. I adore her characters in all her books and I adored them in this one.

I have a weakness for closeted men, and I just loved Nash and his buttoned-up, repressed, dying-to-be-emotional self. I could feel the loneliness and self-hatred radiating off him, and I wanted to give him a hug (and more... wink, wink) so badly. He is the gruff cop of my dreams.

I also loved how Mason cracked Nash piece by piece. He snuck under his skin, and I adored the journey from sidelong glances to full-on romance.

The chemistry is electric. These two crave each other on another level!

Blogtour: The Druid Next Door by E.J. Russell

Please say hello to E.J. Russell with 

The Druid Next Door 

Fae Out Of Water #2 


Professor Bryce MacLeod has devoted his entire life to environmentalism. But how effective can he be in saving the planet when he can’t even get his surly neighbor to separate his recycling?

Former Queen’s Enforcer Mal Kendrick doesn’t think his life could get any worse: he’s been exiled from Faerie with a cursed and useless right hand. When he’s not dodging random fae assassins in the Outer World, he’s going toe-to-toe with his tree-hugging neighbor. And when he discovers that the tree hugger is really a druid, he’s certain the gods have it in for him—after all, there’s always a catch with druids. Then he’s magically shackled to the man and expected to instruct him in Supernatural 101.

All right, now things couldn’t possibly get worse.

Until a mysterious stranger offers a drunken Mal the chance to gain back all he’s lost—for a price. After Mal accepts, he discovers the real catch: an ancient secret that will change his and Bryce’s life forever.

Ah, what the hells. Odds are they won’t survive the week anyway.

Get the book:

About the Fae Out of Water Series

Once upon a time, there were three brothers, nobles of the Seelie Court of Faerie, who set out to seek their fortunes. The eldest—

Scratch that. Rrrrrewind.

Nowadays, when tales are told in 140 character bursts on tiny LED screens, rather than spun out by the glow of a midnight campfire, even Faerie’s elite have to get with the program.

The Kendrick brothers have traded longbow for briefcase, battle steed for Harley, and enchanted harp for electric guitar. But while they’re finding their feet in the modern world, instead of finding their fortunes, they stumble straight into love.


Check out Fae Out of Water!

Cup of the Day

I’m not the kind of writer who has a playlist for her WIPs, mainly because I can’t write while listening to music. In fact, I haven’t listened to a music radio station since I started writing nearly seven years ago. My learning style is auditory—I learn by listening—so if I hear any words, my brain is derailed while I process them. (This is the reason I was a really lousy secretary back in the day—I couldn’t listen to what was happening in a meeting and record the minutes at the same time.)

However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t use other methods to get myself in the mood for the writing tasks ahead of me on any particular day. Instead of music, however, I set the theme with my tea mug.

For the Fae Out of Water series, for instance, since I was writing about three brothers who are Welsh fae, I liked to start my day with a dragon—the dragon from the flag of Wales.

Release Blitz: From Ashes by KM Neuhold

RELEASE DATE: 08.22.17



From Ashes Cover

“When the broken man with scarred skin walked into Heathens, asked for a job, and showed me a sketch of a phoenix, it felt like fate.”~ Adam
It started with an anonymous post by someone who didn't want to live anymore. I read it over and over again, unable to get it out of my mind. What if my brother Johnny had posted something like this before he'd taken his own life? Would someone have been able to save him? 
I've been living a lie for 16 long years and I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to keep it up. And when a beautiful, broken man walks into my tattoo shop asking for a second chance at life, I know I'll never be able to turn him away.  
“When I was so far down I couldn’t even see the light, a stranger reached in to save me”~ Nox

I didn't have anything to live for, until a kind stranger pulled me back from the brink. With physical and emotional scars I have nowhere to turn now but to that same stranger who saved my life without realizing it. But as my feelings for Adam grow, will I ever be anything other than a surrogate for the brother he couldn’t save? Am I even worthy of his love?  
**From Ashes is the third book in the Heathens Ink series, each book in the series CAN be read as a standalone.  
CAUTION: this book contains graphic descriptions of domestic violence and drug use that may be disturbing to some readers.

From Ashes Teaser 1

From Ashes Teaser 2


The air in the room seems to shift as our laughter fades. I look over at Adam and find him looking back.

His eyes flick over my face like he’s searching for something and the crease between his brows makes me wonder what he’s thinking so hard about. I wonder for the millionth time how he kisses, what his lips taste like. I’ve never been this obsessed with kissing before but my brain is like a broken record lately.

Subconsciously, I feel myself leaning forward, and to my surprise, Adam is leaning forward too.

Our mutual approach is slow and measured, like we’re both afraid to scare the other off if we move too fast.

His breath smells like chocolate as it bathes my face and my hands start to tremble. I mentally send out a prayer to every deity I can think of not to let Adam come to his senses until after I get the chance to kiss him and know what it feels like for just a few seconds.

When his lips finally ghost against mine it’s like an electric jolt to every nerve ending. Then, he lets out a defeated sound and crushes his lips against mine and my heart nearly explodes out of my chest.

The kiss is sweet and exploratory as his tongue sweeps against my lips, seeking access. I open to him without hesitation, looping my arms around the back of his neck and pulling myself flush against him.

My skin feels like it’s the only thing keeping me from bursting into a million beams of light.

Adam’s hands gently roam my body. Not harsh and demanding like I’m used to, but reverently. Each breathy sound that falls from his lips between kisses burrows into my heart to make a permanent home.

Adam pulls his lips from mine and I whimper in protest. He presses his forehead against mine as we both attempt to catch our breath.

“I’m so sorry. God that was so inappropriate,”Adam laments in a pained tone.

“No.”I clutch desperately at the front of his shirt, unwilling to let him pull away. “Please, don’t tell me that the best moment of my life was a mistake.”

Monday, August 21, 2017

ARC Review: The Layover by Roe Horvat


Built from the bottom up: one perfect gentleman. 

Tino Robbins’s sister, Nica, and her husband, Jacob, are expecting their fifth child. Fortunately, Nica’s best friend, Taylor Cochran, is back in town, released from PT and in need of a job.

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.

Dani's rating:

When my parents packed up their lives and immigrated to the States from Poland in the 80s, they did so for religious and political reasons. They had no way of knowing that my little brother, then barely a toddler, was gay.

We are not idealists; we do not romanticize America. But despite living in a very conservative state, we know that my brother had a better chance at being his true self here than he would have in Poland. Poland's constitution is one of only seven in the EU to ban gay marriage. Slovakia's is another.

This book spoke to me on so many levels. I could feel Ondro's despair: the way he simultaneously yearned for and was repelled by his homeland, the way his loneliness had become a breathing thing threatening to choke him.

Despite his intense stare and lack of social niceties, Ondro is a good man. And when he meets the beautiful American expat Jamie at the airport, he can't walk away.

Release Blitz: Battered & Bruised, but not broken by Piper Kay & TL Travis

My rock, my savior, my prince. You found me when I was lost

What inspired Piper & TL to write Battered & Bruised, but not broken

I think our budding friendship and differences in our lives which is the same thing that drew us together. Piper's character is tormented and has been to hell and back. TL's character is someone who's suffered, but still managed to move past his anguish, or so he thought.

Title: Battered & Bruised, but not broken

Release Date: August 18th, 2017

Publisher: Encompass Ink

Genres: Erotic male/male romance

Battered & Bruised, but not broken, is an erotic, male/male, gay romance novel. It's the culmination of two lost souls finding what they didn't know they were looking for.

Hunter's an ex-con, always in the wrong place at the wrong times, which is how he landed up in prison. He's looking to start anew, when in walks Elliott.

Timid , sheltered, Elliott, has his life in order. Or so he thinks. That is until, Hunter, introduces him to a whole new world.

Both are battling demons from the past, but what happens when their two worlds collide?

Where in the hell did I get that prissy, little take charge, bitch attitude from? That’s so not like me, I’m actually quite the opposite. Yet every time I’m around Hunter I turn into a fucking queen. But the way he freaked when I told him I was a virgin sent me into fight or flight mode and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let him or his ‘my shit don’t stink’ attitude get the best of me. Tell me I can come and go as I please, it’s like ‘no fucking shit I can’, but right now, all I want to do is lose my virginity to this cocky man. Why him? I honestly don’t know, but twenty-three years of waiting can make a guy do crazy shit.

I know he wants me, it’s written all over his smug face. I see him grin when he thinks I’m looking the other direction. There’s a reason our paths keep crossing, call it karma, call it kismet, hell, call it whatever the fuck you want, but I know damn good and well there’s a reason for it. But last night, I saw a glimpse of his gentle side— the side that calls me to him when I shivered while he was undressing me.

As I lay here watching him sleep, I see so much more in him than he does. I see the gentler, need to be loved side that he desperately tries to hide behind his tattooed bad boy façade. But what makes him tick? Baggage he claims, fuck dude, we all have baggage. Try getting past a homophobic father who damn near beats you to death when he finds out you’re gay. Talk about baggage, I never let anyone in after that. Fuck, it’d been years before I even tried to so much as kiss anyone after that. Hook-ups were my chosen vice in college, but I never let anyone in. And lo and behold what happens the first time I do? I get my dick sucked by the most amazing man I’ve ever met. The same man laying here beside me sleeping. The same man who’s quickly winning my heart.

I was so nervous last night when he undressed me, so afraid he’d reject me in my vulnerable state of nakedness. My body still bears the physical scars from my father’s abuse which I thought would turn him off. But he looked right past them as though they didn’t exist. And when he called me baby, I lost it. A term of endearment from a self-proclaimed bad boy. That alone shows the depths of his humanity. I know the real Hunter’s in there, now all I need to do is prove to him that I won’t hurt him because clearly, something in his past has seriously fucked him up.

$5 Amazon GC and e-copy of Battered & Bruised


About the Authors

Blogtour: Inhuman Beings by Richard May

IB banner

Title: Inhuman Beings
Author: Richard May
Release Date: June 15th 2017
Genre: Gay Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Erotic

Inhuman Beings-Front cover
Fall in love with a shapeshifter in San Francisco, a ghost in Scotland, or a vampire in Russia. Time travel to 1920s Mesopotamia, 1600's Africa, or to ancient Greece before time even existed. Find yourself on a distant planet, in love with a creature whose very being can destroy you, or in a post-apocalyptic world, drawn to a mutation created by the destruction of Earth.

Enjoy these 18 erotic stories about romantic encounters between men and not men--monsters and myths, gods and demons, science fiction and fantasy. Each story is the stuff of nightmares--and of dreams.

Add Inhuman Beings to Goodreads

Paperback Purchase: 
*The paperback version has 3 new stories*

Ebook Purchase: 

EXCERPT from Hair

“I’m sorry,” Lucas said that night at dinner. We were at an expensive Northeast restaurant, a surprise, especially when Lucas paid.
‘You missed me,” I answered, more upbeat than I felt, still nursing my bruises and bites.
“It won’t happen again,” he promised. My disappointment surprised us both. “Unless you want it to,” he added, the look in his eyes fierce. He didn’t wink or grin to make it easy for me.
I left my yes or no for another day, or night.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Audio book Review: Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford

From The Blurb:
Welcome to Dim Sum Asylum: a San Francisco where it’s a ho-hum kind of case when a cop has to chase down an enchanted two-foot-tall shrine god statue with an impressive Fu Manchu mustache that's running around Chinatown, trolling sex magic and chaos in its wake. 
Senior Inspector Roku MacCormick of the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division faces a pile of challenges far beyond his human-faerie heritage, snarling dragons guarding C-Town’s multiple gates, and exploding noodle factories. After a case goes sideways, Roku is saddled with Trent Leonard, a new partner he can’t trust, to add to the crime syndicate family he doesn’t want and a spell-casting serial killer he desperately needs to find. 
While Roku would rather stay home with Bob the Cat and whiskey himself to sleep, he puts on his badge and gun every day, determined to serve and protect the city he loves. When Chinatown’s dark mystical underworld makes his life hell and the case turns deadly, Trent guards Roku’s back and, if Trent can be believed, his heart... even if from what Roku can see, Trent is as dangerous as the monsters and criminals they’re sworn to bring down. 
Listening Length: 9 hours and 44 minutes

Karen's rating:

I read 'Dim Sum Asylum' back in June when the e-book was first release...what can I say it's Rhys Ford so I'm all over that stuff. Plus...hello? Dragons. Needless to say I was not disappointed and I loved it 5 dragon stars worth. So when the audio book became available and it was narrated by Greg Tremblay...who was I to turn the opportunity down...my momma didn't raise no fools...ok, maybe one or two of them but trust me I'm not on that list.

So not to re-invent the wheel or anything but here's the link to my first review...
Dim Sum Asylum Book Review

ARC Review: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

From The Blurb:
The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 
New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love. 
Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin's timeout is over…

Karen's rating:

So just add me to the list...

What list you may wonder why the list of people who loved this book of course...yeah, that list.

First off let me just say I'm not much of  a fan of football, sorry I am Canadian the hockey arena is more than likely where you'll find me if sports are involved, but for me, when it comes to books it's the story that matters and the subject doesn't always have to be a favorite topic of mine. Santino Hassell is one of those authors whose name on the cover takes precedence over what the story is about...in other words a good book, is a good book, is a good book and I've learned that there are certain authors who I can rely on to deliver a good book no matter what they're writing about. Santino Hassell's name is on that list for me.

ICoS was my first reading experience with this author and he and Ais totally blew me out of the water with that series. So much so that after reading it I was compelled to buy the Director's Cut copies for Evanfall. I own the e-book copy or I own the book I don't make it a habit to own both and if  you know me than you know that doing so speaks to how incredibly much I enjoyed them. Next I discovered the awesomeness that is his 'Five Boroughs' series and enjoyed these as audiobooks and now this author has again shown his diversity with 'Illegal Contact' the first book in his latest series 'The Barons' again...mind blown! I have yet to enjoy his paranormal story 'Stygian' and his other new series 'The Community' but trust me, I have them all waiting for me on my e-reader...it will happen.

Book Review: Axios: A Spartan Tale by Jaclyn Osborn

Axios: A Spartan Tale
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'm having a hard time even describing its effect on me. But I did go though nearly all my tissues and I think 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. This story is brilliantly executed. It's bloody and unforgiving, but the romance was strong, even amid the violence and brutality of the story. 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 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.

Axios, however, is out of his element. He has the heart of a dreamer and a poet. He wishes to see the ocean and have a life that isn't fighting. Being a warrior isn't something that suited him at all, but he had no choice in the matter. All Spartan males must train for war. Fight or die. So from the time Axios was seven years old, as with other boys, that was his life. And when he was 10 years old, Axios had to make a terrible choice, but it was really no choice at all. And it was Eryx who held him together then and always. Axios did adapt to his life as a warrior and he performed his duty well, but the boy he once was was still there in moments of calm.

“I crave a life where we can live in peace.” My voice was thick with emotion, and I forced myself to speak through the tightness in my throat. “Where love is seen as a strength and where our days are spent lounging by our stream, lost in conversation for hours on end. There’d be no sorrow, pain, and no darkness. Nothing but happiness and light. Love. However, I’ve come to the realization that dream will never be.”

"Duty" is a theme that plays heavily in the story. It is beaten into the boys from the time they are boys what their duty to Sparta is and to turn away from it is to be a coward and it will bring shame to their families and their brothers. And they train in harsh conditions for more than 10 years to be the Spartans that all of Greece fears. And duty may have been what started them on their paths, but ultimately, it was not duty that kept them on it, but a desire to protect each other and their brother-in-arms.

“Sparta is not my home. You are.”

I loved so many of the secondary characters, too. Leanna, Axios' sister was fierce and determined to live life on her terms. She was certainly no shrieking violet. And Haden, who became like a brother to Axios and Eryx. And Quill and Theon who always managed to laugh. Through their eyes, as they grew from boys to men and into battle, I came to know and love them all. But Axios and Eryx have my heart.

"Eryx was the anchor that kept me from drifting out to sea. My safe haven from the storm."


Get the book:

Keep your teddy bear handy!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

ARC Review: Tops Down Bottoms Up by Jay Northcote

Tops Down Bottoms Up
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?

length: 23,000 words approx 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.

Jewel's rating:

​Sexy. Flirty. Low angst. Sweet. I had no idea that morris dancers could be so sexy! Neither did Rowan.

​I think I am alone, among my friends, in that I knew what Morris Dancing was. I'm not that familiar, though, I've only seen it once or twice. And I've got to agree with Rowan in that it isn't known for the sexy! So Jay Northcote took something a bit outside the norm (for my American self, anyway) and turned it into something sweet and sexy and fun.​

Tops Down Bottoms Up refers to two of the figures in Morris Dancing. ​Seth explains it all to Rowan in the story, so I won't go into it here, but it did bring out my inner 14 year old *snicker*

ARC Review: The Long and Winding Road by TJ Klune

From The Blurb:
Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole—those who make us who we are. 
And here, at the end, Bear and Otter will be tested like they’ve never been before. 
There’s a knock at the door from a little girl who has nowhere else to go. 
There’s a phone ringing, bringing news they do not expect. 
There’s a brother returning home after learning how to stand on his own. 
As these moments converge, all of their lives will change forever. 
Beginning in Bear, Otter, and the Kid, and continuing in Who We Are and The Art of Breathing, TJ Klune has told a saga of family and brotherhood, of love and sacrifice. In this final chapter, the events of the past pave the long and winding road toward a future no one could have imagined.

Karen's rating:

How a series ends is...every bit as important as how it started but then so is everything in the middle...

I have such mixed feelings about this one. I loved the chance to spend more time in this world with Otter, Bear, the Kid and all the wonderful people in their lives. But that this was the end of their story...well, how could that not make me a little sad.

While I was a little late to the party with this series. It was August of 2011 when 'Bear, Otter and the Kid' was first published and somehow I managed to wait until 2015 to read the first 3 books...and yes, I did binge read them and what I do know for sure is that whatever instinct told me that I finally needed to read these books was a good one and I need to listen to it more often.

Life's tapestry is made of so many different threads...hellos, good-byes, births, deaths, meeting new friends, losing old ones, leaving home, going home and so many other moments that shape us taking us on a journey that helps us to define who we are. This is the journey that we've traveled with Bear, Otter and the Kid.

It's an incredibly emotional journey. One covering everything from happiness and love to anger and grief with so much more in between and it's here in 'The Long and Winding Road' that we get to revisit the past with Bear as he faces some of the biggest changes yet to happen in his life and Bear's not the only one affected by these changes. While some of these changes affect Bear directly some do so indirectly because they're changes that are coming for the people that Bear loves...for the kid, for Otter, for Creed, for Izzie the sister that Bear's never met and at the heart of it all, Bear knows as long as they're together...Bear, Otter, the Kid and the amazing family they've gathered they will weather the changes and come out of things whole and stronger.

Audio book Review: Northern Star by Ethan Day

From The Blurb:
Deacon Miller never had it all—he never really believed he could. Growing up in a broken home with an alcoholic mother and a revolving door of truly pathetic father figures taught him to keep his expectations low. Now at twenty-seven, on the night before Christmas Eve, his life is turned upside down yet again; his boyfriend has dumped him, he just fled the holiday family reunion from hell, and now to top it all off, a blizzard has left him stranded in an airport hotel. 
Steve Steele has spent the better part of his forty-four years living a lie, ignoring his attraction to other men in an attempt to fit into the mold of the man he thought he should be, instead of living life as the man he knew himself to be. Recently divorced after coming home from work one day and coming out to his wife, Steve has floundered over the past year, desperately attempting to wade through the guilt and find the courage to start again. 
That’s when a chance meeting in a hotel bar brings two lonely men together… and what should’ve been a one night stand turns into something much more than either one ever expected. 
Listening Time: 8 hrs, 44 min.

Karen's rating:

I admit it...this was not the Ethan Day that I was expecting... 

Before I start this review I would like to offer sincere apologies to the author for having taken so long to get this review done. Unfortunately sometimes real life refuses to co-operate. I started listening to this story back around mid-July and then there was a move...so when I was finally able to resume the story in fairness to the author, the book, and the narrator, I felt I needed to start all over again so I did, and I'm glad I made that choice because it allowed me to take the time to enjoy this one from start to finish, allowing me to make a much fairer assessment of both the story and the narrator.

'Northern Star' is not my first book by this author. I've read his 'Summit City' series and some of his standalones, and 'To Catch a Fox', the first book in the 'Fox Mysteries' that he co-wrote with Geoffrey Knight, is definitely one that I'm be happy to read more of. But I will be the first to admit none of them prepared me for this one.

I guess I've come to expect a solid dose of humor in Ethan Day's stories and while there were some humorous moments in this story...honestly that bar-b-que conversation between Steve and his friends got more than one laugh out of me. So yes, there was a touch of humor in this story but 'Northern Story' was definitely darker and more introspective than what I've normally come to anticipate from Ethan Day.

In the life lottery, Deacon Miller did not get the winning ticket...hell, he didn't even win a consolation prize. Thankfully what he did get even though he doesn't realize it is a backbone of steel. Born to a homophobic, alcoholic mother whose luck with men rivals that of a passenger on the Titanic, Deacon has survived a life that would have very possibly crushed others...not unscathed, but he has continued to dust himself off and get back up each time life has tried to knock him down.

Making a hasty retreat from the the family holiday from hell only to get dumped by his boyfriend and dragged back home by his little sister when their mother ends up in the hospital and then jail after causing an accident and being charged with a DUI infraction for the third time, but not before sharing an incredible interlude with the much older and incredibly sexy Steven Steele.

Neither man can forget their time together nor does either man make the first move to contact the other. It's up to fate to bring these two men together and she does. Both men are trying to leave behind a past filled with mistakes and heartache and the comfort and passion that they shared in that one interlude stays with each of them despite the passage of time.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Review: Still Water (The Boys of Bellamy #1) by Ruthie Luhnow

Still Water (The Boys of Bellamy, #1)Blurb:
"What's the protocol for falling in love with your best friend?"

Max Hartmann only cares about two things: his university rowing team and his best friend Finn—the one person Max can always count on, the one person who believes in him the most. But now it's senior year and something about Finn is different. Max can't figure out why Finn is pulling away, leaving Max adrift without him. But when a drunken hookup takes them both by surprise, everything changes. Max is straight, right? So why can’t he stop thinking about Finn's lips on him? 

"I fell for my straight best friend. What a cliché." 

Finn Stevenson feels like a failure. It took him 22 years to figure out that he was gay, and he returns to campus dead-set on ignoring his true feelings for Max. But it’s impossible to deny he’s fallen in love with his best friend. How could he not? Max lights up every room and makes Finn feel like the most special person in the world. But after throwing himself at Max one night at a party, Finn knows he might have just jeopardized the most important friendship in his life. 

"You think I'm gonna change my mind, don't you?" 

How can Finn trust that Max's feelings for him are real if Max won't even come out? And as Finn struggles with the pressures of competitive rowing, Max fears losing the person who means the most to him. As the rowing season heats up and graduation looms, the future has never been so uncertain. Will their relationship drown under the pressure or can they find a way to stay afloat?

Still Water is an m/m contemporary romance with out-for-you and hurt/comfort themes, plenty of heat, and a happy ending.

Todd's rating:

I'm rating "Still Waters" at around 3.75 stars, because there were a ton of things to love about this story.

Both Finn and Max were adorable. Their friendship, and later relationship, was all kinds of touching and wonderful. They were truly there for one another and supportive beyond measure.

And the steamy bits were off the page smoking hot. They were all about full equality in that aspect of their relationship, as they were both fairly inexperienced with same sex situations.

But this story wasn't all sunshine and roses. Far from it.

Both Finn and Max were also frustrating, idiotic children. Their fights and ability to freeze one another out could be destructive and downright cruel. Their behavior was adolescent, far surpassed high school mean girls, when they went for the jugular.

This happened three times over the course of the story and got a bit tedious to see happening over and over again.

Plus, at 375 pages, the story was waaaaaay too long. I read and read and read, then saw I was only a third of the way along. So yeah, I wouldn't have minded seeing a good bit of the page count end up on the editor's chopping block for a more concise, better-paced book.

In particular, then entire plot line about Finn's eating disorder didn't feel entirely necessary to the story, instead it felt more like a plot gimmick to extend the book's length. Then Finn's underlying reason behind it was never fully explained. Was he seeking control over one thing in his life, when everything else felt as if it were spinning out of his grasp?

Blogtour: As Big As The Sky by Amy Aislin

Thank you for hosting me today on my blog tour for my newest novella, As Big As the Sky, my second book from MLR Press.

In As Big As the Sky, the MCs, Bo and Sam, both have their own hobbies. Bo reads, and Sam gardens. So I thought I’d talk a little bit today about some of my own hobbies.

Reading: So, yeah, this is a pretty obvious one, so I’ll be brief. I love to read. I probably read about three books a week on average. #NoRegrets

Photography: Taking pictures, photography courses, browsing through coffee table books. The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto hosts the “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” exhibit ever winter and it’s one of my favourite things to do in the winter. My dad and I go every year and we ooh and ahh over the amazing photographs. Some of these photographers wait hours and sometimes days for the perfect photo. I don’t have that much patience! If you want to see some of the images I’ve taken, they’re available on my website.

Travelling: Can traveling be considered a hobby? Either way, I love to travel and I try and get in one trip a year, even if it’s something small, like visiting family a few hours away. This year I’ve actually done three! (Or I will have by the end of the year.) I visited friends in Montreal in April, spent a week house-sitting in the middle of nowhere in the Laurentians in Quebec in July, and will spend a week at Disney World in November. Last year it was a week in Vermont. The year before that was a two-week trip with my cousin to Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. If I could afford to travel more, I would!

Browsing bookstores: Sounds lame. It’s not.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win an e-copy of one of my books!

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 
Length: 37,000 words
Publisher: MLR Press

Sam wants nothing to do with his irresponsible, sarcastic neighbor...or does he?
Sam McAuley is having a rough start to the summer: Not only is he being sued, but the new guy running the animal rehabilitation center next door has no idea what he’s doing and his runaway chickens constantly end up in Sam’s pristine yard. 

Everything is temporary for Bo Novak. For as long as he can remember, it’s been one town to the next, one school to the next, one job to the next. Even his current job—running his sister’s animal rehab center while she’s away on a four-month leave—is temporary. And he does know what he’s doing, thank you very much. Sure, things don’t always run smoothly, but the stick-in-the-mud next door could be a little nicer about it. 

One overheard conversation, an olive branch, and a baseball game might show these guys that being at odds isn’t really what they want, and that what they want might just be each other.

Author Bio

Blogtour: Controlled Burn by Erin McLellan

Please welcome Erin McLellan with 

Controlled Burn 

Hello! I’m Erin, and welcome to the blog tour for my m/m college romance, Controlled Burn! I can’t wait for you to meet Joel and Paulie, and hope you enjoy their romance as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Follow along as I stop off at several blogs throughout the week, and don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card!


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.

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About the author:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Author Of The Month - Mary Calmes - Week Three

Welcome to our third week of celebrations for the fabulous

In today's post, we'll look at the Change Of Heart series, and a personal story Mary has chosen to share. There's also another chance to win one of her books!

First up, Change Of Heart


As a young gay man—and a werepanther—all Jin Rayne yearns for is a normal life. Having fled his past, he wants nothing more than to start over, but Jin’s old life doesn’t want to let him go. When his travels bring him to a new city, he crosses paths with the leader of the local were-tribe.

Logan Church is a shock and an enigma, and Jin fears that Logan is both the mate he fears and the love of his life. Jin doesn't want to go back to the old ways, and mating would irrevocably tie him to them. But Jin is the mate Logan needs at his side to help him lead his tribe, and he won't give Jin up so easily. It will take time and trust for Jin to discover the joy in belonging to Logan and how to love without restraint.


Once we were driving away, I warned Logan that we had a lot to talk about when we got home, so I hoped he had no other plans.
“Talk about what?” he complained. “We talked last night.”
He had no idea about anything. Ours would be a very tricky blending of lifestyles and priorities, and there was his new tribe and everything else to consider. It was going to be a mess.
“I love you,” I sighed, unable to keep the smile from my face, leaning back and looking at him through heavy-lidded eyes. “I really do.”
“I know,” he grunted, very pleased with himself. “You can’t live without me. I’m like cheese.”
It took a second to process his comment. “I’m sorry, cheese?”
“Sure. Air’s overrated. Try living without cheese.”

The man was insane, which, it turned out, was just perfect for me.

Get the book:

Second in the series, Trusted Bond


Jin Rayne is having trouble adjusting to the new life he’s supposed to love. Instead of adapting to being the mate of tribe leader Logan Church, Jin can't get past the fact that his lover was straight before they met. He's discovered the joy in belonging to Logan but fears his new life could disappear at a moment’s notice, despite Logan's insistence that they are forever, end of story.

Jin wants to trust Logan, but that desire will be put to the test both by a rival tribe leader and by a startling revelation about Jin's existence. At stake is Jin's life and his place in the tribe. If he's going to survive to see Logan again, he'll have to release his fear and freely accept the bond, for only then can he truly trust.

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In third place, Honored Vow:


Jin Rayne is still growing into his frightening new powers as a nekhene cat and his place as reah of Logan Church’s tribe when he learns that a sepat, an honor challenge, has been called. Logan, who has never wanted to do anything but lead his small-town tribe, must travel around the world to Mongolia and fight to become the most powerful leader in the werepanther world.

Logan won’t be the only one making the journey. As his mate, Jin must fight with him to honor his commitment to Logan, his culture, and his tribe. But the trial is long, involving a prolonged separation between the two men, and Logan’s humanity is at stake. In order to make it through the nightmarish sepat, Jin and Logan must accept their fates, trust each other, and honor the vows between them no matter the cost.

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Fourth in the series, Crucible Of Fate


In the secret city of Sobek, Domin Thorne is making his way as the newly chosen semel-aten, the leader of the werepanther world. He aspires to make sweeping changes—he’s set goals for himself and the people he chose to bring with him, modeling his reign after that of his friend, Logan Church. But Domin may have set too lofty a goal: his normal leadership style isn’t working.

While juggling a homesick Crane, a moody Mikhail, a bullwhip-wielding Taj, servants with murderous intentions, a visiting ex, and a mate on a dangerous goodwill mission, Domin has to figure out his new role alone. He also must determine how to deal with a conspiracy, all the while falling hard for a man who, for the first time in Domin’s life, reciprocates that love. Whether Domin is ready or not, Fate has stepped in to teach him a lesson: internal threats are just as dangerous as external ones.

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And the final book of the series, Forging The Future


Jin Church is back where he started, alone, wandering, and uncertain of his path. It’s not by choice but by circumstance, as he remembers he’s a werepanther… but not much else. He knows one thing for sure—he needs to find the beautiful blond man who haunts his dreams.

Logan Church is trapped in a living hell. His mate is missing, his tribe is falling apart, and he’s estranged from the son he loves with all his heart. His world is unraveling without his mate by his side, and he has no one to blame but himself.

If Jin can regain his memory and Logan can overcome the threats to his leadership, then perhaps they can resume their lives. The question is: Is that what they want? Back to the same house, the same tribe, the same troubles? They can choose from various roads leading to their future… or they can forge their own path.


A sharp inhale. “I love you, Jin, and not because you’re mine or because you’re my reah, but because you have my heart. Always.”
“Yes,” I murmured, lifting to kiss the corner of his mouth and suck his bottom lip between mine before taking another delicate nibble. “And I will have you and claim what has always been and will always be mine.”

“As will I,” he promised darkly, and a flush of heat ran through me.

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Mary's personal story

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