Saturday, November 25, 2017

ARC Review: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Now That You Mention ItFrom the blurb:

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back. 
Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There's only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn't necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments. 
With a tough islander mother who's always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter--a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was--Nora has her work cut out for her if she's going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.
But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen.
 
Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise...and the chance to begin again.




Heather's rating:





I'm a huge, HUGE Kristan Higgins fan, and I think she does that middle ground between women's fiction and romance like no other. Now That You Mention It was another wonderful, nuanced, lovely book in that style, and a great offering for long-time Higgins devotees and newcomers alike.

I connected with Now That You Mention It immediately. First of all, it gives MAJOR props to my alma mater, Tufts University (what, what!) and takes place in a little island off the coast of Maine, where I spent all of my childhood summers. Also, the MC in the book is a doctor, and although I'm a dentist and not a physician, the hospital setting and the medical terminology made me feel right at home.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Audio book Review: Riding Cowboy Flats by Julia Talbot

From The Blurb:
Riding Cowboy Flats Collection 
Saddle up and hit the trail with three beloved tales of passion in the great Southwest. From the ranch to the bunkhouse, it's easy to see why everybody loves a cowboy - and these cowboys are ready to ride off into the sunset with that special guy. 
Jackass Flats 
Thirty-something Tate feels like nothing more than an old cowboy with his best years behind him - until a young soldier from the nearby base reminds him how it feels to really live. But when news of their relationship gets out, staying together might mean taking on the entire army. 
Just a Cowboy 
Herschel's just an old-fashioned cowboy who believes everyone deserves a second chance - and nobody needs a fresh start more than Dalton. On the run from a dark past, Dalton is convinced he is beyond redemption. If Herschel can't prove him wrong, they'll both end up alone. 
Riding the Circuit 
When rodeo cowboy Frost Barton brings his itchy feet home to Southern New Mexico after his father's death, he meets and falls for horse trainer Matt Morales. They might have something special, but Frost isn't sure he's ready to give up the circuit, and Matt wants a lot more than an eight-second ride. 
Listening Length: 8 hours and 8 minutes



Karen's rating:




Yipee, ki yay, mutherf...oops, my bad that's Bruce Willis and this is... 
COWBOYS!

'Riding Cowboy Flats' is a compilation of three stories all by Julia Talbot all of which are narrated by Adam Gold...who might I say has an awesome cowboy voice...no seriously I know I'm stereo-typing here but this narrator has that wonderful slow, lazy, drawl that I totally associate with cowboys and yes, I know not all cowboys sound alike but listening to Adam Gold narrate this book I had no problem imagining cowboys and I loved that.

So first I'm going to just chat a bit about how much I enjoyed this narrator. I loved that he was able to so richly set the tone for these stories with his voice and yet at the same time he also gave each man their own distinct voice...yep, he ticked all my 'things I look for in an audio book' boxes. I have zero doubt that I will be listening to this audio book again just so I can get a cowboy fix. Now as for the stories, let's talk about them one at a time...

Jackass Flats...4 stars
Tate's only in his thirties but he's feeling like he's just a washed up cowboy...until a certain young soldier, named Dave, enters his life and shows him that he's still got a lot to offer and when things start to go wrong for Dave. It's Tate who's got his back and gives him shelter from the storm.

I loved this one. Tate was honest and straightforward with Dave about things and while he and Dave didn't get off to the best start they still both saw something in the other that kept them wanting more. It wasn't insta-love by any means. From their rocky start to their happy ending Tate and Dave were a sweet and fun pairing. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to their banter and seeing them go from strangers to acquaintances, to friends and ultimately loves and all without angst and drama.

ARC Review: Desperately Seeking Santa by Eli Easton

Blurb:

Journalism student Gabe Martin gets his first professional assignment—to write about a Christmas charity dinner that benefits a children’s home. It sounds like a total snooze-fest until Gabe learns that the event’s Santa is a mystery man. He shows up in costume and no one has a clue who he is. Uncovering his identity sounds like the perfect angle to turn a fluff piece into real, hard-hitting journalism.

Mack “The Mountain” McDonall, at 6’10”, is University of Wisconsin-Madison’s enormous star wrestler. When Gabe first claps eyes on him at a wrestling match, it’s lust at first sight. Gabe’s friend, Jordan, sets up the pair on a date. But when Gabe chatters on about his plans for outing Santa, Mack goes cold, and their first meeting becomes an epic fail.

As Gabe researches the children’s home, he learns that Mack McDonall has secrets a guy renown for being a brute wouldn’t want the world to know. Can Gabe find his holiday spirit, write a killer article, court a surly giant, and give everyone a very merry Christmas?


Dani's rating:


Eli Easton writes the best Christmas stories! I look forward to them every single year.

Desperately Seeking Santa has an extra sweet surprise: Owen and Jordan (from Easton's Superhero) are secondary characters in the story, and we get to see them living their HEA four years later (as seniors in college).

I LOVED seeing these guys again, but if you haven't read Superhero (which is a tragedy indeed), this book works perfectly fine as a standalone.

It's Jordan who drags Gabriel to a wrestling match. Owen is one of the stars of the team, along with an undefeated wrestler named Mack the Mountain who weighs in at 285 (the lowest weight class in college wrestling).

Gabe is mesmerized by Mack; he realizes he has a thing for big guys and wants to climb Mack ... well, like a mountain.

But Mack is reserved and private, and he doesn't seem particularly fond of Gabe, not after finding out Gabe is planning on writing an article about a charity dinner with a mysterious Santa. Gabe is determined to get back in Mack's good graces, but he doesn't want to compromise his journalistic integrity.


Release Blitz: Desperately Seeking Santa by Eli Easton



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 50,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Reese Dante


Blurb


Journalism student Gabe Martin gets his first professional assignment—to write about a Christmas charity dinner that benefits a children’s home. It sounds like a total snooze-fest until Gabe learns that the event’s Santa is a mystery man. He shows up in costume and no one has a clue who he is. Uncovering Santa’s identity sounds like the perfect angle to turn a fluff piece into serious journalism.

Mack “The Mountain” McDonall, at 6’10”, is University of Wisconsin-Madison’s enormous star wrestler. When Gabe first claps eyes on him at a wrestling match, it’s lust at first sight. Gabe’s friend, Jordan, sets up the pair on a date. But when Gabe chatters on about his plans for outing Santa, Mack goes cold, and their first meeting becomes an epic fail.

As Gabe researches the children’s home, he learns that Mack has secrets a guy famous for being a brute wouldn’t want the world to know. Can Gabe find his holiday spirit, write a killer article, win the heart of a surly giant, and give everyone a very merry Christmas?










Author Bio

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Author Of The Month - Marshall Thornton - Grand Finale


Welcome to our Grand Finale celebrations for the amazing






In today's post, we'll talk about Femme, Aunt Belle's Time Travel And Collectibles, and The Perils Of Praline. We also have our author interview, and all the way at the bottom is one more chance to win!



First up, Femme


Blurb:

Queeny cocktail waiter, Lionel, wakes up to find himself in bed with Dog, a straight-acting softball player and the two embark on a rocky road to romance. A journey that requires coming out of the closet, going into the closet, a pair of red high heels, many pairs of red high heels, a failed intervention, a couple of aborted dates, and homemade pom-poms. Mostly, Lionel and Dog learn what it means to be a man.










Excerpt:


Dog’s eyes popped open. He twisted his head around and took in my bedroom. I’d done an excellent job on the room. The walls were an amazing eggplant and the ceiling a delicate sky blue. I’d gotten this gilt- and cream-colored French provincial bedroom set on Craigslist that was so tacky it was chic. For whimsy, I had a collection of mirrors on one wall and throw rugs shaped like various fruits on the floor. My bedding had a zillion thread count and there was so much down in my comforter, my pillows and my feather bed that it was like I’d just shot, slaughtered and plucked a gaggle of geese.

I was waiting for a compliment. Instead, Dog said, “I don’t live here.”

“What a relief! I hate it when people move in uninvited.”

Actually, I might not have minded so much if he had moved in uninvited. He was cute in a lumbering, jockish sort of way. His hair was dark and clipped close, his eyes a soft, puppy dog brown. (Hmmmm, maybe that’s where he got the nickname.) There was a swoon-inducing dimple in his chin and, though he had muscles and very broad shoulders, he also had a sexy, hairy, little belly going on. That was an interesting thought. Since he was currently covered by my comforter the only way I’d know anything about his belly was—

I reached under the blanket and ran my hand across his modest paunch. Yup, it was there. And it was still sexy as hell. And we’d definitely had sex the night before. I was about to move my hand lower and start something new—I mean, after all, if the sex was half as good as I half-remembered we should definitely do it again—but he pushed my hand away and said, “Hey. Don’t do that.”

“Sweetheart, don’t get all excited and scream rape. We’re in bed together naked. That implies a certain intimacy.”

“You’re that waiter from The Bird.”

“Lionel. My name is Lionel.”

“That’s a funky name.”

“Your name is Dog. Do you really think you have room to talk?”

“I don’t remember last night.”

“Pity. I only remember parts of it. Maybe if we try a reenactment it will come back to us?” He looked seriously worried. That offended me a little. Well, more than a little. “Don’t look like that. Trust me, you had the time of your life.

“I don’t, um, I don’t do things like this.”

“You don’t have sex? That’s sad.”

“I don’t have sex with strangers.”

“Yes, it’s so much better to have cheap meaningless sex with people after you’ve cultivated a relationship with them.”





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Second in today's line-up, Aunt Belle's Time Travel And Collectibles



Blurb:

Where would you go if you could travel to any part of your past? That’s the question Terrance faces on his 45th birthday—and right away, he knows. He wants to go back to 1992 and not meet Mr. Wrong. But what begins as a journey to change the past becomes a trip to find the future. From the writer of Femme comes a story of best friends, time travel and going backward to move forward.











Excerpt:


I found myself dry heaving in the men’s room at Badlands. Well, one of the men’s rooms. Both of the toilets there were men’s rooms. They let women into the bar but if they needed to use the facilities someone had to guard the door. Luckily, I wasn’t actually puking. That would have put a damper on the whole thing but my stomach had tied itself into a nauseated knot. I kept standing in front the toilet just in case, taking long deep breaths and trying to ignore the smell of urine all around me. As my stomach settled, I realized that I was twenty-some pounds lighter and wearing clothes I’d long ago donated to charity: a white pair of 501s, a black pair of Western demi-boots and a black T-shirt with a big yellow Batman logo on it. The shirt was far too small for me and I’d rolled up the sleeves to show off my biceps—they weren’t that impressive but everyone else was showing theirs. All at once I realized something, this was the outfit I wore when I went out to pickup guys.

Oh my God, I thought, I’m on the prowl.

As soon my stomach settled, I walked out into the bar. Badlands had a country feel to it back then, barn wood tacked up on the walls, a pick axe hung over the cigarette machine, some big flat metal pans that could have been used to pan for gold. There were two pool tables, a jukebox, a bar shaped like a horseshoe and a dartboard tucked into a corner. The place was packed. I’d barely walked ten feet before I passed six black motorcycle jackets though I was fairly certain there were no motorcycles parked out front.

Despite the jukebox, a DJ played endless techno. It all had the same beat and it was hard to figure out where one song ended and another began. Worse than the droning music though was the smoke. In 1992, people could still smoke inside so the bar was nothing but a cube of smoke. It was disgusting. I was wondering why we ever let people do that when I heard someone calling out my name over the noise.

I turned to see Sean standing nearby. He wore a simple, white, oxford and a pressed pair of jeans with black loafers. It wasn’t too far off from the outfit he’d worn to my forty-fifth birthday brunch. Or rather, the outfit he would someday wear to my forty-fifth birthday brunch. I remembered when I was younger thinking that he was always kind of boring but now I looked at him again, he was kind of elegant. And much better looking than I’d ever given him credit for.

“Are you feeling any better?” He yelled into my ear as he rested a hand sympathetically on my arm. “You turned green and ran away. I told you a sex-on-the-beach is not as fun as it sounds.”



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And 3rd today, The Perils Of Praline, Or The Amorous Adventures Of A Southern Gentleman in Hollywood



Blurb:

When he falls in love with a contestant on a reality TV show, Peter "Praline" Palmetier decides to leave his home in rural Georgia and, failing to realize this might be considered stalking, travels to Hollywood to find his soul mate, Dave G. Once in tinsel-town he meets a collection of startling, and often horny, characters in his quest. They include a studly steward, a conservative talk show host, the Godfather of the Gay Mafia, and casting assistant Jason Friedman, who always manages to be there in time to save Praline from total disaster. Will Praline find love with the illusive Dave G., or will he recognize the charms of appealing but untelegenic Jason?






Excerpt:

Praline Palmetier decided to move to Hollywood while watching an all-day marathon of the reality TV show House-Bound, Season Six. It wasn’t that he fell in love with the stately palm trees and sandy beaches shown during the opening credits, or the trendy bars where contestants drank too much, or even the ever-present possibility of seeing a movie star around every corner. No, Praline fell in love with contestant number 5, Dave G.

Had he been asked to describe the ultimate human specimen, Praline would have described Dave G. The young man was tall—or at least appeared so on television—with velvet brown hair and smoky gray eyes. He was not overly muscled, though clearly athletic—in one episode he’d worn a thong that had shown off a delicious stream of dark hair running from just above his belly button downward. In short, Dave G. was absolute perfection.

It’s not that Praline decided to move to California without angst. He’d been angsting most of the summer. Having graduated with an Associate of Arts Degree in Communications from Laccacoochee Technical College, he had no further plans—no career goals, no special calling, and definitely no aspirations for additional schooling, as he had attained a less than stellar 2.2 GPA. Somewhat anxiously, he spent his nights making Mocha Latte’s at a sci-fi coffee shop called Java the Hut, and his days loitering on his mother’s sofa, which is where he sat—well, slouched actually—watching the special House-Bound, Season Six reunion episode, when on came a commercial for the bestselling book, The Key.

The commercial claimed that all you had to do to succeed in love was imagine down to the tiniest detail exactly what and exactly who you wanted to love you and it would come true, stunningly and amazingly true—especially if you bought the book.

But there wasn’t any need to buy the book, thought Praline. He had just spent most of his summer imagining down to the minutest detail what life would be like with Dave G. In fact, he’d concentrated so hard, so many times, that Praline was sure if he ever happened to meet Dave G. they’d fall instantly and irrevocably in love. And that’s when he realized he had to go to Hollywood, as soon as possible.

When he told his mother about his plan, she nearly burst a vocal cord screaming, “Criminy Jickets!” As an upstanding Christian woman, Robin Palmetier refused to take the Lord’s name in vain. “Praline, you cannot move to California! It is the most sinful, most dangerous, most seductive place on this entire planet!”

And then, in order to avoid a full-on conniption fit, she lit a joint.




Get the book:





For a complete list of all of Marshall Thornton's book, click here.




Author Interview:

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Audio Review: You Never Know by Mary Calmes

From The Blurb:
Hagen Wylie has it all figured out. He’s going to live in his hometown, be everybody’s friend, explore new relationships, and rebuild his life after the horrors of war. No muss, no fuss is the plan. He’s well on his way—until he finds out his first love has come home too. Hagen says it’s no big deal, but a chance encounter with Mitch Thayer’s two cute sons puts him directly in the path of the only guy he’s never gotten out of his head. 
Mitch returned for three reasons: to raise his sons where he grew up, to move his furniture business and encourage it to thrive, and to win Hagen back. Years away made it perfectly clear the young man he loved in high school is the only one for him. The problem? He left town and they have not talked since. 
If Hagen’s going to trust him again, Mitch needs to show him how he’s grown up and isn’t going to let go. They could have a new chance at love… but Hagen is insistent he’s not reviving a relationship with Mitch. Then again, you never know.

Karen's rating:




You never know...but I probably should have... 

I probably should have skipped this one on audio...but it's Mary Calmes, and the narrator was Greg Tremblay, and well...willpower, I has none.

I have to admit this one isn't my favorite Mary Calmes book...not even in the top 5 but that's life, right? We can't love everything, every time, and this, it seems, is no exception.

While I once again loved Greg Tremblay's narration of this story and definitely had no issues there and if I'm rating just the narration I'd probably be giving this 4 stars at the very least...nope, once again my issues were the story itself and at the end of the audio book I found that when it came down to it my feelings haven't changed I still really like Hagen. He's an easy guy to like...kind, friendly, loyal and way, way more forgiving than most people deserve...as a matter of fact if there's one thing about Hagen that bothered me it was how forgiving he was but I'm always saying that everyone deserves a second chance so I guess I really can't fault him now, can I?

Audio Review: Out of the Ashes by Ari McKay

From The Blurb:
Asheville Arcana In their differences, they’ll find strength—and love. 
Alpha werewolf Eli Hammond returns from a fishing trip to discover a nasty surprise—five members of his pack murdered and the rest missing. He needs help locating and rescuing his pack mates, but the supernatural council in Asheville, North Carolina, turns him away. 
Except for one man. 
As they work together, Eli is stunned—and not especially thrilled—to discover half-elf Arden Gilmarin is his destined mate. But as Arden and his friends struggle to help Eli in his quest, Eli surrenders to the demands of his body—and his heart. They’ll need to bond together, because the forces opposing them are stronger and more sinister than anyone predicted. The evil has its sights set on Arden, and if Eli wants to save his mate and the people he is entrusted with protecting, he’s in for the fight of his life. 
Listening Length: 5 hours and 47 minute



Karen's rating:




Have you ever wondered what would happen if an elf, a vampire, a wizard and a werewolf met... 

 ...while I can't honestly say that I have...I can say that it was hella' good fun finding out.

The last thing alpha werewolf expected to find when he returned home was 5 dead pack members and the rest of the pack missing. In need of help to find his missing pack Eli heads to the pack in Asheville and the supernatural community located there. When the supernatural council turns down Eli's plea for help...all except for one person...half-elf, Arden Gilmarin.

As soon as they shake hands Eli knows he's met his mate...something he neither wants nor believes he needs. As Arden and his friends, the vampire Julian and a wizard named Whimsey work with Eli to figure out what's happened to Eli's pack, Eli begins to find it harder and harder to ignore his inner wolf's demands to be with it's mate.

While Arden knows that he wants Eli as soon as they meet what he doesn't realize is that they're mates. I really enjoyed this story. It held my interest from start to finish. Both the storyline and the characters. The pace was fast but not excessively and the mystery and romance were woven together seamlessly. But even more than the story I loved these characters. Arden with his sweet caregiver ways, Eli with his gruff, alpha behavior and determination to keep Arden at arms length, Julian the mysterious vampire who keeps his past a secret and while he's not as open about his feelings as Arden or Whimsy it's still abundantly clear how much he cares about his two friends and the wizard, Whimsy. Whimsy is absolutely adorable and totally a spitfire...seriously don't mess with his friends because he will curse your sorry behind.

Blogtour: Came Upon A Midnight Clear by Katie Porter




Please say hello to Katie Porter and 

Came Upon A Midnight Clear 






Blurb:

Up-and-coming film producer Kyle Wakefield lives in the closet rather than risk the wrath of his influential, conservative parents. The only time he took a chance on love was a tempestuous teenage affair with Nathan Carnes. But when Nathan proved himself hell-bent on self-destruction and wound up in prison, Kyle closed off his heart.

Almost a decade later, Kyle’s production partner hires Nathan’s stunt company, Second Chances, to work on a big-budget action film in London. Nate is floored by his explosive reunion with Kyle. But he sure as hell isn’t surprised that Kyle still treats their mutual needs—and Nate—like dirty little secrets.

As the London holiday season casts its dazzling spell, the two men find themselves falling in love again. Kyle is one breathless kiss away from declaring himself to Nate—and to the world—but they cannot ignore secrets borne of youthful mistakes. To protect their bright new future, Kyle and Nathan will need all their passion and trust . . . and a little Christmas magic.


Publisher's note: This is a lightly edited reprint of a previously published novel.




Get the book:





About the 2017 Holiday Charity Collection

20% of all proceeds from this title will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network.





Each year, Riptide Publishing releases a holiday collection in support of an LGBTQ charity. Twenty percent of the proceeds from this year’s collection will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network.


The Russian LGBT network was founded in April 2006. It is an interregional, non-governmental human rights organization that promotes equal rights and respect for human dignity, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. They unite and develop regional initiatives, advocacy groups (at both national and international levels), and provide social and legal services.


To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: https://lgbtnet.org/en.


This collection would not be possible without the talent and generosity of its authors, who have brought us the following holiday stories:



Pre-ordering this collection will allow you to download each story two days prior to its official release date, as well as save 20% off the list price of the individual books.


About Katie Porter:

Release Blitz: Yours For The Holiday by DJ Jamison



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 50,000 words approx.




Blurb
Fresh off a break-up, Remy is in no mood to share a room with his brother's best friend during a holiday stay at home. Jason Hendricks has always treated him like a little brother to tease and taunt, all the more embarrassing because Remy has secretly crushed on the jerk since puberty. But when Jason confides he's bisexual, Remy realizes the crush he loves to hate could be the perfect rebound.

Jason has always found Remy appealing. He didn't handle his attraction well when he was younger, but now Remy's a grown man and Jason's no longer afraid of his feelings. Some playful flirtation sounds like a great way to spend Thanksgiving break, but he's not prepared for Remy's newfound sex appeal or his decision to make Jason his rebound fling. Jason doesn't want to risk fallout with a family that's always been there for him, but he's not sure he can resist.

When the two part ways, they don't plan to stay in touch, but soon they're texting, trading sexy pictures and helping each other cope with family drama. Remy agrees to be his for the holiday, continuing their secret fling over Christmas, but Jason knows that won't be enough. He'll have to find the courage to be open and honest with his best friend -- and the whole Wells family -- if he wants a chance at love in the new year.

This approximately 50,000 word novel is a brother's best friend, enemies to lovers romance that comes with a satisfying HEA!






Excerpt

“Hey,” Jason said quietly. The bed dipped as he sat down on the edge of the mattress. “You okay?”

“Oh, so you’re done avoiding me?” Remy said, hating the bitter edge to his words. He swallowed hard, trying to gain control over his emotions, so he didn’t make a fool of himself yet again.

“I’m sorry,” Jason said. He sounded sorry. Truly regretful.

Remy pushed up, struggling into a seated position against the headboard. If they were going to have this talk, he wanted to look Jason in the eye.

Swallowing hard, Remy forced out words that had been nagging at him all day. “I’m sorry too. I got carried away. I didn’t mean to pressure you—”

“God no, Remy,” Jason interrupted. “No, no. It wasn’t like that.”

Jason’s hand hovered in the air. Remy watched Jason hesitate before resting his big palm over Remy’s thigh. The blankets formed a barrier between them, but the point of contact burned as if he could feel the warmth spilling from Jason’s hand.

“Then I’m confused,” Remy said.

“I, uh, find you very sexy,” Jason said, voice tinged with embarrassment. It would be charming if it weren’t for the heavy topic of conversation. “But I need the Wells family. I don’t talk about my parents much, but—”

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book Review: The Poison Within (Inspector Skaer, #1) by Kasia Bacon

The Poison Within (Inspector Skaer, #1)
Blurb:
Black clouds of xenophobia gather over Radvadur, the western province of the Empire. The political climate is strained and fragile. A surge of Nymph refugees has stirred widespread hostility towards non-humans. When the investigation of a gruesome triple murder linked to the refugee camp ensues, it takes Inspector Käyru Skaer and his lover, Count Ellydhar Finn-Jánn, along an unusual path, at the end of which a precious gift awaits.

Käyru and Elly are worlds apart in social standing, but they have found common ground in the bedroom—up against the wall and the stable doors, too. The arrangement between them ought to have been temporary and of no consequence. As their circumstances change, will they find the courage to risk their hearts?

Warning: Contains mentions of off page sexual assault.



Jewel's rating:



​More. I want more! I really loved The Poison Within. LOVED. There was definitely a not-so-subtle metaphor regarding some events of the last couple years. Eh hem. But ​also, The Poison Within was a love story and so damn romantic.

Count Ellydhar Finn-Jánn is a beautiful aristocrat who cares about helping people. He's opened his lands to refugees displaced by the wars the Emperor waged. Elly cares deeply and loves wholly, even if he can't say the words out loud.

ARC Review: Nobody Rides For Free by Neil S. Plakcy

From The Blurb:
With less than a year of experience under his belt and only one big case behind him, FBI Special Agent Angus Green has joined the rarefied group of agents who have been wounded in the line of duty. 
Now, assigned to a desk job while he recovers, Angus wonders if he's chosen the right career. He's been following his late father's dream for a life of adventure and travel--and instead encountered danger, pain and heartbreak. But when he discovers that gay teens are being sexually abused by a pornographer in the same neighborhood where he lives, he has to step up and bring his intelligence, his determination, and his unique insights to save these young men. 
The case takes him from Fort Lauderdale's seamy underbelly to boisterous beachfront bars where big-fish Russian emigres launder illegal cash. He'll befriend a beautiful Russian-American undercover agent and rekindle a romance with a man who makes him feel protected. In the end, he'll learn the truth of a saying he learned as a boy - there is a price to pay for every decision we make. 
Nobody rides for free.




Karen's rating:




And the G-man is back...

'Nobody Rides For Free' is the second book in Neil S. Plakcy's 'Angus Green' series and I have to admit this one was a tough go for me. Try as I might I just couldn't get into the story and for the first 60ish per cent of this book I was on the edge of calling it quits and probably would have if it wasn't for the fact that I like the author's writing style.

Truthfully once I picked up the book and got reading it was ok. The real problem came whenever I tried to go back to reading after having to set my e-reader aside. A lot of the time I found that going back to the story took more effort than it should have, but once I got there things moved along and I found myself wanting to read...just a little bit more.

I have to admit if this had been a book that I bought rather than one that I'd requested for review I very well might have DNF'd or at least entertained the idea a bit more strongly but in all fairness when an author and/or a publisher is willing to provide me with a copy of an e-book or an audio book I feel compelled to do two things...one is to at least read or listen to the story from start to finish, the second is to be as fair and unbiased in my review as I can...so having said that let's go back to this story.

While I found the first part of this story to be a bit dry at times, it was also necessary. We're given an update on Angus from where we left him at the end of 'The Next One Will Kill You' as well as a lot of background for the current story. We meet some new characters and get a glimpse of some characters we met in the first book...so all in all in spite of the fact that for me the first part of the book was dry and at times a tiny bit boring...definitely necessary and in all fairness to this story not everyone is going to share my feelings about the first part of the book...hell, maybe not anyone will and that's ok, it's just happened that for me it didn't go so well...but let's move on from there and talk about....

Blogtour: All the World's an Undead Stage by Angel Martinez


All The World's an Undead Stage banner


All The World's An Undead Stage

Offbeat Crimes Book Seven






All the World's an Undead Stage
Carrington Loveless III, skim-blood vampire and senior officer of Philly's paranormal police department, has long suspected that someone's targeting his squad. The increasingly bizarre and dangerous entities invading their city can't be a coincidence. So when a walking corpse spouting Oscar Wilde attacks one of his officers, Carrington's determined to uncover the evil mind behind it all.
As a rare books librarian, Erasmus Graham thought he understood some of the stranger things in life. Sharing a life with Carrington's shown him he didn't know the half of it. They've survived attack books and deadly dust bunnies together and got through mostly unscathed. Now his world and his vampire's appear ready to collide again. Books are missing from the rare books' collection—old tomes of magic containing dangerous summonings and necromancy. He's certain whoever's been stalking the Seventy-Seventh is composing their end game. It's going to take a consolidated effort from paranormal police, librarians, and some not-quite-authorized civilians to head off the impending catastrophe.






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About Offbeat Crimes


Every region has them, but no police department talks about them—the weird crimes, the encounters with creatures out of nightmares. The 77th Precincts exist in certain cities to handle paranormal crime and containment, usually staffed with experienced officers exhibiting psychic abilities.


In Philadelphia, through an odd mix of budget issues and circumstance, the 77th is manned entirely by officers with bizarre or severely limited psychic talents. The firestarter who can’t get a spark when it’s humid. The vampire who can’t drink whole blood. These are the stories of the misfits, the outcasts from even the strangeness of the paranormal community. Call them freaks, but they’re police officers first, serving and protecting, even if their methods aren’t always normal procedure.









Excerpt


"Hunter? It's all right. I promise." On his knees in the room LJ and Hunter shared, Carrington peered under the bed where Hunter huddled in the far corner. "No one here will hurt you."


To Carrington's relief, his mom had taken care of nearly all of the arrangements for this open house luncheon on and left him out of it. He would've preferred something with less fuss and fewer caterers but it was only for a few hours. The squad room would survive. His only task now was to try to coax an obviously spooked Hunter out from under the furniture.


"I have a theory," Jeff said from where he leaned in the doorway.


Carrington smacked his head on the bedframe trying to reach far ther underneath, so his next words were sharper than necessary. "Oh, yes? I don't suppose you'd care to share this brilliant bit of enlightened thinking."


Jeff let out a little huff. "Not if you're going to take my head off."


"My apologies. I'm not in the best position to be civil at the moment."


"I can wait until I’m not talking to your butt."


"Fine." Carrington eased out from under the bed and sat back on his heels. "What's your thinking here?"


"When Hunter was living on her own, she was pretty careful and particular, wasn't she?"

Living on her own translated as when she was homeless, and careful and particular into skilled and cautious thief but Carrington appreciated his colleague's care with Hunter in the room. "So one is given to understand."


"I'm thinking maybe someone or several someone's invited today might have been a target. Maybe Hunter's afraid of someone recognizing her and making the connection."


Carrington leaned down far enough to peer under the bed again. "Is that it, Hunter? Are you concerned that someone will recognize you from your previous life?"


Even with Hunter scrunched in the corner, she still managed a collar nod.

"Very well, then." Carrington patted the mattress. "We'll close the door, Ms. Hunter. You don't have to see anyone if you don't wish to."


A sleeve poked out from under the mattress to pat Carrington's hip. He took the hint and got to his feet to give Hunter room to wriggle out. She floated up and settled carefully on the blankets with her sleeves crossed.


"My word of honor." Carrington held up both hands. "You can lock the door behind us."


She slumped as if in relief and nodded. Then she twitched up straight, holding up a sleeve to ask them to wait. Jeff peered over Carrington's shoulder as Hunter pulled a box out from the steamer trunk she shared with LJ. She handed the box to Carrington with a sleeve motion that appeared to mime pulling up a zipper.


"This is for LJ?" He waited for her nod. "I'll bring it right out to him."


As he'd promised, he shut the door behind them to give Hunter her privacy and found LJ in the squad room with Audacity under one arm. Their kitten wore a scaled-down version of a black K-9 vest.


"Don't you look official?" Jeff let her catch one of his fingers to gnaw on.

Carrington gave her an approving nod. "It suits you. Do you like your new uniform?"

Blogtour: For the Love of Samuel by RP Andrews


 



Title:  For the Love of Samuel

Author: RP Andrews

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date: 11/20/2017

Heat Level: 5 - Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 50,500

Genre: Romance, Erotica, Fantasy, eroic gay romance, erotic gay fiction

Add to Goodreads

Guest post


Why l’ve Gone Back to Self-Publishing

Counting my new work of erotic gay romance, ”For The Love Of Samuel,” l’ve published five works of fiction and another, my memoirs. All but my memoirs and my new book were picked up by gay publishers, but l have decided to return to self-publishing. And for good reasons. And it's not about royalties because Amazon which is the place to be if you self-publish also takes its pound of flesh.

The first and foremost reason is the lack of publicity. They throw your book up on their website as the book of the week, attempt to get you a few reviews, and then let your linger in literary purgatory.

Secondly, gay publishers are dying quicker than landlines, victims of mainstream publishing which no longer frowns on gay titles (though most of the books our kind write aren’t the nine hundred page behemoths they prefer), as well as the self-publishing trend as one of my publishers confessed to me.  Of the five publishers l’ve been associated with in the past, three are now gone, which leaves you the author to find another publisher, self-publish, or watch your book disappear into cyberspace.

Plus l’ve had a few run-ins with editors who thought some of my stuff too over the top.  (Some if it? It’s ALL over the top!) Like one scene in an earlier book where l had my protagonist eat the cheese off his lover’s beard as they were having pizza in some blue collar town. Erotic? You betcha. But no, said my editors, that just won't do.

And if you want to explore incest or pedophilia or violence for vengeance’s sake, or excessive drug use, they’re all forbidden.

Screw that!

In my new book, my protagonist has a sexual encounter on the train with a gay daddy where they role-play father and son; in another scene my lead is introduced to a pair of fraternal twin brothers who happen to be lovers; and drug use and imagery abound. Not for titillation but because they are a part of some gay men’s lives. Period. No apologies necessary or offered.

Why do people read our books in the first place? To be bored or to delve into a life they never would lead themselves?

Now if you self-publishing, you are left to your own devices when it comes to proofing. I find reading aloud helps along with half a dozen read-throughs. And l have a few trusted buddies whose constructive criticism as to storyline line and content l trust and often follow.  

For a couple of hundred bucks l have an outfit like Booknookbiz to translate my Microsoft doc into the e-formatted files l need to upload to Amazon for Kindle that is far and away the winner in the e-book game, and Barnes and Noble for the less popular Nook. Booknookbiz can also point you in the right direction for artists to create that all important cover. My publicist Lori who operates lndigo Design and Marketing arranges for a virtual book tour where l’m a guest blogger on sites like this one. Plus there's my own author website and My Facebook pages, and l’m fortunate to live in Fort Lauderdale, the gay crossroads of the world, where advertising in our glossy weekly gay entertainment guide Hotspots reaches thousands of out town tourists from across the country and around the world.

Ironically Amazon will hustle you to advertise your book on their site until they find out yours is erotica (“ sorry, we have our community standards…”), and Facebook is equally puritanical. I couldn't advertise my last book,”Buy Guys,” using the cover because it sported two barechested men. Heavens to Betsy! A good site that welcomes erotica is WhizBuzz. For a few bucks they’ll not only display your work but also publicize you in a number of other venues.

Sure it’s a lot of work, but isn't your baby worth it?

About the book:


New Yorker and aging gay man Billy Veleber who abhors growing old has lost Jim, his former meth head lover, to his habit, and Gus, the older man in his life and mentor, to despair, when he is confronted with the chance to become 21 all over again, through the magical prowess of the dog tag of a long dead Civil War soldier, Samuel Evans. Young again, Billy abandons Manhattan for Fort Lauderdale where he meets Dare, the love of his life, whose clever quick rich venture first bonds them, then threatens to end their idyllic lives together forever. Billy also faces the reality of having to tell Dare the truth about himself.












Excerpt:


Billy Veleber, a 51 year old aging gay mam living in Manhattan, after a number of heartbreaks, decides to put on the dog tag of a Civil soldier given to him by Travis, a clerk in a thrift shop in Boystown, Chicago, who tells him it will give him eternal youth if he has had or has love in his life.  The dog tag had been handed down for generations since it was given to Walt Whitman by a dying soldier he nursed in the Washington, D.C., Armory Hospital in 1862. Over the intervening weekend, Billy begins his transformation to 21, the same age as the soldier, Samuel Evans, whose dog tag he wears, died ...

I leave the baths around five, and after a coma nap, a quick Smart Choice Fettuccini Alfredo 400 calorie dinner and a good hot shower - I notice with cocky satisfaction in the bedroom’s full length mirror that my love handles are history, my stomach is flatter, my receding hairline is unreceding, and most of the gray on my head and in my beard and and on  - yes! - my chest is going or gone, I head over in my leather vest, no shirt, and levis and boots for The New Eagle off Tenth Avenue. It’s almost one - a.m. - but as one of my fuck buddies before Gus and even Jim, said, “That's when they stop window shopping.”

Now it’s called The New Eagle because the old Eagle, along with the Spike and the Lure, the leather triumvirate of my youth and my years with Gus, were gone. They had become the victims of the real estate boom at the turn of the millennium, and had been brutally and sacrilegiously torn down for shiny, gleaming condos and spankingly clean baby carriages.

In the crappy bathroom at the Spike they had stenciled on the black wall in cheap white paint, “Don't flush for piss.” That said it all. I only hoped some gay historians had saved that piece of the wall before it too became history. Now all we have left is the hole on Tenth Avenue, what us hardcore leathermen sarcastically brand as Genuine “Vi-nel.”

I strut in, my goose-step no longer adopted but my own, and find the same Chatty Cathy cliques - different faces, same old shit - going on like the last time I was here with Gus just after we’d  gotten back from our first class holiday excursion to Athens and Rome and a few weeks before his stroke.

In between the groupies are some of the oldest members of our clan, The Old Guard, usually alone because most of their cronies are already dead, and usually with enough keys hanging from their belts to rival a night watchman at the Chrysler Building, the fucken handkerchiefs hanging from their pockets, so Twentieth Century, or the best of them in faded, stretched out jock straps that should be on Antiques Road Show along with their owners. Yea it’s true, the older some of these guys got, the less they wore. For attention I guess.

Admired or ridiculed, it doesn't matter; the greatest sin is to be ignored.
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