Sunday, December 31, 2017

ARC Review: Strike Up The Band by Sam Burns

Strike Up the Band (Wilde Love, #3)Blurb:

Jake McKenna doesn't want to be here. He doesn't want to be on tour, he doesn't want to be playing guitar, and he definitely doesn't want anything to do with Brian Mulholland. He's biding his time until the tour is over so that he can walk away from his music career for good.

Brian didn't ask to be here. Okay, maybe he did. Fine, you know what? He wanted this. He may not like the circumstances that have landed him in his dream job, but he's not going to let anyone ruin it for him, even if it's the insanely hot guitarist he's had a crush on since the first time he saw the band play. He will win over Jake McKenna if it's the last thing he ever does.

My rating:

This is the 3rd book in the Wilde Love series, switching back to Freddie Mercury Isn't Dead aka FRED, the band that got its start at Wilde's, Keegan's restaurant/bar in book 1. Some time has passed since then; they now have a hit single and are on a tour.

The band is forced to take on a new member, to finish the tour as their record label demands, because record labels are cruel assholes only concerned with making money, no matter what it costs the band.

Jake McKenna doesn't want to stay on tour, he doesn't want to even interact with the new member of the band, one Brian Mulholland, and he sure as hell doesn't want a career in music anymore.

The aforementioned Brian is the ex-member of a now-defunct boy band, who is looking for a new start after firing his manager/mother when she caught him kissing another man.

Now, I'm not going to give away the plot or why Jake feels the way he does about continuing in his music career - there's a reason why that's not in the blurb, and I'm not going to spoil things here.

This book can be read as a standalone, though I don't know why you wouldn't want to read the first two books as well.

I do want to talk a bit about Jake's sexuality - he identifies as homo-romantic/asexual - and how well the author worked that into the book, showcasing without ever getting preachy that love is definitely not dependent on sexual contact, and that someone like Jake can find the right person for him. Both Brian's bisexuality and Jake's asexuality are handled in really positive ways, making it clear that romance and love can happen even if sex is off the table. Brian is a really good guy, sympathetic and forgiving, even if Jake is prickly and disengaged at first, and they eventually begin a friendship that then leads to more, and I was happy that the author didn't change Jake for Brian, or vice versa. They had honest and open conversations about Jake not wanting sexual intercourse, and how that might affect Brian down the road, which allowed them both to make the right choice for themselves.

ARC Review: The Christmas Fling by Heidi Cullinan

From The Blurb:
Sometimes it takes a village to fall in love. 
Eccentric, reclusive, socially awkward project designer Evan Myles doesn’t date. Paying for sex with professionals is so much more efficient and suits his needs well enough. But when he’s on assignment in rural Logan, Minnesota, for the Christmas Town project and a handsome stranger at the bar catches his attention, Evan decides it’s time to break his rule. It doesn’t matter that he’s never so much as flirted before. It can’t be that hard, can it? 
Davidson Incorporated lead architect Terry Reid hasn’t been hit on so clumsily in his life. Terry’s the first to admit he’s a neurotic Prince Charming, and he’s kissed his share of male and female frogs, but he’s never met anyone quite like Evan Myles. Evan calls Terry by the wrong name, mistakes Terry for a simple construction worker, and picks apart his work as an architect. Despite this rough start, Terry is lured by the brilliance of Evan’s ideas, his quirky personality, and once they’re alone in Evan’s cabin, the man’s mad skills in bed. Yet Terry knows it takes more than a single night of passion to make a relationship work, and after so many failures, he’s just not ready to try again. 
Evan and Terry’s path is strewn with stones neither of them can dislodge. Fortunately, they’re not alone on the road to romance. They’re in Christmas Town, home to matchmakers, meddlers, and more “fairy godfathers” than they could possibly know what to do with. 
Most importantly, in Logan, Minnesota, happy ever after is guaranteed.

Karen's rating:

I'm really torn on this one...

'The Christmas Fling' is the first book in Heidi Cullinan's series 'Christmas Town' a spin-off from her series 'Minnesota Christmas' which I diligently read and loved...even, 'Santa Baby' pulled 3.5 stars out of me, but while the first book in the 'Minnesota Christmas' series started off with a solid 4 star read for me...'Christmas Town' hasn't gotten off to such a good start.

Interestingly enough while I liked Terry and Evan individually...Terry and Evan as a couple, well...not so much. Terry and Evan went from a rather kinky, hot and frantic one-night stand to co-workers who for all intents and purposes as far as Evan is concerned they've never met but even more bizarrely while Evan is frantic to find Kevin, he's less than happy with Terry and upon first meeting him doesn't seem to like him very much but he puts up with him because he thinks Terry is his best chance of finding the elusive Kevin...Oh, if Evan only knew.

As Terry and Evan work together they start to build a relationship as both co-workers and friends and while Evan finds himself wanting to take the relationship to the 'next level', Terry's attraction is tempered by his own quirks and insecurities. It quickly becomes apparent that if Terry and Evan are going to make a go of things they're going to need more than a little help from their friends...friends that we've met previously in the 'Minnesota Christmas' stories.  Needless to say this was one of my favorite parts of the story with Kyle and Paul, Gabriel, Arthur, and Dale, Frankie and Marcus, and a few other residents of Logan.

Book Review: Our Gentle Sin by Lyra Evans

Our Gentle Sin
A Taboo M/M Romance

Kane may be older than Levi—by six minutes—but he’s always found comfort in knowing Levi would be the one to take charge. That's how it's always been. But all it takes is one winding road and a sudden storm for their world to shift in an instant. As Levi struggles to cope, Kane has no choice but to become the strong one.

But where Kane wants things to go back to normal, Levi seems determined to change as much as possible. He starts acting differently, more recklessly, and Kane isn’t sure what to do. What can he do, after all? He can’t stop Levi from flirting with every guy that breathes, or from going to every party on campus. But when Levi begs Kane to join him at a Halloween party, Kane finds himself in a predicament he never imagined. He’s given in to a passion he didn’t know he had, and worse—he doesn’t regret it.

Faced with the reality of his growing desires, Kane starts to pull away from Levi. But no matter what he does, Kane can’t fight his yearning, and Levi isn’t making it any easier. Though Kane keeps asking himself, "what’s wrong with me?" maybe Kane should be asking what’s wrong with Levi... And will it tear them apart for good?

Our Gentle Sin is a contemporary m/m romance of a taboo nature that some readers might find objectionable. It contains explicit sexual content between two consenting adults, violence, coarse language, and the use of sexual slurs. It is not appropriate for readers under 18 years of age.

Jewel's rating:

Our Gentle Sin is the story about two young men learning to live again after their parents are killed in a car accident. It isn't going to be for everyone. If twincest isn't your thing, then you're not going to want to read this book.

Levi and Kane De Luca are identical twins and are both college students. Levi is majoring in pre-law, while Kane has gone a more artistic route with photography. To supplement their income, the boys have an Instagram where they both model underwear, mostly. And their photos are often sensual.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Book Review: Santa Baby (Minnesota Christmas #4) by Heidi Cullinan

Santa Baby (Minnesota Christmas #4)
Trimming the tree is more fun with three.

Twin Cities developer Dale Davidson has come to Logan, Minnesota, to turn it into Christmas Town, not to give in to Arthur Anderson’s offer to join him and his fiancé, Gabriel Higgins, for a Christmas Eve threesome. Dale is polyamorous, but it’s clear Arthur is offering a night of fun and nothing more. Maybe one night with the couple he admires so much won’t hurt…

Together the three of them light a fire hot enough to boil Lake Superior in January, and one night of fun becomes an extended engagement as Dale puts down some tentative roots in his new hometown. Everyone loves Dale, Logan’s own Santa Claus, and somehow no one knows what wild times are happening right underneath their noses. No one knows, either, the complicated ways they’re falling in love with one another.

But a shadow from Dale’s past emerges, an abuser threatening him with violence and shame. Ronny doesn’t want a happy ever after for Dale, only to draw him back into a consuming darkness. It will take the love of not only Gabriel and Arthur but all of Logan to convince their Santa he has nothing to be ashamed of—and that he will always have a home in their hearts.

Jewel's rating:

Santa Baby starts pretty much immediately after Winter Wonderland left off, with no preamble or break, so it feels like a straight continuation of that story. Except, of course, the focus is on Arthur, Gabriel and Dale.

Many of my friends dnf'd this book, because polyamory is not for them, or because this story takes a couple that got their happy in a previous book and alters it. Fair enough, I totally get that. I, however, quite enjoyed it.

Was this story necessary? Well, no, not in the sense that it is such an integral part of the overall story that if you don't read it, you'll lose out. Truly, if Sleigh Ride was perfect for you as the story of Arthur and Gabriel, that's awesome. I was good with that one, too, but I wanted to see what Ms. Cullinan got up to with this one. I love ménage stories, if they're done well, and I knew that Heidi Cullinan could pull it off. Even still, Santa Baby was different than my expectations and not in a bad way, at all.

I recall in Sleigh Ride, Arthur saying he didn't want to share Gabriel. I thought that was sweet, but a bit out of character for Arthur, considering how much he really enjoyed having a third to play with. I figured at the time that the basis for his assurances, in that regard, was because he felt that was what Gabriel needed, and maybe he even wanted to try monogamy, as well. So when Santa Baby starts and Arthur observes the intense attraction that Gabriel feels toward Dale, well, he saw an opportunity to explore something new with his lover and he took it.

Eddie: Grime Doesn't Pay by Z. A. Maxfield

From The Blurb:
8 hrs 32 mins  
Eddie and Andrew have dynamite chemistry. But Eddie is profoundly dyslexic, and Andrew lives to read. Andrew is pathologically disorganized, and Eddie likes things neat and clutter-free. 
Andrew is desperately ashamed of his hoarder father, and Eddie is embarrassed by his lack of education - secrets that could pull them apart even as a friend's tragedy brings them together. 
When Andrew's father's condition deteriorates and he nearly dies because of his compulsion, Eddie and Andrew must learn compassion begins with loving oneself because Grime Doesn't Pay.

Karen's rating:

It's like reading an episode of hoarders!

'Eddie: Grime Doesn't Pay' is the second book in Z.A. Maxfield's series 'The Grime Brothers' and while I enjoyed it. It didn't quite match the first book for me.

I really, really liked Eddie. Interestingly Eddie rhymes with teddy and that's what Eddie was he was just a total teddy bear and really, really good guy. I liked Eddie a lot. Eddie's one of Jack's partners at 'The Grime Brothers' and he's a really solid guy. Eddie works hard, he's a good friend and as his integrity is rock solid but he's also considerate and short Eddie's a keeper and it seems that Andrew wants to keep him.

Andrew's a school teacher and he's had Eddie on his radar since the first day Eddie brought his niece to school. I have to admit I never quite warmed up to Andrew. I found Andrew to be at times overly controlling and at times just downright obtuse....especially where his father is concerned.

I liked the way that Eddie's dyslexia was handled in this story. While Eddie's dyslexia is indicated as being one of the more serious types. While Eddie has worked hard to enable himself to be highly functional and independent he still struggles with his self esteem because he has dyslexia. Ironically it was being dyslexic that also contributed to Eddie's compassion.

At the end of it all I just didn't feel the connection between Eddie and Andrew as strongly as I did between Jack and Ryan.

Jack: Grime and Punishment by Z. A. Maxfield

From The Blurb:
5 hrs 52 mins 
The Brothers Grime is Jack Masterson's way of helping people in crisis after disability ends his career as a firefighter. Jack's people get to a scene long after the physical trauma ends. They don't solve crime or rescue the victims. They help people move on. 
The new job is all Jack wants or needs, until he gets the call about old flame Nick Foasberg's suicide. Ryan Halloran's cousin Nick has been on a downhill slide for a long time. Despite that, Ryan does everything he knows to help. Ryan only understands part of what happened between Nick and Jack in high school, but after Nick's suicide, Ryan agrees both he and Jack need closure. 
They work together to clean the scene and despite the situation, heat flares between them. Jack is keeping a painful secret and fighting his attraction to Nick's lookalike cousin, Ryan. Ryan calls himself a magnet for lost causes and worries Jack might be the next in a long line of losers. Despite his misgivings, despite the past and the mistakes they've both made, Jack gives Ryan something to look forward to, and Ryan gives Jack a reason to stop looking back, in Grime And Punishment.

Karen's rating:

It's another swipe at the Tower of TBR thanks to the world of audio books...

I've wanted to read these books for ages now. I'm totally a fan of Z.A. Maxfield and while I haven't read all of her books I'm working on it and I've wanted to read this one for quite a while now. So while I still love to read my books like most things I have come to realize that audio books have a place in my reading routines.

'Jack: Grime and Punishment' is the first book in the series 'The Brother's Grime'. Jack is one of the partners in a company that specializes in crime scene clean up. A company that came into being when Jack's career as a firefighter came to an abrupt end.

Ironically when a job comes up to clean up the house of a suicide victim it's Jack's turn to move on from the past when the victim and owner of the house turns out to be Nick Foasberg...Jack's first love and the person who betrayed him in unimaginable ways. But if Nick is Jack's past then what does that make Nick's cousin Ryan it possible he's Jack's future?

Friday, December 29, 2017

Book Review: Everyday History by Alice Archer

Everyday History
Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can’t convert to a speed bump. He’s used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. After months of persuasion, he scores a dinner date with Henry Normand that morphs into an intense weekend. The unexpected depth of their connection scares Ruben into fleeing.

Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben’s former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. But when Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. The articles seduce Ruben with details from their weekend together and trigger feelings too strong to avoid. As Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and further out of touch, Ruben stretches to close the gaps that separate them.

Jewel's rating:

All. The. Stars!!!!!

​History.​ It's a subject I often dreaded in school, but learned to appreciate later.​ ​When I was in school, history usually ​meant facts and dates about important events from long ago. Things that if taught properly, take on a life of their own in the mind of the teacher and the student. And if not, they're flat and boring things with no real context. Forgotten as soon as they're no longer needed.

But, really, everything around us has a ​story to tell. A history. ​Everyday history of everyday objects tells us the story of us. And ​​Everyday History is gorgeous and poignant and brilliantly written and the ​story of Henry and Reuben comes alive in ways that stories don't often accomplish.

Henry​ Normand​ is​ more than​ a teacher of history. ​He's private, complex and when he feels, he feels with his entire being. ​As he teaches each new batch of interns at the museum where he curates, he instills both an admiration and a passion for not just the facts of the past, but the context in which they happened. He's exactly the kind o​f​ teacher I always wanted and seldom got. He brings his subject matter alive for his students.

Book Review: Don't Plan to Stay by Kaje Harper

Don't Plan to Stay
At eighteen, Donnie Kagan's plans for graduation, and maybe even college, were derailed by a beer, a stoplight, and a fatal crash. Now he's twenty-four, out of prison, and bitterly determined to start over. But with the holidays approaching, he can't resist a quick trip home to Tallbridge, North Dakota, and the man he left behind. Just a fast look, to make sure Adam's doing all right, before Donnie starts his new life. He doesn't plan to stay.

Adam Lindberg's been waiting six years to get closure with Donnie. He missed that chance after the accident, fighting for his life in a hospital bed as Donnie pled guilty and disappeared into the justice system. Without so much as a letter back from Donnie in all this time, Adam's tried to move on. And yet, he never found another guy he cared about the same way. So when Donnie shows up in Tallbridge, Adam's ready to fight for more than three words of goodbye. Of course, Adam's brother and dad don't want Donnie to stick around, but it's the busy Christmas season at the family store. If Adam asks for Donnie's help, maybe he'll stay long enough to finally talk about the future, and the past.
Todd's rating:

There was just some intangible quality about this story that really made it work for me. Both MC's were extremely likeable and, right from the start, it just seemed like they did truly belong together.

I can't really say that the "Don't Plan to Stay" title was entirely 100% correct, though.

When Donnie showed up at Adam's family business, six months after being released from prison, he may have "said" he was only there to make sure that Adam had recovered from the car crash 6 years prior, then he'd be leaving; however, in his heart, it did seem that all it would have taken was one "please stay" and Donnie wouldn't be going anywhere -- other than wherever Adam went.

Because Adam was Donnie's home. Always had been.

One of my favorite characters in the book wasn't actually ever *in* the book, but her presence was very heavily felt. That would be Adam's recently-deceased mother, who passed away 8 months before Donnie's return. She'd always been in Donnie's corner, so even thought she was gone, she helped pave Donnie's way with Adam's dad and, to a lesser extent, Adam's older brother, Nate.

Speaking of Nate. Asshole. Read the book and you'll see what I mean. I just knew he'd pulled some bullshit, but we're never fully told why he was the way that he was and did what he did. Still, asshole.

But Adam's dad more than made up for Nate's bitter, awful attitude and I loved him for it. And so did Willow, Donnie's timid, rescued pit bull.

Others may not think so, but for me, the story contained far less angst than I'd anticipated, which was partly due to the fact that Donnie would *not* open up about his time in prison, and Adam never pressed him for details. Yes, this kept the drama to a minimum, but I felt that it also made the story not quite as interesting and fleshed out detail-wise as it might have been with that information.

The sexy bits were fine, never really going into hot and heavy details, but I did like the fact that the MC's weren't hung up on specific roles in the bedroom. Donnie may have been the ex-con fighter of the pair, but he never got all machismo about that.

This book rated around 4.25 stars on my scale, so I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a decent story about a second chance at love.

Get the book:

Thanks for visiting our blog and I hope you enjoyed my review!

Buylinks are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with this book, author or bookseller listed.

Release Blitz: Beyond The Tunnel by Dan Mitton

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Exstasy 

Length: 79,777 words 

What would you do if you rode into a mountain tunnel in North Carolina and then rode out into a different world? Adam Stephens is about to find out…

Adam Stephens is a man with a mission. It has been three years since they chopped that malignant brain tumor out of his head, and he is off on a solo motorcycle camping trip through the Appalachian Mountains.

When he rides into the Pine Mountain Tunnel in North Carolina and rides out into another realm—a realm that comes complete with a big sexy grizzly bear shifter, mages, and an evil sorcerer—he isn’t sure he isn’t lying in the tunnel after crashing his bike. Can such a world exist? Or is he dreaming? If he is dreaming…it sure is realistic.

Along the way, there will be some major hurdles to surpass including no indoor plumbing…and no coffee. A man needs some basic luxuries, correct?


“Fine, if it’ll get you off my damned back, I’ll take the cell phone. And you already know I’m taking my Kindle so I can read in those serene mountain campgrounds that I picked out along the way.” Adam roared, as he stomped down the hallway to get the phone from his bedroom.

“Oh, you mean those campgrounds in the bear infested forests, which you picked out without even seeing them?” George yelled down the hallway sarcastically. He had made it clear to Adam—repeatedly—that camping in a tent in the mountains, alone, was the dumbest idea he had ever heard of. “Oh, and don’t forget, you’re riding right by where they filmed Deliverance. Someone might just tell you that you have a pretty mouth.”

“I could get so lucky,” Adam said quietly as he walked back into the kitchen. “And as to the campgrounds, I’ve already got my sites picked out and pre-paid, so it will be an easy trip. Relax, I’ve already got my bike packed. I’ve double checked everything, and if there’s anything I forgot, it isn’t like there isn’t a Walmart store every twenty miles along the way. I can stop and buy extra supplies. I’m not going to be riding through the wilderness.

“For your part, Georgie…don’t forget to come over and feed my cat. Otherwise, poor Cooper will be dead before I get back. And this time don’t forget the cat box! When I went away for those few days last year, you didn’t scoop and it was practically liquefied when I got back. That was disgusting dude, disgusting.”

Twenty minutes later—George having been mollified—Adam climbed on his motorcycle to begin his epic journey from South Florida to the Quebec line in New Hampshire. He had his tent, his sleeping bag, and enough food for a few days. Now if didn’t rain, the trip would be fantastic.

Not quite three days into his trip, and Adam was riding through the mountains of North Carolina already, which was quite a feat on a motorcycle—if he did say so himself, especially on these back roads. In a car, he might have done the trip in one day, but on his bike, it was far more strenuous on his body. Better to ride safely than quickly, and besides the views were fantastic. The Blue Ridge Parkway was proving to be as beautiful as he’d heard, and at least, so far, he hadn’t seen any bears.

Camping the first night in Florida had almost been a washout, after riding through thunderstorms nearly the entire length of the state and having to set his tent up in the middle of a downpour. Then last night in that creepy deserted campground in Northern Georgia, with all its bear warning signs, was so cold. How it was possible to be in the thirties when it had been ninety when he left his house in Cape Coral was beyond his comprehension. He could only wonder what the coming night’s campsite would bring. He hoped they would at least have hot showers at this one. His shower that morning in Georgia, with only ice-cold water and a thirty-eight-fucking-degree breeze blowing in through a louvered stall wall, had almost killed him. His balls had retracted so far that he didn’t think they’d crawled back out of his body since. At least it had warmed up fast and was now somewhere pleasantly in the seventies with bright sunshine.

Sighting an exit sign ahead, Adam pulled off the Parkway and stopped at the combination rest area and information center. He needed to pee, and it would probably be smart to grab a physical Blue Ridge Parkway map. His map app on his smartphone kept trying to direct him off the Parkway to a much faster Interstate Highway option.

After using the rest room, Adam walked into the information center, picked up one of the free maps from the display by the door, and approached the cute bearded guy behind the counter. “Does this map show all the tunnels and campgrounds? I’m heading for Linville Falls tonight, and I’d like to keep track of where I am during the day.”

“It does, but man, I’m glad it’s you, not me. That’s a long way to go on this type of road in one day on a motorcycle. Good luck with that.”

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Book Review: A Love Song For The Sad Man In The White Coat by Roe Horvat

A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White CoatBlurb:

"Simon had always expected love to feel different than this. Whether it was his Catholic upbringing or the poetry he'd read - Simon had thought that true love would be uplifting, fulfilling, that it would give a meaning to his loitering, and add joy to his leisure. But not this kind of love. This love was a flesh-eating monster, sharp-clawed and evil-eyed, ravishing his mind with medieval cruelty." 

Dr Simon Mráz is a respected specialist and lecturer at the Charles University in Prague. He is a serious man, responsible. His students call him The Cruel Doctor Frost not because he's unkind, but because of his unwavering, ice-cold composure. As a psychiatrist, he values sanity. And sanity can be found in work, restraint, and self-control.
Not many know of that one time in the past when The Cruel Doctor Frost lost his cool. His ill-advised, secret affair with a student left Simon deeply wounded. Since that day, every minute of Simon's life has been a struggle to remain sane, functioning. He's managed so far - as long as he is needed, as long as his work makes a difference, Simon can scrape together enough strength to get up in the morning and run off the nightmares. But when his friends begin drifting away, his beloved protégé becomes independent, and the man who bereaved Simon of his precious sanity might return... Simon's mind and body stop responding to his impressive willpower.

Sandra's rating:

Dear Roe Horvat - you broke my heart, you stomped on it, and then, at the last possible moment, you healed me.

The book starts out with brief moment in which we meet Matej, a student in Prague, on his way to class to take a finals, stopping to buy a cup of coffee to which he attaches a note.

"Are you wondering the same things I am?"

The coffee is for his professor, Dr. Simon Mraz, a psychiatrist who teaches at the university Matej attends.

Fast forward four years, we now hear from Simon, aka The Cruel Doctor Frost, as he is known among the students at the university, and Matej is but a painful memory. Simon lives with Marta, who is Matej's sister, but who is about to move into her own place. Nobody has heard from Matej in those years, not since he left after a tragic event.

Simon's sadness is overwhelming. It is sheer willpower that keeps him mostly sane and standing upright. When the pain threatens to pull him under, Simon runs through the streets of Prague, exhausting himself to the point where he can sleep. It is evident that Simon is struggling - with the memories of Matej, with what happened, with what he could have done differently, with finding a reason for Matej's leaving.

The author did a fantastic job conveying how very empty Simon's life is - he has a few friends, and Marta, but he's only barely holding on. He's numb. He can't even muster a congratulations when his best friend gets engaged. He's rude and offensive, and pessimistic and just so heart-breakingly sad.

The writing is superb - I felt Simon's pain, his longing, the almost robotic way he goes through the motions of his daily life. It was occasionally difficult to see through my tears, especially as about 75% of this book are spent in Simon's head, seeing and feeling his pain, watching him on his way to self-destruction.

Then Marta starts to look for her brother, without Simon's knowledge.

ARC Review: Exposure by Aly Hayden

Exposure (Drawn Together, #1)Blurb:

Sam Hayward's parents think he has a boyfriend. And he does... in his dreams. But when they insist Sam bring his partner to the annual Labor Day family reunion, his options are to either admit it was all a lie or find a stand-in in a hurry. The trouble is that his lies have all been based on one very real man.

Ben Matheny has been hurt before. When he's bribed into playing a part by his friends, he fleshes out Sam's dreams, but it's like flying too close to the sun. He's always had a crush on Sam, and now they're going to the Hamptons to spend a weekend pretending they're lovers, everything is getting harder.

When Ben uncovers another lie Sam has told - that Ben is every bit as rich as Sam is - things begin to unravel. If Sam isn't happy with who Ben is, Ben can't stick around to get burned again.

With their hearts on the line, the two must fight for their dreams as the pressure mounts. It would be so easy to admit that it was all a sham, but some dreams are worth the risk.

Sandra's rating:

I'm super late with this review - my apologies to the author.

This book uses the fake-boyfriend trope, in which the fake boyfriend eventually turns into a real boyfriend.

Sam has been lying to his parents about having a boyfriend - and it's even worse, because the man Sam pretends to be his actually exists, even though Sam has created a whole persona that is based on lies. And now Sam's parents insist that Sam bring his boyfriend to the annual Labor Day family reunion.

Ben is a struggling photographer and the man featuring prominently in Sam's desires. And Sam's lies. He reluctantly agrees to accompany Sam to the family reunion after being bribed into it. I say reluctantly because even though Ben is half in love with Sam too, he always thought him way out of his league.

Because Sam has money and Ben does not.

Sam works because he wants to. Ben works because he needs to.

Ben is a bit wary at first, especially since there's someone in his past who hurt him badly, by making him feel that he wasn't good enough.

I liked Ben, and I liked most of Sam's family (his grandma especially), but I didn't really like Sam all that much. He comes across as a spoiled brat on occasion, and he sounded younger than his actual years a few times.

Audio Book Review: Home The Hard Way by Z. A. Maxfield

From The Blurb:
Dare Buckley has come home—or at least, he’s come back to Palladian, the small town he left as a teenager. After a major lapse in judgment forced him to resign from the Seattle PD, Palladian is the only place that’ll hire him. There’s one benefit to hitting rock bottom, though: the chance to investigate the mystery of his father’s suicide. 
Dare also gets to reacquaint himself with Finn Fowler, whose childhood hero worship ended in uncomfortable silence when Dare moved away. But Finn isn’t the same little kid Dare once protected. He’s grown into an attractive, enigmatic stranger who neither wants nor needs what Dare has to offer. 
In fact, Dare soon realizes that Finn’s keeping secrets—his own and the town’s. And he doesn’t seem to care that Dare needs answers. The atmosphere in Palladian, like its namesake river, appears placid, but dark currents churn underneath. When danger closes in, Dare must pit his ingenuity against his heart, and find his way home the hard way.

Karen's rating:

Ok we're going to see how short and sweet I can keep this because I'm revisiting a few favorites on audio at the moment. So here goes... I first read this book back in May of 2016 and I really, really enjoyed it. And here's my original review, because hey, who needs to reinvent the wheel right...
I think I'd forgotten how much I enjoy reading Z.A. Maxfield...

It's been a long time since I've read a book by this author. So when I stumbled across this one sitting on my e-reader I couldn't resist the temptation.

'Home the Hard Way' is a mystery with a definite romance thrown in and I love this combination. The story is set in a small town called Palladian. Small towns are another weakness of mine. I grew up in the country and lived about 5 miles outside of a small town and have spent much of my life living in small towns and anyone who's ever spent any amount of time in one knows that the expression 'if you can't remember what you did yesterday, just ask your neighbour' had to of been created by someone who lived in a small town. Truer words were never spoken. Palladian personifies that phrase. Everyone is in everyone else's business. There are secrets and lies, deceptions, affairs all the stuff that small town life is made of.

Dare Buckley left Palladian as a teenager shortly after his father committed suicide, but now he's back. For Dare, Palladian has become his last chance at redemption. He messed up big time in Seattle and it seems that in order to fix things he needs to go back to the beginning.

Being back in Palladian means a chance not only to fix his professional life but it's also his opportunity to try and find out what drove his father to commit suicide and it means a seeing Finn Fowler again. Finn was just a young kid with a serious case of hero worship when Dare last saw him. Finn's all grown up now and he doesn't need a knight in shining armor to ride to his rescue...Finn has taken control of his own control.

So where do I begin explaining how much I loved this book...let's start with Dare. Dare was the golden child, Finn worshiped him, he was Finn's friend, his confidant, his protector, in a way his everything but that was then and now Dare and Finn have both grown up. Dare's a bit of a mess, he spends a lot of time seeking comfort and answers in a bottle where they can't be found and he's slowly beginning to realize that the Finn he left behind doesn't exist anymore and he just doesn't know the Finn that he's come back to. Which brings us to Finn. Yep, Finn grew up and it wasn't an easy thing but he learned the hard way that the person who was going to take care of Finn...was Finn and no one else. He's got secrets that he guards tenaciously but most of them aren't his, they just seem to revolve around him.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Kindle Deals~ Christmas/New Years Deal Round-Up!

"Dominus" by J.P. Kenwood- M/M, historical romance~ Price drop to FREE!

"Guns N' Boys: He is Poison" by K.A. Merikan- M/M, contemporary romance~ Price drop to FREE!

"The Year We Hid Away" by Sarina Bowen- New Adult, contemporary romance~ Price drop to FREE!

ARC Review: Rebel (415 Ink, #1) by Rhys Ford

Rebel (415 Ink, #1)
The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something — it’s standing up for himself.

Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After years of running from his past, present and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, Karma delivers the one thing Gus could never—would never—turn his back on; a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating break-up three years ago.

Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together… until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.

For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold onto. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.

When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.

Jewel's rating:

"Because loving someone doesn’t mean needing them to be what you want them to be or swaddling them in bubble wrap so they can’t move. It means them knowing, deep down inside of their heart, you’re going to be there to hold them when they fall and celebrate when they fly."

​Second chance stories and broken MC's are my jam.​​ And let me tell ya, Rhys Ford knows how to write both​ --​ I was in reader heaven the whole time I was reading Rebel.

While the romance didn't seem to be the primary focus, here, the UST was boiling over. Both Gus and Rey wanted each other, even if they didn't really know how to overcome all the hurt from past actions.​ And there was a lot of hurt and a lot of anger -- my heart broke for all of it.​

August "Gus" Scott is more than a little broken. His childhood was filled with violence and he grew up in the system after his mother and twin brother died. Everyone wrote him off as 'not worth the trouble' because of his mother and her issues. It broke my heart, just how many people failed him when they should have been protecting him. ​Should have been advocating for him​.

ARC Review: Foxglove Copse by Alex Beecroft

From The Blurb:
A Porthkennack Contemporary Novel 
After a massive anxiety attack, Sam Atkins left his high-powered job in the City and committed himself to life on the road in a small van. Six months in, he’s running out of savings and coming to the conclusion that he might have to go home to his emotionally abusive family. 
Needing time to think, he takes a walk through a copse by the Cornish roadside, only to stumble upon the body of a ritualistically killed sheep. As he’s trying to work out what the symbols around the animal mean, the sheep’s owner, Jennifer, and her nephew, Ruan Gwynn, come upon him. 
Ruan is a kind-hearted young man with a large supportive clan, and since he and Sam feel almost instant attraction, he doesn’t want to believe Sam is a sheep-killing cultist. In fact, the moment he lays eyes on Sam’s miserable solitary life, he wants to rescue the man. But as the killings escalate, he and Sam need to stop whoever is actually to blame before they can concentrate on saving each other.

Karen's rating:

'Foxglove Copse' is the 5th book in the 'Porthkennack' series. I haven't read all the books in this series and while I hope to do so at some time I'm really enjoying being able to pick and choose the ones I read without feeling like I've missed anything in the ones that I do chose to read.

This is actually my first time reading a book by this author and I really enjoyed this story. Sam Atkins had the life...the money, the home, the job all the material things that are often taken as signs of success but for Sam the price that he's paid for this has been extracted from his heart and soul and when he finds he can no longer pay that price he runs. Divesting himself of his material gains he begins to live the life of a wanderer and six months into his vagabond life he finds himself on the road to Porthkennack. It's a road that not only leads him to the place he'll ultimately call home but the man who will help him begin to heal.

Whatever flaws this story may have contained were by far outweighed by the heart of this story. 'Foxglove Copse' is more than a love story it's a story about love. I know it seems like semantics but love is probably the most complicated four letter word in any language and while it has can be defined by just a few words there can be a zillion different meanings and in this story we get to see some of those meanings through the eyes of Sam a man whose family has abused him mentally and emotionally leaving him floundering for a place to seek shelter and call home until he meets Ruan.

Ruan is a man whose family loves him unconditionally. Ruan knows what it's like to have that surety that no matter what he will always be loved...he will always have a shelter from the storms that life may bring his way.

Together Sam and Ruan discover that home is where the heart is and both men realize that they can trust each other to protect their heart. But there's more to this story than just the romance between Sam and Ruan there's a mystery because someone's trying to scare Ruan's Aunt Jennifer and as things escalate Sam and Ruan get drawn into the heart of events whether they want to be or not.  People are being stalked, harassed and bullied...people that Ruan cares about, people that Sam is beginning to care about. Somehow events at Aunt Jennifer's farm are connected to things even more sinister and if Sam and Ruan are going to have a future than they need to work together to figure out what's happening and why.

Blogtour: A Tangle Of Secrets by R.G. Thomas

Please welcome R.G. Thomas with 

A Tangle Of Secrets 

The Town Of Superstition #4 


Following the conclusion of his greatest adventure, Thaddeus Cane’s life is changing once again. He is finally reunited with his mother—and dealing with her dangerous new powers—and about to start the year at yet another new school. While he contends with making new friends and facing the school bully, Thaddeus’s boyfriend, garden gnome Teofil, spends his time locked in Leopold’s study, reading through the late wizard’s journals for any clues that might lead them to Lucian—Thaddeus’s murderous uncle—or finally give the Rhododendron family some answers about the fate of Teofil’s brother.

As his troubles at home and school mount, Thaddeus’s mood grows dark and he retreats from all those who have supported him in the past. Just when he thinks things can’t get any worse, the Bearagon returns to threaten not only Thaddeus and those he loves, but his new school acquaintances as well. This confrontation brings to light the last secrets from Thaddeus’s past, more than one shocking revelation—and more than one enemy.

Get the book:



A boy with wide shoulders stood in the middle of the hallway. Students flowed to either side of him like water around an immovable stone. The boy was handsome with short blond hair, blue eyes, and a big, bright smile. A tight-fitting polo shirt flaunted his strong arms. He was talking to a pretty girl with her brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. She laughed at something the boy said and put a hand on his chest, directly over his heart. They looked like an advertisement for homecoming king and queen. Another stocky boy walked past and called out, “Hey, Dixon! Hey, Joy!”
“Dude!” Dixon shouted back, giving the boy a high five as Joy shook her head and smiled.
Thaddeus rolled his eyes and moved into the flow of kids going around the couple. A strong hand suddenly landed on his shoulder, stopping him in his tracks. Before Thaddeus could even turn his head to see who had grabbed him, he was pushed up against the lockers. A shadow fell over him, and he grimaced as his right shoulder was pressed hard against the metal locker and the hand tightened on his left.
“Did I see you roll your eyes?”
Looking up into Dixon’s cold blue eyes, Thaddeus wondered why every bully in every school he had attended looked the same. Did they come out of some weird duplicating machine?
“What?” Thaddeus asked.
Fingers tightened on his shoulder. “You heard me, new-kid freak.”
“If I did roll my eyes, it wasn’t about you.” Thaddeus stared back at Dixon without flinching, no matter how much his shoulders hurt. He fought to keep in check the warm magic that wanted to flow through and out of him to toss the boy across the hall. Un-gifteds weren’t aware of the magical beings that lived among them, and Thaddeus didn’t want to be the one who revealed the well-kept secret.
“Dixon, come on,” said Dixon’s pretty girlfriend, Joy. “Don’t get in trouble on our first day.”
“Yeah, asswipe, get to stepping,” said a boy who had stopped to watch. “How would a suspension look when you apply for football scholarships?”
“What did you say to me?” Dixon asked as he stared at the boy and continued to press Thaddeus against the locker. “Joy, did you hear this little shit talk back to me?”

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

ARC Review: Where Do I Start by Chase Taylor Hackett

Where Do I Start? (Why You?, #1)Blurb:

The ex best thing . . .

Fletcher Andrews never believed in promises. Or monogamy. Or love. When you’re tall and gorgeous, New York City is one big all-you-can-eat buffet of hot young actors, models, and baristas. Even when living happily with Roger, his sweet, sexy violinist boyfriend, Fletch can’t resist an occasional taste. Too bad you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s thrown you out for cheating with half the cast of Disney on Ice.

Two years and a chance meeting later, Fletch desperately wants Roger back. Roger’s new boyfriend, Jeff, will do anything to stop that from happening. But Fletch has a plan to make amends. And with a little help from friends, colleagues—even Roger’s Scottish terrier, Haggis—they might find that the love you don’t believe in can sweep you right off your feet . . .

My rating:

I'm super late with this review - my apologies to the author and publisher.

Where Do I Start, indeed.

Fletcher, immature and possibly a sex addict, is a serial cheater. Two years ago or so, he and his then-boyfriend Roger broke up, because Roger found out about Fletcher treating the gay scene in NYC as his personal buffet and Roger wasn't putting up with that.

Personality-wise, it was clear from the start that Fletch and Roger are two very different people - Fletch is immature, happy-go-lucky, spontaneous, whereas Roger is much more mature, set in his ways and a bit staid. Not that those are bad things, but at the time they were together, perhaps Fletch felt a bit... stifled.

Now two years have passed, Fletch is still sampling the buffet whenever he can, and Roger has a new boyfriend named Jeffrey. And Fletch just ran into Roger and might have realized what he lost.

Some folks have perhaps shied away from this book because of the cheating mentioned in the blurb - none of that happens on page, and none of it happens once Fletch decides to win Roger back.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...