Tuesday, February 28, 2017

ARC Review: Driven by M.B. Mulhall

Driven
Blurb:
Eighteen-year-old Oliver’s troubles don’t end when he’s released from prison. He has nowhere to go, and he can’t even think about moving past his crimes while trying to survive homelessness.

Helping an elderly woman after a fall guides Oliver into at least a temporary home. In exchange for odd jobs and some assistance, he’s welcomed into a life with the old twin spinsters, and it seems too good to be true. The neighbor, Simon, certainly thinks it is. He doesn’t trust Oliver or his motives. Oliver is used to that kind of judgment, but it isn’t helping him overcome his guilt. Maybe Simon is right and Oliver doesn’t deserve happiness—or any of the other feelings stirring in a heart Oliver thought he’d closed off for good.

Oliver has two options: let the pain of his past swallow him and destroy all hope for the future, or move on to the new possibilities in front of him. Choosing to live won’t be easy, and Oliver might not be able to do it alone.



Todd's rating:




I found this one to be just okay, but definitely not love.

For much of the book, it didn't really feel like there was much going on, especially for a 210 page story.

Plus, although the MC's are 18 and 'a number slightly larger' (we aren't told a definitive age,) to me the story read much more Young Adult than New Adult.

Same as with the book, I 'liked' both Ollie and Simon, but it wasn't love. For one, they didn't actually spend that much on-page time together, which is about the only way to sell me on the 'feels.' Second, we weren't given all that much backstory on either, except for 'the big accident' and 'the stupid thing after,' which wasn't enough to get me that invested.

The majority of the drama was from Ollie beating himself up with guilt, but there was a sub-plot about prostitution and drug dealers, which I was fairly 'meh' about.

Other than a few semi-chaste kisses, the story is sex-free, which was a slight disappointment. Maybe if there had been a few racy scenes, the book would have had more of a New Adult feel for me.

The book was fine, but didn't give me nearly the same level of excitement that I got from reading just the blurb and picturing where the story might go from there.

Release Blitz: Ghost (Sanctuary #9) by RJ Scott





Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Cover: BitterGrace Art



Length: 45,000 words



Sanctuary Series



Guarding Morgan (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Only Easy Day (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Face Value (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Still Waters (Book #4) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Full Circle (Book #5) Amazon US | Amazon UK
The Journal of Sanctuary One (Book #6) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Worlds Collide (Book #7) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Accidental Hero (Book #8) Amazon US | Amazon UK




Blurb


Can you ever hold on to a ghost?

Elliot is tracking an elusive killer, codenamed Ghost, with ties to organized crime. Every time the Sanctuary team gets close, Ghost slips their grasp.

Cole has nowhere left to turn. With his father dying and his sister in danger, he turns for help to the very people trying to track him down. Sanctuary’s assistance is what he needs to punch another hole in Varga’s organization.

When Elliot and Cole meet, it isn’t just passion that consumes them. When lust becomes something more, Elliot realizes that sometimes you can’t hold on to a ghost, and that sacrifice is often the only way to make things right.





Chapter One

“This is not going to end well,” his sister warned him, an edge to her voice.
“I just need five minutes.” Cole was aiming for composed and in control, despite the fact his adrenaline was spiking dangerously high. Where was his center? 
Where was his ability to see events unfold before him with calm consideration?

Gone as soon as your two worlds began to collide with the horrible realization that today would finally be the day you might not make it out alive.
“Cole—”

“Do your job, sis.”

“Fuck you, big brother.”

Cole didn’t answer that one. As the controller of the op, she wouldn’t take her eyes off the meeting she was tasked with watching—six of Varga’s key men in a restaurant on Halsted, giving him the heads-up when they disbanded and headed toward the run-down warehouse district for the meeting. He was there to deal with a man who didn’t deserve to live on this earth, and he was already fighting the sickness roiling in his stomach.

Unfortunately, things had taken a turn for the worse, and Cole wished he could say he’d expected the shit to hit the fan, but he hadn’t. He’d honestly thought tonight would go smoothly given he’d evaded Sanctuary again.

He’d been the mouse avoiding the trap for so long that he’d not seen the pattern emerging. Slowly but surely, Sanctuary was getting closer, the proverbial thorn in his side. It was as though they were second-guessing him, tracking him enough to see patterns.

Patterns killed people in his line of work.

He checked his gun, considered holstering it. No one was supposed to die tonight; it was just a deal—money for human lives—something he’d been working on for months. His job was to fix this, but Sanctuary kept getting in his way.

And if they caught up with him again, with their do-good meddling and their freaking unanswered questions, he was way too smart to get caught.

Normally.

“Bad guys are only five minutes out,” his sister warned again. He didn’t answer, and she wouldn’t expect him to. “And you’ve got company with Sanctuary tracking your way.”

“Fuck.”

“You need me there?”

Cole weighed his options. She needed to be with their father, who couldn’t be left, so it was just Cole and his gun and his sorely tested wits.

He’d need his gun if he needed to get away from that Sanctuary fucker Elliot. The man was like a dog with a bone, and Cole couldn’t afford to be compromised tonight. Every meeting, every mission, Elliot got closer, yet Cole couldn’t move from his spot or everything would go to shit and he’d lose his chance of getting the best human return for his cash.

Sanctuary was the elite, but he knew he was better, or he’d have died a long time ago. Bravado and confidence had gotten him this far in life, mostly unharmed and thankfully alive. But if Elliot arrived when the shit was hitting the fan, he’d be collateral damage, and Cole wasn’t ready to work on those terms.

He moved even deeper into the shadows, his back against the brick wall, an exit to the street on his right, the parking lot on his left. Above his head was the fire escape pull-down ladder for that apartment block; at his feet, the ground was damp with the rain that had only eased up a few minutes ago, and distant streetlights sparkled in puddle remnants just outside the cloak of darkness. Everything was quiet; but moments away, following fuck-knows-what lead to get there, was Sanctuary.

Or, more correctly, Elliot, with his dogged determination and his uncanny ability to see beyond a scene and know exactly where Cole had gone.

Last time, Elliot had only missed him by a single minute, and Cole wasn’t ashamed to admit that the near misses sent a frisson of excitement up his spine. Too often he’d been the steady one, staring down a scope, a surgical removal to keep others safe, distanced from the kill and the action. The cat and mouse with Elliot was a game that he was enjoying far too much.

Add to which, Elliot was gorgeous and sexy, and all kinds of a hard-ass, and Cole was happy to surveil the guy every moment he could. Elliot was a good guy who didn’t smile much, but he’d broken up with his boyfriend two months before; he shopped organically and lived close to the place Sanctuary called Head Office in Chicago. All things being even, Elliot would score high on Cole’s list of ideal attributes in a lover. There was nothing better than roughing up an organic-loving tight-ass and reducing him to a puddle of goo in the middle of snow-white sheets.

Not that he’d spent a long time fantasizing about Elliot naked and in his bed.
He listened for the tiny noises that would give Elliot’s arrival away, not as close as breathing, but his movement could block sounds from the street beyond, if only infinitesimally.

The cold air promised more snow; Cole knew the only thing that could give him away would be the puff of his breath, so he burrowed down into the scarf twisted around his neck.

A soft scuff of leather on the sidewalk had Cole stiffening, and he briefly tightened his grip on the lethal SIG in his hand. He relaxed only a millisecond later when a woman’s laughter and a man’s voice had him focusing past the light and to the street beyond. He was right on Englewood’s district line, and the whole meeting was playing out in a place where he felt way too exposed. He knew his mark had set this meet here for a reason. Mario was a shifty fucker who played the game of criminal very well. Little did the man know that nothing was going to keep him safe if he fucked Cole over. Not tonight. Not ever.

The woman laughed again, but this time the sound seemed a little off, as if she hadn’t really meant to laugh. There was no real joy in the noise.

Too late he realized what that meant.

Too late when the whisper of a movement to his left turned into the barrel of a weapon smacking his temple.

The wall kept him standing, but the sweep of a foot behind his knee had him landing heavily on one side, in stagnant water. Cole didn’t lay there waiting for the next part of this dance; he was rolling even as he fell, one leg darting out as he rose, catching his assailant in the thigh and causing him to stumble back. 
Coming to a crouch, Cole admired the way the other man’s stumble turned into nothing more than a sidestep and a twisting motion that missed Cole by inches.
Cole took the initiative, stepping right into the man’s space, up close to Elliot’s face, and in seconds he’d pushed him hard against the wall.

“Leave it,” Cole growled, when what he wanted to do was sit Elliot down and explain exactly why he needed Elliot to leave right the fuck now.

“Fuck you,” Elliot snapped, even as he fell limp in Cole’s hold, then yanked free to shove a knee right into Cole’s groin.

He missed by inches; the force of the shove went to Cole’s inner thigh, hard enough to give him a dead leg long enough to give Elliot the upper hand.
But Cole wasn’t done. He countered with a punch to Elliot’s face, feeling the wetness of fist on skin at the point where Elliot’s head snapped back with a spray of blood. A normal man would be on the ground after that—hell, a normal man wouldn’t have gotten out of Cole’s press against the wall.

Elliot wasn’t a normal man. He was trained, focused, and fucking vicious at it.
“They’re really close now; you need to end this with Sanctuary.”

His sister’s voice in his ear was enough to make Cole follow through with another punch that caught cheekbone and hair and then slid past to slam the wall. He cursed the contact and his stupidity at giving Elliot the upper hand. This time it was Cole himself up against the wall, and he could see dark eyes, focused and hard, and feel the fingers tightening on his throat. He attempted to go limp, but all Elliot did was push harder, which left only one thing. Elliot was close, and with a concerted effort, Cole snapped his head forward, the top smacking Elliot between the eyes.

Elliot crumpled at first, momentarily stunned, and then he stumbled to stand.
But Cole was prepared, retrieving his weapon and pointing it directly at Elliot. “Run,” he snapped.

Elliot said nothing, stepping toward him. Fuck, did the man not care that Cole had a gun on him?

“You have company one minute out.” The voice in his ear sounded a little frantic.
Fuck, this whole thing was going wrong. Cole had his mark and various cronies bearing down on him, and Sanctuary in the shape of Elliot right in the freaking middle.

But if Cole left, then what about the kids? Teenagers the same age as his brother, straight from the boat, working in slavery for the Varga organization. They had a deal, and tonight Cole had the money and the upper hand.
Or at least he had until Elliot tracked him down.

“You have to leave,” he snapped and gestured with the gun.

Surprise made Elliot frown, and only when he saw that did Cole realize he’d fucked up—they were standing under the street light. They needed to get back into the shadows. Cole shoved him back against the wall, wincing at the sound of Elliot’s skull making contact with the bricks before he wordlessly slid to the ground in the darkness.

And then it was too late to think of anything.

At the same time his sister’s frantic voice warned him that a car was turning onto the street, Cole heard a voice from the darkness.

So, his mark had sent an advance guard, and all Cole could think was that if it was his time to die, he didn’t want to take anyone with him.

“Drop the gun, asshole,” a voice said from somewhere beyond the light. He caught sight of the semi-automatic weapon as the person stepped forward; he didn’t stand a chance against that kind of firepower. The barrel of another gun poked at the base of his skull.

Cole dropped his pistol to the ground, feeling abruptly bereft. “It’s done,” he said to whoever the hell was behind him.

Cole lifted his hands and laced them behind his head, looking right into the darkness, not able to see Elliot’s form but hoping to hell he stayed the fuck down. Very deliberately he turned to face the man with the gun at his head.
“Talk to me,” his sister snapped at him, her voice dead and cold, gone past emotional and well into focused.

“You realize I have a meeting with Mario, right? That this was organized? He won’t take it well when he finds out you’re here with a gun on me.”

A nasal voice joined in. “I’m quite happy with the situation,” Mario said.

And right there and then, Cole knew time was up. He needed to confront this; he had a legitimate cover there, and he needed to maintain it. Slowly he unclasped his hands and let them hang loosely at his sides. “What the fuck, man?” he asked.

“Do you have access to the money?”

Cole wasn’t letting the evil fucker get control of the conversation. “How many?” he asked firmly.

Mario looked at him; a group of others, all armed, were crowding around him. Mario was nothing if not the nervous type, twitchy like a ferret, all sharp angles, and meth-head eyes. He’d made it so far in the Varga organization only due to the fact he was Varga’s nephew or cousin, or some such shit.

He was also suspicious as hell of anything and everything, which was why it had taken this long for Cole to get anywhere near him. Tonight wasn’t the night that Cole got to deal with erasing Mario from existence; he had kids to get out alive. That was his priority.

“You can have seven of them,” Mario said, his lips stretching in an obscene grin.
“The deal was for all ten.”

Mario shrugged as if he wasn’t playing with people’s lives. “I have a market for the other three,” he said nonchalantly.

Cole knew exactly what that meant: the younger girls parceled up and sold on. “All ten, or no deal,” he stated, keeping emotion out of his voice.

“Then the price goes up. No skin off my nose who gets them.”

“How much?”

“Well now... just how badly do you want them all?”

One of Mario’s men snickered, and the sound echoed in the otherwise quiet alley.

Cole could play it two ways: show his hand and admit he was desperate to get all ten of the illegals Mario had, or try to call his bluff.

“Fuck you,” Cole said, and drew himself tall. He wished he had his weapon, but he’d just have to hope to hell that confronting was the answer. “The deal’s off.”

He bent to pick up his weapon, slowly placing it back into the holster and straightening his jacket. Varga senior would be pissed with his lieutenant blowing a deal like that. Getting illegals to the city was one thing, offloading them with profit above and beyond what the illegals had probably paid to get there was an entirely different ball game. He could visualize the thought processes going on…Mario was the youngest of three lieutenants that reported to Varga, the one still out to prove himself, and he wouldn’t want to lose the deal.

“An extra ten,” Mario said, throwing it out as if it meant nothing to him.

“Five.” Cole couldn’t give in too easily.

“Hell, I can get double that on the ’net for the seven-year-old,” Mario said.
Cole had to stop the panic pushing at his chest and nausea that threatened to have him vomiting on the sidewalk. The idea of a child as young as seven being under this bastard’s control made him sick to his stomach. He pretended to consider the deal, knowing full well he’d pay every fucking cent. “Seven-five and we’re done, cash in the bank.” He even injected a small note of respect into his voice, which had Mario preening in front of his posse. He’d save face, and Cole would keep his persona of didn’t-give-a-shit human trafficker intact.

“I’ll take that,” Mario said.

One of the posse stepped forward, and intel was buzzing in his ear about twelve souls being inside the warehouse. Not ten, twelve. Two of them were moving around, the other ten not moving much. Twelve heat signatures, so all ten kids were alive—but the extra two? Mario was fucking with him, had likely placed two men inside. Cole would take a step inside the warehouse, and be a dead man.
How had he blown his cover? This wasn’t the first deal he’d brokered with Mario, setting up his cover as a trader in human flesh, looking for ways to save lives and get deep into Varga’s organization at the same time. But something wasn’t right…

Very carefully and deliberately he pulled out his cell, and with a few button presses, transferred the fifty, plus the extra seven-five, into the account he’d been given details of. Next to Mario one of the guys checked his own cell and nodded.

“It’s cleared.”

Mario tossed the key card for the warehouse to Cole, who caught it deftly. “All yours,” Mario said, and then he turned and left, taking everyone with him.
“Heads-up,” his sister said. “The extra two have left the building at the rear. Hovering outside the closed door.”

What the fuck?

Blogtour: Better With Bacon by Matthew Lang



Please welcome Matthew Lang with 

Better With Bacon 






About the book:


When Patrick’s long-term girlfriend Li Ling dumps him just as he’s working up the nerve to propose, he ends up drunk on David’s couch—and later in David’s bed. Although initially reluctant to pursue anything beyond a one-time drunken tryst, David throws caution to the wind during an intimate dinner, where the two men also discuss Patrick’s dream of entering the food industry. Just as the friends-turned-lovers are settling into their new romance, Li Ling calls Patrick—she’s pregnant.

Convinced the announcement spells the end of their love affair and a return to their platonic friendship, David flees to Sydney to escape his heartbreak. But upon his return to Melbourne, David discovers the situation hasn’t gone the way he’d expected. There might still be a chance for David and Patrick’s dreams to come true if they can forgive each other’s mistakes and move forward.




Get the book:





Matthew Lang tries Nude Yoga


Hidden away in Potts Point, Sydney, just behind the strip clubs and hetero bars of Kings Cross is a tiny yoga studio, its entrance screened off just inside the door and Ikea box shelves off to one side. The warmth of candles and the smell of eucalyptus filled the air, and six yoga mats lie on the flor, one occupied by an older gentleman wearing shorts. Just shorts. Fairly short shorts. With a gaping leg hole. He’s lying on his back, stretching, and I can see his balls hanging out of the right leg hole. I later learn he’s married, and hasn’t done any activity naked since he, and I assume his then boyfriend, went to Mykonos some forty years ago and spent a lot of time naked. Two other guys are already in the room, and it’s slightly awkward to strip down in front of strangers. I’ve done it before, at Adam, Sircuit’s nude night(s), or on some beaches, but never in such a small room surrounded by complete strangers.
There’s a saying: “Write what you know”. That is an incredibly limiting concept, but a good one for someone just starting out. There’s the flippant: “Write what you don’t know,” which some people hold to, but what most writers hold to is best summarised as follows: “Write what you know, extrapolate what you don’t”. Whether it’s writing a character of a different sexuality and gender or a profession you have no experience in, or writing magic or technobabble I feel a writer should always find that bit of themselves that connects to what they’re writing, and use that in conjunction with research to get as close to a true portrayal as possible. Of course, the more things you experience, the easier both writing what you know and extrapolating becomes. That’s one of the ways I justify doing insane things to myself, but to be fair, deciding to head to Naked Men’s Yoga was sparked by an article I read years ago about a straight journalist who went to try it out, although possibly a different class to the one I was able to get to on my recent trip to Sydney. The journalist found it confronting – and a bit sexually suggestive. I thought I’d make up my own mind.

Cover Reveal: Henri's Little One by A.C. Katt


henris-little-one-by-a-c-katt-banner


A.C. Katt reveals the beautiful cover art for 

Henri’s Little One


Alpha Henri Giraud has finally found his Mate; but Vitas Kosloff comes with a host of problems not the least of which he carries a great gift and the Russian First, Fydor Chernof, claims Vitas is his.


Title: Henri’s Little One 
Series: Werewolves of Manhattan Book: 8 
Release Date: March 17, 2017 
Publisher: MLR Press
Categories: Contemporary/Paranormal (shifter)



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💕 Presenting


Cover Art by Lex Valentine

henrislittleone

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Book Trailer






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Blurb

After much hardship, Vitas Kosloff finds his Mate, Henri Giraud, Director of Security for the North American Council and Garou Industries. Vitas, held captive by Fydor Chernof, the Russian First, who claims Vitas belongs to him, escapes Chernof’s torture with the aid of Chernof’s two Betas, Anatoly and Maxim.

Vitas is a full loup garou omega who carries a huge mating gift, he can tell the truth from lies and dream the future. Because of this Chernof will stop at nothing to re-capture him, even after Henri mates and marries Vitas. With the aid of the other Mates, the North American Council and Frank Ferone, the son of Dante Ferone, the head of the Italian Mafia in New York, Vitas and Henri attempt to outwit Chernof and take care of the Russian problem for good.


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Excerpt

Moscow Pack Lands

Third Week in June


Vitas lay shivering, naked, on the damp earth of the old mushroom cellar amidst the smell of shit, fertilizer, and fungi. He had a rumbling cough, and his chest felt heavy and congested. The drug they administered to the little Omega to prevent the change was potent. They had descended upon him again yesterday, the man with the injection and three Enforcers. He tried to fight them, but he was broken and weary. The Enforcers tied him down to a chair and injected the drug into his thigh. They took away the chair leaving him back in the mushrooms and dust.

At first, he didn’t know what the injection did. He only knew that he had no energy after they administered it to him. Then one evening, Anatoly, one of Chernof’s Betas left the door open a crack. Vitas knew if he shifted he may be able to slip out of his bonds and escape through the door. He tried to make the change. No matter how many attempts he made, he couldn’t shift. Sometime after that, he developed a cold, and he realized what the drug did; it rendered him almost human.

Vitas sighed. If he were a true human, he would be dead by now, and his suffering would end. Wolves never got sick, but his immune system was severely compromised by the shot they had been forcing on him for three months. Now, he alternated between fever and chills. He thought he had pneumonia, but he still wouldn’t yield to Alpha Chernof’s demands. Vitas refused to confirm to the Russian loup garou packs that the First, Alpha Fydor Leonovich Chernof, was his Mate.

Four years ago, Chernof and his Enforcers came to his parents’ small Moscow apartment. It was there the Russian First first told Vitas he was his fated Mate. Vitas knew he lied. “Alpha, I feel no attraction to you, I don’t see the beginnings of a tether. You’re not my Mate. There is some kind of misunderstanding.”

Vitas’ father, Evegny, stepped between the Alpha and his son. “Alpha, be reasonable. He is not meant for you. Whatever his gift, as his Alpha, you may order him to use it, but you are not his Mate.”

Chernof backed off. “I’ll be back, and he better be ready to come with me. I have business to attend to first.”

They continued to live a small life in their dingy, little Moscow apartment until the next week when the home pack found that the government had imprisoned their Alpha, Alpha Davidoff.

For the four years, Alpha Davidoff was imprisoned, and after he emigrated, Chernof left them alone. Vitas drew closer to his twenty-fifth birthday with the Second no longer available to protect his family.

Monday, February 27, 2017

ARC Review: We Met in Dreams by Rowan McAllister

We Met in Dreams
From the blurb:


In Victorian London, during a prolonged and pernicious fog, fantasy and reality are about to collide—at least in one man’s troubled mind.

A childhood fever left Arthur Middleton, Viscount Campden, seeing and hearing things no one else does, afraid of the world outside, and unable to function as a true peer of the realm. To protect him from himself—and to protect others from him—he spends his days heavily medicated and locked in his rooms, and his nights in darkness and solitude, tormented by visions, until a stranger appears.

This apparition is different. Fox says he’s a thief and not an entirely good sort of man, yet he returns night after night to ease Arthur’s loneliness without asking for anything in return. Fox might be the key that sets Arthur free, or he might deliver the final blow to Arthur’s tenuous grasp on sanity. Either way, real or imaginary, Arthur needs him too much to care.

Fox is only one of the many secrets and specters haunting Campden House, and Arthur will have to face them all in order to live the life of his dreams.




Heather's rating:






Rowan McAllister penned a beautiful, atmospheric story in We Met in Dreams, one that will stick with me for a long time.

We Met in Dreams was actually my first book from this author, but it was so great that I'll be watching for anything from her in the future. This was gorgeous, honestly, and I didn't want to put it down.

I'm a huge historical romance fan, but I was a little anxious about this one from the blurb. It sounded... dark, which always makes me nervous. I'm not a suspense reader or a horror reader, and I didn't want this book to venture too far towards creepy. Rest assured, it doesn't.

I really loved this story. Some stories are just fluff pieces, and there is a time and place for that, but this one was a thinker. I was so interested in the treatment of someone with a perceived mental illness, and what the "cures" were considered to be at the time.

Arthur Middleton was a fascinating character. Whether or not his auditory and visual hallucinations were "real" is based on perception, but what was wonderful to me was the inside look we had into Authur's mind. His wanting to please his uncle and head servant and not bother anyone, combined with his desire for more of a life, more of a presence, was both heart-breaking and enthralling. I was rooting for each small victory, and I felt like I got to know Arthur so well. I just adored him. He was innocent yet cultured, and he was so appealing in his honesty and bravery. Adored.

Audiobook Review: The Virgin Manny by Amy Lane

From The Blurb:
Growing up and falling in love... 
Sometimes family is a blessing and a curse. When Tino Robbins is roped into helping his sister deliver premade dinners when he should be studying for finals, he’s pretty sure it's the latter! But one delivery might change everything. 
Channing Lowell’s charmed life changes when his sister dies and leaves him her seven-year-old son. He’s committed to doing what's best for Sammy… but he’s going to need a lot of help. When Tino lands on his porch, Channing is determined to recruit him to Team Sammy. 
Tino plans to make his education count—even if that means avoiding a relationship—but as he falls harder and harder for his boss, he starts to wonder: Does he have to leave his newly forged family behind in order live his promising tomorrow? 
Listening Length: 6 hours and 14 minutes

Karen's rating:




The 'Virgin Manny' is #25 in Dreamspinner's 'Dreamspun Desires' series and #1 in Amy Lane's 'The Mannies' series and in general this was just a cute, fluffy story about falling in love when you least expect it. But I have to admit I did have one issue that took me the better part of the story to get past and that was...the dreaded age difference. It's not even the fact that it's 10 years. It's the fact that Tino is 22 and Channing is 32 and in the scheme of age differences this is one of my least favorite age gaps because people tend to beat such different points in their lives during this time and while this initially niggles at me a little, as the story progressed my discomfort with this eased and finally just didn't seem to matter.

Now about that housekeeper...I don't even know where to begin with her. She gave me rage people total rage. I couldn't stand her, she was a horrible, horrible person. I never fully understood her feelings towards anyone. She was blatantly rude and disrespectful towards everyone in this story and I'm pretty sure that by the second time she opened her mouth I wanted to her kicked to the curb. Seriously I think I did a happy dance when Channing finally got rid of her.

I really liked Channing and Tino their attraction to each other was intense but it was also tempered by their mutual concern for Sammy. Sammy is Channing's nephew and following the death of Channing's sister Channing is trying to rearrange is life so that he can become the guardian that Sammy needs to raise him.

Blogtour: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth

BLOGTOUR:

Skythane 

by J. Scott Coatsworth 





Blurb:

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.



Excerpt:


Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.

Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.

His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.

The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….

Blogtour: Rushing Love by Meg Bawden




Please welcome Meg Bawden and 

Rushing Love 

States Of Love 


Hello, hello! My name is Meg Bawden and I’m on My Fiction Nook to celebrate the release of my new book, Rushing Love! Woot!
Rushing Love is a M/M romance story set in South Dakota, USA. I wrote it for the States of Love line from Dreamspinner Press and I can’t wait for its release. I had so much fun writing it and I can’t wait to share it with you.


Blurb:

After a devastating break-up with the man he thought he’d spend his life with, Flynn Webb takes a holiday to a South Dakota dude ranch. It’s something completely different from anything he’s done before, and it helps that it’s as far away from his ex as possible. Trapped in his own depressive thoughts, Flynn is surprised to meet Grayson Harland. Not only is Grayson a sexy cowboy—one fifteen years younger—but he’s the most charming man Flynn has ever met.

Flynn doesn’t have much experience with being seduced, and he has even less with guys like Grayson taking an interest in him—and Grayson is definitely interested. What begins as a fling while visiting iconic South Dakota sights soon develops the potential for much more. But Flynn is afraid that falling in love again so soon—and with a man so much younger—will lead only to another catastrophic heartbreak. Luckily for them both, Grayson isn’t giving up without a fight.



Get the book:





Love at First Sight: Is it real?
My opinion? Yes. I’ve seen it happen before. I’ve had a friend see a gentleman for the first time and I saw the moment when she fell in love with him. However, love is such an opinionated topic. Some people will tell you that you must truly get to know someone before you can be in love with them. I agree to a certain extent. You’re not going to know what someone is like until you get to know them better, but saying that, why can’t you look at someone and just know you’re going to spend the rest of your life with them? Why can’t a piece of you fall in love with them because you just know. That’s what happened to my friend.
In the m/m genre, it’s commonly known as instalove and I hate that word. The word has negative connotations to it. Whenever I hear it, I cringe. What happened to just calling it what it is? Love at first sight. Because that’s the romantic word for it. Don’t get me wrong, I know it doesn’t happen often. Actually, it happens rarely anymore. These days, it’s about sex and appearances and sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong era. Romance and commitment is uncommon in the world of social media and technology. But nonetheless, I’m a romantic at heart and I believe love at first still exists. And in Rushing Love, I wanted to show that. How someone can know a person, date a person for nineteen years, and not truly love them. And in one moment of meeting someone new, someone amazing, they find themselves enraptured and falling quickly.

Blogtour: Countermind by Adrian Randall



Please say hello to Adrian Randall and 

Countermind 



My debut novel, Countermind, is a paranormal cyberpunk thriller set in Hong Kong, an amazing, fascinating, incredible city that I will never visit again, so help me God.
My first visit started off fine. A good airport should function like the starter town in an RPG: You should be able to learn all the skills necessary for survival before you first set foot outside. In the case of Hong Kong International, that meant learning how to:
  • get an Octopus card,
  • put money on the Octopus card, and
  • use said card to board a bus.
Figure this much out, and no matter how lost and hungry you get, you can still walk into a 7-11 and use that card to get a crappy egg sandwich.
That brings me to survival tip #2: Fellow Americans should find their closest 7-11, Starbucks, and Pizza Hut. They will be vital cultural touchstones when you find yourself disoriented after your journey to the literal other side of the world. Lucky for me, my hostel had one of each within a few blocks.
The hostel was in Kowloon. The bus from the airport dropped me off on Nathan Road, after sunset. Reader, I may be from the suburbs, but I am not completely uncultured. That said, I have never in my life been so immediately overwhelmed by a place as I was when I stepped off that bus. It wasn’t just the hawkers, who zoomed in with deals on suits, or “good copy” watches, or a cheap room in a nearby guesthouse. It was the flowing, churning mass of people. They weren’t rude. They weren’t polite. They were just always, always in a hurry. And they were everywhere. Never in my life had I been to a city so dense, so noisy, so crowded. As soon as I arrived, I wanted to turn around, go straight back to the airport, and board a flight home to my fiancé, and then move us both someplace out in the sticks to raise a couple of kids.
Basically, I had a reverse mid-life crisis. Matters were not helped when, my first night in the hostel, a fellow American came back drunk from a night on the town and peed on the floor.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t have any romantic notions about Hong Kong. I don’t want to live there. If anything, it left me wanting to live someplace as un-Hong Kong as possible. Which begets a pretty obvious question: Why set a novel there?
Honestly, the choice was a little arbitrary, and maybe even reckless. Cyberpunk is characterized by its hyperdense metropoles and blending of eastern and western cultures, so Hong Kong seemed like the perfect place to set this weird little book.
But it’s not about Hong Kong. Not entirely, anyway. That’s not my story to tell. This story’s about Alan Izaki, a fugitive psychic, hacker, and petty thief, trying to avoid the notice of a government that tracks, registers, and regulates telepaths. And it’s about Jack Smith, agent of Countermind, trained in a classified school of counterpsychic techniques. It was inevitable that they would cross paths, one humid night, when Alan Izaki was picking the lock on a safe in a pawn shop, and Jack Smith, watching from nearby, sprang his trap.
Countermind is about psychics and hackers and spies, and government conspiracies and video games and quantum physics, and that’s all before things really start to get weird. But really it’s about Alan and Smith, and that fateful first confrontation, and all the crazy, scary stuff that happens afterwards. And maybe it’s a little bit about Hong Kong, but not much, and that’s okay, because I’m never going back.

(Until it’s time to write the sequel, anyway.)







Blurb:

In a postprivacy future, secrets are illegal and all communication is supervised. Telepaths are registered and recruited by a government with no qualms about invading the minds of its citizens. Fugitive psychics are hunted by the Bureau of Counterpsychic Affairs, or Countermind.

Alan Izaki is one such fugitive, as well as a hacker, grifter, and thief.

Countermind agent Jack Smith is hunting him through the twisted underbelly of Hong Kong.

But Alan possesses a secret so dangerous and profound it will not only shake Smith’s loyalties, but the foundations of their society.

And Alan isn’t the only one on the run. Rogue psychic Arissa binti Noor escapes Countermind, in search of brilliant game designer Feng Huang. She hopes that together, they can destroy the government’s intrusive Senex monitoring system.

Their goals seem at odds, and their lives are destined to collide. When they do, three very different people must question their alliances and their future, because everything is about to change.



Excerpt:

It was past midnight, and some parts of Hong Kong actually did sleep at this hour. The pawnshop was near Kwai Chung, its customer base mostly local workers pawning valuables just to squander their money on the races, men who wouldn’t have the resources to track down the goods they’d put up as collateral. Alan had chosen the shop for its proximity to a body of water, and it was just a minute’s hard sprint to the nearest container yard, then through that to the channel.
Alan charged downhill on roads still slick from the afternoon’s rain, gleaming with the reflected glow of the city. No neon signs or electronic billboards, just streetlamps and a few lit office windows. Droplets ran in steady trickling streams off the buildings, canopies, streetlights, AC units. Steel shutters of closed storefronts shimmered wet, and Alan’s skin glistened in the damp air. He didn’t hear any pursuing footsteps, didn’t bother turning his head to check.
He’d only gotten a brief glimpse of the attacker in the pawnshop, but that had been plenty. The man looked just a few years older than Alan, Eurasian, tall and lean, hale, clean-cut, clean-shaven. His attire had been dark but utterly nondescript. There was an impression of a black suit jacket, black slacks, and a black button-down shirt (but no tie, and open at the neck). Alan hadn’t the time for more lingering impressions, but the man would’ve been attractive under more civil circumstances.
The man wasn’t the shop owner, and was too well-dressed to be another crook or a triad member. That probably meant law enforcement, ample reason for Alan to make the quickest possible escape without sparing even a backward glance.
Alan vaulted from the sidewalk over a steel railing, dashed across the street, leapt another rail, and charged down a covered stairway, letting gravity lead his charge toward the water, angling toward the red lights atop the cargo-loading cranes just visible over a row of gently swaying palm trees. He hit the next street with such speed he lost some momentum to a brief stumble. A red-and-silver taxicab blared its horn at him, and Alan ducked under the canopy of a shuttered dim-sum shop to get his bearings. He glanced up at the building corners in the nearest intersection and spotted the closed-circuit cameras. He couldn’t see which way they pivoted in their housings, but didn’t think they’d have a clear look at him where he stood. Just to be safe, he’d have to circle around, keeping shy of major streets if he was to stay clear of any more traffic cams, though his pursuer couldn’t be far behind.
Or was it pursuers? The man had attacked Alan alone, not a standard practice for an officer of one of the world’s most famous police forces. If he was a government agent, he had to know what Alan was, right? And what such agent would be so reckless as to challenge a rogue telepath completely solo? Alan doubted even a state psychic would risk such a confrontation, and this man had given no sign of being a psychic himself, had not attempted any telepathic attacks, relying entirely on physical force. Who was he?
Whatever he was, if he caught Alan, it would mean death or worse. He had no need to know who this man was, only to escape him.
Alan pulled his jacket tight around him and popped the collar up. He turned a corner for a side street with fewer cameras and fewer lights and strolled a leisurely path into the shadow of an elevated highway, traffic rumbling above him. From there, he made his way through a hole in a chain-link fence he’d prepared earlier tonight with the help of his bolt cutters, slipping into the container yard, and then he sprinted across the yard toward freedom.
He ran straight into the agent.
The man stepped around the corner of a container and flashed Alan a razor smile as he kneed him in the stomach, allowing Alan’s own momentum to double him over. Then the man threw Alan into the side of the steel container with a clang that echoed inside his head as his arm was twisted behind his back. Alan was strong for his size, but the agent was using some sort of judo leverage shit. Alan tried to wrench free, nearly succeeded, and then the man compensated for his strength by spinning him into the side of another container.
The man tightened his hold and hissed into Alan’s ear.
“How many counts of resisting arrest?”

Sunday, February 26, 2017

ARC Review: Sound Proof by C. A. Blocke

From The Blurb:
When Chris is unceremoniously dumped by his longtime girlfriend, his best friend Thomas picks up the pieces and remind there's more to life than his lost relationship. In the process of letting go of a relationship that wasn't what he thought, Chris slowly comes to realize that everything he's ever wanted may have been right beneath his nose the whole time…





Karen's rating:




Chris is dumped by his partner of 6 years and let me just say...good thing. I was not a fan of her from the word go. Vanessa basically dumps him when they're out on a date so yes, out in public and of course it's all his fault. Sorry no, sweetie it takes two. I'm not saying he doesn't have a role in this but at least he's not the one who ends the relationship and announces their engagement to someone else on Facebook the same day.

That's cold and to add insult to injury she ends the relationship without coming clean about the fact that not only is she getting engaged that day but she's been cheating on him for at least a year, but it's Chris's fault? WTF? I think not. Ok that's all the time we're dedicating to Vanessa, I'm over and done with her. I want to discuss the important part of the story...the part where Chris moves on.

Now in case you haven't figured it out yet, Chris is bisexual and I wouldn't say he's in denial, but he's not totally comfortable with his attraction to men either and right now he's trying to get over being blindsided by 'she who shall no longer be named'. Enter Thomas, Chris's best friend who is gay, a bit older than Chris, slightly overweight and truly the kind of friend most of us hope for because while Thomas is in love with Chris, he's never acted on his feelings because Chris was in a relationship and right now he just wants to help him get back on his feel and move forward with his life. He doesn't want to take advantage of his friend while he's weak, he doesn't want to be Chris's rebound.

I loved how hard Thomas worked to just be Chris's friend, to not take advantage of him when he was vulnerable. Add to this that Thomas is pretty insecure about his looks not over the top, ridiculous insecure but realistically, I can believe this insecure.

ARC Review: Madly by Ruthie Knox

Madly (New York, #2)
From the blurb:

An impulsive trip to New York City, a heartthrob from London, and a scandalous to-do list turn a small-town girl’s life upside down in this sultry romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Truly and About Last Night.

Allie Fredericks isn’t supposed to be in Manhattan, hiding in the darkest corner of a hip bar, spying on her own mother—who’s flirting with a man who’s definitely not Allie’s father. Allie’s supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ milestone anniversary party. Then Winston Chamberlain walks through the door, with his tailored suit, British accent, and gorgeous eyes, and Allie’s strange mission goes truly sideways.

Winston doesn’t do messy. But after a pretty stranger ropes him into her ridiculous family drama with a fake kiss that gets a little too real, he finds out that messy can be fun. Maybe even a little addicting. And as the night grows longer, Allie and Winston make a list of other wild things they could do together—and what seems like a mismatch leads to a genuine connection. But can their relationship survive as their real lives implode just outside the bedroom door?
  





Heather's rating:






I'm a huge fan of Ruthie Knox, and she charmed me again with the second book in her New York series.

If you liked Truly, you will probably enjoy Madly as well. It had the same vibe, the same strangers-meeting-with-intense-chemistry thing, and had a steady pace for easy reading. Sure, the plot is far-fetched to the point of unbelievable, but I was so into the characters that I didn't even mind that much.

This is an opposites-attract story, which is a favorite theme of mine in romance. Allie is a bit of a misunderstood, zany free-spirit, and Winston is buttoned-up and polished moneyed shine. They played off each other, and their chemistry was intense. I loved their sex to-do list, and I found them to have a refreshing raw-ness as a couple. I think that they could have communicated a bit more, but I enjoyed them a great deal together.

ARC Review: Dating In Retrospect by Lila Leigh Hunter

From The Blurb:
Giving the commencement speech at his alma mater doesn’t fit Clay Keller’s meticulous schedule. As Chief Executive Officer of Travel Mogul—the largest travel connoisseur company on the West Coast—he has no time to get back in touch with his country roots. He left fifteen years ago without a second look, but a medical scare makes him change his mind about the speech and brings him face-to-face with his only regret. 
Time always moves slower in Southeastern Iowa, and Aaron Grant loves it. He’s added solar farms to the Grant Lanes portfolio and has been teaching at the local university for a decade. The last thing he needs is to have his tenure application compromised by the return of his ex-boyfriend. If he had known who the commencement speaker would be, he would never have volunteered to be the administration liaison. 
A proposal—to date for a year—will help them discover that time changes a person, even when everything else stays the same.



Karen's rating:




Have you ever wondered about the one that got away or...
                                   maybe it was the one that you let slip away...

It's been 15 years since Clint last say Aaron and in all that time he's never forgotten the man that he'd planned to spend the rest of his life with.

Clint went off to California and Aaron was suppose to join him there. They were going to start their life together...follow their dreams and make their fortunes and all their dreams come true. But as can sometimes be the case with distance dreams fade and become little more than memories. Aaron never joined Clint in California...it was just never the right time and there was always something keeping him in Iowa. Eventually Clint decided that he needed to let Aaron go so they could both move on but neither time nor distance has changed how Clint feels about Aaron and after 15 years he's ready to go back and hopefully reclaim the love he gave up.

I liked that Clint was determined to win Aaron back and that he wasn't wishy, washy about it. Their relationship wasn't a one night stand or a weekend fling. They were together throughout most of college and for him to show up after 15 years of basically silence between the two of them was a pretty ballsy move and to do anything less than believe that Aaron still love  him, as much as he loved Aaron just wouldn't have been very convincing, but he was also smart enough to know that he could only push so far and his plan of them dating over the course of a year to give them a chance to become re-acquainted and re-build their relationship just seemed perfect because it also gave Clint the time to show Aaron that he was serious and committed to making it work and last between them.

I enjoyed the dates that Clint arranged for these two they had meaning and relevance to their shared background. I also appreciated that while Aaron didn't give in right away he also didn't play games and keep Clint dancing on pins and needles when he knew that in his heart he still loved him. He was cautious and rightfully so but he was also willing to take that second chance.

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