Saturday, March 25, 2017

ARC Review: Strays (Urban Soul, #2) by Garrett Leigh


Blurb:
Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.

Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd's Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.

Fast-forward a month and a neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.


Jewel's rating:



No one does tortured, flawed MC's as well as Garrett Leigh.She takes heroes, damaged by life, and gives them well fought and much deserved happy endings and I've never picked up one of her stories that I did not enjoy. In fact, the first book in this series, Misfits, is -- hands down -- my favorite book of hers. And though Strays contains the MC's from Misfits as secondary characters, you can read this one as a stand alone, if you wish.

Lenny Mitchell works for Misfits, one of the many Urban Soul restaurants. He's young and grew up in an affluent family where he was expected to follow a particular path in life. He started out doing just that and then decided that living someone else's existence wasn't making him happy. So he dropped out of Uni, died his hair pink and decided to live a little. He wanted to devote time to his art, too, because that is something he truly felt passionate about.

But then, Lenny got noticed by the wrong someone. He would claim to be Lenny's boyfriend and he would send creepy letters. He also broke into Lenny's apartment just so that Lenny knew that he couldn't escape. But the police weren't much help, so Lenny moved around, changed jobs, going from dancing at a gay club to waiting tables at Misfits. However, when his stalker managed to find him there, too, Lenny had a bit of a melt down.

Cass then offers him another opportunity to work at Pippa's, another Urban Soul restaurant, and stay in the apartment upstairs, with one of their chef's, Nero. That arrangement would mean that Lenny could live and work in the same building and maybe take a much needed break from having to watch his back.

Book Review: Manny Makes Three by Sean Ashcroft

Manny Makes Three
Blurb:
Rule #1 of being a successful male nanny: do not fall in love with the straight, single father you were hired by.

Single father Mark doesn’t have enough hours in the day to both take care of his son, Dylan, and work his stressful marketing job by himself. Facing the prospect of having to leave Dylan with his aunt over the summer break, he realises that what he needs is a nanny.

Thankfully, Mannies Inc. have just the right guy for the job. Josh is qualified, good with kids, and more or less a human ray of sunshine. His resumé speaks for itself, and when he and Dylan hit it off, Mark knows he’s the perfect person to hire.

Mark’s never thought of himself as attracted to other men, but Josh is so warm and kind and good to him, not to mention amazing with Dylan. He finds himself drawn to the other man in a way he’s never experienced before, but he’s been alone for so long that he can’t bring himself to care. So what if he’s suddenly attracted to a man?

Josh is also struggling with his attraction to Mark, a man who represents everything he wants in life--stability, companionship, and a family of his own. He knows better than to believe that Mark would want him like that, but it’s so easy to dream…

Both men have already been hurt by love, but can they open their hearts again before their doubts tear them apart? Or will their worlds prove to be too different for them to be together?
Todd's rating:




Okay, confession time. One of my guilty pleasures has always been the au pair / manny trope.

Yes, I know the story will be incredibly sappy-sweet, with MC's that are just too perfect and loving to be true, but I still can't resist.

This is another such read, with 30 y.o. Mark, who'd suddenly lost his wife three years ago, leaving him to raise his young son, Dylan, then becoming overwhelmed and in need of major help.

After calling Mannies Inc., 27 y.o. Josh steps seamlessly into their lives and becomes the missing piece to the puzzle that is Mark and Dylan's happiness.

There's the usual slow build up to feelings, bonding with the kid and the reclaiming of lives taken over by long hours on the job and commuting, plus a jealous busy body looking to throw a wrench into their happiness, but not much conflict outside of that.

No, the book isn't going to cure cancer, but it is a light, fun and sticky-sweet story, if that's what you're looking for.

And speaking of sticky, It's moderately steamy, plus if you read the "Ten Years On" companion follow-up short, you'll also see just how far newly-bisexual Mark has come in the bedroom.

Overall, I'd rate this story at around 3.75 stars and recommend it, if you're looking for a few feel-good moments.

This story is available for *FREE* with a Kindle Unlimited membership.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34226490-manny-makes-three

Get the book:

 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06WGN7GCF

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

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/12415682-todd?order=d&sort=date_read&view=reviews




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

Blogtour: Rough Edges & Jumping In by Cardeno C


SYNOPSIS

~Rough Edges
Kyle has an unwelcome crush on his nemesis Brent. Brent has a welcome crush on his friend Kyle. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.
Born on the wrong side of the tracks to the wrong family, Kyle Potter has spent his life clawing his way toward a better future. When he gets the perfect job at the perfect firm in perfect Los Angeles, Kyle is sure there are only blue skies ahead. And then he meets perfect Brent Haralson.
Born with a silver spoon to a well-established family, Brent Haralson has never been interested in leveraging his connections. Friends, success, and dates come easily to Brent and rejection isn’t something he has to deal with in life. And then he meets perfect Kyle Potter.
Kyle despises his unwelcome crush on his lazy, arrogant nemesis. Brent welcomes his feelings for his stubborn, brilliant friend. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.
This is a 2nd edition without substantive changes from the 1st edition, which was part of the It Was Always You anthology.
BUY LINKS
~Jumping In
When love's on the line, the brave jump in with both feet...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Kindle Weekly Deals~ Week of 3/18/17- 3/24/17

"Wake Me Up Inside" by Cardeno C.- M/M, paranormal romance~ Price drop to $0.99!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25967103.Wake_Me_Up_Inside__Mates___1_

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0137I04VQ

"Careened" by Bey Deckard- M/M/M, historical fantasy~ Price drop to FREE!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28274586-careened?ac=1&from_search=true

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019PSPAT8/


"Enemies of the State" by Tal Bauer- M/M, romantic suspense~ Price drop to $0.99!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34664699-enemies-of-the-state?ac=1&from_search=true

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XS53KYZ

ARC Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane


Blurb:
Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.


Dani's rating:




When I first read the blurb for Bonfires I worried about the ex-factor: baby mama drama is definitely not my thing. But I needn't have worried. Melodrama isn't Amy Lane's thing either.

This book is about family. It's about secrets people keep. It's about rich, spoiled girls expecting the world to worship at their feet. It's about power and bigotry.

But it's also about falling in love when you're pushing 50 and nearly ready to give up on romance.

Aaron has known Larx for years. Larx taught both of his daughters and is currently teaching his son. Larx is a teacher at heart, but he was dragged kicking and screaming to serve as principal of the local high school. Aaron is a deputy, so he's around.

Aaron and Larx whisper words of endearment and exchange wild kisses within days of Aaron seeing Larx running without a shirt. Aaron has seen Larx, but he's never SEEN Larx. Shirtless, sweaty Larx is a sight to behold, and Aaron's brain (and dick) go ZING.


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

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



Karen's rating:




While I enjoyed 'The Mystery of Nevermore' book 1 in C. S. Poe's Snow & Winter series a tiny, tiny bit more than this one that does not mean that 'The Mystery of the Curiosities' was anything less than enjoyable.

I think possibly part of my added enthusiasm for the first book was just the joy of discovering a new author who was writing a new series that I wanted to read...see all the shiny new that's going on here? I was dazzled...that's right I suffer from magpie syndrome. However, while this book isn't the shiny new of a first book in a new series by a new author it still holds it's own with a well written story about characters that I truly like solving a well done mystery. Ms. Poe had me guessing right up until the end when I knew who did it and why only to find out things were not as they seemed...well done, I love a mystery that keeps my brain guessing from start to finish.

While I did get a bit frustrated with Seb for his perpetual lies of omission and half-truths, I do have to admit were I in his shoes I'm not sure I would have done any better and I think that while I don't advocate his behavior I probably felt a little more lenient towards him once my initial frustration wore off and I was force to admit that while his decision making skills weren't always stellar neither were they malicious or intended to do harm...in fact, it was quite the opposite he wanted to resolve things in the hopes of keeping anyone else from being hurt...so his intentions were good...mmmmm...I think there's a road somewhere paved with good intentions...just sayin'

ARC Review - At Attention (Out of Uniform #2) by Annabeth Albert

At Attention (Out of Uniform, #2)
Blurb:
Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he's lucky a friend's younger brother needs a place to stay. He's surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete's body. Apollo's widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It's been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it's time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he's all man now—an adult who's fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo's muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can't afford to fall for that guy. He's determined to hold out for someone who's able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he'd expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what's more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.



Todd's rating:




While this story was good, it really didn't blow me away. It almost felt like I'd read something very similar before, so it didn't really cover very much new ground for me.

I'm not sure exactly why, but even by the end of the story, I still only really felt like I knew Apollo, the alpha Navy SEAL suffering from grief, and Dylan, the best friend's kid brother with the remnants of a teenage crush, on a fairly surface-level basis. I think that maybe a few flashback scenes with Apollo and Neal living their day-to-day lives, pre-accident, might have helped in that respect.

Also, there was just something slightly off about the sex scenes, which didn't grab my attention and made me want to skim past them This was one book where fade to black sex scenes wouldn't have really bothered me.

Blogtour: Cowboys Don't Ride Unicorns by Tara Lain




Please say hello to Tara Lain and 

Cowboys Don't Ride Unicorns 

Cowboys Don't #2




Blurb:

Cowboy Danny Boone—a name he made up one drunken night and has regretted ever since—harbors a big past and yearns for a small future. A short, bright career as a champion bull rider almost ended in his death when his homophobic father discovered Danny was gay. Now Danny longs for a plot of land he can build a ranch house on and enough money to make up for some of the education he missed.

Danny also hides a preference for beautiful femmes who like to top—a combo rarer than a unicorn. Then onto the guest ranch where Danny works drives San Francisco decorator Laurie Belmont, a young man so gorgeous he makes horses gasp, and so ballsy he almost kills Danny’s attacker.

Laurie’s trying to find his way out from under the thumb of a domineering mother, helpless father, and rich, privileged boyfriend.

But no matter the attraction, their lives are worlds apart, and cowboys don’t ride unicorns.


Interesting Facts About Bull Riding!


Hi and welcome. I’m so happy to be here today at My Fiction Nook to tell you about the release of my new cowboy romance, COWBOYS DON’T RIDE UNICORNS. In the story, my hero, Danny Boone, is a bull rider who’s mostly left the profession because of big drama in his past. But he returns to bull riding when he needs money to fulfill his biggest dreams. This is my first book that includes bull riding so it took some research. I thought I’d share some interesting facts about this dangerous sport with you –

  • Bull riders are required to wear a padded vest and leather chaps, plus spurs to help anchor the rider’s feet. The vest serves a protective purpose and prevents broken ribs. Interestingly, the chaps serve no real purpose and some riders hate wearing them. Speaking for the observers, however, chaps are way sexy!
  • Some rider’s wear protective helmets and young riders are required to wear them. Other pro riders prefer their cowboy hats, which they feel give them extra balance.
  • Riders exercise to get strong but not bulky since they have to lift their own body weight.
  • Bull riding is called the “most dangerous 8 seconds in sport.” The reasons are simple. All riders suffer cuts, bruises and concussions – even broken bones. The possibility for paralysis is very real.
  • While at one time bull riding was a lot of danger for little reward, today with the advent of the Professional Bull Riders, a successful rider can literally earn millions a year.
  • Both the rider and the bull get a score. The higher a bull’s score, the greater the chance for the rider to earn high points.
  • All bulls do not buck. Rodeo bulls are bred and selected for their bucking skill.
  • Riders insist that the bulls love the experience as much as they do and are not hurt in the sport. Bulls are highly valued and well treated.
  • Rodeo clowns, today usually called bull fighters, work a very dangerous job, distracting the bulls from the riders and getting them back into the chutes. Their upside potential is substantially less than the bull riders.

I hope you enjoy Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns, my first bull riding book – but likely not my last! Here’s a nibble to get you going.





Excerpt:

Two hours later he’d drawn his bull—a huge sucker named Scorpion, and from the looks on Maury’s team’s faces, he must have the sting to go with the name. As they walked to the chutes, Maury clapped a hand on Danny’s shoulders. “Careful. Don’t underestimate Scorpion. He’s meaner than piss.”
“Sounds like not my luckiest draw.”
“Well, let’s just say he’ll earn a lot of points.”

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Author Of The Month - Angel Martinez - Grand Finale




Welcome to our Grand Finale celebrations for the super awesome 







In our final post, we're talking about the AURA books, co-written with Bellora Quinn, and ask Angel a bunch of questions. Also, all the way at the bottom, is one more chance to win!


First up, Quinn's Gambit



Blurb:

An unregistered, human con wizard and a duty-bound, straightlaced elf cop. As New York explodes with dangerous creatures, their passion goes nuclear.


After a terrible magical accident at Berkeley created unpredictable holes between realities—all manner of non-human creatures started popping into our world. These displacements, called RARE—Random Anomalous Reality Events—have taken magic out of fiction and relocated it firmly in reality, resulting in a great deal of chaos and confusion. Displaced elf Valerian works with AURA—the Agency of Unnatural Resettlement and Assimilation—to intercept these beings as they appear in the human world, helping the peaceful ones and subduing the violent, malevolent ones. It’s good, satisfying work, and Val would be happy if he wasn’t so lonely.

Quinten is a young mage just trying to get by, but New York isn't the easiest city to make a living. If his methods are sometimes morally dubious, his heart is still in the right place. Of course for Quinn, the right place means firmly locked away, protected at all costs. Living by his wits and sometimes magically-induced luck, he works as a ‘free-lance magic user’, or unregistered mage and small time con—according to the authorities. The last thing Quinn wants is to draw the cops’ attention, but when an Event happens right on top of him, he’s forced to turn to AURA for help. Valerian isn’t at all what he’d expected in an AURA cop, and he certainly wasn't expecting to join forces with the sexy elf, a snarky drow and a bitter incubus when certain individuals in power try to stop the RARE by any means necessary.

Things are not all what they seem at AURA headquarters, and a greater evil lurks at the top than anyone could have imagined.



Excerpt:

The AURA recruiters had tested him when he was still in school, but Quinn had deliberately flubbed everything. As far as they were concerned, he had the barest trace of latent magical ability, not much more than being able to sense energy and maybe have a precognitive dream or two. Flunking out of the AURA recruitment had meant that he had no real training, but Quinn got by with what he had learned on his own.
Like that afternoon, those people he’d ‘saved’ from the ‘troll’ didn’t know the difference between a glow spell and a fireball, which was good for business, such as it was. At least he’d made enough today to put food in his belly and pay the rent that week.
Strolling along and thinking happily of stopping in at Mike’s to treat himself to a good dinner, he didn’t have any warning before the naked girl fell out of the sky and knocked him flat.
Quinn sprawled face first in the dirt, his arms outstretched, and one hand still clutching his staff. He’d barely managed to push himself halfway up when the naked girl started to scream, only it didn’t sound like any scream Quinn had ever heard before. It was a wail of piercing agony that reached down and tore at his insides.
The girl rolled off him and flailed around on the ground, still screaming that ear-splitting, terrified wail.
Quinn clamped his hands over his ears. “Stop! Jesus! Stop that!” he yelled, trying to get to his feet. To his surprise, the girl did as he told her, shutting her mouth and abruptly cutting off the piercing wail. Panting, Quinn got a good look at her.
Her skin was a dark brown with whorls of darker pigment over top that looked like a giant fingerprint. Or like wood grain. It matched the two short branches that poked out of the top of her head from beneath her pale blonde hair. Her eyes were blue. All blue. No white, no pupil, just blue. What he’d thought were leaves stuck in her hair appeared to be an actual part of her.
Slowly, Quinn lowered his hands from his ears. “Okay… Okay, now just calm down.”
The naked girl made small, helpless sounds that sounded eerily like a mournful wind blowing through creaking branches.
“What…? What are you, huh?” he asked, rubbing the back of his head and not really expecting an answer. “Some kinda elf maybe? Or… Hey, you’re a dryad, aren’t you?” he said, the word surfacing from some murky depth of his memory.
She stared at him, drawing her knees up to her chest and rocking, looking remarkably like a small tree swaying in the wind. Quinn chewed his bottom lip as he thought. Clearly she had just come through an Event. Okay, this isn’t a complete disaster. I’ll just leave her here and go call AURA to come pick her up. Yeah. That’s it.
“Look, just stay here, okay? I’ll go get you help. Comprende? Stay. Here.” He gestured with his hands and spoke slowly and loudly as if he could somehow make her understand. Getting up and brushing himself off, he started to leave.
The girl got up and followed him. Quinn stopped and turned around.
“No. You stay here. Stay.” He held out his hands, then pointed at the ground. “Stay.”
He turned and took two steps. She followed.
“Aw, fuck,” he muttered. Nothing could ever be easy. It was going to be rather conspicuous walking down Ninety-Sixth Street with a naked tree girl following him.
“Okay, okay, fine, c’mon then.” He sighed, figuring he might as well just take her to the AURA building, since it was so close.

The girl…dryad, whatever, followed him and Quinn headed toward AURA headquarters.


Get the book:


    




Second in this series, Flax's Pursuit


Blurb:

A murderer haunts the city, turning the unwary to stone. Between hunting this evil and corralling new arrivals, Flax struggles to guard both his life and his heart.

Quinn and Valerian have come through the trials of facing an undead lich queen and the perils of falling in love. Now they work to restore AURA to its previous strength and efficiency while navigating their new life with each other. Fortunately, they’re not in this alone.

Kai Hiltas has taken over as the head of the research department at AURA and has become everyone’s favourite workaholic, everyone except his lover Tenzin, who has had enough of his late nights and broken promises. As Kai tries to salvage his relationship, he finds a teacher for Quinn, who also happens to be one of Valerian’s new officers, Flax Wolfheart, a sexy elf with trouble written all over him.

Flax has motives beyond simply teaching Quinn to control his magic. He’s trying to recover from his own losses and failures, but he has a plan. The two newest elvish crossovers, Ash and Sage, are sizzling hot and might even like him. With them as backup as he tracks a deadly stone mage and figures out how to teach Quinn, Flax sees his chance to impress Val and snag a place by his captain’s side. On the hunt for both danger and redemption, Flax’s pursuit leads him ultimately down trails he never expected.


Excerpt:

The weird stuff always happens when you’re picking up extra shifts. Officer Flax Wolfheart hurried down the street, following the high-pitched brownie laughter. Five of them had broken into a bakery after hours. The bakery assistant said they’d stolen the final bank deposit and everything from the day-old rack.
“I have visual. Pursuing on foot.” Flax spoke into his radio as he broke into a sprint. The suspects had ducked into an alley, probably hoping to vanish.
The radio crackled, dispatch answering, “Officer Wolfheart, backup’s on the way. Maintain open channel. Location updates.”
“As you wish,” Flax muttered, not exactly by the book, but fuck it. He skidded around the corner just in time. The last little brownie culprit was phasing through the bricks of the building to the left, pointed ears swiveling—large, dark eyes already dilated from the sugar high.
That was the problem human police officers had tracking brownies. The little shits could walk through walls, which was how they broke into establishments in the first place. Flax bared his teeth in a feral grin. Good thing he wasn’t a human police officer. He could still sense their magic trail through the building, and while he couldn’t go through the wall, he could still follow.
“Going on the roof. Same street, dispatch. Looks like we’re going building to building.”
“Damn it, Wolfheart. Your backup can’t follow you that way.”
The exasperated tone made him grin. “There are reasons why I work alone, you know.”
Flax leaped and caught hold, jamming fingers and boot toes in the joinings between bricks so he could scale up to the roof. The little creeps’ trails rambled through the building under his feet until they emerged out the other side. Giggling and tripping over each other, the sugar high as bad as meth for humans, the brownies raced across the next alley. Rail thin, the pack of them, none more than a few inches taller than the trash cans they used as cover, Flax felt a momentary twinge.
Kids. They’re damn brownie kids and if they’re not homeless, I’ll eat my badge.
He waited until they had phased through the wall before he took two running steps and vaulted to the building they had entered. An old, rebellious part of him wanted to let them go. They were just kids. But he had his duty as an AURA officer and part of that duty was getting delinquent brownie kids off the street, hopefully to the help they needed.
His new life wasn’t so different from his old in many ways. Duty. Tenacity. The hunt. The solitude. AURA made exceptions for certain talents. Really, AURA was one big mess of exceptions, so they let Flax hunt alone. It was what he did best and how it had always been. The elven hunter on the edge of civilization, he accepted that—most of the time.

The brownies were meandering through the building below his feet, so he cast about the rooftop for anything he could use. One brownie kid he could corner and slap iron cuffs on to prevent more phasing. Five? Even he had his limits.





Get the book:


    





And, so far, third in this series, Kellen's Awakening

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ARC Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane


Blurb:
Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.
It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.




Jewel's rating:



The MC's of Bonfires are both in their late 40's. I love that. I read a lot of M/M romance and while I enjoy the energy of youth, I find maturity to be entirely refreshing. We don't have the same types of angst and drama here as with many books with younger MC's. Instead, we have two men who know what they want and work to get it.

That isn't to say there is no angst or drama in Bonfires. There most certainly is. But there isn't a ton of melodrama and no ex-wife drama at all (thank you, Amy Lane!). Bonfires is about family - family of your blood and family you choose. It's also about second chances at love and life. It's about finding happiness when you least expect it. And, as a plus, Amy Lane left out the Four Horsemen, this time.

ARC Review: Adrian by Caitlin Ricci

From the Blurb:
There's only one place to go for a guaranteed happily ever after. 
Finding a Faeted match is always supposed to lead to true love, but Adrian doesn’t believe that anymore. After six months of perfect bliss with his fire mage Corrin, Adrian caught him kissing someone else at a party. Now he wants a new match, and he never wants to see Corrin again. A matchmaker at Faeted gives Adrian another mate and tells him to go to a hotel to find him. 
But when Adrian gets to the hotel room, he finds Corrin there, waiting for him. Naked and bound, Corrin has served himself up as a perfect peace offering, if only Adrian is willing to take a second chance at love with him.



Karen's rating:




I liked this one probably more so than Joshua, the first book in this series. Technically we've got an established couple here. Adrian and Corrin were matched up six months ago (before the start of the story) by the Faeted Agency and none other than Dyslander, himself did the matching and Dyslander never...never makes mistakes and yet, something has gone wrong and Adrian is going to make him fix it.

It seems Corrin has cheated on Adrian. Sadly Adrian knows he still loves Corrin but he also knows that when Corrin kissed that Dragon shifter...dragons!!!! I love dragons...wait, he kissed Corrin and Corrin's with Adrian...oh, bad, bad dragon. You need to go back to your cave until you can learn to behave...now, where were we? Oh, yes Corrin kissed the dragon and Adrian was standing right there...this did not end well. But I had faith in Dyslander, he'll fix things but his fix was totally not what Adrian had in mind but then again when faced with a naked and restrained Corrin, Adrian soon realizes that maybe this wasn't what he had in mind but he can be as open minded as the next dryad when it comes to matters of the heart.

Spotlight: In The Spotlight by Charlie Cochrane




Please welcome Charlie Cochrane with 

In The Spotlight 


Blurb:

All That Jazz

Francis Yardley may be the high kicking star of an all-male version of Chicago, but bitter, and on the booze after the breakdown of a relationship, he thinks that the chance for true love has passed him by. A handsome, shy rugby player called Tommy seems to be the answer to his problems, but Tommy doesn't like the lipstick and lace. Can they find a way forward and is there still a chance for happiness "nowadays"?

If Music Be

Rick Cowley finds himself taking up am-dram once more, thinking it’ll help him get over the death of his partner. He’d never anticipated it would mean an encounter with an old flame and the sort of emotional complications the Bard would have revelled in. Still, old Will had the right word for every situation, didn’t he?





In the Spotlight was inspired by my love of the theatre – Shakespeare and musicals in particular. That may seem an odd combination, but it isn’t; there are only two sorts of production, those you want to see and those you don’t. And there are actors who have done very well in both genres. Gary Wilmot is not only the best Bill Snibson (Me and My Girl) I’ve ever seen, he’s the funniest Bottom (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). He was a pretty nifty Billy Flynn, too and I’d love to see him as Toby Belch in Twelfth Night.
Twelfth Night is, according to the Oxford Dictionary, “the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking”. That sense of merrymaking and mischief certainly pervades Shakespeare’s play of the same name, but it also has a darker side, two couples finding their happy ever after, set against a background of great sadness and cruelty. It’s full of strange sexual politics and confusion, and the most recent version I saw (at Chichester, with Patrick Stewart as a brilliantly funny Malvolio) didn’t pull its punches in terms of depicting the homoerotic elements.

Blogtour: Three Hearts by Grace R. Duncan




Please say hello to Grace R. Duncan and 

Three Hearts 







Published by Grace R. Duncan
Release date: March 3, 2017
72k Words
Cover artist: Jess Small
M/M Paranormal/shifters




three-hearts_450X674Blurb:

Liam Scott is sick. That’s not supposed to be possible. As a wolf shifter, he’s supposed to be able to heal. The omega gene he was born with means he’s capable of carrying shifter young and Liam is worried that whatever is wrong will mean his one-day hope of having pups will be dashed. But despite the fears keeping him away from the doctor until now, he knows he needs to go.

It turns out the sickness is temporary, but the treatment causes a whole other problem.

Mason’s alpha gene means he’s one of very few wolves who can impregnate an omega male. For two years, he’d been watching Liam, but things kept getting in the way. When Liam shows up in heat, Mason recognizes the opportunity he needs and doesn’t hesitate make to Liam his mate and the father of his pups.

But Liam has old wounds and fears to work through which the pregnancy is only making worse, and Mason isn’t sure how to get past them to show he’s serious about making a life together as loving mates. It’s not until a female wolf decides Mason should be hers that Liam makes his biggest worry known—and Mason can finally put the fears to rest.



Buy Three Hearts at:



Thanks so much to Sandra for allowing me to take up space today!

Worldbuilding is one of my favorite parts of writing non-contemporary stories. Contemporary, of course, have their share of worldbuilding (making up cities/restaurants/whatever) but nothing to the level of the other genres.

I have an entire two-inch binder full of notes, maps, timelines, family trees, language research, and more for my Golden Collar series. Forbes Mates is a leather notebook stuffed full of much the same type of stuff. It, of course, is a bit smaller because it’s still contemporary, albeit with a wolfy-flare.

So, when I started writing Three Hearts, I looked forward to doing more of that fun worldbuilding. Since men could have babies, I knew that I’d need to take a different approach than I did with my other shifter stories. Both the Forbes Mates series, as well as Secrets had shifters hidden from the world. There’s a good reason for that, of course, but that wasn’t going to work for this story.

Because I wanted Liam to be able to be “out” with his pregnancy. That meant the shifters were out to the world. Well… how the hell do you handle that?

It definitely required some thinking and planning. I hadn’t planned any part of the plot of Three Hearts. It was one of the stories I completely pantsed. But figuring out how things would work with the world aware of the shifters absolutely demanded some seriously consideration.

Now, I am very fond, in my world building, of knowing way more about my world than I put into my books. (See above re: the notebooks for Golden Collar and Forbes Mates!) But at the same time, the story was moving so fast for me, I didn’t have as much time to consider it as I wanted. Still, I worked it out as I went and found much of it fell into place for me because it turned out there weren’t a lot of things I needed to include to make it understood.

Of course, there was the pregnancy explanation. I didn’t want to leave that up to the imagination. That part was actually easy for me. But I found I needed to include little things here and there to show other aspects of how the wolves fit into human society.

For instance:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ARC Review: A Lady's Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

A Lady's Code of Misconduct (Rules for the Reckless, #5)From the blurb:

A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL...
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.

...NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for...

Heather's rating:




Surprisingly excellent, nuanced historical romance that can be completely read as a stand-alone. Don't be afraid to jump into this series at book five because A Lady's Code of Misconduct should NOT be overlooked.

I read a good deal of historical romance but Meredith Duran has a very unique writing style that stands out from the rest. There is something about her writing that does a few things to me. First, it makes me... pause. There is a way she writes that comes across at first as... formal? Stiff? Overly intricate? I'm not sure how to describe it. It isn't typical, that's for sure. But what starts off as feeling a little cumbersome quickly transforms, and I always find that her words end up holding a ton of power. Her books transfix me. This book transfixed me.

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