Tuesday, April 24, 2018

ARC Review: Moonshine Sundae by Camilla Quinn

Moonshine Sundae
Blurb:
Grayson is a lighthearted goofball lucky enough to be dating his best friend and human life-preserver, Kate. Sure, he's inching toward thirty, his vegan neighbor, Felix, is an intrusive jerk, and he's stuck taking care of a moody cat he neither likes nor wants. Still, so long as he can pull the occasional prank of sending a meat lover's pizza to Felix and enjoy a moonshine sundae while his neighbor shrieks, he's perfectly content.

Then Kate suddenly breaks off their relationship to rediscover herself, and Grayson's mostly content life gets thrown into chaos. And though he wants to get his life back on track, he may have laughed one time too many for anyone to take him seriously.


Todd's rating:




I was so thoroughly confused by this novella.

Not that Grayson and Felix seemed to get off on antagonizing one another. That part was very believable and fairly enjoyable, but the snark and banter weren't all that dazzling, when compared to books like Lili Morton's "Deal Maker".

No, my confusion is from the fact that neither of the MC's really ever seemed to have that dreamy longing for the other that's typical of such Gay For You stories. Their verbal jabs never really came across as loosely-veiled flirting, which I found disappointing. This is M/M, after all.

I made it through nearly 70% of the story thinking that Felix was gay. Straight-up gay.
Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go suck a dick… G-A-Y.

Then Felix, for some strange reason, ended up drinking alone in a bar and those events tilted my well-established world view of what I thought I knew was going on.

I'm never really a fan of someone, especially the MC that I *thought* was gay, having to be told by Random Stanger X that they're smitten with someone. Clueless wasn't a good look that late into the story.

Blogtour: Set Ablaze by KC Burn



Please welcome KC Burn with 

Set Ablaze 



Hello! So happy to be here to celebrate my upcoming release, Set Ablaze. There’s a hot firefighter, a sexy Broadway dancer, a cute pug puppy and a bit of angst. Below's a tiny taste, hope you enjoy!




Blurb:

California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends.”

Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at seventeen. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.

The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.

Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.


Excerpt:

Hayden breathed a sigh of relief and bounded out of the truck. Perhaps they should have talked. As it was, nothing had distracted him from Jez’s sugary-sweet smell, which reminded him of oatmeal and apple pie and chai tea. Bodywash? Cologne? Aftershave? He had no idea, but the product had to be full of voodoo and black magic.

What had he done to deserve this? Clearly he’d screwed up big-time in a past life and karma was laughing her ass off at his predicament. If only Jez seemed equally affected, Hayden might not feel so damned idiotic, but Hayden hadn’t caught one salacious glance. Not one.

And if he was honest, it stung his ego.

After walking through the automatic doors, he sucked in a big breath. The grocery store always smelled like a weird combination of earthy vegetation, spoiled milk, and bleach. It was enough to drive the scent of Jez out of his nostrils.

“I got a cart. We might as well share it,” Jez said from behind. Hayden nodded reluctantly. There went his brilliant idea of telling Jez he’d meet him at the register in like twenty minutes. Or half an hour.

Jez smiled at him, and Hayden just couldn’t bring himself to suggest it. The guy knew no one here; Hayden could at least shop with him.

Hayden whipped out his phone. “I start in produce and work to the other side of the store. Where’s your list?”

Blogtour Magnetic by Carissa Miller



Magnetic 

Carissa Miller

Publication date: September 10th 2017 

Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult




Blurb:

When Elle Christiansen’s rebellion leads to her father’s expulsion from a parsonage in small-town Ohio, the forlorn pair is forced to move to Oklahoma to live with an aunt neither of them has ever met. Here she encounters her aunt’s neighbor—Maverick Mason, the quietly confident son of a wealthy oil tycoon who infuriates her as much as he inexplicably draws her in… 
Maverick slowly gains Elle’s trust and coaxes her out from the seemingly impenetrable walls of self-protection she erected around her heart when her mother was murdered. He convinces Elle to confide the secrets of her tortured past: that she saw her mother’s murder before it took place, and she was the one who found her, bleeding to death at the end of a lonely dirt road. Together the unlikely pair begins to unlock the secrets of not only Elle’s sordid past, but her mother’s and grandmother’s as well, to uncover decades of greed, corporate corruption, lies, and murder. 
Quickly, the sobering realization hits: if they do not solve her mother’s murder, Elle will undoubtedly suffer the same fate. As she continues her journey toward truth alongside the boy she is magnetically drawn to in a way both frightening and uncontrollable, Elle finds the road she is most afraid of going down—that one lane dirt road where her mother was murdered—just might be the only place she can truly find redemption. 
Magnetic tells of the enduring pain of living with unsolved violent crime. Inspired by debut author Carissa Miller’s true-life events, it’s a haunting account of a young girl’s struggle in the aftermath of shattering loss. With an unraveling love story, puzzling mystery, unexpected twists and turns, and a gripping pace that will keep you turning pages, our heroine takes you on her journey as she learns one of life’s great lessons: facing your fears instead of running from them, is the only way to truly find freedom.



Excerpt:

I was scared, terrified to open up after years of closing myself off and running away, but when I looked into Maverick’s blue eyes, I wanted to do what I had never done before—tell someone the truth. Plus, the pain meds seemed to be hindering my inhibitions. I wanted to tell Maverick Mason all my secrets.
“I have dreams.” I had still been undecided on what I was going to do when suddenly the words spilled forth. He had a power over me that I couldn’t comprehend, and I had no choice but to open myself up to him. “I guess I should call them nightmares or visions. Honestly, I don’t really know what they are.” I shook my head back and forth. How could I explain what I didn’t even understand myself? My throat started to close off and my heartbeat increased. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply and as I did, he stroked my arm gently, soothing me. “I’ve had these dreams or nightmares ever since the night my mom died.”
I never dared to speak of that night, not to anyone, and as I sat in a hospital bed staring into the enigmatic eyes of a boy I hardly knew, I realized I was going to do what I had never done before, for him. I lacked the strength to fight, to build a wall high enough and strong enough to keep him out. Maverick Mason—he was everywhere. I had no choice but to let him in. The lid of that little black box in the depths of my soul slowly cracked open; and for the first time ever, I welcomed it.
“She died when I was ten. Days before my eleventh birthday, actually.” The words were freeing as they slipped from my tongue. “I was sitting on the couch watching TV, waiting for her to get home from the women’s retreat she had gone to, when I had my first dream. It was more like a vision, really. It was like I was actually there. Everything went dark and all of a sudden I was on that one-lane road where she died.” I paused, feeling vulnerable.
He probably thinks I’m certifiably insane.
He sensed my insecurities. “Elle, it’s OK. You can do this,” he coaxed.

Monday, April 23, 2018

ARC Review: Evolved by N.R. Walker

Blurb:
In 2068, androids are an integrated part of human life. Big Brother no longer just watches from the shadows. It’s in every household.

Lloyd Salter has OCD issues with noise, mess, and he’s uncomfortable with human interaction. When his ex claimed the only thing perfect enough to live up to his standards was an android, Lloyd dismissed it. But two years later, after much self-assessment, Lloyd thinks he may have been right.

SATinc is the largest manufacturer of androids in Australia, including the Fully Compatible Units known as an A-Class 10. Their latest design is the Synthetic Human Android UNit, otherwise known as SHAUN.

Shaun is compatible with Lloyd’s every need; the perfect fit on an intellectual and physical basis. But Lloyd soon realises Shaun’s not like other A-Class androids. He learns. He adapts. Sure that SATinc is aware Shaun functions outside of his programmed parameters, Lloyd must find a way to keep Shaun safe.

No one can know how special Shaun is. No one can know he’s evolved.


Dani's rating:


Bear with me as I try to find the right words.

Extraordinary is inadequate.

So is amazing. And unique.

Evolved is more than a dystopian sci-fi novel set 50 years in the future. It's more than a novel about an android and a man falling in love. It's an exploration of what it means to be cognizant ... what it means to be human.

Lloyd never imagined the A-class android he ordered would be so much more than the sum of his mechanical parts. Shaun, designed to Lloyd's specifications, from his height to his striking blue eyes, is perfect in every way—perfect for Lloyd.

Lloyd, a college professor, is structured, quiet, and brilliant. He loves to read and discuss literature, but hates messy spaces and noisy people. He has one friend, Jae, who is equally obsessed with order. Lloyd isn't an adventurous guy. He enjoys being at home but is a little lonely.

Lloyd's ex-boyfriend suggested Lloyd should get himself an android, so that's what he did.

Shaun has been programmed to match Lloyd's desires, not just sexually but intellectually. And soon Lloyd can't fathom being without Shaun, of whom he no longer thinks as an android, but a being, his partner, his mate.

Lloyd is respectful of Shaun. He never treats him like he's less. And the two talk long into the night and exchange lingering kisses.


Blogtour: Crocus by Amy Lane



Please say hello to Amy Lane and 

Crocus 

Bonfires #2



Blurb:

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he'd hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx's daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart?



Get the book:


  




Dog Therapy
By Amy Lane


My daughter has a cat. A very old, very fat, very obnoxious cat who can’t clean her own butthole because she can’t reach it. The vet thinks her name is Peanut Butter. The whole family knows her name is Mrs. Poopy Butthole. Like any cat, she responds to both names equally. (Not at all.)

My daughter also has depression.

When she told me she was adopting an older animal, I was pleased—it sucks that all the adorable kittens get the love when a gem like Mrs. Poopy Butthole gets ignored. (I actually love this cat—but we have a dialog that consists mostly of calling each other “Gnarly bitch!” and hissing.)  And then, after she brought home this 28 lb. feline who frequently vomits over everything she owns and requires myriad trips to the vet to make sure she doesn’t have diabetes yet and super expensive sensitive stomach food and the really hard to find sensitive stomach + weight loss formula, I realized what the catch was.

There were some days, when things got really bad, when my daughter was living for this cat.

This cat.

When she asked me if she should get a kitten to keep Mrs. PBH a friend, I didn’t say, “You know, your apartment is awfully small.” I didn’t say, “Uh, how’s your car running? What are your finances like?” I didn’t even say, “Do you think your brother’s cat will deal with another animal in the house?”

I said, “Oh, absolutely honey, do you want me to pay for it? Do you need another carrier? How about a cat bed, would you like that?”

Because this cat made her feel better. And I’d do anything to make her feel better.  (She does, mostly, feel better now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a personal vestment in keeping the cat alive.)

I know somebody whose son is an addict (recovering). She and his brother got him a dog—and at first they were worried. They checked on the young man and the dog every few days, to make sure the dog wasn’t getting neglected.

Turns out, the dog was fine—and the young man was better. He was eating. He was going outside. He was making sure the dog was cared for.

He was living for the dog.

Therapy animals—whether given the clearance from a doctor or not—are very very real things. The unconditional love and acceptance from an animal can be that precious bridge that lets us walk from the dark places of our brain to safety with a snuggle, a beg for affection, the need for food.

I’ve never questioned this. I’ve never disbelieved.

When young Jaime is adrift because his brother isn’t doing well, the first thing I could think of was that this kid needed a dog. Berto makes sure he’s fed and cared for, but Berto is having so much trouble with self-care that being emotionally available isn’t happening right now. Jaime needs a person who will love him, all the time, without stop, and without asking questions.

Dozer, Larx and Aaron’s giant mutt, fits the bill.

So while the bit about Jaime and Dozer isn’t a main part of the book, I think it’s intergral to the family itself. Larx and Aaron are trying to care for people, and teach them to care for themselves.

Part of that is letting a boy love a dog.

 Excerpt:

Larx’s phone, sitting on the table next to him, buzzed, and he was damned grateful.
Hello, Principal—are you being a good boy and getting your work done?
Larx groaned. Sort of. Olivia showed up on the doorstep this morning. Oh hell. He didn’t even want to ask Aaron about using his house.
Is she visiting for the weekend?
No.
The phone rang. “Are you kidding me?”

Blogtour: The Weekend Bucket List by Mia Kerick


WBL Tour


Title: The Weekend Bucket List
Author: Mia Kerick
Release Date: April 19th 2018
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT


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High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line—they’ve never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.

There’s a lot riding on this one weekend, especially since Cady and Cooper have yet to admit, much less resolve, their confounding feelings for one another—feelings that prove even more difficult to discern when genial high school dropout Eli Stanley joins their epic adventure. But as the trio ticks through their bucket list, the questions they face shift toward something new: Must friendship play second fiddle to romance? Or can it be the ultimate prize?



Find The Weekend Bucket List on Goodreads

I think if I_ve learned anything about friendship, it_s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don_t walk away, don_t be distracted, don_t be t


EXCERPT

“Look, Cooper, they have a morning movie for senior citizens.”
Driving Miss Daisy... jeez, Cady.”
“I hear it’s a classic.”
“We’re gonna stand out like sore thumbs in there.” He does his trademark elbow point in the direction of the theater.
I grab two bright yellow raincoats off the floor of the back seat. “Not if we wear these. We can pull the hoods up to cover our not-gray-yet hair.”
“Cady, it isn’t raining out.”
“A minor detail.” I push Dad’s yellow raincoat through the open window into Cooper’s hands. “Put it on. I’ll wear Mom’s. Old folks love to dress as twins—have you ever noticed that? And don’t you dare roll your eyes at me.” I’m the eye-roller in this relationship.
We get out of the car and walk across the empty parking lot toward the Ellis Big Eight eater. The top halves of our bodies are camouflaged by my parents’ lemon-colored rain gear.

Release Blitz: Evolved by N. R. Walker



Evolved 
N.R. Walker
Publication date: April 23rd 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction




Blurb:

In 2068, androids are an integrated part of human life. Big Brother no longer just watches from the shadows. It’s in every household.
Lloyd Salter has OCD issues with noise, mess, and he’s uncomfortable with human interaction. When his ex claimed the only thing perfect enough to live up to his standards was an android, Lloyd dismissed it. But two years later, after much self-assessment, Lloyd thinks he may have been right. 
SATinc is the largest manufacturer of androids in Australia, including the Fully Compatible Units known as an A-Class 10. Their latest design is the Synthetic Human Android UNit, otherwise known as SHAUN
Shaun is compatible with Lloyd’s every need; the perfect fit on an intellectual and physical basis. But Lloyd soon realises Shaun’s not like other A-Class androids. He learns. He adapts. Sure that SATinc is aware Shaun functions outside of his programmed parameters, Lloyd must find a way to keep Shaun safe. 
No one can know how special Shaun is. No one can know he’s evolved.



EXCERPT:

By the time my intercom sounded at nine fifteen the next morning, the butterflies in my belly felt more like stomping elephants. I buzzed the delivery team through and waited for the elevator to ping down the hall.

Breathe, Lloyd, I reminded myself.

My apartment was a spacious two-bedroom luxury unit on the top floor of the complex. Polished concrete floors, high ceilings, a bookcase as one entire wall, and floor-to-ceiling windows on the north-east facing wall. I liked the clean lines, minimalistic furniture. Well, I didn’t just like it. I needed it. Clutter and closed spaces made me anxious. My ex-boyfriend had found my apartment cold and clinical, but I found the whites and greys soothing, peaceful. Then again, he’d found a lot of things about me clinical…

The knock on my door startled me, even though I’d been expecting it. I opened it to find two men and a rather large crate. The first man smiled. He was wearing grey suit pants and a navy sweater. He showed me his ID. “Mr Salter, my name is Myles Dewegger. We have a special delivery.”

“Yes, yes, please come in,” I said, standing aside in invitation.

The second man wheeled through the crate. He was dressed all in black with a military style haircut, and he looked as though he belonged in a SWAT team. He was a rather large man, with bulging muscles and perfect skin, and I had to study him for a second. No, he was human.

“Nice place,” Myles said, looking around the large, open living room. “Are we all right to do this here?”

I closed the door and took a breath to steady myself. I wasn’t accustomed to having strange people in my house. “Yes, of course.” I followed him and stood next to the couch.

“I thought Mr Kingsley might have attended the delivery. I assumed incorrectly, it seems.”

“Sasha’s a busy man,” Myles said with a smile. “Though if you’d prefer, I can call him and you can speak to him.”

“No, it’s fine,” I said. I was now staring at the crate. Oh boy. It was well over six feet tall, three feet wide. Shaun was inside. He was right there. I swallowed hard.

Myles read me. “Let’s introduce you, shall we?”

I nodded. “Yes, please.”

Myles and his helper, whose name I didn’t know, undid the crate and removed the front panel. My heart almost stopped. Inside, Shaun stood, packaged-in perfectly so as not to be damaged in any way. He was dressed in a dinner suit. A charming navy piece with a light blue shirt underneath his blazer, top button undone. His black hair was exactly as I’d ordered; short sides, longer on top, professional. His skin was warm ivory with a subtle hint of blush on his cheeks; his lips were pink and a perfect cupid’s bow. His eyes were closed, his lashes long.

He took my breath away.

The big delivery guy stepped in and unstrapped Shaun, then lifted him out. Right, that explained the need for muscle. Then he quickly wheeled the crate back to the front door, making the room neat again, leaving Shaun standing perfectly still in my living room.
Myles glanced at me. “Everything look okay?”

I nodded and had to focus on speaking so I could make actual sound. “So far, yes.”

Myles smiled as he took out a small hand-held screen I recognised from the SATinc office. It was a control panel. He tapped on both screens, I entered in a personal code, and Shaun was officially added to my Wi-Fi.

It was becoming so very real.

Myles seemed completely unfazed and oblivious to the fact that I was in the middle of a monumental life event. He went on a spiel of specifications and diagnostics, developmental robotics, neural networks, artificial consciousness, proprioceptive sensors, and spatial cognizance, but all I could do was stare at Shaun.

Breathe, Lloyd.

Myles stopped speaking when he realised I wasn’t paying attention, and his pause made me look at him instead. He continued, “I’ll activate him, then we’ll require him to study your face for a few seconds. He has facial recognition, so once he recognises you as his custodian, he’ll be able to identify you anywhere.”

“Okay.”

“So if you’re out in public and you become separated, he will be able to find you.”

For the strangest reason, I found that comforting.

“And your voice. He’ll recognise that anywhere.”

I smiled at Shaun, though he still had his eyes closed.

“Are you ready?” Myles asked.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

ARC Review: Somewhere Over Lorain Road by Bud Gundy

Somewhere Over Lorain RoadBlurb:

For more than forty years, the stain of horrific allegations against their father has haunted the Esker sons. When three little boys were murdered in 1975, their dad was suspected of the crimes. The immense strain of the unsolved case shattered the family, sending the brothers reeling into destinies of death, flight, and, in the case of Don Esker, shame-filled silence.

Years later, Don returns to the family home in North Homestead, Ohio, to help care for his dying father in his final months. His dad longs for the peace that will only come with clearing his name. If Don can find the killer, he can heal his family—and himself. His own redemption begins when he becomes romantically involved with Bruce, who joins the hunt and forces Don to confront the unthinkable answer they’ve uncovered.



My rating:





Please don't let the cover confuse you into thinking this is purely an M/M romance. It's not. While there is a love story inside, this book is at its core a mystery with gay characters. It's a book about secrets, and unsolved murders, and old wounds, and family pain. It's about coming home to help your aging mother take care of your father in his last days, it's about giving an old man his dying wish. It's about terrible, horrible secrets kept for 40 years, and confronting the ghosts of your past.

Don Esker has come home to North Homestead, Ohio, where his father lies dying, and his mother and older brothers need help with the palliative care. Don has done well for himself in San Francisco, working in marketing, and is in a position where he can work from anywhere. Coming home isn't easy, as the family name is still talked about in hushed voices in connection to an unsolved crime that happened 40 years ago in 1975, when a little boy, the neighbor's and Sheriff's son, mysteriously disappeared, and two other little boys were found brutally murdered. Don's father was a suspect in the disappearance of the first boy, if only for one evening, and while he was never charged with anything, his good name has never been fully cleared. The suspicion alone shattered Don's family, and when he came out as gay, staying in town became impossible for him. Small towns and small-minded people will not forgive and not forget, and the townsfolk certainly wouldn't accept a gay man.

In a lucid moment, Don's father asks for just one thing before he dies - to have his name cleared once and for all. Don, obliging son, begins a journey that not only brings him to Bruce, the love interest, but also face to face with his childhood friend, the brother of the missing boy, who still lives with his father, the ex-Sheriff across the street from the Esker home. It forces him to confront things of his past. Thick as thieves when they were young, Don and his friend haven't spoken in many years, longer than Don has been gone from North Homestead. There is history there. And hurt, anger, and hate.

As the story unfolds, we are given pieces of the past, set in the 70s and 80s. There's an incident with an old fridge. There's the moment in which Mr. Esker is hauled from his home to answer questions about the disappearance of the neighbor's son. There's the moment in which Don's brother... no, I won't spoil this for you. Just do yourself a favor and read this book.

There is a moment when I knew, just KNEW, who the culprit was, thought I knew who had committed these crimes.

And there is a moment when the truth comes out, and I was proven wrong. Except, not entirely.

ARC Review: Crocus by Amy Lane

From The Blurb:
Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending. 
High School Principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he'd hit the jackpot when Deputy Sherriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow. 
But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears. 
Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx's daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart?



Karen's rating:




This isn't a love story...but it is a story about love...

First off...if you haven't read 'Bonfires' you need to scoot off and do that because reading this book without that one is like going to a movie and not having popcorn...you can do it, but it's going to feel like something's missing and honestly, it's just not going to be as much fun.

Ok, so you've been warned this is one of those times when book #2 needs to follow book #1.  In the first book we got to meet Deputy Aaron George and Principal Larkin (a,k.a. Larx)  and see them do their adorable mating dance and cheer for them as they figured out how to make their lives mesh...kids and all.

So here we are after the events of 'Bonfires' and Larx and Aaron are together...well, there's Larx and Aaron and their combined family of 5 kids (Larx has 2 and Aaron has 3) and then we have some strays...see, Larx and Aaron are both nurturers in their own right and they're men with big hearts and a lot of love. So as we lovingly say at my house they take in strays and I'm not talking about four-legged furry ones, either...although I'm pretty sure they take in those as well. I'm talking about kids who got the short end of the stick in the life lottery...kids who's parents weren't bright enough or unselfish enough to get what being a parent really means...kids who just need someone to love and believe in them so that they can show the world what an awesome person they really are.

'Crocus' is still Larx and Aaron's story but it's a busy one and you can't have the jobs that these men have and the number of people depending on you that these men have and not have a busy life...it's neither possible nor realistic.

You can't have a big family and not have chaos and confusion...I know  I came from a big family and whether it's the family you're given like mine was or the one that you've created like Aaron and Larx's the results are pretty predictable and this family that we get see here is just filled with love.

'Crocus' is about two men who are in love but like many of us they don't live in a bubble and much of what happens in their world intersects with their private life whether they want it to or not and luckily for these men love is something that the more you open up your heart and share the more you seem to have and 'Crocus' shows that in so many ways.

Larx and Aaron are already living together in a house that's packed tight not just with love but with kids...they've got Christiana, Kelsey and Kellen living with them and then there's Dozer...Larx's (read Aaron's) big blonde retriever dog. So do they really need a pregnant Olivia knocking on their door followed by Elton (Wombat Willie) and Jamie and his brother Berto...of course not but sometimes life gives to us that which we can handle and not necessarily only what we want.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Audio Book Review: Taking The Long Way by Max MacGowan

From The Blurb:

Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins 

Male escort Rye Bellamy is looking for a way out. Any way out. He’s getting older, and clients are getting more dangerous. If he doesn’t find something better, he knows he won’t survive. 

He sees his chance in Marcus Townsend, a functionally blind Army veteran. Marcus, who refuses to accept his condition as immutable, has a shot at seeing a specialist who might be able to help him—but that doctor’s based on the other side of the country. 

When Rye and Marcus meet, they realize they can help each other. Marcus can’t drive, but Rye can. Marcus knows what Rye is, but he likes him anyway. In fact, he more than likes him. Driving cross-country with a near stranger is a daunting task, but Rye’s biggest risk is falling for the gentle, stubborn-hearted soldier—and it might already be too late to stop that. 

They plan to part ways when they reach their destination, but plans change as the affection between them grows. Now neither wants their journey to end, but continuing means finding a way to bridge the distance between who they were and who they'd like to become.




Karen's rating:




Excuse me while I gush a little over this one...

I've been very fortunate since realizing that contrary to my original thoughts I really enjoy audio books. I've listened to some awesome stories...some because the narrator was incredibly good...like Greg Tremblay or Nick J. Russo, just to name a couple or because the author has written an amazing story. Authors like T.J. Klune, Megan Derr or Mary Calmes writing books such as 'A Destiny of Dragons', 'The High King's Golden Tongue' or 'Acrobat', just to name a few...or stories like this one by both an author and a narrator who are new to me.

Rye's a rent boy, paid companion, male escort...pick your term; bottom line (no pun intended) he makes his living selling himself. Sometimes we do things out of necessity; whether we like it or not really isn't the issue...for Rye it's survival...it's all he knows.

Marcus is a functionally blind army vet, given the opportunity to see a doctor who may be able to help him...but that doctor's on the other side of the country, and flying is not an option for Marcus because of his injury, and driving...well, did I mention functionally blind. Marcus wants this, and who can blame him; maybe he can recover at least some of his eyesight, but getting there seems like the impossible dream until Rye and circumstances come together to make this a trip that could save them both.

So we've got a male escort, a wounded military vet, and they're making a road trip. Add in some interesting and colorful secondary characters, not to mention a couple of awesome dogs, and back-up all of this with a narrator whose voice totally blew me away. I've come across narrators who have seemed more than a little amazing to me...narrators like Greg Tremblay, Nick J. Russo, Michael Ferraiuolo, Sean Crisden...there really are a lot of good narrators out there and several really exceptional ones...I think if future endeavors prove to be as well done as this one was that Matt Milne will fall into the latter category of being exceptional for me.

Throughout this book it wasn't like having someone read me a story or sitting down with a friend...no, it was better; it was like having Marcus and Rye right there leaning over my shoulder whispering to me as they shared their story with me...now, this may sound scary to some but trust me at times this was really, really hella' hot...like cold shower, fanning my face hot...and sometimes that had nothing to do with the sex...I'ma just sayin'...listening to the story of how these two met and came to care about themselves and to mean so much to each other was simply delicious...I just don't have another word for it.

Release Blitz: Royal Attraction by Tiffany Truitt



Royal Attraction

Tiffany Truitt

Published by: Entangled Embrace
Publication date: September 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance





Blurb:

Alexandra Ryans’s life has been anything but normal. Some might even call it a fairy tale. As the daughter of the former U.S. ambassador to England, she grew up within the palace walls, best friends with the three young princes. Adored by the press and the British people. What more could a girl want? 
If only the press knew the real story behind her relationships with the Dudley boys. Then, they’d really sell some papers.
Oliver Dudley, youngest son and third in line for the throne, loves everything about his life. The fame. The parties. The women. The utter lack of expectations and responsibilities that come with being last in the line of succession. But while the world thinks he has everything he wants, there’s one thing he was never able to call his own—the beautiful and spunky American Aly Ryans. But how can he convince her when she hates everything about his life? And what is he willing to give up to get her?



On sale for $.99 for a limited time!


EXCERPT:

“I’ll only be here a little while longer, Ollie,” I manage in between breaths. “Then everything can go back to the way it was. Like I never returned.”

The lines in his forehead deepen. “You think that’s what I want? To go back? Tell me your life has been better since you left,” he challenges, raising an eyebrow.

I place my hand against his chest and attempt to push him out of my way, but he doesn’t budge. Not even an inch. Instead, he places a hand against my cheek. I inhale sharply, caught off guard by the sudden gentleness of the action. “You tell me right now that since leaving here your life has been better, that you’re happy, and I’ll walk out of this greenhouse. I’ll pretend that seeing you here doesn’t drive me wild. I’ll ignore all the things my body wants to do to yours. I’ll forget the fact that you leaving without a goodbye wrecked me.”

I open my mouth to argue, but he cuts me off. “You wrecked me, Ryans,” he reiterates, his voice desperate.

I prepare to tell him that I’m happier. That life has been easier without being caught between him and Aiden. That I enjoy not having to worry the press is lurking around every corner. That I prefer being a normal girl. That the day we shared together was just that—a day. It didn’t mean anything. It didn’t define me.

But the words refuse to come out of my mouth. Instead, a small gasp breaks free, and I know that if I don’t bolt soon, my resolve will shatter. Ollie’s hand slowly trails down my cheek and across the length of my neck, stopping on the delicate skin above my collarbone. My breathing picks up.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Audio Book Review: Secrets of You by Skylar M. Cates

From The Blurb:
7 hrs 36 mins 
It's never easy to find redemption. 
Carrying scars and regrets, River Darcourt avoids too much intimate contact. Among his friends, he is known as a quiet loner. Forget about love. It's not something he will consider...until sweet, young, and tempting Morgan Hayes becomes his housemate. River closed his heart long ago, but the attraction is impossible to deny. 
Morgan Hayes needs a change. He is moving out of his critical father's home and in with his friends, including his secret/not-so-secret crush, River. Having feelings for River is a terrible idea. But what is a guy to do when the annoyingly sexy mechanic is just across the hall? 
While Morgan has overcome ugliness and is ready for love, he's just not sure River ever will be. They have both experienced pain in their lives. So Morgan dares River to take a chance, and love will either break their fractured hearts in more pieces or, just possibly, make them whole again.



Karen's rating:




I thought maybe things would be different this time...

'Secrets of You' is the last book in Skylar M. Cates 'Sunshine and Happiness' series and while this is my favorite couple from this series and I had thought that maybe have had some time and listening to the audio version I might warm up to this one  a little more than I had when I originally read the book I have to confess that sadly that has not happened.

River and Morgan are the fourth pairing in this series and while they are my favorite pairing sadly their story didn't really work much better for me than any of the previous ones in this series.

Once again after listening to the audio book and looking back at my original review from nearly a year ago, I find that not a lot has changed for me so I'm just going to borrow some highlights from that earlier review to explain why things aren't working for me...
Morgan has been through such a scary experience when he was attacked behind a club in a previous book but he's learning to deal with his fears and thankfully he was rescued by a mysterious stranger who didn't hang around once he knew Morgan was safe. While Morgan doesn't remember a lot of what happened because he was drugged it was still an incredibly scary experience and he's dealing with it with the help of his friends and his therapist. Morgan's also had a crush on River since the minute he first saw him.

River's dark and brooding and when things get to be too much he jumps on his Harley and he rides. No good-byes, see you laters, I'll be back...he's just gone. He disappears...he runs it's his back-up plan when he can no longer deal. That is until he realizes he's tired. Tired of being alone, of running, of all the dark and bad that's in his life. But mostly River just needs to learn to forgive himself. He's got things in his past. Memories that won't let go of him, things that he blames himself for but maybe...just maybe if he'd open up and talk to someone...he'd gain a better perspective on things and maybe he'd see that while he wasn't totally without blame, he also wasn't responsible for some of it.

I was sure if anyone's story was going to make me gush it was going to be River's. He's been my favorite since the beginning. I can't help it, I like me a dark, brooding man of mystery in my books it just pushes all my hot buttons and River does that...his story...not so much.

Blogtour: Rule Of Thirds by Aidan Wayne




Please welcome Aidan Wayne with 

Rule Of Thirds 




Blurb:

A traumatic past doesn’t have to mean not having a future.

When Jason Diovardi, military elite, is removed from active duty after failing too many psych evals, he has only one goal in mind: get back into the field. It’s all he knows and all he thinks he’s good for, which is why he grudgingly accepts two live-in AI Companions to help him begin to recover from his severe PTSD. Chase and Shade are a matched pair, and Jason hopes they’ll keep each other distracted enough to leave him alone so he can go through the motions and be cleared for fieldwork.

Jason doesn’t expect to actually get better, and the progress he makes with his patient and caring Companions sneaks up on him—and so do unexpected feelings between the three of them. Now Jason might even be able to admit to being happy. But has he healed enough to allow himself to accept what Chase and Shade are offering?

Hope. Love. A reason to live.


Get the book:


    



NaNoWriMo and Me


I wasn’t a huge writer when I was younger. Well, that’s not entirely true--I wrote a lot of poetry. No, really, I still have a writing journal I kept from ages ten to twelve. I wrote a lot of teenage angst at ten. But I didn’t do full-out stories. I made up oodles of stories in my head that I never actually wrote down (primarily self-inserts in the Elfquest series) and dabbled in fanfiction writing drabbles and one-shots, usually doing gift-exchanges with friends, but that was it.
Then, when I was around fifteen years old, an online friend mentioned that she was doing something called NaNoWriMo. I had never heard of it before, and so I went out to the website and learned about National Novel Writing Month. For those who don’t know, it is basically a personal challenge to write a 50,000 (minimum) word novel in 30 days, the month of November. The idea is to get rid of the “One Day” novelist (“one day I’m going to write a novel”). Most people treat it as a concrete amount of time to bang out a rough draft, and there are a lot of ‘quantity, not quality’ encouragement posts that circle around the forums.
My friend, who writes as Mina MacLeod, was older than me and a wonderful writer, and I really admired her. I was looking forward to her NaNo attempt because it meant I’d probably get to read some more work by her. As for my own participation, there was no way I could write 50k in a month. That was ridiculous.
And yet, there it was, a challenge that so many other people were participating in…

Book Blast: Omega Required by Dessa Lux






BOOK BLAST


Book Title: Omega Required

Author: Dessa Lux

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Morgan Wilcox

Genre/s: M/M Paranormal/Werewolf Romance (no mpreg onscreen)

Length: 136,000 words/430 pages

Release Date: April 4, 2018



Blurb
An alpha werewolf chasing his dream meets an omega fighting for his life in a strictly temporary marriage of convenience...

Alpha werewolf Beau Jeffries has been going it alone ever since he was cast out of his pack as a teenager for trying to help a human and endangering the pack’s secrets during the tumultuous years when the wider world was learning the truth about werewolves. He hasn’t lost his drive to help others, and he’s about to begin a prestigious medical residency--only to learn that, as the first werewolf the program has knowingly accepted, he’ll have to follow special rules, including the one that requires him to be married when he begins his residency.

Omega werewolf Roland Lea is just trying to survive. After escaping the last and worst in a string of abusive relationships that left him scarred and unable to conceive, he’s found safety in a refuge for homeless omegas. But despite the help he’s getting at the refuge, he just keeps getting sicker instead of better, further and further from being able to make it on his own. When he’s offered the opportunity to sign up with a mate-matching agency, he figures he has nothing to lose. No alpha is ever going to want an omega like him.

When Beau sees Roland's profile, he knows at once what's making the omega sick, and he's determined to help. If he can persuade Roland to marry him, he can save Roland's life while Roland helps him get through his residency. But will their hasty partnership be enough to bring them both through what's ahead--and can temporary necessity lead to a forever love?


Excerpt

He did sleep a little, or at least his thoughts drifted into quiet blankness for a while. He came back to himself when the car’s front doors closed, leaving only him and Beau inside. Roland opened his eyes to find Beau’s face closer than he expected.

Close enough to kiss.

His breath caught, and he felt that dangerous little thrill of anticipation, when he should have known better, should have been far past wanting anything like that ever again.

Beau just smiled. “Ready for our wedding day?”

Roland looked toward the window, and beyond it, the uninformative front of the refuge. “They didn’t... plan something, did they? It’s not gonna be, like...”

A tumble of images played through his head, mostly human weddings he’d seen on TV and in movies, elaborate and protracted events that always involved someone being terribly humiliated or disappointed or otherwise reduced to tears.

“I think they know you well enough to know you won’t want anything huge and exhausting,” Beau said quietly. “I suspect there’s going to be cake, though. You think you might be able to eat a little cake?”

Roland bit his lip, and his stomach squirmed uneasily. “Do you have any more of those ginger candies?”

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Author Of The Month - J. Scott Coatsworth - Week Three



Welcome to our 3rd week of celebrations for the amazing






In today's post, we'll take about Between The Lines and The River City Chronicles. There's also a personal story Scott has chosen to share, plus another chance to win one of his books.




First up, Between The Lines


Blurb:

What if you could hear the words behind the words?

Brad Weston’s life seems perfect. He’s GQ handsome, the chief of staff for a Republican California state senator, and enjoys the power and the promise of a bright future. And he’s in a comfortable relationship with his boyfriend of six years, Alex.

Sam Fuller is Brad’s young blond blue-eyed intern, fresh out of college, running from a bad breakup, and questioning his choices and his new life in politics. To make things worse, Sam also has a thing for the boss, but Brad is already taken.

While looking for a gift for his boyfriend, Brad wanders into a curiosity shop and becomes fascinated by an old wooden medallion. Brad's not a superstitious man, but when he takes out the medallion in his office, he sees the world in a whole new light.

And nothing will ever be the same.


Excerpt:

It began with a medallion.
The piece was a simple wooden disk, hand carved with the shapes of leaves and forest boughs and polished by centuries of use, giving it a patina of great age.
It sat upon a small green velvet pillow—the kind jewelers sometimes use, rather unsuccessfully, to enhance a plain necklace of false pearls. The kind you might expect to find on your grandmother’s settee, in a slightly larger size, embroidered with “Home Sweet Home.”
Yet there was something compulsive about it—something hidden in the dark crevices of the carving, filled with the dust of ages.
At least that’s what Brad would recall years later, when he thought back on the first time he saw it: the moment when the lines of his mundane life suddenly snarled, snapped, and ultimately recombined into something quite different.
Of course, he didn’t know any of this at the time.
Something about the place—a little boutique store with a faded sign that read “Murdock’s Hardware and Fine Things,” on a nondescript block of K Street—caught his eye.
Brad had almost missed it. Funny how sometimes you knew a place so well that you no longer really saw it.
Crossing the threshold into the little shop, he felt strangely excited. Well, not quite excited. Entranced, maybe. Enticed by a strange smell inside—sandalwood.
Long rows of fading pegboard were full of tarnished metal hooks holding dusty little packets, some of them so covered in grime that it was impossible to tell what they held. Brad refrained from touching any of them, a little disgusted by it. He liked things neat and tidy, everything in its place.
An old fluorescent light fixture lit the cramped space. It had a short, one bulb flickering with an annoying buzz, the other shining a steady, reassuring glow. There was no one else about, not even the owner.
From somewhere in the back of the shop, music drifted through the air… an old song. “Moon River”? His grandmother would have known.
He wandered down one of the aisles, drawn by something. Some combination of the music, the incense, and a sense that there was something old and subtle at work here. The place was a window into the past, just a block from the bustle of his office and the modern age.
A lighted case sat at the back of the store, illuminated from inside, pushing back the gloom. It was filled with bits of junk: plastic lighters with pictures of World War II girls in bikinis, three decks of playing cards (the old style with the flowing red patterns intersecting like antique lace on the back), striped candy sticks in red and green and orange, their plastic wrappers yellowed with age. Salt and pepper shakers shaped like penguins with red-and-green scarves, an ancient little black typewriter, and a stack of old pens from various motels and gas stations.
Then he saw the medallion.



Get the book:






Second in today's line-up, The River City Chronicles 



Blurb:

A group of strangers, drawn together by an Italian cooking class. Everyone has a secret, and life has a funny way of bringing secrets out into the open.

As their lives intertwine, a new family starts to emerge, and nothing will be the same. In Sacramento, the River City, everything is about to change.











Excerpt:

Today the sun was shining, the Farmer’s Market was in full swing on the street in front of him, and he had an honest-to-goodness paying client to work for.
Marcos took a deep breath and sipped his extra-hot, decaf, two-pump sugar free skinny vanilla latte and dove in to his work.
The next two hours flew by. Although the work had grown a bit boring, he knew his stuff. He found a template he liked and got into the guts of it, redesigning it to match the look and feel of his client’s logo and style. He added one of his favorite database extensions, and configured it to handle the fields he needed to import from the old site. Then he downloaded the data from the existing site and imported it to the new one.
Soon, he had a rough first draft to ship back to his contact at River City.
“Can you spare a dollar?” a young girl with blond, spiky hair asked from the sidewalk below.
“Just a sec.” He rummaged through his wallet and handed her a five.
“Thanks,” she said, flashing him a bright smile.
“‘Welcome!” He downed the last of his now-cold coffee and stood, stretching and working out the kinks in his neck from being hunched over his laptop.
“Working hard, I see,” a guy at the next table said.
He was handsome enough—maybe five years younger than Marcos’ thirty-nine. He had fine features, thick blond hair and blue eyes, and wore a sharp dark gray suit with a black shirt and yellow tie.
“Yeah, programming.”
“I always hated that crap,” the guy half-stood and held out a hand. “I’m Dennis.” His smile was just a little too white.
“Marcos,” he replied, taking the man’s hand. Nice firm handshake. “So what do you do?”
“Me? I’m a salesman. I’m in town for the American Cheese Society convention.”
Marcos snorted. “Seriously?”
“Seriously. I represent Swisstown Cheese.” He handed over a card.
“Okay, that’s just awesome.”
“Thanks, I think.” He ran a hand through his thick blond hair. “Can I ask you something?”
Marcos closed his laptop. “Sure,” he said. “Shoot.”
“What is there for a guy to do in Sacramento for the afternoon?”
“Let’s see. Well, there’s the Sac Brew Bike if you like pub crawls. Or the Crocker, if you like art. And Sacramento has some great theatre, although most of that’s at night.”
Dennis was grinning.
“What?”
“I was hoping for something a little more… personal.”
Marcos was a good-looking guy. His salt and pepper hair had only made him more distinguished, and he wasn't too bad looking for his age. But rarely was someone so forward with him, at least not out on the street.
He kinda liked it.
“Sure… your place or mine?”



This story can be read for free on Scott's website.



A personal story
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