Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Release Blitz: Open Water by Sophia Soames




Book Title: Open Water (Scandinavian Comfort, Book 2)

Author: Sophia Soames

Publisher: Self published

Cover Artist: Miriam Latu

Release Date: July 20, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Enemies to lovers, Second Chance, Older couple and Younger couple

Themes: Late Coming out, Growing up, Mental health, Parenting

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 99 031 words

This is a standalone story and the second book in the “Scandinavian Comfort” series. These books celebrate love, family and realistic messy lives, threaded with the Scandinavian concept of ‘’Hygge”. This Danish concept cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. 

Previous book Little Harbour (Scandinavian Comfort, Book 1) is available on Amazon, KU and in Paperback.

Reader Beware
This story is set in Sweden, where the age of consent is 16. The laws are there to protect children from abuse or exploitation, rather than to prosecute under-16s who participate in mutually consenting sexual activity. There are a multitude of cultural differences described in this story that readers from other parts of the world might find strange or downright amusing, also family practices that not every Scandinavian family would necessarily agree with. 

Trigger Warnings: anxiety, panic attacks and brief non-graphic flashbacks to traumatic events and bullying.




Buy Links - Available on KindleUnlimited




Blurb

Meet Lukas Myrtengren, Mentor Teacher in Biology and Maths at Östra Real Senior School in Stockholm. He makes sure his students pass his classes. He is hopeless when it comes to men, but is trying to sort his life out. Honestly. He can't keep living like this.

Meet Tom Andersson. Emergency room doctor and single dad. He has no idea how he has managed to mess up parenthood this bad. He hasn't meant to, he just hasn't got a clue how to deal with the son he loves to the point of insanity. He knows that he is drifting out to sea without a paddle, he just doesn't know how to stop it.

Meet me, Max Andersson. Seventeen. Gay AF. An emotional wreck with no future, no skills and no clue. All I know is that I am in love. Helplessly. Desperately. And unrequited, of course. What else can I expect? It's not like my life is going to get any better.

Welcome to Open Water.




Excerpt

I actually manage to read two of the links before the sound of Dad’s homecoming echoes through the house. Big loud footfalls in the hallway. The swish of his coat being thrown over the banister. Huffing and puffing when he realises that we have no food in the fridge. Zero. We did have a banana, but I ate it. Serves him right for not coming home first.

He comes around the corner with a glass of water in his hand, still weirded out, like he doesn’t know where to look. What to say. Whether he should even step over the threshold.

“Did you eat?” he asks. Taking a gulp of water.

“Banana. We have no food,” I huff back, pretending to tap on the keyboard.

“I can go down to ICA. Get some supplies. What do you want?” He looks really confused. Fiddling with some chipped paint on the doorframe to my room.

“Dad, why did you do whatever you did to Lukas? What did he do?” I slam my laptop shut. I’m curious. Also, whatever he did will give me lots of ammo to use if I need it. Put some pressure on Lukas. Get back at my Dad when I need it. Secrets are good. I’m good at keeping them. I’m also good at using them.

“You will just hate me if I tell you. Some secrets are better kept inside,” he says, looking so fucking sad it almost breaks my heart.

“You never told me much about when you went to Östra Real. Did you do the whole graduation thing?”

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

ARC Review: How to Run with the Wolves (Howl at the Moon 5) by Eli Easton

Blurb:
Zeus loves his job on the new Mad Creek Search & Rescue team, and his inner Saint Bernard is finally being used to his full potential. When he sees a mysterious and wild-looking quickened—a dog shifter—at an earthquake site in Alaska, Zeus is compelled to investigate. Zeus falls hard for the primal beauty of Timo and of Alaska itself. Both call to his deep canine soul. But the Quimmiq pack’s laws are as harsh as the Alaskan winters, and Timo is out of his reach.

Timo’s pack of dog shifters left their Inuit village generations ago and have lived wild ever since. Not trusting the “one-skinned,” and with their numbers dwindling, the Quimmiq are on the verge of extinction. Timo is shocked to discover a whole group of “two-skinned” working as a rescue team, and he is particularly fascinated by Zeus, a gentle giant. He senses what Zeus feels for him… but it’s forbidden.

Can Mad Creek save this lost quickened clan? Perhaps—if they can learn how to run with the wolves.

Dani's rating:




I can't with how amazing this book is. I did not want it to end. I love this dog-human world Eli Easton has created, and I'm here to say: she can do no wrong.

He wanted to live in a world where everyone did what they wanted ... Where Timo could choose who he loved. He wanted to live in a world where you mated with the person you most wanted to be with. Where that did not mean one of the pair was weak. Where the two stood shoulder to shoulder, looking eye to eye. Where rocks loved water. And couches ... he wanted to live in a world with couches.

Timo, whose dog is a husky, wants a lot of things. He wants his sister Hitty, born small and sickly, to get better. He wants his brother Yuki, the pack alpha, to put his trust in Timo. He wants his two-skin (human and dog) tribe, the Qimmig of Alaska, to survive even as their numbers dwindle.

But most of all Timo wants Zeus.

Zeus is a St. Bernard, a big, gentle giant. He speaks softly and is kind to his very core. He volunteers on Mad Creek's Search and Rescue team and travels to Alaska to help find survivors following an earthquake.

And in Alaska, Zeus sees Timo.


ARC Review: The Dragon's Rebel by Jacqueline Rohrbach

From The Blurb:
Cheron, former rebel leader and newly crowned king, comes to Wren Gardens on a holy mission to free his goddess from exile and bring peace to his kingdom, but he’s distracted by an unholy and very beautiful concubine, Ekos. 
Ekos may be more than a simple love slave, though. The King of Wren Gardens seems afraid of the strange and often blasphemous concubine and swears the man is cursed. Cheron agrees, especially when Ekos mocks and taunts Cheron’s sense of honor. But the urge to distance himself from Ekos can’t compete with the desire to remain close. Nor is it as strong as the urges in his body—urges he hasn’t felt in years. 
As Cheron tries to refocus on his mission, Ekos throws him off again—this time by offering to help him in his holy quest. Cheron knows he shouldn’t trust a man who’s in the employ of a rival king, particularly not one who seems to know all Cheron’s deepest secrets. But he can’t ignore the signs from the goddess telling him to entwine his fate with this tricky, captivating man. 
He prays the signs aren’t simply wishful thinking, manifestations of his very unholy desires. Time is running out, and Cheron is falling deeper for Ekos—and deeper into danger of another betrayal. One that could cost him his life.

Karen's rating:



I love dragons...my family will tell you 'I love dragons' my friends will also tell you that I love dragons...so when one of those friends poked me and said 'hey, have you seen this. It's a new dragon story and you can get it from NetGalley.' that's exactly what I did.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I was to say the least suitably impressed not only did she give me a dragon story that I enjoyed...she created a dragon that I would honestly love to read more about.

Cheron was simply a rebel leader but now he's a newly crowned king and he's a king on a mission that takes him to the kingdom of Wren Gardens where he hopes to find what he needs to free his goddess. What he finds instead is a very alluring and intriguing love slave named Ekos...a love slave who seems to be more than he appears.

It soon becomes clear to Cheron that Ekos has his own mission but what remains to be seen is can Cheron trust Ekos and will his mission destroy them all.

I loved how spirited Ekos was and how he interacted with Cheron it was very much a love to hate or maybe that was hate to love relationship between these two. Throughout the story no matter how they tried or didn't try they were perpetually being thrown together and found themselves to be allies sometimes willingly...sometimes, not so much.

As well as Cheron and Ekos, I found myself quite taken with Lion and his connection to Ekos was surprising in a very delightful way.

Audio Review: Fish Out of Water #4 - Hiding the Moon by Amy Lane

From The Blurb:
7 hours and 34 minutes. 
A Fish Out of Water/Racing for the Sun Crossover 
Can a hitman and a psychic negotiate a relationship while all hell breaks loose? 
The world might not know who Lee Burton is, but it needs his black ops division and the work they do to keep it safe. Lee’s spent his life following orders—until he sees a kill jacket on Ernie Caulfield. Ernie isn’t a typical target, and something is very wrong with Burton’s chain of command. 
Ernie’s life may seem adrift, but his every action helps to shelter his mind from the psychic storm raging within. When Lee Burton shows up to save him from assassins and club bunnies, Ernie seizes his hand and doesn’t look back. Burton is Ernie’s best bet in a tumultuous world, and after one day together, he’s pretty sure Lee knows Ernie is his destiny as well. 
But when Burton refused Ernie’s contract, he kicked an entire piranha tank of bad guys, and Burton can’t rest until he takes down the rogue military unit that would try to kill a spacey psychic. Ernie’s in love with Burton and Burton’s confused as hell by Ernie—but Ernie’s not changing his mind and Burton can’t stay away. Psychics, assassins, and bad guys—throw them into the desert with a forbidden love affair and what could possibly go wrong?

Karen's rating:




I admit it, if I love a book and you dangle the audio book in front of me...well, it's like putting something shiny in front of an magpie and I am all grabby hands and gimme'. So that explains why I'm once again reviewing an audio book of a book that I've read and I have no remorse about this because history has shown that the odds are in my favor that I'm going to enjoy the audio as much or more than I enjoyed reading the book.

So once again I'm going to borrow from my original review and add a few thoughts about the audio and creating an updated review.

We first met Lee Burton (Burt) in 'Racing for the Sun' when he came to the aid of Sonny and Ace finding not only men in need of his help but friends who would offer him a safe place to go when he needed it for himself or for a rather unusual young man with a talent for knowing things that he shouldn't and for being a diversion that Lee finds he can't live without.

It's not until 'A Few Good Fish' that we meet Ernie. When Burt is given the task of 'taking out' Ernie. He sees someone who is not a threat to national security or a terrorist of any kind but a young man who makes him want and distracts him but Burt tries to convince himself that he needs to walk away from Ernie but the heart wants what the heart wants and for Burt his heart wants Ernie.

Monday, July 22, 2019

ARC Review: How to Run with the Wolves (Howl at the Moon #5) by Eli Easton


How to Run with the Wolves (Howl at the Moon #5)Blurb:Zeus loves his job on the new Mad Creek Search & Rescue team, and his inner Saint Bernard is finally being used to his full potential. When he sees a mysterious and wild-looking quickened—a dog shifter—at an earthquake site in Alaska, Zeus is compelled to investigate. Zeus falls hard for the primal beauty of Timo and of Alaska itself. Both call to his deep canine soul. But the Quimmiq pack’s laws are as harsh as the Alaskan winters, and Timo is out of his reach.

Timo’s pack of dog shifters left their Inuit village generations ago and have lived wild ever since. Not trusting the “one-skinned,” and with their numbers dwindling, the Quimmiq are on the verge of extinction. Timo is shocked to discover a whole group of “two-skinned” working as a rescue team, and he is particularly fascinated by Zeus, a gentle giant. He senses what Zeus feels for him… but it’s forbidden.

Can Mad Creek save this lost quickened clan? Perhaps—if they can learn how to run with the wolves.





Jewel's rating:



​What a delightful romp in the Alaskan snow this book was! I have missed Mad Creek and it's quirky and playful inhabitants and How to Run with the Wolves is just the thing to help us weather the summer heat.

Eli Easton has said that How to Run with the Wolves was meant to branch off from Mad Creek and I think her transition from Mad Creek to the wilds of Alaska was perfect. ​Also, ​Zeus, in his quite gentleness and Timo with his frenetic energy were quite the pair. Timo was just clueless enough about his own feelings that he endeared himself to me quite easily.

With this book, the Qimmig are introduced, along with the stunning landscape of Alaska. I've never been to Alaska, but I hope to, some day. The picture the author paints is vivid and crisp and beautiful.

The Qimmig, as legend has it, were once Inuit sled dogs. Their bonds got so ​strong that the dogs became men and for a while things were good, until the human leader demanded they do something awful. Now they live in isolation and the pack is in danger.

Zeus Barkley is a St Bernard shifter. He's lived in Mad Creek his whole life and, unlike most of Mad Creek's inhabitants, finds crowds and overly touchy people a bit off-putting. Nature - that's what makes Zeus feel happy and at peace and his job as a Search and Rescue worker fulfills him. On an S&R trip to Alaska, after an earthquake, is where he first senses and then sees Timo; and Zeus is enthralled.

Audio Book Review: Bad Influence, Bad In Baltimore #4 by K.A. Mitchell

From The Blurb:
Listening time: 9 hrs. 13 min. 
To remake their future, they’ll have to use pieces of their broken past. The young man the world knew as Jordan Barnett is dead, killed as much by the rejection of his first love at his moment of greatest need, as by his ultra-conservative parents’ effort to deprogram the gay away. 
In his place is Silver, a streetwise survivor who’s spent the last three years learning to become untouchable…unless you’re willing to pay for the privilege. He shies away from anything that might hold him down long enough for betrayal to find him again. 
Zebediah Harris spent time overseas, trying to outrun the guilt of turning his back on the young man he loved. Now, almost the moment he sets foot back in Baltimore, he discovers Silver on a street corner in a bad part of town. His effort to make amends lands them both in jail. 
Trapped together in a cell, Silver sits on his mountain of secrets and plans a seductive form of revenge, but finds that using a heart as a stepping stone is no way to move past the one man he can’t forgive, let alone forget. 
Warning: Contains a surly hero. May cause angst. A prolonged delay in sexual situations may cause frustration. Author recommends a steady dose of familiar friends and characters to alleviate those symptoms. No actual teenagers were used during the construction of the backstory.


Karen's rating:




It's been 5 long years and I love you just the same...maybe it's just a bit of like.

But it has been five since I read this book...5 years and more than a few other books so for me it was almost like listening to a whole new story but ironically I ended up with essentially the same results so I'm going to borrow a bit from my review from 5 years ago and add to that for this audio book review.

Let's start with the story here's what happened 5 years ago...
The first 70% of this book gets 3 stars. While I really did like Silver and Zeb better than the couple in book 3 (Gavin and Jamie) the story felt stilted, and I kept reading and reading and in spite of the fact that things were happening it felt like the story was going nowhere and there was no progress being made. Thus resulting in me frequently wandering away to do whatever popped into my head. 
Finally the last 30% grabbed me and held my attention so while my rating overall will stay at 3 stars. There is a section of the story that gets a solid 3.5 stars from me. I liked what was happening. The progress being made, Silver and Zeb finding a way back to each other, trying to work things out and... 
WHAM, BAM THANK YOU MA'AM!!! Story over...the end. Again, again I get to the part where I'm truly beginning to enjoy things and it's over and so is my 3.5 star read and we remain at 3 stars only now for me; it's 3 shaky stars that aren't shining quite as brightly. I'm sorry Ms Mitchell; I know it's your story to tell but I needed just a little bit more. I was starting to genuinely care about these two characters as a couple and just when I was really getting into the story it just ends, and I'm left feeling like someone kicked my puppy.
and between then and now, what's changed...really only a couple of things...

Review Tour: How To Run With The Wolves by Eli Easton




Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Cover Design: Reese Dante





Howl At The Moon Series




How To Howl At The Moon (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK

How To Walk Like A Man (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
How To Wish Upon A Star (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK
How To Save A Life (Book #4) - Amazon US | Amazon UK




Blurb 


Zeus loves his job on the Mad Creek Search and Rescue team, and his inner Saint Bernard is finally being used to his full potential. When he sees a mysterious and wild-looking quickened—a dog shifter—at an earthquake site in Alaska, Zeus is compelled to investigate. Zeus falls hard for the primal beauty of Timo and of Alaska itself. Both call to his deep canine soul. But the Qimmig pack’s laws are as harsh as the Alaskan winters, and Timo is out of his reach.

Timo’s pack of dog shifters left their Inuit village generations ago and have lived wild ever since. Not trusting the “one-skinned,” and with their numbers dwindling, the Qimmig are on the verge of extinction. Timo is shocked to discover a whole group of “two-skinned” working as a rescue team, and he is particularly fascinated by Zeus, a gentle giant. He senses what Zeus feels for him… but it’s forbidden.

Can Mad Creek save this lost quickened clan? Perhaps—if they can learn how to run with the wolves.








CHAPTER 12 excerpt

Zeus

The next morning, Zeus woke again at dawn. He looked at the ceiling of the little hut, knowing today was the day. This morning, in fact. Real life called, and it was time for Zeus’s human, adult side to take the reins.

Timo had hopped into bed with him again last night, both of them so tired they’d fallen asleep immediately. He’d rolled away at some point, too hot to puppy pile, and now he lay on his stomach, face turned away.

The bed was so warm and cozy, with Timo’s radiating heat and the cool morning air in the room. And Zeus’s dog was still sore and tired. But all good things must end. With a sigh, Zeus got up. He put on his clothes and went out to take a piss.

When he came back inside, Timo was sitting up, rubbing his face. “It’s early. Let’s sleep some more.”

Zeus shook his head. “Can you drive me back to Yakatuk this morning? I have to get back to my team.”

Timo’s face fell. He blinked a few times, then looked away, gazing at the wall and yawning casually as if he didn’t care. But Zeus didn’t quite believe it.

“Timo?”

Sunday, July 21, 2019

ARC Review : Cold Pressed (Seacroft #2) by Allison Temple

Cold Pressed (Seacroft, #2)Blurb :

No strings attached is all Oliver can offer. He's hiding a broken heart that holds him back from diving into a new relationship, but he'll go on a blind date to make his family happy. Just one date, though; he doesn't have time for love to derail his plans.

Divorced and demoted to the night shift, Nick has his own problems. He's got an ex-wife who needs him and a kid with one foot in juvie. The last thing Nick needs is to butt heads - or other body parts - with a tempting hipster who wears a sad smile on their blind date.

Their chemistry can't be denied, though, in an argument or in bed. No strings sex is uncomplicated and that's what Nick and Oliver need. But getting into bed together is one thing. Staying out of each other's hearts soon becomes so much more complicated than either one imagined.

Cold Pressed is an 81k contemporary MM romance. It features a smoldering bisexual single dad, a broken-hearted hipster with a thing for beet juice, and a friends-with-benefits arrangement that blooms into the HEA you've been looking for.

Christelle's rating:




Cold Pressed is a MM romance between Oliver, a wealthy ex-lawyer turned hipster and business owner of a juice shop, and Nick, an ex-firefighter and father of a troubled teenager. A contemporary romance, relationship-oriented, with two MCs in their 30s, one trying to have a positive attitude no matter what and the other more of the silent type. A kind of second chance, not between the MCs but at being in love again.

Meeting during a blind date, lust is there and they decide to go for “no string sex” as both their mind is too preoccupied for more. Oliver has just relocated to go into the business he planned with his ex-partner of 10 years, with not much success and maybe even not much interest apart from clinging on a dream. And Nick is trying to build, with the help of his ex-wife, a relationship with his teenage son who is on house arrest.

Audio Book Review: Merrychurch Mysteries #1 - Truth Will Out by K. C. Wells

From The Blurb:
Listening Time: 6 hrs., 58 min. 
Jonathon de Mountford’s visit to Merrychurch village to stay with his uncle Dominic gets off to a bad start when Dominic fails to appear at the railway station. But when Jonathon finds him dead in his study, apparently as the result of a fall, everything changes. For one thing, Jonathon is the next in line to inherit the manor house. For another, he’s not so sure it was an accident, and with the help of Mike Tattersall, the owner of the village pub, Jonathon sets out to prove his theory—if he can concentrate long enough, without getting distracted by the handsome Mike. 
They discover an increasingly long list of people who had reason to want Dominic dead. And when events take an unexpected turn, the amateur sleuths are left bewildered. It doesn’t help that the police inspector brought in to solve the case is the last person Mike wants to see, especially when they are told to keep their noses out of police business. 
In Jonathon’s case, that’s like a red rag to a bull….

Karen's rating:




There's nothing like a little murder and mayhem to bring two men together...

When Jonathon de Mountford arrives in Merrychurch village to visit his uncle I really doubt that he'd planned on burying his uncle while before he...oh yeah, it seems he's not leaving or not leaving quite as soon a he'd planned on because he's the new lord of the manner and as if finding his uncle deceased isn't enough the manor has been declared a crime scene leaving Jonathon with no place to stay. Thankfully the local pub has rooms for guest and the owner, Mike Tattersall is more than happy to give Jonathon a place to stay...the very hot, former police constable, pub owner.

As Jonathon and Mike work together to solve the mystery of his uncle's murder, spending their days following leads much to the chagrin of the police inspector brought in to investigate the murder, the same police inspector who firmly dislikes Mike Tattersall and takes great delight in reminding Mike that he's no longer an inspector with the local constabulary and whom Mike derives equal delight from tormenting.

Sadly the weakest part of the story for me was the romance between Jonathon and Mike. I can't say that I needed a big change in the dynamic but yeah, if the relationship had felt like it was not quite as in the background for as much of the story as it was I think I would have found myself getting a little more involved in things. But at the same time I really enjoyed the murder/mystery part of this story and while i would have liked more of the romance, I wouldn't have wanted less of the murder/mystery.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Audio Book Review: Copper Point Medical #1 - The Doctor's Secret by Heidi Cullinan

From The Blurb:
The brilliant but brooding new doctor encounters Copper Point's sunny nurse-next-door... and nothing can stand in the way of this romance. 
Dr. Hong-Wei Wu has come to Copper Point, Wisconsin, after the pressures of a high-powered residency burned him out of his career before he started. Ashamed of letting his family down after all they’ve done for him, he plans to live a quiet life as a simple surgeon in this tiny northern town. His plans, however, don’t include his outgoing, kind, and attractive surgical nurse, Simon Lane. 
Simon wasn’t ready for the new surgeon to be a handsome charmer who keeps asking him for help getting settled and who woos him with amazing Taiwanese dishes. There’s no question—Dr. Wu is flirting with him, and Simon is flirting back. The problem is, St. Ann’s has a strict no-dating policy between staff, which means their romance is off the table… unless they bend the rules. 
But a romance that keeps them—literally—in the closet can’t lead to happy ever after. Simon doesn’t want to stay a secret, and Hong-Wei doesn’t want to keep himself removed from life, not anymore. To secure their happiness, they’ll have to change the administration’s mind. But what other secrets will they uncover along the way, about Copper Point… and about each other?

Karen's rating:


When Copper Point's one and only surgical nurse Simon gets talked into picking up Dr. (Jack) Hong-Wei Wu the newest addition to the hospital's staff, the last thing he's expecting is that he's also picking up the newest complication in his life.

Simon's lived in Copper Point all his life only leaving to complete his education and then returning to work in the local hospital alongside Owen and Jared, his current roommates and best friends.

While this didn't turn out to be one of my favorite Heidi Cullinan stories it was still a really enjoyable listening experience and not just because of the solid narration provided by Iggy Toma.

This is only my fourth time listening to an audio book narrated by Iggy Toma and while I'm not sure that I'd say I've warmed up to this narrator quite as much as some others I can also say I've not been disappointed by him and listening to books that he's narrated is by no means a hardship.

ARC Review: Kiss Me Again by Garrett Leigh

Kiss Me AgainFrom the blurb:


Tree surgeon Aidan Drummond is content with his own company. He works alone, and lives alone, and it doesn’t occur to him to want anything else until a life-changing accident lands him in hospital. Then a glimpse of the beautiful boy in the opposite bed changes everything.

Ludo Giordano is trapped on the ward with a bunch of old men. His mind plays tricks on him, keeping him awake. Then late one night, a new face brings a welcome distraction. Their unlikely friendship is addictive. And, like most things in Ludo’s life, temporary.

Back in the real world, Aidan’s monochrome existence is no longer enough. He craves the colour Ludo brought him, and when a chance meeting brings them back together, before long, they’re inseparable again.

But bliss comes with complications. Aidan is on the road to recovery, but Ludo has been unwell his entire life, and that’s not going to change. Aidan can kiss him as much as he likes, but if he can’t help Ludo when he needs him most, they don’t stand a chance.

Heather's rating:





I read a fair amount of Garrett Leigh books, but I know each time that I'm in for something on the heavy side. Kiss Me Again was exactly that. If you are in the mood for something angsty, British, and more than a touch depressing, this is your story.

There was something so wonderfully atmospheric about this story. I felt like I was in the British countryside, and I was right there with them, reading during a gloomy, overcast day. It had a dreamy, melancholy weight to the story that's a bit hard to describe.

Both characters are really struggling during the course of the story. One had a physical ailment, due to a horrible accident, and the other has been living with bipolar disorder for many years. They both are in so much pain that it felt like a relief to have them get some comfort from one another.

Friday, July 19, 2019

ARC Review: 'Tales of Bryant #2: Nine Small Sips' by V. L. Locey

From The Blurb:
Life for Isamu Taylor is now a Cinderella story that includes a Manhattan loft, a new position in the hottest LGBT film production company in New York City, and an upcoming wedding in Bryant Park to his very own handsome prince. 
He’s come a long way from that struggling film student with ratty sneakers and shaggy hair. Isamu is now living an urbanite’s fairy tale with that happily ever after just around a bustling city street corner. 
But as all wedding planners know, even the best laid plans seem to go awry, and Isamu and Brian’s wedding is no exception. But love – both old and new – is in the air, so nothing can go too badly, right?






Karen's rating:




You are cordially invited to Bryant Park...

It's only been a few months since I was last in Bryant Park where I first met Isamu and Brian and watched as they did their courtship dance and ultimately fell in love and now I'm going back to attend their wedding...you all need to come with me because just like these two men it's going to be a beautiful and unique event filled with love, laughter and a collection of interesting family and friends.

If you ask anyone who's ever gotten married I'm pretty sure they would be able to tell you at least one 'wedding disaster' story that at the time was simply the 'end of the world' and they were just going to 'die' because of it. I know I've done this twice and even though my second wedding was a very small and private event about as low key as you can get without doing the '2 witnesses and city hall' route and yet there are still more than a few stories from it that we laugh about now but back then...well, what can I say the world was ending! and I didn't have Brian and Isamu's...well, let's just affectionately call him Brian and Isamu's 'drama llama' wedding planner.

Blog Tour: Treasure Trail by Morgan Brice




Book Title: Treasure Trail

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy MM paranormal romance

Trope/s: Second chance, friends to lovers, starting over, psychic/medium and a cop, mystery, action/adventure, 

Themes: Taking a chance on love, running from your past, trust, friendship, found family

Heat Rating: 4 flames




Buy Links





When a missing antique shows up under mysterious circumstances, Ben and Erik are plunged into danger as a cursed hotel’s long-ago scandals resurface. Someone wants those secrets to stay buried—and is willing to add Ben and Erik to the death toll to keep the past hidden.


Blurb

Erik Mitchell traveled the world uncovering art fraud and relic theft, which pitted him against spoiled billionaires, unscrupulous collectors, mobsters and cartels. He worked with law enforcement across the US and Europe, but a sting goes wrong and Erik ends up injured, then returns to find his partner cheating. Erik decides to stop globe trotting and buy an antique shop in scenic Cape May, NJ, rebuild his life, and nurse his broken heart.

Undercover Newark cop Ben Nolan went down in a hail of bullets when a bust went sideways, after a tip-off from a traitor inside the department. After he recovers, he spends a couple of years as a private investigator, only to tire of seeing the worst of human nature. So when his aunt offers him the chance to take over her rental real estate business in Cape May, it seems too good to be true. Now if he could just believe he could ever be lucky again in love.

When a missing antique shows up under mysterious circumstances, Ben and Erik are plunged into danger as a cursed hotel’s long-ago scandals resurface. Someone wants those secrets to stay buried—and is willing to add Ben and Erik to the death toll to keep the past hidden.




Excerpt

“What the hell did you pack in these boxes? Rocks?” Sean Meirlach shifted the heavy moving box on his shoulder. Sean looked and sounded like the Jersey Shore guy he was, brawny and blunt.

“Books,” Ben replied. “You know, those rectangular paper things? Ever read one?” The teasing was good-natured. Ben Nolan had spent most of his summers working for his cousin’s mom, and they were thick as thieves. Which, Ben reflected, was a poor analogy for an ex-cop-turned-former-private-investigator. And now, at least for this summer, a vacation rental manager in beautiful Cape May, New Jersey.

“Yes, dumbass. I’ve read lots of books. And not just the ones with pictures in them,” Sean said with a smirk. Sean played up his bad boy persona, but Ben knew his cousin had plenty of brains, hustle, and street smarts.

“Good to know. I’d hate to have to break it to Aunt Meg that her favorite son was illiterate.”

Sean snorted. “Favorite son? I’m her onlyson, asshole. And she’s already pissed at me because I just want to run my food truck in Wildwood. Which is why you’re doing me a huge solid, taking over the family business.”

“Whoa, there! Hold up. I’m here for the summer. Justthe summer. I said I’d see how it went. No promises.”

“Just the summer? You sure brought a lot of shit with you if it’s just for the summer.” Sean set the box down a little harder than necessary on a table in the upstairs apartment over the rental office, which would be Ben’s home for the next few months. Ben dumped the tangle of odds and ends he had carried up from the rented van and flopped onto the couch. He had put most of his things in storage when he left Newark and brought what he didn’t want to do without, or what the apartment didn’t have. Sean had driven the truck up to Cape May, while Ben drove his black Mustang, packed to the roof.

He owed Sean a lot for helping him move—and, if truth be told, for pushing him as the perfect candidate for the job to Aunt Meg.

“Don’t screw up the master plan, dude!” Sean chided. “You’re sick of the big city and getting shot. And I need a little of that good life, somewhere not quite as buttoned-down.” He reached for a bottle of water and took a swig. “I love this town, but I need to stretch my wings. And the vibe in Wildwood is different. People come for the Pier and the Boardwalk and the rides. More singles, not just families. And they all have to eat!”

Sean’s truck, Put A Ring On It, specialized in kickass onion rings, which went on everything—burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, even chili. The combination of great food, a catchy name, and Sean’s outgoing personality had made for a very successful launch.

Karen's review:





In ‘Treasure Trail’ Ms Brice takes us to the vacation town of Port May where we meet Simon Kincaide’s best friend Erik as he starts his life over as the blogger for the Treasure Trail Blog and the new owner of ‘Trinkets’ antique store. We met Erik briefly via the phone in ‘Badlands’ the series that started all these ghostly adventures and in fact if you read the authors notes at the end of this book you’ll discover that as well as Erik and his best friend Simon, who were first introduced to us in ‘Badlands’, we are introduced to a few other characters from previous books by Morgan Brice/Gail Z. Martin. 
I’m a total fan of having characters cross over into other series. I just love the challenge of reading a story and spotting a character or an event that connects one book or series to another it’s just one of those quirky things that I enjoy.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Author Of The Month - Anyta Sunday - Week Three



Welcome to our third week of celebrations for the amazing 





In today's post, we'll look at the Love And Family series, plus a personal story Anyta has chosen to share. There's also another chance to win!



First up, Taboo For You



Blurb:

Sam’s freaking out. He’s 30 in three weeks. And what has he done in his twenties? It’s pretty simple math: nothing exciting at all. But hey, he has three weeks right? Maybe that’s just enough time to tick his way through a 20s Must Do List . . .

Luke’s freaking screwed. He’s come out to his family, and his friends. Except there’s a certain someone who doesn’t know yet: his neighbor of 7 years. Who also happens to be his best friend. Who Luke needs to tell the truth, but he just . . . can’t . . . seem to . . .  
Jeremy’s freaking over-the-moon. It’s the countdown to his 15th birthday, and his goal is simple. No matter what, he’s going to spend heaps of time with saucy Suzy. But first he needs to get his over-protective, no-girlfriend-'cause-you’ll-get-her-pregnant parents off his back. And what better way than pretending he’s gay?

Sam, Luke, and Jeremy. Three guys who have a lot of history together, and a lot of future too—

—well, if they can sort out their issues, that is.

Excerpt:

LUKE
I wait for Sam at a table in the corner, next to the windows overlooking the busy street. It’s ten after twelve when he crosses the road with a ridiculous smile on his face. His hair is fashionably mussed and I swear his eyes are laughing. He’s practically skipping, and it makes my heart skip too. 
I want him to be as excited to see me as I am to see him. 
I stand up when he comes in and beckon him over. I’m nervous though, and I can feel it in the clamminess of my hands and the way I knock over my water glass as I sit. 
Sam is on to it. He already has serviettes in his hand and is wiping up. Then he does something he’s never done before, and it goes right to my groin. He winks. “My waiting experience pays off for once.”
He laughs and I stumble over a “thanks.”
“What has you so cheerful today?” I ask, opening the menu and scanning over it without seeing a single thing. 
He doesn’t say anything, just shrugs and smiles wider. 
I look up at him and raise a brow.
He swallows, the smile still there, and focuses on the glass I tipped over. He spins it in circles. “I’m on holiday. I feel . . . so free.”
Boy does he deserve it too. I’m so happy for him, I can taste the freedom myself, and that wonderful free-fall feeling comes over me again. “And what are you going to do with your time?”
The waitress comes over and we order. When she’s left, Sam leans over the table conspiratorially. I lean in too. 
“I have a list.”
I try not to smile, but I know it’s slipping out of my control. Even though I’m not touching it, I can feel his 20s Must-Do List in my pocket, warming me through my jeans. “Oh yeah?”
“Yeah. I’m going to make my way through it. Also, so long as you’re still on a sabbatical, we should, I don’t know, do more stuff together. Catch up, you know. Hey how do you feel about sharks?”
Truth? I’m not a fan. In fact, they scare the crap out of me. I don’t say that though. I shrug. “Oh yeah, you know. They’re just animals.” Animals that can freaking tear you apart with their massive, killer jaws. 
“Want to swim with them with me?”
Leave the “with them” part out, and I am all there. “Hell yeah.”
He smiles, and I know swimming with sharks will be worth it. 
Leaning back, he looks out the window and squints. “You wouldn’t happen to know who Kanye West is, would you?”
“Yeah, I do.” 
“You do? How do you know this stuff?”
I lean back in my chair, feeling a glint of hope as I say, “I am almost a decade older than you are.” I hope my emphasis on decade hits him the way it’s meant to, and I think it has, because he flushes and glances toward the kitchens. 
“What’s taking them so long?” he says, and begins fidgeting with his placemat.
It hasn’t been long at all, and I like knowing he’s just as nervous as I am. I want to reach out and take his hand and say I want to be your summer fling. 
For all our summers, always.
But it’s too much at once, and I have to break into things more gently. I have to tell him about me—“Sam,” I say, shifting on my seat and looking down at the placemat in front of me, fingering the dragon indentations. “There’s something I want to talk to you about—”


Get the book:



Second in the series, Made For You


Blurb:

Ben wants to find a new home.

Twenty-four-year-old Ben McCormick is the primary caregiver for his brother Milo after their parents’ death. A year into the job, he’s totally got the hang of it. Mostly. Sort of. Not at all?

Defeated and thoroughly chastised for his lack in parenting skills at teacher-parent night, Ben slumps away with the resolve to finally get his life sorted: be a better role model, and sell their parents’ house for a fresh start.

But first, he needs to spruce up his house to hit the market. He’s no DIY king, but Milo’s hot-as-hell woodwork teacher is…

Jack wants an old home to fix.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jack Pecker is waiting for the home of his dreams to come on the market in the summer. What better way to wait the interim months than working on a small renovation gig?

Only trouble is, the gig is for the McCormick brothers. And working in close quarters to red-haired Ben McCormick won’t be easy. Not with the attraction that simmers between them. Attraction Ben makes no effort to hide.

But Jack’s professional. Dating a parent is highly discouraged at Kresley Intermediate, and he’d never cross the lines…

Ben and Jack. Two guys searching for a home – – a home that might just be where their hearts lead them.


Excerpt:

 For the first Saturday in a long time, I feel on top of the world. I didn’t have to work today, and Milo’s been in a bright mood since waking up in his old room. His infectious spirit is still going strong this evening as we truck our way around the rocky bays toward Eastbourne.

Jack drives, flannel shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows. Milo fidgets in the middle between us, his floppy hair peach with the setting sun streaming through the windshield.

I pinch the last piece of Caramello chocolate bar, feeling it squish slightly under the wrapper. I grill Milo. “Which bird likes to follow you in the bush?” 
“Fantail!”
“Māori name?”
“Pīwakawaka.”
“Follow up question: why does it follow you in the bush?”
Milo rolls his eyes. “It wants the insects that our boots stir up, duh.”
“One other fact, and you score the last piece of Caramello bar.”
Playing fair? Not in Milo’s vocabulary. He bats his puppy-dog eyes and goes in for the kill. “You’re my fantail.”
Ha! “Because I chase after you all the time?”
“Because Fanta, fantail. It just sounds right.” 
Aww, I like my brother. 
He’s the best.
Milo stuffs the chocolate in his mouth as if he didn’t just eat three squares.
Jack shakes his head at us. The sunset makes him glow and he’s starting to sport a beard. “I have no words for you two.”
“Gotta love us, Mr. Woodpecker,” Milo squeezes out.
I hook Jack’s attention over Milo’s head. “We gotta bird-christen the kid. What do you reckon?”
“I’m a Kiwi,” Milo says.
“We’re all Kiwis,” Jack says. “Doesn’t count.”
I love that Jack takes part so enthusiastically. A keen hop bursts in my veins, and I headlock Milo and give him a noogie. He shrieks and giggles. “You need something more apt—” My gaze flickers toward the street where Jack is slowing down, and I shriek. 
“Penguins! At the penguin crossing.” Milo takes the words right out of my mouth. “This never happens.”
I clutch Milo’s arms. “Oh fuck. They’re so cute.”
Milo leans forward, eyes tracking the tiny birds as they waddle across the road to their nests. “I want to nuzzle my face in their bellies.”
“If I haven’t nuzzled them all first—”
Jack turns toward us, hand resting on the steering wheel, secret smile simmering in his pinched eyes. 
I lift a brow, and he resettles himself, facing forward. He clears his throat. “I suppose I have to get in line if I want to nuzzle?”
A laugh wallops out of me at his unexpected participation in our silliness.
The penguins disappear into the vegetation at the side of the road. Jack rolls his truck forward and takes the last few turns slowly. We park before a playground that’s flanked by a coastal café with a wide grassy area and a rocky shoreline.
Dusk shivers over calm seas and layers the world in pink. Lights twinkle in the bustling café and the chorus of conversations tinkers toward us.
A second car pulls into the parking spot next to ours. Their windows are cracked, and the salty, oily smell of fish ’n’ chips makes my mouth water.
“Open house is just up the hill behind us,” Jack says across the bonnet. 
I cringe, because I haven’t quite told Milo why we came out here.
“Open house?” Milo says on cue.
Jack continues, unaware that I used underhand methods to make this trip happen. “It’s a nice family home overlooking the sea—”
“No-no-no-no,” Milo chants under his breath.
One look at me, and Jack knows. I blush. “Could you get us coffee and a hot chocolate please?”

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

ARC Review: Three Vlog Night, A Plummet to Soar Novel by Z.A. Maxfield

From The Blurb:
A Plummet to Soar Story 
Ajax Fairchild’s online alter ego has caused him trouble before, but never like this. After multiple death threats, his loaded parents decide he needs an enforced digital vacation and the best bodyguard money can buy. 
That would be Dmytro Kolisnychenko, former soldier, former hired muscle for the Ukrainian mob—until he lost his happy home life to an enemy with a homemade bomb. Now he wants only two things: to spend every precious second he can with his daughters, and to provide for them by protecting people who can’t protect themselves—even entitled little asshats like Ajax Fairchild. 
But Ajax doesn’t fit into the spoiled little rich kid box as neatly as Dmytro would like. Dmytro doesn’t have time for a romantic dalliance, and Ajax is a client, albeit one with unexpected depths. With one coincidence after another driving them to the sleepy seaside town of St. Nacho’s and away from their planned safe house, they grow to trust each other and find that love follows trust. Now they must learn where the threat to Ajax is coming from and neutralize it… before it’s too late for their happily ever after.

Karen's rating:




'Three Vlog Night' is the third book in Z.A. Maxfield's 'Plummet to Soar' stories but each one of these stories are very independent of each other so reading this one can easily be done without benefit of reading the first two and you do get all the information required to understand what the connection between each of these books is and while there is a definite connection it's not anything complicated and as I said the details are contained in this story.

Ajax Fairchild appears to be the image of a spoiled rich kid and his on-line alter ego only adds to the image when he decides to pepper the airwaves with his 'truths' which are received in a less than positive manner by his listening audience, not that this bothers Ajax.

Ajax's parents may have been absent for a lot of his life but he's honestly never doubted that they love him and nothing says 'I love you son.' like bodyguards when the death threats start to roll in. So when his parents insist on the bodyguards Ajax feels obligated to indulge his parents in the expression of their worry for him. Lucky for Ajax his godfather runs one of the best security agencies around and of course he's going to assign Dmytro Kolisnychenko one of his best to guard his godson.

Dmytro is Ajax's idea of a walking wet dream age difference and all, but it's unfortunate that Dmytro is determined to keep his distance from the young man he's assigned to protect because he's just a job and Dmytro has two sweet little girls to get back to.

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