Monday, September 30, 2013

Blog Tour: Allie Jean - Dreams of the Cursed (@alliejeanDS)

Today we shine the spotlight on Allie Jean's new book

Dreams Of The Cursed

Book 2 in the Dreamer series

From the blurb:

A violent war has waged in secret underneath the notice of humanity since the beginning of time. Evil has pledged the destruction of humanity in spite of a power those that covet it could not possibly contain. Now the Warriors have inherited this fight and are honor-bound to rid the world of this ancient malevolence. By guarding the most precious, piercing light they possess—their female kin known as the Oracles or Dreamers—the Warriors have a chance against the darkness.
Chantal Breelan, plagued by horrific nightmares for most of her life, believes something is wrong with her. Why else would she have such visions of destruction? But when creatures of terror came crawling out of the shadows to hunt her down shortly after her eighteenth birthday, she discovers the truth. Her dreams become reality, throwing her headfirst into a battle wrought by cursed monsters, where death and torture lie at every turn.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

ARC Review: Home Team by Jameson Dash

Home TeamFrom the blurb:

After fifteen years playing pro hockey, Aaron Buckley screws up, and his mistake and his attitude get him sent down to the minor leagues. His new team is in his old city, where he started his career in hockey, and also where he left his boyfriend behind. His luck hasn't improved since joining a team of rookies and kids, but he has discovered that Zach—the ex-boyfriend who could never compete with hockey for Aaron’s love—is still in town. Aaron has a second chance to answer the same question: Zach or hockey? But maybe it's time for a new question.

Heather's rating:

I think this story had something really appealing about it. The world-weary main character at the end of his career was someone very relatable. However, though I enjoyed this story in theory, I wasn't sold on the execution of it.

Let me start with some positives about this novella. Though this story is peripherally about hockey, it is much more about Aaron (the main character) reflecting on how he has lived the past 15 years of his life and how all of that is about to change. As he gets older and less relevant in the sports world, Aaron is forced to reconsider his relationships with his sister, his parents, and, most significantly, his ex. I give props to the author for created a complex character in Aaron. He makes mistakes, he is fumbling around his life, and I wanted to alternatively hold him and smack him. I think all of the characters in this book are good, actually. The conceptualization of this book was well done, for sure.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Blog Tour: IT Confidential by CD Rahm (#ITConfidential @samijolien)

Today we shine the spotlight on C.D. Rahm's debut novel

I.T. Confidential

From the blurb:

If you could be a fly on the cubicle wall of an I.T. Professional someone would probably throw a stale bagel at you. But before they did, you would see what C.D. Rahm reveals in this tell-all book.
At great personal risk to career and plastic pocket protector, Rahm takes us on a brief tour of corporate malaise, rampant confusion, dinner-plate-sized chocolate chip cookies, and lousy box lunches.
Pulling no punches (except possibly the spiked punch from the disastrous office holiday party) he reveals everything: managers behaving badly, professional time-wasters, fast-food junkies, and the hygienically challenged.
An I.T. insider, his is a world of technology for all, productivity for none. It is a place where the confused and frightened lead the overworked and clueless. This is where polyester slacks meet PowerPoint presentations, and budgets meet their doom.
When network systems come down, I.T. professionals get up. And march straight to the vending machine. C.D. Rahm has been there, done that, and soiled the t-shirt.
Now you can know what I.T. geeks know: That if you have a chip on your shoulder, you have probably stuck your head into the wrong port.

Whether you're a tech expert or you don't know your app from a hole in the ground, you will be astounded or at least mildly surprised by what you discover in I.T. Confidential.

Q&A with “I.T. Confidential” author C.D. Rahm

1. What’s the most unusual cubicle you’ve seen?

The one of a 35-year-old guy who had his workspace set up like a 12-year-old nerd’s bedroom, with Star Wars and Star Trek posters, action figures, spaceships, etc. Ladies, he’s single!

2. Any suggestions to make the workplace easier to deal with?

Friday, September 27, 2013

ARC Review: Going down for the Count by Cage Thunder

Going Down For The Count - Cage Thunder
From the blurb:

Broke and desperate to move out of his ex’s apartment, grad student Gary Harper answers an ad in the school paper looking for models. But the kind of "models" the business is looking for isn’t quite what Gary expected—it’s for an underground gay wrestling video company! Intrigued, he participates in the audition process and falls for his trainer, an older man who just isn’t ready for a relationship. Heartbroken by this rejection, when his video work makes him incredibly popular, Gary loses interest in his coursework as he gets involved in the world of party drugs, porn, and male stripping…all while trying to fill the hole in his broken heart. But love has a way of coming along when you’re least expecting it….

Sandra's rating:

One fight/fuckfest after another. No character development to speak of. Meh.

The book is about Cage Thunder, a somewhat (in his circles) famous gay pro-wrestler, where wrestling leads to sexual situations. Kid-friendly, this isn't. Cage is also a bit hung up on the guy that introduced him to the scene, Bill. Then he meets Mike and they start a semi-relationship. This is not a romance in the traditional sense as both men continue with their weekly matches with other people, presumably with each match ending in someone being fucked.

Basically, the book (presumably written by the protagonist himself) goes from one alpha-male chest-thumping wrestle/fuck match to another. Each fight scene is described ad nauseam, with hard dicks and bulging muscles and heavy balls, including an in depth description of what each fighter is wearing or not. Also, sweat drips a lot.

None of it was even remotely stimulating or engaging. It's as if these cardboard characters can only get it up if they are wrestling for dominance beforehand.

The one good thing I can say is that the writing certainly sounded like a early 20s stud who mostly thinks with the head in his undies. This might be a book for someone who likes this sort of thing, but it completely failed for me. I expected more based on the blurb.

I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return.

Buy this book: Amazon

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, happy reading.


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

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ARC Review: The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men by Eric Arvin

The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and MenFrom the blurb:

Minerva True is a River Dweller and mystic who lives deep in the forested hills of a river valley on the fringes of the world. She is the only person who sees the ancient danger that resides on a nearby chapel grounds. Most pay little heed to her warnings, and in the end only a small band of friends stand beside her. A tale of love and duty ensues, challenging the destinies of Minerva, the young hero Leith, his lover Aubrey, and the mute boy, Deverell. Leith’s half-crazed mother Calpurnia has her own aspirations, however, that prove detrimental not only to Minerva, but to everyone she comes in contact with.

Heather's rating:

I've lusted after this book for a long time. I mean that cover! That title! Oh god, that title is so esoteric and cool. I just wanted this book so badly. I wanted to caress it and squeeze it. Oh and read it, that too...

But in my haste to get this pretty little book, I neglected to read the blurb and the comments about this one from my friends. I had a vague sense that it would be fantasy but I thought it would be more paranormal for some reason. It is not. This book is fantasy-horror and is more glbt than just strictly an m/m story. It is funky, queer fantasy for the adventurous reader. Now, I am not a horror reader, nor am I a high fantasy reader, but I decided to stick with it because it has only great reviews from people that I trust.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

ARC Review: Illumination by Rowan Speedwell

Illumination by Rowan Speedwell
From the blurb:

Adam Craig is burned out. Lead singer of the hard rock band Black Varen, he's tired of the empty life of groupies, paparazzi, and hotel rooms. Worse, a life in the closet. After the final concert of their latest tour, he flees the after-party in pursuit of memories of lost summers and carefree days, until he passes out on the patio of a shuttered lake resort.
Miles Caldwell is a brilliant artist, tied by agoraphobia and social anxiety to his family's lodge. Alone but for his parrot, he spends his days illuminating manuscripts and hiding from the complexities of life. When he discovers Adam asleep in a deck chair, he's furious but intrigued. Adam soon charms his way into Miles' bed, and they lose themselves in a summer idyll, safe from the compromises and claims of reality.

But Adam's life, with all its demands, is waiting for him. And Miles, uncertain of Adam's true feelings, is battling demons of his own. Somehow, the man who's never home and the man who never leaves it must find the strength to fight for a future together.

Sandra's rating:

Well, this was one angsty read, with two main characters who are as different as night and day.

Adam Craig, front man of the Black Raven metal band, is fresh off a tour and so very tired of the public persona, his bandmates and having to hide his sexual orientation. Reminiscing about the past, he gets into a cab and has the driver take him north, until he sees a sign for a resort where he used to stay when he was a teenager.

The resort is closed, but Adam gets out anyway, and after stumbling around a bit in the dark, he passes out on the porch of the only house with lights on.

Miles Caldwell, after working all night on one of his illuminations, finds him the next morning and is irate that someone dared to come on his property, but then offers an apologetic Adam a cup of coffee.

Sparks fly. They take a dip in the lake. They fuck.

And both men fall hard for the other.

But - and it's a big one - there are outside and inside issues they need to overcome before their romance dies as quickly as it flared up.

ARC Review: Yank by Selena Kitt

From the blurb:

Just-graduated David has been brightening up his gray Surrey, England days with the porn collection hidden in his parents' shed, but when he finds that their American foreign exchange student, Dawn, has discovered his magazines, things really begin to heat up.

David’s parents insist that he look for a job, but Dawn has the week off and is determined to work on her tan. Distracted David finds himself increasingly tempted by their seductive, older foreign exchange student, who makes it very clear what she wants.

In spite of the Study Abroad program’s policy that no “relations” are allowed between a student and anyone in their host family—not to mention David’s mother’s insistence that they treat each other as “brother and sister,”—Dawn’s teasing ways slowly break down the barrier between them until they both give in to their lust.

But what are they going to do about the feelings that have developed between them in the meantime?

Heather's rating:

**2.75 stars**

Holy Mother F-er, that was one of the most sex-filled books that I have ever read. Total porn without plot. No plot, none. However the sex was incredibly, incredibly hot. I'm going to need a cold shower here, folks!!

My opinions on this book are all over the place. For all of those who have read Naughty Bits, this is the re-worked, non-incest version. However, in the switch from incest to childhood friends, some details of the book stop making sense. First of all, they keep acting like their attraction to each other is forbidden when any teenage boy would be attracted to his hot foreign exchange student, who is completely unrelated to him. The forbidden aspect is no longer really applicable, which made large portions of this book seem silly.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blog Tour: Carrots by Colleen Helme


Shelby Nichols is an average woman who is married to the only guy she ever fell for. Her life is organized and predictable, revolving around her husband and two children. All that changes the day she stops at the grocery store for some carrots. As the cashier rings up her purchases, a gunman is busy robbing the bank inside the store. When a customer grabs the robber's mask, he is shot and everyone runs for cover. Everyone except Shelby, who finds herself face to face with the killer. The next thing she knows, she's lying on the floor with a bullet wound to her head. Luckily, the bullet only grazes her scalp, and she doesn't suspect any lasting affects until later, when she suddenly 'hears' what people are thinking. With this uncanny ability, her life takes on a whole new dimension. Her kids think she's bossy and too old to understand them, but that's nothing compared to her husband. He says he loves her, but what is it about the redhead at work that he doesn't want her to know? As if that isn't enough, the gunman knows she can identify him, and he's out to silence her forever. In her fight to stay alive, she is saved from certain death by a handsome hit-man with ties to organized crime. This pulls Shelby even deeper into danger, where knowing someone's thoughts can not only hurt her feelings, but get her killed.

Available for purchase at 


About the Author

ARC Review: At Piper's Point by Ethan Day

At Piper's Point
From the blurb:

Ten years and many boyfriends later, Cassidy Winters finally returns to the ancestral home of his late grandmother, Sadie Hart, despite the best efforts of his father to prevent it. Cassidy's plans of a quiet, seaside ceremony to wish a final farewell to Sadie quickly unravel. Interruptions run roughshod, beginning with Neil, who walks out of the ocean and straight into Cassidy's bed. The dominos topple one by one when the little dog he rescues from the hounds of hell brings him to Ben, the hunky vet who rescues Cassidy right back. News of his arrival spreads faster than Cassidy's legs, bringing his boyhood friend and first love Nate Sommers to his doorstep -- leaving Cassidy spiraling into a multi-layered love snafu. As if the island wasn't getting crowded enough for Cassidy's good taste and bad decisions, best friends Ollie and Spencer arrive in time to witness the uninvited return of Cassidy's most recent ex, Teddy, who's refusing to stay dumped. 

Fists fly and all hell breaks loose amid mojitos and martinis while Cassidy finds himself planning a huge party to celebrate Sadie's life. Accusations are aimed as arguments and libidos boil over, but even through the chaos Cassidy knows exactly who he wants. While he's certainly willing, he isn't sure if he's ready or able for love and life at Pipers Point.

Heather's rating:

Is it just me or is Hart's Island like the gay mecca? I mean, every non-coupled person that Cassidy sees ends up being gay! Where is this place and how soon can I visit?

"At Piper's Point" was an adorable, light romance from Ethan Day. My favorite part of this book I think was the humor. I found myself reading with such a big smile on my face that my mouth starting hurting from grinning too widely. It is just such a fun book.

"Jesus," Nate said, throwing his hands in the air as he stared Neil down. "You don't even know his last name!" Nate turned to Cassidy. "Is this Piper's Point or Dante's Cove?"

"Mel-ho's Place!" Ollie yelled, his smile fading as Nate glared, letting him know this might not be the best time to play Who's the Queen of Pop culture?"

But between all of the humor, some actual important stuff snuck in. This book is about first loves, when it comes down to it. It is about how Nate and Cassidy deal with discovering that not everything between them is as idealized as it was in their minds. They each have their own baggage and issues to work through, and the book takes us on that journey with them.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blog Tour: Newton Neighbors by Suzy Duffy

Today we shine the spotlight on Suzy Duffy's new book

Newton Neighbors

From the blurb:

Crystal Lake—in the suburbs of Newton—is one of the most desirable places to live in Boston, and Newton Neighbors is a romantic comedy about its colorful residents just trying to “live the dream.” Things, however, rarely go as planned. The story starts with two fire trucks and a couple of cop cars getting called to the upmarket road, and that’s when things begin to heat up.
The Ladies of the Lake:
Maria’s best asset has always been her hot Puerto Rican body, but she sees the effect a new sitter has on her husband, so she decides to fight back the hands of time.
Cathi is Maria’s best friend and greatest admirer. Her own life is pretty good, too. Still, she can’t help being consumed with ambitions to live on the water. She spirals from persuasion to coercion to deceit faster than you can say ‘change of address,’ but will she succeed?
Noreen may seem like the nice little granny from next door. However, it’s the quiet ones you need to watch. While facing forty is a nightmare for Maria, Noreen’s living large at eighty. She believes “the only thing worse than a weak dollar is a weak martini.”
Jessica is in America to study. But when she takes a babysitting job in Newton, she gets more than she bargains for in the shape of fine-looking firefighter. We learn soon enough that not all heroes are good—but is bad better?
Thankfully we have Ely, Jessica’s crazy roommate, who keeps everyone laughing and partying, too.
There’s Botox, Bollinger, and a randy Bulldog. We have fireworks, fistfights, and family fiestas. It’s a story that stretches from Boston, to London, to beautiful Puerto Rico.
Welcome to the wet n’ wild world of Newton Neighbors.

Available September 26, 2013

Buy this book: TWCS PH

We asked Ms. Duffy about her favorite part in this book:

ARC Review: The Tin Box by Kim Fielding

The Tin Box

From the blurb:

William Lyon's past forced him to become someone he isn't. Conflicted and unable to maintain the charade, he separates from his wife and takes a job as caretaker at a former mental hospital. Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum was the largest mental hospital in California for well over a century, but it now stands empty. William thinks the decrepit institution is the perfect place to finish his dissertation and wait for his divorce to become final. In town, William meets Colby Anderson, who minds the local store and post office. Unlike William, Colby is cute, upbeat, and flamboyantly out. Although initially put off by Colby’s mannerisms, William comes to value their new friendship, and even accepts Colby's offer to ease him into the world of gay sex. William’s self-image begins to change when he discovers a tin box, hidden in an asylum wall since the 1940s. It contains letters secretly written by Bill, a patient who was sent to the asylum for being homosexual. The letters hit close to home, and William comes to care about Bill and his fate. With Colby’s help, he hopes the words written seventy years ago will give him courage to be his true self.

AnnaLund's rating:

I am swimming in all the feels after reading this book. Such an important story to tell, and so masterfully executed. (And I do not use that word lightly). I may have to add to this review in a few days, but I feel it's important to get this up there at once.

We need to remember (or get to know) where we come from, what was done to some of us, only so few decades ago. And what is currently still happening in many countries in the world.

I took a hit in the solar plexus with this one. It has great, great power, there is meaning in every sentence.

This story is heavy, but at the same time, it gets a lighter feel thanks to the absolutely lovable MCs that inhabit it. Yes, I am especially thinking of Colby, this wonderful young man who walked straight into my heart and just squatted there. (He's still in there, no way to get rid of him). William broke my heart in fifteen pieces, and without Colby, I don't think I could have gone through with his story.

And then. And then. Then, there is Bill. From so many years ago. The never give up, they have to break me first man.
Yeah. He broke me in the most utter and final way. You beautiful, beautiful man.

Monday, September 23, 2013

ARC Review: Meeting Chance by Jennifer Lavoie

Meeting ChanceFrom the blurb:

Scarred physically and emotionally from a dog attack at age nine, Aaron Cassidy has spent the last seven years breaking out in a cold sweat at the mere sound of a bark in the distance. Days after he receives his driver’s license, he decides to challenge his bone-deep fear once and for all.

Volunteering at the Happy Endings Animal Foundation gives Aaron a new sense of purpose. Here he’ll face his fears and learn to love man’s best friend. When an abused pit bull with scars mirroring his own arrives at the shelter, Aaron cannot even be in the same room without lapsing into his familiar, paralyzing terror. But as he gets to know the wounded animal, and the two learn to trust again, Aaron finds that sometimes all you need is a little...Chance.

Sandra's rating:

A great book for dog lovers! This is not a YA romance, but a very satisfying read indeed.

This is my second exposure to a Soliloquy title from Bold Strokes Books, with Asher's Fault being the first I read, and the publisher again chose a nicely done YA novel with an underlying theme of family for this book.

Aaron Cassidy, 16, was bitten by a neighborhood dog when he was nine. Since then, he has avoided all contact with dogs and still suffers from fear and panic whenever a dog is in the vicinity. He's also permanently scarred from the bite, specifically on his face. Aaron has come out to his parents and friends, and participates in his school's GSA, although his friendship with Caleb and Tyler has suffered since he announced his sexuality.

Tired of being afraid, Aaron starts volunteering at a local animal shelter, first working with the cats, then with the puppies and eventually with the smaller dogs. Everything changes when a two year old pit bull is rescued from an abandoned lot and brought to the shelter. Aaron is reminded of his own plight and begins to care for the dog, training him and spending time with him.

ARC Review: Hungry For Love by Rick R. Reed

Hungry for Love
From the blurb:

Nate Tippie and Brandon Wilde are gay, single, and both hoping to meet that special man, even though fate has not yet delivered him to their doorstep. Nate's sister, Hannah, and her kooky best friend, Marilyn, are about to help fate with that task by creating a profile on the gay dating site, OpenHeartOpenMind. The two women are only exploring, but when they need a face and body for the persona they create, they use Nate as the model.

When Brandon comes across the false profile, he falls for the guy he sees online. Keeping up the charade, Hannah begins corresponding with him, posing as Nate. Real complications begin when Brandon wants to meet Nate, but Nate doesn’t even know he’s being used in the online dating ruse. Hannah and Marilyn concoct another story and send Nate out to let the guy down gently. But when Nate and Brandon meet, the two men feel an instant and powerful pull toward each other. Cupid seems to have shot his bow, but how do Nate and Brandon climb out from under a mountain of deceit without letting go of their chance at love?

Sandra's rating:

Brandon Wilde is looking for that special someone. Not one to jump into clubs or one-night stands, he opens an account with a gay dating site, OpenHeartsOpenMinds, and hopes to meet The One.

Nate Tippie is the stereotypical gay bachelor, always on the hunt for the next guy, clubbing, f*cking and generally acting as if his single-dom doesn't bother him. Even though, in quiet moments, it does. Like when he's leaving his latest hook-up who fell asleep on him but wakes up as Nate is getting ready to go. Here, I had to blink a few times and then snorted out loud when I was treated to a "winking hole" on display.

Nate's sister Hannah and her friend/co-worker Marilyn are both portrayed in a bad light from the start. First, the two cook up an account for Nate on the same website Brandon joined, inputting Nate's information and looking at the various profiles. Hannah then comes across Brandon's profile and questionably feels an immediate connection to the man in the picture. Stupidly, she then sends an email to Brandon, posing as Nate, and initiates contact.

Then, to top things off, she uploads a photo of Nate to the profile she created when Brandon replies and asks for one, and while feeling terribly guilty, she continues to perpetuate the deception, panicking when Brandon presses for a meeting face to face. Upon confessing her sins to her brother, Nate understandably gets angry, but agrees to meet with Brandon to let him down gently.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Blog Tour: A Hero of Legend by Demethius Jackson (#RealmsicConquest)

Today we shine the spotlight on Demethius Jackson's new novel

The Realmsic Conquest: A Hero Of Legend


From the blurb:

From its establishment, the Realm, has remained the only magical kingdom in existence. As a result, it has never known peace. Although the kingdom has never fallen, it must now defend against the Warlord Damian – a brilliantly merciless conqueror who uses history as a weapon. Rallying those resentful of the Realm’s magic, Damian has amassed a Legion of Warriors – the largest military force ever assembled.

The Kingdom’s defeat is imminent!

Maebus, the Realm’s newest King, has only ruled for six days. Yet he must now lead the magical Realmsic Kingdom through its most perilous conflict ever.

Buy this book: Amazon

About the author:

Born into adversity, Demethius Jackson coped with and found inspiration in the extreme hardships he faced to later write stories of empowerment showcasing how a life journey, no matter how difficult, is necessary to discover one’s purpose and peace. Jackson is an alumnus of American University’s School of Communications. Through his ten-year career, his written works have spanned numerous forms of media such as music and television. He has also held positions at global media and cinema companies.

As part of the book's launch, 50 copies of A Hero Of Legend will be given to the Virginia Wounded Warrior program. 

“I’m thankful and have endless admiration for those who serve in our Armed Forces,” Jackson said. “The well-being and rehabilitation of our wounded warriors are of utmost importance. Every soldier is a Hero of Legend!”

Social Media: Twitter | Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, happy reading!!

Promotional post. All materials provided by JKS Communications Inc.
Buylink is provided as a courtesy and does not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with this book, author or bookseller listed.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

ARC Review: Spark by Posy Roberts

Spark (North Star, #1)
From the blurb:

North Star, Book 1
In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.
By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children.

When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.

Sandra's rating:

Fluffy with a bit of angst in a love story spanning 17 years and second chances.

Hugo and Kevin were best friends and then closeted lovers in high school. Both keep the relationship hidden, for different reasons. College and family expectations made them drift apart, though neither ever forgot his first love.

Where Hugo comes out in college and finds a mostly fulfilling career as an actor and director, including a gig in drag as Miss Cherrie Pop, Kevin follows the path set forth by his controlling father, including marriage and children.

17 years later, Hugo accompanies his BFF Summer for a weekend trip to her family's lake house after she has broken up with her cheating fiance. While there, Hugo runs into Kevin, and both men still feel the spark.

Kevin is still in the closet, but getting divorced from his wife and sharing the responsibility for the two children (a girl and a boy, both absolutely adorable).

The romance unfolds quietly, with flashbacks interspersing the present to paint a complete picture of their youth, their aspirations, their reasons for being in the closet and the lessons they learned.

Hugo has kept Miss Cherrie Pop secret - previous boyfriends have either gone away or treated him differently once they found out about this alter ego - and is a little worried that Kevin will look at him differently once it's revealed.

The use of the flashbacks, especially considering how well they fit into the overall flow, is what made this book special. They give a full picture of the history, with a ton of sweet moments and even a bit of heartache and angst, but explain the connection between the men. This allowed me to really feel as if I knew them, and made me cheer for them to find their way to a life together, despite the many obstacles they have to face.

I appreciated that the women in this novel were supportive, both Summer and Kevin's soon-to-be ex-wife, who might have easily been portrayed as angry and spiteful, but wasn't. The kids also brought a lot of life and humor to the situations, even though Brooke on occasion sounded a little older than her years. Still, it worked. It worked so well, that I found myself smiling at the end of the book.

The writing is descriptive without becoming purple, and emotionally charged. There is also a good amount of holy hot boysecks, but each of those situations was also full of emotions and never felt cheap or clinical.

The ending was a bit abrupt, though it did give a HFN. As this is a series, I'm hoping that there'll be more of these two men in the next book.

A great book to take to the beach or curl up in your favorite chair this fall.

I received a free ARC from Dreamspinner Press. A positive review was not promised in return.

Buy this book: Amazon | B&N 

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, happy reading!!

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

ARC Review - Salvage by Con Riley

SalvageFrom the blurb:

Five years ago, an accident fractured Gabe Cooper’s family. Believing it was broken beyond repair, Gabe and his best friend Jamie Carlson left Minnesota behind for San Diego sunshine and college. Now another crisis brings Gabe home to help his ailing father, and he finally has to face the guilt that kept him away for so long. Scott Stark also returns to Minnesota, with his young niece and nephew in tow, shouldering new family responsibilities. While Gabe comes to grips with his past, Scott struggles to accept his present role as a substitute parent, caring for two children, each with different needs. As Gabe and Scott get to know each other, reclaiming family life almost seems possible. Only two things stand in the way of love: Gabe’s unresolved relationship with Jamie, and Scott’s plan to leave Minnesota as soon as he can. Both men will have to accept past mistakes if they want to salvage a future together, and time is running out.

AnnaLund's rating:

I have been trying for two days to formulate this review. It's not working, so I'm just going to gush and spill and squee and be generally obnoxious for the duration.

There truly is nobody who writes quite like Con Riley; for me, this is simply How You Write.

Con Riley does it for me on so many levels, but mostly because her writing is so darned intelligent. She doesn't write stuff on my nose, she doesn't Tell me anything, but she Shows me all, she doesn't scream at me "You get it?! You get it?! Huh?! Huh?!", no, it is so much more subtle. Also, she doesn't tell me everything at once, she doesn't dump backstories and information on me when I don't need it. Yet.

This writing just presents information as it is needed and when needed. Not a second earlier.

Con Riley has the knack of keeping me on my toes for the whole run, and there I am, thinking, just one more chapter, and then suddenly it's been two more chapters, three more chapters, four, and there's just no stopping me, I keep reading like a river in full spring snow melting water madness running from angry bulls and swimming in deep, dark oceans and it just KEEPS ME READING until my eyes bleed or drop or my iPad hits my face, or I keep on until until until until... it's done. Finished. (And then there is wailing, because. Feelings).

The book is over. (Cue more wailing).

It's finished. (Snotsobbing happens).

And by all that is holy, this was a ride and a half. I adored Gabe. Hated Jamie for almost the whole book, but—no, never mind, you read it, and tell me what you think, mkay?—and I positively fell in love with Scott. Some parts made me scream out loud, laughing like a crazy person, and some just gutted me.

How Con Riley manages to circle around so many difficult themes (ha, you want to know which ones? How about autism, rape, homophobia, handicaps, illness, alcoholism), circle and circle and never get heavy or boring or teaching. Just the softest touch, by a hand that shows me what it means to live with a child on the spectrum. What it's like to have a mother who drinks. How you live with the loss of limbs.

And it never feels like I'm being taught new things, never am I being punished for being whole, unraped, straight, happy (Yes, a lot of books try to make me feel bad about who I am, instead of showing me how other people live. I sincerely prefer the second). This book makes everything just feel like FAMILY. Like fucking family. Warm and good and comforting. Even when things are all fucked up beyond any measure I have ever had to deal with myself.

I appreciate the voice in this telling. I appreciate taking a stand, being there for your friends. Or simply for someone who really needs a hand.
Especially the little woman who stepped up at the mall to tell people to mind their own business when Scott was having a hard time, was brilliant.

And that's the low key bonus in Con Riley's story: she treats women in m/m stories like real people. Like assets. Not like asshats. (Well, some are asshats too, goes without saying).

What really amazes me is how what seems like an unimportant detail in the beginning can go and become a major point towards the end.

Brilliant writer is brilliant.

Why am I not surprised one little bit?

And I'm going to keep all of my own, personal 21 highlights to myself, because you? Need to read this one for yourself. Go slow, and enjoy the wording. Highlight the shit outta this book.


A free ARC of this book was given to me before publication. A positive review was not expected nor ever promised in return.

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