4 Stars, Amber Allure, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Hurri Cosmo, Reviewed by Lana

Review: Chase and Capture by Hurri Cosmo

Title: Chase and Capture

Author: Hurri Cosmo

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 123 Pages

At a Glance: This is a piece of fun escapism, and I enjoyed it.

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: It’s only a game, an adult twist on “Capture the Flag.” Very adult, actually, especially when it comes to the “Flag” and where it is hidden. In fact, the only similarity between the kid version and the adult version is each hunter must capture his opponent’s flag to win.

So how the hell did Camden end up here? Tanner, his good buddy from college, refused to let him waste another birthday, was determined to score him some exciting adult time with a group of sexy men, and had set up the entire weekend party on a remote island.

Now, Camden finds himself crashing through the woods while playing the wonderfully lascivious chase-and-capture game, trying to stay ahead of his pursuer. But Camden can’t help but wonder…why is he the prey and that dark-haired, muscle-bound, relentless god of a man named Gunner his hunter? After all, it’s his birthday, so he should be the one in pursuit of the sexy stud, right? And what exactly is the downside of having his hidden flag confiscated by the man of his dreams?

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Review: Chase and Capture is a fun and hot little story about an adult version of Capture the Flag, which has a pretty interesting twist! I really enjoyed this story and could have read more.

The two main characters are fairly typical to these types of stories, but they were written in the right way and for me, made the story. Camden gets invited by his friend to an island getaway. The island’s resort is for men only, and Camden’s friend hopes this little vacation will get Camden over his painful breakup. Two others join their little group: Steven, an annoying twink, and Gunner, a former military man who’s a total alpha. Sparks fly between Camden and Gunner, and both hope that the weekend’s games will get them together. Boy, do they ever!

The island resort is secluded for a very good reason. There is a lot of kink going on! The weekend’s activities are for adults only and the game of Capture the Flag is pretty raunchy. The flag is not a flag, and I will leave it at that. You’ll just have to read the book. It’s pretty good.

The usual hijinks ensue, Gunner and Camden get their freak on, and the sex is hot and well written. There’s a totally weird plot twist but in the context, it works. This is a piece of fun escapism, and I enjoyed it. I like to think of it as bubble gum for your brain.

Chase and Capture is a good read for a slow afternoon, and if it’s a cold one, this one will warm you right up.






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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Garrett Leigh, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jules

Review: My Mate Jack by Garrett Leigh

Title: My Mate Jack

Author: Garrett Leigh

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 104 Pages

At a Glance: I completely fell for these boys and this book.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: A Heated Beat Story

Will Barter’s been in love with his best mate Jack for as long as he can remember. They’ve shared everything: love, life, laughs, even Will’s first kiss. But Jack’s straight, and Will’s long-buried infatuation means nothing until their last summer together draws to a close.

Then one night, everything changes, but with Will bound for university in Leeds, and Jack for his dream DJ job in Ibiza, there’s no time to explore their blurred lines. Before long all that’s left are secrets, lies, and misunderstandings.

In the months that follow, anger and hurt overshadow fifteen years of friendship, and Will must dig deep to remember Jack is his mate… his best mate, and nothing matters more than that, right?

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Review: I’m such a huge fan of Garrett Leigh. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it is about her writing that I love; it’s a number of things, really. Her books are typically very emotional and raw. Her writing style is gritty and full of sass and kick ass characters that pull you in. My Mate Jack is all of that with an extra dose of youth and fun.

Will and Jack have been best friends since they were six, and are understandably close. In fact, Will has had a crush on Jack for many years, but knows, of course, that Jack is straight. Or, is he?

My Mate Jack is GFY done right. If you’re worried about not liking the trope in other books you’ve read, don’t be. These guys have such a fantastic connection; everything between them flows perfectly and feels natural and seamless. I adore their friendship and that it’s clear for both of them it remain a priority. Even with all the time and distance between them, they always keep a line of communication open, even if it’s strained.

The author’s use of emails is a fantastic device for showing both the strain of the separation on each of them, as well as their desire to remain connected. It is but one of the many things that work so well in this story. I loved the settings and the dialogue. I loved that absolutely nothing felt rushed, even though it was only one hundred four pages. The supporting characters are great, especially Will’s flatmate, Suki, and his father, Ned. In fact, there wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about this one…other than wanting more. ;)

I completely fell for these boys and this book. A fabulous start to Garrett Leigh’s new Heated Beat series. Definitely check this one out, guys!






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5 Stars, Avril Ashton, Erotica, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Sinner's Haven Publishing

Review: (Watch Me) Unmask You by Avril Ashton

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Title: (Watch Me) Unmask You (Run This Town: Book Three)

Author: Avril Ashton

Publisher: Sinner’s Haven Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 254 Pages

At a Glance: An emotional and consuming read, and another win for the author and this series and, as a result, its readers.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: With one tug the thread unravels, and a world built on lies will come tumbling down

Too many bodies. Rivers of blood. Elias Kote sees them all in his sleep. Only the love of his husband and daughter keeps him alive and fighting. This contract killer is exhausted and weighed down with all the lies he tells every day. Who he is. What he does. How he came to have all he has. Elias can attest to nothing remaining hidden forever, but his secrets, when they do drop, shatters everything. Everyone. And leaves him scrambling to make his family whole again.

Ten years together. Three legally wed. One with their daughter. And in one night Lucky Mousasi’s world just…stops. What he thought was a random home invasion turns into way more. Masked men not only brutalize him, but they come armed with knowledge about Lucky, his husband, and the life he thought he knew. It seems nothing is coincidental, certainly not meeting and falling in love with Elias. Bruised, battered, heart ripped open, Lucky walks away.

An intimate rival will stop at nothing to neutralize the threat Elias poses, and the life he built out of guilt and desperation becomes collateral damage. When Lucky takes their daughter and disappears, Elias goes on a rampage. He will get his family back, but first he’s on an elimination mission. One bullet at a time.

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Review: Avril Ashton captures the danger of loving someone in (Watch Me) Unmask You, laying oneself bare and opening up to someone else, willingly becoming vulnerable and trusting another person not to destroy that trust. There is a danger for the men in the Run This Town series to fall in love because their secrets can kill and the lives they live are filled with things they can’t tell, for to confess some of those secrets would mean to risk losing everything.

Unmask You is a deeply moving and sometimes torturous love story between two men whose pasts tie them together in a profoundly unexpected way, in a way that, once revealed, obliterates the life they’d built together. The heartbreak and tension in this book is a thing of beauty as the author crafts the relationship between Lucky Mousasi and Elias Kote from a point in time when Lucky was a mere boy and Elias was already the man who killed people for a living. Theirs is a May/December romance that began well before it was a romance—back when it was simply a matter of Elias watching over Lucky from a distance, only surfacing on the occasions that Lucky needed Elias’s strength. Until one day the two of them could no longer deny or resist the bond that had been forged between them over the years, and Lucky then demanded what Elias was no longer able or willing to resist giving. Everything.

I love the way Avril Ashton tells a story. She doesn’t pull any punches on either the sex or the violence in her novels. Lucky and Elias, like all the men in this and her Brooklyn Sinners series, have an undeniable chemistry that’s evident from the moment they meet. It’s not always a sexual chemistry, but it is always a visceral response to each other that leaps off the page and draws the reader in. These books are honest, sometimes brutally so, and her characters hold to their own set of ethics that may be outside the law but are nonetheless the foundation upon which they build loyalty and love.

There are surprise alliances that, as these stories unfold, reveal the true measure of these men who are criminals, yes, but criminals who will give their lives willingly for the sake of those they hold dear. There should be a contrast in the way they deal in both death and intimacy, but there isn’t because they are both approached with a passion born in protecting the part of their lives that make them whole and better men.

Unmask You is easily the most sentimental of the three books so far in the Run This Town series, simply because of what Lucky and Elias had built together–a marriage, a home, a family–before their house of cards came crashing down around them. Lucky and Elias’s relationship is poignant, their longing for each other palpable, their love for each other tangible, and the pain that comes from the revelation of Elias’s secrets is bitter. It all blends together to make for an emotional and consuming read, and another win for the author and this series and, as a result, its readers.






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5 Stars, Joseph Lance Tonlet, Literary Fiction, Reviewed by Lynn, Self-Published

Review: Brothers LaFon by Joseph Lance Tonlet

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Title: Brothers LaFon (Part One)

Author: Joseph Lance Tonlet

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 56 Pages

At a Glance: This is a strong beginning of a series.

Reviewed By: Lynn

Blurb: Alexander LaFon lives a nightmare, but he deals with it. Deals with the fact that his mother abandoned him as an infant, deals with the fact that his father is never home, and deals with the fact that his older brother, Jeremiah, tortures him.

He dreams of escaping his mobile-home prison and finding a normal life. Of breaking free of his agony, finding a woman to love, becoming a teacher.

But some horrors you can never outrun. There’s nowhere to hide. Some nightmares chase you in your sleep and steal your freedom like a brutal thief. Some brothers never give up and never answer why.

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Review: Wow, just wow. This is my first time reading this author and he’s got me hooked. I’m definitely going to be reading more from him in the future. This brotherly bond has to be, hands down, the most warped, heinous and blood curdling relationship I’ve ever read, and I loved every minute of it. I know, I’m warped, it’s okay.

In the stories I’ve read that have a twisted brother relationship, there has always been a reason to the question of ‘why?’ Why are they behaving this way? Why do they do the things they’re doing? With this one, however, there is no complex backstory or sympathetic yet unjustifiable reason offered for Miah’s sickening behavior towards his younger brother, Alex. At least in this first installment, anyway. Oh yeah, “I don’t like you” is the only response we get. Chilling.

The author makes you totally empathize with Alex by putting us in his shoes and his head while these traumatizing events are going on, feeling the emotions right along with him, the pain, the hurt and most of all the immense fear he feels around his brother. I just wanted to yank him out of the book to stop him from being hurt. He’s a gentle person who only wants to be loved and doesn’t understand his brother’s hatred towards him. But this is where my head goes while reading stories like this: what happened to make Miah into this monster? Was he born psychotic? Was he abused in some way early in life? Why does he need this control over Alex? We are privy to Miah’s thoughts too, and his lack of feelings for his brother is frightening. He gets pleasure from causing his brother pain, that much we know. What we don’t know are the whys. This leads me to think the author purposely left out any explanation to Miah’s behavior, and I’m okay with that. It’s a serial, there’s more to this story.

With this being such a short read, the author makes it seem like a novel. There’s so much story here. It starts out with them as adults and transports us back to when they were kids. I can tell you, it got my heart beating with fear for Alex because I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty; what it was is downright disturbing. We then come full circle to present day. Alex has severed ties with his brother, leaving for college right after high school, and never looking back. But Miah has set in motion a series of events that brings Alex to him. With an ending that had me screaming for Alex to run, I can only imagine what the author has planned for these two. I await anxiously for part two.

Now, as I read in the acknowledgements, I see the author lists Kol Anderson as one of his inspirations. I’ve read all of Mr. Anderson’s books and can see his influence in this story. The similarities I’ve picked up on are how both authors make you have a love/hate relationship with the bad guy. For me, there is always a reason as to why a person becomes who they are. My hope is that Mr. Tonlet give us some kind of resolution behind Miah’s actions towards his brother. Will it condone his behavior, absolutely not. But I believe it’ll make us understand the why of it.

This is a strong beginning of a series. The author does a great job of whetting the reader’s appetite and left me wanting more. I know this isn’t going to be for everyone, but for those like me who love a dark, gritty read, don’t miss out. Read. This. Now.

I will give a warning here, this isn’t for the faint of heart or those with triggers. There’s physical abuse, animal abuse/killing, incest and dub-con sex.






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5 Stars, Eli Easton, Paranormal Romance, Pinkerton Road, Reviewed by Janet

Review: How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton

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Title: How to Howl at the Moon

Author: Eli Easton

Publisher: Pinkerton Road

Pages/Word Count: 196 Pages

At a Glance: How to Howl at the Moon is a book you should read.

Reviewed By: Janet

Blurb: Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.

Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.

Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.

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Review: Once again Eli Easton has nailed it. She has written a humorous story about shifters that is sweet, and has a little bit of a mystery woven into it, but that has a major twist – the shifters are dogs!

Lance is the alpha of the pack in Mad Creek. He is also the Sheriff of the small town where the pack makes its home, and he takes all of his responsibilities very seriously. Tim is human; he has had a hard life and has run away to Mad Creek to try to rebuild his life. He has a home there for 6 months in exchange for trying to grow a hybrid rose no one has ever developed before. He has strong hopes but little money, and needs the haven Mad Creek provides.

I am so grateful that the M/M genre has grown so much in recent years to allow authors like Eli Easton a home here – talented romantic comedy writers are few and far between. And talent is the operative word here. Eli Easton has written a shifter comedy, without farce but with plenty of pratfalls, in such a way that her love of dogs is obvious; she uses her knowledge of the characteristics of different breeds to create the characters in this book. It is done in a way that both pokes fun at the shifter genre, but also allows for a truly fun bunch of characters that we are able to be invested in and enjoy.

Eli Easton is a technically perfect author. Her plot flows well, with no stumbles or holes. The story and the relationships grow with conflicts and resolutions, and the character are well built and fully developed. They are believable, as is the world she builds for them in Mad Creek. This is all absorbed by the reader and because the base is so solid, she is able to direct the focus of the book to the story itself; the “aw” moments and the smiles and outright laughing we do are a result of these skills, and reflect the feelings her words invoke in us.

How to Howl at the Moon is a book you should read. It is a well written, fun book. It will capture your attention and hold it firmly until the last page, although you will probably smile at random memories for a few days after you have read it, because that is another skill that this author has – her words stay with you, and just seeing the cover of the book on my kindle makes me smile still weeks later. This story has cemented Eli Easton as an auto-buy author for me. I loved this book. I could not put it down until I had read it all the way to the end, and I enjoyed every moment. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!






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5 Stars, Cat Blaine, Evernight Publishing, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kim

Review: The Cop and the Geek by Cat Blaine

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Title: The Cop and the Geek

Author: Cat Blaine

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 64 Pages

At a Glance: The Cop and the Geek hit all my romance buttons.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: James O’Brien is having a horrible day. He’s dropped his car off at a repair place in a bad part of town. While he’s there minding his own business he ends up in a bar room brawl with a mouthy homophobic thug.

Officer Scott Brown is the sexy, kind cop who arrives on the scene. He can tell immediately that while James is a geek, but he isn’t a criminal, and is most likely just a nice guy caught up in a bad situation. The two of them have an immediate attraction and when Officer Brown gives James a ride home…things heat up.

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Review: Squeeeeeeee… Oh, I just fell in love with The Cop and the Geek! And I loved having to reread it so I could do this review.

With good reason, James O’Brien doesn’t like cops, and he doesn’t care much for children either. But when Officer Scott Brown shows up on the scene, James can’t help feeling a little flutter in his gut towards the attractive cop.

The feeling is somewhat mutual for Scott too.

So, after the situation between James and a homophobic drunk, which resulted in a bar fight, is cleared up, Scott finds himself offering to give James a ride home because the repair shop where he’d dropped off his car is closed, and James is stuck in a bad part of town. I loved James’s snarky banter, and Scott’s logical calm replies had me smiling. It was also cute how Scott weaseled James into letting him give him a ride the following morning to pick up his car. And I especially enjoyed meeting Troy, Scott’s son. What an adorable little mischievous munchkin he was. He even charmed James.

For a short story, The Cop and the Geek hit all my romance buttons. It’s well written, the characters well developed, and I’d love a sequel!

These kinds of stories just turn me into a cream puff.






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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Chris, Tempeste O'Riley

Review: Temptations of Desire by Tempeste O’Riley

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Title:  Temptations of Desire

Author: Tempeste O’Riley

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: The author really couldn’t have crafted a better character than Alex/Lexi.

Reviewed By: Chris

Blurb: Alexander James Noble is a gender fluid gay man who gave up on finding Mister Right a long time ago. He’s not asking for much, though. He just wants a guy who loves all of him and appreciates his feminine form too.

At the local LGBTQ center where Alex regularly volunteers, he meets Dal Sayer, an officer of the Milwaukee PD. Because he’s been rejected one too many times, Alex doesn’t trust the huge cop and the interest he shows in him, but once Dal sets his mind on something, he goes all out. Pushing aside his preconceived notions, Alex opens up just a little and soon caves.

From their first date—while dealing with his father’s failing health and his parents’ demands for him to settle down and have children—Dal never takes his eyes off his goal of making Alex his. But proving to Alex he isn’t like all the men who couldn’t see him for who he truly was and only wanted to hide him away is harder than he thought.

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Review:  Temptations of Desire is the third book in the Desires Entwined series but can easily be read as a standalone. I would strongly suggest reading all the books in this series, though, because the characters are fantastic.

Alex is a beautiful young man who’s dealt with a world full of hurt and hate because he isn’t always what he seems. Alex is also Lexi, a gender fluid gay man who is as comfortable looking masculine as he is appearing very feminine. He’s been this way since he was a young teen, and it caused his father to beat him, almost to death, and dump him on the street many miles away from home. Now he has his life together, and the only thing he really desires is to find someone who loves all of him, both as Alex and as Lexi.

Dal is a young police officer who is the brother of Rhys from Desire’s Guardian. While he doesn’t consider himself gay, he is bisexual and admits he loves seeing a beautiful woman just as much as a sexy man. One night while out, he spies a beautiful young woman but before he can speak with her, she disappears. Then, while helping at the local LGBTQ center, he meets Alex and Dal is smitten. He likes everything about Alex, even without really knowing him, and it just makes him want to get to know Alex more.

Alex is not as receptive to Dal at first, but that’s not to say he isn’t attracted to him. Alex is attracted to the big, strong young man, but Dal also trips Alex’s previous fear of large men. Because Alex is so slight, he’s been pushed around and abused by quite a few big men before, and that doesn’t lend to him trusting that Dal won’t hurt him. Eventually, Alex softens toward Dal and they go out, but Alex is still afraid of what Dal’s reaction to Lexi will be. The decision to share Lexi with Dal is taken out of Alex’s hands entirely by accident, but Dal’s reaction isn’t what Alex expected.

The major conflict in this story really revolves around Dal and his family. With his dad sick, he becomes very vocal about Dal not being allowed to be gay, too. That one of his sons must get married and provide the next generation. This really causes Dal to become conflicted because his family is everything to him and with his dad ill, he wants to make everything better for him. On the other hand, he’s in love with Alex and doesn’t want to hurt him either. So, he’s torn in two and hates that his family is putting this on him.

I have to say that I have loved all three books in this series. All have been very well written, with wonderfully strong characters. However, Alex/Lexi really and truly stole my heart and won’t give it back. Both as Alex and Lexi, he shows different sides of himself. As Alex he is confident in his abilities as a chef, and as Lexi, he’s strong and sexy, and that isn’t always something he feels as Alex. Lexi allows Alex to walk a little taller, be a little bolder, and to feel free and comfortable in himself.

The author really couldn’t have crafted a better character than Alex/Lexi. Add in the storyline of Alex’s past history and the relationship with Dal, and this just made Temptations of Desire one of my favorite books so far this year.  I hope everyone takes the time to discover this phenomenal character set in this wonderful story. And once done with this story, go back and read the rest of the series!

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Giveaways, J.T. Cheyanne, Self-Published

Excerpt and Giveaway: The Ansleigh’s Grotto Blog Tour With J.T. Cheyanne

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The Novel Approach welcomes author J.T. Cheyanne today on the Ansleigh’s Grotto blog tour. Enjoy the excerpt from the book, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win one of four e-copies of the book.

Good luck!

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AG CoverBlurb: Dylan Matthews lives in a world of fantasy. As a video game designer, there are no limits on how far or wide his imagination could stretch. He loves his work and excels at bringing the visions in his head to a game console. The luck of his Irish heritage seems to touch him when his prototype Zombie ApoXalypse is bought days after he inherits a mansion in the heart of the Appalachian mountains. Life is indeed magical.

Ansleigh has waited centuries for one man, only to find him and then lose him due to his own inability to trust in their burgeoning love. The magick of Mother Earth flows within him and through him allowing him to nourish the Grotto where he makes his home. Yet, he yearns for the male that nurtures his soul. When the whims of Fate bring his Cosantoir back into his life, does he have the courage to accept his heritage?

As the fantasies in his head become reality and the monsters of nightmares crawl through the forest, can Dylan forgive broken promises to protect the Croi? There is no pause button when the Fae and human worlds collide. Will Dylan have what it takes to master the maze and win Ansleigh’s freedom?

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

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Excerpt: Moonlight streamed through the leaf canopy. Silence met his ears. No animal noises skittered through the underbrush, even the leaves seemed frozen as if in anticipation. Was someone out there? He spun on his heel slowly. Something about this place tugged at him. There was something he was missing, but what?

“Hello?” He called, feeling foolish. When no answer came back, he rolled his eyes, shrugged at his own silliness and turned back in the direction of the house.

“Are you looking for someone in particular?” The low melodious voice stopped him in his tracks. Discreetly, Dylan pinched himself and the sharp sting confirmed he was definitely awake and someone had just spoken to him in the middle of the forest. Slowly, he twisted back around. The eyes from the earlier fleeting memory captured him. The ache in his chest intensified as they stared at each other.

His memory had been dead on about the eyes. They were so blue they seemed to glow in the moonlight. Laugh lines bracketed them and slim eyebrows arched perfectly above them. Cheekbones any male model would appreciate gave way to lean cheeks. His face was longish with a squared, firm jaw. Full lips curved into a half smile. Reddish brown dark hair fell past his shoulders and brushed the top of his ass.

The bare chest gave Dylan pause; beautifully sculpted muscle and lots of bare tan skin. Broad shoulders topped smooth and well defined pecs, a perfect six pack and the most magnificent oblique vee he’d seen in a long time. Bare feet peeked from beneath loose fitting cotton pants. Dylan’s body stirred. The man’s head tilted to the side just a fraction, but enough to pull Dylan’s gaze back up. He’d guess six-four or six-five. The man had asked a question. Dylan’s brain slowly kicked into gear.

“Uh, no.Just taking a walk. I thought someone…” was watching me. He didn’t finish the sentence aloud. “Are you lost? The National Park is in the other direction.” The intense gaze didn’t falter, but Dylan swore a pained look crossed the other man’s face.

“How have you been, Dylan? It’s been a long time.” While the voice seemed to sink inside of his skin and soothe, the use of his name set off all kinds of alarms.

“I’ve been…how do you know my name? Have we met before?” Dylan took a step back. Of course they’d met. He remembered the guy’s eyes, the hair. “Do you work up at the house?” He’d been there for two days; albeit, stuck in his room most all of that time. Maybe he’d passed the room where Dylan was working. “You seem familiar.”

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100Author Bio: #1 Best Selling Author of Grand Slam, J.T. Cheyanne is a genre crosser who writes romance and paranormal in the m/m and m/f genres. J.T. Cheyanne resides in the beautiful state of Alabama. J.T. lives with her two sons and daughter. An avid reader since fourth grade, she has only just started writing her own stories. She also has several works published with her co-author, V.L. Moon.

Social Media Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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CoolDudes Publishing, Giveaways, Mia Kerick

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Inclination Blog Tour With Mia Kerick

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The Novel Approach welcomes Mia Kerick on the Inclination blog tour. For her visit, I asked Mia this question:

Religion is a divisive topic that, in one way or another, always seems to be in the forefront of social issues in the LGBT community. Why did you want to take on such a weighty subject in a Young Adult book, and what would you say is the primary message you hope readers will take away from Inclination?

Check out what Mia has to say on the subject, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win one of three e-books from Mia’s backlist.

Good luck!

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Mia: Raised a strict Catholic, I struggled since childhood with the rules-oriented nature of my religion. But knowing the rules, and living by them are two different stories. I have long struggled with the nature of the rules in Christianity, but only recently have I thought to examine the intentions behind these rules. And this struggle began when I was a teen, as many major life tend to issues show themselves at this time, which is in short why I addressed a weighty topic like this in a YA novel. And as a teen and a young adult, my major source of stress in this rules-following arena was, like Anthony, in regard to sexuality. Not in regard to my orientation, but in regard to my thoughts and actions.

In preparing to write Inclination, which had a working title of His Way, I did A LOT of research about same-sex behavior, and scriptural passages regarding this, found in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, so my remarks will focus on Gay Christianity, rather than on other religions. This is not meant to exclude other religions from the discussion; however, I only want to speak about the specific topic I studied.I will repeat, I did A LOT of research. Maybe too much. This led to my first few drafts of Inclination sounding a little textbook-ish—Christian doctrine textbook, if you know what I mean. In respect to LGBT Christianity, I learned much of the pertinent Biblical passages from many different sources that pointed out both sides of the issue. My kitchen island workspace much resembled David’s chaotic kitchen table in the novel.A research project that matters more that an A grade or pat on your head from your parents because you did a good job… for David, and for myself, to some extent, this was a research paper about salvation.

In the course of my research, I watched a video where gay and lesbian Christian teens (not actors) were interviewed about their lives as homosexuals in Christian churches. What I saw made me cry. These kids LOVED GOD more than I can put into words, but they suffered as if they were evil sinners, or destined to be sinners, if they acted on their orientations. These teens were desperate, guilty, heartbroken. Many were trying to be something they were not—heterosexual. They wanted to be straight. They prayed that they could and would be changed, but to no avail. Others had given up on Christianity because they just couldn’t manage to stifle their true sexuality. Some prepared themselves to live a life alone, with no intimate companion. Others attempted to take their own lives.

I asked myself, how can I NOT address this subject as a Young Adult novel?

So, what message would I like readers to come away with after reading Inclination? The big picture message I hope readers take is that God loves gay Christians. But that is a big picture, and I realize that many Christians look to the Bible for the specifics. So, I hope readers will read with an open mind through David’s basic explanations to Anthony of very detailed scriptural analysis. I hope readers will see that the Bible is subject to human interpretation. And that it is not illogical to interpret that the intention of the Scripture is not as simple as “you shall not lie with a man as with a woman,” but that it is referring to a behavior far more complicated. And for those as detail-obsessed as I can be, that even when you get down to the nitty-gritty of the scripture, you will be able to see that there is a way of understanding the “clobber passages” (the passages that seem to condemn homosexuality) that is not at all anti-gay, but is instead, anti-excessive lustfulness, anti-selfishness, anti-inhospitality. And that readers will trust in what they know of Jesus—that he is not even slightly obsessed by the rules but instead by the essence of Christianity, which is love.

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1741016Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Anthony Duck-Young Del Vecchio is a nice Catholic boy with a very big problem. It’s not the challenge of fitting in as the lone adopted South Korean in a close-knit family of Italian-Americans. Nor is it being the one introverted son in a family jam-packed with gregarious daughters. Anthony’s problem is far more serious—he is the only gay kid in Our Way, his church’s youth group. As a high school junior, Anthony has finally come to accept his sexual orientation, but he struggles to determine if a gay man can live as a faithful Christian. And as he faces his dilemma, there are complications. After confiding his gayness to his intolerant adult youth group leader, he’s asked to find a new organization with which to worship. He’s beaten up in the church parking lot by a fanatical teen. His former best pal bullies him in the locker room. His Catholic friends even stage an intervention to lead him back to the “right path.” Meanwhile, Anthony develops romantic feelings for David Gandy, an emo, out and proud junior at his high school, who seems to have all the answers about how someone can be gay and Christian, too.

Will Anthony be able to balance his family, friends and new feelings for David with his changing beliefs about his faith so he can live a satisfying life and not risk his soul in the process?

Buy Links: CoolDudes | Amazon US | All Romance eBooks

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Mia KerickAuthor Bio: Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, Cool Dudes, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Jaime Reese, Reviewed by Jackie, Self-Published

Review: A Restored Man by Jaime Reese

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Title: A Restored Man (The Men of Halfway House: Book Three)

Author: Jaime Reese

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 363 Pages

At a Glance: This book, as well as the others in the series, is just amazing.

Reviewed By: Jackie

Blurb: Cole Renzo thinks his greatest challenge is to behave for the remainder of his term at Halfway House. Until he meets his new boss, Ty Calloway, a man who ticks off every box on Cole’s list of interests.

A sought-after restorer and customizer of exotic and collectible cars, Ty had enough confidence to command what he wanted in life, until one fateful night changed everything. Almost two years later, he’s slowly rebuilding his life with great control. He’s defied the odds and works tirelessly to be the man he once was—but he still feels broken.

Cole’s candor and unfiltered personality awaken Ty’s barely-remembered desire to greet each new day with a smile, while Ty’s unwavering acceptance of Cole’s quirks and brash humor makes Cole feel as if he fits in for the first time in far too long. When a nemesis threatens Ty’s personal restoration and the things he holds dear, Cole is determined to protect their relationship, even if that means sacrificing everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ty will have to let his guard down, surrender control, and admit he needs Cole first, even if that puts himself at risk of breaking beyond repair.

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Review: Oh man, when I saw A Restored Man on the “Coming Soon” page, I was so very excited. I have loved The Men of Halfway House series since the very beginning. When Cole made his first appearance in the series, he seemed like a total trouble maker. I was looking forward to reading this so I could find out more about this character. I just knew he had to have hidden depths, and boy was I right.

Cole Renzo has turned out to be one of my favorite characters of the year. On the surface he is just a car stealing, ADHD-having wild man. Once you scratch at the surface a little, though, you get a whole other view of the man. He is a whiz at just about anything that has to do with cars, he is completely devoted to his family, and he has a thing for beanies.

Ty Calloway has offered Cole a job in his shop during his stay in the halfway house. Ty is a premier auto restorer and mechanic who has had it pretty rough lately. An accident has left him scarred, both physically and mentally. Add in an opportunistic criminal, and Ty is on the edge of a breakdown. Little does he know that Cole could be the answer to questions he hasn’t even thought to ask himself.

Jaime Reese has once again put pen to paper and worked some major magic between two men who are somewhat cracked but not wholly broken. Cole is a man who grew up in a close knit family, but tragedy put him on a course of self-destruction that landed him in jail and eventually, in the Halfway House. Ty’s life was almost identical. He had great parents, a loving brother, and a killer career. The difference is when tragedy struck Ty, he just shut down. No acting out for him.

From the moment these two meet there are sparks, but they have a metric ton of baggage to sort through before they can even think of a HEA. Luckily for us, the author did a fantastic job of walking us through their journey. I loved getting to experience the highs and lows right alongside Ty and Cole. Cole’s family was a treat and Ty’s brother, well, he was…interesting. I am hoping he’ll be getting his very own story soon. I am sure it will be a page turner as well.

This book, as well as the others in the series, is just amazing. I am completely in love with all the characters, and I can’t wait to see where Ms. Reese will take us next.






You can buy A Restored Man here:

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5 Stars, Historical Romance, KJ Charles, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Rena, Samhain Publishing

Review: Jackdaw by KJ Charles

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Title: Jackdaw

Author: KJ Charles

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 189 Pages

At a Glance: Jackdaw is a wonderfully written romance between two all-too-human young men.

Reviewed By: Rena

Blurb: If you stop running, you fall.

Jonah Pastern is a magician, a liar, a windwalker, a professional thief…and for six months, he was the love of police constable Ben Spenser s life. Until his betrayal left Ben jailed, ruined, alone, and looking for revenge.

Ben is determined to make Jonah pay. But he can t seem to forget what they once shared, and Jonah refuses to let him. Soon Ben is entangled in Jonah s chaotic existence all over again, and they re running together – from the police, the justiciary, and some dangerous people with a lethal grudge against them.

Threatened on all sides by betrayals, secrets, and the laws of the land, can they find a way to live and love before the past catches up with them?

This story is set in the world of the Charm of Magpies series.

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Note: If you haven’t read the entire Charm of Magpies trilogy, this review contains what could be considered a spoiler.

Review: As a big old fan of KJ Charles’ Charm of Magpies series, I was thrilled to see a new novel whose events take place in the same universe and timeline. If anything, the book is a kind of a sequel to Flight of Magpies, and not only do we enjoy the adventures of a completely different couple, we also get to see Stephen Day and Lord Crane as side characters who peripherally affect Ben and Jonah’s predicament, and also bid goodbye to England for better lives in the East.

The main difference between Jackdaw and the Magpies series is that Ben and Jonah’s story is a lot more grounded than Stephen and Lucius’. And that’s because our POV character is Ben, who’s an ordinary man who’s suffered horribly as a consequence of Jonah’s errors in judgment. And, yes, Jonah – who first appears in Charm of Magpies – is a windwalker, but he’s not a justiciar like Stephen nor is blessed (cursed?) with a bloodline steeped in deadly magic like Crane. Both Ben and Jonah are, in truth, simple men who’re deeply, deeply in love with each other and are desperately fighting for nothing more than a chance to live quietly and happily together. But as the blurb notes, not only are they up against some pretty dangerous sorts – law enforcement and justiciars – they also struggle against questions of trust, forgiveness, and second chances.

Just like Day and Crane, Ben and Jonah are made out to be very complex characters who, unfortunately, are up against some pretty overwhelming odds. Every difficulty in their relationship and past actions isn’t easily resolved because nothing’s in black and white. Painful questions regarding choices made in reference to sacrificing innocents in order to save one’s love are constantly thrown at both of them, and it’s pretty heartbreaking watching them deal with their conscience, especially when hard, inescapable facts force them to make ultimate sacrifices for each other in the climax of the book. They don’t have the benefit of a support group, unlike Day and Crane. They’re both outcasts on so many levels – both dirt poor, rejected by their families, and unemployed, with Jonah completely illiterate – swimming against rough currents without any hope for help, save from each other.

And because their relationship takes center stage in this book, one can’t help but wish the worst for Stephen Day sometimes, as he goes about his usual stick-up-the-butt, moral way. That said, I appreciate the fact that, again, everything’s laid out in so many different shades of gray that despite my resentment toward Stephen in some scenes, I’m also shown how human he is as a man who simply wishes to see justice done – and it’s so in character for him to hold on to the case like a little red-haired pit bull. Stephen’s heart’s in the right place, but he doesn’t get to see the truth as clearly as we’d like him to. As always, Crane gives us the much-needed spark of dark humor and clarity when things seem so bleak – the triumph of amorality, I think, in a world that can never be dealt with in black and white terms. It’s also a triumph in that it’s a concession, a willingness to see the good in imperfection despite the risks.

The plot takes us away from London and into a more bucolic environment: a village in Cornwall. At the very tip of southwestern England, it’s just the perfect place for two ordinary men to find the peaceful sanctuary they desperately need. Simple and rustic, filled with fishermen and other poor locals whose day-to-day concerns are nowhere near the bizarre, metaphysical events that shadow Stephen’s life as a justiciar and drive Crane batty as Stephen’s lover. There are so many parallels that can be drawn between the two couples and their respective environments, as well as the manner of, and reasons behind, their self-imposed exiles. As with the Magpies series, this book offers us something much more than just a surface reading of two lovers’ struggles, so a big hat tip to Charles for keeping up the complexity in her books.

Jackdaw is a wonderfully written romance between two all-too-human young men. With its less colorful and relatively quieter conflict compared to the three books in the Magpies series, we get to be brought down to earth in a sense, enjoy a more old-fashioned love story despite its darker, bloodier, and more magic-soaked past. The shift in focus toward an idyllic backdrop in rural England also serves to complete Stephen and Crane’s story in a bittersweet yet triumphant way. While Charles could’ve easily written a full novel about their departure from England, I’m glad she chose to approach it in this manner. There’s no complicated melodrama, no craziness, no destructive magic shrouding them this time – just a simple, quiet exit that lends them a certain melancholy dignity, bolstered by the rustic perfection of Ben and Jonah’s new life together.

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4 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Feral Sephrian, JMS Books LLC, Reviewed by Jennifer

Review: The Silk Dungeon by Feral Sephrian

Title: The Silk Dungeon

Author: Feral Sephrian

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 44 Pages

At a Glance: Short story with fun characters, silly dialogue, and hot sex.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: With the exception of a few wild nights at the club, Nick Loredon’s life is nothing but one boring day after another. When his friends finally convince him to try speed-dating to shake things up, he meets Victor, a film critic who brings some much-needed action into the mix.
However, as their relationship grows stronger, Victor reveals a secret hidden in the basement Nick didn’t even know was there: a BDSM sex dungeon. On top of that, the dungeon is where Victor used to host all-male orgies with his friends. At first Nick is horrified, then curious, then hooked as Victor shows him all the opportunities waiting down in the dungeon.

What begins as a shock quickly becomes routine, albeit one more exciting than Nick ever had. There is a frontier he has yet to cross, though, and asks Victor if his friends would come over for another orgy. Will their relationship survive the hedonistic afternoon, or will Nick discover he isn’t quite ready to be tied down?

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Review: Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this story, and in the end I was pleasantly surprised. While some of the initial dialogue felt forced, the story quickly found its pace, and I was thoroughly engaged. Nick and Victor are fun. They’ve been dating for a few months and read one of those love articles in a magazine for their relationship. One of the suggestions was to reveal desires to keep things interesting. Nick wants to be “interrogated” like in an action movie, and Victor…well, he has all the equipment for that in his hidden “dungeon.”

The book is divided into distinct parts. The first half of the story deals with Nick learning about Victor’s secret dungeon and coming to terms with what it means, and then exploring all of the possibilities it contains for the two of them. My favorite line occurs during this section, actually, and I laughed pretty hard. It’s right after Victor brings Nick down to the dungeon, and Nick is getting his first good look: “He had been looking for fun and excitement, but this was like wanting to curl up by a warm fire and accidentally falling into the sun.”

After time passes and they’ve tried just about everything, Nick wants to take it to the next level. He wants to experience an orgy like the ones Victor used to have in the dungeon. I wasn’t sure what to think about that part, but I ended up really enjoying it. The author made all of the characters distinct enough with their own personalities, and no one blended together. I really liked Peter and William the most, I think. And despite how sexy the scene was, there were funny moments, great dialogue, and some minor insecurities that briefly rose up, but are pushed away as their feelings are revealed. My second favorite line of the story came from Mike, after Victor and Nick declare their love for each other. They’re in the middle of this massive bed with all the other guys, and Mike says, “Victor, if you’re not kissing him right now, you’re doing it wrong.” Maybe it was just the situation, but it struck me as hysterical.

Overall, this was a good short story with some funny and sweet moments. There is BDSM in it; however, it’s fairly light compared to other stories I have read. If you’re looking for a short story to test the BDSM waters for the first time, like Nick, I don’t think you’d go wrong with this one!

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Giveaways, Self-Published, T.M. Smith

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Cellar by T.M. Smith

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The Novel Approach welcomes author T.M. Smith today to talk about her latest release in the Opposites series, The Cellar. There’s also a chance to win some swag, so check out the details below.

Good luck!

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Hello everyone, and thank you to Lisa for having me on the blog today. I wanted to talk a little about my latest release, The Cellar an Opposites novella. The Cellar is the story of Taryn and Thanos, the father’s of House Orion. While my series is written sort of like a saga so the books need to be read in order, I also think that someone who either hasn’t read the stories yet or is on the fence could start with one of the novellas in order to get a feel for the world I’ve created.

The Cellar is the story of Taryn and Thanos, how they met, fell in love and grew into the formidable Ambassadors for House Orion. There is a hint of the classic rich boy and boy from the wrong side of the tracks to their story, but love is love and no matter who that is you fall in love with, no matter where they are from, everyone deserves to be with that person. Just like with The Library, the first novella in the series, I took scenes that were either cut short or deleted from Appearances and wrote those scenes out for The Cellar. So while it is a story majorly for Taryn and Thanos, there is a continuation for some fan favorites as well. Like Aiyan and Kaden as well as Raven and Tanis.

I’m also offering a giveaway today, enter below for a chance to win one of three prize packs. Comments must be received by Midnight Pacific time on Monday, March 2, 2015. One winner will be selected at random on Tuesday, the 3rd, and notified by email for prize delivery.

Be sure to follow my facebook page and website for up to date info on current works, series updates and any open contests. Again, a great big fat thank you to Lisa and everyone at The Novel Approach for allowing me to share my books today. Until next time!

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cellar cover 2Blurb: It’s time to learn the truth about what happened that day in The Cellar.

Taryn and Thanos are the formidable Ambassadors of House Orion. Taryn was born into power, bred from birth to lead the people of Greece along with his sister Theresa, Thanos was never a part of his mother’s plan. The son of a fisherman was not a suitable match for the son of Greece as far as their mother was concerned, but Taryn always takes what he wants.

The Cellar is the story of how these two men met and fell in love, and what lengths Taryn went to, to ensure he kept his man. This novella also contains a more detailed accounting of what happened the night Raven and Tanis went for a walk on the beach, and the adult version of Mistletoe and Mayhem that was initially released as a free short through goodreads.

The Cellar is the second novella in the Opposites series, the series should be read in order.

** Warning, Opposites is an Adult Dystopian majorly M/M series that contains explicit sexual content and relationships between gay, straight and lesbian couples. However, The Cellar is strictly a M/M novella **

Buy Links: Amazon US | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords

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Appearances Author T.M. SmithAbout the Author: A military brat born and raised at Ft. Benning Georgia; Smith is an avid reader, reviewer and writer. She now calls Texas home from her small town on the outskirts of the DFW Metroplex. Most days you can find her curled up with her kindle and a good book alongside a glass of something aged and red or a steaming cup of coffee!

At 42 years young, she’s decided to enter the next phase of her life by adding the title of “author” to her list of accomplishments that includes single mom of three disturbingly outspoken and decidedly different kids, one of which is Autistic. Smith is and outspoken advocate for Autism and equal rights for the LGBTQ community.

Her Opposites series is based outside the normal parameters of social acceptability, examining a ‘what if’… What If to be gay or lesbian were the norm? What if to be straight labeled you as an Opposite and made YOU the Outkast?

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Boroughs Publishing Group, Giveaways, Susan Mac Nicol

Interview and Giveaway: The Sight and Sinners Blog Tour With Susan Mac Nicol

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The Novel Approach is happy to welcome Susan Mac Nicol today on the Sight and Sinners blog tour. Enjoy the short interview we did together, and then be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for the chance to win an e-copy of any TWO of Susan’s books, winner’s choice.

Good luck!

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Q: Welcome, Susan, it’s lovely having you here with us today. Let’s start out talking about a big part of Sight and Sinners’ storyline: do you believe in the sixth sense? Have you ever known anyone personally who’s exhibited a talent for second sight?

A: I do believe in it. I don’t know anyone that actually has demonstrated it like Taylor has but I have had experiences where something has happened, without knowing why, and it has reaped benefits. My husband and I were driving down a road one night. It was a road we drove every single day. For some inexplicable reason, instead of continuing to turn right at the traffic lights like we would normally have done, he turned right directly into someone’s driveway. We sat and looked at each other for a minute, and he said, “I don’t know why I did that.” He pulled out and as we started to drive down the road again, a huge truck shot the red traffic light ahead of us and sped away. If we hadn’t been ‘distracted’ we probably would have been hit. So – guardian angels or my husband having a premonition – who knows. It probably saved our lives.

Q: Given its long and storied history, do you believe there are parts of London that have a strong ghostly vibration, as you’ve called it?

A: I’m a big believer in the unknown, the occult and the balance of the Universe between living and dead. My bookcase collection and my very own Witchbox and wand attests to this. :)

Sight and Sinners

One of the most amazing things about being able to travel London is the history and the atmosphere and ambience you find everywhere you go. It’s a vast city, with cobbled streets, houses that lean at weird angles, and mystery and intrigue seep out of the walls and entrances like fog. The stories and the tales that are told are fascinating pieces of the human sub culture of death and survival, of hope and love. It has it all. With all that emotion over the centuries, there is simply no way that the remaining energy and passion left behind after someone moves on, is simply dissipated. It has to go somewhere. Take a look at one of London’s ghost walks…

Ghosts, Ghouls and Graveyards

Q: What was the most enjoyable part of writing Sight and Sinners? And specifically about bringing two characters like Draven and Taylor together?

A: To see two such varied characters coming together and falling in love – Taylor with his sense of the ‘otherworld’ and his unswerving devotion to it and his emotions and feelings -and Draven, hard-nosed investigator, firmly ground in Earth and all that he can see, touch, taste, and hear – that was wonderful to write. To try and get someone to see another point of view, that which can’t be seen with the human eyes and take a leap of faith in both the person they love and the fact something else exists out there other than the physical – it’s very rewarding to create such a situation. To make two completely different individuals with not much in common fall in love – I loved it. I hope the readers do too.

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91zP9thY5PL._SL1500_Blurb: THE MEN OF LONDON: 
From Charing Cross to Waterloo, there’s no escaping love.

SEEING THROUGH…

28-year-old Draven Samuels has a tragic past, but as an investigator with a high-profile London company he now gets what he wants. Tough, sarcastic, and sceptical, he has no patience for lies and even less for people who waste his time. Even if they’re as beautiful as the wild and dark-haired Taylor Abelard. Especially when they’re talking over the body of a murder victim.

THE DARKNESS

Psychic Taylor Abelard is used to people calling him a freak. He can see past events and feel the ghostly vibrations of people close to him who’ve passed on. It’s why he doesn’t get too close to the living. But this time, against his better judgment, despite Draven’s mocking rejoinders, Taylor will get closer than ever before. The mystery surrounding a dead friend will lead the two men down a dark and seedy trail of blackmail and lies. Add in the heartbreak of a family tragedy, and events lead them straight into each other’s arms. By the end of this night, all their demons will have risen—and been banished with the dawn.

Categories: Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE

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Susan Mac NicolAuthor Bio: Susan Mac Nicol is a self confessed bookaholic, an avid watcher of videos of sexy pole dancing men, self confessed geek and nerd and in love with her Smartphone. This little treasure is called ‘the boyfriend’ by her long suffering husband, who says if it vibrated, there’d be no need for him. Susan hasn’t had the heart to tell him there’s an app for that…

She is never happier than when sitting in the confines of her living room/study/on a cold station platform scribbling down words and making two men fall in love. She is a romantic at heart and believes that everything happens (for the most part) for a reason. She likes to think of herself as a ‘half full’ kinda gal, although sometimes that philosophy is sorely tested.

Lover of walks in the forest, theatre productions, dabbling her toes in the cold North Sea and the vibrant city of London where you can experience all four seasons in a day , she is a hater of pantomime (so please don’t tar and feather her), duplicitous people, bigotry and self righteous idiots.

In an ideal world, Susan Mac Nicol would be Queen of England and banish all the bad people to the Never Never Lands of Wherever -Who Cares. As that’s never going to happen, she contents herself with writing her HEA stories and pretending, that just for a little while, good things happen to good people.

Social Media Links: website | blog | facebook | twitter | pinterest | linkedin | tumblr

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3.5 Stars, Genre Romance, New Adult, Reviewed by Kathie, Self-Published, Wade Kelly

Review: Misplaced Affection by Wade Kelly

Title: Misplaced Affection

Author: Wade Kelly

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 380 Pages

At a Glance: I felt there were too many balls in the air in this plot.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Clichés are overrated and loving the boy next door may not be as genuine as the love Flynn sacrifices along the way.

Knowing he’s gay and acting on it were two separate notions to Flynn Brewer until he’d met Keith, his first boyfriend, in high school. Before then, being gay wasn’t as real as the pain of living day-to-day. Flynn’s fear of coming out to his religious best friend Zach in their conservative community destroyed his relationship with Keith, but Flynn rationalized his avoidance and bottled up the truth until it was regrettably too late.

Zachary Mitchell was the perfect son and role model as far as the outside world could tell. Active in his church while attending college, Zach had a personality that could sell anything, do anything, or be anything. Except, he couldn’t sell the truth to himself. Just when he was ready to reveal his internal conflict to Flynn and expose the darkness lurking in his heart, and in his “perfect” family, Zach met a girl and got sucked deeper into his chasm of deception.

Caught in a living Newton’s Cradle of his own design, Flynn must choose between idealistic childhood fantasy, or a tempestuous passion that could ignite the very air he breathes.

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Review: I really struggled with this book and review. On the one hand I am a big fan of Wade Kelly and have enjoyed many of her books and audiobooks. On the other hand, I was taken aback by how much religion played a role in this book. Just for my obsessive-compulsive tendency, I counted how many times the words God, church, and religious/religion were used in Misplaced Affection. God, as a proper noun, and god, as in “oh my god,” were mentioned at least 140 times; the word religion, or a variation of it, 31 times; and church, 73 times. I admit I have not been comfortable in a church lately, mostly due to the religious fanatics who feel they have a right to judge my family and not allow my son the right to marry if he makes that choice. Coming from that place, it was hard to lay aside my beliefs and review the book on the merits of the writing and character development alone.

Wade Kelly tells us this story from the point-of-view of the three main characters, each having his own voice to tell his side. We first hear from Flynn and how he’s coping with being seventeen, having his first boyfriend, and watching his closest friend pull away from him. To make life a little more crazy, he is also working through the grief of losing his mother and brother in a car accident.

Zack was the hardest character for me to read. Zack is in the center of the circle, so to speak, and is the center of the book. He lives with an abusive parent who justifies his abuse and control with religion. Zack struggles with his identity and because of this, and many other struggles, his parents take advantage of those weaknesses, controlling Zack’s every move.

Keith, who brings up the rear, is the most balanced of the three characters. He has a good family that supports him, but Keith’s biggest problem is he is in love with Flynn. And not only does he want a sexual relationship with Flynn, which Flynn is all for, but he wants Flynn to come out, and that means more than just to his dad.

There is a lot to Misplaced Affection: coming out to family, times two; trips to the desert, almost weddings, and many trips to the hospital. I felt there were too many balls in the air in this plot, and they start falling one by one until finally, all that’s left are three—Flynn, Zack, and Keith. The question is, who ends up with whom, and is there a happy ending?

I liked the characters in Misplaced Affection, the families, and their friends–they all played a role in shaping the story. My only wish as I was reading this book was for fewer mentions of God, religion, and church. It would have tightened up a story that was already really long.






You can buy Misplaced Affection here:

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lana, Tere Michaels

Review: Cherish & Blessed by Tere Michaels

Title: Cherish & Blessed (Faith, Love & Devotion: Books Four and Five

Author: Tere Michaels

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: Reading these stories was like visiting with a best friend.

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurbs: Cherished

After several years of happy coupledom, Matt and Evan can relax in the knowledge that their little family has survived the worst of it. The two older girls are away at college, the twins have yet to fully hit teen angst, Matt is doing well with his part time security consulting, and Evan is about to be promoted to captain—it seems like things are calm and bright.

Until they aren’t.

As the holidays approach, Evan and Matt get a shock no parent is ever prepared for: feisty Miranda, Evan’s eldest, has a new boyfriend, Kent, and they are talking marriage after just three months together. In fact, Miranda wants to bring him to Thanksgiving dinner—along with his parents, Blake and Cornelia.

Blessed

Lives are in transition as everyone gathers at the stunning Hamptons beach home of Daisy and Bennett to celebrate the christening of their new baby. Griffin and Jim—secretly growing tired of their rootless lifestyle—are in a rocky spot in their relationship. And as the godfather, Griffin finds himself yearning for something he’s sure Jim won’t be interested in.

Fatherhood.

Matt and Evan are looking to reconnect during the long weekend, as their respective careers pull them in separate directions. With less time spent together, Evan grows concerned about what will happen when the last two kids leave the nest.

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Review: Cherish & Blessed is a continuation of Evan and Matt’s story, their family, and a close circle of friends. What can I say but that I loved it? I couldn’t get enough and was disappointed when I finished the book.

I’m not going to go into the plot, but the stories center around the Haight/Cirelli household. In Cherish, it’s been a number of years since Matt and Evan got together. The kids are growing up and moving out. Matt and Evan are settled in their relationship. Reading about them, their typical, mundane everyday life, and their passion was just beautiful because it’s all about their love for each other. But, it’s not without some drama in the form of Miranda and her lingering issues regarding her mother’s death and her father’s relationship with a man. Thanksgiving becomes a crazy event as Miranda brings her boyfriend’s family, hoping for some fireworks when they meet Evan and Matt.

It doesn’t quite go her way. It’s funny and very poignant. Miranda still can’t fully accept Matt in her life, and this brings a heap of guilt onto Evan. There is always this underlying question: if his wife hadn’t died, who would he choose? Evan’s still struggling with his guilt, but he will never choose between the two because he loves them both in different ways. And Matt loves him unconditionally and always shows it.

Blessed is a chapter in Evan and Matt’s lives. New opportunities and life changes are on the horizon. Evan is up for a promotion, but he’s afraid he’ll just be a gay poster boy for the new and improved inclusive police force. Matt’s security business is taking off and as the kids get older and move out, he’s getting more content in his life. As always, the extended family/friends are all there and are as lovable as ever. Bennett and Daisy are getting ready for a new baby. Helena and Shane are still in a honeymoon state, and Jim and Griffin are at a crossroads in life. Griffin has baby fever and Jim is not sure what the next step in their life is.

Every storyline was perfect. Okay, so I’m a huge fan and just couldn’t get enough. I want to know these people in real life. I want to be their friend! The love they have for each other jumps off the page, and the emotions are of the charts.

Reading these stories was like visiting with a best friend. I just couldn’t get enough because my appetite for them is insatiable. So, Ms. Michaels, you need to give us more of Evan and Matt ASAP!






You can buy Cherish & Blessed here:

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Jay Northcote, Reviewed by Jackie, Self-Published

Review: Passing Through by Jay Northcote

Title: Passing Through

Author: Jay Northcote

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 121 Pages

At a Glance: I would definitely recommend giving Passing Through a read.

Reviewed By: Jackie

Blurb: Leo is a lonely workaholic with no time for romance in his life. His job in London takes all his energy and commitment. When he goes to Cornwall to stay with his terminally ill uncle, Edwin, love is the last thing Leo expects to find.

Tris lives in a cottage on Edwin’s land. Gay, but still half in the closet, he and Leo bond over their affection for Edwin, and the pull of attraction between them proves too strong to ignore. In Tris’s arms, in the wilds of Cornwall, Leo finds a peace he’d forgotten existed.

On his return to London, Leo finds himself grieving for more than just the loss of his uncle. When some unexpected news gives Leo the chance to return to Cornwall, he’s afraid it will be too late to rekindle things with Tris. But having learned much from his stay with his uncle, Leo doesn’t want to look back and wish he’d done things differently.

It’s time to seize the day—if it’s not already too late.

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Review: I am an unapologetic fangirl of Ms. Northcote’s books. To say I was excited to see a new book out would be a huge understatement. Passing Through was very well written and the characters were entertaining, but I almost felt there were too many irons in the fire on this one.

Leo was a great character with flaws, but none too big that you couldn’t overlook them. He was a workaholic that let his personal relationships fall by the wayside when he let his job take precedence over everything else. When his favorite Uncle Edwin is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Leo decides to spend some quality time with Edwin before there isn’t any time left. What Leo didn’t expect was to find on this trip was Tris.

After having his life turned upside down, Tris rented a cottage from Edwin and helped the man out while getting his own life back together. Coming to terms with his sexuality later in life, Tris has found he’s had to redefine himself and what is left of his family. Leo is a bright spot in a dim part of his life, but it appears this will only be temporary.

When Edwin’s time begins to run short, he seems to be able to finally share his past and his life story with Leo and Tris. The revelations these two men are witness to, make them take stock of their own lives in a way many of us don’t get the opportunity to. Both Leo and Tris will have to decide what is most important to them, and find a way to go after their own elusive happily ever after.

I loved the premise of this story. Uncle Edwin, funnily enough, was my favorite character in the entire book. As his life was coming to an end, he did everything he could to help his beloved nephew see what is most important in life. He confessed everything he’d kept secret for years, in hopes that there could be a different, if not better, outcome for Leo. Honestly, this man was an undercover yenta, and I loved every minute of it.

The love story between Leo and Tris seemed to take a back seat at times in the book, and that was okay, for the most part. I believe their love story was a subtle one, it almost seemed as if Edwin was more of an MC at times, and I loved him for it. Don’t get me wrong, Tris and Leo did have a great story, and it was told well, but it never seemed to be in sharp focus.

Even without the angsty love story I have come to expect and love from Jay Northcote, I would definitely recommend giving Passing Through a read.






You can buy Passing Through here:

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Giveaways, Self-Published, Silvia Violet

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Burning Up Tour With Silvia Violet

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The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome Silvia Violet today on the Burning Up blog tour, Book Three in the Fitting In series.

I asked Silvia to share with us her thoughts on the subject of what makes firefighters great leading men in romance. Here’s what she had to say:

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Silvia: While I prefer the main characters in a romance whether m/f, m/m, m/m/f, m/m/m or any other combination to all be strong men or women willing to stand up for themselves, I do love the idea of a romantic lead who could rescue me from danger. Prince Charming on his white steed doesn’t always fit the bill in our modern society, but a brave firefighter who puts his life on the line to save lives surely does. The firefighters I’ve met in real life as well as many of those I’ve read about in books, have been courteous and willing to go the extra mile to help out those around them whether they were on duty or not. Strong, capable, and caring—a winning combination for a romance hero.

In Burning Up, the main characters Bryce, Toby, and Matt have to figure out how to mange a threeway relationship. I think firefighters already have some of the skills it takes to handle this situation because they have to work closely with the other firefighters in their unit and they have to develop trust and the willingness to listen. Team work, trust, and communication skills are essential in making a threesome work.

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Be sure to check out the Rafflecopter giveaway too. Just click on the widget below for the chance to win a $25 Gift Card at Amazon or All Romance eBooks.

Good luck!

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Burning Up 600x900Blurb: Bryce has been a firefighter for ten years, but when a horrific house fire leaves him reeling, he moves to a new city, hoping to shove those memories behind him. As he adjusts to his new station, Bryce keeps to himself until Matt and Toby, two hot young men in his unit, throw temptation in his path. Bryce knows better than to mess around with men he works with, especially two newbies who are in the closet. But after a difficult day, Matt and Toby offer him compassion and friendship, which slips so easily into sex Bryce finds the combination irresistible.

Matt and Toby want to expand their relationship to include a third, and they’ve set their sights on their sexy bear of a lieutenant. Their first night together is a scorcher, and, more than that, it feels right, to all of them. But since Bryce refuses to hide who he is, and dating men on his shift is against the rules, all three men are going to have to make some tough choices if they want to stay together.

Categories: BDSM, Contemporary Romance, Menage/Poly Romance

Buy Links: Amazon US | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords

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Silvia VioletAuthor Bio: Silvia Violet writes erotic romance in a variety of genres including paranormal, contemporary, sci fi, and historical. She can be found haunting coffee shops looking for the darkest, strongest cup of coffee she can find. Once equipped with the needed fuel, she can happily sit for hours pounding away at her laptop. Silvia typically leaves home disguised as a suburban stay-at-home-mom, and other coffee shop patrons tend to ask her hilarious questions like “Do you write children’s books?” She loves watching the looks on their faces when they learn what she’s actually up to.When not writing, Silvia enjoys baking sinfully delicious treats, exploring new styles of cooking, and reading to her incorrigible offspring.

Social Media Links: Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest

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Cover Reveal, Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, Sue Brown

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Anthony & Leo by Sue Brown

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TITLE: Anthony & Leo
SERIES: Frankie’s: Book Three
AUTHOR: Sue Brown
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 30000 words approx..
COVER ARTIST: Paul Richmond
RELEASE DATE: March 25, 2015

BLURB: Watching Marchant train his new sub leaves Tony unhappy at not having found a Dom of his own. Running Marchant’s BDSM club, Tony sees who the Doms prefer and it isn’t him—too big, too old, and too hairy. When his friend Jordan suggests he look outside the club, Tony’s mind turns to Leo, a man he met in a traffic jam. Tony manages to arrange a date and happily learns Leo is funny, very toppy, and not adverse to Tony’s lifestyle. As a bonus, Leo sells sex toys. When tragedy strikes the club, Tony fears he can’t help the mourning club members, but Leo offers his unwavering support. After such a tough start, Tony believes Leo is the Dom he’s been looking for, until he catches him kissing another man.

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Sue BrownAuthor Bio: Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact, she hides so she can plot and has gotten expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Social Media Links: Facebook Page | Twitter | Google+ | Blog | Website

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Mary Calmes, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: Old Loyalty, New Love by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Tristan James

Audio Gem

Title: Old Loyalty, New Love (L’Ange: Book One)

Author: Mary Calmes

Narrator:: Tristan James

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours

At a Glance: Old Loyalty, New Love is another winner well worth the listen.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: When jackal shifter Quade Danas was banished from his pack for being gay, he spent years in the military escaping his father’s prejudice before returning to civilian life as a bodyguard for Roman Howell, the teenage son of a very rich man. After Roman is in an accident that leaves him physically scarred and emotionally distant, Quade is the only one who can get through to him. As Roman becomes a man, he realizes what he wants—his bodyguard by his side and in his bed. Unfortunately, Quade can’t seem to see past the kid Roman once was to the man he has become, certain Roman’s feelings are merely misplaced gratitude. But Roman knows a lot more than Quade realizes, and he’s used to persevering, no matter how many impediments life throws his way. He wants the chance to prove to Quade that he’s strong enough for a jackal alpha to call mate.

Despite the decades Quade has been away, and the heartache of his father’s rejection, his inborn loyalty to the pack remains, and his abrupt departure left the jackal shifters without an alpha heir. As a psychopath shifter staking claim as alpha draws Quade back home, and Quade feels compelled to heed the call, he may be forced to make a choice he never anticipated. But doing so means he must leave Roman behind… unless somehow they find a way to make loyalty and love work together.

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Review: Since Jackie did another great review of the e-book version of Old Loyalty, New Love, I’m going to just give the review of the audio version.

If you love audiobooks and you love Mary Calmes, then Old Loyalty, New Love is another winner well worth the listen. I picked it up just because 1.) Mary Calmes wrote it, and 2.) Tristan James is one of my top favorites in narrators. I just loved how the story was told and BONUS!, once I saw there was another audiobook in the same series, I quickly picked that one up also and was able to segue into the next book without missing a beat.

Quade may be a tough Alpha, but he’s fast becomes a big old pushover when it comes to Roman’s charms. I’m a softie myself when it comes to stories that involve an MC who has been physically damaged and overcomes his disfigurement, and moves on with his life.

I love how Tristan narrates by giving each character their own voice, with no confusion on who’s speaking, as I’ve experience with other narrators, as well as building the tension in the more suspenseful parts of the story. And damn, Tristan has one sexy sultry voice worth listening too.

Mary Calmes, I hoping you’re working hard on the third book in the L’Ange series. I’m waiting patiently, but I’m not getting any younger!






You can buy Old Loyalty, New Love here:

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2.5 Stars, Genre Romance, Loose Id, Mae Hancock, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: Enticing Hart by Mae Hancock

Title: Enticing Hart

Author: Mae Hancock

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 183 Pages

At a Glance: Given cleaner editing and stronger plot development, Enticing Hart really could have been a great novel.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Hart Emile is tired of cruising for guys, living a soulless existence. He needs a change; so when an acquaintance gives him the number of the gay friendly Red Fox Ranch that’s hiring for staff, he heads south.

Oak Redman is eighteen years old and desperate to explore his awakening sexuality. The moment Hart lays eyes on the handsome young rancher he’s smitten. Not only is Oak hot, spirited and very persistent, he is also the ranch boss’s son and strictly off limits. Hart tries to fight his feelings and to respect his boss and the family who quickly become dear to him, but after Oak’s Grandma suggests he gets with Oak he can’t deny himself the most exciting and enticing man he has ever met.

Hart’s not the only man to have noticed how sweet and charming Oak Redman is. A family friend, Steve, is also anxious to have the affections of the young rancher. Can Hart work out Steve’s dark secrets before it’s too late and keep his job, his lover and his life?

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Review: Hart learns about the Red Fox Ranch from a casual pick up he meets in order to satisfy an itch that is getting tougher and tougher to satisfy. He wants to settle down, meet a man and maybe try his hand at a long-term relationship for the first time in his life. When the stranger mentions the ranch is not only hiring but is gay friendly, Hart sets out to land himself a job. Little does he know the owner, Bay, is grappling with a near socially crippling form of OCD that is steadily growing worse, but he has rigid rule when it comes to behavior at the ranch. Those rules include hands off his attractive and only son, Oak. Could Hart’s chance at both a job and happiness be ruined from the start? For, you see, he finds himself immediately attracted to Oak, who returns his attentions and then some.

Enticing Hart by new author, Mae Hancock, is a good story badly in need of another round of edits in order to make it a better one. While I have no problem with the insta-love trope, it suffered in this novel due to the immediacy of Hart and Oak’s attraction and some confusing elements in the story. First there was a continual referral to how long Hart had been at the ranch. Was it weeks, days, hours? All I know is that these two were in insta-lust within hours of Hart’s arrival. Then, there was the age issue. At first, Oak is “nearly nineteen” and confesses to his friend Steve that he had encounters with men in college. Yet, almost immediately after, he is only seen as barely eighteen, a virgin, and college is never mentioned again. Next there is the discrepancy with his dad, Bay, and his exact age. Again, initially, Hart guesses the man is 35 but hastens in his mind to add “a few years” in order to justify him having an 18 year-old son. But later, Bay is said to be 36, making him 17 when he married. Again, this age thing is never brought up again, so we never know exactly how old he is and because it was pointed up in the story at the onset, it became an annoying little detail that was left dangling.

I try not to nitpick when reading a story, particularly one written by a new author, but I feel this one was so poorly edited her book suffered as a result. If you mention the use of condoms deliberately every time Hart and Oak have sex, then you really need to address that they are disposed of at some point after sex. Also, condom use means that Oak could not feel Hart “filling” him up with his come. Then there were occasions where names got switched around and Hart was feeling himself take…himself. Incident after incident like this arose until I found myself rereading passages to make sense of what had just happened in the scene. I was really worried until we got to the last third of the novel, and then I suddenly began to see the makings of a really good story.

Once Steve, Oak’s friend, was introduced you got the feeling something was just a little off with him. In the latter part of this novel, that suspicion comes to fruition, and the novel takes a decided turn from a flawed and just mediocre read to an exciting and captivating story. Here was a true glimpse at what Mae Hancock was capable of writing. It was well written, exciting, fast paced and gave the story a bit of a nail biting twist. And it was this section that would make me want to check out this author’s next piece of work.

I believe Mae Hancock has real potential to become an exciting new voice in the m/m genre. Given cleaner editing and stronger plot development, Enticing Hart really could have been a great novel. I look forward to reading more by this author as she grows and develops into her craft.






You can buy Enticing Hart here:

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5 Stars, Andrea Speed, DSP Publications, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Release Day Review: Infected: Paris by Andrea Speed

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Title: Infected: Paris

Author: Andrea Speed

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 120 Pages

At a Glance: This book is nothing less than a gift to the series’ faithful readers.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.

Roan is working a frustrating stalker case, with no shortage of suspects and little solid evidence, when he comes across a startling eyewitness living in his car across the street from the scene. A tiger-strain infected, the only one Roan’s ever met, Paris Lehane is a former Canadian golden boy who suffered a breakdown after becoming infected in college.

While Roan’s ex, Diego “Dee” Cole, warns against falling for the infected Paris, a man doomed to die, Roan struggles with his attraction and the knowledge that no happily ever after is possible for them.

But is the knowledge enough to discourage him from following his heart? Roan helps Paris out of homelessness, and maybe a special hospital can help Paris with the infection, but Roan’s got his hands full with this case, and there’s no end in sight.

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Review: If you’re a fan of this series and have been following it from Book One, you’ve been waiting for Infected: Paris a long damn time. If you have yet to begin reading the Infected series, then consider yourself lucky because you get to start where it all began. And I have to say I almost envy you getting to experiences these books where it started for Roan McKichan and Paris Lehane. Almost…because this book is nothing less than a gift to the series’ faithful readers.

In a present day Seattle where werecats and humans grudgingly and not always peacefully co-exist, Roan, the ex-cop, now private investigator, is working a case involving the harassment of a woman who’s hired him to try and figure out who’s tormenting her. Andrea Speed has built this world around not only Roan’s investigative prowess but around the deadly virus that is nothing like the romanticized concept of shifters found in so much speculative fiction. The humans who’re infected with the werecat virus lose all trace of humanity in cat form. It isn’t always pretty, but it is always a rush to witness as a part of Roan’s evolution. What has happened as a complement to the mystery and Urban Fantasy of the world of the infected is that Speed has introduced a cast of characters for Roan to play off of who reveal him as a smartass, a non-conformist, a loyal friend and the guy you most want to have your back in a fight. And, perhaps most importantly, he is a survivor. Roan is nothing if not an anarchist of the law of probability that says he should be dead by now.

While these books are not romances in what some would consider the strictest definition of the M/M genre, make no mistake the relationship Roan and Paris built is nothing less than romantic simply because of its foreordained path, one that Andrea Speed adheres to without apology and without diverting from her own canon. In this book, though, rather than in hindsight, we get to see firsthand how Roan and Paris met, what brought them together and how Roan really stood no chance whatsoever against Paris’s infinite charms. And, for those of us who know of the life and home they built together, Infected: Paris is a poignant prologue to two men who found a home in each other in spite of the odds against them. It is a reminder of how much they truly love each other and how much they were willing to endure. And how, in the world Speed has created, you live fully or die trying because in this world, today may be all there is.

Before the heavy drugs, the debilitating headaches, before the virus child evolved into the hybrid he is today; before Holden and Dylan and the hockey team who has adopted Roan as friend and brother, there was a genesis to this world, and this is it. The guy who is a cynic about everything but loving and committing to one man begins here. For fans, it’s a 120 page love letter that comes down to the final page, final paragraph… and then we are reminded of what lies ahead.

And yes, I cried, so thanks for that again, Andrea Speed.






You can buy Infected: Paris here:

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Giveaways, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

Release Day Interview and Giveaway: Mnevermind 3: Life Is Awesome by Jordan Castillo Price

Mnevermind

Okay, readers, are you ready for a little release day Q&A and a giveaway from Jordan Castillo Price? This is an audience participation guest post, so enjoy Jordan’s interview, then be sure to check out the questions we came up with for you. Your comments to any, or all, of the questions will put you in the running for your choice of e-book in the Mnevermind trilogy: The Persistence of Memory, Forget Me Not or Life is Awesome.

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

And now, here’s Jordan.

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JCP: Hi Lisa, I’m super excited you’re having me come talk about the Mnevermind series today. It’s always such a pleasure to do an interview with you!!!

TNA: It’s always a pleasure to have you join us for a visit, Jordan. Thanks for taking the time to be here! So, let’s get down to business:

Q: I’m going to ask this first question with readers who haven’t read the Mnevermind series yet in mind. How would you describe these books to them, and what makes them unique compared to some of your other work?

A: In this series, the characters own a business where they implant quick-fade recreational memories in their customers. The series slogan is “Making memories…one client at a time.” Yet as techy and Sci-Fi-ish as the concept behind Mnvermind sounds, it’s one of my most intimate, relatable and domestic series. It’s about people dealing with families, friends and work, and how they deal with it when something goes wrong. I think this intimacy of plot sets it apart from most other speculative fiction. It’s not about big, overarching evils or conspiracies, and no one’s out to change anything other than their own little corner of the universe. This downsized approach takes a plot element that could seem implausible and makes it feel entirely real.

Q: Where did the idea for this series come from?

A: I’m a pretty visual thinker. I had a mental image of these rows and rows of comatose bodies, and the story happening to the one guy who was actually awake, taking care of the crappy warehouse where the bodies were stored, while the comatose people mentally vacationed in Hawaii, the moon, or wherever.  But then I realized I didn’t want it to be too much of a medical thriller, or too much like The Matrix, and I reimagined the memory science of mnemography as being something more like tattooing or electrolysis. Something where you’d need qualifications to perform it, but not an entire medical degree. And I think that decision kept the whole story more working-class, which is one of its big strengths.

Q: What were the fun and frustrating parts about putting this particular series together?

A: I wrestle with writing being frustrating, because it seems to me that it shouldn’t be. And if it is, that’s all in my head. I’ll have to let you know if I ever find the answer to that one! That solution might sound something like one hand clapping, though.

The fun was in writing the implanted memories themselves, the mnems. I went into a real flow state whenever a mnem came up, and those are my favorite parts of the story to revisit.

Q: Is plotting and writing a book a little bit like memorysmithing? If so, would you then suppose that for us, the readers, reading is a little bit like mneming, only we’re not participating in our own fantasy but someone else’s?

A: Wow. You just blew my mind. I think reading is a HELL of a lot like mneming, because you’d be surprised at how much the reader’s thoughts, ideas, hopes or notions color their experience of a book, often causing them to read stuff that was never written and recall story elements that never happened. I’ve read reviews of stories that said, “I loved it when this character did X.” And it never happened in the plot. But the reader fully experienced it so plausibly that it was their favorite part of the book. Memorysmithing must indeed be a thinly veiled symbol for authorship.

Q: Let’s talk a bit about Daniel Schroeder and Elijah Crowe, your MCs. For readers who aren’t aware, Elijah is on the autism spectrum. Tell us a bit about some of the challenges you faced in writing a character like Elijah?

A: I think what was most difficult was making sure I wasn’t being exploitive in the way I presented Elijah, but also in making him a fully rounded person and not just a walking bundle of affectations. I studied films, books and blogs for months to get me into a state of mind that felt like Elijah to me. Luckily many people with Asperger’s or autism are eager to share their experiences, so I had lots of reference available. Several people on the spectrum (or people with friends and family on the spectrum) wrote to let me know they finally felt like they’d been represented. What a good feeling.

Q: Were you afraid at any point, especially in Forget Me Not (book two told from Elijah’s point of view), that he might be an unrelatable character? How did you strive to make him someone we could and would embrace?

A: I knew from reaction to The Persistence of Memory that Elijah actually wasn’t initially very relatable to readers, which must have influenced my decision to tell the second book from his POV. I felt like it would be impossible to really know him from anywhere but inside his own head. I would say the first chapter of Elijah’s book was a risk, since I showed him deliberately obtuse and rambling about a piece of string cheese, then at the very end of the chapter I pulled all the heartwrench-strings and showed that he wasn’t rambling on about cheese after all, but divorce and loneliness and self-discovery, the difficulty of relating to other people. I figured most folks would stick with me for the duration of a chapter. Once the understanding that I was going to be approaching things sideways was established, I felt readers would stick with Elijah for the remainder of the book. I had a suspicion they’d find him endearing, and they did. He was such an underdog that it was hard not to root for him.

Q: This could be either the simplest or the hardest question of the bunch so far: why do Daniel and Elijah work as a couple?

A: It’s simple to me! Elijah is smitten with Daniel because they’re interested in the same things (which is profoundly important to him), and because Daniel treats him with respect. And chest hair. He has a thing for chest hair. Daniel is a little more complicated. I refer to several interactions with his last boyfriend Joe because there’s such a contrast in the way Daniel and Joe related compared to the way Daniel relates to Elijah. We haven’t really talked about the key tragedy that’s driving the whole series, and I’d prefer to be vague for anyone who hasn’t yet read it.  But before that incident, Daniel was an entirely different person, a confident hotshot with the whole world as his oyster. But when Elijah meets him, he’s broken. Elijah allows Daniel to experience a relationship as the new person he’s become, someone who’s nurturing and thoughtful and patient. Daniel doesn’t even realize he’s being patient, because throughout the story he’s the one who ends up losing his cool and shooting off his mouth when he doesn’t mean to. But when he’s alone with Elijah he is wonderfully patient, empathetic and tender.

Q: There are some really funny moments in these books, a lot of them coming as a result of Elijah taking things literally or missing cues or him just being socially unaware. What are a few things that, when you wrote them, made you laugh?

A: I got a big kick out of it whenever Elijah should have been using his “inside voice” to say something really personal to Daniel, but instead he just belted it out. I don’t think he has an “inside voice.” But honestly, a lot of the other things that might read as funny, I actually found mortifying. It’s really hard to type when you’re cringing. I could barely stand to detail what Elijah wore to Aunt Pipsie’s party, for instance. Luckily he didn’t notice anything odd, so maybe some readers kind of glossed over that part. That’s what I tell myself to get the words out.

Daniel’s buddy Larry is always good for a laugh, since he’s such a big, happy doofus, and he would laugh right along with you.  He’s like the pressure valve on the series.

Q: Now that the final book in the series, Life Is Awesome, has been written, can you say that at any point before you typed those final words you were tempted to have Daniel try to memorysmith a “cure” for his dad, Big Dan, and/or Elijah? Why or why not, or would that even be a possibility?

A: A book I’m reading states my reasoning elegantly. “A classic writing technique is to play on people’s expectations and then surprise them.” (Motivate Your Writing, Stephen P. Kelner Jr.)

That story resolution was on my mind, definitely, but not like I thought it would be a great ending. It was the desirable goal I was dangling in front of Daniel. It was the plot that I was hoping the reader would presume was there. Daniel screwed up and has lost his confidence, Daniel regains his confidence thanks to Elijah and then fixes his screwup.  That’s what I’d want the reader to think is happening. Then they get to peel the onion and see that the issues all run way deeper, and there are pieces to the puzzle that Daniel has been missing all along. There are a couple of ways that he grows, and one is to realize that being vulnerable and being weak aren’t the same thing. It’s not weak to accept help, it’s courageous. And really, everything is NOT on him.

Q: Was it difficult to type The End on this series, any more so than your others? What will you miss most about Daniel and Elijah?

A: I don’t think so, because each book took twice as long to write as I guesstimated it should for its length. I would think I understood what was happening, realize something didn’t quite match up, delete multi-chapter hunks and sink back into planning mode. Over and over. It’s actually kind of harrowing. I get antsy to share the story with readers so I get to a “finish, already!!” point. I was eager to resolve the trilogy plot, because I felt like readers were really hungry for resolution, and I was worried that I was doing the series a disservice by taking the time it took to write it. Series are hard. If you resolve the conflicts in a book, then the next book is going to feel like a contrived afterthought. And if you leave a major plot point unresolved to tackle it across the arc of the whole series, readers seem dissatisfied with each individual story. If there’s a good balance for this, I don’t think I’m a natural at striking it.

Q: Would you like to share some info on any of your current WIPs or upcoming releases with us?

A: Recently I was given the opportunity to showcase Among the Living in an Urban Fantasy box set called Psychic Storm. It was a big thrill being the only m/m writer in the bunch. I’m hoping it puts my series in front of lots of fresh eyes!

Right now as a palate cleanser, I’m working on a standalone short story. I’m also mentally preparing to tackle the next PsyCop book, which will be Crash’s novel. Meanwhile, I’m working with the funny, smart, sexy and stunningly talented voice actor Gomez Pugh in producing more audiobooks. Secrets should be coming out anytime now, and we’ve got plans to start another series. I can’t wait to hear it.

Thanks so much for having me at TNA on Life is Awesome’s release day!

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Dear Readers, here are some things for you to ponder:

Q: If the technology existed to craft and control an artificial dream-state where you could do anything or be anyone you wanted, would you do it?

Q: Do you foresee a future where that technology could/might exist? Why or why not?

Q: If you’ve read the first two books in the Mnevermind series already, what would you say to your friends who haven’t read them yet to try and convince them to read the series?

Have fun! I look forward to sharing your answers with Jordan! :)

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4 Stars, Draven St. James, Loose Id, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Janet

Review: Wolf’s Sacrifice by Draven St. James

Title: Wolf’s Sacrifice (Pack of Light: Book Two)

Author: Draven St. James

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 154 Pages

At a Glance: Overall, I would say this was a fun book with some great characters.

Reviewed By: Janet

Blurb: Sean Maddox has one basic goal: to protect the Northwest Pack. That priority helps him stay grounded–until the day the pack rescues Liam. Suddenly Sean is finding any excuse to be around the sweet, blind shifter. But trying to focus his thoughts on keeping Liam safe and not exploring the whole laundry list of carnal fantasies he’s been having is anything but grounding. It doesn’t help that Sean’s wolf makes it damn clear it believes Liam belongs to him.

From the first deep breath of Sean Maddox’s intoxicating scent, all Liam wants to do is strip naked for the sexy beta and let the wolf claim him. Hiding away his desires seems like the best plan, given after a lifetime in captivity Liam is just learning what it means to be free. What does he know about being a mate? More to the point, would Sean even want him if he knew the truth?

As Sean and Liam struggle with their growing craving for each other an old enemy steps out of the shadows. With secrets lurking and fate twisting two worlds together a sacrifice must be made, but can the two mates live with the consequences?

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Review: This is the second book in a series about the Northwest Pack. They are shapeshifting wolves who, in the first book, were able to rescue a couple of shifters who had been held captive, and were tortured and being experimented on. A deranged Alpha shifter and his bunch of crazy scientists created these hybrid shifters by cross breeding regular shifters with enslaved females of the Pack of Light, an extraordinary and rare pack with extra senses and abilities.

Sean is the Beta for the Northwest Pack and as such, he is very concerned for the safety and wellbeing of the members of the pack, and for the pack as a whole. Liam is frail and blind from the abuse he suffered in captivity so at first, Sean believes he is drawn to him due to the weakness he perceives. Liam has no scent, so Sean is unaware that Liam is his mate, but Liam knows and tries to avoid him as he has a secret he doesn’t want Sean to know and, in fact, he doesn’t want a mate at all. Emma is the pack healer and is a member of the Pack of Light as well, although she hides this information from most of the pack, for their safety. She treats Liam and keeps his secret with her own for as long as she can.

The Alpha is still hunting Liam and his brother, though, so there are a lot of safety concerns to keep Sean and his enforcers busy, and allow Liam to make his sacrifice and do what he can to help the pack. St. James clearly has more stories to be told in this series, and this book drops hints to future stories while the action takes place. More shifters are rescued from another testing installation while rescuing Liam again, and we discover that there are many more types of shifters and others in this world as well.

There wasn’t a lot of gratuitous sex in this book, it was hot and sweet as befitting the virginal status of Liam, and it grew even hotter at the end of the book as Liam heals and claims his mate. This book was an easy read as the author juggled all of the plotlines very well, never dropping them, and holding a few on standby for possible future stories. Overall, I would say this was a fun book with some great characters, and I will look forward to the next installment in the series. It can be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading Scent of a Wolf first, for added enjoyment of the characters and their interactions.






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