5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 3.5 Stars, Piper Vaughn, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: One Small Thing by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea – Narrated by Finn Sterling

Title: One Small Thing (One Thing: Book One)

Author: Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea

Narrator:: Finn Sterling

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 56 Minutes

At a Glance: My only complaint about One Small Thing would be the voice Sterling chose to use for Rue.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: “Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik.

Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of many – and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father.

Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.

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Review: What makes this story, One Small Thing, so special that I couldn’t wait for it to come out on audio? Rue and Erik! I couldn’t wait to hear their voices, and relive the birth of Alice, and listen to the oh-so-funny scene with Rue looking for daycare. Rue describes one daycare, Wee Care, as a “stinky, sticky, vomity smelling miniature version of Lord of the Flies.” I could just picture Rue standing there taking it all in, and then screaming and making a run for the front door. What a sight that would have been to see.

In a perfect life we aren’t faced with decisions like those Rue faced—finding someone to watch his daughter but not really knowing a lot about them. But, it’s not a perfect world out there, and we just have to do our best with what we’re given. Rue is a fighter; throughout the story he fights for his daughter, his friends, and for building a future for them all. Fighting for your family, and sometimes taking a leap of faith, sums up this story for me.

Erik Van Nuys: I have a lot of respect for his character. When thrown a curve—having to move out of a house into an apartment, his agent not calling—Erik makes changes. He struggles through the changes, but in the end, he does it. I was always cheering for him. I am so glad the writers let me, as the reader, be a part of the Erik’s struggles. It really gave his character more depth .

The secondary characters of Alice, Rue’s baby, and Dusty, Rue’s best friend, added some spice and intrigue to the story; Alice and her gentle ways, unless she was hungry or tired, and Dusty’s poor choice of boyfriends. Dusty was a little too whiny for my taste, and though whiny to me is like nails on a chalk board, Finn Sterling gets him just right.

My only complaint about One Small Thing would be the voice Sterling chose to use for Rue. Rue is a character who likes his tight clothes, makeup, and not being one of the mundane people. Sterling’s voice, on the other hand, is deep, slow in the pacing, and shows very little emotion, not at all the way I’d envisioned Rue. Towards the end, however, he does lighten up a bit and adds more emotion to his voice.

I would recommend One Small Thing, both the book and the audio. The book was a great read, and the audio just gives you an excuse to revisit the lives of Rue, Erik, Alice, and Dusty. I really hope the second book, One True Thing will be released on audio. I liked the characters and look forward to hearing about Dusty, and maybe, finally, he will find that special someone he can love and be loved by.

TNA_Signature_Kathie






You can buy One Small Thing here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4 Stars, Anthology, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lana, Writer Marketing

Review: Brit Boys: On Boys – An Anthology

Title: Brit Boys: On Boys

Authors: Ashe Barker, Clare London, Josephine Myles, KD Grace, Lily Harlem, Lucy Felthouse, M.K. Elliott, Sarah Masters

Publisher: Writer Marketing

Pages/Word Count: 470 Pages

At a Glance: Brit Boys: On Boys is the perfect weekend diversion for the Anglophile.

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: From east to west and north to south, these British boys are having a blast in and out of the bedroom with the men of their dreams. They’re topping and bottoming from London to Cardiff, living out fantasies in the wildest fells and hooking up while serving HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

With passion and lust the name of the game, nothing is off limits. Throw in honed muscles, high-strength testosterone and an accent to die for and there is nothing they can’t do and no one they can’t get in this world or another.

Don’t miss Brit Boys: On Boys—a smokin’ hot box set, containing 147,000 words/440 pages of unforgettable M/M erotic romance from eight popular British authors.

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Review: Brit Boys: On Boys is a collection about, what else? British boys in all their glory. Since my first trip to England in my early 20s, I’ve been in love with British boys. Their accents and warped sense of humor make them stand out against American boys any day. They can be cheeky and sexy at the same time. Add to that two hot British boys together, and that’s the cherry on the cake.

This anthology has a good variety of stories to choose from. You have military boys, working class blokes, and some posh boys thrown in. My favorite story in the anthology was Breaking the Marine by MK Elliott. As you can tell by the title, it’s about Royal Marines, very hot Royal Marines, though the plot isn’t new and I’ve read a variation on this story before. A marine recruit has a one-night-stand the night before he’s due for training, and his hook up is his drill instructor! But, it doesn’t matter to me because I love these types of stories. They begin a torrid affair amidst the training, and develop true feelings for each other. The characters were very well written and likeable, very hot and very British. There are no surprises but like a frothy concoction, satisfying. I enjoyed this story and I would definitely read a longer novella.

Brit Boys is a good mix of stories and styles. It’s a perfect weekend diversion for the Anglophile.

TNA_Signature_Lana






You can buy Brit Boys: On Boys here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Cardeno C., Dreamspinner Press, Mary Calmes, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Audio Review: Control by Cardeno C. and Mary Calmes – Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Title: Control

Author: Cardeno C. and Mary Calmes

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours, 44 Minutes

At a Glance: It still amazes me, listening to these audiobooks, that it is one person doing all the voices. Greg is a master at it!

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb: Vy Aleknos is the leader of a hawk shifter flock. Openly gay since he was a teen, Vy is proud and self-assured on the outside, while secretly worrying he’ll be forced to spend his life alone because two males can’t be mates. When bear shifter Robert Cimino appears in Vy’s small town, Vy realizes his concerns were unfounded — he has a male mate, and a sexy, dominant one to boot.

Robert is a bear shifter who refuses to shift. Immediately attracted to Vy, he deviates from his normal pattern and seeks more than a one off with the powerful, bristly hawk. But Robert’s affections are rooted in his human form, and when Vy discovers Robert doesn’t recognize him as his mate, he pulls away. If Robert wants to stay with Vy, he must convince a man deeply ruled by his animal instincts to give their relationship as humans a chance.

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Review: I have to be honest, when I read the ebook of Control, it wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t hate it but I just didn’t really care for Vy. He came across as arrogant and kind of whiny. A couple times while reading it, I literally sat here saying out loud, “Yes, we know, you are the kuar of the ket…I get it!” When I saw this available for review, at first I didn’t even consider requesting it, but then I saw who narrated it and had to give it a chance. Greg Tremblay has quickly become a favorite narrator for me, and even more so after listening to Control. He took a character I didn’t particularly like and made me see him differently.

When I read Vy, he was arrogant and whiny; listening to GregTremblay read Vy, though, he came across more as vulnerable and uncertain, which made me connect with him a little more and be able to enjoy the story better. It still had the “okay, we get it” moments, but I was much more connected with the characters while listening to the audio than I was when reading the book. Now, Robert I liked when I read the book, and fell for him even more in the audio. He is the more calm and rational of the two of them, and just wants Vy to want him for him…so sweet! I said it in a previous review, but it applies here also, and deserves to be said again, Greg Tremblay does an amazing job making the voices of the characters unique and individual. In this story, with the different POVs, you always can tell who it is that is speaking just by their voice. The accents are awesome and Vy’s second in command, Lou, might be one of my favorite female voices I have heard done by a male narrator. It still amazes me, listening to these audiobooks, that it is one person doing all the voices. Greg Tremblay is a master at it!

TNA_Signature_Karen






You can buy Control here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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Brita Addams, Dreamspinner Press

Guest Post and Excerpt: Tarnished Souls by Brita Addams

Tarnished Souls

Much has happened personally this last month, including older daughter’s brain surgery and an unexpected visit from my beloved sister due to a death in her friend’s family. Our daughter is fine and hopefully on the way to a recovery sans horrific headaches which have plagued her for the last couple of years. Needless to say, life has a way of refocusing us at a moment’s notice, doesn’t it?

With the closure of one of my publishers, five works came off the virtual shelves, but they have found a home and will roll out this summer. I’ve also signed a contract with Dreamspinner for my early 20th century New Orleans novel, Beloved Unmasked, and that will find readers in October/November. I’m so excited about that one (as I am when each novel is new and shiny,) and I hope readers will take the story and the characters to heart.

Now I’m writing the second in the New Orleans series, and it features a character that plays a prominent role in Beloved Unmasked. There will be a third in the series as well. Having lived in the New Orleans area for many years, the rich and varied history fascinates me. New Orleans is unique among American cities, a character unto itself. I’ve walked the streets in the Quarter and the music is truly the heartbeat of the city.

Today, I thought I’d bring out an older title, Tarnished Souls – Frankie and Gent, and give you a sample of it. First, a little background. I love gangsters of the 1930s variety, and have long wanted to write a story involving two gritty made men. Ah, but not so easy, because that’s not how this book happened.

As many know, I started my old Hollywood series with Tarnished Gold. The second book in the series was going to deal with a cop and newspaper reporter and I was well on the way to engulfing them in their own drama when, bam, I put Frankie Monetti in a scene. He was a leering two-bit mobster with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Chapter one, McGregor heroes out, catches the bad guy and puts the moves on his reporter inamorata. Until…

Something about Frankie Monetti grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. He haunted my slumber, interfered with my morning coffee, and bollocksed up my cop/reporter story with his insistence that he was worth more than a couple of paragraphs.

Sooo, I put Mac and Gray aside and Frankie and Gent were born.

The following excerpt is raw in its language, much as gangsters are. I hope this snippet will entice you to check out the book and see why Frankie and Gent have tarnished souls.

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2a697-tarnishedsoulsfsExcept: Monday, July 9, 1934

THE EARLY part of the evening turned out to be a real lulu. The wrap party for Cullen Reilly and company filled Suede to capacity. Reilly had just finished a picture for MGM and wanted to blow off some steam. Often did after a long shoot, or for any reason at all. Frankie Monetti’s best customer for the restaurant, bar, and not-so-secret activities on the top floor of the club. Reilly ordered up four muscular humps to keep him occupied while the party thrummed downstairs.

The district attorney’s bet with the mayor about who could win more at the craps table made for some swell action in the gambling room. Suede’s main floor filled with the curious, while both DA Fitts and the mayor peeled off C-notes as though they’d printed them in their basements. In the end, neither won as much as the house. A good night for Monetti’s lone legit venture.

At two fifteen, the party broke up, but not before Frankie did some serious ogling. From his usual booth, he watched the pretty boys sway and paw each other. He feasted eyes on the young bucks, who were only too happy to have their local mobster watch them fuck each other insensible.

Duke, his number one, drove him and a few of the boys home. Frankie always kept four close, just in case.

“You fellas get some sleep.” Duke, Fat Artie, Wild Eye, and Johnny went to their wing, while Frankie unlocked the door of his Holmby Hills mansion.

The night quiet, Frankie leaned against one of the fluted white columns under the portico and stared up at the fat moon, his senses dulled but not nearly enough, despite his being bent. As the clock in the foyer chimed three, he gave a fleeting thought to waking Tommy, his houseboy. “All good boys should be in bed.” He chuckled. “With me.”

Slivers of moonlight slipped into the breach as Frankie stepped over the threshold, into his foyer, then slid the bolt into place. For a few hours, no work, no orders to give.

The grandfather clock ticked overloud as moonlight glinted off the heavy pendulum. An orange glow caught his attention as he passed the middle arch that led to the living room. Through the open damask draperies, light from the streetlamp filtered in to reveal a shadowed figure, deep in the recesses of the room. Acrid cigarette smoke wafted through the still summer air.

His black onyx pinkie ring caught on his pocket as Frankie dug deep for the security of his body-warmed .38. “Who’s there?”

Another bright glow, then the sizzle of cigarette paper. “That any way to greet an old chum? I figured at least you’d remember me.”

The familiar gravelly voice lifted Frankie’s boozy haze like a movie curtain. Fear slithered down Frankie’s spine. Yeah, he remembered the Ansonia Hotel, the Turkish baths. “Gent? What are you doing here?”

“Hey, hey. Don’t need the hardware. I’m here to talk.”

“You shouldn’t be here. If Sal finds out, you know—”

“Sal sent me.”

The cock of the hammer echoed off the walls.

Frankie’s finger froze on the trigger. “Why?”

“He sent for ya. I’m here to make sure ya come in.”

The grit in Gent’s voice scraped over Frankie’s nerves. “Sent for me, huh? That doesn’t sound good.”

Frankie glanced into the empty foyer, his gun in hand.

Gent flipped on a lamp, then shifted in the corner sofa chair, his Fedora pulled down over his eyes. “T’ings don’t add up.”

“What things? He thinks I’m cheatin’ him?”

“Yeah.”

Frankie walked fully into the room, his grip still on his gun. “Like what?”

“I’m takin’ ya in. All I know is Sal wants ta talk. You have to explain.”

“Why’d he send you?”

“It’s what I do.”

“Everything’s copacetic here. Guaranteed.”

Gent shrugged. “He don’t believe it. Not bad enough, you fucked up the hit on McGregor. The one t’ing he asks you ta do, and you botch it. He ain’t happy, Frankie. Not happy at all.” Gent raised his head and tipped his Fedora’s brim back with the gun barrel. “I’m here ta clean up, then take you back. No more complicated ’an dat.”

The six-foot-four-inch Gent unfolded himself from the chair. His shadow loomed on the wall behind him—Sal’s hulking avenger.

When Gent stepped into the light, uncharacteristic fear ripped through Frankie and wrung him inside out. “Stay right there.”

“I ain’t killin’ you here and only on Sal’s word. We can keep our rods on each other, but I’m gonna do what Sal sent me to do.” Gent inclined his head, then stubbed out his snipe in the glass ashtray beside the chair.

“What’s he wanna know? Why now? Why you? I haven’t heard from you in five years. He said we ain’t s’posed to see each other. ’Member?”

Gent sighed, then tucked his gun into the chest holster. “All’s forgiven about that. Sal’s got a new bone to chew. Money and McGregor. He’s got ’em both stuck in his craw, and you gotta come get ’em out.”

“Screw McGregor. As long as I steer clear, he’s got nothin’ to do with me.”

“Bullshit. He holds press conferences, accuses the Syndicate of shit they never thought of. Yak, yak, yak. He’s gonna clean up Los Angeles. Sooner or later, that flatfoot is gonna find somethin’ to hang on ya, and that makes Sal nervous.”

After Gent sprinkled tobacco for a new cigarette, he licked the paper with a delicacy that belied his muscled bulk.

Being sent for was as harsh as it got. You go in alive and come out dead and always someone you know whacks you. No exceptions. “Why you?”

Gent scratched a thumbnail across the top of a stick match, then lit his newly rolled cigarette. “Sal respects me. I do what he says, keep my nose clean, ya know? Then he gives me more to do, trusts me.”

“You his man? He own you?”

Gent shrugged. “No one owns me. I’m just there.”

Frankie nodded. “Does he know your name?”

Gent turned his back. “I ain’t here to talk about me. I got work to do, then we take the train back to New York. That’s all there is.”

The ambivalence in Gent’s voice made him, like always, harder to figure. “So you’re here to kill McGregor?”

“Last thing before we leave. Gotta have a look-see at the books first. Get a feel for the operation.”

Frankie laughed. “What would you know about the books?”

Gent took two steps, then grabbed Frankie’s tie. “Five years is a long time. Even a dumb mook like me can learn shit in five years.”

Frankie calmly stared into Gent’s dead eyes. “I don’t doubt that, but last I heard, you’d racked up dozens of kills. When did he make you a book man?”

Gent pulled Frankie closer. “I know some shit. Learned to figure when Sal gave me the wire service to manage. Insteada breakin’ heads, I hung around and learned, top to bottom. Then I broke heads.” Gent released Frankie with a shove.

Frankie straightened his tie. “Big step. Your own operation.”

“Makes Sal a load and he likes that. I showed him he could trust me, so he figured I’d know what’s what out here.”

“Glad to hear it. I’ll have my man Nickels show you the books.”

“That or I take ’em. Either way.”

Fury rose up at Gent’s indifferent shrug.

“You changed, Frankie. You talk better, and look at your kippy digs. Just like Gable’s, for Chris’ sake. People notice ya. I see ya in the papers. Sal says drawin’ attention to yourself is bad for business.”

“Sal doesn’t understand how different living out here is. I can’t sound like a street hood from the Kitchen and chinwag with the bigwigs. To get things done, they have to respect me. I can’t talk all that goombah shit. Gotta live high, like they do. Meet ’em on their level.”

Gent shook his head. “Sal don’t like it. Thought you settled down. You don’t follow orders.”

“Screw that! He doesn’t think killing a cop will draw attention? McGregor’s big news. Someone ices him and who knows what might happen.”

“Sal wants McGregor gone, and you lost your chance.”

“Why do I want to call attention to myself by offing the guy? That’s not good business sense.”

“There never was a cop Sally couldn’t buy.”

“Not that one. Sal doesn’t know what it’s like out here. You muscle in, but with finesse. I convinced the studios that turnin’ over thousands a month is their idea. Finesse.”

Gent stood loose and dandy while he smoked his cigarette. “Nah, I think maybe you wanna be in them movin’ pitchas.”

“You don’t know shit about my life. You’re still the same old Gent, listening to everyone’s bullshit. Maybe the organization needs some young blood at the top.”

“Sal’s had a guy out here, and he knows how you do things.”

Tired of the verbal hammering, Frankie flopped onto the sofa. “Yeah? Who is it?”

“Dunno. Word is, only Sal knows.” Gent sat down beside him. “The guy followed McGregor to Redondo Beach the same time you were s’posed to plug him. Seems McGregor spent that weekend there with a guy.”

“If he’s got someone tailing McGregor, why don’t he bump him off?”

Gent shrugged. “Not his job. Strictly hands off. Sal’s orders. He says you’re soft on the cop. That you ain’t changed any like that. McGregor was at Suede. You rump him, Frankie boy?” Gent brushed Frankie’s shoulder with an open palm. “Maybe the screw didn’t go so well and you pissed him off? That why he’s after you?”

The silence stretched taut between them. The insult went sideways as Frankie assessed the mention of the club. “What does Sal know about Suede?”

Gent leaned forward. “Enough. Knows you have Hollywood drinkin’ your booze and movie stars and swank politicos screwin’ each other in the fancy rooms. You have muckity-mucks in your pocket, but can’t get one cop to play ball. Sal wants his cut, is all. He don’t care if you deal men or women, it’s alla same to him, but he figures you owe him for settin’ ya up so nice.”

Frankie slammed his fist on the coffee table. “He ain’t a part of that. I financed it myself. You tell him that, hear?”

Gent dragged deeply on his cigarette. “I’d like to hear you tell him that.” Gent wagged a brow. “After you killed Marino, Sal figured you’d lay low and build the organization, quiet-like. Wasn’t protection enough for ya? You made good scratch with that. Why’d you have to go and muck around with them that makes movies?”

“Sal knows too much. Is it someone in my crew?”

“Could be,” Gent said with a shrug. “But you’ll never know. Point is, Sal only trusts to a point, an’ you way over. When you set up shop someplace and don’t invite him along, he takes offense. Ain’t polite not to invite family.” Gent’s gaze never left Frankie’s. “You live or die because of him.”

Family. Frankie hadn’t thought of his in years. Hadn’t wanted to.

“With Suede set up like it is, Sal figures you haven’t reformed. He’s pullin’ you in.”

Frankie huffed. “And he sends you to do it, does he?”

“He thinks I’ve changed. Dat I don’t care about dat anymore. Difference between me and you? You never learned there’s a time and place for everythin’. By openin’ a setup like Suede, you rub it in his face. He got the message, and so will you.”

Buy Link: Dreamspinner   Amazon

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BritaAddamspicAbout Brita Addams: Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.

Readers can find more information about Brita Addams at any of the following places:

Website/Blog  | Facebook  | Fan page  | Pinterest | Booklikes  | iAuthor | Monthly column at The Novel Approach | Please stay in touch by subscribing to my monthly newsletter | Cold Coffee Café

 

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Giveaways, Less Than Three Press, Lexi Ander

Interview and Giveaway: The Dreams of the Forgotten Blog Tour With Lexi Ander

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The Novel Approach welcomes author Lexi Ander today on the Dreams of the Forgotten (Sumeria’s Sons: Book Three) blog tour. I’ve asked Lexi a few questions about which of her series she’d love to see hit the big screen, and she’s also offering the chance at some great giveaway items, including:

1. $20 Amazon Gift card, $20 All Romance Gift card, hard copy of Dreams of the Forgotten, swag (pens, bookmarks, and such)
2. $20 All Romance Gift card, hard copy of Dreams of the Forgotten, swag (pens, bookmarks, and such)
3. Hard copy of Dreams of the Forgotten, swag (pens, bookmarks)
4. An e-book copy of Dreams of the Forgotten to two winners

Just click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

Good luck!

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TNA: Hi, Lexi! Just when you thought you were done with blog posts… :)

Lexi: LOL! I know! I thought all the hard work was done. Thank you for having me on the blog today.

TNA: You’re very welcome. It’s great to have you back with us!

Let’s pretend one of your book series has been optioned for the big screen. Which series would you wish it to be, and why do you think it would translate so well to film?

Lexi: What a great set of questions! I think The Valespian Pact would translate better to the big screen than Sumeria’s Sons. The first couple of Books of Sumeria’s Sons has a good deal of internal thoughts and growth that won’t do well in a movie. (At least I think so.) Although there were definitely a couple of scenes that would be awesome to see. Like Ushna fighting in the ring against Enki or the battle against Craig Stoiler. The Valespian Pact is more active. As I thought about it, I could defiantly see it play out movie style.

TNA: Who would you choose to star in the movies?

Lexi: Oh… Hard question. I think Jason Momoa would make a great Dargon. I can envision him moving like the lion Dargon is. Oh, I’m getting the hang of this.Shaneva: Lena Headly. Ashari: Gina Torres. Azaes and Mestor: Samuel L. Jackson (that would completely rock) I have combed the IMB website and I couldn’t find any one I would cast as Zeus. How he is and what he looks like in my head is all… Zeus. I mean, his identity didn’t derive from photo inspiration. I took his hair and eyes from other places, but he was basically already there when I picked up the pen, so trying to pick someone who I thought could portray him was hard. If Sumeria’s Sons actually made it to the big screen… you’re going to laugh. Jason Momoa as Ushna. Yes, it seems the love interests all have a type, even if they differ on the outside. Jason has that intensity that Ushna exudes. For Tristan, I think Kit Harrington would be a good choice.

TNA: What scene(s) do you think would be the most fun to see up on the big screen, and why?

Lexi: I love action movies and so I’d pick the scene with Zeus and the Monticore protecting the mountain pass to Haven. That was such a huge scene with so much happening at one time. I’d love to hear Canry’s siren songs and to see Zeus slay the Hunter, and watch the Feteine pop in the battle out of thin air.

TNA: What are you working on now/have coming up next?

Lexi: The release schedule is pretty busy the next couple of months. April’s release was Dreams of the Forgotten. In May, The Aurora Conspiracy in the Keeping the Stars Running anthology releases. Starting Fires and Surrounded by Crimson is coming this summer. For writing, I’m working on the last book of Sumeria’s Sons then I’m diving into the Valespian Pact.

Again, thank you for having me. I have a great time envisioning my books as movies was fun. Thanks everybody for stopping by and reading. Good luck with the giveaway!

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PrintBlurb: For Tristan and Ushna, nothing comes easy and with each passing day the challenges grow and the dangers multiply. The safe home they are building for their family and tribe is threatened from all sides, and the peace they seek is being torn apart by enemies and internal strife. Tristan dares not reveal his condition to any but those closest to him, all the while he’s plagued by dreams he cannot remember upon waking…

And over all of it hangs the knowledge that his time with Ushna is running out. Because Ushna already has a Flame awaiting rebirth, and though Tristan would die to protect that bond, he constantly struggles against his beast who demands they bind Ushna to their side.

Buy Links: Less Than Three Press | Amazon | All Romance eBook

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Lexi Bio PicAbout the Author: Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.

Where to find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | E-mail

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THE GIVEAWAY:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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4 Stars, Alana Ankh, Dreamspinner Press, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer

Review: Splat! by Alana Ankh

Title: Splat!

Author: Alana Ankh

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 127 Pages

At a Glance: Fairies, sex, and angst. Great read for a sunny afternoon.

Blurb: Splat!

When a small creature has an unfortunate run-in with his car, Deacon Hearst wonders what in the world hit his windshield. A bird? A butterfly? No, that would make Deacon’s crazy life too simple. It is a fairy—or rather a Sidhe—with a gaze the color of the moon and thus eloquently named Mooneyes. The little creature’s wing is broken, and it’s shivering in the rain, and well… Deacon has a heart, after all.

While nursing Moon back to health, Deacon discovers Moon’s beauty is more than skin deep. Though they’re very different, especially in size, they’re alike in their loneliness, their need for affection. Despite the weirdness of the situation, Deacon finds himself falling for his not-quite victim.

Deacon thinks it’s a hopeless—gah!—love, but what if it isn’t? Moon might just have a few secrets of his own, secrets that could change everything in an instant and weave a different path for them both.

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Review: A novella involving a fairy that crashes into a windshield, a healthy dose of angst, and some fantastic sex makes a great read for a sunny afternoon when you have nothing to do but relax in the sun. Splat! has all of these things, with great humor thrown into the mix.

Though short, I enjoyed this book. Deacon and Moon meet when the fairy goes splat against his windshield while he’s driving home one day. Of course, he thinks he’s in a dream but when he goes back to help Moon, his life gets irrevocably intertwined with the tiny fairy.

Deacon and Moon are able to connect with each other because of their similar situations in life. Deacon is currently fending off parents who, even though he’s thirty-three, still think his sexuality is just a “phase” and continually try to set him up with women they deem acceptable. Likewise, Moon also has this problem. Ever since discovering his ability for song-weaving, his parents have rejected his sexuality—which wouldn’t normally be a problem—in order to put their family in a better position in fae society. And that means marrying him to their leader’s daughter, whether Moon likes it or not. So he flees and literally runs into Deacon.

The tension between the families added to the book, though at times I did want to smack Moon and tell him to wake up and stand up for himself. After all, he had the power to do so. He just didn’t act on it.

Deacon didn’t have this problem, and for that I was thankful. He knew what he wanted, and once he realized he wasn’t in a dream, he went for it.

If you’re looking for a fun read with a good amount of angst, I recommend giving Splat! a shot.

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5 Stars, Amber Allure, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Pia, T.A. Chase

Review: Trailing Air by T.A. Chase

Title: Trailing Air

Author: T.A. Chase

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 31000 Words

At a Glance: This is a great book and awesome series.

Reviewed By: Pia

Blurb: What are the Preternaturals supposed to do when the book holding the destruction of their kind within its pages is stolen from them? Not panic and hope that the situation changes before the humans get their own hands on it.

The werewolf Rover Canis can’t believe he’s escorting the very creature that stole the book holding spells that could kill every Preternatural in the world. Yet here he is doing so, and admiring his extremely attractive companion probably isn’t the smartest thing he’s ever done either. But if he is to save himself along with all his kind, Rover needs to keep his mind on the mission.

Elwin Ice Cloud, a shapeshifting dragon, swipes the powerful book in order to save his kidnapped sister, but he never plans on handing it over to the humans. Yet when dangers grow too difficult for him to handle on his own, he returns to the lycan on whom he’d been spying. Meeting the sexy Rover gives him something else to think about, yet falling in love isn’t in his plans either.

Together, these two very different shapeshifters must find a way to trust each other in order to save all the Preternaturals from certain death. If they somehow manage to do so, will love be their ultimate reward?

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Review: Trailing Air is the fourth book in T.A Chase’s Preternaturals series. It’s a little dark, a little dangerous, and has some sexy times too, which, if done right, is always a winner. And, folks, I think we have a winner!

Elwin Ice Cloud, a dragon shifter, steals a powerful spell book from werewolf Rover Canis and his friends in order to save his sister who has been kidnapped by the enemy, though he doesn’t plan on handing the book over. Rover can’t help but feel a pull to the sexy dragon, especially when they have to work together in order to try to save the day.

This is a great book and awesome series. There are characters/beings I haven’t heard of before, but don’t worry if you want to read Trailing Air and haven’t read any other books in the series—you won’t feel too lost. I also think T.A. Chase does a good job of balancing everything that’s going on; you never get the feeling it’s too much drama or it’s too dark. There is a good flow between all of the different elements. Trailing Air also manages to be a fast paced paranormal romance that doesn’t have undying love professed by our MCs on page one.

I hope we get another book soon!

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4 Stars, Carina Press, Eileen Griffin, Genre Romance, Nikka Michaels, Reviewed by Chris

Review: In the Fire by Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin

Title:  In The Fire

Author: Eileen Griffin & Nikka Michaels

Publisher: Carina Press

Pages/Word Count: 223 Pages

At a Glance: I recommend this for anyone who loves a man who knows their way around the kitchen.

Reviewed By: Chris

Blurb: Because the way to a man’s heart…

Eight years ago, the world was their oyster. Until, that is, competing chefs Ethan Martin and James Lassiter’s hot and heavy relationship fizzled after Jamie left for an internship in Paris. Even though Jamie’s career has taken off since his return to the States, with his own television show and a lot of fame, his feelings for Ethan have never quite gone away.

Ethan’s culinary career has developed more slowly, but he’s almost saved enough to buy the restaurant where he works and re-open it as his dream spot, Bistro 30. If only he could get the sexy chef who loved him and left him out of his mind.

But when someone starts sabotaging the restaurant and a fire threatens to take away everything Ethan holds dear, his only option is to rely on Jamie for help. Back in close quarters, the two men will have to find a way to work through their past if they hope to save the restaurant and their future.

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Review: Eight years have passed since Jaime and Ethan were rivals and lovers. The strain of a long distance relationship, coupled with lack of communication and a jealous ‘friend’s’ meddling, tore them apart. Leaving both without closure as to just why things ended makes for an interesting meeting the first time they see each other again.

While Jaime has been over in Paris, with a career that has taken flight, Ethan’s taken longer to reach the dream of owning his own restaurant.  Now, that’s not to say either have regrets for what happened in the past. Nor does it mean that they are actually over each other, because they lacked that closure of really saying their relationship was finished eight years before. Now being tossed together again after all these years, both realize they have things left unsaid and unfinished. It actually throws them both for a loop they weren’t expecting. Along the way of figuring out what went wrong, they also figure out they really aren’t finished with their relationship. That doesn’t mean things are going to be easy, though, because there is still someone who is trying to come between them, and there is someone trying to sabotage Ethan’s new restaurant.

In the Fire is told in alternating points of view, which really gives you better perspective of both sides of the story. While you think the breakup would be relatively cut and dried, it really wasn’t, because there was major miscommunication and hurt feelings on both sides due to perceived faults. If they had only talked to each other and not let others direct their paths, they probably would have never split.

This was a good follow-up to In The Raw, which introduced these two characters. In the years that have passed, Ethan and Jaime have grown up in so many ways, but they do still have some of the same issues from the first book. Ethan still has a temper, hates to ask for help, and still worries about others before himself, which really puts him in a bind a few times in this book. The story was solid from start to finish and kept a good pace with both points of view.  This book did offer closure for Ethan and Jaime, which is ultimately what I’d wanted from both stories.

I recommend this for anyone who loves a man who knows their way around the kitchen, and is able to admit when he’s wrong, or didn’t pay attention to what was going on.

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mary Calmes, Reviewed by Jules

Release Day Review: Just Desserts by Mary Calmes

Title: Just Desserts (Tales of the Curious Cookbook)

Author: Mary Calmes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 102 Pages

At a Glance: This novella is another winner from one of my absolute favorite authors.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Boone Walton has tried hard to create some distance between himself and his past. He’s invested in his new life, his New Orleans art gallery, and his friendship with Scott Wren. Things finally seem to be settling down to normal, and Boone couldn’t be happier.

Chef Scott Wren wants much more than normal with Boone. He wants to raise things to the next level, but Boone is terrified—and not because of the ghost in Scott’s apartment or Scott’s relatives. No, Boone’s past is about to pay him a visit, and the only thing that can get between Boone, Scott, and a hinky recipe for chocolate mousse found in a curious cookbook is the river of pain Boone had to swim across to get to this side of The Big Easy. There’s a secret behind the ingredients, though—one that might reveal the trust and love that have been missing from Boone’s life.

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Review: Even though I’m greedy, and I ALWAYS want more of her words, I have to concede what a knack Mary Calmes has for writing novellas. Even with the limited space, she is incredibly good at fleshing out the characters and covering all the bases in the storyline. I fall completely in love with her guys every time, and always wish their story would continue beyond the last page; Boone and Scott in Just Desserts are no exception.

Mary’s fabulous descriptions of her characters always allow me to see them so clearly in my mind. Here, we get to see Scott through Boone’s eyes:

When Scott Wren smiled, he went from being just another guy you’d pass on the street to a movie star. He stood shorter than me, five nine to my six two, leaner with long sleek muscles under golden skin. His eyes glittered a gorgeous shade of silver-flecked gray, his lips curled wickedly, his dimples popped, his nose scrunched up – and you noticed not only was he adorable, but breathtaking as well. All the beauty was topped off with a husky chuckle that made everyone who ever heard it want to follow him home.

And, five pages later, we get a little glimpse of Boone, via some dialogue with Scott:

”What?” I asked, stilling as I frowned slightly.

“How do you mean, you made it like me?”

“Bright, cheerful, warm,” I explained. “Like you.”

His smile was brilliant. “You say the nicest things, Boone.”

I groaned, stepping around him.

“And, for the record, if I had your dimples or your ridiculous jawline or your gorgeous shoulders, I would get all the pretty boys.”

I processed his words, “Ridiculous?” I asked, not sure if I should take offense.

“Only superheroes have your bone structure, buddy.”

I love how those little snippets tell us so much about how they feel about each other – even though they’re too stubborn to admit it – and help set the tone of their relationship.

There was so much to love in Just Desserts. The setting, for one thing – I mean, who doesn’t love New Orleans? No amount of opulence or decadence is too much in a story set there. You’ll especially love it if you’ve been to NOLA, and can even more easily picture the rich culture and vibrancy of the city. Also, New Orleans lends itself perfectly to my next favorite thing about the book, which was the super-fun magical, paranormal aspect. We’ve got a magical cookbook here, folks! And, a persnickety ghost! It really was tons of fun.

Granny B’s magical mousse recipe may have been enough to push the guys together, but Boone’s past life, and love, in Japan have always had a bit of a hold on him, and need to be dealt with before he can fully commit to Scott. I adored this part of the book. Boone is an amazing character, and the tidbits from his life in Japan were so intriguing, and also gave the story the perfect amount of drama. Mary Calmes did a really wonderful job telling his story.

As you can see, this novella is another winner from one of my absolute favorite authors. Do not hesitate to pick this one up!! :)

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Extasy Books, Giveaways, Tina Blenke

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Shifting Cargo Blog Tour With Tina Blenke

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The Novel Approach welcomes Tina Blenke today on the Shifting Cargo blog tour. I asked Tina to tell us a bit about the novel’s characters, Ramey and Londyn, more specifically, what intrigued her about contrasting Ramey’s very human depression and subsequent addictions to Londyn’s perfect life as a shifter, and why was that contrast important to their development?

Enjoy Tina’s answer, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

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Tina: Ramey’s character is very personal to me in so many ways. Much of what he went through was a knee-jerk reaction to an event that struck him to the very core and who knows how any of us would have reacted to such a live changing traumatic experience. There were a series of my own life experiences that have happened recently and this story is a conglomeration of some of those events. But, when I first wrote about Ramey, I didn’t expect him to have his own story. I was intrigued about why he was behaving the way he was and I wanted him to have a happy ending.

The contrast between him and Londyn are so different. It starts with the differences in their families and upbringing but both men had happy childhoods and came from loving supportive families. What I really liked was the point in their lives where they meet. Ramey is feeling that his life has reached rock bottom and he has no hope for the future while Londyn believes that his life is just beginning because he’s found his mate.

Some of this contrast is portrayed in the flashbacks that Ramey has. He exists in the present but much of his life is lived in the past with the ramifications of many bad decisions. Londyn lives in the future and can only see forward without initially realizing that the couple isn’t starting on the same page. It’s something that they both need to overcome.

In your research of depression, addiction, and recovery, did you find that some of the things you learned also affected the way you portrayed Londyn? How so?

Unfortunately, I’ll admit that most of my research was all firsthand experience. I won’t go into details here, but it was important to portray the difficulty in how these experiences affect a relationship. There’s the combined actuality of Ramey living with the recovery as well as Londyn trying to understand Ramey’s triggers and sensitivity. Both men must make the mental determination to make this relationship work. They both have to give a little. Londyn has the compassion to love Ramey but he has to put aside his ideal world and learn that sometimes life is messy, sometimes it’s out of his control. I think that this makes for a more heartwarming story that can be consumed and digested in a sweet short love story.

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shiftingcargo72Blurb: Ramey’s world is shattered when his brother dies suddenly. He tries to go through the motions, day by agonizing day, doing the best that he can at his job, but it’s not enough. Months of depression escalates into alcohol use and drug abuse to numb the pain. For the past year, he’s been dreading meeting with his lawyer and accepting his brother’s death. The pain becomes too much to bear and Ramey is caught with cocaine at work and fired immediately. When he hits rock bottom, he realizes that he’s disrespecting his brother’s memory and checks himself into rehab with the help of an unlikely friend.

Londyn’s life is perfect living as a wolf Shifter in the Pack Lands. He’s been working in the family business and happy living in his cabin in the woods. Londyn has high expectations for the perfect mate to make his life complete.

Can Ramey accept his destiny as a Shifter’s mate? And is his love for the wolf Shifter worth leaving behind the demons and the only world he’s ever known?

Buy Links: eXtasy Books | Amazon

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Author BioAbout the Author: Tina is a retired Air Force brat and has lived in several states as well as a handful of countries. She has always had a soft spot for literature and is a voracious reader. When she isn’t writing, she can be found cuddled up with a good book. Though Tina adores a thrilling novel with sappy lovesick heroes, she is terrified of things that go bump in the night. This makes for quite a complicated relationship with zombies, something that she just can’t get enough of.

Connect With Tina: Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Amazon | eXtasy link | Goodreads | Tsu | WordPress | Website

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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Giveaways, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price

Interview and Giveaway: Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary Audiobook by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

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The Novel Approach welcomes Jordan Castillo Price today to chat a bit about the audiobook release of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary. If you’ve been waiting for the gorgeous Michael and Wild Bill to be brought to life on audio, the time has come, and Gomez Pugh turns in another sexy knockout performance.

Enjoy Jordan’s interview, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an audio copy of the collection.

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JCP: Hi, Lisa! I was really excited to talk about the Channeling Morpheus audiobooks with you, since you’re such a longtime fan of the series. Thanks for having me on TNA today!!

TNA: It’s my pleasure to have you here with us, Jordan, especially since we’re talking all things Michael and Wild Bill. :) Let’s get things rolling:

Q: There’s obviously got to be a huge level of satisfaction for an author to bring characters to life on the page, but how does that compare to the first moment you actually hear them brought to life in spoken word?

A: It’s a really big deal. I tend to be a lone wolf, so for me it’s both challenging and rewarding to work with narrators or translators. Being willing to collaborate with other artists is really the only way I’m able to expand into new languages, like French and German, or these different formats, like audio.

Initially I was thinking I’d have to settle for a narrator who was just okay, inoffensive, who basically pronounced the words right, didn’t breathe weird, and maybe had occasional good moments. And then I heard Gomez, and I felt the earth move.

Q: Having had so much success with Gomez Pugh’s narration in the PsyCop series, what made you decide he’d be the right narrator for the Channeling Morpheus series as well?

A: I felt it was risky to go with the same voice artist for a new project, actually, because there was the potential that Wild Bill would be talking away and suddenly he’d sound just like Victor Bayne. When you think about it, I do write a lot of snarky middle-aged guys. Though they sound different in my head, authorial voice must color it all and lend them a certain similarity. But I’ve sampled a number of other mainstream projects Gomez has worked on, and I knew he could maintain a plausible, distinct accent or cadence or character for an entire book.

I think one place he shines in Channeling Morpheus is with Michael. I really believe he’s a depressed 21-year-old whenever Michael speaks. I didn’t really KNOW what Michael should sound like, and the communication between us is such that he was able to help me figure it out. I couldn’t see having that level of communication with someone new. This seems to be circling back to my tendency to work alone, doesn’t it?

Q: What did Gomez think about the level of erotica in this series in comparison to the PsyCop series? Did he comment on that at all?

A: No, he didn’t say! But he originally found me when he decided he was going to try his hand at reading erotica for fun, and ended up discovering PsyCop instead and identifying with Vic. I’ve heard about narrators who project embarrassment when they’re reading a sex scene, and one thing I really enjoy about Gomez’s performance is that whenever there’s something steamy on the page, he totally goes for it, just belts it right on out.

Q: What’s the vocal preparation process like? Is there a lot of back and forth between you and Gomez, a lot of describing the characters’ voices as you hear them, then him going through a process of elimination to get it just right?

A: Initially when you work with someone on the Audiobook Creation Exchange, the system funnels all of your correspondence through the site to keep it all professional and relatively anonymous. The author puts up a sample from a story, indicates how much they’re willing to pay, and hopefully some decent narrators will come back with auditions. Some narrators will submit auditions whether or not they’re appropriate for the part. I heard PsyCop read with a variety of accents and ages. It was pretty weird. Once you get an audition you like, you make a formal offer to the producer to work on the book. And generally, once they do they audition, they give you the book in one big chunk. You don’t really have the chance to fine-tune anything once you okay a piece for production.

It’s a little less formal since Gomez and I have been working together since he started narrating PsyCop for me last year. I’ll just email him and start off by saying, “I have a story, here’s what it’s about and here’s how long it is, is this something you’re interested in?” and if so I put a word doc in our shared dropbox and we ballpark a timeframe for production.

For figuring out the voices, I read through the story and decide which important characters I have preconceived ideas about and I write up some descriptions of what makes them tick and how I’d like them to sound. I find key bits of the text that would allow Gomez to play with the voice. We take the spot where other artists would normally upload auditions, and we use that for him to deliver some voice tests to me.

He also reads through and asks me for pronunciation clarifications. We had a pretty lengthy discussion of how badly Vic would botch the pronunciation of ‘gyros’, for instance :D

Our engineer is the third member of our team—he’s responsible for the quality and consistency of the recording and he does an absolutely stellar job. I’ve heard of audios where page-turns or distracting breaths impinge on the listeners’ experience. I’d hate to get a good audition, then start working with someone new and later realize that they’re just winging it in their living room with a USB mic and Garage Band, and in the final cut there was all kinds of crappy background noise or lousy recording levels. (Or excessive breathing or lip smacking!) The surety that my team would give me an utterly professional studio-quality job was another key reason I chose to work with them for another series.

Q: Which scene(s) in this series were you most anxious to hear Gomez narrate, and why?

A: I was eager to hear what he’d do with the Minnesota state park scene in Vertigo, because years ago I actually read that scene to an audience at a local bookstore, and it was tough. So having tried to make it sound halfway decent myself, I had a good appreciation for how much skill and craft Gomez was bringing to the scene.

I think this is where Wild Bill’s voice really works, too, because when he speaks for an extended period of time, when he narrates, I really find myself swept away in his cadence and flow. Hearing Gomez do it, it’s nothing short of hypnotic.

He also brings something really special to all the side characters. He’s not just reading a book, he’s enacting a story. The vampires in this series are absolutely terrifying to me when he voices them. Marushka, dripping with sincerity as she shaves Michael’s groin; Dr. Jim pretentiously explaining vampirism; Miranda’s eerie calm as she pours them a cup of coffee.

And I can’t really talk about Channeling Morpheus without mentioning the sex. The sex scenes are stunning in audio. They all leave me a little weak-kneed, but I was particularly touched by the tenderness in the bathtub scene in Rebirth. It really feels as if they’re their own microcosm.

Q: Now that Michael and Wild Bill are out there for all the world to hear in the first five novellas in the series, when can we expect to have them back for A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion?

A: Because of the production cost, it might be a few months.  This will probably sound like a shameless plug for reviews, but I’m being honest when I say that readers can influence my workflow by leaving positive reviews on Amazon and Audible on my audiobooks. Professional audio is expensive to produce, and good reviews and recommendations directly affect sales. The quicker the audios pay for themselves, the more feasible it becomes for me to step up the schedule.

As for me, I’m super eager to proceed. I cannot wait to hear what it will sound like when Dr. Jim talks them into trapping a feral vampire in the Wisconsin woods in Snare. Or the dog surgery scene from Swarm. Or the underwater scene in Fluid. Heck, I wanna hear it all!

TNA: I do too, lemme tell ya! Thanks again, Jordan, for taking the time to answer my questions.

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channelingmorpheusAUDIO-450Blurb: Michael is a waif in eyeliner who’s determined to wipe vampires off the face of the earth. Wild Bill’s got the hots for Michael and will stop at nothing to go home with him. Forget about moonlit castles and windswept moors. These bad boys haunt all-night diners and cheap motels, cut-rate department stores and long, lonely stretches of the interstate. Ride along with Wild Bill and Michael as the twists and turns of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary unfold in America’s heartland.

Buy Links: Amazon | Audible

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Jordan Castillo PriceAbout the Author: Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal thrillers colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” and boys in eyeliner.

Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.

Find out more at www.jordancastilloprice.com

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3 Stars, Genre Romance, Iyana Jenna, JMS Books LLC, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Angel

Review: The Recording Room by Iyana Jenna

Title: The Recording Room

Author: Iyana Jenna

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 61 Pages

At a Glance: The Recording Room is a short story that had promise, but it needed cleaned up a bit.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Lucian Salvatore returns to Clover East after his grandmother calls him home to take care of the family’s recording studio. This is a welcome trip after the tragic loss of his boyfriend.

Nate Lockwood is the man who practically runs the Salvatore studio. He suspects he’s going to be replaced once Lucian comes home to take over the business. But Nate doesn’t plan on leaving Clover East so soon, at least not before he solves the mystery that’s the real reason he came to the small town in the first place.

Will Nate be able to discover what happened to his aunt who disappeared in Clover East so many years ago? What does her disappearance have to do with Lucian’s family … and the haunted recording room in the studio where they both work?

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Review: Iyana Jenna’s The Recording Room is a short story that had promise, and I did enjoy it, but I think it needs some cleaning up from an editing perspective. The writing was choppy and confusing in places, and it seemed to jump around quite a bit, but for all that, it was a complete story for the length, and despite these issues, the premise is interesting.

This story revolves around a kind of boss/subordinate insta-love affair, with several mysteries going on the background. I really enjoyed seeing how the author brought the clues of the mystery together. The ghost story was both chilling and sad. But, I felt some things were left out of the romance aspect of the book. Nate and Lucian were almost combative, then suddenly they were in love. They were there for one another at the end, though, and I liked that.

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3 Stars, Edie Danford, New Adult, Reviewed by Lisa, Samhain Publishing

Review: Uncovering Ray by Edie Danford

Title: Uncovering Ray

Author: Edie Danford

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 309 Pages

At a Glance: I liked this book, even in spite of some rather clichéd secondary characters and what I feel was a detractor to its message about destroying labels and gender stereotypes.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: When the right love uncovers the wrong secrets…

Hey, man–you a chick or a dude? Dealing with the same old boring question is a downer for college drop-out Ray Fayette, especially when it’s asked by the low-tipping, over-privileged students at the Ellery Diner.

When six-foot-five, muscle-bound straight arrow Wyatt Kelly publicly smacks down a fellow frat bother for caveman behavior, Ray’s interest is sparked. Wyatt’s not-so-subtle attraction sparks a few other things too.

But getting to know Wyatt proves dangerous. His sexy smiles and smart questions slide under even Ray’s prickliest defenses. Worse, his academic mentor happens to be Ray’s ex-stepfather, the dictatorial jerk who just kicked Ray out of his house. Again.

Wyatt suggests a housing arrangement that has surprising appeal—there’s space available at his frat house—but he’s unaware just how complicated Ray’s “identity issues” are. Ellery College kicked out Ray for a reason—a reason that could deep-six Wyatt’s academic career and Ray’s newly hopeful heart.

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Warning: This Review Contains Spoilers

Review: Let me start by saying on the whole, I try to be ultra-sensitive of spoilers in my reviews, but there really is no way to discuss this book in a way that doesn’t at least give you a good guess about a significant plot point, so read no further if you’re considering reading Uncovering Ray.

Okay, now I feel as if I’ve done due diligence, so let me start by saying I offer huge kudos to Edie Danford for tackling such a thoughtful subject in her freshman contribution to the LGBT genre, especially in writing a gender fluid character the reader is deliberately intended not to know at the beginning of the story as either male or female, or, both male and female, whichever the case may be.

Uncovering Ray works beautifully at the outset. Is Ray a feminine boy or a masculine girl? Though there is a natural curiosity, Danford also makes us not care one way or the other, and this succeeds because we simply see Ray as Ray—no pronouns, no labels necessary—the only thing that matters is that we’re allowed to know Ray as a person apart from the cisgender definition of male or female. Seeing Ray as gender non-specific allows us to concentrate on the challenges of Ray being Ray, and this non-specificity is integral in establishing the relationship between Ray and Wyatt, the guy who charms his way into Ray’s life, because the very thing that makes Ray such a strong character makes Wyatt strong too. This straight guy is attracted to Ray not because he’s certain of Ray’s gender but because he’s drawn to Ray’s outward projection of who Ray is inside: a mix of confidence and sass, anger and vulnerability.

Danford’s writing style is fresh and vibrant, a good complement to her twenty and twenty-three year old protagonists. Ray’s tough exterior is exposed while at the same time revealing all of Ray’s tender spots: the family issues, the things that make Ray a dichotomy—brittle, sensitive, strong, and simply wanting to be accepted. The author succeeds in helping us to understand and empathize with Ray’s character, even though Ray’s prickliness won’t allow us to get too close.

Wyatt, on the other hand, is the steadfast and determined hero ready to champion Ray at every turn, complete with Ray insisting upon referring to him as Sherriff Earp. Wyatt is the man who means to be the agent of the change he wants to see in the world, and in many ways he becomes Ray’s touchstone. They both deliver the author’s message loud and clear—that coming down on the right side of history means tearing down walls, destroying labels, upsetting the status quo, and being the instigator of progress in the Greek system at Ellery College. Wyatt is a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy and is immediately likeable for his confidence and kindness.

Now, the downturn. Where Uncovering Ray lost all credibility for me, where its overarching message of rejecting gender normative labels failed just before the halfway mark, is in the revelation of Ray’s biological gender. “Hey, man—you a chick or a dude?” It’s directly established in the blurb that this is a tiresome question for Ray, it’s the crux of Ray’s personal challenges and struggles, and is the core of Ray’s identity as neither, or both. The author establishes a powerful visual image of Ray’s androgyny from the start, only to obliterate that image by revealing Ray’s genitalia on page in an overt sexual way, creating for the reader the impossible task of recovering the ability to see beyond Ray’s anatomy, and leaving me with the distraction for the remainder of the book of trying to figure out why it was important to establish that visual. In my opinion, it wasn’t important at all and entirely contradicted Ray’s characterization at the outset of the story.

How did this impact the novel’s overall message? It also took a good bit of the sheen off Wyatt’s shining armor, to be honest, in ways that are complete spoilers to the book, but suffice it to say, the only thing we can end up crediting Wyatt with is seeing past Ray’s androgyny and accepting the way Ray chooses to dress. Not a bad message, but again, I feel this book could have made a much greater impact if Ray’s genitalia had been kept completely off the page so the reader could embrace Ray’s fluidity without influence from the mental picture the author provides.

Having said all that, little is resolved at the end of Uncovering Ray, but it is an otherwise sweet story; ambitious, angsty and optimistic, with a pivotal scene that redirects the tide of events in Ray’s life, and just might bring around some of the changes Wyatt is working toward. I liked this book, even in spite of some rather clichéd secondary characters and what I feel was a detractor to its message about destroying labels and redefining gender norms.

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

Review: The Marrying Kind by Jay Northcote

Title: The Marrying Kind

Author: Jay Northcote

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 105 Pages

At a Glance: The Marrying Kind is a nice way to see what’s happened to two lovely men who have discovered their future in each other.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Nathan wants to put a ring on it, but is Owen the marrying kind?

Two years on from their first date, Owen and Nathan are living together and life is good—except they’re not on the same page about marriage.

A traditionalist at heart, Nathan wants it all: the wedding, the vows, and a pair of matching rings. Owen, on the other hand, believes marriage is old-fashioned and unnecessary. They don’t need a wedding to prove their commitment to each other. Love should be enough on its own.

All it takes is one moment of weakness on a night out to force the issue. Owen finds himself engaged after a half-drunk proposal, and Nathan’s enthusiasm sweeps him along. But as the big day approaches, the mounting tension finally combusts.

If he’s going to save their relationship, Owen will need to decide once and for all if he’s truly the marrying kind.

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Review: Jay Northcote’s The Marrying Kind picks up two years later for our sweet couple, Owen and Nathan, from The Dating Game. Not a hitch has taken place and these two are now an exclusive, established couple who are deeply in love and seemingly content. Owen still avoids labels and any real sense of commitment beyond what he is comfortable with, and that means no marriage. Despite seeing their friends get hitched, Owen is content to just be with Nathan, no binding contract or public declaration necessary. Except, it kind of is necessary for Nathan. He aches to be married to Owen, to enter the next phase of their relationship, and worries over Owen’s obvious disgust for the idea.

And there, in a nutshell, is the whole premise for this second novella dedicated to Owen and Nathan—a tug-of-war over whether they should marry, and the wedge it drives between them—nearly severing their relationship in the process. The Marrying Kind never dragged for me and yet, this book was much different than the first—a little less excitement and a much slower build to the tipping point of conflict. While it was interesting meeting Owen’s family, and the sidestory created with Owen’s sister Meg, it was not enough to carry the story for me. I felt there was just a little too much rambling on about marriage. I could not figure out why it was so frightening for Owen; probably because Owen himself never fully understood why either. I hoped when he went home to his mom we would see the real crux of his concerns, but again, we just rode the surface of his fears. And that, in full, was my only problem with this story, the lack of real foundation for Owen’s deep-seated fear about marriage. I felt the novella never addressed what was eating at Owen and, if it had, the story would have felt more complete to me.

The Marrying Kind is a nice way to see what’s happened to two lovely men who have discovered their future in each other. While it lacked the emotional oomph that made the original novella in this series so good, it was nice to see them still together and very much in love.

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Jamie Fessenden, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 2.5 Stars, Reviewed by Sadonna

Audio Review: Murder on the Mountain by Jamie Fessenden – Narrated by Cliff Bergen

Title: Murder on the Mountain

Author: Jamie Fessenden

Narrator: Cliff Bergen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 7 Hours, 15 Minutes

At a Glance: The narrator in this case was okay, but I didn’t love his rendition of this book.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: When Jesse Morales, a recent college grad who aspires to be a mystery writer, volunteers to work on the summit of Mt. Washington for a week, he expects to work hard. What he doesn’t expect is to find a corpse in the fog, lying among the rocks, his head crushed. The dead man turns out to be a young tourist named Stuart Warren, who strayed from his friends while visiting the mountain.

Kyle Dubois, a widowed state police detective, is called to the scene in the middle of the night, along with his partner, Wesley Roberts. Kyle and Jesse are instantly drawn to one another, except Jesse’s fascination with murder mysteries makes it difficult for Kyle to take the young man seriously. But Jesse finds a way to make himself invaluable to the detective by checking into the hotel where the victim’s friends and family are staying and infiltrating their circle. Soon, he is learning things that could very well solve the case—or get him killed.

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Review: Murder on the Mountain marks my first foray into M/M audiobooks. I’ve been reluctant to dive into the audiobook pool because I usually have a VERY vivid movie going on in my head when I read books—a narrator may or may not capture my take on that movie. I had several friends recommend this book to me, so I thought I’d try it in audio.

I really liked the story of Jesse and Kyle. They meet after a tourist named Stuart has gone missing, and Jesse discovers the body after everyone on the mountain goes to look for him. Jesse has had a kind of strange afternoon; he remembers seeing Stuart – and his friends – earlier in the day, and he’s quite shocked to be the one to discover the body.

After the authorities are called, Jesse meets detectives Kyle Dubois and Wesley Roberts. Since he found the body, the detectives are quite interested in his statement. He immediately feels an attraction to Kyle, but he tries to keep his head in the game for the case at hand – which he believes is murder. It turns out that Jesse is an aspiring mystery writer, and this makes the detectives more than a little skeptical.

As the detectives begin to work the case, though, Jesse rather inserts himself into things by staying at the hotel where the rest of the friends and family of the tourist are staying. It turns out it is a wedding party, and the wedding was to have taken place that Saturday. There are a number of potential suspects, including the fiance’s family, and Stuart’s brother and best friend—it seems all have something to hide.

Kyle is quite unhappy at Jesse’s poking around, but he can’t help but be grateful for the information that Jesse is able to get by befriending the party. He also admits a number of things to Jesse, including his bisexuality and his devastation at the loss of his wife five years earlier. While they are getting to know each other, Kyle also worries that Jesse is putting himself right in the crosshairs of a killer. What’s to stop the murderer from going after Jesse if he – or she – determines that Jesse is getting too close?

There are a number of twists and turns, as you would expect with a good murder mystery. There might have been a number of motives for killing Stuart, but there are no clear clues or physical evidence that would tie any particular person to the murder. A lot of skeletons in a lot of closets are also revealed. As the whole sordid episode unravels, there is a suitably exhilarating climax.

I really enjoyed both the mystery part of the story as well as the budding romance between Jesse and Kyle. Kyle is actually interested in someone for the first time since his wife’s death, but he’s having a little trouble dealing with that emotionally. Jesse is a young guy who is not afraid to say what it is he wants. He really wants Kyle and he is very upfront about it. Both characters were likeable and believable. I also liked Kyle’s partner Wesley. He has Kyle’s back and his best interests at heart. As for the motley crew of family/friends/suspects, they made for an interesting and circuitous tale with several surprises thrown in for good measure. I would definitely recommend this story to any mystery lover.

However, I’m not sure I’m sold on audiobooks. The narrator in this case was okay, but I didn’t love his rendition of this book. I would have liked a little more energy, I think – although I thought he did a good job with Jesse’s part in particular. I’m reserving judgment, but I’m not 100% convinced that audiobooks are for me. I’ll try a few more before I decide, but definitely this does not convince me to steer away from reading my books.






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Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: The Justice Prevails Blog Tour With Morticia Knight

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The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome author Morticia Knight today, with an exclusive excerpt from her latest novel Justice Prevails. Enjoy the tease, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback copy of Justice Prevails.

Good luck!

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Blurb: Never judge a sexy man by his cover.

Detective Beau Williams is hard-working, dedicated, and professional. He enjoys the finer things in life, but with his heavy caseload that includes what Beau suspects is a new serial killer, he has no time to enjoy much of anything. What the tall redhead needs is someone to shake him up a little.

Investigative Technician Austin Kent never met a snarky joke he didn’t like – or a set of stairs that couldn’t trip him up. One night after a devastating episode at work, Austin sees something else he likes – the handsome detective he’s seen around the station whom he’s always wondered about. But after he makes a drunken fool of himself in front of Detective Williams, he’s sure there’s no hope.

Beau and Austin’s worlds collide right away when Austin is sent to pick up some evidence at the station. Amidst a myriad of twists and turns in the troubling serial killer style murders of Vegas conventioneers, Austin and Beau discover that there’s more to the other than they’d originally thought. There might even be more they’d like to give – unless the killer has the final say.

Buy Links: Totally Bound | Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble

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Excerpt:  Beau waited until they were finished. Austin promised to come back in a few days to help Rich sort through boxes of clothing donations to decide what could be used, what had to be tossed and what needed to be cleaned. There was another pull at Beau’s heart. There was some more playful joking with Rich then Austin turned to Beau.

“Thanks, man. You guys were really great. I mean it.”

“It was my pleasure.” Beau was surprised at his unexpected bout of shyness. “Are you too tired to—”

“I’m never too tired for that.” Austin had blurted it out then seemed to catch himself. “Oops. You were probably only going to ask if I was too tired to give you a ride or something.”

Beau snorted. “You could give me a ride, but it wouldn’t be in a car.”

Austin’s mouth dropped open then he quickly recovered. “Detective Williams. I’m scandalized.” He put a hand over his heart. “You not only made a dirty joke but you’ve insinuated that I’ve fallen so hard for your charms that you can have me at your whim.”

“I…”

“And you would be right.”

“That wasn’t very romantic, was it?”

“No, but because you’re so fucking hot, I’ll forgive you.” Austin clapped a hand over his mouth. “Shit. It’s a good thing Rich didn’t hear me. I’m already the top contributor to the swear jar.”

“So he wasn’t kidding earlier. They’re really able to control the kid’s cursing with that?”

“Pphhh. Hardly. But Rich said I can out-curse everyone here ten times over and that I’m a bad influence.”

Beau leaned in to whisper in Austin’s ear. “You’re a bad influence on me, but in a very good way.”

“Hot damn. Let’s get outta here.”

Grinning, Beau laid his hand on Austin’s arm. “I do have to take Parker and Lonnie home first though, so I can’t get to your place for another thirty minutes or so. Is that too late?”

Parker called over right then. “Beau, Rich is driving us back to the apartment—that okay?”

Beau wondered how much of that had been spontaneous and how much had been for Beau and Austin’s benefit. As he walked over to his friends to say goodbye, Austin jogged ahead. By the time Beau had reached them, he caught the tail end of the conversation with Austin and Parker exchanging numbers.

“This is genuinely appreciated, man. I was sure we were fucked sideways.”

Rich grunted. “Pay up, Austin.”

“Aw, come on. There aren’t any kids around!”

Rich shook his head grimly. “You’re still in the building, dude. It counts.”

“Goddammit.” Austin reached into his wallet and pulled out a five.

“Ahem. And another five for the second one. Oh, and for the others earlier.” Rich held his palm up.

“You’re bleeding me dry, kid.”

“And we appreciate doing business with your potty mouth.”

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Morticia KnightAbout the Author: M/M Erotic Romance author Morticia Knight enjoys hot stories of men loving men forever after. They can be men in uniform, Doms and subs, rock stars or bikers – but they’re all searching for the one (or two!) who was meant only for them.
When not indulging in her passion for books, she loves the outdoors, film and music. Once upon a time she was the singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She is currently working on more installments of Sin City Uniforms and The Hampton Road Club, as well as the follow-up to Bryan and Aubrey’s story from Rockin’ the Alternative.

Where to find the author: Follow on Twitter: @morticiaknight | Add book on ‘to read’ shelf at Goodreads | Like Facebook Author page | Follow Morticia Knight’s Blog

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Charlie Cochet, Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Healing Hunter’s Heart Blog Tour With Charlie Cochet

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Hello all! Thank you for joining me on another stop of the tour celebrating the release of Healing Hunter’s Heart.

The Little Bite of Love series centers on the shifters of St. Veles. The Provence of St. Veles is a heavily wooded land mass located between Maine and Nova Scotia. It was revealed centuries ago when the veil between the human world and magical world crumbled. St. Veles is mostly occupied by canine shifters.

Unlike my THIRDS series, the shifters in Little Bite of Love were born of myth and magic. Although they live very human lives, they are also very deeply connected to the ways of their ancestors. In this world, there is what’s known at the World Law which governs all. The World Law encompasses many human laws to keep order among all creatures. But each clan has its own laws. These laws can be brutal, but they must be respected by all creatures and humans.

In Healing Hunter’s Heart, we get to see how the canine shifter clans live. We get to see the very human side. They have jobs they go to, school, shopping, gardening, barbecues. Then there are instances where we’re reminded who these shifters really are and the kind of world they live in.

Justice – For example, Hunter is entitled to retribution against Skyrah for her dishonorable actions against him and his mate. He can choose one of three options: exile, servitude, or death. If he’d still been part of the Hagan Clan during her betrayal, the Hagan Council would have enforced the punishment. However since Hunter had abdicated his position before then, her punishment is up to him. Of course since the Hagan Clan is on the verge of war with Hunter’s Clan, his retribution has to wait as the Hagan Clan has no intention of cooperating.

Priorities – In a canine shifter clan, nothing is more important than the clan’s pups. They are the future of a canine shifter clan. This means when war breaks out between clans, those with no honor will go for the pups. Destroy them, and the clan will not survive. Clan members who’ve lost their pups will disband to join other clans. Their ancestry, their families, their name is destroyed. This is why clans have Enforcers. Fierce defenders to challenge and eliminate any threat to the clan and any possible danger posed to their pups. Canine shifters need family, whether they’re related by blood or bond. They very much have a pack mentality.

HuskyShiftersMates and Bonding – Mates in the canine shifter clans of St. Veles are also complex. The type of mate a canine shifter has along with who is the stronger of the two will result in certain changes once the bond is complete. Canine shifters can have sex without bonding, though if they find the rate mate, the call of their ancestors will grow with time, demanding the shifter seal the bond. A bond requires commitment and a spiritual connection.

The stronger of the two shifters will have to pierce the skin of his mate where droplets of blood will travel down their fangs and into their mate. Enforcer blood will always cause changes in a pureblood when bonded, giving the pureblood an Enforcer’s strength among other changes. For this reason, the Hagan Clan had outlawed Enforcer/Pureblood bonding, using false reasoning in order to hide the truth. This would ensure no pairing could grow strong enough to challenge the clan’s Alpha.

Types of Mates

True Mates: Are very rare. Trip and Boone are true mates. With true mates, depending on the pairing, a bond stronger than any other is forged. An Alpha/Enforcer bonding like in Trip and Boone’s case means the Alpha canine shifter takes on all of the Enforcer’s strengths. There are physical changes. It prepares the Alpha for any and all who may challenge him.

Compatible Mates: A canine shifter can have more than one compatible mate from which to choose from. They can be in a relationship and have sex. There will be a strong connection and a bond can be made. Compatible mates aren’t rare, but they aren’t plentiful either. Some connections may feel stronger than others. Hunter and Ari are compatible mates. However, Ari’s scent had a far stronger pull on Hunter than any other compatible mate he’d come across, enough to draw out his canine shifter instincts.

Mates: Much like with humans, canine shifters can meet someone, enter a relationship, and fall in love. Whoever that is will become a mate and they can bond. Their bond is no less deep or strong than the other types of mates, but there will be no changes in either party after the bond.

For all shifters who bond, there will be a small change. Such as the ability to communicate telepathically no matter the form they’re in with each other. With Compatible mates and true mates, the changes are greater, and they vary depending on the pairing.

One thing’s for sure, being a canine shifter is tough. There’s always danger lurking in the woods, whether from the wilder canine shifter clans, from those looking to expand their clan, looking to take over someone else’s, looking to pilfer mates, or just cause problems. For the most part, the canine shifters of St. Veles just want to live out a peaceful existence, and their Enforcers are there to ensure that happens. So who are these Enforcers? Find out on the next stop!

Haven’t read the first book, An Intrepid Trip to Love? It’s available for free from either my website or All Romance eBooks.

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Genre: M/M Fantasy, Shifters
Length: Novel
Published: April/May, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Coming Soon
Ebook ISBN-13: 9781634760201
Paperback ISBN-13: 9781634762847

Months after being forced to leave his lover and mate Ari Jannsen behind, Hunter Devin settles into his role as Enforcer for the newly formed Deagan Clan under the rule of his new Alpha and best friend Tristan ‘Trip’ Hagan. Along with Hunter’s brother Boone, their nephews, sister, and mother, Hunter finally has the family he’s always wanted, but without his little rebel Ari, his heart is incomplete.

The Hagan Clan is unable to accept the Deagan Clan’s betrayal for walking away and taking the clan’s pups with them. War looms. As both clans plan their attack, a greater enemy plots against them. But Hunter is determined to get his Ari back. Bonds are put to the test and unexpected alliances are made as Hunter and his clan set out to protect their own and end the spreading heartache.

AVAILABLE NOW

Dreamspinner Press eBook | Dreamsppinner Press Paperback
Also available from Amazon, All Romance eBooks, Barnes & Noble, and other book E-tailors.

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Charlie_Cochet_by_madison_parker150Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website | THIRDS HQ | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram | Newsletter | DSP |Amazon |Goodreads

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4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mickie B. Ashling, New Adult, Reviewed by Janet

Review: Chyna Doll by Mickie B. Ashling

Title: Chyna Doll (Horizons Series: Book Four)

Author: Mickie B. Ashling

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 320 Pages

At a Glance: The hope that endures through the pages is the absolute best reason to pick this story up and delve into the world Mickie B. Ashling has created.

Reviewed By: Janet

Blurb: Lil Lampert’s forty-fifth birthday turns the effervescent architect into a brooding mess, and his partner, Grier Dilorio, takes him to Italy to help him regain his zest for life. The timing is bad—almost-fifteen-year-old Luca has just started high school, and his mother and stepfather are also traveling. Luca is left in the care of Chicago Bear, Clark Stevens, and his partner, Dr. Jody Williams.

Growing up with two dads and two gay uncles has given Luca a unique perspective on gender roles, but not all the answers. He’s had a secret crush on his straight best friend, Chip, for years. Suddenly, Luca finds himself attracted to Chyna, Chip’s twin sister. Now he’s wondering if this means he’s bisexual.

Born with a sexual development disorder, Chyna should have been raised as a male, but due to an epic parenting fail, is being raised as female. Hiding the truth becomes more difficult when Chyna hits puberty, and crushing over Luca adds another element to Chyna’s struggle to fit in.

Is Luca’s moral compass strong enough to guide him successfully through this period of discovery or will he succumb to peer pressure and shatter Chyna’s dreams for happiness?

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Review: Wow! This was an intense book to read. I had read all of the previous books in the series, and had concerns about a book with a teenaged MC, what with the backdrop this series is based on. I really shouldn’t have worried, though. There was no squick about Luca at all. The teenage angst was appropriate to his age, and more importantly, was felt to be realistic and protective at the same time.

Jody and Clark, and Greer and Lil, were both further explored. Their relationships grew, and the effects of time on those relationships were exposed and defined to allow Luca to grow up to be the teenager he is in the story. If it wasn’t for the solid carryover of these very adult relationships, I might define this as a YA novel. The issues discussed: gender identity, bullying, peer pressure and family responsibilities are classic YA topics and are handled in an impressive manner. But…this is not a YA book. We are carried into the story as adults, protecting the young, nurturing their growth and allowing them to blossom safely, with our compassion at the forefront of our awareness as we read.

I have so much respect for this author for freely visiting topics that most would be wary of. I am a curious reader, and I love learning new things about people and places, and at no time when reading one of her books do I ever not learn something. Kinks and fetishes are a delight to learn about in the privacy of my own home, but the difficult topics she covers, like bullying and self-identity, are also explored, and these are emotionally felt by the reader as we are so immersed in her books that the events almost seem to happen to us. I would not say that Chyna Doll is an easy book to read, but it is now one of my favorites. The ability to force her readers to see things from multiple sides, and learn about new things in a balanced way, is a pretty awesome talent. It speaks to amazing research and world building, as well as character development which invests us in her work. We want the resolutions to work, and the characters to be happy, but we also want hope for the future, and she always delivers.

I would love to have parts of this book be compulsory for high school English classes, or maybe social studies, if that is still in the high school curriculum, but either way this is a book that should be read; for knowledge and awareness and personal growth. It is not a casual story to be enjoyed on a whim, but is an engrossing tale that will sustain you in ways I can’t describe. It manages to draw on so many emotions; it’s sexy, it has some great dialogue that’s funny and full of wit, it has moments that are disgusting for the portrayal of bullying at their worst and made me angry at parental powers that had been abused. And yet, the story still ended with hope. There are so many reasons to read this book, but I think the hope that endures through the pages is the absolute best reason to pick this story up and delve into the world Mickie B. Ashling has created.

Do yourself a favor and check out the first three books first, though: Horizons, Taste, and Daddio, to see the series journey so far and then tease your senses even more with Chyna Doll.

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Jenna Byrnes, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Totally Bound

Review: Rainey’s Release by Jenna Byrnes

Title: Rainey’s Release (Kansas City Heat: Book Six)

Author: Jenna Byrnes

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 108 Pages

At a Glance: Jenna Byrnes’ writing is entertaining and keeps you wanting more.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A madman targets gay drug addicts. Can the KCPD track down the latest serial killer before more blood is shed?

Detective William Rainey is the newest man assigned to the KCPD’s Homicide Division, having just relocated from St. Louis with his life partner, Joshua Wolf. When a murder with the same MO as several St. Louis crimes takes place, the similarities are hard to ignore. The investigation turns personal and soon hits close to home. A suspect comes to light and Will finds himself in a battle to solve the most important case of his life. Enlisting the help of Detectives James Dixon and Nick Peyton is tricky when the men don’t feel like they know him yet. Can he earn their trust before it’s too late?

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Review: William Rainey and his partner Josh Wolf have made the move to Kansas City. Will has gotten himself a new job as detective for the Kansas City Police Department. Josh has a new job too, at the Bright Horizons Treatment Center, as a therapy counselor. He also has plans to look for a Narcotics Anonymous group that fits his needs.

Will starts his job at the KCPD feeling nervous about his being gay, he’s still unsure of how others will react to it, and unfortunately for him he’s temporarily assigned to James Dixon (aka Dix—he won’t answer to anything else). Their first homicide assignment is that of a young man found dead in an alley, with all the signs that he’d been a drug addict.

But what really has Will upset is Dix. Dix not only refers to him as “rookie” but tends to make homophobic statements. Will gets a chance to work some cases with Peyton and Laura ,and notices how much easier it is working with them than Dix. Will approaches Peyton and brings up the issue of Dix’s gay bashing. Peyton doesn’t hold back and shows a picture of his better-half to Will. Will is totally surprised. Peyton then calls Dix into the break room and confronts Dix about the gay bashing. Will is then stunned when Dix admits to being gay and married.

Will doesn’t know how to react, he doesn’t admit or deny to being gay, and this leads to a devastating turn of events. Will he lose his job? Or worse, loose Josh? Will the killer be found? How does Will make things right?

I have been totally sucked into the Kansas City Heat series since the beginning. The series name fits too: there’s a lot of heat in these stories, and Josh and Will are hot, hot, hot! Jenna Byrnes’ writing is entertaining and keeps you wanting more, she creates characters you want to keep tabs on, so it’s nice to hear about them in other books in the series. I think you could read Rainey’s Release as a standalone, but if you want to learn more about the other characters, here is a list of books in reading order: Dixon’s Duty, Peyton’s Pursuit, Cameron’s Cove, Taylor’s Task, and Gage’s Gift. I recommend them all.

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Genre Romance, Heidi Cullinan, Insatiable Press, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: Fever Pitch by Heidi Cullinan – Narrated by Iggy Toma

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Title: Fever Pitch

Author: Heidi Cullinan

Narrator:: Iggy Toma

Publisher: Insatiable Press

Run Time: 11 Hours, 48 Minutes

At a Glance: Fever Pitch is a highly recommended audiobook.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Sometimes you have to play love by ear.

Aaron Seavers is a pathetic mess, and he knows it. He lives in terror of incurring his father’s wrath and disappointing his mother, and he can’t stop dithering about where to go to college—with fall term only weeks away. Ditched by a friend at a miserable summer farewell party, all he can do is get drunk in the laundry room and regret he was ever born. Until a geeky-cute classmate lifts his spirits, leaving him confident of two things: his sexual orientation, and where he’s headed to school.

Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota, and off to college, where he plans to play his violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. But when Aaron appears on campus, memories of hometown hazing threaten what he’d hoped would be his haven. As the semester wears on, their attraction crescendos from double-cautious to a rich, swelling chord. But if more than one set of controlling parents have their way, the music of their love could come to a shattering end.

Warning: Contains showmances, bad parenting, Walter Lucas, and a cappella.

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Review: I haven’t read a book by Heidi Cullinan in a while, mainly because I was under the impression she writes BDSM, a genre I’m really not into. Of course, there is one story of hers that stuck with me—I’ll never quite look at riding ponies the same without wishing I could do this to my significant other. But, after reading Jules’ e-book review of Fever Pitch, it kind of nudged my curiosity, so I finally decided to give it a try since it had been released on audio. Holy Moly, what an awesome story and audiobook!

Iggy Toma does a fantastic job of narrating this book. His performance not only gives each character their own voice but enhances the emotion and pacing of the story as well, making Fever Pitch a top-notch listen. There’s one part of the story, when he delivers a line at the end of a chapter, that blew my socks off! Sorry, I’d be revealing too much to tell you what it was, though. I’m so impressed with Toma’s narration of Fever Pitch that I’ve started listening to the first book, Love Lessons, and am now eagerly anticipating the third book in this series. And to think, I almost said No Thanks, because of a misunderstanding I had about the author. I’m so glad to see Heidi Cullinan branched out and showed a rare quality of writing that has moved her up to a must-read author for me.

Fever Pitch is a highly recommended audibook!

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You can buy Fever Pitch here:

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4 Stars, Hayden Thorne, Queerteen Press, Reviewed by Jennifer, Young Adult

Review: Banshee by Hayden Thorne

Title: Banshee

Author: Hayden Thorne

Publisher: Queerteen Press/JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 228 Pages

At a Glance: Fantastic narrator and a terrifying ghost that kept me awake at night.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Nathaniel Wakeman is the only child and son of a modest vicar, who lives in the quiet and idyllic confines of the Isle of Wight. When his maternal grandfather dies, Natty’s mother reconnects with her estranged and wealthy brother and his family in hopes of raising Natty up in the world, to urge him to go beyond the humble life he’s always known.

Though his cousins show no particular regard for him, one of them, at least, lures him away from his retired life and introduces him to the world—and to the son of a baron from Somerset, Miles Lovell. Natty gradually finds himself drawn toward the older and worldlier gentleman and returns to his father’s vicarage a changed young man. He also seems to have attracted the attention of a ghost, one that has followed him back to the island.

Haunted by a woman in white, who seems to appear when he’s at his weakest, Natty struggles with his own nature and with his family’s increasing difficulties. His mother is distant, hiding things from him as she never has, and his father is aging before his eyes. Quarrels between his parents grow more and more frequent, and Natty’s increasing terror of familiar and beloved footpaths add to the spiraling tension at home.

While Natty tries to find his place in the world, his childhood is crumbling around him, and he becomes more and more convinced that his persistent ghost is a harbinger of doom.

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Review: It’s incredibly rare for me to find a book that actually scares me. The traditional horror novels just don’t do it for me. Stephen King? Nope. Read the books that scared my coworkers, and I didn’t even bat an eye and slept just fine at night. In fact, before this book, there was only one other novel that scared me enough to make me want to sleep completely buried under covers with the lights on.

Banshee is not about the traditional Irish banshee most readers may be familiar with, but don’t let that put you off. Hayden Thorne has written a fantastic novel here, with a wonderful narrator, Nathaniel, and a plot that will leave you in suspense until the very last page.

Nathaniel, or Natty, as his family calls him, is a seventeen year old boy living in the nineteenth century. He is slowly awakening to his sexuality after meeting his cousin’s friend, Miles Lovell, a few years his senior. Given the time period, I didn’t have much hope for them to be honest, but the slow dawning of knowledge was a breath of fresh air in a genre that usually has teens falling in love quickly. It takes Natty most of the book to discover who he is and just what it is he wants. And I liked that.

The historical setting is breathtaking. I was there with Natty and his friends as he traversed the footpaths, and whenever the ghost made her appearance, I was breathless with him. My heart pounded, and I felt as if the two of us were running in fear together.

As for the ghost, the description of the spirit and its mannerisms, or lack thereof, was what terrified me so much. It just stands there, watching Natty. To me that’s more terrifying than if it actually moves. Kudos to the author for keeping me up so late at night. I honestly was afraid to look in the dark corners of my room for fear of seeing the spirit pulled from the pages. And I couldn’t sleep with any part of my body hanging off my bed, afraid that I, like Natty, would feel the icy tips of her fingers trailing across her skin.

I highly recommend this book. Even if you’re not a fan of young adult novels, you really should give this one a chance. It’s not your typical YA romance—in fact there’s very little romance to begin with—and it’s just so well written readers of all ages will love it.

Just make sure you read it during the day.

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Giveaways, Loose Id, Michele M. Rakes

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Fourth and Long Blog Tour With Michele Michael Rakes

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Welcome to Michele Michael Rakes today on the Fourth and Long blog tour. Michele chats a bit about the book, how it came to be, and is also giving readers the chance to win some great prizes, including an e-book set of Saving Kane and Fourth and Long to two winners, or a $15 Gift Card grand prize.

Good luck!

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How Fourth and Long came to be…

Football is about passion, teamwork, and athleticism. The game is adrenaline inducing and rooting for your team is a year round experience. These athletes are the new gladiators. Football players epitomize the ultra-masculine ideal. Yet, there is always controversy. Trades abound. Players shake up the game with powerful personalities. There is sex appeal. Hard bodies. Just check out the football players in the yearly body issue of Sports Illustrated.

To this fan, their skills are sexy, and even a little homoerotic. All that slap ass gets me going as much as a phenomenal play and sends this writer of gay erotic romance to the laptop Tuesday through Friday. Saturday through Monday, from September to December is all about football. The excitement continues through February and brings my family together for exciting Sundays with good food and a lot of shouting. For me, the season begins with draft day, which I’ve taken off this year so I can watch with family and friends.

Football is a game of strategy. A game that inspires a competitive nature. A game I love and wanted to share with readers. The game provided an interesting backdrop to the story inside my nugget. There were technical issues. My desire to bring football to people who don’t normally watch it was one of the elements I had to contend with and keep the story readable enough for the nonfans. Yet, it needed to be football enough for those that love the game to feel like they are seeing behind the curtain. A glimpse inside the pro-locker room and the lives of our favorite gladiators.

Inspired by the guys who could out smart their opponents, I wanted to bring the players who could catch a ball in double and triple coverage to life on the page. I wanted the readers to connect with the menbeneath the pads. To look beyond the grill of the helmet to see the man behind the visor and understand what drives him.

The need to compete.

The love of the game.

This then made me wonder how to make competitive men fall in love. Would they battle on and off the field? What if I made them start out on opposing teams? One team the best in the league. The other a lowly expansion team only two years out and falling on hard times. Conflict? Yes. Trash talk? Absolutely! Oh, and lots of testosterone. Injuries and intrigue. Nothing says hot, like two football players slamming their chests together, slapping ass, and hollering out their aggression. It’s like sex on a field with lots of balls. Lots of first downs. Down to the wire games. Drama. Love. Sex. Respect.

And no, we don’t want deflated balls.

The story needed to be able to stand on its own, but bring in the continuation of a story started in my first book, Saving Kane. Irus Beaumont exists in Saving Kane only in name. He is Auntie Beulah’s nephew. Kane’s former lover. A man who let that love slide because of his need to compete. A life destined for football.

Who could fall in love with a man like that but another man who has similar needs? You’d think they’d fall into a bromance from the get go, but not if they feel threatened by the fact that one is an offensive player and the other is defensive player which places them firmly on the opposite sides of the ball. Even in practice, they would be put up against each other in preparation for a battle each week.

Great moments for conflict and attraction.

The scenarios are limitless.

Make one of those players a little older, been in the league for a few years, and the other a year off their rookie season. Still young enough to be brash, loud, and intense. Make one black. The other white. How about one already suspected by his team and others in the league as being gay, while the other one remains firmly entrenched in the closet with a ‘no football player’ rule?

Might work? I gave it a try.

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Fourth and Long Cover largeBlurb: Irus Beaumont, cornerback for the Highlanders, has an issue with his nemesis: wideout for the Pirates, Jackson McCoy. Partly jealous over Jackson’s skill and ability to scrub coverage, Irus also struggles against an unbearable attraction to the receiver. Firmly ensconced in the closet, Irus also has a no football player rule, leaving his desires for Jackson unfulfilled. Anti-gay sentiment in the league keeps Irus closeted, even though he’d rather be out and proud.

When Jackson McCoy suffers a gay bashing at the hands of his team mates after winning the national championship, he finds himself traded to the Highlanders. Spring training brings out Jackson’s competitive nature, eliciting the aggression of his new team’s cornerback, Irus Beaumont.

In practice, Irus hurts Jackson badly. The injury places Jackson on the reserve roster. Jacks has plenty of time to contemplate his life, career, and his attraction to the sexy cornerback. Off to Orlando for the best rehab where guilt inspires Irus to call him every evening, Jackson can’t stop thinking about Irus, or what the season holds for his team.

BUY LINKS: Loose Id | Amazon US | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble

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Michele Rakes Author PictureAbout the Author: Michele Micheal Rakes lives in a small town in the shadow of a big mountain. She works as a surgical technologist assisting in the removal of tonsils and testicles. She has three grown children, two psychotic Egyptian Mau’s, a husband with hair down to his ass, two Harley’s, and a ferret named Teeny Tiny Ferret Feet (husband insists her name Little Feet, we all know he’s wrong).

Links to reach Michele Rakes: Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Website

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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Giveaways, K. Vale, Self-Published

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Crossed Hearts Blog Tour With K. Vale

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The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome author K. Vale today, on the Crossed Hearts blog tour. For her visit with us, I asked K to chat a bit about the difference between this book and the books in her Shooting Stars series, more specifically, how she came up with the idea for such a weighty plot and why she decided to dig a little deeper, emotionally, with this book, and how it differed for her in the writing of this book in comparison to the others. (*And P.S. – I’ve also paid her off for the lovely compliment* ::g::)

Enjoy K’s answer, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

Good luck!

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Can I just start out by saying that you, Lisa, are an absolute doll? Thank you so much for hosting me and for the fantastic post prompt. I’ve already scrapped one attempt to do it justice. Let me try again.

Okay. Deep breath.

I have a new book out. Yay! And, yes, it does differ somewhat from my Shooting Stars books in theme and tone. I can honestly say that I panicked a few times while writing it, wondering what the hell I was thinking. Some spots were tough to push through, and it took me longer to complete than any of my other books. I worried I was writing something that was too dark to be a good romance…

But here’s the thing: Are there heavier themes in this book? Yes. But there are also lighthearted moments and honest to goodness romance. Did I worry I hadn’t balanced them well enough? Yeah, I did. I was nervous sending Crossed Hearts out to beta readers. I was afraid they’d say it was depressing, or morbid. But they didn’t. They said it wasn’t either of those things. People I trust to tell me the truth said it was a fast, engaging read, and that they loved Kory and Will’s love. They told me they absolutely loathed my bad guy. They told me they cried, and laughed, and chewed their nails. I have reason to believe they approved of the sexy times. Best of all, they still had my characters walking around with them long after they’d finished reading.

I counted it as a win.

As to my initial inspiration? It’s hard to nail down what came first. I had the idea for someone with a heart transplant to have a love story because I’d once read something about people having alterations in their personality and tastes following organ transplant—cellular memory it’s called. I was drawn to the idea of a transplant changing the person who got the secondhand organ. Of course, any changes in Kory came from his own guilt, but that was the first spark.

I love hanging out in cemeteries, and liked the idea of writing a funeral director just for the challenge of making him sexy and appealing. My dad worked as a mortician long ago, soI got to pick his brain. I even wrote a scene while sitting in the cemetery across from my library (the ants made it a one-time deal, unfortunately).

Early on, I felt like Will needed more meat to him, and my sounding board buddy suggested he either be obsessed with Parkour, or be a paramedic. I went with paramedic, much to her disappointment. It ended up being a perfect way to tie a number of plot threads together, and a chance for me to dust off my nursing skills and put them to paper. I happened to take a BLS course while writing Crossed Hearts, and even asked the instructor specific questions for my book (disguised as professional interest, of course).

Anyway, yes, Crossed Hearts is different from my Shooting Stars books in some ways, but I think readers who enjoyed those will like this one, too. I really hope they’ll give it a chance. Hey, when in doubt, download the sample on Amazon and see if I can rope you in. ;-)

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Young manBlurb: One heart’s been broken. The other is secondhand.

Kory Vansant doesn’t deserve to be alive.

As time sucks him dry of energy, sapping the final ounces of strength from his congenitally enlarged heart, he’s forced to end his career as Kory Kent, porn star. Staring down death, he questions his life choices and prays for a miracle. For another chance at life, he vows to change who he is at his core.

His prayers are answered. A perfect heart now beats in his chest, but it comes at a heavy price. The donor is an innocent young man cut down far too prematurely.

Kory’s blemished history and his donor’s spotless past are far from ideal matches.

As his debts skyrocket, Kory can’t help but think his resolve to walk the high road is being tested. After he meets the adorable Will Squire at the gravesite they both visit, he’s doubly damned because there’s no way he can keep up his end of the bargain. What happens when a man breaks a deal with a higher power?

Will often prefers the company of the dead to that of the living. Following a bad breakup, he pours himself into his two jobs—funeral director at his uncle’s mortuary and part-time paramedic. He’s drawn ever closer to Kory, as if fate sticks her fickle hand in and pushes them together like two unlikely puzzle pieces. But sometimes history can’t be buried, and maybe divine intervention isn’t always right. Will discovers everyone is imperfect, no matter how pretty the outer package, and opening one’s heart is never easy, but can be oh, so worth the pain.

BUY LINKS: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

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Kimber ValeAbout the Author: K. Vale writes erotic romance of all stripes, from hot hetero to mouthwatering manlove. Find her MF work published under Kimber Vale. Come for the sex. Stay for the story. Stalk Kimber on Facebook and Twitter @KimberVale, and check her site for updates, new releases, and freebies at authorkimbervale.com.

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

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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4.5 Stars, Christina Lee, Genre Romance, Penguin/InterMix, Reviewed by Jules

Review: There You Stand by Christina Lee

Title: There You Stand

Author: Christina Lee

Publisher: Penguin/InterMix

Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages

At a Glance: Good romance, good steam, and some action and heavier drama towards the end. I would absolutely recommend this one!!

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Tattoo artist Cory Easton has worked long enough at Raw Ink to know, just by looking at a dude, what his body art reveals, what makes him tick, what even makes him scared. Until he meets the quiet and remote Jude York—so unreadable, so unreachable, and so unlike anyone else, he can’t help but arouse Cory’s curiosity.

As captivating and complex as his ink, Jude is a mystery—and Cory’s falling fast and hard under his spell. Against his better judgment to steer clear.

The rumors of Jude’s past overshadow him—whispers of prison and an unmentionable secret that’s kept him in the protective shadows of a local motorcycle club. As Cory probes deeper, he wonders how much he really wants to know. Especially since Jude has awakened something inside him that has been buried too long—and has him feeling completely alive for the first time in forever…

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Review: Hunky tattoo artist?? Mysterious, inked up skater?? Where do I sign?! The blurb – and the sexy cover – for There You Stand hooked me immediately. And, for the most part, the book lived up to my expectations.

Cory is a nice guy. He works at Raw Ink, knows most everyone in town, and has a pretty cheerful disposition in spite of being recently burned by a guy who ditched town and left his unruly dog behind. And, he is very smitten with the mysterious Jude York. Jude is a young, dread-locked, tattooed, skaterboy, who works at the skate shop next to the local biker bar The Hog’s Den. The entire town is intrigued by Jude – What’s his story? Where’d he come from? Why doesn’t he talk? – but, none as much as Cory, who watches him skate at the park almost every day, and finds him incredibly beautiful.

Chopper, the aforementioned unruly dog, takes off on Cory at the park one day and winds up being the catalyst to get Jude and Cory talking. Well, as much as Jude talks, that is. He is a man of few words, which frustrates the hell out of Cory initially, but they find a cute workaround one day when Cory decides to try a game of ‘True or False’ while working on Jude’s new tattoo at the shop.

There is clearly some pretty heavy danger surrounding Jude, and Cory has a tragedy of his own to overcome, but eventually they begin communicating, and the obvious passion and attraction they have for each other comes to the surface. And, let me tell you, these guys are HOT together! The chemistry between them is great, especially once they start to really make a connection. They fall hard for each other, but it’s definitely paced well and believable.

I dug the mystery and the drama in the storyline. I’m sure the SOA fans will especially like the involvement of the MC. I know I did. Things definitely get moving in the second half of the book; that’s where it really started to work for me. The writing in the beginning felt a little choppy and didn’t flow as well as the second two-thirds of the book, which I really enjoyed. I also really liked all the secondary characters. Vaughn and Smoke, members of the MC, were awesome. All of Cory’s friends from the shop (a few of which are the main characters in a couple of the other books in Christina Lee’s Between Breaths series) are very cool. And, Cory’s relationship with his grandma is wonderful. Overall, good romance, good steam, and some action and heavier drama towards the end. I would absolutely recommend this one!!

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