A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, and greetings from the Big Apple! Many thanks to you for dropping by to see what we have in store for you in the week ahead. It promises to be a busy week of guests, giveaways and reviews, so here’s what’s on tap.

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Monday – Author Ashley John kicks our week off for us on the Sink or Swim blog tour

We’ll also have author J. James with us on the Denial, Deceit, Discovery tour

TuesdayKeira Andrews drops in today to chat about her newest novel Kick at the Darkness

Jordan Castillo Price also joins us today with an audiobook giveaway of Camp Hell, book five in the PsyCop series

Wednesday – We’ll welcome author Brynn Stein on the For Mac blog tour

Author Michael Kudo will also join us to chat about his new book Sequestered Hearts

ThursdayChris T. Kat will be stopping by today on her Despite the Odds blog tour

We’ll also have Author Maris Black here to discuss her new book Kage

FridayRhys Ford drops by today to spread a little Murder and Mayhem around

Sue Brown also joins us on the Hidden Wolf blog tour

Saturday – And to close out the week, we’ll welcome author James Comins on the Fool School blog tour

We’ll also be helping author Joe Cosentino celebrate the release of his latest novel Drama Queen

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And that does it for the week ahead. Until next time, happy reading!

 

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3 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Jay Northcote, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Reviewed by Sadonna

Audio Review: Not Just Friends by Jay Northcote – Narrated by Matthew Lloyd Davies

Title: Not Just Friends

Author: Jaye Northcote

Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 6 Hours and 47 Minutes

At a Glance: A coming of age story that doesn’t break any new ground but is an enjoyable story of self-discovery.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Leaving home to go to university is an exciting phase in anyone’s life. One that’s full of new places, new friends, and new experiences. But Lewis is not prepared for the sudden and intense crush he develops on his out-and-proud flatmate, Max—given that Lewis had always assumed he was straight. Max starts dating another guy, and Lewis’s jealousy at seeing them together forces him to confront his growing attraction.

When Max’s relationship goes awry, Lewis is the one to comfort him and one thing leads to another. But after a night together, Lewis is devastated that Max wants to go back to being just friends. Lewis tries his best to move on and their friendship survives, but the feelings he has for Max don’t go away. He faces other challenges as he deals with coming out to his parents, and needs Max’s support more than ever. But Lewis isn’t the only one who’s conflicted. When Max finally admits he cares for Lewis too, Lewis must decide whether he dares risk his heart again on being more than just friends

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Review: This is the second audiobook that I actually enjoyed listening to. Matthew Lloyd Davies made the story engaging, and he has a lovely accent. :)

Lewis has gone off to university, and he’s sharing a flat with a bunch of other guys. He is a bit wary to be out on his own, and since he is an only child, living with a bunch of other young people is also a new experience for him. The other guys in his flat seem to be fine, but then he meets Max – the last to arrive – and he is intrigued. Max is out and proud, and Lewis is a little bit stunned by this. He’s not homophobic, but he’s not totally comfortable either.

Lewis’s friendship with Max takes on a different flavor when he realizes he has a bit of a crush on Max. It forces Lewis to take a look at his past relationships – including his high school girlfriend and his best friend. But once classes start, Lewis meets some other people, including a nice girl from his course. He is friendly with her but realizes that this is not where his true interest lies.

Max is dating someone that Lewis doesn’t really care for, and he’s definitely realizing that his sexual orientation is not exactly straight. But this other guy doesn’t treat Max right, and after a weird break up/dumping, Max and Lewis spend a pretty steamy night together. Despite Lewis’s feelings becoming stronger, Max decides he doesn’t want another relationship and they should only be friends. The upside is that Lewis finally gets that he is definitely gay.

There is some angst around a developing family situation, but luckily it doesn’t have to do with Lewis’s self-discovery revelation. Lewis’s mother is a star in this story. I hope she finds happiness. :)

Lewis decides he really needs to move on to try to get over Max. He goes to the LGBT Society meeting and meets a new guy. They begin seeing each other casually, but Lewis can’t help still thinking of Max. He really still has strong feelings for Max that he wants to get over, because frankly, it hurts to see Max with other people, and he feels like he keeps getting a punch to the gut when he realizes Max doesn’t want him the same way.

As usually happens in these stories, there is a moment of clarity for Max, but the question is if Lewis is willing to risk his heart again. Luckily these guys have good and supportive friends, and, eventually, they figure out their issues. They are very cute trying to get it together, as two young guys who don’t really know what they are doing but are trying to determine that they want to try to do it together.

I really liked the narrator, and his characterizations and accent were perfect. Love British narrators for British stories. :) I would definitely listen to another book narrated by Mr. Lloyd Davies.







 

You can buy Not Just Friends here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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2 Stars, Kokoro Press, Literary Fiction, R.P. Andrews, Reviewed By Carrie

Review: The Czar of Wilton Drive by RP Andrews

Title: The Czar of Wilton Drive: A Novel of Self-Discovery, Betrayal and Deceit

Author: RP Andrews

Publisher: Kokoro Press

Pages/Word Count: 152 Pages

At a Glance: I can’t say I’d recommend this book. The lack of any kind of moral compass – for any of the characters – was just too much for me.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: The new boss is in…

In the course of minutes, twenty-one year old Jonathan Antonucci, barely out of the closet gay man from suburban New York, finds himself a multi-millionaire. His great uncle Charlie has unexpectedly died of a heart attack, leaving Jon the sole owner of several of the most successful bars in Wilton Manors, Ft. Lauderdale’s gay ghetto.

Flying down to Lauderdale to claim his bequest, Jon encounters Uncle Charlie’s dubious friends and business associates, and is immediately drawn into Lauderdale’s scene of unbridled sex and heavy drugs. He also discovers his great uncle’s memoirs which reveal truths not only about Jon’s own past but also what may have really happened to his uncle. In the end, Jon is torn between avenging Uncle Charlie’s death or loving the very man responsible for it.

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Review: The Czar of Wilton Drive is a book within a book. The main character, Jon, inherits a fortune, a BMW, and two leather bars in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Jon is introduced as a twenty-one year old virgin of everything: of both life and love. When looking through his great uncles things, he discovers an online diary of the man’s life. This is where the story becomes a book within a book—we get to read the entire diary.

I have to say, this book was not a good one for me. It is billed as a mystery, but what it is, is a bald look at what the gay lifestyle was like in the 60, 70s, and 80s. If the author wanted to write a documentary on the lack of values and consciousness of the gay evolution, I feel it should have been billed as such. The drug use, unprotected sex at the height of the AIDS epidemic, and amoral choices of the main characters was hard to read.

We hope that Jon will read his uncle’s narcissistic life story, and make better choices with his life. Instead, he embraces the same drug use, unprotected sex, and poor choices. Heck, he even chooses to become the partner (in every way) of the drug lord who got his uncle hooked on the product that eventually killed him. Really! This is hard to read, as you want Jon to grow, mature, do something good with all that life has given to him…but he just doesn’t.

So, I can’t say I’d recommend this book. The lack of any kind of moral compass – for any of the characters – was just too much for me.

TNA_Signature_Carrie







 

You can buy The Czar of Wilton Drive here:

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

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5 Stars, Amy Lane, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair – Narrated by Philip Alces

Title: Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair

Author: Amy Lane

Narrator: Philip Alces

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 30 Minutes

At a Glance: Philip Alces is a new narrator to me. He did an outstanding job of telling the story and defining the characters.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: After three years of waiting for “rabbit” Jeremy to commit to a life in Granby—and a life together—Aiden Rhodes was appalled when Jeremy sustained a nearly fatal beating to keep a friend out of harm’s way. How could Aiden’s bunny put himself in danger like that?

Aiden needs to get over himself, because Jeremy has a long road to recovery, and he’s going to need Aiden’s promise of love every step of the way. Jeremy has new scars on his face and body to deal with, and his heart can’t afford any more wounds.

When their friend’s baby needs some special care, the two men find common ground to firm up their shaky union. With Aiden’s support and his boss’s inspiration, Jeremy comes up with a plan to make sure Ariadne’s little blackbird comes into this world with everything she needs. While Jeremy grows into his new role as protector, Aiden needs to ease back on his protectiveness over his once-timid lover. Aiden may be a wolf in student’s clothing and Jeremy may be a rabbit of a man, but that doesn’t mean they can’t walk the wilds of Granby together.

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Review: Where to begin… If you have ever read Amy Lane, you expect and hope for certain things. She will make you laugh, cry, and cheer for her characters. Then she added my favorite band of all time, “The Beatles”, and one of my all-time favorite songs, “Blackbird”, and holy crap, that is a recipe for awesomeness.

Jeremy “rabbit” is in my top five Amy Lane characters. Who doesn’t love a broken soul put back together through family and the love of an amazing man? In the first book about Aiden and Jeremy, we got to see them fall in love, and to get to know the characters. This book was the journey that I never knew I needed or wanted. Amy delved into the inner workings of Jeremy, and more so, Aiden. In addition, all the characters had a big presence in this story. This wasn’t just Jeremy and Aiden’s story, it was just from Jeremy’s and Aiden’s perspective. I also didn’t think it was possible to love Ariadne more than I did already. I know these are gay romances…that doesn’t mean that every single character has to be a gay man. I feel that Amy is one of the few authors in the genre who does this well.

Narration: Philip Alces is a new narrator to me. He did an outstanding job of telling the story and defining the characters. Unfortunately, he has sort of a weird tone which contributed to the cadence that I didn’t care for, but this is just a personal preference. I don’t think that I would seek out this narrator in the future, but I wouldn’t turn an audiobook down because he narrated it.

TNA_Signature_Amy







 

You can buy Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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Giveaways, Megan Linden, MLR Press

Guest Post and Giveaway: Serve & Protect by Megan Linden

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The Novel Approach welcomes author Megan Linden today on her Serve & Protect blog tour. Enjoy Megan’s guest post, and then be sure to leave a comment right here for the chance to win an e-copy of the book.

Good luck!

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It’s the Men’s World – But What About Women?

With two main characters identifying as male, M/M romance doesn’t leave a lot of room for women. Those love stories aren’t their love stories. They are not in the spotlight – that’s a given. But what does happen to women in m/m books is still important.

There are many critical voices that comment on treatment of women in media of all kinds: from “putting them in the fridge” (infamous trope of a woman being killed off, abused, or depowered for the sole purpose of affecting another character, usually male), to making them evil just for the sake of explaining or justifying another character’s actions towards them, and beyond. It’s important to question those things as readers or viewers. And it’s good for the creators to question themselves as well.

Questioning is creative. Questioning means not taking the easiest, most obvious route. It doesn’t mean that a female character can never die, get hurt, or be evil. Of course she can. But let’s think about it. Let’s consider how too many female characters are written without any real agenda, without a voice. We can find those kinds of characters in any media. But in a genre where the “most obvious” already got flipped on its head, where the love story was expanded and redefined from the mainstream definition, we know stuff about not taking the road most travelled. So why not question the status quo in other areas as well?

This is a topic very dear to me and it turned out to be especially important in writing my newest book, Serve & Protect. Some choices were easy – for example, Sam was always going to work for a female presidential candidate. But other times, it got trickier. Since Blake’s raising his daughter on his own, there are questions that come out: How did it happen? Who is her mom? Why is she not there? And that was the part when I had to really think about it and work around the obvious answers, if I didn’t want to kill her or make her a bad g… gal.

As a writer, I will do things wrong in the future. And I’m sure I will mess this part up, too, somehow. But I’m going to keep questioning it, just like I reflect on other parts of my stories, because I truly believe questioning makes for better writing.

What about you? What do you think about characterization of female characters, inside and outside of the m/m genre?

GIVEAWAY!: Be sure to leave a comment below by the end of Sunday, June 7th, 2015 to have a chance of winning an e-book copy of Serve & Protect. One lucky winner will be selected at random on Monday, June 8th.

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Serve-and-Protect-CoverBlurb: What happens when you fall in love in the heart of politics?

Sam Daniels’ life turns upside down when he meets an amazing guy and gets a job offer he can’t refuse almost at the same time. Working in politics and sustaining any kind of personal life is never easy, but when you’re running a campaign to elect the first woman to the office of the President of the United States, it may become nearly impossible.

Blake Morin, after spending years as a SEAL, lives a quiet life with his daughter and he’s fine with that. He can’t deny the attraction between him and Sam, but is he ready to enter the world he used to avoid?

Buy links: HERE

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Author BioABOUT MEGAN: Megan Linden is one of those people who dreamed of being a writer since they were a little kid and then didn’t do anything about it for years. Then as a teenager she was introduced to fandom and… well. She fell head first into it and never looked back. At some point she decided to try writing her own characters in her own stories. And that’s where she is today.

Her newest series, D.C. Files, is set in and around the political world of Washington. The first book, Serve & Protect, just came out and it’s available on various retailers.

CONTACT & MEDIA INFO: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Giveaways, Love Lane Books, RJ Scott

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Summer House Blog Tour With RJ Scott

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The Novel Approach welcomes author RJ Scott today on the Summer House blog tour. Pour yourself a cuppa, enjoy RJ’s guest post, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win a $15 Amazon or ARe Gift Card.

Good luck!

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The perfect cream tea

article-0-00002F2200000CB2-434_468x503Scones + clotted cream + jam + the perfect pot of English tea = heaven on a tray.

(In addition, a cream tea in a tea shop always tastes wonderful if you have had a wonderful warm day and you get inside just as a summer rain begins!)

As an expert in holidays to Devon the cream tea is something I grew up with. In modern times the typical Brit won’t spend the time to create the sit down afternoon tea idea, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love sitting in an ‘olde worlde tea shop’ (don’t sue me for using that term) with the perfect cream tea laid out in front of us.

There is great debate… when you open your scone what do you spread first? The jam or the cream? To me it’s simple, the jam goes first, then you scoop the clotted cream up onto the scone smothered in jam.

Never overdo it. Not too much jam and never more than one large scone. BUT… there is never a limit to the cream. Nope, no limit at all. With your scone ready to go you can deal with the tea (always in a tea pot and into a cup and saucer, or at the very least a china mug!). Now sit back and enjoy, with the requisite *Oh my god this is gorgeous* or *This is a lovely cup of tea* and of course the thing all Brits have to say by law *It’s not a holiday until you’ve had a cream tea*.

Liz’s tea shop focuses in the English Hearts series, and is based on a beautiful tea shop we visited in Broadway. The tea shop is run by the indomitable Liz with her amazing grasp of local gossip. I hope you enjoy visiting.

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English 1 the summer house jpgBlurb: Ashby Sebastian Sterling-Haynes has had a lot of boyfriends, but he’s never found the one.

The only person he can form an attachment to is his fourteen year old niece, and even that is in jeopardy when babysitting her cat goes all kinds of wrong.

Veterinarian, Connor Lawson is much happier working with animals than with people. He has deliberately returned home and to the Summer House he recalled from childhood holidays for peace and quiet and the chance to heal from wounds no one would ever see.

When his next door neighbor comes into the practice with a cat that has been in a fight he hides in his office because this Ashby guy is all kinds of dangerous. Too hot, too rich, too titled, and way too sexy for his own good.

Can two men who refuse to believe in love ever learn that love is the easy part of the journey to forever?

Release Date: May 29, 2015 | Buy Links HERE

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RJ ScottAbout the Author: RJ Scott has been writing since age six, when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies. She was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader herself, she can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, her first real true love will always be the world of romance where she takes cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and writes dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men.

With over seventy titles to her name and counting, she is the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway. She is also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

Her goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

Social Links and Contacts: Email | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Library Thing | Tumblr | Pinterest

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THE GIVEAWAY:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 3.5 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann, Skylar M. Cates

Audio Review: The Last Guy Breathing by Skylar M. Cates – Narrated by Matt Baca

Title: The Last Guy Breathing

Author: Skylar M. Cates

Narrator:: Matt Baca

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 53 Minutes

At a Glance: Matt Baca has a really nice voice, but there needed to be more to Locke’s characterization.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Henry Clueley doesn’t want to be in Glamour, not after moving far away to overcome a difficult, if privileged, childhood. He’s no longer that pudgy kid desperate to escape his hometown, but it still holds painful memories. When his recently widowed mother needs him, however, “dependable Henry” does the right thing—even if it means leaving the IRS to take a boring corporate position. Things don’t stay boring for long. Soon Henry helps the local sheriff’s department unravel a crime. Posing as half of a fake couple seems like a fun idea… until Henry learns he already knows the deputy playing his other half.

Deputy Locke may be new to the Glamour Sheriff’s Department, but he’s fought his way up in the world and is determined to make a good impression. He keeps his private life quiet, even from his beloved younger brother. Locke knows better than most the need to protect what’s his.

Henry resents the arrogant, gorgeous cop, and Locke thinks Henry is sheltered and spoiled. Their secret and steamy encounter only adds to the animosity. As they join forces, Henry thinks a relationship with Locke would be catastrophic, but the white-hot passion between them makes it hard to resist.

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Review: Henry Cluely has left a job with the IRS in Washington, DC, and has returned to Glamour, Arizona, to take care of his mother. Henry’s mother isn’t handling her finances at all, so he has come home to help. She ignores Henry every time he brings up her finances, and Henry is frustrated. Henry is a very loving and caring son, but sometimes he just wants to be bad. As a youngster he had weight problems, which got him bullied, even by his own father. Henry still hasn’t seen how great he looks, he still thinks of himself as being overweight and not attractive to other guys. And with all that, he also has to contend with Deputy Locke, who is just one big arrogant thorn in his side.

Henry has been hired as an accountant at Decker and Thomas, a very lucrative financial planning company. Lately, Henry has been noticing discrepancies in the numbers, and he brings it to retired Sheriff Tony Carrino. There was an old Financial Crimes Unit case that Tony was involved in, but the case had gone cold. Now, with the suicide of Cynthia Murphy, this case has come alive again, and Henry is there to provide information. Sheriff Lisa Hawkins has a meeting with Tony, Henry, and Locke, and now Henry and Locke will need to go undercover as a couple. Locke is already resentful, thinking he would have to babysit Henry and never get credit for the case. Henry is just tired of Locke, what with his being an all-around smug jerk. Will Henry and Locke be able to put their differences aside and solve this case? And once this case is over, will Henry leave and go back to DC?

Deputy Locke is fairly new to the police force in Glamour. Locke is rude and inconsiderate toward Henry, and makes it his goal to make Henry miserable. But even though he comes across as a tough guy, Locke is very insecure. Growing up, life had been hard for Locke. His mother was selfish and deserted their family, and his father not caring anymore, left Locke responsible for his younger brother James. Locke did things in his life that he is not happy about, but they kept him and his brother alive. Because of Locke’s own issues of trust, he makes some serious mistakes with both James and Henry.

This is the third book in The Guy series, and there’s not only a good mystery, but it was nice getting to visit with the Carrino’s again. Matt Baca did really well with the narration of The Last Guy Breathing. He has a very nice voice, but I wish there had been more to Deputy Locke’s characterization, as he comes across as flat and unemotional. I realize the character is somewhat mean and controlling, but even when he talked with his brother, James, who he supposedly cared for so much, his voice just sounded stern, and they didn’t joke or tease the way brothers would.

TNA_Signature_Maryann







 

You can buy The Last Guy Breathing here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Amy Lane, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: Forever Promised by Amy Lane – Narrated by Paul Morey

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Title: Forever Promised

Author: Amy Lane

Narrator:: Paul Morey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 12 Hours and 6 Minutes

At a Glance: The audio version of Forever Promised is twelve hours and six minutes of pure joy

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Crick has been home from Iraq for five years, Jeff and Collin are finally married, and Shane and Mikhail are quietly making lives better for the dispossessed teenagers who come their way. Everything is right in Deacon’s world, but nothing ever stays the same.

When Deacon’s best friends, Jon and Amy, answer the call of an opportunity in Washington, DC, Deacon figures that’s life. You love people, and they leave you, and you survive. Even Benny, Crick’s little sister, is close to grown and ready to start her own future. But Benny loves Deacon, and she owes him – she may move beyond The Pulpit and Levee Oaks one day, but not without leaving something of herself behind. And so she offers Deacon and Crick an amazing gift… and a terrifying decision.

Benny’s offer forces Deacon and Crick to dredge up every past mistake and offer of redemption. And not just the two of them – everybody is forced to examine the chances they’ve been given and the promises they’ve made. In a real family, a child is a promise, and to the men and women of Promise Rock, keeping that promise will change their lives forever.

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Review: This is the final audiobook in the Promise Rock series, but if you have not read the series, it’s okay, you can start anywhere you want. Each book tells a tale about a different couple, but if you start from the beginning, you also get more of the history of the whole cast of characters who have touched Deacon’s life in one way or another. I am not going to try and give you a summary of the book, but one part of Jackie’s review (of the e-book) back in June of 2013 I especially liked, so I’m quoting it: “This book was truly a happy book. Yes, there are some sad parts; yes, there are some emotional parts. Most of my tears were happy tears. I guess if I have to give up the guys and gals from Promise Rock, I can rest assured that they are all happy, they are all loved, and their story will live on with the next generation.”. She does the best job of reviewing. What I have been tasked to do for The Novel Approach is to talk about the audio version. Okay, I didn’t ask to review this audiobook, I begged.

The audio version of Forever Promised is twelve hours and six minutes of pure joy! And those hours went by so fast that I had to listen to it again. I wasn’t ready to leave the Pulpit or Promise Rock. When you have a strong narrator it allows the listener to empathize with the characters, whether in sadness, happiness, pain or, my favorite, sexual tension. Paul Morey has that talent. Every audio I have listened to by him has been excellent. Morey not only narrated this book but also the preceding books in the Promise series, and I think that makes the difference. He knew the characters and you could hear it. When a character was crying in the story, Paul Morey cried too, and, of course, then I did too. All the emotional high and lows were heard through his voice—not easy to do, I can imagine. What a gift that was to this series. Read the series and listen to it on audio. It will be well worth your time and money.

TNA_Signature_Kathie







 

You can buy Forever Promised here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, J.H. Knight, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Sadonna

Audio Review: The Last Thing He Needs by J.H. Knight – Narrated by Michael Stellman

Audio Gem

Title: The Last Thing He Needs

Author: J.H. Knight

Narrator: Michael Stellman

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 22 Minutes

At a Glance: This is an angst filled read of a dysfunctional family, with the eldest son trying to hold things together by himself for so long that he has trouble recognizing when and from whom he should accept help.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Tommy O’Shea is raising his seven younger brothers and sisters without any help from his drug abusing father and stepmother. Since he was fifteen years old, he’s managed to keep the children fed and out of foster care. It takes up every ounce of his energy and the last thing he needs is romance complicating his life further.

Rookie cop Bobby McAlister doesn’t belong in Tommy’s harsh world, but Tommy can’t push him out. As their unlikely friendship turns into a tentative relationship, they weather the daily storm of Tommy’s life with a lot of laughs and more than a few arguments.

Tommy isn’t used to trusting outsiders, and he’s never asked for help in his life. But when a tragedy strikes the O’Shea family and threatens everything he’s fought for, he’ll have to learn to do both to recover from the brutal hit.

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Review: Finally! An audiobook I enjoyed! The Last Thing He Needs has convinced me that, with audiobooks, the narrator makes the story. After two misses, this one is a hit.

Tommy O’Shea’s life is crappy on his very best day. His mother died when he was young, and his father chose again, unwisely, and his stepmother is a drunk/junkie as well. He has shouldered the responsibility of his younger siblings, really, since was fifteen. At twenty-two, he just keeps trying to keep it all together. There are seven other O’Shea children – from Colleen, who is seventeen, down to twins Zoe and Max, who are still babies. In between are Mikey, Collin, Davey, and Carrie. Each of them is dealing with the family drama in their own way.

When Colleen calls Tommy to tell him that the babies are sick and crying, he needs to get them medicine, but he doesn’t have the money. He thinks he’ll lift them from a convenience store, but he’s thwarted by a cop he knows, and who knows him and his family situation. Although he’s not happy about Bobby butting in to his life, he is desperate to get home to the sick kids and solve the current crisis.

When Bobby starts hanging around more, and then they meet in a very unexpected venue, Bobby and Tommy become more than friends. Bobby get a little bit pushy in what Tommy sees as “interfering” in his life and his family troubles, but Tommy is beginning to feel something for Bobby, and he doesn’t want him to leave either.

As you might expect in a family with this much crap going on, there are always the potential threats from the mostly absent parents—who can show up at any time and wreak havoc on the tenuous peace, interference from Child Protective Services, or the kids themselves, who are growing up way too fast. Bobby and Tommy generally work together when these things come up, but Tommy continues to have a hard time accepting help, and he definitely feels like Bobby can do better.

The kickass character of the piece, though, is Bobby’s mother Judy. Once she gets involved in the O’Shea family, nothing will ever be the same. She is a formidable opponent, and Tommy has a feeling he will never gain back the control he once had. He would be right. :)

Of course, there are a number of crises that occur – both for Bobby and for Tommy. There are some pretty serious issues in their relationship that have to be resolved, or they won’t have any future – even as friends – if they can’t get past them. When things come to a head, Tommy and Bobby will both have to fight for what they have together, and it will affect the entire O’Shea family. These guys have to work really hard for their happy ending.

I’m so happy I finally liked an audiobook. Michael Stellman really brought life to this story. His characterizations were spot on – nothing over the top. His Tommy and Bobby were perfect in both the tone and delivery. His voice really kept me engaged in the story. I definitely will get another book that features this narrator. So far, my favorite of the audiobooks I’ve listened to.







 

You can buy The Last Thing He Needs here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4 Stars, Annabelle Jacobs, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: The Altered 2 by Annabelle Jacobs

Title: The Altered 2

Author: Annabelle Jacobs

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 101 Pages

At a Glance: I was looking so forward to this story, and, from a purely romantic perspective, I was not at all disappointed.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: A remote farmhouse in Cornwall seems the perfect place for Ash to settle into his recently altered status. Starting a new life there with Sam—the shifter he can’t stay away from—should be easy this far from London where they faced so much danger. So why does adjusting seem impossible?

Sam has issues of his own. He has to get used to his human form again after living the last eight years as a wolf. It’s hard when human worries weigh so heavily on his shoulders. Life is much more straightforward from a wolf’s perspective, until Ash needs his human support.

Ash’s problem is simple: he’s fearful of shifting fully. How can he believe he won’t hurt Sam when his genes were altered to create a killer? Despite repeated reassurance, his anger and resentment increase. Only one thing is certain: if Ash can’t learn to trust himself soon, he’s in danger of proving himself right.

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Review: The Altered 2, the second book in Annabelle Jacobs’ alt u/fantasy series, is Sam and Ash’s story. Introduced in the first book when Ash was still entirely human and Sam was still living full time as a wolf, these two men bonded in something like friendship on steroids, but all the signs were there, even if they were unprepared to understand them—they were connected by something much deeper than feelings, something supernatural they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, or weren’t prepared to name. When Ash’s life as he’d know it was stolen from him by the mad scientist who was bent upon making an army of shifters to serve his own nefarious purposes, we saw what Sam was willing and prepared to do for the sake of keeping Ash safe.

Free of the necessary world building of book one, The Altered 2 is one hundred percent relationship and romance-centric, focusing on the obstacles these two men face in their as yet undefined bond—the first hurdle being that Ash, now an altered himself, has no idea of the full effects of the serum he was infected with and how it’s reshaped his physiology or psychology, other than the fact he can’t seem to control his anger or physical reactions in the face of the coming full moon. The second challenge they face is with Sam himself and the fact he chooses to remain in his wolf form nearly full time because it’s easier for him to cope with everything that’s happened to him since he became an altered himself. And, because neither man has been able to talk to each other about all the changes that have occurred, Sam decides Ash must prefer him in his wolf form, and Ash does nothing to make Sam believe otherwise. Communication is a definite obstacle for these men in the beginning.

The Altered 2 is uncluttered and free of anything that doesn’t play directly into the building relationship between Ash and Sam, or the dynamics of the small family pack they’ve built with Daniel, Jordan, Keira, Charlie, and Matt. Guilt is a heavy burden to bear alone, and it’s not until Sam and Ash realize they are each other’s completeness that their issues are resolved at the perfect pace, not quite the instant gratification of the short stories I love, and sometimes just want, but not so long that the drama was drawn out unnecessarily for the sake of manufactured angst.

I was looking so forward to this story, and, from a purely romantic perspective, I was not at all disappointed. If you read The Altered 1 and were anxious to see Ash and Sam get their happy ending, Annabelle Jacobs delivers it in a satisfying way.

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You can buy The Altered 2 here:

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Giveaways, Joy Lynn Fielding, Samhain Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Blowing Off Steam Blog Tour With Joy Lynn Fielding

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The Novel Approach welcomes Joy Lynn Fielding today on the Blowing Off Steam blog tour, and she’s here to tell us about a very special character in the book. She’s also offering the chance for one lucky reader to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card, so be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

Good luck!

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TNA: Hi, Joy Lynn, I’m happy to be hosting you on your Blowing Off Steam blog tour.

JLF: Thanks so much for having me, Lisa—it’s lovely to be back here!

TNA: I couldn’t help but notice in the Product Warnings you’ve included a spider named Mabel in the book. Being a MAJOR arachnophobe, can I first just say, “Eeek!”? LOL. But now, I’d love to hear a bit more about Mabel.

JLF: Sorry to do that to you!  I’m an arachnophobe too, so Mabel’s appearance was as much a surprise to me as it was to poor Ryan.  She just turned up in Sam’s bathroom one morning. :)

TNA: Is she a pet? Why not a dog or cat? Why a spider?

JLF: She’s not actually Sam’s pet, although he’s very fond of her.  She just follows the (accursed) arachnid routine of being in the same place at the same time most days.  Not that I’ve been scarred by this, you understand.

It’s a very good question why Sam doesn’t have a pet. I think the possibility has never occurred to him, simply because he didn’t have one growing up. Sam sticks to his routines and habits because they’re where he finds comfort and safety, and he tends not to think outside of those.

TNA: Does Mabel play a significant role in the book?

JLF: She appears every now and then, keeping Ryan on his toes.  He’s not scared of spiders, because Ryan Saunders isn’t scared of anything. He just doesn’t like them.

Her role, which only became clear to me as I got further into writing the book, is to underline to Ryan the extent of Sam’s loneliness.  Sam has a surprisingly large number of casual acquaintances for someone as shy as he is, reflecting his uncle’s active social circle, the small-town atmosphere of Cardale, and the fact most people can see he’s a sweet guy, but he’s desperately lonely living on his own.  Even a spider is better than no company.

TNA: How will you convince me and my fellow arachnophobes she’s a sympathetic character?

JLF: Er….  Well, she doesn’t run around the place and turn up in unexpected places, and whenever she does appear, Sam scoops her up and puts her in the garden, safely out of the way, so I hope Ryan is the only person she actively traumatizes. 

Also, Sam loves her.

TNA: If you can think of anything else you’d like to say about Mabel, riff away! :)

JLF: There’s her gender for a start. :)  I have no idea how one sexes a spider and there is no way I was going to research that because it would have involved pictures!  Sam is convinced she’s female and I’m happy to take his word on that.

The thing that most intrigues me about the writing process is how inspiration works, and I’m still trying to work out how Mabel came into existence.  Perhaps my subconscious is trying to do something about my fear of spiders after all these years of letting it shape my reactions and choices (when buying my house, one of the reasons I turned down a sweet little Victorian cottage with open fireplaces in every room was because I knew it would be crawling with the things).  Or perhaps in the world in which Sam exists, he just needed that company for a while. 

For the benefit of my subconscious and any future characters who may be lurking, I’d like to make it clear that one spider in my books is quite enough, thank you very much.

I’d love to hear what other people think about spiders – or anything else, for that matter, if talking about them makes you uncomfortable. :)

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SMBlowingOffSteam_72lgBlurb: Two guys, a train, and lots of steam.

Sam Chancellor has been in love with the steam engine Old Bess since he was six years old. Well, maybe not literally, but even when he’s lost everything else in his life, he’s always had her. But now her place in his heart has been unexpectedly challenged. Her new driver, Ryan Saunders, is the embodiment of all Sam’s fantasies.

Ryan has written off Sam as just another geeky trainspotter—until the moment Ryan sees him without his usual shapeless hoodie and realizes that, for a nerd, Sam’s pretty built.

When Ryan overlooks Sam’s awkwardness long enough to suggest a hook-up, Sam seizes the opportunity—and Ryan—with both very eager hands. Finding common ground in their shared love of Bess, their time together is better than Sam ever dared dream.

But there’s a reason Ryan never talks about his past. And when Ryan’s job is threatened, Sam’s well-meaning intervention puts both Ryan and Bess in deadly danger.

Warning: Contains train geekery, bed-hogging, a hero with no experience and another with plenty to spare, and a spider called Mabel.

Buy Links: Samhain Publishing | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

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Author BioAbout the Author: Joy Lynn Fielding lives in a small English market town, where she indulges her passions for vintage aircraft, horse-riding and gardening (though not all at the same time).

Joy has a tendency to wax lyrical about the fascinating facts she discovers during her research for books. Thankfully she has a very patient Labrador who has a gift for looking interested in what she’s saying while he waits for the food to arrive.

Author Links: Blog | Facebook | Email

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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Annabelle Jacobs, Self-Published

Guest Post and Excerpt: The Altered 2 by Annabelle Jacobs

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Thanks, Lisa, for having me on your blog today.

My new story, The Altered 2, was released yesterday. It’s the second book in the Lycanaeris series.

I love writing secondary characters, almost as much as the main ones, but usually their stories are all nicely wrapped up by the end of the book. When I finished The Altered, however, there was so much more I wanted to write for Sam and Ash. They’d become almost as important as Jordan and Daniel, and I knew that I had to give them their own book. It was one of the easiest stories I’ve written in the sense that I loved almost every moment, which never usually happens. I think every writer has days when the words just won’t come, but for Sam and Ash it flowed so well, I was done in record time.

The Altered 2, is more focused on Sam and Ash and their internal conflicts, rather than external events. Both of them experienced significant change at the end of book one, and this book follows their developing relationship as they navigate their new lives.

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TA2_coverpicBlurb: A remote farmhouse in Cornwall seems the perfect place for Ash to settle into his recently altered status. Starting a new life there with Sam—the shifter he can’t stay away from—should be easy this far from London where they faced so much danger. So why does adjusting seem impossible?

Sam has issues of his own. He has to get used to his human form again after living the last eight years as a wolf. It’s hard when human worries weigh so heavily on his shoulders. Life is much more straightforward from a wolf’s perspective, until Ash needs his human support.

Ash’s problem is simple: he’s fearful of shifting fully. How can he believe he won’t hurt Sam when his genes were altered to create a killer? Despite repeated reassurance, his anger and resentment increase. Only one thing is certain: if Ash can’t learn to trust himself soon, he’s in danger of proving himself right.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords

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Excerpt: The floorboards in the hallway outside his room creaked. Sam knew who it was long before the accompanying knock on the door.

Ash.

Ash knocked twice, only pushing the door open a little when Sam howled softly for him to come in.

“Oh, hey.” Ash stuck his head around the door, his dark hair a tousled mess as usual. He frowned when he saw Sam. “Um. Keira said today was a human day. But, er….” He came fully inside and closed the door behind him. “Don’t you fancy it?”

Ash walked over to Sam’s bed and sat on the bottom corner, propping his elbows on his knees.

Sam sighed and padded over to sit next to him, placing his head in Ash’s lap. As soon as Ash’s long fingers were in his fur—stroking back and forth—Sam felt a hundred times better. The soothing touch spread warmth throughout his body and Sam closed his eyes, letting it chase away whatever had been bothering him earlier.

Ash’s touch always had this effect on him. Sam had known what that meant from the very first time they’d met.

Ash was meant for him.

Everything about Ash: the way he looked, his scent—which drove Sam crazy sometimes—and even his voice, made something in Sam settle. Something he’d been missing for years. It was that feeling that had helped Sam to shift back in front of other people for the first time in eight years. That, and the fact that some fucking guard had a gun pointed at Ash’s head.

The thought had been instinctive, the need to protect rushing through him and forcing his body to react accordingly.

He couldn’t stay human, though.

Everything felt simpler as a wolf. He understood what went on around him, knew what people were saying and wanted to help them, but it had been easy to remain outside of everything. To not feel any guilt.

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Annabelle_Jacobs_logoAbout the Author: Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with her husband, three rowdy children, and two cats.

An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

Author Links: Twitter | Website | Email | Facebook

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, K.M. Mahoney, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Dragon Herder by K.M. Mahoney

Title: Dragon Herder

Author: K.M. Mahoney

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 82 pages

At a Glance: Short, but with an interesting mythology and adorable baby dragons.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Torgny may be a burly, uncivilized mercenary, but even he has his limits. Hired to rid a village of a dragon, Torgny gets quite a shock when he finds the marauding menace is a tiny pink dragon named Jezebel, who takes one look at him and decides she’s found a new best friend. Much to the annoyance of her handler, Noel, who seems to believe most people are prejudiced idiots.

Torgny’s not sure Noel’s wrong about people, but he would really like to be the exception to that opinion. Noel is tall and attractive, and Torgny falls into a case of instant lust.

When Noel decides it’s time to move the dragons to safety, Torgny tags along, determined to explore this attraction between them. It’s a journey fraught with danger, interfering gods, and rambunctious baby dragons, but if they can survive, they might just find a life for which neither realized they were seeking.

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Review: I really wish this story had been longer because I wanted to explore the mythology of the world more. Plus, I really liked Torgny and Noel as characters, and, well, Jezebel. You really can’t get much cuter than a pink baby dragon that just barrels around like she owns the place.

Torgny is a mercenary hired to exterminate dragons, but he has a heart. When he finds Jezebel, he can’t kill her because she’s just too cute. As a result, he puts Noel and his dragons in danger when the townspeople think dragons are the cause of a fire. Because of this, he decides to help Noel move the dragons, whether Noel wants the help or not.

Noel is understandably skeptical of this. He lives alone with the dragons, only sometimes getting a visit from his parent, the god Skandi. But, the two quickly fall for each other, and no one is getting left behind.

I was thrown off at first by how quickly Noel and Torgny fell for each other. I mean, the story takes place over the course of about three or four days, so I did kind of roll my eyes at it, but despite that, I still liked the characters. Also, Noel is hiding a big secret, but I can’t give that away or it would ruin a major plot point! Suffice to say, I wasn’t really expecting it.

There aren’t many other characters—the rest are townspeople or unnamed attackers. The only other person to show up is Noel’s parent, Skandi, who is pretty funny. I wish he had been present longer, or showed up again before the end of the story. In fact, I would read a book on his antics alone.

If you’re looking for a quick read and you like dragons, give this book by K.M. Mahoney a read. If nothing else, you’ll love Jezebel!

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You can buy Dragon Herder here:

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4 Stars, Daniel A. Kaine, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Wilde City Press

Review: Familiar Feeling by Daniel A. Kaine

Title: Familiar Feeling (Coven of Four: Book One)

Author: Daniel A. Kaine

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 100 Pages

At a Glance: As one might expect from author Daniel A. Kaine, he has created an interesting alternate reality where witches, demons and shapeshifters all collide with incredible effect.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Drew never believed in magic. Then three years after his wife’s unexplained death he unearths a book of spells in his attic. Reading the first ‘stupid poem’ seems harmless, until he acquires his very own familiar, Felix.

Drew and Felix soon realise an attraction that goes beyond their magical bond. However, there’s a coven of demon-worshipping witches out to steal Drew’s newfound power. If they want to survive long enough to see where their mutual desires take them, Felix must teach Drew the art of witchcraft. But will he be ready in time?

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Review: Drew Lost the love of his life three years ago, and it has taken him that long to tackle going through her possessions and clothes to finally clear out the leftover memories that seem to hold him captive. While doing just that, he discovers a locked chest and uses the key he always remembers his wife wearing; in fact, never letting out of her sight. When he opens the chest he finds an old book that he thinks is full of nonsense, and accidentally reads one incantation aloud, not realizing he is unleashing a familiar and beginning his own career as a witch.

Before long, Drew must come to terms with the fact that the stray cat he has been feeding, one Mr. Biggles, is actually a familiar and a shapeshifter who has appeared to both initiate Drew into the world of magic and protects him. We come to find out that Felix and his brothers were created and tasked with the job of containing a true evil, the WuYun. Should they fail, the release of such pure malice on the world will have devastating effects. Now Drew and Felix are in a race against time and must, with the help of Drew’s friends, recreate a coven that will lead the fight against the dark forces that are intent on seeing the WuYun released.

Well, as one might expect from author Daniel A. Kaine, he has created an interesting alternate reality where witches, demons and shapeshifters all collide with incredible effect. Fast paced and full of action, Familiar Feeling sets up the series of events and stories that will shed light on what exactly WuYun is and how evil this empire continues to be despite Felix being locked away for over two thousand years. Felix (and, yes, it is a real tongue in cheek move on Mr. Kaine’s part to call a cat familiar Felix) is really a delightful character who is kind and sensitive and so very reluctant to begin a relationship with his witch, Drew, as his past dalliances have always ended badly, namely with his witches dying. But Drew is very persuasive and these two begin an affair that may be doomed from the start.

Add into the mix, some wonderful side characters who will be drawn into the magical madness that surrounds Drew and Felix, and you have the real potential for some further installments that will hopefully prove to be just as dynamic as this first one. The only drawback to this first novella was that I felt it could have contained a bit more information about this alternate reality and how it all began. I wanted just a bit more backstory on Felix and his brothers, who are summoned near the end of this book. However, I am certain that with Mr. Kaine’s excellent story telling capabilities we will be learning more in the next novella in this series.

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You can buy Familiar Feeling here:

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4 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, K.C. Wells, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Parker Williams, Reviewed By JJ

Audio Review: Someone to Keep Me by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Title: Someone to Keep Me (Collars and Cuffs: Book Three)

Authors: K.C. Wells and Parker Williams

Narrator:: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 44 Minutes

At a Glance: This story drew me in because of the travel and adventure aspect of it, and I really enjoyed the audio portion of this book.

Reviewed By: Johanis

Blurb: Eighteen-year-old Scott Keating knows a whole world exists beyond his parents’ strict control, but until he gains access to the World Wide Web, he really has no idea what’s out there. In a chat room, Scott meets “JeffUK.” Jeff loves and understands him, and when he offers to bring Scott to the UK, Scott seizes his chance to escape his humdrum life and see the world. But when his plane touches down and Jeff isn’t there, panic sets in.

Collars & Cuffs favorite barman and Dom-in-training, Ben Winters, drops his sister off at the airport and finds a lost, anxious Scott. Hearing Scott’s story sets off alarm bells, along with his protective instincts. Taking pity on the naïve boy, Ben offers him a place to crash and invites him to Collars & Cuffs, hoping his bosses will know how to help. Scott dreams of belonging to someone, heart and soul. Ben longs for a sub of his own. And neither man sees what’s right under his nose.

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Review: Someone to Keep Me is a sweet, romantic, and sexy love story between a young guy and an older man in a BDSM relationship. The story starts out with a high school graduate, Scott, who meets a guy online who lives in England. When the guy buys him a plane ticket, Scott decides to get on the plane and see what happens. However, Scott arrives to find no one waiting for him. He is alone in a foreign country, with no money, phone, or credit cards. He thinks he’s in trouble but receives an offer of assistance from older man named Ben, who works at the Collars and Cuffs BDSM club. Scott does not want to return to his homophobic parents in the States, so the guys at the BDSM club want to help him out. Despite Ben’s financial restraints, he agrees to let Scott stay in his home. Scott decides he wants to be trained as a submissive, and when Ben becomes his trainer, their relationship develops into something more.

This story drew me in because of the travel and adventure aspect of it. There is something very exciting about getting on an airplane and seeing where it takes you. In Scott’s case, he put himself in a dangerous situation and was lucky that someone kind like Ben found him. Compared to book two in this series, this book went into the BDSM and sexual aspect a lot sooner. Scott is a virgin but is curious, eager to learn, and anxious to have his first sexual experience. Although this book is primarily a romance, the scene where Scott loses his virginity made the book well worth reading. I had trouble connecting with the romance due to Ben’s preoccupation with money and how this affects his relationship with Scott. Scott’s desire for Ben is very passionate and moving, but Ben’s practicality made me feel like the romance was one sided. Overall, the book was enjoyable and very sexy.

Audio Review: I really enjoyed the audio portion of this book. Each character had a different voice, which made scenes with multiple characters easier to follow. The accents used were believable and did not distract from the reading in any way.

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You can buy Someone to Keep Me here:

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5 Stars, B.G. Thomas, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Janet

Review: Autumn Changes by B.G. Thomas

Title: Autumn Changes (Seasons of Love: Book Three)

Author: B.G. Thomas

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 266 Pages

At a Glance: I can’t recommend this newest offering in the series highly enough.

Reviewed By: Janet

Blurb: Asher Eisenberg is a brilliant actor, destined for fame and fortune. But a traumatic incident in his past has caused him to reject his Jewish heritage and hide from everyone behind walls of arrogance and selfishness, and he blurs his loneliness with a lot of sex and alcohol. When he meets Peniamina Faamausili, however, he strangely can’t stop thinking about the young man.

Peni is struggling with his sexuality, the Mormonism he was raised in, and the Samoan heritage that calls to him. He longs to receive the pe’a—the traditional Samoan tattoos– and learn more of his people’s ways. He has no interest in a man like Asher, who appears to use men and put them aside and whose drinking can’t help but remind him of the drunk driver who killed his father. But he can’t deny his attraction to Asher and finally agrees to a date if Asher can go thirty days without a drink.

Asher is about to go on a journey that will awaken him to his friends, his past, his future, and even to love. But that awakening could well demand the sacrifice of the dream he holds most dear.

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Review: I was so looking forward to this book. How could B.G. Thomas create a situation or a series of events that would transform Asher into a worthy man? Could he possibly be more than the ass I thought he was? At the same time, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read a book about him if he wasn’t redeemable in my eyes. This author had his work cut out for him with Autumn Changes, and I am thrilled to report that he aced it! Wow!

The novel begins with the refreshing of the characters in this four book set of stories, but through Asher’s eyes, which are pretty disparaging to start off with, we get to see just how low Asher has fallen, and how much the tunnel vision of his life has affected his outlook on life in general. He is a sad character, and although I didn’t love him, I did feel for him, and I started to have hope for him. One of the things that B.G. Thomas does so very well is create characters with incredible depth, with many facets that catch our attention and draw us into the stories he writes. Peni is a man who would be unfamiliar to most of us simply due to his race and religion, but the author inundates us with cultural and family history about him in such a manner that he is relatable almost immediately, and we, the reader, are never overwhelmed by this. The information we need to identify with the characters is delivered in a fun and eager way that builds the story and the characters at the same time.

I must admit to loving B.G. Thomas’s writing style. I am being spoken to by the book in an inclusive way that invites me into the story rather than simply observing it, but the descriptive phases he employs create graphic images nonetheless, and color the pages well enough to visualize the characters’ surroundings throughout the book. He has written a very rich tale that is filling for the senses, and that lingers in the mind long after the pages are read, and engaged all of my emotions along the way. I laughed and cried with this book, and I am just dying to see the next one in the series arrive. Wyatt is a little bear who is so deserving of happiness, and I can’t wait to be a part of it all.

This is the key element of a successful series; deliver a great third book and create interest in the next book in line, and let us visit with the favorite characters we have already met. Thomas has done all of this in a fabulous fashion, and I can’t recommend this newest offering in the series highly enough. Autumn Changes was a joy to read, and I sincerely believe that it is some of this author’s best work ever.

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You can buy Autumn Changes here:

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B.R. Sanders, Giveaways, Self-Published

Guest Post and Giveaway: Ariah by B.R. Sanders

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The Novel Approach welcomes author B.R. Sanders today to chat world building in the just released Fantasy novel Ariah. Enjoy! And also be sure to click on the Google Form link to enter for the chance to win one of two e-copies of the book.

Good luck!

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Hi folks! I’m thrilled to appear at The Novel Approach! My second novel, Ariah, is officially released today, so it’s all very exciting all around. I have two ebooks cordoned off for a giveaway for readers here at The Novel Approach—all you need to do is sign up here: http://goo.gl/forms/xe2KMzM6aU! Mobi, Epub and PDF formats are all available! The giveaway will close at midnight tonight, so sign up quick!

Ariah is a queer romantic fantasy novel set in the world of Aerdh. Aerdh is an expansive fantasy universe: over the course of six pieces of published fiction set in Aerdh, I have covered a half dozen cultures and a span of about a hundred fifty years. Aerdh is pretty classically high fantasy on the surface–elves are present, magic permeates the world. But much of my writing is fixated on how the people in Aerdh navigate oppression and marginalization in their lives; Aerdh is as much influenced by the conceits of high fantasy as it is by the themes characteristic of low fantasy.

A recurrent theme in Ariah is family. Ariah meets different kinds of families: functional ones, dysfunctional ones, ones that are somewhere in between. He sees families fall apart and families begin from scratch. The book explores the complexity of family, how being part of a family can be a source of joy for one member and torture for another. How being parented by the same person in the same context can create two very different people. And that’s all within one cultural definition of what a family is.

Over the course of the book, Ariah moves through three unique cultural spaces, each with their own understanding of what constitutes a family. Who counts as a parent? What makes a spouse? Who are your children? What obligations do you have to these people? What are the boundaries, and what happens if you cross them?

Like most Semadran elves, Ariah is raised in a nuclear family–a mother and a father, no siblings, that’s it. Ariah’s experiences make him question assumptions he’s made about families. When he is taken to meet his mentor’s family in the City of Mages, he learns that family can be built from something other than, or at least in addition to, blood ties. It’s there first that he is exposed to queer families with non-biological parents and adopted children. In these families, the glue that bonds the members together is need and loyalty. Nothing so cut-and-dry as genealogy, but something just as real.

Later on, Ariah lives a nomadic clan of elves called the Droma. The Droma understand family in altogether way from the Semadrans or the City-folk. For them, family bonds are loose and fluid. Children are communally raised, and so bond as a large sibling group with little sense of parentage. There are marriages, but beyond that, the clan itself is really the family.

The beauty of writing speculative fiction is that we don’t have to take things for granted. That extends to things like family structures. Family structures don’t come from thin air. They are social constructs–they develop over time in response to the push and pull of cultural and institutional structures. That’s true in the real world, and that’s true in fantasy worlds, too. So, in writing these different family structures that Ariah interacts with, I had to understand why they were different than how he grew up. What did the differences in the family structures reflect about the differences in the cultures more broadly?

Much of it had to do with things like availability of this resource or that group’s social position compared to this other group–a ton of minutia which, maybe, is only interesting to me (although, if you’re interested about anything in particular, feel free to say something in the comments!). Ultimately a lot of it doesn’t bear much on Ariah’s plot, and so is left rattling around in my brain and in my notes. But it’s important that I thought it through. It’s important that I did the work, because the bits that made it into the book enriched the narrative. It gave me a firmer grounding in the world. Besides that, taking the time to understand how and why families developed the way they did in each of these cultures was invaluable for understanding my characters as people.

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Ariah_FrontCoverOnlyBlurb: Ariah’s magical training has been interrupted. Forced to rely on a mentor, Dirva, who is not who he claims to be, and a teacher who is foreign and powerful, Ariah is drawn into a culture wholly different from the elven one that raised him.

As his friendship with Dirva’s brother blossoms into a surprising romance, and he slowly learns how to control the dangerous magic in his blood, life finally appears to be coming together for Ariah—but love and security are cut short by a tyrannical military empire bent on expanding its borders.

War, betrayal, passion, and confusion follow Ariah as his perilous journey leads him beyond the walls of the Empire, and into unfamiliar territory within himself. Along the way, he’ll discover just how much he’s willing to give up to find his place in the world, and he’ll learn what it means to sacrifice himself for freedom—and for love.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

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Author Bio: B R Sanders is a white, genderqueer writer who lives and works in Denver, CO, with their family and two cats. Outside of writing, B has worked as a research psychologist, a labor organizer and a K-12 public education data specialist.

Social Media Links:Blog | ● On Twitter: @b_r_sanders | ● On Facebook | ● Subscribe to newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bgYFjf | ● Amazon author page | ● Goodreads author page

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Giveaways, Self-Published, Silvia Violet

Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: The Coming Clean Blog Tour With Silvia Violet

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The Novel Approach welcomes author Silvia Violet today on the Coming Clean blog tour. Enjoy the excerpt she’s offered to tease you just a bit, and then be sure to enter for a chance to win a $15 Amazon or All Romance eBooks gift card by clicking on the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck!

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ComingClean400x600Blurb: An unexpected inheritance lands Jeremy a large house and plenty of money to take a sabbatical from his job teaching poetry at a small college. He intends to sell the house and take off on a new path to discover what he wants out of life. Then he meets Connor. The attraction he feels to a man so different from himself is no less shocking than his change in financial circumstances, but Connor is in the closet and Jeremy wants a life lived out in the sun.

Connor is a former Force Recon Marine who runs a housecleaning business. When he’s hired to get Jeremy’s house market-ready, he’s startled by how attracted he is to his client despite their many differences. But his past, especially his final mission, weighs heavily on him. He’s not certain he can be the man Jeremy needs, but no man has ever made him want to take a risk like Jeremy does.

Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

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Excerpt: Connor took a step toward him. “I’m gay.” He paused and Jeremy watched his chest rise with a slow inhale. “I’ve never said it out loud before, but I’m Connor McMurtry and I’m gay.”

Jeremy grabbed Connor’s hand and pulled until they were nearly touching. “Show me just how gay you are, Connor McMurtry.”

Connor’s look of pure hunger did shivery things to Jeremy’s insides. His bearing shifted as his confidence returned. Now his wide-legged, take-charge stance made him look every inch the Marine, but instead of being intimidating, it was the sexiest damn thing Jeremy had ever seen.

Connor took hold of Jeremy’s hips and brought their bodies together. Jeremy knew from the way Connor held him that he wasn’t going to be the dominant one in this encounter. Do you trust him? Should he when Connor might freak out again? And yet Connor had come over of his own free will. He’d humbled himself, apologized, and assumed Jeremy wouldn’t want him. And Jeremy was desperate to know how it would feel to have Connor inside him, driving deep, filling him up.

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

You can also connect with Silvia on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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Tour Dates & Stops:

18-May Prism Book Alliance | 19-May Cathy Brockman Romances Bayou Book Junkie | 20-May Angel Martinez | 21-May MM Good Book Reviews | 22-May 3 Chicks After Dark | 25-May Amanda C. Stone | 26-May Molly Lolly | 27-May Love Bytes | 28-May The Novel Approach | 29-May BFD Book Blog Parker Williams

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4 Stars, Anthology, Cleis Press, Reviewed by Jennifer

Review: Best Gay Romance 2015 – Edited by Felice Picano

Title: Best Gay Romance 2015

Author: Anthology – Edited by Felice Picano

Publisher: Cleis Press

Pages/Word Count: 244 Pages

At a Glance: A great collection of short stories with something for everyone.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Gay romance is coming into full bloom in the wake of the Defense of Marriage Act’s fall, and the literary world is giving this full expression. New series editor Felice Picano is one of the top gay writers in the world with many awards and much critical acclaim to his credit. Picano has written novels, plays, and major nonfiction works and he is at his finest when it comes to the subject of love. In Best Gay Romance 2015, he gathers a sweepingly romantic collection of short fiction that is long on love (and sex).

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Review: Anthologies of short stories are always great, because when you’re in the mood to read but not wanting to commit to a full novel, you can take your pick of stories. It’s also a great way to discover new authors. This anthology was a special treat to read for several reasons. First, it’s a Cleis Press anthology, so I knew it was going to have a good selection. I had enjoyed their BGR books from other years and have yet to find one that disappoints. Second, the editor is Felice Picano. I’ve read his works before, and it’s always high quality, so I knew that this collection would have excellent selections. And finally, many of the authors in this collection I’ve already read before and enjoyed, so I knew even if the unknown authors were a miss for me, I was sure to have several fantastic stories that made up for it. Lucky for me even the unknowns were chosen with care, and this anthology really does have a bit of everything. From a novel with demon-induced time travel to a story with Jane Eyre appearing in it, you’ll find at least one—but most likely several—stories to enjoy.

Normally when I review an anthology, I like to review each story, but there’s just too many to do with this one. I will say that each story was enjoyable, but I’ve pulled my top three for review.

In “Discodemius” by Jerry L. Wheeler, Kevin attempts to summon the demon Azmodeus, but gets a different one instead, that sends him back to the 70s. Trapped there for two months, he finds love, only to have it ripped from him when the demon, Discodemius, sends him back to his own time. It seems like that’s it for his love, but is it?

I enjoyed this story because it was so unexpected. I’ve read Jerry Wheeler before—and had the wonderful opportunity to meet him and hang out—and he has a great sense of humor that translates well into his writing. I had been expecting another traditionally romantic story, but this one had elements of the fantastic that sucked me in. I laughed at the demon Discodemius, and laughed when Kevin was “entertained” by being sent back to the era of the disco. There is tension when his time is up, but a twist at the end had me laughing again, this time at the demon!

“Reader, I Married Him” by Michael Thomas Ford was perfect. If you’re an English major you know where that line comes from, and as soon as I saw it in the table of contents, I knew I would love the story. I was not mistaken. Though the story itself takes place during a single night, the title clearly lets the reader know that the story of Adam and Jay is far from over. And I really wish I had the entire book to read! I love that Adam is into Jane Eyre, and Jay is referred to as Bertha Rochester by his lady landlords (he lives in their attic apartment). The two of them just click so well, and it felt authentic reading it. Too bad there isn’t more!

Finally, “The Kingdom of Haeven” by Eric Andrews-Katz. This story is not what it appears to be. It seems, on the surface, to be a sci-fi story, but after reading it—and bursting into tears—I went back to reread the beginning and was hit with the beautiful intricacy of the story. It gives the brief glimpse of General Tyler and Captain Wilyem as they discover whether or not Tyler has been named the new king of Haeven after the passing of the previous king. After massive over-population on Earth far in the future, two new planets are settled with gay men moving to Haeven and lesbians moving to Minervite. I was deeply touched after reading this story. The twist at the end was as unexpected as it was heartbreaking.

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You can buy Best Gay Romance 2015 here:

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4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sadonna, Tara Lain

Review: Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain

Title: Knight of Ocean Avenue (A Love in Laguna Novel)

Author: Tara Lain

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 254 Pages

At a Glance: What a wonderful start to a new contemporary series from a favorite author!

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgement blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising star, celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

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Review: Oh, how I enjoyed this book! This might be my new favorite Tara Lain book. :)

The wonderful opening scene has our hero, Billy, in a coffee shop waiting for his girlfriend. He’s nervous about the meeting, but he’s trying to distract himself when a beautiful and captivating man walks into the shop. He can hardly take his eyes off of him. Probably not an auspicious start for a conversation with his girlfriend. ;)

Billy is in construction. He left high school early to work to help support his family after his father suffered a heart attack. He’s worked multiple jobs to pay his parents’ mortgage, pay for his sister’s school, basically everything except take care of himself. He does have his own apartment, which he’s proud of. He managed to teach himself to read but never even got his GED because of test anxiety. He still feels like he’s not smart enough to be more. He’s just a simple, blue-collar guy surrounded by people smarter and classier than he’ll ever be. But he really does like his job, and he loves his family and coaching his Little League baseball team.

His sister Rhonda is getting married, and boy is she marrying up. Her fiancé Mitch’s family is paying for pretty much everything, and part of the deal is that she has a stylist planning the big day. Rhonda wants Billy to have the full treatment for her wedding – clothes, hair, etc. His other sister, Theresa, who is like a second mother to him, thinks it’ll be great, and she totally supports him in whatever will make him happy.

Then we meet Billy’s mother – who is a royal pain in the behind. She’s very disappointed that Billy isn’t married and producing grandchildren for her yet. I literally wanted to slap her multiple times. I mean, seriously? The guy is working two jobs to pay HER mortgage. (By the way, we never hear why SHE isn’t working to help pay for anything, and it’s not like she still has kids at home either – except that she’s “traditional” – can you tell this is a hot button issue for me??) How he even has the time or the inclination to date, let alone take on more responsibility for more people? He’s got a family he’s providing for! But, enough about the irritating mother.

Billy agrees to meet with the stylists, and lo and behold – it’s the beautiful redhead from the coffee shop. Billy recognizes him at one, and he’s a bit overwhelmed to be surrounded by Shaz (real name Chase Phillips) and his crew at the salon. While he finds Shaz intriguing, the whole styling thing has him a bit stunned. And he really needs to get his head together, as it were.

Billy has made a really nice life for himself. He has two cats, an apartment he’s making into a home, a job he likes and is good at, his Little League team he loves coaching, a family he cares deeply for and gives everything to, so why isn’t he happy? What’s missing in his life? He’s truly afraid to find out, especially since he thinks he might know the answer, and if he’s right, it would mean big trouble with his mother.

Sissy, Mitch’s cousin, is a member of the wedding party too, and she likes Billy. She really likes that he’s not a gold digger and just after her money, and that really he seems to want nothing from her at all. They agree to “couple it up” for the wedding to keep everyone happy, and to maybe be friends and have a good time during all the pre-wedding festivities. Sissy is actually a nice girl and while she may give off a ditzy vibe, she’s actually got a good head on her shoulders. Billy likes her and they look out for each other.

As preparations go forward for the wedding, Billy and Shaz spend more time together. They get to be friends – helping each other out with various interests that they have in common. Shaz is afraid he’s developing a bit of a crush on a straight guy, and Billy is afraid he’s not good enough to be Shaz’s friend, and what if he wants it to be more?

Things get crazier as the wedding gets closer, and Billy and Shaz’s relationship gets really, really complicated. Billy is really trying to figure things out and he’s still convinced that he’ll never be good enough for Shaz. Talk about the path not being smooth! But eventually Billy has had enough. He figures some stuff out and finally does some things for himself that he isn’t sure he’ll survive, but he’s sure he won’t survive if he doesn’t do them.

The resolution to this story is so very rewarding. I really enjoyed every single second of this book. All the secondary characters are really well written – even that PITA mother. I loved the rest of Billy’s family and Shaz’s “family” as well. This story is really about being true to yourself and finding what makes you happy then just going for it, even if you don’t think it maybe fits all your visions of what your life would be like. What a great lesson! I wish I had learned that lesson a lot sooner in life. :)

This may be my new favorite story from this author, and I have loved quite a few of her books. I’m so looking forward to the other books in this series that are planned. There is a lot of material to be mined here, and I think this is the author to do it. Well done!







 

You can buy Knight of Ocean Avenue here:

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5 Stars, Ethan Day, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jules, Wilde City Press

Review: Love Me Tomorrow by Ethan Day

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Title: Love Me Tomorrow

Author: Ethan Day

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 252 Pages

At a Glance: If you want to smile, and laugh, and feel good all the way down to your toes, read this book.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Event planner Levi Goode is positioned to inherit the newly vacated throne, becoming the in-demand party planner for Wilde City’s elite. Years of hard work and perseverance are finally paying off as Levi lands his next big fish, working with socialite Julia Freeman-Kingsley. Distracted by work and dealing with his head strong mother, an ex-Vegas-showgirl suffering from debilitating health issues, Levi has his hands full. Time for love or even the occasional one-night stand, is one aspect of life Levi hasn’t been able to master.

Sparks of interest fly during a chance meeting with a paramedic called to the aid of his mother, and thanks to Ruby’s meddling, Levi finds himself on a movie-date with the handsome Paramedic Jake. Personal and professional worlds collide when Levi realizes his new love interest is actually Jake Freeman, estranged brother to his brand new client. Discovering the man of his dreams already has a boyfriend, leaves Levi stunned realizing any hopes he had for something more with Jake were never going to be anything more than wishful thinking.

Struggling to downshift his expectations and remain friends with Jake while continuing to work closely with Julia quickly consumes all of his time and attention. Wondering if there will ever be a special someone to love him, is where Levi’s love story begins.

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Review: Love Me Tomorrow is only the second book I’ve read by Ethan Day, but it was all I needed to officially declare myself a HUGE fan. I loved this book. It made me smile like crazy and swoon so hard. I read it over the holiday weekend, and my family kept asking me, “What are you reading? You look so happy.” True story! I also thoroughly enjoyed his As You Are, which I listened to on audio, but this one…sigh…this one got me right in the heart; I’ve thought about it every day since I read it.

Top 5 things I loved about this book:

1. The characters. Levi is a beautiful human being. He has been through a lot to get to where he is in life, is incredibly resilient, and works hard to achieve his dreams and make others happy. Levi’s mom, Ruby, is fabulous and hilarious. She maybe didn’t always make good parenting choices, but there is no question that she adores her son, or that he felt loved growing up. Jake is struggling a bit personally, but is also such a good soul. And, he’s swoony and sexy as hell. I loved both Levi and Jake so much. Julia and Gregory, Jake’s sister and her husband, are also fantastic. It was just a great cast all around.

2. The settings. I think I want to live in Wilde City. How cool does this town sound?? I for sure want to live in Levi’s loft. :) Levi’s job is completely fantastic, and the author does an incredible job of painting the picture of the events and venues in the story. I felt like I was right there amidst the ritz and the glamour of these society parties.

3. The dialogue. Ethan Day writes such quick, witty banter, this book reads like you’re watching a movie. Between the snappy, sassy dialogue, and the awesome scene settings, it would translate so beautifully to film. There are so many fun pop culture references, and so many exchanges that made me laugh. Good, good stuff. And, bonus points for the mention of Auntie Mame – which always makes me smile!

4. The family connections. I love that Levi and Jake met through helping Ruby, and that Jake completely falls for her as well. The themes of familial love and the importance of family support are strong throughout the book. The connections are also completely realistic, however. Not all families get along all the time, and not all families are conventional. Levi doesn’t even know who his father is, and Jake gets little to no support from his parents. He was very close to his grandfather, though, and he and Julia are tight, and protective of each other.

5. And, finally, the love story. This was one of the most romantic books I’ve ever read. Some people will definitely take issue with the fact that Jake is still with his boyfriend of many years when he and Levi start to fall in love – but I had no problem with it whatsoever. People grow apart. That’s life. And sometimes you’re not with the right person for you, and stay with that person for the wrong reasons. The relationships were all handled with care, and though it was painful for Levi and Jake to not be together – the tension and the longing was gooooorgeously written, by the way – nothing was truly pursued until things were cleared up. The way Levi and Jake felt about each other was undeniable, though, and the last quarter of the book was just beyond romance.

If you want to smile, and laugh, and feel good all the way down to your toes, read this book. If you love romance and timeless love stories, you should absolutely read this book. In fact, I can’t think of a single reason for you to NOT read this book. I know I’m so glad I did!

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You can buy Love Me Tomorrow here:

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3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Elle Brownlee, Genre Romance

Review: Emergency Contact by Elle Brownlee

Title: Emergency Contact

Author: Elle Brownlee

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: This is my first time reading Elle Brownlee, and I have to say the writing was unique.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: When Liam’s best friend has to leave town on business, he asks for a favor—be an emergency contact for his cousin who is new in town. Liam doesn’t think twice before he accepts. He’s great with numbers and confidently plays the odds, because nobody ever uses those emergency contacts, right? Wrong. The very next Sunday, cousin Garrett shows up at Liam’s apartment, fresh-faced, devastatingly gorgeous, and nothing like Liam had dismissively assumed.

Garrett arrived in New York City hoping to make it in the modeling world, and Liam isn’t sure what to do with him. While he eventually warms to welcome the distraction, he’s not prepared to have his steady, predictable world overturned. Liam is sure Garrett will soon tire of him and find someone closer in age and less eager for the quiet, settled life Liam prefers. But Garrett is too sweet-natured and naïve to recognize Liam’s dismissal, and he’s not as shallow as Liam presumes.

Although Garrett sees a future for the two of them, Liam manages to push him away. It is only then Liam sees the Garrett-shaped hole in his life.

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Review: Liam Wright is 33 years old and lives in New York. He works with numbers, statistics and spreadsheets. He once lived life in the fast lane: reckless, living off his savings, and drinking. Once he got his job, put in long hours of work and earned promotions, he left the reckless life behind. Liam likes his life of solitude, staying home, doing intricate drawings and puzzles, coffee and running to keep fit. He’s also stubborn, has doubts about himself, pretends to tolerate the social scene, and his communication skills lack at times.

Carl, a friend of Liam’s, is getting ready to leave for the Bahamas on a business trip and needs a favor from Liam. Carl has a cousin, Garrett, coming from Iowa, and he asks Liam to be available if his cousin needs help in anyway. Liam does some research and comes up with a spreadsheet of quick facts and resources about the city, and sends it to the email address of Carl’s cousin.

Garrett Stone Honeycutt is a young twenty-something, and midway through college. He’s smart, gorgeous, sweet, loves to cook, and his outlook on life is logical. He already has a modeling job lined up in New York, but he would rather be a research librarian.

Liam shows Garrett around the city, and Garrett starts inviting Liam to his modeling shows and taking him on location shoots. It just couldn’t be any better than this. But doubts creep into to Liam’s mind, and he makes an awful decision. Will Garrett and Liam ever be able to repair what they had?

This is my first time reading Elle Brownlee, and I have to say the writing was unique. I’m really not big on contemporary love stories, but she gave this story a more intellectual feel. The vocabulary at times may be a little difficult for some, but it was still a good read. Both Liam and Garrett are very intelligent in their own ways, and the writing reflects that. Garrett, though young, really turns out to be the shining star in this story.

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You can buy Emergency Contact here:

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A.V. Sanders, Giveaways, Less Than Three Press

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Percolation, Poetry, and Passion by A.V. Sanders

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Title: Percolation, Poetry, and Passion
Author: A.V. Sanders
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: August 26, 2015
Cover Artist: A.V. Sanders — I requested to make my own cover for ‘Percolation, Poetry, and Passion’ and LT3 was kind enough to let me do so. The Bay Bridge and this exact view from the Oakland Hills are significant to the relationship between the main characters in this story. The handwritten font I chose for the title I hoped would lend familiarity and the romanticism of ‘poetry’. Finally, the silhouettes of the two men, hand in hand, facing their world together, was a very important and powerful image, both to me and the story.

Blurb: Beckett works at a coffee shop to make ends meet while attending a prestigious university. It’s not the most exciting job, but he’s done it long enough he’s good at it—and can avoid the tedium by spinning sexy little daydreams about things he doubts will ever happen.

Daydreams that soon include Simon, the hot, handsome, and older, freelance writer who stops in one day. But then Simon becomes a regular, a bright spot more interesting than the inside of Beckett’s head, and daydreams start to seem like they could be something far more tangible—if reality doesn’t get in the way first.

Pre-Order Link: Less Than Three Press | Add To Goodreads

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Excerpt: Beckett did not know the older man’s name, and it didn’t matter. When their bodies met, a hot rush swept over Beckett, his breath catching in his throat. The older man took a step into him, leaving Beckett pressed against the wall. The man leaned in, taking a deep inhale, his rough cheek brushing against Beckett’s stubble. He pulled back until their lips met.

Beckett lifted his hands, reaching into the man’s soft, graying hair. The clothing had dissolved from their bodies, nothing left to impede. Their arms moved over one another, fingers smoothing along taut muscles and hard lines–Beckett’s olive-toned skin complementing the older man’s deep tan in their tangle.

He ran his hand through Beckett’s short dark hair, a low growl rumbling in his chest. His large hands closed around Beckett’s shoulders and he turned him around. Beckett’s heart pounded in his ears, anticipation and lust building. The man was rough and strong–knowing what he wanted and what Beckett needed. Then, the Nameless spoke for the first time during their interlude:

“Was my pump sugar-free?”

Beckett startled, blinking a few times.

“What?”

“That syrup you just put in my drink–was it sugar-free? Because that’s what I ordered.”

The harsh mechanical whirl of a blender and hiss of blow-off steam from an espresso machine brought Beckett back into reality. His handsome stranger had vanished, and in his place was the puffy pale face of an average guy in his thirties. He was wearing an accusing scowl underneath matte black hair and a salt-rimmed baseball cap.

Beckett took a deep breath, the acrid scent of coffee pushing the last vestiges of his imagined lover out of his mind. He strained to give the customer a pleasant smile.

“Yep. Three pumps, one sugar-free vanilla and two hazelnut–just like it says on the cup.”

Puffy-scowl walked away and didn’t say thanks. Beckett disliked being questioned and prickled further when it was shot from over the coffee bar partition. He took pride in his job as a barista at The Percolation Station. He had been working at the eclectic, industrial style coffee house since he was a freshman at Berkeley. After graduating last week, the four years of pulling espresso shots meant he could make these drinks in his sleep. Sometimes, he did–he always felt ripped-off waking up from a night of those pointless, dull dreams.

An errant thought about adding a pump of simple syrup to the guy’s drink skipped through his mind. Beckett never did understand why people risked being rude to those handling what you’re about to put into your body.

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tumblr_static_72snlag4rtc8k8ockgo0gcc80About the Author: A.V. Sanders loves and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She shares her home with her husband, two cats, and tropical aquarium fish. She is an avid hoarder of Halloween decorations and inconsequential information. When writing science fiction, mystery, and horror with LGBTQ main characters, she can be found staying up all hours of the night listening to endless sets of EDM music. She is an advocate of love, art, animals and frivolous acts of beauty. She also has a growing suspicion that not causing harm to one another is what matters in the end.

Social Media Links: Website | Tumblr | Twitter

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Giveaways

A.V. Sanders would like to offer one lucky reader the chance to win an ARC of Percolation, Poetry, and Passion. Just click on the Rafflecopter widget to enter.

Good luck!

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Giveaways, Jane Davitt, Riptide Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Closing the Loop Blog Tour With Jane Davitt

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The Novel Approach welcomes author Jane Davitt today on the Closing the Loop blog tour. Enjoy Jane’s guest post, then be sure to leave a comment below for the tour wide giveaway of a signed copy of Jane’s book Lucky Strike. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 30, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!

Good luck!

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Closing the Loop is set on a gay cruise ship. I have never been on a cruise of any description since I get seasick promptly and comprehensively. On a huge liner probably less so than a rowing boat but I’m not inclined to take the risk of ruining a vacation.

The idea of a cruise fascinates me though. Most stories I’ve read featuring one are murder mysteries, with dead bodies in staterooms or going overboard every few chapters, but the setting is so intriguing.

True, the ship docks and the passengers leave to explore, but they can’t get very far or do much in a day or two layover. The ship’s where it’s at. A mini-town, with crew and passengers linked, yet apart, one serving the other and yet in some ways the first loyalty of the crew is to the ship and captain, again linked.

Shipboard romances, burning hot, fading fast, instant friendships, soon forgotten, and a routine quickly established, as quickly dismissed on disembarking. It’s a temporary experience for the passengers and it’s why I chose to have Lee and Cole meet before the cruise, if briefly, and to come from the same area to give their romance a fighting chance.

The research for the story left me staring out of the window at snow and ice wishing for sand, surf, and sun. I visited gay cruise webpages sighing enviously at luxurious cabins, stunning restaurants, and good-looking people all with smiles, a drink, and a friend beside them. Followed the dotted line of the map to see where their voyage would take them, and drooled over the menus. I chose a stateroom (top of the line, naturally) and pictured myself enjoying the complimentary afternoon tea on my private balcony, served by my personal butler (really. They do that.) I read trip diaries by people who’d been on one and got an idea of what was on offer in the way of entertainment. Plus, the usual detail-checking, like how the doors lock on a cabin these days, and what’s included in the ticket and what’s extra.

It’s not a cheap vacation, but it looks like fun.

Maybe a bit too much fun. A whole week of drinking too much, eating too much, and partying like it’s 1999 (dating myself!) and, as the saying goes, I’d need a vacation to get over it. But I like the idea of a cruise with a gay-friendly crew and passengers free to express themselves without dodging disapproving looks and muttered criticism.

And I loved sending Lee and Cole off on one. They’re onboard for very different reasons, but by the end of the story their destination is a happy ending, and where better to disembark?

Dividers

1814953Blurb: A week on a tropical gay cruise is just what Lee needs after a bad breakup and a Canadian winter. It’s a shame his ex is on board, but Lee is sharing a cabin with Cole, a hot lawyer who—as luck would have it—is actually from Lee’s city. So when Cole unexpectedly awakens Lee’s kinky side, Lee begins to dream that they can actually take their shipboard romance home with them.

But Cole is keeping secrets involving a troubled young man on board the ship. And Lee, after his recent brush with betrayal, finds it difficult to trust Cole when he says Justin isn’t a rival.

Then he learns the truth and is also drawn into the tragic story. His dream vacation is in danger of turning dark, but he’s determined to navigate Cole and himself to a safe harbor before their blisteringly hot romance is lost at sea.

Buy Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

Dividers

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About the Author: Jane Davitt is English, and has been living in Canada with her husband, two children, and two cats, since 1997. Writing and reading are her main occupations but if she ever had any spare time she might spend it gardening, walking, or doing cross stitch. She’s recently taken up yoga and loves discovering her ability to bend.

Jane has been writing since 2002 and wishes she’d started earlier. She is a huge fan of SF, fantasy, erotica, and mystery novels and has a tendency to get addicted to TV shows that get cancelled all too soon.

She owns over 4,000 books, rarely gives any away, but is happy to loan them, and is of the firm opinion that there is no such thing as “too many books.”

Connect with Jane:Website | •Twitter: @janedavitt | •Goodreads

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