3.5 Stars, Genre Romance, Lourdes Skye, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Wilde City Press

Review: Hunted by Lourdes Skye

Title: Hunted

Author: Lourdes Skye

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 169 Pages

At a Glance: Hunted is a first-time read from Lourdes Skye, and I was thoroughly entertained.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Upon a dastardly escape from his sadistically abusive husband, Jace Vanderhuff embarks on a journey that’ll lead him into a dangerous realm of trafficking, murder, and unsuspecting love.

However, Jace has no choice but take the chance, for going back would be a fate worse than death. Hiding in plain sight brings Jace face to face with a cop who is sexy as sin.

Detective Cobra Stallone, while investigating a teen trafficking ring, stumbles upon a sweet, shy, blonde-haired guy who invades his thoughts and dreams. But there’s something there. Something that Jace is guarding. When the truth is revealed, can he melt past Jace’s defenses and fears and show him that love can be better the second time around?

With his husband and a crazed killer-for-hire hot on his trail, will the jungle known as New York City become ground zero, where the hidden has now become the hunted.

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Review: Movie Trivia: In 1986, Sylvester Stallone made a movie called Cobra, in which he played Police Lieutenant Marion “Cobra” Cobretti. The movie wasn’t a big hit, but it was action packed and featured Stallone’s personal 1950 Mercury. In Hunted, Lourdes Skye has created a character by the name of Cobretti “Cobra” Stallone, and that’s what piqued my curiosity about this story. If you have ever seen the movie, Hunted is really nothing like it, but I have to say it is fast paced, action packed, violent, with instances of child trafficking and some really descriptive fight scenes. While Hunted is somewhat predictable, it’s also suspenseful, even if you can sort of figure out what may happen. I enjoyed the non-stop action and the movie nostalgia that Skye brought to this story.

Jace Vanderhuff goes on the run from Octorian, his insanely evil husband, and gets a job at the Silver Bullet pub. Here he meets some really fun characters in Lydia, Mickey, Jetson and Leroy. Cobra spies Jace at the pub, and it leads to some shameless flirting on Cobra’s part, but there’s no quick hook-up because Jace is a little shy and trying not to be noticeable. When things get a little heated, Jace stays honest and tells Cobra why he can’t get involved, which I felt made Jace’s situation more logical, since he still fears his husband’s wrath.

Cobra’s cool and he gives Jace support as they get help to try and win Jace his freedom. I liked Cobra’s character; he’s caring, laid back yet tough when he needs to be. He’s honest about his feelings for Jace too, as he’s not without his own family tragedy, which is what steered him toward being a cop, and he’s still seeking some type of closure.

With Cobra going undercover for the child trafficking case, and Octorian and Rock Mercer coming on the scene, things get tense, but Barney, Cobra’s partner (there are some really corny jokes about snakes and dinosaurs), has Cobra’s back, especially when things go haywire while Cobra’s undercover.

There were two other characters who piqued my interest—Ruslin and Aiden, whom I’d hoped would get their own story, but all good things must come to an end. Hunted is a first-time read from Lourdes Skye, and I was thoroughly entertained.

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You can buy Hunted here:

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5 Stars, Bey Deckard, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published, Transgender Romance

Review: The Complications of T by Bey Deckard

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Title: The Complications of T

Author: Bey Deckard

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 15800 Words

At a Glance: The Complications of T is a timely story that had me cheering because Stuart Leandro, our narrator, raises the questions so many of us have contemplated but are, perhaps, afraid to ask.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: A bite-sized trans* love story:

Stuart Leandro knows he’s washed up, both on the big screen, and in his marriage. Then, when things take an even bigger turn for the worse one night, he winds up blind drunk and lost in a foreign city.

Thankfully, someone’s there to rescue him before his face ends up plastered all over the tabloids.

Wary of the motives of the reclusive stranger who brings the fading star into the quiet shelter of a hip but isolated loft, Stuart nonetheless can’t deny his curiosity… Or his attraction. Tim is unlike anyone the actor has ever met, but underneath the mystery and quiet attempts at invisibility, Stuart discovers someone whose life has been intertwined with his own for years.

Neither could have predicted that Tim’s act of kindness would lead to one of the most intense encounters of their lives—but, are they willing to weather the media storm their extraordinary relationship will cause?

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Review: It’s no great secret by now that I’m a fan of Bey Deckard’s work, not for the least of the reasons that his characters are always compelling, whether they be pirates or soldiers. This novelette, however, is yet another departure for the author, not a story set in a past or future alternate universe but a very real, compelling, and timely story that had me cheering because Stuart Leandro, our narrator, raises the questions so many of us have contemplated but are, perhaps, afraid to ask.

Beginning with the title, which has a meaning significant to the plot in a dual way, this story presents what, on the surface, seems as though it’s going to be a simple tale of a man and woman meeting and falling into a whirlwind love affair. It’s not until Stuart, who is not only going through the breakup of his marriage but is publicly very drunk, is taken home by his rescuer—someone he believes to be a woman who’s just saved him from the paparazzi, not to mention a sure social media and PR nightmare—and we are presented with an altogether different complication.

Tim White, movie critic and Stuart’s would-be nemesis, is a trans* man and a fantastically sympathetic character—not because we feel a sense of pity or despair for him but because we admire him for his courage and the strength to live life on his terms and to be the man he was born to be. Tim’s forthright answers to Stuart’s question about his biological anatomy and sexual preferences are not only questions I’ve had myself, but are also questions my kids have asked as well, sparked by Caitlin Jenner’s forthright and public transition. The end result of those discussions boils down to sexuality not being something that can be analyzed and deconstructed and then tucked into neat little boxes of conformity. Human sexuality is simply something we accept in others, and that’s the result of Stuart’s relationship with Tim. It’s not about being gay, bi, male, female and all the various permutations, but Stuart simply accepts Tim for who he is and embraces his feelings so honestly to the point that Tim has to play the voice of reason, and does so in a way that prevents this story from falling into the predictable.

I loved The Complications of T, beginning to end. Its characters are relevant, the topic important, and I would recommend it wholeheartedly as a story whose time has come.

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You can buy The Complications of T here:

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4 Stars, A.M. Sexton, Reviewed by Jules, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Release Day Review: Return by A.M. Sexton

Title: Return (Davlova: Book Two)

Author: A.M. Sexton

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 324 Pages

At a Glance: Every bit the exciting conclusion that the blurb promises.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: The exciting conclusion to Release

Fire rages through Davlova in the wake of a bloody revolution. The tyrannical upper class has been overthrown. In the midst of the chaos, Misha and Ayo escape on Miguel Donato’s boat and flee across the sea to the distant city of Deliphine.

All his life, Misha has dreamed of leaving Davlova behind, but now the only thing he wants to do is go home. He has no idea if the city still stands or how many of his friends have survived. But before he can return to Davlova and find his place in the wrecked landscape of the trenches, he’ll have to face a new threat in Deliphine – the Dollhouse.

Even in Deliphine, most people think the Dollhouse is a myth, but Misha knows the truth. The Dollhouse is real. It’s ruthless. It has an agenda.

And now, it wants Ayo back.

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Review: When I read Release – the first book in the Davlova series by A.M. Sexton – it completely rocked me. So, when I saw a few weeks ago that the sequel, Return, had a release date at last, I was alllll over it. I even re-read Release in anticipation, as there is a lot to the story, and I wanted to make sure everything was fresh. I was so glad I did; it was just as good as I remembered. Dark. So very dark. Intense and heartbreaking and just absolutely gripping. With Return, Sexton picks up exactly where Release left off, so you had better buckle up because the ride is on.

After fleeing from the only home he has ever known, Misha arrives in Deliphine with Ayo. He is incredibly happy to have saved Ayo but is also still devastated over the death of Donato, understandably struggling with both the loss and the fact that he was the one to actually take Miguel’s life. Sexton once again does an amazing job of connecting the reader to the characters. I felt both Misha’s pain and anguish, and Ayo’s anger and disbelief at Misha’s mourning. Ayo never saw the amount of tenderness in their master that Misha did. He only knows that his painful existence as a creation of the Dollhouse is because of the evil desires and requests of Donato.

Deliphine turns out to be nothing like what Misha expected. Instead of the fresh start of their dreams, they find the port city to be just as divided and messed up as Davlova was, if not even more backward and filthy. On top of which, Ayo also immediately starts to feel a tug from his chip to return to his maker. Having gotten the name of a surgeon in Deliphine, one of Donato’s connections, Misha and Ayo pay him a visit to see if they can get any help in having Ayo’s chip deactivated. Unfortunately, the doctor is unable to operate, out of fear of falling under the wrath of the Dollhouse, leaving them back at square one. Fighting Ayo’s program on their own proves exhausting and impossible, however, and they end up being taken in by the Dollhouse, interrogated, and then mysteriously released.

I enjoyed the first section of the book, when they are in Deliphine, particularly the fantastic discussions between Misha and Dr. Gideon regarding the moral implications of the neural implants, and whether it makes a difference if the person receives it willingly or not (as a philosophy major, I geeked out on those thoughts quite a bit). But, the story really started to pick up for me when Misha and Ayo return to Davlova. The descriptions of the ravaged city and the events that took place during and after Misha’s escape were at times brutal and shocking. The author pulled zero punches when describing what people are capable of during war. Misha is horrified by the things he sees and hears upon arriving back home and reuniting with some of his friends.

As in the first book, there is plenty of action and political intrigue, as well as raw emotion – the connection between Misha and Ayo is quite beautiful as it develops – and sex. But, the thing that I like most about Return is that it was Misha’s book to shine. I love where Sexton takes his character, from a street-smart thief and sometime whore, to a confident, fierce, smart man, who will do whatever it takes to protect his lover and, ultimately, help reshape and rebuild his city. Being a hero looks good on him. The other thing that made this sequel stand apart from the first book is that there was a bit more levity mixed in with the darkness. I would definitely still describe the story as dark overall – but there were a few more moments of joy and lighter scenes to help balance it out.

This book was a bit slower than the first book in the beginning, and a tiny bit repetitive in places, but it definitely ended up being every bit the exciting conclusion that the blurb promises. I would still proceed with caution regarding the heavy nature of the content, and it’s a must to read Release first, but if you’re looking for something different and something exciting that you can sink your teeth into, I absolutely recommend this one.

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You can buy Return here:

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Giveaways, Hayden Thorne

Excerpt and Giveaway: Desmond and Garrick (Book Two) by Hayden Thorne

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We’re so pleased to have author Hayden Thorne back today with an excerpt and giveaway of her Young Adult Historical Fantasy Desmond and Garrick (Books One and Two). To enter for the chance to win an e-copy of BOTH books, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below after reading this little teaser.

Good luck!

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from Chapter 11

He’d walked a short distance, pausing under the shadows of a small cluster of trees, when movement from the corner of his eye caught his attention, and he turned to find Desmond scrambling up the hill – appearing desperate to get back to the picnic area. Garrick narrowed his eyes as he watched the boy. The way Desmond practically flailed his arms in order to keep his balance, the way he almost stumbled a few times in his haste to get up the hill, the way his clothes looked suspiciously crumpled and his hair windblown and wild and his face taking on a decidedly unhealthy red hue for a vampire…

Garrick sighed, shaking his head, his gaze still fixed on the frantic figure. “Good heavens, Master Desmond,” he muttered, that familiar feeling of helplessness creeping up his spine. “What have you done this time?”

He shrugged things off and carried on, awash in contentment for another pleasant moment, this time humming to himself.

More movement caught his attention and, and this time he saw Phillip Priestley making his way up the hill as well, his appearance no less wild than Desmond’s. But while Desmond appeared to be fleeing the area and half-killing himself to reach the hill’s crest in the shortest time possible, Mr. Priestley appeared to march stiffly uphill, his disheveled appearance highlighting the anger that set his face in a rigid mask. Arms swinging stiffly at his sides, eyes fixed directly ahead, mouth pressed into a tight line, the young fellow was in grave danger of swelling up with all that collected rage before exploding in a dreadfully untidy way that only vampires could appreciate. The sinking feeling gave way to another familiar sensation: a dreadful chill that could only mean one thing…

Any mortal tutor who takes on Desmond and Lavinia for his pupil will need all the luck in the world.

Any mortal tutor who takes on Desmond and Lavinia for his pupil will need all the luck in the world.

“Ah, Mr. Mortimer,” a voice hailed him.

Garrick turned and found Mr. Sherbourne approaching, his hands clasped behind him, his hat still on his head, his clothes still pristine. He inclined his head at Garrick once he was near enough.

“Mr. Sherbourne,” Garrick said after a moment’s hesitation.

The gentleman flashed an engaging smile, his manner calm and casual. “Sir, I apologize for pressing you with such a remarkable request, but I’d be honored if you would come with me tomorrow morning and be my second.”

Garrick stared at him. “I beg your pardon?”

“I’ve been challenged to a duel, you see, and I’m afraid it’s simply beyond my control to walk away from it. Honor is honor, after all.” When Garrick remained mute, he added, “Pistols at dawn. You know what that’s about.”

Garrick continued to stare at him. “I beg your pardon?”

Mr. Sherbourne sighed, though his manner stayed calm. Almost indifferent. “I’m compelled to defend Desmond Hathaway’s honor, sir. While in the course of dispensing a duty that was entrusted to me by the good Mr. and Mrs. Hathaway, I chanced upon a scene of a – well – rather sensitive nature, and I took umbrage at the gentleman’s treatment at the hands of a scoundrel. I certainly would have challenged Mr. Priestley to a duel myself, had he not leapt upon the chance first and challenged me. Can you imagine the cheek, sir? He’s the villain, and he thought to challenge me.”

Garrick stared. Still. Somehow, some time ago, his brain had ceased its functions, and he felt as though he were standing before its sad remains, watching it slowly dissolve with every word Mr. Sherbourne uttered.

Pistols at dawn - not exactly an ideal thing for mortal and vampire teenagers caught in a love triangle.

Pistols at dawn – not exactly an ideal thing for mortal and vampire teenagers caught in a love triangle.

“Would you mind explaining yourself, sir?” he said after about twenty attempts at speaking something that sounded halfway coherent.

“My dear Mr. Mortimer, I don’t see how I can make myself any clearer,” Mr. Sherbourne said, looking tired and faintly irritated. Yet he stood before Garrick, hands still clasped at his back, posture straight, appearance very striking and handsome as only vampires could be striking and handsome. “I need you to be my second, sir, for dawn tomorrow. While I’d be quite happy simply giving Mr. Priestley a damned good thrashing, I’m afraid I’m rather stuck resorting to a duel and perhaps bloody murder to set things right.”

“Mr. Sherbourne, you do realize your challenger is sixteen years old and is quite incapable of sound thought – especially if he’s been sent down from Wyndham.”

“Seventeen and four months.” Mr. Sherbourne paused, looking sincerely surprised. “I took care to ask, Mr. Mortimer. Not that it made much of a difference, anyway, since a scoundrel is a scoundrel at any age, and if Mr. Priestley forced my hand into a duel, I’m not one to back away from it. If his age worries you, perhaps you ought to raise the matter with him, not me.”

“Are you drunk, sir?”

“Indeed, no. But I’ve never been to a duel before, let alone been challenged to one. I’m afraid my ignorance shows, though I do hope I’m still capable of defending Desmond’s honor when required.”

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Desmond and Garrick Book TwoBlurb: As the vain and self-absorbed poets continue their campaign of destruction in Dryden Abbey, Garrick finds himself struggling in the classroom, with increasingly distracted pupils eroding all of his hard work and reducing him to using all things dead and decaying in order to keep Desmond and Lavinia’s minds on their lessons.

Meanwhile, with Phillip Priestley’s unexpected appearance, Desmond’s world unravels as infatuation, lust, confusion, and revulsion drive him into wilder mood swings. Mr. Sherbourne’s coldly distant yet attractive presence in Dryden Abbey further complicates things, prompting Desmond to do something he never thought he’d ever do: reach out to unlikely allies for help.

In the midst of the wild goings on around them, Garrick and Desmond will realize that the chasm separating them as distinct species will not only teach them important lessons of understanding and acceptance, but also forge a stronger bond of friendship than they expected.

Buy Links: JMS Books || Amazon || Smashwords

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THE GIVEAWAY

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GRL 2015 Featured Blogger Tour, Marie Sexton

Guest Post and Free Download: The Countdown to GayRomLit with Marie Sexton

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We’re so please to welcome author Marie Sexton today on the Countdown to GayRomLit 2015 blog tour. Marie’s here to chat books and to tell you all about how you can get a FREE book this week only at Amazon.

Enjoy!

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Darkness and Light

Hello, everybody! I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m thrilled to be here on The Novel Approach as part of the GRL blog tour.

Today is kind of a big day for me, being the culmination of over three years of work. See, back in early 2012, I became obsessed with a new story idea. It was a dystopian fantasy set in a universe that looked a lot like Dickens’s London, but with a bit of cyberpunk thrown in. It centered around a pickpocket-turned-whore named Misha who fell in love with an abused sex slave. I spent the next two years beating my head against that book, trying to make it take shape. It was by far the darkest story I’d ever tried to write, and I swear it almost killed me, especially when I realized the story was too big for one book. After all, if I couldn’t finish one story in this bleak universe, how would I ever manage to finish two?

I gave up on it many times, but I kept going back, partly because there were pieces of the story I loved too much to let go, and partly because certain friends cheered me on, telling me it was too good to give up on. Finally, in June of 2014, I published the first part of that story, Release. (You can pick it up for free on Amazon, this week only!) And today, the last part of the story, Return, is available too.

I mentioned before that the Davlova series was the darkest story I’d ever tried to write, and that wasn’t an exaggeration. It was so dark and disturbing that one of my beta readers flat-out said, “Your readers aren’t ready for this, Marie,” and so I decided to publish these books under a slightly different pen name, A.M. Sexton. I wanted it to be absolutely clear that this series is very different from Coda or Tucker Springs. It’s different even from Blind Space or Oestend. Davlova is a brutal and violent slum of a city (although I promise, the second book is significantly lighter than the first). But those who are willing to venture into this seedy world will also find a rather sweet, gentle love story buried under all the filth.

And man, after three years of struggling with these books, it feels amazing to finally have them finished!

But if you prefer your reading a bit lighter, don’t worry! I have something for you, too. You see, the world of Davlova was too dark to live in for three years straight. I put the story on hold several times in order to write sweeter, fluffier things like Lost Along the Way, Shotgun, Apartment 14 and the Devil Next Door, and (the one I’m dying to tell you about!) a fun, whimsical little Christmas novel for Riptide called Winter Oranges.

Winter Oranges is about a frustrated actor named Jason who tries to escape Hollywood by moving to Idaho. He hopes for a bit of peace and quiet (and a break from the paparazzi!), but instead finds a mysterious man nobody else can see living in his guesthouse. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say this: I haven’t been this excited about a story in a long time. Of course, I’m always more excited about the story I have coming up than the one that just came out, but this book truly holds a special place in my heart. Winter Oranges won’t be available until November 30, but it’s available for pre-order now.

So, there you have it! One day, but two very different worlds to choose from – the dark, dangerous alleys of Davlova, or the bright streets of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, all decked out with holiday lights. (Of course, you could always try them both!)

Release (Davlova, part 1) (FREE this week only!)

Return (Davlova, part 2)

Winter Oranges (pre-order)

Thanks very much to The Novel Approach for having me today, and for everybody headed to GRL, I look forward to seeing you all in San Diego!

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Release-400x600Release Blurb: Davlova: a poverty-ridden city-state ruled by the tyrannical upper class. Resources are scarce and technology is illegal. But in the slums, revolution is brewing.

Misha is a common pickpocket until his boss gives him a new job. Disguised as a whore, Misha is sent to work for one of the most powerful men in the city. But his real task is far more dangerous: get close to Miguel Donato, and find something – anything – that will help topple Davlova’s corrupt government.

Misha is plunged into the decadent world of the upper class, where slaves are common and even the most perverse pleasure can be found. Although he’s sure Davlova’s elite is involved in something horrific, proof is hard to come by, and Misha begins to fall in love with the man he’s supposed to betray. Then Misha meets Ayo – a sex slave forced by the neural implant in his brain to take pleasure from pain – and everything changes. As the lower class pushes toward a bloody revolution, Misha will find himself caught between his surprising feelings for Donato, his obligations to his clan, and his determination to save Ayo.

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Return-400x600Return Blurb: The exciting conclusion to Release.

Fire rages through Davlova in the wake of a bloody revolution. The tyrannical upper class has been overthrown. In the midst of the chaos, Misha and Ayo escape on Miguel Donato’s boat and flee across the sea to the distant city of Deliphine.

All his life, Misha has dreamed of leaving Davlova behind, but now the only thing he wants to do is go home. He has no idea if the city still stands or how many of his friends have survived. But before he can return to Davlova and find his place in the wrecked landscape of the trenches, he’ll have to face a new threat in Deliphine – the Dollhouse.

Even in Deliphine, most people think the Dollhouse is a myth, but Misha knows the truth. The Dollhouse is real. It’s ruthless. It has an agenda.

And now, it wants Ayo back.

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WinterOranges_400x600Winter Oranges Blurb: Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of L.A., and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

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Marie Sexton December 5 2009 - 07webAbout the Author: Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Marie also writes dark dystopian erotic fantasy under the name A.M. Sexton. You can find her at http://mariesexton.net/, and on Facebook and Twitter.

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week!

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Welcome, friends, and many thanks for stopping by to see what we have in store for you in the week ahead!

We’ve got such a fun-filled and busy week in store for you that I’ve had to open up my calendar on Saturday and Sunday just to bring it all to you, and I’m happy to do it too.

Here’s what we have on tap:

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Monday – Kicking off our week, we have Marie Sexton as our guest today to help us celebrate the countdown to GayRomLit 2015

Joining Marie will be author Hayden Thorne, doing a little bit of her own celebrating of the release of her YA Historical Fantasy novel Desmond and Garrick (Book Two)

Tuesday – We have another two fabulous authors with us today. First up is Mickie B. Ashling to chat a bit about her new novel Forged in Trust

Next up is L.A. Witt, who’s joining us to talk about Running with Scissors (the book, not the “don’t run with…”) :-)

Wednesday – Today we have author and editor Denise Wyant with us today to share an excerpt from the just recently released anthology Apple Bites, a blend of M/M and M/F shorts, ranging from sweet to spicy

We also have another edition of “Genre Talk” with Carole Cummings coming up today, featuring Luchia Dertien in the spotlight

Thursday – We’re kicking off today with a cover reveal from Riptide Publishing for the next new book in their popular Bluewater Bay collection

We’ll also have author Joe Cosentino with us to talk about his new book Shooting Star

Friday – And starting a busy day today, we’ll have author Rhys Ford with us to do a little celebrating of her own, for the release of Sloe Ride, Quinn Morgan and Rafe Andrade’s story in the Sinner’s Gin series

We’ll also welcome author Morticia Knight as our second guest of the week in the Countdown to GayRomLit 2015

And Rayna Vause will also be here to chat about her new novel Demon of Mine

Saturday – Today we have author Sandrine Gasq-Dion joining us on the blog tour for her new book Fret

Sunday – Author T.M. Smith closes out our week on the tour for her new book Fame and Fortune

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

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Renae Kaye, Reviewed by Kathie

Review: You Are the Reason by Renae Kaye

Title: You Are the Reason (A Novel in The Tav Series)

Author: Renae Kaye

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 239 Pages

At a Glance: There just aren’t enough adjectives I can think of to describe You Are the Reason. It’s steamy, quirky, light, cute, brilliant, lovely, romantic, sweet, informative and educational.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Davo’s a pretty average guy. He has a decent job, owns his own home, and spends his weekends at the pub. He fully accepts that he’s gay, but doesn’t want to be one of those gays who are girly. He likes football and other masculine pursuits, and firmly avoids anything that could be seen as femme—including relationships that last beyond fifteen minutes.

Then Davo’s friend and gay idol not only gets a boyfriend, but also adopts a baby girl. Davo is seriously spooked and scuttles down to the pub. That’s where he meets Lee, cute from her cherry-red hair to her pretty little dress and pointy red shoes. Davo is charmed—but how is that possible? He’s gay. Isn’t he? Then Lee tells him he’s actually a guy—he just likes to wear women’s dresses occasionally. Thoroughly confused about an attraction that’s out of character for him, Davo begins the long journey to where he can accept himself without caring what everyone else thinks.

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Review: “G-A-Y stands for Girls Are Yucky.”

First, let’s just take a moment and enjoy the cover of this wonderful book. Whenever I look at it, I forget to breathe, so it’s a good thing nature takes over and makes me breathe before I pass out.

As for the story, there just aren’t enough adjectives I can think of to describe it. It’s steamy, quirky, light, cute, brilliant, lovely, romantic, sweet, informative and educational; all wrapped up in two-hundred-thirty-nine pages. The main characters are Davo (aka David Pederson), or simply Dave, “well groomed—no nose hair, fingernails neatly trimmed, nothing awkward piercing my skin.” Davo is a self-proclaimed regular guy. Or, should I say, a bloke with lots of faults and quirky ideas (quirky and sweet). I loved him!

Lee Brennan is cute, escaped-from-a-pixie-convention kind of adorable, and so girly (Lee likes to wear women’s clothing) that it makes Dave’s back teeth ache. I really chuckled over Lee’s description of a man: “I piss standing up and I shave.” Okay… Well, that works. Cute and educational.

David and Lee are the main characters of You are the Reason, but I have to include Patrick and Jake and Maxine, their baby, and Lee’s parents. Also, the Magic 8 Ball, My Little Ponies, and the color pink; without them Davo and Lee’s tale would be just another short story about attraction, struggle, lots of steamy sex and a happy ending. Okay, that wouldn’t be bad either, but the supporting characters fill out the story with color and depth.

Davo and Lee’s romance is a rocky journey, first with David trying to figure out why he is attracted to Lee (Lee looks like a woman so he must be one, right?). I really enjoyed reading when Patrick explained to Davo about pheromones and attraction. And second, Davo fighting the attraction for many reason. Who said love is easy? It comes with so much baggage.

The relationship that builds between David and the lovely Maxine is also delightful, David learning how to take care of her and falling in love, dirty nappies and all. Yes, love at first sight is real, dressed in pink with a pink bow around her head.

I just have to add that I can’t wait for the audio to come out for this book. While reading You Are the Reason, I could just about hear Jonathan Young’s voice—he was the narrator for The Blinding Light, the first in The Tav series. Davo talking baby talk to Maxine in that whiny voice, and hearing Maxine say, “Uck Day,” what a great audiobook to look forward to.

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You can buy You Are the Reason here:

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2.5 Stars, Ali Atwood, Extasy Books, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lana

Review: Bound to Brody by Ali Atwood

Title: Bound to Brody (Shifters and Lovers: Book One)

Author: Ali Atwood

Publisher: eXtasy Books

Pages/Word Count: 78 Pages

At a Glance: This is a mystery with a paranormal twist that, though the storyline was interesting enough, never got off the ground.

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: Does a second chance at love have a price?

Zac McQuade is a former marine living two lives. On the surface, he’s a special agent for the FBI but undercover, he’s an assassin for the Secret Intelligence Service. When Zac returns to his childhood home for his niece’s christening, the last person he expects to see is Brody Maitland, his former college crush. Though Zac’s attraction to Brody has gone unfulfilled, he still thinks of him as the one who got away.

Dr. Brody Maitland is a practicing psychologist with a few secrets of his own. Though he has always admired Zac, he thinks he is terminally straight. Currently, Brody is conducting an off-the-record investigation, in search of a young male patient who’s gone missing. Believing Zac’s cover story, Brody enlists his help to solve the intricate case, plunging them both into a deadly game of intrigue and deception. As the attraction between the two very different men heats up, they are faced with the ultimate test of love and loyalty.

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Review: Zac McQuade is a government assassin who comes home for his niece’s christening. He reconnects with his college crush, Brody Maitland, who’s now a doctor. Brody’s investigating the disappearance of one of his patients, and he ropes Zac into helping him; albeit, the whole setup was not plausible at all because they haven’t seen each other in a number of years, then all of a sudden they are “working” together, and the police are okay with their help. Then, add to that that Brody turns out to be a shifter. To me, this plot development felt as though it was just thrown in without any thought to it. It wasn’t developed at all, and felt that way.

There’s also a crazed, yet typical, madman who is abducting gay men. He was a bit over-the-top, and I felt that at any minute he was going to do a maniacal laugh and twirl his mustache.

The two leads were likeable enough, and they embodied the type of characters I enjoy, but in a mediocre story, they became mediocre too. The plot also had a number of continuity issues which were distracting. I wish that it’d had a better editor to clean up these, and other, plot issues. I love reading shifter stories, but Bound to Brody was a disappointment. This is a mystery with a paranormal twist that, though the storyline was interesting enough, never got off the ground.

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You can buy Bound to Brody here:

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3 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Kim Fielding, Reviewed by Sadonna

Review: Phoenix by Kim Fielding

Title: Phoenix

Author: Kim Fielding

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 44 Pages

At a Glance: A poignant and ultimately uplifting story of second chances and renewed courage to experience love.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: First a soldier and then a diplomat, Juberi now spends his solitary days on a single ambition: trying to resurrect the phoenix, which has been extinct for centuries. He’s not pleased when he is obligated to attend a public ceremony in memory of an elderly friend and former colleague. But at the ceremony, Juberi meets the friend’s beguiling son, Desen. Despite being from a markedly different culture, Desen has much to offer. But after decades of denying his own desires, Juberi fears there is no alchemy that will reopen him to love.

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Review: I have to say I am a big fan of Kim Fielding’s writing – regardless of whether it’s fantasy, contemporary, historical, dystopian, short story, novel, or novella. I am always surprised by something, and happy that I decided to spend my time with her words, and this story is no exception.

Juberi is a retired diplomat and former soldier who now spends his days in his home lab trying to reanimate a phoenix. He pretty much keeps to himself and his house staff, and doesn’t have much of a social life. But he is required to attend a ceremony honoring a former colleague from his diplomat days, so he begrudgingly goes. After the ceremony, he meets Desen, the son of the former colleague. He is intrigued by Desen but also a little apprehensive because of the cultural differences.

Desen has heard much about Juberi from his deceased father, and flatters Juberi with his remembrances. He asks to see Juberi privately after the ceremony and although he’s still a little nervous, Juberi agrees. Desen is interested in a more private audience with Juberi to ask him a favor, so invites him to his residence. While he feels he can’t do what Desen asks of him, all of this sets Juberi to remembering his time in Desen’s land. He feels he is too old and too set in his ways to be of any use to Desen, or anyone else, really. But that doesn’t mean that he might not still be convinced.

I so enjoyed the interplay between Desen and Juberi. Their conversations and interactions were sweet and filled with longing and desire. It seems that maybe this meeting was destined after all. I also enjoyed Juberi’s relationship with Saura, his longtime servant. She truly has Juberi’s best interest at heart and takes good care of him.

I recommend this story for those who enjoy a short hot and sweet story about mature characters getting a second chance at finding something good.

 

 

 

You can buy Phoenix here:

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5 Stars, A.J. Thomas, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 2 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann

Audio Review: Holding Out for a Fairy Tale by A.J. Thomas – Narrated by Jeff Gelder

Title: Holding Out for a Fairy Tale (Least Likely Partnership: Book Two)

Author: A.J. Thomas

Narrator:: Jeff Gelder

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 33 Minutes

At a Glance: I wanted the audiobook to be as exciting as the book itself, but this performance left me wanting.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: When his vicious cousin Alejandro makes a violent late-night visit, San Diego homicide detective Ray Delgado gets a brutal reminder of why he left his family behind. Alejandro wants Ray to find his sister, Sophia, who disappeared from the UC San Diego campus, before the FBI digs too deep into his business.

Special Agent Elliot Belkamp spent his entire life jumping from one place to another, but his new assignment assisting a FBI task force offers him a chance to settle down. When Elliot catches a missing person’s case as his first assignment, the last person he expects to find poking around the victim’s dorm room is Ray, a one-time hookup he’s more inclined to punch in the face than kiss hello. After discovering Sophia’s disappearance is linked to a massive computer-based theft that has two powerful crime families ready to declare war, Elliot focuses on his investigation and tries to ignore Ray. As the search for Sophia turns dangerous, Elliot and Ray discover that tackling organized crime might be easier than resisting the urge to tackle each other.

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Review: Holding Out for a Fairytale is the second story in the Least Likely Partnership series by A.J. Thomas. This story picks up right after book one, A Casual Weekend Thing (a must read). A.J. Thomas continues the series, bringing us Elliott Belkamp and Raymond Delgado in another fast paced, action packed, thriller mystery filled with tension, humor, sadness and passion. I’m glad I own the series because I read it again.

Ray’s a prankster among his fellow cops: smart, into computers, sci-fi, and guns. He’s definitely a good cop and has his partners and fellow cops’ backs. He deals with some serious family issues: Alejandro Munoz, his cousin, is connected to the cartel, and, being “dead” to his Hispanic family, the only two people he still has a connection with are his sister Carmen and niece Sophia. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he’s also sitting on the fence over his sexuality, and he doesn’t believe in a HEA. It took me a while to like Ray, until I learned more about his insecurities.

I liked Elliott from the moment he was introduced in book one. He’s a straight-laced FBI agent, gay and has no problem admitting it. He finally thinks he has a place where he can settle down and maybe find that special someone to build a life with. Though, he has a couple little quirks: his reasoning on Pop Tarts and fighting. When Elliott and Ray meet up again, Elliott has to put his hostility aside and work with Ray to solve the case involving Sophia. As they frantically work to try and stop a war between cartels, they discover they’re better together than apart.

Narration: I have to say I was disappointed in Jeff Gelder’s narration and the presentation of the characters. I wanted more energy and emotion from the two MCs and in the telling of the story, and I felt that Gelder’s vocal choice for Elliott was too high pitched and too childlike. In short, I wanted the audiobook to be as exciting as the book itself, but this performance left me wanting.

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You can buy Holding Out for a Fairy Tale here:

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mary Calmes, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: Heart of the Race by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Title: Heart of the Race

Author: Mary Calmes

Narrator:: Greg Tremblay

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 2 Hours and 5 Minutes

At a Glance: I have to give *high fives* to Greg Trembly. The accents he was able to come up with, and the names he was able to pronounce, were unbelievable.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Varro Dacien spends his life riding toward the next adventure. Brian Christie, his best friend and touchstone, the one person who’s always truly seen him, plays sidekick on these madcap adventures and subsequent trips to the hospital until he can’t take it anymore. While Brian can see Varro, Varro has never caught on that he’s breaking his best friend’s heart.

Without Varro, Brian builds himself a life that’s all about just getting by, doing his best to ignore the hole in his heart and his life. Without Brian to balance him, Varro pushes harder and takes more risks to reach that ultimate high. His job racing high-octane bikes on suicide-level courses makes it easy to get that rush…until it’s no longer enough, and Varro realizes it’s not the race but who’s waiting at the finish line that truly matters. Now he just has to convince Brian to be there.

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Review: Who can resist a Mary Calmes audiobook, especially one narrated by Greg Tremblay? Not I, that’s for sure. But, I don’t like short stories in any form—too short and not enough depth is my main reasoning. But…it’s a Mary Calmes story, so again, there was no resisting.

Brian Christie and Varro Dacien… Brian has been described by others in reviews as sweet and laid back. I would describe Brian as a sarcastic fool, and Varro Dacien as a superficial, narcissistic fool—the fool description for both of them—Brian for being in love with Varro for so many years and not telling him, and Varro continuing to race after being put back together too many times, and for denying his attraction to Brian behind a trail of females.

The racing descriptions in Heart of the Race were crazy. One benefit to reading is learning about different realities, and this was sure a reality that I had never been exposed to. And I have to give *high fives* to Greg Trembly. The accents he was able to come up with, and the names he was able to pronounce, were unbelievable. No, they were very believable. Such a great job! Tremblay has a talent for storytelling and for developing a voice for each character that adds another dimension to the story.

Mary Calmes is always worth taking a chance on, even if it’s a short story, e-book or audio. Her writing is colorful and characters deep, always an adventure. Heart of the Race is worth a listen.

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You can buy Heart of the Race here:

Audible.com

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4 Stars, Hayden Thorne, Holiday Romance, JMS Books LLC, Paranormal, Queerteen Press, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Review: Desmond and Garrick (Book One) by Hayden Thorne

Title: Desmond and Garrick (Book One)

Author: Hayden Thorne

Publisher: Queerteen Press/JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 226 Pages

At a Glance: Another fantastic historical YA fantasy from Hayden Thorne.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: It’s 1815. Garrick Mortimer is a scholar extraordinaire, an underemployed and starving genius, who agrees to sign on as tutor to Desmond Hathaway, the youngest son of a vampire family living in Yorkshire. Desmond, heartbroken by another boy’s callous treatment of him in school, rebels against Garrick’s attempts at educating him and does everything he could to chase Garrick away, which proves to be a greater challenge than he first thought.

When Desmond’s older brother returns from Italy for a visit and brings with him a small group of talentless and self-absorbed poets, life in Dryden Abbey turns upside-down, mainly when Desmond meets Leigh Blaise Sherbourne, a sullen vampire poet.

Throw into the mix a desperate mother’s plea for grandchildren, a family-owned torture chamber, a cottage-abbey-and-quarter-castle, and a grumpy family magician, and Garrick finds life in the Hathaway household to be a great deal more than he bargained for.

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Review: Hayden Thorne knows how to write historical YA, and historical fantasy YA, so when I had the opportunity to read Desmond and Garrick I was thrilled. First of all, it has a similarly haunting cover of some old building. Without even reading the blurb, I knew the house would play some interesting part in the story, and it did.

The first of a series (at least one other book is out, or soon to be out), Desmond and Garrick focuses on a vampire family and their young son, Desmond, who has been sent out of human schools for “provoking” human boys, like pretty much every young vampire has done. Desperate to change him and get him to settle down, his parents send for a human tutor and find Garrick, a brilliant scholar who detests teaching. But, the idea of working with vampires and learning about their species intrigues him.

What follows is a story as both teacher and pupil grow. Their growth may not necessarily be because of each other, but changes take place. Garrick is drawn more towards tutoring Desmond’s talented younger sister, who shows more promise than Desmond. And Desmond, attempting to get over the human boy he loved and lost, finds himself face to face with his older brother’s friend, Leigh Sherbourne, a vampire poet who both intrigues and repulses Desmond.

Like the author’s other YA books, there is very little romance, and what is there is incredibly slow to start, but also, like the other books, that’s okay. There’s more to this than the romance. Instead, you’ll be drawn to watching the vampire children (who act much younger than fifteen and sixteen) throwing themselves off the top of their home, locking themselves in the torture chamber’s various devices, watching vampire parents adding graveyards and collapsed walls to their cottage-abbey-and-quarter-castle home.

I look forward to the next book, because this one leaves off in spot that suggests this would work well as one long book rather than two (or more) parts of one story.

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You can buy Desmond and Garrick here:

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5 Stars, Ann Lister, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Self-Published

Release Day Review: Fighting His Fire by Ann Lister

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Title:  Fighting His Fire (The Rock Gods: Book 6 

Author:  Ann Lister

Publisher:  SleighFarm Publishing Group

Pages/Word Count:  297 Pages

At a Glance:  I was so happy to finally get Dante and Ashton’s story…and it was absolutely worth the wait!

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  Locked-down at a Los Angeles intervention facility, everyone around Dante Dupont and his Black Ice band mate, Ashton Lane, thought this would fix the issues between them. Dante and Ashton knew differently. What made this a hundred times worse was the fact they were stuck in this room together. They hadn’t shared space like this since the one afternoon they both wanted to forget. And, revisiting that nightmare was not an option . . . with or without the help of a therapist.

Two musicians. Same band. Afraid to admit their true feelings, being in close quarters again has them both at their breaking point. They say if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, but neither of them can find a reason to leave, and fighting the fire is becoming more and more difficult to do.

Dante’s baggage isn’t pretty and his scars run deep, but Ashton might be the one to finally see beyond his past and help him find a way out from the smoke screen he’s spent his life hiding behind. In order to get there, though, they’ll both have to walk through the flames.

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Review:  I was so happy to finally get Dante and Ashton’s story…and it was absolutely worth the wait!

I love this series more and more as each new book is released. I was a little concerned at the beginning, I had a hard time getting into it at first, but I’m pretty sure that had more to do with my mood than the story. For a story to break through that, and not only grab my attention but hold it, to the point I was staying up way past when I should have to get through just one more chapter (Okay, so it was around 3 am when I finally put it down, and it was only because I finished it), is a great read.

There are many emotions and issues swirling around these two, so you just have to sit back and wait for the tension to release. My first thought was that Dante and Ashton definitely took it to an extreme; they reminded me of little kids who pick on each other and fight with the kid they have a crush on, push them down on the playground and pull their pigtails.  But, once they got over that initial hurdle—although there were more to follow—they were seriously hot together and sweet, but really hot (kind of an inferno…Dante’s Inferno). :)

With the slump I have been in lately, I am thinking it may be time to do a reread of the entire Rock Gods series, and I couldn’t love this new addition more than I do. It is probably too soon to start asking when we will get Lincoln’s story, but I am a little impatient and can’t wait for more of this series!

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You can buy Fighting His Fire here:

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

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Excerpt: Ashton shook off Dante’s hold on his arm and inched closer. “Why are you doing this? Are you deliberately trying to bait me into fighting with you? Or do you want me to leave? Because, I gotta say, I’m real close to punching you in the face right now and walking the fuck out of here.”

“Why would you do that?” Dante argued. “I seriously thought you might be interested in the brunette!”

Ashton blew out a breath and ran a hand through his tangled hair. As hard as he tried to calm himself, it didn’t work. He shook his head, then met Dante’s piercing blue eyes head on. “The only brunette I’m interested in has a dick – not a pussy. Got it?” And, with that declaration, Ashton stalked off in the direction of the bar. He ordered another beer and a shot of Jack Daniels. He’d already done the shot when Dante slid in beside him at the bar. Ashton noticed the fire in Dante’s eyes right away. It was never difficult to detect when Dante had a storm brewing inside of him. The question was always whether the fire was due to anger or passion and right now Ashton really didn’t know which he’d be fighting. What he wasn’t prepared for was hearing the smooth texture of Dante’s voice when he finally spoke.

“Do you want to get out of here, Ashes?”

            I thought you’d never fucking ask. Ashton kept that comment to himself and simply turned away from the bar and Dante’s expressive eyes and walked toward the elevator. He didn’t much care if Dante was following or not, because with or without him, Ashton was leaving.

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AC Katt, GayRomLit

Guest Post and Excerpt: The Countdown to GRL with AC Katt

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Writers’ Block

I’ve written over one hundred thousand words this month according to my Grammarly update. I have about five thousand words to go and I find myself all out of words. I know where the story is going and I know exactly how it’s going to end but I can’t get the words on paper.

What do you do when you’ve been merrily humming along and your book is near finished and the words dry up? I’ve read a few books for inspiration, watched Queer as Folk taken tea breaks, got up, walked around, came back and sat down and still nothing.

I’ve closed the laptop at least a dozen times and then opened it again five minutes later to see if I could write something. No dice. I’ve petted the cat, fed the cat, and changed his box, sat down and guess what nothing is percolating in my head, just nothing.

I’ve written three and a three-quarters books in the past few months, Bobby’s Old Man, the second book in the Sunset Club Series which is out from MLR on August twenty-eighth, Scarred Mate, the third book in the Werewolves of Manhattan Series set for October second from MLR and Waiting for Mark, the third book in the Sunset Club Series still in submission. I’m stuck on Book Four of Werewolves. I have them almost to the last bend of the racetrack, but the horse tripped and now I’m limping home.

Writing for me comes in spurts. For long periods of time

my brain will keep spitting out words and I’ll keep writing books until it stops. When it stops, it’s scary because I don’t know how long it will take to get back in the grove again, or worse still, will I ever get back in the groove.

I once went without being able to write for more than three months. I thought I was done, finished. I figured I said everything I had to say, but then, for no obvious reason, it all came rushing back. I was able to produce one book after another until I reached four, then I thought to take a break but the words wouldn’t stop running around in my head and now, writers’ block.

So today, instead of giving you new words, I’m leaving you with an excerpt from Bobby’s Old Man.

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Excerpt: “Not at all, I had Marla freshen up the suite opposite mine. That way I’ll be close if you need anything during the night. There is a fifty-five inch television in the bedroom. I put a new eighty incher in the great room. It’s wonderful when you watch sports. I also have DirecTV with all of the bells and whistles. You need to conserve your strength for a few weeks until they’re sure there is no lasting damage from the concussion. The televisions will help. I also have all the video gaming systems in the great room, if you’re interested.”

“I don’t do video games usually unless they’re the type of fantasy adventure games.” What’s going on with him? He’s babbling.

“That’s what I play.” Keith laughed out loud. “I also have an extensive library on my Kindle HD of science fiction, fantasy,” Keith blushed, “and gay romances that you can read.”

Why do I feel like I’m dealing with a used car salesman showing me the features?

“How many titles do you own?” Bobby asked wondering how much Keith read.

“A thousand, at least, I read fast. I have two Kindle Paperwhites and the Kindle HD plus an iPad and an Android tablet. I also own a PC and a Mac. I use the PC for the businesses and the Mac for home. There are two offices in the house. I put them in long ago, hoping that someday I’d find someone. I hope I haven’t screwed things up permanently with us.” Keith looked frightened.

He is very disturbed. His hand is shaking. It could be the booze. I hope it’s not the alcohol.

“I still love you. I just don’t trust you right now, and I have to trust the man I marry.” Bobby had a sad look on his face. “I could marry you now because I’m scared and alone, but that wouldn’t be fair to either of us.” Brave words you little shit, if your trust in him was such a scarce commodity, why are you staying here and tormenting both of you. Am I punishing him or myself?

Keith put his head on Bobby’s lap and mumbled, “I understand.” Bobby felt Keith’s tears on his knee. I caused this. I caused Keith to cry. I wonder if he’s feeling half of what I felt when I left this house that night. He lifted Keith’s head. I can’t forgive him yet, but I need to be with him and no one else. I’m such a whiny coward when it comes to Keith.

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BobbysOldMan_432Blurb: Keith Anderson is in love with Bobby Michaels. Unfortunately, Keith, with their fifteen year age difference, thinks he’s too old for Bobby. The two start as friends with benefits, but Keith dumps Bobby when it turns serious, leaving Bobby brokenhearted.

When tragedy strikes and Bobby needs Keith, he steps up to support his lover. But Bobby lacks trust in Keith and everything around him. Can Keith convince Bobby that this time is for real, or will the two lovers never reconcile?

Available from MLR Press: August 2015

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Ac KattAbout the Author: AC Katt was born in New York City’s Greenwich Village. She remembers sitting at the fountain in Washington Square Park listening to folk music while they passed the hat. At nine, her parents dragged her to New Jersey where she grew up, married and raised four children and became a voracious reader of romantic fiction. At one time she owned over two thousand novels, until she and her husband took themselves and the cat to New Mexico for their health and its great beauty.

Now, most of AC’s books are electronic (although she still keeps six bookcases of hardcovers), so she never has to give away another book. AC is new to both GLBT and to writing being, as she claims, a late bloomer, however, she’s found her niche writing GLBT romance.

Currently, AC writes for MLR Press and JMS Books and her latest published works are The Indiscrete Series (mlrpress.com), The Werewolves of Manhattan Series (mlrpress.com), The Sunset Club Series (mlrpress.com),and The Sarran Series (jmsbooks.com).

Visit AC Katt’s Wesbite at ackatt.com

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Giveaways, Jessie G.

Tour to Benefit The Trevor Project: Their Reason by Jessie G.

Their Reason Tour Banner

Today we welcome author Jessie G. on her Their Reason blog tour.

Instead of a rafflecopter, Jessie has put together a fundraiser for The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth. All you need to do is donate (at least) $2.99 and then leave a comment on the fundraiser. Jessie will take the names from the comments and put them in a virtual picker, then she’ll select 2 winners to each win all four of her paperbacks, signed, and 2 winners to win all 4 of her ebooks. Well over $100 in prizes for a $2.99 donation.

Terms and Conditions: *Paperback prizes for US residents only. Two winners will be chosen to win all four books each.* || *Ebook prizes for International residents only. Two winners will be chosen to win all four books in .mobi format only, as the books are Amazon exclusive.*

Click on the Fundraiser Link to donate, comment, and enter to win.

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wedding invitation

Their Reason Book 500Author Name: Jessie G
Book Name: Their Reason
Series: Sizzling Miami, Book 4
Release Date: July 26, 2015
Pages or Words: 24,140 words
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Gay Marriage
Publisher: Jessie G Books, Inc
Cover Artist: Andrew Reyna, Dynamic Craft Studios
Blurb: You are cordially invited to the wedding of Jon Connor and Ian Jones!

When I think about my guys and who I think marriage would mean the most to, I always think about Red. Growing up in foster care and spending his first twenty-five years just trying to survive, the concept of family is a dream he never thought would become a reality. He found a family with Bull, the Connors and our favorite guys in the garage, but marriage would really make him a Connor. Not just the piece of paper, but the vows in front of all their loved ones, the promise of forever…it’s everything Red deserves.

In this sequel novella to For A Reason, we follow Bull and Red through the wonderful and crazy adventure of planning a wedding. From setting a date to saying those two magical words to their surprise Irish honeymoon, we get to see how love has transformed everyone’s favorite couple. And stick around for the outtakes, Red and Bull’s marriage has had quite the impact on all the guys!

Author’s Note: 50% of the proceeds will be donated to the Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

Series Note: This book is not a standalone. For A Reason is a must-read so you have Bull and Red’s full back story. That said, the sequence of events in this book picks up about five months after Tricking Chase (Devils Pride MC, Book #1), and I do suggest reading them in order. After this book, the two series will move forward separately.

Buy Link: Available Exclusively at Amazon

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Excerpt: For a second, Bull forgot what he’d been trying to do. All he could think about was what he was going to do when they got back from the courthouse. “I’m anticipating a lot of things. Getting our marriage license today…”

“There’s a three day waiting period, remember?” Red teased.

“Marrying you in two weeks,” Bull continued, refusing to be derailed. “Having all our friends with us when we share our vows, our first kiss as husbands, our first dance as husbands…”

“I can’t dance.” The teasing smile slipped away and Red ducked his head. “I never have and there’s not enough time for me to learn and if my body doesn’t cooperate then I’ll look stupid. I’ll make you look stupid.”

“It’s cooperating just fine now, though, isn’t it?” Bull nudged his head up and pressed a kiss to his wrinkled brow. “Cause we’re dancing, Ian, right here in the bathroom.”

Red’s eyes widened in surprise. “We’re dancing?”

“Well, our bodies are swaying, our feet are moving…yeah, that’s dancing.” Watching the realization sink in and seeing Red’s smile bloom again was everything.

Red leaned in, silently begging for a kiss, before slapping him on the ass. “We have an appointment to get to, but maybe later we can try this again without clothes.”

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The Protector - Jessie G AuthorAbout the Author: Writing has been the elusive, life-long goal that seemed to be getting further away as the years went by. It took 30+ years to achieve, but Jessie’s decided that timing is everything. The world wasn’t ready for m/m romance back then and, now that it is, the girl in the closet has finally found her writing home.

Jessie is a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics, and happily ever after. She’s a lover of strong secondary characters and series filled with families, biological or chosen. All are themes you’ll find throughout her books.

Contact Links: Website || Amazon || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter (NSFW 18+) || Pinterest || Tumblr (NSFW 18+) || Google + || Ello || TSU

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Tour Dates and Stops:

July 27, 2015
multitaskingmommas Book Reviews
Two chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy

July 29, 2015
Molly Lolly

July 31, 2015
Amanda C Stone

August 3, 2015
Kathy MacReviews

August 5, 2015
Divine Magazine

August 7, 2015
Prism Book Alliance

August 10, 2015
Carly’s Book Reviews

August 12, 2015
BFD Book Blog

August 14, 2015
Sassy Girl Books

August 17, 2015
3 Chicks After Dark
Vampires, Werewolves, & Fairies, Oh My

August 19, 2015
Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

August 21, 2015
MM Good Book Reviews

August 24, 2015
Emotion in Motion
Gay Media Reviews

August 26, 2015
Foxylutely Books
Love Bytes

August 28, 2015
Joyfully Jay
The Novel Approach

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, S.A. McAuley, SJD Peterson

Review: Ruin Porn by S.A. McAuley and SJD Peterson

Title: Ruin Porn

Authors: S.A. McAuley and SJD Peterson

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 252 Pages

At a Glance: I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Ruin Porn the next time you’re in the mood for a beautiful disaster.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: There is underlying beauty in destruction….

Miah Thade, Finn Reese, and Ritchie Meyer are Resonator, an indie rock band with an edge—best friends turned rock stars, known as the Detroit 3. When Evin Rene appears in their life, none of them can deny he belongs with Rez.

They may have named their first album Ruin Porn because people get off on seeing how Detroit went from deeply loved to thoroughly forsaken, but they’re determined to prove that blight isn’t the entire story and blight isn’t always ugly.

Ritchie, Miah, Finn, and Evin take Resonator to a level no one anticipates. But no prosperity comes without sacrifice, and no secret stays hidden without a trail of lies. As Rez’s fame grows, so does the intensity between two of its members… as well as their potential for destruction.

Evin and Finn are about to discover the underlying beauty in their ruin porn.

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Review: So, when I’m offered a book written by S.A. McAuley or SJD Peterson, what are some of the first things that come to mind? First of all, I know there’s probably going to be some angst involved (there is). I know there’s probably going to be at least one character I want to sucker-punch just once (there is). I know I’m not going to get a standard-template romance (this isn’t). I know there’s going to be some pretty amazing emotional and sexual chemistry (there is). And, finally, I know that by the end I’ll be completely invested in the couple’s happy beginning (I am).

Now, you throw these two authors together, and what do you have? A match made in Ruin Porn, and I’m already salivating to get my paws on the next book because that character I want to sucker-punch? Seriously, if this book was angsty… Gird your reading loins, people.

I’d never heard the term ruin porn before, though I now know how apropos it is not only to this book but to all the angst-laden books we love to devour. Ruin porn is about getting off on the decay and destruction of something that was once beautiful. Welcome to the Ruin Porn Club, kiddies, because that’s exactly what these two authors initiate us into as we’re hazed by the growing lust and love between Finn and Evin. And then we get to watch as it all comes to ruin because of lies and fear and homophobia, and the all too intrusive camera-in-a-fish-bowl lives their fame became. And, I reveled in every single word of it. I’m not sure what the repair that begins after the devastation is called, though. Maybe that’s just what we romantics call hope. Finn and Ev give us hope that love will be enough to rebuild on.

The Detroit 3—Miah, Ritchie, and Finn—get a plus one when guitarist Kevin Rene accepts the invite to join Resonator as their bass player, becomes Evin, and spends the next year on a meteoric rise to stardom, while also sneaking in intimate moments with Ritchie and Finn. Let me first say I adore Ritchie—truly, madly, deeply, irrevocably—and while I know threesomes aren’t everyone’s cuppa, there was never a single moment where I felt that the time he spent with Finn and Ev was an intrusion on something deeper growing between the two men. In fact, I’d go so far as to say Ritchie made Finn and Ev possible because he was like the rudder that kept their ship on course. Or he tried to, at least, before the shitstorm hit.

I loved Evin and his quiet strength (and the one line he uttered near the end of the book that made me gasp at its naked and painful truth), loved Finn and the snark and barriers that crumbled when he simply looked at Ev, and I even looo…okay, I didn’t love Miah—not by a long shot. He’s a complete git ::sorrynotsorry:: who’s driven by his ambition, but by the end of this story I understood him a bit better. And a little understanding can go a long way toward seeing beneath the veneer and vanity, and I maybe felt a mild twinge of guilt for wanting to punch him.

Maybe.

No I didn’t.

Ruin Porn is a novel that complicates the already complicated business of falling in love by taking what should be private public, and made me appreciate my mundane nobody existence. It’s super sexy, made me more than a little heart-sore, and kept me glued to my Kindle from beginning to end. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this one the next time you’re in the mood for a beautiful disaster you can see coming a mile away, and have no intention of avoiding until you see it through to its finish.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

You can buy Ruin Porn here:

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4 Stars, Carol Lynne, Erotica, Genre Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: Solo by Carol Lynne

solo_exlarge_PNG-180x288Title: Solo Grave Diggers MC: Book One)

Author: Carol Lynne

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 103 Pages

At a Glance: This novella was worth the read despite the flaws.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Sam “Solo” Braun lives by one truth, the Grave Diggers Motorcycle Club above all. The creed has served him well, giving him the only real family he’s ever known.He would die for his brothers and them for him, but they don’t know he prefers men over women. Coming out to a group of men who fear no one isn’t high on Solo’s priority list, especially because he’s never indulged in more than one night stands.

Everything changes after one night with Eric James. For the first time, Solo can’t stop thinking about a single night he’d spent with a man. When fate intervenes, Solo comes face to face with his blue-eyed obsession only to find out Eric is a cop. Solo hates cops, and so do his brothers in the club. However, Solo decides to gamble everything and spend more time with Eric under the guise of getting information.
Falling in love with a cop is a very dangerous proposition for a man in Solo’s position, so why can’t he walk away?

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Review: Carol Lynne’s book Solo has it all: insta-love, tough men skirting the law, bikers, cops who are tired of the system not always being just, and sex—lots of it!

Sam “Solo” Braun has lost much in his life. His father—who disappeared when he discovered his drunken wife was cheating on him—his youth—when he was bounce from place to lace and landed in juvie to do time, on an off—and his sister who, at the age of twelve, began using and died early. When he joined the hardcore biker club, the Grave Diggers, he was looking for a family of sorts, and found it—as long as he maintained his secret and appeared to be like all the other guys. Only his friend Rowdy knows that Solo is gay, and he intends on keeping it that way. So his life is a series of one-time hookups for rough sex, and that’s it. No love, no commitments, no playing nice. Until he meets Eric. Or, as he calls him, Blue.

Eric is a cop. With a similar background to Solo, Eric is looking for a better life; he just doesn’t realize it may be in the arms of a distant, unyielding biker who skirts the edge of the law most every day. With a common goal of keeping drugs away from the schools in their area, the two men decide to throw in together for the purposes of sharing info and getting the dealers off the street. Little do they know just what that will mean when they begin a dangerous relationship that threatens to be more than its original fuck buddy status.

Solo is a swift moving story that hinged a great deal of its development on the intimate moments that Blue and Solo shared, from the first chapter on. In fact, there were times when the plot depended more on the sex scenes than any storyline to keep it moving. This was hard for me to understand, as I felt the author had developed solid characters that I wanted to understand and get to know better. Solo, in particular, was more than met the eye; so love starved and affection deprived that the moment he began to even consider allowing Blue to get under the wall he’d built around his heart, it was lovely to read. Unfortunately, rather than develop that plot point, the author used sex to indicate the growing relationship and, I must admit, at times I just rolled my eyes and waited for it to be over. Also, the timing of their intimacy was sometimes really strange and unbelievable, like after Blue was released from the hospital after suffering a gunshot wound, and after Solo had crashed his bike and was really chewed up physically. These were times when the sex seemed rather contrived and ill timed.

Understanding that this was a novella, and therefore unable to plumb great depths, either character or plot wise, the story managed to hold together well and create two guys who were so darn likeable. You found yourself rooting for them despite the huge hurdles they would have to leap to even consider being together out in public. Solo was in a close-minded and rough biker club that did not brook its members playing nice with the cops, or being gay. Blue had to maintain the law but seemed to continually be stretching it when it came to Solo. Theirs was a relationship headed for disaster and yet, there was just enough character development to make you want to root for these guys to the very end. I do wish that there could have been more to the story itself because all the elements were present for a really solid novel.

All in all, this story simply lacked good development and relied way too much on sex to push it along to the rather obvious ending, but Carol Lynne is undeniably a gifted storyteller, and this novella was worth the read despite the flaws.

TNA_Signature_Sammy

 

 

 

Solo is available for early download only at:

Pride Publishing

CLICK HERE

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, K.C. Wells, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed By JJ

Audio Review: Damian’s Discipline by K.C. Wells – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Audio Gem

Title: Damian’s Discipline (Collars and Cuffs: Book Five)

Author: K.C. Wells

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 14 Minutes

At a Glance: I recommend Damian’s Discipline to fans of M/M Romance who appreciate the D/S lifestyle.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: The man who pimped Jeff may be in prison, but Jeff is still living the nightmare, selling himself to men and relying on pills to manage. Then he meets Scott, a young American man who could easily have been where Jeff is now. Scott’s friends extend a helping hand to Jeff, and he grabs it.

Leo and Thomas bring Jeff to stay with Dom Damian Barnett until they can find him someplace more long-term. Still grieving from losing his sub to cancer two years before, Damian agrees to help. But when he glimpses the extent of the damage, Damian wants to do more than offer his guestroom. Jeff is not a submissive, but Damian can see he desperately needs structure in his life. It’s up to Damian to find an answer.

He never expects that what he discovers will change both their lives. 

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Review: Jeff is another boy who was abused and pimped out by Curtis Rogers. After Curtis’s arrest, Jeff ended up on the streets as a rent boy. When Leo and Thomas learn about Jeff, they get him to stay with Damian, a Dom who loves to nurture. Though Jeff isn’t particularly submissive and has a deep seeded mistrust for Doms, Damian is able to get Jeff to accept his protection. Damian also gives him the opportunity to make something more of himself. Despite Damian’s influence, Jeff struggles with an addiction to pills which he uses in order to cope with what happened to him. Their time together is not easy, but they end up developing an attraction for one another.

I really loved this book. Jeff has some serious trust issues, but he lets Damian take care of him and even gives up some control. Though the book is mostly outside the realm of BDSM when it comes to sex, it still was an amazing read. I liked that Damian was willing to give up his D/s lifestyle in order to be with Jeff, and it was especially nice that he wasn’t forced to do so. The ending of Damian’s Discipline was a pleasant surprise, with some guest appearances from other books coming together in an emotional finality of sorts.

I recommend Damian’s Discipline to fans of M/M Romance who appreciate the D/S lifestyle.

Narration: The audio performance of this book was excellent. I almost forgot that this was an audiobook since I wasn’t pulled away from the story even once.

As a side note, this book can be read as a standalone, but due to the multiple tie-ins from previous book in the series, I recommend reading books 1-4 prior to reading this one. Additionally, book 6 starts at the exact point where this one leaves off.

TNA_Signature_JJ

 

 

 

You can buy Damian’s Discipline here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Tara Lain

Audio Review: Winter’s Wolf by Tara Lain – Narrated by Max Lehnen

Audio Gem

Title: Winter’s Wolf (Tales of the Harker Pack: Book Three

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator:: Max Lehnen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 31 Minutes

At a Glance: The twists and turns in this book keep you guessing in a good way. No matter whether you are reading, or being read to, Winter’s Wolf is hard to put down.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Winter Thane was raised on the two cardinal rules of werewolf existence: don’t reveal yourself to humans under penalty of death, and there’s no such thing as a gay werewolf. It’s no surprise when his father drags him from his wild life in remote Canada back to Connecticut to meet his old pack in hopes it will persuade Winter to abandon his love of sex with human males. Of course Dad’s hopes are dashed when they come face-to-face with the gay werewolves in the Harker pack.

Winter takes one look at FBI agent Matt Partridge and decides bird is his favorite food. Partridge is embroiled in an investigation into drug dealing and the death of a fellow agent. He can’t let himself get distracted by the young, platinum-haired beast, but then Winter proves invaluable in the search for clues, a move that winds them both up in chains and facing imminent death. Winter quickly learns his father’s motives are questionable, the pack alphas are a bunch of pussies, humans aren’t quite what they seem, and nothing in the forests of Connecticut is pure except love.

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Review: I decided to do something different with this book – I downloaded the actual book and read along with the narrator. I am a fast reader and wasn’t sure how this was going to work, but I can wholeheartedly endorse the process after trying it. I truly enjoyed watching the words go by on the page as Max Lehnen read them aloud to me. This book has a more complex storyline than the others in the series, and as such, there was no skipping ahead or putting it down mid-read. This was an excellent book to listen to as well as read along with because you got a good and captivating story, which kept all your book-loving senses engaged.

Winter Thane is a wild, lone wolf. Raised in the wilds of Canada, he is still a baby by werewolf standards. Home schooled by his Alpha father, he has a brilliant mind to go with his alphanta body, and a keen moral compass and sense of self. When his father decides they must return to his father’s original pack in Connecticut, Winter’s solitary life is upended by what they find there. Not only is Winter faced with questioning everything his father has always taught him, but he comes up against drug dealers, a pack coup in the works, and an FBI agent who is more than what he seems.

Matt Partridge is proud of what he has accomplished in the FBI. He’s young for a field agent, but he’s smart and has worked hard to get where he has. Investigating a mysterious drug ring in his hometown in Connecticut is a little frustrating for him – until he meets Winter Thane, and then things start happening way too fast and intense. Winter is a wolf and he’s decided he wants partridge for dinner, but the harder Winter falls, the more elusive the FBI agent becomes.

Winter’s Wolf is a story about finding family, discovering family, and becoming family. In the end, Winter discovers that having mates you would live and die for is what pack is all about. Max Lehnen does a really good job with the narration on this one. I could hear the emotions in his voice as he narrated, and he brought the characters to life. I would definitely recommend the audio form of this book, by itself or in combination with the e-format. Reading along really helped me enjoy the audible even more.

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

You can buy Winter’s Wolf here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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Giveaways, Sedonia Guillone

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Danny’s Dragon Blog Tour with Sedonia Guillone

Danny's Dragon Tour Banner

Join us in welcoming author Sedonia Guillone to The Novel Approach today, on her Danny’s Dragon blog tour. Enjoy her guest post and some of the other great things she’s sharing today, including the giveaway for which you can find details and enter by clicking on the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck!

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If you have read into Danny’s Dragon at all, you may have asked yourself, “What’s with all the quotes at the beginning of each chapter?”

When Danny’s Dragon first came out years ago, reader comments on the quotes ranged from enjoying them and finding them inspiring to a kind of “meh, I’m not really into philosophy,” kind of attitude. No one disliked them or complained. Perhaps people thought I was strange for including them, especially so many.

The reason I wanted them there is that Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching was introduced to me by my spiritual teacher and has had a strong influence on my life. I wanted to be able to share my enthusiasm for the sayings of Lao Tzu through my writing and I also was learning Tai Chi at the time. So while the Tao of sexuality that I covered in my first guest blog comes into play in Danny’s Dragon, the Tao is also intimately interwoven into the nature of Danny’s character and when I selected the poems that are at the header of each chapter, I endeavored to choose what I felt was relevant to what was happening in the story at that point.

wayof lifecovI won’t give any spoilers here if you are planning to read the book (which I certainly hope you are and enjoy!), so suffice it to say that the ways in which Taoism has influenced Danny’s character manifests in some very interesting ways that amaze his new lover, Dave, and which I hope will endear Danny to you, the readers.

Taoism is not a religion. It’s a way of life, an approach in which a person lives naturally, not forcefully, in accordance with life. Hence, the title, “The Way of Life According to Lao Tzu,” entitle by the German poet Witter Bynner who did one of the most comprehensive yet artful translations of the Tao. (The version that I read, though not often enough!)

In China, Taoism was woven into the very fabric of life and when Buddhism came into China, also helped to mold the practices of Buddhism, making it a part of one’s everyday life in all aspects. For example, Lao Tzu says, “Man at his best, like water, Serves as he goes along: Like water he seeks his own level, The common level of life, Loves living close to the earth, Living clear down in his heart, Loves kinship with his neighbors, The pick of words that tell the truth…”
lao-tzu
In this approach to life, everything can run smoothly because people are behaving honorably, treating each other fairly and with kindness. Greed and ambition are unnatural forces that cause peoples’ lives to become out of balance and create suffering. Indeed, it is what you could call common sense wisdom, yet grievously un-practiced in the world at large. I wanted to bring the spirit of practice to Danny’s Dragon and hope that I succeeded.

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dannysdragon

Title: Danny’s Dragon
Author: Sedonia Guillone
Genre: Gay romance, contemporary
Length: Novel
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Synopsis

A rugged, muscular cop.

A sexy computer genius.

Secret desires.

Brought together by a crime committed on a cold dark night.

From the moment they meet, their lives can never be the same again…

Wild and rugged Dave Pearce is haunted by the demons of his past. He’s done his best to make a life for himself after the devastation of his lover’s suicide years earlier, but the trauma has left its mark on his soul.

Danny Wong is what Dave considers a “nerdy Bruce Lee.” Handsome, refined, out of his league.

But that doesn’t matter.

Dave believes himself to be dangerous for any man who would love him. So he stays back in the shadows, letting the desire he harbors for the hot grad student remain unrequited.

Danny has demons of his own. Duty-bound to his family’s goals for him, he remains shy and closeted, contenting himself with his secret fantasies about the sexy Irish cop who patrols the campus building where Danny does his graduate work.

Until one freezing winter night…

Leaving the building, fate steps in and their paths cross in a new…deeper way. Neither man can turn back. Danny and Dave must face the demons rearing their heads with full force, or lose their chance at an epic love…

Buy Links: Wayward Ink Publishing || Amazon || Amazon UK || Amazon AU || Amazon DE || ARe || Barnes & Noble

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Book trailer

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Giveaway

Prizes: $20 WIP Gift Card; ebook copy of Danny’s Dragon

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SedoniaAbout the author: Award-winning, multi-published author of erotic romance, SEDONIA GUILLONE spends her days writing deliciously naughty romances—when she’s not cuddling with the man she loves or watching kung fu and samurai films and eating chocolate.

Sedonia welcomes comments from readers.

Sedonia Guillone can be found at: Website || Facebook || Twitter || Pinterest

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3 Stars, A.V. Sanders, Genre Romance, Less Than Three Press, Reviewed by Jules, Short Story

Review: Percolation, Poetry, and Passion by A.V. Sanders

Title: Percolation, Poetry, and Passion

Author: A.V. Sanders

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Pages/Word Count: 11000 Words

At a Glance: Percolation, Poetry, and Passion is a cute story with lots of potential.

Reviewed By: Jules

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 of 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.

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Review: Percolation, Poetry, and Passion is charming at times, especially in the beginning, and Beckett and Simon really are pretty adorable, but it was also frustrating at times because I felt like, as a story, it had so much potential that was just not able to be fulfilled due to the length. I’m not sure if this was a submission call from the publisher that only allowed for so many words, but I truly wish that A.V. Sanders had been able to give Beckett and Simon more time.

This story ticked several of my boxes…college student, southern boy, May/December romance, etc., and, as I said above, the main characters were pretty adorable. Beckett lets Simon know, via subtle, or sometimes not-so-subtle, interactions at the coffee shop that he is interested. And when Simon is free to act on those advances – he does go through a breakup in the story – he asks Beckett out on a date. I really enjoyed the date scene; it was imaginative and lovely to read. We don’t get to see much in the way of ‘spark’ between the guys, but we see enough to know they have an attraction and a nice connection.

Things start to go awry when it becomes clear that there just isn’t going to be enough backstory to have everything make sense. There is a fight where Simon becomes extremely jealous and angry at Beckett because he is meeting his professor for dinner. Simon’s reaction seems out-of-character; however, we don’t know enough about his story with his ex, and we don’t know enough about Beckett’s professor or his intentions, to truly make everything click. The couple goes to New Orleans, Beckett’s home town, to see his family, but the scene is quite awkward because it’s just not fleshed out enough. That whole bit was so rushed, as was the entire end.

Percolation, Poetry, and Passion is a cute story with lots of potential. Unfortunately it simply felt too rushed and too short. Perhaps the author can show them some more love in an expanded novella? I bet many readers would love to see Beckett and Simon get the shot they deserve.

TNA_Signature_Jules

 

 

 

You can buy Percolation, Poetry, and Passion here:

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5 Stars, Lloyd Meeker, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Wilde City Press

Double-Header Review: Enigma and Blood & Dirt by Lloyd A. Meeker

Lloyd A. Meeker

Titles: Enigma and Blood and Dirt

Author: Lloyd A. Meeker

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 54 and 148 Pages

At a Glance: I have definitely become a fan of Lloyd A. Meeker and the Russ Morgan Mystery series.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurbs: Enigma: Who’s blackmailing the high-profile televangelist whose son was famously cured of his homosexuality fifteen years ago? Now in 2009, that ought to be ancient history.

It seems there’s no secret to protect, no crime, not even a clear demand for money—just four threatening letters using old Enigma songs from the 90′s. But they’ve got Reverend Howard Richardson spooked.

Proudly fifty and unhappily single, gay PI Russ Morgan has made peace with being a psychic empath, and he’s managed to build a decent life since getting sober. As he uncovers obscene secrets shrouded in seeming righteousness he might have to make peace with a sword of justice that cuts the innocent as deeply as the guilty.

Blood & Dirt: Family squabbles can be murder. Psychic PI Russ Morgan investigates a vandalized marijuana grow in Mesa County Colorado, landing in the middle of a ferocious family feud that’s escalating in a hurry. Five siblings fight over the family ranch as it staggers on the brink of bankruptcy, marijuana its only salvation. Not everyone agrees, but only one of them is willing to kill to make a point. Russ also has a personal puzzle to solve as he questions his deepening relationship with Colin Stewart, a man half his age. His rational mind says being with Colin is the fast track to heartbreak, but it feels grounding, sane, and good. Now, that’s really dangerous…

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Review: Enigma is a story that introduces us to P.I. Rhys “Russ” Morgan, who has the ability to read auras. He’s fought the hard fight of alcoholism, and he still fights loneliness and guilt. Russ is plain and simple—he wants facts upfront, access to everyone connected to a case, and the truth. He has no problem walking away from a case if the clients don’t cooperate, and when we meet Russ, he’s being harangued by a nasty little lawyer by the name of Kommen.

Along with Russ, we meet Colin Stewart, assistant to Kommen. Colin puts a spark in Russ, but even though Colin occasionally flirts with Russ whenever he shows up at Kommen’s office, Russ’s past still weighs heavy on his mind, and he knows he could never get involved with Colin.

The focus of the blackmail mystery is James Richardson. At the age of seventeen in 1993, he was sent into “reparative therapy” by Reverend Richardson for being homosexual. This is where Mr. Meeker takes James Richardson’s story and wraps it around music from Cross of Changes by Enigma.

Enigma is so much more than a case of blackmail, it’s a mystery melded with the mystical. If there is any chance you can listen to Enigma’s music, do so because the lyrics will define James Richardson’s character.

I liked what Mr. Meeker did with Russ Morgan’s character. He doesn’t flaunt, overuse or abuse Russ’s abilities. In fact, Russ could solve a case with just his investigative skills. Mr. Meeker had me fascinated with Enigma from the beginning to end. Excellent story and excellent music!!

After reading Blood & Dirt I have definitely become a fan of Lloyd A. Meeker and the Russ Morgan Mystery series. This is the second installment, so if you have not read Enigma, it’s a must read before Blood & Dirt. Mr. Meeker takes us on another roller coaster ride, with so many clashing personalities for Russ to examine before he can solve the case.

Russ Morgan finds himself taking on another dysfunctional family case. He’s being hired by Evan Landry to investigate an incident at the Ellis Ranch, where his sister Sarah’s medical marijuana grow has been destroyed. At the Ellis Ranch we meet Stanford Sr. and his adult children Stanford Jr., Marianne, Billy, Evan and Sarah. Needless to say a few of them are vindictive and greedy. This is more than just sibling rivalry. In fact, I wanted to strangle a couple of them myself! This is also about a father’s regret and his not knowing if he made the right decision. Poor Russ, he’s caught up in this chaotic mess, and then a case of destruction of property turns into murder.

That brings Deputy Sheriff Heath Baker into the story. Even though he flirts with Russ, he’s sort of demeaning and cocky, and doesn’t want Russ’s help. Russ does use some of his aura ability to prove a point with Heath. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to dislike Heath or not, but there’s something about him. Maybe he will get his own story.

Before Russ tackles his new case, we find that he’s been sporadically dating Colin Stewart, a paralegal he met during the blackmail case in Enigma. Colin becomes so much more in this story. He’s been chipping away to become a part of Russ’s life, but Russ still fights with the idea of Colin being too young, and with the fear of getting hurt. Colin is very smart, not only good at his job but smart about life too. He’s an “old soul,” and his character is mature beyond his years, which scares Russ. Colin is so careful with Russ’s feelings, but he brings a little mischief too. The story of the two men in Ireland that Colin shares with Russ was a touching moment and sends an important message.

The romance between Russ and Colin is written with passion, and Mr. Meeker leaves us to use our imaginations in the love that Russ and Colin share. Colin brings a special warmth to the story, and I was glad to see him grow to an important character. I still can’t say enough about Russ’s character. Mr. Meeker still doesn’t overuse Russ’s abilities, and I like how Russ was surprised, just as I was, when things weren’t what he expected.

This story also contains details on the process of starting a medical marijuana grow. Check out the Acknowledgements. It contains information on how much research the author put into this subject.

TNA_Signature_Maryann

 

 

 

You can buy Enigma and Blood & Dirt here:

Wilde City Press

Wilde City Press

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3.5 Stars, Love Lane Books, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Sue Brown

Review: The Hidden Wolf by Sue Brown

Title:  The Hidden Wolf (Sapphire Ranch Wolves: Book Two)

Author:  Sue Brown

Publisher:  Love Lane Books

Pages/Word Count:  137 Pages

At a Glance:  The characters drew me into the story and made me wish that there was more.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  Sheriff Milo Clarke has met his mate, Eli Watkins, and now they’re conducting a long distance relationship while Eli runs the Cavalry, the security firm protecting Joe and Cal at the Sapphire Ranch from the hunters.

The long distance loving is hard on all three of them, Eli, Clarke and Clarke’s wolf, who is becoming more restless as Clarke refuses to shift. When Clarke going to give into the other side of him and how will Clarke and Eli resolve the distance between their lives?

Dividers

Review:  I was lucky that I was able to read The Last Wolf and The Hidden Wolf back to back, but now I’m kind of wishing I would have waited until the series is complete.

We meet Milo and Eli in book one and find out they are mates, and The Hidden Wolf, which is book two, is their story.  I enjoyed this one maybe just a little more than the first.  I think the only real issue I have with the story so far is that not a single person who finds out that shifters exist seems to have an issue with it; there is some surprise, but then they just accept it like it is the most normal thing ever. I can kind of get that the mates have an easier time accepting it, but even those who aren’t mated come across like, “Oh, okay,” and move on.

The hunter drama is enough to keep the story interesting and me looking forward to what is coming next.  The characters drew me into the story and made me wish that there was more. These books are really fast and sexy reads.  I enjoyed seeing Joe and Cal again, and the rest of the guys who have gathered at Sapphire Ranch. I’m looking forward to the next book to see what comes next for these guys, since there are still a lot of the same unanswered questions we had at the end of the first book.

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

You can buy The Hidden Wolf here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Reviewed by Sadonna, Tere Michaels

Audio Review: Cherish & Blessed by Tere Michaels – Narrated by J.P. Handler

Audio Gem

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

Author: Tere Michaels

Narrator: J.P. Handler

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 5 Hours and 46 Minutes

At a Glance: Two wonderful and insightful stories giving us more glimpses into the life and family that Evan and Matt (one of my favorite characters of all time) are building together.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Cherish

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

Until they aren’t.

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

Blessed

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

Fatherhood.

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

Dividers

Review: This combination of two shorter episodes in the lives of Evan and Matt gives us more insight into how they are adjusting to combining their households and lives. Once again, Matt is the standout character for me in this series. He is the real glue that holds this couple and this family together, much to the chagrin of Miranda. He calms Evan, takes charge when needed, backs off when things get too hot to handle and pretty much absorbs the shockwaves of this family.

Matt and Evan have moved to a new house and have settled pretty comfortably into their lives together. Matt’s got his work and he still takes on the bulk of the household and child care responsibilities. His relationship with the twins is good, and he’s still closest to Katie. Of course, Miranda continues to be a thorn in everyone’s side. But never has she purposely tried to ruin everyone’s holiday and, in the process, potentially sacrifice what might be a solid relationship. As someone who has been through some pretty tense family holidays, I couldn’t help but shake my head at her antics (well, more like throttle her – not unlike my reaction to my own family, at times) and congratulate Evan and Matt on how they handled the whole situation. The other kids all get gold stars for doing their best to diffuse the uncomfortable circumstances. Comic relief is once again provided by Evan’s partner, and she definitely has some of the great lines in this story.

In Blessed, we get to visit not only with Evan and Matt but also Jim and Griffin as they all visit Daisy and Bennett’s beach house for the christening of their daughter. Evan and Matt have taken their relationship to a new level and are looking forward to a weekend sans children! The packing for this trip is hilarious, and I continue to adore Matt.

Jim and Griffin are at a bit of a crossroads in their relationship and they are having some trouble expressing their desires to each other. Evan and Matt see this and try to help by talking to their respective friends. Matt helps Jim sort out what he’s feeling, and Evan helps Griffin realize that he has to be honest with Jim. In the end, everyone has a great time, big decisions get made, and there will be new plans on the horizon.

Finally, we also get to enjoy a weekend away for Matt and Evan with no distractions, no kids, no commitments to anyone else – just a focus on themselves. They get down to the heart of their relationship, and it’s really sweet. Evan still struggles with expressing his feelings, but he’s come a long way. These guys are so fun to watch grow together, and it’s nice to see them work through their relationship and continue to move forward together.

I continue to love this series and while I still hear some Canadianisms in the narrator, I really enjoy his characterizations. I especially loved it that at one point he pronounced khaki like cocky. ;) I’m guessing he must have taken Geoff Knight’s pronunciation course!

 

 

 

You can buy Cherish & Blessed here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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