5 Stars, Dark Hollows Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Shannon West, Victoria Sue

Review: Kiss of the Alpha by Shannon West and Victoria Sue

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Kiss of the Alpha (Supremacy of Wolves: Book Two)

Authors: Shannon West and Victoria Sue

Publisher: Dark Hollows Press

Pages/Word Count: 154 Pages

At a Glance: Each of these books keeps getting better and better as this brave new world between wolves and humans evolves.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Jay Tabor, rebel leader of Territory Three has done something he swore he would never do, and that’s work with Quinn, the Supreme Alpha of the Nine Territories, to save his brother Aaron’s life. Now on the run after his rebel hideout was discovered in Virginia, Jay has found a relatively safe haven for his insurgent group deep in the mountains of Tennessee. His peace is short-lived, however, when he gains a new captive—Devon, the Alpha of Territory Three.

Devon has been beaten, tortured and starved by the rebels in an effort to “tame” him, but when he’s transferred to a new camp, he discovers not only kindness but an unwanted attraction to his new captor—one that goes both ways. Devon has finally found his true mate in Jay, but the man is his sworn enemy, and a dominant, controlling lover, who insists on his independence.

When they’re both kidnapped by forces bent on harming them, Jay has only one chance to save his wolf. He has to prove that Devon is his submissive partner and he has to do it in front of their enemies in order to save their lives. With only one chance to make it good, he has to put on a show or risk losing his lover and his mate forever.

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Review: This is a brave new world, one in which the human population has been decimated by a virus and the wolves are now in power. But the two species don’t know that much about each other, and learning to live under the wolves is hard for some humans to take. This is a story of an evolving relationship between species and there are a lot of unknowns still out there. For instance, can Alphas be “made” not born, and what if the “made” Alpha’s true mate is the more dominant in the relationship – and human? How can that Alpha be an Alpha and still be submissive? After all, wolves are wolves, even if they look human every now and then.

Devon is the new Alpha of Territory Three. Usurping an Alpha who was brutal and malicious, especially to humans, is not an easy task, but Devon is making headway even though he is not a true born Alpha.  He is opening schools and providing healthcare, looking after his people and trying to make his territory a safe place to be for both humans and wolves. But, he is naïve and that costs him when he is captured by enemy human rebels, and tortured. He finds himself given to the rebel leader in charge of his territory, and is shocked to discover the man is his mate.

Jay has an uneasy relationship with the wolves in his world; he hates the wolves that persecute humans but knows that this alpha is not one of them. But Jay didn’t get to be a leader in the rebellion by being submissive, and just because he is the mate to an Alpha doesn’t mean he kneels for the man. There is still too much the wolves need to learn in dealing with humans. Jay and Devon have an interesting road to follow to their HEA, and the authors do a fantastic job of writing the interplay between these two men. Jay is a complicated character, and the domination he has over Devon is as intriguing to read about as the absolute submission that Devon brings to their relationship. Each of these books keeps getting better and better as this brave new world between wolves and humans evolves. This is a fantastic new series if you love Alpha wolves and alternate realities.

The series begins with Property of the Alpha, continues with Kiss of the Alpha, and then Strength of the Alpha is already out, so head to your favorite bookseller and read book three after you read the first two. The characters and the settings are introduced in the first two books, so reading them first would be nice but is not required – each book does stand alone – you just have better context if you read them in order. I have no hesitations in recommending these books. I have thoroughly enjoyed every one.

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

 

You can buy Kiss of the Alpha here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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5 Stars, Joseph Lance Tonlet, Kink/Taboo, Louis Stevens, Self-Published

Review: Quillon’s Covert by Joseph Lance Tonlet and Louis Stevens

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Amazon Paperback

Amazon Paperback

Title: Quillon’s Covert

Authors: Joseph Lance Tonlet and Louis Stevens

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 186 Pages

At a Glance: I thank you for writing such an amazing profound love story. Because when you get right down to it, that is exactly what this is.

Reviewed By: Lynn

Blurb: Martin is a guy’s guy, one who enjoys the simple things in life: baseball games with his son, family days, barbecues, and date nights with his lovely wife.

Once a year for two weeks, Martin takes his son, Marty, to Quillon’s Covert, a rustic family cabin secluded in the beautiful California mountains. Since before those long days of learning to play ball, Marty has loved his dad, but as Marty matures, Martin starts to see something else settle in his son’s uncertain gaze. What’s there lingers a little more than it should, and it seems far more appraising than it once was.

As Marty shows every sign of taking the lead, Martin is faced with the tough choices most parents never see: lose his son by being a father, or try to balance what’s best for their relationship by being something… more.

But with another trip to Quillon’s Covert on the horizon, has the point of no return already begun?

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Review: Okay, where do I even begin? As I sat on this for a few days now, wrapping my head around what words to use describe this book, I’ve come to the conclusion that only one word says what I want to say: beautiful. It was beautifully written, presented beautifully, and definitely got my attention from page one. These two authors told an alluring tale that literally blew me away.

Getting this out of the way here, please heed the warning tags: This story contains incest, cheating, and light BDSM. Read the blurb, read the tags, you have been warned.

I’m going to reiterate again how beautifully written this story was. Spanning over twenty years, we watch Martin and son, Martin Jr. (he likes to be called Marty) begin a taboo, albeit consensual, loving affair. We get to know these two men as they take their annual getaway to a secluded family cabin called Quillon’s Covert. From the beginning we really get a sense of their mutual respect, closeness, and the overall great father/son relationship they have with one another. I think this was an important aspect to see, given the subject matter.

Having both POVs throughout the story was critical because we were privy to all the emotions the characters were experiencing. The reader needs to know beyond any shadow of doubt that their journey is one they chose individually, and then together. But even still, what I loved most were the conversations between the two. I loved the banter back and forth, the jokes, and the numerous nicknames Martin had for his son. It was a nice balance, considering some of the heavy life changing decisions being made between them. I loved the build up to them becoming lovers. I thought it was a great decision by the authors for Martin and Marty to have these deep conversations and internal reflections of what was to be. In the end, it was what they both wanted, and it was just beautiful.

Now, I mentioned cheating as one of the warnings. A lot of readers don’t like cheating, won’t read a book if they know it’s part of the story. For me, it was a non-issue. Yes, for all intents and purposes, Martin is a happily married straight man. And yes, Marty eventually finds happiness of his own with a partner he marries and has children with. But I saw the relationship between father and son as being about them and no one else. They are in their own little bubble when they are together, reconnecting in all ways and on many different levels for the brief amount of time they have that it’s almost like the world beyond them doesn’t exist. When they leave Quillon’s Covert, they go back to their own lives and loves until the following year. It just didn’t seem like cheating to me. I know some will argue the fact, so be it, I see it how I see it.

Overall, I loved this story. Going along with Martin and Marty, watching the progression of their relationship through the years was absolutely mesmerizing. Although the storyline is intense, taboo and unconventional, there is tenderness, love, respect, and laughter throughout.

Mr. Tonlet and Mr. Stevens, I thank you for writing such an amazing profound love story. Because when you get right down to it, that is exactly what this is.

TNA_Signature_Lynn

 

 

 

 

You can buy Quillon’s Covert here:

Amazon US

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5 Stars, Bey Deckard, Holiday Romance, M/M/M and More, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Careened: Winter Solstice in Madierus by Bey Deckard

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Amazon

Amazon

Title: Careened: Winter Solstice in Madierus (Baal’s Heart 3.5)

Author: Bey Deckard

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 43 Pages

At a Glance: I loved this savory and sweet little morsel.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: A Baal’s Heart short, following the events in Fated: Blood and Redemption

Plagued by terrible dreams, Jon begins to distance himself from Baltsaros and Tom. Perhaps a little holiday cheer is just the thing to help the three of them find common ground again.

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Review: Well, this is a first. I never thought I’d use the words “sweet” and “Bey Deckard” together in a review, but here I am doing that very thing. Never say never…

Careened directly follows the events in this series’ Fated: Blood and Redemption, so if you’ve not read book three yet, this short holiday novella may not pack quite the same punch for you as it would knowing the full scope of events in that novel. Of course, though I say this story has a tinge of the sweet to it, it also offers just that much of the bitter to remind you that the alternate universe Captain Baltsaros, Tom, and Jon inhabit isn’t one without its dangers and grief and pain.

Jon is in a bad way after what happened to him in Sormaheine, the dark shadows of anger and regret following him through his days and nights as he tries to drink away the memories that dog him…though he can’t escape his sub-conscious and the nightmares that manipulate his thoughts and drive his depression. This is where the bitter tempers the sweet in this story, complements the storyline without overwhelming, and, in the end, makes the turnabout that much more satisfying.

Writing a convincing threesome is exactly what Bey Deckard has done. Believing in this threesome and the dynamics of that relationship is exactly what readers of this series are able to do because this author has created three men who just work, plain and simple, in spite of the challenges thrown their way. Crafting this short story to coincide with this verse’s version of a winter holiday is the perfect scenario to offer healing to Jon and begin a mending of the relationship between him and Baltsaros. There was, without a doubt, some truly romantic gestures in Careened, and, as has been the case all along, a Baal’s Heart book wouldn’t be a Baal’s Heart book without a wildly sexy scene or two to watch these three connect and command and show readers the bond they share.

I loved this savory and sweet little morsel. What a great interlude with these characters at a wonderful time of the year.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

 

You can buy Careened: Winter Solstice in Madierus here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Amazon AU

Amazon DE

Amazon DE

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, M.A. Church, M/M/M and More, Narration Rating - 1 Star, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Karen

Audio Review: Trouble Comes in Threes by M.A. Church – Narrated by Ronald Ray Strickland

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Trouble Comes in Threes

Author:  M.A. Church

Narrator: Ronald Ray Strickland

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Run Time:  8 hours and 26 minutes

At a Glance: If you’re thinking about getting Trouble Comes in Threes—and I think you should—buy the book and read it. I would bypass the audio on this one.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: A snowstorm in the South – on New Year’s Eve – is a perfect recipe for a catastrophe. After two soul-crushing bad breaks, Kirk’s waiting for disaster number three to strike when, naturally, two stray cats arrive on his doorstep during the storm and decide to make themselves at home. Tenderhearted Kirk lets them stay, even though there’s something decidedly odd about his overly friendly felines.

Out of the punishing weather and full of tuna, Dolf and Tal are happy to be snug in Kirk’s house. But then their human goes outside for firewood and suffers a nasty fall that leaves him unconscious. Now the two cats have no choice but to reveal themselves.

Kirk wakes up to find the two kitties are actually Dolf and Tal. They’re cat shifters – and his destined mates. Being part of a feline threesome is enough for Kirk to grapple with, but soon he learns they come from a clowder that doesn’t believe humans and shifters should mix. Kirk knew those two cats would be trouble. Little does he know the real trouble lies ahead.

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Review: I absolutely loved Trouble Comes in Threes when I read the book.  It’s sweet, funny and sexy, and I was so excited for the audiobook. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t even come close to doing this story justice.

Throughout the narration there’s no real difference in the character voicing. There were actually a couple of points where, in the middle of a sentence, it sounded as if the audio had been edited and although the same character was speaking, the voice changed, so it was hard to follow. Parts of the narration really were not enunciated very well at all, and then others parts were the exact opposite–way over-enunciated. During a lot of the narration, there were awkward pauses, as if Mr. Strickland was reading individual words instead of reading a story that flows. I did listen to the entire audiobook because I really do like the story that much, but honestly, at that point it was actually more amusing to listen to the narration than enjoy the story.

So, if you are thinking about getting Trouble Comes in Threes—and I think you should—buy the book and read it. I would bypass the audio on this one.

For a review of the e-book, see Janet’s full review HERE

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

 

You can buy Trouble Comes in Threes here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Giveaways, Morticia Knight, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Jennifer

Release Day Review and Giveaway: The Safe Limits Blog Tour with Morticia Knight

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Amazon

Amazon

TitleSafe Limits (Kiss of Leather: Book Two)

Author: Morticia Knight

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 171 Pages

At a Glance: Strong follow-up to the first Kiss of Leather book.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: The men from Kiss of Leather gather together to rescue a terrified young sub. But it’s Master Derek who wants to keep him for good.

Master Gavin and his boy, Kyle, are celebrating their newly established bond when Master Josh calls requesting their help. Josh’s sub, David, needs the men to help his best friend from childhood while they’re away at a BDSM convention in San Francisco.

Corey ran away from his Master after a horrible scene, but he blames himself for everything that happened. No Master would ever want him if they were to find out what he did. Corey’s not sure if he’ll ever feel safe enough to give himself to a Master again anyway, even if all he’s ever wanted was to belong to somebody.

Master Derek agrees to watch over Corey until Josh and David return from the convention. All he needs is another pretty twink messing with his head and his heart, so the older, growly bear of a man determines to keep his distance. But when Corey wakes up screaming after a devastating nightmare, Derek is more drawn than ever to the young sub—the need to keep Corey safe from whatever or whoever has hurt him becoming his main priority.

Kyle and Corey develop a friendship when Corey assists Kyle in the dungeon furniture workshop. Kyle has his own fears—the ones that make him feel he’s broken because of the things he desires to do with Gavin. Through helping Kyle and receiving his own help via Derek, Corey decides he’s ready to let go of the demons from his past and move forward into a new life.

Now if Corey can only get Derek to believe that he’s ready—and to finally do something about it.

Reader Advisory: This book contains a flashback scene of rape by multiple aggressors.

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Review: I’ve been a fan of Morticia Knight since reading The Hampton Road Club series, which is BDSM historical fiction. Love it. And I loved the first Kiss of Leather book as well, so when I saw this book came out, I knew I had to read it to see what happened with the club and the men involved.

Before I start the bulk of the review, I will say that this is a series you need to read in order. While the meat of the story involved Derek and Corey, and doesn’t require prior knowledge of the first book, the first chapter is about Gavin and Kyle, and it’s set immediately after the events of book one. I’d also recommend maybe going back to reread the last chapter of book one if it’s been a long time, or if you can’t remember what happened with those boys.

That said, once Corey is safely deposited with Derek, they are the focus of the story, but in order to get there, Kyle and Gavin need to be present.

Corey is a friend of David, and when he gets into trouble, he calls David for help. Of course, David will do anything to help his friend, so, being out of town himself, he enlists the other people he trusts—Gavin, Kyle, and Derek—to help Corey out until he and his Master, Josh, get back. Having had a Dom who hurt him, Corey struggles to trust anyone. He shies away from Kyle and Gavin, and when he sees Derek for the first time, he’s intimidated. Not only is Derek huge and his body language screams Dom, but to Corey he’s gorgeous.

Derek doesn’t really have time for a sub. He’s drawn to young, pretty twinks, and Corey is all that and more. But, he doesn’t want to get involved with someone again, especially not when that person is coming out of a relationship he refuses to talk about. One that has clearly left him afraid. Derek doesn’t even know if the man wants another relationship with a Dom, and not having BDSM in his life is a deal breaker for him. When Gavin and Kyle leave Corey with him, the two have to figure out how to navigate around each other and come to terms with their mutual attraction.

What I love most about Morticia Knight is her ability to create such deep characters. Not one of her characters is alike, and each story is different from the last. While they might have some things in common, that’s what makes them great friends rather than too similar to be interesting. Derek is a gentle giant who likes to work on his Harley. Corey isn’t too sure about wanting a fulltime D/s relationship, unlike Kyle and David, and he loves how big, hairy, and protective Derek is. The insight into Derek’s past is interesting. Readers learn he used to wrestle, and that he has anger management issues. While that might seem like a bad combo for a Dom, he’s fully in control with subs, and his anger stems from people taking advantage of others.

If you’re a fan of Ms. Knight’s writing, I recommend this series, especially if you like her Hampton Road Club books. I eagerly await the next installment! I’m hoping for Marshall, since he was conspicuously absent from this book. Fingers crossed!

TNA_Signature_Jennifer

 

 

 

 

You can buy Safe Limits here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Pride Publishing

Pride Publishing

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

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Morticia Knight is giving away an e-copy of Building Bonds, book one of the Kiss of Leather series, to one winner.

Good luck!

THE GIVEAWAY

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Morticia KnightAbout the Author: Author Morticia Knight spends most of her nights writing about men loving men forever after. If there happens to be some friendly bondage or floggings involved, she doesn’t begrudge her characters whatever their filthy little heart’s desire. Even though she’s been crafting her naughty tales for more years than she’d like to share – her adventures as a published author began in 2011. Once upon a time she was the lead singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She currently resides on the northern Oregon coast and when she’s not fantasizing about hot men she takes walks along the ocean and annoys the local Karaoke bar patrons.

Where to find the author: Facebook || Twitter

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Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, The Novel Approach, Divine Magazine, The Hat Party, Happily Ever Chapter, Bayou Book Junkie, BFD Book Blog, V’s Reads, TTC Books and More, 3 Chicks After Dark, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Book Lovers 4Ever, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, MM Good Book Reviews, Nephy Hart, Bonkers About Books, Jessie G. Books, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Alpha Book Club, Velvet Panic, Gay Book Reviews

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Joe Cosentino, Reviewed By JJ

Review: A Home for the Holidays by Joe Cosentino

Amazon

Amazon

Title: A Home for the Holidays

Author: Joe Cosentino

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 60 Pages

At a Glance: I recommend A Home for the Holidays to anyone who loves travel adventures, Christmas themes, and m/m romance.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: Bobby McGrath’s Christmas trip to the beautiful Italian island of Capri to meet his eccentric extended family offers stunning views—none more stunning than his third cousin, Paolo Mascobello, a real stocking stuffer. As the two young men embark on a relationship, Bobby, a driven law student, learns to relax and bask under the old Italian moon, and Paolo realizes there’s more to life than a frolic on the beach. For the two to find everlasting amore, Paulo must overcome his fear of commitment and learn to follow his dreams, and Bobby must get his wish for happily ever after.

Christmas Dividers

Review: This was such a sweet romance. The book begins when Bobby goes to visit his family in Italy for Christmas. He ends up spending a lot of time with his cousin, Paolo, who happens to be gay. While he picks his cousin’s mind about Italy, Bobby realizes that he is falling for him. Though the idea weirds him out at first, it doesn’t bother him too much since they are so far removed. They come together for a brief time, but the road ahead of them is not as clear as Bobby had hoped. When Bobby’s vacation comes to an end, he’s faced with the painful prospect of saying goodbye.

Home for the Holidays is an emotional and sweet holiday book. I loved how the author takes us to Italy, and I felt like I was actually there in Capri. The vivid descriptions ignited my wanderlust, making me want to travel to Italy. As for the characters, they are both very likeable. Paolo is a muscular, attractive young Italian man. He’s confident sexually, but when it comes to relationships, he doesn’t imagine he can have that. He’s grown up in a place where it’s okay to express his sexuality behind closed doors, but he doesn’t expect to have more. However, Bobby knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to reach for the stars when it comes to love.

Since the first book I read from Joe Cosentino ended in a tragedy, I was surprised and overjoyed with the ending of this book. I recommend A Home for the Holidays to anyone who loves travel adventures, Christmas themes, and m/m romance.

TNA_Signature_JJ

 

 

 

 

You can buy A Home for the Holidays here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 1 Star, Reviewed by Amy, Tara Lain

Review: Canning the Center by Tara Lain – Narrated by John-Paul Barrel

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Canning the Center

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: John-Paul Barrel

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 9 hours and 17 minutes

At a glance: Tara Lain’s work shines through an otherwise flat and disappointing narration.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Six foot seven inch, 300 pound Jamal Jones loves football, so when he finds out the ultra-conservative owner of his new pro football team fired their current center because he’s gay, bisexual Jamal decides to stay in the closet and hang with the females. Then, at a small drag show, he comes face-to-face with his sexual fantasy in the form of Trixie LaRue, a drag queen so exquisitely convincing she scrambles Jamal’s hormones—and his resolve to nurse his straight side.

Trevor Landry, aka Trixie LaRue, hides more than his genitals. A mathematician so brilliant he can’t be measured, Trevor disguises his astronomical IQ and his quirk for women’s clothes behind his act as a gay activist undergrad at Southern California University.

To Trevor, Jamal is the answer to a dream—a man who can love and accept both his personas. When he discovers Jamal’s future is threatened if he’s seen with a guy, Trevor becomes Trixie to let Jamal pass as straight. But Trevor risks his position every time he puts on a dress. Is there a closet big enough to hold a football pro and a drag queen?

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Review: I just simply adore Tara Lain. In Canning the Center, she writes about a budding football player in the professional environment who is very aware of his sexuality and what it will mean for his future in professional sports. This is a super sweet and wonderfully told love story with a little bit of controversy and a lot of awesome.

Jamal is every man and woman’s dream man. Gorgeous, tall, dark, and handsome. I adored this character and all his sweet, gentle, and old fashioned ways—everything about him. He is coming to the realization that although he states he is bisexual, he is actually gay. Introduce him to Trixie LaRue, a wonderful drag queen who is confident even though Trevor—the man behind the makeup—isn’t, and this is a recipe for success. Trevor is a genius and all around awesome guy. It was fun to see these two fall in love.

There isn’t one bad thing I can say about this story, and that’s saying a lot considering that the narration was awful.

If you’ve read my reviews in the past, you’ll know I am not a fan of John-Paul Barrel. I don’t understand how this man is still narrating books. I’m sorry, I know that sounds harsh, but he’s monotone and speaks almost phonetically, like he’s reading out every syllable. Add in his trying to do Trixie LaRue, and she sings too? Ugh. I need to pay better attention to who’s narrating a story before I pick it for review.

For Tara Lain’s book to shine through this awful performance shows what a wonderful and fun story she wrote.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

 

You can buy Canning the Center here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Annabelle Jacobs, Dreamspinner Press, Freebie, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Short Story

Release Day Review: A Serious Thing by Annabelle Jacobs

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Amazon

Amazon

Title: A Serious Thing (Will & Patrick: Book 1.5)

Author: Annabelle Jacobs

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 36 Pages

At a Glance: Annabelle Jacobs gives readers a sweet and FREE holiday treat.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Patrick has a plan, and he’ll go to great lengths to see it through.
After three weeks apart due to work and school commitments, he and Will are finally getting to spend some time together. Patrick is staying with Will over the Christmas holidays, and he intends to tell him how he feels on Christmas Day. It’s going to be perfect.
But of course, Patrick’s plans don’t always go smoothly….

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Review: For those of us who fell in love with Patrick and Will in Annabelle Jacobs’ A Curious Thing, this sweet little Christmas vignette, A Serious Thing, is the perfect follow up to the story that left us with their happy-for-now-ish ending.

Patrick is so near to completing school, and he and Will have had to make do with weekends together, but life in general and Will’s obligations have kept them apart for three weeks now, and Christmas is just around the corner. Patrick has plans to make this holiday a special one for both Will and himself, but there’s a trick to the timing of it that Will not understanding may make things tricky for Patrick to pull off. The chemistry between these two guys is still white hot, and Jacobs doesn’t bother to keep readers in suspense, waiting for the sparks to fly between them. That’s the beauty of the short story, though—the instant gratification—especially when we already know the characters, and let me tell you, Patrick and Will burn up these pages in such a delicious way.

Ben, the best brother ever to Patrick—not to mention, the best friend ever to Will—also shows up again to be supportive and generally awesome too. Bottom line here is that this short story is wonderful, beginning to end, but I wouldn’t recommend reading it as a standalone. Get to know these guys in A Curious Thing first, and while you’re at it, you can grab this freebie as a sweet bonus holiday treat.

TNA_Signature_Lisa

 

 

 

 

You can download A Serious Thing for FREE here:

Dreamspinner Press

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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5 Stars, AJ Rose, Genre Romance, Horror, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lynn, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: Reaping Havoc by AJ Rose

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Amazon

Amazon

Title: Reaping Havoc

Author: AJ Rose

Publisher: The Grim Writer Press

Pages/Word Count: 282 Pages

At a Glance: The concept of this story is amazing. I loved the author’s take on the grim reaper mythology.

Reviewed By: Lynn

Blurb: No one asked Mitch Seeker if he wanted to be a grim reaper. He didn’t sign up for the rumors, the lack of friends, or the erratic schedule. He doesn’t want to go through life watching people die. Especially not a man he loves. Mitch’s solution is simple—don’t fall in love. He’ll never have to explain why he doesn’t age or why he’s around death so often. Most of all, he will never be a widower.

But when his head is turned by world-class skier Nate Koehn, Mitch believes he may have the answer. If the soul attached to Nate is any indication, Mitch has found himself another reaper, in which case, his undeniable feelings don’t have to be suppressed. However, the spectral tag-a-long is only the beginning of Nate’s burdens. After a catastrophic loss, Nate is no stranger to grief and the hole it leaves behind.

The question they both must answer is loud and clear: is the pain of losing love worse than the pain of never having loved at all?

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Review: After reading a couple books from this author, I realize they’re becoming an auto buy for me. As I’m always looking for new authors to read, I’m looking for fresh story ideas too. This one was everything I was searching for.

The concept of this story is amazing. Mitch is a grim reaper. He collects the souls of those who have just died, and makes sure they get to where they’re going in the afterlife. I loved the author’s take on the grim reaper mythology. Instead of just one, there are thousands all over the world, kind of like a police force for souls. They get their assignments via email, where and when it’ll happen, and off they go. And then we have Nate, the new guy in town looking to start fresh after a devastating tragedy that has turned his life upside down. Life and death are about to get very interesting for these two gentlemen.

I loved getting both Mitch and Nate’s perspectives throughout the entire story. We see Mitch struggling with his pre-ordained destiny, and the realization that he may have to live his long life alone because of what he is, which has him resenting everything about it. Nate, still reeling from the death of his twin sister, is trying to move on with his life and make it on his own. I adored both of these characters. Any story that involves grim reapers is bound to be a little gory—there’s a lot of death and sadness—but with these two, their comic relief and off color humor made it a little lighter.

I really liked getting the visual and insight of what happens after Mitch collects the souls of the recently departed. It was fascinating to me. I just have a picture in my head of human balloons trailing behind him—kinda funny and sad all at the same time. The author’s mad writing skills definitely shine through.

I’m really trying not to give away spoilers here. I’ve seen some reviews that just blurt out everything about the story. To me that’s just wrong. The only thing I’ll say here, without giving it all away, is this: souls linger when they have unfinished business to attend to. Mitch notices a tagalong soul with Nate. This leads Mitch into thinking Nate is a fellow reaper. When the truth comes to light, it’s at times funny and endearing, but also sad and heartbreaking. But like I said before, there is a lot of humor throughout the book. It definitely balances out the death and sadness, so kudos to the author for bringing some light to the darkness.

I can’t go any further without mentioning one particular secondary character. He really made the story and without him, something would have been missing—Mitch’s father Charles. I really enjoyed his conversations with his son. Without saying the words, the respect Mitch has for his father just oozed off the page. I loved seeing that. He was full of experience and enlightened us with the backstory of how his family and others came to be reapers. For me, he was truly a memorable character.

Have I mentioned that I read this book in one sitting? Well, I did. And yes, it was that good. But let me tell you something. I’ve never had so many emotions going in so many directions at the end of a book like I did with this one. During the course of reading, I watched these two characters struggle and overcome so many obstacles. At this point, I am so invested in what happens to them that I’m on the edge of my seat. Just when you think it’s going to end one way, it loops back around and ends totally different. I literally felt like I was beat up after I read the ending. For those who like a happily ever after—oh, you definitely get one. But be prepared to go on a heart flopping ride before you get there, and it’s oh-so worth it.

What I loved most about this book was the originality of the storyline. I really enjoyed the author’s take on heaven and hell, soul collecting, and what maybe happens after death. I hadn’t read anything like this before, so to me, it was fresh, new and exciting to read. The author’s writing, as always, is smooth and seamless.

I really can’t say enough about how much I loved this book. I consider it a must read. If not for the storyline, then for those two adorable characters. Highly recommended.

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5 Stars, Charlie Cochet, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Jules

Release Day Review: Loving Blitz by Charlie Cochet

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Amazon

Title: Loving Blitz (North Pole City Tales: Book Four)

Author: Charlie Cochet

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 94 Pages

At a Glance: Go forth and enjoy Loving Blitz!!! It’s a Christmas reading list must.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: From North Pole City to Winter Wonderland, preparations are underway after a royal announcement sweeps everyone into a frenzy of festivity. At the heart of the celebration are the city’s most beloved elf pilots, the Rein Dears. Once the Big Flight is behind them, the pilots prepare for the royal event. Assigned a special task of finding an Elska rose, Cupid and Blitzen are unaware of how their friendship is about to change forever.

Yet not all that glitters is gold. The sweet, angelic Cupid hides a dark secret, one that threatens to destroy his Rein Dear status, his friends, and the elf who’s captured his heart. It’s up to Blitzen to help Cupid see the light in the darkness and show him that together they can mend broken hearts.

Dividers

Review: I guess I have to quit pouting about having to wait another whole year for the next book, and get this review written…*grumble* Heh, heh.  I really AM pouting about having to wait for next year’s book – this series is neverending, right? – but, I’m happy to write the review for this charming story!

Loving Blitz, this year’s addition to the North Pole City Tales series by Charlie Cochet, opens at the Silver Bells Christmas Ball – held this time at the King of Frost’s palace – where Jack Frost and Rudy share some exciting news. I was immediately mesmerized, as I always am in this series, by the descriptions and the language in the book. The places, the creatures, the events, the magic and history: Cochet has created a world here that is so vibrant and so delightful, I can’t wait to immerse myself in it every year.

Best friends for centuries, Cupid and Blitzen are perfect for each other. They have always been close, but when they dance together at the ball, they both begin to having stirrings of feelings that are more than friendly. I really did love this pairing; the romance felt effortless, and had the perfect amount of heat. And, speaking of pairings…I have my guesses as to next year’s potential couple, and can’t wait to find out who it will be!

The drama is relatively low in this one as compared to the other books in the series, but the story still has plenty of substance. The angle with Cupid’s secret is very intriguing and well done, and I loved the subplots here also. Dasher provides some tension and comic relief – just what is he up to with the King of Frost??? – which was fantastic, and it looks like one of Cupid’s brothers will be back in the future as well!

Ok. That’s three mentions of next year’s book. I think I’ve established that I loved this installment, and that I can’t wait for MORE. My work here is done. Go forth and enjoy Loving Blitz!!! It’s a Christmas reading list must.

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You can buy Loving Blitz here:

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5 Stars, Comedy, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, John Inman, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: Scrudge & Barley, Inc. by John Inman

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Title: Scrudge & Barley, Inc.

Author: John Inman

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: I found this story to be just brilliant.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: A classic tale takes off in sexy new directions! Poor Mr. Dickens must be twirling in his grave.

When E.B. Scrudge, putz extraordinaire and all-around numbnuts, is visited by his dead ex on Christmas Eve, he can’t imagine how his life could sink any lower. But the three ghostly spirits that come along after are even worse! Good lord, a dyke, a drag queen, and rounding out the trio, a big, hunky bear with nipple rings and a butt plug! What’s next?

What’s next is a good deal of soul-searching and some hard lessons learned with a dash of redemption thrown in for good measure.

And love too, believe it or not. Love that had been simmering all along at the heart of Scrudge’s miserable existence, although he was too selfish to see it—until a trio of holiday beasties pointed his sorry ass in the right direction.

Dividers

Review: Such a well-known story—that of Scrooge and his miserly life, which is interrupted by three ghostly apparitions one lonely Christmas eve. It’s a classic tale that is performed and read every holiday season. Imagine my delight when I heard that author John Inman had re-imagined the old tale and given it new life, a clever twist that morphed into an amazing story called Scrudge & Barley, Inc.

E.B. Scrudge is a nasty man. Having learned from his predecessor, Barley, Ebbie has taken to the love of money and the glee of inflicting misery on others with gusto. He has no regard for his fellow man and unashamedly uses his faithful secretary, Willie, for occasional physical release. This Christmas Eve finds Ebbie handing out his special brand of Christmas cheer in the guise of termination notices delivered by poor Willie. Once done, he ignores the small gift his secretary has for him, uses him for sex and then sends him on his way without a backward glance. After attending the ballet, Ebbie returns home to his penthouse apartment, and a night of terror, revelation and soul searching begins. By morning, E.B. Scrudge will be a changed man—but will it be too late to undo all the harm he has done and prove to Willie he does have a heart after all?

If you have never read Dickens’ version of Scrooge, then this brilliant and campy version may not mean quite as much to you, dear reader, but trust me when I tell you this piece of work was so cleverly done. Not only are the three “ghosts” who visit Ebbie simultaneously terrifying and amusing, the build up to the visits, the eerie setup with lights going off and noises rattling the night, are rather scary to read. But it is the transformation in Ebbie himself that is so genuinely played out as the hours race by—this is the real beauty of the story. Far beyond a truly delightful retelling of an old classic, Scrudge & Barley, Inc. explores the place in each of us that allows for that bit of selfishness to grow. How many times have we passed the homeless and thought they could find work if they truly tried? Or perhaps remarked that it is not “our responsibility” to save everyone? Just these few scenes—and the uncanny voice of the narrator reminding us that we too may see a bit of “Scrudge” in the mirror is enough to realize that lurking behind this simple Christmas fare is a deeper message: hold on to your humanity at all costs lest you find yourself a scrooge as well.

I found this story to be just brilliant. I enjoyed the careful way this author reworked a somewhat tired and overused story and made it relevant and entertaining again. Not only that, I loved that Willie was not a carpet for Ebbie to walk over but more a compassionate and loving man who faced his difficult life head on and knew his own mind. Scrudge & Barley, Inc. is a fantasy wrapped in love and a touch of whimsy. If you are looking for a fresh and well-written holiday story, Scrudge & Barley, Inc. will fill that ticket nicely. I highly recommend this one to you!

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Genre Romance, L.A. Witt, Reviewed By Carrie, Samhain Publishing

Release Day Review: Not Safe for Work by L.A. Witt

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Amazon

Title: Not Safe for Work

Author: L.A. Witt

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 341 Pages

At a Glance: This is another great hit from L.A. Witt!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: They’re a match made in the dungeon…until their secret gets out.

Bored senseless in a meeting, architectural modeler Jon McNeill amuses himself with a kinky dating app on his phone. Then the app matches him with another user…who’s six feet away. Suddenly Jon finds himself on the same page as someone way above his pay grade: millionaire property developer Rick Pierce. His firm’s biggest—and hottest—client.

The app isn’t kidding either. They’re a perfect match. Jon’s a Dom, Rick’s a sub, and bondage is their thing. Both guys are well into their forties, know their way around the bedroom, and definitely appreciate a good suit. And the best part? They’re a match outside the bedroom too.

But office relationships aren’t easy to keep a secret. When the truth comes out, Jon is certain he’s about to get fired. Instead, his bosses throw him a curve ball—an ultimatum that puts both his job and his relationship in jeopardy.

Warning: Contains literal and figurative sex machines, blindfolds, a sub being punished during a business meeting, enough rope to tangle up a millionaire, and a Golden Girls marathon.

Dividers

Review: Jon McNeill is an architectural modeler. Rick Pierce is his firm’s biggest client and the reason the architectural firm is solvent. Jon has been told not to talk to clients, which ordinarily is something he has no problem with–until he hooks up with Rick on a kinky dating app. Jon is a Dom, and finding a sub as perfect as Rick is something that, at this stage in life, he thought he would never find.

L.A. Witt’s Not Safe for Work is so well written. It was refreshing to read how two men in their mid-forties navigate the real world and make their love and relationship work–I found this mature romance engaging, and the Dom/sub dynamic totally believable because these men had a very clear idea of what they wanted vs. what they needed from the relationship. I loved these characters and how they came alive off the page. I could practically smell the glue in Jon’s workroom. The secondary characters are interesting and keep the humor going when the emotions get heavy between the two men.

I highly recommend this book. The BDSM theme is there and a major part of the relationship between these men, but as they grow to love each other, it’s how they make it work day-to-day that is the real story. This is another great hit from L.A. Witt!

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You can buy Not Safe for Work here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Jay Bell, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, New Adult, Reviewed by Kathie, Self-Published, Young Adult

Audio Review: Something Like Lightning by Jay Bell – Narrated by Kevin R. Free

Audio Gem

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Amazon

Title: Something Like Lightning: Volume 5

Author: Jay Bell

Narrator: Kevin R. Free

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 14 hours and 18 minutes

At a Glance: Jay Bell and Kevin R. Free are both talented craftsmen.  What a great combination!

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Never stop running. No matter how often life trips you up or how many times your enemies knock you down, just get up and keep on moving until you find where you belong.

Kelly Phillips has been out and proud since he was a young teenager, and thanks to the gay youth group he frequents, he’s never been short on friends or lovers. But when you have almost everything, it’s hard not to focus on what’s just out of reach: a best friend who would be Mr. Right if he wasn’t already Mr. Straight. Or that handsome athlete at school who would be easier to wrangle if not for his angel wings. And then there’s the guy who might be a perfect fit, maybe even a soul mate…if only he wasn’t convinced he didn’t need anyone. Kelly has always been good at running. Now he must learn to chase, which will test not only his endurance but the durability of his heart as well.

Dividers

Review: Jay Bell is an auto-buy author for me.  It started with Something like Summer (the eBook published in 2011, the audiobook released in May, 2013), and from that point on, I have read every word of the Something Like series, and have listened to just about all of them. Listening to a Something Like audio is not a small commitment.  Something Like Lightning is 14 hours and 18 minutes, and it’s not a skip-ahead kind of listen. Jay Bell mixes so many characters into his story that if you do try and fast forward, you will miss a plot twist or, in Kelly Phillips’ case, a new opportunity in his love life or career.

The title of this book, Something Like Lightning, really describes the whole feel of the book. Not only is Kelly quick to make decisions, quick to get mad, quick to make judgements, and quick to fall in love, but the other characters are also quick to make decisions: for example, Nathaniel is quick to leave and really, pretty quick to come back to Kelly. What I liked and hated about Kelly was his confidence in himself. Before the accident he was very self-absorbed, but after the accident, he needed that confidence to keep moving forward. What surprised me is that towards the end of the story, I truly liked Kelly and wanted him to have a happy ending. And Nathaniel, who I thought was kind of a hero to go find a hole to bury himself in… what a shortsighted jerk! I know, very strong words from me, but just read or listen to the book. Jay Bell is such a great writer that you become invested in his characters. The next book in the series, Something Like Thunder, is Nathaniel’s story.  I suppose I am going to learn to like him. But really, Jay Bell… Do I have too?

What a talent Kevin R Free has. He doesn’t just tell us a story, he uses his voice to pull us into the world of Jay Bell.  Would I recommend that you purchase this audio and invest 14 hours of your time listening?  You bet I would! Jay Bell and Kevin R. Free are both talented craftsmen.  What a great combination!

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You can buy Something Like Lightning here:

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5 Stars, JP Kenwood, Literary Fiction, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Games of Rome by JP Kenwood

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Games of Rome (Dominus: Book Two)

Author: JP Kenwood

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 339 Pages

At a Glance: If you love a plotty and well written historical with plenty of intrigue and interesting characters, I can’t recommend this series enough.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: In this sequel to Dominus, Gaius Fabius Rufus, the victorious general of Rome’s brutal Dacian Wars, finds his loyalties and his affections pulled in different directions. Should he return to Rome and secure his claim to the imperial throne, or remain at his seaside villa and protect his pleasure slave, the fierce Dacian prince, Allerix? Retaliation for the murder of his beloved friend beckons him home, but his desire for justice could put both him and Allerix in mortal danger. As Gaius’s deceptions multiply, another tragedy strikes. Will the Lion of the Lucky IV Legion be forced to sacrifice his besotted heart to achieve his aspirations for supreme power?

Every moment since Allerix’s violent capture has tested the young prince’s fortitude and cunning. If he can kill the triumphant emperor who decimated his Dacian nation, revenge and immortality will be his glorious, everlasting rewards. But to realize his scheme for vengeance, he must deceive the Roman master whose body he lusts, the handsome, arrogant man whom he has grown to adore and admire. Can two former enemies—the conqueror and the conquered—find trust and true love, or are the consequences of war destined to tear them apart? Can Gaius and Allerix survive the perilous games of Rome?

Dominus is a plot-packed erotic m/m fantasy set in ancient Rome during the reign of Emperor Trajan (AD 98-117). Games of Rome is the second book in this alternative history saga—a tumultuous journey of forbidden love, humor, sex, friendship, political intrigue, deception, and murder.

Dividers

Review: I love when a book meets every one of my expectations. I love even more when a book exceeds them, and JP Kenwood’s Games of Rome does just that in every way. I was so impressed by the author’s Dominus, and now, that book’s sequel has proven Kenwood’s talent for solid storytelling, building beautiful settings, offering the perfect amount of historical context, creating engaging and layered characters, and tapping into readers’ emotions. I don’t mind admitting this book wrung a few tears from me either. When an author can accomplish that, forming those sorts of attachments between reader and characters, it makes the reading all the more rewarding.

Gaius Fabius Rufus, the Lion of the Lucky Fourth, is many things–Commander, war hero, husband, master, and friend and former lover of Lucius Petronius. Where this book exceeded my expectations is not only that the historical setting is portrayed in such a way that grounds the reader in what feels like an authentic Ancient Rome, but that the book also is a compelling mystery–both in the past and in modern day Rome. Lucius’s murder becomes a central focus of Games of Rome as we watch Gaius grieve, promise retribution, seek absolution while often seeming a walking contradiction–warm and tender one moment, cold and commanding the next, charming and sometimes cruel. Gaius is nothing if not a mercurial man whose arrogance seems to know no bounds–if I’m being honest, he isn’t always easy to like–but is tempered by that ability to charm. Where the book offers a bit of the unexpected, however, is in its supernatural elements. This was so unexpected that I wasn’t certain how I felt about it at first, but it was woven into the storyline in such a way that became integral to the plot, and now I can’t imagine how the story would have been better without it. As for the modern day mystery, this is being teased out in the tiniest of morsels, and this installment has only served to pique my interest even more. Archeology uncovers its share of secrets from the past, though it doesn’t always provide answers. There are definitely more questions than answers right now surrounding the pair of skeletons discovered at a dig site, and I haven’t a clue what JP Kenwood will reveal in further storylines. All I know for sure is that the author baited that hook and I’m hanging on gladly.

From the Emperor to clients to slaves, Gaius has a life filled with a variety of diverse people and experiences, all entrenched in the Ancient Roman culture and portrayed beautifully in these books. I don’t know much about this historical period but can say Kenwood seems to have not only an interest in but an affinity for the era. Ancient Rome dominated, it was the seat of some of the world’s most impressive art and architecture, and the Romans were responsible for many advancements in civilization at the time, but, to our sensibilities, it was also a barbaric time in which people sat in arenas and watched prisoners of war be eaten for sport. Slavery was commonplace – both household servants and pleasure slaves, male and female, owned by both Gaius and his wife, Marcia – and these books feature several prominent slaves in key roles. Sex, for Gauis, is a near sport in itself, where he can display his prowess and dominance and, with one slave in particular, his benevolence, and those moments of contradictory cruel tenderness come to the fore. Alle, a Dacian prince, war prize, and now, Gaius’s most prized possession, has captured his Dominus’s heart and has added another dimension of intrigue to the plot. Their relationship is fraught with complications and questions and potential hazards. Can either of these men manage not to betray each other? I can hardly see how it will be avoided and am anxious to see how their relationship progresses.

One of the more interesting characteristics of this series is Gaius’s marriage, as well as the social contradiction of men having sex with other men. There is no expectation of monogamy in the marriage as is certainly portrayed on Gaius’s part; nor is bisexuality strictly taboo. It was, however, unacceptable for men to engage in a sexual relationship with a peer. Same sex encounters were left strictly between slave and master, which is what adds such a poignant end note to Gaius and Lucius’s affair. I love that these books are informative but not in a textbook way. The author weaves these small details into the plot in a way that makes them all the more interesting, and, when it comes down to it, makes this series unique in the LGBT fiction genre.

If you love a plotty and well written historical with plenty of intrigue and interesting characters, I can’t recommend this series enough.

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You can buy Games of Rome here:

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5 Stars, BA Tortuga, Genre Romance, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: And a Smile by BA Tortuga

Amazon

Amazon

Title: And a Smile (Roughstock: Book Two)

Author: BA Tortuga

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 197 Page

At a GlanceI just loved Dillon’s character–he made this my favorite story in the Roughstock series, so far.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: All Coke Pharris wants is for his cowboys to be safe—all of them. When rodeo clown, Dillon, sets to prove that there’s more to the bullfighter, people could get hurt.

It’s Coke Pharris’ job to save bull riders from bulls, and he takes his work very seriously. Which is why he’s devastated when one of his favorite riders gets hurt, and he’s determined to help the young man ride again. Dillon Walsh is the arena entertainer for the bull riding tour, and he wants to help. He also wants Coke, has been admiring the man for a long time. He hasn’t made a move on Coke for fear of messing up their friendship, but when he finds out Coke might feel the same way, Dillon has to try to win Coke over.

Coke thinks he’s too old for Dillon, too beat up and scarred, but he can’t resist when Dillon finally makes a play for him. Dillon is like a wet dream for Coke, and the two of them have a great time getting to know each other better, at least until the danger of their job threatens to come between them. Will Dillon and Coke be able to help their friend and weather the problems that blow their way?

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released elsewhere. It has been re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

Dividers

Review: BA Tortuga takes us back on the rodeo circuit with the Roughstock series in And a Smile. Coke Pharras, Dillon Walsh, and the bullfighters give us rodeo action packed with dangerous bulls, the bullfighters taking risks to keep the riders safe–and it seems like the bulls are winning.

With Jason “Mini” Scott and Andy “Bax” Baxter’s injuries weighing on his mind, Coke is keeping watch over his bullfighters. Coke is a good man, and takes on the role of the senior protector, father, advisor. He perceives himself as being old and worn out, since he’s been on the circuit forever, and he thinks his days of meeting that special someone have passed him by. The funny thing is, Coke really isn’t that old, and Dillon Walsh doesn’t want Coke calling him son.

Dillon, the rodeo clown, has his eye on Coke. He’s been curious about Coke for a long time, but he’s just not sure when to make his move.  He even has doubts about Coke being gay. Dillon picks up on something not being right when Coke makes mention of Bax and Jason in rehab. As Coke and Dillon get closer, Coke confides in Dillion about Jason’s blindness, and how Bax has come up with a plan to get Jason back on the rodeo circuit.  Dillon also has a special connection with Jason and his situation.

I just loved Dillon’s character–he made this my favorite story in the Roughstock series, so far. I love his interaction with Coke and his attentiveness towards Jason. I found it strange that his fellow bullfighters think he’s odd and that they seem to want to protect Coke from Dillon. It definitely causes drama between Dillon and Coke. I saw Dillon as a ball of nervous energy and just a fun-loving character, always moving, dancing and making the rodeo crowd enjoy themselves.  But I also saw his vulnerability and confidence wane every so often. There’s not a lot about his life growing up in And a Smile, and I hope at some point BA Tortuga shares more about him.

** Note: A Sip: The New Guy and Cowboy Christmas are a couple of quickie stories featuring Dillon and Coke, if you want a sweet and fast read**

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5 Stars, Historical Romance, Jordan L. Hawk, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Paranormal, Reviewed by Jules, Self-Published

Release Day Review: Maelstrom by Jordan L. Hawk

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Amazon

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Title: Maelstrom (Whyborne & Griffin: Book Seven)

Author: Jordan L. Hawk

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 268 Pages

At a Glance: Once again I am completely in awe of the talent and imaginative genius of Jordan L. Hawk.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Between his father’s sudden—and rather suspicious—generosity, and his own rash promise to help Christine plan her wedding, Percival Endicott Whyborne has quite enough to worry about. But when the donation of a mysterious codex to the Ladysmith Museum draws the attention of a murderous cult, Whyborne finds himself in a race against time to unlock its secrets first.

Griffin has a case of his own: the disappearance of an historic map, which quickly escalates to murder. Someone is sacrificing men in dark rituals—and all the clues lead back to the museum.

With their friends Christine and Iskander, Whyborne and Griffin must discover the cult’s true goal before it’s too late. For dark forces are afoot at the very heart of the museum, and they want more than Whyborne’s codex.

They want his life.

Dividers

Review: “Widdershins knows its own.”

Trying to write this review in any kind of linear fashion is proving to be impossible. I’m trying to stick to some kind of organized format, but my brain keeps jumping to the brilliance, the sheer brilliance, of chapter fifty-seven. Once again I am completely in awe of the talent and imaginative genius of Jordan L. Hawk. The entire book is extraordinary and mind-blowing – but chapter fifty-seven is indescribable. One thing I do know is that I don’t want to come down from this high; I want to wallow in this one for a bit. I truly think Maelstrom is my favorite of the series to date.

In this seventh book of the series, Widdershins, with its maelstrom of energy lying beneath the earth, is a hotspot for cultists far and wide, and our heroes once again find themselves smack in the midst of the goings on. The latest batch of books donated to the museum has brought all the crazies to the yard, and Whyborne and Griffin must, of course, work together to foil them before all is lost.

It should come as no surprise that one of the things I love most about Maelstrom is the continually growing relationship between Ival and Griffin. They are as in tune to each other as ever, and must draw on that closeness throughout the story. In parts of Hoarfrost, Griffin was in a rough place, and needed Whyborne to keep him from breaking apart – here, however, it is Whyborne who largely needs grounding and clarity. I love that turnabout and all of the different ways we get to see their love for each other. The tender, poignant moments toward the end (*cough* chapter fifty-seven *cough*) are magnified a hundredfold because of their ever-strengthening bond.

So, of course the love story is amazing…but you better believe that all the other Jordan L. Hawk trademarks are there as well. Action, peril, creepy creatures from the Outside, humor, and a razor sharp wit. Not to mention perhaps the hottest sex scene in the series yet. I actually thought my brain was going to explode. No joke.

I already mentioned the humor, but want to touch on it a bit more specifically. The magic of these books is obviously in the world building and the storytelling – but a part of that magic also has to do with the delivery. And Hawk nails the delivery every time. Whyborne has tons of great one-liners. Griffin has a new motor car, which is an endless source of comic relief. The wedding prep and talk that is peppered throughout the book is fabulous. And, I absolutely had to share this gem, from our dear Christine:

“We’re going to be married, damn it, and Whyborne is going to walk me down the aisle…It’s going to be perfect, even if I have to kill every one of these bastards myself!”

In short, Maelstrom is fantastic. I don’t know how the hell Hawk keeps making each book better than the last, but she does. She’s kept the series fresh through seven books, and I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve for the eighth! Coolest. Books. Ever.

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Santino Hassell

Release Day Review: Sunset Park by Santino Hassell

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Title: Sunset Park (A Five Boroughs Story)

Author: Santino Hassell

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 230 Pages

At a Glance: Think Sunset Park can’t possibly live up to the beauty of Sutphin Boulevard? Think again…

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend, so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.

David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation, since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.

Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.

Dividers

Review: Sunset Park is a book that had a lot to live up to. At least, it did for me. Santino Hassell set the bar in this series pretty damn high with Sutphin Boulevard, and I can’t lie: I was worried that Raymond and David would pale in comparison to Mikey and Nunzio. I shouldn’t have worried, though. While “Sunset” does have a different vibe to it (it’s lighter without being fluff), it’s a fantastic opposites attracts story in its own right, and what’s become true to form with this series, now I can’t wait for book three, First and First.

The differences between the two novels in this series begin with not only the fact that Raymond and David are night and day to each other, but that the drama in Sunset Park is different from that in Sutphin Boulevard. It’s also all kinds of good. Where Mikey and Nunzio went through hell apart and together, they went through it on equal footing, their lives so deeply intertwined, and they knew each other so well. But who saw Raymond and David’s friendship coming? Hassell explores some interesting cultural divides in Sunset Park through these two men—David, the privileged white guy; Raymond, the Puerto Rican man from the blue collar neighborhood. Watching their worlds converge and their friendship coalesce was sometimes a study in frustration (I wanted to thump both their melons on more than one occasion), but the emotional and physical affection between these two is off-the-charts. And eventually, as we watch their relationship grow and change, we see this night and day contrast is actually more Yin/Yang—opposites that complement each other—and it’s kinda gorgeous.

There’s a palpable undercurrent of tension that flows between Raymond and David in the way they feel about each other—David’s out, while Raymond isn’t sure of much of anything where his feelings for David are concerned. Ray’s trying to figure out what to do with his attraction to David, and all the while, the friendship and the frisson of UST that’s always right there on the surface is crazy-making and crazy hot when they touch and wrap themselves around each other. And then, when they finally start to resolve some of that tension… holy hell. I don’t talk much about sex in my reviews, but I have to say there aren’t many authors I’ve read who can write a sex scene like Santino Hassell does. Just sayin’.

There’s a lot more to the conflict between Raymond and David than just their attraction to each other, though; it goes way beyond sex and has a lot to do with not knowing how to ask the questions that need to be asked, let alone how to answer one of the biggest: how to deal with exactly what it is they want from each other. Hassell teases these problem out through the entire book, until it comes down to make-or-break time, and they each are forced to figure out how to deal with what’s going on between them. The one thing I can respect about these books is that they’re layered with so much realism. There are family and friendship issues, work issues—this book doesn’t read like an angst for angst’s sake story, it reads like a story about real people with real problems, and what it all comes down to in the end is that Raymond doesn’t want to stop being Raymond, nor does David want him to. Raymond just wants to be a better version of himself—and that better version of himself is the man David already sees. It’s kind of gorgeous in its complicated simplicity, really.

This author has such a great voice, which bleeds into his characters feeling raw and real and sweet and sincere, and since “Sunset” is narrated by both Raymond and David, we also get to see the author flexing his writing skills to their best effect by making both characters so completely individual. Some books you read with your head, some you read with your heart. This series is one I can’t seem to help throwing myself into, full immersion, and I can’t recommend it enough. Sutphin Boulevard is simply stellar, and Sunset Park finds its own place to shine just as brightly alongside it.

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Scotty Cade

Review: Veiled Loyalties by Scotty Cade

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Title: Veiled Loyalties (Bissonet & Cruz Investigations: Book Two)

Author: Scotty Cade

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 148 Pages

At a Glance: Veiled Loyalties is a great sequel to The Royal Street Heist!

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Halloween is Beau Bissonet’s favorite holiday, from carving pumpkins to decorating his yard to donning a costume and scaring the neighborhood kids. But this year his Halloween is about to take a different turn, one that will challenge his skills as a detective and his commitment to his partner in work and love.

A year since Beau and Tollison solved The Royal Street Heist, found love, and formed Bissonet & Cruz Investigations, they are thriving personally and professionally. That is until Tollison’s ex, Bastien Andros, shows up out of the blue. Naturally, Beau’s suspicious, but two days after Bastien’s arrival, he goes missing, and Tollison worries his past may catch up to him.

A mysterious package makes clear who has Bastien and what’s at stake. With both Bastien and Beau’s lives now at risk, Tollison has only one option: travel to Zurich, Switzerland, secure and deliver the ransom, keep both men safe, and stay true to himself at the same time.

Dividers

Review: Montgomery Beaumont Bissonet, former Detective of the New Orleans PD, and Tollison Eduardo Braga Cruz, former art thief and Lloyds of London insurance investigator, have now opened their business—Bissonet & Cruz Investigations in New Orleans. Tollison’s thieving past comes back to haunt him when his ex, Bastien, shows up, and Heinrich Fussli DeMatteo contacts Tollison.  DeMatteo has threatened Beau’s life and is holding Bastien hostage for the return of a historical painting. Tollison feels a heavy responsibility to protect Beau and save his ex. Along with Tollison and Beau, Auggie and Bruce are off to Zurich with a plan to steal the Titania erwacht, von aufwartenden Fairies.

Scotty Cade takes us on a whirlwind adventure to Zurich, and into the intricate planning of the theft of the artwork.  Cade provides us with historical facts about the painting, and we see Tollison’s brilliance and expertise as a former thief, along with the support he gets from Beau, Auggie and Bruce. There are some very emotional moments from Beau and Tollison as their views of trust, lies, and past decisions threaten their relationship. Cade also gave Beau a “big kid” persona, as it’s his favorite time of year, and Tollison is just confused and amazed at Beau’s excitement. Iona Ball is back too, as assistant to Beau and Tollison. She is quite the character!

Veiled Loyalties is a great sequel to The Royal Street Heist!

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Jeff Erno, Reviewed by Lynn, Wayward Ink Publishing

Review: Baggage by Jeff Erno

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Title: Baggage

Author: Jeff Erno

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 244 Pages

At a Glance: Overall, this is a sweet love story. Highly recommended.

Reviewed By: Lynn

Blurb: At thirty-eight years of age, Chandler finds himself single and caring for his brother Raymond, who suffers numerous health problems.

Mired in grief from the multiple deaths of close family members, he recedes into himself, crippled with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

Early one morning Chandler’s life is flipped on its end when he encounters his neighbor, twenty-five year old Marcus.

Nothing about a relationship with this young man makes sense. For one thing, Marcus is… well… YOUNG. He’s also biracial and has all kinds of tattooed muscles!

The streetwise Marcus introduces Chandler to an entirely different lifestyle, pulling the would-be hermit from his shell, albeit kicking and screaming. But how long can such a relationship last, and what about Raymond? Chandler fears a guy like Marcus, seemingly perfect in every way, won’t be able to truly accept Chandler with all his baggage.

An unexpected bombshell detonates and Chandler learns some unsavory details about Marcus, who he really is, and what he’s done in the past.

Finally, it’s Chandler who must decide if he can accept Marcus’ baggage.

Dividers

Review: I’ve read this author before and have enjoyed his stories, and Baggage is no exception. What I loved most about this story was the real life concept: two men finding each other when they least expect it. Chandler and Marcus are polar opposites. These are two people I would never in a million years put together, but fate, destiny, divine intervention, or whatever you want to call it, pulls them towards one another. And you know what? It worked and it was lovely.

When we first meet Chandler, he exudes loneliness, taking his lot in life with grace and acceptance. You see, he’s taking care of his older brother, a brother who has a slew of medical conditions, as well as being bi polar. It’s a full time job. Then we have Marcus. He’s a lot younger than Chandler, thirteen years younger, in fact, and seems to have taken a shine to Chandler. Here we go folks.

We get Chandler’s POV for the entire story. Usually when this happens, I feel like I’m missing something from the other characters; not so with this one. Mr. Erno does such a wonderful job of presenting Marcus that we really don’t need his POV. We know exactly what he’s thinking and feeling throughout the story. His intentions towards Chandler are very clear from the get-go. I loved watching Chandler’s reactions to Marcus. He really didn’t (or couldn’t) believe this young man was interested in him. But Marcus was bound and determined to change Chandler’s way of thinking.

I really enjoyed these two characters. At first I was a little leery about Marcus. I guess I was going by what Chandler was thinking, which was that Marcus could find someone his own age, and what does he want with Chandler? As I got to know Marcus better, his sincerity shined through. His humor and carefree manner was just what the doctor ordered. But then something happens (which I won’t go into because that would be a spoiler) and because of Marcus’s background, I thought the worst. Of course, when the truth comes out, I felt like an ass right along with Chandler. The lesson learned here is to never judge a book by its cover. Oh, and never assume anything.

What I loved most about this book was its simplicity. And by simple, I don’t mean boring—far from it. I love a great love story, and this is definitely one of those. Chandler and Marcus’s relationship was about overcoming stereotypes, accepting each other’s flaws, differences, and yes, baggage. I loved the realism the author gave us with these two. It wasn’t love at first sight, everything didn’t fall right into place. At times it was a struggle with miscommunication, self-doubt and worry. But when all the pieces were put together, it was beautiful.

Overall, this is a sweet love story. It has bittersweet moments, heartbreaking and sad moments, but a happy ending, for sure. Highly recommended.

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5 Stars, Astrid Amara, Genre Romance, Loose Id, Reviewed by Kim

Review: Crash Plus Expenses by Astrid Amara

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Title: Crash Plus Expenses

Author: Astrid Amara

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 94 Pages

At a GlanceI love these types of romances!

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Dan Lewinski would follow his subject Connor Katz to the ends of the earth. It’s what he’s paid to do. Apparently this also includes following his subject Connor Katz as they plummet to earth, because their plane is going down. And Dan likes living so that’s a problem.

It’s also a problem because he knows there’s a secret behind Connor Katz’s past, a reason the man’s sister is paying beaucoup bucks to have him followed, a reason Connor appears so quiet on the outside, yet seems lit like a fire from within. Dan needs to know Connor’s secret.

But if they survive the crash, how on earth can Dan get to know the mysteries of a man he’s been in love with from afar without admitting he’s a private eye who’s watched his every move?

Dividers

Review: I’m a big fan of Astrid Amara’s contemporaries. I love her brand of humor and the way her MCs are thrown together so that they have no choice but to get to know each other. Crash Plus Expenses doesn’t waste any time, starting as the plane is about to crash. This part was kind of intense and reinforced the very reason why I avoid flying in planes. But, as the plane prepares for its quick downward landing, there’s a brief summary as to why Dan is on this particular flight. He’s also got a bit of a crush on the man he’s been paid to follow for the last year.

I’m going to spoil things by saying, “Yes, they both survived the crash,” buuuuut now comes the fun part—surviving the wilds of Alaska as they wait for rescue.

I love these types of romances! I loved Dan’s character and how human he was when he let the cat out of the bag about things he shouldn’t know about Connor (oops). Dan really has it bad for him, and the letter he eventually writes to Connor had me giving it a great big aaaaaaah, how sweet.

As for Connor, Dan is his hero…until he learns more about Dan and why he was on that flight (that was an interesting fall out). Connor did have some pretty good secrets from his past, and it’s quite understandable why he was suspicious in nature.

I had trouble putting Crash Plus Expenses down. It just hit all the right buttons for me, and I made the mistake of starting this one before bedtime, then ended up going to work the next day, tired! I will add, if you’re one who doesn’t believe in coincidences (because there are some things that are a little unbelievable that occur throughout the story), this may not be your cup of tea.

I definitely see a sequel…and, lo and behold, as I was getting ready to start this review, I found out there is one (Hanukkah on Retainer)! Guess who went to ARe and bought it without hesitation?

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Angel, Sean Michael

Review: Unto Us the Time Has Come by Sean Michael

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Title: Unto Us the Time Has Come (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015)

Author: Sean Michael

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 59 Pages

At a GlanceA wonderfully rounded, second chances story.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Last Christmas, Kenn Greyson gave husband Chris Martenson an ultimatum—spend more time with the family or we’re leaving. He never expected Chris’s reply would be “then leave,” but that’s exactly what happened, and Boxing Day took on a whole new meaning.

Separated for nearly a year now, both men are miserable apart and coping the best they can for the kids’ sake. With Christmas just around the corner, a new conflict arises: neither man is willing to forego Christmas morning with their children. Chris finally suggests they spend the holiday together at the house and, to his shock, Kenn agrees.

Armed with the knowledge that he’s been a stubborn idiot, but that perhaps he can change and begin to repair their relationship, Chris takes steps to win his husband back. He just hopes he can get Kenn on the same page before Santa comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve.

Dividers

Review:  I enjoy Sean Michael’s work, and this book was no exception. Michael didn’t skimp here on this story—despite the shortness, it packs a big punch. Both men are at fault as to the cause of their break-up, and both are doing what they can to remain friendly in spite of it, for their kids. It comes down to them both realizing that what they had could be saved if they would only communicate. Michael also shows the impact of adult decisions on children in a relationship, and once again, he doesn’t shy away from the hard emotions. I cried several times over the course of this short story, but I loved it all the more for the realness.

The ending was sweet and heartwarming. While the make-up was quickly resolved, it felt real to me and not tacked on to get a happy ending. Kenn and Chris had to work hard and learned their lessons, and I think both grew up a bit while they were apart. I would love to read about this couple again, in, say, a year later, just to see how they and the children are doing.

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, J.A. Rock, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Release Day Review: The Subs Club by J.A. Rock

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Title: The Subs Club (The Subs Club: Book One)

Author: J.A. Rock

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 297 Pages

At a Glance: I highly recommend this book and cannot wait for Pain Slut, coming out in February of 2016.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: A year ago, my best friend Hal died at the hands of an incompetent “dom.” So I started the Subs Club, a private blog where submissives can review doms and call out the douche bags.

A perfect example of the kind of arrogant asshole I mean? The Disciplinarian. He has a pornstache. He loves meat, stoicism, America, and real discipline. And he thinks subs exist to serve him.

But . . . not everything about him is awful. His Davy Crockett act just seems like a cover for his fear of intimacy, and part of me wants to show him it’s okay to get close to people. And, I mean, sue me, but I have fantasized about real discipline. Not role-play, but like, Dave, you’re gonna be thirty in four years and you still work in a mall; get your ass in gear or I’ll spank it.

Not that I’d ever trust anyone with that kind of control.

I’m gonna redefine “battle of wills” for the Disciplinarian. Or I’m gonna bone him. It’s hard to say.

—Dave

Dividers

Review: We all have preconceived notions of not just ourselves but the people and the roles they have in our lives. What happens when that reality is shattered and you are left to reinvent yourself inside a new paradigm? Like taking an old well-loved coat and repurposing it to something new and better than it was before – something that will grow with you and make you a better person. It hurts, but it is worth the transformation.

Dave. He’s complicated, witty, and a little immature (but trying so hard), loyal and an advocate for others. He’s a sub but he’s gonna make you work for it – especially if he feels you don’t deserve it. He is secure in himself as a submissive, and he knows what he needs and is convinced he will never find it or have the guts to ask for it, especially now. There used to be five of them, a circle of friends who are all subs. Now there are only four.  His best friend died at the hands of an irresponsible Dom, and it’s a wound that hasn’t healed for any of them. Their first night back at an event at Riddle, a local BDSM club—and the one where Hal died—Dave spies a man he nicknames Pornstache, and falls into insta-lust. “Come save me, Pornstache. But, I mean, don’t, because I’m not attracted to you and I’m not here to have fun. I’m here to reflect on how stupid-lonely I am, and how I prefer meaningless sex to relationships, and meaningless spankings to meaningless sex.”  Pornstache is actually Dave (yes, the main characters have the same name!), a Dom who goes by the name The Disciplinarian and, yeah, he noticed Dave too.  But Dave isn’t easy, and the wounds he carries for not just himself but for all of his friends, make this relationship painful and not just from the spankings.

This book really delves into a serious issue in the fet community—subs having a voice. Who is responsible when something goes wrong in a scene? Rules are there for a reason and should never be broken, and when they are, who do you blame?  Dave has an idea to start an online blog called The Subs Club where subs can go and talk about anything, and that includes the Dom’s they play with. It’s all about being safe, knowing who is playing safe and who isn’t and what kind of experiences they are having as subs. Sounds good, right? But what happens when people start talking about your new Dom on the blog?

This book is about moving forward from tragedy, wrapped inside the complicated world of discipline and submission. Brilliantly written, Dave is a man you truly want to find his HEA inside the domestic discipline relationship he craves, and Pornstache is just the Dom to give it to him! Dave finally realizes “Oh my fucking God.  Love really is the most dangerous game. And I want to play it.”

I highly recommend this book and cannot wait for Pain Slut, coming out in February of 2016.

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5 Stars, L.B. Gregg, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lisa, Riptide Publishing

Release Day Review: With This Bling by L.B. Gregg

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Title: With This Bling (Romano and Albright: Book Three)

Author: L.B. Gregg

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 264 Pages

At a Glance: Dan Albright and Caesar Romano are back and better than ever!

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Caesar Romano’s catering career is doing better than he’d ever dreamed. And so is his love life—even if his boyfriend’s house in Staten Island is way too far from civilization for his liking. But then in short order, Caesar is duped into helping his cousin propose, is tricked by his best friend and business partner into appearing on live television, and is harassed by a thug-like personal trainer and his far too beautiful wife. In fact, Caesar is almost too busy to notice that something is troubling his PI boyfriend, Dan Albright.

Almost.

Laid-back, open, charming—that’s the impression hunky former NYPD Detective Dan Albright gives everyone. Caesar can add sexually adventurous and a bit of an exhibitionist. But he also knows that Dan is hiding something—something dark and a little dangerous—and when Dan’s silence over his mysterious past threatens to harm them both, it’s Caesar’s turn to save the day.

But then again, a break-in, a gallery party, an heirloom ring, a new suit, and a stalker with bad BO are all just a typical week for Caesar Romano.

Dividers

Review: Oh, Caesar Romano, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1.) ALL OF THEM

It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for Ce and his big ol’ sexy Private Investigator lover Dan Albright to return to an e-reader near us, doesn’t it? The humor, the sex in somewhat super conspicuous places (Dan and Ce are just a wee bit kinky that way), the mystery and danger—did I mention the hilarity?—they’re all back and then some in With This Bling, and I’m beyond ecstatic to say it was worth the wait. Okay, a little less waiting would’ve been nice, but who’s happy now? Me.

Ce is now out of the art business and contentedly ensconced at Posh Nosh with his pregnant BFF Poppy (my grumpy spirit animal), who happens to be carrying the offspring of Ce’s cousin Joey. Why is this significant? Because a seemingly cursed (and kinda gruesomely acquired) ring, an appearance on a schmaltzy New York morning show, and the single most hilarious cooking segment on television all leads up to what was supposed to be an epically romantic wedding proposal. Supposed to… The thing is, where Ce’s involved, what’s supposed to happen and what does happen rarely are one and the same—so much shenanigans ensue, I swear. Trust me when I say it always makes for great reading, though, and this installment of the Romano and Albright series is no exception.

Of course, then there’s the woman who keeps rubbing her girly junk all up against Dan’s fine-ass form. What the oh-hell-no is up with that? Well, she’s a nasty blast from Dan’s past, and her hygienically challenged husband is a tad on the stalkery side—though the smell, well, that may just be a second hand stench Ce was smelling. At any rate, the Lutzes are a couple of putzes, and one of them is making it awfully easy for a certain someone to try to get his hands on Dan. The interaction between Caesar and Blair, though, it’s priceless! On a scale of one to snark, it’s a total verbal bitch slap:

Blair: “Caspar. We meet again.”
Ce: “Blade. Are you enjoying the show?”

Okay, you had to be there, but oh my god, the only thing missing from this scene was shoulder pads and a catfight. No one should go up against Caesar Romano in a battle of snits, let me assure you, especially when that someone is trying to get with Ce’s man. But there’s so much more to the story than Blair Somerset-Lutz, skank extraordinaire, trying to sink her claws into one Dan Albright. I can’t tell you what it is, though, or it’d spoil all the fun. Just suffice it to say that L.B. Gregg is in top form here, and she did nothing but make me realize how much I missed her guys, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Romano and Albright back on my e-reader. This book doesn’t start off with quite the bang of the other two in the series, but that’s okay because it doesn’t take long before all hell breaks loose, and this time Ce gets to be the hero in the uber-tight suit. That poor suit… God.

For us dedicated fans of this sexy couple, Gregg also gives us a pretty sweet payoff in the romance department, and I loved every minute of it. Listen, our heroes aren’t ones for the shmoops and candy conversation hearts, that’s definitely not their M.O., but still, they find themselves in uncharted waters by the end of the story, and it was completely fabulous, and now I can’t wait for book four, just on general principle alone, but also to see how this new development develops.

With This Bling may have been a long time coming, but have mercy, it was worth the wait. I’m still cackling over that cooking scene. Comedy gold.

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5 Stars, Caitlin Ricci, Cari Z., Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Angel

Review: Worth the Wait by Caitlin Ricci and Cari Z

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Title: Worth the Wait (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015)

Author: Caitlin Ricci and Cari Z

PublisherDreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 32 Pages

At a GlanceWorth the Wait is a sweet coming together story for the holidays.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: When Tate promises his niece Addie he’ll get a book signed by her favorite author, he never expects to end up in a line four blocks long with sleet coming down around him. It’s three days until Christmas and he’s cold and miserable, but Addie will be devastated if he gives up.

A cute guy who offers him an umbrella is just the encouragement Tate needs to stick it out, especially when Brandon brings him something hot to drink. But the signing ends before Tate can get to the front of the line, and Tate is sure he’s ruined Christmas for his niece. Luckily Brandon gets him in to see the author, who happens to be his mother.

A simple thank you isn’t enough for Tate, and neither he nor Brandon wants to end things there. For two men unused to such an instant mutual attraction, the Christmas season just got a little more merry.

Dividers

Review:  I’ve read Cari Z before and loved the stories, but Caitlin Ricci was a new-to-me author. I’ll be looking into more of Ricci’s work now too, because I absolutely enjoyed this gentle coming together story.

I think I have said before that I love holiday stories, and Worth the Wait is no exception. I will be adding this one to my permanent re-read holiday list. The writing on this was seamless, and I couldn’t tell where the authors had switched off, if they had done so. Fantastic job on a short story and not one word wasted.

Tate seems like a loving and cool uncle to his niece, and I loved the way he and Brandon hit it off. Brandon reading to Addie melted my heart. I also really liked the fact that they had this attraction between them, but there was no insta-love or jumping right into bed. It wasn’t rushed, just some sweet kisses, coffee and dinner—two guys figuring out a way to be together for one another, and for the holidays, without the introduction of immediate sex. In fact, I’d let my teenage daughter read this one with no qualms whatsoever.

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