3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed By Carrie

Review: X Marks the Spot by M.J. O’Shea

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Amazon

Title: X Marks the Spot

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: Send reality packing and just enjoy the ride.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Jack Hunter is always on a quest for lost art, ancient manuscripts, and anything else that’ll romance the millions of viewers who watch his show each week. He hasn’t always hit pay dirt in his searches though, and a string of empty global treasure hunts has left his show on the brink of cancellation. Jack needs a white whale, a holy grail, nothing less than a miracle to revive his career.

Aloysius “Alo” Green likes his ivory towers. He’s content to study from the comfort of a university library and publish papers nobody other than academics will ever read. But coded letters pointing to hidden Nazi treasure fall into his hands, and while colleagues warn him to keep them to himself, Alo can’t stop obsessing. He makes a huge mistake and publishes a paper on his find, ignoring the danger doing so will bring.

Jack is sure he’s struck gold when his assistant brings Alo’s paper to him. Alo wants nothing to do with Jack or his televised treasure hunt. But after Alo is threatened, it appears Jack is his best bet to silence those who seek to use him to find the vast wealth first.

By trusting Jack, Alo might’ve saved himself… or made his worst decision yet.

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Review: Alo is an academic—if he has his way he will stay in college forever, living at home and publishing papers on medieval history that no one but other academics will ever read. Working on his PhD, he longs for a job in some university’s ivory tower as far from everyday life as he can possibly get. Then his grandfather moves into an assisted living facility, and leaves Alo a stack of letters which hold a mystery no one has ever been able to solve. Alo’s life is tossed upside down when he publishes a paper on the letters, and all of a sudden, his life is in danger and apparently, there is stolen Nazi treasures to find. Alo may be a nerd, but he is a clever nerd and puzzles are a specialty of his.

Jack Hunter is an adventure seeking TV personality on a once popular show on the History Channel. If he doesn’t come up with a hook for a new show soon, its lights out for his onscreen persona. A quest for Nazi treasures is just what his career needs, and if it comes with the quirky Alo, more the better. Convincing Alo to search for the treasures is a whole different matter, but when Alo is confronted with bullets from the people who want to steal his letters, he decides finding the artifacts may be the only way to keep his family safe.

And this is where you send reality packing and just enjoy the ride, much as you do in an Indiana Jones film. Creative license is used in its entirety in X Marks the Spot, as the quest for the treasures takes you to country after country filled with iconic landmarks and old world charm. The treasure hunt is by far the most enjoyable part of this book, as I felt Alo could have been a bit more mature and embrace the opportunities and excitement around him. Instead, Alo went to all these wonderful places and experienced the thrill of the quest, all the while wishing he wasn’t there.

I didn’t really connect Alo and Jack Hunter together – the chemistry just wasn’t there for me. Take out the romance and you have a nice little adventure book. I generally love M.J. O’Shea’s work, but this book just fell a little flat for me. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a follow up of these characters, with Jack forcing Alo more out of his shell, and Alo uncovering more mysteries out there that need to be solved.

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

 

You can buy X Marks the Spot here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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Dreamspun Desires, M.J. O'Shea, Poppy Dennison, Shira Anthony

Interviews, Excerpts, and Giveaway: Poppy Dennison, MJ O’Shea, Shira Anthony, and Dreamspun Desires

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I’m so pleased to welcome Poppy Dennison, MJ O’Shea, and Shira Anthony today to chat about Dreamspun Desires, the newest line of genre romance from Dreamspinner Press. These three ladies were kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions about the line and, for MJ and Shira, their books.

After the interviews, there’s also a giveaway with a couple of chances to win some great prizes:

Grand Prize: A 6 month e-book subscription to Dreamspun Desires
Runner Up: MJ O’Shea’s entire ebook backlist

Just click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

Good luck!

And now, here are Poppy, MJ, and Shira.

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PoppyDennisonLisa: We’re so pleased to welcome Poppy Dennison to The Novel Approach today, not as an author but to chat with us about Dreamspinner Press’s new line, Dreamspun Desires.

Poppy, why don’t we start off by having you share with us what exactly it is you’re in charge of at Dreamspinner Press?

Poppy: Thanks so much, Lisa! I’m so excited to be here. I’m Dreamspinner Press’s Marketing Director. Basically, it’s my job to do lots of math. No really. There are spreadsheets of my spreadsheets! But it’s basically my job to create new ideas for Dreamspinner’s authors and turn them into reality.

Lisa: Let’s chat a little bit about this new line of genre romances coming in 2016 from Dreamspinner. First of all, how did the idea come about?

Poppy: It all started at lunch, as these things often do. In May of 2015, I attended the Romantic Times Convention and had an opportunity to have lunch with several Dreamspinner authors. We started reminiscing on the first romances we’d ever read and discovered a trend: we’d all started by reading category romances! I realized how much I missed that type of story so I basically sweet-talked the authors at the table into writing a category style romance for me. By the end of the day, word had spread and I had eighteen authors signed up to write one for me. Talk about a good day. *g*

Lisa: Would you like to tell readers what they can expect from the new line, what makes these romances different from the usual Dreamspinner publications?

Poppy: Readers can expect stories that take them back to the Harlequins they devoured in days gone by. These stories are sweet and angst free and happy endings are guaranteed! We want these books to leave a smile on your face! The difference between these titles and the regular romances Dreamspinner publishes is in their focus on the romance. These stories are a little shorter than our typical novel, and as a result, they don’t have room for any of the normal soul searching and man pain we normally see in romances. They’re sweet and focus entirely on the developing relationship.

Lisa: What advantages are there to purchasing a monthly subscription to the Dreamspun Desires line versus purchasing each book individually?

Poppy:  First, I have to say that the fact that we were able to offer these titles as part of a subscription makes me so darn happy! I remember getting those boxes of books when I was younger. Well, okay, my mom technically got them, but when she was done, I’d get to read them too! There was something about that box arriving that got me so excited! I hope our readers feel the same way about receiving their Dreamspun Desires subscription.

There are two subscription services available. I’ll start with the paperback service, as it’s the one most like the way category romances used to arrive. Each month, we’re releasing two Dreamspun Desires novels. Readers who purchase the paperback subscription will receive both paperbacks in one delivery! Basically, they’ll receive one of the titles two weeks before it’s available in ebook format! That’s not all though. Because Dreamspinner always provides our customers with a free ebook whenever they purchase a paperback, Dreamspun Desires paperback subscribers will also receive ebook copies of the titles on their release date. Talk about a great deal!

The second subscription service is ebook only. Subscribers will pay one discounted price and receive both ebooks on their release dates! Super simple!

Lisa: Will you give us a quick rundown of your contributing authors so far—at least those you’re allowed to announce publicly, and when we can expect their publications to hit the shelves?

Poppy:  Absolutely! Here is the lineup of authors through April of 2016:

January 1: The Millionaire Upstairs by M.J. O’Shea

January 15: First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony

February 1: The Stolen Suitor by Eli Easton

February 15: The Lone Rancher by Andrew Grey

March 1: Taylor Maid by Tara Lain

March 15: Trial by Fire by B.A. Tortuga

April 1:  Forgive and Forget by Charlie Cochet

April 15: Unstable Stud by Ariel Tachna

We also have upcoming releases from Nikki Bennett, Jacob Z. Flores, Ava Drake, Kate McMurray, and many, many more!

Lisa: What sort of feedback have you received from both authors and readers about the launch of the new line?

Poppy:  Honestly, this experience has been a dream come true for me. When I first approached Dreamspinner’s Executive Director Elizabeth North with the idea, I was worried she’d think I’d lost my noodle. But along with Elizabeth, everyone has been so enthusiastic about the idea! From our authors, who jumped on board to write books to our readers who have reminisced with us about how they started by reading category… everyone has been so excited! I’m giddy and can’t wait for everyone to be able to hold these books in their hands!

Lisa: What’s been the most exciting part of this process for you so far?

Poppy: Oh gosh. I’ve been so excited at every step of the process… but I think the most exciting so far has been the day the subscription service launched on our website and we were able to share all the details with our readers. Everyone was so enthusiastic and I just couldn’t stop smiling! I’m still grinning, actually.

Lisa: Let’s chat a bit about the cover art for the line. I know you and I both remember sneaking a peek at our mothers’ Harlequin Romances back in the day. How important has the cover art been in the process of maintaining a distinct look and feel for the Dreamspun Desires line? Who’s been in charge of creating most of the covers thus far?

Poppy: The cover art design was such a fun and challenging process! I knew I wanted the covers for the Dreamspun Desires books to have the same look and feel as other category romance lines, but they needed to have the Dreamspinner twist! We enlisted Paul Richmond to design the covers and he’s done a fantastic job of capturing the essence of category romance.

Lisa: One of the other things we’ve chatted about is how the Gay Romance genre’s time has really come—time for it to become a part of the mainstream lexicon of romantic fiction. How do you foresee, or at least hope, the Dreamspun Desires line might further pave the way toward that goal?

Poppy: I think, in a way, category romances are a really safe place to start for romance readers who haven’t tried gay romance before. The vast majority of romance readers have read category romances from other publishers so they know what to expect. These titles capture those classic elements but add a modern take with a gay romance twist. No matter the genre, category romances are familiar and comforting. I want for readers who have never given gay romance a try to feel inspired to give these titles a try. After all, Love Always Finds A Way! :)

Lisa: On a final note, if you were to come up with a few selling points to convince us readers that the Dreamspun Desires line are the new Must Read books of 2016, what would those be?

Poppy: I think the biggest selling point to Dreamspun Desires is that these are true romances by authors who know how to tell a great story! If you’re a fan of category romance, these titles will be perfect for you. And if you’re new to the gay romance genre, you won’t be disappointed!

Lisa: Thanks so much for taking the time to be here with us today, Poppy!

Readers, for more information on the Dreamspun Desires line, including how to order your subscription, check out the Dreamspinner Press Page today (**Deadline for January subscription is December 15, 2015**)!

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MJ O'SheaLisa: Hi, MJ, and welcome. We’re so pleased to have you here for a visit today to chat about your new book in the Dreamspun Desires line, The Millionaire Upstairs.

MJ: HI!!

Let’s start with what feels like a good first question: why did you want to be involved in this new line of genre romance? Was there a nostalgia factor there for you at all?

MJ: Honestly, they just looked like they’d be so much fun to write. I loved the idea of writing characters in a world I’d never come close to living in (my book takes place in the Hamptons among the mega-wealthy and at a New York fashion label) and focusing on the pure romance element of it – the setting, the characters, and everything else. I think everyone needs a bit of escape.

Lisa: Tell us a bit about how writing this book differed from writing your other books. Did you approach it with a different mindset than you would, say, a book that required more conflict and angst in the storyline before your couple gets their happy ending?

MJ: Yes and no! haha. There were a few things I did differently. Since these books are, by nature, shorter than the typical novel, I got to focus almost completely on the relationship between the two main characters, rather than spending a lot of time on an extended cast. That’s not to say there isn’t a cast to back them up, I couldn’t resist, but they won’t have as big of a role as they usually would in one of my books.

I also got to play a bit with the r. I’ve written rock stars and vampires before, but most of my characters have been regular guys. Somehow plunking my MC in this castle in the Hamptons with a multi-millionaire, and then on Lake Como, and at celeb filled events, it was just that one extra bit of fantasy.

Lisa: What has been the most enjoyable part of participating in the Dreamspun Desire launch for you? Do you plan on contributing more books to the line?

MJ: The whole thing so far, honestly! It’s been really cool to be a part of something both old but new to our genre, talking about it with bloggers, readers, and other authors. I love seeing how excited (and yes, nostalgic) people get when they find out about the subscription service. It’s a huge honor to be the first one out of the gate, and while I’m a little nervous (okay, a lot lol) I still can’t wait to see what people think of the first few books!

And yes, I definitely will (and have!) – I’ve already written another called Duke in Hiding which I believe will be out in the late spring/early summer with Dreamspun Desires.

Lisa: What sort of feedback are you getting from your readers in particular about the collection? Have you noticed a lot of buzz and excitement in the community about it?

MJ: People have in general seemed really excited about it!  I’ve seen a lot of people reminiscing about reading their mom and grandmother’s category romances when they were kids (I remember my grandmother keeping hers in a cloth cover that had her initials stitched on it :) ) so it’s kind of like marrying the old with the new and from what I’ve seen the readers like that.

Lisa: Let’s talk a bit more specifically about The Millionaire Upstairs. Tell us a little something about your characters and what you feel their chemistry is.

MJ: I really wanted to play with a few elements, the forbidden aspect of getting involved with the boss, the fantasy of a “normal” guy getting swept up in the world of the rich and famous, and of course one of my favorite things which is a sassy, mouthy character and the “straight” man so to speak.

Sasha is sarcastic and quippy, both in awe of the people he works with and around every day, and still not ready to take any attitude from them. Harrison is cold at first and a bit standoffish, but somehow can’t manage not to let Sasha behind his huge walls.

Lisa: Would you care to share a short excerpt with us?

MJ: Sure! I’ll put part of the first scene in here, which takes place two years before the rest of the book. Sasha is about to interview for the job he’s always wanted – working for Joanne Kingsley co-owner and Harrison Kingsley’s older sister :

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Excerpt: You’re definitely not in Kansas anymore, Sasha Sobieski.

He most assuredly wasn’t. Sasha had been in New York for a couple of years, and some days he still wasn’t used to it, but nothing hammered in the fact that he was far, far away from home like standing in the place he’d been dreaming of since he was twenty-two. The place he’d decided was his destiny.

Harrison Kingsley—only ten years old and already a force to be reckoned with in global fashion. The label was fashion forward, timeless, and unique. Gorgeous. Notoriously exclusive. Even more notorious for being hard to land a position at. There had been whispers back at school about how impossible it was to impress the hiring personnel at Harrison Kingsley, how you might as well just pack it in if that was your goal. He’d decided years ago not to listen.

Sasha hadn’t wanted anything so badly in his entire life.

Harrison Kingsley Headquarters was jaw-drop gorgeous. The 34th Street offices were everything an exclusive fashion label’s offices should be—chic, classic not trendy, and intimidating but somehow welcoming at the same time. It was light and airy but somehow colorful. Like he’d entered the mind of a fashion genius, which in a way he had.

Sasha knew he’d found his home.

He sank down onto a pale apple-green upholstered chair in the waiting area in front of a large copper reception desk. He wasn’t nervous about the interview, although by all rights he should’ve been. If Sasha thought about it for more than a few moments, about who he was there to see, then he’d probably start palpitating.

Joanne Kingsley was a big deal in the fashion industry. Big. The biggest of big. Working for her was exactly the opportunity he needed. If he got the job—no, when he got it. No negative thoughts. Working for Joanne Kingsley somehow seemed inevitable. Sasha Sobieski of Hawk’s Prairie, Kansas, and brand-new Parsons graduate, belonged with her. He felt it in his bones.

Inner pep talk aside, Sasha’s nerves kicked in when he was called into Joanne Kingsley’s office. His stomach bubbled a bit as he followed the receptionist down a hallway lined with photographs of runway shows all over the world. He clutched his ancient leather satchel and prayed to the fashion gods that he was exactly what the lovely and powerful Ms. Kingsley was looking for.

I got past all of the preliminary interviews, Sasha reminded himself. Not just anyone got to interview with Joanne Kingsley herself. He was one of probably five at most. Just that was an honor. Sasha crossed his fingers and sent the best vibes he knew how to send out into the atmosphere. I’m the right fit for the job. Joanne Kingsley will adore me. Sasha had always been a believer in good vibes. He hoped they did him proud this time.

He didn’t know exactly what to expect from the esteemed Ms. Kingsley. Sasha had seen the society pages just like everyone else, the shots of her in the front row at other designers’ shows all over the world—McQueen, Saint Laurent, Lhuillier, Elie Saab. She always looked fabulous and powerful, fashionable and just a bit unapproachable. They reached her office door. Sasha took a deep breath and made one more fervent wish before the door swished open silently.

Joanne Kingsley was perched on the corner of a large white antique desk. Her office was, for lack of another word, perfect—champagne-colored woodwork, dark teak floors, luxurious rugs, expensive antique furniture, prints of their own designers’ drawings displayed in thick gold-leafed frames on the walls. She stood and walked across the room to greet him by the door. Which was already not at all what Sasha had expected from someone like her. He nearly swallowed his tongue.

Is this actually happening?

Joanne was a good four inches taller than his own five feet six inches, her body all sexy curves and long limbs. Her face was beyond gorgeous, with high cheekbones, pale skin, and long-lashed gray eyes that tilted up on the outside. Her signature mane of fiery red hair was down for once, instead of in a chic but intimidating updo. Held from her forehead with only a gold headband, it cascaded in coppery waves across her shoulders and back. She wore one of their label’s dresses, current season, of course. It was sleeveless and rich, vibrant emerald green, nipped under her full breasts, and it flowed to the ground in casual silky rivulets. The green made her pale skin glow, and the red of her hair shimmered jewellike against it.

Joanne Kingsley looked like she belonged lounging on top of Mt. Olympus with a goblet of wine instead of among mere mortals on earth. Sasha couldn’t believe he was in the same room with her.

“Welcome. Sasha, correct?” And then she smiled, friendly and disarming.

How am I supposed to react to that?

“Yes. Sasha.” He reached out and shook her hand. He was rather shocked that his vocal chords even worked.

“You came very highly recommended from one of my favorite old professors. I’m excited to get to know you.”

Joanne walked around to her desk seat and sank gracefully into it. “Sit, please.” She gestured at the plush seat across from her. It was the same exact model as her own. None of those games of making the guest feel smaller with a shorter, less throne-like seat. Sasha liked her already.

“Thank you for having me here today. I just wanted to say I’ve been following Harrison Kingsley for years. It’s an honor to even meet you.”

Joanne Kingsley giggled. Giggled. “You know, it’s still surprising to hear people say things like that, Sasha. Thank you.”

Sasha grinned in return.

The interview went smoothly after that. Perfectly, even. “Call me Jo, please” was charming and talkative, wanted to know everything about Sasha, and was exactly the person Sasha wanted to be in ten years. Harrison Kingsley’s name might be on the clothing’s labels, he might be the one in his Hamptons castle with drawing boards, swathes of fabric, and a bunch of designer minions, but it was Joanne Kingsley who made the real decisions. Sasha wanted to do anything he could to help her with that process.

Creative director of a major fashion label. Just thinking the title made chills run up and down Sasha’s spine. It was what he wanted more than anything… someday. A boy could dream. For the time being, he’d be honored if he could merely assist one.

Joanne skimmed over his resume one more time and then let it fall shut. “One quick question. Just curious. This says you recently finished Parsons, but you’re twenty-eight. Career change?”

Sasha shook his head. “I’ve wanted to do this since I was a little kid. It took me a lot of hours waiting tables back home in Kansas to save enough to move to New York and enroll in school. It’s not a cheap city. I’m sure you know that.” Not that it had ever been a problem for the Kingsleys. According to their bio, they grew up in Harrison Kingsley’s insane castle of a house in the Hamptons, and Joanne had bought her nearly as palatial apartment on Park Avenue not long after their label took off.

“It’s not.” Joanne took a deep breath. “Listen. I probably shouldn’t do this, but I’m going to anyway. When can you start?”

“Start?” Sasha was confused for a second. And then he got it. He choked on his own breath. “Start. Hol—I mean, I can start whenever you want me to. I don’t have any prior commitments.”

Ohgodohgodohgod. She just hired me. Joanne Kingsley had just hired him. Sasha thought he might faint.

Dividers

MJ: And that’s the beginning of Sasha’s new life working for Joanne Kingsley…and eventually her brother;)

Lisa: What can we expect coming up from you next? Would you like to share some info on your current WIPs and upcoming releases?

MJ: After this book, I have one called Pawsitively in Love which features a pet salon owner and a host of furry friends (and takes place in my neighborhood, which I’ve never done before!) And then after that, my second Dreamspun book Duke in Hiding will be out…I think you can guess what that one will be about by the title.

Right now I’m working on a buddy road trip story. I can’t seem to stay away from the best friends to lovers theme…I just love it so much <3.  This one doesn’t have a definite schedule yet, but I’d assume summer/early autumn.

Lisa: Thanks so much for being here with us today, MJ. It’s been great to chat with you.

MJ: Thanks for having me stop by! I hope you enjoy the books J

Xoxo

MJ

Lisa: Find MJ O’Shea on Facebook, her Website, and sign up for her Monthly Newsletter

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MillionaireUpstairs[The]BlurbHe might be hard to work for, but he’s impossible to resist.

Sasha Sobieski has the perfect job working at legendary American fashion house Harrison Kingsley—or at least he used to. He just never thought he’d have to work for Harrison Kingsley himself. Harrison is exacting, difficult, cold, and hands-down the sexiest man Sasha has ever seen.

After years at the top, Harrison Kingsley knows what he wants, when he wants it, and exactly how he’d like it to be delivered to him. What he wants most right now? His new assistant. Sasha is mouthy, opinionated, and he drives Harrison mad. Problem is, Harrison can never tell if it’s with anger… or desire.

Buy Link: Dreamspinner Press

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Shira AnthonyLisa: Hi, Shira, and welcome. We’re so pleased to have you here for a visit today to chat about your new book in the Dreamspun Desires line, First Comes Marriage.

Let’s start with what feels like a good first question: why did you want to be involved in this new line of genre romance? Was there a nostalgia factor there for you at all?

Shira:  OMG, yes! I used to gobble up Harlequins and Silhouette romances when I was in college. And although I hated the pat endings (even worse when the heroine gave up her career to “get married”), I love the warm and fuzzy way they made me feel. So when Poppy and I were chatting at RT (Romantic Times conference) in Dallas this past spring and I mentioned that there were times I wished I could write a sweet romance instead of an angsty one, she asked me why I didn’t write one. And then she proceeded to tell me about an idea she had for a new line of category romances. I guess you could say that was the birth of Dreamspun Desires.

Lisa: Tell us a bit about how writing this book differed from writing your other books. Did you approach it with a different mindset than you would, say, a book that required more conflict and angst in the storyline before your couple gets their happy ending?

Shira:  It did take a bit of a re-set for me. I tend to write angsty romances or complex romantic fantasy stories, so the idea of a simple, sweet story was a little frightening! Before I started writing, I read an old Harlequin to remind myself of the feel of those tropey romances. There’s a real rhythm to those classic romance novels, a completely different pace than for the books I was used to writing. I tried to distill the essence of the category romance and then when I was imagining the story I wanted to write, I kept that framework in mind.

So for example, the story starts off with the two MCs “meeting cute” in the first chapter. From there, the story and the sexual tension builds and builds until finally neither MC can resist the other. Of course there are challenges in the relationship and misunderstandings. There is also character growth from both characters. But there’s no knock-down, drag-out angst of the kind readers might find in some of my other books.

Lisa: What has been the most enjoyable part of participating in the Dreamspun Desire launch for you? Do you plan on contributing more books to the line?

Shira: It’s been exciting seeing it all come together, from the early conversations to seeing the art concept for the covers (I think I squeaked when I saw it!). Then seeing how it all came together, with the subscriptions, the taglines on the books, the cute blurbs that end with a question—all of these things were so much fun!

Yes, I’m planning on submitting at least another book to the line. I’m working on a very sweet, second chance at love story that will probably be released as a Dreamspun Desires title. Writing First Comes Marriage was just so fun, I had to write another.

Lisa: What sort of feedback are you getting from your readers in particular about the collection? Have you noticed a lot of buzz and excitement in the community about it?

Shira: The feedback has been AMAZING. Truly. So many of our readers came to gay romance from heterosexual category romance that I think they’re as excited as we, the authors, are. I think many feel, as I do, that category romance has a special place in the general romance genre and that gay romance can embrace those sweet, romance-forward stories in a way that’s authentic and Twenty-First Century.

It’s funny, but for me, these books represent the kind of romance I wanted to read way back when, but couldn’t find. I really believe that while romance readers are looking for fantasy components in romance, they still want stories still grounded in some semblance of reality. But they don’t always want that reality to hit them over the head either. Sometimes we just need the warmth and hope that we take from a classic romance story.

Lisa: Let’s talk a bit more specifically about First Comes Marriage. Tell us a little something about your characters and what you feel their chemistry is.

Shira:  Jesse Donovan is a billionaire businessman who has to get married or he’ll lose control of his family’s company under the terms of his grandfather’s will. Chris Valentine is a struggling novelist who works as a barista in New York City. Theirs is a marriage of convenience, and it’s supposed to be just business. Both men genuinely enjoy each other’s company, but Jesse is New York’s most eligible “straight” bachelor and Chris is perfectly happy being single after his parent’s disastrous marriage.

For me, the friendship was first and foremost in my mind as the two men get to know each other. I wanted their sexual chemistry to grow out of that friendship and take them by surprise. Each has his own motivations for getting married, and neither expects the marriage will be anything but business. There’s lots of push and pull for the first half of the book, as each fights his attraction to the other. And when they finally do give in to their desires, it’s a revelation for both.

Lisa: Would you care to share a short excerpt with us?

Shira: Sure! This is an excerpt from Chapter Six:

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Excerpt: Now, standing in the conference room of Windview Enterprises’ corporate headquarters near South Ferry in Manhattan, one of the matching platinum bands Jesse had bought for them in his pants pocket, Chris wondered if he’d wake up from the dream. The floor-to-ceiling windows looked out over Wall Street and the East River through the forest of high-rise buildings.

“Do you, Jesse Chase Donovan, take Christopher James Valentine to be your husband, in love and in friendship, until you are parted by death?” the judge asked.

“I do.” As Jesse slipped the ring on Chris’s finger, he met Chris’s gaze with such intensity that for an instant, Chris could almost forget the entire ceremony was a ruse to ensure the future of Windview remained firmly in Jesse’s control. Damn the man for being so attractive. Damn him for being a nice guy, because that was the worst part of it. And the part that had you agreeing.

“And do you, Christopher James Valentine, take Jesse Chase Donovan to be your husband, in love and in friendship, until you are parted by death?”

Chris swallowed hard and prayed he didn’t look as incredibly nervous as he felt. “I do.” His hand shook as he took Jesse’s hand and put the ring on his finger.

“Congratulations, Chris and Jesse,” the judge said.

Chris caught Val’s eye for a split second, and he half expected her to urge him to kiss Jesse. But it was Jesse who took charge and blindsided Chris with a kiss.

It started sweetly enough, just Jesse’s lips against his, but instead of releasing Chris, Jesse pulled him tighter against him and pressed his tongue into his mouth. Jesse tasted fucking amazing. Chris didn’t hesitate—their tongues tangled and danced. This close, Jesse smelled good and felt even better. Chris was barely aware of slipping his hands around Jesse’s back before resting them on lean hips. He didn’t think twice as his body and Jesse’s responded in kind.

Someone giggled—Chris recognized Val’s voice—and Jesse pulled abruptly away. Their eyes met for a split second, and Chris thought he saw a mixture of desire and surprise in Jesse’s deep blue eyes. The next thing Chris knew, Val had thrown her arms around him and only his racing heart and tingling lips told him he hadn’t imagined the entire thing.

“Oh, Chris,” Val cooed. “You really did it!”

“Yeah” was the only response Chris could manage. He was still thinking about Jesse’s mouth.

“I guess I was wrong about him being straight,” she whispered mischievously.

Chris was thrilled when Terry grabbed him in a bear hug, because he had no idea how to respond to Val’s comment. He also wasn’t sure if he should be pissed off with Jesse for the show. He supposed if this was going to work, Jesse needed to make the marriage look real. Still, how difficult would it have been to warn Chris that he had that up his sleeve?

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Lisa: What can we expect coming up from you next? Would you like to share some info on your current WIPs and upcoming releases?

Shira:  I’m working on another tropey romance, this one about second chances at love. The working title is A Class Act, and it’s the story of a history professor and a Hollywood action star whose ten year marriage is about to end in divorce. I’m also working on the final installment in the Blood Trilogy, my time-traveling French vampires, entitled Blood and Eternity. I’ve also got a possible spinoff story or series based on secondary characters from my Mermen of Ea Trilogy that’s in the works.

Lisa: Thanks so much for being here with us today, Shira. It’s been great to chat with you.

Shira: Thanks so much for having me! It was a pleasure.

Lisa: Connect with Shira on Facebook, her Facebook Author Page, Twitter, and her Website

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DreamspunDesires_FirstComesMarriageFS4Blurb: When struggling novelist Chris Valentine meets Jesse Donovan, he’s interested in a book contract, or possibly a date. The last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal from New York City’s most eligible bachelor!

Jesse’s in a pinch. To keep control of his company, he has to marry. So he has valid reasons for offering Chris this business deal: in exchange for living in a gorgeous mansion for a year, playing the doting husband, Chris gets all the writing time he wants and walks away with a million-dollar payoff. Surely Chris can handle that. He can handle living with the most handsome and endearing man he’s ever met, a man he immediately knows he wants in the worst way and can’t have. Or can he?

Watch for Buy Links Coming Soon to Dreamspinner Press

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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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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4 Stars, Anna Martin, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Narration Rating - 1 Star, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Soufflés at Sunrise by M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin – Narrated by John-Paul Barrel

Title: Soufflés at Sunrise

Author: M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin

Narrator: John-Paul Barrel

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 hours and 17 minutes

At a Glance: I love M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin writing together, and find that they mesh well, but I hope they pick another narrator for the rest of the series.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: “Welcome to a new season of Burned, where we find fresh new cooking talent… and a few culinary disasters! Every season we do something a little different, and this time it’s all about the sweet things in life. Get ready in week one as twenty pastry chef hopefuls and dessert connoisseurs compete for the thirteen coveted workspaces in our *Burned* kitchen. With stakes this big, we ask the one question on everyone’s mind: Do these chefs have what it takes to rise to the top? Or will they get Burned?”

Burned contestants Chase and Kai are attracted from the start and can’t wait to spend more time getting to know each other… until they see the first episode treatment and realize the producers intend to portray them as bitter enemies. At first it’s fun to pretend to bicker—enemies on film, lovers when the cameras stop rolling—but soon it’s hard not to take the faux rivalry seriously. It’s only when their choice is to band together and bake their way to the final or get burned that they find where their real loyalties lie.

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Review:  Sigh. Where to begin? I often listen to an audiobook and dislike the narrator, but I can separate the book from that narrator to gauge whether it is a great book with poor narration. Sometimes I don’t like either the story or the narrator. This is one case, though, where it was impossible for me to separate the narration from the story, so I am not going to review the book and the narration separately.

I picked this book because I have read (not listened to) other books in this series, and really enjoyed them. I love M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin writing together, and find that they mesh well. So, this is by no means a bad review for them, but this narration was absolutely painful!

After listening to Souffles at Sunrise for five minutes, I was saying, do I have to continue? It took me two weeks of turning it on for an hour and then turning it off again because I couldn’t continue. John-Paul Barrel spoke as if he was trying to annunciate every single word clearly. It was like listening to an instruction manual.

I hope they pick another narrator for the rest of the series, as the stories seem to be fun and entertaining. I, however, would never recommend another book narrated by John-Paul Barrel.

TNA_Signature_Amy

 

 

 

You can buy Souffle’s at Sunrise here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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Dreamspinner Press, Giveaways, M.J. O'Shea

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Family Jewels Blog Tour With M.J. O’Shea

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The Novel Approach welcomes author M.J. O’Shea today on her Family Jewels blog tour. Enjoy M.J.’s guest post, then be sure to enter for the chance to win the Grand Prize of a PRINT copy of the book, or be one of FIVE runners-up for the chance to win an e-copy of a book from M.J.’s backlist.

Good luck!

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So, obviously, when you’re writing a book about a thief it’s only right to binge heist movies beforehand…right? Well, I did anyway! And I have to admit, it’s one of my favorite genres. Always has been.

Tower Heist — I love Ben Stiller, so let’s start there. I just thought this was hilarious, slapstick, and still really clever! I love

The Italian Job — I have to admit I’ve never seen the original of this, but I loved the remake. My favorite was the beginning with the boat chase in Venice. I know film buffs call this one “awful” sometimes but…hey. I liked it.

Ocean’s Eleven — I haven’t seen this one in years but every time I go through vegas I stop and stare at the fountain for a little while. Loved it.

I think my favorite element of all three of these was the whole “stick it to the man” part. Where they weren’t hurting people who weren’t already hurting others. I tried to put that into all of my books. My con artists stay away from people who don’t have anything to lose, my thief goes after jewels from the excessively wealthy. They probably don’t deserve to be stolen from any more than anyone else, but it gives my characters a bit of morality:)

Family Jewels isn’t about an elaborate heist, although I’d love to write one of those one day! One of my main characters, Corbin, could rival any of the crews in those films. He’s more of a loner type, he works alone, flies under the radar, and rarely connects even with his family, who do the same thing he does. His weakness comes when he falls in love and starts to think that maybe love is more important than the hunt. And then he gets distracted… which is never a good idea.

I’ll leave you with a blurb for Family Jewels and some links to my social media accounts. :) I’m always available for questions or just to say hi!

xoxo
MJ O’Shea

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FamilyJewelsLGBlurb: Corbin Ford, aka the Nightwatchman, named for the antique pocket watches he leaves behind at jobs, has been in the cat-burgling business for years. His father was. His grandfather was. His mother is still one of the most renowned thieves. Corbin likes his high-profile heists, priceless paintings from private collections, artifacts from museums, but his favorite? Jewels. Sparkly, beautiful jewels. If they’re famous, better yet.

Interpol agent Luke Eldridge has one goal and one goal only: to catch the Nightwatchman. Luke’s been after him for months, but getting the slip time and again is getting embarrassing. Luke has never even laid eyes on the bastard, but he’d happily strangle him. And then arrest him.

When Luke meets Corbin, the man of his dreams, he falls hard and fast… only to catch Corbin red-handed with his hand in a jewelry case at the scene of the highest-profile murder that’s rocked the international world in years.

Buy Link: Dreamspinner Press

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Author PicAbout the Author: I’m Mj O’Shea:) I grew up, and still live, in sunny Washington state and while I love to visit other places, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.

I spent my childhood writing stories. Sometime in my early teens, the stories turned to romance. Most of those were about me, my friends, and our favorite movie and pop stars. Hopefully, I’ve come a long way since then.

When I’m not writing, I love to play the piano, dance, cook, paint pictures, and of course read! I like sparkly girly girl things, own at least twenty different colored headbands, and I have two little dogs who sit with me when I write. Sometimes they comes up with ideas for me too…when they’re not busy napping.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page | Sign Up For MJ’s Newsletter

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THE GIVEAWAY:

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Tour Schedule

April 28: Cherry Mischievous || Because Two Men Are Better Than One

April 29: Nessa’s Book Reviews || Nic Starr

April 30: RJ Scott || Love Bytes Reviews

May 1: MM Good Book Reviews || Sue Brown

May 4: A Celebration of Books || Divine Magazine

May 5: Diverse Reader || Drops of Ink

May 6: Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words || Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

May 7: Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews || Lisa Worrall

May 8: Man2ManTastic || My Fiction Nook

May 11: Prism Book Alliance || BFD Book Blog

May 12: Bike Book Reviews || Bayou Book Junkie

May 13: Hearts on Fire || Wordsmith Wednesday

May 14: The Novel Approach || Gay.Guy.ReadingAnd Friends

May 15: The Purple Rose Tea House || Cia’s Stories

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

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

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

Author: Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea

Narrator:: Finn Sterling

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 56 Minutes

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

Reviewed By: Kathie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TNA_Signature_Kathie






You can buy One Small Thing here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Narration Rating - 3 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Newton’s Laws of Attraction by M.J. O’Shea – Narrated by George Somerset

Title: Newton’s Laws of Attraction

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Narrator:: George Somerset

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 4 Hours, 57 Minutes

At a Glance: Only because of M.J. O’Shea’s brilliant writing was I able to get through this Audiobook.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Rory was Ben’s oldest and best friend until senior year of high school, when they confessed they’d harbored feelings for each other all along. They enjoyed only a few months of happiness until Ben chose closeted popularity over true love… and he’s regretted it ever since.

Eight years later, Ben is out and proud and teaching art at the same high school he graduated from. When he learns the chemistry teacher is retiring, he’s excited to meet her replacement until he finds out the brand new teacher is none other than Rory Newton—the first love he’s never quite gotten over. Despite a painfully awkward start, it doesn’t take Ben long to realize he’ll do whatever it takes to win Rory back. But it’s starting to look like even his best might not be enough.

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Review: M.J. O’Shea’s writing is so incredible. This story is simple and sweet, and starts out by showing childhood friends Ben and Rory going through puberty; then realizing they have fallen in love. The tentative touches and unsure nature of their sexual relationship is kept sweet and innocent, just like them. What you also saw was how young Rory and Ben were. You saw how peer pressure can simply destroy something beautiful. At a young age, we are not as equipped to handle confrontation and do the right thing. We think we would do the right thing, or at least hope we would, but we all know that happily-ever-after doesn’t always start at sixteen. Looking back, Ben sees how trivial being liked by his new teammates was, but at sixteen…it was overwhelming, and he destroyed that young love.

Eight years later, you again meet Ben, the better version of Ben. He is out and working at the same school he grew up in. You encounter Ben the day the new Chem teacher, and his old love, Rory, strolls back into Ben’s life. Again what M.J. O’Shea succeeds in is making Ben and the audience relive Ben’s mistakes by seeing throughout the second part of this story the hurt that lives in Rory. O’Shea proceeds to have these two characters dance slowly around their continued attraction.

I adore everything about this book.

Narrator: Unfortunately, however, George Somerset was NOT the right choice for Newton’s Laws of Attraction. Only because of the author’s brilliant writing was I able to get through this book. Somerset’s voice put me to sleep. He was monotone and whispered half the time. It actually grated on my nerves. I stayed with it only because I hadn’t read the book and really loved the story, and I wanted to know what happened to these characters.






You can buy Newton’s Laws of Attraction here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4 Stars, Anna Martin, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Reviewed by Pia

Review: Soufflés at Sunrise by M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin

Title: Soufflés at Sunrise (Just Desserts: Book Two)

Authors: M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 206 Pages

At a Glance: If you’re after a light and fun romance, this is the book for you.

Reviewed By: Pia

Blurb: “Welcome to a new season of Burned, where we find fresh new cooking talent… and a few culinary disasters! Every season we do something a little different, and this time it’s all about the sweet things in life. Get ready in week one as twenty pastry chef hopefuls and dessert connoisseurs compete for the thirteen coveted workspaces in our Burned kitchen. With stakes this big, we ask the one question on everyone’s mind: Do these chefs have what it takes to rise to the top? Or will they get Burned?”

Burned contestants Chase and Kai are attracted from the start and can’t wait to spend more time getting to know each other… until they see the first episode treatment and realize the producers intend to portray them as bitter enemies. At first it’s fun to pretend to bicker—enemies on film, lovers when the cameras stop rolling—but soon it’s hard not to take the faux rivalry seriously. It’s only when their choice is to band together and bake their way to the final or get burned that they find where their real loyalties lie.

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Review: In Soufflés at Sunrise, we meet Chase, the blonde farm boy who is the owner of an ice cream shop. We also meet Hawaiian pastry chief Kai, both of whom are auditioning for this series of Burned–think master chef/top chef and you’ll get the idea. I enjoyed reading about the challenges, cooking, and the behind the scenes of the show. Some of the desserts sound just lush, and I hope M.J O’Shea and Anna Martin got to try some of them. All in the mane of research, of course!

While I usually like a lot more heat in my books, I loved the slow build of the relationship. I’m so glad this wasn’t an overly glib, insta-love story. It’s fun to read, and it left me feeling happy and optimistic that good things are going to happen for our MCs.

If you’re after a light and fun romance, this is the book for you.






You can buy Soufflés at Sunrise here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Reviewed by Janet

Review: Corkscrewed by M.J. O’Shea

Title: Corkscrewed

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: This book was simply delightful

Blurb: Cary Talbot has found the perfect mark. Marigold Shelley is filthy rich, and her newly found grandson, Isaac Shelley, is poised to inherit her huge estate, complete with a priceless wine collection. Cary concocts a plan to con both of them into selling the crown jewel of that collection to him at a bargain price. Since Isaac is young, single, and gay, part of Cary’s scheme to get close to the Shelleys includes seduction.

But Isaac isn’t the sheep he appears to be. He isn’t even the grandson he appears to be. Isaac is, in fact, running quite the con of his own.

These two masters of the confidence game are pitted against each other, and both are after the ultimate prize—a chunk of the huge Shelley fortune. It’s only when a third cunning player comes in and is ready to outwit them both that they must band together and beat their opponent or see all they’ve worked for slip from their grasp one ruby-red drop at a time.

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Review: This book was simply delightful. Think The Pink Panther or Ocean’s Eleven crossed with a sweet romance, and you will have some idea of what’s in store for you.

Isaac has been pushed into a job where he is going to become the missing heir to a fortune and try to con his way into a trust fund. His new home is a winery, and his step-Grandmother owns a stunning collection of valuable wines. Another con man is coming to try to scam away these wines, and a funny series of confusing circumstances play out in front of our eyes. What saves this from being a farce is the hearts of these two men, as the attraction between them grows and they start a physical relationship. Even when they figure out whom each of them really is, they can’t avoid each other and continue to fall in love.

M.J. O’Shea has a fine hand at drawing us into her stories, and each new page gives more depth to the development of the characters, not only the MCs but the secondary ones as well. Marigold Shelley, Isaac’s grandmother is so much fun, delighting in the new romance, and pushes the two men together very obviously. Several sub plots run through the book, creating a rich backdrop for the romance, and I can admit to falling for the red herring with absolutely no embarrassment.

Corkscrewed kept my attention riveted on its pages, I had to finish the book in one sitting. The flow of the story was smooth and all of the answers are revealed in the conclusion. I liked that Isaac was not angsty about his past, that he could be happy and that he grew into his new home, comfortable with the winery and the life he could lead there. I wouldn’t call the ending a HEA, but it was definitely a HFN with so much more possible. Truly a sweet, fun, quick read that put a smile on my face.






You can buy Corkscrewed here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Piper Vaughn, Reviewed by Lynn

Review: The Luckiest by M.J. O’Shea and Piper Vaughn

Title: The Luckiest (Lucky Moon: Book Two)

Author: M.J. O’Shea and Piper Vaughn

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 280 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Rock star Nick Ventura has finally hit rock bottom. Jealous of his brother’s new love, he overindulges in his usual vices and winds up crashing his car into a department store in a drunken haze. Publicly humiliated and on the verge of jail time, he enters into a court-ordered rehabilitation program. Continue reading

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3 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Reviewed by Kathie

Sound Bite Saturday: Finding Shelter by M.J. O’Shea – Narrated by Tom Vilot

Title: Finding Shelter (Rock Bay: Book Three)

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Narrator:: Tom Vilot

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 15 Minutes

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb: Justin Foster has 19 years of nothing but trouble behind him. After escaping his abusive father, he finds himself in Rock Bay, Washington, with his cousin Travis. Justin is bruised and has a hard time trusting, but with the help of his family and the small town, he might be able to heal. Continue reading

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4.5 Stars, Harmony Ink Press, M.J. O'Shea, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Young Adult

M.J. O’Shea’s “Loveblood” Reminds Us Soul Mates Really Do Exist

Title: Loveblood

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Pages/Word Count: 256 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Max Appleton and his mother Celia are on the run, hiding from an abusive father and husband who’s also a notoriously bad pack leader. When Max hit puberty and it became obvious he’d never make an alpha wolf, his father turned the brunt of his anger toward his inferior son and his beta wolf wife for producing him. Max and Celia find sanctuary in a garden cottage at Holly Court, the sprawling estate where Celia’s oldest friend lives with her pack alpha husband, three daughters, and teenaged son Jonah. Continue reading

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Ashavan Doyon, Charley Descoteaux, Cover Reveal, Eileen Griffin, GayRomLit, Geoffrey Knight, Jack Byrne, K. Vale, Kol Anderson, LC Chase, M.J. O'Shea, Nikka Michaels, Sue Brown, Zathyn Priest, Zee Kensington

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone, and welcome to another great week ahead.

In case you missed it yesterday, be sure to pop on over to RJ Scott’s Blog for a little teaser of some great giveaways I have in store for you as we continue the countdown to GayRomLit 2014. And, your comment on my blog post at RJ’s place will put you in the running for one of TWO $25 Amazon Gift Cards, so be sure to check it out.

In the meantime, here’s what’s coming up for you to enjoy right here at The Novel Approach

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Monday – To kick things off, today we’re pleased to be hosting the Authors Gone Wild Anthology Cover Reveal

A bit later in the day, we’ve got author L.C. Chase with us on the Pulling Leather Blog Tour

Kol Anderson will be here as well with a giveaway of the latest book in his Prisoner series, The Devil You Know

TuesdayEileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels lead off our day with an exclusive cover reveal for their collaboration In the Fire

We also have author Zee Kensington with us on the Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Geoffrey Knight also drops by with an interview to tell us about a special new series set in the heart of Wilde City and begins with Buck Baxter: Love Detective

WednesdayM.J. O’Shea is our guest today on the Coconut Cove Blog Tour

ThursdayKimber Vale starts out our day on the Hard Act to Follow Blog Tour and Giveaway

Charley Descoteaux also joins us on the First Time for Everything Blog Tour

Friday – Our special guest today is author and artist Zathyn Priest, as he shares a bit about his creative process and joins in the Countdown to GayRomLit Blog Tour Celebration

Saturday – Author Jack Byrne joins us to talk about his new book Walkabout, the sequel to Billabong and there’s a giveaway

Sue Brown also joins us on The Last Wolf Blog Tour and Giveaway

Sunday – Finally, to close out the week, Ashavan Doyon will be here on the Stephen’s Heart Blog Tour, with a giveaway

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And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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Dreamspinner Press, M.J. O'Shea

Spotlight Stop and Giveaway: “Impractical Magic” by M.J. O’Shea

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THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED

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Blurb: Physics teacher Fenton Keene is looking forward to a summer of doing nothing but hanging out with friends and maybe getting into a little trouble. With his best friend out of town, trouble seems like the best option and it comes in the form of his building’s newest temporary resident, a gorgeous fireman named Kevin.

Fen’s been attracted to men before, but this is the first time he’s considered acting on it. And act he does.

Fen and Kevin have an intense summer fling. Just in time for Kevin to go home, more feelings develop than Fen can ignore, but they don’t stop Kevin from leaving. Once Kevin’s gone, Fen can’t stop thinking about him. That’s when reality sets in and Fen faces the difficulties of distance and fidelity, while Kevin balks at Fen’s reluctance to tell his friends and family. They just need to find a way to make their magic more practical.

Continue reading

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B. Snow, Brigham Vaughn, Cover Reveal, Hayden Thorne, K. Vale, K.A. Merikan, L.A. Witt, Liz Borino, M.J. O'Shea, Nikka Michaels, Sean Michael, Sneak Peek

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had a great weekend!

Here’s a look at all the great authors, blog tours and giveaways we’re hosting here at The Novel Approach in the week ahead, and, of course, we’ll have lots of new reviews as well.


MondayBrigham Vaughn kicks off the week on the Equals Blog Tour

We’ll also have B. Snow with us today, one of the contributing authors in the Project Fierce Chicago Anthology, to talk a bit about Project Fierce and its mission to provide housing and support services for homeless LGBTQ youth in Chicago

TuesdayHayden Thorne stops in today on the Masks: Evolution Blog Tour

Nikka Michaels will also be a return guest today to talk a bit about her new short story from Cobblestone Press

WednesdayLiz Borino will be here today on the Secrets in the Air Blog Tour

Thursday – Today, L.A. Witt stops in on the Noble Metals Blog Tour

FridaySean Michael drops by on the Size Matters Blog Tour

And Kimber Vale will be here to do a Cover Reveal for her upcoming book Hard Act to Follow

SaturdayMJ O’Shea is our guest on the Impractical Magic Blog Tour

SundayK.A. Merikan closes out the week on the Road of No Return Blog Tour

And that sums up what’s in store for the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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4.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Reviewed by Chris

A Summer Fling Leads To Love In M.J. O’Shea’s “Impractical Magic”

Title: Impractical Magic

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 206 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Physics teacher Fenton Keene is looking forward to a summer of doing nothing but hanging out with friends and maybe getting into a little trouble. With his best friend out of town, trouble seems like the best option and it comes in the form of his building’s newest temporary resident, a gorgeous fireman named Kevin. Continue reading

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3.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Book Review: “Coming Home” by M.J. O’Shea – Narrated by Tom Vilot

Title: Coming Home (Rock Bay: Book One)

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Narrator:: Tom Vilot

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours, 37 Minutes

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: Tallis Carrington ruled Rock Bay with his gang of jocks and an iron fist-until a scandal destroyed his family’s name. Ten years later Tallis is dead broke, newly homeless, and on the walk of shame to end all walks of shame. He needs money and needs it fast, and Rock Bay is the only home he knows. But the people of Rock Bay haven’t forgotten him-or the spoiled brat he used to be. The only person in town willing to overlook his past is Lex, the new coffee shop owner, who offers Tally a job even though he appears to despise Tally based on his reputation alone. When Tally discovers his gorgeous boss is the kid he tortured back in high school, Lex’s hot and cold routine finally makes sense. Now Tally has to pull out all the stops to prove he was never really the jerk he seemed to be. After all, if he can win Lex’s heart, the rest of the town should be a piece of coffee cake. Continue reading

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Cover Reveal, Dreamspinner Press, M.J. O'Shea, Mary Calmes, Poppy Dennison, Rhys Ford

Poppy Dennison Is Here Today With A Little Co-Author Chit Chat, A Cover Reveal, And A Giveaway


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I’m a really lucky author! I’ve had the opportunity to co-write with three of my absolute favorite authors. I thought it might be fun to let them turn the tables on me as I reveal the cover of Creature Feature 2, my newest co-writing adventure with Rhys Ford which is coming in October from Dreamspinner Press! I let them all have the opportunity to ask me three random questions. Let’s see what they came up with!
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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, M.J. O'Shea, Piper Vaughn, Reviewed by Jackie

You’re In Luck With M.J. O’Shea and Piper Vaughn’s “Moonlight Becomes You” – Reviewed by Jackie


“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” ― Alexander Pope


Title: Moonlight Becomes You (Lucky Moon: Book One)

Author: M.J. O’Shea & Piper Vaughn

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Eleven years ago, Shane Ventura made the biggest mistake of his life when he caved in to pressure from his record label to kick his best friend, Jesse Seider, out of their band, Luck. To this day, Shane has never wanted anyone more, and all the sex and alcohol in the world can’t fill the void Jesse left behind. Not even the prospect of teaming up with Britain’s hottest band, Moonlight, for a massive world tour can get him out of his funk. Then he meets lead singer Kayden Berlin and falls into instant lust.
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Loose Id, M.J. O'Shea

The Novel Approach Welcomes M.J. O’Shea On The “Rising Sun” Blog Tour – And There’s A Giveaway


Blurb: New Seattle 2199

Castor Kovalenko, socialite and high ranking member of the Dragon Triad, is worried about his cousin, Lynx. He’s been missing for weeks and there have been rumors circling the city, rumors that he’s been taken hostage by the hacker thief Yoru Katana. Castor needs to find his cousin before it’s too late. He’s willing to do nearly anything to bring Lynx to safety.
Jaffa Sharp is trying to stay alive. It’s not easy when the only thing you’ve ever learned to do is steal. Even harder when he keeps running into one annoying Dragon prince who keeps trying to get him arrested.

When Castor uses Jaffa to get to his cousin and the thief Katana, they both learn that nothing is as it seemed, including Lynx and Katana himself. Castor and Jaffa soon become involved in a plot to take the city back from the villainous triads. They find themselves fighting the people they thought were their leaders — and fighting an attraction stronger than either of them have felt before. Nothing is certain in the precarious new world they find themselves in: Life, death, friend, enemy, and the most uncertain thing of all…love
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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Brita Addams, Christa Tomlinson, F.E. Feeley Jr., J.K. Hogan, Jacob Z. Flores, Kade Boehme, L.A. Witt, LE Franks, Libby Drew, M.J. O'Shea, Marie Sexton, Piper Vaughn, Poppy Dennison, Rafe Haze, Riley Hart, Saloni Quinby

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week


Hi, everyone, I hope you’ve all had a great week. It was a busy and fun-filled weekend at RainbowCon, having the opportunity to meet some new-to-me authors and participating on some great panels, where the conversation was always interesting and informative. Next stop: GayRomLit in Chicago!

Here’s what’s on tap for the week ahead.

MondaySaloni Quinby kicks off the week on her Weapons of Redemption Blog Tour with a giveaway

Jacob Flores drops in as well, with a GRL Countdown Celebration for his newest release, When Love Comes to Town, and there’s a giveaway

TuesdayRiley Hart is our guest today on the Stay (Blackcreek: Book Two) Blog Tour. She sat down to answer a few questions for us, so make sure to stay tuned

Libby Drew is also with us to do a Cover Reveal of her new novella The Lost Year, included in the anthology Secrets of Neverwood

Brita Addams visits today with a guest article about misused idioms/clichés

WednesdayPiper Vaughn and Kade Boehme stop in on their Wood, Screws & Nails Blog Tour, and they’ve also got a giveaway for you

Rafe Haze is also with us to talk a little bit about his new book The Next, and he’ll be giving an e-copy away to one lucky reader

ThursdayPoppy Dennison is dropping by to do a little Mind Magic for us, and there’s a giveaway

L.A. Witt and Marie Sexton are also here on their Roped In Blog Tour, with a giveaway

FridayLE Franks is our guest on the Can This Be Real Blog Tour, and there’s a giveaway

M.J. O’Shea also drops in on the Rising Sun Blog Tour, and she’s offering a giveaway

SaturdayChrista Tomlinson is our guest on The Sergeant Blog Tour and giveaway

F.E. Feeley Jr. will also be here on the Objects in the Rearview Mirror Blog Tour, and there’s a giveaway

SundayJ.K. Hogan is here with a Countdown To GRL Celebration Guest Post and Giveaway

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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Dreamspinner Press, M.J. O'Shea

There Are Some New Relationship Rules In “Newton’s Laws of Attraction”


“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.” ― Kurt Vonnegut



Title: Newton’s Laws of Attraction

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 176

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Rory was Ben’s oldest and best friend until senior year of high school, when they confessed they’d harbored feelings for each other all along. They enjoyed only a few months of happiness until Ben chose closeted popularity over true love… and he’s regretted it ever since.
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Harmony Ink Press, M.J. O'Shea

MJ O’Shea’s “Blood Moon” Might Make You Wish Your Childhood Memories Were This Exciting



“Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ― Roald Dahl


***Warning: This Review Contains Major Spoilers!***

I was very excited to read Blood Moon because it was about my favorite subject: vampires! After my last book, I needed something fun and sexy. Blood Moon delivered on all fronts! It was fast paced, fun and sexy. Yes, I used those words before, but it was. Enjoyed the book so much I could have read on.

The story is about childhood friends Zack and Noah. The boys meet on a summer vacation at an upstate lake, when they are 5, and become inseparable. When I was a kid, I too went upstate to spend my summers. I never met a vampire but hey, the fantasy is nice. This brought back fond memories for me and made me enjoy the book so much more. Every year they would spend their summers together. The friendship turns into love and when they are both 17, they share their first kiss. Everything is fine until the next day when Noah rejects Zack with a flimsy excuse. Zack’s devastation is palpable.
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Dreamspinner Press, M.J. O'Shea

You May Have Trouble Catching Your Breath While Reading M.J. O’Shea’s Catch My Breath

When love is not madness, it is not love. ~ Pedro Calderon de la Barca

It is not an original trope. Two men love each other. They are in a professional situation in which their love may not be accepted. Due to circumstances beyond their control, they are forced to hide their feelings from everyone except those closest to them.

It is not an original trope. Two young men, barely men almost boys, experience first love. The powers-that-be do everything they can to keep the young lovers apart for their own reasons. Sometimes it is parents keeping them apart for religious or moral reasons. Sometimes it is a corporation that seemingly controls every aspect of their lives.

What is original is M.J. O’Shea’s spin on combining these two tropes and taking the reader on a wild, heart pounding, angst and tear-filled thrill ride. Simply put, Catch My Breath is one of those “I can’t put it down, even though I know I have to function in real life tomorrow, I have to finish it or I won’t be able to sleep worth a damn anyway!” books.

Even when I was happy with what was happening with the characters, I was crying. M.J. created these young men, five of them, not just the two main characters, as whole human beings. They leap off the page and into your heart. They are three dimensional, just… real. Young men with lives, hopes, dreams, families and the same need all human beings have to love and be loved.

All Danny Bright wants to do in life is to entertain people. Elliot Price reluctantly takes part in a talent competition because his best friend talks him into it. They and three other young men are chosen to form “Static”, the next hot American Boy Band. As is normal in these situations, there are thick contracts with lots of legalese and tiny print to be signed. All the young men take the contracts to lawyers, doing the responsible thing before signing them. They are being given the opportunity of a lifetime, right? Any one who has ever read a romance novel knows it simply can’t be that easy.

The five boys become closer than brothers, but before they know it, they are no longer people. They aren’t even a music group. They are a commodity. And for the entertainment machine to make money, certain appearances must be kept up. The boys must behave in a wholesome manner that makes the mothers of their teenage fans think it would be ok for their daughters to date them. They mustn’t drink, smoke, sleep around (too much), go to wild parties or do illegal drugs. And above all else, they must not be gay!!! They have to appear attainable to their tween fangirls.

It is painful to read the lengths to which the producer and PR people are willing to force Danny and Elliot to go to hide their love for one another. I felt the agony in Elliot’s heart every time Danny was forced on another fake date. It was maddening. It was frustrating. It had me yelling at my Kindle. I did keep myself from throwing it, though.

A loophole is eventually found in the contract by one of the other band member’s lawyers. By this point, Elliot and Danny have been forced to live this horrible, hidden existence, even breaking up, for over a year. They take a very public stand. They force the record company to back off and explain that they now know what the fine print really says!

It is so empowering to these boys to take control of their own destinies. O’Shea appears to be taking them by the hand and leading them into adulthood. Her masterful hand brings things back to center. Everyone is back where they belong. It is amazing how deep into the emotional upheaval O’Shea was able to take me. I loved every minute of it. Even the ones I hated! This is a great book. A must read.

Reviewed by: Tina

You can buy Catch My Breath here:

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Dreamspinner Press, M.J. O'Shea

When Home Isn’t A Where But A Who – Finding Shelter by M.J. O’Shea

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. – Kahlil Gibran

Yessssss. I’ve been waiting for this book since the very second I read the final words of Letting Go, Drew and Mason’s story in M.J. O’Shea’s Rock Bay series. I thought that anticipation was bad, but only until I started reading Finding Shelter and realized it was nothing in comparison to the anticipation I felt while waiting for Justin Foster and Logan O’Brien’s first kiss. That was a little more like torture.

And let me tell you, I thought the wait was worth it.

Justin has escaped to Rock Bay, the tiny town in coastal Washington State where his aunt and uncle, who will become Justin’s temporary shelter from a childhood and a life that has left its share of scars, live; though, sadly, it will never be home for Justin, because any concept he has of home means fear and pain, and is the place from which it’s always best to be prepared to run, not the place that means security or acceptance, and certainly is not a place that means forever.

Trusting in his new family’s unconditional kindness isn’t something that comes easily for Justin; trusting in the unconditional kindness of his new employers, Lex and Tally, or of friends like Mason and Drew, and particularly of Logan—the very picture of the quintessential jock, the ones who made Justin’s school days a waking nightmare of abuse—is next to inconceivable. Trusting in the fact his father won’t show up on his doorstep at any moment and serve up the hell Justin had survived and escaped from is beyond the realms of his ability to believe.

Through all the uncertainty and caution and doubt and fear and anger and heartache, though, Justin and Logan manage to fall in love, even if they do try to fool each other, and everyone else, by calling it friendship, all for lack of the faith they need to grab hold of the feeling and to the faith that what they feel for each other is not only mutual but can be the kind of shelter that feels like home.

This is the story of how a straight guy falls in love with a virtual stranger at first sight, of how there is no tangible way of explaining what attraction is or why it works. It’s the story of how bonds form and the ways it’s possible to see a person for the first time and realize he is the one you want to belong to. It isn’t rational. It isn’t logical. It isn’t measurable or verifiable. It’s life altering and soul changing. It simply is.

I so loved this story for everything it was: sweet, romantic, touching, and uplifting. If you like this series at all, I can’t imagine you won’t be so glad that Justin and Logan have got their story now, and have got the chance at a happy beginning.

You can buy Finding Shelter here:

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