5 Stars, Genre Romance, Keira Andrews, Reviewed by Sammy, Self-Published

Review: Valor on the Move by Keira Andrews

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Title: Valor on the Move

Author: Keira Andrews

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages

At a Glance: Valor on the Move has it all: action, intrigue, romance, and a glimpse at the turmoil and fears surrounding coming out to the world.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Growing up gay in the White House hasn’t been easy for Rafael Castillo. Codenamed “Valor” by the Secret Service, Rafa feels anything but brave as he hides in the closet and tries to stay below the radar in his last year of college. His father’s presidency is almost over, and he just needs to stick to his carefully crafted plan. Once his family’s out of the spotlight, he can be honest with his conservative parents about his sexuality and his dream of being a chef.

It’s definitely not part of Rafa’s plan to get a new Secret Service agent who’s a walking wet dream, but he’s made it this long keeping his desires to himself. Besides, it’s not like Shane Kendrick would even look at him twice if it wasn’t his job.

Shane’s worked his way up through the Secret Service ranks, and while protecting the president’s shy, boring son isn’t his dream White House assignment, it’s an easy enough task since no one pays Rafa much attention. He discovers there’s a vibrant young man beneath the timid public shell, and while he knows Rafa has a crush on him, he assures himself it’s harmless. Shane’s never had room for romance in his life, and he’d certainly never cross that line with a protectee. Keeping Rafa safe at any cost is Shane’s mission.

But as Rafa gets under his skin, will they both put their hearts on the line?

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Review: Keira Andrews’ Valor on the Move is a fast paced and tender m/m romance wrapped up in a mystery full of political intrigue. Like this author’s other works, this story is fairly flawless and the May/December trope is very well written and completely believable.

Rafael is the youngest child of the President of the United States. Having literally grown up in the public eye, and received both its admiration as well as the harsh and almost bullying personal critique that happens to every person in the spotlight, Rafa has remained aloof, exceptionally quiet, and never rocks the political boat like some of his sibling have during their father’s term in office. “Valor,” as Rafa is code named by his security detail, is also nicknamed the “mouse” and rightfully so. Years before, as he was entering college, Rafa’s father took a stand with the Republican Right, who put him in office based on his stance against marriages defined as anything other than between a man and a woman. At that time, on the cusp of coming out to his family, Rafa was devastated to realize he would have to remain closeted, at least until the term of office was up. Using his best friend, who is also a closeted lesbian, as a beard, no one suspected that he was anything other than a “normal” young man with a girlfriend.

When budget cuts predicated that the secret service detail in the White House change so that agents could be assigned to the front-runners in the upcoming election some few months hence, Shane Kendrick finally gets the assignment he had been dreaming of—guarding a family member of the President. While his true goal would be protecting the man in charge, his son would do for now, while Shane continues to move up in the ranks. Openly gay himself, it did not take long for Shane to uncover Rafa’s secret; however, agents never involve themselves in the lives of those they were sworn to protect—it would compromise their effectiveness to serve. But one late night invitation by Rafa morphs into more, and before Shane can even fully understand what is happening, his heart is more than a little interested, and Rafa is head over heels in lust with his Secret Service agent.

Let me begin this review by saying with absolute conviction that this is one of the very best May/December romance tropes I have ever read. With eighteen years dividing Shane from Rafa, and the younger man’s incredible naïveté about relationships, in general, as well as being a virgin, this story had all the potential to be sappy and false. Quite the opposite happens here under the deft and creative hand of Keira Andrews. Instead, we are given a tightly woven action adventure novel, with a tender and evolving romance on the side. Never losing sight of the fact that this is a novel full of political maneuverings and fraught with the danger one associates with being the first family in a world where kidnapping and murder are rampant, Valor On the Move manages to weave both action and romance into an incredibly entertaining story.

Rafa is so intent on just finishing his stint in the fishbowl his life has become that he never accounts for potentially falling in love with the person who has vowed to “protect and serve”. Shane is so busy evading the grief and guilt over losing his parents to a horrendous home fire that the last thing he is looking for is a romantic entanglement with someone nearly two decades his junior. And yet, fate throws these two together and the romance that develops between them is some of the finest storytelling I have ever read. Richly detailed and well researched information on how the safeguarding of the White House members happens, every facet of the inner workings of the Secret Service men and women rang true, lending this novel an air of authenticity that made it even more exciting to read.

The inner turmoil we are privy to as we watch the relationship grow dangerously intimate between Shane and Rafa was so palpable. Rafa could have come off as whiny and just too young despite his age of twenty-two, and yet the strength he has to continue his lie when all he desires is the freedom to live a life free of the closet makes him multi-dimensional and fascinating. The pain he feels over his father’s political betrayal is just heartbreaking to endure as you read how deeply it wounded him and nearly shattered their relationship.

Shane is so lonely, so horribly guilt ridden that the very weekend he was to be with his parents, he chose to pursue his career over his mother’s birthday celebration. When they are lost to a house fire that would claim their lives, Shane is devastated. He carries all that pain and remorse deep inside, so when he promises to always keep Rafa safe, the declaration rings with sincerity and makes the events that unfold in the novel even more realistic.

Valor on the Move has it all: action, intrigue, romance, and a glimpse at the turmoil and fears surrounding coming out to the world. I found this novel to be an outstanding piece of m/m fiction from beginning to end, and I highly recommend it to you.

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You can buy Valor on the Move here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Kim Fielding, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: The Tin Box by Kim Fielding – Narrated by K.C. Kelly

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Title: The Tin Box

Author: Kim Fielding

Narrator:: K.C. Kelly

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 26 Minutes

At a Glance: Kim Fielding has delivered an outstanding story well worth reading, and K.C. Kelly delivers an excellent performance of The Tin Box!

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: William Lyon’s past forced him to become someone he isn’t. Conflicted and unable to maintain the charade, he separates from his wife and takes a job as caretaker at a former mental hospital. Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum was the largest mental hospital in California for well over a century, but it now stands empty. William thinks the decrepit institution is the perfect place to finish his dissertation and wait for his divorce to become final. In town, William meets Colby Anderson, who minds the local store and post office. Unlike William, Colby is cute, upbeat, and flamboyantly out. Although initially put off by Colby’s mannerisms, William comes to value their new friendship, and even accepts Colby’s offer to ease him into the world of gay sex.

William’s self-image begins to change when he discovers a tin box, hidden in an asylum wall since the 1940s. It contains letters secretly written by Bill, a patient who was sent to the asylum for being homosexual. The letters hit close to home, and William comes to care about Bill and his fate. With Colby’s help, he hopes the words written seventy years ago will give him courage to be his true self.

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Review: Lynn wrote such a lovely review of The Tin Box two years ago that I knew eventually I would have to break down and read it. It’s been sitting on my TBR shelf forever, but lo and behold, it came out in audiobook too! For me, it’s so much better when a story is read to me. Especially if it has content in it that might disturb me, angst filled parts that I would normally skim over and miss something important because I can’t take it anymore. Audiobooks force me to slow down and really get the full impact of a story.

I’m a bit biased when it comes to mental asylums, since I’ve had a family member who’s been in and out of them since he was seventeen. He’s now sixty-two and is residing in one, in their dementia and brain trauma unit. Mental hospitals have come a long way since I first visited him in one when I was eleven years old, and yes, there are some abuses that still occur with patients if family or advocates are not on their toes and looking out for them.

I was so impressed by the way William used Bill’s letters to motivate him into leaving his comfort zone and become more confidant as a gay man. Colby was such a tease as he flirted with William, and I loved how these two interacted with each other. I felt the emotion in Bill’s voice as K.C. Kelly read Bill’s letters and related all the abuses he’ suffered through. Some, but not all, of the description of the asylum brought back some pretty painful and sad memories as a kid visiting one of those places. As you can probably tell, Bill kind of holds a special spot in my heart, as well as all the others who have been placed voluntarily, or involuntarily, in mental hospitals. So many are left in these places and then forgotten.

Kim Fielding has delivered an outstanding story well worth reading, and K.C. Kelly delivers an excellent performance of The Tin Box! Once again he did a wonderful job with all the characters’ voices.

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You can buy The Tin Box here:

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

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

Title: Ruin Porn

Authors: S.A. McAuley and SJD Peterson

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 252 Pages

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

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: There is underlying beauty in destruction….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe.

No I didn’t.

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

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You can buy Ruin Porn here:

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Felice Stevens, Giveaways

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Beyond the Surface Blog Tour with Felice Stevens

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We’re so pleased to welcome author Felice Stevens today, on her Beyond the Surface blog tour. When Felice and I started chatting about topics for her visit, the first thought that came to mind was, “Let’s talk about 9/11 as a New Yorker.” So, that’s what came of our conversation, a New Yorker’s look at that day and the resulting novel that sprang from it all these years later.

Enjoy Felice’s guest post, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

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A 9/11 Day

Many, if not most, people remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard of the terror attacks of 9/11. For some people it is the seminal moment in their lives.

For those of us who live in NYC, it started out as a beautiful fall day, Primary Day, in New York. I had left for work; it was to be my daughter’s first day of 3rd grade and my son was four years old. She was to go in the afternoon session, and my babysitter was getting them out early to go to the park that overlooked the Manhattan skyline.

By 9 am word had begun to trickle in that a plane had hit the towers. Then a second plane hit, and we knew it wasn’t a weather plane or a lost pilot. We sat, fearful of more attacks, unable to get in touch with our families as our cell signals were blocked. I am lucky enough to work near my home, so my babysitter brought the kids and we sat in my office waiting. For what we didn’t know.

We all know what happened after that. The firefighters, police officers and other emergency responders who died, not to mention the thousands of other innocent people. New York was shattered and brought to its knees. For all that people say it is a cold place where people are strangers, it isn’t, at least for me. New York is a city made up of small towns. Our neighbors know one another and say hello on the street. We all became neighbors that day and for the months afterwards.

Our neighborhood firehouse is very close to the people they serve; my rabbi is a chaplain for the FDNY, and they’re an integral part of our community. They lost 6 firefighters that day, and it broke our collective hearts. We held vigils with them in the firehouse and sang songs of hope, loss and love on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

I never set out to write a 9/11 story specifically; an idea came to me to write about a man suffering from scars, and it somehow morphed into a fireman, 9//11 injuries and the resulting PTSD he endures. I visited our firehouse to talk to the men and get their take on what I was writing, to make sure I got it “right.”

Beyond the Surface is my personal tribute to the 9/11 survivors, the ones who made it out alive, beaten but not broken. Nick Fletcher, the closeted fireman in the book, didn’t believe he had a right to live and punished himself because he survived, while his buddies in his house didn’t. Julian Cornell, his lover, helped him to see that no one knows what will happen in life, that you have to live each day to its fullest and look beyond the pain to what the future holds. This isn’t a book of love conquering all, but how love and the healing powers it represents, can help.

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Beyond the SurfaceBlurb: On 9/11, firefighter Nick Fletcher’s world changed forever. He’s unable to rid himself of survivor’s guilt, made worse by the secret he hides from his family and co-workers. Nick’s life is centered around helping burn victims, until he is reunited with the man he’d once loved but pushed away. Now he has a second chance at a love he thought lost forever.

For fashion designer Julian Cornell, appearances mean everything. His love affairs are strictly casual, and the only thing he cares about is making his clothing line a success. A chance encounter with the man he loved long ago has Julian thinking for the first time in years there may be more to life than being seen at the best parties and what designer labels to wear.

When Julian’s world takes an unexpected turn, it’s Nick who helps him regain perspective on what matters most in life. Julian, in turn, helps Nick accept who he is and understand he isn’t responsible for tragedies he couldn’t prevent. Lost love found can be even sweeter the second time around and after all the years apart, both men learn to look beyond the surface to find the men they are inside.

Beyond the Surface is available for purchase at Amazon.com

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Author BioAbout the Author: Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

Social Media Links: Website || Facebook || Facebook Author Page || Twitter || Amazon Author Page

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THE GIVEAWAY

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5 Stars, Elle Kennedy, Genre Romance, Rennie Road Publishing, Reviewed by Jules, Sarina Bowen

Release Day Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

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Title: Him

Authors: Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Publisher: Rennie Roads Books

Pages/Word Count: 276 Pages

At a Glance: I could go on and on with things I loved about this book…

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—
can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.

Warning: contains sexual situations, hotties on hockey skates, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

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Review: Seriously hot. Seriously swoony. Seriously good.

When I first started reading Him, I was just coming off of a couple of really fantastic reads, both of which were completely different types of books from what I expected this one to be. I worried that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do adrenaline-fueled, high testosterone, alpha males. Him blew my expectations out of the water. I quickly realized that I was putting it in a certain box in my head, which also ended up getting blown to smithereens. I absolutely loved this book.

Aside from the guys – who I ADORED – the first thing I didn’t know I would love so much was the hockey! The writing team of Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy has made a hockey fan out of me. No joke. These ladies obviously know their stuff, which made the reading experience that much more fantastic and exciting. During the Frozen Four bit in the beginning, I felt like I was there. And, I loved the hockey metaphors and jokes used throughout the book. The main characters’ love of the game, particularly Wes’s, was so evident it made me love the game.

This book can be classified as so many things: Friends-to-lovers; Second Chances; Coming Out; and GFY being chief among them. But, I have to say I appreciate that the authors didn’t make it a full on GFY cliché. While Jamie has not – aside from the one experience with Wes at hockey camp when they were seniors in high school – ever been attracted to guys, and truly does love women, he does explore his feelings (Okay – he spends an afternoon watching gay porn. Same thing.) enough to know that he IS attracted to other men, not just Wes. I’m glad that the authors went the direction they did with it. It felt much more authentic and true to Jamie’s character.

I could go on and on with things I loved about this book…The friendship between these two, the strength and beauty of Wes, the humor, Jamie’s family, the HOT AS HELL SEX… Seriously – on and on and on. But you need to just go and experience it all for yourselves. Never having previously read either author, I honestly had no idea what to expect. What I got was an extremely tight, well-written, FUNNY, friends-to-lovers story that I whole-heartedly recommend, and am sure I will reread myself more than once. Don’t miss out on this one, guys!

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You can buy Him here:

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2.5 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed By JJ, Sue Brown

Audio Review: Ed & Marchant by Sue Brown – Narrated by Max Lehnen

Title: Ed & Marchant (A Novella in Frankie’s Series)

Author: Sue Brown

Narrator:: Max Lehnen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 3 Hours and 59 Minutes

At a Glance: I really enjoyed the audio portion of Ed & Marchant, but I found it impossible to like the book when the main character, Ed, was so disagreeable.

Reviewed By: Johanis

Blurb: Ed Winters despises his job and hates everyone he works with—especially out and proud, happily in love Frankie Mason. He spends his days wishing he could dance, rather than work.

Late to go shopping one day, Ed ends up soaked in Marchant Belarus’s spilled Coke. Ed’s humiliation increases when Marchant, the owner of a BDSM club, realizes Ed is a sub, albeit a very closeted one. Marchant’s attempts to draw Ed out of his shell release years of pent-up anger and hurt over the abuse Ed’s mother and grandmother heaped on him.

Marchant is patient, but nothing he does seems to help until he discovers Ed’s secret love of dancing—a forbidden passion that might be the key to unlocking the confident, secure man Ed could be.

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Review: Ed, a disgruntled and homophobic supervisor, has a chance encounter with Marchant, a dominant younger man who fascinates him. Marchant acts on their immediate attraction and tells Ed that he knows he is a gay submissive. Ed is appalled by Marchant’s accusation and continues to deny that he’s gay. Since Ed’s mother tried to beat the gay out of him as a child, Ed is very negative about his desires, and believes he’s a horrible deviant. Marchant eventually convinces Ed that this is not the case, and gets him to loosen up. Ed even goes as far as apologizing to a gay employee who he wronged in the past. When Ed and Marchant come together, Ed decides to quit his job and focus instead on dancing. After six months pass, Ed is ready to submit to Marchant and take on a submissive role in their relationship.

I really wanted to like this book, but I found it impossible to like it when the main character, Ed, was so disagreeable. Ed is a self-proclaimed homophobe who hates everyone and everything. Though I liked Marchant, I didn’t really understand why he would ever look twice at Ed. I also found it unrealistic that Marchant had one encounter with Ed and knew right away that Ed was a gay submissive. The next roadblock to my enjoyment of this book was that neither character seemed sexy in any way. Ed was a grouchy older man, and Marchant was a younger gentleman-type. Though the book had some sex scenes sprinkled in, I’m not sure whether the couple ever gets to the point of sleeping together. Although my interest in the characters was negligible, I was able to follow the story, and I never once felt that I had to stop reading. At one point, I actually started to like Ed, but then the book ended shortly afterward.

Narration: I really enjoyed the audio portion of this book. I think the reader did an excellent job, and I never once was taken away from the story due to the narration. As an additional note, this book was narrated in British English.

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You can buy Ed & Marchant here:

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4.5 Stars, Amber Allure, Angel Martinez, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: The Pill Bugs of Time by Angel Martinez

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Title: The Pill Bugs of Time

Author: Angel Martinez

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 62 Pages

At a Glance: The Pill Bugs of Time is a funny little gem!

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Vikash Soren, the perfect police officer except for his odd paranormal ability, never seems to lose his temper. Always serene and competent, he’s taken on the role of mediator in a squad room full of misfits. But on the inside, he’s a mess. Unable to tell his police partner that he loves him, Vikash struggles silently, terrified of losing Kyle Monroe as a lover, partner, and friend.

But life in Philadelphia’s 77th Precinct doesn’t leave much room for internal reflection. A confrontation with a stick-throwing tumbleweed in Fairmount Park leads to bizarre consequences involving pill bugs, statues, and… time travel?

If Vikash manages to survive the week and stay in one point in time, he might be able to address normal things like relationship problems. He just needs Kyle to have a little more patience. Maybe a few centuries worth…

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Review: First off, this is a sequel but can honestly be read as a standalone. Secondly, it is funny, clever, crazy and just the best kind of weird paranormal one has come to expect from this marvelous author, Angel Martinez. The Pill Bugs Of Time carries us back to the 77th Precinct, where life is far from normal and the inhabitants all have a touch of paranormal gifting that cannot always be controlled.

On a routine call (well, routine if you are from this Philadelphia squad), Vikash picks up a bug that has the ability to send him to an alternate reality and put him into a coma-like state. Still struggling with being romantically involved with his partner Kyle, Kash wakes up to realize he was just privy to a future where Kyle is no longer, and this adds to his already heavy laden guilt about being so deeply in the closet he cannot find the door.

As the two of them pursued the source of these weird time travel bugs, Kash and Kyle would face a tougher problem—whether they can realistically stay together when Kash cannot acknowledge in public that they are a couple. Lots of things hang in the balance as these two fight this new paranormal baddie, not the least of which is the potential ending of a relationship that barely had a chance to begin.

There were times in this sweet little story that I laughed till my sides hurt. Such a clever premise combined with fast paced action, unbelievably delightful characters, and a fascinating plot line. The cast of characters was just so eclectic and surreal that they absolutely worked, somehow making them a realistic team of cops in a wacky setting. With Kyle and Kash as the leaders of a hodgepodge of crazy fellow investigators, hilarity ensued as this group somehow managed to work together despite their individual paranormal gifts, which often got them all into trouble.

However, all was not fun and games in this novella. My heart just broke for poor Kash as he struggled to find some way to break through his own fears. He was hyperaware that Kyle deserved so much more than a boyfriend who lived with the irrational worry that he would be outed to colleagues and family. He grappled with the sure thought that Kyle was eventually going to wake up to the fact that Kash himself was sabotaging their floundering relationship. By refusing to even allow Kyle to talk about the fact that they practically lived together, much less physically display any type of affection in public, Kash drove Kyle further and further away, and essentially killed any hope of them remaining lovers. Right up to the end of this clever and witty story, we were uncertain if the two main characters would be together at the end.

The Pill Bugs Of Time by Angel Martinez was just a delightful story of love and friendship. Underlying all the fun was the profound message that we can lose that which we love in a heartbeat, and that reality should remind us to keep what we hold dear close and never take it for granted.

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

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

Title: Not Just Friends

Author: Jaye Northcote

Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 6 Hours and 47 Minutes

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

Reviewed By: Sadonna

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

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

Dividers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







 

You can buy Not Just Friends here:

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2.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 2.5 Stars, Reviewed by Sadonna, Tara Lain

Audio Review: Outing the Quarterback by Tara Lain – Narrated by John-Paul Barrel

Title: Outing the Quarterback

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: John-Paul Barrel

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours, 30 Minutes

At a Glance: This is definitely not my favorite from this author, and I am still not convinced audiobooks are for me.

Reviewed By: Sadonna

Blurb: Will Ashford lives in two closets. He meets his wealthy father’s goals as both the quarterback for the famous SCU football team and a business major, but secretly he attends art school and longs to live as a painter. And he’s gay. But if he can win the coveted Milton Scholarship for art, he’ll be able to break from his father at the end of his senior year.

In a painting master class, Will meets his divergent opposite, Noah Zajack. A scarred orphan who’s slept on park benches and eaten from trash cans, Noah carefully plans his life and multiple jobs so he has money and time to go to art school. Will’s problems seem like nothing compared to Noah’s. Noah wants the scholarship too and may have a way to get it, since the teacher of his class has designs on him–a plan about which Will isn’t happy.

Dividers

Review: Hmmmm. Where to start. I am really a fan of this author, but this book just didn’t work for me. I do think part of the issue was the narrator, but I also had issues with the story.

Will Ashford is the starting quarterback of the fictitious Southern California University football team, and his girlfriend is the head cheerleader. That would all be great except for one big fat problem – Will is gay. He has no desire to go to the NFL, and he really just wants to paint, so he’s taking a Master class under an assumed name. He’s a really talented painter, and he wants to win a scholarship to attend Art school so that he can leave his family expectations behind and not have to worry about tuition, etc.

In this class, Will meets Noah – who is both a model and a rival painter, and Will’s entranced by him. The instructor of the class is also interested in Noah, and his recommendation may be a key to getting this scholarship. For Will, though, trying to keep up on his painting class, his football practice, his other courses, his internship at his father’s company, as well as keeping off the radar of the campus YouTube gossip hound, and continue to feign interest in his girlfriend while also trying to keep the proverbial closet door shut and locked, is taking a big toll on him.

When Will runs into Noah outside of class, at one of Noah’s jobs, all he can think of is not being outed as an artist. Noah respects him as an artist, but he doesn’t think much of him as a person. And that’s before he knows that Will hasn’t exactly been forthcoming.

The character I like the most in this story is actually Will’s best friend Jamal, who is the center on his football team. He really is the kind of best friend everyone needs. I’m looking forward to reading his story, which is the second book in this series. Jamal always has Will’s back, doesn’t judge, and tries to do whatever he can to help Will out of whatever crappy situation he finds himself in. And Will would do the same for Jamal.

As the story progresses, of course Will cannot continue to hide his orientation from Noah when he is so attracted. They have a complicated relationship not only because of the art scholarship they both really want but because they come from such different worlds. Will feels trapped in the gilded cage, and Noah has never had any kind of stability in his life, other than what he has managed on his own.

Of course, as these things go, there must be a moment of truth when Will is put in the position to confirm or deny his orientation, his life choices, and his career aspirations. He is not only going to have to face the press, the football fans, and his father, but he’s going to have to face Noah and make a decision about how he’s going to live his life.

So why do I say this audio book didn’t work for me? Truly, I didn’t care for the narrator. To make sure, I read some of the book after I had finished listening to it, and I liked it a LOT more when I was in control of the story. His attempt at a sort of “sultry/sexy” voice for Will just was difficult for me to listen to and felt very put on and over the top. Then his older adult voice characterizations just did not sound right to me at all. Will’s dad and the art professor both sounded like they had chronic constipation. Honestly, the best characterization, I thought, was Jamal. That voice I could believe. He sounded age appropriate, and his speech pattern was much more authentic.

The other issues I had with the story are probably personal taste. I do not like penis nicknames and this one had a doozy. I know he’s a young guy, but no. And I also didn’t care for some of the other nicknames either. Finally, I just could not like Will as a character. The first, probably, eighty percent of the book, I felt like I was forcing myself just to get through it, and only in the last twenty percent did I finally want to know what was going to happen.

I will definitely read the next story in this series – but I will be reading it to myself. ;) As usual, YMMV.






You can buy Outing the Quarterback here:

Audible.com

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4.5 Stars, Carina Press, Genre Romance, J. Leigh Bailey, Reviewed by Jules

Review: Nobody’s Hero by J. Leigh Bailey

Title: Nobody’s Hero

Author: J. Leigh Bailey

Publisher: Carina Press

Pages/Word Count: 205 Pages

At a Glance: This is a very sweet romance, with a lovely group of characters that you’ll wish were your neighbors.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Bradley Greene’s family all but discarded him when his brother caught him fooling around with another boy. Now Bradley has seventeen dollars and a gas card, and he’s sleeping in his car. He’s an emotional mess and if he doesn’t land a job soon, he’s up the proverbial creek.

Danny Ortega can take care of himself…most of the time. When what started as a date turns into sexual assault in a dark parking lot, he’s grateful for Brad’s help—and an instant admirer of Brad’s military school-honed muscles. He certainly doesn’t expect to see him again, and definitely not as the newest hire at Ortega Construction.

As Brad and Danny’s quiet attraction turns into more, things start to go sour before they’ve even started. Danny grows frustrated that Brad won’t open up emotionally. And Brad is terrified of being responsible for someone else’s feelings. When Brad’s family makes one last attempt to turn him into an “acceptable” son, all bets are off—he and Danny will need to decide if they’re in this together…or apart.

Dividers

Review: I enjoyed this one very much. Here’s a one-word reason why: ORTEGAS. This family is fantastic, but not unrealistically so. They are very real, and it makes you feel good to your core to know that there really are families out there doing it right—loving their kids unconditionally, supporting them, no matter what. Nobody’s Hero has a couple of dark moments…there is some underlying ugliness at work on a couple of fronts…but, at the heart of it, this is a very sweet romance, with a lovely group of characters that you’ll wish were your neighbors.

When we meet Brad Greene, we see that he is struggling right off the bat, sleeping in his truck, wishing with everything in him that his job interview the following day goes well and that he can finally breathe again—new town, scholarship for college, and, hopefully exactly the fresh start he desperately needs. Meeting Danny is not a part of Brad’s plan, but he’ll soon find out that Danny is a force to be reckoned with.

Danny Ortega is incredibly likeable and completely fabulous. I fell in love with him the first moment he was on page, and fell even harder as the book progressed. He’s every positive adjective you can think of – smart, sweet, thoughtful, nurturing, trusting, handsome, etc. – but he’s also sassy, spunky, and will take you out if you threaten him or his family. His patience with Brad is amazing. I loved how much time and space he gave him, even though it was hard, and that he didn’t push him for his story. There came a time, of course, where it became too much:

“Brad was pushing him back into the closet, a closet he’d never accepted in the first place. The closet may have been a garage apartment with used furniture and a sexy boyfriend, but it was still a closet.”

But, Danny is nothing if not loyal and forgiving, and when he finally does hear Brad’s story, he can’t do anything but put it all on the line and be there for him.

There are two conflicts in the storyline, both basically coming to a head at the same time. J. Leigh Bailey does a nice job of bringing everything together and wrapping it all up. Though bits of it were somewhat predictable, it didn’t take away from the reading experience at all. I liked how she resolved the issues with Danny’s brother Ray, and I can’t tell you how satisfying the showdown with Brad’s family was. So good.

According to the Goodreads listing, Nobody’s Hero is slated as the first book in a series. If the next book isn’t about Danny and Brad, I hope they at least make an appearance! Either way, I will definitely be on the lookout for more things from this author.

TNA_Signature_Jules






You can buy Nobody’s Hero here:

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5 Stars, Cecilia Tan, Literary Fiction, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Daron’s Guitar Chronicles: Volume Six by Cecilia Tan

Title: Daron’s Guitar Chronicles: Volume Six

Author: Cecilia Tan

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 547 Pages

At a Glance: Cecilia Tan continues to deliver

Blurb: The latest installment of the award-winning web serial about coming out and coming of age in the 1980s.

After the tumultuous events at the end of the tour in 1989 leave Daron and the band reeling, it’s time to get off the road for a while. When an opportunity to stay in Los Angeles comes up, Daron takes it. There’s session work and music industry schmoozing galore to be done in LA, but Daron’s true reason for wanting to be on the West Coast temporarily is simple: Ziggy is in isolation drug rehab in Cailfornia. Daron wants to be nearby, even if Ziggy can’t communicate with the outside world. Is Daron prepared to deal with Digger, record company politics, and creative challenges alone?

Bonus Content: Ziggy’s Diary

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Review: The first person narrative has rarely been used to greater effect than in Cecilia Tan’s online serial Daron’s Guitar Chronicles. The relationship between Daron and the reader is something I’ve never experienced before, and I don’t believe could have been achieved in the third person, limited or omniscient, as brilliantly as it’s been done here. Daron’s narrative is intimate, personal, and it’s, of all the oddest things, interactive. Or maybe it’s reactive. Whatever one wishes to call it, there are times during the reading of this, and the previous books, that I wanted to hug him, shake him by the shoulders, give him an earful, and then go right back to hugging him through his pain and torment. I’ve rarely ever connected to a character this way, maybe never on this level, and it’s a testament to Cecilia Tan’s storytelling that Daron exists as something more than merely a character on the page but as a person who feels real and alive, if only somewhere in the realms of pure imagination.

Daron’s Guitar Chronicles is a fictional autobiography, which is an oxymoron, true, but fits, as Daron himself is chronicling his life from a point in the future that’s unknown to readers. We can assume he’s settled but with whom we can only guess, nor do we know yet what it’s taken to get him to the point of sharing his memories with us, but these are variables with which the author can, and I’m sure will, still mine a wealth of storyline from this man’s life.

There is a Ziggy shaped hole in this installment of the Chronicles, and never has the presence of a character been felt so keenly than in his absence. For those who are unfamiliar, Ziggy is (or was) the lead singer of Moondog Three. The band was on the cusp of superstardom when Ziggy had a meltdown for the ages that landed him in the Betty Ford clinic and left Daron in the arms of Jonathan, the man Daron tries, almost desperately at times, to allow to fill the Ziggy shaped hole in his heart.

Volume Six reads like an interlude of sorts. Where Volumes One through Five are a sumptuous overture, this installment offers the chance for readers to pause and reflect along with Daron on everything that has happened to this point in his short life: the successes, the failures, the joy and the heartbreak. Moondog Three appears to be crashing just as quickly as they rose, and Daron Moondog, under threat of lawsuit, is no longer permitted to exist, forcing Daron to reclaim his surname, if not his identity, as his estranged father Digger Marks’ son. One of the loveliest juxtapositions in this book, from the view of the first person, is the role reversal–Daron is at loose ends without Ziggy, while Ziggy, who has always been the loose cannon and free spirit, is pulling his life together after rehab, jetting off to India, where he’s gone for a little spiritual reflection. It’s not until the bonus chapters at the end of the book that the reader gets a glimpse into Ziggy’s world, which is saddening and maddening at the same time, but sets up what will be the inevitable reunion with Daron. Daron and Ziggy have both learned some things about themselves in their time apart. What remains to be seen, though, is if what they’ve learned will help or further damage their relationship (at least for those of us who don’t follow the serial online).

With everything in limbo for Daron, including Ziggy’s exact whereabouts once he leaves rehab, we watch Daron take a crack at domesticity with Jonathan, an experiment that on the surface may seem a failure but did, in truth, serve a purpose other than to cause me to shout at my e-reader that Daron is with the wrong man. And then, eventually, didn’t I tell you so, Daron?, when the inevitable happens. But, as difficult and frustrating as it was to watch Daron going through the motions of playing house, this act is a necessary part of Daron’s evolution, and it allows the reader to get to know and love Jonathan a bit better. It would have been an insult to Daron, Ziggy, Jonathan, and to readers if Cecilia Tan hadn’t given thorough examination to this time in Daron’s life. No deus ex machinas, no pat answers and simple resolutions could have happened at this juncture. Everything that happens in this book, Daron’s growing and growing up, his cutting off ties with his father while strengthening his bond with Remo Cutler—Daron’s best friend and surrogate father figure—as well as his friendship with Jonathan and separation from Ziggy, is necessary to the whole of this saga.

As always, the author’s attention to detail is meticulous, not to mention impressive, never once weighing down the pace of the narrative. Reading this serial has been like getting an insider’s view of the music business, told to us by a young man who is charming, vulnerable, tenacious, and so easy to love. Daron’s relationship with his guitars and music transcends and informs his relationships with people, and serves as the foundation for his coming to terms with being gay, finding the courage to come out to his closest friends, and learning how to say what he feels and ask for what he wants. How this will play out in Volume Seven, when Daron and Ziggy reunite, promises to be epic.

The first five books in this serial made it onto my Best Books of 2014 list. There is no question Volume Six, and if I’m lucky this year, maybe even Volume Seven too, will make it onto the list for 2015.






You can buy Daron’s Guitar Chronicles: Volume Six here:

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3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jackie, Tara Lain

Review: Outing the Quarterback by Tara Lain

Title: Outing the Quarterback

Author: Tara Lain

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 216 Pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: Will Ashford lives in two closets. He meets his wealthy father’s goals as both the quarterback for the famous SCU football team and a business major, but secretly he attends art school and longs to live as a painter. And he’s gay. But if he can win the coveted Milton Scholarship for art, he’ll be able to break from his father at the end of his senior year. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Literary Fiction, Noah Willoughby, Reviewed by Sammy, Self-Published

Review: Dilemma by Noah Willoughby

Title: Dilemma

Author: Noah Willoughby

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 195 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Though surrounded by people on a daily basis, Chuck is a miserably lonely man, desperately seeking companionship and affection. Not only does his shy personality make him reluctant to approach others, but he also harbors a secret side of himself that he’s tried to suppress and forget for many years. This secret side fills him with a kind of self-loathing, and he unknowingly makes himself unapproachable to others around him. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Bold Strokes Books, Brian McNamara, Reviewed by Tina, Young Adult

Review: Bottled Up Secret by Brian McNamara

Title: Bottled Up Secret

Author: Brian McNamara

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Pages/Word Count: 264 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Brendan Madden is in the midst of his senior year of high school and couldn’t be happier. He has a great group of friends, his pick of colleges, and he has recently come to terms with his sexuality. One night, he meets Mark Galovic, a gorgeous, younger classmate of his. In a matter of minutes, Brendan is hooked. As the friendship between them grows, Brendan reaches his breaking point when he spontaneously confesses his feelings to him. Brendan is shocked and elated to find out that Mark feels the same way about him. The two begin to date, but because Mark is not out, it must remain a secret. As their friends and family become suspicious, openly gay Brendan becomes increasingly frustrated with their discreet relationship, while Mark becomes more and more paranoid that they’re going to be found out. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Geoff Laughton, Harmony Ink Press, Reviewed by Sammy, Young Adult

Review: Under the Stars by Geoff Laughton

Title: Under the Stars

Author: Geoff Laughton

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Pages/Word Count: 180 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Ethan Tanner is an out and proud, fastidious, and fashionable sixteen-year-old vegetarian who likes theater and musicals. This year, it’s his sister’s turn to pick the vacation destination, so he ends up on a dude ranch he knows he is going to hate. What with the dirt, animals, and germs, he can’t possibly be happy. Continue reading

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Self-Published, Taylor V. Donovan

Guest Post and Giveaway: Heavy Hitters by Taylor V. Donovan

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Knocked Down By Machismo

Hello, everyone!

Those of you who have read my work already know my stories are mostly inspired by everyday situations. For those of you who have yet to read my work and have absolutely no clue what to expect, I’ll tell you realism is my “thing.” There’s no magic penis that’ll cure anything and everything, but there’s a strong desire to be happy. There’s love, commitment, and there’s hope.
I’ll always try my best to make my readers part of my characters’ journey. Now, it’s never a quick or easy road, but my readers tell me they feel emotionally invested by the time they reach The End… or The Beginning. It always depends on which story they choose to read first. ;-) Continue reading

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A.J. Truman, Self-Published

Interview and Giveaway: Out in the Open by A.J. Truman

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Blurb:

Libraries are meant for studying – not sex

College sophomore Ethan Follett never says what’s on his mind and never wants to rock the boat. After a high school social life spent anonymous and alone, things are finally falling into place for him. He’s found a group of friends just as studious as he, and is on track for a promising legal career. Out in the open, things couldn’t be better, but secretly Ethan yearns for some real excitement in his life.

He finds it in cocky fratboy Greg Sanderson, who challenges every rigid, preconceived notion Ethan lives by. Soon, their sparring relationship turns sexual, and these enemies-with-benefits get their freak on all over campus.  Yet the more Ethan comes out of his shell, the more Greg retreats into his, working overtime to keep his ladies man public persona intact. As the sex gets hotter, and they get closer to getting caught, one part of their arrangement can’t stay hidden any longer: love. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Cecilia Tan, Drama, Literary Fiction, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Series Review: Daron’s Guitar Chronicles by Cecilia Tan

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Title: Daron’s Guitar Chronicles: Volumes One-Five

Author: Cecilia Tan

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 1000+ Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Coming out and coming of age in the days of AIDS, MTV, Reaganomics, and Just Say No.

Daron Marks is a young guitar player with a dream, make it big like the guys he grew up idolizing in New Jersey–or at least escape his dysfunctional family. He makes it as far as music school in Rhode Island, and the stages of Boston beckon. But it’s hard to succeed from the closet. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Erotica, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Rocky Ridge Books, Z. Allora

Review: With Wings (The Dark Angels: Book One) by Z. Allora

Title: With Wings (The Dark Angels: Book One)

Author: Z. Allora

Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books

Pages/Word Count: 251 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: The lights go down and stage lights up. The Dark Angels have arrived. With his come-hither voice and body made for sin, lead singer Angel Luv draws lovers like a magnet. And when he caresses and taunts shy guitarist Darius Stone on stage, well…it’s an act, right? But every touch lights a fire, and every flirtatious glance chips away at Dare’s certainty that he’s straight. No one else has so captured his imagination. Continue reading

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Charley Descoteaux, Charli Green, Harmony Ink Press

Guest Post and Giveaway: “First Time For Everything” Anthology With Charli Green

10-1113tm-vector2-3718Hi everyone!

First, I want to thank Lisa for having me back again so soon!

Second, I want to explain that first thing. Charli Green is my YA pseudonym, but the name Charley Descoteaux is probably more familiar around here. Not everyone does it this way, but I’m keeping my YA separate from my ERom. If I’m lucky enough to have readers under 18, they probably don’t need my help to find erotic romance. Charley talks about Charli’s YA on my main blog (FB, etc.), but it doesn’t go the other way—sort of like a heart valve.

Okay, now that that’s taken care of… Continue reading

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, K. Vale, Liquid Silver Books, Reviewed by Jackie

Two Men Come To Terms With The Truth In K. Vale’s “Hard Act to Follow”

Title: Hard Act to Follow (Shooting Stars: Book Three)

Author: K. Vale

Publisher: Liquid Silver Books

Pages/Word Count: 171 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Kyrie is an actor with a physical aversion to telling lies, a one-eyed cat, and horrible taste in men. His ex-brother-in-law and best friend, Greg, harbors a secret crush he can’t shake. After denying his feelings for Kyrie for too long, Greg finally gives in to desire one drunken night. Come the morning, the facts get twisted. Kyrie pretends he doesn’t remember a thing—a lie that eats him alive—and Greg can’t stop thinking about how he screwed up the best thing in his life. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jackie, Wade Kelly

Wade Kelly’s “Names Can Never Hurt Me” Challenges Labels

Title: Names Can Never Hurt Me

Author: Wade Kelly

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 340 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: What if sexuality wasn’t a definable thing and labels merely got in the way?

Nick Jones can’t remember a time when he wasn’t part of the in crowd. Everywhere he goes, he stands out as the best looking guy in the room, and women practically fall into bed with him. Then, after kissing Corey on a dare led much more and on many occasions, Nick’s “screw anything” reputation escalated, but he didn’t care. Continue reading

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2.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Grace R. Duncan, Reviewed by Sammy

Grace R. Duncan Takes On Homophobia And Coming Out In “No Sacrifice”

“Burst down those closet doors once and for all, and stand up and start to fight. – Harvey Milk


Title: No Scarifice

Author: Grace R. Duncan

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 400 Pages

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Blurb: Patrick has taken his acting talents from high school all the way to a role in a major television show.

But as the show progresses, his life of absolute certainties crumbles when he finds himself reacting to the kisses of his male costar. He refuses to accept it, reminding himself he’s married and a father—and thus, straight. Continue reading

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3 Stars, Genre Romance, M.E. Sanford, Reviewed by Tina, Self-Published

M.E. Sanford’s “The Wind Your Voice, the Rain Your Tears” Is A Story With Potential

“So, which is it? Birds of a feather, or opposites attract? I guess that’s the mystery of love.” ― Candice Snow


Title: The Wind Your Voice, the Rain Your Tears (Golden Nettle #1)

Author: M.E. Sanford

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 183 Pages

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb: Small town mechanic Vinny Shields doesn’t have much going for him. He has a girlfriend that seems to chase every man that crosses her path. His father and mother are consistently unimpressed with his lifestyle. And his younger brother just dropped a bombshell that will change the dynamic of his family. Continue reading

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