A.M. Arthur, Giveaways

Character Interview and Giveaway: The World As He Sees It Blog Tour with A.M. Arthur

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Please join us in welcoming author A.M. Arthur today on the tour for her latest novel The World As He Sees It. Enjoy the character interview with Gabe Henson, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win a Grand Prize Goodie Basket, featuring 1 signed paperback of The Truth As He Knows It, 1 signed paperback of The World As He Sees it, plus a bunch of other goodies (notebooks, cute post-it’s, etc…).

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Good luck!

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Hi, A.M., thank you for agreeing to this interview. Before we get to Gabe, tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

AM: Hello! I’m a contemporary m/m romance author (who occasionally dips into paranormal). I hail from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, equal distances from beaches and corn fields, and I currently share my apartment with two rascals of kitties.

My current book, The World As He Sees It, is the second in my Perspectives series with Samhain Publishing. It’s Tristan and Gabe’s book, and anyone who read the first Perspectives knows why Tristan is super special. He has severe short term memory loss, which prevents him from living a fully realized life. Gabe spends all of his time and money taking care of his alcoholic mother, which prevents him, also, from living a fully realized life. I’m so excited for readers to finally get their story.

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Q: What do you find attractive in a man?

Gabe: Certain physical things will always be a turn on, I won’t lie about that. I mean, one of my jobs requires being naked with some of the best looking men on the planet. But other than being fit, I love a guy’s eyes. Eyes can tell you so much about a person. Also confidence. Knowing what you want and going for it, and I’m not just talking about in bed. In life too.

Q: What’s the first thing that went through your head when you saw Tristan?

Gabe: The first thing I thought was “I want to hug him.” It’s weird, I know, but our first meeting was pretty unusual, because he was freaking out and upset, and I didn’t know how to help him. All I knew was that I wanted to hug him and make it better. When I saw him again, a month later, the first thing I thought was “holy shit, he is as beautiful as I remember.”

Q: Do you think you’ll insist the author visits you again?

Gabe: I won’t insist, but I think Tristan will. His recovery is an ongoing, never-ending thing, and he’ll want the future reassurance that things are okay with us.

Q: Before you met Tristan, what was your ideal man?

Gabe: Hot and hung. Before Tristan, I wasn’t looking for anything serious or long-term. I had too much going on at the time, and I’d been hurt pretty badly by the one relationship I tried. So mostly I wanted sex, and I found a way to get good, regular sex with a lot of hot, hung men. I never realized Tristan was my ideal guy until I met him.

Q: You’re going out for dinner. What’s your favorite food?

Gabe: I’m so glad Tristan isn’t here to say sausage and try to make me blush. That’s his favorite thing lately. My own personal favorite food is my Dad’s homemade vegetable lasagna, but I don’t go out for that exactly. If I’m choosing a restaurant, it’s because I know they make a good steak. A medium-rare steak with blue cheese and a baked potato is heaven on a plate.

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The World as He Sees ItBlurbLove knows no limits…but fear could keep them from seeing it.

Gabe lives a double life. As Gabriel Henson, he works multiple jobs to support his remorseless, alcoholic mother. As Tony Ryder, he does internet porn for extra cash and regular safe sex without complications.

Yet when he encounters a scared young man freaking out in a night club, he’s compelled to reach out. Ever since then, the memory of that young man has haunted him.

Tristan Lavelle lives his life thirty minutes at a time. After a traumatic brain injury three years ago, he gets through his day recording his life in spiral notebooks and sticky note reminders.

A month after Tristan’s embarrassingly public meltdown, another chance meeting with Gabe sparks a warm, emotionally fulfilling email relationship. Both men crave more, but fear of the next step stands between them.

Until Tristan gets the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial that could improve his memory—if the side effects don’t kill him. But for Tristan, the possibility of a real life with Gabe is worth any risk…

Buy Links: Samhain Publishing || Amazon || ARe

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Author BioAbout the author: A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland.  She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop.  She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories.

When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder.  She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Contact her at am_arthur@yahoo.com with your cooking tips (or book comments).

Social Media Links: Facebook Page || Twitter || Pinerest || Tumblr || Blog

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Tour Dates & Stops:

20-Oct

Love Bytes

Mikky’s World of Books

Hearts on Fire

The Novel Approach

21-Oct

3 Chicks After Dark

Bayou Book Junkie

22-Oct

Prism Book Alliance

Just Love Romance

23-Oct

Bookaholic Confessions

TTC Books and More

26-Oct

MM Good Book Reviews

Divine Magazine

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

27-Oct

Velvet Panic

Michael Mandrake

Amanda C. Stone

28-Oct

Happily Ever Chapter

29-Oct

Inked Rainbow Reads

30-Oct

Book Reviews and More by Kathy

2-Nov

Dawn’s Reading Nook

It’s Raining Men

The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat

3-Nov

Iyana Jenna

My Fiction Nook

4-Nov

Bike Book Reviews

Foxylutely Book Reviews

5-Nov

Jessie G. Books

6-Nov

BFD Book Blog

9-Nov

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

10-Nov

Cathy Brockman Romances

Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy

11-Nov

Kimi-Chan

12-Nov

Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

Joyfully Jay

13-Nov

Rainbow Gold Reviews

16-Nov

Molly Lolly

Nephylim

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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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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, Genre Romance, Megan Erickson, Penguin/InterMix, Reviewed by Jules

Excerpt and Review: Focus on Me by Megan Erickson

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Title: Focus on Me

Author: Megan Erickson

Publisher: Penguin/InterMix

Pages/Word Count: 204 Pages

At a Glance: Megan Erickson has hit another homerun.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.

Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option…

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Excerpt: “Why’d you come back?” I asked, my voice hoarse.

He licked his lower lip, the underside of his tongue running across the ridges on the surface. I wanted that to be my tongue. I wanted to feel those ridges when I kissed him, when those lips rasped over mine. He took his bottom lip and sawed his top teeth over it, abusing the skin. I reached up and gripped his chin, pressing below his lip until it popped out between his teeth.

He met my gaze and blinked. “Because you’re the first person in a long time to make me feel anything. And because I want you.” His voice was barely a tone, just a series of sounds skating up his throat. I hadn’t realized how badly I wanted to hear those words, said in such a desperate, pleading way. And not just from anyone, but from Riley, with his eyes locked on mine while my fingers gripped his chin.

I leaned in and brushed my lips across his. My eyes drifted shut, and when I opened them, our noses were touching. “Show me, then.”

His breath rushed out, fanning my face, and then he slammed his lips onto mine, the force of it banging my head on the door behind me. I groaned and speared my fingers into his hair, clutching the strands with both hands as he ravaged my mouth.

And God, what a kiss. Those full lips bruising mine, that wicked tongue doing crazy things in my mouth. He made soft moans in the back of his throat, like he was finally getting his favorite indulgence, that first blessed bite of rich, dark chocolate. He plastered his body to mine, gripping my hips and grinding his hardness into me.

I could barely keep up with his kiss as he licked into my mouth and dueled with my tongue. I gripped his head and held on, letting him take whatever he wanted, because fuck, I was finally getting to taste Riley.

When he finally pulled way with a loud smack, his hips were rolling into mine with gentle thrusts, and we were breathing hard, chests bumping. He nuzzled against my neck, nibbling below my ear. I closed my eyes as goose bumps raced over my skin.

“Can’t tell you how long I’ve wanted to do that,” he whispered.

“Can’t or won’t?”

He paused and then he nipped my earlobe. “Smartass.”

“Riley?”

“Yeah?”

“Kiss me again.”

This kiss was less frenzied but no less intense. And now his hands were moving, sliding under the hem of my shirt. He brushed his knuckles over my abs, and I sucked in a sharp breath through my nose.

He pulled back and eyed my chest hungrily. “Take your shirt off, Col.”

I reached back with one hand and fisted my shirt at my upper back, tugging it over my head, then down my arms before I tossed it to the side.

He laid his hands flat on my pecs, then ran his palms over the smattering of hair I had on my chest. “I love how you look,” he said quietly, almost reverently, his gaze on his hands. He tugged a little on the hair around my nipples, and I grunted. He smiled.

If this were anyone but Riley, I would have been uncomfortable, maybe even embarrassed at the way I was being studied. But with him . . . I was almost proud of my size and my chest. Especially because of the way his eyes took me in, like I was a chocolate dessert. “You know I love how you look too, Catwalk.”

His gaze lifted to mine, and then he kissed me. Slowly. Like he was savoring the moment and my taste.

Fingers dipped into the waistband at my jeans. My belt rattled and loosened. Riley leaned back and pulled it from my belt loops, the leather slapping together as he tossed it to the side. He flicked open the top button of my jeans with one finger and lowered the zipper. He made a strangled noise when he found me commando. And then he sank to his knees.

Riley. On his knees. Shoving my pants down my thighs. Pressing his face along the length of my cock, his tongue licking one long swipe up the underside.

“Fuck, Ri,” I moaned, thunking my head back on the door and gripping his hair. “Fuck.”

Then that long tongue again, this time licking the seam of my balls, and I snapped my eyes open, because I didn’t want to miss a single moment of this. I wanted it burned in my brain, behind my eyelids, this sight of Riley between my legs, sucking one of my balls in his mouth, eyes closed, expression one of pure bliss.

His hand gripped my cock, pressing it up and into my belly while he licked and laved the skin of my balls. I loved this, always had, but not every guy was into this. It was like Riley was made for me.

And then his hand shifted, and a wet, hot mouth descended on the tip of my cock. I sucked in a breath and then watched as Riley slowly, ever so slowly, lowered his head, my shaft disappearing into his mouth as he took me down his throat.

My fingers flexed in his hair at the heat of his mouth and the swirl of his tongue. “Oh shit.”

He moaned, the vibration nearly bringing me to my knees. And then he began to work me. Like a fucking blow-job expert, he bobbed his head in time with his fist and rolled my balls with his other hand.

I watched my spit-slick shaft disappearing between those beautiful full lips. His cheeks hollowed as he sucked, rotating his wrist along with his head in a twisting motion that had me immobile. I could feel the orgasm starting, my balls tightening.

But there was one thing missing.

“Look at me,” I whispered.

He kept his eyes closed and didn’t react to my words.

“Ri, look at me.”

Still nothing.

I reached down and cupped his chin, my thumb pressing into the corner of his mouth, where my shaft slid in and out. “Baby,” I said softly, my accent thicker with arousal. “I want to see your eyes.”

He paused, then his eyelids raised as he pulled back. When only my tip remained in his mouth, his gaze met mine.

There was so much there, swirling and whirling, all his emotions—his need—right at the surface, and he knew it too, as the color rose on his cheeks. I saw why he wanted to keep it from me. And like the selfish bastard I was, I wanted it anyway. I’d asked for it.

With his eyes on mine, he bobbed his head once, twice, and then I was done. With a cry and a tightened fist in his hair, I shot down his throat. It felt like I came for five minutes straight, because Riley kept on sucking and swallowing, wringing every last drop from me.

Riley let my softened shaft slip from his mouth, a small smile on his lips as he kissed the wet tip. I leaned my head back against the wall, closing my eyes because my head was spinning. My hand was still in his hair, but my fingers slipped as he moved. My feet were lifted as he pulled off my boots and socks, one by one, then removed my pants. I opened my eyes as I stood in front of him, naked.

I licked my lips. “You gonna let me return the favor now?”

His eyes were at half-mast, his lips red and swollen.

He stepped closer, still in his T-shirt and jeans. He gripped my hip and then slid his hand around my waist to palm my ass. He leaned in close and pressed a kiss to the hinge of my jaw. “You gonna let me have this?”

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Review: I am a HUGE fan of the first book in this series, Trust the Focus, and with Focus on Me, Megan Erickson has hit another homerun. It is another road trip story, yet it’s completely and utterly different. Different vibe, different guys, just an all-around new, awesome experience.

The subject matter in this book is much more intense than that in Trust the Focus. Here, Erickson tackles the very serious issues of depression and anorexia – unfortunately, Riley suffers from both – and Colin eventually figures out that the issues are bigger than both of them, and that Riley needs real, professional help. At first things are wonderful and exciting, and as Colin pointed out, the good times were great. Unfortunately that couldn’t last, though, and their relationship quickly becomes one of codependency and enabling. The topic of mental illness of any kind is, sadly, so often mistreated in books, but Erickson handles Riley’s depression and anorexia realistically and with respect.

One of the other themes in the book that was also presented so well was with respect to self-perception. Neither of the guys sees himself as the other sees him. Riley sees Colin as this hot, sweet, Southern charmer, as someone he could be with for the long haul, but Colin sees himself as a not-so-bright hick who fails at just about everything. Colin initially sees Riley as Catwalk – a gorgeous, worldly guy who he is definitely not worthy of, yet when Riley looks in the mirror, he doesn’t like what he sees. At all. We gather most of this through Colin’s POV, as well as some conversations, but the emails to Landry that the author uses to allow us glimpses into Riley’s head were priceless and perfect. (I only wish we could have seen Landry’s replies!) I love this quote from one of Riley’s emails:

…Because he’s light and he doesn’t deserve all the dark that’s in my head. I’m like a plant, though, and no matter what, I find myself leaning toward his light.

The family and friend support system in the story are also amazing. The guys are struggling on their own throughout most of the book, but many people are on the sidelines, ready to have their backs when they need them. Riley’s parents are wonderful. Colin’s are too, for that matter. So many LGBT fiction books tell the story of the unaccepting, abusive, close-minded parents who disown their kids – and while this is a horrifying, everyday reality for too many LGBT youth, it was refreshing to read about two sets of supportive, loving parents, because those parents are out there as well.
I have to share one more quote from Colin’s little sister, because she was so very sweet – and wise…

“You made a difference in his life, just like he made a difference in yours. You have to quit keeping this tab in your head of what you lost and what you won. Because then you miss the journey.”

And, what a journey it is. *sigh* Megan Erickson has done a fantastic job with Colin and Riley’s story. Some of the most powerful moments in the book are also some of the toughest, including the promised cameo of JusLan, which comes at a pivotal moment…but it’s all beautifully written and not to be missed!

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You can pre-order Focus on Me here:

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4.5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Genre Romance, Leta Blake, Self-Published

Review: Training Complex by Leta Blake

Title: Training Complex (Training Season: Book Two)

Author: Leta Blake

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 345 Pages

At a Glance: Training Complex is a beautiful continuation to a story and characters I love.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Buckle up – Matty’s back!

Figure skater Matty Marcus didn’t capture Olympic gold, but he won rancher Rob Lovely’s heart.

After Rob sold his ranch and Matty hung up his skates, they started a new life together in New York City. Now Matty has taken on a fresh challenge as a figure skating coach, and Rob’s second career as a physical therapist should be everything he’s dreamed of. But in the brutal heat of their third summer in the city, Rob yearns for the wide-open country, and the intensity of city life awakens Matty’s demons.

Matty asks for increasingly intense BDSM scenes, and his disordered eating and erratic behavior ramp up the stakes. Rob struggles to stay in control, and after a well-intentioned anniversary gift goes awry, he still thinks he can handle the fallout. But the concrete jungle is closing in and his coping skills are unraveling.

Their love is deep, but Rob will have to admit the truth about what he really wants before they both tumble into chaos.

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Review: Three years have passed since we left Matty Marcus and Rob Lovely in New York City at the end of Training Season, three years of adjusting to their new lives individually, as well as their new life together as a couple. Matty has taken on the job of coaching, while Rob has fulfilled his desire to become a physical therapist, and it’s against the backdrop of what should be a seemingly unremarkable day-to-day existence that we watch the warp and weft of the life Rob and Matty have woven together begin to fray at the edges and unravel, all while Rob alone tries desperately to keep each of those loose threads tied together.

Training Complex can be summed up on two fronts, one being that a relationship is only at its strongest at the broken places. The other being that it’s not the willingness to sacrifice for the one you love that matters but the sacrifices you’re willing to make in order to save that love that counts. And this is where we find Matty and Rob in this story, at the hair-thin line between suffering and salvation.

Leta Blake introduces a host of demons into this story: the demon of disordered eating, of doubt and self-sabotage, and it’s these figurative demons that begin to eat away at the bond Matty and Rob share—Matty’s bitter and unrelenting inner voice controlling his anorexic compulsion, and Rob’s impulse to be Matty’s everything, even if it means giving up his own happiness to keep Matty from breaking, delivering Rob to his own breaking point.

One of the most beautiful parts of Matty and Rob’s relationship has always been Rob’s Dominance and Matty’s complete sexual submission. There’s no shortage of sex in these books, not at all, but each scene in Training Complex serves to do more than provide a gratuitous moment of titillation. Through BDSM, Rob has been able to help Matty regain control over his own self-destructive impulses, but we see these two men at a crossroads in this book as well, at a point where Matty’s need for pain grows to a level that becomes too much for Rob to fulfill and begins to corrupt the nature of Rob’s Dominance and the complexion of their relationship.

There are some truly gorgeous scenes in this book which not only emphasize the depth of love between these two men but also underscores how deeply they trust each other, and I loved every one of them, even while watching them nearly ruin Rob in the process. It’s the metaphor of bondage that’s so cleverly juxtaposed—Rob ties Matty up and Matty ties Rob down in a place (both literal and figurative) he doesn’t want to be, and I believe the emotional equation between the characters and readers truly pays off in each of those scenes.

Both familiar and new characters play a role in bringing Matty and Rob around to their resolution, but it’s Matty and Rob together who, ultimately, will begin to fill in the cracks and become stronger at the places where their relationship had become so fragile. This story is exactly what the title suggests: not only is Matty a Gordian knot of psychological issues, but the story itself is a series of complications that, through trial and no small amount of error, nor lacking in humor or heartache, gives these characters resolution and brings them home—not to a place but in the comfort and strength they find within each other. Training Complex is a lovely and highly recommended follow-up to a book and characters I love.

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You can buy Training Complex here:

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

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

Title: Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair

Author: Amy Lane

Narrator: Philip Alces

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours and 30 Minutes

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

Reviewed By: Amy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Heidi Cullinan, Reviewed by Sammy, Samhain Publishing

Review: Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan

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Title: Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt: Book One)

Author: Heidi Cullinan

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 268 Pages

At a Glance: Carry The Ocean is a novel that reminds us that each and every one of us deserves love. I highly recommend it to you.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.

As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.

Product Warnings: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.

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Review: Where to begin…

If you are looking for standard fare m/m romance, Carry The Ocean will leave you disappointed. However, if you are looking for a remarkably tender and illuminating story that reveals how love can come into every life, not just those viewed as “normal”, then this story is going to resonate deeply. Having taught children on the autism spectrum, I found Heidi Cullinan’s story displayed such a sophisticated portrayal of one such individual, for she could not be more right than when she had Emmet give voice to the truism that when you have met one autistic child, you have met one autistic child. Each is different, coping in their own unique way, and presenting with their own beautiful quirks and gifts.

The story of how Emmet, a high functioning autistic college student, pursues and meets his neighbor across the train tracks is a gorgeous story of love and the fight for independence. Emmett has so many strategies he has developed and learned over the years, from different shirts to convey different moods, to the foam hammer that allows him to vent his anger. His parents are smart, well educated, and loving.

Jeremey, on the other hand is nearly crippled by his anxieties, fears, and clinical depression. However, unlike Emmet’s parents, Jeremey’s are brutal, constantly harping on him to just buck up and be “normal”. That is the crux of what author Heidi Cullinan writes about in Carry The Ocean. Not only does she delineate the pain and horrible sense of unworthiness these two young men carry with them each day but she also speaks about the fact that there is no “normal”. She continually comes back to the idea that each one of us is normal despite our differences, our individual strengths or weaknesses, our emotional and intellectual struggles—that “normal” looks different for each person.

However, lest you are concerned that this is some Pollyanna novel focused on showing the world that “special needs” kids are just like you and me, think again. She celebrates their individuality by sparing no little time on giving us a window into their lives. We walk through Jeremey’s crippling anxieties, we are swept up in Emmet’s frustration over not being able to express himself when it is needed most. We are privy to the fears of two young men who want and need each other and who are discovering sex and lust and love for the first time. This novel is stunning in its scope and realism. We do not fall in love with Emmet and Jeremy because they are pitiable, we fall in love with them because they are fighters in an ocean that alternately threatens to drown them or keep them afloat.

Carry The Ocean is a love story from an author to the young men and women who fight each day to hold onto themselves, find their place in a world that doesn’t value those who don’t fit their norm. This novel is a lush and beautiful story of love and strength, small victories and huge advancements. In a nutshell, Carry The Ocean is a novel that reminds us that each and every one of us deserves love. I highly recommend it to you.

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5 Stars, A.M. Arthur, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Samhain Publishing

Review: The Truth As He Knows It by A.M. Arthur

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Title: The Truth As He Knows It (Perspectives: Book One)

Author: A.M. Arthur

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 289 Pages

At a Glance: I can tell you to buy this novel because you see, it is, simply put, outstanding storytelling.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Lies are the chains that keep you weighed down at rock bottom.

Officer Noel Carlson isn’t out to anyone in small-town Stratton, Pennsylvania, only to distant friends and family, so a relationship is out of the question. That doesn’t stop him from wanting one, though.

When a night-shift call brings him face to thonged butt with a hired stripper whose girl-party gig went terribly wrong, Noel takes pity on the guy and lets him go. But he can’t get the encounter out of his mind.

Shane has big-time debts to repay, especially to the brother who sacrificed nearly everything for him. His two jobs, in a deli and as a stripper, leave him no time for a social life. But a non-date of hot sex and takeout food with Noel? He can squeeze that in.

The bond they form is stronger than either expected or wanted. Especially since the step Shane’s about to take to put his brother—and his soul—back in the black isn’t quite legal. And he never calculated just how much his determination to make things right will cost him in the end.

Warning: Following on from the Cost of Repairs series, this book contains a closeted cop who’s looking for love, an indebted stripper who doesn’t believe he’s worthy, and a tasteful abundance of dirty guy sex. Also contains references to past physical abuse some readers may find disturbing.

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Review: To be frank with you, I am not sure where to begin with this novel, The Truth As He Knows It by A.M. Arthur. You see, every once in a while a story comes along that steals your breath away. One that causes you to frantically turn page after page to get to the good part—you know that part—the one where the relationship is finally safe, where the pain has a place to go, where healing begins. And with this kind of book, the relief you experience at that moment is swiftly followed by so much regret—that the story—the impeccably written, blindingly beautiful story is—finished. Done…and now you can do nothing more than go back to page one and start all over again.

I am pretty sure I fell in love with two men during this book. Yes, with two, and for totally different reasons. The story itself is actually not over involved, yet it is so taut and sharply written that each moment literally zings with tension. Is their angst? Oh heavens, yes, but it is so good—the kind of angst that tells you the story you are reading is so believable, so real, and with characters so fully fleshed out you are certain you can finish their thoughts by novel’s end. So what can I tell you that the blurb has not already accomplished?

I can tell you that the brothers, Shane and Jason, hide some very deep, dark secrets, and they are thick as thieves in making sure they have each other’s backs. I can tell you that for such a young man, Shane carries the weight of a past so abusive and frightful that you will be amazed he has any strength left to care for Noel at all. To be clear, there is physical molestation by a stepparent in this novel, but it is off page and rarely mentioned—however, for some this could be a trigger so please, if you are such a soul, proceed with caution.

I can relate to you how patient Noel is and how much he wants things to work with Shane who, in turn, is so guilt ridden, but determined to clear an outstanding debt in order to give Jason some breathing room financially, that all he can do is push Noel away lest he hurt him as well. Shane is a fatalist—never expecting to be worthy of love and so always shutting it down before it has a chance to flourish. I would also mention that the scenes between Noel and his friend Tristan, who suffers memory loss due to gay bashing, are rich with tenderness and such love.

I can grieve just a bit and tell you there is great sadness in this novel before it ever achieves its happy ever after but, oh my, every moment of sadness is needed to give life to an incredible love that will last the test of time for Shane and Noel.

Finally, I can tell you to buy this novel because you see, it is, simply put, outstanding storytelling by a consummate artist, A.M. Arthur. The Truth As He Knows It is an epic journey of accepting self—no matter how damaged or unworthy that self is. It is also an incredibly beautiful story of love between two brothers who have saved each other countless times, and between two lovers who are discovering each other for the very first time. I highly recommend this novel to you.






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5 Stars, Bonnie Dee, Historical Romance, Reviewed by Rena, Samhain Publishing, Summer Devon

Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon’s “Mending Him” Is A Pitch Perfect Historical Romance

Title: Mending Him

Author: Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 243 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: “As his world collapses, love opens his heart.”

Robbie Grayson has always felt like a bit of an outsider in the Chester family, though he’s related by blood. An orphan taken in at a young age, he is further set apart by a limp inflicted by a childhood illness. Continue reading

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