Giveaways, The Year In Reviews

Simply the Best: 2014 – The Year in Reviews and a Giveaway

2014

It’s hard to believe we find ourselves at the end of another year. Time flies when your nose is buried in a book, doesn’t it? But what and where would The Novel Approach be without our love of reading? Each year at this time, we work hard to compile our lists of favorite books to share with you, which is never easy. Twelve months and hundreds of titles means whittling down to our favorite few, which also means some wonderful books get left off the list in our effort to recognize those that were the most memorable.
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4.5 Stars, Genre Romance, Jay Northcote, Reviewed by Sammy, Self-Published

Review and Backlist Title Giveaway: The Dating Game by Jay Northcote

Title: The Dating Game

Author: Jay Northcote

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 103 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Five sex-free dates—how hard can it be?

When they were at uni, Owen always had a bit of a crush on Nathan. But Nathan was apparently straight, and Owen was too busy with other guys to take his crush seriously.

When Nathan moves back to Bristol after a year away, Owen hears that Nathan has come out of the closet, and he propositions him. Nathan doesn’t want to be just another notch on Owen’s bedpost, though, so he challenges Owen to prove he can be serious: five dates before they have sex. Continue reading

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3 Stars, Laura Baumbach, MLR Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: Addicted by Laura Baumbach

Title: Addicted

Author: Laura Baumbach

Publisher: MLR Press

Pages/Word Count: 27 Pages

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb: Vampires are impervious to human ailments and blood-borne disease. But what happens when one gets a taste of a new, powerful designer drug made from an element vampires have never encountered before? Continue reading

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Jamie Fessenden, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: Murder on the Mountain by Jamie Fessenden

Title: Murder on the Mountain

Author: Jamie Fessenden

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 210 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: When Jesse Morales, a recent college grad who aspires to be a mystery writer, volunteers to work on the summit of Mt. Washington for a week, he expects to work hard. What he doesn’t expect is to find a corpse in the fog, lying among the rocks, his head crushed. The dead man turns out to be a young tourist named Stuart Warren, who strayed from his friends while visiting the mountain. Continue reading

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4.5 Stars, Cardeno C., Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Self-Published

Review and Giveaway: “McFarland’s Farm” by Cardeno C.

“Wanting something and being able to have it aren’t the same things.” – Cardeno C


Title: McFarland’s Farm (Hope #1)

Author: Cardeno C.

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 102 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Wealthy, attractive Lucas Reika treats life like a party, moving from bar to bar and man to man. Thumbing his nose at his restaurateur father’s demand that he earn his keep, Lucas instead seduces a valued employee in the kitchen of their flagship restaurant, earning himself an ultimatum: lose access to his father’s money or stay in the middle of nowhere with a man he has secretly lusted over from afar. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Self-Published

Ellis Carrington’s “Stripped Away” Reveals The Inner Heart

Title: Stripped Away (Stripped Clean #2)

Author: Ellis Carrington

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: HE DOESN’T RECOGNIZE HIMSELF

David Moorehouse has spent his life hiding behind masks. Nice guy. Best friend. Reverend’s kid. After finding his father dead on the floor, he’s been stripped of his job at the family church and his identity as the quiet, nice guy. The life he knew is over, and he doesn’t know what to do next.

HE KNOWS ANGER BETTER THAN ANYONE Continue reading

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

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

Title: Loveblood

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Pages/Word Count: 256 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

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

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5 Stars, Amber Allure, Drama, Genre Romance, K-lee Klein, Reviewed by Sammy

Love Can’t Be Denied In K-lee Klein’s “Never the Perfect Moment”

“I realized I’m in love. It’s always been right in front of me.” – Richelle Mead


Title: Never the Perfect Moment

Author: K-lee Klein

Publisher: Amber Quill Press

Pages/Word Count: 84 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Bryan Monroe has always catalogued his life in terms of moments—right moments, wrong moments, perfect moments. But when his best friend and partner on the police force, Chrys Delos, is shot in a raid gone bad, it’s one of the worst moments of Bryan’s life. Continue reading

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2.5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Drama, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Ryan Loveless

Love Overcomes All Obstacles In Ryan Loveless’s “Last Chance Charlie”

“Sometimes a “mistake” can end up being the best decision you ever make.” – Mandy Hale


Title: Last Chance Charlie

Author: Ryan Loveless

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 198 Pages

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Blurb: Charlie Corcoran is the best thing about twenty-five-year old Zach Prentiss’s life. Sure, they’ve never met. Charlie’s never seen Zach from the neck up, but because of Charlie, for a few hours Zach can forget about his sick father, his falling grades, and his dwindling clientele who don’t like that he’s a rentboy who ages. With Charlie, he talks online about comics, cars, and movies. Then a new client arrives. It’s Charlie wanting sex tips… for a date with Zach. Zach goes through with the appointment, convinced it’s over if Charlie recognizes him. However, he doesn’t have long to nurse his broken heart or worry about Charlie’s before Charlie is back, wanting to take him out, introduce him to Mom, and treat him like he’s decent. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Anna Martin, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sammy

Anna Martin’s “Summer Son ” Reminds Us What Family Really Means

“When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family.” – Jim Butcher


Title: Summer Son

Author: Anna Martin

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Ellis Broad never imagined he would end up a single father before he turned twenty-nine.

Then again, most of his expectations for the future evaporated when his husband of three years filed for divorce, leaving Ellis as their six-month-old son Harrison’s only parent. After the divorce Ellis hides, working from home on his small graphic design business so he can be a full-time dad. He succeeds until Zane Hadlin stumbles into his life. Continue reading

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4.5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Erotica, Kol Anderson, Reviewed by Sammy, Self-Published

Kol Anderson Redefines Brotherly Love In “The Crying Game”

“I am afraid of him now. The one I love most in the world.” – Neil Jordan


Title: The Crying Game

Author: Kol Anderson

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 41 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: William Davenport can’t take the weight of the secret in his life any more.

When his brother makes the ultimate sacrifice for their family’s legacy and leaves William in the cold, it may just be time to accept the reality that everyone wants him to accept. Continue reading

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3.5 Stars, Drama, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Michael Murphy, Reviewed by Sammy

Michael Murphy’s “You Can’t Go Home Again” Is A Heartwarming Story Of Love’s Triumph Over Grief

“Love can only be found through the act of loving.” – Paul Coelho


Title: You Can’t Go Home Again

Author: Michael Murphy

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: In work and in love, life has taught seasoned police officer Jack that closeness only leads to pain.

But Jack is wracked with guilt when his rookie partner Kevin is shot during an undercover assignment and dies in his arms. Why didn’t he take the time to get to know the rookie a little? Continue reading

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4.5 Stars, Drama, Dreamspinner Press, Lloyd Meeker, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy

The Companion by Lloyd A. Meeker takes us on a beautiful journey of self-discovery and love.

“Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.” – Steve Maraboli


Title: The Companion

Author: Lloyd A. Meeker

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Shepherd Bucknam hasn’t had a lover in more than a decade and doesn’t need one.
As a Daka, he coaches men in the sacred art and mystery of sexual ecstasy all the time, and he loves his work. It’s his calling. In fact, he’s perfectly content—except for the terrors of his recurring nightmare and the ominous blood-red birthmarks on his neck. He’s convinced that together they foretell his early and violent death. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Edmond Manning, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Sammy, Wilde City Press

Edmond Manning’s “Filthy Acquisitions” Sheds Light On The Buried Treasure In All Of Us

“The core of your true self is never lost. Let go of all the pretending and the becoming you’ve done just to belong. Curl up with your rawness and come home. You don’t have to find yourself; you just have tolet yourself in.” – D. Antoinette Foy


Title: Filthy Acquisitions

Author: Edmond Manning

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 150 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Keldon Thurman hates his job, purchasing serial killer art for a private investor.

He would quit if he weren’t completely impoverished, but with no life skills and no ways to generate income, Keldon has no options. Continue reading

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4.5 Stars, Lou Harper, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Romantic Comedy, Self-Published

Lou Harper Delivers A Delightful Addition To The Dead Man series – “Dead Man and the Army of Frogs”

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” – Henry Ellis


Title: Dead Man and the Army of Frogs

Author: Lou Harper

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 123 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: All Denton wanted was a few minions. He got frogs instead.

Web developer by day and necromancer by night, Denton Mills is used to seeing things nobody else can. When he starts hallucinating frogs, he simply assumes they have something to do with his boyfriend Bran’s obsession. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Drama, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, TJ Klune

TJ Klune’s “John & Jackie” Defines Forever Love

“I have so much love for you… for us… I am overcome with this feeling that just one life will not be enough to give to you… and forever won’t nearly be long enough to spend with you.” – Steve Maraboli


Title: John & Jackie

Author: TJ Klune

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 122 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: John and Jackie first laid eyes on each other when they were twelve years old.

Now, seventy-one years later, Jack prepares to give his beloved husband the ultimate gift. Before he does, they’ll relive five key moments from their younger lives together over the course of a single afternoon. From their first meeting and first kiss to the violence of an abusive father and the heartache of growing up, these moments have defined who they have become. As sunset approaches, John will show the depths of his love for the one man who has made him whole: his Jackie. They’ll soon learn there is no force more powerful than their devotion to one another. Continue reading

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4.5 Stars, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Sammy, Self-Published, Silvia Violet

Silvia Violet’s “Unexpected Trust” Is An Action Packed Addition To The Series

“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.” – Paul Coelho


Title: Unexpected Trust (Unexpected #2)

Author: Silvia Violet

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 175 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: Special Agent Hugh Cranford, better known as Sport, is conducting an off-the-record investigation. He’s after Danny O’Sullivan, a spy rumored to have assisted in the ambush of Sport’s former SEAL team.

Danny claims he and Sport are on the same side, and the real traitor is the man Sport is working for. But Danny is a master manipulator. He’s also the most seductive man Sport has ever met. Sport can’t help being attracted to him, but that doesn’t mean he’s willing to trust him. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, John Inman, Reviewed by Sammy

John Inman’s “Head-on” Is One Of This Year’s Finest Novels

“Saving you is the only thing that will bring me peace for all the wrong I have done.” – Jillian Peery


Title: Head-on

Author: John Inman

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: At twenty-six, Gordon Stafford figures his days are numbered. At least he hopes they are.

Wearied by guilt and regret stemming from a horrific automobile accident two years earlier in which a man was killed, Gordon wakes up every morning with thoughts of suicide. While the law puts Gordon to work atoning for his sins, personal redemption is far harder to come by. Continue reading

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Josephine Myles, Reviewed by Sammy, Samhain Publishing

Review: How to Train Your Dom in 5 Easy Steps

Title: How to Train Your Dom in 5 Easy Steps

Author: Josephine Myles

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 295 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Sometimes the little head really does know best.

Jeff White’s needs are simple. All he wants is a submissive to help him explore the dominant side that his ex-girlfriend couldn’t handle. Problem is, inexperience in both dating and domming has resulted in a string of rejections.

What he needs is an experienced sub willing to show him the ins and outs of controlling a scene. Unfortunately, the only one willing to take him on is male, and Jeff is straight. One hundred percent, never-gonna-happen straight. 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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4 Stars, Heidi Cullinan, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Wilde City Press

Heidi Cullinan Reminds Us There’s A “Hero” Inside Each Of Us, If Only We Believe


“When you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong and you’ll finally see the truth—that hero lies in you.” – Mariah Carey


Title: Hero (2nd Edition)

Author: Heidi Cullinan

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 60,000 Words

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Construction worker Hal Porter knows he’s nobody special. But when strange events draw him into a magical world, he becomes the only man who can free Morgan, a lonely, long-enchanted shape-shifter. Whether he feels he’s worthy or not, Hal is the hero Morgan has been waiting for. Continue reading

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2.5 Stars, Ariel Tachna, Dreamspinner Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Ariel Tachna’s “Testament To Love” Affirms The Idea That Love Ascends All Boundaries


“For truly we are all angels temporarily hiding as humans.” – Brian L. Weiss


Title: Testament to Love (2nd Edition)

Author: Ariel Tachna

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 80

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Blurb: Another mission to rescue yet another lost soul—Emmanuel isn’t sure how much more of the same old routine he can withstand. Get the fallen’s attention, save them from themselves, usher them back to grace, and return, simply to receive another assignment. But there’s something different about the troubled painter, Cameron Anderson, that grabs Emmanuel and won’t let him go. Continue reading

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5 Stars, BJ Sheppard, Reviewed by Sammy, Self-Published, Smashwords

BJ Sheppard’s “Rainbow Connection: Volume 1” Delivers A Hilarious Fourth Installment In The Series


“You can love someone so much…But you can never love people as much as you can miss them.” – John Green


Title: Rainbow Connection: Volume One

Author: BJ Sheppard

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 153 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: One man, his lover, his boss, and all the balls you can juggle.
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2.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Kenzie Cade, Reviewed by Sammy

Kenzie Cade’s “Son Of A Fish” Is A Sweet Romance That Struggles To End Well


“Don’t rush into love. You’ll find the person meant for you when you least expect it.” – Franzie Gubatina


Title: Son of a Fish

Author: Kenzie Cade

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 32 Pages

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Blurb:Sam Crowe lives a quiet life. He’s a freelance journalist and sometimes fiction writer.

His world is turned upside down when love lands on his doorstep—literally, while cursing up a G-rated storm. Son of a fish, indeed. Casey Sanders doesn’t know whether it’s good luck or bad when he slips and falls on the icy steps of his apartment building, but the hero who comes to his rescue is worth the discomfort.
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