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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3 Stars, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Tina, T.A. Chase, Totally Bound

Review: Mountains to Climb by T.A. Chase

Title: Mountains to Climb

Author: T.A. Chase

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 60 Pages

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb: Sometimes the past can be the biggest mountain to climb.

Toby Schwartzel has never forgot Jensen Brockhoff, the man he loved and the one who disappeared six years ago. He thinks he’s moved on, but when Jensen appears again and wants to explain what happened, Toby realises he never got over Jensen. He’d only built up walls to keep from being hurt again. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Amy Lane, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Tina

Review: Beneath the Stain (Parts One and Two) by Amy Lane

“I did not expect this,” he said, so startled he found the word/rhythm place without thinking. “That the person in my skin was so plain to someone else, I didn’t expect it. How is it that you can see the guy I’ve hidden mostly from myself?”– Amy Lane


Title: Beneath the Stain: Parts One and Two

Author: Amy Lane

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 95 and 71 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb – Part One: In one breath of shotgunned pot smoke, Grant Adams breaks every taboo Mackey knows—and Mackey refuses to look back. In the shadows of their small town, Mackey and Grant carry on a precocious affair under the noses and behind the backs of girlfriends, parents, and overprotective older brothers. When Mackey’s band finally has a chance to make it big, Mackey and Grant are put to the test.

And fail miserably. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Lisa Worrall, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Tina, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Totally Bound

Lisa Worrall’s “Going Under” Packs A Mean Paranormal Punch

“He says you kill ghosts for a living. Like you’re a ghostbuster or something.”

“I’m not a ghostbuster.” ― Kendare Blake


Title: Going Under

Author: Lisa Worrall

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 106 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Battered by unseen forces, Evan Griffin finally seeks help. Paranormal investigator Ross Stone is captivated. Dare he get close when he’s fighting his own demons?

Evan Griffin moved into his remote country house with all the excitement and promise of a new start. He thought he’d found it until the strange noises began… When the attacks become physical, he was left bruised and battered and desperate for help. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Brigham Vaughn, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Tina, Self-Published

Brigham Vaughn’s “Equals” Adds Up To A Great Love Story

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” –Bryant H. McGill


Title: Equals

Author: Brigham Vaughn

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 138 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Too busy to date while he worked to put himself through school, Russell Bishop’s dedication finally pays off; he has a great job with Vantage Marketing. Stephen Parker, CFO of the marketing firm, has resigned himself to a life without a partner. For six months, they wanted each other but it isn’t until Russ slips on spilled coffee, and Stephen rushes to his rescue that they discover their attraction is mutual. However, the twenty year age gap between them proves difficult when they begin dating. Fiercely independent, Russ isn’t sure he’s ready for long-term commitment. Scarred from a previous relationship, Stephen is afraid history is repeating itself. Is there any way for them to meet in the middle and become equals? Continue reading

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4 Stars, A Bear On Books, Drama, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Tina, T.A. Webb

Where There’s Love, Trouble Follows In T.A. Webb’s “Brothers In Arms”

“Every gay man out there has at least one man-crush in his past that totally shriveled his nads into raisins and sent him screaming off into the night.” ― T.A. Webb


Title: Brothers In Arms (The Broken Road Cafe: Book Two)

Author: T.A. Webb

Publisher: A Bear On Books

Pages/Word Count: 171 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Betrayed on every front, Dan O’Leary cashed in all his chips and moved from the big city life of Atlanta to small town Blue Ridge, Georgia. While licking his wounds, he never meant to start a new relationship, especially with closeted Chief of Police Nick Oliver. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Ashlyn Kane, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Morgan James, Reviewed by Tina

There Are Lots Of Good Feelings To Be Found In Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James’s “Hard Feelings:

“Design means how something works, not how it looks – the design should evolve from the function.” —James Dyson


Title: Hard Feelings

Author: Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count:

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Rylan Williams hates conferences: too many people, not enough routine, and way too much interaction with strangers. When he gets stuck in a broken elevator with Miller Jones, the kid who fell asleep in his lecture, he figures things can’t get worse. Then Rylan realizes he’s the same guy he just spent an hour perving over from afar. Continue reading

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2.5 Stars, Drama, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Kate Pavelle, Reviewed by Tina

Kate Pavelle’s “Breakfall” Is A Story Of Survival And Recovery

“The true science of martial arts means practicing them in such a way that they will be useful at any time, and to teach them in such a way that they will be useful in all things.” ― Miyamoto Musashi


Title: Breakfall

Author: Kate Pavelle

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 270 Pages

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Blurb: Sexual assault doesn’t discriminate. Aikido instructor Sean Gallaway learns that when he falls prey to a violent stalker. Asbjorn Lund, a karate sensei on campus and a Navy vet, yearns to teach Sean how to survive. How to overcome. How to recover. Sean feels hunted and alone as the stalker escalates, testing his boundaries. With the entire dojo at his back, Sean resolves to play bait. He will catch the predator stalking him and reclaim his sense of self if it’s the last thing he does. Yet Sean’s hunger for justice clashes with Asbjorn’s protective streak, and their budding romance might not survive their war of wills. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, New Adult, Perie Wolford, Reviewed by Tina, Self-Published, Young Adult

Perie Wolford Dances His Way Through Teenage Romance In “Turning 17 (Turning 16: Book Two)”

“Our reputations weren’t who we really were, they were who people told us we were. Some of us fell into that trap, while others fought their entire lives to break free of them.” ― Nicole Williams


Title: Turning 17

Author: Perie Wolford

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 110 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Sam is turning 17 this year and he is being pushed towards adulthood too fast. He has a whole bunch of grown-up problems on his hands now. Like how to make a distant relationship with your boyfriend work? Or how to stop yourself from cheating on your boyfriend with a hot friend who wants to be more than friends? Or how to disattach yourself from your parents and follow your dreams independently? But all that is just too much for a seventeen-year-old to handle. So Sam finds himself gravitating towards Eric, a little daredevil who introduces him to fun things, like stealing, lying, drinking, smoking, and having sex. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Drama, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Tina

A Man Must Choose Between Two Very Different Lives In Will Freshwater’s “Favorite Son”

“On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend’s life also, in our own, to the world.” ― Henry David Thoreau


Title: Favorite Son

Author: Will Freshwater

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 204 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Born into a blue-collar family, John Wells beat the odds and came out a winner. As chief of staff to Patrick Donovan, a US senator and aspiring presidential candidate, he enjoys all the power and privilege of a DC insider. But while riding high on a wave of success, he’s blindsided by a series of betrayals from the people he trusts the most. In the space of a single day, John’s perfect life unexpectedly unravels when his career falters and his marriage implodes. Following a final, devastating blow, John assumes a new identity as “Peter” and flees to Provincetown, where a tight-knit community of eclectic characters slowly transforms him.
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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, K.C. Burn, Reviewed by Tina

Falling In Love Is Easy, Staying In Love Is The Challenge In K.C. Burn’s “Rainbow Blues”

“Out of the blue, I was thinking of you.” — K.C. Burn


Title: Rainbow Blues

Author: K.C. Burn

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 204 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Having come out late in life, forty-three-year-old Luke Jordan is at a loss about how to conduct himself as a gay man. As a construction manager, he’s not interested in being out at work, but he’d like to find a boyfriend or at least some gay friends. Two years after his wife got all their friends in the divorce, he’s no closer to the life he wants. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Jeanette Grey, Reviewed by Tina, Samhain Publishing

Two Men Get What They Want In Jeanette Grey’s “Get What You Need”

“I don’t want to graduate and be sitting around on some random porch ten years from now, regretting. You have to live in the moment. You can’t let experiences pass you by without doing anything about it.” — Susane Colasanti


Title: Get What You Need

Author: Jeanette Grey

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 247 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Love isn’t rocket science. It’s much, much harder.

Determination and elbow grease propelled Greg London from blue-collar background to Ph.D. candidate. His single-mindedness doesn’t leave a lot of room for a personal life, but that’s the price of success. Besides, it’s not like the boring nerd ever ends up with the hot guy. Continue reading

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3 Stars, A.F. Henley, Genre Romance, Less Than Three Press, Reviewed by Tina

A Man Begins The Climb Up From Rock Bottom In A.F. Henley’s “Forty-Two Stairs”

Title: Forty-Two Stairs

Author: A.F. Henley

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Pages/Word Count: 174 Pages

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb: Owen has been struggling with addiction since he was a teenager, but it takes a DUI involving another vehicle for him to finally face his issues. The road to recovery is a rough one, and for Owen it’s a journey made harder by bankruptcy, loneliness, and repressed memories. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Reviewed by Tina, Self-Published, Teodora Kostova

Learning The Steps To A Happy Ending Isn’t Easy In Teodora Kostova’s “Dance”

“When there’s something or someone, when there’s anything that makes you happy, you don’t let a continent or an ocean or an empty pocket keep you apart.” —Dana Reinhard


Title: Dance (West End #1)

Author: Teodora Kostova

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 291 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Jared Hartley is happy. He has a starring role in a popular West End musical, great friends, adoring fans and his own flat in Central London. A relationship is not something he has ever really wanted. Making big plans for the future is not in his nature – Jared is content with his single status and enjoying all the benefits of that lifestyle.
He doesn’t even realise something is missing in his life. 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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5 Stars, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Tina, Self-Published, Thorny Sterling

A Cowboy And An Actor Find Love In Thorny Sterling’s “Splinters”


“He gets it. Oh, my God, he understands me. I tremble in his arms, dropping my head onto his shoulder. Men have accepted it – some grudgingly – but never on this level. I won’t care that I’m falling for him. I want to fall.” – Thorny Sterling


Title: Splinters

Author: Thorny Sterling

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 144 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Waking up in a strange place isn’t a first for model and actor Allan Seville, but discovering himself alone and bound to a rough plank in the middle of an open Texas range certainly is. With no memory of who did this to him or why, panic sets in, until rescue comes riding up on a big, brown horse. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Dan Skinner, New Adult, Reviewed by Tina, Self-Published, Young Adult

Dan Skinner Paints A Perfect Picture With “The Art of the Heart”


“I tried to turn my mind off. Shut down the thoughts that were with me every second. Everything in me ached to be with him. It was worse than an obsession. It was a need.” ― Dan Skinner


Title: The Art of the Heart

Author: Dan Skinner

Publisher: Cerberus Inc.

Pages/Word Count: 61 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: The heartland of America in 1965 feels like the end of the road for seventeen-year-old Zac Weston. After all, there’s nowhere to go when you’re shy, gay, and a virgin. A natural artist, inspiration strikes in the form of neighbor boy Rory, and Zac’s fantasies spill onto the pages of his notebook. When Zac’s secret is discovered, it might take more than wishes to magically make his world right.
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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Jayden Brooks, Reviewed by Tina

Jayden Brooks’ “That’s Who I Am” – A Mended Daily Dose Anthology Story


“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” ― Robert Frost


Title: That’s Who I Am

Author: Jayden Brooks

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 66 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Jared Winters’s life has been little more than a collection of moments where he didn’t think before opening his mouth. Always a bit different, he’s learned to accept an existence on the outside looking in. But one day, his mouth lands him in a position that nearly costs him his life. Only the timely intervention of Sophie, his twin Conner’s ex-girlfriend, saves him.
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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, EM Lynley, Reviewed by Tina

Things Get Complicated In EM Lynley’s “Bound for Trouble”


Title: Bound for Trouble

Author: EM Lynley

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 260 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Daniel “Deke” Kane is a broken man, facing the end of his career in the FBI. He’s on desk duty after a botched drug raid left the suspects and two children dead. He’s got one chance to prove himself, or the only thing he’ll be investigating is the Help Wanted ads.
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3.5 Stars, LC Chase, Reviewed by Tina, Riptide Publishing

Love Heats Up The Rodeo In L.C. Chase’s “Let It Ride”


“Life had its own plan; folks just had to learn how to ride it or get bucked off.” — L.C. Chase


Title: Let It Ride (Pickup Men #2)

Author: L.C. Chase

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 195 Pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: Pickup man Bridge Sullivan is the kind of cowboy everyone wants—as a brother, a friend, a lover. People think he’s straight, but Bridge isn’t one for labels, and when a sexy male paramedic jumpstarts his heart, he charges in with all guns blazing.
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3.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Kate McMurray, Reviewed by Tina

Opposites Attract in Kate McMurray’s “The Silence of the Stars”


“You can’t patch a wounded soul with a Band-Aid.” ― Michael Connelly


Title: The Silence of the Stars

Author: Kate McMurray

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: Sandy Sullivan has gotten so good at covering up his emotions, he’s waiting for someone to hand him an Oscar. On the outside, he’s a cheerful, funny guy, but his good humor is the only thing keeping awful memories from his army tours in Afghanistan at bay. Worse, Sandy is now adrift after breaking up with the only man who ever understood him, but who also wanted to fix him the way Sandy’s been fixing up his new house in Brooklyn.
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4 Stars, Boroughs Publishing Group, Reviewed by Tina, Susan Mac Nicol

Susan Mac Nicol’s “Double Alchemy: Climax” Is A Great End To A Great Beginning


“Well. I think it’s safe to say that, in my absence, the power grabbing and backstabbing and political intrigue has officially reached an all-time Otherworld high.”― Lesley Livingston


Title: Double Alchemy: Climax

Author: Susan Mac Nicol

Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group

Pages/Word Count:

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Powerful modern warlock Quinn Fairmont found ecstasy with the silver-eyed and not-quite-human Cade Mairston, but to know true happiness the pair must best both the shadow of a long-ago lover and an ancient enemy who seeks to destroy love, light and all they hold dear.
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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Wells, Reviewed by Tina

The Steps To Love Begin With “A Dance with Domination” – by K.C. Wells


“Men play harder than women, they play more intensely, they can take more, and they don’t require long periods of coddling afterwards.”—K.C. Wells


Title: A Dance with Domination (Collars and Cuffs: Book Four)

Author: K.C. Wells

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Recently returned to the UK after living in the States since he was eleven, Andrew Barrett is determined to keep busy and make a new life for himself. He works full time as a copywriter and strips at a club on Canal Street on weekends. But it still leaves him too much time to think. Then he finds the BDSM club, Collars & Cuffs, where at twenty-nine, he is their youngest Dom. Young doesn’t mean inexperienced, however. All this activity keeps him focused with no time to dwell on the past. But the past has a way of intruding on the present.
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4 Stars, Amber Allure, L.A. Witt, Reviewed by Tina

Love Is The Reality In L.A. Witt’s “Wrenches, Regrets, and Reality Checks”


“There are worse addictions than reality TV, chocolate and coffee.” ― Sarah Dessen


Title: Wrenches, Regrets, and Reality Checks

Author: L.A. Witt

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 73 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Ever since Reggie’s garage became part of a popular reality show, business has been booming. As much as he hates playing games with the network, at least he doesn’t have to worry about his bottom line anymore.
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