4 Stars, Abigail Roux, Audio Book, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen, Riptide Publishing

Audio Review: Cross & Crown by Abigail Roux – Narrated by Brock Thompson

Amazon

Amazon

TitleCross & Crown

Author:  Abigail Roux

Narrator: Brock Thompson

Publisher:  Riptide Publishing

Run Time:  6 hours and 50 minutes

At a Glance: I enjoyed this narration just as much as I did listening to the first book, but the story missed the mark for me a little bit.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: When Nick O’Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time. Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide.

The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity. Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.

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Review: After listening to Shock & Awe, I jumped right in to Cross & Crown and was so excited to listen to it.  Maybe because I listened to them back to back, and because Shock & Awe is so focused on Nick and Kelly starting their relationship, I realized while listening to Cross & Crown that although they are together throughout the book and have some sexy times, it is definitely more mystery driven than Shock & Awe.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed and liked the mystery and treasure hunt aspect of the book, and trying to figure out if “JD” was a good guy or bad guy, but I love Nick and Kelly and wanted more of them than we got in this book.

As with Shock & Awe I think that Brock Thompson did a great job with the narration of the book. The dialog was clear, the voices were distinct, and for me, it fit with how I heard them in my head while reading the book.

So, overall, I enjoyed this narration just as much as I did listening to the first book, but the story missed the mark for me a little bit.

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

 

You can buy Cross & Crown here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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Abigail Roux, Giveaways

Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway: The Part & Parcel Blog Tour with Abigail Roux

PartParcel_TourBanner

We’re so pleased to welcome Abigail Roux and the Part & Parcel blog tour to The Novel Approach today. Enjoy this exclusive excerpt and then be sure to check out details on the giveaway below.

Good luck!

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Part&Parcel_600x900Blurb: Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott had their happy ending in sight when a friend’s call for help almost ended with them losing it to the blade of a knife. Now, in the aftermath of near-disaster, both men are trying to heal and move on.

Moving on together, though, is harder than either of them realized it would be. Kelly struggles with simply being a lover instead of the Doc, while Nick is mired in his recovery. The distance between them inches along in stilted silence.

Desperately seeking solace, Nick finally gathers the courage to sort through the possessions his dear friend and fellow Sidewinder teammate Elias Sanchez left him when he died. Instead of comforting memories, Nick and Kelly find a stack of letters and strict instructions from Eli that prompt them to send out a call for assistance. With Eli’s letters in hand, Sidewinder sets out on one last mission together, seeking peace and absolution from beyond the grave—and from each other.

Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing

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Excerpt: “You okay?” Kelly asked as he eased down beside Nick. His hand was warm through Nick’s thin T-shirt.

“Yeah,” Nick whispered. He slid his hand up Kelly’s arm, staring into his storm-tossed eyes.

“You sure? Your heart’s racing.” Kelly moved his fingers up like he was going to check Nick’s pulse again.

Nick licked his lips, nodding jerkily. “That’s because I’m nervous,” he practically gasped.

Kelly stared, unblinking, unflinching. His thumb rested against Nick’s chin again, and his eyes followed its progress as he slid it up the line of Nick’s jaw to his cheekbone.

It seemed like forever to Nick, like it took Kelly hours to move. It seemed like he held his breath for so long that his lungs burned, that his body screamed for him to do something, anything, to relieve the pressure building.

It wasn’t until Kelly finally met his eyes again, when his fingers finally tightened against the back of Nick’s neck, when he finally leaned closer, that Nick sucked in a breath. A moment later Kelly’s lips were on his, warm and gentle and familiar.

Nick didn’t dare move, didn’t dare make a sound beyond the involuntary whimper that escaped his parted lips once Kelly pulled back. He was left with his eyes closed and his breath stolen, grasping Kelly harder so he wouldn’t move away.

Kelly brushed his nose against Nick’s, and then his lips met Nick’s again and he shifted like he might climb into Nick’s lap. Nick tightened his grip on Kelly’s forearm, and Kelly moaned quietly against his lips.

“I miss you,” Nick whispered between gentle kisses.

Kelly pressed his forehead to Nick’s, leaning his body against Nick’s shoulder. “Asshole,” he grunted.

Nick ducked his head, but Kelly put a hand on his shoulder and shoved off of him, raising up and slinging one leg over Nick’s lap. Nick gripped Kelly’s hips to remind him to be careful as Kelly straddled him, both hands resting on Nick’s shoulders, his head cocked. Nick swallowed hard, flushing with a heady mixture of nerves and adrenaline and desire as Kelly pushed his blanket off his shoulders with a smirk.

“How’s your heart rate?” Kelly asked wryly.

Nick was embarrassingly out of breath, but he managed a smile. “Racing.”

Kelly rewarded him with a crooked grin. “Mine too.”

Nick sat up straighter, wincing, still staring into Kelly’s shadowed eyes as his fingers wandered under Kelly’s shirt to graze over his ribs. Kelly leaned closer to brush his nose against Nick’s.

“What have you done?” Kelly asked, dropping his voice to a seductive whisper.

Nick sucked in a deep breath, holding it as he tried to find a good answer that wouldn’t get him yelled at. When he finally let it gust out, Kelly rolled his eyes and sat back, pursing his lips and nodding as if he’d known Nick had been up to no good.

“I told you to sit,” Kelly huffed. “I told you not to move. I told you to rest.”

“I know, but—”

“Nick!”

Nick practically growled as he rested his head on the back of the couch and flopped his hands to the cushions. It was like being in the Marines and having to report to his corpsman all over again. “It’s been over four weeks, Kels.”

“You know if you overwork yourself it’ll set back your recovery.”

“I was looking for Seymour,” Nick said, his voice a bit more caustic than he’d meant for it to be.

Kelly sat back, eyes gone wide. “You have him?”

Nick’s attention strayed to the coffee table, and Kelly glanced over his shoulder, where he could no doubt see Seymour on the table, along with the envelope full of letters Nick had found in the top of the cardboard box full of Eli’s things. The box itself was now sitting beneath the glass top.

Kelly leaned back, his lithe body twisting and straining against Nick as he plucked up the sock monkey. “I can’t believe you found him. Where was he?”

Nick found it hard to swallow, and he licked his lips to stall as his eyes strayed to the envelope again. “It’s the stuff Eli’s mom gave me,” he said, voice gone hoarse as he thought about the letter he’d read. “I . . . I just had this sudden need to go through it, I don’t know.”

Kelly sat back on Nick’s thighs, cocking his head and frowning at the ragged sock monkey in his hands. Seymour was about twenty inches tall, with a scraggly tail, gangly arms and legs, and big ears that had more often than not been used as handles. He had at one time sported white, green, and orange stripes, with a little blue-and-green beanie and blue puffs for buttons, but the colors were faded and dirty and the button puffs were long gone.

Kelly had always been vaguely disturbed by the look on Seymour’s face, especially after they’d had to sew up his left eye, but Eli had loved him and carried him with him wherever they went, including into battle. He’d stick him in his back pocket or his pack, depending on where they were. When the monkey had taken a piece of shrapnel to the eye—and saved Eli’s ass in the process—Eli had ordered a purple heart ribbon to sew onto his beanie so everyone would know Seymour was a combat veteran.

They’d taken pictures of him at landmarks around the world, sometimes risking life and limb and jail time to position him. It had always been their understanding that Seymour was to continue traveling even after Eli’s death, until he had seen the world.

“Seymour,” Nick grumbled affectionately.

“Huh?”

“EZ was always so proud of the pun. Seymour needs to see more.”

Kelly blinked at him, then looked back at the sock monkey. “Oh my God.”

Nick chuckled, then bit his lip when Kelly glared at him. “Did that just hit you?”

“Yes. Shut up.”

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Abi RouxAbout Abigail Roux: Abigail Roux was born and raised in North Carolina. A past volleyball star who specializes in sarcasm and painful historical accuracy, she currently spends her time coaching high school volleyball and investigating the mysteries of single motherhood. Any spare time is spent living and dying with every Atlanta Braves and Carolina Panthers game of the year.

Abigail has a daughter, Little Roux, who is the light of her life, a boxer, four rescued cats who play an ongoing live-action variation of Call of Duty throughout the house, a certifiable extended family down the road, and a cast of thousands in her head.

Connect with AbiWebsite || Twitter || Facebook || Tumblr || Goodreads

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THE GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of Part & Parcel, we are selecting TWO giveaway winners! One will receive the last four Cut & Run books in audio, and the other will receive the full Sidewinder series in audio. Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 26, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway, and don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!

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Giveaways, L.B. Gregg, Riptide Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: The With This Bling Blog Tour with L.B. Gregg

WithThisBling_TourBanner

Today we’re so pleased to welcome author LB Gregg to on the tour for the newest installment in the Romano and Albright series, With This Bling. Enjoy LB’s guest post, and then be sure to check out the great giveaway! Details below.

Good luck!

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Hi. My name is LB Gregg and I write gay romance. I’m here with Riptide Publishing celebrating the release of book three in my Romano and Albright series—With This Bling. It’s an exciting time. I know it’s also been a while and I appreciate readers sticking with me.

Expectation is a tricky thing. It took years for me to get to a point where I felt comfortable writing a new Romano and Albright book and once I did, I had a few false starts. Figuring out where to pick up the thread of Ce and Dan’s story proved harder than I anticipated.

Keeping things fresh is a challenge for any writer, and in the case of Romano and Albright, more than half a decade has passed since I last visited the guys. That’s a long time to pick up where you left off. In everything from popular culture, politics, publishing, and city’s landscape— New York City has changed. There’s a new mayor in town. Smart phones are universal, as is texting in emoji. We finally have marriage equality. Citi bikes racks fill the side streets, and Hurricane Sandy left damage, resulting in roadwork and traffic snarls. Wheat is out. Farm-to-Table is in. Uber is a thing. And so is Tinder (and Grinder) and social media is unavoidable. The High Line opened and stretches across the lower West Side, alive with history, blooming gardens, graffiti art, and tourists. And now One World Trade Center dominates the Manhattan skyline.

With This Bling begins only a couple of weeks after Trust Me If You Dare left off. Long enough for Caesar’s wounds to have healed after the BMW hijinks, but for this tentative, hot new thing between Dan and Ce to still feel fresh. The guys are just settling into a routine, but they still have a lot of questions.

Caesar makes frequent references to the here and now of 2008 and 2009 in books one and two—from marriage, to popular culture, to electronics and technology, to fashion trends—and I wasn’t sure if I should place the new story in 2015, or keep the guys sealed in the past. I struggled initially with how to adapt all the changes in our real world, with the very narrow timeline in my Romano and Albright series.

However, Caesar Romano is still the same twenty-eight year college graduate who struggles with the same day-to-day realties of life in the big city that most twenty-somethings do. Finances. Balancing family and friends. Commuting. Debt. Growing his career. Getting laid. Those basics haven’t changed for Caesar.

Yes, he’s always been a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, but because he’s young, he’s not oblivious to pop culture. Ce is and will remain current. Keeping him in the here and now wasn’t quite so difficult, because the things that make him tick haven’t changed, despite the prevalence of free wifi, a iPhone, Siri at his finger tips, and a languishing Twitter account.

And while Dan Albright might be a little above popular culture (Justin Bieber and Mylie Cyrus aren’t really on his radar), there isn’t a forty something in NY who hasn’t taken a selfie. Dan’s a smart guy. He’s hip. He’s educated. He loves to text. And the former detective has a firm opinion about both Deflategate and the World Series. He adores gadgets and video games and Dan’s not above using new and old technology to get his way. Those things won’t change about him either.

Because Romano and Albright are character driven books, I let Ce and Dan decide what things to keep, and what things they wished to upgrade. Putting Ce and Dan right here, right now, in this present, is something I’ll continue to do with the next book—Gaydar Love. The guys adapt better and faster than the rest of us, apparently, and they can pick up exactly where they left off, leaping through time and space as only fictional characters can. And neither one of them has aged. If only I could say the same.

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With This BlingAbout the Book:

Caesar Romano’s catering career is doing better than he’d ever dreamed. And so is his love life—even if his boyfriend’s house in Staten Island is way too far from civilization for his liking. But then in short order, Caesar is duped into helping his cousin propose, is tricked by his best friend and business partner into appearing on live television, and is harassed by a thug-like personal trainer and his far too beautiful wife. In fact, Caesar is almost too busy to notice that something is troubling his PI boyfriend, Dan Albright.

Almost.

Laid-back, open, charming—that’s the impression hunky former NYPD Detective Dan Albright gives everyone. Caesar can add sexually adventurous and a bit of an exhibitionist. But he also knows that Dan is hiding something—something dark and a little dangerous—and when Dan’s silence over his mysterious past threatens to harm them both, it’s Caesar’s turn to save the day.

But then again, a break-in, a gallery party, an heirloom ring, a new suit, and a stalker with bad BO are all just a typical week for Caesar Romano.

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Author BioAbout the Author:

When not working from her home in the rolling hills of Northwestern Connecticut, author L.B. Gregg can be spotted in coffee shops from Berlin to Singapore to Panama–sipping lattes and writing sweet, hot, often funny, stories about men who love men.

For more info on L.B., because surely one can never get too much of a good thing, you can follow her on her preferred social media, Facebook. You can also e-mail L.B. at lbgregg at lbgregg dot com, visit her website www.lbgregg.com, be her GoodReads pal or follow her sporadic appearances on twitter.

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of With This Bling, L.B. Gregg is giving away a Romano and Albright mug with swag, and a $40 gift card to Amazon! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 12, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!

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Giveaways, J.A. Rock

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Subs Club Blog Tour with J.A. Rock

SubsClub_TourBanner

Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and right now I’m touring the internet talking about my latest release The Subs Club—Book 1 in The Subs Club series. Thanks so much to the blogs that are hosting me on this tour, and be sure to leave comments on the tour posts for a chance to win your choice of two backlist ebooks and a $10 Amazon gift card!

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The Subs Club Supporting Characters

At other stops on the tour, you’ll meet the four main Subs Club members: charming, snarky Dave; uptight perfectionist Miles; big-hearted dudebro Kamen; and super shy Gould. At the start of the series, they’re still reeling from the death of their fifth friend, Hal, but are steeling themselves to go back to playing at Riddle, the dungeon where he died. Here’s a look at some of the supporting characters who populate Riddle, and the Subs Club universe in general:

Bill Henson: The dom who was playing with Hal at Riddle the night Hal died. Bill was charged with second-degree murder when Hal strangled to death after Bill left him tied up, alone, in one of the playrooms. Bill was later found innocent in court—though the kink community has been less forgiving. Prior to the Hal incident, Bill had a reputation for being an arrogant, sometimes careless dom who exaggerated his experience level. This makes him an easy target for angry, grieving kinksters looking for someone to blame. But Bill might not be quite the monster everyone thinks he is…

Cinnamon the Ponygirl: The Subs Club’s mortal enemy, Cinnamon is famous in the pony play world, but far less popular at Riddle. Rude, self-centered, and fond of stirring up trouble, she was also the only witness to Hal’s death—and she spoke in Bill Henson’s defense at the trial, incurring the Subs Club’s further wrath. Dave, who has an irrational fear of furries, is particularly uneasy around her, because he considers pet players a little too close to furries for comfort.

Kel and GK: The owners of Riddle, one of two kink clubs in the city, GK and Kel are a married couple who had a dream: to run a dungeon together. But three years after that dream became a reality, things went to shit when Hal died at Riddle, causing kinksters to question whether GK and Kel are capable of maintaining a safe play environment. Kel and GK struggle to keep their club afloat in the wake of tragedy, making questionable decisions along the way. They also seem to have a real thing for Gould.

Ricky Chuy: The smoothest, twinkiest, innocent-est newbie imaginable. The Subs Club sometimes lets him tag along with them to Riddle to learn about the scene. Dave describes it as “like taking the goddamn Little Mermaid to a bondage club.”

Rachel, the Human Menorah-Maker: Okay, Rachel’s a bit elusive. But other clubgoers look fondly upon her annual Hanukah rope work, where she creates rope candleholders on people’s arms and turns them into human menorahs.

Regina: “Biggest hair I’ve seen outside a Winger video,” according to Dave. A Riddle staff member, Regina loves to play matchmaker at the club, introducing players with similar kinks. Regina can usually be found tending the dry bar, working the front desk, or else DM-ing.

Mrs. Pell: Kamen’s mom. She’s been in the scene for years, but she usually plays at Cobalt, the “White Castle of BDSM clubs.” So as long as Kamen sticks to Riddle, he can usually avoid, y’know…running into his mom at a dungeon. Much to Kamen’s mortification, Mrs. Pell is very frank about and comfortable with her lifestyle, and loves to show off the string of hairy-chested play partners she doms.

Bowser: A big, burly, Viking-esque man with a ginger beard, an extreme medical play fetish, and a laugh that sounds just like Bowser’s in Super Mario 64. Apparently he and the very masochistic Miles have a bit of a past together.

Fucktopus: A mysterious “tentacle furry” who shows up on the Subs Club message board to talk about his eight robotic tentacles of fun. Dave’s absolute worst nightmare.

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TheSubsClub_600x900About The Subs Club (The Subs Club #1): A year ago, my best friend Hal died at the hands of an incompetent “dom.” So I started the Subs Club, a private blog where submissives can review doms and call out the douche bags.

A perfect example of the kind of arrogant asshole I mean? The Disciplinarian. He has a pornstache. He loves meat, stoicism, America, and real discipline. And he thinks subs exist to serve him.

But . . . not everything about him is awful. His Davy Crockett act just seems like a cover for his fear of intimacy, and part of me wants to show him it’s okay to get close to people. And, I mean, sue me, but I have fantasized about real discipline. Not role-play, but like, Dave, you’re gonna be thirty in four years and you still work in a mall; get your ass in gear or I’ll spank it.

Not that I’d ever trust anyone with that kind of control.

I’m gonna redefine “battle of wills” for the Disciplinarian. Or I’m gonna bone him. It’s hard to say.

—Dave

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About The Subs Club Universe: After the death of their friend Hal at the hands of an irresponsible dom, submissive friends Dave, Kamen, Miles, and Gould band together to form the Subs Club—an organization seeking to expose dangerous local doms. The club slowly evolves as romances blossom, loyalties are tested, and tensions mount in a community already struggling for unity in the wake of Hal’s death.

From domestic discipline to knife play to fashion paraphilia, and from family drama to new jobs to first loves, the members of the Subs Club explore life’s kinks inside and outside of the bedroom as they attempt to let go of the past and move forward.

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Author BioAbout the Author: J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including BY HIS RULES, TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, and, with Lisa Henry, THE GOOD BOY and WHEN ALL THE WORLD SLEEPS. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

Website || Blog || Twitter || Facebook

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Giveaway

Don’t forget! To celebrate the release of The Subs Club, J.A. Rock is giving away two titles from her backlist and a $10 Amazon gift card! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 12, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! And don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!

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5 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, J.A. Rock, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Release Day Review: The Subs Club by J.A. Rock

TNA Page Turner Resized

Amazon

Amazon

Title: The Subs Club (The Subs Club: Book One)

Author: J.A. Rock

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 297 Pages

At a Glance: I highly recommend this book and cannot wait for Pain Slut, coming out in February of 2016.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: A year ago, my best friend Hal died at the hands of an incompetent “dom.” So I started the Subs Club, a private blog where submissives can review doms and call out the douche bags.

A perfect example of the kind of arrogant asshole I mean? The Disciplinarian. He has a pornstache. He loves meat, stoicism, America, and real discipline. And he thinks subs exist to serve him.

But . . . not everything about him is awful. His Davy Crockett act just seems like a cover for his fear of intimacy, and part of me wants to show him it’s okay to get close to people. And, I mean, sue me, but I have fantasized about real discipline. Not role-play, but like, Dave, you’re gonna be thirty in four years and you still work in a mall; get your ass in gear or I’ll spank it.

Not that I’d ever trust anyone with that kind of control.

I’m gonna redefine “battle of wills” for the Disciplinarian. Or I’m gonna bone him. It’s hard to say.

—Dave

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Review: We all have preconceived notions of not just ourselves but the people and the roles they have in our lives. What happens when that reality is shattered and you are left to reinvent yourself inside a new paradigm? Like taking an old well-loved coat and repurposing it to something new and better than it was before – something that will grow with you and make you a better person. It hurts, but it is worth the transformation.

Dave. He’s complicated, witty, and a little immature (but trying so hard), loyal and an advocate for others. He’s a sub but he’s gonna make you work for it – especially if he feels you don’t deserve it. He is secure in himself as a submissive, and he knows what he needs and is convinced he will never find it or have the guts to ask for it, especially now. There used to be five of them, a circle of friends who are all subs. Now there are only four.  His best friend died at the hands of an irresponsible Dom, and it’s a wound that hasn’t healed for any of them. Their first night back at an event at Riddle, a local BDSM club—and the one where Hal died—Dave spies a man he nicknames Pornstache, and falls into insta-lust. “Come save me, Pornstache. But, I mean, don’t, because I’m not attracted to you and I’m not here to have fun. I’m here to reflect on how stupid-lonely I am, and how I prefer meaningless sex to relationships, and meaningless spankings to meaningless sex.”  Pornstache is actually Dave (yes, the main characters have the same name!), a Dom who goes by the name The Disciplinarian and, yeah, he noticed Dave too.  But Dave isn’t easy, and the wounds he carries for not just himself but for all of his friends, make this relationship painful and not just from the spankings.

This book really delves into a serious issue in the fet community—subs having a voice. Who is responsible when something goes wrong in a scene? Rules are there for a reason and should never be broken, and when they are, who do you blame?  Dave has an idea to start an online blog called The Subs Club where subs can go and talk about anything, and that includes the Dom’s they play with. It’s all about being safe, knowing who is playing safe and who isn’t and what kind of experiences they are having as subs. Sounds good, right? But what happens when people start talking about your new Dom on the blog?

This book is about moving forward from tragedy, wrapped inside the complicated world of discipline and submission. Brilliantly written, Dave is a man you truly want to find his HEA inside the domestic discipline relationship he craves, and Pornstache is just the Dom to give it to him! Dave finally realizes “Oh my fucking God.  Love really is the most dangerous game. And I want to play it.”

I highly recommend this book and cannot wait for Pain Slut, coming out in February of 2016.

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

 

You can buy The Subs Club here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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5 Stars, L.B. Gregg, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lisa, Riptide Publishing

Release Day Review: With This Bling by L.B. Gregg

TNA Page Turner Resized

Amazon

Amazon

Title: With This Bling (Romano and Albright: Book Three)

Author: L.B. Gregg

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 264 Pages

At a Glance: Dan Albright and Caesar Romano are back and better than ever!

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Caesar Romano’s catering career is doing better than he’d ever dreamed. And so is his love life—even if his boyfriend’s house in Staten Island is way too far from civilization for his liking. But then in short order, Caesar is duped into helping his cousin propose, is tricked by his best friend and business partner into appearing on live television, and is harassed by a thug-like personal trainer and his far too beautiful wife. In fact, Caesar is almost too busy to notice that something is troubling his PI boyfriend, Dan Albright.

Almost.

Laid-back, open, charming—that’s the impression hunky former NYPD Detective Dan Albright gives everyone. Caesar can add sexually adventurous and a bit of an exhibitionist. But he also knows that Dan is hiding something—something dark and a little dangerous—and when Dan’s silence over his mysterious past threatens to harm them both, it’s Caesar’s turn to save the day.

But then again, a break-in, a gallery party, an heirloom ring, a new suit, and a stalker with bad BO are all just a typical week for Caesar Romano.

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Review: Oh, Caesar Romano, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1.) ALL OF THEM

It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for Ce and his big ol’ sexy Private Investigator lover Dan Albright to return to an e-reader near us, doesn’t it? The humor, the sex in somewhat super conspicuous places (Dan and Ce are just a wee bit kinky that way), the mystery and danger—did I mention the hilarity?—they’re all back and then some in With This Bling, and I’m beyond ecstatic to say it was worth the wait. Okay, a little less waiting would’ve been nice, but who’s happy now? Me.

Ce is now out of the art business and contentedly ensconced at Posh Nosh with his pregnant BFF Poppy (my grumpy spirit animal), who happens to be carrying the offspring of Ce’s cousin Joey. Why is this significant? Because a seemingly cursed (and kinda gruesomely acquired) ring, an appearance on a schmaltzy New York morning show, and the single most hilarious cooking segment on television all leads up to what was supposed to be an epically romantic wedding proposal. Supposed to… The thing is, where Ce’s involved, what’s supposed to happen and what does happen rarely are one and the same—so much shenanigans ensue, I swear. Trust me when I say it always makes for great reading, though, and this installment of the Romano and Albright series is no exception.

Of course, then there’s the woman who keeps rubbing her girly junk all up against Dan’s fine-ass form. What the oh-hell-no is up with that? Well, she’s a nasty blast from Dan’s past, and her hygienically challenged husband is a tad on the stalkery side—though the smell, well, that may just be a second hand stench Ce was smelling. At any rate, the Lutzes are a couple of putzes, and one of them is making it awfully easy for a certain someone to try to get his hands on Dan. The interaction between Caesar and Blair, though, it’s priceless! On a scale of one to snark, it’s a total verbal bitch slap:

Blair: “Caspar. We meet again.”
Ce: “Blade. Are you enjoying the show?”

Okay, you had to be there, but oh my god, the only thing missing from this scene was shoulder pads and a catfight. No one should go up against Caesar Romano in a battle of snits, let me assure you, especially when that someone is trying to get with Ce’s man. But there’s so much more to the story than Blair Somerset-Lutz, skank extraordinaire, trying to sink her claws into one Dan Albright. I can’t tell you what it is, though, or it’d spoil all the fun. Just suffice it to say that L.B. Gregg is in top form here, and she did nothing but make me realize how much I missed her guys, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Romano and Albright back on my e-reader. This book doesn’t start off with quite the bang of the other two in the series, but that’s okay because it doesn’t take long before all hell breaks loose, and this time Ce gets to be the hero in the uber-tight suit. That poor suit… God.

For us dedicated fans of this sexy couple, Gregg also gives us a pretty sweet payoff in the romance department, and I loved every minute of it. Listen, our heroes aren’t ones for the shmoops and candy conversation hearts, that’s definitely not their M.O., but still, they find themselves in uncharted waters by the end of the story, and it was completely fabulous, and now I can’t wait for book four, just on general principle alone, but also to see how this new development develops.

With This Bling may have been a long time coming, but have mercy, it was worth the wait. I’m still cackling over that cooking scene. Comedy gold.

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You can buy With This Bling here:

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5 Stars, Holiday Romance, LC Chase, Reviewed by Jules, Riptide Publishing

Review: A Fortunate Blizzard by L.C. Chase

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Amazon

Title: A Fortunate Blizzard

Author: L.C. Chase

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 179 Pages

At a Glance: Grab this book and curl up by the fire one weekend soon! You’ll be so glad you did!

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: There are worse things than being stranded in a blizzard….

Artist Trevor Morrison has always appreciated the little things in life, treating each day as a gift. And with good reason: he’s been on the transplant-recipient list for too long now. When he learns just how numbered his days truly are, he resolves not to take them for granted. But he won’t be unrealistic, either—which means romantic commitments are off the table.

Marcus Roberts seems to have it all. He’s handsome, financially sound, and on the fast track to partnership at a prestigious law firm. In reality, though, his drive for success has meant no time for friends or relationships. Add in the fact that his family discarded him long ago, and he’s facing yet another holiday season alone.

When the biggest snowstorm to hit Colorado in decades leaves Marc and Trevor stranded at the same hotel, a chance encounter and a night of passion leads to more than either of them expected. Finding comfort in each other is a welcome surprise, but time is not on their side. Either they find a way to beat the odds, or they lose each other forever. 

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Review: A Fortunate Blizzard by L.C. Chase was my first holiday read this year, and it was a fantastic way to kick the season off. I LOVED this story. As I was thinking about this book, and going back over my notes and highlights, I ended up reading the entire thing again, because it is just that yummy and swoony! As I was looking over my notes, though, I came across this highlighted quote:

“…the snow was beautiful to watch – peaceful in its silence, tranquil in its insistence that the world stop and take a breath, release its grief, cleanse its soul, and start anew.”

Not only is that exactly how I feel about snow, but it’s also a perfect summation of the story. Both Trevor and Marc are in need of ‘taking breaths, releasing grief, and starting anew.’ One of the central themes in the book definitely has to do with fresh starts – Marc letting go of his family angst and his drive to fulfill someone else’s dreams, and Trevor, obviously, quite literally needing a new lease on life –  this snow quote gave me feels and perfectly captured those elements in the book.

Trevor and Marc are fantastic together. And, sexy as hell. The immediate attraction between them – particularly Marc’s strong reaction to Trevor – is so well done. The tension in the beginning is perfect, and they are ridiculously hot together. The relationship happens quickly, but it completely works. The spark is there from the get-go, and they mesh so well with each other. I love how Trevor really sees Marc, and how he inspires him to seize life and rediscover his passion. Both characters are wonderful, but I found myself very drawn to Trevor. His story is extremely powerful, and the way he handles his dire situation – even his deciding to keep Marc at arm’s length – is so admirable. I completely adored him.

This story has all the components of a fabulous holiday read. It’s well-written, with a wonderfully easygoing style. It’s so romantic and swoony, but with the right amount of drama. The conflict is really well done – has you on edge but not wanting to throw your Kindle into the fireplace. And, there might be a few tears (I still can’t with Trevor’s letter to Marc!). Grab this book and curl up by the fire one weekend soon! You’ll be so glad you did!

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You can buy A Fortunate Blizzard here:

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4.5 Stars, Abigail Roux, Audio Book, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen, Riptide Publishing

Audio Review: Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux – Narrated by Brock Thompson

Audio Gem

Amazon

Amazon

TitleShock & Awe (Sidewinder: Book One)

Author:  Abigail Roux

Narrator: Brock Thompson

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Run Time:  3 hours and 59 minutes

At a GlanceBrock Thompson was a new to me narrator, and I was pleasantly surprised by his performance.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: After barely surviving a shootout in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has to suffer through a month of recovery before he can return home to Colorado. He’s not surprised when fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty stays with him in New Orleans. Nor is he surprised when Nick travels home with him to help him get back on his feet – after all, years on the same Marine Force Recon team bonded the men in ways that only bleeding for a brother can. He’s very surprised, though, when Nick humors his moment of curiosity and kisses him.

Nick knows all of Kelly’s quirks and caprices, so the kiss was a low-risk move on his part…or so he thought. But what should’ve been a simple moment unleashes a flood of confusing emotions and urges that neither man is prepared to address. Now, Kelly and Nick must figure out what they mean to each other – friends and brothers in arms or something even deeper – before the past can come back to ruin their tenuous future.

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Review: I absolutely loved this book when it came out, and I’ve read it multiple times since then, so I was excited to listen to this audio. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the Cut & Run series audiobooks yet, but now I’m going to have to get them so I can listen to all of them in order.

Brock Thompson was a new to me narrator, and I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. The different characters’ voices were distinct; I didn’t have any issue following along or knowing who was talking throughout the audio. I thought that the narration of the story was just as hot and sexy as the book itself—nothing was taken away from the story at all.

Usually I listen to audiobooks while I’m at work, not really my thing to listen in the car or at home, but some I just can’t stop listening to and have to have them playing wherever I happen to be, which was the case with Shock & Awe—I started listening at work, continued in the car, put my headphones on and listened while grocery shopping, then again in the car on the way home, and since there was only a little left at that point, I finished up sitting on my couch at home. In other words, I didn’t want to stop listening before I got to the end, and now I can’t wait to start Cross & Crown and continue listening to the guys’ story.

A highly recommended listen.

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You can buy Shock & Awe here:

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5 Stars, Drama, Genre Romance, HelenKay Dimon, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Stranded by HelenKay Dimon

StrandedTitle: Stranded

Author: HelenKay Dimon

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 155 Pages

At a Glance: Oh heavens, this was a good book!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Brax Hughes lived hard and retired young to a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Well, that was the plan, but before he can hang up his sniper rifle, he has one last mission: win back Kyle Cabe. Brax wants another chance, wants to come clean, but after months of lying to Cabe, he knows he could face a bullet — or worse — when they meet again. And they will meet. Brax made sure of that.

With a storm moving in and someone lurking outside the cabin, time is running out. Brax needs to talk fast and keep his weapons ready. And his best weapon is the truth.

* * * * * * *

NOTE: Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

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Review: Do you like military style men with intriguing stories to tell? Then you will love this book like I did!

How do you describe Cabe and Brax… They are intense, male, alpha, dominating, controlling, broken, fierce, passionate, powerful, and consuming. These two men NEED the truth they find in each other, but they both have trust issues and control issues, and it is painful but oh-so-worth-it to watch them work through them.

Kyle Cabe was a product of the foster system; if it taught him anything, it taught him not to trust anyone. Ever. It was that lesson that makes him such a great operative and keeps him alive. That is, until Brax Hughes, another operative, wormed his way inside Cabe’s walls. Of course, then Brax shot and tried to kill him. Now Cabe is retired, as retired as a man can be from the business, and he wants to fade into anonymity and find peace.

Brax wants to retire also. After all, he is supposed to be dead. But Brax has one last mission, and that is to make sure that Cabe knows the truth of what happened that day he shot him. How does he convince the only man he has ever loved that he shot him in order to save him? These men’s lives are built on carefully crafted lies, and to get to the heart of them is a convoluted story full of intrigue, with missions gone bad and good intentions gone wrong. The passion between the two is never in question and, oh my, the sex is hot, but these two men have big obstacles to overcome, and the largest obstacles are inside themselves. I highly recommend this book!

HelenKay Dimon has dipped her toe into the M/M genre before, even though she mainly writes M/F, but all of her books are intense romances about intense people, and the attention to detail is what makes them so freaking good. I hope she produces more for the M/M genre, as it is greatly enhanced with her presence.

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You can buy Stranded here:

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3 Stars, Genre Romance, L.A. Witt, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Rain Shadow by L.A. Witt

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Amazon

Title: Rain Shadow (A Bluewater Bay Novel)

Author: L.A. Witt

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

At a Glance: All in all, another solid addition to the Bluewater Bay series.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Jeremy Rose came to Bluewater Bay to work as Anna Maxwell’s bodyguard, not to escape his increasingly bitter relationship with his estranged kids. He just wants to focus on his job and be alone for a while. He’s done with love, especially now that three years after his long overdue divorce, he’s got a front-row seat to the rapid deterioration between Anna and her girlfriend. Cynical doesn’t even begin to describe him.

Then Anna and Leigh’s attempts to reconcile put him in the crosshairs of marriage counselor Scott Fletcher. Scott’s exactly what Jeremy needs right now: gorgeous, hot, horny, single, and 100% uninterested in a relationship. The problem is, too much no-strings-attached sex — and too much time in each other’s company — inevitably builds emotional connection.

Except Jeremy refuses to seek counseling for his broken family, and Scott refuses to get seriously involved with men who work dangerous jobs. They both need to realize they can only hide for so long from the pain they came here to escape. They must face their pasts before they lose their shot at a happy future.

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Review: Normally I love mature romances – give me two older men in love every time.  I like that older men have more of a backstory to tell and that they have established lives, aspects that are generally not a part of the storyline for younger characters. However, when the “start of life” storyline is taken away, then you have to come up with a reason why these men are still single and what their particular angst is going to be. For this story, it is the death of a previous partner for Scott, and a divorce for Jeremy. The storyline with Scott is heartbreaking, and you can totally understand his unwillingness to get close to another man.

For Jeremy, though, his divorce haunts him every day, and I think it took over the book. And, not in a good way.  Jeremy spends too much time blaming himself for the condition of his family, and his ex-wife and children are happy to let him have all the guilt and responsibility. When I finished the book I felt like I could go on and on with just how much was wrong with the way those relationships were written. This book was a bit of a dichotomy for me.  I loved aspects of it and I hated aspects of it.

However, I loved the romance between these two men. Jeremy and Scott have both loved and lost, and they approach their “just sex” agreement in a mature, seemingly rational way. Unfortunately, the heart is rarely rational, and the comfort and sense of belonging these men find in each other is amazing. Neither wants a relationship, but they cannot deny the ease with which they fit, like two adrift puzzle pieces that are finally placed home.

I really wanted to like this book as I have read all the Bluewater Bay stories, and thoroughly enjoyed them, not to mention I am usually a big fan of L.A. Witt, but this one is a fifty-fifty for me.

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You can buy Rain Shadow here:

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3 Stars, Christine D'Abo, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Jules, Riptide Publishing

Review: Rebound Remedy by Christine d’Abo

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Amazon

Title: Rebound Remedy

Author: Christine d’Abo

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 155 Pages

At a GlanceDespite the few misgivings I had about it, Rebound Remedy is a sweet holiday story that I think many will enjoy.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: The last thing Cole expects to get for the holidays is dumped. But there he is, in the airport on his way to Banff for a romantic getaway, helplessly watching as his boyfriend’s ex declares undying love, proposes—and is accepted. With a few weeks to go until Christmas, Cole’s mood dives from jolly to jaded. But instead of sitting at home alone and feeling sorry for himself, he goes to his favorite bar, McGregor’s, for a pint and some company.

The moment Owen McGregor sets eyes on Cole, he knows there’s something wrong. So he takes it upon himself to ensure that Cole has a happy holiday: twelve outings for the twelve days before Christmas. Even if he can’t quite think up twelve activities that don’t involve getting the forlorn hunk into his bed.

With each outing they take together, Cole realizes that the love he thought he’d shared with his ex was less than perfect. And that Owen might prove to be more than just his rebound remedy.

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Review: Cole is having a shitty start to his holidays. Suddenly finding himself single two weeks before Christmas, he heads down to his neighborhood pub – McGregor’s – to drown his sorrows a bit. But, things quickly start looking up when he ends up unexpectedly flirting with the attractive bartender/owner, Owen. The two guys connect over helping a drunk into a cab, and after getting together for breakfast the next morning, form a fast bond.

There are some sweet moments between Cole and Owen. I liked them each individually – Owen especially…he had a very interesting story, that I wish could have been explored more – and, for the most part, their chemistry with each other was pretty hot as well. I had an issue with the pacing of the story, however, which took away from the overall enjoyment for me.

There is a place in romance for insta-love; I’ve read several books where it absolutely worked. In Rebound Remedy it alllllllmost works – I did find myself rooting for them, in spite of the fact that their relationship wasn’t entirely believable – but, unfortunately, it’s just not enough. Though the book wasn’t really all that short at 155 pages, it simply didn’t give us enough of their story. It felt like a novella that needed much more fleshing out in order to get us to fall in love with the guys, and fully buy their romance. It had promise…and there were definitely bits that were good, but, for me, it did miss the mark, mainly due to all the relationship stuff just moving too darn fast.

Despite the few misgivings I had about it, Rebound Remedy is a sweet holiday story that I think many will enjoy. Especially those who love the love-at-first-sight or insta-love tropes. I liked the backdrop of Toronto, and all of the Christmas-y stuff, especially the scene where they get Cole’s tree! And, I’ll be saying my little Christmas prayers that Christine d’Abo decides to write a book for Xander (one of Owen’s friends), because he sounds ridiculously hot. I would definitely be all ‘grabby hands’ for that book! Ha!

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You can buy Rebound Remedy here:

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Christine D'Abo, Giveaways

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Rebound Remedy Blog Tour with Christine d’Abo

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Today we’re pleased to welcome author Christine d’Abo to TNA, on the Rebound Remedy blog tour. Enjoy Christine’s guest post and then be sure to check out the giveaway details below.

Good luck!

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Hello! I’m very excited to be here on the blog today. My name is Christine d’Abo and I write erotic romance, both m/f and m/m. I’m super excited to be here today to talk to you about my holiday novella, Rebound Remedy.

When Cole gets dumped before Christmas, Owen decides he wants to take him out to cheer him up by doing a number of different holiday activities. Between skating, Christmas tree hunting, hot chocolate drinking…and some sexy fun times, Owen keeps him busy.

This is the time of year when a lot of us get out there and do things that are out of the norm. We have fun, go outside, spend time with family and friends and generally enjoy the season. There are things that I do with my family on an annual basis, some of which made their way into Cole and Owen’s story.

Christmas Tree Hunting. This was the highlight of the year for me when I was a kid. There were a group of families who would get together and make this a big day. We’d find the trees and then go back to someone’s house to have hot chocolate and cookies. We’d then make wreaths out of the bows that we found on the ground. It was awesome and made me look forward to that weekend every year.

Outside Skating. Cole and Owen live in Toronto. The city is just one where you can skate outside in a public venue. There’s something special about being out in the cold in the middle of a city or town skating. The lights and sometimes music are fun to experience. Growing up, my small town only had an arena, but that didn’t stop us from having a good time. The hours I spent skating with friends and family were some of the best.

Holiday Lights. Though not in the novella, a tradition that my family still has a lot of fun with is something called the Festival of Lights. Every year our local park decorates the trees with an amazing array of Christmas lights and opens the park at night for trolley tours. Walking through in the dark with my husband is an amazing experience that I love. Funny how the cold bugs me every day, except when I’m out with him.

These are just a few of the things we enjoy. What are some of the things you and your family do over the holidays?

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If you would like to learn more about me, please pay a visit to my website www.christinedabo.com. I’m also very active on Twitter as @Christine_dAbo and have a monthly newsletter. If you’d like to sign up, simply click here to fill out the form.

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ReboundRemedy_500x750About Rebound Remedy: The last thing Cole expects to get for the holidays is dumped.  But there he is, in the airport on his way to Banff for a romantic getaway, helplessly watching as his boyfriend’s ex declares undying love, proposes—and is accepted. With a few weeks to go until Christmas, Cole’s mood dives from jolly to jaded. But instead of sitting at home alone and feeling sorry for himself, he goes to his favorite bar, McGregor’s, for a pint and some company.

The moment Owen McGregor sets eyes on Cole, he knows there’s something wrong. So he takes it upon himself to ensure that Cole has a happy holiday: twelve outings for the twelve days before Christmas. Even if he can’t quite think up twelve activities that don’t involve getting the forlorn hunk into his bed.

With each outing they take together, Cole realizes that the love he thought he’d shared with his ex was less than perfect. And that Owen might prove to be more than just his rebound remedy.

Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing

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Rebound Remedy is one of Riptide’s 2015 charity titles. 

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: glbthotline.org

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Author BioAbout Christine: A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

Connect with Christine:

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Rebound Remedy, Christine is giving away a tin of tea from David’s Teas! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 14, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!

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Cover Reveal, Garrett Leigh, Riptide Publishing

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh

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Title: Between Ghosts
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 226 Pages
Genre: Contemporary
Cover Artist: G.D. Leigh
Release Date: March 14, 2016
Pre-Order Link: Riptide Publishing

Blurb: In 2003, journalist Connor Regan marched through London to add his voice to a million others, decrying the imminent invasion of Iraq. Eight months later, his brother, James, was killed in action in Mosul.

Three years on, Connor finds himself bound for Iraq to embed with an elite SAS team. He sets his boots on the ground looking for closure and solace—anything to ease the pain of his brother’s death. Instead he finds Sergeant Nathan Thompson.

Nat Thompson is a veteran commander, hardened by years of combat and haunted by the loss of his best friend. Being lumbered with a civilian is a hassle Nat doesn’t need, and he vows to do nothing more than keep the hapless hack from harm’s way.

But Connor proves far from hapless, and too compelling to ignore for long. He walks straight through the steel wall Nat’s built around his heart, and when their mission puts him in mortal danger, Nat must lay old ghosts to rest and fight to the death for the only man he’s ever truly loved.

 

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Charlie Cochrane, Giveaways

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Lessons for Sleeping Dogs Blog Tour with Charlie Cochrane

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We’re so pleased to welcome author Charlie Cochrane back to TNA, on the tour for the latest installment in the Cambridge Mysteries series, Lessons for Sleeping Dogs. Enjoy Charlie’s guest post, and then be sure to leave a comment below to enter the following giveaway:

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for your choice of an a ebook from Charlie Cochrane’s backlist (excluding Lessons for Sleeping Dogs.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on October 17, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your contact information so we can reach you if you win!

Good luck!

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Jonty and Orlando and Room 40

This post was inspired by a post I once read about heroes. It defined a hero as “A man who has honour and a sense of duty, which he holds true to quietly, without a fuss.”

That immediately made me think, “That could be Jonty, or Orlando!”

Admittedly my Cambridge lads don’t normally wear armour, (in fact I’m not sure they’ve ever worn armour except perhaps for the obligatory “box” to protect the old meat and two veg when playing cricket). Nor do they ride on white chargers; Orlando gets cross enough about Jonty’s obsession with motor cars; he’d hate having to mount a horse!

They did, however, serve in WWI, both with the Room 40 cryptanalysis boys (which is referenced in “Lessons for Sleeping Dogs”) and later out in France. But they’re also heroes in their everyday lives, sticking steadfastly and stubbornly to what they believe is decent and right.

They’re creatures of their time, of course, born in the late Victorian era but Edwardians through and through. They’re based at a forward thinking but still ancient Cambridge college, trying to knock some knowledge into their students, solving mysteries on the side and desperately trying to stop the world finding out that they’re lovers because exposing that fact would have exposed them to the risk of disgrace and prison.

I’ve often wondered what Jonty and Orlando would have done with themselves if they’d been born in another era. Solved mysteries? Of course! Fallen in love with each other? Naturally. I always associate my lads with the great last line of Mary Renault’s “The Mask of Apollo” :  No one will ever make a tragedy – and that is as well, for one could not bear it – whose grief is that the principals never met.”  It would have been a huge tragedy for these two not to have found each other, but let’s not be mawkish. Whatever era they’d been in, they’d have been funny, annoying and adorable.

But I can’t help but wonder what career they would have had and how their heroic tendencies would have manifested themselves. If they’d been born thirty years later then they’d have been Bletchley men, of that I’m certain. Or would Jonty have been a bomber pilot while Orlando was his wingman, in a nippy little Hurricane? I prefer the thought of them annoying Turing at Bletchley – it would have been safer for them, for one thing and maybe Alan T wouldn’t have misplaced the silver he buried in the woods if he’d had the lads to help him locate it.

A hundred years earlier, Jonty and Orlando might have been in Nelson’s navy, one of his band of brothers. I can imagine Edwardian Jonty and Orlando having a discussion about this scenario and arguing over which one of them would have earned his captain’s “swab” first.

I can also see them at the time of Agincourt, knights in Henry’s army, part of those “happy few” although Jonty has the build less for a chevalier than for one of those famous British archers. Maybe Jonty would have actually have ghost written the “Once more into the breach” and “We few, we happy few…” speeches for the king. It’s just the sort of mellifluous language he’d have enjoyed creating.

Go back another few hundred years and I could see my lads having taken up arms on a crusade. Not for any religious reason or for the glory, but as a means of running from the traumas of their younger lives. Neither of them had particularly happy formative years; maybe that’s one of the reasons they find so much comfort in each other and in putting wrongs to right.

So, what if Jonty and Orlando had been 1980’s babies? I know Jonty would embrace modern technology with great glee and Orlando would tolerate it, much as he tolerates that car of Jonty’s. Maybe they’d be at 21st century Cambridge University, trying to knock some sense into the modern undergraduates, or Orlando would have a job in a bank, working out complex algorithms to maximise the company’s investments while Jonty treads the boards at the National Theatre, making the young girls swoon at his Hamlet.  But that doesn’t seem heroic enough. I don’t think they’re really the men for modern warfare, so where would their valour find an outlet?

I think (and this may seem odd but it makes perfect sense in my head) they’d be leading lights for a charity like Help for Heroes, or the British Legion, working their socks off to make sure that people who’ve served their country aren’t left to cope alone. That would be an admirable outlet for their brains, bravery and sense of right and wrong.

Oh, and I think Orlando would be working doubly hard to make sure their Civil Partnership ceremony wasn’t splashed all over “Country Life”!

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Lessons for Sleeping DogsBlurb: Cambridge, 1921

When amateur sleuth Jonty Stewart comes home with a new case to investigate, his partner Orlando Coppersmith always feels his day has been made. Although, can there be anything to solve in the apparent mercy killing of a disabled man by a doctor who then kills himself, especially when everything takes place in a locked room?

But things are never straightforward where the Cambridge fellows are concerned, so when they discover that more than one person has a motive to kill the dead men—motives linked to another double death—their wits get stretched to the breaking point.

And when the case disinters long buried memories for Jonty, memories about a promise he made and hasn’t kept, their emotions get pulled apart as well. This time, Jonty and Orlando will have to separate fact from fiction—and truth from emotion—to get to the bottom of things.

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Charlie CochraneBio: As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie: 

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*No residency restrictions 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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5 Stars, Charlie Cochrane, Historical Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs by Charlie Cochrane

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Amazon US

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Title: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries)

Author: Charlie Cochrane

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 208 Pages

At a Glance: If you like period appropriate verbiage and staging, REALLY GOOD mysteries, and colorful and witty characters, then this series is for you.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Cambridge, 1921

When amateur sleuth Jonty Stewart comes home with a new case to investigate, his partner Orlando Coppersmith always feels his day has been made. Although, can there be anything to solve in the apparent mercy killing of a disabled man by a doctor who then kills himself, especially when everything takes place in a locked room?

But things are never straightforward where the Cambridge fellows are concerned, so when they discover that more than one person has a motive to kill the dead men—motives linked to another double death—their wits get stretched to the breaking point.

And when the case disinters long buried memories for Jonty, memories about a promise he made and hasn’t kept, their emotions get pulled apart as well. This time, Jonty and Orlando will have to separate fact from fiction—and truth from emotion—to get to the bottom of things.

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Review: It is now 1921. Jonty and Orlando are in their forties, and it has been awhile since that business with the wooden cat. While working at the University is challenging, Orlando is beginning to think they will never have another case to solve… But then Jonty goes to tea and a case is presented, along with a particularly good nosebag.

I knew from the opening salvo, “Inspired by the many mysteries in real life that defy solution.”, that I was in for a great mystery with this book, and it did not disappoint! How do you solve a mystery that isn’t really a mystery on the surface? A mercy killing by a doctor, who then takes his own life in regret, two suicide letters explaining it all, and the whole scenario happening behind a closed door which was locked from the inside. What’s left to know? Well, a lot it seems. What they find is a case that stretches them morally and emotionally, and the decision has to be made whether to publish their findings to the world, or just to let sleeping dogs lie.

Each of these books has not only a mystery which has to be solved but a personal battle which must be fought, and in this book the power is in Jonty’s hands to right an old wrong and to realize sometimes the truth can help old sleeping dogs to lie more comfortably. This book, while still being an intense mystery, was a little lighter than some of the others have been. Lessons for Sleeping Dogs is one of my favorites in the Cambridge Fellows Mystery Series. All of Charlie Cochranes books are amazing, but being historically accurate sometimes means the emotions of two men can be constrained. This book has a warmth to it between Jonty and Orlando reminiscent of some of the earlier books in the series when they were sorting through the beginnings of their relationship. The two men are celebrating the sixteenth year of their meeting, and in my opinion, the mysteries and the emotions just keep getting deeper and better. As the pair say,

“Happy Anniversary. May there be many more of them.”

“Amen to that. More anniversaries, more cases to solve, more mattresses to put through their paces.”

“I agree on all three counts. Especially the last.”

If you like period appropriate verbiage and staging, REALLY GOOD mysteries, and colorful and witty characters, then this series is for you. You do not have to read these mysteries in order, just pick one up – it will not disappoint – and then you will go back for more!

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

You can buy Lessons for Sleeping Dogs here:

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Amazon US

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Giveaways, Reesa Herberth

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Riptide Publishing 4th Anniversary Blog Tour with Reesa Herberth

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It seems like only yesterday that Brita Addams contacted me to ask for my participation in helping to promote the launch of a brand new publisher to the LGBT genre. That publisher was Riptide, and it’s hard to believe that was four years ago. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have been asked to help celebrate this anniversary, so without further ado, please help us welcome author Reesa Herbert to The Novel Approach.

Enjoy her guest post, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win Free Books For A Year from Riptide!

Good luck!

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Thank you for joining Riptide on our 4th Anniversary blog tour! We are excited to bring you new guest posts from our authors and a behind the scenes insights from Riptide. The full tour schedule can be found HERE. Don’t miss the limited time discounts and Free Books for a Year giveaway at the end of this post!

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INT. AUTHOR’S LIVING ROOM – EVENING

A suburban living room, television tuned to a show where adults pretend to be ninjas.  An undisclosed number of cats await their dinner.

MICHELLE, a cheerful blonde woman who gets away with a lot because she looks innocent, is trying to light a fire under her co-author so they can write a good introduction post about their science fiction romance series, THE YLENDRIAN EMPIRE.

REESA, a distracted-looking redhead, is paying more attention to her armchair ninja warrior duties than her co-author.

MICHELLE

What would you say is the main reason people would like the Ylendrian Empire—

REESA

People?  What?  No, you’ve got to hit the trampoline with both feet!

MICHELLE

Ahem.  As I was SAYING.  We don’t have any space ninjas.  Yet.  But we’ve got bounty hunters, and psychic cops—

REESA

Psychic criminals, too.  But the space ninja thing—we should make a note.  And beleaguered technical support staff, respected sex workers…  Plus, even if we don’t have space ninjas, there’s the not-really-zombies on Station 43.

MICHELLE

I think we do a good job making sure our characters are flawed, but relatable. Like Corwin, from Peripheral People.

REESA

His feelings are still hurt because you called him a jerk.  Even if he is kind of standoffish, he has his reasons.  I kind of love that he’s not someone you’d immediately hit it off with at a party.  It makes it that much more rewarding to watch his layers peel back and reveal his ticklish underbelly.

MICHELLE

(Looking interested)

You think Corwin is ticklish?

REESA

I’m sure of it.  It’s probably why he’s so prickly.

(REESA squinches up her nose as she removes a very, very large black and white cat from her lap)

Your original question though, about why people would like the books.  I know you grew up with some geeky tendencies, and I was reading science fiction and fantasy as soon as I could pull it off my parents’ shelves.  As a reader, I find a lot more quality LGBTQ fiction now, but not necessarily a lot of speculative fiction, especially not with a romantic element.  So the Ylendrian Empire books definitely have that going for them.

MICHELLE

Although I don’t think the romantic element takes a back seat.  That was really important to me.  Our characters are Doing Things, but while the action is going on they’re still living the rest of their lives, too.

(Five cats of various sizes and shapes have all arranged themselves near the authors.  All five cats are staring, unblinking.)

REESA

(shifting uncomfortably)

So we’ve got action.  We’ve got romance.  We’ve got impossible odds.  We’ve even got mystery.  But it’s all a blend- I don’t think there’s a stronger pull in any direction.  Romance readers who don’t normally go for science fiction can pick up the books because they’re so character-focused.  Science fiction readers who might not pick up a romance can enjoy them because the plots and worldbuilding are familiar, and again, the characters drive the romance.  And people looking for LGBTQ characters can find them gift-wrapped in a sci fi/romance/action story.

(The large black and white cat returns, and REESA finds herself pinned under twenty pounds of yowling beast.)

MICHELLE

Not that they aren’t fans, but I think the cats want to be fed.

REESA

(Ignoring the chorus of hungry wails at her feet)

What if the space ninjas were cats?

FADE OUT

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Kelly Jensen (Chaos Station) says our latest, Peripheral People is “…thrillingly long and twisty and demands to be read in one straight sitting.”  Psychic detectives…in space!  What’s not to love?

If you’d like to dip your toe into the Ylendrian Empire, rather than jumping in the deep end, check out In Discretion, a charming little novella about that awkward moment when you run into your ex on a space station full of (not!)zombies.

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Reesa Herberth

About the Ylendarian Empire univserse

The Ylendrian Empire universe is a series of loosely-connected space operas written by Michelle Moore and Reesa Herberth.

Fast-paced heists, gritty paranormal mysteries, rescue missions in far-flung exotic jungles . . . the character-driven adventures and romances of the Ylendrian Empire are a chance to explore a new set of stars, with just enough spice to keep you wanting more.

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About Reesa: Reesa Herberth grew up in Hawaii, tried Arizona for a few years, and eventually settled in the D.C. area, where they have trees and rain.

She’s held a variety of crazy writer jobs, including book and video store manager for a defunct chain of music shops, office goddess for an artisan ice cream maker, cheese-cup scrubber at an organic goat dairy, high school secretary, and dye-stained proprietress of a small yarn and fiber business.

When not writing, she can usually be found reading, gardening, cooking, or spinning yarns of another sort entirely. She often resents her need for sleep.

With Michelle Moore, she is the author of the Ylendrian Empire books, including The Balance of Silence, the award-winning space opera caper, The Slipstream Con, and Peripheral People, a sci fi thriller with psychics and squishy feelings, coming soon.

Connect with Reesa:

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Anniversary Sale

The Ylendrian Empire collection is being sold in a special discounted bundle by Riptide this week only. Check out the sale on this series and other bundles HERE.

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THE GIVEAWAY

To celebrate our anniversary, Riptide Publishing is giving away free books for a year! Your first comment at each blog stop on the Anniversary Tour will count as an entry and give you a chance to win this great prize. Giveaway ends at midnight, October 31, 2015, and is not restricted to US entries.

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

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Cheers, fellow bookish obsessed, and welcome! We have another great week in store for you this week as we wrap up our Countdown to GayRomLit 2015 and look forward to the next installment of Flashback Friday.

Here’s what’s coming up!

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Monday – Kicking off a great week, we have a cover reveal for author J. Johanis’s Dream God coming up today

And we’ll also have author Chris McHart visiting with us on the Small Steps blog tour

Tuesday – We have author Rick R. Reed dropping by today as the final—yes, the final—guest to appear on the Countdown to GayRomLit celebration tour here at TNA

We’ll also be celebrating with Queer Romance Month today, with the first of two spotlights for the month because, as they say, “Love is not a subgenre.”

Wednesday – Today author Lane Hayes stops in as she tours the web to promote her newest book in the Better Than series, Better Than Safe

We’re also helping Riptide Publishing celebrate their Four Year Anniversary, with author Reesa Herberth

Thursday – Today we’re so pleased to be taking part–along with Prism Book Alliance, Rhys Ford, Joyfully Jay, and Love Bytes Reviews–in an exclusive excerpt tour for Eric Arvin‘s latest release, The Rascal

Author Rob Damon will also be our guest on the tour for his new release with CoolDudes Publishing, Into the Team

Friday – Today we welcome the writing team of Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen on the tour for their new novel Skip Trace

And, for the next installment in our Flashback Friday segment, we’ll be bringing you our favorite Historical reads, along with the chance to win an e-copy of one of our selected titles

Saturday – And finally, to close out the week, we’ll have author Annabelle Jacobs with us today to chat about her new book Altered 3

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And that does it for the week ahead. Until next time, happy reading!

 

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4 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Reviewed by Jennifer, Riptide Publishing, VJ Summers

Review: Light a Candle by VJ Summers

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Light a Candle

Author: VJ Summers

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 136 Pages

At a Glance: Enjoyable story with BDSM, former friends getting reacquainted, and a man desperate to show how much he’s changed.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Will broke Dusty’s heart their senior year. One unexpected moment of passion between them, and Will freaked out. Not only wasn’t he gay, but he wasn’t kinky either—or so he insisted to Dusty. Their long friendship ended, and Dusty was left with only bittersweet memories of their last movie night together.

Ten years later, out as gay and a Dom, Will auditions for membership at Club Deviant, only to find that he’s been assigned an all-too-familiar submissive. His scene with Dustin feels like fate, and he’s determined to get back what they once had—and more.

Dustin had buried the pain of rejection deep, but playing with Will conjures all his memories of that one electric moment they shared and the friendship it destroyed. He’s built walls around his heart high enough to keep out the Trojan Army, but together, he and Will may find the courage to move beyond their past and face their future together.

Publisher’s note: This is a heavily expanded and revised edition of Velvet Memories, previously published in 2011. 

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Review: I did not read the first edition of this book, from which this one has been expanded, so I cannot compare the two and discuss how much has changed. However, I can say that I did enjoy this one and felt it was well-written and just the right length.

Going back and forth from the past to the present, Light a Candle reveals the history of Will and Dusty’s relationship. From their senior year in high school where a small moment of passion leaves Will running in the other direction, to the present where Will is a confident gay Dom auditioning for Club Deviant, where Dusty is a submissive. The two are brought together on new terms. Will wants to prove to Dusty that he’s changed and that he made a mistake, but Dusty has a hard time accepting that. So, the two retreat to what they know best: Dominance and submission.

While the story might sound familiar, and perhaps overused, I felt it was well done in this book. I became invested in both men, and hoped they could overcome the past and look to the future they could build together. The inclusion of that past was also a nice touch. Not many authors will include past history because it takes away from the present or because the younger versions of the characters are too unfitting to be addressed in an adult novel. VJ Summers did a nice job of balancing everything that really kept me hooked. Just when I wanted to know more of what happened in the past, the author revealed it. When I wanted to go back to the present, the author did that as well. It truly is a fine balance that reveals all the reader could want to know.

If you enjoy novels with BDSM elements I recommend this book, especially if you’re looking for something a little on the shorter side.

TNA_Signature_Jennifer

 

 

 

You can buy Light a Candle here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

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5 Stars, Larissa Ione, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Base Instincts by Larissa Ione

Title: Base Instincts (A Demonica Story)

Author: Larissa Ione

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 150 Pages

At a Glance: Larissa Ione has once again turned our ideas of good and evil on an axis and challenged our thinking about what love means.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: As a Seminus demon, Raze’s life literally depends on having sex with females. The problem is that he doesn’t desire females, and it’s physically impossible for him to be with males. Thankfully, he and his best friend, Fayle, have an arrangement that keeps him alive . . . if lonely. He finds some solace in his work as a medic at Thirst, a vampire club known for its rough clientele. But his carefully structured world turns upside down when he meets a mysterious male who makes him want what he can never have.

Slake is an assassin used to getting what he wants, and what he wants is Raze. But he also wants to earn back the soul he sold when he was a much different demon. All he has to do is capture a runaway succubus named Fayle and hand her over to her family. What he doesn’t count on is being caught himself by a web of lies—and his attraction to Raze.

Raze and Slake must navigate a dangerous world to be together. But as Fayle’s jealousy of their relationship turns deadly, they find themselves embroiled in a battle not only for their love, but their lives and souls.

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Review: Raze is a Seminus demon – which means he has to have sex to survive – but only with females. For a gay male this can be extremely hard. He has lived a solitary existence inside his own hell, forming a relationship with a succubus named Fayle, who feeds off his sexual energy as much as he uses her for the sexual release. But Fayle is not all she seems, and she keeps Raze tethered to her for her own selfish desires, never letting Raze form friendships or stay in one place for long.

Slake is a Duosos class of demon. Beginning life as a female, when he came of age he chose to undergo a spiritual ritual which changed his physical body into a male. Female Duosos demons are essentially slaves, and that was something that Slake could never be. Unfortunately for him – his rebirth did not change his desire for males. Knowing he would be dead shortly, he escaped his clan and has been on his own ever since. Charged with bringing Fayle back to her family, he never expected to be faced with Raze and the attraction they feel for each other.

If you have never read a M/M novel before, then Base Instincts is for you, especially if you love Larissa Ione’s Demonica universe. This book has cameo appearances with characters from Underworld General and frankly, Revenant steals the show. The forward to this book says that it is, “For the rule-breakers. Life, like imagination, has no limits, so find the loopholes and write your story the way YOU want it to go.” This is what Larissa Ione has done with Raze and Slake. The Demonica Series begins with Pleasure Unbound and has two installments in the 1001 Dark Nights novellas also. Base Instincts is a story written within this series of novels and is the only M/M addition so far.

I highly recommend Larissa Ione. She is an auto-buy for me and this story is no different. I highly recommend this book and this series—the writing is sharp and the characters are so well done, and the men are always wicked hot!

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

You can buy Base Instincts here:

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Giveaways, Larissa Ione

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Base Instincts Blog Tour with Larissa Ione

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Please help us welcome author Larissa Ione today, as she tours to promote the newest addition to her Demonica Series, Base Instincts. Enjoy Larissa’s guest post, then be sure to leave a comment to enter in a drawing for a tote bag with swag and signed copies of Pleasure Unbound and Desire Unchained, the first two books in the Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series! Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 19, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

And please don’t forget your email address in your comment so Riptide Publishing can contact you if you win!

Good luck!

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The Cost of True Love

As a very observant person pointed out, the heroes of my newest Demonica book, Base Instincts, embark on a dangerous journey on their way to true love. They face violence, betrayal, and even death to be with each other. It made me think…do all relationships require sacrifice?

I know that in my own relationship with my husband, we both made sacrifices in order to be together. When we met, I had a great job with the National Weather Service, and he was serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. Marrying him meant that we would be moving every 1-3 years and that my career would, basically, be over.

For his part, he knew that for much of our marriage, he’d be gone and I’d be left alone at home while he was out to sea. Then there are all of the family issues involved in a relationship – what if your parents and/or siblings don’t approve of your partner? What if you have to sacrifice the relationship with your family in order to be with the partner you love?

Now, granted, relationships in fiction can come with much more dramatic and dangerous risks. In Base Instincts, our medic hero, Raze, is forced to make a painful choice in order to be with the male he loves, and Slake, our other hero, must risk his very life and soul.

So here’s to love and the costs involved. May every sacrifice be worthwhile!

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BaseInstincts_1200x1800HRBlurb: As a Seminus demon, Raze’s life literally depends on having sex with females. The problem is that he doesn’t desire females, and it’s physically impossible for him to be with males. Thankfully, he and his best friend, Fayle, have an arrangement that keeps him alive . . . if lonely. He finds some solace in his work as a medic at Thirst, a vampire club known for its rough clientele. But his carefully structured world turns upside down when he meets a mysterious male who makes him want what he can never have.

Slake is an assassin used to getting what he wants, and what he wants is Raze. But he also wants to earn back the soul he sold when he was a much different demon. All he has to do is capture a runaway succubus named Fayle and hand her over to her family. What he doesn’t count on is being caught himself by a web of lies—and his attraction to Raze.

Raze and Slake must navigate a dangerous world to be together. But as Fayle’s jealousy of their relationship turns deadly, they find themselves embroiled in a battle not only for their love, but their lives and souls.

Base Instincts is available for purchase at Riptide Publishing and other fine e-tailers

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Author BioAbout the Author: Larissa Ione is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An Air Force veteran and former EMT, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion for writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge . . . just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her US Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

Follow Larissa Ione at: Website || Twitter || Facebook

BaseInstincts_TourBanner

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify

*No residency restrictions 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

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3.5 Stars, G.B. Gordon, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Janet, Riptide Publishing

Review: When to Hold Them by G.B. Gordon

Title: When to Hold Them (A Bluewater Bay Novel)

Author: G.B. Gordon

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 213 Pages

At a Glance: There is a complicated bit of character building that is skillfully done by the author, though I did have some issues with the time jumping around, and days passing with the POV changes.

Reviewed By: Janet

Blurb: Doran Callaghan doesn’t know when to fold ’em. His gambling has landed him in debt and in jail, and now it’s got him stuck in the sticks in a reintegration program. He wants to turn his life around, but old habits come knocking, and some creditors are harder to shake than others.

Xavier Wagner cares more about the National Park he works in than the people around it, until a stranger awakens desires he didn’t know he had. Doran’s natural submissiveness turns Xavier’s ideas of how to treat a lover upside down. But Doran doesn’t seem to know about boundaries—or even to have any—and Xavier’s not sure that Doran will say no if he needs to. Which means someone’s going to get hurt.

While Xavier struggles with his principles, Doran’s past comes calling. Trusting each other is suddenly a matter of life or death, but Doran has to decide whether counting on Xavier—or himself—is a gamble he’s willing to take.

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Review: When to Hold Them is another great story in the Bluewater Bay universe. Gordon is not a writer that I am very familiar with, and I can only hope there are more books coming from this author soon. This book grabbed my interest very quickly, and kept surprising me along the way. I loved that the focus was not pretty, and clearly showed the physical surroundings and glorious nature of this fictitious town.

The concept of a youthful (former) gambler, who is struggling so hard to get ahead, is unique. We really have to work to see his value, as he doesn’t see his own worth very well. Actually, we see both Doran and Xavier through the other’s eyes so much clearer than how they perceive themselves, and that is a complicated bit of character building that is skillfully done by the author. I didn’t mind the alternating POV, as it was clear who was speaking at all times. The problem for me was time jumping around, and days passing with the POV changes. I had to concentrate more on the individual paragraphs of the story to ensure that the flow was not interrupted.

The mystery based plot kept me enthralled as it unfolded with lots of conflicts and twists and turns. Events were explained very well, and the relationship between the MCs progresses in such a way that the reader is rooting for them long before they’re a couple, because we can see that they would work and could be happy before they can see it themselves. I enjoy being given that assurance by an author, as I feel it draws us into the story and keeps us invested in the outcome.

I think that one of the hardest things to do as a writer is to keep the continuity of tone in a multi-authored universe, while having set points of interest, or previously described characters appear in the current story, and stay believable. This is a strong draw for me personally, and was successfully accomplished while presenting a unique book in the universe for our enjoyment. Kudos to the author for a welcome addition to this particular universe. I look forward to trying more of G.B. Gordon’s work in the future.

TNA_Signature_Janet

 

 

 

You can buy When to Hold Them here:

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Cover Reveal, L.A. Witt

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Rain Shadow by L.A. Witt

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Title: Rain Shadow
Author: L.A. Witt
Series: Bluewater Bay
Length: 192 Pages
Release Date: October 19, 2015
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Blurb: Jeremy Rose came to Bluewater Bay to work as Anna Maxwell’s bodyguard, not to escape his increasingly bitter relationship with his estranged kids. He just wants to focus on his job and be alone for a while. He’s done with love, especially now that three years after his long overdue divorce, he’s got a front-row seat to the rapid deterioration between Anna and her girlfriend. Cynical doesn’t even begin to describe him.

Then Anna and Leigh’s attempts to reconcile put him in the crosshairs of marriage counselor Scott Fletcher. Scott’s exactly what Jeremy needs right now: gorgeous, hot, horny, single, and 100% uninterested in a relationship. The problem is, too much no-strings-attached sex—and too much time in each other’s company—inevitably builds emotional connection.

Except Jeremy refuses to seek counseling for his broken family, and Scott refuses to get seriously involved with men who work dangerous jobs. They both need to realize they can only hide for so long from the pain they came here to escape. They must face their pasts before they lose their shot at a happy future.

Pre-Order Rain Shadow at Riptide Publishing

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L.A. WittAbout the Author: L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .

Connect with L.A.: Website || Author Blog || Personal Blog || Twitter: @GallagherWitt || Facebook || Goodreads

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Giveaways, L.A. Witt

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Running with Scissors Blog Tour with L.A. Witt

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Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L.A. Witt blog tour for Running With Scissors!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Running With Scissors) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 5th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to leave your email so we can contact you if you win!

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Music and Writing

Since Running With Scissors is about musicians, I figured this would be a good opportunity to talk about what music I listen to while writing. Because there is always music playing while I write. I need my tunes, yo!

The band in the book is a hard rock band, so you would think that’s what I listened to while writing it, but it was quite the opposite. I go through phases with music, and my tastes during Running With Scissors were, shall we say, varied.

Here are ten songs that came up frequently while I wrote this book:

  1. Father by Tooji
  2. Skulls by Bastille
  3. Northern Lights by 30 Seconds to Mars
  4. Somewhere With You by Kenny Chesney
  5. Rebels by Tooji
  6. Burnin’ it Down by Jason Aldean
  7. Do or Die by 30 Seconds to Mars
  8. Red by Awake! Awake!
  9. Goodnight Goodbye by John Newman
  10. Warrior by Ke$ha

Which kind of gives you an idea of what I listen to as a general rule. As always, a ton of 30 Seconds to Mars, which will surprise precisely no one. I listen to a ton of Bastille, am hooked on Tooji, and am impatiently waiting for more music by John Newman, Ke$ha (yes, I love her – don’t judge me), Adam Lambert, and Luke Bryan.

Next week, it’ll probably be God Module and KMFDM. Then I’ll go back on a country kick. A week later, it’ll be pop drivel as far as the eye can see—I am completely unashamed of loving Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus. And toward the end of September, it’ll be 30 Seconds to Mars on full volume because I’m going to see them in concert again and OMG CANNOT WAIT.

So there you have it—my appalling taste in background music while writing books about musicians. :D

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L.A. WittAbout the Author: L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

L.A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

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RunningWithScissors_600x900Blurb: Eighteen months ago, drummer Jude Colburn made the biggest mistake of his life when he walked away from his band just as they were on the brink of success. Now, he’s got a second chance. The band’s bassist just quit, and Jude plays bass almost as well as he plays drums. The other band members aren’t thrilled, but they are desperate.

Running with Scissors needs him, but there’s one condition: no hooking up with bandmates. That’s what ruined things eighteen months ago, after all. Jude’s on board, but no one warned him about the drummer who replaced him. A.J. Palmer is shy and unassuming . . . until he hits the stage. He gets Jude’s attention from the first beat, and suddenly that “no hookups” rule isn’t so easy to follow.

Keeping secrets on a tour bus isn’t easy either, and it’s only a matter of time before the band catches on. When everything hits the fan, Jude has to choose: a second chance at the career he’s always regretted leaving, or a shot at the man of his dreams?

Running With Scissors is available from Riptide Publishing.

 

 

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GRL 2015 Featured Blogger Tour, Marie Sexton

Guest Post and Free Download: The Countdown to GayRomLit with Marie Sexton

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We’re so please to welcome author Marie Sexton today on the Countdown to GayRomLit 2015 blog tour. Marie’s here to chat books and to tell you all about how you can get a FREE book this week only at Amazon.

Enjoy!

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Darkness and Light

Hello, everybody! I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m thrilled to be here on The Novel Approach as part of the GRL blog tour.

Today is kind of a big day for me, being the culmination of over three years of work. See, back in early 2012, I became obsessed with a new story idea. It was a dystopian fantasy set in a universe that looked a lot like Dickens’s London, but with a bit of cyberpunk thrown in. It centered around a pickpocket-turned-whore named Misha who fell in love with an abused sex slave. I spent the next two years beating my head against that book, trying to make it take shape. It was by far the darkest story I’d ever tried to write, and I swear it almost killed me, especially when I realized the story was too big for one book. After all, if I couldn’t finish one story in this bleak universe, how would I ever manage to finish two?

I gave up on it many times, but I kept going back, partly because there were pieces of the story I loved too much to let go, and partly because certain friends cheered me on, telling me it was too good to give up on. Finally, in June of 2014, I published the first part of that story, Release. (You can pick it up for free on Amazon, this week only!) And today, the last part of the story, Return, is available too.

I mentioned before that the Davlova series was the darkest story I’d ever tried to write, and that wasn’t an exaggeration. It was so dark and disturbing that one of my beta readers flat-out said, “Your readers aren’t ready for this, Marie,” and so I decided to publish these books under a slightly different pen name, A.M. Sexton. I wanted it to be absolutely clear that this series is very different from Coda or Tucker Springs. It’s different even from Blind Space or Oestend. Davlova is a brutal and violent slum of a city (although I promise, the second book is significantly lighter than the first). But those who are willing to venture into this seedy world will also find a rather sweet, gentle love story buried under all the filth.

And man, after three years of struggling with these books, it feels amazing to finally have them finished!

But if you prefer your reading a bit lighter, don’t worry! I have something for you, too. You see, the world of Davlova was too dark to live in for three years straight. I put the story on hold several times in order to write sweeter, fluffier things like Lost Along the Way, Shotgun, Apartment 14 and the Devil Next Door, and (the one I’m dying to tell you about!) a fun, whimsical little Christmas novel for Riptide called Winter Oranges.

Winter Oranges is about a frustrated actor named Jason who tries to escape Hollywood by moving to Idaho. He hopes for a bit of peace and quiet (and a break from the paparazzi!), but instead finds a mysterious man nobody else can see living in his guesthouse. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say this: I haven’t been this excited about a story in a long time. Of course, I’m always more excited about the story I have coming up than the one that just came out, but this book truly holds a special place in my heart. Winter Oranges won’t be available until November 30, but it’s available for pre-order now.

So, there you have it! One day, but two very different worlds to choose from – the dark, dangerous alleys of Davlova, or the bright streets of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, all decked out with holiday lights. (Of course, you could always try them both!)

Release (Davlova, part 1) (FREE this week only!)

Return (Davlova, part 2)

Winter Oranges (pre-order)

Thanks very much to The Novel Approach for having me today, and for everybody headed to GRL, I look forward to seeing you all in San Diego!

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Release-400x600Release Blurb: Davlova: a poverty-ridden city-state ruled by the tyrannical upper class. Resources are scarce and technology is illegal. But in the slums, revolution is brewing.

Misha is a common pickpocket until his boss gives him a new job. Disguised as a whore, Misha is sent to work for one of the most powerful men in the city. But his real task is far more dangerous: get close to Miguel Donato, and find something – anything – that will help topple Davlova’s corrupt government.

Misha is plunged into the decadent world of the upper class, where slaves are common and even the most perverse pleasure can be found. Although he’s sure Davlova’s elite is involved in something horrific, proof is hard to come by, and Misha begins to fall in love with the man he’s supposed to betray. Then Misha meets Ayo – a sex slave forced by the neural implant in his brain to take pleasure from pain – and everything changes. As the lower class pushes toward a bloody revolution, Misha will find himself caught between his surprising feelings for Donato, his obligations to his clan, and his determination to save Ayo.

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Return-400x600Return Blurb: The exciting conclusion to Release.

Fire rages through Davlova in the wake of a bloody revolution. The tyrannical upper class has been overthrown. In the midst of the chaos, Misha and Ayo escape on Miguel Donato’s boat and flee across the sea to the distant city of Deliphine.

All his life, Misha has dreamed of leaving Davlova behind, but now the only thing he wants to do is go home. He has no idea if the city still stands or how many of his friends have survived. But before he can return to Davlova and find his place in the wrecked landscape of the trenches, he’ll have to face a new threat in Deliphine – the Dollhouse.

Even in Deliphine, most people think the Dollhouse is a myth, but Misha knows the truth. The Dollhouse is real. It’s ruthless. It has an agenda.

And now, it wants Ayo back.

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WinterOranges_400x600Winter Oranges Blurb: Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of L.A., and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

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Marie Sexton December 5 2009 - 07webAbout the Author: Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Marie also writes dark dystopian erotic fantasy under the name A.M. Sexton. You can find her at http://mariesexton.net/, and on Facebook and Twitter.

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