Monthly Archives: April 2015

5 Stars for Criminal Gold by Ann Aptaker #FF #Mystery @AnnAptaker

21413963

Title: Criminal Gold
Author Name: Ann Aptaker
Publication Date & Length: November 18, 2014 – 264pgs

Synopsis

Midnight, New York Harbor, 1949. Cantor Gold, dapper dyke-about-town, smuggler of fine art, waits in her boat under the Brooklyn Bridge for racketeer Gregory Ortine. In the shadow of the bridge, he’ll toss Cantor a satchel of cash, and she’ll toss him a pouch containing a priceless jewel. But the plan, and the jewel, sink when a woman in a red sequined dress drops from the bridge and slams onto Cantor’s boat. She is Opal Shaw, Society Page darling and fiancée of murder-for-hire kingpin Sig Loreale. Through a night of danger, desire, and double-cross, Cantor must satisfy Loreale’s vengeance, stay ahead of an angry Ortine, and untangle the knots of murder tightening around Opal’s best friend and keeper of her dirty secrets, Celeste Copley, a seductress who excites Cantor’s passion but snares her in a labyrinth of lies. The lies explode in a collision of love, loyalty, lust…and death.

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Review

FiveStars

A truly riveting novel. So atmospheric and so well described you could almost see and even smell the scenes as they emerge before your eyes. Very dark and brooding in places you were certainly taken back to the horrors and lawlessness of the post war 1940’s. The graphic opening pages made you fully sympathise and concur with the actions of “Gold” and what she stands for and tries to achieve. This certainly differs from other novels in the way you want Gold to succeed, what ever the cost, how ever many laws she must break. Your sympathies are with Gold throughout her exciting escapades.
Another strength of this book is its accuracy to detail and the decade it is set in. The author has explored in great detail not only the surroundings but the clothes and the economic vibe of this period.
As the plot constantly weaves and twists and you can almost fear the dangers as you turn each page. Finally when the agonizing finale finally seems to bring the novel to an almost inevitable end the protagonist utters his final line leaving the reader once again intrigued and questioning. Is this really the end?
If you enjoy a well written, truly addictive mystery that holds nothing back then you will enjoy this novel. Ms Aptaker certainly had me totally enthralled and I look forward to her sequel due out in September.
Chris

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AuthorBio

Native New Yorker Ann Aptaker has earned a reputation as a respected if cheeky exhibition designer and curator of art during her career in museums and galleries. Taking the approach that what art authorities find uncomfortable the public would likely enjoy, exhibitions Ann has curated have garnered favorable reviews in the New York Times, Art in America, American Art Review, and other publications.

She brings the same attitude and philosophy to her first love: writing, especially a tangy variety of historical crime fiction. Ann’s short stories have appeared in two editions (2003 and 2004) of the noir crime anthology Fedora. Her flash fiction story, “A Night In Town,” appeared in the online zine Punk Soul Poet. In addition to curating and designing art exhibitions and writing crime stories, Ann is also an art writer and an adjunct professor of art history at the New York Institute of Technology.

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5 and 4 Stars for Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary by Jordan Castillo Price #MM #Vampires

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Title: Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary (Channeling Morpheus/Sweet Oblivion 1-5)
Author Name: Jordan Castillo Price
Publication Date & Length: June 17, 2009 – 216 pgs

Synopsis

Michael is a waif in eyeliner who’s determined to wipe vampires off the face of the earth. Wild Bill’s got the hots for Michael, and will stop at nothing to go home with him. Forget about moonlit castles and windswept moors. These bad boys haunt all-night diners and cheap motels, cut-rate department stores and long, lonely stretches of the Interstate. Ride along with Wild Bill and Michael as the twists and turns of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary unfold in America’s Heartland.

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Review

FiveStarsWhat a fantastic series! I devoured this very addictive omnibus in a single self-indulgent sitting. Price deftly spins stories full of humour, gore, suspense and sex. She even wades – ever so cynically – into the muddy waters of romance.
Michael and Wild Bill are a perfect pairing. Both leads are carefully nuanced and wonderfully charismatic. I loved the way the perspective bounced between Michael and Wild Bill from book to book. Both unique voices come to life beautifully. Price adds depth
to her men subtly and carefully with a touch of caustic humour. Her men might wear eyeliner, but they definitely don’t sparkle.
This is a very sexy read. Price has a wickedly dirty imagination and her vampires exist in a state of permanent arousal. The result? A never-ending string of implausible (yet very hot) encounters in the most unlikely places.
And the cover art. I sort of zoned out staring at the cover of Vertigo, and I just might have been drooling by the time I got to the cover of Mannequin.
Highly recommended.
Sarah
FourStars
I choose to read this book because it was out of my normal pick range.  I’m sorry to say it just wasn’t my type of book. But I’m not letting that fact stop me from giving an honest review.  The writing was very descriptive and the story flowed very well. It was a fast paced plot, a little gruesome at times.  But it was a vampire thriller so I did expect some of that.  At times I was confused whose POV I was reading.

The journey that Michael and Wild Bill take you on is incredibly unusual.  Michael is out for revenge and falls for Wild Bill, who seems kinda laid back. They go on a trip to kill vampires that are killing people.  They end up having a relationship and the struggles they go through make for an interesting story.  I did like when Michael and Wild Bill met, I found the bar scene amusing.

I think the author did a fantastic job writing the story, but you really need to like reading gruesome thrillers to enjoy the book.

Sherry

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AuthorBio

Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price is the owner of JCP Books LLC. Her paranormal thrillers are colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison.

Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.

With her education in fine arts and practical experience as a graphic designer, Jordan set out to create high quality ebooks with lavish cover art, quality editing and gripping content. The result is JCP Books, offering stories you’ll want to read again and again.

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4 Stars for You In My Arms (Sunset Club #1) by A.C. Katt #MM #Romance

21413963

TitleYou In My Arms (Sunset Club #1)
Author Name: A. C. Katt
Publication Date & Length: March 19, 2015 – 166 pgs

Synopsis

Jason’s priorities are non-negotiable: take care of his sister; keep a roof over their heads; go back to school eventually. Can one club owner make it easier to uphold his priorities and maybe add him to the list?

Jason Monroe had to leave school to be the guardian of his sister Kitty when his dad and step-mom die in a car crash. He’s working two jobs to keep them afloat, but their boat is leaking much like the roof of their old house. Jason doesn’t have time for love that is until Zach Montgomery, the owner of the Sunset Club, the premier gay club on the Jersey Shore comes calling.

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Review

FourStars
This is a very sweet story about families. The families we’re born into and the ones we make ourselves.

In the first installment of the Sunset Club series, Katt introduces a cast of complicated, intriguing characters. Her leading men, Jason and Zach are both gorgeous. It is impossible not to love the young, beautiful Jason, buckling under the weight of his responsibilities. And everyone has dreamed of a man like Zach stepping in and making life that little bit easier.

The supporting characters are the strength of this book. Precocious small girls, an elderly neighbour, interfering best friends and a kindly team of soccer players all add depth and colour to what might otherwise be a simple romance. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series and Katt has introduced us to several men I’d love to see paired up.

I lowered the star rating because of the number of times Jason’s hard luck story was told, retold, and told again. I understand various characters needed to talk about it, but surely the readers only needed to hear it once?

Ultimately, this is a gentle, thoroughly enjoyable romance. Even though Zach and Jason work in a gay nightclub, Jason’s family life remains the focus of the story, and his tiny sister Kitty is always his priority.

Sarah

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AuthorBio

AC Katt was born in New York City’s Greenwich Village. She remembers sitting at the fountain in Washington Square Park listening to folk music while they passed the hat. At nine, her parents dragged her to New Jersey where she grew up, married and raised four children and became a voracious reader of romantic fiction. At one time she owned over two thousand novels, until she and her husband took themselves and the cat to New Mexico for their health and its great beauty.

Now, most of AC’s books are electronic (although she still keeps six bookcases of hardcovers), so she never has to give away another book. AC is new to both GLBT and to writing being, as she claims, a late bloomer, however, she’s found her niche writing GLBT romance. Her current releases (from MLR Press) include the award winning Rock and Roll novel Shattered Glass and her just released BDSM novel, A Matter of Trust

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4 stars for True North by Beth D. Carter #MFM #Biker @Totally_Bound @BethDCarter

True North

Title: True North (Red Wolves Motorcycle Club #2)
Author Name: Beth D. Carter
Publication Date & Length: March 13, 2015

Synopsis

Allison is running from her past when she’s kidnapped and left for dead. North and Givon are friends on opposite sides of the law but can they work together to save her—or will she save them instead?

North Tabion and Givon Halloran have been friends their entire lives. Each has survived an abusive father only to end up on opposite sides of the law as adults. Givon is the town sheriff while North is the leader of the Red Wolves, an outlaw motorcycle club. However, they’ve managed to maintain a friendship that means everything to them.

Allison Evening is on the run. Hiding out from an ex bent on vengeance, she’s tending bar when she’s kidnapped into a human trafficking ring. In a desperate attempt to free herself, she runs, only to be shot down and left for dead.

North and Givon are in the right place at the right time. They save Allison and, as they nurse her back to health, the three find a bright, burning love. But when her past catches up with her, the only way to save herself and her newfound love is if she, North and Givon can follow love’s true path.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of anal sex. There are references to and scenes of murder, attempted murder and kidnap, as well as a remembrance of violence and sexual abuse that happened when the character was a child.
Publisher’s Note: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.

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Review

fourstars

Oh, North and Givon! I really enjoyed this story. It was quite predictable, but none the less entertaining to read. I did find the similarities between book one and book two to be a bit annoying.. you know, girl running from someone, needing protection, the older men who have absolutely no problem sharing this woman they instantly fell in love with.

Other than that, the characters were great. I really liked their development and bantering through out the book as they added a third to their friendship and turned it into a relationship. The hot biker, good cop combo was interesting.

The naughty scenes were better in this book compared to the last book. I think I figured out what about them particularily bothered me… It’s the language. The rest of the book is pretty clean language wise, but then in the bedroom there is some naughty terms tossed in with the sweet, not too sexy terms (like slit and juice, not sexy to me). However towards the end things seemed to come together and because a bit racier in terms of flow and it was much better to me.

I do hope the next relationship has some MM action or at least a variety on the damsel in distress and falling instantly for her heros plot.

Renee

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AuthorBio

I like writing about the very ordinary girl thrust into extraordinary circumstances, so my heroines will probably never be lawyers, doctors or corporate high rollers. I try to write characters who aren’t cookie cutters and push myself to write complicated situations that I have no idea how to resolve, forcing me to think outside the box. I love writing characters who are real, complex and full of flaws, heroes and heroines who find redemption through love.

I’ve been pretty fortunate in life to experience some amazing things. I’ve lived in France, traveled throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I am a mom to an amazing little boy. I’m surrounded by friends and family. And although I love holding a book in my hand, I absolutely adore my ereader, which I’ve named Ruby. I love to hear from readers so I’ve made it really easy to find me on the web.

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3 Stars for The Bridge ~ Inner City: Gargoyles by Victoria Cobretti and Erik Schubach #FF #Fantasy

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Title: The Bridge ~ Inner City: Gargoyles
Author Name: Victoria Cobretti & Erik Schubach
Publication Date & Length: February 1, 2015 – 295 pgs

Synopsis

Nearly year after the dramatic events at the Roebling Suspension Bridge, the otherworldly citizens of Cincinnati are settling into the new state of affairs. O’Flanagan’s has become the hub of fae activity in the area under the watchful eye of Troll Evangeline Kane. But other sentinels of the city also frequent the bar, including Gargoyle Kalila Storm.

When a string of robberies threatens mortals and fae alike, Kalila and her partner, Declan, must track down those responsible. But just when they think they’ve uncovered the truth, they find that the web of deceit stretches even further than they could ever have imagined. And as if that wasn’t enough, Kalila is at war with herself over her inexplicable new attraction to a mortal woman.

This book is set in the same universe as The Bridge series by Erik Schubach.

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Review

ThreeStar

The opening page of this novel pulls the reader in (despite a spelling mistake), it’s written in an original way  almost in the first person. Unfortunately after a brilliant start it seems to become too focused on explaining who all the other “non straights” are. Despite having read Mr Schubach’s other two Bridge books, I did find this over complicated in its explanations and would have preferred to learn about the Shadow Bounds etc as they became involved in the story line.  This distracts from the plot and only recovers about a quarter of the way through.
The plot does develops in  an exciting and enthralling way, the characters become alive and believable. I particularly liked the references made to previous character from The Bridge collection and enjoyed how they fitted into this novel.
As the climax approaches all the characters are successfully brought together and although one of the main protagonists could be predicted the way the author handled the situation was gripping. I did feel that it was unnecessary to vindicate Storms actions as the wave she behaved was true to her character.
I enjoyed the conclusion and how whole essence of this fantasy world was brought together and loose ends that could be explained were.
Throughout the novel the author successfully left clues to not quite fully explained situations, questionable characters and of course the wonderful relationship developing between Storm and Maggie. All these clues left me asking questions, wondering, hoping for a sequel. I was therefore very disappointed with the epilogue finding it rather condescending to the reader. The novel was well enough written not to have everything further explained in the epilogue and came across more as an advert for the next book than an informative addition to an otherwise interesting novel.
Chris

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authorbio

Victoria Cobretti is a new writer with a quirky personality. She loves writing on many subjects and can be found at home playing tabletop games, watching her dogs play, or doing what a writer does best–studying her next plot.

Victoria has just finished her first book in the Goyles series, The Bridge ~ Inner City: Gargoyles. And is now working on her next book, a lesbian twist on Jack and the Beanstalk. She specializes in adventures with f/f romance and in f/f sweet romance stories with action.

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5 Stars for Slow Burn (Where There’s Smoke #3) by Sibley Jackson #MM #Erotic @ @caddyorpimps

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Title: Slow Burn (Where There’s Smoke #3)
Author Name: Sibley Jackson
Publication Date & Length: March 24, 2015 – 44pgs

Synopsis

*Note: This short gay romance contains hot gay m/m sex scenes

Andy and Cory both find themselves heading toward love.

Andy will gladly become the partner of his boss’s son, consequences be damned. He knows he has to be patient with Cody, who is only beginning to accept being gay—which means no sex. The way Cody makes him ache with desire it’s going to be damn tough playing the waiting game.

Cody wants Andy, but it’s too soon. Anyone can pretend to be kind for a few months. He doesn’t want to take chances only to find himself without either family or mate. Still, his heart tells him Andy’s the one. At least, he thinks it’s his heart. It’s hard to tell when all his blood seems to rush from his brain to another part of his body whenever he even thinks about the man.

As the summer progresses, both will find the heat becoming intolerable. At some point, Cody will have to take a leap of faith. If he doesn’t, he might not only lose Andy, but his very self. A man can only masquerade so long.

*Book 3 of the Where There’s Smoke Series. Each book is a short storyand can stand alone but are best read as a series.

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Review

FiveStars
My favorites two guys are back for book 3.  Back to “not dating”. Once again this book book takes off immediately were book 2 ended, leaving nothing to wonder about.  I love that.  The romance thickens, I love how Cody kisses Andy in public making the first move.  He’s getting stronger about being gay.  I wish he was strong enough to tell his family, but all in good time I suppose. Andy is so supported of Cody and is willing to wait till his ready.I enjoy how Sibley Jackson has taken a sweet story of struggle and love and turned it into a series.  A very light hearted good read.  Can’t wait for book 4.

Sherry

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AuthorBio

NOTE: Caddy also writes gay m/m romance under the pen name Sibley Jackson. To be notified of new gay m/m romances by email, sing up here: http://tinyurl.com/kwzlad8

The drama of humanity. We live, die, love, hate, win and lose in a never-ending variety of ways. Often those ways are heart-wrenching. Other times they are not.

Why do people make the choices they do? Why do some abuse power? How do the powerless learn to survive? Why do a few dare to be different, while others conform—and why are so many disturbed by those who don’t?These are the questions that have always haunted author Caddy Rowland. Those questions keep her pounding away at her keyboard, creating novels showcasing the sublime joy and bitter tragedy of being human.

Caddy has always been a nonconformist. She likes to push the proverbial envelope when it comes to characterization and world building. Heroes have warts; villains have soft spots. Main characters don’t always learn their lessons because all too often we don’t, either. There isn’t always a happy ending, but sometimes there is. Otherwise she’d be predictable.

She writes for readers who like to think and feel; who like their stories to be raw, graphic, unpredictable, “real” and sometimes brutal. For readers who like their boundaries challenged; to be shown how rarely life decisions are truly black and white, but instead shades of grey.

Think of a carnival midway with books instead of rides. She asks you make sure you’re the minimum height if you plan on riding alone. You must also leave prejudices and inhibitions behind the entry gate. If you can’t, Rowland’s reads might be a tad much for you. Don’t worry. There are plenty of safer reads out there. Just step out of the line and find a more appropriate book for your reading enjoyment.

No, Caddy Rowland’s novels aren’t for everyone. But then again, they just might be for you.

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5 Stars for The Phoenix Embryo by Jeanne Marcella #MM #Romance #Bisexual #DarkFantasy @AForgeOfPhoenix

PhoenixEmbryo-800 Cover reveal and Promotional (1)

Title: The Phoenix Embryo (Seasons of The Phoenix #1)
Author Name: Jeanne Marcella
Publication Date & Length: January 22, 2015 – 425pgs

Synopsis

Twelve-and-a-half-year-old Acanthus Breese and his yellow-robed peers have survived without an adult presence for seven years. They’ve scavenged. Endured madness, starvation, and murder after the adults imprisoned and abandoned them without a backward glance. They’ve clawed their way to civilization and questionable sanity at the guidance of one of their own.

Thirteen-year-old Edward Dasheel is a direct descendant of the goddess Staritti and the red phoenix god, Dasheel. Because of Edward’s love and leadership, Acanthus and the other boys know that despite their regretful crime of harming Staritti and driving her away, hope for redemption remains.

Acanthus knows Edward better than anyone; he knows Edward hides dark secrets about their exile, the adults, and specifically about him. So it is terrifying when suddenly the adults return, pushing themselves back into their lives. What do they want after all these years? And why?

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Review

FiveStars

Epic book is epic. Like, this is Lord of the Rings level, or Hunger Games (lots of little children dying) or something so creative and detailed and layered. World building is hard. Jeanne Marcella knows what she’s doing. Little details and big moments matter so much, and at the center of it all is Acanthus, a rather immature 12 year old, but his development’s been stunted by living in horror and captivity for as long as he can remember.
His only lifeline is Edward, his Promise, who cares for him and protects all the abandoned children, “the Regrets,” as best he can, while being the interface with the adult world, which is ominous and distant.
This book is about wizards, and there’s all different types, with different heritages, and different powers, and there’s an awesome giant, and cat people, and the world is just so awesome. Only great talent can create a world like this. And then to fill it in with a plot full of despair and madness and war… It’s just great. And it’s a FUN book. There’s lots of daring adventure and mystery, along with the tragic.
Anyone who follows my reviews know I like the strikingly different/weird, so read the first chapter online to see if your desires match mine. Also all these little boys are in love, which manages not to be creepy FOR ME. Adolescent approaches.
Some quibbles. This is a very long book. A very, very long book. A defter editing hand might have cut this in half. It ambles along. There’s not much fluff, I admit, each scene has a purpose. But still. So long. The scourge of self-publishing remains evident. Also some things don’t actually make sense. But there’s a glossary in the back which is very helpful!
Also, spoiler, the villain is kind of lame. So much attention is given to the heroes’ backstories, and yet the villain is “He sucks, he wants power, he so crazy.” However, the greater backstory with the greater villains, who lurk and attack, is more deeply interesting. I wonder if Staritti herself is on the side of good or evil. I hope to find out in the next book.
C.E. Case

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Teaser

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Excerpt

Acanthus danced around in a chaotic circle, waving his arms and pointing out the window. “Dee! He took Minos. He had wings! He flew! Priests! By Staritti, there were adults in Regrets!”

“Shh. Shhh. It’s all right.”

“How can it be all right?” Acanthus yelled. He paced. He prowled. He was helpless. Edward made no move to restrain him. “They throw us away, ignore us, and then pick us off! How much more can we endure? You know we’ll never see Minos again, Dee! We’ll never see him again! Just like all the others!”

“I know,” Edward answered in a helpless, grating whisper.

“Minos didn’t have anyone,” Acanthus said to himself. “No one, for the last seven years. I feel so bad; I could’ve done something. I could’ve been his friend.”

“You can’t blame yourself.”

Horror washed through him. “Yes, I can. This is my fault. I wanted to break something today. I broke Minos.”

Edward put a calming hand to his shoulder. “Dearest, it’s not your fault.”

“We don’t know that for certain. We all should know better by now. All of us. We have to stick together, make sure everyone’s okay.”

AuthorBio

Jeanne Marcella was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Granted unlimited access to books at a very early age via the library, she quickly acquired a fondness for creating her own stories through word and drawing.

Going against the grain of mainstream top ten fantasy, she writes eccentric, GLBTQ dark fantasy dramas not for the faint of heart.

Currently, she reworks her first novel about half-breed centaurs into a 2nd edition.

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TWO 5 Stars for For A Reason (Sizzling Miami #2) by Jessie G. #MM #BDSM

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Title: For A Reason (Sizzling Miami #2)
Author Name: Jessie G.
Publication Date & Length: October 1, 2014 – 297pgs

Synopsis

Former Marine and full time big brother, Bull Connor spends his days helping those in need of a second chance and his nights fighting the inner demons that won’t let go. During a routine tow he comes face to face with the only person who refuses to need him and the one man he wishes would.

As a throw away, Ian Jones is used to being alternately overlooked or ridiculed but hasn’t given up on the idea that with just one chance he could turn it all around. Rescued by the one person who neither overlooks nor ridicules him, he longs to be seen as more than just a man in need.

Ian isn’t pining for the family he’s never known but when they descend, unwanted and uninvited, Bull must prove that he’s the man who will protect Ian’s long neglected heart by sharing the demons that torment his wounded soul.

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Review

FiveStars
This was by far my favorite of the series.  The way that the author was able to create this amazing, beautiful story. It brought me to tears.
Bull is such a wonderful character – strong, kind, forgiving and patient.  While he has watched his friends find and develop meaningful relationships, he was hesitant to see that he could have that very same thing.
Ian is a wandering soul. While he has not given up, his future was looking quite bleak.  My heart broke for his story and his past. I wanted to reach into the book and hug him, while simultaneously screaming at the people who have hurt him.
Bull and Ian form such a great bond. One where they understand each other.  They have hot, sweaty, beautiful sex – I love how naive Ian is  and how patient and exploratory Bull is with and for him.
When the past comes back, all of the men who are in Bull’s adopted family are so strong and love Ian with such a fierceness.  If only all families were like that.
This was a great story and one that I hope the author will continue to build off of.
AvidReader
FiveStars
I absolutely adored Bull and Ian. Their relationship was simply perfect. They were everything the other one needed from the time they met until the end of the book. The evolution of their characters in and out of the bedroom was great. Following as Ian opened up and learned to not be in the shadows under the loving guidance of Bull was great.
Bull needed someone to support him and be there for him and only him and that’s what Ian became. Ian was the one person Bull could be himself with, the one place he could go to relax.
I actually didn’t particularly care for the end of the book or rather the people that came out of the woodwork but that’s only because I liked the little family that Bull’s friends had become for Ian and didn’t need any closure from his past, but it worked out well.
I can’t wait to read Chris’ story that’s the one I’m dying for. I just can’t wait to see him fall in love and open his heart to someone. Don’t make me wait for it too long!
Renee

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Like many readers, the dream of being a writer has been with me a long time. After three decades of trying, I’d begun to doubt. Thanks to social media, I followed my favorite authors hoping to glean some words of wisdom as I pounded out half-formed ideas with alarming regularity. Two repetitive themes emerged: To be a great writer you must read a lot and your butt must be in the chair every day like it’s a job. The more you write, the easier it will be to write and the better you will be at writing. I took that advice to heart and write every day. With two published books and counting, it’s been amazing to have made this dream my reality.

I am a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics and happily ever after. I’m a lover of strong secondary characters and series filled with families, biological or chosen. All are themes you’ll find throughout my books.

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4.5 Stars for A Hard Man is Good to Find by Kiernan Kelly #MM #Romance @KiernanKelly

ahardmanisgoodtofind1400

Title: A Hard Man is Good to Find
Author Name: Kiernan Kelly
Publication Date & Length: May 27, 2015 – 58pgs

Synopsis

When RJ meets Chaos, a private party stripper, it’s gloves (and everything else) off as they butt heads and other body parts on their way to becoming more than just a one-night stand.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

This might have been a short story but you don’t feel like you are missing out on anything.  It was very well written and entertaining.  I found myself laughing in many places.  The author covered a couple of big issues, abuse by a spouse and gay bashing.

The characters were great, the handsome stripper Chaos and RJ, Paula’s brother, had an unusual first meeting, but I loved how they got together and the relationship that  followed. I disliked the brother-in-law Steven, he was so worried about appearances and Paula should have never had married him.

The writing was very descriptive and I enjoyed the story very much.

Sherry

Excerpt

The doorbell rang, nearly unheard over the music and laughter in the living room. RJ knew who it was; his gift to his

sister had arrived. He made his way to the door to let the stripper inside.

Over six feet of brawny muscle straining at the seams of a tight pseudo-cop uniform waited on the other side of the

screen door. Mirrored sunglasses hid his eyes, but not the sharp line of his jaw or the sexy scruff dusting his cheeks.

For the first time in his life, RJ was struck dumb. He stared at the man, letting his eyes travel slowly over the wide

chest, narrow waist, and long, long legs. There was a bulge just below the buckle of the black leather belt that was

worthy of some very deep contemplation.

The man’s voice was as sensuous as liquid velvet. “I’m from Strip-O-Grams. I’m here for Paula’s bachelorette party.

Is this the right address?” The man cocked one sleek eyebrow, then used one finger to slide his sunglasses down a

bit. He peered at RJ from over the rims. Dark brown. His eyes were dark brown, deep and liquid.

RJ’s face went red and his mouth dry. He was embarrassed to be caught ogling the man like an all-you-could-eat-

buffet, and even more to his chagrin, his dick wasn’t embarrassed about it at all. It filled, pressing against the thin

material of his slacks. Unless he cupped himself, there was no way to hide his erection.

The stripper noticed, and a brief flicker of heat scalded his gaze which only made RJ’s problem worse.

The man’s voice was sensual and deep, almost sex for the ears, and RJ’s cock heard it loud and clear. “Uh, yeah. This

is it. I’m Paula’s brother, RJ.”

“Officer Chaos.”

Chaos is a perfect name, my man, because you are wreaking havoc with my self-control right now. I want to climb

you like a ladder, rung by perfect rung, RJ thought, chewing on the inside of his cheek. He’d asked for a stripper

dressed as a cop — a little private dig at Steven’s position on the city council — but he’d never envisioned how drop-

dead sexy the costume would be, or the man who filled it so admirably.

AuthorBio

Kiernan Kelly lives in the wilds of Florida among the gators, palm trees, and tourists, where she remains chained to

the keyboard of a temperamental laptop, churning out stories of gay erotic romance. Don’t laugh – it’s not as kinky

or as much fun as you’d think. Well, maybe it’s a little kinky.

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, M/M, Review, Sherry, Spotlight

4.5 Stars for Heart of Clay by Lee Brazil & 4 Stars for Chance at Trust by Havan Fallows (Author Interview) #MM #Romance @leebrazil @havanfellows

HavanLeeRC

Title: Heart of Clay & Chance at Trust
Author Name: Lee Brazil & Haven Fallows
Publication Date: April 1 & April 7

Synopsis

Heart of Clay:

The ghost at the heart of the problem…

Clayton Merk, accomplished, yet arrogant, businessman, has a reputation for one-night stands and being steadfastly anti-relationship. When he decides to return home—to the root of all his problems—he brings a co-worker with him as a buffer against the past. Even though he’s ready to lay old ghosts to rest, he certainly didn’t expect a literal ghost to lend a hand.

Brad Jorgensen, Clay’s former best friend, has also clung to the past in an unhealthy way. He resents Clay for a lot of things, not the least of which is his cousin’s death decades earlier. At one time they’d been closer than brothers, but blame and anger are powerful weapons of destruction, and they’ve left Brad in a wasteland of self-doubt, hatred, and loneliness.

The ghost at the heart of the problem has had enough. Bobby isn’t pleased with his cousin or his ex. Their refusal to let go of the past has kept him on a plane where he doesn’t belong and isn’t at home. He’s expended all his energy trying to get through to Brad, without success, but Clay’s return finally gives him a foot in the door…or out the door.

If he could just get the two stubborn men together.

 

Chance at Trust

The strength to walk away from an abusive long-term relationship proves Em is a survivor. But surviving isn’t necessarily living, and Em has created a life on a plateau of his own making, not even entertaining the idea of a new boyfriend. When he shows interest in a very sexy barista, his best friend sees a chance to open Em’s eyes to the possibilities in life.

Penn couldn’t help his double and triple take when the sexy man walked into his mother’s coffee shop. Priding himself on always remaining calm and collected in all situations, Penn is surprised by the strength of his attraction for this stranger. When the stranger’s loud-mouthed friend proposes a way for Penn to see Em again, he takes it.

While Em comes with baggage—his eyes tell a story of pain and distrust—Penn isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, especially when his heart is so quickly getting tied up in the equation, and he’s prepared to break through Em’s walls and give him a chance to trust.

Review

FourandHalfStars
HEART OF CLAY REVIEW
I read this over breakfast. It’s short, intense, and thought-provoking.Clay and Brad, the two main characters, have a history. I loved how the story unfolded in bits and pieces over the course of the novella. The author did a wonderful job of spreading it out, giving just the right amount at a time.

One of my favorite themes to read about is forgiveness/reconciliation. I loved how that played out in the story, with both men stubbornly refusing to give in. Although this was a genuine ghost story (Brad’s cousin/Clay’s ex is the ghost), I thought that blended nicely with the long-held secrets between Brad and Clay.

For such a short story, this made a big impression on me for taking the metaphor of “haunted by the past” into the literal. This is one that will stick with me.

Amy
FourStars
CHANCE AT TRUST REVIEW
This was a sweet, short read about attraction-at-first-sight turning into love. Em is wary and mistrustful after an abusive relationship. Penn wants to be the man Em learns to trust.The story is a bit cliched, between the insta-love and the “save the fragile guy” tropes. But one thing I really liked is that the story didn’t shy away from showing the aftermath of emotional abuse and how often victims and survivors aren’t believed. That part was real and raw, despite the overarching sweetness of the story.

I enjoyed reading it, but I think this would have worked a little better if it had been longer. It was hard to grasp why Penn was so bent on “rescuing” Em so soon after they’d met. Still, it was cute and heartwarming, and just the right length for an afternoon read.

Amy

BuyTheBook

Heart of Clay
Amazon
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All Romance
Smashwords

Chance at Trust
Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance
Smashwords

Excerpt

Heart of Clay:

Seeing Clay there, sitting in the tall grass on the bench where they—he and his cousin Bobby—had first discovered him all those years earlier, sent Brad right over the edge. He’d been poised on that precipice all day, since he’d heard the rumors down at the gas station that not only had Clayton Merk come back to town to visit his grandparents at long last, but he’d brought a boyfriend with him.

Millie Atwatter seemed to take a great deal of venomous pleasure in sharing that little detail, even going so far as to describe the poor unfortunate soul—in her own words—though he couldn’t argue with that assessment.

Anyone who loved Clay Merk was destined for misfortune.

His grip tightened on the hedge trimmers he’d planned to use to cut back low hanging branches of the old tree. If he didn’t make some effort with the ancient tree, this whole corner of his field would be full of rotting peaches half the summer. It was therapeutic when nostalgia overcame him to come down here and trim back the new growth. Usually he spent the time pretending that every twig he snipped was Clayton Merk’s neck…

Brad Jorgenson counseled teens against violence, against acting on the spur of the moment, but it was all he could do not to swing at the man with the heavy clippers.

“You still holding a grudge, Brad? I earned that slot as valedictorian. Not my fault you bombed the chem two final.”

The flippant, deliberate obfuscation was too much. As if having a GPA of one one hundredth of one percent less than this man fifteen years ago were the worst of the things that lay between them? If he were honest, seeing Clay was too much. He flung the clippers aside and launched himself over the fence, lunging to knock Clay off the bench. He couldn’t even claim he acted in the heat of the moment. “Fuck you!”

And still…after all these years Clay was capable of making him do things, say things he normally wouldn’t!

His momentum carried them both over the back of the bench and into the tall grass, and Brad let his anger loose, the slow burning ember that had emerged from the ashes of his soul where he thought he’d buried it long ago.

Rolling and wrestling was tricky though, when Clay didn’t even bother to fight back. Eventually, his supposed opponent’s inertia sank through and Brad realized what he’d done. “I don’t give a damn about who graduated first in our class.” He lurched upright, propelling himself backward, glaring down at Clay, who pushed himself up on his elbows. “And that’s not what’s kept you from coming back here all these years either.”

A sneer twisted Clay’s full lips, “You think you kept me from coming back? Maybe you think I was afraid?

You don’t know me, where I’ve been or what I’ve done. I had reason not to come around here, and it had nothing to do with you.”

The tiny kernel of truth in the barrage of lies stung. “Everyone in town knows what you’ve done and where you’ve gone, Clay.” And it wasn’t prison, which was where the majority of them thought he should have gone. “Your grandparents told us all of it. And I never presumed that your absence had anything to do with me, just as I knew your presence had nothing to do with me.”

His heart rate was slowing, cold sweat dampened his T-shirt. And with the fading of the heat, came the tangle of other emotions, disappointment, sorrow, grief. And lust, to his shame, reared its ugly head now as it had so long ago.

Clay Merk was even more sissified city boy now than he had been when he’d come out here all those years ago. His polo shirt had some kind of logo embroidered on it, but it stretched across broad shoulders and clung to thick muscles quite nicely, as did the knife-creased khaki shorts. He knew from their brief tussle that Clay was a little softer in the middle than he’d been as a high school athlete, but not enough to make him unattractive, not enough to counteract the effects of those deep blue eyes and that oh-so-tempting, lushly curved lower lip, damn it.

“You’re holding my grandparents’ gossip against me?” Clay sounded callous, scathing. “Well, the gossip goes two ways, you know.”

 

Chance at Trust

Em looked up and didn’t see Joss or the barista, Penn, anywhere. A pretty black-haired girl with streaks of platinum white running through her thick locks now manned the open cash register. Boy, that was just perfect. Even if Em didn’t plan to trust a man again—ever, which meant no relationship with a sexy as hell barista—it would’ve been nice to at least not look like a complete ass. But god, that was the first man in forever to make his body stand up and take notice. The dull throb in his jeans proved his erection didn’t give a damn that he acted the moron, it just wanted a shot to climb that mountain.

He sighed to himself. A long time ago he made peace with the fact that he’d be single the remainder of his life. After his abusive relationship with David ended two years ago, he knew that was it. Taking solace in the fact that he never loved David and hadn’t suffered from physical abuse didn’t alleviate the pain he’d incurred on a regular Though physical abuse was horrible in and of itself, Em could attest that mental and verbal abuse could cripple a person just as surely as a destructive blow to one’s head…the only difference was that you didn’t have a pretty scar to prove to the nonbelievers that it ever happened.

Yeah, he faced the doubters when he first escaped from David’s clutches. There were no visible scars and no trips to the emergency room photographed and documented in a neat little manila folder somewhere—so he wasn’t really abused, right? Most people thought it probably just resided in his mind—he was too sensitive or touchy to deal with David’s strong personality.

Em snorted when he remembered how one therapist actually used air quotes when mentioning David’s “strong” personality. That was when he gave up on therapy altogether.

It didn’t matter that every time someone raised their voice around Em, he shuddered and flinched, or when someone looked at him funny, the first thought that would pop into his head was that they were making jokes about him, talking about him behind his back, laughing at the worthless being he was.

Who cared that he muttered apologies left and right for things that weren’t his fault? He’d been conditioned to immediately appease anyone he might’ve offended. It all came second nature to him. He didn’t even realize when he would do it.

But most people would say those scars weren’t real. They didn’t matter.

But they mattered to Em. They were real to him. They were debilitating in his everyday life. And that was why he would never allow another man close to his heart again. He built up some good sturdy walls and he stayed safely locked behind them. No one would ever be in a position to hurt him again…because if you didn’t allow yourself to feel then the hurt couldn’t reach you.

AuthorInterview

Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?

Havan: Um…not much to describe – I have a table in my bedroom and normally the door is closed and there is silence. Unlike some *hip bumps Lee* I can’t write with music or distractions so well.

Lee: Well, I’m sitting there right now, so… let’s see. The refrigerator is droning on behind me like it might give up the fight any minute now. The window two inches away is shut, because wasps flew through it the other day and I’m too busy to deal with any critters tonight. My “desk” is an antique table that was in the SO’s family for years. I’ve got an eclectic collection of recipe books, some Ray Bradbury (Dandelion Wine, Zen in the Art of Writing), Richard Lederer (Crazy English), a volume of Robert Frost’s poetry all tucked off in one corner. And a nice blank white wall that I’m considering painting a tranquil green over the summer. Oh… and I’m working on a desktop computer with a printer jammed in the corner.

Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?

Havan: I relate to all of them up to a point. Am I like any of them completely? No, absolutely not and thank goodness in some instances…but yeah, a little piece of me is in all of them.

Lee: I think that’s probably correct. I think there must be a little of me in each of my characters. After all, they are shaped as much by my own experience as by research.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?

Havan: Well, I was an administrative assistant…guess I’d still be doing that.

Lee: I’ve been asked this before, and I don’t remember what I said. But at this exact moment? If I weren’t an author I think I’d be a beach bum. I am really craving sunshine and sand:)

Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?

Havan: Lots of things…and with each book I learn something new. The most important thing is to remember that edits and beta feedback are not an attack on you and your writing. If your beta readers and editor take their time to read the book and give you feedback it means they care about you as a writer and just want you to put your best out there for others. 🙂

Lee: Tons. And What Havan said. Exactly that.

Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?

Havan: I can’t answer that until I’ve got the other 2 parts out…but so far so good.

Lee: Not really. This is the story of Clay and Brad. It’s been through vigorous editing, beta-ing and so on. Ask me again in three months, and I might have a different answer, but right now, I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

How do you come up with new ideas for your story?

Havan: No idea…they just happen. A cute guy walks by with a limp…there’s a story there. My sis calls me on the phone and talks about the annoying UPS man…there’s a story there. I listen to the radio in a pumped up mood and a song I hate comes on and suddenly I’m listening to it a different way…there’s a story there.

Lee: Well, usually inspiration hits me while I’m driving. Or showering. Or sleeping. You know. Places where you can’t really write it down? I find a lot of inspiration in music, like Tom Petty and David Bowie.

What’s next for you as a writer?

Havan: I’m wrapping up on my edits for my 2nd book in the Pulp Friction 2015 series, Stud Player, while working on the next book in my Chance at Life trilogy, Chance at Love.

Lee: I’m halfway through with a story called Urbex, an m/m contemporary, and outlining the next Story Orgy story – no title yet, but its about a superhero.

Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?

Havan: Coffee is a must…and I have a strange addiction to hair ties/clips/barrettes and dare I say scrunchieslol

Lee: Bite your tongue! Coffee is the blood of life. Vice indeed. Um… let’s see… binge watching seasons of Top Chef – even though I’ve seen them all dozens of times already; tequila… hmmm *wanders off to pour margarita*

 

AuthorBio

Lee Brazil

Somewhere in a small town in up-state New York are a librarian and a second grade teacher to whom I owe my life. That might be a touch dramatic, but it’s nevertheless one hundred percent true. Because they taught me the joy of reading, of escaping into worlds crafted of words.

Have you ever been nine years old and sure of nothing so much as that you don’t belong? Looked at the world from behind glasses, and wondered why you don’t fit?

Someone hands you a book, and then you turn the page and see… There you are, running from Injun Joe in a dark graveyard; there you are fencing with Athos; there you are…beneath the deep blue sea- marveling at exotic creatures with Captain Nemo.

I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now. It’s why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it’s why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture. If I’d had my way, I’d have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and I’ve come to realize that’s the best thing in the world to be, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.

If I hadn’t learned to value the stories between the pages, who knows what would have happened? Certainly not college…teaching…or writing.

 

Havan Fellows

I annoy, love, respect, scare, seduce, hurt, anger, infatuate, frustrate, flatter, envy, amuse and tolerate everyone. I just do it better in writing thanks to a little thing called…edits.

Okay no, seriously…I’m a simpleminded person who enjoys the escape from real life through a book. I write with the group Story Orgy and hope to continue doing so for a long time. I also am privileged to be with the Pulp Friction writers, creating intermingling books in a world all our own.

I recently took the drastic step of quitting my EDJ (evil day job) and am now living in the gorgeous desert in Arizona making a go at this writing stuff full time…and I can’t see me regretting this decision ever.

Just like every other red-blooded human—I get a little bouncy when I get mail (any kind too…email, comments, private messages…you wanna do it, do it with me *winks*). So feel free to drop me a line—whether it’s on my blog, twitter, Pinterest, or you track me down on Facebook or Google +…it’s easy to catch someone who wants to be caught.

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