Monthly Archives: June 2015

5 Stars for Always Ready by T.A. Chase #MM #Military @Totally_Bound @TAChase

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Title: Always Ready
Author Name & Publisher: T.A. Chase (Totally Bound)
Publication Date & Length: May 15, 2015 – 42 pgs

Synopsis

Making a living on the Bering Sea is hard enough, but throw love into the equation, and things can blow into a hurricane.

Senior Chief Dean ‘Jake’ Jacobson loves his job as a Coast Guard rescue swimmer. Saving lives is the second best thing he could ever do. The first is loving Phil ‘Rhody’ Rhodes.

Phil is a third generation crabber who fishes the Bering Sea. Being gay and in love with Dean isn’t something he talks about, especially not with the six men he lives with on the Angela Kayla for weeks on end. But he’s been happy with his life.

Until one day the Bering Sea reminds them that she is a dangerous place to work. As her icy waters surround them, they discover one truth. Dean and Phil must always be ready to love each other because life can be taken so easily when one works on the sea.

Publisher’s Note: This story has been previously released as part of the Semper Fidelis anthology by Totally Bound Publishing.

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Review

FiveStars

This book drew me to it because I love the show Deadliest Catch, in a way I was hoping it would reflect it.  I sure wasn’t disappointed.

For a short story I felt it was written very well and was a complete short story, it didn’t lack for anything.

As far as the characters I loved them both, Phil who wasn’t out to his crew and hid his relationship with Dean, who was a coast guard swimmer. I loved how their relationship developed and it brought a tragedy to bring them closer.

I love T.A. Chase’s writing and I’m never disappointed in any of her books.  This one included plenty of action along with suspense and a lot of romance.

Sherry

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5 Stars for Chase the Stars (Lang Downs #2) by Ariel Tachna #MM #Outback @dreamspinners

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Title: Chase the Stars (Lang Downs #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Ariel Tachna (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 10, 2012 – 250 pgs

Synopsis

Twenty-year-old Chris Simms is barely keeping his head above water. After losing his mother and his home, he struggles to provide for himself and his brother. When homophobes attack him, he thinks his life is over, but then he’s rescued by jackaroos from a nearby sheep station. He’s as stunned to be offered a job there as he is to discover both the station owner and foreman are gay.

For Chris, Lang Downs is a dream—one that only gets better when Chris realizes the jackaroo he’s crushing on, Jesse Harris, is gay and amenable to a fling. Everything goes well until Chris realizes he’s falling for Jesse a lot harder than allowed by their deal.

Jesse is a drifter who moves from station to station, never looking for anything permanent. Convinced Chris is too young and fragile for a real relationship, he sets rules to keep things casual. Watching the station owner and his foreman together makes Jesse wonder if there are benefits to settling down, but when he realizes how Chris feels about him, he panics. He and Chris will have to decide if a try for happiness is worth the risk before the end of the season tears them apart.

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Review

FiveStars

The second book in the Lang Downs series focuses on Chris and his brother Seth. Lang Downs’ foreman, Macklin rescues twenty-year-old Chris from an attack before he and Caine offer the homeless boys a place on their station. While a romance develops between Chris and one of the seasonal Jackaroos, Jesse, Tachna also continues to develop the story of Caine and Macklin from the first book.

The continued development of Caine and Macklin’s story is what makes me award this book five stars. So many authors, even in complex series, complete a love story in each book. Tachna recognises that relationships actually develop over lifetimes, not months. Tachna also refuses to make her characters’ romances more complicated than they need to be. Granted, all the men on Lang Downs seem to have complicated, difficult histories, but growth in these books is personal. Once characters get a chance to heal (and some of Chris’ healing is actually physical in this book) their relationships are relatively simple.

So Macklin and Caine struggle to live openly without upsetting the men who work for them. Chris and Seth come to grips with their mother’s death and their subsequent abandonment, and Jesse begins to consider permanence and making a home on Lang Downs. Other characters begin to develop in more detail in this book – Seth and Jason meet each other here, paving the way for their story in book five. Neil becomes a more rounded character, and we get our first glimpse of Molly.

I love the way this second book becomes less of a traditional romance and more the story of the interactions between the many characters on the Lang Downs sheep station. For me, this is the book where the series moved from good to fantastic.

Sarah

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TWO 4 Star Reviews for Dogs of War (Underdogs #3) by Geonn Cannon #FF #UrbanFantasy @GeonnCannon @SupposedCrimes

Title: Dogs of War
Author Name & Publisher: Geonn Cannon (Supposed Crimes)
Publication Date & Length: July 1, 2014, 238 pages

Synopsis

An ancient ceremony known as “wolf manoth,” in which human hunters kill as many canidae as possible, has been revived. The hunters have arrived in force, focusing on the Pacific Northwest due to its high wolf population. Ariadne Willow, alerted to the danger by her mother, goes undercover with a group of hunters in an effort to minimize the damage. Unfortunately the hunters have a new weapon, a drug that brings out the feral side of any canidae exposed to it. With her safety and sanity both at risk, Ari is forced to trust a friend turned enemy in order to stay alive.

Meanwhile, Dale is cut off from her friend and partner and faces the wrath of drugged canidae and hunters who are eager to make an example of a human who has been consorting with a wolf. Chased through the city and forced to take refuge wherever she can get it, Dale receives help from unexpected corners.

Separated by circumstance and under attack from threats both human and wolf, Ari and Dale must do everything in their power to keep the body count down while also staying alive long enough to find each other again.Add to GoodReads

Review

FourStars

A really exciting and conceivable novel. This book in the series, although it is a stand alone novel, concentrates on the heightening tensions between the canidae and the hunters. The canidae, the shiftshapers who transform into wolves, really are credible and this can only be explained by the brilliant way the author presents this intriguing novel.
Although part are a little deja vu, there is enough new information added to keep the interest of the previous readers of this series, while explaining situations to new readers.
I also enjoyed the continuing loving relationship between Ari and Dale while welcoming more information about Ari’s family, which proved both fascinating and thought-provoking.
The only point I would question was when Dale and Ari were separated Dale switched off her mobile as the battery was running low only to switch it back on again in the evening to see if there was any news from Ari, then left it on all night to see if Ari called her back. Did she misjudge the battery life?
Mr Cannon is the master of leaving the reader wanting more and I for one can not wait until his next novel appears.
Chris
FourStars
Another well written book in this series!
I enjoy the fact you can read these books as stand alones or out of order yet they always leave you wanting more.
Dale and Ari are at it again and there is never a shortage of drama, twist, and suspense when these two come together.
I truly enjoy reading this series and recommend it to anyone who enjoys shifter novels. Although its not your typical shifter it is much more believable.
Amber

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AuthorBio

Geonn Cannon lives in Oklahoma. He is the author of several novels, including the Riley Parra series which is currently being produced as a webseries for Tello Films, and an official Stargate SG-1 tie-in novel. Information about his other novels and an archive of free stories can be found online at geonncannon.com.

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4 Stars for NEW RELEASE: Empty Nests by Ada Maria Soto (AUTHOR INTERVIEW) #MM #Romance @adamariasoto @dreamspinners

EmptyNestsFS

Title: Empty Nests
Author Name: Ana Maria Soto
Publication Date & Length: June 12, 2015 – 214 pgs

Synopsis

Neither James nor Gabe has ever had a real relationship. They might make a connection if they can get past their differences—and their fears.

At age fourteen, James Maron decided to prove he wasn’t gay despite vast evidence to the contrary. Now at thirty-two, he’s getting ready to send his son to college and wondering what he’s supposed to do next. Outside his son, his life consists of an IT job he hates and watching telenovelas with the women in his apartment building.

Gabriel Juarez is the CFO of a technology giant. He has looks, charm, fantastic wealth, a workaholic personality, and a string of boyfriends who only stick around because he’s too busy to tell them to leave.

A bad laptop/projector interface causes James and Gabe’s paths to cross. Friends, family, and coworkers jump to match Gabe with a nice guy, and James with anyone. But are they too different? Everyone will have to tread very carefully to keep things from ending before they start.

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Review

FourStars

The CFO of one of silicon valley’s most successful companies and an under-employed single dad make for an unlikely pairing.

While I’m not sure I ever fully believed in the pairing, I did fall in love with both men. James’ self-sacrifice for his son was humbling and very sweet. At first, I found Gabe’s work obsessed life cold and impersonal, but over the course of the story, Gabe emerges as a thoughtful, attentive partner and a good friend.

Adding in James’ son and Gabe’s friends, Soto has written a very sweet, domestic story. The kids are well written too, endearing and mature without being too cute.

I grew a little bored with Gabe’s business and I found James’ self-imposed poverty a bit tiresome. I liked watching two men unaccustomed to relationships reaching out to each other hesitantly and tentatively. Relationships between slightly older adults are always more complicated than stories of first love, but Soto shows us how a grown-up relationship can also be rewarding.

This is a fantasy story in the tradition of Pretty-Woman or Fifty-Shades. I’m not sure how many average single parents are actually whisked away by multi-millionaire captains of industry, but we can all dream.

Sarah

Excerpt

“So,” Dylan started as he scraped the last of the noodles from his plate. “Remember that conversation we were having about the new AP English teacher?”

“If you pull a piece of paper out of your pocket right now, I will never forgive you.”

Dylan grinned and pulled a tightly folded piece of paper from his pocket. “Saturday after next, if you want, you have a date.”

James was pretty sure teenagers were not supposed to be as hung-up on their father’s love life as Dylan was. “No. No, I do not.”

Dylan pushed over a printout from his school’s faculty webpage. There was a phone number handwritten at the bottom. “Thirty-five, no kids. He likes music.” Dylan had highlighted that line. “You like music, he likes music. He said he’d love to take you to see a band he likes.”

“Goddammit, Dylan! I do not need you setting me up with strangers.”

“He’s not a stranger, he’s the school’s AP English teacher, and I wouldn’t have to if you’d get out of the house once in a while. Seriously, Dad, I’m out of here in less than a year. I don’t want you moping around this place alone. I worry about you turning into a crazy old cat lady.”

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3 Stars for Hurt by Lila Bruce #FF @AuthorLilaBruce

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Title: Hurt
Author Name: Lila Bruce
Publication Date & Length: January 14, 2015 – 153 pgs

Synopsis

When it comes to matters of the heart, Nicole Landers has made some wrong choices. But now Nicole, one of the top real estate agents in Chattanooga, thinks she’s finally made the right one in Jamie Tate. Despite a serious Johnny Cash obsession and a tendency to shy away from long-term commitment, Jamie seems to be the perfect choice. Jamie is kind, loving and especially nice to Nicole’s elderly grandmother. Now all Nicole has to do is convince the attractive police detective that it’s time to take things to the next level.

Jamie is crazy in love with Nicole and ready to move their relationship forward. Jamie decides it’s finally time to sell her home and move in together—something that Nicole has been talking about doing for months. Knowing that Nicole believes her to be commitment-shy, Jamie thinks it might be fun to surprise her with the move. However, things take on an ironic twist when an old friend Jamie hasn’t seen in years comes by to look at the house, setting into motion a series of misunderstandings that threatens more than just Nicole and Jamie’s relationship.

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Review

ThreeStar

I quite liked the humour in this novel and the allegories made by Nicole were amusing. I did get a little frustrated in the continual misconceptions and errors made by both women and thought this went on a little too long. Would have liked more than just one misunderstanding after another.
A happy easy to read book that appeals when you want to escape reality for a short while and know you will finish the book on a happy ending.
Chris

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5 Stars for Inherit the Sky (Lang Downs #1) by Ariel Tachna #MM #Adventure @dreamspinners

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Title: Inherit the Sky (Lang Downs #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Ariel Tachna (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: February 20, 2012 – 206 pgs

Synopsis

Caine Neiheisel is stuck in a dead-end job at the end of a dead-end relationship when the chance of a lifetime falls in his lap. His mother inherits her uncle’s sheep station in New South Wales, Australia, and Caine sees it as the opportunity to start over, out on the range where his stutter won’t hold him back and his willingness to work will surely make up for his lack of knowledge. Unfortunately, Macklin Armstrong, the foreman of Lang Downs who should be Caine’s biggest ally, alternates between being cool and downright dismissive, and the other hands are more amused by Caine’s American accent than they are moved by his plight… until they find out he’s gay and their amusement turns to scorn. It will take all of Caine’s determination-and an act of cruel sabotage by a hostile neighbor-to bring the men of Lang Downs together and give Caine and Macklin a chance at love.

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Review

FiveStars

This is the first book in one of my all time favourite series. Here we watch Caine make the journey from his safe but dead-end life in Philadelphia to a sheep station in Australia’s wild outback.

As the first book, it is the most typical “romance” of the series. It is also the simplest book in the series. Most of the focus remains on Caine and his foreman Macklin as they figure out their relationship. The dramas are small – Macklin is justifiably wary of coming out in the outback and Caine has to adjust to a rough new world while working to gain respect from the men who work for him. The two central character are brilliantly drawn. The city boy with a business degree and the hardened stockman compliment each other beautifully. Both men are strong, attractive and interesting enough to carry a full series.

Lang Downs Station is introduced for the first time here. I accidentally started with book five, so I found it fascinating to go back in time more than ten years to the initial descriptions of characters who become very important to the station and the series over time. This first book is a testament to Tachna’s ability to write complex characters who grow and develop through the series.

I probably wouldn’t give this first book five stars in its own right, though I’d give the series as a whole five stars. It moves slowly as Tachna introduces readers to her outback and the characters who live on Lang Downs. But I’m not sure this book could have moved quicker. Readers need the details and the jargon to immerse themselves in Caine and Macklin’s world. The series definitely gets better from here, but this book starts everything off brilliantly.

Sarah

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TWO 5 Star Reviews for 24-Karat Conspiracy (Precious Gems #4) by E.M. Lynley #MM #Suspense @Dreamspinners @emlynley

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Title: 24-Karat Conspiracy (Precious Gems #4)
Author Name & Publisher: E.M. Lynley (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 12, 2015 – 240 pgs

Synopsis

Love is the only gold

Former Ranger turned FBI agent Reed Acton faces his biggest challenge yet: a Christmas visit from partner Trent Copeland’s parents. He’s less equipped to handle hugs and holidays than the Taliban or international art thieves. When he’s assigned to track down a set of gold Babylonian artifacts looted from the Iraqi National Museum after the fall of Baghdad, things start to look up.

This time, Trent’s part of the mission, which takes them to exotic Istanbul. The crowded streets and labyrinthine markets fascinate Trent, but soon murder is on their trail. The investigation continues as Reed goes undercover at a US Army base, with Trent masquerading as his spouse. Surprisingly, fastidious and ever-fashionable Trent fits into base life right away and soon takes one of the suspects’ wives under his wing when domestic abuse rears its head.

Their faux marriage leads Reed to appreciate Trent in ways he never expected, strengthening their bond—until Reed has to confront the worst demons from his past: his relationship with his estranged family.

See Reviews for Rarer Than Rubies (Book One), Italian Ice (Book Two), and Jaded (Book Three)

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Review

FiveStars

Our two favourite international super-sleuths get uncomfortably domestic in the fourth book in the Precious Gems series. Trent’s parents bring Oklahoma’s college football, Christmas sweaters and exuberant affection into Trent and Reed’s stylish LA lives. Later in the book, Reed is forced to confront his own parents for the first time in many years when the couple has to work closely with Reed’s buttoned-up homophobic father while undercover.

Lynley still gives readers an exotic destination as Trent and Reed’s trip to Istanbul is described beautifully. But most of this story takes place in the US, as the couple navigates the perils of a long-term relationship. Over three books, Trent and Reed have survived all sorts terrifying situations. But if Reed really doesn’t do families and Trent really isn’t cut out for life as an army wife, do they have enough in common to survive the mundane realities of life stateside?

This is the funniest book in the series and possibly the most well-observed. Lynley captures her men’s excitement, vulnerability and fear as Trent and Reed transition from lovers to partners. Both sets of parents allow readers unique insights into the men we’ve come to love. This book has slightly less action than we’ve come to expect from this series, but

Lynley’s character and relationship building is brilliant.

Sarah

FiveStars

I loved the fact that the author gave the series a theme. It was fitting. Each story reflected exactly as the title suggests. Another reason to be impressed with this author. I was really looking forward to this 4th installment. I devoured the 3 previous books and could not wait to see how Trent and Reed were doing. This story is just as suspense-filled and captivating with Trent and Reed. It also gave the author the chance to show us just how much the characters had grown. When we met them in the 1st book, Rarer than Rubies, they each had some growing to do. I fell in love with them in the 1st book, because of that insecurity, and chemistry. And lots of hot sex! That is what is so enjoyable about a series, that has a great author writing it, you get to read the character’s maturing, growing in to their own personality. I smiled a lot during this story. I loved the way Trent and Reed treated each other, with sarcasm, humor and sexy seductions. Their love for each other, is really felt through the pages. They were perfect work buddies too. Such strong loyalty to one another. I really enjoyed them both for their separate, interesting personalities. An enjoyable series that keeps your full attention… to the very (happy) end!!!!!
Thank you EM Lynley for creating such an adorable, interesting, and cool couple.
Kimberley

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