A Stella Review: Brush Strokes by E.S. Karlquist

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

 

Todd Navarro is halfway through college, trying to juggle his art studies with extra hours at work and finding time for his friends. Things aren’t exactly easier with the feud going on between the gallery he works at and the one next door. Or the fact that his dad just doesn’t seem to understand that art can be more than just a hobby—not everyone can be an accountant, dad! So when his best friend Mela invites him to a frat party, he only accepts because he needs a breather from everything regarding his future. So, really, he doesn’t expect to meet Daniel Berger, who might just be his future. Well, until he finds out that Daniel has a lot more to do with the future of the gallery than Todd would have ever guessed.

Brush Strokes is the first book by this new author and I already can say I can’t wait for more from her. I picked this title cause the blurb sounded really interesting and I am always looking out for new authors. That said, as soon as I started reading the story, I became desperate since I’m not a fan at all of the use of the present tense. Maybe cause my English is still a work in progress but I usually prefer the past, it simply makes the reading easier to me. So I was scared this novel was going to be a pain to finish. Instead, after the first pages, I was so engrossed with Todd’s life I totally forgot about the verbal form and felt fully comfortable with the writing. A wonderful writing style, detailed and clear, easy and full. Plus despite there was only Todd’s POV, it was perfect that way. I didn’t need to read Daniel’s thoughts, it was clear who he was, what he wanted, his fears, everything about him conquered me. Actually, both Daniel and Todd were lovely characters, so young but mature at the same time. Brush Strokes is not a YA story, it’s about two young men that instead of being careless and free, decided to be real and fight for their futures.

Because of some initial miscommunications, they became first friends. The attraction was strong, still, Todd was so sure Daniel didn’t feel the same, that he took his role as friend very seriously.

Nothing happened between them till the end, although a lot happened in their lives, there was a gallery to save, a relationship between brothers to mend, even a bunny to cuddle. And a lot of innocent sleepovers. Plus some truly amazing second characters, like Todd’s parents, Mela and Jesse, and the little kids.

I want to highly recommend this new release by E.S. Karlquist, I will surely reread it in the near future.

The cover art by CB Messer is cute, different and it fits the story, well done.

SALE LINKS  Interlude Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 230 pages

Published March 12th 2019 by Interlude Press

ASIN B072HKT4WQ

Edition Language English

 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Kennard’s Story (Cronin’s Key #4) by N.R. Walker

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

What a delight!  A chance to see Kennard with his newly found lifemate, Stas.  Kennard is the youthful-looking, handsome vampire who rules the coven in London.  He’s also the vampire who despaired so much about never having found his mate after over 500 years that he was more than willing to help Alec and Cronin in their battle against Genghis Khan in book three.  And it was there he first set eyes on the big, gruff 800-year-old Russian, Stas.

The first chapters are full of Kennard’s and Stas’s nonstop sexual adventures.  After all, they waited hundreds of years to meet, so they have to make up for lost time.  But the author injected enough warmth and humor to make it more romantic than erotic, and my heart was engaged quickly.

In this adventure, Alec and Cronin, Jodis and Eiji, and Kennard with Stas set off to protect humankind from the vampire who is supposedly locked in a tomb in India.  The adventure actually leads them all over Asia and to a location deep in the sea where they encounter none other than—oops, I don’t want to say. Spoiler zone.  And readers will appreciate the surprise as much as I did, I think.

This author does research—lots and lots of research and the books are full of facts, both well-known and minutia most of us wouldn’t know.  But it’s interesting and mixed with enough adventure to keep me on my toes.  Constantly.  In fact, I hate to stop for real life activities because I want to know—I need to know what is going to happen next.  The characters are as memorable as any I’ve read and came to life within the first pages of revisiting them.  Kennard and Stas and their relationship was heartwarming and loving and they struck just the perfect balance together. Who knew I’d fall in love with a 500-year-old who, in turn, loved an 800-year-old?   Only NR Walker could infuse so much energy and life into this grand adventure, not to mention the surprise twists using historical persons who I previously thought were boring. 

I highly recommend this book—in fact, this series—to all lovers of MM romance packed with action, adventure and a dash of world history.

The colorful cover features a handsome young blond man, representing Kennard, standing against a temple wall. There’s also a bright green lawn with a path leading to a series of gates. The overall effect is representative of the essence of the story and the colors certainly make it attention-getting.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 156 pages
Published January 26th 2019 by Amazon Digital Services
ASINB 07N5G1ZVP
Edition Language English
Series Cronin’s Key

Cronin’s Key

Cronin’s Key II

Cronin’s Key III

Kennard’s Story

An Alisa Review How Not to Sin (Lovestrong #2) by Susan Hawke

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

 

One regular guy who happens to be a preacher…

 

Reverend Dr. Gabe Samson doesn’t think he’s better than any of the people in his church, so please don’t put him on a pedestal. While he’s never hidden the fact that he identifies as bisexual, he’s never acted on it either. Gabe isn’t happy to learn that the sole reason he was hired to pastor the LGBT-friendly church was that the ruling elders wanted a safe poster child for inclusivity—in other words, they wanted the rainbow flag without letting it fly.

 

Plus one easygoing, new age kinda guy…

 

Seth Thomas owns Holistic Healing, a metaphysical shop and yoga studio. He’s never really been a relationship kinda guy, but only because he hasn’t met the right man yet. Seth is laid back and goes with the flow. When fate drops a hot preacher in his lap, why wouldn’t he accept the gift?

 

Equals a pair of men who click from the start.

 

The two men find it almost too easy to get together, especially Gabe, who is fully embracing his bi side for the first time. Nothing in life is simple though. While Gabe and Seth are busy falling in love, they face an anti-gay hate group, a divided church, and a ruling elder who is hell-bent on sowing discord. Between Gabe’s patient wisdom and Seth’s snark, the pair fight the growing drama with the strongest weapons in their arsenal: love and humor.

 

I am enjoying this series.  Gabe is such a great guy and wants to protect his congregation from the hate he is getting from certain elders.  Seth is very open and will do anything for those he cares about and won’t let some bigots keep him down.

 

I liked both of these characters and getting to see their points of view helps to understand them.  I couldn’t help but feel that the book was focused on the anti-gay issue more than anything else and felt that it took a bit away from the story of Gabe and Seth as they just kinda clicked together and that was it.  I loved their love and openness to others and how they are willing to help all that would need it.  But the way everything was forgotten after the one really homophobic guy was gone rubbed me the wrong way because I don’t think that thinking among the other members would have just disappeared.

 

The cover art by Ana J Phoenix is nice and the is a nice visual of Seth.

 

Sales Link: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages

Publication: February 19, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Lovestrong #2

Felicitas Ivey on Knitting, Surprises and her new story ‘I’m Not Who You Think I Am’ (author guest blog)

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I’m Not Who You Think I Am by Felicitas Ivey

Harmony Ink Press, Paperback by Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Tiferet Designs
Published March 19th 2019

Sales Links:   Harmony Ink Press | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

Whenever I start these types of posts, I spend time debating what I’m going to write. Mainly because I don’t know what to say, because I don’t know how much of my personal life I want to write about. My bio covers the basics of my life, mostly, and I don’t want to overshare on the Internet. Basically I have a day job, I have three cats, and I have hobbies.

So this is going to be about one of the hobby obsessions in my life~Fiber. Yarn and not the other kind from food. From a casual scan on Facebook and at conferences, shows that  I’m not the only author who has this obsession. Yarn and authors, go together like cats and authors.

I knit in my spare time, mostly so I don’t fall asleep the rare times I’m watching television or a movie, when my cats let me. I’m not ant television, it’s just I really don’t have time for it. Knitting’s also useful on long trips, because I’m a bad passenger on highways and it keeps me distracted. I’ve been knitting since I was in high school and have collected a lot of yarn over the decades with my hobby. Some of it was bought on an impulse, some for projects which never got knit and some of it is left over from long ago projects. Unfortunately, I’ve outgrown most of the early knitting project or they’ve fallen apart because of wear.

I’m a yarn hoarder. I have far too much of the stuff, bought in binges when I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I have my stash stored in odd containers scattered around my home, in spare rooms and underneath my sofa. I have truly embraced the notion of the person with the most yarn wins. The hoard has gotten so bad, I have a spreadsheet, broken down by fiber type, noting the location of every skein and ball. That’s about the only organized part of my life. But if I didn’t have that, I would lose track of what I have. I’m proud that I’ve even separated the storage containers by fiber also. I also really don’t have to hide my stash, because I live alone, but it does keep the cats out of it. I’m lucky to have a large enough living space to indulge in the passion I have for fiber, the wonderful color and feel of all sorts of textures of fiber, from delicate lace to a hearty bulky yarn used to make rugs and toys.

I prefer natural fiber, mainly because I’m not knitting for anyone else but myself most of the time. I’ve looked for yarn wherever I can, dragging my traveling companion off the beaten path to find yarn shops in New England and beyond. Sometimes I buy the wrong things because I didn’t bring the correct pattern book with me. Most of these types of splurges were before tablets and smart phones made looking up patterns so easy.

I’ve also collected a number of knitting books over the years also. They are a snapshot of the changing fashions in fibers and styles over the last couple of decades. Unfortunately there are a number of books which I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to use because the yarns listed no longer exist and I can’t find any information on them to figure out yardage for the sweaters. “Beastly Knits” by Lalla Ward is the one that frustrates me the most, because it has a lot of interesting sweaters in it.  I haven’t had the ambition over the years to try and figure out what I could do in the way of substitutions, since everything is given in ounces/grams and not yards. I still like the book, I mainly bought it because I am a big Dr. Who fan and the author was a companion and later a Time Lady with the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker.

My most recent project has been knitting a sweater out of Marino wool, which I’ve hand dyed on my own.  Dyeing has been something I’ve been dabbling in on and off for a couple of years. I’m lucky that I have access to stores in your area which I can buy the higher end dyes for these projects. The dye didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, but the colors are still nice.

Dyeing is fun and I do most of my dyeing in old crock pots. They are useful for me because I do individual skeins. The main issue I have is keeping the my cats away from the pots, but a sniff or two of the dye and they wander off to nap.

I had bought the above mentioned sweater project with me on vacation, not doing a test swatch to see if I had the correct sized needles to get the right gage, so my sweater doesn’t end up fitting me. I’d skipped that once and it didn’t end well for me. Hours of work and the sweater didn’t fit me. That was one of the reasons I switched to less form fitting projects, like shawls.

I needed to get different knitting needles than what I brought with me and wandered into a Michaels and found what I needed and then discovered a wonderful sight!

It seems that Pantone the color company and Caron a yarn producer, have gotten together to package five colors together, in different shades and the yarn tag looks like a paint strip. I haven’t used the skeins I’ve bought yet, but I do have a project in mind for it. And was very proud of the fact I waited to have a project in mind, before I gave into the squees of joy I had when I first saw the yarn

Blurb

Mykayla’s parents’ marriage is in trouble, but they’re working on it. Unfortunately for Mykayla, that means she’s getting shipped off to Boston to spend her summer with Uncle Yushua while they work out their issues. Mykayla has issues of her own—like her confusion about her sexuality, or apparent lack of it—that she’d like to explore alongside her best friend, Xiu. The situation at her uncle’s house is weird to say the least. There’s something off about his coworkers—aside from the fact that they won’t go away.

Things go from strange to stranger when a supernatural being shows up to protect Mykayla from someone he calls the Shadow Pharaoh. Sutekhgen is a sorcerer who never made it to the afterlife, with a huge Seth beast as a companion… and the mistaken assumption that Mykayla is the reincarnation of his lost romantic partner.

She doesn’t know what’s worse: being caught in a metaphysical conflict between ancient gods, or being stuck with a pushy jerk who doesn’t know the meaning of personal boundaries.

About the Author

Felicitas is a frazzled help-desk tech at a university in Boston who wishes people wouldn’t argue with her when she’s troubleshooting what’s wrong with their computer. She lives with three cats who wish she would pay more attention to them, and not sit at a computer pounding on the keyboard. They get back at her by hogging most of the bed at night and demanding her attention during the rare times she watches TV or movies. She’s protected by her guardian stuffed Minotaur, Angenor, who was given to her by her other husband, Mark. Angenor travels everywhere with her, because Felicitas’s family doesn’t think she should travel by her lonesome. They worry she gets distracted and lost too easily. Felicitas doesn’t think of it a getting lost, more like having an adventure with a frustrated GPS.

Felicitas knits and hoards yarn, firmly believing the one with the most yarn wins. She also is sitting on hordes of books, which threaten to take over her house, even with e-books.

Felicitas writes urban fantasy, steampunk, and horror of a Lovecraftian nature, with monsters beyond space and time that think that humans are the tastiest things in the multiverse. Occasionally there’s a romance or two involved in her writing, with a happily-ever-after.

Website: www.Felicitasivey.com

Facebook: felicitasivey

Twitter: @felicitasive

Check Out the Book Blast for An Extra Alpha (Pine Wood Falls #2) by Sarah Havan (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: An Extra Alpha: An Mpreg Romance, Pine Wood Falls Book 2

Author: Sarah Havan

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre/s: e.g. Contemporary M/M Romance, Mpreg romance

Trope/s: e.g. threesome

Themes: e.g. self-acceptance, trust

Heat Rating:  4-5 flames  

Length: 72 000 words/ 365  pages

The story is part of a series but can be read as a stand alone

Add on Goodreads

 

Tagline

They didn’t realize they could both get him pregnant.

Blurb

Thomas escaped his ex and has settled in at Pine Wood Falls. He found himself a nice job, has a cute little house, and his twins are now five months old. The last thing he wants or expects is to go into heat again so soon. He tries to fight the urge but can’t hold off any longer. 

Campbell catches the scent of his fated omega. He finally found the one and can’t wait to start a family. So he goes to one of Pine Wood Falls get togethers to do what nature wants of him, what he wants–to mate with his fated one, but the situation gets turned on its head when there’s another alpha there that wants his omega.

All Griffin wants is a good time. He doesn’t believe he’s fated for anyone, that’s all in the past. He just wants his needs met, but another alpha stands in his way. Luckily, they all come to an agreement. The three of them together. 

They don’t think they can both get the young omega pregnant. Thomas doesn’t think he’s fated for either of them, but when he ends up pregnant with quads, they all have some things to work out. 

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

Campbell

My time for a family had finally come. For days, the scent of my fated omega lingered in my nose. A smell so sweet and intoxicating. He was on the verge of going into heat, and now there he was, right across from me in the very place I first picked up his scent — The Pine Wood Falls Welcome Center.

“Can I help you with something, sir?” he asked. I took in a sharp breath as he looked up at me with his amazing green eyes. He swiped a strand of his light-blond hair out of his face and stood up, shuffling some papers on his desk. I had about a good foot on the omega in height. He was small and precious, and even though he didn’t know it yet, my future.

“I’m supposed to meet with Mr. Jones.”

“Okay, I’ll let him know you’re here.” His eyes then darted around the office. “Mr. Jones usually meets with everyone out in the dayroom.”

“All right. I’m Campbell. Campbell Vallejo,” I said, holding my hand out for a shake.

“Thomas,” he said, shaking my hand. He gasped when our palms met. Neither of us pulled our hands away.

“Nice to meet you, Thomas.” I gave him a smile, and his cheeks flushed bright pink.

He nodded and glanced down.

“Campbell, good to see you.” Mr. Jones walked into the small office and clapped me on the back. Thomas let go of my hand and dropped his arms to his sides.

“Hello, Mr. Jones.” Mr. Jones was a tall, attractive man with dark brown skin and a happy smile. His omega passed away years ago, so he now focused all of his attention on Pine Wood Falls. The very community his family started.

“I see you’ve met Thomas.”

“Sure have.”

“He’s our newest hire. Pine Wood Falls is growing, and we needed someone to help things run smoothly. He’s going to be a great administrative assistant.”

“Just start?” I asked.

“No, it’s been a couple months. I’m just not very good at my job, I guess.” Thomas’ face fell, and he fiddled with a file folder he picked up and held in front of his pants.

“I should reword that. You are a great administrative assistant.” Mr. Jones smiled and put his hands on his hips.

“Thanks,” Thomas whispered.

“Thomas,” Mr. Jones said.

He glanced up.

“You are. Now, Campbell, let’s go out to the dayroom and have our strategy meeting.” Mr. Jones led me out from the office, through the foyer, and to a table in the corner of the dayroom. He waved at a chair for me to sit in.

“I don’t think I’ve seen Thomas around before. Is he new to the community?” I glanced over my shoulder, hoping he’d be standing there. One omega knitted in the corner with a couple of baby carriers at their feet, and an alpha/omega couple sat on the back couch, but no Thomas.

“Newish. He showed up here about five months ago on the verge of having his babies, and we took him in. He’s been a little wary of others, so he doesn’t venture out much. Up until about a month ago, he worked from home.”

“And his alpha?” I asked because if he already had children perhaps somehow my senses were off. Maybe I was just smelling the part of him that was about to go into heat and not the part that would be mine.

“Gone, and we’re glad of that, bad news, but I shouldn’t talk too much about the poor boy. I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate it.”

“Of course.”

Mr. Jones and I got down to work. He wanted to use my skills as a creative director at an advertising firm to help reach alphas and omegas who are new to Pine Wood Falls or hadn’t found their way there yet.

“I can make up some nice informational booklets for those who just arrive.” As with any new project, my mind whirled with tons of ideas.

“And for those who have just found out.”

“Of course, I can do that.”

“Some come to our meet and greets, but it would be nice to give them something they can take home and read, and some don’t want to talk to others yet.” Mr. Jones said.

“I could imagine if you just found out you had the alpha or omega wolf gene, it would be a lot to process.”

“Yes, it is a lot, but we’ve been lucky to have you here since you were born.”

“And I love it here and would never leave.” I did go away to college, but returned to live, working in the city not too far away. My dream was to find my fated omega and live the life I only hoped for. I lost family when I was younger and raised by a widowed omega.

“Now how much is your going rate?” Mr. Jones clasped his hands together on the table in front of him and gave me a smile.

“I’m not going to charge you. It’ll be my way of giving back.” That was how Pine Wood Falls kept going after so many years. We all did our part.

“That’s so kind. Now, what do you know about websites?”

“You want to take us public?” We were proud of who we were but knew the reality, how the general population would more than likely react negatively to a group of people with wolf genes and how a large portion of them, the ones with the omega gene, were intersex who can carry and give birth to children. Slowly, men (not all omegas identified as men, but many did) having children was becoming socially recognized, but most the omegas didn’t like the attention that it brought. We mainly wanted to keep our way of life quiet.

“No, but I wish there was some way for people who look online for information to have a way to reach us or to learn more, but without having a site saying what we are. And that sounds pretty impossible.”

“Would a site with an email and phone number do?” I asked.

“But how would they know they found the right thing?” Mr. Jones waved to a young couple that had walked in. One of them being a very pregnant omega.

“Keywords. People search by keywords, so if someone searched up male and pregnant, your site would come up, but it wouldn’t have to say any of that on the site itself.”

Mr. Jones smiled. “That sounds perfect.”

“I’ll get right on it.”

“Thank you so much, Campbell.”

“No problem. You and Pine Wood Falls have done so much for me. It’s about time I gave back.”

“You donate plenty.”

“It’s about more than money. Anybody who has it can donate it.”

“You’ve contributed so much to the community. You just don’t realize it.”

“Thanks, and I’ll get started on this all as soon as I get home.” As I left, I took in a deep breath, the scent of Thomas lingering in my nose, making me so hard.

 

 

 

About the Author

Sarah Havan grew up in the Midwest and still actually lives there. She has an appreciation for having all four seasons. She writes all kinds of romance, but most recently has focused on gay romance in her writing.

She is also the author of Falling Into Trust, One Night Alone, and the Pine Wood Falls series.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

 

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A Jeri Review: Clean Break (Farm College #2) by Erin McLellan

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

I really enjoyed this book.
Travis and Connor had a sort of hook up a year ago that ended quickly because of a misunderstanding. Neither man could really forget the other. And then they were put together as class partners in Entomology 101. The attraction on both sides is definitely still there.
I really loved both guys. Travis and his openness about being gay and what he wants out of life and Connor, shy, quiet, bisexual with OCD and anxiety. They just fit so well together and they really shouldn’t have. Travis wants to be a lawyer and help people seeking asylum. Connor is set to take over his family’s farm and various business interests. Very different life goals.
A couple of points I want to share about why I really liked this book. Travis is black, he mentions being “black and gay from Texas”, but his race never comes up between Travis and Connor or even with any of their family or friends. It is a total non-issue.
The author taking the time to explain how OCD and anxiety can and usually are related, they ebb and flow, and that some things that people consider OCD is really just a personality trait. Like being tidy. I appreciate little things like that.
This ended up being a bit of a slow burn because of the boundaries Travis put on their relationship that wasn’t a relationship. But their after class activities were super hot and definitely a unique thing I’d not read in another book.
And then, ugh, the tears toward the end of the book. Legit crying while reading. But totally worth it for the ending.
Great follow up to the first in the series, that doesn’t need to be read but was really good as well. I do wish the cover model more closely resembled the Travis described in the book. But it certainly isn’t a big issue at all.
Cover art is gorgeous and makes you want to grab up and read the story.
Sales Links: Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 1st edition
Published March 19th 2019 by Erin McLellan
ISBN1 39781732173439
Edition Language English
Series Farm College :

A MelanieM Review: Lunar New Love by Casper Graham

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Vincent Yang is thankful to David, his best friend, for being a nosy matchmaker. David introduces him to Anthony Lim, and there’s an instant attraction and chemistry between them. Not only is Anthony good-looking and sexy, the man is also the successful owner of a popular bakery. Vincent agrees to a date with Anthony without any hesitation.

One date leads to another, and before he knows it, the two of them are officially together. They have so much in common, especially when they find out about both their respective families being less than pleased about their sexual orientation. Their relationships with their families take a turn for the worse a few days before Lunar New Year. Now, both of them have no families to celebrate the holiday with. It’s both heart-breaking and stressful.

Can Vincent and Anthony’s relationship survive the holiday season?

I really was hoping for good things from this book.  One, it had a new author, then a storyline full of elements that called out to me.  Ah, well, it was not to be.  Lunar New Love by Casper Graham showed such promise as a synopsis yet just didn’t deliver as a contemporary romance.

There are things I enjoyed.  Insight into Chinese family dynamics, which I have made journeys through via other authors.  Here they felt just as authentic and painful in the cold rejection that Vincent and Anthony have felt as they came out to their traditional Chinese families. Also wonderful?  All the Chinese customs and traditions followed for the Lunar New Year, and the history behind them.  Even if they often felt as though we were being given a history lesson, it was no less interesting because of  that factor.

It did, however, make the dialog seem ever more painful, stilted, and unreal between Vincent and Anthony or Tony.  The latter who’s name swapped back and forth while alternating with “baby” and “stud”.  I could never figure out who was calling who what names.  That dialog really sunk this story for me.   Especially as dialog figures largely  when not having descriptively visual sex (“Vincent was on him like a beast”).  These men were 28 and 32 in age yet  they spoke as if they were teenagers or almost tweens.  That was the level of immaturity in their wording and sentences.  Except of course when Anthony was explaining something about the Lunar New Year customs to Vincent then he came off like a professor.  That was totally out of character , a real disconnect for someone who more often sounded like a highschooler. Then  he made a switch to appearing as he was teaching a class on ancient Chinese religions.  A really startling change in dialog for that character.  It would have been more in line with his age had he spoke like that all along with no, just when certain Chinese cultural elements needs to be trotted out for the readers enlightenment (and Vincent’s).

There is also a case of instant, and I do mean instant love by the first date and moved into the  apartment by week three.  Even by instant love standards, this is quick!

Unfortunately, for me there is so much that just missed the mark here, from the dialog to the romance to the characterizations.  Which is a shame because framed around Chinese families and the Lunar New Year the promise it held out was so tempting and lovely.

Cover art full of red with the handsome Chinese models and characters works.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC  | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 122 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by JMS Books LLC
ISBN 139781634868495

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: In Safe Hands by Victoria Sue

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

There’s so much to enjoy each time I pick up a book by Victoria Sue—depth of character, complexity of story, amazing secondary characters, and a well-planned plot, usually with lots of mystery and drama.  This book did not disappoint.

Mav Delgardo can’t seem to come to terms with the loss of his foot and consequently the loss of his career as a USAF helicopter pilot. Wallowing in a bottle, sleeping in his sister’s spare room, it’s not until she needs his help to guard a former musician that he manages to pull himself together.  Deacon Daniels (real name Danny) was a teen idol until a scandal resulting in the death of a woman and her child brings his career crashing down. Add to that the fact he’s lost custody of his two-year-old niece, for whom he was named guardian when his brother died, and a stalker is now out to get him, and it’s a wonder the young man doesn’t give up.

Mav is entranced by the real Danny and realizes there’s no way the news reports and gossip sheets have any inkling of what the young man is really like. And Danny sees Mav, beyond the scars on his face and torso and his artificial foot, Danny reacts to the person who cares about others and desperately wants to be needed and find his place in life after the loss of his career.  The two become close as those involved in perpetrating the scandal that destroyed Deacon’s career are murdered and the stalking and threats increase. 

It’s not until the two start to hope for a brighter future that the situation takes a turn for the worse and it looks like Danny won’t have a future at all if the murderer has his way.  I really enjoyed the action in this story.  The story was interesting, the characters well-developed, and the mystery intriguing.  When the murderer is revealed there was still plenty of action and suspense and I had a hard time putting the book down. 

Victoria Sue creates real characters with real feelings. I can rarely stay an arm’s length from getting caught up in their lives.  This story is for those who want to experience second chances, hurt-comfort, lots of intrigue, and a couple who deserves a solid future together.

Cover by Jay Aheer is a clever blend of the MCs and the action of the story. Against the white shirt on the Maverick’s chest, the artist has superimposed a man in shadows, a large apartment building and an orange glow, depicting a fire or fires, something the mystery murderer uses in this story. 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB 07NNL14XR
Edition Language English

A Lucy Review : The Forever Kind Of Love by LA Bryce

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

You never forget your first love … especially when they cause you pain. Chase thought he was doing the right thing when he left Liam years earlier, but when he finds out he was wrong, it might be too late. The trust they once shared may be past the point of repair.

The Forever Kind of Love is a story of second chances that asks the question — is a good reason enough to wash away the years of hurt it caused? Chase comes home from the military ready to start his life with Liam. But he discovers Liam’s life has already started without him. Is there a place for him in it? Is the possibility of more pain worth the risk for Liam?

If that isn’t hard enough, they only have the week Chase is on leave to come to terms with their future. Can they find forever in seven days?

First off, the blurb is a little misleading.  “…when he finds out he was wrong, it might be too late.”   A bit inaccurate, since Chase’s plan from the beginning was exactly what he did.   He never thought he was wrong, he just never bothered to consider things from Liam’s point of view.

I was worried when I started this book due to the length.  While I love second chance tropes, I also need enough time and detail to make me want them to get back together and to really understand why they were apart.  Forever Kind of Love is only 44 pages long and I didn’t get what I needed to make the story work. 

Chase and Liam were in love, telling each other they were in love, and then Chase just up and leaves with no word, no message, no nothing for four years.   Now he’s back and expecting Liam to open arms wide, take him back and then move the life he’s built in Chase’s absence to be with Chase, because Chase hasn’t left the military, which is where he went.  It’s not really clear why the first four years were a turning point because even though Liam works for Chase’s mom at her art gallery, where he also shows his own art, Chase has never asked about Liam.  We know this much because he was surprised Liam was showing his art work at the gallery, as well as not knowing that Liam no longer lived with his dad.  No one knew about Chase and Liam back then, so Liam didn’t discuss it with  mom either.

“And now it was time to finally go home and get his man.”  He just shows up at his mom’s, where they happen to be throwing a party for Liam.  He didn’t even do the courtesy of a phone call, a message, nothing.  Then he is so shocked with Liam’s reaction because really, he didn’t bother with how Liam would have felt.  “Just what? Explain what you were thinking? You didn’t think enough of me to explain at the time.”  “Chase took a deep breath.  This wasn’t going the way he planned.”  There were so many WTF moments for me but I continued on, waiting for the groveling to happen.  Which didn’t. 

“Again, he’d known Liam would be mad about him just leaving, but he’d hoped that after four years some of that pain would’ve subsided.”  What???  How does the pain subside when now Liam is faced with Chase, who has done absolutely nothing to make things better. Add in that it is really Chase’s mother who does the explaining to Liam and Chase gets no respect from me.  Let’s also mention that throughout the book, Chase NEVER ONCE says he is sorry to Liam.  Liam says sorry a few times but never Chase.  Liam is still expected to give up his job, his house, his friends, his relationship with Chase’s mom as his boss, and with a day or two to decide, just move on.  Chase doesn’t grovel at all during this time and for two days just mopes but makes no effort to clear up the mess he made.

The ending, which is supposed to make us feel good about them, just made me more aggravated with it.   This is where the length of the book really worked against the author.  We don’t get the sense at any point that Chase really loved Liam.  Yes, the high handed reason for leaving (who knows why in four years he couldn’t be bothered to reconnect) is supposed to be for “Liam’s sake” but communication is more important and there is none. We are told that he loves Liam but nothing shows that he does.  There needed to be more time between his return and the inevitable magical rekindling.  “Did he really have a picture of Liam jumping up and proclaiming his undying love?  Even after all Chase had done to hurt Liam?  Yep, Chase did.  Maybe I also needed to see how they were four years ago to make it seem like Chase really did love Liam and wasn’t just claiming him, as he says. 

This is my first time reading this author and while this story absolutely was not for me, I would give her another try with a different type of story line.

Cover art, showing a naked male torso with dog tags, is simple but effective.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 44 pages
Published March 2nd 2019 by JMS Books LLC
ASIN B07NVZ8HJD
Edition Language English

BLOG TOUR Wicked Games (Queen City Rogues #2) by Aimee Nicole Walker (excerpt and giveaway)

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Wicked Games

Queen City Rogues Series, Book 2

Aimee Nicole Walker

M/M Romance/Suspense

Release Date: 03.11.19

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BLURB

Ryder Jameson and Lucien Clarke have a complicated past: Ryder conserves art; Lucien steals it. Their love-hate relationship spans six years and two continents and has endured multiple heists. Hoping to restore his tarnished reputation, Ryder returns home to Cincinnati to accept a position at an acclaimed museum. When Lucien suddenly reappears in Ryder’s life, the treasure seeker hopes to nab a priceless Shang Dynasty artifact and recapture Ryder’s jilted heart.

Something more sinister than stolen art is stirring in the Queen City. Ryder and Lucien must join forces to untangle a web of secrets, lies, and treachery bigger than either of them expected. Trust won’t come easy, but they’ll need to rely on each other because pulling the wrong thread could have deadly consequences.

Is it fate that keeps bringing Ryder and Lucien together, or are they merely pawns in someone’s wicked games? Will they play for keeps this time or become collateral damage?

Wicked Games is a second-chance romance filled with passion, humor, and intrigue. It’s the second book in the Queen City Rogues series but can be read on its own. Wicked Games contains mature sexual content intended for readers 18 and older.

http://mybook.to/Wicked_Games

Wicked Games Teaser 1
Wicked Games Teaser 2

EXCERPT

Ryder said nothing else until we arrived at the hotel. “Really? You’re staying inside a museum? Talk about irony. Do you steal the towels and robes from the luxury hotels before you scurry out of town? Is your urbane polish nothing but a veneer?”
Ryder knew fully well the ways my inner beast and baser needs could make a person forget all about the polish that had initially caught their attention. I’d never felt bad about using my looks, charisma, or my body to get what I wanted until I met Ryder. Then each day became one regret after the other until my life was nothing more than a cold existence. I recognized the same loneliness when I looked into Ryder’s stunning blue eyes. I couldn’t remember a time when I hated myself more.
“Come on,” Ryder said irritably. “I have things I need to do this evening.”
Rage and lust were such a heady combination, and it was all I could do to keep from pushing Ryder up against the lift wall and giving him the reunion we both so badly wanted. I didn’t speak to him, and I kept my hands in my pockets to prevent myself from reaching for him until we arrived at my hotel room. Don’t cross the line again. You’ve caused him enough pain.
“Are we doing this or not?” Ryder challenged when my hesitance became obvious.
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Ever since she was a little girl, Aimee Nicole Walker entertained herself with stories that popped into her head. Now she gets paid to tell those stories to other people. She wears many titles—wife, mom, and animal lover are just a few of them. Her absolute favorite title is champion of the happily ever after. Love inspires everything she does, music keeps her sane, and coffee is the magic elixir that fuels her day. I’d love to hear from you.

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