A MelanieM Review: Jens & Elliot (Storming Love: Blizzard #1) by Sara York

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Jens and Elliot Storming Love CoverA sudden blizzard shuts down the airport in Boston leaving two men stranded.  Writer Jens Arnesen in town for a now cancelled workshop is only looking for a taste of the city, a place to experience Boston. When a friend offers a room in a house he owns for the night, Jens thinks he’s in for a lonely if uneventful night.  Then a naked man steps out of the bathroom in what Jens thought was an empty room.

Elliot Matthews flight home to Atlanta is cancelled due to snow and needs a place to stay until the storm is over.  A friend of his co-owns rentals in the area and offers Elliot one of the rooms for the night.  What could possibly go wrong?  Stepping out of the bathroom and finding a gorgeous and shocked man staring at your naked body.

But what started out as an awkward, embarrassing introduction turns into something more as the storm rages on.  When the storm throws them together, can Jens and Elliot make the most of the situation?

Jens and Elliot (Storming Love: Blizzard #1) by Sara York is a very sweet short story with a few surprising quirks that elevated it above other cute stories of the same trope.  I have to admit I do love a strangers thrown together by adversity theme.  And given current weather conditions here in the eastern  part of the US, this story and series feels very current. Poor Boston indeed.

Two men in town for meetings/conferences are stranded by a blizzard when the Boston airport shuts down.  Each knows someone who rents out rooms in houses they own and each makes arrangements for the night…for the exact same room as each had talked to a difference half of the partnership who owns the houses.  All reasonable, all believable plot elements which I liked.  Sometimes these types of stories can get far fetched in the plot mechanisms that throw people together, but this absolutely works.

But the interesting bits start as Elliot walks out of the shower (naked of course) and finds Jens staring away, shocked to find someone else in the apartment.  Turns out that Elliot is “grower”, not a “show-er” to use the vernacular.  Elliot is embarrassed over the small size of his penis when flaccid.  When was the last time you saw that little character development in a romance story? Hmmm?  Not often, I’m betting.  With this unexpected dimension to Elliot’s character and physical makeup, Sara York gives this situation and subject  a delicate and compassionate treatment. And with a slight (no pun intended) bit of humor. I thought this was the nicest element here and it helps add depth and realism to the intimacy and developing relationship between Jens and Elliot.

Can a storm and close contact develop into something lasting?  Perhaps.  Sara York makes a very good argument for the continued feelings that Jens and Elliot have and the burgeoning relationship born out of a blizzard.

Need a short, lovely little story?  Perfect for your winter time (or any time) reading?  Then pick up Jens and Elliot, the first of the Storming Love: Blizzard collection. It’s a recommended read!

 

Cover art by Kris Jacen:  Same cover throughout the series, just the names of the couple switched out. Does well to brand the series. Brrr.

Sales Links:   MLR Press LLC      All Romance (ARe)         Amazon          Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published January 2015 by MLR Press
ISBN13MLR1020140365
edition languageEnglish
seriesStorming Love: Blizzard #1

Books in the Storming Love: Blizzard series are:

Jens & Elliot (Storming Love: Blizzard #1)
Kimo & Mike (Storming Love: Blizzard #2)
Seth and Casey (Storming Love, Blizzard #3)
Layne, River & Damion (Storming Love: Blizzard #4) by Vicktor Alexander (release date: 2/13/15)
Gavin & Morgan (Storming Love: Blizzard #5) by Nicole Dennis (release date: 2/20/15)
Stokes & Ford (Storming Love: Blizzard #6) by Jackie Nacht (release date: 2/27/15)

A Sammy Review: Chance of the Heart by Kade Boehme

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Rating 4 stars out of 5

And this was why he couldn’t stop himself. He felt like he was anchored, protected against the battering winds of the uncertainty of his mapped-out life. He didn’t have to provide or take care of. Someone was taking care of him and his needs and letting him surrender. And he had no clue that it was something he’d want, much less that it’d be such a relief.

Chance of the Heart coverChance Becket has never really questioned the path laid out before him. He knows what he’s supposed to do – run the ranch, marry Caitlin, have kids and live happily ever after. That’s always been the way it is, except for when Caitlin throws a wrench in those plans and decides that a break will do them both some good.

He’s not sure why he ends up at Bar None, but maybe it’s some twisted game fate plays. There he comes across Bradley Heart, a man he grew up with. The chemistry they have is sizzling, but being gay doesn’t exactly fit in the plans anywhere. But neither of them can deny they’re drawn together, it’s just a matter of if Chance is willing to divert from the path and go his own way, and if that way includes Bradley.

“You don’t have to follow the mapped out path. I know it’s easier for everyone else but maybe you want more than easy. Some people just want more.” Sometimes we just need more.

There are a few things I love in stories. I love a good cowboy, and this story provided me with that. I love a nice dash of kink and a whole lot of heat, and this book also provided that. I also love a good love story, and I do believe that you can mark that as checked here.

To get the negative out of the way though, I will make a point of saying right away that I think this book needs another round or two of edits. It wasn’t just commas that were missing here and there, but also some misspelled words, sentences worded awkwardly, and even a point where there was an obvious and distracting POV switch. I understand that self publishing can be difficult, and finding a good editor even more so, but I was really sad to see the number of mistakes in this book. I can say that sometimes as an editor you can get caught up in the story and miss a lot when that happens, I just feel that the amount missed here was far too much.

But back to the positives, because this book had a lot. I enjoyed the premise, but I wonder if maybe the preacher son idea was originally made to be a more prominent theme. Still, it worked out well. This wasn’t a story where everything ended perfectly, but it also wasn’t a story where the angst consumed the happier moments.

Boehme managed to balance the drama very well with all the other aspects, which I greatly appreciated. To top it off, this isn’t a hard read by any means. It’s the kind of story that when if you have a lazy Saturday afternoon, you could read in one sitting and be content.

The cover art by Allison Cassatta is nice and simple. It’s fitting for the story, and while I sometimes have an issue with just slapping a person on a cover, I feel it works here. I also really enjoy the color combination. It’s warming, which only serves to support the story inside the cover.

Overall, a good book, and just a reminder for me to keep an eye out for Boehme’s future stories, as I’m sure they’ll be wonderful.

Sales Links:          Amazon   Buy It Here  No ARe link found.

Book Details:

ebook, 254 pages
Published January 26th 2015 (first published January 22nd 2015)
edition languageEnglish

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Quiet Nights (Mangrove Stories #2) by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Quiet Nights coverThis sequel to “Blue Nights” is as much a romance as the first. It’s not really more than that—not an action/adventure, or a mystery, or an angst-filled drama—just romance in the inimitable way that only Mary Calmes delivers. In this case, Kelly Seaton is the guy everyone loves, the family member who’s not really a family member at all but is so much a focus of the family that he appears to be one of them. Coz, or Cosimo Renaldi is the family member—the son who returned from Afghanistan with only one arm, the very reason Kelly is now a part of their family. It was Kelly who pulled him from the burning Humvee under enemy fire.

Kelly has loved Coz forever and, of course, has never told him. We don’t learn until the end of the story that the feelings are reciprocated. Though most people seem to be focused on the fact that he only has one arm, Kelly never does. In fact, Kelly treats him normally and is one of the only people in his life who does so. Kelly yearns for Coz but is afraid he’ll lose everything—Coz, his mother, and the only safe and loving environment he’s ever known—if he reveals his true feelings to Coz.

The fun in the story is in watching the two dance around each other and fumble opportunities to be honest. In typical Mary Calmes fashion, Coz’s sister Mia plays a pivotal role as Kelly’s BFF. And Momma Renaldi is a hoot. One of the best scenes in the story is when she is explaining the presence of her new beau in the home. She tells Kelly, Coz, and Mia that they met when she enrolled in tantric sex education classes, thinking that even though she’s a widow she should still explore her sexuality. As she goes on to describe the sex in detail, the trio gets more and more sloshed on wine, eventually moving on to hard liquor. The whole scene was priceless!

If you like a Mary Calmes story that’s not complex or heavy at all, is fairly short, and will bring a smile to your face, then don’t miss this one. If you are looking for a story with a lot of meat, this one isn’t for you. Personally, I love this author, so this one was the perfect no-brainer, bring-a-smile-to-my-face, rainy day story for me.

Cover Art by Reese Dante depicts the gorgeous Kelly in his three-piece white suit as he heads out for a night on the town. No wonder Coz couldn’t resist him!

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press eBook   All Romance (ARe)   Amazon     Buy It here

Book Details:

ebook, 80 pages
Expected publication: February 9th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634760324
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.marycalmesauthor.com/mangrove.php
Books in the series Mangrove Stories:

In Our Book Spotlight: Jeanne Marcella’s The Phoenix Embryo (Seasons of the Phoenix #1) (contest)

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spotlight on booksThe Phoenix Embryo (Seasons of the Phoenix #1)
Author Jeanne Marcella
Release Date: January 2015
Goodreads Link

PhoenixEmbryo-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

 

Author Bio:

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.

Our Author Mini Q and A!

Q. Three things on your bucket list?

I only have two: Write my books, and get back into drawing.

Q. You meet a time traveler who will take you ‘anywhen’. Do you go to the past or the future?

That’s a tough one. Would I go back in time and be Da Vinci’s apprentice, or finally learn the truth of all those Bigfoot and ancient astronaut conspiracy theories? Decisions decisions.

Q. Cake or pie? Cake

Q. Dog or cat? I’m a cat person now.

Where to find the author:
Blog: https://aforgeofphoenix.wordpress.com/
Website: http://www.JeanneMarcella.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeanne.marcella.98
(I unpublished my FB fan page)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AForgeOfPhoenix
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/GoddessTriad/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110464796341873472652/posts
Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/AForgeOfPhoenix

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Publisher: Jeanne Marcella
Cover Artist: Streetlight Graphics

Sales Links: 

The Phoenix Embryo 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?

Categories: Bisexual, Dark Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Drama, M/M Romance, Steampunk, For Mature Readers

Excerpt from The Phoenix Embryo…


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.”

Pages or Words: 128,000 words

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Tour Dates: February 19, 2015

Tour Stops: Parker Williams, Velvet Panic, Inked Rainbow Reads, The Hat Party, Bayou Book Junkie, Molly Lolly, Fallen Angel Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Cate Ashwood, MM Good Book Reviews, Boys on the Brink Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Bending The Bookshelf, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Nephylim

 

Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: PDF Copy of ‘The Phoenix Embryo’. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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