A Mika Review: Released by A.J. Ridges


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Some laws are made to be broken…

Released coverOn the small, male-dominated planet of Noval gay sex is forbidden. Unfortunately for Krial, his size and strength make him a prime candidate for Noval’s breeding selection training. Krial is angry and resentful when he’s forced to spend three months on the backward, archaic planet. However, he never anticipates falling hard for his gruff and demanding trainer – Dax. 

Dax is a professional. He won’t break the law, but he’s not above blurring a few lines for the benefit of his trainee. 

Sometimes when the planets align the impossible becomes possible…

When the unthinkable happens and Krial is selected as the next breeder, he lashes out at the only one who can handle him – Dax. During the physical battle that follows, Krial expects to be put in his place by his massive and controlled trainer. Never in his wildest dreams does Krial imagine that Dax will touch him, kiss him or invite him back to his bed. 

Released is a complete, smutty, erotic m/m romance featuring two futuristic, gay, alpha-males who’ll leave you breathless. This story contains explicit m/m sexual situations, content and language and is intended for adult readers.

This was my first read by A.J. Ridges. I found myself liking it a lot in the beginning and then it slowly became okay. Reading this, I was confused by the blurb a little because of the whole male dominant planet thing. I didn’t see at all during the book, but what we had was okay. Krial was a likable character. I loved his monologues in the beginning to everything that was happening. Right off the bat we are introduced to Krial during “The Release” and it’s as invasive as it seems. I was laughing again at Krial he had funny moments, automatically we are introduced to the source of all of Krial’s fantasies Dax his Trainer, mentor and all around alpha male. I found that entire scene erotic and funny especially considering what was happening. For a novella I found it entertaining. I didn’t like how Krial was seen as an Alpha male from the beginning and then almost at the turn of the next page he was a submissive as a trained sub. It wasn’t that I disliked it, I just wish he could have stayed as dominant as he was in the beginning. I liked this book, looking forward to a full length novel from this author.

Cover Art by ? I liked the cover a lot. It was simple and picture perfect to what I thought Krial looked like.

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

Book Details:

eBook, 78 pages.
February 20th, 2015 by Smashwords

In the Book Spotlight: Blood of Salar (Masters and Mages #2) by Alexis Duran


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Blood of Salar (Masters and Mages #2) by Alexis Duran
Release Date: March 3, 2015

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Author Alexis Duran Bio:
Alexis Duran was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. At the University of Oregon, her fascination with people and relationships led her to major in Sociology, but her main love has always been creative writing. She’s worked in museums, fashion, finance and film production. Her favorite job so far was cataloguing the collection in a haunted Victorian Mansion. She’s had several short stories published in the mystery, horror and literary genres and is the author of the Masters and Mages erotic fantasy series.

Her fiction has won several awards including the Rupert Hughes Award from the Maui Writers Conference. She lives with one dog and four and half cats. She is currently working on the next Masters and Mages novel and several other erotic novellas.

Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/alexis.duran.18294
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AlexisSDuran
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/alexisduran1177/
Other: My blog at http://alexisduranblog.com
Other: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8332457.Alexis_Duran

Publisher: Loose ID

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe)   Amazon

STRW Author BookSynopsis

About Blood of Salar (Masters and Mages #2)

M’lan, headmaster of the order of Ka’alar and Jamil Jarka, king’s assassin, find their impossible love challenged to the utmost as a rebellion sweeps them apart, sending Jamil on a dangerous mission to assassinate the rebel leader, General Charvat. Unknown to anyone, Charvat is on his way to the temple to exploit the headmaster’s magical abilities.SmBloodOfSalar

When the rebel army arrives, M’lan is thrust into a struggle against political and sexual dominance as Charvat attempts to break his resistance. Violence and death mount, awakening within M’lan both the powers of destruction and the desire for revenge.

On the trail of his prey, Jamil begins to question his devotion to M’lan as his once innocent lover transforms into a mage and invades the assassin’s thoughts and dreams. The closer Jamil draws to M’lan, the more he puts his life and his very soul at risk. Jamil soon realizes that his lover might prove to be more deadly than the man he was sent to kill.

A final confrontation between assassin and monk might destroy them both, but Jamil is relentless in his determination to rescue M’lan, for he knows that only his love can master the mage.

Categories: Erotica, Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt
M’lan knelt beside the assassin’s bronzed body. He placed his palm on Jamil’s chest and silently beseeched Salar to remove the deadly impulses instilled in Jamil ever since he began his training as an assassin. Jamil closed his eyes and seemed to relax, but as the warm energy of the god seeped through M’lan’s fingers, Jamil jerked suddenly to full alertness. Like a cobra striking he seized M’lan’s wrist and gave it a painful twist, eyes flashing. M’lan sat back, startled.

Jamil did not let him go. He let out a slow breath and lifted M’lan’s fingers to his mouth. He kissed the knuckles of a clenched fist. “The last thing I need is more spells to confuse this simple warrior’s mind.”

“A prayer is not a spell!” M’lan tried to pull free but couldn’t. He gritted his teeth, fighting back a rising anger. Jamil’s strength both entranced and infuriated him.

“Stop trying to weaken me.” Jamil said in a wretchedly calm voice. “You must stay here and do your duty, I must go away and do mine. Nothing has changed.”
M’lan inhaled slowly, breath catching. “Let me go.”
Pages or Words: 60,000 words


Tour Dates: March 10, 2015

 Parker Williams, Bayou Book Junkie, The Hat Party, Inked Rainbow Reads, Velvet Panic, My Fiction Nook, Molly Lolly, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Fallen Angel Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Cate Ashwood, MM Good Book Reviews, Multitasking Mommas, Divine Magazine, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, It’s Raining Men, Michael Mandrake



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Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: A copy of Touch of Salar, Book 1 in the Masters and Mages series and a $10 Loose Id GC, must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the link provided by Pride Promotions. All prizes and winner notifications will come from them.

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In The Spotlight: Thirty Things by Cate Ashwood (excerpt and contest)


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 Thirty Things by Cate Ashwood
Release Date: April 3, 2015


Cate Ashwood’s  latest release, Thirty Things, is out now!  What things would you want do to before you  hit 30?  Do you have a list in mind of things to do, places to go, songs to sing?  Then Cate Ashwood has just the story for you…in Thirty Things!


STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About Cate Ashwood…

Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot-pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.

Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, her brand new little boy, and her two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.

Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cate.ashwood
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cateashwood
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cateashwood/
Blog – http://www.cateashwood.com/cates-blog


Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: A.J. Corza

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Finn and Nate have been best friends their whole lives. When a childhood accident left Finn broken, Nate stood by as all his other friends left. Now approaching Finn’s thirtieth birthday, there is one secret Finn still hasn’t revealed—he has been in love with Nate since they were eight years old. Hiding his feelings for twenty-one years, terrified of what might happen if Nate ever found out has been difficult, but losing his friend would be worse than living forever with a bad case of unrequited love.

There are some things that just have to be done before your thirtieth birthday. As a gift to Finn, Nate plans a road trip across America to check off a list of thirty things to experience before hitting that milestone. Starting in Crawfordsville, Indiana, they tour the country, trying new things and meeting interesting new people. Nate’s having the time of his life, but Finn is holding something back. As the days count down, navigating the back roads suddenly seems easier than figuring out where their relationship is heading.

One thing’s for certain. There will be no turning back.
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

I opened the box, and inside I found one of those road maps you can buy for ninety-nine cents at a gas station and a pile of envelopes tied together with butcher’s twine.

Nate reached across the arm of the couch and lifted the map, unfolding it so I could see. He had marked out a handful of destinations on the map that amounted to what was a grand circle tour of about half the states.

“We leave in three days,” he proclaimed, obviously proud of himself.

“We’re going on a road trip?”

“You bet. You’re always talking about how there are things you want to see and do, and we’ve never done any of them. So now we have a list of thirty things to do before you turn thirty. Each one of those envelopes has a different task inside. It’ll be fun. Besides, we haven’t gotten to hang out much lately, and I thought this would be good… just you and me road tripping across America.”

“So what you’re saying is you miss me.”

“What I’m saying is, you’re going to be thirty, so I figured we should have one last grand adventure before you’re too old and decrepit to actually enjoy the trip.”

“You’re an asshole,” I said, although by asshole I meant the best friend in the world a guy could have
He got my meaning.

“Love you too, Finn.” My heart jumped at those words, though I knew he didn’t mean them the way I wished he would. Still, I would take what I could get.

Pages or Words: 70,000 words


Tour Dates: March 10, 2015

Tour Stops:

Parker Williams, MM Good Book Reviews, Divine Magazine, BFD Book Blog, My Fiction Nook, Molly Lolly, Bayou Book Junkie, 3 Chicks After Dark, Andrew Q. Gordon, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Kimber Vale, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, The Hat Party, It’s Raining Men, Michael Mandrake, Velvet Panic, Love Bytes, Carly’s Book Reviews


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Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Thirty Things’ by Cate Ashwood. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Rafflecopter link and prizes provided by Pride Promotions.

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A Closer Look at Chyna Doll by Mickie B. Ashling (excerpt and contest)


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                       A Closer Look at….




Chyna Doll by Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist Anne Cain

Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting my Chyna Doll blog tour visit. Although this is the fourth novel in the Horizons series, it can be read as a stand-alone. We’ve moved ahead several years and Grier’s son, Luca, who was seven when the series started, is now almost fifteen. I’ve brought an excerpt to share, as well as some goodies to give away, so stay tuned to see what you can win!


Lil Lampert’s forty-fifth birthday turns the effervescent architect into a brooding mess, and his partner, Grier Dilorio, takes him to Italy to help him regain his zest for life. The timing is bad—almost-fifteen-year-old Luca has just started high school, and his mother and stepfather are also traveling. Luca is left in the care of Chicago Bear, Clark Stevens, and his partner, Dr. Jody Williams.

Growing up with two dads and two gay uncles has given Luca a unique perspective on gender roles, but not all the answers. He’s had a secret crush on his straight best friend, Chip, for years. Suddenly, Luca finds himself attracted to Chyna, Chip’s twin sister. Now he’s wondering if this means he’s bisexual.

Born with a sexual development disorder, Chyna should have been raised as a male, but due to an epic parenting fail, is being raised as female. Hiding the truth becomes more difficult when Chyna hits puberty, and crushing over Luca adds another element to Chyna’s struggle to fit in.

Is Luca’s moral compass strong enough to guide him successfully through this period of discovery or will he succumb to peer pressure and shatter Chyna’s dreams for happiness?



LIL GROANED when he opened his eyes and shut them instantly. Lancing pain behind his right eyeball was an unwelcome reminder of last night’s overindulgence. He could practically see his arteries clogging up and exploding thanks to the appetizing array of decadent finger food he’d popped into his mouth at regular intervals without a second thought. He’d washed down the high-calorie goodies with one champagne flute after another, and he moaned in dismay when it dawned on him that he might have overdone it.

“Are you all right?” Grier asked sleepily.

Lil sat up and clutched at his head like it was about to fall off. “Please tell me I didn’t make a fool of myself,” he lamented, envisioning wild scenes in a swimming pool with a handful of nubile young studs.

Grier snorted. “I saved you from that fate.”

“Thank God,” Lil said, sinking back down on his pillow. “There’s no fool like an old fool.”

“Don’t start….”

“Can I get a blanket dispensation for anything stupid I did last night?” Lil asked. “I don’t remember much after that fifth round of champagne.”

“I’m starting to wonder if they slipped you a roofie.”

“What? Why would you say that?”

“You were insatiable,” Grier explained.


“We fucked three ways from Sunday and then did it all over again. I can’t recall the last time I had so much fun.”

“Are you being sarcastic?” Lil asked defensively.

Grier got up on an elbow, scrubbed his thick morning growth, and smiled down at Lil indulgently. “You wore me out.”

Lil grinned. “I hope I was fabulous.”

“Don’t you remember any of it?”

Lil’s eyes widened. “Do you think I’m getting Alzheimer’s?”

“Now I’m sure you were drugged by those assholes up the hill.”

“Could be,” Lil said, “or I was just shitfaced.” He wiggled his butt around and moaned. “I’m sore, lovey. What unspeakable thing did you shove up my ass?”

Grier laughed. “Other than my dick?”

“It feels like half the town was down there paying me a visit.”

“You may have asked for a toy or two before we got down to business.”

“Oh? Did you fist me?”

“You seem to have that on your mind lately, but no, I didn’t.”

“It’s been a while—” Lil broke off.

“Is that a request?”

Lil smiled shyly. “You know I’d never turn that down.”

“It’s not something we’ve done on the spur of the moment.”

“It won’t take me long to get ready.”

“Why don’t we plan to revisit in a few days.” Lil nodded. “In the meantime, I’ll pave the way, so to speak.”

“How can anyone so amazingly abandoned in the sack be so uptight about everything else?”

“Good question,” Lil said. “Perhaps my sensible side keeps warring with my inner child on principle.”

“I’m the Gemini, not you.”

“And yet you’re far less mercurial.”

“I like it when your Mercury shows up.”

“He is rather fun, isn’t he?”

“A blast from the past,” Grier said, nuzzling Lil’s neck. “What say you junk cautious-Lil for the rest of the trip and let the boy back in?”

“Are we negotiating here?” “You were intrigued by the offer of an orgy last night. Was that the booze talking, or are you in the mood for some group sex?”

“Would you be shocked if I said yes?”


More About Mickie B. Ashling…

Mickie B. Ashling is the alter-ego of a multifaceted woman raised by a single mother who preferred reading over other forms of entertainment. She found a kindred spirit in her oldest child and encouraged her with a steady supply of dog-eared paperbacks. Romance was the preferred genre, and historical romances topped her favorites list.

By the time Mickie discovered her own talent for writing, real life had intruded, and the business of earning a living and raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing and the inevitable emptying nest, dreams were resurrected, and the storyteller was reborn.

She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.

Mickie loves to travel and has lived in the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East but currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.

Connect with Mickie

Email | Facebook | Website | Blog | Goodreads and Ask the Author

Purchase Links

Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe

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Using Rafflecopter below, enter to win one of these prizes (contest open internationally): a $20 Dreamspinner gift certificate, one of five ecopies of Chyna Doll, any two ebooks from Mickie’s backlist, or a signed paperback of Chyna Doll. Must be 18 or older to enter.

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Tour Schedule

March 2 – The Novel Approach

March 3 – Cup o’ Porn

March 4 – Hearts On Fire

March 5 – WoW…from The Scarf Princess

March 6 – MM Good Book Reviews

March 7 – Book Reviews & More by Kathy

March 9 – Prism Book Alliance

March 10 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

March 11 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews

March 12 – Sinfully…Addicted to All Male Romance

Tour and materials organized by PAS Promotions