A BJ Review: Spiretown by Lia Black

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Rating:   5 stars out of 5

Spiretown coverIn this urban fantasy novel, the human population has been split into two factions after the Mage wars, plainbloods born with no magical abilities and mages born ‘tainted’ with magic. Mages are considered dangerous and separated from the rest of humanity into compounds like Spiretown, a ghetto city within a city that serves as a prison. Templar Commander Collin Anderfels has a duty to contain the mages and protect plainbloods. When a group of power-crazy mages target Logan Gray, the powerful self-proclaimed leader of Spiretown, Collin finds himself forced to protect a man that embodies everything Collin loathes.

Spiretown features exceptional world-building, lots of plot twists, and a story that runs the gamut from fun, witty dialogue to delicious angst, from hot and sexy moments to intense action, and from sweet emotion to gory horror.

The characters are well-drawn, complex guys with imperfections and hurtful pasts (oh, how I love the broken boys). Logan and Collin represent the two sides of this separated world. Each have reasons to hate the other, but when fate brings them together, can they come to trust each other in order to survive? Logan, the emotionally damaged, tattooed and pierced mage initially uses his androgyny and flamboyance to taunt and flirt with Collin. Collin is strongly anti-Mage due to both personal events from his past and his sworn duty as a Templar. Both characters must change in order to stay alive. As a side note, I enjoyed how Collin’s repressed dominant tendencies were just waiting to come out when Logan opened that door. Very tasty.

There’s also a strong and relatable female character in Collin’s mother, Penny. I mention this mainly as its not often in M/M that I encounter female characters that aren’t props, stereotypes or bad exs, but rather a real character that participates in moving the story forward in a positive way.

I consider Spiretown a picture perfect M/M urban fantasy of forbidden love between two guys from opposite sides of the track in more ways that one. Put this one on your must read list right now. It’s awesome.

Cover Artist: Author
Love this cover. Eerie city spires darkly silhouetted against the blaze of setting sun. What could be creepier than facing encroaching darkness alone in such a scary, godforsaken place?

Sales Link:    Amazon US       Amazon UK         Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published August 28th 2014 by Lia Black/ VineDark
(first published December 2nd 2012)
ISBN139781310068072
edition languageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Dance Off by Dance Off by Ariel Tachna and Nessa L. Warin

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Dance Off coverOn the reality show Dance Off, pro rugby player Olivier Gautier and Olympic swimmer JC Webster each have one goal in mind: to stay on the show as long as possible to earn his charity of choice maximum exposure and a larger donation. As the competition heats up, their goals expand to catching each other’s interest, but Olivier is firmly in the closet and plans to stay there. JC is willing to be discreet, but not to hide forever.

Starting a romance with another man is challenge enough for any celebrity, but doing it under the microscope of reality TV—and one majorly intolerant costar—is even harder. Add in meddling dance pros, JC’s overbearing family, and the need to play up chemistry with dance partners to win America’s hearts, and JC and Olivier’s time together is looking more and more like a recipe for disaster.

As the pressure to stay in the competition mounts, JC and Olivier must face their inevitable separation at the end of the show as well as decide whether a relationship as complicated as theirs can survive in the real world, outside the bubble of the set and practice studios.

Dance Off by Ariel Tachna and  Nessa L. Warin is an absolutely sweet love story that, for me at least,  gets bogged down by one of the plots points that probably pulled readers in…a reality show dance competition ala Dancing With The Stars.  Ariel Tachna has always had the ability to bring forth believable and mostly lovable characters in her stories.  The same can be said for Nessa L. Warin.  All of their characters have layers to their personalities, including quirks you either understand and love or frustrate the heck out of you.  All of that can be found here.

I thought the tv dance competition plot was a great element to wrap a romance around.  But here’s the thing.  I only moderately enjoy watching it on tv (mostly for people like Jerry Springer dancing their hearts out and like surprises along the way).   So for me, there was too much dance background going on here.  A few dance partners ok, here all the of the couples are well represented here.  Their characters are well defined and their actions believable but I thought after a while they took up too much of the “stage”, and it took away from the main characters and the evolving romance.  I would rather have had more of JC’s Abuela and endearing family, than a host of dancing couples.  When JC’s family merrily intruded, to great effect, upon JC and Olivier relationship and the dancing competition, the story leapt back to life after flagging somewhat under the details of the competition.  I adored that family and could have happily spent a lot more time with them instead of the dancers.

No, I came for the romance that I knew Ariel Tachna and Nessa L. Warin would create between Olivier and JC. And that didn’t disappoint.  I loved these characters and rooted for them the whole way through the story and dance off.   The authors made their men real, with their doubts, flaws, and passions.  I could see so easily their attraction to each other as well as the obstacles that arose around them.

If you are looking for a sweet romance and love reality shows along the line of  Dancing With The Stars, this story is for you.  I enjoyed my time with the main characters, even if the dancing competition got a little overwhelming for me.  Pick it up and decide for yourself.  It’s Spring and love is in the air, even on the dance floor!

Cover art by Bree Archer. The artist did a good job depicting the characters.  It’s charming and pulls you right in.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 230 pages
Published March 20th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632168962
edition languageEnglish

A Stella Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Wooing Your Mate (Being(s) in Love #3) by R. Cooper

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

A Beginner's Guide to Wooing Your Mate coverZeki Janowitz has returned to his hometown of Wolf’s Paw to start his wizarding career. Unfortunately, Wolf’s Paw, a werewolf refuge, follows centuries of tradition and shuns human magic and a very human Zeki. He knows he’s in for a struggle, but a part of him has always belonged in the mountain town, or rather belonged to Theo Greenleaf. Years away at school haven’t lessened Zeki’s crush on the quiet werewolf. When town gossip informs him Theo still suffers from his mate’s rejection and does not date, it does little to ease Zeki’s embarrassing feelings. He decides now’s the time to get the man he’s always wanted.

Werewolves usually don’t recover from losing their mates, and Theo barely pulled through by focusing on his love of baking. It’s a daily struggle, and Zeki’s return to Wolf’s Paw shatters his peace. Theo doesn’t know what to think when Zeki attempts to woo him, talking about his wizarding business and settling in town for good. It’s like Zeki doesn’t have a clue how his words years before left Theo a shell of a werewolf.

Beginners in love, Theo and Zeki must seduce each other with a bit of heavenly baking and magic.

A Beginner’s Guide To Wooing Your Mate by R Cooper is almost a second chance at love story, almost cause they weren’t exactly together the first time. After five years apart it’s finally time for our MCs to have their happy ending.

In a world where humans, werewolves and other beings live together, Zeki is a shy, young human wizard. He just got back to Wolf’s Paw after being away to study. He returns to live with his dad while trying to get a job. Theo is a fireman werewolf and Zeki’s high school crush. After having been rejected from his mate, he is surviving as best as he can. Finding out his mate he’s back in town, will shake Theo badly. It seems both Zeki and Theo are determined to have some happiness, but who is going to woo whom?

The book left me thinking a lot. I was afraid to have missed something, at the end I understood it was just disappointment. I read a couple of other books by R. Cooper and really enjoyed them. This one wasn’t a winner to me. It left me confused and hungry for more of Zeki and Theo together.

I don’t know how to explain it well, but I found the author’s writing style different. It was still endearing, but a little harder to read, sometimes with too long sentences. I had a hard time getting used to it. Moreover she chose to focus the writing more on the werewolves world and its rules, than show us Theo and Zeki together. She explained really well the world we were going to read about, I knew every little detail but I missed the chemistry between the MCs, because during the book they met and spoke directly a very few times. In fact if you like a slow burn story this is your book, cause really, nothing happens between them until two-thirds in.

At the same time what I loved in this book is the fact that I was able to feel the characters, feel their emotions. The author made an amazing work at showing to us what they are thinking, what’s bothering them, everything that came from within their minds and hearts.

Also there were some funny scenes, Zeki’s attack of verbal diarrhea were hilarious and I often found myself take a breath for him. While Theo didn’t speak through all the book, only at the end. Perfect for each other.

I loved the title, as soon as I saw it I wanted it. The point is, in my opinion, it’s misleading, it doesn’t fit the story. I was so curious about how to wooing your mate, but they actually courting didn’t happen or better, it happened but it wasn’t showed to us. Even the dates are showed to us as Theo remember them briefly.

So to me A Beginner’s Guide To Wooing Your Mate wasn’t what I was expecting from R. Cooper, nonetheless a good story, I just would have preferred it was delivered in a better way.

Cover art by Paul Richmond. A fabulous cover, like all the other works by Paul!

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

Book Details:

Published March 13th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ebook, 200 pages
ISBN13 9781632168207
Edition language English
Being(s) in Love series
Some Kind Of Magic #1
A Boy And His Dragon #2
A Beginner’s Guide To Wooing Your Mate #3

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It’s Cover Reveal Time for K. Vale’s Crossed Hearts (contest)

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:Young man

Cover Reveal for  Crossed Hearts (Hearts and Scars #1) by K. Vale
Release Date: April 27, 2015
Goodreads Link

K.Vale is back with her latest story, Crossed Hearts, the first in her Hearts and Scars series.  Be sure to check out the  blurb and excerpt along with entering the contest at the end of the post.

Young man

STRW Author BookSynopsis

About Crossed Hearts…

Kory Vansant doesn’t deserve to be alive.

As time sucks him dry of energy, sapping the final ounces of strength from his congenitally enlarged heart, he’s forced to end his career as Kory Kent, porn star. Staring down death, he questions his life choices and prays for a miracle. For another chance at life, he vows to change who he is at his core.

His prayers are answered. A perfect heart now beats in his chest, but it comes at a heavy price. The donor is an innocent young man cut down far too prematurely.

And Kory’s blemished history is nowhere near an ideal match.

As his debts skyrocket, Kory can’t help but think his resolve to walk the high road is being tested. After he meets the adorable Will Squire at the gravesite they both visit, he’s doubly damned because there’s no way he can keep up his end of the bargain. What happens when a man breaks a deal with a higher power?

Will often prefers the company of the dead to that of the living. Following a bad breakup, he pours himself into his two jobs—funeral director at his uncle’s mortuary and part-time paramedic. He’s drawn ever closer to Kory, as if fate sticks her fickle hand in and pushes them together like two unlikely puzzle pieces. But sometimes history can’t be buried, and maybe divine intervention isn’t always right. Will discovers everyone is imperfect, no matter how pretty the outer package, and opening one’s heart is never easy, but can be oh so worth the pain.

Pages or Words: 70,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

The man scratched the scrub on his chin. “Heart recipient,” he said finally. “I’m Kory—umm…Kory Vansant.” Holding out his hand, he took another step. Will’s fingers were swallowed in warm skin and bone.

“Will Squire.” Again, he couldn’t tear his gaze from the tease of scar tissue jutting from the crotch of Kory’s shirt collar. The urge to reach out and trace a finger over the pink relief of healed tissue was strong. Just like I touched Brandon’s incision. The stark difference between the two—one wound marking the end of a life and the other a salvation—was surreal. Will was nothing but an outsider looking in on a miracle, but somehow he felt he’d come around full circle.

“Want me to get naked so you can see the whole thing?”

Will closed his eyes for a moment and then looked up, his face flaming with a mix of embarrassment and immediate, fierce arousal. “I’m sorry. Totally rude.”

Kory smiled good-naturedly. “No worries. It’s a way to reclaim who I am, or was. Or some crap. I’m not just my medical status, like they keep saying at my support group.”

“No. Of course you’re not.”

He laughed loud and deep, and the warmth in Will’s face drifted down his body. “I’ve adopted it as my little icebreaker whenever people stare,” Kory said
.
“Well, ice broken.” Will gulped. Hell, ice melted into a rolling boil.

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Publisher: Kimber Vale
Cover Artist: Dana Priebe

Sales Links:

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

K. Vale writes erotic romance of all stripes, from hot hetero to mouthwatering manlove. Find her MF work published under Kimber Vale. Come for the sex. Stay for the story. Stalk Kimber on Facebook and Twitter @KimberVale, and check her site for updates, new releases, and freebies at http://www.authorkimbervale.com.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kimber.vale
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimberVale
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kimbervale/

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Contest: Enter to win a copy of Crossed Hearts by adding it to your Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf. Kimber will pick a winner on release day. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

Follow the link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25150920-crossed-hearts?from_search=true

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Tour Dates & Stops: April 6, 2015

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