Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review – Room 1024 by Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae

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Rating: 1 star out of 5

Room 1024 covrWhen Cameron takes his submissive boyfriend Noah to a gay men’s leather convention in San Francisco, Cam expects to spend the week exploring their relationship and experimenting with non-monogamy. What he doesn’t expect is to run into his own former dom, Lou, in an embarrassingly public reunion.

While Noah is enthusiastic about the opportunity to play with the former international leather title-holder, Cam is more wary. He and Lou have unfinished business. A four-way encounter with Lou and his sub Stephen could be great fun—or it could show Noah that Cameron can never quite be the dom he wants and needs.

As Cameron and Noah work through the uncertainties in their relationship, Noah is offered everything he ever wanted, in a completely different way than he ever expected, leading all four men to discover that sometimes the only way forward is to revisit the past.

I failed to read the official blurb before reading the book because I didn’t want to be influenced, I just wanted to experience the story. For reasons, I’ll state later, it’s important to include the blurb above.

I included it now, because I did not get all the points listed above from reading the story and, in fact, it wasn’t until I went back and read the blurb that the story made some sense to me. Conclusion? The author did not convey the message she had planned to deliver. My review follows:

Noah convinces his boyfriend, and supposed Dom, Cameron, to take him to a leather convention in San Francisco. While picking up their registration forms and heading back to their room, Cam hears his name called by the speaker at a pre-conference workshop. He’s immediately embraced by big and burly Lou, the Dom doing the workshop. He’s then introduced to the attendees by his full name and profession—Dr. Cameron Beck, professor of queer studies at Boston University. (Is there such a major?) Lou then declares that Cameron used to be his boy and gives him a big smack on the cheek.

When he finally gets back to his room, he tells Noah about seeing Lou and informs him that they are invited to dinner with him. Noah’s enthusiastic response includes the statement that Lou is someone that they can try their “non-monogamy thing” with. When Cam questions him about doing it with Lou, Noah tells him that someone has to take the initiative.

So at this point in the story, I already found myself questioning the protocols at a conference where a former “leather title holder” would grab his former boy and introduce him by his full professional title without permission. And the “non-monogamy thing” Noah mentions is never explained the way it is in the blurb. It’s just stated and we’re never given background about the decision, nor is it really addressed later in the story.

As the story unfolds, it appears that Cam and Lou separated prematurely, and now Cam is longing to get back together with Lou, and Lou, though happy with his new sub, Stephen, doesn’t close out the possibilities for the future with Cam. I would have thought that if Cam is now a Dom, Lou may have been his trainer, but Cam just acts submissive and training is not addressed, so I wonder how Cam ended up being a Dom if his behavior is submissive.

To be honest, I was confused throughout the story in several different settings since Cam is supposedly Noah’s Dom but continually looks to Lou and even outright submits to Lou, going so far as to have alone time in which they have sex, and he submits again. Noah isn’t collared throughout most of the story and does seem to continually ask for more than Cam is willing to provide, even though he has thoughts about how proud he is of Cam and how he hopes that Cam will demonstrate his dominance in a scene. Noah and Cam do end up in Lou’s room (1024), however it’s more of a Noah and Stephen sex scene, with Cam and Lou coaching them than it is all four men together.

By the end of the book, which takes place over the course of the week-long conference, I still felt that the story was disjointed and choppy. I also found use of the present tense in the writing style annoying and confusing. The fact that twenty-four hours later, after reading several of the chapters twice, I’m still confused and having difficulty writing out the review leads me to the conclusion that I need to give the story no more than one star.

Cover by BSClay is a photo depicting a hand gripping a sheet and is symbolic of the BDSM content of the story.

Sales Links:  Torquere Books       All Romance (ARe)   Amazon   Buy It here

Book Details:

Expected publication: April 8th 2015 by Torquere Press
ISBN139781610409001
edition languageEnglish

settingSan Francisco, California (United States)

 

A MelanieM Review: Ever the Same by B.A. Tortuga

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

EvertheSameLGAudie Barrack is in it up to his elbows with a sick calf when his son’s school calls. Seems Grainger has gotten into yet another fight. When he walks into the principal’s office, he’s shocked to find his son has been fighting with a little girl named Randi.  And that’s not the only shock.  The little girl his boy has been fighting with has a blind dad, a widower when his husband recently passed away.

Dixon has lost his sight, his career, and his husband. Thank God for his brothers, Momma and Daddy, and his little girl, or he would simply give up. The last thing he needs is for Randi to start trouble at school, especially trouble that puts him in contact with another dad who might expect him to be a functional human being.

Dixon is struggling to live as a blind man, Audie is terrified someone might see he has a closet to come out of, and everyone from the school to both men’s families is worried for the men and their children. Unless they get themselves together and commit to change, neither of them stands a chance.

It’s no secret to those of you who have read my reviews that I am a huge fan of B.A. Tortuga.  She has one of the finest ears for regional dialects and culture in the genre as well as the ability to write memorable characters. And that gift is apparent here in Ever The Same. In fact this book has so many elements that are hooks for me, that it has taken a while, and another reading to think about what I was going to write.

Why?  Because some of the parts of this story that I find alluring are ones that other readers might not connect with, something not unusual in a B.A. Tortuga story.  Let’s start with the characters, who, yes, can be defined by their conversational style and wording.  Audie is rooted in the soil of his family’s ranch and the horses he loves almost as much as he loves his son.  He is a plain speaker, full of the regional euphemisms and colloquial speak of the area.  This is Audie, in a capsule of speech:

He gave Momma a call as he pulled his shirt on. “Momma, I got to run up to the school. Can you get Sister to keep an eye on the calf?”

“Is he sick? Grainger, I mean, not the calf.”

“Nope. It’s no big deal. I’ll be back in a jiff.” He hoped.

“Okay, Son. Your daddy’s due in off the road next weekend. He wants to take that boy of yours to a picture show. Tell him if he ain’t good, PopPop won’t take him.

Audie is a man filled with family and its obligations.  A person with a huge heart, open mind, and realistic view of himself and his situation. I fell in love with him immediately.

The father of the little girl his son has been fighting with at school, is so very different from Audie…at least on the surface.  Dixon is a musician blinded in the same car accident that killed his husband and he’s lost in his grief while trying to maintain a life for his adoring daughter.  And she is not coping well either with the changes in her life and the loss of one of her dads.   It’s country meet city in the most  unusual way.  Dixon and his daughter have moved from the city into the small town where his mother and step dad raise llamas.  It’s round peg trying to fit into a square hole for both of them.  This is a small scene from the principal’s office where the initial meeting about their kids hasn’t gone very well.

“I’ll talk to her. If it happens again, I’ll… shit, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll make it up as I go along.” The guy stood, and his mom handed him a cane. A white cane.

Oh Jesus fucking Christ. Seriously? Seriously, Grainger picked the kid with a blind dad and a dead….

Wait.

Her other dad was dead. Jesus. This guy was blind, had lost his man, and his kid was a shit? That sucked hugely. “I can try to get Grainger to help. I promise.” He had no idea why that popped out, except this guy’s life had to suck, and because it had been a long time since Audie had met anyone who would openly admit to being queer like he was.

“Take us home, Mom. Please.” Now that he could see the White guy, he kind of wanted to wince. Lean, tattooed—this guy wasn’t made to be here, and obviously he wasn’t a local. Hell, his parents weren’t that local; Audie didn’t know them.

“Of course, Son.” She stood and offered Audie a frosty smile. “Thank you for being so, er, understanding.” She put a hand on her son’s arm, and he turned her way, the cane tapping as they left the room.

Audie glared at Shannon Shields as soon as they were out of earshot. “You couldn’t’ve had Miz Laws warn me?”

“I assumed you knew, Audie. Everybody knows.”

The conflicts have been established, as well as some of their backgrounds and family circumstances and we are still early in the book.  What a great job Tortuga has done to bring the readers into the various situations, letting us empathize with each “faction” and the small children involved.  The need for understanding that is born out of this meeting will set the stage for the relationship and attraction to follow.

As with most of Tortuga’s plots and stories, no character exists as a isolated individual.  Audie (25) is surrounded by his family, which includes along with his son, Grainger, a sister, Gracie, her kids, his “Momma”, and long haul trucker father.  All on the family farm.  Gracie’s husband is in the Army and is on tour abroad.  This family has its own tensions, expectations, and stress along with the love.  Dixon’s family is equally large and imposing, even more so.  For Dixon (33) has brothers Damon 20, Dalton 18, Dan 31, along with his daughter Randi.  Most are close with each other, and Dixon and Randi are now living with his upscale mother and step father on their llama farmette.  I loved that while the two families have a foundation in agriculture they still couldn’t be farther apart in approach and style.  Yet both sides are believable, layered and authentic.  You can like them even if you aren’t fond of their actions.

The story winds through multiple stages of Audie and Dixon’s relationship and that of their kids, a major factor here just as it should be.  For readers not fond of children or gay families in their stories, this element will put you off.  Those of you, like me, with kids and who love to see them in stories, you will love following their growth and increasing closeness to each man.  In this case, these two men and their children really do complete each other.  It’s heartwarming and real.  And yes, I loved it.  Because the author makes every part of Audie and Dixon’s journey intimate and heartfelt.  We are there along side them as Dixon starts to deal with his blindness and Audie becomes sure enough of himself to be openly gay in town.  There are some very tough spots and situations to deal with but that’s pretty real and reasonable as well.

Tortuga includes a epilogue that stops the story just where it should.  It’s funny, heartbreakingly alive, and leaves the reader satisfied as to how it all came out.  How much do I love this story?  Enough that when I want to smile and leave myself in a happy state, this will be one of the books I pick up.  I highly recommend it  and hope you will love it as much as I do.

 Cover Artist:   Christy Caughie did a beautiful job with the cover.  I loved the colors and the composition.  It easily draws the reader in.  Great job.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 256 pages, also available in paperback
Published February 27th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632168313
edition language English

A Mika Review: Ever The Same by B. A. Tortuga (A Double Dipping STRW review)

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Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5:

EvertheSameLGAudie Barrack is in it up to his elbows with a sick calf when his son’s school calls. Seems Grainger has gotten into yet another fight. When he walks into the principal’s office, he’s shocked to find his son has been fighting with a little girl named Randi.

A little girl with one blind dad and one dad who recently passed away.

Goddammit.

Dixon has lost his sight, his career, and his husband. Thank God for his brothers, Momma and Daddy, and his little girl, or he would simply give up. The last thing he needs is for Randi to start trouble at school, especially trouble that puts him in contact with another dad who might expect him to be a functional human being.

Dixon is struggling to live as a blind man, Audie is terrified someone might see he has a closet to come out of, and everyone from the school to both men’s families is worried for the men and their children. Unless they get themselves together and commit to change, neither of them stands a chance.

After reading Say Something and The Terms of Release, I was so enthralled with B.A. Tortuga. She had this way with her words that just brought out all type of emotions within me. Both books were 5 star reads. Reading this my expectations was super high. I really wanted to like that. It was okay for me. I didn’t feel connected to the characters or the circumstances in the story.

This had all the elements of things I love. Hurt/comfort, children, disabilities and cowboys are all my happy spots, and I did enjoy some of them tremendously. I liked that both mc’s had children in not the most conventional way. I did like that both guys were good parents and had flaws. Parenthood isn’t easy.

What bothered me the most was the writing, and while both her previous books had locations in Texas this one felt different. I don’t know if they talk different, but it felt choppy when they talked. It felt disjointed in the writing and I had a hard time finishing it. I enjoyed both guy’s support system. I do feel like it just happened between one day and the next for the two guys. It was no level of attraction but bam it happened. I got confused when the point of view changes happened suddenly. All in all it was okay for me. I’m not thrilled by it and I will continue to read her work.

Cover Art by Christy Caughie. I don’t know if either of these guys are Audie & Dixon, after reading the story I just didn’t feel it was them. Where were Audie’s glasses at? They made that an important thing for a cowboy to be wearing. Dixon has tattoos, and his hair braided a lot. This didn’t really feel like them.

Sales Links:  See full sales links here.

Book Details: 

ebook, 256 pages
Published February 27th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632168313
edition language  English

Book Url:http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6096

In the Spotlight: Annabelle Jacobs “The Altered” (excerpt and contest)

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The Altered by Annabelle Jacobs
Goodreads Link

STRW In The Spotlight Header
Release Date: April 9, 2015

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Twenty years ago the UK’s water supply was contaminated with an experimental pathogen, Lycanaeris, causing widespread panic across the nation. Terrorism was suspected but never proven, and when nothing happened–no epidemic, no unexplained illnesses–the whole episode was written off as an elaborate hoax. But Lycanaeris was selective. Only those of a certain age, and with a specific gene in their DNA were infected. Time would reveal the pathogen’s true nature, when those susceptible grew up Altered.

Daniel is one of thousands forced to hide his altered status by living a quiet life. He’s not like the others, though.

Daniel can’t help looking so distinctive or being able to see every altered for what they really are. To those abducting altereds, that skill makes him valuable.

For Jordan, shifting from human to wolf means living under the radar to avoid unwanted attention. Meeting Daniel complicates matters. Daniel’s existence is a threat to Jordan and his friends, but Jordan can’t seem to shake the strange connection between them. When danger threatens, there’s little time for Daniel and Jordan to work out their feelings before lives are at stake.

Pages or Words: 209 pages, 75,000 words

Categories: M/M Romance, Paranormal

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

He laughed at the joke Matt was in the middle of telling, chipping in for a bit and teasing him, and then he felt it again, creeping up the back of his spine like icy fingers. Daniel stayed perfectly still, suppressing his body’s natural reaction, and carefully turned to place his empty pint glass on the bar.

He let his gaze wander along to the end of the bar, past the couple he’d spotted earlier, and—

Bloody Hell.

He sucked in a sharp breath before he could stop himself. Usually he got a flash of images, depending on how much they’d been altered—claws, teeth, and fur if they changed fully, but never anything like this. One minute Daniel was looking at a tall dark-haired, really hot man, and in the blink of an eye he’d changed into a huge black wolf, fangs bared in a snarl—clearer than anything he’d seen before.

The image vanished almost as soon as it appeared, and the noise from the bar suddenly jarred Daniel back to his senses.

Fuck.

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Publisher: Annabelle Jacobs
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Sales Links:  Amazon US – Amazon UK

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About Author Annabelle Jacobs:

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with her husband, three rowdy children, and two cats.

An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ajacobsfiction
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJacobs_fiction
website: http://www.annabellejacobs.com

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Tour Dates & Stops: April 9, 2015

Parker Williams, Inked Rainbow Reads, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Cate Ashwood, Amanda C. Stone, Gaylist Book Reviews, Havan Fellows, Molly Lolly, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Rainbow Gold Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Chris McHart, MM Good Book Reviews, 3 Chicks After Dark, The Hat Party, Lee Brazil, Bayou Book Junkie, Emotion in Motion, Divine Magazine, Carly’s Book Reviews

 

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Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: Any book from Annabelle’s backlist. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Heat Up with Never Too Early: Finding Their Way by Chris Owen and Tory Temple (excerpt and contest)

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Combine Cowboys and Firefighters and what do you get? Finding Their Way (Never Too Early #2)

by Chris Owen and Tory Temple!

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Finding Their Way (Never Too Early#2) by Chris Owen and Tory Temple
Should not be read as a standalone
Release Date: April 15, 2015

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Chris Owen has been a favorite of mine since Owen’s Bareback books introduced us to Tor and Jake. And Tory Temple’s Firefighters have been heating up things for 6 novels.  The combination in Never Too Early: The Beginning, it was explosive.  Now both Tor and Jake and Chance and Tucker are back in a book you won’t want to miss!  Check it out below and don’t forget to enter the contest too.

Never Too Early: Finding Their Way (Never Too Early#2) by Chris Owen and Tory Temple

STRW Author BookSynopsis

When Jake Taggart fell from the roof of his barn, Tor had only one thought — to reach out to Chance Shanahan and Tucker McBride for support. In this follow-up to Never Too Early: The Beginning, the first book in the Cowboy/Firefighter series, the two couples are reunited in their mutual concern for Jake. But how far will that concern go?

A strong friendship begins to explore the boundaries of something else; something all four men never looked for or expected. Emotions and attraction are difficult to deny, try as they might, but giving in has the potential to destroy everything both couples have worked so hard for. How will they handle something that none of them set out to find?

Pages or Words: 54,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Menage/Poly, Cowboy, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Jake reached out and touched the back of Chance’s hand. “Thank you for coming all this way to be with me. Thank you for coming to sit next to me, and for helping Tor. Thank you for everything you and Tucker have done around here, but mostly thank you for being someone I can count on.” Jake nodded firmly and looked up into Chance’s face, studying his eyes. “Thanks for caring so much.”

Chance’s gaze was steady and direct. “I didn’t mean to,” he said quietly. “I thought you were a good guy, that’s all. I thought you were nice and funny and smart and easy to talk to. I didn’t mean for there to be more than that.”

Jake nodded. “I know. We all know. But there is, and I’m okay with that. Thankful for it, really. And so is Tor. And Tucker sent me upstairs to talk to you, and said not to let you overthink it.” He smiled, trying not to shake with nerves. “So sit down here next to me and stop thinking.”

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Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: BSClay

Sales Links:   Torquere Books

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About the authors:

Chris Owen: I live and write in eastern Canada. I went to a bunch of schools, learned a lot of things, and now make stuff up because not to do so is unthinkable. I’m fond of fountain pens, Levenger’s Circa system, and Steampunk fashions. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of Discovery channel. I’ve seen every episode of CSI Las Vegas and New York, but I’m not terribly keen on CSI Miami. It might be due to weather envy. I have a crush on the whole cast of Criminal Minds, and fondness for wool. The two are not related. Hoarders keeps me honest. I’m inspired by the day to day minutia of life, and find beauty in the way words go together. I like texture and richness of experience. I’m not shy. I’m happy, I’m learning, I’m living.

Tory Temple: Tory lives and works in southern California, where she spends a lot of time around firemen. She visits the beach frequently and wears flip flops even in the winter. Tory likes television, salted pistachios in the shell, and chenille socks. She dislikes cauliflower, not being able to find the right shoes in the morning, and not having enough free time. She shares her space with numerous pets, including but not limited to cats, dogs, and tortoises.

Where to find the authors:

Websites: http://www.chrisowen.net   http://www.torytemple.com
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Owen/362850963876393
https://www.facebook.com/torytemple
Twitter:
Chris Owen:  https://twitter.com/chris_owen
Tory Temple:  https://twitter.com/ToryTemple

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Tour Dates & Stops: April 9, 2015

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Molly Lolly, Inked Rainbow Reads, Cate Ashwood, Bayou Book Junkie, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, BFD Book Blog, Love Bytes, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Chris McHart, 3 Chicks After Dark,

Multitasking Mommas, Divine Magazine, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, MM Good Book Reviews, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Velvet Panic, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, The Blogger Girls

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Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of the story. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and Prizes provided by the authors and Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway