A Stella Review: Coffee Cake by Michaela Grey

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

coffee Cake coverBran Kendrick never expected to fall in love. He’s asexual, after all. What chance does he have of finding someone who’ll see past that? So when Malachi Warren catches his eye, Bran tells himself his crush will pass. Malachi disagrees. He has been attracted to Bran for some time, something he is delighted to find Bran reciprocating. They begin to date and feel their way through an intimate relationship that meets both their needs.

Suddenly Bran finds himself juggling a new boyfriend, a demanding job, and a college degree he’s not sure he wants, but he couldn’t be happier—until a series of seemingly random accidents befall Malachi. When they escalate, Bran realizes someone is trying to take away the best thing that ever happened to him, and he must scramble to keep Malachi safe while they search for the would-be killer

 

I wanted to give to Michaela Grey a chance for a couple of reasons. First of all the cover. Congrats to Aaron Anderson that, albeit unknowingly, the artist has put in my favorite color and everything food related is a winner to me. Reading the blurb of Coffee Cake I was soon curious about the asexuality aspect. I’m pretty sure this book was my first one with an asexual MC and I can say that I really, really liked how it was shown to me. Being pretty ignorant about this specific subject, I wasn’t sure what to expect, as a matter of fact I was expecting no sex at all. I was so wrong, the sex scenes were interesting too, not just the book. I loved the author’s note at the beginning of the book, I found it beautiful.

“Asexuality is something that is sorely misrepresented by the media, and as a result, many asexuals grow up feeling they are broken or “freaks.” It is my goal to show these people that they can live a wholly satisfying, fulfilling life without ever wanting sex, and it’s not something to ever be ashamed of or feel guilty over.”

The plot is simple. Bran is an asexual young man who has a crush on Malachi, the popular college guy. What Bran doesn’t know is that the crush goes both way. Malachi is interested too and so they start seeing each other. When he has an accident, Bran starts taking care of Malachi. But when he gets hurt for a second time, they began wondering about coincidences or attempts at Malachi’s life.

Coffee Cake hit one of my weaknesses, the sweetness. Malachi and Bran are cute together, in their everyday life and in their intimate moments. I liked the way the author put Bran in a journey to the discovery of his sex life, letting him free to explore and to understand what he needed. We learn more about asexuality as Bran learns more about himself. It was lovely and instructive too.

“Um. I’m not… I’m not aromantic,” he said in a rush.
“Yeah? That’s cool. Do you know which way you swing in that regard?”
“I guess… gay,” Bran said. “Not that it matters.”
“Why wouldn’t it matter?” There was honest curiosity in Malachi’s voice.
Bran shrugged. “Because no one’s going to want me,” he said, and he couldn’t help the pain in his voice.
“That’s bullshit,” Malachi said flatly, and Bran jerked his head up. Malachi’s eyes were angry as they met Bran’s. “You’re an amazing guy, Bran. You have so much to offer. So what if you don’t want sex? It’s not as rare as you might think, and any guy would be lucky to have you.”

The writing was good and delicate and the combination with a mystery brought the story to an engaging level. Unfortunately there were some parts too stereotypical to my tastes, as the scene where Mal’s dad wants to pay Bran to leave his son, or all the “I-leave-you-because-I-don’t-want-you-to-be-hurt” drama. These clichés curbed a little of my enthusiasm for Coffee Cake. Nonetheless I want to recommend this book and I’m still curious about this author and her coming works. I really hope she will talk about asexuality again.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson. I love this cover! It’s different and cute, and the colors simply perfect. It’s what caught my attention and then reading the blurb I decided to read the book.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published May 11th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632168481
edition languageEnglish

A Mika Review: Falling by Suki Fleet

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Falling coverJosh’s idea of a romance is curling up alone and reading a novel with a happily ever after. He’s made his flat a safe haven where the wall are covered with beautiful words, and his living room ceiling is a map of the universe.

Angus may be shy and inexperienced, but he’s incapable of hiding anything, especially his attraction to his older neighbor.

When Josh admits to Angus that he’s gay, he doesn’t expect Angus’s reaction. Angus’s obvious interest terrifies Josh. For years he’s managed to keep the world at arm’s length and avoid getting too close to anyone. Well, anyone except Elenor, Angus’s mother, who helped Josh rebuild his life after he was hospitalized for depression. But Josh still thinks he’s broken. His past has left scars he thinks are too deep to heal. Despite Josh’s defenses, Angus begins to mean more to him than just the cute boy next door. If Josh can take a risk and let someone into his isolated world, he might have a chance for a real life happy ending.

I love Suki Fleet, she has become one of my must read authors for me. Every time I see her name come up during new arcs I get super excited. I did not connect with this story, however.  I thought it was okay for the most part. Josh just had too much unnecessary angst going on around himself. I’m still not certain what mental illness he suffers from, because he was the most cerebral person I’ve read about in a long time. It was so much anguish reading the story from his perspective. I do applaud the adjustments he has made, but it was literally pulling teeth to feel any type of emotions from him.

I did like Angus a lot as a character. It’s 18, sure he’s young, but he took responsibilities for his household. I liked how he wanted to protect Josh when they shared their past history. I did not find this story memorable compared to her other stories. I liked it well enough as I was reading it, but the last 10% is where I feel like it really mattered to me. This was not dark as her other stories, but I felt like it was a rainy day when reading this book. I’ll continue to read her books because I like her.

Cover Art by: Reese Dante. Like all Suki Fleet covers, this one goes hand in hand with her stories. I think it’s appropriate seeing as Josh was falling throughout the entire book and he did not know it until the end.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages, also in paperback
Published June 3rd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632169853
edition languageEnglish

A BJ Review: Psi Hunter (Guardians of the Pattern #1) by Jaye McKenna

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

PSI Hunter CoverIn what promises to be quite an epic sci-fi series, humans now travel the stars, and a rare few have psychic abilities. They are called psions. Sometimes these abilities come to the fore after/during traumatic experiences, and that’s the case for Luka, an abused, young psion with extremely powerful abilities that he has no idea how to control or live with.

There are two organizations that deal with psions. On planet Aurora, Pat Cottrell is a psi hunter working for Federation Security. He tracks down dangerous psi criminals who misuse their power. Kyn Valdari works for the Institute for Psionic Research, an organization that helps psions learn how to control their psychic abilities and keep their sanity.

Kyn and Pat were close friends until Kyn walked away three years ago after a passionate night took their relationship beyond friendship. The two haven’t spoken since. When Pat’s partner is out on leave, he is paired up with Kyn to investigate a string of murders that appear to have been committed by a psion powerful enough to kill with his mind. As they work together to locate and then help Luka, the two men find themselves struggling with feelings for each other and fighting for their lives.

The world-building in this series is outstanding and intricate in its detail and scope. In this world, there doesn’t seem to be any angst over being gay (yay!) but there is suspicion and lack of acceptance when it comes to psions. I pictured Downtown Riga as a sort of galactic ghetto slum version of Vegas, and the safe island was so idyllic that I want to visit.

The characters are complex, nuanced, and very believable. They don’t always do the right thing, and they pay the price for their bad choices. There were times when I wanted to slap some sense into a couple of them, but isn’t that how it is in real life?

In an unusual twist for a M/M romance, the person I see as the main character of the story, Luka, isn’t the one involved in the romance. This may seem strange, but trust me, it works. Luka’s story is heartbreaking, but watching how he grows throughout is a part of what I enjoyed about this book. But never fear, there is plenty enough angst and tension between Kyn and Pat to make for a very hot romance. Actually, its the strong and stable Pat who ended up being my favorite characters in this book. In addition, several of the characters I’d wanted more of after reading Facing the Mirror appear, including Miko and Cameron. I enjoyed seeing how their lives had progressed. I’m crossing fingers to see them and also Luka get their own HEA in future volumes.

There were some extremely touching, sweet moments near the end, most of them were created by Kyn. That pleased me since I’d wanted smack sense into him several times in the story. I could forgive him for the I’m-not-good-enough-for-him maneuver, but when he turned that around later and becomes self-centered (or maybe self-focused) at being deprived an assurance most never have, that threw me. I’m sort of a trust freak, and I was disappointed that Kyn didn’t trust in Pat and his love for a while there, mainly because I’d seen nothing in Pat’s behavior that would seem to warrant it. The story and characters are all kinds of amazing. I strongly recommend this series and am eager to read onward.

The cover by Cinchbug depicts Luka rather than the romantic couple in this story. Appropriate, as it really seemed to be his story. The dark tones used on the cover work well as does the creepy feel that comes from the blood flowing from his head/mind.

Sales Links:  Smashwords   –  Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 306 pages
Published March 1st 2014 by Smashwords Edition
ISBN139781311081643
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.smashwords.com/books/view/414055
seriesGuardians of the Pattern #1.0

 

Cover Reveal for Prickly Business (Portland Pack Chronicles #1) by Piper Vaughn & Kenzie Cade (excerpt and giveaway)

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Prickly CR2

Prickly Business (Portland Pack Chronicles #1) by Piper Vaughn & Kenzie Cade
Release Date: July 27, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

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Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback

About Prickly Business…

Some people might call Avery Babineaux a prick. He’s a hedgehog shifter from an old-money Louisiana family with a penchant for expensive shoes and a reputation for being a judgmental snob. His attitude is why he and his fated mate are estranged. Not that Avery cares. He doesn’t want to be mated to some blue-collar werewolf anyway. Or so he keeps telling himself.

No werewolf likes to be looked down upon, least of all Dylan Green. He doesn’t need a mate, especially not some snotty hedgehog who sneers at his custom motorcycle shop and calls him a grease monkey. But when Avery gets into trouble with a shady loan shark, Dylan can’t stand by and let him be hurt—whether he wants the brat or not.

Yet once Dylan steps into Avery’s world, he realizes there’s more to Avery than his prickly exterior, and that unexpected vulnerability calls to Dylan’s protective instincts. The sassy little hedgehog needs a keeper, and despite their horrible first impressions, Dylan starts to believe he might be the wolf for the job.

Pages or Words: 97,000 words (approximately)

Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance

 

About the authors:

Piper Vaughn Bio
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two thousand book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book.

Kenzie Cade Bio

Kenzie Cade was born and raised in the South where she spends her days in the sometimes stressful field of private medicine observing interesting people and committing them to memory for later use. When she isn’t reading, experimenting with recipes, or being distracted by social media, Kenzie spends time with her family, friends, and the Pomeranian/Long-haired Chihuahua mix who likes to keep her company while she writes. As a young girl, Kenzie dreamed of princesses and their white knights. As an adult (or sort of adult), she dreams of princes and their proverbial white knights, which she attributes the fellow Arkansan S.E. Hinton and her novel The Outsiders. Writing to keep the fictional voices at bay, Kenzie enjoys the journeys her characters travel to find their happy endings, and she loves the challenge of writing a great love story. Contact Kenzie at kenziecade.author@gmail.com. You can also find her online at her blog: kenziecade.wordpress.com; on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kenziecade.author; and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thekenziecade.

Where to find the authors:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pipervaughn & https://www.facebook.com/kenziecade.author
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pipervaughnauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/pipervaughn & https://twitter.com/thekenziecade
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pipervaughn7 & https://www.pinterest.com/thekenziecade
Other: Website: http://pipervaughn.com, Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/104698982870458063898/posts
Other: Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/1/+KenzieCade, Tumblr: http://thekenziecade.tumblr.com,
Blog: https://kenziecade.wordpress.com/

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Tour Dates & Stops: June 25, 2015
Parker Williams, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Divine Magazine, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Prism Book Alliance, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, BFD Book Blog, Inked Rainbow Reads, Full Moon Dreaming,
Hearts on Fire, Molly Lolly, Bayou Book Junkie, Carly’s Book Reviews, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Wake Up Your Wild Side, MM Good Book Reviews, Cate Ashwood, Amanda C. Stone, It’s Raining Men, Michael Mandrake, The Hat Party, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Multitasking Mommas, Velvet Panic, Three Chicks After Dark, Mikky’s World of Books, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Chris McHart, Nephylim, Kristy’s Brain Food, The Novel Approach, Happily Ever Chapter, Up All Night, Read All Day, Love Bytes, Lexi Ander, Lexi Ander

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