A Paul B Review: Despite the Odds (Odds Are #1) by Chris T. Kat

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Two men face different challenges in their lives. Can the two of them find a happy life together despite the odds?

Despite the Odds coverMichael Campbell struggles to get by in life. Unable to keep a job for more than a few weeks, Michael thinks he has screwed up his latest effort to keep a job by being late for work once again. His boss is on the verge of firing Michael but relents. Michael must stay late to make up for the time that he missed that morning. Near lunchtime, Michael points out what appears to be a drunk walking near the school property where he is currently working.

Joshua Stone struggles to get by in life. Born with cerebral palsy, Joshua has a hard time moving around. Unable to drive, Joshua uses a tricycle to get to where he needs to go. However, whenever he is tired, Josh’s movements are even more labored than they normally are. He gets upset when one of the construction workers thinks he is drunk.

After school Joshua is having troubles getting to his trike so that he can go home. The construction worker who he thought was a jerk apologizes for any offense he caused earlier for not knowing of his condition. Michael then offers to give Joshua a ride home as he sees Joshua is clearly struggling just moving, much less trying to pedal a bike home.

During the drive home, the two men begin to learn about the other. Joshua cannot believe that this hunk might be flirting with him. Michael learns about Joshua’s condition and the struggles he must live through. After Michael leaves, Joshua realizes that Michael has driven off with his backpack. With no way to contact Michael, how will he get it back?

I enjoyed this book and the main characters a lot. Both have questions going into the relationship. Michael is not sure that a disabled person could be gay. Joshua cannot believe someone as good looking as Michael could be interested in someone as damaged as he is. The romance grows just like any other with a couple of limitations due to Joshua’s disability. This is another sweet story from the author. At the end of the book, the author gives a preview of the sequel called “Against All Odds.”

The cover art by Valerie Tibbs shows our two protagonists above a bridge or park. The images convey what I would think our two men would look like.

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

Book Details:
ebook, 114 pages
Published June 3rd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
original titleDespite the Odds
ISBN139781634760263
edition languageEnglish
series: Odds Are #1

A BJ Review: Gremlin’s Last Run (Guardians of the Pattern #2) by Jaye McKenna

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Rating:  4.75 stars out of 5

Gremlin's Last Run coverCaptain Rhys Tyler is so sensitive to the feelings and pain of others that it’s impossible to be around them without drugs. A simple human touch can send him into a seizure. As the Captain and sole crew of the Gremlin, he hauls cargo through the emptiness of interstellar space. His ship, left to him by his deceased uncle, is all that’s allowing him to survive… and now the Gremlin is coming to the end of her useful life.

Alek McKinnon is a Federation agent whose latest mission has gone terribly wrong. He’s managed to escape after being kidnapped and used for illegal psi experimentation, but the after effects have left him psi crippled, in pain, and with very limited options available to get home and report to his superiors.

Alek stows away aboard the Gremlin and is surprised when the Captain turns out to be another psion, a powerful empath that has no idea what he is. As the two men struggle to keep themselves (and each other) alive, they form a bond much deeper than either had expected.

This story grabbed me by the throat from page one and would NOT let me go, something I cannot honestly say about very many books. The pacing is outstanding, enough so that it was hard for me to put it down.

Alek and Rhys are nuanced, real, and vividly alive. I’d already met Alek in a prior book, and I adored Rhys from the start. When faced with a stowaway, Rhys’s initial response was to either send him into space or return him to the authorities, but one look at the man’s face as he pleas for his help chances his mind. Not enough that he isn’t still careful though. When Alek discovers that Rhys is an psion and explains it to him, offering him a way to finally live a more normal life, Rhys understandably doesn’t immediately believe him, which I’d expect from his background. But as they work together to help each other, the development of the feelings and trust between them seems natural and right. I adored Rhys. He grew so much, going from being almost suicidal due to his lonely and hopeless existence, to learning to trust and love. And I adored his voice in this story.

By the way, for those who find series in which many people who know each other are gay to be unrealistic, then please read this book. Because yeah, there are a large number of gays in this particular organization, but this author tells you exactly why in a totally believable way that I just adored.

This series continues to draw me deeper and deeper into a fascinating world and the characters that populate it. I’ve read other series that concentrate on one couple in each book with nearly the entire focus being on the main couple and others just cameos, but that isn’t the case in this series. In each book, I’m getting to know new guys, but there are also the old favorites that are still growing and changing. No little snippets thrown in just as an update here. It’s a richly interwoven world where everyone we keep seeing nuances of character revealed that we didn’t see before.

For example, I enjoyed book one, but Kyn was quite an asshat at times and hard for me to love. In this book, I can see the growth in him that has come from accepting himself as he is and also from being in a stable loving relationship over the few years since the prior book. And Luka… wow, he has matured and is now a teacher who is a far cry from that frightened lost boy. Yet he’s the same in all the ways that make him uniquely him. Two of my favorite characters have yet to have their own story, and I can’t wait. One of them was a very bad boy in this book, which gave me some grief, but only intrigues me more. I adore anti-heroes and cannot wait to see the world through his eyes.

The cover shows Rhys on the Gremlin and does a good job of setting the tone of the story.

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

Book Details:
ebook, 299 pages
Published October 20th 2014 by Mythe Weaver Press (first published October 19th 2014)
ISBN139781311912886
edition languageEnglish
seriesGuardians of the Pattern #2.0

Guardians of the Pattern series

4 works, 4 primary works

Guardians of the Pattern is a science fiction series in which the line between science and magic blurs. In the galaxy-spanning Federation, psions are still fighting for basic human rights. Some worlds adopt a live-and-let-live policy, but on others, psions are hunted down and murdered because the public fears their psychic talents. When ancient weapons of mass destruction are unearthed on a planet populated by primitive nomads who still believe in magic, psions may be the Federation’s only hope for survival.

Can the people of these two very different cultures come together to prevent disaster? Or will the Federation’s hunger for power trigger a psionic chain-reaction that has the potential to threaten all of humanity?

Guardians of the Pattern Series:

  • Facing the Mirror (Guardians of the Pattern  0.5)
  • Psi Hunter (Guardians of the Pattern, #1)
  • Gremlin’s Last Run (Guardians of the Pattern #2.0)
  • Ghost in the Mythe (Guardians of the Pattern, #3.0)

 

Love gets a Second Chance with Brick by Brick by Cate Ashwood and L.J. LaBarthe (excerpt and contest)

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Brick by Brick by Cate Ashwood & L.J. LaBarthe
Release Date: June 29, 2015

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Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

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Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback

 

STRW Author BookSynopsis

They say that time heals all wounds, but losing Parley, his one true love, left Zach with a hole in his heart that no one else can fill. After forty-eight blissful hours alone together as teens in an abandoned house, Parley disappeared. Parley is what he is, and the pray-away-the-gay camp his parents ship him to won’t change that. However, finding the balance between accepting his true nature and not losing his family means tough sacrifices.

Sixteen years later, Zach is thunderstruck when Parley stands on the front doorstep of his house—the house that had been their refuge, which Zach restored. But Parley isn’t alone, and Zach wonders if he’s found Parley only to lose him a second time. If they can overcome the terrors of the past and the situation of the present, maybe they can build a new relationship just as Zach rebuilt the house—brick by brick.

Pages or Words: 62,000 words

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

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

ZACH FELT as if he was floating. He’d been planning this escape for weeks, but now that it was actually happening, it didn’t seem real. He chanced a quick look at Parley as they merged onto the highway. What could possibly be better than running away with his best friend?

He’d had his doubts that Parley would actually come with him. After being turned down the first time, Zach had prepared himself for disappointment, but now they were leaving together and Zach couldn’t have been happier.

“Where should we go?” Zach asked. He had some vague ideas in mind, but he wanted his friend’s input more than anything.

“I don’t know. Somewhere we can’t be found?” Zach was right on board with that.

“That’s a good idea. We’ll go for a bit on this highway, then we’ll exit and take some back roads, maybe head toward the interior.”

Parley dropped his head back against the seat. “Perfect.” After a time, he said, “I still can’t believe we’re doing this.”

“I still can’t believe you came with me,” Zach countered.

“I can’t either. I must be insane.”

“Or brilliant. It’s usually a fine line,” Zach teased.

“My parents are going to have an absolute meltdown once they’ve found out what I’ve done. They’re going to be so upset.”

Parley’s voice was quiet, barely above a whisper. Zach had seen him like this once before when he’d thought he’d lost his weird CTR ring with the spinner chain in the band.

“It’ll all be okay.” Zach tried to soothe him, to bring him back to the present, and rested a gentle hand on Parley’s knee. “Everyone flies from the nest sooner or later. We just did it in an unconventional way. I really do think this is what’s best, though, for both of us.”

Zach’s reassurance seemed to work. Parley blinked slowly a few times and then a somewhat disheartened smile crept onto his face. “I know, but my family is just… different.”

 

 

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About L.J. LaBarthe:

L.J. LaBarthe is a French-Australian woman, who was born during the Witching Hour, just after midnight. From this auspicious beginning, she went on to write a prize-winning short story about Humpty Dumpty wearing an Aussie hat complete with corks dangling from it when she was six years old. From there, she wrote for her high school yearbook, her university newspaper, and, from her early teens to her twenties, produced a fanzine about the local punk rock music scene. She loves music of all kinds and was once a classical pianist; she loves languages and speaks French and English and a teeny-tiny smattering of Mandarin Chinese, which she hopes to relearn properly very soon. She enjoys TV, film, travel, cooking, eating out, abandoned places, urbex, history, and researching.

L.J. loves to read complicated plots and hopes to do complex plot lines justice in her own writing. She writes paranormal, historical, urban fantasy, and contemporary Australian stories, usually m/m romance and featuring m/m erotica. She has won a Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention and another award for Best Historical Gay Novel.

L.J. lives in the city of Adelaide, and is owned by her cat.

Where to find L.J LaBarthe:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lj.labarthe.9
Twitter: @brbsiberia
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/dreadpiratestar/
Other: http://misslj_author.livejournal.com/
Other: http://www.ljlabarthe.com/
Other: https://instagram.com/ljstar239/
Other: http://dreadpiratestarkiller.tumblr.com/

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 little boy, and their two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.

Where to find Cate Ashwood:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cate.ashwood
Facebook Author Page:
Twitter: @cateashwood
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cateashwood/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/cateashwood/

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Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Dawn’s Reading Nook, BFD Book Blog, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Divine Magazine, Andrew Q. Gordon, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Bike Book Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, My Fiction Nook, Kimi-Chan, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Havan Fellows, Prism Book Alliance, MM Good Book Reviews, Chris McHart, Inked Rainbow Reads, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Full Moon Dreaming, Mikky’s World of Books, Charley Descoteaux, Molly Lolly, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Iyana Jenna, 3 Chicks After Dark, Happily Ever Chapter, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: An e-copy of ‘Brick by Brick’. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the authors and Pride Promotions.

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Can Love Spell Disaster or HEA? Check out The Pinch of the Game by Charley Descoteaux for the Answer (exclusive excerpt and giveaway)

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The Pinch of the Game by Charley Descoteaux
Release Date: June 24, 2015

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Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

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Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Being a witch doesn’t mean one can beat the devil forever.

Jeffrey Overton, unemployed IT professional turned poker player, pushes his luck once too often and runs afoul of the host of an illegal card club. The man sent to escort Jeffrey to a “meeting” about his supernatural winning streak arrives at Jeffrey’s crappy North Portland apartment, lock-picking tools in hand and a charm to block Jeffrey’s magick.

Head muscle for said host, Mike Wells, is a Daisy from Daisyville. He isn’t a witch. What he lacks in magickal talent he makes up for in brawn, so he doesn’t expect the guy he’s after to overpower him. But once Mike renders Jeffrey helpless, he’d rather seduce him than bring him in.

Jeffrey and Michael ditch the “meeting” and end up hunting some of the same people they ran from, trying to get Jeffrey back into his own body. And that’s only part of the adventure. The pair travel halfway across the country on the quietest road trip in history and find missing people, empire-building witches, and maybe even the families they’d both thought lost to them.

Pages or Words: 35,000 words

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

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Thank you for hosting me and my guys!

Last week four lovely blogs hosted excerpts from Jeffrey’s point of view. This week, it’s Michael’s turn. The Pinch of the Game is a Romance, but it’s also an adventure story. With magick and mayhem—my favorite kind!

Michael

By the time we were three hours out, I wasn’t sure if I’d strangle Jeff with my hands or my cock. The guy talked nonstop and thought he was damned clever. We made Pendleton and I couldn’t take it anymore and pulled off.

“Are we there yet?”

I tried to growl at him—heard it’s intimidating. He kept grinning. And he didn’t stop when I pulled into a Motel 6 parking lot and killed the engine. He made a soft purring noise when I reached over, and for a heartbeat I hesitated. But then I grabbed both of his thumbs, slipped a tie around his wrists, and zipped it tight.

“Hey!”

“It’s for your own good. Just sit here and be quiet. I’ll be right back.”

I didn’t expect him to still be there, but he hadn’t even tried to escape. I grabbed his bag from the trunk and tossed a long-sleeved shirt over his arms to hide the tie. Unlikely anyone would notice, but I wasn’t looking to make any more new friends. In fact during the drive I’d seriously questioned my sanity and hadn’t heard a reasonable answer yet. What the hell was I doing? Sure, I’d thought about quitting, getting another kind of job, but seriously—how the hell was this going to end?

Bloody, is how.

 

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charley.descoteaux.3
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/CharleyDescoteauxAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charleydescote/
Blog: http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/blog/
Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/aqe7g7r
Email: c.descoteauxwrites@gmail.com

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $10 gift card and backlist book of choice.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by Pride Promotions and the author.

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Tour Dates & Stops:
24-Jun
Divine Magazine
Rainbow Gold Reviews

25-Jun
Bayou Book Junkie

26-Jun
Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance

29-Jun
Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

30-Jun
Molly Lolly

1-Jul
Love Bytes

2-Jul
Inked Rainbow Reads

3-Jul
Multitasking Mommas

6-Jul
Havan Fellows

7-Jul
3 Chicks After Dark
The Blogger Girls