A MelanieM Review: Must Love Dogs by K. Lynn

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Must Love Dogs coverSince a mugging a year ago, Ben’s lived with blindness. Despite an art career on hold and a deadbeat boyfriend who left him because of his disability, he’s finally getting his life back on track. Ben is gaining a new sense of independence thanks to his guide dog, Colt.

But Ben’s carefully balanced life is thrown into chaos when veterinarian Dr. Jay Connor hits Colt with his car. While Colt is on the mend and recovering nicely, Ben finds that Jay is not only fond of Colt, but also quite interested in Ben.

However, one overheard conversation might put a stop to their romance before it can grow into something more. Maybe Ben’s destined to go it alone in the dark. Or can Jay help him see there’s still a chance for happily ever after?

Must Love Dogs by K. Lynn had several things going for it that pushed my buttons and made me want to read the story, that Paul Richmond cover for one.  Two cute guys holding hands in a park, one with a guide dog.  Adorable men and puppies! Love it! Check!  The blurb also hinted at something more than just a sweet love story,, a little bit of angst and depth thrown in as well.  Another draw for me.  Check and double check! So what did I find?  A nice story with a few issues, so one that didn’t live up to my expectations.

Several issues came up immediately that irritated me enough to pull me out of the story.  One, a very small thing but it annoys the heck out of me,  is that one character has a last name, and the other doesn’t.  Perhaps its the sense of imbalance or the implied (in my head) inequality of stature, but do one or the other, two last names or none, but don’t do both.  Argh as they say.

The second?  A little more serious and it appears multiple times in the story.  That would be the author’s use of the word “paranoid” when I would use the word common sense.  Ben and his guide dog, Colt, went walking at night and Ben got spooked. Who wouldn’t?  Ben proceeded to override his dog’s training in trying to get home, walked ahead, misjudged his footing and fell into the road.  Colt was hit by a car trying to protect him.  All reasonable as well as believable. Then the story starts to get a little shaky for me.

A guy stops the car, tells Ben he’s a vet, puts them both into the car (no calling the police) and later Ben berates himself for the stupidity of his actions.  Lynn calls it his paranoia, I call it common sense.  You can’t see, that guy who almost ran you over and hit the  expensive guide dog is hauling you both away in his car and you take his word for it and then tell yourself you are nuts for doing so?  No, that’s a reasonable response and one based on common sense.  Lynn had Ben’s frantic actions based on a believable human response to a terrifying situation but then negated that by implying his thoughts were due to a sense of “paranoia”? I just didn’t think that worked on any level.

And then there’s Dr. Jay’s actions at his veterinary clinic/office where he takes Colt and Ben after the accident.  I talked to my vet yesterday (happy coincidence for me, not Winston who was getting his shots) about Jay’s actions.  Guide dogs have a huge responsibility to their owners/charges.   Plus they are incredibly expensive to train and obtain.  So I asked her, “would you have sent him home without x-rays or further tests?  Just a little leg manipulation and you’re good to go? Especially considering the fact that you were the person who injured him?” I’m betting you know the answer to that one.  So one more less than realistic element that disconnected me from the story and the characters.

Jay and Ben’s story does have some lovely, sweet moments where they are getting to know one another.  Plus the author has a strong female best friend in Darcy, who’s a major supporter of Ben and his adjusting to his new situation.  The author also has done research into how a person and their guide dogs behave when they’re “off the clock” and how others can act towards them.  That worked within framework of the story and the relationships portrayed here.

But then that darn “paranoia” thing cropped up again right at the end,so that the story sort of fizzled out on a odd, discordant note that lost that sense of sweetness that ending was going for.

I came very close to giving this 2 stars but then reconsidered.  Those small things that bother me might not bother  another reader.  It was a sweet story, with some nice character interactions and relationships.  So 3 stars it is.

This is the first K. Lynn story I’ve read and it has enough good elements to  make me look forward to the next story this author has to offer.   One last thing, this is just another prime example of the power of book covers.  A terrific book cover will pull you in and that’s exactly what this cover did to me.

Cover  art by Paul Richmond.  See the remarks  above.  Really loved it.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 54 pages
Expected publication: July 22nd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original title Must Love Dogs
ISBN13 9781634763127
edition language English

A Stella Review: Silver Scars by Posy Roberts

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RATING 5 stars out of 5  ★★★★★

You need people to love you, especially when you shove them away.

Silver Scars coverA bomb destroyed high-powered lawyer Gil Lemieux’s seemingly perfect life, and PTSD has ruled every decision since the explosion that left him scarred inside and outside. Moving home with his mom is meant to be a temporary measure, just like proofreading for a medical editorial firm is meant to be a stopgap. But two years after taking on the wrong court case, he’s still living in fear.

Keith Kramer might be based 1,500 miles away from Gil, but their shared work brings them together—a chance meeting that’s life-changing. Gil is drawn to Keith’s good looks and intelligence, but it’s his innate understanding that Gil is more than the scars on his skin that is truly attractive. He’s everything Gil used to be and more. It blows Gil’s mind that his attraction might be returned.

Only doubt could widen the distance between them. Keith’s hopefulness, borne out of surviving some tough challenges of his own, isn’t enough to bridge the distance alone. Gil will need to believe he has as much to offer as Keith if they’re to build a life together.

Silver Scars is my first book by Posy Roberts, but surely not my last. I loved it so much I can’t wait for more by the author. The North Star series is already on my august shelf. Have you read Mika’s “Discovering New Authors”? Check it here https://scatteredthoughtsandroguewords.com/2015/07/06/discovering-new-authors-mika-on-posey-roberts/

This book was special for many reasons but first of all I want to point out something that won me over and made me appreciate the author a lot. I was halfway through it when I realized that  where almost every other author would have chose to end the book, in Posy Roberts’ Silver Scars,  Gil and Keith’s story together had just began. It felt to me like two books, after what could have been considered a HFN at half book, there are still 150 pages to read, almost like a sequel. These pages gave a sense of completeness I ‘m awe over and led me to a beautiful HEA.

Moreover  I want to add I’m usually bothered by the use of a single POV and of the present as a verbal form,  absolutely not my favorite writing style but in Silver Scars it was perfect and I couldn’t even tell you why. So hat’s off to Posy to making me love something I normally wouldn’t read.

The book has a lot of good qualities: most important it is well done, thoughtful, sensitive, full of feelings and with a lot of emotional moments that pretty much broke my heart too many times. Luckily all of these were balanced so well with super hot scenes and some funny ones, all mixed with a complete and satisfying plot and so real characters, unlucky in their lives like us.

Gil is a 38 years old ex lawyer that went through a life changing incident when a homemade bomb was left in his house by the husband of a client. It could have killed him but he was lucky he got just shrapnel on his face and head. After the accident he came back to live with his mum, struggling with a serious PTSD. He meets Keith on a brief stage in a new city. Keith is not just Gil’s beautiful new coworker, he has a  lot of baggage too, in fact due to some physical damage in his leg he was where Gil is now, with the PTSD.

They soon hit it off. Keith is gentle and sweet and supportive and helping, he is the switch that freed all the emotions Gil kept inside of him since the incident. They spend one night together and then  have to go to their lives,  in two different states. But they are able to create a connection that will bond them together and force them to be in a long distance relationship. Maybe is too soon to fall for someone but they went through too much to ignore a change at happiness.

This is just the start of their story, I followed Gil and Keith in their (beautiful) ups and (heartbroken) downs. The book is a journey in Gil’s panic attacks, in his various attempts to overcome all his fears; it was beautiful and painful at the same time to see him working himself in bad mental states but he is so brave too when Keith will go through some very hard times, Gil will be there to support him and help his boyfriend to heal. And maybe heal himself too.

There are some great second characters, especially Frankie, Gil’s best friend since forever, supportive in every way he can, especially with his smartass mouth.he’s the perfect friend, the one who support you, help you stand on your feet standing by your side always, most of all the one to kick you away when the time is right for you to finally live your life, even if is away from your bestie.

I couldn’t find a flaw to this book so it’s a full 5 stars rating to me. Highly recommended!

Cover art by Natasha Snow reflect a scene in the book when Gil is outside Keith house to start living their life together. Fitting and beautiful but it’s Natasha so I wasn’t waiting for nothing less.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 282 pages
Add Silver Scars to Goodreads
Published June 22nd 2015 by Labyrinth Bound Press
ASINB00ZPT6Y6K
edition language English

In the Book Spotlight: Resurrecting Elliot (Newport Boys #2) by Cate Ashwood

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Resurrecting Elliot (Newport Boys #2) by Cate Ashwood
Release Date: July 20, 2015

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Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

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Sales Links:  Dreamspinner eBook | Dreamspinner Paperback | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Nightmares and panic attacks following a horrific tragedy leave Professor Elliot Lawrence a prisoner in his own home. After months of relying on his sister as his only connection to the outside world, Elliot is desperate for a sliver of independence. But leaving the safety of his home isn’t an option, not yet, and he reaches out in the most innocuous way he can think of: grocery delivery.

Colton Kelly, retired porn star and recent college grad, is struggling at two minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. During one of his grocery deliveries, he meets Elliot. Although the attraction between them is instant, they must first traverse the long road of putting Elliot back together. When disaster strikes yet again, this time in Colt’s life, Elliot’s not sure he’s strong enough to be the man Colt needs him to be.

Pages or Words: 200 pages

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

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

TEN MINUTES. He was going to be here in ten minutes. Maybe. The website had given Elliot a window of an hour, but with ten minutes to, he was beginning to feel anxious. His heart was racing. His palms were already sweating. No one other than his sister and Dr. Mazur had crossed the threshold of his front door since it happened.
Nothing like throwing himself into the fire.

Elliot paced around the house, tidying what had already been tidied. He didn’t want this guy thinking he was a hoarder on top of being a shut-in. He double-checked that there was no clutter on his coffee table, that the newspapers his sister brought were neatly stacked and ready for the fireplace. The side tables had been dusted—twice—and the blanket on the back of the couch straightened. Pulling down the blinds on his front windows, he peered out, looking for a strange vehicle, but the street was deserted.

He walked back into the kitchen. Spotless. He wasn’t really sure how the whole delivery thing worked, if the guy just left his things at the door or if he brought them all the way into the house. Glancing at the clock again, he saw he had just enough time to fix—

There was a loud knock at the door. This was it. He hoped he wouldn’t puke on this guy’s shoes as soon as the door opened. He felt like he might. As calmly as he could, he walked to the front door and unlocked it.

Deep breaths, just keep breathing, he reminded himself before he clutched at the doorknob, turned it, and pulled his front door open.

He almost forgot to keep breathing.

The man that stood on the other side of his door, backlit by the sun, looked up and gave a crooked smile that made Elliot’s already rapidly beating heart hustle.

“Hi, are you Elliot Lawrence?” the man asked, his southern drawl warm and comforting somehow.

“Yes,” Elliot said unintelligently… and then forgot how to speak.

“I’m Colt.”

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

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 the author:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cate.ashwood
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: @cateashwood
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cateashwood/

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Tour Dates & Stops: July 21, 2015
Parker Williams, BFD Book Blog, Havan Fellows, Bayou Book Junkie, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Molly Lolly, My Fiction Nook, Bike Book Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Kimi-Chan, Happily Ever Chapter, Christy Loves 2 Read, Inked Rainbow Reads, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Reviews by Jessewave, MM Good Book Reviews, Iyana Jenna, Mikky’s World of Books, Love Bytes, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, The Hat Party, Andrew Q. Gordon, Divine Magazine

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Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Resurrecting Elliot’ by Cate Ashwood
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Its All Bar Nights and Romance with The Dusty Hat Bar by L.J. Hamlin (excerpt and contest)

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The Dusty Hat Bar by L.J. Hamlin
Release Date: July 22 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: BSClay

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Sales Links:  Torquere Books

About The Dusty Hat…

Noah Kimberly walks into his usual bar, same as he does most Friday nights. It’s surprisingly busy for this time of night, even for a Friday.

Tonight things are different. Tonight Noah will meet Lennie Boyce, the son of Earl Boyce the biggest ranch owner in the area and Noah’s ex boss. His friend and bar owner Dusty might warn him away from the other man, but Noah’s just not sure he can resist this cowboy.

Pages or Words: 31,000

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Humor, M/M Romance, Romance, Western/Cowboy

The Dusty Hat Excerpt

Dusty is behind the bar, and Noah signals him for a beer, trying to shake off his thoughts about the Boyce family. He hasn’t been keeping track of them since he got fired. He sees them around, sure. It’s not that big of a town, and he hears the odd thing. But he hadn’t heard much about Earl’s youngest, Lennie, other than that he was his father’s pride and joy. If Noah was a violent man, he’d punch Lennie in the face just to see what his Daddy would do, but he’s not a violent man and prefers to avoid using his fists unless he has to.

“That’s quite a frown you’ve got going,” Dusty says as he passes him a cold bottle of beer.

“When did Boyce’s boy turn twenty-one?” Noah asks, ignoring the comment about his frown.

“Just today. That’s why him and all his friends are here. Mainly college kids, but if they’re drinking, I’m not complaining.” Dusty shrugs.

“Huh,” Noah says thoughtfully, taking a quick glance at the now seated Lennie.

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About the author:

My name is L.J. Hamlin. I’m twenty-four and writing has been a passion of mine my entire life. I have a deep love of M/M fiction and at the moment that is the only genre I write in. You can check out another short of mine, Nurse Levi, in the Men in Uniform anthology.

Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008189472526
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/L.j.hamlin91
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LjHamlin
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/lizibabes
Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bkVh09
Blog: https://www.blogger.com/profile/02717576317697299159


Tour Dates & Stops: July 21, 2015
Parker Williams, The Hat Party, Bike Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog, My Fiction Nook, Bayou Book Junkie, Havan Fellows, Molly Lolly, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Inked Rainbow Reads, Ogitchida Book Blog, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Happily Ever Chapter, MM Good Book Reviews, Christy Loves 2 Read, Velvet Panic, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Hearts on Fire, Chris McHart, Kimi-Chan, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

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Contest

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘The Dusty Hat Bar’.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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What Happens As Love and Politics Clash? Find Out with Cardeno C’s Strange Bedfellows (excerpt and contest)

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WLK synopsis

Strange Bedfellows - cover
Can the billionaire son of a Democratic president build a family with the congressman son of a Republican senator? Forget politics, love makes strange bedfellows.

As the sole offspring of the Democratic United States president and his political operative wife, Trevor Moga was raised in an environment driven by the election cycle. During childhood, he fantasized about living in a made-for-television family, and as an adult, he rejected all things politics and built a highly successful career as far from his parents as possible.

Newly elected congressman Ford Hollingsworth is Republican royalty. The grandson of a revered governor and son of a respected senator, he was bred to value faith, family, and the goal of seeing a Hollingsworth in the White House.

When Trevor and Ford meet, sparks fly and a strong friendship is formed. But can the billionaire son of a Democratic president build a family with the congressman son of a Republican senator? Forget politics, love makes strange bedfellows.

Excerpt 

Where’s your bedroom?” asked Ford Hollingsworth as he tipped his head back to make room for the man licking a path down his neck.

The handsome stranger shoved Ford’s coat to the floor, slammed him against the wall, and wedged his thigh between Ford’s legs, rubbing up against his balls.

Oh. Oh.” Ford bucked. “Your bedroom?”

Despite being mostly clothed, Ford was seconds away from coming in his pants. The inner voice he’d spent most of his life ignoring piped up to remind him that he’d never been this aroused with any woman and never would be. But acknowledging that voice meant walking away from his family and his aspirations, so Ford tried ignoring it, something that had gotten increasingly difficult with every passing year and was now impossible.

Trevor?” Ford had no idea if that was the dark-haired guy’s real name or if he’d created an alias to use with a bar pickup, which was what Ford himself had done. Either way, he was proud he remembered the name, considering he was more turned on than he’d ever been in his life.

Without responding, the man reached for Ford’s shirt buttons and popped them open while he caressed Ford’s chest.

 

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WLK Author Bio

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Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”

WLK Giveaway
Winner’s choice of ebook from author’s backlist (excluding box sets or anthologies). Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and WLK Book Promotions.

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