A Stella Review: Vintage Pride (Lionhearts #3) by Elizabeth Coldwell

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Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

He doesn’t believe in the paranormal. Can a gorgeous shifter prove him wrong?

Vintage Pride coverEthan Wayne is a paranormal investigator for the hottest reality show on TV, Spirit Seekers, but his love life is decidedly lukewarm. Reeling from a sudden break-up, he finds himself heading for France, where his team will be exploring the Château LeBlanc, searching for the ghost of a murdered kitchen maid. When he meets the château’s reclusive owner, Jean-Luc LeBlanc, the attraction is fierce and instant—but Jean-Luc is keeping secrets the skeptical Ethan could never have imagined.

Jean-Luc’s world collapsed with the death of his beloved Benoît. He no longer cares about producing his award-winning Champagne and even his closest family members can’t rouse him from his self-imposed solitude. The last thing he wants is a team of ghost hunters intruding on his privacy and discovering the truth of his nature. The realization that one of these brash Americans is destined to be his new mate seems like a sick joke. But soon Jean-Luc has bigger things to worry about than his distrust of humans. His home and family are under threat—can he do what it takes to save all he holds dear, and let Ethan into his heart in the process?

This will be not a positive review and I’m so sorry to write it. I’m always looking for new authors and early in the year, when I saw the first book in this Lionhearted series, The Pride of  Amsterdam  by Elizabeth Coldwell, a new to me writer, I was really interested by the plot. I liked that one, even if there were a couple of things that kept me from loving it, but still I had great hopes. After having read Taming the Lion  and this new one Vintage Pride, I realized my review for each one of the book in the series could be the same and that’s one of  the reasons why I’m sorry but I have to quit reading it.

Vintage Pride was a really well written book, with good characters, main and second one, even if not so deeply developed. The plot, the mystery, the setting, were all unique and interesting. Still I couldn’t give it a full three stars rating, cause the delivery was the same of the other two books and so this time it felt really really boring. When I read different books in a series I need something that make these books different, otherwise I’m facing the same concept simply set in another place and with other characters.That’s exactly what I got from the Lionhearted series.

Things happened too quickly and the acceptance of a paranormal world from a human like us was incredibly smoothly. The mystery was interesting but evident and easily guessed. There was nothing that made Vintage Pride distinguishable from the other books.

I’m really disappointed especially cause I love this author’s writing a lot, to me it flows very easily, that’s why all my ratings were higher than what I’d have usual give. But the boredom can’t be overcome with just a good writing.

Cover art by Posh Gosh. Here I am again saying old news. I’m okay with follow a concept in design the covers of a series but they are all the same apart from little tiny details that are almost invisible. So it’s a good series but I already saw two of them.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 162 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Pride Publishing
(a LGBTQIA Press of Totally Entwined)
ISBN139781784306182
edition languageEnglish

 Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, mild BDSM and references to multiple partners

Lionhearts:

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review :Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan ~ Audiobook narrated by Iggy Toma

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★audiobook clipart bw

NowhereRanch-AudioCover smallerMonroe “Roe” Davis narrates this story of how he found his home— Nowhere Ranch in Nebraska. Representing Roe, and the balance of the cast of characters, narrator Iggy Toma did an outstanding job with this story.

Hired to tend the sheep on the farm of gentleman rancher Travis Loving, Roe works hard from sunrise to sundown. He learned sheep ranching during his childhood on his family farm in Iowa, a farm he hasn’t been back to in five years, not since his father made his opinion on Roe’s sexuality known. Wandering from place to place and never staying in any one location too long, he finds his way to Nowhere Ranch.

Roe never mixes business with pleasure though, and never cruises for men in his own back yard, so he travels several hours to hook up at a gay bar to satisfy his need to be dominated. Shocked when he runs into Travis there, he tries to wait him out so that he can find a hookup and get going. Forced into conversation, they find that their needs match. Dominant Travis would like nothing better than to hook up with a boy who will ask no questions and tell no tales. They determine that they can spend one night together, no strings attached, and Travis swears it will not affect how he treats Roe when they get back to the ranch.

The problem is, of course, that they are indeed suited to each other and neither can leave the other alone once they hook up again afterhours one night at the ranch. Slowly, Travis works his way through Roe’s defenses, using BDSM techniques to help Roe feel a measure of control over his life as he surrenders control to Travis.

One of my favorite quotes summarizes the plan they have to remain unaffected. As Travis tells Roe— “I don’t want a partner. I don’t want a husband. I want a boy. I want a little slut I can order what to do. I want you in boots and spurs and chaps and nothing else, sucking on my cock with a tail hanging out of your ass.”

And that plan suits both of them for a while, until their relationship begins to grow and both men realize they are developing feelings for each other. Eventually, Roe lets his best friend, Holly, in on his secrets, including the biggest secret of all— his family wants him back but they want him back so they can cure him of being a gay, perverted sinner. Not long after that, Roe realizes that his family of origin isn’t as important to him as the family he’s made at Nowhere Ranch with Travis and Holly.

Where the guys go, how Holly’s issues meld with theirs, how Roe’s family issues are resolved, or at least temporarily shelved, and what finally seals their relationship, all make for a highly complex, yet very enlightening, entertaining, and enriching reading experience.

I first read this story in early 2012 when I was new to M/M romance, and it may have even been one of the first BDSM stories I ever read. Though I appreciated it at the time, I have so much more respect now for the way the author introduced the men to the pleasures they would find together in BDSM, as well as for their emotional growth and the beauty of their relationship—from the stalwart, stoic Travis and the anxious, self-deprecating Roe—to the confident men who are secure in their love for each other and the family they have created together.

This story is not for those who want mild, simple romantic sex scenes. The sex is rough, with elements of BDSM including fisting, spanking, and pony play. But it’s done in a way that demonstrates the Dom’s respect for his sub, and the sub’s dependence on the solidity and safety of his Dom. I once heard this described as a classic among M/M BDSM novels, and I heartily agree.

The audio narration by Iggy Toma is outstanding and certainly added to my overall enjoyment of the story. I was able to appreciate every scene, every nuance of conversation, and stand back and enjoy the journey the men took together. Don’t hesitate to pick up the audiobook version of this one.

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The cover by Kanaxa on this 2015 version of Nowhere Ranch depicts a faded out photo of a cowboy in the foreground captured in a head-chest shot as he turns to the side, rope over his shoulder, one hand raised to the brim of his hat. This is superimposed over the silhouette of a lone cowboy standing with his back to the camera, overlooking a prairie. It’s very appealing and a nice depiction of the characters.

Audiosales Link:  Audible  |  iTunes

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition
Published March 3rd 2015 by Heidi Cullinan (first published February 15th 2011)
original titleNowhere Ranch
ISBN139780996120302
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.heidicullinan.com/books/nowhere-ranch
characters: Roe Davis, Travis Loving

A Bj Review: The Gig (Speechless #2) by Kim Fielding

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

The Gig coverAn accident in Drew Clifton’s past left the former novelist with aphasia, unable to communicate through either speech or writing. Through sheer strength of will, he built a quiet but lonely life for himself. But now he’s fallen in love with Travis Miller.

Travis has his own issues—a permanent eye injury and unemployment. But he’s determined to help Drew find ways to engage and succeed again in the wider world, and a guitar-playing gig at a local coffeehouse seems like a good start.

Dylan Warner and Chris Nock happen to be in the audience that evening, and they have a few niggling problems of their own. Perhaps a chance meeting will provide solutions that might benefit all of them

A revisit with the guys from Speechless: Drew Clifton’s, the former novelist with aphasia, and Travis, the one-eyed machinist. After his accident, Drew built a life for himself in Portland, and now shares it with his love, Travis Miller.

Now that he’s back in Portland, Travis is unemployed and being cared for by his lover isn’t sitting well with him. He wants to stand on his own two feet. He’s determined to help Drew though and one way he finds is to see his lover succeed again in the wider world, this time using his talent as a guitarist. He gets him a gig at a local coffeehouse.

There they meet Dylan Warner and Chris Nock, who happen to be in the audience. Will this chance meeting provide solutions that might benefit all four guys?

Dylan and Chris are characters from another of Fielding’s books, one that I haven’t as yet read. I love how she gave me some subtle clues about them without having them come right out and say things.

Well-written and fun but very short read. Like Speechless, this is all from Travis POV. It does a nice job of tying up some loose ends from the first book. BUT I have the same niggle with it that I did with book one. The ending is abrupt and leaves me wanting more. I totally wanted to attend the event that was mentioned with these guys… the set up for it was so perfect. I wonder if it might be in one of the books containing Chris and Dylan. I must go now and scope that out.

The cover  by Paul Richmond is understated, but fitting for the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) |

Book Details:  

ebook, 24 pages
Published May 22nd 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781623807122
series Speechless #

A BJ Review: Speechless (Speechless #1) by Kim Fielding

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Speechless coverOne-eyed Travis Miller is a machinist living what he terms a “fairly sucky” life in Portland. His only real companion is a rescue a cat named Elwood. After he spots a handsome man playing the guitar on his porch along his walking route home, that starts to become a highlight of his day. Travis gathers the courage to speak to the man and discovers that the former novelist Drew Clifton suffers from aphasia after having been in a car accident. Drew can understand what people say, but cannot speak or write.

These two lonely men form a friendship that deepens into romance, but soon realize it might not be communication that’s their biggest challenge. Travis is inexperienced at relationships and struggles with a precarious financial situation.

Speechless (Speechless #1) by Kim Fielding was an easy, quick read. It’s a sweet love story without being syrupy or full of drama. I love broken/wounded characters and watching them overcome their hardships. Both of these men are wounded, Travis having lost his eye and Drew his speech. Yet both are strong characters and the angst level is fairly low–neither of these men whined over their situations. Not to themselves or each other. I enjoyed that. Both men came across as everyday guys, not super handsome, buff, rich or super tough.

This is told only from Travis POV, which made Drew have to get himself across to not only Travis but also us readers through only his actions. Not an easy thing for the author to achieve, I’m thinking. But yet, she did it wonderfully. Drew comes across as a very expressive, endearing, strong and determined man. Still, I admit that I’d have loved to have gotten a bit into Drew’s head, because how awful for him as a writer to lose his ability to use words! He made light of it to Travis, but I can imagine that was not the case. At least he could still read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing story and these imperfect, yet perfect for each other men. In life, people who can talk just fine often have such a hard time communicating. Sometimes it seems people don’t make a very strong effort to do so if it’s too difficult. I love this quote “I hardly ever had any problem understanding him. You just have to pay attention.” Exactly. But unfortunately, even to those of us who speak, many don’t pay attention, don’t really listen or watch to see what’s behind the words. Travis paid attention, and I loved him for that.

Another quote from this that I adored, mainly because it made ME feel good was this one, “…even if you never write anything again, you’ve already done way more than most people.” Again… damn, I love Travis.

My quibble is that the ending felt rushed. However, I noticed that there is a sequel to be had, so will have to check that out and might end up having to up my stars on this down the road.

The cover by Anne Cain is a little plain as far as color but it gets the point of the story across well.

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


Book Details:  

ebook, 62 pages
Published July 18th 2012 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 2012)
ISBN 1613727178 (ISBN13: 9781613727171)
edition language English

2 Book Spotlight Special: Chris McHart’s Alex’s Surprise & Saving Alex (Unexpected #1 and #2) (excerpt and giveaway)

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Alex’s Surprise & Saving Alex (Unexpected #1 and #2) by Chris McHart
Release Date: Alex’s Surprise – June 26

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Goodreads Link:   Alex’s Surprise   |   Saving Alex 

Publisher: Alex’s Surprise – M/M Romance Group on Goodreads.
Saving Alex – Chris McHart
Cover Artist: Meg Bawden of Bawd Designs

Sales Links:  Amazon DE  |  Amazon  |  All Romance (ARe) 

 Alex’s Surprise is a free story! You can download it on Goodreads, Amazon and ARe

Saving Alex2aa

Book Blurbs

Alex’s Surprise: Alex wanted a night of hot passion with Gerome, but he gets more than he ever bargained for. His life will be changed forever in a world where he’ll be thrown in jail— or worse— for being pregnant.

Alex’s best friend, Sam, has been acting strange ever since he met Alex’s one-night stand, but now Alex needs help in order to hide, and Sam is his only hope.

Saving Alex: Not only is Alex pregnant, something punishable by jail time, but Gerome, the father of the baby, is a vampire prince. When strangers invade Alex’s home and kidnap him, he doesn’t know who is responsible, if he’ll ever see the man he loves again, or even get to see the child growing inside him.

Considering himself the father of his lover’s child, Sam has a hard time standing around and letting others plan Alex’s rescue. But when the Prince and his trackers find an important clue, the race to save his beloved is on. Now all he can do is cross his fingers that the scheme they’ve devised will work.

When Prince Gerome receives ransom demands, the instructions are clear: mate a complete stranger or he’ll never see Alex or the child he carries again. Will he be able to convince his newly intended to help, or will those seeking to dethrone his family win this evil game of blackmail?

Caution: Contains a kidnapping, unwanted matings, a scheming king, way too many people that follow their own plans and a highly pregnant Alex

Pages or Words: Alex’s Surprise – 27,000 words, Saving Alex – 33,000 words
Categories: Alternate universe, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery, Paranormal, MPREG

Excerpt

Alex zapped, annoyed, through the channels. He lounged on the couch, bored out of his mind. Sam, his best friend and roommate, had taken up the recliner, reading something. Maybe Alex should do that as well? Watching TV wasn’t going to keep him entertained, since nothing caught his interest, no movie, no documentary, nothing. He zapped on, but stopped at a news report showing a pregnant man. He sat up a bit straighter. What was up with that?
The man’s stomach was swollen, showing he was at least five or six months along. His hands were cuffed in front of his baby bump and tears were streaming down his face. The camera showed a courtroom full of people, slowly sweeping over the interested men and women watching the process.
Alex turned up the volume. What had the man done? And why was he pregnant? He’d heard it was possible, but he’d never encountered someone who’d actually experienced that.
The reporter’s voice came up. “Robert B. was tried for violation of the racial laws. Today’s sentencing was long awaited. No one had heard of pregnant men for years, and there had been uncertainty about the actual jurisdiction in such cases. B., who is, according to doctors, six months along, was sentenced to five years in jail. His child will be put in an orphanage until he is released. The fathering sire has no legal claim over the child. He will be able to visit his child, but he can’t get guardianship over him or her. The child and the carrier will be outcasts of society after that.
“B. broke down after hearing the judge’s decision. Even though it’s forbidden, he clearly hoped the old laws would be overturned. Instead, the judge confirmed that male breeding between the races is still forbidden and punishable. With that, back to the studio.”
The picture changed, now showing a woman in a suit, smiling at the camera. “Thanks to our reporter in Berlin for a summary of today’s events in court. Now to the weather…”
Alex turned down the volume, muting the forecast. He turned to Sam, who had apparently put down his book to watch the news as well. “Did you hear that? How can they judge someone because he got pregnant?”
“I have no idea? Maybe because it’s wrong? Are these children dangerous? I’ve never met one, or heard of one, for that matter, but I guess there’s a reason it’s forbidden. The whole pregnant man thing is so strange, no wonder it’s against the laws. Who knows what’ll come out of such breedings.”
Alex frowned. A new life was precious, not wrong. He couldn’t imagine a child being dangerous, even if it was mixed. Children born from interracial relationships were allowed, as long as one of the parents was female and the other male. Why this didn’t apply to children born from a same-sex relationship was beyond Alex. Even if it was unusual for a man to be pregnant, he shouldn’t be put in jail for something like that.
This was the first case in a long time, according to the reporter, but he’d not given a reason why the laws were upheld. “It’s still wrong to judge someone for getting pregnant.”
“I don’t know. Like I said, there must be a reason why it’s forbidden.” Sam picked up his book again, ending the conversation. Alex took a moment to study his friend’s features as he buried himself in yet another sci-fi book. He was quite handsome with his blond, unruly hair and his strong jaw. The gaze of the piercing blue eyes that never seemed to miss anything flew over the page, pulling Sam into yet another outlandish adventure.
Maybe Sam was right. There had to be a reason it was against the law. Alex was kind of sorry for the man who now faced five years in prison, but then, the man knew what he risked with getting pregnant in the first place.
Alex settled back and focused on the TV again. Sam was not in the mood to discuss the matter anymore, his mind clearly on the story he was reading. As if they’d need sci-fi to experience something unusual. Ever since paranormals had come out of hiding back in the 1980s, going to certain clubs could be more adventurous than anything an author could come up with.
Maybe he should go out today? Blowing off some steam wouldn’t hurt. He’d not gotten laid in quite a while, and a night in one of the mixed clubs sounded too good to resist. It was better than staring at a rerun of a movie.
Alex switched off the TV and stood. “I’m going out, do you want to come with me?”
“What do you have in mind?” Sam looked up from his book. “Dancing? I thought of going to the Downtown.”
“Na, go without me. I’m not in the mood for that crowd.”
“You sure? It’s been months since you’ve been out.” Alex wasn’t surprised, Sam wasn’t one to go out much, and he despised big crowds. The Downtown is a huge mixed club, catering to all kinds of paranormals and humans. Not that paranormals were forbidden anywhere, but they, as well as humans, preferred to stick with their own kind. One of the exceptions was a club like the one Alex was going to visit. A night of dancing, and maybe getting laid, sounded better with every second.

About the Author

We asked Chris McHart “What inspires you or drives you crazy?”

Chris McHart’s Answer?

“Inspiring me is the love to my husband, and every time I see a picture about love. It can be so little as a holding hands, but it might inspire me to write a story about it. I love playing the ‘what if’ game, and the things my brain comes up with.”

Chris McHart is from Germany and, while an accountant, writing is Chris’s real passion.
Chris likes to spend time with family and has way too many animals that demand constant attention. Chris also enjoys landscaping and cooking.
Whenever Chris has a free minute, it’s spent writing on a laptop, a cup of coffee in hand, deeply lost in the worlds Chris’s muses have created.
When coming up for some air, you’ll find Chris on a lot of social networks. Check out Chris’s website to see where you can find out more. Chris looks forward to hearing from you!

Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008256641886
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-McHart/326380184192029?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chris_mchart
Blog: http://www.chrismchart.com

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Tour Dates & Stops: July 6, 2015
Parker Williams, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Book Blog, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Bayou Book Junkie, Velvet Panic, Bike Book Reviews, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, The Hat Party, MM Good Book Reviews, Jessie G. Books, Inked Rainbow Reads, Molly Lolly, Amanda C. Stone, Rainbow Gold Reviews

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: 3 print copies of Alex’s Surprise/Saving Alex.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Prizes and link provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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