A MelanieM Review: You Are the Reason (The Tav #2) by Renae Kaye

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

You Are the REason coverDavo’s a pretty average guy. He has a decent job, owns his own home, and spends his weekends at the pub. He fully accepts that he’s gay, but doesn’t want to be one of those gays, who are femme and girly. He likes football and other masculine pursuits, and firmly avoids anything that could be seen as femme—including relationships that last beyond fifteen minutes.

Then Davo’s friend and gay idol not only gets a boyfriend, but also adopts a baby girl. Davo is seriously spooked and scuttles down to the pub in fright. That’s where he meets Lee, who is cute from her cherry-red hair, to her pretty little dress and pointy red shoes. Davo is charmed—but how is that possible? He’s gay. Isn’t he? Then Lee tells him he’s actually a guy—he just likes to wear women’s dresses occasionally. Thoroughly confused about an attraction that’s out of character for him, Davo begins the long journey to where he can accept himself without caring what everyone else thinks.

I found Renae Kaye through her novel The Shearing Gun (which I loved) but the the stories that followed captivated me just as fully.  Whether it was Safe In His Arms, The Blinding Light or the hilarious Shawn’s Law, in each Renae Kaye continued to address serious issues such as sexual abuse, PSTD, and physical disabilities while framing them within a loving, realistic romance.  Her characters were just that smidge outside the norm that you felt like you hadn’t read about them before, and the locations in Australia, often Melbourne, made her stories fresh and unknown (at least to this American’s eyes).  Now comes, You Are The Reason, and everything I love about Renae Kaye’s writing and storytelling abilities is showcased here once again.

Two of the serious elements here, cross dressing and the shameful impact of bullying, are dealt with the author’s typical sensitivity and knowledgeability.  I love that Kaye  brings the two elements together in such a gentle disarming way instead of the hate filled clash we normally see.  Davo’s past history isn’t really hinted at in the blurb and the reality we find here isn’t pretty.  Why Davo thinks and acts the way he does (anti fem all the way) is a past that is given out in bits and pieces to begin with.  As Davo starts to break down why he  thinks and reacts the ways he does now , more and more information starts to flow about the past events that caused it.  I think this is a terrific way of plotting the story to help the reader really see the impact of childhood events upon the adult man.  And who’s helping him with this makeover?

That would be Lee, a man who challenges Davo’s idea of what being a “ok gay” means, even the idea of what is male.  Lee likes to cross dress and is great at it, its part of who he is.  In order to accept Lee, all of Lee, something Davo wants desperately, he must first address what the bullying and fear has done to his self image and notions of acceptable homosexuality.  Its quite the journey in Renae Kaye’s hands and I loved every sentence and paragraph.

Lee is such a strong character,yet his frailties lurk there for all of us to see.  Lee and Davo have layers to their personalities, as well as a depth that makes them surprising in places in the story where we might expect otherwise. Back to help Lee and Davo are Jake Manning and Patrick Stanford from The Blinding Light.  They play a major part here in this story.  I didn’t think it possible but I like them even better as an established couple coping with new parenthood and all the joys and issues that arrive with a new baby.  That scene with the poopy diaper from hell is hilarious!

I noticed that Renae Kaye is calling You Are the Reason, a story from The Tav. That’s The Coolgardie Tavern or The Gardie Tav is a bar owned by Charlie Lombardo. Why The Tav? From author Ranae Kaye:

Because this little pub seems to be the place to fall in love, and it definitely has more stories to tell.

Well, be still my heart. Already we have had The Blinding Light (The Tav #1). Now this  I can only hope that The Tav has a ton more stories to tell.  I’m going to pull up a bar stool and wait.  Join me.

I highly recommend this story and this author.  Love contemporary M/M romance that makes you think, laugh, and wave that fan over the heat of the couples inside?  Want to fall in love so deeply that you will forget that these men can’t be found walking the streets in Australia?  Pick up You Are The Reason and discover why Renae Kaye is a must read/auto buy for me and so many others.

Cover artist: Bree Archer. Its a  nice cover but it is so generic it could be for any contemporary M/M romance. In that respect, its disappointing.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 226 pages, also in paperback
Published August 7th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634764834
edition languageEnglish
url http://renaekaye.weebly.com/you-are-the-reason.html
seriesThe Tav #2

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: When to Hold Them (A Bluewater Bay story) by G.B. Gordon

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5BWBlogo_Web

When to Hold Them coverDoran Callaghan is paying the ultimate price for his gambling addiction—jail, probation, and a reintegration program that lands him in the town of Bluewater Bay, working part time for the tourist bureau. Most of his work is behind the scenes working on their website, newsletter, and brochures. The office is only open for a few hours each weekend, so he and his coworker have a lot of flexibility in how they schedule the rest of their work week, but Doran manages to make sure he’s there every Sunday at noon because that’s when the gorgeous park ranger, Xavier Wagner, steps into the mini-market across the street. Every Sunday, like clockwork, the truck pulls up and out steps tall, dark, and handsome. Doran has to meet him. He just has to. So he scrapes together enough change to go across the street when the ranger is there. Unfortunately, his first impression—that of a tongue-tied kid—isn’t the best impression to leave on the man of his dreams.

Xavier Mayne doesn’t know what it is about the blond, good-looking kid, but he knows he’s attracted, and since he hasn’t felt that way in quite a while, the next time he sees him, he acts on that attraction and invites the young man out to eat. What they discover is that Doran has a submissive side, and Xavier has a strong compulsion to take charge. But he’s afraid that Doran just doesn’t know how to say no, and nothing about his behavior so far has shaken that belief.

Doran is afraid to share his history with Xavier because once he gets to know the big man, he’s hooked and he’s afraid Xavier will shun him if he knows the truth. He feels safe and secure with him and he loves the feelings he has when Xavier is near. But when they start to act on those feelings, Doran fails to make Xavier believe he can be trusted. Xavier has firm beliefs about truth and trust, and Doran is simply not living up to them. When a miscommunication sends Doran running to a gambling site, they nearly miss their chance at happiness. But when the loan shark Doran knew in the past shows up, it’s Xavier he turns to, and Xavier who is the only person Doran can truly trust.

I really enjoyed this story. It can definitely be read as a standalone since the only thing it has in common with the other stories in the series is the setting. It was emotionally compelling to watch Doran as he struggled with consequences of his life choices, and he finally accepted responsibility for his own actions. And it was equally compelling to watch Xavier as he came to terms with who he is as a gay man, a lover, and a potential Dom. The scene where the two declared their love for each other was completely unexpected and really terrific. Their love and their laughter expressed the joy to be found when one finds the other half of one’s soul.

This was my first story by this author, but it won’t be my last. I recommend this one to lovers of M/M romance, especially those who like an age-gap, early stage D/s relationship, angst, and those who simply can’t get enough of Bluewater Bay.

Cover Art by LC Chase beautifully depicts the two MCs wearing their cold weather gear and standing against a backdrop of gorgeous Mount Olympus in Washington State.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing –  All Romance (ARe) – Amazon   Buy It Here  [other sales links to come]

Book Details:

ebook, 221 pages
Expected publication: August 17th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
original titleWhen to Hold Them
ISBN139781626492943
edition languageEnglish
series Bluewater Bay #9

Bluewater Bay Universe….WolfsLanding_transparent

Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.

Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by eleven award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. Witt, L.B. Gregg, Z.A. Maxfield, Aleksandr Voinov, Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz, Anne Tenino, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, G.B. Gordon, and Jaime Samms. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.

Books in this Universe include with links to our reviews:

Starstruck (Bluewater Bay #1) by L.A. Witt
There’s Something About Ari (Bluewater Bay #2) by L.B. Gregg
Hell on Wheels (Bluewater Bay #3) by Z.A. Maxfield
Lone Wolf (Bluewater Bay #4) by Aleksandr Voinov
The Burnt Toast B&B (Bluewater Bay #5) by Heidi Belleau & Rachel Haimowitz
Lights, Camera, Cupid (A Bluewater Bay Valentine’s Day Anthology; Bluewater Bay #6)
Wedding Favors (Bluewater Bay, #7) by Anne Tenino
The Deep of the Sound (Bluewater Bay, #8) by Amy Lane – release date of June 15, 2015
When to Hold Them (Bluewater Bay, #9) by G.B. Gordon – release date of August 17, 2015
Christmas Comes to Bluewater Bay (The Bluewater Bay Series) by Deanna Edens Oct 2013 -charity story with proceeds going to the Michigan Humane Society (F/F)

A Paul B Review: Alpha Coder (Geek Pack #1) by Kathryn Sparrow

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Alpha Coder coverWhen Liam Reed meets his very male mate who is interning at Soft Corp, his place of employment, will it add to the already high tensions that exist in his pack?

Liam Reed never wanted to be alpha. His brother Jason was groomed to take over for their father. When Jason and his family die in a single car accident, Liam agrees to take over, as the alternative, Bradley, is worse. Though Bradley never really challenges Liam directly but does everything he can to make Liam’s life miserable. When he tries to add his friend Thomas to the pack council, Bradley utters a homophobic comment under his breath just loud enough for Liam to hear. Frank, the pack beta, tells Liam that he needs to do something soon or else the pack will split apart.

Cody Jones is a student at MIT. He is the newest intern at Soft Corp. When he meets his supervisor, Liam Reed, things take a turn that neither man expects. They realize that they are mates, even though neither has had any feelings for a man before. Things are complicated on three fronts. First, Liam is dating a woman named Alice whom he has recently suggested that things were leading toward a marriage. Second, pursuing a relationship with each other is strictly against company policy and the director of human resources is fanatical about the policy. Third, they have to deal with Bradley and his friends who will not accept a gay alpha, let alone a gay member of the pack council.

I thought this first book in the new Geek Pack series was a decent novel but the amount of angst throughout the book was a bit much for my tastes. Liam is concerned he does not compare to his father or brother as alpha. Liam is worried about Alice’s feelings and whether or not she will turn them in for the office romance. Liam and Cody are concerned that Tiger Johnson, the human resource guy will figure out what is going on. They both worry about Bradley and his plans for the pack when it is known that they are now the alpha pair. Add in the fact that Cody and Thomas think that Jason and his family had help in their accident and one can go on overload quickly. I think one less subplot would have sharpened this book a bit.

The cover art by Mina Carter shows Liam and Cody shirtless with the full moon above them. They are over a keyboard that has a bullet on top of it. It is a decent cover but with a title of “Alpha Coder” I would think of something different would be in order.

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

Book details
Ebook: 261 pages
ISBN: 978-1-62300-953-3
Edition: English
Published: July 2015 by Loose ID
Series: Geek Pack (first book)

Bluewater Bay is Back with When to Hold Them (A Bluewater Bay Novel) by G. B. Gordon (contest)

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When to Hold Them cover

When to Hold Them (A Bluewater Bay Novel) by G. B. Gordon
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: L. C. Chase

Sale Link: Riptide Publishing

BWBlogo_WebThe Bluewater Bay  series from Riptide Publishing is consistently one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 5 star reads,  When to Hold Them (A Bluewater Bay Novel) by G. B. Gordon is another.  You can catch Barb, our Zany Old Lady’s review of this novel also today.  Trust me, its not to be missed!  Love your contemporary M/M romance?  Love a whole series of outstanding stories?  Its Bluewater Bay and When to Hold Them by G. B. Gordon!

 

WhenToHoldThem_TourBanner

Blurb

Doran Callaghan doesn’t know when to fold ’em. His gambling has landed him in debt and in jail, and now it’s got him stuck in the sticks in a reintegration program. He wants to turn his life around, but old habits come knocking, and some creditors are harder to shake than others.

Xavier Wagner cares more about the National Park he works in than the people around it, until a stranger awakens desires he didn’t know he had. Doran’s natural submissiveness turns Xavier’s ideas of how to treat a lover upside WolfsLanding_transparentdown. But Doran doesn’t seem to know about boundaries—or even to have any—and Xavier’s not sure that Doran will say no if he needs to. Which means someone’s going to get hurt.

While Xavier struggles with his principles, Doran’s past comes calling. Trusting each other is suddenly a matter of life or death, but Doran has to decide whether counting on Xavier—or himself—is a gamble he’s willing to take.

Giveaway

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $15 Riptide store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 22. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Prizes provided by Riptide Publishing.

About Author G. B. Gordon

G.B.Gordon  is Riptide’s Featured Author for August!

G.B. Gordon worked as a packer, landscaper, waiter, and coach before going back to school to major in linguistics and, at 35, switch to less backbreaking monetary pursuits like translating, editing, and writing.

Having lived in various parts of the world, Gordon is now happily ensconced in suburban Ontario with the best of all husbands. Santuario is G.B. Gordon’s first published work, but many more stories are just waiting to hit the keyboard.

Connect with Gordon:

Website and blog: gordon.kontext.ca
Twitter: @gb_gordon
Goodreads: goodreads.com/gbgordon

Bluewater Bay Series

BWB_SeriesCover
Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.

Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by eleven award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. Witt, L.B. Gregg, Z.A. Maxfield, Aleksandr Voinov, Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz, Anne Tenino, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, G.B. Gordon, and Jaime Samms. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.

– See more at Riptide Publishing’s Bluewater Bay page.

 

It’s Cover Reveal Time for Blue by D.P. Denman (excerpt, giveway and more)

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Title: Blue
Author: D.P. Denman
Genre: Gayrom, MM
Release Date: September 25, 2015

Long before he was a successful songwriter and black-belt badass, Blue was a survivor. 
He escaped a program designed to cure him. One that left him near death with nothing to rely on but the kindness of a stranger. Hostile and headstrong, he needed a calmer influence to balance his fury. Someone to save him from himself. 

Brady’s life was quiet and orderly until fate sent him a blue-eyed hurricane. Bursts of temper and flashes of despair battered his efforts to quiet the storm in a man he doubted he could tame. One drowning in the wreckage of his past. 
With a head full of lies and a body full of scars, Blue worked to rebuild his life with the help of a man who showed him sometimes trust is worth the risk.

Blue features one of the most popular characters from the Saving Liam saga! Destined for greatness, he reveals the past that made him the scarred bad boy readers love.
A burst of resolve pushed Blue through the open doors of Brady’s office but left him speechless when he crossed the threshold. Brady stood near the window in a dark polo shirt that covered broad shoulders and the swell of pecs. He knew from experience that body was as solid as the wall he was tempted to lean against for support. Desire made him dizzy, anxious, twitchy.

“Hi.” Brady smiled when he saw him, an expression that had always been warm and reassuring.

He let it soothe him as he stepped further into the room caught between the fear of looking like an idiot and frustration over unanswered questions. He grabbed the frustration and held it close.

“I have a question, and I don’t know how to ask it.”

“Well,” Brady rested his ass against the windowsill and crossed his legs at the ankles, “you can either stumble around with it or just spit it out. I’m okay with blunt.”

“You might be sorry you said that in a minute.” He tried to smile, refusing to wipe sweaty palms on his jeans. “Are you gay?”

Brady’s eyebrows twitch up his forehead, and he blinked. “That’s blunt.”
“I said you’d be sorry.”

“You did.” Brady nodded, folding his arms.

Brady took longer contemplating the answer than he’d expected. He didn’t know what that meant. His stomach clenched, heat spreading through his chest, threatening to bubble into a blush so hot it charred his skin.

“Yes. I’m gay.” Brady stared back at him.

He was so relieved he wanted to laugh. He hadn’t misread that part, and if that much was true, he wondered if he’d misread any of it. He decided to stick with blunt.

“In that case, I have another question.” He took a few steps closer, leaving several feet between them.

“I thought you might.”

“Do you like me?”

“Of course, I like you.”

“No. I mean are you into me?”

Brady’s attempt at a pleasant expression crumpled into a frown. “Why?”

“Because I’ve been feeling things and sensing things, and I’m tired of guessing whether they’re real.”

It was the most honest he’d been with anyone in months and for the first time since running off to fail at life a year ago, he didn’t feel the tight knot of apprehension that usually followed those confessions.

He had secrets. Dark things he never shared because the camp taught him more than how to loathe physical contact. It taught him the value of keeping everything to himself. Brady was the exception. Blue kept him in the dark because he hid everything from everyone, but Brady knew most of his secrets already. Nothing he confessed ever seemed to shock him, though that conversation came close.

“What kind of things?” Brady’s tone was quiet, gentle.

“Things that make me wish I wasn’t afraid to touch you.”

Brady added a sad smile to the frown. “I wish you weren’t either, but it might be better that way.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t think you’re ready for this.”

Disappointment flung itself against his ribs in an aching fit. The anger that flashed through him an instant later burned it to ash.

“How do you know what I’m ready for?” he demanded.

“We wouldn’t have much of a relationship when Mary is the only one who can touch you without sending you into orbit.”

“Like you’ve tried.”

“You’re the one who said you’re afraid to touch me. Don’t pretend I’m jumping to conclusions,” Brady said.

“So I’m afraid. So what? That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it anyway.”
“Fine. Then kiss me.”
Award winning author DP Denman writes character-driven contemporary romance about gay men. Her stories are real and intense, but resolve in endings that make people want to read the book all over again. She lives among the moss and trees of the Pacific Northwest with a rambunctious pair of fur babies.
In her spare time, she is a dedicated LGBTQIA rights activist with a special focus on the thousands of rejected and abandoned kids who end up on the street every year. To support the cause, 25% of the royalties from every book go to LGBT charities.

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