A MelanieM Review: Dead Man’s Hand: Jack of Spades #4 by Lee Brazil (Pulp Friction 2015:Altered States Book 13)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Dead Man's Hand coverBarton Montoire, the ghost of a nineteenth century riverboat gambler, is devastated and angry. His lover, physics professor Sabine, has exorcised him. Again. This time, there’s no denying the professor’s actions were intentional. Worse, Bart can’t seem to convince their friends to aid him in his quest get Sabine to listen to his side of things.

With his lover Bart safe from shadowy threats of eternal damnation in the “other realm,” ghost hunter Sabine Brusilov is free to pursue his own risky investigation into the mysterious circlet and its connection to the shadow figure that’s been tormenting the unlikely couple. With the help of his friends, he determines to take control of the situation and bring Bart home.

I may have been a little harsh towards Sabine in the past, mostly because of his behavior and attitude towards Bart, his ghostly lover and favorite character of mine. However, with Dead Man’s Hand (book 4), Lee Brazil start’s repairing Sabine’s reputation, in my eyes and in that of his friends as well as supplying some explanations for some of the more bizarre actions and events that Sabine has been involved in. Has this made me mellow towards Sabine?  Yes, it has, damn, it.  Still that amount of arrogance has cost him.

Forty four pages  isn’t a lot of time to turn a impression of a character around but Lee Brazil does it concisely and within the framework of a complicated plot. Its not, however, that Sabine changes but that our perspective of Sabine that gets revised now that we get to see underneath the surface of his actions.  We see how the things he said and weird things he has done now fit differently into the whole picture.  That tilt in viewpoint also  shifts the story into another mode – a renewed sense of needing this couple to be together, something that might not have been there before.

Bart is still desperately trying to find his way “home”, seeking answers, for his own scary actions and Sabine’s.  That dark evil influence had spread wider than anyone had thought possible.  With Brazil reinstating Sabine as more in need of our compassion than scorn, Bart blindly trying to come come to Sabine, and the plot more deeply layered and vicious, the author is setting the stage for the explosions and fires that book 5 is sure to bring.  Demons anyone?  Evil demons that is?  This is going to be painful, bloody, and someone, perhaps more than one is going to get hurt, but who?

Ah, Book 5, here we come, I can’t wait for the paranormal explosions to begin!

I highly recommend this story and all the stories that came before.  Pick them up and devour them like the scary bon bons they are!.

 

Cover artist Laura Harner.  Still wish they were darker and more frightening.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 44 pages
Published August 14th 2015 by Lime Time Press
ASINB013XZ611A
edition languageEnglish

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About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura HarnerRound Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura HarnerRound Three:Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Playground (Four of Clubs #3) by Parker Williams
Diamonds Edge (Ace of Diamonds #3) by Laura Harner

Round Four:
Dead Man’s Hand (Jack of Spades 4) by Lee Brazil
Blind Heart (King of Hearts 4) by Havan Fellows
High Stakes (Four of Clubs 4) by Parker Williams
Diamond Flush (Ace of Diamonds 4) by Laura Harner

A Mika Review: The Cage by Catt Ford

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Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars

The Cage coverWelcome to The Cage, where you can share the ups and downs of a group of friends as they enjoy a rollicking adventure of sex and love in “the life.”

Being a Dom has always come naturally to Lazar Thornton, owner and operator of The Cage, a thriving adult toy store and meeting place for Lazar’s closest friends, Bran, Max, Otto, and the always flamboyant and fierce Miss Dré. But even the best of friends have different tastes in scenes—and in life.

Good-humored and laid back, but much in demand as both teacher and Dom, Lazar has always run from love. Until Ben Owen, relative newbie to the BDSM world, arrives wide-eyed and eager to learn, and Lazar wants to teach this sub everything he knows. But despite the openness needed for a Dom/sub relationship to thrive, neither discusses emotions. Feeling the sting of unrequited love, Ben isn’t as sure of his place in Lazar’s life as he wants to be. Lazar will need to read his sub’s heart as well as his mind if he truly wants to keep Ben in his life.

Only took 147 days (in actuality six long brutal days) to finish this.  Any other time this would have been a DNF. I don’t do multiple person point of views which is the case here. It’s almost like an introduction to a series. A group of people with their own selective issues telling their portion of the story, but it’s all intertwining. I literally had to keep pushing myself to finish it.

I do think that’s partially unfair, because some of these characters I was really interested in. I just feel like it was not enough time to develop them to be great. The main duo relationship fell to the wayside  because they didn’t develop enough chemistry for me. I feel like we walked into them and their relationship blind.

Some of the characters like Bran, and Otto? I really liked their story. I would totally buy a novella for each of them. I didn’t want to move on from them. Bran’s story especially, it’s not common in the m/m world for a “straight” guy to fall for a transsexual with hardly any problems, or over reaction. It was just blissfully lovely in my opinion. I thought Miss Dre was too over the top. Every drag queen cliché that has ever been out there was Miss Dre, I liked her sometimes, and other times I loathed her doing too much. Just her flamboyancy was annoying. Max as a character and his relationship was the most unsettling for me. It’s not something I’m familiar with in regards to reading about the BDSM community. It was different, and if it was developed more it could have been amazing. That leaves Lazar and Ben, and while they had the most scene time, I don’t care for them because I’m interested in Bran and Otto.

I think it was an almost okay start-up for a series if it becomes one. It was a first read for me by this author. I think it was okay, and I liked her writing style enough.

Cover Art by Catt Ford. I think it was a nice looking cover for the book. It was a cute cover portrayal of Ben.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages, paperback
Published July 31st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
original title The Cage
ISBN13 9781634763967
edition language English

 

A Jeri Review: Against the Grain (THIRDS #5) by Charlie Cochet

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Against the Grain coverAs the fiercest Defense Agent at the THIRDS, Destructive Delta’s Ash Keeler is foul-mouthed and foul-tempered. But his hard-lined approach always yields results, evident by his recent infiltration of the Coalition. Thanks to Ash’s skills and the help of his team, they finally put an end to the murdering extremist group for good, though not before Ash takes a bullet to save teammate Cael Maddock. As a result, Ash’s secrets start to surface, and he can no longer ignore what’s in his heart.

Cael Maddock is no stranger to heartache. As a Recon Agent for Destructive Delta, he has successfully maneuvered through the urban jungle that is New York City, picking up his own scars along the way. Yet nothing he’s ever faced has been more of a challenge than the heart of Ash Keeler, his supposedly straight teammate. Being in love isn’t the only danger he and Ash face as wounds reopen and new secrets emerge, forcing them to question old loyalties.

As a rule, I am not the biggest fan of PNR (paranormal romance). Vampires, werewolves, etc. There are a couple of series that I do absolutely love and Charlie Cochet’s THIRDs series is at the top of the heap.

Against the Grain is book 5 in the THIRDS series. While you *can* read this book as a stand alone, I highly highly recommend you start with the first book. If not, you are missing a lot.

This book starts the story of Cael and Ash. Two Therian shifters who are on the same team with the THIRDS Destructive Delta. Cael and Ash have tip toed around their attraction to each other for years. Ash because he didn’t think he was good enough for Cael, and Cael because he didn’t know that Ash was gay. Their flirtation and friendship in the previous books finally comes to a head in this book.

One of the many reasons I am a fan of these books as that there is a good story behind the sex and romance. These guys never seem to catch a break, but that is what makes the books so exciting!

To add to the great story line, the romance and the sex there is humor. OH is there humor! So witty and funny, you will find yourself cracking up out loud more than once.

For followers of the series- don’t worry, our original Destructive Delta couple Dex and Sloane have a great presence in the book so you won’t be disappointed at all.

Cover artist:

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

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published August 3rd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781634763752
edition language  English
series THIRDS #5

In the Spotlight: Reckless Hope (Letting Go #2) by j. leigh bailey (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Reckless Hope (Letting Go #2) by j. leigh bailey
Release Date: August 24, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Carina Press

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Sales Links: amazon | barnes&noble | kobo | ibooks

My interview with j. leigh bailey

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing j. leigh bailey, author of Reckless Hope.

Hi j. leigh, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Thank you so much for having me! I’m j. leigh bailey, author of New Adult and Young Adult male/male romance. I live in the Chicagoland area and have always believed that nothing—not race, gender, sexual identity, religious background or paranormal affiliation—should get in the way of the vitally important Happy Ever After ending.

  • Tell us about your book.

RECKLESS HOPE is an opposites attract New Adult romance, in which I’ve paired up a hard-working, super-responsible, over-scheduled guy with a hard-partying, entitled, wealthy adrenaline junkie. Together they discover that learning to trust is a risk, and sometimes the risk is well worth the reward

  • How difficult was it to get into the main character’s head?

There are a few challenges I face in getting into the head of my main characters. I’m neither a young male nor gay. Clearly, I don’t have the exact life experiences that match up to my characters.  But I was once twenty. I struggled to find my way, to define my future. One of the greatest things about writing, or even reading, is that the characters, even the non-human ones, have a shared human experience. We all go through stages of growth, of challenges. We all have periods of grief and excitement. We all fall in love and get our hearts broken. It’s exploring and facing these challenges, and hopefully overcoming them, that make books so much fun. It’s proof, through fiction, that people are capable of surviving and, at least in romantic fiction, achieving a happy ever after ending.

Which all sounds very… philosophical, which isn’t very me. The biggest challenge I face, really, is creating an authentic young male voice. Even when I was twenty, I used words and phrasing that came off as “too adult.” There’s a fine line between language that is so simple or clichéd as to insult young men everywhere, and using language that makes my young men sound like thirty-something women with a love of “big” words. Trying to sound realistic, and not stereotypical, while in my characters’ heads can be a struggle.

  • Is this book a standalone or do you plan on visiting it again?

Reckless Hope is the second book in my Letting Go series, though it, and the others, are stand-alone. They share a common theme, but don’t have any characters or locations in common. I have a couple of characters who are introduced in this book, though, that I may decide to expand upon. Micah’s best friend Jace is kind of a hoot, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him paired up with someone who won’t know how to handle his slightly dramatic flair.

  • Why did you choose to write M/M stories?

I’ve been reading romance since I was 11 years old. Even before that, the television shows and stories I read tended to have a romantic pair-up. Added to it, I read about 100 pages an hour, so I’ve read a lot of different books in a lot of different genres. I went through phases. For a while it was all romantic suspense. Then it was Regency romance. Then it was medieval romance. Then paranormal. If it was romance, I would read it. One day I read a male/male romance and it changed everything. In a male/male romance you have all the same elements that make a great romance, the same kinds of conflict that make getting from point A to point HEA so exciting. But you also have the added conflict of social pressure, the questions of to-PDA or not-to-PDA, out or in. Extra conflict that can make achieving the happily ever after ending more rewarding.

  • Where do you find your inspiration?

For me, I’ll get a phrase or an image stuck in my head. That phrase or image grows into a scene. Next thing I know, I’ve got a story brewing in my brain. Almost always I see an opening scene, or the scene in which the characters first meet, and I see how I want their story to end. Then I get to watch everything unfold from the first meeting to the end, just like I was reading the book as I was writing it. Sometimes I’m surprised at the direction the story takes me, but always the first scene and the last scene stick.

Thank you so much for having me!

STRW Author BookSynopsis

What’s life without a little risk?

Or a lot of risk, if you’re Sebastian Carlisle. He’ll never live up to the legacy of his dead brother, so why try? Being the wild child in a family of stuck-up rich snobs suits him just fine.

Until he meets Micah Burke, and everything changes.

Micah’s got too much going on for a relationship. Even if he could trust Sebastian, a distraction—a sexy, reckless distraction with a death wish—would only derail his carefully scheduled life. If it were just Micah, maybe that would be fine, but his mother and sister depend on him, and he can’t let them down. Or at least that’s what he tells himself.

A hot moment leads to a hot night leads to a connection neither of them are ready for. And when a crisis hits Micah’s family hard, Sebastian will have to shed his bad-boy image and decide whether he can be the man Micah needs—and Micah needs to decide whether he’ll let him.

Book two of Letting Go
Pages or Words: 67,000
Categories: M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

“I thought I knew what kind of person you were.”
“Yeah, you made that pretty clear.”
Micah cringed, but kept going. “You take for granted everything I work my ass off to achieve. It’s easy for you. And now I know there’s more to you than that. I don’t understand your choices, or the need for an adrenaline rush you seem to have.” He held up a hand to keep Sebastian from saying anything. He scooted up, resting his back against the handlebars. “I don’t have to understand. It’s part of who you are.”
“Somehow I don’t think this discussion is heading in a direction I’m going to like.” Sebastian drew his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them.
“The thing is, you’re a bad influence on me.”
“I don’t—”
“You don’t even have to do anything. Take tonight, for instance.”
“Tonight?”
“I have a midterm tomorrow. I should be studying. Or even sleeping. Instead I’m here. I never have trouble doing what I’m supposed to do. Setting aside my ‘want tos’ to do my ‘have tos.’ Except around you.”
“I’m not trying to make your life harder. I’m just trying to be part of it.”
“That’s what I don’t get. You could have almost anyone. You could find someone a hell of a lot less complicated than me.”
“You may not believe it, but I don’t mind complications.”

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

j. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of New Adult and Young Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending.

She wrote her first story at seven, which was, unbeknownst to her at the time, a charming piece of fan-fiction in which Superman battled (and defeated, of course) the nefarious X Luther. She was quite put out to be told, years later, that the character’s name was actually Lex. Her second masterpiece should have been a best-seller, but the action-packed tale of rescuing her little brother from an alligator attack in the marshes of Florida collected dust for years under the bed instead of gaining critical acclaim.

Now she writes New Adult and Young Adult LGBT Romance novels about boys traversing the crazy world of love, relationships and acceptance.

Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.bailey.39948
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/JLeighBailey
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JenniWrites

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: An eBook copy of Nobody’s Hero (Letting Go book 1) and an eBook copy of Reckless Hope.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Final

Tour Dates & Stops:
24-Aug

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Velvet Panic, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

25-Aug

Hearts on Fire, Havan Fellows

26-Aug

Amanda C. Stone, Divine Magazine

27-Aug

V’s Reads, Boys on the Brink Reviews, BFD Book Blog

28-Aug

EE Montgomery, Bayou Book Junkie

31-Aug

Happily Ever Chapter, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat

1-Sep

MM Good Book Reviews, Cathy Brockman Romances, Jessie G. Books

2-Sep

Dawn’s Reading Nook, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Hearts on Fire

3-Sep

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads

4-Sep

Just Love Romance, Molly Lolly

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Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Velvet Panic, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My
25-Aug
Hearts on Fire, Havan Fellows
26-Aug
Amanda C. Stone, Divine Magazine
27-Aug
V’s Reads, Boys on the Brink Reviews, BFD Book Blog
28-Aug
EE Montgomery, Bayou Book Junkie
31-Aug
Happily Ever Chapter, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat
1-Sep
MM Good Book Reviews, Cathy Brockman Romances, Jessie G. Books
2-Sep
Dawn’s Reading Nook, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Hearts on Fire
3-Sep
Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads
4-Sep
Just Love Romance, Molly Lolly