A Mika Review: Trust by Sarah Masters

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ★★★

Trust coverSometimes, trusting your instincts leads to happiness and love.

After coming out, life took a turn for the worst. I knew people would view me differently, of course I did, but… See, here’s the thing. How does a person cope when a few of their work colleagues play such a cruel trick that it leaves them wondering if they’ll ever trust anyone again? It happened to me, and trusting isn’t something I do easily now.

Until James comes along. He’s a work colleague too, but my issue is, I keep thinking he’s playing another trick. You know, reeling me in, making me think he’s a good bloke.

He’s asked me to go out with him and although I should maybe get to know him a bit better first, I’ve said I’ll go. I need to get back out there, live a little. And if I get hurt? Well, I’ll just have to deal with it. Again.

But maybe he won’t hurt me. Break my heart and all that. Please God.

Definitely a short, sweet and cute read. Trevor is basically humiliated at work by his co-workers after them finding out about his sexuality. I thought it was cute of Trevor talking to himself and trying to reassure himself in the most sensible way that things were going to get better. Enter admin guy, who Trevor doesn’t know if anything coming out his mouth is genuine, and he takes a chance on him. These guys seem like they are in their awkward teenage phase of life, but they are adults dealing with being out in two different ways. We learn that sweet admin guy is just boring James as he describes his name, like Trevor, I see nothing boring about him. I think it took a lot of confidence to come up and talk to someone who’s basically being shamed at work. James gives off the aura of confidence when he has his own insecurities as well. I really liked how they came together, and were better with each other.

Cover Art by Posh Gosh. I liked the display of Trevor at the Art center where he and James can be themselves. No one is judging them, and they are happy being their own bent selves!

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published August 11th 2015 by Pride Publishing
ISBN139781784307103
edition languageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Put a Ring on It (Ready or Knot #1) by K.A. Mitchell

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5  

Put A Ring On ItKieran Delaney-Schwartz—adoptee, underachiever, and self-professed slacker IT guy—lives his under-the-radar life by the motto: Don’t try, don’t fail. His adopted siblings are all overachievers thanks to his driven, liberal parents, but Kieran has elected to avoid disappointing anyone by not getting their hopes up. He’s coasting through his early twenties when he’s hit head-on by Theo. The successful decade-older Broadway producer sweeps him off his feet for a whirlwind thirteen months that are pretty sweet until it all comes screeching to a halt on Valentine’s Day, with an unexpected proposal via a NYC Times Square Flash mob.

Now everyone wants in on the wedding, except the grooms…

K.A. Mitchell’s Collision Course remain’s a dog-eared favorite read of mine.  And with each new story, I hope to find the same magic and character dynamics that made that novel such a comfort read for me.  Unfortunately, Put A Ring On It is not that story…at least for me.

Several elements kept it from that status and it starts right at the beginning with a flashback. Thirteen years ago, a group of men, all close friends, head to Coney Island for a post-graduation get together.  It turns into a promise to continue to meet there, no matter where they are and what they are doing. Only one of them is our main character, the rest of his friends will each have a book in the series.  But in starting here with so many voices (and continuing with them with their multiple points of views and plots throughout the story), our focus on the main characters and their troubled relationship is diluted before any connection is made.

Another element that threw the book off for me? Kieran and Theo is a couple that lacked charisma on many levels.  I don’t mind relationships with a age span between the individuals, especially if the author makes a good argument for it or makes the difference in years seem inconsequential.  Not here.  Kieran seems immature.  He doesn’t want to make a commitment (which is fine) But he goes along and does.  He won’t meet Theo’s friends or go to functions important to Theo.  He reads young, self involved and immature.  Which, again ok, but not a fit for Theo.  Theo reads too old for Kieran.  He loves his job, producing musicals, he’s a over the top extrovert who doesn’t stop to think what his younger lover might want. Or that his younger lover might not want the things he does. Again not a good fit and Mitchell never makes the reader feel as though  these two have any common ground for their feelings for each other.  Its one awkward clash after the other with the  reader caught in the middle and not happily as might be the case in another story.

Put A Ring On It definitely has a ring at the center, one that comes out at a proposal gone hideously wrong and then continues to pop up all through the story, mostly as a promise to “think about getting married”, a serious dilution of the commitment the ring represents.  The ring turns things around but that aspect feels unrealistic by the time it  finally happens because of all the events that came before.

This story is well written, the characters believable and yet for me it doesn’t hold together as a romance or wholly cohesive narrative.  Too many points of view, too many foundation plot threads laid down that obscured the main one here, and in the end two main characters that lacked the essential “magic” needed to make them feel like they would make it past the one year marker.

Cover art by Reese Dante is spot on and totally adorable.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here  (preorder until Sept 9)

Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages
Expected publication: September 9th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original title Put a Ring on It
ISBN139781634763813
edition languageEnglish

A BJ Review: Give An Inch by K.D. Sarge

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5  ★★★★★

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice, and all the stories are edited by the group and given away FREE. This particular story was written for the prompt I submitted! Woot!

Give An Inch coverPrompt:

Dear Author,
The court settlement left me with enough money to buy a house as isolated from other people as I could get. I vowed I’d never let anyone close again and spent my days fixing the place up and trying to forget. Then a feral cat dropped her litter in the shed out back and disappeared. I couldn’t leave newborn kittens to die, but a city boy like me had no clue how to care for them. Thank goodness for Google. Supply list in hand, hair tucked under a hat that shadowed my face, and eyes covered by glasses, I dared to venture into town. I met him (picture) at the local feed store. I guess he’s not into watching the news, since he didn’t seem to know who I am. He helped me save the kittens. He’s dyslexic, which he thinks makes him stupid. He’s far from that. He’s kind and gentle, and he’s starting to slip under my barriers. Starting to make me crave his touch. But how can I bare my body to him after what they did to me? What they made me?

Tully

Photo Description:
A young man in a beanie lies on a couch, a gray-and-white kitten asleep on his chest and a black-and-white kitten exploring. He smiles at them.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

I was extremely excited when K.D. Sarge chose my prompt as I knew I could expect to get something special. I’m going to try not to give away too much of the plot in this review because I think its something best experienced in the slow bits of insight given. For that reason, I won’t say much about Marlow’s background, but as the story opens he’s purchased a secluded home in a rural area and has found a litter of NINE kittens abandoned by their mother. NINE! How can he possibly care for that many little critters on his own, right? Thankfully, young Pax who works part-time at the feed store rides into the picture on his trusty bike. Marlow had forgotten one of his bags of purchases at the store and Pax came to deliver it in person. Like Marlow, Pax is sucked in by the little furballs and is soon on board with the fight to save them… and maybe Marlow, too.

Wonderfully written story that gave me all the sweet adorableness I’d hoped for offset by some lovely touches of dark. I enjoyed reading this and am thankful to the author for bringing my prompt to life so eloquently!

Both Pax and Marlow are interesting characters. The story did end a bit abruptly for me, and left me longing for a sequel or expanded version to show more. I must know if the guy’s initial hook up continued and what ended up happening to the kittens. Did they keep one? Basically, it was completely intriguing and I was totally not ready for it to end. MORE please.

The cover was created by the DRitC team as part of the event and doesn’t relate specifically to this story.

Free Story to be Found Here

Book Details:

ebook, 52 pages
Published August 30th 2015 by MMRomanceGroup.com
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.mmromancegroup.com/?p=278481

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Throwback Thursday Review: The Summer House (English Hearts #1) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

English 1 the summer house jpgThe last thing veterinarian Connor Lawson needs in his life is a sexy, rich playboy like Ashby Sterling-Haynes. Connor once had a relationship with a wealthy playboy, and once was enough. In fact, not even his best friend knows the dark secret and emotional pain Connor carries from that encounter, but it is still affecting his life, and if he has any hope for a future with a man, he has to find a way to deal with it.

Ashby Sterling-Haynes is the youngest son in a wealthy, titled family. Currently the chief of the accounting department at the corporation’s headquarters in London, he’s staying at the country estate while his brother Ben, who manages the estate, is on his honeymoon. A mild flirtation with the vet leads to so much more, and a summer in which Ash thought he’d be bored, turns into a journey of self-discovery when he apprentices with a local carpenter to indulge his creative side and his itch to work with wood. Once only a dream, he discovers that his “hobby” may indeed turn out to be his career, at the same time he discovers that his flirtation with Connor is leading to a rich and fulfilling friendship and a deep and abiding love.

There are both struggles and poignant moments as Connor and Ash interact in the community. And there’s both humor and heartache as Connor works through his past fears, and Ash discovers what love is all about and realizes that he’s not only willing to fight for Connor, he’s eagerly looking forward to it.

I loved this couple. I haven’t loved another couple so much since I first met Jack Campbell and Riley Hayes in The Heart of Texas. Their chemistry was spot-on, and both their individual personalities and their behavior as a couple were genuine and exciting. The secondary characters, especially Landon and Rachel and Mick were all vital to the story and complemented the whole.

I highly recommend this one to those who love their M/M romance with a nice mixture of humor, angst, hurt/comfort, and sexy times all rolled into one very enjoyable package.

~~~~
Cover design by Meredith Russell depicts two young men with an English estate in the background. The men look exactly the way I would picture Connor and Ashby after having read the story, so IMHO, it’s perfect.

Sales Links:  RJ Scott  –  All Romance (ARe) Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

A standalone, English Hearts story

ebook
Published May 29th 2015 by Love Lane Books Limited (first published May 27th 2015)
urlhttp://www.rjscott.co.uk
seriesEnglish Hearts #1

Love’s Path Takes a Curve with Bent Arrow by Posy Roberts (excerpt and giveaway)

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Bent Arrow cover

Bent Arrow by Posy Roberts
Release Date: September 3, 2015

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Goodreads Link 
Publisher: Labyrinth Bound Books
Cover Artist: DJ Mack

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Buy Links:  Amazon | All Romance (ARe) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Sometimes curves in the road take you right where you belong.

Luther Almond’s life working the Bakken oil field is perfect—short-lived jobs, temporary housing, and easy hookups. That’s one reason he won’t move home when he inherits the lake house. When Erik Heat bends over to fix Luther’s pipes, his tattoos hint he might be up for more than working on the drain. The last thing Luther expects is to want more from this guy than one night.

Every time they’re together, Luther is more grounded and Erik more confident. When the lake house demands attention, Luther asks for Erik’s help. There he imagines a more permanent life, one where he stops running. But he wants Erik by his side. Can he find the courage—and the words—to ask?

Pages or Words: 20,000 words/65 pages
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Erik had the quintessential plumber’s crack, but holy… it was not at all repulsive. And on his left ass cheek was a tattoo. From where Luther sat, it looked like an elaborate arrow, or at least the tip of an arrow pointing toward his ass. The rest disappeared under his clothes. Luther assumed it wrapped around his side, and he wondered what sort of fletching was at the other end. Did it end right above his cock, obscured by a dark thatch of pubic hair, or nestle in his V, just skirting his hipbone?
Luther stood up, grabbed a can of pop from the fridge, and stepped closer to study the tattoo. He spied a dark smudge right above the beautiful arrow tip and barely kept himself from bursting into laughter when he realized what it said.
Insert here was inked in faded letters, nothing at all like the professional thin lines of the quality arrow. This looked like the shit tattoos his high school friends gave themselves with a sewing needle and India ink before they were old enough to get a professional one. Or a prison tattoo.
Yet it was like an invitation just waiting to be noticed.
“Is that true?” Luther asked.
“Is what true?” Erik’s voice was muffled.
“‘Insert here.’”
Erik immediately sat back and tugged both his underwear and his jeans up to cover his left hip as he cursed under his breath. “Shit. Stupid tool belt.” He flushed bright red and then muttered words that were hard to understand, but Luther thought he made out undershirt and aerator. Erik scrambled to toss his tools in his bucket, taking no time to organize them in the same way they’d been when he’d arrived, and he tripped over an area rug as he bolted toward the door.
“Hey! Stop,” Luther said. “Just—stop!”
Erik did, but he faced the door, refusing to turn around.
“I’m gay, so you’re safe here, if that’s what that tattoo’s truly about.”
Erik turned his head slightly, only enough that Luther could see his dark eyelashes as he blinked in double time.
“It’s not an easy place to be out. I know. But then… why have that tattooed on your ass?”
“Long story,” Erik said.
“You were going out to your truck to get more tools?” Luther offered, to help the guy save face.
“No.” He hiked his pants up and tightened his tool belt a notch or two. “I’m gonna keep working.”
“All right.” Luther sat down on his couch again, tugging his iPad back into his lap and pretending to no longer care about those smudged words that obviously meant a hell of a lot to Erik. At least keeping them hidden did.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Real life. Genuine men. True love.
Posy Roberts writes about the realistic struggles of men looking for love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.
Posy is married to a man who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep. Her daughter, a budding author and dedicated Whovian, helps her come up with character names. When Posy’s not writing, she enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Newsletter

Where to find the author:
Pinterest: Pinterest
Other: Tumblr (NSFW)

RC

Tour Dates & Stops: September 3, 2015
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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prize(s) provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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