A MelanieM Review: No Place Left to Run by Zarah Detand

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Rating:  2.75 stars out of 5

No Place Left To RunAfter a lengthy world tour, pop star Samuel Gibbs is looking forward to a nice, quiet break—sleep in, write a bit of music, do his own cooking for a change. He doesn’t want his time spoiled by the constant presence of bodyguards, and he is certainly not willing to have someone tail him each time he so much as goes to the shops. No way, no how. It’s a good thing, then, that his head of security relents on the matter—or so he leads Samuel to believe.

The break is starting to look even better when Samuel runs into his new neighbor. Ryan Halston is smart and hot and, quite possibly, everything Samuel wants. However, he doesn’t know that Ryan is part of the rejected security detail, tasked with protecting him from the dangerous attentions of an unknown stalker.

No Place Left To Run by Zarah Detand  had a promising plot but I found the author’s  characters and lack of continuity kept her story from coming close to achieving the potential it promised.

You can forgive a story many things if you believe in its characters and that’s a hard thing to do here, starting with Ryan.  Ryan Halston, age 24,  is supposed to be an accomplished bodyguard, nerves of steel, best in the business. etc. The author spends time framing out the man’s character and background and then uses the rest of the book to ignore everything they established.  Ryan is acts one way on one page and then can appear to have an entire different persona on another.  And Ryan’s lack of a solid characterization extends to others.  From Gary to the bodyguard Mike, the author spends time and many descriptions “telling” the reader how responsible and remarkable they are at their jobs, then proceeds the demonstrate just the opposite in the events that occur.  Mike seems to act more like a smitten kitten and Gary?  His actions felt the very antithesis of someone trying to protect this client.  One after the other, Detand’s characterizations were so flexible that they became unrecognizable as real or believable.  And don’t get me started on their timelines.  If ever there was an author in need of a storyboard, it is this one.  Ryan is 24, Sam is 20, Ryan said he lost his  parents when he was 13 in the  early 90’s, but the time frame of this story is now.  See the problem?  You can delve further into the dates but it just gets worse.

Samuel Gibbs is a rocker but that aspect of the story is missing.  We get little of the reason Sam is a rock star, his love of music, what drives him. We do get his exhaustion, his age (20), his friends like Sumi.  But again, it all feels as though we are left needing more of his character.

The resolution and the reveal is possibly the worst thing about the story.   Not just the person, but the way it happens and the aftermath.  It finishes off what little is left of several characterizations here, and continues on with an Epilogue which is really just another chapter.  Does the author not understand what an epilogue is?

This is the first story that I’ve read by this author, so I will see what else they have on their shelf.  I try not to judge on one book alone.  I only wish I had liked the story as much as I had liked the synopsis and the cover.

Cover artist Paul Richmond.  I like the cover. It contains an element of the story.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Published March 25th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632165404
edition language English

A Stella Review: Speedy Rewards (Working Class #1) by Jeff Erno

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Rating 4 stars out of 5   ★★★★

Speedy Rewards coverPhil Mitchell pours his heart and soul into his job as manager of Speedy Mart, a local convenience store. He loves his work and he loves his fellow employees, but when it comes to his personal life, Phil is lonely and depressed and still pining for his long-departed ex.

He embarks upon the week from hell where anything that can go wrong does. It begins with a truck crashing into his outdoor sign and only goes downhill from there.

Add an asshole homophobic boss hell bent on seeing him fired and Phil realizes he needs to put into place a plan to save himself and his job.

First step in his plan… do something about his love life.

Meanwhile, Ezra, one of Phil’s team members, is dealing with his own roller coaster ride of a week.

As is Brandon, the local cop…

And Mark, the homophobic boss…

Perhaps, with a little… luck, the next week will be better.

When I started Speedy Rewards I couldn’t believe this was going to be my first book by Jeff Erno. It’s a well known author and I’m pretty sure at least one of his book was translated in Italian. Still, I missed him and his talent.

What first lured me into reading this book was the cover, I found it funny and cute and different from the usual ones with naked man on them. And different can totally be the key word for my review.

Speedy Rewards was so different from all the m/m I read daily, like a breath of fresh air, I couldn’t help but like it so much.

The particularity was that in almost every new chapter the author gave me a new character, not making it part of the MCs’ like but making it a true MC, with its own personal story.  Justine, the OCD casher; Ezra, the tattoo guy; Vince, the a*****e guy; and so many more. And if you’re are thinking it could be confusing, it wasn’t at all. I couldn’t have requested a book with better defined characters. It was like reading different stories but tightly woven to each other and set in a conventional store, managed by Phil. Jeff Erno was able to put so many occurrences in just a few days. He gave a rhythm to the story that kept me coming back to the book at every free minute I had during the day. A sequence of events never boring. And I was so caught in all the stories that at some point when I was already plenty halfway through the reading, I asked myself who was supposed to be the other MC in the apparent “main couple”. If it wasn’t for the cover, I wouldn’t have never guessed with whom the supposed by the blurb MC would have ended.

I want to highly recommend Speedy Rewards to all of you who is looking for something different but well written, detailed and engaging. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out. Meanwhile I’m browsing through the other books by this author.

Cover art by Jay Aheer. Lately I came across a lot of her works and I’m liking them more and more *adding Jay to my favorite cover artist*

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

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 250 pages
Published June 5th 2015 by Wayward Ink Publishing
ISBN13 9781925222449
Edition Language English
Series Working Class #1

Rock Out with the boys of L.A Witt’s Running With Scissors (giveaway)

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Running with Scissors by L.A. Witt
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover art by L. C. Chase

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L.A. Witt blog tour for Running with Scissors by L.A. Witt”

Blurb

Eighteen months ago, drummer Jude Colburn made the biggest mistake of his life when he walked away from his band just as they were on the brink of success. Now, he’s got a second chance. The band’s bassist just quit, and Jude plays bass almost as well as he plays drums. The other band members aren’t thrilled, but they are desperate.

Running with Scissors needs him, but there’s one condition: no hooking up with bandmates. That’s what ruined things eighteen months ago, after all. Jude’s on board, but no one warned him about the drummer who replaced him. A.J. Palmer is shy and unassuming . . . until he hits the stage. He gets Jude’s attention from the first beat, and suddenly that “no hookups” rule isn’t so easy to follow.

Keeping secrets on a tour bus isn’t easy either, and it’s only a matter of time before the band catches on. When everything hits the fan, Jude has to choose: a second chance at the career he’s always regretted leaving, or a shot at the man of his dreams?

Running With Scissors is available from Riptide Publishing.

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Giveaway

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Running With Scissors) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 5th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to leave your email so we can contact you if you win!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

About the Author

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

L.A.’s backlist is available on  her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter @GallagherWitt.

 

Coffee Sip and Book Break with Joe Cosentino and his release A Shooting Star (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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A Shooting Star (In My Heart)
by Joe Cosentino
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press 

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Interview with Joe Cosentino for A SHOOTING STAR, the second In My Heart bittersweet dreams novella from Dreamspinner Press

Why write a bittersweet story?  What is the attraction there?

  • There are different types of bittersweet stories. My two novellas include moments of humor, romance, sadness, and revelation. Just like in real life. That’s what attracts me to the genre. I started as an actor then playwright. I can’t remember acting in a play, movie, or television show, or writing a play that did not include some sad or tragic moments. Those moments brought the stories to life, and were what the audience members talked about and remembered. After AN INFATUATION (the first In My Heart bittersweet dreams novella) was released by Dreamspinner Press, many readers messaged me to say how much that novella changed their lives. They said they laughed, felt romantic, and cried while falling in love with Harold and Mario. To this day I cherish every one of those messages. They also requested a second novella in the In My Heart series. Since AN INFATUATION was loosely based on my high school days through adulthood, I thought back to my days as a theatre major in college, and A SHOTING STAR was born.

Is there a certain bittersweet moment or story you remember well?

  • We all have people we miss in our lives. While not having them with us may be sad, the memoires can be joyous, life-changing, and passionate. I was a theatre major in college. Like most college theatre departments, mine was full of comedy, romance, mystery, and of course drama. The flames of love were kindled and hearts were broken while we put up play after play for delighted audiences who never knew the personal secrets behind the stage curtains. There was the star student who got the leading role in every show. Everyone, male and female, was in love with him. He was handsome, muscular, charismatic, and an incredible actor-onstage and off. He broke everyone’s heart, but we all idolized him anyway. We shared an incredible experience that binds us till this day. An experience none of us will ever forget. This novella is dedicated to that time.

Do you feel we must know what the bitter tastes like in order to understand or savor the sweetness of life when it arrives?

  • Well said! My mother always said, “You have to lose something to appreciate what you have.” She also said, “Don’t you have anything better to do than sit home and write books?” I wonder if Shakespeare’s mother said that to him? Hah. Actually, my mother loves my books!

What character or moment in this story stood out for you as your “aha” moment?  Not the revelatory moment for the plot, but the moment when you knew it was coming together as a story?

  • Jonathan has incredible spirit. He is likeable, gullible, and wears his heart on his sleeve. David is magical, an enigma, and incredibly sexy. I knew they would have powerful chemistry from the first page, and they didn’t let me down. When Barry, Jonathan’s devoted scene partner, entered the story, he was so hysterically funny and sweet. At that point I knew the story was incredibly special.

I know some readers run from stories without HEA let alone, HFN, what would you say to them?

  • AN INFATUATION and A SHOOTING STAR celebrate and cherish first love, infatuation, and lasting memories. Reading them will be an experience you will remember. Besides, I hear it’s good for us to have a good laugh and a good cry once in a while. If you don’t like the idea of reading a bittersweet dreams novella, read DRAMA QUEEN (the first Nicky and Noah comedy mystery from Lethe Press). In book one, college theatre professors, Nicky and Noah, use their theatre skills (including impersonating others) to find out why their colleagues are dropping like stage curtains. It’s available as an ebook, paperbook, or audiobook (performed by the hysterically funny Michael Gilboe). BTW, there are only HEAs in my future books! I am currently editing for release: A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (a winter holiday short story taking place in Capri, Italy) releasing in December from Dreamsprinner Press. Following that will be THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TAKES FROM FAIRYLAND (gay fairy tales novella) releasing from Dreamspinner Press in February, DRAMA MUSCLE (the second Nicky and Noah comedy mystery set in the college’s Physical Education department) and DRAMA CRUISE (the third Nicky and Noah mystery set on a murder mystery dinner theatre cruise to Alaska) from Lethe Press. I also just finished a new gay romance novel set in the Jersey Shore, COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK. There is also my (straight leading characters with gay supporting characters) mystery novel, PAPER DOLL, from Whiskey Creek Press, about an ex-child star making a comeback as she finds a murderer from her past and present. Coming in 2016 are other Jana Lane mysteries: PORCELAIN DOLL and SATIN DOLL from The Wild Rose Press. Looks like I’ll be really busy!

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STRW Author BookSynopsis

On the eve of the best night of his life, winning an Academy Award, Jonathan Bello thinks back to his one great love, David Star. Flipping back the pages of time, Jonathan recalls his handsome, muscular, and charismatic college roommate. Since Jonathan was a freshman and David a senior in the Theatre Department, David took Jonathan under his wing and molded him, not only as an actor but as a lover. With every wonderful new adventure, David left his joyful mark on anyone with whom they came in contact, but Jonathan soon uncovered David’s dark past, leading to a shocking event. Undaunted, Jonathan celebrates the captivating man who will always hold a special place in his heart.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

A SHOOTING STAR BY JOE COSENTINO FROM DREAMSPINNER PRESS

As an Italian-American, I subscribed to my mother’s theory that if someone doesn’t want you to see something, he will hide it in a locked vault covered with cement. So I inadvertently took a quick look at my roommate’s things on the other side of the room. He was incredibly neat. Numerous theater textbooks and play scripts lined his bookshelf in alphabetical order. The bulletin board above his desk displayed artistically arranged programs from various comedy, drama, and musical college productions listing the same male lead in each show: “David Star”.
“Do you always look at other people’s things?”
I nearly got whiplash as he entered the room.
Stammering like a kid caught masturbating by his parents, I said, “I… w-was… ad-m-miring y-your… r-room.”
Though it was a fall September day, he took off his scarf (violet) and rested it on a tall coat-rack, which held scarves in various colors like a department store window display. He was taller than me, with a chiseled, handsome face, and straight, shiny black hair, which fell down his thick neck. I admired his perfectly sculpted muscles, housed in a turquoise designer dress shirt. But what captivated me the most were his piercing crystal-blue eyes—and the enormous bulge in his skin-tight, designer beige pants.
“What’s your name?”
“Johnny Falabella.”
He looked at me like a surgeon examining a tumor. “No, it’s not.”
“Excuse me?”
“It’s Jonathan Bello.” He opened a bureau drawer, pulled out a bottle of hair gel, and tossed it to me. “You should gel your hair.” He opened his closet, revealing a multitude of color-coordinated shirts and slacks, and lay some on my bed. “And you can wear these.”
I looked at his perfectly pressed designer clothes. “Where did you get all these things?”
“They were gifts, mostly.”
“You must have some generous friends…. Sorry, I don’t know your name.”
“I’m David Star.” He took a bow.
Looking back at his play programs, I said, “You must have starred in every play at the college over the last three years.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“What happened to your last roommate?”
“He went to LA over the summer break and started auditioning. He got cast in a new TV sitcom. I hope it takes off. It’s called Cosby.”
“At the orientation session, they said freshmen are housed with other freshmen. How did I get a senior for a roommate?”
His eyes twinkled. “Just lucky I guess.”
“Do you think it was some kind of an administrative error or something?”
“Or something.” He added matter-of-factly, “I asked for a freshman roommate.”

Contemporary Romance
ISBN-13:978-1-63476-526-8
Pages:98

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press short stories novella), Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press), and Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press).France picture

Contact Joe at:

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: ttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KRPXJP6

 

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

 

Joe Cosentino is offering a giveaway of AN INFATUATION, the first In My Heart bittersweet dreams M/M novella from Dreamspinner Press. Post a comment about his interview. We will select the winner and Joe will email you the ebook!”  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Make sure you leave an email address where you can be reached if chosen. Happy reading.

In Out Spotlight: Like a Lover (Housemates #2) by Jay Northcote

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Like a Lover (Housemates #2) by Jay Northcote
Release Date: September 4, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Jaybird Press
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

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Blurb

Josh has a plan: get through uni with a good degree and no debts. Focused on his goals, he’s working as an escort to pay his way. He enjoys the no-strings sex and doesn’t have the time or inclination for a relationship. Falling in love definitely isn’t part of the deal—especially not with a client.

When Rupert meets Josh in a bar, he’s smitten on sight. He’s never paid for sex before, but when Josh propositions him, he can’t resist. He should have known one night would never be enough. Luckily for him, he has an inheritance to support his addiction to Josh, because his job in IT wouldn’t cover the cost.

With each appointment the lines get increasingly blurred. Something is developing between them that feels more like a relationship than a business transaction, but they come from different worlds and to go from client-and-escort to lovers seems impossible. If they want a future together, Josh and Rupert have a lot to overcome.

Pages or Words: 48,450 words
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

Excerpt:

“I like your lip ring,” Rupert said. His gaze dropped lower to Josh’s collarbones. “What are your tattoos of?”

“Swallows.” Rupert would just be able to see the wing tips that showed in this low-necked T-shirt. “Two of them.”

“Have you got any other tattoos?”

Josh gave a slow, teasing smile. “Maybe. Do you want me to show you?”

Rupert met his eyes again. There was a flicker of uncertainty before he answered. “Yes. I’d like that.”

Josh turned over the possibilities in his mind. It had been a long time since he’d had sex for anything other than for money. He usually saw clients at least three nights a week. They scratched the itch for him, and he didn’t have the time or inclination to hook up with other guys. He hadn’t dated since he’d started working as an escort. Josh didn’t like lying about his job, but most guys didn’t want to date escorts.

It would be easy to pick Rupert up tonight, though, and have no-strings sex with him for fun rather than cash. But Josh’s rent was due.

“Me too. But it’ll cost you,” he finally said.

Rupert frowned, obvious confusion crossing his features as he tried to make sense of Josh’s words. “What? I don’t—”

“You’re hot, and I wish I could do this without asking you for money. But a client let me down this evening. I have a hotel room booked and paid for next door, and I need someone to cover the cost for me.” The lie came smoothly. “I can’t afford to have sex for free tonight.”

Rupert’s mouth dropped open. Shock was evident on his face, but there was something else that was harder to read. His cheeks flooded pink again and his eyes went dark. “You’re….” His voice came out husky, and he cleared his throat. “You’re a….”

“A sex worker. An escort, to be precise. Hooker, rent boy, you get the gist. I’m an expensive one too. But my clients think I’m worth the money.” Josh waited, tension making a muscle tick in his jaw as he forced himself to stay still and hold Rupert’s gaze. On the occasions he’d tried picking up clients face-to-face, their reactions had varied. Interest, anger, excitement, disgust… he’d seen them all. He steeled himself, ready for rejection.

Rupert licked his lips. “How much?” he finally asked.

Buy the book:  Amazon | Amazon UK All Romance (ARe) | Smashwords

About the Author

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.

She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.

Where to find the author:

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Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Bayou Book Junkie, Bookaholic Confessions, My Fiction Nook, BFD Book Blog, Reviews by Jessewave, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Happily Ever Chapter, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Carly’s Book Reviews, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Louise Lyons, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Divine Magazine, Multitasking Mommas, Boys on the Brink Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Nephylim, Iyana Jenna, Inked Rainbow Reads, Molly Lolly, Mikky’s World of Books, 3 Chicks After Dark, V’s Reads, Velvet Panic

Final Jay Northcote Revised

Giveaway

Enter to  win a Rafflecopter Prize: $10 Amazon gift card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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