A Stella Review: Beyond the Surface (The Breakfast Club #1) by Felice Stevens

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Beyond the Surface coverOn 9/11, firefighter Nick Fletcher’s world changed forever. He’s unable to rid himself of survivor’s guilt, made worse by the secret he hides from his family and co-workers. Nick’s life is centered around helping burn victims, until he is reunited with the man he’d once loved but pushed away. Now he has a second chance at a love he thought lost forever.

For fashion designer Julian Cornell, appearances mean everything. His love affairs are strictly casual, and the only thing he cares about is making his clothing line a success. A chance encounter with the man he loved long ago has Julian thinking for the first time in years there may be more to life than being seen at the best parties and what designer labels to wear.

When Julian’s world takes an unexpected turn, it’s Nick who helps him regain perspective on what matters most in life. Julian, in turn, helps Nick accept who he is and understand he isn’t responsible for tragedies he couldn’t prevent. Lost love found can be even sweeter the second time around and after all the years apart, both men learn to look beyond the surface to find the men they are inside.

“I see the real you, the man underneath the scars at the surface. Those mean nothing to me. I’ve looked beyond that. A person’s body is merely a place card for their soul, their heart, and their mind. And in that respect?” Julian bent down and kissed him softly. “You’re the most perfect man I know.”

Beyond The Surface was my first Felice Stevens book and it will not be my last. I know it sounds rhetorical but I really loved her writing style a lot.

This story was a joy to read, a hurt/comfort book hard to ignore since it’s well written and so full of good feelings. I was afraid it was going to be more angsty since Nick being there on the 9/11. Instead everything was showed us in the perfect way, delicate and thorough. It simply filled my heart.

I love “second chance at love” stories and this one was amazing. After being left by Nick without a second though in high school, Julian met him again almost twenty years later; Nick who, in spite of everything, is still the man of his life. Both their lives have changed so much, but the chemistry is still there waiting for them to act on it, especially for Nick to finally be brave and come out. Pretending to be straight is what Nick has done all this time, afraid to disappoint his family, already wounded by his injuries and impossibility to work as a firefighter anymore. He’s afraid when he shouldn’t be cause his family is really great. That’s one more thing I liked, the acceptance and the no drama his coming out was met with. Beautiful and light to see.

“I’m gay.” Julian expelled a long breath and leaned his forehead against Nick’s.
“Thank God.” He kissed Nick then, a soft sweet brush of his lips like the wing of a bird. “It’s the first step. I’m so proud of you.”
Nick kissed Julian back, and he knew he’d finally come home.

There is a great second characters’ cast, some made me laugh, others, the boys and girls at the burn center, broke my heart with their pain and their courage, but they represented the turning point in the MCs’ relationship. In a couple of scenes that played around these young people, I admit I shed some tears, almost of all them were happy tears. It’s an emotional book so it was inevitable.

Beyond the Surface is the first book in a new series called The Breakfast Club, set around three young friends who are used to meet for breakfast. Julian is one of them, then there’s Marcus, club owner always looking for the next man to seduce, and the sweet and shy geek Zach. I’m dying to get their stories too. With this first installment, Felice made me fall in love with her talent and her boys and I’m waiting for the next couple.

Highly recommended!

Cover art by Reese Dante is sweet and simple, it fits the book perfectly in every little detail.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details;

Published August 17th 2015 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Kindle Edition, 229 pages
ASIN B013JB97QY
Edition Language English

 

A Jeri Review: Charlie’s Hero (Heroes #1) by Nic Starr

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Charlie's Hero coverSchoolteacher Charlie Matthews returns to his hometown, looking to regain a sense of community, reconnect with friends, and settle down. It looks like his dreams have come true when paramedic Josh Campbell attends an accident at the school. It’s love at first sight, and a romance begins.

But Josh’s reluctance to come out to the brother who raised him, puts pressure on their fledgling relationship. While Charlie understands Josh’s concerns, he can’t help growing impatient. After all, Charlie came out years ago.

It’s not until Charlie confronts his own parents and realizes he hasn’t come to terms with their rejection that he fully understands what Josh has to lose. But Josh is Charlie’s hero, and Josh will do anything to prove to Charlie that to be part of a family, he doesn’t need his parents.

This book was super sweet and low on angst. A happy read.

Josh is a paramedic called to a school for a hurt child. Charlie is a teacher on the playground that day and spots Josh immediately. He never thinks he will see him again, until the day the paramedics come back for a show and tell type event.

Josh is in the closet to almost everyone- especially his brother who raised him after their father died. Josh refuses to be in the closet. He is who he is, even though his parents rejected him. They begin a tentative relationship, but Charlie doesn’t realize that Josh is hiding.

Their relationship is organic and sweet. No insta-love or insta-sex. Which is nice. They are romancing each other. Until it is time for Josh to set the record straight with his brother.

I really liked Charlie’s best friend in the story. I really love when a gay character has straight friends. Especially straight best friends that aren’t women. That stereotype is getting old. But this was refreshing. The guy was really funny as well.

Josh’ brother seems like a jerk, but, well…you’ll see. Things definitely change there.

For a light hearted romp with just a little heartbreak and angst, definitely read this one. And the follow up “Andrew’s Promise”. That review shortly…

The cover art by Bree Archer drew me in immediately. I love a cover that depicts the characters as written in the book. Well done.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published June 17th 2015 by Dreamspinner
original titleCharlie’s Hero
ISBN139781634760959
edition languageEnglish
seriesHeroes #1, Heroes #1

A Sammy Review: Cronin’s Key II (Cronin’s Key #2) by N.R. Walker

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Cronin's Key II cover“I am forever by your side.”

“As are we,” Jodis said.

Finally, Alec smiled. “Just like the musketeers, huh? All for one and one for all.”

Cronin pulled back a little so he could see Alec’s face. “They weren’t vampires.”

Life hasn’t been a picnic since Alec MacAidan had his world turned upside down. Finding out you’re fated to a vampire, have pretty much been stalked by another since your birth, and are some kind of mysterious key that could save the world is a lot to swallow. But now that he’s started to embrace it, Alec wouldn’t change a thing.

But if he thought there would be rest for the wicked, he was wrong. With rumors of vampire covens fleeing Russia and disappearances in China, there’s no mistaking that Alec’s job as the key has come into play again. But this time, it’s not his life on the line, it’s his forever.

Completion.

Alec understood now what that really meant. It wasn’t some prudish, polite way to describe an orgasm. It was to be at one with Cronin, to be whole, to be complete.

To be fated.

I was beyond excited to read the second book in this series. The first set a great stage for world building and a lifelong (and then some) romance between Cronin and Alec. In this book, we get even more of that world building and romance, and let me tell you, Walker cranks up the steam.

One of my favorite aspects of the first story was the alternate history, and we got even more of that here. Hell, I’d have loved for pages of it (though most readers wouldn’t, so I understand her limiting it.) The author did a nice job of balancing the copious amounts of information with humor and the rest of the story so that it didn’t feel to heavy or like a huge info dump.

And that humor… oh that humor. It was just spot on. I adore Alec and in this book we got to see more of some past favorites and meet some new ones. I hope to see more of Jorge, and even when Alec and Cronin’s story concludes, I’d love to see what Walker could do with Jacques or Kennard. They both have a lot of potential as stars in their own stories.

But… I do have a bone to pick. Or, well, a few. First, the editing. I literally cringed at some of the mistakes. Commas were missing at points, commas were thrown in where they shouldn’t be, words were wrong… it’s a shame, because someone should’ve picked up on those things before it was published. Normally I can get over a few mistakes, but there were enough in this one that I was actually distracted a few times when reading.

Another issue I had was luckily resolved, and that was the portrayal of Dissociative Identity Disorder (or DID, as most people in the field would call it.) I was glad things changed at the end, because I was pretty unhappy with how this was written.

And then my last issue was with how quickly things happened at the end and the lack of emotion I felt for those parts. It was like two books of build up to that moment and… well, it basically went out with a little whimper instead of a bang. I’d love to see Walker push for more emotion in those parts of her story. Make it less of the motions and more of the feelings. In the end, it just felt too neat and clean. And when we found out who was behind stuff… it literally was like “huh? Oh… okay.” I was totally bummed by that.

Still, I love the world building and the characters, and I can’t wait to read more of these two.

The cover art by Sara York is a nice compliment to the first. It’s still not the prettiest thing in the world, but it ties in with the story and the series.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 195 pages
Published May 22nd 2015 by N.R. Walker
edition language English

Early Morning Coffee Sip and Book Break with See You In The Morning by A. T. Weaver (excerpt and giveaway)

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SeeYou 2

See You In The Morning by A. T. Weaver
Release Date: March 4, 2014

Goodreads Link
Publisher: A. T. Weaver
Cover Artist: Ken Clark – Photo from Dreamstime

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Buy the book:  Amazon  |  Smashwords

Blurb:

Jake wonders if he’ll ever find a long-term, loving relationship like his parents have. After all, same-sex marriage is a pipe dream. Then he meets Dave. From the first kiss, they know they belong together. For over fifty years they’re together, living their happily ever after in spite of bigotry. They raise four wonderful children, always counting on the promise they give each other every night – “see you in the morning.”

Pages or Words: 336 pages, 71,733 words
Categories: Fiction, Gay Fiction, Love Story, M/M Romance

Excerpt

(hankie alert)

Jake walked into the cottage, laid the rose on the hall table, removed his jacket and hung it on a hook inside the hall closet. He took Dave’s green sweater from a hanger, slipped it around his back and hugged himself with the sleeves. The scent of Dave’s favorite aftershave filled his nostrils. My dear one, what will I ever do without you? He picked up the rose, stuck the stem through a buttonhole on his shirt and went into the kitchen. He took two glasses from the cupboard and pushed a button on the refrigerator door. Ice and green tea flavored with honey and ginseng poured into the glasses. He frowned at the glasses and set one on the table. I guess I only need one glass.

His shoulders drooped and his feet shuffled as he walked to the living room. He felt much older than his seventy-six years. He set the glass on the table next to his favorite chair, sat and pushed a button on the arm of his chair. Across the room a huge screen nearly the size of the wall rose up and displayed a menu. He pushed another button and an old-fashioned photograph appeared on the screen. Memories flooded his mind.

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About the Author

Meet A. T. Weaver:

              A. T. Weaver is the pen name of a divorced grandmother of eleven, great-grandmother of one. She lives with her cat, Cleopatra, in downtown Kansas City, MO.

When she was growing up, the word gay meant happy and carefree and homosexuals were called queer or ‘one-of-those’. However, she never heard those terms until she was married and a mother. When two men moved in down the street from their mobile home, her husband had to explain they were queer. As far as she was concerned, they were just a couple of men sharing a trailer.

In 2003, through a TV show called Boy Meets Boy, using the sign-on of ‘alixtheweaver’ she ‘met’ over 3,000 gay men in a Yahoo group. These men called her ‘grandma J. and educated her as to the inequalities suffered by the LGBT community She became a staunch ally. She visited one of the men in San Francisco who lived just up the street from the Castro. As he showed her around, they stopped in front of what was once Harvey Milk’s camera store. Her question, “Who was Harvey Milk?” started her education into Gay history.

After the passing of Prop 8 in 2008, she attended her first ever protest rally at the ripe age of 65 where she held a church flag across the street from WBC protesters.

A. T.’s aim is to move you in some way. Whether you laugh or cry, love it or hate it, she welcomes all comments, whether good or bad.

Where to find A. T. Weaver:

RC


Tour Dates & Stops: September 14, 2015

Parker Williams, Jessie G. Books, Mikky’s World of Books, Havan Fellows, Bike Book Reviews, The Jena Wade, BFD Book Blog, Bayou Book Junkie, Inked Rainbow Reads, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Happily Ever Chapter, 3 Chicks After Dark, It’s Raining Men, Michael Mandrake, The Hat Party, Divine Magazine, Three Books Over the Rainbow, MM Good Book Reviews, Andrew Q. Gordon. Molly Lolly, Kimi-Chan, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

Final AT Weaver Revised

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: 2 Print copies and 3 ebooks from back list.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Cover Reveal for Blind Redemption by Denise Dearth and Amy Gillen (giveaway)

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BlindRedemption-banner

A woman is missing, paths are misleading. Can Psychic Detective Jackie Vaughn see through the veil of lies to find her?

Synopsis

Kidnapped and sold into the Chinese slave trade the survival of Annette Freder, the wife of University Chancellor, Charles Freder, depends on struggling psychic detective, Jackie Vaughn.

Crippled by grief over the unexpected death of her wife, Jackie deals with her anguish through pills and booze. While these coping mechanisms numb her pain, the growing addiction hampers her abilities, and places her health and livelihood in jeopardy.  The missing personís case of Annette Freder shifts Jackieís focus, challenging her psychic abilities.

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While on the job in China, Jackie finds herself with limited access to medication, resulting in bouts of withdrawal and depression. But that is just one of the many hurdles hindering Jackie in her quest to find Annette and return her to safety. Will corrupt police, maxed out credit cards, an ousted Greek intelligence officer assassin, and a revelation from an unexpected source prove too much for her?

Entangled deceit and unravelling lies Blind Redemption captures the essence of the human spirit and the power of redemption

Pre-order Links

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/blind-redemption-by-denise-dearth-and-amy-gillen/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014U2PX9G
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B014U2PX9G
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B014U2PX9G
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B014U2PX9G
ARe:  https://www.omnilit.com/product-blindredemption-1887377-243.html

Giveaway

Enter to win a Prize: $10 WIP Gift Card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link  and prize provided by the authors and Eyes on Books Promotions.

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About the authors

DENISE DEARTH is a novelist and songwriter.  Blind Redemption is the first novel in the compelling Jackie Vaughn detective series. She is a member of Broadcast Music Incorporated, a music performing right organization, and the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981. Whenís sheís not writing she may be seen riding a two-toned, sky blue and white Victory Vegas Steel horse into the Midwestern sunset.

Denise Dearth can be found at:

Website: www.fictioncorner.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/JackieVaughnPI

AMY GILLEN is a co-creator of the Jackie Vaughn detective series.  She earned a Bachelorís degree in English Literature from Indiana University.  She is a poet, photographer, and entrepreneur with a passion for kayaking and travel.

Amy Gillen can be found at:

Website: www.fictioncorner.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/JackieVaughnPI