A MelanieM Review: Down and Dirty (Cole McGinnis #5) by Rhys Ford


Rating: 5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Down and DirtyFrom the moment former LAPD detective Bobby Dawson spots Ichiro Tokugawa, he knows the man is trouble. And not just because the much younger Japanese inker is hot, complicated, and pushes every one of Bobby’s buttons. No, Ichi is trouble because he’s Cole McGinnis’s younger brother and off-limits in every possible way. And Bobby knows that even before Cole threatens to kill him for looking Ichi’s way. But despite his gut telling him Ichi is bad news, Bobby can’t stop looking… or wanting.

Ichi was never one to play by the rules. Growing up in Japan as his father’s heir, he’d been bound by every rule imaginable until he had enough and walked away from everything to become his own man. Los Angeles was supposed to be a brief pitstop before he moved on, but after connecting with his American half-brothers, it looks like a good city to call home for a while—if it weren’t for Bobby Dawson.

Bobby is definitely a love-them-and-leave-them type, a philosophy Ichi whole-heartedly agrees with. Family was as much of a relationship as Ichi was looking for, but something about the gruff and handsome Bobby Dawson that makes Ichi want more.

Much, much more.

Ever read a book and fall completely in love with a secondary couple?  Then start wishing the author would write a book just for them?  All those wishes must have hit Rhys Ford pretty darn hard or filled up her email box because Down and Dirty is a reader’s wish come true.  I know its certainly mine.

Bobby Dawson was already a character that I loved to read about.  He’s complicated, intelligent, been bruised by his past and poor choices.  He’s flawed, he bleeds and I understand him.  Then Ichiro Tokugawa appears in the series, a new brother but bringing his own familiar heavy emotional baggage into the already seriously weighed down McGinnis family.  But there was something fresh about Ichi, something shiny (Rhys Ford’s descriptions have a way of making you feel and see the characters, not just read them). So I understood immediately why Bobby was pulled towards Ichi like a magpie towards a newly found sparkle.  The connection flows bothways and its powerful enough that others notice as well.

And start to interfere.  For the best of course.

I  loved this book for so many reasons.  One that might not first jump to mind is that I get a second look at many scenes from the other stories from a different perspective.  This time I see it from Bobby and Ichi’s point of view.  The scenes from the waiting room, the phone calls…the impact is heightened even though I know what has happened and what the outcome will be.  Why?  Because this  time I see the shock waves spreading out from the initial event (still no spoilers) , from person to person, something missing in the original story.  It magnifies the event and the emotional trauma not really looked at closely before. And given its due as it was here.

Bobby’s background, his family and his current actions were all finally explored.  Rhys Ford made Bobby a man at a juncture at his life.  His realistic look at where he stood, his past, how people thought about him, how he thought about himself, did he deserve a future…so well done and equally so moving.  If I hadn’t cared about Bobby before, I certainly would have now.

And the revelations continued with Ichi.  A phone call from his father in Japan sets off a tumbling set of disclosures about his family life in Japan, his  father, the reason Ichi left for his brothers and the States.  If we thought Jae’s family and culture were complicated, this glimpse into Ichi’s life gives us enough of a comparison to realize that our culture might be very simple by perspective.

So what happens when two bruised, complex men are drawn towards each other, no matter what their families want?  The hot, sexy and so satisfactory findings are spread out here in Down and Dirty.  I hope its not the only Bobby and Ichi book to come out of this series but if it is, I’m  content.  With just one more.

I love this book and adore this series.  Now you can also listen to it in audiobook, something I have just ventured into.  Now you have three  different ways to dive into this book and series.

Love a multicultural romance?  Love layered men with a raw authenticity about them?  Hot, sexy and real?  Look no further than Down and Dirty by Rhys Ford as well as the  entire Cole McGinnis series.  I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Cover art by Reece Notley.  The artist continues the series branding with the color tone and style but does a great job changing it up with the models and backdrop.  Love it.

*Review Note: We started the year with this book and we’ll end with it in December! A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Double Dip Review:  A Sammy Review: Down and Dirty by Rhys Ford January 2015

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

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published January 2nd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
Original TitleDown and Dirty
ISBN 1632166151 (ISBN13: 9781632166159)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesCole McGinnis #5
CharactersIchiro Tokugawa, Robert (Bobby) James Dawso








A BJ Review: Turbulence (Turbulence #1) by Lyn Gala


Rating:  5 stars out of 5                 ★★★★★

TurbulenceCorporal Jacqs Glebov is a simple soldier who wants a bunk, decent food and the company of other battle-hardened men and women who understand the realities of fighting. Instead he’s stuck patrolling a remote corner of the border with cadets straight out of boot camp. They don’t understand him, and he sure doesn’t have an ounce of respect for them.

After a field promotion, Earth sends Commander Zeke Waters to the Candiru for some practical experience in a leadership role. Instead, Zeke falls in lust with the adamantly heterosexual Jacqs. The way Jacqs fights and the way he sees the world draws Zeke closer, even if common sense tells him to walk away.

Even if they can find a way to reconcile their sexual differences, they are both still soldiers. The war will eventually take them away from each other unless they can find a way to escape the rules that have defined their lives.

Let me begin by saying that while I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by this author, no matter the genre, sci-fi is a lifetime addiction of mine and Lyn Gala’s sci-fi has become my new addiction.

Excellent world-building, perfect pacing, all around well-written. This story has it all: spaceships, action, political maneuverings, blazing hot sexy times in just the right proportion to story, AND a society in which one declares their sexuality publicly on their records (but can also change it at any time) and no one looks down on them for it (um… well, unless they are dyssexual).

But it was the characters that truly captivated me. And not only the main characters, but ALL of them were amazingly well-drawn, nuanced, and varied. We get a few strong kick-ass females, a few brainy, brave but fragile females; some wimpy milksops of both sexes, an alcoholic captain who still manages to pull his head out when needed, a hot, smart, skilled long-haired guy with a background as a pirate background (who shows up again in book two, yeehaw!), and I still haven’t gotten to talking about the awesome main characters yet!

Jacqs Glebov doesn’t think of himself as smart, but he has a simple, straight forward way of seeing things, a natural common sense, and top notch skills at his job. He was such an amazing character. None of the usual angst when he figures out after meeting Zeke, the new commander that he’s not heterosexual after all. Not entirely. I’d actually never heard of stenosexual, but it totally makes sense! I love that more than I can say. As someone who has always been attracted to people, not their gender, that makes total sense to me. I don’t understand why its so hard for folks to get that bi/pan does not mean we are sluts or we want both or we are just not ready to come out, etc. Can’t folks just understand that the equipment someone has isn’t what matters for some of us, but rather personality and/or many other attributes. I’ve had a hard time with the way many m/m books that portray bisexual/pansexual characters… so this book was like a breath of fresh air for me. I completely and totally adore Jacqs.

Not to say that I don’t also admire Zeke, the new commander. He’s a smart alpha male, an officer/leader who doesn’t let rank/authority go to his head. He’s handsome and competent, but he’s accessible, level headed, and not full of himself. He listens to his men rather than putting on airs. And he is pansexual. Double score!

This book was perfect for me, and I rarely re-read books, but I might just make an exception for this one. Oh, and one more thing this story has done to me. It’s rather made me eager to do something I haven’t done much at all over the last several years…read a M/F romance! Gasp! Because the M/F book two of this series is calling my name, folks!

The cover is hot and screams sci-fi, which I love.

Book Details:  343 pages

Published October 22nd 2013 by Loose Id

A Paul B Advent Story Review: Son of Santa (Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar) by Kate Sands


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Son of SantaNoel Nicholas decides he needs to take some time away from being the son of Santa Claus.  He decides to return to school at a university in Winnipeg, where the winters remind him of the North Pole realm.  He has even gotten a break in his usual job as gift distributor during the last couple of holiday seasons.  However, his time off is interrupted when an ice sprite shows up on campus one November day.

Mrs. Claus has tasked Fannar the ice sprite to check with her son to see if he has heard from his father Santa Claus.  It seems that Noel’s father has taken off without telling anyone where he was going.  This causes Noel some anxiety for two reasons.  This first is that his father is AWOL.  However, Noel has not felt the calling to go home and take over for his father so he knows that his dad is safe wherever he is.  The second is that the messenger is the one man who has been his crush for years.  Will Noel’s missing father bring these two men from the North Pole together after years of dancing around their feelings?

This was a fun holiday read for me.  You can tell that the characters have known each other for years and that they just need an extra push to get them together.  Noel feels that his life as the son of Santa by necessity must be lonely while Fannar wonders what he must do to bring Noel around.  The presence of Ruby from the Eros realm (think Valentine’s day) allows for some sage advice to Noel.

The cover art by Catt Ford shows a young man with snowflakes on his hair and brows in a white turtleneck above a formation of ice crystals.  It is a nice wintery cover for the story.

Sales LinksDreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details

ebook, 53 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 9781634769
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar

A Stella Review: Out of the Blues by Mercy Celeste


Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Out of the BluesWhoever said you can’t go home again should change that to should not go home again. As in EVER!

Mason Foxworth swore on his grandmother’s bible never to return to the small Georgia town he sort of grew up in. And for eight years he’d succeeded in keeping that promise. Until his twin sister decided she needed to get married…back home…and she’d invited their parents. Wasn’t this going to be a just a fabulous weekend?

Since leaving the Marines, Kilby Adams rarely ever left his farm and now here he was in Georgia, as best man at his stepbrother’s wedding. Out of his comfort zone and with too many people that he doesn’t know Kilby has nothing to keep his mind off the past except the gorgeous brother of the bride.

And wouldn’t you just know it, there was only one room left at the Inn and Kilby would have to share it, with Mason, who was straight and….yeah, this was going to be one hell of a weekend.

Out of the Blues was nothing I was expecting. Of course I didn’t read the blurb, I was almost in the dark, but it is a Mercy Celeste book, her name is a guarantee to me. Reading this story was a lovely and emotional journey, with quite a lot of angst that had me putting down the Kindle for a moment. I shed some tears and had some laughs, and at the end the book left me satisfied and with a smiley heart.

What I most loved in Out of the Blues were the main characters: Kilby and Mason were both the perfect (just cause they are imperfect) characters I learn to love in Mercy’s writing. She gave them both a huge baggage to carry on their shoulders, with similar, and different at the same time, heavy experiences, impossible to forget. Both of them went through some really emotional times, they came out a little broken but they are so strong. I liked how their new born love allowed them to be weak and almost defeated. They have a great personality, I couldn’t have enough of their thoughts and words and feelings. Mason and Kilby were unforgettable. Every book should have characters like these ones.

I didn’t give the book five stars cause something in the writing bothered me a  little, not sure what, maybe it’s personal, maybe not, perhaps too many suspension points,  or the broken sentences, that yes they made the dialogues more realistic but sometimes were too much and made me lose my train of reading.

I want to highly recommend Out of the Blues to anyone who loves emotional story, full of angst and with well done characters, second ones too. Moreover if you like GFY, this is for you.

The cover art by Jay Aheer is very eye catching and fitting. It probably is one of my favorite of this year.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 219 pages
Published November 9th 2015 by MJC Press
Edition LanguageEnglishsettingGeorgia, United States (United State

Coffee Sip and Book Break: Tina Blenke’s ‘Life Worth Living’ (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)



Life Worth Living by Tina Blenke
Release Date: December 9, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas


Today I’m very happy to be interviewing Tina Blenke, author of Life Worth Living. Hi, Tina, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

  • Tell us about your book.
    • Jake has been admiring Quentin from afar for four years during college. With encouragement from his roommate and best friend he reveals his secret and finds out that Quentin’s been keeping a secret of his own. It’s a sweet love story but the secret could tear them apart if Quentin’s family ever finds out. It’s a story of secrets, lies and hiding in the shadows without truly living.
  • How difficult was it to get into the main character’s head?
    • There are some aspects of Jake that are easy to identify with such as his disconnect with his family during his forced coming out. But he’s driven and attends college fawning over his secret crush for years. During a dark period of the story, Jake stumbles in his life and needs to find his compass again. It’s a downward spiral that was difficult to write because of the depths of his depression – this was the hardest because Quentin didn’t want to leave him there but it was a journey that Jake needed to make on his own.
  • Is this book a standalone or do you plan on visiting it again?
    • Initially, it was intended to be a standalone story and it certainly could stay that way. But, there was another character in Life Worth Living that begged for months for his story to be written – and can you believe that it’s even darker than Jake’s? The draft is already complete and out with my beta readers right now. It has also been written as a standalone but exists in the same universe as Jake and Quentin.
  • Why did you choose to write M/M stories?
    • It would be more appropriate to say that the genre chose me. There is a romantic appeal that draws me in because other than my writing, I don’t consider myself a romantic person at all. I’m more direct and closed off and I think that’s reflected in my characters. They have more depth and more than they might first appear on the page.
  • Where do you find your inspiration?
    • That’s a good question. When I was writing recently, there was a song that was playing in the background that immediately brought to mind a story that led to the most delicious little plot bunny. I had to stop writing my WIP to jot down a few notes based on that one song. Sometimes, there might be a couple I see on the street and I make up a story about them and other times it’s a picture on the internet. Muses are all around me and there are only so many hours in the day.

Thank you, Tina, for sharing so much with us today.  Now more about Life Worth Living…


Jake has been hiding in plain sight, always a few rows behind his straight-crush Quentin during their four years of college. He’s been successful so far but just as they’re about to graduate, Quentin finds out Jake’s secret and Quentin shares one of his own. He’s in the closet.

Jake isn’t about to let this opportunity pass him by especially when Quentin is scheduled to leave for the East coast in a few short summer months. Willing to keep Quentin’s secret from his upper crust politically-fueled homophobic family, Jake shares his bed and eventually his heart.

Quentin’s life in the closet is non-negotiable. His family has strong political ties and any word about their son’s sexuality would cast him out of the family and out of his inheritance which he desperately needs to finish his education. He’s been successful keeping his sexuality a secret for years until he meets the irresistibly adorable Jake at an early graduation party.

Quentin is unable to ignore his desire for Jake and makes the life-altering leap that holds his future in the balance. Locked away from the public eye, the two men admit their love for one another. In three short months, they will be forced to part ways for graduate school but the challenges of potential scrutiny, family commitment and an un-promised future may prove to be more than they can overcome.


Pages or Words: 63,267
Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance


“Cora? He’s really gone, isn’t he?”

“You did what you had to do to save both your life and his career. You didn’t do a goddamned thing wrong, you hear me? You are one of the bravest men I know,” she growled.

“Yeah, right. I’m the gayest man you know.”

“You shut the fuck up right now, Jake. I don’t let anyone bad-mouth you around me and that includes you. It takes a real man to stand up for who he truly is on the inside. The easy way out would be to hide who you are and live in the closet for fear of what the world will say or do to you.”

“Now that’s not fair,” I argued immediately, thinking of Quentin’s situation.

“And for what? Admitting that you want to love another man? It’s a beautiful romantic notion, Jake. You throw yourself bare to the world for love, the noblest feeling in the world, and all you expect in return is someone to return the feeling. And what does that rat bastard do? He shows you what it feels like to be loved, only there was a condition on it, wasn’t there? As long as he could hide you from the world and not be proud of the honest, kind and decent man that you are. He should have been yelling your name from the mountains or something. Instead? Instead, he runs and hides so he can save his face from his family.”

Buy the book: Wilde City Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

madison_parker_MG_4227-WEB (1)

Tina is a retired Air Force brat and has lived in several states as well as a handful of countries. She has always had a soft spot for literature and is a voracious reader. When she isn’t writing, she can be found cuddled up with a good book. Though Tina adores a thrilling novel with sappy lovesick heroes, she is terrified of things that go bump in the night. This makes for quite a complicated relationship with zombies, something that she just can’t get enough of.


Where to find the author:


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