A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Let it Ride (Pickup Men #2) by L.C. Chase and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Let It Ride audiobookBridge Sullivan, pickup man and best friend of Marty Fairgrave (Pickup Men) has a secret. He’s lusting after EMT Eric Palmer and the problem is that everyone, including Eric, thinks he’s straight. But Bridge knows his mind and his heart, and he’s kept his past experience with a man secret so it shouldn’t surprise him when his flirtations with Eric aren’t taken seriously.

Bridge is a nice guy—a great friend, sweet and helpful and always there when you need him—but he’s not gay and Eric has been burned much too often in the past to take a chance on a guy who might change his mind and want to go back to dating a woman. Eric is a New York City native, complete with a realistic accent thanks to narrator Dorian Bane, but he feels unworthy of love. His parents had put him in foster care when he was thirteen and told them he was gay; most foster parents wouldn’t keep him either, and then the two men he loved in the past dumped him—one of them for a woman. It’s no wonder he’s guarding his heart. And Bridge will break it for sure. That is something he’s betting on.

Against his better judgement, Eric agrees to go out with Bridge, but only as friends with benefits. No more. So when things get hot and heavy between them, and Bridge continues to tell him he wants to date and get close to him, Eric bolts. Though he doesn’t want to lose them, he leaves the close friends he’s made in the rodeo circuit. He also leaves the man he cares about because he feels he needs to go now before the pain is too great. Of course, he then finds out that the pain is already too great. Will he man-up and go back? Will Bridge come looking for him? Or will the two “let it ride”?

I enjoyed this story, and I think it may be partly because the potential between Bridge and Eric was there and intrigued me in the previous story, and it’s partly due to the narration of Dorian Bane. I actually didn’t care for the voice he gave Bridge, but I was impressed by the vast difference in the two voices of the MCs and the variety of secondary character voices, all of which were different and distinctive. And that’s the bottom line for me—how well did the narrator handle the narration and vocalization of the story. So kudos to the narrator and kudos to LC Chase for a great story. Yes, I wanted to smack Eric upside the head quite a few times because his “poor me” litany wears a little thin, but in his case, with his history, it’s a reasonable reaction. I had to stay awake last night to finish the story because sleeping while the romance was still in doubt just wasn’t happening for me. So thanks for the HEA, Ms. Chase!

Though part of a series, Let It Ride can be read as a standalone. This is a wonderful MM story for readers who like a little NYC spice with their cowboys, GFY or men new to gay sex, virgins(!), hurt-comfort, and a delightful cast of secondary characters.

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Cover Art by L.C. Chase features a close-up of a handsome, young cowboy, complete with large black cowboy hat. There’s a bronco rider in the background, symbolizing the rodeo in which this MC is a pickup man—a very fitting cover for this story.

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon

Audiobook Details:
5 hrs 32 mins

Audible Audio, 6 pages
Published February 10th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published May 25th 2014)
Original TitleLet it Ride
ASINB01BLP6GZ0
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPickup Men #2
Literary AwardsEPIC (Eppie) Award (2015), Contemporary Romance, Bisexual Book Award Nominee (2015)

A BJ Review: Bright Star by Talia R. Blackwood

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Bright Star“I am his guardian angel. I don’t know who he is. I know every line of his face—the curve of his lips is carved in my soul—but I don’t know his name. I always called him just Prince.”

Tasked to watch over a young man in suspended animation, Phae, a clone, spends his life alone on an empty spaceship, focused only on the protection of his ward. Prince isn’t scheduled to wake for another twenty years, but an attack on the ship starts the automatic awakening procedure. Prince relieves Phae’s loneliness and teaches him the meaning of love. However, the mission becomes more complicated than either man was led to believe—and far more dangerous. Their destination is a world held hostage, where clones are disposable and Phae is scheduled for “recycling” when his duty is done.

I love sci-fi, and this one had an excellent premise and the potential to be a five star read for me. Very intriguing concept with some interesting and unique elements.

I enjoyed and was hooked into both of the characters. Prince/Kian’s backstory made me fully invested in him but I wish it had been more complete. I found some elements and motivations left a bit vague, but it was intriguing nonetheless. I felt Phae’s loneliness/emptiness very poignantly, to have been left alone at just nine and also, poor Blasius to have lived nearly all his years alone. At least he did have Phae for his last nine. I adored Phae’s innocence, gentleness and single-minded dedication to his duty and his Prince very sweet. But the way he thought of himself as a “just a stupid clone” or “poor stupid clone” over and over got to me. I couldn’t fathom why he thought of himself that way since he’d been born on the Ship rather than on Earth around humans who would have treated him in a manner to have caused him to think of himself that way. And he’d been raised by another clone. Had Blasius whom he thought of as a father and cared for taught him that? It wouldn’t seem likely based on other things he’d shared about Blasius’s words to him.

The story is written in present tense (not my favorite) and is in dual first person POVs, which threw me a bit as I’m used to dual POVs being in third person. And it has insta-love, which works for me in some cases and not in others. In this case, I could understand their attraction and attachment based on who they were, their past, and their circumstances… but I’d have loved it if a bit more foundation to the relationship based on more than sex and gratitude to have been laid before jumping into the years of waiting that came later on both of their sides. I mean, they were together a few short hours, then apart for many years, then together again just for a brief few minutes, then apart again for many years. It seems so very little to base all those years of dedicated love on.

The way they progressed to sex so very quickly, right after Prince had just struggled to waken from a ninety plus year cyrosleep, and while in such dire circumstance of having been hiding from aliens, and considering Prince indicated he’d not cared for clones before, been afraid of them even. A slower development of the relationship, of trust and understanding and the physical as well, would have given more depth to the story for me.

Despite all this, I still did very much enjoy this story. I feel it could have been longer, even twice as long (I love long, well-developed sci-fi stories!) as there was so much more of this world and these two amazing guys that I would have loved to have explored.

Overall, a very moving and touching story that had me close to tears at parts. Even though it covers a timespan of many years, the pacing is quick and satisfying. If you enjoy sci-fi and insta-love, then I can highly recommend this story.

Cover art by Anne Cain

Sales Link:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon


Book Details:

ebook, 172 pages
Published October 8th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1632162784 (ISBN13: 9781632162786)

A Jeri Review: The Law of Attraction By Jay Northcote

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

The Law of AttractionWhen a professional relationship turns personal, it’s impossible to resist the law of attraction.

Alec Rowland is a high-flying lawyer in a London firm whose career is his life. He doesn’t have time for relationships and his sexuality is a closely guarded secret. After picking up a cute guy on a Friday night, Alec’s world is rocked to its foundations when his one night stand shows up in the office on Monday morning—as the new temp on his team.

Ed Piper is desperate to prove himself in his new job. The last thing he needs is to be distracted by a crush on his boss. It’s hard to ignore the attraction he feels, even though Alec’s a difficult bastard to work for.

Both men strive to maintain a professional relationship, but tempers fray, passions ignite, and soon they’re both falling hard and fast. If they’re ever going to find a way to be together, Alec needs to be honest about who he really is because Ed won’t go back in the closet for anyone.
This was my first book by Jay Northcote and it won’t be my last! (For the record- 3 ½ stars means I really liked it!)

Alec is a closeted lawyer at a very successful law firm. His goal to become partner is becoming a reality- but he feels like he has to stay in the closet for it. His best friend acts as his arm candy/ girlfriend at various events to keep questions at bay. But sometimes his needs are too much.

Ed is out and proud and ready to start his new job. A night on the town leads to a seriously hot encounter with a stranger. Until he finds out the stranger is his new boss. They agree to be platonic work colleagues but you know the saying, the best laid plans….

The chemistry between Alec and Ed is off the charts hot. Alec turns into a jerk to try to deny the attraction to Ed, and honestly the way Ed just kind of accepted that but then also fell into his arms at the same time put me off a bit. But Ed’s strength to NOT go back into the closet. That made me want to cheer.

Watching Alec come to terms with who he is and accepting himself was a page turner. Even though he was a jerk, you knew why and you were cheering for him to own his truth. And Ed- standing up for himself- for HIS truth- was awesome. I just wanted to high five him!

Definitely give this book a read. Although there is the closet/no closet thing, the angst level is fairly low and the hotness level is very high.

The cover art with the smirking guy is such a perfect representation of Alec!

Sales Links:   Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 173 pages
Published February 5th 2016 by Jaybird Press
ASINB01B6NSXD0
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review: Second to None (The Breakfast Club #3) by Felice Stevens

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RATING  3 out of 5 stars

Second to NoneNightclub owner Marcus Feldman never met a man he didn’t love, at least for the night. Although his best friends have all found love, Marcus shuns their advice to commit to one man and settle down. His past has taught him monogamy and marriage is for fools, and Marcus is anything but a fool.

Tyler Reiss’s dream of dancing professionally is unexpectedly cut short and replaced by a different kind of love. He trades in his ballet slippers for go go boots, and spends his nights dancing at the hottest gay club in the city. Flirting with the customers for tips is easy, but resisting the dark and sexy Marcus is becoming harder to do with each passing day.

Unforeseen circumstances bring Marcus and Tyler closer and though they give in to their mutual passion, both still struggle to guard their hearts. When crises threaten, Tyler and Marcus find their strength in each other rather than falling apart. Tyler must choose to either run, or stay and fight for the life he wants, while Marcus realizes that love doesn’t mean losing himself and opens his heart, making him a better man in the end.

I loved The Breakfast Club series by Felice Stevens but this third installment, Second to None, disappointed me. I’m not saying it’s a bad book because it isn’t, and in fact I gave it three stars. The plot worked well, the development of the relationship between Marcus and Tyler was good. Maybe I was so eager to read Marcus’ story, my expectations were too high, I don’t know. I simply didn’t like it as well as the other books in the series.

I read this book and even though it is ( or better, it could have been) emotional and bring tears to my eyes, I felt nothing. I surprisingly struggled a lot to connect with the characters and I was detached through the whole story.

Probably my biggest problem with Second to None was it didn’t felt real. Especially in the character of little Lily. I was disconcerted about what happened around the girl and how the MCs acted with her. I have read a lot of book with children in them because I’m a sucker for these kind of stories, but in this case in my opinion she wasn’t well defined for a child of four years. I get the feeling they weren’t very considerate of her. And at the end what I got was a shallow portrait and lacking in a lot of background about Tyler’s past (just to make an example, but I honestly was dubious about few little details during the whole book).

Yes I’m very disappointed, Second to None is not what I was hoping to read, Felice is a great author, I am used to her great stories and I am astonished she didn’t surprised me with something amazing.

The cover art by Reese Dante is the only thing that worked to me. Well done, in line with the whole series’ covers and in perfect Reese style.

Sales Links:   ARe | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 248 pages
Published January 28th 2016 by Felice Stevens
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Breakfast Club #3

Series The Breakfast Club with links to Stella’s reviews:

In the Spotlight: Charley Descoteaux ‘Torque’ (character interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Torque by Charley Descoteaux
Release Date: February 23, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Charley Descoteaux author of Torque! Hi Charley, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about your current book.

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Torque is a Romance featuring a bisexual man, a man on the ace spectrum, and a trans woman with no plans to transition surgically. Most of it takes place in a working wrecking yard, so no glitz or glamor, but a lot of angst. Thank you for inviting me to visit, I’m thrilled to be here! Instead of hogging the spotlight, I’m turning it over to Mick, the main character of my novella, Torque.

  • What do you find attractive in a man?

Mick: Confidence. I like that in women too. 😉

  • The first thing that went through your head when you saw Scotty Bell.

Mick: How much trouble I was in. Same with Mercy. Both of them turned my crank in ways I never expected and didn’t think I’d be able to resist.

  • Do you think you’ll insist the author visits you again?

Mick: I don’t know. It was hard enough making it through the one story, not sure I’m up for being tortured like that again. I already have more than I ever thought to want, so I’ll probably let her move on and drag another poor sucker through the mud and the grease instead of calling attention to myself again.

  • Before you met Scotty, what was your ideal man?

Mick: Before I met Scotty I didn’t think there was such a thing as an ideal man. I also thought it didn’t matter—I’d never have a man anyway, so what good would it do to think about what kind I wanted?

  • You’re going out for dinner. What’s your favorite food?

Mick: One I didn’t cook! Ask Scotty, I can’t cook for shit, even with instructions right on the box. Seriously, though, I love Mexican food and could live on burritos. And pizza.

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Blurb

Sometimes letting things get complicated is the best way to figure it all out.

Mick Randall is on the run, from the biker culture he grew up in and his impossible vision of love. Alaska should be far enough to escape his old life—until he rolls into a wrecking yard and gets lost in a pair of pale, bottle-green eyes.

Scotty Bell has spent years learning to channel his fiery temper into the heat of a welding torch. His sexual heat has always been slower to ignite, but one look at Mick rouses confusion alongside desire. In all his life, he’s only been attracted to one other person—his best friend, Mercy Taylor.

Mick lands a temporary job at the yard, and finds an uneasy crash pad at Scotty’s place…where the ragged ends of his emotions get tangled up in Scotty and Mercy’s relationship.

But when Mick hears a Harley engine from his past bearing down on him, his first instinct is to go back to the half-life he’d been living. Lest his secrets destroy the only two people who’ve ever made him feel whole.

Warning: Contains references to abuse, subversive ideas about sexual identity and gender expression, and a free-range bisexual on a mission.

 

Pages or Words: 47,337 words
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, Ménage/Poly, Romance, *Trans, Asexual, LGBTQ+ Fiction

Excerpt

Copyright © 2016 Charley Descoteaux
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Mick slept on the couch for two weeks before Scott let him get dinner. Mick brought a pizza, hot wings and a six-pack. When he offered Scott a beer, Mick thought for a second he was about to get decked.

“No thanks, I don’t drink. But you go ahead.”

Mick put five bottles in the fridge and popped the top on the sixth. The long pull of rich beer felt like cool water after he’d been walking for weeks in the desert.

“Never?”

“Nope. I got enough of that before I was even born, I don’t need any more.”

It only took half a beer for Mick to get past the uncomfortable feeling he should’ve asked Scott to tell him more, or that he should’ve switched to Mountain Dew. Scott rented an On Demand movie, something forgettable with vampires, and they sat in their places on the couch and divided their attention between the movie and the pizza for the next two hours. Tom camped out in his usual spot between their thighs, graciously accepting all the chicken and pepperoni tributes offered to him.

After the movie was over they watched another one on HBO, but didn’t pay much attention to it. Mick had a nice buzz going and was happy to sit back and listen to Scott talk about his project—the VW Microbus he was converting into a flatbed. A warm, fuzzy feeling Mick almost didn’t recognize as happiness set up camp in his gut, and life was good.

He thought, more than once or twice, that Scott leaned toward him in a way that was a little more than friendly, but it had to be the beer.

Too bad.

Mick jerked in surprise when he realized he’d started to lean toward Scott. He had no right to be “more than friendly” to Scott. None at all.

Scott reached out to grasp his shoulder. “You okay, Mick?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Are you ready for bed?” Scott kneaded his shoulder, sending a current through his body.

“The movie isn’t over.”

“It’s not very good. If you don’t want to finish it, that’s okay with me.” Scott smiled and sat back against the couch, releasing Mick’s shoulder.

He couldn’t help himself, he leaned forward. Only a little bit. He didn’t want to lose Scott’s touch. In that moment, he couldn’t think of anything more important than Scott touching him, not even self-preservation.

Mick Randall wasn’t a stranger to self-medicating with alcohol but before he found Bell’s he hadn’t had a lot of money to spare, and lately he hadn’t had the time. Together, those circumstances had turned him into a lightweight. That had to be the explanation for why he saw a come-on in every glance and heard innuendo where surely Scott didn’t mean any. He’d have to be a lightweight to want so badly to respond to Scott’s touch with an embrace.

Maybe I should quit drinking.

Mick wasn’t capable of walking in a straight line by the time he hit the can, but it didn’t matter. Four beers was plenty and he’d take the other two out of Scott’s fridge the next day and remember not to bring more. If he wanted a drink, he wouldn’t have to drive far. When he left the bathroom his thoughts centered on that warm, happy feeling, and what he could get up to the next day. Before he knew what was happening, Scott had him backed against the wall, both hands spread across his chest.

All that fuzzy warm happiness disappeared, replaced by a tiny shiver of panic mixed with a side of relief. The relief tangled with a mix of “fucking finally” and “what the fuck” that made Mick dizzy. Or maybe that’s just the beer.

“Scott. Maybe I should sleep somewhere else tonight.”

“Yeah. Like in my bed with me.”

“I was thinking like my car, or a motel.”

Scott frowned and pushed him back against the wall harder, caressing his chest and shoulders as he did. The contrast of the unyielding wall against his shoulder blades and the man in front of him spun Mick’s head around once. “You don’t feel anything like Mercy. I knew you wouldn’t.”

“Don’t you think Mercy would—”

“She wouldn’t care. I’m not the only one she fools around with.” Scott leaned against him, chest to chest, close enough to kiss.

“Let me go.” Mick took hold of Scott’s shoulders and tried to push him back, but Scott was stronger than he looked.

“No. I don’t want to.”

“What am I supposed to do now?” Mick couldn’t see a clear path to the door. Panic reared up in the back of his mind—he had no game plan for this, no idea what his part should be.

“You can let me blow you. Or you can blow me. I don’t care who goes first. You want me, don’t you?”

Mick tried to speak but couldn’t. He couldn’t get a decent breath either, not with Scott’s hands on him. He nodded and tried to pull himself together.

“Haven’t you ever hooked up before?”

“Yeah.” Liar.

“Well, so have I. I’m not a little kid. You don’t have to—”

“I know you’re not.” Mick squeezed Scott’s shoulders, anxious to learn how his skin felt over those hard muscles, how those muscles looked when he moved. “I know.”

“So why—”

“I’ve hooked up before.”

“So why not with me?”

“Because it’s different with you. I mean, it would be— I can’t…”

“You think I’m an idiot? Too dumb to know what to—”

“No! No. That has nothing to do—” Mick saw something in Scott’s eyes that made the rest of that sentence turn to dust in his throat. He swallowed hard and was about to—no idea what he was about to do, but he couldn’t stand there forever—when he saw something else that stopped him. “You’re shaking.”

“Yeah.” Scott’s voice had a hard edge so when he surged forward, his erection pressing against Mick’s thigh, it was unexpected.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m trying to keep from punching you in the face.”

“Why do you want to punch me in the face?”

“Because you’re pushing me away. I thought you liked me.”

“I do like you. But—”

“Don’t say it’s not right. I’m dumb but I’m not—”

“I didn’t say you were dumb. You’re not dumb.” Mick could barely speak past his desire, so his last few words came out as breathless as he felt. He’d started panting and the sound filled the short hallway. “Please don’t punch me in the face.”

Scott frowned, but fear and pain was mixed up with the anger and desire showing in his light bottle-green eyes. Mick felt it all right along with him.

“Maybe I should go.”

When Scott didn’t respond Mick slid against the wall, sideways. In just a few steps, Mick wasn’t supporting all of Scott’s weight anymore, didn’t feel his tense muscles or his heat. Mick gingerly pushed off from the wall and walked backward, toward the living room.

“You don’t have to.”

“I think I do.” Mick sat on the sofa to pull on his boots and Scott dropped onto the cushion beside him. Mick straightened, one boot on and one off, and Scott grabbed him and kissed him.

Buy the book: SamhainAmazon USAll Romance eBooks

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Meet the Author

Charley Descoteaux misspent a large chunk of her youth on the back of a Harley, meeting people and having adventures that sometimes pop up in her fiction. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. Charley has survived earthquakes, tornadoes and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

23-Feb

Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Book Lovers 4Ever, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Posy Roberts

1-Mar

The Novel Approach, Velvet Panic, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Hearts on Fire

8-Mar

Louise Lyons, Foxylutely Book Reviews, My Fiction Nook, the Twins: Talon ps & Princess so, Inked Rainbow Reads

15-Mar

Full Moon Dreaming, Elin Gregory, Alpha Book Club, Bayou Book Junkie

22-Mar

Butterfly-O-Meter, Kirsty Loves Books, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Unquietly Me

29-Mar

Jessie G. Books, QUEERcentric Books, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Love Bytes

5-Apr

Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Divine Magazine, Prism Book Alliance, Molly Lolly

12-Apr

Nephy Hart, Happily Ever Chapter, MM Good Book Reviews

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $20 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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