A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Love Complicated (Game, Set, Match #1) by Teegan Loy

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

LoveComplicatedFSHigh school senior Jalen Marten wants nothing more than to get through his last year of school without attracting anyone’s attention. But unknown to him, he’s already attracted the attention of tennis protégé Austin Suter, a gorgeous senior who’s on his way to becoming a tennis pro, and if his dad has his way, that will happen before he even finishes high school.

Forcing himself to go to gym class, the last thing Jalen wants is to participate in tennis. He’s never been a team player, and in fact, he can’t even excel in a sport as simple as hitting a ball with a large racket. So when his opponent serves a ball straight into his face, he’s convinced he’s hopelessly doomed. The fact that the opponent is smokin’ hot Austin Suter is beside the point. Reeling from the force of the blow, and with his eye swollen shut, he’s shocked by the concern Austin shows him and even more shocked when Austin shows up at his home later that night to see how Jalen is doing. What follows is an unlikely friendship, and then a hidden courtship, and two young men who fall head over heels in love despite all the obstacles in their way.

Concurrent with their romance, Jalen’s popularity soars when he’s overheard singing one of the songs he wrote. It starts with his music teacher telling him he needs to form a band, and then it moves to the student body when someone overhears him and makes a recording of his songs. Brushfires have nothing on the speed of gossip in a high school, so while Jalen and Austen are trying to hide their love, it becomes almost impossible when Jalen’s popularity soars.

This is a long story filled with humor, angst, heartache, friendship, and of course, love and romance. It follows the journey of Jalen’s and Austen’s romance through all the ups and downs and complications of being teens with raging hormones, peer pressure, high school politics, and meddling parents. Well, one meddling parent—Austen’s father plans to assure his boy succeeds as a tennis pro and when he finds out about Jalen and Austen, he puts even more pressure on Austen to stay in the closet and to continue to date Maddie Kieffer, the girl his father had chosen for him. The same girl who makes life unbearable for Jalen and who is known as both a princess and a bitch in school. Jalen’s heart breaks so many times in this story that it’s a wonder it’s still ticking at the end, but at least the author leaves us with a HFN and there’s the promise of another story to follow.

Teegan Loy is a new author for me, but it won’t be the last time I read her work. Some of the humorous situations in the story made me laugh out loud, and equally, some of the sad scenes made me cry. All of the characters, especially the MC’s best friends, were very well-developed, making the story a pleasure to read. I recommend this to all who enjoy young adult MM romance.

~~~~~

Cover art by Christy Caughie depicts two young men, one holding a tennis racket—a good representation of the theme of the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon

Book Details:

ebook, 280 pages
Published May 11th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1632169258 (ISBN13: 9781632169259)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesGame, Set, Match #1

A Stella Review: How to Wish Upon a Star (Howl at the Moon #3) by Eli Easton

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

How To Wish Upon A StarDr. Jason Kunik is working on the most earth-shattering genetics project ever, DNA mapping of a new species, the quickened—dogs who can shift into human form. The problem is, no one knows the quickened exist and Jason can’t betray them by publishing his studies. When he moves to Mad Creek to continue his research in a town full of quickened, all he wants is peace, quiet, and to be allowed to bury himself in his work. Perhaps if he figures how out the mutation is activated, he can silence his own inner dog forever.

Milo is a hospice comfort dog who has bonded with, and lost, many beloved patients in his life. He intuitively understands sickness and pain on a spiritual level most can’t see. When he gains the ability to become a man, he thinks he finally has everything he ever wanted. But being a man isn’t the same thing as being loved, and taking shelter in Mad Creek isn’t the same thing as finding a home.

When a mysterious illness hits Mad Creek and threatens all the quickened in town, it’s up to the scientist and the comfort dog to figure out what it is and how to stop it. Along the way they might discover that true love is possible—if you wish upon a star.

This is the third book in the “Howl at the Moon” series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

I can always count on Eli Easton to deliver a great reading, How To Wish Upon A Star was another winner, another good addiction to an already awesome series.

In this third book, the author gave me Milo and Jason, two very different persons, with nothing in common but clearly made for each other. Jason, so cold and immersed in his scientific world, so bad at human interactions, he lives his days closed in his laboratory working on his research.

Milo stole my heart since the first word I read about him. He is an hospice dog who lately became a man. He is shy and lovely and with a heart bigger than the star he wished upon. Impossible to not fall in love with him.

So yes, I loved the characters but I loved the plot more, the story wasn’t focused just on the MCs’ new relationship but on the whole Mad Creek population, with Tim, Lance, Roman, Matty and so many more secondary characters playing an important role in the story. As in the other installments, here too there was a mystery to solve (or better a cure to find) that forced me to stay up late and finish the book quickly.

Moreover How To Wish Upon A Star hit my soft spot for stories sweet and adorable. I very much enjoyed it. And there are promises for more, especially Rav’s own happy ending, I really can’t wait to read it. I feel to highly recommend the series to everyone.

Just a note, IMO the series needs to be read in order, I honestly don’t think this third book could be read as a standalone.

The cover art is adorable as the book. Well done.

Sales Links: AMAZON  

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 228 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by Pinkerton Road LLC
ASIN B01FISHWJK
Edition Language English

How At The Moon Series with links to our reviews:

How to Howl at the Moon (Howl At The Moon #1)

How to Walk Like a Man (Howl At The Moon #2)

How to Wish Upon a Star (Howl at the Moon, #3)

A MelanieM Review: Truly, Madly, Boys – A Mad About The Brit Boys Anthology by JL Merrow & Josephine Myles.

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Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Truly Madly BoysLove—the most intense connection.

The challenge of finding love in the world today can take many forms, but at its heart love is the same: it’s all about forging a connection with another person. Experience romance at its most relatable in these four contemporary stories of male-male love with a British flavour from award-winning authors Josephine Myles and JL Merrow.

In these stories you’ll find out how to communicate without words, be teased by a memory that’s just out of reach, flash back to young love and emerging sexuality, and discover how opposites can attract when you meet a stranger in a strange land.

These stories have all been previously published, but are now available exclusively in this anthology.

 I am such a fan of both authors J.L. Merrow and Josephine Myles and here in the fifth of the Mad about the Brit Boys Anthology you get a wonderful selection of why they are such a joy to read.  Their ability to bring these young men vividly to life as well as the situations they find themselves in through such a short number of pages is amazing.    I have to admit my favorite starts off the collection.  Written not from a Brits pov, but a startlingly accurate New York state of mind that I loved, I jumped into this relationship and wished J.L. could  have kept going I loved them so much.
But lets look at them one at a time.
Epiphany by JL Merrow – 4.5 Stars out of 5
When security guard Vinnie spots a young British guy, Gray, looking lost on a New York street, he thinks he’s never seen anyone so beautiful. The feeling’s mutual: concert pianist Gray loves everything about the huge muscle man who’s offering to walk him back to his hotel. When they stop off at Vinnie’s apartment, sparks fly—but when they finally get back to Gray’s hotel, things seem to fall apart. Is one afternoon all they’ll ever have?
Great voices, characters you instantly connected with and a vibe and location that oozed New York City.  This story had it all except that, of course, I wanted so much more of them all, including the meeting of the families.  Really, if the author accepted bribes, I would bribe her for that story.
Halfway up the Stairs by Josephine Myles – 4.5 stars out of 5
When Charlie wakes up alone after arguing with his boyfriend the night before, it seems like nothing will resolve the situation. Josh wants them to move, but Charlie is too attached to the house. It’s not just all the work he’s put into it, though, it’s all the memories. One memory in particular, of standing hidden halfway up the stairs, watching and wanting…
Another just lovely telling story.  A house full of memories, a couple post argument, and a past memory that, in a sexy, and oh so beautifully flowing story shows both the couples past, present and future.  I loved this.  And it was complete in every way.  Nothing more felt needed.
Sense Memory by JL Merrow – 4 stars out of 5
Blinded by a drunk driver, Colin is haunted by a sense memory—the smell of wood chippings. When he meets up with Alban, who he’s been chatting with online, he finally finds out why.
I liked this story.  The author totally blindsided me with the direction she took it.  Lovely.  I wish I had a bit more about the characters but it was clean and gave me enough to connect with the main character and the ending.
Without Words by Josephine Myles – 4 stars out of 5
Is that gorgeous redheaded hunk on the building site really checking him out? Nick thinks it’s worth the risk of getting his head kicked in to find out. Only trouble is, Nick tends to end up spoiling things with his nervous babbling. This time he’s going to have to keep his mouth shut. It’s either that or he’ll have to find some other way to occupy it…
Josephine Myles takes two disabilities and combines them in a romantic and charming way.  Stuttering and hearing impaired?  Not a combination you might think of?  Well, here it works in a way that Myles lets us into Nick’s thoughts, his nervousness and finally his ability to overcome his insecurities to go after the man he wants.  Its charming, it treats the men and their disabilities with intelligences and clarity.   Another winner.
If you are already familiar with these authors, this is a collection you won’t want to miss.  But if J.L. Merrow and Josephine Myles are both new to you, I can’t think of a better way for you to get acquainted than to pick up this collection and start reading.   I highly recommend it and the other Mad About the Brit Boy Anthologies.
Cover is lovely.
Sales Links:  Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 78 pages
Published June 10th 2016
ASINB01GXR3BU4
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blitz – Truly, Madly, Boys by JL Merrow & Josephine Myles (excerpt and Giveaway)

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Truly, Madly, Boys – A Mad About The Brit Boys Anthology by JL Merrow & Josephine Myles

 
Authors: JL Merrow & Josephine Myles
 
Release Date: June 14 2016
 
 
Length: 15,000 words
 
Price: $0.99/£0.99/€0.99
 
Cover Art: Lou Harper
 
Other Titles In The Series: 
Anthology Blurb:
 
Love – the most intense connection.
 
The challenge of finding love in the world today can take many forms, but at its heart love is the same: it’s all about forging a connection with another person. Experience romance at its most relatable in these four contemporary stories of male-male love with a British flavour from award-winning authors Josephine Myles and JL Merrow.


 


In these stories you’ll find out how to communicate without words, be teased by a memory that’s just out of reach, flash back to young love and emerging sexuality, and discover how opposites can attract when you meet a stranger in a strange land.

 

These stories have all been previously published, but are now available exclusively in this anthology.
Anthology introduction by JL Merrow (taken from the ebook):
Contemporary gay romance. While both Jo and I love to experiment with different genres, this is the one we both come back to most often. Why? For me, I think it’s because even though with sci fi, paranormals or threesomes we’re playing in a different sandbox, at the end of the day the game’s always the same: getting two (or more) people together and forging a connection between them that we hope will last. Contemporary romance is, as often as not, romance stripped to the bare essentials.
And it’s probably true to say that a contemporary romance between two people is in many ways the most accessible form of romance to the average reader. It can be hard to really identify with a protagonist from a different world, or a different era. Weaving a story is all about making a fictional world seem real to the reader who comes for a visit, and not everyone enjoys suspending disbelief about ghosts, shifters or space ships. If you’re not poly yourself, it can be hard to relate to a relationship between more than two people. Things that happened decades or even centuries ago can, to those more interested in the here and now, seem far off and irrelevant. (As writers, we’re often told not to distance the reader from the story, which is while I always smile when I see the familiar words, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”)
Contemporary romance is immediate, dealing with the world the reader knows well—or could come to know, simply by stepping onto an aeroplane. Yes, in these stories we may still explore different realities to our own: for example one of Jo’s stories features a deaf main character, and one of mine, a blind man. Another is set in a city I’ve never visited—but they’re all firmly rooted in the world we live in today. You can imagine yourself walking down the street and seeing any of the characters in these stories. Perhaps even being a fly on a handy wall as they fall in love.
And that’s what the stories really have in common, of course: love. In the end, aren’t we all here because we believe in love?
Thanks for reading—and if you enjoy the stories, please consider leaving a review where you purchased them. Feed the authors! 😉
All the best
Jamie x
JL Merrow, May 2016
 
Individual story blurbs:
Epiphany by JL Merrow
When security guard Vinnie spots a young British guy, Gray, looking lost on a New York street, he thinks he’s never seen anyone so beautiful. The feeling’s mutual: concert pianist Gray loves everything about the huge muscle man who’s offering to walk him back to his hotel. When they stop off at Vinnie’s apartment, sparks fly—but when they finally get back to Gray’s hotel, things seem to fall apart. Is one afternoon all they’ll ever have?
Halfway up the Stairs by Josephine Myles
When Charlie wakes up alone after arguing with his boyfriend the night before, it seems like nothing will resolve the situation. Josh wants them to move, but Charlie is too attached to the house. It’s not just all the work he’s put into it, though, it’s all the memories. One memory in particular, of standing hidden halfway up the stairs, watching and wanting…
Sense Memory by JL Merrow
Blinded by a drunk driver, Colin is haunted by a sense memory—the smell of wood chippings. When he meets up with Alban, who he’s been chatting with online, he finally finds out why.
Without Words by Josephine Myles
Is that gorgeous redheaded hunk on the building site really checking him out? Nick thinks it’s worth the risk of getting his head kicked in to find out. Only trouble is, Nick tends to end up spoiling things with his nervous babbling. This time he’s going to have to keep his mouth shut. It’s either that or he’ll have to find some other way to occupy it…
Author bios
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.
She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards finalists.
JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

 

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.
Jo publishes regularly with Samhain, and now has over ten novels and novellas under her belt. Her novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish on occasion, although she prefers to leave the “boring bits” of the ebook creation process to someone else. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs and a soon-to- be toddler.
Website and blog: http://josephinemyles.com/

Twitter: @JosephineMyles

 

 
Excerpt from “Without Words” by Josephine Myles
I walked along the perimeter fence, sweat prickling my palms, trying to maintain a casual amble to give the impression that I was the kind of guy who did this sort of thing all the time. The site looked deserted until I passed the foreman’s cabin, where the workers sat outside on piles of breeze blocks, chatting idly under the punishing sun as they swigged down cold drinks and munched on sandwiches. He wasn’t with them. That was good. I picked up my pace, determined to find him before he decided to join the lunch crowd.
He wasn’t a sociable guy and I’d never seen him chatting – he just got on with his job – taciturn and focused. It gave me hope that here would be someone who could understand me; who could forgive my lack of social graces and ignore my nervous babbling to see the man underneath; the man with intelligent things to say if only he could pluck up the courage. The man who’d never done anything like this before, but was now carefully dressed in tight jeans and close fitted red t-shirt, intent on risking humiliation just to have a chance. It was now or never, as I was due back in London tomorrow and I knew that my work wouldn’t bring me back to Sheffield for at least another couple of months.
As I rounded the corner of the large, half-finished building, a solitary figure came into view. There was no mistaking the supple grace of his movements as he hopped up onto the scaffolding, measuring tape in hand. My breath hitched when I saw that he was bare-chested under the reflective tabard, the previously covered skin glowing pink where the sun caught it, and spattered with ginger freckles. His body was stocky, heavily muscled; the type you knew would run quickly to fat if deprived of regular manual labour. Yet despite being built like so many of these sturdy Northern men, he moved with a fluidity that belied his size. The strands of hair that escaped his hat glowed in the harsh light like burnished bronze. He was a work of art. I wanted to study him, learn him. Explore him thoroughly.
I cleared my throat, but he didn’t hear me. I waited, paralysed by indecision, clinging on to the wires of the fence panel with white knuckles. Willing him to look down and see me there; to give me that look again that I was sure I’d seen yesterday. That deliberate once over, followed by a slow smile that made my heart lurch and my cock stir.
And then he turned. The moisture leached out of my mouth and I was incapable of forming any words. He must have thought I was a prize idiot, standing there open-mouthed with lust burning in my eyes. I wondered if he even recognised me without the suit. But then that gaze that swept up and down my body, lingering a little longer than necessary, followed by that lazy curve of his lips that seemed to promise so much. He raised an eyebrow, grinned, and pointed to the gate, swinging down from the platform and strolling over with a loose-limbed grace. I followed, stumbling in my haste to get there. We stared at each other through the gate, and I had to look away from the intensity in those green eyes. I watched his grimy hands as they deftly turned the wheels on the padlock, the dust trapped in the creases of his knuckles. His hands were strong and broad, freckled, the hairs glowing like copper filaments in the sunlight, but surprisingly nimble for a builder. I swallowed audibly as I imagined what those hands could do to me. Those thick yet skilful fingers…
The gate swung open and I slipped through, brushing against his arm as he pushed it closed again. The touch raised goosebumps on my arm despite the heat. This close I could smell him; the tang of fresh sweat mingled with something spicy. My mouth started to water as I wondered how he would taste, picturing myself licking at his stubbly neck, then tasting other parts of him. My jeans began to feel uncomfortable as my cock swelled and I fought to get a grip on myself. It wasn’t like we could do anything about it here at the gate, in full view of passing traffic.
“I’m Nick,” I blurted out, but clamped my mouth shut before I ruined things by telling him my middle names, date of birth or any other nonsense.
He walked off, turning to beckon after a few yards, so I trailed behind him; absurd fears fighting with my rampant lust as we moved further into the hush of the deserted site. I didn’t even know his name, and the lack of any dialogue was starting to freak me out, but it was also pretty kinky. Besides, the less we talked the less chance I had to show myself up. I concentrated on the way his muscular buttocks moved under their denim cladding. Anything to distract myself from the possibility of humiliation, or worse. He disappeared behind a sheet of plastic hanging in a doorway. I followed. What else could I do?

 

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In Our Spotlight: ‘A Kind of Romance’ by Lane Hayes (excerpt and giveaway)

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KindofRomance[A]_FBbanner_DSP
 
AboutTheBook
 
KindofRomance[A]FS
TITLE: A Kind of Romance



SERIES: A Kind of Story 


AUTHOR: Lane Hayes 


COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson 


LENGTH: 82,963 words 


RELEASE DATE: June 06, 2016 


BLURB: Zeke Gulden is a ruthless Wall Street exec. His hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude has served him well in the cutthroat business world, but less so in his personal life. When he finds out his ex-boyfriend cheated on him with a coworker, Zeke can’t let go—not until he finds a way to get even. However, his meddlesome father has other ideas. The new hire at the family-owned bagel store is somewhat colorful, but his dad is sure he’s the perfect man for Zeke. 


Benny Ruggieri is a fiercely proud New Yorker who dreams of making it big as a costume designer in the theater. In the meantime, he’s working two part-time jobs in the food biz. When his new boss sets him up with his successful son, Benny has zero expectations. If nothing else, he figures he can entertain himself by making the uptight businessman squirm. Instead, the two become unlikely friends with an inexplicable attraction they can’t ignore. Benny might be the one to help Zeke set aside his quest for revenge, if he’s willing to let go and forgive what he can’t forget… and give in to an unexpected kind of romance. 

Excerpt

 

THEY SAID you could
remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when a life-altering
event took place. I could do better than that. I could tell you the date and
time too. May 9, 7:04 a.m…. It was a Monday. Of course. I was standing in my
kitchen, cradling a cup of coffee while reading the news on my iPad when my
cell phone rang. I didn’t think twice about it. It rang all the fucking time.
The setting was almost always on vibrate, but last night I’d changed it,
thinking I didn’t want to miss Taylor’s call in case he decided to come by. He
didn’t call. And he didn’t come over. I didn’t really think he would, but when
we ran into each other at the farmers’ market in Union Square Sunday morning,
I’d foolishly hoped he might. That was our spot. It seemed like providence. A
sign of some sort telling us we should stop this nonsense and get back together
immediately. True, Taylor had confessed he’d been cheating on me with one of my
coworkers for the past six months, but… still.
 
The second round of
incessant ringing served as a reminder I was a complete moron for wanting him
back. 
And when I saw the name displayed on my cell, I knew the caller would
agree wholeheartedly.
 
“Mornin’, Pops.”
 
“Ezekiel?”
 
I didn’t recognize the
voice on the line. It was masculine but a little high-pitched. Definitely not
Dad. Whoever he was, he was calling from my father’s phone. My heart slammed
against my chest in a wave of instant panic.
 
“Just Zeke, actually.
You’re calling from my father’s phone. Is he oka—?”
 
“He fell and hit his
head. We called 9-1-1. The paramedics said it looked like a superficial wound,
but there was blood everywhere and—They’re taking him to Mount Sinai on First.
I’m following now with William. Filipe doesn’t speak much English, so Rand is
staying to help mind the store and—”
 
“Whoa! Hang on. Where
was he?” It was a stupid question. However, I felt nauseated from the
unexpected adrenaline rush and was struggling to catch up and make sense of
this conversation.
 
“At Bowery Bagels,” the
caller replied with a heavy sigh. “I’m so sorry. I—I don’t know what else to
say. I’m sure he’s fine, but—I’ll meet you in the emergency room.”
 
“Wait! Who are you?” I
asked, staring into the open great room of my condo in a trancelike state.
 
I noted the sun’s
reflection on the shiny dark hardwood floors and the way the tiny flecks of
dust sparkled like fairy dust in the air. But I felt as though I were in a
vacuum. Sound was muffled, and the light was suddenly too bright. I pushed away
from the island and moved with purpose toward my bedroom, forgetting I’d been
waiting for a response until the caller spoke again.

 

“Benny.”

BuyLinks
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AuthorBio
 
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles both be men! Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her first novel was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and her third received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow lab ever in an almost empty nest.
 
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