A Paul B Review: A Time to Rise by Tal Bauer

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Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars

A Tiime To RiseFor all the holiness that surrounds Vatican City, evil lurks within its walls.

Alain Autenburg has been a member of the Swiss Guard for the past twelve years.  As a member of the group of men charged with protecting the Holy See and the Supreme Pontiff, the Swiss Guard have been serving popes for centuries.  Unbeknownst to most within the Guard, there is a subset within their numbers who are members of the Knights Templar.  They are responsible for ridding Rome of all the unholy paranormal happenings going on in the city.  Alain is the current Knight responsible for these duties.

Cristoph Haase is a new halberdier in the Swiss Guard.  Older than most of the other new soldiers in the pope’s army, Christoph is not quite sure why he is in Rome.  While it is the top assignment of the Swiss army to be selected as a member of the Guard, Cris is not sure he fits in.  Resigning would not only end his military career, but also leave a stain for any future private employment.  To make matters worse, Cris is fighting his attraction to and non-committal response from the Sergeant in the “Special Projects” office of the Guard, Alan Autenburg. To make matters worse, the sergeant is assigned to be his mentor.

As the attraction between the two grows, Alain has severe reservations about letting Cris into his world.  The last time he let someone in it almost destroyed him.  Alain wants to protect Cris from the things that go bump in the night.  A relationship with this new recruit would put in jeopardy, especially if he were to be trained as his replacement.  All that changes when Cris is cornered in a bar one night by an incubus who is trying to steal his soul.  The incubus shows both men their deepest desire.  They must now move forward with their relationship while fighting demons being called by someone within the walls of Catholic leadership.

This is a well-crafted book with enough tease of romance and action to fulfill the premise of the book.  Alain wants to be with Cris but the last man he was close to was hurt by his line of work so he Is very hesitant to follow his feelings.  This drives Cris crazy with what seems to be Alain’s flip flopping on whether or not to see where their feelings lead.  The secondary characters work to move the story along.  Of special note is Father Lotario.  The chain smoking, vodka swilling exorcist is not what one expects to find. I hope there are more tales of Alain, Cris and the demon fighting men of the Vatican.

The cover art by Aria Tan is perfect for the book.  Alain is standing in profile with the Vatican City skyline in the background.  You can also see Cris looking on in the background.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details

ebook
Published May 2nd 2016 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781911153481
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: Absinthe of Malice (Sinners #5) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Absinthe of MaliceThose five words send a chill down Miki St. John’s spine, especially when they’re spoken with a nearly religious fervor by his brother-in-all-but-blood, Damien Mitchell. However, those words were nothing compared to what Damien says next.

And we’re going on tour.

When Crossroads Gin hits the road, Damien hopes it will draw them closer together. There’s something magical about being on tour, especially when traveling in a van with no roadies, managers, or lovers to act as a buffer. The band is already close, but Damien knows they can be more—brothers of sorts, bound not only by familial ties but by their intense love for music.

As they travel from gig to gig, the band is haunted by past mistakes and personal demons, but they forge on. For Miki, Damie, Forest, and Rafe, the stage is where they all truly come alive, and the music they play is as important to them as the air they breathe.

But those demons and troubles won’t leave them alone, and with every mile under their belts, the band faces its greatest challenge—overcoming their deepest flaws and not killing one another along the way.

Upon discovering Rhys Ford, this author quickly became a favorite of mine for her rapid flowing narrative, snappy snark-filled dialog and haunted characters with pain-filled pasts guaranteed to come back and kick them in the belly twice over. No series of Ford’s fits that bill better than the Sinners series.  Absinthe of Malice marks a return to the series and does so with a great story, a cast filled with the characters from all the other books and a mystery to boot.

In each of the previous stories, the remaining two members of a popular but defunct band found each other and started to reassemble a new band. Here they try to see if they still have what it takes to overcome their personal demons on the worst place possible…the road from gig to gig.   Its a high stress, lonely place that  takes them away from their newly found lovers and newly established homes.  Its long hours filled with no sleep, bad food, and  exposure to drugs, bad sound systems and more. And we see it from each person’s point of view.

For some readers this might be disconcerting, but dealing with four different relationships, each with its own specific issues, and each band member with their own internal demons threatening to rise up and demolish the newly formed band…this revolving pov becomes necessary and illuminating.  It gives the reader a whole picture instead of fragments and it works.

Another integral part of the Sinners (and other Rhys Ford series) is the linked mysteries that unfold.  That starts happening here and its every bit terrifying as we have come to expect from this author.  I’ll say nothing more but your mind will probably start taking it further and that makes it both more scary and cranks up anticipation for the next book to higher level all together.

My favorite Irish clan is back, the Morgans et all.  How I love them.  So you have Miki and Kane (Sinner’s Gin #1) , Damie and Sionn (Whiskey and Wry #2) , Forest and Conner (Tequila Mockingbird #3), Rafe and Quinn (Sloe Ride #4) and all the people who love and support them in one book.  Plus mysteries.  And music.  Yes,  I loved it.  And highly recommend it.  It sings and rocks and its sexy and full of heart.

What more do you want?

But please read them in order.  Why take the kick ass out of a kick ass series?

Cover Artist: Reese Notley does a great job with Miki on the cover.  The color starts a new branding for the second half of this series.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published June 22nd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press, LLC
Original TitleAbsinthe of Malice
ISBN 1634773268 (ISBN13: 9781634773263)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series: Sinners:

Sinner Series:

An Ali Review: Hot Dogs and Kisses (Men at Work) by J.D. Walker

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Hot Dogs and KissesDarwin “Dare” Mancuso owns a string of food trucks across the city. His friends often tell him he works too hard and has too little fun. Dare knows it’s true, but he has high standards for both his business and his love life, and isn’t about to fall into bed with just any man he meets, no matter how hot he is.

Then Abel Messler comes into his life, and Dare takes notice. Unlike the entitled business types to whom he serves every day, Abel has an innocence that’s hard to ignore and draws Dare in. When Abel loses his job, it’s all Dare can do not to hug him and kiss all his troubles away.

Instead he invites Abel out for a good time with friends, and the end result gives both men more than they ever expected.

 

JD Walker did a nice job with this story.  It’s nice and sweet with a HFN ending.  Dare is trying not to be jealous of his friend’s love life when he meets Abel.  He can’t help but want to help the kid when he comes by his food truck.

 

I understood Dare wanting to protect Abel and it’s nice to see Abel give as good as he gets when he is finally in his own environment.  This is meant as a short story, so there isn’t a lot of build up and action, but it didn’t leave you wondering what was going on either.

 

The cover art is nice and consistent with the series.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | ARe

 

Book Details:

ebook, 17 pages

Published: May 14, 2016 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634861090

Edition Language: English

Series: Men at Work

A Lila Review: Amnesia by Sean Michael

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Rating: 3 stars  out of 5

AmnesiaWho wouldn’t want a do over?

When Thaine wakes up in the hospital after a bull-riding injury, he immediately asks for his lover, Jerry. He has no idea who this man next to his bed is, despite the fact Drew insists they have been an item for the last five years.

Thaine’s best friend, Jesse, calls Jerry. He thinks it’s a pretty crappy thing to do to the new boyfriend, but tells himself it’s unlikely Jerry will come after so many years. He also doesn’t get why Thaine would pass up the opportunity to be with Drew since he’s young, optimistic, and hardworking. In short, everything Jesse ever wanted in a man.

Jerry still carries a torch for his cowboy, so when Thaine asks to go home with him to recover, Jerry agrees. At first, they pick up their intense physical relationship right where they left it before the breakup. Jesse, in turn, consoles the now homeless Drew and offers him quite a bit more than a shoulder to cry on. But in the back of all the men’s minds loom Thaine’s lost five years.

Amnesia is two stories wrapped into one. It can also be seen as past and present relationships. Not only the individual pairings take the forefront, but the friendships between the four men play an important part too. As couples, they don’t interact with each other much, but their decisions had repercussions in each other’s lives.

Thaine Russell can be considered the central characters since he’s the bull rider with the amnesia problem. He’s the one having a role in all of the men relationships. It’s hard to see Thaine as a heartless bastard because the only thing he wants during the entire story is to be happy with JJ. I think we needed to see a little about his relationship with Drew to sympathize with him.

Drew Zucker is the new man in Thaine’s life. At the time of the accident, they had been together for three years. He’s younger and sweeter than his partner. Very devoted to him and he only wanted to get Thaine back. It’s easy to see his concern for Thaine and how much he meant to him, but as soon as he has the first chance to spend time with Jesse, I stopped feeling sorry for Drew.

Jesse Lourdes is Thaine best friend. At the same time, he has been holding a candle for Drew. He knew his friend was fond of the “kid” but not in-love with him. Reading the blurb, you will think that everything he does is for Thaine’s benefit, but his primary concern is for Drew.

Jerry Wortmeyer is Thaine’s one true love. He has made money since his cowboy left him and after seeing his man once again, he’s back into their original relationship. He comes back to Thaine’s life and takes charge. He doesn’t care about anything else than Thaine’s health and happiness. Everything else is secondary.

I enjoyed Thaine’s and JJ’s relationship. Their love for each other is strong and still there after five years. They work great together in and out of bed. Their exchanges and banter felt real, and we get to see more of them beyond the sex, not much, though. I wanted them back together since the very beginning and was happy that it happened. Unfortunately, the good sex and their isolation weren’t enough.

And Drew’s and Jesse’s relationship felt more like a consolation prize. I wished Drew had taken more time before completely accepting Jesse. There was no transition between relationships. He entered the room as Thaine’s partner and left as Jesse’s possible new partner. I liked Jesse, but never warmed up to Drew.

Originally, I thought this was my first Sean Michael’s book. After looking at my bookshelves, I realized it was my second. One thing is true about both books, they are more PWP than anything else. The first line of my review for Malting said, “This was a nice piece of smut. Definitely, not a romance,” those words ring true here as well.

This story is a compilation of sex scenes tight together by common characters. Every time I thought I’d get an answer, I got a sex scene instead. In the end, all the sex isn’t worth the lack of plot and missed opportunities. The premise was good, but the execution failed. Sadly, this was a second edition. I wonder why simple things like the years and word repetition weren’t updated. And why the plot wasn’t developed. Overall, a really disappointing book.

————-

Brooke Albrecht is a new-to-me cover designer, and I’m very pleased with the result. The cover has beautiful sky colors, and bull rider is the center of it. The superimposed images matched the two stories in the book.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published: June 13, 2016 (2nd edition), Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 1634769759 (ISBN13: 9781634769754)
Edition Language: English

Enjoy a Little Kink with Your Romance? Check out Relearning the Ropes by DC Juris (Excerpt and Giveaway)

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Relearning the Ropes 1000x400

Title:  Relearning the Ropes

Author: DC Juris

Publisher:  Torquere Press

Cover Artist: Kristin Norris

Release Date:  7/6/16

Heat Level: 5

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 10,485 words

Genre: M/M Romance, BDSM, Kink

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Relearning the Ropes Cover

Synopsis

When his good friend Julius dies unexpectedly, Marcus finds himself saddled with a new submissive–Charlie. But Charlie comes with a history, and a whole host of issues and problems that Marcus has never really dealt with. Marcus knows he loves Charlie, and Charlie loves him, but he’ll have to set aside his old theories about BDSM and relearn the ropes, so to speak, if he wants to be the Dom Charlie needs him to be. Previously published by Breathless Press.

Excerpt

Marcus rolled over to stare at the clock. 3:25 AM. A month ago, at precisely that moment, his phone had rung. He’d answered it, expecting it to be the only person who ever called him that late, his friend Julius, but instead it was Julius’ lawyer. The man apologized for waking Marcus, but Julius was dead  — condolences, of course — and Julius left the care of his sub, Charlie, to Marcus, and could Marcus please go over to Julius’ house and fetch Charlie?

At 3:45 AM that morning Marcus went and picked Charlie up, and, for the past month, Charlie slept in the spare bedroom across the hall. Marcus hadn’t slept since. Not that he didn’t like or want Charlie. He did, on both counts. Loved Charlie, was quite in love with Charlie. But if Marcus had wanted a live-in sub — which he hadn’t, his life was far too busy and complicated, and he was entirely too set in his ways — he wouldn’t have chosen one like Charlie. Charlie was a complex little creature: delicate and high-maintenance. He took everything Marcus knew about how to treat a sub and turned it upside down.

He thought back, remembering how, a little over two years ago, Julius had phoned him in the middle of the night, music blaring in the background so loudly that Marcus could barely hear himself speaking, let alone Julius. Julius had gone down to his favorite club, spotted Charlie, and Marcus had ended up loaning him five hundred thousand dollars to buy the battered and bruised sub out of the sex slave ring he’d been held captive in. Charlie had come such a long way since then, learning to live as a sub instead of a slave, and finding a niche in the working world.  Marcus didn’t want to do anything to set him back.

Marcus groaned and flipped over onto his other side, putting the mocking glare of the clock’s bright red numbers behind him. Aside from Charlie, Marcus had never dominated a man he’d loved. He had no clue how to reconcile the two. Charlie needed clear boundaries, a clear definition of their relationship, but how was he supposed to define their relationship to Charlie if he couldn’t define it to himself? He tried to treat Charlie like any other sub, but the fact of the matter was Charlie wasn’t just any other sub. Sold into sexual slavery at fifteen, Charlie had been dragged all across the country before he’d landed in Julius’ hands.

Marcus was all business when he served as a Dom at Anton’s BDSM playhouse, clinical, almost; for most of the men he played with, that was enough — the domination, the control. But Charlie, Charlie needed more. The only question, was could he give it? He sighed and squeezed his eyes shut, trying to force himself back to sleep.

Purchase

Torquere Press

Relearning the Ropes Square
Meet the Author

Romance author, sci-fi fan club Captain, cosplayer, reigning Queen of Monkeyland, and random menace. Yep, we’re talking about DC Juris. She’s a cupcake-making, football-watching, rubber-duck-collecting, drag-show loving, full-of-fabulous-with-a-capital-F kinda gal. She’s also an ordained minister and an amateur photographer. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband, three dogs, and three cats. When she’s not writing, you can find her in her favorite chair watching Star Trek and Supernatural repeats on Netflix, or surfing the web for porn. Er…research. Surfing the web for research. She may speak softly but she lives and loves loudly. Just ask the neighbors. ::wink::

https://www.facebook.com/danielchristianjuris

http://www.twitter.com/dcjuris

@dcjuris on Instagram and Periscope

http://dcjuris.blogspot.com

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