A MelanieM Review: North Star (North Star #1-3) by Posy Roberts

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

North StarHugo and Kevin were best friends and secret lovers in high school, but a chance meeting years later proves that the spark that drew them together before is still there. In Spark, Hugo and Kevin must try to put together a relationship while overcoming the obstacles of coming out, divorce and children. In Fusion, an unexpected illness may tear apart all they’ve been building. And in Flare, though they’ve finally settled together happily, outside forces are working hard to upset their family.

North Star is a bundle of all three of Posy Robert’s North Star trilogy stories, a total of 876 pages of wonderful contemporary m/m romance and true love.   Its one thing to have them as separate stories (blurbs below), but its another to read it as one long saga of a love affair that starts as young teenagers, reunited later as grown men.  How would that work?

Pretty smoothly actually.  I found the flow was almost seamless.  As one story ended, the next picked up almost at the same point, making it to continue your connections to the characters and all the many threads the author is working here.  But at the same time, close to 900 pages is a lot to read at one sitting (I know). So if you need to stop at one book, and then continue on later, well, you can do that too and still be able to pick up Hugo and Kevin’s story.

In fact, I think I might recommend you still do that.   I loved these stories.  And the characters, Hugo especially.  Hugo is such a bundle of contradictions, so human.  He’s vibrant, vulnerable, and he comes alive on every page.  So too does his friends, especially Summer.  Kevin and his household too get into your heart, from his soon to be ex wife Erin and his children.  But a huge 900 page dose of Kevin almost proved too much for me.  I understood the reasons why he behaved as he did, Posy Roberts made that very clear.  But I think perhaps it went on too long, at least for me, and in those wonderful words of Cher, I dearly wanted him to “snap out of it” long before Flare started.  What kept me and my impatience in check was the timeline and the events that were happening.

There are some very wonderful and moving elements here, including a complication with Kevin’s wife.  How this is handled is one of the stars I think of the series.  The dynamics between the three of the them, and the children, the growth of Kevin and Hugo’s relationship at this stage as well as having Erin’s point of view in Fusion?  It made this my favorite story of the three.  It felt real, loving, and got straight to my heart.

 

Spark – Book 1:North Star: Book One Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.

By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children.

When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.

Fusion – Book 2: Rating 5 stars out of 5

How do you tell your friends and family you’ve fallen in love with a man when they’ve only ever known you as straight? How do you explain to your kids that you loved their mother very much, but your new partner is your best friend from high school?

Kevin Magnus must figure it out while trying to build a relationship with Hugo Thorson, whose bigger than life, out-and-proud drag queen persona is simply too big to be contained in a closet—even for the time it takes Kevin to come up with an explanation for his kids and Erin, his soon-to-be ex-wife.

But Erin faces an even bigger obstacle—one that shakes the entire family to the core. When she unexpectedly turns to Hugo, they form a connection that forces Hugo to grow up and offers Kevin the chance to become the kind of father he wants to be. Despite the coming complications, they’ll all benefit from a fortunate side effect: it becomes clear that Hugo is very much a part of this unconventional family.

Flare – final book in the North Star Trilogy  Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus are learning to live again after the death of Kevin’s wife, Erin. They’re doing everything they can to make a stable home for Kevin’s kids, but that stability is threatened when Kevin is served legal documents: Erin’s parents want custody of Brooke and Finn.

Meanwhile, Hugo is offered several acting jobs; to encourage him to take them, Kevin hires a nanny who is very hands-on with the kids. But Hugo feels distanced from his new family, so he makes the decision to leave his eclectic neighborhood and moves in with Kevin. He quickly finds he has a hard time fitting in with the suburbanites, and Kevin’s passive-aggressive “friends” make Hugo feel anything but welcome. Yet he keeps his concerns a secret and tries to take it all in stride.

When Brooke is bullied about having two dads, Hugo realizes his mere presence might be doing more harm than good. The stress will force him to make a choice: does he stay and fight for the family he loves, or does he walk away to let them live in peace?

In the final story, Posy Roberts pulls it all together, the struggles, the relationship and personal growth the men go through in order to become the true partners and family unit they have been dreaming and working towards from the moment they reunited and perhaps even longer, the moment they met.  I think this is where Kevin finally clicked for me as a character and as the perfect ying to Hugo’s yang.   It also deals with another strong topic, bullying.  Again, its addressed in a direct and wonderful way by the author by using Brooke, the daughter we have come to know and care about just as deeply as the main characters.

How do I love these characters?  Oh so much.  By the time the last sentence rolls around, I was so sorry to see them all go.  I think you will be too.  Having them all in one bundle makes it so easy to pick up and enjoy them all over again.

Need not one but three stories to perk up your summer reading?  Love contemporary romance and lovers reunited?  Pick up North Star (North Star #1-3) by Posy Roberts, a 3 in 1 total package of romance and reading enjoyment.  I highly recommend it.

 

Cover art by Anne Cain works for the characters.  Its lovely.

Sales links

      

 

Bundle Details:

ebook, 876 pages
Published August 5th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634775201 (ISBN13: 9781634775205)
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttps://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/north-star-by-posy-roberts-7341-b
SeriesNorth Star #1-3

A Paul B Review: Tanner and Shade (Demon Elite 4) by April Kelley

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tanner and ShadeFinn O’Reilly has be staying at the Lakeshore safe house since his rescue from slave traffickers a couple of months ago.  He had started flirting with Shade upon his arrival.  Things seemed to be going along real well with him until Finn finds out that Shade has been dating Tanner for the past two years.  Seeing that his relationship with a married man had gotten him into the situation he is currently in, Finn wants no part of breaking up a happy home.  He will do what he has must to prevent getting involved with another married man.

Tanner and Shade have kept their relationship a secret from their bosses for the past couple of years.  While at the Agency, there was a no fraternization policy in place.  Now that the Demon Elite squad has gone private, the two have no idea what their boss Justin would think about the relationship.  Both men find Finn attractive and openly flirt with him.  Shade does the more open flirting while Tanner is there for cuddles during movie night and the like. 

As Finn continues to resist both men, they decide to try to get Finn to join their relationship.  Before they can discuss the matter with him, Finn decides the best course of action is to run away from the situation, knowing it would hurt both the men and his brother.  While he is leaving town, Finn is stopped by one of the crooked cops working for Victoria Mize and his ex-boyfriend Harrison Belani.  Tanner and Shade must rescue their wayward witness before his is returned to where this whole mess started, back to Harrison.

This fourth book in the Demon Elite series is a tale of three broken men who will form a relationship to help each other heal and grown.  Finn is driven by the bad relationship that leads to his being sold into sexual slavery.  Tanner still suffers from physical and psychological effects of being tortured during a mission gone wrong.  Shade has blamed himself for not being there when his family died when he was a teen.  Add in the fact that Finn blames himself for his mother’s murder and you can see why they need each other to heal.  I have a feeling there will be some bumpy times ahead for the group but will make it through. 

This book also expands on how rotten a person Victoria Mize really is.  First she him up her brother as a fall guy for an attempted kidnapping.  Then she sells her own brother to the slave trafficking business.  Here is hoping that she gets put out of business soon.

The cover art by Latrisha Waters follows the pattern of the other Demon Elite.  Shade and Tanner are shown with shirts open showing their chiseled physique.  The Demon Elite shield is in the upper right hand corner this time. 

Sales Links

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Book Details

EBook, 116 pages
Edition Language:  English
Published:  July 8, 2016 by eXtasy Books
ISBN:  978-1-4874-0794-0

Series:  Demon Elite

An Ali Audiobook Review: Gambling Men by Amy Lane and Gomez Pugh (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

gambling-men audioQuent Jackson has followed Jason Spade’s every move in business and in poker since their first day as college freshmen. Eight years later, when Jace finally decides Quent is the one man he can’t live without, he sees no reason for that to change.

But as much as Jace believes that poker is life, no one gave Quent the same playbook. After their first passionate night, the real game of love and trust begins, and Jace has been playing alone too long to make teaching the rules easy. Jace only speaks two languages: one of them is sex, and the other one is poker. Between the two, he needs to find a way to convince himself to take a chance on love—and Quent to take a chance on him. It’s a lucky thing they’re good at reading the odds, because they’re playing for keeps, and this is one high-stakes relationship that’s definitely worth the gamble.

This was a sweet (& sometimes sexy) story about two best friends who finally act on the fact that they’ve been in love with each other for years.  The book started a little odd for me.  It felt like I was dropped into the middle of an ongoing story.  Which I guess in some ways I was since they had a relationship that had spanned many years previously.  They get together in a sexual manner at the very beginning of the story and the rest of it focuses on them developing their relationship and struggling through some growing pains.  While they struggle through some things it all felt realistic and it was pretty much angst free.  The entire story is filled with poker metaphors which I thought was an interesting plot device and really worked for these two characters.  I only know a little about playing poker but I had no problem following along and I thought it really added to the story.  Overall it was a lovely story about two average guys falling in love.
I enjoyed the narrator and thought he did a good job.  He has a really soothing voice and he did a good job on all the characters.  Both of the main characters as well as all of the side ones.

Cover Artist: DWS Photography:  The cover is ok but it not one of my favorites.  The cards are well tied into the plot.

Audiobook Sales Links

Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, 8 pages, 7 hrs 18 mins
Published June 10th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 6th 2012)
Original TitleGambling Men
ASINB01GUES5DI
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersJason “Jace” Spade, Quentin “Quent” Jackson settingSan Francisco, California (United States)
Hawaii (United States)

The Books You Love are Back in One Bundle! North Star (Spark-Fusion-Flare) by Posy Roberts (giveaway)

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NorthStar-altNearly three years ago, North Star was released book by book. Now you can get the entire series as a bundle!

In the summer of 2012, I was in a tizzy to get a story down that would become my North Star trilogy. I was afraid if I didn’t get it down as fast as possible, I would lose everything. Sometimes I woke in the middle of the night and went to my keyboard and wrote for hours. Other times I sat at the lake, my laptop battery charring my thigh more than the sun at my back, and type away as fast as my fingers would fly.

The story came to me in a strangely inspired way and I knew it couldn’t be told in just one book. It had to be three, even if the story was always intended to be read together.

Spark was released at the beginning of September 2013, with Fusion and Flare following in November and then January. That’s really close together for a series, so I was lucky Dreamspinner Press released them one right after the other. People have had to wait years between George R.R. Martin or J.K. Rowling books.

And now North Star is in a bundle! *cheers wildly*

The story arc spanning all three books is how Hugo and Kevin figure out how they can be together and stay together despite all the odds. And they face many obstacles over the years, starting with Kevin’s father in high school. Lucky for them, they get a second chance at love in their thirties, years after they drifted apart in college.

NorthStarBanner

As authors, we take risks when we put out a series. There is always reader drift and I know not everyone will pick up subsequent books. I’m guilty of that myself. I move on to another book or series and by the time the next book comes out, I’m not around to see the release announcment or my interests have changed. That’s why I’m really excited about this bundle. I can’t wait to see how new readers will react to all three books together.

Just a few weeks ago I followed along as a reader picked up Spark and commented on Twitter as she read. She immediately picked up Fusion and then moved on to Flare and read them all in a few days. She loved the series, recommending it to all her followers, and I teared up with each of her tweets. What she loved about the stories is what I loved so much about Hugo and Kevin, their genuine love and devotion for each other and their family.

When I set out to write North Star, my intention was to tell a realistic story about a complex family that fought for each other, challenged each other, and lifted each other up. Some of what they are up against completely sucks, just like some of the crap we have to deal with in our own lives. Now you can enjoy the ride to three happy ever afters in a matter of days!


In high school, Hugo and Kevin discover they are perfect for each other. Sadly they fell in love years too early to make a solid commitment, and college and other relationships got in the way. Fifteen years later they meet again, and all those old feelings are rekindled. Second chances at such perfect love don’t happen every day. Hugo and Kevin immediately know they’re meant to be, but figuring out a way to combine their divergent lives without rocking their well-established boats is the challenge. If that’s even possible. Perhaps their love is worth upending the worlds they know.

Falling in love again is easy. Fitting into each other’s complicated lives isn’t.North Star for WP FI

Hugo and Kevin were best friends and secret lovers in high school, but a chance meeting years later proves that the spark that drew them together before is still there. In Spark, Hugo and Kevin must try to put together a relationship while overcoming the obstacles of coming out, divorce, and children. In Fusion, an unexpected illness may tear apart all they’ve been building. And in Flare, though they’ve finally settled together happily, outside forces are working hard to upset their family.

image009Posy Roberts writes about the realistic struggles of men looking for love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.

Posy is a Jill of all trades and master of the drill and paintbrush. She’s married to a partner who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep during her writing frenzies. Her daughter, a budding author and cinematographer, helps her come up with character names. For fun, Posy enjoys crafting, geocaching, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make regular life more interesting.

 

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Buy here:

Dreamspinner Press Link: http://tinyurl.com/NSbundle
Amazon Universal Link: myBook.to/NorthStar
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IQTRJQO
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/north-star-11
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/north-star/id1135534675?mt=11

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Nearly three years ago, North Star was released book by book. Now you can get the entire series as a bundle!

 

facebook Wordpress-icon 64 instagramnewletter Button twitter pinterest bookbub goodreads

Buy here:

Dreamspinner Press Link: http://tinyurl.com/NSbundle
Amazon Universal Link: myBook.to/NorthStar
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IQTRJQO
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/north-star-11
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/north-star/id1135534675?mt=11

a Rafflecopter giveaway: 1 $10 Dreamspinner Press gift card and 1 $10 Amazon gift card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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