A Barb the Zany Old Lady Pre-release Review: Tongue & Groove by Shae Connor

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Tongue & GrooveSometimes home is what two hearts make of it.

After fifteen years on the road, rock singer Saul Wilder doesn’t know if he remembers how to stay in one place. While healing from a vocal cord injury, he decides to restore the cozy but neglected Atlanta home his grandmother left him. When home renovation specialist Perry Abrams arrives to assess the job, Saul’s on board with mixing business with a little pleasure. The sex is scorching hot, but the more they learn about each other, the deeper they fall emotionally as well. Trouble is, Saul’s a traveling man and Perry’s a homebody, so finding common ground to share could put the brakes on their relationship before it has a chance to get started.

I enjoyed this story quite a lot. The author created memorable characters—nice guys who have totally different world experiences and outlooks and yet gel well together. 

There’s no insta-sex between them, and Saul is far from being a typical rock star. He seems quite a humble, ordinary man who happens to be extremely talented and a gifted musician on the rise. But he’s sidelined with a vocal cord injury and while recovering at the home where he spent his teen years with his grandmother, he falls in love with the home, the area, and with the designer who is helping him to remodel it.

I loved the addition of the androgynous look on Perry with his silk stockings and garter belt—almost as good as manties!  He was a total sweetheart though a bit mysterious at the beginning. I thought he might be harboring a big secret, but that wasn’t the case as the story unfolded.

The primary issue that kept this from being higher than 4 stars for me was the vocal cord injury. The description was vague and the symptoms were more like those of a sore throat than a vocal cord injury, even though Saul needed heavy-duty drugs and vocal therapy over the course of a three-month treatment. There are a number of disorders the author could have chosen to describe, such as VCD—Vocal Cord Dysfunction—where the symptoms would have been more believable. In addition, I know firsthand that a doctor would be using more than a tongue depressor to check the healing progress. That is definitely a time where a doc would use a scope, and having had to have the procedure for a much less debilitating vocal cord issue, seeing the tongue depressor used threw me too far off base.

I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that there weren’t any major upsets or traumas in the story—sometimes a little turmoil or angst makes for a nice reunion. But this one was pretty smooth and sweet overall, and I found it quite a nice “stay at home and read all day” story—something to relax me and to keep me mellow and in a good mood, so if you’re looking for something like that, look no further. 

The cover by AngstyG has a light green-toned background and features a male singer sitting on a stool and holding the microphone stand across his lap with the mike covered by his fist. Symbolizing Saul’s inability to sing due to a voice problem, it very much suits the story.

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Coming August 29
And add it to your shelf at Goodreads

Book Details:

ebook, 70 pages
Expected publication: August 29th 2016 by Shae Connor
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Out of Nowhere (Middle of Somewhere #2) by Roan Parrish and Spencer Goss (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

out-of-nowhere audioThe only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So does running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.

 

Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lies the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.

 

I really enjoyed listening to this story.  Colin has spent so long denying that he is gay he almost believes it himself becoming more and more self-destructive as time goes on.  He only has one friend and is determined to make his father proud of him.  Rafe made some mistakes in his youth and has spent the rest of his life trying to make life better for LGBT teens with opportunities that he never had.

 

This story is told from Colin’s point of view; however, we are able to see Rafe’s emotions, if from a skewed view.  Rafe wants to show Colin that he is worth more than he believes.  When Colin really opens himself up to admitting to others that he is gay, he realizes that he would do anything for Rafe.  Seeing him finally reconnect with Daniel, his gay brother from book one, is wonderful.

 

Spencer Goss did a wonderful job narrating this story.  The use of different voices for the characters helped me keep track of the story.  He did a great job of portraying the characters emotions and feelings in his reading.

 

Cover art by AngstyG is great and follows the series style.

 

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Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 10hrs 33min
Published July 4, 2016 (ebook first published February 29, 2016)
Edition Language: English

Series: Middle of Somewhere #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Signs of Desire by Tempeste O’Reily ~ Audiobook narrated by Jeff Gelder

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

signs-of-desire audioWhen a night out turns into a matchmaking scheme, they thought communication would be their biggest challenge to their happily ever after….

Simon Tyler knows his job as a gay romance author makes his lack of faith in love more than a little ironic, but he’s tired of being used for his wallet. When a night out turns into a matchmaking scheme orchestrated by his best friends—though he’s not the target—Simon’s not thrilled, but since he’s sworn off happily-ever-after anyway, he goes along with it… until he meets the object of their efforts, Adrian, and finds perhaps he hasn’t given up on love after all.

Professor Adrian Keys has tried to date hearing men before, but being deaf himself, he’s never had any success at making a connection. After his friends con him into going out and Adrian realizes it’s all an elaborate plan to set him up, he braces for yet another failure, only to discover there is a spark—except it’s not with the man his friends had in mind, but with Simon Tyler instead.

Not all their friends have found a way past their romantic failures, but Simon and Adrian might be on the path to happily-ever-after.

My fourth audiobook in this series and it’s the one I liked best. Both MCs are sweet and special in their own way. Adrian is a professor at the local college and a computer expert. He’s deaf but that doesn’t stop him from doing whatever he wants to do. He’s the cutie we met in Chase’s story when Chase was trying to date him and Rhys got super jealous.

Simon is his newest love interest. Simon, one of James’s friends, has been around from the beginning of the series. He’s sweet and shy and an LGBTQ+ romance writer.  He’s also extremely wealthy from a rich and powerful family who are pushing for reform that will counteract all the work done by gay rights groups. Needless to say, Simon doesn’t associate with them, but he’s been burned before by guys who only wanted his money, and he’s at the point where he doesn’t trust easily.  When he meets Adrian, though, things change for the better. 

From Adrian’s perspective, Simon is a great person to get to know better. He seems unlike many of the men in his past who treated him as if he was inferior, and he’s far from that. Simon immediately signs up to learn sign language and spends as much time as he can with Adrian so they can get to know one another. 

The angst in this story comes primarily from Simon’s family and from both MCs’ distrust of relationships based on their past experiences. Overall, it’s a great romance and one that I would recommend to those who want to read something sweet and hopeful.

The narration was not bad, the vocalizations varied, but it could be better.  This is the same narrator as books 2 and 3, and I finally figured out what I don’t like about his narration—he makes an extra-long pause at each comma. But it’s not just at each compound sentence comma—it’s each and every comma. This means he pauses for the commas used in direct address, appositives, and interrupters.  It becomes annoying quickly.  If I could wave a magic wand, I’d ask that he not do that, and then I’d be able to say the audiobook was perfect. 

Cover art by Reese Dante is similar to the other books in the series with a soft, watercolor background. In this case a man’s hand, with forefinger and pinky raised, symbolizes sign language. The hand rests against books that symbolize romance writing, thereby capturing the spirit of both men.

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Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio
Published July 27th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published November 30th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDesires Entwined #4

Cover Reveal for ‘Age is Just a Number’ ~ a Wayward Ink Publishing Anthology

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AIJAN Anthology Banner

Synopsis

There’s something to be said for life experience, a little gray at the temple…

And then there is the appeal of youth.

When it comes to what the heart wants, Age Is Just A Number.

AIJAN Anthology Cover

Stories Included

TWENTY LIGHT YEARS BETWEEN US

Eric Gober

An alien encounter…
An unfortunate misstep…
A lightning fast journey through space…
The laws of physics are about to wreak havoc on Walt and Michael’s May-December love.

ALL ROADS LEAD WITHIN

Layla Dorine

When James spotted Rogue, a young man for whom wandering is like breathing, half-dozing on the hood of his car, he never expected that warning him about the dangers of sleeping out in the open would lead to a weekly visitor at his door.

NORTH PASTURE

Lily Velden

Upon the death of his grandfather, up and coming Fantasy author, Thomas, returns home.
A place he left four years earlier to get over his unrequited love for Sam Fletcher, his older, straight, and very much married neighbor.
Thomas soon discovers, however, that things are much changed with Sam…

AMERICAN MASTER BAKER

Dale Cameron Lowry

Baking is a way of life for Joey, a young pastry chef vying for first place in the popular reality show American Master Bakers.
But the judges have been showing favoritism to Terence, an aggravatingly attractive older man with more experience under his belt.
When the competition gets hot, so do the two men. Can a relationship that started in hatred end in love?

ALPHA AND OMEGA: THE CLAIMING

Eddy LeFey

A young Omega shifter meets a much older Alpha.
Will Elliot let Issac help him be who he is too afraid to be?

STAND AND DELIVER

Asta Idonea

Necessity has forced former soldier Captain Keen to assume the occupation of gentleman highwayman. His fortunes take a turn, however, the night he stops the Marquis de Beaumont’s coach and gets more than he bargained for when he utters the words “Stand and deliver!”

LOST AND FOUND

Louise Lyons

The loss of his best friend leads Phil to find love.

TRAIL TO LOVE

Kassandra Lea

There’s only one thing Kit Conley likes more than horses and that’s Roman Meadery.
But will the elite rider ever notice him?

CRUISING WITH LOVE

Carol Pedroso

Gus is under the thumb of a controlling father. Can meeting his mate give him a reason to make a break for freedom?
Nelson is twice Gus’ age, and very protective of what is his.
What will happen when Gus’ father tries to split them up? And what surprises does Nelson have up his sleeve?

NEAR MISS

Aimee Brissay

A few seconds, that’s all it takes to make a difference between life and death.
Between killing someone and stopping on time.
But is it enough to turn yourself around when you’ve hit bottom?
Or to make you recognize something good when you have it?

Pre-order Links

Don’t miss the discounted pre-order prices on publishers’ and all major retailer sites!

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/age-is-just-a-number-a-wayward-ink-publishing-anthology/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-ageisjustanumberawaywardinkpublishinganthology-2090671-166.html
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Age-Just-Number-Publishing-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01KMSZ7X4/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Age-Just-Number-Publishing-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01KMSZ7X4/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Age-Just-Number-Publishing-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01KMSZ7X4/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/Age-Just-Number-Publishing-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01KMSZ7X4/

Book Trailer

NEW COVERS for My Name is Luka & Finally Found (More Than Friends Series #7 & #8) by Aria Grace (Excerpt and Giveaway)

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Enticing Journey Book Promotions presents…

Cover Reveal Week
More Than Friends Series by Aria Grace
Day 4: My Name is Luka & Finally Found
Available Now

Brad spends his days swinging a hammer and his weekend nights pouring drinks just to keep his nose clean. At only twenty-one, he’s already had enough trouble to last him a lifetime. But when he realizes the boy upstairs has new injuries that coincide with loud shouting matches from that apartment, he knows he has to do something to help.

What the fuck is that? I open my eyes and take a look around the room. I must have fallen asleep on the sofa because there’s a game show on TV and shouting coming from the apartment above me.
I grab the remote and turn off the screen, leaving my apartment in silence as I strain to hear what’s being said through the ceiling. I can’t make out anything more than jumbled words but the wall shakes as something pounds against it. My guess is a fist but it could be anything.
The building is silent for a moment then another pounding on the wall and something falls to the ground. After hearing a door slam, there’s a soft dragging overhead that gets me worried. More worried than I was before.
I don’t like to butt into other people’s drama. It’s not my business. God knows I’ve been on the other side of curious stares and concerned looks in my time. And all I ever wanted was for people to look the other fucking way and not ask me what’s going on. But the slow dragging above me has me picturing a dead body being shoved into a suitcase or something. Maybe I shouldn’t have mixed beer with the pain killers because I’m not usually so dramatic.
While I’m contemplating whether this is the kind of shit that happens every day while I’m at work, I hear another door slam and pounding of boots on the staircase.
I take a step into the shadow of my hallway and watch as a heavy set man in some kind of uniform jacket lumbers past my window with a lunch box in his hand. He’s probably in his early fifties but is wide enough that he could do some damage if he wanted to.
The image of the boy from earlier makes my heart stop. Did this guy and that kid come from the same apartment upstairs? I never noticed who moved in because I’m rarely home. I work all day then head to the gym and eat out every night, unless I’m working at Ray’s. I only come home to sleep and change so I’m never around during normal human hours.
The sound of shuffling above me sets me at ease. At least someone is alive up there. I decide to give him ten minutes then I’m going up. I’ll ask to borrow a cup of sugar or some lame shit like that. I just need to make sure there isn’t someone bleeding out upstairs because I was too lazy to check on them.
I watch the clock. Time seems to be crawling until I can’t wait any longer. I grab a small coffee cup and step outside. It’s not exactly a measuring cup but I don’t cook or bake so I don’t have that stuff. I do, however, drink an assload of coffee so this will have to do.
Just as I take my first step on the stairs, I see the kid from earlier. He’s sitting on the top step with his head leaning against the railing and his eyes shut. If I couldn’t see his narrow chest taking shallow breaths under the bloody wife beater, I’d think he’s dead.
I clear my throat quietly to get his attention. He rouses slowly then opens his eyes. I expect to see surprise but the fear reflecting back at me is heart breaking. “Hey, you okay?”
I take a step forward and he leans back and shakes his head. Does that mean he’s not okay or he doesn’t want me to move any closer?
“It’s okay.” I raise my hands out in front of me. “I just wanted to check on you.”
“I’m fine.” His voice is so quiet I almost don’t hear him. He opens and closes his mouth a few times like he tastes something funny then he looks around with a panicked expression. “I’m gonna be sick.”
I take the steps three at a time and reach him as he bends over the rail and pukes. I don’t want to spook him but he doesn’t look stable and I don’t want him to take a header over the side so I stand close enough behind him to grab him if he leans too far over, without actually touching him.
After he empties his belly and spits a few times, he seems to be more coherent. But he still doesn’t look at me and his body is tense again. “Sorry about that. Um, I should go lay down.”
I take a step back and nod. “Is there anyone home that can keep an eye on you?”
He frowns as he looks up at me. “I’m not a baby. I’m fine by myself.”
I offer a small smile and pat his arm gently. “I know. I just mean, if you’re feeling sick, you might get worse. Is someone home that can get you to the doctor if you need to go?”
“I don’t need a doctor.” He stands to his full height of six feet, exactly my height. “I’ll be fine.”
I take a deep breath and look around. The small complex is unusually quiet. There doesn’t seem to be another soul out tonight. “Look, I’ll feel a lot better if you aren’t alone. Want to hang out with me for a while? I was gonna order a pizza.”
“No, thanks.” He glances up at me but his eyes stop at my mouth. “Um, I’ll be okay.”
Now I’m watching his mouth. His full lips look extremely kissable even though I know he just puked. He’s classically handsome with a sharp jawline and nose that may have been broken once or twice. It’s perfect.
“Come on.” I lift my hand and show him the cast. “I just broke my wrist and I’m stuck home for a couple weeks. It’s only been a few hours and I’m already bored out of my mind. Just help me eat a pizza so I don’t inhale the whole thing and turn into a ball of dough while I’m waiting for this to heal.”
The corner of his mouth turns up just a bit. Seems like he doesn’t smile too often. That makes me want to give him a reason to smile even more. “Yeah, okay.”
“Great.” I watch him steady himself for the climb down the steep staircase. I climb just a step ahead of him so if he does lose his balance, he won’t go far before I can catch him.
We get inside my place and I walk to the fridge. “Want some water or…” I dig around toward the back. “I’ve got a can of 7-Up in here. That might settle your stomach.”
“Anything’s fine,” he says quietly.
I look up and see he’s swaying on his feet, still standing just inside the door. “Have a seat, um, I don’t think I caught you name.”
“Oh, Luka. My name is Luka.” He reaches for the can of soda I offer and takes a seat in the far corner of my couch. “Is this okay?”
I notice he’s gesturing to his position on the couch. “Of course.” I can feel my brows furrow as I watch his timid motions. “You can sit anywhere you want.”
“Thanks.” He leans back and pops the top on the can.
“Anytime, Luka.” I sit in the armchair next to him. Close but not too close. “I’m Brad, by the way.”
His eyes meet mine and hold there. Afraid to make any sudden movements, I don’t even breathe while he’s inspecting my face then letting his eyes linger down to my chest.
That’s when I remember I’m not wearing a shirt. No wonder he was scared when he first saw me. The dragon wrapped around my side and blowing fire across my belly is probably a little intimidating. “Sorry.” I stand and walk across the room. “Let me just grab a shirt.”
Luka quickly turns away without saying a word. He’s certainly a quiet kid. Nothing like me when I was his age. What is his age anyway?
I return wearing a faded Seahawks t-shirt. I’m probably projecting but he seems to be almost disappointed.
“So, Luka,” I open a water bottle and take a seat, “Wanna tell me what happened to your head?”
“Walked into a door.” His words sound rehearsed, almost instinctive. And very obviously a lie.
“I know that’s not what happened,” I say calmly, hoping to win his trust. “You can tell me the truth. I might be able to help.”
His eyes grow wide and he shakes his head, then winces at the movement. “You can’t. I’m fine.”
“Okay,” I want to comfort him in some way but there isn’t any appropriate way for me to touch him so I don’t move. “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. But, I promise not to judge you or cause any trouble.”
I pause to see if he’ll respond. He doesn’t but his eyes flit to mine before they lock on his hands in his lap.
“Just know that if you want to talk, I’m here.”
Luka nods almost imperceptibly then pinches the bridge of his nose.
“Headache?”
“Yeah.” He takes a slow breath then peeks over to me. “You got any Advil I can borrow?”
I smile at his choice of words. Unless he thinks he’s gonna puke it back up and return it to me, it’ll be a gift instead of a loan. “No Advil with a concussion but I’ve got some Tylenol around here. Gimme a sec.”
With his eyes still closed, he takes a sip of the soda and relaxes into the back cushion. The couch isn’t fancy but it’s damn comfortable. I head into the kitchen and dig through a basket on top of the fridge where I toss random stuff. There are rolls of gauze and packets of antibacterial ointment and several half full containers of pills.
I spill two white and red capsules into my palm then set the bottle on the table in front of Luka. He’ll need more later if he feels as bad as he looks.
When I realize he’s asleep, I take a moment to really look at him. His chiseled features bear zero resemblance to the man I saw leave his apartment earlier. He must look like his mother, unless that asshole that knocked him around isn’t actually his father. Maybe he’s a stepdad. Who the hell knows? What I do know is that he needs to rest and I don’t want him to leave.
It takes me a minute to battle with myself over whether or not to wake him. I know it’s fine for him to sleep even if he has a concussion but he doesn’t look comfortable at all. He’ll wake up in more pain than he started in if I don’t get him to lie down.
“Luka,” I whisper, nudging his arm. That’s when I notice all the bruises on his arms that are in various states of healing. Fucking bastard must do this on a regular basis. “Luka, how about you lie down so you’re more comfortable.”
He doesn’t respond so I start to get nervous that maybe he has slipped into a coma but then he wakes with a jolt. “What? What happened?”
“Nothing,” I say, rubbing a clear patch of his arm. “I just wanted you to lie down so you can get some rest.”
He looks at me with confusion for a minute then remembers where he is. “Oh, thanks but I should go home. I’m really tired.”
My hand instinctively closes around his arm, holding him in place. He tenses and fear fills his eyes as he slowly looks down at my hand.
I immediately release my grip and step back. “Please, stay.” I give him a small smile that I hope looks concerned and not creepy. “I’ll wake you up every few hours to see how you’re doing. But I’ll worry all night if you’re up there alone.”
He watches me for a long time. His eyes move from mine to my mouth and then to the hand that was just holding his bare skin. He is considering it but still on the fence.
“I promise you’ll be safe here.”



For the past six years at the University of Oregon, Trey has been completely focused on studying. With no time for relationships, he’s had to rely on the occasional hookup to fulfil his physical need for companionship. Now that he’s almost done with his Masters in Biology, his attention is on his career. Relationships will have to wait. Again.

Chuck is hitching his way down the coast, taking odd jobs to survive while trying to stay off the radar of an abusive ex. He just wants to get to L.A. in one piece so he can start over. His job skills are limited, but even working in porn will be better than what he’s running from. Hiding is hard but Chuck isn’t ready to be found.
Born and raised in beautiful California, Aria enjoys the year round sunshine and laid back environment of the west coast. Her career started out in tech writing and web development and has evolved into all things marketing with fingers in everything related to book publishing. 
She lives with her husband and two children and more pets than she can keep track of. Despite her crazy schedule, she loves the time she carves out to read and write. Whether it’s on the beach or on the couch at 2am, she is a woman obsessed!

 

She loves to hear from readers so please feel free to drop her a note or visit her at www.ariagracebooks.com.

 

If you’d like to know when Aria’s next book is coming out or where she’ll be signing, join her mailing list at: http://bit.ly/AriaGraceFanList


Cover Reveal Week Recap




 


Cover Reveal Week
More Than Friends Series by Aria Grace
Day 5: Looking for Home & Choosing Us
Stay Tuned..Coming August 26, 2016


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