A Free Dreamer Review: Faire Secrets (The Faire Folk #4) by Madeleine Ribbon

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

faire-secrets-by-madeleine-ribbonZion’s life is falling apart. His home burned down, his obnoxious ex-boyfriend is scheduled to get out of jail, the managers of the magical Renaissance Faire expect him to do a month’s worth of work in days, he hasn’t seen his sick sister in nine months, and he’s discovered a hidden room filled with secrets in the rubble of his library.

Usually, spending a few hours practicing rope bondage would be enough to clear Zion’s head, but not this time. This time there’s too much going wrong, and none of his problems are going away. In fact, life is throwing him yet another curve ball in the form of a handsome architect named Vin—the same Vin who spent all of last year trying to climb into Zion’s pants. Zion resisted then, but he’s not so sure he can do it again. He’s not so sure he even wants to.

Zion’s mountain of problems just keeps growing, and it’s only a matter of time until he gets buried beneath them.

First of all, I haven’t read the previous books in this series. I read the blurb for “Faire Secrets”, which is book four, and thought it sounded interesting. I went back and glanced over the blurbs of the previous books. Since this couple didn’t show up in any of them, I figured it should work as a standalone. Unfortunately it doesn’t. That’s totally my own fault and has nothing to do with the quality of the book/series. So I’m going to try to keep my rating as fair as possible and not punish the author for my own mistake.

The world of the Faire seems very intriguing. It looks like a lot of world building has happened in previous books and I really like the little that still happened in this book. The author has obviously put a lot of thought into her world and shows a great love for little details, which make the place even more alive and real.

Zion is an interesting man. I can’t help but relate to his work as a librarian, since I work with books as well. I always love to read about characters who truly appreciate books. Unfortunately for Zion, his world is currently in the middle of falling apart. Everything’s a mess. Usually, a bit of rope bondage helps him calm down, but that’s not enough this time. While Zion likes to be put into elaborate bondage and loves the feel of rope on his skin, he’s not into any other BDSM things. He’s neither a submissive, nor a masochist. He’s just kinky. I really liked that about him.

The sex scenes were very hot. Vin and Zion are very versatile and open to new things. The scenes were a good mix of explicit and non-explicit. Not every single time the two of them had sex was described in elaborate detail. Instead, the author chose to only show us the times when the sex was important to the plot and the relationship.

I liked that Vin was so open from the beginning. He told Zion that he wasn’t good at the guessing game and thus needed to be told explicitly what he was supposed to do or not do. I hate it when MCs don’t talk to each other and just assume things all the time!

I especially loved reading about Zion’s work with the ancient texts he found. I think those were my favourite scenes by far.

There isn’t much to complain about. The plot wasn’t exactly full of breathless suspense, but I still felt well entertained. I just wasn’t fully invested in the story all the time, which was probably a result of my lacking knowledge of previous events.

I’m sure I would have liked “Faire Secrets” even better if I had read the previous instalments. It has definitely made me curious about them and I want to read the first three parts now.

The cover by Fiona Jade is a bit generic. I think it could have done without the shirtless man. A greater focus on the books and scrolls might have worked better.

Sales Links

Loose Id LLC

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Book details:

ebook, 257 pages

Published May 17th 2016 by Loose Id

Series: Part 4 of the Faire Folk series – add to your Goodreads shelf here:

  1. Faire Fugitive
  2. Faire Protector
  3. Faire Diviner
  4. Faire Secrets

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Babe in the Woodshop by Ashlyn Kane, Claudia Mayrant and C.J. Burke

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

 

babe-in-the-woodshopWhen long hours and crushing stress push Bellamy Alexander to his breaking point, he walks away from his consulting job and drives until he runs out of gas. Fortune deposits him in front of Antonio’s, a place with decent pizza and an opening for a delivery boy. Even better, he finds an apartment right across the street from his new job. And best of all, Chris McGregor, the property manager who runs the custom furniture shop below Bell’s new digs, is super hot—and super into Bell.

It seems too good to be true—and maybe it is. Things aren’t exactly going smoothly. Bell avoids telling his mother the truth about his new job because he doesn’t want to hear how he should go back to the corporate world. On the other hand, he doesn’t think he wants to deliver pizza forever either. He’d like to think about settling down, but Chris runs hot and cold. Between Bell’s uncertainty and the hang-ups Chris refuses to talk about, they have their work cut out for them. Fortune may have caused their paths to dovetail, but it will take more than wood glue to hold them together.

Babe in the Woodshop by Ashlyn Kane, Claudia Mayrant and C.J. Burke is an all-around romantic feel good charmer.  I’m familiar only with author’s Ashlyn Kane’s stories, so  I was a little apprehensive about a novel that had not one but three authors pooling their talents to come up with one cohesive plot and characters I could enjoy and connect with.

The end result was as heartwarming and wonderful as that cover by Alexandria Corza. It just sort of glows with happiness as do the men and the people around them as the story comes to a close.  Its angst free and darn near close to perfect.

Bell Alexander has had it with his full tilt stressed to the max life.  So he opts out when his car dies in the parking lot of this pizza place in this small town he’s passing through. Turns out life has just handed him exactly what he needs and he runs with it.  He gets a job as a pizza delivery boy (the last one just retired..its that sort of town). He finds the place to live comes with an unusual feline tenant upstairs and a handsome owner downstairs.

The pace of the story is as slow and marvelously true  to the character and small town  charm of the place.  It lets you get a grasp of life as its lived there and on Bell as he slows down, unwinds, and starts to heal.

While we are learning about Bell, the author is busy giving us insight into Chris McGregor, our carpenter and property manager. There is no verbal dump of information.  A conversation here, hints there from someone else, and little by little we get the full portrait of a man whose been very hurt in the past and can’t figure out how to get over that.  Never does either man come across as anything less than believable.

Nor do they jump immediately into bed.  Nope.  The buildup is slow and steady.  I liked that too.

The only thing I wanted more of was the ending.  Perhaps I’m greedy.  Maybe I didn’t want to let go of that small town or this couple but it felt a little too  abrupt for me.  That was the only thing that kept this was being perfect.

But the rest of this?  Unless you want a lot of angst in your story, because really this didn’t have a lot of that here,  this heartwarming romance is the perfect thing for lovers of contemporary romance or just romance.  I  absolutely recommend it.  And now I’m going to have to look up those other two authors to see what they have written.  I’ll let you know what I find.

Cover by Alexandria Corza is one of my favorites.  Heartwarming and pertinent to the story. Loved it.

Sales Links

        

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: September 30th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634777069 (ISBN13: 9781634777063)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Paul B Release Day Review: A Nice Normal Family by John Terry Moore

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

a-nice-normal-familyLeonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Sir Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, Nelson Rockefeller, Agatha Christie, Steven Spielberg, Harry Belafonte, Winston Churchill, and Richard Strauss.

These are the names that young Jackson “Jacko” Smith learned from his tutor at a young age.  Famous people who have overcame their dyslexia to do something important for the world.  He uses these names to help guide him through the decisions he makes in his life.  What some would consider extraordinary, he sees as a nice, normal life.

Diagnosed as dyslexic in pre-kinder, Jacko receives help from most of his family to overcome the disability.  While his mother would not approve any special help, his father and siblings make sure he gets the extra help he needs.  It is through his second tutor that he meets Samuel “Sammy” Collins.  The two youngsters become best friends with Sammy helping Jacko out with his school work.   As they progress through school, they must deal with setbacks life has for them.  Between bullying, lost loves, and general anxiety about the future, the boys stay friends through the years.

As they move on to adulthood, Sammy trains to be a teacher dealing with students with disabilities.  Jacko takes a job with the city cutting lawns.  His ability to think differently than most others will fuel his rise through the ranks until he gets to management.  Along the way, Jacko realizes that he has feeling that are more than friends for Sammy, who has been out and proud his whole life.  The pair marries and set off creating their life together, like any other Australian couple.  What follows leads the pair to the pinnacle of Australian power, something neither of them imagined.

This is a wonderful book that sets out the life of Jacko as he struggles with his dyslexia, issues with his mother, bullies, and xenophobic people.  While this is a book about the lives of these two men, it also deals with several issues currently facing Australia specifically and other parts of the world.  The author touches on monarchist, partisanship, foreigners, and the current debate on marriage equality in Australia.  (In the book, the issue has been settled for several years.)  The book also serves a mini-travelogue of Southeast Asian countries.  If you want a book that deals with family dynamics, a touch of politics and a friends to lovers story, I highly recommend A Nice, Normal Family.

The cover art by Maria Fanning shows the Collins-Smith family as I pictured them.  Jacko, Sammy, Max and Kate are pictured in front of a harbor on the Australian coast.

Sales Links

        

Book Details

ebook, 350 pages
Expected publication: September 30th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634775465 (ISBN13: 9781634775465)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Cover Reveal for “Spell Cat” By Tara Lain (excerpt and preorder link)

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Spell Cat
by Tara Lain 
 
Blurb:
When Killian Barth, history professor, meets Blaine Genneau, quantum physicist, they ignite their own big bang. But Killian can’t pursue a physics professor—or a human. As the most powerful male witch in ten generations, Killian must bolster his dying race by reproducing—despite the fact that he’s gay.
Even a fling with Blaine is out of the question, because Killian has been told sex with humans drains his power. But if that’s true, why can young human Jimmy Janx dissolve spoons with the power of his mind? If Killian can sort through the lies he’s been fed, he’ll still face his biggest obstacle — convincing rational scientist Blaine to believe in magic.
With his ancient and powerful cat familiar, Aloysius, on his shoulder, Killian brings the lightning against deceit and greed to save Blaine from danger and prove love is the greatest power of them all.
Release Date:
Oct. 31, 2016
Pre-Order at 

 

Also available in paperback
Excerpt
The
man’s shaggy head cocked. “Sorry to bother you, but I’m new here. Can you tell
me how to get to the physics building?”
Physics. Not my best subject. But right now he needed mechanics to keep his
cock from rising. This man seemed to radiate heat even from several feet away,
and it lit a fire in places Killian hardly recognized. Standing there with a
rapidly rising hard-on came nowhere near cool. “Uh, I, uh, believe it’s
directly across the street from here.”
The
guy flashed dimples at Killian. “Damn. You’re not the first to say that. I’m
not usually so bad at directions. Can you tell me which street? I’ve already been across a couple of streets.”
“The
side street, Templeton.”
“Oh.”
The stranger produced a wide smile. “Wouldn’t you know I’d choose every street
but that one?” He paused as if he was searching for a new topic. “Quite a group
I saw leaving here. What’s your subject?”
“Witchcraft.”
The
laugh burst out explosively. “You’re joking?”
Gorgeous, but rude. “Not even slightly. I teach the
history of witchcraft, among other things.”
“Sorry.
Guess that was impolite.”
“Yes,
I guess it was.”
The
guy cocked his head and peered at Killian over the tops of the black rims.
There was a lot of mischief in that handsome face. “Since I’m on a roll with
being insulting, I think I’ll go all the way. I hope you won’t think I’m a
stalker, but I stood here and watched while your class filed out. You’re about
the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen. Is there the slightest chance you’re
single—and gay?” He ducked and held up his hands as if to deflect a blow, but
he never stopped smiling.
Killian
arched an eyebrow. A lot of people assumed he was gay because of his long hair
and pretty face, but he never confirmed or denied. “Who wants to know?”
The
paragon thrust out a slim hand. “Blaine Genneau. New professor of quantum
physics.” He grinned wickedly. “Gay
professor of quantum physics.”
Killian
took that hand and got a flash of heat straight to his balls. Like lightning
streaked through the window into his jeans. Extraordinary.
He pulled his hand back. Maybe the lightning loosened his tongue. “Killian
Barth, professor of history. Gay professor of history.”
He
gazed into those eyes. Deep green like
ancient Chinese jade
. A carved mouth. Just the type he imagined wrapped
around his cock in his daydreams. But with one big difference. Killian sighed
so deeply, it felt like his heart cracked. Yes, this man was gorgeous. Yes,
Killian was gay. In truth, he was dying for a real relationship with a partner
who both attracted him and fulfilled him, and if he’d ever been allowed to
discover the type of partner he wanted, he knew Blaine Genneau would have fit
every parameter—every parameter but one.

 

He
tucked the helmet under his arm. “Good to meet you, Blaine.” He walked past the
man and out into the sunshine toward his motorcycle. He couldn’t stay. He
couldn’t find out what he’d been missing. Because no matter how perfect this
man might be, Killian Barth didn’t do physics professors. In fact, he didn’t do
humans. Sex with humans stole his energy and depleted his community, and that
wasn’t allowed, because he was the most powerful male witch in ten generations,
and he was expected to reproduce.
About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

 

You can find Tara at Lain

               

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Enjoy A Coffee Sip and Book Break with Choices by Stevie Woods (excerpt and giveaway)

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Choices Banner

Title:  Choices

Author: Stevie Woods

Publisher: Torquere Press

Release Date: September 31, 2016

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 15,600 Words

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Erotic-Romance, Gay Romance

Add to Goodreads

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Synopsis

Best friends since kindergarten, Ben and James are separated after college graduation by their different choices. Ben stays in their small hometown while James heads off to New York with dreams of money and success. Ben works to make his life follow the path he wants, and dreams of the day when James realizes he made a mistake and comes back home.

Each man promises to stay in touch, but this falls by the wayside as James’ life in the big city takes off, leaving Ben yearning for a dream that gradually fades as the years pass.

In New York, James finds that not all dreams are worth the cost of a wrong choice.

(Previously published by Amber Quill Press.)

Excerpt

When Ben had written to tell James of his success and pleasure in his new work, James had responded positively, but still wondered why Ben “didn’t really give it a go and study architecture” before going on to tell Ben about the lovely new end table he’d bought for his apartment.

“He still after you to take that architecture course?”

Ben jerked in surprise. He hadn’t heard Suzie come in, but shouldn’t have been surprised at her reading over his shoulder. Suzie was still very much a handful as always. It was no wonder he loved her so much.

“Don’t you know how rude that is?” He ought to try to teach her some manners.

“You should take it to your room if it’s private,” she said, grabbing some orange juice from the fridge. “Anyhow, did he?”

Ben sighed. “Yeah. He’s doing so well, he thinks I’m missing out.”

“Each to his own. You know how much I think of James, but he sure is blinkered about you.”

Ben glanced at his sister, wondering if he was just being too sensitive or if she really had guessed how he felt about James. He’d been thinking of telling his parents the truth about his leanings, but hadn’t managed it yet. It was with a sense of relief he heard Suzie add, “Thinks everyone wants to be just like him.”

“Go on; get busy with your homework.”

She stuck her tongue out at him, but left the kitchen, and after he heard her thump her way upstairs, Ben re-read the letter.

It went on that way for some time, and Ben allowed James to dominate their correspondence with news of his work and home life, the new friends he’d made and his varied social life. Gradually, however, James’ letters became less frequent, sliding to one every fortnight and then monthly, until finally they were sporadic and Ben received the last one from him about twenty months after James had left.

For about six months after that Ben continued to write about once a month with news of his family and information about Ben’s own version of success, but he finally accepted defeat when James never responded to any of them. Not even the last one where Ben had given James a kind of ultimatum: respond to tell me you want me to keep in touch or I’ll assume you wish me to stop writing to you.

Disappointment wasn’t a strong enough a word to describe how Ben felt about James’ abandonment of his past connections. He refused to consider that James had discarded him; that was just too hard to bear. He couldn’t help but think James’ new life must be everything he ever wanted, everything he dreamed of, and his hometown friends were a memory he preferred to leave behind. Sadly, Ben acknowledged the odds were that a person as wonderful as James had found that someone special and old friends—even best friends like him—were superfluous.

As much as he disliked it, Ben considered trying to email James, though if James had wanted to keep in touch he could easily have gone that route himself, but James hadn’t bothered. It seemed James wanted to let the contact fade.

For a moment, Ben considered going to New York and visiting James to see for himself just how his friend was faring in his new life, but he soon dismissed the idea. It was doubtful Ben’s unexpected arrival would be welcome. Ben would probably talk too much anyway, tell James more than he wanted to hear and more than Ben could afford to reveal. Though part of Ben thought that surely James knew how he really felt about him. Ben wasn’t too good at keeping his feelings under wraps. He’d believed, too, that James shared his attachment, but that James just wasn’t ready at the time. Perhaps one day…

The day James had left for New York, Ben had told him that he had his own dream to follow. Maybe it was time to stop living his life as an extension of James Lilley and concentrate on making more of himself. Then, when the day came that James finally did come home, he would find a new, improved Benjamin Short waiting for him.

Purchase

Torquere Press

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Meet the Author

STEVIE WOODS is a Brit living in the Northwest of England who has left her day job behind – though it’s a quandary that there still doesn’t seem to be much more free time in her day!

A long time avid reader of romance with a dash of adventure, Stevie only stumbled over ‘slash’ pairings a few years ago and was an immediate convert. Having dabbled with writing on and off for years, it wasn’t long before Stevie was tapping away on the keyboard inventing stories around two hot guys, gaining her first publication in the summer of 2007.

Stevie likes reading stories with a good strong plot and believable characters and does her best to create them in her own work.

Stevie has a soft spot for Historical settings but also thoroughly enjoys SF and Fantasy, Paranormal and Contemporary, finding the similarities as intriguing as the differences. Stevie already has a variety of novels, novellas and short stories released by MLR Press, Phaze Books and Torquere Press.

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