An Alisa Review: Smoke and Spots By Deirdre O’Dare

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

smoke-and-spotsWhen firefighter Grady Ashcroft adopts his deceased sister’s son, he knows life will change. He never expected to be a dad, but he’ll give young Jamie his best, even if it means a celibate life in a new home. He does not expect to find the man of his dreams in the Colorado village where he takes a new job, either.

Sullivan Parker wanted to be chief of the Valle Vista fire department when the former chief was forced to leave. Instead, the town council hires a stranger from far away. Despite his resentment, Sully finds himself drawn to the newcomer. He also discovers a need to take Jamie and the spotted pup the former chief left behind under his wing.

Can the brotherhood of battling dangerous blazes morph into stronger feelings for the two men, or will conflict prevail?

 

This was a nice short story.  Grady and Sully meet when Grady relocates with his son to Sully’s town as the new fire chief.  Grady spends most of the book adjusting to life in a small town and settling down into a new routine with little wrenches thrown in by Sully.

 

This story is told from both characters’ points of view which gives you a chance to see both of their personalities better.  They both feel drawn to one another, but don’t know how to interpret the feeling.  Grady is determined to make life good for his son and has resigned himself to a life as a single father because he assumes since he’s in a small town there won’t be anyone available.  This story has a HFN ending that gives you the chance to imagine a future for them.

 

The cover art is nice and connects to the story.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | ARe

 

Book Details:

ebook, 46 pages

Published: September 3, 2016 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634862103

Edition Language: English

A Caryn Review: Silences of Fallen Stars by Vivian Dean

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

silences-of-the-fallen-starsThis novella was set in Nebraska in the late 1960’s.  Although elsewhere in the country the Stonewall riots were happening, and hippies were experiencing free love, in the heartland things were much less progressive.  It was certainly not a place conducive to romance for gay men.

Jim and Ronnie were friends for most of their lives, and in high school they became lovers, but  secretly, and innocently.  Jim was lucky enough to be able to afford college, so he went to Omaha after graduation, and Ronnie stayed home.  Pride, and shame, led to a falling out, and then Ronnie was sent to Vietnam.  The story actually begins when Ronnie comes back home, wounded, and Jim is back at his grandfather’s farm after falling short of everyone’s expectations.

I love a good hurt/comfort storyline, and this book did it very well.  In the 5 years they were apart, Ronnie and Jim became men, and left the naïve highschool lovers behind.  They were both changed by    loss and heartache, and in Ronnie’s case, physical injury and disability.  Coming back together was not automatically a given, and Ms. Dean did an excellent job of showing the fragility of their new relationship, and how they eventually found their way back to each other.

The historical details were entered unobtrusively, but clearly enough that the impact of the times and the location on the men’s personalities and actions made perfect sense.  I am so thankful that I didn’t see any glaring anachronisms that bother me so much in poorly done historicals!  Overall, a sweet read, fairly low angst, with relatable characters and a realistic HFN.  Definitely recommended.

Cover art is lovely and eye catching.

Sales Links

JMS Books LLC

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 69 pages
Published September 3rd 2016 by JMS Books LLC (first published April 19th 2015)
ASIN B01KPNUMEU
Edition Language English

An Ali Audiobook Review: Alaska Hunt by Shelter Somerset and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
alaska-hunt-audioFor Alaska Wildlife Trooper Zanebono Fusca, it’s just another summer in Anchorage until a slew of inexplicable fatal bear attacks sets the city reeling. As far as Zane is concerned, the timing couldn’t be worse. He’s besieged with his own demons, coping with personal loss and an identity crisis that clutches him worse than a grizzly’s pickaxe-sized fangs. Ten years before, he hoped Alaska would bring him a sense of his manhood. Now the “last frontier” could put him in an early grave.

Zane’s role to protect Alaska’s teeming wildlife gets even more tangled when handsome twenty-five-year-old Joshua Gaffner arrives seeking the details of his uncle’s gruesome death. But Alaskan officials have few answers. Against his better judgment, Zane takes Joshua deep into Anchorage’s far-flung backcountry-populated with eccentric recluses and ego-driven ecologists-in search of the truth. As the bizarre attacks increase, Zane and Josh continue to push for clues to crack the mystery. Finally Zane unravels a shocking discovery that makes the pieces fall into place. The trouble is Josh stands in the perfect position to become the next victim.
 
This was just an average story for me.  I was drawn to it by the wildlife plotline and that part I enjoyed.  It seemed like a well researched topic by the author.  I was very interested in what was going on with the bears and who was behind the mystery part of it.  Unfortunately I didn’t connect with either MC.  The author had a writing style that didn’t work for me and as a result I felt the MC’s conversation was odd in places.  I also didn’t really feel the connection between the main characters and Zane in general bugged me.  Some of the things he said and did didn’t set well with me.  He’s not a person I would care for in real life.
My biggest issue though was the narration by John Solo.  I really disliked it a lot.  I skimmed over some other reviews of this audiobook though and it seems most other people really liked the narrator so this is probably a case of “it’s me not you.”  For me though it really didn’t work.  
Cover Artist: TL Bland:  I think the cover is pretty good and is a good representation of the story and the characters.
Audiobook Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, 10 pages, Listening Length: 9 hours and 21 minutes
Published August 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published August 5th 2012)
ASINB01K8HGLEI
Edition LanguageEnglish

Jump into the Mystery and Romance that is ‘Investigating Julius Drake’ by Daisy Harris (tour and giveaway)

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Investigating Julius Drake by Daisy Harris
Riptide Publishing
Cover art by Michelle Fairbanks

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

 

Welcome to the Investigating Julius Drake blog tour! I’m Daisy, the author, and I’ll be sharing excerpts from the book, as well as extra information about the characters, location and story. Up until recently, Seattle was my home town, and I’ve stolen plenty of locations and institutions as settings for Investigating Julius Drake. Together, we’ll take a tour through the twisty-turny, damp and caffeine-addled world that my protagonist, Henry Walker, finds himself in. Grab yourself a double, almond, split-shot, extra-foam latte, pull up a chair, and join us! And don’t forget to comment for a chance to win a $30 Starbucks gift card. Drink like a Seattleite and enjoy.

About Investigating Julius Drake

After arriving at Seattle’s prestigious Clinton Academy, fourteen-year-old Henry Walker realizes he won’t fit in. If he’s going to run with the rich and powerful, he’ll have to hide his modest background, his lack of interest in girls, and most importantly, his fascination with his handsome but troubled classmate Julius Drake.

When Julius draws Henry into the investigation of a classmate’s suicide attempt, Henry can’t resist the case—or Julius. Soon, Henry’s not only facing the truth about his feelings for Julius, but also risking his life to unmask a social media imposter. “The Other Woman” is manipulating his classmates, searching out their vulnerabilities, and driving them to desperate actions. Julius himself is at risk, what with his callous parents threatening to send him away, and his mental health taking a beating both at school and at home.

If Henry’s going to save the day and get the boy of his dreams, he’ll have to stop worrying what everyone thinks and stop pretending to be someone he’s not. Most of all, Henry will have to be honest about who he loves.

Available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/investigating-julius-drake

About Daisy Harris

Born into the psychedelic wonder that was the seventies, Daisy Harris has had an interesting life so far. She’s been to Catholic school and Ramones concerts, danced to MC Hammer and Flo Rida, made the honor roll and Phi Beta Kappa, survived cholera, faced bed bugs, and she’s been a hair’s breadth from shipwreck twice. (Three times, if you count sea kayaks!)

Daisy has been a lifelong reader, devouring romance, young adult, urban fantasy, and nonfiction alike. In her professional life, she’s written medical copy and edited scientific papers. However, since 2012, she’s devoted her energy to writing gay romance full-time. That’s okay, because now on the weekends she reads medical studies for fun.

As far as Daisy’s concerned, the best things in life happen by accident. Though she’s gotten better at planning over the years, she still writes, lives, and plays by the seat of her pants. Her books are a happy mix of mysteries, romantic comedies, and coming-of-age stories, more often than not inspired by the great films of the 1980s.

Daisy lives in Seattle in a house full of dogs and children. When she’s not writing gay fiction, she can be found riding her exercise bike and testing the outer boundaries of her food processor’s potential. Every once in a while, she goes out to pay homage to the party gods of her youth—and maybe to find a little trouble.

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Investigating Julius Drake, one lucky winner will receive a $30 Starbucks Gift Card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 8, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!