A MelanieM Release Day Review: Off Base (Out of Uniform #1) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

 

off-baseAfter trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.

In Off Base, Annabeth Albert works her magic again in this first story of a new series.  We meet the emotional mess that is  navy SEAL Zack Nelson as he’s entering a bar with Pike, someone who’s within the circle of friends they share.    Its immediately clear that Zack has issues with his sexuality, his attraction to men and Pike.  How deep his problems are and wide ranging is something the author lets us find out as the story continues.

Pike’s character is laid down here as well in the opening scenes.  Out, kind, smart and sexual.  You like Pike immediately.  He’s as  engaging as Zack is screwed up and vulnerable (yes, he’s a navy SEAL but its realistically written).  They are puzzle pieces made for each other if only they can work it out.

Albert lays out her groundwork for Zack’s problems and they are as believable as they are painful.  Pike too has his own layering and issues to solve.  He’s a new professor at college trying to find his way as a teacher with his students, trying to keep his heart intact…trying not to fail at so many things that he may miss out on the one thing he wants above all else.

While you have the sexy, emotional journey going on between Zack and Pike, there’s another as well.  Its the one happening between Zack and his SEAL teammates during training.  Some of it is very ugly and its not all their fault as Zack is trying to deal with things on his own.  This is a second important storyline that plays out here.  I think Albert again does a great job and I can’t wait to see how it carries through to the next novel.

There is a couple from my favorite series #gaymers that appears here. I hope to see more of them.

In short?  I loved this story.  It has heart, angst, and romance.  Its sexy and its a wonderful new start to a series.  Now for the next book!

Cover art is sexy if somewhat generic.

 

Sales Links

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: January 9th 2017 by Carina Press
Original TitleOff Base
ASINB01LLPCCMG
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOut of Uniform #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Lagniappe (Iron Lace #2) by Mercy Celeste

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

lagniappe-by-mercy-celesteThis story is an exemplary sequel to what was a wonderful story, Behind Iron Lace. In this one, Caleb and Darcy are now in Oregon, building the restaurant Caleb dreamed of. The taste of New Orleans meets Oregon here, and the bad boy is settling down.

One of the little glitches that turns out to be a major issue is that the chef is Caleb’s cousin, Bubba, imported from Louisana, and he still has the hots for Caleb as he did when they were eighteen year olds caught in the act. It doesn’t matter that he has a wife—he’s out to get Caleb away from Darcy. And in the meantime, Darcy has his own problem—his former best friend and life partner, Bailey, has come for a visit, and Darcy doesn’t want to see her. She cheated on him and then ran his magazine into the ground when he left it to her as he escaped to Oregon. Plus she’s eight months pregnant with the cheater’s child. What’s to like?

Jealousy, anger, and surprises abound when all of this comes to a crisis just before Christmas, and the surprise Darcy receives is nothing he could ever have expected and neither could the readers! I loved it. If you like Mercy Celeste, by all means read Behind Iron Lace and then read this one. It’s terrific! BIL should be read first though, as this one isn’t really a standalone.

Cover art by Jay Aheer of Simply Defined Art features a stunning, apparently nude male torso in a black-and-white photo.

Sales Link

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 83 pages
Published December 6th 2016
ASINB01N9ET2JC
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesIron Lace #2

An Ali Review: Light Up The Dark by Suki Fleet

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
light-up-the-dark-by-suki-fleetFor two years Nicky has wandered the dark empty corridors of the overgrown Thorn Hall, unseen and untouched, feeling like a ghost. His only company, the cold man who promised to keep him safe from harm, Lance. But when Lance dies, Nicky’s assurance of safety disintegrates and his world suddenly becomes a lot more real and a lot more dangerous. Scared to leave the house, Nicky longs for daylight. He employs a gardener to clear the over-grown bushes and vines that have nearly swallowed Thorn Hall whole. The last thing Nicky expects a little light to do is show him something to fight for.

Eighteen months in a young offenders’ institute has taught Cai two things: he occupies the playful puppy end of the How Dangerous Are You? spectrum, and he has an unfortunate knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Desperate for a job, he takes the first offer he gets. Even though Thorn Hall creeps the hell out of him and he barely knows one end of a pair of garden shears from the other.

Things start to fall apart when Cai is drawn into Nicky’s strange world of sticky notes and secrets. Cai finds he is now a target, blamed for a crime he didn’t commit. Desperate not to go back to prison, he digs deep and risks all the good things in life to help Nicky run. But now Nicky has someone he wants to protect, he knows he can’t run any more.
This is a darker story with a gothic vibe to it.  I really enjoyed the beginning as Cai tries to figure out what’s going on in the creepy house where he’s gotten a job as a gardener.  The atmosphere was set really well and I could easily picture this run down house filled with secrets.  I liked Cai and his niece and her friend.  They were well done and interesting characters.
As the story went on though I felt the plot twists were kind of wild and unbelievable.  I guess in a gothic that’s what you’re looking for but for some reason it just didn’t work for me.  My biggest issue with the story though was Nicky’s character.  I just didn’t like him.  I also didn’t understand how he could be so helpless and unable to function at the age of 29.  Yes, he had been through hell two years prior but what about the other 27 years of his life?  I think maybe it would have worked better for me if he had been in his late teens/early twenties.  Since I never warmed up to Nicky at all, I had a hard time buying into the love story.  I couldn’t see what Cai saw in him and the insta-love didn’t make sense to me.
Overall this was just an average read for me.  I liked the gothic mystery part but did not care for the romance aspect.  I thought the atmosphere part was really well done and in that way this story might be too dark for some readers.
Cover:  I think the cover is really well done and it fits the dark, shadowy vibe of the story.
Sales Link
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Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 349 pages
Published December 25th 2016 by Wildflowers
ASINB01MU4FDMI
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Jeri Release Day Review: There Has to be a Reason by Kate McMurray

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 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

there-has-to-be-a-reason-by-kate-mcmurrayI am a fan of Kate McMurray’s books. If I see she has a new one, I want to read it but I don’t rush to read it. But I also know that I will enjoy it. Just like I did with this one.

A college age romance with an out and proud guy and an in the closet, just discovering that he isn’t as straight as he thought guy.

Dave never thought he was gay. Didn’t think about guys “that way”. And then he runs into Noel. A guy he immediately thinks of as beautiful. And he is completely drawn to him.

Noel is out and proud at college, but still not out to his family. Until he is outed. Instead of going back in the closet, he lets his family basically disown him. Figuring out how to pay for college is worth it for him to live an authentic life. And although he has crushed on Dave from afar and Dave is now returning those feelings, he will not live in the closet.

The relationship between Noel and Dave was super sweet. I really loved how Noel was guiding Dave to discover who he is without sacrificing himself to help him do it. As much as he wanted to.

Dave also has a relationship with his best friend Joe who does not understand why Dave is hanging out with Noel all of the time as he is so different from them. So while Dave is trying to come to terms with his sexuality and his attraction to Noel- he is also dealing with his friendship to Joe suffering. 

This was a good read. Although it was “angsty” it wasn’t full of angst. There were a lot of sweet moments and the various relationships Dave had felt very authentic. Kate McMurray’s books remind me a bit of the old Nora Roberts. You know it is going to be a good read. It certainly won’t be the best book you’ve read, but it doesn’t disappoint.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.  The cover is gorgeous, pulling in the setting for the novel.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Expected publication: January 9th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332125 (ISBN13: 9781635332124)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Day Blitz for Off Base by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Off Base

Series: Out of Uniform #1

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: January 9th 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73,000

Genre: Romance, Military, SEALs, Contemporary, Roommates-to-lovers

Add to Goodreads

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Synopsis

After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.

Book One of the Out of Uniform series

This book is approximately 73,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

 

For Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Highly Recommended Review, visit here.

Excerpt

“What do you mean they’re not coming?” Zack tried hard to sound like the badass navy SEAL he was now. He’d passed all sorts of interrogation training—there was no reason he couldn’t hide that he didn’t particularly like this guy. Or this fancy bar where he and his nontrendy clothes and military haircut were out of place. He’d agreed to go out for drinks with a group. His friend Ryan had promised him a drink for finishing his SEAL qualification training and getting his trident, and Zack had figured dealing with the rest of Ryan’s crowd wouldn’t be horrible. But tolerable was a far cry from being stranded alone with Pike freaking Reynolds without Ryan as a buffer.

“They blew two tires getting out of Santa Monica and are waiting on a repair truck now. Ryan said to have fun without them.” Pike looked harmless enough—shorter than Zack with a lean build and bright red hair and freckles that made him look too young to drink—but Zack knew from experience he was anything but benign. Pike was the type of guy who would flirt with wallpaper, but he seemed to have singled Zack out for special attention ever since their first meeting at a LAN party.

Which was all well and good, but unlike a lot of Ryan’s crowd, Zack wasn’t openly gay. And what Zack hated was that Pike seemed to see through all his “no, really I’m straight” protests and see things Zack refused to even think about. And a whole night with Pike? Torture. And that was coming from someone who’d been tossed into frigid water with his arms and legs bound. Repeatedly.

But he’d happily endure another round of drownproof training if it meant an easy out of this situation.

“Is Landon coming?” Please say it’s not just us. Surely, Pike’s omnipresent sidekick would be there to bail Zack out.

“Nope. He’s doing research at the Hadron Collider for the next few months. Just us, I think.” Pike grinned at him. “Alone at last, right?”

Zack guessed that the Hadron was one of those supersmart things Pike’s crowd just assumed everyone else knew about. He certainly wasn’t about to appear dumb and ask. “You don’t have to stick around on my account,” he said instead.

“Dude.” Pike smacked him on the shoulder. “I’ve had a shit week. Another three interviews for jobs for the fall, another three fuckups on my part. Don’t make me drink alone.”

“I guess I could do a beer.”

“On me, right? We’re all super stoked that you passed SQT.” Pike gave him another of those disarming smiles.

Ba-deep-deep. Zack’s phone chimed. Sure enough, there was a message from Ryan apologizing for bailing. Have fun with Pike, Ryan ended. But whatever you do, don’t let him talk you into shots. He looks scrawny, but he can drink you under the table. Trust me.

Zack shoved his phone away. Nope, no way was he doing shots with Pike. Last thing he needed was to get drunk and forget himself around the guy.

“So what’ll it be? They have a whole selection of craft beers here.” Pike offered him one of the little bar menus artfully strewn around on the huge antique wood bar.

“A Bud’s fine,” Zack said. He’d never developed a taste for the fancy stuff. This whole place was fancier than he was used to, what with the exposed hardwoods everywhere, the prettified bar food emerging from the kitchen, and the painted inspirational quotes behind the bar. Even the name, Mellow, was a far cry from the hole-in-the-wall places he’d drunk at in college or even Big Ted’s, the little sports bar right off base that his fellow SEALs favored.

Pike signaled the burly bartender, who frowned at them after Pike gave their order for a Bud and some fancy-ass beer Zack had never heard of. “Hand stamps, please. Both of you.”

Zack stuck his hand out, showing that the bouncer had indeed checked his ID. Pike put his arm right next to Zack’s—way too close for comfort. “See, look at us, finding things in common.”

“Getting carded is hardly something to be proud of,” Zack mumbled as he pulled his arm away. Back in San Diego, when he went to the bars with his friends, they never got carded anymore. And he liked that—he was twenty-three now, for crying out loud.

“Of course it’s not for you, Muscles.” Pike did that whole standing-too-close thing again, moving over so others could get to the bar.

Zack really shouldn’t like that Pike noticed what the past few months of training had done for his physique. He’d always been lean, but days of log- and boat-carry drills had carved out muscles he hadn’t even been aware he had. Zack accepted his beer from the bartender, then followed Pike to one of the little high-top tables ringing the bar area.

“Seriously, you are jacked now.” Pike winked at him, giving him the sort of once-over Zack’s buddies gave girls in bikinis. “Look at those shoulders. It even makes you look taller.”

Flattery was not going to work on Zack. Not even a bit. Besides, Pike was the short one, probably five seven or so. But Zack was a perfectly respectable five ten. In your boots.

“Truth, man. I just call it like I see it.” Pike shrugged. And that right there was the whole problem with Pike—he had absolutely no filter and a way too keen sense of observation.

Purchase

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

annabeth-avatar

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Annabeth’s Angels | Sign Up for Annabeth’s Newsletter!

 

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T.A. Chase on Writing, Inspiration, and her Novel ‘Why I Love Geeks (Why I Love… #1)’ (guest blog and excerpt)

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Why I Love Geeks (Why I Love… #1) by T.A. Chase
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host T.A. Chase here today.  Welcome, T.A.!

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I’m T.A. Chase and I write gay romance. Thank you for having me today. I thought I’d ramble a little bit and let you get to know me. Hopefully you think it’s interesting.

I draw a lot of my inspiration from real life. Situations I get involved in or I watch unfold in front of me. It might be a snippet of an overheard conversation. (Yes, I’ll admit to eavesdropping…lol) Sometimes a phrase caught as I’m walking past can spark an idea. In fact, one of my works in progress sprang from hearing a mother say, “Wait a minute. Your brother’s stuck.” I have two chapters of a new book done based on that comment, plus the idea for the next one in the series.

I’ve gotten a lot of ideas from song lyrics. In fact quite a few of my titles are phrases from songs. Maybe because I love songs that tell a story. It doesn’t matter if it’s about heartbreak or happiness as long as there’s a phrase or lyric that catches my attention.

I have written several series based on legends and myths. I love taking them and twisting them into new ones or re-interpreting them. Like making Mordred and Lucifer relatively good guys, or at least not the villains legends have made them out to be. It’s fun to think ‘what if’ sometimes and change things up.

Of course there are times when I start out with a very clear idea for a character like who he’ll fall in love with or even who he is. Then as I’m writing, the plot morphs and twists. I find my character is in a completely different place. That’s the fun and agony of being a pantser.

In a way, I like learning about my characters and their stories the same way my readers do; one page at a time. Heck, some times it’s a paragraph at a time, the characters seem to take control of their own stories. I swear it’s as though they grab a hold of my fingers (whether I’m using my laptop or a pen) and write what they want.

I know that sounds a little crazy, but I’m sure if you were to ask a majority of authors, they’ll all have moments when their characters have rebelled against the plan set out for them.

In Why I Love Geeks, I’ll admit I thought it would go in one direction, then suddenly we’re in a completely different spot. Now I think where the story ended up was fun and interesting, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Geeks is a rom-com/romantic suspense mish-mash, imo. The first comedy I attempted. I actually love to write fantasies or paranormals most of all. I think it’s because I can create any kind of world with any rules I like.

I’ve written in almost every genre (except horror because I don’t read it, I’m not sure I’d be able to write a truly scary believable story) Contemporaries and historicals are difficult in some ways to write because a writer has to do research to make the story as accurate as possible.

But reading and writing fantasies and paranormals is fun. Some of my favorite comfort reads are fantasies. There’s something about being able to immerse myself in an entirely different world where magic is real or there are elves and unicorns. It makes our hum-drum world seem so ordinary. It might have something to do with the fact that many of the first books I read were fantasies with strong female characters, which might not have anything to do with my stories. Yet I learned what great world building should be like as long as the characters were believable.

If I were stranded on a desert island and I could take some books with me though, I’d have most of Megan Derr’s books because her fantasies are some of my favorite re-reads. Also, I’d throw in some Mary Calmes and Amy Lane. Their contemporaries and fantasies are basically on ‘speed dial’ in my Kindle and book shelves.

What all the books have in common is characters I can believe in and worlds that are believable, exciting and fun. Which is what I hope to create in my own stories.

I hope you didn’t mind my rambling, but I do hope it gave you some insight into my writing process.

I also hope you’ll take a moment to check out my up-coming re-release, Why I Love Geeks. It’s been expanded, so there’s new material.

Why I Love Geeks blurb

2nd Edition

A Why I Love…. Novel

New York City Homicide Detective Chuck Davidson is a guy’s guy. He likes sports, beer, and classic cars—fancy gadgets, not so much. When yet another high-tech phone goes on the fritz, he knows he needs help, and he meets a man who loves technology as much as he hates it—cute but awkward biochemist Herbert Pommerset.

Herb’s never been with a man—not even on a date. He hides behind his research, daydreaming about what it might be like to find someone special. A malfunctioning phone causes his path to cross with a sexy older detective, and Herb wishes he’d spent less time studying science and more learning how to flirt, because he can think of some experiments he’d like to conduct with Chuck. None of his considerable intelligence is helping him express his desires to the other man.

Just when it seems they might overcome their differences, Herb’s research puts him in danger. He’s made a discovery that could cost him his life, and Chuck must use his very different talents to rescue the geek he’s coming to love.

First Edition published by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2011.

About the Author

T.A. Chase lives in the Midwest with her neurotic but still wonderful senior cat. She believes there is beauty in every kind of love, so why not live a life without boundaries? Experiencing everything the world offers fascinates T.A., and writing about the things that make each of us unique is how she shares those insights. When not writing, she’s watching movies and reading. She’s also a part of a line-dancing group that takes over a bar on Tuesday nights and entertains at assisted living homes. It’s all about living life to the fullest.

 

She loves hearing from fans. But don’t be too upset if she doesn’t get back to you right away. Life has a way of making her lose track of days and hours. Don’t worry, though. You will hear back at some point. 

Dreamspinner Press: If you would like to get a hold of me, you can email me at chase.ta@gmail.com

My twitter: @TaChase

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001595721283