A Stella Review: Haven’s War (Safe Haven #2) by Parker Williams

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

With Haven on an extended honeymoon with Sammy, bad guys around the world are breathing a lot easier. No one is better at permanently removing these lowlifes who target children—and the brutal murder of two teenage girls makes clear it’s past time to return to work. Haven’s first assignment back results in a new family member and a renewed sense of urgency to protect and avenge the innocent.

There is nothing ‘usual’ about the business of hunting predators, but when several of Haven’s fellow agents are killed, a pattern emerges. The hunters have become the prey, tools in a bitter vendetta for a perceived wrong.

Despite years of working alone, when the target shifts to someone unexpected, Haven calls in reinforcements—a friend to stand between the family he loves and a ruthless killer. Teamwork may be the only way to win this fight—unless it’s already too little, too late.

Haven tries to approach this as he would any other assignment. Find your enemy and make sure they suffer before you eliminate them. But when a member of his team goes off-book and ends up dead, everything changes. It’s no longer a battle.

Now it’s war.

I was waiting for Haven and Sammy to be back in my life since I first read their story in Haven’s Creed in 2015. I so hoped the author would decide to give me more about them and you can imagine my joy when I finally saw Haven’s War. And in my opinion this new release is the best Parker Williams wrote so far (among what I read of his and I want to specify I am not talking of his coauthored books because I haven’t read those ones). Apart from the plot, which I loved and I will talk about in a bit, I was so engaged by the writing, perfect, clear and focused on getting every single feeling to the reader. Because the story is full of feelings and maybe it’s just what conquered me. Beautifully done.

The Safe Haven series is not what I usually want on my Kindle, I like sweet, I like cute and I don’t like thrillers, blood and abuses. I made an exception for this author and although Haven’s War is hard to read and in some parts the scenes are really detailed, I didn’t feel the fear or the tightness in the throat often stories like this give me, leading me to not enjoying the reading at all. The author with his writing was great, he showed me the love and the force of the good no matter how much blood and human parts were shed.

One more thing I loved, the characters, all of them (I’ll be back to beg for one of them own story, no worry). Yes, someone will die of course and it is necessary for the solving of the plot, but have no fear the important characters will be saved and I am not saying this to spoiler, just to reassure the interested readers. A lot will happen in Haven’s War because as the title say there is a war to fight, but some good events will warm your hearts, new weddings, new puppies, new amazing friends. The way Haven and Sammy are able to create a family with the amazing people they have in their life is so reassuring, they take care of each other and how never once one of them try to be selfish, thinking always at the strength they had in their union.

I have to say I’m pretty satisfied from this book, the author gave me exactly what I wanted, to know what was going on in Sammy and Haven life, see them together and how their love has developed. He gave me an happy ending, not just for them. Now I have just a little little request, I think Oscar deserves more words, I deserve to know Max and so pretty please if there could be more in the series I would be greatly delighted.

I feel to recommend Haven’s War but keep in mind it doesn’t work as a standalone so you have to absolutely read Haven’s Creed first.

I don’t like the cover art by Laura Harner, as I didn’t like the cover of the previous book, they are pretty similar so nothing changed.

Buy Now: Universal Link 

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 411 pages

Published June 26th 2017 by Pride Press

ISBN13 9781941841501

Edition Language English

Safe Haven #2

A MelanieM Review: Behind the Mask by Elizabeth Coldwell

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

He keeps his true identity hidden, even from the man he loves…

Twenty years ago, superheroes were outlawed by the mayor of Mokum City. Christopher Chase has grown up knowing that he has all the strength and speed of Sprint, his superhero father, who died attempting to save the mayor’s niece from being kidnapped. But, unlike his father, he is unable to fulfill his destiny and become a masked crimefighter. Even Christopher’s boyfriend, bar owner Johnny Brennan, doesn’t know Christopher’s true identity.

A chance encounter with a purse snatcher in the city cemetery gives Christopher a taste of what it’s like to use his powers for good. And when Johnny becomes caught up in a hostage situation, Christopher can no longer stand by. Even if it means losing his own life, he must pull on the costume of Sprint to save the man he loves.

Well, honestly this story had so many holes in it and so many questionable elements that just made you roll your eyes that giving it two stars is generous.  There’s a dead dad superhero, a son with superhero powers he keeps hidden, the fact that his father was most likely murdered (something that gets brought up and then unbelievably pushed aside) and an ending that’s plain laughable and not in a good way.  The characters don’t connect in any emotional or logical way.  It’s just one flawed bit after another.  It makes 36 pages seem like forever.
To go on isn’t justified either.   I don’t recommend it, even for lovers of superheroes in fiction.  If you love Elizabeth Coldwell, skip this all together.
Cover by Posh Gosh in no way represents anything really about this story.  It is however the best thing about this story.
Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, Re-released, 36 pages
Expected publication: July 18th 2017 by Pride Publishing
ISBN13 9781786515872
Edition Language English

An Ali Audiobook Review: Vassily the Beautiful (The ESTO Universe) by Angel Martinez and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Vassily Belikov, composer and pampered son of privilege, suffered neurological damage in the accident that killed his father. Resentful of being treated as an invalid, he lives as a recluse, dependent on his mother. That changes the day she brings home a new husband with two sons of his own.

When deep-space pirates capture Vassily’s mother, he’s left to the mercy of his cruel, amoral stepfather. Fighting addiction and his physical shortcomings, he’s forced to seek out the criminal mastermind Baba Yaga for a crucial piece of equipment. While she agrees to deal with him if he beats his Exoticus addiction, paranoia and mysterious intentions infuse her household. Drawn to her fierce, suspicious youngest son, certain his actions are all carefully observed, Vassily must find the courage to face both his fears and his desires if he expects to survive.
 
I wasn’t sure about this book at the beginning.  Vassily was very fragile and made some decisions that didn’t make any sense to me.  Some of the abuse by his step-father was also a bit hard to read.  But when Vassily heads across the city to find the infamous Baba Yaga the story just took off out of the gate.  I loved it from then until the end.  
 
This is a sci-fi setting but it is not heavy on that aspect.  I mention that because I’m not a big sci-fi fan but I feel like there were just small aspects to this and really it just felt like a story in another universe.  It was easy to read and the world building was detailed enough for you to get the feel for how and where they live, but wasn’t overwhelming and didn’t overshadow the story.
 
I think the author did a great job with the characters.  There were a lot and they all stood out as individuals.  The villains were wonderfully bad, Vassily, once he starts to stand up for himself, was sweet and charming, and Baba Yaga and her sons were just awesome.  They were the highlight of the story for me.  
 
I loved the pairing of Vassily and Sumerki.   It was such a great opposites attract pairing.  Vassily soothed and mellowed Sumi out and Sumi’s fierceness gave Vassily the strength he needed.  
 
This audiobook was narrated by Greg Boudreaux and I thought he did a great job.  There were a lot of characters so there were a lot of voices, plus there were a lot of different accents.  I felt like he did them all really well.  This was my first time listening to this narrator but he will be going on my list of people to look for in future audiobooks.
 
Overall I enjoyed everything about this.  It was a unique plot and a sweet love story.  By the end I was fully invested in the characters and I really hope this author will revisit this world one day and give both of Sumi’s brothers stories also.
 
Cover:  I think the cover is nicely done.  I think it sets the feel for the book really well and the character on the cover fits the MC.  I also think the color scheme is attractive and eye catching.
Sales Links:  Mischief Corner Books | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 2nd Edition, 216 pages
Published June 11th 2014 by Mischief Corner Books LLC (first published April 2nd 2012)
ASINB00KWOP7NY
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe ESTO Universe

An Alisa Review: Admiring Jesse by Shawn Lane

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Jesse is used to Valentine’s Day passing without finding his own sweetheart. But suddenly he starts receiving gifts from a secret admirer.

 

With encouragement from his too-sexy roommate, Gilbert, Jesse opens himself to the idea that someone is actually interested in him. Though he has doubts, Jesse can’t help but wonder if his admirer could finally be the man of his dreams.

 

This was such a sweet short story.  Jesse can’t see how anyone would really be attracted to him let alone how he would have a secret admirer, however his admirer seems to know all of his favorite things.  Gilbert is encouraging and I loved when he revealed himself to Jesse and explained his feeling for Jesse to see that it was real.  It was wonderful to see them still together in the future and continuing to build a life together.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is a sweet picture and is perfect for this story.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 24 pages

Published: 2nd edition June 17, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634864008

Edition Language: English

A VVivacious Review: Oversight (The Community #2) by Santino Hassell

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Rating: 3 Stars out of 5
“After the disturbing events that rock Evolution and send aftershocks throughout the Community, Holden finds himself in the middle of the upheaval that has the Community uneasy, and eager to brand Holden as the scapegoat.
When Holden finds himself saddled with another babysitter he is beyond pissed considering all the problems his last babysitter caused but when the babysitter comes in the form of a tall man with ridiculously broad shoulders and huge biceps covered in tattoos who is an invulnerable to boot Holden can’t help but find himself intrigued.
Sixtus Rossi is an invulnerable and thus a complete enigma to Holden who doesn’t realise how dependent he is on his ability to perceive emotions. But Sixtus has a  hidden agenda unknown to Holden.
As these two find themselves in the eye of the storm ready to wreck the Community the swirling mix of attraction and animosity that they share will come to a head in the most unexpected of ways.”
I didn’t like this book, it just didn’t work for me. The book is actually quite well written and I feel that a lot of people will enjoy this book but I also feel that this book just doesn’t have as compelling a story as the first book did.
Initially the thing that was a little irritating was the fact that Holden is completely unaware of just how selfish the Community is. There is a very distinct disconnect between Holden’s view of the Community and the tone of this book with regards to the Community wherein it felt like Holden was holding back the story from progressing just because he wasn’t ready to accept the truth.
The idea of Holden and Sixtus feels intriguing because an empath and an invulnerable can’t be more opposite and we all know what they say about opposites. But contrary to what you would believe, this book actually doesn’t focus much on the psychic abilities of its characters. I for one was very interested in the amount of advantage Holden has over people to know what they truly feel and extrapolate this knowledge to make quick deductions because Holden is a stronger empath than Nate. But despite the fact that Holden is supposed to be a stronger empath he makes almost no use of his abilities and for the most his abilities don’t play a big part in the book and almost no part in the plot. Also, there seems to be a disparity between the empath abilities of Nate in the first book and in the second book he seems stronger in this book but the fact that he now appears to be a stronger empath than Holden was really unexpected, I mean what the hell is up with Holden?
On top of that, Holden and Six feel like they happened too quickly. I wanted more of the angst of being on such different places in the psychic spectrum, more friction between their personalities instead it feels like they were moving along a predestined path and nothing offered any excitement.
The end of chapter thirteen offers the rare glimpse into what I expected this entire book to be like. The entire conversation between Nate and Holden followed by the scene between Six and Holden offers a peak into how this book could have been.
Overall the plot of this book comes across as a little too easy, there is almost no security on the farm and yet some of the strongest psychics have never managed to find their way out. I mean either something more sinister is at play or things aren’t as organised as you would think they would be.
On the whole I think this book suffered more because it couldn’t stand up to my expectations because I never felt like this book was boring or that I didn’t want to finish it. But reading this book made me feel that the emotions that this book should have been making me feel hit an invisible shield and fell short of their target.
Cover Art by Kanaxa. I liked the cover quite a lot.
 
Book Details:
ebook, 242 pages
Published June 26th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleOversight
ISBN 1626495076 (ISBN13: 9781626495074)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Community #2

Xenia Melzer on Writing, Stories and the latest in her Gods of War series, Ummana (author interview)

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Ummana (Gods of War III) By Xenia Melzer
DSP Publications

Cover Art by Aaron Anderson

Available for Purchase at DSP Publications
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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Xenia Melzer here today talking about writing, stories and her latest in the Gods of War series, Ummana. Welcome, Xenia.
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  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

Hmm, that’s a good one. Often, I don’t realize how much of myself I have poured into a character until it’s too late. Writing is a journey to yourself in that respect. As for my Gods of War series, I scatter character traits generously. Casto’s stubbornness has a very real model, but I’m not going to tell or she’ll kill me. Hulda is my ideal of an independent, confident woman. I want to be like her, at least a bit, and I want my daughters to follow her example. So yes, I do pour a lot of myself into a book, and sometimes into a specific character, but mostly, I try to distribute evenly. When the character becomes too much like myself, I chicken out and rewrite.

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your own worlds and cultures?

Weelll… I only started out as a writer last year and, so far, I have only fantasy books out, Ummana being the third. But I do have my first contemporary coming up this year. Making up your own worlds has a lot of benefits. You can decide on the rules, which makes it easier to cheat and it’s harder for people to call you on your mistakes, because, hello, it’s YOUR world. This said, I actually enjoy research as long as it doesn’t get too tedious. I realized that when I did my first contemporary novel. If I’m interested in a topic, I more or less assimilate the info with one read. Unfortunately, not every topic that comes up in a book is interesting and that’s when research becomes a chore. I’m currently working on a book where I have to research MMA. Let’s just say, the YouTube videos are fun and eye candy (mostly; before they start bleeding all over the place) and the terms for the different moves are hard to remember.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Oh yes! As a teenager, I read everything fantasy. Eddings, Tolkien, Pratchett, Lovecraft, Holbein, you name it, I probably read it. And my first book out is a fantasy series, so I stayed in character. Sometimes, I read romance books, but I mostly found them boring or too predictable. Now that I’m older, and perhaps wiser, I see the merit in romance books and I can see my writing going in that direction. A HEA is not to be sneezed upon!

  • Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it? You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Yes. One time simply because I got stuck and couldn’t find my way out or forward. That story is still on my laptop and I’m determined to see it through. I’m still hoping for divine intervention… The other times, it was when I was working on Gods of War. I already had the first three books more or less written down when I finally found the courage to send the manuscript out and in the three years I was working on the series, I had to stop more than once. Especially when it came to Sic. His story is hard for me to tell, because there’s so much darkness in it, but I can’t change it either. It’s how it has to go and that hurts sometimes.

I also had the opposite effect as well. Daran, for example, is a character whose story I love to tell. Most of the time it’s fun – or at least interesting – to follow him on his path.

  • Who do you think is your major influence as a writer? Now and growing up?

There’s more than one. I love the works of Ottfried Preußler. He’s a German author who is probably most famous for ‘The Little Witch’, a children’s book every adult should read. The way he turns a complicated matter – being true to yourself – into a funny and heartwarming story every child can understand, has me awed every time I read the book.

Then there’s Terry Pratchett. Of course I would never compare myself to him, because in my opinion he plays/played in a different league. But his way with words, his very unique view of the world, and his ability to transfer that view into an entertaining series that still carries a deeper morale is simply awesome.

I also love the work of Neil Gaiman. I like his style and the way he can spin a plot until the reader doesn’t know right from wrong anymore. Just read American Gods. Or watch it.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I’m torn. I have to admit, I’m one of those old-fashioned dinosaurs who need the feel of actual paper under their fingertips to be satisfied. Until my husband force-gifted me with a kindle, I was strictly opposed to ebooks. Now, not so much anymore. I still love having books in my shelf and when I really like a book, I still buy them as paperback or even hardcover. The good thing about ebooks is, they are less expensive, always available (no pesky re-prints), you can carry a small library on your device, and they give readers a chance to try out new authors. They are also a good medium for novellas. The downside is, the market is swamped. There are so many authors and publishers competing for the reader’s attention and that makes the market harder to navigate. I honestly don’t know where this is all going, but I’m sure ebooks are going to be a dominant part of the future book market.

  • How do you choose your covers?

To be honest, I don’t know. I always liked it when the books of a series also had a visual connection with each other. Aaron Anderson, the graphic designer who does the covers for Gods of War, sent me various images he had created from the info I had given on a questionnaire. I had a vague idea what I wanted and he kind of looked into my head and designed the perfect cover. The burning stone with the rune is the centerpiece of each cover and the color scheme reflects either the characters in the book or the main tone. Casto was blue, because that’s Casto’s and Renaldo’s color in more than one respect. Love and the Stubborn showed more realistic flames in orange, to emphasize the heat between Casto and Renaldo. Ummana has a white flame, because the story focuses more on Sic. And I can already tell that Braving the Storm, the next in the series, has a green color scheme, because it is about Daran.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

After Ummana, Braving the Storm will be out in November. And I have my first contemporary novel, A Dom and His Writer, out in October. Currently I’m working on my first paranormal story, the fifth part of the Gods of War series, and the next contemporary novel, a sequel to the A Dom – story. So I won’t be bored anytime soon. 

Blurb

In war, loss is the price of victory, and the cost of love is sometimes pain.

 

After Renaldo and Casto finally celebrate their marriage, the time has come for revenge against the followers of the Good Mother who tried to kill Casto—though this time, the Gods of War won’t use bloodshed to take Medelina.

 

As a member of the Confederation of the Plains, Medelina answers to Ummana, the head of the alliance… and Casto is heir to the throne of Ummana. Accompanied by their most capable mercenaries, Canubis and Renaldo travel to Ummana to make Casto king.

 

They’ll face the Council of Elders, Lord Aran, Casto’s father, and Princess Anesha, Casto’s sister—none of whom are happy about the king’s return. For Casto, the city is a reminder of a terrible childhood, and Renaldo can only helplessly watch his beloved fight a seemingly hopeless battle.

 

Through trickery and political scheming, vengeance against the Good Mother is finally within their grasp—but their success might be bittersweet. Not everyone will return to the Valley with Casto and Renaldo.

About the Author

Xenia Melzer is a mother of two who enjoys riding and running when she’s not writing stories. She doesn’t like beer but is easily tempted by a Virgin Mojito. Or chocolate. Truffles are especially cherished, even though she doesn’t discriminate. As a true chocoholic, she welcomes any kind of cocoa-based delight.

You can contact her through her website: http//www.xeniamelzer.com

Or befriend and follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/xeniamelzer/

RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Spun! (The Shamwell Tales #4) by J.L. Merrow

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Spun! (The Shamwell Tales #4) by J.L. Merrow
Riptide Publishing

Cover by: Natasha Snow
Available for Purchase at Riptide Publishing

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J.L. Merrow here today on her Spun! tour.  Welcome, J.L.

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Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Spun!, the fourth of my contemporary MM romantic comedies in the Shamwell Tales series.

About Spun!

With friends like these . . .

An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory—just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.

Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?

Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want—or their love could be over before it’s even begun.

Spun! is now available from Riptide Publishing.

About the Shamwell Tales

Welcome to Shamwell! A sleepy rural village in Hertfordshire, England, it’s the perfect place to move to for a little peace and quiet—or at least, you’d think so. But as a succession of newcomers to the village find, there’s more going on in these idyllic surroundings than cricket matches on the common and pints of ale in the local pubs.

As a place where everyone’s connected to everyone else, Shamwell’s rife with mishaps, mayhem, and misunderstandings—and the path of true love is no smoother than the ancient stone walls of the parish church.

Each contemporary romantic comedy in this series stands alone, but all feature a cast of characters drawn from Shamwell and its surroundings.

Check out the Shamwell Tales, available from Riptide Publishing!

About JL Merrow

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.

She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Connect with JL:

Website: www.jlmerrow.com

Twitter: @jlmerrow

Facebook: facebook.com/jl.merrow

Goodreads: goodreads.com/.J_L_Merrow

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Spun!, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 8, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ahava Is Love (World of Love) by Avery Duran

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Brooklyn Realtor Josh Perlman desperately wants to settle down. Unfortunately he can’t find a man who wants the same. Tired of disastrous dates, he travels to explore his heritage.

Yaron is an Israeli security guard and medic charged with looking after Josh and his pilgrimage group. For Yaron, the need to protect has become more a duty than an honor since he lost his long-term boyfriend to a terrorist attack—a loss that continues to haunt him.

As they embark on their journey through the Holy Land, it’s hard to deny the attraction that sparks between Josh and Yaron. Yet with America calling Josh home, and Israel, and the death of his lover holding Yaron prisoner, it seems only a miracle can keep them together.

But Israel is an ancient land, one that has seen miracles before. Surrounded by structures that have been destroyed and rebuilt time after time, Josh and Yaron might just learn that their futures can be found in the wisdom of the past.

Ahava Is Love (World of Love) by Avery Duran is one man’s journey to find himself, exploration why he repeats the patterns that has him stuck in life and try to move forward.  Of course, on this path, he happens to find that one man he’s been looking for.  Avery Duran has done a marvelous job with bringing not only his characters to life (Josh and company are terrific) but also connecting the reader to their love of their religion and deep feelings for Israel, the setting for the story.  Josh is active in his local temple and when a chance to chaperone a trip (it’s actually more than that) to Israel arrives just when he most needs a change in his life, he jumps at it.  Duran is excellent is pulling us into Josh’s issues, as Josh is the narrator who looks at himself in a dry, self deprecating outlook.  He’s more than aware of his faults, yet seems to overlook his good ones too.  Luckily, the author shows us those through the eyes of his traveling companions/soon to be great friends.

Yaron seems to perfect at the start, thank goodness the author brings a poignant reality to this character, allowing him his own deep issues that almost derail his relationship with Josh.  The sights the groups visits, the rituals they do as a whole that brings them all closer together just makes this story such a gem.  The author really brings the sights, sounds and locations alive for us.

All the characters here are one I grew extremely fond of, not just the main ones of Josh and Yaron.  They are so lively, bright and real that they go beyond that of secondary character and become those of family.  What a joy it was to spend time with them as it was with the main couple.

Ahava Is Love is beautifully written, full of great characters, a setting with deep meanings for all those involved and an ending you will adore.  I highly recommend it and can’t wait to read more by this author.

C0ver art by Reese Dante is great.  Perfect for the character and great on the background.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 110 pages
Published July 5th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635336993

An Alisa Release Day Review: Santa’s Naughty Helper ( Lawyers in Love) by Ari McKay

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

 

Shy lawyer Kevin Anderson is presented with an unexpected opportunity when he draws hunky litigator Erik Wilson’s name for their office’s secret holiday gift exchange. Kevin has pined for his friend for a long time, but he fears ruining their working relationship if Erik doesn’t return his feelings. The anonymity of the exchange gives him the chance to let Erik know someone is interested, so Kevin turns the gift into a game: twelve days of presents, each more suggestive, culminating with a Christmas Eve meeting—if Kevin finds the courage to see it through!

 

Erik is intrigued by his secret Santa, who has given him something to look forward to during the holidays for the first time in years. But as Christmas approaches, he realizes he doesn’t want a mystery man; he wants his best friend, Kevin. When his attempts to instigate something with Kevin fail, Erik accepts the dinner invitation of his secret admirer. Little does he suspect that Santa’s naughty little helper might be just the man to make all his Christmas dreams come true in a holiday friends-to-lovers romance that progresses from sweet to spicy for two sexy lawyers.

 

I am always a sucker for a holiday story and I absolutely loved this one.  Kevin is so shy and unable to see how someone, especially his attractive friend.  Even as he begins this game he is unsure if he will have the courage to follow through, it’s only Erik’s responses and enjoyment that get him past his nervousness and encourage him to become bolder in his gifts.

 

Throughout this story you could see Erik’s eyes fully open up to how much Kevin means to him as he begins to receive the gifts and he gets support from Kevin but can’t help but not want Kevin to find someone else.  Kevin and Erik are the perfect complements to each other and support the other in all their work dealings.  Seeing their passion and care for one another when they finally gets together is wonderful.

 

Cover art by Bree Archer is wonderful and is perfect for this story.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 52 pages

Published: 2nd edition, July 5, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781635335811

Edition Language: English

Series: Lawyers in Love

A Stella Release Day Review: Making a Splash by Sean Michael

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RATING 2.75 out of 5 stars

After a scandal of Olympic proportions, Vince Dawson lost his job as a diving coach and is on a downhill slide. So when he sees Austin Brody at a local pool, diving like a trained athlete, he thinks he’s found his ticket back to the big leagues.

Austin thinks Vince is crazy for wanting him to dive competitively. He dives for beer and smokes, while working double shifts as a welder. Still, he’ll give training with Vince a shot.

But Austin isn’t willing to let Vince rule his life, and Vince—used to hopeful young athletes folding under pressure from him—finds Austin baffling… and hot. Even if they can work together and become more than friends, they still have a long way to go before they’ll be ready to compete.

First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2007

I’m a huge fan of Sean Michael, I was curious about the blurb of this new release, Making a Splash as soon as I read it, cause I honestly haven’t read a lot of stories focused on the diving discipline and I was very intrigued. The author can write so it’s not a surprise the novel is well written and engaging. Unfortunately despite this, Making a Splash wasn’t a winner to me.

Vince is thirty-four years old, he was a great diving coach, well known until three years ago he was accused of child molesting, all false but the diving world hadn’t welcomed Vince anymore. And then it came the day he met Austin and saw in the younger man a potential diving champion. They soon started training and at the same time they begun to understand something is going to happen between them, the attraction is clear and from the moment they will act on it, they will barely be able to keep their hands off each other till the end.

And that’s the reason why I’m not giving the story the 3 stars, there were really too many sex scenes and maybe I simply wasn’t in the mood for just hotness and nothing more, but in my opinion they took too much space from the plot and the development of the love story between Austin and Vince. Perhaps Making A Splash would have worked better for me had it been shorter and with a more complete ending, because here the end was really abrupt and caught me unprepared.

The cover art by Valerie Tibbs and Tibbs Design is amazing, I love it so much, the colors the font, it’s perfect for this title

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 187 pages

Publication Date: July 5th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN B072TQT7N2

Edition Language English