An Alisa Review: Promises Part 3 (Bounty Hunters #3) by A.E. Via

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

A bounty hunter’s partners to lovers’ story.
The hunt is on… and he’s the prey.

Bradford (Ford) King was sure he had the rest of his life mapped out. Though he was no longer a SEAL Lieutenant, his brother was home safe and he had a job that still allowed him to satisfy his hunger for hunting bad guys. Life was simple, no distractions or complications – at age forty-six – that’s all Ford wanted. What he didn’t want was his work partner, sniper/watchman, Dana, giving him s**t all the time.

Dana Cadby had grown up labeled a roughneck from the wrong side of the tracks. He’d fought, scrounged, and survived despite a father that constantly told him he couldn’t. Dana pulled himself up by his own boot straps and made a name for himself in the marksman community. He’d been Duke’s bounty watchman for five years. It was his job to ensure their safety, watch their backs. At thirty-three, he was trusted, well respected by his peers, his bosses, his friends… so why couldn’t he earn the same respect from his partner?

Dana knew he was bisexual before he graduated high school. He also knew he was attracted to the huge, 6’3”, SEAL from the moment he and his brother came to join their team. It wasn’t easy for him to tamp down his immediate reaction to Ford’s thick muscles, full beard, and dark eyes. Still, Dana exhibited nothing but professionalism towards him, not wanting to make his ‘straight’ partner uncomfortable. So why did Ford constantly give him hell?

After Dana took back his ex-girlfriend, he’d noticed an intensification in Ford’s bad attitude. One that turned aggressive and downright antagonistic, and Dana was damned if he’d just lay down and take it. He was gonna make that man respect him if it was the last thing he did.

When Duke sends Dana and Ford out to track down their most dangerous bounty yet, they both embrace the fact that they make one hell of a team… but they fight tooth and nail against the powerful intimacy brewing between them.

Beware: If Ford and Dana connect completely, god help the fugitive who’s in the sights of the hunter and his watchman.

 

I am a big AE Via fan and this book definitely didn’t disappoint.  We have seen Ford and Dana in the previous books in this series and it’s great to see them get their own story.  Ford is having trouble processing his feelings and reactions to Dana and ends up reacting in anger more often than not.  Dana is for the most part lonely and really only wants someone around that actually cares for him and this causes him to stay with his uppity girlfriend even when he is unhappy.

 

Dana needs to step up and get rid of his girlfriend before they can do anything while they are investigating and trying to locate two bountys.  Dana and Ford have to bump heads a few times and learn to trust even more before they can really begin to have a relationship.    Both of them have to accept what their relationship means while still being able to do their jobs at each other’s sides no matter the risk.

 

This book is told through both characters’ eyes so we get the chance to understand both of them well.  We also get the opportunity to see a bit through Ford’s brother’s, Brian’s, eyes which gives me hope that the next book will be his opportunity to find the partner he needs.  I could just feel how betrayed Dana felt by his girlfriend and then when Ford pushes him away at first.  Seeing Ford finally accept that he can have the relationship he wants to with Dana was wonderful.  These two build a strong relationship that will only get stronger as they are together and I can’t wait to read Brian’s story.

 

Cover art is great and follows the pattern for this series.

 

Sales Links: Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 260 pages

Published: June 23, 2017
Edition Language: English

Series: Bounty Hunters #3

An Alisa Review: Finnegan’s Promise by Carol Lynne

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

How much will it cost Fin to keep his promise?

 

During the off-season, professional football player Calder Finnegan returns to Boston to help run his estranged father’s pub. Little did he know he’d find the love of his life in the pub’s bartender, Mick Sullivan. Fin soon discovers his father has only weeks to live. All his hopes of getting to know the man who always seemed too busy to be a father are dashed. With Mick’s help, Fin begins the healing process between father and son and through this some of Mick’s wounds are healed as well. When Fin makes a deathbed promise to his father, he’ll do anything to keep that promise. Even if it costs him his lover and his career.

 

This was a nice story in which I liked the concept.  Both Fin and Mick have essentially been hiding for years; Fin from others finding out he was gay and Mick from his fame.  They both quickly fall for each other but it’s the logistics and the real world that they need to learn how to deal with.

 

While I liked this story I had a bit of a hard time connecting with the characters.  We see both of the characters’ points of views so we can see what they are thinking.  There was definitely insta-love in this story, which isn’t usually a problem for me but I didn’t see them really building a deep relationship and future throughout the story like I thought I would.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is nice and understated.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 114 pages

Published: 2nd edition July 18, 2017 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 9781786516008

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Burning Now by A.R. Moler

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

What do you do when the body in the burned building turns out to be alive?

 

Fireman Gideon Sato stumbles over a man oddly still alive and in remarkable health in the ashes of a warehouse fire. A strange connection runs between Gideon and the man, Vanya Stravinsky, despite Vanya’s confusion and loss of memory.

 

Vanya, a chef, gets mugged after work one evening. He wakes up, nude, in the ashes of a fire. He doesn’t remember much of what happened, but he can guess how he got there. He too feels that connection with his rescuer, but he’s got to decide how much to tell Gideon. Not to mention, the cops think that Vanya was up to no good in that warehouse fire.

 

Somehow Vanya and Gideon have figure out what’s really going on and also prove Vanya’s innocence. Life just got complicated!

 

This was a nice story.  Gideon feels a strong connection to Vanya when he finds him in the rubble of the fire and can’t help but keep thinking of him.  Vanya tries to remember how he got into the building but at the same time needs to keep his secrets.

 

We see both characters’ points of view in this story and can see how they feel throughout the book.  It seemed strange that Vanya didn’t know too much about his heritage or shifting while at the same time trying to explain it to Gideon.  While I liked Vanya finding the one and Gideon finally finding the relationship he has been looking for I just felt as if something was missing.

 

The cover art by Kris Jacen is nice and goes well with the story.

 

Sales Links: MLR Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 85 pages

Published: June 7, 2017 by MLR Press

Edition Language: English

A Caryn Release Day Review: New Orleans Second Lines by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

After reading the blurb, I found myself a little surprised by how this story unfolded.  I expected Lane and Matt to be the MCs, with Sebastian’s life and times a backdrop for their story. 

Actually, it was just the opposite.

This book is actually a re-edited and combined version of three short stories previously published in 2010.  I did not read the originals, but for the most part this works as a single book.  The initial story arc of Matt and Lane does feel a bit separate from the rest (some editing to smooth the transition would have been a good idea), but it is important to know about them to read Sebastian’s story.

The city of New Orleans is not merely a setting, but integral to all three main characters’ personality and actions, especially Sebastian, who is in his 70s when he is first introduced.  They may have all left the city at some point, but they always came back.  The French Quarter is at the heart of their lives, and shaped their stories.

The first quarter of the book is essentially all about Matt and Lane.  Childhood friends who became close as brothers as they faced down Matt’s abusive father who kicked him out when he discovered Matt was gay.  Roommates in college who watched each other as Matt slept around and Lane saved himself for “the one”.  In the 5 years they lived together, neither man ever admitted to the other that he was in love – they both had their own reasons for feeling “not good enough” – and after one glorious night, Matt moved away to California.  Now, let me just say that I get so frustrated with that overdone trope, but I guess it’s expedient when you are trying to put a lot of angst into a short story.  Hurricane Katrina provided the catalyst to get Matt and Lane back together, and at least then they spoke honestly to each other, and of course they were both single, still in love, soul mates, yadda yadda, and now happily together.

And to me, that is when the real story started.  Two years after Katrina, New Orleans is still rebuilding, recovering, returning to its previous vibrant self.  Matt and Lane are still happy together living in the slave quarters behind the courtyard of Sebastian’s French Quarter house.  Matt is still working as a journalist, and has decided to make a documentary of sorts about gay men in New Orleans history through the life and times of Sebastian.  He is such a character!  Sebastian is definitely a queen, flamboyant, but sophisticated and intelligent.  He spent his early adulthood with the artistic (and very gay friendly) denizens of the city, along with all the hedonism you’d expect from the Big Easy, but was also an astute businessman who became wealthy, and one of the gay elite of the French Quarter.  He had his share of disappointments and tragedies too, including the death of his long time lover from AIDS.  I loved his voice – the words he used, the way he told a story, how elegant he was even while being catty!  It was so easy to imagine what he looked like, sounded like, and even how he moved.  Sebastian was perfectly happy to make the documentary because he felt his life was essentially over, that he was just waiting until the end, when he could pass the torch on to the next generation of gay men.

And then he met Raymond.  Another elderly man, gay, also bereaved, who convinced Sebastian that even in his 70s, there were still adventures to be had, life to be lived, and love to be made.  That it is never too late to have a happy ending.  Their affair might seem a little saccharine to some, but I just adored it.  There wasn’t much angst for them, but I think their romance was in many ways more open, more honest than it would have been if they had met when they were younger.  Though Matt and Lane are constants in Sebastian’s life – they essentially became his sons and stayed with him in his adventures step by step – this book is primarily about Sebastian.  And it is lovely.

Cover art by Angsty G is a good representation of Lane and Matt, but where was Sebastian???  Gotta admit, I was disappointed by that oversight…

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 246 pages
Published July 17th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635334326
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Caryn Review: Lying Eyes by Robert Winter

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Robert Winter has definitely made it onto my favorite author list.  This is his third book, and they just keep getting better!  This book is a standalone, but it does contain spoilers for Every Breath You Take, and cameo appearances from David and Brandon from September

Randy Vaughan is the enigmatic owner of the piano bar Mata Hari, first introduced in Every Breath You Take.  He’s reserved, doesn’t make friends easily, and his six-foot-three muscle bound body is definitely intimidating.  Some know that he’s retired from the secret service, but he hasn’t shared his artistic side with anyone in years.  He displays the art he’s collected from all over the world in the bar, but mainly for his own enjoyment rather than making a statement.  He was burned, badly, in the past by a lover, and since then has preferred to keep to himself. 

Life was moving along as it always does, and then in only a few weeks two men shook up Randy’s carefully ordered existence: Jack Fraser, London art historian, and Danny, a homeless teen. 

Jack is looking for a very specific painting.  He thinks Randy may own it, and came all the way from London to see it.  When he first approaches Randy, however, he can’t seem to look past the big, tough guy exterior to see the intelligent and discriminating artist behind the facade, and everything he says and does just pisses Randy off.  When Jack won’t say why he needs to see the painting, Randy refuses to show it.  But there is a chemistry there that both men instantly recognize, which makes it impossible for either to walk away for good. 

Danny was getting beat up behind Mata Hari in the middle of the night when Randy came upon him.  He saved Danny from the thugs, and took him home with the intention of finding him an LGBT shelter, but when days and ultimately weeks go by without an opening, Randy finds himself enjoying having a platonic roommate.  Randy modeled most of his life on his gay uncle Kevin, and still lives by a moral code that he learned from Kevin and his partner Luc.  He starts to look at Danny as a way to pay forward everything that Kevin did for him.

None of what I’ve written so far is a spoiler, but this is:  these two occurrences are not random, but are connected as part of a bigger plot that involves blackmail, kidnapping, and priceless art.  It was obvious what Randy’s painting really is, but the rest of it was actually took me by surprise.  There is also a lot of character development of both Randy and Jack, which made their difficulty learning to trust each other despite physical and intellectual attraction understandable.

The dom/sub relationship mentioned in the blurb is actually a minor aspect of Randy and Jack’s romance, and there is not a lot of sex in the book.  There was only one scene that involved bondage, and to be honest, I think the book probably would have been better without it.  My biggest irritation with this book is that it didn’t end at the right point.  I’d get to the end of a chapter and be satisfied that was it, and then there’d be another, and another.  I wanted to tell Mr. Winter, you don’t have to wrap up every single little thread out there!!!  So although I was captivated throughout 90% of the book, I got a little bored at the end.  Still, Randy is easily my favorite of all the characters I’ve seen so far, and I am looking forward to reading more in this universe and hopefully seeing him again.

I’ve got mixed feelings about the cover art by Dar Albert.  The classy bar in the background is perfect, but I just can’t look at this model and see Randy.  In my mind, he’s bigger, bulkier, and doesn’t have the smarmy smirk on his face that this guy has.  Oh well, sometimes cover models add to my mental picture of a character, and sometimes I just need to look past them.

Sales Links: Amazon USA        Amazon CA        Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 239 pages
Published July 7th 2017 by Robert Winter Books
ASINB073JYPVX6
Edition LanguageEnglishsettingWashington, DC

An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Perfect Sub (Iron Eagle Gym #2) by Sean Michael and Jeff Gelder (Narrator)

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Rating:  2 stars out of 5

 

While new couple Tide and Lance spend time deepening their relationship and further introducing Lance to the joys and vagaries of being a sub, established couple Tyrone and Bran discover that they still have a thing or two to learn as well.

 

A new job finds Bran run off his feet, and a visit to the eye doctor leads to the discovery of a brain tumor. Bran is terrified. He strives to be the perfect sub for his beautiful master and sees the tumor as a personal failing as he tries to handle every last phone call, e-mail, and text that comes in, no matter how early or late. When Tyrone finally finds out about the tumor Bran’s been keeping a secret, he realizes he’s been taking his sub for granted, and he works to rediscover his boy and their relationship. Of course, that’s easier said than done given that Bran’s job is taking up all his time and he would rather pretend the tumor just doesn’t exist than actually deal with it.

 

It’s going to take all of Tyrone’s prowess as a master to help guide Bran through these troubled waters.

 

I am usually a fan of Sean Michael’s books but this one did not work for me and it was a combination of elements in the story and narration that made it even worse.  Bran and Lance both had so much trouble throughout the first part of the book thinking that they weren’t “worthy” of their masters and that is one dynamic that doesn’t work for me along with the focus on perfection and people looks.  In the end the focus on being perfect was pushed aside for being partners and perfect for each other which was nicer.  Other than that I had a hard time following the timeline in the story but I’m sure if that was from not having the story in front of me to see or not.

 

Unfortunately I can’t really say that Jeff Gelder did a nice job narrating the story.  He used different voices for each character but they would change throughout the story and then the character described as having a “deep sexy voice” had a very feminine lilt and soft voice most of the time.  He tried really hard to make it sound sensual but I just got the feeling that I was listening to a bad porno.  I think it’s safe to say that this story did not work for me, maybe at some point I can go back and try to read it and see if I don’t have quite the same opinion of it but it won’t be anytime soon.

 

Cover art by L.C. Chase is nice and goes with the series.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press |   Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 7hrs 29min
Published June 9, 2017 (ebook first published March 28, 2016) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

An Ali Review: Scoring the Boss by Ali Atwood

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Cody Madrid wasn’t born into privilege. He grew up in a crime-infested trailer park and suffered a childhood from hell. The gritty start to life didn’t break him. It fired his determination to make something of himself. With discipline, hard work and some unexpected luck, he founded Starwest Industries and built it into a multimillion-dollar empire.

Ben Jackson grew up in a loving family, enjoyed a picture-perfect childhood and aspires to become a fine artist. He’s vacationing in Greece when he literally falls at Cody’s feet. Their meeting is electric, but forestalled when Ben receives tragic news from home. As a result, he puts his artistic ambitions on hold, and looks for a full-time job to help support his family.

When Ben is hired by Starwest Industries, he has no idea that Cody Madrid owns the company. Their professional relationship means Ben has to work closely with the most compelling man he’s ever met without falling in love with him. Though Cody is still closeted, he finds himself falling hard and fast for the blond, blue-eyed Ben. But Cody has issues to work on, and someone has a hold on Ben. He’s been trapped into living a lie that could ruin any chance of a future with Cody. 
This was a low angst story about two men who meet in Greece and feel a connection and then later run into each other back in the US when they find they work for the same company.  Turns out Cody is the owner of the company Ben now works for.  In addition to that complication, Cody doesn’t want anyone to know he is gay and Ben doesn’t want to be in a relationship with someone who is not “out”.
I liked the set up of the book and the beginning when they meet in Greece.  Unfortunately the rest of the story didn’t work for me.  There is a  plotline I don’t want to spoil, but it has to do with how Ben ends up working with Cody.  I thought it was completely unrealistic and I didn’t buy a second of it.  It was so over the top that I struggled to keep reading the book.  
I was hoping that once I got past that I would connect with the characters or the plot but I didn’t.  I couldn’t believe any of it.  These guys are only together two times and then Cody is deciding he can’t live without Ben and he’s going to change his entire life by coming out for him so they can be together.   Two times!  I didn’t feel any connection between these two at all.  There was a lot of telling their feelings and not enough showing.  It’s also a pet peeve of mine when authors use the coming out plotline device and then skim over it and make it seem like some Disney movie grand gesture.  Coming out is very serious and should be treated as such in my opinion.  
There was nothing wrong with the writing style or the technical aspect of the writing so this may appeal to different readers.  If you enjoy light, low-angst, insta-love this may work for you.  
Cover:  The cover artwork was done The Book Khaleesi.  I think it is a good representation of the story.
Sales Link: Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 163 pages
Published June 16th 2017
ASINB071LJRTJG

Release Day for Treading Water (Forgotten Soldier #2) by Jessie G

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Title: Treading Water
Series: Forgotten Soldier #2
Author: Jessie G
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: July 18, 2017
After devoting eighteen years of his life to the US Navy, Petty Officer First Class Shane Parker is struggling with the very real possibility of becoming unnecessary. If he doesn’t make Chief Petty Officer before his twenty—and it doesn’t seem likely that he will—he’ll be retired from active service and placed on the Fleet Reserve list until his mooring lines are officially cut forever. While it would all be very honorable and ceremonial, he simply wasn’t civilian material.
Before even swearing-in, Julian Brand knew he wasn’t cut out to be a soldier, but refusing wasn’t an option. Generations of Brand man made careers in the military and the expectation of every Brand son was to follow in those prestigious footsteps. Though the prospect of being rolled back dodged his every step, somehow he made it through boot camp and did his time. Six years after not reenlisting, Julian still struggles to find familial acceptance as he fights to live life on his terms.
On the surface, they couldn’t be more different, but when Jared Ramos calls, neither are capable of refusing. If they can find a way to work together, they might be able to save a wounded warrior and each other in the process.

NOTE: The first story in this series is a 6K word short story originally written for an anthology. While it’s a different couple, I’m happy to provide that to reviewers as they have a brief appearance in the new book and are central characters to this benefit series.



10% of royalties earned from this and future books in the Forgotten Soldier series will benefit the Gary Sinise Foundation, but I’m not content to stop there. I’ve set up a fundraising page directly on the Foundation’s website and I’m asking for your help in reaching (and maybe surpassing) my goal. Every donation of $10 equals 1 entry to win signed books. If you donate more than that, every multiple of 10 will be an additional entry (so $20 = 2 entries and so forth).

1 Grand Prize Winner will receive all my paperbacks signed (8 books) 
4 Runner Up Winners will win a signed copy of Treading Water

Like many readers, the dream of being a writer has been with me a long time. After three decades of trying, I’d begun to doubt. Thanks to social media, I followed my favorite authors hoping to glean some words of wisdom as I pounded out half-formed ideas with alarming regularity. Two repetitive themes emerged: to be a great writer you must read a lot and your butt must be in the chair every day like it’s a job. The more you write, the easier it will be to write and the better you will be at writing. I took that advice to heart and write every day. With three series in the works and a full schedule of releases planned for the next two years, it’s been amazing to have made this dream my reality.

I am a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics, and happily ever after. I’m a lover of strong secondary characters, and series filled with families—biological or chosen. All are themes you’ll find throughout my books.


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In the Spotlight: Losing My Religion by A.S. Tucker (tour & giveaway)

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Title: Losing My Religion
Author: A.S. Tucker
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: July 27, 2017
Only 99 Pennies

 

Jaden Barker is a good boy.

For as long as he can remember, he’s been preparing for the day he’ll be called as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He’s ready. He’s more than willing. And he can’t wait to spend the next two years serving the Lord and his church. But when a new proclamation from the church is announced, it leaves him questioning everything.

Quinn Owens is trouble with a capital T.

An aspiring actor living in the bowels of Los Angeles, he’s fought long and hard to get where he is, and he’s not willing to give it up for anything. Working for a homophobic boss presents quite a challenge when you’re a gay man, but Quinn knows losing this job means losing his dream. 

Jaden is lost and confused.

Quinn won’t let anything stand in his way.

But when Jaden finds himself living downstairs from the enticing Quinn, neither are prepared for what happens next.

Will Jaden be able to resist Quinn’s charms and remain a devoted Mormon missionary? Or will he fall, finding himself face to face with losing his religion?
A military brat growing up, A.S. Tucker now resides in Utah with her loving husband. When not writing, you’ll find her reading, binge watching Netflix, or drinking wine. Her three favorite things are animals, coffee, and Harry Potter, not necessarily in that order. She is the author of three other novels, published under a different pen name. She loves hearing from her readers, so please drop her a line!

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