A Caryn Advent Release Day Review: A Holiday Crush by CJane Elliott

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This story was very much what I’ve come to enjoy about CJane Elliot’s work.  There is angst, but it’s believable, the characters are appealing guys that I’d love to meet myself, they exist in a world complete with good friends who are essential to the story, and they have real jobs and real world concerns.  I like this type of contemporary so much better than billionaires and spies…

Brad is in his early 40s, and has been feeling for some time that his life doesn’t really have much meaning or direction, and he feels a “pervasive sense of weariness”.  He is a successful lawyer, but winning the big cases doesn’t bring him joy anymore, and certainly doesn’t make him feel that he is making a difference in the world.  As Christmas comes around, he is reminded again that he doesn’t have the partner he had hoped and planned for at this time of his life when he was young.

Michael had done some videography of Brad’s depositions, and though he is just Brad’s type, Brad didn’t pursue anything because the case was ongoing, and because Michael seems very young, and Brad doesn’t feel right with that type of age gap.  Fortunately for Brad, Michael is persistent, so when the case is over, he asks Brad out.  Brad surprises himself by accepting, and is introduced to Michael’s world of unconventional, bohemian friends.  Michael is outgoing, impulsive, and wears his heart on his sleeve, and he admires Brad in many ways from their time with the case, but then they also find they both share a love of music and singing.  Music is a part of Brad that he’s put aside to fit in with the other lawyers in the firm, and finding someone to share it with, especially someone like Michael who is so joyful, is a revelation.  Despite his misgivings about the age gap, Brad is utterly charmed, and starts finding ways to spend time with Michael.

The angst comes in when Michael’s friends start questioning what he hopes to get out of this relationship, and whether he is even serious about it.  Michael LOVES the holiday season, and despite his friends’ blasé attitude, he celebrates with gusto.  And that always includes falling in love, because isn’t that a thing to do at Christmas?  His friends think this is just Michael’s usual holiday crush, and they are persuasive enough that he starts to doubt himself as well.

So this is a story of how two very likeable guys learn to step outside their comfort zones, and find not only love, but new meaning in life.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story!  One warning though – this is a very politically slanted book.  And though I might agree with the politics to an extent, I’m not sure that I really wanted to read about them in my spare time.  What started out as introducing a liberal alternative to Brad’s life turned into a full on diatribe against the presidency, the congress, and Republicans in general, and the ranting was really turning me off.  I took off half a star for that, but decided that fortunately, the rest of the story was good enough that I could just skip over those parts…

Cover art by Paul Richmond.  The Cover is the series cover, cute and cheery but not really relating to the individual stories.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 50 pages
Published December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640803121
Edition Language English

An Alisa Release Day Review: Someone to Kiss by Scotty Cade

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Dane McCormick’s job negotiating leases and building out furnished office suites takes him all over the country. He stays until the job is done—and then he moves on. As satisfying as the job is, it leaves him no place to call home and no chance to build a personal life. After arriving in Greenville, South Carolina, for a job, a severe stomach virus knocks Dane for a loop. He finds a local urgent care clinic… and a tall, dark, and handsome doctor who goes well above and beyond his duties to treat Dane. The doctor’s bedside manner makes Dane forget all about his stomach flu.

Carter Baldridge has dedicated his life to caring for others. Since graduating from medical school, he has spent all his time and energy building his urgent care business, But the morning he steps into his examining room and sees Dane McCormick on the table, he realizes it might be time to devote some attention to a part of life he has neglected. The spark is there, but so is a major obstacle in the form of Dane’s peripatetic lifestyle and a bad experience in Carter’s past. Both have to decide if the risk is worth the reward.

This was a nice story to read.  Dane has pretty much lived out of a suitcase for the last six years and is looking forward to finally putting down some roots when his boss needs to send him somewhere else, again.  Carter has finally opened himself up to another person for them to leave him for their job again.  They both need to find a way back to each other once Dane’s job is done.

This story was mostly flash backs to how Dane and Carter met and their budding relationship.  I liked seeing how smitten they both were with each other and their desire to finally take a chance.  Though we see most of this story through Dane’s eyes it is easy to see both of their emotions and know how much being separated hurts them.  I loved seeing them finally come together again after they just missed each other after their year separation.

Cover art by Reese Dante is nice and gives good visuals of the character.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 69 pages

Published: 2nd edition, December 27, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-107-3

Edition Language: English

A Caryn Release Day Review: Being with Him by Mickie Ashling

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

It makes me very sad to give this book a poor review, because I was really looking forward to it for several reasons:  I read Chyna Doll a year or so ago (introducing the couple that are the secondary characters in this book) and thought it was amazing, and knowing that this book’s main character was a trans man, I expected to be similarly wowed.  I can tell the author really wanted to portray transgender people and their struggles realistically – especially given the current administration’s apparent systematic discrimination against them – and though I believe she did a fair job of that, the story itself had no soul.

Zeb Arenada is a young Filipino man from a very traditional patriarchal family who has emigrated to the United States to attend college at Cornell University.  He grew up in a life of privilege, and never had to face any significant prejudice or hardship, but he was also very sheltered.  When his roommate Luca told him that he was gay, Zeb was a little non-plussed, but his natural curiosity and non-judgmental attitude ensured that they got along well together.  Zeb hadn’t seriously considered his own sexuality previously, but knowing an openly gay man made him start to question who he was really attracted to.  Luca took Zeb to NYC when he went to see his own boyfriend Chyna, and there Zeb met Chyna’s roommate Alex.

Alex Boulet is a biracial trans man from Louisiana who has been working as a successful model for several years.  When he left the south, he expected to find love and happiness in the diversity of the big city, but so far all he has found are men who are either morbidly and intrusively curious about his genitals, or disappointed to find that they aren’t standard male issue.  Those experiences, as well as some ghosts from his past, have made him very wary, very slow to trust anyone, and very protective of his heart.

With that background, I was looking forward to complex relationship growth, perhaps a slow burn, and significant character growth.  But everything was just so clinical – there was way too much focus on the mechanics of sex with a trans man, and that made all of the many (too many) sex scenes completely uninspiring.  The couple’s exploration of NYC was straight out of a tourist guide book, as though Alex hadn’t lived in Manhattan for years.  Even the descriptions of Filipino culture were superficial and stilted.  There were so many little details that just didn’t fit, like the way Alex was always cooking and eating big southern meals and desserts, and that is completely unrealistic for a model.  And there’s a shocking event from Alex’s past revealed about three quarters of the way through the book that was completely superfluous because there was no real follow up about it.  It was like, this terrible thing happened, oh well, no big deal, moving on….

Overall, very disappointing.  To be honest, I wouldn’t have finished it if I wasn’t reading it for review.  I kept hoping I would be able to find something in these men to establish some sort of emotional attachment to them, but there was nothing.  Clinical is really the best way I can describe the overall feeling of the book, and it just didn’t make for enjoyable reading.  But I do appreciate the way the author clearly did some research and tried to present an authentic representation of a transgender man.

Cover art by Kanaxa is pretty.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, First
Expected publication: December 27th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleBeing With Him
ISBN139781640800519
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Release Day Review: I Only Want to Be With You by J Scott Coatsworth

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Derrek is dealing with the recent, unexpected death of his mother. He’s been alone for five year since his husband Will died, and he’s ready to find someone new and to start living again. Ryan lost his partner, David, in an auto accident, and is dating Alex, who doesn’t treat him right.

Derrek can’t figure out why Ryan won’t see what’s right in front of his face. Why does Ryan come to him to talk about all his hopes, dreams, and fears, then go home to Alex?

If Derrek can figure that out, they might just have a shot.

So….essentially Derrek and Ryan have been dancing around each other for years, being friends while Ryan is so sure that Derrek is still mourning his dead husband while he stays in a relationship that isn’t healthy.  We can see Derrek hurting every time he sees Ryan’s boyfriend put him down or cheat, all it takes is Derrek to tell him that he deserves better.  This story was cute but didn’t really sit well with me, I understood after Ryan explained at the end of the story about his lack of self-worth but I just couldn’t get why none of Ryan’s friends said anything to him over the past few years.

The cover art by Catherine Dair is nice and works well for the story.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, ~8,000 words

Published: December 27, 2017 by Mischief Corner Books

Edition Language: English

KC Burn on Writing, Characters, and her new release Banded Together (author interview)

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Banded Together by K.C. Burn
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Banded Together is available at Dreamspinner Press and Amazon.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host K.C. Burn here today on their Banded Together tour. Welcome, K.C.

 

 ~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with K.C. Burns ~

 

Hi all! I’m so excited to be here! I’m KC Burn, talking about writing and my new release, Banded Together.

  •  Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  

No, actually. In fact, the emotional ties often make it more real, at least in my opinion. In this new release, Banded Together, one of the heroes, Dr. Jack is dealing with his dad having dementia. My mother had dementia and it was a difficult few years before she passed. Although I don’t go into a lot of detail in this book, my feelings during that time informed a lot of Jack’s reactions. I think most writers take every experience as potential fodder for stories, whether they be painful or joyful. I don’t think we can help it; I know I can’t.

  •  How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

LOL – mostly it’s not my choice! Even for those few books I’ve self published, the cover artists all require similar “art forms” where they ask what the characters look like, if there are significant visual items in the story, if there’s a particular scene that demonstrates the theme. Is it light, dark, paranormal, contemporary. Those attributes all affect how a cover is created, but I’m so not an artist – I can’t articulate how that comes about. Sometimes I’m given a couple of options to choose from, and many times it’s a gut feeling. One of them will just fit the story. One of my books, Tartan Candy, had the cover I went with, which was fun and flirty and a little unconventional. Since the main character was an ex-porn star who loved wearing kilts, it was perfect. The other option looked more like a typical Highlander romance cover, which didn’t match the story at all, although it was still a lovely cover.

  •  If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

Yes, I do. As much as one would like to relate to the characters we read about, in romance, we’re also reading for escapism. That doesn’t mean a character can’t have faults – maybe some serious ones – but I’ve definitely read books where the characters are flawed to the point the book becomes harsh and almost brutal. But I also know people who love that sort of realism. I just can’t find the escapism in it and so I wouldn’t want to write it. It’s a fine line, though.

  

  •  Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Not exactly. I jot down story ideas and scenes, and it might be years before I get around to writing that book or it might take years before I come up with an idea where I can make one of those scenes work, but with one exception, I’ve never put an entire story away. As for that one exception… it was a short story I’d written for a cyberpunk call. It wasn’t accepted, and although I like reading cyberpunk, I certainly wasn’t planning on really delving into writing it, or expanding the story into a novel. Instead, I cannibalized scenes from that story and wove them into… two or three other books. And there are still a few scenes that I haven’t used yet, but there is the potential they’ll end up in future books.

  

  •  If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

Somewhere with no windows. Not only are they a bit distracting, I get a little tense as the light changes. Feels almost like a ticking clock. But if I’m in a room where the lighting stays at a consistent level, it’s easier to focus.

 

  •  With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To wide our knowledge?  Why do you write?

Mostly I write to stay sane. There is so much going on in my head, writing almost acts like a pressure release valve. But aside from that, it’s escapism. I’ve loved reading for so long, and not only is writing a different sort of escapism for me, I also want to give some of that joy to other people if I can. Share the love, or pay it forward, so to speak.

 

  •  What’s next for you as a writer?

I have a firefighter/dancer story coming out in the new year called Set Ablaze, and I’ve submitted a proposal for a guy wooing his love interest with pastries. We’ll see how that goes – I don’t do a lot of planning ahead of time. I mostly fly by the seat of my pants! Next year I’ll also have another Christmas story for sure, and hopefully the sequel to North on Drummond, my paranormal mystery, will be ready.

Blurb

Punk’s not dead, but it’s time to redefine life.

Devlin Waters thought he’d have music forever. But the tragic death of his best friend ended the twenty-year run of his punk band, Negative Impression. Unable to process the loss, Devlin distances himself from everyone and everything that reminds him of the band. But forty-one is too young to curl up and wait for the end. In a search for a second career, he finds himself at university, with a bunch of kids young enough to be… his kids. His sexy archaeology professor, however, makes Devlin think about life beyond his grief….

Dr. Jack Johnson does not appreciate Devlin’s lack of respect, his inability to be serious, or his chronic lateness. Worse, he hates that he’s attracted to a student. When he realizes Devlin is the rock star he crushed on in his youth, he drops his guard—against his better judgment.

Before they can move forward together, Jack must admit to Devlin that he’s not only an admirer, but he also sings in a cover band. How will Devlin react to his ultimate fanboy when his own music has died?

About the Author

KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds).  After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own — getting published.  After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does. 

Visit KC at her website, on Twitter, on Facebook, or find out about new releases by signing up for her newsletter.

 

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On tour: Blood’s Song (House Milar #1) by Tempeste O’Riley (giveaway)

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Blood’s Song (House Milar #1)
Author: Tempeste O’Riley

Publisher: Encompass Ink, Teen
Release Date: Nov, 24th, 2017

Blurb/Synopsis:

Even in darkness, love lights the way.

Anya awakens alone and afraid in a new world soaked with blood and terror. The only things she knows for certain are her name and that humans are precious.

Unwilling to give in to her hungers, she sets her feet upon a path of discovery, searching for clues to her forgotten past. Along the way she runs headlong into the unimaginable world of the undead and the waiting arms of Nicholas, a fearless nocturnal defender searching for his love, lost in eternity.

Into their midst stumbles Declán, a young, natural born vampire hunter and Guardian whose passion for Anya is only matched by his draw to Nicholas. His arrival could mark the end of their tale, or with the gift of Anya’s blood kiss, it might bring about the beginning of a new chapter for them all.

Fate has a wicked sense of sensibility…
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

Book Links  Amazon  

B&N

iBooks

Kobo 

About the Author

Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t—defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since.

Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. Though new to writing M/M, they has done many things in their life, yet writing has always drawn them back—no matter what else life has thrown their way. They counts her friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life. They lives in Wisconsin with their children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.

Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®WisRWA, FFPRWA, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Tempe’s preferred pronouns are they/them/their/theirs/themselves. To learn more about Tempeste and their writing, visithttp://tempesteoriley.com.

Author Links

Other Works by Tempeste O’Riley

Standalone Titles

 

 

 

 

 

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