A Stella Review: Mended With Gold by Lee Welch

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

A photographer with post-traumatic stress disorder falls for a comics artist on a wild New Zealand beach, but can he find true love when he feels so wounded by life?

Everything changed when the bomb exploded. Forty-five-year old, Alex Cox worked as an international photographer until a deadly explosion left him with post-traumatic stress disorder. Emotionally wounded, and desperate for a sense of safety, he’s run all the way to wild and remote Kahawai Bay, New Zealand.

Under the worst possible circumstances, Alex meets Joe, a shy young comics artist. Joe lets Alex into his playful, gentle world of comics, and soon Alex is falling for him, hard. Alex longs for more. Joe is reticent. But is it shyness? Or does Joe not want a much older lover with ‘issues’? Or is something else keeping them apart?

This is a tender and uplifting story about creativity, adversity, true love, and comics.

Mended With Gold is the first book I read by Lee Welch and I have to say it was a lovely surprise. I soon connected with the story and the characters, maybe because the author hit one of my weakness with these kind of souls like Alex and Joe. I love scarred characters, their pain makes them more real, troubled like we all are. I adore couples with an age difference and in some ways here it was evident Alex was more experienced than the younger Joe, but since life had not been easy on both of them, I later found them well matched and truly enjoyed the time I get to learn about their love.

Considering this is just a novella, I think the author developed quite well the characters and the plot, I found the setting particular and beautiful, that said to me Mended With Gold ended with a HFN and I would love to meet Alex and Joe again in a new book, and see them how they gained their HEA. I feel to recommend this story and I will definitely look for other works by the author.

The cover art by Melody Pond is lovely, clean and fitting. I like it.

Sales Links:  MLR Books | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 94 pages

Published November 17th 2017 by MLR Press

ASIN B077365FMD

Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: One Thousand Cranes (Yakuza Path #3) by Amy Tasukada

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When a body goes missing, a young Yakuza’s life hangs in the balance…

Aki Hisona’s latest promotion is a cause for celebration. But because his new job is working as the personal secretary for the Yakuza’s Kyoto-based godfather, it’s also a cause for dangerous envy. He takes an invitation from a friend for congratulatory drinks, but Aki never thought the night would end with a deadly knife fight…

Aki is tasked with disposing of his friend’s corpse, but there’s one problem: the body is missing. As body parts surface around town, it’s only a matter of time before the police piece together the clues. But keeping one step ahead of the cops may not matter if Aki can’t solve the mystery before his cold, unforgiving godfather boss does…

The Yakuza Path: One Thousand Cranes is a pulse-pounding standalone thriller in the ongoing series of Japanese mafia stories. If you like gritty settings, page-turning whodunits, and accurate portrayals of Kyoto traditions, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s gripping tale.

The first story in this series,Blood Stained Tea (The Yakuza Path, #1,  was going to be hard to surpass for any author.  It was bloody, shocking, and brilliant in it’s execution. And yet for Nao Murata and the series to continue, Amy Tasukada had to figure out how to grow this admittedly psychotic character, expanding Nao past the persona we know and his universe as well.  The author has done so with each new story, figuring out a way to move her characters forward, into new situations, while keeping the past (which is key to Nao’s personality) and including new components and people.

Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path, #2) ushers in Nao as the head of the Matsukawa Yakuza syndicate.  Here we saw Nao elevated to high position, yet still under assault by many factions, unsure of who to trust.  The novel was complicated, labyrinthine in plot lines, showed Nao’s ability to adjust and his cunning, while he was still dealing with the fallout from the events of the first story.  And it introduced Aki Hisona, the first person pov of One Thousand Cranes.

One Thousand Cranes marks the departure of the pov from Nao to someone who serves him, Aki Hisona, his personal secretary. I have to admit I miss that haunted, warped perspective of Nao’s.  But it’s replaced here with one that almost equally obsessive.  Aki has one love, one all consuming focus.  Nao.  Not that it’s returned.  Because it’s not.  Nao’s love is gone forever…killed in the past in a horrific crime he was a part of.

Obsession never ends well.  And that’s the thought the flies constantly through my thoughts here in this story.

For Aki, being close to Nao is everything.  Not exactly healthy.  From many standpoints.  For Aki exists within the Matsukawa organization and he’s not only been recently promoted from the rank of the new recruits but he’s now close to the “Father” of the Matsukawa Clan with all that means.  Within the syndicate, there are reverberations, jealousies, and dealings, along with the police, and the annual Kyoto ceremonies to attend for Aki to keep up with.  All that and his feelings for Nao too, a barely restrained killer or is he?

No, this is not a romance.  This is someone who has a crush, or obsession with his boss, who is a psychotic killer and crime lord. Also, Aki is shy,gay, withdrawn, with a skin condition that keeps him covered from wrist to chin. Not exactly someone who fits in with the Yakuza model recruit mold.  No, Aki cannot stay the same and remain next to Nao and he doesn’t.  This story is his metamorphosis.

The author takes all these facts and uses them in a narrative that’s combines the delicacy of a cherry blossom and cutting edge of a knife.  Nao is still that addictive blend of ruthless killer and lover/protector of historic Kyoto and its culture.  Tea master and psycho. Even Aki seems at the end to realize he’s not sure which he will see…not that it matters to him.  Here is it Aki that does the changing for his obsession.  How the cranes fits in is just another joy and deep layer of this story and series.

This is a story and series you read for the complicated characters, the sliding maze of relationships, and a fog of a future that never looks bright.   The writing is incredible, the themes addictive, and, somehow, however psychotic and bloody it gets, you just can’t let Nao go.  Because he too is mired in the deep tragedy in his past.  This saga has me in it’s grips.  Once you start, you will feel it too.

None are stand alones.  Read them all in the order the author intended.  I highly recommend them all.

The titles of these stories are as much a perfect touch as are the covers.

Cover art is again perfect for the story and series.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published December 12th 2017 by Macarons & Tea Publishing
ASINB077TLCSRG
Series The Yakuza Path:

Blood Stained Tea (The Yakuza Path, #1

Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path, #2

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Freckles by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Carter Embree has always hoped to be rescued from his productive, tragically boring, and (slightly) ethically compromised life. But when an urchin at a grocery store shoves a bundle of fluff into his hands, Carter goes from rescuee to rescuer—and he needs a little help.

Sandy Corrigan, the vet tech who helps ease Carter into the world of dog ownership, first assumes that Carter is a crazy-pants client who just needs to relax. But as Sandy gets a glimpse into the funny, kind, sexy man under Carter’s mild-mannered exterior, he sees that with a little care and feeding, Carter might be Super-Pet Owner—and decent boyfriend material to boot.

But Carter needs to see himself as a hero first. As he says good-bye to his pristine house and hello to carpet treatments and dog walkers, he finds that there really is more to himself than a researching drudge without a backbone. A Carter Embree can rate a Sandy Corrigan. He can be supportive, he can be a hero, he can be a man who stands up for his principles!

He can be the owner of a small dog.

I love, love, loved it.  Carter has been slaving away at his job doing his best to have regular human contact but until he Is suddenly given his little ball of fur he realizes just how wrong his priorities were.  Sandy just adores animals and wants to help Carter see that taking care of a dog is something he can do.

We get to see both characters’ points of view which allows us to see the story through their eyes and connect with them more.  I loved how Sandy could see through Carter’s uptight appearance and to the man underneath and his and Alexis’s unwavering support for Carter to make some significant changes in his life.  Carter has never really had anyone care for his wants before and he is amazed when it happens with Sandy.

Nick J Russo did a wonderful job narrating this story.  I could just feel the characters’ emotions happy and sad while listening.  The different voices he used for the characters helped me keep up with what was going on.

I love the cover art by LC Chase and it is adorable and I love the visual of Freckles.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 4 hrs 10 min

Published: December 4, 2017 (ebook first published November 14, 2016) by Riptide

Edition Language: English

Release Blitz for Forever With You by Londra Laine (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Forever with You

Author: Londra Laine

Publisher: Self-Published 

Cover Art: Aria Tan

Length: 230 pages/77,000 words

Release Date: January 9, 2018

Rating: 18+

Themes: New York City, office romance, contemporary, single-parent, multiracial, sexual trauma

TRIGGER WARNING:

Please be aware that this book contains a flashback of and several references to sexual assault.

Blurb

Kelly Brooks Montes is only nineteen years old and just starting college in New York City when tragedy strikes, and he becomes a single dad to his toddler brother. Four years later, Kelly and his baby brother, Jaylen, are doing well, though Kelly leads a double life to make ends meet. He’s a high-level administrative assistant by day and a racy go-go boy by night. Between raising his brother, dancing, and trying not to run afoul of his new boss, Kelly doesn’t have time for a boyfriend. Even if he did want a man in his life, a past trauma makes him question whether he can ever trust a man with his body or his heart. But then Kelly receives an unexpected but steamy birthday kiss from his boss, a man he was sure hated him, and he begins to wish for things he knows he shouldn’t.

Andrew Whitman knew from the moment he held Kelly’s hand that the man was special, and it both annoyed and terrified him. Kelly makes him feel a little out of control and Drew is a highly controlled man. He has to be to keep his sexuality a secret from his father, a conservative politician. And he is OK with that. He has a perfectly good, mutually beneficial, life plan with his best friend, Lex. A long time ago, he’d made his peace with the fact that he’d never find a man worth turning his life upside down for. Then he ends up with his capable and gorgeous assistant under him on top of his desk, and his life plans change. Drew can’t seem to get out of his own way when it comes to the quiet, sexy, and surprising single dad, but he can’t stop himself from falling for Kelly and his sweet baby brother. And just when it seems that Kelly has worked through his past hurts enough to let Drew into his body and his heart, manipulative family and words unspoken threaten to tear them apart. But after getting a taste of a life he never thought he could have, Drew won’t let anything tear his fledgling family apart.

Buy Links

Amazon buy link

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

Goodreads

Excerpt #1

Hot, wet, messy, they fed off each other. Kelly tightened his grip around Drew’s neck, hoisting himself up and bringing his legs around Drew’s waist. Drew slid his hands to Kelly’s ass, kneading and clutching him while Kelly started to slowly rock his hips.

“There you go, baby. Fuck, you feel so good. Take what you need.”

Kelly started grinding against Drew aggressively, his low, sexy moans making Drew’s cock ache with the need to be even closer. Skin to skin.

Drew spun them around, and with one hand, shoved a bunch of crap off his desk and onto his chair, laying Kelly out on his desk.

Drew grasped and spread Kelly’s thighs as he settled between the smaller man’s legs, pressing them chest to chest. Drew pulled Kelly’s glasses off his face and gently tossed them in the general direction of his desk chair, hoping they landed safely.

Drew wanted to fully possess Kelly. Absorb him, sink into him, claim him, soak him in. Drew lifted Kelly’s wrists above his head with one of his hands, restraining him while he fondled Kelly’s dick through his pants with the other. He needed unfettered access to him.

About the Author

Londra has loved reading since she discovered The Baby-Sitters Club, which remains her favorite book series. As a child, her parents would ground her by taking all the books out of her room for several days. Little did they know that when she couldn’t read other peoples’ stories, she’d make up her own.

Londra began reading romance in 2008. She fell in love with the M/M romance genre after purchasing a book by accident several years later. After decades of daydreaming, and jotting down storylines in various notebooks, Londra decided to give life to the characters in her head. She writes to give her guys the happy ending she wishes everyone––no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation––could experience in real life.

To pay the bills, Londra helps IT engineers communicate with the people using their products. She is a recovering journalist and a former political staffer. Londra loves to watch American football, baseball, Seinfeld, The Golden Girls, and almost any show on HGTV. In 2010, she moved from her native California to New York City where she lives with her partner in Harlem. Forever With You is her first book.

Social Media Links

Londra on Twitter

Londra on Amazon

Londra on QueerRomance Ink

Londra on Goodreads

Londra on Facebook

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win either a $30 or a $15 Amazon gift card.

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RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

January 9

Noteworthy Book Reviews REVIEW x2

Blazing Zane Book Blog Review

Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings  REVIEW

MainelyStories REVIEW

MJ’s Book Blog and Reviews 

Lily G Blunt  

Gay Book Reviews  

January 10

Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter

MM Midnight Cafe   REVIEW

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author  REVIEW

Megan’s Media Melange REVIEW

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Lelyana’s Book Blog REVIEW

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews  REVIEW

My Fiction Nook  REVIEW

January 11

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

Diverse Reader  REVIEW

Sur l’étagère, derrière la sirène en plastique  REVIEW

Bayou Book Junkie  REVIEW

Tangents and Tissues

Smokin’ Hot Reads Book Blog  REVIEW

Stories That Make You Smile

January 22

Drops of Ink 

~

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Release Blitz – Coach’s Challenge (Cayuga Cougars #3) by V.L. Locey (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
 
Point Shot Trilogy – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Cayuga Cougars Series
 
Book #1 – Snap Shot – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Open Net – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Victor Kalinski and his husband, Dan Arou, are living the dream. Married for over a year now, the couple have settled into life in Cayuga surrounded by friends, family, and a team that’s poised to make another championship run. Each man is enjoying professional success as well as personal bliss. Who knew life in the suburbs with a spouse and a child could be so darn satisfying? Not Vic. K, that’s for sure.


The happy times are about to turn rough, though. The Cougars have picked up a new player, Sander March, a brash young center whose sass, skill, and attitude can rival Victor’s. When it’s revealed that this new player and Dan have history, tensions begin to rise between the newlyweds. As Victor and Dan work on those issues, the one person Victor never thought he would meet arrives in the small New York hamlet and proceeds to flip everything in Vic’s life upside down.


Can Victor and Dan’s marriage withstand what life is about to drop on it, or will the challenges be too much for them to handle?


Author Bio


V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and two Jersey steers.


When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Goodreads
Blog

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