A MelanieM Review: Genetic Snare (Details #2) by Laura Baumbach

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Betrayal, passion, adventure, primal sex, and a fight to the death.

Mating a 26th century Oracan Bounty Hunter with a 18th century pirate has its little glitches.

Bounty hunter Talos bows to pressure to bring his mate home for the completion of his strict warrior culture’s bonding ritual. Aidan, displaced 18th century Earth pirate— light-fingered, sly, charming and understandably naive about the new world he’s been thrust into— can’t wait. Even if it turns out someone wants him dead. The 26th century looks different, but it turns out to be a lot like his old life!

I will admit that maybe my review is colored by the fact that I’ve waited so, so, so, long for this damn book.  I mean I read the first one back in oh, I don’t know either 2006 or 2007, when it first came out.  Loved it!  I mean there was a ginormous space alien on a hunt who talked like Sam Spade, then an 18th century swashbuckling pirate wooshed out of time and sea (literally) who becomes a naughty, captivating mate, and so much more.  And oh, yes?  Tentacle sex of a sort.

By the end of Details of the Hunt (Details, #1), I was just as ensnared as Aiden was.  Thoroughly hooked on their romance, mating, and Laura Baumbach’s curious couple and her world building.  She then promised us a follow up, because they had mated and there was a ceremony Aiden and Talos had to undertake on Oracan to be official, and there was still potential mysteries floating about. So yes, needed that next story.  All the fans anxiously waited, sent texts, and waited some more.  But the sequel never appeared.  And years went by. I think most of us  probably thought it was forgotten under the stress and pressures of running MLR Press.

So imagine my wonder at seeing that a finished copy was available at MLR.  Be still my heart.  Yes!  Talos and Aiden were back! As was the intergalactic intrigue, the new bonding, the planetary politics,  and all the other wild story threads Baumbach had left swirling around the couple.  So many things to remember that I needed to go back and reread my  paperback copy of the first book as a refresher.  And I’m glad I did. (I’ll review it again soon.)

That’s the only thing that I can see will absolutely confuse people.  This is not a standalone story.  While the author did some back history here, it’s just not enough to completely bring a new reader up to speed.  At certain times, they will feel totally “out to sea” as Aiden still does.  There’s also multiple povs that carry over from the first story, again you need to know who they are and where they fit in with Aiden and Talos.  I’m not sure this book let’s the reader in on those elements with enough depth to make those people as real as they were in Details of the Hunt.

What this story does is give Talos and Aiden their acceptance among the Ocacans and Talos a long awaited homecoming.  You get more of a feel for their society and culture during the highly anticipated bonding rituals (which I wish were extended a little more), and only whetted my curiosity for more of them.  I loved the Oracans I do see, I wanted more of the planet and history,and of the couple after the ceremonies. From those Baumbach gave us, those pieces of Oracan culture, like the inking, were interesting touches that begged for the reader to be let in for more. More time, more information, just more.  I bet Aiden felt that way!

It’s hard to address certain aspects of the story without giving away spoilers. I guess after all this time, I’m just so happy to have it, that my biggest complaint is that there is more of it.  I could have used double the  story.  No real way to be objective on this one.  Maybe after a longer amount of time has passed and I can revisit it again.  Until such a time happens, I’m just so thrilled to have them back.  Just make sure you read the Details of the Hunt first, then onto Genetic Snare.  Lucky you!

Cover art by Spacepixel carries over from the first story which I liked very much.

Sales Links:  MLR Books | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 175 pages
Published November 25th 2017 by MLR Press
ISBN13 9781934531075
Edition Language English
Series Details #2

A MelanieM Review: Miracle of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #2) by Astrid Amara

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Too much family…too little Egg Nog.

It’s been three years since Seth Bellski forced his boyfriend and ex-boss Lars Varga out of the closet. Since then, Seth has passed the bar and become an attorney, and Lars has started his own firm. Their sex life has gotten steamier, and everything seems perfect between them. Until the holidays arrive.

It’s bad enough that Seth’s mother and father want them over every single night of Hanukkah. And that Lars’s less-than-tolerant parents are sleeping in the room next door for the duration of Christmas, putting the kibosh on their kink. They also end up attorneys representing opposing sides in a divorce case, one which quickly proves to be much more than it seems.

Amidst Hanukkah candles, Christmas lights, burned dinners and delayed court appointments, can Lars and Seth’s relationship survive the ultimate holiday challenge: too much family?

From my review in 2011, pre Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words:

I loved this. What a wonderful surprise to see this release. I loved the first book in the series, Carol of the Bellskis from Astrid Amara that was released last year. So this was a joyful present this December. This sequel finds partners Seth Bellski and Lars Varga happily together and getting ready for the holidays, Hanukkah and Christmas. For the first time, this will include Lars’ family, who is still not comfortable with the idea of their son being gay and his meeting live-in lover. Plus Seth’s loving and loud Bellski family has decided to migrate west and join them in Seattle-permanently.

The ensuing holiday stress brings much snark, cooking and loud arguments and of course love. Astrid Amara does this so well that when I finish one book I immediately want the next one to know what happens to her characters. These are real people with flaws who argue, laugh, make love and get stressed out. I love every minute I spend with them. And that includes Ruthie and Herman Bellski, the rest of their brood. I even warmed up to the Vargas along with Seth as the book drew to a close. It is also great to have a book that includes Hanukkah rituals as much as Christmas in the story, Seth is Jewish after all.

So definitely put this on your TBR stack, right near the top. Include the first book, Carol of the Bellskis too. It’s a win win for you. And then you will be like me, hoping that the next holiday season, finds another gift from Santa and Astrid, another Hanukkah spent with Seth and Lars and all their families.

Yes, this story is all that and more.  Little did I know at the time I would have to wait until the end of 2017 to get to the end of their story (so worth it), but here in Miracle of the Bellskis, you see Lars and Seth in the middle stages of their lives and relationship.  They’ve both made adjustments and grown as individuals.  I have always admired Amara’s depth of characterizations, and her ease of letting her characters flow into another stage in their lives is so wonderful and pertinent here.

If you loved them before, prepare for that to deepen as once more the holidays of Hanukkah and Christmas advance on Seth and Lars with all the chaos and hilarity that entails.  The joy in reconnecting with these stories just makes me feels warm all over at just the thought of them.  If you aren’t familiar with them, find them now.  You get the fun of reading all three together!  It’s a series I highly recommend.

Cover art by April Martinez is perfect.  I love the menorah that pulls together all three covers as well as the characters.  That’s Lars and Seth for me.

Special note:  on sale now at Loose id.

Sales Links:  Loose id | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st Edition, 110 pages
Published December 13th 2011 by Loose Id
Original TitleMiracle of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #2)
ISBN139781611185713
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Holidays with the Bellskis

Carol of the Bellskis 2009
Miracle of the Bellskis 2011
Wedding Bellskis 2017

An Alisa Review: Christmas Kisses at the North Pole by Jessie Pinkham

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Rating:  2.75 stars out of 5

Adley is an unusual elf. He prefers skiing to parties, doesn’t like to sing, and cares so little for elf conventions that his brother despairs of him ever getting married. Which is fine, because Adley has no intention of marrying just anyone.

When he meets Keru at the annual Christmas Eve party, the two are drawn to each other. The party may be the most important event of the elvish social calendar, but neither Adley nor Keru minds leaving early to take a walk. They enjoy an idyllic and romantic first date under an aurora, rescuing a reindeer calf along the way, and a relationship seems promising.

But their second date takes a dire turn when a skiing trip brings them face to face with a polar bear. They’d like to keep seeing each other … if they can make it through their second date without being eaten!

Adley and Keru are two peas in a pod from what I can see with similar interests and disinterests.  Unfortunately this story just didn’t really have any high or low points it was just sort of blah.  Much of it was talking about the elf culture and very matter of fact with no feeling.  For two who got along so well and even had two date one right after another they moved slowly and there wasn’t anything that connected me to the characters.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is a sweet picture of Adley and Keru.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 46 pages

Published: December 23, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634865296

Edition Language: English

Andrew Grey on Cemeteries for Sale, Inspiration, and his new story Buried Passions (author guest blog)

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Buried Passions by Andrew Grey
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Book Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Dreamspinner Press

For Sale: Cemetary by Andrew Grey

This story came about because of the lead story in the local newspaper here in Carlisle from this summer.  I was visiting my dad in the hospital after he’d become ill, sitting with him waiting for his discharge.  It read that one of the cemeteries in town was for sale.  He and I both got a laugh out of it, especially the for sale by owner signs.  It was true.  A cemetery owned by one of the funeral homes that was started in the 1840’s was for sale.  That got me wondering and my fevered little brain churning.  What of it didn’t sell, then someone would inherit a cemetery.   The result is Buried Passions.  Now in case you think I’m pulling your leg, I’ve got proof.  The pictures are of the local cemetery with the for sale signs.
The place is stunning with huge pillared stones and even a section with civil war dead.  It’s fun to walk though just to look at the various carved pieces that are amazing memorial art.  So anyone in the market?  After all, you could own dead people .  🙂

Blurb/Synopsis:

When Broadway actor Jonah receives word that his uncle has passed away and named him the heir to a property in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Jonah’s plan is to settle the estate as quickly as possible and return to his life in New York City. Much to Jonah’s surprise, the inheritance includes the Ashford Cemetery—and its hunky groundskeeper, recent Bosnian immigrant Luka Pavelka.

Jonah soon discovers Luka is more than easy on the eyes. He sees into Jonah’s heart like no man ever before, and his job at the cemetery is all he has. If Jonah sells, Luka is left with nothing. Luka is there for Jonah when Jonah needs someone most, and there’s no denying the chemistry and connection between them. But Jonah has a successful career back in New York. Now he must decide if it’s still the life he wants….

Excerpt 

I found it hard to breathe, like all the oxygen had been pulled out of the air. “You’re telling me that my uncle left me a cemetery? This cemetery?” What the fuck was I supposed to do with a goddamn cemetery?

“Yes. Parts of it date back to when the town was founded, in 1750, and it was apparently increased in the mid-1800s to the twelve or so acres it is today. Back then, this was beyond the edge of town by a good half mile, so it was a perfect place for a cemetery. When your uncle had the mortuary business, he sold plots here. There are still some that can be sold, as well as a trust fund for the care of the cemetery. Perpetual care and all that. But yes, this is part of the estate.”

He sounded so damned reasonable, like I’d just inherited an office building or apartment complex. Not a cemetery.

“Let me get this straight.” I was afraid to take a step in case the damn ground opened up and swallowed me whole. “You’re telling me that this is part of my inheritance…?” I didn’t know what else to say. I was shocked and scared all at once. What the hell would I do with a cemetery? “Oh my God.” I placed my hands on the sides of my head. “I own dead people.”

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

Riptide Tour and Giveaway: Relay (Changing Lanes #1) by Layla Reyne

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Relay (Changing Lanes #1) by Layla Reyne
Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Garrett Leigh

Read an Excerpt/Buy It here

Welcome to the RELAY Blog Tour, presented by Layla Reyne and Riptide Publishing! RELAY, by Layla Reyne, is Book 1 of the Changing Lanes sports romance series featuring Olympic swimmers. RELAY is an enemies-to-lovers, second chance romance between Alex, the team captain, and his closeted ex, Dane, swimming’s biggest star. Read on to learn more about RELAY, Changing Lanes, and Layla Reyne!

About Relay

Captain is not a title Alejandro “Alex” Cantu takes lightly. Elected by his teammates to helm the US Men’s Swim Team, he proudly accepts the role, despite juggling endless training, team administrative work, and helping out on the family farm. And despite his ex-lover, Dane Ellis—swimming’s biggest star—also making the Olympic Team.

Dane has been a pawn in his celebrity parents’ empire from crib to pool, flashing his camera-ready smile on demand and staying deeply in the closet. Only once did he drop the act—the summer he fell in love with Alex. Ten years later, Dane longs to cut his parents’ strings, drop his too-bright smile, and beg Alex for another chance.

Alex, though, isn’t ready to forgive and forget, and Dane is a distraction he doesn’t need on his team, until an injury forces Alex to accept Dane as his medley relay anchor. Working together, their passion reignites. When Dane’s parents threaten reprisal and Alex is accused of doping, the two must risk everything to prove Alex’s innocence, to love one another, and to win back their spots on the team, together.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About Changing Lanes

A chance at gold or a chance at love? Members of the US Men’s Swim Team fight for both in this sports romance duology following two couples on one medley relay team as they train and compete in the world’s biggest sporting event: the Olympics. To reach the top of the podium, they’ll need to depend on one another and be willing to change lanes—in their lives and hearts, and in the biggest race of their athletic careers.

Check out Changing Lanes!

About Layla Reyne

2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bicoastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

Social Media:

Website: http://laylareyne.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/laylareyne

FB Profile: www.facebook.com/laylareynebooks

FB Fan Page: www.facebook.com/laylareyne

FB Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/216903272072959/

Tumblr: laylareyne.tumblr.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/laylareyne

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/laylareyne

Amazon: amazon.com/author/laylareyne

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bN9ncH

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Relay, one lucky winner will receive a signed paperback copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 13, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!