An Ali Release Day Review: Infected: Throwaways (Mean Streets #2 Infected Universe) by Andrea Speed

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Former prostitute and street kid turned private detective Holden Krause is asked to look into the murder of Burn, a black-market dealer, who turns up dead near the infamous homeless encampment known as the Jungle. It’s a place Holden is familiar with—and his memories of it aren’t entirely bad. The settlement has been taken over by sinister people but Holden isn’t afraid to take them on. A big part of his PI gig is cover for his more dangerous vigilante crusade: exacting justice for the people the system ignores, the throwaways—people just like the ones living in the Jungle.

It’s getting harder and harder for Holden’s partner, Chai Nayar, to look the other way while Holden searches out retribution beyond the confines of the law. When one of their associates is shot and Holden realizes—far too late—that he’s in over his head with this case, Chai is left to pick up the pieces and hopefully save their lives. He resorts to the only solution he can find and calls Roan, who is more lethal than ever. Will it be their saving grace, or a fatal mistake?
 
This story starts with Holden cruising along much like he was at the end of the last book.  With Roan gone, he seems almost rudderless.  He misses Scott but won’t admit it and he doesn’t have any close friends except for Chai who is moving in to his own place.  When Kevin approaches him for help on a case he agrees.  He also ends up working a second case at the same time.  As Chai realizes what Holden actually does on cases he’s not sure this is the job for him.  
 
When things get really out of hand, Chai ends up calling Roan for help.  Roan and Dylan come back to Seattle and Roan helps Chai out.  As someone who loved the original Infected series it was both great and bittersweet to see Roan again.  His situation isn’t any better and that makes me sad but like most Roan fans, I can’t get enough of his story.
We see a decent amount of all of the side characters in this one.  Dee, Kevin, the hockey guys and even Dropkick are all a part of the story. Chai had a decent amount of page time this book and I was happy about that.  We got to know him better and I liked him a lot.  (I was also really happy with where his love life seems to going). 
 
Both mysteries were interesting and fast paced enough to be very entertaining.  As for Holden, well, I don’t know.  He makes some little steps in this book and he seemed a bit vulnerable in regards to his relationship with Scott. But overall he’s a mess and he makes me want to shake him. 
Overall I really enjoyed this.  I’m a huge fan of this series and get excited being back in Seattle with all of the gang.  This was a good installment and I can’t wait to see where the story leads for the next book.  This can not be read as a standalone.
Cover Art:  This cover was done by Anne Cain.  I liked it a lot.  It fits really well with the other covers in the series and it captures the vibe of the story well.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 280 pages
Expected publication: February 13th 2018 by DSP Publications
ISBN139781640801189
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Mean Streets #2, Infected #10

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Model Bodyguard (Haven Investigations #2) by Lissa Kasey and Brian Hutchison (Narrator)

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

 

Things are going well for androgynous model Ollie Petroskovic, ex-Marine Kade Alme, and their business, Haven Investigations, until rock star Jacob Elias shows up in need of their services… and trouble follows.

 

Jacob is a playboy with a serious penchant for kink, slaves, and sex toys. He’s also Ollie’s ex—and all that implies. With the media exploiting his personal life, a stalker sending blood-soaked “gifts,” a bumbling security team, and a family he can’t trust as far as he could throw them, Jacob is in desperate need of a bodyguard for his latest tour, and Kade can’t refuse.

 

While Kade deals with new doubts about his partnership with Ollie and struggles with reminders of his war injuries, Jacob’s stalker escalates from blackmail and threats to murder. As Kade and Ollie work to keep Jacob safe and find the culprit behind the attack, a web of family secrets, lies, and abuse slowly emerges, leading up to a final confrontation that they might not walk away from—and that will have lasting repercussions for Kade and his relationship with Ollie.

 

I have to start this off with saying I really really dislike cliffhangers and this book ended with a big one.  Ollie and Kade are still working on figuring out their relationship and throwing Jacob into the mix doesn’t help either of their insecurities.  I’m hoping that in the next book they will get that much more comfortable and confident in their connection.

 

This story was told from Kade’s point of view, which gave a bit of a different perspective from Ollie’s in the last book.  Kade is pretty good at reading people so it makes it easy to understand Ollie right along with him.  However, as with the last book both of them have low self-esteem and spend so much time worrying.  I was wrung out after listening to the first two thirds of the book and had to wait a little bit to finish it.  The big mystery from the first book of Nathan’s death was mostly put on the back burner for this story and I’m sure it will get summed up at some point but I didn’t think that pretty much just ignoring it in this book was the right thing to do either.

 

Brian Hutchison did a good job narrating this story.  I was able to keep track of the characters and actions in the book through his use of different voices and emotions.  I think he portrayed Jacob’s ego and insecurities pretty well.

 

Cover art by Garrett Leigh is nice and follows the pattern of the series.

 

Sales Links: Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 9hrs 47min
Published January 4, 2018 (ebook first published October 7, 2016) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Haven Investigations #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Station by Keira Andrews

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

It’s the mid 1800s and Colin Lancaster is being groomed to attend Cambridge and then come back to his family’s estate to take his rightful place.  But Colin has a secret—he wants to be like the family’s stablemaster, Patrick Callahan, and not for his care of horses.  Colin spied Patrick years earlier as Patrick mounted another man, and ever since then, Colin has dreamed of the same happening to him.

When Patrick is caught with his pants down, Colin’s father has no choice but to condemn him to death—the punishment for sodomy.  But Colin intervenes, declaring himself as a sodomite and circumstances shift quickly.  Both Colin and Patrick are given a reprieve of sorts, and instead of death, they are sentenced to serve their time in Australia.  After an amazingly difficult sea voyage, during which Patrick survives typhoid due to Colin’s care, they are assigned to a widow who is heading inland to claim the land she and her husband purchased sight unseen. 

This story is very rich in description of the Australian outback, so much so, that it was very easy to picture the conditions under which Colin became a stockman, learning to ride and rope, and later, learning to appreciate his new life circumstances.  Patrick, on the other hand, resented being there and did not want to find the positives about the experience.  He had resisted Colin on all fronts, until finally giving in and having sex with the younger man on shipboard, and later again in Australia, when they found opportunities to slip away from the others. 

Patrick was the antihero in this story and not interested in romance at all, so it was difficult to like his character, and it was, therefore, difficult to label this a romance.  The story was more of a sexual conquest with a lot of romantic angst on Colin’s part but quite a bit of indifference and simple sexual need on Patrick’s part. 

There were also a few difficult-to-believe circumstances. Okay, there were a lot of difficult-to-believe circumstances and plot points—everything from the widow who drove three men and 500 herd of cattle onto land they’d never seen through a hostile neighbor’s property to their own—property marked by a simple red rag on a stick. Hypothetically, if the neighbor who owned a mega property didn’t really want them there—and we learn later that he didn’t—couldn’t he have yanked that rag off the stick? 

Then there was the issue of Colin’s and Patrick’s status as criminals, or not, and more issues related to the widow and Robbie, the other stockman.  I’m trying to be vague here so I don’t give away plot points, but the reality for me was that the story veered quite a bit from the realism I expected. And though I know this is fiction, I had to suspend belief quite a few times in the latter part of the story.  Or perhaps I’m too much of a skeptic. 

In any event, I loved Colin’s character, his joie de vivre, his persistent positive attitude, and appreciation for the land.  Loyal and steadfast, he never veered from his heart’s desire.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Patrick.   So, although I enjoyed the story, I didn’t enjoy it as much as previous stories from this author, and that was disappointing. 

I would recommend this to anyone who likes historical romance and those who appreciate a story set in Australia during the time of the early settlers. But I caution this author’s followers, who like me, may have been expecting another Semper Fi or Beyond the Sea.  This one isn’t it.

~~~

Cover art by Dar Albert features a sexy stockman standing in front of a grassy area populated by kangaroos, with a semi-transparent face superimposed over the background sky.  This must represent Patrick as the stockman and Colin as the face in the background.  Definitely not my favorite cover, I think it would have been better without that extra superimposed face.   

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 188 pages
Published January 18th 2018 by KA Books (first published October 5th 2010)
Original TitleThe Station
ASINB078Z2T6XM
Edition LanguageEnglish

Bite Me (Kitchen Gods #1) by Beth Bolden Release Day Blitz (excerpt)

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 Bite Me RDB Banner

BITE ME

KITCHEN GODS BOOK 1

BETH BOLDEN

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 02.12.17

 Bite Me Cover

COVER DESIGN: AngstyG

 

BLURB

Talented pastry chef Miles Costa is bored. Working at the celebrated Napa Valley restaurant Terroir is supposed to be the cherry on top to a promising career, but instead it’s a creative desert. So when he gets an offer to turn his online video series into a career, he leaves his three best friends in Napa and swaps Terroir for Los Angeles.

With the resources now at his fingertips, turning his pastry series into a hit should be easy. Then Miles meets his producer, Evan Patterson, and realizes he’s screwed. And not even in the good way.

It’s not a meet-cute . . .

Evan lives to work and loves every minute detail Miles loathes. Not only that, he seems hell bent on micromanaging every aspect of Miles’ show despite the fact he knows nothing about the culinary arts. Evan doesn’t even like sweets—until Miles seduces him with a rainbow of delectable confections he can’t resist.

. . . it’s a collision.

With every confrontation, the intensity between them flares even hotter until they’re not sure if it’s hatred they feel . . .or something else. Is it possible for two people with nothing in common to discover common ground and romance?

 

 

Bite Me Teaser 1

Bite Me Teaser 2 

 EXCERPT

“I’ve been looking for you.”
Miles looked up to see his brand-new partner standing in the doorway of his cubicle. He still wasn’t sure how he felt about the cubicle thing, but he definitely knew how he felt about Evan. Miles gave himself a little mental pat on the back for the annoyed edge in Evan’s voice, and then another that he was ignoring how incredible Evan’s ass looked in those tight jeans.

Maybe it was petty or childish, but it felt so satisfying. Miles had spent time around lots of egotistical perfectionists over the years, but none of them had ever had a stick up their ass quite the same way Evan Patterson did.

“I’ve been sitting right here. For at least an hour.” Miles leaned back, and enjoyed the way Evan’s face struggled to find control. He also just plain enjoyed Evan’s face, but those gorgeous brown eyes or his blond hair, and not even the slim, cute body he was showcasing in those skinny jeans could entice Miles to get in bed with someone so uptight.

Evan walked into the cubicle, and glanced down at Miles’ laptop screen. He pointed to the left of the laptop, where a neon-green Post-it note read, “Join me in the kitchen when you get here,” in what must be Evan’s neat handwriting.

Miles thought Evan could have sold his handwriting to some font website, and hipsters would be falling all over themselves to buy it.

“Oh, I didn’t see that.” Miles didn’t even attempt to sound convincing. Anyway, they both knew he was lying.

Evan crossed his arms and his eyes shot bullets. It made him look cuter—and also more terrifying, if you were into that sort of thing. Which Miles was not. Definitely not. He’d told himself last night that he wasn’t going to try to seduce Evan to control him. This morning, the prospect looked a lot more appealing.

Or maybe that was just Evan.

“What have you even been doing?” Evan asked.

This was the opening Miles had been dying for. “I’m so glad you asked. I decided to do a little show-and-tell experiment.”

Evan didn’t look convinced. Or amused. Which only amused Miles further. He wasn’t usually such an asshole, but he wasn’t going to share control of Pastry by Miles with anyone, especially a marketing “expert” like Evan. He’d only had to be in his new partner’s presence for approximately ten point two seconds to realize that Evan was the kind that didn’t give up easily. Thus, Miles’ attitude shift to being as annoying as possible. Miles had a little sister; there was no way Evan could hold out against the pain and suffering Miles could bring him.

Miles clicked on the video he’d been working on. Evan watched it soundlessly and Miles watched Evan. Other than a very subtle eye twitch, Miles gave Evan a handful of points for reigning in his explosion of annoyance.

“You filmed an episode of your show in your apartment last night,” Evan stated.

“I did,” Miles said unrepentantly.

“You made a Twinkie.”

“Actually,” Miles drawled, “it’s better known as a Ding Dong. And it’s a homemade Ding Dong. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried the store-bought version, but this one is infinitely better. Tastes a whole lot less like cardboard.”

Evan’s eye was twitching harder.

“A Ding Dong,” he repeated in disbelief. “How did you even film this? With your phone?”

“Yep,” Miles admitted happily. “Rigged it up on one of those fake house plants with some duct tape. Had to drop by Reed’s office this morning and let him know how much I appreciated such a stocked apartment. And not just the fridge.”

“That was me,” Evan said. “I stocked your apartment.” He was looking like he’d love to march right over and un-stock it. Miles was delighted. He’d anticipated how this might go, and it was going better than even his wildest expectations. He ignored the little voice that said just how much he’d enjoy it if Evan lost it and threw him down on the desk.

He also ignored what came next in that little fantasy.

Miles shot Evan his most charming smile, but the recipient did not look particularly charmed. “Oh, thank you. It all came in handy, as you can see.”

“I can definitely see that.” Evan leaned down, and Miles caught a whiff of his cologne. Something tart and lemony. It suited him. “Now you’re going to come with me to the kitchen, and we’re going to figure out how to work together. On a video of you doing something impressive that isn’t a Ding Dong.”

“You don’t think that would be cute?” Miles asked, and thought maybe he’d taken it a step too far because the look on Evan’s face was suddenly not playing around. Having worked in very tough kitchens and then Terroir, Miles was used to people wanting to kill him. He was not used to people who looked like they wanted to kill him slowly, and might enjoy it the whole time.

“Okay,” Miles added. “I can do that.” He was still chalking this up as a win because anything that put that look on a man’s face was worth the effort it took to rig up a phone on a fake ficus tree.

 Beth Bolden Logo

Beth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with her supportive husband. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox play baseball. She’s a fan of fandoms, and spends too much of her free time on tumblr.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published eight novels and two novellas, with Catch Me, the next novel in the Kitchen Gods series, releasing in May 2018.

 

 

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BLOG TOUR for Rebel (Ballsy Boys Production #1) by K.M. Neuhold & Nora Phoenix (excerpt)

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Rebel Tour Banner

REBEL

BALLSY BOOK 1

K.M. NEUHOLD & NORA PHOENIX

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 01.31.18

Rebel Cover

COVER DESIGN: K.M. NEUHOLD

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2FqGNRl

AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/2GomhBY

BLURB

“I don’t do relationships, I break them.” ~ Troy

If there’s one thing life has taught me it’s that everyone eventually leaves. But that’s okay because I have a strategy: no friends, no boyfriends, limit repeat hook-ups, no sleep overs, and above all leave them before they leave me. I’ve put my break-up skills to work doing others’ dirty work for them.

The last thing I expected when I agreed to do an embarrassing breakup song and dance was to end up on the doorstep of the very recognizable—and stupidly sexy—Rebel. When you meet a man like Rebel you’d be insane not to make a move. And just because he has me tossing out every single one of my rules doesn’t mean I’m in trouble, right?

“I’m everyone’s friend, but no one’s everything.” ~ Rebel

I love working for Ballsy Boys, but when you make the kind of videos I do relationships are pretty damn impossible. Besides, guys find me sexy and want to either be with me or be me, but no one has ever cared enough to see the real me.

Until I meet Troy. He has no problem whatsoever with my job, but he’s determined to keep me at a distance. For the first time, a hook-up alone is not enough. I want more with him. Hell, I want everything. But he resists at every step until I’m about ready to give up. What do I need to do to show him that this is real and worth fighting for?

***Rebel is the first book in the Ballsy Boys Series and is a super sexy MM romance with plenty of good times. While this book and this series do contain some instances of sex outside of the main relationships, they DO NOT contain cheating.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37315962-rebel

Rebel Teaser 2

Rebel Teaser 3

EXCERPT

“You really don’t have to come up. I have a shitty little apartment. It’s nothing like your place,” I tell Rebel. “Plus, I’m obviously not up for fooling around.”

“I don’t give a shit.”

I scoff and shake my head but don’t argue further. If we keep hanging out without fucking around, what does that make us? Friends? Something else?

In my apartment, I cringe inwardly, imagining what Rebel must be thinking as he steps into the one room that holds my whole life. Usually when I have a guy in here, we’re too busy getting naked for me to worry what they think of my living space. And, beyond that, I can’t imagine I’d care what any of those randoms think anyway.

“If you don’t have tea, how about I make you some soup or something?”

“Why are you doing this?” I eye him skeptically.

“What? Do you want something more substantial? I can make a sandwich.”

“No, I mean why are you being so nice?”

Rebel’s eyebrows furrow, and the corners of his lips tug down in a frown. There’s a sharp sadness in his striking blue eyes that makes me want to shove him away or crawl into bed and hide for a week, anything to get away from the pity.

“We’re friends, right?” Rebel asks.

“You’ve had your dick in both my mouth and my ass.”

“So…best friends?”

I want to laugh, but the pain meds are starting to wear off, and my nose is starting to throb. “I’m not usually friends with guys I fuck around with,” I explain for what I feel like is the hundredth time since meeting Rebel.

“Then who are you usually friends with?”

My mouth opens and closes like a dumbass fish. I’m not sure if he was trying to throw shade, but damn if he didn’t get me. “I don’t have friends,” I finally admit with a little bite in my tone. I don’t want friends, and I don’t need friends.

“We’re friends; deal with it. Now, soup?” He skirts around me into my kitchen, leaving me at a loss for words. “Why don’t you lay down on the couch and find something for us to watch? I’ll bring you some food, and we’ll get a dose of the painkillers the ER prescribed into you, and you can sleep through the worst of the pain.”

I almost ask again why he’s doing this, but decide that whatever his motivation, it feels nice to be taken care of for a change. I settle onto the couch and put on the second season of Stranger Things.

It’s not long before Rebel brings me a bowl of soup, a second dose of the painkillers, and a glass of water.

“Thank you.”

Nora Logo Gold

When she was a little tot, Nora’s mom got a library subscription for her. That, as they say, was that, and a lifelong love for books was born. Nora never stopped reading and doesn’t exaggerate when she says she devours books, rather than plain reads them. She started writing stories as soon as she could hold a pen, and wrote her first full book as a teen (on a typewriter!). It took her waaaay too long to follow her dream to become a romance author.

Nora writes M/M romance, because hello, sexy boys, and likes her men flawed, strong, and a tad broken. She appreciates a little kink, but insists on a happy ever after.

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KM Neuhold Graphic

I’m an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.

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COVER REVEAL: FORSAKEN by J.R. Gray

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Forsaken by J.R. Gray

Release Date (Print & Ebook): February 26, 2018

Book blurb:

Titus has lived and breathed religion his entire life, tucked away from the rest of the world in a compound in northern Wyoming. He’s destined to be the next leader of the church, deemed so by the Prophet. 

God spoke and with His word He created. But God made a mistake. Titus isn’t worthy. He was born sick and it’s solidified when he rescues the most beautiful man he’s ever seen. 

Torn between fidelity to his faith or his soul, Titus must reconcile the two parts of himself before he’s discovered hiding among the chosen.

Length (Print & Ebook): 72,000 words

Subgenre: Contemp m/m romance

Links:

https://jrgraybooks.com/coming-soon/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38355528-forsaken

Teaser:

He looked from Titus to the road and took a few steps back. “What are you doing out here if we’re in the middle of nowhere like you say?” He narrowed his eyes like Titus was about to lie to him.

He almost laughed, and probably would have it if wasn’t for the reason he was out here. He felt a pang in his chest and he pushed his hand into his sternum. “Penance.”

“What was that?” Both the man’s brows shot up and he did an odd movement with his fingers. Sassy almost. If fingers could be sassy. “You’re doing penance?” Before Titus could answer realization washed over the man’s features. “Penance for what?” 

Titus closed his eyes closed and took a breath. To be ashamed of what he was, was against God’s law. He shouldn’t be ashamed. He should be quick to defend his faith. Lots of shoulds, and he still fumbled over the words as he said them. “Sins.” After the day he’d had, he didn’t have it in him to defend any of it and he’d have to confess later for this as well. He could add it to the list of the ways he was a disappointment.

About J.R. Gray:

When not staying up all night writing, J.R. Gray can be found at the gym where it’s half assumed he is a permanent resident to fulfill his self-inflicted masochism. A dominant and a pilot, Gray finds it hard to be in the passenger seat of any car. He frequently interrupts real life, including normal sleep patterns and conversations, to jot down notes or plot bunnies. Commas are the bane of his existence even though it’s been fully acknowledged they are necessary, they continue to baffle and bewilder. If Gray wasn’t writing…well, that’s not possible. The buildup of untold stories would haunt Gray into an early grave, insanity or both. The idea of haunting has always appealed to him. J.R. Gray is genderqueer and prefers he/him pronouns.

Connect with J.R. Gray: Website | Twitter – Personal | Twitter – Books | Facebook | Facebook Group | Tumblr | Mailing List | Amazon Author Page