A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ginger Snaps (Belladonna Arms #5) by John Inman

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

Even with a string of earthquakes jarring the tenants of the Belladonna Arms, rattling nerves and smashing dishes, life still manages to plod along as usual. Love pollen continues to fall, romances continue to flourish, and Arthur, the grand Pooh-bah in residence, continues to plan his upcoming wedding extravaganza.

In the midst of all this drama fall Gideon Chase and Reed Kelly, two redheaded losers at love who find themselves regrouping under the auspices of the most incorrigible matchmaker in heels.

Arthur sees hope for the two right away. He leases them adjoining apartments, then continually tweaks their budding friendship in the hope it will slip into love. Just as Arthur’s plans are coming along nicely, Reed’s past shows up to toss a monkey wrench into his and Gideon’s blossoming romance.

With Arthur’s wedding ceremony nigh, and Reed and Gideon on the verge of heartache yet again, Arthur faces one inescapable conclusion.

It will take more than love pollen to sort this mess out.

There’s is absolutely nothing better than to be home again in that faded six-story apartment building called The Belladonna Arms high atop a hill overlooking the ocean, a fabulous view of the city,  and new possibilities for love for all who arrive there.  For you see, it’s full of  love pollen  as each book has proved time and again.  Love pollen and cats.  Both figure large in each story.

John Inman has written so many incredible stories in many genres from contemporary romance to humor to the supernatural and horror.  But none has so captured my heart and left me wheezing from laughter or yes, sniffly from tears as his Belladonna Arms series and the oddball family that has sprung up in each apartment on every floor.  I thank John Inman every time each one/or couple makes an appearance in his stories.  And they do. In every one because they are a family that supports each other, no matter the occasion, in this case Arthur and Tom’s wedding (omg…the wedding dress).  The earth itself is having conniption fits over Arthur’s upcoming wedding as earthquakes galore are running through the area.  Through Inman’s vivid descriptions and our in depth knowledge and love or these characters we feel every quake and shimmy as if we were there.

The author really makes us a part of this family too.

From the moment heart hurt, homeless ginger haired Gideon Chase walks to see The Belladonna Arms because Ben  has told him he can get him a room there, we know Gideon is on a special journey.  One that starts with Arthur in all his drag  splendor waiting at the entrance, shifting boobs made of quinoa bags and all,  of The Belladonna Arms.  Then we move to red-haired Reed, his marriage, his decision not to live a lie, and again his arrival at The Belladonna Arms.  Two gingers, both hurting, now side by side neighbors.  Let the love pollen flow.

Lacking the necessities, all of the couples of the apartment building gather round Gideon to help him furbish his new home.  By chapter three, I’ve wrapped this book around my heart like a favorite comforter, so happy I feel to be back in their midst.  Then Gideon opens his door to two of my favorite kleptos, married couple Charlie and Bruce,  And it happens.  I’ll say the words.  Internet ballet lessons.

Ok, now I’m starting to wheeze here and the tears are streaming down my face.  I’m laughing so  hard that typing is a fail.

Brilliance.  The humor here will just grab at you when you least expect it.    This is just the first of many such scenes.

Of course, there’s plenty of poignancy too.  Reed has some powerful issues to work through and he’s not always as successful as one would hope at  first in finding his way.  Nothing here is ever easy.  But The Belladonna Arms family comes through again and again in the most amazing ways.  Inman finds paths that lifts everyone up, not just the main characters, but the secondary ones, that in other hands might have come out looking somewhat villainous, and that would have been   such a shame as well as unnecessary.

No one leaves The Belladonna Arms feeling unloved or a Belladonna Arms story feeling less that a bit dusted by love pollen yourself. I can’t help but wonder if a certain half naked flower boy will be featured in the next story.  Here’s hoping!

But until then I’m keeping myself warm with the laughter and love I find within the pages of Ginger Snaps (Belladonna Arms #5) by John Inman.     I know I will see Reed and Gideon again so this is but a seeya later.  And I keep bursting into giggles and outright laughter over the thoughts of Gorilla tape and cowboys hats and plie’s.  Truly my stomach hurts.  But not my heart.  John Inman has left that in excellent shape.

Now to wait for my next visit.  Until then I highly recommend you take a trip  to the Belladonna Arms yourself.  Meet everyone and fall in love.  Start at the beginning and work your way here.  Join in on the family fun.

Cover art: Aaron Anderson.  Normally I love Aaron Anderson’s work but I think this is a miss.  You have a story about gingers and you cut the top off the model so you miss out on the color of the hair?  Nope.  Plus the bandana really belongs to Charlie.  Fail all around.  Except that its done in the style that brands the series.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleGinger Snaps
ISBN139781640800311
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Belladonna Arms #5

A Stella Review: Out Of The Ocean by Lynn Michaels

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RATING 1,5 out of 5 stars

Cal Bigsby spent his life working the fishing boats and ignoring who he really is and what he needs to be happy.

Prescott ‘Scott’ Vandenburton is being primed to take over Daddy’s company, but he craves a life of his own. His only escape is sailing his yacht.

When a freak storm hits, both are forced to think about life from a whole new perspective.

Shipwrecked, fighting for their lives, and finding unexpected love.

Let’s start this review saying I was very enthusiastic about having this new story in my hands. I am always curious to read new to me authors and I saw how well loved Lynn Michaels is, so I wanted to give her new release a chance. Plus the blurb sounded interesting and I’m a fan of characters with important age difference.

So, yes the premises were all positive and perfect, but Out of the Ocean revealed to be a huge disappointment to me. A truly disaster. Not a single element worked.

Of course having read the blurb I knew what was going to happen, I knew the MCs were going to be in the middle of the ocean on a lifeboat. I knew this but the story was so badly developed, it was a pain to me to finish it, and I did it just because I had to write a review, otherwise I would have simply DFN.

The first thing that shocked me was how the author decided the MCs should met, I was thinking they were both on the same boat when the storm hit them. It was absurd they were on different boats and later they, each on his own lifeboat, after the storm, met in the ocean. I found it so unbelievable, but it’s romance so I went on with the reading.  Should have been better if I stopped there because it was a succession of implausibilities. Starting with, how two people, alone in the middle of the ocean (I know I tell you “middle of the ocean” two thousand times but it’s the focus point), with no way of asking for help, how neither of them, not even once, showed some fear, a little bit of panic. Nothing. They were like almost dying with nothing to eat, the heat unbearable, but wait for the worst part. They had sex. How was it possible I have no clue.

From that moment, I realized how “nonsense” this book was and I just went into the motion of finish it and put an end to my suffering.

I’m sorry, I don’t feel to recommend Out of the Ocean at all.

Cover art is great with wonderful detailed look to the character.

SALE LINKS:   Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition

Published March 15th 2018

ISBN13 9781386999409

Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady audiobook Review: Changing Plans Trilogy by L.A. Witt and Charlie David (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This audiobook release contains all three books in the Changing Plans series: Getting Off the Ground, Infinity Pools, and On the List.   Charlie David does a nice job on the narration, however, he did not make the two MCs voices very distinctive so one has to listen to the content to be able to determine who is speaking when there are no dialogue tags.  This makes for a bit of confusion, though the stories are each short and not terribly complex, so they are easy to follow. 

In Getting Off the Ground, Elliot Chandler meets a sexy fellow traveler as they await their flight in what seems as if it’s going to be a snowed-in airport.  Elliot is heading to Hawaii to go on his honeymoon—alone.  Having been stood up at the altar, he decides to follow-through on his vacation plans—plans being the operative word.  Elliot is a compulsive over-planner, always planning everything in his life out to the nth degree.  So when his fiancé decides not to show at the altar, Elliot is going to take advantage of all the planning he did.  Unfortunately, he didn’t plan for the snowstorm. 

When the cute guy across the aisle, clad only in a Hawaiian-print shirt and no coat, engages him in conversation, the two hit it off immediately.  By the time the flight is canceled, Elliot offers to share his hotel room with the stranger, Derek.  Of course, Elliot has a room booked. As soon as he realized the flight might be canceled, he planned ahead and booked a room.  The two fall into bed, literally and frequently, and Derek eventually convinces Elliot he should change his plans to tour Oahu and come with Derek to Maui instead.  What looked to be an impossible feat happens and we end book one and begin book two, Infinity Pools—something Derek has at his home.  Derek made his money in the dot com days and he and his partners are still involved in buying and selling IT businesses, app development, etc.   

Book two is pretty much all sex with a bit of sightseeing thrown in.  Honestly, it’s original LA Witt at her finest, but I’m pretty much past the point where sex is interesting for 75% of the book, so I was happy to see book two end, with the two lovebirds committed to each other, even though they’ve only known one another for a few weeks.   So as book three opens, we find out that their long-distance relationship is still strong, and in fact, they have plans to get married. 

The last book, On the List, involves some family-of-origin issues, mostly on Derek’s part, and the two men committing to each other no matter what life brings.  Bottom line, this is an eight-hour audiobook that has a sweet romance, a lot of sex, and some nice Hawaiian scenery.  It would be a great book to listen to while lying on a beach or passing time on any vacation, including a flight to Hawaii. 

~~~

The cover features a beach scene in the lower panel with two men holding hands, and the upper panel features an airliner in a bright blue sky.  The cover is bright and colorful and attention-getting.

Sales Links:

 
Audio Buy Links: Audible US | Audible UK

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 8 hours and 2 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Lori Witt
Audible.com Release Date: November 24, 2016
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English
ASIN: B01N981306

An Alisa Release Day Review: Set Ablaze by KC Burn

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends.”

Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at seventeen. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.

The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.

Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.

This was a good story that touched on some hard topics.  Hayden is out but doesn’t “throw” his gayness in his friends’ faces and just tries to ignore the comments, when Jez comes into his life it gives him a different perspective on how they have been treating him.  Jez has dealt with a lot and most of it without anyone around to help him and he’s afraid to accept the safety that Hayden’s presence seems to give him.

Watching Hayden interact with his “friends” was rough, he would internally wince but not acknowledge anything they said.  It really took Jez opening his eyes for him to see what was going on.  I loved the heart to heart that Jez and Hayden had with Jez’s brother that really cleared the air about a lot of things for all of them, they all let so many assumptions be made it was unbelievable.

I really liked getting to know these characters but they had a really rough time getting their relationship going and then it was mostly smooth sailing.  Seeing Hayden second guess everything was hard, he has never been in a relationship on top of never really being open with someone and he didn’t know what to do.  Jez is more of an “I won’t accept any less” kind of guy but is able to bend a little once he knows what’s going on.  I didn’t really feel like I connected with these characters but still enjoyed reading about them.

The cover art by Jennifer Vance is nice and gives us a great visual of Hayden but doesn’t really connect with the story to me.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: April 24, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-616-0

Edition Language: English

Retro Review Tour and Giveaway – Audiobook and Ebook – Changing Plans Collection by LA Witt

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Audio Buy Links: Audible US | Audible UK
 
Length: 8hrs 2mins/77,500 words approx.
 
Narrated By: Charlie David
 
Blurb
 

From EPIC Award winning author and multiple Lambda Finalist L.A. Witt comes the re-release of three hot contemporary novellas — Getting off the Ground, Infinity Pools, and On The List.


After being stood up at the altar, compulsive over-planner Elliott Chandler decides to turn his honeymoon on Oahu into a vacation for one. Fate puts a hitch in his plans, however, when the airport is snowed in and his flight is delayed.


In the terminal, the jilted groom catches the eye of another stranded traveler: the laidback and very sexy Derek Windsor. Derek breaks the ice and strikes up a conversation, and as the temperature drops outside, the heat between them rises. Pity they’re both going to different islands, but if their flight doesn’t get off the ground fast, Mr. Calm-and-Cool may just tempt Mr. Play-It-Safe into doing something reckless.


And that plane isn’t going anywhere any time soon…

April 26 – Queerly Reads, OMG Reads

About The Author


L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…



Website: http://www.gallagherwitt.com
E-mail: gallagherwitt@gmail.com
Twitter: @GallagherWitt
Blog: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com

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Blog Tour for Guns n’ Boys Series by K.A. Merikan (authors guest post and giveaway)

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Guns n’ Boys Series Blog Tour

Book #1 He Is Poison
Book #2 He Is Mine
Book #3 Homicidal Instinct
Book #4 Swamp Blood
Book #5 Chokehold
Book #6 Bloodbath
Book #7 Gilded Agony

Writing a romance series about a single couple comes with a set of difficulties. Each release needs to feel both familiar and fresh, to give the readers the sense of going on an adventure with people they know well. In most genres, the plot is what delivers this kind of experience, but in romance the development of the relationship is equally important, if not more so. I have written another post for this blog tour that is all about relationship development, so this time I would like to focus on one aspect only.

When a new relationship develops, all the ‘firsts’ are unique and exciting. The characters fantasize about one another, marvel at physical and mental attributes they like in their partner, and once sex comes into the picture, the tension that has been developing throughout the length of the book is finally released. But what can an author do to keep the fire burning once the characters settle into a comfortable relationship?

I think one of the worst things that can happen within a long series is the couple settling into a routine. Partners who know one another well might want to have the most vanilla kind of sex after a hard day’s work, but while this might be wonderful in real life, most of the time it’s not very interesting to read about over and over. If the book is an erotic romance or the couple’s connection has been heavily charged with eroticism from the start, it is important that the tension doesn’t fizzle out with subsequent books.

This is relatively easy to achieve in books that have a suspense element, because danger has an arousing effect on the body. While not strictly sexual, this arousal will result in a fast heartbeat, heat, but most of all–a sense of worry that the character’s partner might be in danger. This creates a need for connection that the readers can easily empathize with. In Guns n’ Boys, the characters often go through perilous situations, and by holding their partner, the characters are reassured that everything is as it should be.

Domenico and Seth, who are the main characters of the series, are very sexual by nature, but like all couples, they go through slumps and experiment with things that don’t always end up staying in their repertoire 😉 I wouldn’t suggest using role playing scenarios and gadgets as the only tool to uphold the sexual tension in subsequent books, but it does come in handy when it fits the overall theme on some level.

The method of keeping the sexual chemistry throughout the series that I find most organic is also most difficult, because it depends on the state of the relationship itself. I already mentioned that sometimes relationships in long-running series feel stagnant. I think that is because the authors like their characters too much and don’t want to take them out of perfect “marital” bliss. This can work for some subgenres, but not for erotic romance. In case of Domenico and Seth, a lot of the in-relationship tension comes from their difficult personalities. They will go through disagreements and once they make up–they will also want to reconnect sexually. This effect can also be achieved by making sure both partners evolve as people, thus making them fascinating and fresh to their lovers as the story goes on.

And then of course there’s a lot to be said for some good old hate sex.

Giveaway Information
 
Comment on the post to win, one person from each stop in the blog tour will win their choice of a backlist ebook from K.A. Merikan.  Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for your chance to win the Grand Tour Prize. (You can enter this one daily for more chances to win!)
 

To begin your journey with Seth and Domenico you should start here, with Book One: He Is Poison.

 

— Love like butterfly knives in the stomach. —

 

Domenico Acerbi. The Villani Family’s best assassin. Ruthless. Vicious. With no patience for weakness.

Seth Villani. The Don’s son. Clueless. Stubborn. In dire need of someone to keep him in line.

Domenico Acerbi grew up ready to give his life for the Family. Ready to follow orders and exceed expectations. A proud man of honor.

The last thing he wants to deal with is training the Don’s son for his future role within the organization. Lazy, annoying, spoiled, and as hot as a Sicilian summer, Seth Villani is no mafia material. But a man who could never become a threat might just be what Domenico needs.

Seth Villani wants nothing to do with the mafia. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get a say when he’s pulled back into the fold. Thrown into a den of serpents otherwise known as the Villani Family, Seth has to find a way to navigate the maze of lies. But when Domenico Acerbi, the most vicious snake of them all, sinks his fangs into Seth, letting go becomes impossible.

If Seth is doomed to follow in his father’s footsteps, he might as well enjoy himself with the most intoxicating man he’s ever met. Maybe he can even fool himself into believing that Domenico isn’t a handsome sociopath who kills for a living.


POSSIBLE SPOILERS:
Themes: Enemies to lovers, mafia, homophobia, assassin, organized crime, forced proximityGenre: Dark, twisted M/M romance / crime thrillerLength: ~110,000 words

WARNING: Adult content. Sizzling hot scenes. If you are easily offended, this book is not for you.
‘Guns n’ Boys’ is a gritty story of extreme violence, offensive language, abuse, and morally ambiguous protagonists. Behind the morbid facade, there is a splash of inappropriate dark humor, and a love story that will crawl under your skin.


K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.

K.A. Merikan have a few sweeter M/M romances as well, but they specialize in the dark, dirty, and dangerous side of M/M, full of bikers, bad boys, mafiosi, and scorching hot romance.

FACEBOOK PROFILE
K.A. MERIKAN’S TWITTER (RUN BY KAT)
AGNES MERIKAN’S TWITTER
K.A. MERIKAN ON GOODREADS
PINTEREST
M/F ROMANCE BY MISS MERIKAN

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Release Blitz and Review Tour for Exploration (Kinky in the City #1) by Quinn Ward (giveaway)

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Length: 65,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Marisa @ Cover Me Darling
 
Blurb
 

The reluctant manager of his family’s restaurant, Frankie attempts to live up to the legacy of his father and grandfather. Running a business that isn’t his passion and trying to do it without asking for help leaves him turning to less-than-legal means when he wants to surrender control.



Newly divorced, Calvin no longer lives in the closet, leaving him searching for what he most desires- control. So when he finds Frankie on his knees in the back room of a local bar, Calvin sees the sub he’s only ever fantasized about having.


Can Calvin find the confidence to explore his dominant side while showing his younger roommate that submission isn’t only about whips and pain?

April 24 – Mainely Stories, Two Chicks Obsessed
April 26 – Katie’s Book Corner
April 28 – Blazing Zane Book Blog
May 2 – Cupcakes & Bookshelves, Making It Happen, Love Unchained, The Librarian’s Corner
May 4 – Joyfully Jay
May 7 – BooksLaidBareBoys
May 9 – Au Boudoir Ecarlate
May 14 – Mirrigold, MM Midnight Cafe
May 16 – Nerdy Dirty & Flirty, Wicked Reads, My Fiction Nook
May 18 – Pants Off Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, OMG Reads
May 21 – Two Book Pushers
May 23 – Drops of Ink
May 25 – Bayou Book Junkie, Book Review By Virginia Lee

Quinn writes LGBTQ romance with a kick. Their stories center around the relationship building between the characters, but also shows how compatible they are in the bedroom (or wherever else the urge strikes).

Goodreads Page
Facebook Reader Group
Email Quinn at: quinn(at)quinnwardwrites(dot)com
Website

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