A MelanieM Release Day Review: Stand By Your Manny (The Mannies #3) by Amy Lane

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Learning to trust and falling in love.

Sammy Lowell has his hands full juggling his music, college, some pesky health problems, and making the uncles who raised him proud. He needs help fulfilling his after-school duties with his siblings. Nobody can be in two places at once—not even Sammy!

An injury puts Cooper Hoskins in a tough spot—if he can’t work, the foster sister he’s raising can’t eat. But years in the foster system have left Cooper short on trust, and opening up to accept help isn’t easy.

Luckily, family intervenes—Cooper needs a job so he can care for Felicity, and Sammy needs someone who can see past his illness to the wonderful things he has planned for his life. Each heals the damaged places in the other’s heart. But falling in love is a big responsibility for young men deep in family already. Can the two of them get past their fear of the immediate future to see forever with each other?

I just love Amy Lane’s The Mannies series.  An ever enlarging, extended family of people and kids that started with The Virgin Manny, each story brings in new “strays” via love and a relationship to connect with and adore.  Sammy was seven years old when his mother died and left his uncle Channing as his guardian.  Now Sammy is grown, thinking college, life apart from his “dads” and family, while trying to manage a serious illness, his anemia.    He’s not doing a very good job of the latter as he has a tendency to get lost in his true love…music~composing and playing.  That can mean not eating or taking his meds which has  landed him into the hospital.

We get Sammy’s passion for his music along with his youth which unfortunately leads to the neglect of his health, a dangerous situation. Which frustrates his family and friends to no end.

The outside stray? Or strays gathered up this time? That would be Cooper Hoskins who we briefly met in the other story and a young girl, Felicity, who has been living with him.  Cooper has been working for Brandon’s (see Manny Get Your Guy (The Mannies #2)) construction company when a construction accident places him in the hospital and all his carefully hid secrets about himself and Felicity pour out.  Of course,  both of them are pulled immediately into the extended Robbins-Lowell family.

Oh the immediate attraction between Sammy and Cooper.  It’s so lovely and innocent.   Did I mention they are both virgins?  And so young?  It telegraphs here with Lane’s writing, their dialog, and their scenes together.  It shines with youthful first love… that glow of innocence that can’t be captured again.  Somehow, Lane gets it all down and that chemistry sparks between them.

Plus it brings out certain laughs,groans, and wild reactions from two older “dads” caught unawares as well.  That had me snickering too.

It’s amazing to see the span of time between this story and the first.  In a way it made my heart hurt a little because I remember the innocence of Tino the virgin manny and now we have Tino the father (always along with  Channing) with his children and grown Sammy.  Plus all the others circling around them, adding support, humor, drama, and love.  Ah the passage of time even in stories.

It’s hard to believe this is only book three.  It feels like a whole universe of romance and love.  Of course, I’m used to that with Amy Lane who peoples her stories with characters that breath, bleed, laugh, cry, and love their way through life.  The Mannies series is no different, except maybe a little lighter.  I can’t wait for A Fool and His Manny to appear.  Until then enjoy this series, including Stand By Your Manny (The Mannies #3).  I recommend that you start with the first story and work your way here.  Become familiar with everyone that you meet, however fleetingly.  You will love their stories too.  I promise.

Cover artist:  Bree Archer.  I like that cover.  Its a perfect rendition of Sammy.  Sweet, youthful and with his piano behind him.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 182 pages
Expected publication: May 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title Stand by Your Manny
ASINB07CLJKL66
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Mannies

 

A Caryn Review: Orderly Affair (Hearts & Health #6) by DJ Jamison

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Book 6 in the Hearts and Health series, and I have to say that I am impressed that the author has managed to create truly new characters for each book!  I am enjoying the variety, and though I definitely have some couples and books I prefer more than others (this is one of the ones I liked best) I am now actively looking for more sequels.  Ashe, Kansas, is a small community, but it is big enough to hold the gay/bi community that the author has created so far, and hopefully continue to grow.  This book acknowledges how that community has started to loosely come together, in a way that does not detract at all from this couple’s narrative.

Ian Connolly is a hospital orderly who was briefly introduced at the very end of Surprise Delivery when he walked in to a janitor’s closet to find Eric blowing Caspar.  This book picks up very shortly afterwards with Ian still dwelling on the scene and how erotic it felt, and finally deciding to act on his long suppressed attraction to men.  He’s 37, divorced for a few years after a 16 year marriage, and very unsure of when or even how to start dating men, especially when he was not sure he wanted to come out to his conservative family and his teenage son.  When a hookup app showed another guy right there in the hospital, he gathered his courage and responded to the message.

Callum Price felt trapped:  supporting his disabled and unappreciative mother in a house that was falling down around him, supporting his deadbeat ex-boyfriend who didn’t move out when they broke up because his mother liked having him around, working at a job that he enjoyed but couldn’t advance in because he could never save up the money to finish school.  When a hot guy showed up on Thrust (I don’t know if that’s a real hookup app, but I love the name!), Callum thought nothing of giving up his lunch break to meet with the guy in a deserted corner of the hospital.  What he didn’t expect, however, was for Ian to keep pursuing him – from repeat hookups, to friends with benefits, and finally to an exclusive relationship.  Which would have been great, except that Ian was closeted.

When I first started reading MM romance, it seemed like all of the stories involved closeted men, and coming out was always part of the conflict in the plot.  It’s one of the things that drew me to MM in the first place.  It’s certainly not as ubiquitous now – which is a good thing because to me it means that being queer is starting to become accepted as completely normal like it should be – but I do still like to see how characters navigate the process.  In this case, Ian at least knows that he wants to be out, doesn’t have any internalized homophobia, but is just scared of how it will change his relationship with his family and his son.  Callum was a more complicated character – he struggled with his desire to prove to everyone that he didn’t need help, and his tendency to just give in to terrible situations to avoid conflict, and the whole crazy scenario of living with his mother and his ex-boyfriend didn’t seem so unbelievable after all.  I really rooted for him, and was thrilled when he started to gain more confidence in himself and take charge of his life.  Ian’s family, and especially his son Liam, were wonderful secondary characters that really showed another side of Ian.  I also appreciated the fact that Ian was happy to be an orderly – it’s a necessary job, though distinctly unglamorous, and there is nothing wrong with not wanting a college degree and pursuing the typical materialistic “American Dream”.

Cover art by Lucas Soltow is probably my least favorite in the series so far.  Nice abs on the model, but nothing else about him was similar to descriptions of Ian, and where is cutie pie Callum?

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 245 pages
Published April 24th 2018 by DJ Jamison

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Tied up by the Boss (Office Kink #2 ) by Hunter Frost

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

When Parker Greenhill speaks out against one of the execs to whom his marketing firm is pitching a project, he thinks he’s doing his ex a favor, but in reality, he’s hurting himself because his company loses the chance to work with that exec and Parker loses the respect of his bosses, teammates, and subordinates. Worse, he’s assigned to work with his curmudgeon of a boss, Morgan Brant, an older Brit who takes his role as VP seriously.

Somehow, though, working with Morgan flips a switch in Parker and he ends up on his knees submitting to his Sir after work every night. There may be ropes and bondage involved. And there may be a better use for Parker’s sassy mouth.

I enjoyed this story so much I couldn’t put it down. I simply had to read straight through to see what these men were up to and to learn how their awkward work situation would be resolved.

The author put plenty of kink into the story and built two characters who were at extremes of personality and yet gelled nicely together. And did I mention age gap? Well yes, there’s quite an age difference, so added to the bondage, the silver fox with the cute young exec just pushed all my buttons. Without giving away any spoilers, I can say that Morgan’s mum was a surprise to Parker and he was a pleasant surprise to her. There’s lots to love here and I’m most definitely looking forward to more in this series.

Highly recommend to lovers of light kink and bondage, age-gap, and slow burn.

~~~

Cover by James of GoOnWrite.com is a photo of a man’s tie set against a deep mauve background. It’s both attractive and pertinent to the story and is the same photo used in book one, but in a different shade.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 124 pages
Published April 23rd 2018
Original TitleTied Up by the Boss
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOffice Kink #2

An Alisa Review: Rended Hearts by Riza Curtis

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

After a life on the run, witch Gabriel just wants to enjoy having a home. He’s perfectly happy pottering around his garden and using magic to quietly help people. Then the Alpha of the local wolf pack is attacked by a member of the local coven, and everything changes. There’s no love lost between the witch and the wolves, but Gabriel saves the life of the Alpha in an attempt to keep the peace.

 

Simon finds his mate in the witch that saves his life, but the coven is coming for Gabriel, and they don’t care who gets in their way…

 

This was an enjoyable story. While I say that there seemed to be a lot of background information that felt glossed over or not really given, I felt like I was tossed into a world that was historical but not and a lot of prejudices that we were just supposed to accept.

 

Gabriel has been running for what feels like forever, we were never really told when his mother died so I’m not sure how long or how old he is, and just when he starts to have a place that feels like home he is thrown another curve ball. Simon has been quietly leading his pack for years hoping that someday he will find his mate but that seems hard when he doesn’t leave his pack often, I mean Gabriel has been in town for two years and they had yet to meet. Gabriel doesn’t really accept their connection until late in the story and tries to protect Simon and his pack but it backfires.

 

I liked the story but didn’t feel like I really knew the characters or what they were doing. Simon was simple with the wolf’s mate bond and connection but Gabriel pushed and didn’t seem to understand their connection. Gabriel went through a lot of changes that I didn’t feel were described to me.

 

The cover art is nice and I like the “starry” wolf.

 

Sales Link: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 150 pages

Published: March 30, 2018 by Riza Curtis

Edition Language: English

 

Release Blitz and Giveaway for Forged in Fire (Asheville Arcana #2) by Ari McKay

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Cover Design: Aaron Anderson
 

Length: 59,473 words

 
 
Ashville Arcana Series
 
 
Blurb
 

The magic touch.

Ever since Harlan Edgewood was bitten by a possessed werewolf, his monthly shifts have been agonizing. When he meets Whimsy Hickes—a mage who specializes in transformation—the attraction is mutual. But Harlan believes his curse is too great a burden to inflict on any romantic partner.

Fortunately, Whimsy thinks he can help.

When Harlan is provoked into an unexpected change, Whimsy uses his magic to help ease Harlan’s pain, but with an unexpected consequence. While he’s shifted, Harlan’s wolf claims Whimsy as his mate.

As they draw closer, suspicious events in the Asheville magical community escalate. Shifters are disappearing, others are murdered, and Harlan’s curse makes him an obvious target. It will take all of Whimsy’s magic to force back the rising evil—and if he fails, Harlan will lose not only his life, but his very soul.

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

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BLOG TOUR Hard To Get (Haven’s Cove #2) by Jaclyn Quinn (excerpt and giveaway)

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Hard To Get Tour Banner

HARD TO GET

HAVEN’S COVE SERIES, BOOK 2

JACLYN QUINN

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 04.19.18

Hard To Get Cover

COVER DESIGN by Cate Ashwood Designs

AMAZON US/AMAZON UK

BLURB

Gabe D’Angelo has it all. Designer clothes, luxury cars, a cool confidence most would envy, and a never-ending supply of money—and men. When he arrived in Haven’s Cove to be there for his best friend, he never imagined he’d end up extending his stay indefinitely. Small town living isn’t so bad after all, and the views are magnificent—especially the view of a sexy, rugged blond. But when that mysterious, brooding man refuses all Gabe’s advances, he is forced to take a step back and truly look at the person he’s become.

Nate Black moved from Boston to Haven’s Cove for his family. He’s missed small town living and the simple, tranquil life that comes with it. What he doesn’t bargain for is the pushy, spoiled playboy who’s set his eyes on Nate as his next conquest. Knowing this man has the potential to crack the foundation of his quiet life, Nate will do everything he can to protect his safe, closed-off world.

Is one man worth loving? Is the other worth the sacrifice? Or is the love they’re searching for not just hard to get but completely out of reach?

Hard to Get Teaser 2
Hard to Get Teaser 3

EXCERPT

There was that huge heart again, trying to see something in Gabe that just wasn’t there. Gabe smiled. “Jonah Taylor, always trying to save the world from heartbreak and pain. You can’t solve everyone’s problems, Jonah.”

Jonah smirked and shrugged his shoulders. “I can try. Look, I think you need a distraction. Maybe even step away from the whole Nate situation a little.”

“Why, Jonah, you sly fox. Are you offering yourself as the commercial break from my regularly scheduled program?” Gabe said seductively, laughing as Jonah turned the color of a ripe tomato.

“Gabe…” Jonah squirmed in his chair, and Gabe couldn’t keep up the teasing.

Gabe patted Jonah’s hand and laughed. “I’m kidding, Jonah. Besides, I prefer devil’s food cake for dessert.” Gabe winked at him.

Jonah shook his head and chuckled, looking offended. “What are you trying to say? I’m vanilla?”

Gabe let his eyes roam over Jonah’s muscular body as he sat in the chair, making sure to take in every bulge. “Oh…no, sir. Not vanilla. Let’s just say, I enjoy something a little more sinful, and you definitely have angel’s food written all over you.”

Jonah’s skin was flushed from Gabe’s roaming eyes as he squirmed in his chair a little. “I’ll try to take that as a compliment.”

“Absolutely. You should.” Gabe smiled.

Jonah returned the smile, relaxing again, and said, “Why don’t you come to the gym with me? I can get you a pass. I know it’s not the fun you had in mind,” Jonah laughed, “but it could be a good distraction. Not to mention, the scenery isn’t all that bad.” Jonah wiggled his eyebrows up and down.

Gabe suddenly had visions of hot, sweaty bodies, muscles straining with exertion, grunts of men as they lifted. Why hadn’t he thought of it himself?

Jonah smirked. “By the look on your face, I’d say you’re interested.”

Gabe narrowed his eyes then grinned. “I have to say, Jonah, for someone who doesn’t know me all that well you seem to have read me correctly.”

“Remember you said that,” Jonah said. “Pretty sure it applies to everything I’ve said to you just now.”

Gabe hung his head and laughed. “Walked into that one, I suppose.”

“So, you’ll come?” Jonah asked.

“Maybe a little later. Right now, I think I’ll go to the gym with you,” Gabe said and watched as Jonah blushed once again.

“And I walked into that one.” Jonah chuckled.

Gabe stood up and walked Jonah to the door. “Shall I follow you, or do you want to just give me the address?”

Jonah reached his hand in his pocket and pulled out his car keys. “I’m on my way there now. If it won’t take you long to get ready, I’ll wait in my car.”

“I’ll only be five minutes. I may be high-maintenance, but believe it or not, I don’t wear my Armani suits to the gym.”

Jonah chuckled again and nodded his head. “Okay, I’ll be in my car. The gym’s in Maple Grove, the next town over, but still only takes ten minutes to get there. You can follow me.” Jonah opened the door then turned back around with a wicked smile. “Oh, and by the way, even angels fall every now and then, and it’s twice the ride. Scorching on the way down, but the best fucking ecstasy you’ve ever felt on the way back up.” It was Jonah who winked that time, and Gabe found himself with a shitload more respect for the guy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I have been an artist from a very young age. From drawing cartoon characters and evolving into portraits, making jewelry, photography, and now writing. I have an amazing support system in my family and friends and couldn’t be more grateful.

I live in central New Jersey, love summers at the Jersey Shore, rock music, wine, sexy men, and laughing a lot with my amazing friends and family. Sunday dinners at my parents’ house are crazy, hysterical and you can count on a movie quote…or ten…being thrown out. Insults between siblings is how we show our love for each other!

When I’m not creating, you can find me reading books from my favorite authors. I’m a hopeless romantic, starving for passionate characters and always craving that happy ending, whether in reading or in writing my own books.

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Series Blitz and Giveaway – Strain Series by Amelia Gormley

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Buy Links


Juggernaut (Book #0.5)
Strain (Book #1)
Bane (Book #2)


Juggernaut 


They helped destroy the world. Now they have to survive the new one.

Nico Fernández has a charmed life. Working as a high-end escort in his mother’s agency beats the hell out of being trafficked for slave wages in some corporate brothel. And no one needs to know about his occasional side jobs, like seducing political and military dignitaries, and “nudging” them with mind-altering agents to swing their votes to favor his longest-standing client.

Zach Houtman’s life should be charmed, but isn’t. His father, the Reverend Maurice Houtman, in pursuit of political aspirations, insists Zach act as his advisor rather than indulging in his true calling: ministering to the most vulnerable outcasts of society. Politics, however, gradually turn Zach’s father away from Christ and toward malicious zealotry, and Zach discovers his campaign is courting violent fundamentalists.

When one of Nico’s “special jobs” results in military approval for a weaponized virus that mutates, unleashing a deadly plague to claim billions of lives, Nico and Zach are thrown together. Each burdened by terrible guilt for their unwitting roles in the calamity, they find safety and solace in each other. But the new world is a dangerous, violent place, where the handful of survivors are willing to do anything, and kill anyone, to get by.

Strain
 

In a world with little hope and no rules, the only thing they have to lose is themselves.

Rhys Cooper is a dead man. He’s spent years hiding from the virus that wiped out most of the human race, but an act of futile heroism has him counting down his remaining days. The timely arrival of superhuman soldiers offers some feeble hope–but only if Rhys can reconcile himself to doing what is necessary to take advantage of it.

Sergeant Darius Murrell has seen too much death and too little tenderness. His job is seeking out the infected to put them out of their misery, or sending the uninfected survivors to a safe haven where he and his fellow Juggernaut troops will never be welcomed. Rhys’s situation is different, though. Not only is there an improbable chance that Darius won’t have to put a bullet in Rhys’s head, but he has somehow managed to get under Darius’s skin.

The virus Rhys must infect himself with in order to survive is sexually transmitted, and optimizing his chance of exposure requires him to submit as often as possible to Darius–and the other soldiers. Though the boundaries of morality have shifted in this harsh new world, Darius and Rhys question whether their humanity is too high a price to pay for Rhys’s survival.

 
Bane
 

The weapon that nearly destroyed humanity may be their only salvation.

Rhys Cooper once thought he was a dead man. Instead, he’s proven immune to the virus that nearly wiped out humanity.

Now the Clean Zone’s scientists want to know why. Summoned for testing, Rhys is about to learn first-hand why his Juggernaut partner, Sergeant Darius Murrell, and the rest of his superhuman comrades in Delta Company don’t trust the uninfected survivors in the Clean Zone–or the remnants of the government that unleashed the epidemic in the first place.

For a decade, Zach Houtman has yearned for his lover, Nico Fernández, but fear of infection has kept them apart. Separately they keep tabs on the last vestiges of the corrupt government, particularly the head of the Clean Zone’s virus research division. Secretary Littlewood seeks to unlock the secrets of the Bane virus. But Nico knows how dangerous Littlewood will be if that ever happens.

Zach and Nico now have the perfect bait to draw Littlewood out: Rhys. But Delta Company isn’t about to let Rhys walk into hell alone. They’ll take Littlewood down together, or not at all. Even if they succeed, however, for Zach and Nico one question remains: can infected and uninfected people ever be together safely?

Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4thgrade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice issues, and pretty men.

When her husband and son aren’t interacting with the back of her head as she stares at the computer, they rely on her to feed them, maintain their domicile, and keep some semblance of order in their lives (all very, very bad ideas—they really should know better by now.) She can also be found playing video games and ranting on Tumblr, seeing as how she’s one of those horrid social justice warriors out to destroy free speech, gaming, geek culture, and everything else that’s fun everywhere.

You can contact Amelia on Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads

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