A MelanieM Review: Hard to Hold (Haven’s Cove #3) by Jaclyn Quinn

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Perfect, happy, “Jonah the Savior”, that’s how most people see Jonah Taylor. What they don’t always see is how incredibly overwhelmed he is with his new business or how lonely he is. When a painfully shy man enters his wellness center, all Jonah wants to do is help break him out of his shell. The problem is, the attraction he feels to the nervous, timid man is undeniable.

Cameron Vaughn has let most of his life be decided for him. A traumatic event from his past has caused him to doubt every decision he makes. When he’s forced into a new, anxiety-ridden situation, his first instinct is to run. So, what is it about the owner of the wellness center that has him questioning everything he’s ever been told?

Can one man convince the other he’s worth saving? Can the other realize he’s strong enough to save himself? Together, can they prove that what they’ve found is worth holding on to?

Hard to Hold  by Jaclyn Quinn is another heartwarming contemporary romance in the Haven’s Cove series.  The third story centers around Jonah Taylor and Cameron Vaughn. Jonah has been in the first two stories.  He was Owen’s fiance’, although they were breaking up on good terms when Brody returned to town. And he was instrumental in helping Gabe and Nate find their HEA, hence the title “Jonah the Savior”.  But while all his friends around him are finding their partners and HEA, where is Jonah’s?

With  Gabe’s financial help, he has finally opened the health and fitness center of his dreams, now he would like a personal life.  And a certain shy man has caught his attention.  Unfortunately, that man has a load of demons he’s been carrying around for years.

Cameron Vaughn is a man in hiding.  Fearful and indecisive, he’s withdrawn from life into his house, leaving only for work, visits to his parents and his brother’s family. Plus the occasional visit to his therapist.  The only thing he’s admitting that he has done for himself is to lose most of the weight he gained overeating hoping to ignore his issues. Cameron is friendless and in stasis.  The pressure from his parents to be someone he’s not is killing him and continuing the nightmares from his past.  Something has to change but how? He has no idea until his brother and sister in law gift him with a gym membership to Jonah’s club for his birthday.

Cameron is really an amazing character. His full past which won’t be revealed here, alone with his parent’s troubling reaction to it and the decade long consequences are horrifying. I think Quinn handled it all with sensitivity, although I would have loved for Dr. Rivers to have gotten the legal ramifications so deserved here. Ah well.

This is a long, complicated romance with many aspects to it that slow it down for Cameron.  And Jonah. His confusion over his sexuality for one.  There is a side romance with a young woman named Ali pushed on him by his parents, one he has to work his way through.

There are so many emotionally tangled aspects to this story, especially the parental ones.  The mother especially in her desire to protect her son from life’s pain has inflicted far worse on him and intends to continue in her blindness in thinking she knows best.  Truly terrifying.  And the author makes her and her human, not monsters.

All the other couples, their families are a strong support here in this novel.  I love that and all of them.  We have gotten to know them over the course of three stories now and they feel like old friends.  We’ve seen each meet their HEA and now another pair is getting married and another getting engaged.

Who will be next?

I can’t wait and if you love contemporary romance, here is a series full of love, laughter, tears, and romance…three books full. At the moment.

 

Cover art works for the pairing and the series. I like it.

Sales Links:

US: https://amazon.com/dp/B07FTCRFZZ/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FTCRFZZ/
CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07FTCRFZZ/
AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07FTCRFZZ/

 

Book Details:

ebook, 281 pages
Published July 24th 2018 by self-published (first published July 23rd 2018)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHaven’s Cove #3

 

A MelanieM Pre-Release Review: Savior (415 Ink #2) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

A savior lies in the heart of every good man, but sometimes only love can awaken the man inside the savior.

The world’s had it out for San Francisco firefighter Mace Crawford from the moment he was born. Rescued from a horrific home life and dragged through an uncaring foster system, he’s dedicated his life to saving people, including the men he calls his brothers. As second-in-command of their knitted-together clan, Mace guides his younger siblings, helps out at 415 Ink, the family tattoo shop, and most of all, makes sure the brothers don’t discover his darkest secrets.

It’s a lonely life with one big problem—he’s sworn off love, and Rob Claussen, one of 415 Ink’s tattoo artists, has gotten under his skin in the worst way possible.

Mace’s world is too tight, too controlled to let Rob into his life, much less his heart, but the brash Filipino inker is there every time Mace turns around. He can’t let Rob in without shaking the foundations of the life he’s built, but when an evil from his past resurfaces, Mace is forced to choose between protecting his lies and saving the man he’s too scared to love.

Savior is the second in the 415 Ink series, the Tattoo shop and  its family this story and series is being built around.  If I loved the first story, then I also completely fell in love with the broken men here as well.  I can see they are all going to effect me that way.  Rhys Ford’s men have a  habit of doing that.

Mace Crawford was introduced to us in Rebel but it wasn’t really his story.  That we get here and what a nightmare it was and  still is because he remains firmly in the grips of what his past, his horror of a childhood  and genetic family has done to him.  It’s given him an emotional mindset that sends him running through the city in an endless game of tag because to remain still scares him, keeps him up and in search of comforting loud noises around him for silence haunts him, and leaves his family of brothers clueless as to the depths of pain and terror he has truly faced in his short lifetime because he fears to tell them.  Complicated doesn’t even begin to cover it.  Mace is a Rhys Ford character in spades and he’s amazing.

The man he can’t keep his eyes off of?  That would be the one employed by his brothers at 415 Ink. Rob Claussen, a tattoo artist, with a lively endearing attitude hiding his own story of rejection and survival.  Rob is the light to Mace’s darkness and Ford makes the pull of attraction between them visceral.

Mace fights his feelings for Rob even as Rob fights for Mace. Ford brings the  monster at the heart of Mace’s past to shatter everything, something you expect from her stories but its still so shattering when it happens…every time.

There are so many wonderful other characters here.  From the Chinese “Grandmother” Mace checks in on in his building to Rob’s best friend to of course, all the brothers…everyone here is someone you enjoy spending time with.  Which is a great thing because they all reappear in each other’s stories to my joy.  There is a great lump of a dog and a child that all are involved in raising,  a house that is ever expanding/repairing/improving itself, and a cobbled together band of brothers you take to heart with their scars inside and out, wounded souls, and need for HEA.

I’m so happy we are only on the second story.  I can’t wait for more.  What a series this is turning out to be.

And yes I highly recommend it.

Cover Artist: Reece Notley.  I like the cover.  It brands the series but wish it was more Rob and less Mace tbh.

 Pre Order Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: September 18th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640808614
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series 415 Ink :

Rebel
Savior

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Risk Taker (Mixed Messages #3) by Lily Morton

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Rating: 5 stars out of 6

Henry goes through men faster than his friends can count. None of them have been worth an effort to get to know, and he doesn’t need them anyway, because he loves his best friend, Ivo, maybe more than he should. But his other friends (from Rule Breaker and Deal Maker) are so happy together, settled, with plans for children and a long-term future that it makes him yearn for stability. He decides to give up casual sex and look for the real deal. Of course, his friends are full of suggestions, and so begins a parade of calamity dates that Henry most definitely isn’t interested in.

In the meantime, Ivo has come home, but he’s wounded and knocked down, suffering from nightmares and PTSD and wanting nothing more than comfort from his best friend, Henry, the man he loves. Yes, this is one of those stories with unrequited best friend love. I would normally think, ho-hum, not my cuppa, but the author has injected humor with the angst and provided readers with a heartwarming story of two emotionally damaged, yet sweet and perfect for each other, young men. The characters are well-developed and each has enough unique charm to hold readers’ interest on their own. But together, they make a terrific package deal.

The story progresses through the time Ivo is recuperating at the home they share, and he and Henry are growing closer, yet each still thinks he doesn’t want to ruin their friendship by going one step further. Ivo steams as he awaits Henry’s return each time he goes on a blind date, but he still can’t take the first step to stop him. Though this portion of the story could have dragged, it actually went quickly because some of the dates were hysterically funny.  The author also wove Henry’s and Ivo’s back story in by opening each chapter with a note or letter from one to the other, most from the time they were schoolboys separated by holidays or vacations.

The revisits from characters featured in the earlier stories will be appreciated by those who’ve read the series, but their presence does not take away from this story being a standalone. In fact, the highest praise I can give this story is to say that I am going to purchase the first two books in the series so I can catch up because the author’s writing style, sense of pace, and touches of humor have dug into my subconscious, which is now begging me for more.

This story was, in a nutshell, an unexpected gift, and I highly recommend it to those who love MM romance with a touch of humor and a very happy ending.

The cover by Natasha Snow features a handsome young man wearing a suit coat and glasses with an intense look on his face. The coloration is a faded black and white with some gold and purple splashes. It ties nicely in with other books in the series.

Sales Links:    Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published July 22nd 2018
ASINB07FM48TW5
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesMixed Messages #3

New Book Release Blitz for Death Days by Lia Cooper (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Death Days

Author: Lia Cooper

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 6, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 70000

Genre: Paranormal, college, teaching, magic, dark, slow burn, age gap, vampires, shifters

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Synopsis

By day, Professor Nicholas Littman works as an itinerant professor at a small college in the Pacific Northwest. He teaches seminars on mythology and the intersections of folklore and magic in the ancient world. By night, he’s the local necromancer, a rare magical talent that has left him alienated from other practitioners.

All Nick wants from life is to be left alone to run his magical experiments and teach kids the historical context of magic without anyone being the wiser. Unfortunately, his family is sworn to sit on the council of the Order of the Green Book—a group of magicians dating back to the Crusades—and they aren’t willing to take Nick’s no for an answer.

As though that wasn’t bad enough, a coven of Night Women has arrived in town, warning Nick that there are wolves at his door he had better take care of. But what can one necromancer do when every natural and supernatural card seems stacked against him?

Excerpt

Death Days
Lia Cooper © 2018
All Rights Reserved

One: The Professor
“Today we’re talking about the elision that occurs between Thoth worship in pre-Ptolemaic Egypt and early Greece. Let’s break into four groups for seminar,” Professor Nicolas Littman said, eyeing the half-empty teaching theater. He divided the room with a sweep of his arm and glanced at the clock on the back wall.

“We’ll meet back here in thirty minutes to discuss your thoughts as a group. And I want every small group to come up with a question to pose to the rest of us.”

He felt gratified at the way they began shuffling together into little clusters without further prompting.

“One of you should go use the lounge outside,” he said, waving absently at the small group at the very back of the room.

He didn’t care if they took the direction or not. He trusted in every student’s desire to escape the four walls of the classroom given a millimeter of freedom. All that mattered was that he now had thirty minutes of his own time in which to play hooky.

Nick grabbed a book and the vape out of his bag, and slipped out of the left-hand exit.

Why someone in the administration had decided to give him a corner theater for this class was beyond him. Four credits on Hermetic Mythologies and Cosmologies was hardly in demand. Especially when it was offered as a four-and-a-half-hour option on Saturdays. But if it meant they got a spacious room and the otherwise empty SEM II C building to themselves, he shouldn’t complain. His students could spread out to their hearts’ content, leaving him to steal outside to smoke without anyone around to gripe at him.

“Not even a proper smoke,” he muttered, flicking the round silver device on, warming the metal under his hand.

Nick sat on the concrete with his back to the building’s cement exterior and his knees bent, pressed the tip of the vape between his lips, and held down the button for a long, comforting drag. He closed his eyes to the bright sun and tipped his head back against the wall. Vapor streamed out of his pursed lips in a thick, fragrant cloud and pooled in the air above his head.

“Hiding from the students again?” an amused voice asked from above.

“I’m not hiding,” Nick grumbled.

A thin body lowered itself down onto the ground next to him, all long spidery limbs that folded with the kind of soft careless agility Nick hadn’t felt in a decade or two.

He looked over at his—teaching assistant wasn’t the word. Technically, Josiah didn’t work for him at all. He was just an independent contract student working on an eight-credit history project, but he let Nick use him like a TA so that’s how he always thought of him.

“What do you call this?” Josiah asked, knocking their shoulders together.

“Seminaring.”

Josiah’s face crumpled up with amusement. His flexible mouth stretched into a laugh while his shoulders shook. Nick held out the vape on offer and waited for Josiah to notice.

“Is it peppermint?” he asked.

Nick nodded.

“No thanks.”

“I’m not buying cake or whatever it is you like.”

“Are you trying to say there’s something wrong with cake?” Josiah returned Nick’s stony look with a nonplussed expression.

“It’s unna—”

“First of all: I don’t remember tobacco ever coming in ‘peppermint flavor’ before, and second: everything you do is unnatural, so that’s not a valid argument coming from you, Professor Littman.”

Nick grimaced. “Don’t call me that.”

“Nick.”

He sighed and took another long drag off his vape, waiting for the nicotine to soothe the flutter in his heart that Josiah’s words had kicked up. Nothing he did was natural. The kid had no idea just how right he was. Nick glanced down at his empty hand, automatically checking his nails for pesky traces of dirt, but there was nothing unusual to see. He’d scrubbed up hard the night before. Done a thorough job not to leave any of those unnatural traces that might have given Josiah a better-formed picture of what his professor and academic adviser got up to in his free time.

Shit, even in his head, he sounded like a pervert.

“You’re wrong. Some things I do are perfectly natural.”

“Like what?”

Nick gave the young man a slow look. “You have a very active imagination, Mr. Wexler.”

“The imagination is a hungry organ, seeking perpetual nourishment. I like to think that it’s not so much I’ve got an active imagination, but rather a well-fed one.”

“That you feed on thoughts of me?” Nick smiled, playing the comment off as a joke even though it left something low and hot in his body to sit up with interest. A curl of amused interest that quivered at the thought of a bright young man captivated by thoughts of him, even if they were merely frustrated or prurient or the passing whim of childish fancy, as he suspected was the case.

“Sometimes,” Josiah admitted, looking away.

The two of them sat in companionable silence until the phone in Nick’s pocket hiccupped its alarm to let him know that the requisite thirty-minute small group had passed, and he had to return again to face the lethargy of his classroom.

“Did you need something?” he asked, using the wall to push himself to his feet, and slipped the vape back into his pocket.

Josiah pulled out a sheaf of printouts from his backpack and held them up for Nick to take. “Two new chapters. I wanted to get your thoughts on them before I continue. It took a—the narrative took a direction we haven’t discussed before.”

“All right. I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thanks.”

“Do you want to come in?”

“Nah, I’ve got to meet Jen. Talk to you next week?”

Nick nodded.

Above them, the sky had dimmed as sure as if someone had taken a dimmer switch to the sun. Dark clouds cast a clear, watery gray light over campus, the edges of the quad hemmed in on all sides by towering dark trees that only helped to feed into the illusion of night creeping over them. The air smelled as though it were about to rain, bitterly cold and damp.

“Do you think it’s going to snow?” Josiah asked, climbing to his feet.

Nick shook his head. “Not a chance.”

He filed back into the teaching theater behind the stragglers. Sixty minutes for discussion and in-class readings, and then he’d be free for the rest of the weekend. Nick perched his feet on the edge of his desk, saw the streaks of mud clinging to his shoes, and dropped them again. He cleared his throat and looked out at the crowd for the first person to meet his eyes.

“Ah, Amelia, why don’t you start us off with a brief summary of what your group discussed.”

He folded his arms over his chest and listened with half an ear while his focus strayed repeatedly to the darkening sky and the promise of rain.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Lia Cooper is a twenty-something native of the Pacific Northwest, voracious reader, pop-culture addict, and writer. She cultivated an early interest in writing through fandom and completed writing her first full length novel with the help of NaNoWriMo.

In the years since, she’s dabbled in catering, barista-ing, and working as a pastry chef before finally returning full time to the thing she loves most: storytelling.

When she’s not glued to Scrivener, Lia enjoys playing video games with friends and reviewing books for her booktube channel.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

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Blog Tour: Hard to Hold ( Haven’s Cove # 2) by Jaclyn Quinn (excerpt and giveaway)

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Hard to Hold Tour 

HARD TO HOLD

HAVEN’S COVE SERIES BOOK 2

JACLYN QUINN

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 07.24.18

 Hard to Hold Cover 

BLURB

Perfect, happy, “Jonah the Savior”, that’s how most people see Jonah Taylor. What they don’t always see is how incredibly overwhelmed he is with his new business or how lonely he is. When a painfully shy man enters his wellness center, all Jonah wants to do is help break him out of his shell. The problem is, the attraction he feels to the nervous, timid man is undeniable.

Cameron Vaughn has let most of his life be decided for him. A traumatic event from his past has caused him to doubt every decision he makes. When he’s forced into a new, anxiety-ridden situation, his first instinct is to run. So, what is it about the owner of the wellness center that has him questioning everything he’s ever been told?

Can one man convince the other he’s worth saving? Can the other realize he’s strong enough to save himself? Together, can they prove that what they’ve found is worth holding on to?

US: https://amazon.com/dp/B07FTCRFZZ/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FTCRFZZ/
CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07FTCRFZZ/
AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07FTCRFZZ/

Hard to Hold Teaser 3

Hard to Hold Teaser 4

 

EXCERPT

It was still pretty light outside, but Cameron was standing in mostly darkness, the only light now coming from the stairs. Taking a deep breath, he once again reminded himself of the promise he’d made to Dr. Sampson and to himself to face things head on. Time to find out what the hell I did wrong. He took the stairs slowly, steadily breathing in and out as he got to the landing in front of Jonah’s door. He glanced down the stairs to the exit, then took one last chest filled breath, lifted his hand, and knocked on the door.

“Come in,” Jonah called out and with a shaking hand, Cameron opened the door.

Hesitantly, Cameron walked in, scanning the small space for Jonah who was standing across the room by a table with his back to the door.

“Don’t tell me the lock is sticking again. I’ll have to complain to my land…” Jonah turned around, and the smile left his face, “lord. Cameron… Sorry, thought you were Gabe, who also happens to be my landlord.” Jonah gripped the back of his neck and gave a small laugh. Was he nervous?

Panic flooded Cam. What the hell he was thinking? The uneasy look on Jonah’s face reminded him, though. He cleared his throat, rubbed his palms on his jeans and said in a shaky voice, “Didn’t mean to bother you so late. I just… Well, I have a question.”

Jonah plastered the fake smile on his face that Cameron was starting to hate. “What’s up?”

Cameron looked back toward the door, his need to find the exit in any situation like a thorn in his side and a comfort at the same time. He opened and closed his trembling hands, took a deep breath, and finally asked, “What did I do?”

Jonah was clearly confused. “I’m sorry?”

Balling his hands into fists, Cameron drew strength from the tightness and asked again. “What did I do wrong?” He looked down at his fists, slowly uncurling his fingers, and began fidgeting with his hands. “I mean, I obviously did something wrong because you’ve been really weird with me for days. In fact, you’ve been pretty quiet, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what I did.” Holy shit. Did all of that really just come out of his mouth? It suddenly hit Cameron that Jonah treating him differently was bothering him more than he realized. Enough to actually speak up for once in his goddamn life and ask why.

Jonah’s look of shock confirmed that…yes, he really had just said all that. He ran the hand that had been gripping the back of his neck up through his blond hair then back down to his neck. Jonah walked over to the couch and sat down. Slowly, he leaned over, resting his elbows on his thighs then looked back up at Cameron. The desperate sadness in Jonah’s gaze definitely threw Cameron off.

“Shit, Cam, I’m sorry. I was trying to not make you feel uncomfortable, and instead, I went completely to the other end of the spectrum.”

“Huh?” Jonah had used his nickname, the same one Ali had used only days before. He hadn’t liked when Ali called him Cam, but when Jonah said it, it made him feel warm. It felt…intimate. Jonah patted the cushion next to him, and Cameron found himself walking over and sitting down without a second thought. “Why would you think you were making me uncomfortable?” he asked, still completely confused.

“Because you’re always so nervous around me. You… Do you know you barely look at me? I thought― Ah, it’s so stupid when I think about it now. Just ignore me. You’ve done absolutely nothing wrong…a bit of a distraction…but nothing wrong.”

32531858_371057093414136_548962524838494208_o

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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