A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: To Love Again by Andria Large

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This was a sweet love story, though it was insta-love, and oddly, it was written in first person POV, alternating between Jack and Warwick. I’m definitely not a fan of first person, nor am I a fan of insta-love, especially in this case where Jack had been living with an abuser. But, the author pulled it off and gave us an engaging story complete with HEA.

Jack was beaten and raped by his long-time lover, Greg, and escaped with his life, his wallet, and his phone. The last time he was in the ER he was treated by Dr. Warwick Aldridge, who gave Jack his card and info on the abuse hotline. When Jack ended up in a McDonald’s bathroom, bleeding from face wounds, he called Warwick and thus begins his journey to a better life.

Warwick is originally from England, and when they find out Greg obtained Jack’s new phone number and has been hanging around the hospital looking for him, Warwick suggests a trip to England where he can see his family and Jack can feel safe.

Only two weeks have gone by, yet Warwick calls Jack “love” and Jack returns his affection with simple touches and kisses. Though somewhat believable, with Jack’s inability to forget Greg, his trembling at the man’s name, his startle reflex when someone touches him, it is difficult to believe the two could be in love by the time the four weeks in England is up. There’s kissing and sex and plans for the future. But when Warwick is contacted by Greg, Jack chickens out and decides to stay in England. Is there hope for these two in a long distance relationship? Well, there’s still plenty of action after this point, including another appearance by Greg.

It’s an interesting story, the characters are engaging, and the action fast-paced. Only 127 pages, the story evolves quickly. To be honest, the first person voice wasn’t as bad as some I’ve read, but it does keep me from enjoying it thoroughly. And falling in love so quickly, especially for characters in their thirties who’ve held out so long already is a bit much to take.

Against the dark background of the cover by Melissa Albin, all that can be seen of two men are their entwined arms and their hands linked with the fingers pointing downward forming a heart. It’s very clever and grabs attention.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 127 pages
Expected publication: September 14th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640807211
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Safe Place (Rainbow Place #2) by Jay Northcote

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

We first me Alex, the son of the real estate mogul-slash-local politican-slash-major outspoken homophobe in Porthladock, England, when Alex showed up to help Seb and Jason restore Rainbow Place, an LGBTQ-friendly café, after vandals nearly ruined it before it opened. Alex is seventeen, finishing high school, as the story opens, and he’s still harboring his crush on Cam, one of the gorgeous rugby players he met the night he came to Rainbow Place feeling embarrassed that the vandalism was in response to his father’s letter to the editor.

Cam wants to be friends with Alex, and he’s definitely attracted to the young man, but Cam decides not to get involved because he doesn’t want to lose Alex as a friend if their sexual relationship doesn’t work out. Later that summer, Alex’s abusive father catches him with a Grindr hookup at the campground his father owns, and the homophobe punches him, bruising his face and his back.

When Alex resulting needs a new place to stay, Cam and his roommate offer Alex their couch, and Seb offers Alex a job at the café, the place Alex has always considered his personal “safe place” so he accepts both offers. Time goes by and the guys are still attracted to one another but Cam keeps holding back. Get the picture? Very slow burn, a good foundation of friendship, and finally Cam gets his act together in time for a lovely HEA—but it takes a while.

I like Jay Northcote’s work. Like many of his other stories, this story is sweet, the characters are nice guys, the plot fairly simple, and the enjoyment level very high. Sometimes I just like to escape with good writing to a place where nice guys don’t finish last. So I highly recommend this to those who enjoy that as much as I do.

The colorful cover by Garrett Leigh depicts the bare torso of a handsome young man. The rainbow hue title banner ties it to the first book, Rainbow Place. To be honest, the picture doesn’t seem to match either MC as described in the story but it is nevertheless attractive.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 186 pages
Published August 31st 2018 by Jaybird Press
ASINB07GT541W2
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Rainbow Place #2

Rainbow Place

Safe Place

An Alisa Review: The Long Way Around by Quinn Anderson

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

A wrong turn could lead to Mr. Right.

Sam Cooper is the definition of an introvert: shy, bookish, and the sort to think a wild Friday night involves ordering takeout. He enjoys his quiet life, but after a bad breakup, he’s been yearning for a change of scenery. Luckily, his best friend and former college roommate has the solution.

Wesley Reed—a jokester and expert Sam-handler—proposes an epic road trip to a wedding across the country. They’re both between jobs and boyfriends. Why not hit the open road and make some memories?

Stuck in close quarters for the first time since their dorm days, they’re both surprised at the heat that springs up between them. As best friends, they’ve shared so much over the years, so why does sharing a hotel room—and occasionally a bed—make them want more? Chemistry this smoldering is hard to ignore, but there are road blocks to their romance. Wesley’s keeping a secret, and Sam can’t rely on Wesley to drag him out of his comfort zone forever. If they’re not careful, their relationship may take the ultimate wrong turn.

This was a nice story; however, I liked the ending much more than the rest of the book.  Sam has been avoiding his family since he called off his wedding the year before and hasn’t really spent the time to try and move on from the fall out.  Wesley has stayed by Sam’s side but they aren’t always together and he doesn’t want to bring Sam down with him.

I loved the friendship between these two and how, even with their vast differences, they make it work.  Sometimes you need someone different from you to help pull you in the right direction, even if you don’t realize it.

I felt that I was able to get a pretty good read on these characters since the story is told from both of their viewpoints.  Sam is incredibly sweet and has no idea of his worth but gains some of that confidence throughout their journey.  Wesley has to figure himself out a bit but in the end realizes it’s okay to have the support of someone else to get through the hard times.  I liked seeing them in the future with the big anniversaries but just didn’t feel invested in their relationship throughout the story and felt they ignored their problems a little more than necessary.

Cover art by LC Chase is eye catching and gives a great visual of Wes.

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 300 pages

Published: August 6, 2018 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-62649-836-5

Edition Language: English

Review Tour – Safe Place (Rainbow Place #2) by Jay Northcote

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Length: 48,000 words approx.
 
Rainbow Place Series
 
Book #1 – Rainbow Place – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Where do you go when your home is no longer a safe place?


Alex is about to turn eighteen and is firmly in the closet. He’s been biding his time, waiting to escape to uni, and finally come out away from the oppressive influence of his homophobic father. When he flunks his exams, he’s stuck in the small town of Porthladock—and what’s worse is that he’s working for his dad. The only thing that makes it bearable is Cam.


Cam’s comfortable with his bisexuality, but he doesn’t broadcast it. Young, free, and single, his social life revolves around playing rugby and hanging out with his mates. He’s attracted to Alex, but with the six-year age gap, Cam’s wary of getting involved. Plus, he thinks Alex needs a friend more than he needs a lover, and as their friendship grows, Cam decides he’s not willing to risk ruining it for casual sex.


When Alex’s dad finds out about his sexuality, Alex is suddenly both jobless and homeless. He finds work at Rainbow Place, the local LGBT-friendly café and Cam lets Alex stay in his flat for a while. But Alex would rather be sleeping in Cam’s bed than on his sofa. With them both living under one roof, their feelings for each other grow stronger, and the sexual tension is hard to ignore. Will giving in to it ruin their friendship and complicate things for Alex even more?


Although this book is part of a linked series, it has a satisfying happy ending, and can be enjoyed as a standalone.



August 31Mikku-chan, Gay Book Reviews, Two Chicks Obsessed, My Fiction Nook, Lelyana’s Reviews, My Mind’s Landscape, September 3Katie’s Book Corner, Cupcakes & Bookshelves, September 5Bonkers About Books, September 7 Queerly Reads, September 10Amy’s MM Romance Reviews, The Way She Reads, The Day Before You Came, September 12Wicked Faerie’s Tales, Wicked Reads, September 14BooksLaidBareBoys, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, The Geekery Book Review, September 17Nicole’s Book Musings, September 19Xtreme Delusions, Book Lovers 4Ever, September 21 Drops Of Ink, Valerie Ullmer, Mirrigold, Lillian Francis, Making It Happen, OMG Reads, Bayou Book Junkie

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review here. We absolutely recommend it.

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.


One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.


Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.


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Release Blitz and Giveaway – Darcy (Boyfriend for Hire #1) by RJ Scott & Meredith Russell

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 40,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
 
Blurb
 

Darcy’s newest assignment is to play the role of boyfriend to a wealthy socialite, but never expected the intense attraction to his date’s brother. Falling for Adrian is dangerous and certainly not part of the plan.

Adrian has been as unlucky in love as his sister, but he doesn’t approve of hiring a boyfriend, whatever the reason. Until he meets Darcy. Then he comes to realize that love can happen in the most unexpected of ways.

One week. That is all the two men needed to fall in lust, but will they have a lifetime to fall in love?

RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.

She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the following links below:

Email RJ (rj@rjscott.co.uk)

 

Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing. Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.

 
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New Release Book Tour for We Have A Decision: Mrs. Shaw’s Club Book Two by Steph Marie

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We Have A Decision: Mrs. Shaw’s Club Book Two

Sales Link:  Amazon

 

Blurb:

High school freshman, Danny Burns, loves life, art, and boys. From the outside, he looks like a happy-go-lucky guy with no concerns. He blows off the bullies and he’s an amazing friend. What people don’t know is that he’s had a boyfriend since the summer, and when Danny decides being a secret isn’t enough for him and tries to end it, it’s not as easy as he expects.

High school freshman, Noah Glass, thinks he knows exactly who he is, what he wants, and where he’s going. Unfortunately, when the strict religious rules he’s grown-up with don’t line up with him being able to have friendships with people he cares about, he begins to question his own beliefs.

Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Shaw, formed a special club forty years ago. Each year, she handpicks twelve students to participate, but no one knows what they talk about, and former students never tell.

Danny and Noah are two of the chosen this year. When Mrs. Shaw partners them up, their lives begin to alter in ways that they couldn’t have imagined. While Danny is confronted with a stalking ex, Noah begins to question his values. As their friendship grows within the nurturing circle of Club Shaw, will that foundation be enough to get them through the troubles ahead? Will Noah be strong enough to set aside his preconceived notions and be there for Danny? Will Danny trust in Noah’s friendship and strength to help him move on from his ex to give the new guy Noah introduces him to a chance?

This is book two in the Mrs. Shaw’s Club series. We’ll continue to get glimpses into the lives of the students, and with each book, we’ll see a romance bloom. This is a standalone, but more fun if you watch them all grow together through the year.

 

Excerpt

Noah looks back and forth between the two of us, his face more agitated than ever, before sighing and shaking his head. He looks up and smiles fondly at Josh, an expression that seems to be reserved exclusively for him, but then he turns it on me. On me! O.M.G. He’s smiling at me fondly. His next words almost make me pass out. “Who knew it was gonna be such a pain in the ass to have two best friends? Geesh.”

Pushing past me gently, he grabs the cart himself and says, “Well, come on,” over his shoulder as he walks down the aisle deeper into the store.

“Um, did he seriously call me one of his best friends? Like, did I really hear that? Do you think he was serious? Tell me the truth, Josh, did that just happen?”

Laughing at me—no I don’t think he’s laughing at me exactly, but more like happily with me—he wraps his arm around my neck, pulls me closer to him, and tugs me along next to him to follow Noah down the aisle. He whispers into my ear, “He’s the best friend a guy can have, Danny. If he’s saying it, he means it. And he’s as loyal as they come, which means you now have a friend for life, and there’s nothing he won’t do for you.”

He squeezes his arm a little harder around me for a second before letting me go and winking at me, again. Again. O.M.G. Noah’s calling me his best friend, Josh is winking at me ~ Sigh… and the angels sing ~ and touching me. What next?