A Stella Review: Love at First Hate by J.L. Merrow

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RATING 3  out of 5 stars

First impressions can doom second chances.

Bran Roscarrock has been living in the closet all his life. As heir to an expansive family legacy in the town of Porthkennack, old-fashioned ideals of respectability and duty were drummed into him since childhood, and he’s never dared to live—or love—openly.

Sam Ferreira, an old friend of Bran’s brother, Jory, is a disgraced academic desperate to leave his dead-end job. When Jory asks him to take over as curator of a planned exhibition on Edward of Woodstock, the fourteenth-century Black Prince, Sam leaps at the chance to do what he loves and make a fresh start.

But Bran’s funding the exhibition, and though sparks fly between the two men, they’re not all happy ones. Bran idolises Prince Edward as a hero, while Sam’s determined to present a balanced picture. With neither of them prepared to give ground, a hundred years of war seems all too possible. And if Bran finds out about Sam’s past, his future may not be bright, and their budding romance may be lost to history.

I’m a little conflicted about this new release in the Porthkennack series. As always happens to me with JL Merrow books, I got caught into the reading and the perfect writing (although I still have to look for some British words I don’t understand), into the characters’ lives, trying to connect and find all the characters I loved in the previous books.

Still, Love at First Hate is surely not my favorite in this series for different reasons. First of all I wasn’t able to feel the MCs. I saw them and read about them, they were well depicted, complete with their pasts and dreams and faults, with their families and friends. Sam and Bran met and it was as the title says, love at first hate. Their bickering was funny and actually interesting, they were loud and smart. And later when things between them changed and they finally saw what was there right in front of them, the couple was hot and sweet too. I objectively could see all of these but I missed something, that little spark that connect me with the MCs, I couldn’t feel it.

And then there was the mystery part, I didn’t like it at all. I had so high expectation, I dreamt about million sceneries, different people could have been the one who beated Bran unconscious. The resolve was in my opinion so lacking, it left me quite disappointed. I was  ready for the fireworks, instead I got just a little pop.

If  I could ignore the lack of spark with the main couple, I would give the novel all the five stars. Plot, world building, second character, development, writing, the author did everything perfectly, she missed nothing. It was simply me.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh is really well done, i can easily see the MCs in the models’ faces.

SALE LINKS  Riptide Publishing  |  amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 325 pages

Published September 3rd 2018 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN13 9781626498327

Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Set Ablaze by K.C. Burn and Darcy Stark (narrator)

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Rating 3 stars out of 5

This is one of those reviews I hate to do because I liked the story but hated the narration and that dropped my rating. Darcy Stark just does not have the voice(s) to do this story. That’s my personal opinion, of course, but his narration ruined my enjoyment. To be honest, by midpoint, I borrowed the book through the kindle lending feature so I could finish the story by reading it.

Firefighter Hayden Hurst isn’t in the closet, but he’s not one to remind his homophobic friends that their slurs are hurtful. That may be fine for him, but when his friend Miguel’s brother, Jez Bouchet, needs a temporary roommate, Hayden finds out what it is to be out and proud. The young, flamboyant dancer is deeply offended by some of the comments made by Hayden’s friends and vows to leave as soon as he can.

But of course, before that happens, the two act on their attraction for one another and Jez never leaves. In the meantime, his former boyfriend has continued his stalking behavior all the way from New York to LA. A pro hockey player, he’s managed to get himself traded to a West Coast team so he’ll be able to harass Jez nearer to home.

The mess eventually blows up. The guys and Jez’s little pug puppy, Fang, end up together and they all live happily ever after. Not without angst and drama and some hot sex scenes, though.

I’m going to give the author the benefit of doubt and recommend this story to those who enjoy a sweet, sometimes sappy romance, with an element of danger, insta-love, and a cute pug. I enjoyed the last chapters much more than the first that were narrated on audio, so I would not recommend the audio format.

The cover by Jennifer Vance features a handsome firefighter, bare-chested, tattooed and wearing firefighter pants, the suspenders dropped to the sides—a very attractive representation of Hayden.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published August 16th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published April 24th 2018)
ASINB07GHY8HS3
Edition Language English

An Alisa Release Day Review: The Nerd and the Prince (Small-Town Dreams #1) by B.G. Thomas

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

Prince Charming is the man next door.

 

Small-town business owner Jason Brewster has big dreams: world travel, adventure, and most of all, a passionate romance worthy of a fairy tale. But he doesn’t believe fantasies can come true….

Until Adam moves in next door.

 

He’s handsome, cultured, European, and best of all, interested in Jason. It’s like something out of the stories Jason loves.

 

But Adam—whose real name is Amadeo Montefalcone—has a secret. He’s royalty, prince of the small country of Monterosia. Only he doesn’t want to rule, and especially doesn’t want the loveless marriage waiting for him at home. So he ran away in search of true love. With a man. And with Jason, he finds it.

 

But Adam can’t run forever. The truth will come out. If Jason can forgive Adam’s deception, they might find their happily ever after.

 

This was just adorable.  Jason hasn’t really had any luck finding love but he dreams of being swept off his feet.  Amadeo just wants to be able to live his life as himself and finds more than just shelter when he runs away to a small town.

 

Jason and Amadeo build a quick friendship that they let slowly build into love.  Amadeo is basically Jason’s dream come true and with both of their love of the Greek god and mythology they have a lot of common ground.

 

I liked how this story really focused on the love between these characters and any “obstacles” were quickly taken care of or settled.  Getting to see both of the characters’ points of view helped with understand them, though for the most part they were quite open.  Amadeo was a genuinely nice man and it came out even more as we went about wooing Jason and how he feared hurting his family.  I loved Jason’s innocence, he knows what he wants but has never found someone to share it with and isn’t scared to let Amadeo be that someone.  I loved that everything turned out in the end with Amadeo’s family, I just wish we knew how they were going to spend their life (stay in Monterosia or in their small town).

 

The cover art by Alexandria Corza is gives a cute visual of their small town and Amadeo.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 264 pages

Published: September 19, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-531-6

Edition Language: English

Series: Dreamspun Desires, Small Town Dreams #1

An Ashez Review: Unwrapping His Heart (Hearts on the Line #1) by Karrie George

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Matt is sexy, single, and fabulous. His career at a fancy magazine is going from strength to strength. He has great friends, a nice flat, and a healthy bank account. Life is wonderful.

In truth, Matt is unhappy. Convinced he’s not worthy of love, he flits from club to bar, in search of temporary amnesia from the demon on his shoulder that tells him he’s never going to find “the one”. Which is ironic, because his heart already belongs to the one man he knows he can never have—his straight best friend, Zeke.

Zeke has always dated women. He can’t fathom why he’s so upset about Matt’s latest lover, the wildly successful and attractive Dieter, but refuses to accept that he’s jealous, because to do that, he might have to do some soul-searching of his own.

Meeting Dieter turns Matt’s ordered life on its head, and opens Matt’s mind to the possibility that he can make a meaningful connection. However, to take a gamble on love, Matt has to learn to trust people with his secrets. And, more importantly, to overcome his shame regarding the one part of him he refuses to change. If he can’t – or won’t – learn to love himself, it’s doubtful anyone else will see the real man behind the mask.

The only question is whether he’s brave enough

 Talk about a slow burn of a book.  I can’t say I minded though I got really invested in each of the characters and I really really really wanted things to work out for them.

Matt with his past, the way he grew up, the trouble of being out and proud that he had, was all so well developed of a background I couldn’t help but fall for him – he has some quirks which, again, are a struggle, but finding yourself in the world isn’t supposed to be easy.

Zeke was another one with some home life issues – he’s struggling to put into words who he is – I can’t say much about his current family issues but damn if that wasn’t totaly relatable – and totaly so well written and true to life.

Dieter was an interesting fellow, I had a hard time sometimes reading his language barrier words – granted the whole book is english so there were a lot of words I didn’t quite get – but his written accent made me think he was so distinguished and fancy – which I guess he is.

I think throwing a new individual into Zeke & Matt’s life was just what the Dr. ordered – it was a whirlwind and had many ups and downs (btw I think my favourite quote was the use of “drama llama” – literally, can’t get enough).  By the end you’re dying for that happy ending that everyone deserves!  There was minimal smut – just enough to spice things up, and I was totaly happy about that – I can’t wait for the next book in the series, honestly, I need to know more about a few of the characters and how their lives plan out.

Cover Artist: Madelynne Ellis
Cover – fits the name of the book, it doesn’t detail anything ABOUT the book in general but it’s perfect for the book name.
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 309 pages
Published August 23rd 2018 by Little Storm Press
ASINB07GT672X7
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Hearts on the Line #1

Release Blitz for The Heights (Lakeshore #1) by Amy Aislin (excerpt and giveaway)

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The Heights by Amy Aislin

Series: Lakeshore #1

Publisher: self-published

Release Date (Print & Ebook): September 20, 2018

Cover artist: Stacey Blake @ Champagne Book Design

Order here:

Amazon (this is the universal Amazon link): http://geni.us/TheHeights

iBooks (universal iTunes link): http://geni.us/TheHeightsApple

Kobo: http://bit.ly/TheHeightsKobo

B&N: http://bit.ly/TheHeightsBN 

Book blurb:

Twenty-one years ago, a four-year old child was kidnapped from his front yard. He was never found. Until now.

All Nat Walker wants is to make his late father’s dream of running a father/son woodworking shop come true. And he had the perfect building in mind—until the new guy in town came in and bought the place right out from under him. The fact that the new guy is adorable means nothing. For all Nat cares, he can take his new dance studio and waltz back to New York City.

Professional dancer Quinn Carroll couldn’t be happier that he made the move to the small town of Lakeshore, Oregon. Sure, it’s not New York, but now he’ll be living closer to his adoptive brother. And since his studio will be the only one in the area, he should get enough business to keep him busy. Besides, there’s something about this place that seems familiar…

He doesn’t expect to fall hard for the local, grumpy woodworker who won’t even smile at him.

Or find out that his entire life is a lie.

Length (Print & Ebook): approx. 75,000 words, or 320 pages

Subgenre: m/m contemporary romance

Reader warnings: one of the main characters suffers from panic attacks

Teaser:

“I was a science nerd,” Nat said, sorting through a pile of art prints. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Quinn give him a once over. Nat knew he looked disheveled. The wind had thrown his hair into disarray, he likely had coffee breath, and the caramel-colored sweater Quinn liked so much had come out of the emergency clothes pile at the back of his dresser because he hadn’t had time to do laundry in days.

“You were not a science nerd,” Quinn retorted. “There’s no way. But you were a jock.”

“I was that too,” Nat agreed. “Who says I can’t be both?”

“Everybody I went to high school with?”

Nat smiled at him. “Well, we breed them differently here in the Pacific Northwest.”

Quinn gave Nat’s body another once over. “Clearly.”

“Physics was my specialty.”

“Oh, blech! That’s the worst of the sciences.”

“It’s actually the funnest,” Nat countered. “I got to build a roller coaster in senior year.” He led Quinn to the next tent over, where various little handmade wool felt animals and insects were on display.

A small, fat caterpillar with big, green eyes caught Nat’s attention. He picked it up, ripped apart the velcro on its underside and—cool! It morphed into a butterfly. He handed it to Quinn.

“Oh, cute!”

“What was your favorite subject in school?” Nat asked him.

“Drama,” Quinn said, re-caterpillaring the butterfly. He grinned and turned the caterpillar into a butterfly again. Caterpillar. Butterfly. Caterpillar.

Was there some kind of toy Nat could make him that would get Quinn to smile at him just like that? Like he was enchanted with the world and Nat in particular? He seemed to delight in the smallest of things. Nat wanted to give him something that would make him happy.

See? He could do this, let someone in.

“Oh hey, what did you win at the ax throwing contest?”

Nat fished in his pocket. “You’ll love it,” he said and handed it over. It was a key chain with a tiny Thor’s hammer.

“Ooh. I am Thor, god of thunder,” Quinn said in an atrocious Australian accent. “Hear me roar.” He bopped Nat on the shoulder with the hammer and made sounds of explosions.

Nat laughed. “Come on, Thor.” He put his arm around Quinn’s shoulders and had to resist the urge to kiss his temple. “Let’s go ride the Ferris wheel.”

 

About Amy Aislin:

Amy started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head. Based in the suburbs of Toronto, Amy is a marketer/fundraiser at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night. Book enthusiast, animal lover and (very) amateur photographer, her interests are many and varied, including travelling, astronomy, ecology, and baking. She binge watches too much anime, and loves musical theater, Julie Andrews, the Backstreet Boys, and her hometown of Oakville, Ontario.

Connect with Amy Aislin:

Website: https://amyaislin.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amyaislin/

Twitter: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/amyaislin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amy.aislin

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AmyAislinAuthor

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ddvWFv

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amyaislinauthor/

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/amyaislin

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16693566.Amy_Aislin

Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/amyaislin   

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/amy-aislin/

LoveRomanceReads: https://www.loveromancereads.com/amyaislin.html

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/amy-aislin

Giveaway

 

Win a fantastic The Heights prize pack: signed paperback, one of a kind art print, and a set of wooden star ornaments.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c8c1c6415/

 

Book Blitz and Giveaway for Sugar Fighter (Sugar Daddies #1) by Charity Parkerson

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 50 pages
 
Cover Design: Charity Parkerson
 
Sugar Daddies Series
 
Book #2 – Sugar Boss – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Sugar Bear – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Sugar Tycoon – Amazon US | Amazon UK 
Book #5 – Sugar Dom – Amazon US | Amazon UK – Out September 24
Book #6 – Sugar Bastard – Amazon US | Amazon UK – Out October 8


Blurb

Zeke is the older man. The richer man. The man who plans to give Korey the world.

As MMA’s Light Heavyweight champion, Zeke’s million-dollar matches and multi-million-dollar sponsorships have given him the freedom to do whatever he likes. It pleases him to spoil Korey. Before Zeke’s best friend Charlie was deployed two years ago, he made Zeke swear he’d care for his brother Korey if anything happened to him. When Charlie is killed by a roadside bomb, Zeke takes the young college student in, determined to give him everything he requires to succeed. He never expects to end up hoping he can keep Korey under more than his roof. He needs Korey beneath him.

If Korey had been in his right mind after Charlie’s death, he would’ve turned down Zeke’s offer. By the time he realizes his mistake, he’s already addicted to Zeke’s powerful presence. He never meant to end up dependent on the man’s smiles and hot glances. The money, Korey could live without. The man has him hooked. There’s only one problem—neither man wants to cross the line from friends to lovers, ruining what they have.

Sugar Fighter is a short introduction to a new series by Charity Parkerson, Sugar Daddies. This series will feature male/male May/December romances where the men are hot, rich, naughty, and don’t like to be told no.

Author Bio
 

Charity Parkerson is an award winning and multi-published author with several companies. Born with no filter from her brain to her mouth, she decided to take this odd quirk and insert it in her characters.

* Seven-time Readers’ Favorite Award Winner
*2015 Passionate Plume Award Finalist
*2013 Reviewers’ Choice Award Winner
*2012 ARRA Finalist for Favorite Paranormal Romance
*Five-time winner of The Mistress of the Darkpath

Connect with her online:

Website: charityparkerson.com
Facebook: facebook.com/authorCharityParkerson
facebook.com/TheMenofSin
Twitter: twitter.com/CharityParkerso

 

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Book Blast – Unwrapping His Heart (Hearts on the Line #1) by Karrie George (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Unwrapping His Heart (Hearts on the Line, #1)

Author: Karrie George

Publisher: Little Storm Press

Cover Artist: Madelynne Ellis

Release Date: August 23, 2018

Genre/s: MM romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 76 000 words    

A standalone book, but the first in a series

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

Matt is sexy, single, and fabulous. His career at a fancy magazine is going from strength to strength. He has great friends, a nice flat, and a healthy bank account. Life is wonderful.

In truth, Matt is unhappy. Convinced he’s not worthy of love, he flits from club to bar, in search of temporary amnesia from the demon on his shoulder that tells him he’s never going to find “the one”. Which is ironic, because his heart already belongs to the one man he knows he can never have—his straight best friend, Zeke.

Zeke has always dated women. He can’t fathom why he’s so upset about Matt’s latest lover, the wildly successful and attractive Dieter, but refuses to accept that he’s jealous, because to do that, he might have to do some soul-searching of his own.

Meeting Dieter turns Matt’s ordered life on its head, and opens Matt’s mind to the possibility that he can make a meaningful connection. However, to take a gamble on love, Matt has to learn to trust people with his secrets. And, more importantly, to overcome his shame regarding the one part of him he refuses to change. If he can’t – or won’t – learn to love himself, it’s doubtful anyone else will see the real man behind the mask.

The only question is whether he’s brave enough.

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Kobo 

B&N 

Excerpt

The hairs on the back of his neck lifted; he was coming closer. The thick carpet muffled his steps, but Matt’s internal compass had apparently shifted and now only had one direction.

Sørensen didn’t speak as he approached, and Matt didn’t move from his position, concentrating furiously on a Porsche as it made several attempts to parallel park. Then his breathing hitched as a hand landed on his shoulder.

“I think you should call me Dieter.”

“Okay.” It was an effort to force the two syllables out. Still neither of them moved. The air between them crackled and Matt swallowed. He wasn’t imagining it now; Sørensen – Dieter – was interested. He raised his eyes a fraction and risked checking the reflection in the glass. Before he could process anything, he was suddenly moving, then his back was pressed against the window as a mouth came down on his and his vision blurred.

Dieter kissed without mercy, his lips hot and hard and insistent. Matt barely had time to register that he tasted of mint before a tongue demanded entry, forcing rather than coaxing, and any resistance he might have summoned crumbled under the assault. He moaned and his head fell back, at the same time as his hands rose to grip the lapels of Dieter’s suit jacket to tug him closer.

A hand grasped the back of his head and strong fingers raked through his hair. Matt responded by sliding his arms under Dieter’s jacket and clawing at the fine material of his shirt, desperate to find skin. Pulling back suddenly, Dieter tore off the offending jacket, letting it drop to the floor, then did the same with Matt’s leather one, before mashing their mouths together once more. He ground into Matt, every roll of his hips sparking nerve endings that screamed for release as the pressure grew.

Matt didn’t usually kiss much. Frantic gropes in the dark corners of clubs didn’t lend themselves to more than getting off as quickly as possible, and he wasn’t yet sure he was in the market for romance, but something about the way Dieter tried to consume him was addictive. He couldn’t get enough. Air wasn’t necessary; getting more of everything, was. He realised he’d moaned again, and the noise evidently pleased Dieter. “Let me get you off,” he murmured, “are you close?”

Matt was close, too close. He turned his head suddenly, smacking it against the cool glass. Releasing his hold on Dieter, he pressed the heel of one hand against his groin, then used the other as a shield, palm up against Dieter’s chest. He could feel the galloping heartbeat under his fingers and the thought that Dieter was similarly affected pleased him.

“Gissa moment,” he choked out, willing his erection to subside enough to allow him to think.

To his credit Dieter didn’t crowd him, but his eyes were puzzled. “You don’t want to come?”

Matt laughed, a small, pained sound. “Yeah, but not in my clothes.”

Dieter smiled. “We can rectify that simply. But I think perhaps we are the same size. It would have been no trouble to lend you something. Come to bed with me, Matt.” He tipped forward and pressed their foreheads together gently, a direct contrast to his previous full-on attack. “You do want to?”

“Fuck, yeah. But not tonight.”

“Because?”

Because if we do that, you’ll think I’m a fucking weirdo and ditch me before we get as far as the bed. “You took me by surprise. Also, it’s not very professional if I’m going to be working for you.”

About the Author  

Karrie George considers caffeine the most important food group. She’d like to think of herself as delightfully eccentric, but has grudgingly accepted that “socially awkward weirdo” is nearer the mark. Books and music have been the backdrop to her life so far, and she sees no reason for this to ever change.

Karrie lives in the wilds of Scotland with a long-suffering spouse and several children. The voices in her head are great at encouraging her to leave the dust bunnies in favour of playing with plot bunnies. Possibly unrelated, she owns a number of pristine dusters.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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Review Tour and Giveaway for Lucky by Garrett Leigh

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 70,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

Dominic Ramos is a Premiership football player with a secret. There are no trophies for being gay in his game. Locked into his rep as the meanest defender on the pitch, keeping his secret is soul-crushing, but love has no place in his sport, even if his soft heart craves it.


Lucky Coleman is on his knees when he meets a man with more money than sense. It’s a Grindr hook-up for cash, not a love match, but dreaming of his desperate, kind eyes earns a place amongst his numerous bad habits.


Meeting once was risky, twice pushes Dom’s courage to the limit. Losing Lucky seems inevitable, but his tight grip on his image counts for nothing when Lucky starts to fall.


Catching him could cost Dom everything, but if he can set his heart free, getting Lucky long term might be a risk worth taking.

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.


Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.


When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.


Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.


Website: http://www.garrettleigh.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

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