A MelanieM Review: A Taste Of Agapi by Chris Ethan

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A sweet, Greek romance that will hook you from start to finish.

Jimmy has a secret.

But when he meets Ren, he can no longer hide it.

Ren is an adventurous comic-book nerd.
He transfers to Thessaloniki, Greece in an attempt to find his place in the world.
What he gets is more than just an escape from his academic family.

Jimmy is a hard working man.
After losing his mother, he has put his heart and soul into finishing his studies and helping his dad through his financial difficulties.

When he is introduced to Ren, Jimmy initiates him into the coffee-and-chill culture of his Greek city.

But something awakens in both of them. Something neither can tame.

Can the two boys be more than just friends?

And what is that feeling called? That feeling they can’t seem to shake off?

A Taste of Agapi is a sweet, low-angst, coming-out romance with some swearing, a little bit of geekiness, a lot of Greek culture and a happy ever after.

If you read that last sentence of the blurb above basically my review is written for me.  All that is true.  Review done.  Shortest review ever!  Excerpt that A Taste Of Agapi by Chris Ethan also opens a window into Thessaloniki, Greece. We meet its people with its infinite variety, dive into Greek culture through its food, language, politics, family life, and yes, monuments.  We even get to travel into parts of collegiate life with Ren when we attend classes with him.  No, A Taste of Agapi is a treasure trove and love letter to Greece and the Greek people with it’s honesty about its issues (the elements of racism, homophobia, intolerance) that high unemployment and an economic slump has seen increased as well.  We still want to travel there, share in the love and joy of those we will meet eating and celebrating in their neighborhood bars and seaside establishments, hoping for the same welcome that Ren was lucky enough to find with Jimmy and his friends.

Ethan’s characterizations are marvelous.

Warm, layered portraits of people that you not only want to meet but might recognize anywhere.  Funny, flawed, fierce, and loving, these are young men and women at that most bright and precarious stage of their lives.  Coming into adulthood, finding themselves, figuring out futures, and just being young.  Chris Ethan captures it all and does it while making them genuine Greek youth navigating the peculiars of Greek society.  In this case, it’s the very real fear of what coming out will do to you and those around you in a culture that sees it as something not only to be reviled but criminal, the laws only now changing.  No, this is not liberal Europe or the US.

The relationship between Ren from England (and a more liberal culture) and Jimmy (definitely not out in a hostile one) still manages to be sweet, questioning, and romantic.  It also feels entirely real.  It’s very easy to connect with these two as they try to figure out what they feel about each other, what they are doing with each other (virgins), and  all the conflicting issues they face, each other’s cultures not withstanding.  Huge questions that face these young men in such a short time together.

Therein lies my one issue with this story.

It’s really only half of a book.  It ends exactly where the other half of the book should start.  That keeps this story from being a 5 star read for me.  It almost took it down to a 4 (that and a element with 2 brothers and a uncle that petered out to nothing, not that I’m complaining).

No, it’s that we need the rest of this story.  I can only hope that the author is hard at work writing it.  This couple and the readers deserve to know how it all plays out.  Until then, travel to Thessaloniki, Greece in A Taste Of Agapi by Chris Ethan for a sweet coming out romance you will thoroughly love.

Cover art:  Tiferet Designs.  Gorgeous cover with the White Tower of Thessaloniki in the background, one of the many monuments that Jimmy took Ren to.  Love it.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 190 pages
Published September 26th 2018 by Chris Ethan Gay Romance
ASINB07GTK9MP2
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Love and Lint Rollers by Kaje Harper

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Even with six beloved cats at home, Thom Fletcher can’t help opening his heart to a little injured stray he finds at Pride. Luckily, the generosity of the veterinarian who helps him means he doesn’t have to open his wallet. Thom’s budget is stretched pretty thin, between his struggling start-up and medical expenses for his Crohn’s disease, so the free cat care helps a lot. Thom may have fallen for the little feline, but he’s also intrigued by the attractive vet in the bi-pride bracelet.

Dean Edwards went to Pride with his colors on his wrist, hoping to find community after his divorce. Instead, he’s pulled into a cat rescue by an appealing man. Dean likes Thom’s kindness to strays, his blue-gray eyes, his intelligence, and his perspective from decades as an out gay man. Maybe with Thom, Dean will finally feel able to explore his long-neglected attraction to men.

They’re not a perfect match. From Dean’s cat-hating dog to Thom’s chronic health issues and preferences in bed, going from a casual date to something more will be a challenge for both of them.

I don’t know when I last read a story with so many elements that stood out as remarkable and yet still folded nicely into a heartwarming romance in the end as the ones in Love and Lint Rollers by Kaje Harper.   First the characters are older which I really appreciated, one in his early fifties, with all that means emotionally, mentally, and baggage wise.  Thom Fletcher has the added complications of Crohn’s Disease, something that has drastically affected his health and his love life (no anal sex to be explicit). Harper addresses life with Crohn’s through Thom and we see all stages of the disease and its effects on his life and relationships.  For some readers it might not be enough information. For others too much.  We definitely learn a lot about life lived with this illness and its tight restrictions.  And how not to give up as well.

The character of Thom is someone I just loved and understood, even if I wanted to given him a shake or two.  If you have ever known anyone who has or had had serious illnesses, then you know how their focus can or sometimes must narrow down to dealing with their own health issues, especially if they have been doing so over a length of time.  And doing it on their own.  Letting someone else in is hard and Harper shows that realistically.  Especially with a diseases such as Crohn’s.  Portraying Thom’s shame, fear, and belief that no one will ever stay with him because it’s too hard will ring true with all readers who will emphasize with this man.

Dean Edwards too is dealing with past issues, coming out at his age, overcoming the emotional restrictions his deceased parents placed on him that still effect him.  I really liked Dean and believed in his internal battles and choices he was making.  As well as his love of his animals and Thom. Oh, and Dean is a vet with years of medical experience behind him which helps when one has many animals and other issues.

Ah, the animals!  Cats Gin, Snap, Buster, Louie, Onyx, Salem, and Cinder.  Plus elderly but still fierce dog Tig.  All with their huge roles to play in Thom’s life, this couple’s relationship, and in the story. And of course, the reader’s heart’s they wind and twine their way into.

There is a lesbian couple with a bestie half with tendencies to want to control Thom’s life.  That was a character i found irritating, probably realistic as there are always people like that in RL who believe that they know better than another person what path that person’s life should take. That they do it out of love doesn’t make it any less controlling. That you as a reader want Thom to have this person back off?  Well, it means that Harper has done her job and written this bestie so believably we have become put off by their behavior.  Well done.

For me, I might have wished for a little less of the Crohn’s, and  a little more of Thom and Dean together at the end with the menagerie for Love and Lint Rollers by Kaje Harper to fulfill all the promise I had hoped for. But honestly?  It came so close I’m not complaining.  I loved it.  And think you will to.  Especially if you love cats as well.  I highly recommend this!

Cover Art is adorable.  At first I thought the models were too young.  Still wavering on that.  But Thom is remarked to look more like in his 40’s than the early 50’s he is and I loved the cats.  More cats.  Where is Louie?

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: October 9th 2018 by Kaje Harper
ISBN139780463646465
Edition Language English

A Free Dreamer Review: SYN Consulting (Dragon War Chronicles #1) by A.G. Carothers

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Continue to hide or help save the very kin she’s hidden from?

Welcome to SYN Consulting, the top business strategy consulting firm in Europe, home to a motley crew whose leader has a life changing secret. CEO, Danica Lestrange, is the first female dragon born in the last 800 years. Hidden from the rest of her kin and raised in the human world, she built a life that she would defend until her death.

A devious plan is unearthed while working on a new business deal that could plunge the dragons into another war with the humans. The humans may have forgotten the last dragon-human war, but the dragons have not. Will the war reveal this hidden world to the humans, or will the clans come together to defeat their enemies and maintain their anonymity?

Danica must gather her allies and help the very dragons she’s hidden from her whole life. She can only hope that she’ll be strong enough to protect her chosen family.

This is the first book in a new series about dragons who want nothing more than to live in peace, but refuse to be subjugated. In war there’s also love, and love is blind. Love doesn’t care about gender, race, species (in this case), or sexuality.

Warning: This book contains explicit sexual content between consenting adults. The sexual scenes are MM, MF, and MMF. There are romantic relationships depicted that are MM. There is also a high level of explicit language, snark, kink, and possibly bad puns and fart jokes.

First of all, I can’t believe “SYN Consulting” ended where and how it did. That’s one hell of a mean cliffhanger!! If that’s something you don’t like, you might want to wait for part 2 of the series, which is supposed to come out in November.

Now, the relationships in this book are seriously complicated and everybody seems to be involved with everybody on some level. So I’ll just limit myself to the sex scenes we get in this book. For the first half or so, there are lots and lots of explicit MF sex scenes, mostly told from Danica’s POV. Then we get one explicit MFM and one explicit MM scene, although it’s implied that this happens all the time.

It’s been many years since I read explicit MF sex scenes and I don’t remember them being this hot. Seriously, there’s a lot of sex in this book and it’s all always hot to read. It does give it a bit of a porny feel, especially for the first half.

The world of “SYN Consulting” is fascinating. This isn’t exactly the first dragon-shifter book I’ve come across, but it is the first one to make the dragons aliens and not supernatural creatures. I thought that was a really interesting idea, even if the dragons have lived on earth for many millennia. The world building was surprisingly well done, considering the plentiful sex in the first half. There’s some intriguing groundwork that will hopefully be expanded in future books.

I often have issues with female protagonists, especially if they’re romantically involved with men. But I really liked Danica. She’s damn bad-ass. Kudos for giving her her own Ducati. I like a girl who rides her own bike! She’s strong and independent, but also snarky and quite funny. And very intelligent. Oh, and she has awesome, meaningful tattoos! A strong female lead in the truest sense of the word.

The guys in the book were great too. The second half felt a little cluttered with the many POVs we get, though. I sometimes had trouble keeping Matt and Xander apart.

Long story short, “SYN Consulting” is a great Science Fantasy book, set in the near future. It felt longer than it’s 260 pages, but in a good way. I really can’t wait for the next part after that cliffhanger. A little less porn and a little more plot in the first half would have been nice, though.

The cover is gorgeous. Those eyes are mesmerizing!

Sales Links:

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2xXrAoK

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2IoModj

AMAZON CA: https://amzn.to/2DN97l0

 

Book details: Kindle Edition, First Edition, 260 pages

Published August 17th 2018 by A.G. Carothers

An Alisa Review: Ginger and the Wolf by Kerry McBoyd

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Mark Cross is a junior in college working to pay his way through college while forgetting his troubles by partying and hooking up. He meets Scott and finds himself falling head over heels for a wealthy man who couldn’t be any further from his rural background. The mutual attraction is instant, but Mark, unwilling to put himself in a position where his heart is on the line, finds ways to bring up their upper-crust/working-class differences to torpedo their budding romance.

Scott Nolan feels old, even though he’s just thirty-four. Meeting Mark reinvigorates him and gives him a new sense of purpose. After a series of men who were only interested in his wealth and family background, he finally meets a man who doesn’t care about the family he comes from—in fact, Mark seems ready to blow everything up because he thinks they could never overcome their class differences. Scott must fight to show Mark that he doesn’t care about who has how much money, and what matters above all is that they could build something more together outside the bedroom.

Okay, so this wasn’t a bad story but wasn’t great either.  Scott enjoys spending time with Mark but Mark always tries to find an ulterior motive or negative view since he can’t believe that Scot would want him for him.

Mark is so stubborn, I feel bad that he make Scott feel bad for just being a good guy and not listening.  Scott did jump the gun a bit but he doesn’t overstep by any means.  I thought there was a lot of emphasis on Scott’s family and money but we never saw them and only his everyday life.  I was glad that they were able to work things out because I think they both need someone to lean on at times.

I like the cover art by Natasha Snow it gives a nice visual of Scott.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 27,800 words

Published: September 3, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949340-62-4

Edition Language: English

RBTL Blog Tour for Heart Untouched (Hearts Entwined #3) by Andrew Grey (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Heart Untouched
Author: Andrew Grey
Series: Hearts Entwined Book 3
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Release Date: Oct 9 2018
Edition/Format: 1st Edition/Format ~ eBook & Print

Blurb/Synopsis:
A Hearts Entwined Novel
An accident crushed Duncan’s Olympic dreams and landed him in a chair, but he knows it’s time to get his life back on track—and he has a plan in mind. Working with his friend Todd, an Olympic skeleton racer, on a promotional campaign will not only help Duncan regain some direction, but it’ll give Todd the financial boost he desperately needs. The sport Todd loves is draining his resources—so much so that he’s thinking of giving up racing just to make ends meet.
As the two men work together, their friendship blossoms into much more, and suddenly the future is looking brighter than it has in a long time. But just when love, happiness, and success seem within their grasp, the USOC steps in with plans to stop their campaign. That’ll mean an end not just to Duncan’s business, but to Todd’s dreams… and Duncan isn’t about to let that happen to the man who means everything to him.

BLOG TOUR Craft Brew (Trouble Brewing #2) by Layla Reyne (with teaser and giveaway)

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Craft Brew (Trouble Brewing #2) by  Layla Reyne

Release Date: E-Book and Audio – October 8;   Paperback – October 30

Publisher: Carina Press

Buy Links: 

Carina: http://bit.ly/2luKFZr

AMZ: https://amzn.to/2NVKiUB

UBL: https://books2read.com/craftbrew/

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Layla Reyne here today on tour for the latest story in the Trouble Brewing series, Craft Brew!

About Craft Brew

Assistant US attorney Dominic Price is staring down the barrel of his father’s debts. The bull’s-eye on his back makes him a threat to everyone he cares about, so when his lover wants to go public with their relationship, he bolts. Not because he isn’t in love—he can’t stomach the thought of putting Cam in danger.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne is determined to figure out what trouble Nic is running from, but devastating news from home brings him back to Boston and to the cold case that has haunted his family for two decades. Shoving aside his pride, he calls Nic for help.

Together they search for answers, navigating the minefield of Cam’s past. But when they get too close to the truth, Cam must use every skill in his arsenal to save the man he loves…before it’s too late.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Excerpt/Teaser

“Move in with me.”

Four words that should have resulted in amazing sex round two.

Not that Cam had ever uttered those words before, but from what he understood, they usually brought a couple closer, including a celebratory tumble in the sheets. Perfect as he and Nic were already there, naked and sweaty from amazing sex round one.

Nic’s understanding, however, was apparently not the same as Cam’s. He stiffened in his arms one second and scrambled out of bed the next. Levering up, Cam braced a hand on the mattress and watched the giant cypress inked on Nic’s back sway with his mad dash to the bathroom.

“Never known you to run from an argument, Counselor!” Technically, they’d not been arguing, but Cam knew the start of one with Nic as well as he knew the other man’s taste. Arguing was what they did best, even better than sex.

“That’s not what I’m doing,” Nic hollered over the running water.

Cam flopped back onto the bed, staring at the ceiling. “Sure as fuck could have fooled me.”

Trouble Brewing Series

Imperial Stout

Craft Brew

Noble Hops  coming soon

 

 

About Layla Reyne:

Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs. Layla is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. She was a 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.

Author Links:

FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/216903272072959/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/layla-reyne

Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/laylareyne

Newsletter: https://www.laylareyne.com/signup

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/laylareyne/

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

FB: https://www.facebook.com/laylareyne/

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/laylareyne

Giveaway

Giveaway: Win 1 of 2 e-copies
of any back catalog book by Layla Reyne!

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Release Blitz and Giveaway – From The Ashes by C.M. Valencourt

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK – Exclusive to Amazon in Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 65,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: James @ Go On Write
 
Blurb
 

Hunter and Derek are at a fork in the road…


At their friend Justin’s funeral, once-best-friends Derek and Hunter meet again almost four years after their monumental falling out. Hunter kissed Derek, and Derek freaked out and chose a college on the other side of the country.


If they had a choice, both of them would walk away and never see the other again. Except Justin has given them a mission: an epic road trip to scatter his ashes all over the Midwest, complete with cryptic notes, new friends, and a whole lot of sexual tension. Can Derek and Hunter finish Justin’s road trip without ripping each other’s heads—or clothes—off?

 
Author Bio



C.M. Valencourt is a new m/m romance author. They started devouring queer fiction when they still had to smuggle it into their parents’ Catholic household, and dreamed of writing books about queer people finding love ever since. They like figure skating, ghost hunting shows, and Carly Rae Jepsen. You can find out more about their books and learn about upcoming releases at cmvalencourt.com.


Website: cmvalencourt.com
Twitter: twitter.com/cmvalencourt
Facebook: facebook.com/cmvalencourt

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Release Blitz and Giveaway for Lone Wolf by Anna Martin

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Length: 70,000 words approx.
 
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb



Jackson Lewis isn’t a typical werewolf. He isolates himself in a small town outside Spokane and dedicates himself to making his business—Lone Wolf Brewery—a success. If it leaves him little time for romance, he’s okay with that. His soul mate could be out there somewhere, but he isn’t actively looking.


So he’s in for quite the shock when he literally bumps into his soul mate—Leo Gallagher, an adorable, nerdy, vibrant music therapist who’s Jackson’s polar opposite.


But he’s human. And a man.


Jackson is straight—or at least he’s always assumed so. Though he can’t deny his attraction to Leo, it’s a lot for both of them to deal with.


While Jackson and Leo figure out what their future might hold, they face prejudice from both the human and werewolf communities—including a group of fanatics willing to kill to show humans and werewolves don’t belong together.


Author Bio


Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the southwest of England and now lives in the Bristol, a city that embraces her love for the arts. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.


Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything thatís put under her nose.


Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.


https://www.annamartin-fiction.com/
http://www.facebook.com/annamartinfiction
http://www.pinterest.com/annamartinficti/
http://instagram.com/missannamartin
http://www.twitter.com/missannamartin

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