A Lucy Release Day Review: The Kinsey Scale (Campus Connections #1) by CJane Elliott

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Life is good for Eric Brown. He’s a senior theater major, an RA for a freshman dorm, and has a great circle of friends. Single since sophomore year, Eric isn’t looking for love. But then Will Butler—fellow senior, co-RA, and the cutest guy Eric’s ever seen—walks into his dorm. Will has a girlfriend he sees off campus—a minor disappointment that becomes a major problem when a housing shortage causes Will and Eric to become roommates, and Eric is forced to witness Will’s hotness day in and day out. For protection, Eric asks Jerry, his ex-boyfriend, to pretend they’re still together. Jerry warns him it’s a stupid idea, but he reluctantly agrees.

Too bad it won’t save Eric from losing his heart.

Will Butler has never believed in himself. His dysfunctional family saw to that. Although Will has loved music since childhood, he’s never seriously considered pursuing it, and the person he’s dating doesn’t encourage him. Then he and Eric Brown become roommates, and everything changes. Eric believes in Will and his talent. He’s also gorgeous and playful and fast becoming Will’s best friend. And that’s not good, because Will is hiding some big things, not only from Eric, but from himself.

This novella (89 pages) does a good job of making me like both Eric and Will.  They are co-RA in a freshman dorm who, by some overcrowding of the college, end up having to room together.  The fact that Eric initially takes Will for a freshman and then has a little meltdown about it, “Uh, don’t take it personally.  I’m a drama queen on my best days” show how laid back Will is.  So it shouldn’t be a hardship for them to share a room, right? 

Together, they make a great RA team and they take it seriously.  They also get to be friends, even as Eric has a crush he hides due to Will having a girlfriend, Jesse, that he visits every weekend.  Will’s Texas drawl, his musical talent and his sense of humor all work together to make Eric fall even more.  In desperation, he calls on his friend and former boyfriend, Jerry, to act as his current boyfriend.  Jerry is a doll and with some bribery, agrees.  I have to say I loved both Jerry and Tyrone and hopefully they will be getting stories as well but I didn’t really see the point of the fake boyfriend being thrown in there.

“Only you could get three flaming queens like me, Jerry and Tyrone to have brunch in a sports bar.”  That’s the power of the likeability of Will.  As they get to know each other more, Eric is fighting his attraction, Will is spending less time with Jesse and more time with Eric, and we have the lovely Jerry there being awesome. Jerry is actually the one who tries to tell Eric that straight or not, Will has a thing for Eric. Which of course Eric doesn’t believe. A discussion about the Kinsey scale turns Eric’s preconceptions around a bit.

Since it is just a novella, there are things I wish had been fleshed out more.  Will’s right-wing, Trump supporting, homophobic, alcohol loving family is mentioned but no real background is given.  I’d loved to have known the why’s of the music vs economics in more detail.  This isn’t insta-love because they take their time becoming friends but I’d loved to have had more.  Just more.  That aside, I liked this one very much and I hope the series continues.

Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas. The cover was a little off for me.  It shows a shirtless man (Eric?) peeking out what appears to be a shower door as another man (Will?) is studying.  I didn’t get it – Will isn’t overly studious in the book, at least no more than Eric is – and Eric doesn’t flaunt himself throughout.  So was kind of a miss.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 89 pages
Expected publication: November 9th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07HPD6Z82

Series Campus Connections #1

A MelanieM Audio Review: Love You so Madly (Love You So Stories #2) by Tara Lain and Ry Forest (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

A Love You So story.

Ben Shane has it all…and he’d like to give some of it back. While he loves his job heading a foundation that funds worthy causes around the world, his engagement to one of America’s wealthiest men leaves him feeling more like a trophy wife than a valued partner. The first warning that his relationship might not be designed to last is his irresistible lust for Dusty Kincaid, the golden-haired, bright-eyed handyman for his company.

Though Dusty is odd for a 23-year-old – no liquor, no sugar, and he can’t even drive – the more Ben gets to know Dusty, the more he admires him. But is Ben going to give up a guy who drives a Ferrari for one who takes the bus?

He must be mad. Dusty knows he and Ben can never work. After all, Ben’s perfect…and Dusty isn’t. But Ben might surprise everyone with proof that he’s only mad in love.

If you love sweet contemporary MM romance, then here is a light-hearted story that is high on the warmth, feel goodery aspect and pretty much low on the angst.  It’s also on the short side, so if you are new to the experience of listening to novels in the audioformat, this is  just the right length for a first introduction.

Lain’s character of Ben Shane is someone we can all connect with.  Hardworking, Ben is totally invested in his job working with charities and finding investors to partner with them.  It’s rewarding work and he enjoys it, long hours and all.  Not so his wealthy, privileged fiance,Alan Ashland, who feels that Ben’s time should be spent with him, ala kept husband since Alan has more money he can spend in several lifetimes.  It doesn’t seem to matter what Ben is saying about the importance of his job or work, Alan doesn’t seem to be getting it.  Not a great thing with a wedding in the works.

I loved the character of Ben, he’s well defined, layered, and relatable.  Alan?  Well, he’s just about every rich boy stereotype rolled into one, and that may be accurate, as a person, he doesn’t come across as anything but less dimensional.  Probably intentionally as he’s not someone you  would want to spend time with.  The voice given to him by narrator Ry Forrest reinforces that impression perfectly of a spoiled rich young man with all the depth of a summer puddle on a 100 degree day.  Nope, not lidable at all.

Than there’s Dusty who comes with a  bit of a mystery.  It won’t take a genius for someone to figure out it’s medical but as I don’t do spoilers I won;t go further here.  Dustry is the polar opposite of Alan.  With a wide open personality, charming and fun, happy and easy to be around, Ben is quickly drawn to the man that is everything he needs and wants.

This romance drew me in as quickly as I connected to the men involved.  The contrast with Alan’s annoying appearances with Dusty’s interaction with Ben and, well, everyone around him, it was clear chemistry in the air. There is a riotous, strong woman at the center as well.  Adored her too. No, not Dusty’s mother.

If I had my concerns, it was bringing up a serious medical issues in a short story of this length.  I don’t believe you can adequately address it but Tara Lain    does a good job.

This story moves along quickly, there’s obstacles (because of course you have to have a few), and and absolutely lovely ending.  The original story is only 120 pages in all, so when  I say it goes by swiftly, it does.  The narrator, Ry Forest , does an excellent job with all the characters, different voices no matter the gender, and manages to sweep us along on this sweet emotional rollercoaster ride of a romance.

Cover Artist: Reese Dante.  I love this cover.  It’s in keeping with the branding for the series but it’s lightness and sweetness is in character for Dusty.

Sales Links:    Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 4 hours and 36 minutes

Audible Audio, 5 pages
Published September 14th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 29th 2018)
Original Title Love You So Madly
ASIN B07HB5VT9L
Edition Language English
Series Love You So Stories #2
setting California (United States)

A Lila Review: To Tame an Omega by Lisa Gray

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

In a non-shifting alpha/omega society, omegas have become so scarce, they’re sequestered at birth in isolated facilities.

Rafael Vargas, cyber expert, is an omega hiding in plain sight. At least until activists recruit him to hack an omega facility and rescue the children. He gets away clean until a prime alpha unwittingly hires him to trace the hack. With his precious freedom at risk, Rafael battles his instinctive attraction to the alpha.

Grant Tenereth, an alpha overseeing the omega facilities, is hell-bent on finding the kidnapped children. But from the moment he hires the fascinating but challenging Rafael, Grant finds himself questioning his rock-solid devotion to the rules. When he learns the man is an omega as well as a criminal hacker, he tries to do the right thing for the law, even if it isn’t the right thing for him. Or for the omega.

Grant struggles, trapped between duty and desire. Rafael aches for love but fears losing his independence. Will they realize before it’s too late that what they have isn’t just instinct? It’s everything.

To Tame an Omega is different than other Omegaverse stories. The author added a different spin, giving Betas a more important role. They are the real dividers between Alphas and Omegas, for good and back. There are also traditional events as the first heat, auctions, and socioeconomic characteristics.

The romance is more about lust and instinct. There are several miscommunication issues which give the story a good start. Te setup is interesting but some chapters and events felt a bit flat. I wanted more of everything.

Overall, the story has great potential but it fell short in the end. I really expected a better resolution.

The cover by Written Ink Designs is a simple representation of two generic characters, It could be the cover for any other story.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | iBooks

Book Details:
ebook, 101 pages
Published: October 6, 2018, by JMS Books
Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Sugar Cookies & Mistletoe by Kay Doherty

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Preston believed he would never find his mate. When he finally does, he’s in for a surprise. His mate, Dylan, is a rare omega wolf-shifter, but he’s still a child himself. Due to the unusual circumstances, the families agree to keep Preston and Dylan separated, only allowing monitored emails to be exchanged between them. Six years later, Dylan returns to the wolf-shifter town of Barton, and Preston. With Christmas just around the corner, it’s the perfect time for Dylan to meet the Callahan Pack, reunite with his mate, and figure out exactly what his omega status means for his future with Preston.

 

I feel like the minority here, but I really liked this story.  I knew it was going to be short, so there is only so far the story can go but these two are so cute with each other.  Preston and Dylan were pulled apart when Preston recognizes Dylan as his mate when he is too young.

 

These two have spent years looking forward to actually getting to really meet eat other and build a life together.  Yes, Dylan is innocent but he has pretty much been kept away from many others after an incident when he was attending school so he wants to be perfect for his mate.  Preston hopes his mate is willing to accept an older man when they see each other face to face.

 

We get to see their reunion and how wonderfully Preston takes care of Dylan in his time of need.  I loved seeing them a couple years on and how they are building a family together.

 

I like the cover art by Natasha Snow is great and will work for the other holiday stories that come out.

 

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

 

Book Details:

ebook, 11,600 words

Published: October 22, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949340-99-0

Edition Language: English

Release Blitz and Giveaway – Alpha Heat (Heat of Love #1) by Leta Blake

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Buy Links: Audible US | Audible UK
 
Narrated By: Michael Ferraiuolo
 
Length: 15hrs 22 mins
 
Heat of Love Series
 
Book #1 – Slow Heat – Audible US | Audible UK
 
Blurb



A desperate young alpha. An older alpha with a hero complex. A forbidden love that can’t be denied.


Young Xan Heelies knows he can never have what he truly wants: a passionate romance and happy ever after with another alpha. It’s not only forbidden by the prevailing faith of the land, but such acts are illegal.


Urho Chase is a middle-aged alpha with a heartbreaking past. Careful, controlled, and steadfast, his friends dub him old-fashioned and staid. When Urho discovers a dangerous side to Xan’s life that he never imagined, his world is rocked, and he’s consumed by desire. The carefully sewn seams that held him together after the loss of his omega and son come apart – and so does he.


But to love each other and make a life together, Xan and Urho risk utter ruin. With the acceptance and support of Caleb, Xan’s asexual and aromantic omega and dear friend, they must find the strength to embrace danger and build the family they deserve.


This gay-romance novel by Leta Blake is the second in the Slow Heat universe. It has a strong, happy ending and a well-crafted non-shifter omegaverse. It features alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. No cheating. Content warning for brief sexual violence.

 

https://player.vimeo.com/video/293826951

Alpha Heat Sample 1 from Leta Blake on Vimeo.

 

Author Bio


Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

 

Giveaway

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Love a Bit of Fun and the Unexpected? Check out ‘do you think we should’ve glued it first?: The Crazy Adventures of Cass & Star Episode I’ by Bobbie Rayne (excerpt)

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do you think we should’ve glued it first?: The Crazy Adventures of Cass & Star Episode I

by 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

Cassius is the new kid in town, so when trouble shows up at his door, and his father is kidnapped, he has no one to turn to. Luckily for him, Sterling steps up and offers to help, and before they know it, they’re both thrown into a world they don’t understand with some very dangerous enemies.

The worst part is they can’t figure out what’s going on with Cassius. Soon after his dad goes missing, Cassius begins to change; he starts having weird cravings and odd behaviors. Cass and Star are unsure of the cause, but they think it’s somehow related to the guys that are after them. Things keep getting stranger and stranger with no answers anywhere in sight.

Will they be able to set their differences aside and work together to figure out what’s going on with Cassius? Will they be able to find Cassius’s father in time? What do you think Cass could be? A vampire? Werewolf? Zombie?

Join Cass and Star on their crazy adventure in Episode I: do you think we should’ve glued it first?4

Excerpt:

Title: do you think we should’ve glued it first?
Series: The Crazy Adventures of Cass & Star Episode I
(unedited, subject to change, copyright © Bobbie Rayne)

Cassius~

He gave me a lingering look before scanning the mess I’d made. “Everything you tried tasted bad?”

I cringed. “Well, no.”

He waved his hand for me to continue.

I stifled a sigh. “The steak tasted good.”

“You cooked a steak?”

I hesitated for a few seconds before admitting to my crime. “Um… I didn’t cook it.”

He stared at me for a long time, just blinking away. “You… you ate it raw?”

I nodded.

“You ate an entire steak… raw?”

I winced a little at his tone. “Um… no.”

“So what? A few bites? Don’t you think that’s going to make you sick?”

“Actually, I ate all three steaks… raw.” I cringed and looked at him through squinted eyes, almost afraid of his reaction to my disgusting admission.

He just stood there doing that blinking thing.

After a few minutes, I whispered, “I’m sorry, Star. I couldn’t help it. I don’t know what came over me. I was just so hungry and my stomach was cramping and… I dunno. But I’ll pay you back. I’ll buy your mom new steaks tomorrow, okay? I’m really sorry, and I know it’s gross, but I couldn’t hel—”

“Cassius.” He said my name quietly, but his voice caused me to pause.

“I’m sorry.”

He lifted his hand and went to speak, but hesitated again. Finally, he took a deep breath and spoke, “You don’t need to apologize. And you don’t need to buy more steak, it’s fine. I’m just trying to… process it, and honestly, I’m trying not to puke from the thought of eating that.”

I wrinkled my nose. “I even drained the blood on the little trays.”

“Ulhhlh… come on, man.”

I lifted a shoulder. “Sorry. I think it’s gross too. I normally eat my steaks well, well done. Crispy or burnt, even.”

 

About the Author

Bobbie Rayne grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and still lives there today. She’s married to her very patient husband, and they have two amazing sons together, as well as two crazy dogs. She spends her time writing, driving her kids all over town, and helping run the PTA.
Her children are one of the reasons she loves YA so much, and one reason why she thinks it’s important to bring LGBTQ+ main characters into fiction. Writing YA has always been a dream of hers, and she truly believes that writing it is good for her soul. Her family means the world to her, but coffee might be high up on that list, too, so if you bring her some, you just might end up with a new best friend.

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/bobbie.rayne.9https://www.instagram.com/bobbierayne/

 

In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Rabi and Matthew by L.A. Witt

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Rabi and Matthew by L.A. Witt
Riptide Publishing
Cover By: Christine Coffee

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

 

 

 

About Rabi and Matthew

A queer retelling of Romeo & Juliet, except no one has to bury their gays.

A decades-old family rivalry is reaching a boiling point as the patriarchs vie for a seat in Congress. Democrat vs Republican, Muslim vs Christian, Hashmi vs Swain — the Midwestern town of Arbor Hills is one spark away from an explosion of violence. So when two men find themselves irresistibly drawn together at a party, only to discover they were born on opposite sides of a bloody battle line, Matthew Swain and Rabi Hashmi know they should leave well enough alone.

The pull between them is magnetic, though, and it’s too strong to ignore. Unable to resist, they meet again in secret. Generations of hatred can’t temper the passionate love growing between them, but two men falling for each other in the middle of a war zone can’t hold back the inevitable clash.

And when decades of political, religious, and personal strife finally come to a head, there will be blood.

Now available from Riptide Publishing.

 

About L.A. Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .

Connect with L.A.:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Rabi and Matthew, one lucky person will win a $10 Riptide gift card. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 10, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Cover Reveal for Nomad’s Dream by August Li

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Title: Nomad‘s Dream

Author: August Li

Release Date: January 29, 2019

Category: Paranormal

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback
Blurb:
Two men, each with a hidden destiny. Can they defeat a web of deceit and dark magic to ensure their fates intertwine?
Bedouin Isra al-Grayjaab’s dreams lead him to Janan, an amnesiac beggar on the street of Qena—one who steals his heart and starts him on a seemingly hopeless quest. With only their wits, Isra’s knowledge of the desert’s secrets, and the aid of a mercurial djinn, they must recover Janan’s past. But neither can predict his true identity or the lengths others will go to see that his mind remains broken and his true power out of his reach.
In a sweeping romantic adventure that takes them across the Eastern Desert to the modern streets of Cairo and on to the luxurious Red Sea Coast, Janan and Isra seek a truth that will either bring them into each other’s arms or tear them apart forever.

Pages: 200

Author Bio:
August Li plays every game as a mage. He thinks the closest thing to magic outside of games and fantasy is to bring things into existence from nothing, which he does in words and images. As a proud trans man, he hopes to bring diversity and representation to all those who want to see themselves in the art and stories they enjoy. He’s a perfectionist, travel enthusiast, and caffeine addict.
Gus makes his home on the coast of South Carolina, where he spends his days in search of merpeople, friendly cats, and interesting pieces of driftwood. He collects ball-jointed dolls, tattoos, and languages. He believes in faeries and thinks they’re terrifying… but still wants to meet one.
Fox-Hat’s Den on Facebook: www.facebook.com/FoxHatsDen/
Twitter: @Ninja_Gus