Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
Published March 19th 2019 by Erin McLellan
Edition Language English
Series Farm College :
Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Vincent Yang is thankful to David, his best friend, for being a nosy matchmaker. David introduces him to Anthony Lim, and there’s an instant attraction and chemistry between them. Not only is Anthony good-looking and sexy, the man is also the successful owner of a popular bakery. Vincent agrees to a date with Anthony without any hesitation.
One date leads to another, and before he knows it, the two of them are officially together. They have so much in common, especially when they find out about both their respective families being less than pleased about their sexual orientation. Their relationships with their families take a turn for the worse a few days before Lunar New Year. Now, both of them have no families to celebrate the holiday with. It’s both heart-breaking and stressful.
Can Vincent and Anthony’s relationship survive the holiday season?
I really was hoping for good things from this book. One, it had a new author, then a storyline full of elements that called out to me. Ah, well, it was not to be. Lunar New Love by Casper Graham showed such promise as a synopsis yet just didn’t deliver as a contemporary romance.
There are things I enjoyed. Insight into Chinese family dynamics, which I have made journeys through via other authors. Here they felt just as authentic and painful in the cold rejection that Vincent and Anthony have felt as they came out to their traditional Chinese families. Also wonderful? All the Chinese customs and traditions followed for the Lunar New Year, and the history behind them. Even if they often felt as though we were being given a history lesson, it was no less interesting because of that factor.
It did, however, make the dialog seem ever more painful, stilted, and unreal between Vincent and Anthony or Tony. The latter who’s name swapped back and forth while alternating with “baby” and “stud”. I could never figure out who was calling who what names. That dialog really sunk this story for me. Especially as dialog figures largely when not having descriptively visual sex (“Vincent was on him like a beast”). These men were 28 and 32 in age yet they spoke as if they were teenagers or almost tweens. That was the level of immaturity in their wording and sentences. Except of course when Anthony was explaining something about the Lunar New Year customs to Vincent then he came off like a professor. That was totally out of character , a real disconnect for someone who more often sounded like a highschooler. Then he made a switch to appearing as he was teaching a class on ancient Chinese religions. A really startling change in dialog for that character. It would have been more in line with his age had he spoke like that all along with no, just when certain Chinese cultural elements needs to be trotted out for the readers enlightenment (and Vincent’s).
There is also a case of instant, and I do mean instant love by the first date and moved into the apartment by week three. Even by instant love standards, this is quick!
Unfortunately, for me there is so much that just missed the mark here, from the dialog to the romance to the characterizations. Which is a shame because framed around Chinese families and the Lunar New Year the promise it held out was so tempting and lovely.
Cover art full of red with the handsome Chinese models and characters works.
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
There’s so much to enjoy each time I pick up a book by Victoria Sue—depth of character, complexity of story, amazing secondary characters, and a well-planned plot, usually with lots of mystery and drama. This book did not disappoint.
Mav Delgardo can’t seem to come to terms with the loss of his foot and consequently the loss of his career as a USAF helicopter pilot. Wallowing in a bottle, sleeping in his sister’s spare room, it’s not until she needs his help to guard a former musician that he manages to pull himself together. Deacon Daniels (real name Danny) was a teen idol until a scandal resulting in the death of a woman and her child brings his career crashing down. Add to that the fact he’s lost custody of his two-year-old niece, for whom he was named guardian when his brother died, and a stalker is now out to get him, and it’s a wonder the young man doesn’t give up.
Mav is entranced by the real Danny and realizes there’s no way the news reports and gossip sheets have any inkling of what the young man is really like. And Danny sees Mav, beyond the scars on his face and torso and his artificial foot, Danny reacts to the person who cares about others and desperately wants to be needed and find his place in life after the loss of his career. The two become close as those involved in perpetrating the scandal that destroyed Deacon’s career are murdered and the stalking and threats increase.
It’s not until the two start to hope for a brighter future that the situation takes a turn for the worse and it looks like Danny won’t have a future at all if the murderer has his way. I really enjoyed the action in this story. The story was interesting, the characters well-developed, and the mystery intriguing. When the murderer is revealed there was still plenty of action and suspense and I had a hard time putting the book down.
Victoria Sue creates real characters with real feelings. I can rarely stay an arm’s length from getting caught up in their lives. This story is for those who want to experience second chances, hurt-comfort, lots of intrigue, and a couple who deserves a solid future together.
Cover by Jay Aheer is a clever blend of the MCs and the action of the story. Against the white shirt on the Maverick’s chest, the artist has superimposed a man in shadows, a large apartment building and an orange glow, depicting a fire or fires, something the mystery murderer uses in this story.
Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
You never forget your first love … especially when they cause you pain. Chase thought he was doing the right thing when he left Liam years earlier, but when he finds out he was wrong, it might be too late. The trust they once shared may be past the point of repair.
The Forever Kind of Love is a story of second chances that asks the question — is a good reason enough to wash away the years of hurt it caused? Chase comes home from the military ready to start his life with Liam. But he discovers Liam’s life has already started without him. Is there a place for him in it? Is the possibility of more pain worth the risk for Liam?
If that isn’t hard enough, they only have the week Chase is on leave to come to terms with their future. Can they find forever in seven days?
First off, the blurb is a little misleading. “…when he finds out he was wrong, it might be too late.” A bit inaccurate, since Chase’s plan from the beginning was exactly what he did. He never thought he was wrong, he just never bothered to consider things from Liam’s point of view.
I was worried when I started this book due to the length. While I love second chance tropes, I also need enough time and detail to make me want them to get back together and to really understand why they were apart. Forever Kind of Love is only 44 pages long and I didn’t get what I needed to make the story work.
Chase and Liam were in love, telling each other they were in love, and then Chase just up and leaves with no word, no message, no nothing for four years. Now he’s back and expecting Liam to open arms wide, take him back and then move the life he’s built in Chase’s absence to be with Chase, because Chase hasn’t left the military, which is where he went. It’s not really clear why the first four years were a turning point because even though Liam works for Chase’s mom at her art gallery, where he also shows his own art, Chase has never asked about Liam. We know this much because he was surprised Liam was showing his art work at the gallery, as well as not knowing that Liam no longer lived with his dad. No one knew about Chase and Liam back then, so Liam didn’t discuss it with mom either.
“And now it was time to finally go home and get his man.” He just shows up at his mom’s, where they happen to be throwing a party for Liam. He didn’t even do the courtesy of a phone call, a message, nothing. Then he is so shocked with Liam’s reaction because really, he didn’t bother with how Liam would have felt. “Just what? Explain what you were thinking? You didn’t think enough of me to explain at the time.” “Chase took a deep breath. This wasn’t going the way he planned.” There were so many WTF moments for me but I continued on, waiting for the groveling to happen. Which didn’t.
“Again, he’d known Liam would be mad about him just leaving, but he’d hoped that after four years some of that pain would’ve subsided.” What??? How does the pain subside when now Liam is faced with Chase, who has done absolutely nothing to make things better. Add in that it is really Chase’s mother who does the explaining to Liam and Chase gets no respect from me. Let’s also mention that throughout the book, Chase NEVER ONCE says he is sorry to Liam. Liam says sorry a few times but never Chase. Liam is still expected to give up his job, his house, his friends, his relationship with Chase’s mom as his boss, and with a day or two to decide, just move on. Chase doesn’t grovel at all during this time and for two days just mopes but makes no effort to clear up the mess he made.
The ending, which is supposed to make us feel good about them, just made me more aggravated with it. This is where the length of the book really worked against the author. We don’t get the sense at any point that Chase really loved Liam. Yes, the high handed reason for leaving (who knows why in four years he couldn’t be bothered to reconnect) is supposed to be for “Liam’s sake” but communication is more important and there is none. We are told that he loves Liam but nothing shows that he does. There needed to be more time between his return and the inevitable magical rekindling. “Did he really have a picture of Liam jumping up and proclaiming his undying love? Even after all Chase had done to hurt Liam? Yep, Chase did. Maybe I also needed to see how they were four years ago to make it seem like Chase really did love Liam and wasn’t just claiming him, as he says.
This is my first time reading this author and while this story absolutely was not for me, I would give her another try with a different type of story line.
Cover art, showing a naked male torso with dog tags, is simple but effective.
Queen City Rogues Series, Book 2
Aimee Nicole Walker
Release Date: 03.11.19
Ryder Jameson and Lucien Clarke have a complicated past: Ryder conserves art; Lucien steals it. Their love-hate relationship spans six years and two continents and has endured multiple heists. Hoping to restore his tarnished reputation, Ryder returns home to Cincinnati to accept a position at an acclaimed museum. When Lucien suddenly reappears in Ryder’s life, the treasure seeker hopes to nab a priceless Shang Dynasty artifact and recapture Ryder’s jilted heart.
Something more sinister than stolen art is stirring in the Queen City. Ryder and Lucien must join forces to untangle a web of secrets, lies, and treachery bigger than either of them expected. Trust won’t come easy, but they’ll need to rely on each other because pulling the wrong thread could have deadly consequences.
Is it fate that keeps bringing Ryder and Lucien together, or are they merely pawns in someone’s wicked games? Will they play for keeps this time or become collateral damage?
Wicked Games is a second-chance romance filled with passion, humor, and intrigue. It’s the second book in the Queen City Rogues series but can be read on its own. Wicked Games contains mature sexual content intended for readers 18 and older.
Ryder said nothing else until we arrived at the hotel. “Really? You’re staying inside a museum? Talk about irony. Do you steal the towels and robes from the luxury hotels before you scurry out of town? Is your urbane polish nothing but a veneer?”
Ryder knew fully well the ways my inner beast and baser needs could make a person forget all about the polish that had initially caught their attention. I’d never felt bad about using my looks, charisma, or my body to get what I wanted until I met Ryder. Then each day became one regret after the other until my life was nothing more than a cold existence. I recognized the same loneliness when I looked into Ryder’s stunning blue eyes. I couldn’t remember a time when I hated myself more.
“Come on,” Ryder said irritably. “I have things I need to do this evening.”
Rage and lust were such a heady combination, and it was all I could do to keep from pushing Ryder up against the lift wall and giving him the reunion we both so badly wanted. I didn’t speak to him, and I kept my hands in my pockets to prevent myself from reaching for him until we arrived at my hotel room. Don’t cross the line again. You’ve caused him enough pain.
“Are we doing this or not?” Ryder challenged when my hesitance became obvious.
Ever since she was a little girl, Aimee Nicole Walker entertained herself with stories that popped into her head. Now she gets paid to tell those stories to other people. She wears many titles—wife, mom, and animal lover are just a few of them. Her absolute favorite title is champion of the happily ever after. Love inspires everything she does, music keeps her sane, and coffee is the magic elixir that fuels her day. I’d love to hear from you.
A romantic story about two men with opposing life plans find a way back to each other.
Clean Break by Erin McLellan
Series: Farm College Series #2
Release Date (Print & Ebook): March 19, 2019
Subgenre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, College Romance, M/M
Warnings: explicit sex including mild kink; explicit language; instances and /or discussion of racism, homophobia, and transphobia; depiction of anxiety and OCD; consumption of alcohol; character with a deceased parent; lots of insects.
For more info about these warnings: http://smarturl.it/cleanbreakcws
Purchase here: Amazon
Connor’s To-Do List:
Travis’s To-Do List:
Travis and Connor do not like each other, but after being paired together in Entomology 101, their mutual hostility explodes into secret after-class hookups and unexpected feelings. With graduation looming near and their careers taking them in different directions, they’ll have to decide if a future together is worth adjusting their to-do lists and letting go of their carefully laid plans.
Teaser Excerpt #1:
My day had been going exactly as planned. I’d walked to all of my classrooms yesterday, so I knew the most efficient route to each. I’d woken up with enough time to iron my shirt and still get to my first class early. And I’d remembered quarters, so I could get a snack before said class started.
I’d also made three different lists last night, so I felt prepared for the day.
One for class materials:
A to-do list:
And, lastly, a list of goals for the week:
Travis Bradford was not on any of my lists.
Teaser Excerpt #2:
I was frozen, arms and legs heavy with desire or shock. I wasn’t sure which. I wanted Connor to keep kissing me, and I wanted him to stop right fucking now.
He must have sensed my unease because he pulled back and stared at me. My vision had adjusted to the dim light, so I could make out the muddy hazel of his eyes and the way his jaw ticked. He had faint acne scars on his cheeks that I’d never noticed, giving his face a rugged quality that was almost offset by all his adorable freckles.
“I’m sorry. I should have asked you first,” he said.
“It’s fine,” I whispered. My voice was shot.
“Can I kiss you again?”
This was the weirdest day. First, I’d discovered I was going to get a pet cockroach, and now the guy who I’d lost an entire semester pining after was asking permission to kiss me in a closet. There was a metaphor in there somewhere, but I was not in the right mind to analyze it.
I was curious. And he was sexy as all fuck. Maybe because he was so repressed and stoic? I wanted to be the one to unravel him.
“I suppose,” I said.
This time he sucked on my bottom lip, and my knees immediately went weak. He didn’t kiss like other guys. He kissed like he wasn’t totally sure of himself, and maybe it made me a jerk, but I wasn’t helping him out at all. I stood stock-still, and let him explore.
He kissed slowly around my mouth, his lips slipping against mine, almost reverently, and my head spun.
This was not a breath-stealing kiss. His tongue wasn’t stuffed so far in my mouth I couldn’t think. In fact, he hadn’t used his tongue at all. He captured my top lip, suckled lightly, then nibbled on it.
I couldn’t help it. I groaned and pulled him closer so our bodies touched. He pressed me into the door with an intensity that scared and excited me all at once. The back of my head ground into one of those plastic glowing stars.
“Shhh,” he mumbled, his mouth not leaving mine.
“Don’t shush me,” I snapped before gripping his face in both hands and biting his lip hard.
He grabbed my hands, ripped them off his cheeks, and pinned them above my head against the closet door.
We stared at each other, both breathing hard.
“I liked that,” he said. His voice was wary, as if he didn’t want to give too much away.
I wanted him to give everything away.
Teaser Excerpt #3:
“I’ve never done this before,” he whispered, stroking his thumb down my crack through my briefs. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“What feels right?”
I wasn’t sure if that made any sense, but my brain was full of static. I wasn’t with it enough to have this conversation coherently, not if he kept touching my ass like that.
He hummed and kneeled beside me on the bed, caressing and squeezing my butt until my eyelids drooped shut from the attention. I was practically purring.
As my body went boneless, he brought his hand down hard onto my left ass cheek. I gasped, a piercing sound that was as loud as his palm hitting my flesh. Then I thrust against the bed as the heat from his slap spread through me.
“Oh. Wow.” His voice was so awed that I almost rolled over so I could see it mirrored on his face, but before I could move, he spanked me again.
I shuddered and let him at me. He played for a while, alternating between spanking me lightly and gripping my ass, testing it like he was examining a piece of fruit at the grocery store. It made me feel dirty, but in the best possible way.
My briefs held the warmth from each smack close to my skin, and within minutes, I was humping the bed. Spanking usually made me hot, made me have to fight orgasm if my dick was touching literally anything at the same time. I craved it. The sharpness of the sting as it spread on my skin, the sound, the lift and jiggle of my ass—it all coalesced into one perfect moment.
“Don’t come yet,” he warned.
“I won’t.” Damn. Talk about a promise I wasn’t sure I could keep.
His hand came down with more force, right on the crease of my ass and thigh, and I ripped his bedding off the corner of the mattress. The pain knocked something loose in me, and I fell into that shiny place I craved but rarely reached, where everything was amplified.
“Harder. Connor, oh fuck.” He wasn’t giving me a break now, and I started to babble, my breath hitching. “So good. So good . . . Connor. Oh fuck, I want you so bad . . . Hated seeing David with his hands on you . . . Hated when he almost made you smile . . . Harder.”
About the Author:
Erin McLellan is the author of several contemporary romances, all of which have characters who are complex, goodhearted, and a little quirky. She likes her stories to have a sexy spark and a happily ever after. Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska and spends her time dreaming up love stories set in the Great Plains. She is a lover of chocolate, college sports, antiquing, Dr Pepper, and binge-worthy TV shows. Erin is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Alaska chapter.
Connect with Erin:
Giveaway: To celebrate the release of Clean Break, Erin McLellan is giving one lucky winner a choice of one of her back list titles (reader’s choice!) plus $5 Amazon gift card
Giveaway Code: <a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0386/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”88d45f0386″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_0wzjcl25″>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
Giveaway Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0386/
***Please note: To celebrate the upcoming release of Clean Break, the first book in the series, Controlled Burn, has been discounted to $0.99 (USD)!
Pick up this sexy, angsty m/m college romance now!
Miles Siward and Briers Allerdale return for another thrilling Jazz Age adventure .
“Silk stockings on expenses.”
Miles’s aristocratic mother has information of importance to the British Government and he must escort her home from Bucharest immediately, but their plans go violently awry and Miles and Lady Siward find themselves on a train to Belgrade – where Miles’s lover is posted. Since their pursuers are looking for a man and a woman, might two women slip past them unnoticed?
“Is anyone on this train who they say they are?”
Briers doesn’t know whether to kiss Miles or punch him but is delighted to accompany him and his mother on their journey. All he has to do is keep an eye open for their enemies – but who exactly are they; the enormous Russian, the sinister priest, the handsome jazz pianist, or maybe the winsome young movie star? And his mother-in-law might just be the most terrifying of all!
All aboard for the ride of a lifetime, with a cast of characters you’ll never forget!
Secret Intelligence service operative, Miles Siward, is preparing for a mission with the assistance of his gentleman’s gentleman, Pritchard.
“Do you miss working for Father?” Miles asked after a moment. “I feel bad that I’ve never asked before, but I was so grateful when you agreed to come back with me and run my little establishment that I suppose it never occurred to me to ask.”
Pritchard paused, his hands full of snowy linen. “Lord bless you, sir, no. Ronald and I were heartily sick of exchanging letters by then, and maybe seeing each other once a year – your father’s commitments allowing. To be offered the chance to come here, with private accommodation provided, was a Godsend. My only worry was that a relationship started in the trenches and continued on paper might not weather more frequent contact.”
Ronald – professional stage manager, natty dresser, a full head taller than Pritchard – was perhaps a little shrill, but one had to be shrill to be heard in theatrical circles. From what little Miles had seen of Pritchard and Ron together, though, they seemed blissfully happy and he wished them well and envied them with all his heart.
“I’m glad,” he said. “Going from valet to His Majesty’s Ambassador in Bucharest to the man-of-all-work of a clerk seems such a come down.”
“We both know that you are far more than a clerk, sir,” Pritchard grinned. “And speaking of more, Bucharest is not that far from Belgrade. While you are there, will there be any chance of meeting with the master?”
Miles snorted. “You mustn’t call Briers that, it only encourages him. He’ll turn up in plus fours and a monocle next, you wait and see!”
“It’s meant affectionately, sir.” Pritchard gave him a serene smile and tucked a rolled black tie and a pair of silk socks in beside the shirt.
“I know, and he loves it.” Miles paused in smiling contemplation of Briers Allerdale – tall where Miles was short, dark where he was fair, a hard-bitten field agent where Miles spent a lot of time at his desk − and thanked his lucky stars that opposites attract. “But sadly I am only going for one night, solely to retrieve Ma and bring her home safely in time for her appointment. A side trip is completely out of the question.
“I understand, sir.” From the sympathetic glint in Pritchard’s eye, Miles knew that he did understand, very well.
Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and works in a museum in a castle built on the edge of a Roman Fort! She reckons that’s a pretty cool job.
Elin usually writes on historical subjects, and enjoys weaving the weird and wonderful facts she comes across in her research into her plots. She likes her heroes hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow. Often they are in danger, frequently they have to make hard choices, but happy endings are always assured.
Current works in progress include one set during the Great War, another in WW2, one set in the Dark Ages and a series of contemporary romances set in a small town on the Welsh border.
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