A MelanieM Review: This Is Not A Love Story by Suki Fleet

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

When fifteen-year-old Romeo’s mother leaves one day and doesn’t return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.

Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.

This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy)

There’s a lot that can be said about This Is Not A Love Story by Suki Fleet.  It’s a hurt/comfort story without a lot of comfort going on.  Reading the majority of this novel feels like poking at an open wound.  It’s that’s raw and incredibly painful. Not a story I could read without taking needed emotional “timeout” breaks.  Honestly, parts of this are so agonizing, I wondered if I wanted to continue.

So why the 5 stars?  Why read it at all?

Because it’s extraordinarily well written, with an eye towards making the reader feel almost at a cellular level what Suki Fleet’s  homeless teenagers are going through on a daily basis as anonymous, non people of the streets.  The humiliation, the deprivation, the starvation, and pain.  The exploitation and danger that exists for them and just the edge of survival each one walks is brought vividly and horrifically to life in the persons of Romeo and Julian, and others we meet.

Hope?  That doesn’t occur until late in the story.  Until then it’s sheer determination and love for each other that carries each young man through the darkest of times, and yes, they get plenty dark and gritty.

Told through the mind and heart of Romeo, an artistic mute who’s never without his drawing pad or Julian, his protector and the person he loves, we see the cost of that protection on Julian, on them both.  The way being homeless is eating away at them, the despair, their ragged physical state and the things they are willing to do to survive.  Each character is someone so vulnerable, so achingly young and discarded that the more you read, the more gut wrenching  the impact.

Not surprisingly the story contains elements of thoughts of suicide, drug use, rape, self harm, and abduction.  If any of these are triggers of yours, please take note.

After all that, the novel ends on a note of hope and happiness.  It’s truly needed after the darkness the characters and the readers have endured for most of the story.  It wasn’t quite enough to lift the heaviness of heart I felt after reading the book but held so much positivity for the future that I could leave it at that, hoping that the worse was finally behind them

I’m not sure this story is for everyone but for those that love a great contemporary novel with amazing characters and unforgettable plot ….and a journey that’s dark, gritty and full of pain.  This is a story for you.

Cover art with the dim backdrop of London and not so bright characters grimly hints at the tone of the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 453 pages
Published March 27th 2019 (first published March 22nd 2014)
Original Title This Is Not a Love Story
ASINB07Q47FFWM
SeriesLove Story Universe
CharactersRomeo Danilov, Julian Lavelle

An Ali Review: The Holeshot (Book #1) by Lynn Michaels

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

In the world of Supercross, taking the holeshot means one racer leaps ahead of the crowd and into first, leaving the rest of the pack behind. If Supercross racer Davey McAllister knows anything, it’s how to take the holeshot. When the hot rising start mechanic, Tyler Whitmore, shows up in his bed, Davey does just that. But, dating a competitor’s mechanic threatens to blow his ride if anyone finds out. With the fear of losing his sponsors, he has to keep his love life completely under cover, but Davey is in deep and wants to tell the world how much he loves Tyler.

Tyler Whitmore wants to be out of the closet, but dating the competition is a death sentence for his career. Overprotective of Davey’s reputation and his own dreams, Tyler refuses to commit to his lover and is afraid of falling hard. Will they ever be able to find their way through the Premiere racing league pitfalls and acknowledge their love?

I was excited to see a book about motorcross.  It is something that I have not seen before in a romance story. Unfortunately I did not click with this story. It starts with one mc finding the other passed out in his bed. They’ve never met before but Davey immediately asks if Travis wants to have sex, he says “yes” and they do and are immediately smitten with each other.  The entire thing felt so unrealistic to me.  I also did not like the fact that there was no build up to their relationship. They are instantly together.  Things progress into insta-love and that is a trope that never works for. The meet up, the tension, and the working towards that first kiss etc is my favorite part of a story. Even if a story starts with a casual hook up I still want to feel chemistry between the MC’s.  None of those things happened in this.
As I read on I did not become more committed to these guy’s story. There was a lot of drama and I felt like I was reading about two teenagers, not two grown men with very responsible careers. They both got on my nerves and I did not feel any real connection between them.
 I really wanted to like this but it just was not the book for me. I did not care for the plot or the writing style.
Cover Art:  The cover was done by Jay Aheer and I think it is well done. It fits the story very well.
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 318 pages
Published August 12th 2015 by Rubicon Fiction
Original TitleThe Holeshot
ASINB013MDR5KO
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHoleshot #1

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Best Behaviour by Matthew Metzger

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Jim does everything in his power to not have to ask his sister Sarah for help, but when it’s not enough, he ends up staying at her house until he can get back on his feet. Sarah’s husband is a reverend and his flavor of religion can’t coexist with Jim being bisexual, but it’s Sarah’s (and their mother’s) lack of support that hurts Jim emotionally. At 26, Jim has made some mistakes and at the beginning of this book still seems like he is “cutting off his nose to spite his face.” The fact that Sarah helps him at all and allows him to stay at her house, even when it may cause problems with her husband is not really given a whole lot of credit here, in my opinion. It’s definitely time for Jim to grow up. At first, his affair with the piano teacher that tutors Sarah’s children doesn’t encourage hope that is going to happen–hot and sexy though it is!

This has more heart than I expected right away, but what starts out as sexy fun ends up as a relationship. What starts out as an erotic romance, ends up to be a heartwarming and heartbreaking story of family. Fran is completely Jim’s type and has family issues of his own. Jim has finally met someone who could be good for him, but this is just good timing. I like the fact that what really motivates Jim to step up and sort himself out is his niece, not his boyfriend. Don’t get me wrong because I love Fran’s character and his place in the book is vital. I just don’t like storylines where one person “saves” the other. Fran provides support that allows Jim to more easily navigate his issues, but they are his issues to navigate.

It’s good to see a representation of the spectrum in this book. Be aware this story uses British English and vernacular, but it very easy to read and follow. I loved seeing character development in a story that has very erotic scenes as a natual part of his life and who he is. I loved that it is emotionally accessible. I am glad the author shows what can happen when a person changes their actions with someone; it changes their reactions too. Breaking cycles is difficult and it’s work. I would definitely read something by this author again.

The cover art is by Erin Dameron-Hill. I’m of two minds about the cover. It’s shows the tension and has the piano to represent Fran, but instead of showing that life is messy, it looks a bit like a horror novel. However, it’s not boring and neither is this book.

Sales Links: Pride Publishing |   Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 222 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Pride Publishing
ISBN139781786517050
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Review: Hunter (Roam #2) by Dez Schwartz

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Dr. Grady Hunter has a vampire infestation on his hands in the town of Shady Pines but he’s been deserted by those best suited to help. After enlisting Chris Reed, a techno-mage, they find the vampires might only be the tip of a deadly iceberg.

Returning home from his dream travels, Ethan Roam is eager to experiment with his newly discovered powers. But Ethan isn’t the only familiar arrival in Grady’s life. As more reminders of his dark past crop up daily, Grady and Ethan are swept up in a mystery of cosmic proportions.

Grady must fight to keep an ever-evolving Ethan on his side while being challenged by the ghosts of his past.

This was an interesting urban fantasy type story.  I did not notice this was the second book in the series when I requested to review it and I think that negatively affected my enjoyment.  There was a lot going on and a lot of characters and I was struggling to follow along.  It was not that it was badly written it was just that I had not read the first book.  Completely on me, not the author.
That being said I did enjoy this.  The author has created some interesting and unique characters and I enjoyed their various relationships with each other.  It’s action packed and entertaining from the very first page.  I liked Ethan and Grady together and I enjoyed their romance.  The side characters all added to the story and I felt they enhanced the overall story.
I would recommend this to people who enjoy paranormal romances.  I do not recommend that this be read as a standalone though. You’ll be able to follow along as I did but I think you’ll miss some of the emotional connections.
Cover:  The cover was done by Natasha Snow and I love it.  I think the colors are really eye catching and the cover fits the overall vibe of the story really well.
Book Details;
ebook, 188 pages
Published April 8th 2019 by NineStar Press (first published April 14th 2017)
ASINB07PXQYNRJ
Edition LanguageEnglish

Need Something New To Read? Check Out the New Release Blitz for Starting From Zero((Starting From #1) by Lane Hayes (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Starting From Zero

Series: Starting From Series, Book 1

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: April 15

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 68000

Genre: Romance, Rock star, May/December romance, Bisexual, LA, Humor, New beginning

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Synopsis

Justin Cuevas is going through a rough patch. A broken relationship, a scandal, and the demise of his band have shaken the aspiring rock star’s confidence. Working two jobs and sleeping on his friend’s sofa isn’t ideal, but Justin isn’t ready to give up yet. With a little luck, he’s hoping to re-launch his music career in LA with his new band, Zero. The key is to stay focused, and not get distracted by his past…or the sexy songwriter he can’t get out of his head.

Gray Robertson has written dozens of hits and worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. But he’s never met anyone like Justin. The younger man is fiery, passionate, and smart. A powerful voice for a new generation. Other than an unforgettable one-night stand and a passion for music, the two men have nothing in common. Or do they? Justin knows the out-of-the-blue challenge to write a quintessential love song is a huge opportunity. And it’s the ultimate test for someone who’s doesn’t believe in happily ever after. When sparks fly, Justin and Gray realize they have a shot something special if they start from zero together. Maybe even love.

Excerpt

Justin turned to me with a fiery expression and gestured toward the glittering lights below. “Everyone here wants more than what they have. And I guess I’m the same. I don’t need recognition and I sure as fuck don’t want love, but I wouldn’t say no to a few bucks,” he commented with a laugh. “What about you?”

I did a double take. I was two steps behind, struggling to keep up, and if possible, memorize every word he’d said. I hadn’t been around anyone so raw or so honest in a long time. He made rules and broke them with at whim, letting me in and then shutting me out. He had a way of revealing himself that made me feel as though he was holding a mirror to me, daring me to acknowledge my broken pieces too. He was either slightly insane or incredibly gifted. I suspected it was the latter. The cadence of his speech lured me in…and made me want more. I’d tell him anything he wanted to know, just to be near him and this intense spark of…newness, creativity, and wonder.

“What about me?” I asked in a low raspy voice.

“What do you want to accomplish before you leave the planet?”

“I want to write the perfect song,” I replied unthinking.

“There’s no such thing.”

“Maybe, maybe not. But it would be nice to leave something that felt special.”

Justin held my gaze then inclined his head in agreement. “Yeah. I want that too.”

We stared at each other. Whispers of conversation floated from the far corners of the rooftop deck. We weren’t alone, but we might as well be. I couldn’t remember ever feeling so intimately connected to someone I’d never really touched. It was puzzling and enchanting at the same time.

He shivered when the breeze kicked up. I took it as a sign from above and pulled him against me. I had to feel him. I studied the sexy indentation in his bottom lip before giving into impulse and resting my hands on his hip. Justin gave me a funny look but he didn’t push me away.

“You shouldn’t be anonymous. You have too much to share. Too much to say,” I said.

“What are you doing?”

“I…I’m not sure. Is this okay?”

“Yeah. It’s good.” Justin nodded and snaked his arms around my waist.

We were still for a while. He was so close I could feel his breath on my lips. The lingering quiet was deceptive. A casual observer might have mistaken us for old lovers engaged in a tender moment. Or maybe they’d guess we were tentative strangers anxious to make the right moves. Not too fast, not too slow. Neither was correct. There was no quiet here. An electric current sizzled and hissed between us. Intense sexual awareness and something more. Something fiery and passionate. He was wild and rough with jagged edges and a sharp mind. Instinctively, I knew I should proceed with caution because walking away wasn’t an option.

“I want to kiss you,” I whispered, inching closer so our noses brushed.

Justin gave me a crooked smile and tugged at my belt loop. “Then do it.”

I tilted my chin slightly and pressed my lips to his. He was deceptively tender at first. He closed his eyes and hummed into the connection. When I licked at the corner of his mouth, he let me in without hesitation. I couldn’t get enough. He tasted like gin and nicotine with a hint of peppermint. All the things I apparently couldn’t do without.

I pulled him closer, cupping the back of his neck to kiss him harder and deeper. Our tongues twisted in a growing frenzy until everything and everyone around us dissolved into white noise. Justin lulled me into complacency and let me think I was in control. I pushed him back slightly and wrapped my fingers around his neck to keep him in place when he leaned forward to nip my bottom lip. He grinned like a madman and then lowered his eyelashes in a show of faux subservience. I didn’t trust him to stay still or obey for a second. Justin was wild and headstrong. He wasn’t going to do anything that wasn’t either his idea or a bad idea.

I should have known then that I’d met my match.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is finally doing what she loves best. Writing! An avid reader from an early age, Lane has always been drawn to romance novels. She truly believes there is nothing more inspiring than a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Lane discovered the M/M genre a fews ago and was instantly hooked. She is the bestselling author of the Better Than, Right and Wrong, A Kind of Stories and Leaning Into Series and the Out in College series. Lane’s novels placed first in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Bookbub

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Love Contemporary Romance? Check Out the Release Blitz and Giveaway for Living On A Dare (A Shore Thing Novel) by Grace Kilian Delaney

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 170 pages
 
Cover Design: AngstyG
 
Blurb



Stuntman Draven O’Connor never turns down a dare—even if it means getting down on one knee to propose to his former college roommate and friend. The same man he’s been crushing on since the first day they met. The same man that has grown distant over the past year. And the same man who just agreed to be his fiancé.


Julien Bouchard is tired of living a lie. He spent the past year exploring his sexuality in secret, enduring countless dates with women to appease his mother, and dodging his best friend, Draven, who knows everything there is to know about him, except the one thing that could change their friendship. Ready to face his friend, he meets him at a bar and is greeted by an unexpected marriage proposal. The dare isn’t surprising; it’s the scorching hot kiss that sends Julien’s head and heart in a tailspin—and gives him an idea for the perfect plan.


But perfect plans are never go according to plan, and news of their fake engagement spreads to their families as fast as a wildfire, forcing them to confront their true feelings about each other and hope they don’t get burned.

 
Author Bio
 

Grace Kilian Delaney is a LGBT writer, musician, animal lover, and author of the sweet and sexy bisexual romance Living on a Dare: A Shore Thing Novel. She spends her free time performing kitchen concerts to an audience of her two cats and a dog and loves long beach runs. Her previous books include Seven Minutes (Dreamspinner Press) and Waking Oisin (NineStar Press).


Twitter: @GracekilianD
Facebook: GraceKilianD
Amazon Author Page: Grace Kilian Delaney on Amazon
Website: gracekiliandelaney.wordpress.com
Gmail: GraceKilianDelaney
Mailing List: http://bit.ly/2UeYlHC

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Series Blitz/Review Tour and Giveaway for the Holeshot Series by Lynn Michaels

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Holeshot Series
 
Available exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Holeshot Christmas – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
 
Holeshot
 

In the world of Supercross, taking the holeshot means one racer leaps ahead of the crowd and into first, leaving the rest of the pack behind. If Supercross racer Davey McAllister knows anything, it’s how to take the holeshot. When the hot rising star mechanic, Tyler Whitmore, shows up in his bed, Davey does just that. But, dating a competitor’s mechanic threatens to blow his ride if anyone finds out. With the fear of losing his sponsors, he has to keep his love life completely under cover, but Davey is in deep and wants to tell the world how much he loves Tyler.


Tyler Whitmore wants to be out of the closet, but dating the competition is a death sentence for his career. Overprotective of Davey’s reputation and his own dreams, Tyler refuses to commit to his lover and is afraid of falling hard. Will they ever be able to find their way through the Premiere racing league pitfalls and acknowledge their love?

 
Holeshot 2
 
In the world of Supercross, taking the holeshot means one racer leaps ahead of the crowd and into first, leaving the rest of the pack behind. Supercross racer, Tate Jordan, wants to take his holeshot on and off the track, but no one else seems to cooperate. His love life is in turmoil and his sponsors don’t expect him to win. Will Tate find someone new to love and a team that believes in him?


Pilot Mahan is a bodyguard and a street fighter looking to build a future, but his plans get derailed when a Supercross racer catches his eye. Can he make a go at a life with Tate Jordan, on the road?


Bryce Nickel is new to Supercross and adulthood. He’s young and fun, but super serious about what he wants. And what he wants is to win races and Tate Jordan. Will he be able to take his holeshot or will the big Apex bodyguard get in the way? Or perhaps, the three can make a compromise?
 
Holeshot Christmas
 
Christmas isn’t all race tracks and dirt bikes for Davey and Tyler, especially when they don’t see things about each other in quite the same way.
 
Author Bio

Lynn Michaels lives and writes in Tampa, Florida where the sun is hot and the Sangria is cold. Lynn is the newest addition to Rubicon Fiction, and she loves reading and writing about hot men in love. She writes paranormal and contemporary MM Romance


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