A MelanieM Review:Trusting the Elements (Never Too Late #1) by Elle Keaton

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

There’s nothing like a near death car accident to open your eyes. Otto Proulx decides surviving was a sign; he’s being given a second chance to claim the life he wants to live. For the past few years he’s been hiding in the shadows, vague texts from a troubled ex-partner keep him at home along with his general lack of luck in the romance department. This is his last chance, he’s certain, this time he’ll meet the man for him, the one he’s sure is out there somewhere.

Greg Trainor runs a specialty kite shop and helps his friends out when they ask. That’s the kind of guy he is, if somebody needs something, they call on Greg. He’s a big guy and no genius, but he’s dependable. So…yeah, when he sees a car precariously perched on the side of the road, he stops to help out; it’s what he does.

One night of passion leads to…several more and suddenly both men are searching around to define what they have together. Neither wants to scare the other off and neither wants to ask for more. Will the two men be able to set aside their fears and create a family together, trusting the elements are in their favor?

Trusting the Elements  by Elle Keaton is the first in her new Never Too Late series and its a total charmer.    As the first novel in her series, Keaton spends time building her new universe, introducing us to the seaside town of Westfort, a place of broken industrial dreams that’s trying to rebrand itself and stay alive. Many of the characters you meet are trying to help Westfort in it’s rebranding efforts, starting with the kind and endearing Greg Trainor.  Greg fled to Westfort, a mess of family induced emotional pain, physical wounds, and in need of a new path in life.  He found it in a Kite Shop and locals who soon became his friends and family.

As Keaton builds a picture of a waning fishing/lumber town slowly turning into a tourist destination, from a local Great Blue Heron full of quirks to a bar with a saloon owner we need to get to know better, the reader feels Westfort come alive.  Another character as piquant and needy as all its residents.  Truly I would have boarded the ferry myself if I could have and headed over.

After Westfort, Keaton fills her story with characters we love to connect with.  From the gentle dyslexic Greg, still haunted by his family’s rejection, to the utterly charming Otto, who’s pull with people is almost magnetic yet fights his own personal battle with an ex, the author has created people for her story that we enjoy spending time with  and root for in their romance.   Otto and Grey have a chemistry that makes the short timetable of their relationship work!  It’s adult, sexy, and clearly these two are meant to be together.  Second chances indeed.   Plus we get kittens! And Amy.

There are two side threads for each man.  For Greg, it’s the resolution of the issues he has with his family, sister and her husband.  I enjoyed this aspect of the story and thought it worked well, especially Otto’s “take charge gently” attitude.  It felt right and fit in with the whole atmosphere of the story.

Less successful imo was Otto’s stalker ex and how that all played out.  That was far too serious theme (as the author notes) and I don’t think it meshed with the overall tone of the rest of the story, especially the resolution.  Because in my fact finding, people with those traits don’t simply “let it alone:”.  Then again this is a series.   But that is the only storyline that struck me as somewhat less well developed.  From the character of the ex to the denouement.

What I adored, apart from the kites too?  All the characters waiting for their partners.  Jake, Dante, and others.  I can’t wait to see who gets the next story.  I will be waiting for it’s release and get reacquainted with everyone I met here.

Love second chance at happiness stories?  Pick up Trusting the Elements (Never Too Late #1) by Elle Keaton.  I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Cover art: Cate Ashwood.  Its ok but where are the kites?  He’s cute and all but I’d like to have something more relevant to the story on the cover.

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 200 pages
Published July 25th 2019
ASINB07TMPKB2L
SeriesNever Too Late #1

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Mercs and Strippers (Ore 5 #3) by Meraki P. Lyhne

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5 

This is the third book in the series, and they should be read in order. This starts right where book two ends, with Ethan and Ryder running into Ethan’s father Gregor, who is the attorney hired by the Corporation to help stop the Mob from infiltrating Ore 5’s entertainment businesses. The only reason to know this happens in space, is because the reader is told it’s in space. There is nothing science fiction about this, except the one alien creature. I kept hoping, but it just never happened. The big secret about Uncle Bob and why Ryder came to Ore 5 is revealed, which immediately becomes a red flag for a plot twist that never materializes. Was it planned for another book that isn’t going to happen? I have no idea. It’s the perfect way for the mob to get revenge. However, this book really does have an ending that feels like the series is done. The story arc of Ethan finally getting the respect he deserves from his father is complete. The theme of Ethan letting go of the past to see how people really treat him, what they really think of him, has played out.

As suspected, Brutus’s character is a surprise twist…and I think this was really not plotted out from the beginning but added later, or there is just no foreshadowing. There is plenty of foreshadowing about everything else, so it seems odd. BTW, I had no idea Brutus is black until 77% of the way into this third book. I would have liked to have known that in the first book so I could have been picturing him properly. Brutus and Hayden’s story just isn’t given any time to grow. There is a convoluted message about Brutus not wanting to date Hayden while he is a client in need of protection, not wanting Hayden to feel like it’s a quid pro quo. Yet as soon as the Corporation is no longer paying Brutus to watch Hayden, how is it any different? Hayden has no money or any place to stay except with the man who is giving him a free place and promising to protect him. Brutus and Hayden talk about contracts and their relationship in front of Ryder, Tommy, and Ethan…but there wasn’t a scene where they talk about it themselves, until after that. They are all of the sudden in a relationship after having a few breakfasts together as soon as Brutus is no longer his bodyguard. I did like the message that saving Hayden isn’t enough, that they could help the others exploited by the mob. I also liked the message that saving them did not mean stopping them from being rent boys if they wanted to–that was their choice. Safe. Consensual. Legal.

I don’t think this is an ARC, since the book was already published, so it upset me that the writing declined: “It made for a sense of important belonging in Ryder’s life. Like it gave Ethan a spot that no one had ever been able to fill out in his life.” There are many sentences like this that have mistakes like verb tenses, typos, or just feel grammatically awkward. In fact, this book seemed really long, it dragged on and could have been much shorter and have told the same story without all the repetitive thoughts. There is a heavy hand in guiding the reader through Ethan working out his insecurities and how to think about each situation. I think book one had promise, and I liked book two. I think you can read book one and stop. If you read book two, you will have to read book three for the conclusion and I’m not sure it’s worth it. Even the sex scenes are not that exciting anymore, and much is made of Ryder spontaneously climaxing on stage while dancing. I think this book needed better editing and some rewrites before it was released. I am disappointed the series got weaker, rather than stronger at the end.

The cover art is by Angela Waters. I’ve liked all the covers in this series and they form a cohesive look for the series.

Sales Links: eXtasy Books Inc  | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published May 17th 2019 by eXtasy Books Inc
ASINB07RTWZ79D
SeriesOre 5 #3

An Alisa Review: Between the Covers Anthology

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Get lost in a book store and find something hot.

Behind the stacks, tucked into the dark corners, and reading nooks, you’ll find an adventure, and you might just find more. Grab this hot boxset and get into these six tales of passion and possibly love.

Using book stores as a source of inspiration, these six bestselling authors take you on a journey you won’t forget. Your heart will be warmed as you dive in and discover our men from the heart of the book store.

I love anthologies and was so happy to get the chance to read this one.  I like that they give the opportunity to read a few different authors in the same book.

In Love – Limited Edition Rory is trying to find his happiness and a chance meeting with Brett helps jump start that journey.  I loved these characters and how cute they were together and that Brett was able to give Rory the chance to connect with his parents but also find the love he wanted.  Riley and Evan in Bent Corners have a couple chance meetings that give them the chance to explore their attraction.  I loved Riley’s determination to help his uncle and Evan’s situation with his grandma but their story seemed a bit unfinished to me especially with Evan’s jealous reaction near the end.

A Rhythm You Feel was the one story I had the trouble with the most unfortunately, it’s mainly a pet peeve of mine when an author does a to be continued story in something like this,  It was unfinished but other than getting to know Blade and Nico, they just meet a couple times, there wasn’t any romance.  Howie in Coffee, Tea, or Me just longs for love and affection from someone and Jackson needs to find the confidence he needs to provide it.  I liked these two, especially Howie, but felt that Jackson just kept reverting back into himself and had some trouble thinking about what he was saying but worked hard to prove himself to Howie.

Love Potion No. 69 was a bit of a departure from the other stories in this collection.  Keith and Sadler meet by chance and concocting their “love potion” helps jump start their relationship but I don’t know something about it didn’t sit right with me.  Stackswas absolutely the sweetest story of all.  Levant is so patient and wants nothing more than for Nic to be happy which he shows in every way.

Cover art by Kris Jacen is okay, it works with the theme of this anthology but all the items don’t seem cohesive.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 242 pages

Published: June 24, 2019

Tia Fielding on Characters, Genderqueer, and the new release Four (Love by Numbers #2 (author guest blog)

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Four (Love by Numbers #2) by Tia Fielding

Dreamspinner Press
Published July 23rd 2019
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Blog post:

Hi, I’m Tia, and I’m here to talk about… well, at first I didn’t have a clue about what I was going to write here. Promo posts can be the worst! I’ve also been at this blog before and answered interview questions, so I thought going another route this time.

So what should I write about? I thought about Four, the book I’m here to promote, and came to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, Kaos would like me to talk about identity. After all, that’s why there’s an author’s note in the front matter of Four.

See, both Kaos and myself identify as genderqueer. What is genderqueer exactly? Well, here’s the definition (of the adjective) you find if you google it:

Denoting or relating to a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.

Wikipedia goes on longer about it, but I’ll let you google that yourself. In short, “genderqueer” can be a blanket term for people who are nonbinary. There are many, many ways to be nonbinary, so some people like this word over the more concrete definitions.

In my personal life, gender doesn’t really play as much of a role at all, which is something that many cis-people (that is, people who are happy with the gender they were assigned at birth) don’t necessarily understand.

These days, you often hear the “But why do you have to kick up such a fuss over it? Why can’t you just be happy without being so vocal about your gender?” These things are 99% of the time said by cis-people.

I guess it’s hard to understand how it feels to be something else, to be other, when you never have had that feeling. If you’ve always felt comfortable with the gender assigned to you, how would you know how we, the non-binary people, feel?

So, let’s get back to genderqueer. For me personally, it feels good because it states that I’m non-binary, but it also has the word “queer” in it. I won’t even go to the whole discussion about “queer” and how some people still see it as a slur. It isn’t that for me, for me it’s badge I wear proudly.

Personally, I don’t feel feminine, or female, at all. But then I also don’t feel like I’m that masculine (on purpose) or that I want to be a man. If I wanted to, if I felt I was male, then that would make me transgender (if I chose that label for myself.)

Where does Kaos settle inside the same almost umbrella term? Well, he likes it because he isn’t transgender. He’s still a man, he still likes being a man, but he also has a side that’s very feminine. That side goes beyond liking makeup (say, like James Charles the makeup artist who still, to my knowledge, identifies as a man) with how he has what he likes to call “girly days.”

In Kaos’s mind, girl days are different. He starts to feel different during them. He feels maybe softer and more vulnerable in some ways, less ready for confrontation and above all, he likes to look feminine. He likes to wear blouses and/or skirts. He likes a jacket cut for a female shape.

But he doesn’t have gender or body dysphoria. He doesn’t hate his body, he likes it. He doesn’t need the parts that seem to go with the makeup and blouses in most people’s eyes. And that’s something I share with him.

While I don’t feel female (which is my assigned at birth gender), I don’t hate my “girl bits.” I don’t want “boy bits” either. If I could freely mix and match on daily basis, I probably would, if I’m completely honest, but I also know I’m not alone with that thought. Sadly the technology isn’t there yet, hahah!

The thing about labels is that they’re amazing when we get to decide them for ourselves. They help with feeling like we belong. Feeling like we’re on even ground after potentially floundering for a long time. It’s never too late to find a label that might just explain yourself to… yourself, and maybe even some others.

So if you ever encounter someone who doesn’t seem like they fit the label they say they are, remember this: their labels aren’t really for you and there’s no way for you to know how that person feels on the inside. For you, something might be simple, but to someone else, it might be the hardest thing to figure out in the whole wide world, and they might not be able to feel good about themselves before they do.

All in all, in Four, Kaos has gone through a lot, and some of it has been because he’s found his gender identity doesn’t match what he was assigned as a baby. Trusting all of it to the hands of Padraig isn’t going to be easy.

On the other hand, from Padraig’s point of view… well, he’s never liked anyone who isn’t purely male before. He’s never even been into feminine men. So getting a bit older and having to figure out your attractions might not run purely into the direction you’ve always thought they do can be a challenge.

I hope you enjoy Four and Kaos and Padraig’s journey together!

 

Blurb:

A Love by Numbers Story

When unlikely attraction blossoms between a twentysomething genderqueer tattoo artist and an older, small-town veterinarian, both are forced to face their pasts for a chance at a loving future.

Four years ago Padraig Donovan lost his husband, the only man he’d ever been with. Now his life consists of the work he loves, a big empty house, and the possibility of a lonely future.

Kaos’s experiments with makeup landed him in the hospital at the hands of his disapproving ex. With nowhere else to turn, he flees to Acker, Wisconsin… and runs into a sexy widower and the kindest man he’s ever met.

Padraig and Kaos know there’s something worth exploring between them, and as they raise a puppy and deal with the ups and downs of their respective jobs, they fit into each other’s lives in ways they never expected. Being with Kaos—who is so different than the guys he’s always been attracted to—opens up an exciting new world for Padraig. But can he convince Kaos to trust another man with his body… let alone his heart?

Author Bio:

Tia Fielding is a Finnish LGBTQ+ romance author. She lives in a small middle-of-nowhere town surrounded by nature and silence, just like she prefers. Tia identifies as genderqueer, but isn’t fussy about pronouns, because her native language doesn’t have gender-specific ones. She’s a lover of caffeine, sarcasm, peppermint, cats and dogs, sleeping and witty people.

Social Media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authortiafielding/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/tiafielding

 

Check Out the Blog Tour for Rules to Follow (Davey’s Rules #1) by Susan Hawke (excerpt)

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Rules to Follow Tour Banner

Rules to Follow

Davey’s Rules Series, Book 1

Susan Hawke

M/M Romance – Daddy/boy

Release Date: 07.14.19

Rules to Follow ebook

Blurb

Davey’s Rule #86: A good Daddy will never lie to his boy… even by omission.

Travis Miller has a pretty solid life in the small California beach town he calls home. He’s working his way up in the district attorney’s office, he owns a home with an ocean view, and he has close ties with his family. Life is good. If only he could find a sweet boy to call his own, life would be… perfect.

Adam Nichols’ life has never been easy. Growing up in foster care taught him to be strong, so finding himself in a violent relationship was a shock. Now that he’s finally free of it, he faces new problems. He’s jobless, homeless, and terrified of starting from scratch.

With a little help from an old friend, Adam discovers a whole new world. He goes from rock bottom to renting a room from a hot assistant DA and working at Daddy’s Lap, a kink club that opens his vanilla eyes to things he’d never imagined. His new roommate is a balm to Adam’s damaged soul. The tender way Travis cares for him is almost like the Daddy kink community he’s seen at the club. But Travis isn’t a Daddy… right? If he were, surely he’d have said so.

What happens when a lie by omission threatens to bring their budding relationship tumbling down around them? Will Travis ever be able to earn Adam’s trust again?

This is the first book in a new series about not-so-perfect Daddies, adorable “boys,” and one sassy brat with an insane list of rules. Grab your fan and tissues because this series comes with both a high heat advisory and all the squishy feels you’d want from a Susan Hawke book. Possible trigger for references to domestic violence.

mybook.to/RulestoFollow

rule31 (1)

rule86 (1)

Excerpt

After the movie, we finally took our groceries home. Travis insisted on putting everything away himself. “While I do this, how about you order us a pizza? After that scare fest you talked me into watching, I’m in the mood for something lighter. While we eat, maybe we can watch that Adam Sandler movie we never finished.”

“That sounds like an excellent plan. Same order as last time?” I was already on my phone, loading the website to order online.

“Yes, but no onions or extra garlic on this one.” He sounded so certain, I couldn’t help but look up curiously. He was bent into the refrigerator, so I couldn’t see his face. Not that I minded the view I did have, though. In fact, I was so busy checking out his butt that it took me a second for his next comment to register. “Unless you promise to eat the same thing. If we end up kissing again, I refuse to have bad breath unless it’s mutual.”

This was the first time he’d acknowledged the kiss. And he was hinting at another? My mouth went dry as I adjusted my pants that had suddenly gotten a little too tight in certain areas. “I-I, umm…” I gave my head a shake and started again when I couldn’t get the words out the first time. “I vote for onions and garlic on the whole thing. Mutual bad breath for the win. Besides, there’s garlic in the sauce anyway.”

When he stood and looked over at me, I focused on my screen. I could feel my stupid cheeks blushing. I knew he’d noticed it when I heard a quiet chuckle. Deciding this was a good time to excuse myself and get a little bit under control, I headed out of the room.

“I’ll be right back; I’m just going to change. If we’re going to be in relaxation mode, these stiff jeans need to go.” Just the mention of the word stiff had me blushing all over again, because my pants weren’t the only stiff thing on my body.

By the time I cleaned up and changed into pj pants, Travis was waiting in the living room with our pizza and a couple glasses of wine. My eyes widened when I took in the dimly lit room with the movie paused and waiting on the TV. Gulping, I glanced at Travis. “Wow, I didn’t mean to take that long.”

He shook his head and patted the couch beside him as he turned and stretched a leg out like he had last time. “You didn’t take too long, they were just really fast with the delivery this time. Come sit with me. I was thinking maybe we could cuddle. Unless you think that’s too much, too soon?”

“No, that sounds… ah… nice.” My heart pounded as I scurried over and got settled between his legs with my back to his chest. Travis pulled the coffee table closer and opened the pizza box.

“I brought napkins, if you need one. But I figure we can forgo plates tonight and keep it casual. Does that work for you?” His voice was like velvet as it caressed my ear.

I felt my blush return as I awkwardly nodded. “Y-Yes. That sounds good.” I waited while he started the movie then reached into the pizza box. I figured I would grab my slice after he’d taken first pick.

Instead of biting into the piece he’d chosen, he held it to my mouth instead. “Take a bite, sweet boy. You always tease me about wanting to feed you. Tonight I’d like to live up to my reputation.” He chuckled and waited for me to bite into the pizza.

It was weirdly nice to be fed. He patiently waited, lowering the slice while I chewed each mouthful. It wasn’t until I’d finished three slices and groaned that I couldn’t handle another bite that he finally ate his own. I slouched back against his shoulder, watching the movie while he had his turn at dinner. I didn’t even bother with the wine; I was buzzed enough on Travis.

If anybody had walked up right then and asked me about the movie, I doubted I could have told them anything more than who starred in it. I was too aware of Travis and how good it felt to snuggle against his hard body.

Was I falling for him? It sure felt like it. The way I kept blushing, the way my palms got damp, the way my heart raced when he was near… the signs were definitely there. I thought back over everything I’d seen of this man, poking my memories for a sign of anything wrong with him.

Something had to be, because I did not have a good track record where men were concerned. The more I considered it, though, I couldn’t find a single thing that would put up a red flag. If anything, he made me feel protected and special.

 

As an avid reader and big romance fan myself, I love sharing the stories of the different people who live in my imagination. My stories are filled with humor, a few tears, and the underlying message to not give up hope, even in the darkest of times, because life can change on a dime when you least expect it. This theme comes from a lifetime of lessons learned on my own hard journey through the pains of poverty, the loss of more loved ones than I’d care to count, and the struggles of living through chronic illnesses. Life can be hard, but it can also be good! Through it all I’ve found that love, laughter, and family can make all the difference, and that’s what I try to bring to every tale I tell.

Susan Hawke Logo

I’m a happily married mom with one snarky teenage boy, and three grown “kids of my heart.” I’m more widely known for my mpreg writings as Susi Hawke; this new name is a departure from that. Whether written by Susan or Susi, the books are filled with that all-important love, laughter, and family I mentioned; the only difference is that this name has no male pregnancy. I look forward to sharing my stories with you, and to bringing more romance and laughter into this world that needs it so very badly

IG: https://www.instagram.com/authorsusanhawke

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

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/susan-hawke

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/SusanHawkeNewsletter

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Reader Group: www.facebook.com/groups/TheHawkesNest

Website: http://www.susihawke.com
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Review Tour and Giveaway for Trusting The Elements by Elle Keaton

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Length: 50,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Cate Ashwood
 
Cover Photo: Paul Henry Serres



Blurb


There’s nothing like a near death car accident to open your eyes. Otto Proulx decides surviving was a sign; he’s being given a second chance to claim the life he wants to live. For the past few years he’s been hiding in the shadows, vague texts from a troubled ex-partner keep him at home along with his general lack of luck in the romance department. This is his last chance, he’s certain, this time he’ll meet the man for him, the one he’s sure is out there somewhere.


Greg Trainor runs a specialty kite shop and helps his friends out when they ask. That’s the kind of guy he is, if somebody needs something, they call on Greg. He’s a big guy and no genius, but he’s dependable. So…yeah, when he sees a car precariously perched on the side of the road, he stops to help out; it’s what he does.


One night of passion leads to…several more and suddenly both men are searching around to define what they have together. Neither wants to scare the other off and neither wants to ask for more. Will the two men be able to set aside their fears and create a family together, trusting the elements are in their favor?

 

Thanks for stopping by, I’m Elle Keaton and I hail from the northwest corner of the US where we are known for rain, rain and more rain. I write the Accidental Roots series, set here in the Pacific Northwest featuring hot mm romance and the guarantee of a happy ending for my men. They start out broken, and maybe they end up that way too, but they always find the other half of their hearts.


I started writing way back when but only began publishing about two and a half years ago and now have nine books out. Each features a couple in my little universe, sometimes there is added mystery and suspense.


Thank you for supporting this Indie Author,


Elle


Find me, follow me, friend me:


Website: https://www.ellekeaton.com/
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Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HighwayToElle/
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Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review here!  We recommend this story and can’t wait for the next in the series!

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