An Ashez Review :Anyone But You by Brien Michaels

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Rating : 4.5 stars out of 5

Murder is one hell of a drag.
Jack Kieza has a problem. He’s deeply attracted to men, but his homophobic family has left him too afraid to act on it. With his thirtieth birthday around the corner, his curiosity gets the best of him, and he finds himself at a gay club. After spending a fiery night with drag queen Sheila Salute, everything changes. Especially when he discovers her alter ego: his boss, Ryan Swift.Ryan knew he should’ve said no the second Jack approached him. Now he can’t stop himself from texting Jack every chance he gets. But Jack won’t let him take the wig off during sex, and being Sheila off-stage is wearing thin.

The more time they spend together, the more intense their feelings get, but Jack isn’t ready to date a man yet. When drag queens start turning up murdered, it forces Jack to re-examine his feelings, because what if Ryan is next? While Jack wants their burgeoning relationship to work, it would mean having to admit who he is to the world. And that’s an idea as frightening as death.

Review – I love a good thriller, a mystery that you have to try to solve by the end of the book, and make guesses as to “who is it?!”.  It was a very good thriller for me, it was surprising and interesting, the character progression was great as well.
Jack – a little confused … which bothered me at certain points, I like a “coming of age” story but sometimes I thought this was a bit overdone – especially family wise.
Ryan – I adored Ryan and Sheila both, the way that the author makes you feel such compassion for a character, so very good!
The overall plot was great, there were certain moments in the book I thought wow, maybe this was overdone, but it didn’t take away from the story at all in the end it was just a personal issue.
I loved how the guys got together, I love how the  book ended, of course, a thrill to finally know who did it!  A great read.
Cover  by LC Chase: I understand it, the wig, the thriller vibe, I’m curious which of the men is on the cover though if it’s Ryan or Jack
Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 223 pages
Published December 9th 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleAnyone but You
ISBN139781626498907
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review: Just the Thought of You (Mann of My Dreams #3) by Tinnean

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Quinton Mann and Mark Vincent – still as dangerous, intelligent, and perceptive as they were when they started playing mind games with each other, and still in love. With Quinn having inherited the Mann family estate in a state of serious disrepair, he and Mark with the help of their family and friends decided to fix it up and then live there, together. But when a mystery from the Mann family past intersected with the death that led to Quinn inheriting the estate, Mark and Quinn were determined to solve it, and see Quinn’s cousin DB and his ladies safely married. But there are always eyes watching two such dangerous men. Would they be able to continue their relationship without nosy, judgmental people trying to put an end to it?

This new installment in the Mann of My Dreams series by Tinnean was another success to me, the author continued to show me how good she is with her writing about these two men I learned to love and respect.

Each new novel follows the precedent so well, the books need to be red in order otherwise they will make no sense, not just cause you won’t be able to know all the second characters, most of all cause you will surely find yourself lost in the plot.

In Just the Thought of You happened a lot, this is a long novel, full of mysteries, deaths, weddings, no once I was bored or overwhelmed, on the contrary I am always happy to spend a week of my reading time in Quinn and Mark company, it’s lovely to see them so in love, especially now when they are starting to really planning a life together, there’s a house to restore and a family to build. I can’t wait to see what will happen next in their world.

The cover art is not so eye catching in my opinion, I don’t like it.

SALE LINKS  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Published August 14, 2019 by JMS Books

Kindle Edition, 416 pages

ISBN 9781310124310

Edition Language English

Series Mann of My Dreams #3

New Release Blitz for The Hunt (Psychic Underground #2) by Sarah Elkins (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: The Hunt

Series: Psychic Underground, Book Two

Author: Sarah Elkins

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 30, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 82100

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, psychic ability, shifters, captivity, law enforcement/FBI, fantasy, medical personnel, shifters, paranormal

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Synopsis

The Facility is undergoing repairs after a chaotic failed escape attempt by several psychic test subjects some months ago. Neila and Henry’s mission is to locate potential psychics for the scientists at the Facility to study, but they have other ideas.

Neila can’t shake the idea of Nikola Tesla from her mind, and it’s getting worse as bizarre things start happening to herself and Henry. As they hunt for more about Neila’s possible past life, they aren’t sure if they will find answers or if they will become the hunted.

Things are not peaceful back at the Facility as troubling secrets come to light, and the Psychic Underground may never be the same.

Excerpt

The Hunt
Sarah Elkins © 2019
All Rights Reserved

The repair work on the Facility was slow going, but the director refused to forego using her office. The ceiling was still missing. New modern cameras, a phone, and internet were being installed: the works.

Director Lianne McClaine sat behind her desk with her elbows on several paper files while she read the results from her last checkup with her oncologist on her tablet. The cancer had vanished. Out of nowhere. Gone. Her doctor was sure there had to be some sort of error with her previous tests. Cancer didn’t just go away.

Not the type she had.

The newly installed landline phone rang on her desk.

“Director McClaine,” she said, leaving her answer vague. A director could be in charge of all sorts of things. No need to out their secret operation because of a wrong number.

“Director, you wanted to see us?” Agent Henry Anderson replied. She remembered him saving her life. The painful feeling of them being temporarily linked; her bullet wounds healing at his beckoning. He had hijacked her body with his shapeshifting ability, but it had saved her life. She wasn’t sure how to feel about it. Despite being grateful to be alive, she also felt violated. The director tried to put the latter feeling out of her mind.

“Yes. You and Blackbird report to my office.”

“Yes, ma’am.” The call ended.

The director glanced over the two paper files once more before she put them back in the bottom drawer of her desk. Agent Henry Anderson’s blood work and DNA tests had the same error the other shapeshifters at the Facility had. The results read as if he had just had a minor blood transfusion from multiple donors. There were traces from more than one blood type. The sort of errors that are normally attributed to contaminated samples. She should have noticed the pattern, even if the doctors hadn’t made the connection. They still hadn’t, but no denying it, he was a shapeshifter.

Henry’s results weren’t the only ones with the error. Besides the known shapeshifters, there were two others with the same anomaly: the pyrokinetic, Wallace, who had been killed by Shorty four and a half months before and “Blackbird” Neila Roddenberry, who had killed Shorty after he had almost succeeded in killing everyone in the Facility.

The whole incident had been a complete clusterfuck. Shorty, a telekinetic ex-con who, sick of being a prisoner and test subject in the Facility, rallied the rest of his test group of four men, Blue Team, to lead an escape attempt. The only reason anyone survived was because Henry had joined forces with several other test subjects.

Three members of Green Team, the shapeshifters, used their powers to help the perpetually disoriented group of telepaths and several doctors escape, bypassing the Facility’s biometric scans by copying Lianne’s own DNA. Green Team’s efforts weren’t what put an end to the assault though. Shorty had his eyes on another test subject, the only other one down on paper as an agent, Neila Roddenberry. The woman had more than one ability and the skill to use them.

After a vicious fight between members of Shorty’s Blue Team and the Facility’s surviving pyrokinetic, a nonbinary person named Lor, that wrecked the hallway leading to the Facility’s solitary holding cell, Henry managed to free Neila from the holding cell. Lianne wasn’t entirely clear on what happened afterward, but the two men Shorty sent to reach the Hole were soon very dead.

Not long after, Shorty and his remaining team member found the director, killed her guards, and almost killed Lianne just before he brutally broke Neila’s leg and dragged the small woman away by her hair.

Director McClaine was surprised she hadn’t been handed her ass on a platter by her superiors. They wanted an excuse to privatize the work the Facility was doing. The vultures circling the Facility had only grown in number since the incident. Defense contractors were interested in taking over where the clandestine government agency had continually failed. Private companies like White Rook and HUGO Defense had personnel trained to use the abilities most people assumed were utter bullshit, such as psychic powers like telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis, shapeshifting, and God knew what else. The federal government was behind the private sector and had been for years. All Director McClaine had left was one more strike, just one more mistake, and she’d disappear into another dark hole somewhere. And even God wouldn’t have a clue what would happen to everyone else at the Facility.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Sarah Elkins is a comic artist and writer who nearly had to give up art entirely due to a form of ossifying tennis elbow that forced her to be unable to use her dominate hand for nearly a year. She spent much of that time writing novels with her left hand as a means to deal with the pain and stress of possibly never drawing again. Thanks to a treatment regimen she is able to draw again albeit not as easily or quickly as she once did.

Sarah enjoys reading science fiction, horror, fantasy, weird stories, comics of every sort, as well as any biographical material about Nikola Tesla she can get her hands on (that doesn’t suggest he was from Venus.) She has worked in the comics industry since 2008 as a flatter (colorist assistant,) penciler, inker, and colorist. She contributed a comic to the massive anthology project Womanthology. Currently she (slowly) produces a webcomic called Magic Remains while writing as much as her body will allow.

Facebook | Twitter | Deviant Art

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Join Us for the Release Blitz with Excerpt for The Road Between by Patrick Benjamin

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Road Between

Author: Patrick Benjamin

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Rebecca Covers

Release Date: December 31, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, Family Drama

Trope/s: Friends to lovers, Dysfunctional Families

Themes: Forgiveness, self-discovery, secrets & lies

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 93 000 words/ 281 pages 

It is a standalone story.

 

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK

|   Amazon CA 

 

 

Just because you can go home again, doesn’t mean you should.

Blurb

Television personality, Parker Houston has spent a lifetime following that motto: Running away at seventeen and vowing never to return to the small country town that made growing up gay, practically unbearable. But when the death of a loved one forces him home for the first time in twenty years, Parker has to reconcile the life and the people he left behind. Unearthing secrets and conflicts long buried.

While trying to mend the fractured relationships within his complicated family, Parker meets Bryce, a cocky rancher with a womanizing past. And although the friendship seems unlikely, neither man can deny the explosion they feel when their two worlds collide.

 

Excerpt

Prologue 

Twenty years since I’d left.

Camouflaged by a thick perimeter of poplar trees, you would miss it if you blinked. Even travelling ten clicks under the speed limit. Buried at the bottom of a steep valley, River Bluff was accessible only by a narrow gravel road. So unremarkable and insignificant, that if you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t have found it. At the base of the way was a single sign, “Welcome to River Bluff, Home of The Grouch”.

Every August, the town held a contest. Townsfolk nominated the rudest, most inconsiderate and overall “grouchy” members of the community. They declared the person with the most nominations “The Grouch”. For the next year, the winner attended every community event, with an excuse to be rude to everyone in their path. The Grouch participated in every social event — everything from the annual chili cook-off to high school graduation. The title was quite a big deal. As a child, the message was completely lost on me. Now, as an adult, I recognize how bizarre it was for a town to take pride in their unpleasantness. In many ways, River Bluff was a strange place. On the surface, it and its residents seemed utterly safe. Underneath, things were perilous.

Everyone knew each other and each other’s business. Everyone loved each other, yet no one could stand each other. If you were struggling, people would arrive at your door to offer you small scraps of their wealth. If you were successful, even more people would arrive at your door, demanding their cut. The entire community walked a thin line between socialist and militant. If an outsider had a conflict with a resident, the town would band together. They would pick-up their pitchforks to drive away the unwelcome beast. The same was true for any resident who challenged traditional thinking or practices. One could best compare the town mentality to a cult. Either you were one of the faithful, or you were an unwanted skeptic.

In River Bluff, belonging or not belonging was a concept as basic as age. There were only a few roles in which to fit. Boys were football players and girls were cheerleaders. Men worked on farms or in the oil field. Women stayed at home or worked in the town’s restaurants and bakeries. Of course, there were a few exceptions. Educators and physicians could be either male or female, but those positions came with their own sets of challenges. They required a degree. Once you left River Bluff to pursue one, you were seldom welcomed back without scrutiny. In fact, to my recollection, not a single teacher from my youth had been an original resident. They had been transplants from larger cities. Fresh out of university, with no choice but to take a position in a town no tenured educator would accept. For most of us, only a few specific roles were acceptable. That left little room for individuality.

I was aware of this truth whenever I would play dolls with Tanya Caldwell from across the street. Or whenever my mother would catch me reading “Nancy Drew” rather than “The Hardy Boys”. Or whenever I skipped football tryouts to audition for a school play. Or when I received the awkward looks of judgment from children and adults alike. That felt constant. They realized early, as did I, that I was not one of them. I did not belong. I did not behave, think, speak or even walk like them. I was different. Alien. It was that simple.

I was six years old when people first began to see me in this way. I was eight years old when I started to notice for myself. I was in the third grade, and our teacher had given us all an easy assignment. We were to present to the class a report about what we wanted to be when we grew up. Most of the kids spoke about their parents or other members of their family who inspired them. Brandon Jones wanted to be a mechanic like his father. Stacey Zimmerman wished to use her grandmother’s pie recipes to open a bakery. Jonathan Wilkins planned to take over his grandfather’s farm. Tamara Lane’s greatest ambition was to be a mother. I wish my aspiration had been so simple. It wasn’t. When the teacher called my name, I skipped to the front of the room and proclaimed that I wanted to be Oprah Winfrey.

I realize now how absurd a life goal that must have been to a group of children, especially a group of children with such rational and regular goals. I also realize now, how hilarious it was for a skinny white boy to declare that he wanted to be a strong woman of colour. At the time, it had been the truth. Well, almost the truth. I didn’t want to be Oprah. Instead, I wanted to be like Oprah – which was a notion I could have articulated better. I wanted a job in television. Doing what, I wasn’t sure, but I knew I wanted to be somebody special. I wanted success and fame. I wanted love and admiration. I wanted to be a household name, and in 1989, there was no more prominent household name than Oprah Winfrey. So, in my eight-year-old mind, I wanted to be Oprah. This proclamation acted as the catalyst for the decade of torment that followed.

I soon realized that “different” meant unwelcome. It started naturally enough, with innocent pointing, stares and laughter. Other small torments evolved from there. One boy learned how to make ‘spitballs’ from his older brother. Soon all the boys in the class had hollowed-out pens and shredded pieces of paper. Walking the halls became like storming the beaches of Normandy. I endured whatever shots they fired at me. Some days I would get home from school only to discover that the back of my shirt looked like a papier-mâché project.

By Junior High, things had escalated to acts of violence and vandalism. Another, far more offensive term also replaced my name — Faggot. It was the early nineties, so few teachers took issue with the slur. Few of my teachers took issue with anything other students did to me. One January day, someone broke into my gym locker during Phys-Ed and defecated on my jeans and sweater. Nobody batted an eye. I spent the rest of that frigid day in my sweaty gym clothes and walked home with bare legs. When I arrived home, my father had been so furious with me for “allowing” myself “to be a victim” that he blackened my eye. Then he forced me to launder my soiled clothes by hand, in the bathroom sink.

Robert Houston was a proud man, strong and quick to anger. He despised weakness and strived to purge it from me thoroughly. By force if necessary. One summer, I had woke to find the word ‘Fag’ spray-painted, in several places, on my brand-new mountain bike. I didn’t want my father to know that I was a victim, once again. So, I spent my allowance on a can of black house paint and used it to cover the graffiti. House paint is not intended for aluminum. He saw it and raged.

“How could you destroy a two-hundred-dollar bicycle?!” He demanded, furiously removing his belt. He proceeded to lash me all over my body; across my arms, my back, my legs, even my face. He was often unpredictable in his anger. I never really knew what would set him off or if the severity of punishment would suit the crime committed. It was during those long, summer months at home that I counted the days until the fall semester would begin. I preferred the Devil I knew and could predict.

By senior year, I realized that I was not alone in my exile. Of course, there were others like me, whose differences made them easy targets. I could see them getting shoved into their lockers. I could hear the profanities being slung at them. And they, in turn, bore witness to my struggle. Even though we rarely spoke to each other, we were a brotherhood. We were bound together by our shared experiences and common enemies.

Most outsiders strived for a life of anonymity and blending in. I did not. I grew independent and opinionated. I knew that nothing I could say or do could put me lower on the social hierarchy, and that gave me strength. I decided that if I had to be on the bottom, I would make sure they could hear me at the top. I spoke up, and I spoke out. I drew attention to the town’s lack of gender-neutral youth programs. I rallied for the creation of a peer support presence in our school and a plethora of other causes. The protest against pickled beets in the cafeteria had been a personal victory for me. I argued often and hard and realized I was good at it. I served as captain of the debate team, which was where I felt my most authentic and brave.

I had planted in myself, a seed of success. If it had any hope of blossoming, I knew I had to get out of River Bluff. I had to nurture my individuality and empower my spirit. I was raring to experience the world beyond. So, two days after graduation, I loaded a single suitcase onto a Greyhound bus, Toronto bound. I didn’t leave a note, and I never looked back.

Until now.

Twenty years later.

 

 

About the Author

Patrick Benjamin has always had a passion for books.  Growing up in rural Alberta, Canada, books were often the only escape he had from his simple small-town life.  Patrick loves the way books can transport readers into different worlds and times, and expose them to experiences and types of people they wouldn’t normally encounter.  His favourite stories, have always been those with strong, relatable characters. Stories that refrain from painting their characters with perfect brush strokes, and instead present their characters as fully rounded, real people — complete with their own imperfections, humours and motivations.  Those are the types of Characters he aims to create, and its their stories he wants to tell. This is his first novel.

 

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