A Free Dreamer Review: Loose Ends (Badlands #4) by Morgan Brice

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Cold cases, old enemies, ex-lovers, and vengeful spirits are making life dangerous for psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato.

The ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless, trapped by love, secrets, scandals, and spells, keeping Simon busy protecting the living from the unhappy dead. Someone from Vic’s past is out to destroy him and everyone he holds dear, and the high-profile trial of the first case Simon and Vic worked together puts them in the spotlight—and put a target on their backs. As a deadly trap closes around them, can Simon and Vic tie up the loose ends to stop the threat, or will they become the newest ghosts of the Grand Strand?

Loose Ends is an urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with spooky supernatural suspense, hot sex, hurt/comfort, feisty friends, found family, ghosts galore, and dark magic. It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels. Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.

I love a good ghost story, so there was no way I could have resisted “Loose Ends”. And it turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Like the blurb says, this works perfectly fine as a standalone. I haven’t read any of the previous books in the series and while it’s obvious these two guys have a past together, all the important bits are explained.

I really liked the fantasy aspects of this story. There’s a bunch of different ghosts and quite a bit of magic as well. I just wasn’t too fond of coupling of magic and religion, tbh. It all felt a little bit one-sided. There’s angels and saints and the like and it made me wonder if that really is the only way to banish a ghost. What about a Hindu ghost? Can you banish that one with Christian beliefs too? But I did enjoy how the magic was rooted in the traditions of different cultures, though.

We meet a few different ghosts throughout the story and they’re all very different and Simon had a different solution for each of them. It was actually interesting to see how he dealt with them and came up with individual ways how best to help the spirits.

Vic and Simon are in a comfortably established relationship and I often prefer that to a blossoming relationship. It leaves more room for the important parts of the plot. Here, the romance was still very strong and the two of them worked really well together. I really enjoyed how they interacted with each other.

There’s quite a bit of action and suspense going on as well. It takes our protagonists a while to figure out what’s going on and then it gets really dramatic toward the end. There was, of course, a happy end, which I never doubted for a second.

Overall, this was a good, solid book. Nothing spectacular, but still thoroughly enjoyable. If urban fantasy and ghosts are you thing, it’s definitely worth a try.

I’m not a huge fan of the cover. It’s just our two protagonists in front of a pretty landscape. I’ve seen hundreds of covers that look very similar and it’s not very memorable.

Buy Links

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK  |   Kobo  |   Nook

Book details:

Kindle Edition
Published December 29th 2019 by Darkwind Press
ASIN B0839PTFL6
Edition Language English
Series Badlands #3

A Dan Review: Love on the Spectrum by Alec Nortan

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

 

 

Hervé has Asperger’s, a specific kind of autism that makes him unable to interact with other people.

 

Luc has been severely scarred by fire and flees human presence to avert the way people glare and frown when they see him.

 

It was impossible for them to meet, but life sometimes likes to cheat the odds. Is it just a trick or a way to bring together two men who could be each other’s lifeline?

 

 

 

I gave this book two stars because the author’s blurb at the end of the book states that he had recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s. If a neurotypical person had written this book, I would give it one star.

 

Everyone experiences their autism differently. That’s the very nature of a spectrum disorder. People on the spectrum have different stims, different vocal and verbal abilities, different special interests, different skills and strengths, different triggers and anxieties. I know a lot of people with autism who span the spectrum, in real life and as part of the ASD community on the internet who are all impacted by autism in different ways, and I certainly don’t speak for all people with autism, but in all my years, I have never met a person who experiences with world with the same level of misery as Hervé

 

He is overwhelmingly joyless, which I sincerely hope don’t reflect the author’s experiences. I understand completely that the world is an overwhelming sensory experience and that people can redouble that, but even Hervé’s stims and special interests don’t bring him happiness, even when we have full access to his internal states. He constantly refers to his autism in terms of ‘difficulties’. There are flashbacks to hateful teachers and mentors, which took me out of the narrative and only served to reinforce that I didn’t like this book. There are portions in which people react to Luc’s facial scarring as if he’s a literal monster, instead of a human man with scars, and outloud declaring that he’s too hideous to be in public, which seems extreme.

 

Sometimes, the words didn’t flow exactly right, which given that English isn’t the author’s first language, makes sense. I hope this use of language also accounts for some of the way in which the author describes Hervé and his experiences. This book has an uncomfortable reference to cure narratives as well, in which Luc, the love interest, and Hervé manage to ‘cure’ each other’s disabilities in a way. 

 

As a love story, it’s cute and relatively unproblematic, the story of two men navigating each other’s boundaries. It has a happy ending and has no homophobia, even interalized, always a bonus for a gay story. There are some tricks to navigating the world on the spectrum that the author captures honestly, like looking near someone’s eyes instead of at them. The plot itself is lighthearted, and some parts of it feel unfinished and too easy, and I’d really like to see this story reworked with as much love, ease, and acceptance for the ASD community as it has for the gay community.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon \ Barnes&Noble

Book Details:

 

37900 words

Ninestar press 

January 6, 2020

Contemporary romance

gay/cis 

 

 

BL Dayhoff on The Right Move (guest post and excerpt)

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The Right Move by B.L. Dayhoff
Published January 25th 2020
JMS Book
Cover Design: Written Ink Designs | written-ink.com

Buy links: JMS BooksAmazon Barnes & NobleKobo

 

“Please don’t touch me,” the guy snapped.

“Sorry!” Trevor jerked his hand back from the shoulder he’d grabbed for balance, which had the unfortunate side effect of throwing him off-balance and turning him ass over backwards. That would have been fine, except he was holding an open Scrabble box—tiles went flying (4,1,4,1,1,2). Thirteen points overhead.

This is the introduction to Chase (“the guy” in the above scene) and Trevor, and the opening of The Right Move. It was the first piece of this story that fell into place (I very much write A to B to C), and the visual was so strong that the rest of the story sprung from it as I wondered who these men are and what their accidental meeting means for them.

Scrabble is the first game mentioned in The Right Move, but it’s not the last, as Trevor invites Chase to join his board game club, which he admits is just an excuse to play board games and get the college to pay for them! Although Chase is initially resistant to making new friends his senior year in college, the club sounds too fun for him to resist. On his first night there, he plays Settlers of Catan with Mike, Sarah, and Annie, although the game has trouble keeping his attention, as you can see in the excerpt below:

Annie rolled her eyes, but said nothing, and the conversation slipped onto other topics and Chase’s gaze slid to Trevor. He was deeply involved in his game now, with all the pieces in their right place (Chase assumed), and fierce intensity on all of their faces. Chase wondered if they were even having fun. It looked more like work than anything.

Then someone at the table said something, and Trevor smiled. Fuck, it was beautiful. Vicious but not cruel, daring, perhaps, like some rogue pirate. Chase could imagine it: Trevor on the deck of a ship, rope in one hand, leaning off the side while the wind whipped through his hair. Of course, instead of short auburn curls they would be long, unruly locks.

“Well, look at that smirk.”

Chase twisted his gaze back to the table, where Sarah was watching him, a smirk of her own on her face.

“See something you like?” she asked.

“Um.” Heat built on the back of his neck and he tilted his head so his braid tumbled over his shoulder. His fingers immediately went for the frayed ends. “No?”

Sarah giggled and shared a glance with Annie. “Right.”

The other girl giggled as well and bumped her shoulder against Sarah’s. Chase ducked his head briefly and fought the blush spreading any farther. “Just seeing what’s happening at other tables.”

The girls giggled again. Mike, seemingly oblivious, asked, “We playing another round?”

Chase nodded, thankful for the out. “I’m up for it.”

The girls agreed, and they began to rebuild the board.

To see the boys geeking out about board games, fandom, and TV shows, check out The Right Move, available now at all major retailers!

The Right Move by B.L. Dayhoff

Length: 56,013 words

Release date: January 25, 2020

Blurb:

Trevor can never leave good enough alone. So when he meets model-gorgeous Chase who has an aversion to being touched, he spots a challenge. After all, no one wants to go through life not being touched by anyone, right? Despite a friend’s plea not to, Trevor sets his sight on fixing Chase.

After being forced to transfer his senior year of college, Chase just wants to avoid drama, pass his classes, get his degree, and move on (and back to his friends). He’s not looking for new friends, and his attitude gives him a reputation that makes it easy to accomplish. At least until he meets Trevor.

Despite an awkward beginning, common interests — and Trevor’s persistence — draw Chase and Trevor together. It’s almost inevitable that their friendship develops into something else. But when secrets come out, it might end the game early.

About the Author:

BL Dayhoff is working on coming out of her shell. She’s always had an interest in writing, but only recently has done it for more than just her own personal amusement. She loves to fill her time with too many things, and her initials really are “BL” but unfortunately do not stand for Boys Love. Although maybe her parents knew something about the future…

You can email her at BLDayhoff@gmail.com or find her online:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/BLDayhoff

Tumblr: bldayhoff.tumblr.com

Blogging: bldayhoff.wordpress.com

Check Out the New Release Blitz for Better Than Beginnings (Better Than Stories #5) by Lane Hayes (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Better Than Beginnings, A Better Than Good Short Story Collection

Series: Better Than Stories, 5

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: January 30, 2020

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 105000

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Established Couple, MM Romance, White Collar, Gay romance

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Matt Sullivan knows he met someone special the night he spots the sexy man on the dance floor. However, he doesn’t know his life is about to change forever. First of all, Matt is straight. Okay, maybe not, but he doesn’t think falling in love and spending the rest of his life with a hotheaded, unapologetically fabulous diva is an option.

Aaron Mendez is confident, smart, and very comfortable in his skin. He knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. And though he might have reservations about falling for someone newly out of the closet, no one has ever looked at Aaron the way Matt does.

Navigating a relationship has its challenges, but both Matt and Aaron are willing to deal with difficult parents, holiday blues, and learning curves. They know their happy ever after is worth fighting for and that true love is better than good.

*This collection of short stories follows the lives of Matt and Aaron from my first novel, Better Than Good. The end of one chapter is the beginning of a whole new story from ordinary everyday life to an engagement, a wedding, and more. This collection is dedicated to Matt and Aaron fans and those who believe that the real love story happens after the first “I love you”.

Excerpt

Better Than Candy from Better Than Beginnings, A Better Than Good Short Story Collection

Aaron gave me the silent treatment for a while, and I have to admit I didn’t mind the quiet. For an hour anyway. Then I did mind.

“Come on. You can’t not talk to me all day.”

“Oh, so now you want to talk?” he huffed.

“Yeah. Let’s talk. Come closer so I can touch you too. I’ll be good.” I perched on one of the stools at the island in our kitchen and swiveled to face the hockey game on the flat-screen across the room.

“I don’t trust you,” he grumbled, crossing his arms and glaring at me.

“Come on. I’ll behave. Give me a kiss. Please?” I gave him my best “You can trust me” look.

Aaron sighed dramatically before shuffling over to stand between my thighs. Directly in the way of the hockey game.

“Are you going to make it up to me? Or are you going to watch the Steelers?”

“Okay, funny guy, let’s start with a little re-education. The Steelers are a football team.” I pulled him into my arms and squeezed him tightly, burrowing my chin into his shoulder and blowing raspberries on his neck. “Sadly, their season is over, but thankfully it’s basketball and hockey season now. You’re currently blocking a hockey game, but not my Penguins, so I’ll let you off the hook.”

“Excuse me?” he huffed irritably.

“You heard me. If you’d like to take some time to make up for my hour in hell, I will more than gladly join you…on the sofa, in the bedroom, or even in that green guest bathroom with the cool new towels we just bought. What’s it gonna be?” I held him even tighter and tickled his sides.

He laughed, his eyes twinkling with restored humor as he stepped out of my reach and peeled off his T-shirt.

“First of all, the color is eucalyptus, not green. Hockey and basketball are only marginally better than football and…” He furrowed his brow when I smacked his ass for sheer blasphemy. “And, you are making up with me. Not the other way around. You behaved like a five-year-old. I had no idea you were such a brat.”

“You promised not to torture me, but you did anyway. Even that lady at the store agreed you should have gone alone,” I singsonged.

He stepped between my thighs and rested his arms over my shoulders.

“She called you my husband. That was kind of funny.”

“Yeah.” I kissed his nose and pulled him closer to squeeze his ass.

“It didn’t freak you out?”

“Nope. And you wanna know why?”

“Hmm?”

“ ’Cause I’m gonna marry you someday.”

“How do you know that?”

“I just do. You’re my person. And even though I can think of about ten other things I’d rather do with you, going shopping wasn’t the worst ’cause I still got to be with you.”

Aaron bit his bottom lip and nodded. “Oh, that was good, Matty. I almost can’t remember why I’m mad at you.”

“You’re not mad. You love me. You just don’t know it yet.” I scooped him over my shoulder in a fireman’s hold before he could protest. “No more talking. You have some making up to do.”

I carried him into our bedroom and tossed him onto the bed before kicking off my shoes and pulling my sweater over my head. Aaron undressed quickly, then folded the duvet back and got on all fours in the middle of the bed. I gulped when he shook his ass in invitation. Fuck, he was sexy. I stepped out of my jeans and boxer briefs in a hurry and immediately reached for my cock. I was so hard it hurt. I approached the bed and kneeled behind him, running my fingers along his spine and over the curve of his hips.

Aaron turned to give me a seductive look. “What are you waiting for?”

“Sometimes I can’t believe I’m here with you.”

He frowned before straightening and scooting toward me, wrapping his arms around my neck. “But here we are. And I think this is the way it’s supposed to be,” he whispered.

I brushed my lips over his and closed my eyes for a moment. “Mine.”

Purchase at Amazon

BETTER THAN GOOD is on sale for just 99 cents. Available HERE.

Other books in the Better Than series. Get them all HERE!

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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