An Alisa Review: Thirst for You (Beyond the Cove #2) by Jaclyn Quinn

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

What happens when thirst becomes an obsession that can’t be quenched?

Forty-year-old Zachariah Taylor prides himself on being the overprotective older brother of seven. He owns a successful bar, Zach’s Bar and Grill, in the quiet town of Riverside Falls and loves the life he’s built for himself. But as his siblings move on and find their forever partners in life, he’s starting to feel less and less needed—not to mention old. Suddenly, he’s finding it even harder to ignore the younger man who has pursued him for years, but the twelve years separating them is something Zach can’t seem to overlook.

Twenty-eight-year-old Drew Belford has been in love with the stubborn Zach Taylor for seven years. Sure, he was a kid when they’d first met, but what Zach is determined to ignore is the man Drew has become. Drew, however, is just as strong-minded and refuses to let Zach use their age difference as an excuse to disregard the attraction burning between them. He doesn’t need an overprotective older brother—he needs Zach.

When Drew begins to get unsettling messages from an unknown person, Zach feels helpless in a way he’s never felt before. How can he protect Drew from someone he can’t find? The thought of anyone hurting Drew unleashes years’ worth of pent-up desire Zach has had for the younger man. Is his thirst for Drew enough to protect him from the danger lurking in the shadows, or will the threat of the unknown be enough to douse the spark of love between them—and silence Drew forever?

I really enjoyed this story and was even thrown for a loop when the stalker was revealed.  Drew and Zach work well together at work, they just need to learn how to do it in their personal lives but once that happens everything isn’t as smooth as they would like.

I loved how Drew would not give up in his quest for Zach but I think that is what Zach needed since he couldn’t seem to work for his own happiness.  Zach sure is stubborn and he’ll do whatever it takes for those around him to be happy even if it’s not what would make him happy and that broke my heart.  I was glad to see him hold on with both hands once he let himself be happy.

This story pulled me from one emotion to the other, I was happy and then worried or scared about what was happening to Drew and back and forth but it sure kept my attention.  I could tell how it hurt the characters for someone they were close with to be the cause of all the problems.  I think I can see who the next relationship will be and I really look forward to it.

The cover art by Cate Ashwood is great, I love the visual of the characters and Drew’s signature shirt *wink*.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 258 pages

Published: April 8, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Beyond the Cove #2

A Stella Review:Top Shelf (Seacroft #1) by Allison Temple

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

Martin is a ghost. Well, not really, but he might as well be. Job gone, home gone, self-respect gone, and no one even seems to notice. The only person who really sees him is Seb, the artist who lives above the used bookstore.

Seb haunts the edges of Seacroft in search of beauty. He knows how to excavate the hidden value in abandoned things–whether it’s in the pages of forgotten books or in Martin’s stuttering attempts to rebuild his life–and transform them into works of art.

Two lost souls, Seb and Martin discover the strength they need to face eccentric townies and their dysfunctional families together. But as friendship sparks toward something more, neither man wants to risk what they’ve only just found. It takes two to fall in love, but it will take the whole community to bring their beauty to life.

Top Shelf is an 81k slow burn friends-to-lovers MM romance. It features an anxious professor, a drama queen artist, a bookstore that might be haunted, and a full-blown heart-eyes HEA.

Top Shelf was a lovely reading, I soon fell in love with Martin, perhaps because I knew what he was going through. I could feel him struggle but he was so brave to try and start again, in a different and easy environment. He found a new life in his brother’s house, in a new town, with a new job at a little bookstore and new people like Penny and Cassidy. And then there was Seb, the artist who carved books. When Martin first discovered it, he felt it as a sacrilege, books couldn’t be destroyed like that, but the masterpieces Seb worked on were too precious to be offended by. Little by little they became friends and more, until when things went really bad, they were there for each other. I loved how they took their time although the  strong chemistry.

I liked the plot and the writing a lot, the novel was easy and quick to finish. The only reason why I didn’t give Top Shelf an higher rating was due to the ending part. Without spoiling anything I think Seb acted a little too much childish and forgot how supporting Martin was, sure he  maybe wasn’t thinking clearly, still I didn’t like him at all.

Top Shelf is the first title in a new series by Allison Temple, I can’t wait for the next installment, maybe abou Seb’s brother?

The cover art by Cate Ashwood is lovely, I like this artist style a lot.

Sales Links:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 302 pages

Expected publication: May 20th 2019 by Allison Temple Books

ASIN B07R81RWV4

Edition Language English

Series Seacroft #1

Marie Sexton on Romance, Characters, and her new release Promises (author guest blog)

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Promises by Marie Sexton
Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 14, 2019

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Sales Link: Dreamspinner Press

Includes the Coda series prequel novella, Meant to Be

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to interview Marie Sexton, here today on tour for her re-release of her novel Promises. Welcome, Marie!

 

STRW Interviews Marie Sexton!

 

Hello, everybody! I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m here today celebrating the re-release of my very first novel, Promises. Promises was first released back in January of 2010. The new version has been re-edited, features one expanded scene, and also contains a brand new Coda short story called Meant to Be.

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Not a ton, but there’s certainly a little bit of me in each of my protagonists. Probably Angelo from the Coda series, Cody from Trailer Trash, and Trey from Family Man are the most “me.”

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Well, any character based on my life experience probably wouldn’t be a Mary Sue (or a Gary Stu). I make way too many mistakes and bad decisions for that. LOL.

Does research play a role in choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I hate research. As an author with a degree in history, I probably shouldn’t admit that, but it’s true. I find it mind-numbingly boring. Which is why most of the time when I start out writing historical, I end up with some kind of weird AU. (My Oestend series being the primary example.)

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

Nope. Didn’t read them back then and I don’t read them now. I always felt like a fraud at romance conventions because I had no idea who any of the other authors were.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing? Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Yes and no. I read SFF almost exclusively in my teens, and yet I mostly write contemporary. But I think I always gravitated towards stories with quirky characters and questionable narrators. One of my favorites as a kid was the Great Brain series, where the reader watches a young genius/con-man through the eyes of his adoring (and naïve) little brother. I love the idea that the exact same story can be vastly different when seen through the eyes of a different character, which is probably why most of my early books were written in first person. 

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I have a few, actually. First and foremost, I love my Oestend series (Song of Oestend and Saviours of Oestend). These books have everything I love to write — opposites attract, friends to lovers, redeeming a bad boy, macho cowboys, role reversal, and BDSM — all with an AU, paranormal twist. I love Trailer Trash, because it captured so much of the joys and heartaches of my teen years. I love Winter Oranges for being outlandish and yet (hopefully) believable. And as far as complexity, I think Release is probably my best work.

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually he becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I think this is more about the reader than the writer. Some readers can’t stand to read about characters who make choices they wouldn’t. For example, if the character smokes, or if he and his partner aren’t monogamous, some readers will immediately DNF the book. I can’t really do anything about that. I have to write the character the way he is, smoking and all.

  Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Yes. I did this with Trailer Trash. I originally started it way back in about 2011. Then I realized I was writing about the AIDS era, and I knew the story was going to get heavy and angsty, so I put it aside until 2015 or 2016, I think. But I did finally finish it, and I personally think it’s one of my better books.

I also kind of did this with Damned If You Do. I originally had the idea for that story when I heard the song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and I started wondering what would happen if, after that first duel, the devil became a bit obsessed with Jonny and kept going back for more. But my original idea for the story would have stepped all over copyright, so I kind of put it away until a new idea came to me about a year later.

And I guess The Well was also similar. I knew for several years that I wanted to write about a group of teens who spend a night in a haunted house and wake up to find one of them has disappeared without a trace. But it took me several years to figure out what exactly had happened to Elise.

 

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

I’ve probably done this to lesser degrees multiple times, but the one instance that was HUGE was when I wrote Family Man with Heidi Cullinan. I wrote Trey’s POV, and I dumped every bit of my rage at growing up with an alcoholic parent into that book. It was awful and painful and raw, but when it was all said and done, it was incredibly cathartic. That being said, I tried doing the same thing recently with a different issue in a different work in progress, and it’s a hot, unpublishable mess. It’s been anti-cathartic, if that’s a thing. It left me even more frustrated than I was before. So… time will tell how that situation works out.

  

What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m still trying to finish book three in my Heretic Doms Club series. And I have a Tucker Springs novel to wrap up. (And because Tucker Springs and Coda are now with the same publishing house, Matt and Jared might drop in for a visit.) 😉

That’s it for today. Don’t forget to check out the re-release of Promises. You can also join my private Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MarieSextonFans/

Thank you to Scattered Thoughts for having me here today.

Blurb

Can a man who loves his small hometown trust it to love him back?

Jared Thomas has lived in the mountain town of Coda, Colorado, his whole life. He can’t imagine living anywhere else. But Jared’s opportunities are limited—the only other gay man in town is twice his age, and although Jared originally planned to be a teacher, the backlash that might accompany the gig keeps him working at his family’s store instead.

Then Matt Richards moves to town.

Matt may not be into guys, but he doesn’t care that Jared is. A summer camping and mountain biking together cements their friendship, but when Matt realizes he’s attracted to Jared, he panics and withdraws, leaving Jared all too aware of what he’s missing.

Facing Matt’s affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt’s coworkers, Jared fears they’ll never find a way to be together. But for the first time, he has the courage to try… if he can only convince Matt.

About the Author

Marie Sexton is the author of over thirty published works. She’s written contemporary romance, science fiction, fantasy, dystopian fiction, historical short stories, and a few
odd genre mashups. Marie lives in Colorado , where she recently fell head – over – heels in
love with the Colorado Eagles. She’s happily married, with one teenage daughter, one adorable dog, and one very stupid cat.
You can find Marie on Twitter (@mariesexton, where she mostly talks about sports), at
http://www.MarieSexton.net , or in her private Facebook group,
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MarieSextonFans/
.

RELEASE BLITZ for By Way of Pain (Criminal Delights:Assassins) by JM Dabney

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ReleaseBlitz-ByWayofPain

By Way of Pain

Criminal Delights Series, Book 11

J.M. Dabney

M/M Dark Romance

Release Date: 05.20.19

BY Way of Pain Cover

Blurb

Double lives were just the way it was for a man like me. By day I was a man with a reputation above reproach. Even assassins needed backup plans. For fifteen years, life was going without a hitch until I had to take out a witness. When it was time to kill him, beautiful eyes filled with fear urged me to do something else. Yet, in order to do that, I had to break him, and by way of pain, my captive would experience pleasure he’d never dreamed.

This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.

Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

Trigger Warnings: Title contains the following possible triggers. Humiliation, Violence, Master/slave elements, Male Chastity, Murder, Imprisonment, Dub-Con, and Brief Torture.

Universal Link: books2read.com/CriminalDelights-Pain

By-Way-of-Pain-Teaser-Because-I-Can

By-Way-of-Pain-Teaser-Cowen-Abnormal

Excerpt

It was a place created for a hunter. Big, sprawling and dirty—victims roaming the streets unaware of their status as prey. They all felt they were safe from the monsters because they were all easily spotted, but they knew nothing about my kind. We were just an abstract concept on some true crime show they watched in the middle of the night—evil reduced to caricature. My reputation was above reproach, but I was the most prolific killer of my kind.

In moments of respite where I hid away in my cabin, I’d analyzed when I’d become broken. I believed my sociopathy was a result of conception. Maybe something as damaged as I shouldn’t have survived to birth. A shell without a soul. I’d attempted suicide a time or two, and I bore the marks from years of self-harm. I’d hoped to feel something—pain proved you were alive—and yet the more I cut and burned, it became nothing more than a minor inconvenience—wounds to heal.

I closed my eyes, drew oxygen in through my nose and pushed it slowly past my lips, repeated until I opened my eyes. As with any normal person ending work, I gathered up files and my laptop, stowing them inside my satchel briefcase. Everything in my life was routine and repetition, nothing deviated. I arrived at my office at six in the morning and promptly left at six at night. Meetings were scheduled as needed. I appeared in court. I was successful at my chosen cover, but as with all aspects of my existence, they were disguises.
JM logo

J.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. They live with a constant diverse cast of characters in their head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. J.M. lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure they do them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and they makes sure their characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more they want from telling their stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/J.M.DabneyAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/jmdabney_author

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/authorjmdabney/?hl=en

Reader Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/585182991553194/

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Dabney/e/B006QZIFLE

Website – www.jmdabneyauthor.com

Mailing List – http://eepurl.com/dzWnIn

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Review Tour and Giveaway for Love Kills (Criminal Delights:Serial Killers) by Michael Mandrake

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited.
 
Length: 56,600 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Blurb
 

Deranged birds of a feather flock together… leaving trails of blood in their wake.


Holland has fantasies most can’t accept. When potential mates discover Holland’s bloodlust, it’s too late for them to refuse. Determined to get what he wants, Holland continues to seek a man to fulfill his deepest desire and he won’t stop at anything


Archer is inspired and aroused by the tales he’s heard from his boyfriend. Still, he’s greedy for something that pushes him over the edge. Although this might drive him and his partner apart, Archer’s dark want won’t disappear.


Clint’s love for his job has slipped for years, and he’s pondered change. These days he’s cared more about how to please his man, than the rigorous position of solving murder cases. Clint thinks his attitude will eventually get better, thus prompting him to stay aboard. Still, the constant worry of Archer finding someone new niggles at him.


Putting sketchy characters behind bars had always been Clint’s forte, but when new feelings arise, Clint’s conscience is tested. Furthermore, what will happen if Clint is forced to choose between the love of his life, his career, and his morality?


This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.


Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.


 

About the Author
 

Michael Mandrake pens complex characters already comfortable with their sexuality. Through these, he builds worlds not centered on romance but rather the mainstream and/or obscure plots we might encounter in everyday life and beyond.


Website: https://michaelmandrake.wordpress.com/
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichaelMandrake/
FB Profile: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004610177001
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/MichaelMandrake
Follow me on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/michael-mandrake
Triad Newsletter – https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z7f2c7
Triad Fangroup – https://www.facebook.com/groups/275083546529760/

 

Giveaway

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More on Universe Building and Differing Frameworks. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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More on Universe Building and Differing Frameworks

 

More stories and more ideas on universe building and the size of the story.  From the tiny to the novella to the full sized novel that can be staggering in scope and size, universe/world building and its importance in the story has been of key interest to me.  As a reader, the world building, the layers, the richness, the imagination that an author pours into their universe for a story or series can enrapture me.  The details they think of, from the many cultures, languages, down to the clothing and food, pull me deeper into their novels and worlds, making it more real, more alive!

For some stories, it’s not just fantasy or science fiction that the author is building a specific universe for, sometimes it’s a contemporary one.  A certain location or family for example.  There it is still that same factors of language, geography, location, etc, that will hold true for fantasy and sci fi. Only whereas in fantasy and scifi you may be creating them, in contemporary they are there to be pulled from.

While I often think the heavier, longer tomes have it easier in world building because just in length alone, the author has the luxury of pages in which to take the time to include the world minutiae their imagination has created for their  characters and universe.  The problem here is often editing out the wealth of joyous overload the author has produced.  Building a complex universe takes a depth of knowledge and outlining, what to leave out is often as hard as what to put in.

But the other end of the spectrum?  The tiny story.  That itty bitty tale that dares you to put in any world building at all.

How to create a world on the top of a pin?  Or a story in 200 or 300 words?  One that feels so complete that you know the world those characters exist in.

Some authors can do it with just a few choice word placements.  Within a paragraph or page, a man mentions his sore throat, a constant illness, and a feeling settles over the story.  You don’t need to know about his viral loads to know he has AIDS, it has only taken some well chosen words and a location and the reader knows exactly who this man is and what he is going through. In a short story.

I so admire the high quality of writing of both authors that can build such stories, in tiny and huge, that have such ability to pull me in.

I figure that’s a lot of editing and heartbreak at work  in both forms in trying to know what to let go of…narratively speaking and what to hold on to.

But in both, for me at least, world building remains a key to unlocking the characters, their situations, and the storyline.  It’s the foundation it all rests upon, small or large.

 

Thoughts from H.B. on the matter:

I think it’s doable and can be well done using a few sentences or even a paragraph or two maybe a page or two. But I guess it depends on the writer but I don’t think authors have to limit themselves to that so I think it’s needless to think about?

As for small houses I know about them. She sheds have become popular of late and there are insurance commercials for it. I think All State actually did one a year or two ago? In china there’s are living quarters called microapartments where the rooms are only like 65-107 square ft or smaller (so enough for a bed and desk or just a bed).

 

We might come back to this topic and flash fiction later on.  As I said I love the subject.  Meanwhile, next week we go back to HEA or HFN which we never wrapped up.

Until then, happy Sunday, happy reading or listening.  And this is our upcoming week at our blog!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, May 19:

  • A MelanieM Review:  Surprise Groom (Marital Bliss #1) by D.J. Jamison
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : American Fairytale (Dreamers #2) by Adriana Herrera
  • More on Universe Building and Differing Frameworks.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, May 20:

  • Review Tour – – Love Kills (Criminal Delights) by Michael Mandrake
  • RELEASE BLITZ By Way of Pain by JM Dabney
  • PROMO Marie Sexton
  • A MelanieM Review: Modified and Sacred by Jana Denardo
  • A Stella Review:Top Shelf (Seacroft #1) by Allison Temple
  • An Alisa Review: Thirst for You (Beyond the Cove #2) by Jaclyn Quinn
  • An Ashlez Review:Love Kills – Criminal Delights: Serial Killers by Michael Mandrake

Tuesday, May 21:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Torn by Rick R Reed
  • Release Blitz OUT OF THE SHADE by S.A. McAuley
  • BLOG TOUR Seeing Red by Alex Beecroft
  • An Alisa Audio Review: If I Ever (Hell or High Water, #4) by SE Jakes
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Why We Fight (At First Sight #4) by T.J. Klune
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Redesigning Landry Bishop (Stars from Peril #2) by Kim Fielding
  • A Ali Review : Match Grade – Criminal Delights: Assassins by G.B. Gordon

Wednesday, May 22:

  • TOUR Azaran Jacki James
  • PROMO Kim Fielding
  • BLOG TOUR – The Hierophant’s Daughter  (The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy #1) by M.F. Sullivan
  • An Alisa Review: Lightbearer by L.C. Davis
  • A MelanieM Review Running on Empty (Havoc #3) by S.E. Jakes
  • A Lucy Audio Review Finding Love: The Perfect Size for You by Lily G. Blunt  and Sean Crisden (Narrator)

Thursday, May 23:

  • DSP PROMO Jodi Payne
  • Blog Tour – T.A.G. You’re Seen by A.G. Carothers
  • An Ashez Review: T.A.G. You’re Seen (The Assassins’ Guild #1) by A.G. Carothers
  • An Alisa Review Love on the Rocks by J.P. Bowie
  • A Free Dreamer Review: The Incredible Real Life Monster Man by L.B. La Vigne
  • A MelanieM Review: Not Gonna Lie (#lovehim #4) by S.M. James

Friday, May 24:

  • BLOG TOUR Want Me by Neve Wilder
  • Blog Tour – Eight Lives: (Match Made in Hell #1) by Autumn Breeze
  • Blog Post – DJ Jamison – Surprise Groom
  • An Alisa Review How to Heal by Susan Hawke
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Barricades by Dem Had

Saturday, May 25:

  • Release Blitz for AE Via – Nothing Special
  • Release Blitz & Signal – Kris Jacen – Always With Me
  • A MelanieM Review:  Always With Me by Kris Jacen

A MelanieM Review: Surprise Groom (Marital Bliss #1) by D.J. Jamison

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Can two men fake their way to marital bliss?

Caleb Taylor is shocked to learn his family could lose Bliss Island Resort — their home and livelihood — unless he makes use of a clause to marry the child of investor Louis Chastain. Sofia Chastain is more like a sister than a love interest, and Caleb isn’t ready to sign over his future. But Sofia has a brother, and Caleb has a plan …

Julien Chastain was disowned at fifteen and has made a life as a go-go dancer in Miami, but he lives paycheck to paycheck. When his childhood friend proposes an outlandish marriage contract, he thinks he’s crazy. But it’s a chance at a future that’s tough to pass up.

Caleb and Julien must present themselves as an authentic couple for the legal loophole to work, but the lines between “fake” and “real” keep shifting as they navigate intimacy, public scrutiny, and sabotage.

Love isn’t part of the plan, but plans change. If they can outsmart Julien’s father and prove their love is worth more than a transaction, they just might find a true happily-ever-after.

I’m really very fond of the “fake marriage” trope, eager to see how each author gives this familiar theme their own twist. Surprise Groom (Marital Bliss #1) by D.J. Jamison delivers a delightful contemporary romance within this well known framework, one that kept me entertained and connected right up until the end.

Unlike some of the other stories, Jamison gave both men  a connected past which made their reunion and rising feelings, or perhaps buried feelings much more authentic.  They understood each other even while relearning the adult version of the other person that they were faced with now.  Jamison delivers now only great characters but realistic situations, beautiful locations such as Bliss Island which is based on an actual place.

I am not a fan of the tired tag “Gay For You” which implies a choice in sexuality, or that a character “turned” the other one gay. Please.  So I was happy to see Caleb working through his feelings and realizing that he’s actually bisexual, a far more realistic and positive portrait.  In fact, Caleb and Julian’s relationship is based on growth and trust, which I appreciated, given the backgrounds of one and the situation in which their reunion is launched.

All the characters here were so well drawn out that you enjoyed spending time with each and every one, whether it was the dancers at the club in Miami to the extended family of friends at the Bliss Island resort.  They were all people you wanted to get to know better and I am thrilled this is becoming a series.  I’m not sure if it’s couples coming to the island or more of Caleb and Julian or both.  Either way I will be waiting for the next installment to drop.

Surprise Groom (Marital Bliss #1) by D.J. Jamison really had everything I love in a contemporary romance.  Well written, a trope I love, men reuniting with a past history and given a chance at love and HEA in a drop dead gorgeous location!  Yes, I am absolutely recommending this!  I think you’ll love it as much as I do.

Cover art: Garrett Leigh at Black Jazz Design.  Not a fan of the cover.  No real elements from the story, just a model. Disappointing.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published May 16th 2019

Check Out the Release Blitz for Under the Jasmine Flowers by W.S. Long (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Under the Jasmine Flowers

Author: W.S. Long

Publisher:  JMS Books

Cover Artist: Written Ink Design

Release Date: May 18, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Forced in the closet until he realizes he has to be out

Themes:  Coming out, forgiveness

Heat Rating:  3 flames

Length:  73 321 words/154 pages

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links

Amazon US 

Amazon UK 

 

 

Blurb

Jojo Arias, a Spanish-Filipino mestizo, didn’t expect to meet a U.S. Marine in a swank bar in the Philippines. But, Jojo can’t deny the electricity they have once he meets Adam. Although they come from different worlds, they struggle to keep their relationship private to protect Jojo’s status, and position as part of one of wealthiest and powerful in Filipino society.  Billions of dollars could be easily lost if his family business was jeopardized by Jojo’s secret. Jojo is pressured to abandon Adam and live a life in the closet. When the struggle to maintain their secret romance unravels, Jojo is left with a life-changing decision to leave his family, or to pursue his love.

 

Excerpt

James Joseph Garcia Arias savored the last few drops, then set the now empty pilsner down, right next to two other empty bottles of San Miguel beer. Despite the thick glass windows in the swank Makati bar that should have offered some soundproofing, Saturday Manila traffic passed noisily one floor below. The rumble of buses, cars honking, and steady stream of headlights never bored him. He preferred the noise of the city to the quiet stillness that his parents called home.

He glanced at his Patek Phillipe Nautilus watch his grandmother had given him. He texted Erwin. Ready. Barely a second or two passed, when his phone received the reply text. Be right there, boss. He sighed. He’d asked Erwin not to call him that for the longest time, but Erwin insisted. Jojo stood, fished out the right amount of pesos, plus a slightly larger gratuity than what was expected, then headed for the men’s room. A large group of Americans sat around the glass-tiled bar, laughing loudly. He guessed they were military, based on their crew cuts, hanging out to blow off steam. When he returned a few minutes later, after peeing an hour’s worth of beer, one of the military guys glanced up, and smiled at him. The man’s eyes followed Jojo.

Walk on by. Don’t stop.

He wanted to listen to the voice inside his head but he couldn’t. Maybe the alcohol made him less inhibited, maybe he was still reeling from the breakup with his fiancee and maybe he wanted to talk to someone who wasn’t an employee or a family member, or maybe because no one left in the bar knew him because the next thing he did was he stopped, inches away from the blond.

“Is this seat taken?” Jojo asked.

The stranger smiled more broadly and shook his head. “No.”

Jojo waited a second to see if the handsome man would say something else, but all the blond man did was smile even more. “American right?” Jojo asked.

“Yes.”

“I’m guessing you guys are U.S. military?”

“Marines, yeah. We’re sending one of our guys off, rotating from the Embassy here. My name’s Adam, by the way.” Adam offered his hand, which Jojo shook.

“James Arias, but my friends call me ‘Jojo’.”

Adam opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by his friends who came over to meet Jojo. It didn’t take Jojo long to figure that Adam was probably the only sober one in the group, as the four other guys slurred their words, and often laughed uncontrollably at each other’s jokes. When Adam’s friends returned to their seats at the bar, Adam leaned in. “Your English is perfect, no trace of an accent, so I’m guessing you’re American too?”

“You’re partly right. I was born in America. My mother was a medical student in the U.S., and we lived in San Francisco but we moved back here after she got her degree.”

“So your mom’s a doctor?”

Jojo smiled. He wanted to tell Adam the whole long story of why his mother had never practiced medicine after she completed medical school because the family had seen no need of her working at a hospital or a clinic, and that these days her mother was busy hosting, or attending social and charitable events, but he thought the better of it and just answered simply. “Yeah, she is.”

“So you live here. . . I mean the Philippines?” Adam asked.

“Yes, I do.”

“I’m sorry I’m asking stupid questions because you don’t look Filipino. I hope I’m not offending you by saying that. Most Filipinos are short and very Asian looking. You look more like my Latino friends from Southern California and in a good way.”

Jojo laughed. “It’s probably the lighting, but my father and mother are both parts Spanish and Filipino so maybe that’s why my features are different than most.” Jojo’s cell phone vibrated. I’m downstairs, boss. Jojo palmed the phone for a second, aware that Adam was studying him. Erwin, something’s come up. Head back to the garage until I text you again.

“Girlfriend?”

Jojo shook his head without looking up from his phone.

“Boyfriend then?”

Jojo raised his head and laughed at the handsome man’s brazenness. He liked how Adam’s strong jawline, full lips and dark eyebrows peered at him, waiting on every word. Maybe it was the alcohol. He moved within earshot so that only the Marine could hear. “No, I haven’t had a boyfriend in a long time. But, I did just break up with my fiancée.”

“Is that why you were nursing several beers over in that corner after your friends left you?”

Jojo narrowed his eyes. “You’re very perceptive, Adam. Except they weren’t my friends, they were . . . co-workers.” Jojo almost said employees, but stopped himself. Maybe it was the Arias family tendency to be secretive, and not give out too much information, but here he was on a Saturday night in a bar, drinking, when he was usually still in the office poring over engineering details, building plans, and contract proposals.

“I’m sorry about the break up. You look torn up about it. I couldn’t help but notice earlier when we first arrived. Can I buy you a beer?”

Jojo smiled, then laughed without meaning to. The last time a guy had bought him a beer was in a dive bar right outside CalPoly, after an engineering final.

“What’s so funny?” Adam asked, as he chuckled along.

“It’s been a while since another guy offered to buy me a beer.”

“No worries. It looked like earlier you needed it. Did she break your heart?” Jojo faced toward the bar, away from Adam. Jojo didn’t say anything, but he wanted to respond.

Adam spoke again. “You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to.”

Jojo pondered Adam’s question as Adam’s friends got louder and louder on their end of the bar.

“Don’t worry about them,” Adam said as he pointed to his friends. “I’m the designated driver, and in about an hour they’ll all be sound asleep snoring in the government issued van I’m driving.”

So he’s brazen without alcohol.

Jojo faced Adam and breathed deeply. He couldn’t tell the color of Adam’s piercing eyes but Jojo couldn’t deny his own intense interest in the serviceman. Adam leaned in and prolonged his gaze. Jojo was mesmerized. Adam seemed genuinely concerned. And maybe he was wrong, but Adam appeared compassionate. “She asked me if I was ever going to marry her. If I loved her, and if we were only together because both our families wanted it. I had to tell her the truth, and that as much as I had feelings for her, I didn’t love her.”

“Ouch!” Then Adam smiled, his voice took on a tone of playfulness. “And you’re here, living and breathing with no scratch on you.”

“She is a very logical, rational person. That’s why I liked her when we first met. She was so completely different from the other girls my parents tried to set me up with.”

“You have a picture of her? I’m curious.”

Jojo nodded, fished out his phone, and scrolled through some pictures before showing a good one of his ex, Lani.

“Wow. She’s hot. Your parents had good taste if they thought she would be a good wife.”

One of Adam’s friends sauntered over and peered at Lani’s photo. “Dude, your girlfriend?”

“Ex,” Adam said. “That’s his ex.”

“How about giving me her number? She’s pretty.”

Jojo shook his head. If Lani, a black belt in tae kwon do, found out he’d ever given her number to someone, she’d probably roundhouse kick him in the head before he knew anything about it. “Sorry, I can’t do that.”

“Well, at least I tried,” the Marine said. “Hey, Adam, we’re thinking we should head on over to the bars downtown.”

“Downtown?” Adam asked.

“Ermita,” the man said.

Adam turned away so that only Jojo could see his face as he rolled his eyes.

“What do you say? For old time’s sake?” his friend asked. “You’re welcome to come along––’’

“––Jojo, my name’s, Jojo,” as they both shook hands.

“Mine’s Nate. Yeah, come along with us, I’m sure Adam won’t mind,” the Marine continued. “It’ll keep him company, and his mind off his ex-boyfriend he’s probably still pining after.”

Adam slouched. Adam’s reaction to his Marine buddy’s comment must have hit a chord and Jojo was compelled to find out more about Adam. Jojo hesitated for a moment. He wasn’t used to spontaneously accepting strangers offers to hang out, but Adam’s eyes beckoned him to say yes. Besides, maybe a few more hours out on the town would make him feel better for breaking up with Lani.

“If you’re sure I won’t be a fifth wheel, yeah, I’ll join you.”

Adam smiled. “Nate’s a little bit of a douche bag. So sorry about that.”

“Well, your friend’s had a little too much to drink.” Jojo leaned closer, sticking a hand in his pants pocket, his lips almost touching Adam’s ear, and whispered. “But to be honest, that scene is a little too, I’m trying to find the right words to say it––”

“––Red light? Yeah, I hate going down there.” Adam put his hand on top of Jojo’s wrist, squeezed it, and then removed it. The quick touch happened in a blink of an eye. “Do you have any other suggestions?”

Jojo didn’t say anything. He was shocked that Adam had just placed his hand on him, so casually, so friendly like. He couldn’t deny the electricity he felt when Adam touched him either. “If they’re looking for dancing women, there’s a club two blocks from here, more upscale but not so red light, as you say.”

“Well, lead the way, Jojo.” Adam smiled. “I’ll rustle them from the bar and we’ll follow you.” Adam stood and moved to where Nate and the other guys were huddled.

Jojo motioned to the bartender. “I’ll pay their tab.”

“Thanks, Mr. Arias. Shall I add it to your monthly bill?”

Jojo nodded. Before he could say anything else, Adam appeared at his elbow. Standing, he towered over Jojo by a few inches.

“The boys are cool checking out a new place. Thanks for the offer.”

“So who’s leaving that you’re having this party for?” Jojo asked.

“His name’s John.” Adam pointed him out. “He’s been stationed at the Embassy for more than three years now. Overdue for his new assignment back to San Diego.”

Jojo signed the chit the bartender handed him without even looking at the total bill.

“Hey, is that our bill? You shouldn’t have done that. What do we owe you?”

Jojo shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. I come here often enough that they actually give me a discount, and I’m glad to pay. Thanks for your service. All of you.”

Adam walked to where Nate stood, clapped him on the shoulder, and shouted something in his ear. All the guys around Nate, including John turned to Jojo and raised their glasses and beer bottles, some empty and others not so empty. “Thanks!” they shouted in unison.

Adam took two steps back to Jojo. “Now, they’ll follow you to the ends of the earth. Buying their drinks bought you some loyalty. Lead the way, fine sir!” Adam gestured with a bow, holding an invisible cap in his hands as his head followed the gesture.

Jojo laughed at the dramatic flourish and walked out of the bar, Adam right next to him as the other Marines followed them. As they took the steps down one level to the street, Jojo recognized the SUV parked on the side. “Hold on,” he said to Adam.

Jojo approached the Lexus with dark tinted windows. The whir of the window revealed Erwin’s face. “I didn’t go back to the garage, boss. They said I could just wait here until you were done, however long it lasted.”

“Well, we’re headed to my cousin’s VIP club down the block. You know the one. If you want to meet me there, that’s fine.” Jojo ignored his driver’s raised eyebrow. Jojo’s cousin, Tiny, owned a lounge with a rooftop bar.

Jojo hadn’t talked to Tiny in a week or so, since Tiny asked for a loan from Arias Holdings to help his deep in the red bar.

Tiny’s club had boxing on one floor, Ukrainian and Russian models on the second floor, and Filipino women, working as cocktail waitresses, dressed in Vietnamese ao dais whose skirts were mini-skirts rather than full length dresses. The male bartenders were all selectively picked for the discreet crowd. Cousin Tiny interviewed the entire bar and wait staff himself, making sure that they were attractive. The truth was, if they could flirt with Tiny and the head waitress, they were hired if they had a pretty face. Jojo didn’t care for the little people fighting in a small area that took up most of the dance floor, but his cousin assured him that he never exploited them, and that they were being paid handsomely to pretend to hit each other very hard.

The walk to the building where the lounge was didn’t take long. Security at the front recognized Jojo immediately. “They’re with me,” Jojo pointed to Adam and the Marines. The large security guard at the front, who Jojo guessed was probably part Samoan and part Filipino, was dressed in a heavy wool jacket and pants, nodded and then radioed the two equally large security guards by the door. They were shown to the marbled main floor of the building. As soon as they took the elevators, again escorted by another security guard, Adam and the Marines were quiet and didn’t say much. When they arrived at the final floor, loud music greeted them before the elevator doors opened.

 

About the Author

A military brat, who joined the military himself, W.S. Long now practices law during the day, but at night reads and writes male-male romance. When he’s not writing, W.S. Long travels and dreams of traveling far off distant lands with his mild-mannered college professor husband.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Twitter: @wslongauthor 

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Release Blitz for Surprise Groom (Marital Bliss #1) by DJ Jamison (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 89,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

Can two men fake their way to marital bliss?


Caleb Taylor is shocked to learn his family could lose Bliss Island Resort — their home and livelihood — unless he makes use of a clause to marry the child of investor Louis Chastain. Sofia Chastain is more like a sister than a love interest, and Caleb isn’t ready to sign over his future. But Sofia has a brother, and Caleb has a plan …


Julien Chastain was disowned at fifteen and has made a life as a go-go dancer in Miami, but he lives paycheck to paycheck. When his childhood friend proposes an outlandish marriage contract, he thinks he’s crazy. But it’s a chance at a future that’s tough to pass up.


Caleb and Julien must present themselves as an authentic couple for the legal loophole to work, but the lines between “fake” and “real” keep shifting as they navigate intimacy, public scrutiny, and sabotage.


Love isn’t part of the plan, but plans change. If they can outsmart Julien’s father and prove their love is worth more than a transaction, they just might find a true happily-ever-after.

 
Excerpt
 

“Should we kiss?” Caleb asked.


Julien gave him an arch look. “My answer to that question is always yes.”


Caleb chuckled awkwardly. “For the selfie, I meant.”


“Mm-hmm.” Julien managed to make skeptical sound sexy.


“Okay, shut up and put your lips on mine,” Caleb said.


“Oh, baby. Your dirty talk is off the charts.”


Caleb laughed. “Stop, I’m trying—”


Julien caught his mouth mid-word, shifting toward him as their lips clung. The feeling it evoked caught Caleb off-guard. They’d been joking around like friends, but the kiss didn’t feel friendly. It wasn’t erotic. No tongues plunging deep. But it was sweet. He had no idea kissing another man could feel that way.


In contrast to his soft lips, Julien’s hard chest pressed against Caleb’s shoulder. His right arm was behind Caleb, fingers brushing his neck, and his left hand slid down to just over Caleb’s upper chest. Their position was a little awkward, Caleb’s neck craned to the left, and he had his right arm outstretched for the selfie.


The kiss wasn’t getting his entire focus as he fumbled with the phone in his hand. Even with his attention divided, even with the very un-sexy circumstances of why they were doing this, the kiss felt real. Just as real as any he’d shared with a girlfriend. Maybe even more so. Julien had been the most important person in his life once. He couldn’t say the same for any of his short-lived girlfriends.


It took only seconds to break through Caleb’s self-delusion. His surety he wasn’t into men that way. He liked Julien’s lips on his.


Julien shifted, then slipped, and they were ripped apart by gravity as he nearly faceplanted in Caleb’s lap.


“Whoa!” Caleb said, catching Julien’s shoulder with one hand. “Trying for second base already? Or is that third? Not sure with guys.”


“I slipped! I had my arm braced behind you, and the pillow moved, or—”


“Suuure,” Caleb said. “I bet you say that to all the guys, huh?”


Julien pushed himself upright, his hand leaving a brand of warmth on Caleb’s thigh, before he pulled away. Grabbing the pillow behind his head, he smacked Caleb in the head. “Asshole.”


When Caleb finally stopped laughing, he noticed Julien didn’t look amused.


“I was kidding. I’m sure you’re much smoother when you’re actually trying to put the moves on someone.”


Julien flipped him off. “That picture better be worth it.”

 
Author Bio
 

DJ Jamison is the author of more than a dozen m/m romances, including the Ashe Sentinel series and the Hearts and Health series. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that, and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, two fish and, regrettably, one snake.

 

 

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : American Fairytale (Dreamers #2) by Adriana Herrera

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The minute I saw this book was available I grabbed it. Book one, American Dreamer, was so outstanding I knew I’d be in for a treat with more. Could the author top her debut book? Oh yes. Milo’s story is highly entertaining and fulfilled my fantasy of having everyone find Mr. Right to make them happy.

Am I sappy? Yes, I am. But the story made me feel so very good I simply want to share the experience with others.

Four young men grew up together in New York City. All sons of Caribbean immigrants, the men are of an age to strike out on their own. In American Dreamer, Nesto pursued his dream by taking his food catering business to Ithaca, where he met the man of his dreams. Now, in book two, we spend time with Camilo Santiago Briggs, or Milo to friends and family, a social worker and project manager in a nonprofit that serves victims of domestic abuse.

When he’s assigned as liaison to Thomas Hughes, a wealthy donor who is contributing to renovating the home for women and to funding future projects, he’s thrilled to be chosen. Until he meets the man and realizes he’s the guy he recently hooked up with at a friend’s wedding, and he wants to crawl into a corner and hide out. But Thomas isn’t going to let that happen. He’s smitten with Milo and plans to pursue him until he’s good and ready to walk away.

Milo is attractive, friendly, driven, and fiercely independent. He’s family-oriented, a hard worker, and takes his responsibilities to his mother, his friends, and his job seriously. Born in the Dominican Republic, Thomas is strong, wealthy, goal-driven, and totally head over heels for Milo. He values Milo’s individuality and refuses to give up before finding a way to make their lives mesh.

Just like with American Dreamer, there’s so much to like about this story—the writing, the pace, the interesting Dominican Republic cultural information, the relationship-building, the secondary characters, and the core message of drawing strength from family and friends.

I’m definitely looking forward to more from this author in future. I can’t wait to read stories devoted to Milo’s best friends, Patrice and Juanpa. I very highly recommend this book to all lovers of MM romance, and especially to those who enjoy stories so rich in cultural heritage that readers are inspired to learn more.

The cover features a close-up of a handsome Lantinx man wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt. It’s very appealing and similar in design to the cover of book one.

Sales Links:   Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: May 20th 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488054061 (ISBN13: 9781488054068)
SeriesDreamers #2