A Caryn Review: Best Behaviour by Matthew Metzger

Standard

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Matthew Metzger is always a bit of a hit or miss author for me, but when he’s good, he’s very, very good!  As I was reading this book, I was thinking of how affirming it would be for a questioning (especially in regards to gender identity) teen, because there were some amazing role models in here.  It’s not a YA book, but I am going to recommend it to the non-binary people I know, and see what they think of it.  I expect they’ll be impressed as well…

Jim was a guy who always had a bit of a chip on his shoulder.  From his childhood growing up poor with a sister and a single mother, through some stupid teenage pranks that landed him in jail, to the predicament he found himself in at the beginning of the book – out of a job, deep in debt, and evicted from his apartment.  At rock bottom, he called his sister, who reluctantly took him in to her house.  With her much older, reverend husband and 3 young children.  Sarah told him he had to be on his best behavior, and that meant NO MEN.

Jim hated it.  Hated his sanctimonious 62 year old brother-in-law, who he described as a “posh upper-class twassock…[whose] hobbies included fishing.  Not going fishing but watching it.  On the TV.  For hours on end.”  Heh, I don’t think I could stand him either.  Jim told himself he could do this, stay with Sarah and her family, only as long as it took to get a good job.  And then he was out of there.

But then he met the music teacher, and was instantly infatuated.  Fran might play the proper, straight-laced teacher, but “he was definitely the innocence-defiled sort”.  What started out as a hookup turned into something real for both of them, but in order to make it work, Jim needed to learn what being on his best behavior really meant.

The character development was excellent in this book.  Jim initially was petty, childish, and seemed to spend more time trying to annoy his sister than he did trying to get a job and grow up.  I almost wanted her to kick him out.  Getting into a relationship with Fran brought out a different side of him – and it became clear that his reaction to his situation was exactly what had gotten him into trouble when he was younger and immature, and he already had learned to do better.  Fran had been through his own struggles, especially in regards to his orientation and gender identity, and I had to admire the easy way the author introduced those and made them such natural and surprisingly low angst revelations.  There were so many examples of Jim understanding what respect and consent truly were, and that is when I started feeling differently about him.  When one of Sarah’s children came out as queer to Jim, he was the one to help her understand that what she felt was okay, normal, and not deserving of the shock and anger she saw from her parents.  All of that is what made me feel that this book would be so helpful and comforting for any person who is doing their own soul searching about their identity.

In addition to the wonderful message of the book, I also thoroughly enjoyed the writing.  Mr. Metzger was poetic without resorting to purple prose when describing how Jim felt about Fran, and there was a lot of humor in the book as well – both Jim and Fran are pretty snarky, and the dialogue was excellent.  The way Jim saw Sarah’s kids in particular had that dry British humor that really balanced out the intensity of the other more difficult parts of his life.

I found the cover art by Erin Dameron-Hill to be eye-catching, but by the time I finished the book I felt the text “He’s not known for obeying orders” to distract from what I thought were the best parts of the book

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 222 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Pride Publishing
ISBN 139781786517050
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Black (Kitty Play Romance) by Quin Perin

Standard

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Dima was finishing a modeling job when but his manager and lover left him high and dry in the Netherlands and never looked back. He was going through a personal hell at the time, but even though left to fend for himself, he makes the best of his situation and begins work as a baker for a small pastry shop not far from his apartment.  Lunchtime always finds him by the seaside enjoying the fresh air, even when the weather is brisk.  Fiercely independent, he wants no man in his life for more than one night. Never again will he allow himself to be vulnerable and dependent on one person.

Tony comes to town to visit his sister. She’s a single mom and has a great boyfriend—Jan, the man who owns the bakery where the handsome and elusive Dima works.  An American and a journalist and author, Tony has let his vagabond spirit take him all over the world, but once he meets Dima and talks him into intimacy the first time, he starts to rethink his need for travel. 

From the moment the two meet, their passion for each other explodes in sex and they quickly move from frottage to anal and add a little kink to their passion when Tony decides Dima’s love of scratching him in bed deserves a set of cat ears. They add more to their kink play as the story goes on so those who enjoy erotica with a twist should like this story.

My rating is low primarily because I didn’t like either character. No matter how involved they became with each other and no matter how much they changed and became romantically involved, neither man felt real and neither man held my interest. Most of the story took place in bed—or other locations around the apartment—where they had mad, passionate, and very descriptive (and lengthy) sex sessions. The sex scenes became boring. I enjoy kink, including puppy play, and the kitty kink was a nice twist on that, but the overall impression I was left with was that these men were lucky to be able to walk when they stood upright—which wasn’t often. Giving the benefit of the doubt, maybe love can grow after hot, hard, toss-him-around sex. Who knows?

Tony didn’t feel three-dimensional to me at all. All I recall is he’s blond, had tattoos, is American and has a big you know what—naturally!—and he used it constantly. Dima was independent and self-contained, until it came to Tony. He was small, slender, with long hair and was described as beautiful outside and in. He had the potential to be a loveable character, but I didn’t feel any warmth toward him and neither were characters who will remain memorable after I post the review.

I don’t doubt that others found this story and these men appealing. And I assume most readers will enjoy the dynamic and the sex and the sex and the sex. It just wasn’t the book for me.

Cover Artist: Quin Perin, cover art is simple and to the point.  Kitty play it is.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1, 350 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASINB07PBCV4CF
Edition LanguageEnglish

Review Tour – A Body In A Bathhouse (A Mitch O’Reilly Mystery) by Brad Shreve (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 65,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: UmeWorks
 
Blurb
 

On the verge of bankruptcy, private investigator, Mitch O’Reilly takes any gig that comes his way, while running his Eye Spy Supply shop in a forgotten Los Angeles strip mall. After two tours in Afghanistan, Mitch’s life amounts to operating his store, coping with his fun-loving sister, Josie, and scoring with anonymous men he meets online. That changes when he gets a break. A beloved comedy scriptwriter is murdered at a bathhouse, and Mitch is hired to prove the innocence of the club custodian. Adapting from a two-bit gumshoe to a high-profile sleuth proves more challenging than he expected.

As if Mitch didn’t have enough to deal with, charismatic bathhouse operator, Trent Nakos, enters his life. After a heartbreaking past, the manager is the definition of a man the brooding P.I. actively avoids.

Following leads from sprawling mansions to sketchy hoods is demanding but becomes more troublesome when deadly threats jeopardize the biggest opportunity of his career.

 
Excerpt

“This case will be good for both of us,” Eve said. “If we get my client off, we look like heroes. If we don’t, he’s just another Mexican in prison who’ll be forgotten.”

“You’re one cold-hearted bitch.”

“Just honest, Mitch.”

Attorney Eve Aiken and I had worked together twice before. Once, I took pictures of a drug-abusing father in a custody battle. The second case involved a Pomeranian and suspicious bite marks.

“He’s probably an illegal. That’ll make it harder for us.” She pulled her gray suit jacket off, revealing a low-cut, black shell top. The skin above her breasts and down her arms was rough, wrinkled, and splotchy, making her look far beyond her fifty years. “I’ll give you the quick and dirty.”

I cocked my head and smirked. “Quick and dirty is the way I like it.”

She glared. “You probably know about the murder at that gay bathhouse yesterday.”

“It may surprise you to know there is no gay underground to disseminate information.”

“Don’t you watch the news?”

Before I could answer, a bell on the main door handle jingled. I rolled my desk chair to see the front of my store, Eye Spy Supplies. My twin sister, Josie, was showing up for work an hour late.

My desk, tucked in the corner of the cramped storeroom, is one of those heavy-as-hell, gray metal types the government used for decades after World War II. I placed my arm back on it, bumping a pile of paperwork to the floor where it mingled with more papers sorted in no particular order.

Eve scowled as she combed my shabby storeroom office with its dimmed fluorescent lighting and dark wood paneling. Stacked boxes slanted, ready to fall at any moment. A stool next to the desk barely balanced a mountain of bills on top, all stamped “past due.” I casually took a book off my desk and placed it on the pile. I had opened the store to be my own boss and get out of detective work. My plan was failing miserably. I still didn’t make enough from the store to stop being a private investigator, and I didn’t make enough as an investigator to close the store.

“You were saying?” I urged Eve on.

“A man was killed yesterday morning at the Club Silver Lake bathhouse,” she said. “Familiar with it?”

Familiar? It had been almost five years since I’d been inside, but I would never shake the lure of sheer self-indulgence that consumed my life after I left the army.

“I’ve heard of it. What happened?”

“A man by the name of Victor Verboom had his throat slashed while in a steam room. They have a suspect in custody—Ernesto Torres, a jilted lover who swears he didn’t do it. I’m defending him. That’s why I need your help.”

“Given your feelings towards ‘the gays,’ it’s surprising you took the case.”

“I work with you, don’t I? Anyway, it doesn’t matter which way the wind blows, as long as the cash is green.” She slid forward on my turquoise thrift-store couch and leaned toward me.

“They found Verboom’s body at 3:00 a.m. Apparently, he has a huge house in the hills, but he was known to sleep at the bathhouse several nights a week. Can you imagine

I could but didn’t say so. “What’s his story?”

“He was a staff writer for some TV comedy I don’t watch. It’s in the file.” She opened a manila folder that was in her lap. “Let’s see, it’s a show called Don’t do That! You ever see it?”

“I don’t watch much TV, but I can’t imagine you watching sitcoms. Is it even possible for you to crack a smile?”

Eve’s lips turned down, and she furrowed her brow. In an attempt to lean back, she forgot she was seated too far forward, which caused her to slump on the couch flailing her raised hands. Grunting and clearly embarrassed, she scooched up in her seat and straightened her gray, stained skirt. I was forced to grit my teeth and look away to maintain self-control.

She brushed aside a strand of her thin, black hair and crossed her arms. “Do you want this job, O’Reilly?”

“I’ll quit with the witty banter.”

“Witty? Don’t flatter yourself.”

 
About The Author
 

After growing up in Michigan and North Carolina, Brad Shreve criss-crossed the country while working in the hotel industry. In addition to working in hotels as a bellman, front desk clerk, and reservation call center director, he’s managed coffee houses, waited tables, sold potato chips off a truck and even hocked pre-burial funeral plans.


He credits Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak for developing his interest in art and storytelling. He’d spend hours on the floor sketching and painting and writing stories. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George gave him his first inklings that he’d like to be a novelist someday.


In addition to perpetually thinking of how to kill people, he’s a proud dad, a beach bum, and coffee house squatter.


He currently lives in the Los Angeles South Bay with his husband, Maurice.


Website/Newsletter Sign Up: www.bradshreve.com
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bradshreve
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bradshreveauthor

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

In Need of More Loving? Check Out the Blog Tour for A Broken Promise (Loving Again #3) by Mel Gough (excerpt)

Standard

LOVING AGAIN SERIES BLOG TOUR

 

January 25, 2019 – A World Apart

February 22, 2019 – A New Life

March 22, 2019 – A Broken Promise

 

NEW RELEASE – BOOK 3

 

Book Title: A Broken Promise (Loving Again Series, Book 3)

Author: Mel Gough

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Black Jazz Design

Genre/s: Contemporary romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 127 print pages

Release Date: March 22, 2019

Add on Goodreads  

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

 

Blurb

Ben and Donnie are happier than they’ve ever been. Zac’s adoption went off without a hitch, their new home is tranquil and the perfect place to build their future.

But Donnie can never catch a break. An old affliction flares up again and as a result his physical condition is more precarious than ever. Helen is nervous about the environment to which Ben subjects their daughter, and Ben struggles to keep everything ticking over.

Then he meets Paul, an enigmatic, handsome journalist who is more than a little interested in Ben. In equal measures flattered and disturbed by the attention, Ben finds himself on the brink of a decision that might shatter the happiness he’s worked so hard to achieve

 

Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

How could they have so much stuff?

When Donnie and Ben had moved into the duplex just over six months ago there had been ten boxes, eight of which had been Ben’s. Donnie had had a ruthless clear-out of his and Floyd’s little house, and had thrown away most of his meagre possessions.

Of course, adding a baby—toddler now—to the mix meant a lot more stuff, and it all needed packing up.

Still, fifteen boxes in the bedroom alone seemed excessive.

Ben straightened and wiped his brow. He surveyed the result of three hours’ hard labor. Only a small suitcase remained open, with a couple of changes of clothes for each of them. The living room and kitchen were equally crammed with boxes, though they’d held back packing the crockery so far. The kitchen was chaotic enough with all of their different dietary requirements without having to hunt around for plates to eat from, too.

The new house, a find of Arthur’s just like their condo had been, was less than a mile from the apartment. Ben and Donnie had both come to love Ormewood with its quiet, leafy streets. The small bungalow had two bedrooms, which they’d badly need. The smaller one was going to be the nursery, with a second bed for Laura. Unlike the condo, the house wasn’t freshly decorated, but the road it stood on was quiet, and they would have a large yard at the front and back, where flower and vegetable beds had already been in good use.

The front door banged shut. “Evening,” Ben called, but there was no response. He put down the parcel tape and scissors and went into the hall.

Donnie stood by the front door gripping the doorknob hard, his head lowered. His breath came in painful-sounding gasps. Zac, who stood by Donnie’s side, looked around. The confusion on his round face cleared as he spotted Ben. “Pa!” He came running, and Ben picked him up. Fear churned his gut at the sight of Donnie’s bent-over form.

Hoisting Zac onto his hip, he asked, “What’s the matter?” In response, Donnie lifted his head and Ben’s question was answered at once. His face was white as chalk. “Whoa,” Ben exclaimed. “You look terrible.”

“Some kids got the stomach flu, and… shit…” With a low moan, Donnie staggered past Ben into the bathroom and shut the door.

“Dadda?” Zac asked tentatively.

Ben stroked his back. “I think Dadda’s not feeling so good. We gotta be nice, all right?”

Zac nodded, looking scared.

Ben hugged him. “It’s gonna be okay,” he whispered into the little boy’s dark curls, as much to reassure himself as Zac.

Donnie reemerged a long few minutes later, seemingly on the verge of passing out, his face ashen and sweaty. Ben hurriedly stood Zac on his feet and took Donnie by the elbow, his own heart hammering. “C’mere.” Donnie leaned his head against Ben’s neck, breaths ragged, his forehead burning. They stood still for a moment until Donnie began to shiver. “Let’s get you horizontal,” Ben murmured. Zac trailed them into the bedroom.

Ben struggled getting Donnie out of his shoes and pants. He had sweated through his shirt so Ben got a fresh T-shirt from the open suitcase. Great timing.As if moving wasn’t stressful enough already.

“Here, stretch out.” Ben pulled the blankets back. Donnie curled up, shuddering, his hands pressed hard to his stomach.

“You sure it’s just flu?” Ben asked, dread twisting his insides.

Donnie buried his face in the pillow. “What else?” His voice was tense and despondent.

“Could be your pancreas again?” Ben swallowed, dismayed at the thought. He sat on the edge of the bed and put a hand on Donnie’s neck, which was clammy and hot.

“Daycare kids’re sick,” Donnie insisted. “I just picked up their virus¾”

“Even if that’s true,” Ben interrupted. “We need to get you looked at, have your T-cells checked¾” He broke off as Donnie groaned and struggled to sit up.

Ben helped him to his feet, but Donnie pulled away. “Can manage.”

To distract himself and give Donnie some space, Ben went into the kitchen to locate a basin in one of the boxes. He was on his way back to the bedroom when Donnie reappeared, looking even whiter than before. Ben took him into his arms and Donnie clung on hard.

“Feeling any better?”

“Not really.” The hands went back to Donnie’s belly. Fear gripped Ben like an icy fist, but he said nothing.

Zac had somehow managed to climb into their bed. He looked at them with a serious expression on his little round face. “Dadda,” he said and stretched his arms out.

Donnie stopped dead. “He’ll get sick, Ben.”

“If he’s going to catch this it’s already happened,” Ben said. “But I’ll call Arthur, ask him if he can take Zac until you’re over the worst. I can’t look after you both, not with the move, as well.”

Donnie’s face creased. “I don’t like it when he’s away,” he whispered. “But you’re right. I’m real sorry, Ben.”

“It’s okay.” Ben hugged him and kissed his temple. “For now, give bub a cuddle. You need it.” He helped Donnie back into bed, and Donnie pulled Zac close, curling around him with a whimper. Ben watched them a moment. Donnie shivered and shifted around. With a sigh, Ben went to find his phone which he last remembered seeing in the chaotic living room.

When he returned to the bedroom Donnie had fallen asleep. Zac was stroking his face, but when he saw Ben, he started to wriggle free. Ben extracted him with care. Donnie sighed and turned over without waking. Ben put Zac in his cot, then, phone pressed to his ear, he started to pack a bag for Zac’s visit to Arthur.

 

About the Author

Mel was born in Germany, where she spent the first twenty-six years of her life (with a one-year stint in Los Angeles). She has always been fascinated by cultures and human interaction, and got a Masters in Social Anthropology. After finishing university she moved to London, where she has now lived for ten years.

If you were to ask her parents what Mel enjoyed the most since the age of six, they would undoubtedly say “Reading!” She would take fifteen books on a three-week beach holiday, and then read all her mom’s books once she’d devoured her own midway through week two.

Back home in her mom’s attic there’s a box full of journals with stories Mel wrote when she was in her early teens. None of the stories are finished, or any good. She has told herself bedtime stories as far back as she can remember.

In her day job, Mel works as PA and office manager. No other city is quite like London, and Mel loves her city. The hustle and bustle still amaze and thrill her even after all these years. When not reading, writing or going to the theater, Mel spends her time with her long-time boyfriend, discussing science or poking fun at each other.

 

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Newsletter

 

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE FOR

A BROKEN PROMISE

 

 

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

A Stella Review: Brush Strokes by E.S. Karlquist

Standard

RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

 

Todd Navarro is halfway through college, trying to juggle his art studies with extra hours at work and finding time for his friends. Things aren’t exactly easier with the feud going on between the gallery he works at and the one next door. Or the fact that his dad just doesn’t seem to understand that art can be more than just a hobby—not everyone can be an accountant, dad! So when his best friend Mela invites him to a frat party, he only accepts because he needs a breather from everything regarding his future. So, really, he doesn’t expect to meet Daniel Berger, who might just be his future. Well, until he finds out that Daniel has a lot more to do with the future of the gallery than Todd would have ever guessed.

Brush Strokes is the first book by this new author and I already can say I can’t wait for more from her. I picked this title cause the blurb sounded really interesting and I am always looking out for new authors. That said, as soon as I started reading the story, I became desperate since I’m not a fan at all of the use of the present tense. Maybe cause my English is still a work in progress but I usually prefer the past, it simply makes the reading easier to me. So I was scared this novel was going to be a pain to finish. Instead, after the first pages, I was so engrossed with Todd’s life I totally forgot about the verbal form and felt fully comfortable with the writing. A wonderful writing style, detailed and clear, easy and full. Plus despite there was only Todd’s POV, it was perfect that way. I didn’t need to read Daniel’s thoughts, it was clear who he was, what he wanted, his fears, everything about him conquered me. Actually, both Daniel and Todd were lovely characters, so young but mature at the same time. Brush Strokes is not a YA story, it’s about two young men that instead of being careless and free, decided to be real and fight for their futures.

Because of some initial miscommunications, they became first friends. The attraction was strong, still, Todd was so sure Daniel didn’t feel the same, that he took his role as friend very seriously.

Nothing happened between them till the end, although a lot happened in their lives, there was a gallery to save, a relationship between brothers to mend, even a bunny to cuddle. And a lot of innocent sleepovers. Plus some truly amazing second characters, like Todd’s parents, Mela and Jesse, and the little kids.

I want to highly recommend this new release by E.S. Karlquist, I will surely reread it in the near future.

The cover art by CB Messer is cute, different and it fits the story, well done.

SALE LINKS  Interlude Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 230 pages

Published March 12th 2019 by Interlude Press

ASIN B072HKT4WQ

Edition Language English

 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Kennard’s Story (Cronin’s Key #4) by N.R. Walker

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

What a delight!  A chance to see Kennard with his newly found lifemate, Stas.  Kennard is the youthful-looking, handsome vampire who rules the coven in London.  He’s also the vampire who despaired so much about never having found his mate after over 500 years that he was more than willing to help Alec and Cronin in their battle against Genghis Khan in book three.  And it was there he first set eyes on the big, gruff 800-year-old Russian, Stas.

The first chapters are full of Kennard’s and Stas’s nonstop sexual adventures.  After all, they waited hundreds of years to meet, so they have to make up for lost time.  But the author injected enough warmth and humor to make it more romantic than erotic, and my heart was engaged quickly.

In this adventure, Alec and Cronin, Jodis and Eiji, and Kennard with Stas set off to protect humankind from the vampire who is supposedly locked in a tomb in India.  The adventure actually leads them all over Asia and to a location deep in the sea where they encounter none other than—oops, I don’t want to say. Spoiler zone.  And readers will appreciate the surprise as much as I did, I think.

This author does research—lots and lots of research and the books are full of facts, both well-known and minutia most of us wouldn’t know.  But it’s interesting and mixed with enough adventure to keep me on my toes.  Constantly.  In fact, I hate to stop for real life activities because I want to know—I need to know what is going to happen next.  The characters are as memorable as any I’ve read and came to life within the first pages of revisiting them.  Kennard and Stas and their relationship was heartwarming and loving and they struck just the perfect balance together. Who knew I’d fall in love with a 500-year-old who, in turn, loved an 800-year-old?   Only NR Walker could infuse so much energy and life into this grand adventure, not to mention the surprise twists using historical persons who I previously thought were boring. 

I highly recommend this book—in fact, this series—to all lovers of MM romance packed with action, adventure and a dash of world history.

The colorful cover features a handsome young blond man, representing Kennard, standing against a temple wall. There’s also a bright green lawn with a path leading to a series of gates. The overall effect is representative of the essence of the story and the colors certainly make it attention-getting.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 156 pages
Published January 26th 2019 by Amazon Digital Services
ASINB 07N5G1ZVP
Edition Language English
Series Cronin’s Key

Cronin’s Key

Cronin’s Key II

Cronin’s Key III

Kennard’s Story

An Alisa Review How Not to Sin (Lovestrong #2) by Susan Hawke

Standard

Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

 

One regular guy who happens to be a preacher…

 

Reverend Dr. Gabe Samson doesn’t think he’s better than any of the people in his church, so please don’t put him on a pedestal. While he’s never hidden the fact that he identifies as bisexual, he’s never acted on it either. Gabe isn’t happy to learn that the sole reason he was hired to pastor the LGBT-friendly church was that the ruling elders wanted a safe poster child for inclusivity—in other words, they wanted the rainbow flag without letting it fly.

 

Plus one easygoing, new age kinda guy…

 

Seth Thomas owns Holistic Healing, a metaphysical shop and yoga studio. He’s never really been a relationship kinda guy, but only because he hasn’t met the right man yet. Seth is laid back and goes with the flow. When fate drops a hot preacher in his lap, why wouldn’t he accept the gift?

 

Equals a pair of men who click from the start.

 

The two men find it almost too easy to get together, especially Gabe, who is fully embracing his bi side for the first time. Nothing in life is simple though. While Gabe and Seth are busy falling in love, they face an anti-gay hate group, a divided church, and a ruling elder who is hell-bent on sowing discord. Between Gabe’s patient wisdom and Seth’s snark, the pair fight the growing drama with the strongest weapons in their arsenal: love and humor.

 

I am enjoying this series.  Gabe is such a great guy and wants to protect his congregation from the hate he is getting from certain elders.  Seth is very open and will do anything for those he cares about and won’t let some bigots keep him down.

 

I liked both of these characters and getting to see their points of view helps to understand them.  I couldn’t help but feel that the book was focused on the anti-gay issue more than anything else and felt that it took a bit away from the story of Gabe and Seth as they just kinda clicked together and that was it.  I loved their love and openness to others and how they are willing to help all that would need it.  But the way everything was forgotten after the one really homophobic guy was gone rubbed me the wrong way because I don’t think that thinking among the other members would have just disappeared.

 

The cover art by Ana J Phoenix is nice and the is a nice visual of Seth.

 

Sales Link: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages

Publication: February 19, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Lovestrong #2

A Jeri Review: Clean Break (Farm College #2) by Erin McLellan

Standard

Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

I really enjoyed this book.
Travis and Connor had a sort of hook up a year ago that ended quickly because of a misunderstanding. Neither man could really forget the other. And then they were put together as class partners in Entomology 101. The attraction on both sides is definitely still there.
I really loved both guys. Travis and his openness about being gay and what he wants out of life and Connor, shy, quiet, bisexual with OCD and anxiety. They just fit so well together and they really shouldn’t have. Travis wants to be a lawyer and help people seeking asylum. Connor is set to take over his family’s farm and various business interests. Very different life goals.
A couple of points I want to share about why I really liked this book. Travis is black, he mentions being “black and gay from Texas”, but his race never comes up between Travis and Connor or even with any of their family or friends. It is a total non-issue.
The author taking the time to explain how OCD and anxiety can and usually are related, they ebb and flow, and that some things that people consider OCD is really just a personality trait. Like being tidy. I appreciate little things like that.
This ended up being a bit of a slow burn because of the boundaries Travis put on their relationship that wasn’t a relationship. But their after class activities were super hot and definitely a unique thing I’d not read in another book.
And then, ugh, the tears toward the end of the book. Legit crying while reading. But totally worth it for the ending.
Great follow up to the first in the series, that doesn’t need to be read but was really good as well. I do wish the cover model more closely resembled the Travis described in the book. But it certainly isn’t a big issue at all.
Cover art is gorgeous and makes you want to grab up and read the story.
Sales Links: Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 1st edition
Published March 19th 2019 by Erin McLellan
ISBN1 39781732173439
Edition Language English
Series Farm College :

A MelanieM Review: Lunar New Love by Casper Graham

Standard

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Vincent Yang is thankful to David, his best friend, for being a nosy matchmaker. David introduces him to Anthony Lim, and there’s an instant attraction and chemistry between them. Not only is Anthony good-looking and sexy, the man is also the successful owner of a popular bakery. Vincent agrees to a date with Anthony without any hesitation.

One date leads to another, and before he knows it, the two of them are officially together. They have so much in common, especially when they find out about both their respective families being less than pleased about their sexual orientation. Their relationships with their families take a turn for the worse a few days before Lunar New Year. Now, both of them have no families to celebrate the holiday with. It’s both heart-breaking and stressful.

Can Vincent and Anthony’s relationship survive the holiday season?

I really was hoping for good things from this book.  One, it had a new author, then a storyline full of elements that called out to me.  Ah, well, it was not to be.  Lunar New Love by Casper Graham showed such promise as a synopsis yet just didn’t deliver as a contemporary romance.

There are things I enjoyed.  Insight into Chinese family dynamics, which I have made journeys through via other authors.  Here they felt just as authentic and painful in the cold rejection that Vincent and Anthony have felt as they came out to their traditional Chinese families. Also wonderful?  All the Chinese customs and traditions followed for the Lunar New Year, and the history behind them.  Even if they often felt as though we were being given a history lesson, it was no less interesting because of  that factor.

It did, however, make the dialog seem ever more painful, stilted, and unreal between Vincent and Anthony or Tony.  The latter who’s name swapped back and forth while alternating with “baby” and “stud”.  I could never figure out who was calling who what names.  That dialog really sunk this story for me.   Especially as dialog figures largely  when not having descriptively visual sex (“Vincent was on him like a beast”).  These men were 28 and 32 in age yet  they spoke as if they were teenagers or almost tweens.  That was the level of immaturity in their wording and sentences.  Except of course when Anthony was explaining something about the Lunar New Year customs to Vincent then he came off like a professor.  That was totally out of character , a real disconnect for someone who more often sounded like a highschooler. Then  he made a switch to appearing as he was teaching a class on ancient Chinese religions.  A really startling change in dialog for that character.  It would have been more in line with his age had he spoke like that all along with no, just when certain Chinese cultural elements needs to be trotted out for the readers enlightenment (and Vincent’s).

There is also a case of instant, and I do mean instant love by the first date and moved into the  apartment by week three.  Even by instant love standards, this is quick!

Unfortunately, for me there is so much that just missed the mark here, from the dialog to the romance to the characterizations.  Which is a shame because framed around Chinese families and the Lunar New Year the promise it held out was so tempting and lovely.

Cover art full of red with the handsome Chinese models and characters works.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC  | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 122 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by JMS Books LLC
ISBN 139781634868495

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: In Safe Hands by Victoria Sue

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

There’s so much to enjoy each time I pick up a book by Victoria Sue—depth of character, complexity of story, amazing secondary characters, and a well-planned plot, usually with lots of mystery and drama.  This book did not disappoint.

Mav Delgardo can’t seem to come to terms with the loss of his foot and consequently the loss of his career as a USAF helicopter pilot. Wallowing in a bottle, sleeping in his sister’s spare room, it’s not until she needs his help to guard a former musician that he manages to pull himself together.  Deacon Daniels (real name Danny) was a teen idol until a scandal resulting in the death of a woman and her child brings his career crashing down. Add to that the fact he’s lost custody of his two-year-old niece, for whom he was named guardian when his brother died, and a stalker is now out to get him, and it’s a wonder the young man doesn’t give up.

Mav is entranced by the real Danny and realizes there’s no way the news reports and gossip sheets have any inkling of what the young man is really like. And Danny sees Mav, beyond the scars on his face and torso and his artificial foot, Danny reacts to the person who cares about others and desperately wants to be needed and find his place in life after the loss of his career.  The two become close as those involved in perpetrating the scandal that destroyed Deacon’s career are murdered and the stalking and threats increase. 

It’s not until the two start to hope for a brighter future that the situation takes a turn for the worse and it looks like Danny won’t have a future at all if the murderer has his way.  I really enjoyed the action in this story.  The story was interesting, the characters well-developed, and the mystery intriguing.  When the murderer is revealed there was still plenty of action and suspense and I had a hard time putting the book down. 

Victoria Sue creates real characters with real feelings. I can rarely stay an arm’s length from getting caught up in their lives.  This story is for those who want to experience second chances, hurt-comfort, lots of intrigue, and a couple who deserves a solid future together.

Cover by Jay Aheer is a clever blend of the MCs and the action of the story. Against the white shirt on the Maverick’s chest, the artist has superimposed a man in shadows, a large apartment building and an orange glow, depicting a fire or fires, something the mystery murderer uses in this story. 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB 07NNL14XR
Edition Language English