A MelanieM Review: ​Silent Hearts by Cameron D. James.

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Rating: 1.75 stars out of 5

 

In an effort to forget the past, Jake has anonymous hookups during his midnight shift at a hostel in the tiny Scottish village of Kyleakin. When Grant, a stud from Edinburgh, comes to stay for a week, Jake can’t get the sexy Scot out of his mind. It doesn’t take long for Grant to realize Jake is hiding, running from something, and when he confronts Jake about it, their tentative friendship explodes and living at the hostel becomes tense. Not long after, Jake’s tenuous relationship with his parents crumbles, leaving him with no family and no home.

Through the worst of times, no matter how poorly Jake treats him, Grant always shows up to comfort him. Old anxieties stir with every shared hug, every fleeting kiss, every sensual encounter, and no matter how hard Jake tries to escape from his hurts, the past–and the truth–always seems to find him.

It’s rare I come across books I just want to put down in the first few chapters.  Normally I find something that redeems them, characters, a unique twist in the plot…something.  But in Silent Hearts by Cameron D. James it was just one cringe worthy moment after another or just plain non interest in continuing on that plagued this story for me.

James immediately plops the reader into one of Jake’s nightly blowjobs during his job at the hostel.  Yes, it seems he puts the word out to all the travelers that well, he puts out and all take advantage of it.  You think the management would get a clue.  It’s cold, mechanical, and definitely not sexy.  And these scenes go on for most of the book. Lovely.

Jake himself is a mess of a character.  You get no clue really other than phone  calls back to the states (his relationship with his parents is the only reason this story didn’t fall to the one star rating).  Everything else is left to the author’s guessing game with the readers.  It makes Jake a blank that you care very little for, no matter how much the  other characters tell you should or that they do (a mystery in and of itself).

Then there is Grant, a nice guy who is abused and pushed away by the surly Jake for half the story and then abandoned totally after being a tremendous person.  The author leads you to believe that Jake will end up with Grant and then out of nowhere boom, the love of Jake’s life is introduced in the last pages and an ending that leaves you shaking your head appears out of nowhere with no narrative support whatsoever.

I was dumbfounded.  What a fail.

I may go back to that one star rating after all.

So no.  There won’t be any recommendation here.  I can’t imagine who this book would appeal to.  It’s not erotic in my opinion.  There’s no depth of characterization, the plot is a mess, and no support for the ending.  If you like reading about men giving blowjobs however, then yes, this is the book for you.  There, that’s something positive.

Cover art is ok, nondescript is enough to work.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 110 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Deep Desires Press (first published March 3rd 2014)
Original TitleSilent Hearts
ASINB07CRH2TQY
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blitz for Catch Me (Kitchen Gods #2) by Beth Bolden (excerpt)

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 Catch Me RDB Banner

 CATCH ME

KITCHEN GODS, BOOK 2

BETH BOLDEN

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 06.10.18

Catch Me Cover 

COVER DESIGN: AngstyG

mybook.to/kgcatchme 

BLURB 

Chef Wyatt Blake is finally ready to move on from his thankless job. He gets no wiggle room, zero praise, plenty of abuse, and on a good day, he might only spend twelve hours in the Terroir kitchens. A friend of his recommends a private chef position, but despite the boost in pay, Wyatt doesn’t want to babysit some spoiled, rich LA family.

Imagine his shock when the family isn’t a Kardashian clone, but Ryan Flores, the only professional baseball player to ever come out of the closet.

Ryan is also at a career crossroads. His team’s management wants to see his more responsible side, which means no more late night hookups and no more adrenaline-charged stunts. When his agent suggests he find a fake boyfriend to give him an air of domesticity, he’s only reluctantly interested.

Until Ryan goes to a local bar and spies the cute private chef he’s supposed to be interviewing the next day. Maybe a quieter life wouldn’t be so bad, as long as Wyatt is part of it?

Wyatt believes Ryan could be more than just a crappy boss, but he isn’t sure about leaving the kitchen for the life of a professional boyfriend. Especially when he wants the reality so much more than the fantasy.

 Catch Me Teaser 1

Catch Me Teaser 2

 

EXCERPT

And he was the epitome of the California boy, Ryan thought as he watched Wyatt carrying his board towards the sand. Blond hair bright under the sun, the tall lanky build, all that tanned skin rippling with muscle.

Ryan hadn’t thought there was a place he could look better than naked in his bed, but he was surprised to discover that he’d been wrong.

There was something in the quicksilver of Wyatt’s smile as he turned to make sure Ryan was still following him. It made Ryan want more from him than just the admittedly mind-blowing sex they had had, which was something he’d thought he’d left behind years ago.

He thought about texting Tabitha and telling her she might be right, but she was already insufferable enough. Besides, if he didn’t tell her, he didn’t put it into words and the truth, while eye-opening, was also fucking terrifying.

“You coming?” Wyatt turned back fully this time, gracing Ryan not only with a quick glimpse of his bright smile, but his entire self. He looked worried, and Ryan wondered how long he’d been spacing out. Not something he usually did—and he’d already spent the morning doing it.

“Sorry,” Ryan apologized. “I was distracted by such a fantastic view.”

“I’ve always loved Huntington Beach,” Wyatt replied.

Ryan snorted. “Not the view I was talking about.”

Wyatt didn’t say anything but the look on his face was enough for Ryan to know that comment wouldn’t always go un-remarked upon. Eventually they would have to address the sexual tension simmering away between them. Eventually they would have to do something about it. And that day was one Ryan eagerly awaited and dreaded in equal parts.

“We gonna surf?” Wyatt asked as they set up their little camp over by one of the piers.

Ryan had tossed the wax over to Wyatt a few minutes before, and had been fidgeting with his tow strap since. He’d wanted to come out here and let the sun and the sand and the waves exorcise his bad mood, but now he wasn’t sure he even wanted to go in the water.

He wanted to sit on the sand and look at the sunlight on Wyatt’s hair, and ask him to tell him more about culinary school and Chicago and Terroir. Even about that nutjob Aquino.

Ryan was not used to wanting to pick social interaction over the adrenaline rush. It was weird, and he wasn’t sure he liked it.

“We’re here, aren’t we?” Ryan asked, shooting Wyatt a disbelieving look, even though all the hesitation had been on his end. He wasn’t ready to admit to anyone—never mind Wyatt—that he’d been contemplating something so out of character. “Last in the water buys burgers on the way home.

Beth Bolden Logo

Beth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with her supportive husband. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox play baseball. She’s a fan of fandoms, and spends too much of her free time on tumblr.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published eight novels and two novellas, with Catch Me, the next novel in the Kitchen Gods series, releasing in May 2018.

SOCIAL MEDIA 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bethboldenauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/beth_bolden

Website: www.bethbolden.com

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On Tour with Ardulum Series by J.S. Fields (excerpts and giveaway)

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SERIES-GRAPHIC Ardulum

J.S. Fields has a new lesbian sci fi book out in her Ardulum series – Third Don:

The Ardulum series blends space opera and hard science into a story about two women persistently bound to their past, and a sentient planet determined to shape their future.


Giveaway:

J.S. Fields is giving away an eBook copy of books one and two, AND a special collector’s edition First Don enamel pin to one lucky winner, via Rafflecopter:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4711/?


About the Books

Ardulum: First Don (book one)

Ardulum: First Don

The planet that vanishes. The planet that sleeps.

When Ardulum first appeared, the inhabitants brought agriculture, art and interstellar technology to the Neek people before vanishing back into space. Two hundred years later, Neek has joined the Charted Systems, a group of planets bound together through commerce and wormhole routes, where violence is nonexistent and technology has been built around the malleability of cellulose.

When the tramp transport Mercy’s Pledge accidentally stumbles into an armed confrontation between the Charted System sheriffs and an unknown species, the crew learns the high cost of peace—the enslavement and genetic manipulation of the Ardulan people. Now a young Neek, outcast from her world for refusal to worship ancient Ardulans as gods, must reconcile her planet’s religion with the slave child whom she has chosen to protect—a child whose ability to manipulate cellulose is reminiscent of the ancient myths of Ardulum. But protecting the child comes at a cost—the cultural destruction of her world and the deaths of billions of Charted System inhabitants.

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink

Ardulum: Second Don (book two)

Ardulum: Second Don

The Charted Systems are in pieces. Mercy’s Pledge is destroyed, and her captain dead. With no homes to return to, the remaining crew set off on a journey to find the mythical planet of Ardulum—a planet where Emn might find her people and Neek the answers she’s long sought. Finding the planet, however, brings a host of uncomfortable truths about Ardulum’s vision for the galaxy, and Neek’s role in a religion that refuses to release her. Neek must balance her planet’s past and the unchecked power of the Ardulans with a budding relationship and a surprising revelation about her own genealogy.

Ardulum: Second Don blends space opera and hard science into a story about two women persistently bound to their past, and a sentient planet determined to shape their future.

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink

Ardulum: Third Don (book three)

Ardulum Third Don

The planet wakes.

Atalant is torn between two worlds. In uncharted space, head of a sentient planet, the new eld of Ardulum now leads the religion she once rejected. Emn is by her side, but the Mmnnuggl war brewing in the Charted Systems, threatening her homeworld of Neek, cannot be ignored. Neek must return to the planet that exiled her in order to lead the resistance. She must return home a god, a hypocrite, a liar in gold robes, and decide whether to thrust her unwilling people into the truth of Ardulum, or play the role she has been handed and never see her family, or her world, again.

NineStar Press


Excerpts

First Don (Book One):

“Were we just attacked?” she asked incredulously. Neek took a closer look out the viewscreen. The rectangular cutter that sparkled with pinpricks of light and the wedge-shaped, agile skiffs, were Risalian. The pods—both the smaller purple ones and the frigate-sized, maroon ones—were unfamiliar. Their fomations were just as strange, stacked in columns like stones on a riverbank instead of in pyrimidal and spherical formations like Systems ships would. “Are those all Charted Systems ships?”

Yorden threw up his hands in disgust. “They’re not just Charted Systems ships—they’re Risalian ships. The cutter and skiffs are, anyway. No clue on the pods. What those blue-skinned bastards are doing out here with fully weaponized ships, I can only guess. However, they’re firing lasers. If we lose our armor and take a hit from any of those, we are space dust.”

“Comforting,” Neek mumbled. She hadn’t noticed the laser ports on any of the ships, but now that she looked closer, all of the vessels were covered with armor plating and had at least two laser turrets each.

Neek continued to watch as the pods begin to cluster around a Risalian cutter. A pod ship zipped beneath the cutter, firing wildly at its underside, before making a quick right turn and heading back to a larger pod. Five others followed suit. The cutter’s shielding began to splinter, but the ship remained where it was.

Neek leaned into the viewscreen, still unsure what she was seeing. “The Risalian ships aren’t chasing, they’re just defending. What is going on? If they’re going to appoint themselves sheriffs of the Charted Systems, they could at least fight back.”

Yorden smacked his hand against the wall, loosing a shower of dust. “Something on that Risalian ship is holding their attention. Get us out of here, before either of them gets any closer.” He pointed to a cluster of ships to Neek’s right, and her eyes followed. Little flashes of bright light sparked and then died intermittently as ships were destroyed, their flotsam creating an ever-expanding ring. A large piece of metal plating floated past the Pledge’s port window. The edge caught and left a thin scratch in the fiberglass as it slid off.

“What are they protecting that is so damn important?” Neek wondered out loud and then snorted. “Something worth more than our hold full of diamond rounds and cellulose-laced textiles?” she added cheekily.

Scowling, Yorden pushed Neek’s hand away from the computer and began his own scan of the Pledge’s systems. “Communications are still up, but I don’t think either party is listening right now.” Frustrated, he kicked the underside of the console. “Try one of them. Better than being crushed.”

“Captain, come on. We are dead in space. If another one comes at us, why don’t we just fire at it? It’s better than being rammed.” She pointed upwards at a circular hole in the ceiling. “What’s the benefit of flying a ship so ancient it falls apart if you’re not taking advantage of the grandfathered weapons system?”

Yorden’s terse response was cut off when a short burst impacted the ship. Another group of skiffs flew past, depositing laser fire as they did so. The Pledge banked to port, carrying momentum from the impact. From the direction they had come lay a trail of shattered ship plating.

A panicked voice called down from the laser turret. Neek bristled, steeling herself against the inevitable irritation that came whenever their Journey youth spoke. “That skiff just fired at us. How does it even have weapons? I thought we were the only ones in the Systems with a ship older than dirt.”

Neek wrapped her right hand back around the steering yoke. Each of her eight fingers fit perfectly into the well-worn grooves, and the brown leather darkened a shade as her naturally secreted stuk smeared from her fingertips. She smiled to herself. Flying a geriatric tramp was still better than flying nothing at all.

“Look, Captain,” she said, keeping her eyes on the battle. “I can steer this thing if we get pushed, but that is it. We don’t have any other options. They have guns. We have guns. Well, we have a gun. Why don’t we use it?”

Second Don (Book Two):

“You have to tell her,” Nicholas said. He pushed himself out of a lean and pointed to where Emn’s blood had fallen. She’d been interfacing with the ship all the way through the wormhole and hadn’t noticed Nicholas return to the cockpit. That meant Emn was getting a lecture, one way or the other. Annoyed, she tugged at the fabric across her chest, the sensation something she was still getting used to, and turned to look at Nicholas. She’d have much preferred a lecture from Neek.

Nicholas’s eyebrow rose. “This is the fourth time I’ve seen you bleed from interfacing with the ship. If your physiology is so incompatible with it, then Neek needs to know. We need to find another ship.”

Emn dabbed at her ear with a finger, ensuring the canal was clean, and then straightened the front of her dress. She’d already stopped the bleeding. The blood vessel breaks had been small—only minor capillaries affected—and healing was simple first-don stuff. Except, each time she synced with the ship, the pain was worse. What had started as a light buzzing during her time on the Mmnnuggl flagship Llttrin, during the Crippling War, was now a pressure that thumped between her skull and brain. It was ever-expanding, pulsed behind her eyes, crushed blood vessels, and had her leaking maroon from her ears and nose.

After sitting down against the black paneling, Emn looked at her lap. The dress, which she’d managed to keep mostly clean of blood, was tight in areas she’d not anticipated. It clung to her hips and chest, highlighting the most notable changes since her metamorphosis. It was… Could something be uncomfortable and yet comforting at the same time? She was an adult. There was no denying that, not with something so formfitting. Emn enjoyed the visual reminder of who she had become.

“For me to discuss any of this with Neek, she’d have to actually talk to me. Right after the Crippling War, I thought we had broken through that layer of self-doubt, or whatever makes Neek so rigid around me, but I guess not.” Emn went to pull at the front of her dress again before catching herself.

Nicholas ran his hands through his thick hair and shook his head. “You’re telepathically connected. You don’t have to be in the same room to talk.” Just as he had when she was in first don, Nicholas plopped beside her so she could lean into him. The reminder of their friendship helped ease the thumping in her head. She was forever grateful that Nicholas didn’t seem at all uncomfortable with the changes she’d undergone.

“Do you think it looks all right?” Emn asked, looking down at the front of her dress.

Nicholas snorted. “You look like a woman in a dress, Emn. It fits well. Your chest looks normal, if that’s what you’re asking, although you’ll crease the fabric if you keep pulling at it like that. If you want more specific feedback, there’s a different person you should ask. I know you don’t have a perpetually open connection, but even if she’s closed down, you could still nudge her. It’s good for her.”

Emn returned the half smile, imagining how Neek would react if she just started chatting to her through their link about mundane things, like constellations or cellulose biometals, or if she actually asked about the dress…

As if Neek had been listening, the door abruptly slid open, and the room was filled with the distinctive sound of booted feet. Emn and Nicholas stood up.

Neek took a moment to stretch, reaching her hands up over her head and letting her sixteen fingers, eight per hand, brush the ceiling. This was the only room in the small Mmnnuggl pod where any of them could stand upright, and it was blissful to do so. Stretching pulled the fabric of the flight suit taut against Neek’s chest and Emn let her eyes linger, careful to ensure the image did not leak across their bond. They needed Neek in the cockpit, captaining, not hiding in her room. She didn’t need to know about Emn’s burgeoning…something. Not yet, anyway. Still, Emn followed the tightly braided red-blonde hair to her narrow shoulders and then to her wide hips partially hidden in a baggy flight suit. Neek had her sleeves rolled up to her elbows, and Emn wrinkled her nose without meaning to. The lighting in the pod did not go well with Neek’s olive-brown complexion. Realizing that she had probably stared for a bit too long, Emn walked back to the viewscreen.

“Looks like such a harmless planet from out here,” Neek said as her arms fell to her sides. Currently filling the floor-to-ceiling viewscreen was Risal, its orange algae oceans and brown landmasses looming above them. Risal’s two moons, the red Korin and white Rath, buffered the planet on either side. At their current position, the shadows from the sun overlapped Risal in two intersecting crescents, leaving a thin hourglass shape of lit land. Two cutters were in orbit around Korin, docked next to one another near the moon’s north pole.

Emn knew more than she cared to about those moons. She had no firsthand memories, but being synced to the late Captain Ran’s cutter had given her data on both. Rath was used as an andal plantation, although it was not a very successful one. Korin, in contrast…Korin was likely where she had been born. Emn probably had had siblings there, perhaps other genetic parents as well. They’d be dead, of course, like all the Risalian Ardulans, but that didn’t make the moon any less oppressive.

Her focus was suddenly returned to the cockpit. Confused, Emn blinked, trying to clear her vision, and then realized what was happening. Her thoughts must have leaked. Now, instead of Korin, she was seeing herself through Neek’s eyes, their connection taut. It was strange to see herself from the back—a woman in a knee-length, gray dress with shoulder straps and a flared hipline, tracing a finger over the moon’s image. Her black hair held only hints of the red that shone in her youth, and the moonlight highlighted the dark veins that streaked across her translucent skin. Patterns emerged, if one looked long enough—and Neek was—patterns of geometric shapes bound tightly together, distorted and intersecting. Several words bounded across their link despite Neek’s best efforts to rein them in. One in particular struck Emn as odd.

Beautiful.

Except, calling the markings such belied their daunting mythos and marginalized Neek’s history. Emn tossed the word aside, conscious of its relevance but unwilling to call it to Neek’s attention.

Third Don (Book Three):

I dislike this flight suit,Atalant muttered as her stuk absorbed into the rough material. The Ardulans did not refine the andalrayon as much as Charted Systems manufacturers did, and the fabric was full of rough, lumpish slubs.

If you could find some time for us to be alone and do away with the memories for a few hours, I’m sure I could arrange for my dress to make an appearance. The images that accompanied her statement flushed Atalant’s cheeks.

Maybe if we met onboard the Scarlet Lucidity , in orbit around Ardulum, where no one could interrupt us and I felt a bit freer… Atalant’s thoughts drifted into that delightful possibility. The Lucidity had soft chairs in the cockpit, wide beds in the quarters, a small bin of andal in case Emn got hungry…

Andal! Atalant’s priorities came crashing back down around her. The planet caught her wandering and whispered dreams of its own, dreams of saplings in open fields, of thick rains and busy pollinators. The collective consciousness of Ardulum sent a yearning desire for family, for a new place to call home.

“Home is overrated,” Atalant whispered.

“I don’t think so. What about your parents, Atalant?” Emn whispered into her ear, misunderstanding Atalant’s words. “Your father and your talther miss you, I’m sure. Your brother is there, waiting to see his sister.” Emn’s lips brushed Atalant’s forehead. “All the things you said at those political rallies, all the times the president cut you down, your exile, your uncle’s teachings… Could you just let all this hang? Can you let the truth, that you worked so hard to uncover, remain a mystery to the rest of your people?”

Atalant didn’t answer. When Emn didn’t press further, Atalant reached over Emn and lifted the window open to its full height. The sounds of reptiles croaking filled the silence between them. Atalant let the heaviness of her eyelids sink her into drowsy memories. She thought of the Lucidity, berthed and awaiting her return in a suburb of the capital. She thought of the gold robes she now regularly wore, of their similarities to the Heaven Guard robes she had so coveted in her youth. She thought of her brother, his pursuit of andal science over Ardulan religion, his urging her to join the Heaven Guard of Neek. She thought of soil barren from andal plantation farming, the decline of the forests on her homeworld, and the death of the Keft ecosystem. She thought of her uncle, the High Priest of Neek, of his teachings, the holy books, and of what the return of living gods could do for her stagnant planet.

The sound of Emn’s even breathing relaxed the remaining tightness in Atalant’s shoulders. As she drifted off into sleep, her mind wandered to the possibility: what would it be like for Ardulum to return to the planet Neek? What havoc would the mystic, traveling planet play on her world’s religion? On her family? Would she be welcomed as a hero, or still branded a heretic? Would she be shot on sight? Gold robes of the Eld or gold robes of the Heaven Guard? Did it matter?

What would it be like for her to come home?


About the Author

AUTHOR PHOTO - J.S. FieldsJ.S. Fields (@Galactoglucoman) is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. She enjoys roller derby, woodturning, making chainmail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans. Nonbinary, but prefers female pronouns.

Fields has lived in Thailand, Ireland, Canada, USA, and spent extensive time in many more places. Her current research takes her to the Peruvian Amazon rainforest each summer, where she traumatizes students with machetes and tangarana ants while looking for rare pigmenting fungi. She lives with her partner and child, and a very fabulous lionhead rabbit named Merlin.

Author Website: http://www.jsfieldsbooks.com

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/Galactoglucoman

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16484795.J_S_Fields

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-s-fields/

Release Blitz for Rainbow Place (Rainbow Place #1) by Jay Northcote

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Buy Links: Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2sXUDGh

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2xXuvRC

 
Length: 54,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

Can Jason find the courage he needs to be the man Seb deserves?


When Seb Radcliffe relocates to a seaside town in Cornwall, he feels like a fish out of water. He misses queer spaces and the sense of community he enjoyed when he was living in the city, and decides to open an LGBT-friendly cafe–bar.


Jason Dunn is the builder Seb hires to help renovate the rundown space where the cafe will be housed. Jason is also gay, but unlike Seb, he’s deep in the closet. He’s never had a relationship with another man—only allowing himself the occasional hook up with guys who are prepared to be discreet.


The attraction between the two men is instant and impossible to ignore. But while Seb is out and proud, Jason is terrified of being exposed. With the grand opening of Rainbow Place approaching, tension is growing among some locals who object to Seb’s plans. When things escalate, Jason is forced to choose whether to hide in the shadows and let Seb down, or to openly support the man he’s fallen so hard for.


Although this book is part of a series, it has a satisfying happy ending and can be read as a standalone.

Author Bio


Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.


One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.


Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.


Website
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A MelanieM Review: Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

Being a fugitive in the old west shouldn’t be this much fun.

The year is 1860. Robby Riverton is a rising star on the New York stage. But he witnesses a murder by a famous crime boss and is forced to go on the run–all the way to Santa Fe. When he still hasn’t ditched his pursuers, he disguises himself as a mail order bride he meets on the wagon train. Caught between gangsters that want to kill him, and the crazy, uncouth family of his “intended”, Robby’s only ally is a lazy sheriff who sees exactly who Robby is — and can’t resist him.

Trace Crabtree took the job as sheriff of Flat Bottom because there was never a thing going on. And then Robby Riverton showed up. Disguised as a woman. And betrothed to Trace’s brother. If that wasn’t complication enough, Trace had to find the man as appealing as blueberry pie. He urges Robby to stay undercover until the danger has passed. But a few weeks of having Robby-Rowena at the ranch, and the Crabtree family will never be the same again.

Damn, what a kerfuffle. If only Trace can get rid of the fugitive while hanging on to his own stupid heart.

Do you know how there can be a disconnect between a blurb and the actual story at times?  Well for Eli Easton’s Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride, there was one not only between the synopsis but also between the cover as well.  Both ended up veering far off from the charm and drama that is this m/m historic romance.

From that first line, you might think you are getting a high farce, a comedy, but its hardly that.  Robby Riverston is a serious actor who has finally getting the roles he’s wanted after paying his dues on the stage in New York  for years.  He’s worked hard and he’s a gifted actor about to get his break until he ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time and sees one of the city’s most notorious criminals murder someone.  Unfortunately for Robby, they see him too.

A ticket out of town is his only option and one thing after another leads him to Flat Bottom.  At one point he assumes the “role”  of a woman who was supposed to be a mail order bride but reneged along the way.  As any good actor does, Robby treats “Rowena” as just that, a role he is playing.  From the makeup he wears, to his dress and mannerisms, he becomes this character and a part of the Crabtree family, a situation he feels guilty about because he comes to care about these people. So yes, no high farce to be found here.  Instead, simply a desperate man trying to elude killers and a family like no others adjusting to a Easterner in their midst.

Eli Easton does bring up another element when Trace Crabtree, the oldest son and Sheriff, figures out Robby’s secret.  How the dynamics work between these men is an aspect to this story that also surprised and delighted me.  Trace has his own issues to work through, about his past, his place within the town, and his feelings about Robby.  All while trying to keep him alive as well as his family when the killers come calling.

I  loved the characterizations and the town.  All the Crabtrees absolutely grew on me, even the father.  Easton pulls it all together in a thrilling suspenseful ending and a happy epilogue that will leave you smiling.

I highly recommend Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton to all lovers of romance, even if you arent a complete fan of historic fiction, I think you will love this one too.

Cover art, while cute, is so far off the mark.  Robby would never look like that. “Rowena” was always impeccably dressed with her makeup on at all times.  That cover gives a completely false impression of the story.  Fail.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 26th 2018 by Pinkerton Road (first published April 24th 2018)
Original TitleRobby Riverton: Mail Order Bride
Edition LanguageEnglishsettingNew Mexico (United States)

A VVivacious Review: Flowers for the Gardener by Sharon Maria Bidwell

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Richard finds himself dealing with major life decisions after his father’s death, but he finds dealing with his mother, Ruby Gardener most difficult. If life weren’t difficult enough, there is the added complication of Ethan Fields.

Ethan and his father have been employed by the Gardeners for many years, though Ethan now finds himself dissatisfied with his work though unwilling to leave. He finds himself resenting Ruby and he wants closure from Richard for whatever it was that they shared.

Will Ethan and Richard stop falling into bed together long enough to work through everything that still remains unresolved between them or will they just drift apart at the end of the day?

Hands down, this is unlike any story I have ever read which was completely unexpected and it totally blindsided me. I had no idea people could create a contemporary romance this nuanced. This book was like a revelation and Sharon Maria Bidwell is an artist.

Initially, I thought this book would be a nice romance counting on social differences to provide the most conflict but I had no idea what I was in for and I must credit this book on how complicated a single thread of thought can be made in fiction. I really don’t hold contemporary romance in any of my favourites lists but done the way it was in this book, I could really see myself turning over to the other side, quick.

This book was off to an unsteady start which I was definitely going to take as an omen but the beginning of this book is somewhat like climbing a rickety staircase inelegant but oddly charming. The writing of this book is… unique. There are sentences that rub me the wrong way, feel overly dramatized but then there are other sentences which even being all of the above make me laugh out loud with the images that are conjured up in my head.

There is this really long conversation between Ethan and Richard in the very beginning of the book and the scene changes perspectives a million times which made me feel like a ping pong ball in a match. Like it was hard to keep track of whose turn it was at present and it felt like I was playing a game of match the following, trying to match the emotions to their respective owners. Again this was something I found irritating but oddly charming though this is an idiosyncrasy that is only true for the very beginning of the book.

Ethan and Richard are on opposite sides of society, they are basically employee and employer and wealth will always be an issue, because while Richard can think of money as a constant for Ethan it is a very current and variable issue which does provide conflict in this story but not all of it. There is also a little bit of the rich in wealth, poor in sense thing going on with Rich not understanding how employing Ethan could put their relationship into an ethical dilemma, but I also feel like that particular issue is seen differently by these two characters. For Ethan wonders, if Rich employing him makes him look like a rent buy while Rich is only trying to make sure Ethan is financially stable even outside of their relationship. Then there is the fact that they are both dealing with loss albeit in different ways and while Rich can lean on Ethan for support, Ethan feels denied of the same privilege. Then there is the matter of Ruby Gardener, Rich’s very opinionated mother who wants things to be exactly as she wants them to be and how both characters are in conflict with her though this fact is not recognizable early in the book.

This book has to be the slowest burning romance in the history of slow-burning romances wherein the characters already share a sexual relationship, it was kind of amazing because generally, it is the UST that drives a slow burn romance but here, was one with so much unresolved tension without any of it being sexual. This book is kind of an award-winning type of book because there so much detail in the book and so much going on, though you really don’t realize it. The fact is that the more detailed a work, the more complicated it becomes though that is surprisingly not the case here. This book has challenged a lot of my pre-conceptions on writing and storytelling, it has been an amazing experience.

Now I know you might be wondering why this book only has a four-star rating if it truly is award-winning good. The fact of the matter is that I have analysed this book to the extent that I can see its faults, this book only has three well-developed characters and another character comes of surprisingly underdeveloped atleast that is what I tell myself because I just couldn’t warm up to Sapphire.

Since Ethan and Rich already had a sexual relationship I felt that they needed to realise a relationship between themselves. In most slow burn romances the UST is resolved prior to the very end of the book such that you get to see exactly what I mentioned above the realisation of a relationship. Now since this book also features a lot of unresolved tensions between our MCs I wanted these tensions to be resolved before the ending of the book so that these two could realise their full potential as a couple. Alas, this wasn’t the case and I fear I have lost the opportunity to see these two as a couply couple.

This book has been a challenge for me one that I have really enjoyed and so far it is unparalleled in the amount of nuance that went into creating this romance.

Cover Art by Written Ink Design which I really liked.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 227 pages
Published April 28th 2018 by JMS Books, LLC
ISBN139781634866194
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Review: The River City Chronicles by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

A group of strangers meets at Ragazzi, an Italian restaurant, for a cooking lesson that will change them all. They quickly become intertwined in each other’s lives, and a bit of magic touches each of them.

Meet Dave, the consultant who lost his partner; Matteo and Diego, the couple who run the restaurant; recently-widowed Carmelina; Marcos, a web designer getting too old for hook-ups; Ben, a trans author writing the Great American Novel; teenager Marissa, kicked out for being bi; and Sam and Brad, a May-September couple who would never have gotten together without a little magic of their own.

Everyone in the River City has a secret, and sooner or later secrets always come out.

I always seek out an author’s forward, if there is one, before start into a book.  It often gives me insight into the writer’s mindset when laying out their story and characters, even the inspiration behind the origins of the tale.  In this case I got that and more.

J. Scott Coatsworth’s love for his adopted city of Sacramento, the River City of the title and setting here, is deeply established and he lets us know exactly why it’s so ingrained that its almost a living character here in The River City Chronicles. Close behind it?  Coatsworth’s love for Italian language which he speaks and teaches,  Italian cooking, and the style and format of ‘Armistead Maupin’s Tales Of The City.

The author has gathered up all these elements, given them a mighty swirl, tossed together with his own marvelous imagination and a dose of magical realism and come up with The River City Chronicles by J. Scott Coatsworth.  What a magical heartwarming glorious blend it is!

It all starts off with Matteo and Diego, a married couple recently arrived from Italy.  They’ve reopened a restaurant where one of their relative’s old Italian restaurants was but the new one isn’t being received very well.  It’s called Ragazzi, meaning ‘the boys’.  But a bit a magic is about to  happen when one gets the  idea for a cooking class that brings in an odd mixture of people in various stages of their life and circumstances.

The very idea of a cooking class, one where you can almost smell the ingredients, plunge your hands into the dough, get wafts of the aroma of vanilla, the heat of the ovens…its a experience that just conjures up memories.  Which is exactly what the author does here with vivid descriptions and later on wonderful recipes you will be jotting down to try.  It, the  preparation, the cooking, the memories and yes, perhaps the magic, start to intertwine these peoples lives and ours until I was barely aware of the time going by outside of the story.

And oh these people, because that’s what they became to me.  Each person, each couple, carrying their troubles, burdens, voids in their hearts where children or family should be, others looking for love or asking for the approval to move on with their lives to love once more.  All the characters here are so beautifully created, so multidimensional that they are all on equal footing.  Each and every one is so important to the story and will gain equal measure in your heart.  It’s a large cast but it simply doesn’t matter.  You invest yourself completely in their lives and their stories.  You hurt with them, you laugh with them…the entire spectrum of emotion will be trotted out here between the kids thrown out of their homes to the May/December romances and  so much more.

The River City Chronicles is a rich tapestry of lives…messy, complicated, wonderful, human lives.  It’s filled with love, cooking, Italy through the language and recipes, and the singular location of Sacramento.  And I can’t get enough of it.

I want more of it.

Like visiting that restaurant you have picked out as yours and visit over and over because the food is perfect, the atmosphere warm and welcoming, the people inside familiar and everything about the place makes you anticipate an evening that  will fill your heart with love and memories.  That’s how The River City Chronicles makes me feel as well.  I hope that J. Scott Coatsworth feels that there’s more tales to tell here.  I certainly hope so.  Raguzzi is doing so well, so are the cooking classes.  Who knows who will show up next?  Scott, are you listening?

Trust me, this book is magical.  I highly recommend it.

Cover art is beautiful.  It’s dark, magical an lovely.  I love it.

Sales Links: iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, First, 380 pages
Published May 30th 2018 by Other Worlds Ink
ISBN 1732307513 (ISBN13: 9781732307513)
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Slow Heat (Heat of Love #1) by Leta Blake and Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

A lustful young alpha meets his match in an older omega with a past.

Professor Vale Aman has crafted a good life for himself. An unbonded omega in his mid-thirties, he’s long since given up hope that he’ll meet a compatible alpha, let alone his destined mate. He’s fulfilled by his career, his poetry, his cat, and his friends.

When Jason Sabel, a much younger alpha, imprints on Vale in a shocking and public way, longings are ignited that can’t be ignored. Fighting their strong sexual urges, Jason and Vale must agree to contract with each other before they can consummate their passion.

But for Vale, being with Jason means giving up his independence and placing his future in the hands of an untested alpha–as well as facing the scars of his own tumultuous past. He isn’t sure it’s worth it. But Jason isn’t giving up his destined mate without a fight.

This was a wonderfully crafted world and story.  Jason has just started university and isn’t supposed to find his mate yet.  Vale had resigned himself long ago to ever finding his destined mate when Jason walks in.

It was easy to connect with these characters and feel their emotions.  The world in which these characters live puts much more importance on having children than the safety of their carriers and that mindset causes Vale to push Jason away.  I could easily see how it was hard for these characters to follow the proper protocols and find their own happiness for the future.  I had some trouble with Vale continuing to have the same worry no matter how often he was told or shown there was no need.

Michael Ferraiuolo did a great job narrating this story.  I was easily able to connect with the characters feel their emotions as he used different voices for the characters.  While I enjoyed his reading of the story his speech pattern was quite slow and I had to increase the speed of the book more than I ever have before.

Cover art by Dar Albert is great and I loved the visual of the characters together.

Sales Link:  Audible

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 14 hrs 7 min
Published: May 7, 2018 by Leta Blake
Edition Language: English

Series: Heat of Love #1

In Our Spotlight Tour: INSIDE DARKNESS by Hudson Lin (giveaway)

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Inside Darkness by Hudson Lin

Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Natasha Snow

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

 

Welcome to the blog tour for Inside Darkness! I’m Hudson Lin and I’m here to share some behind the scenes sneak peaks about my debut novel, available June 11th. Leave a comment on the tour posts for a chance to win a $10 gift card from Amazon!

 

About Inside Darkness

 

He’s come in from the field, but the darkness has followed him home.

 

After a decade as an aid worker, Cameron Donnelly returns home jaded, tired, and with more than just a minor case of PTSD. Plagued by recurring nightmares but refusing to admit he has a problem, Cam quickly spirals into an alcohol-infused depression, and everyone around him is at a loss for how to help.

 

Journalist Tyler Ang met Cam on a reporting assignment in Kenya, and their first encounters were rife with hostility and sexual tension. Back in New York, their paths continually cross, and each time, Cam’s brokenness reminds Ty more and more of his own difficult childhood. Letting Cam in goes against Ty’s instinct to live life autonomously, but the damaged aid worker manages to sneak past his guard.

 

Their relationship is all sharp corners and rough edges, and just as they’re figuring out how to fit together, a life-threatening accident puts it all in jeopardy. If they want a future together, both will have to set aside their egos and learn to carry each other’s burdens.

 

 

About Hudson Lin

 

Hudson Lin was raised by conservative immigrant parents and grew up straddling two cultures with often-times conflicting perspectives on life. Instead of conforming to either, she has sought to find a third way that brings together the positive elements of both.

 

Having spent much of her life on the outside looking in, Hudson likes to write about outsiders who fight to carve out their place in society, and overcome everyday challenges to find love and happily ever afters.

 

When not engrossed in a story, Hudson knits, drinks tea, and works the nine-to-five in the beautiful city of Toronto, Canada.

 

Connect with Hudson:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Inside Darkness, Hudson is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 16, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Release Blitz and Giveaway for My Anti-Marriage (My Anti-Series Book 3) by DJ Jamison

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 40,000 words approx.
 
My Anti Series
 
My Anti Valentine (Book #1) – Amazon US | Amazon UK
My Anti Boyfriend (Book #2) – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Can one drunken night in Vegas and a pair of wedding rings lead to a happily ever after?


Love has never been a good bet for Chris, so going on a Vegas wedding trip for his friends is bittersweet. Especially when Ant, the last man to break his trust, is suddenly along for the ride. Which explains why Chris wakes up in his hotel room with the mother of all hangovers. Not so much why Ant is in his bed … or worse, wearing a matching wedding band.


Ant invited himself on a Vegas trip, gambling on a second chance with the man who got away. He never dreamt he’d be the one with a wedding ring on his finger, but if their predicament gets Chris talking to him again, he’ll make the most of it.


Between keeping their secret from friends and trying to figure out what really happened that first crazy night in Vegas, passions ignite. If they can hold on to their fresh start, maybe the Vegas motto doesn’t have to hold true: What happens in Vegas doesn’t have to stay there.

   

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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