A Stella Release Day Review: Alpha Unit One, New York by Chris T. Kat

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

The cat’s out of the bag….

In a world that accepts shifters as normal and thinks nothing of human/shifter couples, baby shifters and small shifters are treated as subpar. They are not allowed into the more dangerous professions, and their mates have legal control over what they can and cannot do.

Nicholas Reed is about to challenge the established rules. At twenty-eight, Nick has just been accepted into New York’s Alpha Unit One—an elite law enforcement team, composed equally of humans and shifters, that specializes in drug crimes. It is Nick’s dream job. But if they find out what he’s hiding, his career could be destroyed.

Enter a huge complication in the form of Sam Black, an older lion shifter who is the leader of the unit… and Nick’s mate. Nick wants Sam, and he wants to keep his job, but he can’t have them both. He also can’t choose between them.

I can confess I was over the moon when I saw Chris T. Kat had a new book coming out soon, I’m a huge fan of her works and was very sad when she decided to take some time off from writing. This new release was a fabulous surprise.

I read Alpha Unit One, New York in one night, I devoured it, I fell into the novellas from the start. The writing was so good, I was caught into the plot and couldn’t put down the kindle for a minute. Nothing new to me, this has happened every time I read this author books.

I adored Nick and Sam story, I soon felt the connection between them, the chemistry was so clear and strong it was unevitable for them to act on it, even if it seemed some circustances were agaist their union. But they are mates and this can’t be fought. Altough I liked them both, I particularly cared for Nick, he was cute and funny, his worries about being where he actually couldn’t be,  made me cringe and sometimes laugh too. I liked how he easily found new friends among his new colleagues, some of them had more than one secret in common.

This is the kind of paranormal books I love to read, I am a sucker for the destined mates thrope, but I need something more too and here the author developed a new world that it felt me very realistic. Plus a solid plot with interesting second characters and couples I would so hope to have their stories in the next future; there is action, and then sex, sweetnesses, friendships.

I simply loved  Alpha Unit One, New York and I already reread it, so of course I feel to recommend it.

The cover art by Cate Ashwood is lovely, well done and fitting in every detail.

SALE LINKS       Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 161 pages

Publication Date July 27th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781640805132

Edition Language English

A Stella Prerelease Review: Love on a Battlefield by Posy Roberts

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

Not every compass points north.

Andrew Summers is forced to spend his vacations reliving Civil War battles with his father. He hates every minute, until a blue-eyed, red-haired boy behind enemy lines catches his eye.

Shep Wells would much rather travel the world than play at boring war reenactments. He never dreamed a Texan boy would capture his heart.

Real life and years separate them; Andrew is forced onto real battlefields, but for Shep the world is a playground. They’re opposites, but writing letters closes the distance, uncovering their hopes and dreams. When Shep visits Andrew, they get to see if the tug they’ve felt for years is the compass pointing the way home.

***
This is a story about first times, second chances, and the transformative power of the written word.

I waited so long for a new release from Posy Roberts that I was very much happy to finally have Love on a Battlefield in my hands, especially since I adore second chance at love and the author is a favorite of mine. And I think Posy delivered a really well done story. I truly felt the romance here and the deep connection that linked Andrew and Shep together, it was pretty clear from the few moments they spent with each other.

Every year Andrew’s father took him to Civil War reenactments since he was a kid. He had fun during those times playing with kids like him, until, eighteen years old, during one of those meeting, he saw Shep, the boy with red hair, always carefree and laughing. They spent a couple of hours together and later, when the reenactment ended, they came back home but they decided to write to each other. Andrew in Texas, Shep in California or flying around the world, they had college to attend. Instead Andrew’s college plans burnt when his father lost all his money and Andrew only choice became the Army, not at all what Andrew was hoping for a future. Four years later his time in the Army was ending and he was finally ready to create the future he wanted and be free to be open with his sexuality. But a mine happened and he was discharged. Now twenty three years old, he is depressed and full of pain, he is deep in his own troubles, it’s became easy to just stay home. He is ready to let go when he met Carlos and his dyslexia. This meeting is what saves Andrew, he starts to go out of his home and little by little a new life begins.

A new life without Shep, and even if it can sounds stupid missing and wanting someone he actually talked and kissed just one time five years ago, Andrew aches for Shep. And when Shep comes back in Andrew life, it’s time to give their attraction a chance.

I liked this story quite a lot, I loved the writing but it wasn’t a surprise cause I adored every single book the author released in the past. What really surprised me was how much I like the story although the author gave me just Andrew’s POV. In fact I lately noticed I tend to prefer the double POV, it often seems to me I miss a lot with just one MC’s POV. This time I have to say it worked well. Moreover it was probably the right choice,because at the end Andrew’s past (and present) was most troubled and emotional, sure Shep’s would have been more interesting and adventurous but I need to be moved with more troubled characters and Andrew conquered my heart. I feel like I know  him well, the same way as I know a friend. And that’s the reason why I loved this novella and I want to recommend it to all of you.

The cover art by GoOnWrite is clean and well done, I particularly like the colors.

SALE LINKS     Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 126 pages

Expected publication: February 20th 2018 by Labyrinth Bound Press

ASIN B0799K9F57

Edition Language English

A Stella Review:  Desperately Seeking Santa by Eli Easton

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Journalism student Gabe Martin gets his first professional assignment—to write about a Christmas charity dinner that benefits a children’s home. It sounds like a total snooze-fest until Gabe learns that the event’s Santa is a mystery man. He shows up in costume and no one has a clue who he is. Uncovering Santa’s identity sounds like the perfect angle to turn a fluff piece into serious journalism.

Mack “The Mountain” McDonall, at 6’10”, is University of Wisconsin-Madison’s enormous star wrestler. When Gabe first claps eyes on him at a wrestling match, it’s lust at first sight. Gabe’s friend, Jordan, sets up the pair on a date. But when Gabe chatters on about his plans for outing Santa, Mack goes cold, and their first meeting becomes an epic fail.

As Gabe researches the children’s home, he learns that Mack has secrets a guy famous for being a brute wouldn’t want the world to know. Can Gabe find his holiday spirit, write a killer article, win the heart of a surly giant, and give everyone a very merry Christmas?

NOTE: This 50,000 word short novel features a new couple but includes Jordan and Owen, from the author’s book “Superhero”. It can be read as a stand-alone

Desperately Seeking Santa was a joy to read, I was enthusiastic as soon as I saw Eli had this new holiday story coming out and she didn’t disappoint me at all. I fell into the MCs lives from the start, they were amazing persons, positive and good, especially Mack. He caught my heart, his father too.

There wasn’t a single detail I didn’t enjoyed. I loved to meet Owen and Jordan (from Superhero) and know they were still together and so got their HEA. I adored the second characters, family, friends, strangers, all supportive and loveable. I found the plot and the development of the romance part well done and most of all I found it real. That way the reading flew easily and the lightness of the words put me in a good mood. I like the author writing style, I like holiday stories, I need sweet romances, no surprise Desperately Seeking Santa was a winner. I feel to recommend it.

The cover art is lovely and light as the story is.

Sales Link:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 160 pages

Published November 22nd 2017

ASIN B077LM5RT6

Edition Language English

A Stella Review: ​Cruising by Cate Ashwood

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

Best friends Dylan and Jake have been inseparable since college, but Dylan has one secret he can’t bring himself to share with Jake—he’s completely, utterly in love with him.


Jake’s friendship is the most important thing in the world to Dylan, so as much as it hurts to see him with other people, Dylan keeps his mouth shut about his true feelings. When Jake wins a cruise to Alaska, he asks Dylan to go along, but what Dylan doesn’t know, is that there’s more on offer than a dream vacation.

Can Dylan and Jake sail off to their happily ever after, or are they cruising toward disaster?

Cruising is a lovely short story, I finished it quickly and was fully satisfied from what I learned about the MCs and how the plot went. I was able to connect with Dylan and Jake from the start, I felt the deep link they have for each other, an important friendship both of them scared to destroy with a possible love relationship. Problem is both of them are too deep into their feelings to ignore them and just continue to be besties. And so finally Jake decides to be brave and risk it all.

Cate Ashwood is one of my favorite authors since the first time I read Keeping Sweet at the beginning of my obsession with the MM books. From that moment I wait anxiously for each new release. Cruising is well written and engaging short story, just 13K words, plus I adore the friends to lovers trope, especially when they are well done as in this case. Moreover this is FREE, so if you haven’t read this author works, give this title a chance, it won’t cost you nothing but I’m sure you will looking for more from her.

The cover art by Cate Ashwood is well done, I like it and it reminds me of a specific scene in the story so it’s fitting too.

Sales Links: FREE here https://www.instafreebie.com/public/FC7UD

Book Details:

ebook, 45 pages

Published December 8th 2017 by Self Published

Word Count: 13,000 words

Genre: Contemporary m/m romance

Edition Language English

A Stella Advent Release Day Review: The Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change by Chris Scully

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

In the sunny playground of Palm Springs, growing up was something confirmed bachelor and bad-boy chef Joel avoided at all costs—until a close friend’s death made him reevaluate his priorities. Ever since, he’s been dedicated to helping his widowed friend Perry get back on his feet by teaching him to cook and providing a shoulder to cry on. But when Perry announces that he’s ready to start dating again and then begins receiving gifts from an anonymous secret Santa, Joel is forced to confront the feelings he’s suppressed for so long.

As Joel struggles with jealousy and guilt amid the holiday season, he must decide if he’s ready to grow up and reach for what he’s always wanted but never thought he could have.

This is exactly what I’m looking for in a holiday short, to be engaged and conquered by the characters and the plot since the first words. That’s exactly what the author gave me with this story. I fell in love with Joel and Perry from the start and I couldn’t wait for them to finally act on their feelings. It took some time but that time was needed to better see and understand both men and their  minds, I felt their thoughts in my mind and the deep love they shared for each other and for the beloved Dale.

I want to recommend this short story in the Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar and actually, all the books Chris Scully writes.

The cover art by Alexandria Corza is simple and clean but I don’t like it. In my opinion it misses a connection with the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 66 pages

Published December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN B078CQKKN7

Edition Language English

Series 2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers

A Stella Release Day Review: Braving the Rapids (Rocky Mountain Boys #2 ) by Brandon Witt

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Estes Park native Todd Fleece works hard to honor his obligations to family and the businesses he inherited, but only his friends and the horses at his ranch brighten Todd’s life. In fighting his attraction to his best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Todd has focused solely on his work, leaving little room in his life for finding love.

Matt Abel’s reckless youth put him on a path to a self-destructive life—his most painful failure was being a horrible father. He excels at extreme sports and living on the edge. Now back in Estes Park and teaching white-water rafting, Matt tries to reconnect with his mother and his grown daughter. When he runs into his ex’s friend Todd, Matt longs for more than a fling.

But achieving happiness isn’t simple, not with Todd’s family conflicts and Matt struggling not to slide back into alcoholism. With hurdles threatening to drive them apart, Todd and Matt try to find the courage to brave the rapids and face a future together….

Well, I really have no clue of how many ways I can use to say Brandon Witt is an amazing writer. I’m in love with his style and each new release is one more proof of his talent. Although some books are more emotional than others, all of them are treasures in how well everything has been depicted and the reader can’t not help but fall in love with them.

In my opinion Braving the Rapids can be considered one of his lighter stories, even if I found myself deeply connected with Todd and Matt lives, especially because I could compare to some of their struggles. And that’s was a bonus. Moreover I am a fan of adult characters and seeing those two men, full of life, full into their lives, full of issues to still solve, but at the same time full of hopes and want for a future together, warmed my heart. The novel is focused on their love story sure but it’s open versus each character single life too, how Todd needs to be strong with his mother’s disease and how Matt is willing to build a relationship with his daughter even if he needs to work on himself first of all.

And then in this second installment in the Rocky Mountain Boys series I found all the people I learned to love in Mapping the Forest, Luis and Gabe and Rob and Paxton. It was great to meet them again and I so hope to have more about all of them.

The cover art by Anne Cain follows the theme of the covers’ series and it’s different from the usual covers I see around and that’s the reason why it’s a winner to me

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 256 pages

Publication Date: November 13th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781635339987

Edition Language English

Rocky Mountain Boys #2

A Stella Release Day Review: Runner by Parker Williams

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Matt Bowers’s life ended at sixteen, when a vicious betrayal by someone who he should have been able to trust left him a shell of himself, fighting OCD and PTSD, living in constant fear and always running. When he buys a remote tract of land, he thinks he’s found the perfect place to hide from the world and attempt to establish some peace. For ten years he believes he’s found a measure of comfort, until the day a stranger begins to run on Matt’s road.

He returns every day, an unwelcome intrusion into Matt’s carefully structured life. Matt appeals to the local sheriff, who cannot help him since the jogger is doing nothing wrong. Gradually, after tentatively breaking the ice, Matt begins to accept the man’s presence—

But when the runner doesn’t show up one day, it throws Matt’s world into chaos and he must make the hardest decision of his life.

I’m a fan of Parker Williams works and I have to say I picked this new release because I liked the cover and then simply because it was written by him. I didn’t read the blurb, as often I do when I really like an author. And then I started the story and felt a little scared as something bad happens to Matt when he was just 16 years old. Too many times authors who approach and tell a theme like the one Parker chose to relate, do this in a “too heavy to take” way.

I want to congratulate Mr Williams for another great novel. Although in Runner he is not telling a light and easy story, still he was able to do it without turning it into a mess of tears, sad moments or mournful characters. Sure Matt lives a simply and unconventional life, he has his own patterns to follow, he has some fallouts, he chose to live alone in the middle of nowhere and away from his mum and brother. But most of all what I took and will preserve was his braveness and positivity and willingness to live. In his own way, sure but it was ok.

And then to a beautiful soul like Matt is, you can add another wonderful person like Charlie, patient and never complaining of the neverending little obsessions Matt had. Maybe in RL people like him doesn’t exist (and that’s the only reason I’m not giving Runner the full five stars) but in this story their relationship worked perfectly.

I was so invested in these characters life it was a joy to read the final chapters, yes my heart ached for Matt but it was great to see him still living in his world without upset his routine too much but be able to interact more.

I think the author did a great work and I feel to recommend Runner.

The cover art by Reese Dante is simple and full of light and fitting. I like it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 200 pages

Publication Date: July 28th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781635338119

Edition Language English

A Stella Release Day Review: Texting, AutoCorrect, and a Prius by M.A. Church

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Clay McDonald finds the perfect car on Craigslist and is quick to send the seller a text:

Is your penis still for sale?

AutoCorrect strikes again. Damn—he should’ve proofread. How embarrassing.

Luckily Darrell Anderson, a mechanic and the owner of the Prius, is more amused than offended, and the two men agree to meet. When they do, the attraction is instant, and a date is arranged. But a series of mishaps, misunderstandings, and misplaced assumptions sorely test the new relationship.

In a contemporary romantic comedy about the perils of technology and dating in the modern world, a text that went so wrong might just lead to something so right—but only if Clay can refrain from jumping to conclusions and give love the benefit of the doubt.

I simply adored this new release by MA Church! Texting, AutoCorrect and a Prius was in IMO an amazing story, everything I want to find in a novellas like this one, light and funny and sweet. I picked it because I was intrigued by the title and the blurb. And I think it was  exactly what I needed.

The characters of Darrell and Clay were very well done, I liked both of them as soon as I met them, and then later they were hot together and I felt how much they were actracted and how crazy they acted on it. Probably things went a little too fast but it was right that way to me, it worked great. Yes, these men were stupid too when they let some misunderstanding come between the beginning of a potential love story, but you know what? It was right. Beause we are pretty stupid in RL too.

Althought the story is just one hundred pages, I feel satisfied from what I get to know about the MCs, I found interesting second one, I was happy with the HFN. I think everything was well balanced. I like all the elements of the story plus the characters were plenty over thirty years old and this is one more thing I want to read about.

In the end, Texting, Autocorrect and a Prius was a winner to me, I feel to recommend it to everyone who like me want a light and well written story with instalove and humor.

I like the cover art by Alexandria Corza, it is simple and fits the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 110 pages

Publication Date: June 28th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781635337730

Edition Language English

A Stella Release Day Review: Ringo and the Sunshine Police by Nick Wilgus

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

ringo-and-the-sunshine-police-by-nick-wilgusThomas, an older gay musician living in a small Southern town, is ready to start a family. He fosters Jeremy, a special needs boy with no arms, and teaches him to play the drums so Jeremy can realize his potential to do anything he wants. Though it takes time, Thomas’s closeted boyfriend Randy steps out of the shadows to be part of what Thomas is working to build. With the advent of marriage equality, it’s a different world in the Deep South—one where the three of them have the chance to be a family.

Yet no one said it would be easy, and they soon learn the foster care system is far from perfect.

Just as Jeremy begins to settle in and thrive, his biological father reappears, demanding custody. Thomas and Randy know the man is unfit to care for Jeremy, but the law says otherwise. It seems they’re the only ones looking out for Jeremy’s best interests, and they face an uphill battle if they want to keep their new family together.

Nick Wilgus is one of my favorite authors, I’m not sure how many times I said it in the reviews of his previous releases, but I’m never tired of his works. Each time he breaks my heart with his stories, and each time I love his writing more and more.

This new release, Ringo and The Sunshine Police, was no exception. I cried a lot of course, it was really inevitable to not fall in love and suffer with the little Jeremy. I supported Thomas and hoped for Jeremy to find a family till the end, I hurt when Thomas was missing Jeremy so much he couldn’t find the strength to help Derek, another boy who desperately needed a new family. I wasn’t a huge fan of Randy, maybe I wasn’t able to know him very well. In fact this is a story focused not on the usual male/male couple, this is a story focused on Thomas and his strong will to have a family and most of all to adopt children with special needs, the same children no one wants. Randy has not a huge role in Thomas’ plans of the future, especially at the beginning of the novel, where Randy is still in the closet and a man in the closet can’t really play a role in what Thomas wants. Instead I liked Thomas from the start, he is a great man, the love he has and wants to give to Jeremy is bigger than himself, he was overwhelmed by it when he lost Jeremy but too powerful to forget.

Ringo and The Sunshine Police is not for everyone, all of the stories Nick writes are not for everyone, the subjects he speaks of are important, cruel, too strong, and when they are paired with children they become too hard to read. These themes could be a trigger for some reader, so be careful. If you’re looking for a light story, Nick Wilgus isn’t what I can recommend, at all. But if you’re looking for an emotional book, with characters that will stay with you for days, you can’t go wrong with any story by this author.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh is well done and fitting and I particularly like its brightness.

Sales Links

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BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 300 pages

Publication Date: February 24th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN 1635332893 (ISBN13: 9781635332896)

Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Falling Down by Eli Easton

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

falling-down-by-eli-eastonJosh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.

Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.

Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.

The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?

Trigger Warning: Suicidal thoughts

I probably already said this a thousand times, but I have to repeat myself: Eli Easton is a guarantee in the mm community. She is an amazing writer and each new story is a powerful gem. Like Falling Down.

I knew since I read the blurb, this new book was going to leave me as an emotional wreck for a long time, and it actually did, but with a gentleness and a lightness I wasn’t expecting. I’m pretty sure I will remember those characters forever. I have to say I fell in love with them from the start.

Josh took my heart and gave it back to me just at the end when I realized things were really going to work out well for him and his Mark. He is so young and depressed and it went through so much in his life. I could relate to him because I went through the same grief when I had his age and so he touched my heart deeply. And then there was Mark, who is everything a person should be, good, caring, strong willed , trusting, imperfect. Two lonely souls who fate put on each others path and although hard lives, painful pasts and dark thoughts, an HEA is coming their way.

Eli wrote a beautiful slow burn story, Mark and Josh became first friends, while working together on Mrs. Fisher house and let the old woman take care of them just how much they start caring for her and for each other. A slow burn story but full of chemistry, the attraction between them is clear and strong.

Yes the book is full of angst (read the warning!) but in my opinion the author was great at dosing it in the right way. Although the angst and more than one intense scene where I cried all the tears I had in my eyes, Falling Down isn’t heavy or oppressing at all. It’s full of emotions and it filled my heart so much, I just surrender and loved it. It deserves more than five stars. Highly recommended.

I like the cover art by Eli Easton very much in general but I can’t actually see Josh in the model, he simply is not like I had pictured him in my mind. That said the cover is very well done.

SALE LINKS

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BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 252 pages

Published November 7th 2016 by Pinkerton Road LLC

ASIN B01MSIYOHB

Edition Language English