A Lucy Audio Review: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Cates and Colin Darcy (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Opposites who go together like country and rock ’n’ roll. 

Long before he was a superstar, Remy Sean had a secret crush on Jed Riley. But Jed sees Remy as a spoiled pop rocker and an extension of his father’s control. Still, Jed is willing to let Remy hide from the press on his ranch—but only as a way to get his father out of his life and business for good. 

Used to being admired and fawned over, Remy keenly feels the sting of Jed’s dismissal. Can he make Jed see him as more than a pain in the ass? Or is Jed too tangled up in his ranch to see past his old hurt?

Jed doesn’t believe someone desired by so many fans could want him, a simple cowboy. But Remy is determined to change Jed’s mind and steal his heart….

Remy goes through a terrible event and it freezes his ability to write music or be in front of a crowd.  It is his manager, Buddy, who comes up with the idea of sending Remy to the ranch Buddy owns and his son, Jed, cares for.  Buddy couldn’t be less interested in the ranch but he is stubborn (and selfish) and won’t sell it to Jed.  So the idea of hosting a diva singer in exchange for Buddy selling Jed the ranch as well as showing up for Jed’s sister’s wedding and giving her away seems like a good one.

Remy definitely doesn’t seem like a spoiled pop star. He owns a mansion that he rarely spends any time in. He mentions things like his clothes and hair products as a must, but he doesn’t whine or throw a fit about anything. He’s more down to earth than the blurb made it seem.  He definitely isn’t used to not being admired, but he wants to earn Jed’s attention and respect.  He takes to the ranch life so well, learning to ride a horse and work around the place.

Jed is quiet, used to the isolation of the ranch and unwilling to admit that the desertion of his father for Hollywood has affected him so much.  At first he takes this out on Remy because Remy was Buddy’s big break, the boy who had the potential to be a big star.  Potential that was fulfilled and Buddy left the ranch to manage his star without looking back.  As the days go on, however, Jed sees what a good person Remy is and what stress he’s been under.  Jed starts to thaw and teach Remy the workings of the ranch.  TShe two become friends and then turn to more. 

Everything is under the cloud of Remy leaving.  Remy is an internationally famous pop star and his life and world is a million miles away from the isolated ranch in the mountains that Jed loves so much.  They know the time is limited and try to make the best of it.  The wedding of Jed’s sister will bring Buddy back to the ranch and Jed knows that will be the end. 

There is not a lot of angst here although there is that sense of “how can this work” throughout.  We do get Jed acting like a brat who won’t listen, Buddy acting like a major ass and pulling a stunt that proves how selfish he is (as if we didn’t know that from his conversation about Nicky, Remy’s horrible ex-boyfriend, before Remy goes to the ranch) and Remy being his lovely self.   I liked how this got worked out and especially that Remy was the strong one throughout. 

Narration by Colin Darcy had an odd nasal quality at times but mostly worked. This was my first audiobook with him as narrator and I would try another one.

This is a sweet, low key story of two opposites who want to make it work. 

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson. Eyecatching and in the style of sthe Dreamspun Desires series.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published January 3rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published August 21st 2018)
Original TitleRocking the Cowboy
ASINB07LB5XBH1
Edition LanguageEnglish
settingCalifornia (United States)

A Stella Review : The Christmas Lights Battle by Skylar M. Cates

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

A Shelby Beach Romance.

For a single dad and his neighbor, the Christmas competition is on!

Julian Moss wants to give his children a happy Christmas. Since his divorce, Julian has no time for a social life; he’s been doing the tiring work of two parents while his cheating ex-husband dodges his responsibilities. If that isn’t stressful enough, he has to deal with his new—and ridiculously good-looking—neighbor and his noisy dogs. Christmas used to be Julian’s favorite holiday, but lately all he sees is the cost. Then Julian’s young son tells him about a Christmas lights competition with a much-needed prize.

Leo Adams is going to be alone for Christmas…again. All he’s ever wanted is to be accepted by his family, but he knows that will never happen. Deciding to focus on his career as a personal trainer, Leo develops a boot camp program on the beach, but he needs publicity. The lights competition offers Leo a way to get some free press, and if it annoys his snooty neighbor Julian—all the better.

The battle is on, and both Julian and Leo want to win. The stakes are high, the reward is great, and the neighbors are in it to win it. There’s nothing like a little competition to make Christmas at Shelby Beach extra merry and bright.

I love Christmas stories, I love romance with children, I love dogs. This new release by Skylar M Cates has all these three elements, plus something I wish I could experience one day, that is spending the Christmas holiday in a hot place. The premises were all there and I knew I was going to enjoy this title, especially because I also know how good the author can write. I wasn’t disappointed at all, everything I imagined I could get from this book was delivered, and so much more.

I easily fell into the reading, the plot and the characters were interesting and I followed them till the end with great delight. Not just Leo and Julian caught my heart, but all the other persons too, the children, Julian’s sister and mum, Leo’s friends. What started as enemies to lovers soon developed in allies to win the light contest and more both Julian and Leo wasn’t expecting, to find the love of their lives.

The plot is simple, nothing too angst, and it is exactly what I wanted on my  Kindle during Christmas time, it’s a sweet story, with some very hot scene and so much happiness to share. The first part was also funny, when the two men were still rivals, and then the moments spent with the kids warmed my heart. I loved this novel a lot. I really hope the author will give us more about these guys.

The cover art by Cate Ashwood is amazing, I adore it, the guys on it, the colors, the font, all perfect.

SALE LINKS  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 212 pages

Published December 5th 2018 by Skylar M. Cates: A Treading Chaos Publication

ASIN B07L5LS5B7

Edition Language English

A Jeri Release Day Review: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Cates

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Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

This was a cute, what I like to call, a throw away read. It kept me fairly entertained, there was no big angst, the sex was fairly hot and the romance tried. But overall I wasn’t emotionally connected to the characters and it left me wanting a little more.
Jed is running the family ranch and has since his father took off to become an entertainment manager in LA. Specifically the manager of Remy Sean, up and coming Disney star. But as the years pass and Remy becomes more and more popular until he is mobbed at a concert. Overwhelmed with anxiety, he goes off to hide at the ranch. With Jed, who barely remembers Remy but who Remy couldn’t forget.
So, that was part of my issue. How could Jed hardly remember Remy when it was Remy’s career that his father left for. Jed just sees this as a means to an end. His father gets to send his biggest client to the ranch to relax and Jed will get his father to sign over the other half of the ranch and guarantee his father’s presence at his sister’s wedding.
Overall Jed was so blah. He didn’t even really perk up when he and Remy got together. He really was a wet blanket.
I get that Remy needed the time on the ranch, but it seemed to dull his sparkle. There was so much there that could have been used to make the story more interesting. More playing, more banter, more longing looks. Just more.
I won’t remember this story in a week, but it was ok.
Cover art: Aaron Anderson.  The cover is eye-catching and splashy! A perfect combination of cowboy and rockstar.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 228 pages
Published August 21st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleRocking the Cowboy
ISBN139781640804449
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Release Day Review: Rim Shot by Skylar M Cates

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Can college roommates go from friends to lovers?

Kyle: I’m confident that with hard work, my position as point guard can carry me from rural Indiana to the NBA. I also know I’m attracted to guys, but admitting it might disappoint my father, who is all I have in this world. I have big dreams, so I’ll stay in the closet. As long as my life remains scandal-free, I have a shot.

Micah: My large family can’t spare the money to help with my education, but that won’t stop me from studying medicine. I needed to get out of the house I was sharing with my ex before I went insane. Luckily, I heard about a guy looking for a roommate. Living with a straight jock won’t be easy, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.
This was a sweet story about two college students who become roommates and then lovers.  Kyle is a basketball player who is in the closet.  He’s afraid that his sports career will suffer if he comes out.  Micah is a pre-med student works two jobs to put himself through school.  As the two young men begin to fall for each other they have to make some serious life decisions.
 I liked both of the MC’s and I thought the author did a good job of developing them.  I also enjoyed the fact that they fell for each other slowly and the romance unfolded in a manner that felt believable.  The ending was a strong HFN and I felt like that was a good ending for two young men in college with some many ways life could possibly go in the future.
My only complaint was that the overall pacing of the story felt a bit slow to me.  Not a lot really happens until close to the end of the book.
Overall I found this to be an enjoyable book and it is one that I would recommend.
This cover was done by Kanaxa.  I think it is an average cover.  There is nothing that really makes it stand out to me and it is one I will probably forget as new books come across my ereader. 

Sales Links:

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:
ebook, 210 pages
Expected publication: September 29th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleRim Shot
ISBN139781635338881
Edition LanguageEnglish

Skylar M. Cates On Writing, Romance and her latest story Rim Shot (interview plus giveaway)

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Rim Shot by Skylar M. Cates
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Expected publication: September 29th 2017

Available for Purchase at:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Skylar M. Cates here today on her Rim Shot tour.  Welcome, Skylar.

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Skylar M. Cates ~

How much of yourself goes into the character?

A ton! There are huge pieces of myself in all my characters. Not so much the physical descriptions, although I wish I had a six pack abs and perfect skin, lol.  The internal world of the character often mirrors parts of my world.  A character might express my fears or my hopes for the future. 

And of course, writers are always eavesdropping on conversations around them, swiping small character attributes from real life family and friends, and paying attention to the greater world for material. So be wary of hanging out with writers! We are always plotting.

How do you chose your cover?

This is a pretty involved process.  Dreamspinner will assign me an artist. I’ll fill out a form about my dream cover in detail. However, there are some limits of photo stock that can contribute to this. Another possible issue?  The way I see it in my mind just can’t be translated right. Rim Shot is a great example of this. I originally asked for a hot basketball player, his face in shadow, and killer abs on display. A hoop. A ball.

The artist sent me exactly that…But when I saw it, it wasn’t Kyle. It wasn’t my character. He was too old. The body was not right…I began to think about how this is a college story and I wanted a college feeling. I had her change the font to collegiate. She sent me the picture that is now on the cover. It screamed Micah to me. I loved it! I loved his slightly vulnerable look. We tried to rescue the basketball player aspect of the original cover idea. She added the hottie player in the background.

But you know what? It was too cluttered. I ended up going with a clean, simple cover. I ended up going with Micah on the cover, not Kyle. Totally not what I planned.

Despite not getting the original cover I pictured, I ended up with one that made me extremely happy. But it can be a weird process to end with the “one.”

Did you read romances as a teen or adult?

I did. My mom had a “secret” stash of paperback romances that she kept in her closet. *Grins*

Let’s just say I often went into her closet.

Do you like HFN or HEA?

It depends on the book, but I usually write HEA. I’m a sucker for the happy.

However, I listen to my gut on it. Rim Shot has young protagonists, so while they have a total HEA, they don’t get married or adopt kids at the end. Their HEA fits their age and their moment in time.

What’s next for you as an author?

With Dreamspinner, I am scheduled for a story in their Dreamspun Desires line titled Rocking the Cowboy.  Yep, it’s a pop star and a cowboy.

I also have a self-published book coming out. It’s sweet and light. It was supposed to be a Christmas release, but evacuating for Hurricane Irma got in my way!

I’m revising it to be a Valentine’s Day release, and I’m excited to share it with my readers.

To help motivate me with the self-publication, here is a fun question:

What is your favorite part of Valentine’s Day?

Giveaway

Giveaway: one e-copy of Rim Shot to a random commenter.  Leave your email address where you can be reached if chosen.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

THANKS FOR HOSTING ME!

BLURB

Can college roommates go from friends to lovers?

Kyle: I’m confident that with hard work, my position as point guard can carry me from rural Indiana to the NBA. I also know I’m attracted to guys, but admitting it might disappoint my father, who is all I have in this world. I have big dreams, so I’ll stay in the closet. As long as my life remains scandal-free, I have a shot.

Micah: My large family can’t spare the money to help with my education, but that won’t stop me from studying medicine. I needed to get out of the house I was sharing with my ex before I went insane. Luckily, I heard about a guy looking for a roommate. Living with a straight jock won’t be easy, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take

About the Author

Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance, especially ones that are both steamy and emotionally satisfying. She is quite happy to drink coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Her best-selling novels feature strong, passionate men. Skylar loves to craft stories where realistic men are challenged with emotional situations. Skylar’s character-driven series will often feature close-knit families, animals, and loyal friendships being tested.

Skylar dreams about spending her days writing novels, walking along the beach, and listening to good live music. She also dreams of eating dessert without weight gain and robots cleaning her house. But she knows she can’t have it all… yet. Although lately the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.

Skylar can be found on Facebook, Twitter, or on her blog.

 

Skylar M Cates on Writing, Revisions, and Secrets of You (Sunshine and Happiness #4) by Skylar M. Cates (author guest post and giveaway)

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Secrets of You (Sunshine and Happiness #4) by Skylar M. Cates
D
reamspinner Press
Cover art by

Available for Purchase at

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Skylar M. Cates here today to  talk about writing, revisions and her latest novel in her Sunshine and Happiness series, Secrets of You.  Welcome, Skylar!

✒︎

Changes: Revising Scenes 

Skylar here.  Today I’ve got some behind the scenes fun to share with you. Well, fun for you that is… it was painful work for me.

I’m referring to revising scenes. When I first draft a novel, I’m totally open to adding and cutting. It’s a normal part of the process. However, in Secrets of You, I did some pretty late editing that is usual.

Want to know the scoop about the scene I changed?

The book had been through two editing rounds. It was fairly polished at this point. My editor was fine with the plot and had no objections. And yet… I read a scene that suddenly pinged me all wrong. This doesn’t seem like Morgan, I thought. There was nothing inherently wrong about the scene itself, but his actions did not ring true for the character. Although nobody else seemed worried about it, I immediately hurried to reevaluate it.

One of my most important beliefs is to stay true to the character.

I’m going to share with you the original scene, and then the final version of the scene below. I’ll explain briefly why I changed it too. If you don’t want any spoilers, then please do not go beyond this point in my post!

Morgan has a scene where he confronts some homophobic bullies. I wanted a scene where he shows his integrity and his protectiveness with River. The original scene that almost made it into the novel went like this:

They must have realized suddenly that River was not going to take their trash talk, and that he was tougher than they might have guessed. It wasn’t that River was a huge guy like Tomas or angry like Marc, it was something else. A coolness that was there. A prison thing, maybe? Morgan suddenly thought that made a whole lot of sense. There was this attitude River could command that told the world to look out.

“Please, River. Let’s just ignore them. The band is playing a good song.” He tugged his arms. “I love ‘Faithfully.’”

“Aw, let your boyfriend fight,” taunted one of them.

“Yeah, I figured he was the man in this relationship, but maybe not. Maybe he’s the girl.” The smirking idiot high-fived his friend.

He had to do something before River did. Morgan shook off River and was charging at the teens before he had time to think it over.

“Oh, fuck!” one of them said right before Morgan struck. He grabbed two of them and knocked their heads so they both went down to the ground. He turned to the third boy, who held his hands up.

“Sorry, okay? Back away.” He nudged his friend with his sneaker. “Get up, you dickwads.”

The other two were groaning and rubbing their heads.

Morgan crouched to their level. “You want to know how it feels to be a girl? I can show you. Because you assholes deserve to know how it feels to be judged and catcalled and have to put up with shit that’s ridiculous. I can show you exactly how it feels.”

The three teenagers fled, leaving their blanket and cooler in their rush.

After rereading it, I realized this was not Morgan! He is not a fighter (at least not this way). It bugged me, and I knew I needed to change it. But how? I wanted the bullies in the book. I wanted to save the scene, which was important to me, but only if it felt authentic to Morgan.

With a little pondering and some helps from good friends, I realized how to save the scene and keep Morgan in character too. How would Morgan handle these guys? What is in character?

Here is the final version:

They must have realized suddenly that River was not going to take their trash talk, and that he was tougher than they might have guessed. It wasn’t that River was a huge guy like Tomas or angry like Marc; it was something else. A coolness that was there. A prison thing, maybe? Morgan suddenly thought that that made a whole lot of sense. There was this attitude River could command that told the world to fuck off.

“Please, River. Let’s just ignore them. The band is playing a good song.” He tugged his arms. “I love ‘Faithfully.’”

“Aw, let your boyfriend fight,” taunted one of them.

“Yeah, I figured he was the man, but maybe not. Maybe he’s the girl.” The smirking idiot high-fived his friend.

Morgan had to do something before River did. He shook off River and was charging toward the teens. For a second Morgan imagined knocking their heads together, but he was not a fighter, at least not with his fists.

Instead he halted right at the leader and put a hand on his hip. “Didn’t I see you at the clubs last weekend?”

“What the fuck?” The teen gasped. “No. I wouldn’t go to your kind of faggoty clubs.”

“Really? ’Cause I’m sure of it. I saw you there with a friend of mine….” Morgan grinned flirtatiously. “Yeah, I remember a cute thing like you. Always remember the young, cute ones. You were there.”

The other two teens exchanged looks.

“Hey, Christian, just where were you last Saturday? You ain’t hanging with us that night.”

Christian flushed, taking a step away from Morgan. “Don’t be a buncha dumb pussies! I was at my grandmother’s apartment. I told ya. It was her birthday.”

“His grandmother.” Morgan rolled his eyes. “That’s what we all say. It’s always the sick mom or the grandma’s birthday.” He batted his eyes at Christian. “It’s okay to admit it, sugar. It really does get better.”

“Shutyerface!” His face grew a mottled red. “You lying freak!”

“Oh, fuck,” his friend said.

Morgan thought they might fight after all. If so, he was ready. These assholes deserved to know how it felt to be judged and catcalled and made ridiculous. Morgan only wanted to embarrass Christian, but he’d fight if he had to.

It sucked. How could this kid visit his grandmother dutifully one day and then go out and be so hateful the next? Why was the world so fucked?

Morgan’s fist curled at his sides. He’d do what was necessary. And he wasn’t alone. Morgan sensed River moving closer, there if Morgan said the word.

Christian turned and spat at the ground. “I’m outta here. These cocksuckers are a waste of time. And you fuckers can get yer own ride home.”

Christian fled, leaving the blanket and cooler in his rush. Without their leader, the other two shrugged at each other, then slinked away.

“That wasn’t smart,” River said from behind him.

“Yeah, I know. But it was satisfying.” Morgan swung his arms by his sides. “And we have the right to enjoy this concert, and I’m tired of letting people say otherwise.”

“They were harmless and I was frightening them easily with a look. You didn’t have to go all Vin Diesel’s gay cousin on them.”

I’m pleased with the final version. It sounded and felt like Morgan to me.  The scene was a puzzle, where the piece did not fit, but with effort I fixed it.

I learned that for me the plot always comes second to character. Most importantly, I have realized never to stop rereading and questioning the novel until the very last edits are complete.

Then it is on to the next puzzle, lol.

Thanks for hosting me!

SECRETS OF YOU BLURB:

It’s never easy to find redemption.

Carrying scars and regrets, River Darcourt avoids too much intimate contact. Among his friends, he is known as a quiet loner. Forget about love—it’s not something he will consider—until sweet, young, and tempting Morgan Hayes becomes his housemate. River closed his heart long ago, but the attraction is impossible to deny.

Morgan Hayes needs a change. He is moving out of his critical father’s home and in with his friends, including his secret/not-so-secret crush, River. Having feelings for River is a terrible idea. But what is a guy to do when the annoyingly sexy mechanic is just across the hall?

While Morgan has overcome ugliness and is ready for love, he’s just not sure River ever will be. They have both experienced pain in their lives. So Morgan dares River to take a chance, and love will either break their fractured hearts in more pieces or, just possibly, make them whole again.

MY CONTACTS

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/skylar.cates

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SkylarMCates

MY BLOG: https://skylarmcates.wordpress.com/

*Brand New * Newsletter!  Freebies! DSP Coupons! Bonus Scenes! :

http://eepurl.com/cxODzT

BUY LINKS:

Also available in Dreamspinner Press Paperback

GIVEAWAY: On e-copy of Secrets of You  or choice of e-book  to one lucky winner

A Jeri Release Day Review: Secrets of You (Sunshine and Happiness #4) by Skylar M. Cates

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

secrets-of-youI hated giving this book 3 stars. I really went into it thinking it would be a 4, maybe even 4 ½ star read for me. I had read the previous three books in the series and really enjoyed them. We met River in book 1 as he is one of the roommates and Morgan in book 2. So this coupling has been building and I was SO ready for it.

So when all of the other roommates go on a 2 week cruise, River and Morgan inevitably end up in bed. BUT, Morgan was willing to hide their relationship from their roommates for River. Not cool. River never even asked him to hide, so why compromise who you are?

River has also been carrying around a big secret about his past. Something that has been alluded to over and over again. But once the secret came out, I was shocked that it even was a secret. So he had guilt and shame, but still. I don’t think it warranted this big build up and secrecy.

That being said, River and Morgan together were amazing. Their chemistry was off the charts, even with Morgan being slightly gun shy after his attack in a previous book and River’s loss. I really liked them together and pegged them as an up coming couple since book 2. They were total opposites, but fit together so well.

So this was sweet, romantic, hot…. But the angst I was expecting for either or both character just wasn’t there.

Cover Artist: AngstyG.  Love the design and mood of the cover.  Just strikes the right tone.

Sales Links

bef50-dreamspinner2blogo

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635333148 (ISBN13: 9781635333145)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSunshine and Happiness #4

Cover Reveal for Secrets of You by Skylar M. Cates (giveaway)

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secretsofyou_postcard_front_dsp

Secrets of You by Skylar M. Cates

Dreamspinner Press

Available for Purchase at

0dbe2-dreamspinner2blogo

Also Available at Dreamspinner Press in Paperback

SECRETS OF YOU BLURB:

It’s never easy to find redemption.

Carrying scars and regrets, River Darcourt avoids too much intimate contact. Among his friends, he is known as a quiet loner. Forget about love—it’s not something he will consider—until sweet, young, and tempting Morgan Hayes becomes his housemate. River closed his heart long ago, but the attraction is impossible to deny.

Morgan Hayes needs a change. He is moving out of his critical father’s home and in with his friends, including his secret/not-so-secret crush, River. Having feelings for River is a terrible idea. But what is a guy to do when the annoyingly sexy mechanic is just across the hall?

While Morgan has overcome ugliness and is ready for love, he’s just not sure River ever will be. They have both experienced pain in their lives. So Morgan dares River to take a chance, and love will either break their fractured hearts in more pieces or, just possibly, make them whole again.

Skylar M. Cates:

Author CONTACTS:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/skylar.cates

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SkylarMCates

MY BLOG: https://skylarmcates.wordpress.com/

*Brand New * Newsletter!  Freebies! DSP Coupons! Bonus Scenes! :

http://eepurl.com/cxODzT

secretsofyou_meme_square-template

GIVEAWAY: Any e-book from my backlist

Must be 18 years of age or older.  Leave a comment with your name and email address when you can be reached if chosen.  What do you look for in a cover? Contest ends at midnight on February  8.

An Ali Audiobook Review: Close to You (Sunshine and Happiness #3) by Skylar M. Cates and Tristan James (Narrator)

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 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
close-to-you-audioIt’s hard to recover from a first love. Some people never do.

How hard would you fight to keep your best friend? Marc Lucas and Tomas Santos have been best friends forever, but now their friendship is in a crisis. When they were boys, betrayals ripped their world apart. They thought it was fixed, but some parts remained broken. Ever since he saved him from a humiliation at school, Marc has loved Tomas. The last thing he expects is for Tomas to love him back. To keep his best friend, Marc revisits an abusive past he’s tried to forget.

For Tomas, loving Marc has been anything but easy. His upbringing told him it was wrong, so why did it feel so right? Accepting who he is as an adult, Tomas decides he needs a committed relationship. To his deep sorrow, he can’t seem to find it with Marc.

When the two find themselves alone and in the grip of a hurricane, long-buried feelings emerge. Being “just friends” is no longer an option. They must risk it all on love.
When I started this I was under the impression I could read this as a standalone since it’s about a different couple than the previous books.  Once I started it though I felt like I was missing something so I went back and read the previous books.  I’m glad I did that because these two are side characters with important roles in those stories and it helped me transition into this book.
The story is told from dual points of view and it’s told in the past (when they were teens) and the present.  Tomas comes from a loving home but Marc grew up in a very abusive home.  Child abuse is shown and while I didn’t find it super graphic, be aware if this is an issue for you.  As this story goes along Marc has to start working through his issues to be happy with himself and to be able to have a relationship with Tomas.  Marc has a lot of intimacy issues and fear based on his childhood and these two’s journey is painful and angst filled.
While there is a lot of angst and heartache is this story it ends with a beautiful happily ever after and I loved the journey the author took the characters and the readers on.  This was my first time reading this author and I will definitely be looking to read more of her work.
Cover Artist: AngstyG:  I like the cover.  I’m not typically a fan of the color brown in a monochromatic form but this still stood out and it really fit the mood of the story.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published December 8th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 28th 2016)
Original TitleClose to You
ASINB01N9ENUL1
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSunshine and Happiness #3

A Stella Review: Daring the Wolf by Skylar M. Cates

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RATING 3,5 out of 5 stars

Daring the WolfCan a human ever dominate a werewolf?

Living in a strict world of paranormal dos and don’ts is exhausting for Gabe Ryan. After fleeing his home when he became a werewolf, Gabe attempts to forget his family and the young boyfriend he left behind. But he is still haunted by his memories—until a birthday wish leads him to an unexpected confrontation.
A busy emergency room doctor, Ethan Dunn has closed off his heart. He sure as hell does not trust Gabe Ryan, not after the way he abandoned Ethan. If Gabe wants a second chance, he better be ready to risk everything and break all the rules between humans and wolves.

I’m a huge fan of Skylar M Cates, when I say huge I mean enormous. I love her writing and I truly enjoyed what I read by her so far. Daring The Wolf  is not the usual Skylar book. Totally different from her previous works and this is the reason why I picked it. I was curious to see what else she could engage me with. For some ways it is what I was expecting. Still it missed that little more that made Skylar books unforgettable.

The story is a second chance at love which I adore. Gabe is back to the town he left when he was sixteen, now thirty he’s ready to forgot the pack rules and he’s back to see his parents, the ones he let believe their son was dead instead of telling them he is a werewolf. He’s back to see someone else too, his ex-boyfriend Ethan. Their meeting in the emergency room where Ethan works is not what Gabe was hoping in but he is determined to have him back, although it seems Ethan can’t trust him anymore.

I liked the chemistry between the MCs, it was clear from the start and from the various very hot sex scenes. There were some violences in the plot, which were unexpected but I didn’t dislike in this case. The second characters were so interesting I’m already begging the author for more about Sebastian, I’m sure he has too much to tell me.

There were a couple of elements that left me dubious. First of  all, after so many years the reconciliation between the MCs was too easy to be believable and took away space from the development of a new relationship which was non-existent, they basically meet and then are together. Then I was waiting for more from the mystery and action part, I hope the author will give me answers in a next book cause here I found almost nothing.

That said, Daring the Wolf was to me an okay read from a great author and I will surely read a sequel if she decides to write it.

The cover art by Dar Albert is not a winner to me cause it doesn’t fit the story at all.

Sales Link

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BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 161 pages
Published July 25th 2016 by Treading Water Productions
ASIN B01HVHARRK
Edition Language English