A Caryn Review : Bedside Manner (Hearts & Health #1) by D.J. Jamison

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I had to pick this book to review just for the title.  I love books with medical characters, or medical settings.  The book was well researched (although I disagree to some extent with how conservatively the author interpreted the ethics of doctor/patient romantic involvement) and well written.  The conflicts were plausible, as were the resolutions.  I just never really connected to either of the characters as much as I would have liked.

What was interesting in this book is that it’s a little bit of a coming out story for both Paul and Zane.  Paul is a 39 year old ER physician who has been struggling with his sexuality for years, mainly by living in denial.  He got divorced and came out as a gay man at the hospital where he worked, but his lone attempt at trying to date was disastrous.  He was awkward, insecure, and his attraction to younger men made him feel like a creeper.  When Zane came through the ER after a severe beating from his mother’s homophobic boyfriend, Paul found himself unable to stop thinking about him.

Zane has his own scars – physically and mentally – from coming out.  He was rejected by his father before the beating, and although he had friends providing support and a place to live, he was still feeling pretty adrift.  Paul showed up unexpectedly, and was just what Zane needed to get him out of the funk he fell in to after the assault.  The two men complemented each other – in his professional life Paul was mature and sure of himself as you would expect from a 39 year old, but inexperienced and hesitant when it came to dating and living as a gay man.  Zane was impulsive and temperamental, with little thought to consequences of his actions as you would expect from a young college student, but he was much more comfortable with being gay, and flirted confidently.  They both had the possibility of being exactly what the other needed, if they could get past some real obstacles.  Paul was suspended from his job due to a complaint about professional misconduct, and that created a whole host of current and potential future problems.

I was a little frustrated several times because I felt there was some back story that wasn’t explained as well as it should have been.  For instance, how did Zane end up living with his professor after the beating?  Why was Gage so antagonistic towards Paul?  Why did the person bring the complaint against Paul?  I found out what that was all about in the author’s note at the end of the book – although Bedside Manner is the first book in a series, it is a spin-off of a book in a previous series by this author (Heart Trouble) which told Gage and Ben’s story prior to the events of this book, and I am sure would have filled up all of the holes that I noticed.  So that was a little annoying.  I’m sure if I had read the earlier books that I would have connected to the characters much better.  So maybe I’ll have to go back and read the others…

Cover art by Lucas Soltow fits pretty well with what I imagined Zane would look like.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook, 241 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by DJ Jamison at KDP
ISBN139781370601899
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHearts & Health #1

A MelanieM Audiobook Release Day Review: How to Deal (All Cocks Stories #3) by T. M. Smith and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

how-to-deal-audiobookListening Length: 4 hours and 30 minutes

Jon Brennan comes from a long line of men in uniform; all born and bred to both bleed and wear blue. His family and the majority of his co-workers support him every step of the way, so he doesn’t need to hide the fact that he prefers men over women. Between the job and his larger than life, loud and rowdy half Irish, half Italian family, there isn’t much time for dating, much less finding a guy who can deal with the stress and demands placed on the shoulders of an NYPD detective.

Kory White is cocky and abrasive with most people, but it is all a facade he hides behind to keep his heart safe. As a child, Kory lost his mother to an act of violence. Soon after, he and his baby sister Kassandra were separated by the system. Kassandra was immediately adopted, but Kory spent the next 10 years cycling through foster homes before moving to the Big Apple. In an effort to keep everyone at a distance, Kory has meticulously built himself an alter ego: Hayden Cox, All Cocks cockiest model.

These two strong-willed men definitely prove opposites do attract. Both are stubborn and hard headed to a fault, Kory more so than Jon. But Jon is used to being in control, the one calling the shots, and Kory fights him at every turn. Just when it seems they have found a way to navigate the unchartered territory that is love, tragedy knocks on Kory’s door yet again. Volatile and strong, even in the face of adversity, both men refuse to give up on each other – or their love.

I came at How to Deal by T.M. Smith cold, not having read or listened to any of the previous stories in this series and that caused some confusion.  I had no idea what All Cocks was.  I had to go back to find out that it was a online pay for porn site and the series revolved around the porn stars working for the site All Cocks.  Its a great format, allowing the author to easily have as many characters as they want in a series and intertwine them as needed.  Here those couples and men from prior stories make appearances in sex scenes as well as continuing story lines as the porn stars have formed a family together.

There is a tragedy here that hits especially hard considering recent events.  I think the author has chosen to treat it in a timely and sensitive manner.  I liked that  aspect of this story.  And I liked the characters of Jon Brennan and Kory White.  Each is well-defined, supported by past history, and in Jon’s case, a large and boisterous Irish Catholic family.

The audiobook made the story or should I say the narration of Joel Leslie made the story for me.  I don’t think I would have rated it as highly had I just read it as an ebook.  Some of the phrases and sentences the author uses are just too cliche but out of the voice or many voices of Joel Leslie?  Where I started to cringe at an over-used phrase instead I swiftly moved forward, totally engaged in the drama unfolding in my mind as I listened.  It didn’t matter whether Joel Leslie was inhabiting the body of the matriarch of the Brennan clan, the fierce Irish granny who’s ire is to be feared, or the Captain of the NYPD force, with the NY accent and imposing character, each person is so easily defined by their voice.  Its a tour de force of acting.

This includes the relationship between  Jon and Kory. Joel Leslie captures it just right.  His inflections, the tones of voice, the differences between the characters in their backgrounds?  Its all in their voices and it makes them so believable.  I easily lost myself in this story and this couple.

How to Deal (All Cocks Stories #3) by T. M. Smith and Joel Leslie (Narrator) is a wonderfully engaging story as narrated by Joel Leslie.  It pulls you into the couple and the drama that is their lives.  It also makes me  want to know what happens next in the series.  Where will T.M. Smith take these characters and this series next?  I believe I will wait for the next audiobook to arrive and find out then.  It wouldn’t be the same now without the narration.

I highly recommend this audiobook and the narrator.  Its a perfect way to lose yourself in a story that  hot, and touching and romantic.

Cover art works for the book and characters

Sales Links

 iTunes | Amazon Audio | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 5 pages
Published November 4th 2016 by TTC Publishing (first published November 27th 2015)
ASINB01M8Q3AXI
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesAll Cocks Stories #3

In the Spotlight: Lord of a Thousand Steps (Love in Laguna #4) By Tara Lain (character bio, excerpt and giveaway)

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Lord of a Thousand Steps
(Love in Laguna #4)
By Tara Lain

Character Inspiration - BradenCharacter Bio – LORD OF A TOUSAND STEPS by Tara Lain – Blog Tour

Name — Braden Lord

Age – 36

Orientation – gay although was married to a woman for many years and is only now coming out

Hair – dark brown with auburn highlights

Height – 6’2”

Body – Slim and athletic

Occupation – CEO of Lord and Kendrick and a renowned architect

Family – two children, JoJo, 14 and Mireille, 6; going through a bitter divorce and child custody battle with his wife

Home – south Laguna CA, on a cliff above the Thousand Steps Beach

Desires – to have custody of his two children and a love of his own

Loves – His children, architecture, and finally Ian Carney

Blurb:

To architecture student Ian Carney, family means everything. Taken in by his brother, Jim, when his father threw him out at eighteen for being gay, Ian yearns to create his own family with his boyfriend, Rico. But Rico’s in Mexico caring for a sick father, Ian hasn’t had sex in a month and a half, and his gorgeous boss, Braden Lord, CEO of the architectural firm Ian interns for, is looking better and better.

Braden’s life is chaos. Just out of the closet and going through an ugly divorce from his wife of fifteen years who’s trying to take custody of his two children, he desperately resolves not to succumb to a completely inappropriate attraction to Ian—even though his kids adore both the man and his crazy cat.

When Rico proves to be a snake in the grass and Ian exercises his powers of seduction, what starts as a “friends with benefits” fling turns into real life real fast. Can Ian give up his romantic dreams for an “old guy” who didn’t come out until he carried a mountain of baggage? It’ll only take a thousand steps.

Available for purchase at 
              
Also in paperback
Excerpt
 

Excerpt 4: Lord of a Thousand Steps by Tara Lain

Excerpt Title: Buddies

Braden picked up his glass and turned it in his hands. He’d been the recipient of a rebound blowjob. He slowly released his breath. Better than no blowjob at all, I guess. “I’m so sorry this happened to you.”

“Yeah. Well, maybe it’ll help me grow up and stop looking for romance on every street corner, you know? Just about the time I moved in with my brother, he fell for Ken, and I think that warped my perspective. They’re so happy. But I guess I haven’t kissed enough frogs yet.”

Braden sucked wine up his nose and gargled. “Mmft, I shall cherish my new amphibian category.” Although it kind of stung.

“Oh, hell no. That’s not what I meant.” He shook his head wildly. “Actually, you’re the antiamphibian.”

Braden laughed. “Okay, explain.”

“I mean, you’re the shoot-for-the-moon guy. The prince’s prince. But you’re so far out of my league, you won’t tempt me to hope.” He grinned. “I can be your secret blowjob guy, your fuck buddy, while you’re getting yourself out of your marriage. You won’t have to worry about some random spy photographer catching you in the throes with me. Hell, if they see us together, you have a perfect reason to be with me. Combination design mentee and babysitter.”

Braden’s head spun. This made weird sense—and gave him a bellyache. “What do you get out of it?”

“Are you kidding? Sex with the hottest dude on two feet—and a break from fairy-tale romance.”

His mouth opened—and closed. Try again. “Uh, are you sure about this?”

Ian’s grin faded. “Okay, I’m more beat-up than I’m letting on. But I really like you. If we go into this with eyes open and solemnly promise that when one of us finds a realistic boyfriend we can still work together, then I’m in. But seriously, I don’t want to jeopardize my job. I love working for Lord and Kendrick. If you think I’m kidding myself, say so.”

Kidding? Fuck, they’d both lost their minds.

 

Love in Laguna Series

 

 

Available for purchase at
              

 

Paperback from Dreamspinner 
Available for purchase at 
 
              
Paperback from Dreamspinner
Available for purchase at
                 

 

You can order the paperback here.
 




 

 

 
About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

 

You can find Tara at Lain
               

 

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Cover Reveal for Lord of a Thousand Steps (Love in Laguna #4) by Tara Lain (Cover Reveal and Excerpt)

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Lord of a Thousand Steps
(Love in Laguna #4)
by Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
To architecture student Ian Carney, family means everything. Taken in by his brother, Jim, when his father threw him out at eighteen for being gay, Ian yearns to create his own family with his boyfriend, Rico. But Rico’s in Mexico caring for a sick father, Ian hasn’t had sex in a month and a half, and his gorgeous boss, Braden Lord, CEO of the architectural firm Ian interns for, is looking better and better.
Braden’s life is chaos. Just out of the closet and going through an ugly divorce from his wife of fifteen years who’s trying to take custody of his two children, he desperately resolves not to succumb to a completely inappropriate attraction to Ian—even though his kids adore both the man and his crazy cat.
When Rico proves to be a snake in the grass and Ian exercises his powers of seduction, what starts as a “friends with benefits” fling turns into real life real fast. Can Ian give up his romantic dreams for an “old guy” who didn’t come out until he carried a mountain of baggage? It’ll only take a thousand steps.
Release Date: 
August 31st 2016
Pre-order at 
Also in paperback
Excerpt

Max slapped his shoulder. “Everything okay, Carney?”

“Uh, yes. Thanks.” He steadied his glass to keep from spilling, looked up as Braden Lord stepped next to him, and proceeded to slosh champagne all over Lord’s elegant, European leather shoes. “Oh God, I’m so sorry.”

Max slapped him again. Maybe a couple too many drinky poos there. “My fault. Totally my fault. Braden has more shoes, right, Bray?”

“Yes, not a problem.” Braden smiled at Ian. Up close, that face looked a little less pretty but even more interesting, with crinkles around his eyes like from laughter—and pain. “Need more champagne?”

“Oh, I guess I better not. It seems like I can’t handle it.”

“Something else, then?” Lord looked in his eyes.

Whoa, what an offer. Get your mind out of your boxer briefs, idiot. “No thanks. I guess I should go soon.”

Max leaned toward him. “How’s your boyfriend’s father?”

“Uh, I don’t know.” Did he sound as pathetic as he felt? “I mean, the cell service isn’t great.”

“Oh, I heard it had gotten so much better the last couple years.”

“I guess not.”

Lord put a hand on his shoulder. “No, I’ve had cell problems in Mexico. It can be spotty. Probably worse if you’re in a hospital.”

As the heat from Braden’s hand seeped through his cheap sports coat, Ian half wanted to cry and half to kiss Braden Lord. Right, Rico was in a hospital. He couldn’t use the phone. Shit, why hadn’t he thought of that? “Thank you.”

“For what?” Lord smiled softly. He knows what.

“Reminding me that I should leave him a message he can read when he goes home. Thanks again. I better go. I have school tomorrow.” He shook the hands of the two clients he’d been chatting with. “I hope to see you again. You’re in great hands with Lord and Kendrick.” He turned. “Max, I’ll see you Monday.” He turned back to Braden but looked at his feet. “Sorry again. I hope I didn’t stain your shoes.”

“Nothing to worry about.”

Look up, dummy. He plastered on a smile and met Braden’s deep sea-blue eyes. “Thanks again for inviting me. Honored.” You can drown in the sea.

“Glad you could come.” Lord’s face looked friendly, sympathetic, and—what? Disappointed?

Shit. Give me one chance to impress, and I’ll spill something every time. Holy fuckhole, how does a guy get that gorgeous? “Night.”

Max said, “Don’t you need a ride?”

“Nah, thanks. The office is close and my car’s there.” He waved and practically ran to the door of Antonio’s. Outside, the nightly drop in temperature slapped his face. Had he been flirting with the boss? Hell, the boss’s boss? Nah. Just shitting on his shoes.

Love in Laguna Series

 

 

Available for purchase at
              

 

Paperback from Dreamspinner 
Available for purchase at 
 
              
Paperback from Dreamspinner
Available for purchase at
                 

 

You can order the paperback here.
 




 

 

 
About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

 

You can find Tara at Lain
               
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