A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ithani (The Oberon Cycle #3) by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The Oberon Cycle: Book Three

Time is running out.  After saving the world twice, Xander, Jameson and friends plunge headlong into a new crisis. The ithani—the aliens who broke the world—have reawakened from their hundred millennia-long slumber. When Xander and Jameson disappear in a flash, an already fractured world is thrown into chaos.  The ithani plans, laid a hundred thousand years before, are finally coming to pass, and they threaten all life on Erro. Venin and Alix go on a desperate search for their missing and find more than they bargained for. And Quince, Robin and Jessa discover a secret as old as the skythane themselves.  Will alien technology, unexpected help from the distant past, destiny and some good old-fashioned firepower be enough to defeat an enemy with the ability to split a world? The final battle of the epic science fiction adventure that began in Skythane will decide the fate of lander and skythane alike. And in the north, the ithani rise….

After finishing the book, I knew writing this review was going to be frustrating.  Why?  Because it’s going to be hard to find the words to describe just how incredible Ithani, the final story in The Oberon Cycle truly isJ. Scott Coatsworth left himself quite the task in pulling together all the plot threads and overall monumental trilogy arc and bring them all to all rousing conclusion that not only is beautifully imaginative, but thoroughly satisfying.

But the author accomplished that task and then went further.  This book is magical in its reach and edifying in the joy and depth of its conclusion.  It stretches out past time and space,  it encompasses the past, present, and future with equal verve, heart-stopping action and suspense. It brings to many a deep abiding love in so many forms, a search for self and what that means and, oh, yes the astonishing winged aliens of several species.  Plus the probable end of not one but two worlds.  There are multiple cultures, languages, sciences to understand and embrace along with all the characters that Coatsworth has created.

It’s an absolute tour de force.

I am certainly not giving out any details.  Even now, thinking back on elements and tiny narrative jewels the author will deliver to the reader, I remain so grateful and stunned at the twists and turns he built into Ithani.  Ones that even now continue to astound and delight.  I’m a fan of Coatsworth’s science fiction series the Liminal Sky and, here we find a major storythread that links this trilogy to that one.  For a reader that is not familiar with the Liminal Sky Series, will they feel lost?  Not at all.  This element is beautifully explained and threaded into the plot line, it’s important and as vital as any element in the narrative.  But that it’s linked to another series altogether?  Only those who know and adore the Liminal Sky  will be dancing in dazed joy over this narrative inclusion.

That’s just the way this whole novel goes…like dancing lights above a lake.  It will entrance you, pull you in, leave you to wonder at it all.  And then make you want to take the journey all over again.

I highly recommend the entire Oberon Cycle trilogy, starting with Skythane, then to Lander, and finally to this magical, incredible conclusion Ithani.  It’s February and I already have an addition to my Best of 2019 list this year.  That would be Ithani and the Oberon Cycle.

Cover Artists: Anna Sikorska.  I love the drama and eyecatching colors of this cover.  Great job.

Sales Links:

Buy Now: Dreamspinner Press Buy Now: Amazon KindleBuy Now: AmazonBuy Now: Barnes and NobleBuy Now: KoboBuy Now: iBooks

Book Details:

Paperback and eBook 290 pages
Expected publication: February 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN 1644051125 (ISBN13: 9781644051122)Available on: February 19, 2019
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genres: Romance, Sci Fi
The Oberon Cycle:

Skythane

Lander

Ithani

New Release Blitz for Unlocking the Doctor’s Heart by Liam Livings (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Unlocking the Doctor’s Heart

Author: Liam Livings

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 21, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50800

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, Doctor, nurse, contemporary, friends to lovers, child illness, gay

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Synopsis

Headstrong nurse Davie Penrose has moved to London from a small village in Cornwall to start work in the children’s transplant ward. He left to progress his career, but also to escape the painful memories of his ex-boyfriend, a workaholic doctor.

Ambitious Doctor Leo Westbury is in charge of a ward for now, but he has plans to be a medical director soon. Making use of his charm and avoiding commitment due to a painful past, he enjoys temporary relationships with male student nurses.

Clashing over a request to look around the ward before he starts work, Davie thinks Leo pompous, while Leo finds Davie bossy. Becoming friends over a shared passion for helping children on their transplant wards, they get closer through the inevitable ups and downs of caring for sick children. Physical attraction pulls them together; their pasts push them apart.

Both damaged and hurt in different ways, they might just find their happy ever after together.

Excerpt

Unlocking the Doctor’s Heart
Liam Livings © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
“Davie Penrose, senior staff nurse on Twinkle Ward, starting on Monday,” he said into the phone speaker at the ward’s entrance.

“Sorry, can’t let you in. No ID, no entry.”

“I’ve got this letter.” Davie held the letter to the camera.

“Not the same as a photo ID. They’ll get that sorted for you on Monday.”

“I only wanted to have a look around, see the lay of the land. Where the staff room is, how many beds, that sort of thing.” Davie bit his lip, starting to wish he’d not listened to his friend persuading him to apply for the job in the first place.

“Go on, stretch your wings. You don’t want to be stuck in Cornwall forever do you?” Davie’s friend had said.

Now, that sounded like quite a nice place to be stuck. “Couldn’t you make an exception, ask another member of staff to walk around with me?” Davie held his room key up to the camera. “I’m in the nurses’ accommodation. Room 1004, see?”

After a long sigh, the voice at the end of the speaker went quiet, he was obviously discussing something with another colleague.

A deep, posh, man’s voice came onto the speaker. “Now, let’s see if I can sort this little mess out.” He coughed. “Davie, is it?” Without waiting for a response, he continued, “It’s doctor Westbury here. I’m the senior consultant on call this weekend. I do have other pressing matters to deal with rather than policing the ward entrance.”

Charming! “It won’t take long. If you just look at my paperwork.” Davie held the letter to the camera hopefully.

“One thing at a time, please. Let me finish, will you?”

Disappointed, and frustrated enough to be screaming in his head and wondering who’d died and left this doctor in charge, Davie knew it would be pointless to ask him, because technically as the senior consultant on call, he would be in charge. Instead, Davie said, “I have my passport in my pocket too. Proves who I am. Can’t you check a list somewhere, or something, or other?”

“As I said, one thing at a time. So, I hear you’ve got yourself in something of a situation and you’d like us to bend the rules to let you in.”

“I don’t think it’s bending the rules. Not if I can show you who I am and that I have a job offer here even if I’ve not yet technically started.” Puffing himself up a bit, feeling he was on a bit of a roll now, Davie said, “And besides, I only want a quick look around, see the lay of the—”

“Land, yes, I know. Thing is, see that’s what some old random would say wanting to get inside and make mischief. Or worse. In fact, last week—” Doctor Westbury paused. “—I’m coming out to meet you. Wait there.”

A short while later, after a buzz of the door, Doctor Westbury arrived in a white coat, stethoscope hanging around his neck, brown hair giving the impression he’d just woken. And such deep blue eyes. “Sorry about this, but I can’t bend the rules and let you in.” He folded his arms across his broad chest and shook his head. “I believe you’re starting on Monday, but I can’t take a chance. I don’t know if you noticed, but this isn’t exactly the nicest part of London. Notting Hill it ain’t.” He laughed and raked his hands through his hair. He coughed and looked Davie up and down.

“If I was a random person wanting to get in, why would I have this letter.” Davie waved it theatrically in the air. “And a key to the nurses’ accommodation block.” Jangling it loudly he stared deep into the doctor’s blue eyes. “It’s not bending the rules then, is it? Besides.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out his passport. “Look, same name on the letter and passport.”

“I hear your concerns, but as the consultant in charge it would be on my head were anything to happen as a result of this… infraction shall we say.” Carefully checking the passport, letter, and keys he shook his head and tutted loudly. “Seems a bit odd to me, someone wanting to have a look around before starting. Plenty of time for that after you’re properly inducted into the trust.”

“Can’t you use your judgement? I’m sure it must be pretty sound as a consultant.” It was do or die, and Davie needed something to bring this bloody doctor out of his fixation on the damned rules.

Holding his head high, the doctor said, “Of course. My clinical judgement is second to none. I have a fantastic record here and received the highest clinical excellence award possible for the last two years.”

“Very impressive. Well then.” Was it working? Had he taken the bait?

He adjusted his stethoscope around his neck and flattened the collar on his white coat. “I’m thinking. Considering the facts. You.” He looked Davie up and down with a smile.

“Rules are rules for a reason. I’m sure they are. I do know. I have worked on children’s wards myself. Where everyone has to be police checked and all that. But really, honestly, do I look like a random. Can’t you just use some of this amazing judgement and let me in. Please?” Davie smiled.

“You’re not going to take no for an answer, are you?”

Davie shook his head. He usually never did, so why start now with this high-handed doctor? Why did doctors always think they ran the whole hospital if not the whole world? Thinking better than to voice that out loud, he simply held his letter and keys for the doctor to see. Bringing his judgement into the equation may have just worked…. Davie held his breath.

He sighed, raked his hands through his tousled hair and said, “Tell you what. I’ve looked at the evidence you’ve presented to me and I’m satisfied you are who you say you are. But you’re to stay with me the whole time. No wondering off, all right?”

Davie nodded excitedly. He’d done it! He’d won! One nil to Davie!

Entering the code into the keypad, the door opened, and the doctor opened the door. “After you.”

Now, that’s a surprise, Davie thought, expecting the doctor to be something of a me-first-damn-everyone-else man.

Following Davie through the door, the doctor said, “Now, let’s see if we can’t give you a quick tour. I’ll take the flack if I don’t see you back here Monday morning.” He flashed Davie a smile, and butterflies began to stir in Davie’s stomach.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Liam Livings lives where east London ends and becomes Essex. He shares his house with his boyfriend and cat. He enjoys baking, cooking, classic cars and socialising with friends. He has a sweet tooth for food and entertainment: loving to escape from real life with a romantic book; enjoying a good cry at a sad, funny and camp film; and listening to musical cheesy pop from the eighties to now. He tirelessly watches an awful lot of Gilmore Girls in the name of writing ‘research’.

Published since 2013 by a variety of British and American presses, his gay romance and gay fiction focuses on friendships, British humour, romance with plenty of sparkle. He’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and the Chartered Institute of Marketing. With a masters in creative writing from Kingston University, he teaches writing workshops with his partner in sarcasm and humour, Virginia Heath as http://www.realpeoplewritebooks.com and has also ghost written a client’s 5 Star reviewed autobiography.

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An Alisa Review: Mine for Christmas by AD Lawless

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Matt Westin was shocked when he ran into Cody, his grade-school best friend—pleased, but shocked. Devastatingly handsome was an understatement when it came to Cody, with his hazel eyes, wide smiles, and broad shoulders.

It was less shocking, months later, when Matt found out just how far he’d go for Cody. A desperate request for Matt to play his boyfriend over Christmas and save him from his mom’s meddling blind-date plans completely hammered that fact home.

Matt couldn’t resist saying yes, not when it meant getting closer to Cody. The only question was how would he ever be able to let him go when it was over?

Such a perfect friends to lovers story.  Matt and Cody were friends as children but lost track of each other over the years but quickly begin their friendship again and grow close.  Cody puts them in an almost impossible situation but it helps push their feeling out into the open.

It was funny how much these two have had crushes on each other but being oblivious to the other’s feelings.  I loved how Cody’s family quickly accepts Matt into their midst and it makes Cody feel so much more for him.  This was so sweet and a perfect holiday story.

I like the cover art by Natasha Snow is great and the standard for holiday shorts this year.

Sales Links: Nine Star Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 14,500 words

Published: November 26, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949909-41-8

Edition Language: English

A Jeri Review : Mr. Frosty Pants (Home for the Holidays #1) by Leta Blake

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

This was a little bit of a surprise. Not often are Christmas themed books full length. We get a lot of shorts and novellas. So even though the time span (not including epilogue) is less than two weeks, it is packed full enough for a regular sized book.

It almost seems inconsequential that it takes place during Christmas. The holiday brought Casey home to Knoxville for the first time in almost 4 years. He went away to NYU and his parents visit him there. But he left behind his best friend and serious crush, also the boy from the proverbial wrong side of the tracks.
Joel is not thrilled with Casey just showing up at his store. And he had every right to be pissed. His best friend just ghosted him almost 4 years ago. But Joel is a broken man. He grew up mostly without a mother and with a homophobic abusive father. And now that he bought out the family business after his father had a stroke, he is barely making ends meet and honestly doesn’t know how to let someone love him.
Joel just broke my heart. He had a little bit of a martyr complex going on. He didn’t HAVE to buy out the business. He doesn’t HAVE to deliver breakfast to his father everyday. But at the same time I get that he was holding onto the tiny bit of family he had. Equating family with love, although his father didn’t seem to love him at all.
Casey could have been a stuck up snob. Rich parents who finance everything, wanting for nothing. But he really was a down to earth guy. Even what he wanted to do as a career was fairly down to earth. It didn’t come across as fake- just sincere.
I think my only real sticking point is that they were so mature. I mean, they were 22 year old guys. Casey had his own apartment in NYC. Even with the responsibility that Joel shouldered, you would think a 22 year old kid would pop out once in a while. But no. They really had basically mature discussions about life and love. And while they laughed some- they weren’t kids. And at 22, you are still a kid in some ways.
Best friends to lovers, second chances, a demisexual virgin…..and a slobbering dog at Christmas. This is a solid 4 stars for me.
Cover art: Wicked Smart Designs.  This cover delivers.  Christmas, a  kissing couple, everything but the dog.  It needed that.
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow in Kindle Unlimited
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 273 pages
Published November 7th 2018 by Leta Blake Books
ASIN B07KB2BX82
Edition Language English
Series Home for the Holidays #1 setting Tennessee (United States)

Release Blitz &; Review Tour – Mr Frosty Pants by Leta Blake (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow in Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 90,000 word approx.
 
Cover Design: Wicked Smart Design
 
Blurb
 

Can true love warm his frozen heart?


When Casey Stevens went away to college four years ago, he ghosted on his straight best friend, Joel Vreeland. He hoped time and distance would lessen the unrequited affection he felt, but all it did was make him miss Joel more. Home for the holidays, Casey hopes they might find a way to be friends again. But Joel’s frosty reception reminds Casey of just how hard he had to fight to be Joel’s friend in the first place. It’s going to take a Christmas miracle to get past that cool façade again.


Joel isn’t as straight as Casey believes, and his years of pining for Casey have left him hurting and alone, caring for his abusive father and struggling to get by. Unable to trust anyone except his rescue dog—and with no reason to believe Casey is interested in him for more than a holiday fling—Joel’s icy heart might shatter before it can thaw.


Can Casey and Joel’s love overcome mistrust, parental rejection, class differences, and four long years apart? Mr. Frosty Pants is a stand-alone, Christmas gay romance by Leta Blake featuring a virgin hero, childhood friends-to-lovers, second chance romance, and steamy mm first times.



November 16Joyfully Jay, November 19 Gay Book Reviews, November 22Love Bytes, November 28The Novel Approach, November 30Bayou Book Junkie


Author Bio


Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

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Kelly Jensen on Behind the Story and her new release ‘Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2)’ (guest blog and giveaway)

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Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2) by Kelly Jensen

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Natasha Snow

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kelly Jensen here today talking about the inspiration behind her new release, Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2). Welcome, Kelly.

✒︎

Behind the Book by Kelly Jensen

I’m known in author circles for being super organized. I have templates for my outlines, I spreadsheet my revisions, and often write 6000 word character histories. The support documents for every book are indexed and hyperlinked. The bulleting in my outlines often goes four levels deep.

And yet…

My big book of ideas is spread over several notebooks that live in different places throughout my house. That way, if inspiration strikes, I have paper close at hand—which sounds a lot better than I just have notebooks everywhere, in no particular order! The notebooks have snippets of dialogues, entire scenes, outlines, character notes, and plot ideas. And they’re all mixed in together without any sort of indexing.

I usually know which book to reach for (or go hunting for) when I want to look something up, though, and I never mind having to flip through the notes for other projects along the way. Sometimes another idea will catch me, and I can make more notes, or sometimes one of my ideas leaps off the page and says, “Write me!”

The ideas for Renewing Forever came from two different notebooks. One had a few notes about Frank, jotted down after a beta reader for Building Forever asked if Frank’s book would be next. I had no plans to write a series, but I wrote the idea down, anyway, and tucked it away.

In another notebook, I had a brief outline for a story about a guy who was “camping out” in a dilapidated resort. About five years ago, we took a road trip to New Orleans and stayed at a quaint family resort in Tennessee. The guy manning the desk had the most amazing accent—and he was very cute! I immediately got an idea for a story involving someone trying to revitalize a rundown family resort, and maybe facing challenges from a local developer who wanted the land.

I’m not quite sure how these two ideas got combined? I think it was mostly a matter of me hunting through my notebooks for a story idea that would suit Frank. I like using and combining ideas I already have—it gives me a sense of accomplishment to cross something off what is probably a never ending list.

I quickly decided to switch up the imagined roles: Frank would be the one to inherit the resort and he’d return “home” to find someone living in one of the guest cottages. Then I decided to complicate everything by giving Frankie and Tommy a shared history—one where they’d been each other’s best friend and first love.

What I didn’t realize while plotting was quite how emotional this book would be to write. I’m reasonably emotional anyway—for me, watching the television show “This Is Us” is like combining a wedding, a funeral, and the birth of a new baby every week. I’m always completely drained afterward! So I often get a little weepy (sometimes a little sobby) while writing my guys. This book wrecked me in a lot of ways. Tom’s self-sabotaging self-reliance (or hubris), and Frank’s longing. Oh my goodness, the longing. He never got over Tom and likely never would have.

What I also wanted to do with this book was write a character (Tom) whose bisexuality was integral and almost never discussed. I didn’t want this story to be about sexuality. I wanted it to be about rekindling lost love—and holding on to something you never really let go of.

After all of this, I devised relatively simple plot: should they or shouldn’t they renovate the resort? Really, the plot is just a reflection of the bigger question in this novel: should they or shouldn’t they repair their friendship and love? The obstacles to both are Tom’s inability to ask for help—and the fact he’s not so slowly sliding down the financial gurgler—and Frank’s dissatisfaction with his current career, and to a smaller extent, his feelings regarding his best friend, Simon, having found The One. Frank thinks he’s getting over a crush on Simon, and he is… sort of. What he’s really doing is mourning The One who got away. The one he let go.

So there is a lot of introspection and reevaluation going on, and in keeping with the themes of this series, scenes that highlight the importance of family (blood and found), friendships, and lots of more lighthearted moments where Frank and Tom explore small town happenings and decide whether or not they’re going to renew their forever.

I hope you enjoy Frank and Tom’s story. It’s not quite as upbeat as the one I wrote for Simon and Charlie, but all of my characters are different, and therefore they require different stories. I love the one I wrote for Frank and Tom. It’s one to cherish, and one that still makes me misty eyed, all these months later.

 

Renewing Forever is the second of a series of standalone novels focused on older characters who think love has passed them by. Frank and Tom’s story is a true second chance romance, reuniting childhood friends and first loves separated by an argument and thirty years of misunderstanding. I hope you enjoy reading about their renewed friendship and their plans for forever.

 

About Renewing Forever

A neglected resort, a lost chance at love, and one last chance to renew forever.

Frankie and Tommy once dreamed of traveling the world together. But when seventeen-year-old Frank kissed Tom, their plans ended with a punch to the jaw and Frank leaving town without looking back. Thirty years later, Frank’s successful career as a journalist is interrupted by his uncle’s death and the question of his inheritance—the family resort where his childhood dreams were built. When he returns to the Pocono Mountains, however, he finds a dilapidated lodge and Tommy, the boy he never forgot.

Tom’s been keeping the resort together with spit and glue while caring for Frank’s uncle, Robert—a man he considered father, mentor, and friend—and his aged mother, who he refuses to leave behind. Now Robert is gone, taking Tom’s job with him. And Frank is on the doorstep, wanting to know why Tom is still there and why the old lodge is falling apart.

But before they can rebuild the resort, they’ll have to rebuild their friendship. Only then can they renew the forever they planned all those years ago.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

 

About the This Time Forever Series

Small towns and second chances.

Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.

This time it’s forever.

This series includes:

  1. Building Forever — releasing October 15, available now!
  2. Renewing Forever — releasing November 12, available for preorder!
  3. Chasing Forever — releasing December 10, available soon!

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly:

 


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Renewing Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 17, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A. E. Wasp

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Hockey superstar Joey Luciano has always been good at being whatever people needed him to be. The fans want a good-looking fast-living party boy? Enter ‘the Looch,’ Joey’s carefully created public persona. But the cracks in his mask are starting to show, and he’s begun to lose touch with who he really is. It’s going to take someone who’s been there from the very beginning, to help him find his way home.

Coach Liam O’Reilly always had a very clear picture of what his life should look like. Falling in love with the infuriating, passionate, stubborn, and endlessly fascinating boy next door was not part of the plan. But when Liam’s carefully constructed life fell apart one Christmas Eve, Joey Luciano was there to pick up the pieces. Now Liam can’t stop wanting him.

The passion blazing between them on the ice and behind closed doors could leave both of them badly burned. But through the smoke, Liam can see glimpses of a future brighter than any he’d imagined, a future worth risking his career and reputation for, if only he is brave enough to reach for it.

But Joey’s got a secret he’s keeping from everyone. If it gets out, it could be the end of everything.

I really enjoyed the Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A. E. Wasp.  It has so many elements I love in a contemporary romance, starting off with hockey players and hockey coaches in love combinations.  Or just a hockey element.  That always draws me in.  Wasp also has another aspect to this series and story I adore.  Large families that support the main characters!

Families easily identifiable by location (Boston), ethnicities (Irish and Italian), long association (neighbors), and even intertwined relationships.  This extended main cast is a huge factor in connecting the reader to the character of Joey Luciano (the Italian family) and Liam O’Reilly (the Irish one),  In a totally current and hilarious format, we often see the family members communicating with each other via group text.  It’s never overdone, totally funny, and very realistic.  It’s has the feel of family and truth.  And it brought these people and their lives right into my heart.

Joey, “the Looch” Luciano, is a 25 year old  with a lot of issues. On the outside, he’s let this “Looch” character he’s created take over his life (brash, outgoing to the  extreme that it seems like he’s hogging the media and outshining his teammates.  No one is happy with him, including himself.  On the inside it’s worse.  Wasp has created Joey as a insecure person, low self esteem to the point that he seeks approval from every source and everyone without asking himself why he needs it so.  This is an enormous issue, obviously.  Not his only one. On top of this Joey is dealing with the fact that he has loved Liam since he can remember, a love that he has never looked at what that meant.  Why?  Because he shrinks from being called gay or even bisexual.  Which imo is totally misused here with regards to Joey.

Joey is someone who has lacked self examination for most of his life and it’s not until he gets involved with Liam that he smacks into some hard realities for himself.  At about 51 percent, we get these musing from Joey…

“What did people see when they looked at him? Could they tell he was having sex with a guy? Probably not. He looked as normal as Paul and Robbie. And he wasn’t gay gay. If anything he was bisexual like Liam.”

There are so many flags in those sentences that show exactly how messed up Joey is over not only his sexuality but homosexuality in general.  Being gay isn’t “normal”?  He also has issues with femme versus masc. And as is worked out down the story, Joey really doesn’t enjoy sex with women, so no, not bisexual.  Yes, some of this flags get addressed, not as many as I wished but a lot.

There are so many broken layers to Joey, it’s just one right after enough. Panic attacks, health issues, and more that need to be seriously addressed. Are all given the depth of attention I would wish or deserve? Perhaps not but they aren’t blown off either. Believable, authentic cracks in this man.  Kudos to A.E. Wasp for creating such a character.

Liam is a strong character, older by 10 years than Joey.  I liked him and their relationship but honestly wondered if the author was going to use their hot, and admittedly kinky sex life as a bandaid for all of Joey’s deep problems.  Thankfully, the  answer is no.  Wasp let me wonder about that, while I enjoyed Joey and LIam working out their relationship and then gave me everything I hoped for in the ending of this story. That included my Washington Caps winning the Stanley Cup this year!  And therapy for Joey.  Win win.

The humor here had me cackling!  Whether it’s Knock Knock jokes or Liam’s younger brother Patrick trying to get Liam to switch out his posh furniture for a huge leather sectional that all the young hockey players can come over and watch TV on saying”

“It’s the traditional furnishings of our people!”

Well, this book and dialogue crackles with fun, the knowledge of what it is like to be young, in love, or a hockey player, or to just do dumb things.  And all of the above.

Yes, plenty of angst too.

If I also have a complaint, its the actual lack of hockey.

We get headlines, sports feeds,  but  little actual ice time.  These men are passionate about ice and hockey.  So where is the time on the ice?  Where is the sense of team?

We get little of that except towards the very end in the important game.  I wish so badly we had had lots more of that action throughout the story.  Then we could understand why Joey and Liam’s actions carried the weight of the love of ice behind them that they did.  I felt that was missing because we never really saw Joey on ice for the majority of the book.  We were told about it but never actually “felt” it through the character. And I felt that was a mistake.

But did I love this story?  Yes I did.  I thought the author did a tremendous job with the characters, actualizing a man on the brink of a life change for himself and letting us travel some of the journey with him.  Scary, messy, not totally complete, a work in progress as they say.  I think Joey would agree with that and be happy.  So would Liam and the rest of the two families.

I definitely look for more in this series.  I recommend this one for all lovers of contemporary romance and hockey and even a little love of spanking!

 

Cover art: Ana Phoenix.  Nice cover but doesn’t quite get the age difference.

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 462 pages
Published September 21st 2018
ASINB07HL6TTW9
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHot Off the Ice #5

 

Book Blast with Reviews – Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5) by A. E. Wasp (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title:  Boy Next Door (Hot Off the Ice #5)

Author: A. E. Wasp

Publisher:  Self-Published

Cover Artist: Ana Phoenix

Genre/s:  Contemporary Gay Romance

Heat Rating:  3.5 flames

Length:  100,000 words/432 pages

It is a standalone book.

Add on Goodreads

This is a story about losing the path and finding yourself.

It contains kissing, yelling, spanking, and carb-loaded family interventions. 

Blurb

Hockey superstar Joey Luciano has always been good at being whatever people needed him to be. The fans want a good-looking fast-living party boy? Enter ‘the Looch,’ Joey’s carefully created public persona. But the cracks in his mask are starting to show, and he’s begun to lose touch with who he really is. It’s going to take someone who’s been there from the very beginning, to help him find his way home.

Coach Liam O’Reilly always had a very clear picture of what his life should look like. Falling in love with the infuriating, passionate, stubborn, and endlessly fascinating boy next door was not part of the plan. But when Liam’s carefully constructed life fell apart one Christmas Eve, Joey Luciano was there to pick up the pieces. Now Liam can’t stop wanting him.

The passion blazing between them on the ice and behind closed doors could leave both of them badly burned. But through the smoke, Liam can see glimpses of a future brighter than any he’d imagined, a future worth risking his career and reputation for, if only he is brave enough to reach for it.

But Joey’s got a secret he’s keeping from everyone. If it gets out, it could be the end of everything.

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Excerpt

“Hey,” Joey said, looking up from his phone as Liam fell into the bathroom. “Took you long enough. I’ve been in this fucking bathroom for ten minutes. It’s not that nice. One of those for me?”

“Fucking hell,” Liam said.

Those were the first words he’d spoken to Joey since Christmas Day. Jerk. Stupid gorgeous jerk.

”Okay, then.” Joey reached for one of the shot glasses and downed it, coughing a little from the tequila burn. He’d been expecting whiskey. “Tequila?” Bad things happened when they drank tequila.

Liam nodded and poured the other shot down his throat.

“Gina?”

“Who else?”

Who else but his big sister would do that? Of course, he’d known they were planning on trapping him in the bathroom. He’d also known Liam would do what they wanted, too. The O’Reilly-Luciano double-team had a ninety-five percent success rate.

He’d gone along with it because someplace, not even that deep inside, he desperately wanted to see Liam again. To see if Liam would still have the same effect on him as he had since puberty. Joey licked the last drop of alcohol off his lips, feeling a tingle of lust when Liam dropped his gaze to Joey’s mouth. Yeah. Still, the same effect. Stupid, good-looking smug bastard.

Liam set his glass on the counter with a thud, and then closed the distance between them, forcing Joey to look up to meet his eyes. Sometimes Joey really hated being four inches shorter than him.

“Nice outfit,” Liam said taking in the remains of Joey’s hastily-constructed pirate costume; red and black striped nylon pants ending in a ragged cuff just below the knee, black patent-leather Doc Martin boots, and a wide gold sash tied around his waist. He’d lost his shirt somewhere in the club. The way Liam couldn’t tear his eyes away from Joey’s tattoos made the loss of the two hundred dollar shirt totally worth it.

Liam picked up the end of the sash, sliding the silky material through his fingers. “How come every time I see you, you’re wearing some kind of costume?” Last time they’d met, Joey had been dressed as Santa.

Liam, of course, was his normal GQ self in dark trousers, a white dress shirt, and one of his vast collection of purple ties. The perfect simplicity of his clothes making everyone else look like they were trying too hard.

“How come every time I see you, you’re overdressed?” Joey asked.

Liam ran his hand through his thick red hair. “At least I’m not wandering around half-naked, letting everybody and their brother get their eyes all over me.”

Joey’s jaw dropped. “Excuse me?”

Liam scowled. “It’s a snake pit out there. I got groped half a dozen times walking here.”

Joey leaned back against the water-splattered sink counter. He crossed his arms over his chest. “Your point is?”

Liam stepped close enough that their thighs brushed. Dropping his hand heavily on Joey’s shoulder, he watched transfixed as his thumb traced the curve of Joey’s collarbone. “My point is, that maybe I don’t like the idea of you getting pawed at by a room full of drunks and puck bunnies.”

Joey knocked Liam’s hand away. He had to be fucking kidding. “Tough shit.” Joey pushed himself upright, poking Liam in the center of his (distractingly firm) chest, hard enough to make him take a step backward. “You got no right to tell me what to do or not to do.”

About the Author

After time spent raising children, earning several college degrees, and traveling the world with the U.S. State Department, she is returning to her first love – writing.

A dreamer and an idealist, Amy writes about people finding connection in a world that can seem lonely and magic in a world that can seem all too mundane. She invites readers into her characters’ lives and worlds when they are their most vulnerable, their most human, living with the same hopes and fears we all have. An avid traveler who has lived in big cities and small towns in four different continents, Amy has found that time and distance are no barriers to love. She invites her readers to reach out and share how her characters have touched their lives or how the found families they have gathered around them have shaped their worlds.

Born on Long Island, NY, Amy has lived in Los Angeles, London, and Bangkok. She currently lives in a town suspiciously like Red Deer, Colorado.


Author Links

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Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

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Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ review here.  We highly recommend it.

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Release Blitz Tour – I’ve Been Careless With A Delicate Thing by Marina Vivancos (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK  – Available exclusive to Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 27,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Blurb
 

Silas meets gorgeous, grumpy-looking Oscar at a bar. He’s never had sex with a guy, and what better place is there to find someone to pop that particular cherry?



He knows what he’s getting with the broad-shouldered, I-can-pummel-you-with-one-look Oscar: getting bent over a hard surface and satisfied until he’s blaspheming. Turns out, though, there’s a lot more to Oscar that meets the eyes. Needs that you’d never guess just by looking at him. Needs that Silas turns out to perfectly meet.


One night turns into two, turns into three, turns into a dozen. It’s just a little friends-with-benefits relationship with a dollop of kink on the side. No feelings involved, right?


Right. Because Silas is just so good at keeping his heart in check.


This is an erotic ~27,000 word novella. Expect plentiful sex scenes with a friends-with-benefits (yeah, right), soft Dom/sub relationship.
 
Excerpt
 

“You look like you’re having fun,” Silas said, peering at Oscar whilst the other two leaned towards each other, falling into conversation. Oscar raised his eyebrows a little, and the clear sarcasm in the move made Silas grin.


Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.


“Let me guess. You dragged Johnny here to get your dance on, didn’t you? ‘I need to shake my thang’, you wailed, and now here you are, crying on the inside because they’re playing a Madonna remix and this is your jam.” He perched his chin on the palm of his hand, looking at Oscar through his eyelashes.


“My thang,” Oscar repeated, not bothering with a question mark. His voice was deep and everything you would want to come out of a face that looked like it could be used as a cornerstone for a gothic church.


“Yeah, your thang. Your badonkadonk. Your caboose. Your derriere. Your full moon rising. Your juicy double.”


“Are you done?”


“Your all that junk inside your trunk.”


“What are you drinking, exactly?”


“Why? You wanna buy me another?”


“I was actually planning on telling the bartender to cut you off.”


Silas grinned at him for a moment before knocking back his drink. “Let’s dance,” he ordered.


“I don’t dance.”


“Sure you do, big guy.”

 
Author Bio
 

When Marina was a child she couldn’t sleep. Night after dissolving night she just couldn’t sleep. Nothing much worked – until she started making up stories in her head. Suddenly, the transition into unconsciousness was a smooth dive into calm waters.


Marina is currently in a period of sleepless upheaval, and she hopes writing down the stories in her head will cast the same spell it did decades ago.


Marina hopes to write in a variety of romance sub-genres, from contemporary to supernatural to sci-fi. Her style, however, tends to focus on character-centred stories that explore different facets of the human experience, such as mental health. She also enjoys writing explicit, drawn-out sex scenes, so expect those to be a prominent feature of her stories.


Marina tends to keep to herself unless prompted, so don’t be shy in approaching her!

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A Lucy Release Day Review: Handle With Care by Cari Z

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 Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Aaron McCoy is a social worker who gives too much to his job.  In an attempt to keep other kids safe from what he went through as a child, he works himself nearly sick. “Aaron knew all too well how it felt to be ignored by your case worker.”  He is always ahead of schedule with his paperwork and answers the call to help at any time.  It gets to the point where his boss, Pam, forces him to take a vacation before he burns out completely.   Mandatory time off and no checking emails.  It just might kill him. 

Luckily, he has his best friend, Tyler, to be there with an idea.  Aaron has received an invitation to his little brother Zach’s wedding.  The brother he hasn’t seen in fifteen years.  The brother who was “…young and cute and well-behaved for his foster parents…” and ended up being adopted by Chrissy, “I wish I could take you too” and doesn’t that make not one bit of difference to a hurting 13-year-old losing his family.   My heart hurt for him, especially since the reason his brother was so good was because Aaron took care of him when their mom didn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t.  He’d have to see Chrissy too.  “To my brother’s wedding? To the house of the woman who decided she didn’t want to take me but who had no problem taking my little brother?”  But Tyler is persuasive – a road trip!  The fact that Aaron has secretly longed for Tyler might make the trip uncomfortable, but Aaron can handle it.

Tyler is lovely.  He is silly, enthusiastic and totally on Aaron’s side.  He brings a garbage bag filled with snacks for a fairly short road trip, has dumb car games all ready for them to play until Aaron threatens him if he looks away from the road to see another license plate, and he’s just there for Aaron.  He also has stalked Zach online in order to know more about Aaron.  “I’d never make you share something you don’t want to. But you can’t blame me for lookin’ for clues wherever I could find them.”

I have to admit even though Zach wanted Aaron to stay at Chrissy’s, I think it would have been kinder for him to stay at a hotel and have a place to escape.  It’s so uncomfortable for him, especially when Chrissy talks of how well she cared for Zach and Zach is talking of what a great mom she is.  Things that Aaron didn’t have.  Add in that one of Zach’s groomsmen, Owen, is a nasty homophobic jerk.  I couldn’t understand if Zach was such a good person he could allow someone like that around him, let alone allow the things he said to Aaron and Tyler. “What, fairies can’t hear now?” was one of the tamer things.  Yes, Zach did the “knock it off” thing to Owen, but that didn’t stop it and I was furious at them both.  It was lucky that the bride-to-be, Becky, wasn’t going to take that.  Zach and his “He didn’t mean anything by it” did not fly with her.  There is also a giant surprise that Zach didn’t mention to Aaron that again made me want to smack him.  Obviously, I wasn’t a big Zach fan.

Tyler is there for all of it.  “Weren’t you listenin’?  You put everybody else first.  I’m the only one’ll put you first.” Thank Pete Aaron has someone like that in his corner.  They are such great friends and I was pulling for them to be more.  “We’re still family.”  And that was the family that Aaron needed.  We get to see the slow transformation and it was a great thing.  Aaron makes progress as well, facing some things from his past and showing his strength.  “So I’m glad to hear you say it, but I think it’s probably more important for you to apologize than for me to be apologized to.”

Much as I loved Tyler and Aaron and Becky, the winning character here is Becky’s grandmother.  I can only say that I want to grow up to be here.  She reminded me so much of my favorite female character ever, Nana from Until You. I give a huge thank you to Cari Z for putting that firecracker in there.  “The only attraction they garnered was from Grandma, where she was dancing with a trapped-looking Owen on the dance floor.  “You get you some, honey!”  She’s not in there a lot but the time she is there count.

This is not only a friends to lovers story but it’s a story of healing from the things that might have broken you and moving forward. It was sweet and lovely. 

Cover art by Alexandria Corza shows Aaron set against a background of the road and trees.  It is simple but fit the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 194 pages
Expected publication: October 16th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640804463
Edition LanguageEnglish