An Alisa Release Day Review: Set Ablaze by KC Burn

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends.”

Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at seventeen. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.

The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.

Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.

This was a good story that touched on some hard topics.  Hayden is out but doesn’t “throw” his gayness in his friends’ faces and just tries to ignore the comments, when Jez comes into his life it gives him a different perspective on how they have been treating him.  Jez has dealt with a lot and most of it without anyone around to help him and he’s afraid to accept the safety that Hayden’s presence seems to give him.

Watching Hayden interact with his “friends” was rough, he would internally wince but not acknowledge anything they said.  It really took Jez opening his eyes for him to see what was going on.  I loved the heart to heart that Jez and Hayden had with Jez’s brother that really cleared the air about a lot of things for all of them, they all let so many assumptions be made it was unbelievable.

I really liked getting to know these characters but they had a really rough time getting their relationship going and then it was mostly smooth sailing.  Seeing Hayden second guess everything was hard, he has never been in a relationship on top of never really being open with someone and he didn’t know what to do.  Jez is more of an “I won’t accept any less” kind of guy but is able to bend a little once he knows what’s going on.  I didn’t really feel like I connected with these characters but still enjoyed reading about them.

The cover art by Jennifer Vance is nice and gives us a great visual of Hayden but doesn’t really connect with the story to me.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: April 24, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-616-0

Edition Language: English

Heat Up with Never Too Early: Finding Their Way by Chris Owen and Tory Temple (excerpt and contest)

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Combine Cowboys and Firefighters and what do you get? Finding Their Way (Never Too Early #2)

by Chris Owen and Tory Temple!

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Finding Their Way (Never Too Early#2) by Chris Owen and Tory Temple
Should not be read as a standalone
Release Date: April 15, 2015

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Chris Owen has been a favorite of mine since Owen’s Bareback books introduced us to Tor and Jake. And Tory Temple’s Firefighters have been heating up things for 6 novels.  The combination in Never Too Early: The Beginning, it was explosive.  Now both Tor and Jake and Chance and Tucker are back in a book you won’t want to miss!  Check it out below and don’t forget to enter the contest too.

Never Too Early: Finding Their Way (Never Too Early#2) by Chris Owen and Tory Temple

STRW Author BookSynopsis

When Jake Taggart fell from the roof of his barn, Tor had only one thought — to reach out to Chance Shanahan and Tucker McBride for support. In this follow-up to Never Too Early: The Beginning, the first book in the Cowboy/Firefighter series, the two couples are reunited in their mutual concern for Jake. But how far will that concern go?

A strong friendship begins to explore the boundaries of something else; something all four men never looked for or expected. Emotions and attraction are difficult to deny, try as they might, but giving in has the potential to destroy everything both couples have worked so hard for. How will they handle something that none of them set out to find?

Pages or Words: 54,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Menage/Poly, Cowboy, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Jake reached out and touched the back of Chance’s hand. “Thank you for coming all this way to be with me. Thank you for coming to sit next to me, and for helping Tor. Thank you for everything you and Tucker have done around here, but mostly thank you for being someone I can count on.” Jake nodded firmly and looked up into Chance’s face, studying his eyes. “Thanks for caring so much.”

Chance’s gaze was steady and direct. “I didn’t mean to,” he said quietly. “I thought you were a good guy, that’s all. I thought you were nice and funny and smart and easy to talk to. I didn’t mean for there to be more than that.”

Jake nodded. “I know. We all know. But there is, and I’m okay with that. Thankful for it, really. And so is Tor. And Tucker sent me upstairs to talk to you, and said not to let you overthink it.” He smiled, trying not to shake with nerves. “So sit down here next to me and stop thinking.”

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Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: BSClay

Sales Links:   Torquere Books

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About the authors:

Chris Owen: I live and write in eastern Canada. I went to a bunch of schools, learned a lot of things, and now make stuff up because not to do so is unthinkable. I’m fond of fountain pens, Levenger’s Circa system, and Steampunk fashions. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of Discovery channel. I’ve seen every episode of CSI Las Vegas and New York, but I’m not terribly keen on CSI Miami. It might be due to weather envy. I have a crush on the whole cast of Criminal Minds, and fondness for wool. The two are not related. Hoarders keeps me honest. I’m inspired by the day to day minutia of life, and find beauty in the way words go together. I like texture and richness of experience. I’m not shy. I’m happy, I’m learning, I’m living.

Tory Temple: Tory lives and works in southern California, where she spends a lot of time around firemen. She visits the beach frequently and wears flip flops even in the winter. Tory likes television, salted pistachios in the shell, and chenille socks. She dislikes cauliflower, not being able to find the right shoes in the morning, and not having enough free time. She shares her space with numerous pets, including but not limited to cats, dogs, and tortoises.

Where to find the authors:

Websites: http://www.chrisowen.net   http://www.torytemple.com
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Owen/362850963876393
https://www.facebook.com/torytemple
Twitter:
Chris Owen:  https://twitter.com/chris_owen
Tory Temple:  https://twitter.com/ToryTemple

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Tour Dates & Stops: April 9, 2015

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Molly Lolly, Inked Rainbow Reads, Cate Ashwood, Bayou Book Junkie, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, BFD Book Blog, Love Bytes, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Chris McHart, 3 Chicks After Dark,

Multitasking Mommas, Divine Magazine, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, MM Good Book Reviews, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Velvet Panic, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, The Blogger Girls

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Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of the story. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and Prizes provided by the authors and Pride Promotions.

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Too Stupid To Live by Anne Tenino

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Rating: 4.5 stars

Too Stupid To Live coverSam has his head buried in his latest romance novel and his feet planted on the grass when he is knocked to the ground. Then Sam’s heart notices the ripped body of the man assisting him to his feet and it decides it has met his One True Love.  Turns out Sam had been walking across the rugby playing field and got beaned by the ball.  And no matter that Sam’s head says that his One True Love couldn’t look like some Highlander god or that someone who looked as gorgeous as the man lifting him to his feet would ever want a skinny, nerdy, beanpole like him, Sam’s heart says Sam has met his future husband.

Ian Cully hopes that he has left the worst of his life behind him to start a new life in a new town.  His life as a firefighter ended with a traumatic accident.  Now he has a new job, a new apartment and only his cousin, Jurgan and his partner, Nik, as his connections to his family and his past. Another part of his past Ian is hoping to forget? The part where Ian pretended to be straight. Now he is free to explore his sexuality but where to start? Ian thinks he knows his type, until he goes to the rescue of a guy who got hit by the ball during his rugby game.  One look into the eyes of Sam and all Ian’s suppositions about himself are gone.  In their place is a lanky, blond haired gay with his head in romance novels and a heart too vulnerable for its own good.

But Ian still has some major issues to work through and he is not sure a commitment is something he is capable of.  Everyone is telling Sam that Ian is Mr. Wrong but Sam just can’t convince his heart that is true.  Sam soon starts to wonder if he is not like the character in the books he reads, the one who is too stupid too live, who never sees the trouble coming and gets out of the way.  Is Ian Mr. Wrong or does Sam’s heart know Mr. Right when it sees him?

I didn’t realize until I was several chapters into the book that many of the main characters originated in another book,Anne Tenino’s Whitetail Rock.  I remembered reading it quite a while ago and then Nik, Jurgan and the rest snapped back into place.  But you don’t have to have read that book to enjoy this maddening, happy, exasperating romp through the lives of Sam and Ian.  Sam is a wonder of a character.  Tall, scrawny, head buried in his bodice rippers and riddled with self esteem issues, Sam is a character you want to hug even as you are giving him a little shake.  Sam is endearing, and clearly deserving of True Love but he doesn’t see himself as worthwhile.  That will break your heart as more of Sam is revealed over the storyline. I love my nerds in m/m fiction but Sam is something special.  He is not your normal small, cute blond but lanky, thin haired, and has a big nose and giggles.  I adored him.

Ian Cully comes off at the start as a smug horn dog who could have easily descended into an unlikable character but Ian too has layers that save him from being a stock creation.  He is seeing a therapist, recognizes his issues and wants to change.  It took me a little longer to connect with him but when I did, I feel in love with him just as Sam did.

Anne Tenino’s dialog is a wonder.  It’s funny, charming, topical, and perfect for each character she has created.  There are times I just sat back and laughed out loud at the things that came out of Sam and Nik’s mouths, especially if they were getting their drunk on.  And there are some heartbreaking moments that will have you in tears.  One such scene involves a character that I believe Tenino is setting up for her next novel.  At least I hope so. We absolutely need to know what happens to him.  And that fact alone, that we need to know what happens next in the lives of these people cements my feelings about Too Stupid To Live.  This book is a wonderful romantic ride to Ones True Love, and that is something Sam and Ian both deserved and got with each other.

Too Stupid To Live is listed as Romancelandia #1.  I can’t wait for the others.

Cover artist is LC Chase.  Love this cover.  The model is adorable, the perfect representation of Sam.