New Release Tour for Arctic Heat (Frozen Hearts #3) by Annabeth Albert (excerpt and giveaway)

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ARCTIC HEAT by Annabeth Albert

Series: Frozen Hearts #3

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: Sept. 23 (ebook/audio), Oct 1 (print)

Length (Print & Ebook): 89,000 words

Subgenre: m/m contemporary romance/ action adventure m/m romance, interracial romance

Warnings: None.

All buy links or pre-order links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Y3KUk9

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Arctic-Heat-Audiobook/1488206864

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-heat-annabeth-albert/1129779475?ean=9781488053610#/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arctic-heat-4

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Heat?id=8o6QDwAAQBAJ

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/arctic-heat/id1458215728

Good reads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44662238-arctic-heat

Praise for ARCTIC HEAT:

“Annabeth Albert’s delightful characters and thoughtful emotional touch give a lovely spin to opposites attract when they’re forced together in a cabin in the woods. We root for these guys–lone wolf Quilleran is a true foil for Owen, who is enthusiastically embracing his new lease on life.” -Bestselling Author, Amy Lane

“I really enjoyed the story. It was a fun read and believe it or not, I have been to the Hatcher Pass area of Alaska. The story was fun, sexy and passionate enough to melt an Alaskan snow field.” -Bestselling Author, Andew Grey

“I eagerly await every new Annabeth Albert release and ARCTIC HEAT did not disappoint. Sexy and snowbound with a touch of danger – do not miss this one!” -Bestselling Author, HelenKay Dimon

“Arctic Heat by Annabeth Albert … Owen and Quill are so wow…witnessing their friendship build is tangible and engaging …Albert’s ability to have characters connect without needing sex is astounding and speaks to this author talent!” -Denise, Shh Mom’s Reading Book Blog

Book synopsis:

A lasting connection needs more than simply surviving a winter together—they’ll have to outsmart danger, let down their defenses and open their hearts.

Owen Han has a fresh lease on life—he’s kicked cancer’s ass and is roaring through his bucket list. The former investment banker hopes to find his next challenge in Alaska, volunteering alongside park rangers and fulfilling his childhood dreams of snowy winters and rustic life. Of course, those dreams did tend to feature big strapping mountain men in vivid detail…

Ranger Quilleran Ramsey would like to be anywhere other than dealing with newbie volunteers. And really, the only thing he needs less than a green volunteer “partner” is the flirty attentions of a buff city boy who doesn’t look ready to last a week, let alone an Alaskan winter. They’re all wrong for each other, even if Quill’s traitorous body enjoys the flirting more than it should.

As the weeks pass, the two snowbound men give in to temptation. But can their seasonal romance last until spring? For them to have a future together, each will have to trust the other…while hoping that the harsh elements and omnipresent dangers don’t destroy what happiness they’ve found in the moment.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

This book is approximately 89,000 words

Excerpt :

“Tea for everyone. Then a hot shower and lots of blankets,” Owen declared as they entered the building, bossy streak making a blessed reappearance right when Quill really needed to not be the one thinking. If Owen had a plan, so much the better because Quill wasn’t good for much besides stripping off his gear, stowing his piece, stomping upstairs, and flopping into a kitchen chair. Owen draped one of the blankets from the couch around his shoulders before doing the same for himself, wearing it like a cape as he made tea. “Bourbon in yours? I found a bottle in the cabinet the other week.”

“Yeah.” Quill didn’t often imbibe, but he needed the burn of the liquor even more than any warmth-giving properties. The bourbon was there exactly for nights like this one where Quill had done his best and it still hadn’t been enough. Fucking universe and its random acts of cruelty.

After adding a healthy glug of liquor to each of their mugs, Owen shoved a cup at Quill. He also put a plate of cookies from the batch that got baked on the table. “Here you go. Eat something so the alcohol doesn’t hit too hard.”

“Feels like I should be the one taking care of you,” Quill admitted after he’d had a few sips of tea, let the warmth and burn work past the tightness in his throat and chest.

“We can take care of each other,” Owen countered, pulling his chair close to Quill’s. “That’s what we’re here for, right?”

A few hours ago, Quill would have argued that being alone was the best way to cope with something like this—find a way to push through and on to the next day either with the aid of some strong drink or just a restless night spent replaying the events until sleep did its thing, softened the edges of the awfulness. But when Owen grabbed his hand, squeezed, and looked at him with such compassion in his eyes, Quill couldn’t find it in himself to pull away.

“Yeah,” he said, even as he knew that he shouldn’t let himself come to need Owen like this, to lean on him. He and Hattie had always tended to retreat to their own corners after a hard shift, and he prided himself on being a strong man. Sure, accidents like this affected him as they would anyone, but he’d always tried to handle those emotions on his own. Harsh memories of his father’s comments about men who showed their feelings didn’t help any, but lately all those memories, all the family drama, seemed more distant. Less sharp.

And funny how without that mantle of a painful past, his present seemed somehow more hopeful, old wounds and past fears no match for Owen. In fact, they’d been on the verge of another disagreement when Owen had dropped everything to come help. And now here he was, taking care of Quill yet again. Owen simply didn’t seem to have it in him to hold a grudge too long. Quill would be a fool to pull away now, even if he knew the next night like this, the inevitable one after Owen left, would hurt that much more. But that moment, all he wanted to do was hold Owen close, take every comfort he offered from Christmas lights to hot toddies to underdone gingerbread to that strong hand of his, holding on when Quill needed it most.

 

Blog Tour Exclusive Q&A:

Q: Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

AA: Both characters, Quill and Owen, are special to me for different reasons. Quill, my grumpy park ranger, is special to me because he’s a more mature hero, but he’s also unaware of the extent of his own loneliness. Giving Quill the HEA he deserves was immensely satisfying. Owen, my optimistic new volunteer assigned to Quill, is special because he represents a character that I’ve wanted to do for a long time—one who survived a major medical scare and now has a second lease on life and is determined to make the most of each day.

Q: What was the inspiration for the story?

AA: My amazing critique partner and best friend, Wendy Qualls, came to me with the idea of how in remote areas, park rangers are often snowed in together for months at a time. I loved the idea immediately, and we started brainstorming. I brought in a lot of my favorite tropes—opposites attract, age gap, close proximity, building friendship, adventure, working together, and more as the plot started to take shape for me. Then later, I came up with the idea of making it series set in Alaska, and worked that plot bunny into the series. Book Three seemed to fit best for this one, so that’s where it landed, but initially it was the first plot bunny, and everything else sprang from that one.

Q: What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

AA: Love finds us where we least expect it, but most need it. Neither Owen nor Quill expects to find the love of their lives when they’re snowed in together for an Alaskan winter, but love has a way of finding people when they need it most and of healing old wounds and giving fresh courage. I really wanted to show how love can provide the best fresh start of all, even when we stay in the same place we’ve always been or when we venture thousands of miles out of our comfort zone—love finds those who need it most.

Q: What is the significance of the title?

AA: ARCTIC HEAT is actually the coldest book in the series—tons and tons of snow and snowed in fun. The heat totally comes from the chemistry between the main characters!

Q: If you had to describe the main characters in three words, what would those three words be?

AA: As the story opens, Quill is grumpy, lonely, and loyal. He’s grumpy about being assigned a new volunteer, lonely from long hours alone and with his BFF now assigned elsewhere, and he’s loyal to his job. Meanwhile, Owen is optimistic, fun, and adventure seeking. He’s an optimist who survived a health scare and now is seeking fun and adventure in Alaska.

Meet Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #FrozenHearts, #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Connect with Annabeth:

Website: http://annabethalbert.com/

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/Nb9yv

Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Annabeth-Albert/e/B00LYFFAZK

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnabethAlbert

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annabethalbert

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabeth_albert/

Giveaway

Giveaway: 1 winner will receive paperback copies of ARCTIC SUN, ARCTIC WILD, and ARCTIC HEAT + a Swag Pack! Open Internationally, must be 18 to win.

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Release Blitz for His Convenient Husband by Robin Covington (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  His Convenient Husband

Series: Love and Sports, Book One

Author: Robin Covington

Publisher:  Entangled Publishing

Release Date: October 9, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50,000

Genre: Romance, marriage of convenience, interracial romance, sports romance, LGBTQ

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Synopsis

NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not.

Brash and loud, Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence.

Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary…until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe. . .marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.

Excerpt

Victor didn’t even think. If he had thought about it, he would have talked himself out of it, but his body took over, and before he knew it he’d pulled Isaiah into his arms. Nothing sexual, nothing calculated, just an embrace for a man who’d lost something precious and who’d carried the weight of his grief, and the grief of his son, on his shoulders.

Isaiah didn’t fight him, just melted against him, his large arms wrapping around Victor’s body as he allowed the moment to spool out naturally. Victor slowly released the breath he was holding, afraid that any sudden movement would spook Isaiah back into his previous arm’s length regimentation.

The house was quiet, soft music drifting out from the docking station, Evan’s muffled footfalls overhead as he undoubtedly chattered away with his best friend. He curbed his desire to make this more than it was, ignoring the voice in his head that whispered that this was what he always thought having a family would be like. A warm, safe home, children, and a man who loved him, and building a life together.

This wasn’t it, but it was as close to perfect as he was likely to get, so he’d take it. For as long as he could have it. They’d never discussed an end, but the natural end date was when he gained his citizenship. So, three years. Not long, but he’d take it, because Isaiah was quickly getting to him, taking up residence in the part of his heart he’d never thought would be filled.

Pathetic? He didn’t care. Victor was a romantic, something he had in common with Stephen. And look how Stephen had fallen. Victor didn’t have a chance.

The music switched, shifting down into a slower rhythm, not a Latin beat by any measure, but sultry. They began to move together. Victor didn’t make a conscious decision to dance, but it was the language that came most easily to him, and he responded to the natural sway of the embrace.

Isaiah followed his lead, the shuffle of their feet falling easily into a modified variation of the bachata. Limbs pressed against each other, muscles flexing as they moved slowly, finding their own pace. Victor sucked in a breath when Isaiah’s hands ran across the bare skin of his back, callouses dragging and igniting sparks of arousal in their wake. He made a sound, low but audible, and somewhere between a gasp and a moan, prompting his husband to pull back, eyes locked on his own.

Victor was relieved when he didn’t end the exquisite torture, but instead continued to maintain eye contact as they swayed together in the honey-glazed light of the kitchen. He was hard, sure that Isaiah could feel it through the thin material of his sweatpants, because he felt Isaiah’s erection through his dress pants. They shifted against each other, cocks aligning in a way that made the most of the lazy friction, sending ripples of pleasure over his skin and up his spine.

And then Isaiah pulled him closer, and Victor buried his face in the sweet dip of his shoulder, inhaling the scent of laundry detergent, cologne, and the intoxicating smell of his man. Isaiah’s hands dipped lower on his back, fingertips skimming the waistband, the occasional slip below the edge ratcheting his heartbeat up to the point where he knew it could be felt by the man holding him.

“So beautiful.” The words coasted across Victor’s skin, barely above a whisper. “Such a temptation.”

“I’m here for the taking,” Victor replied, his fingers coasting over the nape of Isaiah’s neck just to satisfy the urge to feel skin.

The moment was cloaked in madness, which was the only explanation for his mistake, and he knew it was the last thing he should have said when Isaiah went still, his fingers unconsciously digging into Victor’s hips.

They both pulled back, slowly, stubbled cheek against stubbled cheek, until their mouths were touching. Victor licked against his husband’s soft lips, begging for entrance and diving in when he was granted admission. Spice and sweet lemon and heat were everything in this kiss, more exploration than demand as they held on to each other and gave in.

The remains of dinner were around them, but this was another kind of hunger, and he’d waited too long to have it satisfied. Victor knew how good they could be together, and while he knew they would walk the razor’s edge between emotion and pure physical indulgence, he was willing to risk it. If he fell, then he’d embrace it.

But he knew he’d be falling alone.

Purchase

Entangled Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets. . .one page at a time. When she’s not writing she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans.

A 2016 RITA® Award finalist, Robin’s books have won the National Reader’s Choice and Golden Leaf Awards and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and the Book Seller’s Best.

She lives in Maryland with her handsome husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder (Yes – THE Joan Wilder)

Drop her a line at robin@robincovingtonromance.com – she always writes back.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | Instagram

 

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Blog Tour: Sex in C Major by Matthew J. Metzger (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Sex in C Major
Author: Matthew J. Metzger
Release Date: May 27th 2017
Genre: GLBT, BDSM, Interracial Romance

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Stefan has … fantasies.

He knows chasing those fantasies is only going to end in disaster, but he can’t seem to stop his self-destructive spiral. He’s a transgender man struggling to come to terms with the intersection of his identity and his sexual fantasies as a submissive. He needs someone to take control before he loses it completely.

Daz can take control. He can teach Stefan everything there is to know about sex and submission, but for some reason, he can’t get inside Stefan’s head. Daz can stop Stefan’s self-destruction but not the fear that fuels it.

Stefan needs to know who he is before he can accept what he is. And it’s Yannis — Daz’s aromantic, asexual, stern, and sarcastic partner — who has the answer.

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books | iBooks

Find Sex in C Major on Goodreads

EXCERPT

Other people wanted vanilla sex and dating out of a hookup in a gay bar. But Stefan wanted— this. He wanted to jump from nothing to Daz bending him over the end of the bed and fucking him like he was nothing but a sex doll.

What was he doing?

And yet he kept walking, step by step by step towards the house. A jogger had to go around him; a car hooted angrily as he walked out in front of it. He didn’t care. The house was calling. The man inside was calling. The promise of his fantasies becoming real was calling.

And it was terrifying and stupid and utterly crazy… but Stefan just couldn’t say no.

At exactly eight fifteen, the terror enough to make him throw up and the arousal so intense he could barely walk, Stefan knocked on the door.

Footsteps.

A key in a lock.

Then the door was jerked open, and a hand fisted in Stefan’s coat and hauled him inside.

“Upstairs,” Daz said, slamming the door. “Now. Nobody sees you.”

Stefan scrambled to obey, almost running up the stairs, still in his coat and shoes. He was shoved back into the small bedroom from the night before, and the door slammed behind them.

“Strip,” Daz said.

GIVEAWAY: Win ebook copies of Sex in C Major and What It Looks Like

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About the Author

Matthew

Matthew J. Metzger is a twenty-something British author of queer novels, primarily focusing on relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual or romantic. He was dragged up in London, but currently lives in West Yorkshire, where he carves out a living in an office crunching numbers before going home to write books at night. Matthew particularly writes working-class queer life, and queer people who exist outside of the standard M/M romance fare written by and for well-educated, middle-class sensibilities. There be nasty words ahead, children. Better buckle up.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Patreon

BLOG SCHEDULE:

May 27th: Alpha Book Club | My Fiction Nook | Hearts on Fire Reviews

May 28th: Nerd Girl Official | Boy Meets Boy Reviews

May 29th: The Novel Approach | A L Boyd

May 3oth: A M Leibowitz

May 31st: Happily Ever Chapter

June 1st: MJs Book Blog and Reviews

June 2nd: Bonkers about Books | Joyfully Jay

June 5th: Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter

June 6th: Making It Happen | Outrageous Heroes

June 7th: BFD Book Blog

June 8th: Triple A

June 9th: Love Bytes Reviews

June 12th: Stories That Make You Smile | Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

June 13th: Loving Without Limits | L M Brown

June 14th: All in One Place | Dawn’s Reading Nook

June 15th: Bayou Book Junkie

June 16th: Drops of Ink | Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!

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A MelanieM Review: Down and Dirty (Cole McGinnis #5) by Rhys Ford

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Down and DirtyFrom the moment former LAPD detective Bobby Dawson spots Ichiro Tokugawa, he knows the man is trouble. And not just because the much younger Japanese inker is hot, complicated, and pushes every one of Bobby’s buttons. No, Ichi is trouble because he’s Cole McGinnis’s younger brother and off-limits in every possible way. And Bobby knows that even before Cole threatens to kill him for looking Ichi’s way. But despite his gut telling him Ichi is bad news, Bobby can’t stop looking… or wanting.

Ichi was never one to play by the rules. Growing up in Japan as his father’s heir, he’d been bound by every rule imaginable until he had enough and walked away from everything to become his own man. Los Angeles was supposed to be a brief pitstop before he moved on, but after connecting with his American half-brothers, it looks like a good city to call home for a while—if it weren’t for Bobby Dawson.

Bobby is definitely a love-them-and-leave-them type, a philosophy Ichi whole-heartedly agrees with. Family was as much of a relationship as Ichi was looking for, but something about the gruff and handsome Bobby Dawson that makes Ichi want more.

Much, much more.

Ever read a book and fall completely in love with a secondary couple?  Then start wishing the author would write a book just for them?  All those wishes must have hit Rhys Ford pretty darn hard or filled up her email box because Down and Dirty is a reader’s wish come true.  I know its certainly mine.

Bobby Dawson was already a character that I loved to read about.  He’s complicated, intelligent, been bruised by his past and poor choices.  He’s flawed, he bleeds and I understand him.  Then Ichiro Tokugawa appears in the series, a new brother but bringing his own familiar heavy emotional baggage into the already seriously weighed down McGinnis family.  But there was something fresh about Ichi, something shiny (Rhys Ford’s descriptions have a way of making you feel and see the characters, not just read them). So I understood immediately why Bobby was pulled towards Ichi like a magpie towards a newly found sparkle.  The connection flows bothways and its powerful enough that others notice as well.

And start to interfere.  For the best of course.

I  loved this book for so many reasons.  One that might not first jump to mind is that I get a second look at many scenes from the other stories from a different perspective.  This time I see it from Bobby and Ichi’s point of view.  The scenes from the waiting room, the phone calls…the impact is heightened even though I know what has happened and what the outcome will be.  Why?  Because this  time I see the shock waves spreading out from the initial event (still no spoilers) , from person to person, something missing in the original story.  It magnifies the event and the emotional trauma not really looked at closely before. And given its due as it was here.

Bobby’s background, his family and his current actions were all finally explored.  Rhys Ford made Bobby a man at a juncture at his life.  His realistic look at where he stood, his past, how people thought about him, how he thought about himself, did he deserve a future…so well done and equally so moving.  If I hadn’t cared about Bobby before, I certainly would have now.

And the revelations continued with Ichi.  A phone call from his father in Japan sets off a tumbling set of disclosures about his family life in Japan, his  father, the reason Ichi left for his brothers and the States.  If we thought Jae’s family and culture were complicated, this glimpse into Ichi’s life gives us enough of a comparison to realize that our culture might be very simple by perspective.

So what happens when two bruised, complex men are drawn towards each other, no matter what their families want?  The hot, sexy and so satisfactory findings are spread out here in Down and Dirty.  I hope its not the only Bobby and Ichi book to come out of this series but if it is, I’m  content.  With just one more.

I love this book and adore this series.  Now you can also listen to it in audiobook, something I have just ventured into.  Now you have three  different ways to dive into this book and series.

Love a multicultural romance?  Love layered men with a raw authenticity about them?  Hot, sexy and real?  Look no further than Down and Dirty by Rhys Ford as well as the  entire Cole McGinnis series.  I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Cover art by Reece Notley.  The artist continues the series branding with the color tone and style but does a great job changing it up with the models and backdrop.  Love it.

*Review Note: We started the year with this book and we’ll end with it in December! A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Double Dip Review:  A Sammy Review: Down and Dirty by Rhys Ford January 2015

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published January 2nd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
Original TitleDown and Dirty
ISBN 1632166151 (ISBN13: 9781632166159)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesCole McGinnis #5
CharactersIchiro Tokugawa, Robert (Bobby) James Dawso

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Jeri Review: Thrown a Curve (The Rainbow League #2) by Kate McMurray

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Thrown A Curve coverMason made headlines when, after his professional baseball career was sidelined by an injury, he very publicly came out of the closet. Now he’s scratching the baseball itch playing in the Rainbow League while making his way through New York’s population of beefcakes, even though they all come up short. Plus, he’s still thinking about last summer’s encounter with hot, effeminate, pierced and tattooed Patrick—pretty much the opposite of the sort of man he has long pictured himself with.

Patrick hasn’t been able to forget Mason either, and now that baseball season is back upon them, he’s determined to have him again. Mason is unlike any man Patrick has ever been with before, and not just because he’s an ex-Yankee. All Patrick has to do is convince a reluctant Mason that their one night wasn’t just a crazy fluke and that they could be great together…if only Mason could get past his old hang-ups and his intolerant family.

I think this is my favorite of the three books in the series so far. Mostly because the trope was different.

Mason is an ex-Yankee who plays for the league after a career ending injury a few years ago. After the hero worship ended, he was just another one of the guys. And a plus to being retired is that he was able to come out of the closet.

Patrick is a “twink” who plays for another team, but hooked up with Mason at the end of the season. With the new season starting, he is hoping to meet up with him again.

Now, when I say it was different- it was, in that you see people struggle to come out of the closet. Or struggle to admit to family that they are gay. For Mason, it was to admit that his type of man is Patrick. The small, not really athletic, twink, who is gay and let’s everyone know it.

Patrick is out, loud and proud. He has a serious thing for Mason. But he will not be hidden. He has to convince Mason that it is ok to be with men like him. Mason is nervous though, he feels the only reason his mother and brother barely accept his homosexuality is because he isn’t one of “those” gays.

This book was very sweet and definitely a bit hot. There was another surprise in store for me, which I will let you read about. Just remember, don’t stereotype by looks.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson. I loved getting a look at Mason’s face on the cover of the book, which continues the urban feel with a very similar cover.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

book, 210 pages
Published June 19th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN139781632169709
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Rainbow League #2

Books in the Series:

A Mika Review: The Book of Ethan by Russell J. Sanders

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Rating: 4 star out of 5 stars

The Book of Ethan coverEthan Harker is the son of The Prophet, the stern, demanding leader of a small Southwestern polygamous community. Ethan has been groomed to one day take his place as the leader of this isolated cult.

But things happen that compel Ethan to flee his stifling community and find his way in the world beyond it. Totally out of his depth, he is sheltered by a remarkable group of people from a loving and accepting church. From them, he learns what family truly means and begins to construct a life free from the restrictions he’s grown up with. Little by little he dismisses the assumptions he was taught about the “evil” people in the outside world.

Amid all this, Ethan realizes something about himself when he meets rapper Kyan, a boy his age. Although he’s been brought up to fear and hate members of Kyan’s race, he can’t help falling in love with Kyan. Fueled by a new understanding and new friends, Ethan gains the strength and courage to conquer the confusing world he has been thrust into.

The book was not on my radar until my “Ethan” brought it to me. I had never read anything by this author so I didn’t know what to expect. I’m very curious about reading books pertaining religion tropes outside of Christianity. For me it’s nice to see how other people’s faith details how they will live their lives.

I think the author did a good job on Ethan’s questions involving the world. I don’t know any person that doesn’t have question about how the world works. I know from experience growing up in a Baptist church we were expected of certain things, and I had all these question about general people. It shows in the author’s writing his familiarity with curious. I’m not familiar with the Mormon religion, and I don’t know if what I’ve read is correct, but if it’s like this then someone needs to pray for the children involved. 

I loved Ethan, I didn’t see him standing up for himself. I did not see him standing up for other people or questioning folks.

I think the author did a very good job on Kyan. I seldom see African American YA male characters, but to see one who is not closeted, not scared to admit him being gay is amazing. What else is amazing is having a supportive mother like Kyan does. It brought tears to my eyes because she didn’t stop loving him because of that, she didn’t want him to rap. It seems silly seeing as this is present day, but her reasons are validated. I think this books shows courage, strength, and seeing good in people. 

If I had to find fault in the story it was my displeasure of the author having Kyan speak in constant slang or Ebonics. I will say, it turned me off in the beginning alot. I didn’t like it, still don’t like it, but it’s a part in the book Ethan mentions that he loves how Ky could turn off his street self, and turn on the son of a professor. I get it’s just a book, but I think we could have done without it.

I really enjoyed the diversity in this book. It had such a supporting cast, and I appreciated everyone in this book. I do love that it was such a positive note instead of the negative things like runaways, prostitution, or drugs something that could have easily happened to Ethan. It had sad moments but it’s life.  I will probably be on the look out for more from this author.

Cover art by Anne Caine. I liked this cover a lot, it showed the boys in the most simplistic view. I liked that we didn’t get to see a full picture of Ethan seeing as in the book he talked about vanity being a sin, and trying to not gauge his looks in the mirror often. I think they did a very good job on the cover.

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press (DPS YA Press) –  All Romance (ARe)  – Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 266 pages, also in paperback
Published April 23rd 2015 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN139781634760065
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.harmonyinkpress.com

A MelanieM Review: Palace Dog by R.E. Nelson

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Final--Palace DogIn April 1975, as the government in Saigon is falling, Michael Andrews prepares to make his way back to Vietnam to find the love he was forced to leave.  But the story and their love starts 4 years earlier when Michael joins the Air Force to get out of combat and Vietnam only to be sent there to teach English to the Vietnamese military for a program called Palace Dog.

As an artist,  Michael found life lonely and unsatisfying. In the midst of war, Michael searches for direction and meaning. He ultimately finds love and hope with Thao, a young Vietnamese art student, only to have their already uncertain future wrenched from them when he is pulled out of the country.

For Michael, his return in 1975 is inevitable and without question, though the outcome he hopes for is anything but assured.

Set against the background of the Vietnam war and the fall of Saigon, R. E. Nelson gives us a love story between an American soldier and Vietnamese artist that is deep in emotion,  and full of drama of the times as it is surrounded by personal and social complexities. Taking place across a four year span, the plot and author reveal an appreciation for the culture of Vietnam that is both rich in texture and deep on history in Palace Dog.

A first novel for Nelson, Palace Dog rarely falls into the traps laid out for other authors writing in historical fiction.  It helps that the author has traveled and lived in Vietnam (as well as other Middle Eastern and Asian countries) so he is intimately familiar with the sights and sounds and yes, aromas, that such foreign locals offer visitors.  And he writes the story in such a way that you feel like you are walking down those streets, along with Michael, for the first time, experiencing the vibrancy, smells, color, and action of a Saigon marketplace at its busiest.  The noise, the yelling which to Americans would seem as arguments which in turn is really a system of the daily haggling of seller and customer at play, the children begging in the streets along with the animals.  It feels so real that Michael’s uncertainty and fear is understandable, because we would feel that way too.  Also apparent, the separation between cultures and between the south Vietnamese soldiers living in disreputable conditions and the American military still trying to pull out a win.  The juxtaposition in cultures and their clash is everywhere and Nelson portrays it with a clarity and attention to detail both remarkable and telling.

Michael Andrews, quite wrongly, thought he could skip the whole Vietnam war experience by joining the Air Force, thinking it would all be over by the time he was through.  But as history tells us, Vietnam had a way of turning any military action by an enemy into failure, bogging it down by efficient guerrilla warfare and tactics that each nation (French, American…) who got involved was unprepared for.  We didn’t understand the territory and we didn’t understand the people and the cost to all was atrocious.

Michael and his group of teachers represent a variety of perspectives, in all their physicality, mental and emotion stability.  First there is Michael, a thoughtful man, more artist than soldier, who lands in Vietnam confused about his sexuality.  That he and his fellow teachers are offered women and men (the last quietly) as sexual partners and something more is not a reality Michael knows how to deal with.   It horrifies him as much as it intrigues him.  For his friend and fellow teacher, Randy, Saigon presents a whole new world to explore and he does so with a vigor and sense of adventure  at first admirable and then haunting as he falls in love with a local girl, an all too common situation back then.  From Danny’s perspective, he finds he has to grow up and make decisions about his future and theirs. And then there is Richard, a troubled man whose pain and anger at his confusion (at being in Vietnam and perhaps something more) makes him an emotional time bomb on legs.   How they handle their deployment to this cultured city breaking down under the constant bombardment and its casualties of war is as believable as every other aspect of this story.   It’s a wide spectrum of behaviors and people that represented Americans , abroad.

Now that I’ve dealt with the Americans, I want to say that I fell in love with the Vietnamese characters created by Nelson.  It feels right, from their facial features to the trappings of their houses, the culture described  by the author is rich yet fraying. Even the tight family bonds, as seen in Thao and Tuan’s family, are being destroyed by the sons lost in combat and an uncertain future as the Northern Vietnamese get closer to winning and taking with each day.  We start by meeting Tuan, a student of Michael’s who introduces him to his family, including his brother Thao.  It is a relationship that stutters as first, as the language barrier is high.  Nelson’s characters speak broken english as they would under these conditions.  While some readers might find that dialog tough to follow, I thought it gave the relationship and story an authentic feel.

It would be easy for a romance to get buried under the enormity of the situation of Saigon at the time, and it almost happens here.  But the restraint that Nelson shows in bringing along the relationship is needed.  Because it’s not just the cultural obstacles that have to be overcome but Michael has to come to grips with his sexuality, a much harder leap to make.  For Michael, sex with women has been uninspiring and frustrating.  Now in Saigon, temptation is everywhere.  And as he starts to explore his sexuality he also starts to realize his feelings for Thao go far beyond friendship.  As to Thao?  I will let those revelations fall as they will.

Palace Dog opens with Michael returning to Saigon to look for Thao and bring him to the US.  It’s a mission fraught with danger and his chances for success slight at best.  Saigon is about to fall.  The middle story happens in Spring 1971.  The ending once more returns for the last chapter of the war, for us and for Michael and Thao.  It is journey of heartbreak, a clash of cultures and love set against a historic background of war and geopolitical change.   Its rich and remarkable in its storytelling.

For anyone who remembers the scenes of people scrambling across rooftops to reach the last helicopters and planes taking off as the city falls, the anguish, desperation and sense of betrayal for those left behind felt as strong on those pages as it did  the day I watched it happen on the tv.   That Nelson was able to make this time in history come alive through a deep love and relationship between two men, Michael and Thao, is quite the achievement and makes this story one for all to read. Palace Dog is haunting, sometimes hard to read, emotionally compelling and its quiet joys will linger long time after you have finished their story.   Its one of my highly recommended reads.   And I will leave you with the images it brought back to mind as clear as the day they happened.

Fall of Saigon helicopterFall of South Saigon

 

 

 

 

The last helicopter out of Saigon.

Cover artist: Paul Richmond.  What a gorgeous portrait, perfect in everyway.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback   All Romance (ARe)  Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Expected publication: February 27th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632165381
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com

A Sammy Review: The Mechanical Chrysanthemums by Felicitas Ivey

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Mechanical Chrysanthemums coverHachisuka Narihiro is the nephew to the shogun and the squad leader of the Tokugawa Chrysanthemum, a group of men who run machines known as musha. He is also one of the few men who speaks not only his countries native language, but also English and Dutch. Perfect to help when it comes to gaining information from the impending Americans.

With the Americans comes as Pennsylvania Dutch man named Maarten Zook. Unlike the other Americans, he is courteous to cultural traditions and has a certain allure that Hiro just can’t seem to turn away. But it’s a volatile time in the country, and with tension between the Americans and Nippon, getting close to an American is dangerous.

He had fallen in love with Maarten, but Kiyoshi was right, it was a love as unreal and pure as the northern snow. They had treated one another as if they were made out of glass. It could have grown to the love men had for one another, aware, very aware of the lust and life that such a relationship would have.

This story mixes aspects of steampunk with alternative history. Being a fan of such things myself, I was excited to give it a try, and unfortunately it missed a few notes for me.

To be perfectly clear, the story is well written and I think the author had the start of some very good world building, but as is the case in many short stories, it was just not the right length to provide the story that the author was giving. Most of the story concerned the details of life in Nippon, as well as political problems that were occurring between two countries. The relationship was truly secondary, and oddly enough, it felt a bit out of place to me in the entire thing. I felt like I was reading about the problems between America and Nippon, not reading a romance between two men. There’s steam at the end, but beyond that, it’s really not what I would consider a romance.

In the end, it just wasn’t right for me, but it may be for someone else.

The cover art by Anne Cain is fitting for the story. There are elements of mechanical parts, a figure that is likely a musha, and of course two men. I do think that it could’ve used some more care when it comes to blending, but as far as fitting the story goes, it works.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press    All Romance      Amazon     Buy it here

Book Details:

ebook, 90 pages
Published January 14th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN139781632164933
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com

A Mika Review: Love Lies Bleeding by Remmy Duchene

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Rating: 3 star out of 5 stars

Love Lies Bleeding CoverWhen literature professor Anderson Williams arrives late to a father/son date to find his father dead, his world collapses around him. Now, not only is he mourning his father, but he’s scared for his life while trying to make sure his father’s face doesn’t become one of the thousands of cold cases in some dusty room. Then he meets NYPD officer, Leo Sung Kim, and he isn’t prepared for his body’s reaction to the cop. 

Leo Sung Kim’s seen horrible things as a cop. But the latest serial killer is worse than anything he’s encountered. To make things worse, he’s instantly in lust with Anderson which makes staying professional almost impossible. 

Even as Leo fights his emotions, the killer gets bolder. When the smoke clears, Leo could not only lose his heart but his life.

This actually wasn’t a mystery to me. I kind of figured out the “who dun it” right in the middle. It just made sense, no other person was interest or remotely interrogated. If you put aside the mystery. I kind of liked both guys being inexperienced with this level of passion with each other. Anderson was so focused on his career that he didn’t see Leo coming a mile away. Leo I think had settled in his mind that being a detective in a 2 bedroom apartment was all he was getting for the rest of his life.

These two met at the most inopportune time ever. It was hard seeing them fall in love with tragedy all around them. I think Anderson was very lucky to have Leo in his life fighting with him so he wouldn’t drown in despair. I think Leo needed Anderson in his life so he could see he actually did want the happy household and partnership. I do think it was cliché to pronounce they felt some sort of love about each other when one was sick in the hospital. I wish it could have been longer and I would have loved to see an epilogue about these two, and their respective best friends relationships as well.
Wilde City Press created this cover. Besides the flower which plays a major part in the story, I don’t really know who the guy is suppose to be. One guy is Asian, the other is African American. I think it would have looked better with both of those guys with the flower.

Sales Links:  Wilde City Press

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition
Published November 18th 2014 by Wilde City (first published January 2009)
original titleThe Orchid Murders

Previously published at Silver Publishing in 2009

A Mika Review: Captive To His Wonder by Remmy Duchene

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Captive to His Wonder coverShipped off to boarding school at a young age, Bradley Ellesbury Jr. lacked for nothing, except the love and approval of his father. Now with his father’s recent passing, Bradley feels the sting of disapproval one last time with the reading of the will. 

Forced to leave behind his glamorous Parisian lifestyle, Bradley returns to the small town of Foster Creek to do precisely what his father forbade—sell the ranch. Meeting the infuriating cowboy his father hired to run the place only makes him more determined to go against his father’s wishes. 

Too old to be playing mind games with twenty-something know-it-alls; Jace Cornielle stays only because he promised the old man. Somewhere between picking fights and making snarky comments, Jace and Bradley move from annoyance to attraction. Then Bradley learns losing the cowboy means he loses everything.

This was my first Remmy Duchene novel and I liked it a lot. I might be slightly biased because a character is name Jace just like my hubby, but oh well. I really liked this Jace though, with his kind heart, and temperament he was fine cowboy! Bradley on the other hand was a mess. He was such a QUEEN with an attitude from the beginning until the end. Yes, might have redeemed himself, but sometimes how he acted was totally unnecessary. I would have liked to known some more history on Bradley’s parents and their involvements. Most likely I could have seen the reasoning behind his ways. I mean, he just wasn’t spoiled, he was rude and mean for no reason. Sometimes he could be down right heartless, and in a split second be the sweetest thing walking.

I knew right off the back that Jace was going to win me over. He had the “grown man” attitude about himself. He was really awesome, even with the quick temper and nonchalant attitude about some folks. I do think it went from hatred to insta-love quickly especially the amount of blow ups the two had. I liked the flow of the story. You could see the chemistry between the two immediately. I didn’t like Bradley expecting to get everything his way. He needed to grow up quick. Honestly by the end of the book I don’t know if he grew up enough. Maybe he will realize being selfish isn’t going to help with Jace at all. I also loved the interracial relationship. I’d recommend this to cowboy lovers, enemies to lovers as well as people from opposite sides of life coming together to fall in love!

L.C. Chase created this cover. I really liked this cover, both guys were gorgeous, and you could see this happening while reading the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback       All Romance (ARe)   Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages
Published December 19th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1632164752 (ISBN13: 9781632164759)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttps://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5824