Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Selfie: A Bluewater Bay Novel by Amy Lane

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5        ★★★★★

Selfie_600x900Long term Amy Lane fans may remember how they felt after completing Chase in Shadow—devastated, gutted, and put back together in a better way than they were before that experience. Well, guess what? This one is even more heart-wrenching but it’s also heartwarming and full of hope. And there’s just the right amount of humor to balance out the grief and sadness.

As the story opens, Connor Montgomery has just done the selfie of all selfies—he’s made a one hour video and posted it on YouTube. And thank God, he forgot the sound. His agent/friend/mother-figure, Jillian, rushes to his side to try to restore a semblance of sanity to his life. One year ago, his lover of ten years, his soulmate, Vinnie, was killed in an auto accident, and Connor has been grieving alone in his Malibu home—the one next door to Vinnie’s—for the past year. No one knew they were lovers. Vinnie didn’t want his parents to find out, and after he was killed, Connor upheld his wishes, therefore he’s grieved alone while watching Vinnie’s family come and go next door. Neither young man had left a will so the entire contents of Vinnie’s home—memorabilia from their lives together—now belongs to Vinnie’s family. When Jilly gets to Connor, it’s evident that she too has been missing Vinnie and together the two spend much needed time grieving him together because “grieving alone had left us lost, but grieving together was just easier to do.”

Of course, he was going to melt down. Of course, he would be so wounded he wouldn’t be able to function. And yet, this wonderful, strong, sweet man survives, and when Jilly tells him of an offer from the Wolf’s Landing TV show, Connor sees it as a chance to live again. God knows, it’s about time.

The move turns out to be more than he could have hoped for, if he indeed dared to hope. Noah Dakers enters his life as chauffer, personal assistant, bodyguard, and ultimately lover. Noah has an advanced degree in philosophy but is perfectly happy working on the show in Bluewater Bay to stay close to his family. Noah immediately realizes that Connor needs to be taken in hand and given the support that Connor usually doles out to others. Noah sees behind the façade to the man who needs someone to take care of him, to bring him a measure of peace, and lead him back into the land of the living. Connor’s been walking around in a cloud of grief for so long that he doesn’t even realize he can have a satisfying sex life again. Connor craves Noah’s dominance, thinking “the only reason to put your pleasure in someone else’s hands—if you know they’ll use their hands to stroke that pleasure into ecstasy.”

What Noah doesn’t realize at first is that Connor speaks to Vinnie in his mind. He’s moved past the initial stage of shock and now runs everything past Vinnie, including his attraction to Noah. Never having had the closure of saying good-bye to Vinnie is wreaking havoc on Connor’s emotional state, a havoc which has unseen and potentially deadly consequences.

I loved both of these MCs and the whole host of secondary characters in this story, including Noah’s grandmother, father, and sister, Vivian, and Connor’s staunchest supporter, Jilly. Amy Lane doesn’t just provide a sketch of a character—she nails it with carefully selected words and phrases that paint a picture in the reader’s imagination. Providing us with a visit with some of the other Wolf’s Landing characters like Carter and Levi was simply icing on the cake, but greatly appreciated.

There’s both pathos and humor, and in typical Amy Lane fashion, the humor is often in the obvious details of daily living such as when an actor has his cameraman lying before him taking a shot as the camera looks upward, and the actor has to assure he clipped his nose hairs and blew so that nobody sees his boogers on camera! Gawd, I love this author’s work—some more than others—and this one is right up there among my all-time favorites.

This story brought tears to my eyes but I didn’t sob. It’s simply a beautiful love story—both of the lost love and the new—and the hope it generates wipes out any sad tears and turns them to tears of joy. I highly recommend this to all who love MM romance, especially to those who enjoy recovery from grief and/or hurt-comfort with a little D/s thrown in. It certainly can be read as a standalone, as can all stories in the Bluewater Bay universe, but if you haven’t read any others in this series, by all means start now with Starstruck by L.A. Witt, the first of many wonderful books in this world.

~~~~~

Cover art by L.C. Chase depicts Connor standing on the shore overlooking an island in the sound, an island that figures prominently in the story, thereby making the cover perfect for this book.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published April 16th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
ASIN B01EED4QK8
Edition Language English

In the Spotlight: Finding His Home (Men of Falcon Pointe #2) by Thianna Durston (excerpt and giveaway

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Finding His Home (Men of Falcon Pointe #2) by Thianna Durston
Release Date: February 26, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Blurb

Sebastien Cather moves to Falcon Pointe with a dream to live life his way. Offered a room at 959 Brenton Street, he discovers how liberating it can feel to live among accepting people, especially in a household where they practice loving physical discipline. And he quickly gains a boyfriend in Avery, a fellow student. Unfortunately Avery isn’t his first choice. His roommate David is fascinating and good-looking, and Bastien would do anything to have him—but he doesn’t think the attraction is returned.

Tensions rise as his roommates’ wedding is threatened and his present and past lives clash. Outed by the national media, Bastien knows he will never be able to return home again. Just as he’s sure he can’t handle any more stress, David shows his interest. Bastien slowly makes his way forward, trying to find firm footing in the minefield that is his life. But when his landlord makes an announcement about the future of the house, it may change all of his dreams.

 

Pages or Words: 205 pages
Can be read as a standalone
Categories: BDSM, Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

 

Excerpt

“Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“I know you say you’re straight. Ever wondered if you weren’t?” The moment the words were out of his mouth, he wished he could bite them back. “No. That came out wrong. What I meant was—” David lifted a hand to forestall whatever he was going to say. Which was a good thing because Bastien had no idea what was about to pour out of his mouth.

“I don’t think anyone is completely het or homosexual. Kinsey made a scale to place someone as to their sexual preference. Of course that was before more genders became acceptable. The chart’s divided into seven possibilities—everything from completely straight to completely gay. It’s my personal belief that we all slide along the scale. At different times in our lives, we may move one or two spots to the left or right. Some have been known to slide from one side to the other.” He shrugged. “In college I was a lot more experimental than I am today. I’ve been with men as well as women. For me it has more to do with the person than the sex they are.”

“What do you mean?”

“Some call it pansexual. But I don’t use the term because people tend to think of it as bisexual. And it’s not.” He paused a moment to take a drink of water. “For me… my sex drive is tied more to the person than their sex. Sure. I notice if the person is male or female or queer, but it’s the person inside who jogs my interest. Intelligence turns me on. I’ll admit I’ve dated women exclusively since I graduated law school, and I was engaged to a wonderful woman for several years. But that had more to do with the fact I did not want my sexuality to affect any job offers I might get. Being intersex and finding a partner who I find exciting both mentally and physically is a challenge. Because at some point, I have to explain that my body is a bit different.”

“You’ve been rejected.” It was as clear as day.

“Yep. Women who were horrified I had a vagina and men who were disgusted at the same thing.” David shook his head and grinned ruefully. “Strange, huh? That the side that bothers both sexes is the female part?”

“That seems kind of stupid,” Bastien said. “I mean, if you care for someone, why should that extra be a problem?” Of course until a couple nights before, he had never found himself attracted to anything having to do with the female body. Until he imagined it right next to a dick.

Buy the book

Dreamspinner eBook |  Dreamspinner Paperback

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Meet the Author

Thianna Durston is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?

She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, The Hat Party, BFD Book Blog, Bonkers About Books, Boys on the Brink Reviews, Divine Magazine, Bayou Book Junkie, Jessie G. Books, My Fiction Nook, Open Skye Book Reviews, Happily Ever Chapter, A.M. Leibowitz, Full Moon Dreaming, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Unquietly Me, Book Lovers 4Ever, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Andrew Q. Gordon, Alpha Book Club, Nephy Hart, Havan Fellows, Mikky’s World of Books, Inked Rainbow Reads, Molly Lolly, Let’s Get Ready To Romance, Emotion In Motion, Velvet Panic

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Giveaway

Enter to win.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and  prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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A Free Dreamer Review: The Demon You Know by Barbara Elsborg

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

the Demon You know coverA good demon?

Ezra is a timekeeper in Hell, responsible for building and maintaining the clocks that tick away eternal torment. He’s never believed he deserves to be in Hell, and when the reason he’s there is revealed, he’s horrified…yet filled with hope. But is this just another form of torture? When Ezra’s given a chance to go to the surface, he’s determined to uncover the truth, but his fellow demons seem just as determined he won’t survive the journey.

A bad angel?

Roman doesn’t understand why an angel who failed his training the first time round has been given the job of policing paranormals in the UK’s capital city. He’s consumed by unhappiness. He might not be in Hell, but sometimes it damn well feels like it.

When Roman meets Ezra his failings come back to haunt him. Ezra makes him want to break the rules, but an angel protecting a demon? Discovery would bring an eternity of suffering, and with a boss none other than the archangel Michael, it’ll take more than a miracle for the lovers to stand together.

Let me start off by saying that while this is part 3 of a series, it works perfectly fine as a stand alone. I didn’t even read the blurbs of the two other books before starting this one and I had absolutely no trouble understanding what’s going on.

You should also be aware that this is a pretty dark book. There’s rape, there’s dub-con, there’s violence and there’s depression and potentially suicidal thoughts. If that’s not your kind of thing, back away slowly.

So, there’s Ezra, sweet, gentle, good Ezra. He lives in Hell but has no idea why. Usually you have to be at least 16 before you’re sent to Hell. But not Ezra, who was apparently born in Hell. He works as a timekeeper, making sure the countless clocks that are part of the eternal torment of the demons are in working order. He’s different from the other demon. For one, he’s far smaller than even the females and he looks unusually normal. That makes him a prime victim to the other demons, who delight in making his life miserable. He was also chosen as one of a handful of demons to go to the surface and corrupt humans for a week. But Ezra has other plans: He wants to run, to hide, to never go back down to Hell again. He wants to see snow, see clouds and for once in his life to experience what it means to be cold.

Then there’s Roman, the jaded head of supernatural London, who makes sure the other supernatural beings (vampires, werewolves, faeries, gargoyles) stick to the rules and remain undiscovered. He’s an angel, but not a very good one. Angels are supposed to be free of sin, yet he always lusts after other men. He’s very unhappy with his life. Maybe not exactly suicidal, but definitely close. He doesn’t care too much about whether he’s dead or alive one way or another.

Of course Roman is part of the team that has to catch the demons before they can do any serious harm. When Ezra and Roman meet, it’s lust at first sight. But why can’t Roman sense Ezra’s a demon? And how can an angel and a demon ever have a HEA?

For the most part, I enjoyed this book.

I liked both Roman and Ezra from the beginning. They were nice guys. Though in Ezra’s case, I’d have to say he was too nice. He was so very sweet and kind, even though he’s only ever known sorrow and pain. He’s been raped countless times, yet he’s all too happy to have a sexual relationship with Roman. The past abuse seems to have no effect on him whatsoever, except that he’s kind of sad and occasionally flinches back when Roman makes a sudden move. That’s something I definitely don’t like. If you’re going to include traumatizing events such as rape and abuse, make sure your character actually is traumatized. Rape doesn’t make you go all sweet and submissive and happy to be of help to strangers. Though I did like the way he acted otherwise, he was funny and witty and had an interesting story to tell.

Roman is jaded through and through. He’s hurt, he’s lonely and he hates his life. It’s a little hard to understand just why he is so miserable in the beginning, but I promise there is an explanation eventually. I thought he was far more realistic that Ezra.

Since the two of them fall in instant lust, there’s plenty of sex. Almost too much, really, even if it is very hot. A little less sex and a little more world and character building would definitely have helped me really like this story though.

I’m generally none too fond of insta-love/lust and “The Demon You Know” was no exception. I get that they found each other attractive from the very beginning, so I understand all the sex they had, even at the most inappropriate moments. What I had a hard time understanding though was what made them fall in love with each other. It’s understandable that Ezra falls for the first person to have ever treated him kindly. But I have absolutely no idea what made Roman return those feelings. They barely knew each other. They only spent a few hours together, really. And why would Roman risk everything for a demon, when he knows it will only be trouble and that Ezra must have done something truly awful to be sent to hell?

Usually, I avoid books about angels, simply because there tends to be a strong element of religion and belief present most of the time. Being an atheist, this tends to bore or annoy me easily. “The Demon You Know” had very little religion and belief for the most part. Sure, there was a bit of talk about God and the devil, and about the Seven Deadly Sins, but for the most part, it just focused on the two MCs. I liked that.

To sum it up, “The Demon You Know” is a quick, hot read, without a lot of depth. With more depth, this could have easily been a truly great story. As it is, I had fun and I finished it within two days. If you don’t mind the darkness of this and are willing to suspend your disbelief for a bit, you’ll most likely enjoy this too.

And I’ll definitely take a look at the previous book, Bloodline, which is about two of the minor characters in this book.

Fiona Jade’s cover is just wow. Breathtakingly beautiful. I think it matches the story well, you can see Roman’s anguish and the flames from hell licking at the bottom of the cover and his wings show Ezra’s influence. The background shows various famous sights in London, so it does not only reflect the protagonists but also the setting. It’s one of the most beautiful covers out there, one that I’d love to have in my physical bookshelf.

Sales: Loose Id LLC  |  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 233 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Loose Id LLC (first published April 27th 2015)