Monthly Archives: August 2015

Tigers on the Run (Book 3) by Sean Kennedy

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TigersontheRunBlurb

Young Australian Micah Johnson is the first AFL player to be out at the beginning of his career. Retired professional football player Declan Tyler mentors Micah, but he finds it difficult, as Micah is prone to making poor life choices that land him in trouble. Nothing Dec can’t handle. He’s been there, done that, more times than he’d like to admit. Being Simon Murray’s partner all these years has Dec quite experienced in long-suffering and mishaps.

As usual, Simon thinks everything is going along just fine until his assistant, Coby, tells him a secret involving an old nemesis. Simon and Dec’s problems mash together, and to solve them, they must undertake a thousand-kilometer round trip in which issues will have to be sorted out, apologies are finally given, and a runaway kid is retrieved and returned to his worried parents.

Review

We saw Simon and Declan move from cautious lovers to full on partners in books 1 and 2. We saw lots of drama in between. Without sounding too glib, book three is yet more drama – but, really – isn’t that just life?
What makes books like these fun is the jumping back into the lives of the characters that you fell in love with originally. Simon’s sarcastic self, Declan’s reserve. Then there are Fran and Roger and Lisa and Abe – catching up with them in their lives as well.

Unfortunately there is also Jasper – and he takes up a fair bit of the book with his shenanigans, too. But things are changing with Jasper, he makes a new “friend” in Coby, Simon’s assistant.

So, if you are a fan of the series you’ll want to check in on the guys and see what they’re up to. Maybe in the next book we might find ourselves invited to a wedding so that we can see Simon and Dec “destroy the sanctity of marriage”? ☺

Though I wish there’d been some more “romance” in this “romance” it was fun catching up with the gang. (There is next to nothing in the smexy department, much to my dismay!) But lots of affection and true love.

3.5 of 5 hearts

3.5

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Dumb Jock #1 Audiobook by Jeff Erno Narrated by Tommy O’Brien

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Bjocklurb

Dumb Jock: Book One

Jeff Irwin is short, timid, and studious. A bit of a social outcast, he lives quietly in the shadows of the popular kids at his school, his life ruled by his ever-present fear of rejection or failure.

Enter high school football hero Brett Willson and the chance for Jeff to embark upon the challenge of educating the world’s dumbest jock.

But what develops between Brett and Jeff proves far more challenging than any tutoring session. In 1983, rural Michigan isn’t ready to embrace love between two men, never mind two teenage boys. If they’re going to make a go of it, Jeff will have to come out of his shell—and Brett will have to prove he’s more than just a dumb jock.

Review

This is a YA book – so you can expect that this has a fairly predictable message – but it’s a sweet and good one. Nerd loves jock. Jock surprises nerd and loves him back. Everyone has to grow up and be brave.

To me this felt like there was a bit of “fantasy” type stuff in here – meaning – the people didn’t necessarily act like I think they would in real life. But… that being said – they could act that way… especially since this shows us only one perspective- Jeff’s and from his adult viewpoint looking back.

I appreciated the lengths the author went to really get inside Jeff’s head and let this story out as one of hope for all those bullied along in high school.  The ending was super, super sweet.  A nice touch after all the heart-wrenching angst.

There are some interesting components to this as a YA book. 1) Off page sex – both are underage and it fits, but it’s there. 2) a bit of a Dom/sub thing – not overworked or “inappropriate” per se – interesting setting for it, though.

Audio

Tommy O’Brien is not my favorite narrator but he did a nice job with the narration, neither really adding nor detracting from the overall experience.

I think my overall impression was one of “good”. It was good. It didn’t “wow” me or make me think “how awful”. It was good. Certainly enough to make me consider more from the series when I’m in a YA mood.

3 of 5 hearts

3

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Healed Hearts by Logan Meredith

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HealedHeartsBlurb

Even men afraid of donuts deserve a happy ending.

Second-grade teacher Seth Ray has experienced more than his fair share of heartbreak. On his own since his mother’s death, Seth remains burdened by frequent anxiety, which he manages by steadfastly avoiding anything that might set it off—including men whose names start with the letter J and donuts. Unfortunately, after a night with Jude Murphy, he encounters both and flees into the street.

Jude’s not your typical twenty-something-year-old gay man. The youngest of six boys, he desperately wants to start a family of his own. The puzzling morning-after with Seth reminds him why he doesn’t sleep around.

When Seth discovers the man he brushed off is the uncle of one his students, he’s compelled to smooth things over to save face, but Jude lays it on the line—he wants Seth, but he doesn’t do casual. The allure of the sexy redhead compels Seth to face an entire family of J names for a chance at happiness.

Review
Seth and Jude meet at a bar – only Seth thinks Jude is “David” and that makes all the difference.

Seth has had a run of bad luck with men whose names start with J and donuts. So he’s sworn off both – for life. When Jude shows up after a night of hot sex with a bag of donuts and the confession that his name is really Jude not David as he’d said, Seth runs away.

When Jude meets Seth again it’s as the uncle to one of Seth’s students. They realize they have an uncommon attraction and decide to give it some work.

Jude is a bit broken as well, though. He’s only ever had one relationship – period- and is kind of an “all or nothing guy”. The exact opposite of Seth.

They have their work cut out for them.

**

I really liked this book. It wasn’t afraid to let both guys be very messed up and to really work through both their issues in detail. At times it did drag a bit, and for that I think it’s a 4 not a 5 in my ranking, but all in all I enjoyed their work.

The smexy times were pretty hot and the feels were very authentic and felt right.

This is a new author to me and I will definitely look for more from her in the future.

4 of 5 hearts

4

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Shifting Chaos by Elizabeth Noble Tour

Shifting Chaos coverChaos reigns in The Sleepless City, and it’s really beginning to piss Detective Jonas Forge off. He’s got inner demons to battle and a life to build with his new soul mate, Blair Turner. Nothing is going right, and he already feels the universe is conspiring against him when a turn of events he never saw coming flips his world upside down.

Hallucinations grip the town and everyone in it, threatening to tear their precariously built family apart, and the only way forward is to bare all to each other. This means Declan and Blair need to learn to accept one another. Lucas Coate has to move forward without ties to his werewolf pack and live a monogamous life with Declan.

But while Forge and Declan confront horrors from their shared past, Simon learns a terrible truth about vampires—one he couldn’t have imagined in his worst nightmares.

Pages or Words: 73,000 words

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Excerpt:
“What happened?” Blair asked. He turned his head toward the back door. A second later Moose was running to the back of the house.
Jonas strode in, jerked his jacket off, and tossed it down beside Ben’s helmet, muttering as he went. He stopped and faced them. “Those fools have decided I must be head detective.”
Lucas came to a stop behind Jonas, grinning.
“Wait, you’ve been pissed off all day because you got a promotion?” Blair asked.
Ben lunged forward and threw his arms around Jonas’s neck. “Sweet as! We have to celebrate. It’s about time they recognized you like this. I think it’s crappy you haven’t been promoted until now.”
Jonas pulled in a breath and stepped back from Ben. “I thank you, but it’s a fucking disaster.”
“Another of the Council’s tricks,” Declan added.
“They can’t do this, can they?” Simon said and sat down abruptly on the couch. “That’s against the Council rules.”
“What’s wrong with all of you?” Ben turned in a circle, glaring at each of them in turn.
“I can’t be the head detective.” Jonas took a DVD from the shelf under the television and put it in the player. He grabbed the remote control, aimed, and pointed. “This”—he waved at the scene appearing on the TV—”is why I can’t have this job.”
An image of Stewie in relation to some incident that, by the looks of it, had happened a few years ago appeared on the screen. Underneath were the words “Flint, Ohio, Head Detective Stewart Belle,” and Stewie was speaking to a reporter.
“Oh crap,” Blair said. He and Ben stood side by side.
“Yes. Oh crap covers it nicely. The head detective must be a human, has always been a human. You know, someone who can be seen by a camera and is available during the full moon,” Jonas said. “Before Stewie there was some dick by the name of Felton, and before that we had the oh-so-delightful Smyth.”
Ben nudged Blair and waved one hand between Declan and Jonas. “Have you noticed that between the thief and the cop, the cop is the one with the problems with authority?”
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About the author:

Elizabeth Noble started telling stories before she actually knew how to write, and her family was very happy when she learned to put words on a page. Those words turned into fan fiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M romance fiction. Being able to share her works with Dreamspinner is really a dream come true. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural and a bit of an unnatural interest in a super-volcano in Wyoming.

Elizabeth has three grown children and is now happily owned by an adorable mixed breed canine princess named Rosie, and two cats, Murphy and Yeti. She lives in her native northeast Ohio, the perfect place for gardening, winter and summer sports (go Tribe!). When she’s not writing she’s working as a veterinary nurse, so don’t be surprised to see her men with a pet or three who are a very big part of their lives.

Two of Elizabeth’s books have received Honorable Mentions in the Rainbow Awards.

Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.noble.77
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-Noble/120757231345733
Twitter: @elizabethnoble1
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/elizabethnoble1/
Other: Google + https://plus.google.com/110207268360224371489/posts
Other: website http://www.elizabeth-noble.com
Other: Dreamspinner author page http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_423
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4781553.Elizabeth_Noble
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: TL Bland

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Marriage Most Convenient by Amberly Smith

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MarriageMostConvenientBlurb

No bank is going to give a nomadic thrill seeker a loan, even if Tom Flynn wants to develop and run a retreat for disabled kids. Good thing he’s finally old enough to pull from his trust fund. However, it would mean settling down—because accessing the money requires him to be married—so he asks his best friend, Luke, to marry him.

Luke Marten’s goal is simple: don’t go on one more crazy adventure with Tom. Knowing how successful he has been in the past, Luke has a backup plan: don’t fall in love. He’s a goner when Tom not only proposes but confesses to one seriously hot kink.

For their friendship to survive this marriage, they’ll need to face DOMA, conservative judges, and long-held beliefs about each other. Talk about getting caught by the short hairs.

Review

Tom and Luke have been friends forever. Tom is bi-sexual but Luke (who is gay) doesn’t know this. Tom’s been wandering the world doing a bit of this and that until his inheritance comes in at 35. He doesn’t realize he has to be married to get it. When he does he asks Luke to help him out.

Luke agrees to the plan – it really is for a good cause – and the two explore the feelings neither has let the other know.

**

So… I liked this. I did not love it. The writing style was such that I found myself having to read and re-read parts to get who was doing what and why. It just didn’t flow smoothly for me, even though there was no high-brow concepts or anything standing in my way.

On the one hand I appreciated that the writer was kind of going for a more “minimalist” approach and letting each word/phrase/sentence fill with more meaning as a result, but the effect left me a bit confused rather than intrigued.

Tom and Luke are both compelling characters and I wish we’d had more story to get more deeply immersed with them. I was a bit bewildered by the added drama of the friend and the almost divorce and the angst surrounding the land. I’d have thought there was enough to deal with as it stood with the gay marriage and the time line and the friends to lovers and the “I’m bi-sexual”, etcetera.

I also never quite got a handle on how Luke and Tom felt toward each other before the deal. There was tension and I’m not sure how Tom managed to hide his sexuality from his BFF for so long – or why – but in the end I was still happy they found each other and could achieve their dreams.

I rounded this up from 3 to 3.5 simply because I appreciated the effort the author took to give us something new and different in terms of writing styles and I hope to see more from her.

3.5

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Mythologically Torqued Volume 2 by Torquere Press Tour with Giveaway & Excerpt

RC
Pages or Words: 102,185 words

Excerpt:
That night Luis dreams for the first time in years.
His surroundings are a surreal clash between pub and coffee shop. The bar is one he frequents only when he craves the noise and companionship of a crowd instead of an empty studio. The coffee shop is where he sat only days ago, agreeing to take on his first commission in ages. The mix of locales is strangely chaotic, too many details going awry between them. Gray windows hang opposite the bar itself, reflected by a wide mirror along the back wall. Yellow light glints from the ceiling, painting the pub brighter than Luis has ever actually seen it.
The booth he occupies is plush, empty but for himself, and the cushions beneath and behind him are cracked with wear.
“Can I join you?” a coffee-smooth voice asks, and Luis raises his eyes to find absolute perfection smiling down at him.
He can’t answer. His voice has frozen in his throat.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” the man says, dropping into the booth across from Luis. Mischief glints in dark eyes, and Luis stares in helpless silence, taking in everything he’s been searching for in a thousand unsuccessful sketches. Sharp cheekbones cut across a narrow face, perfectly symmetrical and softened by a widening smile. The face is narrow, but the jaw is strong, the nose straight and broad and fitted perfectly to deceptively delicate features. There’s an uncanny smoothness to the brow where it slopes beneath dark curls, but the smoothness creases when sharp eyebrows rise in pointed amusement.
Generous lips quirk into an even wider smile, and the man asks, “See something you like?”
Luis tries to reply, but he’s still too floored. Even knowing this is a dream, he’s mortified with himself for gawping. It’s embarrassingly difficult to summon his voice and answer.
“You’re perfect.” He means to say more, but a grating alarm sounds, jarring him. When he blinks he’s not at the bar any longer, but at home in his own bed, early sunlight piercing between window curtains and the alarm clock a cacophony in his ears.
The grogginess of sleep vanishes in a rush of adrenaline, and Luis reaches for the sketchbook on his nightstand
from By Hand and Heart by Yolande Kleinn

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Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: BSClay
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Truth & Tenderness (Faith, Love & Devotion Book 6) by Tere Michaels

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Truth&TendernessBlurb

Newly promoted police captain Evan Cerelli takes command of his own precinct as Matt Haight’s security business begins to expand at a rapid rate. Both of their careers require more and more of their time—away from home and each other. When his most famous clients, Daisy and Bennett Ames, suffer a traumatic breakup, Matt is drawn into a dangerous and dramatic situation. With attentions diverted, Evan and Matt’s tight-knit home life begins to unravel.

As Griffin Drake’s movie nears final edit, his thoughts turn toward building a home with his new fiancé, Jim Shea—and maybe even starting a family. Before he can think of a new family, Jim is caught up in his past. The possibility of putting Tripp Ingersoll in jail once and for all beckons, and Jim wants the closure that has long eluded him. As a new lead spurs him on, Jim begins to lose sight of the future by chasing an old ghost.

Both couples struggle to remember that “happily ever after” requires hard work, trust, and tender, open hearts.

Review

Wow! Book 6! What a crazy ride it’s been!

Evan and Matt are still together raising the kids. Matt’s gone long hours with his security job on occasion, but Evan takes the cake in the absentee-partner race. His new job as police captain has him gone for 11+ hours a day and it’s starting to take a toll on the relationship. Evan sees that this is a pattern but doesn’t know what to do about it. Matt won’t take it lying down.

Griff and Jim are in a similar bind. Griff’s producing takes him away from Jim for long periods at a time, but his own priorities toward starting a family have him re-organizing things closer to home. Jim, however, is still stuck trying to solve “the one that got away” and it’s beginning to effect his home life and possibly his legal affairs, too.

Meanwhile, something terrible is going on between Daisy and Bennett and that will also have repercussions on the other couples.

In the end Griff and Jim finally do get married and….And of course Matt and Evan are happy again, but planning something secret… And Daisy and Bennett are working on things as well… So a big, fat HFN! A big lead in to the next book I think!

**

I have so, so enjoyed this series. I just love these guys so much. It’s great seeing them and being in their lives again.

This go around was a little too filled with unhappiness for me for me to count it among my favorites of the series. Very little time was spent with the couples happy or even together and there is very little steam in this book. Even the monumental event between Matt and Evan was kind of down-played to a side note.

When I go through a lot of angst with my MCs I like to see a pretty substantial happy time with them, for balance. In this book it feels like my “happy time” must be still coming in the next book in the series, because it really isn’t here – especially for Matt and Evan.

I don’t know what’s in store for them, but I really, really, really wanted Evan to quit his job. Boy it hit some buttons for me! Especially when Casper was being such a douche! So, I hope for everyone’s sake that the issue gets addressed in the next book, more satisfyingly.

But… that being said… it was nice catching up with the boys, and it was great finally closing that case… and the exciting new things in their future will be great to see in the next book.

3.5 of 5 hearts

3.5

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Into the Wind (Mermen of Ea Book 2) Audiobook by Shira Anthony Narrated by Michael Stellman

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IntoWindAUDMedBlurb

Mermen of Ea: Book Two

Since learning of his merman shifter heritage, Taren has begun building a life with Ian Dunaidh among the mainland Ea. But memories of his past life still haunt him, and as the threat of war with the hostile island merfolk looms ever closer, Taren fears he will lose Ian the same way he lost his beloved centuries before. Together they sail to the Gateway Islands in search of the fabled rune stone—a weapon of great power the Ea believe will protect them—and Odhrán, the pirate rumored to possess it.

After humans attack the Phantom, Taren finds himself washed up on an island, faced with a mysterious boy named Brynn who promises to lead him to Odhrán. But Taren isn’t sure if he can trust Brynn, and Odhrán is rumored to enslave Ea to protect his stronghold. Taren will have to put his life on the line to find his way back to Ian and attempt to recover the stone. Even if he does find it, his troubles are far from over: he and Ian are being stalked by an enemy who wants them dead at all costs.

Review

This is no book for the un-initiated! Though I feel you could read it as a standalone, I think you’d be confused and missing a lot!

Shira Anthony puts SO MUCH detail and description into these stories. Her most powerful weapon is her world-building. It is complete, full and gorgeous.

She is not afraid to give our guys their love story and then yank it from their feet a few times before letting them be happy, either.
From book one we know that Teran and Ian have a history far beyond this life-span. This story explores that history.

There are several new characters, Odhran being one – another pirate captain who shows Teran more about his past.

There is an epic – I mean EPIC – battle, some sadness and then some wonder.

If you are a fan of the series you won’t want to miss this installment and follow our Teran and Ian through their adventures.

Audio
Michael Stellman narrated book one and does another excellent job with book 2.  He has such a pleasing voice at a great pace with a knack for emotion.  He absolutely adds to the experience.

4.5 of 5 hearts

4.5

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