Monthly Archives: January 2017

They Walk Among Us by T.A. Chase

✨Reviewed by Michele✨

Title: They Walk Among Us

Author: T.A. Chase

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Blurb: Zach Harleigh was a baby when the aliens arrived. He doesn’t remember much about those months, except his parents fighting and his dad leaving. He father died, destroying the aliens, and his mother died when Zach graduated from medical school. He’s alone in the world and working hard to get his career going leaves no time for any kind of relationship.

One night, a beautiful man is brought into the ER. Raven Sanderson has been severely beaten and seems unsocialized. Raven and Zach hit it off when Zach takes over his care. Raven can’t speak but writes notes to Zach, letting him know the man is in the city looking for his sister.

Zach agrees to help Raven and discovers a world he never knew existed. A world full of alien creatures that can read minds and heal with a simple touch. He realizes there is more to the world around him, and the aliens he thought were destroyed weren’t. Their offspring walk among us.

REVIEW: I was hooked by this compelling story from the very first page. T.A. Chase has written a slightly sarcastic, thinly veiled ironic tale that brilliantly paints a picture of humanity at both its very worst and its very best. Just when I thought I knew who were the villains, and who were the heroes…BAM! Everything was turned upside down. The love between Raven and Zach was so strong that absolutely nothing could stand in its way. If you want an action packed story that will keep you guessing until the very end, then this book more than fits the bill.

 

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Amazon.

Pride Publishing

Vanya Says Go by Wayne Goodman -Blog Tour with Excerpt and #Giveaway

In 1906, Mikhail Kuzmin published “Wings,” the first book in Russian to discuss same-sex relationships in a positive light. With “Vanya Says, ‘Go!,’” Wayne Goodman retells the story from the perspective of the young man at the heart of the tale. The original work contained only three sections, but a fourth has been added to round out the story and provide some closure.
Kuzmin was one of the most celebrated poets of his time, the Silver Age of Russian Poetry. While his poems were quite successful, his somewhat-autobiographical novel “Wings” met with skepticism and criticism. Kuzmin used many constructs from poetry (characters who appear all too briefly with no second mention, plot jumps with little connecting material, long-winded orations); however, his descriptions of scenery are exquisite, and the dialogue is quirky and colorful. “Vanya Says, ‘Go!'” is crafted for the modern reader while keeping much of the original Russian style. It is a window into a time and places long gone. The story is narrated by the main character, who at 16 years of age is dealing with being an orphan foisted off on friends of distant relatives and attempting to acquaint himself with his sexual orientation while also discovering various religious and philosophical frameworks.

“An exemplary study in classic Russian literary charm… with a choice cast of picaresque characters. Goodman draws the reader into the desperate historical moment of pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg, and artfully stages Vanya’s gay yearnings against its fast-moving currents.” — Edmund Zagorin

“The author accurately evokes a long-lost Russia through his marvelous characters and descriptions… the underlying commentary on the decaying social order, and the romance of that forgotten time period.” — Andrew Demcak

“Set in Old Russia… this is an interesting, fact-based story of an orphaned gay youth and his attempt to find himself, his own opinions, and love.” — Daniel Curzon

  • Goodreads
  • Purchase:
  • Amazon US | Amazon UK | SmashwordsWatch Wayne Goodman read from Vanya Says “Go!” on Facebook

     

    EXCERPT
    A few days later the Kazanskys occupied their usual positions around the dining room at breakfast. Nata, Boba, and Koka sat in the alcove, Kostya and Anna at the table. When I walked into the room, no one paid me any attention. I just wanted a few slices of their stale, dark bread, some of their foul-smelling, oily butter, and a small cup of their nasty coffee.
    Just as I reached for the butter knife, Konstantin Vasilyevich sputtered, “What’s this?” He set down the newspaper that had been obscuring his unshaven face. “Listen, everyone. Listen to this.”
    Nata, Boba, and Koka stopped stirring their coffees, Anna Nikolayevna looked at her husband, and I dropped the knife back onto the dish with a clunk!
    “Mysterious suicide,” Kostya read to us, “Yesterday, in Furshtadtskaya Street, at the apartment of an English citizen, L.D. Stroop, a suicide.”
    My heart stopped. I had heard that stupid expression before, thinking it silly because no one’s heart could stop without an impending death. However, at that moment, I fully understood the feeling and the meaning of the words. Had my Stroop taken his own life? He had sounded very upset about some situation, but I couldn’t believe he would kill himself. At least not before seeing me one last time.

    Giveaway: Win a SIGNED paperback of Vanya Says, “Go!”

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    About the Author
    Wayne Goodman has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of his life (with too many cats). When not writing, he enjoys playing Gilded Age parlor music on the piano, with an emphasis on women, gay, and Black composers.

    Links: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Max Vos POW Blog Tour with Excerpt

After being taken prisoner by a Taliban Warlord, can Sam Stone hold on long enough to get his best friend back to his family and find love in the arms of Abbas, the handsome, blue-eyed Arab?
Sam has secretly been in love with is best friend and fellow Marine, Benoit, for quite some time and would not hesitate to die for him.
The macho Marine, Benoit, is shaken to his very core when he and his best friend are taken prisoners and made to do things that he would never have done, especially with Sam, who he knew had feelings for him.
Abbas tries everything to gain his families freedom when an unexpected man comes into his life that he starts having deep feelings for almost immediately.
Sam Stone has been secretly in love with his best friend and fellow Marine, Benoit, for a long time. It’s only after they were captured by a Taliban Warlord that he realizes that he would readily give his life to get Benoit back to his family. But it is Abbas, the Westernized Arab who steals his heart and helps Sam and Benoit regain their freedom. Now Sam has to learn to find true love and help heal not only himself, but the two men he loves deeply.

Warning: This book contains material that may be offensive to some: graphic language, military
situations, P.O.W scenes, adult situations and other situations only meant for an adult audience. 
EXCERPT:
“Mayday, Mayday, Black Hammer is hit; I repeat: Mayday, Black Hammer is hit. We’re going down.” Bucky’s voice may have seemed calm to an outsider, but those who knew him understood he was anything but calm. “Mayday, Mayday. Black Hammer’s current location: thirty-three Lat by seventy Long. Repeat. Mayday, Mayday.” Bucky choked out as the cabin of the helicopter quickly filled with smoke.
Samuel J. Stone looked at the other five members of his team. “Fuck,” he mumbled, wondering if perhaps they weren’t going to make it out of this one. He yelled at his best friend Benoit. “After all the fucked-up shit we’ve been through, I’m not gonna fucking die splattered on the side of some mountain in this hellhole.”
“Vasquez, get that damn door open,” Stone yelled across the cabin to the other Marine.
“Gettin’ it, Stone,” Vasquez answered his lieutenant.
Stone opened the opposite door, letting some of the thick smoke billow out of the burning helicopter. He and his fellow Marine, Benoit, looked out the open door. They could tell they were going down fast.
“We’re still too high to jump,” Stone yelled at the others trapped in the flaming bird.
“If there was anywhere to fucking jump to,” Benoit yelled back.
Even with both side doors open, the cold winter wind whipping through the cabin, the acrid black smoke continued to surge in, making their eyes burn, their chests constrict with the lack of breathable air. There was a bitter taste in Stone’s mouth from inhaling the foulness of burning rubber and jet fuel.
Using hand signals to keep from yelling to be heard, Stone motioned for Vasquez and the two others to use the door they had just opened to escape through, while he and Benoit and the new kid, Saundersen, would use the one opposite.
The high-pitched scream of the rotor motor was loud enough to pierce the ear-protection headphones, making it nearly impossible to speak. Each man could barely hear Bucky still calling out a Mayday over the radio, through the headsets.

BUY LINKS:
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZ64B0L
iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/p.-o.-w./id1191599631?mt=11
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/693806
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?Query=P.%20O.%20W.%20(Max%20Vos)&ac=1&acp=Max%20Vos&ac.title=P.%20O.%20W.&ac.author=Max%20Vos
Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/powmaxvos/1117192098?ean=2940153941387

BIO:
Max Vos is a classically trained chef with over 30 years of food service experience. After retiring in 2011, Max found himself with time on his hands and was urged to turn his talents to writing. ‘Cooking English’, a short story, now part of his anthology collection, Inappropriate Roads, is now available. My Hero was his first novel, which turned into an international best seller. Max now has a total of six completed novels, which are listed on his website, along with the entire Memories Series. My Hero: The Olympian, the sequel to My Hero was released late last year.
LINKS:
http://www.maxvos.com/

http://max-vos.tumblr.com/

http://max-vos.blogspot.com/

https://www.instagram.com/max.vos_author/

GIVEAWAY:
Grand prize: $20 Dollar Amazon GC and a Ecopy of P.O.W. by Max Vos
Second prize: The Complete Memories Series ( 5 ebooks) by Max Vos
Third prize: Two Backlist Titles by Max Vos

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My Hero
My Hero: The Olympian
The V Unit
P.O.W
Inappropriate Roads
Going Home

Memories Series
A Christmas Memory
A Christmas Memory 2
A Christmas Memory 3: Home Sweet Home
A Valentine’s Memory
A Spring Break Memory

Available in French
Souvenirs-de-Noël
Mon Héros
Hawk ‘n’ Harley
Unite V
Rentrer a la Maison

Available in Italian
Il Mio Eroe
Andare a Casa
:

The Moonling Prince by Wendy Rathbone

Tahir is an empath and a healer. He has lived his whole life at the Onyx Temple. When the king from the Realm of the September Stars seeks his help, Tahir leaves his own world behind to answer the plea.

Arulu is the crown prince of the September Stars, but he cannot serve. For twenty years he has suffered crippling pain, the side-effect of a splinter-bomb attack from unknown origins that destroyed the Realm’s home world, Lyric Prime.

For two decades no one has been able to ease the prince’s suffering, until Tahir arrives. But nothing is ever easy. Haunted by ghosts and riddled with mistrust, Arulu is no normal patient

Can Tahir ever hope to earn Arulu’s trust?

Will Arulu survive the aftermath and grief of the healing process?

Love is the master of healing, but for Tahir and Arulu it is not an easy road.

Get it from Amazon 

 

Kimi’s thoughts:

Wendy Rathbone has woven a complex future society where empaths are highly sought after, having had their gifts trained in order to heal. Tahir receives the urgent call from the king of the September Stars system and accepts the king’s request. The tension felt by Tahir builds and it’s no wonder- decades before an unknown enemy decimated the homeworld of that system and they withdrew behind an impenetrable force field. 

The descriptions are gorgeous, just enough futuristic details to build the setting and further the plot but without alienating the reader by having them try to keep track of the unfamiliar. If it wasn’t for the nature of the attack and Arulu’s injury, nor the dependence of the September Stars on the starship technology that they sold in trade, one ould almost think they were reading an alternative world fantasy of some description. Indeed, the story is a lovely blending of the two genres, with metaphysical truths coming into play. 

 

The relationship between Arulu and Tahir is not one occurs instantly. I quite enjoyed watching the two men circle around each other warily, while Tahir himself questions his own ethics. It was a story that immersed me thoroughly from the very first page and I will admit to reading it in one sitting and then grabbing the next book immediately after, then hoping for a third. 

Rating: 5

Love’s Tethered Heart by C.L. Etta

 

From Dreamspinner:

Two years ago Mick and his partner suffered a savage gay bashing that left Mick a quadriplegic-and ended his dreams of traveling the world as an archaeologist. Abandoned by the man he loved, he lives in isolation, tethered to his bed by the machines keeping him alive,with only his caretakers and immediate family as companions.

Assigned to interview Mick and uncover the story behind his assault and his refusal to identify his attackers, journalist Danny is unprepared for his reaction to the fragile enigmatic man. Mick is afraid to let Danny into his life, and Danny is unsure how to change his mind. Mick is also keeping secrets, and he isn’t the only one. Danny is determined to protect Mick, and he’s determined to show Mick that their feelings for each other can thrive amidst the mechanics of Mick’s existence.

If you enjoy romantic tales of heartbreak turned to hope, the life-affirming story of Danny and Mick will make you believe in the possibility of love for everyone-no matter what obstacles they face.

REVIEW: This awesome, amazing, compelling, and fantastic book is one that had me crying until my eyes were red, and laughing until I choked.

Mico has got to be one of the bravest, engaging, and strongest individuals I’ve ever read about. He came out of a situation that would have left many others shattered into pieces. With the help of his friends, family, and caregivers, he’s living his life the best that he can.

Ah, Danny! I can’t help but love and admire him. He’s passionate, loyal, stubborn, determined, and sees Mico as an individual with hopes, dreams, fears, and flaws, not just a lump of flesh attached to the machines that keep him alive. My heart broke into a million pieces when Mick left Danny right after declaring his love for Danny, but the ending took me by surprise. The last paragraph of the blurb sums this wonderful book up perfectly, and I DEFINITELY recommend it to everyone.

 

Rating: amazing

King’s Lament by Lilia Blanc

Betrayed by his advisers, only the love of two mysterious men can rescue Inea and save his kingdom.

After the death of his father, Inea finds himself the unprepared king of a country at war. When his council forsakes him, and he’s thrown into the dungeons of his own castle, the young man manages to escape only with the help of the intriguing stranger Ansyn.

After one year in hiding, Inea, driven by desire, seeks out Ansyn and discovers that there is more to his savior than he could have ever hoped for. Joined by their new ally Kaedon, passions build, and they find themselves in a romance that helps fuel their plan to reclaim the throne.

REVIEW: After checking out the blurb I was really looking forward to reading this book. It started out with some nail-biting action, then the hero was wandering the countryside looking to build an army to reclaim his throne. Sounds exciting, right? Wrong. Most of the book was about Inea and crew on their quest, and all of the characters, especially Ansyn, acted like a bunch of immature, spoiled, and just plain whiny brats! The exciting, action-packed battle at the end of the story ALMOST made up for slogging through the book, but not enough. I really enjoyed reading about the world built by this author. I just wish the inhabitants had been as interesting. This book might be a good story to some, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Rating: 3

Get it from Amazon

 

Stallions and Ice by Stephanie Hecht

                Review by Michelle

TITLE: Stallions and Ice

SERIES: Unconventional in Kansas City Anthology 

AUTHOR: Stephanie Hecht

PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing

RELEASE DATE: January17, 2017

BLURB: Part of the Unconventional in Kansas City anthology!

Sometimes you have to climb a mountain to see the future.

While Brandon loves to go and watch his friend, Nichole, at the American Royal every year, there is no way that he is ever going to climb on a horse. His feet belong on the ground or the ice. As one the of the players of the local minor league team, the Wichita Thunder, all he dreams about is someday moving up to the major leagues. That is, until he meets Nichole’s brother, Ethan.

Ethan grew up in a family that has always been in the rodeo circuit. There was no question that he was ever going to be anything else…until he’s sidelined by seizures and can no longer ride. Then he meets Brandon and he begins to wonder whether maybe, just maybe, his life isn’t over.

Will decades of tradition tear the men apart? Or can they can overcome all their obstacles and be together?

REVIEW: I have to admit that because this book was so short my expectations were very limited. I was sure I would not be able to connect with the characters. I mean how could you when the book is barely over 50 pages. Well, I’m happy to say I was wrong.

Brandon, a goalie on a hockey team, goes to see his best girlfriend compete at the Rodeo. Of course since Brandon is gay it’s no hardship for him to be around all those cowboys. He meets up with his friend Nichole, who comes from a large family of rodeo competitors. All of her siblings compete until recently. Some type of unknown illness is preventing the youngest, Ethan, from riding. The minute Brandon and Ethan meet sparks fly. The attraction between the two young men is mutual and instantaneous.

I immediately fell in love with Ethan. He’s so sweet and cute, but he’s not the most confident after the breakup from his last boyfriend. Now, he can’t compete due to his illness.This is a quick story that is easily read in one siting. The story immediately drew me in and it turned out to be an endearing read. I can easily say that I wish there had been more to their story. I really enjoyed it!.

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟.5

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Pride Publishing 

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Gaining Trust (Kiss of Leather) Morticia Knight

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Gaining Trust

SERIES: Kiss of Leather

AUTHOR: Morticia Knight

PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing

RELEASE DATE: January 24, 2017

BLURB: Chuck isn’t sure what he needs and Master Jordan can’t wait to show him.

Stone’s shy junior investigator, Chuck, can no longer deny his interest in the BDSM lifestyle. The beautiful connections and raw emotions he’s witnessed between so many of the Doms and subs at Kiss of Leather, leave him yearning for something he’d never dared hope he could have: unconditional love and care from a man. He isn’t sure if he can take the chance of having a real relationship when he’s not out to his meddling parents yet, but the sexy Master Jordan, Gavin’s friend and the owner of Club Consequence, makes him want to take that chance.

Master Jordan has been biding his time until he can get next to the super-fine Chuck. Gavin warned him that Chuck wasn’t in the lifestyle, but there’s something special about him that Jordan can’t deny. When they’re finally alone, the chemistry is off the charts and Jordan can tell it won’t take much to bring Chuck willingly into the world of BDSM.

An unexpected development in the case of Corey’s kidnappers shocks them all, but not as much as what happens with Chuck’s family. Jordan teaches Chuck that secrets hold power over the person keeping them, and that gaining trust can only be achieved through complete honesty.

REVIEW: This is the 5th book in this series and one that I was looking forward to. This story features Stone’s assistant, Chuck, and Gavin’s friend, Jordan, the owner of another BSDM club, Club Consequence.

I was intrigued from the moment these two were mentioned and featured briefly in the previous books so I was very pleased to see that the author has decided to give them their own story.

As with all of her characters, the ones in this series are very well written. Knight’s attention to detail in her work is meticulous. She has a great talent for maintaining her characters and their storylines. The transitions from one book in her series to the next are always smooth without any breaks or holes in the plots.

Her depictions of the subs and their Doms are awesome. The subs aren’t simpering, child-like, effeminate twinks. There’s nothing wrong with a man being effeminate or a twink but I absolutely detest when simpering and child- like is thrown in. She strikes the perfect balance between these men being strong and independent but are strong and confident enough to submit to their Doms.

I loved Jordan and Chuck’s characters. Chuck’s character was shy and sweet, strong and fierce and due to his upbringing, a little ‘buttoned up’. He was introduced to the BSDM lifestyle because of the case he and Stone are investigating but he’s drawn to it because of the deep love and respect that he observes between the men he’s befriended. He meets Jordan while working undercover at Jordan’s club. I also loved how Chuck didn’t allow the stench of his family’s bigotry to touch him. He’s a loving and kind gentlemen that treats people with respect. He also had a lot of backbone. This is what fascinated me about him. He was shy and sweet but also very tough. I love how the author wrote him breaking away from his family. She did it with little fanfare and didn’t dwell on it afterwards. She understood that everything else took a back seat to Chuck and Jordan’s budding romantic relationship.

I also adore the way Jordan’s character was written. Now that I think about it, I appreciate how this author portrays her characters of color in ALL of her stories. As a reader of color, I can honestly say that Knight has done a wonderful job of this. There have been quite a few authors in the MM genre, on many occasions, who had been dragged for filth by readers in general, readers of color specifically over their ridiculous and often times insidious stereotyping of their characters of color. Some on more than one occasion. I’ve never encountered that problem with any of this author’s work. The skin color of a particular character is only used to describe physical appearances. Again, as a reader of color who likes to read LGBT themes books, I really appreciate this.

As I was saying before, Jordan’s character was also well written. He was a Dom but his style was a little different than the others. His was a gentler approach. This didn’t make him any less of a Dom but I think that he adjusted his approach a bit for Chuck because he knew that Chuck was new to the lifestyle as he didn’t want to scare him off.

The storylines, character development and plots are wonderful and engaging. The books aren’t too long but just long enough to satisfy you. There are no unnecessary cliff hangers that leave you hanging either. This book, this series is definitely well worth the time to get in to.

 

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon:

 

Pride Publishing

 

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Kiss Me Cowboy by Carol Lynn

Reviewed by Michele

TITLE: Kiss Me Cowboy

AUTHOR: Carol Lynne

PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing

RELEASE DATE: January 3 2017

BLURB: It isn’t easy to cling to teenage promises when you become one of the forgotten. For Eli Barron, Jesse Clooney has always been the one. From their first day of kindergarten through their high-school graduation, the pair were inseparable. So, when a situation arises that splits the two men apart, it’s up to Eli to keep the home fires burning as Jesse sets off to follow his dreams on the rodeo circuit. But how long can a man continue to stoke the fire before the flames die out?

REVIEW: I love Carol Lyne’s books and even better, books about cowboys are a definite read for me, typically. This short read was not what I expected though. I thought this would be cowboy meets cowboy and the sparks would fly, but due to the stigma of being a “cowboy”, they found it difficult to be out and proud. No! These main characters have been friends since day one in kindergarten, inseparable besties. Eli comes from a loving and supportive family, and Jesse has an abusive father and a mother who would never go against her husband even to save her only son. That friendship turned into love during their teen years. So they make big plans to join the rodeo circuit right after they graduate. Well, as we all learn life sometimes has it’s own plans. Eli, due to a family tragedy, has to stay at the family ranch and help his mother and younger sisters, while Jesse leaves to pursue his rodeo dreams and to escape the shame of his past.

The character development was okay but I never fell in love with either main character. I usually love the damaged guy in a story, but Jesse just made me mad and want to punch him. As I read the story I was either feeling sorry for Eli, as he sacrificed his non existent personal life for his family, or annoyed with his never ending patience with Jesse. I wanted to shake some sense into him to make him see how his so called best friend/ the love of his life was taking him for granted and stringing him along.To me Jesse was selfish, he wanted to have his cake and eat it too. The good news is that Carol never fails to give you a HEA for her characters.

RATING: ❤️❤️❤️.5

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Pride Publishing

 

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In Enemy Hands by M.A. Church

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

RELEASE DATE: Dec 30 2016

BLURB:

Two very different civilizations-one bathed in bright sunlight and the other veiled in shadow.

Bad decisions, declining resources, and a king on the brink of madness force Prince Varo Kutchif, third son of the royal family and a starship captain, to attempt the impossible: barter for Black Phospolrock, an energy source the mysterious Helkan Kingdom has in abundance. Varo opens a line communication with Adlar, an intriguing Helkan who seems to reciprocate Varo’s interest. He hopes so, because if negotiations collapse, Varo has orders to attack.

The Helkans preside over a planet shrouded in perpetual darkness. Several species have tried to exploit its natural resources through trade with them, but all have failed. Adlar Mondur is the older brother to the Helkan ruler. An assassin of the highest order, he’ll do anything to protect his king and his people-including tracking down the Yesri prince who crash-lands on their planet, leaving an ugly scar across its untouched beauty.

Thus begins a journey where two men from disparate civilizations grow from enemies to lovers.

REVIEW:

This fantastic and compelling story by M.A. Church had me hooked from the very first page. Adlar and Varo are as different as daylight and dark. The Yesri consider the Helkans as little more than animals, and the Helkans see the Yesri as power hungry barbarians who are willing to destroy anyone or anything that gets in their way.

I couldn’t help but feel sympathy and heartache for Varo. Forced by his father into an impossible and insane situation, Varo struggles to fulfill his duties without causing a war between his people and the Helkans. Adlar is the older brother of the Helkan king, and it’s his duty to defend both him and their people from anyone seeking to seize their most valuable resource. After Adlar captures Varo, both men are torn between their duties, and their desires, and the long, complicated, treacherous, obstacle-filled, and steamy hot sexual journey as Adlar and Varo struggle to find their HEA ending makes this a book I will reread many times.

4.5