Category Archives: Sexuality

The New Kids (A Hinton High Novel#1) A.G. Sellinger

💫💫Reviewed by Kiwi💫💫

TITLE: The New Kids

SERIES: Hinton High # 1

AUTHOR: A.G. Sellinger

PUBLISHER: Self Published

RELEASE DATE: April 18, 2017

BLURB: Sure, being different is cool in New York or L.A., but in a two-convenience store town in the Mid-West, different can be deadly. That’s why 16-year-old star quarterback Josh Hudson has kept quiet on the fact he thinks he might be gay. All he’s concerned with is making it to graduation then making it to one of those far off cities where he can figure things out.

But his parents have other ideas. A whole string of Hudsons have attended the no drinking, no sex, no fun Crystal Falls Military Academy a half hour away. His only shot at avoiding the same fate is an athletic scholarship to a decent public school. To get that, he needs to ace the subject he hates the most: calculus. So when Olympic-level mathlete Perth Standlick moves to town and offers to exchange help with formulas and functions for help with football plays, Josh jumps at the chance.

It turns out Perth is good at more than solving equations. He plays the guitar, has dimples as long as a country mile, and can dance a mean running man. Before Josh knows it, he’s falling for him, upping his grade and discovering he’s ok being who he is. But when what’s going on between them goes viral and Josh is forced to come out, the guy Josh loves, the one who was going to help him achieve his dream, is suddenly the one threatening to ruin his life.

REVIEW: You know, I don’t usually read young adult books. I personally have nothing against them; it’s just not my thing. However, I am really glad that I gave this book a try. This book, its characters and storyline, although done many times, was very well written.

There were a few moments in the book that I felt were dragged out, just a bit, but those moments were few and far between. The editing was on point and I definitely appreciate that as a reader.

This is a story about a young man, or two young men, who are coming to terms with who they are and finding the strength to stand in their truth. I feel that this is a story that many young LGBT people can relate to as I’m sure many experience the same trials and tribulations of coming of age combined with coming out that the young characters in this book does.

I didn’t care too much for the ending but I think that it went well with the flow of the story. All in all, I think this book turned out rather nicely. I would definitely recommend this to a young person who is struggling or questioning their sexual identity. I’m sure that they would find that they could relate to these characters and this book.

 

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

 

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Promises 3 (Bounty Hunters) A.E. Via


💫💫Reviewed by Kiwi💫💫

 

TITLE: Promises 3

SERIES: Bounty Hunters

AUTHOR: A.E. Via

PUBLISHER: Via Star Wings

RELEASE DATE: July 1, 2017

 

BLURB: A bounty hunter’s partners to lovers’ story. The hunt is on… and he’s the prey.

Bradford (Ford) King was sure he had the rest of his life mapped out. Though he was no longer a SEAL Lieutenant, his brother was home safe and he had a job that still allowed him to satisfy his hunger for hunting bad guys. Life was simple, no distractions or complications – at age forty-six – that’s all Ford wanted. What he didn’t want was his work partner, sniper/watchman, Dana, giving him s**t all the time.

Dana Cadby had grown up labeled a roughneck from the wrong side of the tracks. He’d fought, scrounged, and survived despite a father that constantly told him he couldn’t. Dana pulled himself up by his own boot straps and made a name for himself in the marksman community. He’d been Duke’s bounty watchman for five years. It was his job to ensure their safety, watch their backs. At thirty-three, he was trusted, well respected by his peers, his bosses, his friends… so why couldn’t he earn the same respect from his partner?

Dana knew he was bisexual before he graduated high school. He also knew he was attracted to the huge, 6’3”, SEAL from the moment he and his brother came to join their team. It wasn’t easy for him to tamp down his immediate reaction to Ford’s thick muscles, full beard, and dark eyes. Still, Dana exhibited nothing but professionalism towards him, not wanting to make his ‘straight’ partner uncomfortable. So why did Ford constantly give him hell?

After Dana took back his ex-girlfriend, he’d noticed an intensification in Ford’s bad attitude. One that turned aggressive and downright antagonistic, and Dana was damned if he’d just lay down and take it. He was gonna make that man respect him if it was the last thing he did.

When Duke sends Dana and Ford out to track down their most dangerous bounty yet, they both embrace the fact that they make one hell of a team… but they fight tooth and nail against the powerful intimacy brewing between them.
Beware: If Ford and Dana connect completely, god help the fugitive who’s in the sights of the hunter and his watchman.

This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA.

 

REVIEW: This is the third book in this fantastic series by this author. And when I tell you that it’s amazing, I mean it. This book continues with Dana and Ford’s story. This story, as with all this author’s work was such a pleasure to read. It was also a pleasant surprise because I wasn’t expecting this pairing.

Dana is the youngest on the team and in my opinion, the most vulnerable, emotionally speaking of course. I loved Dana’s character. His personality was an interesting juxtaposition of vulnerability and strength. He was shy yet…not. He was confident yet insecure.

Ford was a gruff and tough former Navy Seal. He’s loyal and fiercely protective of his younger brother. He’s also stubborn. Well, both men are stubborn. So much so that I wanted to reach in and Gibbs smack both of them at the backs of their heads to knock some sense into both of them. I especially wanted to snap Dana’s girlfriend like a twig. The ole bony, salad eating wench that she was.

You know a book is good when the characters make you yell at your reading device. I was yelling at, smacking and positively howling at my iPad, these characters are just that vivid.

I love her writing style. You’re not going to get any pretty lavender words or flowery dialogue from the men in her books. I also love the fact that her characters are men of a particular age and everyday working men. What I also appreciate is the fact that she’s not afraid to use the word bisexual. These men are BISEXUAL. Not ‘gay for you’, ‘out for you’ or any of the other tropes that  erases the bisexual identity. 

I can’t express how excellent this book is. I equate reading this author’s work to mama cooking in the kitchen and when she’s finished, you end up with the most delicious meal. Yes, she has truly put her foot in the pot with this book.

This book, heck, this series is definitely highly recommended.

 

RATING: 🌟🌟AMAZING🌟🌟

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon (Promises 3) 

Amazon (Promises series)

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Toxic (Treacherous Chemistry #2) Avylinn Winter

                  ✨REVIEWED BY: Patricia Nelson

TITLE: Toxic

SERIES: Treacherous Chemistry Book 2

AUTHOR: Avylinn Winter

PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing

RELEASE DATE: May 2, 2017

BLURB: When true love is a lie and pleasure turns to pain…

Adam Webb spent most of his teenage years in love with his best friend, Gabriel Connor, only to be thrown out of their shared apartment when he finally found the courage to reveal his feelings.

Seven months later, Adam’s effort to save their lost friendship finds him more than he ever asked for. After all, being thrown out has to better than being thrown into a wall. However, Adam isn’t ready to give up. Trapped and isolated in a dangerous relationship, he falls deeper and deeper into Gabriel’s world. Despite Adam’s attempts to push them away, his friends are determined to help, but the man who fights hardest is Cameron McCain, Adam’s photography teacher–a man who treasures what Gabriel does not.

They say love should conquer all. But when passion breeds fear and love turns toxic, will Adam make the right choice?

REVIEW: I was totally blown away by the gritty, heartbreaking, in-your-face, take no prisoners, grab-you-by-the-throat, no holds barred honesty of this compelling story. The author doesn’t sugarcoat, or try to gloss over, just how people can be sucked into a dangerous situation where it’s nowhere near as easy to escape from as you might think. This book carries a powerful message, and left me thinking about it long after I reached the end. This story may have triggers for some people, but for me, it was well worth the journey.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Pride Publishing

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The Warehouse by Jason Collins

                           💫💫Reviewed by Michele💫💫

TITLE: The Warehouse

SERIES:

AUTHOR: Jason Collins

PUBLISHER: Self publish

RELEASE DATE: March 19, 2017

BLURB: : After breaking away from the small conservative town where he was born, Nicholas Cole has been working as a dancer at The Warehouse, a dimly-lit bar where men can retreat from public view and indulge in hidden fun. His coworkers welcomed him with open arms and watched as he grew to be their top dancer. Never one to be distracted by a relationship or a handsome face, Nicholas seeks the constant excitement of dancing for large sums of money and teasing the countless men who worship him.

When a party of women and straight men walk through the door, Nicholas is surprised to say the least, but one guy in the group catches his eye.

Personal fitness coach Clint Meyers is attached to the arm of a pretty girl who seems to monitor his every move, but she doesn’t notice when Clint’s eyes land on Nic’s barely-clothed body. His coworkers insist he’s wasting his time lusting after a straight guy, but Nicholas is captivated by Clint’s ripped physique and chiseled face. The two men begin to meet in private and bond over their love of fitness, but Nicholas is distracted by the presence of a strange new loner who shows up at The Warehouse and refuses to accept rejection. As Nicholas copes with an unwanted and potentially dangerous admirer, he and Clint start to explore – and push – Clint’s boundaries.

REVIEW: Okay so let me very honest, I didn’t even read the blurb before I began reading this book. I was genuinely excited to read Jason’s latest because I had heard some positive comments from other friends of mine. So as I read the first say 15% of the book I was uncertain as to where the story was headed. This part of the story is a very raw and probably very realistic look at what goes on at a club with go-go dancers. Nicholas, one of our main characters is a go-go dancer in a bar called “The Warehouse”. He was extremely good looking and in great shape so he was easily a very popular guy. Nic came across as somewhat conceited though, which made him less attractive to me.

As the story progresses we meet Clint, a very handsome physical trainer who is also straight…or so he thinks. I don’t particularly like him either. He comes across bi-curious and weak. But as I continued reading and getting to know all the secondary characters, Greg, Allen, Kelly and Kenneth my feelings change about the MC’s. Their relationship moves very slowly as Clint tries to figure things out.

I ended up enjoying the book a lot. However, I felt our MC’s never got enough time together. Certain parts of the story dragged on too long, and not enough time was given to Nic and Clint. I wanted a lot more of them.

I give this 4 stars.

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

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Only Forever by Scotty Cade

Reviewed by Kiwi

 

TITLE: Only Forever

SERIES:

AUTHOR: Scotty Cade

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

RELEASE DATE: November 30, 2016

 

BLURB: Master Captain Theodore Gourdin has always loved the ocean. But his devotion to maritime life left little possibility for a long-term relationship. After two failed marriages, Theo gave up on finding the person who completed him and decided the sea was his soul mate. When offered the opportunity to captain the newly launched mega yacht Eternity, Theo jumped at the chance. With Eternity’s maiden voyage looming, Theo focused all his energies on hiring his crew and readying his ship. The last thing he expected was to finally lose his heart in the process.

 

After twelve years at sea, First Officer Heath Rawlins was restless and in need of a change. A gay seaman’s life could be a lonely one, but to Heath the positives far outweighed the negatives. With excellent recommendations and an impressive resume, he was quickly offered a position on the private mega yacht Eternity. Heath’s heart skipped several beats when he finally met the ship’s captain. He was handsome and charming. And… familiar? Had they met somewhere before? Highly unlikely. But as smitten as Heath was with the gorgeous captain, everything inside him screamed, Abandon ship! Rough seas ahead!

 

REVIEW: This is another well written book by Scotty Cade. The story grabbed my attention with the very beginning. The prologue was a little heartbreaking. Set in a different time (1942), the story is about two men, one who, named Edward, unfortunately, has just lost the love of his life, Steven. But at the prologue’s end, sadly, Edward also passes away. Then the story flashes forward to the present time and gives us Heath and Theo. Heath to me seems to me to be a bit of a restless spirit or at least unhappy in his current job. He makes the decision to leave his current position and is quickly offered another one on a luxury yacht. It’s here that he meets Theo.

 

Theo is the captain of the luxury yacht where Heath is hired to work on and from the beginning, the attraction is strong and the sparks fly between the two men.  Not only that, there seems to be a bit of a sense of déjà vu between them. But there’s another catch: both men are supposedly straight but they keep having dreams about two men named Edward and Steven. This is where the story gets even more interesting. I haven’t read many stories featuring reincarnation but this is a trope that is seldom used that should be explored more. I definitely felt that the author did an amazing job of taking something that one would think would make the storyline boring but he managed to make it absolutely fantastic.

 

I absolutely loved the premise of this story. Everything about this book is so vivid and bright. I can’t describe it any other way.  The author’s writing style is amazing.  I was completely immersed in this story. His descriptions of the yacht, the crew’s lives, the weather, everything. As I’ve stated in past reviews of this author’s work, I thought that his descriptions were wordy but have since learned that his descriptions serve an important purpose. It draws you completely into the story. Thinking back on it now, I can remember feeling like I experience the same things that the characters are experiencing. You can definitely tell that the author has a vast knowledge of being on a boat or a ship. I’ve never in my life been near a boat but by the end of that book, I felt like I had taken a pleasure cruise. I definitely appreciate his descriptions as they give you the reader, the full experience of the story being told. Not only that but I felt that I got a special treat with the twist. Wow, I did not see that one coming. I loved it all.  

 

This book was beautifully written, which is par for the course for this author. I really appreciate his work.  This author’s characters are men of a particular age so you know that you’re going to get a more mature romance.  This is a signature Scotty Cade book: well written characters, wonderful plots and storylines and dialogues. You can also expect the editing to be spot on perfect.  Never in any of Cade’s book have I ever found one misspelled word, poor sentence or paragraph structure or plot holes. This author definitely believes in doing research before he writes the first word of any of his books.  The end result is a beautifully written, polished book. 

 

I definitely must give a nod to the super talented Reese Dante, the cover artist. Scotty has used this artist on virtually every one of his books and I must say that the beautiful cover matches the beautiful words within.

 

This is a story that will linger with you long after you’ve finished reading it.

 

 RATING: 🌟🌟🌟Amazing🌟🌟🌟

 

BUY LINKS:

 

Amazon

 

Dreamspinner Press

 

 

 

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Losing Faith by Scotty Cade

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Losing Faith

SERIES

AUTHOR: Scotty Cade

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

RELEASE DATE: June 10, 2016

BLURB: Father Cullen Kiley, a gay Episcopal priest on hiatus from the church, decides to take his boat, T-Time, from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to Southport, North Carolina, a place that holds an abundance of bittersweet memories for him. While on a run his first day in Southport, Cullen comes upon a man sitting on a park bench staring out over the Cape Fear River with his Bible in hand. The man’s body language reeks of defeat and desperation, and unable to ignore his compassion for his fellow man, Cullen stops to offer a helping hand.

Southport Baptist Church’s Associate Pastor, Abel Weston, has a hard time managing his demons. When they get too overwhelming, he retreats to Southport’s Historic Riverwalk with his Bible in hand and stares out over the water, praying for help and guidance that never seem to come. But Abel soon discovers that help and guidance come in many forms.

An unexpected friendship develops between the two men, and as Cullen helps Abel begin to confront his doubts and fears, he comes face-to-face with his own reality, threatening both their futures.

REVIEW: This book is in one word: amazing! It was touching and beautifully written. I will say that I wasn’t too excited about this one because of the subject matter but decided to give it a go because it was written by this author. Needless to say that I am so very glad that I made the decision to do so. This man, with his words, has this way of drawing you into his story that I find absolutely magical. His descriptions, which I had in the past described as wordy (which I sincerely apologize for now) were perfect. I get it! This author’s descriptions weren’t wordy at all! He was actually using them to draw you in; he wanted you to experience the emotions of each character, to actually feel their experiences. He did this in a way that is subtle; you don’t even realize until afterwards of what he’s done. Thinking back to his previous fictions I’ve had the pleasure of reading, I realize how he’s always done this.

These two men’s personalities couldn’t have been more different, so much so
That I didn’t think they would be compatible enough to get together. But of course, Cade found a way for them to connect and form an unbreakable and beautiful bond. This subtle build to perfection is what makes this story such an enjoyable read. I can tell you that I was captivated from the first page to the very last.

What I like about this story is that here, you have these two men of the cloth (what I refer to any clergy) who you think are supposed be…oh, I don’t know. I know as a youth, I certainly didn’t think of religious leaders as having their own demons to contend with. Cade of course writes these characters in a way that dispels that myth. He wrote these men in a way that said to me that these are men of god but they’re still only men. And they have demons to contend with just like we all do.

I loved this story. It was so very touching and beautiful. And of course, well researched! That’s one of the many things you can expect when reading this author’s work: an extremely well researched, perfectly edited book. This is a definite must read and one that I highly recommend you read.

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

 
Dreamspinner Press

 

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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!”

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    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

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt by Sharon Johnson

💫✨💫Reviewed by Kiwi💫✨💫

TITLE: Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

SERIES: Doubt series

AUTHOR: Sharon Johnson

PUBLISHER: Wicked Words Publishing

LENGTH: 241pages

RELEASE DATE: November 30 , 2015

BLURB: DeMatteo Santiago is the Alpha of one of the largest prides in North America. He is a young, successful lion shifter, surrounded by a large family and his devoted lover. By anyone’s account he has more than any one man can ask for, but his lion cares of nothing except finding their mate.

An unexpected business trip pits DeMatteo and his long awaited mate on opposite sides of the courtroom. But when challenged by ex-lovers, nosey siblings, and crazy hunters, DeMatteo realizes that finding his mate was the easy part. The real question is whether they will live long enough to be together.

This release is an M/M paranormal shifter romance. This series will contain, graphic violence, graphic language, and Mpreg. What it will not be is an instant mate fairytale, as forces set out to destroy everything and everyone.

REVIEW: Alright, now we’re finally getting into the story of Matt’s life after his parent’s deaths. Now, as I’ve stated before, I love shifter stories in general, lion shifter in particular because I’m one of those crazy cat ladies that love all things feline. I will also admit that I like Mpreg stories; they fascinate me. So, put both of those elements together and of course I’m in.

Matt is a alpha lion of a large pride. I like the fact that he’s not just a lion shifter. He’s a highly successful and sought after attorney in the human world so I like how the author wrote him to be able to balance interacting in and with the human world as well as the paranormal world.

The human world is where he finds his true mate, Sean. Sean’s the opposing attorney in a very messy human divorce. Matt is ecstatic that he find his mate but there’s just a few glitches in the program. One, Sean’s human so there’s the how-in-the-hell-am-I-going-to-explain-this aspect to this mating. Two, they’re both with other people—Sean has a girlfriend, Matt a boyfriend so there’s the how-in-the-hell-am-I-going-to-make-a-clean-break aspect of those situations. Sean’s breakup was painless compared to Matt’s. I felt so very bad for Hugh! It was to the point that I didn’t care for the Matt’s character at all. Even though Matt made it clear that whatever they had was just sex, I still felt that he could’ve handled it with a lot more grace than he did. The way that he did it was a bit foul. It was like he told Hugh and then reminded him that he was just something to play with until the real thing comes along. It was sad. I understood that he made it clear in the beginning what type of relationship it was to be but fifteen years…I felt he could’ve at least given the poor guy a week or two before just tossing him out of the house. And Matt’s sisters didn’t make the situation any better. I actually loathed them for they way they treated Hugh. I felt like they were all rubbing salt in a cut Matt inflicted. It’s like Hugh has been mistreated all his life and were aware of that but didn’t care. They acted like insensitive bitches. And I didn’t care what happened to or with them for the rest of the story.

There’s threats from all sides, human hunters and other paranormals. Add in the mess from the breakup with Hugh and it’s not an easy walk for Matt and Sean. And you know what? They didn’t deserve one. I felt that they deserved every bit of drama and chaos that came their way; they deserved the karma over how their exes were treated.

I really enjoyed reading this book. You know the author did a great job when the reader has such visceral reactions to the characters and you’re absorbed in the storyline.

The only thing about the book that I didn’t quite care for was the tenses. I think it was told in a–I don’t know-narrative voice?  I’m not sure if that’s what it’s called. It was like someone was telling you the story as opposed to you reading it as it’s happening…I can’t explain it properly but it drove me nuts. I tried to roll with it but after the first chapter I ended up substituting the tenses and the changing the wording in my head and that made it easier for it to click. It weird, I know but it’s a quirk of mine.

I usually hate cliffhangers but if the story’s really good, as this one was, I don’t mind it so much. Especially this time because I had the next book on hand so I was able to quickly get to it. In all, I think it worked out rather nicely.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

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Wild Retaliation (Seaside Shifters #1) Ethan Stone

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Wild Retaliation

SERIES: Seaside Shifters #1

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

RELEASE DATE: September 7, 2016

BLURB: Chief of Police John Dakota is in a world of trouble. His peaceful town of Seaside, Oregon, has been rocked by a wave of unsolved murders. The bloody deaths are eerily reminiscent of ones that occurred in Seaside years ago. Back then John worked hard to make sure the truth about the killer was never revealed. Now he’s afraid the past is coming back to haunt him.

Trevor English, the nosy reporter who occasionally shares John’s bed, is demanding information about the crimes. He also wants more of John’s affections. But John can’t afford to give in to either demand without risking the revelation of Seaside’s biggest secret: the town is a haven for shifters, and John is one of them.

To solve the crime—and prevent more victims—John must delve into the past. Many members of Seaside’s shifter community are involved, but it’s becoming harder and harder to tell which residents can be trusted. Even John’s family isn’t above suspicion. The body count is rising, and it looks like John is the killer’s next target.

REVIEW: I’m not a fan of mysteries in general, murder mysteries in particular but every now and then, one will pique my interest. This story just happened to have been one of them. This is due to it having one of my favorite things: shifters.

This is the second book I’ve read from this particular author and I must say that I really enjoy the way he tells his stories.

John is a bear shifter, chief of police in the peacefully little town in Oregon when a series of murders rocks the town.

Trevor is an ambitious and pushy reporter who determined to be the one to get the scoop as to who is exactly behind the murders and why. And because of this, he starts demanding answers.

I love the dynamics between the two men in this story. You have John who’s trying to balance trying to catch whoever’s behind the murders and keep the town’s secret while trying to keep his relationship with Trevor strictly casual. The relationship between John and Trevor intrigued me. Trevor clearly wanted more than just the casual set up they had and you know that John did as well but he was fighting against it so hard. After a while, John realized his feelings for Trevor ran a lot deeper than casual sex. It was just his secrets that held him back from opening himself up to Trevor completely.  I actually like the fact that it wasn’t this Insta – love that you see in many shifter stories. Yes, they were mates however they had to build up to the love, the relationship had to develop between these two men. That to me, made it that much better. that to me felt a lot more realistic than the insta- love trope.

You get a bit of everything with this story: you get the paranormal, a murder mystery with a bit of romance thrown in. I liked that the author stepped outside of the box with this as it could’ve easily been a run of the mill murder mystery and I think Stone made a very wise decision adding the paranormal element to it.  There were also added a wide variety of very interesting peripheral characters added. The dialogue, plot, storyline and editing were fantastic.

I really enjoyed this story. There were no plot holes and the story didn’t lag or or drag along anywhere. The pace was perfect; it grabbed and held my interest from the very beginning. The editing and dialogue was perfect. The author did a lovely job of developing these characters, plot and storyline. There were several times in the story that I thought I had it figured out who the murder was only to find out that I couldn’t have been more wrong. The culprit definitely wasn’t who I suspected! This book will keep you engaged and at the edge of your seat until the last page. This is a definite must read and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

 

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Phantom Lover: The Saga of the Lonely Life of a Kumu Hula (Hula Master) by A.J. Llewellyn

phantomEight years ago, I was visiting Lahaina, Maui when I encountered a painting in a gallery window on Front Street. The painting was called Spirit Lover and it captivated me and has held me in its grip ever since. In it, a young woman is in the arms of a powerful-looking Hawaiian man. He is striking. Solid. Masculine. He is all-consuming.
He is also a ghost.
During the day, the spirit lover’s body disappears below the waist. At night, in certain light, his bottom half reappears. I was fascinated by the painting and since I was staying nearby I kept coming to look at the painting day and night. And then an idea formed in my mind. The young man managing the gallery noticed me one morning he tried to interest me in buying the painting but I didn’t happen to have thousands of dollars loitering in my wallet.
But, as he lifted the painting out of the window and took it inside for me to look at it under special lights, I realized how magical that painting was and I could have wept for not having the money to buy it.
It gave me an idea, though. When I returned to my holiday house, I began work on Phantom Lover and created the story of a local hula master posing for a painting. I named him Kimo Wilder and he became real to me. No. He was larger than life to me. I have no idea where the story came from but a few days later I met a real hula dancer in Lahaina and he was training at a local halau, hula school, and he invited me to come and watch.
I met some wonderful teachers and dancers through him. I learned so much that I never knew about hula. For example, learning hula takes many, many years and requires great sacrifice. Dancers spend a long time away from their families to prepare for competition. It sometimes feels like they are preparing for battle.
Many young children in the islands are taught from an early age. In some areas, the children live with their teachers and fellow students in special schools. They are taught secrets about their culture that are taught by word of mouth since there was no written language until the missionaries came to the islands in the 1800s. The children’s talent is noticed at a young age.
Some hula is very painful, such as one performed on the knees. I watched as young girls cried rehearsing a long dance devoted to the goddess Hina (moon goddess), but they loved the dance. Loved the pain.
For a long time, Hawaiian language, music, dance, and literature were banned in the island state’s schools. Today, a huge movement is holding strong and the artists of the Hawaiian culture no longer practice in secret. The more I learned the more I wanted to know about the Hawaiian culture that it became more important than ever for me to create a character that was authentic to its religion and philosophy. Many of those friendships are still important to me today. I have maintained those ties and cherish them and still continue to learn the role of the male hula dancer in the world yesterday and today.
Hula dancers are storytellers.
They have in their hands and feet the heartbeat of their culture, the history, and their songs. The hula dancer conveys so much with the mere twitch of a finger, which is why people always say “keep your eyes on the hula dancer’s hands.”
I know I always do!
Here is a synopsis of Phantom Lover. It’s the first of 16 books in my series, which I am re-releasing through The Pele Press.
The rest will be coming soon. Once they are all released, I will be writing more. I am giving away 2 copies of the ebook, AND a copy of the audio book to two lucky readers so please post a comment telling me what you think of male dancers…and what do you think of hula?

Phantom Lover by A.J. Llewellyn

Purchase Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Lover-Book-J-Llewellyn-ebook/dp/B01KCVLGNQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471830514&sr=8-1&keywords=phantom+lover+a.j.+llewellyn#nav-subnav

Synopsis:

Hawaiian hula dancer Bobby Kikawa has deep fantasies about the alluring, mysterious Kimo Wilder, a gifted kahuna and kumu hula, a hula master. He becomes even more fixated after Kimo poses for an erotic painting called Phantom Lover. He plans to seduce Kimo even though the man is straight, married and known for his extreme loyalty to his wife. 

Alone on a hot night after dance rehearsal on the big island of Hawaii, Bobby manages to persuade Kimo to let him service his neglected, extremely hungry passions. When the young dancer awakens a part of Kimo that nobody else ever has, Bobby both fears and welcomes the incredible power Kimo has over him. The legendary dancer inserts himself into Bobby’s life, but not everyone is happy about their burgeoning romance. 

Things go from one extreme to another with interference from family and friends. Are the men prepared to sacrifice everything for each other? Their red-hot fling threatens not only Kimo’s marriage but Bobby’s sanity when he discovers Kimo is a “Keeper of Secrets” in the Hawaiian culture…a man born of fire and hidden, taboo, dark magic the ancient Hawaiians called Lua. 

NOTE: This book was previously published. This reissued version of the book has been re-edited.

A.J. Llewellyn is the author of over 200 M/M romance novels, who was born in Australia, and lives in Los Angeles. An early obsession with Robinson Crusoe led to a lifelong love affair with islands, particularly Hawaii and Easter Island.
Being marooned once on Wedding Cake Island in Australia cured her of a passion for fishing, but led to a plotline for a novel. A.J.’s friends live in fear because even the smallest details of their lives usually wind up in her stories. A.J. has a desire to paint, draw, juggle, work for the FBI, walk a tightrope with an elephant, be a chess champion, a steeplejack, master chef, and a world-class surfer. She can’t do any of these things so she writes about them instead.
A.J. I started life as a journalist and boxing columnist, and still enjoys interrogating, er, interviewing people to find out what makes them tick.
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