Release Day Review: Building Forever (The Rebuilding Year #2.5) by Kaje Harper

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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Building Forever by Kaje Harper
Series: The Rebuilding Year #2.5
Release Date: October 15. 2017
Format: e-ARC (80 pages)
Genre: novella, gay contemporary romance
Published By:

Four years ago, Ryan and John decided they’d wait to get married until it came with full legal equality. Now, thanks to the Supreme Court, that historic moment has finally arrived. But two hundred miles separate Ryan’s hectic residency from John’s busy campus job. With a son in college, a daughter choosing her future, and a rambunctious Irish Setter needing attention, planning a wedding isn’t simple.

Of course, even the most perfect ceremony can’t solve all their problems. What does it take to build forever?
three-half-stars

It’s time for John Ward and Ryan Barrett to be married legally

See my review of Book 1: Rebuilding Year. I was really giddy that John and Ryan were finally at this point. After all, the state courts have cleared the way for same-sex couples to be have equal rights and protection under the law. But the week of their exciting and life changing event, the highest court in Wisconsin put a halt/injunction to same sex marriages. Now gay couples everywhere sat on pins and needles while the biggest fight was being waging behind within Supreme Court. This book chronicled this couple’s inner musings and fears as they wondered if they would ever get to call each other husband legally.

My feelings regarding this novella are torn because there are aspects I really enjoyed parts and there are instances that I didn’t enjoy. There was a happy ending, but it was an emotionally bumpy ride to the altar. I love John and Ryan and thus I found all the drama in this book unnecessary. Here was a passionate couple who had overcome a lot, including their current long-distance relationship arrangement. As Ryan said “we learned together…love was just love, and when it was this real, this true, then fighting it was like a crime against the heart.” They were still so sweet on each other and the love was strong as ever. But the mood or tone of the book just felt gloomy. Their inner musings were a tad disheartening.

It was sad to me that their life together was still wrought with uncertainty and ambiguity. Can they get married, where to leave etc? I wanted to be excited and ecstatic for John and Ryan, but the series of unfortunate events just left me feeling fatigued.

The injustice of their story is well chronicled so the continual expounding on the unfairness of our justice system felt like more preaching to the choir. I didn’t think John and Ryan had to go through the trials of Job in order to have a wedding day. I kept thinking, what else will go wrong? I was just ready for a little bit of a smoother sailing. But the most heartwarming  gestures like John bring soup and taking care of a fatigued Ryan made my heart melt. They made think of the scripture “Love is patient, love is kind” because John and Ryan had that kind of commitment to each other.

Ezi

About Kaje Harper

I live in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, the mosquito is the state bird, and where sometimes in winter it can be breathtakingly beautiful. Of course, the deepfreeze chill contributes to the breath-taking, but Minnesota’s a kindly, quiet place and it’s home to me now. I’ve been writing for far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment, and currently am focused on M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, history, SciFi…) I also have a few Young Adult stories released under the pen name Kira Harp.

My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. My husband finally convinced me that after all that time writing, I really should submit something, somewhere. I was thrilled when it was accepted. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing the four novels and three freebie short stories in the series. I’ve been just delighted by the reception Mac and Tony have received.

My first free book became the first story that I actually released – I put it up a month before Life Lessons just for the fun of getting it out there. Lies and Consequences began as a reaction to the November 2010 election. It looked like the repeal of DADT might be derailed by the political shift and I put the insanity of that law into the book. Then as I was finishing the first draft in mid-December the repeal passed. Which was great, but prompted a rewrite to a lighter and more action/romance book. This was a solo effort and I learned a lot from writing and releasing it and from the reviews. Check Smashwords for that one and many of my other freebies.

I now have a decent backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my Books page. This writing thing is addictive. So read, comment, tell me what you like and what you don’t, and help me make the upcoming books even better. I have an author page on Goodreads where I do a lot of book reviews, and this blog is reposted there.

You can find me to chat on my author page on Goodreads most easily – I hang out on Goodreads a lot because I moderate the Goodreads YA LGBT Books group there. I also post free short YA stories on that group, more than 50 of them so far.

You can also email me : kajeharper ~at~ yahoo ~dot~ com or find me on Facebook –

Audiobook Review: Lost and Found (Twist of Fate #1) by Lucy Lennox & Sloane Kennedy

Series:
Narrator: Michael Pauley
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Lost and FoundTitle: Lost and Found by Lucy Lennox & Sloane Kennedy
Narrator: Michael Pauley
Series: Twist of Fate #1
Release Date: August 2nd, 2017
Format: 9 hrs 25 mins
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: SKLL Books LLC

He promised to never leave me. But when I needed him the most, that was exactly what he did. Wilderness guide Xander Reed has spent fifteen years trying to forget the night he turned to his best friend in his darkest hour, only to find the young man who’d sworn to always have his back was turning his on Xander instead. Two thousand miles and fifteen years of building a new life in the quiet backcountry of the Rocky Mountains should have been enough to put the memory of Bennett Crawford out of his mind forever, but old wounds run deep and when Bennett suddenly reappears in his life as part of a wilderness expedition Xander is guiding, the scars he thought long healed break wide open.

two-half-stars

I found this book to be quite disappointing. The characters were not developed well and the plot was quite flimsy. The narrator was spot on but that wasn’t enough to save the slow paced story.

The main characters Xander and Bennett were best friends growing. An unfortunate event (and miscommunication) led to a 15 year grudge by Xander against Bennett. As the story unfolded, I found it Xander’s behaviour immature, bitter and irrational in that he wouldn’t even give his best friend an opportunity to explain himself. When the event was finally revealed, I rolled my eyes like nobody’s business. It seems like Xander never gave his best friend the benefit of the doubt despite the many things Bennett did to show his love and loyalty. Also, Xander took our his hurt over life’s painful lumps on a convenient target, the one person who really had his back. Talk about a bunch of big babies. Xander was a like a big kid for most of the book, and Bennett was the sympathetic friend trying to defend him or make things better. I actually thought Xander was self-centered and ungrateful. It’s not Bennett’s fault for Xander’s family situation but Bennett kept trying to compensate.

Then there was the added new bestie Aiden, whom alternated from being Bennett’s protective friend to a jealous ex while trying to mediate between Bennett and Xander. I didn’t feel Aiden’s character because I wasn’t sure what his true motivation was. It felt like he was waiting in the wings to be the clean up man.

The story ended in a reconciliation but since I never felt invested in the relationship, it didn’t create that satisfaction I normally get when all ends well. I just felt relieved that these two grown men finally put on their big boy panties and acted like adults.

Ezi

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About Sloane Kennedy

Although Sloane Kennedy always dreamed of being a writer as a teenager, she didn’t take the plunge until March of 2015 when she released her first novel as an independent author. Since then, she has released more than a dozen books including the Amazon best-selling “Barretti Security” series, “Finding” series and “Protectors” series. While she initially began writing M/F romance, she found her true passion writing gay romance and all four of her most recent releases reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Gay Romance bestseller list and Freeing Zane, her final book in the Barretti Security series, made it to Amazon’s overall bestseller list. Sloane was born in Germany and grew up in Virginia and Wisconsin. Although she currently lives in Wisconsin, the place where she has always felt most at home is Seattle and many of her books take place in the Emerald city. Although she is unmarried, a menagerie of 2 dogs and 3 cats keeps her busy enough and 3 young nieces take care of the rest of her free time. Sloane loves being able to share her passion for romance with readers and she is truly humbled by all the support she’s received from fans and fellow authors alike.

Audiobook Review: Olive Juice by T.J Kline

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Title: Olive Juice
Author: TJ Klune
Narrator: Derrick McClain
Release Date: August 30, 2017
Category: Contemporary Gay Romance,
Length: 5 hours, 11 minutes

It begins with a message that David cannot ignore:
I want to see you.
He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.
David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.
Phillip offers redemption.

three-stars

Derrick McClain did an outstanding job in this one. He really embodied David’s inner turmoil and Philip’s cajoling voice.
I am thankful that the author tackled this very important subject. The narrator and the actual event at the heart of the couple’s hurt was the only saving grace in this melancholy read for me. I kept hoping the story would get on to actually dealing with the pain but it was slow trot to the end. The narrator bumped up my rating to a three stars.

In the beginning of the book, I thought the main character David was having a breakdown, a blurring of what was real and imaginary. Being privy to David’s thoughts and feelings for most of the book was depressing and miserable. I felt like I came into the middle of the book and the author would slowly drop crumbles leading me slowly through the stages of grief journey. David and Phillip had a traumatic event that created a rift between them. For most of the book I was trying to get a handle of what happened, what was said, and at the end when everything was out in the open, I was left still feeling unsatisfied. I felt sad for the couple but I didn’t really connect with their character. I did feel sad and I was hopeful that they would find comfort but I think I came in expecting romance and happiness. The constant flashbacks didn’t evoke feelings of love so I didn’t really feel the couple’s connection.

It is hard to say more without giving away the meat of the story. I will just say that I didn’t enjoy this book and felt unfulfilled after reading it.

Question for those who have read it: What was the point of the character Mateo (the bartender)?

Ezi

About TJ Klune

When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.

He lives with a neurotic cat in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It’s hot there, but he doesn’t mind. He dreams about one day standing at Stonehenge, just so he can say he did.

ARCstravaganza Monday: Twisted Truths (Blood Brothers #3) by Rebecca Zanetti

Thanks to #ARCstravaganza Monday is a weekly meme started by our friends at YA and Wine Blog! We show off an advance reading copy that we are excited about!

The ARC that I’m most excited about this week is Twisted Truth by Rebecca Zanetti. It’s the fourth installment in the Blood Brothers series. I ❤️ this series. Have you tried it? If not, I highly recommend it as one of the best romantic suspense stories out there. See my reviews of Book 1: Deadly Silence and Book 2: Lethal Lies by clicking on the book titles.

< u>Publication Date: November 14, 2017 by Forever Publishing

The Heir Apparent by Tere Michaels

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: The Heir Apparent by Tere Michaels
Release Date: October 9th 2017
Pages (Format): 197 pages (Kindle Edition)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press Amazon US

Henry Walker is the only son of a wealthy businessman – and heir to a vast company. It is his birthright and destiny. But Henry only truly desires the one thing he cannot have…time to spend with his lover, Archie Banks. Archie is his childhood friend turned driver, bodyguard and dirty little secret. Circumstances make it difficult for them to sneak moments together – something that will become impossible once Archie moves on after he graduates from college.

They fear the uncertain future, and what will become of their blossoming feelings – but nothing prepares them for the danger and disaster about to overwhelm their lives. A shocking kidnapping leads to tragedy and suddenly Henry and Archie are thrust into a dramatic fight against an unknown enemy. They must fight not only be together, but to also save the company Henry has been groomed to run his entire life.

three-half-stars

In this book, it wasn’t clear where Henry Walker and Archie Banks were a couple. I would argue that they had a professional and a sexual relationship, maybe even a friendship but there didn’t seem to be an actual romantic relationship. After experiencing Matt and Evan’s relationship in their series, my expectations of Tere Michael’s books are really high because I have experienced the magic she can deliver. Henry and Archie didn’t quite invoke those kinds of feelings.

Archie was Henry Walker’s chauffeur and Archie’s family worked for the Walker family in various capacities. Henry was the heir to his father’s business, WalkCom International and his father treated him quite coldly. For most of the book Archie lacked a backbone or any sort of personality outside of his brief interactions with Archie.
When Henry, his father Normal, his father’s best friend David were kidnapped, Archie was the main suspect since he was the driving the car.

Honestly, this story suffered from underdeveloped characters. I didn’t understand what was truly driving each character, what they were about and what molded them. I thought it was sad how everyone was coddling Henry, specifically the house servants, when he is a grown man. Instead Archie was the one I found compelling. He wanted more out of life and he worked towards it. Archie was the one who worked to figure out the mystery behind the kidnapping of Henry even though he isn’t in law enforcement. Even though this mystery was very predictable, I wanted to know more about the kidnapper’s motives.

Overall, I would say this book was just average.

Ezi

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Grievous (Scarlet Scars #2) by J.M. Darhower

Grievous (Scarlet Scars, #2)Title: Grievous by J.M. Darhower
Series: Scarlet Scars
Narrator: Iggy Toma, Kasha Kensington
Release Date: July 20, 2017
Format: Audiobook (11 hrs and 23 mins)
Published By: Tantor Audio

Once upon a time, there was a girl who stopped believing in fairytales after her innocence was stolen.

Morgan Myers is tired. So damn tired. Most people either push her around or brush her off, and she’s not putting up with it anymore. Determined to reclaim the life that had been stolen from her, she puts her trust in the last person she ever expected to: the notorious Scar. Morgan sees a side of him that few people seem to know – the man, not the myth. Lorenzo. And what she sees, she likes, a lot more than she thought she would.

But fairytales aren’t real, as life likes to remind her. Some dragons, you just can’t slay, no matter how hard you fight them. And when hers comes back around, breathing fire, she’s forced to face some unimaginable horrors. But lucky for Morgan, there’s a white knight in combat boots out there that isn’t afraid of monsters.

You see, it’s impossible to be afraid of something you face every day in the mirror.

three-stars

I had to start this one as soon as I finished the first book due to the cliff hanger. I liked the characters more in this book than I did book 1. Lorenzo Gambino and Scarlet (Morgan Myers) were more fleshed out as well as their motives for their not so legal actions. I also liked the fact that this book had less angst because it didn’t quite work in the first book. I also liked that Lorenzo seemed less of a random sociopath and more of calculated mobster. The villain was more prominent and definitely abhorrent, so it was easy to root for Lorenzo and Scarlet.

In book 1, there was a lot of suspense and for most of the book I was trying to figure out what was going on and who the players were. In this sequel, that suspense was gone and it was a matter of figuring out how Lorenzo and Scarlet would win this battle. The tone of the book shifted and the characters seemed less broken and more hopeful. The author dragged the story out a bit but the conclusion was sweet and satisfying.

The Epilogue was definitely my favorite part to the novel and painted a picture scarred people who were healing as a unit as Lorenzo’s kindness towards the child showed that he did in fact have a heart.

I wanted to like this series as Sempre is one of my favorite series but I found this series underwhelming.

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Review: Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: by Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker
Release Date: June 27th 2017
Format: e-ARC (320 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: Atria Books
Purchase Links: • •
3.5 stars
This book is hard for me to rate because the writing was like a 5-star but my enjoyment was more like 3-stars.

I chose this book because K.A. Tucker past stories have been raw, gritty and mesmerizing authentic. This one was slower paced, methodical and well developed. It just lacked that gritty angst that I was hoping for.

The heroine Catherine Wright was a young student who made a mistake with her teacher that shadowed her life for a long time. This story was the growth, maturity and reconstruction of Catherine’s life.

As a single mother Cat works as a waitress in a diner owned by the only person in town who gave her safe place. She found support and even friendship at the dinner. On her way home she came upon an car accident. Cat rescued the occupant to only discover he was a famous hockey player Brett Madden.

The author slowly begins Catherine’s journey to reclaim her sense of self worth and trust in others. I really liked Catherine, her daughter, dad more than mom, her brother Jack, friend Keith and her boss Lou from the diner. Even with a good supporting cast, this story was the same cliche famous guy falls in love with poor downtrodden girl and saves her. I appreciate the systematic development of the Heroine but I found the pace too slow and frankly boring.

I lost interest about 60% into the story and struggled to finish it as the end was so predictable. The best part for me was that the teacher got his just due. At the beginning of the book, I disliked Catherine’s mom but by the end, I saw her for what she was, a mother trying to protect her daughter Catherine the only way she knew how. They paid a price but in the end, I truly comprehended what she was trying to do as a mother.

KA Tucker is a great writer but this one just lacked excitement and angst for me. I would recommend it to those who enjoy chick lit as it’s still a good story.

About K.A. Tucker

K.A. Tucker is the USA Today bestselling author of 14 books, including Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water.

Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader, and currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Review: Kiss of a Dragon (Fallen Immortals #1) by Alisa Woods

Series:
Source: Tantor Audio

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Kiss of a Dragon by Alisa Woods
Series: Fallen Immortals #1
Release Date: January 31st 2017  
Format: Audiobook (6 hrs and 14 mins)
Genre: PNR, UF, Dragons
Published By: Tantor Audio
Narrators: Joe Arden   Maxine Mitchell

LUCIAN
I am a Dragon Prince of the House of Smoke… and I am dying.
Five hundred years is truly enough for a man like me. A monster. Yet a ten-thousand-year treaty will die with me, if I don’t spawn a dragonling to take my place. My two brothers are no use in this task. It falls to me, the eldest by a hair’s breadth, and yet, I cannot face the horror of another sealing. Another death. Another woman’s blood on my hands.

ARABELLA
I was saved from death in a dark Seattle alley by an impossibly beautiful man who swooped in on golden wings. Now he’s taken me to his lair, opened my eyes to a world of immortals I didn’t know existed, and given me an impossible task—find him a mate. Then, and only then, will he set me free.

He needs her more than he wants; she wants him more than she should; and the fate of both the mortal and immortal worlds depends on not just repairing their hearts, but finding a Love that’s True…

three-half-stars

I like this one and it has potential. It features a dragon shifter Lucian, who needs to find a mate and have a heir, a dragonling, to keep his line going or he will die. Lucian of House Smoke is the oldest of triplet dragons as well as the leader who rescues a human lawyer named Arabella.
Lucian begins to court Arabella but he doesn’t want to love her. He just wants someone who loves him and has his young (*roll my eyes). Arabella doesn’t just want to be a baby mama, she wants to belong to someone and she doesn’t want to settle. Thus begins the battle of wills because Lucian has lost a woman before so he doesn’t want to get his heart involved again. Arabella has fallen for Lucian but wants to have his heart before she can give him the dragonling.

Then there is someone hunting Lucian and trying to destroy him. So there is romance, mystery, suspense and a little angst. It is a typical book one with where the writing could use some tightening up as well as better development. But the characters intrigued me enough to want to continue with the series. There are sexy dragons so this series will probably get better as it continues. Since this book ended in cliffhanger, I will continue with book 2.

This entry was posted in Review.

Cover Reveal: Bountiful (True North, Book 4) by Sarina Bowen

⭐ Amazon http://geni.us/BflAmazon

⭐ iBooks http://geni.us/BFibooks

⭐ Kobo http://geni.us/BFkobo

No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.

Audio Review with Giveaway: Texas Family (Texas Series, Book 4) by R.J. Scott

Narrator: Sean Crisden
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Narrator: Sean Crisden
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
Length: 4hrs 19 mins
Texas Series
The Heart of Texas (Book #1): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Audible US | Audible UK

Texas Winter (Book #2): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Audible US | Blurb:

Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes begin a journey that will change their lives forever.

Set against the backdrop of the Double D, the cast of the Texas audiobooks face changes that won’t leave a single one of them untouched.

Jack and Riley want to extend their small family of three. Their first choice is surrogacy with Jack as the father, and when all this begins smoothly both men can’t help but contemplate at what point would things go wrong. After all, their lives are far from normal, and nothing is ever smooth.

Add a small four-year-old boy in foster care into the mix, and suddenly things become a whole lot more complicated.

four-stars

I really enjoyed this one as much as book 1. It is book four and I am still shipping Riley and Jack Campbell Hayes. These two continue to be a great place in their relationship and we got more emotional moments in this installment. I love what the author R.J. Scott did in this book, adding to the foundation of the main couple and expanding their family. I also love that author writes realistic relationship and family dynamics, nothing over the top and ridiculous. The narrator Sean Crisden did a great job delineating the various characters. I was able to follow each story with no mix-ups.

Riley and Jack are at a point in their marriage where they decided to expand their family. This story takes us through the process as the couple finds a surrogate, deal with their individual as well as collective fears as a gay couple having a child in Texas.

My favorite part of this story was how the surrogate really made it a seamless process. She was communicative and kind as Riley and Jack navigated this new terrain. I was both excited, happy and full of angst for the couple. the new children will definitely make the next book very interesting because the Campbell-Hayes family really grew in size. I was hoping for more clarity with Eden and Sean. This couple has been struggling for some time and I thought this book would deal with it but it wasn’t really resolved. I still found this journey endearing and entertaining.

If you want a romance that revolves around family with a western feel, you will love this story.

Ezi

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About R.J. Scott

My goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

I’ve has been writing since age six, when I was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies and the mixing bowl. You can’t tell a six year old not to lick the bowl!

I was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader myself, I can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, my first real true love will always be the world of romance. I love my cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and love to write dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men. (Yum)

With over 90 titles to my name and counting, I am the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway, which was All Romance Ebooks best selling title of 2010.

I’m also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

I’m always so thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers.