Nachos & Hash by Brandon Witt

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.

Nachos & Hash: by Brandon Witt
Series: Mary’s Boys #1
Release Date: January 25th, 2017
Pages: 105 • Format:eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
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Darwin Michaels is living his dreams in the Mile High City. While Denver offers the perfect job, scrumptious dining, and whirlwind dating options, Darwin is losing hope he’ll find the right man to spark his interest for more than a one-night stand—until he sets eyes on Cody Russell.

Cody has just accomplished his life’s goal—get the hell out of Kansas. In one fell swoop, he lands a job at Hamburger Mary’s and gets a newfound family and the chance to be with other gay people! All that’s missing is someone special. But when Darwin shows his interest, Cody is sure it’s too good to be true. After all, what can Darwin possibly see in the high school dropout serving him nachos?

As Darwin falls in love, Cody struggles to realize his worth. When his past threatens the fragile life he is building, Cody spirals into a moment of dark desperation. But Darwin is determined to show Cody that love and family and home are there for him… will Cody accept what is offered?

four-stars

 

Nachos & Hash is a really good start to a series. Feel like this is one of Witt’s more lighter reads, but the tears were still there. He didn’t go to far. It was light-hearted I guess because of the MC’s being so young. 21 & 24 and trying to navigate what they both want out of one another. Nachos & Hash brings both guys from small Midwestern cities together at place in their life when they need someone.

Darwin & Cody were really adorable together. I really liked them a lot. Cody!!! I just want to re-brain him. Show him what love looks like, feels like, and what it means to be cared for. His parents did him no favors in life. They didn’t show him any love, care, or compassion. I really just wanted to hug him, and take him refugee into my home. Well, I didn’t really need to. Darwin did a great job with his patience, his teachings, and his love for Cody.

Of course its hardships in this book, it wouldn’t be a Witt book without be blubbering crying somewhere. Instead, it was as real as it can be. Darwin wants to settle down, and he’s young but he’s ready. Cody doesn’t have any idea what a relationship is or pertains. His entire sexual experience is one-offs, cars, trucks, rest stops. He has no idea about intimacy, cuddling, and just being around someone for the heck of it.

At the worst of times when his happiness is threaten he does a bad thing. It was heartbreaking to see that that was his only way out. It was hard to see him hurt like that, and instead of reaching out to the family that he has made for himself in Denver he decided to let his inner thoughts and demons get the best of him. It hit me harder then I expected it. I mean throughout the book it was kinda carefree, and sweet that Cody needed all this reassuring on what to expect out of a relationship. His self esteem was basically low, and he put on this facade to other people so they won’t notice the pain. Here’s where Witt’s talent truly comes into play. He knows how to craft a scene and evoke these emotions out of us. I loved the cast of characters in this story, I love the outcome of the story. I would have really liked to see Darwin’s family make a visit or some epilogue with them just so Cody can realize what he had wasn’t normal.

It was rapid them falling in love, but when you are that age it’s easy. Trust me, your inhibitions are lowered, and its easy to fall super hard and super fast. Nothing wrong with wanting forever at this age. Just make sure you put forward your best effort if you expect the same to you. The characters were great, and loved seeing Mandonna again. Ooh wait until Vahin’s book is up. I truly Brandon’s work and he’s a super sweet person. Definitely a recommend!

About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Unwanted (Elemental Assassin #14.5) by Jennifer Estep

Unwanted (Elemental Assassin #14.5) by Jennifer EstepSeries:

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: Unwanted by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin
Release Date: July 18th, 2016
Pages: 100 • Format: e-arc
Published By: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
Purchase Links:   Amazon USBarnes & Noble

The New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series continues with a new e-novella–from the point of view of Finnegan Lane, the foster brother of Gin Blanco, and a fan favorite of readers of the series.

The fallout from his disastrous “family reunion” in Bitter Bite has left Finn feeling hurt, angry, and depressed. He can barely stand to look at himself in the mirror, much less eat any of the delicious barbecue from Gin’s famed Pork Pit restaurant.

But when the funeral for a slain security guard at his bank turns into a showdown with some nasty underworld giants, Finn knows that he must act in order to protect an innocent family.

Finnegan Lane might be the most unwanted man in Ashland these days, but he’s determined to try to make amends for his past mistakes…

four-stars

This was a welcome addition to the Elemental Assassin series as the reader got to hear Finnegan Lane’s point of view.

Following the crushing betrayal by this mother Deirdre Shaw in Bitter Bite, Finn was still wallowing in guilt over the death and destruction caused her in attempted robbery. Finn was trying to figure out how to make amends and regain the trust of those who felt that he was complicit in his mother’s scheme. This book saw him begin to regain his sense of purpose and respect as he was able to help a family who lost their protector and provider in the bank massacre. What I loved was that it wasn’t Bria or Gin or even the ghost of Fletcher Lane, but Finn alone taking a step onto redemption road.

While I found all the blame heaped on him to be undeserving, it spoke to Finn’s character that he didn’t brush people’s feelings aside. He took everyone’s hurts to heart and he resolved to help make amends. This novella had a slightly somber mood, lacking Finn’s signature cocky quips, but it still felt like an Elemental Assassin. It was a nice shift in focus to another beloved character in this series.

*Special Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

Ezi

Cemeteries By Moonlight by Hunter Frost

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.

Cemeteries by Moonlight: by Hunter Frost
Series: States of Love
Release Date:
Pages: 108 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonBarnes & Noble

When a serious bout of writer’s block threatens to delay mystery author Drew Daniels’s newest book, his aunt offers her New Orleans apartment in the heart of the French Quarter as a writing retreat. She neglects to mention that it’s occupied by the enigmatic and sexy Finn Murphy, a cemetery tour guide with a penchant for Victorian attire and a Cajun accent.

A body discovered in an open crypt forces reclusive Drew to deal with Finn’s eccentric group of friends and his underlying attraction to the hot Cajun—despite warnings about Finn’s violent past. Drew might write this stuff, but he’s never had to solve a real-life murder. With a deadline looming and a killer on the loose, this retreat is proving to be anything but helpful for Drew’s novel. Drew can only hope he won’t end up a tragic tale for the Ghostly Legends & Lore, Inc. haunted tour.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

two-stars

For a book that is only 108 pages it took me close to 4 days to finish it. I like giving new authors to me a try. I’ve never read anything by Hunter Frost and I really loved the cover. I’m usually all for books set in New Orleans. I think books set in this place give the story an extra swagger, and the city has so much history and knowledge involved that I was expecting it to wow me.

It did not move me at all. In fact, it took everything in me to not DNF this book. Besides the copious amounts of details that took away from the story, Drew & Finn were both dull. It didn’t mesh well for me. Everything happened to easy for liking. Come on, they do not know each other and they are going to go off and solve a potential murder together. The whole Drew having Tourette’s syndrome didn’t seem authentic enough for me. I feel like if you are going to give your mc a condition of any kind, then him galvanizing to solve murders without a single tic seems weird. I’m not the know all or be all when it concerns Tourette’s syndrome, but I like my books to kinda feel realistic about it and since it wasn’t a fantasy book then I expected it to be real.

Finn came off sketchy to me. The nice guy routine is what serial killers do to befriend people into trusting the them. He sometimes seemed genuine and others super aloof. I never got a good read on him. I didn’t even bat an eye to him and Drew. Drew blew me with his misguided assumptions. I just never warmed up to the story. I did think the writing was good, and yeah as many damn details that was in it at least some parts of the story I seemed to take to.

This book wasn’t for me. Hopefully in the future Frost and I will work out.

About Hunter Frost

Hunter’s early addiction to the smell of printed books led her to spend most of her childhood in libraries and bookstores. There she fell in love with stories featuring medieval castles, ghosts, and handsome heroes. Though writing has always been a part of her life, after college she went on to explore careers in graphic design, the culinary arts, and dog grooming before returning to graduate school to get her MA in British history. To pay the bills she spends her days working for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but to appease her overactive muse, she writes the kind of fiction that keeps her sane. She adores romance in all forms, but prefers her stories with two heroes that find their happily-ever-after with each other.

Hunter would rather watch Spaceballs (or any Mel Brooks movies really), despite being born in the same year as Star Wars. She loves Monty Python, MST3K, and cheesy rom-coms from the ’80s and ’90s. Her wacky sense of humor is only paralleled by her hopeless romanticism. She’s a goth at heart and a sucker for men with long hair. She adores everything British, but insists tea be drunk without milk. She’s a pescetarian with vegan tendencies and has two fat little cats named after her favorite beverage – Latte and Java. She dreams of coastal living, marshmallows, and Matt Bomer.

Feel free to connect with her through any of her social media accounts, or send her an email. She welcomes messages from readers and/or Brits looking to adopt.

The Applicant by Aidee Ladnier

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.

The Applicant: by Aidee Ladnier
Series: Busted Labs #1
Release Date: January 11, 2017
Pages: 47 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

2nd Edition

How can something so cuddly and adorable be so destructive? The teddy bear robot decimating his lab is only the first disaster of the day for roboticist Forbes Pohle. If he can figure out how to end its rampage, he still has to interview applicants for the position of research assistant and convince the time traveler on his doorstop that they should be making their future right now.

Oliver Lennox didn’t travel back in time to have a quickie in the blast chamber—but it certainly is fun. This younger Forbes is a sweeter, more innocent version of his lover. And it will be hard to leave him behind in the past.

If you like sexy nerds, humor, plenty of action, and a love story not even time can disrupt, this romantic adventure has the perfect credentials for the job.

First Edition published as The Applicant (or Virgins, Robot Bears, and Other Disasters) by Torquere Press, 2012.

two-stars

I liked the idea behind the story more then the execution of it. This was my first read from this author, and I don’t have anything else to compare it to. I am getting into the idea of time travel tropes, and it had good bones to the story, but everything went so fast, and it was not enough background information for me to enjoy Oliver and Forbes his together. I thought the teddy bear bit was funny, and cute. It held my interest, and had me guessing what could be, but other then that I was a tad disappointed. I really do feel like it could have been so much better if it was at least 100 pages. For me because it was an established couple, I felt like they needed time and room to grow on page as well. I don’t know how to feel about each guy, well I kinda wanted more explanation out of Oliver. His reasoning on coming back didn’t sit clear to me. I did find myself kinda confused with his reason. I don’t know much about Forbes because everyone else was explaining his person instead of him. I’d like to give this author another shot in the future, but I can’t recommend this.

About Aidee Ladnier

Aidee Ladnier, an award-winning author of speculative fiction, began writing at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, fold origami, send ping pong balls into space, and amass a secret file with the CIA. A lover of genre fiction, it has been a lifelong dream of Aidee’s to write both romance and erotica with a little science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.

I Love You More Than Pierogi by K.A. Merikan

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.

I Love You More Than Pierogi: by K.A. Merikan
Series:World of Love 
Release Date: January 4, 2017
Pages: 101 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner PressAmazon 

Marek and Adrian dated in high school, but a bitter breakup led them to choose different paths. Adrian is out and proud while Marek is in the closet. Adrian embraces his eccentricity while Marek clings to a conservative image. And while Marek worked hard to build a successful life and financial stability by climbing the corporate ladder, Adrian threw caution to the wind and has spent the last five years backpacking across the world.

Now Adrian is back in Warsaw, Poland, but while Marek thinks they will have a hookup and have a blast from the past, Adrian is just looking for a place to crash. Worse still, Adrian turns up at Marek’s advertising agency for help with his outrageous new business venture, and if Marek wants to get promoted, he might have to work with the guy who broke his heart.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

two-half-stars

See, I know you are going to see this gif and rating and be confused. I went back and forth on an actual rating for this. While my heart was telling me no, my mind was saying be fair.

I had to think of everything outside of Marek. If it was based solely on him and his personality then I would have took my kindle outside and shot it. There was nothing about him I liked. Even at the end, nothing redeemable to me. I know some people are going to love this, I just wasn’t one of them.

To be fair, the writing was good and solid. Adrian was a really good character, and I loved his spirit. I just didn’t connect with either of them. I had issues with the way Marek treated Adrian, and how he acted in general. I had issues with Adrian just showing up unannounced after all these years and thinking that a conversation wasn’t needed. Umm both guys needed a personality check and to be holed up in a room together to discuss their feelings.

Another reason for the rating is because I do think the authors gave some really good background facts on the culture and people of Poland. It could be a reason for my disconnect seeings as the romantic aspect played second fiddle in my opinion to the significance of where they are.

I’m left feeling like I didn’t enjoy it but it would be unfair to rate it 1 star. It had good bones to the story. I just never connected with any part of it. I didn’t care for any of the story, and after a while I really just wanted it to be over. It didn’t work for me, and while I’m a little peeved by that, I know I’ll read something else by these two in the future.

About K.A. Merikan

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

Chase the Ace by Clare London

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.

Chase the Ace: by Clare London
Series: London Lads #1 
Release Date: Janurary 4, 2017
Pages:87 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner PressAmazon

2nd Edition

Newly single in his late twenties, and bored with his quiet life in a London suburb, Daniel Cross soon discovers the lure of social media. Excited at the chance of tracking down his old mates from a schooldays sports club, he launches a personal quest to find out what kind of man each boy has become.

Dan’s first mistake is chatting online to a complete stranger—friending the wrong Carson brother on Facebook. But Nick Carson isn’t offended and offers to accompany Dan on the trip to find the others. It’s the first step to friendship and something more for both of them.

For Dan, the reunions with the “ Gang of Four” range from startling and heartening to disturbing. Nick’s company is a constant support, though neither of them are prepared for the exposure of personal secrets they’d thought long hidden. Dan begins to suspect he’s really looking for a direction in his own life—and the excitement and purpose he craves may be closer to home than a quest with its roots in a boyhood dream.

First Edition published by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2012.

No Rating

I don’t even know where to start. I honestly don’t understand the plot. That’s my biggest issue with the story. I find it hard to believe that a summer camp at 16 which was only one time impacted your life so greatly that it took all these years later to search for these guys. I get something drastic happened to Daniel right after that, but to out the blue decide to look for these guys after a decade seems so unbelievable to me. I didn’t really connect with either guy at all. I feel like I walked into the middle of the story, and if this past event was going to play such a big role in the story then I’d like a prologue to go with it.

I also find it hard at this day and age that Daniel didn’t have any idea how to work social media. It just seemed to be thrown in together. The whole Nick pretending to be Nathan for as long as he did was a dick move to me. They didn’t know each other for real, and yet they embark on this journey. I wish it would have gone differently, but it is what it is. I almost DNF it, but wanted to see how it ended. I cannot recommend this one, because I didn’t find any enjoyment in any part of the story.

About Clare London

Hi, I’m Clare London, a published author of gay romantic fiction, often erotic, usually contemporary, but sometimes in other worlds entirely. I publish with several publishers, in print and ebook, and I also offer free fiction on my website www.clarelondon.com. Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters. Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

So This is Christmas by Josh Lanyon

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.

So This is Christmas: by Josh Lanyon
Series: The Adrien English Mysteries, #5.5
Release Date: December 30, 2016
Pages: 127 • Format: eARC
Published By: Just Joshin Publishing, Inc
Purchase Links:
AmazonSmashwords

God Help You Merry Gentlemen…

Arriving home early after spending Christmas in jolly old England, sometimes amateur sleuth Adrien English discovers alarming developments at Cloak and Dagger Books–and an old acquaintance seeking help in finding his missing boyfriend.

Fortunately, Adrien just happens to know a really good private eye…

 

 

 

five-stars

It took me a couple of days to try to figure out what words to describe this story, but I still have no words because this book has been one of my happiest book pleasures ever. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we would see Adrien & Jake again. They are in my Book Royalty. I love the Adrien & Jake story. It isn’t nice, easy, or sweet. These two have fought extremely hard to get where they are and it’s PERFECT.

This picks up right after book 5. Jake & Adrien are returning from a holiday in London. We see the old gang, some familiar faces and the love between these two. I don’t think we’ve ever see Adrien this content and happy before, and its a beautiful thing. It wouldn’t be an Adrien English story without someone contacting him directly or sometimes indirectly for help. This time it’s Kevin, the cute hottie from book 2 needs some help. Reading this I often found myself smiling for no apparent reason then it feels great to revisit these two. I truly love Josh Lanyon’s style, and felt like this was the most contemporary story we’ve seen from her ever in my opinion.

Ask anyone and they will tell you I wasn’t team Jake ever in a day. I re-read the series prior to reading this and sometimes I forgot why I was so angry at him, but book 4 and seeing him change was something else. I forgive all the tears, anger, and pain that he put Adrien in. We see Jake grow as much as Adrien did in the years since the first book. You can see the personal growth that Jake obtained because in this last book he was so carefree, open and loving. It was like seeing a new Jake, but I firmly believe he just grew up.

With all the happiness and that ending, I couldn’t ask for a better ending to these two. I am forever grateful that Lanyon decided to bless us with this happiness. I loved it, and it’s highly recommendable to fans of this series.

About Josh Lanyon

Bestselling author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance, JOSH LANYON has been called “arguably the single most influential voice in m/m romance today.” Granted, that was yesterday.

Today Josh’s work has been translated into nine languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first male/male title to be published by Harlequin Mondari, the largest romance publisher in Italy. The Adrien English series was awarded the 2nd Annual All Time Favorite Male Male Couple by the Goodreads M/M Group. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist for Gay Mystery, and the first ever recipient of the Goodreads Favorite M/M Author Lifetime Achievement award.

Josh is married and lives in Southern California.

Whiskey Business by Avon Gale

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.

Whiskey Business: by Avon Gale
Series: States of Love
Release Date:
Pages: 104 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAReAmazon

Ryder Waites will do anything to keep the tiny town of Gallows Grove, Kentucky, from vanishing off the map—even sell his family’s whiskey recipe to Bluegrass Bourbon in Lexington. Hopeful that the larger company can provide necessary improvements to the distillery, Ryder’s ultimate goal is to get Gallows Grove on the Bourbon Trail… and bring in much-needed tourism revenue. But to keep producing Hanged Man Bourbon in Gallows Grove, he’ll have to convince company liaison, unbearably stuffy and seriously hot Adam Keller, that he’s worth the investment.

Adam comes from an old-money family, but he’s determined to make his own way in the world. When he’s sent to Gallows Grove, he questions the life choices that led him to a rented room in a funeral home, in a town full of macabre-themed businesses. And he doesn’t know what to make of Ryder, the descendant of bootleggers who’s on a mission to save his strange town from extinction. When Adam and Ryder put aside their initial mistrust, the results are as smooth as good whiskey. But after Adam’s assignment ends, he’ll have to decide if small-town life and a future with Ryder is to his tastes.

four-stars

Whiskey Business has plenty of laugh out loud scenes. Avon Gale scored another one. Ryder & Adam were perfect together! Bourbon, Kentucky-isms, Basketball and Bad Puns what more can you want?

I really enjoyed the town of Gallows Grove! I think the town made for a more interesting character seeing as it brought most of the excitement. Ryder Waites is born and bred Kentucky, it’s in his blood, essence, and in his family’s bourbon. Trying to do right by the family and town, Ryder agrees to sale his brand to a company that’s in state and can equally help his little town. In comes Adam Keller. Adam is from old money, and doesn’t need to work, but when you hate horses why work for them? He doesn’t. He goes to school to start his own future. He finds his niche in the world and everything is smooth sailing until he rides into Gallows Grove.

Things are a little tense after this. I found myself chuckling at each guy’s expense. Both had some hilarious internal monologue-ing going on. Adam is a bit uptight when we meet him, and it immediately raises Ryder hackles. From there it’s lust on both guys ends, and funny moments. Who knew Mr.Uptight had such a dirty mouth on him? Good Lord, Adam surprised me. He was super filthy but that’s how I like my guys. Of course when feelings get involved signals get crossed then things go to hell in a hand basket for these two. It eventually works itself out and their union is a blessed one at the end of the day. *wink*

To me this is one of the better novels in the States of Love Series. I really had a fun timing reading it, and Avon stories seem to flow so easily for me. I can always count on her to bring the steam, feels, and humor in each and every one of them. To this day Power Play is my favorite book by her. Not to say, the others aren’t good, but this one stuck with me big time. I’d highly recommend this novella to anyone who wants to laugh, and have some steamy moments while doing it!

About Avon Gale

Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Guest Post & Giveaway with Lou Slyvre

Oh My Shelves welcomes Lou Slyvre to the blog with Holiday Cheer and A Giveaway. Her newest release Falling Snow on Snow is out December 23rd. Don’t forget to follow the blog tour, comment below and enter the Giveaway!

 

Falling Snow On Snow: by Lou Sylvre
Release Date: December 23rd, 2016
Pages: 79 • Format: eBook
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboIndigo Books

Beck Justice knows holiday sparkle and snappy carols only mask December’s cruel, black heart. He learned that lesson even before he landed on the streets eight years ago, and his recent step up to a tiny apartment and a busker’s permit for Seattle’s Pike Place Market has done nothing to change his mind. But one day in the market, Oleg Abramov joins his ethereal voice to Beck’s guitar, and Beck glimpses light in his bleak, dark winter.

Oleg, lucky to have a large and loving family, believes Beck could be the man to fill the void that nevertheless remains in his life. The two men step out on a path toward love, but it proves as slippery as Seattle’s icy streets. Just when they get close, a misunderstanding shatters their hopes. Light and harmony are still within reach, but only if they choose to believe, risk their hearts, and trust.

Hi! Lou Sylvre here, very happy to have a spot on Oh My Shelves for the first time ever! This is stop two on my “official” tour for Falling Snow on Snow, a holiday novella releasing in three days from Dreamspinner Press. I’m excited about this book—mostly because I admittedly love the characters. I interviewed MC Beck Justice over at MM Good Book Reviews on December 16, so today I thought we might like to get to know Oleg. He was a little reluctant to talk, so I got some other people involved, too.

Character Interview

I’ll start with the only question Oleg would answer. Do you think the romance you and Beck Justice have will last? I mean, it’s brand new. Is he your one and only, and if so, how do you know?

Ms. Sylvre, don’t pretend you don’t know. You’ve seen me with Beck. You know how hard I’ve fallen for him. And yes, I think it will last. Remember what you wrote about my mom and dad’s example?

Oleg’s mother had done her best to instill in her children a belief in the miracle of love at first sight. It had happened for her. She’d been a rising star at the Moscow Conservatory of Music when she’d seen his father perform at a wedding. They’d become devoted to each other within days, married within months, and through all their years—and despite all she’d let go of for a poor Jewish boy—she’d never once regretted her choice.

And it’s almost like it was fate for us to meet anyway. That day in the market, it was only chance that led me past while he was playing, and maybe I wouldn’t even have noticed if it hadn’t been that particular song, “In the Bleak Midwinter” is one of the winter songs I love best—to sing, I mean—and his music, the chords and patterns yes, but mostly the depth of it, the… I guess it was loneliness, or longing I heard. I felt compelled to join him. And it was all like that, chance meetings. It could have gone so wrong. But… anyway. Yes. I believe our love will hold true.

After that, Oleg thought he’d said more than enough, so I found his oldest sister, Lara, in her photography studio, which is at the family home in Greenwood—a middle class neighborhood in Seattle. I asked her what she would want the world to know about Oleg, particularly since she’s always been protective of him.

Ah, well… yes. I’ve always tried to look out for him. He is so much younger than the rest of us, you know. Such a little boy when we came from Russia. The rest of us, we all still keep our roots in culture from our home—not because we choose that, so much as because we can’t help it. It is who we are. But Olejka, he’s different. He’s in two worlds, you might say. And sometimes I think he’s two people. (She laughs, and it is a delightful sound!) No, no. I don’t really mean that, but always, even when he was little, he was quiet and thoughtful, but with a wild streak.

I know you wrote about how I tried to hide him so he wouldn’t have to go to kindergarten when he was a boy. I was so silly, but I was just a kid too. Even so, I worried for him, going to school. I was afraid the kids would be mean because he’s so… soft, in a way. But then I worried too what if that wild streak comes out? Then he would really get in trouble. It was not useful, my “helping,” and he did fine in school most of the time. But even after he grew up… You know, going out, he called it. Men… strangers. I’m so glad now he has Beck, because, well I don’t want to speculate on their private lives, but I imagine that tall, strong guitar player might give him an outlet for that wild streak, if you know what I mean.

Lara has to tend to her work, so I leave her in the darkroom and am on my way out of the house when I run into Andrei Abramov, Oleg’s father. He seems a rather self-contained man, and studious, with glasses and an absent-professor look to him. He’s just shown one of his music students to the door, and when he turns, he looks surprised to see me. After a greeting, he surprises me when he just starts talking. Lara’s accent was mild and musical, but Andrei’s is thick, though subtly different from what I think of as a Russian sound. I listen carefully, and after just a few words, I’m able to understand him without trouble.

You’re here to talk about my son, Oleg, yes? He is very precious to us, you know. He was always small, not so robust as a babe, and in Moscow we struggled to keep him healthy. We didn’t have much. It was very hard on the children and my wife, whom I miss so much. Mostly, it was hard because of me, because I’m Jewish, and she gave up everything to marry me. We came here to America, and it got easier, after a while, though many of our fellow refugees didn’t fare so well. Oleg grew strong, and that was a blessing. Then we learned he was gay, as you say, and again we gave thanks we were here, not in Russia. Not long after we came here, my brother, both gay and Jewish disappeared from Moscow—or at least we’ve been unable to find him. Possibly he’s in prison, or dead. Oleg, he is so much like that brother of mine, one who loves men, looks like him, too. But Oleg, he has been safe here—free to be the person he was born to be. But now I worry, these politics, these changes I see all around. I know Beck is a good man, and he will do good by my son. But I worry for their future. Do you not?

I tell Andrei that yes, I do worry, yet I have hope, and encourage him to hold on to the same. I’m very surprised when he sees me to the door and then hugs me in farewell. I step out into the rain—it’s a cold pelt today, coming down hard enough to feel like ice. As I step out on the paved walkway heading for the street, Beck comes striding toward me, and when we meet, he greets me warmly, with that great big smile of his. We chat about weather and such for a moment and then I ask him, “What are four of your favorite things about Oleg?”

Four! Hard to choose, but I’ll try.

  • His smile—it’s never the same, it says so much without him having to add words, and it’s always from the heart.
  • His voice, of course. My god, there could not possibly be an angel who could sing more wondrously.
  • I love the way he’s so very practical, always sees the way to get something done, but it never gets in the way of the part of his fun-loving side.
  • This is a little personal. (He blushes.) But when we make love, he gives himself so… consciously, yet with complete abandon, and I always know it’s me, he’s loving. Nothing random or habitual about it. Every moment, every motion, every look and word and touch, they each matter to him more than anything else in the world—and so it’s that way for me, too.

But there’s so much more to Oleg than I could put in a list. You just have to know the man, Lou. Then you love him. That’s just the way it is.

I thank Beck, but we’re both freezing, standing out in the winter rain, so he trots up to the door, and I run out to the curb where my car awaits. I’m glad I got to talk to Oleg’s family. He’s a guy worth getting to know, I think—and I hope you agree! If you haven’t read Falling Snow on Snow and you’d like to, it’s up for preorder now. And don’t forget the rafflecopter giveaway, with a couple of chances to win the book, and more.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks, Tamika, for hosting me, and thanks, everybody, for reading! I’ve got a number of stops coming up on the tour, and I hope you’ll join me. Here’s the schedule and links.

 

Author Bio

Lou Sylvre lives and writes on the rainy side of Washington State, penning mostly suspense/romance novels because she can’t resist giving her characters hard times but good love. Her personal assistant is Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow, and he makes a point of letting her know when she’s taken a plot tangent too far. Apparently an English major, he helps a lot, but Lou refuses to put his name on the byline. (Boudreau invites readers to give their feedback as well!) When Lou isn’t writing, she’s reading fiction from nearly every genre, romance in all its tints and shades, and the occasional book about history, physics, or police procedure. Not zombies, though—she avoids zombies like the plague unless they have a great sense of humor. She plays guitar (mostly where people can’t hear her) and she loves to sing. She’s most often smiling and laughs too much, some say. Among other things and in no particular order, she loves her family, her friends, the aforementioned Boudreau, his sister George, and their little brother Nibbles, a chihuahua named Joe, a dachshund named Chloe, and a slew of chihuahua/dachshund puppies. She takes pleasure in coffee, chocolate, sunshine, gardens, wild roses, and every beautiful thing in the world. You can contact here at any of these spots:

Blog:http://www.sylvre.rainbow-gate.com
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLouSylvre
Twitter:https://twitter.com/Sylvre
Goodreads:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4873260.Lou_Sylvre
Email:mailto:lou.sylvre@gmail.com

Interlude: First Noel by Tal Bauer

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.

Interlude:First Noel by Tal Bauer
Series:The Executive Office #1.5
Release Date: December 19, 2016
Pages: 125 • Format: eARC
Published By: NineStar Press
Purchase Links:
NineStar PressAmazon

Before Ethan returns to DC…
Before he becomes Jack’s first gentleman…
Jack and Ethan share their first Christmas together.

Step back to Jack and Ethan’s first Christmas season and the tentative early months of their relationship under the world’s spotlight.

Three months into Ethan’s transfer-in-exile in Des Moines, Iowa, the pressures of dating Jack, the president of the United States, start to wear Ethan down. His weeks are measured by the days he works in Iowa, chasing counterfeiters and financial crimes, and the weekends he manages to steal with Jack back in DC. The media stalks his every move, he’s isolated by his coworkers, and loneliness hammers at his heart.

In DC, Jack tries to piece together a global alliance to take down the Caliphate, while the world seems focused on tearing apart his personal life. Hostility surrounds him from all corners of the globe, but a surprise offer from President Sergey Puchkov may pave the way for a tentative alliance…and perhaps the beginning of a friendship.

As Ethan finds himself in the middle of an investigation that rubs too deeply against his soul and Jack tries to balance leading the free world and keeping his and Ethan’s relationship going, the two men must face what their love has become…and where they are heading together.

five-stars

While I’m ecstatic to get this novel, it’s making me a little ragey because I want the next in the series so bad. Excuse my grouchy ways, I’m battling the cold demon in my City. I’m not ready for freezing temperatures! I’m pleasantly happy to see Ethan & Jack again. Man, Tal doesn’t do anything half assed. They went into this book with more then a Holiday novella in store. This was a solid storm with so much happy, romancy, feelings. I always wanted to read about their mini break when Ethan was away, and it was everything I could want and more.

Ethan & Jack are just now getting to that special place in their relationship but they are apart from each other. They have most weekends when Jack isn’t busy. This is definitely not a stand alone. Don’t even think about reading it without book one. We see them grow together as a couple, and a lot of first happens here in this book. I really enjoyed seeing Jack open up about his feelings and being super protective of Ethan.

I’m not going to lie, I was starting to worry about Ethan. I don’t think he can handle being alone from his friends and Jack. He was able to do his job, well I should say and stay true to his love with Jack. I did like the relationship that he was building up with Becker his partner. Hopefully we’ll see him in the future somewhere in this series.

It is so going on a favorite of mine this year. I enjoyed all the little things they did for each other, to the big pronouncements of love, endearments, first dances, and special Christmas presents. I will admit to being worried that being such a short book in length we would have to deal with the political formula like the rest of the books in the series. Do not be worried folks, this is strictly romantic. It’s all about the romance and their relationship and what’s to come in the future. If you are fans of this series, then I definitely recommend this to you. If you haven’t read Enemies of State then I dare say get on it folks! Don’t miss out on a brand new fan favorite couple! Tal, I’ll be looking for book 3’s release date soon. I don’t have much wine left to hold me out!!

About Tal Bauer

Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.