Off the Beaten Path by Cari Z.

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.

Off the Beaten Path: by Cari Z.
Release Date: September 18th, 2017
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.

Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely.

three-stars

Thanks Michelle Visage, even your face said it all.

Meh.

My favorite word to describe my feelings after reading this. It wasn’t bad, but it was nothing else. No spark, no connection, no feeling, and didn’t seem like it worked well together. Felt like it was 2 stories going on at once, and the disjointed feeling didn’t end at all. I have a couple questions about Ward. What happened to his life back in California? Did he have people to pack up and distribute his things? Was no one concerned about his abrupt leaving? This bothered me so much. Way more then the governmental use of werewolves to do their wet work. I mean werewolves are only stronger then humans, and I know they aren’t that many but the whole working for the government and being their bitch didn’t work for me. I finished it.

Ward’s 4 year old daughter shifted on her first day of preschool, and he wasn’t there to see her before the government sent her to a pack. He’s doing everything in his power to get her back, no matter that the rules say otherwise. He has an ally who helps him locate his daughter and makes it his mission to see her, and get her back. Henry is the alpha of the La Garita Pack, and he’s commissioned to the Army to do whatever they want. This last mission wasn’t something that he seemed to let roll off his shoulders, he comes back home to a trespasser and is determined to follow the laws. Having the guardian’s entire attitude changes keeps Henry on edge.

It was certain aspects that I liked. I liked Sam’s character. I felt like alot of this was under-developed. Tennyson, for example could have had more use. I don’t know if I liked how the culture was set-up. Everything felt to complicated. If Henry was the big Alpha dude with a case of heroism, he didn’t seem like it at most times. The romance was soooo subpar! Blah, Blah, Blah. That’s how I felt. I didn’t like them together, probably because it was ZERO connection. I mean, they basically were lumped together because no one else was around. Then Sam having this convenient set-up at the end. It didn’t work for me.

Personally, I didn’t care for it much, but others might enjoy it. I haven’t read many book by Cari Z, so I don’t know if this is her formula or not. If you like PNR, then this might be for you. It wasn’t the worst, and I’ve read worst, but I didn’t really care for it.

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About Cari Z.

Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She has a wonderful relationship with her husband, a complex relationship with the characters in her head and a sadomasochistic relationship with her exercise routine. She feels like Halloween should happen every month, which is why you get this picture of her, and hopes that you enjoy reading what she’s put out there as much as she enjoyed writing it in the first place.

A Guest Review: Tramps and Thieves by Rhys Ford

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.

Tramps and Thieves: by Rhys Ford
Series: Murder and Mayhem #2
Release Date: September 18th, 2017
Pages: 220 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Whoever said blood was thicker than water never stood in a pool of it.

Retiring from stealing priceless treasures seemed like a surefire way for Rook Stevens to stay on the right side of the law. The only cop in his life should have been his probably-boyfriend, Los Angeles Detective Dante Montoya, but that’s not how life—his life—is turning out. Instead, Rook ends up not only standing in a puddle of his cousin Harold’s blood but also being accused of Harold’s murder…and sleeping with Harold’s wife.

For Dante, loving the former thief means his once-normal life is now a sea of chaos, especially since Rook seems incapable of staying out of trouble—or keeping trouble from following him home. When Rook is tagged as a murder suspect by a narrow-focused West L.A. detective, Dante steps in to pull his lover out of the quagmire Rook’s landed in.

When the complicated investigation twists around on them, the dead begin to stack up, forcing the lovers to work together. Time isn’t on their side, and if they don’t find the killer before another murder, Dante will be visiting Rook in his prison cell—or at his grave.

 

three-stars

 

This story starts a bit down the road from the last book. Rook and Dante are still together and they’re a solid couple by the time this begins. Rook breaks in to his cousin’s home to pull a prank but instead finds a dead body and then finds himself neck deep in the middle of another investigation.

The investigation is fast paced and pretty entertaining. The who-done-it aspect keeps the reader guessing until the end.

The romance continues to develop and the guys are both sweet and steamy together. I like these two as a couple and I enjoyed watching Rook drop his guard for Dante.

The reason my rating wasn’t higher though had to do with writing style. There were so many parts that were overly descriptive and completely unnecessary in my opinion. There were a bunch of places that danced on the edge of being purple prose and it just didn’t work for me. I found myself being annoyed and skimming a lot of passages. It was so prevalent that it took away from my overall enjoyment of the book.

This book could be read as a standalone but you might enjoy it more if you’ve read book one. There are a lot of side characters of importance and it helps to know who they are in relation to Rook and Dante. Also, if you’re a fan of this author’s Cole McGinnis series you will see quite a few Easter Eggs in this. (Which is something I personally love for authors to do.)

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About Rhys Ford

Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.

Saved: An Omegaverse Story by A.M. Arthur

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.

Saved: An Omegaverse Story: by A.M. Arthur
Series: Breaking Free #1
Release Date: September 12th, 2017
Pages: 316 • Format: eARC
Published By: Briggs-King Books
Purchase Links:
Amazon

He didn’t want an alpha to save him, but fate had other ideas…

Braun Etting was raised to know his place as an omega by his alpha father’s cruel words and fast fists, and he expects nothing but violence from the alpha who may one day mate him. His older brother Kell mated a cruel alpha who abuses him daily, and Braun is terrified of that seemingly inevitable future. When Braun’s father dies in a car crash, leaving Braun an orphan, he’s sent to a halfway house for omegas. But on his fourth night there, he witnesses a horrifying crime that sends him fleeing to the streets alone—and edging into his first heat.

Tarek Bloom is settled in his workaholic, single lifestyle, even if it is somewhat embarrassing to be a twenty-eight year-old unmated alpha. He enjoys his job as a constable, helping people and solving problems, so he isn’t prepared for his life to flip upside-down when he walks into his beta friend Dex’s apartment to help with “a problem.”

The problem turns out to be an unmated, nearly in-heat omega orphan who Dex and his husband rescued off the street last night. The even bigger problem is that Tarek feels the mating bond for this terrified omega immediately—and he’s pretty sure the omega feels it, too. But Braun hates alphas as a general rule, and no way is he giving in to the bond. All mating leads to is violence and suffering, so no thank you. But Tarek’s gentle kindness slips under Braun’s emotional shields, and Braun begins to want. To dream. All Braun has ever known is violent alphas, but Tarek is determined to make Braun trust him—and to trust in the idea of their happily ever after.

four-stars


Not Bad.

Yeah, I’m surprised at how much I liked this. I think I’ve read one book by this author previously, and didn’t care much. That means nothing when I see a book featuring A/B/O Dynamics, Knotting, and MPREG!!!! Yes, count me in! Got to say there was no mpreg in it for me. Yeah, I know the brother was, but he wasn’t the main character. I like my mpreg to be full on, when slick dripping down, knotting galore, and the omega filled up to the brig! I’m definitely going to read some fan fiction after writing this review. LOL.

Not to be side-tracked. This book was good. I liked the world a lot. Braun has had a hell of a life. Nothing hasn’t gone right for him in 20 years. Well except for his father passing, and the events that lead him to Alpha Tarek. I liked the dynamics between the two. Its written really well, and Braun finds his voice in this book. He’s put through the ringer, and doesn’t trust anyone. His main goal is for safety, his brother, and trying to be his own man. He succeeds alot, and his omega ways does get on my nerves at certain times, because Tarek deserves a lot more for what he does in this story. He sacrifices to his career, which was the most important thing in his life. He’s lead a life of content. He feels so, but when he first smells Braun, his Alpha tendencies rears its ugly head, and attractions & wires gets crossed. From there its hot! They are screaming hot together, and I enjoyed every little dirty minute of it!

I did like how the story was told. It wasn’t just a romance, but focused more on the cause surrounding omegas. Its a fight they are going to have to go through being that these characters are in the minority of feeling like this. Braun’s character was set-up for future books probably being a face of the cause. He’s adamant about omega-rights, and not being used for just a womb. Tarek agrees with him, but there is no precedent for omegas and if so, it happened in the past. I loved Serge & Dex. These were my favorite guys, they were everything. I can tell that Kell & the lawyer will end up together. It might not be next book, but the book after. I really liked what I read. It was such a good, solid story.

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About A.M. Arthur

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, and SMP Swerve.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Family Man by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton

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.

Family Man: by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton
Release Date: September 11th, 2017
Pages: 206 • Format:eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

Sometimes family chooses you.

At forty, Vincent “Vinnie” Fierro is still afraid to admit he might be gay—even to himself. It’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, it’s getting harder to ignore what he really wants.

Vinnie attempts some self-exploration in Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.

Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek, Trey agrees to let Vinnie court him and see if he truly belongs on this side of the fence—though Trey intends to keep his virginity intact.

It seems like a solid plan, but nothing is simple when family is involved. When Vinnie’s family finds out about their relationship, the situation is sticky enough, but when Trey’s mother goes critical, Vinnie and Trey must decide whose happiness is most important—their families’ or their own.

four-stars

 

This was my first read of this book, and I”m shocked that I haven’t read it before. I really enjoyed this story. I love the setting, the family, the people in it, and Trey & Vince. This was realistically done! Love the big families, and how the family trope was done so well. Cullinan and Sexton need to write more books together if this is what came out!

Vince is 40 years old, and now accepting that he’s gay. Not only has he been married 3 times to women, but his greatest fear is being without his big Italian Family. With only his sister being his support system he ventures out into the world to see what being gay can offer him. Trey is gay, but school and his family is what is most important to him right now. He can’t think about being in a relationship while dealing with his mom’s alcoholism, being the breadwinner in his family, and oh yeah he’s a virgin. Not because he is a prude or something. He just wants it to mean something. Trey & Vinnie know each other, living in the same neighborhood, and being Italian of course they know one another.

Loved how patient Trey was with Vinnie. They both have personal things going on within themselves that they try letting it stay in the background to see where this No-Sex rule goes between the both of them. Vinnie is hard case to crack sometimes, but he’s interested in Trey. He’s a gentleman, and shows a side of dating to Trey that Trey hasn’t seen before. Trey can offer Vinnie things and views on being Gay. What it means to fall for the same sex. This was a learning experience for both guys. It was extremely sweet at times, and other times extremely vulnerable.

I laughed, had some tears, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’m so happy I decided to read this. I wish it was a follow-up seeing as its a second edition being published and its had years being out. I would have liked to a “Where are they now?”, moment from the authors. No matter, because I’m happy and I definitely recommend this.

 

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About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

About Marie Sexton

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Scorpio Hates Virgo by Anyta Sunday

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.

Scorpio Hates Virgo: by Anyta Sunday
Series: Signs of Love #2
Release Date: September 1st, 2017
Pages: 245 • Format: eARC
Published By: Anyta Sunday
Purchase Links:
Anyta Sunday

This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .

 

five-stars

A billion gazillion hand hearts!

I had no clue, what this book would do to me. I read it about 2 weeks ago and didn’t write my review. I know, just crazy. Well I re-read it last night and got the same butterflies, love, stupid grin on my face by the end of it.

Scorpio Hates Virgo is one of my favorite books of the year! Its not many on this list, but there was no way it wasn’t going on it. I’m relatively new to Sunday’s writing, but after book 1 being a joy for me, I couldn’t say no to book 2. I was write. I adored it way more. Book 2 has such amazing banter, chemistry, love, and joy for these two.  They couldn’t be completely different if she tried writing it that way.

Percy is such a sweetheart. He’s dealing with the death of his family. Not his only surviving relative, but the only one who cares enough about him. He’s alone in this world after his breakup of Josh. He’s adamant about coming home to Aunt Abby’s house and getting things in order to sell it. Not knowing his all time nemesis Cal is going to thwart his plans every step of the way. First of all, I love that they are nemesis. If my love for Percy isn’t showing, then hell we’re doomed. Callaghan deserves to go on Best Book Boyfriend List forever. Everything about Cal was for me! He is studying for his Master’s in Jurassic Park Studies for FFS. LOL. Its really Paleontology but you get the gist. He’s amazing with his family, and offering help to others.

“A movie? I thought your idea of a night out would be the restricted section of the library.”

“It would have been but for that pesky rule that we can’t apparate into Hogwarts.”

“Crap.”

Everyone around them can see they belong together but the sexual tension and the love tension are off the charts. I’m certain they know when they have stopped being nemesis to each others and started being environmentalist. I swear, I wish I came up with the witty banter like these two. They are destined to be together, and I’m no Frodo but I believe in it wholeheartedly. Not only were these two a joy, but the side characters were amazing as well. Sunday did a really good job of creating such an eclectic bunch of characters. Love all their different personalities and the love they have for each other. Also, Sherlock Gnomes is something I might steal, and do with a select group of friends. I loved this game.

“Are you saying you know how much I don’t exactly despise you?”

“You’re an open book — my open book– and I’ve been studying you for a long time.”

“Stop reading me so well.”

I’ve highlighted the crap out of this book. Its definitely a re-read for me. Its a feel good romance, a real slow burner though, and about two people who loved each other for so long coming together to be finally be in love. Sunday has done an amazing job with this book. I look forward to her next installment. Hopefully something with Cancers we’re an awesome bunch after all. Highly recommend this book to all.

“I guess we really are earth and water.”

“Because together we’re mud?”

“Together we stick.”

 

 

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About Anyta Sunday

Anyta Sunday – New Zealand writer in Berlin, Germany.

A born and raised New Zealander from Wellington, I’ve been exploring the literary world since I started reading Roald Dahl as a kid. Stories have been piling up in my head ever since. Fast forward to my mid-twenties and jump a few countries (Germany, America, and back again), I started to put them to paper.

My genre of choice is romance, both adult and YA, gay and straight. You can take a closer look at my books, available as e-books for download in many formats!

When I’m not pushing my characters deeper into adventure, I chase my sons around the house and fight my two comical cats for the desk chair.

The Veranda by Rosalind Abel

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 Veranda: by Rosalind Abel
Series: Lavender Shores #3
Release Date: August 25th, 2017
Pages:235 • Format:eARC
Published By:Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Donovan Carlisle helps countless people in Lavender Shores with his skills as a therapist. It seems, however, that his ability to enable others to live their happiest life only works outside of himself. Donovan truly loves his life, but isn’t able to find a relationship that satisfies his heart’s craving. Maybe the problem is that the only man he wants is off-limits.
Spencer Epstein came to Lavender Shores to find himself. Instead, he married one of the local town beauties. He’d thought his prayers had finally been answered. Then, he met his pregnant fiancée’s brother. It turned out those answered prayers were just cruel twists of fate.

A decade later, after a divorce and crumbling of all Spencer thought was set in stone, he sees his brother-in-law at a masquerade sex party. He takes full advantage of the anonymity and acts on the desires he’s held at bay all those years. The problem is, those silent and frenzied moments didn’t satiate anything. The fire and heat between the two men only grows as secrets are uncovered and they must determine if the cost of their passion is too high.

four-stars

You know, I was really hesitant on how the author would play this out on page being as its a really hard topic to deal with. Families are really hard on spouses, children, cousins, friends with situations like this. I mean, it was really written well and I can appreciate the subtlety of the feelings, and the raw emotions when dealing with tropes like this. The third story in the Lavender Shores series, and I think its my favorite up to date, not knowing if it will stay that way once Lamont’s book comes out. I really like him. Spencer & Donovan have been in each other’s lives for the past 10 years. Always unattainable since Spencer was married to Erica, Donovan’s sister. **Gasps**, I know. The faux pas! I figured that’s something the founding families would say about it. I mean, regardless of Erica & Spencer’s disaster of a marriage, they have children. How could Donovan agree to this morally and personally? These were just some questions I think would be floating in the air.

Had this been anyone else but this author, and I might have ended up in a ragey stupor! I didn’t. Rosalind Abel was able to encapture the love, fear, devotion, acceptance, and Spence & Donovan in the right light. This is a hard subject to grasp, and for anyone to come out on top winning. There are always going to be hurt parties, and the writing showcased it as real as possible. I felt Erica’s emotions during her outburst, I felt Donovan’s disbelief and fear at times, I felt Spencer’s guilt and fear so much. But overall, with the patient, and talking things through it really worked.  I really adored the pacing of the story. I think it was told and done in such an eloquent way. All this sweetness was good and all, but let’s talk about the SUIT PORN!!! WOWZA!!! It was off the chart hot. I needed to fan myself at the scene of them in Spencer’s office. **Bites Fist**, to be a fly on that wall. Don’t spoilers from me guys, but it was definitely a winner.

I really like the feeling of reading about average everyday guys, and what loves brings to them. These are real guys, and the writing has shown it in such a way that you can’t do anything but enjoy it. I think if you like feel good stories then this series is for you. I’ll be definitely looking out for more of this series.

 

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About Rosalind Abel

Rosalind Abel grew up tending chickens along side her sweet and faithful Chow, Lord Elgin. While her fantasy of writing novels was born during her teen years, she never would have dreamed she’d one day publish steamy romances about gorgeous men. However, sometimes life turns out better than planned.

In between crafting scorching sex scenes and helping her men find their soul mate, Rosalind enjoys cooking, collecting toys, and making the best damn scrapbooks in the world (this claim hasn’t been proven, but she’s willing to put good money on it).

She adores MM Romance and the power it has to sweep the reader away into worlds filled with passion, steam, and love. Rosalind also enjoys her collection of plot bunnies, and welcomes new fuzzy ones in her home all the time, so feel free to send any adorable ones her way.

New Author Alert: Midlife Crisis by Audra North

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.

Midlife Crisis: by Audra North
Release Date: August 28th, 2017
Pages: 205 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Cam McGhee grew up like any other small-town Texas farm boy: he played football, went to church every Sunday, and married his high school sweetheart. But thirty-five years after he said “I do,” Cam finds himself nursing a beer in a gay bar, thinking about what might have been.

Dave Montoya is confident, self-assured, and cautiously single. But when he meets shy, uncertain, and clearly-still-not-out Cam in a coffee shop in Austin, his reservations about getting seriously involved again disappear. Cam is everything he’s looking for in a partner . . . almost, anyway.

No matter how much Dave wants him, and how good they are together, Cam can’t bring himself to fully embrace the life he was meant to live. After all, when his secret finally gets out, he faces the very real possibility of losing everything that kept him going for the first fifty years of his life, just like he’s feared for so long. But with a little faith—and a lot of love—his dream of living fully, truly, as himself might finally be within reach.

four-stars

Well, North certainly surprised me. I’ve never read anything by her before. After reading this, I saw she is a MF romance writer. I have skeptical feelings about them, but I don’t let it cloud too much of my judgment. More surprised at myself for finishing it. This was not only a slow burn, but the pacing was snail at best. I didn’t find myself bored so I guess its a win for me. Its very detailed, and everything is written in a way that molasses pours faster. I was really drawn to it because of the older mc’s. They are in their 50’s well off, and established wanting different things in their lives.  North’s writing was real, emotional, and such a sweet romance. It doesn’t focus on the physical side but more emotional. Cam was such a character that touched my spirit. I teared up at plenty of the hard facts that he had to face. Dave is such a sweetheart. Super understanding to the cause and patient.

Cam’s character made my feelings come out through this story. I don’t know what was happening at the time of my reading it, but he resonated so much to me. Maybe its because he’s a black man, and all his loyalties, duties, and reservations about his family is so common in the community, even more in the south. My family is from the south, so I could understand all his thoughts, dreams, fears, hurt when it came to being happy. Or lack thereof in his case. He sacrificed his happiness for the community, the way of life in Bitter, Texas. He was a drowning man, until his wife died. It was heartbreaking and I know it was emotional because it kept an egg shape size of despair in my throat. He tried to do right by what was expected of him, he tried to be the best father, and husband he could be. It only took 51 years of living to realize that he wanted something for himself. In walks Dave, in his biker workout clothes, and friends. With his smile, easy on the eyes, and friendly manner its no wonder Cam falls for him. Its not an easy romance. While Cam does come to terms about being gay, its another to act on it. Its something that he’s never thought of. Of course being happy with Dave, does nothing to dis spell all his responsibilities back home or with his children. No matter his orientation, his children are his. Cam shows so much vulnerability with his kids, Dave, and his knitting crew. Dave is trying to get back on the horse as well. Being single for a few years after being in a long term relationship, Dave has reservations about being with someone as closeted as Cam. Its something that he can’t help since he’s falling just as much as Cam.

I am still kinda shocked at how much I’ve enjoyed this. I look forward to North writing more gay romance if its going to be real like this. If you like older guys, interracial romance, hurt comfort, out for you, tears, and extremely slow burns then this book is for you. I quite like the pacing, and writing myself. I would recommend this read.

 

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About Audra North

Audra North is a contemporary romance author of more than twenty romances, including the Stanton Family series from Entangled Publishing, the Hard Driving series from St. Martin’s Press, and the Pushing the Boundaries series from Samhain Publishing. She is the owner and publisher of Pink Kayak Press, which focuses on the publication of diverse romance works. Winter Rain, a Pink Kayak Press anthology, won a gold medal in the 2015 Independent Publisher Awards.

Audra enjoys speaking to writing groups and at industry conferences. She is also an avid jogger and loves running marathons. She has three children and lives with her family outside of Boston.

How To Save A Life by Eli Easton

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.

How To Save A Life: by Eli Easton
Series: Howl at the Moon #4
Release Date: August 28th, 2017
Pages: • Format: eARC
Published By:Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Rav Miller looked into the terrified, intelligent eyes of the chocolate Labrador on death row, and knew he’d do anything to save him. When the dog, Sammy, escapes and heads to Mad Creek, Rav follows. Mad Creek. The town had become legendary in Rav’s mind after he’d met that bizarre group last year. Rav dismissed his crazy suspicions back then, but when he arrives in Mad Creek, he knows it’s true. Dog shifters exist, and apparently they all live in the California mountains. It’s enough to blow a bad boy’s mind.

Sammy has something in common with Rav—neither one of them trusts people. After Sammy’s abuse as a dog, he particularly dislikes tough-looking men like Rav. But when Sammy gets a chance to work with rescued dogs at the new Mad Creek shelter, his deep compulsion to help others overcomes his fear. Rav and Sammy bond over saving strays. If they can each find the courage to let someone else in, they might find their way to love.

Sheriff Lance Beaufort doesn’t like humans moving into Mad Creek, especially not the tattooed and defiant Rav. When Rav starts a rescue shelter, the town thinks he’s wonderful! But Lance isn’t fooled. He doesn’t buy Rav’s innocent act for one second. How much does Rav know about the quickened? What is his game? And why did he have to show up now, when Lance and the other town leaders are overwhelmed by all the new quickened pouring in?

Rav knows how to save a life. But can he save an entire town? Can he rescue Mad Creek?

 

four-stars

I really enjoy this series! I’m not an animal person at all, but I would love to have all these dogs with me. Easton’s, Howl At The Moon series is one of my favorite shifter series! Each book has something different in it. This book had me tearing up in the first 10%. I couldn’t believe it. I really enjoyed Rav’s characters and Sammy’s earnest personality.

Rav is a biker, with a heart of gold. Running a no-kill shelter and taking in dogs when he doesn’t have enough room. Sammy is such a sweet doggy. He’s a sweeter human. He’s had a tough life up until getting to Mad Creek, but he pushed through and made it work. This was a relatively slow burn on the romance, and it wasn’t bad persay. Not the steamiest, but I can always understand it isn’t needed. I liked how Rav stuck to his guns with the town. Loved all his reservations, fears, and hopes being played out on the page. In each book, Eli defintiely distinguished each personality with their dog’s counterparts. I really liked Rav and his knowledge on how each dog is. Love how he was able to be patient with Sammy. Allowing Sammy to learn on his own, about what he wants and doesn’t.

Don’t know how I feel about some of the other characters getting page time. It felt rushed in a sense that no other story offered it, and felt like the author didn’t have much to say with these characters. I also couldn’t understand making Rav’s background so heavy for it to dull off at the end, and nothing to come from it. The ending didn’t feel like an ending. More like a middle. It didn’t feel like a proper ending like the rest. I don’t know whats to come for Rav & Sammy. Even these problems to me, wouldn’t make me change my rating. I did like it. I really would like to see Rex & Simon get a book, of course not together but seperately. Its a lot more quickeneds in Mad Creek that need their stories told!

 

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About Eli Easton

Having been, at various times, and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of metaphysical thrillers, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest writing.

Pins and Needles by A.J. Thomas

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.

Pins and Needles: by A.J. Thomas
Release Date: August 25th, 2017
Pages: 300 • Format: eARC
Published By:Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

The truth is rarely seen on the surface, and getting to it might mean digging deep….

After a devastating accident and a long stay in the hospital, the last thing petroleum engineer Sean Wilkinson wants to deal with is the settlement the oil company tries to force on him. He’ll never be able to work in his field again, his education is all but useless, and his surgeons are pessimistic about whether he’ll ever walk again. He needs someone in his corner, but most lawyers take one look at his tattoo-covered foster father and turn their backs. It’s just Sean’s luck that the one attorney willing to give him a chance is also the hottest guy he’s ever seen.

As a trial lawyer, Nate Delany has a lot to prove—to his father, the world, and himself. Sean intrigues Nate, and he struggles to reconcile the gifted tattoo artist he can’t stop fantasizing about with the quiet, brilliant engineer. His investigation reveals facts left out of the accident report—including an illicit affair, greedy coworkers, and a vicious corporation that will do anything to protect its bottom line. When Sean’s life is threatened, winning Sean’s case, and his heart, becomes a lot more dangerous.

four-stars

 

I enjoyed Pins and Needles a lot. I’m kinda shocked because it was a true slow burn with the romance. It was minimum at best, and the plot was really informative. To be honest, what first drew me to the story was the blurb. Felt very real, and something that I haven’t read a billion times over now. I deserve a cookie of some sort because whenever I hear the word FRACKING my eyes usually glaze over and I become distracted by something else. I’ve heard it on countless political shows, movies, court shows and everything else. Never would have imagined it to be in my reads but this was good. It was different and I loved the buildup for the romance.

Nate and Sean together were very good for one another. Each guy is lacking in the personal romance and real life feels. I like that they were so different from one another, but totally compromising and interesting to the other. Nate made me fall for him so much more. Always been the outcast from his uber conservative family decides to take a stand, and be his own man. Not caring what his father thinks, he branches out on his own. His very first case is against a multimillionaire company and their employee. Sean’s life hasn’t been easy at all. Never having the love he’s had from parents he’s like a lost boy. Not realizing the entire time he’s had all the love from Hawk that he could ever want. We really don’t know the real Sean. I think because he’s always been second choice to his mother the only way he can survive is by adapting to his surrounding. That’s heartbreaking in itself.

The plot for this story was so thoroughly researched and written really well. I learned some new things, and loved how it was intertwined with the romance. Yes the plot was more then the romance, and normally it would be an issue for me, but every single piece was important for the story. It made complete sense in the end. I really enjoyed the side characters. Hawk & Tonya were really good for Sean’s soul. I love how tattooing brought Sean & Nate on another level. Loved seeing Nate’s ruthlessness come out when he turned his professional face on. Sean was spectacular in himself as well.

All in all, I thought this was a really good solid story. Excellent writing and story telling. A definite slow burn with the romance. I mean really, really, really slow burn. If you can’t handle it then skip it. The story actually has substance so be prepared to actually be wow’d. I look forward to more books from Thomas.

 

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Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

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.

Illegal Contact: by Santino Hassell
Series: The Barons #1
Release Date: August 15th, 2017
Pages: 259 • Format: eARC
Published By: InterMix
Purchase Links:
AmazonKoboiBooks

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel.

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

four-half-stars

 

This was an instant winner for me. Hassell last few books didn’t really do it for me. I was hesitant to try this one, but I was so glad I did. I loved the slow burn of the relationship, and Gavin Brawley is everything. Love that he means what he says, and says what he means. Noah is everything as well. Who knew Clark Kent would be so dirty? Plus Football is sexy! About time I can get a sports romance and I know the sport forward and backward. No offence to Hockey, but Football is so much sexier.

This is definitely a realistic fiction story, but a softer side then I’m used to. Yeah, I had some issues with me feeling like every guy is a Michael, Raymond and Garrett. I have a hard time keeping different characters apart when all of their backgrounds are so similar. It doesn’t take away from my inner glee with this story though. It was gritty, honest, sexy and I never wanted it to end.

Gavin is a softer version of all 3 of those guys. I mean, he has a shitty life, and anger problems. He’s on a 6 month house arrest for physical assault. No one outside of Simeon & Marcus seems to know the real Gavin. At times, Gavin doesn’t know the real Gavin. Enter mister Noah Monroe. Freshly finished from college, and out of a job. Not caring who the client is, he decides to take a position for a PA. I really enjoyed Noah. More often then not in stories like these we have to deal with that pesky miscommunication trope, but here everyone is outspoken and sarcastic. Basically speaking my language. Right off the start they are bitchy towards each other. After countless assumptions, we finally see a different side to each guy. They start opening up to each other, and everyone around them can see the attraction clear as day. This is something Noah doesn’t want to deal with again. Falling for his boss. It didn’t lead him to a good place the first time, and he’s trying so hard for it not to happen a second time around. Gavin make me gush so hard, he understands Noah’s boundaries so well. He respects him, and that is how he knows he’s screwed. He’s never loved anyone before. I loved that its a slow burn for the romance. The buildup between these two are scorching hot. From the first kiss to the last scene, it kept me glued to my tablet. Do you know how hard it is to read in Miami? If I wasn’t drinking and partying, I was neglecting my friends to read this. **Sighs**, I really enjoyed them.

Fans of sports romance, gay romance, and Hassell in general will most likely fawn all over this. Can’t forget about the amazing Simeon & Marcus. These are the bestest friends ever! I can’t wait for Simeon’s book! I definitely recommend this book!

 

 

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About Santino Hassell

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of queer fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.