Vodka & Handcuffs 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.

Vodka & Handcuffs: by Brandon Witt
Series: Mary’s Boys #2
Release Date: April 26th, 2017
Pages: 112 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.

Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.

Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force.

Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?

three-stars

Yeah, Bunk that’s exactly how I feel.

I took a few days off from writing my initial thoughts and feelings for this book. The blurb and the Vahin had me really excited to read his book. I liked him a lot in book one. My rating is very generous because I like the author, and know how great his stories can be. This was a total letdown for me. I feel cheated because they couldn’t even build up to a relationship without all the outside interrupting them. Some might classify this as a HFN, but I can not. They spend literally a blink of eye together, and it was nothing that I read that seemed like they connected. It was not good. There, I said it.

I enjoyed Vahin as a character in book one, but in this book he kinda seems lost. I guess that has to do with his past playing heavy on his mind. I don’t know if it took away from his character, but it definitely posed a bigger mystery to him? I thought it would be some resolution for him at the end since his past was presence so much, but it was none. I don’t know how to write this when I feel like pieces of the story were so disjointed.

Marlon, Marlon Marlon. Why?? Two people of color as main characters and their story was not good. I don’t really get Marlon. I guess he never seemed into Vahin. I felt like Witt forced them together, I didn’t feel the steam, love, lust or any connection between the two. Marlon had to deal with his horrible partner as a Denver Police Officer. One could ask why he is still a beat cop at 38, but that just randomly flew out of my head. Kudos to Witt writing some realism in this story. He always is able to deliver some realistic fiction in his stories. The subject is very much true and happening so prevalent in this day and age.

It had a few funny laughs, but nothing to wow me about the book. I really wish it was light hearted, smutty with this side of drama like book one, but I digress. I’ll still read Witt’s forthcoming book. This just didn’t work for me.

 

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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.

Darkest Hour Before Dawn by Charlie Cochet

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.

Darkest Hour Before Dawn: by Charlie Cochet
Series: THIRDS #9
Release Date: April 25th, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

THIRDS Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn are as much in love now as they were nearly seven years ago when a tragic event on the job destroyed their relationship. The two drift together only to be pulled apart time and time again. When Hudson draws the interest of dangerous enemies, both within and outside the organization, Seb wants nothing more than to protect the man who still means everything to him.

As life and death events, an uncertain future, and startling truths draw Hudson and Seb to each other yet again, they must make a choice: trust their love and take strength from what they share, or lose what matters most for good this time.

 

four-half-stars

 

So close…..

Oh Charlie, you don’t know how close I was to parting ways with your series. I got so tired of Dex & Sloane taking over everyone’s stories, tired of the cliffhangers and tired of the other couple playing side characters in their stories. I was just tired. It would have been sad for me, but I would have no other choice. Along the way, the series has gotten so big that at times I forgot who is who, and what is what.

But Ms. Cochet, you’ve redeemed yourself to me. Big time. I’m not an easy series reader to please, and this felt like one of the beginning books in the series. I really liked this. It was an actual story with no cliffhangers, the minimalist of Dex, and Seb & Hudson finally gets to tell their story.

A really big reveal comes into play. I mean, I kinda figured it out, but I definitely like the direction it went in. Hopefully this means Seb & Hudson gets to play a bigger role in this series as well as a potential spin-off series. I did forget the reason for the breakup, but I did like seeing an established couple work through their problems. Is was very up and down at one point, but I understand both points of views.

This is not a standalone, and reading the series helps a lot. We get to see the main characters in their everyday lives, and how well they are able to work to one another. I got a feeling that the series is almost over for some of these people, but its a couple of people that I’d like to see have a story or novella before we leave. Zachary first and foremost, didn’t forget about him. Austen, Dom, and Alfie ;). Have to read the story to find out about that last name folks.

All in all, I think this was a really good story. Nice plot, decent amount of heat, passion, love, and angst. Yes it was a bit angsty in my opinion, but it had me sucked in from the very beginning. Charlie has redeemed herself in my eyes. Can’t wait to see what’s next for this crew.

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About Charlie Cochet

Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.If you’d like to connect with Charlie, just drop her an email, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Google Plus.

Rainbow Sprinkles by Anna Martin

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.

Rainbow Sprinkles: by Anna Martin
Series: States of Love
Release Date: March 29th, 2017
Pages: 77 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

Cooper Reed has a fairly relaxed life for someone who lives in LA. He’s no celebrity—just the guy who makes sundaes at the Dreamy Creamery, and that’s the way he likes it. The highlight of every week is the beautiful guy who turns up and orders a sundae with rainbow sprinkles. Cooper still isn’t sure if that’s a code, because he has a huge crush and the hot guy is terrible at flirting.

Drew Tanner, it turns out, is an original California dreamer. He’s as wholesome as apple pie and twice as sweet, a real-life Disney Prince at Disneyland. But while Drew’s head is in the clouds, Cooper’s feet are firmly on the ground, and their different outlooks might be more than their new relationship can take.

 

three-stars

 

 

Meh.

That is my overall feeling of it. You can really take it or leave it at this point. I’ve read it close 2 weeks ago and hardly remember anything. I do remember that I felt nothing for it. Both guys are kinda unforgettable. I find myself with Anna Martin’s books either really loving them or this Meh feeling.

Unfortunately it was the latter feeling. The biggest problem to me was that it lacked spark. It was not steam, spark or passion to the story. I enjoyed the playfulness in the first half, but the second portion to a nose dive. Signals definitely got crossed. The little disruption between the two took up a significant portion that could have went towards being together. We all know I hate miscommunication for no reason and I felt like it was just through in here for the sake of it.

I’ve been hit or miss lately with the States of Love series. I mean its a cute, potential HEA but I’m still unsure of the two together. Fans of Martin will most likely enjoy it, but I need more funk in my stories.

 

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About Anna Martin

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south- west of England and now lives in the slightly arty, slightly quirky city of Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, baking weird and wonderful sweets, learning to play the ukulele, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.

Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.

Starting From Scratch by Jay Northcote

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.

Starting From Scratch: by Jay Northcote
Series: Housemates #5
Release Date: April 12th, 2017
Pages: 294 • Format: eARC
Published By: JayBird Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon USAmazon UK

Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

four-stars

 

Thank you Jay Northcote. Ben’s story was done really well, and you couldn’t have picked a better mate then Sid. I liked this friends to lovers story. It was very sweet, and endearing. Ben definitely came out of his shell in this book. I truly like how he evolved as a character. He tried so hard to be open to social hangouts, and I thought it was super cute his relationship with his mom.

I learned a lot of information in this book. So many things I didn’t know, and it was very real to read about. I like how informed Ben was in his choices and life. I enjoyed Sid having his doubts, but researching to figure out what to say and do. This actually was growth for both of them. They each changed for the better.

The pace of the story was perfect. Ben is Transgendered, and he is lonely. He wants to be with someone but those fears and doubts create a stopping point each time. Sid is Jude’s ex, but going through his own things, and he’s attracted to Ben at first hang out. I liked the whole talking and courting aspect. This was a developed romance. It had its flaws, and relationship problems, but that’s why its super realistic.

Not to heavy on the angst for me. I think we seem them become to connected to one another. Both experience this relationship for a first time. Both have reactions that are real to the situation. I am loving this series as it gets more along in fact. I really enjoyed this story. Ummm but Jay, you have to write Johnny’s next. No way can we see LACE and not get his story!! Please. I might go back and re-read Dev & Ewan’s because it just popped in my head as I type. LOL. This is a definite recommend folks! Get it and read it!

 

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About Jay Northcote

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with his husband, two children, and two cats. He comes from a family of writers, but he always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, he decided to try and write a short story—just to see if she could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary gay romance about men who fall in love with other men, usually set in or near her home town of Bristol. He enjoys the challenge of bringing the men in his head to life through his words. Jay has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and he also publishes his own titles under the imprint Jaybird Press. Some of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is a transgender man and was formerly known as she/her.

Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan

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.

Shelter The Sea: by Heidi Cullinan
Series: The Roosevlet #2
Release Date: April 18th, 2017
Pages: 190 • Format: eARC
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes & NobleSmashwords

Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.

Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.

In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.

four-stars

Shelter the Sea is such a good follow up to Carry the Ocean. Loved seeing Emmett and Jeremey’s love continue to grow.

This book was much lighter than book one.  Not saying that the guys didn’t have difficulties, but I am so ecstatic that Heidi didn’t torture our guys apart to give us a story. This was a lot more realistic then book one if you want to say that. This book dealt with the difficulties of living with a mental illness. This was such an eye opener for people who don’t seem to matter or get pushed to the wayside. This story was a lot bigger then Emmett & Jeremey to me. Of course every couple goes through little snits together and its healthy. This was them plus the people in their everyday life and everyone else they inspire around the world. It was very emotional at times.

Half of the book focuses on their relationship. Some of it is happy, sad, funny and its them. We see Jeremey struggle with his depression a lot more. We also see him open up and he’s a lot more vocal in his wants and needs. Emmett, oh such a sweetheart. I love Emmett’s resilience. He does not give up. This man is the ultimate fighter and champion of his beliefs and causes. Their relationship grows, and we see them grow individually on page to grown men  and better partners for one another.

This was political heavy. Not to preachy, but very detailed and informed on what goes down. I think Heidi did wonderful with his research for this subject. It’s an emotional journey to say the least. It shows how messed up the government is when it comes to Mental Health and its patients, families and allies. It shows the ugly truth about money being the root of everything in this country. It also shows people of different everything coming together for a cause. It shows them banning together to fight to get the same rights as everyone else.

Shelter the Sea is a good closure to their story. It wasn’t very romancy, but it had its moments where it mattered. I think fans of the book one will be very happy with the outcome to this story. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future of the series as well. Hats off to you, Heidi.

 

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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.

Imagines by N.R. Walker

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.

Imagines: by N.R. Walker
Series: Imago #2
Release Date: April 10th, 2017
Pages: 148 • Format: eARC
Published By: BlueHeart Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon USAmazon UK

Jack Brighton and Lawson Gale have been together for six months and are very much in love. Lawson’s work ensuring the survival of the Tillman Copper is demanding as ever, and Jack’s work with the regeneration of the bushfire-ravaged national park is just as hectic.

When Jack suggests they take a short trip, Lawson agrees. But then he is offered a two-week research position in tropical Queensland to help determine why the Ulysses butterfly is on the decline. Figuring they could combine work and pleasure, Jack and Lawson go on their first vacation together.

Working alongside renowned professor Piers Bonfils isn’t easy. But personal and professional differences aside, Lawson is offered a more permanent role in Queensland. Torn between his new life in Tasmania with Jack and a dying species of butterfly he feels compelled to save, Lawson has to decide where his fate lies.

But fate changes the rules. On a research expedition into the depths of the rainforest, suddenly it’s not only the butterflies’ existence that hangs in the balance

A butterfly’s life cycle never changes. From larvae to imago, their course is plotted by design. Jack and Lawson need to determine where they stand, if they live through it. Because the only thing more incredible than one imago is two

 

 

four-stars

Dodged a bullet there folks! I was worried, it started off slow and a little disjointed for me. I loved book one so much that it was added to my favorites books of 2017. Never worry guys, Lawson & Jack are still adorably amazing and freaking hot together. They are still going strong together now for 6 months. Everyone is happy. Jack wants Lawson to move in with him, but of course adorkable Lawson wants to take things slow on that end. They haven’t even met families as of yet. This time Lawson takes his brains and Jack to Queensland on whats suppose to be a holiday and a little job excursion. Of course it doesn’t go well.

I am so enamored with Jack. He is by far one of the best guys I’ve read to date. His attentiveness, his loyalty and heart is what makes him so amazing. Lawson never had someone so giving but Jack requires nothing in return but love. Walker did a really great job of letting the guys explore different meanings of love to them and what works for their relationship. I was really happy with the conflict and how well conversating with one another did for them together.

My seemingly oblivious Lawson. Aww, he doesn’t know when flirting is dictated towards him. I won’t say he doesn’t know, I guess he does not look for it since his happiness is so involved with Jack. He has come a long way from the person in book one. I know it hasn’t been long for them but he has evolved to someone else. Maybe because he has never had the love that Jack gives him, but I like this look on Lawson.

It had some teary moments, but overall it was a really sweet contemporary book. I enjoyed it a lot. I feel like this is it in the series since we had a wonderful epilogue but I wouldn’t mind visiting these guys in the future. If you haven’t read book one, go read it and immediately buy book two. These is a straight forward romance. Walker did a great a job. Definite recommend.
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About N.R. Walker

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

At Attention by Annabeth Albert

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.

At Attention: by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform, #2
Release Date: April 10th, 2017
Pages: 209 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links: Carina Press BooksAmazonKobo

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

two-half-stars

 

You know, I’ll admit I waffle if I should give this book 3 stars for the author, or the actual story. I had to go with my gut on this. This was a disappointing read. I struggled throughout the entire story. My biggest thing is that we’ve read this scenario before. There was nothing new or exciting for the same thing again and again. I love Annabeth’s work tremendously but it took everything in me to power through and read it. I seen all the high rating, and love for it. I had to wonder was we reading the same book. The general formula of a widower and a crush getting together was just it. There was nothing significantly interesting to me. Not one point. If I read ten pages then I forgot what the first 5 were. I even put it down for a while to read something else, and it still didn’t draw me in or give me a glimpse of hope that it gets better.

I liked Apollo from book 1. I guess in his book he lost all the sparkle and excitement that I wanted to read about. Yes he was a caring father, and a tad overprotective but that’s human nature. He’s grieving and still in the mindset about Neal. I don’t know how he feels about Dylan honestly. Even at the end, I sort of was not buying his feelings. I guess they feel forced to me. On Apollo’s side it just felt physical. I didn’t see the attraction outside of that, and I’m bothered by this mostly.

I know Dylan has always liked Apollo so I can believe his attraction. He does some classic stupid things, but they are classic and one reason this trope is so popular. Trying to only stay physical without getting their emotions involved is dumb. One because Dylan’s emotions were already there and they just came back full fledged. This was really a contemporary novel nothing really major happens outside of the story.

I tried and tried to read and get involved with the story but it just seemed liked missed connections to me. I will read book 3 because I know Annabeth’s stories work well for me. I just didn’t like this one at all.

 

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About Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

The Bisti Business by Don Travis

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 Bisti Business: by Don Travis
Series: A BJ Vinson Mystery #2
Release Date: March 21st, 2017
Pages: 310 • Format: eARC
Published By: DSP Publications
Purchase Links:
DSP PublicationsAmazonBarnes & Noble

Although repulsed by his client, an overbearing, homophobic California wine mogul, confidential investigator B. J. Vinson agrees to search for Anthony Alfano’s missing son, Lando, and his traveling companion—strictly for the benefit of the young men. As BJ chases an orange Porsche Boxster all over New Mexico, he soon becomes aware he is not the only one looking for the distinctive car. Every time BJ finds a clue, someone has been there before him. He arrives in Taos just in time to see the car plunge into the 650-foot-deep Rio Grande Gorge. Has he failed in his mission?

Lando’s brother, Aggie, arrives to help with BJ’s investigation, but BJ isn’t sure he trusts Aggie’s motives. He seems to hold power in his father’s business and has a personal stake in his brother’s fate that goes beyond familial bonds. Together they follow the clues scattered across the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness area and learn the bloodshed didn’t end with the car crash. As they get closer to solving the mystery, BJ must decide whether finding Lando will rescue the young man or place him directly in the path of those who want to harm him.

four-stars

 

We all know how picky I am with my mystery thrillers. When the DSP Publications Promo came out I was immediately drawn out to the title of A BJ Vinson Mystery. Yes!!! We don’t have enough gay romance mystery thriller series in the genre for me. I was a little hesitant because I hadn’t heard or read anything by the author before. I didn’t even realize that this was a #2 in the series before I started reading it. No worries because you can read it as a standalone even though they allude to things from book one. You won’t be lost at all. I think they was very good solid writing, and I liked the main character a lot. What I missed was some sort of romance. I wouldn’t classify this as any kind of romance. Anything relating to romance was off page, and very much low steam.

Now that I got that done lets talk BJ. Ha! I like his snarkiness, and his professionalism. He took this case extremely serious as people should. I mean, this case took him away from home, his business and his partner for quite some time. He didn’t let it really get to him. He put his all in finding Lando & Dana. I was sucked into the mystery immediately. I love stories like this. I had some iffiness about who participated in the mystery. I was a little but right, but was shocked by all the outcomes.

I did feel at times that I was in a history museum though. It was a lot of details to remember and read about. For me it took away from the story. Sometimes too many details detract people from the actual plot. I got overwhelmed with so many details about the setting, and place. It was interesting, but a bit much for me.

I loved the characters and diversity that Travis intertwined in this story. I actually went back to get book one, because I did enjoy the writing, plot, and characters. I think this was a good mystery for book 2. I am looking forward to much more from Don Travis. Now only for us to get him to show a little steam, and he’ll have an excellent mystery/thriller series!

 

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About Don Travis

Don Travis is a man totally captivated by his adopted state of New Mexico. Each of his mystery novels features some region of the state as prominently as it does his protagonist, a gay ex-Marine, ex-cop turned confidential investigator. Don never made it to the Marines (three years in the Army was all he managed) and certainly didn’t join the Albuquerque Police Department. He thought he was a paint artist for a while, but ditched that for writing a few years back. A loner, he fulfills his social needs by attending SouthwestWriters meetings and teaching a weekly writing class at an Albuquerque community center.

Joy by C.S. Poe

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.

Joy: by C.S. Poe
Series: States of Love
Release Date: April 5th, 2017
Pages: 69 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Down on his luck is Gideon Joy’s default state. He doesn’t know why he expected anything different on his cross-country trip, but not surprisingly, the hits keep coming—literally this time. Gideon strikes a moose with his car in New Hampshire, not only totaling his own vehicle, but damaging one belonging to local construction worker Silas Bright. He has no choice but to stay in Lancaster and take a job that’ll pay for the repairs. And in a town so small, Gideon’s always running into Silas. What starts as annoyance between them soon blooms into something much more romantic. But when Gideon’s notorious bad luck rears its head yet again, how many disastrous dates will Silas be willing to weather before realizing Gideon’s not worth it?

Despite Gideon’s desire to remain in the quaint community that has accepted him as one of their own, past fears of inadequacy threaten the very joy he left Los Angeles to discover. If he’s to find a happily ever after with Silas, Gideon must learn that sometimes it’s okay to not be the best. And true happiness might be waiting in a small town nestled among the great White Mountains.

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

two-half-stars

Okay I find myself liking and loathing this series at times. I couldn’t pass this up because I enjoy the author’s writing and the cover model was Wowza big time. Two things stopped this from being a 5 star read. The length, and the ending. I feel like this had the biggest potential ever to be a full length novel or at least a regular novella length. I mean 70 pages didn’t do anything for this story. It had a really good beginning, middle, but the end just tapered off into a dive and never recovered. It got sloppy to me, and conflict for the sake of conflict is not something I want at all. It was sugary sweet goodness for 90% of the story and the last 10% completely changed the tone of it for me. The length was a major letdown. First there’s No On Page Physical anything but a kiss. Yeah, I was a little disappointed but didn’t think it was going to end like that. Ummm no thank you. We really got to see Gideon & Silas start somewhere fresh in their lives, and not really see them start a future.

Gideon Joy thinks he’s having a mid-life crisis at the age of 25. Super funny about that, and he upends his life in Los Angeles to go on a statewide road trip. He finds himself in a small town in New Hampshire in a conflict with Moose. Yes, Moose. Not a person but the actual animals. I laughed at the initial showdown with the animal that caused the car accident and the events later on in the story. He meets Silas who seems standoffish and mean but we come to find out he’s just shy. I liked Silas a lot. With not much money or a job Gideon decides to stay in the Podunk town to work out the repairs for Silas’s car and money for himself. I thought it was cute and a lot of fluff from here on out. Gideon makes a mark on some people. The townspeople are super nice to him, and its the first time that he can really breath. He has no worries, and feels at peace here. He meets a really nice couple who lets him stay there and gets a job from a nice guy name George. Things seem to be looking up for Gideon. He starts flourishes here and Silas isn’t the mean SOB he originally thought he was. Who knows, they find that they have a lot in common and attraction is one of them. Its definitely a fast pace on the relationship which I enjoyed. I really wanted more of the story. We didn’t get any closure or see a future happening. A bummer if you ask me. Such sweet characters and writing, but it felt unfinished and I’m not really happy about that since I liked them so much.

 

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About C.S. Poe

Is an author of gay mystery and contemporary romance. She believes that happily ever after is an attainable goal for any character, given enough elbow grease and legwork is provided.

C.S. lives in New York City, but has called a host of different locations home in the past, most recently being Ibaraki, Japan. She regrets no longer having easy access to limited edition candy, capsule toy machines, and clean trains, but over ten years in New York has proved to her there is no place quite like it.

She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats, in no particular order. She’s rescued three cats, including one found in a drain pipe in Japan who flew back to the States with her. Zak, Milo, and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.

C.S. Poe’s first publication was Love Has No Expiration, by Dreamspinner Press in 2015. Her debut novel, Snow & Winter: The Mystery of Nevermore is scheduled for release in summer 2016 by DSP Publications.

Loose Cannon by Sidney Bell

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.

Loose Cannon: by Sidney Bell
Series: The Woodbury Boys #1
Release Date: April 3rd, 2017
Pages: 327 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Don’t miss this brand-new male/male romance series from Sidney Bell, author of Bad Judgment

Released after five years in the system for assault, streetwise Edgar-Allen Church is ready to leave the past behind and finally look to his future. In need of a place to crash, he’s leaning on Miller Quinn. A patient, solidly masculine pillar of strength and support, Miller has always been there for him—except in the one way Church has wanted the most.

With his staunchly conservative upbringing, Miller has been playing it straight his whole life. Now with Church so close again, it’s getting harder to keep his denial intact. As they fumble their way back to friendship after so many years apart, Miller struggles to find the courage to accept who he really is. What he has with Church could be more than desire—it could be love. But it could also mean trouble.

Church’s criminal connections are closing in on the both of them, and more than their hearts are at risk. This time, their very lives are on the line.

five-stars

This book surely deserved that slow clap. So I originally read this book in Janurary as an ARC, and was blown away by it. It was the first book of the year to get 5 stars and land on my Best Books of 2017 list! I was completely enthralled with the story and it stuck with me. Well what did I do? I completely forgot to write my review. Knowing that I was going to have to skim or re-read it had me worried. I was worried if I didn’t like it the second time around just as much. If I could find little things to nit pick that would cause me to lower my rating or change my opinion overall. I am shocked that the second time around, I’m just as in love with it as the first one. Didn’t cry, but it was the same raw emotions and feelings the first time around. Bell has some true talent, I’m 2 for 2 on her books and she continues to be a force to reckon with so far.

This angsty, age-gap, out for you romance with a great plot and superb characters was Ah-Maz-Ing like Penny stated above. I was blown away by the story, the journey, friendship, love and obligation that Miller & Church had towards each other. Edgar Allen Church is such a complex character with an wonderful heart. He is fresh out of Woodbury Rehabilitation Center for Youth Offenders. When his living arrangements fall through, it leaves him no choice but to call the one person who he hasn’t spoken to in 5 years. Miller. Miller who is everything to Church. Not knowing the feeling is reciprocated. Church comes from an abusive childhood where fists are used instead of words, where no physical acts of love is shown, and he only has himself. Miller breaks my heart, he’s living day to day but not really living. He has this storm raging inside of him, and instead of letting himself be he hides himself and its literally eating him apart.

I really like how the story is told in 3 different parts. We get to see what lead Church to his incarceration, what happened between him and Miller, and the fall out from those years spent apart. This was angsty in my opinion, but I’m glad that it had multiple components to keep me on my toes without worrying about their relationship. As much as I loved Church, my feelings were all over the place with Miller. He’s been in love with Church for so long but all his thoughts and feelings are constricted based on the guilt he feels about another man. Wrapped up in his own head, and hearing his father saying its a sin has Miller waffling on his sexuality. Bell did a good job on Church being the calm one when the sexuality conversation comes into play. It gets steamy and the love is already there. You can see what they mean to each other and I’m just blown away by the feels that was in this book.

The mystery aspect was well done. I cannot wait for Tobias to get a story. I don’t care if its with Ghost or not, I just need pure, sweet Tobias to get love. Ha, I know he isn’t pure, but I loved him. Ghost is so broken, but so wonderful at the same time I expect so many tears to come when his book comes out.

This was such a great start to the series. I mean, Bell did a good job with Bad Judgement, but Loose Cannon is in a class all by it self. Very well written, extremely flawed characters, such a realistic feeling to an emotional journey. I think fans in this genre would love this, and can definitely see this on the Best Books of 2017 list. A definite recommend from me.

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About Sidney Bell

Sidney Bell lives in the drizzly Pacific Northwest with her amazingly supportive husband. She received her MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2010, considered aiming for the Great American Novel, and then promptly started writing fanfiction instead. Eventually more realistic grown-ups convinced her to try writing something more fiscally responsible, which is how we ended up here.

When she’s not writing, she’s playing violent video games, yelling at the television during hockey games, or supporting her local library by turning books in late.