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.

A Guest Review:Back to You by Chris Sully

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.

Back to You: by Chris Sully
Release Date: June 12th, 2017
Pages: 266 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishling
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Journalist Alex Buchanan has come home to the remote British Columbia town he grew up in, but only because his estranged father is dying. For Alex, the homecoming holds a mix of memories, mostly bad. The only bright spot is reconnecting with Benji Morning, the childhood friend he never truly forgot. As boys, the strength of their bond had frightened Alex. But now that he’s confident in his bisexuality, he’s drawn back to quiet, soft-spoken Ben.

Ben isn’t the same boy Alex left behind, though. His life has been overshadowed by the disappearance of his sister two decades earlier, and now a new break in the case threatens to undo the peace he’s worked so hard to attain.

As Alex struggles to repair the relationship with his father before it’s too late, he finds himself caught up in a twenty-year-old mystery, a story he never expected, and a shocking truth that could affect his and Ben’s future together.

 

four-half-stars

 

I loved everything about this book. The story itself is fiction but the back drop is set in a real life story. Since the 1970’s a series of young women have gone missing along an isolated stretch of highway in British Columbia, Canada. This is referred to as the Highway of Tears and as of this time they still do not know who is responsible for the disappearances.

Alex Buchanan and Ben Morning had been best friends since they were little boys. When they were teens a crisis had hit both of their families at the same time. Ben’s sister turns up missing and Alex’s parents get divorced and move away. The boys promise to keep in touch but they don’t.

Twenty years later, Alex goes back to see his dying father. He has a bunch of unresolved issues with the man and he’s writing a series of articles about their tumultuous relationship. Also, Alex has never forgotten Ben. In retrospect he knows Ben was his first love but his lack of acceptance about being bisexual prevented him from every admitting that.

Ben still lives in town and is weighted down caring for a mother who never accepted her daughter’s disappearance. She’s spent the last twenty years being obsessed with what happened. The police find the girl’s car right as Alex is getting to town and breaks the case open and causes Ben and Alex to get caught up in it all over again.

The writing was so good. It was atmospheric and had an almost dreamlike feel to it. The world building was so well done that I felt like I was right there with them in this isolated, gloomy, little town.

I really enjoyed the mystery part even though I figured out who did it early on. I think the real life facts weaved into the fiction story added a unique level to the storytelling. I also enjoyed the romance. It was very romantic in parts and I found myself rooting for these two from their first one page together scene.

I enjoyed every aspect of this story and I highly recommend it. I have only read one other book by this author (which I also enjoyed) but after this I am a big fan. I can’t wait to go back and read her back catalogue.

 

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About Chris Scully

CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada where she grew up spinning romantic stories in her head. When the tedium of a corporate day job grew too much, she took a chance and found her creative escape in writing. Always searching for something different, she has discovered a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve.

Chris would love to hear from readers at: cscully@bell.net.

Faking It by Christine d’Abo

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.

Faking It: by Christine D’Abo
Series: Ringside Romance #2
Release Date: May 8th, 2017
Pages: 238 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Max Tremblay should be happy. His night club, Frantic, is one of the most popular gay clubs in Toronto, and his childhood refuge, Ringside Gym, is well on the way to reopening. But when he finds yet another drunk in the alley beside the bar, Max isn’t sure this is the life he truly wants.

Grady Barnes has it all. He’s rich, famous, and wants for nothing. Well, nothing but a good relationship with his father. When he discovers that his father is going to force him into an arranged marriage, Grady has had enough. He tracks down Max, the man who got him to safety after a night of overindulgence, and makes him a proposal: pretend to be his fiancé for two weeks and he’ll invest in Ringside Gym.

When the pair travel to Vancouver to attend a family wedding, the flames of their mutual attraction ignite, and they discover that the only difference between pretend and reality is how well they can fake it.

four-stars

I read this book in sitting. Faking can be read as a standalone in my opinion. Max was in book one, but he stands on an island by himself in this book. He has everything he could ever want, on second thought he knows he’s missing that other half. Grady has everything one can ever want or need. Its all material things of course, he’s by himself on an island by his self. His island deals with self rumination is the name of the game for him. Both guys have problems with their father for different reasons. They need a hug. I’m just saying. Trying to escape from under his father’s hand Grady escapes to Toronto trying to keep a low profile, but fails miserably when it leads him to Max’s bar Frantic.

The chance meeting starts a slippery slope for the two. This is a opposites attraction trope. Grady is a rich beyond means, and never told no of any kind. Max is a regular guy who lends a helping hand just to about anyone. Grady finds how what his father has in store from him, and makes Max an offer. Max really doesn’t need to take the offer, but its something about Grady that calls to him. Its definitely not all physical. I think they are able to get under each other skins means something to both. No one hasn’t even effect each other quite like the other. I liked how Max is so resistant to Grady, but the minute someone oversteps their boundaries he’s this big protective teddy bear. The same with Grady. He realizes Max is something so much more.

They don’t talk much to learn things about one another. They really don’t have the time to properly get to know one another, but the steamy side of the relationship is A-OK. Max & Grady mesh well together in the bedroom. It was hot and steamy at times. When it wasn’t that they were trying to steer things together. But before we know it both guys think that something is happening here, and aren’t ready for it to be real. It takes a while for them to realize what they want. By the end of the story, I’m happy where they are at.

This was a good story. Can’t wait to read Eli’s book! I even despised Justin and wouldn’t mind seeing him with someone. Not Eli though. This was a good addition to the series. Even got to see Zack & Nolan as well. Can’t wait for more!

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About Christine D’Abo

A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

My thoughts on any of my Goodreads reviews are only my opinion as a reader. I don’t post anything here that I’d give less than three stars to.

Concourse 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.

Concourse: by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs #5
Release Date: May 1st, 2017
Pages: 366 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Ashton Townsend is the most famous celebutante of Manhattan’s glitterati. The black sheep of his wealthy family, he’s known for his club appearances, Instagram account, and sex tape. Most people can’t imagine him wanting for anything, but Ashton yearns for friendship, respect, and the love of his best friend—amateur boxer Valdrin Leka.

Val’s relationship with Ashton is complicated. As the son of Ashton’s beloved nanny, Val has always bounced between resenting Ashton and regarding him as his best friend. And then there’s the sexual attraction between them that Val tries so hard to ignore.

When Ashton flees his glitzy lifestyle, he finds refuge with Val in the Bronx. Between Val’s training for an upcoming fight and dodging paparazzi, they succumb to their need for each other. But before they can figure out what it all means—and what they want to do about it—the world drags them out of their haven, revealing a secret Val has kept for years. Now, Ashton has to decide whether to once again envelop himself in his party-boy persona, or to trust in the only man who’s ever seen the real him.

three-stars

One big circle jerk.

It took me a long time to get into the story. I was bored. It went back and forth with them being idiots. It was a circle of useless things for me. I didn’t feel anything to either character. Wait let me not lie, Chris was involved and others from Ray’s crew. Can’t wait for there stories.

I stopped using the word Thirsty in high school so for me everyone being thirsty or salty was annoying. I’m pretty sure the dialogue from all 5 books will feature some semblance of the same two words.

We know I love Raymond Rodriguez, and I think I’ll pick up any book in the series to get a glimpse of him. That being said this was not it for me. It was the same formula of the previous books. You know I like Hassell realism in his writing, but I really do get tired of the same colloquialisms, backgrounds, and recycled plot drama.

The first half of the story bored me to tears. I liked Ashton in the previous story, but in this one he was a floundering fish. What’s up with all the guys having self esteem issues, and all their family being douche bags? Seriously no one had any supporting family to deal with. I feel like this book was super convoluted mess.

Val & Ashton are friends. They’ve grown up together not by status but more so my happenstance. I’m sitting here wondering why Val could want Ashton. Val seem disinterested in life. He didn’t show not one iota of happiness doing anything to me. I really wanted to know what got his motor going. I’m not just interested in his sexuality, because its his business but outside of that he didn’t seem to have any focus or love doing anything. Jeez, I would rather read Caleb’s book again and again.

Ashton was the typical Hassell character to me. The one who has all the different facades, whose life is really terrible. When its really not. I mean, was he so bored with life that he couldn’t see the passion in certain things he did? Ashton was left out to fend for himself by his family, but instead of using that anger & neglect to be a Boss he decided to just be. I personally wouldn’t do it. He was lifeless at times, and I don’t know if the author wanted him to come off like that, but he did.

Hassell did the one things, I didn’t think he’d ever do: Miscommunication Trope. What the f***? Why? You did not need to do it. Then after you do it, it was anticlimactic as such. Oh no, I take my previous findings about Val out. He showed passion at this point. During the big reveal. **Rolls Eyes**. I think had Ashton found out from Stoic Val then everything would have been copacetic.

I know it reads like I didn’t like anything, but there were some high points for me. I would like to see a different formula for this next book. I get what the series is suppose to be about, but it can’t be the same as the previous book. If so, then the steamy scenes needed to be on Oli & Caleb point. That hot of a scorcher. Oh and Nunzio. **Dreamy Sigh**, liked seeing him.

 

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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.

Home Fires by Kate Sherwood

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.

Home Fires: by Kate Sherwood
Series: Common Law, #4
Release Date: April 1st, 2017
Pages: 162 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Trouble comes to Mosely, Montana, from the outside world. When the residents of Mosely are left on their own, they can make things work. Sure, there’s always been a militia operating up in the hills, but they were small-scale—just survivalists doing their thing—until organizers came in from out of state. Now Jericho Crewe and the rest of the sheriff’s department are facing down a heavily armed band of fanatics, and the feds are busy elsewhere.

The odds are hopeless, but Jericho swore an oath to serve and protect the citizens of Mosely. He won’t walk away from that, even if Wade Granger’s begging him to run away somewhere and finally be together the way they always should have been.

But this time, it’s Jericho who refuses to leave Mosely, even if staying kills him.

four-stars

 

**Grumbles**, it was far better in the romance department then all the other books in the series. Still LOW STEAM, no actual physical stuff in the book more low key. I am still not happy with my romance being such low end on the totem pole. With this book I guess I should be happy that it was forthcoming as it was. Home Fires wraps up a lot of the story lines that we needed answered. Jericho & Wade finally come to a head sort to speak. They were a lot more forthcoming with one another, and I guess when lives are at stake then being present about your love in front of others wouldn’t mean anything to you. Declaring your love for each other seemed like pulling teeth at times, and now it was really refreshing to see them accept love in any form.

I really enjoyed the action that this book packed! Everything was busy from the very beginning, and I will say the ending felt a little off. I will say my fruition about Wade didn’t come true. I’m still not clear on what he was really doing, since it wasn’t a big showdown with him, and I wanted his business to be a little outed. I mean, he was amazing in this series, and we don’t get to see him actually be such a badass. We kinda assume all these things about him, but nothing is either confirm. Jericho, I’m glad you got some semblance of happiness. I really would have like to see more of an epilogue with him and his siblings. I would have liked to see a future for them possibly.

I’m just reaching now. I’ve enjoyed the overall experience of this series. I want closure on certain things that I’ve explained above, but I am happy with the outcome. I think people will enjoy this series, and its a recommend from me!

 

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About Kate Sherwood

Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Strays by Garrett Leigh

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.

Strays: by Garrett Leigh
Series: Urban Soul #2
Release Date: March 27th, 2017
Pages: 249 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.

Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.

Fast-forward a month and a neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.

four-half-stars

 

 

Oh my goodness, this book was amazing!!!! I loved every single minute of it. Leigh packs a healthy punch of angst in her for those lovers, but it was non-angsty enough for me to enjoy it. I mean let’s be honest here who does flawed characters like Garrett Leigh? NOBODY! She is Reigning Queen and this book solidifies it. I thought I could pick it up to start reading to take my mind off things, but I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. (NTS: go back and re-read Misfits)

Lenny & Nero were so good together. I can’t stop gushing about it. What is it about grumpy ass men? I’m so attached to them. At first grump glance, Nero was mine. He just wants to be in the shadows and maintain a kitchen, but he can’t. LOL. Well he can, but he realizes really late in life how amazing he is. He is the team of a-holes, but with his past its no wonder why. Realizing his sexuality and never acting on it is driving him part mad when in flounces Lenny. Pretty Lenny, who I adored and who adapted to this new situation. I really loved Lenny. He was going through a traumatic experience but was able to mold into something new for himself. The attraction to one another is pretty obvious. Its definitely a waiting game to see who is going to fold first. I didn’t care at this point. Feelings were being made, angst was being dropped, but when moves were made and action was had in this story. It was great seeing Cass, Tom & Jake from Misfits. Loved how they all fitted so well within this book.

Both guys have some sort of trauma that they are dealing with. Lenny’s is most recent, and Nero is in the past. How can he help Lenny, and still deal with his monsters in the dark? I like that Lenny kinda reinforced to Nero that the communicating is a 2 way street. If you want to know all of my flaws, and scares then give up yours. It was a lovely for me to have the emotions that I did have, but I think once again its why I like Leigh’s books. They are definitely realistic and very much you can know these characters off hand in one way or another.

Strays is a definite recommend for me. You can read it as a standalone, but why do that? If you are looking for great writing, and an equally amazing story then pick this book up. You will not be disappointed!

 

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About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzdesign.com

Darkness by Kate Sherwood

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.

Darkness: by Kate Sherwood
Series: Common Law #3
Release Date: March 6th, 2017
Pages: 189 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

A murdered prostitute. An obvious suspect. Clear evidence. For once, Jericho Crewe has a straightforward crime to investigate, and Wade Granger isn’t involved.

It all seems so simple, but Jericho’s instincts won’t let him rest. As he investigates, he finds troubling suggestions that the murder is a part of something larger and more sinister. But working within the boundaries of the law may keep him from finding the truth. If Jericho doesn’t break the rules, an innocent man may rot in jail while a killer remains free to strike again.

Inevitably, it all comes back to Wade. Because who else knows as much about breaking rules? And who else knows Jericho the way Wade does—not wisely, but far, far too well?

 

four-stars

GRRRRRRR…… My frustration is so out of here with this series. I might have blue balls reading this series. You know what I hate more then no sex in my books, I hate FADE TO BLACK SEX. I’m not one to need the sex, the romance might suffice enough for me, but the motherf***** UST has been off the rails so far. Goodness, I made a promise to myself if it isn’t any on page sex in the next book then Sherwood and I are done. I can’t keep up with the frustration levels that she gives me.

Book three picks up right along with the events from the previous two books with the same shady characters, crimes, Alphabet agencies around, and Wade Granger. I can’t wait to dive into the last book, because I hope my thoughts about him are proved true. Jericho acted really green during certain scenes in this book. My frustration with him almost costing the case was small compared to my reaction to the fade to black action. I knew Will was innocent, there was no freaking way he did it.

Jericho has finally pieced information together surrounding his father’s death. He has come to the realization about his career and his feelings for Wade. Wade who bothers me with his smarmy face and kindness at times!! Ugh, I totally wanted to strangle both of them. I liked the case alot, it was interesting enough, but I do feel like it wasn’t answered in the how. I know who the killer was, but I wanted it laid out, and it kinda ended abruptly on that front.

Despite my rage and feelings, it was still a good story, and I enjoyed seeing these together. Hopefully by next book I’ve read enough smut to last me over while reading this. Another good installment of the Common Law Series. A definite recommend.

About Kate Sherwood

Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Embers by Kate Sherwood

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.

Embers: by Kate Sherwood
Series: Common Law, #2
Release Date: Febuary 6th, 2017
Pages: 197 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
RiptideBarnes & Noble

Small town—big problems. Jericho Crewe is back in Mosely, Montana, trying to deal with police corruption, interfering feds, his newly discovered family members, and, of course, Wade Granger.

He doesn’t really need a biker war on top of it all, but as the bodies start to pile up, it becomes pretty clear that’s what he’s got. Not only that, but Wade’s involved somehow, and as soon as Wade is a part of something, things that seemed clear become cloudy.

With the feds breathing down his neck, Jericho has to find his way through Wade’s maze of half truths and manipulations. It would all be so much easier if Jericho could think straight in the other man’s presence. So much easier if their passionate past could be forgotten, and if he could be sure he’s strong enough to resist the temptation of a passionate present.

four-stars

 

Romantic Suspense gives me a damn headache. I know the “suspense, mystery” aspect of the story takes precedent but the romance is harder to find then common sense in this series. I’m being very patience but if this is the formula to romantic suspense then it’s no wonder why I don’t read it.

Now to the story at hand!! Something’s ain’t right. In my heart of hearts I believe Wade is something bigger that what we know. He just seems so fishy to me. I’m not necessarily saying he’s bad, but I believe that he’s going to be on the good side at the end of the day. I’m crossing my fingers on it.

Jericho buddy, what are you getting yourself into? This book picks up a few months after one. Jericho has came home to help the sheriff find corruption. That’s what he thinks, but he always seems to end up at the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s into 4 threads in this book, and wondering what he is doing. On top of dealing with the feds, Kayla, Wade, the other countless possibilities, he’s dealing with Nikki and her shenanigans. I don’t like her at all. She’s nothing but a user, and I understand why he won’t walk away. Those kids, they a little cray cray, but they are his siblings.

Wade has found his way into the middle of this situation yet again. This time he did everything for the benefit of himself. He’s a business man, and kinda reptile like as well. Whatever love Wade & Jericho had, I’m not sure if I trust it enough for the outcome to turn out well.

Hockley may have turned a corner with me, but I don’t put much stock in it just yet. Good thing I have book 3 and 4 from Netgalley to read in the new few weeks. I think this was a good continuation to the series, and I look forward to more!

About Kate Sherwood

Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Working It by Christine D’Abo

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.

Working It: by Christine D’Abo
Series: Ringside Romance #1
Release Date: February 6, 2017
Pages: 247 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
RiptideKobo

Nolan Carmichael is getting a fresh start—new career, new company, new life. The only problem is, he liked his old life just fine . . . until an accident robbed him of his health, his job, his self-confidence, and his ability to go out in public without having anxiety attacks.

Zack Anderson has scared away his last four administrative assistants. So when he hires Nolan on a whim, he’s not too worried, since Nolan will be gone within the week anyway. Two weeks later, Nolan has made himself indispensable, completely reforming Zack’s schedule, life . . . and libido.

But in a company already torn by internal politics, one wrong step could ruin both their careers. And not only are they working to reopen Ringside Gym, Zack’s retreat when he was a troubled teen, but they also can’t help themselves falling for each other. If only the rest of their lives could go as smoothly as things do when they’re alone together.

three-half-stars

 

Dude!!! What happened???? The first half of the story was going extremely well, and then it declined rapidly. Hmm no. That’s not how it was suppose to happen at all. Working it was going well as enemies to lovers story. I recall stating in previous reviews that I don’t like clingy, needy, or PUSHOVERS as characters. I know realistically they are out there, but I really hate it. Nolan was going well as a character, but then at some point, he decided to be a pushover. It’s nothing wrong with it in a committed relationship, but someone like Zach will always be able to pushover a potential lover because he doesn’t have to own up to anything. FFS, it wasn’t that serious, and a day could have waited. I’m just a strong willed woman, and I refuse to accept certain behaviors from people.

Nolan is trying to get a fresh start again in life. After a life altering accident he is willing himself to get back into the world. Dealing with anxiety and panic attacks doesn’t make it easy. He decides to take a job where his skills exceed his skills. Sure he’s skittish at first, but something in him calls to Zach. Difficult Zach, who is super abrasive, demanding, and not a people person at all. Zach seems to have all this pent up frustration and anger inside of him. He’s super demanding, and doesn’t seem to have a heart. With all these qualities, I had to stop to think what about Nolan called to him. Why, Nolan? He was on the cusp of an anxiety attack during their first meeting. It couldn’t be attraction, because both stated numerous times how they weren’t each other types. Not knowing each of Zach’s backstory I can only presume that besides Nolan being the opposite of him, he’s always never cared for someone. This is something that I wish the author would have wrote about. I would have loved to see a backstory on Zach. I can definitely see when the chemistry between the two started, sure it moved fairly quickly. I do think professional wise that they work wonders together. It shows a glimpse of how they could be personally. I really loved seeing the difference between Zach and his careers. The CTO job is just a stepping stone to something he loves. The Boxing gym that saved his life is something that he is putting his blood, sweat, and tears into. I think seeing more of this in a potential epilogue would have garnered a higher rating from me. 

I didn’t like the Miranda obstacle in the story. That sentence seems a little mean, but that story line did nothing for the story. I don’t like filler information, and I didn’t gain anything from it. Zach’s reaction to the situation was spot on. I’m still confused on what the author was trying to show with it. It didn’t help at all. **Sigh**, the L word was used at the end. Do I think it was to early? Yes, these two have a lot to work on, and we didn’t get to see them grow at all. All in all, I thought it started off really well, but declined around the 50% part of the story. I will read book two. This was an ok read for me.

About Christine D’Abo

A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

My thoughts on any of my Goodreads reviews are only my opinion as a reader. I don’t post anything here that I’d give less than three stars to.

Wanted, A Gentleman by K.J. Charles

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.

Wanted, A Gentleman: by K.J. Charles
Release Date: January 9, 2017
Pages: 155 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
RiptideKobo

By the good offices of Riptide Publishing
KJ Charles’s new Entertainment

WANTED, A GENTLEMAN
Or, Virtue Over-Rated

the grand romance of

Mr. Martin St. Vincent . . . a Merchant with a Mission, also a Problem
Mr. Theodore Swann . . . a humble Scribbler and Advertiser for Love

Act the First:

the offices of the Matrimonial Advertiser, London
where Lonely Hearts may seek one another for the cost of a shilling

Act the Second: a Pursuit to Gretna Green (or thereabouts)  featuring  a speedy Carriage
sundry rustic Inns  a private Bed-chamber  In the course of which are presented Romance, Revenge, and Redemption Deceptions, Discoveries, and Desires  the particulars of which are too numerous to impart

four-stars

So I enjoyed this but didn’t love it. Yeah, me didn’t love it. I haven’t read many KJ Charles books where I didn’t love them, but this was missing something. I don’t know if they adventure took up much of the story whereas the romance side got kinda pushed to the way side, and the ending was rushed. I am feeling a little cheated by the ending. It does not seem very KJ Charles-ish to me. I could be wrong and be super picky because I adore her writing and characters.

I really enjoyed the fact that Martin was based on a real person. I love that she did the background information on the actual person and equated it into a possible love story-ish. Martin is a free man in 1805 London. There he is treated with a certain dignity and respect seeing as he is an educated free man with his own businesses to attend to. He has a relationship with the family that purchased him, and freed him. He has all these internal feelings about it. Should he be friendly? Is it morally right? What does he stand to lose if he cuts off the relationship? Whatever you can feel, Martin is currently feeling it. When the family in questions asks for his help in saving their daughter. He agrees to it, only for extreme loyalty to the daughter. After all he’s known her since she was born, and never had a bad thing to say about her. Enter one Mr. Theodore Swann. The owner of newspaper advertisement for lonely hearts.

Theo is lonely as well, but it pays the bills. He’s also an undercover author who uses a pseudonym to write. His job is to print ads to the lonely heart people. When Martin storm his office, its like lightning struck. Okay, that could have been my interpretation. LOL. Theo is immediately attracted to Martin, but personality they seem to clash. I did like the adventure to the story, and figuring out the whodunit or if it’s true. It seemed shorter then other books, or maybe it was fast paced. I would have liked the romance side of the story to be prolonged, and I’m not happy at all at the ending. It was rushed, and I think we were cheated. I would have loved Martin & Theo to talk and get to know each other so more onscreen. I wanted to see them in a different atmosphere without the actual plot hanging over their heads.

All in all, this was a pretty good story! I enjoyed Martin & Theodore’s tale of the lonely hearts meeting. I think KJ did a good job with the time period, terminology and setting. I always love her authenticity of her stories. I look forward to more from her, and I can recommend this title. Charles usually flavor and style is definitely here.!

About K.J. Charles

KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.

Find her on Twitter @kj_charles or on Facebook, join her Facebook group, or email her at kjcharleswriter {at] gmail {dot} com. She is represented by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency, and published by Samhain and Loveswept.