A Guest Review: My Highland Cowboy by Alexa Milne

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.

My Highland Cowboy: by Alexa Milne
Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Pages: 196 • Format: eARC
Published By: Pride Publishing
Purchase Links:
Pride PublishingAmazon

How long do you need before you know?

Duncan McLeish owns a ranch. Unlike most ranches, this one is in the Scottish Highlands. Having inherited a failing farm from his grandfather, he turns it into a successful business. He has friends, he loves his home, but he’s lonely, and not even infrequent trips to Glasgow and Edinburgh slake that thirst to find someone. Then Drew Sinclair walks into his life.

Drew Sinclair is tantalizingly close to getting his clothes brand noticed in the industry. He and his business partner, Joy, design individual dresses, while on the side, Drew designs and produces a line of men’s lingerie. He visits Scotland to design dresses for his sister, Jenna, who is marrying Duncan’s best friend at Christmas.

Duncan and Drew have nothing except their Highland upbringing in common, but they say opposites attract, and the attraction is immediate. Is this simply a summer fling, or can two men who live such opposite lives, miles away from each other, find a way to love?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

two-stars

 

This is a story about two very different men who are thrown together when one’s sister marries the other’s best friend. Alex is a fashion designer who lives in London and Duncan runs the family ranch in the Highlands. Alex comes to stay with Duncan for a bit while he’s working with bride on the outfits for the wedding. The two men are instantly attracted to each other but are total opposites.

I didn’t care for this book for a couple of reason. The first one being that both Alex and Duncan were stereotypical in a way I didn’t appreciate. Alex was the very flamboyant and campy fashion designer who doesn’t care what anyone thinks and Duncan is the gruff, closeted, alpha type guy. If their characters had been looked at in more depth maybe it would have worked but they weren’t. Both characters were shallowly done in my opinion and I never connected with either. By the end of the story I didn’t see what they saw in each other and I didn’t really care if they ended up together or not. There was also all kinds of talk about gender roles but it was done in a way that felt preachy to me. I need it to be expressed through the character’s feelings, not in a lecture.

Another issue was that while a lot of things happen, nothing happens. There are all kinds of random scenes, ie them taking a walk and helping a calf be born. It added nothing to the plot and didn’t help develop their relationship. There was a bunch of this kind of stuff, but little time of them growing into friends or romance. It was also insta-love which I hate. They’d know each other two days and there was crying during sex due to their strong feelings. I just couldn’t get on board with it. I found myself rolling my eyes and feeling zero connection between the two.

There was not anything wrong with the writing technically (grammar, editing etc was all fine) but I just couldn’t connect with the author’s style. I never became interested in the plot and I found myself skimming the last 25% or so just to get done. Unfortunately this is not one I would recommend.

 

 

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About Alexa Milne

Originally from South Wales, Alexa has lived for over thirty years in the North West of England. Now retired, after a long career in teaching, she devotes her time to her obsessions.
Alexa began writing when her favourite character was killed in her favourite show. After producing a lot of fanfiction she ventured into original writing.
She is currently owned by a mad cat and spends her time writing about the men in her head, watching her favourite television programmes and usually crying over her favourite football team.

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.

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

Guest Reviewer: Lickety Split by Damon Suede

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.

Lickety Split: by Damon Suede
Release Date: March 13th, 2017
Pages: 286 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Lickety Split: Love won’t wait.

Patch Hastle grew up in a hurry, ditching East Texas for NYC to make his name as a DJ and model without ever looking back. When his parents die unexpectedly, he heads home to unload the family farm ASAP and skedaddle. Except the will left Patch’s worst enemy in charge: his father’s handsome best friend who made his high school years hell.

Tucker Biggs is going nowhere. Twenty years past his rodeo days, he’s put down roots as the caretaker of the Hastle farm. He knows his buddy’s smartass son still hates his guts, but when Patch shows up growed-up, looking like sin in tight denim, Tucker turns his homecoming into a lesson about old dogs and new kinks.

Patch and Tucker fool around, but they can’t fool themselves. Once the farm’s sold, they mean to call it quits and head off to separate sunsets. With the clock ticking, the city slicker and his down-home hick get roped into each other’s life. If they’re gonna last longer than spit on a griddle, they better figure out what matters—fast.

four-stars

This book is a hard one to review. I thought the writing and storytelling was really good but there were things I didn’t like about it. Most of those things though are personal preferences so…on one hand I didn’t like this book but on the other, I liked it a lot (yes, helpful I know).

Patch heads back to the small town in Texas where he grew up to settle his parent’s estate. His dad’s best friend Tucker still lives on the property and is caretaking. Patch had a crush on Tucker as a teen but the older man was always mean to him so he’s dreading seeing him again. For the first 30% of the book I didn’t like Tucker. Not at all. He has had a life of running around on women, stealing from an ex and leaving a bunch of kids all over that he never took care of. (the kid thing is a hard limit for me) By 60% I found myself warming to him a bit. I think the thing that stands out about this for me is the author never makes excuses for him or tries to pretty up his past. Tucker is what he is. As the story goes on both Patch and the reader see this and learn to accept it. The good in him slowly unfolds and I have to say he treated Patch wonderfully and with the utmost care. By the end there is no doubt in your mind he loves Patch and he’ll anything he can for him. 

The whole thing made me think a lot as I was reading this. I didn’t necessary like Tucker and I wouldn’t in a million years get involved with someone like him but at the same time I could see the beauty in their relationship. I think that it is a great piece of storytelling when the author can make you care about a character you don’t actually like. I had spent the first 60-70% hoping Patch would go back to his life in New York but somehow as the story unfolded I found that I had somehow bought into this relationship hook, line and sinker. All the things I had been worried about (the age gap, the lifestyle differences, the life experience differences) all just melted away and I found myself rooting for these two to get a hea. On a side note, I also liked how the author handled the age gap and their past. Super realistic imo and not something you see often in romance stories.

Two of my biggest issues though were the slang and the crudeness of the story. They, especially Tucker, talk in heavy Southern slang and there were entire passages where I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about. In fact, there is this huge pivotal moment in their relationship towards the end and I literally don’t know most of what was said. I read it 3x and then just decided to go with it. I got the general idea. I found this frustrating because it did impact my overall enjoyment. I think I missed some of the emotions by not understanding scenes. 

And my biggest complaint…..the crudeness. Gah….it was horrible for me. A sex scene would start off and it would be kind of hot or kind of romantic and then Tucker would open his mouth and it would shoot straight into gross territory for me. This is a really personal preference though so this may not be an issue for other readers. Some examples were: “releasing his meat”, “You got a big load stored up for me? You carrying a lotta squirt in them balls?”, “the fat rammer”, “his fat branch”, “he kissed the juice of Tucker’s knob”, “He bent to suck the sauce off”. These were just never ending and I swear the word “dick” was never used and “cock” only once. It was constantly his “meat” (which I find so, so gross) and a million other euphemisms. (euphemisms are a pet peeve of mine which didn’t help). SO……..different strokes for different folks and all that. I’m including these examples because I know a lot of people told me they didn’t like Hot Head due to the crudeness. I had no issue

with that book, in fact I loved it, so be prepared. If it was too crude for you this is probably not going to work. (I’m just giving little examples….the sex scenes were all pretty crude.) On another note, there was a Hot Head easter egg which made me smile. I love when author’s do those.

I have really mixed feelings about this. Huge portions of it I didn’t like and even by the end I didn’t love Tucker but, I really felt the love between these two men. I felt their emotions so strongly and there’s a scene towards the end where Tucker lays his feelings out that was really beautiful. I think the author did a really good job on making this relationship feel real and turn out good. Big kudos to him for doing this and for writing a romance outside the box.

 

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Who We Are by Nicola Haken

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.

Who We Are: by Nicola Haken
Release Date: March 9th, 2017
Pages: 271 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Since putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.

He’s also a good actor.

Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.

At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips.

Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?

four-half-stars

 

 

I did not expect this amount of emotions

 

Nicola!!!! Goodness, warn us! Would you??

I was a wreck after reading this. No scratch that I was a hot ass mess while reading this, and up until I finish. I mean, it’s a HFN in the contents of a realistic fiction. This was my second Nicola Haken book, and I’m rethinking why I haven’t read anything else by her. I love British stories, the humor, love, tears and the feelings that I’m able to convey with these characters. Can I say I’m not an animal lover at all, but I loved Marvin Daye. Oh my goodness it left me in tears every interaction between Sebastian & Marvin. The humor was such a great aspect to this love story.

I like being able to relate to characters I read about. In any way, shape or form it’s nice to see some comparisons between fiction and real life. I think Nicola has the perfect antidote on writing realistic fiction. Her characters can be you, your family, spouse, and friends. Its the same reactions through all the tears, joys, love and laughs. I knew next to nothing about this book when I requested it. I saw the cover and a little of the blurb and wanted to read it. Did I expect the read it in one sitting? Absolutely not, but I did. I might not have the best words to describe the story, but I really thought it was a love story between two guys who were each hiding something about themselves to the world. Sebastian has seem to given up on love when we meet him. He’s sure of himself and being bi-sexual but none of the past partners or future to him were able to be okay with it. It has left him cynical and not really looking for love. Oliver hasn’t been himself in years, his love life sucks. His personal life doesn’t seem to be much better. Left custody of his younger brother at a young age himself hasn’t left Olli time to experiment with dating and love. Every little minute is left is dedicated to his brother Tyler who is at the age when he’s a little shit. Oliver’s only freedom is when he’s able to turn into Miss Tique, his drag persona who he evolves into, and lets all his inhibitions a loose while performing. A chance meeting between these two guys turns into something magical. The physical attraction is right their on the page and its not hard to see the love grow & blossom. I love both of these guys for all their faults & flaws. Both guys are hesitant to tell each other about the children in their lives. For different reasons they are scared to show each other their true selves.

I really didn’t expect this book to pack so many emotions. I couldn’t believe where it went with the plot, it was times in the story that I had to stop because the tears were following so heavy. I fell in love more and more with Olli & Seb. I think people will appreciate Haken’s canny sense of realism. I thought the pacing, the length and gradual increases of tone were perfect for the tone of the story. I think fans of the M/M Genre will be surprised by how great this is. I think you should give it a try, and great job Nicola. I so look forward to more of your work. A definite recommend from me!

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About Nicola Haken

I live in not-so-sunny Rochdale, England (true northern girl!), and when I’m not playing with my imaginary friends I can usually be found being a slave to my four adorable (sometimes!) children (five if you include the dog, six if you include the hubby!) or binge watching Netflix.

All in all I’m just an ordinary gal with an addiction to reading about hot book guys, writing about hot book guys, tattoos, and Pepsi Max! Oh, and if my kids ever ask… I moonlight as the Pink Power Ranger 😉

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Hipster Brothel by K.A. Merikan

 

Release Day Blitz for Hipster Brothel
 
Buy Links: Amazon | Amazon UK
 
Length: 50,000 words
 
 
Blurb


The lumberjack of his dreams is now available for rent.

Mr. B has always been a safe guy for Jo to crush on. He’s the cutest bearded lumber-god to salivate over. Add to that his friendly, outgoing personality, and Mr. B might just be the first guy Jo would be willing to kiss. Fortunately, Mr. B has been in a relationship for years, and Jo is no home-wrecker.

But when Mr. B breaks up with his partner and all of a sudden is single, available, and talks about his plans to be sexually adventurous, Jo isn’t so sure anymore if he has the guts to come out as bisexual.

After a sour breakup, Mr. B wants to show his ex that he’s independent, exciting, and can do very well without him. His best friend Jo is there to the rescue, and they come up with a great new business venture. One thing they lack to start their own line of artisanal boozy jams – money for the investment.

After a drunken brainstorming session, Mr. B finds a way to both gather the cash and show the middle finger to his ex. He will create a one of a kind Hipster Brothel – The Lumbersexual Experience – offering wood chopping lessons, pipe smoking, and a reclaimed wood bed where the magic happens. It’s bound to be a success… if only Mr. B can go through with it, because the mixed signals from Jo are making him wonder if his best friend is as straight as he always seemed.

 

Author Bio

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

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

 
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The Impossible Boy 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.

The Impossible Boy: by Anna Martin
Release Date: January 16, 2017
Pages: 204 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Pres
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonKobo

This is not your average love story.

Ben Easton is not your average romantic hero. He’s a tattooed, badass, wannabe rock star, working in a perfectly horrible dive bar in Camden Town. His life is good, and he’s totally unprepared for how one man will turn it upside down.

Stan isn’t your average heroine. As a gender-fluid man, he proudly wears his blond hair long, his heels sky-high, and his makeup perfectly executed. A fashion industry prodigy, Stan is in London after stints working in Italy and New York City, and he quickly falls for Ben’s devil-may-care attitude and the warm, soft heart Ben hides behind it.

Beneath the perfect, elegant exterior, Stan has plenty of scars from teenage battles with anorexia. And it only takes the slightest slip for his demons to rush back in while Ben is away touring with his band. With the band on the brink of a breakthrough, Ben is forced to find a way to balance the opportunity of a lifetime with caring for his beautiful boyfriend.

four-stars

This book was on its way to becoming a 5 star book for me. What stopped it was an incident in the story. I don’t feel like it was authentic enough and it happened out of nowhere. That pissed me off more. I guess I was looking for signs to point out this, and then thought signs weren’t needed. It’s something one of the MC’s has dealt with most of his life. Even after knowing this, I’m not happy. The joy I was feeling throughout reading this was dwindled down to nothing. I worried, and angst over these two. Didn’t see how they were going to come out on the other side, but no worries I think Anna Martin prevailed. The Impossible Boy is a lovely story. Told through dual pov’s from the mc’s. They both come from different walks of life and fall in love.

I truly adored Ben. Ben is super amazing. I think I feel in love with Ben from the very start. He was kind, and its a word I would describe most people in life. He was kind to a person whom he didn’t know. He should Stan a kindness that he wasn’t sure he would get. Ben is automatically intrigued upon seeing Stan for the first time. Stan walks in looking like a million buck and Ben sees his prey in sight. Ben is working two jobs and being in a ban. He loves his life, doesn’t see reason to change it, and sees Stan and immediately taken by him. Ben is who he is. He doesn’t change, apologize for being who he is or liking what he likes.

Stan is fabulous. Left home at 15 to explore the world and never looked back. For being so young, and independent Stan has it together better then most people. I love Stan’s definition of who he is. He isn’t trying to conform to anyone’s society and love what he represents. He has some past issues and is learning to cope with them each day. I do love how he stays his ground and is firm on what he knows his body, soul, and mind needs.

Ben & Stan together is pure magic. I truly think the love at first sight thing works here. Both guys are drawn into one another very easily. They just fit into one another life like a missing puzzle piece. Ben with his nurturing personality, and Stan with his kindness work well. It’s not wonder that things moved fast for these two. I can see them falling in love on page, and I was so happy.

While I’m not happy with a certain part of the story, I still loved this. I can definitely see myself re-reading this. Anna Martin did a really great job with this gender-fluid story. I think she handled it with care. This is a definite recommend for me, and the cover is amazing!!!

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.

Holiday House Swap by Sarah Madison

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.

Holiday House Swap: by Sarah Madison
Release Date: December 21st, 2016
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAReAmazon

Reclusive writer Noah Kinley is facing a dilemma: how to confess to the world he’s really the author of a best-selling romance series. For years, his friend Julie has been the face of his brand, but she wants her life back now. Fast running out of ideas for his popular series, Noah wants to break out into other genres. Not that he’s writing much of anything at the moment anyway, thanks to paralyzing writer’s block. With his publisher breathing down his neck for the next installment, he hopes a change of scene will get his writer’s juices flowing again. Desperate enough to try anything, during the holidays Noah swaps his isolated cabin in the woods for a gentrified horse farm.

USAF Major Connor Harrison has chosen forced retirement over facing charges for an unauthorized mission to rescue a buddy from behind enemy lines. No one expects him home for the holidays, and he certainly didn’t anticipate finding a stranger in his house, much less Noah Kinley with his acid tongue and a wry sense of humor that pierces all of Connor’s defenses.

Both men need to figure out what the next chapter in their lives will be—and whether it will include each other.

three-stars

This was my first read by Sarah Madison. I didn’t dislike it. I’m always hesitant to try new authors, but I like Holiday reads so I was at an impasse of sorts. Holiday House Swap is exactly what it sounds like but have two people falling in love. Noah seems to be a reclusive author who lives in Maine to write his New York Times Best Selling Series. I say recluse, because he’s anything but timid and shy. If anything, he’s vocal, adamant and has no problem voicing his opinions on things, or trying to come up with a conclusion of sorts. Connor Harrison is fresh off the plane that is, a retired Air Force Pilot coming home to a stranger in his Jacuzzi.

It had plenty of funny moments to me, and both guys initially got to know one another better. The relationship did take a while to progress we can see them sizing each other up. I didn’t expect this Noah. I think I’m blown away by the confident Noah that we seen. In my head the confidence was going to come all from Connor. Not to say it wasn’t welcomed. It wasn’t the case, it was more of Connor being unsure of himself based on previous experiences. I did like that the plot focused on them apart and different aspects of their life then the passion level. I would have liked to see what became of Connor’s land and such. It was such a focal point of the story and we never got closure. I didn’t really like that.

All in all it was an okay book, but it wasn’t anything spectacular to me. It was very low steam, and it’s fine when we have something else to invest in. The problem was that as soon as we get invested it’s an epilogue and then over. Umm no ma’am. I want to see some progress together. Where do they live? We know, but I want to see some things happen. We’ve had all this buildup and then an instant later a proposal??? I think not folks.If you like low steam, nicely told stories, with okay guys then this is right up your alley folks!!!

About Sarah Madison

Sarah Madison has a large dog, and an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. She enjoys photography, hiking with her German Shepherd, and competing her horse in the sport of combined training and eventing. Writing has become a passion that sometimes take precedence over everything else. As a matter of fact, when she is in the middle of a chapter, she usually relies on the smoke detector to tell her when dinner is ready.

You can contact Sarah at akasarahmadison@gmail.com.

When Forever Ended by Cara Dee

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.

when-forever-endedWhen Forever Ended: by Cara Dee
Series: Camassia Cove #2
Release Date: November 30, 2016
Pages: • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

At ten years old, Kelly and I were two rambunctious boys who carved our initials into a tree in the forest. We promised to be best friends forever and bumped our fists to seal the deal. I never should’ve kissed him that summer before college. It was a day that buried me in shame, a day I spent the next twenty-four years regretting, a day I never told anyone about.

At forty-three, depression was suffocating me. Not even my wife and two children could lift the heavy fog. I was riddled with guilt and self-hatred, and I was starting to realize that I would slowly fade away until nothing remained. Then one day, Kelly was back in town.

10% of the proceeds will be donated to Hope For Depression.

(All novels taking place in Camassia Cove are standalone.)
four-stars

I literally need to tip my hat off to Cara Dee. I really am a fan of her writing style. I don’t want to use the word plain, but maybe it’s more homey and realistic. I am always able to connect with her characters. I don’t necessarily have to be in their shoes, but she makes it to easy to relate to their struggles. I do like the way Cara tackled depression. I think we all know someone living with depression, and this book was such an eye opener for me. Its so easy for me to tell someone to get over things, but I’m not in their shoes and I don’t feel like they do. This book was completely different then book one. I loved book, and I really enjoyed this one as well. I do feel slighted in the sense that I would have liked to see more with Will & Kelly. It was nice for the two different p.o.v’s but because the focus on the story was for them more then anything I would have like them to have more screen time together. This wasn’t some quick fix for Will, he had to want it, and adjust to life differently then what he is used to.

Cara has written some of my favorite comfort read books, and this series is definitely gaining group to add to the list. I really like the simplistic way of life that her characters have. For me, I feel like they are relatable is so many ways. I adored Kelly. Oh my gosh, did I? I looked how he treated Will, and was so forthcoming with his past history with depression. It must have been really hard to walk away from someone that you love because of your fears. Kelly doesn’t have it easy. He’s adjusting to life with his sexuality and accepting it.

Will is 43, married with two kids, and severely depressed. The one thing that I would have liked was some prologue and a glimpse in the life of Will before Kelly came back into his life. I don’t think it was real clear on his reason for depression. I believe so many things that can have caused his depression, but its certain things that the characters speak on a past event that I felt like maybe it should have been included in the story. It was emotional to say the least, I felt all Will’s vulnerabilities, and his heartbreak.

Word to the wise for all those HEA people, there is cheating in this book. Don’t lose sleep over it, cheating happens in real life here folks. This series is realistic fiction so real life situations happen here. I really would be so much happier if this book had 100 more pages. I never wanted it to end. I wanted to see the progress of everyone by the end of the story. Was Will’s depression cured? Hell no, it is manageable by the end of the story. That’s all I can ask for. This definitely made me want to go back and re-read book 1 and this again. I love this writing, and can’t wait for the next in the series!

About Cara Dee

here aren’t many things better than picking up my Kindle and getting completely sucked into a whole new world—where words morph into images and characters’ moods suddenly reflect my own. Aside from good plot and writing, for me, it boils down to relatable characters.

As a writer, I’m not finished until the men and women in my books come to life, until I can see them as real people, until I can connect with them. Which means I write what I want to read: everyday heroes and heroines who have the same struggles we all do. They evolve, have flaws, make mistakes and amends, learn, and find the endings they fight for.

Those are the characters who take the readers on a journey away from work, laundry, grocery shopping, and to-do lists.

When I’m not writing, researching, or brainstorming, I’m either planning my next trip (never-ending bucket list!), reading, watching hockey, or spending time with family and friends

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: You Are Not Me by Leta Blake

You Are Not Me Banner

Title: You Are Not Me

Series: ’90s Coming of Age, #2

Author: Leta Blake

Publisher: Leta Blake Books

Release Date: 11/28/2016

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 100,000 words

Genre: New Adult, coming of age

Add to Goodreads

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Synopsis

Follow Peter into the summer following his senior year to face new beginnings, new friends, and old baggage.

After a tumultuous final year of high school, Peter Mandel needs a break. It’s the summer of 1991, and his secret relationship with his ‘best friend’ Adam Algedi is put on hold as Adam goes away to Italy for the summer. On the cusp of adulthood, Peter has a couple of months to explore who he is without Adam at his side.

Enter Daniel McPeak, a slightly older, out, responsible college guy with a posse of gay friends and an attraction for Peter. Drawn into the brave new world of the local gay club, Peter embarks on a whirlwind of experiences—good and bad—which culminate in a hotel room where he has to make the ultimate choice.

But Adam will come back eventually, and there are promises that have to be kept. As autumn draws near and college awaits, can Peter break free of the binds of twisted first love? And what exactly is Daniel’s role in his life – a brief temptation, or something more?

Join Peter in the second book of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

***

This new series by Leta Blake is gay fiction with romantic elements.

Book 2 of 4.
Length: 100,000 words, 328 pages

These books contain aspects of: New Adult fiction, ‘90s gay life, small city homosexual experiences, Southern biases, sexual exploration, romance, homophobia, bisexuality, and twisted-up young love. Oh, and a guaranteed happy ending for the main character by the end of Book 4.

Excerpt

The stool next to me wasn’t empty for long. Minty dropped onto it, his purple tutu rubbing against my chinos and his thin, white arms curled up to rest on the bar. He stared at me for a long, curious second. “I’ve met you before, right?”

“Yeah.” I shook off my disappointment and gave him my attention. “Last spring, up on campus.”

“Did we fuck?”

I almost choked on my soda. “No.”

“Right.” Minty frowned. “Did I suck you off?”

I stared at him.

“Well?”

“My car was broken down,” I said slowly. “Daniel helped me.”

Minty grinned. “Oh, right! I remember now. You looked amazing that night. Made of moonbeams. Everyone was made of moonbeams.” He tilted his head. “You look all right now too.”

“Thanks?”

Minty laughed and fluffed his tutu. He turned away from me to hammer his fists on the bar. “Jolly Zima, Barry! Watermelon! Hit me!”

Barry rolled his eyes, but he pulled a Zima out from the fridge and popped the lid, then reached under the counter and came out with a watermelon Jolly Rancher, unwrapped it, and dropped it into the drink. Minty slapped three dollars down and took a dainty sip.

“Ah! Perfection!” He turned to me with his eyelashes lowered flirtatiously. “Anyway, back to what you were saying. We haven’t fucked yet?”

Startled, nervous laughter bubbled out of my mouth.

“Minty,” Barry said. “Drink your Zima and leave Peter alone.”

“Sure thing. You’re the boss.” Minty sighed and leaned toward me conspiratorially. “He won’t fuck me either. What’s a girl gotta do these days? I mean, I look good, don’t I?”

I looked him over—white, though scuffed, ballet slippers, purple tutu, toned, pale, lithe arms, and his made-up face. “Sure. You look really pretty.”

Minty grinned. “Aw, you know how to make a girl feel nice.”

“Didn’t I just see you downstairs with two guys, though?”

“Two? Please. That’s just a warm-up.” He sniffed.

Renée appeared at my side, dropping an arm around my shoulder. “Minty, doll baby, I need you backstage in an hour. You’re my naughty boy tonight.”

“Okay, but I want to wear my tutu.”

“You’ll be gorgeous.” Renée grabbed hold of Minty’s face and looked him over. “We need to put some eyelashes on you too.”

“And red lipstick.”

“Yes! Every man in this room will ache to be in that pert ass of yours.” She glanced at me and then back at Minty. “Except Peter here.”

“He catches?” Minty asked.

“Like Johnny Bench, baby.”

I didn’t like my positional preferences being discussed like it was any of their business, but I was mystified that Renée seemed so certain about it. Was there something about me that screamed loves it up the ass?

“How do you know who Johnny Bench is, woman?” Barry handed Renée a milky-looking drink topped with brown liquor.

“I listen!”

“I’ve never mentioned baseball to you and you know it.”

“Of course not. You’d never do that to me. Earl at Ringo Comics, though, he babbles on and on about it when he’s trying not to come. Earl says I catch like a pro.” She patted her ass.

Daniel was right last spring when he said Robert and Renée were the same but different people. Robert could be sassy and forthright about his sexual shenanigans, but raunchy details rarely left his mouth. My face burned.

“Hear, hear!” Minty cried, throwing back his head to draw a long swig from his Zima.

Barry frowned. It was the first time I’d seen Barry look even moderately unhappy about Renée—or Robert’s—indiscretions.

“What?” Renée asked defensively.

“Earl’s positive.” Barry’s gaze bore into her. “You used a condom?”

“Of course!” Renée licked her lips and shifted nervously to her other foot, her hip cocking out. “I always do. You know that.”

Minty bit his purple-painted thumbnail, eyes going distant. “I’m probably positive. I should get tested. My mom wants me to get tested.”

Barry nailed Minty and Renée with a frustrated glare. He reached under the counter and pulled out two condoms. Then his gaze shifted to me and he pulled out a third. “For fuck’s sake, use these. Every time. Every damn time.”

Renée stuffed the condom in her bra. Minty held it up in front of his face and then gave it a kiss before lifting up his tutu to tuck it into the waistband of his white briefs. Nodding, I pocketed the one Barry handed to me, even though I wasn’t going to need it. Adam was in Italy and the casual sex Minty and Renée played with was something I’d never risk.

Breaking the tension, the two guys Minty and Daniel had come upstairs with shoved into the space between us, ordering beers from Barry and slinging their arms around Minty’s shoulders or Renée’s waist.

“Who’s this?” asked the muscular, olive-toned one, dropping a kiss on Minty’s upturned cheek.

“Peter,” Minty said sweetly, like I was a cat he was fond of. “He knows Renée, Barry, and Daniel.”

“Ah.” The guy was handsome with bedroom eyes. Dark circles smudged beneath them, as if he’d just left a fistfight or he’d been crying his eyes out. Both thoughts twisted something up in me, a hand grabbing my heart and squeezing for a second. He looked like he needed a hug.

Minty caught me staring up at his friend. “He’s smarter than he looks,” he said, out of the blue, and I blinked in confusion. “And he likes to kiss more than fuck.”

“Okay?” I had no idea why Minty was telling me this.

“Oh, and he’s a big pussy cat when he’s in love.”

“Is he your boyfriend?”

“What?” Minty looked scandalized. “Of course not. That’s gross.” He grinned slyly. “He could be your boyfriend, though.”

I shook my head, and Minty laughed.

“Name’s Antonio,” the guy said, sticking out his hand. “Ignore him. He’s always trying to set me up with pretty bottoms. I keep telling him I’m not a top.”

Minty rolled his eyes. “You have to be a top. Have you looked in the mirror? Those eyes? That mouth? Your tough-guy pout? C’mon. Fuck me.”

Antonio sighed. “I only like to stick it in chicks. I’ve told you.” He tugged their Asian friend a little closer. “This one’s the top.”

I gulped club soda, unsure how to deal with a conversation with complete strangers about who liked what about butt sex.

“I forget you’re bisexual,” Minty said archly to Antonio. “You never bring girls around.”

Antonio snorted. “I love eating pussy, but nothing beats a cock up my ass.”

“Cheers!” Minty cried, toasting the sentiment.

Antonio went on. “Sometimes a man’s gotta make a choice about what he wants to pursue in life, and, well, I’m chasing dick.”

“Can’t blame you for that, man,” Barry said, nodding.

Minty grabbed their Asian friend’s tie and pulled him down close, saying to me, “This is Windy. With an ‘i’ in the middle and a ‘y’ on the end. And he tops like a champ.”

Windy kissed Minty’s cheek and winked at me.

Minty’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t ask where he’s from, it pisses him off.”

“Why would I ask him that?” I said, confused.

“People always want to know. ‘Are you from Japan? Or China?’” Minty rolled his eyes. “He’s from Vietnam.”

Windy shoved Minty hard enough to unseat him from his stool. “I’m from Kentucky, asshole.”

I sipped my club soda. “Kentucky’s nice. Horse farms. Bluegrass.”

Windy laughed.

Once Minty had righted himself, he gripped my shoulder and whisper-yelled into my ear, “Windy’s basically my best friend besides Daniel. We only fucked once.”

Windy corrected him again. “Twice, actually.”

“That’s how I know for sure he’s a great top. You should try him.”

“Um, no. Thank you. I’m good,” I babbled.

Windy laughed at me and then swept in and gave Minty a wet kiss on the mouth. I wasn’t sure if there was tongue or not. Breaking away, Windy grabbed Minty’s Zima and took a swallow from it.

“So, Minty and Windy, are those your real names?” I asked.

“Is your real name Peter?” Minty asked, his eyes narrowed.

“Yes?”

“Well, aren’t you lucky then?” He tossed head, lifted his hand dramatically, and Windy pulled him up from the stool. “To the dance floor!” He grabbed hold of my arm and tugged me up too. “Let’s show this crowd what gorgeous bitches we are!”

Purchase

Amazon

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Meet the Author

13692795_844330439030507_6696756781889257564_o

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

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