Release Blitz: In Over Our Heads (Stories from the Shore #2) by CJane Elliott


Title: In Over Our Heads
Series: Stories from the Shore
Author: CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 67,000
Genre: Romance, Second Chances, Vacation

Synopsis

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

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Excerpt

The door burst open, and Sophia sailed in with my morning cappuccino. She was humming under her breath and had that telltale postsex glow about her. I tried not to hate her too much.

“What’re you doing in here with me, doll? Don’t you have a sexy dive instructor to entertain?”

“She had to leave early.” Sophia handed me the mug. “She’s taking her group out on the ocean dive too, and she had to go to Back Bay to get the boat ready.”

I took a restorative sip of cappuccino. “Ahh. Well, I hope you didn’t tire her out too much last night. Or vice versa.” I winked at her, even though I didn’t feel very winky.

“Guilty on both our parts, I’m afraid.” Sophia smirked, then perched on the side of my bed. “Can we talk more about what’s going on with you and Walter?”

“Going on?” I blinked and buried my nose in the cup. “I mean, I told you guys last night. What more do you need to know?”

“Whatever it’ll take to help you and him figure yourselves out, because second chances like this don’t come around often.”

“God, not you too. You and Jonny need to start a group for incurable romantics.”

She straightened, her dark eyes snapping with intensity. “Caro! You’re the one who talks about destiny. This is your destiny!”

I sighed. She was so over the top sometimes. Must be her Italian blood. “Maybe my destiny is to be reminded to never let a guy walk over me the way Walter did.”

“I…. Look, Marco has a good point, and I agree with him that Walter needs to apologize. It was awful of him to drop out of sight. You so don’t deserve to be treated that way.”

“Right.” I put down my cup, having lost my taste for the cappuccino.

“But you two were barely out of high school. So young! People change. It certainly doesn’t seem in character with how he is now.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“Well, I mean, Walter seems so conscientious and thoughtful. Yes, a little gruff, but not someone who would knowingly hurt you. But maybe… safety seems to be a huge concern to him. And maybe he couldn’t stand that you almost drowned, and he couldn’t face you after that? Did he ever explain it to you?”

“No. I begged him to tell me why, and all he would say is ‘I’m not good for you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.’ I guess the safety thing is the most plausible explanation. Because other than that, it’s bizarre that he would walk away and throw away a great thing. We were….” I paused, hit by an unexpected wave of grief. “Damn it, Soph, we were really good together. Yes, we were young, but we complemented each other so well. Like, I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.” My eyes betrayed me by welling up.

“Oh, Anthony. That’s lovely. I can tell he still does. Take you seriously, I mean. He hasn’t been able to stop staring at you the whole time we’ve been around him. It’s obvious he still cares.”

Sophia’s words threw little daggers at my silly heart. Jonathan had said essentially the same thing. If they both thought Walter still cared for me, maybe it was true. And God, if it was true, I was in deep waters. I knew I should stiffen my backbone and armor myself with outrage. But I couldn’t. Still hung up on Walter Elkins? Guilty as charged. Convicted. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I had no hope of rehabilitation. I put my face in my hands for a moment. What a hopeless sentimental fool!

Luckily for my humiliation factor, Marco came barging in with a brilliant grin. “All right, darlings! Today’s the day! Scuba diving or bust! Get ready for the adventure of your lives.” He stopped short and peered at me. “You okay?”

Pulling myself together, I returned his smile. “Fabulous, doll! Off to the reefs we go to swim with the fishies!”

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Hi, everyone! I’m thrilled to be here at Oh My Shelves celebrating In Over Our Heads, my new release. In Over Our Heads is a second chance romance for Anthony and Walter—two guys who seem total opposites but truly complete each other.

I thought I’d share a deleted scene with you. In both versions of the story, Anthony and Walter get back together while Anthony is in Key West, and then are parted when Anthony returns to Boston. But in my first take, Walter isn’t so adamant about not being the one for Anthony and they have a sweet parting scene (instead of the angsty one that made it into the book).

Deleted Scene

Walter kissed Anthony like a drowning man. This was their last night, their last time together. He kissed Anthony over and over, wanting to brand himself on Anthony’s wide smiling mouth forever. The taste of salt on Anthony’s lips told Walter one of them had started crying again.

Why was love so hard?

Being this upset should have rendered Walter impotent (if one were to put stock in the science regarding mind-body connection). But his prick was as eager as it had been ever since Walter had seen Anthony in the bar for the first time in 12 years. Walter had gone home and beaten off that night for the first time in a long time. He’d always assumed he had a low sex drive, but that wasn’t the case. His sex drive was directed at one person, and one person alone, and that one person was here with him.

“I’m sorry to cry so much, but I can’t stop.” Anthony’s voice was tear-clogged. “I want you inside me and I’m just gonna cry my way through it. Because you know I’m an overemotional mess and this is tearing me apart.”

Walter closed his eyes like that would somehow help him soothe his own conflicting mass of feelings: sadness, horniness, fear… he couldn’t distinguish all of them. He’d been adept at repressing his emotions, not at understanding them, and even less at owning them the way Anthony did his.

“Make love to me.”

Anthony’s whisper jolted Walter out of the morass he’d sunken into. He opened his eyes and did the mental equivalent of squaring his shoulders. Willing himself to stay present, Walter touched Anthony’s face, wiping away the tears with a gentle thumb. “How do you want it?” he asked.

“I want to see you.”

They ended up with Anthony sinking down on Walter’s rock-hard cock as they clasped hands. Inch by slow inch, Anthony claimed him. He already had. He always would.

Afterward, they lay holding each other and Walter watched the shadows on the ceiling, cast by the flickering candle Anthony had lit earlier.

“I wish you wouldn’t leave.” He hadn’t planned to say it. But it was true.

“I wish I didn’t have to. But if you come to my birthday party, we’ll be seeing each other in a few weeks.”

“I… uh….” How could Walter explain his aversion to ever setting foot again in Boston? “Maybe you can come back here soon. For Christmas?”

Silence. He cast an uneasy glance at Anthony. His unease grew at the grim expression on Anthony’s face. “Is there some reason you can’t come to Boston?”

Yes! Walter wanted to shout. “I… there’re a lot of bad memories.”

The light went out of Anthony’s eyes. “I see. And you and me—that’s one of the bad memories you’re running from?”

“No. Not any more. But the rest of it… I botched everything. My parents and I aren’t speaking any more. I didn’t tell you that part yet.”

“Oh babe.” Anthony stroked the back of Walter’s neck. It felt good. “So, I’m guessing—without us getting into the ‘talk’ about our future—that you coming to Boston to live with me is a no go.”

“Yeah.” But then he registered what Anthony was saying. “Wait. Are you sure you want us to live together? At all?”

Anthony’s smile was startling in the middle of this conversation. “Oh, yes. We’re meant to be, doll! Destiny didn’t bring us together like this just to have us screw it up. But I know you might not be there yet. And I’m going to wait until you are.”

“Oh.” Walter’s head started to spin with “how about’s” and “what if’s” and damn Anthony for his completely illogical insistence on… on fairy tale endings! Walter was no prince. Why couldn’t Anthony see that?

As if he could read Walter’s mind, Anthony kissed him and said, “You’re the right one for me. I trust you. You would never ever willingly or knowingly hurt me. But I can’t make you see this. It’s something you’ll have to do for yourself. Trust yourself and not that nasty voice in your head. And if you can’t do that, then trust me.”

Walter stowed those words away. He couldn’t deal with them yet but he intended to examine every last one again and again. Whatever it took to… trust? Trust was such a vague concept. But he was determined to study it, analyze it, and master it. Anthony was worth it.

Celebrate the release of In Over Our Heads with a special sale: All the Way to Shore is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon through October 24 with that price matched at the Dreamspinner Press store October 16-24.

Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.

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Gummy Bears & Grenades by Charlie Cochet

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Gummy Bears & Grenades: by Charlie Cochet
Series: THIRDS #9.5
Release Date: October 4th, 2017
Pages: 102 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

THIRDS agent Dexter J. Daley can’t wait to marry his fiancé, Team Leader Sloane Brodie, but first he’s looking forward to celebrating his bachelor party—which he intends to be a shenanigans-free evening of getting his groove on with family and friends.

Of course events don’t work out as planned, but for Dex that’s nothing new. One thing is for sure, dodging drug dealers and hired thugs amid booze, dancing—and even a bear costume—will guarantee it’s a night Dex will never forget. Now he just needs to survive all the fun.

***
Enjoy this bonus story from the THIRDS universe. These events occur between Darkest Hour Before Dawn and Tried & True in the series timeline. While reading this story would enhance your experience of the THIRDS series, it is not necessary to read before Tried & True.

 

three-half-stars

I can’t believe I read another Sex & Dlonae story. Yeah, that’s how I refer to them. I keep saying I’m going to stay away because its so much stuff happening that I can’t keep up at times. Well obviously, I didn’t keep my word and read it right away. I liked it enough. It had its funny moments, it had its smexy time moments big time, and about time I saw Austen & Zachary!!! I’m waiting on their story. It doesn’t seem to be coming fast enough. Dex is his usual annoying self, and Sloane has managed to turn into a neutered jaguar, but hey Wolf was totally in this one. I can’t wait to read more on him.

Pre-gaming for a wedding is definitely a necessity. I enjoyed all those festivities in my own, and can acknowledge that Dex wanted his own. I was a little leery on Sloane not having the same, but once you read it then you totally get it. Ummm, I’m trying to figure out who the mole is. I mean, Dex isn’t a celebrity so for these events to happen then it’ll have to be someone close to him giving up all the deets. I’m trying to step away from this series, but its addictive & aggravating all in the same sentence. 

I do like seeing all the couples come together and celebrate this union. I know we are near the ending of this series, and I’d like to see a few couples spotlights and maybe see Tony & Sparks really come together publicly. Yeah, I want pops happy. Fans of the Thirds Series will really enjoy this. Don’t read this series out of order, you really won’t understand.

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About Charlie Cochet

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

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

The Layover by Roe Horvat

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 Layover: by Roe Horvat
Release Date: July 19th, 2017
Pages: 104 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Eight years ago, Ondro Smrek fled Slovakia and the bigotry that drove his first lover to take his own life. The demons proved impossible to outrun, though, and now, desperate for somewhere to belong, Ondro is returning to start over. During a layover in Basel, Switzerland, he meets Jamie, an American living in Scotland who is as brilliant as he is beautiful.

Jaded Ondro never would have guessed he could fall in love during a brief layover—until now. When he is put in a position to offer Jamie comfort without hope of recompense, Ondro doesn’t hesitate. Soon, he catches a glimpse of the home he longs for. But with their separation looming, confessing his feelings would only lead to pain and humiliation. Life has taught Ondro not to hope, but then, he never believed in love at first sight either….

 

four-half-stars

 

Stop. Whatever you are doing stop and go grab this book.

New Author Alert!!!! Roe Horvat is a bloody good writer.

We all know I’m a fickle reader. I’m loyal to my authors to a fault, even when they are write less then my expectations. Sadly, I’ve had a few of those happen in the last year and its only 2 authors at the #1 stop. Stop distracting me. Last year I read a book by a new author on the recommendation by Josh Lanyon, and loved it. If you haven’t picked up Dal Maclean’s Bitter Legacy then you’ve been sleeping under a damn rock or just stupid. Either option is fine with me. What I’m trying to state is this author came out of nowhere with a big recommendation by a really big named author in the genre for support, and her work was brilliant. When I requested this book I had no idea what I was getting. I had no idea what to expect, and honestly I was dreading reading it. I had all these thoughts in my head about how bad it would be. Well color me surprised when it was the EXACT opposites of those thoughts. It was beautiful, endearing, inspiring, and lovely. It was about pain, fear, real life and love. It was eloquent and I wish it would have been a full length novel. I mean you can’t give me this scrumptious morsel, and cut me off. I need more woman. Roe Horvat came so left field for me, that I was gobsmacked at how much I would like this book. I literally just finished and haven’t reviewed a book  in 2 weeks, and this got me back on the horse so pleasantly.

The first thing that I realized that I love was the setting. I don’t read too many books in this part of the world. I enjoyed the authenticity feeling  I get while reading this. I can close my eyes and picture parts of the book. I really liked the cultural difference that each guy has. Its easy to fall for someone in a similar situation, but from a different walk of life is hard. Its hard to compromise, to explain, to enjoy, and to try to mend worlds. Trust me, I’m married to an Irish man who morals & values are just as important as my African American Baptist roots. Its hard, its invigorating, and scary. 

I don’t know which character I’ve enjoyed more Ondro or Jamie. Both were really good, and I’m going to beg the author for another update with these two. 128 days later wasn’t enough. I’d like to see them 529 days later or more & more. Ondro, poor sweet Ondro. He’s kind, cynical, fearful and brave. He’s from Slovakia, a place that isn’t kind to him based on his sexuality. Not on the place but his family. Leaving at 22 was the one way that he thought he would gain some semblance of happiness. Years later he realizes that running has done nothing but let me win. Running has not helped in his love life, and some part of him wants to come to terms with his past there. Jamie is the sweetest ever. He’s fiery once meeting him, and I thought his stands & values were so endearing. Ending up together longer then their expected layover wasn’t in their plans but they made due with it. I don’t want to go to much into the plot, but I got this feeling while reading this book. It wasn’t about the physical aspect of the book, but all the emotions, tears, fears and hope. My favorite trope ever, realistic fiction is the best. The circumstances that they both go through can be someone you know, love, spouse, brother, father, or friend. Right now I feel like I’m rambling because I can’t put in words what made this book magical. It just felt raw, it felt real. It felt like people still have morals, dreams, and people don’t know the difference between lonesome or lonely. 

I’m going to end my review now, and say just buy the book. I’m looking forward to more writing from this author. If you want to try a new author, with a brilliant love story then try this. Try this for love, try this for Ondro & Jamie. Highly recommended!

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About Roe Horvat

Queer fiction author Roe Horvat was born in the post-communist wasteland of former Czechoslovakia. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, Roe traveled Europe and finally settled in Sweden. They love Jane Austen, Douglas Adams, and daiquiri, with equal passion. When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, Roe can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.

Mascara & Bandages by Brandon Witt

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mascara & Bandages: by Brandon Witt
Series: Mary’s Boys #3
Release Date: July 12th, 2017
Pages: 121 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Ariel Merman is a new drag queen who’s already finding a family at Hamburger Mary’s. After a performance as Ariel, Zachary Cooper walks home in his makeup and is assaulted by homophobes. Zachary’s worry that the attack has thrown a wrench in his good fortune is eased when he looks into the eyes of his doctor.

Dr. Teegan Chau is a little lost after divorcing his wife and coming out of the closet, but he can’t deny the pull he feels toward the young man he patches up. Luckily, Zachary takes the initiative and asks Teegan out. But attraction is the easy part of their blossoming relationship—as they deal with an ex-wife and child, being a drag queen in a heteronormative culture, Zachary’s lingering trauma from his attack, and Teegan acclimating to life as part of an out-and-proud gay couple.

The challenges seem daunting at the start of a romance. Can Zachary and Teegan make it through the rough patches and take a chance on the love that’s been missing from both their lives?

three-half-stars

Left wanting more. That is my initial thought after reading this. I didn’t feel like it was finished at all. Felt like it left off in the middle of the story except it ended. I enjoyed this a little bit more then book 2 in the series. It starts off with a brutal attack. Both guys kinda deal with heavy life choices in this book. I do enjoy reading Witt’s writing because I always get the most vulnerable and realistic feelings while reading his work. I love that he puts so much emotion into his writing and character development. My only downfall is that this book ended about 50 pages to short.

Zachary is alone. He’s young, both parents are gone, and his own redemption is being Ariel Merman. While being Ariel Merman, Zachary’s insecurities and self-esteem is completely gone. He doesn’t have to think of his life, he doesn’t have to think of his future, he just has to let Ariel take over and enjoy it for the time being. He’s attacked and its left all his doubts, fears and insecurities come swimming to the surface. The only plus is meeting Dr. Teegan Chau. He’s a gay man, but not out and proud. Instead he’s swimming through murky waters since coming out to the people that matter a few years ago. The plus side is a boulder is lifted off his shoulders. He can live his truths and care for the people most important in his life.

I did like the two of them together. It was nice to see the relationship grown on page. I liked the nervous energy that each guy had. It is super new for the both of them, and I liked the realness of it. I could see these two being something in the future. I think with each other’s personality they work well together.

Its really no surprise that I liked this story. I do enjoy Witt’s writing alot. I love the series and can’t wait for more. I think if you love reading about real problems, guys persevering, and falling in love then picking up the Mary Boys books shouldn’t be an issue. Its a recommend for this series.

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About Brandon Witt

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

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

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

Blue by B.G. Thomas

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blue: by B.G. Thomas
May 15th, 2017:
Pages: 240 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

Blue McCoy has lived on the streets for a long time, surviving by his wits and doing what he must, and he’s not above using his youthful appearance and air of innocence to his advantage. It’s not an easy life, but he’s happy. He has everything he really needs: the clothes on his back, a house to squat in, a sweet dog. Everything except that special someone to love him.

Six months ago, John Williams’s wife left him because she was bored. “Even your *name* is boring” were her last words to him before she walked out. Now he’s by himself in a big house, trying to figure out what direction his life should take. He’s never been so alone.

A chance encounter sets John on a new path, a path that becomes clearer when loneliness sends him to a local animal shelter to get a dog—and he finds an angel instead. An angel named Blue. A crisis brings them together, but it is something else that keeps them there. Could it be love? A love that can forever end two men’s deep loneliness and bring them the support and sense of belonging they’ve searched for all their lives?

three-stars

This book should be read with caution. I didn’t know what I expected when I started it, but it definitely wasn’t this. I liked the idea & trope of the story a lot, but I felt like I should be reading this with a tiara on my head and tripping on acid. That’s the easiest thing I can come up with. I believe I’ve read one other book by this author, but can’t recall it at all. I didn’t like the breaks in pov. It was to constant and I found myself going back to see who said what. That was annoying. It had alot of internal dialogue. It is a job to be in Blue’s mind. I didn’t like how we don’t have an absolute knowledge on why Blue is homeless. I know there could have been tons of reasons on why he is, but it wasn’t even alluded to. It was more of Blue happily telling a tale of all the wonderful things going on in his life. I get John, and I liked him but his story wasn’t completed at all. He had a lot of personal triumphs to go through that were discussed in this book, but we don’t see an outcome either. Maybe it wasn’t the author’s intentions of seeing it play out at the end, but I think it would have given the story a little bit more substance.

I did enjoy Blue’s outlook on life. After everything he has been through and continuously going through nothing seems to bring him down. He’s young and squatting at an abandoned house with other guys. John is newly single, and kinda numb to everything. He’s recently separated from his wife of 20 something years.  He’s finally able to think about the think that has stopped him from all of his life. Told through dual pov’s we see what each other means to one another, what they go through on a daily basis and the warped speed of them insta-loving all of the pages. Yes they moved incredibly fast, and I definitely suspended copious amounts of beliefs based on the author’s prose of writing. It was disgustingly sweet. I mean, I almost turned into the Grinch. We all know how I like over the top cheesy, but at times this was a bit much. I felt like we should have had an extended epilogue. Certain things were brought up but no closure what so ever. I hate filler information. I know it played on shaping the characters on who they are, but it was completely selfish of the author to do that to us.

This wasn’t the worst book, and I was gracious with the 3 stars because man you need some protective gear on with all the things going on in this book. I think people who like sweet romances featuring age-gaps, cheesy goodness, out for you tropes then this is right up your alley.

 

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Olive Juice by T.J. Klune

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.

Olive Juice: by T.J. Klune
Release Date: April 26th, 2017
Pages: 121 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

It begins with a message that David cannot ignore:

I want to see you.

He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.

David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.

Phillip offers redemption.

 

four-stars

 

Olive Juice is as real as any story. It’s about love, forgiveness, and facing the odds with one another.

I don’t know how to categorize this story. Its to be noted that I would not classify this as a Romance. It’s not a romance in the general sense of word. At the ending I felt a little bereaved on their part, and a little aggravated. These are my feelings, and I expected for the content to leave me in a blubbering mess. I expected to be so overwhelmed with grief and agony that i couldn’t do anything but lay in a ball on the bed.

I did not cry. Not one iota of a tear escaped these ducts. I didn’t see the big reveal coming. I liked the twist. What I didn’t like was the one pov, and it felt a little repetitive at times. I’m a Klune fan, and I ride hard for him. With that being said sometimes his books don’t work well with I. In this case, with the punch that it packed it just didn’t move it. I don’t even know if I like it or not. I like the story line, and I liked the outcome, but don’t know if I like the characters that were here.

This is a book that you will have to read on your own. Form your own opinions, because I can see people loving this and crying, and I can also see people liking the writing, but not really the story. My rating is all about the writing, and the plot. Not really the characters or the overall feel of it.

 

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About TJ Klune

When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.

He lives with a neurotic cat in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It’s hot there, but he doesn’t mind. He dreams about one day standing at Stonehenge, just so he can say he did.

Rainbow Sprinkles by Anna Martin

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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

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

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

 

three-stars

 

 

Meh.

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

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

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

 

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About Anna Martin

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

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

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

Breaking the Ice by Tali Spencer

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.

Breaking the Ice: by Tali Spencer
Series: States of Love
Release Date: April 19th, 2017
Pages: 86 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
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For Matt Wasko, February in Wisconsin is the best time of the year, and ice fishing on Lake Winnebago is his idea of heaven. With shanty villages cropping up, barbeques on the ice, monster sturgeon to spear, and plenty of booze to keep everybody warm, things couldn’t be better — until a surprise storm hits and an uninvited guest shows up at his frozen doorstep.

Matt’s not happy to see John Lutz, a coworker who cracks lame gay jokes at Matt’s expense. But John’s flimsy new ice shelter got blown across the lake, and it wouldn’t be right to leave even a jerk outside to freeze. Would it?

In the close quarters of Matt’s fabulous ice shanty, between stripping off wet clothes, misadventures with bait, and a fighting trophy-sized walleye, the two men discover creative ways to keep the cold at bay. And when John confesses his long-running attraction, Matt must decide if he can believe in John’s change of heart — and crack the ice for a chance at finding love.

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

three-stars

 

Breaking the Ice is a cute enemies to lovers story. Heavy on the ice fishing, low on the steam, and plenty of sass. I loved Matt’s sass. Being the poster boy for out & proud in this small Wisconsin town doesn’t even matter to Matt. He likes what he likes, does what he does and isn’t going back in anyone’s closet for anybody. John is new to town, and with all new people they find the popular people and try to fit it. Its what he did here, regardless of the homophobe taunts could have been aimed back at him, he just wanted to fit in.

I know next to nothing about fishing. Its not in my wheel house and I’m okay with that. Matt explained enough for the both of us. I really enjoyed his style and delivery on such things. He was a forgiving person even though he didn’t want to. I don’t really know if I liked John personally. I feel like we got to see the glimpse of him in a bad way, but post making up and setting amends it kinda flew passed. I didn’t get a feel of him like I would have liked to. This book is very much low on steam, which was another downer for me. They did move pretty quick together for my liking, or it could have been the second half of the book was rushed in my opinion.

It wasn’t a bad story, but it wasn’t as exciting as I would have liked it to be. The relationship growth was all on page, and majority of the book was spent talking about Ice Fishing. I would have liked too see them work things out together and definitely on page. It kept me interested enough to finish so there’s that. I think people would like it.

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About Tali Spencer

Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.

Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college, enjoyed a series of interesting careers, and raised three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.

Tali’s other books include the three preceding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, and Adored, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds, are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often posts free stories and excerpts on her blog.

A Guest Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane

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.

Bonfires: by Amy Lane
Release Date: March 24th, 2017
Pages: 280 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
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Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

 

three-stars

 

I was really excited when I read the blurb for this book. I am so tired of reading books about 20 year olds, and the idea that both MC’s were in their 40’s and were single parents really appealed to me. Unfortunately the story itself didn’t turn out to be what I was hoping for.

The story follows Aaron, a local police officer and Larx the local high school principal. Both have been married before and both have teenage children still at home. The two men have known each other in a casual way for years. They start running together each morning and their friendship soon turns into something romantic.

In addition to their romance, there is a murder mystery and a related side story about homophobia within the high school. This is where the story lost me. I went into this looking for a romance novel but found the romance was only a small part. More of the book was focused on the mystery and the town drama and I could not get into those parts at all. They just didn’t interest me.

The story itself was well written and I have no complaints about that aspect. It’s really one of those cases of “It’s not you, it’s me.” This wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t what I wanted to read and therefore did not draw me in.

If you go into it knowing it is more mystery focused you might really enjoy it. I will say again, that I’m very happy the author did a book around older MC’s and I hope this is not a one off. I would love to see her go down this road again.

 

 

 

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About Amy Lane

Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title:There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford
Release Date: March 17th, 2017
Pages: 220 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?

Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.

It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued Art Deco building on the WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the artistic, sweet man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.

When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.

three-stars

 

 

This was extremely difficult for me to read, get through and wait two months to review. Let’s review here: In my head I have a really close relationship with Rhys Ford, and this rating or review won’t seem like it. In fact, I’ve dreaded writing this review since I finish reading it. I haven’t felt this letdown in a long time. She’s one of my favorite authors, and I couldn’t understand why I didn’t like it.  I was finding it hard to get my words out without stabbing myself in the heart during the first place. If this was Rhys idea of a contemporary romance, then I prefer her murder mystery books. This was angsty, slow burn on the romance, and difficult to read for me.  The relationship was completely one – sided for me, and it never felt like a romance. Hell, the story felt like I was wading through quick mud while reading it. While I did like Jake & Dallas as characters, I still didn’t quite like the story as much as I would have liked.

Jake comes from a super abusive childhood. The abuse is so deeply twined into his soul, that he is not able to see the good in people. He’s so scarred from his childhood, and even worst that his tormentor is his father. A father is who sick, but still is able to keep his hooks into Jake. Dallas is the complete opposite, yeah he knows what love lost is, but he is more free spirited and able to open up at love. Their careers is what leads them to a chance meeting. Soon after it’s like fate stepped in and interceded.

This point on their was an excessive about of literary things happening that my brain wasn’t able to understand. Plenty of times, I had to step back and think why?? We all know how I feel about angst. A little is okay, I like people to work for it, but too much throws the story completely off. I really wanted the book to end at those points, I didn’t care if they did or did not get together. Dallas had these grand gestures for Jake about love, and friendship, but they were NEVER reciprocated. I literally hate with a passion, a one-sided relationship. I’m all for being someone’s backbone, but I was really waiting on Jake to open his eyes and realize what he wasn’t doing. How do we get this grandiose love story where I didn’t feel anything. At best a friendship is started and Jake can start healing, at worst nothing. I felt Nada, zip, zilch, NOTHING. In fact by the 75% I was waffling on calling it quite. Its something that I never felt while reading a Rhys Ford book. After reading it, I was straddling the fence on my rating.

The only thing that saved me was Celeste. She was a fun character, and the writing. Ford knows how to write, but the overall product was not something that I enjoyed personally. It had its moments, but they were very small and far in few in the story. I think fans of slow burn romance, angst, and heartbreaks will most likely like this.

 

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About Rhys Ford

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

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