Release Day Review: Building Forever (The Rebuilding Year #2.5) by Kaje Harper

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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: Building Forever by Kaje Harper
Series: The Rebuilding Year #2.5
Release Date: October 15. 2017
Format: e-ARC (80 pages)
Genre: novella, gay contemporary romance
Published By:

Four years ago, Ryan and John decided they’d wait to get married until it came with full legal equality. Now, thanks to the Supreme Court, that historic moment has finally arrived. But two hundred miles separate Ryan’s hectic residency from John’s busy campus job. With a son in college, a daughter choosing her future, and a rambunctious Irish Setter needing attention, planning a wedding isn’t simple.

Of course, even the most perfect ceremony can’t solve all their problems. What does it take to build forever?
three-half-stars

It’s time for John Ward and Ryan Barrett to be married legally

See my review of Book 1: Rebuilding Year. I was really giddy that John and Ryan were finally at this point. After all, the state courts have cleared the way for same-sex couples to be have equal rights and protection under the law. But the week of their exciting and life changing event, the highest court in Wisconsin put a halt/injunction to same sex marriages. Now gay couples everywhere sat on pins and needles while the biggest fight was being waging behind within Supreme Court. This book chronicled this couple’s inner musings and fears as they wondered if they would ever get to call each other husband legally.

My feelings regarding this novella are torn because there are aspects I really enjoyed parts and there are instances that I didn’t enjoy. There was a happy ending, but it was an emotionally bumpy ride to the altar. I love John and Ryan and thus I found all the drama in this book unnecessary. Here was a passionate couple who had overcome a lot, including their current long-distance relationship arrangement. As Ryan said “we learned together…love was just love, and when it was this real, this true, then fighting it was like a crime against the heart.” They were still so sweet on each other and the love was strong as ever. But the mood or tone of the book just felt gloomy. Their inner musings were a tad disheartening.

It was sad to me that their life together was still wrought with uncertainty and ambiguity. Can they get married, where to leave etc? I wanted to be excited and ecstatic for John and Ryan, but the series of unfortunate events just left me feeling fatigued.

The injustice of their story is well chronicled so the continual expounding on the unfairness of our justice system felt like more preaching to the choir. I didn’t think John and Ryan had to go through the trials of Job in order to have a wedding day. I kept thinking, what else will go wrong? I was just ready for a little bit of a smoother sailing. But the most heartwarming  gestures like John bring soup and taking care of a fatigued Ryan made my heart melt. They made think of the scripture “Love is patient, love is kind” because John and Ryan had that kind of commitment to each other.

Ezi

About Kaje Harper

I live in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, the mosquito is the state bird, and where sometimes in winter it can be breathtakingly beautiful. Of course, the deepfreeze chill contributes to the breath-taking, but Minnesota’s a kindly, quiet place and it’s home to me now. I’ve been writing for far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment, and currently am focused on M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, history, SciFi…) I also have a few Young Adult stories released under the pen name Kira Harp.

My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. My husband finally convinced me that after all that time writing, I really should submit something, somewhere. I was thrilled when it was accepted. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing the four novels and three freebie short stories in the series. I’ve been just delighted by the reception Mac and Tony have received.

My first free book became the first story that I actually released – I put it up a month before Life Lessons just for the fun of getting it out there. Lies and Consequences began as a reaction to the November 2010 election. It looked like the repeal of DADT might be derailed by the political shift and I put the insanity of that law into the book. Then as I was finishing the first draft in mid-December the repeal passed. Which was great, but prompted a rewrite to a lighter and more action/romance book. This was a solo effort and I learned a lot from writing and releasing it and from the reviews. Check Smashwords for that one and many of my other freebies.

I now have a decent backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my Books page. This writing thing is addictive. So read, comment, tell me what you like and what you don’t, and help me make the upcoming books even better. I have an author page on Goodreads where I do a lot of book reviews, and this blog is reposted there.

You can find me to chat on my author page on Goodreads most easily – I hang out on Goodreads a lot because I moderate the Goodreads YA LGBT Books group there. I also post free short YA stories on that group, more than 50 of them so far.

You can also email me : kajeharper ~at~ yahoo ~dot~ com or find me on Facebook –

Book Blitz: Sound of Us (Us #2) by A.M. Arthur

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Title:  Sound of Us

Series: Us #2

Author: A.M. Arthur

Publisher: Briggs-King Books

Release Date: April 21, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male Menage

Length: 304 pages

Genre: Gay Romance

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Synopsis

Jake Bowden didn’t expect to be settling into a strong, loving relationship with another guy at only twenty-three years old—never mind with two. His chemistry with Cris is as strong as ever, while things with Charles are more like a simmer than a heavy boil. Charles says he’s perfectly content to go at Jake’s pace, but Jake isn’t sure slow is what he wants anymore. And when Jake wants something, he isn’t shy about going after it.

Cris Sable is head-over-heels in love with the two men in his life, and he’s vowed to do everything he can to protect the fragile, three-way relationship they’re cultivating—even if it means lying about his past. A dark past that resurfaces in an unexpected way and forces Cris to make the difficult choice between shielding Jake and Charles from it, or trusting them enough to help him face it head-on.

Charles Greenwood had forgotten what it felt like to be loved, until a feisty go-go boy and an ex-porn star fell into his bed, and then stole his heart away. He loves both men equally, but differently, slowly stoking the fire of the chemistry he shares with Jake, while passionately pursuing Cris—both in and out of bed. Their lives are entwining in the very best way…until Cris starts to pull away, distancing himself from the loving support of their triad. And after Cris disappears one night on a drunken bender, Charles vows to do whatever it takes to prove to Cris that he can trust them with anything—mind, body and spirit.

Three separate hearts will finally beat as one.

Note: This is the continuation of an m/m/m romance begun in Here For Us and is best read in order to fully enjoy the character and story development. The book also contains mild BDSM elements, including spanking.

Excerpt

Jake swallowed hard before facing Chet. “I want to move back to Benny’s apartment for a while, so I can prove I can function on my own and manage my meds, and that all of my progress isn’t going to go away if you guys aren’t here twenty-four-seven to prop me up.”

Chet’s frown softened into a fond smile. “I think that’s a very mature decision, Jake.”

“You do?”

“Very much so. In fact, I’ve been struggling with a way to bring this up myself.”

Jake edged backward a step. “You want me to leave?”

“Quite the opposite.” Chet invaded Jake’s personal space, trapping Jake between the island and his taller body. He hunched down to meet Jake’s eyes and planted both hands on the countertop behind Jake. “I love you here, in my house and in my bed. But I brought you here knowing it was temporary, and now that you’re managing your illness, you need to start managing your life again.”

“Yeah,” Jake said.

“So if you leave, I want you to leave knowing you will always be welcome back.”

“Thank you.” Jake’s lips curled into a sexy smirk. “Plus, us living in different places means we can go on, like, real dates. You and me don’t really do a lot just the two of us.”

“That’s true, and we can most certainly manage dates. I’d love to spend time with you outside of this house.”

“But what about other people knowing that all three of us are dating?” He squirmed enough that Chet stepped back, giving him space.

“What about it?” Chet asked. “Even if the three of us went out to a meal in a nice restaurant, no one would know we were together unless we began swapping kisses at the table.”

The mental image of the three of them dressed up and making out in a fancy restaurant made Cris’s dick twitch with interest. He’d never do it, but goddamn, he wanted to publicly claim these two amazing, passionate men as his, and no one else’s.

“I guess.” Jake didn’t sound happy about the idea of their threesome being discovered, and that hurt a little bit.

“Are you embarrassed to be dating two men at once?” Cris asked.

“Not really. I mean, it isn’t that I’m embarrassed by you guys. It’s just that this is so…abnormal.”

Cris flinched.

“Shit, that’s the wrong word,” Jake said. He pushed away from the counter and stalked to the kitchen table. Grabbed the back of a chair but didn’t turn around. “Chet explained polyamory to me and I get it. I do. But not everyone else will. Most people won’t.”

“That didn’t seem to be an issue when we started this weeks ago,” Cris said, confused by this new hesitation in Jake. And frustrated at talking to his back. “Will you look at us, please?”

Jake turned, arms crossed, a familiar look of defiance on his face.

“I think I understand,” Chet said. “Jake leaving moves this relationship outside of these four walls. It’s no longer protected. No longer hidden from outside scrutiny and criticism.”

“But that’s going to have to happen at some point,” Cris said. “We can’t hide forever, and we shouldn’t have to.” They’d already been hiding for weeks, and all Cris wanted to do was shout to the rooftops about how lucky he was.

“I know that, okay?” Jake snapped. “I just…I’m a go-go dancer, you know? People hear that and automatically assume I’m some kind of slut, so what will they think if they know I’m seeing two guys at once? Uber-slut dancer, aisle threesome?”

“You know you aren’t a slut, so why does it matter so much what other people think?”

Jake took three strides forward, hands balled at his sides, unexpected anger blazing in his eyes. “That’s easy for you to say. You’re this big, buff dude who can shut people up with a glare, and you’re comfortable with people looking at you. You did porn, for fuck’s sake. And maybe I dance half-naked for money, but that doesn’t mean I want people staring at my personal life and dissecting it. It’s too private for that.”

Cris frowned. “Just because I did porn doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with people getting up in my personal life either. Why the hell do you think I used a stage name? Yeah, I showed off my naked body, but Dane wasn’t me, Jake. Internet subscribers don’t get the real me. You guys do.”

“So if you don’t want people up in our business, either, why don’t you get what I’m saying?” Jake was coiled tight, one wrong word away from bursting into tears.

Cris had to fix this. “I do get what you’re saying. I guess I see our relationship differently. I don’t see it as this weird, bizarre thing that people are going to examine under a microscope like we’re a new strain of bacteria. I’m so goddamn proud to be with both of you, and I want to show it. I want people to know you guys are mine and that I love you. I can’t do that if we’re hiding in this house.”

A single tear slipped down Jake’s cheek, and the sight of it broke Cris’s heart a little bit. He swept Jake into his arms, grateful that Jake didn’t struggle or protest the hug. “I’m sorry,” Cris whispered. “I’m sorry I can’t say the right thing, I’m sorry.”

“You said the right thing,” Jake said into his armpit. “I’m the emotional mess who gets weepy over the way you say ‘I love you’.”

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Meet the Author

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, SMP Swerve, and Briggs-King Books.

When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

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About A.M. Arthur

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

Review: Inheritance by Sean Michael

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: Inheritance by Sean Michael
Release Date: February 1st 2017
Pages: 88
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links: Amazon US Dreamspinner Press
Cash McCord loves his life. He owns the family ranch, works hard and invites the occasional cowboy into his bed. All that changes when his brother Jack and Jack’s wife Val are killed in a car crash, leaving behind six kids.

Cash is made guardian along with Val’s brother Brad Rafferty. Brad couldn’t be more different than Cash. A Yankee, Brad is a video game developer who works twelve to fourteen hour days at his desk. The two men lock horns on sight, neither man happy to have the other around, but neither willing to give up guardianship of their nieces and nephews.

Can they manage to keep the kids together, and keep from killing each other at the same time?

 

 

three-stars
This was a nice short story about family recovering from a tragedy to heal and put the family back together. Cash McCord lost his brother Jack and Brad Rafferty lost his sister Val in a terrible car accident. The couple left behind six young kids and happened to have appointed both Cash and Brad as co-guardians. The problem was that Cash lived on his family ranch in Texas and Jack lived up north. The two adults had to navigate their own grief and also figure out how two single men will keep six young children from getting lost in the grief.

As with most novellas, there was no real character development and the romance between the Cash and Brad developed rather quickly. However, the chemistry between them was very enjoyable. Once they made the romantic connection, it seemed solid and that was so important especially for the children. I think their unity really helped the kids to feel safe and secure in their time of grief. It was nice to have men with minimal drama but plenty of integrity.
The kids added some levity to a heavy subject with their humorous questions to their gay uncles.

About Sean Michael

Often referred to as “Space Cowboy” and “Gangsta of Love” while still striving for the moniker of “Maurice,” Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to “Chicago.”

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.

Barring any of that? He’ll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

Sean’s available for interviews, by the way. He can always be talked into, well talking about himself.

Auguries of Summer by Mel Bossa

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.

Auguries of SummerAuguries of Summer by Mel Bossa
Release Date: April 24, 2016
Pages: 193 • Format: eARC
Published By: JMS Books
Purchase Links:
JMSAmazonARe

Easy-going Sebastien divides his time between working as a cleaning technician, caring for his widowed father, and running off to the park for soccer practice. Coasting through his existence, he’s convinced he doesn’t have much going for him.

That isn’t what his best friend Jack thinks. Quick-witted and passionate, Jack is fascinated by art and history, but the greatest book or painting could never compare to how he feels when he’s alone with Sebastien.

In the last five years, Seb and Jack have shared everything, sometimes even a bed. Yet though their chemistry is smoking hot, Sebastien keeps Jack at a safe distance. But when the two move in together to lower their living expenses, that distance gets smaller and smaller, until Sebastien and Jack are standing so close, they can’t see what’s right in front of their eyes … the love of their life.

five-stars

I am drained now. Totally drained and totally satisfied from this book, my first from the author. I am going to try to review this but when books leave me strung out, I find it hard to put words together to make sense.

I am a huge fan of the friends to lover’s trope and when you make it best friends with wonderfully squirmy and gooey UST to full blown swoon central throughout the story, it’s like it was written just for me.

Tell me a story, Jack. Tell me about one of those great love stories you’ve read about.

I adore the way the story is told. I love that we meet them in the now, that the story starts with Sebastien’s present POV and the situation of him moving into a new apartment over the summer to share expenses with his best friend Jack. We learn that these two have a history, that they were lovers briefly in the past but them being friends is what mattered most. But we also quickly learn that Seb has it bad for Jack but is terrified of what it all means.

Let me get this out, the UST is off the charts with these two and the confessions were so overwhelmingly romantic I was hooked before I had a read a quarter of the book. I wanted Jack to spill his guts and for Seb to let down his walls and accept that he is truly in love with his best friend. I wanted them to create gorgeous meals together and listen to Jack tell Seb stories and Jack to soak up all that Jack offered. I wanted it so much it hurt and it was the best kind of hurt.

Ugh.

This book is so rich and by rich I mean with emotion and the perfect blend of storytelling that sucked me in so fast I had no choice but to marinate in it until my fingers are pruny. I love books that make me look things up and nearly every time Jack opened his mouth to tell one of his stories, I was googling to catch up and to simply be in the scene with them.

So, we know the boys are best friends and they have feelings for one another but Seb, he holds Jack at arm’s length and won’t allow himself to let go and be fully in love. It was heartbreaking to be in Seb’s head and deal with his perpetual struggle of accepting that his “Heteronormative straight acting” self was so turned on by Jack and effeminate men like Jack. There is so much internalized angst with Seb that I was so damn thankful the author took us back five years to see when he and Jack met.

Jack was something else. I’d never known a man so alive and turned on by everything. His mind sped all the time. He had thoughts and opinions on everything.

I was jonseing for this meeting between the boys but this whole back story is filled with the self-loathing of Sebastien’s need to feel masculine and not so “gay “while fighting his feelings for being turned on my effeminate men like Jack. They are what turns his crank and gets him off but he’s terrified to admit it, even to himself. He falls hard for Jack the first night they spend together but doesn’t know how to fit Jack into his world without hurting him and that his the last thing Seb wants to do. Keeping Jack at arm’s length is the only way he can assure they stay friends and Jack doesn’t get hurt. But Jack, he wants Seb and will go to remarkable lengths to show it though it often falls on Seb’s deaf ears and heart. Boy oh boy, the whole past part of this book was heartbreaking and yet brilliant with how it was laid out and where it was placed in the story. It gives the reader so much insight to Seb and you learn that Jack is everything to Seb and everything he wants to be; free and completely himself regardless of what the masses think or the judgment they pass. I cannot express how much I loved the Batman and Robin story and how Seb had always known the type of guy that did it for him though he tried the opposite and then… Jack came into his life.

From the moment I’d first seen Sebastien… I’d known he’d make me suffer, but that the highs would be worth every low.

After we learn what happened five years ago, we get back to the present and I have to say thank you so very much to the author for ending the story with Jack. I needed to know his thoughts on Seb and what better way than when it all gets so real for the two of them for us to be in the POV of the man who is Seb’s rock and who rocks his world. Phew. Yeah, this was a great read and I am in love with the story.

The issues of the child being the adult to a parent was here along with a few social and mental health issues and they were dealt with well. Seb’s relationship with his parents wasn’t the easiest though he adored his mom. He tried so hard to be a good son and help, even with his dad after his mother passed away. It was just so hard for him, he’s been this kid in an adults body for so long, he doesn’t quite know how to adult but then again, how many of us really know how to do the proper adulting thing. I thoroughly enjoyed the side characters as they never distracted from the story but added depth and character to Seb and Jack. But the boys, they are front and center and their romance, their love story was gorgeous.

Auguries of Summer is a lovely tale of best friends to lovers who give in and give it all to be happy. It’s a story about seeing the signs you may miss out on what could make your life full of love, of checking off those boxes of happiness not everyone gets to experience and savoring them. It’s a tale about being able to move on from grief and accept that you can be happy with a loved one’s passing and it’s simply, at the heart of it all, a love story of two young men who were made to love each other.

 

 

About Mel Bossa

I’m the author of numerous novels featuring LGBT characters. I live in Montreal’s beautiful gay village with the love of my life, a bisexual man who contributes a lot to my writing and has also designed some of my covers. As a queer (bi) woman, I’ve often been misunderstood or judged, so I try to find peace in dreaming up worlds where grace wins over fear and ignorance.