A Family for Christmas by Jay Northcote

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

afamilyforchristmasA Family for Christmas: by Jay Northcote
Release Date: November 16, 2016
Pages: 136 • Format: eARC
Published By: JayBird Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Zac never had a family of his own, but Rudy has enough to share.

Shy, inexperienced Rudy has a crush on Zac from the moment his new colleague walks through the door. On an office night out before Christmas, Rudy finds the courage to make a move, and they form a tentative bond. When he discovers Zac will be alone at Christmas, he invites Zac to come home with him.

Zac prefers to keep people at arm’s length. Yet when Rudy offers him a family Christmas it’s impossible to resist. With no parents of his own, Zac is pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by Rudy’s. The only drawback is that everyone assumes they’re a couple. Unwilling to disappoint Rudy’s mum and make Christmas awkward, they decide not to deny it.

It’s not a chore for Zac to pose as Rudy’s boyfriend, but the pretense makes him want things that scare him—things like a real relationship with Rudy. Zac’s suffered enough rejection in his life already and is afraid to risk his heart. If he can get over his past rejection and let Rudy inside his armour, he might get more for Christmas than he ever imagined.

four-stars

YAY, the perfect book to get me into the holiday mood!

This was a really solid Holiday read! Its really one of my favorite seasons to read. I love Holiday stories, and this had the perfect combination of sweet, heat, and yearning that I needed! Really enjoyed the characters in this book alot. Rudy & Zac were definitely opposites attract, but I think being able to communicate with each other is what won this book over for me. Rudy is this sweet, awkward, inexperienced guy who has the biggest crush ever on his co-worker Zac. Rudy is a hopeless romantic in his head, and he fantasizes about all the ways that Zac will treat him. I thought it was adorable of Rudy. He showed some vulnerability when all of his co-workers went out, and expressed his feelings to Zac.

Zac is jaded about relationships of any kind. I can see that, when he has no one who’s ever cared or loved him. He’s a loner by default and I think he liked being that way. Being lonely has forced him to not open up to anyone about his past or force him to want to fall for someone outside of the parameters that he has set. Thrown away as a a infant, and living in group homes and foster care has left him close-off from people. He prefers the solidarity life, but once he starts working at the same company as Rudy then he’s left with no chance but to interact with people.

Really loved Rudy’s family. I love how welcoming they were to Zac. The connection between two steadily progress as the book goes. I think Jay did a really good job with the authentic feelings that were in this book. Both guys were able to benefit from being together. Deciding to start things slowly and progress worked just fine with me. I’m so excited to get to the rest of my holiday reads, but this goes on the Holiday 2016 shelf. Recommendable for sure!

About Jay Northcote

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

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

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

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

Pictures of You (’90s Coming of Age #1) by Leta Blake

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: Pictures of You by: Leta Blake
Series: ’90s Coming of Age, #1
Release Date:Sept. 19, 2016
Pages: 316 • Format: eARC
Published By: Leta Blake Books
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Growing up gay isn’t easy. Growing up gay in Knoxville, Tennessee is even harder.

Eighteen-year-old Peter Mandel, a private school senior—class of 1990—is passionate about photography. Peter doesn’t have many friends preferring to shoot pictures from behind the scenes to keep his homosexuality secret.

Enter Adam Algedi, a charming, worldly new guy who doesn’t do labels, but does want to do Peter. Hardly able to believe gorgeous Adam would want geeky, skinny him of all people, Peter’s swept away on a journey of first love and sexual discovery. But as their mutual web of lies spins tighter and tighter, can Peter find the confidence he needs to make the right choices?

Join Peter, in the first of a four-part coming of age series, on his search to love and be loved, and, most of all, how to grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

four-stars

The main thing I would tell readers!!!

Pictures of You is about heartbreak, sadness, love, and understanding. It’s about two young men falling in love in the early 90’s in Knoxville, Tennessee in their senior year of High School.

I am so shocked at myself, it was emotional at many different of times, but I didn’t cry as much as I thought I would. I’m also a fan of Adam!!! Don’t throw anything at me. I think I understand Adam so much, and his reasoning. He made me what to kidnap him and take him somewhere where he can be free. He also made me want to eviscerate him time and time again. **Big Sighs**, Oh Peter, Peter the Eater! I love you. I don’t know if I was this smart at 18. Peter was smart, but stupidly in love. I really enjoyed this story. The first time I picked it up, I cried at the beginning. I decided to pick it up at a later date, and now that I decided to give it a second chance, I was just blown away at the level of writing. Leta Blake is a definite auto-buy author for me. I love how her characters resonates with her readers. We might not be able to personalize with each character, but I guarantee you that we will be able to point out a detail on why they are just like me.

There was so many moments that I wanted Peter to open your eyes hun, he isn’t going to choose you moments. I don’t know if it was a relief when Peter came to that conclusion himself, because in doing so Peter excepted anything that was thrown at him. I loved Peter’s thought process. I thought he was such a splendid character. I really loved the time that he was around his Dad. Oh, that was super emotional for me as well. I’m one of the few people in romance that is okay with Cheating. Yeah, I know some people get ragey crazy mad, but cheating is normal. It happens daily, and in this story it was no better. Peter accepted the cheating and that hit me in the throat. Being in love with Adam had to be to hard. I know what its like to be in the love for the very first time. Its like sunshine, daisies and hearts galore. Its like feeling on top of the world. Adam!!!! **Grr**, I have to grr when I speak his name. I don’t want to say he was leading Peter on, but I do want to say he didn’t have to give up anything. Let me be clear, I understand Adam. His background, home life is as acceptable as Peter’s is. I don’t think Adam got the guise that he can end up leaving Knoxville at any time, and Peter is left broken and hurt. Sure Adam is going to be hurt, but I do think he was selfish enough to be in love with two people. That part hurt-ed me the most.

This is a 4 part series, and I can only imagine the level of emotions that I’m going to go through from each book. I will do this because Leta Blake proves to be amazing, and I love her writing. Sure this books leaves us with no HEA. I am happy with that, but I am so scared of whats to come. I only hope that Peter decided to put himself as a priority this go around. College is on the horizon, and both guys will be experiencing new things. Bravo, Mrs. Blake.

About Leta Blake

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the 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.

A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

two-stars
A Thousand Boy Kisses Book Cover A Thousand Boy Kisses
Tillie Cole
Romance; New Adult
March 15th, 2016
audiobook
316 pages

One kiss lasts a moment. But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime.One boy. One girl. A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade. A bond that neither time nor distance can break. A bond that will last forever. Or so they believe.When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation?Rune's heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.

A stand-alone young adult tearjerker romance, recommended for ages fourteen and up.

This book is up as a finalist for the Best Young Adult Fiction in 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards. So I decided to listen to it as I already bought it a few months ago.
This was NOT a feel good story. Nor was it a happy ending in my opinion. It definitely a tear jerker for those who love a good messy cry.

From the beginning, this story was was overly dramatic and their actions didn’t feel like that of young children. Honestly, I didn’t shed a single tear. I felt bad because I know I should feel bad for the characters. But I didn’t truly connect or engage with this story. From the beginning, this story was overly dramatic and their actions didn’t feel like that of young children. I didn’t enjoy any aspects of this story unlike the other Tillie Cole books I’ve read.

First of all, the narration was just terrible. I often wondered if I would enjoy the book better if I had just read the kindle edition. Second, the character’s dialogues felt strange and weird for kids. Imagine a five-year-old Poppy talking about Norway and Vikings to eight-year-old Rune talking about infinity love. It felt odd that they wanted to spend every waking moment with each other and never with a single other friend even when they were teenager. Something about their interactions didn’t feel like normal and genuine representation of little kids. Kids often have a best friend, but not to where no one, nor family existed outside this person.

Second, I never felt like I knew the Poppy nor Rune. The author Tillie Cole didn’t develop the character and thus it didn’t allow me to really connect with them individually nor as a couple. Instead, we were told how thy just were so mushy about themselves without us seeing them evolve.

Third, Rune’s treatment of his parents, specifically his father was over the top and disrespectful. It showed such a spoiled and thoughtless young teenager and I never witnessed a remedial action towards his father for those behaviors. Also, Poppy’s secrecy was surprising considering the infinity connection she claimed she had with Rune. It also was just too contrived for me.

The big twist didn’t feel so twisty because I suspected it having read other YA books with similar twists. It didn’t endear the couple to me either but I do suspect touched all the readers that rates the book so high. Personally, the Fault in our Stars struck those emotional chords much stronger for me. It was definitely the writing in this story and that’s why I am glad I have read her other series and know that Tillie Cole can deliver compelling stories.

Falling Down by Eli Easton

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.

falling-downFalling Down: by Eli Easton
Release Date: November 9th, 2016
Pages: • Format: eARC
Published By: Pinkerton Road
Purchase Links:
Amazon USAmazon UK

Josh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.

Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.

Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.

The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?

four-stars

This book goes down in the history of ugly cries for me. It probably should top the list seeing as I still can’t hear out my right ear. So I was reading this and got to a really emotional scene and starting crying my eyes out. You know that cry when you cry so much that your nose stops up. Well, I went to blow my nose through the tears, and it felt like my ear was trying to blow itself as well. After all that relief of crying, my ear clogged up. It’s now Tuesday and since Saturday night it hasn’t unclogged. I’m deeply disturbed by my amount of tears that I was able to produce from this story. It was gut-wrenching hard for me at times. I feel bare to my bones. I don’t know the last time I have felt like this in regards to a book. It was sad to see somebody like Josh who was so innocent in so many ways, become so broken.

I really like Josh. Josh is 18, and living on his own. He’s searching for a place to just die. Not suicide in the normal sense, more of the just fading away. His idea of just fading away is going to New England to see the beautiful fall weather and just sit in peace with his mom’s ashes and gradually end his life. I can’t put in words on how I feel for him. He has nobody in his entire life to care about him. Hell 2% in had my eyes watering up. I felt like this lump was in my throat most of the time. Easton does an amazing job when it comes to Josh, being in his head felt so real at times, and I think the writing was so spot on that at times you can close your eyes and picture everything that is going on.

Mark is struggling with his own issues as well. He trying to re-coup to civilian life. The Marines didn’t work out for him, and he’s not in the right head space to be around people. Add on the fact that he hasn’t come out to his parents yet, and he’s desperately lonely. He doesn’t realize it at the beginning of it, but finding Josh and trying to do some good in the world makes his notice it. Mark faces some of his own dark history. He comes to the realization about why he joined the marines, and alot of his issues were self-sabotaging. I think Eli did a good job with Mark.

“That’s the way I want you. Like I would crawl over hot coals to get to you. Like nothing would ever stop me from being with you–not if you wanted it too.”

This is a slow-burn in the romance department, but I really liked that. I love that Mark had to be the adult about things and make Josh see that he didn’t want anything from Josh because of him owning to him. It has its dark moments when both guys are done for the day, and sitting on the porch talking. They both are hurting and that one thing they don’t have is friends. I’d like to think of them as friends first. Sure the romance happens, but the friendship builds up their trust towards each other. The most heartbreaking scene comes at the end, and boy is it ugly cry material. Sure miscommunication is at fault, and love comes into play but it was still so painful to read. As much as I cried, I loved reading it. At the moment, I felt everyone’s pain. I truly love Eli’s writing. Her stories, and characters just work for me. I love the realistic feeling I get when reading her books. I can’t wait for her next release. This one is highly recommended with a box of Kleenex on the side.

About Eli Easton

Having been, at various times, and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of metaphysical thrillers, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest writing.

A Country Boy by M.A. Church

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.

macA Country Boy: by M.A. Church
Series: States of Love
Release Date: November 9th, 2016
Pages: 118 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

Hot damn, what more could a country boy want? Bass Pro Shop is finally opening in Tennessee. Nick plans to check out all twelve indoor acres chock-full of hunting, fishing, and boating in the Memphis Pyramid on the Mississippi River.

City boy Sandy wonders yet again how he let himself get talked into attending a grand opening for a hick hunting store. His geeky heart prefers the energy of the city. Little does he know all that is going to change due to a freakishly tall glass elevator—and Nick, the high-school crush who’s suddenly taking a second look at him.

A moment of panic while trapped in the elevator leads to a spark neither expected. Getting out is the least of the challenges they’ll face if they want to try to put their differences aside and find out if love is possible between a city boy and a country boy.

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

three-stars

A Country Boy is a sweet cheesy romance, featuring two old acquaintances that meet after thinking of one another for five years. I wanted to call them enemies to lovers, but its not quite that seeing as Nick “protected” nerdy Sandy in high school. Except the last incident forced Nick to out himself and among all of that he kinda lashed out at Sandy. I do felt like they were harboring over the incident for too long in the story. It was 5 years ago, and it wasn’t even a lash out. I don’t feel like an expressive face is enough to hold a grudge against somebody for so long. I just didn’t understand how Sandy could not even feel bad for Nick.

This was cheesy goodness that I like reading about nonetheless. It was cliched, low-angst, and super cute at times. I do think Nick tried really hard in reeling Sandy in. He wanted to prove that he’s changed and to give him a shot. I thought it was nice that they both had crushes on each other and was able to develop some sort of feelings with letting their past go. Yeah, Sandy took longer, and I still don’t quite get it but I did like that he could see himself with Nick.

It was a few plot holes in the story that I felt should have been answered by the end. I mean, if making Lonnie “Skype chat” was such a big deal, then why not reveal who was behind it? I just think that’s a little stupid unless we plan on getting Lonnie’s book. I’m sure everyone thinks it’s Houston. It was super obvious. I was able to put my eye rolls down to a minimum for this cheesy book, and I liked it well enough. Overall, I liked Nick & Sandy together.

About M.A. Church

Hey and welcome to my M/M blog! My published name is M.A. Church, but I also wrote as nomoretears00. I’m a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now I spend my days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding my numerous shifters, or trying to tempt my country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it! When not writing, I’m exploring the latest M/M novel to hit the market, watching my beloved Steelers, or sitting glued to HGTV. That’s if I’m not on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we have two grown children.

Love Lessons (Love Lessons #1) by Heidi Cullinan

(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads) four-stars
Love Lessons Book Cover Love Lessons
Love Lessons #1
Heidi Cullinan
Gay Romance; Contemporary Romance
Samhain
October 1st 2013
audibook
379

Love doesn’t come with a syllabus.

Kelly Davidson has waited what seems like forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he quickly realizes finding his Prince Charming isn’t so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus.

Worst of all, he’s landed the charming, handsome, gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a revolving door.

Walter Lucas doesn’t believe in storybook love. Everyone is better off having as much fun as possible with as many people as possible…except his shy, sad little sack of a roommate is seriously screwing up his world view.

As Walter sets out to lure Kelly out of his shell, staying just friends is harder than he anticipated. He discovers love is a crash course in determination. To make the grade, he’ll have to finally show up for class…and overcome his own private fear that love was never meant to last.

Warning: This story contains lingering glances, milder than usual sexual content for this author, and a steamy dance-floor kiss. Story has no dairy or egg content, but may contain almonds.

Kelly Davidson is an incoming freshman to Hope University and he’s petrified. First, he has some allergies that limit what dorm he can reside in as well as what foods he can eat. Plus, he is finally coming out as a gay young man. Imagine his surprise when he finds out at the very last minute that he has a roommate, Walter Lucas.

Walter Lucas, a junior, just wants to finish school while minimizing the stress of his family life. When he lands freshman Kelly for a roommate, it seems like it’s one more person he has to look out for. But Kelly just brings him joy. Being around Kelly is like seeing the world through fresh and untainted eyes. Kelly is sweet, thoughtful and just curious of life outside the little bubble his parents raised him in. No one to give him lessons like love-’em-and-leave-’em Walter. Except Walter doesn’t want to ruin Kelly’s views on love and sex. So the new best friends attempt to tiptoe around what’s going on between them.

Iggy Toma nailed this book. It was sweet, humorous and had that college angst that draws on the reader’s emotions. His narration was easy to follow, and he didn’t use overly dramatic voices for Walter and Kelly. His voice just flowed with the story and I was immersed in the college world.

Kelly and Walter were opposites and that’s why they worked so well as a couple. The effort the author made in developing the characters showed because their chemistry felt so real. For most of the story, there was a range of emotions.
I docked it a star because towards the latter part, the pace slowed down a lot and I just wanted to know how it concluded.
Even so, the writing and the plot was awesome. I look forward to book 2.

About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

Breaking Him (Love is War #1) by R.K. Lilley

Breaking Him Book Cover Breaking Him
Love is War #1
R.K. Lilley
Romance; New Adult
October 3rd 2015
audibook
338

SCARLETT

It was the kind of relationship where I invested more than I had to spare.

I gave it everything.

And so when it failed, I lost myself.

It changed me. He changed me.

I went down with the ship.

My soul, burnt embers in the aftermath.

The fire of him ravaged it all.

He burned me.

Broke me.

Scarlett had always dreamed big. She was headed straight for Hollywood. Destined for silver screen greatness.

But in her wildest dreams she never imagined she’d be broke and single at twenty-eight, doling drinks at thirty-five thousand feet.

She was a glorified waitress in the skies.

It had been years since she’d seen him.

But one day, there he sat, gazing intently at her, ready to set everything ablaze once more.

Dante wanted her. Again.

Sure, she’d play along…but this time, it was his turn.

She was breaking him.

After all, love is war.

 

 

Scarlet: “He owned me…I don’t need food, I don’t need air or shelter. I just need this”

I dislike these types of New Adult books with stupid drama that could be addressed and dealt with if the couple just communicated with each other.

Scarlett and Dante were in love but Dante left her and broke her heart for reasons unknown. When the flight attendant Scarlett sees Dante on one of her flights, she resolves to break him like he broke her. So they begin these games of who can play who, and they use sex as a weapon. Lots of sex…
I didn’t care for either character and wanted to know what made Dante hurt Scarlett because they clearly care about each other.
Having to hunt for their background and figure out what was at the heart of their problems annoyed me. So I won’t read book 2 as I don’t care enough.
I also didn’t enjoy the writing so this whole thing wasn’t compelling enough for me to continue.

Accidental Fall by Shae Connor

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.

Accidental Fall: by Shae Connor
Release Date: September 21, 2016
Pages: 57 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner • AmazonARe

2nd Edition

When it comes to relationships, college roommates Greg and Keith are polar opposites. A recovering addict, Greg avoids sex because it’s too closely tied in his mind with the alcohol and drugs he gave up. In contrast, Keith protects his heart by limiting sex to one-night stands and weekend flings.

As the two get to know each other better, they feel drawn together, and slowly they take tentative steps toward something real. Their attraction soon flares hot, but Greg’s fears overwhelm him, sending him running. It’s up to Keith to help Greg learn to trust in himself—and in the way they feel about each other.

First Edition published as Accidental Love by Amber Quill Press, LLC/Amber Allure, 2012.

three-stars

 

This was a uber slow burn for this amount of pages. You would think it would be a full length novel with the pacing of the story. Both characters have their backstory and it’s pretty good for the length. I was a little conflicted about “why now?” What was so special about now, that they decided to act on their feelings for one another. Initially I got passed that. Greg has all these reservations about Keith. He notices things like him partying only on the weekends. I didn’t see an issue with it. The man is in college and focused during the week, what’s wrong with blowing off some steam during the weekend? I know where Greg is coming from since he used to do all this and it’s why he transferred to another school. He’s walking the straight and narrow plank.

I thought Keith’s plan of seduction was hilarious. He had a plan on what to do with Greg, and how to get him. I do think it was a little mean to try to keep enticing Greg. LOL. He made all the obvious retorts, but by the end he gave in. Keith had shown a different side to him, and a vulnerability and I think it’s what sold Greg to him. It was sweet short new adult story. Both guys have time to grow and figure out if this is what they want. I enjoyed it.

About Shae Connor

About me: I live in Atlanta, where I’m a lackadaisical government worker for a living and write sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember, but it took me a long time to figure out that maybe I should start writing them down. I’ve conned several companies into publishing my work, and I add a new notch on my bedpost each time another story is unleashed onto an unsuspecting universe.

I started out writing fanfic well over a decade ago, and in 2010, I moved into writing original fiction—gay contemporary erotic romance, to be exact. I’ve since branched out a little (pirates, spaceships, and ninjas, oh my!), but contemporary romance is still my favorite thing to write and to read. When I manage to tear myself away from my laptop, my main hobby is cooking, and I’m a big baseball fan.

I’m a Rainbow Award winner (with my three co-authors) for the anthology Playing Ball, and I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter. I’m currently published by Dreamspinner Press, Wilde City Press, MLR Press, and Amber Allure.

I’m part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why I never shut up. Exhibit A: just follow me on Twitter @shaeconnor. I’m also on Facebook, rarely on Goodreads, and nonexistent on other social media. Generally, the best way to reach me is to email me at shaeconnorwrites@gmail.com.

The Hurricane (The Hurricane #1) by R. J. Prescott

The Hurricane (The Hurricane #1) by R. J. Prescotton 2015-02-16
Pages: 306
Amazon
Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree.

Through an unlikely friendship with the aging, cantankerous owner of an old boxing gym, Em is thrown into the path of the most dangerous man that she has ever met.

Cormac “the Hurricane” O’Connell is cut, tattooed and dangerous. He is a lethal weapon with no safety and everyone is waiting for the mis-fire. He’s never been knocked out before, but when he meet Em he falls, HARD. Unlike any other girl he’s ever met, she doesn’t want anything from him, but just being around her makes him want to be a better person.

They are polar opposites who were never meant to find each other, but some things are just worth the fight.
four-half-stars
The Hurricane Book Cover The Hurricane
The Hurricane #1
R.J. Prescott
Romance
Grand Central Publishing; Hachette Audio
February 10th, 2015
Kindle edition
300

Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree.

Through an unlikely friendship with the aging, cantankerous owner of an old boxing gym, Em is thrown into the path of the most dangerous man that she has ever met.

Cormac “the Hurricane” O’Connell is cut, tattooed and dangerous. He is a lethal weapon with no safety and everyone is waiting for the misfire. He’s never been knocked out before, but when he meet Em he falls, HARD. Unlike any other girl he’s ever met, she doesn’t want anything from him, but just being around her makes him want to be a better person.

They are polar opposites who were never meant to find each other, but some things are just worth the fight.

This love story was intense, sweet and fulfilling. It wasn’t overly dramatic and angst-filled. More than that, it had a sense of family and/community along with the romantic love that made the whole experience satisfying.

Emily McCarthy was a strong heroine who amazed me with her growth in the story. I was proud of her. Cormack O’Connell “Conn” grew a lot too and I was proud to see them give each other space as well as support.

While I loved this book, I didn’t feel like this story was unique. The storytelling was interesting enough that I wanted to know more about everyone from the main characters to the supporting characters like Danny, Kieran, Tommy, Nikki etc. That’s a sign of a good writer, when you weave the supporting characters in so that we care about them too.

Pearl Hewitt added to my enjoyment of this audio. Her accent really brought home the character’s background as well as their environment. Her various tones elucidated the emotional states and kept me engaged the entire time and I listened to this book straight. I will definitely listen to book 2.

Virtual Book Tour – With or Without You by Zane Riley

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Oh My Shelves welcomes to the blog,  Zane Riley author of With or Without You, the follow up to his debut novel, Go Your Own Way. 

OMS: Hi Zane, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

ZR: Hi! I’m Zane, and I’m a queer transgender writer from northern Virginia. Currently, I’m in the process of packing up to move to Washington state, so I’m pretty busy at the moment, but also very excited. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, although I didn’t get truly serious about it until college when I switched my major to Creative Writing.

With or Without You is my second novel and a sequel to my first. It continues Will and Lennox’s story as they finish up their senior year of high school. As they begin to learn how to navigate their growing relationship, Will plans for his future in college while Lennox struggles to accept that his future is more than surviving until the next day. They each begin to forge their own paths only to realize that the futures they each want may lead them away from each other.

OMS: What is the most satisfying thing about being a writer?

ZR: Watching your characters go out into the world, both their world and our own. It’s so wonderful to get a message from someone who loves this character or relates to that character. Getting to see the impact these characters can have on real people is very rewarding. I know how much characters in my favorite books have impacted my personal life or my view of the world, and to be able to do that for someone else is a wonderful gift.

OMS: Do your characters ever take over your writing and make the story go somewhere you hadn’t originally planned?

ZR: Did you mean Lennox? Because this question embodies my entire writer-character relationship with Lennox McAvoy. I’ve usually go two or three options set out before him, but until I get to that moment where he decides his path, I honestly don’t know what he’ll choose. This character has been with me for six years now, so I’ve definitely grown to trust him and his uncertainties, but it can be hard to let him fully take the reins sometimes. With Lennox, you have to. You, as the writer, have to let go of your outlines and expectations, and let him guide his story. In order to know what he’ll do, you have to take the journey with him.

OMS: How did you celebrate the release of your book?

ZR: With my first book, Go Your Own Way, I spent all day working and then went out to dinner for my mother’s birthday. Her birthday was a few days before that book release. This time around I’m packing up the last of my belonging to move out to the west coast. I’m pretty excited, both for this book and the move, but I’ll be super glad when all of my stuff isn’t in boxes anymore!

OMS: How did you come up with the idea for this book?

ZR: This is a question I’m notoriously bad at answering, in part because I never really have an epiphany with my Go Your Own Way series. A lot of my stories take time to build up on their own. Story ideas are like building houses to me. You start from the ground up, and take a lot of time and hard work before you’re ready to drywall or move in furniture and the like. Story ideas are like that. Go Your Own Way started with me considering what it truly meant to be a bad boy and how to humanize such a character.

OMS: Have you ever written naked?

ZR: I can honestly say I haven’t, or at least if I have I was too drunk to remember it. Since I’ve only been drunk twice in my life so far, I’m going to say I haven’t since I remember most of those nights. Personally, I don’t think I ever could write naked unless I was intoxicated. I’d be too worried about someone barging in on me.

* * * * * *

~Excerpt~

The band room was empty when he pushed the door open, but the piano was set up like it was almost every afternoon these days. Only Mr. Robinette and a music stand littered with sheet music was absent.

   “Hello?”

   The silence struck Lennox as odd, but as he sat down he also realized how strange it was to announce himself. So much had changed since the first time he’d snuck in here to play on his own. Now he was auditioning for some college he still couldn’t fathom.

   To make Will happy. And maybe a little bit for himself.

   “Ah, I wondered if you were going to show up.”

   Mr. Robinette was behind him, the door to his office now wide open. He’d taken off his tie and undone a few buttons on his shirt like he did most afternoons when they practiced.

   “You just want to play it through a few times or mess around with something else?”RC

   Lennox took a seat at the piano, but didn’t both opening his bag. He’d memorized the piece he was playing by Valentine’s Day and now, almost two weeks later, he could write it out measure for measure on blank sheet music. But playing it was becoming repetitive. For two hours, three times a week, almost nonstop with the same four pages and nothing else.

   “I’d rather try something new. That piece is getting a little old.”

   Mr. Robinette smiled and pulled a chair up beside him. “I had a nightmare the other night and it was the theme song while I ran around a haunted house Scooby Doo style.”

   “You didn’t catch a ride in the Mystery Machine, did you? I’ve always wanted that van.”

   “I’ve got a lunch box version of it. It doesn’t fit much though because it’s too narrow. Anyway, play what you want. I’ll be here until about four-thirty, so it’s all yours.”

   As Mr. Robinette returned to his office, Lennox pulled what had become his music notebook out of his bag and opened it to the latest page. He’d taken to composing during class when he should have been taking notes, especially calculus where he had no reason to pay attention anyway.

   The latest page was a tune he’d come up with while the other kids had been tapping their pencils and erasing answers. Every moment of his life carried a rhythm, a melody, and an emotion he could create with, and his notebook was becoming a testament to that. He played through everything he’d jotted down over the past few days, but after several rounds he kept coming back to one. It was a piano version he’d tried—and mostly failed—to create of one of the songs Will had played on a loop a few weeks ago.

   “I’m getting ready to lock up!”

   Mr. Robinette’s voice carried out of the office and into the band room. A few minutes and several jingles of Mr. Robinette’s keys later, the office door was shut and Lennox was closing the cover on the keys.

   “That last piece you were playing, was it a cover?”

   Lennox shrugged as they headed for the door.

   “It was supposed to be. Didn’t sound much like the song.”

   “Well, the others did. They were all really good, even the ones that weren’t covers.”

   “Uh, thanks.”

   Lennox watched him at the door to the parking lot for a moment. He’d been a great help over the last month—all year if Lennox was honest. Mr. Robinette had believed in him in his own way since school had begun, and thanks to him he had a decent shot at this audition.

   “Thanks for… all of this. I actually feel like—just thanks.”BannerTemplate

   Mr. Robinette gave him a genuine smile and patted him on the shoulder.

   “You’re very welcome. Let me know how it goes when you get back, okay? I’m rooting for you. Got all of my fingers and limbs crossed. You deserve the chance. Don’t doubt that or yourself.”

   “I-I won’t.”

   It was funny to have so many people believing in him after so long. Happiness was a strange feeling as well. Until he’d let Will into his life he couldn’t remember how to capture such a feeling in his chest and keep it there.

 


WOWY 1600px FRONT (Smashwords, Amazon)-1With or Without You by Zane Riley
Release Date: July 21, 2016
Pages: 348 • Cover Artist: Colleen M. Good
Published By: Interlude Press
Purchase Links:
Interlude • Amazon • ARe • Smashwords • iTunes • Indiebound • B&N

Sequel to ‘Go Your Own Way’

In the much-anticipated sequel to Go Your Own Way, high school seniors Lennox McAvoy and Will Osborne pick up right where they left off—navigating the tumultuous waters of a new relationship and dealing with Will’s disapproving father.

When a violent incident forces Lennox to give up his independent ways, he must come to terms with his past just as Will is grappling with his future. As Will’s college plans become reality, will Lennox have the courage to go after the opportunities he doesn’t think he deserves?WOWY fullspread (web only)


Tour Dates & Stops:

21-Jul: Parker Williams, Unquietly Me, Louise Lyons, Joyfully Jay, Velvet Panic

22-Jul: Bayou Book Junkie, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Outrageous Heroes

25-Jul: Havan Fellows, Gay Media Reviews, Nephy Hart, Happily Ever Chapter

Badge26-Jul: Oh My Shelves, Kirsty Loves Books, Dawn’s Reading Nook

27-Jul: MM Book Escape, My Fiction Nook, Prism Book Alliance

28-Jul: MM Good Book Reviews, Book Lovers 4Ever, Open Skye Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog

29-Jul: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Inked Rainbow Reads, Boys on the Brink Reviews

1-Aug: Alpha Book Club, Love Bytes

2-Aug: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Butterfly-O-Meter

3-Aug: V’s Reads, Molly Lolly

Final

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About Zane Riley

Zane Riley is a queer transgender writer and cat lover recently relocated to Portland, Oregon. Go Your Own Way is his first novel.