Long Shadows by Kate Sherwood

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

Long Shadows: by Kate Sherwood
Series:Common Law, #1
Release Date: January 2, 2017
Pages: 184 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
Riptide

LA cop Jericho Crewe got the hell out of Mosely, Montana, when he was seventeen. Fifteen years later, he’s back, and everything is just as messed up as when he left. He planned a quick visit to deal with his injured father, but of course things are never that simple. Family complications, police complications, social complications—and, as always, Wade Granger complications.

Jericho and Wade had been so close, once upon a time. First friends, then more than friends—and then, after Jericho’s escape, nothing. Wade’s magnetism hasn’t been lessened by a decade and a half apart; even when Jericho learns that Wade is the prime suspect in the death of Jericho’s father, the old connection still sparks.

When Jericho’s newly discovered half siblings are kidnapped, he needs to trust someone to help him find them. Wade’s a terrible choice, but Jericho’s never been known for his good judgment. Anyway, he’d rather make a bad decision with Wade than a good one with anybody else.

three-half-stars

I’ve read a few books by this author, and always felt like her and I don’t get along. I can never mesh well together when I read her books. When I saw the cover for this book on Netgalley, I immediately wanted to click it. I did click it, and was super happy. I had to tell myself it doesn’t matter how I feel about her past books, but only this one. I’m not a fan of the romantic suspense genre. It just doesn’t work for me. I prefer mystery/thriller and the romance doesn’t even have to play a part. I should not have been worried, because I liked this story. There is no romance in this first book, I’m sure book two will probably see something but Jericho and Wade have a lot of soul searching to do by then.

Jericho left Mosely 15 years ago and never looked back. I liked Jericho as a character. He had his little flaws, but he wanted to prove to people and himself that leaving Mosely was the best thing he could do for himself. He’s successful in his own way, but one can never forget their first love. Enter Wade Granger. All around criminal and bad guy. Yet, by the end of the story I’m not so sure about Wade’s character. He seems to good hearted to be a full blown criminal and bad enough to want to hurt Jericho for leaving him behind. I’m still trying to figure them out.

I did enjoy the pacing of the story. I really liked the mystery element to the story. I’m not so sure about everyone’s motives at this point, but it was only book 1 and I’m sure by book 4 everything will be much clearer. I’m proud that I allowed myself to give Kate Sherwood another try. This goes to show you that every book doesn’t have to work for you, but you never know what might be good for someone else. If you like suspenseful stories, and a good love connection/background between two characters then this is your book. Definitely recommend this book.

About Kate Sherwood

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

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

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

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

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

Release Day Blitz: Interlude: First Noel by Tal Bauer

Title:  Interlude: First Noel

Series: The Executive Office, Book 1.5

Author: Tal Bauer

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 19. 2016

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 60800

Genre: Romance, holiday, contemporary, demisexual, gay

Add to Goodreads

Interlude-f

Synopsis

Before Ethan returns to DC…
Before he becomes Jack’s first gentleman…
Jack and Ethan share their first Christmas together.

Step back to Jack and Ethan’s first Christmas season and the tentative early months of their relationship under the world’s spotlight.

Three months into Ethan’s transfer-in-exile in Des Moines, Iowa, the pressures of dating Jack, the president of the United States, start to wear Ethan down. His weeks are measured by the days he works in Iowa, chasing counterfeiters and financial crimes, and the weekends he manages to steal with Jack back in DC. The media stalks his every move, he’s isolated by his coworkers, and loneliness hammers at his heart.

In DC, Jack tries to piece together a global alliance to take down the Caliphate, while the world seems focused on tearing apart his personal life. Hostility surrounds him from all corners of the globe, but a surprise offer from President Sergey Puchkov may pave the way for a tentative alliance…and perhaps the beginning of a friendship.

As Ethan finds himself in the middle of an investigation that rubs too deeply against his soul and Jack tries to balance leading the free world and keeping his and Ethan’s relationship going, the two men must face what their love has become…and where they are heading together.

Excerpt

Tal Bauer © 2016
All Rights Reserved

“Twenty-seven credit cards, thirty thousand in hundreds—all with the exact same serial number—a credit card reader and a laptop.” United States Secret Service Special Agent Blake Becker whistled, shaking his head, and glared at the two suspects in handcuffs sitting in the back of the Des Moines police cruiser. “We bagged another couple counterfeiters, huh?” He squinted at Ethan, snowflakes clinging to the ends of his eyelashes. Becker was twelve years younger than Ethan, and two years out of the training center at Rowley. He was an infant, compared to Ethan.

Ethan said nothing. Becker’s use of “we” was disingenuous. Ethan had put together the case after pulling files from three different states. He’d worked long, lonely hours in his cubicle, reading arrest records and statements until his eyeballs felt like they were bleeding. He’d tracked the washed bills, the counterfeit currency used in stores and banks across Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Built a timeline along one wall of his cube, tracking the rise of counterfeit bills in the tristate area. Connected the dots, leading them to bust this run down motel room and this raggedy team of counterfeiters.

And, when he’d presented his case to Shepherd, the Special Agent in Charge of the small Des Moines field office, Shepherd had assigned Blake Becker as the lead agent, over Ethan. Days later, after Becker filed the affidavit under his name, he and Ethan, along with the Des Moines police, broke down the door of the motel room their suspects were living in and arrested two men in their boxers and stained tank tops. One of the men had a mullet. The other had a greasy mustache and not much hair on the top of his head.

Two white news vans sloshed through the motel’s parking lot. Muddy snowmelt splattered the sides of the vans, arching away from salt-crusted tires. On top of both, satellite dishes and transmission poles collected fat snowflakes beneath the dreary sky. Red and blue police lights swirled, giving a splash of color to the monotonous Midwestern gloom.

Becker jerked his head toward the new arrivals. “Media is here. Shepherd wants you to book it. Doesn’t want you anywhere near the press.”

Nodding once, Ethan kept his head down and headed for his Secret Service car, a nondescript sedan issued to him by the Des Moines office. He tucked his face into his scarf and his hands in the pockets of his trench coat, not looking toward the news vans.

If there was one thing Shepherd hated more than Ethan, it was the media attention Ethan received. “Secret Service Seduction” “Who Really is the Boyfriend of the President of the United States.” “Boyfriend in Exile; Can Their Relationship Survive?” “What are the Presidential Boyfriend’s Duties?” “Secret Service Hiding One of Their Own?”

He slid into his car, slamming the door shut. Leaning back, he exhaled, watching for a moment as the news crews set up around the motel parking lot, peering at the Special Agents and police processing the scene.

Ethan grabbed a pair of sunglasses and a ball cap from the passenger seat before he started his car. The sunglasses turned the drab gray sky almost black, but he kept them on as he backed up, maneuvering out of the crowd of police vehicles.

One of the reporters spotted his car leaving. She waved to her cameraman and jogged across the snowmelt, her brown boots sticky with slush. He tried to speed up, but she made it to his driver’s side as he waited to turn onto the street.

“Mr. Reichenbach?” She knocked on the glass, and her cameramen scraped their news camera’s lens over his window. “Mr. Reichenbach, can you talk about your involvement with the Des Moines Secret Service? What are your official duties?”

His jaw clenched, and his fingers gripped the steering wheel. A few more seconds, a few passing cars, and he could peel out of there.

“How does it feel to be separated from the president? Are you and President Spiers still together? It’s been a while since you were both seen togeth―”

Finally, a break in the traffic. Ethan wanted to slam down on the accelerator, spin his wheels and spray the reporter with mud and snow. But he couldn’t. Everything―every single thing―he did was a reflection on Jack. A reflection on the president of the United States.

He revved his engine once, a warning, and then rolled forward. The camera squealed across his window, and the reporter pounded on the glass, repeating her questions, almost shouting.

And then, he was out of the parking lot, back on the main road. He floored it, speeding off as the news camera tracked him. A few blocks away, he ditched the sunglasses, throwing them into the passenger seat with a snarl.

Three months in exile. Three months of living in Des Moines, Iowa—away from Washington DC, his friends, and the love of his life: Jack Spiers, the president of the United States.

His head hit the sedan’s headrest again, and his fingers kneaded the steering wheel. Three months of counting the days―and sometimes the hours―until he could see Jack again. He lived for Friday evening through Sunday night, when he flew to DC, and the forty-eight hours at least, it was just him and Jack. If he squinted while he was there, it was almost like it had been before everything came out, when they were hiding what they’d become together, and when Ethan had been his Secret Service lead.

Day in and day out, they’d been at each other’s side. Inseparable…and sharing a scandalous secret.

But every weekend ended, and Sunday night came, and with it, another flight back to Des Moines.

Ethan glared at the clock in his dash. It was too early to go back to his apartment and do anything but bang around the empty walls and sulk, and too late to go back to work and expect to get anything done. Still, he turned for the office, heading back downtown. At the least, he could work out in the private gym for the agents assigned to the Federal Building. FBI, DEA, ATF, Secret Service, and Customs all shared one building.

And all the agents seemed to share the same wide-eyed, horrified distance from Ethan. He moved like a pariah, as though he’d been branded with a scarlet letter and anyone who came near him would suffer the same catastrophic fall from grace he had.

From the most prestigious posting in the Secret Service―protecting the president of the United States―to puzzling through counterfeiting investigations out of a tiny field office in the Midwest. And giving those investigations up to another agent, a junior agent, and running from the media.

He waited at the stoplight downtown, just before the turn into the Federal Building’s garage, listening to his wipers scrape snow off the window. The red traffic light blurred through the slush on his glass, tinting the inside of his sedan a dark crimson. Christmas lights stretched overhead, arching over the streets and between the buildings. Evergreen garlands clung to the streetlights, and LED wreaths hung at every intersection. Over the weekend, Christmas had descended, just days after Thanksgiving.

If he knew then what he knew now, would he do it all again? Make the same choices? Take the same risks? Kiss Jack―the president, his sworn duty, his job―and throw caution to the wind, going against his very bones, his dedication to his career and the Secret Service?

The wipers slid against the glass again, squeaking, and the light turned green. His tires slipped on the snow, skidding out briefly, but he slogged across the intersection and turned into the underground parking garage.

Of course he would. Those forty-eight hours each week with Jack made everything else worth it. Made bearable the isolation, the intrusive media, the sidelong glares and bitten off conversations that abruptly stopped in his presence.

How his toes would curl as they kissed. Jack’s smile, and the way his eyes lit up for Ethan alone. How Jack had looked at him when he burst into the Oval Office, gunfire cracking the air, taking out Jeff Gottschalk and Black Fox’s operatives. Like Ethan was his whole world, the sun rising in the sky just for him.

Ethan had never loved anyone like he loved Jack. And he’d never been loved by anyone the way Jack loved him. It was still new, just six months old, but that love had remade Ethan’s entire world. So far, he’d put up with anything. Everything. As long as Jack kept looking at him like that. Kept loving him like that.

But, it had been over two weeks since he’d last been with Jack. ‘Every weekend’ had turned into something else. Loneliness scratched at the base of his heart, and whispers of fear snaked down his bones.

Ethan wound through the underground garage and pulled into his assigned space, in the corner beneath the leaking air compressor and next to the dumpster that always smelled like stale piss.

Shepherd’s car was still in his space. Great. He’d probably already seen the news footage of him, playing over and over on the local stations before being picked up by the national news for prime-time replay. He’d be pissed. More than pissed.

Sighing, Ethan badged into the building and onto the elevator, punching the button for the Secret Service’s floor. When the elevator spat him out, he gave Agent Gibson a tight smile as he passed him.

Gibson didn’t smile back.

Ethan badged into the backdoor of the office, heading for his cube and his gym bag. On the way, he passed Shepherd’s open office door.

The TV hanging on the wall in his office was on, images of Ethan driving out of the motel parking lot playing on repeat as the news anchor droned on about how evasive he’d been, how he hadn’t answered any questions. About what his presence at the crime scene might mean. And, of course, wondering why he hadn’t been seen with the president, or in DC, in weeks. They were America’s most scandalous couple, perhaps the world’s. The question had been blaring from every radio, every gossip magazine, every late night talk show host, almost from the moment they’d been photographed kissing on the North Lawn. Were they still together?

Of course, the questions had gotten louder these past few weeks.

Shepherd’s glare fixed on Ethan. Shepherd pursed his lips as he perched on the edge of his desk, arms crossed over his slight pudge, a beer gut in the making. His tie was undone, the first few buttons loose.

Ethan grabbed his gym bag, slung it over his shoulder, and trudged to Shepherd’s door. “Sir, I left as soon as they arrived. She chased me down. I wasn’t trying to get in front of the cameras.”

Shepherd pinched the bridge of his nose. “What did I do to deserve you?”

Ethan stayed silent.

“Thanks to this―” Shepherd gestured to the TV. “—the US Attorney is going to have to answer a million questions about you from the whatever defense these guys cobble together. What you were doing there. Why you were involved.”

“I put the case together―”

“And then it was given to Becker. All of it. The entire thing. Your fingerprints were stripped from it.” Shepherd sighed again. “I don’t want some criminal defense attorney trying to drag the president into one of our cases. Asking about what kind of special favors you get, or what the president is interested in, or how you don’t play by the rules. We have to prove everything you do is one hundred and ten percent above board.”

“Everything I’ve done here has been completely legal―”

“It’s what you did before you got here.” Shepherd fixed Ethan with another hard glare. “It’s your character. The kinds of rules you break. A good defense attorney would rip you to shreds on the stand.”

Ethan’s chest felt like it caved in. “I have never compromised an investigation for any reason.”

“No.” Shepherd snorted. “You just compromised the president.”

Silence.

“Get out of here.” Shepherd waved Ethan away, dismissing him as he stood. “I don’t know what’s going on with you and the president, and I don’t want to know.” His hand cut through the air, before Ethan spoke. He jerked his chin to the TV, and the reporter musing about Ethan and Jack’s relationship being on the rocks, or worse. “But you’ve gotten grumpier these past few weeks. And that’s saying something.” Shepherd squinted at him. “Go do something about that. If the media is going to hound you everywhere, you don’t want them thinking you’re a half breath away from snapping. Don’t add fuel to the fire.”

Clearing his throat, Ethan nodded once while Shepherd shuffled papers on his desk, dropping a stack of manila folders into his drawer. “Sir, I have a question for you.”

Shepherd arched his eyebrows and grunted.

“I submitted my vacation request for the holidays, but you haven’t approved it yet. Is there a problem?” Ethan had lost vacation time in his demotion, and had used up what he did have flying back and forth to DC. He was scrapping the last days he had to put together a trip back east over Christmas. It wasn’t as long as he wanted, but it was what he had.

Shepherd barked out a harsh laugh, slamming a stack of papers down on his desk. “Why do you do this?”

“Sir?”

“Why do you pretend like you follow the rules? Like they even matter to you? You can break every rule we have and nothing will happen to you.”

“That’s not who I am,” Ethan growled. “I don’t act that way.”

“That’s exactly who you are. And exactly how you acted.”

Ethan’s frown deepened, turning to a scowl. “Sir, I don’t get any special treatment―”

“Of course you do!” Shepherd cried. His hands rose, and then he was shouting, pointing at Ethan as his face turned red. “Why do you even bother coming in? Why do you put up the pretense of being an agent? You’d make it easier for everyone if you just stopped pretending!”

“I’m not pretending!” Ethan roared. “I’m doing my job!”

Shepherd laughed, long and loud. “You stopped doing your job the moment you compromised yourself and the president!”

“I am still an agent―” Ethan seethed.

“You’re a Goddamn pain in my ass.” Shepherd cut him off. “And I have no clue why you’re still an agent. You shouldn’t be. You should have been forced to turn in your badge and your gun and got kicked out of the Service.”

Ethan’s jaw snapped shut, his teeth clicking together.

“Let me be perfectly clear. I don’t give a shit what you do. Come to work. Don’t come to work. Go on vacation for the entire month of December. Run away with the president and get drunk on some beach. I don’t give a shit. Just stop wasting my time, okay?”

Ethan nodded once. “Sir.”

“Get out of my office.”

His hand clenched around the strap of his duffel, and his teeth ground together, but he strode out of Shepherd’s office with his chin held high. Rage roared through him, deep in his veins.

There had better not be anyone in the gym downstairs. He had to get this out, pound it out into a punching bag until his knuckles split and he vomited in the corner. He had to get this out, because in three hours, Jack was going to call him on his computer, and he couldn’t face Jack like this. Not about to fly apart, quaking with too much fury and raw shame. It hurt, God, it hurt. But Jack couldn’t see that. He couldn’t ever see it.

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NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

 

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Interlude: First Noel by Tal Bauer

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.

Interlude:First Noel by Tal Bauer
Series:The Executive Office #1.5
Release Date: December 19, 2016
Pages: 125 • Format: eARC
Published By: NineStar Press
Purchase Links:
NineStar PressAmazon

Before Ethan returns to DC…
Before he becomes Jack’s first gentleman…
Jack and Ethan share their first Christmas together.

Step back to Jack and Ethan’s first Christmas season and the tentative early months of their relationship under the world’s spotlight.

Three months into Ethan’s transfer-in-exile in Des Moines, Iowa, the pressures of dating Jack, the president of the United States, start to wear Ethan down. His weeks are measured by the days he works in Iowa, chasing counterfeiters and financial crimes, and the weekends he manages to steal with Jack back in DC. The media stalks his every move, he’s isolated by his coworkers, and loneliness hammers at his heart.

In DC, Jack tries to piece together a global alliance to take down the Caliphate, while the world seems focused on tearing apart his personal life. Hostility surrounds him from all corners of the globe, but a surprise offer from President Sergey Puchkov may pave the way for a tentative alliance…and perhaps the beginning of a friendship.

As Ethan finds himself in the middle of an investigation that rubs too deeply against his soul and Jack tries to balance leading the free world and keeping his and Ethan’s relationship going, the two men must face what their love has become…and where they are heading together.

five-stars

While I’m ecstatic to get this novel, it’s making me a little ragey because I want the next in the series so bad. Excuse my grouchy ways, I’m battling the cold demon in my City. I’m not ready for freezing temperatures! I’m pleasantly happy to see Ethan & Jack again. Man, Tal doesn’t do anything half assed. They went into this book with more then a Holiday novella in store. This was a solid storm with so much happy, romancy, feelings. I always wanted to read about their mini break when Ethan was away, and it was everything I could want and more.

Ethan & Jack are just now getting to that special place in their relationship but they are apart from each other. They have most weekends when Jack isn’t busy. This is definitely not a stand alone. Don’t even think about reading it without book one. We see them grow together as a couple, and a lot of first happens here in this book. I really enjoyed seeing Jack open up about his feelings and being super protective of Ethan.

I’m not going to lie, I was starting to worry about Ethan. I don’t think he can handle being alone from his friends and Jack. He was able to do his job, well I should say and stay true to his love with Jack. I did like the relationship that he was building up with Becker his partner. Hopefully we’ll see him in the future somewhere in this series.

It is so going on a favorite of mine this year. I enjoyed all the little things they did for each other, to the big pronouncements of love, endearments, first dances, and special Christmas presents. I will admit to being worried that being such a short book in length we would have to deal with the political formula like the rest of the books in the series. Do not be worried folks, this is strictly romantic. It’s all about the romance and their relationship and what’s to come in the future. If you are fans of this series, then I definitely recommend this to you. If you haven’t read Enemies of State then I dare say get on it folks! Don’t miss out on a brand new fan favorite couple! Tal, I’ll be looking for book 3’s release date soon. I don’t have much wine left to hold me out!!

About Tal Bauer

Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

You Are Not Me 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.

you-are-not-me-coverYou Are Not Me: by Leta Blake
Series:’90s Coming of Age, #2
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Pages:328 • Format: eARC
Published By: Leta Blake Books
Purchase Links:
Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

five-stars

This was my Zhush!!!! Leta Blake is am Auto-buy author for me. This book just highlights everything I love about her words and characters.

Definitely a favorite of 2016. I think I tried to read it in one sitting, but work got in the way! Leta Blake’s pen game is sickening. She damn near had me using an entire box of Kleenex! Okay, I used about 3/4 of the box. By the end, I just wanted it to be over for everyone. This damn cliffy is going to kill me.

I loved everything about this! Here’s some checkpoints on the awesomeness that was book 2 in this amazing series so far.

√ I am uber in love with Daniel.
√ Minty should be my new best friend.
√ Mike is amazaeballs.
√ Peter is Peter.
√ Minty, Antonio, Windy, Barry, Robert is my life.
√ I loved Peter’s ideal of love and hope.
√ Daniel better get an HEA after all of this.
√ I’m never sad to see Adam go.
√  His selfishness new no bounds.
√ Jeremy should die a painful death.
√ I liked Bobby.
√ I cried for Harry.
√ I might conisder buying a tutu in honor of Minty.
√ I totally wanted to hulk rage on Adam by the end of this book.

I am so in love with everything that happened in this book. I cried so many times during it, and I wasn’t as mad at Peter unlike book one. I think Peter did a lot of growing this book. He’s on his own for the summer while Adam is away in Rome. Peter is deciding to take his life into his own hands. He wants to experience things as a Gay man. I think it was hard for me to not want to get angry at all his mistakes but they were his to make. I adore his father so much. I am even at  a little bit of peace with his mother. I am happy at the progress that they were able to make as a family. I don’t think Peter realizes how he lucked out on parents and being okay with his sexuality. I loved seeing Peter’s vulnerabilities in this book. In book one, he showed them alot, but since this was from Peter’s pov entirely I think we got to see inside his head way more.

You Are Not Me is an emotional rollercoaster. It picks up immediately after book one. Peter is alone with his thoughts for the summer. Adam is still Adam. In  book one, I was kinda rooting for him, but by the end of this book he’s still the manipulating P.O.S that he always is. He doesn’t know what he’s doing mentally and emotionally to Peter. Yeah, Adam isn’t to blame for everything, but he’s played such a major part of his own demise that his shamefulness and guilt ways heavy on his mind! I get Peter wanting to stick with Adam to show him that their love can overcome anything, it made me so mad at times because Peter has this grandiose love mindset that he wasn’t able to see that he can be this guy for someone that’s more deserving. Leta does a wonderful job at creating these flawed characters who we all can relate to in some way.

This was  a more transitional story for Peter. He’s on the cusp of being an Adult and starting school. He’s ventured out of all of his comfort zones. He’s gone after things he wants, and explained in absolute detail on why he wants the things that he does. I don’t know if this is the end to Adam. Adam is that guy who’s going to be married with children and a secret profile on Grindr. It sickens me that he doesn’t think about destroying the two people he’s involved with. I won’t go into spoilery details on the plot. Just know that this book is definitely A+ material. I am so looking forward to book three, and more tears. I really hope a few of my guys get an Hea, or a book about them. Highly recommend this series!

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.

Reclaiming Hope by Shell Taylor

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.

stReclaiming Hope: by Shell Taylor
Series: Home for Hope #3
Release Date:  October 14, 2016
Pages: 210 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAReAmazon

Sequel to Resurrecting Hope

Home for Hope: Book Three

Four years ago, Kollin Haverty’s best friend, Riley Meadows, dropped off the face of the earth. When he shows up out of the blue, armed with a flimsy excuse for disappearing and having nearly completed his transition from female to male, Kollin wants to pick up where they left off. But Riley’s unwillingness to be honest with Kollin prevents him from fully trusting Riley again. Despite Riley’s insecurities and Kollin’s abandonment issues, they quickly discover there’s something more than friendship between them.

When a ghost from Riley’s past unexpectedly appears with haunting memories in tow, Kollin’s anger about being lied to outweighs his desire to be the understanding boyfriend Riley needs. As Riley’s web of strategically withheld secrets begins to unravel, he must find the courage to pursue his own peace before he can move forward with Kollin, and Kollin must decide what’s more important—supporting his best friend or protecting himself.

DNF @ 45%

Man oh man, did I really want to enjoy this. I really liked the first two books in the series, and I requested this off the strength of the author’s writing. I can’t believe I read this far into the book. I was exhausted by 10% in. It was literally like pulling teeth. Extremely tiresome being in Riley’s head. Largely, I feel like this book was forcing Kollin and Riley to be together. Even in the two previous books, they were good friends. I honestly feel like we were forced to read about the them for the sanity of a third book in the series. I would have really liked them with someone help and would have been okay if they were both in this book, but was building a relationship with other people.

Another reason for me not liking the book was Kollin was initially not interested in Riley. I’ve read a few Transgender books now, and their is someone who will love Riley. Kollin’s first mindset was they were friends, and I just didn’t believe the attraction at all. I really think he started something with Riley just because of their past history. I don’t think it’s fair to Riley and not fair to himself. I really would have liked Riley to get himself together before starting a relationship. I just felt at times he wasn’t ready for anyone and wasn’t to happy with himself. He had so many internal issues to work out that a relationship just seems redundant to get into right now.

I really wish, I would have liked this, because I truly did enjoy book 1 & 2, but I found myself tired, and angry by the point of which I decided to stop reading. I do look forward to more from this author though. Really enjoy her realistic feelings, settings and her writing flawed characters. We’re all flawed at the end of the day!

About Shell Taylor

Because love is never wrong… Shell Taylor is a full-time mother of three exuberant and loving kiddos and one fur baby, a tiny but fierce Yorkie-poo named Rocco. As a Christian who practices love, grace, and humility rather than hatred and judgement, she tries her best to instill these same virtues in her rowdy kids. She is a huge comic fan, particularly Marvel, and most of her clothing reflects her obsession. Her favorite way to procrastinate is to binge watch entire seasons on Netflix. Shell was lucky enough to marry the man of her dreams ten years ago and can’t wait to see how the rest of their life together unfolds.

Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed

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.

o-infected-undertowInfected: Undertow by Andrea Speed
Series: Infected, Book Seven
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Pages: 350 • Format: eARC
Published By: DSP Publications
Purchase Links:
DSPAmazon Kobo

2nd Edition

In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds

Now Roan is locked in a coma as the struggle between his human and werecat sides reaches a new extreme. All Dylan can do is sit, wait, and think.

Meanwhile, Roan’s assistant, Holden, wants to shed his old street life and his relationship with Scott, but he can’t seem to do either. Holden doesn’t want a relationship with Scott but finds himself drawn to him all the same, even if he can never fully reveal his past.

With Roan out of commission, Holden looks into the murder of an old friend. At the same time, Fiona takes on a case about underground death matches between infecteds—one with connections to the Church of the Divine Transformation.

Finally Roan wakes only to discover that his shifts have new consequences. His lion’s strength is growing, and he can’t hide from it any longer….

1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, June 2013.

four-stars

This book put me through the emotional ringer for sure. After all of the emotional pain of book 6, I was expecting to feel melancholy. It’s not quite how I felt at the end. I think I felt resolve for myself mostly. I felt all of Roan’s pain, and it was several times while reading this that I had to stop because I was crying uncontrollably. I get it, and I feel so bad and super protective over Roan. The two mysteries were good for different reasons but my review is based on the characters that’s all at this point. Roan is tired. That’s basis of this story. I think he’s been tired for a while, maybe even before Paris. All the events and everything he had to do was the icing on the cake to me. I’m tired for Roan. I cannot imagine what he was going through, and in the book my heart went out for Dylan. I 100% believe if Dylan left Roan then Roan would commit suicide. No one can change my mind on that one. So I have book 8 left, and a few novellas but I’m not sure how I feel this close to the series ending.

I don’t know how I feel about Holden at this point. My thoughts are all over the place, because unlike many characters Holden likes being himself. I don’t know if it’s selfish or a sociopath. He has the tools to be someone better, but I don’t know if he thinks he’s worth it, and that’s what I’m getting from him. On the other hand maybe normalcy is starting out with a relationship. It seems to be the path that Scott and Holden are on. Either brings baggage to the table, and both of them seem so damn stubborn that it shouldn’t work. Maybe expectations are super low that they are willing to deal with whatever when it comes to being together.

Roan’s vigilantism seems to catch up with him. I feel like I like/dislike the justice that he doles out. He is the only of his kind that is able to help people, but in helping people Roan losing his self, not just the lion surfacing and taking over, but Roan moral compass seems to decline. I don’t necessary like who he becomes, but it’s so unfair that its an necessary evil. I honestly don’t know how much more Dylan can take. It’s a lot mentally & emotionally to be with Roan. I could never take Dylans’ love away from him, but I feel like Dylan should re-evaluate his life. Is this what he wanted? How many more hospital visits, comas, and tears can you take. How much more personal attacks, and brutalization is enough for his sanity to still be in check.

I’m going to wrap this up because this down feeling I get with writing this review further proves my point of me loving and rooting for fictional characters. I would love to see Roan walk about from MK Investigations with Dylan and move away to open space off the coast of the Pacific Ocean. I pray book 8 gives Roan his peace that he so deserves.

About Andrea Speed

Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)
In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!

Infected:Lesser Evils by Andrea Speed

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.

2nd Edition

In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.

Until recently, Roan was ahead of the curve when it came to reining in the lion that lives inside him. Now his control is slipping at the worst possible times. A new drug has hit the streets—one that triggers unscheduled changes in infected users. Street hustler Holden Krause gets attacked by one of his clients, then is surprised to find himself involved in an unwanted, unexpected relationship. And a serial killer begins targeting infecteds in their cat form—something that’s 100 percent legal.

To stop the murders, Roan has to work outside the law. But his newfound thirst for violence makes him worry he might be more like the killer than he thought, and his reluctance to talk about it with his husband, Dylan, puts an extra strain on their relationship. So Roan isn’t just fighting the killer and struggling with his mutating virus… he’s trying to save himself.

1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, October 2012.

four-half-stars

 

I wanted to Sam & Dean this book by the end of it. I wanted someone to care enough to tell Roan to stop. Jeez, no one asked him to stop and evaluate. Sure he’s going to look at you crazy but so what!  I wanted to grab Roan, and drive up to Vancouver to get away from all the madness. But I can’t because I’m guessing he’s meant to go through this situation for the end of the series.

I’m going to need serious counseling after this series. I finished the book feeling melancholy. I’m so debating if reading the last two books are worth it at this point. I am at a lost of words after reading this. I mean Roan has been dealing with the virus for so long, and for it turn it’s back on him at this point was heartbreaking. Let’s be real Roan’s being self-destructing self book 2. This is book 6, and shit got real. I feel bad for Dylan at this point, he is giving all his love to this man and doesn’t know what will set Roan off. I don’t know if I could live with someone who could take the decision to off themselves with no regards to you. I’m not even angry at Roan. I’m just sad for him. It was hard for me to read this especially with all the things he had going on. He’s basically killing his own, and no one cares, and the virus is making him the biggest target ever. I will say this though, I didn’t like Holden for Roan in this book. It pissed me off. I was angry on Dylan’s behalf and my own. I wanted Roan to relax and think. He doesn’t seem to get the impact his death would have on people. Holden is another story. We see bits and pieces of the real him, but he is sociopath and I wanted to kick his butt and make him stay clear away from Roan.

He’s been different all his life. He wants to be less different, not more, but every time he turns around he’s getting more different. I think he feels he’s getting farther and farther away from human, and yes, while that sounds like a marvelous idea, it isn’t to Roan.

This story showed once again how Humanity pisses me off. Roan is dealing with himself, and having to kill his own. On top of that someone else decides to hunt his own and the police does nothing about it. I kept waiting for someone higher to say that it was wrong. What the hell is wrong with people? Infecteds didn’t ask to be here. They are here and human, and getting hunted down like the Serengeti. This book was long, and the one thing that I can say is I don’t know if I trust Holden anymore. Yeah, he’s been great and at times he’s amazing, but I’m too damn stubborn to forgive him for his actions in this book. Every bit of the story was emotional for me. It was darker and more vicious from anything we’ve seen so far. I’m actually scared because this ended in a cliffhanger and if I think this was bad then 7 is probably going to cause me to go for fluff for a week.

About Andrea Speed

Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)
In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!

Mad Lizard Mambo (Kai Gracen #2) 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.

Mad Lizard Mambo: by Rhys Ford
Series: Kai Gracen 
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Pages: 220 • Format: eARC
Published By: DSP Publications
Purchase Links:
DSP Publications Amazon

Kai Gracen has no intention of being anyone’s pawn. A pity Fate and SoCalGov have a different opinion on the matter.

Licensed Stalkers make their living hunting down monsters and dangerous criminals… and their lives are usually brief, brutal, and thankless. Despite being elfin and cursed with a nearly immortal lifespan, Kai didn’t expect to be any different. Then Ryder, the High Lord of the Southern Rise Court, arrived in San Diego, Kai’s not-so-mundane life went from mild mayhem to full-throttle chaos.

Now an official liaison between the growing Sidhe Court and the human populace, Kai is at Ryder’s beck and call for anything a High Lord might need a Stalker to do. Unfortunately for Kai, this means chasing down a flimsy rumor about an ancient lost Court somewhere in the Nevada desert—a court with powerful magics that might save Ryder—and Kai’s—people from becoming a bloody memory in their Merged world’s violent history.

The race for the elfin people’s salvation opens unwelcome windows into Kai’s murky past, and it could also slam the door on any future he might have with his own kind and Ryder

four-stars

I think everyone knows, I’d read a pamphlet and gush about it if it was written by Rhys Ford. That’s how I feel about this story. It was good, I might have been semi-emotional at certain points, but Kai will make you do that. This book he had to deal with family big time! Whether it was the nutty bunch or the surrogate family that sculpted him into who he is today. We also got to see Kai’s feelings for Ryder progress. This was super packed with adventure. I mean from page 1 up until the very end. Loved seeing Kai in all his sassy glory, and the twisty turns that the story produced.

One reason why, I’m so enamored with Rhys writing is because she is always able to drawn that emotion out of her characters. Even in a story like this, I found myself misty eyed a time or two. We get to see Kai in all his protective glory this round. Yeah it’s nice to know that he’d go all out his way to protect Dempsey, Jonas, Dali, Sparky and now Ryder. Kai has such a vulnerability about himself, it’s my favorite attribute of his outside of his witty come backs of course.

I don’t miss the romance or the sexual aspect of the relationship. I definitely can see it heading that way, and boy when it hits Kai is going to be super snarky. It’s a slow burn on anything physical between the two. Ryder wants to own Kai. Not in the possession sense, more of showing him how great love can be. I do think Ryder has slowly but surely broke some of Kai’s defenses down, and book 3 is going to give me all the feels when this happens. I’m putting it out in the universe!

I’m not one for world building, but with this story it was all about the descriptions. I loved reading how things were to Kai. The sight, smell, the taste and all of the abstracts that goes into San Diego. I love how Kai fights for his humanity, even when humanity is a giant pile of sh** to him at times. The secondary characters were a great add-in to this adventure. I don’t feel let down at all. I wish Rhys could write a book every 3 months just so I can read her words. I liked this, but I’m not surprised. The woman is bloody talented!!! I definitely recommend this book to everyone, and get book 1 first.

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.

Lime Gelatin & Other Monsters by Angel Martinez

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.

limegelatinandothermonsters_800Lime Gelatin & Other Monsters by Angel Martinez
Series: Offbeat Crimes
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Pages: 147 • Format: eARC
Published By: Pride Publishing
Purchase Links:
PrideAmazon • Kobo

Kyle Monroe’s encounter with a strange gelatinous creature in an alley leaves him scarred and forever changed, revealing odd abilities he wishes he didn’t have and earning him reassignment to a precinct where all the cops have defective paranormal abilities.

Just as he’s starting to adjust to his fellow misfit squad mates, Kyle’s new partner arrives. Tall, physically perfect, reserved, and claiming he has no broken psychic talents, Vikash Soren irritates Kyle in every way. But as much as he’d like to hate Vikash, Kyle finds himself oddly drawn to him, their non-abilities meshing in unexpected ways. If they can learn to work together, they might be able to stop the mysterious killer who has been leaving mutilated bodies along the banks of the Schuylkill.

three-half-stars

Haha, I enjoyed this book alot. Such funny characters, instances and love the paranormal feel of the story. I was immediately drawn into the story with Kyle’s funny stories, and Vikash’s stoic attitude. This read like a black comedy movie, such parody and it packed a punch of the laugh for such a short story. Angel Martinez did a great job, and I’m looking forward to book two!

I did like Kyle and Soren together, but I kinda would have liked them to build on it. It was super fast, and I know it’s novella length but maybe if we had a longer instance of them together I would feel better. I thought it was very funny, and laughed out loud numerous times. I loved all the paranormal elements and by far by funniest moment was with “Leather Jacket”. The connection between Kyle and Soren was super cute seeing as both guys had serious trust issues. This is such a wonderful fun story and I look for more.

About Angel Martinez

The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.
Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.
She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.

Connection Error (#Gaymers #3) by Annabeth Albert

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: Connection Error by Author Annabeth Albert
Series: Gaymers #3
Release Date: Sept 05, 2016
Pages: • Format:eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links:
Carina PressAmazon

It’s typical of video game programmer Josiah Simmons to be the last one on the plane on the way to the biggest meeting of his career. Though he’s (mostly) coping with his ADHD, he can’t handle another distraction. But he also can’t ignore his rugged seatmate—especially once he learns the military man’s a fan of his game.

Ryan Orson refuses to let his severe injuries pause his career as a navy SEAL. He’s got hours of grueling physical therapy ahead of him, and no time for anything that might get in the way of his return to active duty. But that doesn’t mean he’s above a little first-class flirtation with geeky-cute Josiah.

When a delay strands the pair in St. Louis, they agree to share a hotel room and a night of gaming. Neither expects their new connection to move to the next level in the light of day. Opposites may attract, but is this game over before it’s even begun?

Book Three of the #gaymers series

This book is approximately 66,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

four-stars

I was literally like this the entire time with Ryan!!!! GAH!!!!  Annabeth, why did you do this to me? I was on an extreme high from Beta Test and you give me this ANGST FEST!!!

I get the hives with to much angst, and for some folks this might be just for them. At the end of the story, I’m still not sold on Ryan. Book three is way, way, way more angstier then the other two. They were both my kind of feel good love stories. This was a good hurt/comfort, but I can’t be happy because I feel like I don’t know where I stand with Ryan. I feel like I was in a relationship with him, and the entire time he was playing with my emotions. I’m to uncertain of him to be happy with the outcome. Do you get me? Well if not , let me break it down for you.

Josiah, sweet, ADHD brain riddled, kinky Josiah. I liked him, and in his book he read a tad bit different for me. I guess because we’re reading from his pov. It’s nice to see all his vulnerabilities and see him in a different light. I liked him alot, and I think he handled Ryan well. I think that Jos isn’t use to the type of attention or love that he wants from Ryan. I found him to be a typical 23 year old. His character was a little over the top, and I’m happy the way Annabeth went about Jos and his ADHD. He talked about his fears, his desires, and at the end of the day I think he was just trying to Adult. It’s kinda hard for him to be an adult when he’s basically coddle by his mom, but I think him gaining his freedom and standing up for himself showed such character growth.

**Groans** Ryan. I get all of his neurosis. They make sense. Ryan is an ex- navy seal who is having trouble acclimating to civilian life and the lost of his fiance. Well his fiance dumped him and moved on. Ryan frustrated me, and in my head I kept yelling at myself that he shouldn’t frustrate me. I know this, but it still got on my nerves. Apart of me gets it, he couldn’t give Jos what he needed because Ryan wasn’t in control of his own life. This is where angst heaven came into play. Every little stepping stone and progress they made together, Ryan would shut it down automatically. And yeah, for a time, it completely read like he was leading Jos on. Leading him on just so Ryan wouldn’t be lonely. It was like pulling teeth at best. At worst, I kept screaming at Ryan. “What do you want?”

This gif is extremely perfect for me, because I was Ryan Gosling screaming at my kindle. Come on!! Ryan had all the cards in his hand. Yes, your life wasn’t where you wanted it to be, or what you pictured your recovery to be like, but it wasn’t fair to Jos at all. I’m winding down now, and I liked the story, and all the pain it put me through. I need some fluffy goodness from Annabeth Albert to make up for this.

About Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.