To Arizona by Meg Harding

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.

30291736To Arizona by Meg Harding
Series:  2016 Daily Dose Delivery Package – A Walk on the Wild Side
Release Date: June 9,  2016
Pages: 46 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Link:
Dreamspinner 

Dustin Charleston has just been traded to the Arizona Hares hockey team. As an otter, he’s not too pleased by this. Arizona is dry, he’s leaving his home behind, and he has to move in with a stranger. Things take an even steeper plunge when he meets his roommate.

Chandler Kipling is the captain of the Hares, a least weasel, and he’s got a bit of a thing for his new teammate. Too bad that teammate seems to hate him. And Chandler’s romantic strategies leave something to be desired. Will Dustin be able to get the message he’s trying to send? With a little time, their nightmare might turn into a dream—if they can get past their differences.

four-half-stars

This book. I have never before wanted to fill a review full of fluffy gif’s and adorable AF images of Otters and Least Weasels because they really were adorable AF! I can’t get over this book and I don’t want to because simply thinking about it makes me smile and brings the happiest of tears to my eyes.

Sigh.

Short story, short(ish?) review.

Dustin is an otter shifter who has just been traded to a new hockey team in Arizona. For an otter, that is not really a good thing since they love the water. But Dustin will do what he has to so he can play the sport he loves, even when that comes at the cost of his living space. You see, Dustin needs a place to crash until he can get his stuff from Michigan and he opts to room with one of his teammates. When said teammate picks him up at the airport, I lost my cool. OMG! Chandler… how can someone be so damn swoony and hot in his human form and then turn me to a big puddle of good in is weasel form?? Ack. I can’t take it.

Seriously. This book is fun and it’s beyond adorable. I loved the team and all the shifters that are on it. I am not a big hockey fan but I would sit through a game just to have Marc shift and crawl into my lap when it was all done. I just want to be a fly on the wall at Chandler’s place and watch the pool party happen because it was amazing to read. I loved it. The only fault, if you call it one, with this book is the length because I want more. I want more of Chris and Dustin doing their otter things. I want more of Chandler being alpha with Dustin and them playing on the ice in any form. I just want more and I want to go hug my Nook because this story, these boy need to be hugged by a silly ginger who can’t get enough.

So, wait. Did I say anything about the story? Um, it’s hockey players who shift, who seem to irritate the hell out one another on the ice… um,  The Cutting Edge has taught us, that’s all just foreplay *toe pick!*… but at the end, these two are super swoony, super freaking adorable, super fluffy and this story made me beyond happy!
Yeah.

I liked this.

A lot.

About Meg Harding

Meg Harding is a graduate student, currently studying MA Publishing in the UK. She plans to continue on to become an editor, all while continuing to write. When she isn’t writing she enjoys the theatre, concerts, and lazing about in front of the TV.

Out in the Field by Kate McMurray

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.

OutInTheFieldLGOut in the Field by Kate McMurray
Release Date: May 16, 2016
Pages: 216 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner • Amazon • ARe

2nd Edition

Matt Blanco is a legend on the Brooklyn Eagles, but time and injuries have taken their toll. With his career nearing its end, he’s almost made it to retirement without anyone learning his biggest secret: he’s gay in a profession not particularly known for its tolerance.

Iggy Rodriquez is the hot new rookie in town, landing a position in the starting lineup of the team of his dreams and playing alongside his idol, Matt Blanco. Iggy doesn’t think it can get any better, until an unexpected encounter in the locker room with Matt proves him wrong.

A relationship—and everything it could reveal—has never been in the cards for Matt, but Iggy has him rethinking his priorities. They fall hard for each other, struggling to make it through trades, endorsement deals, and the threat of retirement. Ultimately they will be faced with a choice: love or baseball?

First Edition published by Loose Id LLC, 2012.

four-half-stars

Okay. I am so lost with this book. I can tell you that right now as my fingers fly over my laptop keyboard I have tears streaming down my face. That was one of the best endings I have read lately and I honestly was not ready for the story to be over.

So this turned out better than I expected. Early on in the story I was beginning to get irritated at the inference of the romance with Matt’s age. We know he is older than Iggy but I didn’t need a constant reminder, even during sexy times. Let me just say; 39 is not as old as the book leads you to believe, *looks at birth certificate with 1977 on it * just saying. Though I struggled with the nagging of acknowledged years between the MC’s and almost gave up on the book, I am so very glad I stuck with it.

I will try to keep this short as my current emotions will totally lead to rambling.

I loved that Iggy idolized Matt as a baseball player and got to meet him. I loved that Iggy was able to separate first baseman Matt Blanco from the Matt he was getting to know and falling for. I love that Iggy was at times the voice of maturity in the relationship and pushed for what he wanted and knew Matt wanted too.

Matt was beyond remarkable. The fact that he kept his sexuality hidden for so long yet finally found the one person he could be himself with, the one person who could and would get where he was coming from at every angle was gorgeous. Watching Matt accept that he was falling for Iggy was a pure joy to witness. Watching Matt decide on where his career would go just about broke this ginger.

I hate this… At the end of the day, I just want to be honest. I think a little part of me dies every time I have to lie like that. But I just don’t see any other way.

Goodness. I hate that this book was a portrait of realism for gay athletes. Though the times are slowly changing, it can still be a threat to ones career to come out. We’ve seen it happen but it makes me angry and at times my personal anger over the injustice blacked out the romance between Iggy and Matt. For me, I will never understand what your sexuality has to do with your ability to do your job, whatever you job is.  I hate that this reality for men like Matt exists and they have to struggle with staying in the college or risk losing what they love to do or play. I hate that finding love and wanting to be open in public with that person, even to hold hands, is denied out of again fear that rebuttal from your employer could lead to dismissal. It just plain sucks and hurts my heart deeply. Everyone should be able to love who they choose… period.

*hops off micro soapbox*

So yeah, there is that but even though that is a major part of the book, this was still so good. I hated it when the men were forced to be apart but Matt’s new ritual with the card and the moment on third base was worth it. I hated that Matt was forced to make a decision but loved that Iggy was the deciding factor. I adored the teammates on the Eagles from the first to last page. I loved Iggy’s mom and Matt’s parents. I really liked that the focus moved from simply Matt’s age to the fact that he is at the end of his career as a ball player and Iggy is just starting out. The contrast of their career stages was perfectly done as the storyline progressed and it made me a happy reader. Man, I just loved the holy hell out of this book.

Out in the Field… this book was amazing. It truly was an epic romance that begins on the bejeweled diamond field of the Brooklyn Eagles as two men on opposite ends of their baseball careers meet, fall in love and finally do what is right in their hearts to be together.

About Kate McMurray

Kate McMurray has been writing stories since she could hold a pen. She picked up her first romance novel when she was thirteen and has loved the genre ever since. She started writing gay romance after reading a book and thinking there should be more love stories with gay characters. Her first published novel, In Hot Pursuit, came out in February 2010, and she’s been writing feverishly ever since. She likes stories that are brainy, funny, and of course sexy, with regular guy characters and urban sensibilities.

When she’s not writing, Kate works a nonfiction editor. She also reads a lot, plays the violin, knits and crochets, and drools over expensive handbags. She’s maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with a pesky cat.

She is currently serving as president of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter of Romance Writers of America. She’s also active in RWA NYC, the local New York City RWA chapter.

Blog Tour – Power Play by Avon Gale

 

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Oh My Shelves welcomes author Avon Gale to the blog in celebration of her latest release in the Scoring Chances Series, Power Play – out today from Dreamspinner Press – and share a special recipe from Misha. 

(The basics of this recipe are found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuP6Ca5islU.)

The first time I made dinner for Max, I made him pirozhki. It is a recipe I have been making for a long time, but because I have lived in the States for almost twenty years and am a vegetarian, it is not the traditional recipe I remember my mother making. I have altered it a bit over the years that I have lived here.

First, you make the pirozhki dough, and set it aside to rise.

While it is rising, you make the filling. Traditionally this can include meat, but I make mine with mushrooms. Instead of potatoes, I make mine with wild rice. I cook the rice, sauté the mushrooms and the onions with salt and pepper, and then add the sautéed vegetables to the rice.

When the dough is risen, you flatten it on a floured surface. Do not forget this part or it will be very sticky. Max one time tried to make this for me for my birthday. It ended up with him covered in flour, a sticky mess of dough and Thai takeout. And other things, but that is not part of the recipe.

Roll the dough into balls, and then flatten them once more. In the center, place a tsp. of the rice/mushroom/onion filling and pinch around the sides to the top to close it. Grease your baking pan and put the pirozhki upside-down in the pan, then cover them with an egg wash. Bake them at 350F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown, then cool for five minutes before you eat them.

~Excerpt~ 

“I’d never watched this, you know.”

“The YouTube video?” Misha had seen that too. It was filed with angry commenters yelling that he should be deported back to Russia.

“The hit.”

Misha blinked. “You’ve seen the commercial, though. Yes?”RC

“Yeah, I wish I could say I haven’t seen that. But I meant, I didn’t watch this until a few months ago. They played that game on the NHL channel, so I watched it.”

It never occurred to Misha that Max wouldn’t have seen it, but then he remembered that Max was the hero, not the villain of the story. Misha watched the hit play out on the screen. What must that feel like, to watch the moment it all ended? When Max hit the ice, did he know that game was his last? Did Misha know it was his? How had he felt? He couldn’t remember.

The scene switched to the replay. Misha watched dispassionately, retreated into the blinding pain of his migraine, and told himself that it was all right to suffer, that he should, that he deserved it.

Max paused the video. “Look. See what I have there?”

Misha blinked. He had not expected questions. “I—what?”

“The puck, Misha. The puck. Your hit wasn’t late.”

Oh. “Yes. I know.”

Max stared at him. On the television screen, their younger selves were suspended at the moment everything changed.

 

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PowerPlayLGPower Play by Avon Gale
Series: Scoring Chances, Book Three
Release Date: May 9, 2016
Pages: 200 • Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe B&N • iBooks

A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time, behind the bench as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.

After spending years guilt-ridden for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.

Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget, but also a sleazy GM who is determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets a player, Misha revisits his darkest days, and that might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.


Tour Dates & Stops:

9-May:

My Fiction Nook, Open Skye Book Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings,

Oh My Shelves 

10-May:

Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Joyfully Jay, Jessie G. Books, Rednecks and Romance,

Anna Butler Fiction

11-May:

MM Good Book Reviews, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Posy Roberts, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

12-May:

BadgeLove Bytes, The Novel Approach, Unquietly Me, Happily Ever Chapter

13-May:

BFD Book Blog, The Hat Party, MM Book Escape

16-May:

Havan Fellows, Divine Magazine, Outrageous Heroes, Prism Book Alliance, Boys on the Brink Reviews

17-May:

3 Chicks After Dark, Full Moon Dreaming, Butterfly-O-Meter

18-May:

Foxylutely Book Reviews, Three Books Over The Rainbow, V’s Reads

19-May:

Book Lovers 4Ever, Charley Descoteaux, Mikky’s World of Books, Carly’s Book Reviews

20-May:

Making It Happen, Kirsty Loves Books, Bayou Book Junkie

21-May:

A.M. Leibowitz, Alpha Book Club, Molly Lolly, Man2ManTastic

 

Final

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Avon Gale

Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Every Day I Fight by Stuart Scott & Larry Platt

Every Day I Fight by Stuart Scott & Larry Platton 2015-03-10
Pages: 320
AmazonB&NNarrator: Adam Lazarre-White, Cassandra Campbell
“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer.  You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.” – Stuart Scott The fearless, intimate, and inspiring story behind ESPN anchor Stuart Scott’s unrelenting fight against cancer, with a foreword by Robin Roberts. Shortly before he passed away, on January 4, 2015, Stuart Scott completed work on this memoir. It was both a labor of love and a love letter to life itself. Not only did Stuart relate his personal story—his childhood in North Carolina, his supportive family, his athletic escapades, his on-the-job training as a fledgling sportscaster, his being hired and eventual triumphs at ESPN—he shared his intimate struggles to keep his story going. Struck by appendiceal cancer in 2007, Stuart battled this rare disease with an unimaginable tenacity and vigor. Countless surgeries, enervating chemotherapies, endless shuttling from home to hospital to office and back—Stuart continued defying fate, pushing himself through exercises and workout routines that kept him strong. He wanted to be there for his teenage daughters, Sydni and Taelor, not simply as their dad, but as an immutable example of determination and courage. Every Day I Fight is a saga of love, an inspiration to us all.From the Hardcover edition.
five-stars

 photo Stuart Scott at ESPN_zpsyyndgigu.jpg

Stuart said “This is what Cancer does. It makes everything profound. It makes everything urgent.”

I just finished this book and I feel inspired. I have lost family members to cancer and I hate cancer for the insidious disease it is. But listening to this audiobook, I felt hope and courage. Stuart Scott said “You beat Cancer by continuing to live, by refusing to be just a cancer patient.” And he did his best to live despite having this disease that ravaged his body.

To hear his life told from his own words was so thought-provoking and motivating. He said about cancer “it can kill you and make you stronger, all at the same time.” What an intense, yet poignant outlook on the sickness that did eventually take Stuart’s life. The narrator Adam Lazarre-White was amazing.
From the beginning, through his voice I heard Stuart Scott and forgot it was another person narrating. He had all the same general easy going tone and even excitement that drew audiences from every facet of the sports universe. It is a thing of beauty when the narrator doesn’t displace the narrative, but instead, immerses the listener into the words on the page.

It felt like hearing Stuart in my ears, directly from his own mouth. This is one of the most reflective audiobooks that I have ever listened to. I heard the author’s love of his life, his family and his job. If there is one thing I saw on ESPN, it was that Stuart enjoyed relating the daily goings-on in sports. This was a man who brought his all and made it entertaining and relatable to me.
This book also gave me a different insight into the life of a person trying to live despite cancer. It was eye opening that hearing what I considered words of support such as “you are going to beat this” or “you are stronger than this disease” may not be what the cancer patient may want to hear. It also made me cognizant that “the cancer” not be the subject discussed all the time since they already live it every minute of every day.
This memoir also serves a love note to his fans but most of all, to his loved ones to tell everyone how much he enjoyed his life and loved his family. It also imparts to the reader that Stuart recognized the trust sports fans all over placed in him. This narrator delivered this story with confidence and it was amazing that Stuart was devoid of self-pity. That’s not say Stuart didn’t express misery at times, but he continued in spite of his despair. That is what I take away from this memoir. As Stuart said:

“Cancer can kill you. But it can also make the man you always wanted to be.”

I take that quote to mean that I should make every minute count. So I will hug my family and tell them what they mean to me by words and deeds daily. When I don’t feel like working out or eating properly, I will remind myself, that Stuart Scott went to work out for 45 minutes after each chemotherapy treatment. When I don’t feel like doing my job because I don’t feel like it, I will remember the effort it took for Stuart to pull himself together to accept the Jimmy V award at the 2014 ESPY. He embraced each opportunity he could in his 49 years of life; I will seek to do the same.

*Special Thanks to PENGUIN GROUP Blue Rider Press via Netgalley

 photo Stuart Scott_zpsdxglquck.jpg

The River Leith by Leta Blake

The River Leith  by Leta Blakeon May 15th 2014
Pages: 173
Amazon • (Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Memory is everything.

After an injury in the ring, amateur boxer Leith Wenz wakes to discover his most recent memories are three years out of date. Unmoored and struggling to face his new reality, Leith must cope anew with painful revelations about his family. His brother is there to support him, but it’s the unfamiliar face of Zach, a man introduced as his best friend, that provides the calm he craves. Until Zach’s presence begins to stir up feelings Leith can’t explain.

For Zach, being forgotten by his lover is excruciating. He carefully hides the truth from Leith to protect them both from additional pain. His bottled-up turmoil finds release through vlogging, where he confesses his fears and grief to the faceless Internet. But after Leith begins to open up to him, Zach's choices may come back to haunt him.

Ultimately, Leith must ask his heart the questions memory can no longer answer.
five-stars

Wow. I loved this one. It had controversial things that made it so dramatic, emotional and so engagin. Great book!

Leith Weinz is a boxer who sustained brain trauma after an illegal hit to the back of his head during a boxing match. He woke up from a coma with partial amnesia, he can’t remember the last 3 years.
Zachariah Stevens is part of The 3 yrs Leith can’t remember. What do you do when the person who means the world to you doesn’t have a clue who you are?

This book was angsty because it hinged on the unknown. Leith doesn’t know Zach. Leith doesn’t know if and when he’ll get his memory back. Leith doesn’t know if he’ll ever box again. Zach doesn’t know if he’ll get the love of his life back. Zach doesn’t now how he can live without his partner. The doctors don’t know if Leith’s memory will return.

The uncertainty was making everyone anxious, irritable, scared and emotional. I felt like I was on eggshells too, waiting for the lightbulb to come on. What an emotional journey. I felt for Zach, Marian, Ava and Arthur. How much do you tell Leith or do you wait for it come back? What would I do if my loved one saw me as a stranger? It’s amazing at how the body retains certain memory even when the cognitive mind doesn’t. I appreciate this author tackling a difficult subject with sensitivity yet conveying the sense of helplessness the characters felt. I could see everyone’s POV and I just had to walk with them with hope and patience.

I wish I could hug everyone in this book.

Special Thanks to Romance Beckons via Netgalley for review copy.

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.