Thursday, September 29, 2016

A picture is worth...

We still have a moment for the boys of summer, don't we? Tell us in a drabble or a ficlet, 100 to 1000 words. Directions here. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lifeguard Love by Devyn Morgan

Title: Lifeguard Love
Author: Devyn Morgan
Purchase at Amazon
Cover Artist: U/K
Genre: contemporary
Length: 117 pages
Formats MOBI

When up-and-coming social media star Kip Weiss lands a summer lifeguard job at an exclusive resort, there are strings attached. The sweet bonus privileges require a roommate, and after a year in the random dorms, Kip wants to pick who shares the tight quarters. He invites his best friend, the only kid at school who didn’t look down on him for being poor. When Thad arrives, he can’t stop looking at his friend’s new beefy physique. But Kip can’t be into guys, that would ruin his hard-built social media brand, wouldn’t it?

Thad Rowland needs a break. After an academically stressful year at school, his father lines up a boring internship to fill his summer. His true passion is art, not accounting. When his best friend Kip invites him to apply at the resort he jumps at the chance to get away from it all and wear his lifeguard whistle again. But can he live in such close proximity to his celebrity-gorgeous best friend, and keep his true feelings to himself?

Far away from everything else, the hunky college guys are in an oasis of suntan lotion, their own private apartment, and an entire summer stretching before them. Will their new feelings tear them apart as well as ruin their careers and family ties? Or is the summer heat just the beginning of a scorching hot future?

After getting a little taste of this story to go with that Thousand Word Thursday story, I wanted to read the rest.

Both young men are working on discovering who they are and what they want from life, not just each other. Thad more to work on, between being open about his sexuality and needing to go against his father, who has his life mapped out in a direction Thad doesn’t want to go. His sexuality is almost the smallest problem. He’s been taking his frustrations out in the gym, getting all buff and attractive. Kip’s surprised at the intensity of his attraction to Thad and his new muscles. Kip seems shallow at first, but he’s quite driven, and he’s really there for Thad by the end of the story.

For all that this had some important themes going, the treatment is lighthearted, and the challenges met with medium-low angst. The guys are too busy discovering the joys of each other and worrying about how they look on Instagram. Well, they look great.

The resort setting is mostly background for social media: we see the guys being buff in swim trunks but not actually rescuing anyone. Seemed like a lost opportunity: they exist in a vacuum at the resort, and only when family gets involved do they interact beyond each other and an internet audience. They do have a lot to explore with each other, given how little experience they have.

Still, it was fun, and sweet, and left me with a smile. Kind of like eating the icing off the top of the cupcake. 3.5 marbles

Monday, September 19, 2016

Vespers by Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt, Guest review

Title: Vespers (Hours of the Night)
Authors: Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt
Cover artist:Kanaxa
Buy at Amazon
Buy at All Romance eBooks
Genre: paranormal
Length: 90,000 words novel

Thaddeus Dupont has had over eighty years to forget…

The vampire spends his nights chanting the Liturgy of the Hours and ruthlessly disciplines those unnatural urges he's vowed never again to indulge. He is at the command of the White Monks, who summon him at will to destroy demons. In return, the monks provide for his sustenance and promise the return of his immortal soul.

Sarasija Mishra's most compelling job qualification might be his type O blood…

The 22-year-old college grad just moved across the country to work for some recluse he can't even find on the internet. Sounds sketchy, but the salary is awesome and he can't afford to be picky. On arrival he discovers a few details his contract neglected to mention, like the alligator-infested swamp, the demon attacks, and the nature of his employer's "special diet". A smart guy would leave, but after one look into Dupont's mesmerizing eyes, Sarasija can't seem to walk away. Too bad his boss expected "Sara" to be a girl.

Falling in love is hard at any age…

The vampire can't fight his hungers forever, especially since Sara's brought him light, laughter and a very masculine heat. After yielding to temptation, Thaddeus must make a choice. Killing demons may save his soul, but keeping the faith will cost him his heart.

Vespers is a complete novel with no cliffhanger. It can be enjoyed as a standalone or read as the first book in the Hours of the Night series.


A Guest Review from Patricia Nelson

I went into this story expecting a good vampire tale. This fantastic start to a new series was so far above and beyond that. Nothing is as it seems, the good guys just may be the bad guys, and demons galore threaten everything. I can't wait to sink my teeth into the next one in line. If you're looking for sparkling vampires and sweet fluff, then this complex and compelling book is not for you.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fool's Gold by Sarah Madison

Title: Fool’s Gold
Author: Sarah Madison
Purchase or red on KU at Amazon 
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Genre: contemporary, horses
Length: 238 pages
Formats Mobi, print

Eight years ago, Jake Stanford had it all: a spot on the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team and the love of his life, Rich Evans. A tragic accident wipes out everything in the blink of an eye. Hard work and sacrifice get him another shot at Olympic Gold, but only if he puts his past behind him and agrees to work with Rich again.

Bound by secrets he cannot share, Rich was forced to give up Jake eight years ago. Now he has a second chance to help Jake realize his dreams. But the secrets that drove them apart haven’t changed, and Rich must face them or risk losing Jake forever.

I had read the original, shorter version of this story in the anthology where it originally appeared, and like it a lot. I’m just as pleased to read the expanded version.

This time around there’s more explanation of the sport Jake and Rich are involved with: three day eventing. This mad conglomeration of skills taxes the horses and riders to the utmost, requiring they be good at everything a horse can do short of racing on the flat. Those who pursue it all the way to the top need money.

Jake’s father has a lot of it, enough to indulge every possible horse related whim his son has, short of letting him date a fellow rider. When Rich gets smashed up in an accident that also kills some of their best horses, Donald is right there to make sure things go as he wishes. Too bad about what his son might want.

This is a story of second chances, so when Rich and Jake come together eight years later, with Rich as trainer, they have plenty to get over. Not only do they have to polish Jake and his horses to an Olympic gold glow, they have to work out the events of the past. This unwrapped plenty of secrets, mostly painful. Both of them have to examine their decisions at the time and the things they would rather not think about now.

We get some scenes from the father’s point of view, which gave another person’s journey to this story. I would like to say Donald’s evolution and eventual repair of his relationship with his son made my heart go pittypat, but Donald at the beginning of the story and Donald at the end seemed like two different people. Anyone as morally bankrupt as beginning Donald doesn’t have a heart to warm up, he’s got a cold, dark cinder. The author substituted an actual human, capable of change, into the later part of the story. Rich calling bullshit on Donald was a high point. Cause wow did he need someone to call bullshit on him.

Rich and Jake have a lot to work out, some because of the wreck and the damage to Rich’s body, and much because of the trust issues. Also, Jake needs a good hard thwack with the reality stick, because he knows his father, he knows Rich, and he never puts these two thoughts together. Not even after eight years, until his nose gets rubbed in it. I wanted to scream at him to THINK!

But suspending the disbelief on these two issues leaves a good read. The horse scenes are vivid, the bond between horse and rider is beautiful, and the riding scenes were definitely written by someone who knows what it’s like to soar over the obstacles. Watching Jake and Rich come back together is sweet, if occasionally difficult. Rich doesn’t shy away from body issues, when Jake was spared and left perfect, and they have to deal with the contrast. There is growth and forgiveness.

The writing is beautiful, the emotions deep, and the settings so real you can feel the reins in your hand. The story leaves off before the Olympics start, but just getting there was their goal all along, and the competition almost another story by itself. Which I would read! 4.25

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A picture is worth...

This hottie's making temperatures rise with firewood and more. Want to tell us about it in 100-1000 words? Directions here. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Optical Illusion by Emma Jaye

Title:Optical Illusion
Author: Emma Jaye
Purchase or read on KU at Amazon
Cover Artist: unknown
Length: 350 pages
Formats: Mobi

Smile, wiggle, lie, apologise, and run for the hills.

That's the formula Chris has used all his life, but this time, he has something he’s never had to lose before, a family that cares. The problem is, his new brother’s very edible friend isn’t fooled by his act. If his secrets are revealed, they won’t want him and he has nowhere else to go.

Thanks to a suicide bomber, ex-military police sergeant Jase Rosewood is back in the English countryside. His plans for quiet recuperation are ruined by the effervescent, go-go dancing twink who has everyone wrapped around his little finger. Luckily for the gullible Matt, Jase can smell a liar a mile away, and Chris Bacon, if that’s even his name, stinks to high heaven. Assigned ‘Chris-sitting’ duty while Matt's on honeymoon, Jase has a week to discover what is hidden beneath the bright camouflage. It's a job, just like any other, so why does it feel so different?

Unfortunately, Jase isn’t the only one drawn to the boy who can’t stay still, but instead of wanting to reveal his true colours; they want to dull them forever.

Contains issues of physical abuse, but not between the central couple.


Guest review from Patricia Nelson

This compelling book has got to be one of the most complex, heart rending, heartbraking, hopeful, hilarious, make-me-want-to-open--a-can-of-whupass-on-someone, make me cry like a baby, emotional stories that I have ever read! I was a little disappointed by the cliffhanger ending, but the next one is well worth waiting for!!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Counterbalance by Aidan Wayne

Title: Counterbalance
Author: Aidan Wayne
Purchase at Amazon
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Genre: contemporary, multicultural
Length: 21,500 (novella)
Formats Mobi, Epub, PDF

John loves his job as head rigger for Cirque Brilliance. The heavy scarring over half his face makes it a little hard to meet new people, but John's got a good crew and a nice found family, and he’s content with his lot in life.

When Cirque hires talent for a new show, John meets Bao, a bright, ever-cheerful acrobat. Bao seems drawn to John and becomes a constant presence at his side — talking to him during downtime, spending time with him at lunch, and generally seeking out his company.

John doesn't know what to make of this. Sure, he likes Bao — maybe a little too much, honestly — but he’s had enough experience to know that Bao couldn’t possibly like him back. Or so he thinks, anyway. Fortunately, Bao seems determined to prove him wrong.

I was immediately fascinated by the setting, which has heavy overtones of the famous outfit from Montreal with the amazing acrobats and no animals. John, the head rigger, is responsible for the equipment and safety of the performers using it. The scarring on his face and upper body keep him hesitant to form a relationship, but he hasn’t yet met Bao.

Bao is adorable, both physically and in his personality. He lives his life in exclamation points and italics, and he’s so thrilled with everything from new foods to the chance for a kiss that John’s not sure how much of it is meant for him.

Quite a lot. Maybe all of it. But John’s slow acceptance that Bao really, really means what he’s saying, and that it isn’t politeness or an act, or a misinterpretation, gives us a chance to watch his heart relax. Because the poor guy—he’s scarred for a reason that makes Bao’s heart hurt, and mine too. He doesn’t trust easily or often, but Bao’s determined to make John understand. (See, now he’s got me doing it.) His reason for being attracted to John in the first place was beautiful.

Watching the two of them work out the cultural issues, the trust issues, and a matter that John holds himself responsible for is lovely. One interesting smack between the eyes for John reminds us all that Bao is an adult, though he approaches life with the glee of a child.

The heat level is low because of all they have to work out, but this is a very sweet story. I enjoyed it immensely even if Bao kind of wore me out with his high intensity and lack of contractions, and I would love to see his performance. 4.5 marbles

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Evan's Luck by Jennah Scott and H. Sterling

Title: Evan’s Luck
Authors: Jennah Scott & H. Sterling
Purchase at Amazon 
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Robin Ludwig Design
Genre: contemporary, cowboys
Length: 37,000 words, novella
Formats Mobi, Epub, PDF

Spencer Quinn has an image to uphold. His family name means more than anything. It’s the reason the reason they've become the most successful stock contractor on the rodeo circuit. Fresh out of school, he’s ready to take over the family business. It’s no secret he’s attracted to men, and so far that hasn’t been a problem.

Until Evan.

The assertive friend who knows how to push every one of his buttons.

Evan Taylor is known for his love ‘em and leave ‘em style, yet the last few months have left him deflated and lonely. His father's shadow wasn't where he wanted to end up, but he's having trouble finding happiness. Maybe because women can't keep his attention. He’s losing hope of settling down until a blast from the past saunters by, his heart catches and tingles spread over his skin.

Of all people, Spencer. The one person who would never give Evan a second glance. It’s just his luck.
The old saying, “Bad luck is better than none at all” fits Evan perfectly. Or does it? Is his bad luck about to change? Will Spencer Quinn be a good luck charm instead?

I had a really hard time writing the review for this one, because there were things I liked, and a couple of things that made me mad.

The writing was competent, and the plot mostly coherent. I liked Spencer, who had some support from his family and was tough enough to make it in a business world not inclined to like him. Evan was okay, flailing around with this new attraction to a man, and trying so hard to get Spencer to take him seriously as a romantic possibility, even though it came totally out of the blue.

In short, there were things here I should like, and yet… I could not warm up to this story, even after reading it and thinking about it for several weeks. It's an okay story. Should have been a 3.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Thousand Word Thursday snippet and giveaway from Bryn Stein

Welcome to my blog tour for Waiting for Patrick. I’m offering giveaways of one signed copy, one electronic copy, and a choice of one title from my backlist. Comment below and at any of my other blog stops (posted below) to be entered to win. One comment, one entry. Dreamspinner is offering my other paranormal titles (HauntedLifelineand  What No One Else Can Hear ) for $0.99 during “Weekend Reads” on September 2, 3, and 4, in honor of Waiting for Patrick being my ninth published book. Waiting for Patrick will be available at a discounted price throughout the tour (September 1 through 15). Winners of the raffle will be announced on September 16th.

An Excerpt from Waiting for Patrick

I do up the last button on my Union blue jacket and don my kepi, staring at my enlisting indentures lying on the bed. I’m as warm a patriot as anyone else, but I didn’t want to fight. Patrick has a point, though. The South recently instituted the draft in April, and there’s talk that the North will do the same before too long. There has already been news that the conscripts down south aren’t treated kindly even by their own side. Soldiers who volunteered from the beginning have been fighting for over a year, then along comes these men who have been able to stay home until now and had to be made to fight. They don’t think too kindly of them.

Patrick says if we’re going to have to fight anyway, we should probably enlist before we’re drafted. The soldiers who have been in it from the beginning still won’t like that we’ve been potentially taking their jobs and wooing their girls for the last year, but at least we’re volunteering now. Patrick says he and I each have a good excuse for staying home for a year. His pa had died two months prior to the war starting, and Patrick was needed at home. My older brother, Samuel, had already joined the fight, leaving Ma with my five little brothers and sisters. I was the man of the house. But now, Martin, who is still only fourteen, has been given a job. He can take care of Ma and the young’uns now, so Patrick and I are off to war.

Ma comes in to see me in my uniform. She’s crying as we look in the mirror. She hugs me from the side because she couldn’t see over me otherwise. She’s a handsome woman, but only a little thing, five foot to my six foot two. I have Pa’s blond hair and blue eyes, but my dimples are all Ma’s. She tries to smile now, but she’s having a hard time. I know she’s proud of me, as she was of Samuel, but she’s scared. It’s been a year and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of him. We don’t even know if he’s still alive. She won’t hear from me often either. It’s not like mail gets through the fighting nohow.

“Ben.” She squeezes me tightly when she says it. “You take care of yourself.”

“I will, Ma. And Patrick too.” I smile when she does. It has always been me and Patrick. Patrick and me. You never see one without the other, ever since we met when we were four years old.

“Well.” She reaches up to straighten my hat as she says, “You tell Patrick Chandler that he best take care of you right back, and I’ll have his hide if he doesn’t bring you back to me.”

“We’ll both be okay, Ma,” I reassure her and enfold her in a giant hug. “I’m of Myers stock. We’re sturdy. You always said that. I’ll be fine.”

She straightens to her full height and puts on her best no-nonsense face. “Well, of course you will. Why wouldn’t you be? You’ll both be home before you know it, draggin’ that good-for-nothing brother of yours with you. Why, I bet you’ll all be home for Christmas.”

That’s only a couple of months away, so I don’t think that will be true, but I realize what she’s doing. She always tries to be so strong. I let her.

“You bet, Ma.”


Architect Elliot Graham has bought and restored dozens of historic homes to their original splendor. As in his personal life, he loves them and leaves them, selling them off without looking back. But there’s something about the old plantation house he finds in South Carolina—a connection he can’t explain. He feels as though he recognizes the house, as if within its crumbling walls he might find something he doesn’t even realize he’s lost.

Ben Myers had promised his lover and soul mate, Patrick, that he would wait for his return. Ben has kept his word ever since Patrick left him to wait at the plantation house—during the Civil War. For the first time in many long years, Ben is no longer alone, and he reaches out to Elliot in dreams. Elliot tries to convince Ben that Patrick isn’t coming back, but Ben’s devotion is about to change not only his lonely existence, but Elliot’s life as well.

Buy at Dreamspinner Press

About the Author
Brynn has always loved to write about strong male characters and their close friendships. When she found the world of m/m fiction, she fell in love. Finally, a way to bring those strong male characters together and let those emotional connections spill over into deeper relationships. Sometimes her characters go through the emotional wringer, but they always have each other.

Brynn lives in Virginia near her two grown daughters who support her writing and sometimes act as proof readers. Both of her daughters are also aspiring writers and hopefully it'll just be a matter of time before they have their own author's biography.

Brynn was a teacher by profession for thirty years. She worked in special education with children with emotional disabilities. She has recently changed careers and is now working as a mental health counselor to this same population and their families. When she is not working or writing, she loves to draw and paint. She also gets outside as often as she can, reads anything that doesn't move out of the way, and is always looking for her next story.

Contact Brynn:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Kind of Honesty by Lane Hayes cover reveal

A Kind of Honesty Reveal Banner

Title: A Kind of Honesty
Series: A Kind of Story, #3
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 7, 2016
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 85K
Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Rock star, NYC, humor

Come on in and see!