Review: We Met in Dreams by Rowan McAllister

In Victorian London, during a prolonged and pernicious fog, fantasy and reality are about to collide—at least in one man’s troubled mind.

A childhood fever left Arthur Middleton, Viscount Campden, seeing and hearing things no one else does, afraid of the world outside, and unable to function as a true peer of the realm. To protect him from himself—and to protect others from him—he spends his days heavily medicated and locked in his rooms, and his nights in darkness and solitude, tormented by visions, until a stranger appears.

This apparition is different. Fox says he’s a thief and not an entirely good sort of man, yet he returns night after night to ease Arthur’s loneliness without asking for anything in return. Fox might be the key that sets Arthur free, or he might deliver the final blow to Arthur’s tenuous grasp on sanity. Either way, real or imaginary, Arthur needs him too much to care.

Fox is only one of the many secrets and specters haunting Campden House, and Arthur will have to face them all in order to live the life of his dreams.


Suffering from hallucinations since childhood, Arthur Middleton, Viscount Campden, has lived locked up in his rooms for a decade. It’s for his safety, so he doesn’t mind too much. That is until the latest apparition to visit him turns out to be a fascinating character.

The man introduces himself as Fox and insists that he’s a real man. Arthur doesn’t believe him, but every visit from Fox makes his yearning for a life beyond his rooms, and for Fox, grow.

This is my first read by Rowan McAllister, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I got was a wonderfully written book. The prose was evocative without becoming purple, and sucked me right into the story.

It would be hard not to feel for Arthur. His life is a cycle of laudanum, sleeping, reading, self-loathing, and hallucinations. But what’s also obvious from the beginning is Arthur’s resilience. He refuses to let his illness beat him.

description

Arthur and Fox’s first meeting was a mix of cute and funny. Fox is a gentleman thief, imitating Robin Hood. The book is told from Arthur’s POV, so readers’ only see Fox through Arthur’s eyes. Even so, it’s clear from the beginning that Fox sees Arthur as an equal, not an invalid.

The two are attracted to each other from their first meeting, but it takes them a long time to act on it. They become friends before they become lovers. Fox sneaks into Arthur’s room a few nights a week, and the two spend their time talking, and playing the piano and chess.

I couldn’t help but grin each time Fox showed up in Arthur’s room. Arthur would be filled with so much joy, and Fox clearly couldn’t keep himself away. Fox became Arthur’s personal cheerleader.

description

Once the two finally give in to the attraction between them, they don’t hold back from each other, either physically or emotionally.

The big stumbling block in the relationship is, of course, Arthur’s illness. Frankly, I didn’t get a clear understanding of exactly what caused Arthur’s periodic hallucinations or how they were cured. There’s an odd paranormal angle too.

The characters in the book didn’t understand either, which made sense given the book is set in the mid-1800s. So I wasn’t as bothered by the ambiguity as I might have been.

However, I thought too much happened in the last 20%. Considering everything that Arthur and Fox had already gone through, it was overkill to put them through even more. The story could have worked just as well without the extra drama at the end.

But that didn’t detract from how much I enjoyed this book. Arthur does get better, and he and Fox do finally get their happy ever after. It’s a HEA that takes into account that they’re two gay men in Victorian England, but it’s a happy ending nonetheless.

If you’re looking for a historical MM with a fair bit of angst but an incredibly sweet romance, I’d recommend ‘We Met in Dreams’!



Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Time by Eden Darry


Celebrate with Eden Darry and IndiGo Marketing on the Time Blog Tour! Darry shares an excerpt and an exclusive look at her writing playlist! And a chance to win your choice of eBook from NineStar Press! Good luck!

Title:  Time:
Author: Eden Darry
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: February 27
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Female/Female
Length: 56800
Genre: Romance, NineStar Press, LGBT, lesbian, romance, addiction, drug use, celebrities, coming out, reunited, farming, prison

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Shannon is a young talented movie star celebrating the release of her new blockbuster. Jay is struggling to rebuild her life and hiding a dark secret. They meet and spend two nights together, forging a connection that neither can let go. With their lives heading in different directions, they agree not to stay in touch.

Ten years later, with their fortunes reversed, they meet again and neither has been able to forget the other. Will this time be different? Can they have a real chance at love? Or will Jay’s secret and a tragic event pull them apart again?

Excerpt

Time
Eden Darry © 2017
All Rights Reserved



Jesus, what I am I doing here? Jay spun around on her stool, and came face-to-face with a nervous dark-haired woman.

“Hi, I’m Claire.” Clearing her throat, Claire extended her hand and waited. Jay watched Claire’s hand as it hovered awkwardly between them before she dropped it limply to her side. Jay had no intention of shaking.

“My employer has asked me to come downstairs and invite you to join her for a drink.” Claire looked uncomfortable.

“What are you, her pimp? Who’s your employer?”

“I’m afraid I can’t tell you that. I’ll need you to sign a nondisclosure agreement first. My employer is a well-known celebrity.”

Claire’s voice was tinged with pride, despite the strange situation.

“You’re kidding?” Jay smiled humourlessly. “A nondisclosure agreement?”

“Yes—” Claire nodded. “—to prevent any negative press coming to light.”

“Listen, love.” She leaned forward on the stool, bringing her face close to the other woman and doing her best to be condescending. “I’m not interested, okay?”

Claire flinched. She obviously wasn’t used to being told no.

“Maybe you should think about it? My employer—”

“I’m not for sale. It doesn’t matter who’s paying. Understand?”

Something in her eyes must have convinced Claire. Nodding, she backed away and hurried off.

Jesus, a nondisclosure agreement? Time really does march on. She could remember when you bought someone a drink, made small talk for an hour, then went back to her place. Of course, she’d never had a celebrity want to shag her before. Jay wondered briefly who it might be. As if you would even know. It’s not like you’ve kept up to date with show business since you’ve been away. Even before, when other girls were poring over gossip magazines, she read books about gardening.

Before. That was how she thought of it now. There was before, when things had all looked bright and filled with promise, and now.

Now was something she didn’t really want to dwell on too much.

She nursed the beer for a few minutes longer, unsure why she didn’t just leave.

“Hey.” A soft American voice roused her from her thoughts. “Did you really call my assistant a pimp?”

The voice alone got her blood up. Husky and low, it had to be the sexiest voice she’d ever heard.

She turned slowly on her stool, taking in the woman before her. Long, wavy, golden-brown hair, and large grey eyes. Surprisingly, Jay knew who she was. Shannon Somebody—she couldn’t remember her last name. Jay raked her gaze over the woman’s body and lingered purposely on the full, creamy swell of breasts. Jesus, she is hot.

*****

Shannon usually got pissed off when someone blatantly stared at her tits. She wasn’t sure why it didn’t bother her this time. Even from another woman, it should have. Maybe because the woman ogling her was the same woman who’d just turned her down.

“So, are you going to answer me, or just carrying on fucking me with your eyes?” Shannon asked as she slid onto the barstool beside the woman, pushing her tits out a little more. That’s right. Have a good look at what you just turned down.

When Claire had come back, flustered and embarrassed, and relayed her conversation with the hot barfly, Shannon hadn’t hesitated in marching downstairs. It wasn’t often she got turned down—in fact, she couldn’t remember it ever happening before.

Who the hell does she think she is? Calling my assistant a pimp? Shannon caught herself at the bottom of the stairs. The woman was still on her stool looking moodily around the room with a slight air of bored arrogance which, to her surprise, Shannon found appealing. She felt the familiar tingle between her legs and decided maybe this prey would be worth chasing.

“Drink?” the woman asked, ignoring Shannon’s eye-fucking comment with a half-smile on her full lips.

“Honey, my drink costs eighty pounds a glass,” Shannon replied. She leaned forward and offered another view of her chest. To the woman’s credit, this time her eyes didn’t leave Shannon’s face.

“Fuck that then. You can buy me drink.”

Shannon frowned. She didn’t know what to say because this never happened either. The woman broke into a smile, and it was like the clouds had parted—she looked even sexier when she smiled.

Shannon grinned in return.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords



Book Playlist

I listened to tons of songs when I wrote, rewrote and edited Time. If I gave you the entire list, it'd take you days to get through them all so I've put a selection of them on YouTube. These are some of my favourites and probably best reflect what I wanted to achieve when I wrote the book.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLa9mq0SetLrTL5gtXC-ATTyGp9nLCQ7v4

Meet the Author

Eden lives in London with her partner and their small, earless rescue cat. She runs her own business, and when she’s not working or writing, can usually be found rowing up and down the Thames.

Twitter | Goodreads

Tour Schedule


Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Button 2

Save

Tag Team Review: Until You (At First Sight #3) by T.J. Klune

Sequel to The Queen & the Homo Jock King

Together with their families and friends

Paul Auster

and

Vincent Taylor

request the honor of your company at the celebration of their marriage.







Jet and Jem's Fuck Yeah Super Awesome Buddy Read Reviews
 
Tag team review y'all!

Jenni Lea and Ann both dove on this one as soon as it crossed the threshold into the clubhouse. T.J. Klune is a favorite here among unicorns and a freakin' wedding between Vince and Paul??? Please, how does one NOT get all up in that?

Come join the love fest . . . .

Jenni Lea ------ 5 Hearts

This was everything that I could have ever wished for from this series.  Vince is finally going to make an honest man out of Paul and we're invited to the shenanigans... er, I mean wedding.  It was fabulously awkward and adorable and I laughed the whole way through.

Vince is the most amazing guy.  He has no brain-to-mouth filter.  The words that come out of that boy's mouth... guh!  I was swooning right next to Paul.

"You're a little weird."
He shrugged.  "Probably.  But that's okay.  Being a little weird got me you, so I don't really care about that sort of thing."

This was a riot.  From nana's shenanigans to Sandy and Corey/Kori's "bro-isms" I was hyperventilating from laughter.  The situations the Scooby gang get themselves into are side-splitting hilarious.  Klune is a comedy master.  And when I wasn't rolling on the floor in hysterics I was shedding tears of joy over all the heartfelt moments between everyone, especially those moments between Paul and his dad.  That was beautiful!

I loved every bit of this story.  Every single bit.  But what I loved most about this story was Sexy Paul.  If you read this book for nothing else, read it for Sexy Paul.   Sexy Paul is my spirit animal.

I knew, just like everyone else, that wearing sunglasses at night immediately made a person at least forty-two percent hotter than if they went without them.

I think Corey Hart would agree with you on that one, Sexy Paul.

Sexy Paul is... well, I can't even describe what he is, he's that epic.  He is in a class by himself.  You see, Sexy Paul is the result of mixing one normal, every day Paul Auster with the evil brew that is Jagermeister.  The more you mix, the stronger the transformation.  And it. Is. Magical.

"Whoa," I said as I immediately posed because I was too legit to quit.  "Hey guys.  Sexy Paul is here.  You're welcome."
People cheered at that.  Of course they did.  I was amazing.



 Fuck yeah you are, you sexy beast!

Seriously, y'all.  If you've read Tell Me It's Real and The Queen & the Homo Jock King then you don't want to miss out on this book.  It was everything!  And if you haven't read this series yet, why the fuck not?  What the hell are you waiting for?




Ann ------ 5 Hearts

The pure sassy love that these characters have is the stuff that every family should aspire to.

There are really only two words I need to say to convince you that you NEED to read Until You as soon as possible. SEXY PAUL. You haven’t lived until you’ve met Sexy Paul.


via GIPHY

In his mind he's JGL, in reality he's more Bobby Moynihan, which is all the better and so perfect Paul. Sexy Paul is so not ‘everyday Paul’, he is, in short, a magnificent beast and I love him. So does Vince and that’s what’s most important.

A wedding between Paul and Vince, from the planning to the actual nuptials is exactly as insane and magical as you would expect. Paul and Sandy are . . . well, they are Paul and Sandy and Vince, Vince is the rock that Paul needs desperately. Vince is the one that keeps the perspective on becoming an official part of the Auster family and legally Paul’s forever and always. He’s so ridiculously and accidentally romantic that I was reminded all over again why Paul is so madly in love with him. He made me swoon by just saying his feels out loud and he had NO idea how amazing his words were.

I had so many favorite parts, on top of meeting Sexy Paul, that I’ll be rereading this whole treasure again. And listening to the audio again. Just all of it, again. But, I’ve got to say, the most truly Vince/Paul moments were all about their wedding vows. They planned on writing them themselves and the goal was to make the other hubs weep like a motherfucker. It was pure gold and the buildup lived up to the execution beautifully. That included the obligatory smack-talk that came upon vow reading completion.

But, the bestest thing about Until You is how all the characters were brought together. Everyone had some ‘special’ page time. Even though the focus is Vince and Paul, every character had a voice and it really gave each of them even more depth. There were no real secondary characters, everyone was important and all of those moments made Until You so much more than just a romantic comedy. Love, in all its forms, was represented and I ate up all those little vignettes. The balance between OTT shenanigans and heartfelt emotions was sublime. Bring it in my bitches.



via GIPHY

 And of course, SEXY PAUL.


Head over to Dreamspinner Press to pick up your copy.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

Review: The Point Shot Trilogy Boxed Set by V.L. Locey

Now, you can have the books that introduced Victor Kalinski to the world in one reasonably priced boxed set! With over 350 Goodreads reviews and ratings combined, the romance of Vic Kalinski and Dan Arou is one that once read, will never be forgotten. In this three-book set, you’ll get to experience all the passion, sarcasm, hockey action, and romance that reviewers have called “Beautifully Written”, “Surprisingly Heartfelt”, and “Hot! Hot! Hot!”

“The writing in this is snappy and awesome, the story moves at a great pace and oh it's HOT AS EVER-LOVING HELL. There's romance that never veers into a too-sappy place, it's FUNNY and full of great lines right and left, and so engaging that I couldn't stop reading it. The ending is satisfying, with our characters not becoming perfect people but becoming better together than they are apart, and that's just about as romantic as it gets.” Avon Gale – Author of the Scoring Chances series 

Readers should be over 18 due to mature language and gay sexual situations. The set includes:
Two Man Advantage (Point Shot Trilogy #1) 
Game Misconduct (Point Shot Trilogy #2)
Full Strength (Point Shot Trilogy #3)




I've been on a hockey jag lately but this is a little different take on the theme and I found myself struggling to get through this trilogy for a few reasons. 




Vic (ginger) has been sent down to the AHL because of his attitude. Frankly, Vic's abrasive AF. He's a misogynist, a slut shamer, a fat shamer and he's not exactly sensitive to the marginalized of this world. I would recommend those who need political correctness in their reads to stay away. Far away. Again, I have to hand it to Locey sticking with a character who's not likable or all that sympathetic, telling the entire narrative through those eyes. I'm Southern so I'm all too familiar with the masking of bigotry behind comedy. I tried to roll with it without a lot of success. He is funny at times, I won't perpetrate but then he'll fire off something like... 


I only bottomed for one man, and that was only when I was embracing my feminine side.






And I'd be like, 'oh bless his poor, incorrect heart' and do something else, like clean my andirons. He had a terrible childhood with an abusive and alcoholic mother who pretty much hated him and he uses that childhood experience as a get out of jail free card for being an assclown to pretty much everyone, especially to women. The problem is (a) I think that's a cop out; (b) that's not really been my experience; (c) it was just so obvious, too obvious; a little nuance would've gone a long way.

He and Dan fall in love really quickly for someone so prickly and determined to keep everyone at arms length. So I found their love suspect. I can do quick but I typically favor relationships building up over time, but what vexed me even more was the codependency. Their relationship is downright toxic at times which automatically makes me question whether it's love or addiction.

They fuck every chance they get and it is hot or it was until it got old which leads me to the editing issues. It could've been streamlined. There is an abundance of filler that's not moving the narrative forward and should've been edited out when the stories were condensed down. There are silly continuity errors, an excessive amount of zany metaphors, too many references to metal bands and I had a hard time believing several of these twenty-somethings would be rattling off 60s and 70s pop culture references. Some of them I had to google!


Can you say niche, boys & girls?

Now that the hypercritical portion is over, there were things I enjoyed too.

Vic sort of cheats on Dan in a drunken stupor and the girl, Heather, wends up knocked up. Dan puts him through the wringer but if you've got issues with MCs being entirely faithful-watch out. Anyhoo, I really liked that Vic stands up and takes responsibility once he finds out. I also liked Heather. She's kind of a spaz but an entertaining one.

Another thing I liked was how publicly affectionate he is with Dan despite the bigotry of others, because why should PDAs be the sole province of heterosexuality? They are supernova hot for each other 24/7 so why suppress that? They could hurt themselves trying to all for the delicate sensibilities of the general population? Pfft.



And last but not least, I liked the team dynamics. Vic makes a couple of friends and their antics are stupid and cute. I also cracked up more than once at the coach. Coach pulls no punches.

They do have a sweet HEA and if the first portion of my review didn't raise red flags then this might be the book for you. I would also say that there are several truly glowing reviews of this series, so grain of salt.




A review copy was provided.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: The Heir of Locksley (Outlaw's Legacy #1) by N.B. Dixon

Robin of Locksley is a rebel, more comfortable roaming Sherwood Forest with his longbow and courting the village girls than learning how to run a manor.

An innocent flirtation with a peasant girl soon lands Robin in trouble, and worse, he finds himself inexplicably attracted to Will Scathelock, his best friend since childhood. Robin must decide whether to follow the rules of society or his own conscience.

Meanwhile, his neighbour, Guy of Gisborne, is anxious to get his hands on the Locksley estate and he will do anything to make it happen—even murder.

Some stories stand the test of time, retold again and again in many forms, Robin Hood is one of these. There is something endearing about the man who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, a tale tale rooted in history and myth. There is evidence Robin Hood, or Robin of Locksley, is real, but no definitive proof, yet, like King Arthur, his story is enduring. Who is the man behind the legend? What inspired so many tales about him? He is fascinating. Perhaps my favourite thing though, is the way each author puts their own twist to the tale. Whether it be the story development, the "merrymen", or the personality of our hero.

N.B. Dixon has done a sterling job of recreating this hero of folklore in The Heir of Locksley. I suppose, if I'm honest, the opening scene of young Robin splitting an arrow in two did remind me of Prince of Thieves, but it wasn't a retelling of that tale at all. Not even a little bit. (Even if I do want a re-watch now, if for nothing more than Alan Rickman's Sheriff of Nottingham).

This story starts with young Robin and tells us his story from his early teens onwards to adulthood. We see just how his character, and that of other MC's, develop over the years. How he comes to be the adult he does. I LOVED this story. It was rich with history and attention to detail. It created a vivid picture of 12th/13th century England; the villages and Lords and forest and rules. How the crown operated and the cut-throat way of living of the time.The hierarchy of society. I like that the author took time to set this story so it will develop over a series.

However.

If you are looking for romance, particularly the romance between Will and Robin, then you are going to have to be in it for the long haul. The hints are there in this story, but the development is yet to come. It's exciting. The attention was on the story, on the character development, of what happens to make Robin him who he is. I read for the romance but I would absolutely take a long burning romance over a quick wham bam thank you ma'am any day of the week. My anticipation for what is going to happen is so high; there is something to be said for not being instantly gratified - and it's especially easy to take when it is surrounded by a compelling story.


Reading this has left me with a yearning for historical novels set in this time. I have read and loved books such as Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth and I now have a hankering to read more. I'm especially pleased to read one in the M/M genre and I really cannot wait for the next in this series.
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.

Audiobook Review: Opposites by T.M. Smith

In the year 2081 our planet survived global warming of an apocalyptic scale. When the dust settled and the water receded Dr. Anthony Smith, one of only a few hundred survivors of GWI, started society anew. Having come to the conclusion that injudicious breeding played a huge role in the destruction of Earth as we knew it in the twenty first century, he worked closely with other survivors to isolate the Dionysus gene. This gene has the ability to manipulate human DNA to ensure that all male children be born gay, and all female children be born lesbians. A new society is born.

In the year 2300 Dr. Smith’s descendants are ushering in the twenty fourth century having maintained control of the government that still rules society. Twins Aiya and Aiyan are preparing to meet their matches and take control of House Gaeland, the current ruling House. But not everything is as it seems.

Love is Love.. it knows no gender and doesn’t conform to restrictions and boundaries. Aiyan has found his soul mate in Kaden, the prince of House Devi that he is matched with and eventually marries. But when the person Aiya falls in love with tests the boundaries put in place after GWI, all hell breaks loose. And in the midst of one secret unraveling, another will emerge. There is a growing anomaly that threatens to destroy over two hundred years of progression. This anomaly is known as Opposites.

*WARNING* Opposites is a majorly M/M New Adult novel that contains explicit sexual content and relationships between gay, lesbian and straight couples.

Listening Length: 6 hours and 16 minutes
Narrator: Greg Boudreaux



There is a lot going on in this story, and I felt it difficult to follow the sudden change in point of view between a lot of characters. While a scene played out, it switched to each character pov as the story moved around the scene. Almost like a movie panning to each character and then going inside their mind. It took a few chapters to get used to this type of story telling, and was a bit disconcerting. This follows eight characters during their visit to House Gaeland, so once the names of each character is familiar, it is easier to follow. It is not my preference in point of view in storytelling, but I made the effort to enjoy the story anyway.

This world, as described in the blurb, is a same-sex pairing world. Women and men procreate through contracts, and each family has four parents in two same sex pairings. As this was a character based story, and not a lot of worldbuilding outside of character relationships, there is a thorough culture built around the ideals of gay relationships within this high bred society, and why these relationships are considered the norm. I’m not too clear on whether the couples have to go through heavy screening in order to conceive, or whether the DNA is altered in any way.

The society works on a base level of Eugenics, and gene manipulation, which of course is problematic. Being royalty, there is no mention of how the general world deals with the way this society procreates, and whether money is involved in the process, so it was difficult to gauge how well this world worked in full.

The relationships were swift between a few people, and I found it very fluffy and mushy. Again, not my favourite thing to read/listen to. I like a build up, and while there was a decent amount of tension with the potential straight couple, Aiyan and Kaden seemed to have sex at every opportunity, and I didn’t find their relationship development strong enough.

Opposites - the title of the story is pretty indicative of the direction of main plot point. The couple who are Opposites have to sneak around, fear persecution, and feel abnormal. Generally I enjoyed the story and found it interesting for the role reversal of society. It just wasn’t complete. It’s an interesting perspective, if a bit black and white. I prefer more diversity in my stories as a general rule, and there was no mention of sexuality as a spectrum, but this is only the beginning of the series so this may change as the series progresses.

Greg Boudreaux is a pretty solid narrator, with a very pleasing cadence, and can do some decent accents. His performance in this audiobook is pretty great, but then he is one of my preferred narrators, so clearly I am bias.

While the story is set in a futuristic time period, it has a very medieval feel to it, with the royal Houses. It also felt quite isolated and there was barely any contact with the general population. Some more attention to the wider world details would have made the story richer.

Recommended for those who enjoy stories set in a futuristic setting with an old world feel to it. There is explicit content between MM, FF, and MF couples.



Find on Goodreads!

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Class Distinctions by Rick R. Reed


Celebrate Class Distinctions release with author Rick R. Reed and Signal Boost! Check out the book info and make sure to enter the Superstar eBook giveaway!









Buy Links: JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK 


Publisher: JMS Books


Length: 11,546


Blurb


Kyle and Jonathan were perfect for each other, the two halves that, once together, made a whole. And then one snowy night just before Parents’ Weekend on the campus of Hamilton University, Kyle drops a bomb: he’s breaking up with Jonathan.


Follow the couple through the stormy (in more ways than one) night that ensues. Why has Kyle suddenly decided to throw away something so precious and good?


The answers lie in their backgrounds, and will gradually come to light as a winter blizzard rages around the young couple.


Their tortured paths bring them to the covered bridge where their love had sprung to life on a hot summer day. But will the warmth of that memory and the heat of the love they once shared be enough to outclass the storm, and more importantly, bring them back together?


Excerpt


Jonathan got up, grinning, and crossed the room, ready to fling open his door and his arms to Kyle. He could picture his boyfriend in his mind’s eye: the short muscular build, the hazel eyes, the mop of curly sandy hair that blended so perfectly with the constellation of freckles across his nose. He thought of the little tragus piercing in Kyle’s ear that for some inexplicable reason, Jonathan adored and could always be counted upon to play with his tongue, which drove Kyle nuts. The knock sounded again, and Jonathan took exactly three seconds to check his image in the mirror above his dresser. His blond hair had been cut that morning and, with a little dab of gel, looked stylish and alluring, the classic combo to his pale blue eyes and dark lashes. He wore only a plain white T-shirt and a pair of plaid boxer shorts. He figured they’d be naked soon enough, so why bother with a complicated ensemble that would only slow them from getting to the main course?


Jonathan would swear his heart began to beat faster and he got a little breathless as he approached the door. He couldn’t stop the beaming smile that spread across his face as he reached for the knob.


But that smile vanished when he saw Kyle standing out in the hallway, staring down at the floor and radiating dejection. His shoulders slumped and there was about him an overall lack of energy. When he managed to tear his gaze away from the tile floor, he looked at Jonathan with sadness. Jonathan frowned too when he could discern no excitement, no joy to see him, in those hazel eyes.


This was not the picture he had been anticipating when he swung open the door.


“Good God, Kyle, what’s the matter? Is everything okay?”


Kyle’s gaze returned to the floor and Jonathan shook his head, reached out and forcibly pulled his boyfriend inside the room, closing the door behind him. Jonathan cocked his head, “What’s wrong, sweetheart?” He smelled cooking grease on Kyle, the after-effect of toiling in the Hamilton University student cafeteria. Normally, he would suggest the two of them slip down the hall and into a shower together -- a nice, sudsy, both clean and dirty beginning to their three-day weekend.


But the game plan seemed to have changed. Kyle’s bad mood, so rare and unexpected, cast a pall on the anticipation Jonathan had felt only moments ago.


Kyle didn’t answer.


Jonathan turned down the music, which was Moby’s “We Are All Made of Stars” and said, “Sit down, Kyle. Let’s talk. It’s obvious from your face, hell, from even the way you’re standing there that something is very wrong. What is it? Trouble in one of your classes? Is that Psych bitch giving you problems again?”


Kyle slumped down in one of the desk chairs, his long legs extended before him, the rest of his body sort of curled into itself. Jonathan wondered why Kyle didn’t take a seat on the bed, so they could at least sit side-by-side, but he let the move pass without comment.


“No. Everything is cool in my classes. In fact, I’m on track to make the dean’s list this quarter.” Not even a glimmer of a smile heralded this happy news. Kyle simply continued to appear distant and, yes, forlorn.


“So what then? Work? Trouble at home?”


Kyle snickered when Jonathan mentioned home -- and Jonathan had no idea why. One of the mysteries with Kyle was that he had never been too forthcoming about his home life, only that he was from a small town in eastern Ohio, on the Ohio River, and that he was an only child. Jonathan still had no idea what his parents did for a living or how he even felt about his old hometown. Kyle shook his head. “No. And no.”


Jonathan didn’t want to entertain what the other possibility could be. He sank down onto his bed, nausea rising in his gut as he pondered being told Kyle had cheated on him (he was, at least in Jonathan’s mind, about the most handsome hunk on the campus of Hamilton University), or that he “wanted to see other people” or that he “needed a break” or that “it’s not you, it’s me” and he needed to end things between them.


But none of those scenarios could possibly be true, could they?


Author Bio


Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.


He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, "a writer that doesn't disappoint."


Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever "at work on another novel."


Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RickReedWRITER

Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/

Website: www.rickrreed.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rick-r-reed

Email: rickrreedbooks@gmail.com


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions




Audiobook Review: A Kind of Romance (A Kind of Stories #2) by Lane Hayes

Zeke Gulden is a ruthless Wall Street exec. His hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude has served him well in the cutthroat business world, but less so in his personal life. When he finds out his ex-boyfriend cheated on him with a coworker, Zeke can’t let go—not until he finds a way to get even. However, his meddlesome father has other ideas. The new hire at the family-owned bagel store is somewhat colorful, but his dad is sure he’s the perfect man for Zeke.

Benny Ruggieri is a fiercely proud New Yorker who dreams of making it big as a costume designer in the theater. In the meantime, he’s working two part-time jobs in the food biz. When his new boss sets him up with his successful son, Benny has zero expectations. If nothing else, he figures he can entertain himself by making the uptight businessman squirm. Instead, the two become unlikely friends with an inexplicable attraction they can’t ignore. Benny might be the one to help Zeke set aside his quest for revenge, if he’s willing to let go and forgive what he can’t forget… and give in to an unexpected kind of romance.

Listening Length: 9 hours and 1 minute
Narrated by: Seth Clayton


Narration 5 Hearts
Story 3.5-4 Hearts


Average

Seth Clayton is BONAFIDE!


I'm still a rookie at this audiobook deal but I was blown away by Clayton's narration. He really got into it. Everyone's voice was distinct. If the charactered sighed, he sighed. If they laughed, he laughed. Hell, there was even one time Zeke was eating and he talked with his mouth full! And he did a compelling job with the sexy times too! I have zero complaints about the narration. As a matter of fact, I'd even go so far as to say that I'd listen to an audiobook that I maybe wasn't that interested in if he narrated it. 



Watch your 6, Seth.
#ninjacuddler


This story is quite good. It's a little fake boyfriendish which is usually my jam. The fly in the ointment was Zeke. Zeke needs to get punched in the face, preferably by his seventy-something father. He's a pretentious snob which is sort of ironic considering he labels all of his peers as such. However, I really have to hand it to Hayes to dance with who brung her. Sorry, I lapsed into Southernspeak. What I mean is, Zeke isn't a sympathetic character. He's judgy, vengeful and ├╝ber competitive in an unflattering way, but Hayes tells this story entirely through his eyes. I admire that, takes chutzpah. 

I was empathetic towards him while at the same time barely stifling the urge to tell him that we were playing the quiet game wherein he would be 'it' until further notice. He has daddy issues. I'd go into the whole psychobabble rigamarole but blah blah blee blee blee. He comes around in the end. He has his moments where I cyber high-fived him and-even better-he has to jump through a couple of hoops to get to his HEA. Both of these characters have depth with strong and consistent characterizations which makes for engaging reading.

He and Benny get guilted into a date by Zeke's meddling father who doesn't want his son to die alone. Benny isn't his type, a point which Zeke hammers over and over again usually right to Benny's face.




Benny gives it right back though. He sees through all the BS and I loved him for it. He takes zero shit without being a jerkface about it. Out and proud and a bit femme there was nothing not to like about him and the bottom line is, it matters not what I think about Zeke because Benny likes him. Benny is a positive influence and despite the fact that Zeke's head keeps telling him they have no future, his heart keeps him chasing after Benny like an imprinted duckling. 







Some of my favorite moments came from his single-mindedness. From the Gershwin karaoke to the wedding to the pool game, they sort of accidentally wend up in a relationship. The evolution of their relationship seemed natural for two people who genuinely like one another, can communicate about things large and small and have some scorching sex. You'd have to be nutters to not want to spend loads of time with that person, ammiright? However, my most favorite part was the talk Zeke has with his father after he's torched the best part of his life and is lost as to how to fix it. That's the stuff of verklemptitude right there, folks.

I think A Kind of Romance is a better example of Hayes talent than my first experience and I would read more by her. I'm actually really curious about Clay and what his story is. Still has more label dropping and interior decorating than I think is necessary but I think it worked better this time, because pretentious snob. It goes without saying that if Seth Clayton narrates, I'm there. With bells on.


A Kind of Romance can be read as a standalone. I've not read the predecessor but never felt lost.

I'd recommend Seth Clayton to EVERYONE!!!!!!!! And this book to those who like the opposites attract trope.





A review copy was provided.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.


See our eBook review here!

Audiobook Review: Saving Silas by SJ Himes

Haunted by his years at war, Boston paramedic Gael Dominic spends his time saving other people’s lives. An empty house, a single friend, and living at work, Gael is not content with his existence, but he’s close. Gael was expecting his overnight shift on Thanksgiving to be the same as always—manic crowds, heart attacks...until catastrophe strikes, and Boston’s streets run with blood.

On the run from an abusive and politically powerful father, Silas has been on the cold, mean streets of Boston for days, injured, hungry and alone. When he wakes up in the middle of a nightmare, he expects to die in the same alley he was calling home.

Brought together by tragedy, Silas and Gael can’t resist their attraction. Gael may have saved Silas, but it’s his alleyway angel who brings Gael back to life.

As Christmas approaches, Silas and Gael learn how to love, despite their pasts. And as Silas' past closes in, Gael learns the greatest gift he could ever give isn't something bought in a store, but freely given from the heart.

Listening Length: 3 hours and 38 minutes

*Previously Published as part of Home For The Holidays, A M/M Holiday Anthology, Nov. 29th, 2015.*

This rating is brought to you by it's not you it's me.



Cats.

Some people love 'em, some people don't. Me, I'm very much prepared to be a mad cat lady in my latter years, my husband's Grandma looks at my kitties as though they were made by Satan himself. (That might be a tad exaggerated, but it's fair to say she doesn't like my beautiful fur balls).

Like cats, some books are loved by some and not so much by others. Even when there is nothing wrong with the writing or story, beyond it just not working for that particular reader - and, yep you've guessed it, this was one such story for me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the writing or story or characters or plot or.... anything, but it didn't draw me in.

I would like to say, the narration of this story was excellent, Derrick McClain is the reason I chose to review this in the first place, he has a unique intonation to his storytelling that I really enjoy. (He also has a really sexy voice...) I heartily recommend him as a narrator and will always look twice at a book narrated by him.

As I said, there is no reason for me to dislike this story, I love the premise but the execution just didn't work for me. It was just a writing style I couldn't gel with - which makes reviewing very hard. Logically I know there is nothing technically wrong with the story. I can't point at poor writing or characterisation or bad editing. How do I define what exactly makes a story good if the tick list of technicalities is all accounted for? Maybe it was a bit too instalove for my tastes, a bit overly dramatic maybe, I was bored by the sex scenes. But I know it is just me.

Please, please check out other reviews for this story because my heart wasn't in it, but I know many other readers will love it.

A copy of this audiobook was given on exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.

Review: Closet Case (Sexy Nerd Boys #4) by K.M. Neuhold

Jax
That awkward moment when you accidentally fool around with a closet case. I have a strict policy against dating closeted guys. Confused straight guys? Absolutely. Guys who don’t mind being out and proud? Duh. But closet cases are a hard pass. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt with a giant picture of a broken heart on it. It would be a lot easier to stick to my dating rule if Matthew Hart could be slightly less irresistible.

Matthew
Being a closeted gay college football player is not all it’s cracked up to be. After I broke my high school boyfriend’s heart by refusing to come out of the closet, I swore off serious dating. I don’t want to hurt anyone like that again, and I’ll admit I’m protecting my own heart in the process, too. It was a lot easier to stick to my no dating rule before I laid eyes on Jax Greene. He’s exactly my type in every possible way. If there’s even the slightest chance that history won’t repeat itself, I want to see where things might lead. Convincing Jax to give me a chance though might be the toughest play I’ve ever made.

**This book is the first M/M installment of the Sexy Nerd Boys series, but can be read as a stand-alone. Recommended for 18+ due to language and all kinds of hot sex


This book got off to a rocky start. The structure was….weird. It was choppy and seemed to cut off abruptly, flipping between characters after a page or two. It took a while to get into each character, and the story.

Once I got into the swing of the book I did enjoy the characters, mostly. I liked Jax’s sassy, snarkiness. I love snark. I didn’t really get ‘nerd’ vibes. Other than the references to comic books, nothing about him really screamed nerd to me. Some work on character development would have made him a little more three dimensional, and maybe I would have been convinced. This also may be an element I’m missing from the beginning of the series, if this is a character introduced in previous books, but if so, it should have been restated anyway.

I was put off by the amount of times Jax internally and verbally declared how much he wasn’t going to date a closet case, and then went ahead and did it anyway. I get it was the point of the story (the title, duh) but it was overstated and got boring after a while.

Also boring….. The reference to how gross vaginas are. I don’t like reading about it in any books. Vaginas aren’t gross, and trying to make a character more gay by going on about how much they shudder at the mere mention of a vag, or how proud they are to never have encountered one, is overkill. (Double Gold Star… just no). This may be something I just haven’t encountered before with my real life friends and acquaintances, and it may be a real thing, but it was a huge turn off for me in this story.

What I did enjoy was Jax and Matty’s chemistry. It was really good. The heat level worked well, and I felt the passion while reading them being together. The cuddling was also lovely. Gave it a bit of an awww feel to it. While they were together, they were convincing as a couple.

I want to talk about Glitter Beard!!! Well, not talk about it really. Just post a pic of the glory of Glitter Beard. Adding two of my favourite things together will instantly endear me. I heart Jax’s Glitter Beard (and his sassy shirts).


We didn’t spend much time with Matty as an athlete. The interactions with his teammates were miniscule, and what was there was pointedly homophobic; I suppose to prove the point as to why Matty had to stay closeted. More time with his teammates and practices would have convinced me about his passion for the sport. This is not a sports romance at all, so anyone getting excited about College Football will be sorely disappointed.

The ending was a bit too clean for me. Without going into too much detail, everything was sort of glossed over and convenient.

I’m not sure if this is the author’s first MM Romance (I’m going to assume yes based on Goodreads catalogue), and I give her props for dipping her toes in and trying something different.

This novel is pretty flirty, with some serious, but there wasn’t a great deal of depth of character beyond the plot line of Jax not wanting to date a closet case, and Matty lamenting about how he just wished life was easy so he could remain in the closet and come out once he retired from the NFL. If you’re looking for something fun and light, this would be an okay read to pick up.

In my opinion, this story can be read as a standalone.

Recommended for MM Romance first timers, who are branching out from MF, and those who want something pretty breezy and light to read over a few hours.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion








Find on Goodreads!

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Dating Ryan Alback by J.E. Birk



Welcome J.E. Birk who's making her first appearance in the clubhouse!



Greetings! I'm J.E. Birk, and right now I'm traversing the internets to discuss my new romantic comedy, DATING RYAN ALBACK. Follow along to learn more about an insecure movie star, a klutzy teacher, and the neurotic dog who loves them. Leave comments for a chance to win a $10 Riptide giftcard and copy of any book from my backlist! 


About Dating Ryan Alback

Ryan Alback has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a successful acting career, a dog who adores him, great family and friends, and a life outside the closet. The only thing missing is a boyfriend—but Ryan’s been burned by Hollywood relationships before, and he’s not eager to try one again. 

Jason Santos has almost everything he's ever wanted: a fulfilling career teaching middle school, a house in a city he loves, and parents who support him in every way. Too bad he can't seem to forget the ex-boyfriend who rejected his marriage proposal.

When a talk show host launches a dating contest to find Ryan a boyfriend and Jason accidentally wins, neither of them expect anything to come from it. Yet somewhere between a disastrous massage and a mud sinkhole, they both start to wonder if this date could be more than just a public relations stunt. But before they can move into the future, they'll both have to learn to let go of the past. 

Now available from Riptide Publishing.

http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/dating-ryan-alback


About J.E. Birk

J.E. Birk has been telling stories since she could talk and writing them since she was introduced to the alphabet. She hails from Colorado, where you can usually find her skiing, training for a 5K she won’t end up running, or watching people run into each other on football fields and in hockey rinks. You can follow her ramblings on Twitter by looking for @jebirkwrites. She’s also been known to ramble on Facebook as J Elisabeth Birk.

Connect with J.E. Birk:



To celebrate the release of Dating Ryan Alback, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide Publishing credit and their choice of ebook from J.E.’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 25, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!