Review: The Alpha's Weave (Pack Born #1) by C.M. Torrens

After years of abuse in his old shifter pack, Dante found a new life with Alpha Victor. He would do anything for Victor. Anything but stay away from Jesse, the half-blood stray. But when Victor names Dante his heir, he has no choice but to accept the duties given to him even if it means relinquishing the possibility of love. He owes his life and sanity to Victor, and that’s a debt Dante can never fully repay.

But Dante should have known the good life couldn’t last. His former alpha, Caster, is not a male who lets anything of value slip through his grasp. When rumors fly of Caster’s return, Dante knows the man will stop at nothing to possess him and his talent once again. When Jesse is kidnapped and Victor falls victim to an untimely death, his worst fears are realized. His old alpha has finally returned to reclaim him. Dante must use his fears and nightmares to save Jesse and his pack, even if it means sacrificing himself.

Sometimes a book from a new to you author works and sometimes it doesn’t. With me this book falls in the latter.

I think part of my frustration belongs to me and not the book. I forgot that books under the DSP Publication are not romance and for me, shifters equal romance. That is not what I got. Though Dante and Jesse from the first pages allude to their forbidden love, it was not something that was at the front of the story and I kept wanting it to happen.

All that aside, there was a lot going on in this story and not just the four POV’s that we get. I normally don’t have a problem with world building but this made me do the Scooby Doo held tilt trying to figure out the pack laws and politics and the whole pack weave deal went way over my head. This shifter tale was odd and nothing like I have ever read before and where usually that excites me, with this it completely took me out of the story.

I’ll keep this review short: Dante used to belong to Caster who was a dick. He escapes Caster and joins Alpha Victor’s pack. Victor’s pack is very touchy feely with one another, taking showers together, bathing one another and they all snuggle in one extra-large even too big for Shaq pack bed. But none of this is romantic or sexual or even capable of giving me feelings. I don’t know what the point was to show all of that and do it all in human form. I love the cuddling etc with shifters when in animal form and find it super swoony and adorable but this was just all kinda weird.


Dante meets Jesse who is a “stray” or half-breed and Victor who seems to be this strong but empathetic Alpha won’t take them in or let one of his dudes be with one. Mmm… Okay? So Dante tries to stay away from Jesse and Jesse is trying to get some help for his sick sister all while helping another stray who happens to be the daughter of Dante’s pack… phew. Yeah. Jesse is also getting help from the wrong wolves and one who happens to be Dante’s real brother August who is a dick like Caster.


Like I said, a lot was going on and that was all in the like first 35% of the book.

Things for me never got clearer and never got interesting. I never connected to a single character in the story and found the writing to be pretty pedestrian. The dialogue was stilted, reading with little to no emotion and bored the holy heck out of me and the end was quite literally, anti-climactic.

So yeah. This one, didn’t work for me at all.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: A Kind of Honesty by Lane Hayes

It's the A Kind of Honesty Blog Tour! Welcome Lane Hayes and IndiGo Promotions to the clubhouse! Not only did we review A Kind of Honesty here, but the author dropped off an exclusive excerpt AND is hosting a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway!

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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

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Music is Tim Chalmers’s great escape and the one thing that’s never let him down. But his band Spiral’s meteoric rise to fame has made it difficult for the drummer to maintain a low profile. Unwanted press pesters him after a public breakup with a volatile ex-girlfriend who loves the limelight as much as he loathes it. Tim’s main goal is to avoid confrontation. However, when he meets a handsome stranger in a dive bar who turns out to be someone he may know, everything changes.

Carter Hamilton-Temple might be a successful financial consultant with more brains, sophistication, and charm than most, but he always falls for the wrong guys: closet cases or men with issues. He can’t fight his attraction to the tattooed rock star, but can he trust his own judgment? When the thrill of danger combined with a fierce physical connection proves too strong for either man to resist, a quiet liaison away from the public eye and curious friends seems like a safe bet. But some secrets are hard to keep. When rumors threaten to rock his world, Tim realizes it’s time to confront his fear with his own kind of honesty.

Boy Meets Boy Exclusive Excerpt of A Kind of Honesty by Lane Hayes

We lay facing each other in the darkened room later, drenched in sweat. Carter leaned in slightly to kiss my nose and brush my hair away from my eyes. His smile was incandescent. There was no way not to return it.

“I like your family. Your mom is sweet.”

My eyebrows rose comically. I flopped on the pillow then reached over to smack his ass.
“Mood killer.”

He chuckled and scooted closer again, but left a small space between us in deference to the July heat. Even at night, it was suffocating and the air conditioning was taking its sweet time. Or it was on the fritz, I mused as I ran my thumb over his right tit then squeezed.

“Ow! Cool it. I’m not allowed to talk about your mom?”

“Not after sex! That’s a golden rule everyone on the freaking planet knows. Geesh.”

Carter’s grin widened. “Well, I like her. And Liam. You’re lucky.”

I reached for his hand and laced our fingers together when the need for contact overrode the need to cool down. “I don’t always think so, but I know I am. I wish Mom had something besides worry to keep her occupied. I used to think getting involved with the church was good for her. Now I think it feeds her paranoia. Liam makes everything okay.”

“How so?”

“He gives her a reason to get up in the morning. Even though he lives with his dad, he’s at her house all the time. He keeps her grounded. She can moon about how much he looks like Kat while she spoils him. He’s her second chance with my sister.”

“How is she doing?”

“Kat? She’s the same. A mess.  She hates our mom and sometimes me. She’s angry and destructive. And sometimes… borderline evil.”

“Ouch. Well, she may be a hot mess, but she has a pretty cool kid.”

I chuckled. “Yeah. I feel guilty that I’m not here more often but…I don’t want to come back. The memories suck. I’d rather visit and make fresh ones than wallow in all those ugly feelings. If I didn’t have music, I wonder if I’d be in rehab with her. Music saved me.”


Amazon | Dreamspinner Press | All Romance | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions in the 2014 and 2015 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

Books by Lane Hayes (Dreamspinner Press):

Better Than Good, Better Than Chance, Better Than Friends, Better Than Safe, The Right Words, The Wrong Man & The Right Time

The Kind Of Series:

A Kind Of Truth A Kind Of RomanceA_Kind_of_Honesty_FINAL_V4

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Review: Sweet Summer Sweat by Clare London

When you find a place where lust and sex rule life, and your every desire can be fulfilled, why would you ever want to leave?

Young runaway Scot and his boyfriend Jerry escape their deadbeat homes and families, hoping to leave prejudice behind them and travel to a new life in Las Vegas. Unprepared and naive, they're lost almost at once, and shelter at a run-down, deserted motel in the middle of the scorching hot Nevada desert. A place with secrets, run by staff both gorgeous and uninhibited, and driven by a mysterious sexual connection Scot’s never even dared to dream.

All but drugged by the lazy heat and the hedonism around him, Scot watches as Jerry is seduced away and realizes their relationship was nothing more than shared lust. Restless, Scot knows he wants true love and real understanding. Could he find it with the mysterious and elusive owner of the motel, Connor Maxwell? Connor seems to think so, every time he appears and pursues Scot for his own. But where does Connor come from? It seems the passion calls him into being at its own whim.

Eventually, what binds Connor and his friends to the motel may be too strong for Scot to break through. Scot has ambitions to travel, to make something of his life – but is his only option to embrace life at the motel in his true lover’s arms?

Or will that love be strong enough to release them both …

I have a confession. You see, I do this thing where I skim a blurb and get all excited about reading a book. Then time passes and I actually read the book and forget what it’s about so I have to go back and read the blurb. I totally did this with Sweet Summer Sweat and goodness. I was all kinds of lost but then it clicked… this is fantasy/paranormal and not real life at all. Once I wrapped my head around that fact, I slid into this book like a warm glove. Mmm Hmm.
Scot and Jerry are escaping their lives. We are told from the beginning they basically left with what little they had and are trekking across the desert to a new life in Las Vegas,  When they are both hot, exhausted and hungry, the see a building in the dark of night and decide it’s a good place to rest. Little did they know, resting would not be only one thing the young men would do.
He wondered why he’d never considered their vulnerability out here—no other people or habitation for miles, no idea of who or what might be living here. And he and his companion, just walking in with their life’s dreams and belongings, expecting welcome and civilization, and 21st century services…
Things begin to change and become blurry once Scot and Jerry enter a motel, the only place they seem to find to stay the night. Scot and Jerry are so lost once they pass through the doors of Maxwell’s. Scot has always seen Jerry as the stronger man between them. He looks to him to make decisions for them both and trusts him but with the new voices he hears once in the walls of the motel,  the new things he feels and how he sees Jerry react, Scot doesn’t know who to trust. He doesn’t even know if he can trust himself yet the boys who fled for a better life, still turn to one another.
Man, this book! This review is gonna be all over the place because my brain is broken from the story.
This book was really interesting and then kinda confusing but what it really was? HOT AF! I can’t lie. The air within the Maxwell hotel is definitively turned up to 11 with sexuality. Goodness. Between Scot and Jerry, Jerry and Vincent, Oliver and Scot and the mysterious voice in Scots head that took its sweet time to appear. The dry humping of desks may have happened while I read. I had major moments of WTAF is going on but then sex would happen or Psychokinetic sex would try to happen and it was hot and my lizard brain got comfortable.


Did I mention the sex? Now, there is a lot of sex in this book but there is also a lot of sensuality. London creates this thick air of want and need at the primal level and weaves it with profound intimacy. It’s there and it’s pretty amazing the way she works them together. It’s almost an afterthought when I think about it but sex is like that; you get lost in the moment of pure pleasure, and the drive for release that deeper thoughts get pushed to the background and it’s in the afterglow that you reflect on what you felt. Does that even make sense? I hope so.

“You can hear me, all the time, can’t you? I never found anyone like that. All this time, waiting, thinking it was just me, I was—”
Connor Maxwell is something else, literally but what he might be is the real question. This book… I really don’t know how to describe it. Wait I do. This is a total cross between The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Shinning, a popular song written by Don Henley and Glenn Fry and every cheesy gay porn film from the mid 80's and it's fantastic. I couldn’t stop reading if I wanted to and I honestly didn’t want to. How could I when I finally had the chance to meet Connor and with four other hot and horny men locked into a motel with no internet and no access except to one another.

Yup. I was reading. And then I was getting lost, but I kept reading.

The first half of the book was really interesting and had me on the edge of my seat wondering who the voice in Scot’s head was and then it stalled with all the “You know you want to” and “NO! I don’t! But maybe I do?” with Scot and Connor. There was an odd mix of subconscious dub con going on in this story and I am not sure it was intended. But, I was unsure if I liked where the story was going with Jerry and man, there was even more sex to be read. Again, the sex is ridiculously hot but the story began to drag for me and I was ready for the end.

So. Yeah, so this was different but if you remember it’s fantasy/paranormal and that there is a lot of sex to tell the story, you’ll be fine. Maybe? 

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Blog Tour: The Alpha's Weave (Pack Born Series #1) by C.M. Torrens

Welcome C.M. Torrens to the clubhouse! Check out C.M. Torrens' Alpha's Weave's blog tour stop below!

The Rocky Mountains

When I was a kid, I traveled a lot and lived a lot of places, but one of the places I remember that had the most impact, was when I lived on and around the Rocky Mountains. Its a real shame you don't realize as a kid how much beauty is around you. You take for granted the view of the massive mountains in the distance, the snow topped peaks and drives through the changing leaves up through winding passes. I even miss the flooding in the spring. Now, as a kid we were told not to play in the dashing water, but we did anyway. Try to keep a kid out of a giant puddle and see how long that lasts. I don't however miss the cold, I never liked the cold, but hell, if I was a shapeshifter, I'd live in the Rockies and so, that is where I set my story.

I actually spent most of my elementary years around the Rockies. There are miles and miles of woods, probably less now, but I recreated from memory what I recall of as a child. How the air grows into a biting wind in the fall, the rich scent of pine and the colors dancing in the trees. Hopefully, I was able to share a bit of my memory with you all in this book. Show you the beauty in how I remember things.

I give you Dante's view of his world and the woods near at the Rockies. I hope you enjoy.


On the back patio, he stripped out of his pants and crouched down. He let his mind clear, and his beast answered, triggering his shift. A tingling wave swept over him, warm and slick like spiced oil. Bones shifted and grew, muscles twisted, but the liquid sensation never grew painful. Skin rippled and stretched, creating his new form. Thick black fur, as black as his hair, sprouted over his body until his true form slipped away, replaced by beast.

His senses came alive. Scents grew stronger and sounds sharpened. Only half-aware of thoughts and worries, he let them slip away. Instinct took hold, and he let that part of his mind free. The sense of the world hummed in his bones, filling him with a picture of the world far more alive than before.

Putting his muzzle to the air, he breathed in the scents around him. Crickets chirped and owls called in the night. He shook out his pelt, enjoying the sensation. The fur against his skin tingled in the breeze, urging him to run.

He ran hard and fast. Time didn’t exist. Minutes blended into the sights, scents, and sounds. He drank when thirsty and hunted when hungry, and all the complications of his other life disappeared.

The sense of his alpha reminded him of potential trouble. The whisper of Victor’s thoughts grew stronger the closer he got. He shifted his thoughts and touched his other half, drawing it closer to trigger the shift. It was said shifters were divided in their souls, and the moment of shift where his two souls met rushed through his body and mind. Calm, serene, near perfection in that moment. The sensation didn’t last as the shift began. Body twisting and contorting, his senses and thoughts returned as instinct moved away. Not gone. Instinct was always there.

He waited on hands and knees, absorbing his true form. He always felt a sense of disappointment that his other half moved so far away. Taking a deep breath, he walked through the woods to his favorite spot at the cliffs on the eastern edge of Victor’s pack lands. The moon had dropped out of sight, and the gray of predawn filtered through the cloudless sky. A warm summer breeze blew from the south, and the memories of the past few days returned with sharp clarity.

Dante sat on a mound of rocks, looking down at the sheer cliff in front of him. The mountains rose up around him and trees scattered the landscape. The jagged boulders below caught the red glow of color that filled the sky with its soft morning light. Birds chirped and bugs hummed as the day came to new life with the dawn. There were few things better than watching the sunrise over the woods after a morning run.

The wind blew against his bare skin, carrying with it the scent of the pack and the woods that made this place a home. He had thought of jumping once as a youth, right off the edge, before this place and people had become his home. He remembered wondering if the rocks would kill him. He hadn’t jumped because he hadn’t been sure it would.

He must have imagined August. The nightmares reminded him he was not a good person, no matter what Victor said. He had done terrible things, watched them happen. He couldn’t begin to count the deaths by his own hands. He hadn’t had many nightmares in recent years. But now they were back, reminding him of the blood and screams of the past.

He heard the faint rustle of brush behind him, the rich musk mingled with the flavor of fresh-cut cedar. A wash of sensation rushed into him through the pack weave. A tingle, reminding him that he wasn’t alone and never would be again. As comforting as an embrace.

“You’re upset.”

Dante frowned, his eyes on the rocks as they grew pink with colors of dawn. He turned and looked at Victor. Pale blond hair, beginning to whiten with age, framed his worn face.

“It’s been a strange week.” Dante picked at his hand, digging dirt from under his nails with retractable claws. “I need to talk to you about something...


After years of abuse in his old shifter pack, Dante found a new life with Alpha Victor. He would do anything for Victor. Anything but stay away from Jesse, the half-blood stray. But when Victor names Dante his heir, he has no choice but to accept the duties given to him even if it means relinquishing the possibility of love. He owes his life and sanity to Victor, and that’s a debt Dante can never fully repay.

But Dante should have known the good life couldn’t last. His former alpha, Caster, is not a male who lets anything of value slip through his grasp. When rumors fly of Caster’s return, Dante knows the man will stop at nothing to possess him and his talent once again. When Jesse is kidnapped and Victor falls victim to an untimely death, his worst fears are realized. His old alpha has finally returned to reclaim him. Dante must use his fears and nightmares to save Jesse and his pack, even if it means sacrificing himself.

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Review: Eyes Only for You (Eyes of Love #2) by Andrew Grey

Marcello Bagnini has a history of falling for the wrong men, and it seems he's done it again. Working out at the gym with his straight friend Jerry is becoming harder by the day-in more ways than one. Worse yet, Jerry isn't the only one who notices Marcello's wandering eyes. So instead of risking his friendship with Jerry and alienating the other guys at the gym, Marcello keeps his feelings to himself.

Real estate agent Jerry Foland has never explored his interest in other men, but there's something different about Marcello, and Jerry's starting to think he might like to see where his attraction could lead. However, Jerry's controlling father makes it clear that it's either stay on the straight and narrow or Jerry can say good-bye to his family.

As much as they try to stay away from each other, their lives overlap, both at the gym and when Jerry is contracted to sell the home of one of Marcello's friends. Friendship grows into more, but Jerry's father has his own agenda, and it doesn't include having a gay son.

I feel like it could just be me at this point. I’ve had a run of rather average books and unfortunately this book falls in with that crowd. I enjoyed this story, but it was let down with stilted dialogue and an over-abundance of gym talk.

Marcello has been friends with Jerry for 3 months and is crushing after him hard, but he’s been burned badly by men in the closet. Jerry has also noticed Marcello but has only identified as straight. It doesn’t help matters that his parents are narrow-minded, controlling, homophobic pricks. Put these jumble of issues together and these two have some obstacles to overcome before they can be together.

This was a pretty cute story, but I just couldn’t get properly invested, I think this was largely to do with the way the dialogue was written. There were clunky info dumps that didn’t feel at all natural to how people spoke in real life.

“What do you do?” Sal asked, turning to Marcello.
“I’m a technical instructor. I work with Donner and Green in Mechanicsburg. We develop classes and teach various types of computer software. I personally teach and develop classes for Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat, and I do a product for specialty publishing called FrameMaker. I also manage various projects within the office as a sort of in-house project manager.”

And Marcello came out with some pretty weird lines, that once again might look pretty on paper but would be stilted when spoken out loud. This one came after a kiss, before things got too heated….

“We can’t. I gave you a taste so you know the kind of man I am and how I’ll treat you. But the rest you have to decide.”

That sort of dialogue takes me out of the story immediately and I find it impossible to invest fully in the characters.

Then there was the gym talk, details of proper exercises and routines and cooling regimes. Honestly, I really really couldn’t care about that stuff and these guys spend alot of time at the gym...

This story did end on a much better note however, there was no unwanted silliness or take backsies of promises made on Jerry’s part. I found the last ‘dramatic’ climax a bit cliche but I actually liked it because it created an exciting event (other than going to the gym...) for these guys to experience together.

I liked the story, it was a nice, quiet, steady romance but it wasn’t executed in a way that griped me or had me overly invested.

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Review: Must Like Spinach by Con Riley

Jon’s future in New York seems bright. He’s on the corporate fast track as an executive problem solver, but somehow he can’t help feeling hollow. Yearning for a life spent outdoors makes no sense if he wants to flourish in this city, nor does losing his cool with clients when they make bad decisions. Only leaving the East Coast behind for three months can save his business reputation.

His exile in Seattle has unexpected upsides. Jon’s rented home has a garden where his true passions blossom. It’s overgrown yet idyllic—perfect if he didn’t have to share it with another tenant. Tyler might be as cute as hell, and their landlady adores him, but Jon can’t let himself fall for someone who seems lazy.

Three months could be enough time to see Tyler clearly, but choosing which to nurture long-term—love or a business career—might take Jon longer than one summer.

After he messes up with a client in New York, Jon is sent on a consulting gig to Seattle. Looking for a place to rent, Jon comes across a tiny apartment only has one thing going for it - the large garden. He decides to take the apartment, convinced by the garden, but also because he worries that the elderly landlady is being taken advantage of by another tenant - Tyler.

Jon and Tyler start off on the wrong foot. But as Jon learns more about Tyler, he finds that his early impressions were wrong. Tyler has a love for life that Jon hasn’t felt in years, and slowly Jon realizes that his life, both professional and personal, is less than perfect. But he’ll have to convince Tyler, who hasn’t had the best luck in love, to take a chance on him.

Early on, I had mixed opinions of both Jon and Tyler. Tyler was a bit of a mystery, because we only see him through the negative impressions that Jon has, from whose POV the book is told. But Jon wasn’t winning any points either, with his taciturn attitude.

It isn’t until Jon began spending time in the garden that I got to see what was behind the public corporate persona. As much as I dislike gardening in real life, I ended up enjoying when Jon was in his element, because he was able to let his guard down and let his worries fade away.


I’m a sucker for an opposites-attract romance, and Tyler and Jon are certainly two very different men. Jon is well-polished, career-driven, and pretty uptight at the beginning of the book. Tyler is more care-free, taking life as it comes, and chose his career because he loves what does, even if it doesn’t pay much.

The one thing that unites them is their care for Peggy, their elderly landlady. Jon and Tyler can put aside their mutual distrust for Peggy, and that’s the beginning of their relationship. I really liked seeing how their attitudes towards each other slowly changed, and how they revealed more of themselves to one another bit by bit.

Also, I was a big fan of Peggy and her not-so-subtle maneuvering after she decided that Jon and Tyler would be perfect for each other. She’s a sweet old lady who wouldn’t hurt a fly, but looks out for her boys.

This is a slow-burn romance, one that only builds in small increments as the book moves along. It was very sweet seeing Jon fall for Tyler little by little, and how his hope that Tyler would reciprocate grew. Tyler does eventually come around and give in to his heart’s desire, but it takes a while for him to get there.

By the end, there’s no question that Tyler and Jon are deeply in love, and are more than ready to build their future together.

While the romance was slow-paced, what really bogged the book down at times was the focus on Jon’s work. I just wasn’t a fan of all of the business planning and company politics, particularly because it was given so much page time. It distracted from Tyler and Jon’s relationship, so I could have done with much less of it.

Overall, ‘Must Like Spinach’ is an enjoyable read. If you’re looking for a slow-burn and low-drama romance, and don’t mind following an MC around in his place of work, I’d give this book a try.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Must Like Spinach by Con Riley

Check out Con Riley's Release Blitz of Must Like Spinach (we reviewed here), via Signal Boost Promotions and enter the giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of True Brit!

Con Riley - Must Like Spinach

Author: Con Riley

Release Date: October 21 2016

Length: 84,200 words

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 


Jon’s future in New York seems bright. He’s on the corporate fast track as an executive problem solver, but somehow he can’t help feeling hollow. Yearning for a life spent outdoors makes no sense if he wants to flourish in this city, nor does losing his cool with clients when they make bad decisions. Only leaving the East Coast behind for three months can save his business reputation.

His exile in Seattle has unexpected upsides. Jon’s rented home has a garden where his true passions blossom. It’s overgrown yet idyllic—perfect if he didn’t have to share it with another tenant. Tyler might be as cute as hell, and their landlady adores him, but Jon can’t let himself fall for someone who seems lazy.

Three months could be enough time to see Tyler clearly, but choosing which to nurture long-term—love or a business career—might take Jon longer than one summer.

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Author Bio

Con Riley lives on the wild and rugged Devonshire coast, with her head in the clouds, and her feet in the Atlantic Ocean.

Injury curtailed her enjoyment of outdoor pursuits, so writing fiction now fills her free time. Love, loss, and redemption shape her romance stories, and her characters are flawed in ways that makes them live and breathe.

When not people watching, or wrangling her own boy band of teen sons, she spends time staring at the sea from her kitchen window. If you see her, don't disturb her—she’s probably thinking up new plots.

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Review: Tempting Tristan (Harborside Nights #3) by Melissa Foster

Tempting Tristan is a stand-alone M/M romance featuring two sexy, lovable alpha heroes.


Fresh off the heels of yet another bad relationship, Tristan Brewer is taking a break from men to try to figure out where he keeps going wrong. He knows his biggest fault—he leads with his heart, not his head—and that’s never going to change. But after several introspective weeks, he’s beginning to get a handle on things. That is, until badass heartthrob Alex Wells walks into his bar...

Alex has spent eight years in the army, months in a hospital bed, and far too long hiding his sexual identity. He’s guilt-ridden, damaged, pissed off, and up for a Silver Star for the incident that nearly cost him his life—and kept him from his grandmother’s funeral. But all he wants to do is live the life he’s always dreamed of and forget his stint with the institution that allows but doesn’t necessarily accept.

The chemistry between Tristan and Alex ignites from the moment they meet, and the more time they spend together, the hotter the flames burn. But the closer they become, the more Alex's walls go up, and when the two walk onto a military base, Tristan finds out Alex’s physical scars aren’t the ones that run the deepest.

DNF - 41%

Melissa Foster is a new to me author who is dipping her pen into the m/m side of romance. It's obvious here the type of story she possibly writes as this opened up and read like a stereotypical new adult hetero romance. The story is also one of many in a combined series where characters show up with history that is mentioned but glossed over in the way that it felt was intentional to get you to read the other books. Maybe? I dunno. That’s just what I got. There are many instances where the reader is reminded that the MC’s are indeed men, are tough and yes, are gay. That they want to claim one another, even from women and the sheer amount of topping vs bottoming dialogue was enough to make my ass clench.

Oh Boy.

I don’t want to sound like a negative Nanny so I will keep this short. I think this could be one of those books that can bring a standard hetero romance reader over to the side of m/m and possibly was written for fans of the author. This just did not do it for me. I tried to just scratch my head and move on to find out how things would end up. Would Tristan take it slow after his past relationship and when would Alex open up about his past, his leg and really let himself properly grieve for the loss of this grandmother without guilt? I will never know but I do know that there are too many books to read to spend time forcing my way through one that doesn’t do it for me.

So... TULIP!

I’m safing out of this one.

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Review: Where We Left Off (Middle of Somewhere #3) by Roan Parrish

Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly.

For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries.

But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairy tale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.

Leo Ware is excited to leave small-town Michigan for college in New York City. An even greater pull to NYC is Will Highland - the man who stole Leo’s heart a year ago. Will seems happy to see Leo again, and the two quickly become friends. But Leo isn’t okay with just friendship - he wants to give in to the tension burning between himself and Will, and to make Will his.

However Will makes it clear that he doesn’t do relationships. Even when Leo becomes the most important person in his life, Will still doesn’t believe that he can be in a relationship, or that Leo will want to stick around for long. Leo sets out to prove Will wrong, to show him that they belong together.

Anytime a book is set in New York City, I’m automatically a bit more interested. There’s just something captivating about the Big Apple. Seeing the city through Leo’s eyes was a treat.

It was easy to love Leo. It would be hard not to! He’s adorable - kind, caring, friendly, and just a tad awkward. He jumps headfirst into his new life in NYC, making friends and enjoying the experience of the massive bustling city.

Will, with his ice cold exterior and standoffishness, took a bit more getting used to. However, his armour breaks off bit by bit as the book progresses, and we get to see the heart underneath all of the ice.

I wasn’t at all surprised that Will and Leo slowly became each other’s best friends. It’s undeniable that Leo and Will have had an emotional connection since they first met in book 1. They may have very different personalities, but they understand each other.

And an emotional connection isn’t all they had. The sexual tension between Leo and Will was killer. It takes them a while to give in to it, but Will and Leo finally do, it was very hot. Leo may have been a newbie to sex, but he was more than willing to take charge.

However, an emotional and sexual connection doesn’t necessarily mean that two people will work out as a couple. At the end of the day, Will and Leo have entirely different conceptions of love. Leo wants ever-lasting romance and monogamy, while Will thinks love is fleeting and monogamy is restricting. Up until the very end, Will refuses to commit to Leo, and hurts Leo multiple times. And I really can’t blame Will, because while his actions were often callous, he was always honest with Leo about what to expect.

I’ve read and enjoyed many romance books in which the couple agree to an open or polyamorous relationship and it works great for them, because both parties want the same thing. But that isn’t the case here.

And I think that’s the heart of the problem - this isn’t a romance between equals. This is a relationship between a man who’s too set in his ways and beliefs to change, and a boy who’s so desperate to hold on to his first love that he would agree to anything.

Will and Leo may have chemistry, but they don’t have what it takes to make it long-term. It’s possible that Leo may eventually share Will’s views on monogamy, or it’s also possible that Will may find that he’s okay with only being with Leo. But I don’t believe either of those things will happen.

I think Leo and Will are two very different people, which is completely okay, in very different stages of their lives and they’ll eventually go their separate ways. And that might be realistic, but that’s not what I look for in my romance reads.

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

Audiobook Review: Prince of the Playhouse (Love in Laguna #3) by Tara Lain

Driven by his desire to become a successful fashion designer and concerned with hiding his questionable past, Ru Maitland lets his obsession with action movie star Gray Anson on the big screen replace his social life. Then obsession and reality collide when Ru is asked to design fashion costumes for a special performance of Hamlet at the Playhouse in Laguna starring none other than Gray Anson. Gray turns out to be a compelling mix of shy and brash and, despite a high profile engagement to a female socialite, the signals Gray sends Ru have his libido doing the salsa.

Gray Anson has what most people only dream of—great wealth, huge fame, a job he loves. For that, he’s given up any semblance of privacy and the right to say no to the thousands of people who depend on him and the millions who love him. He sees everything he’s ever wanted just outside the bubble of his life, but how can he make the compromises needed to embrace it? When Ru’s shady past crashes into Gray’s paparazzi-haunted present, both men have to learn that sometimes the only acceptable compromise is the truth.

Narrator: K.C. Kelly
Listening Length: 8 hours 41 minutes

This book was better than I was expecting. Celebrities are a pretty tricky sub-genre to make work, especially ones where the main character isn’t able/doesn’t want to come out. After hearing a few other people's opinions on the book, I thought all the ‘expected’ drama was handled much better than I was expecting, however it definitely wasn’t one of the best celebrity stories I’ve read.

First let me touch on the narration, as this is meant to be an audiobook review :-P. K.C Kelly’s narration took some time for me to get used to, but it worked and I started to hear the characters in his voice. He certainly had an impressive range of character voices.

One aspect that I really struggled with was Ru’s inner-monologue. I’m assuming this would have been written in italics so it was easy to define what was spoken out loud or in his head. There are obviously no italics in audiobooks and I really struggled to figure out what Ru was actually saying out loud a lot of the time. The thing is while his narration worked, I had no desire to find reasons to continue to listen to this. It's hard to tell whether that was the story, or I just wasn’t captivated by the narration (I’m leaning towards the story), but it just wasn’t as good as other audiobooks I’ve listened too.

Ru, fabulous fashion designer and ex gang member, is obsessed with action star Grey Anson. Grey comes to Laguna Beach to perform a modernised stage play of Hamlet and there's an instant attraction between the two (well going on 3 years for Ru). Of course Grey can’t come out as gay man because it’ll ruin his career.

This had everything you think it’ll have: annoying managers, pretend girlfriends, press cover ups and hurt feelings. Like I said though, it wasn’t as dramatic as I was expecting. Both Grey and Ru were honest with each other and were both willing to do what it took to be together. This story didn’t contain bitterness on Ru’s part, which usually comes with being told to be a secret boyfriend. He thought about it, made the decision that he wanted to be with Grey regardless, and didn’t hold a grudge against Grey for that decision. While I still felt like Grey was too much of a doormat, he was constantly reassuring Ru he was most important and was continually trying to get rid of the ‘girlfriends’, and he never once kissed anyone other than Ru.

There was some ‘action’ drama with Ru and his gang connections which was OTT, but overall it was less than I was expecting, which I really appreciated. I guess this is a 3 heart and not 3.5 because it took me a month to listen to this story. It just didn’t grab me. It wasn’t bad, but wasn’t anything particularly special.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads

Review: Pendulum (Kingdom of Night #1) by L.C. Davis

Remus Black is still reeling from an abusive relationship that stripped him of everything -- including his desire for love. Now all he wants is a fresh start halfway across the country, but his new roommate is determined to draw him into his strange world of chains, half-naked men and the infamous Lodge, a BDSM club as lavish as it is secretive.

When Remus is entered into the Lodge's annual Alpha's Pet contest against his will, he finds himself thrown to the Wolf Pack, the very type of men he needs to avoid. What's worse is that the wolves immediately label him a submissive, something he swore he would never be again. Things get even stranger when "wolf" turns out to be far more literal than Remus ever imagined. When both the next-in-line for Alpha and his outcast brother claim Remus as their own, the entire pack is thrown into chaos.

Can Remus learn to embrace the power of submission and choose between the brothers before their rivalry tears the pack apart, or will the tension between them unravel his own sordid past?

A lot happened in this story which deviated from the blurb. Don’t get me wrong, what is in the blurb is definitely in the story, but there is so much more.

This intricately plotted out story seems to have many threads to follow. If you’re looking for a paranormal BDSM story, you will not find it here. Yes, there is some BDSM in a dungeon setting, but it seems to take a back seat to the broader story line. I wouldn’t even call this a BDSM erotica story. I would say that there is a minimal amount, and it really doesn’t have much to do with anything. It was a catch, to get Remus to where he needed to be. I think this could have been achieved another way, but obviously, this was the author’s choice. Once there, the story opened up into a world of Werewolves, Vampires, and the secrets buried deep within Remus’ mind. It was definitely a fascinating read. It certainly kept me in its grasp throughout. There were a few plot holes, and I didn’t really get a good image of what the werewolves looked like, but it was otherwise a good start to a series.

Gritty and a little bit dub-con, Remus has been caught between twins, both for whom Remus is their mate. This isn’t stated, but is pretty obvious from the beginning. I’m not giving anything away, I promise.

Remus’ personality grows into something more than the skittish human whom we first meet on his first day at a new university. He’s run from his abusive ex, and is understandably trying to regain his footing. Brought up in a revolving door of foster families, Remus second guesses himself often, is deeply scarred, both emotionally, and physically. With his meeting of his new classmate cum roommate, Sebastian, and Victor, this story turns into a maze of interconnectedness that made my mind spin at times, but showed that the author has a great imagination.

I enjoyed the development of Remus. I enjoyed the development of his friendship with Victor. I wasn’t totally convinced on his relationship with Sebastian. I didn’t really feel it. There was more time spent with Remus and Victor, and the development was much stronger. I’m more interested in how they progress through this series, and think that maybe Sebastian should look for someone else.

There are a few nice twists in this story, and I’m very interested in continuing this journey. There were some grammar issues, which I think needs a re-edit. They didn’t detract too much from the overall enjoyment of the story, but there were more than there should be, and it did pull me out of the story at times.

I would recommend this to those who enjoy Werewolf and vampire erotic love stories. This is a little darker and less fluffy than standard, which I prefer. A lot of the character’s have questionable morals. I like this grey area.

I will say, I need a bit more detail on the fundamentals of the pack, vampire politics, and overall world building, but I’m hoping those gaps will be filled along the way. There’ a nice blend of author’s imagination and common folklore to make this a unique reading experience.

Find more info on Goodreads!

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Slave Hunt (The Subs Club #5) by J.A. Rock

Clubhouse fave! J.A. Rock is her to promote an AMAZEBALLS book! See our review here!

Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and I’m touring the internet to talk about Slave Hunt, Book 5 in The Subs Club series. Thanks so much to the blogs that are hosting me on this tour, and be sure to leave a comment with your contact info for your chance to win a $15 Riptide Publishing voucher. 

About The Subs Club Universe

After the death of their friend Hal at the hands of an irresponsible dom, submissive friends Dave, Kamen, Miles, and Gould band together to form the Subs Club—an organization seeking to expose dangerous local doms. The club slowly evolves as romances blossom, loyalties are tested, and tensions mount in a community already struggling for unity in the wake of Hal’s death.

From domestic discipline to knife play to fashion paraphilia, and from family drama to new jobs to first loves, the members of the Subs Club explore life’s kinks inside and outside of the bedroom as they attempt to let go of the past and move forward.

Check out the universe at Riptide Publishing:

About Slave Hunt

Thirty people. Two hours. Only the strong will survive.

When Riddle decides to put on a slave hunt, the Subs Club is on board. Tops hunting bottoms in the woods with paintball guns? Yes. Captives strung up on whipping posts, at the mercy of their captors? Hell yes. But on the morning of the hunt, nothing’s going according to plan. Miles and Drix are at odds over Miles’s reluctance to move in together. Dave is determined to show up D, who thinks Dave won’t last two minutes in the woods. Gould finds himself torn between obeying his master’s orders and living out a longtime fantasy. And Kamen inadvertently becomes a double agent when he aligns himself with two different parties.

By the end of the hunt, alliances will be forged and broken, loyalties will be tested, relationships will be strengthened…and someone will barrel roll. Narrated by ten different characters, Slave Hunt tells the story of two hours in the woods that will change everyone forever. Or at least, remind them that love is the greatest victory of all.

Slave Hunt is available from Riptide Publishing:

About J.A. Rock

J.A. Rock has worked as a dog groomer, knife seller, haunted house zombie, standardized patient, cashier, census taker, state fair quilt hanger, and, for one less-than-magical evening, a server—and would much rather be writing about those jobs than doing them. A lover of m/m BDSM romance, J.A. lives mostly in West Virginia, and always with a beloved dog, Professor Anne.

To celebrate the release of Slave Hunt, one lucky winner will receive $15 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 22, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!