Review: Wild Summer by Suki Fleet

Stand Alone spin off to This is Not a Love Story. 

This is Crash's Story.

At fifteen, Christopher falls in love with a boy whose life he saves. But things go wrong and four years later, he wishes he'd acted differently. His conscience begins to haunt him and he knows he must find Summer again.

At seventeen, Summer pushes away the boy who saved him. Four years later, he is stuck in an abusive, damaging relationship. When he sees Christopher again, it's a sign he can't go on living like he is, but he can't begin to see a way out.

For either boy to stand a chance at happiness, they must find each other and obliterate the wrongs of their shared past.

It is no secret that This IS Not a Love Story by Suki Fleet is one of my favourite 2014 reads, so when the chance to read and review Wild Summer came in I jumped at the chance. A stand alone spin off from TINALS I was really excited about reading it...until nerves set in. What if it wasn't as good as the first book? What if I didn't like it....would that ruin my love for Julian and Romeo's story? I, of course, need not have feared. I LOVED it.

This book, though it has some very sad aspects to it, is not as harrowing as TINALS. Shorter and more compact than the first book, Suki writes a back and forth time-line that works really well. If you've read TINALS, this is Crash's story (if you haven't it doesn't matter this will in no way impair this story for you). We meet a younger Crash, before he's settled into life with his foster/adoptive family, we meet him when he falls in love. Of course it is not a simple, happy-ever-after love, not yet, and we follow Crash both in the present and in the past unravelling the story and finding out what happened before to him and what is happening now to him. It is a great way to read I always find, heightening the mystery, putting clues together.

Though this story does not have the earth moving shattering impact of TINALS, I feel it is worth every one of those five stars. Suki (like all my favourite writers) has wonderful characters in her books, characters to fall in love with. The story is interesting, the writing kept me hooked. Scenes are vividly sketched, each word needed and meaningful - IMO anyway. We see the troubled youngsters that are the stars of the story, but we also see the carefree boys they could be, if only life had dealt them a better hand. 

Summer especially has to make some downright difficult decisions - and the more life kicks him in the balls the stronger he stands. Until he can't any more. Until his strength wanes and his heart, his purpose, is taken away. I loved the way Crash becomes the unlikely saviour. I mean, we know from TINALS what he can do, but here we see him from a different perspective, we've seen some of the hardship he has faced himself and everything that he fights to retain some of himself and not give in to the hurt and pain. 

It's a great story, one YA lovers should most definitely read. I've said it before and I'll say it again - this is an author to watch for. There's magic in them there words she writes and I can't wait to read more from her.

Review: Broken Ink by Jack L. Pyke

Novel (112,000 words) Genre(s): Contemporary, Gay, BDSM

Carrying a tattoo on your skin no longer just comes with a risk of infection. Get the composition right, you have the latest mind-control drug on the market. It’s the sex-traders’ dream, or worst nightmare, depending on the concentrated dose of the ink—and just who’s wearing it. 

For Kiyen, the ink means he’s able to strip raw the minds of the best and worst of society. He’s one of MI7’s top killers and never more driven to select and take down a target. For Falen, the ink has ensured he’s spent his early years as a willing sex slave and low-grade empath. Hiding out in a small town and trying to bury the needs running through his body, Fal’s hoping to stay under the radar of MI7 and their specialist killers. But the ink itself has a mind of its own, wanting to ignite the natural dynamics driving a Dom and sub, so when Kiyen is forced into Fal’s small world, prejudice battles a pure need to touch. Only problem is: Kiyen’s on the run, and in a world where thought can be the worst crime of all, Fal’s in for a fight for his sanity to find out just what it is that’s making a young killer run for his life. (M/M)

What. A. Ride.
There should be t-shirts printed up that say, 'I've been Pyked.' and on the back, 'And survived… Sort of.' I'd buy one. 

My second Pyking was much the same as the first-entertaining, mind bending, kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat. Yeah, I needed a cocktail afterwards. What can I say? Pyke has a gift for mindfuckery. I formed and discarded so many theories I felt a little like my boy. 

Only less composed.

Now, it's well documented and partially accepted that I'm not the biggest fan of crazy trains. Thankfully, the saving grace of Broken Ink was the relationship between Yen and Fal was secondary. Broken Ink is much more a psychological thriller than a romance. I'm not going to try to explain the ink or this world that Pyke has developed because it should be experienced individually and there's a glossary. Seriously, anything that has a glossary to explain the terms and… you're on your own, kids. Suffice to say, Pyke gave me something I could sink my teeth into with covert government agencies, amnesia, possibly hallucinatory characters and freakish powers.

If these are triggers for you, you've been warned. I have a hard time with child abuse so I basically choked down the first three chapters (with a break), but they are vital to the plot. This alt-reality is complex with different levels of ink and powers associated with it coupled with deciphering what's truth from what's fabrication along with who knows and how much they know. Pyke weaves it all together skillfully with interesting characters. 

Yen is a survivor, though not particularly likable. He's cagey, standoffish and lacks compassion. He's also quick to anger and has a tendency to be ruthless when crossed even if  the "betrayal" is simply his perception. I suspect he's a genius but it's never confirmed. Why he reacts the way he does is completely understandable given his history and age. For him to have done otherwise would've been inconsistent with his character, but deep down he just wants someone to be on his side, to believe him, to be on #TeamYen, if you will. Why he latches on to Fal is still a mystery to me and Fal's history isn't all that much better making the two of them together… 

A couple of whackadoodles. Whackadoodles who like the word 'fuck' a little too much. Now, I'm a card carrying member of the 'Fuck is so Versatile' club, but there is such a thing as overkill. I was rolling with it as lending credence to their difficult childhoods/characterization up until the final scene where it entered ridiculous territory. There are over 500 instances of some form of the word in this book. My kindle maxed out on the fuck search. That's never happened before. Heavy handed? You decide. When it becomes a distraction during that important final scene and your readers start skimming I'd say that's not a desired outcome and I cuss like a sailor.

Why not 5 stars?

Aside from the couple things I've previously mentioned and shying away from spoilersville, I don't see the point of running; it doesn't make sense to me. There seemed to be consistenty issues with Yen's power/ink that never were explained other than them being anomalies which seemed like a cop out to me. There were sentences that I read three and four times that I couldn't make heads or tails out of not to mention SPaG errors and a couple of trivial continuity errors. But mostly it was the final scene. It dipped into melodramatic waters for me and seemed tidy, definite HFN territory here. 

Lest I leave you with the wrong impression, Broken Ink really is one helluva mind-bending, sci-fi thriller with a little bit of kink (mostly D/s in the consensual/erotic realm, dips into other areas in the non-con realm). Now, if you happen to like psychological thrillers with a couple of crazy train MCs you are going to feel like a kid at Christmas. Enjoy!

An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest opinion.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Guest Review: The Taming of the Hawk by Anne Brooke

When escaped prisoner Redallek Castonar goes on the run in the war-torn city of Tetranal, he finds himself in the pleasure-house of Councillor Jarrod Tetran. Unaware that Redallek has made a blood-promise with the rebel factions to kill him, Jarrod is instantly attracted to the man. Although Redallek is determined to complete his mission as soon as possible in order to gain his freedom, he quickly finds his new master to be full of surprises and not the man he expected.

Meanwhile, Jarrod is secretly planning to take the ruling Council captive, and to begin a negotiated peace with the rebel army. Even though such an act goes against all his family stands for, he is willing to risk everything to save the country he loves from destruction.

Both Redallek and Jarrod are determined to fight for freedom and peace, but in two very different ways. Will their differences drive them apart, or can they find a way to work together for the good of all? And, even if they do, will the passion springing up between them lead to victory or defeat?

Reviewed by Vivian 

Cry "Havoc!" And let slip the dogs of war.--Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Nice pace that is action-packed with an ongoing war, rebel forces, and a failing absolute power structure. When the lines are unclear there is plenty of room for questionable ethical and moral opportunities and it is no different in the city of Tetran.

Councilor Jarrod Tetran, one of three family members place in the oligarchy makes an unexpected acquisition amidst strategizing a new tactic for peace. Taking in the filthy, bedraggled, and hunted escaped slave, Red brings about consequences. His mercy reaps more than he could ever imagined.

Redallek is more than he seems. Once within the councilor's domicile he learns things that change everything--or do they? Competing allegiances and outcomes make his position tenuous.
"This stinks of massacre and not rebellion."
Nice subset of supporting characters from Jarrod's friend, Magron and his chatelaine, Bessani. Good depth portrayed via the storyline without detracting or slowing down the pace. The tone of the narration and characters is highly formal. I found this completely in keeping with the oligarchical characters, but less so with Redallek.

Social class division and power inequity is the main external conflict and when absolute power structures fail it tends to be rather spectacular. And it is by harnessing the power of spectacle that the peace plan has a chance of success when the lines drawn are so deep and are seemingly unretractable.

Finally, this has a romance. There is pain play between Jarrod and Red. It is consensual and while I wouldn't have minded a bit more detail; it was suited to the characters and the story. Since this was a short timeframe, I found the depth of attachment even if questioned by both parties a little suspicious. Nonetheless, I rolled with it because 90% of the story is action and subterfuge, not romance.

The conclusion of the story is wrapped up very quickly and in all honesty the events that are shown within a day or two would have stretched out longer in reality, especially the endgame. The furor of the heated moments were perfectly timed.

Overall, the uncertainty of no man's land during war is well portrayed with a budding romance on the side.

Favorite quote:
"It is when the hawk comes to you of its own accord that you know the beginning of its taming is true," Jarrod said softly.
For more information on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Review: Crying in the Rain by Debbie McGowan and Giveaway

For many years, Ade Simmons has been an outsider, trapped in an abusive relationship, seeking sanctuary in his job as a radio producer, and in the checklists he makes in an attempt to regain control of his sorry excuse of a life.

Actor Kris Johansson is patient, gentle and passionate—everything that Ade’s ex-boyfriend is not. When Kris takes a role in one of Ade’s plays, the attraction is mutual and instant. It is the turning point for Ade. He can either stay on the same path, with Fergus—the bully who has repressed, used and isolated him from his friends and family—or he can look in the other direction, towards Kris—the handsome actor with family and friends who readily accept him.

But Fergus will not give up his punchbag so easily—can Ade finally find the strength to fight back?


Some books just resonate with certain people, and this book was definitely one of them for me.

This review won't contain any spoilers because I don't want to give anything away.

Let's discuss domestic abuse. Actually, let's not, because this book seems to speak worlds of it for itself. Fuck, this was saddening. Domestic abuse isn't something that you can take easily. It's a silent killer in many people's lives, and sometimes people don't take it seriously enough. I've read a few reviews on this book that mentioned the cheating angle, and I can completely respect and understand why that's a no-fly-zone for some people, but to put your head in the mind of a character like Ade who's been so abused, and trying to rationalize each one of their decisions, would be impossible, for me, at least.

The romance in this book was very slow. I haven't read anything else by this author, but I thought the writing style was beautiful, and very easy to follow, which I needed for this kind of story. I liked both Kris and Ade, but Ade quite a bit more. I felt his pain. While I don't have any personal experience with domestic abuse, I do have people in my life who just can't seem to make the right, "rational" decisions that I want them to make. While Ade didn't do everything I hoped he would, I felt like that was needed because him and I obviously don't have the same kind of mentality. I learned to like Kris, in his own way, but it was a slower like for me. I have a type, and Ade definitely fit more neatly into that category for me.

The secondary characters in this book were very charming. Who wouldn't like Shaunna? She's smart, strong, and felt like a rock to me. Not every relationship is like mine. Not every situation is like one I've been in. If a couple says together they're going to peel two hundred bananas every Tuesday, mash them together, and wrestle in a kiddy pool filled with their innards, who am I to judge what works?

This book wasn't easy to read. I'm not as good with angst as I used to be. I tend to avoid angst lately, but I just read the blurb and knew I had to read this one. It tore me apart so many times. I went a little grey reading this, but I think it was well worth it. This story will break your heart, and keep in mind, that nothing good comes easily. You'll fight to love these characters, and you'll fight for them to do the right things and make the right choices.

It's really difficult to write this review and not give away spoilers or specific scenarios when I wanted to strangle people/kiss them/laugh at them, but this is my best attempt.

This was a great read, and I would highly suggest bringing along the tissues for this one. Yes, it was definitely hot in many parts, but the emotional strain it took on me resonated much longer. This story was beautiful, deep, and uniquely unlike anything else I've ever read. I can't wait for more people to love and enjoy it the way I have so that we can talk about it (and in all the ways we want to toss Ferg off a f'ing cliff).


Debbie McGowan has been kind enough to donate one copy of Crying in the Rain to one lucky reader!
To enter please comment below with:
1. Your name
2. Your email address
The giveaway will be on until December 15th, 10PM PST.
The winner of the contest will be contacted shortly after the draw has been made.

Review: The Fifth Son by Blaine Arden

A prince without power 

In a land where magic is commonplace, Prince Llyskel has none. He can’t command spells, he has never been taught to fight, and as the fifth son of the King, he will never rule. Everyone believes he’s a weakling, most of all himself. 

Powerlessness is Llyskel’s problem—and his pleasure. In his secret fantasies, the prince dreams of nothing more than finding himself helpless at another man's hands… particularly the hands of Captain Ariv of the Guards. 

Then Ariv makes Llyskel’s dream a reality, and as the powerless prince surrenders to the soldier’s desire, he finds his own true strength at last. But a web of royal politics is closing around Llyskel, threatening to tear him from his lover, and it will take all his newfound courage to escape…

 ___________________________ contains five shaded black-and-white illustrations by Yana Goya 

NOTE: This is the second revised/re-edited edition of The Fifth Son. It was previously published by Storm Moon Press.

This may sound like a cop out and it probably is, but I have a really hard time reviewing shorts. I love reading them, though so I'm hopeful that practice will make perfect. I get caught up in the cycle of, 'the world building could've been better' or some derivation thereof followed shortly thereafter by, 'but it's a short. Don't be a pill.' 

And on and on it goes.

I will say this little fantasy did surprise me with some kinky rope bondage and an unexpected fetish that I'll get back to shortly. The story is told from Llyskel's perspective. Llyskel is the fifth son and has been cursed with having no magical powers which may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but magical abilities are the primary means of protection. Thus, Llyskel was prevented from playing or training with his siblings because he was "helpless". Llyskel's all protected out and has taken to sneaking outside of castle grounds to paint and just be without the constant supervision of his protector, Neia. Llyskel's a sympathetic character having always being treated as fragile has taken its toll. Little does everyone know (including Llyskel) perhaps he didn't need to be treated like glass after all.

Even though I know this is a short I still think the world building could've been weightier. What are they harvesting? The harvest is mentioned multiple times, but I've no idea what they're harvesting. I know it takes place in fields but are we talking fields of barley or those fields in The Matrix? Big difference. Why do they need an armed force when they seemingly have no enemies? Why does Llyskel need constant protection within his own kingdom? Not to mention they all have magical powers which would make a military force redundant, right? I know some of these things should probably just be accepted as norms, but it would've been helpful to have them mentioned in context to flesh out this AU. Then again, maybe I'm just a picky pill.

The Fifth Son mainly focuses on Llyskel's relationship with Captain Ariv. Did I mention Llyskel's a ginger? A ginger with an… interesting kink. Naughty boy is full of surprises. Luckily for Llyskel Ariv knows just what a naughty boy needs. 

Did not see that coming but boy howdy did I enjoy that surprise. What's more that wasn't even the pièce de résistance! Not telling but I did squeal a teensy lil bit. Also, there are excellent illustrations. I kind of felt like a kid reading a picture book, but the illustration of the rope bondage… yeah, I looked at that for a long time (and possibly went back and looked at it again. Allegedly.)

This author is new to me and I liked this well enough to try another offering from her. I'd happily read something else from this universe. Llyskel has several brothers and Vik from Atan piqued my interest as well. It wasn't perfect but I like her writing style. Recommend for people who enjoy high fantasy with a touch of kink.

An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest opinion.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Author of the Month: Creature Feature 2 by Rhys Ford and Poppy Dennison

Two Men. One Apocalypse.

Rise of the Revenants:

Vampyres are on the loose in Detroit, and novice hunter Taz Cohen is on the job. The mission seems simple: stop the vamps. But Taz knows nothing about the mythical creatures, so he’s in for the fight of his life. Then he meets insanely attractive construction worker Darren Foster, who jumps into the battle with both feet. Sparks and bullets fly as they struggle against the vampyre horde and their attraction to each other. Avoiding gruesome death from the undead might be easier than shielding their hearts from each other.

Legacy of Blood and Death:

For Javi Navarro, Detroit will become another blood-splattered city in his rearview mirror after he puts its dead back into the ground. Expecting an easy hunting job, Javi instead finds a kiss of ancient vampyres on the hunt for a descendant of their long-dead creator. Reclusive Ciarnan Mac Gerailt abandoned his family legacy of blood and death magic after it nearly destroyed him. Unfortunately for Ciarnan, the Motor City can only be saved if he resumes his dark arts and joins forces with Javi Navarro, the hunter who brought the vampyre apocalypse—and hope for the future—straight to Ciarnan’s front door.

Prologue: The prologue is a smidge confusing at first and I really don’t think it’s just me. Although, it could totally be me, but I kind of doubt it. There are a couple of pages that set up the scene in the basement of the speakeasy, but you really don’t have any facts you can relate to just yet, so it was a bit of a mystery as to what was actually going down. In the next bit we meet the MC’s of the two upcoming stories, Taz and Javi and learn their roles in Creature Feature 2. After you read their setup, go back and read the first couple of pages again and you’ll be good. Basically, Taz and Javi are looking for two dudes, the descendants of a couple of mages who they believe the revenants will flock to now that they’ve escaped out into the world.

Rise of the Revenants by Poppy Dennison

Wow, what a ride. A horrifyingly bloody and really super fun ride. I’m not a fan of sparkly-Dom-hero-type vampires and there is NOTHING like that in Rise of the Revenants. These are the kind of vampirical creatures I like. Single minded and zombie like, these guys are a nightmare. They aren’t vampires, they’re vampyres. The “y” is evil. Taz Cohen is a werewolf hunter, but he’s called in to help with the epic infestation of Detroit. The whole city is in danger and no one really knows what flavor apocalypse is coming, just that it’s gonna be a doozy if Taz and Javi can’t stop it yesterday.

The sites where vampire activity is the strongest have one thing in common and that commonality leads Taz to meet Darren. Darren is an electrician’s apprentice recovering from a broken heart and is just a really nice guy. Darren and Taz have some serious sparks between them, but a vampyre apocalypse isn’t optimal to begin a new relationship. Doesn’t mean they can’t release a little tension in the meantime though. We all enjoyed that.

All kinds of action and mayhem ensue and it was a tense and engaging read. I had a lot of fun reading how Taz, Darren and the crew battled the baddies. It did get a little confusing at times and I think for me it was just because there were a lot of characters introduced in a short period of time and given the length of the story I didn’t get a chance to get them all settled in my head before we were under attack again. The wrap up was quick and I would have liked more resolution for Taz and Darren. I was told they were going to be happy, I just didn’t get a chance to see it. I liked both characters a lot and I wanted that for them.

Legacy of Blood and Death by Rhys Ford

You know who writes some great fucking horror stories? Rhys Ford, that’s who. I love the demented shit that flows from her keyboard and Legacy of Blood and Death was no exception. The vampyre<-----heed the horror of the “y”, hunt continues and now we’re getting Javi’s half of the tale. Javi’s story runs concurrently with Taz’s, so a lot of bad is going down at one time in Rock City and if these two can’t figure out how to stop it with the help of the mage’s descendants then apocalyptic type hell will be raining down on the city in the form of bloodthirsty vampyres.

Ciarnan is a “reformed” blood mage who quit magic when some bad shit went down and he lost everyone near to him, everyone except for Shaddock, his dark fae sidekick. She was wounded badly and Ciarnan sacrificed his own healing to save her. After that he gave up the addictive and destructive nature of the magic and lived a quiet life with Shaddock and Elric, his ever patient wolf/dog protector. There isn’t a lot of detail about what happened to make Ciarnan quit. There was enough information inferred so I knew enough to understand why. I would have liked to read about it though. Rhys Ford writes epic horror battles (Hellsinger anyone?) so I know it would be a goodie.

Javi tracks down Ciarnan and he’s nothing like Javi expected. He’s not evil, he’s slightly broken and he’s hot like the noon day sun. As expected and much like Taz and Darren, sparks fly, but these two also have their hands full trying to stop the onslaught of vampyres. Remember that this is going on at the same time as Taz’s story, so they have no idea how many vampyres are still loose so there is always an air of tension and doom even after a vampyre goes down. They manage to find some comfort while they gear up for the showdown, and I was a big fan yet again. Said showdown was bloody and gory and scary and I LOVED it.

Epilogue: I’m really glad there was an epilogue to bring the four men together at the end. Our MC’s live to fight and love another day and plans are made for the future.

This was an excellent pair of horror stories and you definitely need to know that they are horror stories before you dive in. There is romance, but when doom and a possible apocalypse are hanging over your head it’s hard to start a romance in the traditional sense. So, keeping that in mind I want you to be able to appreciate what great stuff is in here without looking for what isn’t. I completely enjoyed the whole package and would highly recommend it for a unique take on all things horrific and sexy.

Check out more info on Goodreads or Booklikes!

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

Review: This Other Country (More Heat Than the Sun #4) by John Wiltshire

Nikolas is the sanest, straightest, person he knows, so can anyone tell him, why he's on a gay therapy course?

Nikolas Mikkelsen could make a very long list of unpleasant things he's endured in his life. Then order it from 'nearly killed me' to 'extremely horrific and don't want to do again'. And what did it say about his forty-five years that being hit by a tsunami would be a considerable way down this list? But nothing, not torture, imprisonment, nor starvation has prepared him for what he now has to endure for Ben Rider's sake-attendance on a residential, gay therapy course. At least he has a new contender for the top spot on his 'my awful life' list.

You are going to L.O.V.E This Other Country

Of course, I'm assuming you've read the first three (which you definitely need to do first)

If that's a go, then I'm also going to assume that you love Nik & Ben (<- accurate. Has to be.)

This was more fun and lighthearted than what we're used to. Now, when I say fun and lighthearted, I'm still talking about Nik and Ben. There was still suspense and crazy shenanigans, but there was a different feel to it this time. For starters, I wasn't in agony over their relationship. There were leaps and bounds made between Nik and Ben in book 3 (still swooning over those instances, big time) and they continued in that direction. The suspense wasn't as nerve-wracking here. The story was a little slower and there was some suspense, just not action-packed. And, of course, it was funny. The humor was intricately woven into the plot and dialogue. It's almost like an inside joke, the more I get to know the characters, the funnier their banter and dialogue becomes because I totally get them now. It's like I know Ben and Nik.  

So this one's a little different. The focus shifted a bit.

The focus was mostly on Ben and Nik and their crazy, romantic, all-consuming, obsessive love.

Sound perfect? Yeah, I thought so. 

They discover that something funny is going on with a gay couples counseling retreat. People are going and not returning when they should, or worse, ending up dead. Ben and Nik are on it. They plan to go check out this course, disguised as a gay couple. Yup. They are 'pretending to be gay.' Nikolas is especially adamant that he's not gay. He will tell you all day long that he's not gay. And then go to bed with Ben and do all sorts of deliciously dirty things. It was an added bit of humor and it's always fun to laugh at Nikolas's expense. But there were some realizations and even more declarations that are sure to make fans very, very mushy and gushy inside.

Like I said, this is a More Heat Than the Sun book, so it wasn't all fun and laughs. Expect to yell some 'holy shizballs' and 'OMG's' throughout the second half. It should have been horrible. It should have been heartbreaking. At times, it was. But Ben and Nik gravitate towards each other. What they have is obsessive and controlling and, most likely, insane, but it's also natural, and just plain meant to be. In the end, what happened was so perfect. It changed them even more. Made what they shared even better. Is that even possible? Apparently so.

I can't wait for the next installment. Can't. Wait. What else could they go through? How much more could they possibly take?

Most importantly: How much deeper do we get to delve into their to-die-for romance?

Find out more info on Goodreads!

A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Author Visit & Giveaway!: Keira Andrews

Keira Andrews is here to talk about her upcoming figure skater, holiday novella (seriously great combo, right?), Holding the Edge! Plus, there's a GIVEAWAY!

Spend the holidays with sexy skaters!
Thanks so much to Boy Meets Boy for having me to talk about the new sequel to my figure skating romance Cold War. Misha and Dev are back in Holding the Edge, and they’re trying to make their secret relationship work in the real world. With their competitive days behind them it should be easier, right? Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans…
This novella takes place as Christmas approaches, and Misha is missing his Russian holiday traditions. My friend Tatiana generously served as my Russian translator and cultural educator for both books. I’d known that in Russia Christmas is in January, but I hadn’t been aware that New Year’s is such a huge holiday. Many Russians have a New Year tree, and give presents on December 31st and January 1st. Says Tatiana of the tree: “New Year tree is decorated pretty much in the same way as a Christmas tree. In the past the top decorations were stars or spire-like glass ornaments, but in the 21st century angels are often used as well.”
Their Santa Claus is called Ded Moroz (Father Cold/Frost), and his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Girl/Maiden) often accompanies him to New Year’s parties to give gifts.

Christmas is January 7th because the Orthodox church celebrates religious holidays by the Julian calendar. It’s more of a religious holiday, but it’s also a big day. Christmas Eve is called Svyatki. Traditionally on this day young women use a mirror and candles to see the reflection of their true love in the mirror. (Awww.)
But the holidays don’t end there! Russians also celebrate “New Year Old style,” the Julian calendar New Year, on the 13th of January. According to Tatiana, “their winter holidays usually last non-stop from the 1st to the 13th of January.” And I thought our Christmas holidays went on for a long time!
You can see why Misha feels homesick at the holidays even though it’s sadly not safe for him to go to Russia since he’s gay. Will Dev give him a New Year’s in their new home to remember?

Gay figure skaters keep their relationship secret—and end up on thin ice
Misha Reznikov has an Olympic gold—and a secret lover who just happens to be the silver medalist. Now that their competitive days are over, Misha and former rival Dev Avira are setting up house in LA and giving their relationship a shot in the real world. They agree that keeping their romance strictly under wraps is best for their pro careers and Misha's family back in Russia. So what if Dev hasn't told his parents, and they never eat out for fear of being spotted? It's not perfect, but they're together.

But as they prepare for a special holiday skating show on Christmas Eve in Dev's hometown, tension builds. How long can Misha and Dev keep their love secret—and what happens if one of them wants to stop hiding?
Celebrate the holidays with Misha and Dev:

About Keira Andrews:

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, "The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means."

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Keira Andrews is graciously giving away an ebook copy of a back list title! To enter please leave (1) your name and a way of contacting you (email, twitter, goodreads, etc) and (2) are there any traditions you and your family have during this holiday season? We'd love to hear about them!

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Review: Cold Feet by Jay Northcote

Best friends snowed in together. When the heat rises, will they get cold feet?

Getting snowed in at a remote cottage in Wales with someone he’d fancied for ages isn’t exactly how Sam expected to spend Christmas. His feelings for Ryan are pointless. Ryan’s straight—or so he thought.

Until now, Ryan’s kept his feelings for Sam buried. Why ruin a friendship over what might only be gay experimentation? Playing it cool seems safer, until a cold snap makes sharing body heat vital. In their Welsh safe haven, anything seems possible.

As Ryan’s reserve melts away, Sam wants more than stolen kisses under the mistletoe. But a sudden thaw means making decisions. They could face the New Year together—unless one of them gets cold feet.

Cold Feet is sure to give you the warm and fuzzies this season.

Ryan and Sam are besties and have been secretly crushing on each other for years. Around the holidays they end up snowed in at a cabin, in the middle of nowhere. They really have nothing to do but hang out, play games and play in the snow. 

Oh, and they cuddled! I am such a sucker for cuddles. And the cuddling turned the already-there-tension up way high. 

That's what I like most about friends to lovers stories. There's always a massive amount of tension and great chemistry. Cold Feet definitely had all of that. I was so ready for them to just kiss already! Gah. But when they did... mmm... the wait made it extra sweet.

The Conflict was a big misunderstanding, and I'm ok with those. Not great, but ok.  Both Ryan and Sam had the same misunderstanding and that was a little too much for me. It tipped the annoying scale out of their favor. I get it, they were unsure about things, but c'mon! At least try and talk before jumping to conclusions. 

The cuddles and the cute outweighed my one, tiny gripe. This was my first Jay Northcote and it certainly won't be my last.

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A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.  

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