Review: Moment of Impact (Moments in Time, #1) by Karen Stivali

Outside Collin Fitzpatrick’s dorm room is a dangerous place. Beyond his door the students of his small, conservative college think he’s straight, as does his Catholic family who'd disown him if they learned the truth. Inside, he’s safe with his incredibly sexy roommate Tanner D’Amico. Their room makes a perfect place to hide away and fall in love. The moment they cross the line from roommates to lovers, Collin becomes caught between their heavenly passionate encounters and the hellish reality that someone might find out and destroy everything. Tanner's not used to being so confined, and wants to show the world how much he loves Collin. But Collin’s not sure he’s ready for the impact stepping outside will make.






I can speak for only myself, but I'm wary of MF writers who suddenly start writing MM Romance. I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm nobody's gatekeeper. But I am a frustrated reader when I see bad, telly MF writing that gets refurbished into a MM package. They are popular (good for you if you love them) but they can't fool me. I'm like a bloodhound when it comes to this type of writing after reading however many books in the romance genre (of the MM and MF variety).

This book passes my test.

A MF writer who has the chops to write a decent New Adult, MM Romance.

Not without a few issues (that last 15% or so - I'll get to that) but the main characters read like...boys! With penises!


It read like a typical MM romance which made me happy to read. And I plan on reading the next in the series. Probably will check out the author's other stuff, I liked her writing style that much.

Collin Fitzpatrick is 20, tightly inside the closet. He was raised by a strict Catholic who instilled fear and guilt for thinking about anything remotely sexual in him and his other two brothers.  He lusts for his hot roommate, Tanner D'Amico, who is100% straight in Collin's eyes, since he's watched him hook up with a girlfriend every Monday night. But the last Monday night, Tanner showed up girlfriend-less to their dorm room. And whipped his dick out to masturbate in front of Collin. This was the stroke to change everything.

This novella has a lot of sex packed in it, mostly of the frottage , blowjobs and handjobs variety. But it was a nice change to not read about butt sex. Collin's too repressed and guilty for that. I liked the pace of how the two boys progress in their relationship. I loved the guilt Collin felt. I loved that he felt wrong for masturbating, he had hang ups and questioned himself and the things he did with Tanner. Maybe the whole masturbation thing can be argued but I get where Collin was coming from. Being raised in a religious household isn't easy. Not having a few hang ups is closer to a miracle than not.


Tanner is bisexual, more of a free thinking spirit since he grew up way differently that Collin. He was like Collin's friend and guide into finally exploring that side of himself he's been dying to explore. The main characters are in their early 20's and they read age appropriate. The plot was believable enough.

Was it overly deep or prolific? No. I was a little nervous this was going to end up being a drawn out PWP in the beginning (I think the first sex scene was a smidge long - just a bit) but as I read I got to learn more about Collin's background. I hope in book 2, there is more of Tanner's background introduced. We get enough of the backbones that make Tanner tick, but I'd like to read his parents. See him in his stomping grounds maybe.

The last 15% or so got a little dramatic, I don't see Collin's first big step being done as soon as it was. For a kid who is super repressed...that was a major step. I guess it can be argued he was kind of forced to take that step, but something about it read too fast, too soon.

Liked this story a lot. Want more of this series. I need resolution. The story ends with a HFN-ish/ probable HEA in the future ending. Thankfully, I won't have to wait too long for book #2. I do hope this isn't going to be one of those dragged out series but I'm along for the ride for now.

For more information on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Review: Copping an Attitude (Sin City Uniforms #2) by Morticia Knight

Vegas is filled with human cast-offs, yet officer Parker McLean sees something special in hustler Slade Wolfgang. Unfortunately, so does Slade’s pimp who wants to sell him overseas in the sex trade.

Hustler Slade Wolfgang has little choice over his fate. At the age of twenty, he’s had to survive any way he can since being thrown out of his home for being gay. As soon as he hit Vegas, Slade was lured into the hopeless world of prostitution where he’s become a virtual prisoner to his pimp, the ruthless Julio Estevez. His evil keeper has even threatened to sell Slade overseas as a sex slave.

It’s another typical night on the Strip when Parker comes across Slade. His heart breaks every time he sees someone so young being exploited. Something in Slade’s eyes tells Parker the young man might be in real trouble though—especially after the recent spate of sex worker killings from a rival prostitution ring.

The two men’s lives become intertwined when Slade is almost beaten to death. The danger grows, but so does the relationship between Parker and Slade. Parker helps Slade to heal from the horrific attack and their bond deepens. But the human traffickers are still out there - and they’re still looking for Slade.



Reading Morticia Knight is like munching on a bag of potato chips. I can't have just one and I can't stop until it's all gone. Plus, I love me some rent boys so, naturally, I gobbled Copping and Attitude right on up.

Slade is working the streets when he gets chased down by Parker, which of course scares the crap outta him, since Parker is a cop.  He's not so much scared of Parker as he is of the consequences he'll face from his pimp if he's caught.

Parker is instantly drawn to Slade. He sees something in him that he wants to get to know and he also sees someone who needs help. He can tell that Slade doesn't want to be stuck in this lifestyle, but there might not be a way out. Or, Slade can't see a way out at least.

They have a couple chance (and not-so-chance) meetings throughout the beginning. There was a strong build up of both guys before they got together, so I was definitely ready for them to happen.

A very unfortunate event finally brought them together, but that's when Slade started to really let down his guard and Parker moved right on in.  Parker was so perfect for Slade, almost too perfect, but I let it slide because he was so darn sweet. He was patient and kind and exactly what Slade needed. Slade was a pain in the ass, but it's to be expected given his lack of experience with true affection.

There's something so accessible about Morticia's writing. It's easy and sexy and a little fluffy. Like I said, Parker was way perfect and things were on the lovey-dovey-mushy side, but I read this in just about one sitting. And, in this household, that's definitely saying something! It's a hot little treat, the perfect antidote to a stressful day. It'll leave you with a happy sigh and a smile.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads!

Giveaway and Review: No Big Deal by Danni Keane

Still reeling from his father’s death and stuck in a job he hates, the only moments of happiness in Josh Roberts's life are those he spends with his boyfriend, Bradley. The boys are inseparable, and when they lose their virginity together, Josh feels closer to Bradley than he ever imagined.

But Josh’s mum, proud of her son and his biggest supporter, expects Josh to go to university after his year off. He doesn’t want to disappoint her by telling her he’s changed his mind, and struggles to find a solution.

When Bradley moves in with Josh and his mum, Josh truly believes life can be perfect again. But before long, their still-fragile feelings of connection and intimacy are tested when Bradley becomes secretive and distant. Anxious and confused, Josh is desperate to find out why Bradley is rejecting his affections. Bradley finally opens up, but what he reveals will change every aspect of their young love and quite possibly the rest of their lives.

Lori's Review:




What can I say - I loved this book. J and I are both Danni Keane fans so decided to buddy review this. I frankly just love this author's style, she writes in a straight forward way, introduces fabulous characters and manages angst without wallowing in it unnecessarily - it all adds to the story.

This story of first, true love, is wonderful. Since his dad died, Bradley has become the centre of Josh's world. In fact they were the centre of each other's worlds, time together is everything. God I can remember that feeling so well. Seventeen years down the line it's different, not less, just different, but I can clearly remember those days when being apart was awful, where every feeling I had was so intense. My world revolved around Big G - right or wrong, it did - and so I can completely understand how Josh and Bradley felt about each other.

The thing Danni Keane manages so well is to write about real life, without it being boring. Well,obviously it's fiction but it's real. I can utterly relate to the characters. Being a Brit too may help, as I recognise the actions and traits and they have a feeling of familiarity about them - the Christmas scene, yes, a million times yes. THAT is Christmas.

She manages to write that fine line between mundane/real without ever tipping into boring. I adored Josh, I loved his slightly selfish edge. Not horribly selfish just eighteen selfish. I'm in love selfish. I lost my dad selfish. In many ways he was all about protecting himself and his emotions. His love for Bradley just gave me goose-pimples, and his worries and fears, I felt them all.

Josh's mum is also one of my favourite characters. She is just...perfect in a completely unperfect normal way. I want to be just like her! She rocked. His sister is also a fab character and I liked the insight into her life and marriage. Don't judge a book and all that.

Bradley. Bradley was just right for Josh. and I can see how he was trying to hide his fears, trying to protect Josh, trying to deny that anything could be wrong. Sometimes you can have all the logic in the world but feelings don't correlate.

This story was just brilliant. The writing style thoroughly appeals to me and I don't think there was one thing about it I didn't like. Highly recommended.



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Justin's Review:




I’ll admit I was pumped to read this book. I’ll also admit to being a Danni Keane fan. My expectations were high but I was optimistic. Pfft, I should have known. Danni nailed this one! I’m talking ‘knocked it out of the park’.

"No Big Deal" is the continuation of Josh and Bradley’s story. It picks up right where "Not Letting Go" left off. If you’re not familiar with the series “Sunshine and Buttercups (Not Letting Go 0.5)” & “Not Letting Go (Not Letting Go #1)” precede this story. The new edition combines both of those stories into one book; “Not Letting Go”. It’s FREE on Smashwords and ARe. Although "No Big Deal" could be read as a standalone I think you’d enjoy it much more if you had the backstory provided in “Not Letting Go”.

Danni Keane can write a kick-ass romance. Her characters immediately work their way into your heart and you are drawn into their lives. You feel their love for each other and you feel their struggles like they are your own. The struggle here are "real" & relatable and are not overly dramatic like some YA/NA books tend to be. There’s a bit of angst but it’s not overkill and it does not drag on and on.

Something else you should know about Danni Keane is that she does not shy away from sex in her stories. Our MCs are 18 in “No Big Deal" so sex is definitely on their minds. It’s not the focus of the story but it does play a role in it. Everything on the page is done tastefully, seems real & age appropriate and makes you squirm just a tad.

The supporting characters in “No Big Deal” are just that, supporting characters. This is especially true of Josh’s mum and sister. They meddle just enough and it’s done with love and concern not to create drama.

Danni lives across the pond and it’s evident in this book. The setting is very British and the writing is too. That’s NOT a bad thing and in fact was part of the charm of this story.

If you haven’t read “Not Letting Go” what are you waiting for, it’s Free! I’m serious, go read it NOW. Then go purchase your copy of "No Big Deal". It’s romance done right!



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Danni is kindly offering up an e-copy of "No Big Deal" to one lucky winner. The drawing will take place on Friday, February 20th. Please comment below & remember to leave a way for us to contact you (e-mail, twitter, facebook etc). Good Luck!

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

Find more info on Goodreads

Author of the Month: Interview with Mary Calmes


O.M.G Mary Calmes has graced us with an interview!! Ever wanted to know more about our February Author of the Month? How about her choise of main character names? Or how to pronounce her last name? Or what her fave character that she has written is? 
 


Find all of that and more, as the unicorns hot MC with the hard hitting questions, for fans, from fans!


How do we pronounce your last name? Does it rhyme with palms? Or is it Cal-mees? Or Cal-may?
It’s pronounced like the last one, Cal-May. I love that everyone asks, it’s so sweet.

Do you have any favorite music you listen to while you write? What would be an example of a Calmes' playlist?
It really depends. When I wrote AMOT there was a lot of trance music, lots of Sneaker Pimps, Darude, Stunt, Massive Attack, Gramatik, Polica, Thievery Corporation, Zero 7 and bands like that. For The Warders, for some reason there was a lot of Nina Simone, and Melody Gardot.  I just finished the very last Change of Heart book and that playlist was a lot of Nick Drake, Alexi Murdoch, Tom Odell, Kristina Train, One Eskimo, Erykah Badu and Leela James. So really, it depends on the story. When I wrote Just Desserts, since it was set in NOLA, I listened to a ton of Jazz. The story definitely sets the tone.

If you could have a drink with any book's fictional character who would it be? Why?
I would drink with Tess from Tess of the D'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy. I would get her drunk, stuff her in my car, and drive her to San Francisco and enroll her in college. I want to fix her life. I have wanted to fix it since the 7th grade when I finished that book and whizzed it by my Dad’s head. I was so pissed. It’s why I write romance that ALWAYS has a HEA. But so yeah, Tess.

What would be something we'd be surprised to know about you?
I cannot use a ruler. Not even kidding. No measuring of any kind. Rhys Ford was trying to teach me to cook, the whole how many cups in a quart thing, forget it. My phone tells me these things. I need it to measure. Maybe there’s an app.

•What is your favorite word? Least favorite?
Ubiquitous, also unctuous, two terrible traits if combined I would think. And my least favorite is stupid probably because it was banned in our house when I was growing up. My father hates that word and passed it on.
  
Funniest thing a fan's ever said to you?
I had a fan write me that she wished more people would die in my books because she liked to cry. That was awesome. I suggested some Amy Lane books to her and we’ve had lovely correspondence since then.

•How do you pick your characters' names?
Oh don’t get me started. I have this whole thing I do because for me, one character has to have a fancy name, and one the plain one. Like Sam (boring) and Jory (fancy). Jin (fancy) and Logan (there are a zillion Logans). Or Linus (which is very boring) and Arman (which is definitely not). I could never have a Garegin in love with Lucius for example. It would need to be Garegin and Ted. Or Garegin and Mike. I like the idea of the butterfly character and the grounded, rooted tree. I also try and not have the character’s first and last names begin with the same letter. So like Miro Jones would have never been Miro Miller. It’s weird but I’m very conscious of it. I think it comes with being a pantser. The names are where I start. I labor over the names and then I just go. The names are the most important things. 

•Who's your favorite new author you've discovered in 2014?
Charlie Cochet. I read the first Thirds book and was hooked. I have them all in paperback.

•Do you have a favorite character you've ever written? Who and why?
My favorite is Jory because he was the first with his great big heart and no-filter personality and he remains forever joyful.

•Any upcoming projects we can look forward to this year?

So far, Quiet Nights will be out Monday the 9th of February, then in April my cookbook story, Just Desserts; will be released in the Tales of the Curious Cookbook that I was lucky enough to work on with Amy Lane, Amber Kell, Marie Sexton and RJ Scott. Sultry Sunset, the 3rd Mangrove book will be out in Mid-May, Forging the Future, the last Change of Heart book will be out in June, and in August, my next marshal book and Jory and Sam’s wedding novella. There are more afterwards that will be out this year but I’m just not certain of the order.  Everything is on my desktop looking at me. I imagine all my characters in limbo, just waiting. 


We'd like to thank Mary Calmes, now unicorned as Orchid Dapple Horse forever and ever!
Orchid Dapple Horse - Orchid is as wild and untamed as a desert horse. She is a dappled beauty, and she chases the nightmares away.

Guest Post: Keira Andrews



We have the lovely Keira Andrews here with us today! She's going to talk San Fran, some #AmishAngst, plus an excerpt from her newest (and amazing, I might add) A Clean Break.

In A Clean Break, the sequel to A Forbidden Rumspringa, young Amish men David and Isaac have left their families and entire way of life to be together. After journeying across the country to San Francisco to live with Isaac’s older brother, they have to assimilate to a new world.

One of the struggles they face is technology. Forget smart phones—a rotary phone would be new for them! The learning curve is steep, and they’re able to figure out new technology with varying degrees of success. As you’ll see in the excerpt below, even having their picture taken is a novel experience.

I was thrilled to visit San Francisco this past summer and really get a feel for the smells and sounds. In this excerpt, David and Isaac go to Fisherman’s Wharf. When they stand at the end of the pier, this is the view to the left leading to the ocean (you can see the Golden Gate Bridge), and the view to the right of Alcatraz.



Hope you enjoy this peek at David and Isaac’s new life. Have you ever been to San Francisco? What was your favorite sight?

~

David wanted to take Isaac’s hand when they moved away and strolled the rest of the pier, but something still held him back. There were others around, and what if some of them didn’t like gay people? Aaron and Jen said San Francisco was one of the most welcoming cities in the world for people like them, but it didn’t seem possible for everyone to feel like that.

What if they held hands and it offended someone? What if they made someone angry? It didn’t seem worth it. He tried to remember the term Jen had used. Ah yes—PDA. Public display of affection, she’d called it. The notion was absolutely foreign to him even if she said it was okay.

Isaac inhaled deeply. “I love being by the water. The way it smells and feels. It’s so dry back home. And I love how no matter which way I look, there’s something new.”

It was true—Alcatraz rose from the bay to the right, and the Golden Gate Bridge soared to their left with the ocean beyond. Behind them was the city, its buildings seeming to go on forever. “Is the ocean like you’d dreamed it would be?”

Isaac’s eyes shone as they reached the end of the pier and leaned against the thick wooden rail. He nodded to the left, where the bay gave way to the waves of the Pacific. “When I look out there, it’s like how you said you feel when we’re together. That anything is possible. And it is—look at us! Two Amish boys by the ocean. I wish I could jump in and swim.”

A shudder of dread slithered through David as he imagined the depths of the water. They’d have never found Joshua there. He drew Isaac closer with his hand on his elbow, but kept his tone light. “I think it would be a little cold.”

“Just a little, I suppose.” Isaac reached into his coat pocket. “But here, stand with the water behind you. I want to take a photograph.” He pulled out his new phone and tapped the screen. “Can you believe phones are cameras too? They’ve thought of everything.”

David stood with the rail at his back. “I guess this will be my first picture.”

Isaac glanced up from the screen. “Is that okay? I like all the pictures Aaron and Jen have, and the ones hanging in June’s house. It’s nice to look at people. It doesn’t seem wrong, does it?” He bit his lip. “But maybe we shouldn’t.”

“No. We should. It’s forbidden by the Ordnung, but what isn’t? We left that life. We can do what we want now.” He wished he felt as confident as he sounded.

Isaac smiled softly. “I suppose it’s no more wrong than everything else we’re doing. Now I just need to remember what Aaron said about…hold on…”

David waited while Isaac tapped and slid his finger over the screen with his brows drawn together. Aaron had added them to his phone company account, and gotten them Apple phones for free since they were apparently older models. They were plenty new as far as David and Isaac were concerned.

David’s was still in its box in their room since he and Isaac hadn’t gone out without each other yet. The electric appliances in the house were enough for him to navigate at the moment. Even the stove was a mystery of buttons on a screen, and something called induction. Not that he’d used the stove in Zebulon. But at least he could have. He knew how to use electric tools, and the fridge at June’s had just plugged in. Everything else seemed daunting.

“Ready.” Isaac held up his phone, his tongue poking out between his lips in concentration.

With his head up straight, David stood motionless, his hands at his sides. He was wearing one of the new pairs of jeans that were “relaxed,” although with his briefs on he was still rather constricted. Maybe he needed to try the boxers tomorrow.

“You’re supposed to smile. You look as if Deacon Stoltzfus just showed up at your door.”

David did smile at that, even though the pit of his stomach clenched like a fist at the thought of the deacon’s beady eyes and stony face. After they’d pulled Deacon Stoltzfus’s daughter from the river with Joshua, David couldn’t remember ever seeing the man smile. But he vividly recalled his thunderous expression as David had said no to the church.

“Do you want one of the both of you?” an older woman asked. Nodding shyly, Isaac handed her the phone and joined David. Their shoulders brushed together, and they stood still. Holding his breath, David lifted his lips in a smile and waited. Does she think we’re gay? Does she know we are? Does she care? 

The woman raised her eyebrows. “Come on now—try to look like you’re having fun and not lining up for the firing squad. Should I make the faces I do for my grandson?” She stuck out her tongue and went cross-eyed.

They both laughed, and David breathed easily again.

“That’s the ticket.” She handed the phone to Isaac. “Got a good one there.”

After thanking her, they peered at the picture on the screen. They weren’t just smiling--their faces were alight with laughter. David stared at the image. “Wow,” he whispered. “Look at us.” In their English clothes and short haircuts, it was hard to believe it had only been ten days since they’d raced from Samuel Kauffman’s house, past the benches filled with everyone they knew.

The people of Zebulon would hardly recognize them now. David brushed the pad of his finger over the screen, touching their faces. What would Mother say? He shuddered to think. And I still haven’t written. 

He couldn’t change the past, so David shut away the thoughts as though he was sliding home the heavy bolt on the barn door. He smiled. “It’s a good first picture. Maybe one day it’ll be in a frame.”

Copyright © Keira Andrews

They’ve escaped to the outside world—but can they really be free?
 
David and Isaac have found happiness in each other’s arms. In faraway San Francisco, Isaac’s brother Aaron helps them explore confusing “English” life and move beyond the looming shadow of their Amish roots. For the first time, David and Isaac can be openly gay, yet they struggle to reconcile their sexuality with their faith. At least they don’t have to hide their relationship, which should make everything easier. Right?

But while Isaac thrives at school and makes new friends, David wrestles to come to terms with the reality of the outside world. Haunted by guilt at leaving his mother and sisters behind in Zebulon, he’s overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the city as he works to get his carpentry business off the ground.

While David and Isaac finally sleep side by side each night, fear and insecurity could drive them miles apart.


Journey to San Francisco with Isaac and David in A Clean Break
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~

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.”

Where you can find Keira:


Thanks so much for stopping by and chatting about some of our favorite boys, Keira!