Review: The Edge of Control by Lou Kelly

When passion pushes David Carlson into dangerous territory will he walk the razor’s edge between life and death in order to be with the man he loves?

As the youngest Chief of Medicine at Southside General Hospital, David Carlson has no business lusting after the most hostile nurse on the ER staff. A professional, hard-working, over-achiever, he’s finally realized his life-long dream of promotion, and the last thing he needs now are complications.

But he can’t help being intrigued by the enigmatic Ian James. Not only is Ian flat-out gorgeous, he’s also mysterious. And he awakens in David a passion that he hasn’t felt since … well, ever.

Unfortunately, Ian James is a man with a dangerous past and an even more dangerous present, and loving him will come at a cost. Can David trust him? Is he willing to put his entire career on the line to protect a man who might be playing him? Is Ian capable of loving and trusting him back?

Discovering the truth will take David into the heart of blackmail, corruption, and scandal. Straight to the edge of control.

The Edge of Control is a stand-alone, full-length novel with NO cliffhanger!


David cannot stop staring at the new nurse with the bad attitude on David’s first day as Chief of Medicine. There is something that draws him in, and it’s probably Ian’s looks. David really should get laid.

Ian is more than aware that he has the looks that draw powerful men, and even when he tries to hide behind attitude, it doesn’t seem to deter them. Which is how he finds himself in the position he is in, and on the cusp of losing everything.

This story was certainly complex. There was a lot going on, and some of it was enjoyable, and some of it not so much. I did enjoy most of it. I liked David as a character. I thought his nobleness would keep him out of the fire. His stupidity in pursuing the sexy nurse with the great arse was a strike against him, but sometimes we can’t control those lustful hormones.

Ian leads a pretty complicated life, filled with pain, poverty, and worry about his niece. He is just trying to survive and make money, so he can support his sister and niece as best he can. It’s not his fault he keeps getting trapped by corruption.

The overall story arch was good. The romance was a little rushed, but no more than a lot of stories out there. I enjoyed seeing the mystery unravel as to who Ian was, and how David seemed to turn into to a hormonal teenager around him. It was sweet, if not naive of David to think Ian was pure and perfect. I was pretty sad about the slut shaming, but you know, that seems to be life, and I’m glad David wasn’t part of it.

The plot worked well within the Medical setting. I always enjoy a good conspiracy theory, and the poor soul who gets trapped in the crosshairs.

The ending was a bit bizarre, but engaging, and dramatic, in true, unhinged rich-white-man-is-the-villain way (aren’t they always?!). Some of David’s reactions were disappointing, but at the end of the day, he pulled his shit together enough to be there for Ian.

A satisfying read if you enjoy hospital drama with an edge of suspense.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion


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Review: The Queer and the Restless (Queers of La Vista #3) by Kris Ripper

Ed Masiello has been on testosterone for a year, is working his dream job as a reporter, and is finally passing as a man (so long as you don’t ask his abuela). But the investigation of a murder case is starting to take over his life. Afraid he’s becoming obsessed, he goes to the local club to relax, and meets the flighty, whimsical Alisha.

Alisha is a free spirit who’s tossed aside ambition for travel and adventure. Her approach to life is a far cry from Ed’s, and while Ed has always assumed that meeting his goals would make him happy, Alisha is much more content than him—despite all the plans she can’t yet fulfill.

As their relationship heats up, so does the murder case. Alisha thinks Ed needs a break, but someone’s got to find this killer, and he wants to be there when it all goes down. Besides, taking off into the great unknown with Alisha is crazy. But opting for what’s safe is just another way of living in fear, and Ed vowed to stop living like that a long time ago.

This is what I call an easy read-low angst, likable characters, engaging plot, relatable dialogue, fun or interesting secondary characters and not a lot of forced dramatics. 

Ed is at the bottom of the food chain at the local paper, getting the grunt work of clairvoyant blind cats and mall openings when he wants to do something productive and meaningful. He keeps his nose to the grindstone even though he sort of loathes it. He's from La Vista and knows pretty much everyone, something that will likely come in handy in the future. He has a dry wit and struggles with self-consciousness and self-confidence.

Things start looking up after bumping into Alisha one night at Club Fred when a dance turns into the start of something.

Alisha is one of those magnetic people who have that joie de vivre that's so contagious that maybe you find yourself doing things that you've never intended to, but end up having a good time anyway mostly because you're with her. She's creative and a little bit of a Bohemian. She's also into Ed and rather brazen about letting him know just how much.

Their relationship has an authenticity to it. They like each other and start spending as much time together as possible. On more than one occasion I found myself giggling at their role play games. They may have too many differences, but they are definitely happy right now and hopefully their relationship will strengthen the longer they're together. 

I have to say, though, that as much as I enjoyed reading about Ed and Alisha I became positively CONSUMED by the serial killer storyline. I'm so grateful that the whole story was told through Ed who seems to be just as consumed. It goes without saying that I'm locked in for the rest of the series if for no other reason than to find out the killer's identity as well as Togg. I have two working theories there but am still clueless as to the identity of the killer. I have a wild card possibility that I'm not exceedingly confident in.

Also, I should probably mention how much I appreciate gaining insight and expanding my knowledge base, so the inclusion of ordinary events that I take for granted being shown through the eyes of a trans person and how tricky they can be was edifying and eye-opening. 

Recommended for fans of the series or those who like an angst free romance.



An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Audiobook Review: The Downs by Kim Fielding, narrated by K.C. Kelly

As the son of a wealthy man, Enitan Javed has spent his life frivolously - drinking, fighting, and making love. But after his father dies, Enitan is unjustly accused of murdering him and is given the harshest sentence possible. Judged irredeemable, he is banished to the Downs. As even young children know, nothing lives in the Downs except demons who delight in torturing the condemned. Brutalized by the men who transport him to his fate, Enitan has nothing left but his thirst for vengeance.

His plummet to the Downs nearly kills him, and Enitan finds himself battered and helpless in a frightening, mysterious land. But many surprises await him there, including a strange man named Rig. And the realization that the demons he must face aren't at all the ones he expected.




Wow. I don't know what stopped me from reading The Downs when it was initially released. What took me so long? I mean... it's Kim Fielding, so duh. Now though, now I'm glad I kept pushing it to the side. While the story alone is something quite beautiful, the narration of it was truly spectacular.

Enitan and Rig's story was not was I was expecting. From the cover and the (original) blurb, I was expecting something with a bit more grit. Maybe some kind of battle or contest. But no. Instead I got Enitan and Rig, with their beautiful and compelling story of redemption and new beginnings.

Enitan thinks he is unredeemable. He was thrown into The Downs after being convicted of his father's murder. He's only heard stories of The Downs. All he knows is that it's a place where demons prey on the condemned.

Enitan thinks he is unredeemable, but Rig knows the truth. He finds Enitan after his fall. Rig takes him in. Nurtures him. Heals him. Loves him. Rig is patient and kind. He lives in The Downs and shows Enitan what it's really like there. Rig shows him that it's a place of new beginnings. It felt like it took Enitan forever (and a day) to finally see what was right in front of him. But Rig was there, right beside him, like always. Waiting. Supporting. Basically being one of the most special characters I've read.

Kim Fielding has a way with characters. I know, I know... she has a way with writing great romances. But her characters... they just go beyond the norm. The go beyond my everyday expectations in M/M romance. It can be historical, paranormal, contemp... any genre and you can bet the characters are going to be something special. Rig was something special. He was loving, forgiving, patient, nurturing. He was all those things, but never came off as a fake, perfectly perfect character. He was basically perfect, but real and honest. I loved Enitan, too. But Rig stole my heart.

All that gushing and I haven't even mentioned the narration. AH-mazing. K.C. Kelly did a fantastic job bringing The Downs to life. He narrated both Enitan and Rig perfectly. He really brought out both of their distinct characters in his acting. And Rig's accent? Gah! So good.

I can't recommend The Downs enough. Read it. Listen to it. Either way, you won't regret it.


A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads.

 

Group Review: Murmuration by T.J. Klune

In the small mountain town of Amorea, it’s stretching toward autumn of 1954. The memories of a world at war are fading in the face of a prosperous future. Doors are left unlocked at night, and neighbors are always there to give each other a helping hand.

The people here know certain things as fact:

Amorea is the best little town there is.

The only good Commie is a dead Commie.

The Women’s Club of Amorea runs the town with an immaculately gloved fist.

And bookstore owner Mike Frazier loves that boy down at the diner, Sean Mellgard. Why they haven’t gotten their acts together is anybody’s guess. It may be the world’s longest courtship, but no one can deny the way they look at each other.

Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.

But something’s wrong with Mike. He hears voices in his house late at night. There are shadows crawling along the walls, and great clouds of birds overhead that only he can see.

Something’s happening in Amorea. And Mike will do whatever he can to keep the man he loves.

Welp. We seem to have a habit of Unicorn piling on T.J. Klune whenever he releases something. Hope he likes horns otherwise... awkward.

Unicornian Average


Sara - 5 Hearts

Holy cow and the whole pasture! This book is nothing like I have read before. I am a fan of the Klune-age but this, it’s over and beyond what I had hoped for.

It’s remarkable, really. Amorea really is one of the greatest places in the world.

The best books are the ones that make you think. The ones that challenge what you think you know and make you reach for what could be. The ones that make you, yeah… apply Occam’s razor to the story because what you think is happening, well, isn’t. Or is it? GOOD LORD. This book is a mind fuck but not in the way you think. It’s not dark or devious, it’s just psychologically intense, ridiculously intimate and amazing.

This isn’t physical… It’s intimacy, simple and easy.

You wanna know what else this book is? It’s stupidly romantic. Like head over heels romantic and not much happens physically between Sean and Mike to make that so. It’s the emotions that pour off the page and into my soul that make this romantic. It’s the idea of doing anything and giving all for love. Le sigh.

He likes books and knows sometimes, what’s on the page is nothing more than what’s on the page. That’s it. Nothing more. There’s no hidden meaning. There’s nothing to parse out.

Go ‘head and throw that idea out the window or wait, maybe marinate in it until your fingers are pruny because you know what? This book is full of twists, turns and full on “what if’s’ from page to page and it was stellar. It had me thinking of my favorite episodes from The Twilight Zone, A Stop at Willoughby to be exact, with Gart Williams and his need to escape a terrible existence. Was the stop at Willoughby Gart going insane or was it him actually finding his sanity? Would there be a connection to how I saw that episode and what I was reading? Hmm. Oh and it had me pausing numerous times to google Starling Murmurations. Let me just say, if you’ve never watched one, do it because it’s stunning to watch. But along with watching the birds dance like water in the sky, I started to read up on why they do it and the why of it; the protection and defense to put themselves between predators made me start to question everything about this book.

I don’t know how to properly review it without spoiling so I will wrap it all up with a few thoughts. Read this with an open mind. Fall in love with the hopelessly romantic romance between Mike and Sean. Take a stroll through Amorea and feel the need to go to the mountains. But most of all…don’t try too hard to figure it all out and just enjoy the slow thrusting of Klune’s words between your cerebral cortex as he fucks your brain into the mattress and turns you into goo.

Yup.

This was a good book.



Jenni Lea - 5 Hearts

How does one write a review of a book that they can’t say anything about without spoiling? I’m not sure it can be accomplished but I’m going to try.

This book was intense. A total mind fuck of a story that had me bewildered from the very first page. By the time I reached chapter two (which, by the way, was in Roman numerals thus adding to the confusion as I had to remember how to read them) I knew I was in for a serious mind melting tale. I had so many theories by the time I reached the quarter mark that my brain was starting to short out. Of course, shortly thereafter I had to toss all those theories out the window. Luckily, I have ADD and my brain thrives on chaos so I was able to give up trying to figure out what was going on and just sit back and enjoy where the story was taking me. That turned out to be the best decision I ever made, for many reasons but especially for two.

First, letting go allowed me to focus on the romance. And let me tell you, this story is sooo romantic! TJ said it was his most romantic story and I have to agree with him 100%. It’s not a romance in the traditional sense; I felt it on a much deeper level. It made me feel more than I have while reading in a long time. I was swooning almost from the beginning. These characters and what they say to each other, what they mean to each other… gah! I can’t describe it. I’m trying to come up with a comparison but I’m coming up empty. With just a look, just a “yeah”, I was a goner. I’m still thinking about it days after reading. I’m still feeling this days after reading. My heart is so full. I just.., don’t know what to say. I have the urge to find TJ and give him the biggest hug in thanks for writing those beautiful, beautiful words. They moved me.

Dammit! I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it. *deep breath* Ok, JL, get it together and finish your review. You can read the book again once you’re done.

The other main reason letting go helped was that I was able to immerse myself in the story so deeply that I felt like I was there. I let all of the words just wash over and through me and it helped me to connect with the characters to the point I felt like I knew them; like I’ve always known them. I lived in Amorea with them. I ate at that diner. I perused the shelves in that bookstore. I sat on the grass in that park and I watched the clouds go by. I was invested. I was so involved with this story that I just had to talk to someone about it. Thank everything in the world that I had a friend who read this with me because if I didn’t talk about this book I was going to explode. And we talked. We talked until we just about broke gmail. Did you know there is a limit to how many emails can be in one thread on gmail? I do… now.

So there I was, reading and talking and feeling when something happened. Something amazing happened. All it took was one word, just one little word, and it happened.

I got it.

I got it! It all just clicked together in my brain and I understood everything! I knew what this story was about! I knew what was happening and more importantly, I knew why. It was incredible! It was brilliant! I was in awe.I’m still in awe sitting here writing this review. TJ’s writing skills and his brilliant, magnificent brain are beyond contestation. I urge everyone to pick up this book. Lose yourself in the story. Feel the romance. Take a stroll through Amorea. Stop in the diner for a quick bite and be sure to visit the bookstore while you’re there. It’s an experience I guarantee you’ve never had before and will never have again.



Chelsea - 4.5 Hearts


Please please please don’t read reviews with spoilers in them, it will ruin what is fantastic about this book. If there's anything you’re anxious about, hopefully I’ll put it to rest with this review (without spoilers).

I’ll be brief because I won’t be giving away spoilers and there are lots more detailed reviews out there. I’m just going to go through a few points that I generally like to know before going into a book I know nothing about. So here goes.

1. HEA

Yes it does! Some (although not many I’m sure) would argue with that, but to me there is no way better way I could imagine this ending!! (And you get all the answers you want!)

2. Romance

The romance in this is one of those forever and ever type of loves, and it is soooooo beautiful. I craved all the scenes with Mike and Sean together and gushed like someone discovering romance novels for the first time. While the romance is prominent and constant, I still felt it was overshadowed by the mystery at times, but the mystery was so mind-blowingly engaging I didn’t mind.

3. Sex

Like all Klune books, they are not about sex but about feelings and relationships, it’s exactly the same here. That being said there is a sex scene and it’s made better for the build-up. It ends up being everything you’d what for these two, romantic, tender and still super hot!

4. Writing Style

There’s nothing like it. I was glued from the first sentence and was stuck in Mike's head until the end! Perfect!

5. How it made me feel

Now this is the important one isn’t it. I don’t like feeling stressed or anxious while reading and honestly that's why this is 4.5 and not 5 hearts, because I was anxious while reading it. That was because I wasn’t sure if there’d be a HEA though, and now that you know there is, you can enjoy the wild mind-fuck for what it is.

This made me feel lots and lots. Confused is probably the most prominent emotion. If you can just sit back, relax and let events unfold as they do it’ll be more enjoyable and it's completely engrossing. Being with Mike each step of the way was a journey I loved and will be thinking about a lot over the next few weeks.

Give the book a shot. Whether you love it, like it or can’t stand how confused it left you, Mike and Sean’s story will leave you thinking about it long after you’re done.



Optimist King's Wench - 4 Hearts

“The very essence of romance is uncertainty.”
– Oscar Wilde


True story! I was not in the mood to read this. I must’ve opened and closed it three times before I told myself, ‘let’s get ‘er dun. Daylight’s wasting!’ But that tide turned quickly when I realized I was only going to get one chance to read this for the first time and I shouldn’t deprive myself of the experience. I think that’s a testament to Klune’s writing prowess that I feel like his stories are meant to be experienced and make no mistake Murmuration is an experience. One that I’ll not soon forget and am fairly confident in it being a book people will discuss.

I’ve thought about this book for several days now even woken up at ungodly hours thinking about it. I read the blog post that said Murmuration was exceedingly romantic. I agree that the premise is the stuff of a classic romance-mostly chaste (excepting one whopper of a sex scene!) with a timeless romance trope that’s always inviting. But I think the execution of the sentiment was buried under the verisimilitude of Amorea and the white noise of Mike’s psyche. I’m still conflicted on this though because there are several swoonworthy moments. While the connection between Sean and Mike is unequivocal, there was something missing for me that’s hard to define. Maybe it’s that uncertainty Wilde speaks of? Maybe Sean’s perspective would’ve made a difference? I’m not sure. Regardless, I am rooting for them, but they didn't set up camp in my heart. Also, if you’re looking for a solid HEA you’ll likely be disappointed.

However, the cleverness of Murmuration is something I cannot ignore. It’s clear time, effort and research were put forth and those are things that appeal to me. Amorea is a halcyon 50s town with all its controlled rigidity and contrasting it with contemporary society poses a number of interesting questions. The 50s possess a winsome quality that harkens back to a simpler time where everyone was stalwart and there was a sense of inclusion, if you towed the line. There is a certain charm about the era, conservative and restrictive morals notwithstanding. But Klune making the queer community inclusive added another dimension that made it just a tiny bit tempting. I wouldn’t want to return to that sort of parochial society, but I have to say the dynamics, implications and possibilities under these particular circumstances got into my head. I wish I could go into more specifics but spoiling and you should enter into this book with a clean slate. I truly believe everyone will have a different experience or interpretation of it which gives it an irrefutable gravitas and respectability, in my opinion.

There were a couple of plot points that I’ve mostly chalked them up to foolishness and superstition, but the bottom line is I still have questions and I wish I didn’t. Another thing that needled was the repetition. I’m still a Klune neophyte and I believe this is a facet of his writing style. It worked for me in Wolfsong but here it seemed manufactured with the express purpose of convincing me just how much Mike and Sean love one another rather than allowing me to come to that conclusion on my own.

Nonetheless, the story is engaging, cerebral, held my attention and made me think which is why I think everyone should read it.



Sheziss - 4 Hearts

Beware of yourself.

Beware of the horse.

Beware of the birds.

Beware of everybody.

And everything else.

But beware of yourself first.

You can never know. The psyche works in mysterious ways.

Right?

Well, that was all sorts of spectacular.

There are moments like these in which I realize Klune is not just a good M/M romance writer. But he is a good writer. His stories show off a utter complexity formed with a layer and a layer, and a layer beneath, that they become a solid and bullet-proof cloth with apparently no effort. It just flows. They become something tangible, something real.

The book is marvelous. I was hooked and couldn’t let go. Mike’s voice is compelling and inquisitive. There are questions, questions, questions, and wrong, wrong, WRONG signs. From all directions: up and down, right and left, from the inside, from the outside. I felt chills during most of the time. It definitely put me on edge. It surely drove me crazy.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the most romantic story written by Klune. Moreover, what dazzled me was everything that was not love. Everything else. Like… everything in the end? I know it doesn’t speak high of the book, because chances are people wanna know whether or not this is a good romance. Well, the romance is sweet, friends becoming lovers so very slowly, trust and friendship taking an eternal meaning. Yes, I enjoyed it pretty much. But it’s eclipsed by the utter magnificence of everything else. Which is like, the most important part of the book. For me, the romance was a secondary plot, even though the MC’s motivations are truly led by this strong emotion. His decisions are driven by love at its purest sense. So I guess that’s why Klune said this was his most romantic novel. However, I also have to admit I got more love feelz in other novels of his.

I have no way to classify this story. There is no corseted genre in the M/M romance with whom I could compare this book. The blurb leads you to believe this is historical, but I dare to say that’s not it, not exactly. I’d say it’s more fantastical than historical. No, not unicorns to be seen, but believe me, very weird things happen here. You can never let your mind rest in peace, because you never know when and how the next blow will come. And I promise you this, it will come, in one way or the another, but it will. One after the other. KO after KO.

Sends shivers down my spine, body’s aching all the time...

Although you get hints and clues, you cannot entirely grasp what’s going on, and that was a powerful incentive to go on by itself.

But what a hell of a trip! This maelstrom in Mike’s head surely sucks you in. No escape.

Everything was spot-on. Every question unveiled. Every mystery unfolded. Everything was ok. More than ok. Superb. Spectacular. Mindfuck. And reaching the climax, reaching the climax, reaching the CLIMAX… puff. I mean, that ending? I admit I had issues with that last 5%. I rebelled against the idea. It didn’t sit right with me. It didn’t agree with me. So I let some time pass. I let myself ponder it. Chew on it. Sleep on it. And you know what? I like that ending more and more with each passing day. Funny that.

Visions. Voices. Hallucinations. Memories. Memories lapses. Reminiscences of a past which doesn’t begin to be understandable. Dreams that sound like experiences. Experiences which seem taken out of a dream. Surrealism. Hyper-realism.

And when the inquisitive man finally gets out of the cave… is he the wise man or is he the mad man? Will he ever be able to get back to what it used to be, to erase everything that came after that exact moment in which he began realizing there was something else, something more, something not quite right? Everything that used to be a major truth is losing its reliability. Every reference point is upside down. What to believe? What to trust? And the most important question: What is real here? What is an illusion?

Kind of creepy.

Amorea. I think it sounds like amor. Not only because of Mike and because of Sean. Sean and Mike. But because everything was lovely here. Most of the time, so much so. So much so to be true.

To be real.

Review: Choosing Home (The Call of Home, #1) by Alexa Milne

You can never escape from yourself.

Zac McKenzie is an ex-professional footballer with a secret he gave up his career to protect. Several years ago, he fled to his home in the North East of Scotland to avoid being outed as gay. Now, he owns a successful hotel and restaurant, but is it time to finally come out into the open?

Seth Pritchard feels he is damaged goods. He comes to Scotland to escape memories of the accident that left him injured, his bullying step-brothers and a life of lies.

For their whole lives, Zac and Seth have denied who they truly are to themselves as well as to others. When they meet, each man is forced to confront his fears and tear them down one by one.

Reader advisory: Dubious consent. Recollections of physical abuse, emotional/mental abuse, torture and drug abuse. Profanity.





My favourite thing about this book is the location. I love the countryside of Britain and being half Scottish I love reading about Scotland, especially the rural areas. Beautiful scenery and flavourful characters become a part of the landscape, an essential part of the story.

The first in a series, this book sets up well for stories to follow. While this story centres mainly around the two MC's Zac and Seth, we meet enough of the locals to get an understanding of the community and the tales still to come. The hotel Zac owns is a great place that I can tell will be included in future books. 

I have to admit, I am not a big fan of 'famous' MC's - I much prefer humble and poor to rich and famous. This means that I kind of have to force myself to read books with rich main characters,especially so if they happen to be actors or rock stars or famous sportsmen, I'm not sure why, maybe because everyday we are fed stories of celebrities and I want to read about the 'normal' folk. (Yeah, yeah, I know celebrities are normal people, but you know what I'm saying...right?? Right??) The fact that Zac is an ex-professional footballer was not a plus point in deciding to read this book, however the Scottish setting really was, so they cancelled each other out.

As it was, I really liked Zac, more than Seth for a start. Although he had his baggage, he also had a lot of positives in his life. He runs a successful business and has a supportive family and these give him strength to be himself. He worries about the impact of his being gay will have on past partners with more to lose, but within his family and community he is able to be himself.

Seth on the other hand has a lot of fear and hate on his side and a lot of it comes from himself . His story is sad and hard, and his character rightly reflects this in his attitude. He is also in frequent pain, which does not help at all. He is quite a counterpoint to Zac, at times I found it difficult to see what the attraction was, especially from Zac to Seth... but then, the more we understand of Zac, the more I understood his pull to Seth. 

I enjoyed this, particularly the setting, and am looking forward to reading the rest of this series. 

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

Review: Can't Live Without You by Andrew Grey

Justin Hawthorne worked hard to realize his silver-screen dreams, making his way from small-town Pennsylvania to Hollywood and success. But it hasn’t come without sacrifice. When Justin’s father kicked him out for being gay, George Miller’s family offered to take him in, but circumstances prevented it. Now Justin is back in town and has come face to face with George, the man he left without so much as a good-bye… and the man he’s never stopped loving.

Justin’s disappearance hit George hard, but he’s made a life for himself as a home nurse and finds fulfillment in helping others. When he sees Justin again, George realizes the hole in his heart never mended, and he isn’t the only one in need of healing. Justin needs time out of the public eye to find himself again, and George and his mother cannot turn him away. As they stay together in George’s home, old feelings are rekindled. Is a second chance possible when everything George cares about is in Pennsylvania and Justin must return to his career in California? First they’ll have to deal with the reason for Justin’s abrupt departure all those years ago.


This story was a heart-string puller. Childhood friends to lovers is a fave of mine. When the lovers part is interrupted, I am owned! For those who don’t know me (most of you HA!) I have the type of interrupted lovelife with someone who will always own my heart. So you can see how this would be a thing for me. It’s a match made in heaven and makes my heart squishy and soft.

Justin is damaged. By his father, who kicked him out when he revealed his sexuality, and by his mother who allowed it to happen. He only had George left. There is also another element of damage that sits underneath the surface, that he won’t let out and without a word to George, Justin left town and never looked back. George could only look on as Justin’s silverscreen life played out in Hollywood, thousands of miles away from Pennsylvania. Until Justin returns to wrap up his father’s affairs and comes face to face with what he lost, and never let go of.

This relationship was frustrating to read about, but it was set out in a way that the reader understands why this is not going the way it should. The chemistry between Justin and George is hot, and they both shine a lot more in each other’s presence than alone. So why the heck can’t they get it together and figure something out? That is the burning question throughout the entire book, and something that weighed heavily in the storyline, along with the circumstances of what it would cost to change their path.

I liked them both. Even when Justin is in full Hollywood tantrum mode, he is adorable. His best friend/personal assistant is also tagging along, and seems to be plotting behind both George’s and Justin’s back. Although not obvious at first, the thread is there if you pay close attention. Ethan is an equally solid character, and I liked that their relationship was clear from the beginning. If not to George, it was very clear to the reader. I appreciated that extra touch.

The plot was smooth, and the writing flowed well. The language used was easy to read, and didn’t have a heavy or flowery prose. I like my contemporary romance to be contemporary in language, so this made it a smooth read for me.

The author did well in drawing me into the characters and enjoying their presence. There wasn’t heavy drama, or unnecessary angst. The age of these men made it more than important for there to be as little angst as possible. They are both grown, have moved into their respective lives, and made something of themselves in spite of their heartbreaking start to adulthood.

A fairly straight forward romance, with a rags to riches feel and the potential for reunited love. These two men made me want for them, and satisfied my baser need for the complex to be unravelled to reveal the romantic notion of love conquers all.

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest opinion




Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Alpha Barman by Sue Brown


Welcome Sue Brown and her gorgeous cover for her upcoming release, Alpha Barman, to the stable! Peep the blurb and enter the giveaway below for a chance to win an eBook from Sue Brown's back list!

Sue Brown - Alpha Barman

Release Date: November 24 2016

Blurb

Jake Tyler walked out of Special Ops two years ago, a devastated, broken man after he discovered his sister brutally murdered by her husband, Riley. Since then he’s found a kind of peace running a rural bar. The last thing Jake Tyler expects is his former team to turn up with grim news. Jake’s ex-brother-in-law has escaped from prison and is heading Jake’s way. The team is here to protect Jake, whether he likes it or not – a decision reluctantly shared by their leader, Jake’s ex-lover Mitch Mitchelson.

Mitch is angry and hurting. The man he trusted – the man he adored more than anything – abandoned both his team and Mitch. Jake never gave Mitch a chance to help or come to terms with his desertion. Regardless of mission protocols, Mitch isn’t about to open his heart again to that kind of pain.

But the strong attraction between them can’t be denied. How are they ever going to work together when Mitch still resents Jake’s disappearance, and to Jake, the team represents everything that destroyed him in the first place? And meantime they wait for Riley to find them... and to settle the threat once and for all.



Author Bio



Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn't following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot, and has become an expert at ignoring the orders.

 Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. She had an Aha moment and put pen to paper that same day. Sue may be late to the party, but she's made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Come over and talk to Sue at:
sue@suebrownstories.com
Her website can be found at:
http://www.suebrownstories.com/



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tag-Team Review: Optical Illusion (Paint #1) by Emma Jaye

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

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

Thanks to a suicide bomber, ex-military police sergeant Jase Rosewood is back in the English countryside. His plans for quiet recuperation are ruined by the effervescent, go-go dancing twink who has everyone wrapped around his little finger. Luckily for the gullible Matt, Jase can smell a liar a mile away, and Chris Bacon, if that’s even his name, stinks to high heaven. Assigned ‘Chris-sitting’ duty while Matt's on honeymoon, Jase has a week to discover what is hidden beneath the bright camouflage. It's a job, just like any other, so why does it feel so different?
Unfortunately, Jase isn’t the only one drawn to the boy who can’t stay still, but instead of wanting to reveal his true colours; they want to dull them forever.

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




A Double DNF

Chelsea - DNF - 24%


I’m stopping here because if I continue I’ll be rating this book poorly and I don’t want to do that. I think If I had been in a different mood (one hella crazy one) I could have enjoyed this more. As it is, I couldn’t get into it. At all.

I didn’t like Chris. Like at all. He claims he’s ADHD but I’m sure he’s bipolar at the very least, his mood swings were like….


He was incredibly childish and I just couldn’t give two fucks about his history.

There were three POV’s in the first 10% and I usually don’t like any more than the two main characters POV’s. Anymore and it just becomes too crowded and side characters feel irrelevant.

I was also really wanting to read about a romance, but there wasn’t even a hint of romance poking it's head out. From what others have said it was probably on the way, but I wasn't enjoying the story enough to wait around for it.

While the writing wasn’t bad, the story and the characters were OTT and all over the place. If I didn’t have a mountain of other good books to read I probably would have persevered with this for a bit longer, but I just didn’t want to waste my time on a book I was not enjoying.

Obviously this book did work for some people, so read a variety of reviews and then be prepared for entering a crazy world with one rather manic main character.


Sheziss - DNF - 14%


I had a problem with this book since the very beginning. I wasn’t horrified right away but the writing style doesn’t agree with me, and it made it complicated for me to focus on the story, because it was damn distracting and formulaic.

What do I mean with this?

The author tells things. Facts. Info. Then she tells more things. Facts. Info. Then some more. And more.

I’m reading a chain of events, but with no real meat beneath. It’s like: I wake up, I brush my teeth, I go to work, I come back home, I sleep. Maybe I eat 5 times a day.

But no soul, no emotion.

Jason is in love with his BFF, Matt. Matt rejects him. Jason goes into the Army. 10 years later, he survives an explosion. He is kicked out of the Army. He meets Chris Bacon in Matt’s wedding (oh, my heart, that hurts!), who is a reflection of Matt.

We are told several times how alike they are.

It sounds so sad and pathetic: Matt doesn’t want Jason, but no problem, because Chris is there to replace him. 10 years younger.

Such a coincidence! Such good luck! Win-win!

Needless to say, I was wary ever since.

Chris is sick. Chris is poor. Chris is awesome. Suddenly, everybody wants to have him in his house.

The envy of every abandoned dog.

He needs to go to the doctor, to Matt’s exgirlfriend, Sarah, who is a GP.

I’d have paid to see that doctor interview.

The medical stuff sounded so weird to my ears. Maybe it’s because of the language barrier, maybe it’s because the health system is different from the one in the place I live in. But things are not clear for me in this matter. It seems Chris only spends a little while in the consultation but then he has to have been for a longer while, because, he is given prescriptions for two antibiotics, vitamins, iron, and sleep pills. As simple as that.

The space-time sphere is so surreal in this book.

We are never told how Chris feels. Dizzy? Feverish? Does he cough anyhow? Does he suffers from fatigue? Malaise? Does breathing takes him a huge effort? Does he have any pain, in the chest, in the stomach, wherever? Questions, questions, questions!

Matt gets him and takes him to the doctor.

Out of the blue.

I mean, I had no hint Chris was sick until they go to the pharmacy, because we are never explained how Chris feels.


Describing how a MC feels in a romantic novel is so basic I have no idea why the narrator didn’t mention any of this. I’m not even talking about the feelings for another person but about the most elemental of sensations. Yourself, your body, your inner voice.

We only get to see how he runs super fast and gets into the nursering home to see Matt’s father. BAM. And how fierce and snarky he is. BAM. And how pitiful he is. BAM. Just because.

The character development was superficial at least.

Then they mention the blood transfusion.

“How he keeps up the pace when he’s still so anaemic I don’t know. Sarah said that when she first saw him, if she’d thought he would stay in hospital, she would have admitted him, stuck him on an antibiotic drip and given him a blood transfusion.”

That’s serious, it means the hemoglobin is very low, less than 8g/dl (in some cases, they are recommended with less than 10g/dl). If he needs to be admitted, then admit him. Period. And if he needs the transfusion, you give him the damn transfusion, you don’t dance around complaining to your exboyfriend about doing it or not because oh-so-poor Chris suffers so much and he is so pitiful and oh-my-god, how the hell did he do this all alone!

He ended up giving his own address, and the name ‘Chris Bacon’ but the lack of a date of birth and previous doctor details were a problem for the receptionist.

I don’t understand this. Why has Matt to talk with the receptionist? Wouldn’t it be more logical to be Chris the one who gives his own data (I take for granted that in the UK in the 21st century, people have a tendency to know)? When Chris goes out of the consultation, he gets out immediately, instead of going to reception in order go give such information.

Oh no, he doesn’t. Let’s keep the doctors (and the administration) in the dark.

We are ninjas, hey!

Mmm.

Everything is so DRAMA-DRAMA-DRAMA. I needed all of this to be proved, not to be magnified simply for a dramatic feel.

The scene that made me realize I wasn’t sure if I was reading romance or a children book was the vomit scene after the wedding celebration.

“Fucking wonderful. Consider my previous offer of a blowjob rescinded.”

“Aw fuck Tigger, do you have to say stuff like that?” Mike moaned.

Chris grinned to himself. Payback was a bitch. “You should try it sometime mate, it tastes a bit salty, bit slimy, like uncooked egg white with extra salt. If you swallow quick when it hits the back of your throat, you hardly...” The sound of an electric window motor came from the back, followed by retching.

“You caused it, you get to clean it in the morning,” Jase said as if he was discussing the weather.

“I’ll do it when we get home if you like.”

“When we get home, you are going to bed,” Jase said firmly.

“So do you guys want some real live bacon baguette for breakfast, while I get my runny eggs?” The sound of another window opening and two stomachs emptying was music to his ears.


I don’t get which is the topic of the conversation here.
It’s ridiculous how puerile jokes are still present in adult romances.
Why is Chris Bacon considered so cool by them all? He’s such a stupid arrogant brat.

I just that I have the feeling the author doesn’t read his own words twice. Doesn’t consider them first. I get the impression she just writes without stopping for a short while in order to wonder: “Does it make sense at all? Maybe this one sentence is distracting for the reader? Does this paragraph sound absurd anyhow in the big scheme of things? Do I really want to portray the characters this way? Can it be I’m taking it all too fast, or maybe too far away in the dramatic sense? Should I write this or that with more depth so that it doesn’t strike as too rushed and nonsensical?”. IDK, certain details give me red flags constantly and distract me from the main story.

We can’t like them all…

Find on Goodreads

Review: The Cyborg He Brought Home by A.M. Hawke

Jake is bored of life in Greentree, a settlement of wizards who eschew technology and channel their magic through tattoos. Then a visitor arrives: Cory, a cyborg with coppery hair and metallic hands. Jake is fascinated by Cory's metal parts, curious what it would feel like to touch them. But the others in Greentree aren’t so sure about a visitor they consider unnatural…












Wizards, magical tattoos and a ginger haired cyborg can be found in A.M. Hawke's The Cyborg He Brought Home. The title literally tells the plot of the sci-fi/fantasy mashup.



Jake is a mage, or wizard, the details are a little fuzzy. What isn't fuzzy is he lives in a settlement of wizards called Greentree where there are magic trees and magic tattoos all over folk. Technology isn't revered as magic. While drinking in the local wizard bar, in walks a cyborg. Which sounds like the start of possibly an awesome story but that's pretty much all there is.

We learn the cyborg's name is Cory. He's from a moon colony and on an information seeking trip on wizard colonies. There is instant dislike from most of the magical practicing folk except from Jake.

Jake is fascinated by the mechanical eyes, copper wire hair and Cory's fascination with the simplest magic. The story plot wise? Doesn't offer much. It's about 10K and I'm reviewing an uncorrected, unedited ARC. The entire thing read closer to an outline - there were two scenes: initial meeting and then going home to have sex. The lack of chemistry was an issue for me. I couldn't buy it between Cory and Jake, which hung like a grey cloud for the rest of this very short story.

The world created was an interesting idea. I like that tattoos were conduits of magic. The Nature vs. Machines idea, if developed, could have been something. If the entire story was more developed, it could have been magical. It was more of cool ideas and concepts (wizards in nature, cyborgs living on the moon, MAGIC TATTOOS!) and meh a sex scene. *shrugs*

I will say Cory was the stronger developed character of the pair. I'd have enjoyed reading more back story on him. There were inklings of story possibilities when he spoke briefly on moon life. I believe this was my first trans cyborg I've ever read. It was Jake's first trans partner, so he asked a lot of questions. Cory was cool with them.

"Right, but I mean--you're already half metal. You could look like whatever you want."
"That's true, I could."
"So why keep a scar?"
"Because they're mine, Jake. They remind me of where I've been and what it took to get to where I am now."
The story ends with a possible HFN. It's a first time hook up, so who knows what the future holds for Jake and Cory?

Overall, interesting concepts, but the execution is underdeveloped. If this is ever re-edited or re-released in the future, I'll take a peek.

A copy provided via Netgalley for an honest review.

Find on Goodreads!

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Roman's Vengeance by Grein Murray


Check out the Roman's Vengeance Tour! Learn more about His Fallen Angel series, the author, read the excerpt and don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $5.00 Amazon gift card!



About the Book


★ His Fallen Angel Book 2 ★

Kindle Edition, 176 pages

Genre: M/M Romance
Published September 29th, 2016

Continued unrest with the Fallen means that The Elders and New Angels can never let their guard down. The Fallen are up to something bigger than they were led to believe.



Roman and Alexander’s bond has grown, but that bond is threatened by Roman’s duties as an Elder. Each time Roman is called away, Alexander experiences nightmares that seem more a reality than just a dream, leaving him on edge around Roman. Are these dreams really an omen of things to come?



An impending battle looms over The Elders and the New Angels, can they pull together in their first battle together to defeat the Fallen? Can Alexander and Roman overcome the new challenges they face together?






Excerpt



When I jumped into the pond, I regretted it instantly. The water had already cooled down quite a bit. I was about to turn around and head for the house, but Roman caught me in his arms.
  “Too cold,” I said through chattering teeth.
  Roman pulled me against his chest and rubbed my back with his hands.
  “I guess our romantic romps in the pond will be on hold until next summer.” Roman let go of me and dove under the water. I had no idea how he wasn’t freezing like I was. I just stood with my arms wrapped around myself, shivering.
  Roman popped up a few feet away from me. “If you swim around, you’ll warm up.”
  “I’m done.” I walked quickly out of the water and grabbed my clothes on the way.
   “Long time, no see, Alexander,” said Thomas, one of the New Angels I knew. He stood on the porch and held a couple of towels in his hand, so I quickly grabbed one.
   It had been a long time since I last saw him; we trained together and became sort of friendly from then on. I had always gotten the feeling Thomas had wanted to be more than friends.
  “Thanks. How have you been, Thomas?” I wrapped the towel around my waist and waved at Roman to join us. Thomas gave me a quick hug before releasing me.
  “I’ve missed you, Alexander. I wish we worked closer together more often.” Thomas smiled.
  I watched as Roman’s tall, muscular body walked from the pond towards the porch. He was more beautiful than the pond and all it’s lush greenery and flowers surrounding it. Water droplets dripped down his tone body. My eyes travelled up and down every inch of this gorgeous man.

  Roman took the towel from Thomas and smiled, then he pulled me to him with one arm and planted a possessive kiss on my lips. When he broke away from the kiss and walked past us and into the house, it took some time to get my composure back.




Buy the book:  Amazon US | Amazon UK  | Amazon AU  | Amazon CA




🌟 His Fallen Angel

Kindle Edition, 154 pages
Published April 1st, 2016




🌟 Bucket List

1. Visit Australia
2. Go to Egypt
3. Go to Greece
4. Buy a sailboat
5. Live in a tiny house
6. See the Backstreet Boys in concert
7. Become a photographer
8. Go to Harry Potter at Universal in Florida
9. Write a book about Alexander the Great
10. Live on an island

🌟 Giveaway


 $5.00 Amazon Gift Card





Meet Grein Murray



When I'm not writing I like going to concerts. Music is a big part of my life, I've played bass guitar since I was a teen. I love nature and enjoy hiking and working with causes that help protect our planet and wild animals. 

I have loved books all of my life and have always enjoyed escaping the ordinary world by getting lost in a good book. I read a lot of different genres of books but have fallen in love with MM. I support the gay community and hope one day people will see that love is love and that it is a beautiful thing no matter your gender, race or religion. 

I am an avid animal lover and have quite a collection of pets in my home. I love ancient history and have studied Alexander the Great as well as Egypt and it’s pharaohs. I also am very interested in angels and have researched them and will put that to use in future books. 

I hope that my readers continue to fall in love with my characters and that my stories touch their lives and bring them happiness.

Where to find the author:



Book Lovers 4Everhttp://bl4ebookblog.blogspot.com/October 24
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