Review: Love Keeps Giving by Casey Cameron

"How much longer is rock bottom supposed to last?"

Broke and overstressed, Orlando is doing everything he can to get his life and mental health back on track--and score a date with shy-but-sexy Geoff before the new year. But when the biggest mistake of Orlando's life reappears on his doorstep with the daughter he never knew he had, he has to drop his plans of romance and focus on what's important: the eight-month-old baby now depending on him.

"It's not every day someone has to learn to be a dad literally overnight."

But Geoff isn't giving up on that date he was promised, baby or no baby, and his adorably dorky charm is enough to sweep Orlando off his feet. Geoff seems too good to be true--patient, generous, smart, funny...he even adores the baby who's suddenly become the center of Orlando's world, and his sure and steady hand helps ease the new dad through the panic-inducing trials of parenthood. All that can't come without a catch.

"Nothing good ever happens this fast."

Even as their lives intertwine, Orlando is convinced Geoff is way out of his league, and Geoff has his own reservations. Falling too hard, too fast is a recipe for disaster, but neither man can help getting a little carried away. If they want to truly turn their ragtag group into a family, both of them will have to face their insecurities in this sweet and steamy holiday romance.

Wow, this book was a very pleasant surprise! I'm not always a fan of books with kids in them (mainly because they never seem to actually represent life with kids!) but I really enjoyed this. 

Orlando had just started to get his life on track and set up a date with Geoff when his world is turned upside down and he is left with the baby daughter he had no idea existed. And it wasn't easy for him. I liked this! Geoff was still keen to see Orlando and accepted Noelle was part of his life but Orlando was a man with no parental experience and really was winging it. It was hard for him but he was determined to do the best for his daughter.

I think Casey Cameron got a great balance between things going realistically wrong and being difficult with still being able to move on and improve his life. Having a boyfriend didn't make things instantly easy, but it did help - sometimes. It also made things harder at times. Imagine those first days of a relationship when things are precarious and you're trying to get to know your partner. Imagine doing that when you were also learning how to a father, a shock for the most prepared, but for Orlando there was no warning it really was instant family. And he stepped up to the mark.

This story portrayed a romance developing under less than ideal circumstances, it also portrayed three wonderful characters working together to make a family. Was it plain sailing? No, of course not! Was there lots of extra added angst, unnecessary to the plot? Thank goodness no (I hate that kind of plot device). Was it a well told romance and sweet family story ? Yes! Do I recommend this book? Yes, most definitely! Treat yourself this Christmas. :)

Talking of which - season's greetings to all our blog readers from me and all the unicorns. Eat, drink and read plenty!
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Hanukkah Gifts by Jacob Cheyenne


Welcome new author Jacob Cheyenne to the stable! He's promoting his debut holiday novella Hanukkah Gifts and is also hosting a $10 Amazon gift card giveaway!

Hanukkah Gifts - Jacob Cheyenne

Author: Jacob Cheyenne

Publisher: JMS Books

Length: 28,000 words

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | AllRomance | JMS

Blurb

Twenty-five year old TV producer Jared Greenfield loves his New York City life—his trendy neighborhood, high-profile job, and window-shopping for high fashion on Fifth Avenue—along with a whole city of available men. But even with all the fun of big city life, he feels a longing for something—or someone—more. Going through the motions takes him uptown on December night, where, on the first night of Hanukkah, he spots a handsome, sweaty, player on the basketball court of the Jewish Community Center.

Tall, dark, and Orthodox, the young and athletic Shai Goodhart strikes up an easy friendship with Jared, only to discover that Jared has very little appreciation for his own Jewish heritage and religion. Determined to enlighten this “Bad Jew”, Shai invites him over for a family Hanukkah celebration to remember. But Jared’s easy fascination ends when he discovers that Shai has a house full of tangled secrets that threatens their romance before it even begins. Both young men feel they can help one another, but over the eight days of Hanukkah, deeper emotions propel them closer and closer. Can they ever reach across the divide of their shared culture and fall in love?




Author Bio

Jacob Cheyenne is an author of M/M Romantic Fiction. His characters and stories are often inspired by real historical events, figures and scenes from classical art, or from old black and white portraits he collects in antique stores. His debut novella “Hanukkah Gifts” focuses on the turmoil between two young Jewish men with very different ideas about how to reconcile their faith and sexuality.

When not writing, the author loves swimming, hearing live music, reading fat books on empty beaches, and drinking anything coconut-flavored. When not traveling, he lives and works in the bustling heart of New York City.




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Group Review: Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles by Eli Easton

Toby Kincaid loves being the junior librarian in his hometown of Sandy Lake, Ohio. He spends his days surrounded by books and chatting with the library patrons. He especially adores the head librarian, Mr. Miggles, who is kind, witty, knowlegable about everything, and hopelessly addicted to Christmas. Sean Miggles is also pretty cute—especially for an older guy who wears ties and suit pants every day.

But Sean keeps himself at a distance, and there’s a sadness about him that Toby can’t figure out. When Sean is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he gives up without a fight. Toby realizes that he alone can save the library—and their head librarian.

Toby will need to uncover the darkness in Sean’s past and prove to him that he deserves a second chance at life and at love too. And while Christmas miracles are being handed out, maybe Toby will get his own dearest wish—to love and be loved by Mr. Miggles.

It's an international unicorn group review! Miggles oozes Jizzmas seems to be the only agreeing consensus! 

Adam - 3.75 Hearts

Toby Kincaid loves his job as junior librarian. He enjoys the work, and he’s also got a great boss. Sean Miggles gives his all to the library, but there’s a sadness around Sean, and he keeps himself distant from Toby. The only time Toby’s seen Mr. Miggles be truly happy is during the Christmas season. But Sean’s holiday cheer disappears when his concern for a child leads to retaliation.


Toby watches as Mr. Miggles gives up in the face of humiliation and town politics. Toby refuses to let Sean be taken advantage of, and sets out to rally the troops. Along the way, Toby and Sean acknowledge something they’ve been suppressing for a while - they want more from each other.


I look forward to Eli Easton’s holiday story every year. They always put me in the holiday spirit. While ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles’ isn’t exactly the light and fluffy book that I’d expect a holiday story from Easton to be, it still delivers a good dose of romantic Christmas feels.


This book is written by a library lover for other library lovers. The romance and plot revolve around the library, and both Toby and Sean live and breath for it. There are poignant observations throughout the book on what the library means for a community, which won me over early on.


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While Toby and Sean share a love for the library, they have quite different personalities. Sean is reserved and cautious, while Toby wears his heart on his sleeve. Sean had fallen for Toby throughout the months working with him, but it takes Toby much longer to realize that his admiration for his older and very proper boss had turned into something more.


The romance doesn’t really kick off until the second half of the book. It’s clear through Toby’s POV that his feelings for Mr. Miggles aren’t strictly platonic, but the two have very firm boundaries set. Toby also happens to be in a relationship with an immature and inconsiderate man. There isn’t any cheating, but Toby doesn’t break things off until the halfway point.


The romance doesn’t move forward until after Sean has baseless accusations hurled at him, which a local politician decides to take advantage of. The author handled the situation with sensitivity, but I think the story could have worked just as well without going there. It’s just a very serious topic, and I can understand why it might take some readers out of the story.


Even so, I loved seeing how Toby brought the town together to protect the library and rehabilitate Mr. Miggles.


Once Toby and Sean finally admit that they’ve got feelings for each other, the romance is just the sweet and sexy kind that I hope for in a holiday read. I really liked seeing Sean come out of his shell and let his guard down for Toby.


While the relationship might seem fast, it had clearly been building over months between Toby and Sean. It took no stretch of the imagination to understand why they fell for each other, and it was easy to root for the two.


Overall, ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles’ is a very enjoyable and romantic holiday read. It takes a while for the romance to get going, but it doesn’t disappoint. Recommended if you’re looking for an MM holiday romance with some angst!

Sheziss - 2 Hearts

A Christmassy story!


It was a decent light book, if only a lacking one. It’s well written, and the moral is positive and warm. The characters are nice, the plot is nice, the development is nice.

Super nice.

Mr. Miggles is such a good person. Toby is also the best. Everybody in town is good and the bad guys are easy to find. Very black-and-white. If you are looking for a trouble-free love story, this is the one for you.

Unfortunately, it didn’t fill me with the myriad of emotions I was expecting.

Something was missing for me here. More passion, more love. More feelings coming out of this.

It’s very decaf, very dull. Very flat.

My reasons:


  1. Toby already has a boyfriend. And surprise, surprise, he’s an asshole. So fitting.
  2. The plot focuses too much on the major obstacle: a legal one.
  3. That means there is not much to see in terms of romance. A few sex scenes, a few “I’ve always been in love with you”, a short epilogue to say, “Yes, it worked out in the end, so no worries”.
  4. It’s extremely sappy. Both characters, yes, but more importantly, the people surrounding them. I mean, I know Christmas is a sappy time in general, but there is so much sugar I can take. And here, damn, here I OD’d.


So I’m sad to say this time Eli Easton wasn’t a win. Not bad. Just average. There were times when I had to do a conscious effort in order to pay attention to the story. It didn’t call me.

Not my cuppa.



Chelsea - 4.5 Hearts


Oh I was so excited about this year's Eli Easton Christmas story! They're always so sweet and full of love! Mr Miggles is definitely all those things but the story was more serious than I was expecting. Not a bad thing at all, hence my rating, just different.




Toby has been working as Junior Librarian to Mr Miggles for the past 2 years. He’s always noticed Mr Miggles has this air of sadness that seems to follow him everywhere, except at Christmas time when he’s finally in his element. A few unfortunate incidents and accusations cause Toby to need to step up and fight for Mr Miggles and in the process he starts to see Mr Miggles as more than his boss.


I enjoyed these characters a lot, Toby was sweet and brought a subtle humour to the novel that lightened the mood when the themes could have darkened it. But Mr Miggles, wow, he is such a gorgeous character. He’s had a fair few unpleasant things happen in his life, but he’s still all about love and giving to others who have less than him. He is like Father Christmas but a sexy 35 year old, glasses wearing, book loving version.




My only downside to this book was that the romance didn’t start at all until at least 50%, it took a backseat to the story of Mr Miggles’ drama. However, Easton books have these moments, these movie moments that are just like something from a fairytale. You can feel the joy radiating from the pages and it sucks you in with a ridiculous happy grin and watery eyes. The end of this book has so many of those moments and that's why this is 4.5 hearts, because I was left feeling full of love and ridiculously happy.


This isn't as fantastic as some of Easton’s previous Christmas stories, but it still has all the elements that you love from them, just towards the end.

Find on Goodreads!

Review: The Christmas Wager by Jamie Fessenden

2nd Edition

Lord Thomas Pendleton, second son of the Duke of Branmoor, needs to discharge a debt to his friend Andrew Nash. In doing so, he must return to the family estate he fled six years earlier after refusing to marry the woman his father had chosen. To Thomas’s dismay, Branmoor Hall is no longer the joyful home he remembers from his childhood, and his four-year-old niece has no idea what Christmas is.

Determined to bring some seasonal cheer back to the gloomy estate, Thomas must confront his tyrannical father, salvage a brother lost in his own misery, and attempt to fight off his father’s machinations.

As Christmas Day draws near, Thomas and his friend Andrew begin to realize they are more than merely close friends… and those feelings are not only a threat to their social positions, but, in Victorian England, to their lives as well.

First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2010.


After losing a wager, Lord Thomas Pendleton agrees to take his closest friend, Andrew Nash, to his family’s country house for Christmas. Thomas isn’t looking forward to it, given his estrangement from his father. When they reach Branmoor Hall, they find a household devoid of the Christmas cheer that Thomas remembers from his childhood.

Thomas sets out to bring Christmas festivity back to Branmoor with the help of Andrew. As Christmas draws near, Thomas discovers that Andrew has loved him for years, and slowly Thomas realizes that his own feelings for Andrew run much deeper than friendship.

This is the kind of book you’d want to curl up in a blanket to read while it’s snowing outside.

I really enjoyed the setting of Branmoor Hall. The large rambling house, the surrounding countryside, the village and villagers, and the residents and staff of Branmoor all made for a very cozy country Christmas.

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Plus, Susan, Thomas’ four-year-old niece who has never had a joyful Christmas, stole my heart. She’s a cute kid, and plays a part in bringing Thomas and Andrew together.

Andrew and Thomas had me grinning from the first page. Their emotional connection was undeniable. It was pretty obvious that there was more than just friendship there, and not just from Andrew’s end. I’m not sure how many friends, not matter how close, help each other undress and take baths.

Thomas’ slow realization that he was gay and in love with Andrew was believable. Thomas grew up in a society where homosexuality was strictly criminalized and taboo, so it didn’t occur to him that what he felt for Andrew could be anything other than friendship.

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But once Thomas realizes the truth, the romance was sweet and funny. His attempts to seduce Andrew were hilarious. I’d say the two were already a couple in many ways, and all that changed was adding a sexual relationship to the mix.

The HEA was incredibly sweet, and tied up everything nicely. I liked that the author acknowledged reality of Thomas and Andrew’s situation as gay men in Victorian England, but without becoming despondent.

If you’re looking for a fluffy friends-to-lovers MM historical read with lots of holiday feels, give ‘The Christmas Wager’ a try!



Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Seasonal Sentiments Anthology from NineStar Press


Just in time for the holiday season, NineStar Press releases a holiday anthology today: Seasonal Sentiments! An inclusive lineup of seasonal romances for everyone to enjoy with short stories by Elliot Cooper, CM Corett, Teryn Day, Lila Leigh Hunter, J.C. Long, Lloyd A. Meeker, Caitlin Ricci, Gillian St. Kevern, L.A. Stockman and Alex Whitehall!

(We reviewed a few of the stories already - click the linkable names above)

And there's more...a GIVEAWAY - enter to win any book from NineStar Press!


Title:  Seasonal Sentiments
Author: Anthology
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: December 23rd
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 154000
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Fantasy, Science Fiction, 10 short stories, multiple holidays represented, gay, cisgender, ace, bi, pan,

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Synopsis

NineStar Press 2016 Holiday Anthology

Hearts Alight by Elliot Cooper
Dave Cunningham hates the rampant consumerism that’s come to dominate his family’s Hanukkah celebrations. But a chance to bring a bit of a holiday happiness to his long-time crush, Amit Cohen, helps put him in a more festive mood.

In the quest to craft the perfect gift, Dave tries to urge a few personal details out of stoic Amit. Unintentionally, he learns the Cohen family’s secret: Amit is a golem. But Amit has a problem that runs deeper than his magical origin, and a Hanukkah miracle might be the only thing that will keep the budding flame between him and Dave from going out.
2 Days Later by CM Corett
Nate Beckett doesn’t expect much from life, and he definitely doesn’t believe in New Year’s celebrations or resolutions. A happy New Year? Not likely. As the manager of McGee’s bar, the best he can hope for is a drama-free night. One glance at the sexy young man on the dance floor and that hope is long gone. Once again, his young neighbor Justin is back to tempt and torment him. Despite the undeniable attraction, Nate knows he’s too old and jaded for someone like him, so the time has come to reject Justin. It’s for his own good!

Justin may be young and inexperienced, but he knows what he needs. His New Year’s resolution—to tempt and win Nate over. One lame seduction attempt later, and he’s on his way home in a cab. Alone. But later that night, Justin wakes up battered and bruised on Nate’s doorstep, and Nate insists that Justin stay with him. The big, beautiful man’s protective and caring instincts are definitely kicking in.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s a chance for a happy New Year after all!
Of Christmas Past by Teryn Day
Jonathan Barthes has always been able to see—and speak to—the dead. Unfortunately, restless spirits tend to be somewhat needy, and his “gift” has cost him everything from a promising acceptance into med school to a long string of failed relationships. Unable to find a purpose after a terrible autumn semester, he accepts his aunt’s offer to become the caretaker of one of the estates his great-uncle left her over the holidays. He expected the restless spirits: the little girl, the mean governess, and he especially expected the ghost of the vindictive young man who calls himself Cecil.

Cecil's handsome enough when he’s not making the mirrors bleed or the radios speak in tongues. As the year crawls on and reaches its end, however, Jon begins to help Cecil uncover the mystery of his life—and his tragic death. Jon had a dream of helping the living—but maybe, just this once, when he helps a ghost, that ghost will help him back.
Tow Trucks & New Year’s Kisses by Lila Leigh Hunter
A Jag with out-of-state plates is the last car Scott DeLaney expected to find when answering a tow call as a favor to his drunken godson. But, the tall man in the fedora seems like a nice reward until Scott finds out the stranger's destination. Yes, he'd take care of the brooding man, but he has a selfish reason for it.

Finding himself in a ditch after dodging a deer is the least of Patrick Samuels's problems when his rescuer arrives, wearing a tuxedo and driving a hot pink flatbed. Perhaps his older brother’s scheme will benefit Patrick after all.

Who knew that a New Year’s kiss is far more efficient than any boardroom strategy to seal a deal?
New Year’s Eve Unzipped by J.C. Long
Colby, a caterer, is working New Year’s Eve at the Crestview Hills Country Club, a place full of rich, uppity people, promising a boring night. The night becomes a lot more interesting when he starts receiving erotic messages on Unzipped, a hook-up app, from someone who happens to be at that very party.
Stone and Shell by Lloyd A. Meeker
Eight-year-old Howie Evinger is convinced that his dad would be happier if he found a new husband. Howie would be happier, too. And somewhere out there in the city of Vancouver, there's the right man for his dad to love. But how to find him? That’s a problem, especially if you’re just a kid and your dad says he doesn’t want another husband.

With the help of his quirky aunt, Shanna, who calls herself a Buddhist Wiccan, Howie builds his very own solstice altar with cool symbols to support his search. It has a candle, a feather, and a twisty stick, plus an agate for his dad, and a scallop shell for his new husband. Share Howie’s solstice adventure as he learns how real magic requires courage and patience as well as symbols.
One Wish by Caitlin Ricci
Christmas is supposed to be a time of happiness and family, but after a tragic accident the year before, Callen is left feeling the complete opposite. He's sad, miserable, and angry at everyone and everything.

Harry is an elf sent to bring Callen some joy. It's one thing when a child stops believing in Christmas—that happens all the time—but Callen loved everything about Christmas, and Santa needs him back. Harry is there to grant Callen one wish in the hopes of making him feel better. One wish to bring Christmas back to a man who hates the very thought of it.
Ibiza on Ice by Gillian St. Kevern
Tired of being ridiculed as the man dumped in favour of an ugly Christmas sweater, Aston is determined to get revenge--by having his dream vacation at Ibiza's hottest clubs! He's even planned a social media campaign to make sure his ex, Dan, knows exactly what he's missing.

When a snowstorm strikes, and Aston's media campaign takes off before he does, he finds himself propositioned by his unwelcome roommate Mike: trade vacations, or Mike will out Aston as a fake. Desperate to save his reputation, Aston finds himself in Finland--and falling hard for a man with a sweater almost as terrible as Dan's. Worse, Laaksonen cares as little about impressing people as Aston cares about being nice. Aston knows he has too much self-respect to fall for a man so hazardous to his reputation. But the long Polar Night poses the ultimate test to his Ibiza club dreams...
Epiphany by L.A. Stockman
Khafra has spent more than three thousand years wandering the Earth, fascinated by humanity and its many rises and falls. When he meets a young student at Cambridge, he is utterly unprepared for the effect Alfie has on him. Eager and open and full of wonder, Alfie is perhaps the perfect submissive.

While the sex is spectacular, the real surprise for Khafra is his growing love for Alfie. Such unions are grand while they last, but inevitably doomed to time and mortality. Can he open his heart one more time, for a beautiful young man whose defiance of custom and courage in the face of danger are so captivating? Or will he continue as he has for so long, living on the fringe?

Everything depends on the outcome of Epiphany.
A Christmas for Oscar by Alex Whitehall
Oscar has never liked the holidays and all the surrounding rigmarole, but that doesn't stop his best friend from dragging him along for her Black Friday shopping spree. The only perk of the day is that he meets Nathan while he's there.

With sparkling blue eyes, curly blond hair, and a smile that won't stop, Nathan is a Christmas elf in the flesh. He even spends his days in a workshop! But Nathan is more than his bright smile, and he may be just the right person for Oscar. Assuming, of course, Oscar doesn't drive him and his holiday spirit away first.

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Review: A More Perfect Union Anthology by Various Authors

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a monumental decision, and at long last, marriage equality became the law of the land. That ruling made history, and now gay and lesbian Americans will grow up in a country where they will never be denied the right to marry the person they love.

But what about the gay men who waited and wondered all of their lives if the day would ever come when they could stand beside the person they love and say, “I do?”

Here, four accomplished authors—married gay men—offer their take on that question as they explore same-sex relationships, love, and matrimony. Men who thought legal marriage was a right they would never have. Men who, unbelievably, now stand legally joined with the men they love. With this book, they share the magic and excitement of dreams that came true—in tales of fantasy and romance with a dose of their personal experiences in the mix.

To commemorate the anniversary of full marriage equality in the US, this anthology celebrates the idea of marriage itself, and the universal truth of it that applies to us all, gay or straight.

Average!


Flames by J. Scott Coatsworth


2.5 Hearts


This is difficult. I liked the overall plot of the story, but I didn’t like the execution. I think this is a case of ‘it’s me, not you’ and it has mostly to do with the action that occurred inside Giovanni’s head while he was in the coma. I’m not sure what it was that bothered me, but it’s possible it has a lot to do with the length of time, the scenes, and the message that was conveyed through these coma-dreams. It didn’t work for me. I would put it down to my own personal beliefs.


The scenes where it was about Alex and Gio’s mother, these I felt worked well. Alex’s reflection of his attitude toward marriage, and how he interacted with Gio’s mother was really interesting to me. I liked that Alex really worked through why he felt the way he did, that he challenged his own views, and that of his partner’s mother. Medical emergencies really do bring out the best and worst in people. This is something that scares me the most about bigotry and family. The concept that they make all these decisions based around their own personal beliefs when it may not be what their injured family member would want, is terrifying. This was conveyed very well in this story, and I felt both Alex’s and Gio’s fear surrounding that. This was the strongest part of the story and was written very well.


The plot was focused, and if it wasn’t for my own personal issues around the coma-dreams, this would have been a solid read for me. The writing style was pleasing and the character development was good. I would say give it a try. I think the content is important, and it was communicated very well.






Jeordi and Tom by Michael Murphy


2.5 Hearts


This story was okay for me until the couple set out to get married. Then it sort of fell down.


Jeordi and Tom were sweet together. I liked the setup of the plot. I thought the direction and the message was strong. Especially the uncertainty that comes with not having legal protection when your partner gets injured. This is something that is taken for granted in so much of society, and as I expressed in the previous story review, is one of the most terrifying aspects of bigotry to me. This truly is what tears my heart out, and makes me really fearful for those whose relationship is questioned by people who have an agenda.


Once Jeordi gets out of hospital, this is where I struggled with the story. The rush to get married without a plan, the melodrama of the language used when they were having issues, the ridiculous flight to another state to get married, this wasn’t well plotted out, and I found it a bit off putting. It wasn’t the urgency with which the union needed to happen, but the writing of it that was the problem. The plot wasn’t tight enough, it felt like the writing was as rushed as the intent to get married. As this was an ARC it’s possible this problem was fixed in the final drafting of the published version. But for me, this wasn’t a winner in it’s current form.




Destined by Jamie Fessenden


4 Hearts


This story was a nice ride. I enjoyed getting to know Jay and Wallace in their own elements before they became a couple. The timeline was really well paced, and both got enough time for the reader to get to know them really well before they came together. This spans over a number of years, but doesn’t drag. The writing style ensured there was nothing boring about this story. It travelled along nicely.


This was a heartwarming story, with the slowly developing commitment Jay and Wallace made to each other over the years. They made a life that worked really well, and adapted when it was time for more. Wallace is an introvert and he still put himself out there for Jay. Jay showed appreciation for this and support Wallace in any way he could. A beautiful loving couple.


Without adding anymore spoilers, I’d say this was a very magical story. I enjoyed the way these two men met, connected, and grew together. I enjoyed the journey, and the outcome. I wished nothing but a beautiful and happy life for these two.




Someday by B.G. Thomas


5 Hearts


I’m such a sucker for high school sweethearts. There’s just something especially sweet and beautiful about growing with someone through those awkward angsty years, and surviving with a relationship into adulthood. It’s the sweetest victory to learn to love unconditionally and to still hold onto each other after the angst and development is complete. To me it’s the ultimate in romance. Gah, I’m a mushy mess right now.


Lucas and Dalton are so beautiful together. Even when they were just friends there was something hopeful and intimate in the way they were together. This was an emotional journey, and a deeply felt one. Told from Lucas’ point of view, he loves Dalton unconditionally and even when he is trying to get through high school while Dalton has girlfriends, his jealousy isn’t a wild vicious thing. It is a deep ache of longing, and he never gets spiteful or hateful. He just longs for things to be different.




The entire story is one of development, choices, maturity, and dreams for the future, while enjoying what is there now. The timeline worked really well in this story, and I enjoyed the way each stage was plotted out. I read this straight through. I had big grand plans to clean my house on my day off, and instead I spent the morning with Lucas and Dalton. Cleaning be damned, these two stole my heart, and I don’t regret a minute of it.


A beautiful coming of age story, with a tight writing style that wasted no words, and everything included was an important moment for the plot development.


I loved this. This is the sort of love I wish for everyone. It was mesmerizing, infectious, and heart melting. Perfect. This is definitely one of those stories that will cling to me for days; make me sigh in memory of the preciousness that is the love between these two people.




A copy provided for an honest review.


Buy Links – A More Perfect Union


Dreamspinner eBook: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-more-perfect-union-7149-b

Dreamspinner paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7855


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/More-Perfect-Union-B-G-Thomas-ebook/dp/B01GMDKIQ4


Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1123882859?ean=2940158105135


Apple/iTunes: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-more-perfect-union/id1121832226?mt=11&at=1l3vtqV


Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/a-more-perfect-union-10


All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-amoreperfectunion-2053791-166.html


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30304246-a-more-perfect-union


Review: Whispers of Old Winds by George Seaton

2nd Edition

Sheriff Sam Daly, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and his husband, Michael Bellomo, have made a life for themselves in sparsely populated Pine County, in the Colorado mountains. Sam oversees the small sheriff’s department, and Michael sells his paintings and tourist items out of his shop, Needful Things. From the beginning, Sam has known Michael possessed gifts: the ability to see and hear things Sam cannot.

When a report of a body in a massive snow-filled depression up a mountainside sends Sam and his deputy, Digger, to investigate, Sam struggles to reconcile the existence of skinwalkers in Pine County with the world he’s familiar with. Michael, though, deals with this reality through his art, and through the mysticism he’s been gifted. Sam’s effort to discover what is happening causes him to examine his life with Michael from the time they first met. The inevitable conclusion might be that he’ll never understand the mysteries of the mountains, but for the sake of Michael and their love, he’ll have to embrace them.

First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2015.


This was my first read by this author during my annual trip through Dreamspinner’s Advent Calendar event in 2015. The original story is exactly why I read every story every year, I love being introduced to authors that are new to me and George Seaton writes words that transcend the basic Christmas story and his offering was a tale that made me believe in winter magic of all sorts. In the second edition the author has taken his short story and expanded it to full novel length and I absolutely loved it.

While I wouldn’t call Whispers of Old Winds a traditional Christmas story with gingerbread and mistletoe, I would say that it’s a perfect romantic wintery tale in a setting that, if you've ever had the treat of traveling through, will make you believe in spirituality of any flavor. And that’s what makes Whispers of Old Winds so special. It’s slightly eerie in the best possible way. The kind of eerie that makes the reader stop questioning the questionable and just believe in the words and enjoy the ride. 

Whispers of Old Winds is actually a really pretty quiet story told through current moments, flashbacks and “visions” for lack of a better word. The author does a great job of showing rather than telling and the pace moved forward perfectly.

The story was told from Sam’s POV and I really liked his voice. He’s a tough character, a man of few words, but I have a serious soft spot for those guys because to me, their words have that much more value. The bits shown with Sam and Michael together had a lot of impact. The words weren’t full of hearts and flowers, they were befitting a couple who had been through a lot together and were perfectly matched beyond sharing things in common, theirs was a union that had a mystical bent to it that fit with the mood of the whole book. Michael remained a little bit of enigma, but while that could have been frustrating somewhere else, here, it made complete sense.

The supporting characters are just as integral to the overall story as Sam and Michael and each added to the mysterious tale through twists and turns with some expected results and some unexpected. The way the story is told kept me hooked by keeping me on my toes throughout. I have to call out Hank and Digger especially. Hank’s insights and jibes at poor, sweet Digger, Sam’s helluva Deputy, added so much in a quiet and wise way and I loved Hank’s page time. Digger added some levity that balanced the mood every time he made an appearance.

I highly recommend spending time with this uniquely beautiful read.

For more information on the 2nd edition of Whispers of Old Winds, check it out at Dreamspinner Press.


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

See George Seaton's Whispers of Old Winds Tour stop here

Giveaway + Blog Tour: The 12 Days of Hipster by Raine O'Tierney


Raine O'Tierney is here today talking holidays and hipsters!



In less than a week’s time, I’ll be home with my family, ready to start the holidays! I’m so excited!

But do you know who’s probably even more excited than I am?

My brother.

This man is notorious for waking me up before 6 a.m. on Christmas morning.

He’s done this our whole lives.

Even in our thirties, I know without a doubt that he will be up before the sun, begging us all to join him in opening presents.

Every Christmas I come very close to committing fratricide after being woken up so early… But… this is just who he is and I love him!

The Lang Brothers drive each other nuts, too. Except their arguments are a little more involved than me chucking a pillow at my brother’s head.

If you’ve read Bowl Full of Cherries then you know how Rell and Tyler go at it. For being twins, they’re complete opposites -- the bum and the overachiever, the rocker and the hipster, the chill guy and the pretentious ass. Usually this clash of personality results in explosive arguments and very creative insults.

But deep down, just like the love I have for my brother with his before-dawn-on-Christmas-Day ways, Tyler and Rell love each other.

Do you and your siblings drive each other crazy at Christmas? (Or any other time of the year?)

With Kindness and Sibling Love,
Raine O’Tierney

-EXCERPT
Okay, fine. If he couldn’t get out of this with direct and sound logic, he would try the irrational. The completely, totally—did he say completely?—irrational. Tyler tightened his grip on David’s hand, leaned forward, and kissed him. But before a full second had passed, David burst out laughing against Tyler’s lips.
Tyler yanked back, heat suffusing his face.
“What?”
“That was the sourest prekiss expression I’ve ever seen.”
“That’s it, I’m leaving.”
“Tyler, you don’t have to go.”
“No sparks. Only laughter. Must leave.”
“No sparks because you looked like you were in physical pain and made me laugh. Why don’t you be a little more romantic about it?”
“Because I….” Don’t know what in the hell I’m doing. It was probably the first time in his life he really could say that. He’d learned things before. There had been a time when he hadn’t known how to knit, when he hadn’t known how to make gourmet chocolates, when he hadn’t known how to use a soldering iron—but those were just learning opportunities. But with this? He felt like he was standing out naked on the corner with only mistletoe to cover his bits.
“More like this.”
The second kiss was what Tyler would have called sweet if the word had been in his vocabulary. David’s lips were warm, soft, giving, and for a moment the kiss lingered on that edge of innocent, like a snowflake dancing through the sky. Then the world tipped and Tyler’s hands were in David’s hair and David was drawing him closer and, motherfuckinggod, they were kissing. Hard, searching lips, taking and giving, and it took him way too long to realize what he was doing. In fact, he might not have ever realized it if they hadn’t needed to breathe like humans do. It took a long moment for rational thought to come back to Tyler.


-BLURB

The 12 Days of Hipster
(Sequel to Bowl Full of Cherries)

Last Christmas, Tyler Lang accidentally accepted David Griffith’s invitation for dinner. Yes, it was an accident. See, hipster (don’t call him that!) Tyler doesn’t date guys, and even if he did, he certainly doesn’t date jocks. A rude and hasty exit right when the date was getting good left things awkward between them.

David Griffith isn’t really a jock. Well, he’s a former athlete who loves sports, but “jock” has a certain connotation that doesn’t quite fit the intelligent, hardworking store owner. A jock wouldn’t have given Tyler Lang the time of day. But even after that little, ahem, stunt with the fire escape, David can’t stop thinking about the hipster a year later. Which would be fine if fate didn’t keep butting her nose into their business, making it impossible for the jock and the hipster to avoid each other this Christmas.

A hilarious holiday romp, set to the music of the Winter Sounds.

-BUY LINKS


-AUTHOR BIO
Called "Queen of the Sweetness" (well, two or three people said it anyway!) Raine O'Tierney loves writing sweet stories about first loves, first times, fidelity, forever-endings and...friskiness?
Raine in Kansas City with her husband, fellow Dreamspinner Press author, SiƓn O'Tierney. When she's not writing, she's either asleep, or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers!
Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you're interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!
-SOCIAL MEDIA

Website: http://raineotierney.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raineotierney
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/RaineOTierneyAuthor/
Twitter: @raineotierney
Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7770350.Raine_O_Tierney



Enter to win an audible code of the first book, Bowl Full of Cherries!


Review: Tow Trucks & New Year's Kisses by Lila Leigh Hunter

A Jag with out-of-state plates is the last car Scott DeLaney expected to find when answering a tow call as a favor to his drunken godson. But, the tall man in the fedora seems like a nice reward until Scott finds out the stranger's destination. Yes, he'd take care of the brooding man, but he has a selfish reason for it.

Finding himself in a ditch after dodging a deer is the least of Patrick Samuels's problems when his rescuer arrives, wearing a tuxedo and driving a hot pink flatbed. Perhaps his older brother’s scheme will benefit Patrick after all.

Who knew that a New Year’s kiss is far more efficient than any boardroom strategy to seal a deal?





I did it again! I saw a gorgeous cover and I went right on in without thinking twice. I mean really, do you see all that lumbersexual hotness up there? I just couldn't help myself.

This short New Year's story wasn't totally bad, but it wasn't particularly good either. It was OK.

Scott was enjoying a New Year's Eve party with his ex-wife, his daughter and her boyfriend, when the boyfriend (who has special plans for his girlfriend) gets called to work. Scott took the call for a tow so his daughter could have her special night.

I really liked Scott. I thought he was a great dad, an awesome ex-husband, and hot as hell. He had a good sense of humor and was just an all-around happy guy. 

Patrick, the guy who needed the tow, had much to be desired in the personality department. When Scott arrived to help the guy out, Patrick was just rude and so unlikable to me. I can usually grow to like a character who has a turn-around, but there wasn't enough page time for me to forgive Patrick.

I didn't really understand the decisions they made and why they moved so fast. I felt what they had was more insta-lust, which I could buy into. Things were left on "we'll see what happens" ground, but decisions were made that felt more solid than that. It was a weird combo and I wasn't feeling it.

This one fell short for me. But that cover... *bites lip* damn.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads.


Review: Unbidden Dragon (Daughters of Draca #4) by Louisa Kelley

Maeven is on a mission. One big and bold enough for her Fieri, and important enough to gain her a trip off Dracan, the secret sanctuary of the dragon shape-shifters. Success in her once-in-a-lifetime challenge means everything - respect, honor, and the bestowal of her full powers. Not to mention doing something vital for the survival of her species.

She’s given strict rules of behavior for living in earth society. Rule number one: keep her true nature hidden. Rule number two: no emotional involvement with humans, despite the age-old, near irresistible attraction between the two races.

Then Maeven meets plucky, devious, adorable Frankie. Who, as it turns out, accidentally, shockingly, shape-shifted – the night before. Ah. So much for the rules.

Frankie is frustrated with her slightly larcenous life not going anywhere in particular. One fateful weekend, she camps alone in the mountains to gain fresh perspective - with a little help from a baggie of something special. That afternoon, in a crazed, furious confrontation with hunters, Frankie accidentally shape-shifts into a dragon--

And discovers a race of magical beings who insist she’s one, too. Then there's the shining, gorgeous, red-head who promises to teach her so much.


Maevan is on her Fieri challenge. A right of passage once a Dracan reaches 200 years old. Maevan has requested the challenge of finding a Human born with enough Dracan blood to shape-shift. Something the Dracan community has been searching for, to cure their early aging.


Frankie is displaced, never feels safe, and has abandonment issues as a result of her mother’s passing, and her father’s rigid political nature. She consoles herself with stealing pretty things, and is in Portland because of some pull that told her her luck was running out in Las Vegas. After a day of wandering the forest, on a vision quest, fueled by Magic mushrooms, she finds herself naked in a cabin in the woods, being stared at by a beautiful woman.


After a slow start to this story (for me) I got sucked into this magical piece of writing.
The world building in this story was really good. The dual realities worked well, and made sense. There was the feeling of magic and a society cloaked to make Dracan invisible. Unfortunately I didn’t get the same descriptive world building in the Dracan reality, and I felt that would have added more depth to the story. The questions floating around about Dracan life was never fully answered. The society wasn’t explained beyond the basics, the Fieri and the Council of Elders. I would have liked the author to provide a bit more of the way Dracan life worked beyond that upper echelon.




The chemistry between Maevan and Frankie was electric, and I felt their passion for each other. The intimacy and erotica was sexy and drawn out well. I believed these two women connected and could settle into something wonderful together. Their exploration of each other and their cultures was nice to see. Maevan’s advocacy for Frankie’s life in the face of a strictly secretive culture was heartwarming. Questioning her Queen was a risk she took to ensure Frankie’s well being.


The Dragons were described well, as was their shape-shifting, and the inner feelings of a twin-being. I appreciated the care and focus that was given to this part of the story. I understood the Dracan predatory nature, and its intensity. I was convinced by the compulsion to shift, fly, and hunt.


Dragons are a favourite of mine, and I believe this story was well thought out, and well executed. Aside from the issues I had above, this was a great story, with plenty of meat and full character development. A few editing issues pulled me out of the story, but I believe these would have been picked up in the final edit.


I will be looking into The Daughters of Draca series, and hoping it provides a more thorough worldview of Draca as well as more of the magic and beauty that was displayed in this story.


Recommended for lovers of Mythical beasts set in a contemporary world. This Paranormal stories was a satisfying read.






Find on Goodreads!

Blog Tour: Whispers of Old Winds by George Seaton


George Seaton's here today to talk about his new paranormal novel!



My short story, “Whispers of Old Winds,” appeared in the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar. I expanded the short story to novel length, providing a more thorough view of the main characters, Sam Daly and his husband Michael Bellomo, and the secrets of Pine County, Colorado—a place where magic exists with quiet impunity.

Excerpt

     Hank and Michael just sit there, both staring at the woodstove, as Michael scratches Charlie’s ears. When neither of them says anything more, I nod and say, “You want to share what it means?”
     “Witches,” Michael says.
     I think a moment about that and wait for either one of them to expound a bit about what Michael has just said, and when they don’t, I say, “Okay. Witches. Well, that explains everything.” And of course I’m reminded that Joe Parsons thought Apollo was killed by Satanists or witches, and I told Michael about that. I kick myself for planting that seed.
     Charlie rises to his feet, gives me a serious glance, hobbles around Hank, and leaves the parlor for cooler climes somewhere in the interior of the cabin.
     “Maybe it’s old,” Hank says. “Maybe it isn’t. If it isn’t, I think we got a problem.”
     I assume he’s talking about what’s in the black bag. “Why’s that, Hank?”
     When Hank doesn’t answer, Michael stands up. “I’ve got to go,” he says as he steps around me and heads for the front door.
     “Michael,” I say.
     He stops before he opens the door and turns back to me. “Hank will tell you, Sam. I’ve just got to go.” He opens the door and leaves.
     I look at Hank, who’s still staring into the fire. “Hank?”
     “Michael knew when he touched it,” Hank says. “He didn’t want to tell you, but he knew.”
     I’ve never liked cryptic meanderings from anybody, and though I’ve come to expect them from Hank, I’m a little pissed off right now with Michael’s sudden exit into probably another trip into himself every time he hears those goddamned whispers.
     “Dammit, Hank. What the hell is going on?”
     Hank scoots up a little in his chair and turns toward me. “Skinwalkers,” he says, “can be witches. They make magic sometimes from the bones of human beings. Animal bone too.”
     “All right. Yes, Michael told me that. But, Hank…. It could be somebody’s, oh…. It could just be the remains of somebody’s dearly departed. You know? A little keepsake from a cremation.” Yes, I realize I’ve just offered a really creepy explanation for what’s in that bag, and so too, I remember where it’d come from. Was Missie really keeping a bag full of bone dust just for the sentimental value of it? “I mean—”
     “Nah,” Hank says. “It’s magic. A witch took some bones from somebody. Gonna curse somebody with them. Give them black tongue. Make them die, maybe.”
     Okay, then. Freak bears are one thing, but what Hank has just told me takes the cake. “You really believe this?”
     “Hah,” Hank says. “You better too.” He looks back at the fire. “If somebody was carrying this around with them…. If they have some more of this, then somebody is gonna get sick or die, Sheriff.”

2nd Edition

Sheriff Sam Daly, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and his husband, Michael Bellomo, have made a life for themselves in sparsely populated Pine County in the Colorado mountains. Sam oversees the small sheriff’s department, and Michael sells his paintings and tourist items out of his shop, Needful Things. From the beginning, Sam has known Michael possessed gifts: the ability to see and hear things Sam cannot.

When a report of a body in a massive snow-filled depression up a mountainside sends Sam and his deputy, Digger, to investigate, Sam struggles to reconcile the existence of skinwalkers in Pine County with the world he’s familiar with. Michael, though, deals with this reality through his art, and through the mysticism he’s been gifted. Sam’s effort to discover what is happening causes him to examine his life with Michael from the time they first met. The inevitable conclusion might be that he’ll never understand the mysteries of the mountains, but for the sake of Michael and their love, he’ll have to embrace them.

First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2015.

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Released December 16, 2016

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon

About George

George Seaton’s short stories, novellas, and novels capture contemporary life mostly set in the American west—Colorado and Wyoming in particular. He and his husband, David, along with their Alaskan malamute, Kuma, live in the Colorado foothills just southwest of Denver.

Website
Facebook: facebook.com/george.seaton
Twitter: @GeorgeSeaton