Thursday, August 31, 2017

Book of the Month and Giveaway: Our Favorite End-of-Summer Reads!

Cheers, friends, and welcome to a look at the books that gave us all the deep feels in the month of August. I love that we’ve got a little bit of everything on the list this month, from Sci-Fi to Historical to Urban Fantasy and more.

As always, there’s a chance to win a couple of the titles we loved, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

And now, here they are, our July Books of the Month!

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BenDalí by E.M. Hamill – “Along with the drama, this story was packed with action. Dalí is one hell of a fighter, and I loved watching them kick serious ass. There were space battles, hand-to-hand fights, gruesome alien tournaments, and some pretty intensely sexual sparring matches. Despite the violence and thrills, the premise of the story struck me as something more akin to the nature of peace, and how we foster it. Dalí was on track to become a great peace-maker, but throughout the novel they find their place as one of the worlds’ great peace-keepers. In other words, using their physical nature to encourage openness and communication.

I loved the message, the depth of characters and the world-building. This is exactly the type of book I love to read. My only regret is that I felt Dalí’s happy ending was slightly out of reach; call it a happy-for-now ending. Luckily this is a series, and I’ll definitely be picking up the next one.”

KimNew Orleans Second Lines by Lynn Lorenz – “What brought this all together and made it a favorite, and a reread, was Sebastian LaGrange. He may have started off as a secondary character in Pinky Swear, but he grew even more as a main character in Pioneers. I got to know his story of what it was like to be gay and young in New Orleans. His ups and downs, and the fear and sadness he went through when the AIDS epidemic was at its peak in the 80s. And even though he thinks that love ended when his soul mate, Frank, died, years later, along comes Raymond Chou to woo this sweet old man.

OMG, C’est La Vie, was so sweet! It’s very rare to read a story about a much older couple, and Lynn Lorenz told it so beautifully. I love how the courtship between these two developed, and knowing Sebastian’s insecurities just made him even more human to me. Sebastian LaGrange just didn’t know what a sexy man he was until Raymond came along and reminded him that he was still a young man at heart and deserved a second chance at love.”

KyGet a Grip by L.A. Witt – “A hook up that became the real deal. We’ve seen this trope many times, but when it’s done right it’s one of my favorite themes. In this book, it’s absolutely done right! There is no rush. Their deal is clear and at first it works just fine. When feelings come out to play, it happens in stages and not unexpectedly and out of the blue.

If I could have, I would have read this in one sitting. I kept wanting to find out if Shane was going to sow the wild oats that he wanted to so much. The fun part is that I couldn’t decide if I wanted him to succeed or not. I think I liked reading about his fantasies, but didn’t want to see him actually making them come true. I won’t tell you if he experienced everything he wanted to, because that’s one of the things that I wanted to keep reading and find out for myself. I will tell you, though, that he had Aaron with him for the ride…”

JulesIllegal Contact by Santino Hassell – “I love, love, love these guys together. The tension is fabulous. And, when they finally break down and go for it…. Oh. My. God. They’re on fire. But, it’s not just that their sexual chemistry is off the charts…they’re also just so much fun together. The snark and attitude early on, and the fact that they’re both completely unapologetic about who they are. Like all of Santino Hassell’s characters, they are so real and relatable. Noah shows Gavin the fiery Queens boy beneath the Clark Kent exterior, and Gavin shows Noah his vulnerability and his capability for caring. And, no one can resist #DatBrawleySmile.

Do not miss this book, guys. The writing is so fantastic and engaging. It’s everything you would hope for and more. I’m still a 5B girl, I don’t know what it will take to unseat Sutphin Boulevard as my all-time fave, but Illegal Contact is definitely some of Santino Hassell’s best work. Go grab this one! It should absolutely be on your steamy summer reads list.”

LindseyLast Dance of the Sugar Plum by Claire Davis and Al Stewart – “Last Dance of the Sugar Plum is a spy thriller, but more so a psychological mindf**k from start to finish. Yes, there is romance (of a sort), but it takes a humongous backseat to everything else happening. I can’t say much more, because it would give something away. What I can write is what you know from the blurb. Jonathon has no memory, but deep in his subconscious he has important information. Anton is tasked with retrieving a code deep in Jonathon’s subconscious. Some bat-ish crazy stuff follows in a race against the clock which is going TICK-TOCK-TICK-TOCK.

This story is clever and unique and there is a lot going on, so go into it knowing you will be lost a good portion of the time. But when it all comes to an end, it was totally worth the ride. At least, for me it was. I don’t think it will be for everyone, but if you like well-written gritty and suspenseful stories that will mess with your mind, this is definitely something you should give a shot. I’m extremely glad I did.”


CassieThe Deep of the Sound by Amy Lane – “Amy Lane is extremely skilled at writing you right into her characters’ brains. That talent is on clear display here with Cal. Even with the dual POV, this book was all about Cal for me. Probably because even when the book follows Avery’s POV, I was busy worrying about Cal. The poor guy is stretched thin and basically whittled down to the bone with fatigue and worry. His family’s medical situation is tenuous—a great uncle with Alzheimer’s and an adult younger brother with some fairly severe spectrum issues, both living at home. They not only eat up all of his monetary resources, but also his emotional ones. He has no familial support outside his two dependents and very little income, even after working two grueling jobs. When he’s injured on the job, all his spinning plates hit the floor in spectacular fashion. It’s a tough listen, because he’s so desperately worried and so precariously situated. It was particularly timely that I was going through this audio at this moment in our country’s discussion of healthcare reform. I actually struggled to finish because current events lent the story a too scary dose of realism. But I loved Avery and Cal together, and it felt so good to see Cal finally getting something just for him in his life.”

MaryannComes a Horseman by Anne Barwell – “Anne Barwell delivers such an emotional and intense ending to her Echoes Rising series. This WWII historical drama has danger, chaos, betrayal, bigotry, revenge, and suspenseful moments that will keep you on edge. It’s also a tale that offers camaraderie among different allies and the sadness of those who fought and lost their lives. The characters are so filled with hope and love, even at the worst of times, it just overwhelms your heart. With their friendships and heartbreak, their fears and their faults and relationships, these characters continue to grow. It was sad to have the series come to an end. It is so well written and told with so much heart; it grabs you from the very beginning with its in-depth characterizations and their fight to save humanity. I highly recommend reading the entire Echoes Rising series, beginning with Shadowboxing and Winter Duet.”

CarrieA Penitent Pirate by Jules Radcliffe – “Jules Radcliffe has done it again. If anything, this book is even better than the first one in the series. Book one was full of political intrigue, the brutal realities of war, and the forging of Perry and Quinn’s relationship. Now, in book two, the political landscape is still constantly changing in a time full of uncertainty, but the story concentrates more on the posturing of men who are free to manipulate the winds of history and the grabbing of land and money for their individual kings. The Caribbean in 1664 is ruled by the Spanish, the Dutch, the English and the Brethren. The Brethren are the men who live there, they work there, and they sail the seas looking for bounty.

Yes, this is a swoon worthy pirate adventure, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Read book one first—you need to understand the journey these men take. You can start with this second book, but why when the story is so much better told from the beginning. Swamp Dog is the next story in the making, and then A Pirate’s Promise. I would really love it if one of these is Kit’s book. I think there is more to his and Raphe’s relationship than meets the eye! If you love different kinds of historicals, or just plain great love stories. then this series is for you. Highly recommend.”

MikeDim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford – “Dim Sum Asylum opens in the middle of a police chase, in an alt-world San Francisco where Asian magic, spell casting, and animated killer statuary are commonplace. Roku MacCormick is on the heels of his partner, who has stolen a clutch of dragon eggs. When that renegade partner kills a bystander, Roku has no choice but to kill him. This sets off a chain of events that the Arcane Crimes Division must recover from. So Roku, who is still grieving his own tragedies which are compounded by having to kill his partner, finds himself paired with Trent Leonard.

While both men have a past they would like to ignore, not talk about and generally avoid, they find themselves not just forced to work together but oddly attracted to one another. All this despite the fact that someone keeps trying to kill Roku, while Roku’s crime lord grandfather has pegged him to become the new head of the family, and Roku’s oldest friend has gone missing. And then there’s the trail of bodies left in the wake of the San Francisco Chinatown’s magical killing crime spree, all of which center around Roku and his family.”

SammyDream of a Waking Man by John Goode – “Dream of a Waking Man, book ten in John Goode’s Foster High series, picks up after Brad completes his military service and returns home to surprise Kyle. We knew from the last installment that Kyle left his internship at the law firm to be with Brad, and it was just delightful how we got to relive that moment this time from Brad’s perspective. Now Brad and Kyle have a home of their own, Kyle has left the law firm and is on his own, working from home, and Brad is back in school studying to be an athletics coach. All is pretty hunky-dory, and a bit too safe, until Kyle gets an email from a fourteen-year old boy who has been denied the right to start a Gay/Straight Alliance in his high school in, you guessed it, a small town in Texas. At first Kyle is set on not responding, using the lame fact that the boy needs a more experienced trial lawyer, but Brad is smart and lets his boy stew while deliberately not applying any pressure and, of course, Kyle folds and takes the case.

Dream of a Waking Man takes us one step further in the lives of two boys who have somehow grown into the finest of men right before our eyes. Once again, John Goode does not spare us from the hate and bigotry that exists in this world, but he tempers it with love, friendship and a passion to do the right thing despite how flawed those attempting to right injustice may be. I love this series and I highly recommend this latest book to you.”

LisaAxios by Jaclyn Osborne – “Sometimes the difficulty in writing a review for a book you loved is rooted in the fact that all the superlatives have become so cliché. An Epic Saga, Best of the Year, Action Packed, Sweeping, Heartbreaking, A Love Story for the Ages… All of those apply to Axios: A Spartan Tale, and so many more. Spanning a thirty-year period, beginning to The End, Jaclyn Osborn weaves historical fact with romantic fiction and produces a whole cloth that envelopes readers in the life of a Spartan soldier.

Stripped down to the sum of its parts—a romance, historical fiction, or a hero’s journey, this book succeeds on all fronts. Every scene in this novel is crafted with an eloquence that in some ways is reminiscent of Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles. If you’ve never read that novel, it’s one of the highest compliments I can pay to Axios. If you have read that novel, then you’re more than familiar with the level of excellence this equates to. Trust me, I don’t compare books to Miller’s brilliance lightly. Some of the romantic passages Osborne crafted, however, evoke the same depth of love that Achilles and Patroclus shared, and when spoken by Eryx, a man not often given to emotion, those words resonate all the more.”

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And that does it for the month of August. Until next month, happy reading!

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The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Audio Tuesday with Jessie Potts


Hello all, welcome to another Audio Tuesday, and Jessie Potts is here again from the HEA blog to talk about some of her most recent audio recommendations.

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Welcome back! This week I found myself craving bad boys and smexy scenes. I would not roll through a drive through with these turned up! We have a hot Irish witch enforcer, a growly hot Therian, and a look back in the Psy-Cop world in the head of a secondary character. Enjoy!

Wicked Kiss by Rebecca Zanetti, narrated by Brock Thompson
This is the fourth Realm Enforcers book (the first is Wicked Ride) and as we all know from the last book Adam and Tori had major chemistry and attraction. I love Adam’s Irish lilt and the way his mind works. Watching him go from calm and focused to more and more hot and uncontrolled was a treat. You can read/listen to this as a standalone (Irish lilt man, Irish lilt) but of course I find it better to start from the beginning. Luckily Brock narrates them all to keep the characters voices the matching.

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Wicked-Kiss-Audiobook/B0743JCY51?ref_=a_newreleas_c2_12_t

Hell & High Water by Charlie Cochet, narrated by Mark Westfield
Although the eighth book is out in audio (Thick & Thin) I have to say this one holds a special place in my heart.  Mark perfectly matched the growly, hot headed, hard, yet scarred Therian Sloane’s voice. I mean DANG the entire series is amazing on audio, but how can you not fall in love with the first time Dex was standing in awe watching Sloane fight? Or the first time they kissed? If you haven’t already jumped on the THIRDS audio bandwagon, you are missing out! These are re-listens for me!
https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Hell-High-Water-Audiobook/B00O4DC8N6/ref=a_series_c2_1_saTtl?ie=UTF8&pf_rd_r=1XN8WP06GGQPTKMP9R66&pf_rd_m=A2ZO8JX97D5MN9&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=series-detail&pf_rd_p=1374482202&pf_rd_s=center-2

Skin After Skin by Jordan Castillo Price, narrated by Gomez Pugh
The Psy-Cop series has been a favorite of mine, especially in audio!  In the first book (Among the Living) Gomez has Victor’s medicated voice perfectly. He narrated and I found myself there in the book along side Victor and Jacob. In Skin After Skin Gomez proves he has the range and narrates Crash’s voice perfectly. Geez, I have had a love hate relationship with Crash (I know there are so many Crash lovers) but I loved him in this one.  Gomez flips his vocals and captures Crash’s outgoing, extroverted vibe in a way I wasn’t sure it could be captured. Psy-Cops series is fun, dark and demented at times.

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Skin-After-Skin-Audiobook/B074WH2YG8/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1503951515&sr=1-1

And that's all for this week, thank you all for listening. :)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Guest Blogger: Jaime Samms



Today I'm so happy to have Jaime Samms on my blog talking about her new book Three Player Game. As I have a particular fondness for grumpy, growly characters, I enjoyed reading about hers. 

 

When A Character is Not All Sunshine and Roses

Lee is not my first character who’s had more clouds and thorns to his personality than sunshine and roses, especially at the beginning of the book. I’ve written my share of thorny, difficult men. I’ve had my share of reviews from readers who didn’t like those guys. That’s fair. They aren’t always immediately likeable. Sometimes, they still aren’t snuggle-bunnies by the end of the book. Lee is not a snuggle bunny. Lee will never be a snuggle bunny. If he was, very likely, he would not have found a place with his lovers. They didn’t approach him because they wanted to fix him, or smooth out his edges, or make him better in some way. They approached him because they both found him, just the way he was, attractive and worthy of love.
 
And that, to me, is the key. Everyone is worthy of love.

There is no caveat that says you have to be a certain percentage soft and fluffy before you get to be loved, or that you have to be reformed of all your bad habits to keep that love. Does Lee have growing to do? Of course. Can he be nicer? Probably, and after some time being loved and accepted and shown that there are other ways to protect himself than lashing out, he will be.
I respect my readers too much to tie pretty red bows around happy cocks and call it done by the power of the magic sexytimes. Or to thinly veneer couples (or threesomes) with giddy joy just to cover up that the characters are not perfect. Flaws still exist and bad behavior takes time to correct. Sometimes the first step is realizing that there are people who are worth protecting, even from your own barbs, and that’s where Lee landed in this story.
He found two people who accepted his difficult edges, and who he wants to be softer towards. They found him worthy of loving, and now he wants to prove to them they weren’t wrong. That’s only the first step, and to change a lifetime of bad habits and poor interpersonal skills, Lee has to discover in himself what Vince and Pete already see. Then Lee will realize he is worthy of his own love, and he can really begin to grow.

That’s a long—a lifetime—story, though, and Three Player Game is a romance. A slice of a much longer, richer story that leads to an epic love affair to last three lifetimes. Beyond the scope of just one book.


http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/three-player-game
Blurb:

Vince’s life has improved immeasurably since he moved to Bluewater Bay two years ago. He’s gone from working for a man he hated, to helping found a company he believes in. And he and his boyfriend, Pete, have built a delicate balance of power between them that keeps them both grounded and thriving.

Almost, anyway.

Pete’s job on the set of Wolf’s Landing is demanding. He needs lots of downtime off set, and that’s where Vince’s firm but gentle control isn’t always enough. And for Vince, Pete’s constant high-energy needs are turning out to be more than he can handle alone.

It’s no surprise to either of them, then, that sparks fly when Vince’s coworker Lee enters the picture. Outwardly, Lee is tough and confident, but when a bad back confines him to Pete and Vince’s spare room, the cracks start to show and his desire for connection begins to peek through.

Pete and Vince both like what they see under Lee’s prickly outside, but now the three men must learn that love isn’t about beating the game—it’s about balance, trust, and letting each other in.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Audio Tuesday with Jessie Potts

Hello all, welcome to another Audio Tuesday, and Jessie Potts is here again from the HEA blog to talk about some of her most recent audio finds that's she's really enjoyed. 

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Welcome back! After Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones and having to say goodbye to the clone club from Orphan Black I figured we could all use some fun light hearted listens to treat our ears with! We have a gay hornless unicorn, a girl needing a break from her match making mother and a teenage reimagined Sherlock and Watson book! Enjoy!

The Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune narrated by Michael Lesley
After a recommendation from a friend I got sucked into this ridiculous yet awesome world. There’s a hornless gay unicorn along with an amazing cast of characters. Michael’s voice has just the perfect timing for the sarcasm and sass and brings the characters to life fully. I now have the second book queued up on my kindle because I HAVE to know what happens to Sam of the Wilds and come on when will it be out in audio???

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Lightning-Struck-Heart-Audiobook/B0195I4B9S/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1503369909&sr=1-1


When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, narrated by Sneha Methan and Vikas Ada
I loved this Teen read because Dimple and Rishi are two fantastic characters. Rishi is a romantic at heart and decides right away that Dimple is his love and future wife. Dimple on the other hand leaves for a program to get away from her matchmaking mother for a summer. The two are perfect together and I love how devious the parents are! Normally I’m not a fan of arranged marriages, and come on how can it work in 2017? But I have to say the way the author wrote this romance is the perfect thing for a light hearted contemporary read! It’s seriously adorable.

https://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/When-Dimple-Met-Rishi-Audiobook/B0711ZNTRP/ref=a_cat_Teens_c5_2_4_i?ie=UTF8&pf_rd_r=0QH8CPJNKHCJ6EW3YB8X&pf_rd_m=A2ZO8JX97D5MN9&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=2239720011&pf_rd_p=2521716122&pf_rd_s=cat-5



A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro, narrated by Graham Halstead and Julia Whelan
This is one of my favorite teen listens because Graham brings Jamie Holmes to life (it’s narrated in his POV). I have read many Sherlock books but Charlotte is by far one of the best reimagining’s.  There’s murder, danger, a laboratory, subtle romance and twists that will keep you guessing along side Jamie… Charlotte of course is already three steps ahead of you… at least! This is also one of my mother’s favorite audio listens and the last chapter had us laughing hard.

https://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/A-Study-in-Charlotte-Audiobook/B01A5UKW6G/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1503370712&sr=1-1


That's it for this week everyone, hope you enjoy them. :)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Audio Tuesday with Jessie Potts

Hello all, welcome to another Audio Tuesday, and Jessie Potts is here again from the HEA blog to talk about some of her most recent audio finds that's she's really enjoyed. 

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This week there were soooo many releases that I couldn’t finish them all! Here are a few that I’m in the middle of listening to, I highly recommend using your credits on these! First we have a half fae inspector learning to work with a hot noob partner, a strong heroine matched with a brilliantly complex hero, and a retired solider dealing with PTSD. Get ready to treat your ears!

Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford narrated by Greg Tremblay
This audiobook is an amazing blend of action, fantasy and steam. Greg manages to perfectly capture Roku’s chaotic world of magic, darkness and what it means being an inspector in Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division. There’s so much fun and action I couldn’t multi task while listening to this one, I was so caught up! 

https://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Dim-Sum-Asylum-Audiobook/B0742K8V7C/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srImg?qid=1502659177&sr=1-1


 Beneath the Truth by Meghan March, narrated by Andi Arndt and Sebastian York
I love multiple narrators and Andi and Sebastian are great playing off each other in this seventh book in the Beneath Series. The setting is New Orleans and for those of you waiting to see if Rhett finds his HEA, you won’t be disappointed. I’m so disappointed this series is ending, but dang it if Meghan doesn’t do an amazing job wrapping everything up. I will say you can read/listen to this as a standalone! 

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Beneath-the-Truth-Audiobook/B073FPWFHV?ref_=a_newreleas_c2_4_t


Friendly Fire by Cari Z. Narrated by Nick J. Russo
I love this narrator and Nick does an amazing job portraying Lennox with his PTSD and Elliot, who is so… obstinate! While sometimes you’ll find yourself wanting to slap Elliot, watching Lennox slowly learn to trust and relax while the sparks fly will definitely have this story fly by! 


   https://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Friendly-Fire-Audiobook/B074N2QCZ4?ref_=a_newreleas_c2_1_t


There you have it, everyone have a wonderful week and if you get a chance to listen to audiobooks, these are some great ones. :)