Saturday, July 23, 2016

Counting Fence Posts by Kelly Jensen

Title:  Counting Fence Posts
Author: Kelly Jensen
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: -
Main Characters: Marc and Henry
Release Date: July 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy


Story Overview:
There are over two hundred thousand fence posts between Syracuse and Boston. Henry Auttenberg likes numbers—it’s his job—but he isn’t going to count them all, even if the view outside the rental car is less confounding than the driver, his attractive but oh so obnoxious colleague, Marcus Winnamore. It’s Christmas Eve, and Henry would much rather be home with his family. When the blizzard that grounded their flight forces them off the road, however, he’s stuck with Marc until the storm passes—or a plow digs them out.

As the temperature outside plummets, the atmosphere inside the car slowly heats up. Henry learns the true reason for Marc’s chilly distance—he’s not exactly straight… maybe… and he’s been fantasizing about Henry’s mouth, among other things. Confession laid out, Marc is all for sharing body heat… and more. Henry isn’t interested in being an experiment, but as the night and cold deepen, he could be convinced to balance certain risk against uncertain reward.

My Review:
One of my most favorite tropes of all time is when love interests get stuck in a snowstorm, but usually that means stuck in a cabin with a cozy fireplace while the storm rages outside. In this book, there isn't that safety parameter. No, these two men are trapped in a ditch in a blizzard and the likelihood of someone finding them seems rather grim. So, you know, the need to exchange body heat is absolutely imperative (see, this is why I love this trope so much!)

No, but seriously, this is a quick little read, but Kelly Jensen managed to pack a ton of story into very few pages. These guys have worked together for 2 1/2 years. While the story is only told from Henry's pov, it quickly becomes obvious that they've both been hiding their attraction to one another for a while. But not only do they work together, but Marc isn't out of the closet. In fact, until he met Henry, he didn't even consider that there was a closet about himself. (I do like a good gay-for-you trope, too.)

The story is fast and it actually only takes place over about 12 hours times, but I never felt short-changed. I didn't even doubt the validity of where these two went from there. I loved how Marc didn't really know what he was doing, but he was very self-assured in all of it. And I also loved Henry's analytical mind. He's very conscious about things...from counting the fenceposts to weighing the pros and cons of doing this thing with Marc, he thinks it all through. 

It was a sweet, romantic story with just a hint of possible life-threatening frost-bite, but snuggling is a very, very good thing. I think you'll probably like this one!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Hiatus by L.A. Witt

Title:  Hiatus
Author: L.A. Witt
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m/m)
Series
Main Characters: Smith and Aubrey
Release Date: July 2016
Publisher: Samhain
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Three’s a disaster when things come unraveled.

Rock star Nate Keller is on top of the world, but his headlining tour has one drawback. It keeps him away from his boyfriends, Theo and Cameron, for weeks at a time. Yet after four-and-a-half years—and a lot of hard work—the trio is still going strong.

But then Cam comes to visit with devastating news. After seventeen years together, he and Theo have agreed to a trial separation. Nate tries desperately to fix his lovers’ broken relationship, but there’s only so much he can do from the road.

At home, Cam tries to carry on, but feels like his whole life is spiraling out of control. Theo struggles to cope with the split as his depression worsens. They’re both spinning their wheels, quickly losing hope they can keep it together—and keep the man they both still love.

Desperate, Nate drops everything in a last-ditch attempt to pull their trio back together before they hit rock bottom. Except their love could already be shattered beyond repair.

Warning: Contains two men who must face how broken they are before they can fix their failing marriage, and the man who loves them both—but doesn’t know how to save them.

My Review:
Disclaimer: when I sat down to write this review, I went and glanced through the other reviews for it and was surprised at just how many people really didn't enjoy it. That is to say I was surprised at first. For the most part this isn't a happy book. It's about a relationship disintegrating, BUT I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I read it on a day when I was supposed to be doing some of my own work that I was rather excited about, but I couldn't bring myself to set the book down to do it. I found the story enthralling...and I am not a person who likes negative of any sort...including in my reading...in my life.

But I did find this book to be a really fascinating read. It features three men in a committed three-way relationship. Two of the men, Cam and Theo, have been married for 17 years. The third, Nate, they added to their triad 4 1/2 years ago. Nate is a rock star who spends a lot of his time on tour, so he isn't real privy to the way Cam and Theo are breaking down until they come to him and tell him that they're separating. All three of them are devastated as their relationships are crumbling around them. 

I thought this was a fascinating study of human nature. All three men are very different and they handle the stress in their lives extremely differently. I found them fascinating and trying to puzzle out how they were going to sort themselves out kept me reading. And as sad as the book is throughout, by the end I was laughing out loud and so happy that I'd read the book. 

I enjoyed it, but be warned...not everyone does. So if you decide to grab it, be ready for high levels of angst and some really hard-headed men who need a swift kick in the butt. Regardless of that though, I did love all three of them...and in the end, I loved their story, too. Because you know what? Relationships aren't all smooth sailing and for me, this book reminded me to appreciate the good times with my husband of 24 years.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Promo Post: Ultimate Courage by Piper J. Drake (Excerpt)




ULTIMATE COURAGE by Piper J. Drake
Hot military heroes, the women who love them, and the devoted dogs that always have their backs. ULTIMATE COURAGE is the second book in a high adrenaline contemporary suspense series from Piper J. Drake published by Forever Romance. Fans of D.D. Ayres K-9 Rescue series and Cindy Gerard’s One Eyed Jacks, will love this action packed romantic suspense series.
Title: Ultimate Courage
Author: Piper J. Drake
Series: True Heroes #2
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing- Forever
Print Length:  336 pages
Format: Digital and Mass Market Paperback


Synopsis:
Elisa Hall is good at starting from scratch. Leaving an abusive relationship in her rearview, she packs everything she owns into the trunk of her car and heads for refuge with her friend in Hope's Crossing, North Carolina.

Alex Rojas returned from his second deployment as a Navy SEAL to find his condo empty and divorce papers on the breakfast table. Now he's building a life for himself and his daughter at Hope's Crossing kennels training younger dogs and handlers to search and rescue, struggling to adjust to life back in the States and as a single father.

When Elisa shows up at the kennels, it's obvious she's running from something. Luckily, the dogs and trainers at Hope's Crossing are more than capable of warding off trouble. And with every minute he spends with Elisa, Alex becomes even more and more determined to protect the woman he's certain he won't be able to live without...
Get More information at: Goodreads  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes
Also in this series:



Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29253/?




About Piper J. Drake:
Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) began her writing career as “PJ Schnyder” writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk. She has recently received the FF&P PRISM award for her work as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.
Now, PJ is exploring the complexity of romantic suspense, incorporating her interests in mixed martial arts and the military into her writing.


EXCERPT:
Alex’s hand came up slowly to cradle the side of her face, encouraging her to tilt her head, and she did. He deepened the kiss then, his tongue running across her lips and coaxing them to open for him. She opened with a sigh, and his tongue swept into her mouth, gently tasting. She kissed him back in return, leaning into him until she had one hand braced against his hard chest.
A needy moan escaped her, and he responded in kind. When he lifted his mouth from hers, she almost tipped into him, her knees not holding her upright anymore and her head spinning. Wow.
She took not one, but several long breaths to clear her head, looking down at a black and tan face staring up at her with soulful, dark eyes. Souze wasn’t shy about watching, apparently.
The thought brought her the rest of the way to her senses, because weird. Yeah. Weird.
She took a step back, and Alex let her. He’d done that since the beginning. Letting her go if she wanted. So why was it so hard to leave now even if she kept saying she should?
“Thank you,” she told him, not looking up into his eyes.
“But?” Alex’s voice came cool, deep, and so sexy it just wasn’t fair.
“But I should go. Especially because this is obviously not a professional thing now.”
“No. But none of your previous employers particularly cared if you left, did they?” He sounded reasonable. “Did they bother to try to check on you?”
“Not that I know of.” She said it slowly. She’d had her phone with her, and she’d been checking her e-mail. Both big mistakes, she knew now. But she’d been paid under the table and they didn’t really have a way to contact her after she disappeared.
“I think that’s a little odd.” Rojas lifted his hand, giving her plenty of time to avoid him, and brushed her hair back from her face. “Maybe this time, it wouldn’t hurt to have someone care about whether you disappear.”


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Staged by Kim Fielding

Title:  Staging
Author: Kim Fielding
My Rating: A

Genre: Dark Erotic Romance (m/m)
Series: Belonging #3
Main Characters: Sky and Morgan
Release Date: July 2016
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
Once the second-prize winner on My Slave’s Got Talent, Sky Blue has spent the past few years singing at a failing New York nightclub. While Sky has never had control over his fate, his life seems to take a turn for the worse when he’s torn from the familiar comfort of performing and sold to a rich and enigmatic man.

Morgan Wallace takes his newly purchased slave to San Francisco, his intentions unclear. On the one hand, he treats Sky with more kindness than Sky has ever known—treats him like a real person. On the other hand, he shares Sky at parties hosted by his sadistic new friends.

A confused slave is an endangered slave, and Sky isn’t even sure of his master’s real name. Is he Morgan Wallace, wealthy and cruel, or Mackenzie Webster, caring and compassionate? Caught between hope, fear, and an undeniably growing attachment, Sky struggles to untangle which parts are real and which are merely a performance. His future, his heart, and even his life may depend on it.

Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes:

dubious consent
explicit violence

non-consent
My Review:
This is an alternate universe story. In this world, slavery was never outlawed so having slaves throughout the world doing various things is normal and accepted.

Warning: these books are dealing with slaves who have NO CHOICES. As a result, there are scenes and actions in these books that are really rather dark. You need to be well-aware and ready for that going into the story. Take note of the warnings on the story description.

For the most part, Sky has had a pretty decent slavery experience...or, at least as good as it gets, although no slave is truly happy. He's a professional singer, but lately the club he's employed by has been strapped financially so they sell him. And then things get...not so pleasant for Sky. 

The book is told entirely from Sky's point of view, so it's hard to know exactly what's going on...because there are definitely some secrets happening in the background making the reader question everything. Although I had some pretty accurate guesses. While the world he lives in is horrific...I did enjoy the book. This series is difficult, and I've read them all, but I liked the outcome of this story the best. I don't want to offer any spoilers, but I really like where the story went. 

But it's not all about shocking the reader either. This is an alternative world, but it's important to see these stories...as reminders about just how lucky we truly are to live in this day and age, especially right now when the world seems to be in so much turmoil. There are ways our world could have been so much worse and that's an important reminder to have. And a happy ending is always a good thing, too, especially for what these two characters go through. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ruined by Shiloh Walker

Title:  Ruined
Author: Shiloh Walker
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Barnes Brothers #4
Main Characters: Smith and Aubrey
Release Date: July 2016
Publisher: InterMix
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
From the national bestselling author of Busted and Razed comes an unforgettable story of a love that transcends tragedy...
 
As one of the Barnes brothers, Sebastien has always felt blessed. Not only does he have an amazing family, but he’s become a Hollywood golden boy who has everything he’s ever wanted—with one exception. He’s had a thing for Marin since he was a kid, but when he finally summons the courage to ask her out, she turns him down. Marin is ready to settle down, she wants commitment and stability, and Sebastien is still too much of a playboy, caught up in the wild life of the spotlight.
 
Still reeling from the rejection, Sebastien’s luck runs out later that night when he saves a girl from an assault. The shining knight role fits him just fine, but his armor—and his perfect life—become tarnished when the near-deadly attack lands him in the hospital. Physically scarred, he gives up acting and retreats from everybody.
 
If anyone can pull Sebastien back from the abyss, it’s Marin. But first she has to convince him that beauty is not only skin deep...


My Review:
Wow, this book was so incredibly good. I absolutely think this is my favorite from the series so far. Both Sebastien and Marin have grown up in the Hollywood spotlight. They've also grown up as basically siblings, but that is not at all what they feel for one another. 

At issue though is that Marin is 7 years older than Sebastien. He's still all about the party and being seen at the right clubs. She's past all that. She wants a stable...boring...relationship, not one that will land her in the tabloids constantly, so she turns Sebastien down when he finally gathers enough bravery to ask him out. That night, he's horribly hurt and his life is completely changed.

This whole turn of events for Sebastien is devastating, but Marin sticks by him as his friend and the only person in his life who can reach him over the next year. Then she forces him back to life with some unexpected consequences. 

I loved this book and the way the relationship unfolded. It takes place over more than a year, so the evolution of the feelings between Marin and Sebastien seemed so much more natural and deeper than in the normal romance novel. Add to that, there is a lot of emotional distress that both characters go through so this one is angst-filled. Seriously, I loved it all so much. 

I only have one real issue with the book...this series has always been published by Berkley, but with this latest addition to the series, it's been moved to the InterMix line...which is an ebook only line. NO!! I want a print copy of this book to go with the other three from this series on my bookshelf. It was the best so far and to not have it in print for my keeper bookshelf is a travesty and I'm really not happy that I can't buy it in print.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Smith: The Beckett Boys by Olivia Chase

Title:  Smith
Author: Olivia Chase
My Rating: B

Genre: Erotic Romance 
Series: The Beckett Boys #1
Main Characters: Smith and Aubrey
Release Date: July 2016
Publisher: Favor Ford Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
Meet The Beckett Boys. Three Brothers. Each One Dirtier, Rougher, and Sexier Than The Next… 

A standalone romance with a guaranteed HEA 


SMITH 

I want her. 

Plain and simple truth. I want her. I want to push inside her. I want to grip her hair and tug her scalp and lick her bared throat. I want to tie her wrists and ankles to my bed, make her helpless, weak, begging for me.


I want to leave my marks on her, bruise that delicate flesh, have her sore and aching after I ravage her. 

But my cravings are most definitely too dark for her. 

I’m not the white-picket-fence kind of guy, and I can’t let myself start thinking otherwise. 

My life is my brothers, the bar my father left us, and proving to everyone in this craphole town that we’re not the trash they think we are. 

But Aubrey is off limits. 

I should stick to the kind of girls I’m used to, the kind who are fine with one night. 

Aubrey deserves love, real love, the kind of love I’m incapable of. 

The problem is she’s all I want. 

I know I can only destroy her. 

But I can’t stay away. 



AUBREY 

I try to pretend that I’m not aware of the tattoos covering him. That I’m not aware of the muscles of his arms and legs. I try to pretend my core doesn’t tighten in response to his raw sexuality, pretend I don’t want him to push me up against the wall and have his way with me. 

I’m so attracted to him I can barely focus. 

He thinks I’m just some scared little girl, and maybe he’s right. 

Am I really so na├»ve as to think that maybe what Smith and I are doing is different? Or is this just me being blind? 

Sometimes I can see every emotion on his face. Other times, I can’t tell a damn thing he’s thinking. 
I’m plagued by doubts, yet also trying to convince myself that I know what I know. I’m not just a booty call to Smith. There’s more between us than that. What that “more” is, I don’t know. But it’s there. Either that, or he’s the world’s greatest actor. Because the emotion in our last kiss was so strong it almost blew me over. 

If I’m wrong about him, it will shatter my heart, break me into a million pieces. 

The only thing worse would be walking away… 

Aubrey’s standing there, lips swollen, breath panting, eyes heavily lidded. She’s so innocent but so primed for me. I could probably take her upstairs to my apartment, spread her wide and plunge deep inside her.
But I can’t do that. Because she deserves better than to be one of my random booty calls. I can’t ruin her. 


NOTE: This edition of Smith (The Beckett Boys, Book One) includes a bonus romance novel, Obscene by Kelly Favor.

My Review:
Well, this was a very short read, and you need to know going into it, that it's more erotic romance than anything. There wouldn't be much book there without the sex, which is really rather sad. Although I didn't mind the sex (it was rather hot), the seeds were there for more. There is a lot of depth to the story which really could have made it an amazing read. 

But as it stands, it's a good read as an erotic romance...although to be fair, there were hints at BDSM that could have stepped up that aspect of it just a touch more, too. 

The story is not anything new, although I did enjoy it. Aubrey is on the run from an abusive ex and she finds refuge with the local bartender...seriously, this story has been done a lot lately. I did really enjoy Smith's relationship with his brothers and how they were so antagonistic toward one another. They are all under a lot of stress. Although that story wasn't fully fleshed out the hints were there...maybe in the coming stories. 

Like I said there were lots of good possibilities with this story that didn't quite pan out. But the book is incredibly steamy and sexy. it's a great one to read with your loved one nearby. ;)