Going for a SLEIGH RIDE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a fun and frisky gay Christmas romance from Heidi Cullinan. SLEIGH RIDE is the second book in the Minnesota Christmas series and it will heat your heart just and your naughty bits…

Sleigh Ride (Minnesota Christmas, #2)About the book:
The way to a man’s heart is on a sleigh.

Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian.

It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends.

As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after.

Warning: Contains a feisty librarian, a boorish bear, small town politics, deer sausage, and a boy who wants a doll.

My Review:
Arthur is a foul-mouthed, free-loving gay lumberjack in rural northern Minnesota. He’s a big, loud ginger who can’t understand why his best pal, and usual bedmate Paul, has decided to move out. Just because their other pal Marcus has found THE ONE doesn’t mean Arthur and Paul need to commit to each other. Does it? Because Arthur isn’t the committing kind.

Gabriel Higgins is an uptight librarian, serving the fine people in a tiny Minnesota town not too far from his own homestead–not that he’s been back there in 15 years. No, being gay isn’t acceptable to his family, and Gabriel’s kinky fantasies aren’t actually acceptable to him. He’s not interested in a relationship–well, because having one and losing it would be too soul crushing. Best to avoid on all fronts.

Of course, Arthur’s mother is set on being a yenta–she is sure the town’s shy, intellectual librarian is perfect for her randy, but virtually illiterate, son. Who coulda guessed Arthur’s overbearing nature and relentless verve would crumble Gabriel’s defenses? (Take note: some fictional mothers do know best!) Also, seeing Paul move on, albeit unsuccessfully, is a great push for Arthur to find someone else–not that he thinks he will.

Okay, this book was interesting to me on a few levels.

One, the sexual chemistry was good. Arthur is the perfect foil for over-analyzing Gabriel. He takes control sexually, and emotionally as well. Both men struggle with open communication; Arthur because he thinks less of himself and Gabriel because he’s afraid of his own desire. As the plot moved it was easy to see how far these men cast themselves from people. How they walled themselves away, never dreaming they could find a lifemate. It was charming to experience their vulnerability. The smexytimes were interesting, and there was real tension at points, due to miscommunication and prejudice. Loved how it resolved.

Two, I enjoyed the literary references. Arthur hates reading–a lifelong problem fostered in his youth due to a librarian constantly decrying his choice of material–comics. It takes Gabriel about 8 seconds to win Arthur over to the power of literature when he begins reading to the kids at story time. I nearly laughed thinking of this big lumberjack wishing he could circle up with the kids on the carpet. And, when Gabriel reveals his own personal graphic novel collection to Arthur, it’s incendiary. I probably got so into this theme because I keep hoping I’ll find the right media to entice my hubs into reading with me. (No dice, thus far…)

Three, I totally got how important a free and open library can be to a community. Especially in rural areas, a library is a boon to people who may have no recreational outlet. It can become the lifeblood of conversation, support and entertainment. Gabriel took his role very seriously–and sought to incorporate multicultural works into his story time lessons–bringing color and culture to a vanilla world. This really touched a nerve for me. I was a library devotee as a kid. It was through my reading that I learned A LOT about myself, and the life I wanted to have as an adult. Growing up suburban poor, I hit the library all the time for free movies, reads, and special events. In fact, I still do. And, I take my kids. I love the different books presented at story time and how engaged my boys get in a well-read book and story session. They look forward to it, and I saw that same charm alive in this story.

Four, I really dug how the kink was handled. Gabriel has a hard time letting go–to the point that he likes to be “forced” (consensually) into sex. He has longed for a dominant lover, one who will safely push him into the roles he wants to assume sexually, but is too timid and ashamed to claim on his own. Arthur is a perfect match in this regard as he’s naturally both dominant and compassionate. He’s got a super tender side–honed by years of serving as a surrogate father figure to his young nephew. One thing I wished I had seen more of in this story: Gabriel taking the lead sexually. While he was adventurous and all, it was always with Arthur at the reins. I would have liked to see Gabriel lavishing Arthur with the same attention Arthur gave him. I get that they had a D/s dynamic going–but it wasn’t formal and Arthur could have used a bit of reinforcement.

In all, I had a great time with this one. It’s perfect for fans of slightly kinky M/M romance.

Interested? You can find SLEIGH RIDE on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the author:
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her family. Heidi also volunteers frequently for her state’s LGBT rights group, One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV, and listening all kinds of music.  She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, updating on Twitter, FacebookBlog, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

The Future Exists in THE BOOK OF IVY–Review and Giveaway

The-Book-Of-Ivy-TOUR
Hi there! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE BOOK OF IVY sponsored by YA Bound Book Tours. For other stop on the tour click here. This YA dystopian romance by Amy Engel is a compelling read.

The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1)About the book:
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

My Review:
I wasn’t sure what to expect based on the blurb: 16 y/o Ivy Westfall is arranged to be married to the only child of the President of their post-apocalyptic town, and then she’s supposed to kill her new husband. I was genuinely surprized at how well I liked this book.

In this dystopian future, there aren’t many people left: 10,000 in the fence-protected Ozarks town of Westfall. No one knows about the rest of the world because anyone venturing out of the fence is killed (presumably). Ivy’s father is the lone child of the town’s founder, and his town of Westfall was seized in a police coup by the grandfather of her husband-to-be, Bishop Lattimer. Ivy has been coached throughout her life that the Lattimers are evil, and need to be deposed. Her elder sister, Callie, was originally betrothed (in the arranged marriage system of Westfall) but Bishop objected and it is now Ivy’s duty–not only to marry him, but also (in accordance with her father and Callie’s plans) to kill him.

Quick note, because of the history of nuclear war and disease, the lifespan of this world is lower, and younger procreation yields healthier babies, hence the marrying of teens with the objective of early pregnancy. Also, it’s a bit of a 1950’s world where the wives are strongly expected to remain home as baby incubators–something which greatly dismays the literate and curious Ivy.

Frankly Ivy is terrified. She has been home-schooled and rarely ever mixed with anyone, let alone boys. She can’t understand why Callie was passed over; cunning Callie is petite, dark and lovely while Ivy is too tall and too awkward and too impetuous. Still, Ivy presents herself for the marriage, because to not agree to marrying is a crime in Westfall–one that carries a banishment (death) sentence. Ivy is afraid Bishop will assert himself as her husband against her will (read: rape her), and yet, he doesn’t. At all. I wasn’t sure if he was interested in girls, or not, for a bit there. It seems Bishop wants a real relationship with Ivy–not just a sex partner.

Meanwhile, Ivy has been told her entire life that President Lattimer killer her mother. Remaining with Bishop teaches her the folly of trust–her own family lied, repeatedly, in order to gain Ivy’s cooperation. The more time Ivy spends with Bishop, the more she realizes that she cannot achieve her family’s goals. And why should she! Vengeance is not a dish Ivy is comfortable serving–warm, hot or cold–and cold is not the way to describe her new feelings for Bishop.

I really enjoyed this book. I had a few qualms–it seems that Ivy and Bishop pretty much do….nothing. Unorthodox Ivy barely knows how to cook and requests a job so she doesn’t have to sit around all day. Bishop is being groomed to replace his father, but he spends long hours just hiking around, lazing about in the sun. Pretty poor showing for a world where the collective number of citizens is barely twice the population of my son’s high school. I can’t fathom anyone being spared in terms of skill training. This seemed a glaring oversight in the world-building. I did appreciate the frank discussions of domestic violence, and the hardships of forced marriage very much.

The romance that blooms between Ivy and Bishop is organic and well-paced. He has no trouble calling her out for “putting on a show” for others, and demands her honest affection–which she is reluctant to give. How can she give her heart to a boy she is required to kill?

Ivy, of her own self, is an admirable character. She has real spirit and a desire to do right, no matter her familial influences. Her willingness to sacrifice for Bishop was heart-rending. I eagerly await her next adventure.

And check out this trailer. Seriously gave me chills!

Interested? You can find THE BOOK OF IVY on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, iTunes, and Google Books. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

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amy engelAbout the Author:
Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas; California; Missouri; Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two kids.  Before devoting herself full-time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV.  When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. The Book of Ivy is her debut YA novel. Find her online on her  http://amyengel.net/ or .

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Let’s Talk about APPEARANCES–Blog Blitz and Giveaway

 

Appearances

book 2 the Opposites series

Adult Dystopian majorly M/M series

TTC Publishing

August 1st 2014

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Appearances, can be deceiving.

Raven and Tanis are trying very hard to merge their vastly different lifestyles, but Tanis’s issues with his own past could prove to be more than their fragile relationship can handle. Is their love for each other strong enough to weather the oncoming storm?

Aiya and Sawyer have fought hard to be together in a world where Opposite relationships are generally forbidden. Yet, they are still forced to keep their relationship a secret while they are outside the walls of House Gaeland.

Everyone assumes that the only threat lies outside their walls, the group of rebels led by Cillian. But something is happening within House Gaeland, something that hasn’t happened since GWI. And with all the attention focused on that, their guard is down. An evil that was under their nose all along strikes, and someone will make the ultimate sacrifice to save another.

Appearances is the second book in the Opposites series, the series should be read in order.

** Warning, Opposites is an Adult Dystopian majorly M/M series that contains explicit sexual content and relationships between gay, straight and lesbian couples. **

Grab your copy of Appearances from Amazon | ARe | Smashwords
My Review:
This sequel to OPPOSITES is another interesting read in the dystopian-future M/M romance genre.

This story centers almost exclusively on the M/M relationships developed in Opposites. Namely: Aiyan + Kaden and Raven + Tanis. Newly-married Aiyan and Aiya travel to their spouses homelands to pay respects and be received.

Tanis, Raven and Sawyer accompany Aiya and Maeve to Greece. Along the way Aiya develops a potentially dangerous health condition, and it’s up to Maeve and Sawyer to keep her safe. Meanwhile, Tanis ruthlessly woos his betrothed, Raven. Well, until things get complicated.

Aiyan and Kaden continue to indulge in furniture-destroying sex at every opportunity. I swear, they need to invest in a rubber-paneled room!

And, of course, the plotting continues, not only with Outkast Cillian who wants to punish his brother Cirian, but also with True Believer Marcus. It seems geneticist Marcus has been playing God a bit too fast and loose and his chickens have come home to roost…in his brain. Yup. Cray-cray-town for that dude.

I still had some issues with POV that were frustrating, but I really enjoyed these characters and the story is definitely coming together better for me now. It ends on a cliffhanger.

Also, I read an ARC, so my hope is that the typos I saw were eradicated in the final product. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Join Author TM Smith and her gang of followers on Facebook

Sunday, Nov 23, for a release party for THE CELLAR, an Opposites novella.

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Author bio:
A military brat born and raised at Ft. Benning Georgia; Smith is an avid reader, reviewer and writer. She now calls Texas home from her small town on the outskirts of the DFW Metroplex. Most days you can find her curled up with her kindle and a good book alongside a glass of something aged and red or a steaming cup of coffee!

At 42 years young, she’s decided to enter the next phase of her life by adding the title of “author” to her list of accomplishments that includes single mom of three disturbingly outspoken and decidedly different kids, one of which is Autistic. Smith is and outspoken advocate for Autism and equal rights for the LGBTQ community.

Her Opposites series is based outside the normal parameters of social acceptability, examining a ‘what if’… What If to be gay or lesbian were the norm? What if to be straight labeled you as an Opposite and made YOU the Outkast?

 
Author Links….

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Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Happy Book BIrthday THREE OF HEARTS!

Today marks the eRelease of THREE OF HEARTS by Kelly Jamieson. It’s an adult, ménage standalone romance that features three rising country music stars who find themselves in love—with each other. In addition to being a steaming M/F/M and F/M/M story, part of the proceeds from sales of this book will benefit the IT GETS BETTER Project.

The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them. Visit their website for more information and to find out how you can get involved.

Three of HeartsAbout the book:

Haylee Tremayne is tired of the road. The concert tour for Three of Hearts was a success, but she’s confused by the inexplicable tension between her bandmates, Ben and Lucas. She’s also ready to go home to her boyfriend in Nashville. Time off would probably help everyone relax, even if it is Christmas, a season with too many bad memories.

But right before their last concert, Haylee discovers she’s been dumped for a sexy girly-girl. Story of her life: all guys see is tomboy Haylee. At the after-concert party, she drowns her sorrows and—desperate to feel feminine for once in her life—asks Ben and Lucas for a threesome. And it’s just as sexy and fun as she hoped.

Back in Nashville, Ben and Lucas prove again and again that their first night wasn’t a mistake. But the tension between them is still high, and on Christmas Eve, their ménage takes a stunning turn. When it all falls apart, Haylee is terrified that their crazy relationship might cost them the band, their success, and worst of all, each other.

My Review:
Haylee, Lucas and Ben are the members of the country-music trio, Three of Hearts. They are relatively new band, performing for the past two years. They all share Ben’s home in Nashville, due to the constant touring and a willingness to pool resources. It’s working; they have great chemistry and recently won a CMA for Rising Artists.

On the last stop of their successful 6-month tour Haylee is excited to return home to her boyfriend, a player on the Nashville Predators hockey team–until she finds he’s not so celibate in her absence. Pics of him and another singer fairly litter the Interwebs…

Lucas and Ben scrape Haylee out of her heartache, temporarily. And, she bucks up and sings the lights out–for the first time really connecting on stage with Lucas in a way she had never felt before. At the after party Haylee’s one sip from wasted, and Ben and Lucas practically carry her to her room. Haylee knows Ben and Lucas have had some spectacular multipartner sexcapades on the tour, and she’s feeling both bold, and lonely. Their care and concern soon morphs into sexual healing.

Morning after regrets? Yup. But those three hearts hit the well, again. And, again. It’s mindblowing for Haylee, and yet she’s shell-shocked to learn that Ben has real feelings for Lucas…and she feels used, as if Ben accessed Lucas, through her.

Lots of misunderstandings get all smoothed out with some serious conversation and a big TLI–total love in. Liked the way this turned out, but I kinda felt the M/M aspect was rushed and glossed over. Ben is bisexual, and Lucas is…not. He loves Hayley romantically and loves Ben platonically, though he’s open to *maybe* more. Then, suddenly, this GFY boy is going all the way. I would have appreciated a bit more exploration.

Nonetheless, the characters are fun, the smexytimes steam and it’s an interesting first connection story. It’s all told through Haylee’s POV and was DYING to get into Lucas and Ben’s brains…

Interested? You can find THREE OF HEARTS on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Riptide Publishing. Riptide is offering a SHARE THE LOVE SPECIAL BUNDLE price–three books for $12.99, so feel free to investigate that deal! I requested a copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley. This is my honest review.

Kelly JamiesonAbout the Author:

Kelly Jamieson writes romances with heat that’s sweet. Her writing has been described as “emotionally complex”, “sweet and satisfying” and “blisteringly sexy”. If she can stop herself from reading or writing, she loves to cook. She has shelves of cookbooks that she reads at length. She also enjoys gardening in the summer, and in the winter she likes to read gardening magazines and seed catalogues (there might be a theme here…) She also loves shopping, especially for clothes and shoes. But her family takes precedence over everything else (yes, even writing). She has two teenage children who are the best kids in the world, not that she’s biased, and a wonderful husband who does loads of laundry while she plays on the computer writing stories. She loves hearing from readers, so please visit her website, Goodreads and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Happy Book Birthday THREE CHRISTMASES! Review and Giveaway

Three Christmases RDL
Hi there! I’m so happy to celebrate the release of the 4th book in Kat and Stone Bastion’s No Weddings series. It’s a super steamy New Adult romance series that follows the relationship of Cade Michaelson and Hannah Martin–two business professionals working (and loving) in Philly. (for 18 and older readers)

4-ThreeXMas_CoverAbout Three Christmases:
As the holiday season approaches in this fourth book in the No Weddings Series, Cade Michaelson strives to be better at balancing work and love, and Hannah Martin’s growing ability to trust is put to the test.

Lust and friendship brought us together, but with the increasing demands of my two businesses, Hannah’s thriving bakery, and our successful event-planning company, stability becomes my focus.

Then a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity takes me to the West Coast, and everything goes into a tailspin.

Laughter, love, and excitement fill our lives, but Cade refuses to settle into the wonderful bliss we’ve found—he wants spectacular fireworks and an unshakable foundation. Driven like no one I’ve ever met, Cade insists a dream job across the country will be better for our future together, but I worry about whether we can survive the present apart.

When intimate time diminishes…and lives get more hectic…

Will a little bit of faith be all that it takes? Or will the sacrifice to get there be too great?

My review:
I am loving how this series hits all the notes of a relationship. Not just the initial phases of infatuation or lust, but the “how do we make this work” parts of integrating another person’s hopes, dreams and reality into one’s own.

Cade and Hannah have been dating several months now. They have jobs, which they work separately, and the event planning business Cade runs with his sisters, and Hannah. It seems that all is going well, even though Cade’s consulting is taking him away from home more and more frequently. While reunion lovin’ is fun, it’s also super hard on a fledgling relationship to have so much distance. And both Cade and Hannah are feeling the lack.

Then, Cade’s offered a staggering amount of money for a management position. Problem? The company headquarters are in San Francisco. Hannah wants him to follow his heart, as she would do, and he takes it. Reduced to weekend visits, their relationship suffers further strain.

Thing is, Cade and Hannah keep saying they value the other more than anything–so doesn’t that include their careers? Kinda. Looks like a new work/life balance is in order!

This book has less steam, but more of it happens in the wild…expect some (nearly) voyeuristic trysts. And, expect a good deal of soul-searching in absentia. With all this solitary time on their hands, Cade and Hannah have a lot of space to figure out their real motivations. And, it ends in an HEA.

Interested? You can find THREE CHRISTMASES on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Goodreads. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

Don’t forget to check out the other books in this series. It’s meant to be read all together, in order. Click on the links below to find my reviews, and pick up the books!

No Weddings (No Weddings, #1)No Weddings: (My Review!)

Award-winning author Kat Bastion teams with her husband, Stone Bastion, in this first book in the No Weddings Series about Cade Michaelson, a successful man with his sights set on a new venture in business, and Hannah Martin, the woman who makes it personal.

Amazon | Barnes & NobleKobo | iBooks | Goodreads

 

One Funeral (No Weddings, #2)One Funeral: (My Review!)

Chosen by FreshFiction.com as their Fresh Pick for October 7, 2014

The stakes climb higher in this second book in the No Weddings Series for Hannah Martin, a woman restrained by her past, and Cade Michaelson, the man who could help set her free.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads

 

Two Bar Mitzvahs (No Weddings, #3)Two Bar Mitzvahs: (My Review!)

Summer heats up in this third book in the No Weddings Series, where Cade Michaelson strives to balance his and Hannah Martin’s new relationship with the growing demands of his financial success.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads

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Shoe and Boot PhotoKat Bastion with Stone Bastion Bio:

Award-winning and bestselling romance author Kat Bastion has teamed up with her husband Stone Bastion to create the new contemporary romance series No Weddings.

A few factoids about the writing team…

Kat enjoys her chocolate rich and dark, her music edgy and soul-filling, and her vacations exotic with toes dug into the sand. And she’s wildly, madly, deeply in love with Stone.

Stone likes pounding the trails on a mountain bike, vibrating the sound system with rock music, and down time spent on a stand up paddleboard. And he loves Kat wildly, madly, deeply…and then some.

Together, they’re having a blast bringing fun-filled romantic stories to life and hope you’ll join them in the exciting adventure.

Kat’s first published work, Utterly Loved, was a twentieth anniversary gift of love poems to Stone that they decided to share with the world to benefit charity. Net proceeds from Utterly Loved, and a portion of net proceeds from all their books, go toward charities involved in the fight against human trafficking.

Kat and Stone live amid the beautiful Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Visit their blog, website, Facebook page, and their Twitter accounts (Kat and Stone) for more information.

Inkslinger

Get Captivated by Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS–Reviews and Blog Tour

Hi all, Today I’m reviewing a new M/M police/urban fantasy/paranormal/shifter romance series by Charlie Cochet. Sorry for all the tags, but I almost can’t classify this genre-bending phenom. And, frankly, neither can anyone else–it’s been nominated for six (maybe more) different awards from Goodreads includeing Best M/M Romance Series, Best Police, Best Sci-Fi, etc.  There’s criminals, and terrorists, and prejudice and family ties, and head-spinning sexy, sexy men, and goofballs.

What else can I tell you? Well, at the heart of these stories, is a boy standing in front of a boy, asking him to love him…and that just melts me! 😉

There are three books released in this planned series of eight, and I’ve finished two: HELL AND HIGH WATER and BLOOD AND THUNDER. RACK AND RUIN was released last week and it’s getting high praise from fans. It’s in my TBR and I’ll likely start it nearer to Thanksgiving, so expect a review update. Right now, Charlie Cochet is having blog tour for RACK AND RUIN, which is outstanding. It’s a series of character vignettes touring the “press” through the THIRDS command center. Check it out and see why Charlie Cochet’s humorous writing is driving fans insane for each book in the THIRDS series. (Oh, and there’s a giveaway, too!)

Hell & High Water (THIRDS, #1)About Hell and High Water (Book 1):
When homicide detective Dexter J. Daley’s testimony helps send his partner away for murder, the consequences—and the media frenzy—aren’t far behind. He soon finds himself sans boyfriend, sans friends, and, after an unpleasant encounter in a parking garage after the trial, he’s lucky he doesn’t find himself sans teeth. Dex fears he’ll get transferred from the Human Police Force’s Sixth Precinct, or worse, get dismissed. Instead, his adoptive father—a sergeant at the Therian-Human Intelligence Recon Defense Squadron otherwise known as the THIRDS—pulls a few strings, and Dex gets recruited as a Defense Agent.

Dex is determined to get his life back on track and eager to get started in his new job. But his first meeting with Team Leader Sloane Brodie, who also happens to be his new jaguar Therian partner, turns disastrous. When the team is called to investigate the murders of three HumaniTherian activists, it soon becomes clear to Dex that getting his partner and the rest of the tightknit team to accept him will be a lot harder than catching the killer—and every bit as dangerous.

My Review:
This book is set in an alternate contemporary reality where shifters are fully out in society. “Therians” resulted from genetic mutations due to a virus and the anti-viral treatment of it. They are into their third generation of procreation and have governmental rights. The action takes place in NYC and THIRDS is the joint police force comprised of equal numbers of humans and Therians.

Dex Daley is a detective on the Human Police Force who has just testified against his human partner for killing a Therian in cold blood. The rest of the HPF is out for Dex’s blood, and he’s been beaten more than once before he gets a “promotion”. Yep. Dex Daley’s going to THIRDS, he’s to be the replacement partner for Agent Sloane Brodie, a jaguar Therian with a seriously bad attitude.

Dex is a jokester, and uber-friendly human, always willing to reach out and charm the pants of anyone (mostly men) who he contacts. His boyfriend fled after the trial, and he’s not feeling a lot of lot from the Destructive Delta crew to which he’s been assigned. It helps that his adoptive brother, Cael, and adoptive father, Sgt Maddox, are on the Delta team, but Dex works his own magic inserting himself. See, all the Deltas were pretty broken up losing their teammate, Gabe, but Brodie took it worst because Gabe was his lover and he feels it a betrayal to accept any replacement for him.

Of course, Brodie also knows that if he refuses another partner he’ll be reprimanded. So he makes life tough for Dex–who basically turns the tables time and again, working his hardest and proving himself. He’s smart, and funny and charming and so unlike Gabe, but there’s an attraction, one which makes Brodie furious. Dex does help Brodie blow off steam (read: smexytimes) and they engage in a down-low affair.

Meanwhile, several upstanding HumaniTherian supporters (people who fight for equal Therian rights) are killed, and all the evidence points to a jaguar Therian. Brodie is not under suspicion, per se, but he’s not comfortable with all the scrutiny. He’s faced a good deal of prejudice in the press and from humans–particularly from Gabe’s brother Isaac. Isaac, for his part, seems interested in Dex, and wants to ruin Brodie–which leads to a whole plot arc regarding tolerance and prejudice.

In fact, the book is whole lot on cooperation and clashes within the Delta squad. Dex is finally accepted, but Brodie’s not sure what to do with his feelings toward Dex–and he might not have a lot of time to figure it all out once the heat gets too hot searching for the murderer, and the terrorists come out to play.

This is a fast-paced shifter M/M romance that has a lot of great characters and a well-planned story. Dex is hysterical–a perfect blend of whimsy and intelligence. His antics are well placed to diffuse the tension and also get his Delta squad to lighten up. He’s a great match for the taciturn Brodie, who is so Type A I wondered if he arranged his sock drawer by color. Watching Dex melt Brodie’s reserve was so fun. I really enjoyed this.

Interested? You can find HELL AND HIGH WATER on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Dreamspinner Press.

Blood & Thunder (THIRDS, #2)About Blood and Thunder (Book 2):
When a series of bombs go off in a Therian youth center, injuring members of THIRDS Team Destructive Delta, and causing a rift between agents Dexter J. Daley and Sloane Brodie, peace seems unattainable. Especially when a new and frightening group, the Order of Adrasteia, appears to always be a step ahead. With panic and intolerance spreading and streets becoming littered with the Order’s propaganda, hostility between Humans and Therians grows daily. Dex and Sloane, along with the rest of the team, are determined to take down the Order and restore peace, not to mention settle a personal score. But the deeper the team investigates the bombings, the more they believe there’s a more sinister motive than a desire to shed blood and spread chaos.

Discovering the frightful truth behind the Order’s intent forces Sloane to confront secrets from a past he thought he’d left behind for good, a past that could not only destroy him and his career, but also the reputation of the organization that made him all he is today. Now more than ever, Dex and Sloane need each other, and, along with trust, the strength of their bond will mean the difference between justice and all-out war.

My Review:
As much as HELL AND HIGH WATER is about Dex winning over Sloane, I think BLOOD AND THUNDER is a lot about Sloane learning to love again. And recognizing that the feelings he has toward Dex are, in fact, love.

Sloane Brodie is a First Gen Therian. Life has not been easy. His first shift, at age eleven, was so catastrophic he ended up institutionalized. His only friend from those years is Ash, the lion Therian and general dickhead on Destructive Delta squad. They are close, and Ash has no problems giving Sloane his unfiltered opinion, mainly because Ash only comes unfiltered. In this book we get to see many new burgeoning relationships, and understand the inner workings of this select group of law enforcement agents.

Potential couples to be eyeing: naturally Calvin and his tiger Therian partner, Hobbs. (I KNOW! The jokes are merciless, seriously.) But, there’s also some really, really touchy-feely things happening between Ash–who is straight–and Dex’s step-brother Cael, the sweet and tender cheetah Therian. All of this will likely bear fruit down the pike, but I can’t help wonder who’ll do the chasing…

As for the plot, the THIRDS teams are being led on a merry chase for the terrorist organization, Order of Andrasteia, who longs to see Therians exterminated, if possible. Hunting down the leader is, well, daunting. He is a former Human Police a force detective, and doesn’t make a whole lotta planning errors. In fact, this dude’s set on hurting Sloane most heinously–by ripping Dex away, and letting Sloane suffer the grief of losing another lover.

In the meantime, relationships are getting complicated. Dex only wants Sloane, but can he continue with everything on the down-low? What about when Dex’s ex-boyfriend stumbles onto the scene? And how can Sloane keep Dex to himself when his own Delta team–even the lesbians–would pick the suave and quirky Dex for a one-nighter in Marry, F@ck, Kill? (Poor Ash, he really got nailed in that little game!)

Be prepared for sexy-sexy men, terrorists, tough-love, bombs, ex-boyfriends, vengeance and karaoke music.

The tension is super high throughout. Sloane has lots of secrets about his recruitment to THIRDS that he wants to remain secret, but the Order seems hell-bent on revealing all it can to discredit THIRDS and the Therians, in general. There are some great tender moments, and some that are plain-out hot. While this is a continuing series, there is a complete resolution to the main plot arc. Still you kinda gotta read the series in order. Not that I’m complaining. I’m a Dex-Girl; I gotta see this one through.

Interested? You can find BLOOD AND THUNDER on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Dreamspinner Press.

Rack & Ruin (THIRDS, #3)About RACK AND RUIN (BOOK 3):

New York City’s streets are more dangerous than ever with the leaderless Order of Adrasteia and the Ikelos Coalition, a newly immerged Therian group, at war. Innocent civilians are caught in the crossfire and although the THIRDS round up more and more members of the Order in the hopes of keeping the volatile group from reorganizing, the members of the Coalition continue to escape and wreak havoc in the name of vigilante justice.

Worse yet, someone inside the THIRDS has been feeding the Coalition information. It’s up to Destructive Delta to draw out the mole and put an end to the war before anyone else gets hurt. But to get the job done, the team will have to work through the aftereffects of the Therian Youth Center bombing. A skirmish with Coalition members leads Agent Dexter J. Daley to a shocking discovery and suddenly it becomes clear that the random violence isn’t so random. There’s more going on than Dex and Sloane originally believed, and their fiery partnership is put to the test. As the case takes an explosive turn, Dex and Sloane are in danger of losing more than their relationship.

Interested? You can find RACK AND RUIN on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press eBook, Dreamspinner Press paperback ,
Amazon, All Romance eBooks, Barnes & Noble.

If you are interested in THIRDS, check out the blog tour now running. It’s jam-packed with extras–fun little vignettes from many members of the THIRDS Destructive Delta squad. Each one shares a bit more of him/her self and you get a real sense of the humor and whimsy of this series. Plus, there’s a $15 GC and book swag giveaway you can enter! (Yes, I’m in it to win it!)

4th Nov – Hearts on Fire Reviews (Invitation from Lieutenant Sparks)
5th Nov – Carly’s Book Reviews (Sergeant Maddock)
6th Nov – The Novel Approach Reviews (Team Leader Sloane Brodie)
7th Nov – Bookwinked (Agent Dexter J. Daley)
10th Nov – It’s About the Book (Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn)
11th Nov – MM Good Books Reviews (Agent Rosa Santiago)
12th Nov – Joyfully Jay (Exclusive Excerpt)
13th Nov – Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews (Agent Cael Maddock)
14th Nov – TTC Books and More (Agent Ash Keeler)
15th Nov – The Blogger Girls (Agents Calvin Summers and Ethan Hobbs)
17th Nov – Love Bytes (Agent Julietta “Letty” Guerera)
18th Nov – Attention is Arbitrary (SSA Austen Payne)
19th Nov – Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews (Character Interview)
20th Nov – Books Make Me Happy Reviews (Interview)
21st Nov – Prism Book Alliance (Farewell from Destructive Delta)

Charlie CochetAbout the Author:

Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website | THIRDS HQ | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram | Charlie’s Newsletter | Email: charlie@charliecochet.com

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

 

It Was HIS SECRETARY: UNDONE–A Review

Hi there! Today, I’m sharing a review for Melanie Marchande‘s sexy new release HIS SECRETARY: UNDONE. I reviewed one of Melanie’s books, ROMANCE IMPOSSIBLE, and loved it, so I couldn’t wait to read this one.

His Secretary: Undone (A Novel Deception, #1)About the book:

I’m about to throw an ashtray at my boss’s head.

Turns out, the mind behind my favorite, steamy romance novels…the ones I only read in private…the ones that are my only escape after a long day of dealing with The Boss From Hell? It’s not Natalie McBride, the sweet, rural housewife.

It’s him.

That’s right: my boss, Adrian Risinger, the thirty-three-year-old, maddeningly sexy, pissant billionaire “bad boy” who thinks he runs my life. He is also the author of all my deepest, most secret fantasies. And to make matters worse, he needs me to impersonate “Natalie” at a series of book signings and conventions. But, of course, that’s only if I want to keep my job.

On second thought, I’m going to need something heavier than an ashtray.

My Review:

Well! This one is a hoot. Imagine a secretary (let’s call her Meghan!) with an overbearing, pretentious boss, who shall be named: Adrian Risinger. Meghan finds herself addicted to a set of erotic books–about a secretary and her domineering boss, no less!–only to discover that Mr. Adrian Risinger actually wrote them. Under a pseudonym. Oh, and this is AFTER she fangirled and began an email correspondence with the “author” confessing all sorts of angst over her job, and how sexy, but utterly trying and ridiculous, her boss is…

Oy vey.

Meghan is right torqued off–but before she can even wrap her head around the nightmare of her gargantuan embarrassment, Adrian is offering her a huge bonus to pose as the author at literary events. See, the books are selling like hotcakes, and he can’t bring himself to reveal his Man-ful-ness to his adoring fans. Plus, he’s a bit nervous that his billionaire buddies won’t respect him if they realize he’s a smut-peddler. *shrugs*

Before they are even on the plane the sparks fly between Meghan and Mr. Risinger. She thinks it’s meant to be a fling, and frankly, she’s kinda desperate. In the five years she’s worked for Adrian she’s devoted herself to his managing all his issues, at the sacrifice of her own friendships. And boyfriends…there are none. Nonetheless, Meghan takes a rather pragmatic approach to their tryst. It seemed to me, the reader, that Adrian wanted more than a fling, but Meghan is sure this will fizzle when they return home.

Still, they are very playful:

“If you’re not going to eat the fruit, stop poking at it. I’ll finish it.”

“Fine.” He pushes the dish across the little table. “So is that an official thing, now? I can spank you at work?”

I grin at him, taking a bite of cantaloupe. “You’re my boss, Mr. Risinger. You can do whatever you want.”

He lets out a noise that’s half-laugh, half-groan. “I’ll end up arrested if you keep saying things like that. We both will.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. It’s private property.” I lick my lips. “You could send everybody home and f— me on every single floor, every single room of that building, and not a law in the land could touch you.”

He raises his eyebrows slightly. “And once again, having too much money just robs me of all the usual thrills in life.” Moving lightning-fast, he snatches a grape out of my hand and pops it in his mouth. “What’s the fun of having sex at work if you can’t get in trouble for it?”

There are, of course, complications. Meghan and Adrian are lying to everyone–about his books and about their relationship–and Adrian’s agent seems to be a mite jealous of their “partnership”. The tension becomes too much to overcome, for a bit. It came down to the wire, regarding the HEA. Meghan was rather hurt by Adrian’s seeming nonchalance, and he’s a proud man. The necessary compromises were steep, and took awhile to bear fruit, but they were deliciously captured.

I liked this fun spin on the billionaire romance. Meghan was hysterical as a narrator. I think she got overly sensitive about 75% in, but she wasn’t obtuse, so I still liked her. Adrian was interesting. Who can’t love a man with a filthy imagination and the gumption to write best-selling fantasies about the woman he craves? He wanted Meghan from the time she was hired, and pined for FIVE years, knowing he couldn’t breach the sexual harassment clauses but desperate for all of Meghan’s attention. He had me at “I noticed you didn’t ride in on your broomstick today.” Okay, maybe not then. But, surely a few pages later. Adrian, once he reveals his literary side, has an almost transparent hunger for Meghan which sucked me in. I kept waiting for that light bulb to go off in her brain, and it took a LONG time for that to happen.

Interested? You can find HIS SECRETARY:  UNDONE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & NobleKobo and iTunes. I received an advanced reader copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Melanie MarchandeAbout the Author:
Melanie Marchande claims she has “always been fascinated by that feeling, that little spark – that tingle – the way your stomach can flip-flop at just hearing someone’s name. We all remember what it’s like. With my books, I hope to make you remember that feeling, to experience that thrill one more time. And the best part is, you can always come back and experience it again, and again, and again…”

She is the author of the “I Married a Billionaire” trilogy. You can find Melanie on her blog, Goodreads, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!