Fast Fiction in HAUNTED HOTTIES–A Review

HH-BannerHi there! I couldn’t pass up the chance to review this new anthology for those who love LGBT stories and paranormal romance! HAUNTED HOTTIES is a collection of yummy sexy short stories sure to please.

hauntedhottiesv11400About the book:
This Halloween collection has a little something for everybody. With demons, ghosts, psychics, reapers, shifters, and witches… a rainbow of paranormal/supernatural is included.

This is a Halloween-themed LGBT anthology which features paranormal stories of all flavors. Most are romance some are not-so-much. There’s a bit of steam in nearly all of the stories.

In Nine-Tenths of the Law by Kiernan Kelly, Oliver discovers he has a haunted sex toy. I liked how this one turned out. Oliver is an out gay man now, but he wasn’t always. Sometimes his poor choices hurt people in ways he hadn’t intended, and he has the chance to make reparations. It’s a little bittersweet.

In Bear Hugs by Laney Cairo, Martin’s boyfriend might be bear shifter and apparently that’s news to him. This one is so cute. Really. Eric is a bear of a man who has found a real gem of a boyfriend, Martin. Martin loves Eric’s hairiness, but he suspects that there’s more going on with Eric than even Eric suspects. It’s tender and amusing.

In Houdini’s Masquerade by Alex Cohen, when Lila meets a succubus, everything changes. This one was kinda sad, for me. Lila has a secret that makes her virtually invisible any night but Halloween. She meets a succubus, Tasha, who is captivated by Lila’s resistance to her charms. It is tender and I so wanted Lila to get her happy ending. I think she did, in a way.

In Præsidium by Katey Hawthorne, Thackeray needs helps from a witch who won’t help him until he explains his demon. Thackeray is a haunted man. Literally, which is kinda funny. He hunts demons in the human realm, assisted by his “companion” Seir. There’s a whole lotta mess building in advance of Samhain, with a coven of witches trying to bring a demon across, but Thackeray teams up with Matthew, a witch who helps him gain access to the ritual space just in time. If only Seir would take a hike so Thackeray and Matthew could get it on in peace… I liked that this was a story of two black men–I love diversity in M/M romance.

In Black Cat by Jamie Jennings, when a cat shifter can see ghosts, Micah’s simple life suddenly isn’t. This is a short one. Nico is a tenant in the same building as Micah, only Nico doesn’t live alone–a ghost of a beloved lost haunts/hunts him. Micah is able to see this ghost in his cat form and helps Nico find peace. Very brief, wished there was more.

In Haunted Honeymoon by Aaron Michaels, Dylan and Jake seem to be sharing their non-honeymoon with a couple of ghosts. This was such a lovely one. Not too long. Dylan and Jake are newlyweds sneaking off for a quickie honeymoon weekend at a resort that’s rumored to be haunted. Dylan is surprised to see a pair of men wandering the estate hand in hand. He’d thought there wasn’t many guests…and he was right. It’s a sentimental story.

In And the Tarot Cards Said by Jacey Mills, an insistent ghost shouldn’t be too much to handle for psychic Vassily and his Tarot-reading assistant Ben. Ben has real talent reading Tarot and other mystical oracles in his job as soothsayer for “psychic” Vassily. Vassily is a complete snake oil salesman, until the one night he takes the stage and wings it completely. Ben had been having disturbing Tarot for a while, and is stunned that he can’t recall a single part of Vassily’s big show–despite his photographic memory. Ben has held a secret crush on Vassily for years now, and it is only after Vaissly confesses the reason he could take over a show that they can finally acknowledge Ben’s role in his life.

In Spirit Wolf by L.J. Hamlin, when Dawson rescues an injured wolf shifter, it’s not just his book that gets worked on while getting back to nature. Dawson is a best-selling author with writer’s block. He takes a cabin in the woods to try and reconnect himself, as a shifter, and he finds an injured wolf with the help of a spirit guide. It’s a sweet tale that also has a bigger message about tolerance.

In Wet Nails by Shira Glassman, it’s not every day a glamorous ’50s actress comes out of a TV but lonely grad student Adina isn’t complaining. Adina is a science grad student who has a serious crush on a Hollywood bombshell, Rose Hamilton. Late one evening, while fantasizing yet again, Rose steps forward in time and give Adina the night of her life. Sweet and sexy.

In Possessed by Love by Sheri Velarde, a storm trapping them together gives Andrew and Damian the chance they’ve been waiting for. It’s a blizzardy evening, and the main street of their small town is clappered for the night. Andrew stops by Damien’s cafe to grab some food to last out his siege and finds it deserted, excepting the sultry owner. They take refuge in each other. Their passion leads Andrew to do some investigating regarding the powerful urges he felt that first night together, and it may be that some wronged ghosts may have been able to make things right…through them.

In The Last Night by Kassandra Lea, Eric gets one night a year and he always picks one particular Halloween. This is such a bittersweet one. Eric is a Reaper and many years ago he shared a deep love with a mortal. His relief for the transport of souls is to get a single night with his love, and he cherishes it. The tone is wistful and nostalgic.

In Molly by Mychael Black, Detectives Cameron and Chase discover the murderer plaguing their city is more sinister than they could have known and not entirely human. I had a chuckle with this one because it reminded me of some horror flicks back in my youth. A bit of steam, a lot of gore.

Interested? You can find HAUNTED HOTTIES on Goodreads, Amazon and Torquere Press.

You can find out more about Torquere Books on the website, blog, Facebook, twitter and Pinterest.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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Tentatively FINDING THEIR WAY-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for a contemporary M/M romance from AM Arthur. FINDING THEIR WAY is the second book in the Restoration series. I really enjoyed GETTING IT RIGHT and this book is a great sequel.

Finding Their Way (Restoration #2)About the book:

Thanks to an abusive father and a string of bad relationships, Riley McCage learned the hard way that people are not kind without a reason. Now, after landing a job at popular gay bar Pot O Gold, Riley is on the right track–until the night Boxer finds him drunk and drugged in the back room of an exclusive sex party.

Donald “Boxer” Boxwood wasn’t looking for anything beyond some casual kink until he peeled Riley off the floor and gave him a safe place to stay. But there’s something compelling about the guy crashing on his couch, and the two forge an instant friendship that eases into unmistakable attraction. Despite Riley’s hesitancy, Boxer knows one thing to be true: he needs Riley in his life.

Riley risked everything to run away and build a new life for himself, and his secrets aren’t something he’d ever wish upon his kind, gentle new friend. But when the past comes to call, he’ll have no choice but to put his trust in Boxer…and believe people can change enough to deserve a second chance.

My Review:
This is the second book in the Restoration series and can be read as a standalone, though I recommend reading in order.

Riley McGage has a secret–his identity is bought and paid for to keep his angry, gay-bashing alcoholic police detective of a father from ever laying hands on him again. Riley is a bartender at the Pot o Gold bar in Wilmington Delaware, and has met many a sexy man there. He’s a no-go for penetrative sex, but his current boyfriend, Brett seems okay with it. Well, until he roofies Riley at a sex party and prepares to take what Riley won’t offer. A party attendee, Boxer, sees what’s going down and doesn’t like it one bit. Used to taking in strays, Boxer, a hulking tattooed man who recognizes both Brett and Riley from the Pot O Gold (and other places) steps in at whisks Riley back to his place to sleep off the drugs.

Riley can’t believe Brett almost raped him, but he REALLY can’t believe that gentle giant Boxer is really as nice as he seems. They develop a tentative friendship, one based on mutual heartache and loneliness. Riley is grateful for Boxer’s attention, especially when he’s battered by Brett, when he needs someone to help rescue a stray, and when he needs a place to crash while his housemate’s parents arrive for an extended visit.

Boxer is an exceptional man. He’s had a hard life growing up, and his family is a shambles but he’s always willing to help a new or old friend. In his own person, Boxer likes to be topped, and subtly dominated. Having Riley in his home brings the two men close enough to develop an attraction. And then some! I think I liked Riley’s growth and exploration just as much as Boxer did.

This love story is tentative and lovely. People from the previous book end up spending time here, too. Tag, Nathan, Elliott and Detective Carey all make appearances–and it is Detective Carey who has Riley most on edge. Sure, all these guys say the man is stone cold sober and desperately looking for his runaway gay son, but what would the reality be if Riley were to break his cover?

There are really great connections here and fabulous communications between all parties. Riley may not have BELIEVED everything Boxer said straightaway, but he was never in doubt about how Boxer felt. The honesty was incredibly refreshing. The sexytimes were just yummy. I expect the next book will be Elliott’s restoration, and I sure hope he find the right man for the job!

Interested? You can find FINDING THEIR WAY on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:

No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long. She credits an early fascination with male friendships and “bromance” (and “The Young Riders”) with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories. When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments. You can contact her at AM_Arthur(at)yahoo(dot)com

 

Were They BORROWING TROUBLE?–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly published contemporary M/M romance from Kade Boehme. BORROWING TROUBLE is a tender and thoughtful story about a divorced man who finds friendship and more with his younger co-worker.

About the book:

After an amicable divorce, Jay Hill decided to move back to his rural hometown with his teenage kids. Being on good terms with his ex-wife and in laws has made the transition into single life pretty smooth. Things were good and uncomplicated. Then Landon Petty walked into his life.

Landon didn’t expect to still be stuck in his hometown working at his dad’s sawmill at this point in his life. Being an openly gay truck driver was as awkward in practice as in description. When Jay came to take over managerial duties at his dad’s business, Landon was surprised to find a friend. When Jay turns out not to be as straight as he thought, things get complicated.

When feelings for Landon shine a light on how much Jay’s life has been actually half lived, he’s forced to decide if he’ll jump in with both feet or if he’ll let Landon slip through his fingers.

Borrowing TroubleMy Review:

4.5 Stars. I really enjoyed this contemporary M/M romance, which is also a Gay For You story.

Jay Hill is the talk of his Mississippi town. He’s newly divorced from his high school sweetheart, Bethany, and returned to his hometown to raise his two kids (16 y/o son and 12 y/o daughter) near their maternal grandparents. Jay and Bethany have an amicable divorce; she’s realizing her career dreams by going back to college in Atlanta, and he’s content to live a slower-paced life as a manager at a local lumber plant. People there don’t understand how Jay and Bethany split, however, and his in-laws aren’t pleased that the kids aren’t being raised in a church home. And, he’s tired of the churchy women he keeps getting introduced to. Scandalous!

Landon Petty has been working two jobs for his father’s lumber business, despite his degree in History and aspirations to teach. He’s so relieved that Jay is hired to take some of the load off his shoulders, but he’s not happy to find his former babysitter so god-awful attractive. Landon’s gay and out to his parents, but he’s very circumspect and quiet in his hometown. He takes himself three hours away for anonymous hook-ups, and it’s tiring.

As Jay spends more time alone, when his kids go to his in-law’s for a weekend visit, he has trouble in his empty house. So, he invites Landon out to watch a football game at a local bar. They hit it off, and it’s a fast friendship, one Jay and Landon really cherish.

Landon keeps his attraction so quiet, but it’s not long before Jay starts to see Landon in a strange (for him) new light. He enjoys their companionship, and is frightened and confused as his friendly feelings begin to turn into attraction.

What I really liked about this story is the long development of the friendship and eventual breach into sex. That worked, as both men are fairly lonesome, and had developed a steady friendship. Jay is alerted to Landon’s sexuality by a nasty busybody, and it flips a switch for him. Experimenting with gay porn opens new chambers in Jay’s brain, unlocking memories of his childhood close friendships with boys. I really thought Jay’s introspection was honest. And, I appreciated that he sought help sorting out his feelings, and was honest about it with Landon. Their candor was refreshing.

Landon was a rock, even when he wanted to crumble. He said “no pressure” regarding coming out, and he meant it. And he lived it. He thrilled to every kiss or touch, and yet he was willing to walk if Jay couldn’t handle it.

While I was angry regarding Bethany’s initial reaction to Jay and Landon, I think she redeemed herself about 90% after sleeping on it. Jay was a far stronger character in the end, than the beginning. His kids were excellently written. Seriously, I wanted to kiss Clint for being an excellent big brother and the sounding board both his parents needed.

There are some fantastic sexytimes, and a beautiful, realistic relationship between two admirable, ordinary men. Expect some editing issues regarding continuity in the plot. Those mostly get smoothed over by the second half.

Interested? You can find BORROWING TROUBLE on Goodreads, and Amazon.

About the Author:

Kade Boehme is a southern boy without the charm, but all the sass. Currently residing in New York City, he lives off of ramen noodles and too much booze. He is the epitomy of dorkdom, only watching TV when Rachel Maddow or one of his sports teams is on. Most of his free time is spent dancing, arguing politics or with his nose in a book. He is also a hardcore Britney Spears fangirl and has an addiction to glitter.

It was after writing a short story about boys who loved each other for a less than reputable adult website that he found his true calling, and hopefully a bit more class. He hopes to write about all the romance that he personally finds himself allergic to but that others can fall in love with. He maintains that life is real and the stories should be, as well.

You can catch up with Kode online on his website, twitter, and

Love Conquers All ECLIPSING APOLLO–Review and Get Your FREE Book!

Eclipsing Apollo - Review Blog Tour BannerHi there! Today I’m sharing my review for a historical romance that goes waaaayyy back! I really enjoyed author Sasha Summers’ contemporary fiction, (HOLLYWOOD EVER AFTER, HOLLYWOOD HOMECOMING, and HOLLYWOOD HOLIDAYS) so I thought why not? ECLIPSING APOLLO is the lovestory between Apollo, a god of the Olympic pantheon and Coronis, a mortal princess. It is an interesting and bittersweet supernatural tale.

Make sure to check out the excerpt and keep scrolling to get your free book(s)!

Eclipsing ApolloAbout the book:

Apollo is fond of many things. Music, poetry, physical prowess, truth, and love. The Pythian Games are in his honor and he attends, as a mere mortal, to enjoy the competition… and the women. Meeting the fair Coronis offers him his greatest delight. Her strength, her fearlessness, and her beauty clasp his heart with an irrevocable hold. But she wants none of him.

Coronis’ duty is to marry, but she yearns for so much more. She is a fierce competitor, a hunter, skilled in strategy and reason. Those that would court her lack both the mind and the body to rival hers – she will settle for no less. As a mortal, Apollo was both infuriating and tempting. But Apollo the Olympian is terrifying. She fears giving him her heart might destroy her soul.

Demeter’s need for revenge pits Olympian against Olympian, forcing Apollo into a darkness the God of Light must fight if he ever hopes to see his Coronis again.

How about a little taste?

He turned, readying his bow as he’d done a thousand times before. It was all too easy to miscalculate, to skew his arrow a hairsbreadth from the mark. He released the arrow, stunned when it hit the target.

The crowd reacted instantly, applause and cheers breaking the silence.

He looked at Coronis, stunned by the slight smile on her face. “Why do you smile?”

“Father says there’s never been more than four rounds.” Her smile grew. “We shall make history.”

He smiled in response. “Winning is no longer important?”

“Winning is everything,” she argued, incredulous. “Surely you see that?”

In that moment she was not just a woman. No, she was a competitor. An adversary to respect. He nodded, puzzling over the affect this woman had upon him.

Once the field was cleared and the targets were place, a silence fell upon the spectators. He would lead this time. The target was miniscule, an easy miss…

Coronis scarce waited for his arrow to fly before releasing hers.

The crowd waited as the judges ran the length of the field to the targets.

From the corner of his eye he watched her. She stared at the ground, her hands clasping her bow as she shifted from foot to foot.

When the judges pulled her arrow from the target and held it high, the crowd erupted with cheers and applause—to be drowned out by rolling thunder. Rain fell down in torrents, lightning split the sky in quick succession, sending all in the stands in search of shelter. He would have followed the others, but she stood, staring up at the sky, smiling. So he remained at her side.

He would touch her, pull her against him, and hold her. Instead, he stepped closer and took her hand in his. Only then did she look at him.

Lightning pierced the sky, striking a great tree at the edge of the field. He’d scarce heard the crackle and snap of its mighty trunk before the air around them whistled and the tree began to fall. He did not think, but pulled her tightly against him, sheltering her with his body. When the ground shook with the force of the fall, he held her still. Her back was pressed against his chest, her scent tickling his nose, while his arm cradled her waist. His hold eased once he knew she was safe, but the feel of her curves against him was a heady thing. If not for the chill of her wet tunic on his skin, he would have held her until she forced him to release her.

He swallowed, taking in the tree. If he’d not pulled her aside, Coronis would be dead—pinned beneath the tree. His chest felt heavy, weighted by a most crushing pressure. The feel of her, trembling against him, was the greatest comfort. He drew in a deep breath, running his hands along her arms. “You are cold,” he murmured, his nose brushing her ear.

She shivered, pulling from his embrace. She glanced at the tree, the realization of what might have happened clear upon her pale features. She stared up at him with a face so conflicted he would draw her close once more. Instead she ran from him, toward the safety of her father’s house.

My review:

This is the third book in a series, and I’m probably sure I should have read it in order. That said, I still was able to enjoy this book–after I sorted out the backstory.

This is a historical romance of Ancient Greece featuring Olympian god Apollo finding love, unexpectedly, with a mortal princess.

While the pantheon of Olympus squabbles regarding the vengeance Demeter wishes to wreak over a shade who hunts her daughter Persephone, Apollo and Hermes travel to Delphi to compete in the Pythian Games, celebrating Apollo’s ancient victory over a dragon.  En route, Apollo catches sight of a huntress in the wood, Coronis. She is a fantastic physical specimen, and her form while hunting is admirable. He is taken by her physical charms, and thrown off by her acid tongue.

Coronis is off-balance whenever she encounters the beautiful and arrogant (she assumes) Apollo. However, the longer he competes in the games, the more she realizes that his pride is well-deserved. Time and again he stands up for her, and risks much to save her from a forced marriage to Damocles.

Poseidon and Daphne, both angry with Apollo, are set on separating the pair, even after Apollo pledges to marry and remain faithful to Coronis. One reviewer complained that there’s a lot of sex in this book. Ha! The first sexy scene between Apollo and Coronis happens on their wedding night, and there are few scenes after that. It’s not THAT much sex, enough to cement their relationship, which is something that Apollo doubts greatly.

He has never experienced real love, and Coronis possesses such a feisty, hard-won heart that he’s not sure she truly does love him. HE feels that he loves her heart and soul, and wants to make her an immortal, the sooner the better, as he’s had troubling images of her being attacked since they first met. He also sees their son growing strong, so he knows they have a life together, but–and this is probably mythologically accurate–it’s not exactly a happily ever after. I won’t spoil this, but the end is more bitter than sweet. The scheming Olympians have their way, and it leads to heartbreak and bloodshed.

I liked the story. It was interesting and creative. I felt a part of this ancient society, and found it playful and engaging. I’d love to have a god worshiping me, as Apollo did for Coronis. His heart was open, and he reveled in the moments that he felt hers was, as well. There was plenty of plot to move the story along, between Coronis’ unknown lineage, Damocles’ antics, and Apollo’s champion performances. How comical when the man you’ve been sniping at is suddenly revealed to be the god you worship and appeal to for guidance! Poor Coronis, I really did sympathize.

I did have a serious problem in the amount of grammatical errors I found in my review copy. Not sure if I was sent an uncorrected ARC, but there were so many errors (misused homophones, missing words, punctuation, misspellings) that I truly hope so, and I hope all was corrected in the for sale copy.

Interested? You can find ECLIPSING APOLLO on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

Loves of Olympus series Collage IIThe Loves of Olympus series has had some excellent praise. You can get started by downloading MEDUSA A LOVE STORY, the first book in the series for FREE!! And, THEA’S FATE is FREE as well!

MEDUSA can be found on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. 

THEA’S FATE can be found on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

FOR THE LOVE OF HADES can be found on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.

32df2-sasha2bsummers2bauthor2bpicAbout the Author:
Sasha is part gypsy. Stories have always played an important role in her life. Her passions have always been storytelling, Hollywood, history, and travel. It’s no surprise that her books include a little of each. Her first play, ‘Greek Gods and Goddesses’ was written for her Girl Scout troupe. She’s been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she’s doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.

You can find Sasha online on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.
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Baseball Lover? GAME ON!–Review & Giveaway

Game On BannerHi there! Today I’m sharing my review for a New Adult contemporary romance released today from Katie McCoy. GAME ON pits a cub reporter against a reluctant pro prospect. It’s fun and flirty and gets downright dirty.

Check out my review and enter the giveaway for a $10 Amazon GC and an e-copy of GAME ON.

Game On FINAL coverAbout the book:
Rule of reporting 101– don’t bang your subject.

Sophie Hall has just gotten the opportunity of a lifetime–to profile Nathan Ryder, the hottest baseball player since A-Rod, for her first solo assignment as a reporter. Rumor has it Nathan is going to be drafted to the Major league, and yet he still fits an intense training regime around volunteering at a animal shelter. He’s a prodigy with a heart of gold, as American as apple pie and has an ass that deserves a trophy all its own. He may be the country’s heartthrob, but Sophie isn’t going to fall for that. She just has to remain objective and cover the story.

But she didn’t bet on Nathan’s gorgeous green eyes or the way his arms flex with muscle when he’s holding a bat. And she certainly didn’t think he’d be witty and smart and caring. Nathan is completely untouchable, but she can’t help it if those lingering gazes turn into something more. How could she not fall at the thought of the hottest guy she’s ever met devoting his limited free time to saving puppies?

When Sophie’s scoop turns into Nathan’s scandal, Nathan needs her more than ever. With both of their careers on the line will they strike out – or hit a home run?

My Review:
Sophie Hall is a self-made journalist. She didn’t have the money for college, but she had gumption, and a love for baseball, so she started blogging and parlayed that into a junior staff position at a Houston newspaper.

She’s been assigned to get a piece on draft-hopeful Nathan Ryder, a pitcher at Univ Texas. She’s sent to Austin for a week and on her very first night her loser, unemployed guitarist boyfriend decides that she’s not into him enough, so he’s splitting to stay with a sexy bandmate—oh, and he neglected to pay her landlord the rent check she wrote out for him for the past three months so she’s being evicted in two weeks. Excellent. Sophie decides to kill her heartache with tequila poisoning, and she runs into Nathan Ryder in the bar. Nathan hits on her, and she uses her professional judgement to reveal that she’s got an appointment for an interview the next day.

Nathan, a notoriously shy guy off the field, is embarrassed and angry, and his attitude is not much better the following day. Sophie befriends a photo journalist, Mandy, who’s a good friend of Nathan’s and also smitten with Nate’s best friend, Chris. This gives Sophie a bit of an inside scoop, but nothing juicy enough for a feature article. And, she’s not really sure she wants to dig into Nathan’s past. He seems like a great guy, and she’s more than a little attracted.

As the story isn’t shaping up how her editor would like, he sends a senior reporter, and noted bigot/sexist to find the “story”. This guy is a classless hack, and his “investigation” finally yields dirt–not that it’s real. Sophie has a choice to make: Help herself, or help Nathan.

It’s not as cut-and-dried as all that. Sophie’s a smart gal and she’s ready to make Orangina from the bitter fruits of her labor. Her up-close contact with Nathan reveals him to be a regular guy with a nothing-special background who has made some admirable decisions that he doesn’t even want credit for making. He’s humble and decent and all that Sophie would want in a partner, but she’s too career-focused to consider it. Until, well, she’s smack in love. (She had lust at first sight, but that tempered over the week they spent together.) Nathan is also fiercely loyal, and when he thinks Sophie was digging up a contact that endangers a longtime friend, he’s beyond enraged. There’s some big “I’m sorry!“s to deliver after all that.

This is a decent romance with a bit of a baseball focus. Having been a player and fan of baseball for more than 3/4 of my life I recognize some deficiencies in the baseball bits, particularly the details surrounding Nathan’s draft, practices, end-of-season tournament structure, and hitting mechanics. As a reader it was frustrating, but I’m sure readers who know nothing about baseball will have no problems with these issues. Also, I found it hard to believe that a newspaper sends two reporters on a week-long trip to interview a draft prospect. Those details aside, this was entertaining. There’s a slow burn for all that attraction, which was nice. I liked that both Sophie and Nathan had some scruples regarding physicality, and waiting for the right time.

Interested? You can find GAME ON on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon GC and an E-copy of GAME ON.
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:

Katie McCoy is a self proclaimed sushi addict, Cardinals baseball fanatic, and lover of all things theatrical. A St. Louis native transplanted to Brooklyn, she acts, sings, and shakes her booty when she isn’t writing books about hot men and the girls who love them.

You can find Katie online on Facebook and Goodreads

 

 

Teen Love TEARING US APART–Excerpt & Giveaway

BannerTearingHi there! I’m spreading the word about TEARING US APART, a contemporary YA M/M romance from Amanda Clay. This looks to be a good read for questioning teens, especially as it deals with high school pressure, bullying and coming out.

tearingusapart1400About the book:

Julian Pham is surviving high school. Openly gay, flamboyantly goth, and Vietnamese-American, he’s just about as different as his Oklahoma City high school can tolerate. He has good friends and a supportive family, which helps, but lately his family is changing and his friends have troubles of their own. Julian is afraid he’s being left behind.

Then he meets Duncan. The star of the school basketball team, Duncan has never crossed Julian’s social path. A fateful encounter one cold night brings the two young men together, igniting a romance that neither of them expected, and that both can scarcely believe.

But Julian and Duncan are in different places. Julian is happily out, unconcerned with others’ opinions. And Duncan, while he knows who he is, isn’t ready to face the challenges of living out loud. Even as the two grow closer together, Julian begins to question whether he can live with Duncan’s desire for secrecy. And even if he can, does that mean he should?

When the crisis of their romance leads to a shocking betrayal, Julian must decide if he will fix this love or tear it apart.

A tasty tidbit:

“So,” I say casually, “Have you been down here before?”

“I’ve never been in there!” He’s practically shouting. “I’ve never been any place like that.”

This outburst earns a little frown from me. “So, by ‘that’ I assume you mean a gay club. But I have to ask, just how can the interior of a homosexual establishment be sleazier than hanging out in the alley behind one?”

He doesn’t answer right away, is silent with his jaw clenched long enough for me to brace for a kick in the ribs. But when he speaks, his voice is a defeated whisper.

“I’ve driven down the street a few times. Once I parked but I couldn’t get out of my car.”

I nod, give him a little smile, trying to keep it all light and bubbly despite the shock, amusement, desire, and more shock all swirling around in my head. “Well, you made it out tonight, Duncan Fisher, so that’s a celebration right there. Shall we go into the Wreck together? Maybe dance a step or two?”

Interested?  You can find TEARING US APART on Goodreads, Torquere Books, and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a copy of ECHO for Amanda Clay!
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Meet the author:

A reader since the age of two, Amanda Clay realized early on that the best way to get all the stories she wanted was to write some herself. Setting off on this path she took some detours through teacherhood and librarianship before finally settling down with a fabulous kid and a leafy place in which to do serious work. She still reads everything she can get her hands on, and encourages you to do the same.

You can find Amanda online on twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

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Get Mindjacked! Review and Special Sale!

Hi there! I’d love to share a review for a newly-published set stories from Susan Kay Quinn’s Mindjack universe. As you know, I devour books. Really. And, still, there are often times when I don’t have a large chunk of time to dig into a hearty novel. In those cases a novella or short story will tide me over. I especially love novellas that give me insight to books I’ve loved, so I was really glad to get a copy of the MINDJACK STORIES, which is a collection of novellas, short stories, vignettes and behind-the-scenes glimpses from Chicago New Metro in the near, and disturbed, future.

Mindjack Short Story CollectionMy Review:

This collection of short stories, vignettes and novellas in the Mindjack universe is a perfect companion for readers of the Mindjack series. For those who have read the trilogy (OPEN MINDS, CLOSED HEARTS, FREE SOULS) it is great to get insight from other characters in this world.

The book opens with the bittersweet MIND GAMES featuring Kira’s childhood friend Raf, who is desperately in love with Kira but cannot express his feelings for her, due to her inability to read minds. His kind of love, that for a “zero” which Kira is, is considered wrong and unhealthy, and is turned against him to pressure him into being someone he is not. It’s definitely melancholy!

There are some great flash fiction and world building elements added here, with excellent insight from the author regarding the world she has detailed. I naturally enjoyed THE HANDLER, because I pretty much love Julian. Watching him build his army of Jackers from the beginning is a thrill. I’ve always wondered about quiet, reticent Sasha, and his mind-overwriting power. It was a fearsome thing to consider, and his aversion to his own gift is acutely rendered in THE SCRIBE. In KEEPER, Kira’s obsessed with being on the strike force for the next JFA mission: attacking Kestrel’s stronghold and rescuing trapped jackers from experiments and torture. Julian won’t let her go knowing that Kira’s secondary objective is to kill Kestrel–and it’s clear Julian doesn’t want Kira in harm’s way. So, Kira develops her new talent in secret, hoping to make herself invaluable as a strike force member. And, in THE LOCKSMITH we get another game-changing jacker who has really difficult decisions to make.

All these kids are unique, but wonderfully written, and their moral compass is definitely pointing due North. I enjoyed these little bites of Mindjack, and wonder if we’ll get to read a post-Kestrel Mindjack book any day… *crosses fingers*

Interested? You can find MINDJACK STORIES on Goodreads and Amazon.

mindjackHonestly, these stories are best enjoyed after (and between) reading of the MINDJACK trilogy. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the books in this series, and luckily enough, this three-book set is on SALE. A crazy sale, actually, because it’s $.99 this week on Amazon, Barnes & Noble iTunes, Google Play and Kobo. Ms. Quinn musta lost her mind.

Or, perhaps the mindjacking kitty got ahold of her…

MJ-KittenAnywho, it’s a great series, totally appropriate to teen readers, as well.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

PRICKLY BY NATURE–Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing the fantastic cover for PRICKLY BY NATURE. As you may remember, I adored PRICKLY BUSINESS, the first book in this M/M shifter mystery romance Portland Pack series that features a fated bond between a werewolf and a hedgehog shifter.

Dylan and Avery are back, and they are still fighting, sometimes each other…

Check out the beautiful cover, and there’s an extended excerpt to whet your whistle. Plus, a book and gift card giveaway! And you can pre-order PRICKLY BY NATURE in advance of it’s Nov 16th release.
PricklyByNatureFS
About the book:
In the four months since hedgehog shifter Avery Babineaux started investigating the disappearance of a young female werewolf from the Portland Pack, he’s discovered his life’s passion. Now he’s apprenticing under established PI Corbin Reid. Avery hopes his training with Reid will help him finally bring Lacey home, but detective work isn’t without its perils, and the potential dangers strain his relationship with his new mate, Dylan.

Dylan Green would be perfectly content with his mating and his motorcycle shop if it wasn’t for his constant worry about Avery’s safety and the fact that Avery’s never home. Proud as he might be of Avery’s determination to prove his worth and fulfill his promise to Lacey’s father, Dylan can’t stand the thought of Avery being hurt. Yet what right does he have to demand Avery give up his job when it’s clear Avery’s found his true purpose? Still, Dylan wishes he could, and the appearance of a new police detective who sets his sights on Avery only adds to the tension.

Something has to give, but stubbornness runs in both their veins, and it might take a catastrophe for them to find a compromise they can live with.

How about a delicious taste?

Running naked through the woods was exactly what Dylan Green needed. Thank the weather gods they’d held back the rain for the past few days. At least the ground was drier. Although wet forest floors didn’t matter to Dylan’s wolf. He was ready to stretch all four legs. It had been too long. Even longer since he’d run with his mate.

“Can you not get this heap to move any faster?” Avery practically vibrated off the seat next to him. Good thing he’d chosen the Firebird over his bike today.

“Hey now. Phoenix is not a heap.” Dylan patted the pristine dash, brushing over the treated wood with love. After glancing at the speedometer, he said, “We’re going the speed limit.” Which, yes, he knew was an anomaly for him, but only when he was on his bike. Phoenix required more finesse.

Before he could say anything else, Avery snorted and cut him off. “Phoenix?”

Unabashed, Dylan kept his focus on the road. “Firebird. Phoenix. Phe and I have been through a lot together. She’s pa—”

“Did you just nickname the car you call Phoenix? And dear God”—Dylan grinned at Avery’s pronunciation of God. It came out more like “Gawd.” He loved how Avery’s accent took over when he was teasing or passionate or angry—“please don’t tell me you’re about to say this mash of metal, oil, and leather is part of your family, our family. I do not, nor will I ever, claim a hunk of junk as a child. You can bet your ass I won’t be wiping its behind.”

That, in fact, was exactly what Dylan was going to say, but thinking about it at the moment, he had to admit how ridiculous it sounded out loud. Though he’d never say so to Avery.

Avery continued, “And let me guess, you talk to your baby.” Dylan could practically hear the giggle Avery was working so hard to suppress. “Does Phe talk back?”

The road up to Forest Park was narrow and curvy, so turning to look at Avery would have to wait. However, he did roll his eyes and reach over to pinch Avery’s thigh. “Don’t be ridiculous,” he said. “Cars don’t have verbal skills.” And, yes, he did talk to Phoenix, because until Avery came along, Phe had been the one thing in his life he’d pampered and taken care of that had never let him down. So what if he talked aimlessly to a vehicle? He’d worked hard to build her. That bond was unbreakable.

He thought of Avery, then amended himself. Almost unbreakable.

Phoenix was his baby. She had seen him through many tough times, and he had done the same for her, but there was no connection stronger than what linked Dylan and Avery. Sitting only inches away and not touching, Dylan still felt Avery like a second skin. So much so that, as he turned off the road to park near one of the forest trails, he felt Avery’s mirth in his bones. Without looking, he knew his mate would have a sparkle in his earthy hazel eyes and a smirk on the lips Dylan craved so much.

He even knew Avery would chuckle before he did, but that had more to do with knowing the man than an actual feeling.

“So what you’re saying is Phoenix doesn’t talk back when you ask how her day went?”

Dylan pulled into an available spot, turned off the engine, and opened his door. “You’re such a pain in the ass,” he replied with a wink and unfolded himself from the front seat.

“Aww”—Avery chased him from the car—“you say the nicest things.”

The brush of Avery’s palm over his ass had the ever-smoldering embers of need inside Dylan blazing to life, completely trumping the lighthearted teasing. How was it possible he wanted Avery more every day?

“You know,” Avery said in a low but conversational tone as they walked to where Lucas, Sawyer, and Kirk were parking their bikes. “I like it when you’re a pain in my ass. What do you say we blow this run and….” He trailed off, quirking his brow at the obvious.

Dylan groaned. Temptation had nothing on Avery Babineaux, and Dylan’s first instinct was to give in to the suggestion, but then he remembered why they were there in the first place.

In the months following Avery’s rescue from the warehouse and Melnyk’s entry into protective custody, Avery stayed true to his word. With help from one of Lucas’s ex-flings, Avery was currently a proud PI’s apprentice. It would still take months—many of them—for Avery to complete the hours of training needed to gain his own license, but he was well on his way. Corbin Reid, Lucas’s ex’s cousin, had taken Avery under his wing and in turn consumed most of his downtime. Dylan had only rare moments with his mate, depending on Avery’s busy work schedule—honeymoon phase or not. Visits to Wolfhound and even nightclubs with Avery were few and far between. Avery spent long hours immersing himself in the world of investigation and soaking up every little thing Reid was willing to teach. And when he wasn’t working, he was searching for Lacey.

By the time they’d broken the first link in the chain of the trafficking ring, Lacey had been missing four months. They had just crossed over into February, which made it six months, and from what they’d heard, the police were no closer to finding Lacey than Avery was. It didn’t help that Wallace, the shifter detective they’d been getting updates from, had gone silent once he transferred into the Human Trafficking Task Force.

While days turned into weeks and weeks into months, Avery hunted the dregs of every single lead he could scrounge up. Dylan watched helplessly as the effects of dead end after dead end weighed heavily on his mate. To say he felt useless was an understatement.

Then Mother Nature smiled down on them, with cloudless skies and sunshine in the middle of the wet season. It gave Dylan and Avery the opportunity for the one thing they both needed. Fun.

Dylan hadn’t enjoyed a run in weeks, and it had been longer since he’d played with Avery in the woods. A run was long overdue, and as great as a long hard fuck sounded right then, Dylan knew Avery’s hedgehog had to be aching for freedom too. Besides, having his mate naked and writhing under him was always a possibility when they got home.

Or in the car before they left the park. Dylan smiled, thankful he’d driven Phoenix, even on such a beautiful day. It was an inspired decision. He could definitely see some hot and dirty backseat action in his future.

Looking down, Dylan’s heart filled at the contented look on Avery’s face. All signs of worry and stress were vanquished for the moment. Dylan wondered, not for the first time, if they would ever have a break, ever have time to enjoy their new mating, or whether it would be a never-ending struggle, with outside forces constantly interfering.

“What?” Avery squinted, perplexed. Knowing Avery felt his concern warmed him.

Damn, Dylan didn’t think he’d ever get enough of his mate.

Avery’s nostrils flared, and Dylan knew he sensed his arousal as much as smelled it. He pulled Avery to him and brushed their lips together. As with most things between him and Avery, the kiss quickly deepened. Avery slipped his hand from Dylan’s hip to his chest and tweaked his nipple. Dylan groaned and pushed his tongue into Avery’s mouth, claiming what was already his. It was a battle of wills Dylan knew all too well as Avery’s perfectly orchestrated dance of want and desire balanced on a thin thread Dylan threatened to tear down each time. All of Avery’s taunting and flirting—it was foreplay, and Dylan could hardly wait for the fireworks. It was always worth the wait with Avery. Always.

“For the love of God, could you two get a room?” Lucas complained as he walked up. “Is it impossible to go five minutes without mauling each other?”

Dylan’s only response was a chuckle into Avery’s mouth as he pushed his fingers through Avery’s hair, holding him in place to prolong the kiss. He didn’t have to look to know Avery flipped off Lucas, mostly because he heard the laughter coming from their other friends.

When he pulled his mouth away, Dylan rested his forehead on Avery’s, breathing heavily. Christ, he loved the dazed, sated look Avery got when he was ready to drop to his knees, his cheeks flushed, and his lips swollen. All because of Dylan. Maybe Dylan should kick his own ass for not taking Avery up on his offer.

Wow! I am so looking forward to this sequel.

Interested? You can find PRICKLY BY NATURE on Goodreads and preorder it on Dreamspinner Press in advance of it’s Nov 16th release in ebook or paperback.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win an ebook of Prickly By Nature and a $10 GC to Amazon, Barnes & Noble or AllRomance (winner’s choice!)
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Authors:
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book.

You can find Piper online on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Kenzie Cade was born and raised in the South where she spends her days in the sometimes stressful field of private medicine observing interesting people and committing them to memory for later use. When she isn’t reading, experimenting with recipes, or being distracted by social media, Kenzie spends time with her family, friends, and the Pomeranian/Long-haired Chihuahua mix who likes to keep her company while she writes. As a young girl, Kenzie dreamed of princesses and their white knights. As an adult (or sort of adult), she dreams of princes and their proverbial white knights, which she attributes the fellow Arkansan S.E. Hinton and her novel The Outsiders. Writing to keep the fictional voices at bay, Kenzie enjoys the journeys her characters travel to find their happy endings, and she loves the challenge of writing a great love story.

Contact Kenzie at kenziecade.author (at) gmail (dot) com. You can also find her online at her blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Ending Up BEHIND THE EIGHT BALL–Excerpt and Giveaway

BTEB-BannerHi there! Just sharing some love for a new book from M.A. Church coming out 10/30/15. BEHIND THE EIGHT BALL is the second book in the Fur, Fangs, and Felines M/M paranormal romance series.

Check out the excerpt below and make sure to get in on the book giveaway.

BehindtheEightBallFSAbout the book:
A cool morning, a yard full of birds, and a kitty on a mission. What more could a werecat want? Beta Heller Wirth has it all, except a mate—a shifter mate, that is. The last thing he wants is one of those dangerous humans who kill without remorse. Heller knows about that firsthand. So what does the goddess Bast do? She gives Heller exactly what he does not want—a human: business owner Lawson Dupre.

Lawson hasn’t a clue what just happened in his car detail shop. One minute a cute client is about to pass out, then he perks up and starts flirting. Next thing, he runs out the door like the hounds of hell are after him. Learning that Heller is a werecat doesn’t freak out Lawson. He happens to be one of those rare humans who knows paranormals exists. He even lives with one. Watch the fur fly as Heller and Lawson battle hurt feelings, misguided beliefs, and a power shift in Heller’s clowder.

How about a little taste?

Step.
Step.
Stop.

The rustling of dead leaves caught my attention, and I froze with one paw still in the air. Not moving and barely daring to breathe, I waited. My whiskers twitched as a cool October breeze disturbed the scent of decaying leaves and rich soil. The foliage trembled again as something rooted around.

I slowly lowered my paw. The disturbance wasn’t very noticeable except to my predatory gaze. The movement continued. Gradually, bit by bit, I crept forward, making sure my long fur didn’t disturb the surrounding mounds of dying leaves. It was times like these I wished my coat were short like Dolf’s. One thing was for sure—whatever was below those leaves was going to be mine shortly. All I needed was to cover a little more distance and I’d be close enough.

Step.
Step.
Crouch.

Heart thumping, I watched as the movement continued. My muscles tightened and my bottom started wiggling. Unable to wait, I sprang forward, claws extended. Leaves flew into the air as I landed on my target. Bugs scattered. Eyes narrowed, I searched for…. There! There was the little bugger. I growled at the big black beetle and trapped it with my paw.

Seconds passed. The bug wiggled under my paw, tickling me. Hunched down, I carefully lifted my paw and peeked. Dammit, can’t see. Unable to get a good look, I lifted my paw a little higher… and there it went, scuttling across the ground. Gleefully I slammed a paw down, trying to trap it. Slap. Slap. Slap. Arrgh! What’s the deal? I keep missing.

Looked like I’d found myself in a game of whack-a-mole, except with a beetle. And off we went. The bug scurried away with me hot on its trail. Every time I thought I had a paw on it, I ended up missing. Stupid critter was fast. I bounded along behind as it raced across the ground. Then it suddenly cut back and ran straight under me.

Surprised, I leaped in the air, all four paws coming off the ground. Whoa! Zigged when I should have zagged. I landed and nonchalantly licked a paw. Hope no one saw that. I had to give the bug credit. That was a smart move. The shrill cry of a mockingbird caught my attention. I lifted my head, searching for the little tattletale.

Up in a tree it sat, its warning cries echoing around the yard. I eyed the tree. Hmm, I could climb it, but the stupid bird will probably just take off. Still, might be fun. Maybe after I finished playing with the bug… and damn. The bug.

My attention returned to where it had been, my tail slashing. Great. Lost it. Stupid bird. I sat up and threw a glare over my shoulder at the bird. Standing, I turned my back to the little menace, tail held high. That’s what I think of you, buddy. I prowled around for a while, sniffing, enjoying the coolness of the morning.

In the early morning sunlight, the dew on the grass sparkled like diamonds. Maybe it was pretty, but the stuff was also cold and wet against my paws. I was glad for my fur. As I wandered back toward the house, my stomach growled. I was hungry and… I sniffed. Oh, was that a blue jay I smelled? Oh, oh, a blue jay. Yum.

The human side of me groaned, but the kitty part wanted to jump with joy. The noisy little shits were actually quite intelligent. Catching one was always a feat. Quick as I could, I hid in the bright fall foliage by the back porch. I stayed very, very still so the stupid bird three feet from me didn’t fly off in a panic.

I licked my lips, my whiskers twitching as I watched the little rascal across from me raise its head. Shit, shit, shit. What caught its attention? Come on already. It’s all fine, nothing to worry about here. No cat hanging around. Just go back to pecking around on the ground. Everything’s good. See? I’m not moving, not even breathing.

Crouched low, I waited while my breakfast relaxed and returned to looking for acorns. Other birds came and went, but I refused to get distracted. I knew the one I wanted. Inch by agonizing inch, I crept closer to my prey. My mouth watered and my heart thumped.

The chatter of the birds around me was easy and relaxed, no distress calls sounding. That’s right. Just keep on eating. Soon I’m going to be eating you. My body tensed, back legs ready to spring me into action….

And the phone in the house rang.

This one sounds so cool! Housecat shifters. Yay! It’s coming out just in time for a Halloween read… 🙂

Interested? You can find BEHIND THE EIGHT BALL on Goodreads, and pre-order it in advance of its 10/30 release on Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win an ecopy of BEHIND THE EIGHT BALL.
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!

When not writing, she’s exploring the latest M/M novel to hit the market, watching her beloved Steelers, or sitting glued to HGTV. That’s if she’s not on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two children.

She was a finalist in the Rainbow awards for 2013 and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Rainbow Romance Writers, and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

You can catch up with Ms. Church online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon and Goodreads.
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Enlightenment at MY BUDDHIST CHRISTMAS–Review and Giveaway

My Buddhist Christmas tour banner
Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary YA novel from Jeremy Phillips. MY BUDDHIST CHRISTMAS relates the ups and downs of life for a young Buddhist American whose biggest aspiration (at first) is for his band to not suck in the school talent show. By the end he’s freezing his toes off eluding cops and trying not to let his father see how big a disappointment he really (believes he) is. Poor Chris!

Check out my review and enter the giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card.

MyBuddhistChristmas_ecoverAbout the book:
It’s not surprising that sixteen year old Chris Jones has no idea where he fits in…

After all, he’s a Buddhist kid in America—during the Christmas season. Add in the fact he plays guitar in a punk rock band called The Dharma Bhumz, and his life is one giant paradox. Caught between the principles of his religion and the influence of his hard-partying bandmates, Chris is in a constant struggle for balance.

An upcoming talent show is his chance to shine—or fail spectacularly…

It’s already hard enough preparing for the show, since his friends are more interested in getting high than practicing. And now Chris has to worry about impressing pretty Mary Simpson. To make matters even worse, Mary’s parents are fundamentalist Christians, a few steps above his family on the social ladder, and they firmly believe Chris isn’t good enough for their precious daughter.

Conflicted about his friends, lying to his family, and still mourning a devastating loss, Chris wonders if being an American Buddhist guitar wizard wanna-be is worth it.

Or does any of it even matter anymore?

My Review:
Chris is a 16 y/o boy struggling with the loss of his mother, now almost two years later. His father is a loving and caring parent, shouldering the burden of working and parenting three teen/tween kids. Chris is the eldest with Tom a few years behind and Annabelle a few years behind him. They are a middle-class white family with a lifelong faith in Shin Buddhism, and have a regular temple in Spokane, Washington.

The story opens in the height of the Christmas season, and Chris explains that his family celebrates a secular Christmas–a tree and all–which, let’s be honest is a good portion of Americans do. (I have a bi-faith family, and this aspect resonated with me completely.) Chris has no feeling regarding Christmas, per se. He likes the overall joyousness, but it’s not really his faith so he doesn’t get worked up over it, as some others in the book do. He’s a closet smoker, and does drink a bit in the book–both rebellious acts of Chris trying to take control of his world. His band is a punk-rock styled affair, with two losers from his school who are dabbling rather heavily into drugs. They regularly get high and up the drug use into LSD trips, with Chris as an unwitting babysitter, especially when he expected for them to practice. The talent show is looming and they can’t even finish a song.

To make things worse, Chris meets Mary, who loves the idea of Chris being in a band, and also enjoys his musical display on one of their dates. The frustration of being a laughingstock makes Chris more and more angry with his band mates and their addictions. It seems, at first, that the talent show will be a turning point, and it is of sorts, but not for the story. Chris is less humiliated than he expected, and not because the band was good. It was all in his perspective-shift, one of triumph in the worst of circumstances. Mary isn’t impressed, but it doesn’t change how things sit between them.

I was really struck by Chris’ interaction with Mary’s bigoted parents. These affluent people had zero empathy and even less aplomb. I got really mad on Chris’ behalf for his treatment as “other” at a time when all should be welcome. It leads to the biggest climax of the book, and more problems for Chris. His decision-making is typical teen, so expect his impulsive, ‘going along for the ride’ mentality to lead him into bad situations. The light at the end of his muddle is getting back to his roots, and living the life that would make himself proud. We think. It sorta ends with Chris making several good decisions, and the reader trusting that trend will continue.

I liked Chris. He read as a truly approachable teen boy. His motivations were fully understandable. He’s not out to conquer the world, and he’s not terribly aggressive. He has simple goals which revolve around making music and talking to his girlfriend. At times I thought the Buddhist “lessons” were too lengthy in their explanation, and that slowed the pace for me. I also found there was dialogue that struck me as odd, or cliched, for a (supposed) teen boy which pulled me out of the story. The writing is clean, though expect plenty of drug/alcohol moments, including driving while under the influence.

Interested? You can find MY BUDDHIST CHRISTMAS on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Jeremy PhillipsAbout the Author:
Jeremy Phillips has been interested in Buddhist philosophy for more than twenty years and attend services at a Shin Buddhist temple in Spokane. When he isn’t writing or keeping busy being a father and husband, he works as a respirator therapist at several different hospitals.

He lives in Spokane with his wife, childrens, dogs and bonsai trees. You can find Jeremy online on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook.

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