Offered Up As BAIT–Review & Giveaway!

bait_fbbanner_dspHi there! Today I ‘m sharing a review and giveaway for a M/M romantic suspense novella from Elizabeth Noble. BAIT is the fifth book in her Circles series, but can be enjoyed as a standalone. I really liked GONE AWAY, and I love the remote Wyoming setting, so it was a must read, for me.

Catch the author notes, review and comment to win in the book giveaway below!

baitfs_v1About the book:
Tyler McCall has made mistakes. He was a teacher—before he fell for a student in his school. That misstep cost him his job and everything he’d worked for. He moved to the Black Hills of Wyoming to start his life over, and he’s happy working at the Big Rock Inn near Devils Tower.

Linden Bourne, a no-nonsense FBI agent Tyler had met before, returns to Wyoming hot on the trail of a killer. The previously unexplored attraction between them grows—which is good considering they’ll be spending a lot of time together when a blizzard strands them at the inn. Cut off from the outside world, with no power, they’ll need to rely on their wits and each other to survive.

Especially when it becomes clear they’re not alone—and the danger they face comes from more than the elements.

Thoughts from Elizabeth Noble

Hello, I’m Elizabeth Noble and thank you for having me today!

Believe it or not, deciding on the locale for a novel can be a huge part of the plot. Where the action is takes place has the ability to greatly influence how the characters act and react to any given situation.

In Bait, the majority of the story takes place near the Devils Tower in Wyoming, USA. There of course is the spectacular beauty of the land. It’s a wilderness location and that in and of itself makes this place mysterious and exotic. There are no palm trees and beaches, but pine trees and snow.

It is that location, the trees, the snow, the remote location that creates the thriller portion of the story. FBI agent Linden Bourne is trying to piece together clues that will help him catch a killer. What he doesn’t realize is in doing so he’s driven to the very spot where that murderer is stalking their next victim.

The next victim, Tyler, is the man Linden has come to question. This killer could have just as easily hunted their intended victim in a city. However, placing the story out in the wilds of the Wyoming Black Hills, in the winter, in a blizzard adds a whole other layer to the danger the characters face.

The elements of nature are a very hazardous adversary. You can’t reason with high winds, low temperatures and white out conditions. The only real choice is get out of the way. Now, throw an unknown person or persons into the mix who is hell bent on driving our heroes into those elements and the suspense ramps up.

Most readers know the feeling of having the power go out in a storm, or trying to travel through poor weather conditions. It’s a short leap to imagining fighting your way through heavy snows, cold so frigid it’s deadly and unfamiliar terrain.

In Bait, I’ve taken the story’s location and used it as more than a backdrop. The land, the weather has the potential to become another executioner. Not only do Linden and Tyler have to survive a human threat that is hunting them, but deadly natural conditions that are far more perilous.

My Review:
Though part of a series, BAIT is easily read as a standalone. It does bring back two side characters from the previous book, GONE AWAY.

FBI Special Agent Landon Bourne is headed back to the Black Hills of Wyoming to either catch a killer or save a man he’d recently met. Tyler McCall had been a high school teacher in Ohio, another life ago. As a recently minted teacher, he didn’t balk when he met an attractive younger man, not realizing Dimas was a student in the high school. Their affair was turned in, Tyler went to prison, and more than ten years has passed with no contact between them.

Tyler started over near Devil’s Tower, doing odd-jobs, at first. He now delivers beer and mans the reception desk for a local motel. It’s honest work and he’s glad for it, but he’s lonely. It’s a big surprise when Agent Bourne shows up at his hotel, hours before a blizzard is set to begin. It’s even more of a surprise when Agent Bourne’s investigating the possible murders of three of Tyler’s former students.

Is it Dimas, on some sore of spree? Or was it Tyler? Landon’s pretty certain Tyler wasn’t mixed up in these deaths, which had been framed as either accidental or suicides, but that means Tyler might be a target. As the blizzard rages on and the hotel loses power, and contact with the rest of the world, Tyler and Landon scramble to stay warm and safe. If only the elements were their problem.

I had just a bit of trouble with the set-up of the story. It didn’t make a lot of sense that this agent, stationed in Arizona, would be the only person sent to question/apprehend Tyler, rather than a local agent–or pair of agents. The suspense elements once the story got going were interesting, however. This is a pretty short read, which didn’t allow for as much character development. That said, the way they interact felt engaged and committed. They don’t drop into bed, they develop an uneasy partnership–that deepens as they are confronted by more and more peril.

The climax is really intense, and I did love how it all got resolved. Expect a desperate chase, several near-death experiences and a sunny HEA.

Interested? You can find BAIT on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and All Romance.

About Circles….
Every life is a circle, and sometimes those circles connect and overlap in unexpected ways, even if the patterns they form aren’t obvious at first glance.

Past and present, from the wilderness to small towns and cities, the greedy and evil seek to exploit the vulnerable. The brave men of law enforcement fight to protect the innocent and punish the guilty—but they’re not alone. Men from all walks of life are called to stand beside them and solve these mysteries. Along the way, lives intertwine as couples are reminded that one thing makes the struggle worthwhile: love.

You can learn more about all the books in the series here.


This book features people meeting their untimely ends in the way they most feared. Leave me a comment on the way you’d be most afraid to die for a chance to win one of Elizabeth Noble’s backlist reads. (2015 and earlier, no book bundles)  Winner chosen at random.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Elizabeth Noble started telling stories before she actually knew how to write, and her family was very happy when she learned to put words on a page. Those words turned into fan fiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M romance fiction. Being able to share her works with Dreamspinner is really a dream come true. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural and a bit of an unnatural interest in a super-volcano in Wyoming.

Elizabeth has three grown children and is now happily owned by an adorable mixed breed canine princess and one tabby cat. She lives in her native northeast Ohio, the perfect place for gardening, winter and summer sports (go Tribe and Cavs!). When she’s not writing she’s working as a veterinary nurse, so don’t be surprised to see her men with a pet or three who are a very big part of their lives.
Elizabeth received several amateur writing awards. Since being published several of her novels have received honorable mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Her novel Jewel Cave was a runner up in the 2015 Rainbow awards in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category.

Catch up with Elizabeth on her website, Goodreads, Amazon, Dreamspinner, Facebook, twitter, Pinterest or sign up for her newsletter.

Stepping Into Love: FLYING WITHOUT A NET–Review and Giveaway!

fwoan_fbHi there! Today I’m sharing a fantastic contemporary M/M romance from E.M. Ben Shaul. FLYING WITHOUT A NET is a book about finding common ground between the desires of the heart for an Orthodox Jewish man who recognizes that he is gay–and the cautious partner who walks a path with him. Really, really sweet.

Catch an excerpt, my review and get in on the $25 GC and books giveaway below!

fwoan-900px-front-tumblrAbout the book:
Dani Perez, a secular Israeli working as a software engineer in Boston, has never had trouble balancing his faith and his sexuality—until he meets Avi Levine, a gay Orthodox Jew and sign language interpreter. As they fall in love, Dani finds himself wanting Avi in his life, but he can’t understand how Avi reconciles what his religion demands with what his body desires. And although he wants to deny it, neither can Avi.

Despite the risk of losing Avi forever to a religious life that objects to their love, Dani supports him through the struggle to find an answer. Will they be able to start a life together despite religious ideology that conflicts with the relationship they are trying to build?

How about a little taste?
From Avi’s prayer…

Tefilah: Create for Me a Pure Heart

In these, the earliest hours of the day after Yom Kippur, please, Hashem, hear my request.

      My heart is torn. I am caught between love of You and Your mitzvot and love of myself. Love of myself and love of my family. Love of my family and, perhaps, the possibility of love for another man.

      I know. It’s too early for me to call any feelings I have for Dani anything other than friendship. And I know that from the perspective of halacha, of Your laws, there is no sin involved in thoughts, in feelings.

      But what if those thoughts, those feelings, cause others pain? What if by my actions, or at least by my consideration of future actions, I am causing pain to another person.

      To my parents? To my family?

      I stood next to Abba at shul all day. We sat in the same seats that we have used for as many Yom Kippurs as I can remember. But I was a different me from whom I have been. And when we struck our hearts with our fists and asked forgiveness “for the sin we have committed with false denial and lying” and “for the sin we have committed by disrespecting parents and teachers,” I couldn’t help but look over at him and also think about Ima sitting in the women’s section on the other side of the mechitzah. When they find out, when they learn that I am not exactly the son they think I am, when I tell them that I am still their Avi and I hope they can still love me, how will they react?

      I have friends who have left Your path when they could not find a way to reconcile their love for You with their love for another man. I do not want to turn away from all of Your laws, from the way I have been taught and from the life I have grown up loving. But I fear that my parents will reject me outright when I tell them.

      I should have more faith in them. I should have more faith in You. Please, Hashem, help me to have faith.

      Lev tahor be’rah li, Elokim–God, create for me a pure heart. Al tashlicheni milfanecha–do not send me away from before You.

From Dani’s point-of-view

“All of the dati people I knew before I came out, they all thought that gay people were an abomination. And while, yes, I’m learning that not all dati people feel that way, I still have trouble understanding how someone can identify as dati and gay,” Dani said. “I mean, yeah, halacha doesn’t mandate thought, just action. But how many people know that? How many people practice that?”

“A lot of people know. Think of it this way. Halacha has a lot to say about kashrut. But not everyone keeps the same type of kosher, even among the dati community. So, for example, I don’t hold that you have to only eat glatt meat or chalav Yisrael milk, but other people do. That doesn’t make my type of kosher any less legitimate than their type of kosher. The people who only eat glatt or chalav Yisrael won’t eat the food I make, but that’s because of how they interpret the rules. In my experience, most of them don’t believe I’m not keeping kosher; they just hold by a greater stricture.”

“We have a difference of opinion on how to interpret the law,” Avi continued. “Judaism allows for that; we have a long tradition of different communities having different standards, all of which are considered legitimate interpretations of halacha. Same with this. My interpretation of halacha has no problem with my being gay and my being frum. Someone else’s opinion of halacha may not be as inclusive, but those people may also say I don’t keep kosher enough or that the fact that I have a television in my house or an Internet connection means that I’m not frum. I disagree. My community disagrees. If they don’t like my interpretation of halacha, they can leave me to my life. I’m not going into their houses and saying they have to be accepting of my kashrut standards, but at the same time they cannot come into my house and tell me that I cannot eat my own food to my own standards of kashrut.

Avi stopped and took a breath. Dani closed the distance between them and took Avi’s hand. “Okay, motek, I get it,” he said. “I think. I mean, it’s still a huge thing for me to work through, since I have been so used to the dati community that I know judging me simply for whom I choose to love. I just… Until I met you, I had never met an Orthodox Jew who was open-minded about gays. So I admit it will take me some time to adjust my biases. Please be patient with me, motek.”

“We’ll be patient with each other,” Avi said, bending for a kiss.

Some fun thoughts from author E.M Ben Shaul:

Favorite location you’ve ever written about?

It’s a tie between Boston and Jerusalem. I have written much more about Boston, because I’m from Boston and know it very well. Boston is my home, and it is in my blood. But Jerusalem is in many ways my spiritual home. I lived there for six months between high school and college, and I visited before then, but even though my actual exposure to the city was not very long, Jerusalem is in my bones and in my heart.

What’s your favorite season and favorite activity for that season?

I would like to be able to say that Spring is my favorite season, because after a long, cold Boston winter, there’s something very special about the weather warming up, the snow melting, and the trees starting to bud. But I’m allergic to tree pollen, so Spring is also the time when I cannot breathe comfortably. Also, in Boston we get allocated five true spring days per year, and we try not to use them all at once, so we’ll have weather in the 60s one day and then it will be back down in the 30s and snowing. So, Fall is my favorite. I love to take long walks in the Fall. The trees are gorgeous while their leaves are changing color, and the air just smells crisper. The days tend to be comfortable for walking, and the evenings are cool enough that it makes sense to pour a hot cup of tea and curl up with a good book.

My Review:
Dani Perez is a secular Israeli who lives in Boston. He’s introduced to Avi Levine by a mutual friend and is immediately attracted, but warned off. Dani has a reputation for having flings, and Avi’s friend knows that Avi isn’t that sort of man.

Avi is an Orthodox Jew, and growing up in his dati/frum (religiously observant) community he’s known that he can only have romantic physical contact with the person who would be his marriage partner. He’s 33 years old, only recently came to grips with his attraction for men, and has kissed three women in his whole life. He is, in his own words, an innocent. And he’s scared to give himself physically to anyone, as it’s a sin outside of marriage. The catch? Gay marriage is still not accepted within the Orthodox community.

Dani is willing to build a friendship with Avi, and see if it leads to more, because he finds Avi’s spiritualism and deep consideration of his morality to be a refreshing perspective. The more time these men spend with each other, the more they connect–and the harder it is for Avi to completely devote himself to a pure life. He’s also afraid that his parents, and shul (temple), might cut him off, and this would be emotionally devastating.

This is a beautifully written and engaging story about finding a path that reconciles conflicting desires. Avi is a student of Judaism. He discusses his conflicts with his rabbi, and seeks advice regarding how to be a sexually active gay man, and also how to still live within God’s law. It’s also a story about patience and building a deep love, because Dani is the catalyst for much of Avi’s study–Avi would have looked into it on his own, at some point, but he does it now, with fervor, knowing that Dani is willing to walk this path at his side, and at his pace.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t troubles; because there are. Dani’s afraid to love Avi too much, and learn that Avi simply won’t ever become a partner to him. He’s also afraid to pressure Avi in any way, physically, and he considerately waits for Avi to make his moves. Avi’s unused to physical touch, as this is not part of his dati life. Even holding hands and hugging is something only done between married partners or close relations. I honestly loved the tenderness that resulted from these tenets. Dani understands what it means when Avi tentatively touches his hand, or takes it when they walk, or offers a fleeting kiss. He accepts that Avi is closeted, with the understanding that Avi will come out…eventually. (It totally happens, though I wished we’d seen his reveal to the parents!)

The book is almost all told from Dani’s point-of-view, and his experience of being beside Avi on this adventure into love. We get Avi’s most intimate thoughts in the form of prayers he makes on his journey. He’s so remarkably earnest, begging God to help him find balance between his devoted spiritual life, and his desire to have a fulfilling relationship. Avi’s not content being asexual; he wants whatever sexual contact that he can have within the strictures of his faith. I found that so immediately relatable, as I’ve seen that same desire present in persons of the fundamental Christian faith, where I was raised. Seriously, I pretty much teared up whenever I read one of Avi’s prayers. I so wanted him to have the love of his God and his life, and not be in spiritual conflict.

Dani has his own hurdles, namely Avi’s family, to surmount. He’s an outsider to their community, and a contemporary gay man. Could he possibly be a good partner for Avi? It’s more than simply knowing the prayers, and understanding the terminology. Avi’s Orthodox faith is a constant presence, between them, at first. His dietary restrictions and shul responsibilities aside, Avi’s very much wrapped in his dati world. But as the story goes on, it’s easy to see how this faith grows and envelops both men. There are moments of extreme frustration for Dani, without question. But, he doesn’t become bitter. His love is so tender and patient, and he finds contentment in their closeness, even if it doesn’t quite become physical–or very physical. Being the first man for Avi to kiss, or touch, or see naked, it’s a gift, almost, for Dani. Because he understands how hard Avi considered before making those overtures, and Dani finds that is in itself fulfilling. Dani doesn’t want Avi to sacrifice himself for Dani’s own needs, Dani wants Avi to choose him wholeheartedly, so that they can both revel in their love for one another. And, spoiler, this happens.

The book is not a sexy book. There are some moments of sexytimes, but they are few and fraught. The romance is heady, nonetheless, with Dani and Avi both finding exactly what they’d needed in each other. There is a whole lot of Judaism, which I found interesting, but I’m a goy married to a secular Jew. (My hubs likes the idea of me being a shiksa, but I digress.) I’ve heard or spoken some of the prayers, I’ve been around the Reform community for twenty-five years. For me, this was a window to a beautiful religious experience, though I can imagine others might not be so captivated. And, I loved the handy glossary at the back, because holy smokes is there a lot of Hebrew and Yiddish terminology. I didn’t find it inaccessible, as the definitions and context clues are well-placed, but it was nice to have an official resource.

Finishing this book, I had one thought in my head: I sure hope Avi finds a way to adopt a child with Dani, because I want these beautiful men to have a family. They were that real to me.

Interested? You can find FLYING WITHOUT A NET on Goodreads, Interlude Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, AllRomance, and Smashwords.


Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link to win a $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Hold. Five winners receive Flying Without a Net eBook.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
E.M. Ben Shaul lives in many communities. An Orthodox Jew and writer of gay fiction, E.M. lives in the simultaneously gay-friendly and Jewish-friendly Boston area with her husband and twin daughters. A technical writer by day and freelance editor by nights and weekends, E.M. likes to knit, cook and coin neologisms. E.M. seeks to explore the seeming conflict between religious teachings and the heart’s desires.

Connect with author E.M. Ben Shaul on her websiteFacebook and on Twitter.

Tough Love Learning YOU ARE NOT ME–Review & Giveaway!

you-are-not-me-bannerHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a New Adult coming-of-age story from Leta Blake. YOU ARE NOT ME, the sequel to PICTURES OF YOU, is set in Knoxville, Tennessee, and follows a newly graduated, newly out teen looking to find his tribe. There’s a dash of romance, but it’s bittersweet.

Catch the excerpt below, and be sure to enter the giveaway to win one of two copies of PICTURES OF YOU.
you-are-not-me-coverAbout the book:
Follow Peter into the summer following his senior year to face new beginnings, new friends, and old baggage.

After a tumultuous final year of high school, Peter Mandel needs a break. It’s the summer of 1991, and his secret relationship with his ‘best friend’ Adam Algedi is put on hold as Adam goes away to Italy for the summer. On the cusp of adulthood, Peter has a couple of months to explore who he is without Adam at his side.

Enter Daniel McPeak, a slightly older, out, responsible college guy with a posse of gay friends and an attraction for Peter. Drawn into the brave new world of the local gay club, Peter embarks on a whirlwind of experiences—good and bad—which culminate in a hotel room where he has to make the ultimate choice.

But Adam will come back eventually, and there are promises that have to be kept. As autumn draws near and college awaits, can Peter break free of the binds of twisted first love? And what exactly is Daniel’s role in his life – a brief temptation, or something more?

Join Peter in the second book of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

How about a little taste?

The stool next to me wasn’t empty for long. Minty dropped onto it, his purple tutu rubbing against my chinos and his thin, white arms curled up to rest on the bar. He stared at me for a long, curious second. “I’ve met you before, right?”

“Yeah.” I shook off my disappointment and gave him my attention. “Last spring, up on campus.”

“Did we fuck?”

I almost choked on my soda. “No.”

“Right.” Minty frowned. “Did I suck you off?”

I stared at him.


“My car was broken down,” I said slowly. “Daniel helped me.”

Minty grinned. “Oh, right! I remember now. You looked amazing that night. Made of moonbeams. Everyone was made of moonbeams.” He tilted his head. “You look all right now too.”


Minty laughed and fluffed his tutu. He turned away from me to hammer his fists on the bar. “Jolly Zima, Barry! Watermelon! Hit me!”

Barry rolled his eyes, but he pulled a Zima out from the fridge and popped the lid, then reached under the counter and came out with a watermelon Jolly Rancher, unwrapped it, and dropped it into the drink. Minty slapped three dollars down and took a dainty sip.

“Ah! Perfection!” He turned to me with his eyelashes lowered flirtatiously. “Anyway, back to what you were saying. We haven’t fucked yet?”

Startled, nervous laughter bubbled out of my mouth.

“Minty,” Barry said. “Drink your Zima and leave Peter alone.”

“Sure thing. You’re the boss.” Minty sighed and leaned toward me conspiratorially. “He won’t fuck me either. What’s a girl gotta do these days? I mean, I look good, don’t I?”

I looked him over—white, though scuffed, ballet slippers, purple tutu, toned, pale, lithe arms, and his made-up face. “Sure. You look really pretty.”

Minty grinned. “Aw, you know how to make a girl feel nice.”

“Didn’t I just see you downstairs with two guys, though?”

“Two? Please. That’s just a warm-up.” He sniffed.

Renée appeared at my side, dropping an arm around my shoulder. “Minty, doll baby, I need you backstage in an hour. You’re my naughty boy tonight.”

“Okay, but I want to wear my tutu.”

“You’ll be gorgeous.” Renée grabbed hold of Minty’s face and looked him over. “We need to put some eyelashes on you too.”

“And red lipstick.”

“Yes! Every man in this room will ache to be in that pert ass of yours.” She glanced at me and then back at Minty. “Except Peter here.”

“He catches?” Minty asked.

“Like Johnny Bench, baby.”

I didn’t like my positional preferences being discussed like it was any of their business, but I was mystified that Renée seemed so certain about it. Was there something about me that screamed loves it up the ass?

“How do you know who Johnny Bench is, woman?” Barry handed Renée a milky-looking drink topped with brown liquor.

“I listen!”

“I’ve never mentioned baseball to you and you know it.”

“Of course not. You’d never do that to me. Earl at Ringo Comics, though, he babbles on and on about it when he’s trying not to come. Earl says I catch like a pro.” She patted her ass.

Daniel was right last spring when he said Robert and Renée were the same but different people. Robert could be sassy and forthright about his sexual shenanigans, but raunchy details rarely left his mouth. My face burned.

“Hear, hear!” Minty cried, throwing back his head to draw a long swig from his Zima.

Barry frowned. It was the first time I’d seen Barry look even moderately unhappy about Renée—or Robert’s—indiscretions.

“What?” Renée asked defensively.

“Earl’s positive.” Barry’s gaze bore into her. “You used a condom?”

“Of course!” Renée licked her lips and shifted nervously to her other foot, her hip cocking out. “I always do. You know that.”

Minty bit his purple-painted thumbnail, eyes going distant. “I’m probably positive. I should get tested. My mom wants me to get tested.”

Barry nailed Minty and Renée with a frustrated glare. He reached under the counter and pulled out two condoms. Then his gaze shifted to me and he pulled out a third. “For fuck’s sake, use these. Every time. Every damn time.”

Renée stuffed the condom in her bra. Minty held it up in front of his face and then gave it a kiss before lifting up his tutu to tuck it into the waistband of his white briefs. Nodding, I pocketed the one Barry handed to me, even though I wasn’t going to need it. Adam was in Italy and the casual sex Minty and Renée played with was something I’d never risk.

My Review:
This is the second book in a series and best enjoyed when read in order. It’s June 1991, and the AIDS epidemic is at it’s peak, as is tension with Middle Easterners, as we’re in the midst of the Gulf War.

Peter Mandel is nearly nineteen, and just graduated from high school in Knoxville, Tennesee. He’s gay, and out to his parents and a few friends, notably his boyfriend, the BF’s siblings, and his drag queen boss. Peter otherwise keeps a low profile because he’s been attacked for his sexuality, and to spare his mother pain; as a child she’d seen her elder brother brutally killed for being gay.

Peter’s boyfriend Adam thought he had a fool-proof plan to shield them from scrutiny: he got a girlfriend, Leslie, who he maintains a sexual relationship with, as well as with Peter. It killed Peter for their time together in senior year, but now it’s summer and Adam’s gone to Rome to live with his parents until college begins in the fall. His letters and calls to Peter all describe the big changes that will happen when he’s back, but Peter’s not so convinced. He’s not comfortable being a piece on the side any longer, and he cares for Leslie, too–feels like a big jerk for lying to her, in fact.

Peter meets Daniel through Robert/Renee, the lovely black drag queen he works for. See, Peter’s a photographer, and he does Renee’s publicity, as well as helps edit his filmography of famous drag queens. Daniel is a college student at UT, just like Peter, and they develop a good friendship, as well as an attraction. Daniel doesn’t want to make a move, though, knowing Peter is holding out hope the he and Adam will build a stronger relationship when Adam returns–despite the fact that they’ll attend different colleges in different states–and Leslie will be with Adam.

So, yeah. There is a bit of romance, as Daniel and Peter spend more and more time together. Peter gets to know all of Daniel’s close friends, and he sees how important it is to live his truth. Plus, he’s filling out of his gawky-awkward stage, and finding that men are very much attracted to him whenever he gets out to the gay clubs. Should he wait for Adam? Is he only prolonging the heartbreak?

This book is really rich with description of the times and occurrences. I love the throwbacks of corded phones, answering machines and film cameras. Developing!! Argh! There’s also some really poignant moments regarding HIV/AIDS because Daniel is an outreach volunteer, and he gets Peter involved in some home care visits with a man who’s dying of AIDS. Wow! That was so freaking intense, and I only expect it’ll get more so in the next book. The context of HIV/AIDS is such a strong element of the book, with every person advising Peter on his safety, and some serious problems when risks are unnecessarily posed.

Emotionally, Peter struggles with doing what he believes is right, and what is right for him. So many times I wanted to just pull him in for a long hug, and tell him to Get Rid Of Adam!!! Alas, I’m but a reader, and I must follow the path he chooses. The good part is: all of it. It’s gritty, and scary, and captivating living life through Peter’s opened eyes. He finds unlikely allies, and builds true relationships–even repairing a lot of the damage within his own family. His parents’ benign neglect was more damaging than they realized, and they do a lot of soul-searching and reconnection in this book. That was fabulous. Peter does make mistakes, and I think he gets pretty lucky in some parts–particularly dealing with some substance use he wasn’t quite ready for. While the romance is almost incidental to the story, it does exist. Expect it to be bittersweet. The end is upbeat, and I’m eager to see how Peter takes to his first semester in college.

Interested? You can find YOU ARE NOT ME on Goodreads and Amazon.


Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win on of two ebooks of PICTURES OF YOU.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Author of the best-selling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more on her website, Facebook and twitter.


Out Today! FIRE IN YOU–Excerpt and Giveaway!

Hi there! I’m so excited to share an excerpt for a new contemporary romance from best-selling author Jennifer Armentrout, writing as J. Lynn. FIRE IN YOU is long-time friends-to-lovers romance .

Check out the excerpt and get in on the giveaway below!
fire-in-you-coverAbout the book:
From the # 1 New York Times and International bestselling author comes a richly moving story about heartbreak and guilt, second chances and hope. Full of familiar, fan-favorite characters and no two people more deserving of a happy ending, Fire In You will burn bright beyond the last page…

Jillian Lima’s whole world was destroyed in a span of a few hours. The same night her childhood love, Brock ‘the Beast’ Mitchell, broke her heart, her life was irrevocably altered by the hand of a stranger with a gun. It takes six years to slowly glue together the shattered pieces of her life, but Jillian is finally ready to stop existing in a past full of pain and regret. She takes a job at her father’s martial arts Academy and she’s going out on her first date since a failed relationship that was more yuck than yum. Jillian is determined to start living.

She just never expected Brock to be a part of her life again. But he’s firmly back in her life before she knows it, and not only is he older, he’s impossibly more handsome, more teasing and more everything. And when he sees Jillian, he’s no longer capable of thinking of her as the little girl who was his shadow growing up or the daughter of the man who gave him a second chance at life. He sees the woman who’d always been there for him, the one person who believed in him no matter what.

Brock knows she’s the one he should’ve made his, and what begins as a tentative friendship quickly turns to red-hot chemistry that sparks a flame that burns brighter than lust. Falling for Brock again risks more than her heart, because when the sorrow-filled and guilt-ridden past resurfaces, and a web of lies threatens to rip them apart, the fallout could lay waste to everything they’ve fought to build together, and destroy the dreams of those they care most about.

How about a little taste?

Making my way through the narrow pathways between the tables, I headed back toward the bathroom. Only once I pushed open the double doors and stopped in front of the water-spotted mirror did I realize I’d left my purse at the table, so there’d be no reapplying my lipstick.

I pumped soap onto my hands and waved them under the facet. Water flowed, washing away the suds as I slowly lifted my gaze to my reflection. Normally when I looked at myself, I didn’t really pay attention longer than was necessary to put makeup on without ending up looking like a tutorial gone wrong.

Standing here now, I really looked at myself, though.

I used to wear my hair up all the time, but I’d stopped doing that every day. My hair now hung in waves and the ends curled over the tips of my breasts. I also used to have heavy bangs, but thank God they were long gone. I’d finally learned how to put on eyeliner. That was another miracle. The slight flush of my face darkened my naturally tan skin. My lips were fuller and my nose straight.

My hair was parted to sweep to the left so it shielded my cheek…and my cheek didn’t look that bad, especially considering how it looked the first time I’d seen it after…after days in the hospital.

Hell, my entire face had been one hot mess.

There was a deep indentation in my left cheek, almost like an icepick had been shoved in there, and as I stared at my right jaw line, I was still amazed by what reconstructive plastic surgeons could accomplish. Half my face had literally been pieced back together with an iliac crest graft with a reconstruction plate and a crap ton of dentistry to give me back a full set of functional teeth.

Plastic surgeons didn’t have magic wands, but they were magicians. If you weren’t looking at me straight on, you’d have no idea that my right jaw was thinner than my left.

You’d have no idea what had happened to me that night.

Now I stared back at myself just like I had done that night, six years ago, standing in a bathroom, mere minutes before my entire life came crashing down.

It wasn’t that I hated the way I looked now. The fact that I was alive meant I was one of those rare, walking and breathing statistics.

But even knowing how lucky I was didn’t change the fact that I felt…deformed. That was a harsh word to use. I didn’t like to whip it out often. Doing so on what was so far a pretty good date was probably not a good idea.

Taking a deep breath, I shook my head. I didn’t need my thoughts going in that direction tonight. So far, the dinner had been amazing. Grady was nice and he was cute. I could maybe see myself going out with him again, to an art exhibit, and maybe coffee.

And that was what had freaked me out.

I was not going to let living freak me out.


I could give him a chance and not worry about whether or not I was settling.

Turning from the sink, I dried my hands and then readjusted my hair so it fell forward, over my left shoulder and cheek. I walked out of the bathroom and into the narrow hall, gaze trained on the floor as I took about two steps before I realized someone was standing right outside the door, leaning against the wall. Before I nearly plowed into him.

Gasping, I took a step back. All I could see were finely cut black trousers paired with…with old black and white Chucks? What an odd combination, but those shoes reminded me of…

I gave a little shake of my head and stepped to the side. “Sorry. Excuse—”


I stopped.

Time stopped.

Everything stopped except my heart, because it was suddenly pounding in my chest too hard, too fast. That deep, rough voice. I recognized it all the way to my very core. Slowly, I lifted my gaze, already knowing what I was going to see but refusing to believe it.

Brock Mitchell stood in front of me.

Expect my review next week, but I CAN tell you it’s a solid romance with two long-time friends finding their first, and last, love.

Interested? You can find FIRE IN YOU on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.


Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for a chance to win a signed set of Wait For You books (US only).
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
# 1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories…which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
Catch up with Jennifer on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
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Happy Book Birthday to WINTER MOON!

banner-winter-moon-by-dannika-darkHi there! I’m spreading the word on a new Christmas-themed paranormal romance from Dannika Dark. WINTER MOON has the Weston wolf pack a bit down, but getting ready for the holidays.

cover-winter-moonAbout the book:
The Weston pack waited until the last minute to prepare for Christmas. Spirits are low, and now they’re in a scramble when a freak snowstorm knocks out the power. Despite bickering among packmates and the threat of rogues, the family is determined to make this a memorable Christmas.

But when an important family member goes missing, the pack is galvanized into action. Time is running out, and the temperature is dropping fast.

THE SEVEN SERIES is a paranormal romance that portrays Shifters living in secret in the modern world. A blend of humor, heartwarming romance, drama, and real-life issues. This series is for those who believe in family, second chances, and finding that person who completes you.

A delicious nibble…

April spun around. “Ointment and lube are not the same.” She wrinkled her nose. “Why do you smell like… Exactly what is that smell?”

He organized a few boxes of bandages on the shelf. “Ran into an older lady who couldn’t decide which lotion she wanted to give her husband, so she rubbed it all over my neck and took a whiff.”

April bubbled with laughter and gripped the opening of his leather jacket. “You’re such a nice guy. That’s why I fell in love with you.”

“I thought it was my six-pack.” His eyes glittered with amusement as he looked down at her with pure adoration in those coffee-brown eyes. Reno was a big guy with a tough demeanor, but he had a heart of gold beneath that macho exterior. He could melt her heart with a single glance, and he was thoughtful in ways that most men weren’t.

Interested? You can find WINTER MOON on Goodreads, Amazon, Audible, iTunes, Tantor, and

About the Author:
Dannika Dark was born on a military base in the U.S. and spent her youth traveling abroad. She developed an interest writing poetry and song lyrics early on, eventually gravitating toward a job that involved writing procedural training documentation. In her spare time, she wrote novels before she decided to pursue a career in publishing.

In addition to writing about supernatural worlds, Dannika is passionate about graphic design and creates all her own covers and series art. When not writing, she enjoys indie music, movies, reading, Tex-Mex, strawberry daiquiris, heaps of chocolate, and unleashing her dark side.

All of her published books to date are written in the same universe and contain material suitable for adults only.

“For me, writing is all about blending genres to break out of the confines of predictability, but it’s what I love to do.”

Catch up with Danni on her website, Goodreads, Facebook or twitter, or sign up for her newsletter.

Starting Fresh With FRECKLES–A Review

Hi there! today I’m sharing a review for a sweet, contemporary M/M Christmas romance from Amy Lane. You know I’ve adored her heart-wrenching books, most recently SELFIE and THE DEEP OF THE SOUND, but her newest release is a giant fluffy blanket to wrap yourself in. FRECKLES features a shy lawyer, a bold vet tech, and the puppy that brought them together. It’s also a part of the 2016 three book Holiday bundle offered every year by Riptide, and 20% of the proceeds are donated to The Trevor Project, which provides a suicide hotline and counseling assistance for LGBTQ teens, in particular, in crisis.

frecklesAbout the book:
Carter Embree has always hoped to be rescued from his productive, tragically boring, and (slightly) ethically compromised life. But when an urchin at a grocery store shoves a bundle of fluff into his hands, Carter goes from rescuee to rescuer—and he needs a little help.

Sandy Corrigan, the vet tech who helps ease Carter into the world of dog ownership, first assumes that Carter is a crazy-pants client who just needs to relax. But as Sandy gets a glimpse into the funny, kind, sexy man under Carter’s mild-mannered exterior, he sees that with a little care and feeding, Carter might be Super-Pet Owner—and decent boyfriend material to boot.

But Carter needs to see himself as a hero first. As he says good-bye to his pristine house and hello to carpet treatments and dog walkers, he finds that there really is more to himself than a researching drudge without a backbone. A Carter Embree can rate a Sandy Corrigan. He can be supportive, he can be a hero, he can be a man who stands up for his principles!

He can be the owner of a small dog.

My Review:
Carter Embree is a lawyer with a conscience. I’m not saying he’s the only one, but Carter pretty much feels that way working for his slimeball boss. He’s unhappy in his job, but the pay is great; too great to give it up on a whim. Plus, he’s been there for years, and he might could get a promotion, though he’s not gonna hold his breath.

One night, while feeling particularly low after his current boyfriend of several months had walked out with a Post-it Note good-bye, Carter meets the next love of his life: a two-pound ball of eyes and fur literally dropped into his hands by a kid at the grocery. And Freckles, as novice dog owner Carter dubs her, has fleas.

Rushing off to the vet clinic at his nearby PetSmart, Carter meets lanky, flirty Sandy, the nightly vet tech. Sandy’s sure Carter’s a loony, but he sees the sweet vulnerability behind Carter’s guileless eyes and pleasant, but plain, features. And, Carter’s determination to be a good pet parent is pretty heart-melting, too.

Over the course of nudging Carter on his path with Freckles, Sandy’s quite smitten. He’s also happy that Carter’s a quiet sort of guy, that he’s not big on clubbing and going to all the It spots. Sandy’s 33, but he’s back in college, studying to be a veterinarian, so he’s not well-off. Meanwhile, Carter’s just happy learning how to care for Freckles, and falling for Sandy–even if he knows his mother would never approve of him dating someone so undistinguished professionally. That said, Carter’s been branching out, taking his own cases for disgruntled pet owners who deserve restitution after their beloved animals were injured or killed. His newfound perspective on both life and love leads him to make even more decisions that alter his life, in the best way.

This is a quiet romance, with gradually building steam that’s nice, but doesn’t exactly burn up the page. The secondary characters feel as real as the mains, with truly earnest people populating the story, which is usual for this author. Freckles is a sweetheart, even if she craps all over the carpets. Having lived with pets I’m aware that establishing the power structure early on is KEY!!, but Carter’s a pushover in all aspects of his life, including pet training. This is his real character flaw, and I was happy to watch him grow into being a stronger person, and standing up for his own happiness, even if it’s difficult, inconvenient or less lucrative. Carter has to become his own hero, in order to be a good partner to Sandy, and all his baby steps add up to just that.

Very sweet, and come on now, a PUPPY!! An enjoyable read that won’t twist you into an angst-ball.

Interested? You can find FRECKLES on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance.

To purchase FRECKLES with two other books at a BIG discount, and for The Trevor Project donations, click the Bundle Page here.

About the Author:
Amy Lane dodges an EDJ, mothers four children, and writes the occasional book. She, her brood, and her beloved mate, Mack, live in a crumbling mortgage in Citrus Heights, California, which is riddled with spiders, cats, and more than its share of fancy and weirdness.

Feel free to visit her website, blog, or on twitter and Facebook where she will ride the buzz of receiving your e-mail until her head swells and she can no longer leave the house.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Big Trouble Over SECRET THINGS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance from Nazarea Andrews. SECRET THINGS is a bittersweet romance between two good friends, who happen to be co-stars on a fan-fave TV show.

secret-things-coverAbout the book:
Camden is on top of the world.

He’s dating his best friend and co-star. He has a top rated TV show that just got renewed for a seventh season. It’s what he’s always wanted.

And he’s fucking miserable.

Dimitri is living the life he always wanted. He and Victor, his high school boyfriend, are social media darlings. His part just got renewed on his hit TV show, and the charity foundation he co-founded is taking off. It’s everything he ever wanted.

And he’s fucking miserable.

The only time either seem happy is when they’re together. And both of them are ignoring the attraction between them. There’s too much at risk. The show, their significant others, a friendship that is more important than a quick screw.

Oh, and Camden is straight.


But attraction isn’t always easy to ignore, and a lot can happen that isn’t meant to. When one of Dimitri’s fans gets involved, both men will have to decide how much and who they want.

My Review:
This is a friends-to-lovers romance for Camden and Dimitri, both stars on a fan-fave TV show. They became friends three years ago, and there’s been a simmering attraction for the other for at least a year now.

Unfortunately, Dimitri’s been openly dating his high school boyfriend, Victor, a touring rock musician, for the past twelve years. And, Camden lives with his on-screen girlfriend, Cari. Cari and Dimitri even run a charity together, and they are really besties, so Dimitri tries to squash his attraction to Cam. Unsuccessfully.

There’s a big issue, I imagine, for famous people regarding their public and private lives. While some fans might want to see Dimitri and Cam get together, they also adore the love stories of Cam + Cari and Dimitri + Victor. But, fir these four people, the public story is not the private one. Cari is fine with Cam finding his true love–as she knows she isn’t it. She loves Cam as she can, but not romantically. Victor and Dimitri have been pulling apart for the past several years, and Victor has a ready-made replacement he doesn’t bother to hide from Dimitri. Thing is, the TV execs and the fans don’t want to let go of their ‘dream couples.’

So, when Cam and Dimitri do come together, it’s really an undercover operation. I didn’t really like it all that much, because Dimitri was really dishonest at first. I get that he wasn’t ready to make it all official, but he knew better than to leave it hanging the way he did, for as long as he did. He hurt Cari and Cam in the process. And, he didn’t make it right for a while, too, which bothered me. Also, when a stalker is on the loose, Dimitri makes unconscionably stupid decisions that endanger everyone. So, while I wasn’t captivated by the story, it’s an okay read.

I received an advanced reader copy that had lots of errors, which I’m hopeful got fixed in the final pressing. The good thing about the book is that it ends well, with tons of support for Cam, now that he comes out as bisexual. There seems to be some new plot threads that could be spun into an HEA for Cari, too, in another book–though I’m not sure that’s going to happen. Pure speculation on that point.

Interested? You can find SECRET THINGS on Goodraeds, Amazon and Kobo.

About the Author:
Nazarea Andrews (N to almost everyone) is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. Which means she writes everything from zombies and dystopia to contemporary love stories. When not writing, she can most often be found driving her kids to practice and burning dinner while she reads, or binging watching TV shows on Netflix. N loves chocolate, wine, and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, spoiled cat and overgrown dog. She is the author of World Without End series, Neverland Found, Edge of the Falls, and The University of Branton Series.

Stop by her twitter and tell her what fantastic book she should read next. You can also find her on her website, blog, Facebook, join her Street Team, or sign up for her newsletter.
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Cephalopod Coffeehouse Nov 2016–CROSSING THE HORIZON, A Review

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

I’ve already begun reading and reviewing holiday-themed books, which has bolstered my spirits over the course of a frustrating and unpleasant November. I will admit to being extremely upset regarding our election, and the aftermath. What has kept me going is maintaining a good routine, and hunting down excellent books. This month, I went back to my girlish roots, picking up a newly published historical fiction novel about pioneering aviatrixes, CROSSING THE HORIZON, by Laurie Notaro.

crossing-the-horizonAbout the book:
Soar back to the fearless 1920s with #1 New York Times bestselling writer Laurie Notaro—beloved author of The Idiot Girls’ Action Adventure Club—in a stunning historical novel that tells the true, little-known story of three aviatrixes in a race to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.

Ten thousand feet in the sky, flipping and twirling through the air, aviatrixes from London to Paris to New York—fueled by determination and courage—have their eyes on the century’s biggest prize. The year is 1927, and Amelia Earhart has not yet made her record-breaking cross-Atlantic flight. Who will follow in Charles Lindbergh’s footsteps and make her own history?

Three women’s names are splashed daily across the front page: Elsie Mackay, daughter of an Earl, is the first Englishwoman to get her pilot’s license. Mabel Boll, a glamorous society darling and former cigar girl, is ardent to make the historic flight. Beauty pageant contestant Ruth Elder uses her winnings for flying lessons and becomes the preeminent American girl of the sky.

Inspired by true events and real people, Notaro vividly evokes this exciting time as her determined heroines vie for the record. Through striking photos, meticulous research, and atmospheric prose, Notaro brings Elsie, Mabel, and Ruth to life, pulling us back in time as the pilots collide, struggle, and literally crash in the chase for fame and a place in aviation history.

My Review:
As a girl I was captivated by stories of Amelia Earhart, the first woman to cross the Atlantic in a plane. First as a passenger, then a pilot. At around this time in my life we were first having female astronauts, and I could envision a life where women did so much more than stayed home and raised children, or worked entry level jobs in secretarial-type roles. So, learning about daring women shaped me, as a youth, and helped me grow into a strong woman, willing to charge forward in male-dominated work roles. I was thrilled with CROSSING THE HORIZON for those same reasons.

This is a work of historical fiction, painstakingly researched and lovingly rendered. It surrounds the lives of three female flyers, Elsie Mackay, Ruth Elder and Mabel Boll. They are very unique women who each wanted to prove to the world they had more to offer than femininity.

Elsie was daughter of a powerful English Earl. She was the first licensed female English pilot, and served on many committees for pilots within the Royal Air command. She’d defied her father and eloped with a former patient she tended in WWI, an actor, who later abandoned her. She also worked for her father’s shipping line as chief designer of the luxurious staterooms for royal and wealthy travelers. Elsie was 35 years old when she recruited a team to fly the dangerous east-west route over the Atlantic.

At age 23, Ruth Elder was a twice-married Alabama girl with a pretty face and love for speed. She’d begun flying lessons after learning that planes went even faster than cars! She got recruited to fly the American Girl plane to follow her dream to fly to Paris, and she worked hard for it. Not only that, she wanted to survive the trip–and designed life-suits that would inflate and keep her and her co-pilot from drowning, as neither of them actually knew how to swim, in the event of a crash. Ruth’s backers knew that she’d make lots of money in endorsements if she was successful, but it wasn’t an easy choice, or an easy mission.

Mabel Boll, wealthy socialite and self-proclaimed Queen of Diamonds, wanted fame more than anything. She was garish in her desire to cross the Atlantic and become “Queen of the Air,” and every attempt she made to grasp this title turned on her in ways this calculating gal couldn’t comprehend.

The book switches point of view to peer alternately into their supposed lives as each woman plotted her course with destiny. It’s rocky and rough, especially as they learn that one or another is closer to traveling than they, or other women’ missions are lost-at-sea. The sexual politics of the day are also very much present, with reporter, and others, questioning why these woman would defy parents or husbands wishes to stay grounded. The book is a bit bittersweet, as some of these gals do not make it home. The others are forever changed by their attempts.

I dug the history here; it spoke to the striving girl still buried within me. I could have looked all this up for myself on the net, and saved myself the agony of loving some of these characters, only to lose them, but I relished the hope that built within me as I chased their dreams from this side of the page. It’s no surprise, I imagine, that none of these women were completely successful, because history has kept Earhart’s name in our consciousness, not that of Elsie, Ruth or Mabel. Still, I feel enriched learning of their footsteps on the journey to womens’ equality. I highly recommend it for history buffs, and fans of historical fiction or pioneering women.

Interested? You can find CROSSING THE HORIZON on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and any of your local bookstores or libraries. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

Thanks for popping in, and be sure to check out the reviews of my fellow Coffeehouse readers. And, as always, keep reading my friends!

Out Today! MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. MIGGLES–Review & Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m celebrating the release of a sweet and tender contemporary M/M Christmas romance from Eli Easton. I’ve been charmed by her books filled with small-town love for a while and wholly recommend FALLING DOWN and A SECOND HARVEST. MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. MIGGLES is a different kind of romance, where a young librarian comes to realize his slightly older boss is actually a kick-ass hero ninja librarian, in the figurative sense.

Catch my review below and be sure to enter the $25 or book giveaway, too!

merry-christmasmrmiggles-600x900About the book:
Toby Kincaid loves being the junior librarian in his hometown of Sandy Lake, Ohio. He spends his days surrounded by books and chatting with the library patrons. He especially adores the head librarian, Mr. Miggles, who is kind, witty, knowlegable about everything, and hopelessly addicted to Christmas. Sean Miggles is also pretty cute—especially for an older guy who wears ties and suit pants every day.

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

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

My Review:
I really enjoyed this quiet, M/M Christmas romance.

Toby is the junior librarian in his home town of Sandy Lake, Ohio. He’s also one of two employees of this small-town library. His boss, Mr. Miggles, is the other.

He was the buttoned-up, tie wearing, head librarian and my boss. He acted older than he actually was. He was probably in his thirties but he dressed up everyday in a suit and tie…He was always serious, often sad, and he had an ageless, professorial thing going on. I thought of him as the Socratic ninja of the Sandy Lake Library. He moved around stealthily, getting invisible shit done. And when he did speak, he sounded like he was reading from one of the high-brow books he loved.
It was kind of awesome.
My role, on the other hand, was to be the smart, hip, and mildly jaded young employee. I played it to perfection, if I do say so myself.

Mr. Miggles is an enigma to Toby. And that’s cool. I mean, Toby has a hot boyfriend, Justin, who, you know, borrows money without paying it back, and never pays his share, and hardly goes out to do anything with Toby that could possibly be a “date” but. Yeah.

We learn early that Christmas is fast approaching, and Mr. Miggles is a man who loves Christmas, despite having no discernible family or friends. Still, he relishes dressing up the library with decorations, and putting out the Christmas Surprise Box, a prize that–Toby notices–gets lots of raffle entries, despite the modest $50 contents.

Right about this time little Tanya Lemmens begins getting dumped at the library. She’s maybe five years old, and her single mother, Anita, may actually be looking for a job, but it’s still irresponsible of her to simply drop the child off and run. Mr. Miggles makes it his mission to entertain withdrawn and likely malnourished Tanya. Despite Toby’s requests to call Child Protective Services, Mr. Miggles acts as a surrogate parent for days–until he spots the bruises.

What seems to be an open-and-shut case of neglect and abuse gets turned around, with Mr. Miggles under investigation. Why would a single man take charge of such a young girl? Was he ever alone with her? Some of his tragic past gets twisted and leaked to the local paper to paint this compassionate, conscientious man as possibly predatory.

Toby’s beside himself. In his role as sole librarian, while Mr. Miggles is held for questioning and later released but banned from work, Toby learns all about Mr. Miggles’ side work for the library. How there are several down-on-their luck regular library patrons who “win” the single Surprise box every year. How that crafty, ninja librarian, Mr. Miggles, also got special books for his patrons, including expensive large-types for the elderly, and over-budget cancer books for the newly-diagnosed, and made weekly visits on his off-time to shut-in nursing home patients as part of yet-another unfunded “outreach program” that only he knows about. Toby fairly swoons learning he’d invested his salary over and over again, to the benefit of the Sandy Lake community. The more Toby learns, the more he knows he has to do something to save Mr. Miggles’ job. Because Sandy Lake won’t be the same without him. (Oh, and because Toby’s half madly in love with his erudite, tweedy boss…)

This is a book about small-town politics and small-town compassion, which are, unfortunately, at odds. Mr. Miggles is a good man caught in a crossfire of prejudice and politics. It’s also unfortunate that Mr. Miggles has been so private; because he’s kept so many secrets it’s hard to mount a defense, at first. Still, he has many fans in the community, and Toby’s determination knows no boundaries. All this esteem tips over into the attraction category–long before Toby even knows Mr. Miggles is a gay man, mourning a tragedy he left behind in LA.

The way this community circles it’s wagons for Mr. Miggles is really something special. Toby won’t let Mr. Miggles give up without a fight, and his reaction to Toby’s offensive is nothing less than tear-worthy. The book is a different type of romance. There’s no dating, or wooing. There is simply Toby helping his dear boss, and developing an attraction he’d not expected to have reciprocated–but it was. Expect just a bit of sexytimes mostly near the end, and whoo-boy! To be a fly on the wall of the Mysteries section of the library that evening!! O.O

I loved the way all of this turned out, a quiet, feel-good read that will satisfy.

Interested? You can find MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. MIGGLES on Goodreads, Amazon (US or UK) and AllRomance.


Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon GC or a copy of UNWRAPPING HANK.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Eli EastonAbout the Author:
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a game designer, an organic farmer, an avid hiker, and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an addicted reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

Eli currently publishes with Dreamspinner Press and has a few self-pubbed titles as well. She also publishes thrillers under the pen name: Jane Jensen.

Catch up with Eli on her website, Facebook, and twitter.
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Friends Wanting A CHRISTMAS KISS–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M Christmas romance from Annabelle Jacobs. Ive really enjoyed some of her books in the past, including MAGIC AND MISTLETOE, CHASING SHADOWS and ALL HALLOWS’ EVE, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. A CHRISTMAS KISS is a sweet friends-to-lovers romance for a pair of best friends who each want more.

Catch my review below, and be sure to enter the gift card and book giveaway, too!

christmas-kissAbout the book:
Keeping secrets from your best friend isn’t right, but it’s easier than admitting you’ve fallen in love with him.
Sharing a late-night kiss with his best friend, Alex, is Riley’s dream come true. Waking up to discover Alex was too drunk to remember anything is more like a nightmare. Scared the truth could destroy their friendship, Riley keeps quiet and pretends nothing happened.

Alex can’t shake the feeling that he said or did something stupid on their group’s drunken weekend away—why else would Riley be avoiding him? Although the explanation he finally gets sounds plausible, Riley’s still acting strange, and trying to figure out why that is unearths emotions Alex has worked hard to bury.

Riley knows not telling Alex how he feels is probably selfish, but he wants one last normal Christmas before he has to come clean and face the potential fallout.

He should have known it wouldn’t be that easy.

My Review:
This is a sweet low-steam friends-to-lovers Christmas romance.

Riley’s had a crush on his best friend Alex for a long time. While on a mini-breaks with some friends, Riley works up the nerve to finally kiss him. Fortunately, Alex is down with it. They make out for a bit. Unfortunately, Alex has no memory of the experience the next day–washed away in a whisky haze.

Riley’s mortified. He’s not sure if Alex really has no memory, or if he’s trying to avoid confronting Riley about what’s an uncomfortable situation. Riley tries to hold it in, but Alex senses something’s off between them. When he reaches out, Riley doesn’t fess up, exactly.

Their larger circle of friends has totally picked up on Riley’s crush, and they keep encouraging Riley to just come clean, especially when Alex asks him to get a flat together. They all conspire to put the pressure on, too. It’s a long slow burn for Riley and Alex, as Riley avoids, avoids, avoids telling his bestie how he really feels–afraid that their friendship will suffer if Alex doesn’t return his feelings. Expect the sexytimes to happen way late in the book, once Riley gets over his angst, and has no choice but to confess.

Expect a solid HEA for Riley and Alex, and a little bit of steam as they get on with the business of being lovers, as well as friends.

Interested? You can find A CHRISTMAS KISS on Goodreads and Amazon.


Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 GC to Amazon or AllRomance and a backlist book from Ms. Jacobs.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

Catch up with Annabelle online on her website, Facebook, twitter or email at ajacobsfiction (at) gmail (dot) com.
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