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.

****GIVEAWAY****

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.

****GIVEAWAY****

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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Cover Reveal and Excerpt for NOTHING SPECIAL V. Plus, FREE Books!!


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a cover reveal for a new contemporary M/M police romance from AE Via. December 24th is release for NOTHING SPECIAL V, the fifth book in her Nothing Special series. Looks like Tech will finally get a man…

Catch the excerpt and get in on the freebie for Book One in the series down below while you enter to win an Advance Copy of Nothing Special V.

ALSO!! Info on the BIG GAY ROMANCE GIVEAWAY at the very bottom! Links to 80 FREE M/M romances…
*scroll, baby scroll*

About the book:

Atlanta’s notorious narcotics task force is at it again. They are stronger, bigger, and better than ever. Especially when a city councilman sends RECON Marine, Edwin Steele -who’s been blacklisted from his Oakland department – to join the team.

God and Day weren’t recruiting. They have a lot on their plates, like the fact they’re supposed to be getting married soon. They don’t have the time or the patience to integrate a decorated war hero with a slight chip on his shoulder into their well-oiled machine.

A hothead that’s uncontrollable and terrible with authority… but wasn’t that their team motto?
Steele was ready to hang up his shield. He was done fighting with bigoted bastards that couldn’t respect the job. He was good at fighting; he just needed the right team to fight with. When his uncle – City Councilman, Rasmus Steele – shows him a video of God’s team in action, he knows right away, it’s where his nephew belongs in order to restore his faith.

Steele pointed to the driver, a behemoth of a man wielding those massive firearms like a true beast…like a soldier. “And him. Who the hell is he?”
“That’s your new boss. Lieutenant Cashel Godfrey… they call him… God.”

Steele was skeptical about his new placement, but when he meets God’s technology specialist/computer genius, “Tech,” he’s willing to give it his all…
This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA. There are no multiple pairings in this novel. 

How about a little taste?

Steele looked at Tech’s profile while he set out all the tiny pieces to make him an earpiece. His hands moved methodically over the delicate pieces, putting each item in its place. It was way outside of Steele’s scope of knowledge. The young man was a genius. As he looked around at all the sophisticated technology, he couldn’t help but marvel at the detective. This was something you’d see built by an engineer that worked for Bill Gates or something, making a six-figure salary, not in an Atlanta precinct, and he found himself wanting to know Tech’s story.

He looked sexy today in his fitted jeans and black, slim-fitted, ribbed turtleneck. The black, plastic framed glasses set off his entire “I’m a hot nerd” look, but the body didn’t quite match. He was fit and toned in a Peter Parker kind of way. Tech probably couldn’t get overly muscular, but it was clear he worked out. His biceps were probably the size of small apples when he flexed, and Steele hoped he’d get an opportunity to see them.

Tech finally moved to get to work, putting a piece of the gray putty on the end of the five-inch forceps. But as Tech’s hand got closer to the side of his face, Steele could see the slight tremor. Fuck. Steele slowly reached up and got a gentle grip of Tech’s narrow wrist, bringing his hand back down. He took his other hand and pushed back the long sleeve of Tech’s shirt, locating the spot on his wrist he could manipulate with a little pressure to help calm some of Tech’s anxiety over having to touch him – especially when they hadn’t approached the elephant in the room. He looked into Tech’s brown eyes behind those clear lenses while he rubbed his thumb in a small circle over the smooth skin. He lost himself in the movement; Tech’s skin was so pale and soft as he caressed him that he almost forgot why he was even touching him in the first place. Maybe because of their first interaction Steele felt an extremely strong pull towards Tech.

“Don’t be afraid of me, detective,” Steele whispered, watching closely as Tech’s long lashes fluttered over his intelligent eyes. “I’m sorry I hurt you. I truly am. I promise… I swear on my fallen brothers that I’ll never ever hurt you like that again. I wouldn’t’ve come back if I didn’t think I could control myself…especially around you. I’m ashamed of what I did.”

Tech’s breath came out in shallow gusts while he let Steele continue to touch him. “I’m sorry, too. I didn’t mean to offend you, either… or hurt you.”

“I know you didn’t.” Steele wanted to lean in closer, somehow get better acquainted in a different way, but he’d try to establish some trust between them first. He slid Tech’s sleeve up until it was bunched around his tight bicep. He stopped caressing the pressure point when he saw the dark purple bruise above Tech’s elbow. Oh no. He felt even shittier than last night. No words he’d thought of seemed good enough to speak, right now.

“I’m okay. Really. I’m stronger than you may think,” Tech said hoarsely, his eyes darting away. He looked upset, but for a different reason.

“I know you’re strong. I felt it. But I know the joint is swollen and aching in there.” Steele let Tech’s wrist go and reached for his backpack. “I brought something to help.”

Tech inched in a little closer and Steele took that as a good sign. Ignoring the delicious coolness of Tech’s cologne, he reached inside and took out the circular metal container. He didn’t take much with him as he moved from place to place but he did keep his array of natural remedies he’d acquired from doctors all over the world, from hypnotherapist to Ayurvedic physicians. The can of presoaked bandages was the best he’d ever encountered for aching muscles and joints. It was made of so many herbs and oils; he’d never be able to recite them all, but he knew of the primary ones.

He took off the tin lid and Tech’s neck jerked back at the potent smell that blasted their senses, even their eyes began to water. Tech put his hand up to his nose. “What the hell? Oh my god.”

Steele chuckled deeply, reaching out to cup Tech’s hand, pulling him back towards him until was standing between his legs. “I know. I know. It’s the Capsaicin. It’s an oil extracted from hot chile peppers. I think, mixed with the peppermint, it’s a bit overpowering, but all the properties together do wonders in reducing inflammation.”

“There’s no way I can walk around the office with these on. God’ll kick my ass out of here so fast.”

“No he won’t. Because after the bandages are on, I’m going to wrap it in plastic. It’ll contain the smell. Trust me.” He looked up at Tech’s eyes, realizing their close proximity. He’d done it on purpose, opening his legs a little wider. He wanted to show Tech he had a measure of gentility under all his strength.

Tech was quiet while Steele carefully wrapped both elbows. “It’s cold. Feels kind of good, despite the smell.” Tech’s smile was gorgeous and warm.

“It’s the Camphor cream. A lot of physicians say use hot temperatures for aches, some say cold. I’ve found cool works best, especially for acute pain.” Steele began wrapping the Saran wrap. “Out in the field, we’ll try just about anything to eliminate pain. Of course, we had our corpsmen; but taking narcotics was a last resort, we needed to stay sharp.”

Steele pulled down one sleeve and then the other. He closed up his canister and tucked it back inside his bag. He wiped his hand on a hand towel in his backpack and zipped it up. “So, what do you think?”

Steele knew the medicine well. Already knew it was working its way into the layers of Tech’s skin, giving him some much-needed relief. At least Steele was able to fix a little of the damage he’d done.

“Much better, actually. Wow, it’s like a miracle serum,” Tech said, bending his arm, testing the mobility.

“Keep them on overnight, if you can. It’ll really feel a lot better by tomorrow.”

“Okay,” Tech agreed, almost wistfully. He stood there rooted in place, just watching him for a moment and Steele saw his eyes drop to his mouth. Steele licked his lips.

Tech blinked, dropping his eyes down, moving back to the side, in front of his kit. “I better get this going. I’m sure your new partners will be ready for you soon.”

Steele tilted his head to the side when Tech reached for his earlobe again. He didn’t make a sound and he fought not to react, but the hot detective touching him on his spot was making it difficult. No words were spoken now, only silence and Steel’s shameless thoughts. He wanted to moan so badly when those agile fingers moved across the fleshly part of his ear, manipulating the soft substance to mold to his canal. Tech’s face was so close to his he could feel his exhale while he peered into the tunnel of his ear. His breath was a mix of coffee and something else sugary… like he’d had pancakes for breakfast. Steele turned inward, wanting to smell, wanting to taste.

“Hold still,” Tech whispered, close to him. “Won’t be long.”

Oh, damn.

That erotic voice. A mild tenor, lighter than bass but far from feminine. Absolutely perfect. Steele would love to hear it right here in Tech’s sanctuary. Standing in the midst of all he’d engineered with his brilliant mind. In the darkness, illuminated with only the flashing red and green signal indicators on Tech’s monitors, not the harsh florescent lighting over his head right now. Ahh. He’d hold that taut body close to him while he caressed the petite round globes of his ass. Would Tech fit to his body the same way he was curving that malleable paste to fit his ear?

Steele could feel his heart beating faster the more his fantasy played out in his mind. He closed his eyes and pictured himself coming back from a dangerous bust and Tech taking him into this room, keeping the lights off and bringing his adrenaline down with his lustful voice and feather light touches.

“Doing real good,” Tech breathed quietly, still so damn close. “This is going to be a little warm now, so I can mold it easier.”

“‘K,” Steele responded throatily, without knowing what he’d just consented to. He felt the slick piece of putty slide back into his ear; it was nice and toasty, like it’d been dipped in warm honey. Still, Tech blew on his ear like it was too hot for him to take. Oh, he could take the heat. “Mmm.”

“You okay?” Tech paused.

Steele’s eyes popped open, the bright lighting jerking him to reality. Fuck, did I just moan? good. Fine.”

“Alright. We’re all done,” Tech said, putting the intricately curved piece of goo in a plastic dish and closing it. “This’ll harden, then I’ll put the casing with the mechanism over it and you’re good to go.” Tech looked back and forth before his eyes landed back on him. “I’m real glad we’re square. This team… we’re a family ya’know, a unit. Everyone is partnered up… in love. We don’t take risks with anyone’s lives. It’d be devastating.”

Tech was preparing to walk away and Steele wasn’t ready for him to. He stood and walked up behind the smaller man while he stood in front of a row of shelves and put his kit away. When Steele spoke, Tech jumped slightly but settled right back down. “And who are you in love with?”

“My job. I don’t have time for all that,” Tech answered. Steele had a feeling that even Tech didn’t believe that answer.

Steele’s chin was over Tech’s shoulder. He didn’t grab his narrow waist but he wanted to. “How warm does this job keep you at night, detective?” Steele didn’t wait for an answer; instead, he turned and took the weapons Tech had placed out for him and left his space. But he made a mental note to revisit that topic real soon.

As he made his way back across the office, he hoped that Ack would approve. It’d been a long time since any other man gave Steele’s body this kind of reaction.

Interested? You can find NOTHING SPECIAL V on Goodreads and pre-order it on Amazon in advance of it’s Dec 24th release.

Get the whole four book series here.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win an Advanced Review Copy of NOTHING SPECIAL V, or a $10 GC.
Good Luck and keep reading my friends!


Ms. Via is also participating in the “Big Gay Fiction Giveaway” hosted by MM Author’s Michael Jensen and Jeff Adams. Follow one of these links {Big Gay Fiction giveawayAuthor Michael JensenInstafreebie} to grab your FREE copy of Nothing Special book 1 – but there are over 80 Authors in the genre participating in this event. So, even if you already have Nothing Special book 1, it would benefit you to follow the links above and grab some great Free MM books to help you pass the time over the Holidays, while you wait, with bated breath, for Nothing Special V!

About the Author:
A.E. Via is an author in the beautiful gay romance genre and also founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books. Her writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children. Adrienne Via has tons of more stories to tell, but she really would like to hear yours. Via Star Wings Books is currently accepting submissions for established and aspiring LGBTQ authors.

Visit her site to learn more! Go to A.E. Via’s official website for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak on upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next. You can also check out her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Becoming a RULE BREAKER–A Review

Hi there! You know I’ve loved me some sexy contemporary romances from the writing team of Kat and Stone Bastion. Those No Weddings books were a fun ride. RULE BREAKER is a new standalone New Adult romance that spins off the No Weddings books, with a secondary character finding a new life and love in Hawaii.

rbreakerAbout the book:
Leilani Kealoha wants to be set free. Of family expectations. Of generations of prejudice.
Chafing at rules made by the proud Hawaiian men in her family, she yearns to discover herself and hungers to explore the world. Her adventuresome heart? Longs for something even greater, deeper.
The last thing she expects is an East Coast haole surfer to hold the key to everything.

Mason Price is done walking his parents’ path. Done with social acceptance—with cold politics.
On a surfing quest to reinvent himself, Mase finds an exotic beauty standing on his towel. But it’s her feisty bargaining that catches him off guard. When he challenges her with a “Truth or Shots” drinking game, she unwittingly reveals more than she’d intended about herself…and him.

The raw truth stuns him: She’s suffered like he has, is lost like he is—keeps secrets like he does. But will young love and shared situations be enough to conquer racial and cultural divides?

Lines in the sand…were meant to be crossed.

***RULE BREAKER is a standalone, full-length new adult romance told in dual POV. Due to mature themes and adult language, this book is for those 18 and older.***

My Review:
This is a standalone spin-off from the authors’ No Weddings series, featuring a secondary character finding love.

Mason Price is on a quest to find himself, and dealing with the grief of losing his brother. He’s got plenty of cash, and he drifts from beach to beach in surfing competitions to fill his time. He’s approached by Leilani, a beautiful Hawaiian girl while hanging in Tahiti, so she can solicit him for a sponsorship of her brother’s board company. Mase only accepts if Leilani will be his personal assistant.

They’re both attracted to the other, but neither wants to upset their budding friendship. Mase wants a home, and he finds one he can build up and enjoy close to Leilani’s family. Leilani’s struck by Mase’s interest in living simply, like her Hawaiian family, and sees more than just the wealthy white boy. Still, even as they grow closer, Leilani knows her family will never accept her dating a haole, or outsider. Mase’s wealthy and politically-connected parents are the same.

Thing is, Mase and Leilani soon learn when you find that person who completes your soul, it really doesn’t matter if their skin color matches yours, or your family hates them because of it. It’s actually not an easy thing, being true to your heart, and both Mase and Leilani are hurt in the process–Mase critically.
Do not cross some lines on the sand, Mase!!

It’s less steamy than previous books in this series, but has lots of different issues, notably shared grief, and fast friendship. I liked Mase better than Leilani, though I often felt he was an odd philosopher. It’s a reasonable romance, slow-burning, but long on emotions.

Interested? You can find RULE BREAKER on Goodreads, Amazon US, UK, CAN and AU) and iBooks.

About the authors:
Kat Bastion won several awards for her bestselling debut novel Forged in Dreams and Magick.

Kat and Stone Bastion’s bestselling first novel No Weddings and the No Weddings series were named Best of 2014 by multiple romance review blogs.

When not defining love and redemption through scribed words, they enjoy spending their time mountain biking and hiking in the beautiful Sonoran Desert of Arizona.

Catch up with them online on their blog, Facebook, Kat’s Twitter, Stone’s Twitter, website.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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Recovering With a RENTED HEART–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M romance from Garrett Leigh. I really enjoyed WHAT REMAINS, so I was anxious to read RENTED HEART.

rented-heartAbout the book:
Ex-surfer-turned-businessman Liam Mallaney moved back to Holkham, Norfolk, to mourn the loss of his husband. Grief and loneliness keep him a solitary figure, and he likes it that way. There’s no room in his broken heart for anything else.

Rentboy Zac Payne left London and most of his demons behind, but he still only knows one way to make a living. When he spots Liam in a club one night, it seems he’s found his mark. But Liam proves nicer—and their connection far deeper—than he’d bargained for.

Their arrangement quickly becomes too complicated for Zac, who has other things on his mind: namely his BFF and wayward flatmate, Jamie. Zac owes Jamie the world, and even as Jamie’s drug addiction destroys all they have, Zac won’t leave him behind.

Besides, Liam knows nothing of Zac’s home life, too caught up in his own head to think much beyond the crazy heat he and Zac share. But when trouble comes to Zac’s door, putting his life in danger, Liam must set his grief and anger aside to pick up the pieces of Zac’s shattered heart and his own.

My Review:
Zac Payne is a rentboy in Norwich, England. He’s twenty-three and six months clean of his heroin addiction, after his best pal, Jamie, saved him from an overdose. Jamie’s still using, and hooking, disappearing from their flat for benders that last days on end. One night Zac spots Liam hanging outside a bar and decides to entice him into a trick. Liam’s a bit older, clearly wealthy, and bloody gorgeous, but the reason Zac marks him is the dead look in his eyes; Zac’s familiar with that “checked out” look.

Liam Mallaney hasn’t been with another man since his beloved husband, Cory, died in a wreck. Over those nearly two years, Liam had to assume full control over their company, leaving his art director position behind. Despite living within a mile of his twin sister’s family and also his father’s home, Liam’s a virtual hermit. His constant comfort are two Labradoodles that nudge him out to the beach for their walks. Meeting beautiful and nubile Zac is a chance event, and he’s willing to pay for some no-strings, one-off sex to calm the void of grief in his chest for an hour, or so.

Their chemistry is electric, and Zac’s so shell-shocked he gives Liam a card with his personal number, hoping Liam might become a regular. Thing is, Liam’s not just interested in sex. He needs companionship, too. And he hires Zac to be a companion–as well as a lover. In their few trysts, Liam begins to thaw his frozen heart, wondering about Zac, and if he could convince him to try working as something other than a rentboy. Zac’s gone over Liam by their second meeting, and wishes he was more, someone suitable for kind and compassionate Liam to cherish. But, he isn’t. And, Jamie sees Zac’s pain over it immediately. Things between Zac and Jamie have been complicated since Zac got clean, but Jamie’s addiction is reaching critical mass; he’s clearly getting too far into the scene to get help, but–beyond that–Jamie’s bringing trouble home.

While Zac and Liam figure out what they want from the other, Jamie’s problems land Zac in a dangerous situation–that’s what happens when your vindictive drug dealer shows up looking for his money. Jamie does the right thing, but it’s not the end of the drama, for Liam or Zac. Still, it brings them together, and gets Jamie the help he needs, both legally and medically.

There’s a bit of angst here, with Zac unsettled by his attraction for a john. He’s not the sentimental sort, and struggles maintaining the proper boundaries–which is heart breaking. Liam’s a good man, but he doesn’t know how, or if, he can love again. And, should he really fall for a hooker? It’s kind of shocking to Liam when he decides that answer isn’t NO. There’s other issues at play–notably Liam’s father experiencing dementia, Zac’s struggle to stay clean, and Liam’s crushing depression–but those are a small part of the building romance. As we’ve got a rentboy-romance, expect lots of sexytimes. For all the steam, there’s tons of tenderness, too.

Interested? You can find RENTED HEART on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzpress.com. Otherwise you can find her on her website, twitter or Facebook.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Out Today! TOW TRUCKS & NEW YEAR’S KISSES! Blitz and Giveaway

tow-trucks-bannerHi there! I’m getting the word out on a new contemporary M/M romance novella from Lila Leigh Hunter. TOW TRUCKS & NEW YEAR’S KISSES is a odd couple romance between a tow truck driver and the rich man he rescues on NYE.

Catch the excerpt b elow and be sure to enter the book giveaway, too!

tow-trucks-new-years-kisses-coverAbout the book:
A Jag with out-of-state plates is the last car Scott DeLaney expected to find when answering a tow call as a favor to his drunken godson. But, the tall man in the fedora seems like a nice reward until Scott finds out the stranger’s destination. Yes, he’d take care of the brooding man, but he has a selfish reason for it.

Finding himself in a ditch after dodging a deer is the least of Patrick Samuels’s problems when his rescuer arrives, wearing a tuxedo and driving a hot pink flatbed. Perhaps his older brother’s scheme will benefit Patrick after all.

Who knew that a New Year’s kiss is far more efficient than any boardroom strategy to seal a deal?

How about a little taste?

The rumble of an engine brought him back to his cold predicament. He adjusted his fedora and covered his mouth with his scarf as he moved closer to his brother’s Jag to signal the newcomer. It had been thirty-nine minutes. At least they had arrived before he froze his balls off. The truck lights illuminated the area, making Patrick cover his eyes. It took him a moment to readjust to the dark night after moving out of its reach. The flatbed was better than he had expected in a small town in the Valley. He did a double take when he realized it was hot pink, not exactly your everyday color. Well, that’s what he could see without being blinded again, anyway. The driver’s door opened, and Patrick moved closer. Before he could acknowledge the driver, Patrick ran out of words. A tall man in a well-tailored tuxedo stepped out of the truck, the lights reflecting on the shiny tips of his dress shoes. Patrick continued to gawk since the man was putting on some type of dirty work coat. He moved even closer, wanting to examine his savior’s features. They seemed to be about the same height, but the trucker had broader shoulders. Patrick was mesmerized by the geeky glasses and the long beard that concealed a hint of a smile. He wanted to run his tongue over the man’s thin upper lip and feel the coarse hairs partially hiding it.

The thwack of the closing door startled him back to reality, and the knowing smirk on the other man’s face made his body warm up for the first time that night. “About time,” he said, trying to cover his discomfort. He followed the trucker’s movements as he checked the time.

“I quoted you forty-five minutes, Mr. Samuels. I arrived with three minutes to spare.”

“Yeah, whatever,” Patrick said over his shoulder as he made his way back to the car. “You know you’re a little overdressed to respond to a tow call, right?”

“You’re correct, Mr. Samuels, but my superhero cape is at the dry cleaners. The tux will have to do for now.”

Patrick turned to berate the smartass but collided with him instead. The trucker held Patrick’s biceps, preventing him from falling, and once again, Patrick stared at the man’s lips. He shook his head to break the connection and winced at the pain instead. The cold and the bruises were getting to his brain

“You need to be careful, Mr. Samuels. You don’t want to hurt yourself any further.” The tow driver released one of Patrick’s biceps and traced Patrick’s bruised cheek with a long, cold finger.

Patrick shivered and immediately pulled away from the wanted but unnerving touch. “If you’re done manhandling me, Mr…”

“You forgot my name already? It’s Scott, baby face,” Scott said before tapping Patrick’s fedora.

The vibration traveled all the way to Patrick’s cock and back up to his nipples. The cold had been forgotten too. Even so, Patrick couldn’t believe his traitorous body’s response to the man’s forwardness. Yeah, if they were anywhere else, he’d be the one propositioning Mr. Scott, but they were in the middle of the boonies, for God’s sake. He couldn’t be that desperate. After looking into those hazel eyes again, he might have to change his opinion.

“No matter how much I’m enjoying this, we need to get moving before we have to ring in the New Year inside the truck.”

Sounds like a great meet-cute!

Interested? You can find TOW TRUCKS & NEW YEAR’S KISSES on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, KoboiTunes, All Romance eBooks, and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of three copies of the book up for grabs.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Lila Leigh Hunter is the pen name of a Puerto Rican author with a hyphenated surname. Born and raised on the island, Lila grew up making up stories her siblings pretended to like. But no matter what they say, as the youngest of six, she’s still their mom’s favorite. According to the dusty diplomas on her wall, she’s an architectural designer living in Southern Texas with her husband and four military brats.

She spends most of her free time writing homoerotic romances about middle-aged men finding happiness and the rest hiding from pesky house chores. When outside of her cave, she likes to observe people and try to guess their stories. Sometimes she wishes the voices in her head were real; going out with the boys in her books sounds like a plan made in heaven.

Catch up with Lila on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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