Catching up FALLING FOR THE PLAYER-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a recent M/M contemporary romance from Jessica Lee. FALLING FOR THE PLAYER is a new adult romance between a former NFL darling reconnecting with the straight-laced young attorney he’d met in college one fateful night.

About the book:
Bad boy and former NFL running back Patrick Guinness is tired of meaningless sex. Ever since his scorching hot one-night stand three years ago, no one has interested him. So when Max Segreti wanders into his mechanic shop—and his life again—Patrick can’t stop thinking about the totally-out-of-his-league law grad and the possibility of getting him out of his system once and for all…

Max Segreti has spent his entire life doing what his father wants. But when he runs into the hotter-than-hell player he’s never been able to forget, he’s not thinking about studying for the bar. A distraction is the last thing he needs, but after an encounter leaves him wanting more, Max embraces the chaos that Patrick brings…even as he knows it can’t last. They’re too different to ever have a future together.

My Review:
Max Segreti is a nerdy college kid working hard on his studies when he meets Patrick Guinness, star college running back, sure to be picked high in the NFL draft, one night at a bar. They hit it off and the hit the sheets for a hot, hot night. In the morning they go their own ways, Max to law school and Patrick to a pro football career. Neither man forgot the other, however…

Three years later they meet by chance again. Only now, Max is studying to take the bar exam and Patrick is back home, running the family garage and caring for his teen brother, Liam, now that both their parents are deceased. His NFL dreams quashed by a devastating knee injury, Patrick isn’t sure he can measure up to whatever standard Max may have.

Max still find Patrick devastatingly sexy, but he’s been closeted by his overbearing father and isn’t sure he can/should have any sort of relationship in the near future. Max is a good guy, though, and helps Patrick secure excellent counsel from his father’s firm for Liam when Liam gets into a bit of a mess.

For me, this book was heavy on the sexytimes and light on the relationship. All the times I thought, okay we’re going to see these guys build a strong bond, they either didn’t, or the narrative shifted into the future. The tense moments–like Max being pushy about money or Patrick being stubborn about accepting charity–seemed too conveniently resolved. Patrick has a big problem dating someone who has a lot of money–like Max–but I wondered where his multimillion dollar NFL signing bonus went? Because he likely didn’t spend all of it in his short stint in the game…so that was perplexing. I also got aggravated by some of the word choices, like referring “the other man” all the time in close quarters. I like hearing the guys’ names in the books I read, and that sort of linguistic choice always kept me on the outside, hampering my connection to the characters.

That said, there is a sweetish resolution with Max and Patrick finding a common ground that satisfies all of their needs. Also, this feelgood end includes a happy teen and a puppy, so the cute quota is satisfied.

Interested? You can find FALLING FOR THE PLAYER on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I read a review copy provided by NetGalley.

About the Author:
Jessica Lee is an EPIC eBook Award winner and international bestselling author of paranormal romance. She lives in the southeastern United States with her husband and son. In her former life, Jessica was a science geek and spent over twenty-five years as a nurse. But after the birth of her son, she left her medical career behind. During that transition, she discovered her passion for writing romance and has never looked back. Jessica Lee is currently published by Entangled Publishing and Resplendence Publishing. In addition, she has several self-published titles available.

You can find Jessica on twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Cephalopod Coffeehouse May 2017–IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE-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.

This month I’m featuring a YA romance from Christina June. IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE is a bittersweet story of one girl’s perspective shifting dramatically when she’s grounded for the summer–for a crime she didn’t commit.

About the book:
Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client).

When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

My Review:
Tatum Elsea is a sixteen y/o girl caught in a bad situation. Her rebellious bestie was dating bad boy–and she’s just been charged as an accessory to grand larceny when the idiot steals four iPhones from a store and jumps into Tatum’s car.

Tatum’s parents are supremely disappointed, not that she’s ever felt like anything less than a disappointment to her perfect stepmother. Tatum’s friend is furious, and missing-in-action after her fed-up father ships her off to a boarding school. Tatum’s charges are dropped in exchange for 100 hours of community service and a $500 fine, which she has to pay herself. And, she’s essentially under house arrest for the entire summer. Sure, her step-sister Tilly is home, but they hardly ever speak. Tilly’s gifted, and a dancer at an elite high school for the arts–that disappointing Tatum didn’t gain acceptance into. Her beloved father is away on a diplomatic mission to Africa, too, so it’s just Tatum, Tilly, the step-monster and Blanche, her step-grandma. Blanche is a free-spirited gal, though, and proves to be one speck of happiness in an ocean of frustration, as far as Tatum’s concerned.

This is a bittersweet story that ends up being really awesome. The beginning is all about separation–Tatum’s support networks all disappear–but she cobbles together new ones, and forges better connections within her world as a result. Tatum’s got a lot of trouble in front of her, and it’s not exactly all her fault. I could really sympathize with her anger over the way her parents treat her. It’s not as if she planned the arrest; she was being a friend to her bestie, and had no idea the boyfriend was a thief. And, I also thought their treatment of her was overly harsh. As an outsider to Tatum’s life, the narrative is structured to throw her stepmother into the harshest light possible, which is misleading. The lack of communication was frustrating, for me as a reader and mother. I can’t imagine being so high-handed and never explaining why. Sorry. That said, I liked how Tatum found constructive ways to survive her punishment, and earn her fine payment. She’s a great girl who’s in need of a hug, probably several everyday. Her life, though it isn’t terrible, hasn’t been easy wither, and she could have used some counseling at some point. Or, hey, a human conversation every now and again. I get that her step-mom had issues, but be an adult, for goodness sake. Even her daughter was terrified of her critique.

In the midst of this summer, Tatum recognizes that she’s making friendships–and perhaps more–with the few people with whom she’s interacted this summer, both in community service, and her new business venture. It’s sweet seeing Tatum vindicated in the end, with her bestie making all the right moves better late than never. And, a little romance, too. Tatum’s summer that started with goodbye ends up ending with bliss. Sweet, innocent and having strong themes of making it through hardship while dealing with overbearing parents, this book will appeal to most YA readers.

Interested? You can find IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo and your local library, no doubt.

About the Author:
Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel, IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, was published by Blink/HarperCollins in May 2017. You can find Christina on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and be sure to check out my fellow reviewers’ fave books of May in the Coffeehouse.

Love is a WAKE UP CALL–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M British romance from JL Merrow. WAKE UP CALL is an interesting look at forging a new life after a disabling disease, getting over past hurts, and being open to love even when it’s not easy. I really enjoyed OUT! and PLAYED! as well as BLOW DOWN and LOVER’S LEAP, so I jumped at the chance to read this first book in a series set in a fictional seaside town in Cornwall.

About the book:
South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.

Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.

When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.

My Review:
Devan Thompson is a 24 y/o mechanic who desperately wants to know who his family was. He was given up for adoption, but the family who took him disintegrated when he was young and he was shuffled from placement to placement and group home to group home until he aged out of the system. He recently learned that his birth mother is alive and part of a prominent family in Porthkennack, a seaside town on Cornwall’s Atlantic coast, so he’s come on an extended holiday to attempt to meet her in person, now that his attempts to reach her via email have been ignored.

While getting up his courage, and staking out the lay of the land in Porthkennack, Dev meets Kyle, when it seems he’s collapsed due to heavy drinking at eleven in the morning. That’s what a local girl says, anyway, as the townies see, Kyle, the strange new resident, as a lewd mystery. Dev didn’t smell any alcohol though, and some of his “caregivers” were chronic alcoholics, so he’s familiar with the signs. Digging deeper, Dev learns that Kyle was diagnosed with narcolepsy and cataplexy, and he is often struck by attacks of either quite suddenly. He retired from his job as a barrister, fearing that he’d have an attack while in court, and not being able to control his situation left him bitter and frustrated. Kyle’s unsure what Devan might want with a surly, broken man like himself, and isn’t excited to even begin a friendship. But, Devan also knows people, not just cars, and he’s got precious little else to do. Reuniting with his mum seems as exercise in failure, and he’s glad to have Kyle’s shoulder to cry on when it gets ugly.

I liked this textured and layered story of two isolated men building a connection that makes them both whole. Devan’s sweet and faithful attitude is a balm to Kyle’s wounded heart. Kyle has worked his whole life for a career that now seems moot–and he laments giving up on so many opportunities to have a richer life for studies that haven’t borne fruit. Kyle has a lot of resentment about his disability, but Dev hardly finds it a challenge; he’s searching out ways to accommodate Kyle’s attacks and Kyle’s touched that this stranger is more compassionate and conscientious than his former lover of several years. Meanwhile, Dev’s always lamented his lack of family. He’s desired the connections all his friends have–someplace to go come Christmas, and people who build a life around knowing you. His dreams are realized in Porthkennack, but not in the way he anticipated. This is a sweet and tender romance, with some steam, but it’s also an interesting story that educated me regarding new disabilities and the insensitivity some have towards afflicted persons.

Interested? You can find WAKE UP CALL on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
JL Merrow is that rare beast, and English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards Finalists.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online on her website, twitter and Facebook.

Excerpt Reveal for SALVAGED!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing an excerpt for a new contemporary romance from Jay Crownover. SALVAGED is the fourth book in her Saints of Denver series and was the book I’d been expected since finishing CHARGED. I’ve enjoyed BUILT and RIVETED, too, so I’m eagerly awaiting SALVAGED’s June 20th release date.

About the book:
Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

How about a little taste?

EXCERPT:

Poppy

I rounded the corner at the end of my block and came to a halt. The puppy took that as a sign that we were done playing outside and started jumping all over my lower legs and pawing at my shins. He whined at me until I picked him up, and as soon as he could reach my face, his little tongue started darting all over my chin and cheeks. I wondered if he could feel the tension that made my limbs stiff and the anxiety that tightened all my muscles. I felt my breath catch in the back of my throat and there was no stopping my eyes from rapidly blinking to make sure what I was seeing was real and not a figment of my imagination.

He looked like one of those black-and-white art prints that hung in every diner and restaurant I’d ever eaten in. The one that was a throwback to another era when cool was something you had to cultivate and couldn’t buy on Amazon. He was leaning against a black-and-silver car that looked like it should be on the cover of a hot-rod magazine and not parked on a busy and crowded Capitol Hill street. He had on dark jeans and a dark canvas jacket that had the logo of his garage embroidered on the front. His ankles were crossed on the curb in front of him and one booted foot bounced up and down, giving the impression that he’d been waiting for me for a while. His arms were crossed over his chest and his eyes were locked on mine as I stood still, unsure what to do. He had an effortless kind of charisma that radiated off of him. It was equal parts intimidating and irresistible. I was unsure if my feet wanted to rush me toward him or run me as far from him as possible.

The puppy made the decision for me. Seeing another human, and thus another opportunity for pats and rubs, he threw his wiggling little body out of my arms before I could react. He hit the ground with a little yelp and then bolted right for Wheeler. I let out a gasp and took off after him thinking I could catch the end of the leash that was trailing behind him. I didn’t want him to run into the road or veer off into a yard where he didn’t belong. I was light-years away from being able to handle a confrontation with a hostile stranger that didn’t want the puppy in their space.

I didn’t need to worry because Wheeler pushed his long, lean frame off the polished side of the car and reached the scrambling animal within just a few strides. He crouched down as the puppy hurled himself into his arms and scooped the excited bundle up in one fluid motion. Then he was rising back up to his full height, which meant he was towering over me when I made my way over to where he was standing. I was embarrassed at how out of breath I was. I was supposed to be stronger than I was before, but I could hardly handle a little jog up the block or the way my heart raced at the sight of him.

I shook my head and put my hands on my hips as I looked up and into those arctic eyes. He was scratching the puppy under the chin and looking at me from under lashes that had the barest hint of red to them. “Why don’t you have a coat on?”

It wasn’t what I was expecting but his question reminded me that I was cold and that the lightweight hoodie that had the Saints of Denver logo on it wasn’t doing much to keep the bitter chill in the air off my skin. The shirt came from the tattoo shop where both Rowdy and Salem worked and was probably the most exciting garment I had in my closet. It was the only thing I owned that was bright and colorful. I rubbed my arms up and down and fired my own question right back at him. “What are you doing here?”

The puppy barked like he was telling me not to be rude but I was unsettled by Wheeler’s unexpected appearance, and not the typical unsettled that I struggled with because he was a man that I didn’t know. It was the kind of unsettled that made parts of my body I forget could react to an attractive man feel warm and tingly. The kind of unsettled that had me involuntarily leaning closer to him as he started to shift so that he could pull his heavy jacket off one arm without letting go of the dog.

“I wanted to talk to you about the dog. Did you find someone to take him yet?” He shifted the puppy to his now bare arm as I watched the endless amounts of ink that covered his skin move and flex as he shook his other arm free of the coat.

“Uh…not really.” The truth was I hadn’t really put that much effort into finding someone because I didn’t want to let the puppy go. In just a few days I’d grown surprisingly attached even though I knew I wasn’t allowed to keep him in my apartment. I’d already asked since Dixie was allowed to keep Dolly, but the landlord informed they were grandfathered in before the laws surrounding pit bulls in Denver changed. My little guy wasn’t that lucky.

My response made Wheeler chuckle. He stared at me silently as he held out the coat he’d taken off in his free hand.

“Put this on.” I stared at him like he’d suddenly started speaking Russian until he shook the coat again and frowned at me. His voice was serious and left no room for argument when he repeated the command. “Put this on, Poppy.”

Interested? You can pre-order SALVAGED on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo and Google Plus.


Jay Crownover continues her Saints of Denver series with SALVAGED. Preorder and fill out the form here with your name, email address, and the order number from your pre-order receipt to receive an advance excerpt of DIGNITY and a Saints of Denver Doodle download to print at home.
Entries must be received by midnight PST on June 19th to be eligible.

The print-at-home Doodle and Dignity excerpt will be emailed the week of June 20th

About the Author:
Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men and The Point series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

Catch up with Jay on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

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Out Today and Giveaway for ROAD TO THE SUN!


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release day review and giveaway a contemporary M/M romance with suspense, too, from Keira Andrews. Ms. Andrews is an auto-buy author for me, and I can tell you I own more than ten of her books! Like BEYOND THE SEA, THE NEXT COMPETITOR and READING THE SIGNS, new release ROAD TO THE SUN features a young man who’s never had a gay experience–finding love with another man. The circumstances aren’t ideal, but they find a happy ending together.

About the book:
A desperate father. A lonely ranger. Unexpected love that can’t be denied.
Jason Kellerman’s life revolves around his eight-year-old daughter. Teenage curiosity with his best friend led to Maggie’s birth, her mother tragically dying soon after. Insistent on raising his daughter himself, he was disowned by his wealthy family and has worked tirelessly to support Maggie—even bringing her west on a dream vacation. Only twenty-five, Jason hasn’t had time to even think about romance. So the last thing he expects is to question his sexuality after meeting an undeniably attractive park ranger.

Ben Hettler’s stuck. He loves working in the wild under Montana’s big sky, but at forty-one, his love life is non-existent, his ex-boyfriend just married and adopted, and Ben’s own dream of fatherhood feels impossibly out of reach. He’s attracted to Jason, but what’s the point? Besides the age difference and skittish Jason’s lack of experience, they live thousands of miles apart. Ben wants more than a meaningless fling.

Then a hunted criminal takes Maggie hostage, throwing Jason and Ben together in a desperate and dangerous search through endless miles of mountain forest. If they rescue Maggie against all odds, can they build a new family together and find a place to call home?

Road to the Sun is a May-December gay romance from Keira Andrews featuring adventure, angst, coming out, sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending.

My Review:
Ben Hettler’s a ranger in Glacier National Park in northwest Montana. (Beautiful place! I highly recommend you visit before the glacier melts. Not kidding!) He’s caught between his love for this land which is his home, where he grew up and everything, and the distaste he has staying his job when his boss is his former lover of twenty years. And That Guy and his new husband have adopted an infant. All of Ben’s dream s of fatherhood seem to be slipping through his grasp, meanwhile he’s gritting out smiles and polite chit chat.

Jason Kellerman has been a single dad for eight years–raising his daughter Maggie from infancy and without any assistance since her mother was killed. He loved Maggie’s mom–as a friend, and was unwilling to let her go into foster care, so he turned his back on his parents’ wishes and made his won way. He’s scrimped and saved enough to afford a trip camping in Glacier Park. Maggie is a nature-lover and has spent a year reading up on the park, its flora and fauna, and building her excitement.

Jason and Maggie each are smitten with Ben, for different reasons. Maggie’s thrilled he’s willing to answer her many and myriad questions; Jason’s not sure if Ben’s flirting with him–and even more surprising, Jason thinks he likes it.

Conflict comes in the form of murderous survivalist who captured Maggie while on a hike, leaving Jason and Ben to track him down. It’s a brutal chase over unfavorable terrain, but neither man is willing to turn back. Ben’s shocked by the strong kinship he feels with Jason, and Jason’s a total wreck that Ben barely manages to keep together. I really felt for both of these guys, fearing the worst, and unable to go farther. All parents freak out when a child disappears, but having Maggie used as a hostage is just too much for Jason to bear. And, speaking of bears expect some grizzly action.

All this happens in the first half of the book; the second half is about Jason and Ben making sense of their new world, and the relationship that blossomed under the stress of pursuit. Jason’s a near-virgin, despite his 25 years. Ben’s afraid to hope for love after losing his one and only partner to another man. Plus, Jason has never identified as gay–though the signs were there, he notices in retrospect. This isn’t a gay-for-you story, its a romantic suspense between two determined men who risk their lives to save Maggie. I read the whole deal in one late night sitting because I can’t bear not knowing what’s coming next.

Expect some interesting, suspenseful times, some hot loving, and a little girl whose love for her dad could fill a warehouse. And, vise versa. Ben will, and has, sacrificed his whole life for Maggie, and it isn’t until Ben notices Jason that he recognizes how shut-off he’d been. Both of these guys make the other one better, and that’s a good pairing to experience.

Interested? You can find ROAD TO THE SUN on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a backlist book from Keira Andrews.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Keira AndrewsAbout the Author:
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

You can catch up with Keira on her website, Facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Perils of Fame–DATING RYAN ALBACK-A Review

Hi there! today I’m sharing a review for a recently published contemporary M/M romance from JE Birk. DATING RYAN ALBACK is a sweet and sour romance between an out TV star and a nobody schoolteacher–engineered by a talk show host.

About the book:
Ryan Alback has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a successful acting career, a dog who adores him, great family and friends, and a life outside the closet. The only thing missing is a boyfriend — but Ryan’s been burned by Hollywood relationships before, and he’s not eager to try one again.

Jason Santos has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a fulfilling career teaching middle school, a house in a city he loves, and parents who support him in every way. Too bad he can’t seem to forget the ex-boyfriend who rejected his marriage proposal.

When a talk show host launches a dating contest to find Ryan a boyfriend and Jason accidentally wins, neither of them expect anything to come from it. Yet somewhere between a disastrous massage and a mud sinkhole, they both start to wonder if this date could be more than just a public relations stunt. But before they can move into the future, they’ll both have to learn to let go of the past.

My Review:
Ryan Alback is a successful TV actor who made it through child stardom with his head on, well, pretty good. He was closeted as a teen, and only came out under pressure from a boyfriend looking to advance his standing. Ryan has never gotten over this betrayal, and though he is out, he’s mostly celibate, fearing another opportunist.

Enter a talk show host, who gets Ryan to admit that he’s lonely on her show. Grand plan: find Ryan a man!

Jason Santos is a seventh-grade teacher in Denver and he’s determined to find a way to pay for his community program that serves kids who are undocumented, or have undocumented parents. He hasn’t dated in a year–not since his ex turned down his marriage proposal and he limped away from their relationship. Now, his BFF has entered him into the contest for a date with Ryan Alback, and Jason is, meh. He’d never get picked. Until he does!

Their date is a weekend away in a Vermont B & B, and it seems to go great. Ryan fears Jason will be a fan-boy, but Jason’s totally cool and they seem to hit it off. Until the stories begin to leak, and Ryan accuses Jason of selling him out.

Thing is, that didn’t happen, and Ryan is mortified that he hurt a man with whom he had begun to build a tentative rapport. Ryan seeks out advice, and begins to establish publicity on his own terms–before reaching out to Jason again. Jason isn’t excited about the jerk showing up, but Ryan makes a super pretty apology. Plus, Jason’s only human; he adored Ryan when he was a child star.

There’s some other drama down the road, including bad exes and strung-out seventh graders, but the story is all about Ryan finding peace in his career while Jason find balance in his life. It seems these guys will make it, and I do love when that happens.

Interested? You can find DATING RYAN ALBACK on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
J.E. Birk has been telling stories since she could talk and writing them since she was introduced to the alphabet. She hails from Colorado, where you can usually find her skiing, training for a 5K she won’t end up running, or watching people run into each other on football fields and in hockey rinks.

Connect with J.E. on her Facebook (J Elisabeth Birk) or twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Taking a Stand for HOME FIRES–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for the final book in Kate Sherwood’s Common Law M/M police romance series. HOME FIRES is the capstone of a thrilling and beautifully written group of books that relate the conflicts inherent when a “prodigal son” returns to his hometown, and finds that things are really, really different. It’s a fab conclusion to LONG SHADOWS, EMBERS, and DARKNESS. This small-town epic is tense and filled with intrigue between local law enforcement, federal agents, friends, neighbors and criminals.

About the book:
Trouble comes to Mosely, Montana, from the outside world. When the residents of Mosely are left on their own, they can make things work. Sure, there’s always been a militia operating up in the hills, but they were small-scale—just survivalists doing their thing—until organizers came in from out of state. Now Jericho Crewe and the rest of the sheriff’s department are facing down a heavily armed band of fanatics, and the feds are busy elsewhere.

The odds are hopeless, but Jericho swore an oath to serve and protect the citizens of Mosely. He won’t walk away from that, even if Wade Granger’s begging him to run away somewhere and finally be together the way they always should have been.

But this time, it’s Jericho who refuses to leave Mosely, even if staying kills him.

My Review:
Under-Sheriff Jericho Crewe wants to quit his post and make a life with his high school love and local criminal kingpin, Wade Granger. He’s just about to do this until he learns the powder keg that is Mosely is about to blow sky-high.

Mosely, this small Montana town, situated a few miles of mountainous forest from the unprotected Canadian border, is a hot bed of criminal activity due to long-time smuggling operations. Wade is usually in the center of whatever is going down, but this time Wade wants out of Mosely just as bad as Jericho. Thing is, their local homesteading militia has recently been co-opted by folks from out of state, gunning–literally–for a showdown with the Federal agents policing the border.

They stage an ambush killing some agents, which is horrible, but that seems like it was merely a means to an end for these hardliners. No, they have an even bigger agenda, and it soon becomes starkly clear that Mosely is poised to become ground-zero for a militia-led war on the Federal government. It’s impossible to prevent with as small as a police force as exists in Mosely, or is it?

I really loved the tension throughout this book. Jericho is a great investigator, and his brand of no-bull morals is refreshing, even if it’s not always aligned with police procedure. Wade and Jericho have been a building issue for more than a month, with both of them acknowledging they have a deep connection, but not being able to openly embrace it while they exist on opposite sides of the law. Wade’s exasperation with Jericho’s determination to do what’s right, even when it means certain death, is endearing, and I was so engaged with these guys in the climax. Expect firefights, dastardly militia, small-town folks protecting their own, and a well-deserved change of scenery. The end of the story, most enjoyable, might could be the beginning of a new one. (Yay!) I know I’d follow Wade and Jericho into further entanglements, especially if I get to experience their growing love story up close and personal!

I highly recommend the whole series, and know that I enjoyed this one best because I read the books in order. As they are all out now, it’s easy to pick up the collection and binge-read away.

Interested? You can find HOME FIRES on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble iTunes, and Kobo. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Catch up with Kate on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!