Learning THE RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR MEDIATING MYTHS AND MAGIC is Awesome!–A Review

Hi there! Halloween is approaching, and I’ll be sharing some reviews for books that fall into the weird/paranormal variety in celebration. Today I’m sharing a review for a paranormal-type YA gay romance from F.T. Lukens. THE RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR MEDIATING MYTHS AND MAGIC is about a high school senior who takes a part-time job so he can save money for college. But, his new job comes with all sorts of weird, and he’s soon caught up in disaster after disaster.

Having loved THE STAR HOST and GHOSTS & ASHES, I knew I wanted to read this book.

About the book:
Desperate to pay for college, Bridger Whitt is willing to overlook the peculiarities of his new job—entering via the roof, the weird stacks of old books and even older scrolls, the seemingly incorporeal voices he hears from time to time—but it’s pretty hard to ignore being pulled under Lake Michigan by… mermaids? Worse yet, this happens in front of his new crush, Leo, the dreamy football star who just moved to town.

Fantastic.

When he discovers his eccentric employer Pavel Chudinov is an intermediary between the human world and its myths, Bridger is plunged into a world of pixies, werewolves, and Sasquatch. The realm of myths and magic is growing increasingly unstable, and it is up to Bridger to ascertain the cause of the chaos, eliminate the problem, and help his boss keep the real world from finding the world of myths.

My Review:
Bridger is a high school senior who knows his life is going to take a turn…hopefully for the better. He’s recently come to understand that he’s likely bisexual–prompted to his attraction to his gorgeous new neighbor, Leo, who has a habit of moving the lawn in only his shorts… Bridger is scared of what this means for him, as he lives in what he considers to be a small, conservative, hometown: Midden, Michigan. In order to explore this facet of his being, Bridger believes he must go away to college so he can experiment far away where his mother, a nurse who’s working as many double shifts as possible to support them, won’t hear about it and be upset with him.

So, he tries to get an assistant job for a local nutty professor, or so he thinks. The first test is entering the house where the professor works–and it’s high stakes. Bridger bests the suit-clad fellow applicants by sheer grit and ingenuity, and that’s the beginning of his new weird life. Pavel Chudinov, his new boss, has a house filled with intrigues, from the stunning Elena who nearly bewitches Bridger, to the caustic gunk that pretty much dissolved Bridger’s new tennis shoes, Bridger knows lots of strange is happening all around him. He brushes it aside, though, because his mission of away-college-funding is all the more important as Leo begins to shine his popular glow all over Bridger and Astrid, his best friend. This leads to a beach party invite that ends with mermaids trying to kill Bridger.

And, later, a unicorn attack. Oh, and learning that Elena is a werewolf. Bridger takes all this info in with aplomb, and minor freak outs. The pay is good, and Pavel is kind, as are his house pixies who assist with the work of mediating between the human and myth worlds. People, Bridger comes to realize, will find any implausible reason they can to explain the unexplainable. But Bridger’s hours on the job mean secrecy between him and Astrid, and the time he spends with Leo also strains their relationship. Especially as Bridger isn’t sure if Leo is being friendly out of sheer friendliness, or mutual attraction. What if Bridger’s misunderstood, and makes a mistake that could get him bashed?

As the story unfolds, Bridger pieces together the unlikeliest of circumstances: the recent convergence of myth in Midden, Michigan is due to the presence of a hero myth…and that might cause some cramps in his high school if that hero goes the way most of them do: death in glory. Bridger, allied with Pavel, his pixies, and eventually Astrid, are set on dissipating the magic, but Bridger wants it done with the least amount of bloodshed–and heart ache. He’s a sweet guy with real issues happening beyond the magic. I loved how he and his mom got along, and also his tight friendship with Astrid. There are so many fabulous characters here, including Pavel and Leo, who teach Bridger that coming out isn’t the end of the world, and that he’s loved right where he is. The magic is fun, and poor Bridger is a bit downhearted that the unicorn hates him. I was enchanted by the myth-weaving, and the resolution made my heart race. I so wanted Bridger to solve the problem without losing himself in the process, and I was rewarded with the best possible outcome. Bridger finds both love and acceptance in places he never expected. It’s a sweet and happy ending that felt like a beginning–because the book ends but new adventures may arise that he needs to tackle. That blue door on the third floor was left open to such possibilites, in any event.

Interested? You can find THE RULES AND REGULATIONS for MEDIATING MYTHS AND MAGIC on Goodreads, Interlude Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Target, Smashwords, Kobo, Book Depository, and Indiebound.

About the Author:
F.T. wrote her first short story when she was in third grade and her love of writing continued from there. After placing in the top five out of ten thousand entries in a writing contest, she knew it was time to dive in and try her hand at writing a novel.

A wife and mother of three, F.T. holds degrees in psychology and English literature, and is a long-time member of her college’s science-fiction club. F.T. has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and science-fiction novels—especially anything by Douglas Adams.

Connect with F.T. on her website, Twitter, Tumblr and on Goodreads.

Fresh Starts in WORKING IT–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary romance form Christine d’Abo. WORKING IT is the first book in her Ringside Romance series published this year, and I liked the odd-couple sweetness of it.

About the book:
Nolan Carmichael is getting a fresh start—new career, new company, new life. The only problem is, he liked his old life just fine . . . until an accident robbed him of his health, his job, his self-confidence, and his ability to go out in public without having anxiety attacks.

Zack Anderson has scared away his last four administrative assistants. So when he hires Nolan on a whim, he’s not too worried, since Nolan will be gone within the week anyway. Two weeks later, Nolan has made himself indispensable, completely reforming Zack’s schedule, life . . . and libido.

But in a company already torn by internal politics, one wrong step could ruin both their careers. And not only are they working to reopen Ringside Gym, Zack’s retreat when he was a troubled teen, but they also can’t help themselves falling for each other. If only the rest of their lives could go as smoothly as things do when they’re alone together.

My Review:
Nolan Carmichael suffered a devastating injury in a terrible car wreck two years ago. A couple of his co-workers didn’t and he lives with the pain of the injuries as well as their loss. It’s time, however, for him to work through his equally-crippling anxiety, and find a new job because his savings is dwindling and his younger sister’s job prospects might cause her to move soon. He goes to an interview as an admin assistant, where he meets a sexy man in the toilets just before he’s brought in for the interview. And, it turns out the sexy man he’d met is the office tornado, Chief Technical Officer and all-around admin terror, Zach Anderson.

Zach’s never had a male assistant before, and he’s chased off more than a few assistants already. His workload is becoming more than he can bear, however, especially if he wants to devote any thine to rehabbing Ringside Gym, the haven where he met his best pals in his youth. The owner had died and the place is a musty albatross that’s only going to become a bigger money pit the longer it sits vacant. But Nolan, despite his quirks, is a hard worker and unwilling to let Zach’s irrational mood shifts tear him down. Plus, they develop a rapport that only heightens their mutual attraction. Nolan’s also unwilling to let Zach’s dream die–and he works overtime to help him find a pathway to his true passion: building an LGBTQ-friendly gym and after-school shelter for kids in the city.

There’s a mess of office politics going on, as their company prepares for layoffs in order to mean a partnership agreement, and Zach is thoroughly upset that one of the jobs on the chopping block could very-well be Nolan’s. The thing is, Nolan is a different man to the one who barely made it to his interview. He still suffers the depression and anxiety, but he’s tested his resilience, and developed a stronger set of coping strategies. Zach’s friends recognize Nolan for the gem he is, and counsel Zach not to screw it up. But will having to fire the man he’s coming to care deeply for spell the end of the romance?

Spoiler: Nope. It’s a sweet and surprisingly tender read, though I was expecting far more boxing in this tale. Instead, there’s the clean-out of a musty gym, and the building of new dreams together. Also, some rather nice sexytimes, including an office scene that steamed up my screen. I look forward to reading on in this series and watching Zach’s pal Max find love.

Interested? You can find WORKING IT on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo.

About the Author:
A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over forty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

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

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Cover Reveal for SWEET LIFE

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a cover reveal for an upcoming contemporary romance from Nina Lane. SWEET LIFE is the fifth book in her Sugar Rush series, and sure to melt hearts just in time for Christmas.

About the book:
He knows if she’s been bad or good.
Amidst the sugarplums and mistletoe, fashion stylist Julia Bennett is every inch a scrooge. Known for her ice-queen ways, she’s having a meltdown over a botched business deal and an upcoming milestone birthday. Add the pressure of forced holiday cheer, and she’s ready to dive into the spiked eggnog and not come out until summer.

Warren Stone, president and owner of the Sugar Rush Candy Company, is determined to make Julia slow down and enjoy the holidays. As her friend and confidante for fourteen years, he knows her better than anyone. But when decking the halls leads them to an explosive, sexy night, everything suddenly changes.

Just when Julia thinks Warren is all she wants for Christmas, an old flame comes to town and reminds her of the carefree girl she used to be. As the new year approaches, Julia is forced to decide if she wants to relive the past or embrace the future.

Interested? You can preorder SWEET LIFE in advance of its release Dec 12th on Amazon and iBooks.

Mmmm…these covers make me hungry…. 😉

About the Author:
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances about professors, bad boys, candy makers, and protective alpha males who find themselves consumed with love for one woman alone. Originally from California, Nina holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she’s that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer.

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

Smoothing the Kinks in THREE PLAYER GAME-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly-released contemporary M/M menage romance from Jaime Samms. THREE PLAYER GAME features some of the characters featured in HOW THE COOKIE CRUMBLES, also by Samms. Both books are set in the Bluewater Bay universe, like ALL WHEEL DRIVE and GET A GRIP. 3PG features a couple who practice a bit of light BDSM looking for a third, and convincing him they need him as much as he needs them.

About the book:
Vince’s life has improved immeasurably since he moved to Bluewater Bay two years ago. He’s gone from working for a man he hated, to helping found a company he believes in. And he and boyfriend, Pete, have built a delicate balance of power between them that keeps them both grounded and thriving.

Almost, anyway.

Pete’s job on the set of Wolf’s Landing is demanding. He needs lots of downtime off set, and that’s where Vince’s firm but gentle control isn’t always enough. And for Vince, Pete’s constant high-energy needs are turning out to be more than he can handle alone.

It’s no surprise to either of them, then, that sparks fly when Vince’s coworker Lee enters the picture. Outwardly, Lee is tough and confident, but when a bad back confines him to Pete and Vince’s spare room, the cracks start to show and his desire for connection begins to peek through.

Pete and Vince both like what they see under Lee’s prickly outside, but now the three men must learn that love isn’t about beating the game—it’s about balance, trust, and letting each other in.

My Review:
Vince and Lee are co-workers for a newly-formed company that’s planning to make a videogame about Wolf’s Landing. The two of them came to work for Blaire Caruthers. Blaire’s father was an overbearing prick, and they are all glad to be rid of him. Plus, Vince is dating a director’s assistant on the set of Wolf’s Landing, Pete, who is willing to direct some scenes they can use in the rendering of the video game. It seems they have an inside track on this plan, and life is finally going well for Vince–and mostly Lee. Well, Lee suffers from a chronic back injury. He’s laid up in a Vancouver hotel with a flare-up, and being cared for by Vince when the book opens.

Vince has long thought Lee was attractive, but he’s with Pete, and that’s totally cool. In fact, it’s a great partnership. Pete has a stress-filled job on the TV show set, and he struggles to relax in his off hours. Vince’s firm hand and creative loving calm Pete’s manic beast. That said, it’s a lot of stress on Vince, and he’s getting a bit worn from caring for Pete’s emotional and sexual needs. They are fully aware of this, and have been considering asking another man to join them; both Pete and Vince are attracted to Lee, but nervous about approaching him. Lee’s need for care as he recovers from his back troubles seems a perfect fit for their cozy cottage–and lifestyle. One huge snag, Lee’s back was originally injured by a careless Dom, and he wants no more kink in his life.

However, the longer Lee spends with Pete and Vince, the more he comes to realize how very lonely he is in Bluewater Bay. And how bonding with VInce and Pete, only to have them someday move on and leave him behind, could be too crushing to manage.

I liked this one. I’m a fan of poly relationships in fiction, and this one had an interesting spin, for me. The purported triad wasn’t necessarily all about attraction. Vince and Pete had deep needs in their relationship that weren’t being completely met. They are really invested in one another, and want to satisfy the other, too, but there are strains. Pete is a health-mind-body type of guy, and needs a place for balance. When his schedule is thrown off, it can take Vince hours and hours to calm him, and get him to re-center. He knows this is a challenge most men wouldn’t take on, and he loves Vince for all his care, which is by turns tender and kinky. Expect some bondage and light BDSM.

Lee is afraid to engage in kink, to be that vulnerable again, but Pete and Vince are excellent at caring for him. It’s unsettling how cherished they make him feel. Yet, he struggles with Vince, who was the previous office lackey, being dominant at home. Lee’s conflicts in the work place become petty, and illustrate how immature Lee has acted in relationships during adulthood. It’s only once he walks out that he recognizes all he’s given up–and wants back. The sexytimes aren’t burn the sheets up steamy, but they are engaging nonetheless. The power plays and dynamics of navigating a kink-laced, three-way love fest are always tricky. That said, these scenes add a lot of tender moments to a story line already brimming with compassion and self-sacrifice.

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

About the Author: in Jaime Samms’ words…
With most of the hours in the day taken up by a part time job and the full time occupation of raising and schooling two kids, writing is somewhat of an indulgence, but it’s the indulgences that keep us sane, right? When not otherwise occupied, like most writers, reading is my relaxation method of choice, and you can find my reviews at Kuriousity.com and Dark Diva Reviews to let you know what I liked (and occasionally, what I didn’t). And just in case there are an extra few minutes in the day, I also help out the admin team abelong to a writer’s critique group: Dreaming in Ink. After all, idle hands and all that.

Catch up with Jaime online here: website | blog | Facebook | twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Out Today! DIGNITY Review and Giveaway!


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a brand-new contemporary romance from Jay Crownover. DIGNITY is the second book in her The Breaking Point series, and the sequel to HONOR. Like most Crownover series, this one features interlocking characters and each book is a new romance arc. This one features a reclusive computer genius and the homeless  woman who picks a fight with the biggest dog in the yard. Expect gritty moments and love that transcends living on the edge of the law.

Scroll down to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon GC and a set of five signed books!
About the book:
Looks can be deceiving.

I knew that most people took one look at the ink and the impossibly big and strong body it covered and decided I was a brawler…a bruiser…a beast. However, I was hardwired to be a thinker, not a fighter.

I should have chosen to use my brain and talents to be one of the good guys, a hero, a man with dignity and worth.

I turned my back on dignity and sold my soul to the highest bidder, deciding to dance with the devil, instead.

I couldn’t figure out how to help myself, so there was zero chance I knew how to save someone else.

That someone else was Noe Lee. She was the unkempt, unruly thief who was just as smart as I was and twice as street savvy. She was annoyingly adorable beneath the dirt and grime, and she was in trouble. In way over her head, I told myself it wasn’t my job to keep her from drowning. In the Point, it was sink or swim, and I wasn’t the designated lifeguard on duty.

I shut the door in her face, but now she’s gone…vanished…disappeared without a trace. It took less than a second for me to realize that I wanted her back.

When a woman comes along that melts all the frozen, hard things you’re made of; you’ll do anything you have to, to bring her home.

What you see is not always what you get…and with a man like me, what you get is more than anyone ever bargained for.

How about a little taste?

Protective and possessive instincts coiled around my gut and rage felt like it was going to choke me. I was so used to being cold and numb, I didn’t know what to do with the fire that was licking at my insides.

“I saw him take her out of the trunk when they got to the docks. He moved like a cop. Not the kind who is there to actually protect and serve, but the kind who pulls you over for no reason and slaps cuffs on you to prove a point. I was locked up for a lot of years, boy genius. I know what a dirty cop looks like. He had a busted-up nose and stitches on the side of his face. Should be pretty easy for Titus to identify him.”

Titus King was Bax’s half-brother and the only law enforcement officer in the entire city any of us slightly trusted. He was one of the few men the Point hadn’t tainted. He was a good guy, trying to do right by the people in our city, and he wouldn’t hesitate to throw Goddard’s dirty cop under the bus. But I didn’t want anyone going after the Mayor. His sadistic ass was all mine.

“Do you think they made it out of the container after you hit it with the truck?” That had been my idea. Nassir was only sending in Booker and Benny to get Noe out, but I didn’t think it was enough fire power. Since he refused to let me go, even siccing Chuck on me as a babysitter until the job was done, I made Benny go over the plan with me no less than a hundred times until I came up with a better one. Knocking the container sideways with one of the big semi-trucks that littered the area would give Benny the time he needed to get Noe out and distract the outside security detail enough that Booker could do his thing. It was a risk because the people inside the container—including Noe and Benny—might have ended up injured when the thing flipped, but the odds of them making it out were much higher than if Benny tried to take on everyone on his own.

“If Benny made it out, we won’t hear from him again. That was the deal he made with Nassir. He would get your girl and then disappear, so he can go and live happily ever after with his. As for the rest of them,” he shrugged, “I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Your girl said someone had a gun, so if they were shooting at Benny, he would do whatever he could to make sure they stopped. He’s not about to catch a bullet for any of us. I know you want that asshole alive for your own reasons, but honestly, it’s better if Benny popped him.”

It was better, but it wasn’t what I wanted. A bullet between the eyes was way too easy for a guy like Goddard. People would bemoan how bad the Point had become, how Goddard had been a staunch supporter of crime prevention measures. He would die a martyr and a legend. I couldn’t stand the thought of that. I wanted who Goddard was, who he really was, out in the open. I wanted his mansion doors flung wide open and every skeleton inside the walls exposed and thrown out on the perfectly manicured lawn for the entire world to see. I hated people who hid behind the law. I hated when men in any position of power got off on using their elevated status to jerk the helpless and hopeless around. Death wasn’t the answer. Devastation was.

I closed my eyes and squeezed the cold, still hand that was clasped in mine. Failure weighed heavy on my shoulders and fury lit up my blood like popping and sizzling firecrackers.

“When do we ever end up with anything that’s better for us?” That wasn’t how the Point worked. That wasn’t how we worked.

Booker grunted and I felt him move behind me. “It happens. It doesn’t seem like better should be able to find a foothold in this place, but despite all odds, it does.”

My Review:
Snowden Stark was a good kid with an amazing talent for writing code. His parents and twin sister were his whole world, but a series of unfortunate events–not likely random–left him isolated with his intellect and a huge grudge against the government. He grew up in the wealthy part of The Point, fast friends with Nassir, the man who rules the crime-ridden enterprises that drag it down. With no one to trust, he stuck with Nassir, and they’ve made life hard for folks who deserved it. Think of him as a digital Robin Hood, of a sort.

Noe Lee is a Korean runaway from a horror of an adopted family. She’d rather live on the streets using her wits than return to their unholy embrace–but she won’t leave The Point either. She makes cash by creating new identities for people who desperately need them, and one of her recent customers was the 16 y/o pregnant stepdaughter of The Point’s crooked Mayor Goddard. Oh sure, he looks squeaky-clean to his constituents and donors, but he’s a bad, bad dude in a city filled with them. Noe’s on the run, and wants Snowden Stark’s help–which he refuses to give. At first. But when it comes to a rescue, this man can bring the fire.

Stark takes Noe in to his world, and she’s as committed to bringing Goddard to justice as Stark seems to be. An abuse survivor herself, Noe recognized the pattern with Goddard and helps flush out many other victims. Meanwhile, Stark and Noe have an attraction that won’t be stopped. They understand life on the fringes, and have the ability to smooth each other’s rough edges. But, Stark’s sense of duty is a little strong, and his single-minded pursuit of Goddard leaves Noe feeling a bit cold. Good thing Stark has a pal who won’t let him let a good woman slip away.

This is a dark story and abuse survivors should be warned that there are graphic descriptions of molestation experiences. It’s a bit Batman, too, with all the gadgets and tech warfare. I liked how they plotted their revenge, and unmasking Goddard was a sweet, and very dangerous, enterprise. It’s always good when the bad guys get taken down, even if it’s merely in fiction. The world is well-described enough that the more unseemly sides of it seem perfectly commonplace. Corrupt, pedophile mayor? Sure. Computer geniuses who live in the shadows doing white hat work? Yep! Big, mean bouncer/enforcers who have a soft side? Why not! The juxtapositions are interesting, and the delayed gratification of the sexytimes was in-character for Stark, at the very least. It’s a twisty ride to love, but it does happen.

Interested? You can find DIGNITY on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon GC and a set of five signed books!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

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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Impetuous Love JAX–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary romance from Cristin Harber. JAX is a standalone story that features some characters from her Titan, Delta and Only series, and sure to have lots of suspense and action. While I didn’t meet any of my fave characters from LOCKE AND KEY, I still enjoyed this unexpectedly tender spin-off story.

About the book:
Seven is an enigma. A motorcycle club princess. The daughter of a notorious gangster. The best friend of the deputy mayor. A coffee shop owner. The single mom of two young, adopted children. She’s colorful, in every way possible—from her attitude to her piercings and bright pink hair—and she’s a woman on a mission with the power to help broker a clean break between a powerful motorcycle club and a South American drug cartel. But not all players are ready for the game to change, including the ones she can’t see like the CIA.

Jax Michaelson has a bad attitude and a good shot. The former Navy SEAL has been on Titan’s problem list for running his mouth since the day he showed up for work, but he does a hell of a job, and they’d never let him go. Call him cocky, that’s fine, because then you’d have to admit he’s the best at anything and everything—except diplomacy.

When Titan is forced into the seedy drug world filled with cartel glitz and Harley-riding MCs, Seven and her family become an unexpected bargaining chip right after she and Jax find a way to stand each other—in bed.
Will friends become lovers? Or are they too far gone to be opposites that attract? Is Jax nothing but a bad boy who leaves her hoping for a military hero when the burden of living as Mayhem royalty backfires and her children disappear.

JAX is a standalone romantic suspense novel by New York Times bestselling author Cristin Harber. It features characters from the Titan, Delta, and Only series, but readers do not have to have read those books to enjoy this one. There’s a guaranteed happily ever after and no cliffhanger! Enjoy!

How about a little taste?

“What kind of name is Jax?”
“Probably the easiest thing my ma could think to shout when she heard she was having a boy. It stood out on a block of Dons and Johns.”
“Your neighborhood was filled with porta-potty kids?”
Her humor made him grin. “Guess so. But that was back in the day. Who cares? This place makes me realize I don’t know much about you.”
She sucked her cheeks in thought. “I don’t think you’re always a jerkface.”
“Good to know, princess. ” He gave her a lingering once-over. ” I don’t think you’re always… I’m coming up blank.” Or at the very least, he was having a hard time thinking of an appropriate comparison.
It was too dim to see her blush, but she ducked her chin as though she were. After a second that strung between them for miles, Seven regained her unaffected composure. “I slapped you. I think you can come up with at least one thing.”
The memory ran to his groin, and Jax rolled his bottom lip into his mouth, letting go with a slow breath. Her slap hadn’t been just a no. It had been a hell no with style. She’d rejected his proposition, but he wasn’t positive she was rejecting him.
“Sweetheart, I liked that.”
Tension crackled in the few feet between them. The hairs on his skin stood as he waited to see what she would do next, what she would say, and how he would volley it back.
“Don’t flirt with me right now,” she whispered. “I need a favor.” She eased back onto the desk as though she owned the place, crossing her legs.
“Isn’t that the best time to flirt?”
Seven rolled her eyes, but she smiled liked the devil sipping sweet tea.
“Careful, beautiful.”
A thick wave of magenta hair fell over her cheek, obscuring half her face. “Careful or what?”
Her pink fucking hair was ridiculous but artistic, not too serious. She was like splashes of colors sprinkled with surprises—tongue stud, eyebrow jewels, and a name like Seven.
Jax had no idea what to do about that. “You want to have that conversation right now?” He set the smoothie on the ground. “Because if you want to try again, I’ll dole out whatever consequences we agree to.”
Seven’s tiny, unexpected gasp made a shiver of anticipation roll through his muscles. Even if Jax hadn’t been trained to pick up on microchanges in human behavior, he would’ve noticed how her breaths quickened despite her best effort to disguise the natural reaction. Jax wanted to feel her pulse, needed to know how far she would let him push her, how much she would trust him.

My Review:
Jax Michaelson is a Titan agent attending the wedding of his colleague, Ryder, when he meets Seven again. Motorcycle princess of the Mayhem MC, Seven didn’t quit the club that destroyed her family life, even when her father–the former prez–when to prison for drug trafficking. In fact, knowing that the club is trying to get out of the drug game altogether spurs Seven to call on Jax for help. See, breaking loose from a Colombian cartel takes mediation a MC just doesn’t have, but Titan does.

Jax has been interesting in Seven, her sild hair, piercings and indomitable attitude, for a while. But this reconnection has taught him she’s more than her facade. She’s a business-owner, who’s caring for her ailing mother, and has adopted two kiddos after their mom OD’ed and their dad went to jail. She’s determined to make a good and solid life, and needing a man isn’t on her to-do list. Still, her assistance to Mayhem’s cause draws her into a tight circle with Jax, and the attraction flares. When in Bogota–and also Vegas–it’s a connection she doesn’t want to fight. Even when it irrevocably changes their situation. Especially the Vegas nights. Shenanigans ensue…

The vibe from the book is tension. Seven has a nervous tic for folding/refolding items in her environs when she’s nervous, so expect lots of folded table linens, sheets, blankets and origami. Also, expect Jax to be more than the surly ex-SEAL with a chip on his shoulder. We get a real deep look at a man who loved and lost young, and never thought he’d make himself vulnerable again. The situation with the MC-cartel is only further inflamed by Seven’s ex-husband, Johnny, and her own father–neither of whom want the drug trade to disappear. It’s about business fr one, and pleasure for the other. This leads to some harrowing times as Seven’s new family gets torn apart and Jax is her rock and rescuer. Jax, working with Titan to settle this situation for Mayhem, gets an unexpected opportunity to correct wrongs from his youth, and that closure means a lot.

For me, the story is a little busy, and it’s sometimes hard to remember who is who. Plus, these folks seem to have 27-hour days and 13-day weeks, because they have time for stuff I can’t even imagine, and I’m a workaholic insomniac. That said, if the time frame were at all realistic, I’d have loved the story. Seven’s a stand-up gal who protects her own, even at her own expense, and Jax is a man of principle who isn’t afraid to get dirty (or be dirty) for the people he treasures.

Interested? You can find JAX on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Google Play.

About the Author:
Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller.

You can catch up with Cristin on her website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Team Titan Facebook, or sign up for her newsletter.

Super Sequel NOT YOUR VILLAIN–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new YA LGBTQ-friendly superhero novel from CB Lee. NOT YOUR VILLAIN is the second book in her Sidekick Squad series and is a fantastic follow-up to NOT YOUR SIDEKICK. Both books are set in the US, a little over a century into the future, when superheros and villains take center-stage in the world…and Bells is a master of his future.

Check out the excerpt and be sure to enter the $25 GC and book giveaway below!

About the book:
Bells Broussard thought he had it made when his superpowers manifested early. Being a shapeshifter is awesome. He can change his hair whenever he wants and, if putting on a binder for the day is too much, he’s got it covered. But that was before he became the country’s most wanted villain.

After discovering a massive cover-up by the Heroes’ League of Heroes, Bells and his friends Jess, Emma, and Abby set off on a secret mission to find the Resistance. Meanwhile, power-hungry former hero Captain Orion is on the loose with a dangerous serum that renders meta-humans powerless, and a new militarized robotic threat emerges.

Sometimes, to do a hero’s job, you need to be a villain.

How about a little taste?

Captain Orion walks into view, dragging a machine on a cart behind her. “I don’t like that smirk he’s giving you. Shame we couldn’t get the audio on that feed to work. Step aside, let me get a look at him.”

Bells has only seen Orion in holovids and during that one, frenzied encounter at Abby’s house. It’s startling how different she looks now from the shiny, polished hero who graced comic book covers. Her hair is tied in a messy ponytail; her bangs fall limp across her forehead. She’s wearing her usual blue-and-white supersuit, but Bells has never seen it this dirty or in such a state of disrepair; there’s a patch ripped in the leggings, and her knee is poking out. Orion’s cape trails behind her; the edge is frayed and riddled with dirt. The cart she dragged in rolls onto it, causing her to stumble. Orion yanks her cape free of the cart, straightens up, and glares at Bells, as if she’s daring him to laugh.

Bells recognizes the machinery sitting on the cart; it’s one they used at the training center to measure the power levels of meta-humans.

He remembers the last time he was tested. All the other students had taken care not to use their powers all day so they could get an “at rest” rating and be sure that the League could see their full potential. He kept his Barry shift on all day, so that by the time he was measured, he’d be so tired out he’d get a low rating.

What does Orion want with me?

The former hero looks down her nose at Bells. “Well. The famous, talented Chameleon. The League was all about you. The next me, perhaps. Or maybe that was just what they were filling your head with. Did they promise you glory? Greatness?”

“Free lunch,” Bells says. “And travel. To the training center for three summers. Got to see a lot of places. I liked Baja, but the last one was pretty cool. The North is awfully pretty. Lots of trees. Huge, like giants. And last year I got to go to the beach all the time, so—win.”

“I don’t think you understand the gravity of your situation, Barry.” Orion grins like a feral cat. “I’ve got your file right here.”

Orion flips through the thick sheaf of papers. Bells takes a deep breath when he spots the word Broussard, followed by a photo of the restaurant and even a picture of him and Simon as kids. The file must have been important for Orion to print them on actual paper. Or maybe Orion can’t connect to the Net anymore.

How long has she been on the lam? What was she proposing to Stone? The League obviously doesn’t know where she is, since they still claimed she was in Corrections.

Even if she doesn’t have the League behind her, she’s still dangerous, especially if she knows who he really is.

My Review:
Bells has grown up in Andover, a smallish town in the Nevada desert, several hundred miles from what remained of Los Angeles, after the Disasters and World War III are just stories in history books. Nearly 100 years ago, when humanity was still fighting to survive, there was a series of large solar flares that caused cataclysmic events, and generated the first generation of meta-humans, humans with super powers, of any type.

Bells is a black transboy with the power to alter his appearance, and that of anyone or anything he touches. He’s dealing with the meta-human stuff pretty well for a kid whose parents run a black market agribusiness. Oh, and who also has a long-time crush on his best friend Emma. In the beginning he keeps his identity as “Chameleon” one of the newly inducted member of the Heroes League of Heroes. Unfortunately, Jess, who has an undetected super power recognizes that Bells has been made a pawn in the game of heroes vs. villains. Jess noticed that the “villains” that Chameleon was impersonating on a series of “training missions” all had characteristics of her good pal, Bells, and Jess reveals the bigger plot that surrounds a group of missing villains, and Captain Orion, leader of the Heroes League.

This story overlaps NOT YOUR SIDEKICK and picks up with Jess, Bells, and their other pals trying to rescue Jess’ girlfriend Abby’s parents from captivity. Abby has a super power, but she’s been given a serum by Captain Orion to negate her mechanopath abilities.

Just as Bells is getting a handle on his powers and his feelings for Emma, life gets in the way. Ema finds her own boyfriend, and Chameleon’s activity in rescuing Abby’s mom leads to him being listed as Public Enemy ! by the Heroes League. That said, he finds some comfort in pals that didn’t have strong enough powers to make it into the League–and his mission to unmask the REAL villains of this world (think grown-ups in the government) brings some results. To a degree. If nothing else, Jess’ superhero parents take their mission seriously, and superheroes and villains are uniting to defeat the actual bad guys and bring justice to those who need it.

I love the multicultural cast, and the world is beautifully rendered. All to locales jump off the page, and Bells’ plight, in life, love and activity, is a sympathetic one. I love his sweetness, and his commitment to do the right thing even when it’s really, really difficult. It seems as if Bells’ perserverance wins him both the respect and validation he sought when he hungered to be a hero, and I was happy for that. I wonder who will lead us to eventual victory in book three. It feels like Jess’ sister Claudia is a strong candidate. This is an excellent book series for teens who are identified, or questioning, in the LGBT spectrum, as the relationships are all affirming and fluid. Bells is trans, Jess is bi, but seriously dating a girl, Emma has two moms, and there are many other examples of queer life, too. This world posits that nothing is unusual about those connections, and that felt pretty super, too.

Interested? You can find NOT YOUR VILLAIN on Goodreads, Interlude Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, Book Depository, and Indiebound.

****GIVEAWAY****

Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 GC to Interlude Press, or one of FIVE e-books of NOT YOUR VILLAIN.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
C.B. Lee is a bisexual writer, rock climber, and pinniped enthusiast from Southern California. A first-generation Asian American, she is passionate about working in communities of color and empowering youth to be inspired to write characters and stories of their own. Lee’s debut novel Seven Tears at High Tide was published by Duet Books in 2015 and named a finalist in the Bisexual Books Awards. This summer, C.B. was named to Lambda Literary’s Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices.

You can find C B online on her website, Goodreads, Facebook, twitter and Instagram.