Finding Him PRETTY IN PINK–A Review


Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance just released by Jay Northcote. PRETTY IN PINK is a sweet coming out story about a questioning man who falls for his neighbor–a gender bending out-gay man. This is a book in the Housemates series, but can be enjoyed on it’s own. Other books in the series I loved include WATCHING ANS WANTING, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT and STARTING FROM SCRATCH, which introduce our main characters for PRETTY IN PINK.

About the book:
Ryan isn’t looking for a relationship with a guy–and Johnny isn’t looking for a relationship at all.
Ryan’s always been attracted to tall, leggy blondes–normally of the female variety. When Johnny catches his eye at a party, Ryan’s interest is piqued even though he’s never been with a guy before. The attraction is mutual, and the amazing night that follows opens Ryan’s eyes to his bisexuality.

Experience has taught Johnny that love hurts. Staying single is safer, and there’s no need for complicated relationships when hooking up is easy. When he moves in next door to Ryan, they’re both interested in picking up where they left off, and it seems like an ideal arrangement: convenient, mutually satisfying, and with no strings attached.

Despite their best intentions to keep things casual, they develop an emotional connection alongside the physical one. Both begin to want more from the relationship but are afraid to admit it. If they’re going to work things out, they need to start being honest–first with themselves, and then with each other.

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

My Review:
Johnny is a tall, lithe man who often plays up his androgynous looks. He wears his blonde hair long, likes to glam up with guyliner, and enjoys lacy lingerie from time to time. Johnny’s not one to play a female, but he does like messing with straight men–and seeing how they enjoy his very masculine touch. So, he’s down when his new neighbor, Ryan, thinks getting it on with a bloke might be a bit of fun.

Ryan’s long-harbored attractions for androgynous models, and he’s not averse to being with a guy. It’s not his life plan, mind, but he’s nearing the end of his uni days, and feels like some serious experimentation is in order. He’s got a few weeks before his revisions are complete and he takes his final exams, so why not blow off his pent-up steam with his sexy new neighbor, Johnny. Just so long as no one really knows. Except his housemate Ewan find out, and Ewan’s boyfriend…who is Johnny’s housemate. And then another person, and well, they’re just having some fun, right? So why is Ryan frustrated when Johnny invites randoms over for his own fun…

Oh boy, does this one get sticky! Ryan never expected more than one night with Johnny–it was what they agreed upon, after all. But both Johnny and Ryan recognize that their night was too satisfying to be a one-off. Hence, the friends-with-benefits charade. They are both into one another, but neither will admit to growing feelings. Johnny’s been hurt before by a cheating partner,and Ryan’s life plan is to check off his bisexual bucket list and find a suitable girl to marry. Unfortunately, they end up hurting each other with their silence, and the repair is awkward. I liked how their comrades help patch things up, when they think they are standing up for one, or the other. It’s a sweet story that ends up with Ryan coming out, and Johnny finding love–with Ryan, duh! There’s a lot of sexy business, and I loved the gender-bending kink both Ryan and Johnny share. It’s a tender experience, with loads of stereotype-defying moments.

It’s always fun to catch up with my fave housemates, too, and there’s brief reconnection with old pals from previous books as Ryan and Johnny work their way into love.

Interested? You can find PRETTY IN PINK on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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Cephalopod Coffeehouse February 2018–Bringing the HEAT

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 sharing a review for a newly published dragon-shifter romance from Donna Grant. HEAT is the 12th book in her Dark Kings series, and really best enjoyed when read in order. I’ve liked SMOKE AND FIRE, FIRESTORM, BLAZE, and DRAGON BURN, and–being a series junkie–I’m eager to see how this all turns out.

About the book:
Nikolai is a dragon shapeshifter who knows well the meaning of loss. Orphaned and raised to be a Dragon King, he never accepts defeat. Now, Nikolai prefers his solitude . . .until a beautiful, irresistible woman calls upon him for help—and Nikolai’s whole world goes up in flames.

Ever since MI5 agent Esther woke to discover her mind taken over with magic, she feels like stranger to herself. She looks to a notorious dragon, one who has the power to help her find her memory. But as she and Nikolai come closer to discovering what really happened to her, a dangerous passion ignites between them. Can this lone Dragon King help the woman he’s grown to love to uncover the truth about her past—or will a deep and fiery danger tear them both apart?

My Review:
This is the 12th book in a series and best enjoyed when you’ve read several of the more recent releases, I think.

To sum up, Dragon Kings are fighting a battle for survival in modern times. They have the ability to shift from human to dragon form, and once ruled the earth, but went into hiding to prevent annihilation from the primitive humans who populated the lands. This decision created a huge rift in the community, and a war ensued. Constantine, the kink of all kings banished Ulrik, another dragon king, for inciting the war.

Nikolai was raised by Ulrik, and he’s always felt it was a deep betrayal to fight against Ulrik to protect humanity. He’s long had issues with his decision, and he wants to make peace with Ulrik. It’s a dangerous time, however, with Light and Dark Fae having devious plots, and a rogue dragon trying to destroy Ulrik, Constantine and the rest of the dragons to assume supreme power over earth and humanity.

Esther is a former MI5 agent whose brother has worked to keep the dragon’s identities secret from society. Esther got tangled up in the midst, having her mind controlled by a powerful Druid. She’s desperate to learn what happened in the three weeks that are missing from her memories. Nicolai has a special gift of sight–he can pluck images from people’s consciousness, even if they can’t remember. He and Esther head to Dublin to trace her paths and see if any patterns develop. In the thick of this they admit they have a ton of chemistry, and are likely to be fated mates.

I’ve really enjoyed the series, and this book in particular is really good. There is convergence between several plotlines at this point so that we can see the impending conflict. Many of the characters have found love, but Con and Ulrik are still single. So I’m expecting some page time to them finding love, as well as defeating the threats from Fae and others. The love story was slower to unfold than I had expected considering Esther and Nikolai have had some close encounters before they set out on their mission. I did love how some of the mystery surrounding the Druid has been cleared up, and it’s clear that most of our “bad guys” aren’t what they seemed to be, at first. Happy endings abound, and the end is clearly near. Looking forward to the next book!

Interested? You can find HEAT on Goodreads and Amazon.

donna_grant_newAbout the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. Her latest acclaimed series, Dark Kings, features a thrilling combination of dragons, Fae, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children and an assortment of animals in Texas.

Catch up with Donna on her website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, Audible, and Tantor.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends! Be sure to check out my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers and their fave books of the month below…


Out Now! PRETTY IN PINK


Hi there! Today I’m getting the word out on a new contemporary M/M romance just released by Jay Northcote. PRETTY IN PINK is a sweet coming out story about a questioning man who falls for his neighbor–a gender bending out-gay man. This is a book in the Housmates series, but can be enjoyed on it’s own. Other books in the series I loved include WATCHING ANS WANTING, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT and STARTING FROM SCRATCH, which introduce our main characters for PRETTY IN PINK.

About the book:
Ryan isn’t looking for a relationship with a guy–and Johnny isn’t looking for a relationship at all.
Ryan’s always been attracted to tall, leggy blondes–normally of the female variety. When Johnny catches his eye at a party, Ryan’s interest is piqued even though he’s never been with a guy before. The attraction is mutual, and the amazing night that follows opens Ryan’s eyes to his bisexuality.

Experience has taught Johnny that love hurts. Staying single is safer, and there’s no need for complicated relationships when hooking up is easy. When he moves in next door to Ryan, they’re both interested in picking up where they left off, and it seems like an ideal arrangement: convenient, mutually satisfying, and with no strings attached.

Despite their best intentions to keep things casual, they develop an emotional connection alongside the physical one. Both begin to want more from the relationship but are afraid to admit it. If they’re going to work things out, they need to start being honest–first with themselves, and then with each other.

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

Interested? You can find PRETTY IN PINK on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

You can find Jay on his website, Twitter, Facebook Author Page, and Amazon.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

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GHOST WOLF To the Rescue–A Review & Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m back, and sharing a review for a new paranormal M/M romance from Hurri Cosmo. GHOST WOLF features a lone wolf finding more than a pack when he seeks his future. Scroll down for my review and to enter the $25 Amazon GC giveaway!

About the book:
Hi, my name is Trevor. I’m a wolf shifter.

I say that like I know what I’m talking about. I don’t. I was simply running off a ton of steam one day when I was around eleven and bam! Okay, not quite that easy or fast but it happened when I was young and stupid. I’m also gay. I say that like I know what I’m talking about with that too. I simply don’t.

I’m grown up now and living in the big city which has me too busy to much care about either one of those things. I get out and run my wolf when I can, trying like hell to stay out of the local pack’s territories. Belonging to a “family” just sounds like too much work, and honestly I don’t have time for such things. Besides, I was told when I was young the color of my wolf was all wrong. Too silver…or something. Metallic. I kinda thought it looked cool in the full moon. “Pack Alpha would kill ya soon as look at ya.” My grandpa used to say. Course he wasn’t my real grandpa. Just an old man who lived down the street, but he was a shifter too and I thought he knew it all. He probably knew diddly either, but a guy can’t be too careful. And romance? Way off the radar.

Only now someone has started killing wolves. Started leaving broken bodies lined up in a nice little row next to the high school in my home town and it’s got me to thinking. If a shifter is killed in his or her wolf state, do they stay that way? Were these dead wolves like me? The hell of it all is this: being a shifter isn’t common knowledge. It bothers me enough that now I want to find out more. See if there’s anything I can do. Kind of like a super hero.

Oh yeah. Probably forgot to tell you this too. I can turn invisible.

Yep, Ghost Wolf to the rescue

My Review:
Trevor is a young wolf shifter who learned on his powers on his own–with the help of a neighbor he called Grandpa. Grandpa was a shifter too, and held some knowledge and more secrets that he shared with Trevor through his will.

We start with him as a youngish boy–and follow him up to a new town as he works on his college plan. When there, he meets more shifters; some of whom find him very much attractive. One of these is Ryan Jarfang and another is Keith Karlack–both alphas of neighboring shifter clans. Ryan had been betrothed to a female shifter, but breaks that off when he senses Trevor is his Fated Mate. Trevor hasn’t owned up to Ryan about his special power, being able to disappear, that he’s able to use in moments of danger.

This is an interesting read, but I definitely struggled with it. Trevor had troubles assimilating in his new world, but he just keeps running from them. Ryan has to track him down again and again, as he rebels. Their rapid courtship sparks conflict between the packs. Trevor did get on my nerves, and I really felt like the book started too soon. We could have picked up with him being in college, not in middle school, and I probably would have liked the story more. It otherwise seemed to drag, and then jumped forward with coincidences that felt a bit disingenuous.

For the shifter story, there was some interesting pack dynamics, and the fated-ness of Trevor and Ryan coming together wasn’t the interesting part. The way they were able to call on higher powers–connecting the real with the super-paranormal in ways that I hadn’t read before. I liked that part. Unfortunately, it felt too long to get there. Expect some different dynamics and a side of mpreg, too.

Interested? You can find GHOST WOLF on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link to enter and win a $25 Amazon GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Hurri Cosmo lives in Minnesota where she holds tight to the idea that there, where it’s cold a good part of the year, she won’t age as fast. Yep, she avoids the truth as much as she avoids mirrors. But one of the reasons she loves writing is reality doesn’t always offer up a “happily ever after” and being able to take control of that is a powerful lure. Being a happy ending junkie, writing just makes them easier to find. Oh, she doesn’t mind “real life” and she does try to at least keep it in mind when she writes her stories, but she truly loves creating a wonderful couple, knowing they will fall in love and have their HEA. Every – single – time. And, of course, that is exactly the reason she loves reading this genre, too. Give her a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, and her computer, whether she is reading or writing, and she will entertain herself for hours. The fact she actually gets paid to do it is Snickers bars on the frosting on the cake.

Catch up to Hurri online on her website, blog, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Best of 2017! All M/M Edition

I love doing “Best of” recaps, and going back through all the fab books I’ve enjoyed in the past year. This year I completed a really awesome fantasy-romance series by EJ Russell which started off with CUTIE AND THE BEAST, followed by THE DRUID NEXT DOOR and BAD BOY’S BARD. This was a rather low-steam set, but it was high on imagination, with all sorts of fantasy persons intermingling with three Fae brothers who made up the Guard for the Seelie Queen. Each of them was cursed, to some degree, and had to find love to undo that curse. I think I liked DRUID best of the series, but the whole trilogy worked together well to create a world I wanted to dance in.

Starting with Fantasy, I loved the THE RULES AND REGULATING TO MEDIATING MYTHS AND MAGIC by F.T. Lukens. It’s a sweet and funny YA romance with just the right amount of conflict, and age-appropriate steam. The whole story, with all the zany myths, the angst, and the sweet coming-out, sealed the deal for me.

I adored TRUST WITH A CHASER by Annabeth Albert, because it was a hard-won love. The local sheriff is hiding behind his badge, and a closet, and that makes it hard for him to love the out-and-proud new restauranteur in town. Add to that, this shiny younger man’s family is a complete mess, and often in trouble with the law. It’s a sweet victory when the sheriff makes it possible for his down-low beau to do right by his family, and love out loud.

And, speaking of yummy lawmen, I can’t finish off the year without mention Kate Sherwood’s four-part Common Law series including LONG SHADOWS, EMBERS, DARKNESS and HOME FIRES. This law man loves the criminal saga hit all the right notes of believability, small-town drama, and finding the right path even if it’s not the straight and narrow. There’s a bit of steam here and there between the new under-sheriff and his childhood love, the local criminal mastermind. One never knows if the con will win, or the cop will triumph. Super happy ending for these guys and I’m anxious for a new series with them.

Be Careful What You Wish For: SURPRISE ME! A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary romance from best selling author Sophie Kinsella. I’ve always enjoyed her contemporary romances, including MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE, but SURPRISE ME is a little different. The characters are…married. Yep! They are married, together ten years, and facing, clearly, 68 more years together. And, that’s a daunting rut to fall into isn’t it…

About the book:
After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected “until death do us part” to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.

My Review:
This book opens with a jolt: a wife finding something hidden by her husband. Something shocking, and guaranteed to set her idyllic marriage off-kilter. We don’t get to see what she found, only that it was a game-changer. And then, we pan out. Go back a bit. Gain context, but long do we wonder: what did she find!

Sylvie and Dan have been together ten years, married seven, and have twin daughters aged four. They are in sync in many ways, filling in sentences and gaps in conversations with little trouble. Sylvie thinks Dan is predictable, and perhaps the side he shows her is…but when they hit the doctor for a couples life insurance exam they are both struck by the doctor’s decree that they, being active healthy adults, will likely live to be 100, maybe 102, and that means 68 more years of wedded bliss. To each other.

It’s a jarring moment, and provokes some deep thinking, at least on Sylvie’s part, of how they can transform their comfortable/cozy marriage into one that can stand the test of so many years. Should they spice it up in the bedroom, or out of it? Should they take up common interests–or not? Why is Dan so frustrated with discussions of money, and why does it seem he’s hiding some rather important issues from her. In the midst of this Sylvie’s job is under intense scrutiny. She works for a historical society that is squarely lumped in the Victorian age, and is in dire straits financially. Is she about to lose her job, and her husband?

I really dug this one. It’s more mature story about the hard parts of marriage, the daily trench work of loving one person day-in and day-out without focusing on the petty issues all the time. It’s building a love that lasts, no matter the difficulties. That said, there are some funny bits, including a boudoir photo shoot that might scar a young neighbor to his bones. Turns out Dan had some pretty dark secrets that were kept out of love and esteem for Sylvie’s family, and which were eroding their core of trust. I liked how all that turned out, in truth. The twist of those secrets opened Sylvie’s eyes to the cost of love, and the blind faith we often place in the people close to us. It gave her a new appreciation for Dan, and how much he’s struggled to be the husband he, and her parents, expected she would want.

There are fun revelations, too, which include building relationships with new friends, and following old passions–like Dan reclaiming his love of gardening, even if it means reconnecting with his first love–in responsible ways. Sylvie’s a fun and suspicious character to follow, sure she’s got wool pulled over her eyes, but unable to see what’s made her blind is not what she expects to find. In the end, she and Dan are sure that they’d spent another 68 years together if given the chance. Because, longevity expectation aside, we really have no idea how many days we will walk this earth. Best to love hard and fierce while you can.

Interested? You can find SURPRISE ME on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. It’s surely on sale at local bookstores, big-box retailers and likely already on the shelf at your library. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Madeleine Wickham (born 12 December 1969) is a bestselling British author under her pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella. Educated at New College, Oxford, she worked as a financial journalist before turning to fiction. She is best known for writing a popular series of chick-lit novels. The Shopaholic novels series focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist who cannot manage her own finances. The books follows her life from when her credit card debt first become overwhelming (“The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic”) to the latest book on being married and having a child (“Shopaholic & Baby”). Throughout the entire series, her obsession with shopping and the complications that imparts on her life are central themes.

Find out more on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

True Love for BENTLEY–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for BENTLEY, a new contemporary romance from Melanie Moreland. BENTLEY is the first book in the Vested Interest series and features an odd-couple romance between a wealthy real estate mogul and the orphaned art student who turns his head.

About the book:
Bentley.
The leader of the group. He is uptight, formal, and cold. Rigid and set in his ways, always following the same path. Until the day, he stumbles upon her.

Emmy.
She brings with her spontaneity and light. The world she lives in is so different from his, yet he cannot control the draw to her. Nor can he explain the way she makes him feel.
Happy.
Protective.
Loved.

My Review:
Bentley is a wealthy man in his early thirties. He owns his own real estate development company and is planning his next big endeavor, but someone keeps buying the properties he wants right out from under him. He’s frustrated, and wary due to threatening messages he’s begun receiving. His two best friends, Maddox and Aiden, have joined him in the business, but none of them have found lifelong partners. They make a great team, but each man is missing love.

Bentley meets Emmy when he trips over her knapsack in a crowded cafe. She’s irreverent and uncowed by his surliness. That intrigues him, and he’s interested enough to seek out further meetings, and a date. Emmy is an orphan and is struggling her way through art school; something to which Bentley can relate. He’s charmed by Emmy from the start, and their romance blossoms quickly, with Aiden and Maddox making fast “friends” with Emmy’s close pals. But, the threats soon extend to Emmy, and Bentley’s unwilling to let her fall into danger on his account.

There’s a bit of suspense here, and the sexytimes are rather mellow. Not a lot of extended sweaty business. I liked the connection, and how sweet it was from the start. While there’s an attraction, it’s not overwhelming the focus. They enjoy their building camaraderie and it grows into the physical. I had the mystery solved before the first chapter ended, I think, but that was okay, too. I still liked how it unfolded, and I’m looking forward to reading the next books in this series.

Interested? You can find BENTLEY on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

About the Author:
New York Times/USA Today bestselling author Melanie Moreland, lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of twenty-seven-plus years and their rescue cat Amber. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.

While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys travelling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.

Melanie loves stories, especially paired with a good wine, and enjoys skydiving (free falling over a fleck of dust) extreme snowboarding (falling down stairs) and piloting her own helicopter (tripping over her own feet.) She’s learned happily ever afters, even bumpy ones, are all in how you tell the story.

You can catch up with Melanie on her Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or sign up for her Newsletter.

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