Getting Wicked in FASCINATED-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M historical romance by Jess Michaels. Set in her Wicked Woodleys series, FASCINATED brings two solitary gentlemen together, under the guise of a country house party planned by a scheming sister.

fascinatedAbout the book:
A sexy M/M historical romance in the Wicked Woodleys universe from USA Today bestselling author Jess Michaels

It’s been over a decade since Aaron Condit’s lover, Viscount Noah Seagate died. While he has had temporary diversions, he hasn’t had a real relationship since. But now he’s been invited to the home of his best friend, Leticia Blackwood and he’ll be faced with deep temptation in the form of her brother, Griffin Merrick.

Griffin has seen Aaron at certain clubs for a long time and he cannot deny that he wants the handsome solicitor. But secrets from far in the past and a desire not to hurt someone they both love stand between them. Time spent alone leads to a passionate affair, but only time will tell if they can overcome all that keeps them apart. And if they’re willing to risk losing everything in order to find love.

My Review:
I haven’t read any of the five preceding M/F novels in this series, and that was just fine because this M/M novella can handle being a standalone. Many of the characters are in the fifth book, so it might be enjoyable to start there, but it wasn’t necessary.

It’s the 1820s in western England and Letty Blackwood’s house party is about to get hot. Letty’s fond of her younger brother Griffin Merrick. She’s also great friends with, wait for it, her late husband’s former lover, Aaron Condit. That’s why she invites both of them to the country estate at Woodley for a large houseparty that’s set to span two weeks. Griffin and Letty’s mother can’t wait to see Griffin settled, and continues to push him to meet the women who come to the house for balls and tea, but Griffin’s desired Aaron for several years now–ever since he’d seen Aaron at risque clubs for men of their ilk–those who find other men attractive.

Aaron’s more than attracted to Griffin, but he’d hurt Letty once–her willingness to forgive both her late husband Noah and himself for their covert love affair is one thing. Falling for her only brother? Unthinkable. He won’t hurt her again. Still Griffin’s determined to spend as much time together as possible, and Aaron hasn’t had a stead lover since Noah died. Griffin’s sure that Aaron’s the man for him, and he’s got a plan to keep him close in a way that gentlemen of their station can–if only Aaron will give over his apprehensions about Letty’s sensibilities. Learning of Aaron and Noah’s love, and hearing how open his sister was to their relationship gives Griffin pause…and ideas.

This is a short and sweet love story that has a good bit of tension and a satisfying ending. I honestly could have spent a whole novel with these two! Letty is great, and her little machinations to put Aaron and Griffin together were heartfelt and charming. I’m used to reading English historical fiction written by British English speakers, so I kind of missed the more staid and quaint grammar and syntax, but that’s a small quibble.

Interested? You can find FASCINATED on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I read a review copy provided by NetGalley.

About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling author Jess Michaels likes geeky stuff, Vanilla Coke Zero, anything coconut, cheese, fluffy cats, smooth cats, any cats, many dogs and people who care about the welfare of their fellow humans. She watches too much daytime court shows, but just enough Once Upon a Time (Captain Swan FOR LIFE). She is lucky enough to be married to her favorite person in the world and live in a beautiful home on a golf course lake in Northern Arizona.

When she’s not obsessively checking her steps on Fitbit or trying out new flavors of Greek yogurt, she writes erotic historical romances with smoking hot alpha males and sassy ladies who do anything but wait to get what they want. She has written for numerous publishers and is now fully indie and loving every moment of it (well, almost every moment).

Jess always loves to hear from readers! You can find her on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Cephalopod Coffeehouse February 2017: A TRAGIC KIND OF WONDERFUL–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 recommending Eric Lindstrom’s A TRAGIC KIND OF WONDERFUL, a newly-published YA adventure through bipolar disorder. Having read and LOVED his debut, NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST, (featuring a blind protagonist) I’m really enjoying Mr. Lindstrom’s ability to bring marginalized characters to the page in living color.

tragic-wonderfulAbout the book:
For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm’s length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.

As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst—that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she’s been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

My Review:
This is a contemporary YA novel about a character with severe bipolar disorder still learning how to cope with the ups and downs of her emotional world.

Mel Hannigan is a seventeen year old girl struggling through her days with a newly (one year) diagnosed bipolar disorder. Her elder brother, Nolan, also suffered this disease, as does her Aunt Joan–who they all call HJ or “Hurricane Joan.” Nolan, who we only meet in flashback, died four years ago–in an accident that stemmed from his mania. Since his tragic death, her parents have divorced and Mel lives with her mother and HJ. She’d also lived with her grandmother, but she died a year ago after a battle with stomach cancer.

Mel works in the Silver Sands, the same nursing home where her grandmother spent her final days. It’s a touchstone place, for her, where she has many friends among the residents, including Dr. Jordan–a retired psychiatrist. He helped “diagnose” Mel before she had her first manic episode–and subsequent crash–just over a year ago, now. At that time, Mel was having a break with her group of friends, losing Annie, Conner and Zumi when she backed away following a fight and power play which coincided with an inpatient stay for treatment of her mental issues. Now she balances a cocktail of prescriptions designed to keep her moods even, and has two close-ish friends Holly and Declan, who brought her school work home over the period of her long absence and recovery–which everyone believes was for mono and bronchitis, not bipolar disorder.

When the book picks up, Annie has inexplicably reached out to leave behind childhood relics with Mel for Conner and Zumi–mementos of their friendship–because Annie’s family is moving to Paris and she doesn’t want to confront either Conner or Zumi regarding this life change. Turns out Annie isn’t a nice person, and Zumi was desperately crushing on her. Mel knows it will break Zumi’s heart, and the stress is fracturing her grip on her moods. Right about then, Mel meets David, grandson of one of the elderly residents at Silver Sands, and they strike a cautious friendship–which could lead to more. They both seem to want this, but Mel is reluctant because she doesn’t think she–the gal with the broken brain–is really worthy of love. Surely someone “normal” is better suited for everyone. Just look at HJ! She’s the life of the party and pretty, but no man will settle down with her.

Okay, so, being in the mind of a person with a mental condition like bipolar disorder is never easy. There are bouts of mania and depression, and episodes of disordered thinking and obsessive-compulsive behavior. That’s not all of the book, but those moments exist and they ramp the tension up high as we’re not quite sure where Mel will go, or what she will do, when she’s manic, or obsessive. She does a LOT of checking in with her body and mind, and talking to responsible adults about her mental well-being, with is fantastic. Her aunt’s not a great influence, because she’s sure that Mel’s missing out on life, doped up and quelled by medication. Joan is currently unmedicated, but her strong personality doesn’t sway Mel from her chosen course to medicate–because she knows how things can go tragically wrong for someone like herself–like Nolan–when there’s no meds on board. And, unfortunately, in her periods of mania she sometimes misses doses, leading to a downward spiral that results in another bad episode.

I really liked this book because it didn’t feel varnished. It was a challenge, however, to keep up with Mel, and I think I’d have liked more information about Nolan up-front. That said, going along the winding path and following Mel into the rabbit hole of her racing mind was eye-opening. Having dealt with emotional wellness issues in myself and close family members for decades now, it was a journey I’m familiar with, and felt resonated off the page. Mental illness is never an easy read, but Mel’s upbeat and committed choice for medical care was refreshing. I really appreciated the rich support network that assisted Mel, and how her fears of being abandoned once people learned her real “illness” weren’t reinforced.

There’s a hint of romance, but it’s not the focus. Instead, the real-life dramas of friendships dissolving and new ones forming are the center of the book. These stressors are common for teens, which provides the context for grasping Mel’s underlying medical problems, and makes her reaction to those stressors accessible, even in their extremes.

Interested? You can find A TRAGIC KIND OF WONDERFUL on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

Thanks for popping in, and be sure to check out the book-of-the-month recommendations from my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers…

A Whole New World: IMAGO–Review & Giveaway!

imago-bannerHi there! Today I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a brand-new contemporary M/M romance from N.R. Walker. You know how much I adored Ms. Walker’s Aussie cowboy Red Dirt Heart series, so there was no chance I was missing IMAGO. Set in Tasmania, IMAGO pairs an awkward lepidopterist with a gung-ho forestry ranger.

Catch my review below, and be sure to enter the giveaway for a $20 Amazon GC.
imago-400x600About the book:
Nerdy, introverted genius lepidopterist, Lawson Gale, is an expert on butterflies. He finds himself in a small town in Tasmania on a quest from an old professor to find an elusive species that may or may not even exist.

Local Parks and Wildlife officer, Jack Brighton, is an ordinary guy who loves his life in the sleepy town of Scottsdale. Along with his Border collie dog, Rosemary, his job, and good friends, he has enough to keep from being lonely.

But then he meets Lawson, and he knows he’s met someone special. There’s more to catching butterflies, Jack realises. Sometimes the most elusive creatures wear bowties, and sometimes they can’t be caught at all.

Lawson soon learns there are butterflies he can’t learn about it in books. They exist only in a touch, in a kiss, in a smile. He just has to let go first, so these butterflies can fly.

Imago is the story of finding love, bowties, and butterflies.

My Review:
Jack Brighton is a forestry officer in remote Tasmania. He loves his quiet life, but would love to find a man to share it with. He certainly didn’t expect the shy, awkward, bow-tie-clad Lawson Gale to fall right into his path. Butterfly expert Lawson is out on Tasmania to help a colleague find a figment. An aging lepidopterist clams to have found a small copper-colored butterfly decades ago, and has tasked Lawson with his fruitless hunt.

Lawson’s upset that his car reservation has been lost, but he’s desperate to meet with his colleague, and accepts an offer of a ride from the burly forest agent he’d noticed on his flight. They hit it off, especially when Jack learns Lawson will be staying near his home–a small community known as Scottsdale–and searching for this elusive butterfly in the forest area Jack manages.

Over the course of the next several days, these two find ways to be together, on the hunt for the copper butterfly, and in more personal settings. It’s absolutely sweet how Jack woos Lawson with charming date nights that lead to more and more steam. I really enjoyed the science-y bits, too, as I’m a nerd. It seems that Jack’s more than a burly tote-hauler; his research, coupled with decades of stored data, provide real clues to where Lawson’s butterfly might possible exist.

The end is more climactic than the quiet romance intimated, and it’s a daring race and rescue that Lawson manages to both instigate and require. This book is a delicious romance with great characters and just enough complications to keep it interesting. I always love to feel transported to a new location, and Tasmania seems an interesting place–at least in THIS book!

Interested? You can find IMAGO on Goodreads and Amazon (US, UK, AUS, and DE)

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal. She’s been writing ever since…

Find Ms. Walker online on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
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Living Past Being AFRAID TO FLY–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly-published M/M romance from L.A. Witt. AFRAID TO FLY is the second book in her Anchor Point Navy-romance series, and features two mature men who’ve had their fair share of hard knocks finding love. I really liked JUST DRIVE, so I couldn’t wait to read this one.

afraid-to-flyAbout the book:
Once a fearless fighter pilot, Commander Travis Wilson is now confined to a desk. It’s been eight years since the near-fatal crash that grounded him, and it still rules his life thanks to relentless back pain.

Lieutenant Commander Clint Fraser almost drowned in a bottle after a highly classified catastrophe while piloting a drone. His downward spiral cost him his marriage and kids, but he’s sober now and getting his life back on track. He’s traded drones for a desk, and he’s determined to reconcile with his kids and navigate the choppy waters of PTSD.

Clint has been on Travis’s radar ever since he transferred to Anchor Point. When Clint comes out to his colleagues, it’s a disaster, but there’s a silver lining: now that Travis knows Clint is into men, the chemistry between them explodes.

It’s all fun and games until emotions get involved. Clint’s never been in love with a man before. Travis has, and a decade later, that tragic ending still haunts him. Clint needs to coax him past his fear of crashing and burning again, or their love will be grounded before takeoff.

My Review:
Commander Travis Wilson pilots a desk instead of fighter jets, ever since the crash and ejection that rattled his spine and left his radio-operator confined to a wheelchair. It was excellent skill that kept them both alive, but Travis’ back and nerve damage takes a constant toll–one he doesn’t want to medicate, or he’ll be relieved of duty. Let’s not forget that Trav’s a proud man, too, and unwilling to relent his position or admit he should be on disability. He’s bisexual, but more attracted to men, than women–and the only person he ever loved was a fellow pilot who couldn’t out himself before he was tragically killed.

Lt. Commander Clint Fraser is rebuilding his life after suffering PTSD over a drone mission gone wrong. Unable to speak about the super-classified mission, he treated his nightmares with liquor until his wife left, and too the kids with her. Clint hasn’t had a drink in two years, but his “coming out” at the Navy Ball is all kinds of messed up when Clint’s date shows up roaring drunk. The up-side? Travis Wilson noticed that Clint’s bisexual.

Travis and Clint work in the same building, but aren’t in the same chain of command. When they recognize that spark building between them, they keep it mostly quiet, so they can see if it builds or fizzles. Trav’s sure it’ll fizzle, as he’s not fit for the kind of sexual activity most gay men enjoy. Clint’s not put-off though, because he likes the rapport they build, and he’s not picky regarding his sexual activity; if everyone is satisfied, it’s fine to keep it a little less physically-challenging.

I liked how Travis’ adult daughter plays a role in the book. She’s got PTSD from being a family member of an actively deployed airman, and I thought that was a unique perspective to experience. Clint’s family situation is a messed up, with Skype visits and supervised visitation, and that seemed excessive. I was glad that Clint started to stand up for himself by the end of the book. Travis and Clint claim to want to keep things light, but they keep reaching out for one another, emotionally and physically. I liked the way their relationship built. The sexytimes are nice and sensual, even if they aren’t filthy-raw, and the accommodations they make to keep Travis from experiencing heightened pain were clearly defined. It felt very realistic, and sweet. The deeper their bond grows, the more Travis begins to freak out. It was good he got some sense smacked into him by his daughter, friends and Clint–who isn’t willing to take a brush-off. The end is an HEA.

Interested? You can find AFRAID TO FLY on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Lauren Gallagher is an abnormal romance writer who has recently been exiled from the glittering utopia of Omaha, Nebraska, to an undisclosed location in South America. Along with her husband, a harem of concubines, and a phosphorescent porcupine, she remains, as always, in hiding from the Polynesian Mafia. For the moment, she seems to have eluded her nemesis, M/M romance author L.A. Witt, but figures L.A. will eventually become bored with the wilds of Spain and come looking for her. And when that time comes, Lauren will be ready. Assuming L.A. doesn’t have her hands full keeping track of Lori A. Witt and Ann Gallagher, which she probably will.

Visit her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Caught In The Magic: FROSTBLOOD, A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new YA fantasy from Elly Blake. FROSTBLOOD is the first book in a series set in a world where some are born to wield flame or frost–and the Firebloods, like 17 year old Ruby, have been hunted to near extinction. Why would she ever agree to help the Frostbloods do anything?

Oh, right, to kill the merciless Frostblood king….

frost-bloodAbout the book:
The frost king will burn.
Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating—yet irresistible—Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her—and from the icy young man she has come to love.

My Review:
Ruby is a teen girl unsure how to manage the demands of her Fireblood heritage in a land where being a Fireblood is a death sentence in itself. Born with the ability to wield fire from her hands, she must release some of this power now and then or she feels pent-up and unstable. She always hides deep in the woods outside their remote village to test and release her fire magic, but the day comes when the Frostblood King’s soldiers find her and burn their village for daring to “harbor” a Fireblood. They also kill her mother right before Ruby’s eyes.

She’s imprisoned, kept in a state of complete damp and cold to douse her flames, and starved nearly to death, only to be rescued by a Frostblood master, Brother Thistle, and his protector, Arcus. They vow to save her if she will help them kill the king–and that’s a bargain Ruby’s all too eager to make.

Safely ensconced in an abbey to Fors, the god of Frost, Ruby is trained by Brother Thistle in the safe wielding of her flames, and by Arcus in hand-to-hand combat and swordsmanship. Not all the monks are in favor of keeping a Fireblood nearby, however, and view Ruby’s training as traitorous to the throne. Over time, Ruby and Arcus develop a camaraderie that slides into attraction. She’s there for several months, as the attack on the king is planned for the summer solstice, the time when Ruby’s fire magic will be naturally at it’s zenith. But, she’s frustrated when she learns that the total plan isn’t necessarily to kill the king. It turns out that his ice throne, fashioned by Fors a thousand years before, has been corrupted by dark magic, and Thistle and Arcus believe that darkness has inflicted a madness on the king. Perhaps if Ruby melts the throne, she can restore sanity to the king, who can then call off the hunt for Firebloods.

Ruby isn’t in love with this plan, and feels vengeance is hers to claim–but she’s captured by the king’s soldiers before she and Arcus can mount their siege. Being a Fireblood, Ruby is pressed into the King’s gladiatorial entertainment, fully expected to be killed in her first event. When she wins–aided by magic that isn’t hers–Ruby knows she’s living on borrowed time. If only she can get her flames on the King’s throne before her life is snuffed.

For a fantasy, I really found the realistic development of Ruby as a heroine to be excellent. She’s not a quick study. She gets frustrated. She makes mistakes that harm her, and those around her, but she’s valiant and determined. Ruby wants to be useful, wants to help herself and all the Firebloods, and Brother Thistle is a patient teacher she wants to please. Arcus is moody and mean-spirited at times, pushing and prodding Ruby to get her off-center. He knows the kind of battles she’ll face if they can get her into the King’s court, and his tough-love approach felt realistic, as well. Her experiences in the King’s court are filled with intrigues, humiliation, and brutality. She’s forced to meet her mother’s killer many times, even in battle, and Ruby has to keep her wits clear to keep herself alive. The magic that afflicts the King is in play throughout the court–and Ruby’s not immune. She has the opportunity to embrace this power, and change her place in the world dramatically, but her deep rapport with Thistle and Arcus keep her grounded in a way she hadn’t expected. The worldbuilding is really good, with scenes that are fleshed out and a menacing tone imbued throughout the prose. The juxtaposition of ice and fire was a constant theme, and related not just their powers but also the emotional landscape of the players: hot-headed Ruby has burning passions, while Thistle and Arcus are cool, collected and calculating.

The love story that develops between Ruby and Arcus is quiet, with only a few moments of acknowledgment before the climax. It seemed a natural progression of their time spent together–from wariness to acknowledgement, to friendship, esteem and eventually attraction. Arcus has a dark history, and his desire to destroy the throne is tied to his intimate knowledge of the king and the monarchy. I was happy that my suspicions regarding his heritage were accurate. I liked the rawness of the experiences that Ruby endures, and how her personal tragedies help forge her into a warrior ready to save herself and those she loves. This book is slated as the first in a series, and ends in a way that completes the initial story arc. There is no cliffhanger, and I expect the next book will have a whole new set of troubles for Ruby to solve–with Arcus at her side.

Interested? You can find FROSTBLOOD on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Elly Blake loves fairy tales, old houses, and owls. After earning a BA in English literature, she held a series of seemingly random jobs, including project manager, customs clerk, graphic designer, reporter for a local business magazine, and library assistant. She lives in Southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky mix who definitely shows Frostblood tendencies.

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

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

EMBERS Heating–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M release from Kate Sherwood. I really liked MARK OF CAIN and SACRATI, so I was eager to check out her newest Common Law series books. Last month I reviewed LONG SHADOWS, and was captivated by the complicated social politics of a rural Montana border town, which has become a smuggling epicenter for drugs and guns across the US-Canadian border. The situation brought veteran police detective Jericho Crewe home after a 15 year absence and put him in the crossfire between his childhood best friends, the FBI and the DEA. EMBERS, the second book in the series, came out last week and this really focuses on the emotional dilemmas Jericho faces as new Under Sheriff of Mosely.

embersAbout the book:
Small town—big problems. Jericho Crewe is back in Mosely, Montana, trying to deal with police corruption, interfering feds, his newly discovered family members, and, of course, Wade Granger.

He doesn’t really need a biker war on top of it all, but as the bodies start to pile up, it becomes pretty clear that’s what he’s got. Not only that, but Wade’s involved somehow, and as soon as Wade is a part of something, things that seemed clear become cloudy.

With the feds breathing down his neck, Jericho has to find his way through Wade’s maze of half truths and manipulations. It would all be so much easier if Jericho could think straight in the other man’s presence. So much easier if their passionate past could be forgotten, and if he could be sure he’s strong enough to resist the temptation of a passionate present.

My Review:
Det. Jericho Crewe’s had his life turned on its ear in the past few weeks. He learned his no-good criminal father was murdered when he was summoned back to Mosley, Montana after a 15 year absence. His previously unknown step-mother, Nikki, and two half-siblings are in danger–probably of their own making–due to the high likelihood that Nikki (and Jericho’s father) were running drugs over the border for Wade Granger. Wade is Jericho’s high school boyfriend, though that was all kept undercover way back when.

Doesn’t mean that Jericho’s forgotten the pull toward Wade in the intervening years. Wade’s a slick guy, though, and while he’s surely a criminal, no one can get anything to stick. In the last book Wade helped Jericho save his half-siblings from people who’d been sworn to serve and protect. The sheriff, Jericho’s other childhood bestie Kayla, asked Jericho to stick around, work for her to help root out the corruption and he agreed.

Since then, it’s been one fire after the next–and I mean that literally. Wade’s bar and the local biker gang’s hangout have both been hit by arsonists, and three Chicago-native drug runners have been found killed execution-style. The DEA is nervous to deal with Jericho, after learning about his familial and emotional ties to Wade Granger–but their also nervous to deal with Kayla because her father might be leaking information to the biker gang. Meanwhile, someone keeps moving drugs over the border, and Jericho’s being used by Wade to establish an alibi–not just for Wade by for Nikki. And the Bikers are ready to demonstrate their might in a show that could kill innocents. Jericho’s at the center, even if he doesn’t want to be. His decisions to forge links between the factions puts him in a precarious place, and leads to his ultimate discipline when one too many of his cowboy antics can’t be tolerated.

And Wade keeps coming around with all his sexy eyes and sexy moves and Jericho’s really a sucker for Wade. Expect some low level sexytimes for these two. But is Wade’s interest just another manipulation? The book’s really fast-paced, and the intrigue level is high. Being part of a series, I think you need to read it in order, and let the story build all it’s layers. I’m really anxious to read the third book, now, seeing that Jericho’s got a fight on his hands to clear his name, and establish whatever relationship he can with his family…and Wade.

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

The first book in the series, LONG SHADOWS, is currently on sale for $2.99. Catch my review and all the purchase links here.

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 Kat on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Choosing to Stay RIVETED–A Review

riveted-bannerHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand-new contemporary romance from Jay Crownover. RIVETED is the third book in the Saints of Denver series. Though I’ve read BUILT and CHARGED, this romance follows a new couple, and is fully enjoyable on its own.

riveted_finalAbout the book:
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the next installment in the Saints of Denver series.
Everyone else in Dixie Carmichael’s life has made falling in love look easy, and now she is ready for her own chance at some of that happily ever after. Which means she’s done pining for the moody, silent former soldier who works with her at the bar that’s become her home away from home. Nope. No more chasing the hot as heck thundercloud of a man and no more waiting for Mr. Right to find her; she’s going hunting for him…even if she knows her heart is stuck on its stupid infatuation with Dash Churchill.

Denver has always been just a pit stop for Church on his way back to rural Mississippi. It was supposed to be simple, uneventful, but nothing could have prepared him for the bubbly, bouncy redhead with doe eyes and endless curves. Now he knows it’s time to get out of Denver, fast. For a man used to living in the shadows, the idea of spending his days in the sun is nothing short of terrifying.

When Dixie and Church find themselves caught up in a homecoming overshadowed with lies and danger, Dixie realizes that while falling in love is easy, loving takes a whole lot more work…especially when Mr. Right thinks he’s all wrong for you.

My Review:
Dixie Carmichael is a woman bent on finding the perfect man to stand beside her. She’s decided that man is Dashel Church, but Church isn’t having it. See, he’s a man on his own, destined to live without love. All the women he’s ever loved died young, and he won’t risk his heart. Recognizing a lost cause when she sees one, Dixie backs off from Church, and takes her future by the horns–getting her app-dating on. Expect disastrous results.

Church is a mixed-race man, who’s always had an inferiority complex. His young, unwed mother was disowned because her racist parents wouldn’t accept Dashel as a grandchild. Then, after his mother married another man, he wasn’t sure he would be accepted. While his stepfather was fantastic, Church’s mother died while he was a young teen–and he’s been emotionally adrift for a while. While he may desire Dixie, he doesn’t feel worthy of her generous nature, and goodwill. Plus, Church is a loner, and a roamer. He’s not been back to his small Mississippi town since he went to war more than ten years ago. Thing is, one of his dearest childhood caregivers is ill, and begging for him to return…with the woman he said he’d been dating in Colorado. This is a big, fat lie–Church hadn’t been dating anyone, he was too torn up by his military experiences to go home. He does have a definite attraction to Dixie, and he knows she’s the kind of friend who’ll do whatever she can to help him out; even drive two days on a motorcycle from Denver to Mississippi. It’s a little exploitative–Church knows she’s attracted, and he kind of appeals to that side to get her to agree.

Being together in close quarters gets Dixie where she wants to be, without the satisfaction of Church’s heart being engaged–at first. He’s definitely super protective, and Dixie’s a gal to admire for lots of men. It soon becomes clear that someone is targeting Church, to get him away from Dixie–and that leads to some serious conflict. We also have the “Church makes amends to his family” plotline which is tender and the sexytimes are satisfying. Expect a lot of brooding on Church’s part, and lots of sunshine from Dixie–that gal could make a gargoyle smirk, I think. Plus, a few of Church’s family getting caught in the crossfire of a lunatic, and huge changes for a woman who finally gets her heart’s desire. There’s an HEA ending for Church and Dixie.

As for the series, we get an inside look at Wheeler’s dilemma–which began unfolding in the previous book, CHARGED, and I’d expect that guy to find a new love pretty darn quick.

Interested? you can find RIVETED on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Google.

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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