Out today! AIDEN–and a book sale!

Hi there! Today I’m wishing a happy book birthday to a new contemporary romance from Melanie Moreland. AIDEN is the second book in the Vested Interest series. I liked BENTLEY, and I’ve enjoyed AIDEN, too.

About the book:
Haunted by memories of his past, Aiden plays the part of the happy-go-lucky friend. Always ready with a teasing smile or a joke, he is good at hiding his pain.
Using his impressive physique as a shield, he keeps his past buried beneath his rugged exterior.
Except, one woman sees through his façade.
Her green eyes see too much, even as her body tempts him.
Even as his heart yearns for her.
Cami is determined to make him realize that he is worthy of being loved.
He pushes her away at every turn, yet finds himself unable to keep her at arm’s length.
Who will win this battle of love?

Look for my review later in the week!

Interested? You can find AIDEN on Goodreads, Amazon or other outlets.

****Book Sale****
You can also find BENTLEY on sale $.99 until May 10th 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 traveling, 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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Finding Love Despite an EMPTY NET–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary M/M hockey romance from Avon Gale. EMPTY NET is her fourth book in the Scoring Chances series, and really a fantastic read. It’s find to read on it’s own, but might be better enjoyed after reading POWER PLAY. I’ve enjoyed BREAKAWAY and SAVE OF THE GAME, so I couldn’t wait to continue this series.

Empty NetAbout the book:
Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain Isaac Drake ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him – no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse, constantly treated like a disappointment on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist, and Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold Laurent—or their relationship—together.

Please be advised: This book does contain some non-graphic references to past childhood physical/emotional abuse as well as issues relating to ED (bulimia and restricted eating, disordered thoughts about eating).

My Review:
I really enjoyed this tender and tumultuous M/M hockey romance. This is the fourth book in a series, and features the characters from Book Three, POWER PLAY, though the romance involves a separate couple.

Isaac Drake knows who he is: a professional hockey goalie who’s out-and-proud, even if he’d rather forget his rentboy days. He lives with his coaches, Misha Samarin and Max Ashford, who are an out-gay couple, and he hopes to find a man with whom to share some of his life. Isaac is not happy when he learns that Laurent St. Savoy has just been traded to their team. Laurent said some pretty hateful, homophobic slurs the last time he played the Spartanburg Spitfires, and there is no love lost between the staff, team–and Laurent.

Laurent is a man of many secrets. He’s young, and talented, but he’s mostly just glad to not be living with his abusive father any longer. He’s also attractive, and mean–as he’s been trained to be. His father, who was also his lifelong coach, rewarded cruelty in his players, and regularly beat or tortured Laurent if he was too good, or too bad, on the ice. Working with men who hate him is nothing new to Laurent, and he’d love to make amends to his Spitfires teammates, if he thought it would make a difference. Instead, he drowns in self-loathing and assuages his guilt by disordered eating behaviors.

Isaac isn’t happy with his teammates, who bully Laurent for suspected homophobia. His attitude toward Laurent changes when he learns that Laurent’s a victim of abuse. While Isaac’s parents did him wrong in many ways, he didn’t suffer abuse at their hands, and his compassion allows Laurent to make the first friend he’s had in his life. Laurent cannot believe that Isaac would show him any compassion, but soon this friendship is the best and brightest part of Laurent’s dark life. Preserving this relationship becomes paramount. He’s not even bothered that Isaac is gay, or finds him attractive; Laurent thinks he might find Isaac just as attractive. He’s never had a girlfriend, or a boyfriend; never felt worthy of being loved after years emotional abuse from his father, so attraction is a foreign concept to him. But he knows that Isaac is a good man, and Laurent feels safe with him. It’s easy to explore his sexuality, slowly, with a patient Isaac.

The story is less about the romance, though it develops naturally and beautifully, and more about Laurent becoming a better human through interaction with Isaac, and regular therapist visits–suggested by Isaac. The team comes around and supports him, and his coaches are really standing behind him throughout. That said, Isaac is a blue-haired white knight, and Laurent is grateful for his intervention, even as he resents the need for it. I really enjoyed the adversarial dynamic they had going. And I loved how Isaac broke down their barriers in simple, but effective, ways. It seems that Laurent is demisexual, which means he’s only able to experience attraction to people with whom he forms an emotional bond. And–boy howdy!–do he and Isaac bond! It’s sweet and frustrating and sometimes really sexy. As I’m no expert on the array of sexualities, this seemed a reasonable fit for Laurent, who’s had little affection in his life. I swooned for Isaac petting Laurent’s hair like a cat–and that being so charged because Laurent was attuned to being touched only in malice and anger. The end is really sweet, with Laurent taking charge of his life for the first time. Isaac is a delicious hero. Yum.

Interested? You can find EMPTY NET on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance.


Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a copy of POWER PLAY.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and when she’s not writing you can find her at the salon, making her clients look and feel fabulous. She never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.

You can find Avon on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest or sign up for her newsletter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Cries For Help: TONE DEAF–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary YA romance from Olivia Rivers. TONE DEAF is a story about a rocker and a deaf girl finding solace and safety together.

Tone DeafAbout the book:
Ali Collins was a child prodigy destined to become one of the greatest musicians of the twenty-first century—until she was diagnosed with a life-changing brain tumor. Now, at seventeen, Ali lives in a soundless world where she gets by with American Sign Language and lip-reading. She’s a constant disappointment to her father, a retired cop fighting his own demons, and the bruises are getting harder to hide.

When Ali accidentally wins a backstage tour with the chart-topping band Tone Deaf, she’s swept back into the world of music. Jace Beckett, the nineteen-year-old lead singer of the band, has a reputation. He’s a jerk and a player, and Ali wants nothing to do with him. But there’s more to Jace than the tabloids let on. When Jace notices Ali’s bruises and offers to help her escape to New York, Ali can’t turn down the chance at freedom and a fresh start. Soon she’s traveling cross-country, hidden away in Jace’s RV as the band finishes their nationwide tour. With the help of Jace, Ali sets out to reboot her life and rediscover the music she once loved.

My Review:
This is an engaging, innocent, YA rock romance.

Ali is a 17 y/o girl whose charmed life has taken disastrous turns. She was a child prodigy, playing concert halls in NYC before she even turned double digits, but a surgical procedure rendered her totally deaf. At the same time her mother was killed and she was relocated to LA in her estranged father’s care. These days, her father is a retired decorated police chief who is an alcoholic and an abuser.

While at a concert with her best friend, Ali is selected to win a behind-the-scenes tour with the lead singer of the pop/punk boy band, Jace. Jace turns out to be just as much of a jerk as the press has led Ali to believe. He’s unconscionably rude, and Ali leaves without taking the tour. Pressed to make amends, Jace offers Ali a large sum of money for her to return to the arena and take the tour–to stave off a PR nightmare. Ali only agrees because the money could provide her with a fresh start, and send her far from her abusive and controlling father.

This time, Jace notices that Ali knows a lot about music, and also, that she’s bruised in ways with which he can totally identify. He was an abused child, too. He’s immediately engaged in her plight, offering to whisk her away on his tour–and drop her in NYC as that’s the last stop.

Along the way, Ali and Jace become close–not in a sexy way. Jace knows that Ali can’t be found, as she’s explained her father’s resources. Jace convinces his band that he needs to help her–and they need to trust him. This trust gets strained as Ali’s disappearance becomes national news, and the risk of her discovery hiding on Jace’s RV is high. The days turn to weeks, and Ali makes herself useful, managing Jace’s social media and helping him with some of his songs in-progress.

What I loved about the book was the way Ali was portrayed. She never wallowed in her misfortune. Her desperation to get away from her father and build a whole new life was palpable. I liked the way her deafness was described and explored, and also her communication between her friends, Jace, and her interactions in the world were all well-sketched. I also loved the diversity of the band members, who are childhood friends and form their own family–of sorts. Two of the guys are openly gay, and in a loving relationship together, which was a positive aspect. Jace is a jerk, a broken person due to years of abuse. His experience helping Ali, and getting to know her as a person, opens his eyes, heart and mind, to let some of his long-standing anger bleed out.

I had a few problems with some structural aspects of the book. Part of this was “reality” problems. I had a hard time believing that Ali’s surgical issue would have rendered her completely deaf in both ears. It’s a medical stretch and virtually impossible, as described. That’s my own two cents, as a physiologist who taught medical students. I had to simply accept that, and I couldn’t, not once I got the whole “story,” but most lay readers won’t know this is an issue. I also have a little trouble with the pacing of this rock tour. It seems to travel at a snail’s pace, and I couldn’t understand the logistics. I’m a big fan of music. Concert tours are streamlined and efficient travelers. They pack up each night when a show ends and hit the road…immediately. They have shows lined up every few days, especially in the summer season, and the talent doesn’t drive the RV for a band as the one described in the book. Those are my niggles, and are based in reality. Most readers likely won’t have such a critical eye.

The story, as it unfolds, is interesting. The budding romance is tender, with only a few kisses and chaste hugs exchanged. There’s a lot of healing from heartache, for both Ali and Jace. I had a lot of tension awaiting Ali’s discovery, and the payoff was rewarding. When the climax comes, it seems a bit late in the game, but I liked how it turned out.

Interested? You can find TONE DEAF on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:
Olivia Rivers is a hybrid author of Young Adult fiction. Her works include the independently published “Tortured Elements” and “Duplicity” series, along with the traditionally published novel “Tone Deaf” (Sky Horse 2016.) As a certified geek, she enjoys experimenting with new publishing technologies, and her online serials have received over 1,000,000 hits on Wattpad.com. When Olivia isn’t working as a writer, she’s a typical teen attending college in Northern California. Olivia is represented by Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, and nothing thrills her more than hearing from readers.

You can reach Olivia online on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!