Terrifying Visions: THIRD EYE–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m so excited to share a review and giveaway for a M/M realistic surpernatural thriller with a dash of romance from mega-writer Rick R. Reed. THIRD EYE features a single dad whose unexpected head injury brings unwanted insight into grisy crimes in his Pennsylvania small-town. I have read and reviewed a bunch of Rick R. Reed titles for Joyfully Jay, so I jumped at the chance to share a review here.

Scroll down to catch my review and enter the $10 Amazon GC giveaway below!
About the book:
Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and a lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed—he isn’t sure which—with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl.

When a second girl disappears soon after the first, Cayce realizes his visions are leading him to their grisly fates. Cayce wants to help, but no one believes him. The police are suspicious. The press wants to exploit him. And the girls’ parents have mixed feelings about the young man with the “third eye.”

Cayce turns to local reporter Dave Newton and, while searching for clues to the string of disappearances and possible murders, a spark ignites between them. Little do they know that nearby, another couple—dark and murderous—are plotting more crimes and wondering how to silence the man who knows too much about them.

How about a little taste?

She was only thirteen. It wasn’t fair she now lay, bound, waiting for death. Before, there had been struggling: clawing and fighting, scratching their faces, pulling at their hair, batting at whatever part she could reach. Her breath had come in choking spasms, adrenaline pumping, burning, anteing up the hysteria so much she thought her air would be blocked. Then had come the dread that made her lose most of her fight, when her terror-addled brain had begun to accept her fate was to die here, in this tiny, hot room, with the only witness to her demise the sparkling eyes of her killers and the maddening, crooked whirl of a ceiling fan long past its prime and wobbling, doing nothing more than blowing the overheated, moist air around the room. The dread had risen up, a nausea twisting her gut and making her afraid she would vomit. And then had come the numbness, a dull tingling throughout her body that precluded movement, stripping her of coherent thought.

They stood above her. Faces she had trusted, faces she had seen before, around her neighborhood. The man she and her friends had had a crush on. He used to drive by her little house on Ohio Street in his old red Mustang, looking the picture of youth, confidence, masculinity. His hair was dark, cut bristle-brush short, and his face always clean-shaven. Thin lips bordered rows of perfect white teeth, and when he had smiled at her, only hours ago, she had lit up. A tingling had started in her toes and had worked its way up until the color rose to her cheeks. At her young age, the interest of a man in his twenties was inconceivable, although it had been something she had hoped for since the first day she had seen him, back at the onset of summer, when the sun had turned white-hot, burning up the grass and making illusory waves rise from the hot, cracked sidewalks.

He had pulled to the curb and sat there, car idling. She sat in the front yard, sorting through Barbie clothes: ball gowns and swimming suits, miniskirts and stretch pants. He didn’t say anything, not right away. She had looked at him once, then looked away, certain his interest could never be in her. Suddenly she felt ridiculous with her metal trunk, her Barbie dolls, and all the outfits she had once been so proud to collect. Swiftly, she returned the clothes to their case and slammed it shut.

She leaned back, resting on her palms, and lifted her face to the sun. Its heat beat down relentlessly, making the skin on her face feel tight.

She felt his eyes on her still. She opened her own eyes a crack and regarded him peripherally. He really was looking at her! The adorable little smile that caused a dimple to rise in his right cheek deepened in the sun’s play of shadow and light. She leaned back more, left hand reaching out to surreptitiously move the Barbie trunk farther away. In this posture, here on the withered and brown grass, she felt that her breasts, little more than two tiny bumps an unkind boy at school had once referred to as her anthills, looked larger. She could be eighteen, couldn’t she? With the right makeup and her hair pulled up….

But now her long blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail, clipped with a pink plastic barrette. She wore a pair of cutoff shorts and an oversized South Park T-shirt belonging to her older brother. He would have killed her had he known she was wearing it. But he was away at the Y’s summer camp and would never know the difference.

The idling of the car was like an animal purring.

And then the sun disappeared, and she sat in darkness. Beneath her closed lids, she sensed someone standing over her.

Why hadn’t she heard the slam of the car door? Her eyelids fluttered, but she did not open them. It would be just like her mother to come outside now and stand above her, hands on hips, and ask her what she thought she was doing.

“Lucy?”

Finally, she opened her eyes and blinked at the brightness of the August day. He was smiling. So unlike the other guys in Fawcettville, he was dressed in pressed black slacks and a collarless white shirt, buttoned to his neck.

“How did you know my name?”

“Oh, I make it my business to know the names of all the pretty young ladies around here.”

Lucy felt the heat rise to her face once more. She grinned and could not think of a single word to say.

“Playing Barbie?”

She shoved the case farther away, until it was completely out of her grasp. The case lay in the white heat, glinting, looking, she hoped, as if it had nothing to do with her.

“What? Oh…no, no. These are my little sister’s. She always makes such a mess of things, and I was just organizing for her.”

“What a good sister.”

“Yeah, well…”

The two said nothing for a while, and Lucy began to grow uncomfortable under his gaze. She shifted her long, tanned legs in front of her, crossing them at the ankle.

“I was driving by and saw you sitting there, and I had to tell you”—he hunkered down beside her—“what a lovely sight you are. It made me stop just to have a better look.”

She laughed and thought she sounded way too much like the thirteen-year-old she was. “Thank you,” she whispered, wondering where her voice had gone.

“No, thank you, for being here, for making the heat of this day a little more pleasant.”

Oh, stop! she wanted to cry out but whispered again, “Thank you.”

He leaned closer, enough for her to feel his breath near her ear. In spite of the day’s heat, his nearness caused gooseflesh to rise on her arms, her spine to tingle.

“Listen.” He glanced around the empty street with eyes like none she had ever seen: green, ringed with thick black lashes. And in his gaze was a conspiracy that included only the two of them. “My car has air-conditioning. I know this is out of the blue and all, but I wondered if you’d like to go for a ride with me.”

Lucy glanced back at her house. She wished suddenly she lived in a bigger house, in a better neighborhood. Here on this modest residential street close to the river, her small white clapboard house was surrounded by other houses very much like it, some of them covered in rusting aluminum siding. She pictured her mother inside, on a vinyl-covered kitchen chair, watching All My Children on a thirteen-inch portable TV on the Formica-topped kitchen table. Her mother, she knew, would never approve of what was transpiring here, right in her front yard.

He stood suddenly. “Okay, okay. I get the message.”

“Wait.” She sat up straighter. A pickup rumbled by and left in its wake a smell of exhaust and a rush of hot air.

He turned. “What? Need to get your mom’s permission?”

“Of course not!” Her voice came out higher than she would have liked, the whiny protest of a child. She stood. “I’d like to come with you. But I can’t stay out too long.” She was about to say “My mom will be worried” but realized how immature that would sound. “I’ve got some people I have to meet in a little while.”

He smiled. And the smile erased any nervousness she had about going with him. After all, she had seen him around the neighborhood dozens of times. He wasn’t exactly a stranger, not really.

“That’s fine, Lucy. I’ll have you back within an hour. I promise. I certainly wouldn’t want to get off on the wrong foot with you.” He winked, and she followed him to the waiting car.

My Review:
Cayce D’Amico is a mid-20s out gay man in a Fawcettville, Pennsylvania raising his son Luke. It’s a tiny town deteriorating in the wake of most of the industry drying up. In this community there aren’t any real dangers except kids falling into the swift moving Ohio River and drowning. One afternoon, while Cayce is making dinner, Luke wanders out of the yard. In fear of a coming storm, Cayce combs the neighborhood looking for the boy. And, in the woods near the edge of the street, Cayce is hit in the head by a branch when a sudden bolt of lightning strikes.

About the same time, two young and beautiful people are convincing 13 y/o Lucy to step off her front lawn into their Mustang in the same neighborhood. Lucy doesn’t make it home.

Waking in the hospital, Cayce is mystified by the insights he gets off the people in direct contact with him. And, when he is handed a newspaper that features his own accident also describes mission Lucy. The dread builds within as Cayce reads the story and “sees” poor Lucy in her last moments with her killers. He’s terrified and horrified when the visions don’t quit. Especially when a second Fawcettville girl goes missing.

This is a realistic thriller with the paranormal angle of Cayce’s newly-developed third sight. He clings to local reporter Dave Newton. Dave is an older man who’s faced his own demons and mostly has his head on right. The story point of view flips between many characters as we learn the grisly details even through the eyes of one of the killers. Cayce’s attempts to get rid of his visions lead his to confide in local law enforcement, Dave Newton and the victim’s families. For all his earnestness, he’s not taken seriously and he decides to keep his mouth shut. Until Lucy’s desperate mother pleads for a break in their case.

Cayce’s assistance shines a spotlight on his abilities and puts this the killers on his trail.

It’s an interesting and timely thriller, with good pacing and fully fleshed-out characters. We see the dark and seedy interior of Fawcettville families on the edge. We see the not-so-silent prejudice of Cayce’s own mother–who doesn’t think he’s a good father to Luke. Cayce, for his part, is a devoted dad and a lonely man. He doesn’t have a lot of folks in his corner, but he’s going to turn over Heaven and Earth when Luke becomes a target. Luckily, Dave Newton is right there by his side. I was turning the pages as fast as I could, so I would finish this story before bedtime. I HAD to finish this before bed because I couldn’t bear to try and sleep while the dark horror of the prose was rattling around in my brain. There was a tiny niggle for me regarding the timeline, where I thought there was some disconnect. Other than that, I was riveted. There is a dash of romance–attraction that’s fueled by the intense moments of shared terror. Dave accepts Cayce’s new gift as it is, and tries to be a helper to him in his hours of need.

There are real gruesome bits, and it’s not all about the murders and dead bodies. Cayce does save the day for some folks, and the epilogue makes it clear that there is a happily ever after for Cayce and Dave. As a person who doesn’t deal well with horror/thriller well, I am glad to say I slept well after the read.

Interested? You can find THIRD EYE on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and Kobo.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 Amazon GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at http://www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

Catch up with Rick on his website, Facebook, twitter and Instagram.

Unexpectedly Loving a SINGLE WHITE INCUBUS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M contemporary paranormal romance from EJ Russell. If you aren’t from Illinois/the Chicago area, you may not know it, but today is Casimir Pulaski Day–a celebration of the life of a Polish general from the American Revolutionary War. As we have a large Polish population, we often take off the first Monday in March to celebrate this hero…and I spent the day working. (Teachers have the most homework!!) Anywho, This book has a Casimir in it, so I thought I’d finally post a review since I read it a few months ago and I totally loved it. SINGLE WHITE INCUBUS is the first book in the Supernatural Selection series that follows supes of all types finding love through a witch=run online matchmaking service. It all started with CUTIE AND THE BEAST. THE DRUID NEXT DOOR and BAD BOY’S BARD, but this book is a fun spin-off.

About the book:
Does a bear shift in the woods?
Well, partially. That was what got grizzly shifter Ted Farnsworth into trouble. He wasn’t trying to break the Secrecy Pact. He just wants people to see the real him. So he signs up with the mate-matching service Supernatural Selection — which guarantees marriage to a perfect partner. Not only will Ted never be lonely again, but once his new beaver shifter husband arrives, they’ll build Ted’s dream wilderness retreat together. Win-win.

Quentin Bertrand-Harrington, scion of an incubus dynasty, has abstained from sex since nearly killing his last lover. When his family declares it’s time for him to marry, Quentin decides the only way not to murder his partner is to pick someone who’s already dead. Supernatural Selection finds him the ideal vampire, and Quentin signs the marriage agreement sight unseen.

But a mix-up at Supernatural Selection contracts Quentin with Ted. What’s Ted supposed to do with an art historian who knows more about salad forks than screwdrivers? And how can Quentin resist Ted’s mouthwatering life force? Yet as they work together to untangle their inconvenient union, they begin to wonder if their unexpected match might be perfect after all.

My Review:
Quentin Bertrand-Harrington is a wealthy celibate incubus looking for a mate, now that his mother has declared it necessary for him to marry. But, he’s terrified of harming another potential lover. His incubus power drains his lovers, and if he gets carried away it could turn one into a husk–so he thinks it best to find an undead lover of the same station. Casimir Moreau, an unmatched vampire of some renown, seems to be a perfect match, as guaranteed by the Supernatural Selection Agency.

Quentin takes a suppressor to dull his incubi urges, and he doses up in preparation for the cross-country flight from his Boston home to Portland, Oregon. He’s so out of it, he doesn’t know that the binding marriage contracts he signed were changed at the last moment, but he does find out rather quickly after being dropped off in the middle of a forest on the doorstep of his unexpected husband, Ted Farnsworth.

Ted is a grizzly shifter, and not too quick on the uptake. He’s not okay with what he suspects was Quentin’s interference. What good is a city-wise art historian out in the woods? Ted had been expecting to marry an industrious non-shifting beaver named Rusty. Rusty might not turn into a beaver, but he has a gift with wood, and construction. Ted wanted Rusty to help him finish a rental vacation lodge for other supes as a business they could run together.

He treats Quentin rather shabbily, and needs to reach out to the only people he trusts to help: Dr. Kendrick, his therapist, and David, Kendrick’s healer husband. These are characters from CUTIE AND THE BEAST, and they make some fun cameos. Ted and Quentin are officially married, even if the plan is to break their bond and unite with the original supes they were paired with. Only, it’ll take a month to get this managed, on account of the witches’ spell needing to take place in a certain phase of the moon. In the meantime, David helps Quentin to see that his chemical suppressors are actually toxic to him. Out in the woods, it’s less likely that Quentin will stumble upon a naive victim for his hunger–and once he and Ted agree to have some sexytimes, Quentin’s more healthy than he has been in years.

This is a charming odd-couple romance, with all sorts of zany characters, and fun adventures. Ted is a bear of a man, who’s also subject to fits of grizzly temper. The first part is attractive to Quentin, while the temper needs to be tamed. I liked how these guys fit each other so perfectly, both helping the other through the hard parts of their lives. While they originally thought it was imperative to manage a quickie divorce, they soon fall for one another. Should they go against the original match? Or, did the magic make a last-second switch for all the right reasons? Their choices sway the situation in favor of true love, and it works out to a very happy ending.

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

About the Author:
E.J. Russell writes romance in a rainbow of flavors — from M/F stories grounded in absurd contemporary reality to M/M tales splashed with the supernatural — but you can be sure that while the couple makes their way to HEA, they’ll never stray too far into the dark.

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

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Reality Shattered: CUTIE AND THE BEAST-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a recently published M/M paranormal romance from EJ RUSSELL. I’ve reviewed CLICKBAIT, a contemporary romance, from this author before, but I first read and reviewed her ghosthunting romances on Joyfully Jay, so I was eager to check out her new Fae out of Water series, beginning with CUTIE AND THE BEAST. It’s a snarky Beauty and the Beast meets Fae legends, and I really enjoyed it.

About the book:
Temp worker David Evans has been dreaming of Dr. Alun Kendrick ever since that one transcription job for him, because holy cats, that voice. Swoon. So when his agency offers him a position as Dr. Kendrick’s temporary office manager, David neglects to mention that he’s been permanently banished from offices. Because, forgiveness? Way easier than permission.

Alun Kendrick, former Queen’s Champion of Faerie’s Seelie Court, takes his job as a psychologist for Portland’s supernatural population extremely seriously. Secrecy is paramount: no non-supe can know of their existence. So when a gods-bedamned human shows up to replace his office manager, he intends to send the man packing. It shouldn’t be difficult—in the two hundred years since he was cursed, no human has ever failed to run screaming from his hideous face.

But cheeky David isn’t intimidated, and despite himself, Alun is drawn to David in a way that can only spell disaster: when fae consort with humans, it never ends well. And if the human has secrets of his own? The disaster might be greater than either of them could ever imagine.

My Review:
David Evans is a nothing-special kind of guy who loves his dear aunt–the woman who raised him–and works as hard as he can to support her, especially as she is ill. Trouble is, though he’s a fantastic assistant and office keeper, he can’t seem to keep a position. He’s been doing off-site transcription, but it doesn’t pay all the bills, so he takes advantage of the one opportunity he’s given: temp work for Dr. Alun Kendrick. David heard Dr. Kendrick’s voice once, for a transcription, but it did seriously naughty things for David. He can’t wait to meet the man in person!

Alun Kendrick is a cursed Fae. Years ago his lover, a type of rare healing Fae, was murdered and he’s never forgiven himself. His punishment for not being there to save his beloved is a horrifying facial disfigurement that startles nearly everyone. Still, he works a a counselor to supernatural beings who find his grotesque appearance to be disarming enough to allow themselves to be vulnerable and accepting of treatment.

Alun isn’t prepared for his temp assistant to be human, and he’s outraged that the placement agency sent David, despite him being a sunny, beautiful, thoughtful young man and conscientious employee. Alun tries to find fault in David’s colorful adjustments to his office and solicitous treatment of his clients, but David’s seeming missteps actually result in inadvertent breakthroughs for several of the supers that come in for counseling. And, Alun’s not been tempted to find sexual pleasure since his last lover was killed, nearly two hundred years before. That David turns his crank to eleven? It cripples Alun.

Unfortunately, there’s unrest in the Fae realm and David’s help is needed to assist Alun to return and set things to rights–and that brings on a whole new series of problems. David, unknown even to himself, is harboring a secret of his true self and this results in worsening of the conflict. Not to mention David becoming a target for the worst elements of the Fae.

There’s really a lot going on here, and I’m only scratching the surface plot lines. It’s a sweet and engaging story with a tender romance that is born from David’s ability to see Alun’s true heart beneath the layers of emotional armor and his gruff and misshapen exterior. There’s the tiniest bit of heat, and a slow burn to reach it, but that was fine. I really enjoyed the mismatch of characters, and how David makes himself indispensable to Alun, and his clients. David’s got such a lovely and cheerful way about him, and yet he’s not a pushover. He stands up for so many people, and rolls with the waves of supernatural lore that he finds himself swimming within. There’s lots of comedic elements, and the pace was fantastic. I never felt like I was getting bored, because I constantly wondered: what’s coming next? From helping vampires survive their blood aversion, to teaching young dragons to hoard, David’s patient and caring attitude wins over everyone, including Alun, in time. Fun fact: Alun’s one of three brothers, and it looks like the other two will have their own love-story books in this new series. I’m looking forward to reading on!

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

About the Author:
E.J. Russell writes romance in a rainbow of flavors — from M/F stories grounded in absurd contemporary reality to M/M tales splashed with the supernatural — but you can be sure that while the couple makes their way to HEA, they’ll never stray too far into the dark.

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

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Championing Women AHE-EY: Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a supernatural epic from Jamie Le Fay. AHE’EY had been published as a serial, but is now collected into one epic book for her readers to enjoy. It’s a little bit angel, a little bit mortal and a lotta bit confrontational.

Catch my review below and be sure to enter the book giveaway, too!

About the book:
Morgan’s feminist books didn’t prepare her to deal with the dashing Gabriel and the land of Ahe’ey.
Morgan is a dreamer, change maker and art lover. She is a feisty, slightly preachy, romantic feminist full of contradictions and insecurities. Morgan uncovers a world where women have the power, and where magic is no longer just a figment of her wild imagination. Sounds like a dream, but it may, in fact, turn into a nightmare.

The world of the Ahe’ey challenges and subverts her views about gender, genes, and nature versus nurture.

The strong and uninvited chemistry between her and the dashing Gabriel makes matters even more complicated. His stunning looks keep short-circuiting her rational mind.

How about a little taste?

“What do you want from me, Ange’el?”

“Your warriors, they can help secure the area. It’s just for a couple of hours.”

Are you out of your mind? Has Viviane heard about this? My warriors protect our people from those who threaten our security,” she spoke decisively.

He adjusted his tone, trying to reason with her. Silk and honey flowed from his voice and his eyes. “Sky, we were once—”

“Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare!” She leaned in, speaking to his face. Her hand squeezed the hilt of her sword. She gritted her teeth, responding to his silence. “Where were you when we battled the Hu’urei for over twenty years? Where was the powerful prince of Ange’el as my warriors died in the battlefield, crushed by the dragons? Why would I risk the safety of Ahe’ey to respond to the whims of a spoiled coward? Go back to your rich city penthouse Ange’el. You don’t belong here.” Her eyes and her words were razor-sharp spears.

“Please. Sky.”

She mounted the horse and galloped away.

His guilty conscience endured her justified anger and her hate for him. He wore her wrath as a reminder of his weakness, of his betrayal. He gave Sky her rage, and he would suffer it for the rest of their lives. The tension between their roles at Ahe’ey only worsened their frail and fractured relationship. Their agendas were different. She was ultimately responsible for the security of the people of Ahe’ey, and within its borders she was as powerful as the queen and king. She was to be obeyed and rarely needed her mighty army to enforce her orders. Gabriel worked to hide any clues of Ahe’ey’s existence from the humans. In parallel, he sponsored and lobbied for technological and political progress so that Ahe’ey’s secrets could one day be disclosed.

My Review:
Morgan is a super woman of her own making unawares that she’s descended from a superrace that still dwells on Earth. She’s captivated and flummoxed by Gabriel, a man of that race who lives among humanity. As Morgan learns more about this world-within-a-world she gains power she hadn’t expected. And, maybe, finds love.

AHE’EY is an epic fantasy about superbeings who live amongst us human on Earth, told from myriad viewpoints that jump in and out of the mortal realm on Earth. That’s normally a good thing, for me, because it means I’m always in the center of the action as a reader. However, the verbose descriptions between the human realm and the Ahe’ey were exhausting. The complete collection here was about 200,000 words, and I think we could have done without a third of them. Plus, honestly, I was put off by the mundanity of it all. When I’m reading Fantasy, I want to be transported. I don’t want the dialogue to sound like a contemporary YA/MG story.

The battles between the castes seemed forced, and the “drama” of this life-and-death arrangement also didn’t make sense to me. I’m not a big women’s studies genre reader, because I’m all about the romance, and this didn’t draw me to the cause, I must say. It felt very formulaic, and I didn’t connect with any of the myriad characters as a result. The pace bogged, like I mentioned, with large chunks of dense description which damped my interest right quick. The lackluster dialogue sealed Ahe-ey’s fate, for me.

I jumped on this book based on the recommendations, but I wasn’t in love with the execution. I think, for people who really love Fantasy and descriptive literature, you might find this intriguing.

Interested? You can find AHE’EY on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win one of TWO paperback copies of AHE’EY.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:

Jamie is an accomplished writer and speaker that focuses mainly on topics related to girlhood, feminism, gender equality, and the misrepresentation of minorities in media and marketing.

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

Making Friends With A BOY WORTH KNOWING–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a YA M/M supernatural romance from Jennifer Cosgrove. A BOY WORTH KNOWING features a socially-isolated clairvoyant high school senior, and the new boy in school who befriends him.

Catch the excerpt below and enter to win a free book in the giveaway, too!
About the book:
Ghosts can’t seem to keep their opinions to themselves.

Seventeen-year-old Nate Shaw should know; he’s been talking to them since he was twelve. But they aren’t the only ones making his high school years a living hell. All Nate wants is to keep his secret and keep his head down until he can graduate. That is, until the new boy, James Powell, takes a seat next to him in homeroom. James not only notices him, he manages to work his way into Nate’s life. But James has issues of his own.

Between dead grandmother and living aunt, Nate has to navigate the fact that he’s falling in love with his only friend, all while getting advice from the most unusual places.

Ghosts, bullies, first love: it’s a lot to deal with when you’re just trying to survive senior year.

How about a little taste?

James didn’t bail in the upcoming week. Or the one after. And Horror Movie Sunday seemed to be well on its way to becoming a thing. I’d gotten better at ignoring the ever-present shade of James’s brother, mostly because all of my attention was on James. Yeah, it was bad. Really bad. I was setting myself up for disappointment, but my heart didn’t seem to give a damn what my head said.

That was unbelievably sappy. I had a huge crush on my only friend, and I didn’t know what to do about it except ignore it. Sounded like a plan.

At least at first. I calmed down a bit and kept the awkward at bay as we spent more time together. It became a regular thing to text each other stupid stuff before bedtime, when we’d talk about anything and everything. The regularity of it made the butterflies calm down when I saw him in person during the day.

Then one Saturday, he asked if he could stay over. I didn’t ask why, but I got the impression something had happened at home, and he wasn’t ready to tell me. And I had no idea if I should ask. Was it really my business?

James walked in without knocking—that had gone by the wayside a few weeks before—and plopped down in a kitchen chair. He looked utterly miserable.

“Hey.” God, what had happened? His voice was flat and even his hair looked dejected. Should I say something or let it go? I just wanted to be a good friend.

“Um. Hey.” Very eloquent, Nate. You suck.

James looked up, smiling weakly. The reflection off his glasses made it hard to see his eyes, but they seemed to look okay. Maybe they weren’t as sad as they were a moment before. The smile fell away, but he didn’t look quite as bad as when he’d walked through the door. “Sorry, not having a good day.”

Ask. Don’t ask. Ask. Don’t— Oh, the hell with it. “What’s going on? You want to talk about it?” God, I was terrible at these kinds of situations.

He looked up at me, and for one horrifying moment, I thought he was going to cry. His mouth did a weird crinkly thing that I never wanted to see again. James looked away

and took a few deep breaths, obviously trying to get himself back under control. He took his glasses off and swiped at his eyes with his sleeve. “Sorry.”

I wavered for a few seconds before pulling out the chair across from him and sitting down. Deep breath. “Look, there’s obviously something going on. You don’t have to tell me, but I just want you to know that you can. If you want to.” Where did that come from?

“Nate, I—” He looked down at his hands, picking at the edge of a thumbnail.

A movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention; his brother’s ghost was standing there, looking at me. Expectantly. Like I was supposed to know what to do. I blew out a breath and waited. I wasn’t going to push.

Finally, James gave me a small smile. I breathed a sigh of relief; he wasn’t ready to talk about it, and I wasn’t quite prepared to help him. “No, I’m—I’m good. Thanks again for letting me stay here tonight.”

Relief washed over me. “So, what do you want to do?”

My Review:
Nate Shaw is a high school outcast, ostracized by his schoolmates and his own mother–all because he sees and speaks with ghosts. It’s a lonely life for Nate, living with his aunt and having no friends in his small Ohio town. He’s got a good sense of humor and he’s endearingly sweet, despite his busted heart.

James is a new student and immediately turns to Nate for friendship; the mean girls want a piece of James, but he’s not interested. His family relocated from Cincinnati after James’ brother David was killed in a car wreck. Nate’s intrigued by James, and wary of David’s ghost who clings to James like a glowing shadow. James is a kind boy, who seems to want friendship with Nate, for reasons Nate cannot fathom, but he’s eager to make the most of this opportunity. And it doesn’t hurt that James is good looking, smart and loves old school slasher flicks just like Nate.

Over time, James spends more time at Nate’s home than his own, and he begins to confide in Nate regarding David’s death. Nate feigns surprise, mostly because David had already told him the sordid tale, trying to get Nate to dissuade James from searching for motives and a possible cover-up. He’s a grief-stricken kid, wishing someone besides David was responsible for David’s death. Nate is a great friend to James, and harbors a quiet crush. It’s rather deflating when James starts dating a girl, though. Well, until James learns that Nate is interested.

This is a sweet and mostly innocent YA romance with lots of supernatural elements, because Nate meets several ghosts in the story. I really enjoyed the snappy prose and self-deprecation. Nate’s a survivor of sorts, and totally admirable. James makes some missteps, mostly because he’s oblivious–according to David’s ghost. The characters all come off as decent people, excepting the mean girls and Nate’s ridiculous mother. It was an interesting twist that Nate’s mom kicked him out for speaking with the dead, not his sexuality. That said, it’s a good read with a very happy ending. It’s “mostly” innocent, because James and Nate spend a little bit of time making out, and a very little bit of time exploring each other sexually–like a page or two. It’s all teen appropriate, and the respectful way they treat each other–and the adults treat them–will be appealing for all readers. I really liked this one, and would definitely recommend it for readers who enjoy teen romance, and positive diverse books.

Interested? You can find A BOY WORTH KNOWING on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a book of your choice from Nine Star Press.
Good luck, and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Jennifer Cosgrove has always been a voracious reader and a well-established geek from an early age. She loves comics, movies, and anything that tells a compelling story. When not writing, she likes knitting, dissecting/arguing about movies with her husband, and enjoying the general chaos that comes with having kids.

Catch up with Jennifer online on her website, twitter, and Goodreads.

Making Love UNBREAKABLE–Release Day Review

banner-unbreakableHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new YA supernatural romance from Kallie Ross. UNBREAKABLE is the first book in a new series that features all sorts of supernatural entities in a battle for humanity.

Check out the excerpt below and be sure to enter the arrow-themed jewelry giveaway, too!

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About UNBREAKABLE (The Cupids Chronicles #1):
Dying for the love of your life…
Evelyn Bowden thought her story was over. Little did she realize, it had just begun.
The heavens made her a Cupid– a supernatural with the rarest ability. One that allows her to pierce both mortals and immortals with arrows possessing everlasting love. But Evelyn soon discovers Cupids fight a battle in a long fought war.

A duty to protect the purest form of love…
As Evelyn embarks on her first mission, helping a Gargoyle find his true love, she is exposed to the blurred battle lines between light and darkness. While an unknown threat proves it’s willing to do anything to get their hands on Evelyn and her arrows, the heavens send Andel Lambros to help protect her. She finds herself at risk of being distracted by her former mentor, Andel, a stunning Cupid with dimples hard to ignore.

Missing her mark could lead to a supernatural war…
Having no idea how powerful she is, Evelyn is forced to put everything on the line as she balances the fate of the world on the tip of her arrow. But will love conquer all once she hits her mark, or will all be lost in the end?

How about a little taste?

“Don’t make this all about you.” Evelyn shoved another spoonful of ice cream in her mouth. “Don’ ge meh wrong, ihithabouoo. Buh—” Swallowing down her bite, Evelyn squinted her eyes shut and placed a hand on her temple. “Brain freeze,” she explained, standing and walking to the kitchen.

Andel’s head tilted to one side as he watched her throw the empty cardboard container away. Roscoe would be showing up for his dating lesson soon, and Evelyn needed to compartmentalize so she didn’t end up taking her frustration out on the Gargoyles.

“I’m sorry, Evelyn. Whatever I’ve done to upset you, please forgive me.”

Her spoon clanged in the sink, “How about I’ll forgive you if you tell me what you did wrong?” Evelyn made her way back to the couch, laying herself across the cushions like she needed therapy.

“I’m fairly sure you are upset I scheduled dinner with Jane and Kendrick during Roscoe’s first date.”

Keeping her composure, Evelyn looked Andel square in the eye and told him, “You’re danish right, I’m upset.”

Her pastry slip was proof enough of her anger, but she’d remained in control of her volume. Andel hadn’t asked Evelyn what she wanted to do during Roscoe and Sydney’s date. And after her surprise visit from Kalan, her nerves were fried. Evelyn wanted to be able to make the call for herself as far as where she’d be tomorrow night. She also wanted to decide for herself if she’d give the fairies her arrows. Maybe she’d keep her run-in with Kalan to herself for now.

“I’ll call Jane now and cancel the dinner.”

“You have her number?” Evelyn sat up and narrowed her eyes. She shook her head, clearing it. Why should Andel having Jane’s number matter? “No. Don’t cancel it. It was hard enough to convince her to come in the first place.”

“Are you sure?”

Knock, knock.

“Yes,” Evelyn grumbled as she went to answer the door. Roscoe’s arrival would at least keep Andel from asking any more questions. She could tell he had picked up that something else was bothering her, but luckily, she had planned Roscoe’s dating lessons for after work.

As Roscoe and Leo entered the apartment, Andel made himself scarce and took a seat in a chair at the edge of the room. Roscoe wore snappy attire, including a bowtie, while Leo had pushed the sleeves of his Henley up to his elbows. The two were complete opposites. Leo had made himself comfortable on the couch, and Roscoe stood at the window waiting for instructions.

“I’m glad you came, Leo. I may need your help tomorrow night.” Evelyn stood next to Roscoe. “You’ll be on awkward-moment patrol.” She patted Roscoe’s shoulder. “Now that I think about it, this will be perfect. You can circle overhead and stay out of sight, but if Roscoe needs help, you can run interference.” Leo’s eyes widened in excitement. “Not literally, but, you have super-hearing, right?”

Leo nodded.

“If you hear or see anything going wrong, you can come get me.”

A grin spread over Leo’s face. “Considering who we’re talking about here,” Leo waved in Roscoe’s direction. “What constitutes wrong?”

“We’ll work on identifying that as we go, so pay attention.” Evelyn faced Roscoe and reached up, tucking a piece of his curly hair behind his ear, but Roscoe flinched.

“Relax.” Evelyn stepped closer. “You’re going to have to get used to being close to Sydney. If she’s like every other girl on the planet, she’ll want you to hold her hand and put your arm around her.”

Evelyn let her arm brush against Roscoe’s. He sucked in air but didn’t budge. He froze. Evelyn couldn’t let Roscoe fail. She had started to like him. She wanted him to find love. She wanted Sydney to find love, too, and if it happened to be with Roscoe, then, bonus. She’d do everything in her power to help them have the chance they deserved.

Roscoe relaxed his fists at his sides. “Okay, I’ll work on that.”

“Good.” Evelyn ran her finger slowly down Roscoe’s arm. “How about we start with the end of the date, then?”

Leo whistled, and in the corner of Evelyn’s vision, she noticed Andel shift in his chair. She wasn’t really going to do anything, but if Roscoe had really loosened up, he wouldn’t curl up into the fetal position when they addressed a good night kiss.

My Review:
This is the first in a YA paranormal/supernatural romance series.

Evelyn is a 20 y/o woman who died saving her true love, Tate. In the afterlife she’s recruited to be a Cupid, responsible for securing true love matches by shooting through two deeply connected partners. Evelyn’s special in that her arrows can affect supernatural beings, not just mortals. Being trained by experienced Cupid Andel helps her learn a lot about Cupidry, and the long history of issues between Beings of the Lux (Light beings) and the Nox (Dark ones).

On her first big mission, she’s supposed to help a gargoyle find his true love, but it’s not quite so easy. In the process, Evelyn’s approached by a Rogue Cupid who can bend arrows and pollute them into lethal weapons. He’s there to warm Evelyn that her skills will be suborned by the Elders, and she should run while she can.

It’s a bit of a muddle really. I kind of expected this big dramatic boiling point build-up regarding Evelyn’s work with her gargoyle target, but it was undercut by Evelyn falling into a depression over her lack of a relationship with Andel… Plus, everyone’s freaking out about her and Andel getting too close, and how it could backfire and turn Evelyn from a Luz into a Nox. If that happens, it could spark a war–Evelyn is told. Thing is, I really never got the full sense of this, mostly because Evelyn is perhaps the most impatient being on Earth or in Heaven, and she continually cut off Andel, and others, when they tried to teach her.

The Rogue Cupids want her, though, and if she doesn’t cement the Cupid-Gargoyle pact the Cupids might be on their own against a new supernatural army. That’s a good part, actually, getting the true love match for a prominent gargoyle, yet it short-circuits with some giant randomness that features a missing King of the Fairies. In hindsight, I should have expected it. We do get some resolution, though mostly incidental. The book ending kicks off a whole new adventure–otherwise known as a cliffhanger–where Evelyn must confront the Rogue Cupids to save Andel.

I never quite connected to this one, mostly because I had trouble getting into it, and then tracking the many points of view and huge turns in the story. It’s really a creative book, with lots of supernatural and mythological connections, but the irregular switches from one character’s thought to another was problematic for me. Also, I felt like I’d jumped into the second book of a series, based on references the characters made. It was only after I finished did I find the prequel novella at the end of the book…which would have been better to read from the start. Plus, I suppose I didn’t get the whole ‘love coach’ aspect of Cupidry; Evelyn interacts with her marks, helping them to build a bond before she strikes with an arrow, which seemed cool but way counter to my own expectations.

It’s a clean read with some nice touchstone moments, but the story isn’t as developed as it needed to be. With all the mystery and adventure, the peril was mostly mild and vague. The ticking clock was also vague, as were the ramifications of failure. The emotional moments were the only parts that made sense, and they were rather decent and easy to imagine. I guess I needed more of those to be satisfied, but still, the adventure was why I’d pick up the book. I’ve not read a book about Cupids, and this world has lots of witches, warlocks, gargoyles and fairies. There was talk of succubi, weres and vamps, though I didn’t see any on the page.

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

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win some arrow-themed jewelry!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

krossAbout the Author:
Writing unique adventures with heart. Kallie Ross has a passion for writing that has become an adventure in itself. She desires to create unique young adult fiction that incorporates legend, conjecture, fantasy, and conviction.

In addition to loving her life as a writer, Kallie adores being a wife, mother, friend, and teacher. She began her creative journey with books, a blog, podcast, and lots of caffeine. Ross never imagined her own adventure would be filled with so many wonderful people or words!

Catch up with Kallie online on her website, Facebook, twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!
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Cover Reveal for UNBREAKABLE!

banner-unbreakableHi there! I’m excited to share a cover for an new YA supernatural romance coming soon from Kallie Ross. UNBREAKABLE is the first book in a new series that features all sorts of supernatural entities in a battle for humanity.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00071]
About UNBREAKABLE (The Cupids Chronicles #1):
Dying for the love of your life…
Evelyn Bowden thought her story was over. Little did she realize, it had just begun.
The heavens made her a Cupid– a supernatural with the rarest ability. One that allows her to pierce both mortals and immortals with arrows possessing everlasting love. But Evelyn soon discovers Cupids fight a battle in a long fought war.

A duty to protect the purest form of love…
As Evelyn embarks on her first mission, helping a Gargoyle find his true love, she is exposed to the blurred battle lines between light and darkness. While an unknown threat proves it’s willing to do anything to get their hands on Evelyn and her arrows, the heavens send Andel Lambros to help protect her. She finds herself at risk of being distracted by her former mentor, Andel, a stunning Cupid with dimples hard to ignore.

Missing her mark could lead to a supernatural war…
Having no idea how powerful she is, Evelyn is forced to put everything on the line as she balances the fate of the world on the tip of her arrow. But will love conquer all once she hits her mark, or will all be lost in the end?

Interested? You can find UNBREAKABLE on Goodreads and pre-order it in advance of it’s November 14th release on Amazon.

krossAbout the Author:
Writing unique adventures with heart. Kallie Ross has a passion for writing that has become an adventure in itself. She desires to create unique young adult fiction that incorporates legend, conjecture, fantasy, and conviction.

In addition to loving her life as a writer, Kallie adores being a wife, mother, friend, and teacher. She began her creative journey with books, a blog, podcast, and lots of caffeine. Ross never imagined her own adventure would be filled with so many wonderful people or words!

Catch up with Kallie online on her website, Facebook, twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!
InkSlinger PR Blogger Banner - New

Their Love is HEARTBORN–Review and Giveaway!

Heart Born Blog Tour Banner
Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary YA supernatural romance-ish novel from Terry Maggert. HEARTBORN is a book where angels not only exist, they’re ready to rule. And humans they save may return the favor.

Be sure to drop below and enter to win a $25 GC in the giveaway.

Book Cover - HeartbornAbout the book:
Her guardian angel was pushed.

Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where there violence and deceit are just around every corner.

His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival.

Until Keiron arrives.

In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice.

Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

My Review:
Livvy is a seventeen year old girl with a congenital heart defect that keeps her just healthy enough to not be hospitalized. She works in a library, inexplicably, despite the seemingly intense struggle to simply walk to and from her post at the information desk.

Keiron is an angel on Earth. Literally. His mission is to find and save Livvy. Because reasons. He does find her, and pretends he’s human to befriend this nearly-friendless human girl. They even share a few chaste kisses that pretty much leave Livvy swooning, or maybe that dizziness was simply her heart being overtaxed. Meanwhile, Keiron’s family is preparing for battle. His elder brother has been accused of Keiron’s murder, and his parents are standing trial in what’s little more than a thinly-disguised power grab by an ancient angelic council. Battle looms and Livvy’s heart is growing weaker. Good thing Keiron is there to save the day….

I really felt like this was a tale of two books. It’s a supernatural romance, of sorts, with angels and humans. Many of the chapters relate the angelic host and the fight to come once Keiron falls to Earth on his quest to save Livvy. The parts with Livvy on Earth are pedestrian and tired. I had about a million questions regarding Livvy and her job, and why? What’s up with her heart condition? Why is she working? What are Heartborn, and what is their purpose?  Where are her parents? Why so many convenient mean people? And, who are these weirdos in the library?

The pacing of the story is slowed with flamboyant descriptions of setting and backstory and characters that set a very grand stage, yet the resolution comes far too quickly. And, it’s a confusing resolution. Livvy is a girl that lots of stuff happens to, and her passivity as a character made it hard for me to relate. Keiron seems like a great guy, and I’m pretty unhappy how things turned out for him. I’m also not clear on a good bit of what happened. At some point all the library people seemed to turn into her medical team, so was the library an illusion? Or, was she constantly monitored by some mystical watch team. I don’t know. I’m not really sure. Too many questions, too few answers, and that’s kind of frustrating. Ultimately, my problem was with the slow reveal of motivation and plot, and when information was finally given, the picture still felt incomplete, to me.

In short, it’s a winding fantasy with a lot of stuff that happens, but no clear reason for much of it. Lots and lots of coincidence, or perhaps just plain illusions that felt mostly contrived and stereotypical. I liked the scenes in “Heaven” best, but understood them the least. Go figure. I expect there’s another book, because Livvy ascends to the Heavens to help fight the angelic war, powered by the love and sacrifice of Keiron. Readers who like metaphysical books will enjoy HEARTBORN more than I did.

Interested? You can find HEARTBORN on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About Author Terry Maggert:
I discovered fishing shortly after walking, a boon, considering I lived in South Florida. After a brief move to Kentucky, my family trekked back to the Sunshine State. I had the good fortune to attend high school in idyllic upstate New York, where I learned about a mythical substance known as “Seasons”. After two or three failed attempts at college, I bought a bar. That was fun because I love beer, but, then, I eventually met someone smarter than me (a common event), and, in this case, she married me and convinced me to go back to school–which I did, with enthusiasm. I earned a Master’s Degree in History and rediscovered my love for writing. My novels explore dark fantasy, immortality, and the nature of love as we know it. I live near Nashville, Tennessee, with the aforementioned wife, son, and herd, and, when I’m not writing, I teach history, grow wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restore my 1967 Mustang.

You can catch up with Terry on his website, Facebook, twitter, Goodreads and YouTube.

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True Love For An ANGEL UNDONE–Excerpt and Review

Angel Undone BannerHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new supernatural M/M romance from Leta Blake. ANGEL UNDONE features a disenchanted archangel who unexpectedly falls for a closeted Jew.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00050]About the book:
The Archangel Michael is tired. He fought wars and shoved his brother Lucifer out of heaven all before the Dark Ages rolled around. His role as protector of Israel now encompasses all of humanity, and while he performs his job perfectly, there’s little personal joy in it.

Until one night in a bar when he meets Asher.

Michael isn’t sure what it is about the vulnerable, self-deprecating Asher that calls to him, but something about the restrained depths of Asher, his gentle smiles and encyclopedic knowledge of flowers, tugs at Michael in a way that can’t be denied. Too bad romance isn’t part of his mission.

Facing an eternity of perfect submission to God’s authority, rebellion stirs in Michael. Questions of free will, angelic vocation, and the role of love and lust demand answers that just might cost Michael his place in heaven.

How about a little taste?

Angel wings aren’t easy to fold into the shape of human scapulae, but Michael is accustomed to the strain and hardly breaks a sweat. He forces the long primaries to bend into the upper wing coverts, and then, in moves like feathered origami, he tucks it all in again, before smoothing them under flawless human skin.

He glances in the modest hotel room’s bathroom mirror and pulls on the dark brown shirt that will set off his eyes, before running a hand through his blond, curly hair. The light of his angelic grace glows from his pores, too bright to escape notice, and with a small exertion of will he tamps it back.

Though human form is confining and uncomfortable, the time has long passed when dropping down in a blaze of angelic righteousness was appropriate. Now covert operations pay the dividends of souls delivered from jeopardy. Even if Michael’s skin feels too tight, and his wings are already aching, protection is his business and discomfort is a small sacrifice.

After tightening the laces on the leather, soft-soled Clarks he keeps for nights of trawling the Mercy Street bars, he kneels by the sliding glass door to the balcony and looks up at the stars. It’s a fallacy that heaven is up there somewhere. Heaven is everywhere all at once, and yet when Michael dons human skin, he finds his eyes drawn to the sky when he prays.

He rises. Time to go.

My Review:
Michael is a protector of man, walking the Earth and fulfilling what acts of kindness and mercy he can, based on his directives from God. He’s done this a long time, and finds his joy is fleeting. In short, he’s lonely.

One evening, he’s sent to find Asher, a lonely closeted gay man who has never acted on his urges, out of respect for his devout and homophobic parents. The time they spend together fulfills Michael in a way he hasn’t been in centuries. He is supposed to only assist Asher to feel goo about himself, but Michael can’t leave it for one night only. He seeks out Asher again and again.

As they build a relationship, Michael struggles to keep his activities from God, and fears of being cast down, like Lucifer. Would it be so bad? To gain to love of his human, at the risk of losing his connection to God?

This is a sweet and tender novella, with really interesting existential questions. I liked how Michael had a real dilemma, and an untrustworthy confidant who *may* have the answers. Is Asher’s love a test? Or, a gift?

There’s a few yummy sexytimes, and an angel who does his best to love a human, even when it’s a bit of a disaster. Asher is so earnest, and compassionate, and he falls hard for Michael, even as he learns Michael’s big secrets. Asher and Michael are good for each other, and the story ends with an HEA.

Interested? You can find ANGEL UNDONE on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, AllRomance , and Smashwords.

About the Author:
Author of the best-selling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

You can find out more on her website, Facebook and twitter.

IndiGo

Heart and Soul: DAMNED IF YOU DO-A Review

Hi there! Today I want to share a review for a sweet supernatural M/M romance from Marie Sexton. You know I adored WINTER ORANGES, so I had to go back for another of her tales. DAMNED IF YOU DO is a story of a devil (or demon, whatevs) in danger of being demoted if he doesn’t harvest some souls. And, man it’s a problem when he falls for the guy whose soul he’s determined to collect.

Damned If You DoAbout the book:
The path to temptation is paved with a hellish amount of paperwork.
Soul acquisition is a drag, but if Abaddon doesn’t catch up on his quota, he could be demoted to scooping poop for the Hounds of Hell. With a deadline hanging over him, he heads for the Bible Belt, looking for the perfect combination of sweetness and challenge.

Seth is a blind musician, part of a traveling tent revival. He’s cute, mystically talented, and quotes the Bible at every turn. His soul is pure enough to fill Abaddon’s quota for months to come, and Abaddon is determined to claim it.

The problem? There’s the revival foreman who watches Abaddon’s every move. Then there’s the mystery of Seth’s many unusual talents. Lastly, there’s Abaddon himself. He’s beginning to like Seth a bit too much. Maybe Seth deserves something better than damnation.

But Hell’s agenda isn’t negotiable, and time is running out. If Abaddon doesn’t play his cards right, he could condemn both of them to the worst fate of all—an eternity apart.

Warning: Contains a Bible-quoting twink and an irreverent devil who’ll do anything to avoid going “back to the office”. Also, snakes. Lots and lots of snakes.

My Review:
Abaddon’s a mid-level devil who’s required to collect a certain quota of souls, but not all souls are equal. Like, corrupting one pure soul is worth more than a dozen athletes dying to Go Pro…for example. Abaddon really dislikes soul harvesting. He avoids it, at all cost, but he’s gotten a warning due to his lack of productivity and is due to be demoted if he doesn’t get one soul in the next month.

So, Abaddon searches high-and-low for a sterling soul, one that will push his quota far back. He locates one such soul, a shining beacon of a man, in Seth. Seth is the blind virtuoso who plays for a tent revival group which travels the southeastern US. He’s also more than just a man–as Abaddon soon learns.

Seth is 21, innocent, sweet and complete catnip for Abaddon. His soul-hunger is off the charts whenever he’s near Seth. Seth was an orphan, dropped at the doorstep of the revival, and adopted by the late revival master. He gets along with his surrogate family, and truly believes in the word of The Lord, but he wants a true love, and he’s both a virgin and gay. It’s interesting and cool that the revivalists are totally unaffected by that. The more time Abaddon spends in Seth’s presence, the more he begins to realize that Seth is mystical in a way that’s nearly unheard of. I don’t want to give too much away, but expect trials with snakes and faith healing that works.

In the meantime, Abaddon is plotting his harvest of Seth’s soul, and he’s also really wrecked over it. How can he condemn such a good man to an eternity in Hell? There are surely things Abaddon can trade Seth to make his human life more bearable, but will Seth accept them, knowing these gifts come from a Devil’s hand? As atonement, Abaddon plans to pull every string he can to ensure that he and Seth will be able to connect in Hell, and spend their eternity together. It’s still cold comfort for Abaddon…

It’s a quick read and an interesting story. I do love me a conflicted devil, and Abaddon is really a fun character to enjoy. The scenes in Hell are amusing and made me chuckle many a time. The unfolding romance was tender and touching, and I swooned for Seth just as hard as Abaddon did. I hadn’t quite predicted the full path of this book, which charmed me, as a reader. I loved the positive portrayal of the revivalists, and the stalwart and battle-ready chaperone that Seth and Abaddon had to avoid whenever they wanted some alone-time. There’s a heady build up of sexual tension, and a sweet love that’s on the page.

Interested? You can find DAMNED IF YOU DO on Goodreads, Samhain Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and AllRomance. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

Marie SextonAbout the Author:
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Visit Marie’s website, follow her on twitter, friend her on Facebook, or join her for Coffee and Porn in the Morning.

Thanks for popping in my friends, and keep reading!