Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Empty Nests by Ada Maria Soto







Blurb

Neither James nor Gabe has ever had a real relationship. They might make a connection if they can get past their differences—and their fears.

At age fourteen, James Maron decided to prove he wasn’t gay despite vast evidence to the contrary. Now at thirty-two, he’s getting ready to send his son to college and wondering what he’s supposed to do next. Outside his son, his life consists of an IT job he hates and watching telenovelas with the women in his apartment building.

Gabriel Juarez is the CFO of a technology giant. He has looks, charm, fantastic wealth, a workaholic personality, and a string of boyfriends who only stick around because he’s too busy to tell them to leave.

A bad laptop/projector interface causes James and Gabe’s paths to cross. Friends, family, and coworkers jump to match Gabe with a nice guy, and James with anyone. But are they too different? Everyone will have to tread very carefully to keep things from ending before they start.



Review 
My Rating - 5 Stars!

Empty Nests, by Ada Maria Soto is a great, fun romance. 

Gabe's a successful businessman who works too much and hasn't left himself any time for dating. James  hasn't been able to date, as he's been busy raising his son solo since he was 15. 

James is one of my favorite characters ever. His love for his son is beyond words. His attitude towards having a child is not only impressive but also phenomenal. 

As James' son is getting ready to leave for college, he's afraid his dad will be alone. Lucky for him, he meets the rich and powerful Gabe. Their story is full of heart and emotion. It also has some fantastic humor and embarrassing moments. 

James and Gabriel are a whole lot of fun. These two men couldn't be more different, but they work so well together. They have to work hard to be a couple, as neither are used to dating someone. 

If you enjoy romances between middle aged men, don't miss Empty Nests. The men are wonderfully developed, and their slow burn relationship is exquisite.






Made In Manhattan (Made In #2) by Ana Newfolk







Blurb


Will they get a second chance to rekindle their love?

Isaac was kicked out by his family at a young age.
It took him years of hard work to become his own man. Now he's helping the LGBTQ youth of Lisbon so they don't have to go through the same.

Max has a long and troubled past.
An ER nurse in New York City who volunteers at the local Liberty center, he knows first hand what it's like to lose your family and having to make it on your own.

A chance encounter between the two a year ago has them hoping for a happy ever after, if not for the distance between them, but when Isaac takes a temporary work placement in Manhattan, the two men have an opportunity to find what their love is made of.

Will they make it, or will life's tests tear them apart for good?

Made In Manhattan is the second instalment in the Made In series by Ana Newfolk. It is a standalone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no cliffhanger. Fair warning, there will be naked man-parts touching, a touch of angst, and the claws of an overprotective cat.

Made in Manhattan is approximately 62k words and features the same main characters from Made In New York - A Christmas Short Story.
You don’t have to read it, but you may want to find out how Max and Isaac first met.


Review 
My Rating - 5 Stars!

Made In Manhattan is a follow up to Made In New York. Ana Newfolk picks up this multi-layered tale after Max and Isaac fail in their efforts to stay together long distance. 

Their feelings for each other haven't changed. Rather, they tried to make their relationship work, but they fell victim to misunderstandings and are now living with regrets.

We are witness to them reuniting and moving forward with their relationship. Max and Isaac are so amazing together, as Alex truly breathes life into Max. What they have is super special and not to be taken for granted. 

Ana Newfolk has once again managed to capture my heart. The storyline is wonderful, and includes a riveting teenager storyline as well. There are some twists and turns that are entertaining, and the writing style is captivating. 

And I have to say I love the LGBT center and I absolutely adore Bruno. Bruno's story is heartbreaking and full of emotions. And the LGBT center is a wonderful venture.

Personally, I am enamored by the long distance dilemma, as it's such a emotional issue that I find  completely relatable. 

Made In Manhattan is a fantastic and entertaining story full of love, frustrations, and some steamy moments. It has broken hearts, love, and enlightenment. You'll also find homophobia and off-page abuse. 




The Pearl (The Pearl Trilogy #1) by Geoffrey Knight







Blurb

The Top End of Australia—a tropical paradise filled with beauty. Wonder. Danger.

For two young boys growing up, the remote beaches and aqua waters of the Northern Territory provide a playground of adventure. So it is for half-Aboriginal Jarrah Yindi and his best friend Luke Lawson, who spend their summers diving for pearls and dodging Old Salty, a man-eating crocodile, under the stormy summer skies of Darwin.

And as the boys grow older, their friendship gradually becomes a need to be together, and slowly something more blossoms.

But for two teenage boys, falling in love is very different to understanding love.

As they teeter on the brink of manhood, as life beyond school looms like a summer storm—at once exciting and terrifying—will life tear the two friends apart?

Or will love keep them together forever?



Review 
My Rating - 5 Stars!

Geoffrey Knight's The Pearl deserves ten stars. I'm in absolute awe of it's sheer brillance.


From page one, until the end, I was completely engrossed in every moment, every thought, every scene. The story itself is riveting and emotional. But, the theme of the story is exquisite.

The story revolves around Jarrah, from his youth with Luke, his love of Luke, their tough times, and more. It captures their experiences with love, hope, and longing. They're tender, passionate and romantic. 

Jarrad's experiences are tough and you'll experience every hardship, thought, and feeling along with him. You'll feel his pain, fear, and uncertainty.

The title is perfect for this story, as the Pearl "turns something unperfect perfect." This sentiment is repeated at important times, and the beauty of the pearl for Jarrad and Luke is phenomenal.

In addition to the amazing tale, the author thoroughly captures the feel, history, and climate of Australia. 

The Pearl is a superb story that powerfully hits on the fact that we are not in control of everything. Life can change in a moment and we need to accept that. It's profound and beautiful. I wish I could give it 10 stars. I love every moment, and thank Geoffrey Knight for this spectacular life tale. It's real life, raw and exposed. 





REVIEW TOUR - Is It Over Yet by LA Witt






Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 
Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited



Length: 60,000 words 



Cover Design: Lori Witt






Blurb


Rhys Powell and Derek Scott are divorcing. Mistakes have been made, lines have been crossed, and there’s no going back. Both men are exhausted and ready to move on.

But their daughter is getting married soon. In the name of not putting a damper on her wedding, Derek and Rhys agree to keep the divorce on the down-low and show up as the happy couple everyone still believes they are.

And between a roller coaster of a road trip and the love and joy surrounding the wedding… Derek and Rhys just might remember why they fell for each other in the first place.

Are they only kidding themselves? Or can a rekindled spark really light the way to forgiveness?




Review 

My Rating - 5 Stars!




Is It Over Yet is an amazing story by LA Witt. It's a compelling tale of reconciliation. You can't change the past, but the future is undecided. 

It starts with sadness and regret, as Rhys and Derek are getting ready for their divorce. As their daughter is getting married, they postpone telling her and pretend to still be together.  

It's told in the fantastic alternating first person pov, allowing the reader full access to their thoughts and feelings. Along the way, feelings get muddled and there's confusion and second thoughts. Pride holds them back as they deal with guilt, regret, hurt and pain. And the anger is exhausting, which is such a poignant statement.

This tale is a beautiful, tender, and extremely compelling second chance romance. They're still living together, and have a chance to save their marriage. They still love one another and are still attracted to each other, but they are drowning in guilt and shame. 

One can't help but to root for these two men to reconcile. They have a good reason for being in the position they're in, but if they can drop the guilt and resentment, they'll be able to remember how wonderful they are together.

I love this book. Every single second of it. For me, cheating is also a hard limit, so I find this tale to be extremely interesting and thought-provoking. 

As usual, LA Witt has managed to write a superb story in Is It Over Yet. I highly recommend this one if cheating (off page) is not a trigger for you. 







Excerpt

Chapter 1


Rhys

The suburban Chicago house I’d lived in for the past six years came into view, and my stomach knotted tighter. It was the same feeling I’d had on my way to a job I’d hated a lifetime ago, when pulling up to the building made me groan out loud at the prospect of another shift in that godforsaken place. Didn’t seem right to feel that way coming home, but there it was, same as it had been for the past two months.

By the time I pulled into the garage beside the familiar red Corolla, my jaw ached from clenching my teeth. Probably because that’s what I’d been doing every night this week at the same time. Ugh. If I didn’t move out of this place soon, my dental bills were going to be astronomical. That was a good enough reason to step things up, wasn’t it? So I didn’t grind my teeth to dust?

As if I didn’t already have a laundry list of reasons why I needed to get out of here.

With an ache in my jaw and a sour feeling in my throat, I collected my coffee cup, lunch bag, and briefcase, and got out of the car. On the way inside, I couldn’t help limping a little, which added to my festering annoyance. It wasn’t unusual for my leg to be sore by the end of the day, especially after I’d been coaching basketball, but it wasn’t doing much for my shitty mood. I couldn’t think of much that would, though. Nothing short of substances that would get me fired. Or maybe finding a note on the counter that said I moved out. There wasn’t a plant on this earth that would get me higher than reading those three sweet little words.

But unless my soon-to-be ex-husband had won the lottery since this morning, he was just as stuck here as I was.

At the door, I paused for a deep breath to steel myself, then went inside. The kitchen and living room were empty. Derek’s car was here, so it was a safe bet he was home, but he was somewhere else in the house. Good enough for me. If I was lucky, he’d stay that way long enough for me to wind down.

I went through my usual motions—cleaning out my lunch bag, rinsing the Tupperware dishes, checking the cats’ food and water, perusing the mail. For years this routine had soothed me. Helped me shift from work to home so I could relax. Not so much these days.

Our long-haired calico, Lucy, hopped upon the counter and chirped at me, and I managed to crack a smile as I scratched her back the way she loved. She arched under my hand and purred. I chuckled, and I didn’t even mind that she was kicking the mail everywhere as she strutted back and forth on the counter.

“Hey, sweetheart. You miss me?”

More purring.

I kept scratching and petting her for a moment, trying not to think about the future. Or the fact that Derek and I still hadn’t come to a custody agreement about the cats. They were littermates, and though they could fight almost as loudly as we could, they were inseparable. There was no “you take Lucy and I’ll take Chico.” When this was all over and we finally went our separate ways, someone was taking both cats, and someone would be living without them.

I scooped Lucy into my arms, and I hugged her tight, which just made her purr louder and my conscience burn hotter. Guilt had been a constant friend for the past couple of months, and every time I thought about either losing my cats or taking them away from Derek, I wanted to cry. As if I hadn’t done enough of that recently.

I’m so sorry, guys. I buried my face in Lucy’s plush fur. I fucked everything up.

The click of a door at the opposite end of the house made my spine stiffen. Lucy tensed too. By the time Derek was halfway up the hall, she’d stopped purring. As he cleared the corner into the living room, she wriggled in my arms, and I sighed as I set her back down on the counter. She jumped to the floor and trotted out of the room, probably to the office where Chico was likely watching birds.

I watched her go, fresh guilt gnawing at me. Things had really gone to shit when even the cats didn’t want to be in the same room with the two of us.

Without the cat to hold my attention anymore, I turned to see where Derek was headed so I could make my own escape. I still needed to change clothes anyway, not to mention take off my prosthetic and sit for a while to give my joints a rest. If he was going to hang out in the living room, then I could go into my bedroom or join the cats in the office.

But Derek wasn’t heading into the living room. He was coming into the kitchen. And from the way his gaze was fixed on me, he wanted to talk about something.

I swallowed. “Hey.”

“Hey.” He slid his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Do you have a few minutes?”

I struggled to hold his gaze. He didn’t seem like he was looking for a fight. There was some tension in his features, but it didn’t read as hostility or anger.

I shifted my weight, wincing at the vicious ache in my hip. “Yeah. Do you mind if we sit, though?”

“Sure. Yeah. Living room?”

“Okay.” I followed him out of the kitchen, and we sat on opposite ends of the sofa. As soon as I was seated, I leaned down, rolled up my pant leg, and disconnected my prosthetic. Derek didn’t speak while I removed it; for all our inability to coexist lately, he was still in the habit of giving me a minute to get situated, particularly when I needed to kick off the prosthetic after a long day on my feet.

I leaned the prosthetic against the end table and sat back, releasing a relieved sigh. Everything ached, especially my hips, knees, and right ankle, and taking some weight off them felt so good. I might’ve even relaxed if not for Derek waiting a cushion away to have a conversation. Ugh. God. What now?

Schooling my expression, I twisted toward him. I stole a second just to look at him. There would come a time in the very near future when all I had left of him was pictures, and even with the constant tension hanging between us, it hurt to imagine not seeing him anymore. Seeing him like this hurt too. The dark eyes that had tongue-tied me on day one were cold now. Beside his eyes and mouth were lines that deepened whenever he smiled or laughed, and they were barely visible now. The near-black hair I’d run my fingers through millions of times, the soft lips I’d tasted more times than I could count, that spot on his neck where a single kiss could make him shudder all over—it was all out of my reach now.

Maybe it was time to take my sister up on the offer to come stay with her. I wasn’t sure how much more of this I could handle.

Forcing back my emotions, I tried to sound casual. “All right. What’s up?”

He mirrored me, pulling his knee up onto the cushion and drumming his fingers on his inseam. “Um.” He stared down at his hand. “So, I talked to Vanessa this morning.”

My gut clenched. Instantly my mind was filled with a million worst case scenarios. I’d expected him to have something on his mind about us, not about our daughter, and panic shot through me. Had something happened? Was she hurt? Sick? “What’s going on? Is everything okay?”

“Yeah. Yeah. Everything’s fine.” He made a calm down gesture. “Nothing’s wrong.”

“Okay. Good.” I exhaled, my heartbeat coming back down. It wasn’t unusual for her to call him, but the whole “we need to talk” thing had me on edge. “So…” I raised my eyebrows. Oh God, had he told her? Did he finally tell her we were divorcing? He’d been dancing around that for two months.

Derek cleared his throat, and to my surprise, he smiled, though he still seemed guarded. “She’s, um… She’s getting married.”

I blinked. “She is?”

He nodded. “Corbin proposed last night.”

“Oh. Wow.” I actually laughed because I was so relieved that instead of something horrible, he was breaking the news that Vanessa was engaged. “That’s great!”

“Yeah. It is.” He met my gaze, but then he broke eye contact, and his smile faltered.

How could a conversation be this much of a roller coaster after thirty seconds? Oh, right, because it was us and we were a disaster. A disaster our daughter still didn’t know about.

Derek took a deep breath and sat up a little. “Here’s the thing—they want to get married sooner than later. Corbin is going to be transferring within the next year, and he’ll probably deploy at some point. So they want to get all their ducks in a row quickly.”

I nodded. “Makes sense. How soon is soon?”

“They’re thinking February.”

I whistled. “Really not letting the grass grow, are they?”

He laughed quietly. “No. But it’s still three months away. It isn’t like they’re eloping next week.”

“True.” And why was this line of conversation making me apprehensive? Like it was going somewhere I really didn’t want it to go? I was thrilled for our daughter and her husband-to-be, but something about this discussion with Derek…didn’t feel right. After nine years together, I knew him, I knew his tells, and I knew there was more to this than just telling me Vanessa was getting married.

Chewing his lip, Derek dropped his gaze and watched his fingers drumming on his knee again. There was definitely something on his mind. Something he needed to say, but either couldn’t figure out how to or couldn’t quite work up the nerve.

“Derek?” I nudged. “What am I missing here? You’re happy about this, right?”

“Yeah. Of course. I’m… There’s just…” He closed his eyes. Finally, he met mine again. “Vanessa still doesn’t know about, um, us.”

I winced. In the two months since we’d decided to split up, we’d debated more than once when and how we should tell her. The holidays were almost upon us, so that hadn’t seemed like the right time, and we’d agreed to keep a lid on it until after the New Year. She couldn’t make it out for Thanksgiving, and she was spending Christmas with her mom, so it wasn’t as if we’d have to play happy husbands right in front of her. Just keep up the illusion on social media and on the phone. Easy. Except for the part where it meant we’d had to keep it quiet from almost everyone else so no one accidentally let it slip on Facebook. And we were still stuck living together anyway because neither of us could afford to move out yet, so the whole fucking world thought everything was quiet on the home front. The closest we’d come to letting it slip was when a friend noticed our wedding portrait wasn’t on the mantle anymore. Derek had quickly said the frame had broken, and the subject had dropped. For now.

“Right,” I said. “So what does that have to do with her getting—” I tensed, then inclined my head. “Derek, please tell me you’re not going where I think you’re going.”

He looked at me plaintively. “It’s her wedding, Rhys. The next couple of months are going to be stressful as hell for her, and I’d rather all that stress be about planning her wedding. Not worrying about her dads splitting up.”

Closing my eyes, I pushed out a long breath through my nose. We’d been married for seven years, and even though our happier days seemed like a lifetime ago, I remembered the stressful months leading up to the wedding like it was yesterday. The thought of my parents dropping a bomb like that in the middle of all that chaos? Of trying to enjoy my damn wedding while I worried myself sick about making them be in the same room? Okay, yeah, I got what he was driving at. But…fuck.






L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…




E-mail: gallagherwitt@gmail.com

Twitter: @GallagherWitt





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