Sunday, March 7, 2021

RELEASE BLITZ, EXCERPT, GIVEAWAY & REVIEW - Dead Sea (Story Ballads #2) by Mia Kerick

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Release Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway:
Dead Sea by Mia Kerick


Story Ballads, Book 2

He risks his life and finds his heart.

Kyle is a swaggering bully; Lenny strives to be invisible.
Kyle has been left alone in the world; Lenny is the world’s biggest loner.
When Kyle saves Lenny from drowning, their lives will never be the same.

After a brutal encounter with school bullies, Lenny swims out into the ocean, determined to let the current whisk him away. Next thing he knows the meanest kid in town is pulling him from the waves, promising to be his Dead Sea, and to never let him sink.

All Kyle wants is to get out of beach cleanup, is that too much to ask? So he goes for a swim, only to come upon the most epic loser in the senior class drowning in a riptide. Lenny’s haunted gaze grips him, and Kyle makes the impulsive decision to save his life or die trying. Through this ordeal, Kyle and Lenny are transformed.

Kyle’s heroic act sets him on the straight and narrow, and he opens his heart to the young man he dragged from the ocean. Lenny changes too but is still unable to reveal the truth of his pain. While drowning in a sea of secrets, the reformed bully and wary victim fall in love. But staying afloat in the Dead Sea is not as simple as it seems.

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My Rating - 5 Stars!

Dead Sea is a stunning read by Mia Kerick. The second book in the Story Ballads series, it's easily read as a standalone. 

This is a deep and heavy young adult story. 

Kyle and Lenny are two teens. Total opposites. And both barely holding on; both struggling with who they are. 

Their lives collide and dramatically change forever one day at the beach when Kyle saves Lenny from a riptide. 

The two have nothing in common. Kyle's the popular boy at school, one of the crowd who bullies Lenny. And Lenny's the recluse who never talks at school. Ever. They are two boys who hide, one behind his clothes, the other behind his attitude.

But damn, there are so many layers behind what they show the world. Kyle's mother is toxic and abusive, never appreciating or praising him. Dear lord, the way she talks to him is horrific. 

And poor Lenny. He hides behind his silence at school. He knows he's different and he's completely confused by who he really is. Lenny just doesn't fit in. He struggles to figure out where his desires fit in. His love of wearing costumes and dressing up leaves him confused and embarrassed. So to the world he chooses to try to be invisible. His family issues are complicated as well. 

They are two broken young men whose worlds collide. Two broken young men who end up saving each other. And it's beautiful. 

Despite not knowing one another, Kyle chooses to save Lenny and feels compelled to keep protecting him. 

What follows is a tale of two boys who help each other embrace who they are, encouraging and inspiring each other. Two boys who give each other a reason to live. 

This is a story with family and mother issues galore. There's homophobia, bullying, attempted suicide, and depression. 

As far as favorite quotes, there are way too many to list. The author seriously had me stunned with some of the impressive quotes. Basically, she reminds us to find the people who nurture and support us. She reminds us that life will always throw us obstacles and complications but encourages us to survive our current obstacle and face the future. It's wonderfully poignant. Especially in our current environment. 

Dead Sea is a heavy and powerful coming of age story. Mia Kerick once again gifts her readers with a stellar young adult romance that is complex and multi-layered. I am thrilled to have read about these two young men and their journey. 

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My ass is getting numb from zoning out for so long on the couch in front of the boob tube. I crack a smile. It’s what you used to call the TV, Grampa. Remember? Not that it’s got boobs—I’d have surely noticed that, seeing as most nights I stare at the damn thing until my eyes go blurry.

I pop open the bag of Ruffles I found on top of the fridge—you can’t hide junk food from this dude—and stick my bare feet on the coffee table. Mom would kick them off, her big feet wedged into a pair of clunky boots with lugged soles that always leave a mark. She’s not here, though, so I might as well make myself comfortable.

I didn’t want to sneak into the dumb gay bar with those assholes, anyhow. But would it have killed them to ask me if I was up for it? Nope—that didn’t happen. The three fuckin’ musketeers, my ass. Sisti and Zane snuck off with two hot sophomore girls without a word. So, this guy’s parked in front of the boob tube. Like, again.

Makes sense no girl will come near me, though. They smell my meanness from a mile away. Can’t say as I blame them—my own mother smells my meanness and steers clear. But shit, I can’t get a date to save myself.

I stuff a handful of chips into my pie hole and savor the salt and grease. They taste almost too good—I haven’t had a bite to eat since noon when I swiped the school lunch of some dweeb who dared to wear jeans that made him look like he was waiting for a flood. The loser should’ve come to school in pants that hit his damn ankles—he might’ve escaped my attention.

And another fist full of chips…down the hatch.

My best pals bailed on me tonight—I would’ve been a total fifth wheel. You used to tell me with friends like Sisti and Zane I didn’t need no enemies. Whatevs.

I only give about half a shit I couldn’t find a girl to go out with tonight. None of the babes Gil and Damon drool over do it for me. Sure, they’re hot—sweet smelling with painted-on jeans and I’m-all-that smiles. There’s just something I want to see in their eyes that’s not there. Could be because most girls are always glaring at me in that stay-the-hell-away-from-me-you-caveman way. Or it could be the other thing…

Yup, the thing I’ve never admitted to nobody. Never even told you, Gramps, about how I sometimes get hot for the look in certain dudes’ eyes. Grampa didn’t need to know that shit—it’s TMI, for sure. And it’s not like I stand a chance with the smart quiet types of guys I’m into.

I lean back on the ancient couch in our living room for my third episode of Cops. Lucky me, tonight’s a Cops marathon. Hope like hell I’m never one of the bad boys on it.


Picture 3


Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of Dead Sea, Mia is giving away a $15 Amazon Voucher!

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Picture 10


Award-winning gay romance author, Mia Kerick, knows that a satisfying romance novel is riddled with challenges. For true love to prevail, the leading men are gonna have to put in some effort. But the HEA is oh-so rewarding.

Mia has a great affinity for the damaged teenage soul in literature. Her YA gay contemporary romance focuses on such tropes as hurt/comfort and dark secrets that keep them apart. In Kerick’s books, the course of true love never does run smooth.

Mia’s books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine. They have won a 2019 IPPY GOLD award for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction, a 2018 YA GOLD MOONBEAM Children’s Book Award, a YA Readers’ Favorite Award, several Gold Rainbow Awards in YA and adult categories, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, a YA Indie Fab Award, a First Place Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a First Place Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award, and more.

Mia cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia:
Twitter: @MiaKerick


Triple Play (Homeruns # 3) by Quinn Ward


Amazon Link   - Available in KU  

When Eric is unable to help his friend recover, he has to put his feelings aside for a second time. He never imagined the man who could help would be the glue that bound them together.

Drew Jackson had it all: a family who loves him, a tight circle of friends, and he’s a rising star with the Milwaukee Mavericks. Then, it all begins to unravel when the man he’s loved since they were kids falls for Drew’s teammate. 

He makes a critical mistake in the playoffs he’s not sure he’ll be able to recover from. 

And then, his world really crashes around him…

Eric Sapp may no longer play for the Mavericks, but he’s still one of the guys. After stopping a brutal attack, Eric is forced to face the feelings that have been growing for his roommate, Drew. That’d be much easier if Drew wasn’t hell-bent on pushing everyone away as he recovers. 

Neither of them were counting on Bryce Shaw. He and Drew enjoyed the one night they spent together, but knew it was unlikely they’d be anything more since they lived in different parts of the country. When Bryce is relocated to help a failing LGBT homeless outreach, he wants to explore something more with the Mavericks’ short stop. 

As much as Eric wishes he could be the one to help his friend, he knows Bryce holds the key to Drew’s recovery. Will pushing the two back together be the biggest mistake of his life or will they all learn there is strength in numbers?

Triple Play is the third book in the Homeruns Series, previously published under the pen name Sloan Johnson. 

My Rating - 5 Stars!

Triple Play is the third book in Quinn Ward's Homeruns series. It was previously released under the pen name Sloan Johnson, and is now re-released with some added content. 

I first read this book years ago and it remains one of my favorites to this day. Baseball. Hurt/Comfort. Menage. It's amazing!

In this book, we get Drew's story. And dear god, how I already love Drew from the first two books. Unfortunately for him, his story starts with him as the victim of a hate crime. Tears. Omg. Tears. Don't hurt Drew!

Luckily Eric is there to stop the attack and get him help. And Bryce is in town temporarily, with his timing perfect to help Drew as well.

What follows is an emotional journey towards healing and love. Drew, Bryce, and Eric. I love everything about this story and these men. I love the way both men connect with Drew. And I love the way both men are interested in Drew. 

And the sex is hot! Their chemistry is off the charts!

It's tough reading about Drew's attack and all the flashbacks for him and Eric. There are nightmares and a slew of insecurities. It takes time to recover mentally as well as physically. But having these two men by his side get him there in the long run. 

Their journey towards being a triad is complex and wonderful. Eric plays for a team out of town and is reconsidering his future. He's near the end of his game, while Drew is at the beginning. And of course, Bryce is only in town for a temporary work assignment. They have no set ideas or easy path towards ending up together. 

Triple Play is a fabulous romance. Quinn Ward has once again left me delighted with a great romance. Adding to the fun is the great group of teammates and friends. This is a series with the past characters always around. It's fabulous as they all start to feel like family. And I am so excited to re-read these books yet again. 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Kiss & Tell (Food Truck Warriors Novella) by Beth Bolden


Amazon Link   - Available in KU  

This version of Kiss & Tell was available for free through the Winter Wonderland promotion. It has since been expanded and published.

This New Year’s, Alexis’ kiss is on his list.

Jackson loves his job. His bar, the Funky Cup, is everything to him—even though he's begun to realize there’s more to life than long days and way too many spreadsheets. Late one night, Jackson discovers Alexis' food truck, indulging in the best Greek food he's ever tasted. Too bad Alexis isn't planning on sticking around. He's just passing through.

But when Jackson bumps into the charming Alexis a second time, during his New Year’s Eve party, Jackson knows that when the clock strikes midnight, there’s only one thing he wants: their lips pressed together.

Just for tonight, he wants it all.

But nothing ever goes to plan, and when Jackson realizes he needs more than just kisses?

He's going to need a strong dose of holiday magic.

My Rating - 4 Stars!

Beth Bolden's Kiss & Tell is a short and sweet tale. It's a fantastic mix of Beth's Kitchen Gods and Food Truck Warriors series. 

Alexis and Jackson agree to one night together. But their feelings are strong and continue to grow 

With a week together that leads them to reconsider their futures, their tale is a feel good and tender read.

I enjoy the way these two workaholics come together and discover there's more to life than their businesses. And the ending is perfectly adorable.  

Kiss & Tell is a great low angst story. This Beth Bolden read just had me feeling happy throughout. It was the quick little escape from life I needed at the moment. 

RELEASE BLITZ, EXCERPT, GIVEAWAY & REVIEW - Destined Prey (Wild Ones #1) by Bailey Bradford

Destined Prey
Bailey Bradford

Book 1 in the Wild Ones series

Word Count: 43,119
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 178



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The call of the wild has never been so hot.

All Jack Tucker wanted was to come home for a little while and try to figure out where his life had gone wrong. Moving from Wyoming to New York didn’t turn out the way he’d thought it would, and a bad breakup has left him bruised—emotionally and otherwise.

He doesn’t expect to be glad he’s back on the Double T Ranch with his brother, Rhett, and he sure doesn’t expect to find the place crawling with coywolves, wolves and coyotes. There seems to be some kind of animal warfare going on, and he and Rhett are caught in the middle of it.

Coywolves—the hybrid of wolves and coyotes, hated by both, and more predatory than either. Add in the fact that all the battling species are shifters, and there’s bound to be trouble.

Ben Akers is part of his brother’s pack. The only coywolf shifters in existence, they find themselves under constant attack from wolf and coyote packs determined to make the Akers pack extinct. But coywolves don’t die out so easy, and when Ben’s life takes a surprising turn in the form of one sexy human named Jack Tucker, they’re both in for surprises, danger and the chance at the kind of love most people—and shifters—can only dream of…

Reader advisory: This book contains references to the main character's abusive relationship, scenes of fighting and death in shifted form.

Publisher's Note: This book was previously released elsewhere. It has been revised and reedited for release with Pride Publishing.


My Rating - 4.5 Stars!

Destined Prey is a fabulous shifter romance by Bailey Bradford. The first book in the Wild Ones series, it's a great start to this shifter series.

First I have to admit that the cover doesn't work for me at all. If you are a cover snob, ignore the cover. The story is much better. I promise. 

I was immediately drawn into this intriguing story of pack rivalries. Shifters. Wolves. Coywolves. Turf wars. And some humans who have no clue what's going on. Yes, please!

Jack's staying with his brother for a short time. But he's instantly thrown into the action when Rhett gets injured by wolves. And he can't stop thinking about those eyes he saw.

There's insta-love for Jack and Ben despite them having no clue what's going on. I adore when Jack discovers that Ben's a shifter. It's so damn funny, while also being sweet and charming. It's a fabulous scene.

What follows is a story with good adventure, strong chemistry, and plenty of hot sex. I love their connection and some of the obstacles they face. 

The writing is great, with fantastic world building and intriguing characters. I am definitely excited to read more of this world. There are plenty of interesting secondary characters to keep things fun as well. 

Destined Prey is a riveting omegaverse romance. Bailey Bradford combines action and heat for a wonderful read. It's definitely a unique twist on the world of shifters and I recommend it to any shifter fans. 


Jack Tucker watched his brother retrieve the rifle from the gun cabinet in the office. “Um. Rhett? What’re you doing?”

Rhett didn’t even glance back at him as he loaded the gun. “What does it look like I’m doing? You been living in the city so long you forgot how a Wyoming rancher lives?” Then he did look over his shoulder at Jack, and Jack kind of wished he hadn’t.

He hated seeing that judgment in his brother’s eyes, and knowing he’d never be good enough for Rhett, never be the man Rhett was. “No,” Jack mumbled, “I didn’t forget.”

Rhett sighed and turned until he faced Jack. “Look, that was uncalled for. I’m… I’m sorry, okay?”

Jack was so startled by the apology that he gulped and couldn’t think of a word to say.

Rhett grimaced. “Yeah. Well, okay. Gotta check on some tracks Eddie said he found leading from his property to ours. I’ll be back in a few hours.” He left, striding from the room without seeming to hesitate.

Jack groaned and closed his eyes. Of course Rhett didn’t hesitate—he never had. Rhett always knew what to do, and how to do it, and who he was and that he was right… Except, he apologized to me, and it screwed my head right up.

“Worse than it already is,” he muttered. Jack couldn’t stop himself from touching his left side, where his bruised ribs throbbed as the pain meds wore off. He was lucky, very lucky, that Rhett hadn’t pushed him on the accident that had sent Jack running home from New York, and possibly into the unemployment line. His boss hadn’t been happy with Jack taking off, even with a medical note as an excuse. Jack hadn’t told Rhett much about any of that. As far as Rhett knew, Jack had fallen down some icy steps, and that was all he was going to ever know about the incident.

Jack replayed his brother’s apology in his head and somehow it mingled in with Alex’s. Cold fear trickled down Jack’s spine and his gut cramped hard enough to make him worry about the dinner he’d just eaten.

After several minutes of trying to calm himself down, Jack stood and left. He’d wanted to sit and talk with Rhett about finances and try to decide if he should offer to let Rhett buy him out. Jack wasn’t made to be a rancher. He wasn’t made to be a New Yorker, either.

Jack didn’t know what he was supposed to do in life, and at the age of twenty-seven, he kind of thought he should have an inkling.

His cell phone rang as he stepped into his bedroom. Without looking, he knew it was Alex calling. “Who else would it be?” he huffed. It wasn’t like he had any friends left.

Rather than check to see how many times Alex had called and how many texts he’d sent, Jack turned the phone off, then stuck it in the nightstand. He eased himself onto the bed, then took a couple of pain pills and washed them down with the rest of the water he’d brought in earlier.

The glass was old and familiar, and he felt a pang of regret as he looked it over after he set it down. Green glass, nothing special about it, yet it brought back so many memories.

He could see his mom in the kitchen, fixing a pitcher of tea, talking to him and listening as he told her about his day at school or the chores he’d had to do around the ranch. She’d always been so kind and understanding that Jack had to believe she’d have been fine about him being gay. He’d spent many afternoons in the kitchen, helping her prepare meals or just basking in her presence. Losing her had almost broken him.

For a few more minutes, he let his mind go back to happy childhood days. His dad wasn’t in nearly as many of those good memories, but Chauncey Tucker hadn’t been a bad man. His dad had been more like Rhett—stoic, focused on the ranch and less on the people around him.

Jack ran one finger around the rim of the glass. He was surprised, really, that there were any of the old things left.

The sound of gunshot startled him so badly he jerked and nearly sent the glass flying.

“Shit!” He winced, then stood as quickly as he could manage.

Another shot rang out, then a third, and fear quickly overtook every other sensation he’d felt until then.

Rhett had always been an ace shot. If he’d had to use three bullets, then there was something bad outside—a bear or a whole pack of wolves.

Jack didn’t like guns, but he went and got one from the gun cabinet anyway. He loaded it as he walked to the front door, and hoped like hell Rhett wasn’t hurt.

As soon as he stepped outside, the fine hairs at his nape seemed to stand up and vibrate, like some kind of primitive survival instinct. Jack froze, his back to the door and his heart slamming hard against his ribs.

Another shot sounded, and it jolted Jack into action. “Rhett! Rhett!” He rushed down the steps and toward the direction the shots had come from. “Rhett! Are you okay?”

When Rhett didn’t immediately answer, Jack ran, aware that he was being careless with his gun but had all his attention on finding his brother as soon as possible.

“Rhett!” He stumbled over something on the ground and almost fell before he managed to flail enough to keep himself upright.

Pain tore down his injured side, but he ignored it, calling out for his brother yet again. He cursed himself for not thinking to grab a flashlight. The sky was overcast and there was no moonlight to assist him in his search, and once he was past the barns there was no light coming from the house or other structures, either.

The cattle in the closest field were making enough noise to drown out his voice or Rhett’s, making it impossible for them to hear each other—the sounds of the gunshots must have scared them. Jack worried about a stampede, but he’d never seen any of the critters take out a fence, so he dismissed the idea.

“Rhett!” His throat burned as he hollered again.

Lightning streaked across the sky, blinding Jack for a moment, then thunder followed and he couldn’t contain his startled yelp as his ears rang from the sound.

Or his shriek when six pairs of glowing yellow eyes appeared between him and the fence line.

“Shit!” Jack skidded to a halt, hoping he could steady his hands, and force himself to do what he had to do.


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A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn't happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey's brain demanding to be let out.

Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey's office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey's presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.

You can follow Bailey on Facebook here and Twitter here.



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Friday, March 5, 2021

Bar None (Hoppy Hare #1) by Tia Fielding


Amazon Link - Available in KU
Goodreads Link

What would you do if you’d been in love with your straight best friend for fifteen years, and his third marriage just fell apart? When is the pain of unrequited love too much to bear?

Josiah owns Hoppy Hare, a bar where he worked when he first met his two best friends, Denny and Sammie. Now, Denny owns a record label and Sammie tours the world with her band. Josiah is content with running the Hare and the staff who have become family.

A lot of things have changed over the years, but they’ve gotten over each hurdle. Life is good, if you don’t count the constant, searing pain of unrequited love Josiah has pushed aside for so long. But then Denny’s third marriage falls apart, and Josiah can’t take it anymore.

Confused about what’s going on, Denny gets the professional help he so sorely needs, and finds out more about himself in the process.

Life isn’t done with those curveballs though. How can they stick together during troubling times and everything between Denny and Josiah is up in the air like never before?

Bar None (Hoppy Hare #1) is a low-angst, warm fuzzies kind of story about found family formed by people who are very different from one another, yet who fit together like pieces of a lovely rainbow-colored puzzle, and who realize that love in all its forms is what matters the most, everything else is just the garnish on top of the cocktail of life.

My Rating - 4.5 Stars!

Bar None is a fabulous friends to lovers romance. The first book in Tia Fielding's Hoppy Hare series, I am in love. 

Denny and Josiah are best friends. Josiah's long been in love with his best friend but Denny is straight. When Denny's latest marriage ends, he's suddenly looking at his best friend in a sexual way. I love sexual awakening romances! 

First of all, I adore Denny's cluelessness. Without some outside help, he'd probably never discover that his friend loves him and that he's actually attracted to his friend also. Seriously, he just doesn't have a clue.

The author slowly moves things forward for these two. It is slow burn for sure. Somewhat too much of a slow burn. But, it's all well developed. And it's fabulous. 

Their story includes family issues and therapy. There's sexual awakening, doubts, and insecurities. It's first kisses and first dates. But most of all, it's two best friends who will do anything for one another. 

A wonderful aspect of this story is the addition of all the secondary characters. There are many and I'm in love with them. I definitely want to learn more about these people. They are all family at the Bar and it's beautiful. 

Overall, I love Bar None. Every moment of this Tia Fielding tale had me mesmerized. It's sweet and feel good, with all the signs of a wonderful series in the making. 

BOOK TOUR & GIVEAWAY - Moments Like This (From Kona With Love) Anna Gomez & Kristoffer Polaha


Moments Like This (From Kona With Love)
Anna Gomez & Kristoffer Polaha
Published by: Rosewind Books
Publication date: March 9th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

After Andrea “Andie” Matthews chooses her career over a marriage proposal and then loses a promotion she worked so hard for, she jumps at the chance to take a break and help run a friend’s coffee shop.

Alone in Hawaii, Andie befriends the staff and quickly grows to care for them, making her determined to revive the company.

As luck would have it, she meets the mysterious Warren Yates on Christmas Eve. They share a cup of coffee, some conversation, and even a moment, which leads to many more in the coming weeks.

But when Andie learns who Warren really is—and what he actually wants—she is torn between her feelings and his deception.

Will Warren be able to win her heart back?

Website / Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble


Kristoffer Polaha is best-known for his long starring role in the critically acclaimed series Life Unexpected (The CW). Other TV series credits include Get Shorty with Ray Romano and Chris O’Dowd, the limited series Condor opposite William Hurt and Max Irons, The CW’s Ringer (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Valentine, as well as North Shore (FOX).

In addition to co-starring with Rainn Wilson in Backstrom (FOX), he had a multi-season role on the acclaimed series Mad Men (AMC) and Castle (ABC). Polaha is also well-known for starring in Hallmark Channel movies such as Dater’s Handbook with Meghan Markle, and the Mystery 101 franchise on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

Polaha first received attention for his portrayal of John F. Kennedy, Jr. in the TV movie, America’s Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story, opposite Portia de Rossi. He has appeared in numerous independent features, including Where Hope Grows, Devil’s Knot (Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon), and the Tim Tebow film, Run the Race.

Polaha has a featured role opposite Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984 and in Jurassic World: Dominion.

In addition to his work as an actor, producer, and director, Polaha is branching into the book world by co-authoring a new series. He is also involved with several charitable organizations, including being an ambassador for World Vision, a board member for HerArtsInAction, and The Polaha Family Circus Foundation.

Polaha was born in Reno, Nevada, and he is married to actress Julianne Morris. They have three sons.

Anna Gomez was born in the city of Makati, Philippines and educated abroad. She met and married her best friend who whisked her away to Chicago over twenty years ago. She is Chief Financial Officer for Leo Burnett Worldwide, a global advertising company founded in 1935. In her capacity, Anna serves on the board of several not-for-profit organizations, namely the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Organization and Girl Scouts of America. She is also the executive sponsor for a number of employee resource groups focused on Diversity and Inclusion.

Under the pen name Christine Brae, Anna has published six novels, has an established fan base, and a dedicated following. Her titles rank in the Top 100 months following their release. Her last three novels, In This Life, Eight Goodbyes, and The Year I Left, have won literary awards and were immediate bestsellers on Amazon, ranking #1 across multiple categories.


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Verismo (Magnum Opus #1) by E.M. Lindsey

Amazon Link   - Available in KU  

Two men, shaped by the demons of their past, find their lives inexplicably intertwined.

Nicolas Michaud, the prodigy composer and pianist, grew up apart from the world. A mother who neglected him, and a father who never met him. But when he's suddenly orphaned, Nicolas is taken from his comfortable home and thrown into a life where no one understands him. Consumed by his desire to find the perfect musician for his Magnum Opus, he turns away from human relationships, and it turns him cold. Taking a job at the University in the United States, Nicolas is met with disappointment and regret.

Until he meets Cedric Blum, a young chemical engineering student with a secret talent for music like Nicolas has never seen. But Cedric has his own past to overcome. With the help of an old friend, and new relationships, the pair begin their journey toward love, life, and the Magnum Opus.

In the end, will Cedric's happy nature thaw Nicolas' icy exterior, or will Nicolas find himself consumed by his fear of love?

My Rating - 5 Stars!

Verismo is a stellar read. The first book in the Magnum Opus series, this EM Lindsey story is impressive and powerful. 

This is an emotional rollercoaster, so be prepared for a lot of heavy and hard to read content. 

We first meet Nicolas and Cedric when they're kids. We learn about their tragic upbringings and all the hardships they face. 

Nicholas's childhood is awful with his mother and then he ends up an orphan. Sent to live with his rich and powerful half brother, money is never an issue. But love, or the lack there of, certainly is. He turns himself fully to his music, never learning how to be personable; never caring about anyone.

Cedric is left orphaned at birth. Taken in by a couple who end up traumatizing him in the end certainly shapes who he is. One father loves him, but caters to his abusive husband. That abusive father leaves him feeling unloved, unworthy, and in denial of his sexuality. Worst of all, he's told over and over that he's broken because he's blind.

Fast forward to when they meet years later as adults. 

This is a story of music. Two gifted pianists with different paths. One is a world renowned musician, but his life is lacking, as all his energy is devoted to finding someone capable of playing his great piece with him. The other is stripped of his natural born gift to play, as his father doesn't want music to make him gay. 

One of the most interesting aspects of this story is the powerful effect of internalized homophobia by Cedric's father. He himself is gay, but will spend all his energy making sure that his son is not. Crazy and sad, but definitely not far fetched.

The music aspect is well written. It's hard to make a reader feel the music, but somehow the author does just that. It's impressive. No, I don't have a strong music background, but I definitely love how it's written. 

These two are fated. Destiny has plans for them. It's a long road to get there, but in the end, they are certainly meant for one another. Their journey is paved with conflict, homophobia, tragedy, and abuse. Of course, it's also paved with a strong attraction and profound connection. 

I'm seriously blown away by this book. Written in alternating pov, both men fully come alive. The seriousness of this story is felt throughout. The men and the heaviness of their lives, jumps off the pages throughout. And the storyline is truly amazing. The author waits a long time for these men to meet. That isn't typical in a romance, but it is definitely done for a good reason. These men and their lives have lead them to someday meet. The author needs to build up who they are and what got them to the place where they met. Without that background, there is no story.

Verismo is a beautiful story. EM Lindsey left me heartbroken and stunned by these men and their harrowing journey. 

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