Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Prince of the Playhouse (Love in Laguna #3) by Tara Lain



Amazon Link - Available in KU
Goodreads Link




Is Ru’s shady past the new black?

Fashion designer Ru Maitland’s so obsessed with movie star Gray Anson, the Cosmic Joker can’t resist bringing them face-to-face at the Laguna Playhouse.

But Gray’s in the closet—to protect his billion-dollar career.
Ru’s so not.

When Ru’s dark past collides with Gray’s paparazzi-haunted present, Gray’s macho identity threatens to crumble, and Ru finds himself in jail!

Somebody better learn that the only acceptable compromise is the truth.

PRINCE OF THE PLAYHOUSE is a coming out, hidden identity, billionaire, movie star, your-past-comes-back-to-bite-you, MM romance.




My Rating - 5 Stars!

Tara Lain's Prince of the Playhouse is a fabulous Hollywood romance. The third book in the Love in Laguna series, it has all the charm and love we've come to expect in this series. It can be read as a standalone, but is even more fun if you've met Ru before.

We met Ru in Knight of Ocean Avenue and his story is everything we'd expect from the out and proud fashion designer. He's over the top flamboyant and it's wonderful. His wardrobe is well illustrated and it's perfectly dazzling, just like Ru himself. 

Ru's long time favorite actor is Gray, who he ends up designing clothes for during a Parkhouse play. His adorable crush on the actor is entertaining, and it ends up that the two have some things in common. 

As much as I love and adore Ru, my heart wanted to protect Gray. I have a special spot in my heart for closeted actors. We all know the industry can be very unforgiving to gay actors. And Gray is definitely is not taking his chances with coming out. And damn it, as much as it angers me, I just can't blame the man. 

Ohhh, Ru and Gray. Yes, Ru and Gray. They're as wonderful together as you'd think. Fancy, unapologetically awesome fashion designer Ru and the the tough, macho Hollywood actor, Gray. 

Their tale is one of instant lust. It's also a messy tale that's loaded with complications. It's full of twists and turns, as things are never easy for these two men. In addition to Gray's secret sexual identification, Ru also has secrets. Ru's past is full of some major issues, and he's no longer able to ignore them. 

The writing in wonderful, keeping me fully delighted and invested throughout. The development of both the men and their story is done well. And the author includes some great secondary characters to keep things fun. As much as I'm obsessed with Shaz, it's Gray's mom who stole the show for me here. If you like wonderful moms, look no further. 

Prince of the Playhouse is an marvelous read. This Tara Lain book will perfectly entertain and charm you from start to finish. You can't go wrong with this love story between total opposites. 
 


Griff's Place (Havenwood #4) by Riley Hart



Amazon Link - Available in KU
Goodreads Link





GRIFFIN

I always felt I wasn’t wired like my peers, but when my brother, Kellan, gave me three terms—ace, aromantic, and demi—I had possible names for it. Those three words have been on my mind ever since, as has my brother’s best friend, Josh Westbrook. It’s been cool getting to know him and spending time together, just us. He makes me feel something I never thought I’d be able to feel. When we end up alone in a cabin with only one bed, all my crossed wires finally connect and point toward being demi and wanting him.

JOSH

Griff and I were never supposed to be more than friends, but I like him more and more. I like being the reason he smiles, and…yeah, I enjoy making him writhe with pleasure too. But Griff doesn’t hook up casually, and I swore off love a long time ago. Still, we keep finding ourselves drawn together, a shared loneliness and a deep want guiding us. Kellan’s afraid I’ll hurt Griff. Frankly, I am too. My past is still an open wound that keeps me from getting too close.

One thing is becoming clear, though—my Grumpy Griff is making me break my own rules. He says he’s never known his place in the world, but I do. It’s with me. The only way for us to move forward is for me to stop looking back…before I lose sight of him for good.




My Rating - 5+ Stars!


Riley Hart's Griff's Place is freaking amazing! The fourth book in the Havenwood series, it adds immensely to this already must read series. It's a true beauty. 

A combo of brother's best friend, friends to lovers, and a slow burn sexual awakening, I love it all. 

If you enjoy demisexual characters finding love, you will love this book. The author develops Griff's sexual awakening is a wonderful manner; realistic, raw, and beautiful. 

And Josh, lovable Josh has been a man whore, keeping himself from falling for someone after some pain in his past. Josh's heart is still in the past, with his inability to open his heart making their journey a tough road. 

As always, Riley's writing is wonderful, with a soothing and pleasant tone, fabulous characters, and a deep and meaning storyline. Written in alternating first person pov, the men fully come alive, allowing the reader to know their every thought, look, and touch. 

Griff's Place is a stellar romance. Riley Hart has once again outdone herself with this amazing tale. Just read it!


RELEASE BLITZ, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY - The Silence of Lightning by Marie S Crosswell

 

Title: The Silence of Lightning

Author: Marie S. Crosswell

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: October 19, 2020

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 73800

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, bisexual, ace, interracial, 

Wyoming, rodeo, cowboys, in the closet, outing, family, HFN

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Former pro-rodeo champion Smith Rose and his cousins Cooper and Christa Boone live a quiet life together in the town of Cody, Wyoming—until the summer of 2015 shakes them to their foundations.

Stuck in an unhappy rut since his retirement from the rodeo five years prior, Smith is forced to reckon with his past, present, and future when his former friend and lover John Henry Walker shows up at Smith’s bar. Meanwhile, the Boone sisters face a threat they never would’ve predicted when an out-of-town stranger begins to stalk Christa after meeting her at a party. While trying to support her sister and their cousin, Cooper secretly agonizes over her fears of their little family splitting apart and where that would leave her.

When Smith, Cooper, and Christa’s problems converge in a dangerous confrontation, will the three of them survive?


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The Silence of Lightning
Marie S. Crosswell © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Cody, Wyoming
Summer, 2015

The three of them sit sprawled in a booth: Smith, Cooper, and Christa. Their table’s littered with beer bottles and the shucked off metal caps. Smith’s got a cooler on the floor alongside his seat because this is his bar and he can do whatever the hell he wants. He opens each beer with the bottle opener on his key ring. His cousins got a pretty good buzz going on, the two of them pink-faced and smiling, leaning into each other. Smith is mellowed out, not drunk. He doesn’t watch the saloon or Georgeanne filling in for him at the bar, just nurses his drink and considers his cousins.

“There is no way in hell I’m riding fifteen hundred miles on the back of a motorcycle,” says Christa.

“Why not?” Cooper whines. “Labor Day weekend, it’ll be beautiful. We won’t see weather that good in between here and Austin until next spring, which is almost a year from now.”

“I wouldn’t go in the spring either. I’m not traveling that far on a bike. Period.”

“You don’t even have to worry about the bike. I’m the one handling it. All you have to do is hold on and enjoy the scenery.”

“I wouldn’t be enjoying anything, Cooper! I’d be terrified the whole way. What’s fun about that?”

“I wouldn’t even go fast!” Cooper says. “I’ll cap it at five above the speed limit; I promise.”

“Eighty miles an hour on a motorcycle is still enough to kill you!”

“Okay, first of all, it would be seventy half the time, and second of all, why don’t you trust me? I’m not some reckless yahoo looking to cheat death taking a corner too fast, and even if I was, I would never gamble with your life.”

Christa gives her sister an indulgent smile. “It’s not about you. It’s about all the things you can’t control. My fear included.”

Cooper sighs in defeat and blinks at Smith sitting across from her. “Will you go with me?”

Smith pauses. “Might follow in the truck.”

Cooper rolls her eyes. “Forget it. I’ll go on my own.”

“You’re not making that trip alone, Cooper,” says Christa, sipping on her beer.

“Well, I wouldn’t have to if you’d come with me.”

Cooper’s been restoring a 1966 Triumph Bonneville T120TT all year, tinkering with it in her spare time at the garage where she’s an auto mechanic. She reckons she’ll be finished with it by the time September rolls around, and she’s been pestering her sister about a long road trip to Texas.

Christa ignores Cooper’s pouting and gives Smith a pointed look. “You coming to the rodeo with us?”

“No, ma’am,” he replies and draws on his beer. He’s sitting in the interior corner on his side of the booth, and he’s got his left arm stretched out along the top of the seatback behind him. He might be hiding a little, from the rest of the room.

“Smith. Come on.”

“Every year, you two go out there, and every year, I don’t. I figure that’ll never change.”

“Why can’t you just suspend your boycott for one night and spend some time with us?”

“I’m spending time with you right now. I’ll follow you anywhere, except the damn rodeo. Why don’t you skip the rodeo and do something else with me? We could take the motorcycle course at the DMV and get licensed.”

Christa makes a face at him. “Very funny.”

“Well, we’re going tomorrow night, with or without you,” Cooper says to Smith. “And I’m betting whoever places first in bronc and bull riding won’t come anywhere near your records, like I always do. Then I’ll be proven right like I always am. At least half a dozen people will recognize me and Chris as your family, ask us how you’re doing, and then recount some memory of your glory days we’ve both heard about a thousand times. We’ll smile and nod and agree you were the best in the West, shake hands, and go home.”

“Clearly, I’m not missing anything,” says Smith, his face shaded under the brim of his cowboy hat.

“If you hate the rodeo so much, why did you decide to live in Cody?” Christa asks. “You could’ve gone back to Rawlins or Cheyenne. Left Wyoming altogether.”

“Cody ain’t a bad place to live.” Smith flicks his eyes past his cousin and gives the saloon a once-over. “You two are here.”

“We’re here because of you,” says Cooper.

Smith glances at her but doesn’t respond, draining his beer bottle instead.


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Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

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Marie S. Crosswell writes long fiction, short fiction, and poetry. Her novellas Texas, Hold Your Queens; Lone Star on a Cowboy Heart; Alchemy; and Cold, Cold Water are available online wherever digital books are sold. Her short fiction has appeared in Thuglit, Betty Fedora, Plots with Guns, Tough, and other indie crime fiction publications. She’s a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where she studied creative writing. She lives in the American West. Find out more about Marie on her Website.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Flight of Fancy (The Valley Boys Book 2) by Vicki Tharp






One donor heart. Two damaged men. Three tangled destinies.

Seven years after his partner’s tragic death, pilot Joss Kincaid is ready to love again. Only he never expected love to come knocking on his hangar door.

Milo Malone has made the sky’s bluer, his days brighter, and his nights… well, you know… Now Joss is ready to take things to the next level.
Except something isn’t right.

When Joss finds out Milo is so much more than the man he thought he was, it pitches their budding relationship into chaos.

Can Joss trust his feelings for Milo? Or are they merely remnants of the love he had for the man he’d lost?




My Rating - 4.5 Stars!

Flight of Fancy is an enjoyable romance by Vicki Tharp. The second book in The Valley Boys series, it's easily read as a standalone. 

Milo's life changed when he had his heart transplant. Not only was his life extended, but he also had strange new thoughts and feelings. He desperately wanted to meet and thank his donor's family, but never expected what he'd find. 

Josh is the man who's ex was the donor. Each year he receives letters from the recipient, and each year he doesn't open said letters. His grief is still real, holding him back from living fully.

Milo and Josh's story is one with an instant connection. It's a boss/employee story, as Josh hires Milo, completely unaware of who he is, thus adding in the secrets aspect. 

The relationship the two develop is wonderfully done. After the instant connection, the two continue to grow closer, which I love. But the best part is the way Josh is reminded of his ex with things Milo says or does. These memories make things tough for Josh to deal with, making for an emotional read. I enjoy the way this is all explored and carried out. 

And then there's the sexual chemistry, which is strong. These two definitely enjoy their time together and so will you.  

Ohhh...but the ending. The ending definitely throws a wrench into everything. I thought it would be a cliffhanger at first, but instead, it's a gotcha moment leading into the next book. 

The author's writing style is not my typical go-to, but I really enjoy her books. The characters and storylines continue to delight. And damn the emotional rollercoaster. With a relationship based on lies and secrets, the reader is on edge, knowing something bad will be happening. And damn, I'm not one bit disappointed with how the author handles this. It's perfectly gut wrenching, with me feeling the pain in my soul. Well done.

Flight of Fancy is a compelling and touching read. This Vicki Tharp romance is complicated and messy, with the emotions felt throughout. There's agonizing pain at times, and in the end, there's a sweet and heartfelt happy ending. 


RELEASE BLITZ, EXCERPT, GIVEAWAY & REVIEW - Start to Finish (The Ian Start Mysteries #1) by Pamela A Williams

 

Title: Start to Finish

Series: The Ian Start Mysteries, Book One

Author: Pamela A. Williams

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: October 19, 2020

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 61600

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, College, artist, law enforcement, murder, 

disabilities, reunited

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Ian Start is an art professor and poet, living and teaching in Providence, Rhode Island. After suffering an infection in his leg that left him disfigured and traumatized, he’s been struggling to regain his emotional balance and find his voice again in his poetry.

It doesn’t help when one of his students is murdered, and he’s implicated. The chemistry is still there between Ian and Jake, who is his ex and the investigator, but being a suspect presents a barrier to their reunion.

Furthermore, Ian’s injury left a massive scar, both physically and emotionally. He is not convinced anyone else should have to live with his disfigurement and his nightmares.

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My Rating - 3.5 Stars!

Pamela A Williams' Start to Finish is an interesting mystery/romance. The first book in The Ian Start Mysteries, it perfectly combines suspense and intrigue with pain, regret, and longing.

Ian and Jake have a past that ended on bad terms. Now Ian's a suspect in Jake's latest murder investigation. 

Overall, it's a fun read. Things start slow and stay slow in this read. The past, as well as the mystery, is revealed slowly. The men are interesting and kept me reading.

Their tale includes frequent mention of Ian's injuries and scars. I appreciate the way the author dealt with this issue, and I love all the emotions involved. 

Start To Finish is a tough one to rate. I sort of enjoy both the romance and the mystery. The writing is okay, but definitely isn't quite my preferred style. I constantly felt that something was missing. More of both aspects I guess. I am curious as to how the next book works itself out. This is a decent start so I will be curious. 

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Start to Finish
Pamela A. Williams © 2020
All Rights Reserved

As I hobbled to the door, I could see, through the leaded glass, a stout Black man in a dated tweed blazer. He was staring intently at my approach, which made me wish that I was dressed in more than a robe and flannel pajama bottoms. Opening the door, I saw that there was a second man, a few steps down, looking out toward the street. “Professor Ian Start?” said the man in front of me.

“Yes?” I said, tearing my gaze away from the familiar pale ginger head.

“I’m Detective Henry Ransom from the Providence Police Department. May we have a few minutes of your time?” At that point, the tawny head turned, and it was, as I knew it would be, Jake. Right on cue, Ransom said, “This is Detective Jake Quinn.” Our eyes met and held. In the moment, I was delighted to see him. But in my moment of pleasure, I could see wariness and warning in his eyes, a slight shake of his head that clearly said don’t acknowledge. I immediately assumed there were some gay identity issues at play and kept my trap shut. Everyone knew I was gay, but I was well aware of guilt by association.

“Yes, of course, come in. We were just having coffee. Can I get you a cup?” Ever the perfect host, eh? With no small amount of trepidation, I led them to the kitchen where Rita was sitting at my little table. It looks out over a small terracotta-tiled patio with a wildflower garden beyond, looking bleak and dead in the frigid morning with black stems and flower heads that hadn’t been tended to before the winter frosts.

“Yeah, coffee would be good,” said Detective Ransom. I raised my eyebrows at Jake, who merely nodded. I knew he took it black but inquired of both anyway. Rita introduced herself, and they all shook hands. I didn’t get a handshake. I began to feel very nervous. My knuckles started to prickle.

Rita rents my street-level apartment. Short and trim, with crazy hair from an indeterminate ethnic background, she’s my closest friend even if she is a social worker. I had an overload of social workers during the time I was in the hospital, all telling me how fucked up I was going to be when I got out. After that, I swore off them permanently, but Rita was the exception. Despite our connection, Rita was a little bit of an enigma; quiet as a whisper, I never heard music or a loud voice from her apartment, so it was hard to tell if she was home or not, and I never knew if she had company because she apparently didn’t keep regular hours. But every Sunday morning without fail she’d be at my back door with croissants and hot chocolate and dressed in tight stretchy sportswear, perfectly comfortable with me in pajama bottoms and my faded silk robe. And that’s how a Sunday morning found us, the second of January, a sunny, cold winter day, when we heard the knock at the front door.

“I’m going to head back downstairs, Ian. If you need anything, just call.” And then she was gone. Cops can do that: clear a room instantly.

I poured two cups from the carafe and retrieved a carton of milk from the refrigerator for Ransom, letting him pour. “What’s going on?” I asked.

Ransom spoke. Jake didn’t say a word. “You are acquainted with a Thomas Wilson.” Statement, not a question.

“He was a student of mine, yes.” The answer to the nonquestion.

“Was?” Ransom asked, a hint of a challenge in the tone.

“Yes,” I said warily. “He’s taken his last drawing class. I teach drawing.”

“When was the last time you saw him?” Again Ransom. Christ. This was bad. I was going to hear that Thomas was missing. Missing or hurt, or…no, not going there. My stomach roiled a little.

“What’s going on?” I asked again. And in nearly a whisper. “What kind of detectives are you? Missing persons?” Yeah, like there are missing persons detectives. I was hoping for the best out of the only other option.

“Homicide,” said Ransom. I sat down hard on the nearest chair. Ransom then asked again, “When was the last time you saw Thomas Wilson?”

No, I do not want to hear what’s coming. “The last day of class. Um, the twelfth, I guess. He helped me load portfolios into my car. Are you telling me Thomas is dead?” Jake nodded but said nothing. “Are you sure? Sure it was Thomas? What happened? When?” They were wrong, had the wrong kid, were talking to the wrong instructor. I stared uncomprehendingly at Ransom. I couldn’t meet Jake’s eyes at all. I felt helpless. My knuckles began to itch, and I distractedly scratched at them.

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Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

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Pamela A. Williams is a Clinical Social Worker living and working on the Southcoast of Massachusetts. She is the daughter John E. Williams, winner of the 1973 National Book Award for Augustus. She has always had writing in her blood but has only lately found the serenity and confidence to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, if you will).

Ms. Williams comes from a widely varied background. She’s worked in manufacturing, retail, graphic arts and the mental health field. She tries to bring these experiences to her writing to create well rounded, believable characters. And she remains forever honored and grateful to her clients who have shared their personal stories and broadened her view of humanity. She is awed by their resilience and trust.

She lives with two cats, of course.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Knave of Broken Hearts (Love in Laguna #2) by Tara Lain



Amazon Link - Available in KU
Goodreads Link




One look at his cardiologist and Jim’s got two heart problems.

Jim disappointed his wealthy family at 16 and he’s been perfecting the skill ever since.
Too much booze.
Too little responsibility.
Too much faking his interest in women.

Then Jim does one good deed to help out his best friend Billy and winds up in the doctor’s office face-to-face with Dr. Ken Tanaka – and Jim’s secret yaoi kink.

Ken’s got baggage like a Beverly Hills debutante, so if Jim wants to be other than a notch on Ken’s stethoscope, he’s going to have to fix more than his mitral valve.

Or maybe he’ll just figure that when you’re a blue-collar guy and fall for your cardiologist, you deserve a broken heart.

KNAVE OF BROKEN HEARTS is an opposites-attract, coming out, finally growing up, yaoi-love, meeting-his-mother, MM romance.
 




My Rating - 4.5 Stars!


Knave of Broken Heart is another great book in the Love in Laguna series. The second book in this Tara Lain series, it's easily read as a standalone.

These two men and their story drew me in immediately. We met Jim in Knight of Ocean Avenue and getting to read his tale is awesome. His immediate connection Ken is fabulous. 

Jim, like Billy in the first book, is a construction worker who never thought about his sexuality. Until Billy comes out. His past put him firmly in the straight column and he never looked back. And now he's about to deal with his sexuality for the first time. And damn, his backstory is heartbreaking. 

And then there's Ken. Oh man, the family pressure on him is ever present. His momma runs his life and he struggles to stand up to her. I really wanted to smack some sense into him often. 

I love the way these two men naturally came together. Neither are the type to jump into a gay relationship quickly, so I love how everything evolved for them slowly. 

Their tale includes a rape drug event that left me extremely shaken. Seriously, this scene is a tough read, but I enjoy the way the author wraps it all up. 

Written in alternating 3rd person pov, these men fully come alive and kept me intrigued throughout. The author includes plenty of Japanese culture into this tale, with Ken being Japanese and Jim being a fan of Japanese comics. The author definitely threw in some things I didn't love, but overall I enjoyed the book a lot. 

Knave of Broken Hearts is an intriguing out for you/sexual awakening romance. Tara Lain definitely put a lot of emotion into this tale and the men make a great couple. 



Monday, October 19, 2020

Take Me Home by A.D. Ellis

 



Amazon Link - Available in KU
Goodreads Link




Can a city boy survive exile to a small town? Will falling for a hot, older country boy make the situation better or worse?

Marc Kingsley is the best in his big-city family business. When a medical issue gets Marc temporarily banished to a tiny country town, he’s certain the experience will be a nightmare.

Jordan Moore is living the dream on his farm. When his best friend’s grandson begrudgingly comes to town, Jordan’s simple life gets turned upside down.

Can Marc and Jordan find a brief, shared happiness even when they’ve accepted they’ll eventually have to walk away? Or will both men end up nursing broken hearts?

Take Me Home is a male/male age-gap, opposites-attract romance with plenty of steam and a scene that will make you appreciate camouflage and work boots.
 



My Rating - 5 Stars!


Wow, just wow! AD Ellis' Take Me Home is an amazing, heartfelt, feel good read! This is one of those special books that I will be reading over and over again. Yes, it's totally a comfort read for me and I cannot praise it enough.

Everything about this book is soothing and sweet. Like Forever Better Together, this book is a perfect read for me and is one of my favorites of the year. 

It's an easy and mesmerizing country boy meets city boy read. Jordan's a closeted farmer, as he's the only gay in his small town. Until Marc shows up. They have an undeniable, intense connection. Everything starts with an anonymous hookup followed by forced proximity. And every moment is beautiful. 

They perfectly mesh and their connection is never in doubt. Unfortunately,  Marc's stay is temporary, which sets the scene for the obvious conflict. They can't resist though, and start a three month sexual relationship with a known end date. Oh, how delightful it is when the feelings develop and leave them wanting more. Adding to the fun, their sexual relationship is hot and intense. 

The writing had me hooked immediately, and kept me riveted throughout. The men are simply marvelous and their storyline is beautiful. The writing style is just wonderful, with a calming and comforting tone. Even their initial hookup is written in a completely sweet manner, which is rare. But, seriously, it has all the feels. Add in some fantastic side characters and you simply can't go wrong with this tale. Good god, I adore Marc's grandmother. 

As for the atmosphere and scenery, the author excels in bringing everything to life. One can easily feel that they are there in person, which adds immensely to the beauty of this book. 

Take Me Home is easily a new favorite comfort read for me. AD Ellis continues to impress me with her riveting and all consuming books. Definitely pick this one up the next time you in the mood for a sugary sweet romance. You won't regret it.


Prince of the Playhouse (Love in Laguna #3) by Tara Lain

Amazon Link  - Available in KU Goodreads Link Is Ru’s shady past the new black? Fashion designer Ru Maitland’s so obsessed with movie star G...