Friday, January 31, 2020

Before the Call: A Small Town Hearts Novel by Emma Alcott

Amazon Link - Available in KU


Rule #1 Don’t fall for the ridiculously hot straight guy
Rule #2 Especially not if he’s your best friend
Rule #3 Extra-especially not when you’re supposed to be his private tutor
Rule #4 Oh, god, but those eyes
Rule #5 Okay, maybe eyes are fine if you don’t look south
Rule #6 Don’t look south
Rule #7 You looked south, didn’t you?
Rule #8 Are you even listening?

Gabe Mitchell isn’t listening. What’s worse, ever since he moved back to the small town he thought he’d left for good, he’s turned into a habitual rule breaker.

Falling for his straight best friend, Clark Summers? Check.
Falling for his straight best friend, Clark Summers, who also happens to be his newest mature student? Check.
And don’t you dare get him started about what’s going on down south, because Gabe doesn’t need to check that to know he’s in deep.

It’s a good thing Clark’s missed him these last four years, and a better thing that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to have Gabe back in his life, because rules are about to be broken. All of them. And Clark’s only rule? The one about being straight? It might just end up broken, too.

Before the Call is the second book in the Small Town Hearts series, which features heroes scattered across the rural United States who find love where they’re least expecting it. In addition to friendship that turns red-hot, you can expect to find generous servings of vanilla ice cream that are anything but vanilla, interesting “tutoring” techniques, a nerd who’s head over heels for the best friend he can’t have, and a jock who loves his Dork even after years apart.

My Rating - 5 Stars!

Wow, Before the Call is another impressive book by Emma Alcott.

A small town romance, it's a beautiful story where long held secret feelings are slowly realized. A combination of best friends, friends to lovers, jock/nerd, and small town, this book has a lot of emotion. 

Gabe and Clark have been apart for four years, with the years of separation not treating them well. It took me a while to understand the way everyone's connected, but when it's all unveiled, it's great. 

Gabe is back in town as a last resort. Growing up gay in a small town has shaped his character and his pain. Meanwhile Clark has always remained in town, helping to raise his siblings. Both the men and their stories are multi-layered. And it's absolutely riveting. 

Their story is one of re-evaluating oneself; trying to figure out who they really are. It's full of confusion, homophobia, and a whole lot of family issues. And it's full of beautiful and tender first times, as Clark has never been with a man before. 

The writing is stellar, with a multi-layered and fluid storyline. The author is a master of written dialogue. Written with alternating povs, the characters are well developed, fully coming alive. The small town love and support, as well as the quick manner in which rumors fly, is well alive and represented.

I love Before The Call. I love both men, and I absolutely adore the ending. This Emma Alcott read is a sweet, feel good story that will not disappoint. 

Lazy Sundays (Lazy Days Books #1) by K-lee Klein

Amazon Link - Available in KU


Scott Weston’s car is sensible, his suits are bland, and his job is stable but boring. Mundane routine helps keep his anxiety and obsessive tendencies under control. Socializing—especially dating—isn’t on his list of strong skills either, and, made worse with the echoes of his disapproving mother. So he’s content to stay at home with his lists and cleaning and wildlife documentaries, until a one-night stand goes unexpectedly right.

History has taught Devon DuCaine that dating can be uncomfortable, but there’s just something about Scott. He may be the opposite of Devon’s own long-haired, tattooed, free-wheeling spirit but he brings out the nurturer in Devon. Maybe it’s Scott’s surprising fascination with Devon’s motorcycle, or his shy surprise in moments of affection, but there’s more under those sensible suits than meets the eye. The most important person in Devon’s life, his mom, taught him love and compassion and that’s all he wants to share that with Scott.

Their one-night stand turns into a regular thing, but Scott doesn’t trust it to last. He’s pretty sure Devon is hiding something. He’s even more sure that once Devon gets to know him, the attraction will fade. And then there’s his mother. However many sparks fly between them, Devon will have his work cut out to convince Scott they can have their happily ever after.

(This book was first published as 2 short stories, but this new version has double the content from the originals.)

My Rating - 5 Stars!

I am elated to have discovered K-lee Klein's Lazy Sundays! I love these men. I love their story. I love every damn thing about this book!

Scott and Devon are such opposites, with Scott being a geek and Devon being a manly man. When we meet them, Scott is just watching Devon sleep, thinking about how beautiful he is, but also wondering what Devon even sees in him. 

Poor Scott, he's so insecure, feeling completely out of Devon's league. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Scott has major anxiety issues and often has panic attacks. Major kudos to the way K-lee Klein wrote this character. She writes Scott with so much knowledge, making him realistic and vulnerable. Scott has OCD and there are so many great examples of this in his story. 

Devon, I absolutely adore Devon. I love his secret. I love his friends. And I find his hesitancy to be perfectly developed and explored. 

Scott and Devon's tale includes insecurities, misunderstandings, secrets, pain, grief and more. It's fantastic!

But, most memorable of all is the "sleep stalking," as it's so beautiful, touching and sweet. If you haven't read Lazy Sundays yet, treat yourself and read it!

RELEASE BLITZ, GIVEAWAY &REVIEW - Hold Me Up (Chasing Gold #1) by Colette Davison


Book Title: Hold Me Up (Chasing Gold Book 1)

Author: Colette Davison

Publisher: Independently Published

Cover Artist: Colette Davison

Release Date: January 29, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Second chance, sports, slow burn, hurt/comfort

Themes: Forgiveness, trusting others, dedication, self-care

Heat Rating: 2 - 3 flames

Length: 68 500 words

It is a standalone story.

Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited


Can second chance love survive past trauma?

Reece has one goal: to compete in the Olympic Games. With the gymnastics World Championships looming, his dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.

When his childhood sweetheart, Alex, walks back into his life unexpectedly, Reece’s world is turned upside down. Alex was the boy who inexplicably pushed him away and broke his heart; the boy he still loves.

When the truth behind their break-up is revealed, Reece wants to hold Alex up and give him the strength to heal.

But can Reece be Alex’s rock, and remain focused on his training, or will his Olympic dreams suffer in the process?

Hold Me Up is a MM second chance romance, with a slow-burn relationship and lots of hurt/comfort. It’s the first in a series of books that follows male artistic gymnasts as they chase gold.

Trigger warnings: Hold Me Up features a character who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks due to a past event that is briefly described.

My Rating - 5 Stars!

Hold Me Up is a captivating second chance sports romance by Colette Davison.

Four years after Alex broke up with Reece, completely ghosting him, they are reunited. Alex, a man of self sacrifice, is led by his need to support, from afar, the one that he loves. He's haunted by the demons of his past, spending the past four years with panic attacks, distancing himself to the point of putting off everyone. 

And poor Reece has no idea that any of this has happened. His focus has firmly been on making the Olympic team, and suddenly he's faced with his ex. 

Both men are well developed, interesting characters. Both are written in a manner that draws the reader right into their emotions and actions. And both are positively loveable.

The author excels in her extraordinary illustration of Alex's anxiety stemming from trauma. She does a fantastic job handling the writing of panic attack hangover. It's all written with knowledge, compassion, and care.

I enjoy the uniqueness of this story. We don't get to read about gymnast often. And the strength of their love is extraordinary. For them to be so young, and yet so purely devoted to each other is inspirational and all consuming. It's absolutely beautiful. 

Hold Me Up is a wonderful story of healing through love and support. A tough subject matter, Colette Davison handles it well, creating a riveting and complex amazing read that I couldn't put down. You can't go wrong with this book. The storyline, the characters, the emotions, and the love are superb. Just read it.


“Pizza and beer, as requested.”

Alex’s smiled deepened as he stood back, allowing Reece to enter.

“Are we eating at the table, or are we going to be uncouth?” Reece made eyes at the sofa and then frowned playfully. “How can you be uncouth when you can’t be couth?”

Alex chuckled. “You’re an idiot.”

“It’s true, though,” Reece pointed out, kicking the door shut behind him. “Just like you can be over- or underwhelmed, but you can’t actually be whelmed. The English language is weird.” Raising the hand carrying the beer, he pointed to the table and then the sofa. “Table or sofa?”

Alex considered the question. The sofa would be far more relaxed, but he wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not. In just a few days, most of his barriers regarding Reece had crashed down. He was enjoying having Reece back in his life, but he felt like it was for all the wrong reasons.

Reece took the decision out of his hands. “The table is occupied by your laptop. Let’s take the sofa.” He put the pizzas and beer on the coffee table before flopping down on one end of the sofa. He looked up at Alex expectantly. “Are you joining me?”

Alex glanced at the table, wondering if he should offer to move the laptop. It would have taken him two seconds to close the lid and prop it against the wall and only slightly longer to take it back through to his bedroom, but he didn’t want to. Instead, he wandered to the kitchen units and grabbed the bottle opener from the drawer.

“Good call,” Reece said as he pulled two bottles out of the cardboard pack. He held them both while Alex flipped the lids off, and then gave one to Alex. “I got us garlic bread,” he declared. “And I seem to remember that you’re not much of a fan of topping on pizza, so I’ve got a margherita for you and pepperoni for me.” He took a swig of beer before opening up the pizza boxes and handing Alex his. Then he reclaimed the bottle. “We should have a toast.”

Alex raised his eyebrows as Reece lifted his bottle.

“To you. Reporter extraordinaire.”

Alex felt heat creep up into his face. “I don’t—”

“I do,” Reece cut him off. “Like I said earlier, your article was amazing.” He glanced around the room. “You should cut it out and frame it.”

The heat swept up to Alex’s hairline and into his ears. “My boss already did.”

“Where is it? I don’t see it up anywhere.”

“At work.”

“On the wall?”

Alex shook his head.

“You need to bring it home. I’ll help you put it up, if you want?”

Alex dipped his chin. “I—”

“It’s your first article. It’s a big deal, Alex and you should be bloody proud of yourself.”

About the Author

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

Social Media Links


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Thursday, January 30, 2020

REVIEW - Powder & Pavlova (Southern Lights #1) by Jay Hogan

Title: Powder & Pavlova
Series: Southern Lights, Book 1
Author: Jay Hogan
Genre: MM Romance


ETHAN SHARPE is living every young Kiwi’s dream—seeing the world for a couple of years while deciding what to do with his life. Then he gets a call.
Two days later he’s back in New Zealand. Six months later his mother is dead, his fifteen-year-old brother is going off the rails and the café he’s inherited is failing. His life is a hot mess and the last thing he needs is another complication—like the man who just walked into his café,
a much older…
sinfully hot…
EPIC complication.

TANNER CARPENTER’s time in Queenstown has an expiration date. He has a new branch of his business to get up and running, exorcise a few personal demons while he’s at it, and then head back to Auckland to get on with his life. He isn’t looking for a relationship especially with someone fifteen years his junior, but Ethan is gorgeous, troubled and in need of a friend. Tanner could be that for Ethan, right? He could brighten Ethan’s day for a while, help him out, maybe even offer some… stress relief, no strings attached.

It was a good plan, until it wasn’t.

My Rating - 5 Stars!

Jay Hogan's Powder and Pavlova, the first book in the Southern Lights series, is wonderful.

Tanner and Ethan, two men who belong together, have bad timing and conflicting circumstances. Hooked immediately, I love and adore these two men who must choose between love and responsibilities. The emotions left me gutted at times. Both men have realistic and dynamic. 

What starts as a temporary arrangement, soon turns into more for these two men who are great together. What follows is a riveting tale full of heat, humor, conflict, and romance. I absolutely love these men as a couple. Their connection is undeniable and their chemistry is sizzling.

Tanner oozes success as he's trying to move forward with his life. His future is elsewhere, yet he can't resist spending as much time as possible with the gorgeous Ethan. Ethan, a café owner, is much younger than the handsome Tanner, but he looks even younger than he is. His responsibilities are his main focus, as he is raising his younger brother.

And then we have the secondary characters. Ethan and his group of friends are fantastic, adding a whole lot of warmth to this story.

The writing is amazing, with compelling and intriguing characters who are well developed and fully come alive. There's superb dialogue, and the storyline is impressive and thoughtful.

Powder & Pavlova is a long and wonderful romance. Jay Hogan impresses in this emotions and steamy romance between two men trying to find their place in this world after some life changing set-backs.

Excerpt I:

Safe from those heather grey eyes, Ethan collapsed against the door and tried to calm his thundering heart. What. The. Ever-loving. Fuck. He checked his forehead for the tell-tale loser sign he was sure he’d find carved there. Nope, just a shit-ton of nervous perspiration.
“Mister hot and heavy is in again, I take it?” Lucy smiled from the other side of the stainless prep bench, her hands white with flour.
“I have no idea who you’re talking about.” Ethan wiped his hands on his jeans and rearranged the order forms stacked on the desk.
She snorted in disgust. “You can’t lie for shit Ethan, I don’t know why you bother.”
“You’re being ridiculous,” Ethan scoffed. “The guy’s gotta be close to forty.” Just how I like them… apparently.
She looked up from measuring the dry goods. “Well, he’s damn hot.”
“I hadn’t noticed.” He collated the pencils according to colour.
He threw the last of the pencils in the caddy and fell back against the door. “That obvious, huh?”
Lucy’s grin split her face. “Like a whore in a convent.”
He snorted. “There’s an image I didn’t need.”
Lucy reached for the huge sieve and worked her way through a second mound of flour. “So, what are you doing in here?”
“Well, get back out there, mister. He’ll be gone in a minute. You wouldn’t want to miss a final perv.”
Ethan pushed off the wall. “I wasn’t perving. I merely took his order.”
Lucy’s gaze dipped south of Ethan’s belt. “Yeah, right. Tell it to your friend.” 
Ethan blushed furiously and crossed his legs.
“And I’ll bet coffee’s not the only order you’d like to take from him,” she added with a wink.
A host of delightfully filthy images raced through Ethan’s head and he groaned.
“And there it is.” Lucy smiled knowingly.
“Oh. My. God. What is it with you lot?” Ethan grumbled, mortified at how badly he’d been caught out. He tugged his shirt a mite lower and flipped her off. “You’re lucky I love you, bitch.”
“You’re lucky I let you, arsehole.”
He pushed open the door and ambled back into the café. Nothing to see here folks. The effort at nonchalance was ruined the second he laid eyes on mister tall, dark and fucking combustible, when he caught his foot in the stool he’d vacated earlier and tripped. Arms wind milling, he stumbled almost to his knees at the man’s feet. Really Ethan? Really? Yeah, not one of his better Kodak moments.
He glanced up in time to see the guy bite back a laugh, but refused to linger on that whole teeth on lip action. If there was a prize for most humiliating crush on an ‘almost’ silver fox, he’d win it hands down.

About Jay:

I am a New Zealand author writing in m/m romance, and romantic suspense. I have traveled extensively and lived in the US, Canada, France, Australia and South Korea. In a past life I have been an Intensive Care Nurse, Counselor, and a Nursing Lecturer.
I'm a cat aficionado especially of Maine Coons, and an avid dog lover (but don’t tell the cat). I love to cook, pretty damn good, love to sing, pretty damn average, and as for loving full-time writing, absolutely… depending of course on the day, the word count, the deadline, how obliging my characters are, the ambient temperature in the Western Sahara, whether Jupiter is rising, the size of the ozone hole over New Zealand and how much coffee I've had.
Welcome to my world.

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PRE ORDER BLITZ - Nice Guys Don't Win (The Boys #2) by Micalea Smeltzer

Title: Nice Guys Don't Win Series: The Boys #2 Author: Micalea Smeltzer Genre: New Adult College Romance Release Date: May 19, 20...