ARC Review: Chasing Christmas Eve (Jill Shalvis)

Spence and Colbie meet on the legendary fountain when Spence practically pushed Colbie into it — well, it’s the dog’s fault, but still… *grin*. Spence then takes Colbie to stay at his building when Colbie says she needs temporary place to stay while she is working on her writing (psst, Spence doesn’t know that Colbie is a famous YA author, okay? She uses pen name!). There is attraction from that first moment and they decide to act on it, even if they know it’s going to be a short one since Colbie is heading back to New York in three weeks…

When it is announced that there will be MORE books of the Heartbreaker Bay series, not just the original three books, I am so happy! Because Shalvis introduced bunch of interesting characters right from the start, and I thought back then, if Spence and Joe didn’t get their own story, I was going to haunt Shalvis on her Twitter everyday! *laugh*.

Chasing Christmas Eve is the story for our millionaire and resident genius, Spence, and it offers Shalvis’ brand of sizzling humor and chemistry. I know I can count on Shalvis when the mood strikes and I want to read something light, easy, and fun. Spence and Colbie are amusing to read individually AND together. Especially when Spence is dealing with Elle’s bitchiness or Caleb’s tendency to steal food and Colbie’s way of trying to work on her books.

The ‘conflict‘ happens because they both know about the time limit. Spence and Colbie don’t want to involve feelings into their romantic affair. Of course we all know that resistance is futile *laugh*. I’m not worried that Spence and Colbie won’t make it, they are a good match for one another.

The only thing that slightly frustrated me in this book was Colbie’s inability to say no to a lot of people in her life. I think Colbie lets her family depends on her a little bit too long because she’s used to being the provider. Her family members annoyed me, to be honest. It also takes time for Colbie to deal with her agent and publisher. I wanted to see her to be more strong-headed towards all of them, and it didn’t happen as quickly as I expected.

I cannot wait to read Kylie and Joe’s story next…

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Chasing Christmas Eve
Author: Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay, #4
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon Books
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iTunes
Release Date: September 26, 2017

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ARC Review: The Love Song of Sawyer Bell (Avon Gale)

Years before I stumbled into MM romance, I actually adored a number of F/F couple and friendship from TV shows & movies: Xena/Gabrielle, Rachel/Luce (Imagine Me & You is one of my favorite feel-good movies of all time) … I adore Jess and Jules in Bend It Like Beckham (they’re friends but I can imagine they are so much more *laugh*).

BUT I don’t read a lot of F/F romance because I am uncomfortable reading sex scenes description involving two women. I don’t like the words like cunt, pussy, or tits. Heck, I don’t like reading them in M/F too which is why I avoid M/F erotica at all cost. I like reading/seeing F/F kisses and touches but not when they go all the way ‘there’.

Having said that, I’ve started to read F/F romance last year. Not many, just one or two. Then I saw that Avon Gale, one of my favorite authors, is releasing one this month. It makes me curious enough that I requested the ARC for it. After I finished, I can safely say this:

The Love Song of Sawyer Bell is DELIGHTFUL and CHARMING; definitely one of my favorite reads of the year so far!!

In fact, I thought it has ALL the right recipes for a perfect summer movie … indie musicians doing performances on stages, ROAD TRIP(!!!), as well as friendship, sexual discovery, and FALLING IN LOVE. Not only that, people, The Love Song of Sawyer Bell also has a BISEXUAL HEROINE (hell yes!) and one of the band member is an ace.

I adored both Sawyer Bell and Victoria “Vix” Vincent right off the bat. In fact, I think I spent ALL of my time reading the book with smile on my face. These girls are SO ADORABLE together … I felt like my heart is full with joy, and I loved being able to be a spectator on their blooming relationship … from the first kiss, the sex, the jealousy, the (really short) break-up, to the happy ending.

Avon Gale writes these characters in a way that it feels REALISTIC (like this could easily be a portrayal of one of the indie groups out there) and RELATABLE like they also could easily be my friends, albeit “younger” friends, y’know? Never for once I felt this to be over-the-top dramatic. Sawyer’s hating her school or Vix’s concerns about the possibility of dating a band member are both very much grounded. Heck, even the discussion that Sawyer has with her parents regarding the school was so f*cking real to me.

Another thing that works for me is how Avon Gale makes the exploration of the sexual part of their relationship to be FUN. Vix always knows that she is a bisexual, she is open and unapologetic about it. Sawyer, on the other hand, has only acknowledged her attraction to girls: Vix is her first crush. Still, when they finally doing it, it was full of happy moments. One of my favorite scenes is when both Sawyer and Vix visit a sex shop then Sawyer is busy trying a strap-on dildo for her “lesbian lifestyle investment“. *LAUGH GLEEFULLY*

This book is not only about the friendship and the romance though, it is also about reaching for your dreams. Vix is living her dream right from the beginning, playing her music with her own band. Sawyer, on the other hand, might take a little detour before getting there. I could feel both the girls’ passion about their dream in every performance they do, in they way the collaborate together writing notes and lyrics… It was REALLY REALLY GOOD, and why I was dying to see this as a movie somehow.

Do what you love. Take risks. And when something doesn’t work, take a different one. But don’t stop taking them …. Sometimes it takes a while to find your own music, but believe me, it’s so worth it when you do. Otherwise, all you’re playing is notes.

In short, I pretty much LOVED everything about this book … maybe I thought the ending to be a little rushed, and I kind of wanting to read about a slightly grand gesture from Vix… and personally, I still cringed whenever I read those words I didn’t like. However, it’s not a deal breaker. In fact, I’ll be happy to recommend this to ANY of my friends or readers who want to take a dip on new-adult F/F romance. I think it can put a huge smile to your face. I know it did to me.

RATING: 4.25 out of 5
4stars

 

The ARC is provided by the author via A Novel Take PR for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: The Love Song of Sawyer Bell
Author: Avon Gale
Series: Tour Dates, #1
Genre: FF New Adult Romance
Word Count: 62,000 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: September 25, 2017

ARC Review: Tangled Up in Tinsel (Candis Terry)

Candis Terry returns to Sunshine Valley, Oregon, with Tangled Up in Tinsel, featuring Parker Kincade, fourth in line in the all gorgeously yummy Kincade brothers. Parker is planning to open a restaurant to help the family business in the midst of his older brother’s wedding preparation. Parker promises Jordan that the restaurant will be the venue for Jordan and Lucy’s wedding reception. Parker is pretty much under stress when Gabriella Montani, a gorgeous woman who wants to finally take first step to reach for her food dreams, approaches him and ask for a job as his upcoming chef….

I think this book is sexier than the previous two books and this time it’s a good thing. I mean, Jordan and Lucy have ‘not-so-pretty’ history. Declan and Brooke have that boss/assistant/friends-to-lovers tension. Parker and Gabi, on the other hand, have the freedom to explore the insane sparkling attraction between the two of them without any strings attached (at first!).

I LOVED how Gabi takes charge of the obstacles that came her way… You know what, she can be my new best friend! Sure, Gabi may come a little too-good-to-be-true on page (she can cook, she can use power tools, darn girl!) but I loved her tenacity. Yes, there are moments when Gabi seem to lose her confidence, that she needs to ask help from her Nonni for advice, that she crows back to the girl who had her heart broken after his father’s affair … however, it seems that Gabi is always able to get back up again.

Gabi may insert herself in Parker’s decisions about the restaurant or in Jordan and Lucy’s wedding preparation, but she has smart and clear visions, she becomes integral to the result. I didn’t find her nosy at all!! Like I said, my new best friend 🙂

As for Parker … well, when he’s NOT being an idiot he can be my new book boyfriend *grin*. How could I not love a man who can cook, who is playful, who can become a peacemaker when the family are all shouting in distress, and who can say the perfect words to his younger sisters when they both need it? Plus that Christmas gift he gives Gabi … and the words he has behind it to explain the meaning of the gift? SWOON-WORTHY STAMP OF APPROVAL!!!!

I enjoyed all of their interactions; the back-and-forth innuendos were really fun to read. Compared to book #1 and #2, I think this one is mainly has smooth-sailing pace. I didn’t see a big problem that could stop Parker and Gabi to be together. Which is why Parker being an idiot near the end felt like a bit too forced by the author to create a tension. I didn’t feel it was believable enough and I was a bit annoyed by it. Having said that, in overall, I was still very much entertained. I basically finished this in one sitting.

So I can say that this is another winner from Candis Terry, one of my favorite authors in this genre *smiling happily*.

PS: Jordan as Groomzilla was HILARIOUS!! But of course the wedding was beautiful *siiigh*

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Tangled up in Tinsel
Author: Candis Terry
Series: Sunshine Creek Vineyard, #3
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon Books
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iTunes
Release Date: September 26, 2017

Release Day Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Fate Heats Things Up (Sarah Hadley Brook)

Title:  Fate Heats Things Up

Author: Sarah Hadley Brook

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: September 18, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 15600

Genre: Contemporary, NineStar Press, LGBT, bartenders, firemen, contemporary

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Synopsis

Scott Dwyer meets hot, new fireman Adrian Campbell in an embarrassing incident one evening and can’t stop thinking about him. While bartending at the local hangout for Station 39, he sees Adrian with this colleagues about once a week. He thinks Adrian might be interested in him, too, but every time they find a chance to talk, something gets in their way.

When rash of arson fires begins the same week Adrian starts at the station, the rumors fly about whether or not he is responsible for them.

Things are heating up in town, but will they heat up between the two men as well? Will Fate ever allow them to be together?

This is the time when I curse the length of this short story. Why? Because it limits the potential of this being more than “just-an-okay” read. I mean, this has an element of mystery with places getting burned and Adrian as a new fireman is suspected at one point as the arsonist. I would LOVE this story to be expanded to mystery, as Scott probably involved in investigating the arsonist behind everyone’s back.

Alas, this comes down as insta-lust, forgettable read, sadly. I am rounding it up because of the potential. And the writing is not that bad, though I cringed when Adrian used the endearment when they only know each other for what, days? Urgh, personal pet peeves alert!

RATING: 3 out of 5 stars

Excerpt

Fate Heats Things Up
Sarah Hadley Brook © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Tonight has to be the night, Scott swore to himself as he wiped down the long wooden bar top and snuck a glance at the entrance once more. He should have been here by now.

A strong hand clapped him on the shoulder, startling him out of his thoughts.

“You wouldn’t by any chance be looking for Adrian, would you?”

Scott narrowed his eyes and tried his best to glare at his boss, but when Tony only laughed, he knew he had failed miserably. He shrugged and tried to ignore the blush he knew was spreading across his face. “Why would you think that?” he asked, attempting to sound blasé.

“I’ve got eyes, don’t I, kid?” Tony gave Scott’s shoulder a quick squeeze before letting go. “You’ve been mooning over that man for the last month.”

Scott swallowed hard and silently chastised himself. He had been so sure he’d hidden his crush from everyone. Apparently not.

The bell over the door chimed, and before he could stop himself, he looked over at the double glass entry doors. His hope was short-lived, though, because it wasn’t Adrian. The chuckle he heard irked him, and he spun around to face his boss.

“For your information, Tony, I had already decided to do something about it tonight,” he huffed, irritation gnawing at him.

“And what would that something be?”

“I’m going to ask him out,” Scott admitted, pinning his gaze on Tony, just daring him to tease him again.

“Well, all right then! It’s about time, kid,” Tony proclaimed and grinned before heading toward the back room.

Scott couldn’t help it. He smiled back, shaking his head. When he’d first started working at the bar, it had irritated him that Tony called him a kid. He was twenty-five years old, for Pete’s sake. By the time he had a few days at Smokey’s under his belt, he’d realized that Tony referred to pretty much everyone under the age of thirty as a kid, so he’d stopped taking it personally.

He agreed with his boss—it was definitely time to do something about Adrian Campbell, and Scott was going to put it all out on the line this very night, even if the thought scared the shit out of him. Adrian should be arriving with his group of friends any second, just as he had been doing for the last few weeks. Scott felt a flutter in his stomach and tried to shake away the nerves by getting back to work. The bar would be filled with customers soon, and he still had to get some things done. The last thing he needed was to give in to his anxiety.

Of course, if the past was any indicator, he would be smart to worry. From the very first time he’d met Adrian, something had always seemed to prevent them from getting together.

That night, Scott had left a friend’s house and was heading home in his piece-of-shit car, as he lovingly referred to his 1989 Acura. It was late and he was on a dark, narrow, and winding two-lane road with no streetlights. Even the nearly full moon had been partially hidden behind some clouds. Dense woods butted up to the road on both sides for miles and oversized branches bowed out over the cars.

As he turned into another sharp curve, his tire rolled over something. His car lurched and the sound of dragging metal on concrete hissed out into the dark.

What the hell is that? He’d pulled his foot off the gas and turned his music down. He’d checked his rearview mirror and gasped at what he saw. Three massive shapes were barreling toward his car. The brake light cast a red glow on the moving figures, and his mind instantly flashed to all the horror movies he had watched over the years.

“Shit!”

He looked around frantically and realized there was nothing to do but floor it. He had no idea who they were or why the maniacs were chasing him in the dark, but he wasn’t about to stick around and find out. When he stepped on the gas, the screeching sound grew louder and his car jerked hard, just before a loud crunching noise echoed into the night. Crap! Was that my tire?

He’d frozen, unsure what to do. Did he try to keep driving? Should he continue on or pull over? He could hear his father’s voice in his head lecturing him on how he’d destroyed his car by not stopping. That did it. Scott had been more terrified of what his father would say than the chance of being murdered, and he pulled over, even though he knew it was probably the most idiotic thing he had ever done in his life. In any horror movie, this would be when the audience screamed at him to get the hell out of there, but it didn’t change his mind. As he set the brake, he glanced in the mirror again. The figures had gained ground on him and by this time were easier to see. All three appeared to be wearing matching long coats and boots, like a uniform of some kind. There was something familiar about them. One more glance and his heart dropped to his stomach.

Fuck! They were firemen and they looked furious. What the hell was going on? Relieved they weren’t three crazy escaped convicts that were roaming the woods looking for someone to kill, he rolled his window down. They were obviously pissed, but he was fairly certain he wouldn’t be murdered.

“Fucking lunatic!”

“Do you have any idea what you just did?”

Hmm. He reconsidered his escaped convicts theory. They weren’t making any sense. Scott tried to speak, but two of them just wouldn’t let him get a word in. They were screaming at him through the window while the third guy was crouching next to his front tire.

“All right, I’ve got it.” The guy by the tire stood up with something in his hand. “Here, Hernandez, take this back to the fire and see what you can do with it.”

Scott looked at the two men at his window and swallowed hard. “Um, did he say fire?”

“Yeah, you idiot! You ran over a coupling and dragged the damn fire hose down the road and out of our hands! Tore it off the fucking hose!”

“A what? I don’t understand,” Scott said, bewildered. He raked his fingers through his hair and shifted uncomfortably in his seat as he darted his eyes between the two angry men. “What did I do again?”

Apparently, they were done screaming because they just glared at him.

“Guys, go on. I’ll catch up with you in a minute. I need to get some information for our report.”

Scott slid his gaze over to the third man again. Even in the dark, it was easy to see he was good-looking. Tall. Scott liked tall men.

The other two turned to leave.

“Fucking idiot. Could have killed someone,” Hernandez muttered.

Scott was mortified and started to shake. “I’m…I’m so sorry,” he said as he climbed out of his car and moved to talk with the only man still there. “How did I…I mean…fuck, I don’t know what I mean.” He ran his hands through his shaggy blond hair. “I don’t even know what a…what did he call it?”

“A coupling,” the fireman explained, his deep voice calm and reassuring. “It connects two hoses together when we need to lengthen the line. The house we’re working on is really far off the road.”

“Oh my God, is there anyone in it? Shit, what if someone dies because of me?” Scott felt sick and doubled over, fighting the urge to vomit. A full-blown panic attack was brewing up inside him.

“Hey, it’s fine.” The fireman moved closer and put his hand on the small of Scott’s back. “It’s an abandoned house. A really old, ramshackle house. Nobody lives there, so don’t worry. Just breathe through it. You didn’t hurt anyone. Hell, to be honest, this was as much our fault as yours.”

The fireman began to rub his large hand in small circles on his back, calming him down and at the same time sending warmth spreading through him. “What do you mean?” he whispered.

“I mean that Sanders shouldn’t have hooked up the lines in the street. We pulled the firetruck pretty far off the road and we hadn’t set out cones or lights around the area yet. But I’m new here, so I can’t really tell him he was wrong. For some reason, he left it there and went to check on the hydrant and then you hit it and dragged it down the damn road!” He chuckled a little as he drew his hand away from Scott’s back. “Shit. Never seen that happen before.”

Scott cleared his throat and pulled himself to a standing position, leaning his hip against his car.

“You feeling better?”

Scott nodded and started to reply, but as soon as their gazes met, his breath hitched in his throat. Shit. The man was gorgeous. Deep chocolate-brown eyes stared back at him and Scott couldn’t tear himself away.

“I’m Adrian. Adrian Campbell,” he said as he offered a hand to Scott.

He swallowed hard and shook Adrian’s hand. “Scott Dwyer.” Electricity jolted through his body as if he had touched a live wire, and Scott yanked his hand back.

Adrian quirked an eyebrow at him but kept silent.

“Um, yeah. I should be going. Thanks for…well, thanks. Sorry about the…the hose thing,” Scott stammered as he opened his door. “Wait…should I drive my car?”

“Yeah, the tire’s fine. The coupling and hose were dragged but then it looks like the coupling banged around in the wheel well for a bit.”

“Okay. Thanks. I don’t know a lot about mechanical things,” Scott admitted as he turned back to his car.

“Hey, Scott?”

“Yeah?” Scott looked at Adrian.

“Do you live or work around town?”

Scott smiled tentatively. Why was he asking? Could Adrian be attracted to him? “Yeah, actually both. I have an apartment in the center of town—over Gina’s Pizza Oven. And I bartend at Smokey’s Bar & Grill.”

“Smokey’s? The guys were telling me about that place. Said they all hang out there pretty often.”

“Yeah, they do. It’s sort of Station 39’s hangout. The owner, Tony, used to be a fireman.”

“Campbell! Get your ass over here!”

Adrian grinned. “Guess they need me. The fire was almost completely out by the time you dragged the hose, but I better get going. See you around, Scott.”

Damn. Scott tried to hide his disappointment as he nodded and slid into his seat. He checked his rearview mirror and was frustrated that he couldn’t see Adrian. Either it was too dark or he had moved too far out of vision. He shook his head and tried to ignore his intense longing to have Adrian touch him again. It had struck him that maybe fate had brought them together. As he drove off that night, he wondered how soon he would see Adrian again. He’d never really believed in fate before, but something told Scott it wouldn’t be long before they connected again.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the non-profit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures up in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have co-starred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity to live. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | NineStar Press

 

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ARC Review: Jackalopes and Woofen-Poofs (Angel Martinez)

Jackalopes & Woofen-Poofs (I LOVED the title, by the way!) is the fifth book in Angel Martinez’ Offbeat Crimes series; it is also a direct sequel from the previous book, since it featured Wolf (a wolf who is cursed into human) and his boyfriend Jason Shen, an animal-control officer.

After several books that only feature perspective from one of the MCs, Jackalopes & Woofen-Poofs FINALLY offers dual narrations, both from Wolf and Jason. I think this is probably my favorite of the series so far.

Wolf is ADORABLE throughout. Wolf is still navigating about human, their customs, their cultures, their feelings … I couldn’t help of wanting to protect Wolf from all of relationship traps; including facing Jason’s parents who don’t approve of him or dealing with a flirty vampire captain.

Meanwhile Jason is having relationship issue himself — since he doesn’t really have superpower, he wonders if he’s enough for Wolf. I am HAPPY to finally get to know Jason’s thoughts. It makes the romance feels more balanced for me.

The case of hoax animals is entertaining … but it seems that there isn’t enough progress of finding who is responsible for all these weird sh*t that the 77th precinct officers is facing. While I like all the offbeat crimes Martinez is introducing in each book, I would love to see the big case gets better clues to solve, though.

I LOVE this universe!! So happy that there’s already news that book #6 might arrive early January next year. Yay!

PS: Audacity the kitten RULES everybody, including the snotty vampire captain

 

RATING: 4 out of 5

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Jackalopes and Woofen-Poofs
Author: Angel Martinez
Series: Offbeat Crimes, #5
Genre: MM Paranormal / Fantasy
Length: 57,931 words
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: October 3, 2017

Review Tour & Giveaway: How To Save A Life (Eli Easton)

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
Length: 80,000 words
 
Cover Design: Reese Dante
 
Howl At The Moon Series
 
How To Howl At The Moon (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
How To Walk Like A Man (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
How To Wish Upon A Star (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb

Rav Miller looked into the terrified, intelligent eyes of the chocolate Labrador on death row, and knew he’d do anything to save him. When the dog, Sammy, escapes and heads to Mad Creek, Rav follows. Mad Creek. The town had become legendary in Rav’s mind after he’d met that bizarre group last year. Rav dismissed his crazy suspicions back then, but when he arrives in Mad Creek, he knows it’s true. Dog shifters exist, and apparently they all live in the California mountains. It’s enough to blow a bad boy’s mind.

Sammy has something in common with Rav—neither one of them trusts people. After Sammy’s abuse as a dog, he particularly dislikes tough-looking men like Rav. But when Sammy gets a chance to work with rescued dogs at the new Mad Creek shelter, his deep compulsion to help others overcomes his fear. Rav and Sammy bond over saving strays. If they can each find the courage to let someone else in, they might find their way to love.

Sheriff Lance Beaufort doesn’t like humans moving into Mad Creek, especially not the tattooed and defiant Rav. When Rav starts a rescue shelter, the town thinks he’s wonderful! But Lance isn’t fooled. He doesn’t buy Rav’s innocent act for one second. How much does Rav know about the quickened? What is his game? And why did he have to show up now, when Lance and the other town leaders are overwhelmed by all the new quickened pouring in?

Rav knows how to save a life. But can he save an entire town? Can he rescue Mad Creek?

Eli Easton returns to to Mad Creek, California — the town where quickened lives freely with her fourth book in “Howl at the Moon” series. Personally, I liked it better than the previous one. However, there were still a number of things that made feel uneasy when it came to addressing physical sex scene between Rav and Sammy.

Good stuffs first!!

I think this is a must for dog-lover MM readers to read. I am a cat person myself but gosh, even I can’t help falling in love with all the dogs here … real or quickened. The beginning broke my heart, when Sammy found himself being dropped off at a shelter that practiced euthanasia and waiting for the days he would get adopted. Seriously, if you don’t feel for Sammy during these days, there’s something wrong with you!!

I really, REALLY, loved Sammy. Oh gosh he was ADORABLE and at the same time ADMIRABLE. The way that Sammy worked on his fears of humans and became the better version of himself: braver, most compassionate, and absolutely loyal … was totally inspiring. I know that I can learn a thing or two from Sammy. He just brought so much goodness.

I must also applauded Rav’s ideas to give back to Mad Creek. He was a smart cookie. I loved the idea of ‘real-world‘ business practice applied to this book.

Now, the things that bothered me a little bit…

Yes, I appreciated the slow burn romance between Sammy and Rav — since Sammy was ‘new’ in this human business. I admit, this book is slightly better in addressing my concern of innocent-like quickened when it comes to sex — which is one of my major problems in Milo’s book, How to Wish Upon a Star, because I thought Milo was too childlike.

With dual narrative from both Rav and Sammy, I could read Sammy’s progress with understanding how his body parts worked, including when he found out that he could get hard. BUT STILL, I felt like the relationship didn’t feel equal in that sense. It wasn’t like reading about an experience guy seducing virgin, you know? Sammy still felt a little too innocent, and I couldn’t really get passed that feeling.

Oh, and the romance itself didn’t exactly make me all warm and fuzzy. It was good but not, uhm, not so romantic in my view.

I also didn’t really enjoy other perspectives getting their own chapters, albeit not many. And I was a bit annoyed with Lance’s stubborn stance towards progress.

The last chapter feels like a closure to the series. I really hope that’s not the case. There are still a number of characters who I would love to read…

RATING: 3.5 out 5

August 30 – OMG Reads, RJ Scott
September 4 – Hoards Jumble
September 8 – V’s Reads
Author Bio

Eli Easton has been at various times and under different names a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a long-distance walker. She began writing m/m romance in 2013 and has published 27 books since then. She hopes to write many more.

As an avid reader of such, she is tickled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, two bulldogs, several cows, and a cat. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

Website: www.elieaston.com
Twitter: @EliEaston
Email: eli@elieaston.com

 

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Release Day Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Leaning Into Always (Lane Hayes)

Title:  Leaning Into Always

Series: Leaning Into Stories, #1, Part 2

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Self Pub

Release Date: September 5

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30k

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Established Couple, San Fran, Beach, Surfer, Geek, Opposites Attract, Friends to lovers

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Synopsis

Life is good for Eric Schuster. He owns a highly successful tech company, has a great group of buddies, and he’s about to marry the man of his dreams. Eric is pleasantly surprised to find the transition from friends to lovers has been easier than he thought. However, after running into an overly friendly ex-boyfriend on an impromptu trip to their shared hometown, Eric realizes things are about to get complicated.

Zane Richards is a quintessential California surfer dude turned professional sailor. His laid-back approach has helped him navigate difficult times in his life. Eric may not share his easy-going mindset but Zane knows without a doubt Eric is the one. However, carving a future together may require confronting a piece of the past Zane thought he’d left far behind. Both men will have to decide if they’re willing to risk what they know for a chance to lean into always.

Excerpt

“Hmm. I want to drop this, but…I have one last question. What did you mean about ‘being from here?’ I know San Francisco is home now but this is a nice place too. I always thought it would be kind of cool to move back someday so I could—”

“No. No way. Never,” I replied emphatically.

I tried and failed again to make a getaway. Zane pounced on me and held me down, snaking his arm across my chest to keep me next to him.

“O-kay…where’s this coming from?”

“I can’t explain it. You wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me.”

“It sounds stupid.” I met his patient gaze, hoping he’d cut me some slack, but he didn’t budge and I had a feeling he wouldn’t until I spit it out. “Fine. I was teased pretty mercilessly for being a geek from kindergarten through high school. I never fit in. I wasn’t blond, athletic, or particularly charming. I was smart. Smarter than I appear to be now,” I huffed.

“Who bullied you? I’m gonna kick some ass. No one messes with my man,” he said, nuzzling my neck.

I chuckled, running my fingers along his spine. “Thanks. I told you it sounded lame. I’m a perfectly well-adjusted adult when I’m not here. And I’m actually pretty good when I come for quick family visits, but this feels different. It feels like I’m being thrown back in time and forced to hang out with the cool kids. Today was a great example. I made a fool of myself out there and I made you mad. Yeah, I was jealous but that was only part of it. I also wanted to prove I’d grown up a little and that I wasn’t the same sunscreen-caked dork who’d sit under an umbrella and read when he went to the beach anymore. I guess I still am.”

“You seem to be forgetting one major detail, Er.”

I traced the laugh-lines at the corner of his eyes and pushed his hair from his forehead. “What is it?”

“I like you just the way you are. I don’t expect you to change and develop a sudden passion for things I enjoy doing. Just be you. And if that means you’d rather finish a chapter lounging in the sand than jump in the water, that’s okay by me.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me. It comes with the territory. I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with you if I didn’t love all your weird habits,” he teased, pulling us both to sit up.

“Weird? Me? I bet you can’t name three weird things about me,” I declared as I sauntered toward the bathroom.

“I bet I can name ten. I’ll give you my list at breakfast. Jump in the shower while I call housekeeping and ask them to change our sheets.”

I stopped in the doorway and frowned. “Just tell them I spilled water on them or something.”

“Why lie? I’m going to tell them my boyfriend got jizz on my side of the bed and…”

I shook my head mournfully and turned on the shower to drown out his silly speech about being stuck with a messy lover and crusty sheets. I chuckled at his ‘put upon’ tone and called for him to join me before stepping under the spray. I stopped abruptly and backed up to look at my reflection. My cheeks were flushed, my eyes were bright, and my smile spanned my entire face. I was incredibly happy and if I said so myself, it looked good on me.

Leaning Into Always is a short novella about Eric and Zane after they finally get together in Leaning Into Love. This story plays into the trope of “getting jitters before the happily ever after“. You know how it is … when one suddenly feels not confident about the relationship and starts questioning what the lover sees in him/her. Eric always thinks that Zane is the gorgeous, popular guy. While him, Eric Schuster, is the nerd who got bullied back in school. He wonders what Zane sees in him.

This trope will not complete without a ‘villain’ too. Enter Zane’s ex-f*ck buddy who, of course, makes Eric jealous and determines to do everything to make Zane stays on his side. Seriously, it’s like watching a rom-com! So yeah, I thought this novella was pretty sweet. And Eric has a kink, who knew?!? *laugh*

It’s a good short follow-up before we send our heroes sailing to the sunset for their honeymoon 🙂

RATING: 3.5 stars

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

Books by Lane Hayes:

Better Than Good, Better Than Chance, Better Than Friends, Better Than Safe, The Right Words, The Wrong Man & The Right Time, Leaning Into Love and Leaning Into the Fall, A Kind Of Truth, A Kind of Romance, A Kind of Honesty, A Kind of Home AND A Way with Words

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