Book Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Yuletide Truce (Sandra Schwab)

Title: Yuletide Truce

Author: Sandra Schwab

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date (Print and e-book): September 22nd, 2017

Length: 18,000 words

Sub Genre: historical romance, Victorian romance, mm romance, holiday romance

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Book Blurb

London, 1845

It’s December, Alan “Aigee” Garmond’s favorite time of the year, when the window display of the small bookshop where he works fills up with crimson Christmas books and sprays of holly. Everything could be perfect — if it weren’t for handsome Christopher Foreman, the brilliant writer for the fashionable magazine About Town, who has taken an inexplicable and public dislike to Aigee’s book reviews.

But why would a man such as Foreman choose to target reviews published in a small bookshop’s magazine? Aigee is determined to find out. And not, he tells himself, just because he finds Foreman so intriguing.

Aigee’s quest leads him from smoke-filled ale-houses into the dark, dingy alleys of one of London’s most notorious rookeries. And then, finally, to Foreman. Will Aigee be able to wrangle a Yuletide truce from his nemesis?

 

What Sandra Schwab Said About the Book:

Yuletide Truce is a feel-good enemies-to-lovers holiday romance that takes you on a sweeping journey to Victorian London, to fog-filled streets and smoke-filled taverns, to Fleet Street, where news are made, and to Bethnal Green, where once a crime lord ruled as supreme master. Meet those who criticized a rich ruling class that clung to its old privileges, and those who eked out a meagre livelihood on the streets of the metropolis. Yuletide Truce not a story about rich people, but a story about two ordinary men — because everybody deserves a happily-ever-after, and I want to challenge the idea that it’s somehow only straight, white, rich people whose stories deserve to be told.

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 Excerpt

Foreman brushed a hand through his hair. “Does that mean I can no longer sharpen my pen on your reviews?”

Aigee’s lips twitched. Suddenly, he felt quite lighthearted, almost daring. As if anything might be possible.

As if this little room had been touched by some Christmas magic.

As if he might take the boldest chance of all…

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll have no difficulties in finding something else for sharpening your pen,” he said. “After all, the lashings of your pen and tongue are renowned.”

Foreman snorted. “It’s hardly my fault that people insist on being ludicrous.”

Aigee looked out of the window at the darkness that was only broken by the feeble glow of the a few lamps in the windows of the houses around this little yard. “Hm…” For a moment, he still hesitated. Then: “Did you also give a tongue-lashing to that fellow I saw you leading up the stairs at the Little Rose?” He turned, wondering if he had overshot his mark.

Rather pale, Foreman stared at him, which made Aigee realize that his remark could be misconstrued.

“I was rather jealous of the man,” he clarified.

Color came and went in Foreman’s face. With narrowed eyes, he looked Aigee up and down. “I see,” he said, nastily. “And you expect me to give you the same in gratitude for services rendered, is that it?”

Aigee felt a stab of exasperation as he shook his head. “What a nasty mind you have, Mr. Foreman.” He walked over to the bed, sat down, and boxed Foreman in with one arm, forcing him to fall back against the pillows as he leaned over him. “Actually, I was thinking more of giving you a tongue-lashing for being so stupid as to enter a well-known rookery all by yourself.”

They stared at each other.

“I’ve locked the door,” Aigee added helpfully.

Alan “Aigee” Garmond works at Munro’s Bookshop as both employee as well as reviewer for the bookshop’s own magazine, Munro’s Magazine (or MuMa, according the employer). Aigee loves the Yuletide season when the bookshop will have decorations on the windows. Of course everything will be perfect if not for Christopher Foreman, the Adonis of Fleet Street, a reviewer from About Town that seems to constantly rips apart Aigee’s reviews. Aigee doesn’t understand why Christopher seems to dislike him personally since the only interaction they have is one drinking game where Aigee beats Christopher. And he determines to find out why and sets the record straight…

Yuletide Truce is a cute historical holiday M/M romance with a dash of enemies-to-lovers theme, from new-to-me author Sandra Schwab. I immediately loved Aigee … the way that he loved the season and the bookshop where he worked were heartwarming. Aigee’s passion for the books that he reviewed was endearing.

But Aigee isn’t just a meek ordinary guy, no siree. As the story goes further, the readers will find out more about Aigee’s background. I don’t want to spoil much about what Aigee did but I thought it was really good and he totally kicked ass on the right moment. Take that, Christopher ‘Kit’ Foreman!! *lol*. Of course their truce led them to a different path, and you would get your sexy times 🙂

For a short story, I really liked it. It was cute and totally wrapped in all the goodness of holiday season.

RATING: 3.5 stars

Author Bio

 

Award-winning author Sandra Schwab started writing her first novel when she was seven years old. Thirty-odd years later, telling stories is still her greatest passion, even though by now, she has exchanged her pink fountain pen of old for a black computer keyboard. Since the release of her debut novel in 2005, she has enchanted readers worldwide with her unusual historical romances (some of which she now uses to shamelessly fangirl over Punch, her favorite Victorian magazine).

She holds a PhD in English literature, and in autumn 2015, she appeared on the BBC documentary Great Continental Railway Journeys to talk about another favorite topic of hers, the Grimms’ fairy tales (while walking through a rather muddy stretch of the Black Forest) (there were a lot of slugs, too).

She lives in Frankfurt am Main / Germany with a sketchbook, a sewing machine, and an ever-expanding library.

Connect with Sandra: Website | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Scorpio Hates Virgo (Anyta Sunday)

Title: Scorpio Hates Virgo

Series: Signs of Love #2

Author: Anyta Sunday

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date: September 1st, 2017

Length: 245 pages

Sub Genre: Contemporary M/M gay romance, friends-to-lovers

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Book Blurb

This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Especially his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

 

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .

 

“Scorpio Hates Virgo” contains sarcasm, sexual content, a slightly sappy HEA, and an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs. It can be read as a standalone.

Themes: Light-hearted, friends-to-lovers, slow burn

Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance

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Excerpt

Cal rocked up to his Jeep all business-casual, in form-fitting jeans, polished leather shoes and matching brown satchel, and a dark jacket that covered a beige T-shirt.

“You got a meeting or something?” Percy asked, slipping his sunglasses on.

Cal opened the passenger door and looked at him over the roof. “No.”

Sunlight did very striking things to Cal’s hair. Made it look positively copper. Not as red as his cheeks were getting, though.

A cheerful cry startled Percy and he ripped his gaze away from Cal. Crystal was waving at them from her opened kitchen window.

“Good morning,” she called.

After another restless night, he could hardly call it good, but . . . “Morning.”

She leaned further out the window, her dressing gown gaping a little too much down the front. “Are you out for the day?”

“A couple of hours. Taking Callaghan here to work, then nipping past the Home Depot.” To get the home ready to market, he needed to spruce up the place. Paint the living room and bathroom, put in a new vanity, replace the door handles of the kitchen cupboards, change the faucets and showerhead and put in a new toilet seat.

“You at the Home Depot?” Cal murmured. “Sure you’d even know what to buy?”

Percy gestured for him to get in the car. “High time I get you to work.”

As he slipped into the driver’s seat, Crystal called out after them. “Good to see water and earth spending time together!”

Over his sunglasses that had slipped down his nose, Percy looked at Cal. “See, this is why we’ll always be nemeses.”

Cal hitched his brow, and Percy turned the ignition and peeled out from the curb.

“Together we’re mud.”

 

“Blue key for the car, either the yellow or green one for your house. What’s the third for? A safe stashed with secret diaries?”
Cal chuckled. “Yellow is for home. Green is the key to my heart, of course.”

Scorpio Hates Virgo is the second book from Anyta Sunday’s Signs of Love series. I totally tried to imagine two people I know in real life with these two signs (Scorpio is my friend — Virgo is my younger sister) while reading this book, by the way *laugh*. While I admit that some of Anyta Sunday’s words in this book SLAYED ME dead but in overall, I felt that the book didn’t quite meet my initial expectation…

I guess I was sort of wanting to read about intense enemies-to-lovers story, where the words-exchange were brimming with bites and sparks, particularly because of the title. Hate is a strong word; there are certain attributes/behaviors that I attach to it. Unfortunately, I thought those were missing from Percy and Cal’s relationship. While Percy and Cal kept saying that they were nemeses… I didn’t felt like so. Their banters were good but didn’t feel like animosity. Even the nickname of Perseus and Callaghan felt more like endearments rather than name-calling.

For me, this book was more about Percy and Cal who were already on-the-way of announcing their love to one another. They just needed the right push and the right moment. But when it came, the moment wasn’t rewarding enough. I didn’t get to the point where I said, “FINALLY, BOYS!”, you know what I mean? There are slow-burn romances where I am so involved with the couple, I practically hold my breath waiting for “THAT” moment when they both acknowledges their feelings, and I practically exhale in satisfaction afterwards. This is not one of those books for me, sadly.

Having said that, this is Anyta Sunday’s. I still adored the little TENDER moments between Percy and Cal. I cherished the interaction between Percy and the rest of the Glovers family. I LOVED the Sherlock Gnome game (although I totally saw the ‘twist’ from million miles away; one of the oldest game in a book!). Overall, this is still a wonderful slow burn read, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did book #1, Leo Loves Aries.

I’ve been choosing you since we first met. Just like you’ve been doing with me.”

Author Bio

 

Slow burn romance that quickens the heart.

Anyta is a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. She loves to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love. Some of her favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

Anyta writes a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy. Her books have been translated into German, Italian and French.

Member of Romance Writers of America.

Connect with Anyta: Website | Twitter | Facebook

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Giveaway 1: 

To win one of three e-copies of Scorpio Hates Virgo

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Giveaway 2: 

To win 2 grand prizes – 1 set of ecopy of 5 of Anyta Sunday’s favorite NA romances and 1 set of signed paperbacks of Leo Loves Aries and Scorpio Hates Virgo (open internationally):

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ARC Review: An Unnatural Vice (K.J. Charles)

An Unnatural Vice is the second book in K.J. Charles’ Sins of the Cities series; featuring Justin Lazarus, the Seer of London who is famous with his séances, and Nathaniel Roy, son of archbishop (he has left church though) who becomes a journalist. If I am not mistaken, the timeline starts almost at the time around the ending of An Unseen Attraction. Nathaniel himself is a friend of Clem, one of the main characters in book #1.

Nathaniel is dead-set in exposing Justin’s tricks and lies. He thinks that Justin is an amoral man, who makes fortune upon people’s griefs. However he can’t dismiss the attraction he feels for Justin, first time he feels that way for another man since the death of his partner five years previously.

I thought this book was slightly a bit lagging in the beginning with Charles setting up the background, confrontation, and burning attraction between Nathaniel and Justin. While Charles always EXCELS in writing enemies-to-lovers / people with different background — I found myself at times a bit bored with Nathaniel’s inner conflict of being attracted to Justin.

I did loved Justin though — what can I say, Charles’ morally ambiguous characters are always attractive for me *laugh*. Justin doesn’t regret his occupation. People who can afford his séances are not from poor class anyway.

The book picks up its pace when murder and mayhem happens, Justin finds himself in the path of a killer who takes no for an answer, and he seeks refugees at Nathaniel’s. This was when I started to feel fully engaged with the two as a couple.

I loved those times with the two of them conversed about their lives and expectations. My heart sometimes went over for Justin when his confidence was dwindling — when he questioned Nathaniel’s motive for helping him. Because Justin really did take advantages of people and he wondered why Nathaniel was able to look past that.

Aside from the romance, An Unnatural Vice also shapes up the mystery around the missing heir that will be fully concluded in book #3. I, for one, look forward to that one.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

 

11613309

 

 

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

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: An Unnatural Vice
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: Sins of the Cities, #2
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 250 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Purchase at: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble US, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: June 6, 2017

ARC Review: Enemies Like You (Annika Martin & Joanna Chambers)

For those of you who have read the FREE novella, Enemies with Benefits, the story will start at Chapter 9. For those who haven’t, well, Chapter 1-8 of this book is basically the novella

Enemies Like You the first installment of Enemies with Benefits series as well as the debut of collaboration between Joanna Chambers and Annika Martin ends up being on the lower end of “just okay” spectrum for me.

My biggest problem to enjoy this enemies-to-lovers romance is because I only cared about one half of the equation, while dismissive towards the other. You can imagine myself being bored with one narration (and skimming a lot!) and wishing that I could read this book solely from one character’s perspective.

Let me explain…

Enemies Like You is written using two narratives. One is Will, the CIA freelance assassin who is dead set to kill Sergei Polzin, the man responsible in killing Will’s bands of brothers. The other is Kit, the British bodyguard extraordinaire who also poses as Polzin’s girlfriend when needed.

I am not familiar with Annika Martin’s writing or how this duo works, but based on her background, being an American, I assume Ms. Martin tackles Will’s chapters and Ms. Chambers writes Kit’s.

I didn’t have a problem with Kit’s chapters. In fact, I LOVED them… I loved Kit. I thought Kit had layers that kept me very much engaged throughout: a bodyguard who cross-dressed on occasions, with an artist soul. Kit didn’t protect Polzin simply because it was his job. Oh no, Kit had reasons to do it and readers would learn about this as the story went on.

It was Will’s chapters that made me struggle so much. I thought Will was very flat and two dimensional as a character. While I could try to suspend my disbelief, the fact that he ended up thinking with his d*ck during mission made me want to get my money back if I am CIA. I disliked how Will’s chapters were basically only providing the physical interaction (sex and more sex: blowjob, masturbation, and so on) of the story.

It was very disappointing for me because I thought Will had a great background for this story. After his army brothers died Will basically had suicidal mission. He became an effective assassin (although I question his reputation during this mission) because he just stop caring. I wish THAT is being more explored. Instead I felt completely detached from Will and wish I could just read more of Kit’s chapters.

In fact, Will seemed to have more nuanced, to be more ‘human’ when he was written from Kit’s point of view…

That is my reason for my rating. I am not sure if I want to read the next books. I love Joanna Chambers; she’s one of MM historical authors who is responsible for my liking that genre (I avoid historical romance before, at all cost). So I want to follow this series for her. But I’m worried that Ms. Martin’s writing might not be my cup of tea (based also from her backlist titles that seem to be more sexy than romantic).

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

RATING: 3 out of 5

 

11613309

 

 

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

 

BOOK INFO:


Title:
 Enemies Like You
Author: Annika Martin & Joann Chambers
Series: Enemies With Benefits, #1
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Length: 251 pages (Amazon)
Publisher: Self-Published
Purchased Links: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: May 15th, 2017