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Slasherazzi by Daniel A Kaine

4.5 stars OH WOW!!!
 
Murder mystery, suspense, thriller, contemporary 

Slasherazzi

 

The blurb…

Recently promoted to Detective, Alex is out to prove himself and the Slasherazzi case is the perfect opportunity. Mutilated corpses are showing up across Tampa, and when the team discovers the newest victim was tortured alive, Alex becomes more determined than ever to stop the crazed serial killer before the horrific stabbings escalate further.

With the return of Alex’s ex-boyfriend and journalist, Vince, the investigation takes a dangerous twist: the killer starts showing a personal interest in Alex. Can he stop the murders and salvage his relationship with Vince, or does he risk letting both men get away?

So what did I think?

Let me start with the violence in this book is graphic so if you are squeamish then don’t read it; you won’t make it past the first page.

So with that said and you are still interested then by all means grab this book.  By the end I had goosebumps, when you think you’ve figured it out…BAM!

A serial killer is reeking havoc and spreading panic across Tampa and Detective Alex Beckman is determined to solve the crime and put an end to the killing spree.  But when two of the victims turn out to be people that Alex know the case becomes a little more personal.   Vince Fairfield is Alex’s on again off again boyfriend and aspiring journalist.  Over the course of their two year relationship Vince has broken trust with Alex in order to advance his own career; which is the main reason for their shaky relationship.  When Alex is removed from the case because of his connection with one of the victims he and Vince decide to try to solve it on their own.  Then things really get interesting as if they weren’t already.

The story isn’t bogged down by police procedurals which sometime can make a story loose some of it’s momentum.  I really liked that some of the story is told from the killer’s POV which gave me chills.  There were a couple of holes in the story for me but not enough to take away from my enjoyment.  There were however two things that bothered me; in one scene there is a fire in the fireplace which I found odd because the story takes place in Tampa and the characters had been referring to how hot it was…so why was the fireplace lit and who lit it? Second was that the author never really explained how the killer chose his/her victims.  I understood why the person was killing just not the why of the victim, except for the last few victims.

All I can say is by the end of the book I was like OMG that’s soooo crazy…loved it!  It’s not all murder and police chases there is plenty of smexy in this story!  This was my first story by this author so now I have to go track down anything else he has written because he seems very capable of telling a really good story.

Enjoy!

Bookjunkie

Reviewed by Bookjunkie

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A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.

To find out more about Daniel A Kaine and his books visit his website.

Buy Links

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Wilde City Press

 

 

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★★★★ A Fighting Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion★★★★

We are joined by the lovely Mishyjo with a review of A Fighting Man, the third book in The Men of Manhattan series by Sandrine Gasq-Dion. 4 stars!

  • A Betting Man (book #1) – click here for review
  • A Marrying Man (book #2)
  • A Fighting Man (book #3) – in this review

A Fighting Man

The blurb…

Army Ranger Slater Cassidy has a very special – very sexy – target in his sights. Meeting gorgeous, smart, uber-snarky Casper Kennedy was the highlight of Slater’s last trip home to New York. The soldier in him carefully plans his conquest. Unfortunately, Casper’s wearing some seriously strong armor and Slater’s charm offensives bounce right off. Casper’s refusal to fall for him is puzzling – not to mention incredibly annoying. When Slater gets leave again after grueling back-to-back tours in Afghanistan, all he wants is another shot at wooing Casper. He jumps right into the battle for the other man’s heart, but Casper does not intend to entertain the troops. A heartbreaking revelation changes the rules of romantic warfare, and Slater suddenly realizes he doesn’t just want Casper. He wants to capture his heart, too.

Casper Kennedy is fighting a losing battle. A certain outrageously demonstrative Army Ranger has been a thorn in his side since his last trip home – and the main character in his steamiest dreams. Now he’s back. He launches an all-out sensual assault and no matter how hard Casper pushes Slater away, the man somehow manages to inch closer. So close, in fact, that Casper’s once-impenetrable defenses are in danger of collapsing. Should he throw up the white flag and take a chance at love? Or start firing back and keep his heart protected? When the handsome Ranger shows his true colors, Casper just might have to surrender the fight.

So what did I think?

I loved the first book in this series, A Betting Man. Loved it. The second book, A Marrying Man, was a bit of a let down after the high of A Betting Man but still quite good. A Fighting Man, however, is right back up there in the “loved it” classification. Not quite the 5 starts I gave A Betting Man but a very solid 4 stars, maybe even a fraction more.

From book 2 I was already crazy about Casper and the way he rebuffed​ the sexy but overconfident Slater. In A Fighting Man, however, Casper and Slater become real people and Casper’s standoffish behavior towards Slater transforms from a funny side story to something more serious. Casper is heartbroken and has drawn certain lines in the sand to protect his heart from being broken in the same way again.

A Fighting Man was, to me, the most realistic book of the three stories so far. The issues of survivor’s guilt and dealing with trauma played out in a way that really connected with me. These issues were not too heavy yet they were not glossed over or resolved in a manner that seemed too tidy.

Family matters were also a fairly serious theme addressed in this story. Although we already know that Slater’s family is incredible, Casper isn’t so lucky in that regard. Not only is he missing the support of his own family when he needs it, homophobia robbed him of his right to properly mourn a previously lost loved one. He carries that pain with him and it interferes with his ability to let Slater in.

I am assuming (and hoping) there will be a book 4 to this series. Perhaps Drakon??? Perhaps Mr. Hawke? Perhaps Drakon with Mr. Hawke. I guess we will have to wait and see. One thing is certain though, I hope to be one of the first to read it.

Mishyjo x

Reviewed by Mishyjo

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Buy A Fighting Man from Wilde City Press

Buy A Fighting Man from Amazon

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BLOG TOUR: Excerpt and GIVEAWAY! Miles and the Magic Flute by Heidi Cullinan

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a copy of Miles & The Magic Flute!

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Miles and the Magic Flute

by Heidi Cullinan

The Blurb…

MilesMagicFlute_cvr

When unemployed Miles Larson retreats to his friend’s Minnesota pawnshop to lick his wounds, he discovers that a few notes on a magical instrument reveal an erotic fairyland where the sorrows weighing on his heart don’t exist at all.

Yet fantasy comes with a price, and soon Miles must choose a path. He can surrender his soul to the dreamlord to sustain his pleasure… or he can defeat the faerie and save the mysterious beast-man who promises love. Miles would choose love over pleasure in a heartbeat—if only to seize it he didn’t first have to acknowledge the pain inside.

Is Miles strong enough to learn that sometimes to find happiness, we must face down our sorrows?

This title has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.

An Excerpt…

“Who is he? Why was he after me? Why are you here? Why am I here? Where is here?”

“Philosophy!” Terris lolled his head to his shoulder and gave Miles a weary look. “Darling, it’s a dream. How many of your dreams are logical?”

“It feels more real than any dream I’ve ever had.”

“Even as real as the one you had in Atlanta?” Terris asked, as he reached down between them and picked up a small box from the floor.

“Which dream in Atlanta? I lived there ten years.” Miles watched as Terris put the box into his own lap. The box was made of silver and tied with a glittering white ribbon. It made Miles think of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and as soon as he put that together with the sleigh and the castle, he realized that Terris really did make a pretty good White Witch.

Terris laughed. “Except Edward didn’t get a hand job, did he?” He held the box out to Miles. “Here, darling. This is for you.”

Miles took the box carefully, trying to be wary, but he couldn’t help feeling eager. It was a beautiful present, the most elegant and classy kind of present that he’d always wanted but had never received. Which was a stupid thing to think.

“Why is it stupid to want something nice?” Terris nudged his hand toward the ribbon. “Go on. Open it, and enjoy yourself.”

Miles put his fingers to the ribbon, but he didn’t pull. He looked up at Terris instead. “What did you mean, the dream in Atlanta? Which dream?”

“Your whole life was a dream while you were there. Just as it is now.” When Miles sputtered, Terris laughed again and touched his cheek. “You’re so charming when you’re obstinate. Go on then, darling. Tell me about some other dream from that time that I could mean.”

Miles tried, not sure what he was looking for but determined to somehow prove Terris wrong, because that was absolutely ridiculous, to imply he’d dreamed that he’d worked in Atlanta. He tried to think of one dream, even a boring one, to offer up, but honestly, he couldn’t come up with anything. Nothing he remembered, anyway. It was odd to think he hadn’t dreamed in ten years, but apparently he hadn’t.

But he had lived there. He had! He’d paid rent, for crying out loud! Besides, if he were going to dream he lived somewhere, it wouldn’t be in Atlanta.

“You don’t need to be asleep to dream.”

illusions quote

Buy Links

Wilde City Press

Amazon

About the Author…

Heidi Cullinan head shot

 

Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.

 Website  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads

Giveaway!

Win an eBook copy of Miles and the Magic Flute thanks to Heidi Cullinan and Wilde City Press.

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Click here or the image to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway

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★★★★ I Survived Seattle by J.K. Hogan ★★★★

Today’s review comes from guest reviewer Jonesy. Jonesy has given I Survived Seattle, the first book in the Coming About series, 4 fabulous stars.

I_Survived_Seattle_Cover

 

The Blurb…

As if being a deeply closeted gay man living in the South isn’t enough, Justice Crawford also suffers from a crippling anxiety disorder. Flying cross country to be the best man in his best friend’s wedding probably isn’t the best idea, right? Forced back into the closet after being rejected by his family, Justice has given up on the idea of finding acceptance and love. He has allowed his disorder and his troubled past to keep him from taking a chance, but love might just find him where he least expects it… in Seattle.

Sailor and charter boat captain Nic Valentine is still reeling from the unexpected death of his father, when the man of his dreams—literally—falls into his lap. He thinks he’ll never see the man again, but fate has other plans. Nic tries to resist the charms of adorably quirky, nervous Justice, because he has no desire to get tangled up with another closet case. But when life keeps throwing them together, will Nic decide that Justice might be a keeper after all?

So what did Jonesy think?

This is an insta-love story done quite well.  Sparks flew from the very beginning and it was nice to see Nic accept Justice’s neuroses.  Justice was a hot mess (although I couldn’t get my head around his name).  He suffers from anxiety and panic attacks with a helping of OCD.  Although he has his problems he doesn’t come across as weak and needy and I could totally relate to him and his disorders – I think we all have some form of anxiety and Justice was adorably neurotic.  Nic was a little more ‘regular guy’.  He had some hangups about being involved with someone still in the closet but despite this he still couldn’t get Justice out of his system and it was fun to watch them interact together.
I felt the love here between these two guys, even if it was a little quick, and the sex was pretty hot.  The drama between Justice and his mom felt a little rushed and when Nic goes missing the feelings fell a little flat.  There was a lovely HEA at the end but the lead up to it felt a little forced.  These are my only grumbles.
I enjoyed the side characters – even Rich.  He is a serious douchebag but I have a thing for ‘vanilla villains’.  I think all stories should have one.  This is book #1 of the ‘Coming About’ series and it would be interesting to see who stars in #2.  It would be nice to see if Rich can be redeemed.
I liked this a lot – but I didn’t love it.  I wanted to love it and I did in the beginning but the ending fell flat and it took away that spark for me.  I’m looking forward to more from this author.
4 stars from me!
Reviewed by RJ

To find out more about J.K. Hogan visit her website.

Buy I Survived Seattle from Wilde City Press.

Buy I Survived Seattle from Amazon

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Andy, Go-Go Boy by JP Barnaby

Working Boys

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Andy, Go-Go Boy

Andy, Go-Go Boy by J.P. Barnaby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Andy Finnegan is a six foot three brown-haired, blue-eyed, Mack f*cking truck. A former marine who spends his nights dancing for your entertainment, he has a dark side hiding beneath the beautiful veneer. Sweet little Stefan is awestruck by the big, gorgeous dancer with the rock hard abs and the lonely eyes. Determined to see what lurks behind the perfect surface, he gets a little more than he bargained for.

So what did I think? Andy is a big and strong ex-marine who dances to support himself while he dreams of earning more by breaking into porn. Broken and sad and only existing, not living his life. He wasn’t an easy character to like, not until his story came to light and his interactions with Stefan, showed him for the man he truly is inside. This is a story of how one man sees himself a monster…”He should save this boy from the darkness in him.” and of the quiet man who shows him that there is hope. This is a short story – short but sexy with a nice message – and I always have a soft spot for a broken man getting his second chance.

A copy of this book was provided by the author in return for my honest review.

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Now for some interesting stuff!

JP Barnaby was interviewed recently on USA today. Below is a snippet of the interview (click here for full interview).

“The Working Boys series came about as the result of a few conversations with friends in the industry about how they’re represented in fiction. For example, rentboys are generally portrayed as desperate, drug-addicted, or lacking other skills needed to succeed in life. With the boys I’ve met, that simply isn’t true. Charlie, Rentboy is based, in part, on real New York rentboy Eli Lewis and conversations we’ve had about his life. Andy, Go-Go Boy is loosely based on former Marine and Falcon exclusive Ryan Rose. These books are a realistic glimpse into the world of gay sex workers from their perspective.”

So if you love the cover of Andy, Go-Go Boy (like I do!), definitely check out some more of Ryan Rose on Pinterest.

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Check out JP Barnaby’s blog for an excerpt..click here

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To find out more about JP Barnaby and her books visit her website.

Buy Andy, Go-Go Boy from Wilde City Press

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In The Absence of Monsters by JP Barnaby

In The Absence of MonstersIn The Absence of Monsters by J.P. Barnaby

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Jayden Carter knew the path he wanted his life to take. He wanted to get his Master’s Degree in History and teach. But when he answered an ad for a roommate and met mysterious doctor, Ethan Bryant, he’s brought into a world he never knew existed and his path changes.

It changes again for Jayden and he leaves Ethan with their friend, Lexi, in tow. Ethan loses himself in a haze of self-destruction and pain. With the help of a childhood friend, Gabriel, Ethan battles the demons of his childhood and finds a way to survive. Gabriel and Jayden wage an epic war for Ethan, but in the end, they may all end up losing.

Adapted from The Forbidden Room and A House of Cards: Deconstructing Ethan

So what did I think?

It has been a while since I immersed myself in a deeply powerful and compelling story and I couldn’t have picked a better one to read – at times dark, often emotional, it was totally absorbing.

Jayden moves into the home of Dr. Ethan Bryant and finds himself given an ultimatum he can’t turn down, that of submitting to Ethan. The story follows Jayden as he is introduced to the world inhabited by Ethan and his submissive Lexi.

It is quite difficult to review this book without giving away spoilers. There are complex relationships that evolve between Jayden, Ethan, Lexi, Gabriel and Connor. There are secondary characters who play important roles in the story.

This is a story of domination and submission with frequent BDSM scenes. It is a story of struggling to understand sexual desires. It is a story of broken people and damaged relationships. There is denial and heartbreak but also love.

I found the mood of this book sombre, with deep emotions on each and every page. There were twists and turns and events, some that were expected and others a surprise. What surprised me the most was my own enjoyment of Lexi in the story. To be honest, I wasn’t overly happy to read of her inclusion in the early scenes in the book but she is an integral part of the story and she had definitely found her way into my heart by the end of the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed the way this story was told. The first half of the book is from Jayden’s point of view and is very much focused on his reaction to entering the world of BDSM and importantly figuring out his own sexuality. The second half is told from Ethan’s perspective and sheds a different light on the events from the first half of the book. This part of the book was the my favourite section – the insight into Ethan’s background, his reactions to the events in his life and his eventual healing.

Compelling story, wonderful characters, deeply emotional – perfect!

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in return for my honest review.

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To find out more about J.P. Barnaby and her books visit her website.

Buy In the Absence of Monsters from Amazon.

Buy In the Absence of Monsters from Wilde City Press.

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Now for something different! Zombies! Check out the Excerpt

Regular readers of my blog will know that zombies are not usually my thing. But this one has come to my attention – zombies and drag queens!

Queens of the Apocalypse by Rob Rosen – bonus points for that title and check out the cover!

Queen's of the Apocolypse

So what’s it about?

Take three fierce drag queens, plus their undead drag sister, a massive solar flare, and a few billion hungry zombies, toss in the remnants of the U.S. Army and a hysterically funny, frequently-poignant cross-country trip, add a spicy dash of sizzling romance and a helping of mystery and suspense, and what you wind up with is the deliciously campy Queens of the Apocalypse.

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Check out the EXCERPT – it sounds great, doesn’t it! 🙂

“That bitch!” shouted Blondella as a silver can whizzed by me.
 “Which bitch?” I asked with a heavy sigh, Lee Press-ons held up for close inspection as the can rolled around the floor before coming to a rest against my fabulous Jimmy Choos. Knock-offs, yes, but the guy on the corner promised me that no one would know the difference. Or at least no one past the first few rows—when the lights were dimmed, of course. And who could possibly spot the glue that held the heels on anyway? From past the fourth row, I mean.
 “Which bitch?” came her world-weary reply. “Kit. Bitch used up all my hairspray yet again.”
 I turned and glanced her way. Blondella Bombshell had her hair jacked up so high it was a wonder she didn’t topple over. Then again, drag queens frequently wobble, but they never fall down. When they’re sober, at any rate. Which, thankfully, we rarely were. “One errant match,” I made note in reply, pointing at her platinum hive, “and KAPOW!” Then I turned back to the mirror and began my daily moisturizing routine.
 She chuckled as she rummaged around for a second can. “Be that as it may, Destiny, it was mine, not hers, and she is, as I said, a bitch.” The second can was promptly found, another coat applied to the towering, temporarily inferno-less mess that sprouted dangerously above her head like a garden desperately in need of a good pruning.
 I nodded. “She’s only a bitch when she’s low on sugar.”
 The chuckle repeated as the heady aroma of jasmine-infused aerosol wafted my way, an ozone hole seemingly widening above our heads. “And exactly what year was Miss Kit Kat low on sugar? She practically owns half the M and most of the & with a lease on the second M as it is.”
 Blondella had a point. Still, who was I, Destiny St. James, to cast the first stone? Or in Kit’s case, boulder, because one measly stone would barely leave a dent in all that girdle-encased rotundity. Yes, though far be it from me to say it—to her face, as opposed to behind her wide expanse of back—Kit looked like a cross between Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Hudson, pre-Weight Watchers. And by “cross” I mean take Aretha and take Jennifer and mash ’em together, and voila, you get Kit in size, color, and diva-demeanor. Seriously, she should’ve been counting her blessings that the music at the club was so blaringly loud, because otherwise, she’d be lip-synching to nothing but the squeaking floorboards beneath her size twelve feet all night long.
 In any case, in she walked, or at least waddled, a few moments later, the steel door shutting behind her. And yes, I said steel. See, the dressing room had once been a meat locker back in the day, the club itself a converted restaurant located just outside The Castro. Pretty to look at, but, like my shoes, only in dim lighting and from a distance. Or if you weren’t sober. Then again, like us, our patrons rarely were. Thankfully. Because tip ratio equates to drink ratio. In other words, the drunker they were, the better we looked and the more do re mi dough (hairspray, moisturizer, candy bars) for all of us.
 “Bitches!” Kit shouted in cheery greeting, a Snickers bar waved like a wand above her head.
 “Yes,” said Blondella icily. “We already covered that.” She gave Kit the onceover—twice.
 “Girl, you look like ten pounds of potato in a five-pound sack.”
 “Says the queen in her fifties wearing the fifteen-year-old’s dress,” came the snarky reply as Kit took her squeaking seat in front of her makeup mirror. “Was there a rummage sale down at the high school, hon?”
 “Thirties,” came the teeth-gritted reply. “Not fifties.”
 Kit turned and squinted at the ever-shellacked Blondella. “If you say so.” Then she giggled and turned back to the mirror, lipstick tube momentarily replacing the Snickers bar.
 In truth, none of us knew exactly how old Blondella was. None of us, after all, had ever seen her out of drag, out of makeup, or out of her monstrous expanse of wig. If she had a driver’s license, it was about as well-hidden as the pores on her face. Best guess, though, I’d say forties. High-end. Low in the dim light. And yes, there wasn’t anything above fifty watts within the club’s walls. Mandatory. Drag queens’ law. Enacted and brutally enforced by all ten of us girls. Well, boy-girls. Um, men-bitches, really.
In any case, terms of endearment at an end, we went back to work on our faces. With the club opening in a few hours, we barely had enough time to prepare. Especially once the other performers arrived and war promptly ensued. Because ten of us and six makeup mirrors made Vietnam look like a night at Disney.
 So before all hell broke loose, we eagerly primped and preened and glossed and coated and sprayed and glued and—groan—tucked merrily away.Though, of course, all hell did in fact break loose soon enough.
Seriously.
SERIOUSLY!
All hell and a good part of Oakland, for that matter. BOOOOM! we heard first, with a couple of extra vowels thrown in the middle for effect. Then the floors shook, the steel screeched within its brick encasing, and Kit’s belly Jelloooed, again with a couple of extra vowels in the middle.
And then the three of us shrieked, very unlady and certainly unmanly like.
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Rob Rosen
Author of the award-winning novels Sparkle: The Queerest Book You’ll Ever Love, Divas Las Vegas, Hot Lava, Southern Fried, Queerwolf, and Vamp
To find out more about Rob Rosen aand his books visist his website.
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★★★★★ As You Are by Ethan Day ★★★★★

As You AreAs You Are by Ethan Day

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Operation Danny… that’s all bartender and recent college graduate, Julian Hallowell has had on his mind the past year. Julian may have no idea what he wants to do with his life, but he definitely knows he’s in love with the boy next door: the one in the next room to be exact, his roommate Danny Wallace.

Danny owns a used text book store just off campus and while Julian has done his level best to make Danny fall for him, all his hard work appears to have been in vain. Danny doesn’t seem to view Julian as anything other than that… a roommate and friend. So when new guy in town Andy Baker asks him out on a date, Julian can’t seem to think of a good reason to say no.

Julian has already instituted a Reverse Operation Danny plan, which he’s positive will purge all thoughts of love and lust for his roomie out of his head. He’s ready to move on and start looking for his next Mr. Right, and Andy just might fit the bill. But has he given up too soon?

So what did I think?

Ethan Day has done it again – what a fun and fabulous story told with such wit and humour! And Julian? Totally wonderful!

Julian has secretly loved his roommate Danny for a year and unsuccessfully tried to charm Daniel into falling for him. When his plan doesn’t work, he finally changes tack and starts on a new plan to rid himself of his feelings for Danny.

Julian is over-the-top quirky, clumsy and just a bit nutty with his strong ideas about love and romance. But he’s also so endearing. There is lots packed into Julian’s story – his ideas about love, romance and marriage, his family, his homophobic cousin, the lack of direction in life, his relationship with best friend Gabby, his new experiences with dating – it’s a lot to take in but told in such an amusing way, it’s best just to hang on and go with the flow!

I enjoyed the flashbacks which give little hints that there is a lot more to Danny than meets the eye and he may not be as immune to Julian’s charms as Julian thinks he is. And I loved the women in the book. Luckily Julian has some strong women in his life – Southern mom Delilah and sassy friend Gabby – who put up with his quirky personality and steer him in the right direction – these are ‘pull-no-punches’ type of gals.

My only slight disappointment was that I wanted to get to know Danny better. There are suggestions as to why he behaves the way he does but I really wanted to know more of his background. I guess with the first person POV of Julian, this wasn’t on the cards.

I’m a sucker for happy endings so the story ended perfectly for me. I didn’t need the long drawn out closure or resolution of issues – it was enough that the right men ended up together.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in return for my honest review.

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To find out more about Ethan Day and his books visit his website.

Buy As You Are from Amazon.

Buy As You Are from Wilde City Press.

 

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Tread Marks & Trademarks by S.A. McAuley

This is the first book in the Team Maker Jock series.

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Tread Marks & TrademarksTread Marks & Trademarks by S.A. McAuley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Alex Maddox may be a genius. Or not. In thirty-four days he’ll know for sure. The robot he’s been perfecting for the last four years is finally ready. Alex won’t accept anything less than perfection—if he can keep a broken air conditioner, a flaky twin brother, a thirtieth birthday, and falling for the Norse god of advertising from derailing him.

Christian Lawson is an advertising god. A blond hottie with the beautiful brains to match. He’s worked hard to move past the accident that nearly took his legs, but it’s been years since he let any man get close enough to see just how deep his scars really go.

Christian isn’t the advertising executive Alex expected, and Alex isn’t the coolly confident inventor Christian’s had his eye on for years. But what they discover in each other may just be better than what either of them could have hoped for.

Note: This is a novel that is an expanded and re-edited combined version of the two novellas previously published as The Maker Jock and Tread Marks and Trademarks.

So what did I think?

What makes this story special is the contrast in the main characters.

Firstly we have Alex – geeky and clever and easy to give his heart but fearful of not being wanted for himself. Then there is Christian, advertising high-flyer and astute business man with fabulous good looks but still dealing with the ramifications from a serious accident.

Alex has invented a robot with technology that will revolutionise the world. He is dedicated and focused on his craft and an active participant of the Makers Movement. Until this book, I hadn’t even heard of movement but a quick Google search later and I found out that Maker Movement is very much a real thing! Through his twin brother, Alex is introduced to Christian and a relationship blossoms.

The story follows Alex’s completion of his robot, preparation for a Maker Fair and ultimately his plans for the future. As Alex has success with his technology and receives offers, he and Christian are building their relationship. Alex has been hurt in the past, with people riding his coat tails and waiting for his big break. Interestingly he gives his heart to Christian fairly easily. They also need to deal with Christian’s past as his previous relationship connects with his and Alex’s business venture.

I loved the characters and the story overall however it did take me a while to really get into it but by part 2 of the book I was hooked. I found the Maker Movement interesting but found there was a little too much corporate wheeling and dealing for my liking – I didn’t fully understand all the business negotiation (I probably didn’t really need to know what it meant to follow the story but I hate reading things I don’t fully understand.)

Bonus points for some big romantic gestures, lead characters who want to do good for the world and a nice happy ending!

I loved Micah, Alex’s identical twin – identical in looks but very different in personality – and I’m hoping the next book is his story! (Yes, Micah’s gay too!)

A copy of this book was received from the publisher in return for my honest review.

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about S.A. McAuley and her books visit her Goodreads Author Profile.

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★★★★★ Pudding Jones by DC Juris ★★★★★

Pudding JonesPudding Jones by DC Juris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Award-winning reporter Emmer Richfield is the kind of guy who covers wars, the kind of guy who asks the hard-hitting questions. He is not—and he’s certain about this—the kind of guy who does sappy human-interest stories about homeless people. But his newest assignment is not just any human-interest story, it’s a mandate from the mayor: convince the people of Dodson that Foxton Industries’ plan to build a mall—and oust the homeless population—is a bad idea by way of a feature on a homeless man named Pudding Jones. But Pudding quickly goes from just another story to a man who changes Emmer’s life. The question is, can Emmer return the favor before it’s too late?

So what did I think?

I put off reading this book for quite a long time. The blurb made me uneasy and I was very wary of the potential for some sadness. And I’m not going to sugar coat it. This book made me cry.

It’s a beautiful and tragic story of Pudding Jones and Emmer, the man who interviews him for a local paper. Pudding is homeless but has a heart of gold, choosing to stay surrounded by his ‘family’ of fellow homeless people. He teaches Emmer about what it means to be a good person.

However Pudding is more than his homeless circumstance. Pudding is tragically broken by events in his past. His is a story of sexual abuse but also a story of sacrifices made for love.

There is beauty in the wonderful love shared between Emmer and Pudding, a love that overcomes the differences in their upbringings. Pudding opens up to Emmer, trusting him like he has no other, and Emmer finally opens his eyes to what’s really important in life. Even time spent traveling the world and visiting war zones hadn’t been able to achieve what Pudding did in a few short months.

There is no happy ending but there is something heartwarming about this story. Yes, I wanted the ending to be different but I wouldn’t have missed reading this story, even for all the tears.

Buy Pudding Jones from Amazon.

Buy Pudding Jones from Wilde City Press.