Monday, September 24, 2018

Review & Giveaway: DARCY by RJ Scott & Meredith Russell (Boyfriend for Hire #1)



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Length: 40,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Meredith Russell


Blurb

Darcy’s newest assignment is to play the role of boyfriend to a wealthy socialite, but never expected the intense attraction to his date’s brother. Falling for Adrian is dangerous and certainly not part of the plan.

Adrian has been as unlucky in love as his sister, but he doesn’t approve of hiring a boyfriend, whatever the reason. Until he meets Darcy. Then he comes to realize that love can happen in the most unexpected of ways.

One week. That is all the two men needed to fall in lust, but will they have a lifetime to fall in love?



Carra's Review

The majority of the fake boyfriend trope stories I’ve read, it’s been the two main characters who are pretending to be together.  Here in Darcy, the authors put a slight twist on that where it’s one of the main characters (Darcy) and the other main’s sister (Abby).  While I’ve seen this combination done before, here the authors keep things fresh with the reason behind Abby needing Darcy’s help and the personalities of the characters as well as the situations in which they find themselves.  

Darcy easily played whatever part was needed of him, and he was able to remain in control and able to react under pressure thanks to his military past…at least most of the time.  Adrian, Abby’s brother, was a weakness for him—and vice versa.  The two of them did fit well together, though I wish there had been more time spent on their relationship development.  There was a lot more time devoted to the wedding to which Abby needed Darcy to accompany her and the events that happen there than to Adrian and Darcy’s time together then I would have expected; this resulted in readers being told about much of their relationship progression rather than being shown it.

As for the supporting characters, I really liked Abby—since I’m a science nerd, I could easily identify with her character (including her attitude when it comes to clothes).  Abby and Adrian’s cousin Charlotte though…she came off as quite annoying and the portion of the story to which she contributes seems drawn out.


Overall, Darcy was a 3.5-star read for me.  Though I could have done with more depth to the story, and more on-page development of Adrian and Darcy’s relationship, this was still an enjoyable, quick read with low angst and a relatively low heat factor.  I’m looking forward to more in the series since at the very least I’d like to find out Rowan’s story (Darcy’s best friend and co-worker).  This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.


About the Authors

RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.

She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the following links below:





Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing. Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.




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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: OF SUNLIGHT AND STARDUST by Riley Hart & Christina Lee - TOP RECOMMENDATION!

 Of Sunlight and Stardust RDB Banner

OF SUNLIGHT AND STARDUST
RILEY HART & CHRISTINA LEE 
M/M ROMANCE
RELEASE DATE: 09.21.18

Of Sunlight and Stardust Cover  
Cover Design: JAY AHEER/ Simply Defined Art
Cover Image: Strangeland Photography



Blurb

After the death of his wife, Tanner Rowe takes a step toward making her dream come true and buys the house with the dilapidated barn she’d been inexplicably drawn to in the picturesque Upper Peninsula. But after a year, he still can’t get past his grief long enough to make the repairs he’d promised.

Recently out of prison, Cole Lachlan has little to his name. Homeless, broke, and without many options as a felon, Cole heads to Red Bluff with hopes of a second chance. There, he meets Tanner, whose loneliness mirrors his own and soon, Cole is trading room and board for rebuilding the burned-out barn on Tanner’s property that hasn’t been touched in seventy years.

Turns out, the barn holds a lot more secrets than either of them could have imagined. After unearthing a hidden journal from 1948, Cole and Tanner spend their evenings poring through the pages and reading about a young man pining after his best friend. As they delve deeper into this forbidden affair from the past, the more Cole and Tanner’s own relationship shifts—from acquaintance to friend…to undeniable attraction.

But as they begin to deal with the newness of falling in love amid Cole’s past and Tanner’s loss, they also become more determined to unravel the mystery of the young lovers who’ve captured their hearts, the rumors about the fire, and what really happened that fateful night.


OfSunlightTEASER1

Excerpt

Every so often, Tanner found his eyes drawn back to the window. With the exception of a small lunch break, Cole didn’t stop working. He might not know much about building a barn, but the things Cole was doing now he could help with. There was no reason he couldn’t clean or haul debris to the truck. He didn’t for a couple of reasons. First, this was what he’d hired Cole to do. It might have only been a short amount of time, but Tanner knew Cole well enough to know he wouldn’t feel as if he was earning his keep if Tanner helped too much. But also, even though he’d promised Emma he’d follow her dream for them, part of him resented it because it hadn’t been his dream, it had been hers. They were supposed to do it together, and now she was gone and he was here, with a man he didn’t know, trying to make it happen.

Those thoughts made him an asshole, he was pretty sure, but they were true.

He was lonely, Christ, he was lonely. He’d almost asked Cole to share lunch with him earlier, but his phone had rung instead. He didn’t know why he kept himself from talking much with Cole. He was an interesting man, and obviously well read. He had a pride about him that Tanner respected. It intrigued him. They had common ground, so why was he resisting? Their arrangement was temporary and a working relationship. It wasn’t as if any harm could come from it. It would give him someone to talk to until Cole was on his way.

That’s the man I know, Emma’s voice whispered in his head. He was beginning to worry he was going crazy. He heard her more often than was probably healthy. Not just memories either, but moments like this one, where it was almost as if she was talking to him. Logically, he realized it was just that he knew Emma, knew what she would say and how she would feel, but it was also concerning.

Tanner continued working until he reached a good stopping point, then went downstairs.

He was craving spaghetti and meatballs, which usually wasn’t one of his favorite meals. Since he had ground beef in the fridge, he washed his hands and started dinner. He sautéed the meatballs while he got the sauce going. An hour later he had the meal ready, complete with a salad. He went to pluck a plate from the cabinet to fix some up for Cole, then paused.

What’s it going to hurt, Tan?

He closed his eyes, pursed his lips because a part of him wanted to answer Emma. It would make him feel closer to her. But he didn’t. Goddamn it. He put the plate away and made his way outside.

Cole was standing by the truck, with his shirt off. Beads of sweat rolled down his sun-kissed skin, over the tattoos on his arms. Did they mean anything? He found himself wondering. He didn’t have any himself. Wasn’t sure what he would get if he ever decided to get one.

Tanner’s eyes darted away when Cole turned around to look at him. He figured that was silly and glanced back to see Cole’s brows pulled together.

“If you’re hungry, dinner’s done.”

He saw Cole’s eyes lower to his hands since he usually carried the plate out.

“It’s hot as hell. Figured you could eat in the kitchen with me, if you’d like.”

Again, he averted his gaze, this time looking toward the barn. Did Cole not want to share a meal with him? Would he prefer to eat alone in a half-burned barn?

“You don’t have to if you don’t want, of course. I just thought—”

“No, no,” Cole interrupted. He had a slightly raspy voice that was unique to him. “It’s not that. It’d be nice to eat inside, enjoy the cool house. But I don’t want to take advantage of your hospitality.”

“You’re not,” Tanner replied. Really, what in the hell had he done for Cole? He wasn’t very hospitable at all. He was paying him for work.

“Okay,” Cole replied. “Let me get my things. And I should shower first. I’m awfully sweaty.”

silhouette of shadow man with interstellar in the sky

Carra's Review

Sometimes I read a book that hits me so hard emotionally that I have to take a step back for a few days afterward to regroup before I can find the words to express what I thought about it.  Of Sunlight and Stardust is one of those books—I will tell you right up front that it’s going to get you in the feels when you read it, and it’s going to be a story that you’ll need a tissue box handy for while you’re reading.  Even now after letting my mind settle, when I think back to certain scenes I still start to tear up and probably always will.

The main characters of Tanner and Cole are by far some of my favorite individual characters I’ve ever read, and they definitely have a place as one of my favorite couples.  Both broken in their own way, both trying to rebuild their lives, and both lonely and needing someone.  I was particularly drawn to Cole, and I was impressed with his need to be independent and make his own way even as I was saying to myself, “please, just let someone help”.  But he desperately wants to make it on his own, to show everyone he will work for what he gets and is not there for a handout.  I loved how Tanner and Cole’s relationship developed slowly, first as boss/employee, then as friends, and eventually as lovers.  There is no rush to move things along, and things evolve naturally between them—something that gives Tanner time to work out his unexpected feelings when he’s never felt that way about a man before.

Intertwined with Tanner and Cole’s story is another—one that was the most responsible for smacking me in the feels, and the reason behind my need for the tissue box.  I thought the weaving of the two stories together resulted in a unique tale, and one that was incredibly emotional and powerful.  I want to tell you so much about it, but to do so would turn my entire review into a spoiler.  What you need to know?  You MUST get this book—if you are a fan of M/M romance I can guarantee you will love this story.  Be prepared for a LOT of emotion, especially with the interwoven storyline, and don’t be surprised if you have to go searching for your heart later because the authors will have torn it right out of your chest.  T+C means so much more than you think, and by the end you may even feel some chills once you realize it all.

5 stars could never be enough for Of Sunlight and Stardust, and this story has seized one of the highest spots on my Top Recommendations list.  Just know I’m sitting here biting my tongue (or physically restraining my fingers on the keyboard, however you want to look at it) to keep from blurting out more…because there’s so much I could say, but you really need to read it for yourself, then you’ll see what I mean.  Thank you Riley Hart and Christina Lee for this stunning story.


This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.


Gay Couple Love Outdoors Concept

Riley Hart Logo Banner

Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic, a lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together.

She loves reading, flawed characters, and hanging out with her husband and children, who she adores. She and her family live in Southern California, soaking up the sunshine while also missing seasons. Not a day goes by that she isn’t thankful she gets to wake up and do what she loves.

Life is good. Riley also writes young adult and new adult under the name Nyrae Dawn.



Christina Lee Logo

Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.

Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I've been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn't until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.

I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M Contemporary Romance. I'm addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.



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Friday, September 21, 2018

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: LOVER by T.M. Smith (Survivor #2)







Lover





Synopsis

Life has not always been kind to Shannon Dupree. On the outside, he's carefree and fun loving, but when it comes to his past, he's evasive and secretive. Running away from emotionally bereft parents at just 15, Shannon escapes life with them but steps into the waiting arms of the devil. 

Rory Landers is a rising star at the Bureau. His personal life, however, is nothing to write home about. He hopes to take his limited relationship with Frank Moore to the next level when they finally solve the Langford murder case, but that doesn't turn out as planned. On the plus side, he meets free-spirited college senior Shannon Dupree. 

Rand Davis finds himself 40-something and single when his partner of more than a decade is unfaithful. Taking over the Cold Case Squad frees up some of his time, and Rand welcomes newfound friendships within the Langford-Moore family circle. He thinks relationships are not in the cards for him until he meets an agent with an attitude and a vivacious blond that make him want so much more. 

Past, present, pain, and suffering collide, ushering in the possibility of a life and love worth fighting for. Although their personalities couldn't be more different, their three hearts beat the same. Shannon, Rory, and Rand learn the definition of love, commitment, and strength, and if they allow themselves, the trio will find all that and more - in each other.  

NOTE: This is the sequel to Survivor. The stories should be heard in order.
©2018 TM Smith (P)2018 TM Smith


Buy links: 



Excerpt

Prologue
Shannon 2010

Heart hammering in his chest, hands shaking, Shannon handed the attendant his ticket. The light on the scanner turned green and beeped, and he almost wept with joy. “Enjoy your flight, sir.” He nodded, took the piece of paper, and stuffed it into his jeans pocket, forcing himself to walk the long hallway to the plane and not run for his life, which was basically what he was doing. By now, Bruce would know what Shannon had done—that he wasn’t at work and he wouldn’t be coming home.

It had taken a year of patience and planning, convincing Bruce that he truly wanted to volunteer three days a week at a local homeless shelter. Then he saved every spare penny he could collect to purchase his ticket to freedom. His steps faltered when he remembered the last time he’d tried to leave. It was the angriest he’d ever seen Bruce, and that was saying a lot since the last three years of his life were consumed by his once-gentle lover’s anger and twisted pleasures. The early stages of their relationship were the happiest times of Shannon’s life. Bruce was gorgeous and kind; he listened to Shannon—seemed to support his aspirations to become a dancer and make a better life for himself far away from the home he shared with his emotionally distant parents that paid more attention to alcohol and arguments than to their fifteen-year-old son. Bruce was kind and romantic, luring him with promises of love and a life where they could be partners, equals. And Shannon fell for him…hook, line, and sinker.

He sucked in a ragged breath, barely biting back the scream clawing its way up his throat when someone bumped into him from behind. “Oh my, so sorry.” Shannon looked over his shoulder, nodding at the little old lady that grinned up at him. “Once the suitcase starts rolling, it’s hard for me to stop it sometimes.” She chuckled.

“It’s okay, no worries.” He exhaled sharply, the tension in his shoulders slowly releasing. He couldn’t be so jumpy; it might draw attention he desperately needed to avoid. But he couldn’t let his guard down either. Bruce and his driver, Tuan—also known as Shannon’s warden—could very well be in the terminal that very minute searching for him. Willing his body to relax, Shannon managed to put one foot in front of the other until he was tucked away in his window seat, his backpack that held everything he now owned under the seat in front of him.

The last thing he expected was the flood of emotions that slammed into him the moment the plane was in the air: Relief at not being caught this time and dragged back to Bruce’s condo—to be beaten and starved for weeks until he begged for mercy and promised he’d never try to leave again. Sadness for the minuscule amount of love he rarely received that he was now losing. Panic, frustration, and self-loathing…why? Now that he was finally close enough to the light at the end of the tunnel to flip the switch, did he really have the strength and courage to do so? How would he live? Hell, where would he live? He was an eighteen-year-old with no job, no home, no family or friends, and the few thousand dollars he’d managed to save over the past twelve months wouldn’t go far. He’d left his wallet in his locker at work with everything except his ID and Social Security card still inside. He’d removed the Sim card from his iPhone, stomped on it, and then flushed it down the toilet. His backpack held several changes of clothes, toiletries, a well-worn copy of Pride and Prejudice, and a cheap knockoff MP3 player he’d picked up at a shop in the airport since he’d left his iPhone in the cab, on purpose.


Reaching up, Shannon pulled the hood of his jacket over his head and leaned his forehead against the cool glass window, staring down at the specks of light as the plane climbed higher into the sky, carrying him farther away from Seattle. Tears blurred his vision, but he welcomed them. Finally, he was free.



Carra's Review

So first things first…Lover is the second book in this series, and I would strongly recommend you read the first book, Survivor before starting this one.  While Survivor does focus on Taylor and Frank’s story, the events that occur and the characters that are introduced in that book directly shape Lover and you may find yourself lost at some points during the story if you haven’t read Survivor beforehand.

Lover centers on three of the men we met in Survivor: Shannon, Rory, and Rand.  Shannon’s past was beyond rough, and the way he fought back from his darkest point shows just how strong and determined this young man is.  I love how he and Taylor went from hookup in book one to best friends with an unbreakable bond here in book two.  Shannon is the definition of a survivor, and he is by far my favorite character in this story.

When we met Rory in Survivor, he was undercover watching Frank…though much more closely than what the FBI intended.  I felt bad for him in that story, and I was glad he would be getting his story told here in Lover.  He and Shannon are a natural, easy fit from the start, and are crazy hot together as their relationship develops.  At first, Rand feels like the odd man out…but the more time he interacts with both Shannon and Rory, the more you can see the chemistry developing between him and each of the other two men.  

What eventually develops between the three men comes slowly, and it isn’t until very late in the story that they finally come together as a threesome (and even then don’t expect hot and steamy from them together right away).  There’s a lot of buildup before then, and much of the focus of the story is on the case Rory and Rand are working that winds up encompassing Shannon’s past as well.  

Lover is filled with drama and emotion, and while I actually preferred this author’s other threesome stories more (from the All Cocks series), this story was still a very solid 4-star read for me, and fits very well in this series.  This story also plants the seed for the next book, and I can’t wait to read more about Blair (another FBI agent) and Mannie (someone from the case Rory and Rand worked in this book).  Lover is meant for readers 18+ for adult language, descriptions of assault, and sexual content.


The narration: Once again Nick J. Russo does a fantastic job with both characters from the first story of the series, along with new ones introduced here in Lover.  He easily communicates the characters’ emotions, and brings the story to life so that you feel like you’re right there in the scenes with them.  The pacing was perfect, making for a very easy listening experience.  5 stars for the narration!


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A military brat born and raised at Ft. Benning Georgia; TM Smith is an avid reader, reviewer and writer. A Texas transplant, she now calls DFW her home. Most days she can be found curled up with a good book, or ticking away on her next novel.


Smith is a single mom of three disturbingly outspoken and decidedly different kids, one of which is Autistic. Besides her writing, she is passionate about Autism advocacy and LGBT rights. Because, seriously people, Love is Love!





Check out the first book in the series, Survivor...


Taylor Langford’s world is torn apart when he is only thirteen years old—his parents killed, leaving him alone and orphaned. With no living relatives, he’d certainly be another statistic if not for the intervention of the policeman who found Taylor in the crawl space where his mother hid him that fateful night. Despite the tragedy and resulting anguish in his life, Taylor knows how lucky he is.

Frank Moore is a rookie with the Dallas Police Department when he and his partner answer a call in Devonshire, one of the city’s more affluent neighborhoods. They think the young boy in various pictures throughout the home has been kidnapped until they find him, shaken but alive. Officer Moore recognizes the pain in the kid’s eyes, having lost his own mother to cancer when he was just a boy. He steps in, making sure Taylor is placed with a loving foster family. Over the years, Frank becomes a permanent fixture in Taylor’s life.

A decade later, the case remains unsolved and the once gangly, uncertain teenager is now a college graduate who knows exactly what he wants. He’s coming home to the man that helped mold and shape his life, the man he’s loved for as long as he can remember, Frank Moore. But Taylor isn’t the only person returning to Dallas, and while Frank is distracted by his own conflicting feelings and the new bond growing between the two, the past creeps up on them, determined to finish what was started ten years earlier.

A note from the author…

I hope you enjoy Frank and Taylor’s story. It’s been a long road to get them settled, but I’m happy with where this story has taken them. When I started this book, the intent was to write a stand-alone story, but that has changed. Characters continually evolve throughout the writing process, and there are several characters in the book that want to tell their story. I’ve grown especially fond of Rory and I can’t wait to write his book, which will take us back to when he first joined the Bureau, and continue on to his happy ever after.

Please be advised: This is a May/December romance, and as in life, there are sexual situations that take place prior to the main characters finding their way to one another. This is not gratuitous; it is meant to show character growth and self-realization. There is absolutely no cheating.



Buy links... 


Amazon US || Amazon UK || Amazon DE || Amazon AU || Audible



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Book Review: SAFE PLACE by Jay Northcote (Rainbow Place #2)



Buy Links: 


Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
Length: 48,000 words approx.

Rainbow Place Series

Book #1 - Rainbow Place - Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb

Where do you go when your home is no longer a safe place?

Alex is about to turn eighteen and is firmly in the closet. He’s been biding his time, waiting to escape to uni, and finally come out away from the oppressive influence of his homophobic father. When he flunks his exams, he’s stuck in the small town of Porthladock—and what’s worse is that he’s working for his dad. The only thing that makes it bearable is Cam.

Cam’s comfortable with his bisexuality, but he doesn’t broadcast it. Young, free, and single, his social life revolves around playing rugby and hanging out with his mates. He’s attracted to Alex, but with the six-year age gap, Cam’s wary of getting involved. Plus, he thinks Alex needs a friend more than he needs a lover, and as their friendship grows, Cam decides he’s not willing to risk ruining it for casual sex.

When Alex’s dad finds out about his sexuality, Alex is suddenly both jobless and homeless. He finds work at Rainbow Place, the local LGBT-friendly café and Cam lets Alex stay in his flat for a while. But Alex would rather be sleeping in Cam’s bed than on his sofa. With them both living under one roof, their feelings for each other grow stronger, and the sexual tension is hard to ignore. Will giving in to it ruin their friendship and complicate things for Alex even more?

Although this book is part of a linked series, it has a satisfying happy ending, and can be enjoyed as a standalone.


Carra's Review

When I read the first book in this series, Rainbow Place, I was definitely intrigued by Alex considering who his father is since I knew that would be a hurdle for him in this story.  And all of the rugby players from the first story captured my attention (how could they not?), so of course I was excited that Cam was being featured.  How things played out…there was plenty I liked, but again like with the first book my frustration levels were raised for a large portion of the story.

The majority of the blame for my frustration can be laid right at Cam’s feet.  When characters keep themselves from getting involved with someone because they think it’s for their own good, or because they don’t want to risk their friendship…well that drives me nuts.  Take a chance, you’ll never know unless you try.  But when they don’t want to try—well, *sigh*.  Thank goodness close proximity between Cam and Alex was at work since it’s a big factor in them finally getting together.

This story is very slow burn thanks to Cam keeping Alex at arm’s length, and while some scenes do elevate the heat level a bit, for the most part things are pretty light when it comes to physical intimacy.  The two of them do go the “let’s be friends” route for a while, so the story does turn into a friends-to-lovers one.  I liked both of their characters, though I would have warmed up more to Cam if he wouldn’t have done the whole “let me be your friend” thing for so long.  Alex was wonderful, and I liked how he handled his father (whom I hated with a passion…what a jerk!).


In the end, after my frustration finally eased up, Safe Place wound up being a 3.5-star read for me.  My interest continues to be piqued for more in the series—there are so many side characters that have been introduced that could use their own stories, so I hope there will be many more to come.  Though the intimate scenes in this book are not many, this story is still mean for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.


About the Author

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.


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