Thursday, May 13, 2021

New Release-Review & Excerpt: THIS IS NOT A HORROR MOVIE by Sara Dobie Bauer

This is Not a Horror Movie

by Sara Dobie Bauer

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow Designs

Release Date: May 13, 2021

Genres: m/m new adult, gay paranormal romance, LGBTQ, romantic comedy

Trope: Friends to lovers

Themes: non-explicit, humorous, teens, Florida, summer vacation, hauntings, evil spirits

Heat Rating:  2 flames

Warnings: Scenes of graphic violence, death of minor characters, mentions of bullying, alcohol use

Length:  78 000 words

It is a standalone story.

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Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Blurb

Emory Jones loves two things: horror movies and Connor Nichols. 

For the past four years, Emory, Connor, and their families have vacationed side by side on Longboat Key, Florida. Eighteen-year-old Emory has pined for his neighbor from behind the covers of Stephen King books, but college boy Connor has never noticed him. Probably because Emory looks like Jack Skellington with good hair.

Emory anticipates another predictable summer of sunburn and disappointment. Instead, he ends up with a mystery on his hands when a beloved beach bum goes missing, and Connor volunteers to help with the search. Turns out it’s not just scary movie cops who are worthless, so the boys start an investigation of their own—leading them straight to an abandoned beach resort.

Despite the danger, Emory and Connor grow closer, but as Emory’s gay dreams start coming true, so do the horror movie tropes he so loves. Even though he knows that sex equals death in slasher flicks, Emory can’t keep his hands off the guy of his teenage dreams.

Excerpt 

I’m about to follow a mysterious rat into the darkness when a hand lands on my shoulder. I suck a panicked gasp in through my lips as Connor says, “Sorry! Sorry.”

I put my hands on my knees and relearn breathing.

He stands there, backlit like some kind of hot angel, and shrugs. “Maybe you should be thanking me.”

“What?”

“You like to be scared,” he says.

He’s right. Haunted house in the neighborhood? I’m first. Spooky cemetery? Coming through. Maybe that’s part of the reason I always let Liz drag me to parties at the Outpost. It feels like being in a scary movie. I’m waiting for Leatherface to show up and murder the morally reprehensible youth. Of course, if horror movie rules are true, I’m totally dead. I lost my virginity at sixteen and more often than not spend “happy hour” sharing malt liquor with Longboat’s famous homeless dude, Leland.

“What are you doing over here?” Connor asks.

“Befriending local wildlife.” I glance over my shoulder into the dark. I shove hair out of my face—a nervous tic I’ve acquired since growing it out. Because I needed another nervous tic. “What are you doing over here?”

“Talking to you.” He grins, but I can feel a disconnect. 

Connor and I have always had a mutually agreed upon rhythm. He’s the big, gorgeous straight dude who puts up with me, the skinny, little gay kid. 

Well. 

No one knows I’m gay down here. Florida is for family, not fu— Anyway.

In summers past, Connor wrestled me and tickled me, and I pretended not to like it. We talked about some things, mostly scary movies, but kept an emotional distance. He accepts me being a drama queen, and I never let him know I would climb Everest for his kiss. 

Staring at me with a dumb look on his face is not our rhythm.

I finally lose my sh*t. “Jesus, am I bleeding from my eyes?”

He coughs out a laugh. “What?”

“You’re looking at me funny.”

He looks away. “Oh.”

I cross my arms. I have, in fact, filled out a lot since last summer—and the lifeguarding helps—but I’m still self-conscious about my small frame and will probably never forget the jocks calling me “Tinker Bell” from seventh to tenth grade. I press my lips together and side-eye the kids dancing to some club beat on Liz’s phone. “Everyone’s looking at me funny, actually.”

Connor clears his throat and plucks at the front of his tight, white T-shirt. He looks like he wants to dive headfirst into the empty pool at his back.

“You don’t have to talk to me, you know.”

His blue eyes flit back my way. Even in the dark, I know they’re blue. He says, “But I like talking to you.”

I hug myself tighter and lift a shoulder. “Seen any good horror movies lately?”

His smile is back. “Tons. I saw this French one called Raw.”

I bounce up on my toes. “Cannibals! Oh my God, that movie was so good! The writing.” I tear at my hair in euphoric bliss.

He nods. “And the scene with the roommate.”

“And the ending!” I poke him in the chest. “Dude, I tried to get Liz to watch it. She’s all vegetarian now because she dated this hippie dude senior year. She said she gave up meat for her health, but I think it’s because he said he tasted death in her mouth.”

Connor does the silent open-mouth laugh thing that happens when my storytelling reaches peak levels of absurd. 

“She made it thirty minutes into the movie before she had to leave the room and vomit. Meanwhile, I was sitting there eating, like, spaghetti.”

He puts his hand on my shoulder as he keeps laughing. I smell his deodorant: sporty man stuff. “I can’t believe I almost didn’t come this year.”

That steals the air from my lungs. Sure, I should be avoiding the guy, looking forward to the future, but all of a sudden, I can’t imagine a summer without Connor Nichols making me blush.

Carra's Review

I tend to stay away from stories with younger main characters, usually shying from the new adult category.  But I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read by this author, and since this is friends-to-more and paranormal I decided to give it a go.  


Emory is well, frankly he’s adorable.  Newly graduated from high school (along with his twin sister) and ready to head off to college, he still is a bit awkward and clumsy, not quite used to the height he gained before his final year of high school—or the apparent label of “hot” that now applies to him (of which he is blissfully unaware).  Connor is well aware of it, though he was already drawn to Emory for the past several years their families have been vacationing next to each other.


Something very wrong is happening nearby, something eerie and dark…and yet, even with the inevitable evil waiting to ruin everyone’s vacations this story still manages to be funny and light.  Well, except for the, you know, bloody parts.  I suppose you could say the funny balances out the monstrous and while it is all going on Connor and Emory finally fall for each other.  It’s sweet and yet also horrific, with some fun stereotypical horror movie and Stephen King references to boot.


This is Not a Horror Movie was a truly enjoyable read, and I keep bouncing back and forth between 4-4.5 stars.  Fans of the genre will definitely want to add this to their collection!


About the Author 

Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling romance author and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. She lives with her hottie husband and precious pup in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film.

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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Audiobook Review: UNHOLY by Morgan Brice (Witchbane #5)

Unholy

(Witchbane #5)

by Morgan Brice

Publisher: Darkwind Press

Narrator: Kale Williams

Release Date: March 30, 2021

Genre: Urban fantasy, M/M paranormal romance

Tropes: Supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, hot sex, dark magic, evolving relationship, ghosts

Themes: Trust, the power of found family

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length: 6 hours and 33 minutes

It is the 5th book in the Witchbane series but can be read as a standalone.

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Buy Links

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Amazon US   |   Amazon UK

Audiobooks.com

Blurb 

A cycle of ritual murders. A coven of dark warlocks, drawing their immortality from the magic of their dead master. Two men sworn to stop the deaths, destroy the warlocks, and avenge the victims. Except this time, the killer flips the script.

Seth Tanner swore vengeance on the dark witches who killed his brother, Jesse. He rescued Evan Malone from one of the witches, and they’ve fallen in love despite the danger and chaos, going on the road to complete the quest and bring an end to the ritual murders. Their relationship is still new, tested at every turn by danger and magic.

Seth and Evan head to Charleston to stop the next warlock and save his intended victim. But this time, they’re too late. The warlock has already powered up, and he’s determined to destroy the two hunters one way or another. A deadly curse on Seth and Evan means time is running out. Can they find a way to turn the tables, or is Charleston their final destination?

Unholy is an urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with plenty of supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, hot sex, found family, dark magic, and paranormal thrills. It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels. Intended for readers 18 years of age and older.




Carra's Review

I have become so thoroughly invested in this series.  This time around Seth and Evan are headed to Charleston, and after a very rough start get to meet up with a group of characters from another series by the author.  I loved having this full-on infusion of characters into Seth and Evan’s storyline, primarily because they each bring their individual talents to the table and everyone works so well as a team.


Bringing in this set of characters doesn’t overshadow Seth and Evan’s story, it actually enhances it quite a bit.  It definitely places the spotlight on found family, particularly for Evan, and if I hadn’t already added their books to my TBR, this story would have had me doing it now.  


The stakes are even higher this time around with Seth and Evan encountering trouble almost from the very start of the story.  There are new revelations regarding the “why” behind the witch disciple plans that will change everyone’s perspective.  And to top it al off, the guys have an unusual problem getting in their way—literally—that does a number on them emotionally.


It’s another exciting hunt with new elements introduced to keep the series fresh, and I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed having Cassidy, Rowan, Teague and the rest of the crew from the Deadly Curiosities series along with cameos from Badlands and Night Vigil series characters.  Don’t worry, you don’t need to have read all these other series to understand what’s going on here in Unholy (though you should have read the prior Witchbane series books).  Unholy was a 5-star book for me, and though Seth and Evan don’t get much physical time with each other this story is still meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.


The narration: Kale Williams continues to do an excellent job narrating this series with consistent character voices, even pacing and just the right amount of emotion.  I wound up listening to this in a single sitting thanks to being so thoroughly pulled in to the story.  5 stars for the narration!


About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

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Monday, May 3, 2021

Book Review & Excerpt: HAVEN by Morgan Brice (The Magic Emporium Series)

Haven

by Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Release Date: April 8, 2021

Genre/s: MM paranormal romance/mystery

Trope/s: Action, mystery, hurt/comfort, geeks in love, supernatural secrets, a brave historian and a lovelorn private detective, plus a guaranteed HEA. Old secrets, hidden psychics, secret shifters, ghosts, scandals—and true love.

Themes: Age gap, starting over, friends to lovers

Heat Rating: 4 flames       

Length: 60 000 words/200 pages

It is a standalone book, but there are soft ties to Morgan’s Fox Hollow series. Other than the shared elements of the magic emporium, it does not connect to any of the other books in the Magic Emporium series.

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Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

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Old secrets, hidden psychics, secret shifters, ghosts, scandals—and true love.

Blurb 

A series of long-ago disappearances leads cold case private detective Austin Williams to investigate a troubled sanitarium. Jamie Miller is new in town, temporarily running the local historical association, and he willingly signs on to help solve Austin’s mystery. Sparks fly between them as they dig into the hospital’s troubled past. But someone wants the past to stay buried—and is willing to bury Austin and Jamie to keep it that way. 

Haven is part of the Magic Emporium series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need. This book contains explicit scenes, action, mystery, hurt/comfort, geeks in love, supernatural secrets, a brave historian and a lovelorn private detective, plus a guaranteed HEA. It is loosely connected to my Fox Hollow series.


Excerpt

The alarm on Jamie’s phone went off, telling him it was time to lock up. “I have to close on time,” Jamie said, sorry to bring the conversation to an end. “Our insurance company won’t let me stay open beyond the posted times or have anyone inside after we’re closed.”

Austin rose. “I understand. Thanks for listening. I’ll be glad for any help.” He paused. “One more question—where’s a good place to get a bite to eat?” he asked with a slightly shy smile that sent a surge of heat to Jamie’s groin.

“Do you like pizza? Moosehead Inn is a locals’ joint that serves great food. I was going to head over once I lock up—you’re welcome to join me if you don’t have other plans,” Jamie offered, trying to sound nonchalant.

Did I just ask him out? Holy sh*t. I haven’t done that in…forever.

Austin brightened, and his smile grew broader. “I’d like that. I’ll wait outside. Can we walk there? I didn’t bring my car.”

Jamie nodded, still a little surprised at his own boldness. “Sure. See you in a few minutes.”

He ushered Austin out the door and locked it behind him. Fortunately, Jamie had gotten a head start on the lock-up checklist before the sexy stranger arrived. He powered down the computer and started flipping off light switches as he made his way toward the back door.

This was the part he really disliked. Once he turned on the alarm system, the security lights would come on. But on the way to the back door, the old house got darker, and the shadows stretched longer with every switch he flicked.

I thought I knew what I was getting into when I took the job. But it’s just temporary, and I’m still sending out applications for something better, he reminded himself.

An old house like this was likely to have ghosts, even without being turned into a museum of sorts. Bring together the personal belongings of hundreds of people, bits of local history, journals, and letters, and it didn’t surprise Jamie that the place was haunted. Even if no one else seemed to believe it.

Click, click, click. He turned off the lights in the foyer and the former sitting room and dining room. Jamie had closed up the upstairs rooms early since it was a slow day. It held a storage area, a library of books written by local authors and books about the Saranac Lake area, as well as a conference room and a small classroom for lectures. The attic and basement were storage areas that weren’t open to the public, which made Jamie very happy since both gave him the creeps.

Click. The lights in the old parlor went dark, and Jamie braced himself. On the nights the ghosts felt frisky, this was when the shenanigans started.

A cool breeze out of nowhere made the hair on the back of Jamie’s neck rise. He heard the glissando of crystal pendants gently bumping together, the decorative dangles on a vintage oil lamp in the parlor that shouldn’t have any reason to move.

Jamie resolutely ignored the shadow gliding just at the edge of his peripheral vision as he hurried down the hallway. The kitchen doubled as the staff room and was the least haunted place in the building. Jamie heard footsteps on the stairs and forced himself to breathe. He knew there was no one else in the old house—at least, no one living.

In the room to his left by the back door, the former sewing room for the ladies of the house, he glimpsed a familiar gray figure and heard the swish of crinoline and linen. To his right, in the small office that was once the cook’s room, a rocking chair creaked.

Jamie’s hand shook as he set the alarm. The ghosts didn’t act up every night, and some evenings they were more riled than others. So far, none of them had tried to hurt him. As unsettling as the ghostly manifestations were, Jamie couldn’t object to spirits wanting to stay in a place that meant something to them. He didn’t mess with them, and he really hoped that meant they would return the favor.

The alarm beeped, and the security lights came on, dim but enough to send the shadows scurrying. The sounds stopped, and the house grew quiet. Jamie slipped out the back door and checked the lock, then let out a long breath. The halogen light above the door made the area around the steps almost as bright as day. He shook off the weirdness and smiled, excited about dinner with Austin.

It’s not a date. But I wish it was. Maybe…

This could be a pleasant diversion, Jamie told himself. Austin was just in town to look up some family history, and Jamie’s role with the archive was temporary. Nothing said they couldn’t have a little fun while their paths crossed.

Carra's Review

Not only does this story work perfectly within The Magic Emporium series, it is a fantastic addition to the current world in which a large number of the author’s stories are set.  I love that we get to see some character crossover from her other books, and that those characters help Jamie and Austin get through their situation.


Austin is just trying to help his grandmother achieve closure with her brother who was sent away when she was very young.  Jamie is just temporarily filling in at the historical society.  Each have their own small “gifts” that come into play along the way, and their almost instant rapport and ease with each other lets them form a good team to try and discover just what happened all those years ago at a not altogether healthy sanatorium.  


The two are not just good partners working on the case—they’re a great match on a personal level too, something that both men having been missing in their lives.  Even though the story takes place over a short time period, the relationship development between them did not feel rushed.


With the right amount of excitement once they start to dig too close to the truth for some of the local folks’ comfort and the romance brewing between Austin and Jamie, it makes for an intriguing read from start to finish.  4.5 stars for Haven, and I’d absolutely recommend this story to any M/M paranormal romance fan.  This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.


About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

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Facebook Group  |   Facebook Page

  Pinterest (for Morgan and Gail)  |  Twitter    

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Book Review & Excerpt: THE RIGHT ONE by Felice Stevens

 


The Right One

by Felice Stevens


Genre: M/M/ Contemporary Romance

Release Date: April 14, 2021

Cover Design: Reese Dante

Add to your Goodreads TBR

Tagline: "Wrong never felt so right."


Blurb


"Wrong never felt so right."


Morgan Cantrell is a survivor. After running away from an abusive husband, he’s finally divorced and starting over, but it’s hard. Of course he doesn’t mean to set off the smoke detectors in the building or short out the electricity in his apartment. Mistakes happen. The last thing he wants is to draw the attention of his growly, moody-ass super. Every time they meet, it’s like oil and water—they just don’t mix.


Leo DeLuca learned at an early age that the people who are supposed to love you only hurt you. He’s happy to keep to himself, but the walking disaster of a new tenant in 5C won’t stop getting in his way and into his business. They can’t even speak to each other without arguing, but Leo has to admit—it’s kind of a turn on. That must be the reason why he can’t stop thinking about the guy in 5C. Or wanting to touch him. But hell, no. That would be a mistake.


One kiss leads to an explosive night both men fight to forget—after all, Leo has nothing in common with the sweet kindergarten teacher while Morgan is looking for a happily ever after he knows Leo can’t give. Yet it’s Morgan who Leo leans on to help deal with his painful past, and Leo is the key to unlocking Morgan’s inner strength.


Trusting someone is never easy, but it might be the only way they discover that everything they think is wrong about each other, could be everything that's right.


Buy Links: Kindle Unlimited


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Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA - Amazon AU



Excerpt


Leo had recognized the shadows in Cantrell’s eyes. He saw that pain and loss in the mirror every day, and every day he ignored it. If Leo were to hazard a guess, it must have something to do with his failed marriage. No one went from luxury to low-cost without a damn good reason.


“Well, Mr. Nosy Ass, you still have to eat.” He gathered up the items, put them in a bag, and left his apartment.


Trudging up to the fifth floor, he figured Cantrell would’ve had enough time to cool off and they could calmly discuss the reasons why he should leave the management of the building to the people who knew what they were doing.


He knocked on the door, and he waited impatiently as Cantrell unbolted the three separate locks he’d had installed. After all that, Cantrell still only opened the door as far as the security chain would allow, but even in those few inches, Leo could see the consternation filling Cantrell’s wide green eyes.


“What do you want? Did you come here to keep yelling at me? I already said I was sorry.”


“Actually, you didn’t.”


“I’m pretty sure I did. And even if I didn’t, you had no right to call me names.”


Cantrell’s stubbornness began to grate on Leo’s nerves. That was why he didn’t waste time with people. Inevitably, they pissed him off, like this guy.


“I call them as I see them. And are you going to stand there and say to my face you were right in fumbling around with the electrical system of this entire building that I’m responsible for?”


“If you came to berate me, I’m going to close the door. I have better things to do than listen to you.” True to his snooty words, he started to close the door, but Leo quickly stuck his foot in the narrow opening.


“I thought we could have an intelligent discussion, but obviously, that’s not happening. So here.” He held up the grocery bag. “I got the stuff you left behind when you ran away from me in the supermarket. I knocked on your door yesterday, but when no one answered, I didn’t want to leave it and have the meat spoil. You’re welcome.”


Without waiting for Cantrell’s reply, he set the grocery bag on the floor and turned on his heel. At the top of the stairs he heard a door slam shut, then open, and Cantrell call out.


“Wait. Please?”


Leo closed his eyes. He really should walk away and leave that mouthy little f*cker alone. “What is it?”


“Th-that was nice of you. You didn’t have to do it.”


“I know.” Leo crossed his arms and waited.


“Thank you. And…” Cantrell bit his lip. “I’m sorry. I-I guess I shouldn’t have tried to fix the problem myself. You’re right.”


The guy was pretty damn cute.


Oh hell no. Don’t even go there.


Praise for the novel


Yet again Felice has given is a story full of love, emotion, heartache and so much more.’ ~ booklover (Goodreads review)


‘The feelings and emotions just poured off the pages and I felt everything!! Explosive chemistry!! Seriously loved every moment about this story!!’ ~ Janet (Goodreads review)


Carra's Review


I’ve always been able to count on this author for a solid contemporary romance, and in that respect The Right One does deliver.  I did have a harder time getting into this story than I usually would, and I’m going to chalk that up to the interactions between Leo and Morgan.


Separately, I liked each of their characters.  I was proud of Morgan for making that break to get out of a bad situation, and then for finally getting out on his own after staying with friends.  Leo seemed like a real go-getter buying a building and doing the renovations and upkeep on his own.  At first it looked like this might be an opposites attract with one clumsy, the other always coming to the rescue, and yes there was a bit of that.  


To me though, it felt like both of them ran hot, then cold, sometimes seemingly for no good reason or because one would make assumptions.  Underneath all that there was a good matchup of characters, I just found myself a bit frustrated with their behavior.


I did enjoy the overall story, and was satisfied where things added up in the end.  It was just getting to that point that was not as smooth as I would have preferred.  The Right One was a 3.5-star read for me, and I’d recommend this to readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.



About the Author


Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. Her characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy, and that includes love.

 

She lives in New York City and has way too much black in her wardrobe yet can't stop buying "just one more pair" of black pants. Felice is a happily addicted Bravo and Say Yes to the Dress addict and proud of it. And let's not get started on House Hunters. Her dream day starts out with iced coffee and ends with Prosecco, because...why shouldn't it? You can find her procrastinating on FB in her reader group, Felice's Breakfast Club.

  

You can find all my books, grouped by series in proper reading order on my website located here:


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