Friday, October 30, 2015

Blog Tour Review: Blue Horizons by Kathryn Andrews

Title: Blue Horizons

Author: Kathryn Andrews

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Published: October 19, 2015

Will Ashton

Music is my motivation. I’ve always believed that, because of it, I would be somebody. Somebody to someone, and something to myself.

At age four, I picked up my grandfather’s acoustic guitar and, up until three weeks ago, I’ve never put it down. From a single chord to a full arrangement, music fed my soul. I craved it with every fiber of my being, but now, I just don’t know. That driving force that’s always pushed me has somehow stalled, along with the thrill, the passion, and the familiarity . . . it’s all gone. I’m beginning to worry that my love for music just isn’t enough.

As the summer tour finally comes to an end, I head to the Blue Ridge Mountains instead of returning to Nashville. It’s here that I’ve always been able to lose myself amongst the solitude and the lake, but what I didn’t expect to find was her.

Wild blonde hair, light blue eyes, and a laugh I find myself trying to coax from her has me completely enamored. She’s quiet, incredibly poised, and driven by secrets as big as the mountains around us. They’re what’s made her untouchable, and left me wanting to know more.

Maybe that’s what I need. Maybe I need more. Maybe I need her.

Ava Layne

They say that life isn’t about how many breaths we take, but how many moments take our breath away. But what if those moments aren’t filled with happiness and love, but something dark and haunting? For me, it’s those moments that’ve shaped and taken over my life. I can’t change who I am, God knows I’ve tried, and, because of this, I’ve accepted the silver lining . . . I’m alive.

Fifty-two white keys, thirty-six black keys, ten fingers, seven notes, two friends, and one stage. At the piano, on the stage, with my two best friends, I finally found myself, and I live for those moments. One by one, I collect them, cherish them, patiently waiting for the next, until it arrives and changes everything. That’s the moment I meet him.

Amazon - Amazon CA - Amazon UK - Amazon AU

My Review

I've got two words for you: simply amazing!  And just so you know, I was adding this to my top recommendations list before I even finished reading it...that's how much I think of this book.

Let me tell you something about these characters--they are written so well that you feel like you know them, feel thoroughly invested in their lives and emotions, and especially for Ava...feel her extreme responses right down into your heart, which will truly ache for her and what she's been through (and still goes through as the story unfolds).  Even as a reader, I felt very protective of Ava's character.  And the way that Ash instinctively knows just what to do when interacting with Ava is just extraordinary.  It is plain to see as the story progresses that the two of them are two halves of a whole, and while Ava's issues are completely heartbreaking...the two of them together are absolutely heartWARMING--not to mention healing, loving and just wonderful.

If you think I'm going overboard, I'm seriously not.  

The story itself flows seamlessly and draws you in effortlessly, keeping you solidly ensconced within its pages to the point that you won't want to put it down.  It has a strong cast of supporting characters whose stories you'll be clamoring to hear as well once you're done (I'm particularly interested in Clay, Ash's best friend).  There's a bit of misunderstanding toward the end to rile things up a bit-just enough to make you worry-and emotional turmoil all throughout.

I know I'll be re-reading this many times, it's too wonderful a story to only read once.  I highly recommend this deeply emotional, absolutely stunning story...and as I'm sure you've already guessed, this was a 5-star read for me.  Be aware that this book does cover the sensitive topic of domestic violence, and some parts may be a trigger for some readers, which leads me to caution that it be for 18+ due to the delicate subject matter.  But rest assured, these parts are handled with care and compassion.

OVER TEN YEARS ago my husband and I were driving from Chicago to Tampa and somewhere in Kentucky I remember seeing a billboard that was all black with five white words, “I do, therefore I am!” I’m certain that it was a Nike ad, but for me I found this to be completely profound.

Take running for example. Most will say that a runner is someone who runs five days a week and runs under a ten minute mile pace. Well, I can tell you that I never run five days a week and on my best days my pace is an eleven minute mile. I have run quite a few half marathons and one full marathon. No matter what anyone says . . . I run, therefore I am a runner.

I’ve taken this same thought and applied it to so many areas of my life: cooking, gardening, quilting, and yes . . . writing.

I may not be culinary trained, but I love to cook and my family and friends loves to eat my food. I cook, therefore I am a chef!

My thumb is not black. I love to grow herbs, tomatoes, roses, and lavender. I garden, therefore I am a gardener!

I love beautiful fabrics and I can follow a pattern. My triangles may not line up perfectly . . . but who cares, my quilts are still beautiful when they are finished. I quilt, therefore I am a quilter.

I have been writing my entire life. It is my husband who finally said, “Who cares if people like your books or not? If you enjoy writing them and you love your stories…then write them.” He has always been my biggest fan and he was right. Being a writer has always been my dream and what I said I wanted to be when I grew up.

So, I’ve told you who I am and what I love to do . . . now I’m going to tell you the why.

I have two boys that are three years a part. My husband and I want to instill in them adventure, courage, and passion. We don’t expect them to be perfect at things, we just want them to try and do. It’s not about winning the race; it’s about showing up in the first place. We don’t want them to be discouraged by society stereotypes, we want them to embrace who they are and what they love. After all, we only get one life.

In the end, they won’t care how many books I actually sell . . . all that matters to them is that I said I was going to do it, I did it, and I have loved every minute of it.
Find something that you love and tell yourself, “I do, therefore I am.”

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Review Tour and Giveaway: Fame and Fortune by T.M. Smith (An All Cocks Story)

Title: Fame and Fortune
Series: An All Cocks Story
Author: T.M. Smith
Genre: M/M Romance
Released: August 29, 2015

Victor Dimir moved to America with his traditional Romanian parents when he was just a child. His Romani parents taught him their traditions and how to be a shrewd business man. But it was the attention of a classmate at school that taught a teenage Victor about his sexuality. When he came out to his parents he knew it would be difficult for them to understand, but he never expected them to disown him.

Andrew Jones grew up with a single mom and his grandmother teaching him about life, he had an absentee father at best. The only thing the man ever did for Andy that stuck was buy him a camera for his thirteenth birthday. When Andrew went off to college on a scholarship to study photo journalism, he wound up falling in love with his Romanian roommate.

They became inseparable and wound up starting their own business together; a gay porn website where people could go and watch romantic gay porn instead of the rough and tough, or wham bam thank you man crap that was flooding the internet at that time. After ten years together they were still perfectly happy, they didn’t even realize something was missing, until they met a broken young man that needed a family.

Matthew Carlson was homeless, jobless and broken. He’d been on his own since he was sixteen when he ran away from home after being brutally assaulted by several other young men that he thought were his friends, and then being told he brought it on himself for being gay by his parents. Matthew has done a lot of things these last few years just to get by. When he finds the flyer for All Cocks, he decides to call and see where it leads. What has he got to lose?

Matthew has deep rooted scars that aren’t usually visible on the outside. But when he walks into All Cocks, both Victor and Andrew see them, they also see him. Can three men that didn’t even realize they needed each other get past the stigma of society to find a place of happiness, together? 

*Advisory warning: This story contains a scene of sexual assault.*


After reading the first book in this series, I was truly intrigued by the characters of Victor, Andrew and Matthew and how their relationship came about.  Here in Fame and Fortune, we get to go back to the point at which Matthew entered their lives and see exactly how they meet and evolve together...which turns out to be a very interesting tale.

You can't help but feel for Matthew after finding out everything he's been through in his life.  I wanted to give his parents a very large piece of my mind, and as for his "friends" from high school--I don't see how anyone who reads this wouldn't want to just rip them apart.

There's a lot of emotion in this story, along with a lot of compassion once Matthew is brought into the All Cocks family.  Too see what he goes through, even as he is starting to heal, pulls at your heart and gives you a lot of food for thought.  It's quite satisfying to witness how he makes his way into Victor and Andrew's lives, home and hearts.

The one thing that continually stands out is how carefully Andrew and Victor handle Matthew's situation once they hear his story, and how they thoughtfully manage his entry not only into their business, but into their lives and hearts.

Fame and Fortune is another great story in the All Cocks series, and I'm looking forward to many more enjoyable books to come with these characters.  4 strong and emotional stars for Fame and Fortune, recommended for M/M fans 18+ due to explicit sexual content as well as the sexual assault scene in the blurb's warning.

A military brat born and raised at Ft. Benning Georgia; Smith is an avid reader, reviewer and writer. She now calls Texas home from her small town on the outskirts of the DFW Metroplex. Most days you can find her curled up with her kindle and a good book alongside a glass of something aged and red or a steaming cup of coffee! 

At 44 years young, she's decided to enter the next phase of her life by adding the title of "author" to her list of accomplishments. Smith is a single mom of three disturbingly outspoken and decidedly different kids, one of which is Autistic. Besides her writing, Smith is passionate about Autism advocacy and LGBT rights.