Fangirl Review: Axios: A Spartan Tale by Jaclyn Osborn

I am Axios of Sparta, and I was born to kill. At age seven, I left home to train with other boys where we were taught obedience, solidarity, military strategy, and how to withstand pain. My harsh upbringing stripped me of my weaknesses and forced me to become strong. Ruthless.

But, I craved something greater—a life I could never have. Against all odds, and the toughest training a warrior could endure, I found an unexpected love in the arms of a fellow Spartan. He was the very air I breathed and the water that sustained me. Fighting side by side with him, we were invincible. Where he went, I followed.

However, there was no place for love in Sparta. Feelings were for the weak. The only life for a Spartan was one of battle and brutality with no guarantee of tomorrow. In times of war, all men were put to the test, but the greatest challenge for us was not one of swords and spears, but of the heart.


"Loyalty. Brotherhood. And love."

There's been buzz over on GR about this book with good reason, so I wanted to share my feels to the non-GRers among you, because this book is stunning, unforgettable and deserving of hype. What I want people to know if you read nothing else of this review is that this is not a sad book! The ending is bittersweet but the book as a whole is gripping, wonderfully entertaining, masterfully written, poignantly insightful and above all else a resplendent love story.

Jaclyn Osborn is a new to me author but she has my attention now. As a history buff I appreciate the research and attention to detail that is evident on every page, in every nuance and her usage of these historical events to weave a timeless love story is what made Axios special to me.


Axios and Eryx forge a bond through trials and tribulations that stands the test of time. But this story is more than the telling of their romance. It's about forming a brotherhood, finding a family and a home amongst them and fighting for each other. They may not believe in the war but they believe in each other and that is why they fight. Trust me when I say the secondary characters are just as well crafted as Axios and Eryx and just as crucial to their story, even the ones that flash through their lives like shooting stars.

Axios is the narrator of this story and we meet him at the tender age of seven after he's been sent to the agoge. Eryx is in his group and they become best friends. I admit I was skeptical when I realized how young they were at the onset but by starting the story while they were but babes Osborn was able to build these characters and their relationship from the ground up. She brings us along to witness their evolution from boys to warriors to men firsthand. It was exhilarating to read.


Both are complex characters that I could go on and on about but what I found most touching was the way they compliment one another. In a different time, in a different place I think Eryx would've been a teacher with his inherent leadership skills and gift for storytelling and Axios an artist of some sort. Axios is a beautiful person, so tenderhearted and kind. Watching him become the warrior he has to be, through no choice of his own, and lose some of his dreamer essence made me doleful. It's not fair but it's his reality, a reality that he must face in order to survive.

However, were circumstances different perhaps he would never have met Eryx and that would've been the real tragedy, because he and Eryx are two sides of the same coin. Jaclyn Osborn made me believe their love defies time and space. If reincarnation exists they will find each other again and again.


If you know nothing of Sparta, know that they were a warrior nation. Their entire society subsisted upon building warriors, a process that begins with conscription at age seven. There is blood and violence. War and all that that entails. It's brutal and heinous and changes them. Friends are lost. Bonds are strengthened. Enemies are felled. But there is always another war looming thus their reprieves are short-lived.

Both are aware every battle they survive could be their last. They know every moment is precious and make the most of them. They live and love to the fullest. They are playful with each other and their friends. Never is there any doubt where their loyalties lie, though. They may fight for Sparta but their first priority is each other.


Osborn was very conscientious of using foreshadowing if you are not a history buff. The tension builds. The handwriting is on the proverbial wall. If you subscribe to the notion that a romance isn't a romance without a traditional HEA, this may not be the book for you. I find myself most affected by these romances. They are the ones that stay with me-The Age of Innocence, The Wings of the Dove, Romeo and Juliet and more recently Amberlough. They speak to me and Axios spoke to me so I'm recommending it to you through this fangirl review.

My thanks to Jaclyn Osborn for writing this sophisticated and memorable story that became, for me, an instant classic. It's the best $4 I've spent in quite some time.


My warrior. My lover. My heart.






Tag Team Review: Trust with a Chaser (Rainbow Cove, #1) by Annabeth Albert

One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks…

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

Trust with a Chaser is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, a hot law-enforcement hero, opposites attract, plenty of sexy times, and one hard-fought, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.



Lost in a Book - 3.5 Hearts

You know how sometimes you have no idea what you want to eat for dinner but you know you have all the ingredients for a recipe that tastes decent, not complicated, and very dependable? One you could make with your eyes closed? That’s what I would equate Trust with a Chaser to. It’s solid Annabeth Albert in whom I have come to expect dependable reads from. But dependable doesn’t always have to be predictable and that is what I have also found with this book. The recipe for in-the-closet-MCs has been well played throughout the genre and unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of variation.

Recipe:
1 closeted cop
1 out and proud male
1 crazy-stuck-in-their-ways small town
2 families with drama
1 situation to overcome and determine whether coming out is worth the risk
1 million references to how OLD 39 years old really is *AARP anyone?*

You get my point? It wasn’t awful. Just very predictable in the way most books with closeted tropes are. I liked Police Chief Nash Flint and Tavern owner Mason together. They had great chemistry and pretty steamy sexy times. There was a lot of family drama that didn’t really explode. Mason was pulled in many different directions with the family of degenerates he shared blood with, the restaurant, and Nash. Chief Flint had to deal with his own reservations, how he thought his town and family would react to him coming out and the burden of being Chief in a small town. The coming out was practically a non-issue even though the build up made it seem it would be the opposite.

I could feel the connection between Nash and Mason. Their intimacy built slowly over time by starting with meals at the Tavern and escalating to “cooking lessons” at their houses. Nash learned how to *ahem* cook among other things. Their relationship was believable. I just wish that a little spice was thrown into the story to set it apart and make it somewhat more than the status quo.


I liked this book the same way I like cooking grilled cheese because it’s easy and I know it will come out edible. But, sometimes I want to add tomato, ham and if I’m feeling really frisky, grilled onions. Having regular grilled cheese isn’t bad… I just don’t want it all the time.

If you’re looking for a low key predictable read with sexy times, I’d recommend it. But if you’re in your 30s, make sure you have a will written, AARP card secured, and nursing home on speed dial. #ancient

Adam - 3.5 Hearts

Mason Hanks returns to his struggling hometown with plans to revive it as a LGBT tourism hotspot. He begins by opening a gay-friendly restaurant. He’s surprised when the local police chief, Nash Flint, becomes a regular customer.

Nash is wary of Mason’s plan, and of Mason’s trouble-making family. But as he and Mason slowly build a friendship, Nash can’t help but fall for the younger man and wonder about life outside of the closet.

I’ve got a soft spot for MM romances set in rural or seaside locations. The setting just makes the story feel more romantic. So I really enjoyed visiting the fictional coastal Oregon town of Rainbow Cove.


However, small town biases and stigmas also play a big role in this book. Both Mason and Nash have hang-ups that stem from growing up in Rainbow Cave. Mason finds it difficult to shake off the Hanks social stigma, while Nash thinks it’s impossible to be an out and proud police chief.

Both characters are immediately likable. It was easy to connect to Mason’s struggle of trying to balance work and family obligations. And Nash’s early efforts to give Mason a chance, despite his family history, quickly won me over.

Though Nash and Mason are attracted to each other from the beginning, it takes a while for them to act on it. Instead, they build a tentative friendship. Nash makes a habit of having lunch at Mason’s restaurant, and Mason looks forward to their regular lunchtime chats.

When the two finally give in to the heat building between them, they’re hot, hot, hot.


The chemistry, both physical and emotional, between Nash and Mason is obvious early on, and the two just click. But the big stumbling block is Nash’s refusal to come out of the closet.

I’ll admit, I got fed up with Nash’s behaviour at a certain point. I didn’t like the idea of him playing with Mason’s feelings, but I could understand the turmoil Nash himself was going through.

It takes a lot of hard work for Mason and Nash to get their happy ending. But even so, once it finally came about, I thought it was very sweet.

I would have liked some more closure on the storyline involving Mason’s family, but overall I enjoyed this sweet and sexy small-town romance.


Review copies were provided.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Open Net (Cayuga Cougars #2) by V.L. Locey

V.L. Locey and Signal Boost Promotions celebrate the release of Open Net (Cayuga Cougars #2)! Check out the info on the contemporary hockey romance and enter the giveaway for a chance to win Snap Shot - book #1  of the Cayuga Cougars series. 




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | KOBO |  Barnes & Noble | iTunes 

Length: 54,000 words approx


Cayuga Cougars Series

Snap Shot (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK | KOBO | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Blurb

August Miles has the world on a string professionally.


Augie, as his friends and teammates call the unassuming young goaltender, is on the fast track to the pros. The starting goalie for the Cayuga Cougars, he has a year or two in Cayuga to hone his skills and all his career dreams will have come true. Pity his personal life isn’t riding the same high. He’s the only one among his group of friends without that special someone to call his own.


Until he meets Salvatore Castenada at a lakeside party. The attraction is white-hot and more than a little wonderfully overwhelming for the romantically inexperienced goalie. August quickly discovers that Sal is everything he’s dreamed of in a man: mature, settled, sinfully handsome, and filled with gentle humor. Sal is also HIV positive.

Will Sal’s revelation about his status end this budding relationship before it can even begin? Or will the two men be able to handle the challenges life—and a championship run for the Cougars—throws at them?



Author Bio


V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and two Jersey steers.


When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.


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Tag Team Review: The Charlatan’s Conquest (Phantom Fixers #1) by Vivien Dean

With love and ghosts, the challenge is figuring out what’s real.

Software engineer Cruz Guthrie needs money for his sister’s cancer treatments. He needs it so badly he’s willing to stand in for a ghost hunter friend and investigate a millionaire’s supposed specters. It should be an easy gig—after all, nobody thinks the haunting is real.

Neurological researcher Brody Weber is furious that Cruz would take advantage of Brody’s father. But his mind changes when spirits manifest—and he realizes Cruz genuinely wants to help. When they learn the paranormal activity centers on Brody, Cruz is willing to fight to free Brody from the entities determined to make his life miserable. With a little help from friends and family—both living and dead—they must figure out why Brody is attracting spirits and how to banish them. Only then can they pursue a future together.




Ann - 3.5 Hearts

I do so love a good ghost story and Charlatan’s Conquest gave me that plus some fluffy feels so I was a happy Peach. That’s pretty much the definition of the Dreamspun Beyond series that I’ve seen so far, I’m referring to them in my brain as paranormal candy and it really hits the spot for me.

Charlatan’s Conquest is a ghost hunting themed tale with likable characters and a decent ghost story to go along with it. But, if ghosties aren’t your thing don’t let that keep you from this one, because while it is a “ghost” story it’s unique in that it’s not necessarily about a specific spectre with a tragic backstory but more about malevolent visitors from the ghost realm who have attached themselves to one of our MC’s, Brody’s world.

In rides our somewhat reluctant hero, Cruz to exorcise the ghosts. Problem is, Cruz is not a ghost buster/hunter by trade but is the bestie of one. Cruz can use the cash though as he helps support his family while his youngest sister battles cancer. Cruz is really a good guy though so he has plenty of qualms about taking money from a client in a field that he doesn’t feel qualified in. Cruz’s friend, Etienne, the legit ghost hunter is out of commission and while I could have easily been on board with Cruz’s unease, the way the author explained the situation and the way it was presented worked. The setup let me be OK with Cruz’s potential payday even though Etienne had determined that there were no ghosts present in Brody’s fathers home, which was true and it took Cruz to take the investigation to the next level.

For a myriad of reasons, Cruz and Brody have not paid attention to their personal lives and become situational workaholics. When they meet though, there is obviously something between them and thankfully this is a Dreamspun Beyond book so there wasn’t a lot of angst about making some changes and spending more time together as they got to know one another while battling the baddies. Cruz ends up earning every penny and Brody got to get a taste of what a normal life can be. Honestly, if the two hadn’t had the connection they did the mystery would never have been solved because the trust had to be there to make progress and the connection gave Brody the trust he needed in Cruz.

I liked these two together very much, as I said, they are likable and their personalities are complementary to each other. The balance is good between the ghost story and the romance, neither was shortchanged and no matter whether you came for the love or the ghosts you’ll be satisfied.

Sara - 3.5 Hearts

I am still feeling my way through this new line from Dreamspun with this being book number two in the series. So far, it’s going well but I feel something is missing and I can’t quite put my finger on it.
We meet Cruz Guthrie as he is offered an easy job from his best friend Etienne for a cool twenty grand. Since Cruz could use the extra cash he is curious but he isn’t in the ghost hunting business like Etienne is but Etienne assures there are no ghosts at the home of one Loren Weber as he’s been there twice before and nothing has happened. But Mr. Weber is insistent and after a short, short course on training, Cruz is headed out to evict some specters.

I need to take a fangirl moment real quick and thank they author for including why Cruz is named Cruz. The honorable mention of the Capwells and Castillos made me ridiculously giddy because NO ONE knows that show and yet, it was in this book so thanks for being awesome that way.

Anyway.

Brody Weber knows that his father can be adamant when he wants something and Brody doesn’t want his dad taken advantage of so he leaves work to drive to his dad’s house to protect him… but what from?
From the minute Brody walks in the door to his father’s house and things become tense, supernatural occurrences start to happen. It’s proof to Cruz that there are ghosts in the Weber house but why hadn’t Etienne who is the professional seen anything happen? Why is it only happening now and to him?

These are the questions that Cruz poses to his best friend and also to Brody after a spilled hot tea and a cold spot around Brody. When it comes to ghosts, Cruz isn’t an expert but he’s a believer and wants to do right by Mr. Weber and evict the hell out of whatever has decided to take up residence in his home. But it’s not as black and white as it appears and when Cruz learns more about the ghosts, he needs the help of his best friend to rid Weber of the dark figures that have latched on.

Well, this wasn’t what I expected at all and in this case it’s a good thing. I wasn’t sure how the title would come into play and I liked that it was duplicitous within the story. Things aren’t as they seem and secrets Brody has been keeping are hurting him he is stressed and depressed. You see, ghosts seem to like Brody and he has a couple entities that like his dark side and don’t want to let go. It’s a good thing he meets Cruz who is one hell of a natural caretaker and that they share a mutual instant attraction to one another and Cruz has a best friend who’s basically a ghost buster.

I liked this but it didn’t wow me or make me want to hug my Nook outright. The chemistry between Cruz and Brody is lovely and they move seamlessly into emotions and new relationship with one another. The ghost hunting deal with Etienne and his ethereal sister Simone was intriguing as was Brody and the reason these ghosts are attached to him. Cruz is an amazing man who will do anything for his family and his family is equally fantastic and yet, something was missing.

I would get excited when things would happen and then feel let down and I can’t quite explain why. I liked the book, I really did but I wasn’t as into it as I’d hoped to be. Cruz and Brody are great together but while I loved them, all I could think about was the possibility that Etienne could be the next book as this is listed as book one in the Phantom Fixers series and all that I need to know about him. Is that wrong? Maybe but he has this mystery about him that has me intrigued to the point of distraction.

The end felt way rushed like we literally just went through some serious stuff with everyone and then… the end. I guess I wanted more than I got. Who knows? At the end though, it was a nice read that gave more spook than I thought it was and makes you wonder what ghosts each of could have hanging around that we make excuses as being something else????





See The Charlatan's Conquest author visit HERE!

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Bone to Pick by T.A. Moore


TA Moore is here today to talk about her latest novel, Bone to Pick, and she brought a mood board and a $20 DSP Gift Card giveaway to sweeten the deal!

Be sure to enter below. Good luck!


Thank you for having me over today to talk about my new novel Bone to Pick by TA Moore, which will be available from Dreamspinner Press on August 14.

This blog tour is a bit of a departure for me. Usually I do a short story split between the blogs. However, that didn’t really work with Bone to Pick (the characters had met, briefly, before the start of this story but it didn’t go well. Someone might have got punched; someone might have deserved it!). So instead I thought I would give you a spoiler-free introduction to the cast of characters you’ll be meeting in Bone to Pick and tell you a little bit about how I came up with them -- and maybe a bit about what I have planned for the future. I hope you enjoy meeting them! I love them all, even the terrible ones.

First of all, though, you’ll want to know what Bone to Pick is about.
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About the Book:


Cloister Witte is a man with a dark past and a cute dog. He’s happy to talk about the dog all day, but after growing up in the shadow of a missing brother, a deadbeat dad, and a criminal stepfather, he’d rather leave the past back in Montana. These days he’s a K-9 officer in the San Diego County’s Sheriff’s Department and pays a tithe to his ghosts by doing what no one was able to do for his brother—find the missing and bring them home

He’s good at solving difficult mysteries. The dog is even better.

This time the missing person is a ten-year-old boy who walked into the woods in the middle of the night and didn’t come back. With the antagonistic help of distractingly handsome FBI agent Javi Merlo, it quickly becomes clear that Drew Hartley didn’t run away. He was taken, and the evidence implies he’s not the kidnapper’s first victim. As the search intensifies, old grudges and tragedies are pulled into the light of the day. But with each clue they uncover, it looks more and more unlikely that Drew will be found alive.

Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 14/08/2016

Buy the Book:

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J.J Diggs, the Lawyer
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J.J. Diggs is not the worst person in the world, but he’d be that person’s lawyer. We only meet him briefly in Bone to Pick, but he’s going to be a recurring character if I have my way. He’s a defense lawyer, he’s Javi’s...ex is dignifying it a bit, and he’s not really hampered by morals regarding who he associates with.

In fact, he’s so useful there’s a chance that J.J. might actually ‘cross the streams’ between the Bone to Pick world and another series that I plan to set in the same world. No promises though. That series is still in the planning stages!

Unlike Sean Stokes, who is a secondary character of similar status, J.J. plays life on hard mode. He works hard, he plays hard, and he isn’t particularly interested in hearing any complaints about that from other people. Nothing he does is illegal, not that anyone can prove anyhow, so people should mind their own business.

I think there’s an appeal to J.J despite his callousness. He doesn’t really question his choices, he chases his pleasure without apology.  He’s not a good guy, but he’s not a villain either. That means he exists in a useful interstitial space where he can navigate between our protagonists and antagonists at need.

He’s also a lot of fun, off the clock. Although we don’t get to see that yet!

Five Facts:

1: His full name is Jack J. Diggs. That’s right, his mom gave him an initial for a middle name as a joke. When J.J. was starting out he didn’t think ‘Jack’ sounded like the sort of lawyer he wanted to be, so he started calling himself J.J. and now only a few people call him Jack.
2: He doesn’t have a gambling problem. He has a problem with large, hard-knuckled men with a pointed way of encouraging debt payment.
3: Sexually, J.J. has tried most things. There’s nothing he would commit to as a fetish, but he does like bondage. Not pain.
4: He was adopted at age five by his aunt and uncle after his mother died.
5: The cat is a timeshare. It belongs to a client he didn’t keep out of jail -- to be fair, that wasn’t on the table going in, the aim was the minimum amount of jail time -- and who expects to see it when he gets out.

Bio:
TA Moore genuinely believed that she was a Cabbage Patch Kid when she was a small child. This was the start of a lifelong attachment to the weird and fantastic. These days she lives in a market town on the Northern Irish coast and her friends have a rule that she can only send them three weird and disturbing links a month (although she still holds that a DIY penis bifurcation guide is interesting, not disturbing). She believes that adding ‘in space!’ to anything makes it at least 40% cooler, will try to pet pretty much any animal she meets (this includes snakes, excludes bugs), and once lied to her friend that she had climbed all the way up to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, when actually she’d only gotten to the beach, realized it was really high, and chickened out.

She aspires to being a cynical misanthrope, but is unfortunately held back by a sunny disposition and an inability to be mean to strangers. If TA Moore is mean to you, that means you’re friends now.


Website: www.nevertobetold.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TA.Moores
Twitter: @tammy_moore




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Tag Team Review: Out of the Shadows by K.C. Wells

Can he step out of the shadows and into love’s light?

Eight years ago, Christian Hernandez moved to Jamaica Plain in southern Boston, took refuge in his apartment, and cut himself off from the outside world. And that’s how he’d like it to stay.

Josh Wendell has heard his coworkers gossip about the occupant of apartment #1. No one sees the mystery man, and Josh loves a mystery. So when he is hired to refurbish the apartment’s kitchen and bathrooms, Josh is eager to discover the truth behind the rumors.

When he comes face-to-face with Christian, Josh understands why Christian hides from prying eyes. As the two men bond, Josh sees past his exterior to the man within, and he likes what he sees. But can Christian find the courage to emerge from the darkness of his lonely existence for the man who has claimed his heart?

Averaged!


Sara - 5 Hearts

Wow. This book blew me away and it blew me away because it was such a quiet romance. I know in this line, the books can be predictable but this really wasn’t. It was a super sweet delicious slow burn with the most respectful hurt/comfort romance… just, le sigh. Okay. Le sigh.

I loved how the book opens with Christian’s POV, our self-made recluse who likes watching the handyman/gardener of his apartment complex work in the communal garden. It’s something Christian gives himself when he needs a break and at that moment, after reading that there will be renovations made to his property and someone invading his private space. Christian doesn’t do people, though we don’t know the why immediately but having a nice long look at a handsome man doing physical labor seems to settle him and I was happy to ogle with him.

Josh Wendell is the go to man that the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation has come to adding on the new kitchen and bathroom renovations to his list of duties. Josh is fine with that as he has always loved working with is hands but when a few co-workers suggest he might see the mysterious guy in #197, apartment #1, who is rumored to never leave his place. Josh is more interested in the why of it than the way people talk and decides if he gets to work on that apartment, he’ll have a chance to find out.

Told in the dual POV’s of Christian and Josh, we get to know the men on a day to day basis as Josh does the needed renovations. On his first day, he is greeted by a thoughtful gesture of coffee/tea and a note that if he is needed, he can contact Christian at the provided number. When Josh blows a fuse in the apartment and needs to contact Christian, he gets a sense that the resident in Apartment #1 isn’t out of the house and instead, locked behind closed doors.

The first conversations between the door with Josh and Christian were so sweet. They seemed to click right away and were comfortable with one another. The offerings of food and drink between them was adorable but when Josh shows up early one day and Christian is in need of help, Josh sees the real Christian and the story get deeper. With Josh seeing Christian’s scars, we get to learn what happened to him that has made him live his life alone and hidden for the last 8 years. It was pretty heartbreaking that forgetting one thing could leave a man riddled with scars and shame about his looks. But Josh isn’t what Christian was expecting and Josh sees beyond the scars to the man beneath.

When Christian realizes that Josh, the guy he’s come to chat with on a daily basis while he works in his apartment is the same guy he’s been drooling over as his handyman, Christian lets his attraction unfold though only to himself as he thinks Josh is straight and Josh thinks Christian is straight. Thank goodness a love for Harry Potter and fan fiction lead them to a list of favorite movies so that their sexuality can be straight, or not so straight.

Goodness, but I loved this book. It’s so very much relationship centered on how the men meet, become friends through their daily chats as Josh works and then more. Josh is enamored of Christian from their first chat but when he sees him, his scars and learns how Christian has survived he knows that beauty comes from the inside out. Not that Josh doesn’t think Christian is sexy AF because he does and so want to get lost in Christian’s eyes. But as Josh gets to know Christian, he knows he needs to be patient with him and knows he has to make Christian understand it’s the man, the whole man he wants and sees beyond the scars.

Josh truly is an amazing character. He is so patient, understanding and thoughtful when it comes to Christian. His friends are great side characters as well with how much they want Josh to be happy and they can see how being around Christian is changing him because of how much he likes him. A movie night of Dune allows the men to move forward in oh so many ways.

Christian is such and strong man. I can’t imagine being where he was in life to go through what he did and make the decision to walk away from everyone and everything he knew to live life truly in the shadows. Only through the inclusion of Josh into his life who makes him want more than he thought possible does Christian ache to feel the light on his face, the smile on Josh’s and their hands entwined as they walk down a public street together.

Wow. I am rambling aren’t I? I have learned to take that as a sign that the book was good and this was really good. It was super fluffy but always with an underlying heat between Josh and Christian that aided to the delicious slow burn romance. Both men were stunning in their fondness for one another while being fierce in determination to get what they want.

Out of Shadows is an extremely sweet and fluffy slow burn romance with the best sort of hurt comfort that won over this hopeless romantic. I adored the story of Josh and Christian and can only hope the author is considering giving us the true story of Nate and Dylan because I agree with Christian, there is a little bromance brewing there.

SheReadsALot - 3.5  Hearts

After reading however many Dreamspun Desires, I've found the cracky fluff can fall into certain categories. Some could be action fluff, slightly angsty fluff, very fluffed out fluff and sweet fluff.

Out of the Shadows by K.C. Wells falls into the latter.



It's so sweet I got a cavity after reading the beauty and the beast themed slow burn romance.

Christian Hernandez (32) has been a self imposed recluse for the last eight years due to extensive burn scars he received on the right side of his face and torso. He lives in his Jamaica Plain apartment, working from home as his main source of social interaction. His highlight of the day is when he sees a young, trim handyman working in the communal garden outside his patio doors. A mandatory refurbishment to his apartment via his building association forces Christian to let someone into his home... his hot handyman.

Through many interactions via text and closed doors, the two men develop a friendship. Josh (25), the handyman is so full of life and sweetness, even Christian can't resist his pull. Christian slowly opens up to Josh, shares his self and expects ridicule. Instead, what he gets is something much more valuable: that he is more than just his scars.

Josh is dreamy. He sings, loves Harry Potter, has an awesome support system in his 3 best friends, and can fix things. Plus, he sees that Christian just has scars, that Christian isn't just his scars. He is very persistent and flexible into slowly re-introducing Christian to their town. This I think was my most favorite thing about this novel, time was given to Christian to say yes or no. And Josh never gave up nor did he pressure him.

Plus, the quiet slow burn was fitting for the characters. Everything within their relationship from strangers to friends to something more read natural and not forced. And when they finally enter the HEA and smexy times come into play, it was pretty sexy. (Yes, smutsters this one definitely fills the sex scenes limit of the house line with some hotness)

I'm not a fan of Josh's friends. Not because they weren't nice young gentlemen and  they were very accepting of Christian into their fold. My issue with them is a majority of the time when they were on page, they spoke like middle aged women. I kept getting flashbacks of my older aunt and her friends cackling and gossiping. Not something I mind if I'm forced in their company, but it pulled me from the story. These guys were supposed to be in their mid-twenties and I wasn't buying it.

Also, the story is set in Massachusetts. And there is obvious research of Boston that shows in the novel. Josh sounded like a Bostonian tour guide he showed so much of the city. However, there were moments where a British turn of phrase popped up and threw off the American vibe it was going for.

I'm unsure what K.C. Wells writing style is. So I'd try another book by her again to see if I'm a fan or not.

If you're a reader who likes sweet slow burn in their cracky fluff, then I think Out of the Shadows is worth a try. It reads very quick and low angst, perfect addition to the Dreamspun line!






Guest Review: Camp Lake Omega by Penelope Peters

Jim Smith isn’t your average omega.

My first alpha died after we’d been bonded for a week – since then, I’ve been living a quiet life sequestered in my parents’ house. Now I’ve got one last summer of freedom working as a camp counselor at Camp Lake Omega before they force me to settle down and find a mate. I’m going to wring every drop of fun from this summer that I can, no matter how bad of an idea he – I mean, it is!

Zachary Ito isn’t your average alpha.

I watched my father screw up one relationship after another. No way am I going to let myself fall under the influence of omega pheromones like he did. I’ve devoted my life to running Camp Alpha-by-the-Lake, hoping to teach young alphas how to respect and protect omegas instead of seeking to control and overpower them. There’s no room for fun in my life, no matter how intriguing he – I mean, it is!

But one chance encounter at the beginning of the summer…

…And neither Zachary nor Jim can get the other out of their heads – or out of their beds! When Jim’s biology puts not only himself but another counselor in danger – will Zachary be there to help him to safety?

Camp Lake Omega is a stand-alone m/m omegaverse non-shifter romance with an HEA ending. All participants are well over the age of consent. The story contains runaway canoes, broken-down cabins, the possibility of bears, and a whole lot of glitter paint.


Reviewer - R *A Reader Obsessed*

Apparently, I’m on a roll with my recent ABO reads, and this thankfully, hit the spot.

Poor Jim. He’s an omega and in a rare position. He’s been bonded, but since his mate died unexpectedly without them ever having had kids, he’s now an inert omega - not exactly off limits, but not physically ready and willing to easily bond again. Jim’s basically resigned himself to a lonely existence living with his parents for the rest of his days, so he grabs the chance to be a counselor at the omega camp he loved as a teen. Excited to be just a normal person, Jim looks forward to enjoying some much needed freedom. What he doesn’t expect is meeting the enticing alpha, Zach, who runs the new alpha-only camp across the lake.

Zach too, is a rare unattached alpha. His biology drives him to mate with an omega, but Zach’s adamant that he never wants to be dictated by hormones and pheromones, and thus far, has avoided any omegas who might potentially pique his interest. When Jim propositions him though, Zach finds it difficult to say no to the risk-free sexy times with the yummy omega. It’s just his luck that Jim hasn’t produced any pheromones for the last few years - he’s neither bonded or unbonded - and poses no threat in sending Zach into a mindless rutting haze. There’s absolutely no worry with this no strings attached fling, right?? Silly boys. They should know that alphas and omegas don’t/can’t do something as simple as casual sex.

These two were very, very nice together as they explore each other without the heat induced attachments and obligations. However, don’t worry. You know that’s not gonna last, as evolving feelings push Jim’s body into the hot and needy yumminess we've all been waiting for!

Basically, if you like this trope, there’s not much fault to find in this sweet sexy story. Though maybe a tad disappointing in not being crazy detailed and extra explicit with the heat dynamics, one really can’t complain when KNOTTING is involved. I just wanted more!! Why isn’t there more?? Overall though, I’m quite satisfied with what I got!

Thank you to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.



Review: Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish

Responsible, disciplined William Fox channeled his love for art and his faith in the rules into being an FBI Art Crimes agent. Right and wrong, justice and injustice—the differences are clear, and Will has spent his career drawing a line between them. Maybe his convictions have cost him relationships, but he’s not willing to compromise what he knows is right. Until the night he meets Amory Vaughn.

As the head of his family’s philanthropic foundation, Vaughn knows very well that being rich and powerful can get him almost anything he wants. And when he meets endearingly grumpy and slightly awkward William Fox, he wants him more than he’s wanted anything. Vaughn is used to being desired for his name and his money, but Will doesn’t care about either.

When Vaughn falls back on old habits and attempts to impress Will by stealing a painting Will admires, their nascent bond blows up in his face. But Vaughn isn’t willing to give up on the glimpse of passion he saw the night he took Will apart. Before Will knows it, he’s falling for the man he should have arrested, and Vaughn has to realize that some things can’t be bought or stolen. Love has to be given freely. But can a man who lives by the rules, and a man who thinks the rules don’t apply to him, ever see eye to eye?


Heart of the Steal is a standalone romance with a happy ending. It features a Southern gentleman who thinks he’s always right, a buttoned-up FBI agent who secretly likes his buttons unbuttoned, and wall sex. And desk sex. And picnic blanket sex.


FBI Art Crimes agent William Fox and rich philanthropist Amory Vaughn are drawn to each other from the moment they meet eyes. But despite a promising start, their relationship quickly sours when Amory decides to gift his crush with a stolen painting.

William finds himself torn between desire and duty. If the two want to build a relationship, Amory will have to change his ways for good.

The premise of this book sounded great - an FBI agent and an art thief find love. Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble getting into the story.

William and Amory are polar opposites. William’s reserved, introverted, and lives and breathes by the rules. Amory was born into luxury, is outgoing, and doesn’t believe the rules apply to him.

Though they find it hard to keep their hands off of each other, their different backgrounds lead to the two clashing often.

My disconnect with William and Amory started early on, with the theft of the painting. Though I knew it was coming, I still found the specifics odd. At that point, the only thing the two feel for each other is lust. How powerful does lust have to be to convince a man to steal a multi-million dollar painting, and to convince an officer of the law to turn a blind eye?


That being said, I did think that Amory made appropriate amends. Once he realizes that his wealth and illegal antics won’t win over William, Amory works hard to gain William’s respect.

And I can’t deny that these two had some serious sexual chemistry!

Amory and William also clicked emotionally, though it hinged pretty strongly on the insta-lust.

It wasn’t until well into the second half that I felt that I could really get why the two fell in love, but by that point my interest had already waned.

Part of the reason I found it hard to stay engaged with the book was the verbose writing, particularly from Amory’s POV. There were too many flowery descriptions - of food, paintings, decor, clothing, and internal monologues. I was skimming paragraphs to get to the point.

Overall, ‘Heart of the Steal’ was just on okay read for me. Though I found the romance to be sweet, the writing and the characters’ odd early behaviour made it difficult to really connect with them and enjoy the book.

A review copy was provided.


Giveaway + Blog Tour: Epic by Adrienne Wilder


Adrienne Wilder is here today answering reader questions to promote Epic! Also there are 2 giveaways-a tour wide one and a blog one. See below for all the deets!

Good luck!



Reader Questions, answered.


Reader: In The Absence of Light, you paint such a moving picture of a young autistic man. How did this impact on you as a writer? 

This is a hard one to answer, but also a personal one. When I began researching information on severely autistic adults, I was surprised by how little information there was out there on adult Autism. It’s almost as if, when you reach 18, you’re kind of left on your own. The resources that are available are poor at best and severely limited.

Another thing I found when researching adult Autism, was information about missed symptoms in children who grow up to be Autistic adults. I was absolutely floored at how many behaviors and difficulties mirrored my childhood. From the time I was very young, I have had problems fitting in, adapting, coping, even being able to understand the nuances of social behavior. I approached my doctor with questions regarding the similarities. She seemed surprised that I didn’t know I had high functioning Autism.

I had no idea until I dug specifically on Adult Autism.  This is when you are not diagnosed until you are older because you often don’t display the atypical behaviors. A few I had, like obsessing about one thing, learning all I can about it, putting all my focus into it, interrupting people mid sentence, not understanding jokes, self mutilation (sounds worse than it is) where I banged my head on a wall, bit my hands, hit myself in the mouth, pulled out my hair, even pulled out my teeth (luckily I outgrew most of those by the time I was ten), and the classic inability to look people in the eye when you talk to them or maintain eye contact, which I still have to this day. I’ll tell you what, not being able to make eye contact is really big when you’re trying to get a job because everyone thinks you're dishonest.

But there were other behaviors that didn’t coincide and were dismissed until more recently. Looking back, if my mother had known this is why I had such a difficult time in school, socializing, even coping, I think helping me as a kid would have been so much easier. Despite not knowing why I was strange, I had a great mother who was very understanding and incredibly patient.

When I got older she finally admitted, “You were a very strange child.”  But she still loved me and gave me encouragement whether it was “farming toads” at the age of eleven or wanting to publish my stories as an adult.

So needless to say, writing Morgan had a HUGE impact on me.



Epic
by Adrienne Wilder
June 15, 2017
319 pages
Andrew Atler has learned the hard way, fiction is far better than real life. In his romance novels the world is safe, predictable, and there is always a happy ending. Best of all, he can safely fall in love and the person will never know. There he can weave a tale of perfect passion plus pay the bills.

Matt Grim flies the colors of Hell’s Legion. When he’s not riding his chopper, he’s working as a bouncer for the Six. Matt’s life consists of drinking, playing in a band, and burning the midnight oil in the dungeon. He lives hard, plays hard, and rides even harder.

Two people who would never be a part of the same EPIC love story.

But sometimes those fairy tale clich├ęs have a way of working magic.

And sometimes…sometimes those happy endings do come true.

Amazon buy link http://amzn.to/2tSwDr3

Wild
by Adrienne
Releasing in August 2017

No sane man would choose to live in the Alaskan bush unless he had something to hide. And Keegan Brooks has secrets darker than night, more dangerous than wolves, more brutal than an Alaskan winter. Every day for him was survival until he found August Vallory the sole survivor in a downed plane.

It’s no longer just Keegan’s life teetering on the edge of survival.

Now it’s his heart.




Blog Tour
Aug 14-25

Aug 14 Boy Meets Boys Reviews – guest post
Aug 15 Making it Happen - review
            Vampy and Racey – review/guest post
Aug 16 The Novel Approach Reviews – guest post
Aug 17 Joyfully Jay – guest post
Aug 18 Jeep Diva – guest post
Aug 21 I Smell Sheep – guest post
Aug 22 Love Unchained - review
            Pearls Cast Before a McPig - spotlight
Aug 23 Love Bytes – guest post
Aug 25 Jessie G Books – spotlight
             kyliethebookaholick@gmail.com

Bio

Email: Fourpaw at windstream dot net

Georgia born and bred, I am an artist, a writer, and a general pain in the ass.

I spend most of my days working on my next book or designing cover art for other writers. For stress relief I do Olympic lifting and occasionally run (but hate it). I have been in love with writing since I was very young but it wasn't until recently that I decided to pursue it as a profession.

I have experimented in several genres and found that since I identify as male, male romance has been the most comfortable for me to write. I don't discriminate in my books. All characters are fair game. I do however, prefer a happy ending at some level.

I don't write the standard romance book. Some might even argue that what I write isn't romance at all. Personally, I think of them as love stories, where even in a fantastical world, there are realistic outcomes to the obstacles the characters face.

Many of my books have dark turns and twists where the characters fight for the light at the end of the tunnel. I write action, fist fights, gun fights, downright dirty evil people who have to be stopped, things catch fire, blow up, and fall in. My characters come in a unique range. They are not all good guys, but the majority of them have very good hearts. Many of them have been through hell in their lives, and many of them have a laundry list of faults. But hopefully they manage to surprise you with their tenacity and loyalty.

If all goes well, there will be a myriad of different kinds of books available this year. If I am really lucky, you will enjoy them.


Blog Giveaway

One lucky commenter will be entered to win an ecopy of any Adrienne Wilder book! Contest ends August 21st at Midnight EST. Please be sure to leave contact info e.g. email, Twitter handle, Goodreads profile, something. We will contact the winner shortly afterwards and if no response is received within 48 hrs we will choose another winner. Good luck!

Tour Wide Giveaway
$20 amazon gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway