Audiobook Review: The Innocent Auction (Innocent #1) by Victoria Sue


London 1810.

Their love was a death sentence.

Deacon, Viscount Carlisle, was aware of the slums and gin-lanes of London. Just as he was aware of the underground traffic that furnished the brothels and bath houses with human innocents. He was also aware that the so-called justice system would hang the accused without much of an attempt at a defense, unless the unfortunate had deep pockets to pay for it.

He just hadn’t expected to be directly involved in any of it.

It started with a plea for help and ended with forbidden love, the love between a Viscount and a stable-boy. An impossible love and a guarantee of the hangman's noose.

Will Deacon fight for Tom? Will he risk the death sentence and take that fight from the stately halls of his English mansion to the horrors of Newgate Prison and the slums of London?

Or will he realize that if he doesn't, death will be a welcome end to the loneliness of the sentence he is already living?

Narrated by: Joel Leslie
Listening Length: 6 hr 44 mins



I'm not sure how I got it in my head that this was slavefic but I did. I'm guessing I saw what I wanted to see. Because weirdo.



If your brain works like mine and you see the word "auction" and automatically think "slavefic" this is not that book. But it's still really good

Deacon gets wind that his cousin Beau has gone to an innocent auction and hot foot's it after him. Beau has a tendency to be impulsive and his being there could sully the family name so Deke to the rescue! An innocent auction is, apparently, where young boys are sold to god knows who for god knows what reasons. Why Beau went to this thing in the first place eludes me. I'm thinking maybe he was drunk and therefore suggestible. Because YUCK! Just yuck.


At the auction Deacon spots a boy with the bluest eyes on stage, eyes that pierce him and is consumed with a visceral need to protect him from what's surely coming to him if he's auctioned off. So he buys him in a melee just prior to the police busting up the whole thing. The boy's filthy, malnourished and terrified and Deacon wants to wrap him up in bubble wrap and make it all better. He sends him to his father's country estate with his trusted employee Joe where he'll be safe and out of London.

Four years later his father dies and when Deacon arrives at the estate to get his ducks in a row he finds it on the brink of bankruptcy. There's also a boy who's all grown up now.


Tom reminds me of Westly: sweet, devoted, earnest and a hardworking stable boy. Tom hasn't forgotten Deacon. The longing they both have is intense with UST galore. The age difference matters not to either of them, but the class difference is another matter altogether. Plus there is the issue of Deacon needing a sizable amount of money to get the estate back up and running. For that he'll likely need to marry Harriet to acquire her 30 pieces of silver.

I thought the class difference was handled well as both men seem evenly matched in all other aspects and well suited to one another. There's no discernible power differential aside from the obvious, but Deacon treats all his servants with respect.

Both are virgins which doesn't really do much for me but I thought it was sweet that they lost their virginity together. Their relationship is fluffy without being saccharine and a dash of smut thrown in to keep things lively.

There is sadness to this narrative though by way of Beau which segues to the action plotline that maybe was a tad OTT but entertaining nonetheless. The Harriet thing is the only plot point that I thought was weak though it did lead to a heartwarming HEA. So whatever.

The brightest of the bright spots however was Joel Leslie. He knocked this out of the park! Breathing life into these characters, giving them each their own distinct voices and bringing a passion and vivaciousness to this story. Hell, he even threw in a Scottish brogue in there on top of the kagrillion British voices he had going. Incredible. Really incredible. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more of his work in the future.

If you're in need of a sweet historical give The Innocent Auction a try.



A review copy was provided.


Review: The Lure of Port Stephen by Sydney Blackburn

Robbie Wales is young and starting a new job in a new town, on his own. Coming from a split family, he was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents and came out as a teen without a lot of fuss, but his father, whom he only saw infrequently, has never known. As an adult, he’s found he’s got a lot in common with his father, and they’re finally getting to know each other. He fears coming out to his father may jeopardize that.

Then he meets Raj Williams, the attractive man in the trailer next to his father’s in a seasonal RV park. Raj is handsome, sophisticated, yet loves to fish and watch silly Disney movies.

Raj finds Robbie equally interesting. But Robbie’s still in the closet, at least in Port Stephen, and Raj’s ex used that as an excuse to treat him as nothing more than a friend with benefits. He’s not interested in a repeat experience.

Robbie finally finds the courage to come out to his father, but was it all just for a summer fling?


The first half of The Lure of Port Stephen is heavy on the horny flirtations of summer romance with boners aplenty. Robbie has come to Port Stephen to spend time with his dad and step mom and fish the idyllic waters. He and his father are not close as Robbie was raised by his mom, but they are connecting and Robbie is looking forward to their time together.

I really liked Robbie, he’s a likable young man with solid character. He just wants to spend the summer fishing and bonding. The trailer next door to his dad has a resident that is more temptation that he can handle though and Robbie’s dad doesn’t know that Robbie is gay. So Raj, the hot neighbor, and Robbie do a fair bit of subtle flirting at first, one thing leads to another and pretty soon they are swapping bodily fluids on the sly, just having a bit of fun.

We all know that fun often leads to feelings, which is a favorite trope of so many readers, me included and about the time the feelings hit is when the book became something more. Raj is a little gun shy from previous heartbreak and Robbie is inexperienced and in the closet in Port Stephen. He’s out elsewhere, but fears what will happen to the tenuous relationship he is working on with his father. Raj isn’t about to be someone’s secret so the angst that came along with the new relationship potential and the whole coming out thing made sense and kept a good balance from there on out.

I found a few of the communications odd between Robbie and his dad and Raj and his family. Like there were more things going on than what was being said and I kept waiting for some clarity that didn’t come. Robbie was about as subtle as a flying brick with his hints about his sexuality and his dad joked along with seemingly no issues. When Robbie did find the courage to say the words his dad flipped his shit a tad. I felt like his reaction would have felt more realistic if Robbie hadn’t been alluding for a while, but his dad didn’t have a lot of depth for me so I had trouble reconciling what I read with what little I knew. There was a comment about a look from Raj’s dad that I didn’t really get either, as if he were slightly surprised about Raj and Robbie being together. But it didn’t really make sense given there was no secrets about their relationship when they got to the family cabin to visit and there was no further commentary and I waited for some closure on it that didn’t happen. Dangling comments are a pet peeve of mine.

I really liked Raj and Robbie together, they were very sweet, very horny and very concerned about one another’s feelings. Which, given Raj’s past and Robbie’s age and inexperience said a fair amount for their potential future. Once these two committed to one another, the romance overflowed; these guys love the love. I was pretty convinced by that point there is a solid HEA on the horizon for Robbie and Raj at the end of the summer.



**a copy of this story was provided by the publisher for an honest review**

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Queen Called Bitch: Tales of a Teenage Bitter Ass Homosexual by Waldell Goode


We're happy to have the Queen Called Bitch: Tales of a Teenage Bitter Ass Homosexual blog tour drop by the clubhouse today! New author Waldell Abraham Goode and IndiGo Marketing drop by with book info and goodies! Don't miss the author interview, excerpt from the coming of age memoir and NineStar Press eBook giveaway!


Title:  Queen Called Bitch: Tales of a Teenage Bitter Ass Homosexual
Author: Waldell Goode
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: 7/24/17
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Pairing: No Romance
Length: 69300
Genre: Memoir, Memoir, Lit, gay, coming of age, African-American, family drama, high school, college, humorous

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Synopsis

A loud-mouth, black, gay teenager struggles to find himself in rural America. After having realized his inability to attend his top-choice school, Waldell Goode embarks on a journey to reevaluate why the grand departure appealed to him in the first place. He learns that as much as he can control his nonexistent love life, there are other factors that aren’t as easily mutable. He comes to terms with his peculiar relationship with his mother, the inevitable heartbreak in store for him no matter how hard he’s tried avoiding it, and the voice of God, in all her beguiling glory.

Excerpt

Queen Called Bitch
Waldell Abraham Goode © 2017
All Rights Reserved

ONE: Ryan Murphy’s a Fucking Liar

I officially begin with this because it is one of the more poignant issues I’ve been dealing with. It’s not that I have anything against Glee. I applaud the nature and success of the series, but I dislike how certain plot points, characters, storylines, and adolescent relationships deviate from realities concurrent with that of the authentic experience of my life. Glee is an excellent series, bringing awareness all across America of certain groups that have been neglected or outcast in a universal school setting. There isn’t any show that has mastered such a feat at the level Glee has, which is why the series remains a phenomenon, reaching and inspiring children all over the world to be themselves and embrace each other’s differences. Unless they’re Asian, in which case they’re promptly reminded to remain silent and take their proper places in the background where they belong; it’s amazing they’re allowed to consider themselves series regulars and not simply extras. I hate what they did with the token Asian character, Tina. They tried making her a more prominent character later in the series, failing miserably.

Reflecting on Glee, I would say their portrayal of high school is fairly accurate minus the students who appear to be better suited for an AARP commercial. I would even say my high school career was somewhat similar to Kurt’s, the token gay character. I was unsure of myself freshman year. I spent my time mostly in solitude, trying to avoid much of the ridicule I received in my eighth grade year. I was involved with the drama team where I met fellow weirdos like myself, I was hiding the fact that I’m gay, and I unwittingly thought no one knew it—despite how blatantly obvious it was, and everyone else must have been previously enlightened.

Sophomore year was even better. People began to know me and who I was, that I wasn’t a predator and spiritually intertwined with Satan. I came out as completely gay that year. Even I wasn’t buying the bisexual nonsense I fed myself and others in years past. I began to dress as I so desired and fully embraced the inner, gayer me. Being involved with the local university’s theater department, I had become acquainted with more degenerates who celebrated abnormality.

Junior year was when I finally came into my own. I led the drama department to a couple of victories as I was cast in the main role, and attended the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia Community College. I enjoyed myself the most that year, even though Governor’s School was stressful as hell and I failed chemistry. Senior year, the focus was on finding money to attend a university or college, and that didn’t happen so I suppose one could consider that a failure, but I considered it an opportunity to fuck around for another semester.

My high school career, one could say, was excellent and probably everything it was supposed to be. A necessary step in my life, but I can’t seem to shake the part about loneliness. For my senior trip at Governor’s School, we went on a boat ride for an hour and a half. In a tiny vessel meant for maybe eight to seat comfortably were crammed fifteen people shoulder to shoulder, stuffing packed lunches into their mouths as the tour guide blabbed on and on about the three foot deep lake that takes twenty minutes to travel from shore to shore. Rounding the trip for the fourth or fifth time, my English teacher, sitting beside me, established conversation as a means to keep me either from sleeping, or hauling my ass overboard. Our discussion grew from her love of animals to my high school experience, to her decades—long marriage with her husband of infinite years, and on to the scandal of her marrying her old high school principal. She asked me the one question everyone in my high school career managed to avoid, ignore, or already know the answer to. It was remarkable. Before that moment, I had never considered it. I wanted to contemplate the depth of my relations, possibly due to a lack of allowing myself to ponder the grim truth of deeply rooted negative dispositions I choose to utilize as defense mechanisms.

She looked me in the eye and leaned in close. “Waldell, are you lonely?” She spoke as if she was asking about the weather.

Although we were gently gliding atop a lake and I had consumed two bottles of water with my complimentary lunch, my mouth ran completely dry.

I took a second, regained the wind that had instantaneously been trounced out of my chest, and replied with a smooth and concrete, “No. I have amazing friends.”

Somehow she knew. I could see it in her eyes. That wasn’t what she was asking. She would clarify, and there would be no way I could playfully avoid its severity or laugh it off as I had become accustomed to doing.

She looked at me with deeper expression now, and asked, “No, but Waldell, are you really lonely?”

I began to look away and pretend to notice an area of the lake I previously hadn’t seen; we circled back for the thousandth time and nothing could’ve been missed. I couldn’t avoid it. I couldn’t make it funny, laugh it off, reference my mother or her alcoholism. I could only be honest with my professor, and in doing so, stop lying to myself. This is the one instance I can recall when lighthearted commentary failed to enter my mind when I needed some sort of comical relief… or relief in general. I looked her in the eye again, and with all the gusto I could find out there on the lake with sixty other people strolling along the pier, going about their day, eating their triangularly shaped cold cuts, I told myself the truth for the first time in four years with a single word.

“Yes.”

And here lies my problem with Glee. Kurt is an amazing character. He’s beautiful, funny, witty, he has flaws, and the greatest attribute a creator may accomplish with any character is the fact he’s human. I appreciated that representation of a homosexual teen in mainstream media. Before him, there weren’t many who closely resembled me. Friends and family who were familiar with the show deemed me “black Kurt,” or “Blurt.” I admired him, the character, his weakness and ultimate triumph over an oppressive society. As Oprah taught the world, one of the singular greatest gifts a person in the media can give is lending voice to the voiceless. That was Kurt Hummel, analogous with millions of gay teens all throughout the world, struggling to find themselves against social pressure and bullying. Kurt, portrayed by Golden Globe Award winner Chris Colfer, was a hero in a generation needing one.

I relate to this character. I understand this character; he lives in a small town, I live in small town. He knew he was gay from a very young age, and I remember when I was five and my father told my sisters they were turning me into a faggot. Kurt might as well have been real as far as character development goes. Many people felt or feel as if they know him. My biggest hindrance isn’t Kurt. It’s Kurt and Blaine, the boyfriend he found by transferring to a private magical school for gays only. Where was my Prince Charming, willing to stop the world and sing me thirty-two bars of a romantic cliché written nearly one hundred years ago, warning me of the freezing air outside as a means to keep me inside and eventually sleep with me? Where was my holiday crush, dying to sing a song with me made famous by a legendary songbird and famed homosexual porn star husband? Google Jack Wrangler, your life will be better because of it. I’m happy for the characters. I’m glad that it was as simple as taking a trip to Gay Land, picking out the sweetest model, and driving him back home to live out your days in happy gay bliss while each of you takes turns being more perfect. Kurt and Blaine are so wonderful, they even have sex in a special teenage special gay way, fully clothed, when Kurt loses his virginity.

Truth is, there was no guy willing to sing me anything. There isn’t a school of gays you can attend while testing the waters, trying to sniff out the next Neil Patrick Harris. Chances are if you’re a gay male and you’re from a small town, you won’t get many Prince Charmings knocking down your door, willing to make you feel special. Hell, chances are if you’re a gay kid attending high school in a small town, you’re probably the only gay in the vicinity—the only openly gay one, of course. Where was my romance? The best I’ve gotten was a thirty-eight-year-old on Grindr lusting after a minor’s dirty pictures he never received. I didn’t go to the prom with my boyfriend, I was never sung to or caressed in that way, I don’t know what “I love you” means beyond friendship, my first and last kiss occurred in tenth grade and the next day the boy denied it ever happened. The only time I’ve ever been called attractive was by a straight bi-curious friend who considered me his “experiment” that led absolutely nowhere, and the only date I’ve ever been on was a non-date with a gay guy who just wasn’t interested in me that way. Glee is astonishing, but honestly sometimes even after you’ve had the proper revelations and accepted yourself and others around you, life still hurts.

It’s not Glee’s fault that I don’t have anyone. I take sole responsibility. But I blame them for hope. I, along with the rest of America, cheered for Kurt and Blaine’s first kiss. However, their kiss didn’t make me any less alone. It’s me who still cries in the middle of the night for reasons I “thought” I didn’t know, but in actuality was avoiding. It’s me who lives with the moment my teacher decided to get personal and made me truthful. It’s me who has no one and continually decides to largely suffer in silence. How do you tell a friend, “Hey, I need you” without sounding weak? How do you admit it to yourself without remembering how painful it is? And how do you still believe in love when it has never happened to you?

I falsely call Ryan Murphy a liar, because it has never happened to me. He’s deceitful because he made me forget that characters, while closely resembling real people, are fiction and their stories can have endings that include tremendous declarations of love and overwhelming displays of affection because they’re written in. As a real gay teenager living in a real small town, I have been living the truth of what Glee has to avoid if only for their namesake; there is quite possibly no love story waiting for me.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Author Interview

What does your family think of your writing?
When the book came out it was a shock to them. I informed them while I was writing it, when I sought out a publisher, when the publisher picked it up – but when the initial cover art came out they freaked. I guess they didn’t think it was going to be real. I’m the first published author in the family. They’re supportive of my career even if they don’t actively engage in the art produced.

Tell us about your current work in process and what you’ve got planned for the future.
Hah. You mean, all the unwritten sitcom pilots in my head? Write them down. Sell them to Hollywood. Make some money.

Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?
Do it. Even when you don’t like yourself. Even when you don’t believe in yourself. Even when it’s hard.

If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?
I would go forward. I want to see the amazing things I’d never get the chance to see.

We’ve all got a little voyeurism in us right? If you could be a fly on the wall during an intimate encounter (does not need to be sexual) between two characters, not your own, who would they be?
Bernadine and John. The scene in Waiting to Exhale when he announces his intention to make an honest woman out of his mistress.

If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?
Probably mold. I live in a shared apartment with three other people. It can get pretty gross. And the refrigerator’s been broken for several days so . . . .

Meet the Author

Waldell Goode was born in Halifax, VA and is currently following dreams in Boston, MA.

Facebook | Twitter

Tour Schedule

7/23    We Three Queens      
7/24    Books,Dreams,Life     
7/25    MillsyLovesBooks      
7/25    MM Good Book Reviews      
7/26    Love Bytes      
7/26    Boy Meets Boy Reviews        
7/27    Divine Magazine        

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Audiobook Review: A Second Harvest (Men of Lancaster County #1) by Eli Easton

David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with both his kids in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.

Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it's time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.

But life in the country is boring despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie's creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple finds they really enjoy spending time together.

Christie challenges the boundaries of David's closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness.

Listening Time: 7 hrs 40 min
Narrator: Will Tulin



Reviewer: Lost in a Book

I may have overeaten, destroyed my liver and rocked myself in a corner all while reading this book. The overeating because this book is full of amazing foods that were described to perfection. *hangry* The liver because I needed a little lot of wine to get through the first half. The rocking in the corner because this book is full of feelz that kick you in the balls and repair your broken heart within the same page. I loved this one so hard.

Christie and David were imperfectly perfect. David is a 41 year old widowed Mennonite and father of two. “Fierce” Christie is a 30 year old party boy that is sick of the party scene. He escapes to some land he inherited from his dearly departed Aunt and is now David’s neighbor. David was barely existing prior to Christie entering his life. He worked, ate, slept and occasionally wondered what it would be like to look down the barrel of his shotgun. He was depressed and his true self lay in a vintage lock box hidden in the depths of a barn. He is a closeted gay man brought up in an extremely religious family. David’s life was mapped out for him from the early age of 17 when his father passed away and all responsibility went to him. He is a lonely man just waiting out his years for death to “take him.” Until Christie.

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Christie represented everything David wanted to be but never dared to dream of. In his world of black and white, Christie was color; He was magnificient and had a zest for life that forced splashes of color to take root in David’s darkest areas.

“But right now being with Christie was like hot sunlight. And when you were in the sunlight, it was hard to imagine the darkness.”

Their relationship was slow burn at its finest. With a friendship forming and meals shared, Christie sent sparks of life through David. David had been “dead” so long that be forgot his sense of adventure. Although they didn’t know it, they were falling deeply in love as Christie handed David the world one meal at a time.

”He couldn’t remember the last time he had felt like this, like joy was a fossil fuel buried deep in his soul, and he had suddenly struck deep and hit a gusher. He felt vibrant and alive, wanting to be in this moment and nowhere else, wishing he could bottle it up and keep it forever.”

The first 50% I was begging for any sign of affection without restraint. When their first kiss happened, it was like giving a starving women a mint. It was hard and glorious. The build up and torture of them sloooowwwwwwly falling in love without realizing it...gahhh! That kiss was f’ing amazing.

”There was an absolute tempest inside him. It felt like a class-five hurricane, raging and howling and sending bits and pieces of long-standing walls flying. It wasn’t a kiss so much as a statement, a moment of rebellion, an act of desperation, or maybe one of solidarity.”

The sex was hot and purposeful throughout. It served to further their connection and wasn’t just a sexfest. The sexting though. Y’all, holy shit. Talk about show and not tell. Those pictures were definitely *ahem* effective.

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On a more serious note, David had a lot of baggage to get through. Besides overcoming his own self, he had to overcome the obstacles of his children and his town. They worked through those issues without drama coming between them and the outcome was authentic even if I wanted to throat punch his son. I would have liked more closure around the end. Although there weren’t loose ends, it was a little too abrupt for my liking.

My only real negative was about the audio. I learned a very valuable lesson about audiobooks with this one; The narrator can make or break a book. I wasn't enjoying the audio. At all. Sadly, the narration was very robotic and monotone. If I hadn't decided to download the ebook as a companion, I would have missed out on the gem that is A Second Harvest and called it quits.

As a warning, there is a trigger warning for suicidal thoughts a few times throughout. I would definitely recommend this book and will read the next one in the series when it is released.






Blog Post: Bristol Romantic Suspense Writing Workshop: Calling All Authors!




Attention Authors!

A brand new writing workshop is coming to Bristol this November! Writers of romance, crime, romantic suspense and mystery novels at any stage in their career are invited to join bestselling author Damon Suede and federal law enforcement special agent Geoff Symon, who recently began offering his experience and expertise to authors with his Forensics for Fiction series of books.

Over two days writers will have the chance to stretch their skills with practical workshops and engaging classes in the beautiful surroundings of Armada House. Spaces on the workshop are limited, allowing attendees more opportunities to ask their own questions and gain feedback on their current ‘work in progress’.

This is the first time Damon and Geoff have travelled to the UK to teach, so be sure to sign up and don’t miss this fantastic opportunity!

Click here to register!




Tag Team Review: Skin After Skin (PsyCop #8) by Jordan Castillo Price

A Crash Prequel

Fierce. Audacious. Independent. Curtis Ash can’t be bothered to settle down. He’s too busy enjoying his cushy job as a high-paid stylist, caught in a whirlwind of hookups, parties, and obscenely priced cocktails.

The only snarl in an otherwise charmed life is the salon’s hotshot colorist, Red Turner. Not only does Red put the whammy on customers and rake in all the big tips, he’s oblivious to Crash’s flirtation. But there will be plenty of time to win him over…so Crash thinks.

Thanks to his refusal to trust his gut, Crash not only tanks his career—he allows the one man who truly holds his interest to slip away. While he insists he doesn’t need a relationship to complete him, would sharing his life with someone really be so bad?

Skin After Skin is a sweeping saga that begins two years before "Among the Living" and ends just after "Spook Squad". Experience PsyCop like you’ve never seen it before, through Crash’s eyes. Discover new facets of characters and events from the span of the entire series and beyond, all from the viewpoint of an extroverted empath.

                                                                                                                                


R *A Reader Obsessed* - 3.5 Hearts! - Tag team review with Lori!

I really didn't know what to expect from an almost 400 page book about crazy Crash, because as a character who often stole the scenes throughout the Psycop series, I prepared myself for a bunch of excitement, and emotion, and him causing chaos and trouble with all his snark and psychic powers. Maybe a bit disappointingly, that didn’t really happen, but what was given made me appreciate him as a man who does have faults and feelings, and underneath his many layers there’s something more vulnerable and significant than what’s initially presented, and that’s something worth getting to know.

Without going into too much detail, this begins a few years before the Psycop series starts, and the reader’s first glimpse of Crash is him living the life as a stylist at a very high end salon. He’s got seniority, he’s got the boss’s eye, and he’s confidant that he can woo the mysterious new colorist, Red. He’s just a little bit too self involved, but suddenly, his axis is turned upside down one day in a sudden explosion of drama, and Crash finds himself jobless, pretty much broke, and without the intriguing Red.

Through a series of events, one gets to see how Crash goes from rock bottom to the ever brash store owner we know and love, selling psychic wares and offering empathic advice on all things mystical. I loved seeing how each of the original cast members make their entrance into his life. Witness how Crash and Caroline become besties, how he’s slowly made aware of the psychic world around him, how he and Jacob become involved and the whys of how their union fell apart (which I’m still confused about). Lisa also makes her appearance, and I was tickled by Con’s involvement too. Of course, there’s Vic, the titillating attraction between him and Crash, and the huge awkward when they and Jacob all converge.

As I might've mentioned already, this book is long and at times, also quite slow. However, there were some really lovely moments of self reflection and epiphanies and surviving when life shits on you and then shits on you some more and what you do with that shit and turn it around to something viable only to live another day to do it all over again. Crash’s life isn’t easy, but he is a warrior in his own right, and I enjoyed the complexity of his journey and the new insight to his background and motivation.

So, though this was not what I expected, this is still a necessary read for all fans of Psycop. It will definitely enrich your understanding and color your experience. Most importantly, witnessing Crash’s grudging acceptance of all these people in his life and how they’ve become important to him and to each other, forming their own special family of sorts. Surely, this will be significant as the portent of what’s to come is just now rearing it’s most likely ugly head. This was far from flash and bang, but I’m grateful, and I eagerly look forward to this gang’s future adventures.


Lorix - 3.5 Hearts

Before I write anything else I need to state for the record that I am a HUGE JCP fangirl. I adore her writing style, love her characters. I mean I LOVE her characters, no run-of-the-mill hot 'n heavy, muscled cowboys for this writer. Victor Bayne is in my top three book crushes, I adore him, and the Psycops series is one of my favourite series of all time.

Because of this, I feel almost guilty giving this book anything less than 5 hearts. It took me lot of pondering to work out why I didn't want to automatically 5 heart it. I mean, the flawlessly flawed great characters are still there, as is the wonderful Psycop world. Crash is one of my favourite characters in the series, second only to Vic really. The writing is  as good as ever, no over-used tropes to prop up a storyline. So why, why did I only give it 3.5 hearts?

Well I came to two conclusions. Firstly, the book isn't Vic-centric. Yeah, I know, kind of obvious seeing as the book is about Crash (who I love, I really do). What can I say, my crush on Vic knows no bounds and I found I wasn't liking not being in his head.There is truly not a lot anyone can do about that. I mean seriously, I fancy the fuck outta Vic and I missed him being front and centre.

The second conclusion I came to was that I wished it were longer. It felt like too much story for the length of the book. We go back to Crash before he met Jacob and followed him through to events in the other Psycop books - peripherally at least, as Crash isn't an MC in the other books. So I basically wanted, either a spin-off of books about Crash or one LOOOOOOONG tome. I'm rather partial to long books anyway (which is why I often binge read series, I love getting swallowed by an epic story). Again, this is perhaps a me thing. No, scrub that - it is a me thing; I'm greedy and wanted more.

I think basically others will love this addition to the series, but I wanted something more. I loved seeing Crash from the perspective of Crash. He felt different than from Vic's perspective. Funnily enough, I wasn't keen on Jacob through Crash's eyes. Why? Maybe it's my Vic prejudice coming into play. I did love the character of Red and would have happily devoured more about him and Crash.

My rating doesn't reflect JCP's awesomeness as an author but it does reflect my eccentricities as a reader. Readers are often selfish beasts, well this one is, and that is the fault of nobody at all. I say if you're a Psycop fan, go ahead and read this book, even just having that little more insight to the wonderful Crash is worth it.




Thank you to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads.

Review: A Kiss of Brimstone (Out of the Shadows #2) by Morgan Elektra

Sparked in the shadows, their passion burns brighter than any fire in Hell.

Formed at the dawn of civilization and risen through the ranks of demonkind to command legions, Andras has never cared for anything so much as his duty to humanity and the Creator.

There is nothing on Earth that could hold a candle to his sense of purpose.

Ben travels the world alone, intent on destroying rogue vampires, feral werewolves, and corrupt witches. For him, hunting is more than a job, it's his life's calling.

But there is more in Heaven and Earth than he ever imagined, and the revelation sets his shadowed world ablaze.

From the moment their eyes meet, the desire in Andras' blood gives him a new mission: possess the rugged hunter. Will Ben resist the primal pull between them, or will he let the fire of the demon lord's lust consume him?


I love that the author is continuing with the Out of the Shadows series and the “good in bed with evil” theme she has going. I had a blast with Will and Reese in A Single Heartbeat and when I saw we were getting another hunter with a demon in this, I knew I wanted it and held out hope that we would get a possible glimpse of Will and Reese.
Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.

Andras is a demon, but not the ones we’re used to seeing. Yes, physically he has the traits we would assume would belong to him; the horns, the dark wings and the forked tongue, but Andras is a Soul Reaver, a special demon who along his angel brothers and sisters does the work for the Creator. As a demon he ferries souls to their rest in Kimah and oversaw the keeping of the Silent City (aka Heaven and Hell) while the angels carry new souls into the world, and watched over them on Earth. Andras has come to Earth to retrieve a soul that has escaped Kimah and taken possession over a human who retains the same darkness. When Andras meets the dark souls in an alley before to stop them before they hurt an innocent, he is confronted with a hunter…

Ben Carpenter is a hunter, born from hunters, who is out to make contact with a man who could possible help him track down a vampire. Given the name of this man by a vampire priestess, Ben is on his way to a club for the meeting when he senses a supernatural being in an alley and goes in for the rescue of an innocent man. What Ben sees as he faces the dark soul changes him forever in more ways than he thought possible.

I dug the “meet cute” with Ben and Andras because it really shows who both men are. Ben is fearless in what he does as a hunter though he’s never seen anything like Andras. Andras is old and thought he was passed the wanting of carnal pleasures and heart until faced with Ben and quite literally cannot let the feeling go. Though they part ways, the small wait we get is more than worth it.

I loved that the hunter Ben is going to meet is Will and that the meeting was at Sang. I was waiting for Reese to make an appearance and when he did I was stupidly happy. It was great to see them again and know that what they shared, what I read as one night truly did turn into more and that they are still all over one another. The fact that Reese, a centuries old vampire, is fascinated that Ben has seen a Soul Reaver in the flesh and that both the hunters and most of the supernatural creatures they encounter aren’t sure if demons and angels actually exist added another new level to this world we are in.
…demons worked for God, the same as angels. They did not corrupt souls, but fought the corruption. If Reese’s Sire was to be believed, demons literally fought wars to save souls.
Once both Ben and Andras are done with their respective duties, the men find their way to one another and things heat up.

I have to say Andras in his human or other form was extremely attractive, but I am on the same page with Ben and preferred him in his demon form. Being in both POV’s it was great to know what that meant to Andras, for Ben to prefer him with literally horns and all but those wings are freaking orgasmic regardless of how they are presented and how they are presented in the human form was sexy as heck. Speaking of sexy… you don’t get a hunter and a demon in bed and not have it be hot because OMG was it ever hot. Let me just say, a long forked demon tongue can do many things and slide into many places. *grunts* Hot, it was so freaking hot.

Oh but there was romance in this and it was amazing. Knowing that Andras works with the Creator and that Ben could possibly be his Reliquum, or true soul mate, was über romantic and that end gave me feels and hope far beyond the HFN that was presented.

A Kiss of Brimstone was another sexy read from this author and I love how the title applies and also plays with the story. I can’t wait to see if the author continues with the series and if she will visit the mysterious figure in the doorway the angel came to watch over. I hope so because he stuck in my head and I would love to know more about him.


Guest Review: The Rhubarb Patch (The Men of Gilead #1) by Deanna Wadsworth

City boy, sci-fi novelist, and recovering pushover Scott Howe doesn’t know what to expect when he inherits his grandmother’s house outside the quaint village of Gilead, Ohio—but it isn’t an enormous bald man in nothing but tighty-whities and orange rubber boots shouting at him to keep his weed whacker away from the rhubarb patch.

Scott has never met anyone like Phineas Robertson: homesteader, recluse… Republican. A tender—if unlikely—friendship grows over the summer while Phin and his schnauzer, Sister Mary Katherine, teach Scott about life in the country and the grandmother he never knew. Opposites attract, but widower Phin worries his secret will send Scott running faster than his politics, and Phin isn’t convinced he deserves a second chance at romance.

Scott is convinced—rural life, and his one-of-a-kind, older neighbor is the future he wants. Before he can settle in, his mother drops a bombshell that strains their already tenuous relationship, and a cousin who believes he is the rightful heir to the property puts Scott in danger. It’ll take a lot of compromises, and even dodging a few bullets before they’re out of the weeds, but nurturing something as special as true love always takes hard work.


Reviewer: R *A Reader Obsessed*

When I read the blurb, I thought to myself, this just might be some good comfort reading involving second chances at life and love, and overall I wasn’t wrong.


Scott is a people pleaser. So much so, he’s sacrificed his happiness over and over in basically all of his relationships. In an effort to perhaps reinvent himself and start anew, he totally takes advantage of his surprising windfall - he’s inherited a house from his paternal grandma whom he hasn’t heard from since he was a child. It’s a complete mystery as to why she left him her belongings, but he’s not going to look a gift horse in the mouth and quickly moves to her small rural town determined to make some big changes.


There, Scott meets his neighbor Phineas. A bit intimidating at first, and sorta comical later, he comes to appreciate Phineas’s clean living and self reliance. Scott is a duck out of water, but as he makes his grandma’s home his own and slowly learns more about her, he acclimates to the different lifestyle and starts to thrive.


This was mainly a story about growth. Scott needs a lot of it, especially never having heard of things like rhubarb or cobbler (no joke). He wondrously discovers new likes and dislikes and begins to make decisions for himself and not for others, while at the same time voicing his opinions instead of squashing them like he’s always done.


This book was also about Phineas since we get his point of view too. He’s had some serious losses, including Scott’s grandma who was his best friend. Understandably scared to put himself out there and love again, he doubts his own worthiness. However, life is a risk, and Phineas eventually realizes that happiness won’t come if he doesn't try.


Beware a slow burn regarding these two. Both want each other but are hesitant to take that next step. Scott has a lot of maturing to do and discovers some harsh truths while learning to stand on his own two feet. I particularly loved Phineas. He was the epitome of a gentle giant - sensitive and caring and protective - the kind of character I can read about all day. Though his story is often a sad one, he perseveres even though love is a scary thing to embrace.


As a warning, this has one of the most annoying moms ever, a sick aging pet schnauzer, and a quirky obsession Scott has with part of Phineas’s body. (The smex was hot, but every time he gustily went at Phin’s ‘titties”, it unfortunately took me out of the mood.) Throw in a little suspense, several good doses of drama-lama, and some tearful bittersweet scenes, and you’ve got quite the enjoyable story here. Some might find this a bit boring - the ins and outs of living a more laid back life and the daily goings on - but it’s no secret that I like that sort of thing. So, if you have to have constant action, plot twists, and fast forward momentum, this probably isn't for you, though the prior mentioned shenanigans might just be enough.


This was my first from Deanna Wadsworth, and it won’t be my last. It looks like a series is in the works here, and I know I wouldn’t mind at all revisiting Scott and Phineas! I definitely look forward to further stories and getting to know the other members of this quaint, small town community!


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




Giveaway + Blog Tour: Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water, #1) by E.J. Russell


E.J. Russell is here today promoting her first book, Cutie and the Beast, of her new paranormal Fae Out of Water series from Riptide Publishing.

There's also a stupendous giveaway. See the deets below. Good luck!


Welcome to the Fae Out of Water blog tour, phase one--Cutie and the Beast! I’m so looking forward to introducing you all to the Kendrick brothers and their guys, starting this month with Alun and David. As you follow along on the tours—phase two, The Druid Next Door, in August, and phase three, Bad Boy’s Bard, in September—please leave a comment and your contact information for a chance at a $50 Riptide gift card. The drawing will take place after the last Bad Boy’s Bard blog stop. Thank you so much for stopping by!


About Cutie and the Beast


Temp worker David Evans has been dreaming of Dr. Alun Kendrick ever since that one transcription job for him, because holy cats, that voice. Swoon. So when his agency offers him a position as Dr. Kendrick’s temporary office manager, David neglects to mention that he’s been permanently banished from offices. Because, forgiveness? Way easier than permission.

Alun Kendrick, former Queen’s Champion of Faerie’s Seelie Court, takes his job as a psychologist for Portland’s supernatural population extremely seriously. Secrecy is paramount: no non-supe can know of their existence. So when a gods-bedamned human shows up to replace his office manager, he intends to send the man packing. It shouldn’t be difficult—in the two hundred years since he was cursed, no human has ever failed to run screaming from his hideous face.

But cheeky David isn’t intimidated, and despite himself, Alun is drawn to David in a way that can only spell disaster: when fae consort with humans, it never ends well. And if the human has secrets of his own? The disaster might be greater than either of them could ever imagine.

Available now from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/cutie-and-the-beast


About the Fae Out of Water Series


Once upon a time, there were three brothers, nobles of the Seelie Court of Faerie, who set out to seek their fortunes. The eldest—

Scratch that. Rrrrrewind.

Nowadays, when tales are told in 140 character bursts on tiny LED screens, rather than spun out by the glow of a midnight campfire, even Faerie’s elite have to get with the program.

The Kendrick brothers have traded longbow for briefcase, battle steed for Harley, and enchanted harp for electric guitar.  But while they’re finding their feet in the modern world, instead of finding their fortunes, they stumble straight into love.

#faeoutofwater

Check out the Fae Out of Water series! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/fae-out-water


About EJ Russell

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Connect with E.J.:
Website: ejrussell.com



To celebrate the release of all three books in the Fae Out of Water series, one lucky winner across all three tours will receive a GRAND PRIZE of a $50 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 23, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the Cutie and the Beast tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


Review: Misconduct (Birmingham Rebels, #4) by Samantha Kane

The Birmingham Rebels play both sides of the field, proving that the hottest action isn’t always in the arena.

Rookie running back Tom Kelly loves the perks of football stardom. Men, women—there’s no shortage of companionship for a pro athlete who’s hot, young, and willing, and Tom is definitely willing. But deep down he wants a committed three-way relationship, especially if the female in the middle is Carmina de la Cruz. The undeniably sexy Army veteran may not say much, but her body speaks loud and clear.

After a traumatic tour in Afghanistan, Carmina is struggling to regain her speech and rebuild her life. More than anything, she wants to feel like a woman again. Tom may be a wholesome All-American, but he knows just how she needs to be touched—and he’s not the only Rebel who arouses her interest. With his scorching intensity, Tom’s best friend leaves her wondering if two players might be better than one.

Danny Smith is no stranger to his team’s kinky reputation. He gave in to temptation once, but he’s not going down that road again. Sure, Carmina’s curves promise pleasure, but her eyes guarantee it comes with baggage—and Danny has enough of his own. Still, giving up control can feel so good. And when it comes to everything Danny craves, Carmina and Tom make the perfect team.




WWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????????

Why can I not find a MMF that makes me dance a Cajun rhythm? It seems like I used to be able to but lately it's been one dud after another. Maybe MM has ruined MMF for me? I wish I knew what the deal was but I don't like it.


I really didn't hate this book but I can't condone some of the sentiments perpetuated by it, thus the 1 heart rating. So let's get those out of the way first.

I've heard about Samantha Kane and her MMF books for years but this was my first experience reading one. I thought for sure it'd be good and was SO excited to read it. I mean, I knew I was going to have to suspend reality since approximately a fourth of this NFL team in the deep South is bisexual and in polyamorous relationships and they all work together, but I was prepared with my goggles and glitter. Because girl scout. However, what I wasn't prepared for was the misrepresentation of bisexuality, or more specifically, erasing the line between bisexuality and polyamory and making them synonymous.

Tom stopped halfway to the table with his plate in hand. "I didn't think about that," he said slowly. "She knows I like guys, too." [...] 
"Knowing you like guys and letting you screw them while you're supposed to be with her is another thing entirely," Danny told him. "Be careful, man. You're entering dangerous territory." 
Tom sat back with a disgruntled sigh and ran his hands through his hair. "I don't want to give up guys or girls," he said. "What am I supposed to do?"

I know it's supposed to be a ménage romance but is it necessary to depict bisexuals as greedy? There were some things that Carmina said and did that were in this same vein or in the vein of being lesbian phobic that rubbed me the wrong way too.

As if that wasn't shocking enough from an experienced MMF writer, I was ill prepared for the sanctioning of rape.

"...You were into it. I wasn't holding you down that hard, Danny. You could have gotten away. If you had said no and meant it, I would have stopped. Hell, you were begging for it."

"His mouth said no, his dick said yes," Tom said with a shrug. "I listened to his dick." 


In 2017? Seriously? I literally cannot believe this is still a thing. If Danny had been Daniela in this scenario this would never have happened. Then Tom took it one step further and brought out the big manipulative guns and Danny eventually tows the I was into it line. Again, I get that this is a ménage storyline but this could've been handled waaaaaaaaayyyy differently.

My last major grievance was Danny's depiction as an angry black man when his actions didn't match that depiction. He's distant and maybe not warm and fuzzy but angry? I didn't see that. I *think* the objective was to contrast "the angry player" in and out of the locker room whose submissive in the bedroom. The idea though trite is solid but the carpet needs to match the drapes otherwise it looks hella racist.

As far as these characters are concerned, I just couldn't with them. I have a tendency to look at behaviors as a conduit for connecting with characters. If I can understand or identify with their actions, things sync up like they're supposed to but this conduit felt more like shock treatment.

Things started off well enough with Carmina. She's ex-military with a TBI and can't orgasm. For 3 yrs! She's kind of frantic at this point and grasping at straws, willing to try anything. Makes sense, right? She's been crushing on Tom and Danny who are best friends, but Danny's got it in his head that he's not ready to make a commitment so Tom it is. They have sex, she doesn't come so he decides to up the ante which equates to public sex? You don't maybe want to try different positions first?


Guess what happens. Fail 2.0

Then... *smh* I... alright, hypothetical situation, say you're casually dating someone, your shower breaks, said person says come on over and use mine. You do. Said person says use my roommate's shower because they're asleep and I'm going back to bed. While in the shower said roommate comes into the bathroom, you lock eyes and go directly to Pound Town without passing 'go' or collecting $200? Show of hands for this being a thing.

Call me judgey. But that shit is weird to me.

Carmina finds The Big O in that short trip to Pound Town and this THIS is what garners all the attention. Not the fact that Tom's best friend and his sort of girlfriend went to Pound Town while he was taking a disco nap!


The next rabbit to get pulled out of the hat are some kinky D/s games that don't even merit mentioning. Tom has no clue what he's doing and no business calling himself a dom period. Case in point, Carmina immediately gets a safe word whereas Danny well... see above quotes if you have any doubts. I need more than someone bossing someone else around and bossed person using the word "owned" often to be interested in or titillated by some quasi kinky shenanigans. To add insult to injury, the sex wasn't even that hot!

Overall the relationship between these three wasn't all that satisfying not just because of the above reasons, but Danny's reluctance to get involved dragged on and on and, honestly, he came across as being willfully obtuse by comparing his desires to what happened to Marian; that just read like a lazy plot device. There was very little page time with them as a throuple which I found frustrating. If more time had been focused on them working through their issues and developing as a functioning unit I probably would've invested in them but as it stands the resolution seemed rushed and their commitment disingenuous.

The story is easy to read and the football stuff was good, though that game with the Rough Riders was a bit OTT. It'd be an understatement to say that I'm disappointed by this read. I may try something else of Kane's in the future because her writing style is pleasant and maybe this was just a fluke. Nevertheless, I can't recommend this but I'd encourage anyone considering it to read the other reviews before making a final decision.




An ARC was provided by NetGalley.


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