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Oct
10

Blog Tour + Review: Pansies by Alexis Hall

Blog Tour + Review: Pansies by Alexis Hall Pansies Author: Alexis Hall Reviewer: B. Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: As has been the case with every story I’ve read by Alexis Hall, I find myself unable to write this review without a great deal of regard and admiration for both story and author. Mr. Hall is as thorough in Pansies as ever, writing in layers that are at once complex, philosophical, and literary, yet which are presented through the reassuring familiarity of sensation, sound, and color. I don’t think that there is a single, exclusionary truth within the narrative, but, rather, a unique kind of acceptance that is difficult to explain. I don’t believe it’s exactly right to say that Pansies is the story of two people with a shared past, because it is so disparate in the experience of the main characters. The setting is the same, as are many of the key players, but the summation of its pieces has wildly different effects on Fen and Alfie. What I took from their respective histories is that the past is never a singular, weightless construct. It is as fractured as the lens of a kaleidoscope, each contributor’s perspective unique to every other. And as long as a single person’s shoulders are bowed under the weight of it, all are indefinitely accountable. Perspective, in general, is another important component of the story, and how the same quantity of time can be experienced in entirely different ways by two (or more) people. Fen and Alfie both left South Shields, but there’s a significant distinction between “having to” and “wanting to.” Change is presented similarly, and might be viewed as the crumbling of foundations vs. the awareness of possibility. One of my favorite things about Pansies is the enticement of the senses that seems to be present in all of Mr. Hall’s books. The smell of flowers and sex. The taste of wine and the salt spray of the ocean. A warmth strong enough to touch the chill that has nothing to do with the weather. And there are constant bursts of color—the red-black of butterfly wings, purple silk, and sea glass green—flung with all the moments they attend against grey skies. These are magical stories. While Pansies does have its share of serious themes coursing through it, it is also fairly packed with humor—side-splitting, tears-streaming, cackling-out-loud humor. Alfie is a mess. There’s not much about him that isn’t a mess, and occasionally that manifests in truly bizarre...
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Oct
3

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Can’t Hide From Me by Cordelia Kingsbridge

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Can’t Hide From Me by Cordelia Kingsbridge Hi! I’m Cordelia Kingsbridge, and I’m pleased to welcome you to the blog tour for my novel Can’t Hide From Me. Thanks so much for checking it out! About the Book: Charles Hunter’s team is on a mission to extract an unidentified ATF agent from an undercover job gone wrong. All they’ve got to go on is the rendezvous location—until Charles recognizes the ex he hasn’t seen in years. Their “simple rescue mission” is about to get a lot more complicated. For Ángel Medina, adjusting to life after his cartel nightmare is hard enough without confronting memories of a failed relationship. All he wants is a fresh start. But when a violent stalker lashes out from the shadows, Ángel realizes his nightmare is far from over. As the stalker’s obsession escalates and bodies start dropping, Charles and Ángel are thrown together in a desperate search for the culprit. Tempers flare and old passions reignite, drawing them back into the same turbulent relationship that once ended in disaster. But the stalker isn’t letting go—and the next strike might hit straight through the heart. Release Date: October 3, 2016 Publisher: Riptide Publishing Series: Standalone Genre: Suspense, Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQ, m/m Format(s): paperback (343 pages), e-book Book Source: NetGalley/Publisher Purchase Info: Riptide Publishing : Amazon About Cordelia Kingsbridge: Cordelia Kingsbridge has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, but quickly discovered that direct practice in the field was not for her. Having written novels as a hobby throughout graduate school, she decided to turn her focus to writing as a full-time career. Now she explores her fascination with human behavior, motivation, and psychopathology through fiction. Her weaknesses include opposites-attract pairings and snarky banter. Away from her desk, Cordelia is a fitness fanatic, and can be found strength training, cycling, and practicing Krav Maga. She lives in South Florida but spends most of her time indoors with the air conditioning on full blast! Connect with Cordelia: Email:  cordeliakingsbridge@gmail.com Tumblr: http://ckingsbridge.tumblr.com Giveaway To celebrate the release of Can’t Hide From Me, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide Publishing gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 8, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! This giveaway is sponsored by the publisher. Open to participants who are legally allowed to participate in such a contest as allowed by their local...
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Aug
31

Review + Blog Tour: Looking for Group by Alexis Hall

Review + Blog Tour: Looking for Group by Alexis Hall Looking for Group Author: Alexis Hall Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Beginning with what is essentially a “job listing” in a fictional MMO, Looking for Group is one of the most unique and fun stories about falling in love that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a very long time. Told exclusively from Drew’s perspective, it’s a noteworthy lesson, not only about accepting others for who they are, but being honest with ourselves, as well. There’s actually much more to it than that, but it’s better to just read it firsthand. One of the most fascinating things about Looking for Group is what felt like a fairly thorough immersion of the reader in the gameplay of the fictional MMO, Heroes of Legend. Though Mr. Hall clearly took as many facets of his audience as possible into consideration when writing the game scenes, I was still thankful for the glossary at the end of the story. If you don’t already speak MMO, this should definitely be read first. Aside from being very helpful in following along in HoL, it’s an extremely entertaining feature in its own right, and, in general, I thought it was a nice touch. As he’s the only narrator, we see the world of the story through Drew’s eyes, and there were several moments when I wished with all my heart that I could derail certain trajectories he’d flung himself along before it was too late. But, Mr. Hall is an excellent storyteller, and that would have been too easy. Instead, we’re given the chance to ask ourselves what the term “real” actually means, and hopefully acknowledge that our definition isn’t likely to be the same as anyone else’s. And that’s okay. Despite Drew’s best intentions, there simply isn’t a universally applicable pie chart for “The Equitable and Acceptable Distribution of Self.” As usual, Mr. Hall has created an entire cast of vivid and engaging personalities in Looking for Group, each unique and “alive,” whether secondary or no. Drew and Kit are each completely wonderful, and witnessing them banter with each other was a real pleasure, although it was Kit who really stole my heart. The other characters are no less remarkable, however, and I appreciated the variations in the ways we get to know them (online vs. “in the flesh”). Looking for Group is a fine story with some delightful twists, and I loved every moment I spent grumbling and gesticulating at...
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Aug
1

Blog Tour: Wicked Mafia Prince by Annika Martin

Blog Tour: Wicked Mafia Prince by Annika Martin The most violent Dragusha brother…in a standalone romance HEA! About the Book: Viktor You were the love of my life. Beautiful and radiant. Then you betrayed our mafiya family—the only family we ever knew. Grief-stricken, I did the honor killing. Quick and vicious. Your heart no longer beating. Mine ripped to shreds. When I discovered you were innocent, I was destroyed. Now, years later—somehow, impossibly—there you are, alive. The nun who prays and never shows her face. Trapped on the other side of a webcam. How can it be? They think I’m obsessed. Imagining ghosts. But I’ll always know you. I’ll always know my Tanechka. AMZ US : http://amzn.to/2aiG6gW AMZ UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01HW0FU28 Google: http://bit.ly/2a8SoZy iBooks: http://apple.co/29EIuyY Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/ebook/wicked-mafia-prince Goodreads: http://bit.ly/29xrRU6 Start the series today! Dark Mafia Prince is also available! “A breathtaking ride of danger and dark sensuality.” ~NYT Bestselling author Skye Warren Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2934GBU iBooks: http://apple.co/28WBWJe Google: http://bit.ly/2962PLk Kobo: http://annikamartinbooks.com/dark-mafia-prince/ Nook: http://annikamartinbooks.com/dark-mafia-prince/ Pre-Order Wicked Mafia Prince NOW releasing on October 11, 2016 Amazon US: http://amzn.to/29TwIBb Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2a5ADpy About the Author: Annika Martin is a NYT bestselling author who enjoys writing dirty stories about dangerous criminals! She loves helping animals and kicking snow clumps off the bottom of cars around the streets of Minneapolis, and in her spare time she writes as the RITA award-winning author Carolyn Crane.  Connect with Annika: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter | Dirty quote...
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Jul
11

Blog Tour: Dark Mafia Prince by Annika Martin

Blog Tour: Dark Mafia Prince by Annika Martin Dark Mafia Prince by New York Times bestselling author, Annika Martin is LIVE! Blurb: Aleksio Don’t look at me like that. So trusting. Like you think I’m not a monster. Like I won’t wrap your hair in my fist and bend you to my will. Like I won’t sacrifice you, piece by piece, to save my brother. I’m the most dangerous enemy you’ll ever have because every time you look at me, you see somebody good. That friend who died. And when you look at me like that, I die again. Mira I spent years making myself invisible. A good girl, apart from the noise. Then you came back, beautiful and deadly in your Armani suit. Don’t look at me like you still know me, you say. But I remember your smile and those sunny days. Before they lowered your small casket into the ground. Before they told us the prince was dead. Kindle: http://amzn.to/2934GBU iBooks: http://apple.co/28WBWJe Google: http://bit.ly/2962PLk Kobo: http://annikamartinbooks.com/dark-mafia-prince/ Nook: http://annikamartinbooks.com/dark-mafia-prince/ ADD TO GOODREADS About the Author: Annika Martin is a NYT bestselling author who enjoys writing dirty stories about dangerous criminals! She loves helping animals and kicking snow clumps off the bottom of cars around the streets of Minneapolis, and in her spare time she writes as the RITA award-winning author Carolyn Crane.  Connect with Annika: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter | Dirty quote...
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Jul
6

Review + Giveaway: What Remains by Garrett Leigh

Review + Giveaway: What Remains by Garrett Leigh What Remains Author: Garrett Leigh Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: The only thing vibrant, independent Jodi Peters wanted from his rare evening out was to have a little fun, then go back home to his comfortable no-strings life. He never expected the captivating bouncer who tossed a small herd of drunken idiots out of a bar to walk him home. Of course, inviting the man inside certainly hadn’t been on his to-do list for the evening, either, but he wasn’t about to let the strongest attraction he’d ever felt slip away. Recently divorced and newly out, Rupert O’Neil doesn’t exactly have his life in order when he meets the hipster-scruffed, not-entirely-sober web designer outside the bar where he works on the weekends. Fighting fires is everything he wants in a day job, but it isn’t enough to keep a decent roof over his head and support the daughter he adores, especially when his ex-wife is set on making him as miserable as possible. But, as flirtation with a stranger turns into love, his world becomes as close to perfect as he ever could have hoped for—and far too good to last. Although I was only introduced to her writing recently, Ms. Leigh has quickly become a new favorite. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by her so far, even though each of those stories has broken my heart a little. Which, admittedly, is part of the draw. Not content to have her characters “merely” struggling to find love, they must fight unfavorable odds to keep it when the world seems intent on wrenching it away. Fortunately, the scale is tipped towards the hopeful side of the equation just enough in What Remains, and it works. Unlike many other stories I’ve read (irrespective of genre), I liked both main characters in What Remains equally well. Jodi and Rupert are each wonderful in very different ways. Jodi is the more open of the pair, always quick with a joke, and unabashedly determined when it comes to loving Rupert. Rupert, by contrast, is quieter—mostly, I imagine, from the responsibilities he shoulders all the time. He’s more practical and uncertain, yet he’s no less resolute in his devotion to Jodi. Jodi almost shines too brightly compared to Rupert’s more reserved demeanor, but, the combination of personalities is actually perfect. What Remains is also one of those stories that needs to be experienced and shouldn’t be reduced to a few perfunctory statements....
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Jun
30

Excerpt Reveal: A Fine Mess by Kelly Siskind

Excerpt Reveal: A Fine Mess by Kelly Siskind About the Book: Title: A Fine Mess Author: Kelly Siskind Series: Over The Top, #2 On Sale: August 2, 2016 Publisher: Forever Format: eBook Price: $3.99 USD Add to Goodreads Some guys should come with a warning label… Sawyer West is Mr. One-Night Stand. He doesn’t do relationships or promises or feelings. He’s never cared enough to get involved. Until Lily Roberts. She’s sweet and shy and sexy as sin, and resisting her is testing his self-control. She believes Sawyer can be a better man, and for the first time in his life, he wants to be. But change isn’t easy, and Sawyer would do anything to protect Lily from his past self. Even break his own heart… Excerpt: Sawyer steps close and waits for me to make eye contact. Slowly, I lift my gaze to his gold-flecked brown eyes, but I can’t find my voice. It’s like I don’t know how to talk to him anymore. He grins. “Hi.” From my angle it’s easy to see the scar running down his neck, the remnant of a fall he took through a coffee table while wrestling with his brother. I’ve always wanted to touch it, feel the puckered skin under my fingers. I drop my gaze, but it doesn’t help. The cuffs of his gray button-down are rolled to his elbows, roped muscle exposed below. Something else I’d like to touch. I blink hard. “Hi,” I say to my feet. “Look at me, Lil.” I rock on my heels, then do as asked. He raises an eyebrow. “How f*cking weird is this?” My giggle surprises me, and I loosen my grip on my wineglass. “Totally weird.” Thank God for Sawyer’s candid nature. He sips his drink, probably Scotch, and a sheen of liquid clings to his bottom lip. Touch that arm. Kiss that scar. Taste those lips. None of these urges are new, but they’re heightened. Magnified. He watches me watching him, his gaze as probing as mine. What is he thinking? Then the music changes. A remix of Madonna’s “Holiday” plays, and Sawyer does Sawyer. He tips his head to the right, his shoulders following, then he pushes out his hip and rolls his torso through. The guy does body waves, alternating from side to side, like he’s in an eighties music video. People stop. People look. People laugh. I snort, an unattractive sound I make when my laughter takes over. Sawyer says it sounds like a hyena...
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Jun
14

Excerpt Post: Dark Mafia Prince by Annika Martin

Excerpt Post: Dark Mafia Prince by Annika Martin We are thrilled to share an excerpt of Dark Mafia Prince by New York Times bestselling author, Annika Martin! Releases on June 28th! About the Book: Aleksio
 Don’t look at me like that. So trusting. Like you think I’m not a monster. Like I won’t wrap your hair in my fist and bend you to my will. Like I won’t sacrifice you, piece by piece, to save my brother. I’m the most dangerous enemy you’ll ever have because every time you look at me, you see somebody good. That friend who died. And when you look at me like that, I die again. Mira I spent years making myself invisible. A good girl, apart from the noise.
Then you came back, beautiful and deadly in your Armani suit. Don’t look at me like you still know me, you say. But I remember your smile and those sunny days. Before they lowered your small casket into the ground. Before they told us the prince was dead.   Exclusive iBooks Pre-Order Kindle, Kobo, Nook, or google play: Sign up for an alert when Dark Mafia Prince is available: http://eepurl.com/b45Hsn Excerpt: *** WARNING: NSFW Content *** The way he uses me is violent. Primitive. Demeaning. And all I can think is, don’t stop. He warned me he was going to be rough. He warned me I’d feel alarmed when he shoved his cock all the way down my throat. I was ready for that. I wasn’t ready for the names he would call me. Or to be so wildly turned on by it all. It’s as if we crossed over to the right side of wrong, and everything is too hot, and his cock is too huge, and I have too many clothes. I want him to lay me out and use me. I want him to do anything to me. Everything to me. I pull back, knowing he’ll shove my head back onto his cock, and he does, fingers digging into my scalp. My nipples rub on his legs, heating—from the friction, maybe—and I nearly get off. It’s pure madness. Usually I need a lot of help. But this is Aleksio being Aleksio. He always went too far, and I always loved him for it. I feel when he’s going to come. “No teeth. Don’t you f*cking…” He jerks into my throat. The orgasm goes on forever. He holds my head firmly in his grip, panting. I move my tongue a tiny...
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Jun
13

Review + Giveaway: All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher

Review + Giveaway: All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher All The Wrong Places Author: Ann Gallagher Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Despite the risks of his career as a semi-pro skateboarder, most things in Brennan Cross’ life are good. He’s got a job he likes, good friends, and is working towards his dream of competing in the X Games someday. Even though his personal life is a little shaky at present, his biggest problem isn’t that his girlfriend cheated on him—it’s that she’s the third one to do so. And the fact that all three have blamed Brennan’s inability to meet their sexual “needs” has left him more than a little confused. Now, Brennan has questions. Where better to find some answers than the local sex shop? As a single father and a Muslim working in an adult toy shop, Zafir Hamady knows he’s an anomaly. Being asexual as well just adds to the list of complications that has kept him single for so long. Sure, he’s lonely, but all he really wants to do is give his son a good home and every opportunity to have a better life. The last thing he needs is to fall for the seemingly straight, yet very lost, skater who wandered into his store right after an ugly breakup. Too bad his heart has other ideas. I’ve been very excited to see an increase in Ace titles and characters in the last year or so, and not at all surprised to see the topic addressed so well in a Bluewater Bay story. Asexuality is a broad, multifaceted, yet little-explored topic, but I think that the author of All the Wrong Places approaches quite a few of these issues with compassion and respect that I appreciated a great deal. I liked both Brennan and Zafir a great deal, even though they are about as different from one another as possible—at least in the beginning. As the vehicle for self-discovery, I thought Brennan was very likable, for the most part, and was especially pleased to see that he was both serious and introspective, rather than a flaky caricature of skateboarding culture. It is Zafir, however, who is the heart of the story, and it was his cautious yearning and affection that really drew me in. While this story could easily have turned into a “How to be Asexual” pamphlet, I found it to be so much more. From the support group where Brennan begins to feel less isolated to Zafir’s...
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Jun
7

Review + Excerpt: Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh

Review + Excerpt: Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh Allegiance of Honor Author: Nalini Singh Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B/B- What I’m Talking About: Nalini Singh creates a sweeping look at her entire Psy-Changeling cast of characters and previous storylines with Allegiance of Honor. Bold in scope and content, the book picks up the overarching storyline of the series, focusing on the downfall of Silence and what it means to the three species inhabiting Earth. While there are no new romances or characters featured this time around, the story continues forward the series while giving fans a look at each character and how they’ve fared since introduction. Within the book, there are a handful of primary stories: 1. There is an unknown treat to Lucas and Sascha’s child, Naya; 2. The PsyNet continues to deteriorate even after the re-introduction of Es; 3. There is a lead on one of the missing BlackSea changelings, Leila Savea; 4. Father Xavier Perez is looking for his lost love; 5. Making the Trinity Accord work and what to do with Ming LeBon; and 6. Planning a huge, joint SnowDancer/DarkHunter celebration. Each of these stories progresses, with a conclusion to some, while others may give lead to what looks to be the next story-arc of the series. While I adore the slice of life features Ms. Singh sends in her newsletter and posts online, I now realize that I best enjoy them in small doses. This book felt like it was primarily a huge collection of these short slice-of-life features, and it didn’t always work for me. Each mini-look was interesting, but when all tied together, they started to drag on. I was more interested in the overall storylines and seeing progress, rather than catching up on each character or waiting for the pupcubs to be born. When the book focused on the bigger storylines, like searching for the missing BlackSea member or working on the Trinity Accord, I was completely captivated and hungry for more. I am excited for the future of the series as the three races work together. Overall, I enjoyed Allegiance of Honor, but in the end, I wanted more. The book is entertaining, and I generally liked the little visits with every single character we’ve met in the past, but I wanted more guts to the book. More story and less all over the place. I wanted more of the solid, complex storylines and rich plots that I’ve come to expect and love from Ms. Singh. My Rating:...
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