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Apr
1

Blog Tour + Review: Crash & Burn by Abigail Roux

Blog Tour + Review: Crash & Burn by Abigail Roux From the Author: Hello and thank you for joining me as I bid a fond farewell to Ty and Zane on the Crash & Burn virtual tour! For the next five days, join me on my virtual stops to help me say goodbye to the Cut & Run series with cut scenes, playlists, behind the scenes looks at the process of writing this last book, and a peek at the original plan for the series and the twists and turns it took on its journey to the end. Did I mention the prizes? I have incredible prizes for two winners; a go-bag put together by one B. Tyler Grady. Each bag has over $370 worth of goodies in it. For more detail on the contents, you can click the link at the end of this post! Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing to win one of these bags. Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on April 1, and winners will be announced on April 3rd. Contest is valid worldwide. B.’s Review: Every so often, I’ve been lucky enough to find a book, author, or series that gets so far under my skin and into my heart that I can’t imagine how I ever existed without it/them. These stories are the ones I purchase in paperback or hard cover (if available) as well as digital. They’re the ones that are given places of prominence and permanence on the bookshelves around my desk, so that they’ll be handy when I need to feel closer to the characters for some reason or relive a particular scene. The ones it’s completely okay, and sometimes necessary, to lose sleep over. The Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux has been among the foremost of that group of books since it was first suggested to me several years ago. The final book in the series, Crash & Burn, reinforces each one of the reasons for that opinion all over again and then some. In the interest of trying not to ruin the story, this review will be as spoiler-free as possible. Crash & Burn covers a tremendous amount of ground, tying up loose ends and answering questions that have been building throughout the series. While there was a great deal of clarity provided during the course of the narrative, I was utterly blindsided by other revelations (a fact that already has me twitchy to reread the entire series from the...
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Mar
13

Review: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Review: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh Rock Hard Author: Nalini Singh Reviewer: Jen Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Gabriel Bishop, former pro-Rugby player, was hired as CEO of Saxon & Archer to turn around the failing department store chain. He’s very good at what he does and always gets what he wants. Charlotte Baird, long time Saxon & Archer employee, continually allows her supervisor, Anya, to use her talents for her own gain. So when the new CEO fires Anya and offers Charlotte a promotion, Charlotte must learn to get over her fears and work with Gabriel, aka. T-Rex. Rock Hard is the second full-length romance in Ms. Singh’s Rock Kiss series (and third overall story). Although there is overlap with the earlier titles, this book can be enjoyed as a standalone. Charlotte and Gabriel have a tough road, both professionally and romantically. While turning around Saxon & Archer is Gabriel’s primary focus when at work, he cannot stop thinking about Charlotte. Recognizing she’s been hurt in the past, and the fact that he’s her boss, Gabriel takes things slowly in an effort to woo Charlotte. This translates into a slow start to the book, and for a bit, I did wish for things to pick up, all the while wondering how they would hookup without it backfiring on them. Generally, Gabriel and Charlotte’s romance is both sweet and sexy. Charlotte has a messy history, so I am thankful at how Ms. Singh takes time with pair, and why, in the long run, the slow start didn’t bother me. I also appreciate the pair’s openness and honesty with one another. Having the luxury of “hearing” both character’s POVs allows the reader to embrace the larger picture. And while their path had a few bumps that caused a sniffle or two, I love how they got to their HEA. Their first time together (sexually) was completely sweet and yet erotic. I appreciated how Gabriel listened to Charlotte and was able to pick up her non-verbal cues and signals. In the end, I’m glad it took time. In addition to the romance, both characters have issues from their pasts that must be addressed in order for the pair to move forward. While I enjoyed the complexity each matter brought to the story, I felt in both cases, things were resolved a bit too easily. And in the case of Charlotte, I was a bit disappointed at how predictable the matter became over the course of the...
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Feb
6

Author Guest Post: Sharon Lynn Fisher

Author Guest Post: Sharon Lynn Fisher Sharon Lynn Fisher Originally I had planned to write about what women bring to sci-fi, but the more I thought about that, the more I thought it would be easy to fall into the trap of stereotypes and generalizations. We’ve all heard it said that female-penned sci-fi focuses more on so-called soft science than the hard science preferred by their male counterparts. Whenever I hear this, I think about the sci-fi classic Stranger in a Strange Land (author Robert Heinlein), considered by some to be the greatest sci-fi novel ever written. I recall that book mostly being about relationships and culture and sex. In contrast, one of my favorite recent sci-fi romance reads (written by a woman), a story I judged for a contest, was the grittiest, techiest thing I’ve ever read. I’ve also heard it said that female authors’ characters have more depth. I had a much easier time identifying with Wool characters (author Hugh Howey) than with the protagonist of The Left Hand of Darkness (author Ursula K. Le Guin), who by the end I still didn’t feel like I understood on a personal level. And if you want to bring relationships into the discussion, whether romantic or platonic, Howey’s are of a far kinder, gentler variety than those written by literary sci-fi great Margaret Atwood. After pondering all this for a while, I came to the conclusion that people write how people write, and saying male authors are one way and females are another is not particularly useful because we either enjoy their storytelling or we don’t. I love Atwood’s writing, but if I’m looking for something uplifting it’s the last thing I’m going to pick up. But if we tweak this question a little bit I think it gets more interesting. What do romance writers, male or female, bring to sci-fi? How are their stories different than those classified as pure sci-fi? This I think I can speak to a little bit. Sci-fi romances are character-driven by their very nature. For a book to be characterized as sci-fi romance, the romance has to be central. Its development has to move the plot forward. External factors have a role as well — often a strong role; my own stories are about half and half — but the story is always moving toward a satisfying relationship outcome. While there can be a lot of variation in how strong the romantic tone of the book is, they all...
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Feb
2

Blog Tour: Edged Blade by J.C. Daniels

Blog Tour: Edged Blade by J.C. Daniels Edged Blade Amazon | BN | iBooks About the Book: In the year since her life was torn apart, Kit Colbana has slowly rebuilt herself. There’s a promise of hope in the relationship with the alpha of the local shapeshifters and she no longer comes screaming into wakefulness. Life’s not perfect but then again, when was it ever? When her best friend Justin comes to her for help, there’s little question as to what her answer will be. Witches are disappearing and Justin won’t rest until he has answers. Soon, they learn that it’s not just witches who’ve gone missing, but vampires and shifters, too. Unlikely alliances are forged as Kit and Justin found themselves drawn into a twisted web of lies and betrayal. As the clock counts down and the culprit behind recent disappearances is revealed, those Kit loves the most become the target of somebody who will kill to protect an ugly secret. Read on for a chance to win either a Kindle Fire or a tea set and some of the loose leaf tea that Kit would drink…if she was real. 😉 About the Author: J.C. Daniels is the alter ego of author Shiloh Walker and was created basically because Shiloh writes like a hyperactive bunny and an intervention was necessary.  J.C. is the intervention.  The name… J.C. Daniels is a play off of the three people who pretty much run Shiloh’s life. Professional Bio J.C./Shiloh Walker has been writing since she was a kid. She fell in love with vampires with the book Bunnicula and has worked her way up to the more…ah…serious works of fiction. She loves reading and writing just about every kind of romance. Once upon a time she worked as a nurse, but now she writes full time and lives with her family in the Midwest.  She writes urban fantasy, romantic suspense and paranormal romance, among other things.  You can learn more and connect with JC here website|  Facebook | twitter  and Goodreads  Excerpt: It had been almost two weeks since the Halloween party and I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep since then. Now, a dark pool of oblivion awaited me, beckoned to me. I stumbled toward my bed, water still dripping off me from my shower, more exhausted than I could recall feeling in a very long time. All I wanted was my bed. Okay, Damon lounging in my bed—naked—would be better, but as long as I had my bed and silence for the next...
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Dec
4

Review + Blog Tour + Giveaway: Hell on Wheels by Z.A. Maxfield

Review + Blog Tour + Giveaway: Hell on Wheels by Z.A. Maxfield Hell On Wheels Author: Z. A. Maxfield Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Living in Bluewater Bay always suited Nash Holly just fine, for the most part. Taking on a lot of the responsibility for his family at a young age never made his path an easy one, but he gladly accepted his role with unshakeable devotion. The idea that there might be more for him wasn’t anything he allowed himself to think about, at least until a close call on a rainy night turns out to be much more than it seems. Spencer Kepler-Constantine knows all about the pitfalls of fame, but recent heartbreak has made his entire existence a misery. Unable to escape the spotlight, he’s determined to hide his pain from everyone, including himself, if he can possibly manage it. But, when an unexpectedly erotic interlude with a stranger who doesn’t play by the rules shakes Spencer up in lovely and terrifying ways, he begins to wonder if the best thing to ever happen to him isn’t right in front of him after all. Hell on Wheels is an appealingly simple, romantic tale of two men who aren’t exactly looking for anything, but end up finding it anyway. Nash and Spencer are opposites in just about every way possible. Nash is a high-octane, small-town mechanic whose commitment to his family doesn’t leave him any room for romance. Spencer is a famous celebrity on a popular TV show who is in the middle of a very public divorce and would prefer to avoid another relationship at all costs. A “no-strings” arrangement would be preferable to both men, if only they weren’t so perfect for each other. While it is neither action-packed nor suspenseful, Hell on Wheels is a sweet story about expectations and honesty, and the dangers of making assumptions, no matter how badly our hearts want something. Though their respective worlds seem to clash spectacularly, Spencer and Nash are more complimentary than either is willing to admit, except sexually—an element of their relationship they both (thankfully) embrace. Z.A. Maxfield has, once again, written two complicated, deserving characters who have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be happy, yet who can’t seem to let go of their own fears long enough to reach for it until it’s almost too late. With one exception, each of the Bluewater Bay stories is written by different authors and is meant to be read as a standalone. However, I thoroughly enjoyed...
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Dec
1

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Three the Hard Way by Sydney Croft

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Three the Hard Way by Sydney Croft Three the Hard Way Lovers Taggart Brody and Justice McKinney possess special abilities that make them valuable to agencies who employ—or enslave—people with extraordinary talents. When tragedy tears them apart, Justice finds purpose working for the good guys: ACRO, the super-secret Agency for Covert Rare Operatives. But he never forgets Taggart or the past they once shared. Heartbroken, Taggart runs from who he is . . . right into the arms of Ian Bridges. But Ian, battling his own demons, betrays Tag to the terrorist organization Itor. After months of torture, Tag manages to escape, but kills an ACRO agent in the process.   With nowhere left to turn, Tag disappears into the Alaskan wilderness, but it’s only a matter of time before his enemies track him down. He reaches out to Justice, and somehow Ian finds him too, hoping to right his wrongs. With ACRO and Itor both bearing down, the three men must figure out how to forgive, how to work together, and how to love each other—or the coming battle will destroy them all. Share the Love Each year, Riptide Publishing releases a holiday collection in support of an LGBTQ charity. Twenty percent of all proceeds from the  Share the Love collection  will be donated to the  It Gets Better Project. This collection would not be possible without the talent and generosity of its authors, who have brought us the following holiday stories: Three of Hearts  by Kelly Jamieson (releasing November 17) Lucky Strike  by Jane Davitt (releasing November 24) Three the Hard Way  by Sydney Croft (releasing December 1) About Sydney Croft Sydney Croft is the alter-ego of Larissa Ione and Stephanie Tyler, two  New York Times  bestselling authors who blend their very different writing interests into adventurous tales of erotic paranormal fiction. Together, they developed a world where people with extraordinary abilities, like the power to control storms, could live and work with others like them. The series has been described as “Erotica meets the X-Men,” and is unique in its own “erotic super hero romance” niche. Larissa and Stephanie live in different states and communicate almost entirely through email, though they often get together for conferences and book signings. Giveaway Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $25 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 7.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. This contest is sponsored by the publisher. This contest is open...
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Nov
21

Blog Tour Spotlight: Gabriel’s City by Laylah Hunter

Blog Tour Spotlight: Gabriel’s City by Laylah Hunter Hi, everyone, thanks for having me on this tour for Gabriel’s City! Don’t forget to leave a comment at the end of this post to win a chance at the ZOMG Smells giveaway! Spoiled young aristocrat Colin Harwood has always enjoyed flirting with danger, but he’s always been able to retreat to safety—until bad decisions and a chance encounter plunge him into a world far more savage than his own. Gabriel is an urban legend, famous in the underworld for his unpredictability and violence. He’s also a believer fairy tales, and quick to decide to the handsome stranger who came to his aid must be good luck. With few other options remaining, Colin will need to keep his wits about him to learn to survive in Gabriel’s City. Full blurb For spoiled young aristocrat Colin Harwood, the port city of Casmile is a buffet of easy pleasures. But when he steps into a pub brawl to help a dangerously outnumbered young man, he is drawn into the seedy underbelly of the city the young man calls home. Gabriel is a cutpurse and a knife for hire, practically an urban legend. His vision of Casmile is touched by a strange combination of faith and madness, driven by fairytale logic and a capacity for love that he often must suppress to survive. He’s always worked alone, but when a dashing dragon who calls himself Colin saves him in a bar fight, he pulls Colin into his world. Gabriel’s city is nothing like the refined, socialite existence that bored Colin senseless. Colin finds adventure and excitement there—and maybe even love. But with his layers of finery stripped away, nothing remains to protect him from poverty or danger—except Gabriel. So he must choose: go back to the civilized young man he once was, or fly free as Gabriel’s dragon. About Laylah Hunter Laylah Hunter is a third-gendered butch queer who writes true stories about imaginary people in worlds that never were. Most of her work deals with queer characters, erotic themes, and the search for happy endings in unfavorable circumstances. Hir mild-mannered alter ego lives in Seattle, at the mercy of the requisite cats and cultivating the requisite caffeine habit, and dreams of a day when telling stories will pay all the bills. Connect with Laylah: Website:  laylahhunter.com Twitter:  @LaylahHunter Goodreads:  goodreads.com/Laylah_Hunter Laylah is Riptide’s Featured Author for November:  http://riptidepublishing.com/authors/laylah-hunter Giveaway! I have the good fortune to be friends with the charming people...
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Oct
30

Author Interview + Book Tour: LA Witt

Author Interview + Book Tour: LA Witt Authors L.A. Witt, Alexis Hall, and Cornelia Grey come together on a Steampunk book tour to celebrate the releases of Precious Metals, Prosperity, and Circus of the Damned. Join us on adventures through the lawless, untamed, kraken-infested skies! Trek the snowy wilds of the Klondike in the company of a Mountie! Visit a soul-stealing circus where entertainment is at your own risk! Riptide’s Gaslamp Fortnight will tempt you with the steampunk and gaslamp worlds of Cornelia Grey, Alexis Hall, and L.A. Witt. And Gaslamp Fortnight is featuring a fabulous giveaway! Comment on the tour stops for a chance to win a $250 gift certificate to Harlots and Angels Steampunk Corsetry and get your own custom corset or personalized steampunk gear. To celebrate, That’s What I’m Talking About has as its special guest, author L.A. Witt here today. Please help me welcome Ms. Witt to TWITA! TWITA: What drew you to Steampunk to begin with, and what’s your favorite thing about it? Will there be more stories in the Metals series? Any chance for a Steampunk m/m anthology? Steampunk was something I’d never written before, so I wanted to give it a go, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. My favorite thing is creating cool technology, and using it to make the characters’ lives even harder. (Author = sadist)  I don’t have any steampunk stories in the work at the moment, but more Metals series or an anthology are definitely possible in the future. TWITA: Most authors like to torture their characters to varying degrees. Which of your characters have you particularly enjoyed torturing, and why? Pretty much all of them. LOL It’s just fun to take a person, throw them into an awful situation, and see if they have what it takes to get through that situation. And of course, make them fall in love with the worst possible person (their boss, their enemy, etc). It’s fun. As far as my favorites? I’m probably always going to be partial to whichever characters I’m working on at the moment. In this case, I’m rather enjoying tormenting my small town homophobic preacher (Lead Me Not), as well as some particular characters on loan to me from Aleksandr Voinov (Dark Soul 6). TWITA: It seems like you’ve worked on a lot of collaborative projects in the last couple of years. Do you have to alternate working on the collaborations with your other (individually written) stories? Or, are you able to slip...
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Oct
27

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Prosperity by Alexis Hall

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Prosperity by Alexis Hall From the Author: Hello, and welcome to the Prosperity Blog Tour, celebrating Riptide Publishing’s release of Prosperity. Thank you so much to That’s What I’m Talking About for hosting me. And, to you, dear reader, for stopping by. I’m trying something a little different with this blog tour. I would very much like to invite you to join me over on Facebook at the Steampunk Flashgroup. A flashgroup is sort of a Facebook pop up shop. It’s a short-term group that will be active for the length of the Prosperity blog tour. I’ll be over there all week, and a little bit after, talking about the book, giving away many, many things, posting exclusive excerpts of Prosperity and the upcoming sequels, answering any questions, and generally having a ball. I do hope you will pop along and be part of the conversation. I also have postcards showcasing the absolutely stunning Prosperity artwork. If you would like one, please join the group and drop me a message, and I will be delighted to send one winging your way. About Prosperity A breathtaking tale of passion and adventure in the untamed skies! Prosperity, 1863: a lawless skytown where varlets, chancers, and ne’er-do-wells risk everything to chase a fortune in the clouds, and where a Gaslight guttersnipe named Piccadilly is about to cheat the wrong man. This mistake will endanger his life . . . and his heart. Thrill! As our hero battles dreadful kraken above Prosperity. Gasp! As the miracles of clockwork engineering allow a dead man to wreak his vengeance upon the living. Marvel! At the aerial escapades of the aethership, Shadowlesss. Beware! The licentious and unchristian example set by the opium-addled navigates, Miss Grey. Disapprove Strongly! Of the utter moral iniquity of the dastardly crime prince, Milord. Swoon! At the dashing skycaptain, Byron Kae. Swoon Again! At the tormented clergyman, Ruben Crowe. This volume (available in print, and for the first time on mechanical book-reading devices) contains the complete original text of Piccadilly’s memoirs as first serialised in All the Year Round. Some passages may prove unsettling to unmarried gentlemen of a sensitive disposition. About Alexis Hall Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret. He...
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Oct
24

Review + Giveaway: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Review + Giveaway: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews Burn for Me Author: Ilona Andrews Reviewer: Jen Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Burn for Me kicks off a brand new series from the husband-wife writing team of Ilona Andrews. Their modern-day world has an alternate history, one that saw the development of magical powers in humans. Not everyone has these powers, such as telekinetics and pyrokinetic, and modern society equates the strength of one’s abilities with power and social rank. The authors do a great job laying out this history in the prologue. It is unique, yet familiar enough that it comes together easily. Several characters are introduced almost immediately, and the reader needs to pay attention because they all come back before the end of the book. Burn for Me focuses on and is told from the first person perspective of Nevada Baylor. She manages and is the primary detective for her family’s investigative agency, which is a subsidiary of the powerful Montgomery House. When Montgomery instructs Nevada to find and detain the well-known pyrokinetic Adam Pierce, she realizes he’s setting her family up for failure, but there is little she can do. Unfortunately, the risks are elevated when Nevada realizes that Connor “Mad” Rogan is also interested in locating Adam. Mad Rogan is the most powerful and destructive magic user in modern times, and he is determined to use Nevada to find his mark. Although I found myself interested in the story of Burn for Me, it took a long time for me to be completely enamored with the book. I did appreciate the slow world-building; it created a smoldering impression that, in retrospect, was the ideal way to introduce the world and characters. However, for about 75 to 80% of the book, I was interested in reading it, but not completely captivated. But then, suddenly… BAM! I was so utterly engrossed in both the story and the relationship between Rogan and Nevada that I couldn’t put down the book. I really enjoyed the heroine, Nevada. She’s smart. I love that she is willing to play the games necessary to survive, but remains focused on what is truly important to her: family. Her tight-knit group adds depth and feeling to the story, and Grandma provides some wonderful comic relief. Her humor had me laughing out loud at times. I appreciated the back-and-forth nature and banter between Adam and Nevada, as well as Rogan and Nevada. Each interaction adds value to the overall story and helps...
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