Sleigh Ride (Minnesota Christmas Book 2) by Heidi Cullinan

sleigh rideBlurb

The way to a man’s heart is on a sleigh.

Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian.

It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends.

As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after.

Warning: Contains a feisty librarian, a boorish bear, small town politics, deer sausage, and a boy who wants a doll.

Review

We met Arthur in book one. He was Paul’s f*ck buddy, he likes his sex rough, he’s a ginger, “pocket bear”, rough around the edges, not looking for a “partner” but he doesn’t like to be alone either.

Gabriel is the new librarian. He’s tall, geeky, awkward and in no way interested in Arthur.

Arthur’s mother works with Gabe at the library and schemes to get these guys working together in the hopes that sparks might fly between them, romantically. It’s a preposterous notion – they couldn’t be more different – but somehow… they connect – and how!

It is far from smooth sailing between them. Gabe has so many issues, including trust, and he needs special handling. Arthur is like a bull in a china shop when emotions are involved so it seems pretty hopeless.

They rally around the library fund-raiser and Arthur’s nephew and find that – if they’re both really brave – they might just have what it takes to make things between them work.

**

This book resonated with me on so many levels. It was amazing. I absolutely laughed then cried then swooned… it truly affected me very strongly.

I think Gabe’s character was the most compelling – for me. He feels such shame about his desires. He wants so badly to be the champion for the under-dog and when it comes to others he can be so fierce, but when it comes to defending himself and his wants and needs, he crumples.

My most favorite part of this book revolves around “William’s Doll” a story for children wherein a boy wants a doll and his folks won’t let him have it. Oh. My. God. I bawled! The way Gabriel handled it was absolutely amazing. I would have loved to have such a strong advocate in my library growing up. He was so brave. Bringing “big city” ideas to the sticks and letting people see that caring and nurturing are not exclusively feminine traits. (Or if they are, then we all have both types of characters in us.)

I also loved his vision of what a library should be. Being a library lover, I found his “new and improved” vision to be astounding. To look at the library as more than a stacking place for books and see it as a place for disseminating information of all types… amazing!

Another really touching scene was when Arthur and Gabe connected over graphic novels. Again, another “hidden” prejudice that gets “outed”. The love of literature can really extend past our traditional definitions.

And the smexy times. Though I connected the least with the things Arthur and Gabe liked to share in bed, I really appreciated Arthur’s no-nonsense approach to it. “Sex is sex”. If it feels good to both partners – do it. No need to perseverate on it and feel badly about it. So down to earth and such good advice.

“Next time I’m gonna lick you.” Arthur flashed his tongue over the nipple tip as he roughly palmed Gabriel’s dick, tugging his own out of his pants and thrusting them together, heated, velvet flesh. “For an hour. Make you crazy. Make you beg, honey. Let you say no to me, then I’ll makeyou say yes.” He humped, sliding their cocks together, sucking on Gabriel’s chest. “Because you don’t want me to stop, do you, baby? Say it. Hump me and say it.”

Finally – the ending. It has to rank – for me- up in the top ten most romantic endings I’ve ever read. It was absolutely wonderful and ooey and gooey and tear-jerking and perfect!

Gabriel bit his lip and closed his eyes, but the tears spilled out. He could feel everyone around him, feel them waiting, hoping, worrying.

Loving him. Just the way he was.

I think each book in this series can be read on it’s own, but I think it’s best read in order. This is (by far) my favorite in the series and I can’t recommend it, the series or the author enough.

6 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Samhain Publishing Presents

http://www.heidicullinan.com/sleigh-ride

What Can Be by Mary Calmes

what can beBlurb

Thirteen years ago, Eli went on a summer trip with his mother and never came back. Now, existing in a new life as Jacob Somerville, he’s again running from fear and memories, only to end up where he started. As Jacob struggles to reconnect with his father and brothers, he realizes that his lover, Craig Zhao, was the only thing filling his empty heart and standing between him and ghosts of the past. It will take the power of love—from his family, from Craig, and from himself—for Jacob to see that his life truly is filled with the promise of what can be.

Review

Eli/Jake has a reason to go home, but he’s scared. He doesn’t know who he is now. He’s run all his life and now he can’t decide the next step, so he cuts all ties, even though he has a happy life and love in Chicago.

Craig won’t accept that Jake wants out. He knows Jake. Knows all his secrets. Knows he needs Craig’s help.

When Eli/Jake finally faces his family after 13 years of absence, there’s a chance he could lose it all, or finally be free.

**

This is a no-holds-barred emotional read. Eli’s past is harsh and the love that he shares with Craig is special.

It was hard reading about what happened, and so many times I was tempted to rush to the end to see what he’s hiding, but the way it’s laid out is perfect – of course – it’s Mary!

Craig and Eli/Jake are a wonderful couple and I wish we’d gotten more of their story – but I almost think it would have been even more painful to have it drawn out. Seeing this – the pinnacle moment – was hard enough.

“You look at me and I feel like I could do anything just because you love me. We fit so perfect. I mean, I just have to see you, and I know I’m home.”

I love all of Mary’s work, and this is one of her more dark stories, showing us her breadth of talent.

I highly recommend this and the author, in this case, especially if you are in the mood for a happy ending but a darker story.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=62_519&products_id=2625

 

 

 

My Haunted Blender’s Gay Love Affair and Other Twisted Tales by Abigail Roux, Andrea Speed, and Anne Tenino

MyHauntedBlender_500x750_0Die Laughing.

A collection of not-so-chilling tales of love and laughter from three of the genre’s masters of pulp.

Blurb for The Bone Orchard:

In The Bone Orchard, by Abigail Roux, Pinkerton investigator Ezra Johns and US Marshal Ambrose Shaw have a lot to learn about life—and the afterlife—in their quest to bring a vicious murderer to justice. Fortunately, they’ve got all the time in the world to figure it out.

Review:

Ambrose Shaw is after a serial killer in the old west when he gets shot and ends up haunting the spot where he died, trying to bring the killer to justice.

Ezra Johns follows Shaw to bring the killer to the gallows but then falls victim to the killer’s ghost.

In the time between the trial and his death, Ezra falls in love with Ambrose and then joins him in the afterlife, eternally fighting the ghost of the killer.

With a nice cross-over twist, we see some familiar faces as the relatives of Ezra facing danger and it’s up to Ezra and Ambrose to save them.

**
I loved this story. It was sweet and sentimental, funny and exciting, somewhat historical, a lot fantastical, and just a joy to read.

If you’re a fan of Abigail Roux you won’t want to miss this, nor will you if you love westerns and ghosts.

I give it a 4.5 of 5 dinging it a little only because I wanted a different ending for our boys. Was it still happy? Probably…depends on your way of thinking. ☺

Blurb for Horny

In Horny, by Anne Tenino, a group of supernatural law enforcers enlist the help of a human, Ryan Caulfield, to catch Zeus: the god voted Least Likely to Keep It in His Pants. But there’s more to Ryan than even he knows, and the satyr searching for Zeus is tempting him with far more than simple justice.

Review:

Ryan owns a bar in the middle of nowhere. One night a bunch of demigods shows up looking for Zeus. They set up a trap to catch him and stop him from selling erectile dysfunction potions. In the meantime a mysterious Oracular guides Ryan and Leander to become more than just a one-night stand and in fact shows Ryan that he may be more than just a barkeep.

**
Let me start by saying that in general I love Anne Tenino, have read most of her books and loved them. I started this story super psyched as a result. When I finished, I was left scratching my head.

The imagination is there. The characters are there. The plot is there. The execution… isn’t. I got confused by a lot and this is a short story.

I understood why Ryan was guarded and didn’t want to get involved with Leander, he was looking for permanence not a one-night-stand– but then when more of his history is revealed, it didn’t make sense, and his whole “too sensitive” thing never made sense.

Leander, who should have wanted that fast commitment and instant love, didn’t, and that didn’t make sense, given what we learn about his god house.

The other demigods’ characters were also a little confusing and I wasn’t sure there role in the story. They just muddied the water for me.

I think that this story would have come across better if the author had either edited it down more tightly, focusing on the main characters more, or elongated it to a full-length novel or long novella.

I give a 3.5 of 5 stars because it was funny and sweet and I really liked the idea, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations of what this author can do.

Blurb for: In City of Monsters, by Andrea Speed

An ex-investigator turned some-kind-of-shifter (he doesn’t know, but with his luck, it’s probably nothing cool) is hired to find a missing reverse tooth fairy in the hellish dimension of Dev. But even simple things aren’t easy for a guy with more vices than virtues, and his situation gets even more complex when a hot newcomer to Dev with a taste for danger joins him on the case.

Review:

Hunter is an unknown were who meets up with a newbie unknown were (humans who are infected with magic by an animal, sent to another dimension, Dev, and live out there lives as the wereanimal they were infected by.) Neither Sakari nor Hunter know what they are, but they find out and it’s hysterical.

Hunter’s job is to find things, right now he’s finding a reverse tooth-fairy’s twin brother to pay off gambling debts to a werehippo mob boss.

**

This is a hysterical short story, mostly about the city itself and a teeny tiny bit about Hunter and Sakari. There is like, one sentence of romance, and the rest is just hilarious world-building and nonsense.

Though I enjoyed the unique and funny nature of this story, I wasn’t exactly sure why it was included in this anthology, unless it’s meant to be a pre-cursor to a new series or something.

I liked it for what it was and give it a 3 of 5 stars.

**
Overall, the anthology was pretty dang funny, there were some ridiculously sweet parts (Bone Orchard), interesting worlds (City and Horny) and very creative uses of appliances (City).

I give it a 3.5 of 5 stars and I would definitely recommend it.

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Copy provided by Riptide Publishing

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/collections/my-haunted-blender

Tour for Sean Michael’s Beauty and the Beast

 

 

 

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Blurb:

As a rhino shifter, Tromp knows that he’s not the sexiest beast in the world. In fact he’s clumsy and he can’t see very well, and that’s whether he’s in his human or animal form. Still, he enjoys going to the bar and watching the other shifters hooking up, especially the dancers. Then he sees a slinky kitty dancing on the little stage and he’s immediately smitten. He knows a sexy beauty like that would never go for him, but he’s happy just to watch and fantasize about what could be.

For his part, panther shifter Pepper might be gorgeous on the outside, but he knows most people see him as nothing more than a piece of meat and he’s had a hard past. There’s something in the way the big rhino shifter looks at him while he dances, though, that makes him feel special. So when his stint on the stage is over, he heads right to the rhino’s table.

Can Tromp and Pepper ignore the world’s expectations and find what they need in each other?

 

Pages or Words: 10,500 words

 

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy

 

Excerpt:

Tromp got his beer at the bar and made his way over to the table in the corner where he usually sat. It was an out of the way booth and afforded him a good view of the rest of the place. His thick bottle-cap glasses improved his poor vision enough that from here he could watch the pretty people hooking up—the slinky twinks finding each other or handsome older men to dance and laugh with. He was a bit too lumbering for dancing. Too clumsy and grumpy for easy pickups, too. In short, he didn’t really belong. Hence the out of the way table.

The music was loud and thumping, vibrating up from the floor, and his beer was cold. It was all he really needed after a long week of walking around the three warehouses he worked security on. He’d stay and watch for a while, then head home to the peace and quiet of his little cottage just outside the city.

Someone came out onto the tiny stage, one of the performers who danced in stretch jeans and open-front shirts. This guy had waist-length black hair, golden skin, and sharp features.

Tromp watched, utterly fascinated. He usually didn’t do more than admire the beauties who were out of his league, but there was something about this guy, something slinky and sexual that made him want in the best way. Or worst way, given that he never had a chance with the beautiful ones. Still, he could look his fill, couldn’t he? After all, that’s what the dancers were all about—looking but not touching.

 

Where to find the book:

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fairytale-Shifters-Beauty-Sean-Michael-ebook/dp/B014U5MB8E/

All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-fairytaleshiftersbeautyandthebeast-1883975-340.html

 

Meet the author:

Often referred to as “Space Cowboy” and “Gangsta of Love” while still striving for the moniker of “Maurice,” Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to “Chicago.”

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.

Barring any of that? He’ll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

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Where to find the author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004713810507

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/

Twitter: @seanmichael09

Other: http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca/

Other: http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com/

 

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26216219-fairytale-shifters?ac=1

Publisher: Sean Michael

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

 

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Year of the Gods Book 1: Taste Me by Marie Medina

year of the godsBlurb

Erik found his mate Lucas when he was only thirteen and in desperate need of help. Erik stepped in right away to save Lucas and his sisters, and his entire life became about caring for them.

But now Lucas is a man and wants Erik to see him as more than just someone who needs protection. As the ups and downs of life teach them all the true meaning of family, Lucas makes plans to show his vampire that he’s more than ready to be claimed.

Review

In this short story, Erik a vampire lord, finds his mate when his mate is only 13.
His mate is the only boy and has 7 sisters, and all 8 children are being abused by their father. Erik takes in Lucas and his family and becomes their “father” while waiting for Lucas to grow old enough to be his true mate.

There is virtually no angst and not much happens in this story, but it’s a sweet enough vampire/mate novella.

I think that this opens up what might be a lovely series, though this particular tale was fairly uninspiring.

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Evernight Publishing Presents
http://www.amazon.com/Taste-Me-Year-Gods-Book-ebook/dp/B015OSYU2Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443238757&sr=8-1&keywords=marie+medina+taste

Good Bones by CC Flanagan

ccf_goodbones_coverhrBlurb

Ace Hoffman is a home stager who is trying to escape his latest closet case heartbreak. Zane McDonnell is a chiropractor who has made the closet into a comfortable home. They meet in a dark back room one night and part just as quickly, never to see each other again…

Until Ace shows up at the door of Zane’s brother to work on his house. Now the guy who has sworn off closet cases can’t escape the man who is afraid to show the world who he is. When one tends to run and the other always hides, can they build any kind of future together?

Review

Ace is a home stager who has been burned by closet cases in the past. Zane is a closet case. They meet at a bar, have hot sex, Zane leaves immediately after, “losing points on the dismount”.

Ace is working on Zane’s brother’s house and Zane treats him like a stranger, then gives him a blowjob in the bathroom. Needless to say, Ace is confused, but still very attracted to Zane, who is also confused but determined to stay in the closet.

Little matchmaking friends keep the two running into one another until the sparks burst into a roaring affair that nearly burns out when Ace’s evil ex returns.

But, the matchmakers come to the rescue again and everything ends up very happily ever after. With a juicy epilogue to boot!

**

I loved this book. Loved it! I thought the chemistry between Zane and Ace was fantastic. Though sometimes inconsistent, Zane’s desire to stay in the closet was tempered with his initial caveat, “until there’s a reason to leave it”, thus providing the opening for him to explore this relationship with Ace while still maintaining his secrecy.

The secondary characters are funny and sweet and the friend/wannabe boyfriend Erik was a really nice, realistically-imperfect touch.

I loved that the “gays” were not at all stereotypical, even though Ace did have the clichéd job as a decorator.

I am a total sucker for an epilogue that wraps it all up and this trumps it by still leaving a little room for our Erik to find his true love in a sequel.
I totally recommend this book and give it a 5 of 5 stars!

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Copy provided by Loose Id

http://www.loose-id.com/good-bones.html

 

Death Gets a Boyfriend by Sophie Bonaste

boyfriendBlurb

Death is in a lonely business. Since the beginning of time he’s been reaping souls then returning home to his little condo in the sky. It’s not a bad job. There are perks. But Death would kill to meet his soul mate, no pun intended.

Tommy Neilson is the next human slated for death. But when he can see Death, Tommy turns his whole world upside down. Curious, Death seeks Tommy out. The chemistry between the two is immediate and soon an unlikely romance starts to form. While Death may not be lonely anymore, he isn’t allowed to interact with humans. Consequently, he must make a choice: billions of souls or the one that makes being immortal worth it.

Review

Death – yeah that’s his name – is supposed to kill Tommy, but something stops him. Instead of killing him, as directed, he stops and stares and is shocked when Tommy stares back! No one can see Death! (If they could they’d know he looks nothing like they’ve depicted him!) This freaks Death out and he leaves Tommy in the hands of the paramedics and returns to killing. Back on the job.

He can’t help himself and is compelled to go back to check on Tommy and he finds out that Tommy can still see him. What a find! He spends more and more time with Tommy and the two find they have a lot in common and end up being friends then lovers.

Of course, everyone has to die sometime, and Death is in charge of that so… you guessed it – dilemma time. Death has to choose between giving Tommy a few more years or saving maybe billions of lives…Luckily there’s a little more to it than that and we end up with a super HEA that is quite touching.

**

This is a quick, funny read from a new (at least to me) author. The secondary characters are as charming as the MCs and the premise is unique and fun.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to more from this author.

I give it a 3.5 of 5 stars.

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Copy from Dreamspinner

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5469