Only Forever by Scotty Cade Blog Post and Tour!

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OS: Welcome to Scotty Cade author of Only Forever!  Thanks for stopping by!  What can you tell us about your book?

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SC:

Hi Kids,

Scotty Cade here. First off I’d like to thank Morgan and everyone over at Open Skye Book Reviews for allowing me to spend a little time with you. Your support is very much appreciated. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
Today I’m here to tout my latest book, “Only Forever.” Before I tell you a little about the book, I would like to talk a little about déjà vu. I know most of you have heard of Déjà vu, which by definition literally means “already seen.” Déjà vu is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has already been experienced in the past.
But have any of you ever heard of déjà vécu? Déjà vécu is a feeling of familiarity. Of recollection. The simple feeling of having “already lived through” something.
In “Only Forever,” Theo and Heath meet for the first time and have such awe struck feelings of déjà vu and déjà vécu they are both taken aback by it. Each has the strongest feelings that they have met before, but not just met before but knew each other very well. Certain their paths have never crossed, Theo and Heath dismiss the odd feelings until they can no longer do so.
While I was researching this book it became funny to me how scientific approaches reject the explanation of déjà vu as “precognition” or “prophecy”, but rather explain it as an anomaly of memory, which creates a distinct impression that an experience is “being recalled.” This explanation is supported by the fact that the sense of “recollection” at the time is strong in most cases, but that the circumstances of the “previous” experience (when, where, and how the earlier experience occurred) are uncertain or believed to be impossible.
In fact, many studies confirm that déjà vu is a common experience in healthy individuals and no matter how you cut it, either approach supports this book. Whether it’s a precognition or a memory recall, Theo and Heath come to believe that they have indeed been together in another place or time and you will see how love can be stronger than time.
If you’ve ever experienced déjà vu or déjà vécu like I’ve mentioned above, tell me about it in the form of a comment. If you do, you will be entered into a drawing to win any book from my backlist.

Enjoy!
Scottyscotty-cade-tuxedo

OS:  Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck on the rest of your tour!

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Master Captain Theodore Gourdin has always loved the ocean. But his devotion to maritime life left little possibility for a long-term relationship. After two failed marriages and numerous unsuccessful relationships, Theo gave up on finding the person who completed him and decided the sea was his soul mate. When offered the opportunity to captain the newly launched megayacht Eternity, Theo jumped at the chance. With Eternity’s maiden voyage looming, Theo focused all his energies on hiring his crew and readying his ship. The last thing he expected was to finally lose his heart in the process.

After twelve years at sea, First Officer Heath Rawlins was restless and in need of a change. A gay seaman’s life could be a lonely one, but to Heath the positives far outweighed the negatives. With excellent recommendations and an impressive résumé, he was quickly offered a position on the private megayacht Eternity. Heath’s heart skipped several beats when he finally met the ship’s captain. He was handsome and charming. And… familiar? Had they met somewhere before? Highly unlikely. But as smitten as Heath was with the gorgeous captain, everything inside him screamed, Abandon ship! Rough seas ahead!

Low-key portrait of smiling handsome man in dark shirt with hand at chin looking aside, isolated on black background.
Theodore Gourdin

 

Portrait of a young businessman on black background
Heath Rawlins

Excerpt:

Theo toed off his loafers, hopped onto the bed, and lay back against the headboard, linking his fingers over his stomach. He had to admit he’d thoroughly enjoyed his dinner with Heath—and their interview, if you could call it that. Technically the guy was more than qualified to be Eternity’s captain, so the fact that he was happy being Theo’s first officer was even more of a testament to his character.
On the personal side, Heath was witty and a little sarcastic, which Theo liked a lot, and from what he could tell, an all-around nice guy. Thinking back, Theo smiled when he remembered the way the hostess had so obviously flirted with Heath when she’d shown him to their table. He must really be a lady’s man. And why shouldn’t she be flirting with him? He was a very handsome guy. He obviously works out on a regular basis. And he had that military air about him Theo loved so much. You can take a man out of his uniform, but you can never take the uniform out of the man.
The way Heath carried himself. The way he walked—confident and erect. The flattop haircut. The firm handshake. It all reeked of discipline and self-respect. From the moment they’d started chatting, Heath had made eye contact and held it, hanging on Theo’s every word, making him feel like he was the only person in the room. And those fucking eyes. They were amazing. They seemed to change from bronze to a golden-amber color when he became excited and spoke of his love for the sea.
Their love for the sea. That was something they had in common. Not to mention being loners for the most part and accumulating not many more possessions than they could actually carry with them. But Theo cautioned himself. This was a professional relationship, and although he was extremely attracted to Heath, he couldn’t go crushing on his obviously straight first officer.
Theo closed his eyes and thought back to his first year-long contract aboard a merchant ship. He was a young third mate, right out of the academy with career aspirations of making master captain in his sights. The first mate at the time had taken Theo under his wing, and Theo had admired him immensely. Looking back now, he realized that had been his first real man crush, although he didn’t know it at the time.
It was a lonely life at sea, and he had heard talk belowdecks of a few guys who fooled around a bit here and there. The theory was since women weren’t around, the men should lend each other a helping hand, so to speak. Theo personally hadn’t ventured down that road, not that he wasn’t horny as hell or was above that sort of thing, but no one had propositioned him, and he was too much of a newbie and too scared to do any propositioning himself.
Then everything had changed late one evening when his first officer had summoned Theo to his cabin. When Theo arrived, the man second in command of the ship was fresh out of the shower and mostly naked, with only a towel hanging loosely around his hips. And to say he was as impressive naked as he had been in his uniform was simply an understatement. His damp hair hung messily over his forehead, nearly hiding the deep blue eyes beneath, and he’d smiled boyishly. His chest was chiseled—defined and robust—and his abs formed a V-shape that tapered down to narrow hips, accentuating the bulge under his towel.
Theo had stood motionless, taking it all in as the first officer poured two drinks and handed one to Theo. He sat on his bunk, his towel falling open just enough for Theo to see what resided beneath it, and gestured for Theo to sit in the chair opposite him. He then told Theo how great a job he was doing and asked about Theo’s career aspirations. After Theo explained his goals, the officer offered to help in any way he could. The next part was where it got interesting. Theo’s first officer stood, walked over to Theo, bent down, and kissed him on the lips.
Theo remembered his heart beating wildly and his dick steadily filling to capacity. When the kiss ended, the first officer stood, released his towel, and let it fall to the floor.
“We’re all men at sea, Third Mate Gourdin,” he said. “No women on board, and sometime desperate times call for desperate measures. As seamen, we should help out our fellow man. Do you understand what I’m getting at, Theo?”
Theo had known exactly what he’d meant. And damned if he hadn’t wanted the same thing. That affair had gone on for just under three years, until Theo’s first promotion to second officer, which required a transfer to another ship. To this day, Theo has no idea if the first officer had anything to do with the promotion, but either way he owed the man. That experience had introduced Theo to a side of himself he might have never explored if it weren’t for a certain handsome first officer. Theo had loved his wives, but he sure as hell loved men as well.
But he wasn’t kidding himself. He now knew what his first male lover had done back then was nothing short of sexual harassment, if only due to Theo’s subordinate position. But at the time, he hadn’t seen it that way. He often wondered if what they had done back then was truly sexual harassment, since Theo had been a consenting adult who kept coming back for more.
Theo opened his eyes and came back to reality, and the reality was he would be a complete and total professional. Heath was his subordinate and trusted him or he wouldn’t have taken the job. Theo would not betray that trust. Additionally, he ran a tight ship. He liked to do it a little less formally than some other captains he’d served under, but either way, he hadn’t made it to where he was in his career by making bad choices or by being stupid and acting unethically. Theo would keep his libido locked down tight, and he and Heath were going to get along just fine.

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/only-forever-by-scotty-cade-7829-b

 

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Only-Forever-Scotty-Cade-ebook/dp/B01N07C3HF/ref=sr_1_9/166-7638814-4710648?ie=UTF8&qid=1478969485&sr=8-9&keywords=scotty+cade

 

All Romance eBooks

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-onlyforever-2169689-149.html

 

Goodreads

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32898426-only-forever?from_search=true

 

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/only-forever-8

 

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/only-forever/id1170859490?mt=11

 

Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1125111089?ean=2940156819027

scottyAuthor

Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years. He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication. When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side. Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, all of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there. He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.

Here’s where you can find me:

www.scottycade.com

www.facebook.com/scotty.cade

www.twitter.com/ScottyCade

scottycade@gmail.com

scotty@scottycade.com

Commitment Ranch Audiobook by BA Tortuga Narrated by John Solo

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Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/commitment-ranch-by-ba-tortuga-7735-b

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A fist fight, a snowstorm, a stolen kiss in the barn… and a second chance at love.

Ford Nixel has two law offices, two fancy condominiums, and all the right connections. In short, he has everything he wants.

The last thing he needs is his Uncle Ty’s stake in the Leaning N, a ranch that’s been in the family for generations. Ford hasn’t even been to the ranch in over a decade, not since he left his boyfriend Stoney behind and headed back to college alone.

Ford arrives at the Leaning N to find Stoney, now a single father, right where he left him. A fist fight, a snowstorm, and a stolen kiss in the barn later—Ford knows none of the heat between them has dissipated.

Review

I think this book has just a few too many people and a few too many story threads to work really well.

BA Tortuga excels at giving us “real” people with strong “country” backgrounds in rural setting. In this case, Colorado, on a ranch.

Geoff, the chef (ha-ha) absolutely steals the show as the most interesting character in this story, but he’s not one of the MCs, unfortunately.

While I thought Ford got the shaft from his uncle and Stoney, he didn’t much move me as a character. I also think Stoney needed to have done more to earn Ford’s forgiveness than what we saw.

I’m a fan of the author’s unique, more stream-of-consciousness writing style, but this one seemed a bit all over the place. There were a few too many characters and side stories and the main romance sort of got lost in the shuffle.

I’m not a big fan of “second chance romances” but I like single-father stories and Quartz is a good kid. The cowboy part will definitely be attractive to some readers and, obviously, fans of the author will want to check this out.

I like BA’s The Release series better (https://www.goodreads.com/series/160427) but this wasn’t a bad read, and it has a lovely epilogue – which I adore.

3 of 5 stars

Audio

UGH! First crack out of the bag: it’s pronounced like the metal – lead – Leadville, not like the verb – to guide (leedville). Sorry, but that bugs me. John Solo’s accent on the Spanish words aren’t great either. But, I like his female voices, though. In general, I like his “Western” accent. He’s got a lovely slow drawl for Stoney. Quartz’s voice is… okay. It’s hard to do children and he makes a respectable attempt. Ford and the many other “cowboys” are all voiced well. I think Geoff is hysterical and I like the voice he chose for him.

I think that this is a great way to experience this story, and to me, made it more fun. The author’s dialog is her best feature and John’s narration showcases this. There are so many characters and John does a really nice job of differentiating them all. His voice is easy to listen to and he has a great sense of timing and emotion.

4.5 of 5 stars

Overall 3.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

Ricky by Ashley John

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On the surface, Ricky Thompson’s life is one long party. His razor sharp wit and unwavering sexual confidence masks his true pain and suffering, and that’s how he wants to keep things. Ten years after the death of his fiancé, Ricky has completely given up on the illusion of love. Wild nights in the bar and even wilder casual sex have become his coping mechanism, and he wants to keep the party going at whatever cost. When he is attacked in a dark alley and left for dead, Ricky’s life takes an unexpected turn and the party suddenly comes to an end.

Chase Brody doesn’t know where life is taking him. Between running his gym and raising his son, Dylan, the only time he puts himself first is his once a week trip to the gay bars. His family has convinced him he needs to find a mother for Dylan, so he keeps his sexual desires secret. He always believed women were for love and men were for sex, but he is forced to reevaluate everything he thought he knew when he stumbles across a helpless man in need of his help.

After Chase takes Ricky to the hospital, he offers him free self-defence classes, but it soon grows into something more complicated and both men are forced to listen to their hearts once again. Chase doesn’t know how Ricky will fit into his difficult life, and Ricky can’t seem to let go of his past heartache. With so much at stake, will these men admit they were wrong about love and surrender their hearts to each other, or is the risk too great? 

Review

This is a long book, over 300 pages. It takes a long while for our boys to go from acquaintances and friends to something more. Chase is determined that while men might be for sex, women are for love and his son Dylan needs a woman’s influence in his life.

Chase isn’t looking for entanglements either. He’s been hurt in the past by love and recent events only make him more paranoid not to trust, not the reverse.

I thought the writing was very good in this and the characters were really well developed. For the most part I enjoyed this and found it very satisfying.

What prevented this from being a five star read for me was three things. 1) the length. I think it was too long. While there was a lot for these guys to overcome, I found myself sort of flat-lining between the 30% mark and the 75% mark. There was a lot of waffling going on (for both guys) that got a bit tedious. Once Chase kissed Ricky I expected things to really pick up but that takes awhile to kick in.  2) Chase’s unwillingness to identify as gay. Even toward the end he was unwilling to own his sexuality and it bothered me that he was so stuck on this. 3) Ricky ran from everything and was set to run again then – on a dime- turned around to stay and I wasn’t sure we were given a really good reason for that.

Those things, when added together, took this to a 3.5 star read for me. It was still really good, just not great.

If you’re looking for a story with a lot of character and angst – this is for you!

3.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review

 

The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom Audiobook by Kate McMurray Narrated by Rusty Topsfield

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Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-greek-tycoons-green-card-groom-by-kate-mcmurray-7221-b

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Marriage gets less convenient when love is involved.

It started simple: Ondrej Kovac marries Archie Katsaros so Ondrej can stay in the US, away from his judgmental family in eastern Europe. Archie marries Ondrej in exchange for the money to bail out his failing company. It’s a fraud neither man is convinced he can pull off.

But as Archie introduces Ondrej to New York society and Ondrej proves his skill in the office, they start to discover a connection between them. Can they overcome the rocky foundation their relationship was built on, meddling immigration agents, gossip columnists determined to out their deception, and an aggressive executive set on selling Archie’s company out from under him? Only if they can prove to each other their love is worth fighting for.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously)

Ondrej (pronounced Andre) has inherited some money from his grandfather and has a desire to leave his oppressive Czech home to explore New York. He gets an internship with Archie’s company and enjoys his work there. When his internship ends and he fails to get another job to extend his visa, he and Archie work out an agreement wherein he gets a green card and Archie’s company gets a cash influx.

Now the two, who were never even interested in one another before, are forced into a relationship that has them in the public eye.

**

This story, with it’s forced marriage trope, should have been one of my favorites. I love the idea of “arranged marriages or marriages of convenience” but this just didn’t work for me as much as I’d like it to. It’s not easy for me to put my finger on my issues with the story, but the one thing I can think to say is it lacked a “passionate” feel. It wasn’t a bad story – not at all – it just wasn’t anything that made me feel super compelled to keep reading.

First, I never quite felt the chemistry between Ondrej and Archie. It was a bit too dry. Almost, “since we’re here we might as well have sex” instead of “now I have an excuse to hump you like crazy!”. Even when they are having their “sex marathon” I didn’t feel their passion.

Second, I didn’t like Ondrej’s character much. He was a bit too laid back for me. I didn’t see him as passionate about anything in particular.

Finally, there wasn’t much passion in the rest of the story. The angst was tepid at best and didn’t do much to keep my interest. Yes, they were worried about the company and proving their marriage was “real” but – for whatever reason – I didn’t feel any real urgency about these issues.

The epilogue was super sweet and did manage to bring up my estimation a bit, but I wish that level of passion had been kept throughout the story.

The writing was technically good and I didn’t find editing errors, but I wasn’t that compelled by this couple. It might just be a matter of taste or timing, and if you like the trope you might have a different feel, so I urge you to read other reviews and see if it appeals to others in a way that didn’t work for me.

Audio

Rusty Topsfield narrates this and he attempts to give all the many different characters a unique and authentic voice. His accent for Ondrej doesn’t sound Czech to me (but I’m no expert) and it tends to come and go throughout the story. I did like Archie’s voice, solid, natural, and warm.  Sometimes the other characters sound a bit more like caricatures (cartoonish) than authentic people (like big booming Banker-man voice and OTT Socialite voice) but it does keep the book entertaining. His non-dialog reading still tends to end on an upswing, like a lilt, that bothers me at times, but after awhile I was able to ignore it.

I think this is a good way to listen to this story but I don’t think it adds much to the overall experience.

3 of 5 stars for both book and narration

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Angel Voices by Rowan Speedwell

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Riptide Presents
http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/angel-voices

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On a frigid winter night, college freshman Will stumbles into the shelter of a church during choir practice. His father has just discovered that Will is gay, and has beaten him and thrown him out of the house. But right now Will’s interested only in getting warm. 

Will’s college roommate Quinn is a soloist in the choir, which is practicing for a Christmas program. He discovers Will in the church—and his friend’s condition. Will, who has grown up in a repressed environment, including church school, an abusive father and a passive mother, is taken aback by Quinn’s enthusiasm and determination to take care of him. 

Does Will have a future after all, especially one that will include Quinn?

 

Review

This is a “previously released title” and I don’t think anything’s been done to alter it.

Will is a freshman in college, roommate to Quinn, on his Holiday break when he finds himself beaten up and thrown out of his house for being seen with a gay boy at a club.

Neither boy suspects the other is gay and both have been “noticing” the other for weeks, if not months.

Will stumbles into a church where Quinn is singing and Quinn helps to patch him up and come to grips with his new situation in life. Luckily, Quinn comes from an amazing family that also lends a hand.

 

**

 

I really, really, really wanted this to be longer. I ADORED both of these characters and wanted to see their relationship develop SO BADLY! Quinn’s family is amazing and quirky and funny and sweet and loyal and… man I wanted more of them! Will is so shy and introverted, the exact opposite of Quinn. The two of them together was hot, sweet and really touching.

 

The author didn’t rush things, she gave us just a glimpse of what would be happening for these boys given the short time frame, and it only whetted my appetite for more!

The writing is gorgeous, the characters and perfect and it’s an adorable and tender holiday story I highly recommend!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

 

 

The Sorcerer’s Guardian by Antonia Aquilante Guest Post and Giveaway!

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OS: Welcome to Antonia Aquilante author of The Sorcerer’s Guardian .  Thanks for stopping by and sharing your book with us!

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AA:

Hi, everyone, and thank you so much to Open Skye Book Reviews for letting me visit today! I’m Antonia Aquilante here to talk with you about The Sorcerer’s Guardian, which is out from Dreamspinner Press today. The Sorcerer’s Guardian is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Tournai series, though it can be read as a stand-alone, as can the other books in the series. It’s the story of Savarin, a powerful sorcerer, and Loriot, captain of the royal guard, as they clash and get closer and ultimately fall in love while on a mission from the prince to solve the mystery of Tournai’s weakening magical protections.

 

Loriot and Savarin know each other before the beginning of The Sorcerer’s Guardian through their work for Tournai’s royal family. Loriot is captain of the royal guard, and Savarin often does work for the royal family, using his magical Talent. At times their work has intersected with assignments from the princes and they’ve had to work together for the good of Tournai and the royal family. Most of their work in the past has been separate tasks that utilize their separate talents, with them only coordinating their actions and sharing information between them.

 

Despite that history, Loriot and Savarin have never spent any significant amount of time alone together, nor have they had to work quite so closely together. They respect each other’s skills and experience, though Loriot has been wary of the power Savarin wields, but meshing their abilities while alone together on the road for weeks on end presents its own set of difficulties. Savarin is arrogant about his abilities and used to getting his own way, to structuring the way he works to suit only himself, and Loriot’s presence, and his instructions from the princes to keep Savarin safe while he does his work, changes everything. Loriot, for his part, is used to being in control and in command in his position as royal guard captain. Their early days on the road together are filled with tension and clashes.

 

Through all their work together, Loriot and Savarin have never really had contact on a personal level. They don’t really know anything about each other outside their roles as guard captain and sorcerer, and outside what is said around court, which both Loriot and Savarin move on the periphery of. Well, they each also noticed that the other is attractive—in fact, they noticed that from the first moment they saw each other. But neither of them ever intended to do anything about it. All that is about to change.

 

 

Links:

Goodreads

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon

All Romance

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

Apple

 

sorcerersguardianfs_v1Blurb:

Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, has honed his Talent through years of study and made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, and arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings, which is how Savarin prefers it. Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack. They are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. To his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompanies him.

 

Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain and takes pride in his service. He must obey the princes’ orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere. And despite his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, he has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. Loriot and Savarin clash during their journey, but there’s another reason for the tension between them, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still fortify Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution endangers both him and the royal family.

The Sorcerer’s Guardian

by Antonia Aquilante

M/M Fantasy Romance

Series: Chronicles of Tournai

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Release Date: November 28, 2016

Length: Novel

About the Author:

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

 

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What Happens at Christmas Audiobook by Jay Northcote Narrated by Mark Steadman

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(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

When two friends pose as boyfriends, could what happens at Christmas turn into something more?

Justin is recently and unhappily single. Christmas is coming, and he doesn’t want to face his ex alone at their office party. So Sean—Justin’s best mate and long-time secret crush—volunteers to go with him and pretend to be his new flame.

Sean has always lusted after Justin from afar, but there’s never been a good opportunity to ask him for more than friendship. Posing as Justin’s boyfriend isn’t a chore, and if Justin wants to rebound onto him, Sean’s more than willing. At the party pretence and reality blur, and a kiss on the dance floor leads to a night of passion.

In the aftermath, they both assume it was a one-time thing until fate intervenes. Stuck together in London over the holidays, they give in to temptation again. But what happens at Christmas stays at Christmas… right?

Review

Justin and Sean have been best friends forever. Justin came out to Sean early on and was crushed when Sean admitted to being gay only after they’d survived growing up. The two never crossed the line from being “just friends” though it turns out both had harbored romantic feelings for the other for a long time.

When Justin needs someone to pose as his boyfriend, Sean volunteers. Soon it’s hard to tell just where the “pretending” becomes reality. But when Christmas is over will the two go back to being “just friends”.

**

Jay does New Adult really well. Her boys are funny and sharp and sexy as hell. Sean and Justin have tremendous chemistry and it was fun watching it combust.

There is very little angst and lots of hot smexy times in this wonderful Holiday story.

I recommend this to fans of Jay’s work and anyone looking for some fun Holiday Frolicking!

Audio

Mark Steadman is wonderful! He’s got the delightful accent and a very good sense of timing a great sense of humor. He gives the women a fair pass at voicing, each of the MCs a different, discernable voice with their own personalities and he’s very easy to listen to. I very much recommend this as a way to enjoy this lovely book!

5 of 5 stars for both book and audiobook

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Copy Generously Provided by the Author for an Honest Review

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/What-Happens-at-Christmas-Audiobook/B01MXHOFVQ

 

Checking It Twice (The Carlisles #3) by Meg Harding

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Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/checking-it-twice-by-meg-harding-7813-b

32798036Blurb

Closeted professional hockey player Eric Belanger is falling hard for an out-and-proud male model. He’s unable to resist Dorian’s charm and pushing personal boundaries he never thought he’d cross. But Dorian is the kind of guy who deserves someone who isn’t afraid to be himself. Eric’s fears about what coming out will do to his career clash with the future he hopes to build with Dorian. He knows he’ll eventually have to make a choice.

Dorian Carlisle knows better than to date a man who wants to keep him a secret, but there’s something about Eric he can’t ignore. So he’ll take the risk, and it’ll be all right, because this isn’t a forever romance. He’s happy to live in the moment. But somehow, at some point, feelings sneak up on him and he’s not okay anymore. At a breaking point, Dorian must also make a decision. Their time together will either be the start of something wonderful or nothing more than a happy memory.

Review

Eric is a an adorkable hockey player who meets Dorian doing promo work for an advertiser. He’s in the closet and barely had any sexual experience but knows he wants to try something with Dorian. He figures that Dorian, more than many others he might run into, has very little motivation to try to “ruin him” or out him for being gay and is therefore not only hot, but maybe safe, too?

Dorian knows it’s a bad idea to hook up with someone as closeted as Eric but he can’t help but be attracted. Once they start seeing each other, he finds he’s as attracted to what’s inside of Eric as what’s on the outside.

**

I really liked the way Dorian handles Eric’s sexual inexperience (and Eric, too for that matter). It felt both respectful and bossy and realistic, too. (Not everybody is perfect in bed together the first time they touch!)

I was glad to see Dorian stand up for himself and not let Eric’s unwillingness to be out pull him back into the closet.   I’m not sure how Eric thought hanging out with Dorian “as a friend” wouldn’t look suspicious, but I was glad Dorian stood up for himself with Eric’s friends and hockey mates.  That, too, felt authentic. The push-pull of wanting Eric but hating it at the same time.

I still find the present tense style of writing to be really bulky and awkward and it’s definitely not my favorite as it pulls me out of the story time and again stumbling over phrases that just don’t sound right.

This was a lot better than book two, but I still like book one the most in this series.

I’m excited about Denver’s story but not sure if I’ll pick it up to read, mostly because I just don’t like that writing style – so much!

Fans of the series will be pleased with this (though it absolutely works as a stand-alone) as will fans of Hockey player romances.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Colorado Wild (Colorado Heart Book 1) Audiobook by Sara York Narrated by Stan Jensen

audiobookreview

51dgzpo6hzl-_sl300_Blurb

When love sneaks up on you, shoot for the heart. Billy Bradford has a secret, and it’s bigger than the fact that he’s an assassin. When Tucker Hayes, Billy’s “straight” best friend, is injured on a mission, Billy acts in haste, kissing Tucker. Shocked by the act, Tucker runs. But desire is stronger than convictions, leading Tucker to hunt down Billy. The other guys on the ranch are oblivious to Tucker and Billy’s actions as they investigate a new target. Grant Stovall is hung up on his ex, but Roger Burk, their new operative, catches his attention and one small touch isn’t enough. Meet the cowboys of Wild Bluff Ranch in the first audiobook of the Colorado Heart Series, Colorado Wild.

Review

These books have been languishing on my To Be Listened to list for awhile and I’m not sure why… but I decided to give them a go! I grew up in Colorado and I’m a fan of books that take place there – so I was pretty psyched to explore this lengthy series.

First, I was excited to find out that this is not only a “cowboy” story but a military story too! Our boys live and work on a ranch but it’s a special ranch that’s more decoy and training grounds than anything. Mostly, it’s a base for operations of a secret unrecognized branch of the military who act like vigilantes and take out bad guys when the normal routes wouldn’t work or would take too long.

The premise sounds amazing – gather ex military men and super train them and give them resources they normally wouldn’t have then aim them at really, really bad people.

Now this is only the first book, so I assume that some of the “problems” I found with this are due to the world building that normally only exists in the first part of a series and so won’t be so prevalent in future books. But… there is a lot of telling in this story. The author gives us a lot of information and rather than demonstrate some of these things she has the characters somewhat awkwardly telling us stuff or simply outlining things directly for the reader. It’s not overwhelming, but it is noticeable.

Secondly, there are a BOAT LOAD of people. At least four (maybe six?) main characters in this book and a few more who will clearly be central figures in books to come. It’s a lot of names and I got confused a lot as to who was who and what they meant to one another. They aren’t all that different from each other so it was difficult to keep track of them all.

That being said, we have two main couples in this story (sort of). It looks (at the beginning) that it’s going to be a story about Grant and Roger. Roger is the new guy and not interested in forming a relationship with a new team member (or anyone really) and Grant is just out of a bad relationship with someone who may or may not end up being a bad guy.

Then there’s Billy and Tucker. Billy is gay and has been crushing on his “straight” BFF Tucker for years. Tucker is very confused about his feelings for Billy but when it looks like one of them might lose the other, he’s willing to explore his feelings after all these years. BUT he’s super worried about being gay and this colors all his actions and inner thoughts.

By the end of the story Billy and Tucker have sort of started a relationship (I have huge problems with how this played out – which I’ll get to) and I’m not sure if we’ll be seeing more from them or not – but I imagine they’ll grow along with the series.

(Here might be considered a bit spoilery so if that bugs you – skip down to the audio part of the review 🙂   )

My main problem with Tucker and Billy’s story is that Tucker says over and over and over that he’s not ready to move forward with a relationship – especially physically and especially penetrative. Billy tells him repeatedly that he’ll go slow and respect his wishes while IMMEDIATELY pushing him up to and including bottoming for the first time. When they do have penetrative sex for the first time Tucker is uncomfortable and talks about the pain for about 3 paragraphs then there’s a word or two of pleasure and it’s over. It never felt anything but awkward and while not “rapey” it definitely didn’t feel warm, loving or even like something they’d want to repeat! It absolutely left me cold and when – later – Tucker accepts a date with a woman in front of Billy – I wanted to scream at Billy : “HE’S NOT READY! Give him some space!” So… we’ll see how it goes with them but they aren’t off to a great start in my book.

As for Grant and Roger – it looks like they get more page time in book two, because in this they flirted around one another but never moved much past that and then Grant leaves on a mission.

I think this simply tried to do way too much in the first book and it was just a bit too scattered. My hope is that – as the series progresses – now that we’ve met the players (hopefully all of them?) the plot lines will become more clear and it won’t be so all over the map.

3 of 5 stars

Audio

My plan was to review these books as audiobooks (for all those made into audiobooks – right now that’s 6 of the 7). However, I absolutely could not finish this in audio format. The narrator, Stan Jensen is terrible. His style is a sort of overzealous, over the top almost comedic in an attempt to give all these characters a unique voice. His non dialog voice sounds a little older and all the men have a sort of geriatric twang to them. Occasionally he hits the mark – Duff, for example – is an older retired General and he sounds about as you’d expect. However, some of them are so strange as to be painful to listen to.   Billy’s was the absolute worst of the voices – he sort of squawks all the time. I eventually had to just stop because I was so distracted by the narration I lost track of the story itself.

(Stan narrates book two but thankfully none of the others in the series. I won’t be reviewing book 2 as an audiobook.)

1 of 5 stars

Overall 2 of 5 stars for the audiobook

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Copy Purchased For Review

 

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Colorado-Wild-Audiobook/B00HW1KDZM/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1478457131&sr=1-1

 

Amazon link for the e-book

(Free on Kindle Unlimited!)

https://www.amazon.com/Colorado-Wild-Heart-Book-ebook/dp/B00FEYOW2O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1479014986&sr=1-1&keywords=sara+york+colorado+wild