In November we honor those heart-warming stories that often bring tears to our eyes followed by smiles to our hearts. The stories that wring that extra emotional twist out of us, stories of overcoming adversity, disability, past pains and current struggles. Look for some of these titles and more:
A Fish Out of Water/Racing for the Sun Crossover
Can a hitman and a psychic negotiate a relationship while all hell breaks loose?
The world might not know who Lee Burton is, but it needs his black ops division and the work they do to keep it safe. Lee’s spent his life following orders—until he sees a kill jacket on Ernie Caulfield. Ernie isn’t a typical target, and something is very wrong with Burton’s chain of command.
Ernie’s life may seem adrift, but his every action helps to shelter his mind from the psychic storm raging within. When Lee Burton shows up to save him from assassins and club bunnies, Ernie seizes his hand and doesn’t look back. Burton is Ernie’s best bet in a tumultuous world, and after one day together, he’s pretty sure Lee knows Ernie is his destiny as well.
But when Burton refused Ernie’s contract, he kicked an entire piranha tank of bad guys, and Burton can’t rest until he takes down the rogue military unit that would try to kill a spacey psychic. Ernie’s in love with Burton and Burton’s confused as hell by Ernie—but Ernie’s not changing his mind and Burton can’t stay away. Psychics, assassins, and bad guys—throw them into the desert with a forbidden love affair and what could possibly go wrong?
Review by Mary
As this is a crossover story I would recommend reading (or listening to) the A Fish out of Water series and Racing for Sun before starting this book. Having said that I feel I should confess that my preference is listening to them. I was waiting for A Few Good Fish (book 3) to be released before starting it and did not realise this book overlapped it. Now that I’ve finished it I can see how they tie together. A Few Good Fish is as usual from Jackson Rivers and Ellery Cramer’s view point with Ernie, Lee, Ace, Sonny etc as secondary characters. This book is Ernie and Lee’s story (including Ace and Sonny playing a big part) and their side of the events of chasing down the mercenaries out to get them. Psychic Ernie finds his soulmate, his home and sanctuary when Lee Burton realised the kill order he received on Ernie was wrong. I liked the good v evil premise. And that the book reads like an action film, where realism is sacrificed for great action and adventure. This is a beautiful story of damaged souls finding a place and people where they can heal. Problem is they have to literally fight cruel, hateful and vindictive men to reach it.
5 of stars out of 5
Good Reads Link
Does a bear shift in the woods?
Well, partially. That was what got grizzly shifter Ted Farnsworth into trouble. He wasn’t trying to break the Secrecy Pact. He just wants people to see the real him. So he signs up with the mate-matching service Supernatural Selection — which guarantees marriage to a perfect partner. Not only will Ted never be lonely again, but once his new beaver shifter husband arrives, they’ll build Ted’s dream wilderness retreat together. Win-win.
Quentin Bertrand-Harrington, scion of an incubus dynasty, has abstained from sex since nearly killing his last lover. When his family declares it’s time for him to marry, Quentin decides the only way not to murder his partner is to pick someone who’s already dead. Supernatural Selection finds him the ideal vampire, and Quentin signs the marriage agreement sight unseen.
But a mix-up at Supernatural Selection contracts Quentin with Ted. What’s Ted supposed to do with an art historian who knows more about salad forks than screwdrivers? And how can Quentin resist Ted’s mouthwatering life force? Yet as they work together to untangle their inconvenient union, they begin to wonder if their unexpected match might be perfect after all.
(Ignore the cover…)
Sooo much fun! The “misunderstanding” mostly works in this story. Our incubus Q-bert – LOL – thinks he’s going to kill any living lover so he agrees to marry a dead one – a vampire.
Our Teddy Bear thinks he needs to settle for the first guy who’ll have him because he keeps getting into trouble.
We get to see some of the MCs from earlier books, have some pretty sweet smexy times, lots and lots of giggles and some pretty sweet feelz, too.
All in all another great one from this author and this series!
4.5 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review
Ten days to finally make the leap from friends to lovers…. Craig and Mitchell have been friends for years, but each of them reached a point where that camaraderie became… more. Mitchell’s kept his feelings close to his chest. So has Craig, but now that they’ve graduated from UMKC, he knows it’s his last chance to show Mitchell they’re meant to be before their careers take them to opposite sides of the country. He insists they can’t leave Missouri behind without one last adventure. Mitchell agrees to a road trip to visit all the touristy spots and say goodbye to their home state. As they spend their days and nights together, buried feelings rise to the surface and hope blossoms. When their journey ends with a dance beneath the Branson stars, will they find love and a future together at the end of the road? States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Another road trip story, this time it’s about two young men who want to see if they can define their feelings for one another, while taking in the sights of Missouri. All, before they go their separate ways after graduation.
Craig and Mitchell are best friends, recent college graduates. Unbeknownst to each other, each man is secretly in love with the other.
From the beginning you can see that these 2 have a great affection for one another – Craig only calls Mitch ‘Mitchell’; likewise Mitch only lets Craig get away with calling him ‘Mitchell’ (and he secretly loves it!).
As they travel together, layers of feelings are peeled away, slowly exposing how they feel about each other. And as the story develops, one also gets to sightsee with them.
When they finally figure out how they feel about each other, they still have to figure their future – they both have accepted jobs on opposite coasts. Hint: This is handled sweetly at the end and with the epilogue.
Overall, this a nice story with an undercurrent of humour and charm throughout, making it an easy, pleasant read with minimal angst.
3.5 stars out of 5
Good Reads Link
Knight. Party monster. Handsome Savage. Doesn’t do monogamy.
Elliot. Obsessive. Intense. Uncompromising.
Newly single, Knight is done with relationships. All he’s interested in is bringing down The Count, an Internet personality who is tarnishing his family name. An opportunity to crush him comes when the audacious clown shows up at the Kings of Hell MC clubhouse to film for his YouTube channel. But when Knight meets Elliot, the man behind The Count, he no longer knows what to do with him.
Knight has never seen a more pathetic creature than Elliot. He’s also never met anyone who needed him more. Skinny, messed up, and a bucket of trouble as thick as tar, everything Elliot does seems to be a wordless death wish. No matter how much Knight hates Elliot’s alter ego, under the makeup and theatrics hides a fragile young guy with a passion for history, and Knight can’t help but catch Elliot every time he falls.
Elliot has bad taste in men. Always hopelessly attracted to violent brutes, his favorite is a long dead serial killer. But he gets more than he’s bargained for when he seizes an opportunity to meet the man of his dreams. The ghost is manipulative and dangerous, offering Elliot all he’s always wanted, for a price he can’t possibly pay.
Elliot is faced with an impossible choice between two men.
One alive, one dead.
One carnal and honest, one drizzling sweet, poisoned promises into his ear.
One unwilling to commit, the other promising an eternity together.
And Elliot doesn’t settle for half-measures. He craves a love that is all or nothing, passion that will consume him, and desire to burn him alive.
Elliot is ready to either get that, or die trying
Themes: enemies to lovers, protector, cruelty, motorcycle club, alternative lifestyles, demons, tattoos, impossible choices, deception, crime, self-discovery, healing, black magic, gothic, commitment, ghosts, possession
Genre: Dark, paranormal romance
Erotic content: Scorching hot, emotional, explicit scenes
Length: ~145,000 words (Book 2 in the series, can be read as a standalone, but it’s recommended to read book 1 first)
WARNING: This story contains scenes of violence, offensive language, and morally ambiguous characters.
This is one terrific ghost story that pulls in murder, lies and obsession but not I would say a love story as such. It’s a very dark story that made me feel uncomfortable at times. Elliott is an unsettling character. From early on I had the impression he had mental health issues with the level of obsession and his desperation to be wanted. Maybe this is unfair I will leave you to make up your own mind. What he desperately wants is some to love and focus on him. When Elliott feels hurt or insecure he makes questionable choices, which leads Knight to rescue him. At the heart of the story is a triangle between Knight, Elliott and the ghost of William Fane. Knight saves Elliott who’s obsessed with the ghost of William Fane, a serial killer from early 19 Century.
Elliott has a kink for humiliation, he wants his partner to use and control him in the bedroom but equally to take care and protect him. Knight got his nickname by being the White Knight out to save the damsel in distress. Only problem is Elliott gets jealous and reckless when he sees philandering Knight with someone else. Cue one manipulative ghost who entices Elliott to do his bidding. Fane is cruel and Elliott suffers once he lets him get a hold. This is where the pace picks up. Beast and Laurent, the main characters from book 1, come more into the story from this point. You are given a synopsis of book 1 so this can be read stand-alone. Personally I think to get the most out of it read book 1. Stick with the slower ground setting first part it’s worth it to get to the dark twisted second half with ghosts and demon. KA Merikan are terrific descriptive writers a this works so well for both the sex scenes and the dark scenes.
4 of stars out of 5
Purchased by reviewer
Clay is no ordinary vampire, and the spark he lights in battle-scarred Vance is anything but average. Clay should be the enemy, but Vance is powerless to fight something that feels so right… and so damn good. In Clay’s expert hands, Vance might realize he’s misjudged vampires and that donating a little blood can be sexy as hell.
Clay might even ride to the rescue and save his new love when Vance’s mission goes south and Vance becomes the hunted instead of the hunter. Along with his human familiar, a crazy Cajun named Remy, and the enigmatic older vampire Gryphon, Clay must get to Vance before it’s too late. Then they can find the man who betrayed Vance and take their revenge.
But faced with lies and motives darker than they ever imagined, they’ll have to wade through blood and fight their way to a happily ever after….
Review: I think I can officially say I am a fan of BA Tortuga. Her characters are fun, colourful, quirky and loveable. And just when I figured her stories are familiar and comfy, she dispels that notion with Long Black Cadillac ☺
This is a zany, fun, sometimes tender romance between vampires and a crazy Cajun while being hunted by a vengeful colonel-like character. There are a couple of brief ménage pairings, but they are part of a natural progression of the scene and are not repeated.
To be honest, I found the first few of chapters a bit confusing/chaotic – events told in the 3rd person, complete with their inner musings; but as I got to know the characters the story progression made more sense.
Vance is employed by the Colonel and is given an assignment to make a vampire, Clay, move out of an area. When they meet, it’s instant lust, even though Vance tries to fight Clay and the attraction. It was interesting how Clay knew that Vance could be dangerous to his health, but still felt compelled to seduce and keep Vance. There is a lot of fun banter between the 2 men which becomes funnier with the introduction of Remy, Clay’s man Friday (and sometimes lover). Remy has a wry sense of humour – the way he comes up with Boo as a nickname for Vance is funny.
While Clay and Vance are dealing with their feelings and trying not to exclude Remy – all the while working on why the Colonel wants Vance gone – another vampire lands on the scene with Remy in his sights. Gryph, the new vamp is drawn to Remy, much like Clay was to Vance. The posturing between the 2 vamps is another fun interaction.
There are twists to the story, but in the end we get a really good story of 2 couples who eventually ride off after the sunset ☺
This is definitely a book I would love to listen to as an audiobook, especially if voiced by Dorian Bane!
4 stars out of 5
Sequel to Blood and Ghosts
Blood: Book Three
Vampire hunter Adrien Gilbert never dreamed he’d fall for his prey or that his love, Nicolas Lambert, would give him the gift of immortality. But when a hunter bent on destroying the truce between vampires and hunters throws the gauntlet at Adrien’s feet, Adrien must travel through time to save Nicolas, and with him, the entire vampire race.
The time has come to make a choice—one they will live with for eternity.
In this final installment in the Blood Trilogy, Adrien and Nicolas must face their greatest enemy in a deadly last confrontation. But to prevail, they’ll need to master the enemies within.
When Adrien awakens to a future he doesn’t recognize, he faces an impossible decision: live a perfect life with Nicolas in a shattered world, or risk everything to repair a broken past. But before he can challenge vampire hunter Verel Pelletier, he must master the demon who lives in his own mind—and learn to control his ability to travel through time. With Nicolas by his side, he prepares for a final battle against a powerful adversary who likes to play games with the past and future.
But the price of ensuring a future for their loved ones may be an eternity spent alone.
This is – at long last – the ending we’ve been waiting for.
Can I say it was worth it? I’m not sure. I love Shira’s world building, her characters and I usually love her plot devices as well as story lines but in this case there was so much WORK involved. I felt like book two put me through the wringer and though we get put back together again in book 3 it was maybe not quite as “rewarding” as I’d have wanted it to be.
So – in summary – I guess if you’re a lover of action and adventure – with some time travel and a lot of angst – very well written angst mind you – I’d give this a go.
If you want a lot of togetherness in a couple then this is not for you.
All in all I’d give this book a 3.5 and the whole series a 3 of 5 stars.
Good Reads Link
This New Adult book is the first in the Owatonna U Series, a spin off from the best selling Harrisburg Railers Hockey Series.
Ryker is hockey royalty, Jacob is a poor country boy. Can two vastly different people find common ground and become the men they want to be?
Ryker comes from a long line of championship-winning hockey players. Playing college hockey to develop his game is his only focus, and nothing will stand in the way of him working to become the best player. He has no room for relationships, people that point out his flaws, or anyone who calls him on his dreams. He certainly has no place for love, and meeting Jacob is nothing but a useful distraction on the side. After all trying to get his Owatonna Eagles teammate into bed is less work and more play. When tragedy rocks his family, his charmed life crumbles, and the only person he can turn to is the same one who claims to hate him.
Jacob Benson has only known hard work and stifling conservative values his whole life. Born and raised in the small rural community of Eden Crossing, Minnesota, he’s the only son of a hard-working but struggling dairy farming family. Jacob is using his skills in hockey to finance his way to an agricultural science degree. These four years at Owatonna U. will probably be the only time he has to enjoy life, gain acceptance about his sexuality, and live openly before his inevitable return to the farm. Running into a pretty rich boy like Ryker Madsen is putting a damper on his enjoyment of life away from home. Ryker’s flip, conceited, carefree attitude grates on Jacob’s every nerve. So why, if Ryker is everything he dislikes, does he want nothing more than to explore the sinful dreams that his annoying teammate stars in every night?
I really loved this book! It’s definitely a YA/NA – it has a lot of angst that is age appropriate (and therefore a little frustrating) but still fits the ages of the MCs involved.
I think this can be a standalone but you’re definitely missing a lot of subtext if you don’t read these in order.
There was enough steam to keep things feeling hot but again – age appropriate.
I was pretty mad at the authors – when the hurt Ten in the last book – but I am hoping he seems on the mend and will hopefully be back up and skating soon 😉
I’ve really been enjoying this series and can’t wait for the next installment!
4.5 of 5 stars
1805. Laurent: Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart.
2017. Beast: Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.
Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.
Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse.
Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.
In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living.
What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.
Holy cow! There are so many different tropes involved in this book yet it all fits together seamlessly with the fantastic K.A. Merikan’s writing. They’ve created yet another book and series that draws you in right from the start with strong characters, a gripping story line and fantastic interactions.
Laurent is living in 1805 and working as a servant in a bookstore. A late night delivery leads him out to a house of what he thought was an admirer but turns out to be so much more. In order to escape, he makes a deal with a demon.
Beast exists in 2017, living in a crumbling Asylum with his father’s motorcycle club, the Kings of Hell. His own story keeps him pretty quiet and apart from the world after he was left with body and facial scarring which he covered in tattoos to protect himself from other’s pity. When he stumbles across Laurent late one night, he has no idea what he’s in for.
This story has so much and yet our focus remains on Laurent and Beast, and yes we do eventually discover his actual name. Laurent is looking to survive and save himself from certain death back in his time as well as trying to adapt and learn about where he suddenly finds himself as well as carrying out his deal with the demon. Of course, he never counted on Beast. Though scarred and tattooed, he is caring, gentle and endearing to Laurent. All Beast wants is somewhere better for the club than the health hazard that they currently reside in yet his father refuses to move for unknown reasons.
The two men together are frustrating, adorable, tense yet hot. It’s Beast’s acceptance of Laurent and the way he is that makes you like him even more. There are a few different sides we see to all of the characters but when you can imagine a 6ft 5″ man covered in tattoos taking a man like Laurent shopping, it’s completely adorable! These balance out the intense scenes that are the bread and butter of motorcycle club books. There’s not as much violence as you would think with a name such as Kings of Hell but there is a lot of debauchery and partying that goes on.
The story line about the demon and deals that have been made causes underlying tensions to run but with no one knowing the full truth until later on in the book, it’s interesting to read what the characters are doing to ensure their part is played.
There are many secondary characters with the series being set in a club, several we like with a couple we don’t. All make the book much more interesting offering support or trying to pull them apart.
I loved this book, pretty much everything about it drew me in and made me want to know more. I’m interested to see what other stories come with the other men in the club and what supernatural forces they get involved with. It’s great having these different elements come together in one book and these authors are fantastic in bringing the story and characters to life.
I received an ARC from the author and am happily giving a review.
Number of stars out of 5
Provided by author for review
A second chance at first love—if he has the courage to take it.
Alex can’t think of himself as anything but a failure. In high school, he was on the fast track to a career in pro football when he forged an unlikely friendship with a half-Comanche boy from the wrong part of town, Ricky Lee Jennings. Their shared love of books could have grown into more—but a homophobic teammate attacked Ricky Lee, and Alex wouldn’t risk his scholarship to defend him. Ricky Lee was kicked out of school, and Alex never heard from him again.
Now Alex’s glory days are nothing but a memory. An injury ended his football aspirations, his marriage fell apart, and his dreams of making a difference as an environmental lobbyist are as dead as his fantasies of sports stardom.
But all that could change in one magical night, when Ricky Lee shows up at their high-school reunion.
(Book reviewed here previously)
While I don’t usually like “second chance” books, I really enjoyed this one.
This was very heart-felt, with a real-ish type setting but enough “fantasy” elements to make it feel a bit like Cinderella.
I loved the added touches of making Ricky Native American, as well as rich. The “bad guys” were super bad and I definitely felt like I was reading an old timey romance – with a gay twist!
I thought Alex and Ricky Lee had great chemistry and their story was mostly sweet and little hot. I loved Sam – especially the end scene!
Overall this was exactly what you’d expect for the genre, well-written and a quick sweet read.
I found the narrator, Colin Darcy, to be good but not great. He definitely makes the attempt to give everyone a unique voice and does his best to “act” out the emotions. However, there are times when his narration is rather sing-song and while I appreciate his attempts, he doesn’t always give a good match in terms of tone or tenor to the emotions that he is reading.
Those are definitely “icing of the cake” type issues and the main body of his narration is good and solid and easily a perfectly fine way to enjoy this story.
Overall 3.75 of 5 stars