Audiobook Review: What’s in a Name? (Foothills Pride #1) by Pat Henshaw

Barista Jimmy Patterson thinks it's a good idea to get rip-roaring drunk on his birthday after he’s dumped by his boyfriend. When the burly owner of Stonewall’s Saloon rescues Jimmy, the night starts to look up.

Now Jimmy just wants to know the bartender's first name since he's worn a different name tag every time Jimmy's seen him. "Guy" Stone gives Jimmy seven guesses, one for each night he takes Jimmy out on a date.

While Jimmy’s trying to come up with his name, he's distracted by the destruction of his coffee shop and what looks more and more like a hate crime.

Listening Length: 2 hours and 49 minutes
Narrator: David Ross



Jimmy Patterson has dumped his boyfriend for cheating on Jimmy’s birthday, and seems to have attached himself to a bartender who wears a different name tag every night at Stonewall. This was a pretty intriguing concept. Jimmy has to guess what the guys name is in seven guesses, each name to be guessed after a date with “Guy”.

I enjoyed the way this relationship developed and the way “Guy” was a stable support for Jimmy while things were going wrong in his business life. Jimmy is trying to open up another Coffee shop but he is getting resistence, and what appears to be a hate crime is perpetrated on his existing shop.

What I loved most about this, is that Jimmy still managed to stay upbeat about everything and had fun with “Guy” while organising his life without his ex in it. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he got all stormy about his ex being a cheater, or his shop being trashed, but he picked himself up quickly and got on with succeeding. That’s not to say he was unaffected, he just gave off the impression that sometimes shit happens, and it shouldn’t stop him from doing what he set out to do.

The guessing game was fun, if a little cheesy. Their chemistry was beautiful, regardless of whether a real name was known. “Guy” was still authentic and passionate, real and practical. There was no subterfuge or mystery with anything else about him. What was presented was honest, and refreshingly straightforward.

David Ross, of course, is a wonderful narrator, and gave depth to the characters in this story. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of his voice as a storyteller. Great voice acting is a skill I would never be able to master, and he does a superb job of bringing life to even the most mundane character in this book.

Fun and flirty, with some serious content thrown in for depth, this was a great short story to listen to while I did boring cleaning chores around my house.

Recommended for all MM romance readers.




Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Review: Unzipping 7D (Unzipped Shorts #2) by J.C. Long

Jordan Price is used to the boring wait in airports, given that he practically lives on business trips. He's all set for this to be more of the same, until he meets a self-described power bottom on Unzipped—a guy who happens to be in the same airport. It seems like a perfectly good way to kill time until his flight, but soon Jordan realizes that Heath, his newfound friend on Unzipped, will be taking the same flight, and the wheels in his head get spinning. Jordan is determined to test Heath's bottoming skills himself, and if he has his way, the flight will be anything but boring.









Another hot more porn than plot Unzipped Short from this author and I am not complaining one bit. Actually, these shorts remind me of the Letters to Penthouse books I used to sneak read as a young girl… did I just out my pervy side? As if that was ever closeted. *grins*

When Jordan Price is waiting to board a connecting flight for business, he gets bored of the mundane social media and decides to check his neglected Unzipped account. Unzipped is basically Grindr for this series so you get why it could be fun, eh? Anyway, as he scrolls through who is close he lands on a slim hipster with a nice cock from his nude shot and starts up a chat. When Jordan laments about his flight and where he is going, Mr. Hung Hipster informs him they are on the same flight and he’s seated in 7D… hence the title.

It was fun to get the flirty conversation via the Unzipped app and then get Mr. Hung Hipster aka Heath being a bit flustered by Jordan’s whispered compliment as they boarded as well as his audacity to ask the man in 7E to switch seats. It’s not that Heath wasn’t turned on but it’s one thing to chat on an app, even one such as Unzipped when you know nothing is going to happen and then have the dude who sent you a dick pic, seated next to you for a three hour tour, I mean flight.

“What exactly do you think we’re going to be able to do here? We’re on an airplane, for Christ’s sake. I don’t think we can have all that much fun.”
“You’d be surprised,”
“We’ll get caught,”
“Isn’t that part of the fun?”

What Heath and Jordan get up to on the plane was hot and fueled my exhibitionist needs. What they decide to get up to when they get off the plane and at the hotel was even hotter and that end? Well it left it wide open, like gaping for the possibility that these two could be something more than sex. Or at least that’s what my romantic heart hoped for because you know…

This series is fuckhot and I like that it is. I like my romance and I like my porn and when you mix those and toss in possibility, I get a nice buzz. Yup. This was a good one.



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Release Day Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

Before I even start reviewing the book, I have to say how much I love the cover. It is beautiful and definitely went towards me wanting to read this story.

The story inside the beautiful cover was pretty darn good, too! The fact that the MC's were both older, with their own responsibilities was great. I appreciated the lack of angst in them admitting their feelings for each other. It wasn't a completely easy ride, but they were honest with themselves and lacked the drama that younger relationships seem to thrive on in literature. It was a refreshing change.

In fact, I have to admit to loving both Aaron and Larx. They worked really well together and were the kind of couple that I wish were real, that I wish I knew. The book was written with an underlying message of inclusiveness and acceptance of oneself. It was written with the understanding that this is not always easy, or possible, but that self-acceptance is where the journey starts.

At times I was quite frightened by the truth of people's hate, especially how that hate can ripple out and affect many people in different ways. It scared me because this is a reality for far too many people still, even in this (so called) enlightened age. The murder storyline that gave the book its mystery element just served to highlight how far hate can reach and how many it can affect. It also showed the opposite of this though and how love and understanding can reach out and affect more people than one may realise.

I have to admit - sometimes I find Amy Lane's writing confusing. I'm not sure if it is because of cultural differences and references I don't always get at first, but oft times I have to stop and re-read a sentence to make sense of it. I don't think this is a reflection on the writing though, more a reflection on how different my life is from the author's. I always get a feeling of small town America from Lane's books, a place I've never been, but I like that I feel that I'm there when I read them. Part of what I love about reading is the escapism into the lives of others.

A great book that I enjoyed and am glad I read.
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads

Blog Tour + Giveaway: A Boy Worth Knowing by Jennifer Cosgrove


We're happy to have first time author Jennifer Cosgrove and IndiGo Marketing to the clubhouse! It's the final day of 'A Boy Worth Knowing' blog tour! Don't miss the interview, excerpt and NineStar Press eBook giveaway!


Title:  A Boy Worth Knowing
Author: Jennifer Cosgrove
Publisher:  NineStar Press - SunFire Imprint
Release Date: March 20
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 62200
Genre: Romance, Young Adult, NineStar Press, LGBT, gay, bisexual, romance, young adult, contemporary, paranormal, coming of age, ghosts, family drama, high school, bullying

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Synopsis

Ghosts can’t seem to keep their opinions to themselves.

Seventeen-year-old Nate Shaw should know; he’s been talking to them since he was twelve. But they aren’t the only ones making his high school years a living hell. All Nate wants is to keep his secret and keep his head down until he can graduate. That is, until the new boy, James Powell, takes a seat next to him in homeroom. James not only notices him, he manages to work his way into Nate’s life. But James has issues of his own.

Between dead grandmothers and living aunts, Nate has to navigate the fact that he’s falling in love with his only friend, all while getting advice from the most unusual places.

Ghosts, bullies, first love: it’s a lot to deal with when you’re just trying to survive senior year.

Excerpt

A Boy Worth Knowing
Jennifer Cosgrove © 2017
All Rights Reserved

I loved autumn mornings.

The October air was just cold enough to set my lungs on fire, my breath visible in clouds of condensation, forcing all of the crap clogging up my head into the recycle bin. Bonus, I could pretend I was a dragon. Nothing could touch me; my morning run made everything go away, lost in miles at a time. Down an isolated country road.

Everything changed when I was twelve, and not for the better. That was when I started running. Five years of road I’d put behind me. My mom worried about me the first time I took off alone. Well, when she used to worry about me. I wished she was more worried about the reason I was running instead of the fact I was doing it down an empty road.

I turned the corner about a mile after leaving home, and that was when I saw him. Samuel was always lurking among the sunken headstones. Most people had no clue there used to be a cemetery out there. Looking closely, some of the stones that made up the foundation of the chapel could still be seen. No one else ever paid that much attention to it. Samuel glared at me as I got closer. He was a surly one.

My life was like the horror movies I loved. I talked to the dead. Well, technically dead. They were really spirits, or whatever. Whatever was left behind when people died. And they talked to me, for some reason. There was nothing like sitting in math class and having a ghost whisper in my ear while trying to take notes.

It happened all the damn time. I didn’t know how to handle it at first. And no one wanted to hang out with the crazy kid in the back of the room, muttering away to himself. I got used to it. Really. And the lack of a social life helped me get all of my homework done on time; all of the teachers loved me. That was good. Talking to ghosts wasn’t all bad.

I waved at Samuel as I ran by the cemetery. He shook a fist at me in return. Samuel wasn’t evil or anything, just grumpy. Couldn’t blame him, though. I looked him up one time and found out he’d died in the late eighteen hundreds. The cause of death on record was a heart attack. But Samuel told me his brother-in-law had poisoned him because he wouldn’t sell him his prize mule. I had no clue what was so special about that mule, but his brother-in-law evidently thought it was worth killing him over. I’d have been pretty surly myself.

Past the forgotten cemetery, a few miles to the McGregor farm, and then I’d swing around for home. Yes, I said McGregor farm. Small-town life— I couldn’t have made this stuff up if I’d tried.

There was another house just past the farm where I had to watch out for their beast of a dog. Dogs weren’t huge fans of mine. My Nana had a theory they could sense a bit of whatever it was that let us chat with those who’d “passed on.” I had no idea how that was even possible, but cats loved me, so yay.

Speaking of which, Aunt Susan’s overly fluffy cat waited by our mailbox. Arthur did that every time I went out for a run. He would sit there and then fall in behind to follow up the driveway until we got to the house. Then, it was a shady spot on the porch in the summer or, if it was cold like that day, into the house in front of the fireplace. I loved predictability.

The house used to be my grandmother’s. It was a standard farmhouse, old and creaky just like dozens more all around us, and it could have stood a little paint. But we called it home, and we liked it. It became Aunt Susan’s home. It had been left to her after Nana died, since my mom already owned one. It was a little out of the way and a long drive to the hospital where my aunt worked. But it was paid for, and that meant a lot.

I had to be quiet going in because Aunt Susan was not a morning person, and the floor squeaked just inside the back door. I was very much a morning person, and I followed the same routine each school or work day. Flipping on the coffee maker, I headed to my room to get ready for school. I got the shower running, since it took a while to heat up in an old farmhouse, and took a sniff to make sure a shower was actually necessary. Oh, yeah. I was gross.

Purchase

NineStar Press - SunFire Imprint | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords


Interview with Jennifer Cosgrove, author of A Boy Worth Knowing

If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

Probably leftover Chinese food and juice boxes! Oh, and milk. My kids go through lots of milk.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

I would want the ability to beam my thoughts into my computer and turn them into words! Seriously. That would save so much time! If it could also level up my World of Warcraft character, that would be great.

If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

I would trade places with Aunt Susan in A Boy Worth Knowing. She is the fly on the wall watching these two boys dance around each other. She’s right there with us wanting to smash their faces together and tell them to kiss already! She’s also the one that is the trusted person that Nate can go to with his problems and I like the idea of that.

If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing, where would you go and what would the environment be like?

Honestly, I would find a nice hotel room with excellent wifi and stay there. If I can have peace and quiet, the environment is not nearly as important. Unless the choice is London. Then I would always pick London.

What's the one thing, you can't live without?

Wifi. I know, I know! I am constantly online but I don’t think I would be a writer without it. It’s where I fell in love with fandom and fanfiction and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

What internet site do you surf to the most?

Twitter. I’m always on Twitter. It’s where all of my writing friends live.

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three author guests be and why?

Stephen King, for sure. I started reading his books at a young age, probably too young, and they’ve been a huge influence. A friend gave me his writing book and I couldn’t put it down. I’d recommend it to any writer.

Anne McCaffrey, if she were still living. The librarian at my very rural elementary school handed me Dragonsong and that began a lifelong love of sci-fi and fantasy. It changed my life.

Jim Butcher. The Dresden Files series is a favorite and I love the world building that he does in it. Harry Dresden is such an interestingly flawed character and I would love to pick Jim Butcher’s brain on character development.

When you got your very first manuscript acceptance letter, what was your initial reaction and who was the first person you told?

I was at work when I got the email, so I had to do a lot of internal screaming. I called my husband first and had a very intensely whispered conversation. I was so excited!

Meet the Author

Jennifer has always been a voracious reader and a well-established geek from an early age. She loves comics, movies, and anything that tells a compelling story.

When not writing, she likes knitting, dissecting/arguing about movies with her husband, and enjoying the general chaos that comes with having kids.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

Tour Schedule

3/20 - My Fiction Nook

3/20 - Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

3/20 - Just Love

3/21 - Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews

3/21 - Diverse Reader

3/21 - Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

3/22 - V's Reads

3/22 - Molly Lolly

3/22 - MM Good Book Reviews

3/23 - Liz's Reading Life

3/23 - Stories That Make You Smile

3/23 - Dog-Eared Daydreams

3/24 - Bayou Book Junkie

3/24 - Boy Meets Boy Reviews

3/24 - Love Bytes Reviews

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Review: Inheritance by Sean Michael

3rd Edition

Cash McCord’s life is pretty much perfect. He owns the family ranch, loves his work, and invites the occasional cowboy into his bed. But everything is turned upside down when his brother Jack and Jack’s wife Val are killed in a car crash, leaving behind six kids.

Cash is made guardian of the children, along with Val’s brother, Brad Rafferty—a man who couldn’t be more different from Cash if he tried. A Yankee, Brad is a video-game developer who works twelve-to-fourteen-hour days at his desk. They lock horns as soon as they set eyes on each other. Neither man is happy to have the other around, but neither is willing to give up custody of his nieces and nephews.

It’s up to these two polar opposites to keep the kids together and give them a family again. But first they’ll have to keep from killing each other.

First Edition published as Inheritance in Family Matters by Torquere Press, 2008.

Second Edition published by Torquere Press, 2013
.


The thing I most disliked about this story is that it was short. I really have no complaints about anything else. I think these two men deserve more page time, and I would be endlessly happy if there was a follow up.

For Cash and Brad, losing their siblings is devastating, but for the perpetually single men, they have to hold that in and figure out how they are going to agree on raising their six nieces and nephews that were left behind, after Cash’s brother Jack, and sister-in-law, Val whom was Brad’s sister, died suddenly in a car accident.

Trying to help six small people deal with their grief, while arguing quietly and privately about where and how they should raise them, turns into some fiercely passionate encounters between these two men.

I have to say, the underlying question for me was ‘why have these two men never had contact before now?’. It’s actually a question that is asked in the book. They seem to be the complete opposites but the conclusion I came to was that Jack and Val seemed to know something about their compatibility that they were keeping under wraps. It’s a bit weird and is never resolved.

Regardless, this story is sexy, sweet, and passionate. Cash and Brad want what is best for the kids. They just can’t agree on what that is. Meanwhile, the day to day handling of the kids and their routine seems to turn into a seamlessly coordinated effort with these two.

As with all Sean Michael stories, the erotica is hot, wild, and dirty. The characters were both solid and loveable, even in their gruffness and combativeness. The assumption that no matter what, the kids came first, is important and heartwarming.

This will be a re-read for me. While I pine for a follow up I know probably won’t appear.

I would recommend this to pretty much anyone who enjoys combustible sexual chemistry and a solid family dynamic.


A copy provided for an honest review


Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Review: Soul Struck (The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge #3) by Jacob Z. Flores

Like the electricity he commands, Pierce Blackmoor streaks through life on raw power and pure sexual energy. His conquests on the battlefield and in the bedroom form his foundation, but that bedrock crumbles when his younger brothers’ abilities surpass his own. Pierce finds himself at an all-time low, and clawing his way back to the top becomes his only concern.

Pierce's plan to reassert his dominance, however, takes a backseat when he wounds Kale Aquilo, an emissary of the Beast King, lord of all shifters.

Kale’s beguiling nature shoots like a lightning bolt straight to Pierce’s soul, and when the soft-spoken Kale relays that a virus is killing his people, Pierce abandons his quest for power to do something he has never done before—protect someone other than himself.

As Kale, Pierce, and his brothers struggle to find the root of the magical virus spreading plague across Aeaea, the shifter island, they face a gauntlet of old and new foes. Soul struck, Pierce and Kale must uncover the truth behind the conspiracy gathering in the shadows.


Let me start off by saying I am a bit biased with this series. I am so stupidly in love with it that I can’t take my heart glasses off to see anything, but how much freaking fun I have had so far. It’s not normal for me to read authors back to back let alone devour an entire series, but I can’t stop reading. I have to know… everything.

This truly is a series and I would read it in order. Lucky for you and for me, all the books are out so there is no waiting to see what happens next and for that I am thankful. I was kicking myself that I waited so long to read the series but now, I know it was the right thing because I could go from book to book and satiate my OCD.

Brief history of the series before we did into this book… Spell Bound was book one where we meet the Blackmoors, a warlock family of boys trusted to be one of the protector covens of the Gate. The Gate is the center of all magic for a simple explanation. In Spell Bound, we met the youngest brother Mason, who at the time hadn’t come into his power yet and big brother Pierce was the traditional oldest male with an attitude of arrogance to match. Mason meets Drake, his now boyfriend who is not magical, unless you count his bad ass free running as magic, but has an aversion to magic… it doesn’t affect him at all and we have yet to find out why. I adored the hell out of book one and just love Mason and Drake to pieces.

Blood Tied was book two where we get middle child Thad’s story. And boy is he on par for middle child syndrome, though Thad buries his nose in books to deal with his brothers. Thad is bitter and heart cold to the touch and it’s fitting as his powers have to deal with ice. But strange things are afoot at the Circle K when Thad rescues Adien, a fire fae who also happens to be a prince and sorts of stuff goes down between two worlds. I liked Thad and Aiden though I’ll admit to being confused with the “love triangle” in the beginning and kinda wanting the bad boy Ben to be with Thad. Now sure what that says about me now that I’ve read the book and really met Ben, but whatever.

So now we get to Pierce’s story. Pierce, the arrogant older brother who has no idea how to deal with the fact that his younger brothers are coming into more power than him and possibly becoming stronger. This is totally evident in how the book begins, with the brothers fighting with magic which leads Pierce to tap into more of his that he has no control over. Pierce’s magic deals with energy with a focus on electricity and when he loses control, he shoots a few things from the sky. But Pierce being Pierce gets all butt hurt about his mistake and takes off on his motorcycle where his meet cute with an adorable man named Kale packs one hell of a punch. *winks*

I knew that I would love Pierce’s story. I have a thing for redeemable assholes and that is what Pierce truly is. I wouldn’t say that all of his arrogance is a mask or shield he puts up to protect him from getting hurt but a good amount of it is. He has the pressure of responsibility of becoming High Priest of his Coven after his father and he wonders if he is up for the challenge. Pierce, also is terrified of losing what he loves after the death of his mother. None of the Blackmoor men have really dealt with the loss of the most beloved woman in their life and each of them has coping mechanisms, but Pierce has a few extra.

I hadn’t been looking for power. I’d been looking for Kale.

I loved that we know Pierce as the man whore who doesn’t pick between genders. Pierce is pretty fluid with his sexuality and if you turn him on, he’ll turn you out and forget your name but then he meets Kale and it’s Pierce who is the one being turned inside out.

Kale, yes that is his name and, no, I didn’t immediately go to the leafy green when I read it because this is a book about magic and magical creatures. Kale can mean slender in Gaelic which is how Kale is described, or if you read the Top Definition (and #3) in Urban Dictionary for Kale it totally nails his character! Kale was amazing, he is brought to the human world from his shifter island of Aeaea on a mission to save his kind from a deadly virus. And no matter how much he likes Pierce upon their first meeting, he must get to the Conclave and do as they is bid.

Good lord. The Conclave drives me up the wall. These hidden robed figures who pop in and out when they feel it’s necessary and all the damn secrets they keep and how they treat the protector covens of the Gate irked the hell out of me. So much that went down in all three books could have been prevented if they just talked to the families. The miscommunication meets blind obedience that they use as a standard is just not acceptable and yet, it kinda fuels the story arcs so I guess it’s okay. Doesn’t mean I didn’t flip them off numerous times while reading and yeah, that includes you too Gerald Wa!

Ugh and anyway.

The shifter aspect in this story is not one I have read before and I was entranced by it. I love how it’s not the norm of alpha/beta/omega pack politics but one of true spirit animal guidance with a side of OMG that is so freaking fracking cool! Yep, that’s all I am going to say about that.

How did this even happen? I lived my life according to my wants and desires. I did what felt right, when it felt right, and with whom it felt right. I didn’t give two shits about what anyone else wanted or needed, but ever since I met Kale, that wasn’t me at all. I was protecting him, believing in him, and wanting him to feel safe. It was like I’d unearthed my soul.

Goodness me! Pierces growth after meeting Kale was a pleasure to read. He not only opened up to the man whose adoration for The Backstreet Boys is truly epic, but he let himself feel the emotions he’d been bottling up inside. For a warlock who harvests and controls energy, stuffing your emotions down so far can only lead to a magical sort of backup that will explode and fates help us all if Pierce can’t control it. Wow. This book, I knew I loved it but as I sit and write this review I can’t stop the fangirling that is flowing through my fingers! I have to put it out there that the slow burn to the romance of Pierce and Kale was done so well! I wouldn’t have bought it if Pierce had gone for his norm with Kale. They both needed to take the time as the relationship was so new and important to them both. The slow burn was exactly what was needed and I loved the hell out of it.

It was time to let go of our old rivalries. With Adam, Edith, and me as the next generation of high priests, we had the potential to change the magical community into anything we wanted.

Now, I know I have already said a crap ton of nothing but rambles in the review but I need to add that I am loving the way the protector covens are coming together… finally. It’s about time the Proctors [White Magic = Witches], the Stonewalls [Gray Magic = Wizards] and the Blackmoors [Black Magic = Warlocks] begin to break down the damn walls that separate them and see that they are stronger together. This book gave us a glimpse into seeing the families start to see one another as allies and not the enemy. And I just hope that at some point, Adam Proctor gets a damn HEA because that boy needs one badly! *taps foot and waits*

Soul Struck was such a fun book. It had everything that I love about the series; hilarious banter, romantic declarations, exciting adventure, fast paced action and at the heart of the story, family. Such a fantastic series and now don’t mind me as I dive into the next book to see WTF the Conclave is so damn afraid of.





Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

See our previous reviews:

Spell Bound - Book #1
Blood Tied - Book #2

Review: Prior Commitment & Prior Affair (Priorities #1-2) by Raven de Hart

Old town, new flames


Casey Bridge knows what people are thinking, whether he wants to or not. When he returns to Pryor, Washington, he’s roped into helping with the town’s annual Christmas Carnival--as though they didn’t shun him and his entire family for years. But when he hears something worrying in a stranger’s thoughts, he can’t keep himself from jumping in to help--repeatedly.

Noel’s life is falling apart, and his last possible refuge is in little old Pryor, Washington. When that fails him, he spirals down into depression...and luckily lands in the arms of a local psychic. A very attractive local psychic with a very strong saving-people-streak. Will that be enough to save him or will they be waylaid by a prior commitment?




This was a really interesting story and I enjoyed quite a lot of it, but the main theme of the story was poorly handled in my opinion.

Casey is the middle son of a family mainly consisting of psychics, each have a unique ability. Casey can hear people's thoughts. Garrett, the eldest son, can see into the future. Patrick the youngest, doesn't have any powers and their mother can detect people's emotions. One night a few days before christmas, Casey unwillingly hears Noel's thoughts. Casey hears Noel’s intention of committing suicide later that night. Obviously he provides comfort and somewhere to stay for Noel, to help him out of this depression.

I think this was my major issue with the story, the way Noel’s suicidal thoughts were handled. Maybe the book was too short to really give suicide and depression the amount of time it deserves to express it properly. Then again I have see some authors do it well with only a few words. Some of it is OK, like Casey not having sex with Noel the night of his attempted suicide because he felt it was too soon (nah duh). Generally though it was kind of pushed to the side or joked about. Casey even told his whole family, when it wasn't really their business and even if they could detect emotions, I don’t think it was his place to share Noel’s struggles with strangers.

Then Noel’s depression just wasn’t done right. This book is set over three days and Noel goes from wanting to commit suicide to being just fine. There was no depth there and considering that's what the story was about, it made everything feel much more shallow, like Casey and Noel’s relationship for example. That didn’t work for me at all, I felt no chemistry between the two and thought the romance lacked any sort of passion.

What I did really really like was the interaction and friendship between the three brothers. That was fun to read and the banter felt like how real brothers would talk to each other.


“His brain is hard for me to get into. I can only get a little bit past the surface most of the time. So I know what he’s thinking right then, but that’s about it.”
“Weird,” said Garrett. “Maybe it’s fading, and you’re going normal.” I focused in on him without ever looking up from my coffee cup and spoke his thoughts as I got to them. Or the ones I could before they zipped past. “I miss this. I should see these guys more. Especially Patrick. He lives so close. Guess he’s not losing it. Casey, you’re a jackass. Pineapple. Asparagus. Seventy-three.” I grinned at him. “Bite me.”

I would’ve enjoyed this story a lot more if the major theme had been done a bit more carefully, that may have even improved the connection between Noel and Casey. I did enjoy seeing psychics in action and I definitely enjoyed these brothers together, they get my 2.5 hearts all to themselves!

Find Prior Commitment (Priorities #1) on Goodreads!

Old town, new flames

Garrett Bridge can see the future. Not when it’s convenient for him, of course, but when its important. So when he sees a man getting out of a car, he can’t help but wonder why he needed that information. But when he does, it starts a whirlwind romance full of fun. And full of a lot of nearly avoided disasters.

Smith Meyers has always been intrigued by problems, puzzles, and mysteries. When a young man saves him in the street one day, it’s the beginning of a new enigma for him to try and unravel. Wrapped up in that enigma is a whole mess of lust and other emotions to cloud his inquisitive mind. Which side of him will prevail?





This is Garrett's story and starts straight after Prior Commitment ends. Garrett is the eldest son of his psychic family and a clairvoyant. On Boxing Day, he has a vision of a man named Smith, puzzled by the vision he goes to find out more about him. They have an immediate attraction and get it on.

Unfortunately I was just not feeling this book at all and although it didn't frustrate me as much as prior commitment did, I still am giving it a lesser rating because I felt nothing. I had no interest in the characters, their relationship or where the story was going. I didn't feel the connection between Garrett and Smith, it felt forced and their dialogue was stilted. At the end of the story they had this weird fight which I didn't understand the point of, like at all! The plot didn't hold anything exciting or emotional and the sex was... well all I can say is, average.

I wish I could say more about what worked and what didn't, but honestly when I think of this book, nothing but a big flashing sign saying 'blank’ comes to mind.

The brothers were still great to see interact, but there was even less of that in this book... so... boo.

Not a winner for me, sorry. I think I'll leave the series there.

Find Prior Affair (Priorities #2) on Goodreads!


All copies provided for an honest review.


Review: How the Other Half Lives (London Lads #2) by Clare London

Compulsive neat freak meets chaotic slob: Can their living space survive the conflict?

Martin Harrison keeps himself to himself and his Central London flat as neat as a new pin. Maybe he should loosen up and enjoy more of a social life, but in his mind, that’s tantamount to opening the floodgates to emotional chaos. He agrees, however, to join the flat-sitting scheme in his building and look after another tenant’s flat in exchange for a similar watch over his when he’s travelling for his work.

A floor away in the same building, Russ McNeely is happy with his life as a freelance cook and a self-confessed domestic slob. He also joins the flat-sitting scheme, both to be neighbourly and to help keep his flat in order, as Russ also travels for his work.

For a while, the very dissimilar men never meet. Martin is horrified at the mess at Russ’s flat, while Russ finds Martin’s minimalist style creepy. But in a spirit of generosity, each of them starts to help the other out by rearranging things in their own inimitable way.

Until the day a hiccup in the schedule brings them face-to-face at last.



How the Other Half Lives is opposites attract done right. You really aren’t going to find two dudes more different than the MC’s in How the Other Half Lives. And I don’t mean the extreme tropey differences where one guys a biker and the other is a baker. Martin and Russ are both pretty regular guys living pretty regular lives, it’s just that the details in which they live their lives are total and complete opposites. Martin is a neat freak, Russ is a slob, Martin is a planner, Russ wings it, Martin is compulsively organized, Russ is a lesson in chaos. The two should drive each other completely nutters.

What the author got so right in this one is, they do drive each other a little nutters and the lust doesn’t make everything alright and the differences aren’t immediately written off as charming quirks. Nope, these characters are written as regular guys, so they react like real people and I appreciated that reality.

The meet/cute these guys have takes some time to develop and each chapter is told from a different perspective. One chapter is Martin’s and the next belongs to Russ and it worked well for this story. Each of their voices was completely unique and I liked getting both of their perspectives. I don’t think the story would have been nearly as charming without it. For a quick read, the development of the relationship was not at all rushed and I could believe that Martin and Russ were actually getting to know each other, irritate each other charmingly and slowly but surely falling in lurve.

The moments where the guys found themselves compromising by accident were my favorite. It made the whole story feel more real as Martin let Russ make his mark on his kitchen and Russ began to actually make his apartment a home rather than a storage facility. I don’t think either of them made the changes consciously, but just really wanted to make the other happy, and the honest reactions were worth leaving their respective comfort zones.

Overall, completely adorable and highly recommended for all the book hugs.

For more info on How the Other Half Lives, check it out on Goodreads.


**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Growing Pains (Toronto Connections #3) by Cass Lennox


Cass Lennox is introducing the third installment in her Toronto Connections series today & be sure to enter the giveaway below!



About Toronto Connections

The winters might be cold, but hearts are warm in Toronto. Canada’s largest city is home to a big lake, a big tower, and a big queer community. People here are trying to get by like everyone else: pay the bills, deal with life in the city, and maybe find some happiness along the way with someone who’s sweeter than maple candy and more constant than a Canadian’s love for Timmie’s coffee.


For some, falling in love is a real challenge. For others, falling is the easy part—it’s the happy ever after that proves a little more difficult. But in the end, love is worth every complication, misunderstanding, and occasional swear word.

About Growing Pains

Gigi Rosenberg is living his best life: performances in the big city, side gigs at a dance company, a successful drag act, and the boy of his childhood dreams who now adores him. Even if the boyfriend part isn’t the sparkly ride of passion he expected it to be, life is sweet. So when his sister’s wedding calls him back to his hometown, he sees an opportunity to show the hicks from his past how wrong they were about him. Only, his boyfriend isn’t quite on board.

Brock Stubbs left their hometown and his parents behind for a reason, and the prospect of facing them again is terrifying. He swore he’d never go back, but Gigi has made it clear refusal isn’t an option, and Brock will do nearly anything for him. There’s just one deal-breaker of a problem: Brock promised Gigi he was out to everyone, including his parents. He lied.

It’s magical to run into the sunset together, but staying the course takes work. For Gigi and Brock, going home feels like the finale of a long, disappointing year. Sometimes love isn’t all you need.

Available from Riptide Publishing. http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/growing-pains

About Cass Lennox

Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently sequestered in a valley in southeast England.

Connect with Cass:

To celebrate the release of Growing Pains, one lucky winner will receive $15 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 25, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Review: The Worst Best Man by M.J. O'Shea

It was her special day... but his worst nightmare.

A rekindled romance wasn’t part of the plan.

Despite his American background, August O’Leary is the most sought-after wedding planner in London. Naturally, Libby and Edward come to him for a wedding the city will never forget. But Edward is an international businessman, so the details are left to Libby and her best friend—who happens to be the love of August’s life and the one who broke his heart eight years ago: Christopher Burke.

How’s August supposed to pull off the event of the year with Christopher distracting him and old feelings crashing the party uninvited?

Christopher has let money and status dictate his life, but no more. His failure to stand up to others’ expectations cost him his future with August—one he hoped would include marriage. Now he has to face August’s hurt and anger and prove he’s still the best man to make August happy.


Well this was a disappointment. Honestly, I really wasn’t expecting much from this, as in I was hoping for some ridiculously cheesy ‘The Wedding Planner’ type story, nothing amazing but fun nonetheless. Unfortunately it didn't really do that for me either.

August and Christopher dated for three years in college (at oxford), Christopher is from an upper-class English family and August is a middle class American. Christopher's parents pressure him to break it off with August, which he does, telling August he needs someone more suited to his ‘type’ of people. Eight years later they meet again when August is hired to plan Chris’s best friends wedding.

Chris and August’s reunion and tentative reconciliation was the best part of the story. Chris has to make up for the hurt he caused August and August slowly starts to trust Chris again. The build up was realistic, but...


I was seriously seriously struggling to get through this and I skimmed a lot in the end. While I struggled with the boredom, I didn't hold that against the story. I could still tell that it was me and not the writing or plot until…. their ridiculous break up at the end. I hate stupid break-ups near the end of a story! I can forgive them if its a legit reason (no miscommunication), or helps strengthen the relationship. This was absolutely neither. It was one of those predictable juvenile break-ups where 30 year men suddenly start acting like 14 year girls and not talking! It seems they thought the best way to ‘work out’ their issues as adults was to storm off, avoid talking to each other for weeks and then move…... What the hell! Grr anyway, that sealed the deal for me. 2 hearts!

Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for this book, lots of other people enjoyed it, but I just couldn’t. It was boring, then it was frustrating so even though the relationship build-up wasn't terrible, I just couldn't rate it any higher.



Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Review: Extrasensual Perception by Rayna Vause

If a stalker doesn’t kill them, the heat between them might.

Christopher Vincent is desperate enough for a job that he accepts an offer to entertain as a psychic in a friend’s nightclub. Jackson Whitman, one of the club’s co-owners, is less than thrilled by the new act. To him, psychics are ridiculous and a liability. But when they come face-to-face, attraction flares to life between them.

Someone is watching Jack and Chris from the shadows. What starts as a series of creepy encounters leads to deadly attacks.

Jack and Chris must set aside their differences and work together to survive a homicidal stalker. But can they survive their explosive connection?




Have I told you that I adore the Dreamspun Desire series? I am sure you are sick of hearing me say that but whatever. I love these damn books. They are my happy place and I can’t get enough of them.

This was another fun installment with a twist of the paranormal given that Chris and his mother both have psychic abilities.

When we meet Chris and his mother aka Madam Melina, who is on the mend from a recent stroke and Chris is taking care of her. When his mom gets an ominous vision of his best friend Angie, she asks Chris to deliver the message to her and the only place Chris can find her is at her new club, Carnival W. Of course, Chris doesn’t want to run into Angie’s older brother and the keeper of a hot one time kiss that is seared into Chris’ memory, Jackson Whitman but he does run the new club with Angie and poor Chris is out of luck.

I love that Jack and Chris have a semi past and all that we know is they’ve kissed, they both thoroughly enjoyed the kiss but they both also rub one another the wrong way. When Chris takes a job at the club as its resident psychic, the UST between these two gets turned way up and way fast. Chris thinks Jack is hot, too hot for his own stuck up, proper image presenting good and Jack thinks Chris is sex on a stick but can’t stand that he “scamming his customers.” Ugh. These two.

I love that we get both Chris and Jack’s POV in this one. We get Chris from the beginning with his ominous dream and then we get his moms prediction for Angie that kinda seem related. We get Jack and his amazing ability to be an ass but it’s nice that we get inside his head to know what’s up and where he is coming from. Add in a third POV of some creeper who is stalking Angie and Chris and who and this story gets hella fun.

I had so much fun reading this on a Sunday where I needed to smile. The push and pull between Chris and Jack was pure joy to read and I truly adored how they fell in love with one another. The love doesn’t come all that quickly as Jack needs to trust in Chris’ psychic ability and Chris needs to trust that Jack wants him regardless of the Whitman image Jack has been trying to uphold for years.

The addition of Connor McCord was interesting but I wanted to know more about him being a childhood friend of Jack’s and the way he was with Angie kept me wondering just which of the Whitman siblings he really wanted to experiment with.

The mystery of who was stalking Angie and Jack was a tad over the top but it led to a whole bunch of fun and chances for the men to be protective over one another. I would say it was unbelievable that they would get it on the way they did under the circumstances that were present but I am married and know that a dude could be have serious injuries and if he could get it up, he could get it on so I was totes okay with those moments. Also, sex in stressful situations like Chris and Jack were in along with the adrenaline, yeah I can see it happened and plus, it was hot so… again, totes okay with it.

I have to say I loved the idea of Carnival W being a grown up version of a traditional carnival. It would be a blast to go to and being attached to a hotel makes it that much easier to get home after a few drinks and games.

But anyway.

This was a fun, fluffy and sexy story about two men who needed to put everything else aside and just focus on what’s in front of them to find love. Oh, and it’s totally a story about trusting your gut, your dreams and listening to your psychic mother.


Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Gods of Vengeance by Thom Collins


Thom Collins is here today talking about his new book and he's also giving away a copy too! Don't miss your chance to win below!



Tell us about yourself.

My name is Thom Collins and I live in County Durham with my husband and two cats. I’m originally from Northumbria but came to Durham twenty years ago. I write MM romance, sometimes a little dark, sometimes scary. Gods of Vengeance ticks both of those boxes. When I’m not writing I work part time in the criminal justice system. I feel I get a nice balance from the two careers. The bustle of a busy office contrasting with the solitude of writing.

Tell us about Gods of Vengeance.

This is a contemporary revenge thriller, my favourite kind. I love the theme of revenge, of someone righting a wrong, whatever the genre. I think it goes back to my love of westerns. All the great ones are about a hero getting even. In this book, the brother and best friend of a murdered man join forces when the police fail to bring his killers to justice. The two men have always had an unspoken attraction to each other, and it’s something that develops further as they set out on their quest for revenge.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

It’s always different. For this one, the title came first, followed by the characters. It was originally written for inclusion in a military themed anthology (Brothers in Arms from Pride Publishing) so I knew one of the guys had to have a military back ground. I also wanted to set it in the kind of rural area where I live. Through the day job I’m pretty familiar with rural crimes and criminal types. So this book was born out of all those elements.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t procrastinate. Get on with it. Decide the story you want to tell and do it. And once you start, don’t stop. No one will read an unfinished book, so you have to keep going to the end. Some days are harder than others but don’t get distracted by new ideas, stick to what you’re doing. If you have another great idea in the middle, make a note of it, but keep going with the current story. You can write the other story once you’re finished.

Where do you see publishing going in the future?

I have no idea. My first story was published in an erotic magazine in 1993 and I wrote for hundreds of others in the 1990s and 2000s. None of those magazines exist today. The readers of gay fiction back then were mainly gay men, now it’s mostly ladies. The market is changing all the time. As much as I love ebooks, I’d like to see us re-embrace physical books. Vinyl records have made a slow but steady come back and I hope publishing follows that trend.

Blurb:

United in passion. Driven by vengeance.

Owen Hazard, a young farmer is dead. Murdered while he tried to prevent a robbery on his land. His older brother, Captain Mark Hazard, returns home for the funeral. Owen’s best friend, Riley runs the local pub. He has information about the night Owen was killed – he knows who was responsible. The police are doing nothing. Vengeance is their only option.

United in their passion for each other and a thirst for revenge, Riley and Mark must take the law into their own hands if there’s to be any justice for Owen.

General Release: 21st March 2017

BUY LINKS:

Pride Publishing
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Thom Collins Bio

Thom Collins is the author of the novel Closer by Morning, with Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.

His novella Silent Voices will be published by Pride in May, followed by the novel Anthem of the Sea, the first book in the Anthem Trilogy. He has recently finished writing the second book in a series and is making plans for the third.

Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonk-busters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age. Since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.

Links:

Blog: www. thomcollinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @thomwolf and @realthomcollins
Email: thomcollinsauthor@aol.com



Be sure to enter to win a e-copy [epub or PDF only] of Gods of Vengeance. Entries close March 28th at Midnight PST and we will notify the winner shortly thereafter. If no response is received within 48 hrs we will choose another winner. Good luck!

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Review: Fair Catch (Players of L.A. #2) by Leigh Carman

A Players of LA Novel

Two men.

One night of passion.

They never expected to see each other again.

They were wrong.

Tobias Bennett is a quiet and unassuming man who teaches yoga and enjoys parkour. Though he is proud to be gay, an abusive relationship with a domineering man has left Tobias wary of romance, and he keeps to himself in his tidy Los Angeles apartment.

Pro football player Sullivan Archer is Tobias’s complete opposite: loud, brash, fond of the spotlight… and deep in the closet. When a hamstring injury sends Van to Tobias as part of his therapy, neither of them is expecting to come face-to-face with his one-night stand. Now they’re stuck together throughout Van’s healing process, and the close proximity will force them to deal with some hard truths. For Tobias, it’s realizing his hookup is a celebrity. For Van, it means accepting that he likes Tobias more than he wanted. They’ll both have to acknowledge that if they choose to pursue a relationship, their lives will change in big ways.



Told in dual first person POV, Fair Catch is a new adult romance (I use that term in the loosest of terms) between 22 year old yoga instructor, parkour enthusiast, genius techie and millionaire 5' 6" Tobias "Toby" Bennett and 25 year old Superbowl winning, best NFL wide receiver in the league, 6' 6" alpha male Sullivan "Van" Archer.

That's a lot of hats these main characters wear. Usually when I read a story that give their MC holds many titles, it's used as the depth and characteristics that story lacks.

So is the case with Fair Catch. It was the equivalent of reading about paper thin types play acting a romance. I'm not a fan of those.



Also this story doesn't have trigger warnings, so let me get those out the way: domestic abuse, gay bashing, attempted rape and domestic violence.

The story starts out roughly, Toby (the smaller, beautiful owner of crystalline eyes) is herded into an office but a club owner (best friend of Van) for closeted Van Archer's pick of ass for the night. Toby was celibate and allegedly wary of others since his last relationship, one with a controlling abusive older, larger lawyer. So what does young Toby do when grabbed and told to go into the room? Why he drops to his knees and hooks up with the intimidating stranger's friend. Makes sense.

This monumental hookup is mentioned in the blurb, however, there is no description of this life changing scene, just exaltation of why the MC is so beautiful and smaller, there's a foot difference in height, don't you know?

The story jumps around to Van winning the Superbowl but getting an owwie. Then we jump to a yoga class with Toby as the teach. And it continues to jump all around to make for a bumpy transitions, declarations of not doing an action and then doing it either before or a few paragraphs down the line. The disjointed brand of story telling continues throughout. And the thing is, though weeks and months pass, the main characters basically spend a handful of days together, with no meaningful events written and shown to the reader.

Oh, there is sex. Repetitive sex that I could write the script for you: big hulking guy manhandles the little guy, calls him "beautiful" two finger probe into the "little hole", condom, lube, insert dick, thrust, "mine", cums and falls on top. Rinse and repeat.

Fair Catch was swimming around the 2.5 mark until the repeated attempted rapes plot line. Actually it's right around when the unnecessary villain/ex-boyfriend with the extremely weak blackmail twist was thrown in. After that, the story went onto an over the top tangent with a lot of bruises, tears, possessive behavior and and stereotypes.

The best things about the novel is the concept and the readability. It's very simple to read and you can quickly zip through.

The negatives outweigh the positives however.



The writing style - Too telling, contradictory and relies on stereotypical characters to make the story "interesting" and for added drama. The telling is so heavy, an example is that a character would need to look in the mirror to tell the reader they were horny and describe to you, instead of just writing it and letting the reader figure it out on their own. To say the book needed a through edit, content wise, is not wrong. There are too many examples of this writing style where it fails to showcase the character. More descriptive and time were spent on the superficial things rather than letting the character have a hint of depth. And key scenes that could have actually used a thorough description were ignored.

All of the character could instantly know what the other characters were thinking, been through, etc. Maybe clairvoyant is an unofficial hat to add to the list of jobs they all have.

The stereotypes - I really was not a fan of the way Leo, Toby's best friend was written. He was nothing more that a loud color wearing, cock hound who went into hysterics at a drop of a hat.

The abuse/domestic violence - I am always on the side of an abuse victim. However they react is their right. This book minimizes abuse (also again the characters can just tell what happened to each other):

"My last boyfriend. He was... not nice."
"What do you mean?" Then Leo gasps, gripping his shirt over his chest. "Oh My God, Toby. Did he hit you?"
"Not exactly. Well, sort of. I don't know, Leo. It was abusive, I know, but it all built up over such a long period of time, I didn't realize what was going on until it was too late."

Toby can't tell if he was abused? It was just last year when he described being raped and beaten. Or the fact Toby stated he felt worse for his friend being called homophobic slurs than suffering through actual physical abuse and being raped. Both are horrible, let me be clear, but they are not equal.

And in case the past rape wasn't used enough, the attempted rape plot device was added... TWICE!

To create dramatic effect? The last one made no sense, nor did it add to anything other than it gave the alpha hero a shot to flex his muscles and allegedly save the day. The thing is Van wasn't there the first time the attempted rape card was brought to the table and he didn't seem as cut about it afterwards.

Van - I know he's supposed to read like a good guy. But the way he was written was not as effective, He realized his true self as being a gay man by not wearing sweats and sneakers but rather tailored, designer clothes. Seriously? Or how about the fact he knows about Toby's abused past but didn't care when he got mad at his lover and started to go apeshit on him? Or manhandling Toby in the heat of sexy times so soon after Toby gets beaten again.

If an abuse victim closes himself off from others, why would Van be the one to break their celibacy on? Nothing was shown to support that. The reader is told they're horny for one another, told they're soul mates, told they love each other...but nothing is shown.

This book has the potential to appeal to certain readers, if you rather not learn main characters' life stories, just want a beginning and middle and end with some sex thrown in and a lot of drama, then Fair Catch might be the book for you.

For me:


I'm sure this is my last Leigh Carman I'll read.

Not recommended.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!