Review: The Past Comes Home (Ames Bridge, #2) by Silvia Violet

Twenty years ago, Paxton Marshall realized he liked boys, in particular his brother’s best friend, Brad. Pax now runs a successful art gallery, but he’s never found anyone who stirs his heart the way Brad did.

Brad Watson is back in town for his twentieth high school reunion. However, the celebration of long-ago days is the last thing on his mind. He’s there for one reason: to finally tell Pax how he feels.

Pax is shocked to learn Brad is not only gay but also interested in him. Dating a man in Ames Bridge isn’t as simple as it sound, though. In order to make a relationship work, both men will have to bolster their courage and alter their expectations.

Population 1 Cupcake

I was crazy excited about this book. I mean, brother's best friend, age gap, unrequited love being requited twenty years later... what's not to like?

Pax. Pax is what I don't like. Let me tell you about Pax. There are realists. There are pessimists. Then there's Pax. He deserves a category unto himself with its own personal black cloud following him around like Pigpen. You'd think the fact that he's been crushing on and for all intents and purposes half in love with Brad since he was FOURTEEN would imbue him with an excitement the likes of which can only be witnessed in kids on Christmas morning when Santa has made it rain.

You'd be wrong. He acts like the prospect of getting with his fantasy man is on par with getting a root canal. It was painful, it went on far too long and it snapped my enjoyment like a twig. I skimmed the last 30ish% because I could not deal any more. I think I get the gist of his characterization and I do think it's plausible, maybe even likely, but woooooweeeeee did he get on my last good nerve.

Told from both of their perspectives Pax's negativism interfered with their dynamic making it seem awkward and forced at times, clunky. The ending is a happy one but I couldn't buy it. It's rushed, for one, I needed more time with them as a couple and then perhaps I could buy into their coupletry. But as it stands Pax is too negative to Brad's optimistic and gregarious personality for me to buy them long-term. Or maybe I just like Brad and feel like he deserves better?

The sex between them is hot. On paper. But since I couldn't connect with them I didn't really get into it. Brad's bossy and there's a bit of size difference between them which is typically my catnip, but Pax and his stuttering and general milquetoastness left me cold.

I like the premise of unrequited love finally being requited after twenty years in a small Southern town, no less, though be forewarned there is a significant amount of homophobia and general nastiness from some of the townsfolk. Some of them are really supportive and the general vibe of this small North Carolina town was well crafted.

This can be read as a standalone. I had no trouble keeping up and I may even be interested in the next one, but this one I can't recommend. Unfortunately.

An ARC was provided.

Audiobook Review: Provoked (Enlightenment, #1) by Joanna Chambers

When a man loses his heart, he has no choice but to follow…

Enlightenment, Book 1

Lowborn David Lauriston lacks the family connections needed to rise in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world. Worse, his latest case—defending weavers accused of treason—has brought him under suspicion of harbouring radical sympathies.

Troubled by his sexuality, tormented by memories of a man he once platonically loved, David lives a largely celibate life—until a rare sexual encounter with a compelling stranger turns his world on its head.

Cynical and worldly, Lord Murdo Balfour is more at home in hedonistic London than dingy, repressed Edinburgh. Unlike David, he intends to eventually marry while continuing to enjoy the company of men whenever he pleases. Yet sex with David is different. It’s personal, intimate, and instead of extinguishing his desire, it only leaves him hungry for more.

As David’s search for the man who betrayed the weavers deepens, he begins to suspect that his mysterious lover has more sinister reasons for his presence in Edinburgh. The truth could leave his heart broken…and more necks stretching on the gallows.

Warning: Contains mystery and danger set in 1822 Scotland, and a forbidden love between two men that will leave you on the edge of your seat—until the next book.

Narrated by: Hamish McKinley
Listening Length: 5 hours and 52 minutes

Guest Reviewer - Annery

Historicals were my gateway to romance and it was no different with m/m. My first was “Tangled Web” by Lee Rowan and I loved it. Since then I’ve mostly gravitated to contemporaries but always keep a gimlet eye on what’s out there in the crinoline and gauntlet era. The problem is that most m/m historicals are either wildly inaccurate, as in the historic part is window dressing, or self-flagellating tales of woe where the best possible outcome is some Lord/valet arrangement for a HEA. I tread carefully but have lately come upon some gems and this is one of them.

First things first: the audio is by Hamish McKinlay and it’s divine. A work of art all on its own. The characters are clearly and distinctly identified not only by their accents but also by their ‘voice’ and tone. At every turn you know exactly who’s speaking. The emotions are clear and vivid and more than once I felt David’s quiet sadness and moments of joy. Bonus points for clearing up the Scottish pronunciation of many words that I’m sure I’d otherwise be mangling and just in time for the return of “Outlander” too!

So let’s talk about the story. The book opens with the execution of Andrew Hardie & John Baird. This was a real event. Here’s a historical snippet not from the book:

“... on 8th September 1820, Andrew Hardie, a weaver from Glasgow, and John Baird, a weaver from Condorrat, met similar fates in Stirling: they were also hanged and beheaded. 19 others, mostly weavers, were sentenced to transportation, and already on their way to the colonies (mainly New South Wales in Australia); and that was the end of what became known as the Radical War, or the 1820 Rising. But, as Britain charged headlong into an age of immense industrialisation, it wasn’t to be the last time that the recently coined term ‘radical’ would serve as a prefix for a popular movement of workers demanding their ‘rights’ in society, and threatening revolution if their ‘rights’ were withheld.

One astonishing fact about the 1820 Rising, accepted by many historians today, is that the government, through the agency and double-dealing of spies, actually incited the rising in the first place. Why would a government, gripped by the fear of a popular revolution amongst its populace, incite a general strike in the very epicentre of radicalism? To answer this question, we must unearth the roots of the 1820 Rising, and of radical politics in general.

In Scotland, the Presbyterian Church, although often repressive in policing the moral fortitude of its flock, had passionately defended certain ‘rights’ amongst the ‘common people’ since the time of the Reformation – the first and foremost of these being the right to read the bible in one’s own language, without the interference of Latinate priests. Consequently, throughout the 18th century and into the early-19th century, Scotland had one of the highest levels of literacy anywhere in Europe, and indeed the world – a much higher rate than in neighbouring England, or even in revolutionary France.

As the economic situation worsened for many workers in Scotland, not only were they receptive to new, ‘radical’ solutions to their problems, but they could read for themselves the works of Robert Burns singing the merits of the common man, or read the pamphlets of Tom Paine, such as the famous ‘Rights of Man’ (1791-92) which popularised the notions of universal suffrage (for men) and republicanism as never before.

Beyond this peculiarly Scottish trend of literacy, it must be stated that the major influence on the 1820 Rising is the fact that those involved had lived in an age of revolution for over a generation. The American Revolution of 1776 had already struck a blow to kingship and its attendant system of feudal privileges.” [1]

This is the world in which we meet David Lauriston, an advocate who worked on the defense for the two doomed men. He has come to witness their execution as a final act of solidarity. This is a genius way of showing us who David is and what he stands for and that is one of the things that Joanna Chambers does masterfully. Each scene helps to illuminate who the characters are and what they’re about; whether it’s something mundane like having dinner or momentous like bearing witness to a hanging or mind blowing like sucking cock in a dark, filthy alley. These are all moments in a life, the life of David Lauriston. David comes from a small village, the son of hardworking farmers, and the first member of his family to go to University. He’s a young lawyer trying to make a name for himself in Edinburgh. He’s conflicted over having ‘lost’ his country accent in order to succeed in his profession; he doesn’t know how to feel over becoming a city dweller and having abandoned manual labor and country habits for the life of books, but he is absolutely guilt ridden by his continuous failure to resist his weakness or defect, which is that David is attracted to men, however he forges ahead with quiet dignity. When he fails he gets up, dusts himself off, and goes on as best he can. I loved that about him. He knows who he is, though he’s not inflexible, and is trying to forge a life within personal moral boundaries. This means he’s unwilling to deceive any future wife with promises of love and fidelity and therefore chooses to remain a bachelor however socially advantageous a marriage could be.

On the day of the execution, while lodging at an inn, David meets one Murdo Balfour and they share a memorable encounter which haunts both men.

“The cobbles under his knees were hard and wet, but he didn’t care. … Even if David didn’t climax now, he would be able to do so later, just from remembering this. His own cock was painful in his breeches, swollen with desire but constricted by the tight fabric and his kneeling position. In an odd way, he relished the uncomfortable sensation. Strangely it almost enhanced the delight of pleasing Balfour.”

Luckily or not through fate and circumstance they meet again and their lives become intertwined which leads them to circle each other with interest and certainly desire. For David this is a problem because giving into his ‘unnatural’ proclivities is something he tries to minimize, though he knows eventually he’ll always fail, and that is David: trying to do his best but clear on his imperfections. His polar opposite is Murdoch Balfour or as it turns out, Lord Murdo to civilians.

Lord Murdo the younger son of a Marquess. He’s tall and dark where David is of average height, slender, and a coppery redhead. Murdo is an unabashed hedonist, who enjoys the pleasures of the body, without regard of what others may think, whereas David has been brought up to believe that sex between men is not only a sin, but he also knows it to be a crime in the eyes of the law.

“I don’t think the fact that I want to stick my cock in the occasional arse is any business of God, the King or anyone else.”

This devil-may-care attitude on the part of Murdo is due in large part to his social class and upbringing, but Murdo is also a pragmatist where David is an idealist or a romantic in the classical sense, as Murdo accuses … and yet when they come together they’re combustible. David and Murdo share a couple of intimate and devastating encounters during which David allows himself to go further than he ever has in any previous tryst and Murdo finds himself falling deeper into an attraction and desire that go very much against his wishes.

Being a brilliant writer Joanna Chambers knows that a HEA within the scope of this first book would be disingenuous to say the least and dishonest. It would also be false to who these characters have shown themselves to be and their historical and social reality. As a balm she gives us the last two chapters of the book. In my opinion they are the heart and soul of the book and one of the spots where Hamish McKinlay’s narration shines bright. He made my eyes leak. David and Murdo finally see each other’s true mettle and it comes as no surprise, that though battered, David is the one left standing, whereas you can see the cracks starting to form in Murdo’s carefully constructed exterior. Nothing is done out of character and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that they go on their separate ways to live out their respective lives. The heartbreaking, but ultimately honest, final chapter has David embracing the only HFN he can envision for himself. I’m not being glib when I say that I felt happy for him. David was loved and accepted by those who mattered to him and he felt it. He’d reached a level of inner peace. Those aren’t things to scoff at in any time period.

When I was done with the last period in this book I blindly One-Clicked the rest of the series. I’d recommend that everyone do it too and for this one add the audio. It’s the only one available for now but I’ll be on the lookout for the rest of the series.

A review copy was provided.

Blog Tour + Giveaway: His Convenient Husband (Love and Sports #1) by Robin Covington

Robin Covington and IndiGo Marketing make the final stop on the His Convenient Husband blog tour! Don't miss today's exclusive excerpt and giveaway! Enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Title:  His Convenient Husband
Series: Love and Sports, Book One
Author: Robin Covington
Publisher:  Entangled Publishing
Release Date: October 9, 2017
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 50,000
Genre: Romance, marriage of convenience, interracial romance, sports romance, LGBTQ

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NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not.

Brash and loud, Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence.

Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary…until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe. . .marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.

Exclusive Excerpt

I had so much fun writing HIS CONVENIENT HUSBAND but I’m not gonna lie that some of the most fun for me was putting Victor and Isaiah through hell. These were two men, so very different, and brought together for a really good reason but the sexual attraction between them was a huge problem when Isaiah didn’t want to risk his heart every again. So, I tortured them and made them earn their HEA – as one does.

Here’s an exclusive excerpt just for you guys . . .  one where I loved cranking up the emotional stakes:

“You took your time coming home,” Isaiah said, his tone as at as the granite countertop.
“I needed to blow off some steam,” he replied, his accent heavy on his tongue tonight, a result of the drinks and his fatigue. He’d pay for it tomorrow on the rehearsal floor, but he didn’t care. “The last place I wanted to be was here until I’d settled down.”
“Two a.m.,” Isaiah said, his gaze turning pointedly to the clock glowing on the surface of the microwave oven. “You’ve got rehearsal in the morning.”
His anger had cooled, but Isaiah’s words threw gasoline on the embers, and in a ash he was back to a three-alarm blaze.
“Well, he was worth it.”
His first reaction to Isaiah’s shocked expression was a mean and petty glee that his words had hit the mark. But as his husband’s expression morphed into raw hurt, his victory was tarnished by shame of not only the lie, but also the smallness of the behavior. He wasn’t that man, not a guy who hurt other people to make himself feel bigger.
“I see,” Isaiah said, clearing his throat as he leaned heavily on the kitchen island, hands visibly unsteady, but his usual mask of calm and unconcern slamming down like a gate barring any access to the man underneath. “Well, I guess that’s...” His jaw clenched like he was fighting back revealing any emotion, but his words gave him away. “You didn’t waste any time.”
“You told me you didn’t want me and that I should look elsewhere. I did what you told me to do, Isaiah.” He shrugged, hopefully transmitting a nonchalance he wasn’t feeling at all.
The silence that stretched between them was even more pronounced in the stillness of the early morning. God, he wanted to tell him that nothing had happened with that guy because of him, to reopen this discussion and try to get another outcome, but Victor knew it was a waste of time. Isaiah had been nothing but clear. Victor was the one with the problem.
No time like the present to deal with another problem.
“About what happened today with Evan,” he said, his words changing the subject so quickly that Isaiah paused, visibly taking a few seconds to get caught up.
“I can’t have him exposed like that. Stephen and I built his life to be normal and away from all the bullshit of Hollywood and Los Angeles.”
“My activism isn’t bullshit, Isaiah,” Victor said, interrupting him. “The reporters hit a nerve today when they called me a coward.”
“You’re not.” Isaiah started to object, but Victor cut him off. This was his time to talk.
“I feel like one sometimes. I’m safe here, because of you, while my brothers and sisters are suffering, and that is why I can’t stop talking about it. I have the freedom and the platform, and I’m using it because I can. I understand your concerns about your team, and I agree that Evan shouldn’t be part of it, but I’m not going to stop.” He took a breath and swallowed. “I figured it was a given considering how we ended up here.”
Isaiah dipped his head, lifting to scrub at his two a.m. stubble. Victor let him think; nothing about this situation was easy. When he looked up again and their eyes locked across the darkened kitchen, Victor knew how hard this was on Isaiah. His dark eyes were roiling with emotions, and none of them were good, except for the ashes of desire. That was good, except for the fact that it would never lead anywhere.
“I know how we got here, but I can’t let our arrangement derail my life, Evan’s life.”
He didn’t say it out loud, but the word “temporary” hung in the air. Victor wasn’t expected to be around forever, and that hurt. It was as simple as that. And it made his next suggestion very easy to say.
“My place here in the L.A. company isn’t guaranteed.” Isaiah’s expression was confused, but understanding took over as he continued his solution. “Other companies are interested. London, Paris, and New York have all been vocal about wanting me to come there. I’ll be going to New York in a few weeks to do a special performance, and I think they’ll offer me a spot as a principal dancer. If I take it, then it could solve our problems. Not even the immigration people could dispute a legitimate job offer.”
“I didn’t mean you had to leave,” Isaiah said, his tone full of the regret that also tightened his jaw. “I don’t want you to have to leave.”
Before the events of the last couple of days, Victor would have indulged in his hopeless romanticism, but this time he wouldn’t make that mistake. Isaiah had been clear, honest, and Victor would be the same. It was the least they owed each other.
He opened the dishwasher and placed his glass inside. Victor passed his husband, suddenly wanting nothing more than his own bed. “I know you aren’t telling me to go, Isaiah, but you aren’t exactly asking me to stay, either.”

Thanks for reading! If you love my guys as much as I do, drop me a line at




Entangled Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets. . .one page at a time. When she’s not writing she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans.

A 2016 RITA® Award finalist, Robin’s books have won the National Reader’s Choice and Golden Leaf Awards and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and the Book Seller’s Best.

She lives in Maryland with her handsome husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder (Yes – THE Joan Wilder)

Drop her a line at - she always writes back.

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Audiobook Review: Mahu (Mahu #1) by Neil S. Plakcy

Mahu -- a generally negative Hawaiian term for homosexuals -- introduces a unique character to detective fiction. Kimo Kanapa'aka is a handsome, mixed-race surfer living in Honolulu, a police detective confronting his homosexuality in an atmosphere of macho bravado within the police force. A man of intelligence, strength, honesty, resourcefulness, and intense dedication to the people of Hawaii, Kimo is a hard-boiled hero you will never forget. Fast-paced, intricately plotted, thoroughly enjoyable, this is a sexy, surprisingly moving mystery about discovering oneself as much as catching a killer.

Listening Length: 11 hours
Narrator: Joel Leslie

Reviewer: Annika

Every time I pick up a book narrated by Joel Leslie, my immediate reaction is always "Oh no, not him again". There's just something about his tone/intonation that sounds condescending to me, and I can't stand condescending people so it gets my back up.

At the same time, Joel Leslie is also brilliant at narrating books. He makes them come alive. Every time. And he has such a wide range of accents that he delivers without fail. So even though the first few minutes of his books are a bit of a struggle for me, I always end up enjoying his narration, without fail. Which is why I keep forgetting that oh no moment each time I pick up his books.
Mahu was a really good combination of coming out intertwined in a murder mystery.

A drunken night out changes Kimo's life in ways he never expected.

On his way home after hanging out and drinking with his friends, Kimo impulsively decides to go into a gay bar not far from his home. Going into this bar is his first step to admitting who he really is - a gay man. And he is fascinated by what he finds, and so turned on. But most of all he is scared. Leaving the bar he witnesses a crime. A crime he has no idea how to handle.

I found it refreshing that Kimo was honest with his partner from the beginning and didn't cover up or make excuses for what he did and didn't do that night outside the bar. That easily could've turned out to be one of those big and dramatic dragged out secrets that just explodes in the end of the book. The ones where you're thinking "Why wasn't he just honest from the beginning?" I was honestly waiting (resigning myself) for it to happen but it never did. Sure he didn't shout it from the rooftop or tell everyone, but he did enough to keep it from becoming dramatic.

I liked Kimo and his struggles felt real. Sure he came across as melodramatic and a bit too scared of himself at times, but honestly - who am I to judge others feelings and beliefs? (And yes, I know that Kimo is a fictional character, but the sentiment still applies).

Something that didn't work for me was that basically as soon as Kimo started to admit to himself that he was gay, every gay guy he meets turns him on - and he turn them on. It was never ending and just too much. I don't know if it was supposed to be because that he was allowing himself to see, after repressing that side of him for so long, but it just didn't work for me. I really don't mind exploring or cruising/hooking up or whatever, but this came across more like a teen boy just discovering what his dick could do - with as much self-control...

This book was written some 10+ years ago, and you can tell that while reading. There are a number of issues raised in this book, and you realise how much some things have changed in that time in regards to rights and opinions, and how many that are (sadly) still the same.

I loved reading about Kimo's first stumbling steps towards admitting to himself and others that he was gay. You can feel that his struggles and fears are real. By the end of the book he still has a very long way to go, but he is on his way, there's promise in that ending. It was a really good start to a promising series and it will be interesting to see what happens next.

A free copy of this audiobook was provided in exchange for an honest review..

Review: Taming the Beast by Andrew Grey

The suspicious death of Dante Bartholomew’s wife changed him, especially in the eyes of the residents of St. Giles. They no longer see a successful businessman… only a monster they believe was involved. Dante’s horrific reputation eclipses the truth to the point that he sees no choice but to isolate himself and his heart.

The plan backfires when he meets counselor Beau Clarity and the children he works with. Beau and the kids see beyond the beastly reputation to the beautiful soul inside Dante, and Dante’s cold heart begins to thaw as they slip past his defenses. The warmth and hope Beau brings to Dante’s life help him see his entire existence—his trials and sorrows—in a brighter light.

But Dante’s secrets could rip happiness from their grasp… especially since someone isn’t above hurting those Dante has grown to love in order to bring him down.

This story was pretty angsty, but then I would expect that from the title. Dante isn't so much a beast as a very damaged man who has a lot of secrets, and some big gaping wounds to heal.

Enter Beau. The newest psychologist at the local drug and alcohol centre that gets a lot of its funding from Dante’s charity foundation. Beau is used to getting things done, and had no interest in taking more money from the foundation than it needs, but he can't help but want to be around Dante, even if it's just to find out more about him.

I liked Beau’s character. His personality was good and his connection to his colleagues and the centre was convincing. I could tell he loved what he did.

His relationship with Dante started off very rocky, and neither of them really got with the program right away. It seemed like they were not on the same page, and part of that is Dante's secret.

The angst was a bit much for me. I'm not into that level of drama and secret keeping. I know readers out there enjoy this level of angst, so I think there is definitely readers who will love this.

Angst aside, this was an easy read, with some nice chemistry and the familiarity of the fairy tale it represents. My favourite character in this story is the butler, Roberts. I love a meddling butler. He added some comedic flair to Dante's life, and helped the story flow.

Recommended to all of those readers who enjoy fairy tale romances, with secrets revealed, and great physical chemistry between characters.

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Finding Home by Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh & Riptide Publishing are promoting Finding Home today & they're offering up a $20 Riptide credit too! Be sure to enter below for your chance to win! Good luck!

About Finding Home

How do you find a home when your heart is in ashes?

With their mum dead and their father on remand for her murder, Leo Hendry and his little sister, Lila, have nothing in the world but each other. Broken and burned, they’re thrust into the foster care system. Leo shields Lila from the fake families and forced affection, until the Poulton household is the only place left to go.

Charlie de Sousa is used to other kids passing through the Poulton home, but there’s never been anyone like his new foster brother. Leo’s physical injuries are plain to see, but it’s the pain in his eyes that draws Charlie in the most.

Day by day, they grow closer, but the darkness inside Leo consumes him. He rejects his foster parents, and when Charlie gets into trouble, Leo’s attempt to protect him turns violent. When Leo loses control, no one can reach him—except Charlie. He desperately needs a family—a home—and only Charlie can show him the way. 

Available now from Riptide Publishing.

About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett's debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at, and co-owns the specialist stock site with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

Social media:
Cover art enquiries:

To celebrate the release of Finding Home, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 14, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Tag Team Review: Breakfast at Midnight by Kim Dias

Hope can be found in unexpected places.

Lonely, still struggling with his divorce, and suffering from writer’s block, successful thriller author Fred spends much more time in an all-night Denny’s than is healthy for any man. It’s the last place he thought he’d meet someone like Callum, who has literally run away from the internationally famous boy band Leos.

Despite their age difference, the two become friends, and their long nights of soul-searching might help them find the courage to face their problems: Fred’s deteriorating relationship with his daughter and Callum’s career issues. It’s easy for their lives to tangle together, and each might provide the other the means to move beyond the past—even if it’s not a journey they can take together.

Fantasy Living - 4 Hearts

Suffering from depression and insomnia, still heartbroken from his divorce, Fred spends his early morning hours at Denny’s. It's pretty mundane, and although he people watches, it's just the same regulars he always sees. Until a young man in skinny jeans and a hoodie walks in one night and captures Fred’s attention.

Callum is on a hiatus from his break out band. He wants to finally come out of the closet, but the band is up for re-contract and coming out is not on the cards. Angry about his fate he finds himself conversing with an older man in Denny's in a small town he's fled to. Avoiding his life and just taking a moment to breathe.

These two are sweet together. They both have issues, and both have secrets. Fred is avoiding any contact with his ex-husband, and this includes refusing to attend his daughter’s birthday party. This made me sad. Fred is so wrapped up in himself that he is ignoring how hurtful staying away from his daughter is to both of them.

I enjoyed the conversation’s Fred and Callum had. The easy flirting, and the newness of their relationship. Everything is intense and fast, and Callum finds himself needing to pause and evaluate what he is doing with Fred and his life.

I was invested in both characters and their journey. I really wanted them to make something strong with their relationship. Their chemistry was great, and the drama was low.

I enjoyed the way this ended, though the journey was unexpected. I thought it fit with the tone of self discovery and mending heart wounds.

Recommended for all MM romance readers.

Chelsea - 3 Hearts

After finishing this book I was pretty deflated and I kind of wanted to hate it...but I just couldn't. This book was beautifully written and I became so consumed with these characters and their story!

This was a love story but definitely had more of a healing/self discovery feel to it.

Fred is struggling after his divorce from his long-term partner and husband. He spends many nights drinking coffee at a crappy diner well into the early hours of the morning. As we get to know Fred and his story a bit better, we see he has been barely a shadow of himself for the past few years. Then Callum comes along, young, but mature and he somehow drags Fred out of the greyness and gives him a reason to better himself.

These two men are what this story is about and these two characters are what makes this story great. Their individual complications and the connection to each other felt genuine and their story progression was done very well. There is even communication!!!

I've noticed some issues have arisen about the ‘cheating’ but these two knew each other for one week! Five of these days they were apart from each other with no contact, that's two days of knowing each other! They hadn't labelled their relationship as anything in particular and the ensuing conversation between Callum and Fred was perfect!!

So why only 3 hearts? The reason this is such a low rating is the lack of ending and I feel like if any book needs a epilogue, it's this one! Things ended well but it had no real conclusion and everything was left so open-ended. After what had happened between these two I needed to see them happily together and I was left feeling very bereft at not having seen it.

I would recommend this book, it's very addictive but don't expect a lovey dovey HEA. It was happy and worked well for these characters but I definitely needed a bit more of a conclusion to their story.

Review: Snake Snack (Arrowtown #2) by Lisa Oliver

Simon liked the idea of having a Fated Mate; after all, Ra and Seth certainly seem happy enough. A random encounter in Jackson changes his thinking though, making him wonder if he should have thought that mate thing through more thoroughly. As a snake shifter, he was used to being alone. Who cared if he upset anyone or not? But his old behavior wasn’t going to win him any hearts, including his mate’s.

Darwin works three jobs to survive. On his own for more years than he can count, he stays away from shifters and shifter towns. Trusting no one, he works and sleeps and while his life is dull, it’s safe and that’s all Darwin cares about. When he comes across a snake in his apartment, his first instinct is to hit it with his trusty bat. But the mate pull works both ways and Darwin’s forced to consider some changes in his life.

Two stalkers, two kidnappings, life is rarely dull in Arrowtown. With Ra running for mayor and Liam’s and Lucien’s life threatened by their past, Simon and Darwin have their work cut out for them. Being mates is one thing; love is a totally different matter.

Usual warnings associated with stories about men falling in love with other men. If it’s not your cup of tea please don’t buy this. NOTE: This is an MPREG story and includes a scene with a flying mouse, a very clever Fae child and a grumpy snake.

After reading (and loving) A Tiger's Tale, the first book in the Arrowtown series, I had high hopes for this story.  I mean, a mouse and a snake?  Talk about blurring the lines between mate and prey!  Sadly, this didn't live up to my expectations.

It wasn't a bad story.  I did enjoy it for what it was, but it didn't have the charm that the first story did.  I had a hard time liking Darwin for some reason.  He was just... I dunno, brusque? Standoffish?  Whiny?  He was a tough little guy, I'll give him that much, and he had a lot of spunk.  But, it wasn't a charming kind of spunk.  He didn't listen very well and instead of talking to Simon about their issues, he got all bent out of shape, made assumptions and just didn't try all that hard to get to know him.

Simon, I liked.  I liked him from the first story and even though the Simon from the first book wasn't anything like the Simon here, I still enjoyed it when I was in his head.

There was a severe lack of communication between these two knuckleheads.  Simon ended up in a funk and slept all day, every day and Darwin, instead of trying to find out what was wrong, gets all pissy, thinking Simon really doesn't want him.  Well, turns out there was a very good reason for Simon's ennui, and Darwin almost missed out on it due to his lack of care for his mate.  Simon wasn't totally innocent in all of this though.  He could have put forth more of an effort into trying to connect with Darwin.

As for the plot, there seemed to be a lot of missing pieces.  I wouldn't call them plot holes, per se; more like there were parts left out.  The book felt almost like two different stories because of this.  We get the first part, where Darwin and Simon meet and then mate, which was very exciting and I enjoyed it immensely.  But then the story skips to a month later and Darwin and Simon are at odds with each other.  It was very jarring and pulled me out of the story.  There were other scenes throughout the book like this, where parts were just skimmed over and I was left scratching my head, wondering how we got to this point or that place

There were a few redeeming moments in here that I liked.  I was happily surprised with the pregnancy and especially the birth.  I've never read a birthing like that before.  It was pretty damned creative.  And the side story with Liam has my interest piqued.  I really want to read Liam's story.  It was a fast read and I didn't notice any glaring proofreading errors, so that's a plus.

On the brain candy scale, I would say this is like one of those heart shaped boxes of chocolates you get on Valentines Day.  Some of the chocolates are filled with caramel or dark chocolate fudge and you devour their yummy goodness, but then you bite into one that's filled with some quasi-fruit flavored syrupy goo which you immediately spit out.  You move on to the next one, hesitantly take a bite only to discover you got one of those rare ones where they forgot to insert the filling.  So, delicious in some spots, but disappointing or just not to your taste in others.


Giveaway + Release Blitz: Bitten By Desire (Regent's Park Pack, #3) by Annabelle Jacobs

Annabelle Jacobs & Signal Boost Promotions are celebrating the release of the third Regent's Pack Park novel, Bitten By Desire & they're giving away a $10 Amazon gift card too! See our 4.5 review here.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 78,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Natasha Snow

Regent's Park Pack Series

Bitten By Mistake (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Bitten By Design (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK


Two lovers from rival packs. Have they come together only to be forced apart?

Alec Knight, a beta in the Regent’s Park pack, guards his heart carefully. Ghosts from his past keep him alone and angry, any hope of a relationship impossible while guilt from the pack wars still haunts him. With the anniversary drawing near, Alec needs a distraction.

As a lowly member of the Primrose Hill pack, Mark Appleton isn’t used to having his alpha’s attention. Lately he’s had more than his fair share, and not for the right reasons. Despite growing suspicions that all is not well, Mark tries hard to do better, but constant criticism leaves him desperate for a stress outlet.

Sex is a good way for shifters to let off steam, and while their packs attack each other with accusations and lies, Alec and Mark work out their frustrations in bed. Pillow talk and shared secrets lead to a closeness neither was expecting, but when pack relations reach an all-time low, any future for them seems out of the question.

If they want to be together, they’ll have to go against their alphas’ wishes—except Alec won’t and Mark can’t.


Mark’s scent might have been lost to him before, but standing this close to him, Alec had no trouble picking it out—a light citrusy undertone to the spicy edge he’d detected earlier with just a hint of the tequila working its way out of his system. Even with the alcohol, he smelled good.

Alec took a deep breath in, not bothering to be subtle about it. Might as well put the offer out there. He wasn’t in the mood for games tonight. Maybe he hadn’t consciously gone in there with the intent of hooking up with Mark, but he liked what he saw. Dark hair and blue-green eyes had always done it for him.

It was a bad idea; the worst one Alec had had in a while probably. But like it had done on the street outside, Mark’s scent stirred Alec’s interest, making his wolf perk up and take notice. He didn’t always get that with people he fucked. When it happened, it boded well for the night ahead.

And it was just sex, right? After Cam’s accusations, Alec couldn’t make relations between their packs any worse. Cam might disagree, but Alec needed to get all this tension out of his system if he was to be any use to his alpha over the next few days. And both he and his wolf had decided on Mark.

Author Bio

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They're usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

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