Textual Relations by Cate Ashwood: Quick Review


Evolutionary psychology professor Henry Hathaway is ready to spend his birthday the same way he does every year: a good teeth cleaning followed by lunch with his brother. But when he receives a wrong-number text confirming the details of a date, he does what any considerate person would—he goes to meet them and explain why they’ve been stood up.

Asher Wescott hadn’t expected his blind date to go well, because when do they ever? Henry shows up instead, and things are suddenly looking up. Socially awkward and attached to his routines, Henry is nevertheless one of the most charming and kind men Asher has met in a long time.

Too bad he’s not Henry’s type.

An accidental date, an impulsive kiss, and a few conflicted feelings later, can Asher get Henry to see the world—and him—in a different light?

Release Date: August 10th, 2017

Title: Textual Relations
Author: Cate Ashwood
Publisher: Cate Ashwood
Genre: Contemporary m/m romance (GFY)
Length: Novella – 32,500 words
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35668308-textual-relations

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This is a super sweet, quick read. But it doesn’t skimp on the hotness factor either!

A wrong number, total opposites and someone discovering they weren’t as straight as they thought. This could have been a very formulaic romance. But it was really well written.

Often times a shorter book doesn’t have character development and relies quite heavily on sex scenes to move through the story. And while there are sex scenes- both characters were really great. Henry is completely “adorkable”  and Ash is a bit of a wild child. They complement each other really well. This definitely wasn’t a forced opposites attract story.

Ash teaches Henry to go off script sometimes. To have adventures- big or small. Once Henry realizes that taking a risk brought him to Ash, he understands that letting go of structure sometimes is fine. And Henry does the same for Ash- shows him that sometimes structure is good.

I chuckled with Henry researching his newfound attraction to men (or at least Ash) as completely scientific. It just made perfect sense to him.

It was the perfect palate cleanser after reading a big heavy novel and gearing up for another.

Definitely give this a read. I will absolutely add this author to my list of books to look for.

4 pieces of eye candy

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Out of the Shadows by K.C. Wells: Release Day Review and Giveaway

Can he step out of the shadows and into love’s light?

Eight years ago, Christian Hernandez moved to Jamaica Plain in southern Boston, took refuge in his apartment, and cut himself off from the outside world. And that’s how he’d like it to stay.

Josh Wendell has heard his coworkers gossip about the occupant of apartment #1. No one sees the mystery man, and Josh loves a mystery. So when he is hired to refurbish the apartment’s kitchen and bathrooms, Josh is eager to discover the truth behind the rumors.

When he comes face-to-face with Christian, Josh understands why Christian hides from prying eyes. As the two men bond, Josh sees past his exterior to the man within, and he likes what he sees. But can Christian find the courage to emerge from the darkness of his lonely existence for the man who has claimed his heart?

Title: Out of the Shadows
Author: K.C. Wells
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 250

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Josh, residential handy-man and gardener for a set of apartment buildings, has a new job to do. Instead of working in the garden, he’s been asked to do some remodeling in these outdated apartments. New bathrooms and kitchen cabinets, and tiles, it’s going to be hard work. I didn’t understand why he was expected to do it all himself, but he seemed up for it and enjoyed the work. His first day on the job, he thought he was alone, nobody seemed to be home, though after a full day of working, he found the tenant was actually just locked in his room and preferred to talk through doors or texts. He knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what. People had been talking about the elusive tenant, giving him idea’s of the kind of person he might be. How wrong they were.

Christian’s life is in his apartment. He never leaves, he never sees people. It’s just him and the insurance job he does from home. An accident from almost a decade ago has left him scarred and disfigured and naturally, he’s pushed everyone away and stayed hidden. Even when he checks out the hot gardener that works in his garden. Little does he know, the man who’s been hired to redo his apartment, IS the hot gardener. Talking through the door seems silly, but he wouldn’t dare let the man see what he looks like.

Until one day, he does. Josh is amazing. He’s patient and kind and everything Christian needs him to be. He doesn’t pretend to not see the scars, but they don’t bother him a bit. I like how he didn’t pretend to not see them, or try to downplay what I’m sure is a serious thing for Christian. He didn’t brush off his anxiety about going out and about, he just worked around it. He nudged him instead of pushed and was so understanding when Christian was uncomfortable. He was really very sweet and of course Christian fell for him, who wouldn’t? Little did he know, the time he spent with Christian, he was falling for him too.

I love hurt/comfort stories. I love the realness of stories like these that have obstacles that aren’t arbitrary or baseless. This one was sweet and slow burning and when these two came together, from friends to lovers, it wasn’t forced or rushed. I loved that.

Although I thought the dialogue was often times cheesy, and I’ve never seen any straight friends act like teenage girls gossiping like Josh’s friends. I liked them as well. I wouldn’t mind reading stories about all of them as well. Overall, it was a very sweet read and I’m glad I didn’t pass it up.

4 pieces of eye candy for me.


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Barrel Proof by Layla Reyne: Blog Tour, Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

FBI agents Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker can’t get a moment’s peace. Their hunt for the terrorist Renaud seems to be nearing an end, until a fire allows him to slip through their fingers—and puts Jamie’s life in danger. When Jamie is nearly killed, Aidan learns how many forms loss can take.

Aidan says I love you just moments before learning that Jamie’s been keeping a devastating secret about Aidan’s late husband. How quickly trust and love can go up in flames. When Aidan requests a solo undercover assignment, Jamie hopes Aidan will find a way to forgive him.

But the explosions are far from over. Aidan’s cover lands him in the heart of the terrorist’s conspiracy, and Jamie will have to put his life, his career and his freedom on the line to save the man who has become his entire world. Partners, always is a promise he intends to keep.

A heart-pounding, romantic conclusion to the Agents Irish and Whiskey series.”

Barrel Proof

Layla Reyne

Series: Agents Irish and Whiskey #3

Publisher: Carina Press (HQN)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): August 7, 2017 (Ebook and Audiobook)

(Audiobooks of Single Malt (AIW1) and Cask Strength (AIW2) also releasing August 7, 2017)

Length (Print & Ebook): 189 Pages (Ebook); 6hr, 30mins (Audio)

Subgenre: M/M Romantic Suspense 

This book features: Book 3/Trilogy Conclusion. Angst, Action, Romance, HEA

Carina

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Quotes about the book (or others in the series):

From Single Malt:

“Sexy, smart and suspenseful – this book has it all.” –HelenKay Dimon, author of Mr. & Mr. Smith

“With sharp writing, compelling characters, and an engaging plot, Single Malt is the M/M romantic suspense series I’ve been waiting for.” – Santino Hassell, award-winning author of the FIVE BOROUGHS series

“Single Malt is full of explosive chemistry, captivating characters, and edge-of-your-seat suspense. A must read for any romantic suspense fan!” — Megan Erickson, USA Today Bestselling author

Early reviews about Barrel Proof:

RT Magazine – 4.5 Stars, Top Pick:

Barrel Proof is the third and final book in the Agents Irish and Whiskey series. After two books that follow the formation of a heated M/M romantic relationship, Barrel Proof starts off with a climax as secrets are revealed and the romance is tested. … Fans of the series will be equally challenged and delighted by the twists and turns Reyne takes. The book flows into a more action-oriented focus as the plot progresses, but Reyne ends the romance with just the right amount of heft to keep any reader of romantic suspense and M/M romance delighted. 

Night Owl Reviews – 4.5 Stars, Top Pick:

Layla Reyne finishes her trilogy with an absolute bang! As sorry as I am to say goodbye to this fabulous pair I couldn’t have enjoyed their ending more.

The Romance Reviews – 5 Stars, Top Pick:

BARREL PROOF is the emotional, high impact, AMAZING finale to the Agents Irish and Whiskey series.

Heart-breaking and heart-fulfilling, this book is the perfect finale to the series, and Layla Reyne now has a brand new reader completely addicted to her work. Without a doubt, absolutely recommended by me.

 

Aidan put one knee to the bed, swung the other over Jamie’s lap, and cupped his cheeks in his hands, drawing him in. It wasn’t the lip smashing, teeth clashing kiss Jamie was used to from Aidan. It was slow, devouring, and tinged with the unmistakable taste of goodbye.

Afraid ratcheted up to terrified.

“Baby,” he murmured against Aidan’s lips, the one word trembling.

“Shh, Whiskey.” Aidan pulled back enough to yank off his shirt, then started back in for another kiss. Jamie stopped him, holding his face slightly away and forcing his gaze.

Goodbye was in his eyes too.

Jamie shot past terrified to devastated. “No,” he breathed, barely a whisper.

Aidan shook off the hold and drove a hand into his hair, pulling Jamie in for another melancholy-laced kiss. So little light, so much darkness, and as Jamie ran his tongue along Aidan’s, the tang of tequila and whiskey.

Slow, like the kiss, Aidan’s hands began to rove, as if he were memorizing the texture of his hair, the scruff covering his jaw, the breadth and width of his shoulders. A cool palm flattened over his tattoo, over his heart. The touch was gentle, not the usual digging pressure of Aidan’s fingers.

Bidding farewell.

A whimper escaped Jamie’s lips. His heart was at war with itself. He needed to retreat, to beg and plead with Aidan to stay and give him another chance, but if his partner’s mind was made up, there’d be no changing it now. And if he tried, if he argued, he might not get this last kiss, this last chance to make love to the man who would forever carry his heart, wherever his life went.

Without him.

Conceding the inevitable and accepting the disaster of his own creation, Jamie admitted defeat and surrendered.

Barrel Proof is the final installment in the Agents Irish and Whiskey series by Layla Reyne. This is not a standalone book, so you’ll forgive me if I delve a bit into the first two books, Single Malt and Cask Strength. You can’t read book 3 without having read books 1 & 2 and only a sadist would read 1 & 2 and not read this — amirite?

Book 1 establishes a bit of the background of Irish and Whiskey themselves, their mutual, growing attraction and the subsequent consummation of their relationship as they work on their first case together. I love when two heroes cannot stop thinking about each other and succumb to their out-of-control physical desire. Book 2 continues their FBI partnership and romance as Irish insists on them being “casual” as he tries to fend off his growing feelings for his partner. They’re both concerned with breaking Bureau rules by entering into a romantic relationship, but Irish in particular is afraid of falling in love and being widowed again, something he doesn’t think he could live through a second time. But a case involving Whiskey’s past as a college basketball star brings up jealousies on both hero’s parts. I know, I know. “Jealousy”, as a rule is, yanno, bad, but … love me some angst — and its resolution! To see Irish come around from their status as casual is very *sigh* worthy.

There’s also the overall arc of the action part of the series, that being terrorist Renaud whose anger at being thwarted in Book 1 has put Irish and his friends, family and coworkers in the cross hairs as Renaud takes his revenge. But there’s more, isn’t there? Irish and Whiskey’s boss, Mel, has discovered that Renaud’s plans started long before any of them ever thought, and his list of victims — past, present, and future — grows. Mel has also enlisted Whiskey’s help in uncovering details of the death of Irish’s husband (Mel’s brother) and his partner, an investigation that is being kept from Irish.  I’m sure that won’t come to bite him in the ass anytime soon.

Book 3 continues the action just about where Book 2 left off, with the guys heading to retrieve their boss Mel from a secret mission she’s on in Cuba. A mission which ultimately leads back to Renaud and, that secret I mentioned before? Yea, that gets out of the bag and throws another road block in the still-budding relationship between our two heroes. Can our guys work this out? Probably… Assuming they can live out the week because in the meantime, Renaud is upping his game: Bombs, kidnappings, destruction of world markets, systems hacking, mistrust and betrayal — it’s all on tap here.

This book does not drag, it’s action, action, action — of all kinds. The financial and tech plots are satisfying and thorough; Layla Reyne did some research that’s for sure. For me, though, it’s always about the ‘ship! At this point in the series, our guys are established and we know how they feel about each other. While the revelation of the secret does take our guys down different paths for a while, they don’t hurt each other with cruel words or actions. They own how they feel about each other and I never doubt these feelings, even if they have to step away from each other for a while. I feel very satisfied at leaving these two at the end on the new path their personal and professional lives have taken.

I liked the secondary characters a lot here: Mel, Danny, Irish’s brother, Whiskey’s best friend Cam and even an ex from Irish’s casual period in Book 2 turns out to be a good, likable guy. The writing is solid, action packed and the romance is a nice balance of angst, feels and hot, hot, hot. I hadn’t read the first two books when I decided to review this book, so I did a mini-marathon read. These books are about 62,000 words, so novella length. For fans of the Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban, you’ll feel at home in this series; it’s what drew me to these books in the first place. There were similarities between Irish and Whiskey’s world and Ty and Zane’s. FBI agents, check. Two alphas, one slightly older, check, check. Widower, check. A cyber guy, check. Little bit of a rocky start. But is that all a turn off? No way. These two guys, their histories and the trouble they find themselves in are unique and really only once in a while did I make a note and go “Aww…Ty!” So, if you love T&Z (me!) you might find a new book boyfriend couple to hang out with for a spell.

4 pieces of eye candy for this book and the series.

 

Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

Author Tagline:

Adrenaline-Fueled Romance

Author links:

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Instagram: http://bit.ly/2ufSQvc

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Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2oxjdgu

 

Prizes: (2) HUGE Agents Irish & Whiskey Gift Packs including: 1 Kindle Fire Tablet, 1 Agents Irish & Whiskey mug, and surprise swag! (Ships to US/Canada only; international winners will receive Amazon Gift Card: $35)

 

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Trust With A Chaser by Annabeth Albert: Release Blitz, Release Day Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

TitleTrust with a Chaser

Series: Rainbow Cove, Book 1

Author: Annabeth Albert

Publisher:  Annabeth Albert

Release Date: 08-01-2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 75,000

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Law Enforcement, Small Town, May/December

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One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks…

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

Trust with a Chaser is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, a hot law-enforcement hero, opposites attract, plenty of sexy times, and one hard-fought, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

Amazon – Kindle Unlimited

Chapter One

Mason

When Adam stepped inside the glorified closet I was using as an office, eyes all twitchy and hands wringing a bar towel, I knew I wasn’t going to like what came out of his mouth.

“Sheriff Sexy just walked in. He’s your problem.”

Fuck. I squeezed my eyes shut and took a deep breath. “Please don’t call Police Chief Flint that. He might hear, and I’m pretty sure he’d find a citation for you. And I am not bailing your ass out.”

“You’re just worried that one of these days you’re going to slip up and call him that.” Adam grinned at me. This was an old argument—he’d been calling Flint that stupid nickname since we were in high school. The hard-nosed cop wasn’t one to cut teen drivers any slack—especially if they were in any way associated with the name “Hanks.” “Anyway, you know he freaks me out. I’ve got no idea what he wants—all our permits are in order, right?”

“Of course.” Standing, I grabbed the folder with the permitting paperwork. I prided myself in the organization I was bringing to the bar and grill that I co-owned with Adam and our friend, Logan. Flint wouldn’t find anything to complain about, not with me in charge. “I’ll go deal with him. You go back to the bar in case we get a rush.”

Adam snorted. Despite it being opening weekend, traffic had been embarrassingly light. We’d worked for weeks transforming the old tavern—a Rainbow Cove institution for decades—into the newly renamed Rainbow Tavern. The gay-friendly bar and grill was our vision for pulling our sleepy little coastal town into the twenty-first century. Logan had crafted a new menu of upscale bar food ready to go, and Adam had innovative drinks specials at the ready. All we needed were customers. And to not run afoul of Nash Flint on our first day of operation.

Flint was a Rainbow Cove institution himself—born and raised here, same as Adam and me, but unlike me, he’d never left, sliding into his father’s shoes as police chief and apparently fitting the role as easily as a pair of broken-in jeans. He’d been Officer Flint last time I’d seen him, almost ten years prior.

Guess I could have seen him had I come down for Freddy’s trial, something I still felt niggles of guilt over, and I told myself that was why my stomach fluttered on my way out to the tavern’s dining room. Unlike Adam, I’d never found Flint particularly…

Sexy. All my thoughts fled as I took in the man sitting in front of the plate-glass window. He dwarfed the small wooden chair, one of dozens that Adam and I had painted bright colors. Broad shoulders stretched the confines of his uniform shirt, biceps bulging under the short sleeves. His cut-glass jaw was firm as ever, as were those hard hazel eyes. But what had been frankly terrifying to my teenaged self made my twenty-seven-year-old libido sit up and take serious notice.

Flint blinked as I approached, head tilting to one side. I’d been getting a lot of that since I’d been back in town. “Mason…Hanks?”

“The one and only.” I stuck out my hand. “What can I do for you, Chief Flint?”

He returned my handshake with a sure grip, only a moment’s hesitation. I guessed he wasn’t all that used to shaking hands with a Hanks. Oh well. I was out to prove to the whole damn town that I wasn’t like my father and brothers, and if I had to start with Flint, so be it.

“Nice place you’ve got here.” His eyes swept around the renovated room—restored antique bar on the far wall where Adam wasn’t bothering to conceal his nosiness, dance floor beyond that, colorful tables and chairs in the front of the bar, only a handful occupied despite the dinner hour.

“Thanks. Our permits are all in order.” I held out my folder. “Liquor license is on top.”

He waved the folder off. “Not worried about that.”

No? Then why the heck was Flint in my establishment? “Good. We’re on the up-and-up. You won’t have trouble from us—”

“Glad to hear it,” he said levelly, eyes skeptical, reminding me that I was, after all, nothing more than a Hanks. “Cheeseburger?”

“Pardon?”

“That Ringer kid didn’t see fit to give me a menu, but I’m trusting you all offer something approximating a burger? Salad, no fries, and an iced tea.”

“You want to order?” I was still struggling to keep up with him.

“This is a food establishment, right?” He shook his head as if he hadn’t expected more from me, and that rankled.

“Of course.” I crossed the room in long strides, grabbed an order pad from the bar, ignoring Adam’s gaping. As soon as I returned to Flint’s table, I added, “Anything you want. On the house.”

“None of that.” He sighed like my very existence was tiring. “Got my meals from the old tavern for years. They kept a tab open for me.”

“We can do the same—”

“Let’s see if you can cook first,” he said, voice drier than yesterday’s toast. “I thought I’d come by, check the place out.”

“Appreciated,” I said and meant it. Business, any business, was good, but people in Rainbow Cove trusted Flint. If he gave us the seal of approval, more locals might give us a try, make us less dependent on the tourist trade that we were going after. Tourism took a while to build, and our grand plans of making Rainbow Cove an LGBTQ travel destination weren’t going to happen overnight. We needed every customer we could get, Flint included, even if he was the unlikeliest of allies.

“You still haven’t brought me a menu.” He shook his head. “But whatever you’ve got passing for a burger is fine. Nothing vegan though.”

“We’ve got local grass-fed beef, third-pound patty on a brioche bun with a pesto mayo and local gouda. Or—”

“I reckon that will do fine.” Flint always had a bit more country than coastal in his voice. Not Southern, but you could tell he was rural Oregon through and through, and I liked the slow, deep rumble of his words. What I didn’t like, however, was the implication in his tone that he wasn’t expecting much from us.

“Sure you don’t want fries? We have hand-cut sweet potato as an option with a chipotle dipping sauce. As far as salads, I’ve got side, Caesar, spring berry and pecan—”

“I’m on duty here. Kind of pressed for time. The burger and a side salad are fine. I don’t need anything fancy.”

Yeah, well, maybe I want to give it to you. I quashed that thought, same as I had the one about how hot he looked in his uniform. Wanting to impress Nash Flint wasn’t going to get me anywhere.

“I’ll put a rush on it.” I made a note on the order pad, not that it was really needed since Logan hardly had a packed house to worry about.

As I walked over to the window to put in Flint’s order, I noticed more than one table giving him curious glances. Hell, maybe I was wrong about any business being good business. Last thing I needed was Flint scaring away what few customers we had. Not that he was known as a gossip or anything like that, but he was awfully…old school. Traditional. The last kind of guy you’d expect to find at a gay bar, that was for sure, and even though we were attempting to attract a mixed clientele, he stood out.

Annabeth Albert never fails to hit me in the feels, and in the case of Trust with a Chaser, she sure did it. Not quite as I expected though, sometimes. 😉

Mason…what a sassy man. At first, I thought he was just a sweet guy with a messed up family (which he absolutely was), but he was also confident and brash, and didn’t take no for an answer. I loved that about him. He was okay with taking the lead and pushing some of Nash’s limits, always knowing when exactly to stop pushing and sit back and wait.

Nash, meanwhile, he was a tough nut to crack. I found myself wanting to yell at him quite a bit throughout the book (see? definitely feels!). He was so focused on his job, and how his deceased father would have reacted to him having an out relationship with a man, that he had been miserable for nearly 40 years, rather than living his own life. I definitely could see where the author was going with this, and I can imagine that someone in that situation would have been so challenged! But it was hard for me sometimes to read how much it must have hurt Mason to have Nash keep turning away from him, sneak out the door, not acknowledge their relationship.

There are so many ways that an author can make you feel things, sometimes in ways you don’t necessarily want to feel. So much of the relationship with these two was spent in hiding, and deeply in the closet, that a part of me wanted to tell Mason “go find someone who will love you!”. And yet, I could see how much pain it caused Nash to turn away every single time. So she made me feel: love, anger, a little throat punch-ey 🙂 but in the end, I was rooting for these two. Nash came through in such a wonderful way, and really worked to win the love of his man, and it made for a very satisfying HEA.

4 pieces of eye candy

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Annabeth’s Angels Facebook Group | Annabeth’s Mailing List

 

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The Teddy Bear Club by Sean Michael: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Two lonely men. One perfect family.

Aiden Lake adopted his institutionalized sister’s two daughters, and he’s a good dad. He works nights on websites and gets in his adult time twice a week at the Roasty Bean, where he meets with other single gay parents.

Devon Smithson wants to be a good dad now that his sixteen-year-old sister asked him to babysit her newborn… three months ago. But he’s overwhelmed with the colicky baby. An invitation to the daddy-and-kid gatherings at the café is a godsend. The pot is sweetened when his friendship with Aiden develops into more—maybe even something that can last.

But the mother who kicked Dev out for being gay wants to get her claws into the baby, and she doesn’t care if she tears Dev, Aiden, and everything they’re building apart in the process.

Title: The Teddy Bear Club
Series: The Teddy Bear Club
Author: Sean Michael
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 208

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Hot dads with their kids, is there anything cuter?

In this one, we have Aiden, who with his friends, Logan and Zach have a weekly routine to meet up for coffee for a little “dad-date” kind of thing. Just a little group to get away and have some time with other adults, as a mother, I can 100% relate to. Dev, is the new guy to the group and brand new dad to his sisters abandoned baby. She just up and left him without a trace, leaving Dev to figure out how to do this dad thing on his own. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to, because Aiden, with his two little girls, invite him into their home for play dates and adult conversation. It starts off as a platonic friendship but soon turns into more, the more they get to know each other and spend time with each other. Plus, all the kids get along really well, Bee (Aiden’s daughter) and U- short for Unicorn (Dev’s new son), are roughly around the same age, so I can imagine how difficult that would be, but handy, as I loved having kids close together.

Unfortunately for Dev, his sister disappeared, so getting custody of U before his homophobic mother caught wind that he had him, was proving pretty difficult. Luckily, Logan’s a lawyer and set to work on it pretty quick.

I loved these two together because it all seemed so real. The dynamic wasn’t perfect between them, Dev brought some baggage and needed help, which he wasn’t afraid to ask for and Aiden was wasn’t afraid to offer it. It was a story of friendship first that turned into more. I liked that it wasn’t just, “hi, nice to meet you, we both have kids and you’re hot so I love you”… I enjoyed reading about their every day stuff and them getting to know each other and got used to being a family, together. The dialogue was a bit cheesy at times but it works for these two. I really enjoyed it.

I would’ve liked to seen some karmic justice served up on the mom who was seriously, a terrible person, but other than that. It ended on a good note and I wouldn’t mind reading more about Dirk, Logan and Zach. <Heavy hinting here> J

4 pieces of eye candy from me!


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Unscripted Love by Aimee Nicole Walker: Blog Tour, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

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UNSCRIPTED LOVE

Road to Blissville Series, Book 1

AIMEE NICOLE WALKER

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 07.11.17

UL Cover

PHOTOGRAPHER: Wander Aguiar

COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

Kyle Vaughn had three goals in life: become a vet, find the man of his dreams, and start a family. He easily checked off the first item on the list when he took over his grandfather’s veterinary practice. Too bad he wasn’t as lucky in love.

Chaz Hamilton took a leap of faith when he decided to pursue a career in writing, but one best seller didn’t mean he could quit his day job. All work and no play threatened to make Chaz a very dull man when the only romantic action he saw was in the pages of his manuscript. Too bad he couldn’t write his own happily every after.

Circumstances pushed the two men together, and one magical kiss beneath fireworks and stars changed everything. Kyle knew his luck had finally turned around and Chaz found a man far better than any book boyfriend ever written. There was just one problem. Chaz has kept a secret from Kyle that could ruin their chance at a beautiful life together.

Kyle and Chaz learn that the best-laid plans often go awry, the heart has a mind of its own, and the greatest love is unscripted.

The books in the Road to Blissville series can be read either as standalone books or as part of the series. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for mature adults 18 and older.

UL Teaser 3

Hello. Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I hate talking about myself, but I’ll do it for you. I’ll skip the same old tired bio stuff with the number of husbands (1), kids (3), and pets (5) that I have and get to something hopefully a tad bit more in depth. I’m a 42-year-old, breast cancer survivor, sports nut, Superman over Batman, and Gemini kind of gal whose pulse beats in rhythm to the song she’s listening to and has caffeine running through her veins.

1. When did you write your first story/book? How old were you? I started writing New Kids on the Block fan fiction when I was twelve or thirteen years old with my friend. I started and stopped a hundred projects between the ages of thirteen and thirty-eight. I published my first book at thirty-nine.

2. Are you a plotter or pantser? 2% plotter and 98% pantser

3. How do you find or make time to write? Right or wrong, I approach my writing as a career, which means I set deadlines and I stick to them. I plan my release schedule out at least six months to a year in advance so that I hold myself accountable. Sure, there are days that I don’t feel like writing, but I do it anyway. Or if I really can’t get something going, I take that day off and double down the next day. Some will argue that treating a creative job like a regular job diminishes your creative ability, but that isn’t the case for me. I think that every writer needs to take the approach that works best for them because what works for some doesn’t work for others. It doesn’t make your process right and theirs wrong; it just makes them different. And different is a good thing! (Said in Martha Stewart’s voice)

4. What do you like to read in your free time? As with music, I like a little bit of everything. I would say that my favorite reads have an element of action or suspense to them. I’m starting to really get into paranormal a bit more.

5. Always number 5 is a fun one. If you had 24 hours (with no consequences to  you or your family) to do anything, anywhere in the world, what would it be? Honestly, this may sound dull to most people, but I’d love to be dropped at a posh tropical island resort all by myself. I’d like to have just 24 hours of peace and quiet where I can read or listen to music while sitting beneath an umbrella and staring at a pool or a beach.

Dr. Vaughn!” A familiar female voice exclaimed. “Oh my goodness! You’re the answer to my prayers.”

I spun around and faced Jenny Davis who operated the Carter County Animal Shelter. “That’s what he said,” I replied, jerking my thumb in Chaz’s direction without thinking my actions through. Chaz gasped, Josh threw his head back and laughed in delight, and I’m pretty sure that Andy growled. I chanced a peek at Chaz’s and caught him staring at me with a dumbfounded expression on his face. How much more obvious did I need to be that I wanted to see where things could go between us?

“Is this a bad time?” she asked nervously. “I’d like to ask a favor of you.” My staff and I volunteered ten to fifteen hours a week treating the dogs and cats at her shelter. The last time I was there, she mentioned that she needed to raise money for the shelter. I figured that she wanted to discuss a fundraiser with me.

“Not at all, Jenny. Josh will be delayed a few minutes, so I have time now.”

“Well, it’s a big favor,” she said hesitantly. “Remember how I mentioned a fundraiser to you?”

“Sure and I’ll help out however I can,” I told her.

“I’m so glad you feel that way because you play a big part in what I havUL Teaser 4e in mind.” She clapped her hands and bounced on her feet. “I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner,” she said to herself.

“How big?” I asked, narrowing my eyes as an uneasy feeling came over me.

That feeling only increased when she broke eye contact and looked down at her feet. “We’d like to do a calendar with the animals at the shelter. One of my staff is an amateur photographer and is willing to donate the time to take and edit the photos.”

“So you’re looking for donations to cover the cost of producing the calendars? I’ll gladly help out with that,” I told her. Jenny didn’t meet my offer with as much enthusiasm as I expected.

“Not exactly the kind of help I was looking for from you,” she said.

“No? How else can I be of service to you?” I asked, clearly confused. I provided free veterinarian services and offered to…

“She wants you to pose for the calendar,” Chaz said, interrupting my thoughts.

I looked over at him and rolled my eyes. “No, she doesn’t.”

“Oh, I think that’s exactly what she’s working her courage up to ask,” Chaz told me. “Isn’t that right, Jenny?”

I looked at Jenny, expecting her to brush off his idea, but all I saw was a hopeful gleam in her green eyes. “Me?” I asked in disbelief.

“Why not you?” Jenny asked, seemingly emboldened when I didn’t refuse the idea outright. “You’re gorgeous, built like a brick house, and adore animals. Who else would I ask?”

“I don’t know, Jenny,” I said hesitantly. “I’m not very photogenic.”

“Stop being so modest,” Jenny told me. “You’re exactly what we need. I can see it now…” Her voice trailed off while she envisioned something in her mind. “Shirtless poses with a kitty, cowboy hat and boots while standing beside a horse…”

“I’d be wearing more than just a pair of boots and a hat, right?” I asked, needing clarification before the conversation went any further.

“Dr. Vaughn!” Jenny’s said in shock. “Why, I’d never suggest such a thing.” Then she covered her mouth with both hands and giggled nervously. “Oh my,” she answered, fanning herself. “That’s not at what I meant at all. Dear me, I meant my offer as a complement, Dr. Vaughn. I thought your love for animals combined with your hunky looks would make a great fundraiser.”

“It would probably sell a lot of calendars,” Chaz said, chiming in.

I looked over at him and caught him staring at me speculatively. “But would you buy a calendar?” I asked.

“Duh,” Chaz said, then added, “it’s for charity.”

 

I was eager to read this new series by Aimee Nicole Walker. It is a spin off of her previous series, Curl up and Dye Mysteries. Almost all of the same characters (a few new ones thrown in here and there) but the focus is on a different couple. Chaz, the loveable receptionist at Curl Up and Dye and Kyle, the town’s veteranarian dubbed Dr Dimples.

Simply stated, I really liked this book. Whereas the previous series was super cute (cutesy nicknames, etc) this one wasn’t nearly as. And that is not a bad thing.

There is quite a bit of repetition from the previous stories, but that is necessary for the author if she wants people to be able to read this without having to read the previous. It was fun to read from a different perspective though.

Navigating the flirtation that they have had for over a year led to a slow burn- which I am a big fan of. I like to see a relationship develop before they jump into bed. We find out more about Kyle and what makes him tick. As always, what you see on the outside isn’t necessarily what is on the inside.

I loved the closeness Chaz has with “The Matrons”. I completely cracked up every time they were on the page!

This was a really good love story of a couple we have been hoping for since the begining. And I was not disappointed at all.

4 pieces of eye candy

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I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I’m a girly tomboy

who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees.

I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever-after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.

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Uncomplicated Choices by Cara Dee: Random Review

When life gave you lemons, you learned who stayed and made lemonade with you. Or something to that effect. And the day Ellis Hayes kidnapped me—or, he borrowed a yacht and didn’t know I was on board—he’d definitely been handed too many lemons.

We faced a dilemma when I woke up hungover in the middle of the ocean. He needed to get the hell out of town to do some soul searching and decide whether or not to divorce his wife, and I needed to get back on land because humans didn’t belong on the water. There was also better cell service on land, and I had my four-year-old daughter on vacation in Paris to check in with.

Then I remembered I wasn’t a complete tool. Ellis wasn’t doing all right, and we were practically family. I had to stay and make lemonade with him. Of course, me being me, seemingly un-dateable and complicated, I had to develop feelings for him, too.

 

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The first book I ever read by Cara Dee was Aftermath, a book about two men who survive a five month kidnapping, only to find that they need and want only each other. (If you haven’t read that book, I highly encourage you to. It is truly amazing. In fact, I may need to go re-read it now that I am reminding myself of it. 🙂 )

Anyway, since that was my first book of Cara’s, I had some idea how strongly she writes from a character’s perspective. The character’s are not often living their “normal” lives, but some sort of different existence that makes falling in love, possibly with the “wrong” person a challenge, yet it feels so right.

Uncomplicated Choices is another such book. I’ll put this right out front, and this could be a spoiler…Ellis is married, to a woman, at t the time that he and Casey begin their relationship. However, it works in this book. I didn’t AT ALL feel like Ellis was cheating on his wife. It worked in this story, because Ellis is trying to find himself, outside of a marriage that went sour so long ago.

Casey was really a fantastic character. First, he was snarky AF. I loved that. He was snarky when he was speaking to Ellis (or anyone else for that matter), and he was snarky in his head. It worked for him. He was able to find the humor in so many situations that others would not, and I absolutely loved that about him. He was a great father, and it was as obvious how much he loved his daughter. She was the light of his life, and didn’t care who knew that, or if that was a stereotype that didn’t match what he “should” be doing.

Both men work on themselves throughout the book, even as they work on finding a relationship that works together. Ellis began the book being “elusive”, yet along the way was able to learn to talk through his feelings, and communicate with Casey as their connection grew. Casey, meanwhile, needed to learn that he was loveable, despite all the bad experiences he’d had with people thinking he was not worthy. Seeing these two men connect with each other, while connecting with their own thoughts and feelings made for a reader experience that went above “falling in love with someone else”. They were able to fall back in love with themselves, as well.

My one issue with the book was that although it was “mostly” a stand alone book, there were periods where I was lost. People were introduced or mentioned that likely had a previous book in this series, or possibly a book ahead that I had no knowledge of, and there was little explanation. This left me wondering if this was a necessary mention, or just a one off comment that would not come up again. Several people I had to infer who they were based on the people who were in the room, and still wasn’t sure I knew who they were. Although this happens often in books in a series, usually there are some descriptions as to how they fit in to the situation to help the reader understand in the event they hadn’t read the previous books. This didn’t happen with several of the characters who were not even in place in the book, but merely brought up in conversation. This did not detract from my enjoyment of the story of Casey and Ellis, however, it did leave me wondering if I was missing a big piece of a story.

All in all a well done book, by an author that I just love to read. 4 pieces of eye candy.

 

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Promises Part 3 by A.E. Via: Blog Tour, Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

A bounty hunter’s partners to lovers’ story.
The hunt is on… and he’s the prey.

Bradford (Ford) King was sure he had the rest of his life mapped out. Though he was no longer a SEAL Lieutenant, his brother was home safe and he had a job that still allowed him to satisfy his hunger for hunting bad guys. Life was simple, no distractions or complications – at age forty-six – that’s all Ford wanted. What he didn’t want was his work partner, sniper/watchman, Dana, giving him s**t all the time.

Dana Cadby had grown up labeled a roughneck from the wrong side of the tracks. He’d fought, scrounged, and survived despite a father that constantly told him he couldn’t. Dana pulled himself up by his own boot straps and made a name for himself in the marksman community. He’d been Duke’s bounty watchman for five years. It was his job to ensure their safety, watch their backs. At thirty-three, he was trusted, well respected by his peers, his bosses, his friends… so why couldn’t he earn the same respect from his partner?

Dana knew he was bisexual before he graduated high school. He also knew he was attracted to the huge, 6’3”, SEAL from the moment he and his brother came to join their team. It wasn’t easy for him to tamp down his immediate reaction to Ford’s thick muscles, full beard, and dark eyes. Still, Dana exhibited nothing but professionalism towards him, not wanting to make his ‘straight’ partner uncomfortable. So why did Ford constantly give him hell?

After Dana took back his ex-girlfriend, he’d noticed an intensification in Ford’s bad attitude. One that turned aggressive and downright antagonistic, and Dana was damned if he’d just lay down and take it. He was gonna make that man respect him if it was the last thing he did.

When Duke sends Dana and Ford out to track down their most dangerous bounty yet, they both embrace the fact that they make one hell of a team… but they fight tooth and nail against the powerful intimacy brewing between them.
Beware: If Ford and Dana connect completely, god help the fugitive who’s in the sights of the hunter and his watchman.

This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA.

Author A.E. Via

Title:  Promises Part 3

M/M GAY CONTEMPORARY/ACTION

Edited by: Tina Adamski

Cover Artist – Jay Aheer

PAGE COUNT – 222

Release Date: June 30, 2017

Goodreads Link: https://goo.gl/AbfTzJ

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Ford

Ford was in the office earlier than scheduled. He’d woken up with another hard-on after one of the most erotic dreams he’d ever had. And it was about a person whose name he didn’t want to voice out loud or even in his head. This was doing a number on him. It’d irritated him when Dan

a used to complain about how his girlfriend didn’t understand him and no matter what he did he couldn’t please her selfish ass, but they’d broken up and everyone – not just him – was relieved to have the old, light-hearted Dana back. Then, like all good things, it came to an end when she popped back up with tears and a sob story. That she’d made a big mistake.

Ford stirred his coffee so hard, part of it sloshed over the edge of the cup. He felt pissed when spineless Dana had reared his ugly head again and taken her back. Too decent to turn her down. Gritting his teeth, Ford demanded Dana act like the man he truly was. Strong, determined, spirited, and a ton of other great qualities Ford had taken for granted until someone else started stealing them.

He just wished he was sure that he could go the relationship route with a man. Ford wasn’t scared of dating the opposite sex, he was too old, too damn grown to worry about what anyone would think. He’d had experiences with men and women in the past. Had had his fun. He’d eyed a few guys when he was in the service, even patted a few bottoms, but nothing had stirred him this hard in years. He thought he was content in his life. He had his brother, his work, he was good now. He’d lived complications before, wasn’t interested in them again. Relationships, lust, pining, dates, romantic expectations, sex, all equaled the same thing to him… complications.

I have to say I was intrigued with the King brothers since book 1 in this series. The quiet, dark, brooding ex military brothers, I couldn’t wait for their stories. And after reading Ford’s story I *really* can’t wait for Brian’s story! Anyway….

Yes, this is book 3. Yes, you really need to read the first two. Technically you don’t have to, but honestly- if you are interested in this one you will be interested in the others. And I’ve never met an AE Via book that I didn’t like.

Her men are strong without being jerks, fragile without being too vulnerable and unapologetic in what they want. And I love them.

I loved seeing the background of Ford and Dana in previous books, so to watch it continue-the sexual tension between them almost lit my kindle on fire.Dancing around each other and forced to work together (I did mention they were work partners, right?) until one of them finally makes the leap.

Ford’s brother Brian plays a big role in the storyline and I will admit that I really REALLY want his story. Especially since we find out who his love interest is. That was a bit of a distraction for me. Not necessarily in a bad way but in a “omg I want more NOW” way.

There is a good storyline throughout and the author doesn’t rely on sex as a filler in her books. Big big plus for me. Yes I want a hot book, but I also want story or I get bored. Trust me, there is no way this book is boring.

I am going to add that there is a M/F sex scene only because many who read this genre don’t want that. To me it just showed how not into the woman he was and cemented that he really did want to break up with her.

And I am left salivating for the next book…..

4 pieces of eye candy

Promises Part 1

Promises Part 2

A.E. Via is an author in the beautiful gay romance genre and also founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books. Her writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children.

Adrienne has tons of more stories to tell, so be sure to visit her site to learn more! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com  for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak on upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next.

Links

Amazon Link:  https://goo.gl/KQ32Uz

Kobo:https://goo.gl/qXPIzK

Smashwords:https://goo.gl/tSpzyz

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/AbfTzJ

Author Official Website:http://authoraevia.com

A.E. Amazon Author Pagehttps://goo.gl/AVpOeJ

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

Twitter:https://twitter.com/AuthorAEVia

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Mascara & Bandages by Brandon Witt: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Ariel Merman is a new drag queen who’s already finding a family at Hamburger Mary’s. After a performance as Ariel, Zachary Cooper walks home in his makeup and is assaulted by homophobes. Zachary’s worry that the attack has thrown a wrench in his good fortune is eased when he looks into the eyes of his doctor.

Dr. Teegan Chau is a little lost after divorcing his wife and coming out of the closet, but he can’t deny the pull he feels toward the young man he patches up. Luckily, Zachary takes the initiative and asks Teegan out. But attraction is the easy part of their blossoming relationship—as they deal with an ex-wife and child, being a drag queen in a heteronormative culture, Zachary’s lingering trauma from his attack, and Teegan acclimating to life as part of an out-and-proud gay couple.

The challenges seem daunting at the start of a romance. Can Zachary and Teegan make it through the rough patches and take a chance on the love that’s been missing from both their lives?

Title: Mascara & Bandages
Series: Mary’s Boys: Book Three
Author: Brandon Witt
Release Date: July 12, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 121

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Dreamspinner Press

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This is the third book in this series, and somehow I missed the first one (I’ll definitely need to correct that at some point)…but I have never felt lost for not having read the first one.

One of the things that I enjoy about Brandon’s book, and especially this series is that he writes across the board. He doesn’t write only gay white males who have money, etc. He writes drag queens (ManDonna has my <3 ), African-Americans, Asian men, men who don’t have two nickles to rub together, as well as men who are coming out of the closet. In other words, he writes gay men out in the world. Because as we know, gay men are all different, just as straight people are, bisexual, etc. His characters are rich in diversity, and their personalities reflect that diversity, and differences in culture.

Zachary, oh goodness, what happened to him broke my heart, as much as I realize that it is a part of what happens, I still hated to see any character go through it. But with his family at Hamburger Mary’s (which I am totally visiting when I am in Denver for GRL in October…maybe Brandon will take me there!) he attempts to work through the trauma, all while I begins dating Asian American doctor Teegan, whose family will never accept Teegan being gay, or Zachary, with or without him being a drag queen.

Teegan’s ex-wife is also a great character in this, showing that not all divorces need to end in people hating each other, and making their children’s lives miserable. She is supportive and caring, and wants Teegan to be happy more than anything.

Zachary had such a big heart, as the reader can see when they learn all about his bookstore. He was so deserving of that happy ending that Brandon absolutely had to provide them. But even more, Zachary was able to grow within himself and face his fears. No matter the challenge (and he had a couple very tough ones), he was able to stand up and work through it, with his family and Teegan’s support, but also by being the man he knew he could be.

4 pieces of eye candy


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Spun! by JL Merrow: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

With friends like these . . .

An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory—just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.

Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?

Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want—or their love could be over before it’s even begun.

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Riptide Books

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Spun!, the fourth of my contemporary MM romantic comedies in the Shamwell Tales series.

Bringing the Funny

I never set out to write humour. Whether or not I’ve nevertheless achieved it is up to the individual reader’s judgement, but all I wanted to do at the outset was have fun with my writing. It wasn’t until I started to see a common thread in reviews (“Merrow’s trademark humour”; “JL Merrow brings the funny” etc) that I realised that hey, other people were having fun with it too. Which, obviously, leads to fun squared, and a very happy author. 🙂

I grew up reading all sorts of funny books. The late, great, Sir Terry Pratchett is, of course, my idol—there is nothing he didn’t know about comic timing*—and another early influence was Douglas Adams.

“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” ― Douglas AdamsThe Restaurant at the End of the Universe

I discovered The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the library at an early age and proceeded to annoy my poor mother mightily by reading out choice lines whenever she was trying to get on with something else. Who could forget the classic, “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way as bricks don’t”, a line that on one level, tells you nothing at all, but on another, is a fantastically evocative bit of description?

It’s probably not surprising that both Pratchett and Adams were British, as of course was another great influence of mine, PG Wodehouse. Not that I don’t appreciate the humour of other countries, but there’s just something about the dry, erudite and/or absurd wit of my fellow islanders that speaks to my dyed-in-the-wool British soul.

Wodehouse is best known these days for the Jeeves and Wooster books, which spawned the delightful TV series starring an exquisitely young Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie (okay, I may possibly be showing my age here). He also wrote an immense number of other books, many of them romances featuring plucky young ladies, empty-headed sons of the aristocracy, irascible older relatives, and pigs. (Although the latter generally didn’t feature in the romance bit). All of them sparkled with his gentle, literary humour:

“Freddie experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness which afflicts one of Tolstoy’s Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day’s work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city’s reservoir, he turns to the cupboards, only to find the vodka bottle empty.” ― P.G. Wodehouse, The Best of Wodehouse: An Anthology

For me, letting an idea run away with me, or playing with words a bit, is half the fun of writing. Both Wodehouse and Pratchett were masters at taking an idea and running with it all the way to absurdity and back.

“If complete and utter chaos was lightning, then he’d be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting ‘All gods are bastards!” Terry Pratchett, The Colour of Magic

I also loved Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole books, starting with The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾. Adrian is an adorably unreliable narrator. Much of the comedy comes from his confident (and hilariously mistaken) pronouncements about everything from politics to his parents’ tangled love lives.

“I have never seen a dead body or a female nipple. This is what comes from living in a cul de sac.” – Sue Townsend, The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.

Terry Pratchett has said that writing is the most fun anyone can have by themselves. I’d tend to agree, but I’d add that probably the best thing about writing is connecting with readers. Laughter (this is the science bit) is a social mechanism that reinforces bonding within a group, so there’s something very special about sharing a joke with a reader.

I hope you’ll enjoy the humour in Spun!—and if you do, I’d love to hear from you! And if you’ve got an all-time favourite funny book, why not share it/a quote in the comments?

*or, indeed, most other aspects of comedy. Sir Perry, I kiss your rod**.

**This is by no means as rude as it sounds.

Okay, I will say this quickly to get it out of the way…I have never read a JL Merrow book before (I know, right?) and I am feeling like such a (as the author may put it) “silly git” for it. How have I never read anything by this author?

I decided to do this one on a whim. Merely because I was interested in seeing what the fuss was in this series being re-released and additional work added, as well. I still haven’t read Books 1-3, although I will endeavour to correct that as soon as possible. But wow, this was a lot of fun!

The reader, if not from the UK, needs to be willing to enjoy all the local dialect, and just hope you can get it all in context. There is a ton of that dialect, but it isn’t difficult to suss out most of the meanings, and if you have your UK dictionary downloaded into your kindle, you are golden!

There was so many fun aspects of this book. It was lighthearted, not angsty in the least, although I have to say I was anxious for these two men to get themselves together as a couple! A very slow burn this was, but with small children in the picture, and tons of exes hanging around, it was bound to happen.

David was such a doll! He had such a sweet temperament, and throwing out all his French endearments, as well as seeing his devotion to Gregory made him a character I wanted to know, in person. I wanted to meet David, and hang out with him, whether it was watching “the telly” or trying to cook dinner with him. His love of spending time with Rory’s children was wonderful to read. He truly adored those kids, before he even realized he was in love with their father.

Meanwhile Rory, what a gentle man. He really just wanted everyone to be happy, himself last. He never wanted to make waves, never to fight too hard. Yet he loved, it was so obvious how much he loved those around him, David included. He loved his time with his children, and cherished that time, and those kids as precious, even if he had to cancel time with someone else for them. He was meant to be a father, and a caregiver.

David and Rory together seemed to hit the perfect team. David, being more “worldly”, could easily have looked down on his new postman landlord, for his time with his bigoted mate, or his manner of speech, yet he never did. He always respected Rory. Rory was no different, always showing tremendous respect for David. They worked together on everything, and it showed their joy in spending time together, and with the kids.

What I enjoyed the most though was the enjoyment they found in each other. Cracking little flirting jokes, spending time learning to cook (and burn things) together, finding their way into a comfortable loving place.

I enjoyed JL Merrow’s writing, the subtle English humor, and venturing into learning what family can look like for two men who didn’t realize they were looking for a family in each other.  Looking at JL Merrow’s backlist, I believe I could be spending a lot of time catching up with everything happening across the aisle. And I’ll enjoy every minute of it.

4 pieces of eye candy

 

About the Shamwell Tales

Welcome to Shamwell! A sleepy rural village in Hertfordshire, England, it’s the perfect place to move to for a little peace and quiet—or at least, you’d think so. But as a succession of newcomers to the village find, there’s more going on in these idyllic surroundings than cricket matches on the common and pints of ale in the local pubs.

As a place where everyone’s connected to everyone else, Shamwell’s rife with mishaps, mayhem, and misunderstandings—and the path of true love is no smoother than the ancient stone walls of the parish church.

Each contemporary romantic comedy in this series stands alone, but all feature a cast of characters drawn from Shamwell and its surroundings.

Check out the Shamwell Tales, available from Riptide Publishing!

 

 

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.

She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Connect with JL:

Goodreads: goodreads.com/.J_L_Merrow

To celebrate the release of Spun!, 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 July 8, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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