Peepshow by Clare London: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Ever wanted to spy secretly on other people’s lives?

Ken doesn’t have a choice: his student summer job is manning the CCTV screens for the new central London shopping mall. But instead of spotting criminals or vandals, he becomes fascinated by a cute waiter from the local bistro who sneaks out to the backyard for his break—and plays sexy to the camera.

Is he an old friend, or just an anonymous exhibitionist? Should Ken be excited by this naughty peepshow, or will people think he’s a voyeuristic pervert? Poor Ken’s confused and thrilled in turn. It’s like living in one of the movies he’s studying at university. He knows the man can’t see him, yet Ken feels a connection of some kind. It all encourages Ken to continue with his guilt-ridden Waiter Watch.

Ken bears the suspense as long as he can, until a chance meeting and an abortive blind date provide the explanation to the secret assignations. But will this guide Ken to a real-life chance of romance?

First Edition published by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2013.

Title: Peepshow
Series: London Lads: Book Four
Author: Clare London
Release Date: July 26, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Perchance to Dream
Pages: TBD (Novella)

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Okay, I will admit, I truly enjoyed this short novella! It was a little like crack. So much fun!

Fairly simple concept. Ken spies someone while working who captures his attention, and seems to be “eyeing” the camera, just for him. He is intrigued, and although he thinks it’s wrong to be as intrigued as he is, he can’t help but be fascinated.

He finally gets to meet his guy, and turns out he really was doing it just for him, because he had been wanting him for several years.

This was just a fun novella. No real angst (unless you count Ken’s angst at the handy in the security office 😉 ). What I enjoyed the most though…was Ken’s snarky internal monologue. As a university student in film, he clearly had tons of time watching movies, and quite often had an internal movie quote for every situation, from Forest Gump to Star Wars. They made me laugh every single time.

I had not read any of the London Lads stories prior to this one, but now I want to go read all of them! I enjoyed her writing so much.

4 pieces of eye candy


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Smitty’s Sheriff by Cardeno C: Blog Tour

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Smitty’s Sheriff, a sexy, heart-warming MM romance by Cardeno C. is available now!

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Todd is too flakey. Richard is too stubborn. Together, they’re perfect. A May-December couple get a second chance at love.

Retired soldier Richard Davis wants a stable life in a quiet town with a forever man. Becoming the sheriff of Hope, Arizona, accomplishes two of his three goals, but instead of finding a serious partner, he falls for too-young-to-be-committed and too-flakey-to-be-serious Todd Smitty. Richard won’t find the right man if he’s obsessed with the wrong one, so he walks away from Todd.

It’s lust at first sight when Todd meets his sister’s army friend. He sets his sights on the worldly, strong, stable older man, and the more time he spends with Richard, the harder he falls. But after three years together, Richard cuts off all contact with no explanation.

When a mutual obligation requires Todd to move into Richard’s house, he’s thrilled at the opportunity to earn a second chance. Ignoring Todd from across town was hard enough. Can Richard resist temptation under his own roof?

“Todd.” Leanne snapped her gaze toward him. “You’re not too young to know the nickname people used to call guys named Richard, are you?

“Uh.” Todd blinked and darted his gaze between Rich and Leanne. They were finally paying attention to him and all he wanted was to go back to being invisible.

Dick,” she said. “Big D got his nickname before we met, but some of us in my squad figured it wasn’t just about his last name being Davis. So we had a bet going.”

She flicked her gaze to Rich again, as if expecting him to interrupt.

He didn’t.

“Problem is, we couldn’t agree on which side won because we couldn’t get solid evidence.” She focused on Todd. “But now I have an eyewitness.”

“I, uh, I don’t—” Todd stammered, hating being in the middle of what felt like an argument.

“Don’t let Sparky get to you,” Rich said, still completely unbothered.

“Some of the guys saw Big D in the latrines, and they said he’s big all over, but when they tried to collect on the bet, the other side made a good point.” She narrowed her eyes menacingly at Rich. “If the man’s a show-er, that means he isn’t grow-er, so he doesn’t actually have a big D, now does he? That means the other side should win.”

Todd drew his eyebrows together and tried to follow Leanne’s question. “Are you saying you guys have a bet going on the size of Rich’s dick?”

“Yep.” Leanne leaned against the chairback, looking smug. “And you, little brother, are going to settle that bet.”

Normally, Todd had no problem talking about a guy’s package. Hell, in the right situation, dicks were damn near his favorite topic. But he had never spoken to anyone about Rich’s body or, really, anything else related to Rich because he knew that was off limits. Of course, Leanne was asking him the question because she already knew he had the answer.

Flicking his gaze toward Rich, Todd said, “Am I allowed to…”

“It’s a simple question,” Leanne snapped. “Is he a grow-er or a show-er?”

Rich didn’t tell him to stay quiet so Todd figured he had permission to answer. “Both.”

She blinked.

“Seriously.” He bobbed his head. “Length, girth.” He held his hands far apart. “It’s awesome.” As long as he had permission to share, he figured he should be thorough in his explanation. “His balls too.”

Leanne coughed.

“I mean it. They’re huge. Each one’s a mouthful by itself.”

“Ehm.” Leanne cleared her throat. “Thanks.” Looking decidedly uncomfortable, she held her palm up in a stop motion. “I’m good on the details. You don’t need to keep going.”

“Are you sure?” After a lifetime of being the butt of the joke with his siblings, Todd enjoyed turning the table. “I can sketch you a picture, but I’ll need one of those extra-long pieces of paper if you want it to scale.”

“That won’t be necessary.” Leanne actually blushed. “I’m all set.”

Rich threw his head back and laughed. “Thanks, Todd. Eighteen years these jackasses have had the silly bet going and I do believe you just put it to rest.”

Thrilled with the praise and relieved to be playing and flirting with Rich again, Todd smiled broadly. “No problem. When it comes to your big D, I’m always willing to lend a hand.”

He settled into the chair, comfortable for the first time that night, and when the conversation turned back to stories about people he didn’t know, he truly didn’t mind. Eighteen years was a long time. If Rich had cared about putting an end to the bet, he’d probably had a dozen different chances. That he did it now, meant his goal had been less about the bet and more about a point. Todd knew something about Rich that nobody else did, or at least nobody who mattered enough to meet his friends. That meant Todd mattered. Leanne knew that now. And so did he.

SS-ANKU

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This is one of my favorite series by Cardeno C so I was so excited for this one. In fact I re-read McFarland’s Farm and Jesse’s Diner to revisit with everyone before diving into the new one. While Richard and Todd are far from my favorite characters in Hope, the story worked for them.

Todd is a 22 year old flirt who has been in love with Richard, the thirty something sheriff of Hope for some time. The two had a three year fling which Richard ended abruptly and for the past 6 months Todd hasn’t been able to figure out why. Then Todd’s sister, who also happens to be Richard’s best friend has to return to active duty in the armed forces and leaves care of her 6 month old daughter to Richard and Todd. Todd moves into Richard’s guest house to help take care of his niece hoping that he will be able to figure out where he went wrong in their relationship. Richard can’t resist his feelings for Todd with him being so close, the two will need to be honest with each other and see if they can overcome the hurdles to get to their happily ever after.

I’ll be honest, there were a lot issues with these two. I’m not sure how genuine Todd’s feeling were for Richard if he was still hooking up with other people. I get why Richard ended things, but to do it with no communication was a dick move. I also get why Todd was still hooking up, if he felt like a dirty little secret why would he think Richard was serious. So, I can see both sides of the story but I don’t feel like Todd ever expressed his concerns about their relationship.

Todd was a complete contradiction to me. In one sense he was young and immature, and when he was caring for his niece he was the picture of maturity. It was hard to wrap my head around at times. While Richard was strong and stoic, which is what I picture a sheriff to be. He also came across as cold and uncaring.

I was glad to see these two work it out in the end and I loved seeing the characters from the past books popup for a visit.

3 pieces of eye candy

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McFarland’s Farm

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Jesse’s Diner

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CardenoC.

Cardeno C.—CC to friends—is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few awwws into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

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Smitty’s Sheriff by Cardeno C. : Release Day Reviews

Todd is too flakey. Richard is too stubborn. Together, they’re perfect. A May-December couple get a second chance at love.

Retired soldier Richard Davis wants a stable life in a quiet town with a forever man. Becoming the sheriff of Hope, Arizona, accomplishes two of his three goals, but instead of finding a serious partner, he falls for too-young-to-be-committed and too-flakey-to-be-serious Todd Smitty. Richard won’t find the right man if he’s obsessed with the wrong one, so he walks away from Todd.

It’s lust at first sight when Todd meets his sister’s army friend. He sets his sights on the worldly, strong, stable older man, and the more time he spends with Richard, the harder he falls. But after three years together, Richard cuts off all contact with no explanation.

When a mutual obligation requires Todd to move into Richard’s house, he’s thrilled at the opportunity to earn a second chance. Ignoring Todd from across town was hard enough. Can Richard resist temptation under his own roof?

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Book 3 in the Hope series, I have to say, it is hands down my favorite, and I really enjoyed Jesse’s Diner. This one though, we have the hot sheriff that I feel like I’ve been waiting on forever, I knew it was going to be good. I was not prepared for how good it actually was! I should’ve been, shame on me!

In this one, we have Richard, once soldier, now Sheriff in the small town of Hope, he’s still smarting from a breakup with assumed playboy, Todd. Todd was also the little brother of Richards army buddy, Leanne, who was a single mom with a military career and needed to call in her friend and little brother to help care for her baby while she was on a 3-month deployment. What would that mean for Richard, who was still in love with the younger man that he was in love with but couldn’t have?

Todd, broke my heart. Simply put, he was not at all the kind of person I thought he was going to be. He loved Richard and couldn’t understand why Richard broke things off. These two, had a horrible problem with communication while they had their several-year tryst, and while Richard wanted someone he could come to; Todd was under the impression that Richard didn’t really care about him one way or another. He thought he was content with the way things were and he had Todd when he wanted him but otherwise didn’t say anything about a commitment or what he wanted.

I wanted to smack him for Todd, because he was hurting him too! Todd is the type that needs to be taken care of and he loved that Richard done that. He felt cared about. There was a D/s aspect to this story, though it wasn’t sexual, it was just the way things were with them. Todd didn’t like decisions and he was flighty and forgetful. Like I said, he needed Richard to sort him out, keep him on track. I loved that about them. They meshed so well because they gave each other what the other one needed.

If only they would’ve stopped and had the conversation months or even years ago, they could’ve avoided all the hurt. I hated how down on himself Todd was and how hard he thought he had to try. I hated seeing him try. I shed many tears for Todd Smitty, but it made the ending so much more worth it.

Finally getting their heads out, and true to any CC read, they worked it out and had the sweetest of sweet endings. I’m really looking forward to more from this series and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for DJ and Seamus!

Very well written, very sweet story with a very deserved 5 stars from me on this one.

Truly a great addition to an already great series.

I just loved Jesse’s Diner, there was such a sweet, strong love between those two that I couldn’t resist. It is still a read I come back to every so often, because it warms my heart every single time.

So, I was excited that CC continued the series bringing Richard, the sheriff, to his HEA. This was a second chance romance, and what was interesting was that nothing specific separated them, other than they just didn’t communicate to each other their own wants and needs. Richard wanted a monogamous relationship, stable, and he never thought he could have that with Todd, who was sleeping with other people, and didn’t seem to have a lot of focus in his life.

Meanwhile, Todd wanted Richard more than anything, but being bored was his vice, and if he was, and he had time on his hands, and there was never any mention of wanting monogamy, then he slept with someone. However, no one he cared about, and if the two men had spoken, they would have realized they wanted the same thing. Instead, Richard just stopped talking to Todd, because he couldn’t do that to his heart any longer.

What a dynamic! So often with men, communication is forgotten, and the assumption is that the other person should know what is in someone’s head. There is a definite Dominant/submissive piece here, with Todd wanting and needing to be directed, but also I think because it helps with his focus. At the same time though, Richard feels it is wrong to be that type of person, so they must learn to communicate what is best for each other.

They do a good job of finding that happy place in order to be what the other person needs, and I really enjoyed their journey towards an HEA.

4.5 pieces of eye candy

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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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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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Unbreakable Stories: Rowe by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott: Quick Reviews with Giveaway

Unbreakable Stories: Rowe is a collection of short stories following the romantic adventures and misadventures of former Army Rangers turned security experts Rowe Ward and Noah Keegan following the events of Torch, book 3 of the Unbreakable Bonds series.

This collection is more than 30,000 words long and contain stories such as:
Piece of Pie
Mistletoe
Haunted
Gotcha
And many more…

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Drake & Elliott have mastered another hit! Unbreakable Stories: Rowe is the compilation of shorts of Noah & Rowe and they are absolutely hilarious, sweet & s. There is not much more to say that I haven’t said in previous reviews. I adore this series and it will forever be in my top 5 of all time. Drake & Elliott are a dynamic duo that I hope continue writing together for years to come.

Noah & Rowe had everything…

Impressive writing – check
Good flow of each story – check
Witty – check
Sweet – check
Sexy – check

The stories that Drake & Elliot create are full of family and love. Every time I read a new story (short or long) with the Unbreakable Men I get ALL. THE. FEELS. My favorite short was Mistletoe. The warmth and love you feel Noah has for Rowe is gut clenching. Noah will do anything to make Rowe feel loved during the holidays and the reindeer games they play definitely did the trick. I love getting a glimpse into their lives and seeing a little bit more of how they are so well matched as partners.

I hope Drake & Elliott continue to do little shorts (or a full length) of the Unbreakable characters. I don’t want to ever let them go. Well done Ladies – Keep the stories coming!

4.5 pieces of eye candy

Why can I not get enough of these men? I just love all the men in this series, and they are written so well by Drake & Elliott, I have to wonder how anyone will be able to get enough. I almost NEVER beg for additional stories on characters, mostly because often it seems when they have achieved their happy ending, then there isn’t much to tell about them.

However, these two authors have written such an incredible series, with characters who are so true to life, so diverse in personalities, that I cannot imagine how any of them could be boring. Adding these stories after their happy endings are such a joy to read. You learn more about their lives, their pasts, their wants, all the hot sex they have, and mostly about how the relationships between all these men continue to strengthen bonds built over many years.

Rowe’s stories are no exception. We see the fun side of Rowe and Noah, as they mess with their oh so serious friends. And we see the tender side, as we learn more about Rowe’s deceased wife, and his sister in law. The tears were flowing…in a short story. THAT is hard to do. For an author to bring a connection to a reader based on a short story is an incredible gift, yet these ladies do it so well.

I can’t help but hope that we get more scenes, maybe even more books, even as I know that these two will be working on a spin off series that I have no doubt will rock my world. Their writing draws me in, creates some serious magic, and then spits me out the other side, wrung out from the feels, but still happy as can be that I get to have a little of that in my life.

Well done, ladies…well done.

4.5 pieces of eye candy

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Santa’s Naughty Helper by Ari McKay: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Shy lawyer Kevin Anderson is presented with an unexpected opportunity when he draws hunky litigator Erik Wilson’s name for their office’s secret holiday gift exchange. Kevin has pined for his friend for a long time, but he fears ruining their working relationship if Erik doesn’t return his feelings. The anonymity of the exchange gives him the chance to let Erik know someone is interested, so Kevin turns the gift into a game: twelve days of presents, each more suggestive, culminating with a Christmas Eve meeting—if Kevin finds the courage to see it through!

Erik is intrigued by his secret Santa, who has given him something to look forward to during the holidays for the first time in years. But as Christmas approaches, he realizes he doesn’t want a mystery man; he wants his best friend, Kevin. When his attempts to instigate something with Kevin fail, Erik accepts the dinner invitation of his secret admirer. Little does he suspect that Santa’s naughty little helper might be just the man to make all his Christmas dreams come true in a holiday friends-to-lovers romance that progresses from sweet to spicy for two sexy lawyers.

First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2012.

Title: Santa’s Naughty Helper
Series: Lawyers in Love
Author: Ari McKay
Release Date: July 5, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Holiday
Pages: TBD (Novella)

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I enjoy Ari McKay’s books, and really love the holiday theme in July, so I wanted to grab this one right away.

I loved the cute premise. The shy lawyer who gets up the nerve to show his Secret Santa recipient, his best friend, how much he wants to spend all the cold winter nights with him. Kevin was so creative with his gift giving, and as he saw how much Erik enjoying receiving the gifts, he was able to become much more daring than he ever expected he would.

One thing I would have liked to have seen a bit more of was Erik’s point of view. I struggled with believing he made such a quick switch into wanting Kevin when he had shown no previous inclination. I think it would have been easily resolved with a bit more of Erik’s POV to help fill in the blanks as to where his mind was at.

I did find some of the dialogue a bit stilted and cliche, with some of the lines not sound as natural as I would have expected from two men who had been best friends for years.

All in all a cute story, with a fun premise, giving you hope for love during the holiday season.

3 pieces of eye candy


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Patron by C.B. Lewis: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Theodore Wentworth, who possesses little more than a sharp and well-educated mind, is trying to solicit a sponsor for his studies of Greek antiquity by performing recitations at gatherings of collectors. Desperate for luck and better skills in oratory, in jest, he places a coin at the feet of a statue of Hermes. It seems like coincidence when his fortune turns and a gentleman calling himself Alexander becomes his benefactor. Despite his friend John teasing him about it, Theodore continues to offer tokens to Hermes and sinks himself into his study of the classics.

Alexander encourages Theodore’s interest, prompting Theodore to face desires he tried to put aside years before. As Theodore embraces the knowledge, he must also resist his attraction to Alexander—knowing his feelings are a serious crime in Victorian England.

But the secret Alexander keeps will change everything in a love story for the ages, steeped in taboo, temptation, history, and myth.

Title: Patron
Author: C.B. Lewis
Release Date: June 21, 2017
Category: Historical: World, Fantasy: Mythology
Pages: TBD (Novella)

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The second I saw this cover (TCO was fortunate enough to do the cover reveal of this amazing cover) and the blurb, I knew I had to read it. It combined a few of my favorite things. I love Greek and Roman mythology and I also love books based in Victorian England. And it is so clear that C.B. Lewis loves, and researched these things very well, in order to write this novella.

Whether you believe in mythology or not, there is no denying that both of those times still have an impact even in today’s society. Just the other day, I used the word “herculean” to describe something. The world is full of words and phrases from that time period. Especially in the medical field. Achilles tendon anyone? 🙂

This was a very well done blend of old (the mythology) and “new” (the MC’s meet in Victorian England) with some mystery tacked on for additional interest. The stress that Theodore endures personally from realizing he is gay in a period of time that could have resulted in his death was very real. He moves through many stages, until he reaches the stage where he accepts it, and accepts that Alexander wants to be with him. All of this while trying to find a way to continue his education in Greek mythology.

I won’t give away the ending, although you can definitely see it coming. I don’t think it was meant to be a surprise ending, merely one that everyone could be happy with. I liked how it wrapped around Theodore, and his love of antiquities. It made it that much stronger a story.

This one has a good mix of all the things that I love: mythology, Victorian England, romance, and an HEA.

4 pieces of eye candy

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Sunset at Pencarrow by Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell: Release Day Review and Giveaway

Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.

Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Title: Sunset at Pencarrow
Authors: Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell
Release Date: June 7, 2017
Category: Contemporary, World of Love
Pages: TBC (Novella)

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I couldn’t wait to read this one. I love New Zealand. Having been there, and enjoyed the beauty of the country, and the lovely, diverse people, I was excited to get another glimpse of it. And I really did enjoy all the little pieces of the culture, the landscape, and the beautiful landmarks of the country. It was a spectacular reminder that I can’t wait to get back for a second visit.

Now, I will say that Nate…I didn’t like him a whole lot most of the time. He was grumpy, moody, and mercurial. He certainly had reasons with an ex who was fairly abusive, at least verbally. However, it is hard to like a character when he is trying to be kind, and maybe start a relationship, yet can’t get out of his own issues.

Rusty, on the other hand, was a sweetheart that you had to love the second the reader met him. He was sweet, and easy-going, willing to find adventure in a land he didn’t think he would be coming back to. He was kind and strong, and willing to stick up for those who couldn’t do it themselves, but only if they actually needed him.

Once these two men began to show each other their feelings, I felt better about Nate, and saw his growth as a person. However, I was glad that the authors kept them apart for some time, so that Nate could continue to grow away from Rusty, and become a person who he could be on his own.

3.5 pieces of eye candy

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Hijacked Love by Ethan Stone: Quick Review

It’s the winter of 1971 and FBI Agent Zack Pomeroy is hoping to make a name for himself when he’s assigned the case of the century—the hijacking of an airplane by D.B. Cooper. Zack’s used to hiding his sexuality but working with Duke Magruder is even more of a challenge. Not only do they do have vastly different personalities but also contrasting opinions on how to work the case. Nonetheless, Zack is able to earn Duke’s begrudging respect.

Until Duke learns Zack’s secret.

When Zack finds a lead on the case Duke not only refuses to listen, he also refuses to work with Zack any longer. Zack’s career and his assignment are at jeopardy but that doesn’t mean he’s about to give up on finding Cooper, no matter how many years it takes.

Hijacked Love is a blend of mystery and historical fiction with a bit of romance thrown in.

Amazon

Goodreads Link

The story of D.B. Cooper and his complete disappearance has always been one of those mysteries that has fascinated me. To have someone hijack a plan, and a ton of money, and just disappear with little more than a trace has always been just so interesting, so when I got the chance to read this, I grabbed it.

This isn’t really a romance, although there is a romantic element in it. And the author kept true to the real-life story, and the mystery is not solved. However, I still enjoyed it. I haven’t ever read much on the story, other than how they think he escaped, so I don’t know how many of the “facts of the case” are true to the real-life story, but it seemed real to me! The author did a great job of bringing all the information to the table in an enthralling manner. I read it beginning to end in one sitting, because I was so fascinated.

I did like that Zack had a man he’d been with for many years, and yet they still needed to come to terms with the changes in their relationship. It added an extra piece to the story, knowing that Zack had someone to come home to, and someone he didn’t want to disappoint.

A good quick read.

4 pieces of eye candy

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch by L.A. Merrill: Release Day Review, Exclusive Guest Post and Giveaway

David Marks is looking for the perfect place to film his new web series and recover from his latest failed relationship. When reclusive writer Michael Sharp opens his Montana ranch to paying guests, David knows he’s found the right place—but he doesn’t expect to find Mr. Right too.

Forty years ago Michael Sharp’s father was murdered in front of him. No one believed a six-year-old boy’s testimony against the powerful Carver brothers. For years Michael has lived in self-imposed exile, the only living witness who can bring down the Carver criminal empire. But now the money is running out, and he’s forced to play host to a troupe of temperamental web actors and their energetically attractive director in order to stay alive.

The Carvers aren’t about to stand for rebellion. Michael has outlived his usefulness. Now Michael and David have to find a way to end this fight once and for all, finding justice for Michael’s father and meeting David’s funding deadline—all before one or both of them ends up dead.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Title: Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
Author: L.A. Merrill
Release Date: May 31, 2017
Category: Mystery/Suspense, States of Love
Pages: 74

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH RELEASE DAY GIVEAWAY!

It’s Monday, May 29th, which means it must be… Memorial Day! (In America, at least.) And also… release day for my new novella! Take a time out from your pool-side, burger-flipping, summer kickoff parties (and whatever else y’all are up to on this last Monday in May) to read about unexpected romance in Montana and enter for a chance to win a free e-book!

         

Shakespeare and Bronte and Poe, Oh My: Literary Web Series and New Storytelling

My love affair with literary web series started with one little three-minute episode. After dinner one night, my sister dragged me upstairs to her room, sat me down in front of her laptop and said, “You have to watch this.”

This was Episode One of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Ashely Clements, Mary Kate Wiles, and Hank Green and Bernie Su’s hilarious script hooked me in under a minute. My sister and I devoured the series together every Saturday night in tiny, laughter-filled binges. After we’d seen every episode and spin-off available, we branched out into adaptations of Emma and Jane Eyre, discovering a whole online and IRL culture of web-based filmmakers and production companies, professional actors and groups of college friends staging Shakespeare in their dorm rooms.

Sean and Sinead Persaud spoofing Edgar Allen Poe and Lenore the Lady Ghost. Yulin Kuang’s lyrical I Didn’t Write This series. The campy fun of Carmilla and the blisteringly recognizable humor and despair in Whatever this is. YouTube’s “Watch Next Video” button was my answer to Netflix’s “Are you still watching?” check-in, and I was always ready to press “Yes!”

I always loved watching any “Behind the Scenes” videos, too, eager to see how the stories were made. When I started writing Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch, those were the videos I returned to, seeing how tiny teams of actors and crew members banded together on a ridiculously short shooting schedule to create highly detailed serial stories. In my novella, David Marks and his best friend Ronni Oberfeldt run Mark of Cain Productions, a company using its last chance at funding to film a classic Western version of Lorna Doone. When I was younger I was almost ready to drop everything and run away to Vancouver or California to join a web series production company as a writer. I never did end up going, but I channeled my passion for retellings of classic stories into Meanwhile—and if you read closely, you can find more than one allusion to R. D. Blackmore’s story hidden inside mine!

(I did end up writing a sketch script for one episode of The Blank Scene, Maxwell Glick’s acting-exercise-comedy series. It’s called “Have You Seen My Car” if you want to look it up!)

Now for the giveaway! I’m always on the lookout for new things to watch, so leave a comment with your favorite web series and an email you feel comfortable leaving in public, and one person will be randomly selected to receive a FREE copy of my Hanukkah-centric romantic short story Don’t Let the Light Go Out. Leave a comment by June 1st, and we will contact the winner by the end of June! Happy reading, y’all!

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch is available now! Follow the link to buy it today—and be sure to check out L.A. Merrill’s other stories and the rest of the States of Love novella series! 

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this novella. I hadn’t read anything by L.A. Merrill before, and with it being in the States of Love line, you could find all kinds of options as to what it was. I enjoyed this one a lot! The  synopsis led me to believe it might be serious, with some guys with guns charging after a guy who’d been hiding out for years. That wasn’t what I got at all. 🙂

One thing I wasn’t expecting in it was to laugh out loud. There were lots of moments of just pure laugh out loud funny. Here are just a few that I marked:

“I had to sign a release form via email before I even got to reserve or rooms. I’m pretty sure I signed away our right to sue over wolverine-related incidents.”

“Which one of these is to the gun cabinet?” I asked aiming for nonchalant. (Pro tip: there’s no way you can ask that question nonchalantly.)”

And this conversation is my favorite!

“What about costumes?” Jen asked momentarily distracted.

“That’s me,” Enzo said, raising a hand.

“Makeup?”

“Also me.”

“Running sound–“

“You know what, I’m just going to leave my hand up.”

There were actually more that I highlighted, but you’ll need to buy and read yourself. 😉

David and Michael were cute together. Getting together at night and working on the script that David was terrible at writing, and Michael could write so easily. They worked together, along with the band of misfits that showed up as the first guests at the new hotel.

One of the things I enjoyed about this novella was that the people were not perfect. I won’t give away what I mean like that completely, other than to say that sometimes what we believe to be real turns out to be completely different than reality.

David’s creativity with the dog that hated him at the end was pretty darn good!

For a short novella, it had action, it had romance, lots of humor and a storyline that you wanted to see come to a happy ending. All of that, and still a couple surprises you didn’t see coming.

Completely my idea of a fun time!

4 pieces of eye candy


        L.A. Merrill is a tiny blonde woman who loves a good story. She has worked as a tour guide and an assistant stage director, and spent one memorable summer as a camp counselor. After five years in vocal performance, production work, and arts education, she now writes full-time. Her work has appeared in Kansas City Voices magazine, on the YouTube series The Blank Scene, and online. Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch is L.A.’s fourth story with Dreamspinner Press, and her first published novella. (There’s an unpublished novella, about murderous husbands and Scottish ghosts, written when she was thirteen, that is sitting in a file at home. It will likely never see the light of day.)

An avid knitter, she has yet to follow a pattern and has made some interestingly shaped hats as a result. L.A. makes handknit and crocheted blankets and hats for local charities, as well as leading a LGBT+ writers group in her hometown. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she can usually be found reading, writing, and making things up as she goes along. Follow her on Twitter for feminism and fangirling at @la_mer92

 

Next Stops On The Blog Tour!

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words (May 30)

Tammy’s Two Cents (May 31)

The Novel Approach (June 1)

Love Bytes (June 2)

Divine Magazine (June 5)

On Top Down Under (June 6)

Dreamspinner Press (June 8)

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.