Quickie Review: View from Forever by Charles Sheehan-Miles

view from foreverA View from Forever by Charles Sheehan-Miles

Genre: Contemporary Young Adult M/F Novella

Format: Kindle ARC

Score: 9/10

Plot: Dylan Paris is a working class kid from Atlanta. A former high school dropout who is trying to clean up his act, Dylan is stunned to be selected for a six-week foreign exchange program to Israel.

Alex Thompson is the daughter of a wealthy US Ambassador. Several weeks overseas with an exchange program is just what she needs to get out from under her over-controlling parents.

They only have five weeks before they go back to their homes.

They have completely different lives.

The last thing either of them want or need is to fall in love.

Review: Just to be clear, I am a die-hard Charles Sheehan-Miles fan. This guy can write. No, really. He can write articulated, moving, heart-felt characters in these totally plausible situations that’ll have you spending the first half of every book falling in love with the characters and the second half having your heart ripped out by them. It’s a delicious combination and Charles definitely knows how to work it. In fact, he is the undisputed master of what I like to call nuanced coming of age NA. He writes a heady blend of nostalgia, teenage angst, and mature characterization. A View from Forever is a perfect example of this. This is a prequel novella to his highly lauded, Just Remember to Breathe, but it can most definitely be read as a standalone. In it we get to see how two characters meet, fall in love, and are separated by circumstances outside of their very limited control. It’s a sweet backstory that is only hinted at in Just Remember to Breathe but it puts their later relationship in a more dramatic context and gives us deeper insight into Dylan and Alex’s motivations. The book reads a bit young – more mature YA than NA – which is fitting with the age of the main characters. Watching these two tip-toe around new feelings and setting it against the exotic backdrop of Israel certainly makes for some heady reading. The romance is top-notch, the build up to it long and tension filled. But it’s also 100% PG which is frankly, a breath of fresh air in a time of glamorized sex among teens. All in all, a lovely edition to The Thompson Sisters’ canon.

What you’ll enjoy: the writing is phenomenal – Charles knows how to plot and build suspense until you’re just begging for something, anything!, to happen to force the characters’ hands; there is a sort of dreamy nostalgia to this story that will make you long for those care-free days when you had nothing more stressful going in life than falling in love; steamy international setting; totally clean with only a hint of kissing to whet your smutty appetite.

What you might not enjoy: honestly, there’s not much to dislike! Possibly the short length and what feels like a bit of a forced side-story about a missing friend of Dylan’s. All in all, the good far outweighs the bad with this one.

Book reveal: Canine (A Channeling Morpheus short) by Jordan Castillo Price

I haven’t been quiet about it but then why should I be? WHO COULD BE?! My love for all things Jordan C. Price is an overflowing bucket that can’t be stanched. She can write gritty urban fantasy about a world like ours where short-term memories can be implanted by memory smiths (the entire Mnevermind series got a 10/10 from ILYAF) and another where psychic cops dominate the police force, tracking criminals from beyond the grave (the Psycop series). She recently rereleased Books 1-5 of her Channeling Morpheus series as a box set entitled, Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary, and the other half of the series, A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion Books 6-10 will be out on 4/21/2015.

Never heard of Channeling Morpheus? Well, let me break it down for you: imagine the sexiest, smuttiest vampires ever. Give them to Jordan C. Price and watch her warp them into an extremely carnal vampire saga involving frolicking, killing, and van sex. Is there really anything left to say?

The best bit of all this? She’s releasing a Channeling Morpheus novella the same day. Take a peek at the cover, blurb, and excerpt after the jump…

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Quickie Review: Fairy Tales by Kris Ripper

Fairy TalesFairy Tales (New Halliday Book 1) by Kris Ripper

Genre: Contemporary M/M

Score: 8/10

Plot: Henry Hofstadter doesn’t date. When he needs to get laid, he drives out of town, does the deed, and goes home. Maybe ten years ago he’d’ve mocked a guy who preferred canine company to another man’s, but these days his mutt Coco is his best friend and the highlight of his week is hanging out with his nephew. He doesn’t believe in happy endings. And no fairy tale ever began Once upon a time, an arrogant jackass blew me in the storeroom of a lousy club.

Math McKinney’s got a lot on his mind. He used to be a charming guy with a little bit of substance; these days he feels more like the guy still standing when everything around him is a smoking ruin. His ex is out of the country for the next year, his daughter thinks she’s his son, and his co-chair on the Committee for the Preservation of Community apparently hates him for, let’s be clear, no apparent reason. (Because that BJ was magnificent. MAGNIFICENT.)

Neither of them is looking for a boyfriend. Hell, neither of them is even looking for a one night stand. Yet somehow they keep ending up together and dammed if it doesn’t seem like that’s a sign.

Except…fairy tales are for children. Aren’t they?

Quick Review: Not going to lie, I love an awkward first encounter and those bumbling initial forays into a relationship. I adore when a beginning is not picture perfect and there’s a whole lot of give and take between characters. Henry and Math are not typical m/m pretty people. They are both unequivocally flawed and so human you can’t help but relate. They are actually one of the most realistic representations of a couple I’ve come across in the genre. Their first night of intimacy is abysmal, their daily interactions are painful, and it’s all so real that you’ll find yourself cringing. A lot. There are a lot of ups and downs on their path – Math has a trans daughter and is coming to terms with that while also dealing with a move to a new very small town; Henry has a past fraught with homosexuality hating and his daily life is a struggle. This story is ultimately one of growth and acceptance and I recommend it highly.

You’ll definitely enjoy: the realistic nature of their meeting and subsequent interactions are not to be missed; the inclusion of a trans character and the situations and revelations that result from that are so top-notch and nuanced; the sex goes from super awkward to hellaciously hot by the very end; the secondary characters kill it; the quietness of the book will be the balm to your overly angst-fed soul.

You might hate: this is a book where essentially nothing happens and when it does it’s pretty quick to culminate in a big life-changing event; all the awkward moments and as mentioned above, there are MANY; the sex is not sexy until about 2/3 of the way in; there is a lot of dialogue and moments unrelated to Math and Henry’s relationship which became a tad excessive for me; such a quiet read.

Urban Fantasy Review: Mnevermind Series (Books 1 – 3) by Jordan C Price

Mnevermind Series

Mnevermind Series:

Book 1) The Persistence of Memory; Book 2) Forget Me Not; Book 3) Life is Awesome.

Author: Jordan C Price

Published by: JCP Books

Format: Kindle edition

Genre: Mindscrewy Urban Fantasy M/M Romance

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: 10/10

Let’s do a little role playing cause you all know Judith loves that:

You: man, I really need a new book to read. Something…gritty? Urban fantasy-esque but without all the trappings of the genre. Maybe some m/m. A bit sexy, a lot introspective…

The world: JORDAN C PRICE’s MNEVERMIND OH MY GOD READ IT.

You: Naw, man. I want something that–

The world: Shut up! You need to read this book. Read it, read it, read it.

Chorus of authors and trusted book sources: Read it, read it, read it readitreaditreadit REAAAAAD ITTTTT.

You: Ok…

You: Holy crap this is good…no, wait, it’s getting better…this is amazing…HOLD UP. This is phenomenal.

The world: Told ya. Fool.

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NA Review: Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan + Giveaway!

Carry the OceanCarry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan

Published by: Samhain Publishing

Format: Kindle ARC

Genre: NA M/M Romance

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: 10/10

Did you see the score I gave this one? Did you? DID YOU?! 10/10. 10 whopping stars. That’s not something I hand out willy nilly to all the books that grace this blog. No, this book is special. It’s ridiculously special. Don’t get me wrong: it’s the funny, sexy, intelligent, fast paced, and lovely book we expect from Heidi Cullinan. But above all – and what sets it apart from everything – is how wholly unique it is to the genre. Read the plot, give it a chance; give me 50 pages and if you hate it, forget it. But if you trust my reviews, then do yourself a favor and one-click this book. It is oh so worth it.

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Quickie Review: Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake

smokey mountain dreamsSmoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake

Genre: Contemporary M/M

Score: 9/10

Plot: Sometimes holding on means letting go.

After giving up on his career as a country singer in Nashville, Christopher Ryder is happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee. But while his beloved Gran loves him the way he is, Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. Even when he’s center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.

Bisexual Jesse Birch has no room in his life for dating. Raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother, he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.

Quick Review: Leta Blake is the reigning queen of sexy and her newest book just drives that point home. From the outside, Smoky Mountain Dreams seems like it will be a light hearted romp through a Dollywood-esque theme park. There’s the cute singing guitar player with a heart of gold and the hot bisexual dad just looking for a connection with someone after the loss of his wife. Simple, easy, right? And yet like her amazing Training Season, Leta manages to make this situation anything but. The conflicts and difficulties these two face run from the mundane — Jesse’s kids are trepidatious and unwelcoming — to the large scale — Jesse’s wife might not be as far removed from his life as Chris thinks. The relationship these two start is one fraught with difficulty but Leta makes it a wild, sexy ride to the finish line.

You’ll definitely enjoy: Chris has a heart of gold and seems like the perfect boyfriend for anyone (read: me); the naughty bits are hellaciously sexy and graphic in a way that does not feel tawdry but certainly is satisfying; Chris’ Gran is hilarious and belts out these stories and one liners that will have you laughing; theme park setting!

You might hate: the conflict that threatens Jesse’s relationship with Chris seems a bit overdone and Jesse’s reaction to Chris finding out a big secret is awful and degrading; Chris seems so in need of love that he confuses a good time between the sheets as the big L and he is quick to forgive Jesse anything; insta-love; theme park setting!

Exclusive Excerpt: Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins

NothingLikeParis-R (1)Happy Monday, book lovers. If you’re an unabashed Off Campus fan like me, you’re all set for March 3rd which is the big release for the sequel, Nothing Like Paris! Now, if you read my review, you’ll know this is one doozy of a redemption story that will wind you up and knock you flat…and then uplift you cause hey, we all want an HEA even for a douchey main character like Jack!

Amy Jo Cousins has a special treat today to whet our appetites even further for Nothing Like Paris’ release: an exclusive excerpt. So without further ado, read on to learn a little bit more about what makes Jack Tarkington tick.

…and also, if it wasn’t clear: there be spoilers below! Also a few curse words so if that’s not your sort of thing, well, what are you doing here?!

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NA Review: Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins

Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins

Published by: Samhain Publishing

Format: Kindle

Genre: NA M/M Romance

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: 8/10

AJ Cousins, my new go-to golden girl of LGBTQ NA, is back and back with a vengeance. For those not in the know, this is book 2 in her highly praised Bend or Break series, the first of which was Off Campus (I adored it & you can read my review to find out why) featured a bisexual jock down on his luck and his hot traumatized gay roommate. The antagonist of that book – aka the evil resident life worker who makes their lives hell – is actually the hero of Nothing Like Paris. Well, I use hero loosely cause all through book one, Jack was a douche and shocker of shockers, he’s STILL a douche at the beginning of this one! But more about that in a bit…

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Quickie review: There Will Be Phlogiston by Alexis Hall

ThereWillBePhlogiston_500x750There Will Be Phlogiston by Alexis Hall

Genre: M/M/F Steampunk Romance

Score: 9/10

Plot: An instructive story in which vice receives its just reward.

Inspired by true and scandalous tales of the Gaslight aristocracy, we present the most moral and improving tale of Lady Rosamond Wolfram.

Weep, reader, for the plight of our heroine as she descends into piteous ruin in the clutches of the notorious Phlogiston Baron, Anstruther Jones. Witness the horrors of feminine rebellion when this headstrong young lady defies her father, breaks an advantageous engagement, and slips into depravity with a social inferior. Before the last page is turned, you will have seen our heroine molested by carnival folk, snubbed at a dance, and drawn into a sinful ménage a trois by an unrepentant sodomite, the wicked and licentious Lord Mercury.

Reader, take heed. No aspect of our unfortunate heroine’s life, adventures, or conduct is at all admirable, desirable, exciting, thrilling, glamorous, or filled with heady passion and gay romance.

Review: A debutante in all things steampunk, I was told again and again to use There Will Be Phlogiston as the pond in which to dip my toes. And now in turn, I implore you, dear readers: read this book! It’s a thrilling romp through a world made up of aristocrats and airmen, school girls and carnival folk.  At its core, two aristocrats learn to come to grips with their innermost desires and in turn, be able to love the low born yet wealthy, Anstruther Jones. Arkady is the effeminate last of his line who can’t allow the rest of the aristocracy to know that he prefers the company of men like Jones; Rosamond is a seventeen year old school girl thrilled to be able to marry yet devastated by what that entails. These three meet and perform an unlikely courtship that is madcap, dizzying, and fantastical as it shifts from gilded ballrooms, the gutter, and a nightmarish circus populated with mechanical animals. The pace is frenetic and over the top; the language is lush and otherworldly. In the end, the message is simple: find love where you will and embrace it. There Will Be Phlogiston is one of the smartest, finely crafted books I have read in ages and it will be sure to tickle your interest for more from Alexis Hall.

You’ll enjoy: phenomenal world building set in a fantasy land called Gaslight; the finely honed and playful language of the author; the various sexy scenes between alternate pairings of the three main characters; the character of Anstruther Jones who reads as the perfect romantic hero for anyone anywhere ever; the fact that this is a side-story in a wider catalog of steampunk stories written by the author meaning that there are many more adventures that await you.

You might not enjoy: steampunk is not for everyone – it’s a weird hodgepodge of fantasy, mechanical invention, and alternate reality without any real explanation of how it came to be; a menage-a-trois story (M/M/F) which some find implausible; the grandiose language; the seemingly quick ending which sneaks up on you out of nowhere!

Final score: 9/10 

NA Review: Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

Off campusOff Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

Published by: Samhain Publishing

Format: Kindle

Genre: NA M/M Romance

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: 9/10

Amy Jo Cousins is my new favorite writer: she whips up light-hearted romance like Five Dates and then sucker punches you with a heavy-hitting, quick-witted, sexual identity questioning read like Off Campus. Girlfriend has got IT and knows how to play me like a fiddle. And all I want is a whole lot more…

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