Monday, 24 September 2018

Tin Man by Sarah Winman




Book Club Read
195 pages

Blurb

It begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflower, hung on a wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things.

And there are two boys, Ellis and Michael, who are inseparable.
And the boys become men, and then Annie walks into their lives, and it changes nothing and everything.

Tin Man sees Sarah Winman follow the acclaimed success of When God was a Rabbit and A Year of Marvellous Ways with a love letter to human kindness and friendship, loss and living.

Or:

This is almost a love story.

Ellis and Michael are twelve when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.

But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?

This is almost a love story. But it's not as simple as that.

My thoughts

“Life was not as fun without Michael. Life was not as colourful without him. Life was not life without him. If only Ellis could have told him that then maybe he would have returned.”

Tin Man is a story about love and loss spanning thirty-three years, starting in 1963 when Ellis and Michael first meet and ending in 1996 when Ellis…. Love in all its glory. Love big enough to include more than two hearts. Love too scary to hang on too. Love too strong to every die. Love that kills and love that sustains. Love that refuses to die even when the one remaining heart no longer knows how to go on.

Tin Man is a subdued, gentle story. It’s also deeply touching and memorable. I didn’t realize I was actually picking a (mostly) gay novel when I ordered the copies for my reading group, but that’s what I did. My heart cheered and broke for Michael and Ellis. Annie was their blessing as much as their demise. Feelings, emotions, love; they never die, not even if we try to push them away and ignore them. And sometimes we need to confront those memories, relive them, and see the from a different perspective to make sense of it all, to find the courage to keep on living, to at last embrace the life we were always meant to live.

“And I remember thinking, how cruel it was that our plans were out there somewhere. Another version of our future, out there somewhere, in perpetual orbit.”

If you think the above is vague, you are right. And I’ve done that on purpose (just as I’m sure the author kept the blurb vague by design). This book is slow at revealing its secrets and it would be a dreadful shame to spoil the voyage of discovery for other readers. This story about first love, about sacrifices made, and the pain of having live with a reality that doesn’t match what would be ideal.

The story contains heartbreakingly sad moments, revealed in a language so gentle it both adds to the ache and relieves it. The story has left me with several ‘what ifs’ running through my head, but isn’t that the way life all too often plays out?

But, in the end this was a story about coming to terms with what was, and finding in that acceptance the courage and motivation to move forward. Because it is true that while none of us get to live a perfect life, all of us have the opportunity to take what life gives us and cherish those moments that were perfection.

“We all had to come out of the dark to sing.”



Fractures (Damon & Pete: Playing with Fire #5) by Tantalus



Buy link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Available on KU

Blurb

Pete doesn’t know where he stands when Damon’s ex, Michael, turns up out of the blue.

Talk about bad timing.

Damon had thought his wounds long since healed. Yeah, right.

So where do they go from here?

Review

Damon and Pete’s story may have started as pure kink in the first book, Summer Heat, but over the course of the subsequent four books things changed. I like to think those changes took both men by surprise. I don’t think either of them was thinking long term, never mind relationships when that first encounter took place and yet…when Fractures starts both of them have reached the stage where they are ready for more than the occasional hook-up. Or so they think.

Do not get me wrong; this series is pretty much about the sex and various kinks and there’s plenty of it in all five books, culminating in a breath-taking and surprisingly moving public scene in Fractures. But, there is more to these stories than ‘just’ sexy-times. It happens almost imperceptibly, but as the tale continues we get to know these two men, understand why they are so good together, and watch as they, almost by accident, fall into something resembling a relationship.

For me the beauty of Fractures was twofold. As with the previous tales I just loved the hot scenes these two men engage in. But, I think I appreciated the opportunity we are given to get to know Damon better—discover what (or who) has made him the man he is—even more.

Not that this is a particularly heavy or angsty story. There’s just enough ‘conflict’ to flesh Damon out, make him truly three-dimensional, but nothing in these shorts is allowed to distract the reader from the heated passion between him and Pete for more than a few paragraphs or pages.

I feel I should add that the scene Pete and Damon engage in in Fractures is not for the squeamish. It is very graphic and properly hardcore. It is also one of the most intimate and beautiful scenes I’ve read in a long time. Who knew so much tenderness could be found in something that, on the surface, seems shocking, maybe even obscene?

It is no (longer a) secret that Tantalus is K.C. Wells’ alter ego, so it shouldn’t surprise anybody when I say that these stories are well written and thoroughly researched. Nor should it come as a shock when I say that Damon and Pete are vivid characters who quickly worm their way into your heart. And every Wells fan knows that her sex scenes are off the charts hot. The only difference is that these books take ‘hot’ to a whole new level.

Related reviews: Summer Heat | After | Consequences| Limits




Friday, 21 September 2018

Buyers Remorse (Real Estate Relations #2) by D.J. Jamison - Release Blitz




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Cover Design: Jay Aheer @ Simply Defined Art

Real Estate Relations Series

Book #1 - Full Disclosure - Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Will love persevere when the truth comes out?

Lee


I changed my name, but I can’t change what I did. My brothers died, and I spent three years in witness protection. Returning to Fields, where I once hid out, feels right. Seeing Miguel again feels even better. But when a dead body interrupts my tour of a building for sale, my start isn’t as fresh as I’d like.


Miguel


I’ve been trying to curb my habit of leaping into bad relationships, but when Lee comes back to town, he's hard to resist. Kids are dying, and life’s too short to shy away from a good thing. But will Lee’s mysterious past come back to bite me?


Between police questioning and trials of trust, it's far from smooth sailing. If we don’t figure out who’s selling synthetic drugs and convince the police Lee is not their man, we may all have a severe case of buyer’s remorse.


Buyer's Remorse includes hurt/comfort, second-chance romance, and mystery themes.


Excerpt

We began to sway to a slow song. He moved in closer, resting his head on my shoulder,

and my heart clenched. He felt so good in my arms. In that moment, with his body warming mine, I missed him desperately.


“Mig,” he murmured.


“Yeah?”


“Hold me tighter?”


My pulse skittered, but I hugged his body closer to mine. His hair brushed my chin and


neck, teasing out goose bumps.


“Tighter,” he said.


There was an oddly vulnerable note in his voice, as if he really needed me to hold him


and was embarrassed by it. I tugged him flush up against me, so tight I couldn’t tell where I 
stopped and he began. His body was hard against mine, nothing soft about this man except his voice.

I tilted his face up with a finger. Those eyes burned into me, smoldering, yes, but there 

was grief there as well. I could see how much he wanted me. Maybe even needed me.

My walls, already on the weak side, collapsed under the weight of his stare.


I bent down and kissed him.


His mouth was sweet with the flavor of a tequila sunrise. His hands tightened on my 
shoulders, and I had a split second to wonder if he was going to push me away. Why should he let me kiss him after I’d shut him out? It wasn’t fair, the way I’d promised he didn’t have to tell me his deep, dark secrets, promised that his past didn’t matter to me, and then condemned him when I found out the truth. I didn’t know yet if I could be with Lee, knowing what he’d done, but he deserved a chance to explain.

But Lee didn’t push me away. He pulled me closer, thrusting his tongue out to meet mine 
in a wild kiss.

There was nothing tame about Lee. He was fire, and I was playing with it, but I couldn’t 
stay away.

Author Bio


DJ Jamison is the author of more than a dozen m/m romances, including the Ashe Sentinel series and the Hearts and Health series. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that, and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors' books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, two fish and, regrettably, one snake.



 

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Thursday, 20 September 2018

Square One by JJ Harper - Release Day Blitz



*•.¸(*•.¸ ¸.•*´)¸.•*´`*•..¸.•*´*•.¸(*•.¸ ¸.•*´)¸.•*
     ´*•.¸ SQUARE ONE ¸.•*  
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=======  OUT NOW   =======




Blurb

Xander is angry and fed up with being signed off work for something that was out of his control. He loses himself in alcohol and one-night stands, anything to dull the pain in his head.

Jonah is enjoying the freedom away from his small-town life, living life to the full in a big city. A few weeks away from starting his job as a firefighter, he embraces the nightlife and the men found in the clubs. One man, in particular, catches his eye, and not even exchanging names, they spend a night lost in each other, and then another. Still not bothering to find out any more about each other, they go their separate ways.

Until they find themselves face-to-face at work.

Unable to stay away from each other, they embark on something that soon morphs into so much more. Deeper, more intense, looking a lot like love.

But will it be enough when Jonah hears some life-changing news and he turns to Xander for support?

Square One is part of the Under The Uniform series by Aubergine Publishing. Check out the other books available from six other amazing M/M authors.



EXCERPT 

It’s been two months since Xander and I got together. Although we haven’t said we’re boyfriends, we are definitely more than friends. Looking in the mirror, I smooth out the button-down shirt, then attempt to sort out the riot that is my hair. It’s decided to stick out in every direction. In the end, I give up. Maybe messy curls will become fashionable.
I hear a car horn beep and know that Xander is here. The butterflies in my stomach stir and flutter awake. We’ve had a five-day rest period from work, and he took the chance to go to see his parents and sister. It seemed more of a duty call as his mum had been pestering him for a visit. I haven’t given my folks the chance to guilt me. I call every week, letting them know how busy I am.

The doorbell rings, making me smile. Xander must be as eager to see me as I am him. I race down the stairs to open the door. We both gaze at each other before smiling.

“Come here, you.” I grab his hand and pull him inside and up against me. “I’ve missed you,” I murmur as my lips press up to his.

“Mmm, me too.” He presses harder, then lets his tongue slip over the seam of my lips, asking for entry.

I can taste the faint mint of his toothpaste, but it’s the full flavour of him that has me moaning. My hands move to grip his hips, letting our groins bump together. I can feel his dick swell as I deepen the kiss.

Breaking away, he sighs and licks over his bottom lip. “We need to go before I drag you upstairs.”

“I know. Maybe we should’ve left dinner for tomorrow night.” I rest my forehead on his.
“C’mon, we don’t have to be there long.” Xander kisses me softly before stepping back.
I grab my keys, and we head out. The Indian restaurant is busy, but we are quickly shown to our table. After ordering a beer each, we sit.

 “How was it? Your parents okay?” I reach over to touch his hand, loving it when he turns it over to hold mine.

“Yeah, they were happy to see me. My sister came over with her kids, making it crazy but fun. It’s great to spend time with my nephew and niece.”

By the time we have finished eating, I’m ready to get him back to my place and naked. Our feet have been tangled together throughout the meal while Xander’s eyes have become darker, boring into mine, making me hornier than ever.

“Let’s go, baby.” Xander stands and holds out his hand.

The ride home is quiet. My fingers trace the seam of Xander’s jeans on the inside of his thigh. The tension is high. I see him chew on the corner of his lip as he holds himself together. The minute we get inside, all bets are off, and he can have me any way he wants.

As soon as the door is shut, Xander drags me up the stairs to my room.


🌹 J J H ARP E R 🌹 

You will normally find her in the living room—typing away—with her dog, Maud. As a hopeless romantic, JJ dives into her stories, always falling in love with her men, making sure they get the happy ever after they deserves, even if they do have to work hard for it.

As a bona fide bookaholic, coffee-addicted, wine-drinking and swear-like-a-sailor type of girl, she has yet to work out how to act her age!! LOL. And she has no intentions of growing up or growing old gracefully.

JJ lives in a small, very quiet, village in Lincolnshire, UK, with her husband and dog, and spends all day dreaming up stories full of really hot men.

Media links

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Author page: Amazon US | Amazon UK
  
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Book links

Reunion: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reunited: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Elysium: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Troy – Into the Light: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Troy – out of the Dark: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Narrow Margins: Amazon US| Amazon UK | Available on Kindle Unlimited

Denver’s Calling: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Here Without You: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reckless Behavior: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Square One: Amazon US | Amazon UK



Wednesday, 19 September 2018

The Butterfly Hunter by Julie Bozza - Release Blitz


Check out the brand new covers for Julie Bozza's Butterfly Hunter Trilogy


Book Title: Butterfly Hunter

Author: Julie Bozza

Publisher: LIBRAtiger

Cover Artist: Gayna Murphy

Genre/s: MM romance 

Length: 57,000 words/165 pages

It is the first in a trilogy but is a standalone story.


Blurb

The most beautiful things happen when you least expect them.

It started as a simple assignment for Aussie bush guide Dave Taylor – escort a lone Englishman in quest of an unknown species of butterfly. However Nicholas Goring is no ordinary tourist, his search is far from straightforward, and it’s starting to look as if the butterflies don’t want to be found. As Dave teaches Nicholas everything he needs to survive in the Outback he discovers that he too has quite a bit to learn – and that very often the best way to locate something really important is just not to want to find it…

Buy Links




   

Excerpt from Butterfly Hunter

They were silent while Dave led his client out to the car park, paid off his ticket, found the car and put the bags in the boot, insisting in a mutter that he didn’t need Goring’s assistance.

It wasn’t until they were heading into the city on Kingsford Smith Drive that Dave finally spoke. “I’ll take you to the hotel. I booked it with an early check–in. I’m sure you’ll be glad of a shower and change of clothes.” When he risked a glance at the man, Dave was disconcerted to find that Goring’s smile once again had a wicked kick to it. “Um,” said Dave, “sir…”

“I always had a thing for chauffeurs,” the man confided.

“Huh.” Dave frowned, and stared very hard at the road ahead, though he wasn’t entirely sure how much he was actually seeing. “Well. What do you do when they don’t have a thing for you?”

Goring chuckled, sounding genuinely amused. “Ah, come on. Seize the day!”

“Mate, life’s not thatshort.”

The chuckle turned into a laugh – and Dave liked that. Still, he was relieved when Goring said, “All right, I’ll stop. Don’t mind me. I hardly got a wink of sleep on that damned plane.”

“You weren’t exactly travelling cattle class. Were you?”

“No, but …” Goring looked away, biting at his lower lip. He was a tall, scrawny man, and his lips were the plumpest thing about him. They were a dash of pink on his pale face. They were almost pretty. “Too much on my mind, I suppose.”

Dave let a beat go by, and then headed for safer ground. “Common wisdom is to stay awake for as long as you can today, and try not to sleep until tonight. Get into the new time zone as soon as you can.”

“Yes, so I’ve heard.”

“And I find that people like to start with a good breakfast, to keep their energy levels up. The hotel – you’re at the Hilton – is known for their breakfasts.”

“I see.”

“It’s up to you, but I’ll keep you company, if you like. For as much of the day as suits.”

“Starting with breakfast … ?”

“If you like,” Dave repeated. “And later, if you have people here, I can drop you off wherever. Just tell me what you want to do and then, you know, feel free to change your plans if you can’t stay awake any longer or whatever.”

Goring was staring at him. “I understand.” After a moment, he added, “I don’t know why I was expecting laconic rather than loquacious.”

Dave glanced at him. “Dunno if I’m your typical Aussie, mate.”

Another laugh, though wry this time rather than genuine. Then Goring asked, “Will Mr Taylor be able to join us for breakfast?”

“What?” Dave grimaced as he turned right onto Albert Street. They were almost there. “No, I’m – I’mDave Taylor.”

“Oh.”

“I guess I didn’t – No, I didn’t introduce myself. The meeting at the airport didn’t, uh –”

“Didn’t quite go as planned,” Goring smoothly supplied.

“No. My fault. Look, we’re here,” Dave said. “I’ll drop you off, and you can check in while I park.”

“No need. I’ll stay with you.”

Dave glanced at him, and thought that Goring wasn’t merely being polite. In any case, he needed to decide right away, as he was already approaching the car park. He nodded, and flipped on the indicator. So be it. Almost nothing this morning had gone as intended, so why not this as well?

They were silent again as Dave collected a ticket, and then quickly chose an empty space on the ground floor – it was still too early to be busy. Once he’d parked, they both got out, and met around the back of the car. Dave looked the man in the eye, and held his hand out. “Good morning, uh, sir. I’m Dave Taylor.”

Goring shook his hand with a cool firmness before disengaging. “I’m pleased to meet you, Mr Taylor. Call me Nicholas.”

“Dave.”

“David,” said Nicholas.

Dave grinned, and turned to open the boot, started lifting the three bags out. “All right, but no one calls me that. It’s Dave or – well, my friends call me Davey.”

“Would you join me for breakfast, David?”

“Sure. Thanks,” he added, quite genuinely. “We can talk over your trip. I’ve brought maps and such.”

“Good. Here, let me –”

But Dave only handed over the cabin–sized bag, and insisted on wheeling the larger cases. “I’ve got it,” he said. He attempted the three syllables as they emerged into sunlight: “Nicholas.” He wondered how long it would be before he was allowed to go with Nick or Nicky.

“Thank you.” The man’s smile was a little gentler by now.

Of course it had all gone horribly wrong so far, and God only knew what that meant for the rest of the trip, but it seemed that at least Dave had been forgiven for his part of the shambles. He nodded, both accepting and returning the thanks. Nicholas seemed to understand. As they walked shoulder to shoulder into the hotel, Dave dared to think the next three months mightn’t be a complete disaster.

Review

Sometimes a book touches me on a very deep level, and I have absolutely no idea how to put into words why that happened. It has something to do with completely losing myself in the story, with the characters coming alive and working their way into my heart, and with the way I end up feeling at home in the world I discovered on those pages.

The Butterfly Hunter was and did all of that and more. It’s such a gentle story. There is very little angst, and yet a lot of feeling. I loved the slow almost imperceptible shift Dave went through. Until the moment he meets Nicholas, Dave has only ever loved one person, a woman, and when the story starts he is still trying to come to terms with the fact that she married someone other than him, a year previously. He tells Nicholas that he’s straight and won’t appreciate flirting upon meeting him and yet, he notices and thinks about Nicholas’s wonderful mouth from the start.

The two men get on like a house on fire, despite their differences in nationality and background. Those differences are subtle and never stressed, and yet, they are impossible to miss. Which is just one of the ways in which Julie Bozza’s writing impressed me. I’m in awe of the way she painted pictures in a most understated way and, through some form of writerly magic, managed to make them vivid and alive.

Another thing I really appreciated in this story was the balance between realism and mysticism. The whole idea of finding something because you’re not looking for it, or in Dave’s case, because he actively travels in what he knows to be the wrong way, intrigued me. As did the Aboriginal concept of Dreaming, and the bonds between people and their land.

There was one other reason this story touched me deeply, but you’re just going to have to take my word for it because I can’t reveal what that reason is or why and how it touched me without spoiling something about Nicholas you won’t find out until later in the story. All I’ll say here is that when Nicholas creates the one moment of angst this story contains, I completely understood his reasoning.


Almost 500 words into my review, I’m still convinced I’m not doing this book enough justice. Therefore, allow me to spell it out for you. I ADORED this story, the setting, the characters, the way the story was written and how Dave and Nicholas fitted together. I’ve got a feeling it won’t be long before I read the rest of their story. These two men have taken up residence in my heart and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.


OTHER BOOKS IN THE TRILOGY ARE ALSO AVAILABLE NOW

Of Dreams and Ceremonies 

 




The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring

  




The Butterfly Hunter Trilogy [Boxed Set]

 




About the Author 

Julie Bozza is an English-Australian hybrid who is fuelled by espresso, calmed by knitting, unreasonably excited by photography, and madly in love with Amy Adams and John Keats.


   


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Giveaway


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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Starting Over by C.J. Baty - Release Blitz



Buy Links:  Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Cover Design: Kelly Abell @ Select-O-Grafix

Length: 25,000 words approx.

Blurb

Xavier Knight was starting his life over. A new city. A new club. The past was gone, and he had everything to look forward to… except… love. That ship had sailed, never to return. He was too old to play the games or stack up the one night stands. Until, an old enemy’s son walked into his club and his heart.

Sebastian Brady was through. Through with hiding who he was. Through letting his brother officers dictate his life. And completely through, with his family telling him who he was. He turned his back on his badge and his family’s heritage in the Atlanta police force. But, he never imagined that he’d be serving drinks in a gay bar and working for the hottest silver fox he had ever seen in his life.


Xavier and Seb have a lot to learn from each other. Hopefully, their growing love will survive Xavier’s past, Seb’s family, and a host of characters with secrets of their own, who all work at the Knights Club.


The Knights Club Series

Bk. 1 Starting Over September 18, 2018

Bk. 2 Letting Go October 2018

Bk. 3 Coming Out November 2018

Bk. 4 Learning Trust December 2018

Bk. 5 Deserving Forgiveness January 2019

Story Background

The Knights Club (formerly the Gentleman’s Club) first appeared in the Warfield Hotel Mysteries Series. It was owned by Stony Whitecastle and is located in Atlanta, GA. At the beginning of the Knights Club/Starting Over, Stony is selling the club to Xavier Knight. He renames the club the Knights Club and instead of a private club opens it the public. Some patrons still hold membership though.

This series involves Xavier and his crew of employees and their involvement with a local police family. We meet Sebastian Brady in Starting Over along with his dysfunctional family. Seb’s struggle with his homophobic oldest brother and the shadow of his dead father, Detective Delmonico Brady, haunts Seb as he tries to make a new life for himself.

Occasionally, a character from the Warfield Hotel series will pop up but they are not central to the story line. Everyone who works at the Knights Club has a past and secret they are running from. They are mixed bag of people who have been suffered many things. The Knights Club is their home and the people who work there are their families. But, even families don’t like each other all the time… 


Author Bio


C. J. Baty lives in southwest Ohio. Her heart, however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire some day. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.

The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to fan fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.


She has a loving and supportive family who don't mind fixing their own meals when she is in the middle of a story, and a network of friends who have encouraged and cheered her on in her quest of being an author.


One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is: “You are never too old to follow your dream!”




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