Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Introducing Boy Toy; The Cougar Journals Book 2 by Jewel Quinlan

New Release: Boy Toy
The Cougar Journals Book 2
by Jewel Quinlan from Evernight Publishing

Blurb: Left hot, bothered, and disappointed by Grant—the man she had high hopes for—Ava breaks up with him and heads out on a ski weekend with a group of friends. Harrison, a twenty-three year old member of the group, can’t help but take notice of her and makes advances. Some of which Ava can’t brush aside when they are stuck sharing a room together. Will she give in to Harrison’s moves or go home and work things out with Grant?

Where you can buy Boy Toy:

Evernight PublishingAmazon  |  All Romance eBooks  |  Barnes and Noble  |  BookStrand
iBooks or add it to your shelf on Goodreads

Enjoy this excerpt from Boy Toy:

The covers shifted again and I could feel the section near me, behind my back, lifting as he scooted closer. The warmth of his body was settled very close to and almost against mine, mirroring my shape like a puzzle piece. His voice was a low whisper in my ear, a single-syllable question. “Spoon?”
My mind went through rapid-fire calculations. Spoon? What would be the consequences of that? Should I do it? I churned through the outcomes of either saying yes or no but, after a moment, threw my pros and cons list out the window as the conclusion of, what the hell, why not?came to me. He was cute and I could use a little spooning. It wasn’t something I got to do often.
“Mm-hm.” I scooted backward into his embrace.
He slid his hand around my waist, his fingers sliding along my rib cage all the way around until he was cupping my other side. Then he nestled his face in my hair and inhaled my scent. “You smell nice,” he whispered.
“Thanks,” I murmured back. For some reason I kept my voice low as if talking too loud would break the spell. It felt so good to have all six feet of his firm body stretched along mine. Even pressed against my back I could sense the various muscles making contact with me. The slow rhythm of his breath just skimming my ear was nice. I let go of all the typical female questions that rose up in my mind at the scenario and enjoyed the moment.
There had been so many times in my life I had imagined waking up in bed with my husband just like this, feeling a new day awakening with me safe and cozy in my true love’s arms. It was one of those dreams that, now, was becoming painful to replay as my singleness continued to stretch out year after year. In a moment like this it was easy to take it out of the closet, dust it off, and use it as a sort of atmosphere to what was actually going on. When things like this happened it reinforced the fact that I really did want to get married. It was just a matter of Mr. Right showing up. No matter how my logical mind kept trying to force Grant into the shape of that hole, my true self stood back shaking its head and saying, “It’s not going to work. There’s too big of an issue there.”
After a few minutes of laying in silence together with the rise and fall of our chests matching, I could feel myself starting to slip away again into dreamland. But then Harrison shifted his hips, scooting closer to my backside. My eyes shot open as it registered exactly what was pressing against my ass and lower back.
Morning wood!

About the Author:
Restless by nature, Jewel Quinlan is an avid traveler and has visited 16 countries so far. Lover of ice cream, beer and red wine she tries to stay fit when she’s not typing madly on her computer concocting another tale. In her spare time she likes to do yoga, hike, learn German and play with her spoiled Chihuahua; Penny. It is Penny’s mission in life to keep Jewel from the keyboard. But, with the help of dog-chew-making-companies, Jewel has been able to distract her canine companion and continues to get thousands of words on the page for your enjoyment.

**Jewel will be attending RomCon 2015 in Denver CO September 25-27. Readers can get tickets to sit with her at the reader luncheon event.

For more information about Jewel Quinlan

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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Dina’s Diaries – The Escort Sex Diaries Collection by Pippa Delamere

Pages: 55

Date: May 19, 2015
Details: Received from the author

The blurb:

“A collection of the five short stories that make up the Escort Sex Diaries series.

Dina is smart, beautiful and sexy. Most men dream of having a woman like her. Luckily for some she’s available - but for a price. Read about Dina’s exploits with her clients in this collection of short stories. From eighteen year old, inexperienced Ed to hunky and well-hung James; from spanking to threesomes -- there’s something for any lover of erotica in this hot little compilation.” 

Contains the following stories:

Business and Pleasure
That Friday Feeling
Meeting Expectations
Show Me What You’ve Got
Double Helpings

My thoughts:

Dina works using her real name and is studying for a degree in psychology. Her job as an escort has supported her through years of university. While these five stories are short glimpses at her professional life we see just about enough of Dina to care for her and just enough of her clients to get a feel for who they are.

1.   Business and Pleasure:

Ed is an eighteen year old virgin who’s been given a few hours with Dina as a birthday present. He’s cute and, initially at least, very shy. The way Dina eases him into the pleasures of sex almost made me think every boy his age should be given a similar birthday present.

2.   That Friday Night Feeling

Pete is a married forty year old with a penchant for anal play his wife won’t indulge in. It’s clear from the moment he walks in he’s a regular and the smooth sex between them is obviously the result of past experience and yet, there’s a line that’s never crossed. Dina serves a purpose for which Pete pays her. That they get on is a bonus. That they are extremely hot together is very fortunate for the reader.

3.   Meeting Expectations

We get more of an insight of Dina’s private life as she goes to hear a guest lecture by Professor Montague, a leader in his field. It is hardly surprising (for the reader, anyway) that the same professor turns out to be her client the following day. His particular kind of kink make their encounter a far from standard one for Dina – it is very satisfying though.

4.   Show Me What You’ve Got

Clive is a regular Dina sees for a quickie, the afternoon before she meets James, another regular. With James we see for the first time that being and staying professional is not always an easy thing to do, which gives what might otherwise have been ‘just’ a fun collection of sexual and hot encounters, a short but much appreciated intimate layer.

5.   Double Helpings

This story features a threesome with two men who have been in a committed relationship for a long time. Both are bi and hire Dina to fulfil a fantasy of theirs. For me this was the hottest story but that may well have something to do with my love for m/m stories. What I really appreciated about this story is that it wasn’t a ‘straight to the bedroom scene’. I liked that Stephen and Dan took the time to get to know Dina over dinner before deciding whether or not to take it further.

Overall I have to say I really enjoyed this short book. It is not a romance in any way, shape, or form but it is nevertheless a sweet and touching story. It is hot as hell while giving time to feelings other than physical as well. While each of the scenes is about the sexual encounter between the characters, the author didn’t shy away from sharing Dina’s thoughts and feelings and once or twice hinting that while this job was the perfect solution for Dina, it wasn’t always uncomplicated or without secret longings. I am happily surprised to discover that one of my favourite m/m authors (Jay Northcote – you really should check out her books), also writes rather fabulous m/f stories.

The blurb doesn’t lie when it states that there’s something for everyone in this collection. In my case all of it worked very well indeed.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Release Blitz for NATIVE TONGUE by Lucy Felthouse

Out Now – Native Tongue – M/M Erotic Romance by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #erotica #romance #military #interracial


They may be back on British soil, but the battle isn’t over.

When Captain Hugh Wilkes fell for his Afghan interpreter, Rustam Balkhi, he always knew things would never be easy. After months of complete secrecy, their return to England should have spelt an end to the sneaking around and the insane risks. But it seems there are many obstacles for them to overcome before they can truly be happy together. Can they get past those obstacles, or is this one battle too many for their fledgling relationship?

Author’s note: Although this story does work as a standalone tale, it’s recommended that you read the first instalment of the characters’ journey first—Desert Heat, which is available from all good retailers.

**For those of you that haven’t yet read Desert Heat either, there’s a great value double pack containing both books available exclusively on Amazon (from 14th May), which is available for lending, and for Kindle Unlimited members: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/desert-heat-native-tongue/ **



Captain Hugh Wilkes drummed enthusiastically on the steering wheel of his car as he drove it up the M3 towards London. He sung loudly and tunelessly along to the song on the radio, too, but it didn’t matter. No one could hear him.

He’d surprised himself by being so chilled out about the volume of Friday evening traffic. He wasn’t the most patient of people, so the slow progress should probably have been increasing his blood pressure, if not leading to full on road rage. But, although he’d have loved to be actually achieving the speed limit, not bumbling along at a mere fifty miles per hour, Wilkes was just glad the traffic was moving at all. Britain’s roads, the motorways in particular, soon came to a standstill if there was so much as a tiny bump between two vehicles. So any progress was better than none.

Besides, what could he do about it? His only other options to get to London from his base in Wiltshire were a train, or stealing a plane, helicopter or tank. The latter might just cause a little bit of bother, and mean the end of his army career, not to mention criminal charges. The former meant cramming in amongst sweaty, disgruntled commuters. If that wasn’t bad enough, he’d be charged an extortionate amount to do so, probably wouldn’t even get a seat, and would likely be subjected to delays.

At least driving took him from door to door, with plenty of personal space. And if there were delays, well, he could sit them out from the comfort of his own vehicle, with the climate control set to the perfect temperature, and the radio blasting some of his favourite tunes.

The next song was even better, and Wilkes’ tuneless wailing became more enthusiastic, as did the drumming on the steering wheel. He was in one hell of a good mood, and if he was truthful with himself, he knew it wasn’t just the fact the M3 was moving at a nice pace. It wasn’t the Friday feeling, either. Sure, both of those things were contributing to his happiness, but the main reason he was grinning like a buffoon was the thought of what awaited him in the capital. Or rather, who.

Rustam Balkhi. His gorgeous Afghan boyfriend, whom he’d met out in Afghanistan while they were working together for the British Army. Now, with their tour of duty over and the forces’ presence pulled out of the country, the two men had returned to England. Wilkes had gone back to his regular army life in Bulford Camp, near Salisbury. Balkhi was in London, where he’d recommenced the medical training he’d postponed to become an interpreter for the Brits.

The past few weeks had been somewhat of a whirlwind. Wilkes’ return to the UK had been straightforward, but Balkhi had had to jump through some hoops in order to get back onto his medical course. He’d been willing to start from scratch, but it’d seemed like an awful waste of time, so Wilkes had spoken to his superiors, who’d explained to the university what important work Balkhi had been doing. Fortunately, they’d been persuaded of Balkhi’s commitment and character, and allowed him to pick up where he’d left off. That settled, Balkhi had to pack up, travel back to the UK, find somewhere to live, move in… and all before the start of the next academic term.

Wilkes had felt terrible. His return had taken place a few weeks before Balkhi’s, so although he’d been granted some leave for R&R, he hadn’t been able to either spend it with Balkhi, or to use it help him with his relocation. By the time Balkhi had set foot on British soil, Wilkes was back to work. And, given nobody knew about the two of them, or even that Wilkes was gay, he couldn’t exactly ask for more leave in order to help his boyfriend move into his new flat.

Life had conspired against them ever since, so this was the first opportunity they’d had to see each other since saying goodbye in Afghanistan all those weeks ago. They’d communicated via email, text message and phone calls, but it just wasn’t the same. Especially since they’d gone from seeing each other every single day for the best part of six months to not setting eyes on each other for weeks on end.

Wilkes had struggled terribly in the interim. Life had been tough enough while they were still out in the desert. After weeks and weeks of trying desperately to ignore their growing attraction, they’d finally given in to it. It had been stupid and risky, but, having quickly realised there was more to their attraction than the physical, they’d decided to carry on their relationship in secret while they were in Afghanistan, see how it went, and figure things out once Wilkes’ tour of duty was over. Balkhi had always intended to return to the UK for his studies, so they would, at least, be living in the same country.

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women's Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

I Could Read the Sky by Timothy O'Grady

I COULD READ THE SKY by Timothy O’Grady
Pages: 161
Date: May 5, 2015
Grade: 4+
Details: Reading Group Choice

The blurb:

The experience of Irish emigration has never been more lyrically set out than in this novel, beautiful both for its words and for its images. It tells the story of one man's journey from the West of Ireland to the fields and boxing-booths and building sites of England. Now, at the century's end, he finds himself alone, looking back, struggling to make sense of a life of dislocation and loss and one of unforgotten loveliness.

My thoughts:

The book is written the way memory works. Sometimes the narrator looks back to the past and sometimes he is there, in the past, telling us about events and people as if they’re happening now – he’s lost in his memories, or maybe that’s where he finds himself. As a result this is not a linear story. There are moments when it was completely unclear to me whether we were in the past or the present but overall that didn’t make a difference.  

While this book tells the story, as described in the blurb, of a man forced to move from the West of Ireland to England for work and does have a clear beginning and a powerful end – In the morning light I let go – there is no real story to summarize. This is a reflection on a life. A patchwork of memories and impressions – a lot of them bleak but a few so bright they almost light up the page. I won’t attempt to write my normal review. Instead I’ve collected thoughts and quotes as I read which I’ll share below and use as a tool to remember the book and the feelings it created in me, by.

I could read the sky: One of the things the narrator lists as what he could do (Chapter 9).

“What I could do.
I could mend nets. Thatch a roof. Build stairs. Make a basket from reeds. Splint the leg of a cow. Cut turf. Build a wall. Go three rounds with Joe in the ring Da put up in the barn. I could dance sets. Read the sky. Make a barrel for mackerel. Mend roads. Make a boat. Stuff a saddle. Put a wheel on a cart. Strike a deal. Make a field. Work the swarth turner, the float and the thresher. I could read the sea. Shoot straight. Make a shoe. Shear sheep. Remember poems. Set potatoes. Plough and harrow. Read the wind. Tend bees. Bind wyndes. Make a coffin. Take a drink. I could frighten you with stories. I knew a song to sing to a cow when milking. I could play twenty-seven tunes on my accordion.”

He could do so much, and yet it seems to amount to so very little in practical terms.

This book was at times rather devastating, like when I read the narrator’s thoughts and feelings on his first night in England.

“I feel in my pockets. I wonder have I the fare home and if I can find the way. I think of the bed I left in Labasheeda. Outside it is dark and the road full of twists I know nothing of. There is no way back now. I am to pick potatoes and lie down at night in this loft. I am to be in England living with pigs.”

Or when the narrator asks another Irish man in England what it’s like working there.

“It’s like you’re trying to talk to somebody out of a deep black hole, he says.”

The following sounds like the lament of an exile and especially the last one – stop remembering – breaks my heart.

“What I couldn’t do.
Eat a meal lacking potatoes. Trust banks. Wear a watch. Ask a woman to go for a walk. Work with drains or with objects smaller than a nail. Drive a motor car. Eat tomatoes. Remember the routes of buses. Wear a collar in comfort. Win at cards. Acknowledge the Queen. Abide loud voices. Perform the manners of greeting and leaving. Save money. Take pleasure in work carried out in a factory. Drink coffee. Look into a wound. Follow cricket. Understand the speech of a man from west Kerry. Wear shoes or boots made from rubber. Best P.J. in an argument. Speak with men wearing collars. Stay afloat in water. Understand their jokes. Face the dentist. Kill a Sunday. Stop remembering.”

Memories, they are such fickle things. It’s not always the big momentous events that stay with us. All too often the small details – insignificant at the time – are the ones which come back in glorious detail years later.

“I’m walking behind a red-haired man with mud on his boots, the trousers falling off him, the paper rolled up in his jacket pocket and him taking the two sides of the pavement from all the drink and I know it is me. I know it is all of us.”

Lines like the one quoted above broke my heart. How lonely the life of many exiled Irish men in England was.

“I read a book once, he says. I read many one time. The thing about a book is that the man who is writing it brings all the lives from all the different places and makes them flow together in the same stream. As they move down towards the end it’s like they have loops and holes and shapes that all fit together just nicely so that they’re just one big piece really. You can look back and see how all of them got where they are. That’s the time the writer brings the book to an end and there’s no seeing past it. I’d like to meet the man who wrote a book like that so I could ask him where he got those lives.”

“(...)I can see as I look from the side at the arrangement of brow and nose something of what she was when she was a girl and nothing had disappointed her.” – The narrator about a sister he hasn’t seen in years.

These thoughts about music rang true for me; music can indeed do all these things.

“Music happens inside you. It moves the things that are there from place to place. It can make them fly. It can bring you the past. It can bring you things that you do not know. It can bring you into the moment that is happening. It can bring you a cure.”

The time the narrator knows love with his Maggie seems all too short in the full tale of his life. His thoughts about going on without the one you’ve loved with all your heart are both eloquent and heartbreaking.

“What is it to miss someone? (...)It is the feeling of being in a strange place and losing direction. It is the feeling of looking without seeing and eating without tasting. It is forgetfulness, the inability to move, the inability to connect. It is a sentence you must serve and if the person you miss is dead your sentence is long.”

This is a short book containing a lot of beautiful black and white photographs. And yet the words tell the complete story of the life forced away from everything it knew and the near impossibility of finding home again. These words will stay with me for a long time.

Monday, 4 May 2015

SAFE by C. Kennedy

SAFE by C. Kennedy
Pages: 72
Date: May 3, 2015
Details: Young Adult
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“They met at ten, kissed at twelve, and were madly in love by eighteen. 

Caleb Deering is the captain of the swim team and the hottest senior in school. He comes from a loving home with a kind father and a caring, but strict mother who is battling breast cancer. Nico Caro is small and beautiful, and has a father who rules with an iron fist—literally. 

One morning Caleb forgets himself, and he pecks Nico on the lips at school. A teacher sees them and tattles to the headmaster. The accidental outing at school might be the least of their problems, because the ball set in motion by the school’s calls to their parents could get Nico killed. In the face of that very real danger, Caleb knows he has only one mission in life: to keep Nico safe.”

My thoughts:

Safe could be described as a charming love story, but it is so much more than that. This is a story about pain, fear, friendship, loyalty, love and hope.

The tale starts with the moment Caleb and Nico’s world falls apart. They’ve been caught kissing by a teacher and their parents are being informed. While this is awkward for Caleb who hasn’t come out to his tolerant and loving parents yet, it is a disaster for Nico who has been suffering abuse at the hands of his father for as long as he can remember.

The story then goes back in time and shows us how the relationship between Caleb and Nico has evolved over the years. It is a charming and at times sexy journey for the two young men, until it all falls apart after that one unguarded moment.

As in Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, Cody Kennedy strikes the perfect balance between depicting the horrors of abuse and the beauty of unconditional love, thus leaving both his characters and his readers with a profound sense of hope that things will get better and love will prevail.

For me this story could have been longer. While we are shown all the pivotal moments in the developing relationship between Nico and Caleb I wouldn’t have minded seeing more than the glimpses we get. This is just a personal preference though, a secret wish to spend more time with characters I’ve gotten quite attached to over the course of seventy-two pages. Because all we need to know about Nico and Caleb is in this story. Their relationship is realistic, their love believable, and when the story ends the reader is in no doubt that the two young men have a future ahead of them – together. Because the end of their story is also the beginning of the rest of their lives.

After two books it is safe to say I’m now a fan of Cody Kennedy. His personal brand of hopeful realism has both impressed and captured me.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

PHOENIX by Theo Fenraven - a re-release day review

PHOENIX by Theo Fenraven
Size: 3991 KB
Date: May 2, 2015 
         Edited on July 11, 2015
Details: Re-release

The blurb:

New York City homicide detectives Rachel Wayland and Artemis Gregory are first on the murder scene of a beautiful young gay man, the third victim of a serial killer dubbed the Moon Killer by the department. Their investigation leads them to Talis Kehk, charismatic lead singer of the rock group Phoenix Rising. As the next full moon approaches, Rachel and her partner uncover clues that lead straight to Talis, even as Talis, exhibiting behavior Rachel finds strange indeed, considering the circumstances, uses every means possible to keep her close. Innocent or not, Talis has a secret, and discovering what it is will change Rachel’s world forever.

My thoughts:

Before I say anything about this wonderful book I want to point out that Phoenix was previously published under a slightly different title and subsequently under this title but with another author name on the cover. I want to add that the story has gone through a significant revision and rewrite since the first edition.

Phoenix *sighs* what to say about this book I was lucky enough to beta read for the author. If I had to but a label on this book I would call it a magical mystery tour. The story is never quite what you suspect it to be. There are layers beyond layers, genres mix and match and the seemingly impossible is pulled off quite successfully. (I realise I’m being rather obscure here, but that’s very much on purpose. It would be a shame to spoil the surprises Phoenix has in store for its readers.)

It was wonderful to read a story in which the female protagonist is anything but weak or helpless. Rachel is strong, self-sufficient and not inclined to allow others to tell her how to live her life. She is also lonely and more than ready to find her significant other – if only she could find the time.

Talis had me mesmerized from the moment he was introduced – just as he mesmerized everybody he interacted with in the story. From the moment he makes his first appearance it is clear there is something magical about him, even if we have to wait a little while before we find out exactly what that is and whether it is a force for good or evil.

Phoenix keeps the reader guessing from the first page to the last. Every time I thought I had the story figured out a new question or mystery would surface. I like it when I can’t imagine how a story could possibly come to a happy or satisfying conclusion and the author manages to surprise me with a completely plausible ending I could never have predicted.

The writing in this book is exquisite. As always, Theo Fenraven manages to paint the clearest of pictures without ever using a word too many. Descriptions are kept to a minimum and yet I had no doubt what characters or their surroundings looked and even smelled like.

If you enjoy a book that surprises you, Phoenix may well be the book for you. Part mystery, part romance, part paranormal and part mythology, this was a thoroughly engrossing and fascinating reading experience for me.