Monday, 7 October 2019

Unfit to Print by K.J. Charles




145 pages
Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

When crusading lawyer Vikram Pandey sets out in search of a missing youth, his investigations take him to Holywell Street, London’s most notorious address. He expects to find a disgraceful array of sordid bookshops. He doesn’t expect one of them to be run by the long-lost friend whose disappearance and presumed death he’s been mourning for thirteen years.

Gil Lawless became a Holywell Street bookseller for his own reasons, and he’s damned if he’s going to apologise or listen to moralising from anyone. Not even Vikram; not even if the once-beloved boy has grown into a man who makes his mouth water.

Now the upright lawyer and the illicit bookseller need to work together to track down the missing youth. And on the way, they may even learn if there’s more than just memory and old affection binding them together...

Review

Unfit to Print was a delightful read for a multitude of reasons.

First and foremost is K.J. Charles’ fabulous writing. Everything works. Her words flow, the conversations sparkle, and descriptions are vivid, taking you right into the setting—in this case, mostly a poor and sleazy part of 19th century London. As for the characters, they were fascinating. For some reason coloured people rarely spring to mind when I think of England in those times. I realise that’s unreasonable of me, especially since Great Britain really did rule the waves back then and had colonies all over the globe. After decades of reading historical books featuring only Caucasian characters, it was both a revelation and a delight to read a story in which they didn’t take centre stage.

As for those main characters, both Gil and Vikram captured my imagination from the moment they were introduced and not because they weren’t white. In fact, their ethnicity, while never completely out of the story, soon became an afterthought, secondary to the mystery Gil and Vikram were trying to solve and their personal reconnection.

Gil has been betrayed so badly he’s built a fortress around his heart.

“If you went around regretting things you might curl up and cry for the lost hopes and the ruined dreams, and bugger that for a game of tin soldiers.”

And Vikram is lost too, be it in a different way, as he struggles with the country he grew up in and the place he was born, a homeland he’s afraid to visit.

“So what if I went home and didn’t feel as though I belonged? […] If home wasn’t home at all, what—who—would I be then.”

These are two men with no real place in the world who, over the course of 124 pages managed to create their own space…together.

I enjoyed the mystery and its resolution, although to me the involvement of the young man Vikram is trying to find and Gil’s half brother posed a question which wasn’t asked or addressed in the book. I don’t mind that, I’ll jump to my own conclusions 😊 But, I think I enjoyed watching as the two men reconnected even more. Their journey from surprise, through reluctance, to embracing and expanding the feelings they had for each other over a decade earlier was glorious, sexy, and at times deeply touching.

What I loved most about this book though was K.J. Charles’ wonderful writing and how the words and phrases she used put the story in its time as much as—if not more then—the descriptions did. I gave one example of that above, and here’s another one:

“Percy’s eyes brimmed with happy malice.”

“Happy malice.” It’s such a wonderful description. It put a huge grin on my face when I read those words.

Long story short, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was a timely reminder that I’ve got a few unread books by this author on my Kindle, which shouldn’t stay unread for too much longer.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Carnivora (part 1) by Lea Bronsen - Out Now


Hi, and thank you for having me on your blog!

I’ve always been fascinated by dark psychological thrillers that mess with your mind and keep you on the edge of your seat. I toyed with the genre writing my debut novel Wild Hearted, but labeled it a crime drama. Its sequel, Carnivora, evolved over six years to become a full-blown hold-your-breath thriller that deals with grave issues such as kidnapping, child sex trafficking, and self-harm.

Telling five parallel stories with as many voices, it gives you the perspectives of a police informant, a hunted gangster, a mad avenger, an inconsolable girlfriend, and a psychotic kidnapper. I pull no punches weaving these stories, so be prepared for a dark, gritty, and graphic read – a little dirty on the erotic side – that I hope will play with your strings and stick with you for a long time.

Please note that this is part 1 of Carnivora and I am currently working on parts 2 and 3, so if those cliffhangers at the end are killing you, don’t despair. The continuation is right around the corner!



Blurb


Fight evil with evil.

TOMOR
Crime lord Tomor is serving a life sentence behind bars. Without warning, he’s abducted by mysterious men. A sick manhunt is on, with people around him dying like flies. He will need all his street flair and gangster skills to prevent his loved ones from ending up on the death list.

LUZ
Luz grieves the loss of her lover while striving to take care of their baby. The last thing she needs is to fall for the new neighbor.

DAVID
A year after he betrayed his adoptive father and sent him to jail, David is slowly rebuilding his life. Then everything falls apart again: he learns that Tomor has escaped, and his police connections lead him to a child sex trafficking ring involving cold, powerful men.

The cops are in over their heads with “Project Carnivora” … Perhaps the only one who can help bust the pedophile predators is an equally vicious devil: Tomor, the country’s most hunted criminal.


Available from


Put the book on your to-read shelf on Goodreads

See photos that inspired me to write the book on Pinterest



Excerpt


“Time to change your bandage again,” the nurse mutters, voice cool, and pulls my orange-colored sleeve up to the elbow.
She unrolls the long strip of bandage from my wrist and tugs at one corner of the gauze plastered on my wound. It sticks as if glued to the freshly grown skin, and instead of removing the gauze carefully, she tears if off hard, discharging pain through my arm, wrist-to-shoulder.
I open my eyes and lift my head off the pillow. “What the fuck are ya doing, trying to reopen the wound or something?”
“Like you care.” She stops pulling and glares, gauze between her fingers. “I can see who you are inside. You’re playing tough, aren’t you, bad guy? But you can’t fool me.”
“Shut up.” I lay down again, huffing, and stare at the white ceiling above me with its rows of long neon lights.
“You’re a good man.”
I glance back. “I said, shut the fuck up.”
Her eyes shine. She rips off the remaining gauze, ignoring my grunt of pain, and throws it in a bin. “Look.”
No fuck.
“Look at it,” she insists, voice low and demanding.
No. I know what I’ve done, and I can imagine what it looks like. A six centimeter-long deep, reddish, scratched-up ridge along my artery. Layers of skin, fat, meat, and whatnot must be visible and sweating a pinkish liquid from the reborn pores. I don’t need to see it.
I guess the girl wants me to be so horrified, I’ll never attempt suicide again. That’s right. She wants to shock me into acceptance.
You gotta be fucking kidding me, little thing.
She shakes her head. “I don’t understand why they gave you the life sentence.”
“You mean they shoulda given me the chair?”
Instead of responding to my sarcasm, she pivots to look up at the clock and widens her eyes as if realizing she forgot an appointment. Face tense, she returns to her work, applies some cool, gel-like liquid on the wound, and bandages it with quick routine moves.
What’s up with her? In my three days in this woman’s company, I’ve noted the things that make her tick. Maybe she’s upset because I’m leaving the infirmary soon. Earlier, she said she didn’t know when I’d be ready to go back to my cell. She probably knows now, but doesn’t want to tell me.
The door opens. She jumps.
A uniformed guard pokes his head in, checks the small room, and exits.
She seems frozen in place, features tense. Staring ahead and taking deep breaths as if trying to regain composure.
I cock my head a little. “What’s going on? They gonna transfer me?”
She visibly swallows and fixes her gaze on some point on the wall.
I snicker. “Are you sad ‘cause I’m leaving?”
Ha, I can be so ugly, when the girl clearly likes me.
As she sits there avoiding me, I take the time to check out her tits, and drink in the amazing sight of their pressing against her green blouse with each breath. She doesn’t have a name tag. Come to think of it, none of the personnel do. Evidently, so the inmates can’t identify their ‘caretakers’, and should they by some miracle leave the premises, track them down.
I nod to her blouse. “What’s your name?”
She twists back to me, brows raised, before shaking her head. “I can’t tell you that.”
“C’mon, I’ll never see you again.” I grin, then add with an ironic snicker, teasing her, “They’ll never let me slash my wrists, or hang myself.”
She looks away and busies herself collecting the medical stuff, throwing a quick, almost invisible glance to the door. What the hell is making her so nervous?
Coldness fills my chest. Something’s up.
“Come on, Babe,” I coax with my most gentle, sensual voice, wanting to buy time. “Tell me your name.”
“Why?” she whispers, fidgeting with the roll of bandage.
“’Cause I want a name to your pretty face when I jack off in my cell.”


About the author

Lea Bronsen likes her reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After a deep dive on the unforgiving world of gangsters with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between romantic suspenses, dark erotic romances, and crime thrillers.


Meet Lea Bronsen on



Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich



308 pages
Publisher: Vintage


Blurb

One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, and sing snatches of songs as they while away the time.

But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction.

In a story told from multiple perspectives and in razor-sharp prose, we gradually learn more about this act, and the way its violence, love and memory reverberate through the life of every character in Idaho.

Review

I’m not entirely sure what to say about this book except maybe that it once again confirms that I’m not really clever enough for the sort of literary works that win major prizes (The International Dublin Literary Award in this case). Having said that, this story was a delightful and relatively easy read, something which I can’t say for all recognized literary ‘master-pieces”. But a story needs more than just being readable in order to be a great read. And this story, for me, lacked some of that ‘something more’.

The start of this book, and the shocking events that form the centre of everything that happens, read like something that would be developed. I expected some sort of twist, a shocking revelation, or even a miraculous turn-around. And (I realise this may constitute a spoiler) I was deeply disappointed that face-value was basically all there was to that horrific event.

The ‘revelation’ at the end, if you can call it that, is a bit of a conceit, as in that it comes to a character who wasn’t there, doesn’t know all the facts, and therefore can’t be sure of the truth of what they appear to know; a character, furthermore, who may well feel guilty about where they ended up in life and may be projecting that guilt further than it should go. I’m not sure about the answer, because it’s not actually in the book.

The ending itself is somewhat of a non-event. It brings together what for me were the two main characters of this story, but only for a day and it doesn’t answer any of the questions the start of the story created.

But, having said all of the above, I have to admit that this was an easy book to read. The story captivated me, as did the characters, maybe because of how ordinary they were, despite that one shocking moment. Although I have to admit that at least some of my motivation while turning the pages was the expectation of and hope for if not a twist in the tale than at least enlightenment about the why.

On the other hand, I can’t say I’m devastated about not having received more clarification either. Because there is some charm in playing the ‘I wonder’ and ‘what-if’ games after finishing a book.

To summarize, Idaho is a very well written and captivating study of various fascinating characters. It’s definitely not a book for those who demand clear answers and closed endings. But it will probably prove to have been a wonderful choice for a bookclub discussion.



Saturday, 14 September 2019

Noah’s Bane by Wulf Francu Godgluck




Lormount City #1
193 pages

Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Available to read in KU

Blurb

Finding his very own Daddy is harder than finding Prince Charming.

Noah Lavoie isn't anyone special, an average guy working as a veterinarian with a few kinks and fetishes. For too many years he explored the BDSM lifestyle, but consistently felt something remained missing. In a world of black and white, Noah struggles to understand where to find the gray.

Then…
A mysterious contract.
No strings attached.
Never to know the Dominant’s identity.
Noah clings onto his only hope, a man he can call Daddy.

Cold, ruthless, charismatic. Bane Rozek believes himself impenetrable. He built his empire, fabricated from lies, blackmail, and extortion. Dark secrets he holds in his palm could cripple the most powerful of people and organizations. It's all a lie, a simple illusion to hide his truth.


He did it all, built his fortress and claimed his power and sovereignty, for her. But Bane knows Death’s chaste kiss intimately. What Bane wants is a connection.

This time on his terms…
An innocent boy offering the purest submission.
A contract holding them both at a distance.
A boy that tugs fiercely at Bane’s dark heart.
If only Bane could believe himself worthy to be the Daddy Noah proclaims to love.

Review

Well what do you know? One moment you're new to the Daddy/boy dynamic, the next you've read two books about it in quick succession. 😍 Not that I'm complaining.


Hot (very), kinky (very), violent (very) and yet at times so tender it bordered on sweet, Noah's Bane was everything I hoped for and so much more than I expected.

Nothing in this story is quite as it seems. Noah isn’t quite as needy and submissive as he appears at first, although he thrives on submitting to his Daddy. While it is impossible to either ignore or deny Bane’s ruthless, aggressive, and often cold demeanor, he’s more than just the product of his violent past and present. As for their story…just when you think you know what’s happening and that things might settle…twist.

Noah, we get to know very well from the start. Bane, on the other hand comes in bits and pieces. As Noah unravels his Daddy, more of the whole person emerges. As a result, a good chunk of Bane’s back story isn’t revealed until…well, the back of the story. It worked just beautifully for me because it meant that I could see Bane in all his glory, shortly before he got the ending he and Noah so richly deserved.

Beautifully written in flowing language, Noah’s Bane is filled with deep feelings, heartfelt emotions, and glorious descriptions.

Yes, this is kink. Yes, this is erotica. And it is both those things at its best and delivered in a most engrossing and vivid portrayal.

Friday, 6 September 2019

LGBTQ ROMANCE GIVEAWAY

Hot free LGBTQ romance from top authors! 

Explore new stories, discover new favorites, try new authors.



40+ Top LGBTQ Romance Authors in new Prolific Works Giveaway

If you love gay romance, you’ve come to the right place! 

What kind of stories? All the good stuff! Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sizzling, Sweet, Comedy, Kink, Shifter, MPREG, Suspense, Action/Adventure and more—it’s all in the “LGBT Romance—From Some of the Registered GRL Retreat 2019 Authors” Prolific Works giveaway FREE during September and October. Over 50 scrumptious short stories, novellas, books, and previews/excerpts, from some of the bestselling authors in the genre.

Authors who are part of the Prolific Works giveaway include: Arshad Ahsanuddin, Amy Aislin, May Archer, Kasia Bacon, Beth Bolden, Morgan Brice, Sam Burns, J. Scott Coatsworth, K. Evan Coles, Luna David, Hank Edwards, Jen FitzGerald, Michelle Frost, Kaje Harper, Lorelei M. Hart, Susi Hawke, Andi James, Jacki James, D.J. Jamison, Elle Keaton, K-lee Klein, Trina Lane, Josh Lanyon, Lucy Lennox, Sharita Lira, Patricia Logan, Maz Maddox, B.L. Maxwell, Erin McLellan, Lynn Michaels, K.M. Neuhold, Jackie North, Jodi Payne, Pandora Pine, Liv Rancourt, Drea Roman, E.J. Russell, Taylor Ryan, Piper Scott, Kayleigh Sky, Spencer Spears, Felice Stevens, Victoria Sue, Allison Temple, Brigham Vaughn, Silvia Violet, Lila Wilde, Alice Winters, Ashe Winters, S.C. Wynne, S.J. York.

These stories are written by some of the Featured and Registered authors attending the Gay Romantic Lit. (GRL) Retreat, the must-attend event for people who create and celebrate LGBTQ romance. 

The giveaway runs from September 1 to October 31. And it’s all FREE!



“Prolific Works has a big romance audience, so this is a great giveaway for readers who won’t be at the GRL Retreat to find new favorites and new authors,” says MM romance author Morgan Brice, who coordinated the Prolific Works giveaway. “We also wanted people who are coming to GRL to have the chance to enjoy stories by favorite authors and maybe discover new authors prior to the retreat, so they could have fun meeting the authors and talking about the books at the event.”

 

While all of the authors with stories in the giveaway will be attending the GRL Retreat 2019 as Featured or Registered Authors, there are additional authors who were unable to participate. For a full list of GRL 2019 authors, please check www.gayromlit.com The author list above was compiled on 8/27. Unforeseen events may cause changes. See the Prolific Works giveaway for the final list of giveaway authors. 




 

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Him Improvement by Tanya Chris - Blog Tour


Book Title: Him Improvement

Author: Tanya Chris

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: enemies to lovers, opposites attract, millionaire, age gap

Themes: gentrification, compromise

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 60 000 words/ 161 pages



Blurb

The course of true love runs through every neighborhood….

Only one thing stands between Gregory MacPherson II and his dream revitalization project for the gritty neighborhood of Ball’s End: a rinky-dink, run-down used bookstore called Hailey’s Comic. But when master negotiator Mac shows up to make a deal with the owner, he comes face-to-face with quirky, colorful Hailey—unexpectedly good-humored about Mac’s attempted eviction and, also unexpectedly, a hot guy.

Hailey won’t give up his lease, no matter how much money Mac offers. When it comes to consummating their mutual attraction, though, he’s a lot more flexible. Soon Mac has as hard a time prying himself out of Hailey’s bed as he does prying Hailey out of the building. But Hailey doubts Mac’s plans serve Ball’s End’s best interests, and he insists Mac give him a chance to prove his case. If they’re going to build a happy ever after, one of them will have to be remade….

    
 


Excerpt

Chapter One

GREGORY MacPherson II didn’t have the time or the patience to make a personal trip to a bookstore, but here he was. Alone.

No patrons roamed the narrow aisles formed by overstuffed bookshelves. No clerk waited at the vintagecash register sitting on top of a linoleum-covered counter barely capable of holding its weight. No one rushed to greet him from behind the tawdry multicolored curtain hanging at the back of the store.

From where he stood only a few feet inside the doorway, leery of allowing anything in the dusty hodgepodge to brush against his suit, he could see straight down the center aisle all the way to the back of the store. It was a thirty- foot-by-sixty-foot shoebox, longer than it was wide, oneof four retail spaces on the ground floor of the six-story brick building and the only one still open. Which was why Gregory MacPherson II, commonly referred to as Mac, had personally dragged himself down here.

How the place could stay in business without any workers, never mind customers, was a mystery he didn’t intend to solve. He was there to shut the place down, not rescue it, though in the few short minutes he’d been exposed to Hailey’s Comic, he could already list a half-dozen ways to improve its profitability.

That sign out front, for instance. It was a purple whirlwind of planets, well done if you were going for an acid-trip vibe, but the name implied there’d be comics, and the sign implied there’d be comets. Or drugs. And from what he could see, there were neither. If an establishment wanted to bring in customers, it needed to make clear theservices it provided and establish confidence that it wouldprovide them well.

Then there was the matter of actually waiting on the customers you did bring in. A bell had tinkled as he’d entered, but apparently only for its own enjoyment.

“Hello?” He raised his voice to a level that couldn’t be ignored and had a brief moment to wonder if he really was completely alone before a head and a hand appeared around the edge of the curtain.

“Mercy, you scared me,” the head said. It belonged to a young man and had a mop of brown hair piled on top of it, a few shades lighter than Mac’s own reddish brown.“Sorry, I didn’t hear the bell. Give me a minute. I’m sort of in flagrante delicto.” The head disappeared.

“In flagrante delicto doesn’t mean naked, you know,” Mac told the air where the head had been. “It means you were caught doing something you shouldn’t have been.Something sexual.”

“Now, now. It’s never wrong to masturbate. There.” The head reappeared, this time attached to a body that gave Mac a startlingly clear vision of how it would look masturbating. The man was stringy, taller than Mac’s six- foot frame, but lean and underdeveloped—the body of aperson who spent a lot of time reading. Or jerking off.

“What can I help you with?” He was in his mid-twenties, so perhaps ten years younger than Mac, dressed in jeans laddered with intentional rips, each the same two inches wide, running down his thighs like claw marks. His face was clean-shaven, fresh with his youth, and Mac wondered how his skin would react to having Mac’s tightly trimmed beard rubbed all over it.

“You’re free to browse around, even if I’m not out here.”

Mac added lax security to the mental list he was pointlessly compiling. “I need to speak to the owner.”

Hailey Green, owner of Hailey’s Comic, was the only thing standing in the way of his plans to revitalize this misbegotten section of Ballhaven, which plan started with this very brick building and would ultimately lead to Ball’s End—as everyone called it; he’d have to do something about the branding—becoming the newest hot spot for millennials to eat, drink, shop, and live. Urban revitalization was Mac’s business, and Hailey Green was Mac’s problem.

“Still me,” the man said, tilting his head to the side asif to take in Mac’s appearance more carefully.

Mac hadn’t changed clothes before driving down to Ball’s End, though he could’ve guessed the place would bedirty. He’d been reading a report on the effort to clear 502 Main Street of its tenants and had made an abrupt decisionto come down and take care of ridding the building of its final holdout himself.

Review

Him Improvement is a most charming story from start to finish. Right from the moment Mac (or Greg, as Hailey calls him) and Hailey fall into insta-lust—only moments before Mac falls into insta-love—this is a story about two men who couldn’t be more different finding a way to be together that works for both of them.

The one thing that is perfectly clear from that first encounter is that sexually, Hailey and Mac couldn’t be more compatible. It’s just in every other aspect of their lives and personalities that they are opposites. And I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of Mac’s quest to initially try and pretend to be and subsequently turn himself into the man he thinks Hailey needs and deserves.

Of course, what Mac wants and what Mac can actually pull off turn out to be two very different things. After all, as a developer he has his company and investors to take into account. And while Hailey’s ideas and ideals may well be admirable, they aren’t always practical, and almost never profitable. I have to admit that I love the solution the story eventually came up with even if I have my doubts as to how realistic it was. I totally buy that Mac was ‘converted’ by that stage of the story. I had a bit more trouble getting my head around his best friend and lawyer also making the switch.

I would have loved it if I had also been able to read from Hailey’s perspective because I constantly found myself wondering why he was interested in someone like Mac – apart from a strong physical attraction. I get the opposites attract lure, but I’m not sure why anyone would be so benevolent towards anybody who is out to rob them of their livelihood and doesn’t understand their motivation when it comes to helping others at all. As much as I don’t like conflict in my romances, I think it would have helped if Hailey had got angry at least once, because Mac certainly gave him reasons to be upset. Seen just through Mac’s eyes and described only in Mac’s words, Hailey was just too good to be true. Although, given how hard Mac falls, maybe we should forgive him those rose-tinted glasses.

Maybe the problem is that I didn’t really warm to Mac until maybe the last 15% of the story. I couldn’t escape the feeling that rather than changing as a result of seeing Hailey’s way of life and appreciating his values, Mac changed out of selfish reasons, because there was very little he wouldn’t do if it meant he could stay with Hailey and deepen their relationship. Because, no matter how I feel about developers (and I’m not a huge fan in general), you can’t deny that Mac goes from being prepared to screw over the little man to being willing to drop his friends, family, and other investors in it without experiencing significant guilt. But, at the same time it’s impossible to deny that by the end of the book, Mac is willing and trying…trying to understand Hailey and what motivates him, and trying to do better.

Having said all that, if you read this book as a modern, not-Christmassy, play on A Christmas Carol, as the book itself does once or twice, Him Improvement was a gentle, sexy, and mostly angst-free read with a fairy-tale feel, which is pretty much how I prefer my romances.

Him Improvement is definitely not a book for those who thrive on angst. If, on the other hand, you enjoy stories in which love literally overcomes all, you’re going to adore this book.

Which leaves me with just one question: Will Declan get his own book and man?

About the Author

Tanya Chris writes feminist-friendly romance in a variety of sub-genres and pairings--most especially M/M. Born on the West Coast and raised on the East Coast, she's fact-based but thirsty for justice, and her books often include an examination of a current social issue, even when they're set in the past. As a lifelong genre-hopping reader herself, she admires character-driven work with a message, regardless of the form it takes. 

Tanya is an avid rock climber, a long-distance runner, and a participant in her local community theater where she has tackled most roles, including playwright, actor, director, producer, and stage manager. Her travels, both for climbing trips and for cultural exploration, have brought her to places as fascinating as Egypt and as beautiful as the Dolomites, though there's no place like home. 

Tanya is best known to readers for having written Aftercare and to writers for the quote "Writer culture is researching what degree is needed to be a paleontologist so your shapeshifting vampire dinosaur erotica will be authentic." Her website features dozens of free stories, including the aforementioned (and highly authentic) shapeshifting vampire dinosaur erotica. 


 
Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of two ebooks from Tanya's backlist