08/2016 release

Far From Home by Lorelie Brown

far-from-homeRating: 3.75 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary; F/F
Publication day:
 August 1, 2016
Length: 
208 pages  
Publisher:
Riptide

My name is Rachel. I’m straight . . . I think. I also have a mountain of student loans and a smart mouth. I wasn’t serious when I told Pari Sadashiv I’d marry her. It was only party banter! Except Pari needs a green card, and she’s willing to give me a breather from drowning in debt.

My off-the-cuff idea might not be so terrible. We get along as friends. She’s really romantically cautious, which I find heartbreaking. She deserves someone to laugh with. She’s kind. And calm. And gorgeous. A couple of years with her actually sounds pretty good. If some of Pari’s kindness and calmness rubs off on me, that’d be a bonus, because I’m a mess — anorexia is not a pretty word — and my little ways of keeping control of myself, of the world, aren’t working anymore.

And, if I slip up, Pari will see my cracks. Then I’ll crack. Which means I gotta get out, quick, before I fall in love with my wife.

My View: Far From Home is the first FF story I read beginning to end. I started others but never found one I wanted to finish, until now. The storyline’s pretty similar to other romance tropes, making it easy to get into the story. The beginning was a bit rushed, but it moved the story in the right direction.

The way Rachel’s and Pari’s relationship starts with a friendship and the financial implications thereafter ring true with young adults– just like the get-togethers, their jobs, and their everyday life. Everything from their clothes to their apartments added to the overall feel of the story.

I like the diversity Pari and her family introduced to the book. It wasn’t only her being a lesbian, but all the cultural repercussions that made this a nice read. How Rachel dealt with her sexuality and learned more about Pari and herself are the central part of this book.

I did find some areas too slow and others lacking some details, but overall, this was an entertaining and lovely romance.

What I liked the most: The relationship between Rachel and Pari’s mother.

I wanted more/less: I wanted to see what happened between the end of the book and the epilogue.

Who should read it: Fans of contemporary romances; especially FF.

ARC provided by Riptide, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Advertisements

The Mystery of Nevermore by C.S. Poe

mysteryRating: 3.75 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary; Mystery
Publication day:
 August 30, 2016
Length: 
216 pages  
Publisher: 
DSP Publications

It’s Christmas, and all antique dealer Sebastian Snow wants is for his business to make money and to save his floundering relationship with closeted CSU detective, Neil Millett. When Snow’s Antique Emporium is broken into and a heart is found under the floorboards, Sebastian can’t let the mystery rest.

He soon finds himself caught up in murder investigations that echo the macabre stories of Edgar Allan Poe. To make matters worse, Sebastian’s sleuthing is causing his relationship with Neil to crumble, while at the same time he’s falling hard for the lead detective on the case, Calvin Winter. Sebastian and Calvin must work together to unravel the mystery behind the killings, despite the mounting danger and sexual tension, before Sebastian becomes the next victim.

In the end, Sebastian only wants to get out of this mess alive, and live happily ever after with Calvin.

My View: The Mystery of Nevermore is a mystery novel with gay characters, not an MM romance. But the relationship between Sebastian and Calvin do have the starts of a love story. My only complaint would be about the way things ended between Sebastian and Neil. It colored my view of Sebastian, and therefore, his new relationship.

I have read most of the Edgar Allan Poe’s stories mentioned, but it’s not necessary to in order to follow the developments in this book. I enjoyed the way the author mixed all the works to create her own. One thing they differ is tone. Where E.A. Poe is dark and sad, C.S. Poe is light and fun. I think it needed more mystery or more romance, though; to bring the story to the next level.

The mystery has some twist and turns, but I think the antagonist stays on the sidelines too long. I wanted to see him/her take a more active part/mention in the story from the beginning, and not just in the last part.

The author did an excellent job with the setting descriptions, Sebastian’s condition, and creating likable characters. We get to experience all the places, and each character plays an important part in the story.

I’d love to see the next book in the series being told from Calvin’s POV, or at least, both of them; either way, I’d read it. This was my first story by this author, and I’m definitely reading more from her.

What I liked the most: The characterization of Sebastian’s condition.

I wanted more/less: More mystery or more romance.

Who should read it: Fans of mystery novels.

ARC provided by DSP Publications, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

[Guest Post] Those Pesky “ly” Words by Renee Stevens

WideOpenSpaces_BT Banner

I want to thank Renee Stevens for stopping by to talk about rewriting “ly” words out her her States of Love story, Wide Open Spaces. Enjoy!


It’s funny, just when I figure one thing out; something else gets thrown into the works. With “Wide Open Spaces”,  my editors pointed out my overuse of “ly” words (really, suddenly, quickly, etc). Now that I know, it’s something I watch for as I’Now, sometimes that dang “ly” word is needed, but one thing I found was that the majority of them could be removed without affecting the sentence much at all.

Sometimes using an “ly” word is necessary, but other times they cheapen the narrative. There are other word choices that you could use instead that would help make your story stronger overall. Sure, at times it might require a little rewording to get your point across, but if it makes the story stronger, it’s worth it in the end. A couple of examples from Wide Open Spaces are:

He didn’t have to hide who he was, because no one really cared.

Or

He didn’t have to hide who he was, because nobody gave a damn.

Not really. But Devon didn’t want to sound ungrateful.

Or

It was the last thing he wanted to do, but Devon didn’t want to sound ungrateful.

In my opinion, the second sentence in each example reads a lot better. What do you think? Do you struggle with “ly” words? Or is there another word(s) that you struggle not to overuse?

WideOpenSpaces_headerbanner

AVAILABLE NOW

WIDE OPEN SPACES
States of Love – Wyoming

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning

Genre: Contemporary
Length: 35,659 Words
Rating: Adult/Mature

WideOpenSpacesFS

Pre-Order NOW

Dreamspinner Press

Amazon: USCAAUUKDE

All Romance


Blurb

Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.

No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.

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

Excerpt

Devon sank down on his couch as exhaustion swamped him. Most of it was from moving in, but the change in elevation didn’t help. He’d gotten used to being closer to sea level, so going back to the dry air at over six thousand feet was going to take some getting used to.

Bloody noses had become the norm while he stayed with Blake. Devon didn’t want to deal with them repeatedly and considered getting a humidifier until he managed to acclimate.

He looked around his living room. Boxes were scattered everywhere, and he should be unpacking, but he was too tired. At least he hadn’t had to carry everything in himself. Blake, Travis, and Seth were waiting for him when he pulled into the apartment complex. They shrugged off his objections and insisted they had nothing better to do. Devon appreciated it, but he wasn’t comfortable around them anymore. He managed to be a proper host, but damn, he was glad they left after a couple beers each. They made noise about getting together again soon, but Devon had used getting settled in as an excuse to keep from committing to anything.

He stood and wandered into his small kitchen. He didn’t bother opening the fridge or any of the cupboards. He knew they were empty. His stomach growled, reminding him he hadn’t eaten for a while. Devon dug his keys out of his pocket and headed for the door. He’d get something to eat and then maybe stop at the store to pick up a few staples. Paper plates, sandwich fixings, some chips, and he’d be good for a couple of days. At least it would give him time to get a few things—like pots and pans—unpacked. Then he could do a full grocery shop.

An hour later he was comfortably full from a greasy burger, fries, and a shake. He’d never eaten a lot of fast food, but he had few other options. He headed to Walmart, determined to stick to his list of sandwich stuff and maybe some eggs. Surely he could dig out some pans before the food expired. He headed to the chips first and scanned for the familiar bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. They were his all-time favorite, though he also knew he’d want something else after a day or two. So he grabbed a couple of other bags and headed for the eggs and then the freezer aisle.

Sandwiches and chips would get old fast. He found some frozen breakfast sandwiches he could microwave, tossed them in the cart, and moved on. Frozen lasagna quickly joined the few other items in his cart, followed by some potpies, a few TV dinners, and a bag of chimichangas. So what if he wasn’t sticking to his mental list?

He was more focused on getting groceries for the next few days than on the people around him.

“Devon.”

He froze when a familiar voice spoke his name. He closed his eyes briefly, ducked his head, and steeled himself. He knew it would happen eventually, when he found out Levi still lived there. He thought he’d have more time to prepare. He swallowed—hard—and turned to face the man who had at one time meant everything to him. The man he’d risked being found out for. He lifted his head and gazed into the moss-colored eyes.

“Levi.”


About the Author

Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of Admin, Blog Coordinator, and Anthology Coordinator.

Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works.

When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts. When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

FacebookTwitterGoodreadsWebsite


RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Blog Tour Schedule – More chances to win!!!!

August 24th: M.A. ChurchNic Starr

August 25th: Grace Duncan

August 26th: Anna Butler

August 27th: David Dawson

August 28th: Alicia Nordwell

August 29th: Anne Barwell

August 30th: Antonia Aquilante

August 31st *RELEASE DAY*: Mann RamblingsMichael Mandrake

September 1st: Julie HayesElyzabeth M. VaLey

September 2nd: Caraway Carter

September 3rd: JC Wallace

September 4th: Caz Pedroso

September 5th: Brynn Stein

September 6th: Lila Leigh Hunter

September 7th: Morticia Knight

September 8th: Charley Descoteaux

September 9th: Cheryl Headford

September 10th: Heloise West

September 12th: Foster Bridget Cassidy

 

Eight Seconds by William Davrick

Eight SecondsRating: Unrated
Genre: 
Contemporary; Western
Publication day:
August 31, 2016
Length: 
285 pages  
Publisher: 
Less Than Three Press

Dustin Marston, wannabe professional bull rider, cannot stay on a bull for the required eight seconds. Suffering from sinister flashes of suppressed memories from his childhood, Dusty has a panic attack during a hazardous sexual encounter that lands him in serious legal trouble.

When he proves to be uncooperative, his health counselor, Diana, turns to a colleague for assistance—only for the to learn that Joe was once the boy Dusty loved when they were kids, and who was lost to him twenty years ago. Then Joe proposes a highly unorthodox treatment to save Dusty, a treatment that wakes old nightmares and threatens any chance they have of a future.

My View: Eight Seconds is a very complex novel with a series of dark and challenging topics. Even so, the author did an excellent job balancing the flow of the story. It never got too angst or difficult to read. There are small scenes inserted allowing the reader to see that hope was within reach. All these said, the story has perhaps too much happening; too many twists and turns for each subplot.

The characters are the salvation of this story. They’re easy to fall in love with and hope for the best. Wanting to learn more about their future kept the reader engaged and allowed them to see beyond all the darkness. Every single one of them had a reason to be there and added to the overall plot.

My main issue with this book and the reason I’m not rating it has to do with Joe’s therapy approach. I don’t see how he can be a renowned doctor and act the way he did. His methods are more than questionable; especially due to their relationship. Also, Dustin’s secret seemed unprovable and how easily Joe found about it felt unrealistic. Just like Joe’s background and connections.

This novel isn’t a romance, but a gay fiction story with romantic elements. We get a reunion after twenty years but is more about their friendship and their support for each other.

What I liked the most: Dustin’s and Joe’s relationship.

I wanted more: In this case, I wanted less of everything.

Who should read it: Fans of gay fiction.

ARC provided by Less Than Three Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

[Cover Reveal] Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens

COVER REVEAL

WideOpenSpacesFS

BUY NOW

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Maria Fanning

Pre-order Release Date: 7/28/2016

Official Release Date: 8/31/2016

Genre: Contemporary

Series: States of Love

Length: 35,659 Words

Rating: Adult/Mature

Blurb

Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.

No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.  

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

Excerpt

Devon sank down on his couch as exhaustion swamped him. Most of it was from moving in, but the change in elevation didn’t help. He’d gotten used to being closer to sea level, so going back to the dry air at over six thousand feet was going to take some getting used to.

Bloody noses had become the norm while he stayed with Blake. Devon didn’t want to deal with them repeatedly and considered getting a humidifier until he managed to acclimate.

He looked around his living room. Boxes were scattered everywhere, and he should be unpacking, but he was too tired. At least he hadn’t had to carry everything in himself. Blake, Travis, and Seth were waiting for him when he pulled into the apartment complex. They shrugged off his objections and insisted they had nothing better to do. Devon appreciated it, but he wasn’t comfortable around them anymore. He managed to be a proper host, but damn, he was glad they left after a couple beers each. They made noise about getting together again soon, but Devon had used getting settled in as an excuse to keep from committing to anything.

He stood and wandered into his small kitchen. He didn’t bother opening the fridge or any of the cupboards. He knew they were empty. His stomach growled, reminding him he hadn’t eaten for a while. Devon dug his keys out of his pocket and headed for the door. He’d get something to eat and then maybe stop at the store to pick up a few staples. Paper plates, sandwich fixings, some chips, and he’d be good for a couple of days. At least it would give him time to get a few things—like pots and pans—unpacked. Then he could do a full grocery shop.

An hour later he was comfortably full from a greasy burger, fries, and a shake. He’d never eaten a lot of fast food, but he had few other options. He headed to Walmart, determined to stick to his list of sandwich stuff and maybe some eggs. Surely he could dig out some pans before the food expired. He headed to the chips first and scanned for the familiar bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. They were his all-time favorite, though he also knew he’d want something else after a day or two. So he grabbed a couple of other bags and headed for the eggs and then the freezer aisle.

Sandwiches and chips would get old fast. He found some frozen breakfast sandwiches he could microwave, tossed them in the cart, and moved on. Frozen lasagna quickly joined the few other items in his cart, followed by some potpies, a few TV dinners, and a bag of chimichangas. So what if he wasn’t sticking to his mental list?

He was more focused on getting groceries for the next few days than on the people around him.

“Devon.”

He froze when a familiar voice spoke his name. He closed his eyes briefly, ducked his head, and steeled himself. He knew it would happen eventually, when he found out Levi still lived there. He thought he’d have more time to prepare. He swallowed—hard—and turned to face the man who had at one time meant everything to him. The man he’d risked being found out for. He lifted his head and gazed into the moss-colored eyes.

“Levi.”

About the Author

Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of Admin, Blog Coordinator, and Anthology Coordinator.

Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works.

When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts. When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

FacebookTwitterGoodreadsWebsite