09/2016 release

Touchdown by T.S. McKinney

touchdown*** This review contains mild spoilers. Please refrain if you haven’t read the story***

Unrated
Genre: 
Contemporary; Sports
Publication day:
 September 7, 2016
Length: 
217 pages  
Publisher: 
Dark Hollows Press

Alexander Bryant has lived his entire life making everyone else happy. After meeting Lincoln, will he have the courage to finally do what makes him happy?

Alexander – I like to imagine myself a rebel – an ass-kicker that takes what he wants regardless of what others think. I make my own path and flip off the people who don’t agree. I laugh in the face of conflict. Nobody tells me what to do.

In reality, everything about me is a lie – past, present, and future. The Bryant name requires certain things and all my decisions are based on those requirements. I like football, but the family name demands I love it. I want to be an artist, but the family name demands I be a lawyer. The family demands I fall in love with a nice girl, but I’m falling for, well, the opposite of nice AND girl. I’m a coward and a liar.

Lincoln – I like to imagine myself a loner – a cold heartless bastard that takes what he wants. I lived the biggest part of my life with parents that were ashamed of me for more reasons that one could begin to count, so I trust no one.

I have a low tolerance for bullshit and hate liars.

So why did I go and fall in love with the biggest liar of them all?

My View: Touchdown was a disappointing read. I normally wait a couple of days before writing a formal review, but I don’t think it was necessary for this instance. I don’t need to think about it anymore. I had plenty of time as I read, and cringed. There’s so much wrong with this story that I decided not to rate it. I hate giving/receiving negative reviews without justification, so I’m going to point some goods along the way.

I was put-off by this story within the first thirteen percent. Please take into consideration that this book is labeled as a romance. If it was an erotica story, the dub-con meeting between the MCs around the twenty percent mark would make a little more sense. And yes, I said dub-con because there wasn’t a discussion about limits, likes, etc. No SSC, RACK, or even a word exchange between two consenting adults. And that’s without talking about the alcohol consumption, the public scene, and the insta-lust from seeing Alex’s face on a computer monitor.

I liked the idea of the guys going to explore the club. It was described in a way the reader could almost see what the guys were seeing and experiencing. They all have different reactions and the place seemed to be inclusive.

Not until the 41 percent we see an attempt to explain what BDSM is about, but saying you aren’t  going to rape your sub isn’t enough. Twenty percent later, we get to see that insta-lust turn into insta-love, softening the characters. Alexander had a great personality and I did like the mushy moments between him and Lincoln outside of their sex encounters. They had funny moments and a witty banter. But there’s no way Lincoln was only twenty-five, thirty-five? Maybe.

The author saved the last plot turn involving a spit-roast. I was holding my breath during the whole scene. Trying to understand the reason behind it and was rather pleased to see the way the author turned the events. Unfortunately, that connection was severed moments later.

The last part was just a fairytale ending that didn’t work for me. Too contrived and cliché to compensate for the rest of the story. I don’t mind the over the top antics, but they have to feel genuine. I did want to cheer for their HEA. The scene at the hospital was lovely, though.

Now into the characters. There are many stereotypical characters within this story–from the religious bigots to the cold and detached parents. The superstar quarterback, the less-than-smart beauty queen, the flirtatious bisexual characters, overprotective driver/friend, the Dom of all Doms, to mentioned some. There’s no slow progression to see the characters making decisions and changing their opinions–for example, Alex’s parents. I did like the coach’s reaction.

The BDSM acts itself were too advanced for a newbie with no preparation. Flogging, sounding, etc. require an understanding between the participants. Something more than what one can see/interpret from their partner’s eyes. Overall, the sex scenes were well put together and smexy, just out of context.

I might be ranting, but it’s been a while since I have seen a book in need of a BDSM consultant, or at least, a beta with a sensible understanding of it. I will give this author another try. Perhaps with the next story in the series and just not sure when. The potential is there, and I hope to be surprised next time.

What I liked the most: The cover’s nice.

I wanted more/less: I wanted to see an understanding of basic BDSM elements.

Who should read it: I can’t recommend this story.

ARC provided by Dark Hollows Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Running With the Pack by A.M. Burns & Caitlin Ricci

running-with-the-packRating: 4 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary; YA
Publication day:
 September 8, 2016
Length: 
180 pages  
Publisher: 
Harmony Ink Press

Finn is about to start his senior year of high school when he and his family move from Austin, Texas, to Woodland Park, Colorado. Everything is different—even the elevation—and Finn’s having a hard time getting used to his new home. Life takes a turn for the better when he meets Ivan Dubovasky at a farmers’ market. Finn finds not only a close new friend but a fulfilling volunteer position at the High Mountain Wolf and Wild Dog Center, which Ivan’s family runs. Before long Finn develops an affinity for the wolves under the center’s protection.

Things only get better for Finn when he starts a relationship with Ivan; and Ivan’s best friend, Adrian, who’s asexual, completes their small pack. But it all comes crashing down when the bully plaguing Adrian crosses the line and Adrian goes missing. Finn and Ivan are determined to bring their boyfriend home safe, but they might not be able to do it alone. Luckily there’s a special wolf ready to lend a paw.

My View: Running with the Pack is a real young adult novel. I’m not a YA fan for two main reasons. First, most characters act as if they were in their late twenties or older. And secondly, the sexual content is too much for the story; not because teens don’t have sex, but because it’s written for an older audience.

This story changes that. Giving us three characters learning about each other, exploring relationships, and sexuality together. I have a fifteen-year-old daughter, and I’d feel comfortable with her reading it because it was written for teenagers and young adults, not the traditional advance reader.

The characters are realistic as well as their interactions and daily life. I do think some conflicts were solved too quickly, including the acceptance of the polyamorous relationship. But the authors did an excellent job presenting Adrian’s asexuality. It was straightforward and uncomplicated.

What I liked the most: That it was an actual YA story.

I wanted more/less: I wanted more angst, but even so, it worked as-is.

Who should read it: Fans of YA stories

ARC provided by Harmony Ink Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

[Guest Post] Safe House and Tiny House Bundle Sale

Label-back-redI want to thank Charley Descoteaux for stopping by to tell us about her upcoming release of Safe House, and the Tiny House bundle sale. I had read both books and I highly recommend them. Don’t miss the chance to get your copies.
—————————–

The release date for Safe House, Buchanan House: Book Four, is coming soon! To celebrate, Dreamspinner has created a bundle sale—Pre-order Safe House and get Tiny House (Buchanan House: Book Three) for $0.99! The sale runs September 12 until release day—September 19!

This is a true series so to get the most out of it I recommend to read the books in order. With that in mind I’ve stocked a Rafflecopter with two chances to win the first book in the series, Buchanan House. Visit any stop on my tour between September 12th and October 1st to enter!

Pre-0rder Safe House at the Dreamspinner store and get Tiny House for $0.99! Sept. 12-19: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/safe-house-by-charley-descoteaux-7536-b

SafeHouseFS_v1Safe House (Buchanan House: Book Four) by Charley Descoteaux

It’s never too late for a new beginning…

Kyle Shimoda is an asshole magnet, has been for as long as he can remember. At forty-seven, he doesn’t see much chance for improving his luck in love. His friends who run Buchanan House, a gay retreat on the central Oregon coast, know he wants to find “someone nice” to settle down with, and they set him up with Officer Brandon Smith. Kyle has a turbulent history with law enforcement, but he can’t deny his attraction to the buff cop.

Brandon has been a police officer in Lincoln City almost since the day he graduated from high school over thirty years ago. He’s cultivated the facade of a serious, disciplined law enforcement officer, but beneath his overdeveloped chest beats the soft heart of a drama queen. A cancer scare shifts Bran’s focus from finding a serious relationship to having as much sex as he can—putting his goals squarely at odds with Kyle’s. If he can’t find the courage to be honest about his feelings for Kyle, the happiness they’ve both been searching for could slip through their fingers.

Read Chapter One at the Dreamspinner store to meet Kyle. Meet Brandon in the excerpt below.

Chapter Two

Brandon barely paid attention as he drove between the cemetery and the apartment he shared with two roommates. He’d hoped to find a voice mail from the doctor after the funeral, but no such luck. He did find one saying the new guy, Dylan, had called in sick, and Brandon was expected at work within the hour. He would have been happier to stay at the cemetery and talk with Paulie a little longer. And Kyle. Bran had met Kyle before, but they hadn’t spoken. He had noticed then how handsome Kyle was, and he was even more striking with his hair longer, framing his high cheekbones and full, sensuous mouth. His silky black hair looked so touchable.

This isn’t getting me to work any faster.

At least work will be a distraction.

He hurried home and changed into his uniform. His quick spot check in the bathroom mirror turned into a lingering appraisal. Brandon ran an open hand over his chest, not to smooth the impeccable fabric of his uniform shirt, but to reassure himself that nothing had changed. He grimaced at his reflection, thinking a little less gray and a little more brown in his hair might be a nice change.

Brandon shivered as he recalled the MRI he’d endured three days prior, which had revealed a suspicious lump in his chest. Forty-seven minutes in a tiny tube while the machine hummed and took pictures of his breast and lymph tissue. Just thinking about the way it had felt to lie there made him shiver—it was worse than the needle biopsy he’d had the following day. With every inhale his shoulders had brushed the walls of the tube on both sides, and less than halfway through he’d had to talk himself out of fleeing. He wasn’t a tall man—something that had bothered him throughout his life—but until that day he had taken pride in his body, in the bulk he’d cultivated without sacrificing speed or agility.

During that forty-seven minutes, he would have been happy to trade his broad shoulders for a smaller frame.

Since I’m making empty wishes, I might as well make one for a better-looking face. A face that could attract a handsome young guy like Kyle instead of scaring him half to death.

Bran’s stomach roiled at his own thoughts, and he resolved to not even think the word death again until—unless—he had to. He was tempted to forgo shaving the sandy brown stubble from his face but fell back on the habit, hoping for the comfort a routine could provide, and reached for his electric razor.

Everything seemed to be happening so fast. Less than a week ago he’d gone in for his yearly physical, and now he was waiting for the call that would tell him whether he needed to make another appointment for that week or next year. In the interim he’d been squeezed into a tube and had a biopsy. And relived the worst time in his life over and over, the time when he’d learned about his father’s diagnosis.

Series: Buchanan House
Book Number: 4
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 19, 2016
Pages: 200
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

SafeHouse_headerbanner

Enter Sept 12 – Oct 1!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Three winners! Prizes: One signed paperback of Safe House (US Only); one ebook copy of book one of the series, Buchanan House; one backlist book (any ebook except Safe House)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.

Rattle Charley’s cages:

Blog: http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charley.descoteaux.3
Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=879
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharleyDescote
Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/aqe7g7r
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/charleydescote/

 

 

 

The Deeper He Hurts by Lynda Aicher

The Deeper He HurtsRating: 4.25 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary; BDSM
Publication day:
 September 6, 2016
Length: 
224 pages  
Publisher: 
Loveswept

Asher Ruggiero, a partner at Adrenaline Kick Adventures, is living a lie. As a control freak whose big Italian family thinks he’s straight, Asher likes his encounters concise, dirty, and discreet—until his company’s new rafting guide walks into work, dripping with brooding, intense sexuality. Sawyer Stevens is a mystery man with secrets and rough edges, and he makes Asher want to get to know him inside and out.

Ever since the tragic death of his parents, Sawyer has dedicated himself to the rush of adrenaline that comes from pleasure and pain. Moving from one guy to another, hiding when life gets too complicated—that’s all he can handle. So why does Asher make him long for something lasting and honest, when the gorgeous geek can’t even be true to himself? Sawyer wants to give Asher his heart, but he just doesn’t know how. After all, a life without integrity is a life without passion—and that’s the one thing Sawyer craves.

My View: The Deeper He Hurts has a good combination of BDSM elements and romance. The plot is simple, but the main characters are complex enough to carry the story. Even when it’s the second book in the series, there’s no real need to read the previous book to enjoy this installment. Only if you want to have background information about Kick and some of the secondary characters.

The beginning is a bit rush, and it took me a moment to get into the story. After Asher and Sawyer met everything started to make more sense. The pacing flows well until they get a steady relationship. Then, the jumps in time (when they were apart) we just skimmed over.

The BDSM scenes were essential for the development of the MCs’s relationship. There were simple but efficient. The psychological impact was far more important than the pain inflicted. The author did an excellent job showing the distinction between sex and play; letting the characters show the reader why they were part of the lifestyle and how they fell in love.

Overall, this book has a great couple, lots of kink, and a compelling backstory. There’s a touch of “magic dick”, but in the end, we get to see a better reason for the MCs to evolve. If you’re looking for more than a spanking scene or public play, this is your story. Also, be prepared for a very graphic representation of pain and play.

What I liked the most: The trust between Asher and Sawyer.

I wanted more/less: I wanted to see the times between their meetings.

Who should read it: Fans of contemporary BDSM.

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