Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wired Man and Other Freaks of Nature by Sashi Kaufman


Wired Man and Other Freaks of Nature by Sashi Kaufman

Review by Lauren

source: copy from BEA16; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryBen Wireman is partially deaf and completely insecure. The only two things that make him feel normal are being a soccer goalie and hanging out with his best friend, Tyler. 

Tyler Nuson is the golden boy, worshiped by girls and guys alike. But Tyler’s golden facade is cracking, and the dark secrets hidden behind it are oozing to the surface. Ben has no idea what to do when Tyler’s memories of their past start poisoning everything, including their friendship.

Enter Ilona Pierce. With tattoos, blue hair, and almost no friends, she’s exactly the kind of weirdo Ben has tried to avoid his entire life. But without Tyler, Ben isn’t sure who he is anymore, and maybe, just maybe, hanging out with a freak is what he needs.

Wired Man and Other Freaks of Nature is a captivating and compelling story about the shifting dynamics between two best friends during their senior year in high school, as their loyalty to each other is tested by betrayal, secrets, girls, and the complex art of growing up.
 


ReviewWired Man and Other Freaks of Nature was a book that I came across when researching what books would be at BEA16. It sounded like one I'd really enjoy, so I was excited when the publishing company were giving out ARCs on the second day. This is one of those coming-of-age books that I feel like contemporary lovers would really enjoy, even if you can't relate to every aspect of the book. Despite the specifics, this book is truly about growing up, becoming the person you want to be, falling in love, and dealing with the changing nature of friendships.

Specifically, this book is about Ben Wireman who has partially deaf and therefore must always wear hearing aids. He hates this about himself and his very self-conscious, using his longer hair to hide them. His best friend is Tyler Nuson, who everybody loves. He's just a nice guy, no matter who you are, but Ben tends to live his life in Tyler's shadow. He doesn't entirely hate this though, as he truly does love Tyler - in a best friend way. The two have been friends for years and they always have each other's back. Except this year, their senior year, Tyler isn't acting the same. He's getting mad at their soccer coach, spending more time around one girl than he normally does, and not talking to Ben.

As the year progresses, Ben meets Ilona Pierce in a class and is partnered up with her on a project. He hates this idea at first, but soon grows to like Ilona and her carefree attitude. I wasn't sure about Ilona at first either, but she grows on you. I didn't like how she treated her mom, but I could understand some of why she did what she did. Plus, she's all about being okay with yourself and she tries to instill that in Ben. 

All three of these characters' lives become intertwined as the year goes on. Ben discovers more about Tyler, secrets come out, and Ilona finds herself helping two boys discover who they really and truly are - despite disabilities and past hurts. It's a good read, though a bit slow in parts. Regardless, I kind of wished I could know these people in real life and just hang out with them. It felt real, and I always appreciate that in a contemporary novel.

Wired Man and Other Freaks of Nature comes out tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Talented Mr. Rivers by HelenKay Dimon


The Talented Mr. Rivers by HelenKay Dimon

Out: September 13th

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryAs the son of an international crime lord, Will Rivers only inherited one thing after his father died: trouble. The Pentasus organization deals in kidnapping and murder, and Will wants no part of the power grab that’s tearing leadership apart. But the only way he’ll be able to escape is with some help from his former bodyguard, Hunter Cain, whose sculpted body and brooding looks keep Will awake at night. Somehow, Hunter has resisted the tension between them . . . until, suddenly, he gives in.

As a German intelligence officer working deep undercover, Hunter has a very good reason to keep Will in the dark about his identity and his intentions. Although the sex is hot, Hunter’s true feelings are a growing liability. Now the only way to save Will from his old life is to push him deeper into danger. But when two strong men are each determined to protect the other, the heat isn’t just combustible—it’s a firestorm.


Review:

The Talented Mr. Rivers is the second book after Mr. and Mr. Smith, which I loved. I was very excited to be accepted to review Mr. Rivers after highly enjoying the story and relationship in Smith. While this book focuses on a new couple, you still get to see the two men behind Smith, which is always fun in companion novels.

As for Mr. Rivers, this book is about Hunter and Will Rivers, who both appear in Smith, though Hunter far more. This book, though, takes place soon after the end of Smith so you definitely should read both to really get to know all the key players and how that leads to the story line in Mr. Rivers. Hunter is part of a German organization who has infiltrated the Rivers family, believing them to be involved in really evil and bloody work. While pretending to a bodyguard, he eventually meets the youngest Rivers sibling, Will, and finds himself immediately attracted.

Neither Will nor Hunter act on their feelings until Mr. Rivers and it's definitely steamy. There is plenty of sex scenes and sensual moments between the two men, but there is also much more to the story, which I appreciate. Two people are after Will, and neither care too much if they have to kill him in the end. Hunter is trying to bring down the operation the Rivers family runs, but he's also still immensely attracted to and starting to care for Will, so he wants to keep him safe. The two men have many secrets between them, though Hunter has the most, as he knows more about Will from his job than Will knows about him. For example, Hunter is not his real name. That's a small thing compared to everything else, but it's something the two have to work through, especially in the middle of a serious operation.

Again, I don't want to go on too much about the specific details. Just know that this is a sexy, fast-paced, and action-filled novel! Highly recommended!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Blogoversary Giveaway #2: Reader's Tote Bag

As many of you already know, August is my Blogoversary month and I have been blogging for the past 9 years. I wanted to celebrate with a couple of different giveaways. You can find my first giveaway in the top left hand corner of the blog. There is also a couple more days to enter the HP Solar Light giveaway on Leave a Mark Auctions - link in the upper right hand corner.


NOW, though, I'm happy to offer up a fun reader's tote bag that was donated by the wonderful TrishaJenn from trishajennreads - go follow her!

Most of the entries for this giveaway involve you following TrishaJenn in some way in honor of her donating this tote bag for giveaway. Please do follow in as many ways as you can/want!

Open To: U.S. only, I'm afraid (unless you want to pay shipping!)

Closes: Friday, September 16

a Rafflecopter giveaway


"You Read Too Much Is Not an Insult" - when offered to choose what I wanted to give away, I immediately loved this phrase and then TrishaJenn even let me choose the item, so I went with a tote because I think most of us love these and could always use more. I wish I could enter!

Unsuitable by Samantha Towle Cover Reveal

Alicia here, with the cover reveal for Samantha Towle's new book. I can't wait to get my hands on this! 

Enjoy!

(P.S.: Sorry this is up so late, it was supposed to be up yesterday, but I literally spent the entire day getting my hair done, so yeah. Haha.)
--------------------





Synopsis

From New York Times bestselling author, Samantha Towle, comes a new sexy, romantic suspense  standalone  novel...


Daisy Smith has spent eighteen months of her life paying for a crime she didn’t commit. Now out of prison, she has only one focus—to get back custody of her younger brother, Jesse, who is deep in the foster care system. Desperate to rebuild her life and show the system that she is responsible enough to care for Jesse, she takes on the only job available to her—working as a maid at the Matis Estate.

On day one of her new job, Daisy meets Kastor Matis, the only son of the owners and her new boss. An enigmatic, handsome Greek god of a man, Kas is closed off, cold, and…well, kind of a bastard.

The more time Daisy spends around Kas, she starts to see there might be more to him than just his cold, bastard ways. He may actually have a heart beating in that frozen chest of his.

But Kas has secrets, too. Secrets that he’s determined to keep.

Secrets make Daisy curious.

And you know what curiosity can do…

Releases October 1
Add to goodreads
Pre-order links to come 
Cover Designed By: Najla Qamber Designs




About the Author

New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and international bestselling author Samantha Towle began her first novel in 2008 while on maternity leave. She completed the manuscript five months later and hasn't stopped writing since. 

She has written contemporary romances, THE STORM SERIES, THE REVVED SERIES, TROUBLE, WHEN I WAS YOURS and THE ENDING I WANT.

She has also written paranormal romances, THE BRINGER and the ALEXANDRA JONES SERIES, all penned to tunes of The Killers, Kings of Leon, Adele, The Doors, Oasis, Fleetwood Mac, and more of her favourite musicians. 

A native of Hull and a graduate of Salford University, she lives with her husband, Craig, in East Yorkshire with their son and daughter.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Say It Right by A.M. Arthur


Say It Right by A.M. Arthur

Due Out: September 12th 

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryAfter his parents kicked him out for being gay, Marc Villegas lived on the streets before getting a second chance. Now he's giving back by working at a shelter for LGBT teenagers—because helping fight their demons keeps his own at bay. Including his infatuation with the former best friend he's sure is straight.

Anthony Romano hasn't seen Marc since Marc left home eight years ago. In his confidant's absence, Anthony turned to heroin. Now at rock bottom, he has an offer from Marc to help him get clean. Detox is hard and ugly, but not as hard as admitting the truth: he's in love with Marc. Always has been.

Marc swore he'd never date an addict, but he never dreamed the one in question would be the man he's always wanted to be with. As the two explore their feelings for each other, Marc faces a difficult choice. Say yes, and it could cost him his sobriety; say no, and it could cost him his heart.


ReviewSay It Right is the second book in the All Saints series, but they are companion novels focusing on a different couple in each one. I do recommend reading Come What May first though, so you get all of the background information needed to fully understand Say It Right. 

I liked Come What May, despite it not being my most favorite. However, I was excited to read Say It Right and I'm so happy that I did because it was even better, in my opinion, than the first book. Say It Right focuses on Marc, who helps run an LGBT Homeless Shelter for Teens, and his childhood friend, Anthony. Marc was kicked out of his home when he was a teenager because he told his parents he was gay. Since that moment, he has not seen or heard from Anthony. When the two are reunited as adults, things have definitely changed in some ways. Marc is still attracted to Anthony, but Anthony has been on drugs off and on for years, not able to stay clean for long.

I don't want to go into too much detail about Marc and Anthony's pasts and experiences, because that makes up a large part of the book. I won't say it's important for these things to be a secret, as suspected a lot of what was to come, but it's still nice to read it instead of me just telling you. Anyway, I really loved both Marc and Anthony. The two of them had been through some rough things in the past, but they were friends who wanted to reconnect...and maybe even become more than friends.

I appreciated the realistic nature of this book. Anthony wants to be clean, but it's not easy. They want to be together, but Marc doesn't know if he can trust Anthony. There is a lot more to deal with than in a normal, everyday relationship and I think that Arthur handled all of this well. When the two made strides forward, it felt real, especially because there were steps backwards too. 

As for more All Saints books, I'd love to have them! I'm not sure if there will be a third or not, but it would be most welcome from me. I also wouldn't say no to more Marc and Anthony!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Womanizer by Katy Evans Cover Reveal

Alicia here, with all of the information about Katy Evan's next book!! Eeeeeeeee! Katy is one of my top favorite authors, and her first hero, Remy, is at the top of my book boyfriends list. Anyways, this cover!!!




Enjoy!

--------------------------


CR-Womanizer


Womanizer by Katy Evans

Series: Manwhore #5 

Release Date: December 5th, 2016 

Genre: Contemporary Romance




  Womanizer-v2-Ebook.jpg  


Synopsis:

You've seen the headlines: Womanizing billionaire player! Watch out! Stay away!

We were just two strangers. Facing a forbidden attraction, a chemical connection. Neither of us expected or wanted it to amount to more. 

But I had never been drawn to a guy the way I was drawn to this one: my brother's best friend, and CEO of the company where I interned.

Even knowing I should stay away, I proved to be too human, after all. 

The chemistry was amazing. 

The laughs were incredible.

 I opened up to him in more ways than I'd opened up to anyone before. 

But sex was as far as I'd go. 

Just sex because he was too irresistible. 

Just sex because I wouldn't be falling for him. 

Just sex because I'd leave in three months, and I'd like for my brother not to kill me, and for nobody to find out he was my wicked little secret. 

He wasn't the One. 

He was just a womanizer.

 But for a time, he would be mine.


Add to your TBR on Goodreads

 

Preorder Today!

Amazon / iBooks / B&N / Kobo / Audible

   


About the Author:

Katy Evans grew up with books and book-boyfriends until she found a real sexy boyfriend to love. They married and are now hard at work on their own happily ever after. Katy loves her family and friends, and she also loves reading, walking, baking, and being consumed by her characters until she reaches “The End.” Which is, hopefully, only the beginning…

Facebook / Twitter / Website / Amazon / Goodreads

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes


Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes

Review by Lauren

source: copy from BloggingforBooks; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryDave Holmes has spent his life on the periphery, nose pressed hopefully against the glass, wanting just one thing: to get inside. Growing up, he was the artsy son in the sporty family. At his all-boys high school and Catholic college, he was the closeted gay kid surrounded by crush-worthy straight guys. And in his twenties, in the middle of a disastrous career in advertising, he accidentally became an MTV VJ overnight when he finished second, naturally, in the Wanna Be a VJ contest, opening the door to fame, fortune, and celebrity—you know,almost

Review:

I watched a lot of MTV when I was younger, especially when TRL was popular (Total Request Live) where VJ's announced the top ten videos of the day and celebrities stopped by to be interviewed or play games. Despite watching TRL and other shows on MTV, I have to admit that I didn't recognize the name Dave Holmes. Maybe he wasn't on as much when I really started watching, but at any rate, he was an MTV VJ for a bit and then moved around helping out with other non-music related MTV shows.

Reading his memoir was a lot of fun though because each chapter is is name of a song and it chronicles Dave's life from before MTV to afterwards, when he had left the company and moved on to something new. Holmes is a great writer and he infuses a lot of humor into most of his stories. There are some more serious tales though, like being a young worker in NYC when 9/11 happened - this was his pre-MTV days. I find these stories interesting, as someone who was alive during 9/11. We all have that story of "where were you?"

As Dave is a gay man, I appreciated how he incorporated that in stories. He writes about being in the closet until college and how he tries to make it safer for other kids at his religious college to come out. He talks about his first boyfriend and others, until he tells you the story of meeting "the one" near the end of the book. This is definitely a book about Dave and his life and not just a who's who at MTV, so you should know that before you dive in. It's still an enjoyable memoir though and I appreciate it.

Finally, I want to mention the little extras that Holmes includes between some of the 21 chapters. Some of these are themed song lists, while another gives you a little inside information on some MTV guests - for those of you who like the juicy Celeb stories!

All in all, definitely a good one.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Beyond Reading: Aerial Silks with Katrina


Beyond Reading is a feature where book bloggers/lovers show off what they like to do besides read! If you want to be featured, leave a comment or otherwise get in touch! 

***

Hi all! I am Katrina, I have occasionally blogged but right now most of my bookish thoughts are simply being spread over the internet through my twitter @RinaReadsBooks

So when people ask me what I do in my spare time I sometimes laugh at them. Between working part time in a care home for people with intellectual disabilities and taking classes towards my Bachelor's of Social Work I don’t always have a lot of free time at all. However, when I think back there have been two activities that have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. One of them is reading and seeing as this is a feature called “Beyond Reading” I’m sure you can guess I am going to be talking about the other one.

I started dancing when I was about two years old, and right away through high school I continued to take classes in ballet, tap, lyrical and musical theater. When I moved away for university at 17 it was hard to continue taking classes so I took a break. For three and a half years I didn’t have my dance outlet so I started looking for something to fill the void. Finally I found a place that offered aerial classes including hammock, hoop, and silks as well as pole dancing.  I took an aerial hammock class and a pole dancing class before trying aerial silks and absolutely falling in love with it. 


I still remember on the first day of class my instructor looking at us and saying the first thing we were going to learn was how to climb the silks. I also remember thinking she was absolutely crazy. Still, I tried it and lo and behold I did it. Not right to the top that first day, but it was something. Coming from a dance background so much of my power and strength was in my legs so it was a workout to get my upper body conditioned to be able to pull myself up.


I knew it would be hard to find a studio that compared to where I danced growing up so finding something that satisfied my dance itch felt amazing. Since starting nearly two years ago I have done things I didn’t think possible. I have been able to perform with my new studio and made friends I never would have met outside of aerial silks.  I have progressed through the beginner and intermediate classes along with taking several conditioning classes, flexibility classes and my absolute favourite, a choreography class.

This is a video from my very first student showcase! I was pretty proud as I choreographed the entire thing on my own, and it was the first thing I had ever done that for. I have done more things that I like better since then, but I always like to go back and remember where I started!


It had also enabled me to keep in shape! I am horrible at following an exercise plan on my own. Going to classes gave me that conditioning as well as the slight motivation to condition on my own to hit moves I struggled with such as working my abs to be able to control my aerial invert. 

(I worked for a solid 2 ½ hours one afternoon just to get this move down)
I think the biggest thing about why I love aerial silks so much is it makes me happy. I always look forward to going to classes, I want to go in for practice times and meet ups to learn as much as I can. Sadly due to work I haven’t been able to take a class since last August. I’ve just been practicing on my own, but I am so excited to get back to classes again in the fall! One day I would love to teach, but for right now I need to put my time into school! 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Blogoversary Giveaway #1: Pineapple Prize Pack


August is my blogoversary month and I'm celebrating 9 years blogging! Can you believe it? 9 years! It's so strange to me, but I love blogging and I can't see myself stopping anytime soon...even if I have to slow down in the future! I don't normally celebrate my blogoversary month, though I'm not sure why. I suppose the month just sneaks up on me and I find I didn't do anything. However, I want to do something this year and that's TWO giveaways! The first is today and the next one will be soon - perfect for all you readers!

Today, though, I'm sharing some fun Pineapple-Themed items. I do like pineapples, when it comes to eating fruit, but they also remind me of my favorite TV show Psych. If you've seen the show, then you understand. At any rate, pineapples are really popular lately so I've been collecting a few items for the past few months to make one overall giveaway.

-Lauren

Now, the items:

1. Pineapple decorated lip balm holder key chain
2. Pineapple art print with a fun quote/saying
3. Pineapple decorated washi tape
4. Pineapple adorned necklace

While my blogoversary is this month, the giveaway won't end until Monday, September 12 because I'll be in London in the beginning of September and won't be able to mail the prize pack until I'm home again. Lots of time to enter!

Open To: U.S. and Canada (I wish I could do International, but I'm afraid I don't have the funds right now - feel free to enter if you are willing to pay shipping though!)

To enter, use the Rafflecopter below! Each entry has different points (1 for commenting, 2 for Twitter follow, etc.) so be sure to enter however many ways you can!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


I also wanted to make sure that you all knew about the giveaway going on at the Leave a Mark Auctions blog. Be sure to follow for future auctions AND giveaways to say thanks for the support! If you are in the U.S., you can enter this current giveaway to win a Harry Potter solar light!!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard

EDIT: I wanted to let you all know that there is a giveaway (U.S. only I'm afraid) over on the Leave a Mark Auctions page. You can win a Harry Potter solar light. It's BEAUTIFUL! 


Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard

Review by Lauren

source: copy for review; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryBera doesn't ask for much in life. She's a solitary, humble troll, tending her island pumpkin patch in cheerful isolation. She isn't looking for any trouble.

But when trouble comes to find her, it comes in spades. A human baby has arrived in the realm of the trolls, and nobody knows where it came from, but Bera seems to be the only person who doesn't want it dead. There's nothing to it but to return the adorable little thing to its parents.

Like it or not, Bera's gone and found herself a quest.


ReviewI'm not going to rate the book, because it's a mix between 3.5-4 stars. It wasn't my most favorite graphic novel, but I did still enjoy the overall story. 

Bera is a one-headed troll who lives and works on an island, where she grows large pumpkins for the king. It's just her off-season when she realizes that mermaids are messing around with something, and she ends up rescuing a human baby. She wants to find someone that will bring the baby back to its family so she sets out on an adventure trying to find a hero from her book. Things aren't so easy though, so Bera encounters a lot of things in her way and heroes that aren't really helpful.

I loved the cast of characters in this one. Bera meets some bad creatures, but a lot of really great ones too that end up really helping her out on her journey. I could see this being a fun graphic novel to share around Halloween! 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Real World by B.A. Tortuga

EDIT: I wanted to let you all know that there is a giveaway (U.S. only I'm afraid) over on the Leave a Mark Auctions page. You can win a Harry Potter solar light. It's BEAUTIFUL! 


Real World by B.A. Tortuga

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Dreamspinner Press; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryDan White is trying to acclimate to civilian life after a long career in the military with multiple combat deployments.

Now he’s home in the Austin area, living with his brother Dixon, Dixon’s husband, Audie, and their two nine-year-olds. During the New Year celebration, Dan meets Abraham Weldon, and the connection is instant.

There’s a kiss. There’s a dance. There’s a proposition.

Then Dan finds out Weldon is bisexual.

And a dad.

With five kids. Five kids, one of whom is a blind fifteen-year-old.

Weldon has been in love twice in his life—with his high school best friend, Blake, and with his wife, Krista, who he met in a Dairy Queen as she was crying over a positive pregnancy test. Love number three hits Weldon like a hammer when he meets Dan.

But since Dan isn’t interested in a guy with kids, they might only get one night together.


Review:

Apparently, this is the second book, but it's a companion novel so it doesn't matter. I'm just pointing it out in case you DO want to start with the first book and then read this one. Real World is one that stands on its own though. I will say that it was difficult to follow the cast of characters at first, but once I got the hand of who everyone was, things went smoother. I'll share the main cast of characters later in this review to help you out before you jump into this one.

The basic story of Real World is about Dan who has just left the army and gone back to Texas. He's currently staying with his brother, Dixon, and his husband, Audie, as well as their children. The beginning of the book has Dan watching his brother perform at a bar and that's where he meets a friend of Audie's, whose name is Weldon (well, that's his last name, but most people call him Weldon). The two of them have a night together and while it goes well, Dan made it clear beforehand that he wasn't looking for a guy with kids...and Weldon has five.

Of course, this wouldn't be much of a romance if Dan didn't at least give Weldon a chance, right? It takes a bit of time, but eventually he tries his hand at romancing Weldon and even getting to know - and love - all of the children. I liked that it didn't immediately work for Dan. He's not someone who ever saw himself with kids, so it's understandable that he wouldn't want to jump into a relationship with a guy who has five. It's not always easy for either Dan and Weldon, but they work at it.

There are some of other side stories in the novel as well, but I won't go into it. I don't want to give all of the book away. In general though, I enjoyed this one. It felt a bit long at times, but I appreciated the realistic nature of the story and I really did fall in love with all the children!

Cast of Characters:

Dixon and Randi - father and daugther
Audie and Grainger - father and son
Dixon and Audie are married

Dan is Dixon's brother
Dan falls in love with Weldon
Weldon has five kids from a previous marriage to a woman - Weldon's bisexual
Jakob is the oldest, then Maddie, then Emma, then Kenzie, then Caleb (I'm pretty sure that is the order -Jakob is 16 and Caleb is 3, then 4 during the course of the novel)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Boyfriend Material by K.A. Mitchell


Boyfriend Material by K.A. Mitchell

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryPhysically, it’s easy for Ethan and Wyatt to be together—well, if “easy” means stolen moments when Ethan’s roommate is away, or sneaking away to a hidden nook in the library. Privacy is hard to come by in a dorm, but finding ways to connect is half the fun. 

Emotionally, though, that’s a different story. Wyatt isn’t sure if a relationship is something he can make last—years of having to hide his emotions have left him with a shaky sense of self-confidence. And when it’s time to head home for the holidays, their steamy on-campus connection may not translate so well to the real world…


ReviewI suppose at 92 pages, this would be considered a novella, and it definitely read fast. However, it wasn't a problem with Boyfriend Material because this is actually the second book in the Ethan and Wyatt series. You definitely should read that first, because it's a full novel that details the history of how these two came together, as well as important information about their background. Once you get to Boyfriend Material, it was nice to have an established couple that you already knew. It meant the story could explore other aspects of their relationship and Mitchell definitely did that!

The book takes place mostly during the holidays, starting a little bit before Thanksgiving. Ethan wants Wyatt to come to his house for the holiday, but that would mean meeting a lot of Ethan's family. Wyatt is quiet and not used to a lot of attention, so he's not too keen on the idea of being surrounded by a lot of people he doesn't know. Instead, he opts to visit his uncle for the holiday. The short time away just shows that Ethan and Wyatt both really love each other and all seems well...until Christmas approaches and the two have to then figure out what to do over a much longer break.

I enjoyed this one, because I do like when couples are already established but you understand how they came together. We get both because this is a sequel and that's a big deal for me because m/m novels tend to have companion books with a new couple instead of another book with the same couple in the forefront. And guess what? There will be a third too! Despite knowing the couple already, sometimes the physical nature of their relationship felt a bit much because the book was so short. It would have been nice if they had communicated more, though they do comment on the fact that Wyatt has a difficult time with this and Ethan is a fan of taking the easy way. Regardless, it was still a good novella, and I'm curious to see where Mitchell takes the boys next!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Swear On This Life by Renee Carlino


Swear On This Life by Renee Carlino

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryWhen a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?


Review: I love books that somehow weave in writing or books. It's just fun to see people kind of like you in a novel, you know? So when I read the summary behind Swear On This Life, I was immediately excited. I'm so glad I was given the chance to read/review this one, because it really was a great book. I'll leave the official summary to give you an idea of what this book is about and instead just focus on my thoughts and feelings.

First off, there is Emiline, who is the person readers follow in the story. She is a creative writing professor but she can't seem to get anywhere with her own career. It's easy to feel for Emiline. She just seems sort of stuck in life. When she comes across a bestselling novel, it's not long before she realizes that the author J. Colby has to be her childhood friend and first love, Jase. Now, I will say that the name changes confused me a bit at first. Emiline is the real life girl and Jason or Jase is the real life boy, and author J. Colby. The story that Jase wrote, he named his characters Emerson and Jax, and they are meant to be a version of the real life people.

I thought the story within the story worked really well because it's showing the history between Emiline and Jase, even if the names are a bit different. After reading certain chapters, Emiline always notes what was real and what Jase embellished or switched around. This helped you keep track of what was true and what was fiction, but until the end, it was mostly the truth, just told through Em's point of view and not Jax/Jase.

When we finally meet Jase, I wasn't sure at first. I liked him, but he also seemed very different from the boy who grew up with Emiline, living next door and dealing with their own family problems. He seemed more cocky and sure of himself, which was good and bad. Good because he grew up and got over the past, but he wasn't the best match that I could see for Emiline. I soon changed my mind though, as Emiline got to know his boy again. He truly was the person who got her through a rough childhood and it's easy to see how they would always be connected. The book within the book chronicles Emiline and Jase's childhood, though told in the point of view of Emerson. It shows that Jase/Jax had a drug addicted mother and Emiline/Emerson had a mom who left and a drunk, often verbally abusive dad. They lived in run down houses, at the end of a long, dirt road. They didn't have much, but they had each other, and it was a beautiful story, both the book that Jase had written and the overall story that makes up the "present day" of Swear On This Life.

I'll be sure to read more by Carlino!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Beyond Reading: Sewing and Quilting with Natasha


Beyond Reading is where book bloggers share a post about a non-reading hobby of theirs! If you want to be featured, leave a comment!

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Hi there! I’m Natasha from A Binding Attraction. Today I want to talk about my favorite hobbies outside of reading, which happen to be sewing and quilting. My first foray into sewing was via a 4H class when I was a kid. I tried to sew a skirt and I realized how utterly uncreative I was. I still don’t feel like I’m that creative, but the great thing about sewing and quilting is that you just need to be able to follow directions!

My mom started working part time at a quilt shop a few years ago and she wanted me to start quilting as a way for us to have some bonding time. I fell in love with all the bolts of bright colorful fabric. Ladies would cart all of their supplies to the shop just to chat and sew all day. There were so many fun and beautiful projects that I just started collecting fabric in the hope that I’d learn how to make similar treasures one day. My parents ended up buying me a sewing machine for my birthday and I’ve been sewing like crazy ever since! I will say, I find it much easier to control the peddle now that I’m older and have been driving for years (it helps you realize how much pressure to use and it goes a lot smoother instead of stuttering halts). It still took some time for me to sew a straight line, so I practiced on smaller projects. I have become a master of making coasters for all occasions. For people who quilt and have leftover scraps of batting, coasters are an excellent way to use those smaller pieces.

To make a coaster you will need:

1- 5x5 square of batting
3- 5x5 squares of your choice of fabric (fold 2 of the squares in half and press them)
3- 5x5 squares of a contrasting fabric (fold 2 of the squares in half and press them)
Thread

You will create a stack by placing one of you fabric squares face down, your batting on top, your contrasting square face up, then overlap your folded pieces with the open ends facing out to create the top square. After you have created your stack you will sew all the way around the square with ¼ inch seam. The last step is to just flip it inside out and voila! You have a coaster! You can trim the corners before flipping it inside out to remove some of the bulk, but it isn’t required. Keep in mind that whichever fabric you put on the bottom of your stack will actually be on the inside once you flip it inside out.

I also love cooking, so one of my other favorite projects is making aprons. There are so many fun patterns, but I prefer a more retro look. Below are pictures of some of the aprons I have made for
friends and family.

Quilts are my bread and butter. There are so many ways to combine different fabrics to make beautiful designs. Here are a few that I’ve completed in the last year. I still consider myself a
beginner so I tend to choose easier patterns.



Lately I have come across some incredible quilt designs that are nothing shy of inspirational. Sondra at Sorcery In The Bookshelves has been working on a Harry Potter quilt known as The Project of Doom. I have been following her progress on Twitter (@RunYouCleverBoy) This type of quilt uses a technique called paper piecing, which I have never tried before. I couldn’t believe it when Sondra told me that she has only been quilting since August and this was her very first quilt! She said that she barely knew how to thread her machine when she started and that progressing through the patterns of varying difficulty helped her learn how to quilt. Sondra assured me that if she can do it, anyone can!

If you are interested in creating a fandom quilt or starting a Project of Doom, be sure to check out Fandom In Stitches for free patterns and tutorials. Sewing and quilting are fun activities because they are relaxing and there is something satisfying about creating things with your own hands. They also provide an overwhelming sense of joy when you are able to share your projects and gift them to other people because there is nothing quite like a gift from the heart.

Do any of you sew? Show us some of your projects!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Auction #2: Annotated Copy of Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin


Have you read Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin? Do you want to?

This novel is the second auction over at Leave a Mark Auctions and it is ANNOTATED! This is the only annotated copy of Denton Little's Deathdate so you know you want this in your collection.

The auction ends this Monday, August 15 at 9 p.m. EST so get bidding!

Remember: all money goes to charity, so if you can bid, please do!

Also, follow the blog for future auctions AND fun giveaways!!

Reaper's Fire by Joanna Wylde Blog Tour

Alicia here, with the blog tour for Reaper's Fire.

Enjoy!

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The smallest spark can start an inferno!
 Gage and Tinker’s story is FINALLY here!
Reaper’s Fire NOW AVAILABLE!


Blurb
New York Times bestselling author Joanna Wylde returns to the “wild and raw”* world of the Reapers MC with the story of Gage and Tinker…

The club comes first.

I’ve lived by those words my whole life—assumed I’d die by them, too, and I never had a problem with that. My Reaper brothers took my back and I took theirs and it was enough. Then I met her. Tinker Garrett. She’s beautiful, she’s loyal, and she works so damned hard it scares me sometimes . . . She deserves a good man—one better than me. I can’t take her yet because the club still needs me. There’s another woman, another job, another fight just ahead.

Now she’ll learn I’ve been lying to her all along. None of it’s real. Not my name, not my job, not even the clothes I wear. She thinks I’m nice. She pretends we’re just friends, that I’ve still got a soul . . . Mine’s been dead for years. Now I’m on fire for this woman, and a man can only burn for so long before he destroys everything around him.

I’m coming for you, Tinker.

Soon.





Excerpt

“I can’t believe how late it is,” Tinker said, yawning, and I realized the movie had ended. Now she stretched upward, the blanket falling to her waist as her boobs pushed forward.
God, how much should a man be expected to take?
I should’ve stayed away from her completely—that’d been the plan—but something had snapped when I’d seen her out in the courtyard. Couldn’t remember the last time I’d met a woman like Tinker. She was smart and sexy and funny, and she worked damned hard to take care of her family and business. Sure, I wanted to fuck her—you’d have to be gay not to—but I respected her, too.
“I should probably get going,” she said, offering me a smile so sweet I wanted to bite her lips. “I like to check on Dad before going to sleep, and I’ve got to be up early in the morning. I’ve got to package orders for the courier tomorrow—if they aren’t ready by two p.m., I’m screwed.”
I considered rolling over on top of her. Pushing her down into the couch cushions, shoving my leg between hers, and showing her what a real man feels like.
“Cooper?” she asked, looking confused. I blinked a couple times, forcing myself to focus on her face.
“I’m going to watch another one,” I told her, because I’m a goddamn masochist. “You sure you’re ready to head out?”
She frowned, and I could almost read her thoughts. Yes, she should leave. But she wanted me as much as I wanted her. And yeah, I realize that makes me sound like an egotistical ass, but this wasn’t my first rodeo. I saw the lust in her eyes, and the way she licked her lips and stared at my mouth. This wasn’t a one-way street, not even close.
“I guess I could stay a little longer,” she whispered. Christ, she was so sweet and soft. I wanted to bite her even more now. Suck that pouty lower lip into my mouth and shove a finger up her ass.
Break her.
You’re one sick fuck.
Why yes. Yes, I am. Thanks for noticing.
I managed to control the urge, catching her hand instead, giving it a friendly squeeze like some kind of pathetic tool. Her fingers tightened on mine, then she pulled away and snuggled back down under the blanket, raising her feet to rest on the coffee table. I grabbed the remote and clicked through the menu.
Tomorrow I’d do my job. I’d fuck Talia and spy on Marsh and look for any kind of weakness that might end this situation, the faster the better. Tonight, though . . . Tonight I’d pretend this wasn’t a waste of time.
Goddamn, but my dick hurt.
The next hour was torture.
Tinker sat next to me, all cute and classy and absolutely refusing to make any kind of eye contact. I don’t know how she felt, but to me the sexual tension hanging in the air was thick and heavy. I kept thinking about her hand in mine—small, but strong. The hand of someone who knew how to work hard. So far as I knew, Talia had never held down a job, let alone supported herself.
The couch shifted, and I glanced over to find Tinker sliding deeper into the cushions, drawing the blanket up to her chin. Our legs were maybe six inches apart. She shifted again, and then her hand bumped mine under the blanket. She jerked it back quickly, and I caught the hint of a flush on her cheeks. That was another thing I liked about her—her skin was so pale that I could see every hint of arousal.
Grabbing her hand, I pulled it over to rest on my thigh. This was a really bad idea, so I pointedly refused to think it through. Her hand tensed at first, then relaxed into my strength. My cock swelled against the fabric of my jeans, just inches from her fingers—it’d be so easy to push her hand toward it, wrap it around my painfully swollen dick, and just go to town.
Tinker’s fingers gave a quick squeeze—almost more of a spasm—and I bit back a groan.
Yeah, okay. Really, really bad idea. I should get off the couch and shut this shit down right now, because I couldn’t afford to blow things with Talia just yet. Instead I found myself leaning toward Tinker, bumping shoulders.
God.
I’d grown a pussy. No other explanation, because I couldn’t figure out why the hell else an adult man would sit holding hands under a damned blanket like a kid.









Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/1mD6Sma


Google Play:  http://bit.ly/1SxRDaQ




Have you heard?
Reaper’s Property by Joanna Wylde has a NEW COVER!



Meet Horse & Marie for ONLY $3.99 (normally $7.99)
Author’s Note: This book was originally released through a small publisher in 2013. This independent edition has been lightly edited, and contains a bonus short, “Sticky Sweet” (originally published on the author’s website) and a Q&A with the author.




GIVEAWAY

Signed copy of Reaper’s Fire







About the Author



Joanna Wylde is a New York Times bestselling author and creator of the Reapers Motorcycle Club series. She currently lives in Idaho.

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